A REASON TO DROWN

 


AUTHOR: Yseult deBreton (yseultdb@yahoo.com)
DATE OF COMPLETION: 3 March 2003
DISTRIBUTION: Yseult’s Passion and my permission.
DISCLAIMER: Mine. Angel
’s all mine. You can’t have him. Oh, whoops. Sorry about that. That was my evil twin. Let me beat her into submission. Not mine. Not mine.
AUTHOR
’S NOTES (1): Angel’s thoughts are in italics.
AUTHOR'S NOTES (2): If you can pretend that Buffy and Angel got together before
“Forever”, you can pretend that Dawn is not in my universe.
FEEDBACK: Almost as good as sex! Send it to yseultdb@yahoo.com


Part I
It was a fact. Angel was getting his ass royally kicked by four fledgling vampires who all happened to be members of a martial arts school. Their attack was coordinated and disciplined, and they were hungry. That last detail was always a big motivator in these types of fights. Angel stood between them and a complete dinner
– appetizer, entrιe, and dessert dressed in three delicious human bodies.

Angel looked around for Wesley. He was still lying senseless on the ground in front of the would-be meal selections. If Angel could hold the fledglings off until Gunn arrived, everything would be fine.

They were in a filthy alley behind a seedy bar that was conveniently located across the street from a cemetery. The bar supplied lots of easy meals for new vampires. It may as well have a flashing neon sign that says, “Vampires eat here.” Angel staggered under the onslaught of kidney punches. At that moment, the vampire to his left dissolved into a fine dust. Finally.

“What the hell took you so long?” Angel snarled before he neckchopped and staked the second vampire.

“What can I say?” Gunn drawled. “Parking in LA’s a bitch. Did English forget to duck again?” The third vampire was decapitated with the sharp edge of an axe.

“No,” replied Angel as he chased the last vampire into a wall and staked him just to be sure. “He forgot to run.”

Gunn herded the stunned humans into his truck and returned to Wesley’s side. The former rogue demon hunter was shakily sitting up. Even in the dimly lit alley Gunn could see the egg-shaped lump on Wesley’s head. That was going to be one hell of a headache tomorrow.

“What did I miss?” croaked Wesley as he attempted to stand.

Gunn flashed him a shit-eating grin. “An Angel ass-whuppin’!” Angel growled threateningly. “Don’t you be pullin’ any of your evil Angelus bullshit with me. I know ass-whuppin’ when I see it an’ that was your sorry undead ass gettin’ beat.” It sure as hell felt like it.

Angel’s cell phone rang. “And that would be Cordy wondering where in hell we are,” added Gunn. As he helped Wesley into the truck, he continued his play-by-play colour commentary on the evening’s fight. Angel answered the phone.

“Tell me you love me.” A woman’s trembling voice pleaded in his ear. It was not Cordelia.

“Buffy?” What’s wrong?

“Tell me you love me. Please.” Something was off. What’s going on?

“Buffy, what’s wrong? Where are you?” Angel could hear the tears in her voice and it scared him. “Tell me where you are,” he commanded. “I’ll come and get you.” Gunn stepped out of the truck. Angel’s body language screamed “trouble”, but the man couldn’t see anything.

“Buffy, please. Tell me what’s wrong,” Angel repeated frantically. He could hear murmuring voices in the background. Then his lover screamed and the phone was disconnected. Angel’s primal roar echoed through the alley.


Part II
Too late. I was too late. Again. Angel paced the perimeter of Giles
’ living room. Giles had thrown him out of the loft bedroom after the vampire had growled at him “once too many bloody times.” He couldn’t help it. His mate had been injured; she could have died. And I was too goddamn late again.

He had spent the day pacing a trench in the lobby of the Hyperion. Willow’s desperate call had arrived just after the sun edged into the easten sky. Wesley was speaking to the excitable witch when Angel and Gunn emerged from the cellar. Wesley waved his hand to get their attention.

“Willow, slow down. Yes, I’m sure we have that book. Do you want me to fax the page? I see. How much time?” Wesley’s frown deepened. “Right. Yes, I’ll tell Angel.” He turned the cordless phone off and stared at the floor.

“How bad is it?” Angel choked out. The former Watcher looked at his friend. The already pale vampire had lost the little colour he normally had. Wesley put a hand on his forearm. “She’s been injured, but Willow assures me it’s not life threatening.”

The vampire looked at him with a mixture of relief and surprise. “I’m going to Sunnydale,” he announced anyway. Wesley had never doubted that he wouldn’t, but it seemed prudent not to say that.

Angel hastily packed a bag and grabbed the information Willow needed. He was about to leave the hotel when Cordelia leaned over the bannister and asked him if he’d packed sunscreen. He had looked up at her with “Huh?” written all over his face. She had pointed to the sunlight streaming through the window and then watched him crumple into a chair. The ex-cheerleader had sat with him through the day and tried to distract him with descriptions of her latest round of auditions. When the sun finally set, Angel exited the lobby so quickly, he honestly couldn’t say if it was to see Buffy or escape Cordelia.

He arrived in Sunnydale a scarce ninety minutes after leaving LA. He parked on the street outside of Giles’ home and raced to the door. Willow must have been watching for him because she opened the door before he had a chance to knock. They hugged briefly. When Angel entered, he saw Xander, Anya, and some other woman sitting in the living room surrounded by stacks of books. Willow’s computer was on the desk. An angry man sat at the keyboard determinedly ignoring the new arrival. Willow took his hand and pulled him further into the living room.

”Angel, I want you to meet my friend, Tara. She’s a witch like me.” From the loving gaze Willow bestowed on the blonde-haired woman, Angel knew this was no ordinary friend. The two women were clearly attracted to each other. Called that one right. Wonder how long this has been going on. Xander mumbled a “Hey, Angel.” Anya gave him an appreciative appraisal again. Riley Finn still ignored him. That’s just too damn bad.

“Here,” said Angel, and he thrust Wesley’s book at Willow. “This is the one you needed, right?”

“Yeah, thanks, but you didn’t need to bring it.” Willow took the book and blushed when she realized why he’d made the trip. “So. Angel. How are you? Is business going well? You must have lots of clients.” She was babbling and everyone knew it. An awkward silence descended on the room after Angel answered her questions. “Why don’t you go on up?” Willow finally suggested quietly. “She’s in Giles’ room.”

Angel ran up the stairs, paused outside of the closed door, and knocked gently. Giles opened the door. He had been expecting to see Riley again. Instead a brooding vampire loomed in the doorway and asked, “Can I come in?”

Giles never thought he would be so relieved to see this vampire. “Angel. I’m glad you’re here. Maybe you can talk some sense into her.” He stepped aside, and Angel walked into the claustrophobic room. Buffy lay on Giles’ bed. A thin film of sweat covered her face and she looked unusually pale. A field-dressing bandage was taped just above her right hip.

“I thought it wasn’t life threatening,” Angel whispered to Giles as he looked at a feverish Buffy. She was still dressed in her blood-stained patrol clothes. Angel approached the bed and touched a cool hand on her forehead. She moaned his name in her sleep. Buffy, what the hell happened? Angel turned to the ex-Watcher. “What happened? Why isn’t she at the hospital?”

“Well,” began Giles. “You know how she feels about hospitals. Beyond putting that giant Band-Aid on, I haven’t actually seen the wound. And she’s been rather taciturn about who or what did the damage.” He didn’t want to admit to Angel that old-fashioned morality had prevented him from stripping the clothing from Buffy’s body and making a thorough investigation of the injury site. Angel mentally smiled as he realized why Giles hadn’t examined Buffy’s wound. But Riley…

“Did Riley look? He has some basic medical training.” And he’s seen Buffy without her clothes. He really didn’t want to think about Riley’s hands on Buffy’s body, but it was logical that the solider would have checked her injury. And why is she injured anyway? Isn’t he supposed to be watching her back? Angel’s jaw clenched in anger.

“Yes, well,” stammered Giles. He removed his glasses and cleaned the lenses. “Buffy has sort of been drifting in and out of consciousness. When she’s coherent, she refuses to go the hospital.”

“And when she’s not?” Angel wondered what the British man was trying not to say.

“When she’s incoherent, she keeps asking for you.” Giles put his glasses back on and stared pointedly at Buffy’s ex-lover. “Under the circumstances,” he continued. “I thought it best if Riley did not hear that.” Angel grinned in spite of himself.

He looked down at the beautiful woman that did and did not belong to him. If the wound was infected, she needed antibiotics and maybe hospitalization. He could forcibly take her to the hospital. There was only so much yelling she could do. Angel gathered her up in his arms and prepared to lift her off the bed. Buffy opened her eyes.

“Angel? Are you really here?” He couldn’t help it. He had to gently kiss her forehead. This is trouble.

“I’m here. I’m going to take you to the hospital.” She dug her fingernails into his arms. Her head rested on his chest. She tilted it up to look into his eyes. Her face was so close, it would be nothing to bend his head and capture her pouty lips in his own. Forget it. She’s not yours.

“Please, Angel, please don’t take me there.” She pleaded with her whole body. Unconsciously he tightened his grip on her.

“Buffy, you’re hurt. We need to know how badly.” He whispered the words into her ear and his mouth automatically kissed her earlobe. She shivered in his arms.

“No. I won’t go.” God, she could be stubborn! “You look.” Her hot lips pressed against his cool mouth and she gently moaned. Behind them, Giles loudly cleared his throat. He was beginning to think that Angel’s presence was not a good idea.

Angel lay Buffy on the bed and unwound her arms from his neck. “Giles, do you want to stay?” I don’t want you to stay. But if you do, I won’t have to worry about my soul. Giles felt trapped. The old spark between Angel and Buffy had burst into flame before his eyes. He didn’t want to intrude on his Slayer’s privacy, but if he left the room, Riley would be here in an instant.

“I’ll make some hot tea for Buffy,” replied Giles. “And a bloody stiff drink for me,” he muttered under his breath. He turned the lock in the door before he closed it behind him. It wasn’t much, but it would give them some warning before Riley interrupted them.


Part III
Angel gazed at his lover. It didn
’t matter who she was with, he would always think of Buffy as his lover. Present tense. No ex. The last time he had seen her, he had apologized for his behavior, but not for fighting Riley. Why apologize for something I’d happily do again? He brushed her hair off her face. She opened her eyes.

“You Superman now?” she asked wearily.

“What?” Is she hallucinating? Her eyes looked clear and focused. She didn’t seem to be delirious.

“Superman had x-ray vision,” she answered. He still didn’t get it. She suppressed a giggle at his confused facial expression. “Are you going to tell me how bad it is?” Her eyes lowered to the bandage on her hip.

Oh, right. He would have to undo her pants and lift her shirt. “Buffy, are you sure you want me to do this? Shouldn’t Riley—” She cut him off with a shake of her head. “Riley will make me go to the hospital.” And that’s a bad thing?

His fingers tentatively brushed the button at the waistband of her jeans. His pants bulged noticeably. Damn. “Maybe I should ask Willow to come in and—” She put a single finger to his lips to quiet him. “No Willow. No Riley. No Giles. Only you,” she whispered. Buffy slid her finger back and forth along his lower lip begging entry into his cool mouth. He parted his lips, and her finger slipped in. He sucked it slowly tasting the salt and sweat. Angel closed his eyes and savoured the feeling. When he opened his eyes, Buffy was smiling at him. “You should probably look sooner rather than later,” she said.

Looking isn’t the problem. It’s wanting that’s the problem. Angel mentally slapped himself and matter-of-factly undid the button and pulled down the zipper on her jeans. Did she pour these on? “Buffy, can you lift your hips?”

She groaned. “Yes, but it hurts like hell.” Tears gathered in her eyes.

“Well, it’s that or I cut them off you,” suggested Angel. He got the reaction he wanted.

“Are you nuts? Do you have any idea how much these jeans cost? Don’t even think about it, mister.” She lifted her hips without flinching and pushed her jeans down to her knees. Angel slid them off her feet and dropped them on the floor with a grimace. Does she really think the bloodstains are gonna come out? He made an effort not to look at Buffy’s underwear. When he was dating her, she wore simple cotton hipsters that would absorb her juices. He adored that unique smell. On the day only he remembered she had worn a thong; clothes had become irrelevant after the kitchen table broke. He really didn’t want to know what her preferred underwear was with Riley.

He kept his eyes on her face as he hesitantly lifted her t-shirt. Apparently she preferred not to wear underwear. Fuck. No. Not fuck. Not allowed to fuck. He closed his eyes and heard her stifled giggle. “It’s not like you’ve never seen me before,” Buffy said coyly. “Angel, open your eyes.”

Angel refused to open his eyes. “You’re not helping,” he growled.

“Angel, open your eyes. Please.”

Her voice persuaded him. He opened his eyes and looked deeply into hers. “This is a dangerous game for us,” he warned. He spotted a blanket at the foot of the bed and covered her with it. When she was decent, he walked to the window and stared into the courtyard below. What is she playing at? Did something happen with Riley? He could see her reflection in the window. She was struggling to sit up.

“You’re brooding.” She threw the accusation at him. It stung. Yes, I’m brooding. You’re half naked and I’m supposed to do the “look but don’t touch” routine. And I can, I think. But I don’t want to. The need to be with her was rapidly drowning out any other rational thought.

“Look, I’m sorry. I didn’t plan this. And I know it’s awkward.” Her voice trailed into the tense silence. She removed the bandage and sucked in a breath through clenched teeth. He was at her side in an instant. The wound wasn’t very deep. Some disinfectant, some butterfly bandages, and a couple bottles of Motrin tablets would get her through the next few days. Angel tenderly cleaned the wound and applied a fresh dressing. His hand rested on her hip bone, his fingers brushed her triangle of curls.

“Buffy,” he breathed her name and then he was kissing her deeply, thoroughly, seeking solace in her mouth. When he surfaced, the blanket had been pushed to the floor and she was naked before him. “Just for tonight, Angel,” she whispered. “Please.”

I’ll just hold her. Nothing else. As the mattress sunk beneath his weight, Angel silently acknowledged the lie.


Part IV
Buffy turned her body to Angel and nestled into his embrace. His hands smoothed her hair as his mouth left butterfly kisses on her hairline.

“Close your eyes, Buffy. Try to get some sleep.” Please. And then I can sneak out of here before I stray into non-ex-boyfriend territory. She lifted one eyebrow and smiled at him.

“You, of all people, should not be telling me to close my eyes. Bad things happen when eyes are closed.” A single tear spilled onto her cheek and rolled onto his chest. I know. I remember.

Angel hugged her closer. “I know. But you still need to sleep.” He felt her fingers slip beneath his shirt and splay across his chest. “Buffy?” he whispered hoarsely.

“I can remember the last time I touched your chest.” Her voice was mesmerizing. Angel closed his eyes. A day that wasn’t. “Graduation Day,” she continued. Buffy lifted his shirt and pressed her warm lips to the cool bare skin. Chocolate and peanut butter. “I never thought I’d feel your skin again.” Her lips moved over Angel’s ribcage. “When I close my eyes,” Buffy whispered against his skin, “I can still feel the silkiness beneath my fingers.” Her tongue swirled over his nipple. Warm tongue on warm skin licking cold ice cream.

Angel stifled his moan. “Buffy, we can’t do this,” he pleaded. He pulled her hands out from under his shirt and released them. Then he dazedly watched his hands encircle her breasts. His fingers kneaded their firmness; his thumbs traced lazy circles around each nipple until she arched in his hands.

“Please, Angel,” Buffy begged. He couldn’t deny her. He bent his head and laved one bud until it pebbled beneath his tongue. Her hands kept his head at her breast as his tongue sucked and swirled, nipped and tasted, until her body exploded in ecstasy. Without allowing her pause, Angel tilted his head to reach her other nipple. As Buffy careened through her second orgasm, his fingers slipped to the apex of her legs.

He thought about asking for permission, but if I don’t ask, she can’t say no. His fingers slipped between her legs and she moaned his name. What pulled him back to reality was Buffy’s sudden yelp of pain. Oh, right, that would be the knife wound on her hip, you idiot.

“Buffy, I’m sorry. I didn’t think.” I am so not thinking. Angel shifted his body weight off her and let her settle against him. Buffy shivered and he noticed the goosebumps on her skin. Okay. First I try to kill her with pain and then I try to freeze her. I used to be so good at this lover stuff. “You’re freezing.” He covered her with the bedclothes. The better to take the temptation away. Angel started to sit up and was stopped by Buffy’s hand pressing onto his abdomen.

“Angel? Stay until I go to sleep.” All of a sudden, she didn’t look like a Slayer, just a scared young woman.

He relaxed his body. “Okay. But only if you go to sleep.” Buffy nodded her head and sclosed her eyes.

“Angel?” she whispered drowsily, “Thank you.” For what, love? For leaving you? For loving you?

“You ‘re welcome,” he whispered in return. But she had already drifted into sleep. One arm was thrown over his chest and a soft snore filled the room.


Part V
Of course, it wasn
’t as simple as that. Giles knocked on the door minutes later with tea for Buffy and blood for Angel. He just happened to have this lying around? Giles merely said, “Willow,” and handed him the mug of microwaved fluid.

The ex-Watcher entered the room and set the teacup on the nightstand. He glanced at his Slayer and noted that she was asleep. Then he noticed her crumbled t-shirt and stained jeans.

“I take it we’re not going to the hospital tonight,” he observed. Angel managed to look embarrassed.

“It’s not deep. It’s already starting to knit together.” The vampire returned to the window. “Giles, what the hell is going on?”

Giles removed his glasses. “An explanation. Right.” There was an explanation, a pathetic excuse for an explanation, but an explanation nonetheless. Giles cleaned his glasses and weighed his options. If he told Angel the truth, Xander would likely die in the next ten minutes. If he lied about how Buffy was injured, it would give Riley a couple of hours to get out of town before Angel killed him. If he refused to answer, Spike would be only too happy to fill in the blanks.

“Long or short?” The ex-Watcher avoided the vampire’s glare and replaced his glasses.

“You tell me. How many people am I not killing with the short version?” Angel knew Giles was dancing around an ugly story. Just tell me. He looked at Buffy sleeping peacefully on the bed. “Just tell me, Giles.”

The tired man picked up Buffy’s untouched tea and took a sip. He grimaced at the excess sugar. “She was patrolling and was ambushed.”

Angel turned his head and stared incredulously at Giles. “And the long version?”

Giles sat on the bed and brushed the hair from Buffy’s face. “She was patrolling with Riley. They were ambushed and got separated in the fighting. Riley tried to call for backup, but Xander had forgotten to turn his cell phone on. Buffy had her phone and I gather that she called you. She was about to be dragged off when Spike rescued her and brought her here.” He glanced at Angel. “Angel, I know you care deeply for Buffy. But she’s been hurt worse than this before. She will recover from these injuries.”

The ex-Watcher blanched as Angel began to growl menacingly.

“Isn’t Riley supposed to watch her back?” The words were spat out with disdain. “What the hell was he doing?” Why is she with him if he can’t even watch her back? The man’s worse than useless. He growled again. “I can ask you, Giles, or I can go down there and pound it out of him. What was Riley doing?”

“Buffy doesn’t like to patrol with him.” Giles spoke matter-of-factly.

Angel waited. Spit it out, Giles.

“She doesn’t think he can hold his own.” There was no point in hiding this truth from Angel. If he stayed in Sunnydale long enough, he’d either figure it out himself or Willow or Xander or Anya would let it slip.

Angel growled again. “So, you’re telling me she’s out there on her own again?”

Giles removed his glasses and pinched his nose. “Angel, she’s the Slayer. She’s supposed to do it on her own.”

Angel’s next growl was beside Giles’ ear. “And we both know how successful that plan’s been!” Angel walked the length of the bedroom. “Giles, she’s covered in bruises. As bad as things were when I was here, she never looked like that. She’s getting hammered. She needs—“

“I need you.” Buffy’s voice caused both men to turn back to the bed. “I need you, Angel. I need you fighting beside me as an equal. Not someone I gotta worry about like Xander or Riley.”

Angel glanced at Giles and shook his head. “Buffy, I can’t. You know I can’t.” Please. Let’s not do this right now.

Buffy sat up and wrapped the sheet around her body. Giles was frozen in place, an unwilling eyewitness to a heartwrenching scene. “You can’t or you won’t, Angel? You can’t be with me, but you can get your butt here from LA when I’m hurt or need to be saved? Why the hell can’t you? Tell me. Please. I’m dying to know why you can’t be with me.” The pain rolled off her body.

“Buffy, maybe you should have this conversation when you’re feeling stronger.” Giles attempted to interevene.

I don’t know. She looks stronger to me already. Actually she looks pretty good with that sheet. Angel gave himself another mental backhand. “Giles is right. We can talk about this later.”

“Oh, you mean you’ll be here later when I wake up? That’s gotta be a first.” She was angry and upset and physically weak. Angel wanted nothing more than to lie with her again.

“Buffy, please. You need to rest.” He placed one hand on her shoulder and tried to gently push her back onto the mattress. Maybe if I say it softly she’ll calm down. Angel watched the tactic misfire splendidly.

“NO, Angel. I want to know NOW!” She used one arm to knock his hand off her shoulder and then she pushed him away. Angel fell against the nightstand and knocked the lamp to the floor.

When he sat up, he was in gameface and he was growling. Angel grabbed Buffy’s upper arms with his hands and squeezed tightly. He pushed his face close to hers and snarled harshly, “BECAUSE IT HURTS TOO MUCH TO BE WITH YOU AND NOT HAVE YOU.”

He released Buffy when Giles said softly, “Angel, why don’t you wait downstairs.” He could see the tears pooling in her eyes. What have I done?

 

Part VI
Giles slowly walked down the stairs and glanced around his home. It was a mess. Papers and books were piled on end tables, chairs, and even the floor. Willow
’s computer was no longer on the desk. He looked around and noticed that everyone had left except for Riley and Angel. The two men sat glaring at each other.

He had had a difficult conversation with Buffy. He had been unable to calm her down. With Angel’s departure from the room, she had dissolved into a sobbing heaving mass. Giles now had the uncomfortable task of asking Riley to leave.

Giles fussed in the kitchen and made a fresh cup of tea for Buffy. He took the cup into the living room and silently handed it to Angel along with a bottle of Motrin. Then he turned to Riley. “Riley, why don’t you go home and get some rest. Come back tomorrow.”

Riley stood up. “But, Buffy—“ he protested.

Giles looked at him tiredly. “Go home, Riley.” He watched the soldier shake his head in disbelief, gather his belongings, and head out the door. Giles turned to Angel. “See if you can get her to go back to sleep. If you need anything, I’ll be down here on the couch.”

It was Angel’s turn to disbelieve. “Giles, are you sure this is a good idea?”

Giles yawned. “No, I’m not sure. But it’s not my decision, is it? Go on. I’ll see you both in the morning.”

Angel took the teacup and medicine up to Giles’ room. When he entered, Buffy’s back was towards the doorway. “Buffy?” he whispered. “Are you awake? Giles made you some tea.” He turned and closed the door. When he turned back, she was facing him. Her face was splotchy and tear-streaked. Her chest still heaved quietly.

He placed the cup on the nightstand and opened the medicine bottle. Angel deposited three tablets beside the teacup. “Here. Take these.”

She reached for the tablets and washed them down with the tea. Buffy replaced the teacup on the nightstand and raised clear eyes to Angel. She lifted the sheets away from the bed and patted the space beside her.

“Come to bed, Angel.” This is going to be a very long night.

 

Part VII
“Buffy, I don’t want to argue with you again. Not right now.” And if I get in that bed, we definitely will not be arguing. He felt a surge of anger course through his undead body. Why is she pushing this? Angel’s eyebrows knitted together as he considered and discarded reasons for Buffy’s behaviour.

Buffy rolled her eyes in exasperation. “Who said anything about arguing? I’m tired. Can we just go to sleep?” She dropped the bedclothes. “If it’ll make you happier, you can sleep on top of the sheets. Okay?” No. It’s not okay. That’s not where I want to sleep.

Angel glanced around the room in search of an agreeable solution. He spied the blanket at the foot of the bed. “I can sleep on the floor,” he replied and picked up the blanket. “Or I can sleep downstairs,” he added. It would be safer if I were downstairs.

Buffy sighed. “Angel, I don’t bite.” She held up her hand to prevent his interruption. “And, yes, I know you do. And did. Bite me, that is. And we’ve never talked about that. And I’m not suggesting we start now. It’s just…” She played with edge of the sheet. “You know what? Never mind. Sleep wherever the hell you want to sleep.” She turned off the bedside lamp. Angel heard the rustle of the mattress as she rolled over away from me.

His eyes adjusted to the darkness. She had left space on the bed in case he changed his mind. Angel stared at her silent form for several minutes. Then he returned the blanket to the foot of the bed and picked up the empty teacup and the Motrin. He was at the door when he heard her speak.

“It’s true, isn’t it? You really don’t want me in your life.”

Angel froze. One hand was on the doorknob and the other clutched the teacup. I want you. I want you so badly I would die for you. He didn’t say that. Instead he left the room and firmly closed the door behind him.

The TV was on in the living room. Giles was dressed in his pajamas, sipping something alcoholic, and watching something Shakespearean. “Is she asleep?”

Angel nodded his head in denial. “She’s getting there. I just came down to get a change of clothes. And an extra pillow if you have one.” He deposited the cup and Motrin in the kitchen and retrieved his duffel bag.

He had his back to Giles as he rummaged in his bag so he missed Giles’ raised eyebrow.

“You’re sleeping on the floor?” the British man inquired.

“Yeah.” Angel pulled out a pair of sweat pants and a t-shirt. “Just in case she needs something.” He found his toothbrush and turned to face Giles. “Where do you keep your towels?”


Part VIII
When Angel re-entered the bedroom, he paused briefly and listened to Buffy
’s steady breathing. Good. She’s asleep. He dropped the pillow on the floor by the bed. He had just settled down when he heard the bed creak.

“Great,” said a sleepy Buffy. “This is why I don’t drink tea late at night.” Before Angel could process what she was talking about, she had rolled to the edge of the bed, lifted the sheets, and stepped onto his chest. He sat up and wrapped his arms around her legs to prevent her from falling. Her feet massaged his thighs. Buffy yelped in fright.

“Shhh. It’s just me,” soothed Angel.

“Angel, what are you doing there?” Her hands gripped his shoulders. Her breasts were suddenly in his face. Um, fantasizing about tasting those breasts again?

“Sleeping,” he answered. “Where are you going?”

“Bathroom. Between you and Giles, I’ve had so much tea I could float.” Angel still held her legs. “Angel, I need to go now. Can we play ’20 Questions’ later?” He loosened his grip and caressed her calves. Toned muscles. He rested his head against her belly and breathed in her skin. She smells like rain. He felt her fingers run through his hair. “Angel?” He tasted the smooth skin of her abdomen and heard her groan. Come for me again? Her fingers tightened in his hair. “Angel? I’m not kidding about the now part. Let go.”

Let go. How many times have I had to let go? He released her. She stepped off him and padded to the door. He imagined a beautiful view of her firm buttocks. She’s leaving the room?

“Buffy, where are you going?”

“The bathroom.” She turned the compound word into two single words as if speaking to a small child. “You know. The place you go when you need to go. We call it a bathroom.”

Angel smirked at her even though she couldn’t see it. “I know what a bathroom is. Don’t you think you should put something on?” Or are you planning to give Giles the biggest hard-on of his life?

Buffy’s answer was completely unexpected. In retrospect, it was also completely Buffy.

“No.” She opened the door only to have it slammed shut by Angel.

“Put. Clothes. On. Now,” he ordered. He pulled his t-shirt over his head and handed it to her. “Start with this.”

She put the t-shirt on and smoothed the fabric over her body. Angel’s tongue traced his upper lip at her unconsciously wanton behaviour. “This smells like you,” Buffy whispered before she slipped past the vampire and exited the room.


Part IX
I can
’t believe I did that. Angel sat on the edge of the bed with his elbows on his knees and stared at his bare feet. What the hell was I thinking? Who’s the grown up here? Because right now, it’s not me. And nothing’s changed. We still can’t make love. I still can’t take her into the sunlight. He pursed his lips. And the touch of her skin still sets mine on fire. He dug the heels of his hands into his eyes. Brood session, here I come.

Angel was completely absorbed in his thoughts. He didn’t hear the door open. He didn’t hear Buffy’s intake of breath as she glimpsed his muscled chest. He didn’t hear the door close again or her footsteps on the floor. It wasn’t until he opened his eyes and noticed another pair of feet that he realized she was back.

“Buffy, I—“ She shushed him with an index finger against his lips.

“Shut up, Angel. I don’t want to talk anymore tonight.” Okay. I can do that.

“What do you want to do?” Did I just say that? He placed his hands on her hips and drew her to him. Because what I want to do is off-limits. She stood between his legs and traced his jawline with her index finger. And I’m tired of this touch/don’t touch game we’ve been playing. Angel pushed the t-shirt off her hips, past her waist, up the sides of her chest, over her head, and dropped it to the floor. I just want to lose myself in you. His tongue escaped his lips and tasted hers. Forever.

Buffy dissolved beneath his kiss. God, I love this woman. He sucked her bottom lip until she opened her mouth completely. He pushed past her teeth and swept the warmth inside. He counted and bathed each tooth with his cool tongue. He massaged her tongue in a slow rhythm. While his tongue claimed Buffy’s mouth, Angel’s hands gracefully stroked up and down her back, possessively twisted in her hair, lewdly cupped her bottom. He could follow her journey over his body by the trail of warm skin. Her hands tangled in his hair, held his face, traced his biceps and pectorals, skipped lightly over his chest.

Angel leaned back onto the mattress and pulled Buffy with him. He didn’t break the kiss until he rolled and pinned her body beneath his. His hands explored her breasts and traveled over her abdomen. They ventured to the intimate space between her legs. One finger slipped down and over her clitoris. One lazy sweeping circle had her bucking against the heel of his hand. Angel nuzzled her neck and plundered her mouth again. Heaven.

He raised one hand to touch her cheek and felt the tears. Please don’t cry. I can’t do this if you cry. “Shhhh,” he whispered and kissed the tears away. He tugged on her earlobe with blunt teeth and listened to Buffy’s giggle. When did I last hear you laugh?

His hands resumed their exploration. He squeezed her breasts gently and let his thumb pads play with the pink nipples until each was erect and begging for his tongue. Angel tentatively licked one nipple and watched as Buffy’s body undulated. This has possibilities. He repeated the action and was rewarded with another body wave. Angel was about to do it again when his mouth was forcefully pressed against her breast. When he looked at Buffy’s face, her eyes were screwed shut and her mouth hung slackly open. He looked at her other nipple and discovered Buffy’s fingers rolling and tweaking it. Angel’s hips bucked involuntarily. Is this how she does it with Riley? The thought was chased by a menacing growl. Buffy’s eyes flew open and widened as he swirled his fingers in the fragrant juices between her legs.

She spread her legs wider and grimaced as the healing injury on her hip split apart. Scant drops of blood clung to the edges of the wound. Angel lapped them up before settling between Buffy’s thighs. He nuzzled her vaginal area; his nose swept up her scent. Angel used his thumbs to open the outer lips that hid her sex from him. His cool tongue traced one long lip and then the other before finally touching the tip of her clitoris. Buffy stifled her scream and laced her hands through his dark brown hair. Angel licked her again and smiled as she muffled a second scream. He proceeded to lick and tease Buffy mercilessly while she mewled into the pillow. He took her to the threshold of her orgasm and stopped. He removed his mouth but held her lips open and blew a long cool breath across her clitoris. Buffy’s squeal as she peaked and then tumbled into orgasm was worth the wait. Bet Riley can’t do that.


Part X
Angel settled comfortably onto his back and tucked his hands behind his head. He watched as Buffy stretched and curled her toes. He listened to her ragged breaths and then her satisfied sigh. Nice to know I haven
’t lost my touch. Wonder if Giles heard her. He was not prepared for the hands that swiftly pulled the waistband of his sweats down to his ankles. There was a brief argument between his feet and his pants as Buffy somehow tangled them all together. Then he was free and bare. Soft hands glided up his calves and danced over his thighs. They ventured over his hips, skimmed his abdomen, and rested over his unbeating heart. Buffy was silent as she rhythmically tapped his chest in time to her own heartbeat. It did beat, Buffy. For a whole day. A day with you. Angel bent his head and kissed her slowly and deeply. When they broke apart, she placed a soft kiss on his nose and pushed him back on the bed.

Buffy leaned forward and let her tongue flick his nipple. When it was hard and pebbled, she moved to the other nipple. Slowly, achingly slow, her hands drifted towards his groin. As one hand grasped his stiffened cock and the other massaged his sac, he purred. Buffy giggled. It’s funny? Angel’s purr turned to a growl as she giggled again. “It’s been a long time since anyone’s purred for me,” she explained softly. Good. That means Riley can’t purr.

Angel settled down and relaxed into the steady stroking of her fingers. Oh, yes. I could get used to this. Buffy bent her head and let her hair spill over his skin. Her warm tongue licked the precum from the tip of his cock. Angel moaned as she deepthroated him in one smooth slow motion. Oh. God. When did she learn to do this? Buffy sucked and licked and stroked until Angel could feel his testicles tighten. I’m gonna cum. I can’t. He tried to push Buffy off him, but she shook her head in refusal and increased the pace. Buffy, I’m gonna cum. Please stop. He could feel his body getting ready for his release. Buffy. Please.

A vicious growl escaped Angel’s throat as he bodily pulled Buffy up his torso. Hazel eyes locked with fiery yellow eyes. He could smell her arousal tinged with fear but she refused to look away. She lowered her trunk so that her pussy brushed his cock. Then Buffy plunged her tongue deep into his mouth. It was a greedy kiss, a hungry kiss, a frustrated and angry kiss, a kiss so full of longing and lust that he had to accept it.

That was when Angel flipped their bodies so Buffy was beneath him and there were no more barriers between them.


Part XI
A part of him knew what was going to happen next. It knew, and it closed its eyes. In one harsh and possessing thrust, Angel joined with his mate. He used his knees to spread her thighs; she lifted her hips to engulf him. As he pushed into her, they both exhaled. When the tip of his cock tapped on her cervix, Angel rested his forehead on hers and drowned in her eyes. Tell me to stop and I will. Tell me to keep going and I will. Just don
’t ask me to leave this place. They lay like that for many minutes. Neither moved. Angel tried to gather the shattered remnants of his self-discipline, but they scampered out of reach.

It was Buffy who saved him. Again.

“I dream about this every night, Angel.” She whispered the words lovingly. Her fingers drew nonsense symbols on his back. “I love you.”

I never stopped loving you. He kissed her and began to rock his pelvis in slow and shallow movements. He felt her orgasm begin to build as he made each stroke just a little deeper, just a little longer. By the time she was ready to crest, the rhythm was steady and punishing. You may not remember that day, but, I promise, you will remember this night. Angel slipped one hand between their bodies and squeezed her clitoris. She came loudly, shouting his name at the ceiling, and bucking wildly beneath him.

Angel waited for Buffy to calm down before he withdrew from her body. His cock was hard; his testicles ached from unfulfilled need. He rolled away from her. But I’m still here. And at the end of the day, that’s what counts. He waited for Buffy’s questions, her fury, her pain. Instead she threw a leg over his hip and wrapped an arm around his waist. She pressed her face against his back and asked simply, “Can we please go to sleep now?”


Part XII
He glanced at the clock on the nightstand. If he left now, he could be in LA with time to spare before dawn. He untangled himself from Buffy and straightened the covers around her. She whimpered at the loss of his body, but didn
’t stir enough to wake up. Angel gathered his clothes from the floor and dressed. Before he left the room, he dropped a final kiss on Buffy’s forehead. Keep well, my love.

Angel quietly descended the stairs and stopped at the couch. Giles was snoring softly but steadily. Angel moved to the desk and turned on the small reading light. He searched for some paper and a pen. He wrote quickly. He had composed the letter in his head while he waited for Buffy to fall deeply asleep.

He took his duster off the coat rack and patted his pockets for his car keys. He picked up the duffel bag and took one last look around Giles’ apartment. Even down here I can hear her heart beating. He opened the front door and was stopped by the sound of a crossbow being unloaded.

“I take it that, in spite of all sounds to the contrary, your soul is still intact?” Giles sounded like he was asking about the weather. The ex-Watcher sat up and ran his hands through his spiky hair. “Are you sure leaving her again is the best thing to do?”

Angel stared out into the night. “Nothing’s changed, Giles.” He pictured gears moving in Giles’ mind as the man analysed the underlying meaning of this statement.

“I see.” Do you? Because I don’t see, and I’m the one leaving. “Angel, are you all right?” the British man asked gently.

“No, Giles. I think I’m drowning.” Angel stepped into the night and pulled the door closed behind him.


Epilogue
Do you know how much I love you? I think about you every minute of every day. There is a deep black hole in me where I push the pain of missing you. Sometimes the pain is so overwhelming, I think I will die if I can never see you, feel you, love you again.

Want to know what I miss the most? It’s not the kisses or the touches or the passion that flares between us, although I certainly enjoy all of these. I miss just talking with you. I miss the conversations about classes and homework and Giles’ latest research project. I miss the ordinariness of our love.

We could have ended the world tonight. For one terrible minute, we nearly lost each other. Buffy, perfect happiness isn’t making love with you. It’s feeling your love for me. I would do almost anything to have perfect happiness with you. Anything except unleash Angelus. That’s why I stay away. Because just being with you makes me happy.

I love you, Buffy Anne Summers. I will always love you.

Angel

 



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