This Way by Tracy


Rating: WARNING: Heavy NC-17. If you find this objectionable, please don’t read.

Spoilers: It all happened except for Connor. He has no place in this universe.

Summary: B/A did move on, but sometimes back is better.


Dedication: To those who still believe that even after ME f’s everything up, it will somehow work itself out.

Author’s note: Some don’t like the way I repeat scenes. I do this so we can get both Buffy and Angel’s view on the same event. Is there a better way? Probably, but this is only number two. I’m still learning. So deal. He He!!


Part One: This Way Lies Pain


One Night In LA

Angel is making love to me. OK, I can be honest with myself. No he isn’t. He is just having sex. I know he cares about me, but nothing about our relationship speaks of love or forever. The physical part is beyond belief, but it can’t make up for the feelings that are missing. I can’t do this anymore.

My body gives all the appropriate responses. The sighs, moans and screams are there, but the rest is just crap. I really do love him, but I can’t be second best. Cordelia Chase has never settled for less than first, and nothing has changed to make that any different. I deserve it all, the passion, the lust, the friendship, and the forever kind of love.

When it is over, he rolls over and goes to sleep. It’s the same every time. A kiss on the lips, and he’s done. No words of love. No snuggling. No *After*. I want the After. But I want him too.

I can’t have both. It will never happen. I’m not the one that makes his dead heart try to beat. I’m so tired of the tears rolling down my face, like they have every night for weeks. As I drift off to sleep, my last thoughts are that maybe tomorrow will be better. Maybe tomorrow Angel will love me.

The radio alarm sounded at its normal time. I quickly shut if off. I know all the words to the song they are playing. The words are ringing in my head as I lay in bed avoiding the morning.

Then it happened. It has happened every morning since we’ve been together. Deep in sleep, Angel smiled. He was obviously enjoying the dream he was in. I wait, wanting it to be different this time. Praying it will be different. But sometimes prayers aren’t answered.

“I love you, Buffy.” Angel rolls over, turning his back to me.

For the first time in weeks, I feel like I’m in control. Quietly, I get up to start gathering my things. I can’t, won’t, do this anymore. Hell, to be honest, I should have known better in the first place. I was a first hand witness to the thing called *Buffy and Angel*, and I should have known I couldn’t compete with that. If I had thought it through, I shouldn’t even want to. Love isn’t always where you want to find it. It was time for me to go.

Packing quietly, trying to not to wake him, I can hear the song in my head. It just keeps repeating over and over again.



In the mourning I can see the sights

No wonder I could never keep you satisfied

In the mourning I can see inside

Myself and all the things that you were trying to hide

Wishing all the best for you

And now I will say goodbye

Cause all the shit that we’ve been through

Put wisdom in my eyes

So walk away, don't turn around

Cause I won't be standing here

Cause all the lies that I've been living through

Are becoming very clear

And beauty thus become


He has been trying to hide from me since the time we were first together. I knew it, I just wouldn’t admit it. But the time for hiding was over. I knew he had always loved her. I am surprisingly calm, considering what is happening. I’ll leave a note in the kitchen so he knows I’ve gone. I don’t think I could stand some big face-to-face goodbye scene. This way was easier for both of us. With one last look, I close the door behind me.


The Same Night In Sunnydale

I know she loves it. Her body is wet and quivering just the way I like it. By the time I get done with her, she will love only me. Poof will just be a memory. I will be the only man in her life.

I pump harder, trying to give her want she wants. I can’t believe the punishment she takes. I have had sex with vampires that aren’t as demanding. Not that I am upset, just a little shocked. I *will* be the one that gives her what she needs. She will love me, more than she loves him. I love her, so nothing else is acceptable.

I know she still thinks about him, but I can’t even mention his name. Every time I do, she threatens to kick my ass. Since she can do it, I stopped bringing him up. Ever since she came back from wherever she was, she has been totally different. I am glad I was there for her, when she couldn’t turn to her other friends. And the Poof wasn’t even in this dimension when it happened. I know she loves me, even if she won’t admit it.

She reaches her peak, moaning as she does. But then she rolls over, just going to sleep. No thanks, no hugs, nothing. She is still ashamed of this, us together. After all this time, it isn’t getting any better. Every time, I think it will be better. But it isn’t.

I don’t sleep much at night, so I lay and watch her. I know I am just fooling myself. There is no way this girl will ever love me. She gave all the love she had away a long time ago, and the owner is too stupid to come and claim it. I am so tired of trying to compete with him. I think about the last 150 years, and realize I have never gotten the better of him. Even Dru had preferred him over me. But maybe this time it will be different. Please, let it be different.

Then it happened. It has happened every morning since we’ve been together. Deep in sleep, Buffy smiled. She was obviously enjoying the dream she was in. I wait, wanting it to be different this time. Praying it will be different. But sometimes prayers aren’t answered.

“I love you, Angel.” Buffy rolled over, turning her back to me.

Done, that was the only word that came to mind. I had given what little I had, and it wasn’t enough. Hell, I should have known it wouldn’t be enough. I was there for most of the Buffy and Angel tragedy, and there was no way I could compete with that. Hell, I wouldn’t even want to. I had lost again, to Angel. It was time for me to move on.

I quietly get up, and begin to get dressed. I don’t want to wake her. Goodbye scenes are not my style. I will just stop at the nearest payphone, and leave a message on her machine. The sun will be up soon, I can feel it. I had better hurry if I want to get to my crypt before it does. With one last look at her, I turn and walk away.


Part Two: This Way Lies Desire


Later That Morning In LA

Groggy was the word that came to mind. It was getting worse. Getting up in the morning, or even the evening, was not one of his favorite things. It used to be, but that was before he stopped sleeping. He used to be able to sleep for 8 or 9 hours. Now he was lucky if he got four or five hours of sleep in a row. “Cordelia,” he yelled. “Are you here?” Not getting an answer brought a smile to his face. Peace. He would worry about why he didn’t miss her later. Right now, the dream was still consuming his mind. The same one he had been having for what seemed like forever.

No longer able to deny it, he let *her* come into his mind. Golden, that was what she was. The light that shone behind her in his dream was golden. His darkness was still there, but she dimmed it with her light.

The dream was still alive in his mind. Her beautiful lips were kissing him, her tongue tasting him. Closing his eyes, he lost himself in the fantasy. His hands wandered down, following the path her hands had taken in his dream.

He could feel her hot little tongue tasting his nipples. She paused at his cock, but only for a second. Taking him deep in her mouth, Angel moaned. Her hot little mouth was sucking him like she was a pro. In, out, repeating. Her tongue was periodically swirling around the head of his cock.

Lost in the dream, Angel grabbed his cock and began to pump. He could feel her mouth, feel her taking him in. He could feel her wetness on his legs as she sucked his cock, could smell her arousal.

Flipping her over, he impaled her with his heat. She screamed with the invasion, not a scream of pain, but of pleasure. He fucked her like he would die without the contact. When she came, he was right there with her.

Angel increased the pressure on his cock. At the same time that Buffy came in his mind, he came in his hand. God, he didn’t know how much longer he could do this. She had chosen her mate, and Angel wasn’t it. He needed to move on.


That Same Morning In Sunnydale


Buffy sat straight up in bed. God, she didn’t know how much longer she could do this. The dream had been happening for weeks, and she was only human. At least she thought she was. “Spike, where the hell are you?” Not getting a response, she breathed a sigh of relief. She couldn’t deal with him right now.

Lying back down, the dream was again playing in her mind. Having had the same one so many times, she knew it by heart, scene by scene.

His lips were cool on hers, his tongue plunging into her hot mouth. She loved the contrast, hot and cold. Just like his dark and her light. A perfect balance. His hands were roaming over her naked flesh, worshiping her body. No one could make her feel completely loved like he could.

Buffy could feel the wetness between her legs. She could taste his skin, feel his touch. Her hands began to follow the path that his were taking in her dream. One hand slipped between her legs, the other pulling and tugging on her nipples.

His mouth glided down to her nipples, licking and sucking each one in turn. Buffy moaned as he moved lower, his wet tongue leaving a cool track on her belly. He reached his destination, using his tongue to lick her core, focusing on her clit. Beside herself with pleasure, she was on the verge on coming when he stopped. With vampire speed, he was on top of her, entering her molten heat. Gasping out loud, Buffy could feel her muscles tensing around his cock.

Increasing the pressure on her clit, Buffy inserted two fingers in herself. She could almost feel Angel’s cock inside of her.

Angel was fucking her hard and fast, just the way she liked it. He was on the verge, she could feel Angel’s control slipping. She wrapped her legs around his hips, pulling him in as deep as she could. Their voices echoed in unison as they screamed their release.

Buffy reached her peak at the same time Angel did in the dream. Breathless and panting, she rolled over on her side. She could still feel him, taste him in her mouth, smell his wonderful scent.

Buffy couldn’t take it anymore. They had both moved on. Angel had chosen, and he hadn’t chosen her. She needed to find a way to let him go.



Part Three: This Way Lies Madness


LA, Later That Morning

Angel had been laying in bed for a couple of hours. He was awake, but reluctant to get up and face another day without her. Shaking it off, he sat up and plopped his feet on the floor. Slipping on a pair of sweatpants, he decided he needed blood and coffee, so he headed for the kitchen.

Angel went through the routine of preparing the coffee pot. Cordelia hadn’t made any, and that was a little weird. She couldn’t even speak in the morning before at least one cup of coffee. He couldn’t imagine what was so important that she had to leave the house before having any. Well, at least it saved him from having to drink the sludge she made. Cordy couldn’t make coffee, but she continued to try, every morning. And he drank it anyway, not wanting to hurt her feelings.

While the coffee was brewing, Angel poured himself a cup of blood, and heated it in the microwave for a couple of minutes. When the buzzer signaled it was done, he pulled out the cup, and sat down at the table. That’s when he saw the note. Figuring it was just Cordy letting him know where she was, he began to read it. Shock engulfed his body as he began to read.



Dear Angel,

If you are reading this, you may already realize that I have left.

Angel dropped the letter on the table, and ran to the bedroom. He looked into the closet, finding that a lot of her things were gone. She was gone. He could feel it now. The emptiness in the house that he should have felt earlier. Walking back to the kitchen, he sat back down in his chair, and continued to read.

We have both always known that what we had together should never have gotten to this point. I do believe that you love me, but not the way that I deserve to be loved. Don’t worry, I don’t blame you. It wasn’t meant to be, and no matter how long or hard we try, nothing is going to change that. I do love you, but I know that your heart belongs to someone else. It always has, and always will.

Do yourself a favor. Hell, do the world a favor. Go back to Sunnydale, and get back what’s yours. Don’t let your pride keep you from the happiness that is right under your nose. I can’t say for sure, but I really believe that Buffy still loves you. I don’t know how she couldn’t. It isn’t often you get a chance to have what you really want, so don’t blow this.

And don’t worry about me. I am going to be fine. I know someday I will find someone who will love me the way you love Buffy, and I won’t stop looking until I do. No more settling for second for Cordelia Chase.

Thanks for everything that you have given me and taught me. I will never forget our time together.

Love always,


PS: Get your ass dressed, and go to Sunnydale as soon as the sun sets. Oh, one more thing. You talk in your sleep.

Angel was mortified. If he talked in his sleep, she must have known about the dreams for a while now. He hated the fact that he had hurt her. Tears coming to his eyes, he smiled as he re-read the letter. It was so like Cordy to tell him what he ought to do. You could take the prom queen out of high school, but you couldn’t teach her tact. She would forever be tactless and bossy. It was part of her charm.

Could he swallow his pride and return to Sunnydale? Did he want to? Resting his forehead on the table, the picture of Buffy when she screamed his name in release popped into his mind. Followed right after by the look on her face the last time he had seen her. Angel let the disastrous scene and the events that led up to it replay in his mind.

//Finding out about Spike and Buffy had almost killed him. The anger that consumed him was extreme, and total. How could the woman he loved give herself to someone like Spike? Chip or no chip, he was still a soulless demon, and unworthy of the jewel that was his Buffy. He had rushed to Sunnydale, sure he could make it all right, just by his presence. He would convince her that she deserved better. He hadn’t given her up so she could wind up with something even worse.

He found her at the cemetery. He could feel her before he saw her. She was even more beautiful than she was the last time he saw her. But he could smell Spike all over her. Jealousy got the better of him, and he lost the control he had sworn to keep. She knew he was there, he could tell that. She turned to face him as he approached her. The smile that began to break on her face was lost on him in his anger, and disappeared as he grabbed her by the arms and shook her.

“Buffy, what the hell do you think you are doing? How could you do this to yourself? Don’t you have any dignity or respect? Spike, of all people.”

Buffy responded like any animal that was attacked. She defended herself. Wrenching herself from his grip, she slapped his face. Hard. Being bitch slapped by a Slayer caused his ears to ring, which gave him a moment to get a grip on his emotions.

“What the hell is wrong with you? Let me go, you son of a bitch.” Buffy was livid. She lashed out at him, angrier than he had ever seen her. “You leave me so I can find a better life, and all I find is death. And then you have the nerve to come in here and start telling me what I can and can’t do? Who the FUCK do you think you are? You gave up the right to say ANYTHING about my life when you left.”

Trying to get a grip on his anger, Angel responded to her attack. “I know dying was hard, Buffy. But that’s no excuse. You should have sunlight, and babies, and love that doesn’t come with pain and bruises. You think I don’t know what love means to Spike? Hell, I’m the one who taught him all he knows. It isn’t right, and I can’t let you do this.”

Buffy lashed out at him again. “You sanctimonious bastard, don’t you dare come here and tell what I can and can’t do. You are the one who told me to move on. And if you really want to know, I am not doing anything with Spike that you didn’t do with Darla. Was fucking a vampire more fun than fucking me? Did it feel good to know you were making a fool out of me? Did you like breaking my heart?”

“Buffy, no, that wasn’t what it was about. It wasn’t about you. It was about me.”

Angel felt his heart break at her next words. “Angel, you always said that you left for me. But deep down it feels like you left for you. It feels like it’s always been about you, and I was just a pawn in the game. First you left, then there was Darla, and now, of all people, Cordelia. How could you do this to me? At least Spike and I are honest with each other. He might love me, but he knows I will never feel that way about him.”

“Buffy, I didn’t come here to let you dissect my life. This is about you. You can’t keep doing this. It isn’t right.”

He could tell that Buffy was done listening to him. “Right, Angel? The love of my life leaving me so I could have a better life, and then my dying less than two years later is right? My *soulmate* chasing after a semi-friend and definite rival of mine is right? Being pulled back from the only peace I have ever known, to find you were too busy saving Cordelia to even realize what I was going through, that’s right? No, Angel, there isn’t anything right in this world. But I am doing the best I can.” Buffy’s anger was again escalating. Angel could almost feel it emanating from her skin.

He had tried to respond, though he still wasn’t sure what he would have said. “Buffy…”

“No, Angel, I don’t want to hear it.” Her voice was like steel. Even when he was Angelus, he didn’t think he had ever heard her speak to him in that tone. “From what I hear, you and Cordelia are getting mighty close. Go back to her, and leave me alone.” Her voice began to rise in volume, and then she actually shouted at him. “AND DON’T COME TO MY TOWN AND GIVE ME ORDERS.”

Angel tried to apologize, but Buffy just walked away. She never even looked back. That was when he knew it was over.//

Sitting up, Angel went and poured a cup of coffee. He had lost count of how many times he had replayed that scene in his mind, trying to change the way it ended. He had finally gotten Buffy to take his call, letting him say how sorry he was. But he could tell she was still angry with him, and had every right to be. He had lost control, and there was no excuse for it. But he was angry too. So angry that he didn’t even go to her when the witch had anchored his soul in payment for a job he had done for her. Not that she would have wanted to hear it.

Hell, even if he did go to Sunnydale, he wasn’t sure Buffy would even see him. But he wouldn’t be any worse off tomorrow if she wouldn’t. With that decision made, he knew he wouldn’t give up until she forgave him and took him back. It was still a few hours till sunset, so Angel decided to lie back down for a while. It was going to be a long night, and he had a feeling that he was going to need his strength if he was going to be able to convince Buffy to let him back in her life.




Later That Same Morning In Sunnydale

Buffy didn’t want to get up. She wanted to indulge herself in the dream that gave him back to her. If that was all she got, she would take it. Damn, she needed to get up. She had to work, and make sure that Dawn was taken care of. Sometimes it was too much, all this adult crap. But, like always, she did what she was expected to do. Except the Spike thing. When her friends had found out, they were livid. But she didn’t expect any less from them. They didn’t understand that bringing her back had not been a blessing, but a curse. And when she heard that Angel had slept with Darla while she was alone and miserable, and then left this dimension to save Cordelia while she was dying, it all lost it’s meaning. Love didn’t exist for her. Would never be there. She had what she had, and she would just be grateful for that. Even if it was only good sex and someone to talk to.

Looking at the clock, she realized that she had a couple of hours before she had to be at work. Time to get up and let her life take her over once again. Sitting up and pulling on her sweatpants and tank top, she walked to the kitchen. That was when she remembered that Dawn wasn’t even there. She was spending the night with Tara and Willow.

Having a few minutes to relax, Buffy started a pot of coffee, and sat down at the counter. She should fix something to eat, but she wasn’t really hungry. Maybe in a while. Looking through the mail she hadn’t gotten to this week, she noticed the light on the answering machine blinking. Probably a bill collector. Get in line, and wait your turn, she thought.

Pushing the button, she sat back down with a pen and paper ready to write down the 800 number that was sure to follow. As the message began to play, shock came over her face.

“Hey, Luv. Uh, it’s me. You may not appreciate this, but I think this way is better than some big ugly scene. You and me, it was fun. But it was never real. It was just a reason you used to not get what you really want. You know I love you, but you don’t love me. It was never that with you. I am really glad that you are back and doing better, but I need more. Dru may have been a crazy bitch, but I knew she loved me in her own twisted way. And I am sure you do to. But you and I both know whose name you call in the middle of the night. And it ain’t mine.

Do yourself a favor. Call him, go to him, hell, don’t take no for an answer. As much as I hate this, you two belong together. He loves you, I should know. Hell, I was with him for 100 years. I know the poof, and he wouldn’t have done what he did last time if he didn’t. And don’t worry about me, luv, I will be fine. Always am.”

The sound of the beep stopped the message. Buffy was stunned. He was gone. He left her. Just like everyone else, he left. Tears began to roll down her cheeks. She had no one now. She was alone.

Or was she? The dream continued to haunt her subconscious. Could it have meant more than just her pent up frustrations? Her dreams had had hidden meaning on more than one occasion. Could this dream be one of the ones that try to tell her what she needed to do? Or was she just wishing again?

Sighing, she got up and poured herself a cup of coffee. Buffy was not emotionally prepared to go back there, not after what had happened with Angel when he was here last. Not that she blamed him. She blamed herself. Sitting down at the counter, drinking her coffee, the memory was like a video in her VCR. And someone had just hit ‘play’.

//Walking through the cemetery, she felt him before she could see him. Finally coming into view, she smiled at the sight of him. He looked as scrumptious as ever. She didn’t realize how much she had missed him until then. She knew all the gossip, but didn’t really care. She was just glad to see him. Taken completely off guard, a gasp was the only thing she could get out as he rushed her, grabbed her by the shoulders and began to shake her.

“What the hell do you think you are doing? How could you do this to yourself? Don’t you have any dignity or respect? Spike, of all people.”

She had been shocked, but that had quickly turned to anger. Acting on instinct, she slapped him, hard. How dare he? She knew he had slept with Darla, and was now courting Cordelia. Cordelia, of all people! Why didn’t he just stick a stake in HER heart, same thing?

“What the hell is wrong with you? Let me go, you son of a bitch.” She was livid. She lashed out at him, angrier than she had ever been. “You leave me so I can find a better life, and all I found is death. And then you have the nerve to come in here and start telling me what I can and can’t do? Who the FUCK do you think you are? You gave up the right to say ANYTHING about my life when you left.”

She could tell Angel was trying to get a grip on himself. “I know dying was hard, Buffy. But that’s no excuse. You should have sunlight, and babies, and love that doesn’t come with pain and bruises. You think I don’t know what love means to Spike? Hell, I’m the one who taught him all he knows. It isn’t right, and I can’t let you do this.”

This made her even angrier, and sadder. She lashed out at him again. “You sanctimonious bastard, don’t you dare come here and tell what I can and can’t do. You are the one who told me to move on. And if you really want to know, I am not doing anything with Spike that you didn’t do with Darla. Was fucking a vampire more fun than fucking me? Did it feel good to know you were making a fool out of me? Did you like breaking my heart?”

“Buffy, no, that wasn’t what it was about. It wasn’t about you. It was about me.”

She took a deep breath, trying to get a grip on her emotions and control the tears that threatened to pour down her face. She would not let him see her cry. “Angel, you always said that you left for me. But deep down it feels like you left for you. It feels like it’s always been about you, and I was just a pawn in the game. First you left, then there was Darla, and now, of all people, Cordelia. How could you do this to me? At least Spike and I are honest with each other. He might love me, but he knows I will never feel that way about him.”

“Buffy, I didn’t come here to let you dissect my life. This is about you. You can’t keep doing this. It isn’t right.”

She was done listening to him. He didn’t know what she had gone through, couldn’t fathom the pain. And she was not up to explaining. “Right, Angel? The love of my life leaving me so I could have a better life, and then my dying less than two years later is right? My *soulmate* chasing after a semi-friend and definite rival of mine is right? Being pulled back from the only peace I have ever known, to find you were too busy saving Cordelia to even realize what I was going through, that’s right? No, Angel, there isn’t anything right in this world. But I am doing the best I can.” Her anger was again escalating. She could feel herself losing control. Her face was hot, and her hands were shaking with the effort it took not to completely let go and scream at him.

Angel tried to respond, but she didn’t want to hear it. “Buffy…”

She was done listening to him, and the pain was too great to stand there anymore. “No, Angel, I don’t want to hear it.” She cut him off in mid-sentence, the sound of her breaking heart drowning out her listening skills. “From what I hear, you and Cordelia are getting mighty close. Go back to her, and leave me alone.” Her voice began to rise in volume, and then she actually shouted at him. “AND DON’T COME TO MY TOWN AND GIVE ME ORDERS.”

She turned around and marched off, angrier than she had ever been in her life. When he called her back, she ignored him. She couldn’t listen to anything else he had to say. The pain was too great, and she couldn’t trust her own emotions. He was supposed to love her, but all he seemed to do was hurt her. That was when she knew it wasn’t true. He didn’t really love her.//

Buffy sighed, thinking about all the times her mind had replayed that scene, and changed the ending. In her mind, she went back. She gave him a chance to explain. To at least apologize. But that isn’t what happened. She talked to him later on the phone, but it wasn’t the same, and the damage had already been done.

Could she go back there? Could she let him into her life again, to love and cherish, forever? Buffy knew she could, but she didn’t think it would matter to him. Angel had Cordy now, why would he want her? Buffy didn’t think she could match up to her, but then she never had thought she could. Angel used to think she could. But that was before.

Tears were beginning to form in her eyes. She was about as depressed as she had ever been, but the Double Meat Palace was beckoning her. She had to go to work. Functioning with a crushed heart was something she was used to doing. She got up and went to take a shower.



Part Four: This Way Lies Hope


A Road Out Of LA, That Evening

Finally, the sun went down. Angel couldn’t remember a day that lasted so long. Now that he had made up his mind, he couldn’t wait to get to Sunnydale. Not that he expected it to be easy. He packed a bag, with enough supplies to last for several days. He wasn’t coming back without her. Not if he could help it. And if having her meant staying in Sunnydale, he would do that too.

Driving down the highway, he was completely engrossed in his memories. Buffy was engrained in his soul. He could remember every word she had ever said to him, every gesture she had ever made when they were together.

The first time he had met her.

"Who are you?"
"Let's just say I'm a friend."

"Well, maybe I don't want a friend!"

"I didn't say I was yours."

The first time he had spent the night with her.

“Angel, do you snore?"
"I don't know. It's been a long time since anyone's been in a position to
let me know."

The night she died at the Master’s hand, and then killed him.

"By the way, I really like your dress."
"Yeah, yeah, a big hit with everyone."

The first time he realized she really wanted him.

"This isn't some fairy tale. When I kiss don't wake up from a
deep sleep and live happily ever after."
"No. When you kiss me, I wanna' die."

The first time he realized she loved him for him, all of him.

"No, Angel, it's not you. You're the one freaky thing in my freaky world
that still makes sense to me."

The night they made love.

"I love you. I try not to, but I can't stop."

“Me, too.”

The memories were flooding through his mind like a raging river. Tears were flowing down his face, making it difficult to see the road. He had been wrong about so many things in his long life, but none so wrong as leaving the woman he loved. He didn’t know how, but he was going to make this right. For once, he wasn’t going to let her down.


Sunnydale, Later That Same Evening

Buffy was pulling the second of a double shift at the Double Meat, wallowing in her misery. She could do this job in a coma, so being focused on her ex-lover while working was no big deal. She took the orders, typed them in, and filled the bags. Rocket science it wasn’t, but it paid the bills.

Was Spike right? Should she go to LA? Would Angel even see her? It was not like they had parted on the best of terms, and she hadn’t talked to him since he had called to say he was sorry after the last disastrous time they had met. She hadn’t been very receptive during that call, and she heard that he had moved in with Cordelia a few weeks later. She was stupid for even thinking about him. Hell, even when she had heard that his soul was permanently anchored, neither of them had bothered to call. But what would it hurt to go see him, just to say hi? He would at least be hospitable. His old world upbringing would demand that of him.

Finally glad to have made a decision, she planted her fake “glad you’re here” smile on her face. She ignored the itching under her skin, and looked up to greet her next customer. “How can I help yo…” Big brown eyes, eyes she could have, and had, gotten lost in looked down at her. Speechless. She was for once in her life without words. Her hand automatically went to her hair, and found nothing but the hat. Mortified that he would see her like this, at what she considered the lowest point in her life, she turned and ran out the back door.


Dawn had been angry and rude when he had knocked at the door. He could tell that she was angry with him too, but he wasn’t going to let that stop him. He hadn’t let her stop him from finding her. After much sarcasm and arguing, she had told him where Buffy was.

Angel pulled into the parking lot of the Double Meat Palace. Tears filled his eyes when he thought about what she was had been through, what she was forced to do, just to keep her life together. Not that he had anything against fast food workers. But, *damn it*, she was the Slayer, she wasn’t supposed to have to do these kind of things. Not when he could have given her so much more. Even his demon was agreeing with him. A growl escaped his lips, and Angel pushed it down where it belonged. Angelus could never

come out to play again, but he could still bang pretty hard against the walls. Now back in control of his emotions, and trying not to let the guilt take him over, he stepped out of the car. He would get her back, that was the only option, and his demon was agreeing with him.

Angel walked into the restaurant, squinting at the glare of the bright artificial light. Looking around the restaurant, he found Buffy behind the counter, taking orders with a fake smile on her face. A smile that never reached her eyes. The dark circles under her eyes were a tell tale sign that she was tired. But she still looked wonderful. Buffy had always been the most beautiful woman ever in his mind, and she still was. If only she wasn’t so tired. Again pushing the guilt behind his teeth, Angel decided to stand in line, and wait his turn to talk to her. She was distracted, that was obvious, but she managed to do her job with relative ease.

When Angel’s turn in line finally came, he had no idea what he was going to say. He just needed to talk to her, whatever that took. Buffy looked at him, and her mouth dropped open. He didn’t think he had ever seen her speechless, but that’s the only way to describe the reaction he got. He didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Unexpectedly, she turned around and ran. Angel wasn’t going to let her go, so he jumped over the counter and chased after her. She was out the back door running through the parking lot before he even got close.


Buffy pulled up and turned to face him. ‘Please, God, don’t let him see what a loser I have become’. “Go away, please. I don’t want you to see me like this.”

Angel could feel his heart breaking. “Buffy, please, I really need to talk to you, and I couldn’t care less what you are wearing. I am proud that you are doing such a great job of taking care of Dawn. Nothing you could ever do would make me ashamed of you. You know that.”

Tears were flowing down Buffy’s face. Seeing him again was gut-wrenching enough, but having him see her in this ridiculous outfit was traumatic. She had always imagined that their next meeting would involve sexy *you know you want me* kind of clothes, not *I smell like a burger and fries*. She didn’t think she could face him like this.

“Buffy, please don’t cry. I didn’t come back to hurt you. But I really need to talk to you.”

“I can’t do this, Angel, not like this. Please, don’t make me. It’s just too humiliating.”

“OK, how about I go back to your house and wait for you? I know you have to finish your shift, and then you can change and we can talk? Would that be better?”

Trying to end the conversation as quick as possible, Buffy agreed. “OK, we can do that. I get off in two hours.”

Angel smiled at her. The first real smile he had felt in a long time. “Great, I will be there. And don’t try to avoid me, cause I know all your hiding places. So I will see you in about two hours, right?”

Buffy smiled too. He had always known her better that she had known herself. Hiding had been her first instinct. But she couldn’t hide from him. Hell, she never could. For some reason, she started laughing. Not knowing why, she found this whole conversation really funny. After getting a grip on herself, she replied “Don’t worry, Angel, I will be there. God knows, I don’t want you to hunt me down like a dog. Being the Slayer, I have enough people hunting me as it is.”

Angel had laughed right along with her. Though neither one of them knew why they were laughing, it sure helped lighten the mood. “Great, Buffy. I’ll be waiting.” He turned around and headed to his car, but before she was out of earshot, he couldn’t help himself.

“Oh, by the way, Buffy.”

“Yeah, Angel?”

“The next time you wear that outfit and ask me how you can help me, I won’t be held responsible for my actions. That outfit really turns me on.” He turned around and ran to the car, not waiting for a response.

Buffy was shocked. Not at what he had said, but at the fact that she was completely turned on at those words. It was going to be a long two hours.


Part Five: This Way Lies Happiness


The Summers House, Two Hours Later

He felt like he had been waiting for days, not just a couple of hours. If it was possible to crawl out of your own skin, he was going to do just that. The jitters didn’t even begin to explain the way he was feeling. His whole future depended on what happened next, and he wasn’t sure he was prepared for it. Pacing back and forth in the living room was helping to expel some of the excess energy, but only her appearance would help to calm his nerves. He knew now that he still had some affect on her, but what that meant was the real issue. Did she still love him like he still loved her? Would she try again with him? Please, let her still want him.

The front door opened slowly, and Buffy walked into the room. She looked wonderful. She had removed her hat and let her hair down. He noticed it was shorter, but it still looked good. Hell, she would look good in a potato sack to him. “Hey, I see you made it. It’s really good to see you.”

“You too, Angel. Where’s Dawn?

“Oh, she isn’t too happy with me. She went to Willow’s house as soon as I showed up. Don’t worry, Tara came and got her, so she’s safe.”

“Oh, that’s probably for the best. Would you mind if I went and took a shower before we had this, uh, whatever it is we are about to have? I feel like a greasy piece of meat.”

That connotation brought forth some really dirty pictures in Angel’s mind, but he let it pass. “No, please. I’m not going anywhere. You do what you need to do to get comfortable, and I'll be here waiting for you. For as long as it takes.”

Buffy decided to ignore that, not wanting to read anything into it that wasn’t there. She couldn’t let him break her heart again. It just wasn’t going to happen. No matter how much she loved him, her soul couldn’t afford to let him have that kind of control again. Heading towards the stairs, she yelled behind her. “Great. Make yourself at home. There should be some blood in the fridge, if you’re hungry.”

Angel took a deep breath. He could feel Angelus raging at that statement. Hell, he was too. She had never had blood in the fridge when they were together. He owed Spike, but exactly what he owed him was still to be seen. And where the hell was he, for that matter? From what he had heard, Spike was a damn near permanent fixture here, but he had yet to make an appearance tonight.


Stepping in the shower, Buffy let the hot water beat down on her tight muscles, relaxing some of the tension caused by his appearance. And thought about Angel. It seemed no matter what she did, or where she went, her life always came down to him. From the first time she met him, he had been the center of all she was. She couldn’t even remember a time when she hadn’t loved him. She remembered it all.

The first night she had met him.

“Ah, heh. Is there a problem, ma'am?”

“Yeah, there's a problem. Why are you following me?”

“I know what you're thinking. Don't worry, I don't bite.”

The night she was attacked by the Three.

“So, you weren't following me? I just had this feeling you were.”

“Why would I do that?”

“You tell me. You're the Mystery Guy that appears out of nowhere.

I'm not saying I'm not happy about it tonight, but... if you are hanging

around I'd like to know why.”

“Maybe I like you.”


The first time he almost went away, the night her gave her her ring, the night they made love.

“My people -- before I was changed -- they exchanged this as a

sign of devotion. It's a claddagh ring. The hands represent friendship,

the crown represents loyalty... and the heart... Well, you know... Wear

it with the heart pointing towards you. It means you belong to somebody.

Like this.

“Put it on.”

“I don't wanna do this.”

“Me either.”

“ So don't go.”

The time she had sent him away.

“What's happening?”

“Shh. Don't worry about it.”

“I love you.”

“I love you.”

“Close your eyes.”

The time he left for good.

“I'm trying to do what's right here, okay? I'm trying to think with my head instead of my heart.”
”Heart? You have a heart? It isn't even beating!”
”Don't what? Don't love you? I'm sorry. You know what? I didn't know that I got a choice in that. I'm never gonna change. I can't change. I want my life to be with you.”
”I don't.”


With tears rolling down her cheeks, all the love and pain of the past 5 years washed over her. And she knew that she would always love him. But his timing had always sucked. Why did he chose today of all days to show up here? After the shock of Spike’s leaving, she wasn’t sure she could handle this. But, god, he looked good. Her mouth watered thinking just thinking about him. The rush of liquid and longing that began leaking down her thighs shocked her. How could he still have such an affect on her? Jeez, she needed to get a grip on herself before she went downstairs to meet him face to face.

Realizing she had postponed the inevitable long enough, and that the water was now cold, she turned off the faucets and grabbed a towel. It dawned on her that she had been in the shower for a good thirty minutes. What if he got tired of waiting? Oh, Lord, what if he had left her again? As the panic began to set in, she wrapped the towel around her and ran for the stairs. Please, please, be there.

Coming to the head of the staircase, she rushed down the first few stairs until she could see into the living room. She couldn’t see him. He had left again. She was too late. Her

voice was tortured as she called, “Angel, are you still there?”

A sigh of relief came over her as Angel walked out of the kitchen. He hadn't left. “Yeah, Buffy, I’m still here. Is something wrong? You look like you’ve seen a gho...”

Angel was shocked that he got that much out. She was standing on the stairs, in only a towel, her sopping wet hair draped across her shoulders. Knowing she was completely naked under that towel was his undoing. He stopped where he was, unable to move or speak. God, it took everything in his power not to run up the stairs and take her right there. Who needed a bed? He didn’t. Hell, he’d do her on a bed of nails, if that was his only choice.

So glad to see him, Buffy rushed down the stairs, tears trekking down her cheeks. “Oh, Angel, I thought you had left me again.” She ran to him and grabbed him around neck, crying into his jacket. “Please, Angel, don’t leave again. I can’t take it. Not again.”

Passion took over at that point. Angel lifted her face to his, and kissed the tears trailing down her face. “Baby, I am never leaving you again. I should have never left you. You are my life, my reason for being. No more doing without, or settling for second, for either of us.” Angel kissed her lips, gently at first, waiting for her to deepen the kiss. When she leaned into him, and opened her mouth fully for his invasion, Angel growled as his tongue entered her mouth. That simple act of submission brought out the demon in him, causing his face to change. Angel backed away, embarrassed, and turned to face the wall. He felt like a fledgling again, who couldn’t control his emotions.

“Buffy, honey, give me a few minutes. I need to get a grip.”

Buffy moved closer, and pressed her body against his back. “No, Angel, I have waited too long for this. Too much time, and too much pain has passed between us. I am not wasting one moment.”

Though she had seen his demon face before, it hadn’t appeared during their love making since the first kiss. He had been careful to keep control the only other time they had been together, to keep this from happening. A control he didn’t have tonight. It had been too long since he had held her like this. Angel felt sure that Buffy knew what the problem was, and he was angry that she wasn’t being more sensitive to his predicament. “Fine, Buffy, is this what you want to see?” he jeered, turning around to give her a full view. “You want to know what the problem is? Look at it. Is this what you want to make love with? Cause I can’t seem to make it go away. Only you do this to me, you know. I can’t seem to control myself when it comes to you, and it pisses me off. I’m 250 years old, this should not be an issue.”

Buffy reached out a hand and touched the ridges on his face. She ran her hand down his forehead, along his beautiful nose, and ended with her fingers teasing his fangs. Giggling, she reached up and kissed his mouth, fangs and all. “Angel, no one knows you in game face better than I do. At least no one that was born in this generation. Do you think the only thing I want from you is your beautiful face? “

Stunned, Angel let her continue to kiss him, demon face and all. “Angel,” she said between kisses, “I love all of you. Both the demon and the human parts of you. Not to say I ever want to meet Angelus face to face again, but he is still a part of you. Besides, I think the fangs are kind of cute on you, as long as I know that you are the one behind them.”

For just a moment, Angelus got control. Angel growled at Buffy and tore the towel from her body. Dear God, she was beautiful. His mouth was watering, and he needed to rid himself of his pants soon. Grabbing her by the shoulders, he spun her around and pinned her against the wall in the hallway with his body. Buffy gasped, not used to Angel exerting so much control in their relationship. She was shocked, but excited as well. Catching her gasp with his mouth, he slammed his lips down on hers, cutting her lips with her fangs. He roughly grabbed her breast with one hand, while unzipping his pants with the other to release his painfully swollen member. Buffy moaned in pleasure, but was stunned when he pulled away and began to apologize.

“God, Buffy, I am so sorry.” Angel zipped his pants and began pacing. “ I didn’t mean to scare you, or hurt you. You must think I’m an animal. You deserve so much better than this.”

“Angel, what the hell are you talking about?” she said, advancing on him. She didn’t stop until he was pinned against the wall in the living room, not caring that she was butt-naked. “I don’t know what you think I am, but it’s not what I am. Feel me, Angel.” Buffy grabbed his hand and placed it against her naked thigh. “Does this feel like a woman who was afraid or ashamed?”

Angel groaned. At this rate, his demon face was never going away. Her leg was wet with moisture. Juices that he had caused, just by being here. “But, you’re the slayer. You shouldn’t want this, not when I look like this. And act like that.”

“Your right, Angel. I don’t want this. I don’t want to make love with a vampire demon.” Buffy continued on quickly when she saw the dejected look on his face. “But I do want to make love with a man who happens to sometimes look like a vampire, but who is always a very human loving man. Angel, though I love the way you usually look, I don’t give a shit about that in the long run. You have something inside you that we will always have to deal with, but that shouldn’t stop us from being together. No more than if you had some skin disease. Its just part of who you are, and I accepted that long ago. And don’t hold back just because you are afraid to offend me. I am not the little virgin you knew before. As a matter of fact, I kind of like it when you’re a little rough. Kind of sexy, all that caveman crap.”

Buffy was done talking, dropping to her knees. Slowly, she began to unzip his pants, letting his engorged cock free. God, he was beautiful all over, even here. His cock bounced free of his trousers, hard and large in her face. A rush of lust burst from her, and she moaned out loud. Leaning forward, she placed a kiss on the head, and then sucked him deeply into her mouth. Swirling her tongue around him, she continued to move her head up and down on him, feeling herself getting wetter by the minute listening to his moans.

“Please, Buffy, god, don’t stop." Seeing her head bobbing up and down on him was driving him crazy. "Yeah, baby, harder, deeper, please. Oh, yeah, that’s so good.”

Buffy almost lost it when he began to move with her mouth. He was getting close, she could feel it. And she wanted to taste him, to feel his cool cum drain down her throat. Sucking harder, she took as much of him in her throat as she could. Angel gave her what she wanted, screaming her name all the way. His cum shot down her throat, causing a fresh spurt of lust to pool at her core. God, she loved this man.

Angel continued to take deep breaths, not that he needed them, but just to regain his focus. He grabbed her under the arms and quickly brought her up to him. Clasping her to his chest, he planted his lips on her mouth roughly. Sucking, licking, exploring her mouth, he rubbed her hips against his again raging hard on. Lowering his pants to fully expose himself, he grabbed her ass in both his hands and lifted her high enough to wrap her gorgeous legs around his hips. With one full swoop, she was impaled on his engorged member. “Oh, god, Buffy, I have missed this so much.”

Buffy was lost when he kissed her. Not with his usual *ooh, you might break* kiss, but a *God, I am going to fuck your brains out* kiss. And when he grabbed the cheeks of her ass and hoisted her up and planted her on his cock, all coherent thought left her brain. “Oh, shit, Angel. Fuck me, please. Fuck me hard.”

Angel was excited to the point of incomprehension. She was the one he had been waiting for, the reason he was here, on this earth. Every nerve in his body was on fire just thinking about her. Having Buffy planted on his cock was the epitome of ecstasy. Finally, she was where he had dreamed of her being. Hearing her cries, he became even harder, if that was possible. Buffy was moving herself up and down over his stiff cock, causing him to moan with each movement. Quickly, he reversed their positions so her back was up against the wall. Plunging into her with enough force to break the bones of a regular woman, he could feel her tight sheath clenching around him, nearing her completion. Needing to feel her cuming around him, Angel grabbed her around the ass with one hand and worked his other hand between their bodies. His thumb brushed against her clit, causing her to scream out his name. With one more brush of his thumb, she began to buck wildly against him.

"ANGEL, Oh, God. Don't stop. Please!" she screamed.

Angel quickened his onslaught, fucking her as fast and furious as his vampire body could move. He was so close, he could see stars behind his eyelids when they were closed. But he didn't want to close them, he wanted to see her beautiful face, to forever etch in his memory this moment. She was beautiful in her rapture, and he didn't want to miss a minute. "Buffy, baby, open your eyes. I want to see all of you."

Obeying his request, she looked directly into his golden orbs, drowning in the love and lust she saw there. Seeing her look at him with such love, even though he was wearing his demon face, sent Angel over the edge. He threw back his head, and howled her name.

Seeing him lose control like that caused Buffy to join him. She bucked against him with all her slayer strength as her orgasm hit her. Her scream joined his, like two wolves calling for their mates in the dead of the night. But Buffy forgot just how strong she was.

Angel's legs gave out. When she came, she pushed against him so hard, that, well, they just collapsed under him. He wound up in a heap on the floor, with her draped across him, both in really awkward positions. Legs and arms were everywhere.

Buffy looked up into his eyes, embarrassed beyond belief. "Angel, god, I am so sorry. Are you OK?"

He was trying not to embarrass her any further, or himself for that matter, but he couldn't help it. The sight they made sprawled on the floor, her stark naked, him with his pants around his thighs, was just too much. He actually burst out in a full blown, complete with snorting, belly laugh.

Buffy was at first shocked, then embarrassed. Looking around at them though, she finally saw the humor in the situation, and began to laugh right along with him, as loud if not louder. And it felt great. Never before had she and Angel had the opportunity to just let loose and laugh together. They were never allowed this kind of freedom. It was always guilt, or Armageddon, or *Curse* crap that filled their lives. No more of the *Curse* to worry about, a little less guilt, and a lot less Armageddons would hopefully fill their future.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, and then from his, Buffy sat up to catch her breath. "Jeez, that felt good. I really needed that."

Angel reached up and rubbed the side of her cheek with his thumb. "Oh, really? The part before the hysterical laughter, or after?"

Giggling again, Buffy placed her hand on his chest. "Actually, both. You know the before was incredible, or what *caused* the after wouldn't have happened."

"OK, I can buy that. Buffy, you know we really need to talk. And if would probably go a lot better if we both had our clothes on."

Sighing, she stood up. "OK, Spoilsport, you win. We do need to talk. And I had better get those clothes on. Cause you know I am probably going to have to move now, what with all that howling. The neighbors are going to have me evicted."

Angel pulled his pants up, fastening the button and zipper. "Yeah, the yelling didn't help either. I'm surprised the police aren't here to throw me in jail." He stood up, and readjusted his shirt.

"Yeah, yeah, you are the man. I'll be back in a few minutes, dressed and ready to do the talking thing." Walking by him, she reached up and placed a kiss on his cheek. "I'll be back down in a minute. Don't you go anywhere."

"Not a chance. Not even if you ask me too."

"Okay, I'll try not to do that, but I guess it all depends on what you have to say."

Angel leaned down and gently kissed her lips. "Get some clothes on, before we have a repeat performance. We'll talk when you get down."

Grabbing her towel from the floor, she ran up the stairs, not caring that she was completely naked. All she wanted was to get some clothes on and come back down to him. Running to her room, she opened her closet, looking at her wardrobe. Realizing how silly she was being, she shut the closet and went to her pajama drawer. Picking out her favorite sleeping outfit, she quickly got dressed. She checked out her reflection in the mirror. Pink tank top, pink satin boxers, the outfit works. Running a brush through her hair, then running a clear gloss over her lips, she headed back down the stairs.



Part Six: This Way Lies Love


Angel knew he was staring, but he couldn’t seem to stop. She looked like sunshine, all bright and clean. But that was what he always thought of when he looked at her. Buffy was such a mixture of innocence and seduction. One minute the naive young girl, the next an experienced seductress. It was one of the many things that had first attracted him to her.

Buffy had come down the stairs, and sat next to him on the couch where he had been waiting for her. After a few minutes of silence, she couldn’t stand it anymore. “Uh, Angel, you’re staring. Do I have something stuck in my teeth, or what?”

Snapping out of it, Angel apologized. “Sorry, Buffy. I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable, but you are just so beautiful. I think I had forgotten, or maybe time dimmed the memory, but I just can’t seem to stop looking at you.”

Blushing profusely, Buffy whispered a heartfelt “Thank you.” He had always made her feel like she was the only woman in the world to him. But that wasn’t the case, not since Cordelia. They had a lot of issues to work through, Spike and Cordelia being the biggest ones. “OK, so where do we begin this big talk fest? Should I go first, or you?”

“How about me?”

“Works for me. So, what is it you want to say to me?”

Angel’s eyebrows knitted together in concentration. That was a good question. What did he really want to say? “I thought I knew, Buffy. But it’s really hard to put into words. The main thing I want to say is I’m sorry for leaving you. It was a mistake, and I know I hurt you. Even though that wasn’t my intention. You know what they say. The road to hell, and all that. Oh, bad analogy, huh?”

Wincing, Buffy nodded. “Yeah, that did sorta suck.”

Reaching out and taking her hand in his, he continued. “Sorry. I guess what I really want to say is that I still love you. I’ve always loved you, since the first moment I saw you. In all my years, no one has even come close to making me feel the things you do. I need you, with me, in my life. I don’t think I can do this without you anymore.”

Angel’s words caused tears to well up in her eyes. “I love you, too, Angel. But what about Cordelia?”

Seeing the tears in her eyes, Angel told her, “Cordelia and I aren’t together anymore. I do love her, but not like I should. She was there when I was angry and alone. She’s a really good friend, but what happened between us should have never happened. I know that now. It wasn’t fair to her, or to you.”

“Angel, as much as I want to believe that, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m hurt and angry.” Buffy snapped. “When I needed you, you weren’t there. You were with her. And I’m not sure I can ever forgive you for it.”

Angel was a little hurt at her reply, and a little angry as well. “That’s fair, Buffy. And I will be honest, it is going to take some time for me to get over you being with Spike. You aren’t the only one angry and hurt here. Speaking of Spike, where is he?”

“Spike left this morning. For good.” Buffy softly replied.

“Oh. I wish I could say I was sorry, but that would be a lie.”

Buffy smiled at that. “No, it’s OK. I’m not sorry either. I never loved him, he was just convenient. As long as I had him around, I didn’t have to worry about being lonely, or dating, or having a social life. It was the easy way out.”

Shaking his head in agreement, Angel replied. “Looks like we both took the easy way out. No real emotional attachment, no danger of getting our hearts broken. Who would of thought we would both turn out to be such cowards?”

Buffy had never thought of it that way. “Yeah, who would of thought? Of course, the emotional toll caused by the Buffy and Angel saga might have had something to do with that.”

Angel giggled at that. “Yes, you’re probably right. But I’m through being a coward. I’m tired of living without you, without your love. What about you? You ready to rejoin the land of the living and loving?”

Buffy smiled at him. “You know, Angel.” Leaning forward she placed a kiss on his mouth. “I think I am. As long as it’s with you.”

The End