“Breathing Room”


AUTHOR: Serena
E-MAIL: rdbdaws0n@aol.com
SYNOPSIS: Buffy realizes she owes Angel an apology for her behavior in 'Sanctuary' and follows him back to L.A. Screaming, tears, and smut ensues.
DISCLAIMER: If they were mine this would have happened on the show. Unfortunately, they're not. They belong to Joss, who lets all the wrong people ::cough::MartiNoxon::cough:: play with them. I say give them to Tim Minear and David Greenwalt, but hey, what do I know? Title comes from the Matchbox Twenty song 'If You're Gone', which is the song I originally thought of when I was developing the lack-of-story. Lyrics are from Lifehouse's 'Somewhere In Between'.
TIMELINE: Directly after 'The Yoko Factor'.
SPOILERS: Specifically 'Sanctuary', 'The Yoko Factor', mentions of the entire B/A canon and Buffy Season 4.
DISTRIBUTION: My site, http://www.angelfire.com/ny2/serenav/index.html; Tarina, TNS, Pamela, Soulmates Eternal if you guys want it, anyone else just has to ask.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Tarina wanted a "Buffy apologizing for acting like a pod person" and "Angel worshipping" fic for her birthday. I figured what better setting than in the aftermath of 'TYF'? Angel didn't need to go apologize to Buffy, it was the other way around. Of course she agreed wholeheartedly. <g> It's all about the Angel worship. Thoughts are in < >.
FEEDBACK: Hello, more screwage! Feed me!
DEDICATION: To Tarina. Thank you for your constant help with ideas and plot suggestions and David Boreanaz drool-sessions, and also for making sure my fics don't suck as much as they would without your help. Happy birthday!


//I can't be losing sleep over this
No, I can't
And I cannot stop pacing
Give me a few hours
And I'll have this all sorted out
If my mind would just stop racing
I cannot stand still//

Buffy Summers didn't exactly know what she was doing.

Sure, she'd practiced what she would say to him on the bus a thousand times, had this big long speech--apology--prepared, knew exactly what she needed to say...and now, standing outside the door to Angel Investigations...she wasn't so sure that this was a good idea.

She was very, *very* unsure. Worse than those people in the deodorant commercial, definitely.

It had all seemed so sensible back in Sunnydale. There had been things left unsaid that needed to be let out, there was stuff he needed to know. There was a *major* apology to be given, an apology that he had definitely earned.

And hopefully, this time she'd be able to keep her fists to herself.

But standing here, now, feeling him beneath her, *knowing* that he was there...so close and yet a million miles away...she had totally hit the proverbial nail on its proverbial head when she had told him that they didn't live in each other's worlds anymore. They didn't. He had his agency and his purpose, she had...well, she had tons. Her textbook perfect boyfriend, her very own secret government demon hunters, friends she barely talked to anymore, a Watcher who just sat around and watched, a nemesis she couldn't kill because of the chip in his head, and an ex that still made her heart do that flip-flop thing whenever she even thought about him.

Oh yeah, she had plenty.

And yet she'd felt empty ever since he'd visited to apologize for something that wasn't even his fault. She was the one who'd stormed into his life, all-knowing and judgmental, making assumptions and almost burning bridges and even hitting him. One thing that could be said about Buffy Summers...she was passionate, and when she had her mind set there was *nothing* that could change it.

Nothing except a certain ex-boyfriend, who still haunted her dreams after almost a year apart.

<"I come to see you and you treat me like...your ex.">
<"Well, technically--">
<"Shut up!">

Being called "the ex" hurt. It hurt because it made his leaving real, made the end of their relationship real, and even though he'd been gone for months she didn't want to admit that it was over between them. She had a boyfriend who loved her, sure. But that didn't mean she loved him.

How could she when she'd given her heart so completely to someone else?

"The door knob must be very interesting."

His voice...oh God, now she was hallucinating. She'd been doing it more and more lately, thinking of him and his silky voice and his deeply soulful eyes and that half-smile that turned her knees to jelly and--

"Buffy? You okay?"

It wasn't a hallucination, even she could never get that breathy way her name rolled off his tongue right. Looking up, she was startled to see Angel standing before her. He was leaning casually against the door with one hand on the doorknob hidden from her view, his other hand resting on his hip, not in anger, just...laid back. He looked so good, she could just--

No. Bad Buffy. No lusty thoughts about the amazingly gorgeous ex-boyfriend. Think Riley, think Riley...

Damn, he was sexy.

"Do I have something on my face?" he asked, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. Oh God, not the smile. Anything but the smile that always made her weak in the knees, that could get him anything he wanted from her...

"N-no," she stammered. "I...hi."

<Oh nice one, Summers,> she thought. <Greet the ex with a nice, casual, *lame* "hi".> She met his eyes sheepishly, surprised at the gleam she saw in the chocolate depths she used to know so well. His eyes were different now, they seemed...happier. Less haunted. L.A. had been good for him.

"Hi to you, too," he said. He lifted his hand from his hip, gripping the doorjamb casually, his big frame taking up the doorway. If someone else had done it, it might have looked intimidating, but Angel just looked natural. And he was talking again. "So, is this a business call?"

"Not in the slaying sense," Buffy said, shifting her weight to her other foot.

"So then what is it? Because I thought we agreed that the next time we had something to say we'd say it over the phone," he said. Buffy sighed. Why had she thought this was gonna be easy?

"We did, I know, but this is the kind of thing you can't really say over the phone. Can I...come in?" she asked, peaking around him into the deserted office.

Angel dropped his hand and moved aside. "Sure, it's not like you need an invitation," he smirked, holding the door open. She smiled in thanks and walked over the threshold, trying very hard not to react when her bare arm brushed his in passing. The fire that spread under her skin was undeniable. She itched to touch him again, to feel his cool flesh warm when it came in contact with her hot skin.

"Where are Cordelia and Wesley?" she asked as she peered around the office, steering her thoughts away from the lusty bad place they were headed to.

"We finished a case this morning, so after breakfast they went home to crash," Angel replied as he walked past her into his office, motioning for her to follow. Putting all images of the first time she'd been in there from her mind, she trailed behind him.

"Oh...breakfast?" Buffy echoed.

He chuckled. "It's a little tradition of ours. After working all night we come back here and I make eggs."

"Oh. I didn't know you can cook," she blurted out. Traditions. They had traditions. Cordelia and Wesley shared something with him she never had. He'd never cooked for her.

"There's a lot of things about me that you don't know." His voice was edgier than she'd expected and she turned away from it, hoping if she shielded herself from it the tone wouldn't cut as deep.

It didn't work.

//I can't be this unsturdy
This cannot be happening
This is over my head, but underneath my feet
Because by tomorrow morning
I'll have this thing beat
I wish that it was just that easy//

"You're right, there's a lot I don't know. But there's also a lot about me you don't know," she said lamely, hoping it would hurt him as much as it hurt her. Turning back, she was disappointed to see that he didn't seem upset in any way.

"One of which would be what you're doing here," he reminded her.

"Right. Getting there, really." The Slayer gathered all her courage and continued. "Do you think we can go downstairs?"

He quirked an eyebrow at her request. "Well, I don't know. Do *you* think we can avoid a repeat performance of what happened last time?" he asked half-teasingly. The other half was definitely *not* teasing.

"I'll keep my hands to myself, I promise," she said, holding them up in emphasis. Angel's eyes darkened at her words, and if she hadn't known any better she would think it was from lust. She knew that look, she'd seen it a lot in the last months of their relationship. That hungry, dark, "I-want-you-right-here-right-now-forget-the-damn-curse" look that had driven her wild with want and need.

Their relationship had definitely seen more than its share of unfulfilled lust.

"Same here."

"As long as you aren't hiding any women down there," she joked, trying to lighten the mood that was rapidly taking a turn for the worst. Taking his silence the wrong way, she stopped and asked, "You aren't, are you?"

His back was turned and she didn't catch the satisfied smirk that slid across his lips. "Why, Miss Summers, I don't believe that's any of your business," he teased.

Blushing, Buffy said, "Of course it is. We're exes. I have to keep tabs on you. It's all part of the job description."

They were in the stairwell now, descending into what she promptly dubbed the Bat Cave. With its shadows, soft lighting, and large columns, it definitely fit the bill. As soon as the door swung shut she forgot that there was a world outside of his small apartment. Buffy was assaulted with his scent as she stepped off the last stair and looked around, taking everything in. Last time she hadn't had time to really explore, what with the insane jealousy and all.

The place was so him. Little touches of Angel were all over, from the stylish couch with its intricately woven blanket thrown casually over the back to the weapons that adorned the far wall to the training area. As a fighter she could appreciate the space, and as a girl she could appreciate the style. The place didn't scream bachelor, which she liked. There was definitely no need to rub it in.

"We're here. What's up?" Angel asked, breaking the silence. He strolled over to one of the brick square columns and leaned against it, crossing his arms over his chest.

"I came to apologize," Buffy said. Dragging it out any longer would just make her that much more frustrated. At least if she was talking she couldn't devote all her full attention to how beautiful he was. That five percent really did make a difference.

"I thought we covered this back in Sunnydale," he reminded her.

"You shouldn't have come to Sunnydale. I'm the one who had to apologize, I should have come here. I just...I couldn't leave it like that, Angel," Buffy told him, the words spilling out of her mouth.

Angel shifted. "I've already forgiven you."

"Yeah, well, knowing that still does nothing for the guilt," she said, looking down at her hands. "I had no right to barge into your life and expect you to do things my way, like you said when you very effectively put me in my place. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions, and I shouldn't have hit you, and I shouldn't have presumed to know more than you do. The soul-saving is your gig and I had no right to tap dance all over your project."

The speech was long for her, and very difficult to say. No matter the cause, Buffy hated admitting she was wrong. It was even worse having to admit it to Angel. Because of the history they had, she felt this insane desire to try at every turn to make it look like she was over him, that she'd moved on just fine. It had backfired with Faith, though, because seeing the girl who'd betrayed her in the arms of the man she couldn't help but love had made all thoughts of showing Angel just how well she was doing without him fly out of her mind.

"You didn't tap dance, Buffy, you kinda stomped," Angel said lightly. Buffy smiled slightly as he said, "You had every right to be upset. Faith told me about what happened--"

"She told you that she stole my body and slept with my boyfriend? The boyfriend who conveniently didn't even realize the switch had taken place, just thought that Buffy had developed a taste for kink," she interrupted, the bitterness and anger she still felt towards Riley rising in her suddenly.

Angel took note of it and his eyebrow quirked as he processed the new information. Buffy had to give him credit, he didn't so much as blink as he absorbed. Bastard. "So he didn't notice? Interesting," he commented, a barely veiled smirk on his lips. Despite herself, Buffy glowered at him.

"It's not interesting, it hurts! God, that the guy who claims to love me can't even tell when someone else jumps into my body and shoves me into theirs...I bet you would've known the difference." Her hand clapped over her mouth the minute it was out, but the damage was done. Angel regarded her, his eyes saying nothing.

"I bet I would have." And that was all he said. He was obviously waiting for her to go on.

"Oh, how times change," she sighed, wiping a stray piece of golden hair out of her eyes. "So. Faith told you. Can you understand why I was a little upset to see you and her all touchy-feely after what had happened?"

Angel's eyes bore into her as he said, "Yes, I get why you were upset. I don't get why you went all Psycho-Bitch on us."

"The girl stole my body! She tried to kill you on more than one occasion! She turned against all of us! Gee, I wonder why I acted a little rashly," Buffy snapped, her hands curling into fists at her side. If she didn't, she'd do something terrible. Like wrap her arms around him and never let him go.

"I'll give you all that but, Buffy, you weren't here to see her break down. You don't know what it was like to have gone through that, and you couldn't possibly understand what Faith needed. Right before you stormed in we got attacked and she had to kill. I'm surprised she didn't snap after your little surprise entrance," Angel said, his voice cold and hard.

Buffy was silent for a moment, her eyes locked on his. He seemed...more confident now. He didn't slouch when he was angry. That had been one of the things she noticed when he'd come back after the stint in hell, he'd be furious and yet he'd try to hide, afraid of being pushed away. This Angel was more sure, more comfortable in his own skin. Another change that had occurred without her.

"Faith was a reminder of the past I was trying to leave behind," she started, trying to break up some of the tension. "Seeing her again in my new life, it...it threw me. It threw me hard. It threw me out of my own body. I just couldn't deal with watching everything I'd built come crashing down on me."

More of that damned silence. He was watching her closely, his dark eyes tracking every little move she made. The tightening of her mouth, the hardening of her eyes, the shift of balance...he caught it all.

"Nothing came crashing down," Angel commented.

"It did," Buffy countered. "I...I've made a lot of stupid mistakes this year."

He bit. "What kinds of mistakes?"

"I barely talk to the gang anymore," Buffy began, sinking down onto the stairs. "Xander does his thing with Anya--and she just *loves* telling us all the things they do; Willow and I share a room and somehow I don't think we've said more than a few sentences to each other in weeks. Well, except for the whole big fight we just had. I see Spike more than Giles, and Riley takes up the rest of my time. It's not that I mind, exactly, I just..." She trailed off, not knowing what else to say.

"You just what?" he pressed, still leaning against the brick, still staring at her.

"Seeing Faith again, and then having you come back...it reminded me of the way things used to be. Before you left, before the Initiative and Adam, before Faith took her trip to the dark side of the Force." Buffy paused, licking her dry lips. "Back in high school, we were all so close. It was me, Xander, and Willow, the Three Slay-keteers. Giles was my Watcher, you were my boyfriend, they were my friends, and we were all there for each other. Now...God, I live with Willow and I didn't even know that she was a lesbian. She practically had to spell it out for me."

"Willow's a lesbian?" Angel repeated, his brow furrowing. Well, he *had* called it back when Evil Willow had been transported to Sunnydale. The vampire someone became retained most of their human qualities...

"Yep, our little Will is now dating a witch named Tara," Buffy told him, drawing her knees close to her chest. "I, of course, was too wrapped up in Riley to notice."

She had the grace to look ashamed when she spoke. Shivering slightly, she rubbed her arms and wished she'd brought a sweater. The sleeveless top looked sexy, yeah, but it did nothing to ward off the chill of the apartment. Angel noticed and picked up a folded quilt, tossing it at her.

"You know how something really traumatic happens and afterwards you have to pick up the pieces?" Buffy asked as she wrapped the quilt around her thin shoulders. Angel nodded. "You stand there, staring at the pieces of yourself that you have to put back together, and you realize that...that it's like a new beginning. Regardless of how dead you feel inside, you have a new start. You can make yourself into whatever you want to be, create a whole new person, even."

"I think I've read about that once or twice," Angel joked. Buffy raised her eyes from the tiled floor to his face, searching it for the strength she needed to continue.

"After you left, I...I was devastated. There wasn't one night I didn't cry myself to sleep, one second that went by without me missing you. I felt so empty, like there was nothing left for me."

"Buffy--" he started. She held up a handful of quilt to quiet him.

"And then college started and kind of interrupted my grief. It was a whole new place, new people, new teachers, new experiences...new distractions for me to take my mind off missing you," Buffy said, a small part of her mind not believing she was admitting this to him. The larger, more important part was wondering why it had taken her so long. "The whole Parker thing misfired big time, but Riley...Riley was nice. He was sweet and treated me well, and okay, so he's a little on the goofy side...but it's cute. Being with him made me forget about how much I missed you."

Buffy watched him closely as she spoke, trying to gauge his reaction. She had to hand it to him, Angel sure did know how to keep his poker face up. But she knew him, knew how to get past his defenses and see what was hiding behind his cool exterior. Pain was buried deep in his chocolate eyes, pain and sadness and yearning. The muscle in his cheek moved several times as he processed and came to grips with her revelations.

"I...I'm glad you found him, Buffy. He seems like a good guy," Angel said tightly. She knew that it was hard for him to admit and was glad that he had.

"He is. He's the textbook perfect guy. The All-American boy next door. Mom approves, Will approves, Giles approves. God, Willow's the one who pushed me into a relationship with him. I told her about how seeing you had brought back all the passion and how being with Riley wasn't as intense, and she said it was a good thing. A *good* thing. He should be perfect for me." She stopped, sucked in a breath. "But he's not."

That got a reaction out of Angel. He started at her words, his fists clenching at his sides as he forced the question out, even though Buffy was pretty sure he didn't want to know any more. "Why isn't he?"

"Because he's not you."

It was a low blow, really. Why was she digging up the past like this? What was the point in ripping open all the old wounds that hadn't healed from their past? But it was the truth, and he deserved at least that much from her.

"Wasn't that the whole point of me leaving? For you to be with someone who--"

Buffy cut him off. "If you say someone who deserves me I *will* break my promise and go over there and beat some sense in to you. You deserve me."

Angel turned away from her, not being able to look into her beautiful hazel eyes and listen to her at the same time. Buffy knew this was really hard for him, but she was sick of treading lightly. If she ever hoped to get any kind of closure (which she didn't, but it was a nice thought to delude herself with), the air between them had to be clear. For that to happen...they needed to have this conversation.

//I am waiting for tonight
Then waiting for tomorrow
And I am somewhere in between
What is real and just a dream//

"I can't do this again, Buffy. I can't go through all the reasons I can't be with you because it makes me remember everything I gave up," Angel said softly, his face still hidden from her view.

"Okay, color me confused. What are you talking about?"

His head shot up at that and she watched a single tear slide smoothly down his cheek to rest at the corner of his mouth. "Nothing, it's not important."

"You know, I was really angry with you until I got into my relationship with Riley," Buffy told him as she stood from the stairs and started pacing. "I used to sit around my dorm room and mope--I probably rivaled your brooding with my mopage--and analyze every little moment of our relationship, trying to understand why I didn't see it coming. Why I didn't try to stop you."

"Nothing could have stopped me," he said softly. She paused in her pacing to look at him.

"I know that now. But at the time I just couldn't get why you had given up what we had for 'my sake'. And then Riley came along, and it all became clear. You left so that I could see what the other side of the dating spectrum was like."

Angel's forehead wrinkled in confusion. "What?"

"The non-perfect side. Empty relationships. Convenient relationships. You know, where one person loves the other but she doesn't return the feelings. I've been with Riley for five months and I don't think we've had one deep conversation yet. He's there, he loves me, I care about him. It's different, but I'd take the gut-wrenchingly angsty melodrama that our relationship turned into in a second. It would be nice to remember what it felt like to feel."

Angel reached out and grabbed her, interrupting her pacing. The quilt fell away to the floor unnoticed as they stood staring at each other in silence, his grip on her arm not meant to hurt her, just let them have contact. It was possessive in a way, too, as though he was reminding her that she belonged to him.

Like she needed to be reminded.

It wasn't an angry stare that they shared, either, but it gave Buffy a glimpse into what Angel was feeling. There was frustration and pain, jealousy and a hint of anger, longing and yearning... His touch was electric, sending shivers up and down her spine and making her skin come to life for the first time in much too long.

"I've forgotten what it feels like to actually *love* the man I'm with. I've forgotten what it feels like to count the minutes until I'll see him again. I've forgotten what it feels like to be loved unconditionally and to love him unconditionally right back. This sparkling new relationship I'm in? It means nothing compared to what you and I had," Buffy told him softly. It felt so good to get out, to finally admit that the relationship she was in was nothing but a cheap mockery of what she'd once had.

"But-but you said--"

"I said it to hurt you, Angel," she said, dropping her eyes in shame. "That was Pod Buffy talking, the Buffy who was happy in her new life, who didn't see her friends slipping further and further out of her reach, who didn't see that she was losing more and more of herself every day, who didn't *want* to see everything happening because it reminded her too much of what she lost. I couldn't deal, so I pretty much bailed without going anywhere. I hid from myself, from my friends, from my mom. I don't want to be that Buffy anymore, Angel, I want to be the Buffy you fell in love with."

"I fell in love with all of you," Angel whispered, his free hand coming up to cup her cheek. "I might not have liked 'Pod Buffy' very much, but it comes with the package. At least you were able to realize what was happening and try to change it."

"Trying. I'm *trying* to change. Everything kind of came to a head these last few days and it really made me think about what happened to me," Buffy said. She leaned into his palm as he cradled her face, feeling him in every cell that he touched.

"All you can do is try," he told her, not pressing the issue.

Her eyes flickered down. "I don't know how you can just forgive me for what I did."

"I love you."

"I love you, too," she said without thinking, the words sliding off her tongue in response to him the way they never had with Riley. "But that doesn't explain it."

"It does. I love you regardless of how angry you make me and how pod-like you become." A ghost of a smile crossed his lips. "I love all of you. That's why I forgive you. And even if you were really mad at me when you were here, some part of you forgave me, too."

Buffy was quiet for a moment, closing her eyes and soaking in his strength. "Do you know what it's like to have so much space that you feel completely isolated...and yet you feel like everyone is crowding you so much that you can't move, can't even breathe? And you think that if you do everything they want and say everything they need to hear it'll get better...but it doesn't."

"Being suffocated even when you don't need to breathe is a very creepy thing," Angel said.

"It's beyond creepy. That's what happened. It just got to be too much and I was too screwed up inside to deal. So I changed. It was so much easier than facing it," Buffy whispered. His touch burned and soothed all at once and she trembled slightly, not used to the wave of emotions that washed over her.

"That's natural, Buffy, everyone runs when they don't want to face something. I did."

"But at least you had a good reason to, Mr. I've-Got-Major-Commitment-Issues. I just didn't want to deal," she pointed out.

"I was not afraid of commitment," Angel protested.

Buffy smiled teasingly. "If you say so, Angel," she said. He mock-growled at her and she was glad that the mood was lightening because for a while there it had gotten really, really heavy. She'd revealed a lot of things she'd been hiding from everyone--even from herself--and it was all coming to crash down on her.

//Would you catch me if I fall out of what I fell in?
Don't be surprised if I collapse down at your feet again
I don't want to run away from this
I know that I just don't need this//

She was so wrapped up in her thoughts that it didn't register that Angel was closing the distance between them until he was kissing her, his cool lips sliding against her hot ones. She made a noise of surprise and pulled him closer, her arms slipping around his neck. Standing on tiptoe she thrust her tongue into his mouth eagerly before retreating, drawing his out to play. One of his arms wrapped around her waist and his other hand came up to tangle in her soft tresses as they kissed.

It was full of passion and heat, a reacquainting of old lovers denied for too long. His mouth tasted like chocolate and mint, his body hard and cold against hers. She kissed him with months of pent-up longing and desire and nibbled on his lower lip, sucking it into her mouth. Whimpering he pulled her closer, boosting her up and urging her to wrap her legs around his hips as he carried her into his bedroom.

Buffy wasn't even aware of the move. She was only concerned with getting closer to him, getting so close that she could crawl inside of him and stay there, forever a part of him...or have him inside of her so that she would always be able to protect him, always keep him safe. Only when her back hit the mattress did she break away panting, surprise evident on her face.


He silenced her with another kiss, making her forget all her protests. Combing her hands through his hair Buffy tugged him on top of her, welcoming his weight. Her only thought was to get closer to him. She craved his touch more than air, and the feeling of his hands all over her body brought tears to her eyes.

How could something that felt so right be so wrong? Why was their love so forbidden when they were so amazing together?

"Angel, we have to stop," she gasped as she pulled away. He went for her throat, nipping and licking at her golden skin. "Angel, the curse--"

"Is not an issue," he grunted, pressing his straining erection against her thigh. That got her attention and made her pull back to look at him incredulously.

"What did you just say?" she whispered, her body trembling.

"The curse isn't an issue."

Buffy felt all the air leave her body and she fought desperately to breathe as a thousand questions stormed her mind. She threw her head back against the mattress and closed her eyes, feeling hurt that he hadn't told her. Why hadn't he at least called?

"And you didn't feel the need to tell me," Buffy said. Her voice was more bitter than she'd planned and it caused Angel to sigh and roll off of her.

"What was I supposed to do? Call and say 'hi, Buffy, how goes the slaying? Oh, by the way, the clause from my curse is gone. How's Riley?' I don't think so," Angel argued.

The mention of Riley shut her up. Of course. What did she expect? They hadn't spoken in months, why should he break the silence and risk calling her, knowing that he could make her even more angry by doing so?

Sighing, Buffy rubbed a hand over her eyes and turned to him. "You're right. You're always right. You're amazing, do you know that?" she told him, running a hand over his smooth chest.

He caught it and brought it to his lips, pressing a soft kiss to her palm. "This doesn't change anything, Buffy," he said, holding her hand to his face. She felt his skin warm under her touch and smiled dreamily.

"Wrong, Brood Boy. It changes everything. The biggest obstacle in our way is gone. I'm not letting you 'you deserve more' your way out of this."

"Buffy, there are still so many things in our way," Angel said.

"Name all your excuses. I'll shoot them down," she challenged, watching as his lips tugged upward in a smile.


She pressed a finger to his extremely kissable lips. "You deserve this, Angel," she whispered. "We deserve this. I'm so proud of you, of everything you've accomplished here. And maybe I'm selfish, but...I see what you do, and I want to help. I miss you, I miss your strength and your company and your love and your friendship." Buffy swallowed. "Now, if you don't want me anymore, tell me and I'll get up and walk out of here and never bother you again. But--"

Not letting her finish her sentence, Angel pulled her onto him, drawing her head down and seeking her lips hungrily. Whimpering, she ground herself against him as her hands combed eagerly through his dark hair. It had been so long and he felt so good...

Buffy pulled away from him only to pull her dark purple shirt off, leaving her clad in a black satin bra. He groaned and snaked a hand up her ribcage to palm one heavy globe as she arched into him, loving the feel of his hands on her after so long.

"Angel," she moaned, urging him to sit up briefly so that she could remove his shirt. Wrapping her arms around his back she pulled him towards her for a kiss, whimpering at the feel of his chest pressed against hers.

"Are you sure about this?" Angel asked as she pushed him back into the mattress and scooted down the bed to remove his shoes and socks. "I mean, what about Ri--"

"Don't bring him in to this. I've been needing an excuse to break up with him. What better one than I cheated on him?" she said with a sly smile as she crawled up his body and kneeled between his legs. Working diligently, she unbuttoned and unzipped his pants, and he lifted his hips off the bed to aid her in removing them. He was naked beneath, his erection jumping free and straining up towards his belly as its confinement was removed.

Sitting back on her heels, Buffy took a moment to admire him. Hard, sculpted muscle blemished only by the trail of wiry hair that led from his navel down to his hard cock filled her gaze, fueling the fire burning within her. She'd only really gotten to see him completely naked once, the night they'd first made love, and had almost forgotten how beautiful he was.

She couldn't help comparing him to Riley as she stared. Sure, Riley had been big, definitely bigger than Parker, but Angel...Angel was just huge. Licking her lips appreciatively, Buffy briefly wondered how she hadn't been split in two the night he'd taken her virginity.

Buffy giggled at the thought, causing Angel to quirk an eyebrow at her. His sex bobbed angrily up towards his stomach, demanding her undivided attention. Who was she to refuse such a tasty treat? She bent over and gave him a lick, delighting in the way he jumped and moaned.

"Buffy, what--"

"This is for you, Angel. You're always so giving, so supportive. I want to do this for you," she said before taking his enormous cock into her mouth slowly. His hands flew down to tangle in her blond hair as she sucked him in. All the practice she'd had with Riley was going to pay off because she was going to give Angel a blow-job he'd never forget. Sure, he'd been with thousands of women, but Buffy was determined to make him forget every one of them with a few flicks of her tongue, a few bobs of her head. She was the Slayer, damn it, she should be able to give amazing head without a problem.

It seemed to be working as she relaxed her throat muscles and took him in to the hilt, feeling the short hairs covering his balls tickle her nose. She pulled back and bobbed her head again, setting up a smooth rhythm, silently thanking Riley for all the practice she'd gotten with him. His response to the different things she'd tried taught her what to do and Buffy, being the fast learner that she was, had gotten the hang of it rather quickly. Now...well, Angel seemed to be enjoying the benefits of her lessons thoroughly. Her cheeks hollowed with effort as she sucked him in deep, running her tongue up and down the underside with each stroke.

"Oh God, Buffy..." Angel groaned as she pulled back so that only his plump head was between her lips. She licked at the pre-cum that gathered at the slit, loving the salty sweetness that hit her tongue. Her hands came up to caress his thighs as she deep-throated him again, loving the feel of him down her throat. "I-I'm gonna come..."

"That's the idea," she said, sucking him down again and scraping her teeth ever-so-gently over his steel length. With a half-choked howl he came, spurting jets of cool semen into her mouth. She swallowed it all greedily and cleaned him thoroughly before releasing him, kissing her way up his body to seek out his mouth again.

"You are amazing," he chuckled as he ran his hands down her back, unsnapping her bra skillfully. She pulled it off and rubbed her aching nipples against his unyielding chest, feeling his cock stir against her again. From atop him she kicked off her shoes and managed to shimmy out of her pants and underwear, leaving her bare against him.

Her wet sex left a sticky trail on his stomach as she kissed his eyelids, his cheeks, his nose, his earlobes, his forehead. He tasted delicious, like soap and spice and cologne and love. She'd always loved his scent and had fallen asleep more than once wrapped up in his leather jacket or an old shirt of his because she couldn't fall asleep in his arms. It made her feel close to him when she couldn't be, gave them a connection when they were apart.

Even after he'd left she had done it. Ransacking the mansion for a forgotten piece of clothing had taken up the better part of her summer. She had been so desperate to find something tangible that had been his, to have it to hold when being away from him got to be too much...

She nibbled her way up and down his neck, sucking lightly, knowing it drove him wild. There was so much she wanted to show him, so many ways she wanted to express her love for him. Buffy wanted nothing more than to spend the entire night worshiping him like she'd never been able to do properly, ravishing his body the way it was made to be. She wanted to give him the pleasure that had been denied to him for so long, to make him feel without a doubt the love she had for him.

He obviously wasn't going to let her. "Need to be inside you," he murmured against her lips, thrusting up against her bottom in emphasis.

"You're beautiful...and amazing...and giving...and caring...and forgiving...and sweet...and kind...and I love you with all my heart," she whispered as she slid down his body and lifted herself up, positioning the head of his cock at her slippery entrance.

"Love you," he murmured as she guided him into her hot core. Their mutual groans echoed in the room as he filled her, sliding deep into her body until they were completely connected. Fire and ice, slayer and vampire, light and dark, hard and soft met and melded together seamlessly for the first time in much too long, no longer forbidden to touch and feel and be one.

Buffy's eyes slid to half-slits as she adjusted to his massive girth, her inner muscles clenching and stretching around him. So cold inside of her, he soothed her core while igniting her desires even more as he touched places deep within her that she didn't even know she had.

"Oh God, Angel," she whimpered as her hands roamed over his hard chest. Finding purchase on his pecs she braced herself and raised her hips slowly, feeling him as she pulled inch by inch away from him. A strangled moan escaped his lips and his eyes slid shut as she rose above him like an angel, her golden hair spilling over her shoulders and grazing the tops of her rosy-tipped breasts.

"Buffy..." he murmured, a dreamy smile on his lips. Sitting back down, she tightened her thighs around his hips for leverage, pushing her knees into the bed as she rose and fell again, developing a rhythm all their own.

Buffy rocked back and forth, up and down, losing herself completely in Angel and his heavenly body. His hands moved to her hips, helping her ride him as he thrust up into her welcoming heat before they traveled up her curves, over the swell of her breasts, moving down her arms to take her hands in his, stretching them out to either side of his body. It made her shift on him and she shuddered at the slight change in position.

Being with Angel was like nothing she had ever felt before. Sure, she and Riley had been *quite* intimate during their relationship and he had been a very good lover, very caring, very into giving her pleasure...but with Angel it was like heaven. It was a homecoming.

It was love.

She leaned down to taste his lips, sweeping her tongue along them before he granted her access to his mouth. Mumbling his name against his lips she sat up again, thrusting down faster, harder, making him grunt and pump up greedily into her. Buffy's panting filled the air as she rocked back and forth, her clit rubbing against his pubic bone.

"Oh God, oh God, ohohohohOH ANGEL!" Buffy screamed as her first orgasm rocketed through her, her core squeezing rhythmically around his hard cock over and over again.

Angel reared up, the sight of her breasts bouncing wildly before him becoming too much for him to take. He bent his head and suckled at one of her nipples, swirling his tongue in time with her downward thrusts. Wrapping his arms around her back, Angel abandoned her nipple for her lips, holding her as close to him as possible as they rocked together. She slammed down on his cock over and over again, tightening her muscles repeatedly to drive him to the edge.

"Buffy, I...I'm gonna come, Buffy," Angel said in a husky voice, his hips straining up towards her.

"You're not the only one," she said through gritted teeth, kissing him again. "Oh God I love you..."

"You love me, huh?" he teased as he nipped at her throat.

"With all my heart," Buffy repeated as she jack-hammered down on him, almost desperate to share her pleasure with him. "Come on, Angel, come with me."

Angel moaned loudly at her words, thrusting up harder into her hot, moist core. She fell into orgasm moments before he did, feeling him so completely as he jerked uncontrollably against her that she couldn't dream of ever being without him inside of her again. His cool seed bathed her womb, soothing her burning insides as they worked each other down. Angel thrust shallowly into her a few more times before pulling her down with him onto the mattress.

He tightened his grip on her as they lay panting against one another. She was sprawled out across his body languidly, her heart racing beneath her heaving breasts. Angel held her tight, refusing to let her go for even an instant, and Buffy was more than happy to comply.

They had a long way to go, sins to atone for, selves to find. Thing were far from perfect between them, but that wasn't important.

They were together. That's all that mattered.



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