Puppy's Revenge by Tango


E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com

DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course.

DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Based on "The Wish" (S3) except everyone who died in the episode lived except for Cordelia. This begins after the final fight in the factory. Angel's soul is anchored in this one. (Some lines are borrowed from "Angel.")

FEEDBACK: Please let me know if you would like me to continue this fic!

RATING: R (for now)

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Radiohead.


//i'm still no one, and you're my star//

With dawn drawing near and no place to sleep, Buffy wandered through Sunnydale. She stumbled upon an abandoned mansion on Crawford Street and went inside. With her first step over the threshold, her body twisted with a strange feeling. She paused and cocked her head to the side, listening for the sounds of occupants.

Complete silence answered her and she entered. Her body hummed in the same manner it had when she first saw Angel inside that cage, bleeding and weak. She mistook it for compassion the first time and immediately pushed it aside. Compassion made a Slayer weak. Feelings and bonds broke concentration, caused death.

Her boots echoed loudly in the great room as she entered and she pivoted, looking around her for the person or thing that had to be there. It didn't take long to spot him, sleeping restlessly in the corner.

*Stake him,* her inner voice screamed as she watched his face, masked in pain, twitching with the horrors inside his dream. After a few seconds, she realized she was staring at him and backed away. She spun and began to run back out when she heard him speak, "Buffy?"

"What?" she demanded, turning back around to face the vampire who was struggling to his feet.

"I was worried about you," he said quietly, "I wasn't sure where you went after the fight, if you were safe."

"Why should you care?"

"I care," he answered, digging into her with chocolate soulful eyes.

"And why is that again?" She asked sarcastically, resting her weight squarely on both legs, prepared to slip into defensive stance if she needed to and ignoring the intensity of his gaze.

"You're my destiny."

"Oh great," she said, rolling her eyes, "We're back to that again. Are you *really* going to try to tell me that you're a good vampire? *Please* don't waste my time. We both know I'm not that stupid, *Angelus.*"

"So you've heard of me?" he asked, taking a step closer.

"Yeah," she said nodding, "When my first Watcher was gutted I went through the diaries. Very interesting stuff. So, you're ‘The Scourge of Europe.'"

"I was," he admitted with shame in his eyes.

"And what are you now? The Master's whipping boy? I heard you were a ruthless badass. I'm kinda disappointed really."

"My soul was restored," he answered, "I'm not Angelus anymore."

"Oh okay," she snorted, trying not to get lost in the eyes of the demon with the face of an Angel, "I guess I trust you now. I know how devious you are. Try this act on the next Slayer. I'm all stocked up on bullshit right now."

"For a hundred years I offered ugly death to everyone I met, and I did it with a song in my heart," he started.

"Now we're getting to the real stuff, but I feel a ‘but' coming. Are you going to tell me something changed that made you the fluffy, nice variety of demon?"

"I fed on a girl about your age... beautiful... dumb as a post... but a favorite among her clan," he continued, ignoring her comment.

"Her clan?"

"Romany," he explained waiting for recognition to cross her face. Seeing none, he elaborated, "Gypsies. The elders conjured the perfect punishment for me. They restored my soul."

"Yeah, you mentioned that already. Sounds like a horrible punishment. Really. What, they were all out of boils and blinding torment?" She said, diving into dark brown pools of sincerity. He couldn't possibly be good, could he? Buffy had killed throngs of vampires and demons in her time. She never met a vampire that was good. Never.

"When you become a vampire the demon takes your body, but it doesn't get your soul. That's gone. No conscience, no remorse... It's an easy way to live. You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done... and to care. I haven't fed on a living human being since that day."

"You expect me just to buy that?" she asked, feeling her walls beginning to crumble. The way he was looking at her was making her skin blush. It was hungry, starving, in fact. Not like a vampire to a Slayer, but as a man to a woman. Since she was called and Merrick died, her new Watcher had forced her out of school and into full time Slayage. At first, she resisted and tried to keep some semblance of a normal life, but when her parents were killed, she simply gave up.

"No," he answered sadly, "I don't expect you to, but it's the truth. I know you need a place to stay. You can stay here if you like. I won't bother you."

"Yeah, it's probably a good idea for a Slayer to shack up in a vampire's crypt," she said stifling a yawn.


//as the world does turn and if London burns i'll be standing//

Drusilla collapsed in a scream and Spike bolted across the room to catch her before she reached the floor. She moaned in pain and fell into short pants, as if she were out of breath, as if she needed breath.

"What is it, ducks?" he asked, cradling her in his arms and carrying her to the bed.

"The Hellmouth," she whispered, "it cries."

"Why's that, pet?" he asked, looking over her with worry. After over a century of being her lover and mate, Spike still felt helpless when the visions came over her. Angelus always grinned and prodded every gory detail from her, feeding off her pain, but Spike recoiled from it, dreaded it.

"Daddy's angry, in pain. Someone's hurt him," she panted, "The bad Slayer has finally come. Killed the Master. Daddy's planning and the Hellmouth is trembling, psst, psst, psst...Spike?"

"Yes, love."

"The children are dying," she said as she began to sob, "Melting into the wind."

Spike pulled her into his arms as tears fell from her insane, black eyes. He knew who the children were. The children of the Master. Their brethren were in danger from their Sire.


//i'm just lying in a bar with my drip feed on//

"This is going to be fun," Willow purred as she moved around the Master's desk to sit on Xander's lap, who occupied the chair. His pale hand moved over her belly, feeling her insides shiver with delight

"Yeah, baby," he said as he nuzzled her neck before biting it and licking the unbroken skin. She pressed against him and swung her legs over the arm of the chair, so she could take advantage of his lips.

"I want Puppy," she pouted, catching his lower lip between her teeth and sucking it into her mouth, "Wanna play."

"We'll get him back," Xander promised, letting his hands roam over her leather clad body.

"Really?" she said as delight filled her green eyes.

"‘Course," he answered, moving his hand to her breast, "Now I wanna play."

"Might have to wait a bit for that, mate," Spike said from the doorway with Drusilla on his arm. She swayed and hummed with a smile before whispering loud enough for everyone to hear, "They're horrible, Spike. Yummy."

"Love that, don't you, pet?" Spike said as she nodded emphatically.

"Who the hell are you?" Xander said calmly, standing after Willow moved from his lap.

"We're the new Big Bad in town, children," Spike answered, lighting a cigarette and blowing smoke across the room at them.

"She hurt Daddy," Dru announced with narrowed eyes. Her blood red high heels clicked like the closing of a coffin as she approached Willow. She raised backhanded the younger vampiress and licked her lips, "Shame on you."

"Rode him like a pony," Willow said, licking her own blood off her lips, "I miss Puppy."

"This is our town," Xander said, moving to Willow's side and slipping an arm around her waist.

"Yeah, mate," Spike answer, "See, it *was* your town. With the Master gone and Angelus all soul having, the throne belongs to us."


//i want to live and breathe i want to be part of the human race//

Angel stood in the doorway, watching The Slayer asleep in his bed. He could barely believe after hours of debate that she simply fell asleep. They started out standing and eventually sat ten feet from each other on the marble floor. As she argued with him, her eyes began to droop and finally while in a sitting position, she closed her eyes and began to fall over. He scrambled across the floor to catch her before her head hit the floor and managed to reach out one large hand in time to cradle her tousled blonde head.

Even as weak as he was, lifting her into his arms and carrying her to his bed was effortless. He knew part of that was adrenaline and exhilaration. Her body was so warm, so alive and it had been almost a hundred years since he'd touched human flesh. Her heartbeat scampered inside her chest and he knew immediately that his first reaction to her was right on - he loved this little Slayer.

He laid her in the dusty bed and regretted that the blanket he pulled over her had lain in wait for so long. He moved quickly away and stood in the doorway, watching her face. He wanted to see peace there, but was not rewarded with the sight. Even in sleep, she appeared upset and tormented. The vulnerability that she hid while awake, however, showed itself in her slumber and he was almost convinced that if he waited long enough, she would cry out.

He finally moved away and found his newly purchased supply of blood in the kitchen. He fed for the second time since he had been freed and felt his wounds beginning to slowly heal. He had been starving for months. Willow had knowingly kept him hungry to slow his healing and his wounds had festered more and more with each of her play sessions. His golden eyes flashed angrily when he thought of the striking redhead and her torture of him. He couldn't wait to walk through her dissipating dust. Ridding the earth of that bitch was high on hid "To Do" list once he was back in full strength.

With his body full of two pints of blood, he crawled onto the long counter top and fell immediately into the deep sleep of the undead.


//when the power runs out we'll just hum//

"Don't be ridiculous, William," Darla said as she swept nobly into the room like a member of the royal court.

"Why are you...I mean, why did-" Spike started, tripping over his words.

"Grandmum!" Drusilla exclaimed with glee.

"Really, Drusilla," Darla said with a sigh, "Please, don't call me that...I came to take my place at the throne."

"How did you know?" Spike asked, trying not to cower in fear from the petite blonde. Looks were deceiving and the small woman was a force of nature that destroyed all that moved into her path. Willow and Xander, however, understood. They both paled considerably when she sauntered in the room. Any thought of insubordination was quickly disappearing.

"Always power hungry," she said to Spike with disapproval, "The whole world knows of the Master's demise. I've come to carry on in his place."

Darla sized up the other two fledglings in the room, looking them over closely, "You two are very powerful. You'll do well here if you understand the rules."

"Rules," Willow pouted, "are no fun."

Before her last word reached her red lips, Darla was at her throat, pressing her against the wall and partaking of her blood. Xander stood slack jawed at the attack and thought about intervening for a couple of seconds before he realized that it was not a good idea to cross this new Master. Darla licked her lips as she pulled back and looked into Willow's smiling green eyes. Willow lusted after the violence, loved pain and knew she would love Darla's reign over her. She loved to torment, but she adored it when someone else tormented her.

"You've tasted my boy," she said, before licking her pale throat once more.

"Puppy?" Willow said, uttering the word like a child.

"Angel," Xander explained.

"Yes," Darla said, releasing Willow's throat, "he's my mate. From now on all his abuse will be left to me. Understand?"

Willow nodded her agreement sadly.

"And," Darla continued, "that includes sleeping with him."

Willow's eyes shot open with surprise and prepared to object but the look in Darla's eyes made her close her mouth.

"He's *my* mate," Darla said, "and I'm sure you enjoyed raping him, but you will stay away from him. You don't want to see me upset. Do they, William?"

Spike gulped and shook his head in obedient silence. No one should ever see Darla upset. Ever.


//wake from your sleep the drying of your tears, today we escape, we escape//

Buffy shot up in bed in the early afternoon, gasping for breath. Her nightmares had grown worse since her arrival in Sunnydale and as she looked around the room in confusion, she wondered if she would ever sleep soundly again. Since her parents died, she hadn't had one night that wasn't filled with nightmares and horrible death. She climbed from the queen sized bed and as her feet touched the floor, she realized they were bare.

Looking around the floor, she saw her boots sitting neatly next to the bed. She quickly put them back on as if she felt naked without them and moved quickly toward the exit. A small moan from the other side of the mansion forced her to turn around and investigate. She found Angel lying on the counter top, troubled in his sleep. She knew he was in the middle of a nightmare, just as before, and wondered if he saw the same atrocities in his dreams as she did.

She felt the stake in her pocket and thought about killing him, but hesitated. The fact that he hadn't tried to kill her or take her weapon might prove that he was good. She quickly shook that thought away. He was a vampire and a notorious one at that. The fact that he hadn't tried to kill her simply meant that he was screwing with her head. As she walked out of the mansion without waking him, she realized that his nightmares suggested a conscience.

*No,* she told herself, *Nightmares do not equal good.*

She would be damned if she would let him knock her off guard. She headed toward Jeeves' apartment, planning to stop in before she left town, wondering why she cared at all whether he knew that she left. She paused in front of his oak door and almost walked away without knocking. When she finally did knock, there was no answer.

She waited a few seconds and knocked again. Still nothing. She tried the handle and found it locked. Raising her leg, she snap kicked, splintering the doorframe and forcing it open. She stomped inside and scanned the room. Behind the overturned desk, the almost Watcher laid covered in blood.

"Holy shit!" Buffy yelled as she ran over to him, "Jeeves!"


Chapter TWO

//i never wanted any broken bones scarred face, no home//

Buffy stood impatiently in the hallway as the doctors examined Jeeves. If they would just tell her whether he was going to die or not, she could bust out of there. She hated hospitals more than morgues. She would much rather be standing in a vampire crypt that the sterile white hallway of death.

"Miss Summers?" The approaching doctor asked.

"Yeah," she said nodding as she scrutinized him carefully. His crisp white coat and impeccable appearance made her nervous. Not that he'd make her any less nervous if he'd been wrinkled and sloppy looking.

"Are you related to Mr. Giles?"

"Um...his family isn't here in town," she answered, running through her mind for an excuse to be privy to his medical information, "He's my guardian. Is he okay?"

Okay, so it was a total lie, but she couldn't get the hell out of there if the doctor wouldn't tell her what was going on. Buffy tried to tell herself that leaving the hospital and the town was the only reason she wanted to know if Jeeves...Giles was okay. The kindness he had shown her before and his unfailing faith in a better future was almost infectious. He wasn't anything like the cold, impersonal Watcher she currently had. She found herself wishing she could just stay there where at least he was kind to her.

"He has a mild concussion, several severe lacerations and three broken ribs, but he will be fine. He's a very lucky man, one of his ribs nearly punctured his lung. It was very good that you didn't move him when you found him. Do you have any idea how this happened?

"No," she answered, "I just found him and called 911. Is he awake?"

"Please don't stay long," the doctor warned, pointing out the room to her. Little did he know, she was the last person who was likely to hang out for extended periods of time in any medical facility.

"Hey Jeeves," she said as she walked in, "Wanna tell me what happened so I can go kill it?"

"I went to the library to get more research to summon Anyanka, since my first attempts were unsuccessful," he said weakly, surprised to see the brazen Slayer there at his bedside, "On my way back I was attacked by the vampires who killed Cordelia. And it's Giles."

"Anyanka. Right, the bad fairy. Still trapped in that little illusion, huh?" she said with a sigh, "Well, why didn't they just kill you?"

"They wanted information," he said coughing, "They wanted to know the whereabouts of a vampire by the name of Angelus. And they told me to order you to leave."

"What did you tell them?" she said, showing just a fraction too much worry in her normally cynical tone.

"The truth," he replied, pulling his glasses off the night stand, "I have no idea who Angelus is...but apparently you do."


//i need to wash myself again to hide all the dirt and pain i'd be scared that there's nothing underneath//

Angel always rose before the sunset, so when he opened his eyes, he was surprised to see that he had missed it. He winced from his remaining wounds as he sat up on the counter and hopped to the floor. Opening his shirt, he examined his chest, where most of his wounds could be seen easily. The open wounds had closed but he was still covered in black and blue bruises that swirled around his flesh from repeated use.

Remembering his guest, he tiptoed to his bedroom, only half expecting her to be there. The empty rumpled sheets kept him transfixed, the blanket that recalled the shape of her tiny body forced him to take an unneeded breath. She was gone and he was fairly certain she would not return.

I mean, why would she? He was a vampire and even though he did have soul, she didn't believe him. Even if she did believe him, he knew she would never become his friend, never trust him, never allow him to pull her into his arms to kiss the hurt away. He wanted nothing more than to help chase her bitterness away, help her to return to that beautiful, vulnerable little girl who he first saw on the steps of her high school.

He quickly pushed those thoughts from his mind as he moved toward the shower. He could barely stand the smell that closely resembled death coming from his body. Long months of filth, dried blood, cold sweats and pain coated every inch of his skin and as he stepped under the spray, he sighed in relief.


//you are so pretty when you're on your knees, disinfected, eager to please//

"The Watcher?" Darla asked lightly, nearly skipping into the room in her Catholic school girl outfit. Since the high school kids seemed to be representing all of the white hats except for one Watcher, the outfit seemed appropriate, besides it made her feel young and giddy. As 400 years old, she was as young and beautiful as ever and now she was the Master of all vampires. She almost laughed with glee.

"Why didn't we get to kill him?" Willow pouted, and then smiled brightly, "Although I loved the screaming."

"You always love the screaming," Xander replied, kissing her lightly, slipping his tongue into her cool mouth and teasing hers.

"The Watcher?" Darla repeated, edging on irritation. Her children were going to get annoying after awhile.

"He acted like he didn't know Puppy," Willow answered, rubbing her hands on Xander's chest and nearly moaning as she said, "Who could forget Puppy?"

"He didn't know what happened to him?"

"That's what he said," Xander answered, "And he said The Slayer wasn't his ‘charge,' whatever that means."

"So her real Watcher is somewhere else," Darla said with a smile, slipping into her chair, "We can only hope she'll be called back to wherever she came from."

"Not scared of The Slayer," Willow said, perching on the edge of the desk.

"Yes, well, nevertheless," Darla said, "We're moving underground."

"You've *got* to be kidding," Spike said as he entered the room, "Surely we aren't going to live in the sewers again. Dru hates that."

"All slimy and dark," Drusilla added, "Grandmummy, I can't see the moon in the sewers."

"Then you'll go above when night falls," Darla said, glaring at Spike for his challenge of her, "The Slayer knows where we are. It was different before Angel was free and The Slayer wasn't here. I'm sure you all had fun wreaking havoc in this town, but the rules have changed. I hate the sewers myself...there's no view...but I'm not going to be staked in my sleep. I didn't live to be 400 because I'm stupid."

"This is bloody *great!*" Spike shouted angrily and found himself lying on the floor seconds later with Darla's little Mary Jane pressing against his throat.


//a heart that's full up like a landfill, a job that slowly kills you, bruises that won't heal//

Angel felt like he shed 100 years when he stepped out of the shower. He slipped on pants and padded barefoot to the kitchen to feed. Even if it was pig's blood, it tasted delicious. He helped himself to a second pint and felt his skin tingling as it healed. He tossed the second container in the trash and almost felt like smiling as he walked back out of the kitchen and into the Great Room. There he found a very angry looking Slayer.

"Where the hell did they go?" she demanded.

"Who?" Angel asked, looking over The Slayer with concern. She was still in the same dirty clothes she had arrived in. She hadn't showered and dark circles decorated her beautiful hazel green eyes.

"The vampires at The Bronze," she snapped, "The place is completely empty. I went to the factory again and there was no one there either. I'm sure they all didn't explode into dust this morning so where are they?"

"I guess they went below," he answered.

"Below? Like in the sewers?" Buffy said, trying to ignore his bare chest. His wounds had nearly healed but weren't so incredibly distracting as the corded muscle that lay underneath. He moved with caution and she knew he was trying not to threaten her, but the only thing that threatened her was being attracted to a vampire.

"Yeah," he said, nodding, "I'm sure they went underground, probably since they all know you're here. Guess you scared them."

"Take me to them," she demanded, trying to force the words out clearly from her dry throat.

*He's a vampire,* she reminded herself, *a sexy vampire, but a vampire.* She tried to recall all the warnings she had read about him, about how his attractiveness was used as a weapon by him. *The demon with the face of an angel,* she recalled as she waited for his reply. They sure got that part right.

"You really think it's a good idea to storm a nest underground where you're trapped when they surround you?" he asked, trying to hide his smirk. This little Slayer was pretty ambitious.

"Are you saying that you won't take me there?" she shouted, thinking about taking a threatening step closer but knowing that since she was so attracted to him right now, it was a mistake to move closer. If anything, she needed to take a few steps back. She chided herself inwardly again but she hadn't had a date since her parents died. When she was forced to drop out of school in Cleveland, she simply gave up the dating scene altogether. Besides, the slashing scar that crossed her mouth was really a turn on for guys.

"Yes, that's what I'm saying," he said, "I'm not going to lead you into a trap. We can go on recon, if you want, but we're not storming the damn nest. You didn't come all the way here to be killed."

"Duh," she snipped, "But they attacked Jeeves."

"Jeeves?" he asked quizzically.

"You know, Giles," she explained, "The Watcher?"

"No," he said shaking his head, "Your watcher came here with you?"

"No," she said, "He was already here. He said that the girl, Cordelia, said he was supposed to be my watcher."

"He was here waiting for you too," Angel said reflectively. This all was so strange. Why had The Powers That Be sent him here and Giles, but then not her? It didn't make any sense.

"What is all this ‘waiting for you' crap?" she asked.

"I was sent here," he answered, "for you. I tried to explain this before. You were supposed to come to The Hellmouth three years ago. I was going to help you."

"Now we're back to the ‘Destiny' thing. And what's The Hellmouth?"

"The mouth of Hell," he answered, "it opens here in Sunnydale."


//fireworks and hurricanes i'm not here this isn't happening i'm not here i'm not here//

Darla could barely believe what she was seeing as she stood in the shadows watching her Angelus talk to The Slayer. Not only was he planning on helping her, he was in love with her! Disgust, jealousy and anger ripped through her body as she watched her mate trying to claim another.

The girl's eyes were almost closing in passion as she just talked to him! A Slayer and she was attracted to a vampire. It was sick and fucking wrong. She was thankful she hadn't allowed any of her flunkeys to come out to do this little job. She knew they would have just fumbled it anyway.

She gripped the two guns she had in her hands and prepared to walk into the room. She was still going to kill that little blonde slut but now she had even more reason than before. No one tried to take her mate! The only reason Willow was still alive was that she was brethren. This little bitch was not.

"Who's there?" Angel said, looking up from The Slayer and toward the shadows in the atrium.

"A friend," she said innocently, stepping forward with the guns behind her back, "It's been awhile."

"A lifetime," he answered, glancing over at Buffy and back to his ex.

"Or two, but who's counting?" she said with a sweet schoolgirl smile to match her outfit.

"What are you doing here Darla?" Angel said, curbing his growl.

"I came for you, Angelus," she whispered.

"You came because the Master died," Angel retorted, wondering how he had ever spent 150 years with her. Yes, she was beautiful but she was also deadly. He knew her hands, which were coyly resting behind her back, carried a weapon or two. He inched over closer to Buffy as he watched Darla closely.

"Yes, well, whatever," Darla said, still smiling, "Can't get caught up on little details, Angelus. So this is The Slayer."

"Who the hell are you?" Buffy said, feeling her pocket for a stake and thankfully resting on one.

"Darla," she answered, "Nice to meet you."

"Wish I could say the same," Buffy said, prickling as Angel stepped closer to her. What if he was fooling her the whole time? What if he planned for her to be trapped with him and his blonde skank over there? She evened out her breaths and prepared to attack, if she had to, first Angel then Darla.

"Do you know what the saddest thing in the world is?" Darla asked, looking over the dirty, exhausted girl. She looked off her game, which was going to make this so much more interesting.

"Bad hair on top of that outfit?" Buffy asked with a defined sneer.

"To love someone who used to love you."

"I figured you guys were involved," she said, glancing over at Angel, who looked appropriately guilty. Wait, why should he feel guilty? And why was she suddenly jealous?

"For several generations," Darla answered.

"Well, you've been around awhile, you're bound to pile up a few ex's. You're older than him, right?" Buffy said, feeling suddenly overprotective of the vampire she didn't even believe was good, "Just between us girls, you are looking a little worn around the eyes."

"I made him," Darla said, waiting for the shock to cross Buffy's face and was gratified when it did. Popping that juicy piece of news was truly worth the trip, "There was a time when we shared everything, wasn't there, Angelus? You have a chance to come home and to rule with me for a thousand years, but you throwing that away because of *her.* You love someone who hates us. You're sick. And you'll always be sick. And you'll always remember what it was like to watch her die."

Buffy nearly fell over. The bitch may be evil but she was telling the truth. The look on Angel's face betrayed it as well. The vampire was in love with her?

"Quit acting like you didn't know over a hundred years ago that I was never coming home," he quipped, trying to soften the blow of what she said, "Now, then, Slayer, no Slayer - it's all the same. It's over and you know it. You knew a long time ago."

Angel barely was able to finish his sentence when a bullet ripped through his chest. Darla giggled as he stumbled back and hit the wall behind him. Then she glanced over at The Slayer, enjoying the mixed emotions that crossed her face, "Oh, don't worry. Bullets can't kill vampires. Can hurt them like hell, but..."

Buffy dove over to Angel's couch and hide behind it, hearing Darla's voice again, "So many body parts, so few bullets. Let's begin with the kneecaps. No fun dancing without them."

Bullets peeled through the sofa and Buffy crawled on the floor behind it. When there was a pause in shooting she hopped up and tossed her stake as hard as she could and groaned with disappointment to see that she missed.

"Close," Darla said, pulling the stake from her abdomen and tossing it aside, "But no heart."

Bullets began ripping apart the sofa again and Buffy knew that any second there would be no place to go. She gasped loudly as strong hands grabbed her shoulders and she found herself held tightly against Angel's smooth, bare back.

"That's no fair," Darla said, seeing that she couldn't shoot The Slayer through Angelus, "But fun."

She emptied her clips into Angel which amounted to three bullets. Buffy flinched with his groans as they hit his body, lodging somewhere in the beautiful flesh in front of her.

"Get out, Darla," Angel said, growling loudly and holding onto The Slayer at his back. Her delicate body trembled behind him and he couldn't help but feel turned on by it.

"I will kill your little bitch," Darla said as she backed toward the door, "You belong to me, Angel."


Chapter THREE

//all the things you got i bled and i bleed to please you//

"New plan," Darla said, stomping into the main room of their suite in the depths of the sewers.

"Did The Slayer kick your ass?" Spike said with a smirk. She may be the boss but he would damned if she would try to control his opinions.

"Shut up, Spike!" Darla said, before scanning the room with fire in her eyes, "The Slayer has to die. The first person who kills her gets a place as my second in command."

"What about Puppy?" Willow asked, itching to run out into the night.

"If he gets in the way, then dust him," she said and then added, "But not unless you have to."

"Suddenly not bored," Willow whispered to Xander, nibbling on his ear.

"Come on, baby," Xander said, wrapping an arm around her waist, "Time to have a little fun."

Spike watched the couple leave suspiciously and then turned to Darla, "You just want to narrow your competition or what?"

"Spike," Darla purred, crossing the room to him. He stepped back, hearing the venom beneath her purr. She placed her hands on his chest and dug her nails in, piercing the material of his shirt in the process.

"Bloody hell, woman," he mumbled, stepping back once more but unable to dislodge her from him. She backed him into the wall and pressed her body against his.

"We're going to have to have a little lesson," she whispered, knowing all the minions in the room could hear her, "Angelus spent so much time putting you in your place that I was denied the pleasure. Until now."

"Wait a minute," he said, pressing himself against the wall.

"See," she said, as he screamed in pain, "I knew there was a bright side to losing my mate."


//do i mean what i mean it's inevitable, inevitable//

When Darla was out of sight, back into the night, Angel released Buffy and as if she were the only thing holding him up, he fell face first on the floor. Buffy stood there looking at him for a moment, still shocked at what had happened.

"Well, color me stunned," she said as she rolled him over and looked over his bloody chest, "Are you okay?"

"I'll live, if that's what you mean," he groaned, meeting her green eyes with golden ones. He knew she was looking at his true face for the first time and willed himself to change back, but couldn't. She pulled him up and he groaned again as he leaned against the bullet ridden couch. Without hesitating, he dug inside the holes in his chest, rooting for bullets.

"That's...um..." Buffy said, as she watched him remove the first bullet from himself, "Thank you for saving my life."

"You're welcome," he answered, dropping a small piece of metal on the floor and going for the next one.

"No one has ever...done that for me before," she said, rising to her feet, "Usually I'm saving someone else."

"That's why I'm here," he said, successfully freeing the second bullet.

"Do you have any bandages around here?" she asked, flushed from the feel of his cold skin, from pressing her face into his muscular back and from watching his bloody fingers dig into his chest.

"Bathroom," he said through gritted teeth. He wasn't sure what he was expecting now that she knew of his true feelings for her, but this wasn't it. She hadn't rejected him yet, never called him a demon or even worse...a thing. He watched her reappear, loaded with supplies and bit his lip to keep a sigh from escaping as she *voluntarily* touched his skin. Her hands were shaking as she cleansed his wounds and he mistook it for fear of his face or maybe fear of hurting him. But neither of those reasons were why she was shaking.

"I can't stay here," she said quietly as she bandaged the first hole in his chest.

"I understand," he said still struggling to get his demon in check, "I didn't expect you to ever trust me, even after..."

"No, it's not that," she said with a quivering voice. She was falling for him and quickly. She felt like leaving his wounds half tended and running from the mansion, "Now that all the vamps know where you are, I won't be able to sleep. They can just walk in whenever they want."

"Not if you're living here," he said, feeling a twinge of hope rising up inside him.

"What do you mean?"

"If you're living here, then it's no longer just a vampire's crypt. They can't come in unless they're invited."

"How can you be sure it'll work? And why would I live here with you?" she asked as she put the last bandage on his skin.

"I have lots of space and you don't have a place to live," he said, pulling himself slowly to his feet, "And it'll work. Come on, I'll show you." He almost took her hand as he headed toward the door. He led her outside the mansion completely, "Okay, you have to decide this is your home."

"I can't be sure," she said.

"It'll only work if this is your home," he said, "It's mystical. Say you'll live here."

"Okay," she sighed, "I'll live here. This is my home."

"Now step inside," he said. She gave him a wary look and crossed the threshold. He stepped to follow her and smiled as he hit the invisible boundary.

"See?" he said, "Now I can't come back in unless you invite me."

Angel watched as Buffy thought about it for a second.

"I would never hurt you," he said quietly, blasting love at her through his dark eyes. When one minute turned into two, he was beginning to think he might have to find a different place to live. Then he saw a small smile cross her face, "You're invited."

He crossed the threshold and smiled at her, "I thought you weren't going to."

"I had to think about it."

"Where are you going?" he asked as she walked back out the mansion.

"Got a meeting with Jeeves."


//i never wanted anything like this i worked hard, tried hard//

"Hello Buffy," Giles said as he opened his front door, "I'm glad you made it. Were you successful in finding the vampires?"

"No," she said, shaking her head, "they bolted. Angel thinks they went underground."

"Angelus?" he said, remembering her earlier explanation of who he was, "So you trust him now?"

"Well, after he took 3 bullets for me, I thought he might be for real."

"Bullets?" Giles asked with confusion.

"Yeah. One of the vamps I was looking for found me and tried to shoot me."

"They're using guns now? No one has standards anymore," he complained.

"That's what I thought," she said, plopping down on his couch, "So what's the what? Why did you ask me to come back over here?"

"Beside the obvious, which is wanting to see if you got out of the fight unscathed," he said, "I wanted to speak to you about staying on here and helping to return Sunnydale to a safe place to live."

"Safe on the Hellmouth?" she asked, feeling her heart pound. He *wanted* her to stay. He was concerned about her safety. Between Angel and Giles, it was becoming more difficult to hold on to her pessimism.

"So you already know."

"Yeah, Angel explained it to me."

"I'd like to meet this vampire," he said as a knock sounded on the door, "Will you stay?"

"What about my other Watcher?"

"I've already spoken to the Council," Giles said opening the door, "They have agreed to release you to my custody for the time being."

"Hey," Oz said from the door and was echoed by Larry. They moved inside and found seats around the room.

"I'll stay," she said, pretending to be reluctant, but the truth was that she had nothing in Cleveland to return to. Her parents were dead and her Watcher was an overbearing asshole. She hated it there and even if Sunnydale was in constant danger, it was better than what awaited her in the Midwest.

"Very good," Giles said with a smile and looked over at Larry, who was beaming, and Oz, who seemed tempted to make an expression.

"And Buffy?" Giles said, "I would appreciate it if you would start calling me ‘Giles.' Although I am British, my name is not Jeeves, nor am I a butler."

"I never said you were a butler," she said with confusion.

"P.G. Wodehouse?" he asked, referring to the author who wrote the Jeeves Chronicles and seeing the blank look on her face, sighed, "Never mind."


//stop whispering, start shouting stop whispering, start shouting//

Buffy walked out of Giles' flat and toward the mansion. She was actually surprised that he hadn't asked her where she was living yet. Probably assumed that she was staying at a hotel or something. Right, like she had money for that. She was trying to figure out how she was going to get some new clothes. She needed a shower desperately and wasn't sure how to get around the no clean clothes problem.

"Oooh, it's The Slayer," Willow's voice sang from behind her, alerting her to an entirely different problem. Buffy turned to face two vampires, who in another universe were her best friends. In this universe, she cared less about them.

"Present," she said, pulling a stake from the waistband of her pants.

"Scary," Xander said with broad grin.

Willow and Xander, moved into motion, double teaming The Slayer. It had already been a long night and after the gun show earlier, Buffy was almost out of adrenaline. She found herself on the defensive, trying to beat them down. Her stake was knocked from her hand early in the battle and she became a little worried as the two grabbed her at the same time, as if they could read each other's thoughts.

"Let her go," an angry growl said, coming from the shadows. Angel dropped the bag he was carrying and moved toward them slowly.

"Puppy," Willow whispered with a very noticeable sexual undertone, "I've missed you."

"Yeah, me too," Angel snorted sarcastically, "Release The Slayer."

"Oh, you like her," Willow said, licking Buffy's neck, "I like her too."

Angel rushed them, black duster flying behind him as he moved forward. Buffy used the distraction to swing her legs up and kick their ridged faces and flipping away as they stumbled back. Joining hands, the vampire couple ran into the trees.

"See ya soon, Puppy," Willow called out after them.

"You did it again," Buffy said, bending to pick up her stake as Angel went to retrieve his bag.

"Did what?"

"Saved my life," she said, "Thanks."

Near death twice in the same night was interesting - not entirely uncommon, but a little scary nonetheless. The fact that a vampire had saved her both times was completely mind blowing. And that he may or may not be in love with her, made her heart start to melt...just a little.

"I did something else too," He said with a sheepish little look over his handsome face, "I hope you won't be angry with me."

"Oh God," she moaned, "If it's bad news, just pretend I already know about it."

"No, no," he said, holding his bag up, "It's nothing like that. I just bought you something."

"What did you buy me?" she asked with wide eyes.

*He's buying fucking presents already?* she thought, *Jesus, I should have camped out on the Watcher's couch.*

As much as her thoughts automatically turned toward the cynical road she was used to, at the same time she felt a little smile tug the corners of her mouth and all of a sudden she was thinking how sweet he was. Inner turmoil caused her to groan on the inside. This was going to be *very* hard.

"What the hell?" she asked as she looked into the bag.

"Damn," he muttered, "I knew you'd be mad at me."

"How the hell did you know what kind of shampoo I use and perfume?" she said, her eyes showing blatant distrust. Maybe he had stalked her before she came here. How else would he know?

"I'm a vampire," he said, as if it explained everything.


"I have an enhanced sense of smell," he said, "I bought the things that smell like you."

"Oh," she said, digging through the bag again. A few items of clothing - all the right size. Everything was perfect...and unnerving.

He was sure she was angry with him and then he looked closer. Tears were forming in her little eyes and he was sure his heart died - well, it would have if he were alive anyway. He had no idea that a few items would cause so much sadness and so he started to babble, "I'm sorry. I just thought you didn't have any money right now and maybe you'd want to take a shower and change. God, please don't cry. I'll take them back. We can pretend this never happened."

"No," she said, shaking her head and wiping an escaped tear away, "It's just that no one's ever done something like this for me before. It's so...sweet."


//i bet you think that's pretty clever, don't you boy?//

"It's so sweet," Spike mocked from the bushes as he followed them, he continued to mutter to himself, "Give me a fucking break. That bitch needs to die just on principle. Getting all weepy over the Pansy is bloody ridiculous."

He kept back in the shadows as he followed, leaving a big enough distance from them that he was sure the neither of them would notice him. Finally, tired of stalking - that was always Angelus' game - he hurried up to them and made himself known.

"Hey Angelus!" he said, causing them to turn around and face him, "Long time no see, mate. And that must be the hottie Slayer I've heard so much about."

"Spike," Angel sighed. If this night included any more of his old acquaintances, he was going to be very irritated.

"Glad you remember my name," Spike said sarcastically, "You don't call, you don't write. Like having a soul is an excuse to ignore your friends."

"I wouldn't call you a ‘friend,' Spike," Angel growled, "Why don't you go back to whatever place you came from?"

"Aw, that's not nice, Sire," Spike said and then turned to Buffy, "How are you doing, love? Ready for a little cat and mouse?"

"I don't like games," she said, "I'd prefer just to stake you now and get it over with."

"Feisty girl you got there, Angel," he said backing into the shadows, "This is going to be just...neat."

Buffy ran after him but he was already out of sight and she turned back on Angel, "Should I mark any of your other friends on my hit list?"

"Unfortunately," Angel said, "I had a lot of unsavory friends before I got my soul back. A lot of vampires have been drawn here because of the Master's death."

"Yeah, I've picked up on that," she muttered as they headed home.


Chatper FOUR

//you float like a feather in a beautiful world and i wish i was special you're so fucking special//

Angel was not thinking about her being in the shower, naked, covered in water. Uh-huh, no way. He took several consecutive unneeded breaths and began changing the sheets on the bed for her. And he wasn't thinking about her sleeping in his bed for the second night in a row. He wasn't thinking about being in the same house as this delectable, gorgeous woman. He breathed again. At this rate, he would be the first hyperventilating vampire.

In the shower, Buffy was thinking along the same lines. He could walk in any minute and join her and she wasn't sure that she would be able to make a syllable that resembled a protest. She hadn't been attracted to anyone like this...well, ever, actually. None of the boys in High School ever made her feel this way and she certainly never felt this way about a vampire!

In fact, she never seriously thought about losing her virginity before. Okay, she thought about it, but never actually saw it looming, real and vividly in the near distant future. But Angel, she thought as she pressed her face into the flowing water, was someone she could give herself to. She stood up straight with the thought and blushed, even though she was by herself.

*Vampire,* she reminded herself, *Vampire, dammit!*

But it didn't matter.

At all.


//but i'm a creep, i'm a weirdo. what the hell am i doing here? i don't belong here.//

Angel decided to patrol one more time before going to bed. He was exhausted, in pain from his old wounds and the new ones, but he could *not* stay in the mansion while Buffy was in the shower. She would be stepping out any minute, drying the droplets of water from her toned body....

He shook the thoughts away, walked slowly and willed his arousal to go away. He wasn't sure what he was thinking when he asked her to move in. Okay, he *knew* but reality is so much harsher than the vision. Every day, being so close to her, was going to be worse than any torture that Willow, Dru and Darla put together could unleash on him. She might be beginning to trust him, but that was far from where he ached to be. He wanted to hold her at night and sleep breathing in her scent - instead of from rooms away.

"Daddy," Drusilla said, stepping into his path.

"Dru," he choked. He knew she was here. Dru was always where Spike was. But he didn't want to see her. Whenever he did, the demon reared inside him, bucking away his calm thoughts. She had been so much of an obsession when he was Angelus, that he felt overwhelming guilt whenever he saw her.

"I've missed you," she said, approaching him, "You've been away too long."

Angel stood still as she approached. The innocence that almost always stayed in her dark eyes was like a broadcast of his horrible past. So beautiful and sweet...and a demon. She was a walking cringe. She rubbed his shoulders and laid her head on his chest for just a second before she tilted her head to look at him.

"You've missed me to?" she asked, rubbing his arousal. He kept silent, looking down at her, feeling his past beat at him.

"My Angel," she whispered, tracing his throbbing cock through his black pants, "When will you come home?"

"Don't Drusilla," he managed hoarsely, as she pulled his hand to her breast.

"Remember, Angel? Those nights when you would make me scream?"

"I remember," he said, stepping back, "But things are different now."

"You love her," she said as he retreated, "You love her and they're going to kill her."

Angel growled and turned back around, laying golden eyes on his Childe, "They'll have to go through me."

"They will, my Angel, they will."


//even though i might, even though i try, i can't//

"Angel?" Buffy said as she moved almost silently through the house. She checked all of the rooms and found them empty. Finally, she moved out to the garden where the jasmine was blooming wildly and releasing a strong, sweet fragrance. Angel came down the steps, shattering the room.

"You left," she said, looking over him.

"Yeah," he said, nodding, glad he had buttoned a few buttons on his coat to hide his still throbbing arousal. Her standing there with wet hair, streaming freely down her back, over her shoulders, touching the rise of her breasts in a tank top he bought her, wasn't helping, "I went for a walk while you were showering."

"Oh," she said, turning and heading back into the Great Room. She couldn't think of anything else to say and she was sure if she continued looking at him, she would say or do something that wouldn't be advisable.

Angel continued down the stairs and followed her inside, feeling like he was trailing behind her on an imaginary leash. He looked at the destroyed couch and realized he was sleeping on the counter again. He suddenly wished he had taken advantage of it the night before. Buffy was staring at the couch too.

"You can have your bed back tonight," she said, thinking about Angel on the counter, thinking about her on top of Angel on the counter. She blushed again and was glad her back was to him. She could feel his eyes digging into her and concealed a shudder. How could he be attracted to her? It didn't make any sense. With her constant anger, distrusting attitude and not to mention the large scar across her face, there was no way he could feel the way Darla said he felt.

"No," he said, shaking his head even though he knew she couldn't see him, "You can have the bed. I changed the sheets for you."

"You're wounded," she said, turning to face him.

"Believe me, I've had worse," he said. He wasn't just looking at her, he was staring and when he realized it, he quickly looked away. Buffy looked at the floor. She was right. He wasn't attracted to her. She was glad she was looking at the floor so he couldn't see the hurt in her eyes. A sexy vampire with a soul in love with her? Yeah, right.

"I guess...um...I'll take the bed then," she said, finally meeting his eyes, "If you're sure."

She was uncomfortable and Angel picked up on it immediately. He wanted to hit something. If he could just be a normal man, then maybe he would have a fraction of a chance.

"I make you uncomfortable," he mumbled, "I'm sorry. I know it must be strange...you knowing that I'm attracted to you. I promise I'll keep my distance."

"You're attracted to me?" she asked and she felt her face flush hot along with the rest of her body.

"Uh, yeah," he said, nodding slowly, "I thought you knew...since Darla said...dammit."

"I don't understand," she said, truthfully. How could he possibly want her? If he had a reflection, he would understand that he could have any woman in Sunnydale, probably most of the women outside of Sunnydale too. He was gorgeous and if nothing else could be seen, his eyes burned with a soul that made her tingle inside.

"What don't you understand?" he said, stepping closer, "You have to know how beautiful you are."

"Beautiful?" she squeaked.

"You are breathtaking," he whispered, stepping even closer so he was less than a foot from her.

Realizing what she thought was happening, she stepped back and sneered, "Don't fuck with me, Angel."

The anger that crossed over his face barely registered in her brain before he grabbed her narrow shoulders. He looked deeply into her eyes and then gently placed his lips on hers. He kissed her long and slow, softly teasing her lips open and slipping his cool inside her warm mouth. He pulled her against him and kissed her more deeply, pouring all his love and devotion into that one kiss. When he pulled away, she panted for air.

"You are beautiful," he snapped harshly, "I'm not fucking with you. I'm attracted to you. I went for a walk while you were in the shower to keep myself from joining you."

He turned in an abrupt about face and went to the kitchen. He pulled a bag from blood from the refrigerator and bit angrily into the plastic. He couldn't believe she actually didn't believe him! What else did he have to do to prove how he felt?


//my baby's got the bends//

Willow watched Xander's naked body as he fell into a deep sleep. She kissed his cheek, knowing he wouldn't wake and walked naked from their room. One of the lesser vamps in their group, released a low whistle at the sight of her naked body gleaming in the candlelight. He realized his mistake immediately when she punched him, knocking him on his back and perched on his chest.

"I didn't get to have much fun tonight," she said, "Wanna make it better?"

"No, Mistress. I-I'm sorry," he wheezed. He had momentarily forgotten while lost in his lust for the attractive redhead, that she was one of the most vicious creatures he had ever seen. She stood and walked away, leaving him there. For several moments he laid there thankful for his life.

Willow sauntered into Darla's bedroom and found her in a cream colored silk nightgown, dismissing a lesser vamp from her chamber.

"Hi," Willow said with a low, sweet voice, "Wanna be bad?"

Darla turned smiled broadly and beckoned her in, "Always."


//i can't afford to breathe in this town//

"Where have you been?" Spike demanded as Drusilla floated in.

"I was hungry," Dru said, licking her red lips, "I saw my Angel."

"Angel?" Spike yelled, "I told you I didn't want you going out alone while Angel and The Slayer are trying to *kill* us! Are you out of your damn mind?"

Dru lowered her eyes and began to tear up as a whine fell from her lips. Spike sighed loudly and tramped across the room, "I'm sorry, pet, but it's dangerous. I was worried."

"He missed me," she said with a smile, rubbing her body against Spike's. Spike felt the anger shoot through his undead veins. He knew what that meant.

"You slept with him?" he said through gritted teeth.

"He didn't miss me that much," she whispered with sad eyes, "How much did you miss me, Spike?"

He smiled, feeling his anger float away as he led her to the bed.


Buffy sat on the floor, near the broken couch and felt her heart pounding in her chest. That kiss was unlike anything else she had ever experienced. It destroyed any peace of mind she had ever had. She felt her own arousal forming and her blood felt like it was spiked with lava inside her veins. She listened as he opened the refrigerator and slammed the door shut. She held her breath as he came back out and looked down at her sitting on the floor.

"I'm sorry," he said, moving across the room and sitting down next to her, "That was uncalled for. I don't know why got mad."

"I don't either," she admitted.

"I'm slightly frustrated right now," he said, intending more than one meaning, "Doesn't entirely have to do with you."

"Will you...will you kiss me again?" she said quietly, in a voice near a whisper. He leaned in and kissed her again, just as deeply and passionately as before. He pulled her closer to him, sliding her across the floor as he leaned into her. When he broke away, he was breathing deeply, as if he needed the oxygen.

"You really think I'm beautiful?" she asked and the first genuine smile he had ever seen on her, formed over her lips.

"You have a reflection," he said, "I know there aren't any mirrors here, but I'm guessing you've looked in one recently."

"Yeah," she said, "I don't get it."

"Well, I'll just be the judge of your beauty then," he said with a smile.


//pieces missing everywhere//

"I'd like you to enroll in High School," Giles said the next morning in the library, "How much have you missed?"

"Almost a year," she said, "You actually want me to be in school?

"Yes," he said with a curt nod, "I think a Slayer's education is very important. Not only physical education but your brain needs exercise as well."

"But my last Watcher made me drop out," she protested.

"That's very disturbing, Buffy," he said, "I'm getting the feeling that you have some complaints about your treatment with your previous Watcher. Am I correct in this assumption?"

"Yes," she said, staring at the wooden library table.

"What else differs from my treatment of you and his, if you don't mind my asking?"

"He was mean to me," she said.

"Mean?" he asked, pulling his glasses off to clean them nervously.

"Yes," she said, "He said that a Slayer had to have rigid rules and he was mean if I didn't follow them."

"Buffy," he started slowly, "I would like you to tell me of every mean thing he did. I think the Council should be aware of your mistreatment."

"Okay," she said, taking a deep breath. She knew Giles cared about her, but she was still having a hard time swallowing the idea. He hadn't been mean to her *once.* She thought it incredibly odd.


//dug me my very own garden gave me sunshine. made me happy//

"What time did you leave this morning?" Angel asked as she walked in from the afternoon sunlight.

"Just after dawn," she said, yawning loudly, "Think I need a nap."

"Why'd you leave so early?" he asked, following her as she moved toward the bedroom. He stood anxiously in the doorway as he waited for her answer.

"Giles wanted me to enroll in High School," she said, curling up on the bed, "After he gave me a lecture on the importance of education."

"Oh," he said nodding and moving away, "I'll let you sleep."

She sat up and said almost too quietly for him to hear, "Angel?"

"Yeah?" he answered, turning back around.

"Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?" she asked awkwardly, almost unable to believe she had let the words escape her mouth. He felt a smile tugging at the corners of his lips as he walked in. Once he reached the bed, he didn't know what to do. He perched on the edge of the bed and looked down at her, sweeping her hair away from her face. She took his hand and pulled him down with her. He moved in closely and spooned her curves, wrapping his arms around her lithe body. He closed his eyes and memorized the rhythm of her breathing and for the first time in a very long time for both them, they slept without even one nightmare.


Part Five By Tango E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course.

DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Tango-fied twist on "The Wish" (S3).

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the feedback. You guys are delicious and really helping me to keep this up at this rate. Please continue to let me know what you think. (Thanks for your input too! I always love to hear everyone's thoughts and ideas, so I know where to head next.) RATING: R (for now) - Note for "Little peeved," I'm working on it, I promise!! You know I love the smut, but have to work into it. It'll be worth the wait. *G* LYRICS: All lyrics are by Pink.

DEDICATION: A little violence for Sharon. Happy, happy birthday! (Better late than never, right? *G*) AUTHOR'S NOTE: The happiness clause in Angel's curse does not exist in this one. And let's just say for grins that Willow and Oz were already together before she was turned into a vampire.

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted.

WARNING 2: CHARACTER DEATH *** //i'm not every girl and i don't need that world to validate me// Buffy blinked open her eyes slowly and tensed for a moment when she felt another body against hers, large arms wrapped around her. She peeked over her shoulder and looked upon a sleeping Angelic face. She carefully turned over to face him, taking the opportunity to study him up close without him knowing. He didn't wake with her movements, but tightened his arms around her and pulled her close again. She couldn't help but smile at his protective gesture even in his sleep.

It dawned on her as she lay there that she trusted him. Buffy Summers didn't trust anyone, especially vampires, but she slept in his arms without even the slightest twinge of fear or doubt. She idly wondered how long they slept and two seconds later, she scrambled from his arms, "Oh Shit!" "What?" Angel said, lurching to a sitting position and watching her with interest as she dug through the few outfits he had bought her, "What's wrong?" "What time is it?" she shouted, her voice echoing off the bathroom wall.

"Dunno," he said, laying back down, "After dawn."

"How do you know that?" she yelled over the sound of the shower.

"I can feel it," he mumbled, falling back asleep now that the danger had passed and she, in her frenzy, hadn't even heard his explanation. Ten minutes later he re-awoke as she ran back into the bedroom and sat on the bed to put on her boots.

"What's the rush?" he asked with a sleepy smile, inhaling that heavenly vanilla smell from her clean skin. God, he was glad he bought that too.

"It's my first day of school," she said, "What if everyone hates me?" He reached out and pulled her into his arms, kissing her panic away and held her still for a second, calming her.

"If you're late, then you're late," he whispered, taking another sip of her full lips, "You don't want to go running in there in a frantic...And they'll love you."

"You think so?" she asked, as her fingers flew up to trace the scar on her lips, "I think I'll just stay here with you instead."

"As much as I don't want to argue with that idea," he said with a twinkle in his eyes, "I think you want to do this. I think you *need* to do this."

"Why do I *need* to do this?" she asked, finding that old anger flaring up in her.

"Because, love," he said, "You want to have friends again. You want to have a life outside being The Slayer. I know you do. And I think hanging out with a dead man is not quite the same thing."

"You're not dead," she said, pecking his lips.

"Close enough," he said.

"Do I look okay?" she asked, standing up and turning around for him.

You look fantasic," he said, looking over the jeans that hugged her slim hips and the soft lavender shirt that left a tiny slice of stomach visible. He felt his arousal growing as he looked her over and gave himself an imaginary pat on the back for his good taste.

Buffy crawled back over the covers to place a final kiss on his tempting lips and whispered, "Angel, I..."

"You what?" he said, feeling his words coat his throat with the anticipation of her words.

"Have a good day."

"You too."

*** //you know that i'm pissed// "She's not your property and I have custody of her by leave of the Council!" Giles shouted into the phone as Buffy strolled into the library, aglow from having just left Angel. She actually giggled when she realized that she was the first person on campus - other than her stuffy Watcher, that is. She hadn't been running late at all. She made a mental note to acquire an alarm clock for the mansion. It was startling how quickly she was beginning to settle in.

"I don't care what you think you are entitled to!" Giles shouted as Buffy pretended to be interested in the books in the room, "You have abused your sacred duty as Watcher. She is now my charge! You are instructed to report directly to the council. Do not try to contact The Slayer. She is no longer your concern."

Buffy watched the irritation grow on Giles' features as he listened intently to the loud voice on the other end of the connection, "And you aren't fit to tend a garden! Pillock!" Giles said as he slammed down the receiver. He took a deep breath and turned around, "Buffy. Hello. I apologize for that...display. It seems your previous Watcher is a bit of a..."

"Asshole?" Buffy finished.

"Well, actually, yes," he said, nodding, "He's a very bracing man."

"Shoulda killed him," Buffy huffed, as a cold feeling broke into her current warmth.

"The council might frown on that," Giles muttered under his breath as he went about the library, gathering the books Buffy would need for her first day.

"What will they do to him?" Buffy asked, flipping through a Chemistry text with more than a slight urge to flee.

"I believe he will be relieved of his duties," Giles said, pausing to look at her, "His direction of you was not in line with the accepted disciplinary guidelines. I believe he stepped too far out of boundary."

"That's an understatement," Buffy said as Giles handed her schedule and began explaining what texts went with what class.

*** //call it jealousy, but its killin' me// "I hate the day," Willow said, snuggling in bed with Xander.

"You slept with *her,*" Xander said, barely betraying his irritation, but making it clear to his mate that he didn't approve.

"Jealous?" Willow asked, kissing his bare chest.

"Well, gee, let's think," Xander answered sarcastically.

"She's weak," Willow whispered against his lips, "You knew it was necessary."

"When do ya wanna take her out, baby?" He said, sliding his hands over her body and pulling her roughly on top of him.

"When I'm bored," she answered, biting his neck hard enough to draw blood with her bare teeth.

"Better make it soon," he growled, "I'm losing patience."

"Ooh," Willow crooned, "Gonna act like the big man now?" He gripped her hips and pushed her against his arousal, "I hate that bitch."

"You weren't this jealous when I played with puppy," she said, not even trying to hide her smile as she ground her core against him, "She's not the Master. She's just his mate."

"Kill her before I do," Xander growled again.

"I like it when you take charge," she said, "You try to be so good at it."

*** //we look pretty happy let's play pretend, let's act like it comes naturally// Spike watched from across the room as Drusilla cavorted around, bathing in the glow of her Grandmum. He was trying to be patient but he never was very good at it. His ability to handle Darla's presence was growing thin. He was supposed to be the big bad around here and she just floated in and took over, like she always did.

He had two things on his agenda: Kill The Slayer and dust Darla. Not necessarily in that order.

He let his thoughts wander back to Buffy Summers. She was an impressive little chit. More beautiful and more skilled that her predecessors. If Angelus hadn't let her move in with him, she would already be dead. He nearly lost it when he smacked into the invisible boundary outside the mansion last night.

"We should have a party, Spike," Dru sang, breaking into his thoughts.

"What for, love?" he asked as she shimmied across the room to him.

"Cause we're a family again," she sang and he could smell the need for death on her mind. She leaned in and whispered confidentially, "Grandmum wants Daddy back. We're going to kill The Slayer and bring him home."

"I hardly call this a family," Spike snorted, pulling her into his lap, "But we can have a party if you want, baby."

Spike narrowed his eyes and returned to his thoughts as she kissed him excitedly, clapped her hands like a child and rose to return to dancing around the room. He could barely hear her over his own racing mind as she went on about music and flowers. He had other plans. He wanted to kill The Slayer, but he didn't want his Sire back. If he had anything to say about it, Darla would never get her mate again. And she wouldn't live long enough to be angry about it.

*** //don't let me get me i'm my own worst enemy// Buffy walked into her first class, which was sadly half filled with students - all of which, were staring directly at her. She handed her enrollment slip to the teacher and he announced her to the class as the new student. As he invited her to take a seat, she was already mentally edging toward the door. This was a huge mistake. She should have stayed in bed with her vampire. At least he didn't stare at her like she was a bug. Well, he did stare, but...

"Buffy," Oz said from the back of the room, "Wanna sit here by me?" She nearly fainted with relief as she headed toward the back of the room to sit in the seat directly in front of Oz. Being the new girl in school was worse that slaying. At least when she was fighting the forces of darkness, she knew what to expect.

"Thanks," she whispered as interested ripples of conversation flowed over the students. Buffy didn't realize immediately, but Oz did, that since he was so popular among the students, his acceptance of her would make a big difference.

"No problem," he answered.

"Hey," she said, leaning in, "No offense, but I thought you'd be ahead of me."

"Yeah," Oz said nodding, "If I went to classes, I might be."

"Oh," she said, smiling as she turned around to face the teacher who was preparing to start the class. She, for one, was thrilled that he had missed classes.

*** //been watching over me// "What's...the...big...deal...about...wearing...purple?" Buffy asked, puffing her words out as she trained with Giles. Her roundhouse kicks were meeting perfect aim with the guard pads he had strapped to his arms and he kept staggering back with each powerful kick. It was amazing to him that he knew she was not kicking with even a tenth of her full power.

"The students believe that bright colors attract vampires," Giles said, waving off her next round of kicks so he could collapse in a chair.

"That's not true, is it?" "I don't know," he said honestly, "But if it helps them to feel safe, then I think it's a worthy choice in wardrobe."

"I like this shirt," she said, smoothing out an invisible wrinkle, "What's wrong with it?" "Nothing," Giles said, pulling himself back to his feet, "It's perfectly acceptable."

"Ready for another round?" Buffy asked, moving into defensive stance.

"No, no," Giles said, looking out the window at the darkness, "You should probably patrol now that it's dark."

"‘Kay," she said, moving toward the door.

"And I'll wait for the feeling to return to my arms," he mumbled as he shed the pads.

"You gonna be okay?" she said, stopping at the door and turning back around, "Want me to make sure you get home first?" "No," he answered, "I'll be quite alright. Thank you."

He stood motionless and watched the girl walk from the library with almost a skip to her step, if he wasn't imagining it. And she offered to take him home? He was astonished by her change in attitude after such a short time in Sunnydale. Perhaps all she needed was a little emotional nourishment.

*** //i wiped my eyes and buried the pain inside all of my memories - good and bad - that's past// The quickest way to make Oz show emotion these days was for him to inadvertently run into a certain female vampire and her undead mate. Oz and Larry had decided after school, to run by The Bronze and see if it was being used by any vamps at all anymore. They might be able to take out a couple of leftovers.

The leftovers he expected to find were not his ex-girlfriend and her lover. Oz laid a warning hand on Larry's arm and they crouched together, watching as Willow strolled around the empty room.

"We could move back in," Willow said, "Make it like it was."

"Yeah," Xander said, nodding, remembering the past, "It was definitely more fun before. I can't wait."

"People in cages, hanging like snacks," Willow mused licking her lips, "Music, fun, a little Puppy on the side."

"Speaking of Puppy," Xander said, wrapping his arms around her waist, "I think I made a promise to you."

"Wanna go look for him?" Willow asked excitedly, "Maybe we can get some Slayer too."

"Sounds good," he answered but suddenly found her stiffening in arms. Her silky red hair struck his face, as she spun around.

"I knew you missed me, Oz," she growled. The two boys stood cautiously and began creeping toward the door.

"I miss *my* Willow," he answered before turning with Larry and rushing toward the exit. They didn't make it close to the exit before Oz was trapped in Willow's strong grip and Larry was in Xander's.

"Maybe I can make you like me," she said, nibbling on his ear lobe, "We could have fun."

"I'd rather die than be like you, Will," he threatened and heard Larry's gurgling scream as Xander crunched into his throat.

"That can be arranged," she said before biting into his neck. Seconds later she was torn from her kill and on her back on the floor. Angel straddled her, pinning her arms to the floor. Oz staggered back, holding his bloody neck.

"Puppy," Willow moaned, pressing up against him, "I missed you. Is it your turn to ride?" "It's my turn for everything," he growled, "Except to die. That one's yours, baby."

Xander, who had stopped feeding, was holding his victim as bait and crunched his fingers into the boy's arm, smiling as Larry screamed from the pain of his bones cracking.

"Let her go," Xander growled, "Or the boy dies."

Angel looked from Willow to Larry and back again, taking long moments to decide if the boy's life was worth releasing the bitch who had tortured him and tried to break him. Finally he stood up, and stepped back, blocking their path to Oz.

"Okay," Angel said, reaching out a hand, "Now give me the boy."

"Give me a break," Xander said, delighted in his own pun as he snapped Larry's neck and watched him fall heavily to the floor, "Oops. My bad."

"Mmmm," Willow added as Xander pulled her toward the door, "This was fun, Puppy. Can't wait to see you again."

*** //she's being a little bitch// "Hey mate," Spike said, dropping his cigarette to the ground and standing up from his lean against the brick wall to crush it out with the toe of his boot, "I was waitin' for ya."

"Yeah?" Angel said, looking over his shoulder at Oz, who was pale and beginning to sway, "I'm so glad. I've missed you."

"Yeah, I knew you had," Spike said, approaching him, "Look, I need to talk to you about your mate."

"She's not my mate," Angel answered.

"Whatever," Spike answered, "She's fucking up all the plans here, mate. I wanna make a deal with you that I think we both might be able to live with."

Angel nodded at the corpse laying a few feet from Spike, "You think that's what I can live with?" "Harmony," Oz wheezed.

"I got peckish, Peaches," Spike said, grinning at the young blonde girl laying there, "Harmony was her name? She was tasty, but not the point. We both have a problem. I think you know that Darla is ruining all the fun for all of us."

"I'm sorry, Spike," Angel said with mock sympathy, "Did she take all your power away? Is that it? Or you just upset because Drusilla adores her?" "Listen," Spike shouted, "I can arrange for you and your Slayer to dust the bitch, but you have to work with me."

"I'm not working with you," Angel growled, as he turned away, "I don't trust you, *mate.* I'm not about to walk into a trap and bring The Slayer along with me, so you can kill her. Forget it."

"You're missing out on a great opportunity!" Spike yelled behind them as they retreated. Angel made sure Oz kept up with his long strides as he moved away. He slammed to the ground, nearly shattering his shoulder as he landed. Oz ran full speed away as Drusilla stood over her Sire.

"My Angel," Dru growled, meeting his golden eyes with hers, "You've been very naughty."

As he lost consciousness, Angel heard Spike's laughter littering the alley, "That's it, ducks!" *** Part Six By Tango E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course.

DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Tango-fied twist on "The Wish" (S3).

FEEDBACK: THANK YOU for all the feedback. You all are yummy! LYRICS: All lyrics are by Pink.

DEDICATION: For everyone who continually requested the smutty goodness. Here is the long promised naughtiness. Thank you for your urging! *G* AUTHOR'S NOTE: The happiness clause in Angel's curse does not exist in this one. And let's just say for grins that Willow and Oz were already together before she was turned into a vampire.

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted.

AUTHOR'S RANT: Okay, I was thinking about money. Funny, how RL does that to you, huh? Anyway, I hate that Buffy is working at a burger joint in BtVS and I was thinking about how to get around the fact that she is essentially a pauper in his fic.

Here's what I came up with: The Watcher's Council pays Watchers, right? Well, how come Slayers aren't compensated accordingly? The answer in IMO: I think they are. See, Kendra was taken from her parents and raised by a Watcher, so therefore it begs to reason that the Watcher's Council supported her. Faith never had to get a job but she had money to live in a motel. And she never seemed to run out of leather, even before the Mayor became her generous benefactor. So...where'd she get her money? Besides the evil thought of being a prostitute, I'm thinkin' she got her money from the Council. By this reasoning, I'm going to assume and I hope you will join me in this assumption, that Buffy is receiving a stipend or allowance of some sort from the Council. So, from here on out, she will no longer be broke and I don't plan to describe in detail her conversation with Giles over money. So, let's all just go with the idea that the Council is supporting her - as they should! Kay? And on with the story already...

*** //i protect you from the world, i basically protect you from myself// The look of pain in his eyes was a blow to her already diseased mind. Blending into the shadows in a remote corner of The Bronze, Buffy watched as the beautiful, dark haired vampiress stripped Angel's shirt off, revealing a nearly healed chest. Faded red marks remained from his gunshot wounds and she knew that at his current healing rate, they would be gone tomorrow. If he lived until tomorrow.

Razor edged conflict raged in her mind and it was much louder than his roar of pain as the demon disguised as a woman made swirls of pretty colors on his chest. Buffy knew she loved him. Without a doubt in her mind, she knew that she could grow old in his still young arms, would give him her blood, her virginity if he wanted it. She also knew she was The Slayer. To storm in the room with two master vampires to save another vampire was suicide and against everything she stood for. She hung in the balance of his screams, grappling for a decision.

His biceps flexed as he pulled at the ropes that bound him to the stage. The vampiress seemed to treat this torture as if she were performing and Buffy was sure that the performance was both for Spike and for Angel himself. Without being told, The Slayer inherently knew that the delicate strokes of anguish were learned from the victim himself.

When she turned and walked away, every step was a maiming. It took every ounce of her will to keep on walking and every ounce of the same will kept her from going back. Leaving Angel there with his children's torment was worse than impalement, especially when she saw the haunted look in his eyes. The memory of his body, twitching and sweating would scar her memory for the rest of her short life.

Betrayal was becoming a finely crafted art as she forced herself to take another step away from true love. She shook her head as the tears fell down her cheeks. This action was proof that she hadn't learned a damn thing.

*** //some deep shit// Giles was buried in a book when an urgent knock erupted on his door. Well, his face was buried in a book. He sat up and rubbed his eyes sleepily, donned his glasses and saw with much irritation that he had drooled on page 364 of a priceless text. His irritation quickly dissipated when he answered the door and saw a very pale and bleeding Oz standing there. The stoic boy definitely had an expression on his face - of terror.

"Larry's dead," Oz blurted as Giles hurried to the kitchen for the first aid kit.

"Dear Lord," Giles whispered as he pried the guitarist's fingers away from his wound, "How did you get away?" "Buffy wasn't kidding about Angel being a white hat," Oz answered, "He saved me and I ran...A vampire saved me from vampires. Weird."

"I should say so," Giles said, opening a bandage, "Where's Angel now?" "They got him."

"Did you happen to see Buffy?" "No," Oz said, "You think they'll kill one of their own kind?" "He kills them, doesn't he?" *** //tell me why does my heart make a fool of me seems its my destiny for love to cause me misery// Angel realized for the first time, as Drusilla visited her attention on him, that he could sense Buffy. He could sense her in the room, could feel her eyes on him. She felt distant, cold. And she was moving away. He knew the second she stepped from the room and the layer of ice she had melted reformed itself on his soul. He was an idiot to think that she could love him. She was too blindingly bright, her soul too colorful to stand beside the grayness inside him.

He stopped pulling at his restraints when she left. How could he be so thick to even dream that he would find redemption in her arms? He came here to help her and tried to hold on to that fleeting thought. But she left him to his children and he knew he deserved every second of pain he received. The Angel who was trying so hard to earn his paradise, had tragically forgotten just how frail it really was.

"You reek of The Slayer," Drusilla said, kneeling between Angel's legs. She gripped his upper thighs and leaned in inhaling deeply, "But you haven't had her."

"Dru," Angel growled.

"Hush," she ordered, tracing the marks she had made on his chest and then whispered, "Beautiful. You always were...so beautiful. I think I'll keep you this time."

"First Willow, now you," Angel said, disobeying her order, "This is getting old. Just get it over with."

"Don't think your girl will come save you? I don't think we should waste time on the torture, love, just stake him now," Spike taunted from his front row seat several feet away. He leaned back in his chair and propped his feet on another. He lit a cigarette and blew smoke rings lazily at the ceiling.

"Always in a hurry, aren't you?" Angel said as icy resolution formed more solidly over his emotions, "You should learn to slow down. She'll kill you, buddy, don't worry."

Angel looked at Dru who was still moving her hands over his chest. Angel smiled at her, "Dru knows how to take her time. Don't you, baby?" "Yeah," she said, leaning in to scrape her fangs down his chest, leaving a bloody trail behind her.

"Remember what it's like to be pleased?" Angel whispered down to her.

"Shut up," Spike demanded, rising to his feet.

"What's the matter, Spike?" Angel said, hoping with all his heart that his Childe would put him out of his misery, "Have you been blocking the memory of your mate coming around my cock?" Angel laughed out loud as Spike pulled Dru away from him and kicked him hard in the face.

"See, Dru?" Angel said huskily, "No patience. I could give you some pointers, Spike. She likes to be teased."

Angel laughed again as Spike's fist made contact with his face. He tasted his own blood on his lips licked them slowly.

"You're fucking dust, mate," Spike said, lifting the chair he had recently vacated and breaking it on the floor. He picked up a loose chair leg and approached his Sire, but was stopped by the hand of his mate.

"No," she said, shaking her head slowly, "I'm not finished, Spike."

"Damn it, Dru," Spike shouted, "You're going to let him live?" "No," she said, moving back to her Sire, "He wants you to kill him. He wants to be free of the torment. We need him to get to Darla."

"We don't bloody need him," Spike growled, "I can kill the bitch without him!" Angel growled, showing his irritation. Drusilla was always smarter than anyone gave her credit for. His growl won him a sparkling smile and she knelt before him again and licked his lips, tasting his blood.

"Back off, bitch."

The voice cause all three vampires to turn their heads toward the door, where Buffy stood with her hands on her narrow hips.

"Mmmm," Dru said, standing, "The Slayer."

"And you are?" Buffy asked, strolling in the room.

"Get out of here, Buffy," Angel growled.

"Hiya cutie," Spike said smiling. Now they were getting to the fun.

"Spike," Buffy said, "This your ho?" "Drusilla," Spike corrected.

"Yeah, that's what I said," she said with a grin, "Are ya done with Angel, cause we really have to get going? It's late you know. Need my beauty sleep."

"We'll tuck you in," Spike said as he moved toward her.

*** //though i can't go on, i'm not satisfied with this being the end.

it's just the beginning// Buffy looked over Angel's two offspring, noting their movements. She had made it about a block before she realized that she needed Angel to live. She needed him in her life, needed the love he gave. She had spent so much time fighting for her life and not knowing what a life was, that she forgot what it was like to *want* to be *alive.* Not just of the living. She had forgotten what it meant to want love, want companionship. She had forgotten that it's the wanting that keeps us alive.

She realized when Angel did that they were connected in a way that couldn't be explained. The thought of his death began to kill her inside as if it had already happened. She knew that she couldn't walk away. She knew as she turned around that she would never be able to. The most sobering realization was the depth of her love for him in such a short time. She went from having nothing to everything. Once she glimpsed everything, she couldn't be content with anything else.

She struck out at the bleach blonde vampire that approached her and noticed that Drusilla hung back and smiled, letting her lover work. Drusilla always enjoyed watching him. His violence was lickable, his movements fluid and fierce. She felt the arousal that Angel began being completed by her mate. He was delicious.

Spike couldn't wait to sink his teeth into her frail throat. He wasn't like Angel. He didn't like to toy with his victims, make them tearfully beg for their lives, he liked the speed, loved the rush. He had no patience with making his kill a carefully planned slip into insanity, he wanted it now.

Unfortunately, The Slayer wasn't cooperating. She blocked his every blow, parried his movements, forced him from offense to defense in a single play. He was riveted by her determination and anger. This bint was a worthy adversary.

But he might have gotten to taste her blood, might have seized the opportunity to break at least one of her bones, if an arrow hadn't penetrated his breast plate, missing his heart by two inches. He looked up in surprise, finding the Watcher and the boy standing there with identical crossbows. He turned back when he heard Dru's wail of pain as an arrow struck her. He ran to her side, thankful that between the two helpers of The Slayer, neither one of them could aim worth a piss.

"Might wanna use the crosshairs," Spike said, yanking the bolt from his chest and tossing it to the floor. He grabbed Dru's hand as arrows began flying at them and ran from the room, leaving the sound of echoing footsteps and an enraged, "Bloody Hell" echoing off the walls. Buffy ran to Angel's side, rather than following the two and was already sobbing when she reached him.

Her hands shook as she untied him and once her task was completed, she laid her head on his chest and heaved years of pent up emotion on him. She unleashed everything for him, bared her soul and laid it at his feet. Once the floodgates opened, they could not be stopped and so he wrapped his arms around her and gathered her close, meeting the eyes of Giles and Oz as they backed from the room.

*** //i felt my knees get weak his body was callin' me just couldn't take the heat// "I almost let you die," Buffy said, in an almost hiccup. They were the first words she had spoken on the way from The Bronze to the mansion.

"I would have deserved it," he answered. Angel was trapped in the memory of every coup de grace, every shrewd massacre and every twinkle of delight his soulless half felt during his years as "The Scourge of Europe." He knew that the black and white words she had read about him didn't describe a tenth of what he had done.

"No," she said, looking up at him with tearful eyes.

"You've read about who I used to be, Buffy," he said, "I have no right to even dream about you loving me. I'll never be worthy of it."

"You are worthy," she said, moving into his arms, "And you have it."

"I have it?" he gasped, pulling her back from his chest to look into her eyes, "You...love *me*?" She nodded, meeting his eyes, "That's why I came back for you. I couldn't lose you. I love you."

"I love you," he said, feeling emotions he had never felt before swelling inside himself, "I think I've always loved you."

Angel found his way to her lips and couldn't stop himself from pulling her back into his arms, delving into her mouth. The kiss deepened and with it grew eternal want. Angel felt his demon slamming at the cage he kept it in as the smell of her arousal attacked his senses. He broke the kiss and stumbled away, heaving deep breaths to calm himself. When he was in her arms, it was difficult for him to remember that she was just a young, naive girl.

"W-what's wrong?" she asked with pink swollen lips that made his body hurdle full force into dizzying lust. Her chest heaved in time with his as she took in oxygen that she, unlike him, actually needed.

"This is moving too fast," he said hoarsely, trying not to allow his eyes to travel over her nubile body.

"I thought you wanted me," Buffy said, biting her lower lip to keep new tears from squeezing from her eyes. It was almost as if once she had allowed him to see her cry, once she had allowed herself to show that emotion, it could be inflicted freely at any moment.

"I do," Angel answered huskily, "God Buffy, I want more than anything else to make love to you. I just think we should, you know, wait."

"For what?" she asked quietly. Her innocence was a weapon and it left scars as it moved over him. He stared at her, unspeaking, trying to make his brain work, desperately searching for a reason why he couldn't make love to her. Buffy took his silence as an invitation and moved across the room in slow motion, each step causing his blood to boil. The light touch of her fingertips on his cold flesh made him shiver with delight. Against his will, he moved away again, finding himself in the atrium, staring at the barren fountain. The hard concrete in front of him was nothing but a reflection of the beauty approaching him from behind.

"For what?" she whispered again, standing less than a foot from him, staring at his tattoo. He could feel her breath caressing his skin and it was far worse than the torture he went through tonight.

"I don't deserve you," Angel said, turning to face her, "I can't..."

"Love isn't about deserving, Angel," Buffy said, finding more wisdom in her short years than he had in his extensive ones, "If it were then no one would ever be worthy of it, no one would deserve it. If you don't love me, then...who are you punishing? You or me?" Angel's barriers crumbled at The Slayer's feet and his soul laid itself open for her to claim. He wound himself back into her arms and swept her into his arms, carrying her to the bedroom while he sucked her tongue into his cool mouth. He set her back on her feet once inside the room and slowly removed her clothes, giving her plenty of opportunity to stop him, to run away. As inch after inch of exquisite skin was revealed, he half waited for her retreat.

Tiny trembling fingertips unbuttoned his pants and unzipped them. Every muscle in his body tensed as she undressed him in slow, dreamy movements. Her young, curious eyes feasted his flesh and he waited as her increasingly wet heat beckoned him. He took a step toward her, almost as a test and she stood her ground, waiting for him.

He moved from her lips to her neck, over her delicate collarbone and finally to her sharply erect nipples as he lowered her to the bed. She sucked in a deep breath and released it as a ragged moan as he laved her breasts, giving them equally unbearable pleasure.

Each tiny movement became a step to her alter, as he abandoned her breasts for her stomach. He made his way down to her moist core and hesitated, looking up at her fogged green eyes for doubt before opening her legs. When she showed no reluctance, he leaned in, inhaling her heavenly scent. He smoothed his large hands over her inner thighs as he teased her folds open with his tongue, delighting in her moans and in the perfect taste of her.

He circled her clit with the tip of his tongue and concentrated on her desperate whimpers before sucking it between his lips. He visited absolute worship on her, gliding his tongue inside her and alternating his attention between her untouched depths and her inflamed clit. She came quickly, bucking beneath him, gripping his shoulders with Slayer strength as she came.

The sound of his own name released in a scream from her lips was the most erotic thing he had ever heard in his two hundred forty plus years. He kissed his way back up her body, finally inhaling her ragged breaths into himself when he reached her lips. He was throbbing for her as they kissed once more, knowing that she could taste herself in his mouth.

He hovered at her entrance, feeling guilt rise up in him for what he was about to do. To take her virginity seemed like the ultimate trespass on the forces of light and so he whispered, "Are you sure, Buffy?" "Yes," she answered breathlessly, while clutching his shoulders so hard that he was sure his muscles were atrophying beneath her fingers. He looked down at her with doubt and she finally gasped, "Make love to me, Angel."

He took a long pull on her full lips as he inched his way inside her, slipping a hand between them to manipulate her clit as he went, bracing himself for the pain he was about to cause her. As he entered her fully, he sucked her moan of pain into his mouth. He stayed unmoving inside her as he continued to rub her clit in slow circles, allowing her grow accustomed to him.

When she finally climaxed, he began moving inside her, slowly pulling out almost fully and returning to her. He almost lost control as she began moving with him - reluctantly at first and then more aggressively. She opened wider for him as he increased the speed of his thrusts. She came a third time and Angel thought he might have temporarily lost his sight as the room spun around him.

He threaded his fingers through her golden tangles and kissed her deeply as he felt his own climax nearing. He felt her rising off the bed beneath him, meeting his every stride, arching against him as they moved together. He steeled his control as he reached between them, needing to feel the euphoria of her orgasm one more time before he released his own. Finding her hypersensitive clit once more, he pinched it between his fingertips, causing an instantaneous shattering release. Losing all constraint, he cried out her name as he came.

*** Part Seven By Tango E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course.

DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Tango-fied twist on "The Wish" (S3).

FEEDBACK: Please & thank you!! LYRICS: All lyrics are by Pink.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The happiness clause in Angel's curse does not exist in this one. And let's just say for grins that Willow and Oz were already together before she was turned into a vampire.

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted.

*** //i don't want love to destroy me// Buffy was extremely nervous about Angel meeting Giles for the first time. On the walk over, she went from holding his hand, to standing a respectable distance from him, to clinging to him like she thought he would explode into dust at any given moment. By the time they reached the door, she was back to standing apart from him and as she knocked, she itched to reach out and touch him one more time. But she didn't.

Giles analyzed the vampire as if he were an ancient artifact that had just become animate and much to Buffy's surprise, Angel acted like he didn't notice. He graciously accepted the offered seat and she watched as he lowered his large frame to the chair. The man made sitting look like an art form and she found that she had to force her eyes away from him, trying to forget what he looked like underneath his black clothes. She blushed as she sat across the room from him and became slightly paranoid, as if Giles and Oz already knew she was mentally in his lap.

"Angel," Giles said, taking a seat next to Oz and pretending not to be nervous that he just invited a blood sucking fiend into his house, "I've read up on your past and I believe I understand the Romany curse. However, I hope you won't find offense if I ask you if your soul is permanent. Is it possible to revert to, um, your previous self?" "I hope not," Angel answered honestly, "I don't know how the curse could be broken."

"I see," Giles said, reflectively leaning back against the couch, pretending relaxation, "Perhaps the issue warrants some research."

Buffy stifled a laugh at Giles' overactive nerdiness. The man simply couldn't go without having the answer to everything all the time. Despite herself, she found it almost endearing.

"You can try," Angel answered, "But I wouldn't know the first place to look. Those magicks were long lost, even to the Romany themselves."

"So you don't know the curse?" Oz asked, speaking for the first time.

"No," Angel said, shaking his head, "Why would you want it anyway?" "Willow," Oz mumbled. Angel stifled a growl at the mention of the redhead. He held his tongue and the rumbling in his chest. He knew now how Oz felt about her and didn't regret one bit that he didn't plan to let the bitch live. He didn't want to restore her soul, he wanted to turn her into fertilizer.

"Okay, moving right along," Buffy said, interrupting the awkward silence, "What about the rest of our undead pests?" "They're too strong," Angel said, bursting all the bubbles in the room, "They need to be taken out one at a time and they like to travel in packs."

"Geez, Mr. Sunshine," Buffy snapped, "Can't we have an idea here?" "Idea over here," Oz offered. All eyes turned on him and he let the pause last longer than Buffy liked before he started talking again, "Angel can infiltrate and pretend he's one of them again."

"That has some merit," Giles said, cleaning his glasses furiously with excitement. The glimpse of having a decent town again was an utopian ideal that he just couldn't let go of, "Angel, do you think you could fool them long enough to reduce their numbers?" "Yeah," Angel said, grim faced. He had expected this. He could take them all out, most likely. The thought of staking his entire bloodline would be a welcome release of a certain amount of his brooding, but the things he would have to do to accomplish it. He would lose Buffy over those certain unseemly things. He was certain of it. "I could..."

"But?" Buffy asked, scooting to the edge of her seat and leaning in to listen.

"You don't want that, Buffy," Angel said, struggling for the words to explain, "Becoming who I was...even pretending. You don't want me to do this. Trust me."

"I'm not stupid, Angel. I know what you were. Just try not to kill people while you're pretending. Take out some of them nice and quick, then come back before you get staked. I understand the badness, but I don't get why you're all twitchy about it."

"Maybe we should talk about this in private before we make a decision," Angel urged.

"Why?" Buffy asked, trapped in the world of not getting it and beginning to feel her anger return. Angel was all about helping and then he switched gears suddenly. She should've known she was going to be alone in this fight. Again. Still. Dammit. "If you don't want to do this, just tell me."

"It's not that," Angel pleaded, "I just..."

"What?" Buffy said, feeling the eyes of Giles and Oz on her.

"This isn't a one day thing, Buffy," Angel said, "I was Darla's mate for 150 years. She knows I've changed. I'd have to prove to her that I was back...in ways you wouldn't..."

Angel paused, gathering his argument, "Spike and Drusilla are my brethren..."

"Spit it out!" Buffy said, rising to her feet, "God! What's the point? You're going to have to kill people? Is that what you're saying?" "No," Angel said, standing to his feet and meeting her angry glare, "I'm saying I was Darla's *mate,* Buffy! I'm saying that returning to the fold is returning to her bed! It's the only way she would believe it. Vampires are not only about blood, okay? When I was Angelus I fucked anything that moved, which included Darla and Drusilla. I was a master of torture and made killing into an art! I can't walk in and say, ‘Hi guys, I'm back. No, I'm not hungry right now and please don't expect me to sleep with you or do anything I'd would normally do.' Think that's gonna work, baby?" "I'm sorry," Angel said as Buffy's widen eyes began to tear up, "I didn't mean it to come out that way."

"Me too," Buffy said through gritted teeth, heading for the door. She paused and turned back around, "You know, *baby,* I don't think this is about killing people or sex. You're afraid of them. You're afraid of yourself!" "You're right," Angel said to the slamming door and headed toward it, ignoring the slacked jaws of the two remaining people in the room.

*** //i've been down this road before with a passion that turns into pain// Angel ran after Buffy and caught her arm, spinning her around to face him. An unexpected punch in the face sent him back a step and he immediately returned to her space, sporting his game face.

"This is who I am," Angel growled, "Take a good look, Buffy."

"When will you stop treating me like I've been in a closet until now?" Buffy yelled, "I get that you're a vampire! Trust me, I know."

"I love you," Angel said through a mouthful of fangs, "But I knew I would lose you the moment you offered your love. You said I was afraid. You're damn right! I'm terrified that I will lose you over this."

"What makes you think you have me?" Buffy challenged, hands on her hips, chest heaving with frustration.

"Dammit, Buffy," Angel said, returning to his handsome human face, "Please understand me. I don't want to be with her. I love you. What if I walk back into that world pretending to be something and then become it? Giles wanted to know if I could lose my soul. What if I can?" "You won't," Buffy said, "I don't want this. But what other choice is there? How can we stop them?" "I don't know," Angel said sadly, "It might be the only option and I'll do it if you ask me to. I can't promise that things won't happen, things we will both regret."

"Angel!" Oz said, sprinting from Giles' door. Angel turned and faced the boy, waiting for him to continue, "Please don't kill Willow. I know she's evil, but I'll find the curse."

"I can't make any promises," Angel answered, "I know you love her. But you know, she's brilliant. She might figure it out before the rest. If she does, I'll be forced to kill her."

"I know she tortured you. This is asking a lot but please, promise me you'll try," Oz said, seeing through Angel's argument. He saw the look in Angel's eyes at the mention of her name. Angel glanced at Buffy and sighed deeply. Love was a bitch.

"You're right. It is asking a lot," Angel snapped after a long hesitation, "But I promise I'll try."

"Thank you," Oz said, turning back toward Giles' flat. Leaning toward the genius side himself, Oz now had a new goal that would dominate all his time until he achieved it. He felt strange with this level of determination but knew that if Willow died, a large part of himself would fall to ash with her.

*** //you make me sick i want you and i'm hatin' it// Angel stalked after Buffy toward the mansion. She walked in silence, focusing on the sound of their angry footsteps. Into the mansion, the silence continued, cracking the walls with its fierceness. Buffy stopped in the middle of the Great Room and looked around. What the hell was she doing there? She couldn't go into the bedroom, that was for damn sure and she couldn't remain standing there with his eyes digging into her skin.

"I hate you," she swore, turning on him, dry eyed and furious, "I hate that you can make me feel this way."

"I don't want this, Buffy," Angel said, sucking in the anger he knew was his, "I don't want to hurt you. I want to be a normal guy in love with a normal girl, but that's not the deal."

"Yeah, I'm getting that," Buffy said, turning toward the door again, "I'm not as intensely stupid as you think I am. Go to Darla. Fuck your *mate* and hopefully you'll have the sack to kill her."

Buffy didn't have a chance to react when she found herself pressed against the atrium wall, Angel's insistent arousal pressing into her stomach and a strangely sexy growl coming from his throat.

"*You* are my mate," he growled, grinding against her, "I don't want her, I want you. That's what I've been trying to say but you're not fucking listening to me."

"Whatever," Buffy whimpered, trying to sound sure and failing miserably. To believe he loved her was still difficult. As beautiful as one night of making love to him had been, he was still a demon. And he was still a man, which was even more frightening to the woman inside The Slayer. He already had the power to crush her and it was a paralyzing realization. His power over her was more than she could handle. After so long of being by herself, depending on no one, even the thought of depending on him was breaking her down. She had no idea how much he was already depending on her, how much power she held in her tiny hands.

"When are you going to believe me?" Angel growled, releasing her and stepping away. Her nearly silent moan of disappointment didn't escape his ears, however, and it gave him a tiny twinge of hope, "I want to spend every moment with you! Not Darla, not Drusilla. The only person I've loved in my entirely too long life is YOU. I love you, Buffy. I don't care about anything else. If you want me to go to them, I will. If you want me to take out every goddamn vampire in the world, I will but you have to promise me you'll forgive me for what I have to do."

"I can't promise that," Buffy answered honestly, "I want to trust you, but I can't. I can't allow myself to be that weak."

"You think I'm not weak?" Angel said, struggling to control his exasperation, "You think it's not hard for me to give myself to you, knowing you can gut me with a few words? What happened to the whole love speech you gave me last night? What happened to us deserving this?" "I don't know," Buffy said, perching on the edge of the empty fountain, "I do love you, Angel. I want to trust you, I really do."

Angel crossed the room and knelt between her legs. His cool fingers intertwined with hers, squeezing her hands, "Do you want me to do it?" "Yes," Buffy said, while shaking her head no. Tears began to well in her eyes as she met his, "I can't stand the thought of you and her..."

"I only make love you to," he said, "I've only ever made love to you."

"Have I mentioned that I hate you?" she said, smiling through her tears.

"You might've mentioned that," Angel said with a crooked, half smile.

*** "I'm not going to miss you," Buffy lied unconvincingly as she laid her head on his chest and traced his stomach muscles with the tip of her finger.

"I know," he lied back, "I knew you were tired of me already."

"I am," she said with an exaggerated sigh, "You're just so boring."

"I get that a lot," he said huskily as his large hand caressed her back, sending shivers down her spine.

"When are you leaving?" she asked, looking up at him.

"Tonight," Angel said, "Before sunrise."

"Tonight?" she asked, sitting up and bracing her small hands on his chest.

"I can't put it off," he answered, "It'll just torture us both until it's over."

Buffy's whole body tensed with the word "over." Until what is over? Killing the cadre of master vampires waiting across town or the fledgling relationship trembling like a leaf in a hurricane? *** //kinda funny, but i wasn't even nervous// Angel walked into the main room of the collapsed church which used to be the Master's holding cell. Darla was in the middle of one of her famous speeches. He almost laughed as he watched her. She just loved an audience, loved the lustful gaze of the male vampires touching her skin.

"Hatched a plan to kill me yet?" Angel asked with a cold smile, adopting the cocky swagger of his old self as he crossed the room.

"Well, this is an expected surprise," Darla said, returning his smile.

He felt the whole room prickling against him, tensing for a fight. He inhaled deeply and grabbed the vampire nearest to him by the sides of his face. He twisted and pulled up at the same time, ripping the demon's head from his shoulders. He let the room watch as the head in his hands became dust and joined the rest of his body on the floor. He easily kicked off the three vampires who dared attack him and growled at the room, "That was a lesson."

"A lesson?" Darla asked, intrigued, swinging her hips as she closed half the distance between them.

"Yeah," Angel nodded with his best Angelus-esque sneer, "No one fucks you but me. The next vamp that dares trespass over my territory will lose more than his head."

"Angelus?" she whispered with hope in her eyes.

"Yeah baby," he answered, "I'm back."


Parts Eight thru Ten

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course. DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Tango-fied twist on "The Wish" (S3).

FEEDBACK: Please & thank you!!

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Nine Inch Nails.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The happiness clause in Angel's curse does not exist in this one. And let's just say for grins that Willow and Oz were already together before she was turned into a vampire.

RATING: R (for now)

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted. **DARKNESS COMING***


//i'm not sure of what i should do when everything i'm thinking of is you//

Buffy used to use anger, cynicism and accepting the harsh reality of what was to make things easier. Not happier, but easier. Angel ruined all that for her. He didn't spend hours defining his points of view, didn't chatter on about the dreams inside him, but she knew them anyway. She felt as if, in the short time they had spent together, he had been her guide to find her way through the eyes of a long extinct tribe.

As she sat in the atrium and silently watched the sun rise, signaling the barbed validity of his absence, she thought about who he used to be, what he was before he found his soul again. So many people died at his hands, so much blood had been spilled and yet with the return of his essence, he became something entirely new. The laws of nature realigned for him and instead of returning to what he was when he was human, he was transformed into something else instead.

Maybe the mansion knew his secrets, the legend of his life. Sadly, even as the thought crossed her mind, she was sure this place, just like every other, was left in the dark like she was. The marble floors seemed to groan at her footsteps and she lightly caressed the walls as she passed them, trying to feel him there. The bedroom was heaving when she arrived there, as if he were already dead. Buffy found herself taking on his fears and wondered if he would actually lose his soul by pretending to return to what he was. As much as she feared that horrible possibility, she just couldn't make herself believe he could be that evil again. His soul was so beautiful, it could stand up on its own and walk around if it wanted to.

Buffy showered slowly and dressed. She walked even more slowly toward Sunnydale High School, knowing full well that she was late, but couldn't make herself care. Not when Angel could die any moment; not when he could be dead now, not when he could be in bed with one of the beautiful undead members of his fold.

She thought that she would be upset with his departure. She was certain that she would be sad, but in the crisp morning air, she wasn't gasping or wheezing, wasn't trying to hold back the tears. She was stopped emotionally, as she physically moved toward school. Her soul was quaking and she was certain she wasn't breathing. She put a couple of nails in those mental floor boards, trapping her sorrow down below her fears and mounted the concrete steps in front of the school. As she moved to her seat in front of Oz, passing the students like they didn't exist, she wondered if they could hear her heart creaking underneath the weight of their glances.

That teacher with his pleasant green eyes and his long slender fingers, uncalloused by manual labor; that teacher with his proper educational voice, made her want to snap out of her funk long enough to punch him right in the center of his wire framed glasses. How could he talk about History when Angel was in bed with Darla? When he was falling into a million particles of ash in the sewers? She breathed fire across the class at him and he didn't notice. Oz didn't notice either. In fact, after 20 minutes, Buffy wasn't really sure she was even there. His lesson was a puffing barrier between them and his moving lips droned about World War II. The longer she watched, the more he bruised and became purple in her fantasy.

He passed out papers to the class and a single sheet sat on the desk in front of her, indifferent to her cause. She wanted to read it, wanted to be able to read it, but it couldn't solve her problems, couldn't save Angel, certainly couldn't save love. She suddenly realized they were all staring at her, the teacher and the students and she stared back and forth between them, ping pong, ping pong, until Oz picked pointed absently at her paper. She picked up her pen, held the edge of the page to keep it from escaping and tried to focus on what it said. But she couldn't make the letters form words, so she stood and walked silently back out into the day.


//terrible lie//

Inside his family's lair, Angel smelled memories, blood, death and arousal - the aroma of nausea. Darla immediately crossed the room to her mate and rubbed against him, feeling his cold skin for herself, as if it would betray who he really was. He fought the urge to push her away or gag over her shoulder. He could barely believe that there used to be a time when he craved her touch, when he wished his soul would leave again so that life could be as it was. Now all he wanted was to return to Buffy's arms and pretend this lair didn't exist.

"Angelus," she repeated as he wrapped his arms around her, "I missed you."

"Yeah," he said, in a noncommital soulless voice and turned out of her arms, "We've got some messes to clean up around here."

"Now that you're back," she said, smiling suggestively, "We should catch up first. Pleasure before business, lover."

"Where are Spike & Drusilla?" he asked, ignoring her suggestion and prying into her eyes.

"What's wrong with you?" she said, raising a brow, already suspecting him for a fake.

"In due time, baby," he said with a smile, "First, we need to attend to our children. You know that they're plotting against you?"

"Of course," she answered haughtily, "Spike is always plotting."

"Well," he said, making his eyes flash with emphasis, "while I was out trapped with my soul, they tried to convince me to help them kill you."

"Really?" she said, before looking around the room, "Anyone know where Spike and Drusilla are hiding?"

A wave of whispers crossed the room but no one spoke up. Angel smiled at the room and almost laughed as he remembered the one thing he had forgotten for far too long - no vampire could be trusted. A master ruled by fear and fear alone. Half of the vamps in the room probably were planning on trying to dust the bitch at the first chance they got.

"Things are going to change around here," Angel growled.

"Aww, Puppy," Willow said, standing up from Xander's lap in the corner and making her way half way across the room. Angel met her the rest of the way and wrapped his hand around her pale throat.

"Puppy died," he said calmly, "But I carry his memories."

"You gonna punish me for being bad?" she asked and he almost thought he dreamed the arousal attacking his nostrils. If Angel imagined it, then so did Xander, because he stood up defensively.

"Back off," Xander growled in defensive of his mate, but was actually more angry about her arousal than the large hand around her throat.

"Sit down, Xander," Angel ordered and glared at the younger vampire until he lowered himself back to his seat, "She's not your mate anymore, boy. She belongs to me. They *all* belong to me."

"Just cause you got off your leash, doesn't make you master," Xander muttered, from his sitting position.

"No, the fact that I'm master makes me master," Angel growled, tightening his grip on Willow's throat. The feel of her bones beginning to give beneath his fingers was the best thing he'd felt since leaving Buffy.

"Angel," Darla said, skipping across the room, now convinced that he was who he said he was, "There's time for torture later."

Angel pushed Willow back against the wall and turned on his Sire and ex-mate. Knowing his role, he pulled her roughly into his arms and kissed her. Squeezing his eyes shut, he tried to pretend she was Buffy, but she was too cold.


//no time to hesitate. i want a little bit, i want a piece of it. i think he's losing it//

With each step, Buffy moved into the narrow space between who she used to be and who she was becoming. She cared, she didn't care, she loved, she hated. She was fury. She was sorrow. It took her far too long to realize that Angel's fears were multilayered and goddamn color coded. She wanted things to be simple, consisting of jealousy and the fear of losing her and his soul. But things were never that easy.

He was afraid of the future or lack of it. The idea of becoming a fiend that she would have to kill was only part of what he feared. His own death wasn't the issue either, but the potential pain it would cause her. He would not only lose her and himself, but any hope of glimpsing the future he dared to dream about.

It all rested on the fangs of a couple of undead assholes with power trips. For the first time, she began to think of Angel as hers and more specifically as her *mate.* It was a new feeling, a freshly painted perspective. It made her body tremble with the anticipation of violence. The first thing that had to go was that whore, who was no doubt trying to get in those irresistible leather pants he had slid into that morning.

She barely noticed as Oz jogged up behind her. He came up beside her and fell into the same rhythm as her and she ignored him for over a block. Finally, the taciturn boy spoke.

"Angel went?" Oz asked, in a light voice that came from someone who was almost out of breath, but not quite.

"Yep," she answered.

"Where are you going?" He asked, feeling that her quickened strides merited a destination.

"To save him," she said. Oz's light touch on her arm, made her stop and face him. He was too kind, too calm and it was seriously pissing her off. She almost yelled when she spoke again, "Are you going to try and stop me? Cause I really don't have time for the *you're-putting-yourself-in-danger* speech."

"No," he said, shaking his head, "Really not much with the lectures, actually. But I'm not gonna lie and say I'm not on that bandwagon."

"Oh yeah?" Buffy snorted, "What a surprise. If you're not going to talk me into staying then what do you want?"

"I wanna come with you."

"No way, buddy," Buffy said, turning and continuing her trek toward her lover, "I'm not going to be responsible for your death."

"I have to make sure Willow gets out of this alive," he said simply.

"I thought you were going to look for the curse," she snapped, "Why don't you go burrow into a book with Jeeves?"

"We found the spell," he said. She ground to a halt and snapped her head to stare at him.

"You what?!"

"Okay, not exactly," he amended, "But Giles has a friend who researches ancient Romany cultural traditions. He's contacting her to see if she can help."

"Well, go wait by the phone then," Buffy said, moving forward once more.

"I'm just going to follow you."

"Fine," Buffy said, "But if you trip into some fangs, it's not my problem."

Oz smiled as he walked along with her. Her harsh words were false and they both knew it. He saw through her thin veneer. She was trying to harden on the inside. She thought it would help her to fight. As much as he thought he wouldn't, he couldn't help but genuinely like The Slayer.


//the devil wants to fuck me//

Darla led him through the main chamber and he glared at every lesser vampire he passed, making sure that as much evil he could muster passed through his eyes. They believed his return and were afraid. He twisted his face into a cold smile as he returned to his human features. He knew he had already lost Buffy. He knew that nothing would be okay after this was over. And with that knowledge came a ruthlessness that he wouldn't have been able to muster before.

He followed the shapely blonde to the bedroom and she stopped outside the door, claiming his lips again. He kissed her angrily, roughly and she mistook his actions for passion. He gripped her upper arms and almost felt them bruising as he wrenched her away from him. He turned around quickly and faced his pair of children.

"Well, well, well," Spike said, with a huge grin, "What the hell is going on here?"

"Spike," Angel spat, but in truth, he wanted to kiss Spike next. The boy deserved a reward for interrupting him and his Sire.

"My Angel," Drusilla said, swaying in a nonexistent breeze. Angel tensed, knowing if anyone would see through him, it would be her. He searched his memory for the correct action in this situation and crossed the room to her. Slamming her against the wall, he entangled his fingers in her hair and bit at her full lips. He heard Spike groan from several feet away. Smiling at Spike's pain and knowing Darla was steaming behind him, he moved his hand to her full breast, brushing his thumb over the light material hiding her erect nipple. She moaned, leaning against his touch.

"Angelus," Spike growled, baring his fangs to his Grande Sire, "You've been gone too bloody long to waltz in here and starting molesting my mate."

"I've been gone too long," Angel said, turning his attentions from Dru to Spike, "You're right, cause you don't seem to remember your place here."

"Pecking orders are all askew," Spike said, standing up taller. Angel's boot caught Spike squarely in the throat and the blonde vampire made a choking sound as he hit the floor. Angel bent over and picked him up, slamming him against the wall, only to rear back and punch him several times before speaking again.

"I'm gonna straighten it out," Angel growled. Using his anger as an escape, he stalked away from the three and headed back out into the main room. He was already thinking about how he might be able to get out of this, when, just outside the main room, he was pulled into a side chamber.


//i'm one of the chosen ones//

Buffy and Oz walked through the sewers in silence, creeping along in almost total darkness. Buffy followed what she thought was her intuition toward Angel. After they had traveled half in mile in the tunnels, she realized that there was a reason she knew when to turn and when to continue straight. The soul of her mate was like a spiritual trail of breadcrumbs.

Three vampires were staked quickly before they even reached the lair for being at the wrong place and in the path of the wrong Slayer. Oz was startled at her efficiency and by the fact that she barely lost her stride as she killed them. These fledglings were no cause for alarm for her. They weren't the real threat, but a bunch of chilly obstacles in the way of her real goal.

She stopped outside of the fallen chapel and snuck a glance at Oz. She nodded silently at him, letting him know that they had arrived. Lowering to a crouch, she inched closer to the door. Oz crept behind her, looking around him frequently and breathing down her neck. The fact that the person behind her was breathing was a welcome annoyance as she moved ahead.

The large chamber was overflowing with vampires. She half expected to see bodies of innocents chained to the wall, while they sipped off them like party favors but this crowd was nothing like what she expected. She figured that Angel's return had its desired effect because they were all talking among themselves in low voices. The room was dripping with nervousness and fear. It smelled sweet and Buffy Summers smiled at the sight.

Spike and Drusilla entered the room, with an authoritative flourish. Although they clearly were not the bosses here, they ranked above everyone else. They were the only ones who didn't look afraid or nervous. Drusilla had a soft, dreamy smile on her smooth face and Spike was a step away from breathing fire. He tossed several vamps out of his way as he stormed into the room. A furious roar collided with the room as the pissed off vampire began beating out his frustrations on the others.


//my lips may promise but my heart is a whore//

"Willow," Angel said, coating his voice in silk as she pressed him against the wall in the dark.

"I only hoped this would happen," Willow hummed against his neck, "I've wanted to meet the real you for a long time."

"Is that so?" Angel asked, switching their positions so she was pinned against the wall rather than him. Her arousal was filling the small room, begging for his notice.

"Mmmm, yes," she whispered, as his fingers dug into the soft flesh just above her hip bones. She ground against him, trying to gain access to his body, but he held her just a few unbearable inches from himself.

"You have to be punished before you're rewarded," he growled, pushing her harder against the wall, "I can't just forget how you treated this body before, can I?"

"Guess not," she pouted.

"You would make a brilliant little apprentice of torture, baby," he said, giving her a tiny bit of well deserved praise. For an almost brand new vampire, she was well acquainted with the world of pain and pleasure, "But you could use a couple of pointers."

"I made you crawl," she said, brightly smiling at him, "I made you scream."

"But you didn't break me," he said, smiling back, "Shame. You were so close."

He moved away from her and she pulled him back, clutching his tight, leather clad ass with both hands. He placed one large hand on her sternum and nearly cracked it as he pushed her against the wall again, reminding her of her place.

"I want you," she whispered, "You're too good for Darla."

"I know," he said, pulling away from her, "But I told you. Punishment first."

"Then punish me," she whimpered, remaining obediently against the wall. He met her eyes, glowing in the dark and traced her jaw line with his fingertip.

"There's only one way you'll get even a small taste of me," he said, emanating his best arrogance.

"What?" she panted, "What way?"

"Your mate," he growled.

"Xander?" she said, with a warm smile.

"Yes," he said, nodding slowly, "Kill him."

"And Darla?" she whispered, licking her lips.

"I'll take care of her," he answered, moving from the room, "But Xander goes first."


//i can almost see the blackest eyes, the new flesh, a new disguise//

Spike was so enraged, every male vampire in the room seemed like a threat to his mate. He dusted two before Drusilla's soft whisper of his name reached his ears.

"What?" he roared, turning to her.

"Spike," she whispered for a third time. She was paler than normal and her lips were nearly turning blue as she began to wail. He rushed to her side and held her as her vision took over.

"What?" he repeated, in a now concerned voice, "What do you see, love?"

"Death," she answered, leaning against his shoulder, "There are piles of it everywhere, Spike. We're fading. We're all going to fade."

She raised her eyes to look at him and then turned her head like a woman possessed and stared at the entrance. Spike followed her gaze to stare at what he couldn't see, but now smelled.

"Fee, fi, fo, fum," he said, standing up. He pulled Dru to her feet and tucked her into his side. She leaned her dark head on his shoulder, keeping her dark eyes trained on the door as Spike continued his sentence, "I smell the blood of a...little girl."


Chapter NINE

*** ***

//you say it's enough, in fact it's too much//

Giles waited impatiently for his friend's Romany contact to knock on his door. She was 15 minutes late and he found himself performing menial tasks around the house to keep his mind occupied. If they could find the key to restore the souls of the master vampires, then there was so more hope that he ever thought possible. He was beginning to get irritated at her tardiness, but for a man who was fairly ruffled, when he opened the door, all his edges smoothed and began to hum.

Jenny Calendar sauntered into his apartment and offered an almost warm smile as her greeting. Rupert Giles stared at her for a second with his mouth hanging open before gathering his senses long enough to offer her a seat and a spot of tea. She accepted graciously and Giles wandered to the kitchen in a daze, preparing tea for the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on. The sharp intelligence in her eyes was an elixir to her startling beauty and he couldn't believe she was in his living room, sitting his chair, gathering her notes, waiting to help him.

"Um," Giles started, clearing his throat, "I understand you have already been informed of the reason for our meeting."

"Yes," she said, accepting the tea and looking over the handsome British man stumbling over his words. She gaged his age as probably 10 or 15 years her senior and by just casting a glance around the apartment, he seemed to be more than your average bookworm. She settled into her chair and allowed a section of her nervousness peel away. She would come to no harm in this man's home. The protection spell she had been repeating inside her head disappeared as she looked into his kind eyes, "This has something to do with the restoration spell my people performed on Angelus in the 1800s?"

"Yes," he said, nodding at her, "I would like to know if it's possible to perform the spell on another vampire as well."

"No," she said, with a straight, unsmiling face. Giles met her gaze solidly and she could have been speaking Aramaic for all he cared at that moment. Yes, no, maybe - it all led to spending more time together.

"Angel said that he thought those magicks were lost to your people," Giles said after a pronounced pause, "But I thought there might be a way around it."

"So you've met Angel, then?" she asked, raising an eyebrow with interest.


//still feel it all slipping away but it doesn't matter anymore look through these blackened eyes//

Angel watched Willow slither out of the dark side chamber and leaned against the wall for a moment, trying to collect his thoughts. His mind was playing tricks on him, though, because he was certain he sensed Buffy. Hell, she could be in the next room the way his heart was begging him to pound. He took a deep unneeded breath as he headed out of the room to go to Darla. He knew he had to figure out a way to kill her off without arising the suspicion of the rest. If he could accomplish it without having sex with her first, it would be a perfect situation, but he sincerely doubted that would happen.

As he moved silently through the hallway, he picked up the sound of Spike throwing a tantrum in the main chamber and smiled broadly. Spike's frustration at how Drusilla had reacted to him was enough to send a tiny bit of pleasure into his troubled mind. When he reached the room, Darla was waiting there for him in a silk robe. He didn't need to get any closer to know that the red silk hid her nakedness underneath. He smiled at her and was thankful that Angelus wasn't required to show love. He wanted to kill her, watch the crimson robe disappear with the rest of her.

She leaned back in the bed and looked him over hungrily and he imagined how many times she must have done this for other men before she was turned, when she was still a prostitute. Her throaty call to him was his cue to stop thinking and start acting, so he forced himself forward, hoping that inertia would aid him, because will wasn't helping.

The scuffle in the other room suddenly sounded a like a war and he paused, listening. He knew from the rasping sounds of the undead yelling, "Slayer," that he hadn't imagined her presence before. Turning on his heel, he headed back out of the room.


//i'm the one without a soul i'm the one with this big fucking hole//

Buffy glared at Oz with a look that meant *stay hidden* and stood to reveal herself to half the vampire population in Sunnydale. She glanced around the room nervously for a second and then smiled at them broadly, "You know, you guys really should hire a decorator for this place. It doesn't have that welcoming vibe, ya know?"

"Oh, we're welcoming," Spike said as The Slayer edged into the room. She was beautiful with her blonde hair falling over her shoulders in soft curls and he could see that every muscle in her body was tensed for the battle. It was intoxicating.

"Yeah," she snorted sarcastically, as she staked a vamp who inched too closely to her, "I'm feelin' the love in here."

Spike gave the nod and the room moved into action, surrounding her. She swung and kicked them off her, feeling the odds narrowing until her death seemed certain, as they kept coming back for more. She managed to stake 4 more before they grabbed her arms, holding her for Spike. She yanked and tugged at them but was trapped in their grips.

Spike was grinning as he approached her, "Well, you're going to be my third Slayer. This is exciting."

"Spike," a lesser vamp from across the room said quietly.

"What?" Spike yelled, turning his head toward the minion who continued speaking, "Shouldn't you alert the Master before you kill her?"

"You fucking wimps are sickening," Spike said, still approaching her, "I don't need *his* permission to kill her."

Buffy swung up and kicked Spike's chest with both legs, sending him flying across the room and against the wall. Dust fell on his head and shoulders from the aging church ceiling and he stood with a loud growl.

"Someone grab her fucking legs, for crying out loud!" he yelled. Two vamps scurried to her feet and grabbed her legs and were bucked off. Two other moved to their place and held her fast.

"Ready to die, Slayer?" Spike asked as he moved ahead.

"Not really,"she said casually, feeling her fear increasing as he moved closer. Angel was nowhere in sight and she was going to die here. She looked around the room and held her breath as Spike lowered his mouth to her neck. She squeezed her eyes shut, trying to keep from screaming Angel's name. She couldn't blow his cover. Even if she died, he could still take out the group.


//covered with hope//

Giles turned to look at the door as Oz came barreling through it. He was out of breath as he looked over The Watcher and the attractive dark haired woman sitting in his living room.

"What's wrong?" Giles asked, standing.

"Buffy," Oz panted, "She's caught. Need a crossbow or something."

"You two left school to hunt vampires?" Giles asked, moving toward the weapons trunk.

"Yeah," Oz nodded, following him and pulling a crossbow out, "We were trying to save Willow and Angel."

Giles gathered a crossbow for himself and looked quickly at Jenny as he moved toward the door, "I apologize for the interruption in our meeting. I have to help my Slayer. Will you wait until return?"

"No," she answered, shaking her head and rising to her feet. Giles' face fell as he heard her word and then smiled as she said, "I'll come with you."

"I'm not sure that's a good idea," Giles protested, "It's very dangerous."

"Quit being a chauvanist pig," she said, sweeping past them into the afternoon sunshine, "You have no idea whether I can defend myself or not."

"You're right," Giles said, as Oz led the way to the crypt, "I apologize."

"I mean honestly, Rupert," she said, walking quickly on her high heels, "I would think since your warrior is a woman you would've reached this century. Guess not."


//stains like the blood on your teeth//

Buffy opened her eyes when the bite didn't come and she heard a very familiar feral growl. She looked up to find Angel holding Spike by his neck. The bleach blonde was dangling several inches off the floor caught in Angel's grip before he tossed him away with a snort of disgust.

"Don't need my permission, huh?" he growled.

"No, I bloody don't!" Spike growled back as he stood and faced his Sire, "I don't see your mark on her! You may think you're the Master around here, but you'll never be the damn Master of me."

"Your dust may disagree," Angel said, pulling Drusilla to his side. She molded around him and beamed happily by his side, oblivious to Spike's anger, "And I know you smelled my scent on her, boy!"

"So you fucked the bint," Spike said, hiding his fear, even though he was certain Angelus would kill him any moment, "Doesn't make her yours."

Angel glanced over at Buffy and recognized fear in her eyes, but it was quickly dwarfed by jealousy, as she looked from Angel to Drusilla. He couldn't believe his eyes. He knew she would have a problem with the other women involved in this charade but she seemed more upset by the attractive vampiress at his side than her impending death. He quickly weighed his options and then moved away from Drusilla.

He didn't want to do what he was about to do, but he didn't think he had a choice. He met Buffy's eyes and held her there, pulling her inside him mentally. After a few quiet moments, she stood, glassy eyed before him, caught in his thrall. He was disgusted with himself as he waved the vampires off of her. When he was soulless, he used to love doing this - catching attractive women in his thrall and making him do things they would never do otherwise. Plagued with an eternal soul and conscience, he had not tried this little trick in over a hundred years. A part of him realized, that if Buffy wasn't in love with him this would never work on a Slayer. But it did and he called to her to him.

She crossed the room obediently and stood less than an inch from him, her hot body just a slight lean from touching him. He bared his fangs and lowered to her throat. She wrapped her arms around him and as he prepared to break her skin, she whispered, "I'm not under your thrall. Please don't make me hurt you."

His kissed her neck as the shock of her words moved through him and then whispered, "Just play along, love."

As he broke her skin, she winced in pain and tried to keep her face neutral.

*I trust him,* she told herself over and over as she felt her life shifting from her body into his, *I trust him.*


//well i can reduce you if i want well i can devour//

"You think I'm stupid, Will?" Xander growled as his mate's naked body perched on his, still shaking from her release.

"What do ya mean?" she asked, squeezing his cock with her inner muscles as she began moving over him again.

"This is a goodbye fuck, if I've ever seen one," he said through gritted teeth as she moved more urgently over him. She remained silent as she rolled in the feel of him, memorizing the memory to keep with her for all of eternity. She would miss Xander, but the sacrifice was small if she would get Angel out of the deal. She growled and leaned, biting into his throat, savagely tearing at his smooth throat.

"I'm not going to let you kill me," he roared, pushing her away from his neck, but not off of his lap.

"You don't have a choice," she whispered, licking his blood off of her lips. With a sudden lunge, she grabbed his face, twisting his neck and listening to the beautiful sound of his bones breaking and his horrified scream. Moving down, she returned to his neck, sucking every drop she could of his powerful blood and ignoring his weakening arms attempting to push her away. She slipped out of bed and looked down at her broken lover after she retrieved the stake she had hidden in her dresser for moments like these. Xander wasn't the first lover she had dusted in this bedroom, he was just the first one she actually would miss.

"You don't want to do this, Will," he groaned, "He'll betray you."

She didn't answer him as she plunged the stake into his heart and watched him explode beneath the bedclothes. A moment of pause was required for her mate, the one who had shared her life with her, both before her turning and after. She rose from the bed and dressed, now free to find her new lover.


//you let me violate you, you let me desecrate you you let me penetrate you, you let me complicate you help me i broke apart my insides, help me i've got no soul to sell help me the only thing that works for me, help me get away from myself//

"Dear God," Giles whispered as he watched Angel drinking from his Slayer. He raised his crossbow with shaking hands and waited for the vampire to step away so he would have a clear shot to his heart. He knew he shouldn't have trusted a vampire.

"It's a ruse," Oz reminded him, "He won't kill her."

"He better not," Giles whispered back. He snuck a glance at Jenny, whose dark eyes were sweeping over the room, seeming to strike out at the evil pressed into the room. He heard her whispering phrases in Latin softly at his side and strained to make out her words, but couldn't.

Giles sighed with relief as Angel broke away from her neck and licked her wound before pulling up completely.

"Everyone got the message?" Angel asked the room.

"You're going to let her live?" Spike asked incredulously, gesturing wildly at the still standing Slayer.

"Yes," Angel said calmly, "I'm not done with her yet."

"You're pussy whipped by a Slayer?" Spike growled angrily.

"That's what I'd like to know," Darla asked, slinking into the room, still in her red robe, "Cause you've been here how long and still haven't made it into my bed?"

Buffy stood still, waiting for her cue to do...well, anything. She felt her wound pulsing on the side of her neck, baring his "mark" - whatever the hell that meant. She felt dizzy from the loss of blood and swayed slightly. She ground her feet into the floor and waited. The only joy she had was the new knowledge that he hadn't slept with Darla. Even in the midst of so much danger, it was funny what things were important. It was extremely important to Buffy that Angel never made it to her bed.

"I told you, baby," Angel growled, "Some business needs to be attended to first."

"Like protecting this little slut?" Darla mused, looking her over, "I thought when you lost your soul you would be over her."

"Spare me," Angel sighed, trying to muster as much Angelus attitude as he could, "I know you think you have a right to be jealous, but she's human. Not like you haven't spread for more than one human cock since I've been gone."

"Beside the point," she purred, pressing against him and rubbing his groin over the leather as if no one else was in the room, "There's only one cock I want now."

Buffy felt the gag impulse quickly approaching as the vampiress touched Angel. No one should touch Angel like that but her. She scowled at the blonde and after several moments, Darla turned to face her.

"If you don't care about her," Darla said, "Then kill her."

"Quit the jealous mate bullshit," Angel growled, peeling her off of him, "I'll kill her when I'm ready...I'm thinking about turning her actually."

"What?" Darla screamed, "What the hell is going on here, Angelus?"

"I'm tired," Angel answered, "After 150 years of nothing but you, I'm bored, you see. She's just so...innocent and delicious."

"I'll kill you before I allow you to turn her," Darla growled, showing her demon with her outrage, "How dare you tell me you're tired of me! I know how to please you like no other woman ever could. After 150 years, I know every inch of your body."

"Exploration's half the fun," he taunted, loving the pain he dealt the woman who had made him a demon, "She's new. Sweet and new."

"And dead," Darla growled, moving across the room to The Slayer. Buffy smiled broadly and slipped her hand in her waistband, pulling out her spare stake. She flung it at the approaching vampire and her smile disappeared as Darla batted it away.

Angel caught her less than a foot from Buffy and Darla pulled roughly from him. Darla twisted away from him and yelled, "What the fuck is going on? She's not in your goddamn thrall!"

"No," Angel said, smiling pulling his own stake from his waistband and plunging it into the heart of his Sire, "She's not."


Chapter TEN

*** //thought he had it all before they called his bluff found out that his skin wasn't thick enough wanted to go back to how it was before thought he lost everything then he lost a whole lot more//

A stunned silence followed the dying howl of the eldest vampiress in Sunnydale. Her scream shook the walls and a demonic screech sounded as her body transformed itself to ash, exploding at Angel's feet. He almost felt that her death would somehow kill him too and he waited several seconds and looked up, meeting Buffy's eyes with the sweet realization that he was finally free of his Sire and the demon who had claimed him as her mate.

"That was just...neat," Spike said smiling broadly, "I never thought you had it in you, Peaches. First pretending to be my old Sire and then dusting the bitch!"

"There's probably a lot you don't know about me, William," Angel said, using Spike's true name as a reminder of what he knew about his Grande Childe. Angel backed toward Buffy as he felt golden eyes around the room, glowing and in wait for the attack.

"Course, as much as I'm not gonna miss that tyrannical bint," Spike mused, stepping forward, "I can't just let you leave."

"Aw, Spike," Angel said, grabbing Buffy's hand and squeezing it. He began stepping back, leading her with him and he continued speaking, "I know you've missed me, buddy, but you're just gonna have to learn to live without me."

"I'll learn to live without you," Spike said, growling, "Kill them!"

Angel and Buffy turned together and ran toward the exit. Letting go of each other's hands they brandished stakes and began punching, kicking and dusting a path to the door. When an arrow struck a vamp in front of her, Buffy looked up and saw an empty doorway there. She didn't have time to wonder who shot the arrow, however, as she charged through the falling dust and crescent kicked her next attacker.

The Slayer finally made it to the door and nearly screamed in surprise as she saw Giles, Oz and a dark haired woman standing there. It didn't occur to her to wonder why she hadn't seen them before. She immediately turned back around to see where Angel was. He was only steps behind her, fighting a last vampire. They congregated around Angel, strangely trying to keep him inside the crypt instead of trying to reach the human blood that awaited them at the door. Buffy screamed for him to break free and follow, but he either didn't hear her or didn't have time to look up. Instead, he continued to fight and battle the undead demons attacking him.

"Damn it," Buffy swore and prepared to charge back into the fray after him when the dark haired woman grabbed her arm.

"You're safe," the woman said in a firm voice, "Leave him and we can get away."

"I don't know who the *hell* you are," Buffy said, "But I'm not leaving him there. Either we both leave or we both stay!"

"That's not possible," the woman replied calmly, "There's a protection spell here at the threshold. That's why he's not following you. He can't. No vampire can."

"Who the hell is this bitch?" Buffy shouted at Giles.

"Jenny Calendar," Giles replied helplessly, surprised at the news himself. He had heard her performing a spell but didn't know what it was until now, "She's a gypsy and is going to help us with the curse for Willow."

"What she's going to do," Buffy ordered through clenched teeth, "Is tear down this protection spell so Angel can get out!"

"I'm sorry," Jenny said, "It will put all our lives in jeopardy if I do that. I won't sacrifice all of us for one vampire."

"Will the spell still work if I break your fucking neck?" Buffy shouted.

"Yes," Jenny said, "Once the spell is cast, the magick will continue for at least an hour after I'm dead."

Buffy punched the woman squarely in the nose, sending her down to the floor on her firm ass. The Slayer didn't see the blood dripping from the gypsy woman's nose because she was already running back in to fight at Angel's side.


//you and me we're in this together now none of them can stop us now we will make it through somehow you and me if the world should break in two until the very end of me until the very end of you//

Angel found himself flanked by his brethren on all sides and he flung them away, thanking the Powers that he had chosen to mark Buffy ten minutes before. His body was charged with her blood and had tripled his already superior strength. He tore through their cold bodies as Buffy ran through the door. He fought, trying find a path to get to that door, but couldn't seem to shake them off.

He glanced over at the door and it stood empty. He wanted to fall to his knees and let them take him as he realized that she had left him there. How would he ever be able to explain why he had bitten her; why he had taken her blood? Didn't she see that he had done all this because she asked him to? He knew the moment he heard the idea for him to come here and pretend to be his former self that it was a mistake. He was certain then that he would lose the love of his life because of this hoax and now he saw his fears coming to life before his eyes.

He turned around, glancing at the door to be sure she was gone, only to see her appearing through the doorway. She actually appeared. She didn't just run through. It was more like she had leapt through a portal. He assumed what she screamed was his name but all he actually heard was the last syllable. She ran full force toward him and the vampires crawling over him like vermin.

Renewed with her return, he fought with more vigor, staking three vampires in rapid succession. Thankfully, none of the idiots had stakes or weapons to fight him, so they were all reduced to using their weak, bare hands. He snuck a glance at Buffy, who was surrounded by half of them now. He turned back quickly, fighting again but the imagine of her body moving fast and sleek through the bumbling undead was a vision that burned into his memory. The way she moved was nothing less than magnificent, using her small body to her advantage, moving away from their swings, dodging their blows. The way she used their own weight against them was brilliant, forcing them to counterattack when they thought they were attacking. In all The Slayers he had seen she was by far the most inventive. If he hadn't already loved her before that moment, he would have fallen then.

Staking another vampire gave him a chance to take a second to look back and saw that Spike had slipped in behind and snaked his arms under hers. Buckling his hands at the base of her neck, she was effectively trapped there. Angel scanned the room. Thinking quickly and more desperately than he ever had in his long unlife, his leg snapped out in a powerful back kick, forcing the vampire behind him to his knees. Leaping on his back, Angel used the fledgling as a springboard. He dove across the room and swept Drusilla into his arms. With one smooth movement, he snapped her beautiful neck.

Her scream alerted Spike, who turned and stared at his mate crying in Angel's arms. Her neck was twisted at an unnatural angle and he could hear her desperate whimpering from over the din. Angel's stake poised at her full breast, prepared to strike.

"Everybody stop!" Spike screamed and the room ground to an undead silence.


//no you can't take it no you can't take it no you can't take that away from me//

Giles watched with disbelief as Buffy went back through the threshold, risking her life to defend the life of a vampire! He actually stared for several minutes trying to digest the overload as he watched her fight. Just as Angel was, Giles found himself captivated by her skill and ability. He had barely been able to see her fight before and found her that she executed her moves adeptly. He caught himself taking note of her flaws as to instruct her later on improvements and snapped back to reality as he realized the severity of the situation.

"You take this...thing down," Giles demanded of the technopagan gypsy Wicca, wagging his finger in her pretty face, "I'll not have my Slayer die because you're afraid of a few vampires."

"Rupert," Jenny said, "It's suicide to reveal ourselves to them."

"It's suicide," Giles said, raising his crossbow, "If you don't. I don't wish to harm you, Miss, but I will to save Buffy's life."

They all looked out as they heard Spike scream and Jenny looked back over to see that both Rupert and Oz were both pointing crossbows at her, prepared to kill her over one little girl and a vampire. They were right. She was terrified. Despite all her cocky banter, she was not prepared for what she saw when they arrived at the crypt. She put up the wall immediately protecting herself from certain death. She wasn't used to danger at this close proximity. She was much better at casting spells from much, much further away.

Waving her hand and trying to keep it from shaking as she did, she whispered a string of Latin phrases. Giles looked through to see Buffy still Spike's embrace and a whimpering dark haired vampiress in Angel's. The air at the threshold seemed to swell and recede before lying still once more.

"Did it work?" he whispered to her. She nodded, unable to hide the fear etched over her face. She stared into the room and began mentally preparing herself for death.


//you always were the one to show me how back then i couldn't do the things that i can do now this thing is slowly taking me apartgrey would be the color if i had a heart//

Spike tightened his grip on Buffy as he yelled and she held in a moan of pain as she felt her arms stretched even more. Just a quick yank and the blonde vampire could pull her arms from the sockets. She glanced around the room and was happy to see that she and Angel had managed to take out almost all of their minions. The crypt had only ten or so remaining vampires, watching the display. She watched as the gentle hands of her lover held the mangled body of Drusilla against his. One hand gripped her broken throat, squeezing it with anger as a vicious stream of snarls sounded.

"Dru," Spike said gently as he pushed Buffy in front on him, nearing his lover and Sire, "It's okay, baby."

"My Angel," she whimpered, "Spike, my Angel is going to kill me."

"That's right, Dru," Angel growled, pressing the stake against her chest,"A simple trade, Spike. Your mate for mine."

"You kill her and I'll -" Spike started.

"We don't have time for idle threats, Spikey," Angel growled, pressing the stake harder into her flesh and drawing blood, "Let The Slayer go."

"I can't bloody *believe* this!" Spike yelled, "If I let her go, you can still stake Dru. I'm not stupid, ya Poof!"

"You wanna just stand here and act like we're at an impasse then?" Angel asked, smiling through his fangs, "Because I have the blood of The Slayer in my veins. I can stand here all day. But my beautiful Drusilla is in a lot of pain."

Even though Buffy understood that his callous words and behavior were only to save her life, she was still trapped in the conflicting memories of him professing his love and the cacophony of his fury. Palatable and fierce, it seemed to whisk around the room, adhering to those looking on, ambushing them and bringing them to their knees. Inside her battling emotions, she fell deeper in love with him and deeper into confusion of who he really was.

"I don't know when I hate you more," Spike thundered, walking closer. He was trying to stall, trying to come up with a plan that ensured Dru's safety but nothing was coming to mind. The only thing he was certain of was that he didn't want to live for eternity if he couldn't have his mate by his side, "When you have a soul or when you don't. Either way, you're a gigantic bloody ninny!"

"Blah, blah, blah," Angel taunted, still caught in Angelus' frame of mind, "Still not seeing my lover released. Kinda pissing me off, actually. My hands shake when I'm mad, Spike. I might just slip."

"Alright, alright!" Spike bellowed, locking eyes with Angel. Drusilla's whimpers of pain were just too painful to bear. He released Buffy slowly, keeping his eyes on the stake that pressed against her chest. He pushed Buffy away from him, releasing her completely. Angel paused before dropping Drusilla on the ground at his feet. The best thing Spike ever saw in his entire unlife, was the sight of his mate dropping to the floor, damaged, in agony and *intact.*


//a thousand lips a thousand tongues a thousand throats a thousand lungs a thousand ways to make it true i wanna do terrible things to you//

Willow watched the whole scene from the sidelines. Leaning causally against the wall, she waited while the battle she knew to be fruitless was carried on in vain. She tucked her anger for what had been done to her deep inside. She had greatly underestimated Puppy and it was a mistake she didn't mean to duplicate. Ever.

Darla had been stupid, led by her sickened version of love for Angel. Spike was trapped in the same worthless idealistic world, where mates were meant to stay by each other's sides for eternity. She felt a twinge of regret for destroying Xander but too much emotion couldn't be wasted on what couldn't be changed. Now she had to focus her enthusiasm on making sure that Puppy paid for his duplicity in the worst way imaginable.

She narrowed her eyes in contempt as she watched the remaining members of their sad excuse for a family let The Slayer and Puppy leave unhindered. Three humans were waiting at the door and they all were allowed to leave untouched just because he had hurt that whiney, not to mention fucking crazy, Drusilla! If anything had been learned by the red headed vampiress, it was that strings to anyone were weaknesses.

The chafing memory of her attempt to lure who she thought was Angelus into her bed made her stomach churn. She had allowed herself to be tricked into the same damn pitfall that held Spike, Drusilla and the pile of dust that had been Darla. She allowed herself to want more of what she had before. When she had time to play with Puppy, when she had him in chains, she wasn't moronic enough to ever release his bonds, to ever feed him enough to give him physical strength. The mistake she made was becoming addicted to the power that remained, the power she could never rid him of. His sheer strength of will made her tingle inside. She never revealed to any of her brethren how much she had enjoyed riding her Puppy, feeling his cock inside her, making him give her everything he didn't want to give. He made her savage with want and she was still trying to understand it. He watched her like a hunter and she knew every time she touched him, that in his mind, he was already creating a wound. She thought it was her power over him but she was quickly realizing her error in judgement.

She walked out of the crypt after the growing white hat team. Sunset was falling in soft colors, fading into the horizon as she left her family behind. Those weaklings had nothing to offer her. Now all she wanted was a reckoning. It was time to make her Puppy bark again.


//it didn't turn out the way you wanted it to it didn't turn out the way you wanted it, did it?//

Buffy slammed both feet into the grass, not taking a moment to enjoy being in the fresh night air again before turning on Jenny Calendar, the newest and not so likable member of their team.

"Okay, what the hell were you trying to do down there?" Buffy demanded.

Angel looked on in obvious confusion, taken aback by Buffy's anger. After surveying the rest of the faces in the group, he saw that he was the only one out of the loop there.

"Trying to keep from dying," Jenny said firmly, but apologetically, "I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to put you or anyone else in danger."

"Do us a favor and *don't* help!" Buffy shouted, "You could have gotten Angel killed with your clever little spell. Good fucking work."

"No offense," Jenny said, nodding at the dark vampire standing intimately close to The Slayer, "But he's a vampire. You put yourself in extreme danger to save him. You need to stay alive to carry out your duties."

"Excuse me," Buffy said, "But why don't you let me decide what I want to do with my life? For your information, not that you need to know this, but Angel has risked his life *repeatedly* to save mine since I've been here. You don't have a leg to stand on so butt the hell out, before I butt your ass out!"

"Buffy, that's enough," Giles said sternly, looking over her with a look so severe that she closed her mouth, "Jenny's actions were misguided but she had good intentions. She was not trying to harm Angel. Please let's just move on."

"Moving," Buffy said before turning on her heel and walking away. Angel looked over the dark haired woman for a moment before nodding to Giles and following.

"I'm gonna move too," Oz said, heading toward his apartment, "Catch ya later, Giles, Miss Calendar."

Giles looked over Jenny, who seemed pale and deathly afraid. He had been very angry before at her rather ruthless actions, but looking over her now, he understood that she was doing what she thought was right. He took a deep breath and offered his arm to her. A shaky hand looped around, landing at his elbow and he led her back to his apartment in a slow, easy stride, as if they were headed for Sunday tea.


//she shines in a world full of ugliness she matters when everything is meaningless//

Angel listened to Buffy's enraged explanation of what had transpired while they were at the crypt. He felt like he was seeing her metamorphosize before his very eyes. He thought back on her anger before and the relentless bitterness she carried with her when she arrived. This stomping rant was nothing like the deeply wounded rage she had before. This was simply the anger of a woman defending the man she loved.

*The man she loved.*

Angel could barely believe he even thought that. How could she make him feel like a real man in such a short time? He had waited so long for her to arrive but he never really knew what to expect when she came. He never thought he would look into those green eyes and see love there. And real love, not just lust or want, but a true, unbroken stream of love. He hated that he allowed himself to think she had left him again. Such little faith for his beautiful mate was returned for her sacrifices.

"And then," she shouted, "She had the gall to tell me that you were *just* a vamp-"

Angel caught her by the arm as she tramped ahead of him and swept her into his arms. He kissed her firmly, then more passionately as he parted her lips and explored her sweet mouth with his tongue. He allowed his fingers to make their way through her hair as he kissed her. He pulled away slowly and looked into her eyes as they fluttered open.

"ire," she said, finishing her last word.

"That's what I thought you were going to say," he said, smiling and kissing her again gently.

"What was that for?" she asked, running her fingers lightly over his face.

"For saving me," he said, "for loving me and understanding why I did what I had to do...for being you. I love you, Buffy."

"I love you," she whispered back, "I couldn't just let you die."

"I'm glad," he said hoarsely, amazed at how quickly his body was already warming to her touch. He took her hand and walked toward the mansion, loving the way she held on tightly, always just shy of a squeeze.

"I think I'm gonna have a scar though," she said, rubbing her neck, "Guess I should be glad this one won't be on my face."

"You will," he said, looking straight ahead, "I'm sorry."

"You marked me?" she asked, looking over at him.

"I was hoping you weren't going to ask me that," he admitted, "But yes. Essentially, it's a mark of territory. Every vampire who sees it will realize that you already...uh, belong to someone. It's the vampire code of honor, so to speak."

"Vampire code of honor?" she said, "That's laughable."

"Maybe ‘honor' is the wrong word," Angel said, "There are rules in the world of vampires. But it all amounts to fear really. They allowed me to walk in and take over as Master because they feared me. They still feared me when they found out I still had a soul but they had to fight me because I was the enemy again. Other vampires will be afraid to kill you if they see the mark, especially if they think that Angelus put it there."

"A little cocky, are we?" she said with a smile.

"Sometimes," he said, taking on his arrogant strut. She laughed and batted his arm, while still clutching his hand. After his display earlier that evening, she had no doubt of why the other vampires feared him. She was more than glad that he was on her side. She never wanted to fight him and asked the Powers that she would never have to.


//lick around divine debris taste the wealth of hate in me shedding skin succumb defeat//

Resetting the bones in Drusilla's neck was no mean trick and Spike felt his rage increasing with each whimper from his mate's lips. He sent several of his men out to bring her some food and then laid with her, listening to her moans of pain late into the night.

"How can I make you well, love?" he whispered, kissing her dark head.

"Du Lac," she groaned.

"Who?" he asked, caressing her bruised arm.

"Josephus du Lac," she groaned again, "From the Sire, the Childe will heal."

Spike sat up in bed, looking down at her, deciphering her words for a few minutes before standing. He strode to the door and yelled, "Dalton!"

It was an important name to Spike, apparently, worthy of repeating loudly four times before a small, bespeckled vampire appeared at the door.

"Find out who the bloody hell Du Lac is," Spike said, staring down at the demon, "Now!"

Spike watched as his minion ran off in search of the information and was suddenly glad the weakling had managed to hide somewhere during the previous debacle. He crawled back into bed and gathered Drusilla's body close to his.

"It's going to be alright now, baby," he soothed, "Everything's going to be alright."


//i'm just caught up in another of her spells well she's turning me into someone else//

Buffy turned her face up to accept another kiss from Angel and leaned her head against his chest for a moment, murmuring a tiny "yum" into his shirt. He kissed the top of her head and rubbed her shoulders.

"Tired," she said with a yawn.

"Don't know why," he said with a small smile, "All you did was sit around all night."

"Yeah," she said, "I'm such a slacker."

"Worst I've ever seen," he whispered, kissing her hair again and inhaling her smell. She was a paradox, nearly falling asleep, leaning against him, while her hands moved over his back in the most delightful way. He picked her up and carried her to the bedroom, telling himself that he wasn't turned on, he just was putting her to bed.

"Where are we going?" she said while she yawned.

"I'm putting you to bed," he answered.

"Need a bath," she said, eyes closed, head against his shoulder, "Dirty. Can't go to bed like this."

"You'll fall asleep in the tub," he said, genuinely concerned.

"You'll just have to keep me awake then," she said, peeking sleepily up at him and biting his shoulder.

"If you're not careful," he growled, "I'll keep you awake all night."

"Scary," she whispered sarcastically with her eyes already closed again.



Part Eleven

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course. DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Tango-fied twist on "The Wish" (S3).

FEEDBACK: Oh, yeah. OH YEAH, BABY! You all have been terrific so far with the feedback. I really appreciate it. You've kept me going. More please! *g*

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Nine Inch Nails.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: The happiness clause in Angel's curse does not exist in this one. And let's just say for grins that Willow and Oz were already together before she was turned into a vampire. (I borrowed lines from "What's My Line, Part One.")

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted. ***DARK***


//in a dream i'm a different me with a perfect you we fit perfectly and for once in my life i feel complete//

Buffy was fast asleep in his arms as Angel hovered in the pathway between the bedroom and the bathroom. She said she wanted to clean up before bed but she looked so exhausted nestled against his chest. Every time he looked at her he found himself loving her more even when he had previously thought he had reached the plateau of his devotion. But Buffy provided an endless spring of beauties for him to latch onto and worship. So he stood there, looking down on her with a silly smile on his face.

He kissed her forehead, closing his eyes slowly as he did, lingering on her skin for a second or two longer than was required. He turned finally and headed for the bedroom. He laid her gently there and stood up looking down on her.

His wound on her throat had closed and begun healing already and he saw a glimpse of the scar that would remain. A pang of guilt jaunted along with a twinge of glory. She was marked as his now. As much as he knew he probably shouldn't be proud of that, he was. He wanted the whole world to know she was his. He wanted to shout it from the damn rooftops.

He was starting to enter the dangerous mind set that he could be with her, stay with her and love her as if he were a normal man with a normal girl. His brow furrowed in concern as he noticed how pale she was and suddenly wondered when she had last eaten. He cursed to himself as he stalked to the kitchen and looked around only to find that there was no food to be found. He almost slapped his forehead with irritation. He walked out of the mansion, mentally berating himself as he headed out to the only place that would be open late in a town as small as Sunnydale. How could he have a normal life with a human girl if he couldn't even remember that she needed to eat?

*Idiot,* he thought as he walked in the night. Even through his frustration with himself, he couldn't be *that* upset. Surely she had eaten during the day when he hadn't been with her. In order to keep up her strength over the days she had been here she had to. Besides, when the most beautiful woman in the world was sleeping in your bed, you just couldn't frown. He was even having a little bit of difficulty brooding.


//nothing quite like the feel of something new//

"I think they're sleeping together," Jenny said, her voice muffled from the ice pack she held at her nose.

"Certainly not," Giles replied, abashed that she would even suggest that his Slayer was intimate with a member of the undead, even if Angel was officially on the home team. Of course, Buffy had acted extremely jealous that Angel might join the beds of his old acquaintances and that had played a major part in the argument, but still. Giles could not swallow the idea that Buffy would ever sleep with him! He was stuck in the mental denial that many parents have about their teenage daughters. Maybe everyone else was having sex, but *not my child!*

"Quit being a fuddy duddy," Jenny said, pulling the ice from her eyes to glare at him mockingly, "He was nearly climbing in her pants before they got out of sight."

"Fuddy duddy, indeed! I refuse to except that Buffy would have intimate relations with a vampire," Giles said, crossing his arms in a grown up version of pouting.

"I know you're a man," Jenny said, smiling gently at him for his fatherly denial, "But had you taken a second to *look* at the vampire in question, you would notice a couple of things."

"Like what, for instance?" Giles demanded.

"Like he's a honey - vampire or not," Jenny said, "I can't imagine many girls not going for him and secondly, they looked at each other like two people in love."

"A *honey?*" Giles echoed in near confusion.

"Well, where is she living?" Jenny asked, digging in.

"Living?" Giles asked, "Well, she most likely has taken up residence in the local...I don't know."

"Uh-huh," Jenny said, nodding triumphantly, "She's sleeping with him!"

"Dear Lord," he muttered, trying to cling to the strain of hope he had for his Slayer's innocence. It occurred to him suddenly that ‘many girls' may include the woman in front of him. Bumbling through his words, he began asking, "Would you be the sort of girl who...well, er...what I mean to say is..."

"No," she said, shaking her head slowly, "I'd much rather have myself a sexy fuddy duddy."

"I'm sorry?" Giles said, reddening at the suggestion. Jenny's mouth quirked in a half smile at him as he tried to grasp the idea of her preferring him.

"You heard me," she said quietly, bringing the ice pack back up to her nose as if it could defend her from her own embarrassment. She hadn't mean to reveal how she felt about him. It just sorta jumped out of her mouth. He was just so cute in his concern and the way he had defended his charge previously was so damn sexy. She was right when she originally assumed that this was no ordinary bookworm.

"Er...um..." he stumbled, clearing his throat nervously, "Speaking of places to stay, have you acquired some place to sleep while you are visiting?"

"Not yet exactly," she said, "I have an interview tomorrow for the open computer teacher position at the school. I was going to check into the hotel but I came here first since I was running late and I wasn't planning on spending my evening in a vampire crypt."

"I see," Giles said, nodding, "Well, you are welcome to stay here. Of course, I mean I have a guest bedroom. I was in no way implying..."

"Thank you, Rupert," she said, cutting off his apprehensive gurgling, "That would be very kind of you."


//i can squeeze, you can shake me i can feel, when you break me//

Angel was glad he had gone to the kitchen to put everything away before he went into the bedroom to check on Buffy because he would have dropped it all on the floor if he hadn't. When he walked in she was walking in from the bathroom, freshly showered, with a towel around her body and one around her hair.

"H-hey," he choked, mouth hanging open as he stared at her. Little drops of water still clung to her shoulders and chest and he had the desire to lick them off her golden skin.

"Hey," she said back, still not comfortable in her nakedness around him, even though she was completely covered in a towel, "I woke up and you weren't here."

"I went to get you some food," he said, trying to get his mind to work as he felt his arousal stirring. Suddenly, the leather pants no longer seemed like a good idea, "I realized that you hadn't eaten and you might be...um...you know, ah..."

"Hungry?" She asked, shifting awkwardly under his stare.

"Yeah," he said, nodding his head while his eyes swept over her body. He made his way toward her as he growled, "Hungry."

"I'm starving," she admitted, holding the towel against herself - or actually, clutching it with a death grip.

"Me too," he answered and then stood there for a moment before blinking himself back to reality. He turned and headed toward the kitchen, forcing himself to take the steps away from her nearly naked body, calling out behind him, "There wasn't much I could get for you. The grocery store was closed. Got some eggs and milk. Did you know they sell that at the gas station? And some junk food. Do you like eggs?"

"Yes," she said, sitting on the bed and toweling off her hair. She brushed out her tangles as tears sprung to her eyes and she tried to keep them at bay, thinking it was simply ridiculous to cry over eggs.

"What did you say?" he asked, peeking through the doorway, "You do or you don't like - what's wrong?"

He rushed to her and sat down next to her on the bed, looking over her in confusion. She didn't appear to have any wounds that he missed. He couldn't have upset her for getting food, could he?

"It's just that you keep taking care of me," she blubbered, leaning against the offered shoulder.

"I'm sorry?" he asked, unsure of what he was supposed to say.

"No one has taken care of me for a long time," she answered, wiping her tears away, "I'm sorry. This is stupid. I don't know why I'm crying."

"It's not stupid," he answered, "You can cry if you want. And I like to take care of you. I'm glad you let me."

"No," she said, standing up and crossing the room to set down her brush, trying to remember who she was before she met him, "I can't get this emotional. Believe it or not, before I met you I hadn't cried in years."

"I'm sorry I make you emotional," he said, standing up too, "But what's wrong with it?"

"It's weak," she said, turning on him, "Loving you this much, getting used to how you treat me, it's dangerous. It'll kill me when it's over."

"When it's over?" he echoed angrily, "You think I'm going to wake up one day and decide I'm tired of loving you?"

"I don't know," she answered, "Maybe. I've lost everyone else. Why wouldn't I lose you? Besides, you could die any moment with all the danger around here."

"Yeah," he said, "It's a great idea to keep yourself from having something because you're afraid you might lose it. You know, Buffy, you confuse the hell out of me. First, you tell me that it's okay for me to love you and that we should be together and then you change your mind when it means that you have to care. I don't get it."

"I don't either," she said, "I'm sorry. I'm scared. I don't want to doubt this, but I can't help it."

"I haven't loved anyone else in my entire life," he said, taking hold of her bare shoulders, "Believe me when I say that I will never change my mind about that. You're the only one for me. Forever. And since I'm immortal, I do mean *forever.*"

"What if you die?" she whispered, "What if they kill you?"

"I won't die," he answered.

"But what if you do?"

"I won't," he promised, pulling her into his arms. He knew his promise wasn't definite. She was right, either of them could die at any time, but he couldn't live with the constant fear that she would die. He pulled back and wiped her tears away and kissed her gently. Smiling down at her, he said, "Eggs?"

"Sure," she said, nodding and watched as he walked back out.


//i give you everything my sweet everything//

"Read it again," Spike ordered, leaning over the nervous vampire as Drusilla laid in bed across the room, flipping tarot cards on the bedspread.

"Well, I'm not sure," the vampire said, shrugging, "It could be ...deprimere...ille...bubula...linter..."

"Debase the beef canoe," Spike said, flipping through a Latin dictionary with frustration. Dalton looked up at him, smiling weakly and was rewarded with a punch in the face and the irritated voice of his abuser yelling, "Why does that strike me as *not right?*"

"Spike," Drusilla said, looking over her cards, "Come see."

"Give us some peace, would you?" he shouted in exasperation, "Can't you see I'm working?"

With the sound of her whining, his face fell as he headed over to her side, "Oh, I'm sorry, kitten. It's just this manuscript. Supposed to hold your cure and it reads like gibberish. Even Dalton here, the big brain, can't make heads or tails of it."

"You'll make it right," she said, as her hand caressed his face, "I know you will."

He leaned in and kissed her gently before standing up and heading back over to Dalton, "Come on now. Enlighten me."

"Uh, w-w-well it looks like Latin," Dalton said, pushing his glasses up on his nose with a shaky hand, "But it's not. I'm not even sure it's a language, actually."

"Then make it a language!" Spike raged, screaming in his minion's ear, "Isn't that what a transcriber does?"

"Well, not exactly-" he started but was cut off when Spike grabbed him by the shirt, lifting him from the chair.

"I want the cure!" Spike growled.

"Don't," Drusilla moaned, flipping another card.

"Why not?" Spike asked, punching Dalton again, "Some people find pain very inspirational."

"He can't help you," she answered, pointing to the last card she flipped, "Not without the key."


//come so heavy, then you take me you make love, you make love, you make love, you make love//

Buffy ate what she thought were the best scrambled eggs she had ever had. Toast with butter and grape jelly went along great with the orange juice that tasted freshly squeezed, but probably wouldn't be so good if she wasn't famished. She gobbled her food quickly, glad that Angel had decided to take a shower rather than watch her eat. She was sure he would not be so attracted to her if he could see the way she was shoveling it in.

She washed the dishes when she was finished as she heard Angel turn the water off. She wasn't sure if she actually got them clean because she was too busy imagining him in the shower, his hands moving over his own body, water gliding over him. It was still strange to think of him as her lover. They had only made love a couple of times and she still wasn't comfortable with the idea of initiating anything. She had to take a moment to collect her strength before she headed toward the bedroom.

She leaned around the corner, not sure whether she hoped he was naked or dressed. When she looked it, she found that he was neither actually. He was laying on the bed with a towel wrapped loosely around his waist, looking as if he moved at all it would fall away. She sucked in a breath while she snuck in, feeling like a thief as she crawled onto the bed and looked down at him sleeping.

She took the time to look over his body, taking in each detail of him, each curve of muscle, each inch of his nearly perfect skin. She would think that if any body should be preserved for eternity, it would be this one. She glanced up at his face as her hand inched its way to the towel. Watching him closely for signs of waking, she opened the towel just enough to bare his sex to her eyes and then pulled her hand away quickly. She paused, watching him for movement and finding none, lowered her eyes to look at him.

She clasped her hands together to keep from touching him as she inspected him. Losing her own battle, she reached out, glancing at his face every other heartbeat, to touch the course hair at the apex of his groin, enjoying the feel of it against her fingertips. Moving down, first just touching the skin around his sex and then growing bolder, she moved her fingers ever so lightly over the length of him. His cock moved slightly in response to her touch and she yanked her hand back, looking up at his face only to find that he was still asleep.

Regaining her confidence, she reached out once more and moved over his length, all the while making sure he still slept. He hardened against her hands as she caressed him, exploring every part of him. Leaning in, she kissed the very tip of his length, then took him shallowly in her mouth, tasting him. The salty taste of his skin was not unpleasant and she began leaving little kisses all over him, wanting to visit each inch of his soft skin. She shivered as she explored him, thinking back on the feel of him tasting her before. She wondered if it felt nearly as good to him as it had to her. Engrossed in her thoughts and in the task at hand, she completely forgot to keep checking if he still slept. Instead she took him her mouth, sucking the tip of his cock and moving away, coming back and taking a bit more each time.

He groaned in pleasure and moved slightly beneath her, making her aware that he was awake and she jumped away, eyes widened with shock.

"I'm sorry," she fumbled, face bright red with embarrassment, "It's just that you were asleep and I wanted to look at you and then...oh God..."

"Don't be sorry," he said, eyes fogged with lust, "please don't stop."

"You...like that?" she asked, revealing more of her naivety than she meant to.

"God yes," he moaned, gripping the bed to keep from attacking her. She leaned in slowly and touched him tentatively, glancing up at his face to see if she was doing anything wrong. His moan of pleasure as her warm hands touched him, urged her on. He watched as she bent over him, her ass swinging up at an incredible angle, blonde tresses tickling his legs. She took him in her mouth again and he shuddered with delight as she began moving over his lap once more. He struggled to keep from arching his hips against her and held the bed as if it were his anchor to his plane of existence.

Finally, losing the battle, he pulled her up to him, devouring her mouth. Pausing in his kiss, he pulled her shirt and sweat pants away impatiently. He reached between her thighs to slide his fingers into the dripping lust he knew to be there and lifted her easily over his waist. He guided himself into her slowly and she sat perched above him, chest heavy delightfully above him. He waited moving his hands over her sides content to be buried inside her, while patiently waiting for her to take control.

A ragged moan tore of his mouth as she shifted, moving up and sliding back down, riding him shallowly. He combated the need to press her hips further down, to enshrine himself entirely inside her. Instead, he stroked her body as she pressed her hands against his chest. She closed her eyes as she moved over him, taking him in halfway before rising up again. He clenched his teeth as she dominated him, arching her back and rolling in the sensation of him.

"Buffy," he begged finally, unable to articulate what he needed, "Please baby..."

Lost in her own passion, she didn't answer, still moving achingly slow until every muscle in his body was tensed and shaking. The heat fanning out from her small hands braced against his chest was incredible. He allowed his hands to move over her belly to her breasts, cupping them in his hands. Finally, her eyes fluttered open and she looked down at him. She leaned in and kissed him softly, sucking in his lower lip between hers.

"Please baby," he pleaded again, "Harder...need to be all the way inside you..."

He felt her inner muscles clench around him in response, driving him closer to the end of his rope. She moved down further and then up again, still not sheathing him completely. He gripped her hips with trembling hands, silently asking her for more. His temptress refused. If he hadn't been completely convinced of her innocence, he would be tempted to think she was doing it on purpose.

"Buffy," he growled lustfully, finally getting her attention with his sex crazed animal sound, "You're killing me, baby. Deeper. Have to take me completely."

She looked down at him strangely as he pushed her hips down over him and arched up to meet her. She gasped as he filled her completely, stretching to accommodate him. Beginning to move for the first time and growling with desire as he did, he moved with her. She panted as she picked up the pace, coming down to meet him harder with each descent.

"Angel," she groaned as he slipped his hand been their bucking bodies.


//you're too physical to me you're really jus-just too-just too really fuck no you're just too physical you're just too physical too fucking physical//

Willow stood just beyond the threshold of the mansion, taking in the smell of Buffy and Angel mating. The strong smell of arousal attacked her senses and she felt her own pussy dripping with the memory of Angel inside her. That stupid, immature Slayer had no idea what to do with a vampire, what his body was capable of. Just by listening to their lovemaking, she could tell that the little inexperienced bitch was not even close to pleasing him.

She should be in there, riding him, making him beg for her instead of that human. How could he settle for some little girl when her resilient body could take as much as The Slayer and so much more? She growled silently and turned away as her plan began to form in her mind. She just needed to find the right place at the right time. That's all.

"Damn," a voice said behind her, making her turn around to see a bleach blonde vampire.

"What do you want?" she asked, walking toward him.

"Well, someone's all hot and bothered," Spike said with a grin, inhaling her arousal and nudging his thumb in the waist of his black jeans as he grew hard from the smell of her.

"I said, ‘What do you want?'" she growled.

"I was going to ask for some assistance with our super duo," Spike said, "But the scent of your dripping cunt is forcing my thoughts in another direction."

"You think I'm going to help you?" she said with a laugh, "You'll just fuck up all my plans."

"I think we could work together," he said smoothly, stepping closer, "And since you ruthlessly killed your mate, I'm guessing you might need...something else too."

"Go fuck your broken whore," she cast over her shoulder, "I don't have time for you."

"You'll make time," he said, pulling her roughly against him and pressing his arousal against her leather covered groin. He pulled down her top, freeing her breasts and pinched her nipples roughly between his fingers, shooting as much pain as pleasure through her.

"You think I'm just going to spread just because every other girl does?" she asked, but not moving away.

"You killed your mate for Angelus," he growled, throwing her to the ground and jumping on top of her, "Xander didn't hurt you enough, did he?"

"Don't talk to me about him," she growled back, digging her claws into the arms that pinned her to the ground. She pressed up against him aggressively and growled again, "In fact, don't talk at all."


Part Twelve

By Tango

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course. DISTRIBUTION: Sure! Please just let me know.

SPOILERS: Wishverse (AU) Tango-fied twist on "The Wish" (S3).

FEEDBACK: OH YEAH, BABY! You all have been terrific so far with the feedback. I really appreciate it. You've kept me going. More please! *g*

LYRICS: All lyrics are by Nine Inch Nails.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: The happiness clause in Angel's curse does not exist in this one. And let's just say for grins that Willow and Oz were already together before she was turned into a vampire.

WARNING: All vampires are fair game for me to kill off. Please do not get upset if a vamp you like is dusted.



//i've watched this scene a thousand times and in my head this is how it all begins yes, i am becoming and this is how it all begins//

Giles was whistling as he reshelved books in the Sunnydale High School library. Waking up in the morning, knowing that the lovely Jenny Calendar was sleeping in the next room helped with the jubilant mood, as did the news of the computer program she was going to develop to translate the original Romany spell into a usable form. Buffy was among the enrolled masses now and hopefully would be matriculating with next year's graduating class. Everything was going as well as it possibly could considering they were on the Hellmouth.

"Hey Giles," Buffy said, sashaying into the library in a blouse that had inappropriately low neckline and a smile that engulfed her entire face, "What's with the happy?"

"I would ask you the same question," Giles said, his face shifting to a more serious one with the entrance of The Slayer.

"Huh?" Buffy said, setting her books on the table and plopping into the nearest chair, "Am I supposed to be upset for some reason?"

"Where are you living?" Giles said, jumping right to the point as he sat down stiffly in the chair across from her and attempted to hide his nervousness about the upcoming conversation.

"Uh...why?" she asked.

"Are you living with Angelus?"

"Angel," Buffy corrected, "and yes, I am."

"Are you...having sexual relations with the vampire?" Giles said, gripping the arms of the chair to steady his hands.

"What? You're my father now?" Buffy asked angrily.

"It's..." Giles started, trying to think of a word other than "abomination," which was the only one springing into his head right then, "It's simply not right, Buffy. You are The Slayer."

"I'm in love with him," Buffy said quietly, "And *believe me,* I know it's messed up. I've been trying to talk myself out of it since I met him, but I can't."

"Surely you must know that living with a vampire goes against all the Council's regulations, not to mention the fact that he could lose his soul and kill you in your sleep at any time. I cannot allow this to continue."

"You can't stop me," Buffy said firmly but gently, "and neither can the Council. He won't lose his soul and he's already proven that he's on our side. I'm not giving him up. I can't."

"I'm whole heartedly against this union," Giles said in a voice that betrayed his paternal feelings for the girl.

"Okay, now your ass is covered," Buffy said with a sigh, "You've stated it for the record."

"I'm glad he's protecting you," Giles added with a small smile.

"Me too," Buffy replied, smiling back, "Soooo, now that we've got the birds and the bees out of the way, you can tell me what's up with you and Miss Likes-The-Spells."

"I'm certain I-I don't k-know what you mean," Giles stuttered, "We have a business relationship. She's going to help us-"

"Whatever," Buffy said, standing up and gathering her books, "You like her. I can tell."

"Really, Buffy, this conversation is not appropriate."

"Don't worry," Buffy said, leaning in with a smile and a mock whisper, "Your secret's safe with me."

"Thank heavens," Giles said, standing as well.

"Ask her out," Buffy called behind her as she pushed through the double doors. Giles watched the doors swing for a couple of seconds before he returned to his desk and began to sort through his notes. He resumed the jaunty tune he had been previously whistling and couldn't keep the smile from creeping back either. Maybe he would ask her out.


//runs up my arms 'til i'm on track itches my skin right off my back i'll heal your wounds i'll set you free//

"Great news, pet," Spike said strutting into the bedroom he shared with Drusilla. He sat on the bed at her side and stroked her hair smiling, "As soon as the egghead gets the key, we'll be in business...and we've got help."

"You've been unfaithful, Spike," Drusilla pouted, scooting away from him.

"No baby," he said, "I had to convince her to help us."

"You smell red," she said as her eyes took on their dazed look as they always did when the air spoke to her, "Dirty and red."

"Dirty, huh?" Willow said, leaning against the doorframe, crossing one leg over the other, "I just fucked him. I didn't even get to torture him at all."

"You better be as bloody smart as you say you are," Spike said, storming past the redhead and out into the next room. He waited for her to follow and then began his tirade, "It's bad enough that she knows that I've cheated on her with you and you show up in our bedroom? What the hell is your problem? I don't fancy losing my mate, so you better do what you said you would."

"Bored now," Willow said with a yawn.

"You're such a bitch!" Spike shouted.

"And you're so much more fun when you're screwing," she said, "I'll keep my end of the deal. And you'd better keep yours."

"I won't kill Peaches," Spike promised as she turned to leave, grateful that the encounter had been a lot less painful than he thought it would be.

"Better not," Willow called over her shoulder as she left the crypt. Spike shuddered as she disappeared through the doorway. And he thought Darla was an evil whore. Compared to Willow, Darla looked innocent and sweet.

"Spike?" Drusilla said, moving weakly across the room to him.

"Yeah, love?" he said, hurrying to her side and sweeping her into his arms.

"The ritual will kill my Angel."

"I know," he said with a smile, "But she doesn't know that."


//my blood just wants to say hello to you my fear is warm to get inside of you my soul is so afraid to realize how every little bit is left of me and i want you//

Angel stepped into the shower wondering if the days were ever this long before he met Buffy. He always hated being cooped up inside all day but since he met his lover, the time she was at school crawled by. Today he occupied himself with the memory of making love to her all night. He couldn't imagine how she was going to make it through the school day without snoozing in all her classes since she got two hours of sleep.

Maybe one and half.

He grinend at the shower wall as he reached for the shampoo. Pausing, he reached for hers rather than his and smelled it. He loved that smell. The company that manufactured that product could triple the price and he would still buy it for her. He set the bottle back up on the rack and retrieved his with a smile. It didn't really matter what her hair smelled like. It didn't really matter if she had hair at all as long as she was his.

He blinked through the water as the shower curtain slid aside and the naked body of the goddess in question stepped inside.

"Buffy," Angel said with surprise.

"Hi," she said, smoothing her hands over his wet chest and placing a tiny kiss on his neck.

"Aren't you supposed to be in school?" he asked, as her small hands moved over his skin, "Not that I'm complaining, of course."

"It's lunchtime," she answered, placing kisses along his chest.

"Oh," he said, wrapping his arms around her and leaning down to catch her lips, "Students are allowed to leave campus for lunch?"

"I didn't say that," she said with a wicked smile.

"Breaking the rules on the first week of school?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye.

"I missed you," she said, ignoring the persisting soreness between her thighs. She wanted him and with Angel all the pleasure was worth three times the pain. She moaned as he moved her against the shower wall, slipping his fingers over her sex.


//she has the blood of reptile just underneath her skin//

Willow crept through the tunnels and climbed up into the basement of Sunnydale High School. She was still angry that Spike would think she was so stupid that she wouldn't take the time to research the ritual he was performing on Puppy. Did he think he fucked her brains out or was he just *bloody* dense? If anyone was going to get the pleasure of killing Puppy, it was going to be her. She wanted to laugh when she thought about how he was going to react when his minions went to the Du Lac crypt and found the Cross of Du Lac missing.

She moved quickly up the flight of stairs that led to the main floor of the school and opened the door to peek into the hallways. She couldn't risk being recognized by someone who knew her when she was human. Of course, there was also the sunlight coming from certain windows, but they could be avoided more easily than the student population.

She nearly squealed with delight as she saw the Slayer bouncing by, stinking of Puppy. His scent practically oozed off the girl and Willow swallowed her growl. The girl looked guilty and happy at the same time, hurrying through the empty halls. The vampire smiled evilly at the girl as she passed. She was already addicted to Angel's cock. Not that she was surprised at all. Every woman who had a taste panted for more. But Willow had other plans. She wanted Angel to beg for her. She wanted to see him crawl again. Visions of his bloody blonde lover writhing on the floor in pain, dying slowly, banged around happily in her mind as she watched Buffy pass by.

She looked around quickly before she tightened her grip on the iron bar she had picked up in the sewers, leaped from her hiding place, swung and contacted with the girl's temple. Buffy didn't even hit the floor, before Willow slung her limp body over her shoulder. Pivoting, she ducked back into the basement, slamming the door behind her.


//i'll cross my heart i'll hope to die but the needle's already in my eye and all the world's weight is on my back and i don't even know why what i used to think was me is just a fading memory i looked her right in the eye and said goodbye//

Angel stormed out of the mansion at night fall trying to keep from panicking. Buffy hadn't come home yet and although he knew she was going to train with Giles, she always made it home before sun down. A nagging feeling in his gut kept telling him that something was terribly wrong. He nearly collided with Oz as he hurried through the door. Oz sidestepped the barging vampire and nodded his greeting.

"Looking for Buffy," Oz said.

"I knew something was wrong," Angel growled, his eyes flashing golden seconds before his face transformed into his demon visage.

"That's kinda unnerving," Oz admitted, looking over Angel's face.

"Sorry. Giles hasn't seen her?" Angel asked as he began walking toward the cemetery.

"She didn't show up to train after school and she missed our 4th period class," Oz answered, double timing it to keep up with him. Angel stopped suddenly and released a snarl as he turned around, eyes searching in the dark.

"Missing something?" Spike said moving out from the shadows and flicking his cigarette over his Sire's shoulder.

"Get the hell out of here," Angel ordered Oz and turned back to Spike, "Where is she, Spike?"

"Probably dead by now," Spike said with a shrug, "But I'm not sure. It's sad, really, she was such a fine little piece of ass. Maybe I'll go try her out before-"

"Where is she?" Angel shouted, picking Spike off the ground by the lapels of his coat.

"Being tortured," Spike choked, "Nice and slow like you like it."

"First you die," Angel growled, tossing him roughly to the ground, "Then I'll ask Dru."

"You can't kill me," Spike said, standing up and dusting himself off confidently.

"Really?" Angel said, moving toward his Grande Childe. Before he was even able to pull the stake from his pocket, he was already on the ground with a tranquilizer dart protruding from the back of his neck.

"Nice shot, numbskull," Spike said to his minion angrily, "What took you so bloody long? Did you think I wanted to catch up with my Sire for a spell before he dusted me?"

"Sorry, the gun was jammed -"

"Oh shut up," Spike muttered.


//awake to the sound as they peel apart the skin they pick and they pulltrying to get their fingers in//

Buffy winced in pain as she struggled to open her eyes. She immediately discovered that she was chained to the wall when she tried to move and she groaned in pain. She looked around the room and seconds later her eyes landed on the female vampire who had taken her.

"Hi there," Willow said with a smile as Buffy blinked to regain her focus, "Glad you woke up. I was startin' to think that I hit ya too hard."

"Thanks for your concern," Buffy muttered, "Where am I?"

"Puppy's old apartment," Willow said gleefully, "And you know what's so great about this? He would never think to look for you here. It's just perfect."

"Glad you think so," Buffy said, "What do you want with me? Why didn't you just kill me?"

"Aww, I just wanna chat," she answered with a smile, "Oh, and then I'll torture and kill you. But that's later."

"Nice to know I have something to look forward to," Buffy said, closing her eyes for a second to overcome the dizzy spell that came over her.

"I want Puppy to watch you die," Willow said, "I wanna see the look on his face when I kill you."

"Do you always rename the people you torture?" Buffy snapped.

"Just the special ones," Willow whispered, "And he's special."

"Know what's gonna be special? Watching you explode into a big, slutty pile of dust," Buffy said with a glare, "And I hope I'm behind that stake."

"I knew you'd be fun," Willow said moving closer. Buffy began pulling on her chains, only to find that she was barely able to move. Light reflected off the dagger in the vampiress' hand as she crouched before The Slayer.


//thinks he has something to say//

"Okay, this has got to be the longest week in history," Oz said as he entered Giles' apartment, heaving breaths.

"You didn't find Buffy?" Giles asked, standing from his desk and glancing over at Jenny who was still hunched over her laptop.

"No," Oz said, "I think she's been taken. Angel & I ran into Spike at the cemetery."

"This is just great," Giles said, taking off his glasses and fumbling for his hankerchief.

"No, this is great," Jenny announced, grinning excitedly at her laptop.

"You got it?" Oz asked, moving across the room to look over her shoulder and reading out loud, "‘The Ritual of Restoration.'"

"Yes," she said nodding, "See, Rupert? The marvels of modern technology! Let's see one of your dusty books do this."

"Yes, well," Giles said, looking over her other shoulder, "They smell strange."

"They don't smell," Jenny said, wrinkling her brow in confusion, "It's plastic."

"Precisely," Giles said, nodding, "They have no texture, no warmth. They're simply-"

"Guys?" Oz interrupted, "Can we argue about this later? If we curse Willow, maybe she can help save Buffy."

"Right. Sorry," Giles said, before turning back to Jenny, "What do we need?"

"Well, we need your paperweight, for one," Jenny said, palming the Orb of Thesala with a blinding smile. Giles lost himself in her eyes for a second before clearing his throat and grabbing a pen and paper to make a list of supplies.


//what did he say what words did you speak that's what i want to know now tell me now now all of it now, tell me//

Angel stirred sooner than Spike and his minions expected. As they dragged his body into the lair, he woke up and as if he hadn't been drugged, he found his footing. He ripped the dart gun off the fledgling's shoulder, tearing the vampire's arm from his body in the process. Raising the gun, Angel shot Spike, knocking him out cold.

One vampire writhed on the ground in pain and the other moved forward to attack, trembling in fear. Angel reached in his pocket and found the stake he tried to get to earlier. He let out a snarl as he engaged the weaker vampire. He quickly staked him and turned on the other, who was attempting to stand. He screamed as Angel approached and started to run away. Angel caught the hysterical childe and staked him quickly, watching in interest for a second as his arm fell to dust across the room, separate from the body. Stepping over Spike, he headed for the bedroom.

"My Angel," Drusilla said, rising to her feet.

"Where's The Slayer, Dru?"

"You hurt me," she said, backing away. Angel crossed the room and slammed her into the wall, eyes glowing angrily.

"Where is Buffy?" he shouted, "I'm tired of this crazy girl routine. You are capable of lucid thought. I know you are. Now where is she?"

"Willow," Dru answered, "She took the girl."


"She's not here. She's somewhere else," she answered.

"Great," Angel said, turning away. Drusilla, knowing he was her key to being returned to health, moved after him. Raising her fist, she prepared to strike. Angel sidestepped and grabbed her arm. Twisting, he flipped her over his hip. As she hit the ground, he thrust the stake in her chest hard enough to jam it into the ground under her.

He stayed there on one knee for a moment, looking at the dust that used to be his obsession. He stood slowly and walked out into the main chamber. Only one Childe left and his family would be gone. When he entered the room, he looked down at the place Spike had been. His eyes flitted across the room, following the trail made by his body being dragged across the room. He paused for a second and went toward the exit instead.

Spike could wait. He had to find Willow and Buffy.

*** Chapter 13


//blame it on the black star blame it on the falling sky//

Spike opened his eyes, feeling groggy and confused. As the memory of what had happened reached him, he sat up quickly and looked around the dark room. The only thing he found was Dalton trembling in the corner, far from his reach.

"What the hell?" Spike said, standing up, "Where's Angel?"

"G-gone," Dalton answered, "He left."

"Dru!" Spike said, walking toward the main chamber, planning on checking the bedroom on the other side.

"Master," the fledgling begged, "Drusilla isn't there."

"What do you *mean* she isn't there," Spike demanded as he kept walking, speeding up as he went, "Where the bloody hell would she *be* if she weren't here?"

"S-she's...not...s-she's," the vampire said, trying to find the best way to broach the subject as he chased after his Sire.

"Drusilla!" Spike screamed, already feeling her absence and denying it. She was his Sire and he knew better than the brainy vamp chasing after him that he wouldn't find her in that bedroom. He wouldn't find her anywhere.

"He, he killed her," Dalton said, catching up with Spike at the bedroom door. The blonde vampire stood there, looking down at the stake that was sticking out of the floor like a grave marker, surrounded by the light ashy remains of what had been his mate. Dalton stared at his Sire's back for a long time as he stood unmoving, staring at the same small spot near the door.

"Angel killed her," Dalton whispered again after a long silence.

"I see that you soddin' ponce!" Spike screamed, turning around so that Dalton could see the tears that streamed down his ridged face, "I can see that my mate is dead. You think I'm fucking blind?"

Spike struck out, ramming his fist into the younger vampire's face, causing his glasses to break and fall away from his face with the second punch. He kept hitting him, dragging him back to his feet and hitting him again until he finally turned, grabbed the stake from the floor and destroyed the demon he had created.

He fell to his knees slowly, crumpling into a pile not unlike her ashes and sobbed for the loss of his mate. A hole inside him spread out in all directions with the loss of her, as if she had filled him up all this time and without her he was nothing. The minutes that he allowed himself to mourn her were filled completely with his despair, each second ticked out a turbulent anguish.

Finally, he stood and wiped his dusty face with the back of his hand and gripped the stake, heading toward the door. He knew then that he hadn't died almost a century and a half before when she placed her poisoned lips to his neck, he died an hour ago when she did. One vampire was responsible for her dying, first from sanity, then from life and finally from unlife. Spike stormed out of the sewers and into the fresh night air to begin his search for his Grande Sire.


//if you give up on me now, i'll be gutted like i've never been before//

Willow giggled like a delighted child as Buffy groaned in pain from the tiny slices the was making all over her skin. She licked the red lines of blood as they appeared, feeling empowered by Slayer blood. It was unlike any she had ever tasted and it kept her coming back for more, making another slice and lapping up the crimson treat.

"I can see why he likes you," Willow said, leaning back on her haunches and tilting her head to meet Buffy's eyes, "You're so tasty."

"I can see why he wanted to get the hell away from you," Buffy said weakly, leaning against the wall. She tried to keep her head from lolling to the side, but the pain from the cuts along with the head wound was making her woozier by the second. She wasn't sure how much time had passed...hours, days maybe and the pain kept coming, affliction followed by the slow lapping of the vampire's pink tongue on her skin.

"You smell like him, you know," Willow said, carving into her leg, "Vampires can smell other vampires. We can track the scent of a mate from miles away."

"Then he'll find me," Buffy answered.

"I said ‘mate,'" Willow said laughing and licking the edge of her blade, "You're human. You really don't think he's capable of loving you, do ya? Cause you're gonna be disappointed."

"That's a little prejudiced, don't you think?"

"Not really," Willow said, "You're a meal - a delicious one, but just food. He knows that too. Every time looks at you, he thinks about breaking into your soft skin. If I wasn't planning on killing you myself, I would want to watch him the night he lost control and sucked you dry. Mmmm...can't you picture it?"

Willow leaned her head back and closed her eyes, licking her lips as she whispered, "His hard cock inside you. Your pussy so wet for him that you're begging for more, pleading with him to fuck you harder, slamming your hips up against his. He bends down and kisses your neck, his chest against yours, loving the feel of your hard nipples scraping his chest. Then he tastes you...and you come so hard you feel your head spinning. He keeps drinking your blood, laced with your arousal and adrenaline. It tastes better than honey and he...can't...stop."

"That's an interesting story," Buffy mumbled, trying to keep talking just so she remained conscious, trying to keep the blind panic from reaching her mind, trying to keep herself from imagining Willow's scenario with perfect accuracy right down to the final breath, "But here's the problem: You think *you're* going to be his mate? Here's a little tip from a meal to a fiend: He hates your guts. He'll never be yours."

"We'll see," Willow said, opening her eyes with Buffy's words and leaning back in. She traced the girl's face with the blade, rolling in the sound of the gasp of pain and the horror in her eyes, "I have a convincing way about me."

Willow stood and looked over Buffy, admiring her handiwork. The waifish little human was cut all over, sliced up so severely that the entire apartment smelled of fresh blood. All the sampling of The Slayer made her hungry. She was starving as she inspected her and although she couldn't wait to see her die, she wanted Puppy to be there when it happened. The picture was so beautiful in her mind that she had a soft, almost ethereal smile on her pale face as she left the apartment.


//and either way you turn, i'll be there, open up your skull i'll be there, climbing up the walls//

"Angel," Oz said, coming out the magic shop with the supplies they needed to bind Willow's soul.

"Oz," Angel said, growling loudly in the dark.

"Still unnerved," Oz admitted, staring into his golden eyes.

"You should be," Angel said, "Your girlfriend has Buffy. When I find her, she dies."

"But we have the spell," Oz said, holding up the brown bag of ingredients as if they were proof of Willow's soul, "We can restore her soul and she'll save Buffy."

"All bets are off boy," Angel growled returning to his search, "You'd better restore her soul before she kills Buffy. If I find her..."

"Angel!" Oz called as Angel became one of the shadows and disappeared. He turned and ran back to his van, hurdling into his seat and revving the engine before peeling away from the curb. Giles' house was only a couple of miles from the magic shop, but those miles stretched long and wide before they became the destination. Oz ran into the flat, pushing the bag into Jenny's hands.

"Were you chased?" Giles asked, looking out into the darkness as he shut the door.

"We have to do the spell right now," Oz shouted.

"Well, we weren't planning on doing it tomorrow," Jenny said as she began setting things up. Giles moved to Jenny's side to help her, glancing back at the normally calm, taciturn boy every few seconds trying to ascertain if he had completely lost his mind.

"Angel's going to kill her if he finds her first," Oz said, moving back toward the door, "I'm going to look for her."

"Oz," Giles said, holding out his hand as if the motion in the air would cause the boy to pause, "It's dangerous. *She's* dangerous."

Oz ignored the statement as he ran back out the door, leaving it open behind him. It didn't matter if he closed it anyway. Most of the things in Sunnydale that they should worry about entering needed an invitation first.


//i will stop, i will stop at nothing//

Angel tried to keep control as he moved quickly through the streets and alleys. He smelled her blood and knew that she was in pain and somewhere nearby. He turned into Willy's, following the smell of her through the doors. He headed for the bar and knocked a vampire and a demon from their bar stools. He leaned over the counter and dragged Willy closer to him, baring his teeth as Willy slammed into the wooden barrier between them.

"H-hey, Angel," Willy said, trying to be casual as usual, "How's it goin' man?"

"Where's The Slayer?"

"I don't know nothing about that, man," Willy said as the air seemed to become thicker around him, "I keep to myself these days."

"Where's Buffy?" Angel screamed, hauling the smaller man over the bar and tossing him across the room. He landed on a poker game and the table broke out from under him as the demons around it scooted back to avoid him falling on them.

"That crazy redhead took her," Willy groaned, "I don't know where, though, I swear."

"I smell her blood in here!" Angel shouted, picking him up and holding him off the ground, "That bitch was in here and she's tasted The Slayer. Now tell me where she went or I start dusting off my torture skills."

"Some abandoned place," Willy choke, "That's all I know. She came in here and killed a couple of my patrons and left. That's all."

"If I get there too late, I'm coming back for you," Angel growled, dropping him to the floor. He stopped cold as he heard a low growl. He raised his head slowly and growled back.

"You won't be back for him," Spike snarled from the doorway, "I'm going to kill your sorry ass and then I'm going to find your little Rebecca of Sunnyhell and I'm going to kill her just for you, Peaches."

"I don't have time for you, Spike," Angel said, walking towards the door, which just so happened to be where Spike was standing.

"You had time to dust my mate," Spike growled.

"Self defense," Angel said, standing directly in front of him, "She shouldn't've tried to kill me. Besides, you tried to kill mine."

Angel waited and caught the hand that tried to force the stake into his chest. He kicked Spike out of the door as he felt the vampire presence in the room edging toward him to aide in the vengeance. They all knew that Angel was in league with The Slayer and now that he had singlehandedly destroyed the strongest vampires in Sunnydale, something had to be done.

Spike flew into the alley and landed roughly against the wall across from Willy's front door. He jumped to his feet immediately and moved back toward Angel who was shifting to the right, preparing to run from the entourage of demons at his back.

"You boys are so cute," Willow purred, stepping out of the shadows, "Too bad I'm only going to keep one of you. I like puppies on chains."

Angel snarled at her words and forgot the demons behind him as he charged her. He stopped as a white and black van drove into the alley, attempting to block his path from Willow. Oz leaned out of the window with his bow and shook his head no.

"Stay out of this Oz," Angel growled, moving forward, "She'd kill you the second she had a chance."

"No," Oz said, releasing an arrow and hitting Angel's left shoulder. Reloading, he kept his eyes on the vampires around him, "I don't want to kill you."

"You're gonna have to," Angel answered, pulling the arrow from his shoulder without flinching. He held it up and smiled coldly, "And thanks for the weapon."

"This is fun," Willow said, leaning against the van and winking at the team of enemies at Angel's back. At a standstill, everyone paused for a second until Willow's painful gasp sounded. She fell to her knees, eyes glowing a mystical orange and Angel took to the opportunity to run forward. He yanked her off the ground and held her against his chest as he backed away. After a few steps, he spun and ran, carrying Willow with him. He heard the pounding feet of the vampires who chased after him and the tires of the van as it backed out of the alley at a high speed.

"Angel," Oz shouted, pulling along side the vampire, "Get in."

Angel opened the door and tossed Willow in. He dove in after her as Oz hit the gas and left their followers behind.

//sometimes i get overcharged that's when you see sparks//

"Where is she?" Angel shouted inside the van at the dazed girl.

"Who?" Willow asked, shaking her head in confusion. She looked over at the driver and started to crawl toward her boyfriend when Angel pulled her back.

"Buffy!" Angel shouted, gripping her shoulders and rattling her violently.


"She doesn't remember," Angel said, hanging his for a moment and then explaining to Oz, who looked slightly confused, "When you first get your soul back it takes a little while to remember what happened. Stop the van."

"What?" Oz asked.

"Stop the van, I'm getting out," Angel said.

"She'll remember soon, right? I mean, if you wait she can just tell us."

"She's taken a lot of Buffy's blood," Angel answered jumping out, "I can't wait for her to remember. I have to find her now."

Angel got out and started running. He wasn't even sure which direction he was traveling in as he ran. All he knew was that Willow smelled so strongly of Buffy's blood that it made his insides twist.


//i think you're crazy, maybe i think you're crazy, maybe//

Spike kept running after the van and soon found himself alone. He turned around and a group of vampires were standing there, preparing to turn back in defeat.

"What's wrong with you people?" Spike demanded, "You give up after four feet? Angelus killed my mate and most of our kin in this bloody town."

"They're gone," one answered, taking sidelong glances at his foes, hoping they would back him up.

Spike growled and marched over to the one who dared to speak. He dusted him quickly with the stake he had been holding and turned to the others while shoving it in his pocket, shouting out instructions of places to look. They immediately moved to obey his orders, each of them afraid that they would be the next one to meet the pointy end of the stake. Spike turned on his heel and headed for the Watcher's flat. He broke into a run as the hatred and pain continued to course through his system. He didn't have much more of the night left.


//and for a minute there, i lost myself, i lost myself and for a minute there, i lost myself, i lost myself//

Angel looked at his old apartment building in confusion for a second before following his intuition and the scent of her blood inside. He kicked in his own door and looked around the room. His eyes landed on her body, lying in a small pool of her own blood. He said her name as he skidded across the floor and dropped to his knees at her side.

"Buffy," he said, touching her bloody face gently and yanking his hand back as if she had hissed in pain, even though she hadn't moved. He checked her pulse and thanked the Powers that she was still alive. She had wrenched the radiator that her chains were secured to from the wall completely and managed to free herself. His eyes followed the trail of blood that marked her struggled movements halfway across the room before she had lost consciousness.

He pulled her into his arms and headed back out the door with her broken body in his arms, running for the hospital. The medical staff stared at him strangely as he ran in screaming for help. Angel didn't have to reach up and touch his face to know that he had reverted to human form so he figured they must have been reacting to his panic. They were, however, reacting to the demonic glowing yellow of his eyes and the growled tone in each of his words as he demanded that they save her life.


//they're cursing me and they won't let me be there's nothing to say and there's nothing to do//

Oz helped Willow out of the van and stopped cold when she hit the invisible barrier outside of Giles' apartment. Giles and Jenny stood at the door and looked out the them warily.

"Did it work?" Giles asked, looking over her for signs of residual evil.

"Yeah. Invite her in," Oz answered, holding her more tightly against him. She leaned heavily on his shoulder as the memories began to flood her mind.

"Oh my God," she whispered, jerking as if she were being beaten. She pulled away from Oz, staring at the scar on his neck, holding her hand up to her mouth.

"It's okay, baby," he said back gently, "Everything's going to be okay now."

She shook her head and looked over at Giles with tears streaming down her cheeks. The Watcher's eyes softened as he looked over the face of the girl who had once been his favorite student. He saw the pain racking her body as she remembered at a velocity that forced her to the ground. She vomited into the grass, whimpering in pain and as Oz neared, she looked up at him and screamed for him to stop.

"Don't come near me," she cried, "Don't touch me."

"Willow," Oz whispered, looking over her with the same love he had always had for her.

"No," she answered shaking her head, "Not Willow. Not anymore."

"Got that right," Spike said, running into the middle of the group and looking down on her, "This is just bloody pathetic."

Willow got up and forced herself into motion, running away from him, but he caught up with her, pulling her close to his face, "Don't think so, pet. We got some business to finish."

"Get away from her," Oz said, standing there empty handed with nothing but his anger and love to defend her.

"Ooh, I'm afraid. No, really. I am," Spike said, nodding sarcastically, "Run along little boy. I have a bit ‘o business with your girl and then I'll be gone."

Willow leaned against Spike, pressing her face against the cold leather of his coat as if the oxygen her body no longer needed was stored there. He smoothed his hand over her hair almost holding her up.

"It's time to go," Willow whispered, looking up into his deadly blue eyes.

"That's right, love," he answered, caressing her face. He wanted nothing more than to torture her until he felt better. This was all her fault anyway. If she hadn't gotten into the middle of everything, he would be sitting in the Master's chair with Drusilla by his side. If she thought her new found harrowed humanity was going to keep him from making her his slave, she was wrong.

When Willow looked into his eyes, she saw nothing but evil and darkness, which seemed strange in eyes so bright and beautiful. A cloud of hate wrapped around abysmal bitterness inside him. The attack of his glare was what made her reach into his pocket and fondle the stake that he had there. Staring into his eyes, lost in the darkness, she destroyed him. Her eyes followed his ashes to the ground and she stared at them for a moment before turning around to look at the shocked faces of Oz, Giles and Jenny.

"I love you," she said, looking longingly over at her former lover before raising the stake to her chest.

"NO!" Oz screamed as he ran toward her. Unable to stop himself, he tunneled through her dust, wrapping his arms around the body that was no longer there.


//you are the sun the moon and starsah you... and i could never run away from you//

"Buffy Summers," Giles said to the nurse clad in all white, sitting behind a large desk. He wondered why all nurses stations were so thick across, as if they needed a wide barrier from the germs that came in with visitors.

"Are you her father?" the nurse asked, looking over the handsome British man's hands for a wedding band.

"No, I'm her guardian," he answered, "Rupert Giles."

"I'm so glad to see someone else to visit her," the nurse said, standing and walking around the station to lead him to the room. She leaned in confidentially as she neared the door, "There's a young man in there and...we think...there's something wrong with him. He's...not normal and we're all convinced he's insane."

Giles looked through the small square window at Angel who sat on the edge of her bed, looking down at her. Even from the side profile, he could see Angel's eyes were glowing yellow.

"Ah," Giles said nodding, trying to think of a convincing excuse for Angel, "Yes. He hasn't been well either, I'm afraid."

"No, that's not what I mean," the nurse whispered, looking over Giles suspiciously, "He growled at everyone who went in there and his eyes..."

"I assure you," Giles said with a charming smile, "He'll not hurt anyone. He's perfectly normal. His eyes are just...yes, they rather make me nervous too sometimes."

Giles turned toward the door and took a deep breath before walking in. The yellow eyes that landed on him made him more than nervous, but he kept going, knowing that the nurse was staring through that little window.


//when you were here before couldn't look you in the eye you're just like an angel your skin makes me cry//

"Between you and Giles, I'm going to go crazy," Buffy complained the next evening from her hospital bed, "I want to go home. I may look horrible but I'm fine."

"You're going to stay until they release you," Angel said firmly, sitting down next to her and looking over her wounds, "And so am I."

"You could at least stop glaring at people," Buffy added, "You're scaring the shit out of everyone. I think I heard a couple of nurses say you were the anti-christ or something."

"What's wrong with protecting my mate?" Angel stubbornly demanded. Buffy looked down at her mauled body, following the marks where her skin used to be. Mate? It was one thing to be in love with someone who had a singe scar across her mouth, but what if all the wounds scarred, leaving her looking freakish forever?

"What's wrong?" Angel said, touching her hand. Buffy pulled away and leaned away from him, which only made him lean in further, "What is it, love?"

"What if I stay like this?" She asked with tearing eyes.

"Like what?" Angel asked, looking over her for some unseen clue as to what she was talking about, "You mean your wounds?"

"What if they all...scar and..." She said. He knew she kept talking but with the sound of her sobs, he missed the rest of the sentence.

"I love you," he said, gathering her into his arms, "I don't care if you don't have skin at all."

"How could you be attracted to this?" She asked, rubbing her arm and the marks that lined it.

"Buffy," Angel said, "The scars will fade but I don't care either way. Nothing could make you less beautiful in my eyes."


"But nothing," he said , looking into her eyes, "I love you, baby. That's the whole point. You're alive. Nothing else matters."

Buffy's tears were not stopped by Angel's words but flowed more freely. She couldn't understand, couldn't begin to comprehend what he could love about her now. She had taken a peek in the mirror earlier while she was in the bathroom and nearly threw up from what she saw. Her hideous reflection seemed to mock her and the imaginary laugh it made echoed off the sterile white tiles.

"How could you love this?" she asked again. Angel looked into her eyes for a moment and shifted to his game face. He allowed her a moment to take in the ridges of his face, his sharp fangs and his golden eyes before he asked back, "How could you love this?"


//immerse your soul in love//

The hospital was so quiet it woke Buffy up in the middle of the night. She itched to leave and if Angel wasn't lying there next to her, much to the dismay of the hospital staff, she would have already slipped away. But as it was, she loved that his arm curled around her, large fingers across her belly, holding her tightly against his bare chest. She was amazed that in his sleep he could hold her so tightly.

She shifted slightly and was surprised to feel his arousal brush her as she moved. She was just as shocked at her own immediate response to him and she quickly looked over her shoulder to see him looking down at her with a sheepish smile on his face.

"How long have you been awake?" she asked, pressing against the hardness that strained against his pants even though she inwardly told herself not to.

"About ten minutes," he whispered, "Long enough to drive myself crazy looking at you."

"Really?" she asked, turning over and accepting the kiss that he placed on her lips. She tilted her head up as the kiss deepened, basking in her lover. He pulled one of her legs over his hips and slid his hand under her hospital gown.

"Angel," she whispered, scolding him, "What are you doing? We're in a hospital and I'm all gross."

"‘Gross' wasn't the word that I was thinking," he growled softly, slipping his fingers into her wet heat and kissing her again as she moaned softly.

"We *cannot* do this here," she protested, moving against him even as she spoke.

"Why not?" he countered, pulling free the flimsy ties in the back of her gown.

"Nurses and orderlies and patients," she answered as one cool hand palmed her breast. He shot her a sly smile as he shifted her onto her back and removed the hindering cloth from her body. He immediately lowered his mouth to her nipples sucking them into his mouth as his fingers delved inside her.

"I don't think they'll be checking on you at 4:00 in the morning," he answered against her skin. He moved methodically over her body, kissing each wound, attempting to love her pain away. Soft, slow kisses doted on each slice and every bruise. He moved over her skin healing each spot as his fingers moved just as slowly inside her, his thumb brushing her clit again and again. As she neared climax, her trembling thighs squeezed against his hand. Unhindered, he continued to move sliding in and out as he pulled her in for another kiss.

Still recovering from her own climax, she slipped a hand between them and moved her hand over his groin, enjoying the guttural moan that escaped.

"I want to be inside you," he whispered as she pressed against him, gripping his cock through the material.

The nurse was finishing her rounds and as she passed by room 214, she glanced in and found herself backtracking to take a better look. She stared through the window at the pair without even trying to tear herself away as the formerly violent and crazy young man made love to the wounded blonde girl.

Unblinking, she watched, listening to their moans as his hands moved over the angry lines on her body in a way that seemed almost like...worship. She leaned in as he began whispering to her, looking directly in her eyes as he moved inside her. The girl stared back with the same sort of adoration, her pretty scarred face covered in ecstasy.

"I thought I lost you," he whispered, intertwining his fingers with hers, "I didn't think I was going to find you in time."

"You did," she answered, wrapping her legs around his waist and arching against him, "You found me. Saved me."

"No," he whispered, "I think you saved me."

The nurse moved away from the door and felt her eyes filling up with tears. She sat back down at the nurses station and looked around the empty walls as she thought about what she had seen. She would give everything to have a love like that. Moments later, she blushed in her chair as the lovers cried out in the dark, the sound of their lovemaking echoing down the hallways and causing the building to swell.


THE END. Did ya like it?