Armed and Dangerous
Buffy and Angel patch each other up on a night that the bad guys win. Set
in an alternate BtVS6/AtS3.
She knew better than to
underestimate them because they were human—these guys were serious, and if
they were nothing more than common criminals, well, they were still armed criminals. Defeating them would
take a little less brute force and a little more life-sparing finesse, but
that didn’t mean she was going to let her guard down.
But somehow she
underestimated them anyway. She had seen that they were carrying guns, but
she had never honestly expected either one to fire. Not without a warning.
Not without being attacked first.
There was no dead end to mark
the end of the pursuit, nothing but the mouth of another long alley, but it
was there that one of the two men turned and fired every round in his
pistol. Then he kept running. His goal had been achieved; nobody was
following him and his partner anymore.
Buffy felt the white-hot
sting of the first bullet over her breast, but before her mind could choose
fear or anger, the rest of the shots were echoing in her eardrums and none
of them had reached her. She was suddenly behind Angel, who was groaning in
pain and lowering his arms from where they had been protecting his face,
and yet she recalled with perfect clarity that he had been at least ten feet
away when the gunman raised his weapon.
Angel didn’t so much as
glance down the alley; his wild eyes fell first on her face and then her
shoulder. While her own eyes were busy taking in the pattern of red
blotches his chest had just gained, he reached for her and took her balance
so that she had to lean on him as he lowered her down with him to the
ground. Without speaking he seized the fabric of her shirt with both hands
and ripped it away from the spot that the bullet had penetrated. It was
right beneath her collarbone, far from any crucial organs but still fiery
with pain, and he showed no hesitation before lowering his face and setting
his mouth on it.
The suction that she felt at
the wound had such force that her whole body would have been pulled along
with it if he hadn’t been holding her steady. She only had a few seconds to
marvel at how she could feel the movement within her before something small
and hard passed from her skin and the pain subsided. Angel pulled his face
back and swallowed, then spat a clean bullet into his hand. “Let’s go,” he
said as his fist closed around the offending object.
She scrambled to her feet,
refusing to let him even try to help her up, and waved helplessly at his
damaged chest. “But you…”
“I can walk. There might be
more coming. Come on.”
They made it back to the
Hyperion without incident, but Buffy was still hurting from the single
bullet she had taken, and she couldn’t imagine how he must be feeling with
five. As soon as they had staggered inside, she sat him down on the couch
and ran for the medical supplies.
He had stripped to the waist
when she got back to him, and she ran a hand lightly down his chest,
finding each point of entry. Every one of the shots had remained lodged in
his body, and what was worse, the mouthful of her blood that he had taken
earlier had accelerated his already fast healing process. Now the skin had
closed over each bullet, leaving only a scar or a hard bulge. Buffy
cringed. There was no way around it; the bullets had to come out.
With trembling hands she
reached for the surgical knife, but when she tried to begin sterilizing it,
Angel stopped her with a hand on her wrist. “Don’t bother with that.”
Of course. He couldn’t get
infected that way. Still, he was usually so hygienic that his hurry to go
on without that step must have meant he was in a lot of pain. He met her
eyes for the briefest second and then took the knife from her and handed
her a pair of forceps. Without any need for discussion, he turned the blade
on his own body and cut a slit over one of the bulges, which instantly
began to ooze blood. Buffy held her breath and put her own tool to work,
digging into the newly opened wound until the forceps clasped onto her
little metal enemy. Angel was cutting into another spot almost as soon as
the bullet dropped into the medical kit’s metal tray with a tiny clink.
The first one turned out to
be the easiest. The others were in deeper, one so much that she could
neither see it nor reach it. By that point Angel was emitting a steady growl,
an animalistic sound that she heard rarely from him, and his face, while
still human, was drawn into a strained grimace. Buffy put down the forceps
and reached into the wound with her bare fingers. This way would hurt him
even more, she knew, but they both wanted this over and his flesh had
become her territory as much as her own was.
Indeed, he gasped as her
thumb and forefinger disappeared beneath his ribcage, but indeed, she felt
the bullet almost immediately and channeled all of her Slayer’s dexterity
into maneuvering it out. When it had joined the others in the metal tray,
Buffy glared at it for a few seconds and then just slumped beside Angel,
panting along with him. He was a canvas for blood, his chest like a crime
scene, but he was cleansed. There were no more foreign objects trespassing
on her territory.
It didn’t take long for him
to direct his attention once again to the single wound just under her
collarbone—the left side, fortunately, or she would have had a much harder
time wielding the forceps. “I know,” she said as he reached out to caress
her shoulder. “Needs bandages. You first, though.”
Washing and covering their
wounds was a messy ordeal which left smears of blood on the floor and
furniture, but neither of them made any move to put things back in order
afterward. The medical kit was still open and its contents still bloody and
strewn about when they went upstairs to the suite, leaning on each other in
the elevator and staggering arm-in-arm down the hall.
Buffy managed to peel off her
ruined clothing and help Angel out of his pants before they both went
horizontal on the bed, but she had no illusions about summoning enough
energy to get them into the shower first. Fine, so they would ruin the
sheets. Worse than that was seeing him there, looking so beat up and worn
out, and she knew she looked no better to him.
The only way to evade that
problem was to close her eyes, but first she propped herself up on an elbow
and looked him over one last time. He would be okay, she knew, but she
couldn’t cuddle up to his chest as she usually did, for fear of hurting
him. For a moment she hovered over him in indecision, and he opened up one
eye and then slid his arm beneath her and pulled her down onto him, hugging
her tightly without regard for his injuries.
Her frayed nerves finally
reached a breaking point as she held her lover, and she released one long
shuddering sob. She hated it that their time together had to be this
instead of Sunday picnics and making love on the beach. She hated it that
ordinary humans could get the best of them and escape without consequences
on top of it. She hated it that Angel had been too fast for her to stop him
from taking the bullets for her, and she hated it that she would have let
him anyway because she knew he could survive what she couldn’t.
“Buffy,” he whispered, a plea
for permission to calm her down, but the misery she felt was too evenly
distributed between them to use his support as a way out of it. She wanted
him right where he was, but she wanted him unharmed, safe.
“I hate guns,” she answered,
and kept on crying.
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