Dance Solo

Disclaimer: As ever, I don’t own the copyright to these characters; Joss Whedon, the WB and Mutant Enemy do. This is fanfic, with no copyright infringement remotely intended.

Warning: NC-17. With a sappy ending. Bet you didn't think I could manage that, huh?

Content: The only time Buffy and Angel ever danced, at the time I started writing this, was in her dream/nightmare during the third season ep, Faith, Hope and Trick. I felt the poor girl deserved at least one slow dance in the arms of the man she loveseven if a demon is wearing his face. This didn’t turn out exactly the way I planned, though. And Buffy did get her dance in The Prom But it isn’t enough for me, and if you've read the fiction that precedes this, it probably isn't enough for you, either.

Rant: Sorry, have to do this. I just need to say how much I hate the break up of Angel and Buffy on the show. I’m looking forward to the spin-off, but I’m wondering if even having twice the Joss and twice the Buffyverse each week is really worth the pain of seeing these two characters torn apart. I am devoutly grateful for fanfic, particularly to beautifully romantic and sensual stories like the ones Harpy writes, and the steamy ones Laure Alexander writes, and that Lex has written, so that I can share their visions of a Buffyverse in which Angel and Buffy are together. I am happy that there are sites like Lynne and Jill’s Buffy and Angel’s Place and Crystal's Angel's Secrets where my wounded sensibilities, [flayed to pieces by lines like -- Buffy: "Angel, I want my life to be with you." (Pause) Angel: "I don’t."--when you know from the wedding dream that there is nothing he wants more] can be healed, a little. And I am more grateful than I can say to bec, my almost sister, for her constant support in creating them.

Dream Sequence II Dance Solo
part one

Margot Le Faye


[Time: Set during the ep Passion, the night following the events in Bitter Passion. Okay, so I stuck an extra day into the timeline. Creative license. Or licentiousness. *G*]

She couldn’t go home. Not yet. Not after last night. She could not walk calmly into her bedroom, could not lie down to sleep upon the bed where Angelus had forced from her ultimately compliant flesh every response she had longed to give Angel. Buffy Summers turned down the street that led to the Bronze, hands shoved into the pockets of her coat, head bent down, gaze fixed upon the pavement. She was still alert: it was amazing how much you could tell about your surroundings from shadows on the ground. But her mood was contemplative, not combative. The initial, overwhelming need to fight back had been worked out of her system during that night’s patrol.

Now, the adrenaline of the fight washed away, there was nothing to keep her from her memories. Nothing to protect her from what had been done. Angelus had ripped out another piece of her heart last night. She wondered how much was left for him to rend. Surely not much, not after all the pieces he had already carved for himself. Yet every time she thought she had reached her lowest point, every time she thought she had endured as much pain as it was humanly possible to bear, he proved to her that she could survive a little more torment, a little more agony, that the limits of her strength had not yet been reached.

Sometimes she hated being strong.

Buffy drew in a shuddering breath and walked through the door of the Bronze. Sooner or later, she would hit her limit. Sooner or later, she would be so deeply sunken in despair, nothing he could do would hurt her further. Then, maybe she would be able to drive her stake straight through the heart of the demon in her lover’s body, and watch unmoving as both exploded into dust.


Buffy gave herself a mental shake. This train of thought was getting her nowhere. She had come to the Bronze to distract herself, until she was so tired that last night wouldn’t matter. Until she could just go home and crawl into bed, forgetting what had taken place there, ignoring the sweet, delicious ache in her flesh from the ways he had forced her to rapture Buffy shook her head, as if to clear it. She would not let it get to her. She would survive this, as she had survived so much else. And the first thing she needed to do was get herself something to drink, something soothing and minimally caffeinated. Something with chocolate. Straightening up, she cast a glance over her surroundings as she headed toward the counter to place her order.

She had stayed out on patrol a bit longer than usual. Most of the kids her own age had already gone home. It was a school night, after all. The remaining customers were the young college crowd and their peers, with only a few high school seniors in the mix. If she were wise, she would do what Willow, Xander, Oz and Cordy had already done: call it a night and go home. But she wasn’t wise. She was hurting, and home was no longer a refuge, but a battleground in a viciously intimate war.

Buffy got a decaffeinated café mocha with extra whipped cream topped by lush curls of shaved dark chocolate and a dusting of cinnamon. Taking it over to one of the high tables just off the dance floor, she set it down then took off her coat, tossing it onto one of the vacant stools. Smoothing her short leather skirt over her thighs, Buffy settled onto her stool, picked up the oversized teacup and took a long savoring sip. Heaven. Warmth and chocolatey goodness spread from her tummy to her chilled limbs. Not that it was a cold night. But it had been so long since she had felt warm

Buffy stared out across the dance floor. It was empty. The last band to play for the night was on break, not due back until their final set at 1:00 a.m., by which time she would, she sincerely hoped, have gotten up the nerve to go home. She was badly in need of sleep…sleep which would elude her in the bed where Angelus had taken her, unless she were tired beyond thought. Music came from a jukebox that held an eclectic mix, but no one seemed interested in moving to it. After midnight on a weeknight, there just werent a whole lot of people around.

The Bronze’s near desertion suited her just fine.

Her gaze wandered over those who remained, mostly small knots of people talking, a few playing pool or working the pinball machines. She was wondering if she should make use of one of the latter, when the song that had just started playing registered. She sighed, setting down her cup. The last thing she needed right now was k.d. lang crooning about Constant Cravings, not when her own craving for Angel was forever with her, and destined to be forever unappeased. At least, she thought that listening to that song was the last thing she needed. But there were some things she needed even less.

She couldn’t blame the song. It was her own inattention that was responsible. She should have heard him, should have felt him, should have sensed him long before two arms wrapped about her from behind, immobilizing her own arms, banding her ribs, and pulling her up against the solid, well-muscled wall of his silk-covered chest. A beloved, dreaded voice whispered in her ear, "Hello, lover."

Buffy closed her eyes against the pain. The arms that were exerting just enough pressure to confine her, without crushing her ribs, were arms that had once offered her the most complete comfort, the safest haven, in the world. No longer. She was in at least as much danger as she had been the night before. But then, so was he. Buffy gathered her reserves of courage.

"You don’t want to do this, Dead Boy," she deliberately used the name with which Xander had taunted him, knowing how much Angel had loathed it. She hit her mark…and the arms about her tightened just enough to make her bones ache while a low growl sounded in her ears. She ignored the pain and carried on with the offensive. "My mother doesn’t visit the Bronze, Angel." He could not use that threat, so effective last night, here. "This place is nearly deserted. You are just begging for me to stake you." Amazingly, her voice didn’t shake. More amazingly, her words didn’t further enrage him. He chuckled instead.

"Sure it won’t be you who’s begging, lover? You know I can make you."

She would not cry, she wouldn’t. "I’m not the begging kind," she rejoined.

"Oh, Buff, you should know better than to issue a challenge like that. Because now I have to prove to you how wrong you are." The whisper in her ear was low, seductive, and it was followed by the cool, wet assault of his tongue into the sensitive shell of her ear. Buffy couldn’t suppress the tremor that ran through her at that caress. Verbal sparring would get her nowhere; Angelus enjoyed it too much.

"What do you want, Angel?" she demanded as coldly as she could, lulling his suspicions, making him think she wouldn’t fight back…just before she tried to break his grip on her arms. But he knew her too well. She didn’t succeed.

"Naughty, naughty," he taunted, gripping her tighter against his chest. Her bottom was pulled to the very edge of the stool, pressing into his hips as he stood behind her. She could feel the answer to her question, hard and jutting against her body.

"What do I want?" Angel mused, kissing her temple, and rocking his hips slightly forward. "What do I want?" he repeated, his fingers stroking the flesh imprisoned beneath his hands. "Well, the Bronze is kinda dead, music’s unimpressive, and the espresso is a tad on the bitter side, this late. What could I want? Oh, I know.

"I want a dance, lover."

A dance. That was the piece of her heart he wanted to shred this time, she thought bitterly. His words hurt. Because she had longed to be held in Angel’s arms for a slow, sweet, romantic dance, but they had never quite managed to do that. Their time together had been spent fighting evil, or stealing kisses. There had never been time for the simple romantic pleasures of young love. Now, the demon who had taken over Angel’s body was demanding that she allow one more cherished dream become a nightmare.

"You’re joking," she said.

"Nope. Your boyfriend was too busy mooning over you to actually do anything…interesting. Which is why I had to wait so long for him to get gone. I don’t deny myself the things I really want, like he did. And I want to dance with you." The last words were spoken with unmistakable threat. But Buffy would not tamely allow him to pollute one more unrealized hope.

"Take a look around, lover," she said caustically. "The Bronze is nearly empty. Bet if I staked you, no one would notice your dust until time to sweep up."

"Bet if I drained your blood, no one would notice your body until closing," he retorted, punctuating the threat by setting his lips against the pulsing beat of her jugular. His tongue swept the skin there, telling her how easy it would be for him to use his fangs, instead. Why didn’t he? Before she could puzzle that out, he repeated his demands

"C’mon lover, dance with me. You know you want to."

The hell of it was, she did. Not with Angelus, of course. Buffy wanted, desperately, to be able to dance with Angel. But she never had. She never would. The curse used to restore his soul was a bit of lost knowledge that couldn’t, according to what Jenny Calendar told them, ever be recovered. Her beloved was irretrievably lost to her, replaced by an all-too-intimate enemy. An enemy now demanding a dance she had no intention of giving.

"You’re wrong, Angel. You are the last man --well, no, the last thing on earth I want to dance with." She wanted to make him angry. Maybe he’d do something stupid so she could fight her way free of this mess. But he was under control.

"Liar," he breathed against her ear. Suddenly he was lifting her from the stool, hauling her onto her feet, and now he pulled her yet tighter against him, until she shivered anew at the feel of his well-remembered, once-loved body pressed so enticingly against her. "I am the only man on earth you want to dance with."

Bitter truth. She acknowledged it to herself, but she would never admit it to him.

"Have it your way," she snapped, not willing to let him know how his words devastated her. "But you can’t dance with me in this position. So let go."

She had amused him again. "Buffy, Buffy, Buffy," he chuckled against her ear, "I thought, after last night, you’d have a clue how nicely we could dance in this position. Then again, maybe not in the Bronze. All right. I’m gonna let you go. But before you reach for that stake up your sleeve, you look around. I didn’t come alone."

Frowning, Buffy scanned the crowd again. Then she swore silently. A dozen vamps were scattered throughout the Bronze, chatting amiably with the unsuspecting young people. "If you go all Slayer on me, my boys will kill the first human they can reach, and flee before you can get to any of them."

"Pretty dicey insurance," she taunted. "If I go all Slayer on you, your boys won’t have any reason to do anything for you at all."

"And you are so ready to take that risk, aren’t you?" He knew her too well. She couldn’t risk even one young life, not with the only thing at stake her already wounded heart.

"Can we just do this?" she demanded.

"Whatever you say," he said agreeably. The arms confining her released their grip. Bracing herself, she turned to face him.

Bracing herself had been pointless. It hurt anyway. Her dark and beautiful Angel stood before her. It would have been easier if he had been smirking, easier if he had been mocking her. But, instead, his face was grave, unsmiling, and he was looking at her just the way he used to…the way Angel used to.

He was wearing an Italian silk shirt in deep wine red, a killer combination with his black leather pants. He was dressed for seduction, she realized. Any young woman who took his fancy would have to be flattered by his attentions, would have to throw caution to the wind and common sense out the window when he suggested they leave wherever they were, and go for a midnight stroll. Would have to surrender to his embrace, anticipating kisses and finding something fatally different.

What would Buffy herself find in his embrace tonight? Love or death? She was beginning to think that the difference, with Angelus, was almost negligible.

"Let’s just do this," she muttered again, heading out to the dance floor.

He smiled wickedly and followed.

k.d. lang had long since sated her cravings, and now another, fairly forgettable melody wound to a close. As Angelus pulled her into his arms, a new song started.

Or rather, a very old one. Buffy suppressed a groan. Who in the Hellmouth had decided that the soundtrack from Sleepless in Seattle was suitable for the jukebox in the Bronze?

When I fall in love

It will be forever

or I’ll never

fall in love…

Even as his arms closed around her, pulling her into an embrace, even as he pressed her head against his shoulder, Buffy desperately hoped that she had not fallen in love forever. But the bitter truth was, she was pretty sure she had.

"The thing about modern music is, they don’t know romance," Angelus confided as he moved her gracefully across the empty dance floor.

"Which is, of course, your field of expertise," she said.

He smiled. "Tell me you don’t want this," he taunted. She looked up at him, starting to say that she didn’t, but the mockery in his eyes told her the futility. She shook her head and let it fall back against his shoulder. It was easier if she didn’t have to look into his face. He said nothing, just held her, tenderly, the way she had dreamed Angel would hold her for their first dance. Buffy forced back tears, and tried to ignore the song’s lyrics. She wasn’t successful.

In a restless world like this is

love is ended before it’s begun.

And too many moonlight kisses

seem to fade in the warmth of the sun.

Everything they were had faded away… Angel was gone, leaving Angelus in his place. Angelus who never tired of tormenting her, and whose latest torment was sapping a little more of her will to fight. She so did not want to cry in front of him, but the stupid, sappy song lyrics were reminding her of everything she had lost. And being in his arms was reminding her of everything she had never had.

When I give my heart

It will be completely

Or I’ll never

give my heart

"It’s true, isn’t it, Buff? You feel everything so deeply. You only give your heart completely, and you can only give it once."

"Shut up."

He dipped her, a romantic move that left her helpless in his arms, looking up into his face. His expression was still devoid of mockery; he still looked achingly like Angel. "I have your heart, lover, and we both know it." Slowly, he raised her back up.

She shook her head in denial. "You have nothing of me at all."

"We both know that’s a lie."

When I fall in love…

"I have entrée into your house. And Willow’s and Giles, in case you’d forgotten." Fear swamped her at his words.

"I swear, if you hurt them--"

"That isn’t what this is about," he cut her off. "Right now, I have you in my arms and we both know that this is where you belong." Pain and rage replaced her momentary fear.

"Since when?" she demanded. "You hate me for what I made Angel feel. Do you think I don’t know that?"

"Hate and love, they’re so very close. And you made Angel feel some things I don’t mind feeling at all." His eyes held hunger, and not for her blood. Buffy paled, taking his meaning all too well.

"So, how about it, Buff? Will you stay in my arms forever?"

It was the cruelest thing he had yet done. "You bastard," she said shakily. She tried to pull out of his embrace, but he was prepared. Another romantic dip forced her to cling to him to keep from falling. "Bastard, bastard, bastard," she repeated. He raised her again, as slowly as before. He wasn’t unduly upset by her reaction.

"You haven’t thought this through," he said, his tone reasonable. "You get what you want, to be with the man you love forever, and I get what I want. You, and you alone, in my bed."

A surge of treacherous heat coursed through her at his words. Oh, Angel… she mourned.

When I give my heart…

"You. Aren’t. The man. I love," she choked out. "And it wouldn’t be me in your bed. It would be some demon walking around in my body."

"Is that what you think?" he said. "That all I am is Angel’s body with a demon inside? Look, I lost my soul and my conscience, that’s all. Everything else is the real me. The demon is just an animating force, it doesn’t control me."

"Liar," she said, but she was shaking. Giles had told her that a vampire wasn’t a person at all. That even though the demon had the memory and personality of the original person, that person was dead and gone, his or her soul floating in the aether. Angelus’ words could not possibly be true.

But they were seductive.

"All you have to lose is your conscience, your remorse," he said, his voice like velvet, wrapping her in soft darkness. "Don’t tell me you don’t hate being the Slayer, that part of you doesn’t want to just chuck it all and tell each of the wimps you protect to get off their asses and fight for themselves." He was remembering, she knew, the times she had vented, to a sympathetic Angel, all her frustration at having had to give up a normal life to fulfill her duties. He also remembered her fears. "Why should you risk your life for them every night?" he said in that velvet, oh-so-reasonable-sounding voice. "Why should you die for them? Because you know, sooner or later, you are gonna die in this gig." That was blunt. Likely true, but where Angel would have moved heaven and earth to keep it from being true, Angelus would move heaven and earth to make it so. He lowered his face until his mouth was beside her ear. "Wouldn’t you like it to be in my arms?" he whispered.

And the moment I can feel that you feel that

You feel that way, too…

Longing nearly overwhelmed her. She was shocked by how tempting his words were. Because part of her wanted nothing more than to be held, forever, in Angel’s embrace, and it would be so very easy to simply surrender, bare her neck, and let him take her.

Let him make her exactly the kind of murdering, ravening beast he was himself.

Buffy turned her head away.

"I will never give you what you want," she told him.

"Won’t you? ‘Never’ is a long time, Buff."

Is when I fall in love with you…

The interminable song ended at last, and she stopped moving. She slowly straightened up, and gathered her courage to look at him. He still wasn’t smirking. He was still more Angel than Angelus. He could still break her heart. She would have to work at not letting him.

"Thanks for the dance," she said as coolly as she could manage. He laughed and let her go. She moved away from him quickly, heading back to her table. The jukebox came on again and more music drifted across the Bronze, something loud with a driving rhythm and no lyrics she could distinguish, which was a profound relief. Buffy grabbed her coat, planning to head out and go home, but this time, she did feel him, just behind her.

"What now?" she demanded, without turning around, her coat clenched in her hands.

"You haven’t finished you mocha. Why don’t we take it back to my table?"

"You. Are. Out. Of. Your. Mind."

"Am I? Are you sure I haven’t just found my way back into it?"

She was tired, so tired. "What do you want?" she said, fighting tears. "Stop playing games. Just tell me."




Dream Sequence II Dance Solo

Part two


"No games, lover," he assured her, picking up her cup and saucer with one hand, wrapping his other arm around her waist. "I just want you." She wasnt sure if she allowed herself to be half-dragged to his table because she was still worried about the vampires interspersed amongst the gradually thinning crowd of young people, or if it was because she was too drained, emotionally, by his psychological and sensual warfare to put up a fight. Still, she ended up at a table in a dark corner of the Bronze, with Angel seated on a couch, and she herself pulled unresisting onto his lap.

His body cushioned her, surrounded her, supported her. Her head rested on the crook of his shoulder as if she had been specifically designed to fit into his lap. Maybe her patrol hadnt been as successful as shed thought. Maybe she had died, and this was hell. She shivered, suddenly chilled. Instantly, he draped her coat over her, then reached for her still-warm mocha, holding it to her lips. Buffy looked into his eyes, wishing she could hate him, as she took more mouthfuls of the beverage. His arm was firm around her back, holding her close, his lover-like attentions calculated to make her long for her own Angel, to make her believe that Angelus could be what she so desperately wanted. Finished with the mocha, she looked into his eyes, hoping to find the difference she had clung to the night before.

They were as cold as shed needed them to be. Buffy sighed in relief --let him believe it was in surrender--and put her head back down on his shoulder. She resettled against him as he put her cup back on the table, and moved his other arm around her, so that she was held close against his unbeating heart. Buffy had seen his desire for her in his eyes, but she'd seen more. He hadn't lied when he said he wanted her in his bed forever. He might even have thought he meant it when he said he wanted only Buffy in his bed. But while that was unquestionably true for Angel, she couldn't believe it was true for Angelus. He had been obsessed with Dru when he changed her...and had given her to Spike, not long after. His protestations of fidelity and his gentleness with Buffy now were simply weapons in the newest battle he was waging; insidious, devastating weapons in a brutally tender war. Buffy looked out toward the main room of the Bronze. The crowd was thin, but it was there. The Bronze wouldn't close before 2:00 a.m. She might be in for a long haul. Wonderful. Well, she had wanted something to tire her out so she could get some sleep in her violated bed. By the time Angelus let her go, she would be absolutely exhausted.

If Angelus let her go

Another slow song came on, but the demon holding her wasn't interested in dancing to this one. Instead, one of his hands moved along her back, caressing her through the leather of her jacket. Joy. More sensual torture. She didn't try to stop him, though. No sense letting him know how his imitation of Angel got to her. His hand moved gradually lower, from her back to the curve of her hip, to her thigh. And then he slipped his hand beneath the edge of her jacket.

Angelus was touching the skin of her leg through the minimal shielding of her stockings, and it felt so good, she wanted to weep. He caressed and soothed her flesh, even as he abraded her heart. The intrusive hand traveled farther up her thigh, skimming now under the hem of her skirt. Buffy stiffened, but the arm around her back held her still.

"Just relax, lover," he said.

"What the hell do you think you are doing?" she demanded, raising her head to meet his eyes, but keeping her voice low. His eyes were no longer quite as cold. Heated lust had replaced calculation. Buffy's heart began to race. He was all too dangerous like this.

"I told you last night that you were too much of a virgin for my taste," he reminded her. "This is another lesson. Public sex, Buff."

"What!" she said, shocked.

"You have no idea how much fun you are going to have," he told her. "But I'm going to teach you how the need to pretend that nothing unusual is happening, the need to be quiet, and the knowledge that you are doing something forbidden under the noses of a roomful of people who have no idea what you are up to, can make you hotter than you have ever been in your life."

"I think that's a lesson I could do without," she said, clamping her thighs together, hard, against his traveling hand, trapping it before it could reach dangerous territory.

"Did you forget what's at risk, lover?" he reminded her, his voice velvet, but the steel beneath obvious. Buffy shivered. His eyes had gone cold again. In that moment, she knew he would have his minions kill everyone in that room if she didn't let him do what he wanted with herto her. Reluctantly, she eased her thighs apart, allowing him access to what lay hidden at their juncture.

"Good girl," he said, as his strong, skilled fingers slipped upward, pressing, through a thin layer of nylon and another of Lycra, her intimate flesh. A tiny sigh escaped her. Angelus smiled, and then he bent to her mouth.

There was, apparently, quite a bit of her heart left for him to tear, and all of it was aching, now. Just so, had Angel kissed her, with just this mix of hunger and fire and reverence. As if she were a goddess to whom he owed fealty and his lips upon hers were an act of both prayer and supplication. Oh, God! How strong was she supposed to be? How much was she supposed to endure when her very soul cried out to her lost Angel? She couldn't stop what Angelus was doing without risking a lot of lives. Why not take the pittance of pleasure this would bring her? Why not let herself forget, for just a few minutes? With a helpless moan, Buffy surrendered to that kiss, letting her lips part beneath his, accepting the invasion of his tongue, entwining it with her own. Her arms crept upward, her hands tangling in his hair, pressing him more deeply into the kiss.

And now, the caressing stroke of his hand between her thighs was not something to be avoided, but something to be sought out, and savored. Buffy wriggled into his lap, allowing him greater access. His hand found the waistband of her panty hose and panties, and slid beneath them.

His fingers brushed through the tight curls, finding the seat of her pleasure, flicking gently over it. She drenched his fingers with her longing. He growled approval into her mouth. One finger found the hot, wet core of her and ruthlessly pushed inside. She clamped down around it, shuddering. She needed to break the kiss for air. He wouldn't let her. She grew faint, yielding further into his arms, her hands slipping from his hair to settle on his shoulders. He was right. She was aware of the people around them, of the minimal concealment of the coat draped over her body, hiding the action of his hands. They could be discovered any moment. She didn't care. He broke the kiss at last, and she gasped for air. Hesitantly, she glanced behind her at the crowd.

"No one sees. No one knows," Angelus whispered into her ear. Then his tongue swept the shell of her ear, making her shiver anew, while a second finger slid into her liquescent depths. He knew where to touch her, and how. He knew secrets of her body she herself had yet to discover. He exploited them ruthlessly. Buffy continued to wriggle, abetting the movement of his clever fingers. "That's right baby," he crooned, "dance for me." He brought his mouth back to hers for another breath-stealing kiss.

Hot pleasure coiled inside her, and he built it with cold skill. She began to whimper, her breath coming in short gasps, but it didn't matter because his mouth was on hers, swallowing the cries and no one would hear, no one would know, no one would see more than a heavy make-out session going on, something fairly typical for the Bronze.

His fingers stretched her, played her, pleasured her, finding nerve endings that, sensitized by what he had done to her the night before, hungered for what he did now. And then his thumb flicked once more, with the greatest delicacy, over the swollen bud of her clit. Buffy wailed into Angel's mouth, which opened further for her, his tongue pulling hers into the cool reaches of his mouth, battling with hers there as he swallowed her cries like the tribute they were. Buffy convulsed around his fingers, clutching his shoulders, her whole body shaken by a shock wave of climax. At that moment, had her coat fallen to the floor, and revealed her wanton behavior to every curious eye, she would not have cared. At that moment, had he chosen to drain her of her blood and her life, she would have yielded both.

But she would not, even at that moment, have allowed herself to drink from him, have turned herself into his partner in bloodletting. She retained just enough sense of herself for that. And somehow, he knew. Angelus broke their kiss, and his gaze locked onto her own. His eyes were savage, and she was afraid he was going to lose it, vamping out right then and therewith his fingers still working inside her, not easing her down from the recently scaled peak, but forcing her to make the climb again.

"You will come to me," he told her softly, forcing a third finger deep inside her, increasing what was already nearly unbearable pleasure.

"Never," she told him, just as she shattered again. Her hungry sheath clamped around his fingers as she shook with release. She kissed him, sucking his tongue back into her own mouth, greedy for every taste of him, desperate to hold as much of Angel inside herself as she could. As if he were the rain, and she the desert, and she must hoard him against the long season of deprivation. She was shaking, rocked anew by incredible sensation, her body responsive to his slightest touch. It went on and on, his fingers ruthless in their torment of her flesh, climax after climax jarring through her, giving her no rest, no peace, no escape.

"You're already mine," he broke the kiss long enough to tell her, then kissed her again.

"No," she denied. But he ignored her, listening to the yielding wetness of her flesh rather than the soft protest of her voice. One more orgasm. One more peak. One more convulsion of white-hot pleasure that had her begging for a demon's touch, and a monster's caress. He drew it out, demanding every nuance from her, demanding that she push past the limits she believed she had, and yield all to him. Helpless, she did, giving him one more wailing, supplicant cry to devour, shaking, shaking in his arms as if the world were ending and only he could hold her together through the storm.

Eventually, she lay exhausted, draped across him, his fingers still inside her, but no longer moving. He nuzzled her hair, dropping tender kisses along her brow, before he eased his hand from her body, and smoothed down the hem of her skirt. He brought his hand up, sticky with her essence, and inhaled the scent like the bouquet of a fine wine. Humiliation crept across her now that pleasure was done.

"You dance divinely, Miss Summers," he smirked, slowly sucking the taste of her from his fingers. "And you tastegood enough to eat."

"Go to hell," she said tiredly.

"Not without you Buff," he returned. "Never without you." Suddenly, he pushed her upright, so that she was sitting under her own power. He pulled her coat off her body, and began to work her arms into the sleeves.

"What are" she began.

"Dance is over," he growled. "Leave before I change my mind." She did not hesitate. She didn't know why he had decided her torture was over for the evening, but she wasn't going to challenge him, now. At least not about that. She scooted off his lap, forcing her unsteady legs to lock and hold her upright, adjusting the coat as she did so.

"I'll be glad to leave. As soon as you call off your boys." He glared at her, but again, his strange mood held. He caught the eye of one of his lieutenants, gave a signal. Within a few minutes, the Bronze was vampire-free once moreexcept for the one vampire before her.

She said nothing further, merely nodded, turned and left. With luck, she could still catch up to some stragglers, and get in a few stakings

She dusted a few who hadn't been quick enough to get away from her, but it did nothing to sooth the turmoil inside her. There was no longer any point in avoiding the inevitable. She went home, stealthily entering the house so as not to wake her motheronly to find a light on in the kitchen and a note taped to the fridge. Buffy's Aunt Carol had called. She had flown in from the Midwest for a conference, replacing another company rep at the last minute. Joyce was going out to LA, dinner was in the fridge, Joyce would be home tomorrow night. Buffy sighed in relief. Angel's access to her house made Joyce a target. Buffy was grateful that she was out of harm's way for at least tonight. Not that she thought Angel would come anywhere near Revello Drive, now. He'd had his fun. Still, one less worry for Buffy. She ignored dinner, and headed for bed.

Buffy was as exhausted as she had hoped she would be, but that didn't help. She headed to her closet, reached for a nightgown, rather than her sleep-shirt from the night before. In the bathroom, she made quick work of cleaning up and changing for bed. She wanted a shower, wanted to wash from her thighs the reminder of how very quickly her own body betrayed her, but that would simply have to wait for morning. Buffy left her clothes on the hook behind her bathroom door, and returned to her bedroom. She pulled down the covers, and hesitated for a moment. But she realized the futility, and got into the bed.

The sheets smelled of him, of her lost Angel. The tears started, then, the ones she had held back all evening. Slow, corrosive, helpless, pointless tears. Buffy turned her head into the pillow, clutching it to her as she wept. It hurt so much.

What am I being punished for? she had asked Jenny Calendar, when she had first learned why Angel had changed, when she had first been told about the cruel twist to the curse. She still didn't know. What had she done so wrong in her life, what sin had she committed, that she was condemned not only to risk her life night after night, in an unending battle against evil which she knew some day she would lose, but that the one source of comfort given to her, her love for Angel, should be turned into her deepest source of pain? There was no one she could ask, no one she could turn to. Her friends knew she was hurting over being the cause of Angel's losing his soul, but she could not bring herself to tell them the latest twist in her personal descent into hell. Sobs wracked her, tearing through her body, as she gave in to her grief. What am I being punished for? she wondered again.

"Aw, crying because I didn't give you enough, lover? You should have known I wouldn't let you down."

Buffy gasped, sitting up, her tears stopped by sudden terror. Angelus was standing at the foot of her bed, smirking down at her. A glance showed the window she had closed and locked forced open. She should have heard him come in! No time to wonder why she hadn't. Buffy rolled away from him, off the bed, coming to her feet in combat position, a stake held before her.

"Get. Gone," she said. He laughed, making no move to engage her in a fight, merely standing there regarding her.

"Don't say things you don't mean, lover. You don't want me to go, you want me to come. Preferably, while you do."

"I want you as far from me as you can get," she said, tightening her grip on the stake. "Preferably, in another dimension. Like, say, hell?"

"I've told you. I won't go there without you."

"Come any closer and I'll send you on your--" His right leg snapped toward her in a sudden, deadly, perfectly aimed kick that sent the stake flying from her hand. An instant later she was struggling beneath him on the floor...until his mouth came down on hers again and his pelvis ground into her hips. His hands were locked around her wrists, holding them to the floor on either side of her head. His greater weight, his vampirically enhanced strength overmatching her. She was the Slayer, she was supposed to be a match for any vampire. Why wasn't she a match for him? Or maybe, the problem was that she matched him all too well. She felt the tears begin to start again, and her struggles lessened. She still couldn't fight him.

"I'm coming closer, baby," he warned her between punishing kisses, "I'm coming all the way inside."

"No," she denied, turning her head away. "No." He didn't bother arguing. Instead, he shifted, bringing both of her tiny wrists together in one of his large hands, using the other to snake between their bodies, into the neckline of her nightgown. He ripped downward, neckline to hem, and pushed the edges away, baring her golden body to his touch.

His mouth was on her own with punishing force, when his free hand slid with aching slowness across her breasts. He didn't squeeze or paw; maybe if he had handled her brutally, she could have fought him. But the caress was as gentle as anything Angel had ever offered her, and what little struggle was left in her died away.

As she went still beneath him, Angelus ended the kiss. He raised himself up, contemplating the beauty beneath him. Her eyes were closed, tears slipping beneath the lids. The golden splendor of her hair was spilled across the rug, the golden glory of her flesh trembled under his caress. He had never seen anything more beautiful in his life or unlife than Buffy Summers. The demon in him longed to conquer that beauty, to subvert it, to turn it to evil. He would have her compliance. He would! She could not keep him out of her house. He would simply spend every night ravishing her until she yielded to him, until she willingly joined him. He would kill all of her friends, her ineffectual watcher, her oblivious mother, until there was no one she could turn to, until only he existed for her. It wouldn't affect her as it had Drusilla, he knew that now. But it would tear at her heart, weaken her resolve. She would blame herself for every death, every torment, because she was the one who had insisted they make love, she was the one who had released the hold of his soul on his body, unleashing the demon within.

That ultimate victory would come in time. But for now, the demon wanted to be sheathed within her. When he forced her, he strengthened her resolve. So he became tender, kissing her differently, using light, sweet kisses, adoring her mouth with his lips. She whimpered slightly. He had hours for this. There was no rush. He took his time, his kisses languorous, tempting, ultimately eliciting an unwilling response.

Angel's kisses were on her lips, she could taste Angel, breath in the scent of him, his touch on her body soothing the ache in her soul. Illusion, she knew. Danger, all too probably. But it no longer mattered. Because it was becoming clear to her, now. All Slayers died, sooner or later, at the hands of the vampires they fought. Sooner or later one came along who was just a bit quicker, or stronger, or luckier than the others, the Slayer died, and the next one was called. She would never defeat Angelus. She wasn't meant to. She knew, now, what her destiny was, what it had always been: she had been born to die in Angel's arms. He would kill her, and another would be called, someone with the strength to kill Angelus and protect Buffy's friends. Someone, maybe Kendra, to carry on the fight. While Buffy's spirit rested, at last, in the aether, and if there were any mercy in the world, it would rest joined with Angel's

Angelus sensed the change in her. Not merely the end of the struggle, but the beginning of capitulation. Her mouth opened beneath his, her thighs parted to accept him, everything in her softened, yielded, surrendered. He groaned into her mouth. An instant later, he stood, pulling her to her feet. She looked at him, her hazel eyes showing confusion. He said nothing, merely reached to pull the scraps of her nightgown from her body, then lift her in his arms, carrying her the few feet to the bed, where he settled her against the cushions.

She still made no struggle. He wondered briefly why not, but decided it didn't matter. Her tears had stopped. She lay with her hair spread across the pillows like the sun across the heavens and regarded him solemnly. He made quick work of his own clothing and joined her in the bed.

She held out her arms to him.

He almost suspected a trap, but something inside him, something he didn't choose to examine, didn't care.

He went into her arms and she lifted her face for his kiss and her mouth was like honey, like nectar, richer than blood, the taste of her tongue, the sweet recesses of her mouth all of her was delicious fare, a banquet of delights, his for the taking.

He took her with patience, with skill, with power. He drove into her tight sheath, her body wet with her need of him, and began to move slowly inside her. Her strong, supple, Slayer's legs lifted, wrapped around his waist, as she rocked her hips up to meet each languid, deliberate thrust. Her arms tightened around him, holding him close, and for neither of them was it close enough. They did not speak, they did not exchange love words. He did not threaten, and she did not defy. What was between them was too intense, too overpowering, too consuming, for mere words.

He was inside her, her Angel, and death was not too high a price to pay for having him there. When you kiss me, I want to die, she had told him once. Because she had thought that nothing could be better than his kisses. In truth, nothing was better than the feel of him within her. Without him, she was empty, aching, lost. The truth was that if she couldn't have him, Buffy didn't want to live. But he was with her now, completing her. She was whole. And that it was a demon in his flesh no longer mattered. Angel or Angelus, she was his. As he moved inside her, exquisite pleasure flooded every nerve in her body. She tightened her legs around him, trying to get closer, trying to take him deeper, trying to get through the barriers of flesh and bone and blood until they were joined as completely as they were meant to be.

Her body gloved him as if her very flesh had been designed with his in mind. Of the dozens of women Angel had seduced, the thousands Angelus had taken, none, not one, not any had ever fit around him as perfectly as Buffy Summers. And none, not one, not any, whether high-born virgin, or skilled whore, or practiced vampire wanton had ever given him the pleasure he found each time he took her. Each. And every. Time.

No wonder Angel had lost his soul to her

Angelus pushed away the thought, concentrating instead on the silk-wet feel of her around his hungry cock. He drove deeper. It wasn't deep enough. He began to move more quickly, and mewling, she met him. It wasn't fast enough. They were skin to skin, his body beginning to pound into hers and it wasn't enough, it could never be enough, it would only be enough if he died inside her, died with her, if he were eternally part of her as she was eternally part of him

Pleasure coiled inside her, tight, delicious pleasure. Guilt had long since fled, when she had accepted the rightness of her destiny. Now, she accepted the burgeoning ecstasy only Angel's touch had ever brought, could ever bring her. She was going to die in his arms and she was deeply grateful that there was enough mercy in the world for that small blessing, that she would die with him eternally a part of her

His movements grew quicker, more powerful. A normal human woman would have been bruised by the force with which he took her; even a vampiress might have had trouble keeping pace with his demands. But Buffy craved the force and the power, meeting him, her little heels drumming against his back, demanding more. She was, indeed, his mate. Angel or Angelus, it didn't matter. She was his. He drove harder inside her, her breathless cries all the signal he needed to tell him what felt good to her, how close she was to completion. He drove himself into her relentlessly, determined to have her final surrender. The rippling of her silken walls closing around his iron-hard cock told him he would get it. With a roar Angelus spilled inside her, and the rush of his cold essence, the feel of him losing control in her arms was enough to send her over the edge. She came, hard, her muscles clamping around him, and suddenly, she gave him the one thing, that, even though he had demanded it of her, he had never really expected she would yield. And that yielding shook him to his demonic soul.

Buffy lifted her head from the pillow, flinging aside her hair, baring her neck to him. He vamped instantly, unable to resist the offer, his fangs breaking skin, puncturing vein until the hot liquor of her life's blood flooded his mouth and he could drink her down.

He was in her body and her blood and had long since been in her soul and she was in rapture, in ecstasy, in a climax so deep and consuming that it would never end, she never wanted it to end, this was the death she wanted, the death she craved. Buffy clung to her lover, utterly his.

Angelus sensed her surrender, and triumph flooded him. She was his! Still pumping inside her, still drawing out her release, he stopped drinking, slashing his own wrist with his fangs. He held it to her mouthand she turned her head away.

Anger surfaced, but was washed away by lust. It didn't matter that she wasn't ready to join him tonight. Soon, she would be. He continued to thrust into her as the last of his climax ebbed away, and the final contractions of her sugared walls gripped him.

For long moments afterward, they lay locked together on the bed, the orgasm they had shared too intense, too draining, for them to move. He recovered first, rising up to look down on her. Her mouth was swollen by his kisses, her cheeks were flushed, her hazel eyes, more green than brown, right now, were slumberous with satiation. He kissed her, then withdrew. He freed himself from her embrace, stood, and began pulling on his clothing. She sat up, watching him.

"Why aren't I dead?" she asked softly, as if she were asking, What time is it?

"Buffy, Buffy, Buffy," he said sitting at the foot of her bed to pull on his socks and shoes. "The answer to that should be obvious. You aren't dead because I don't want you dead. I want you to join me. Willingly."

She had known that, really. The idea of dying in his arms was one more dream that would never be realized. She pushed the pain of the thought away.

"I will never willingly become what you want me to become," she told him. He chuckled.

"You can't keep me out of your bed, lover. Sooner or later, you will see." He turned and pulled her into his arms again, for another devouring kiss. "This is the only way it can end for us. We were meant to be together, Buffy. My soul drew you toward me, but you were born for me. You will come to me. Sooner or later, you will come."

She returned his kisses, but said nothing in reply. Another punishing kiss and he left her, vanishing out her window and into the night. Buffy settled back against the bed, oddly calm.

She would never go to him, never join him in living death. But the duty of killing this particular vampire would not fall to any other Slayer. If Buffy had been born to die in Angel's arms, something had gone wrong with the plan. The only thing left her was to somehow gather the strength to fulfill her sacred duty, plunging a stake through his heart.

She wasn't sure she could survive doing that. And as long as he had entrée to her house, she wasn't sure she could gather the strength. A spell to reverse the invitation was now imperative. Another bitter truth had been revealed to her tonight; it wasn't only Angel's love for her that had survived the transition to Angelus, it was her love for him, as well.

She would always love Angel, and Angelus was part of that, the demon that had always been part of her lover. She could not keep him out of her heart. Her home and her bed and her body were another matter, must be another matter. She needed to be strong, needed to kill him, needed to keep the innocents under her protection safe from his whimsical, deadly predation.

If only she had known about the curse. If only she hadn't forced him to make love to her when he had wanted to wait. Of course she didn't deserve the grace of dying in his arms. In the end, all of this was her fault

Aching, beyond thought at last, and beyond tears as well, she closed her eyes and slept

Sort of the End

There's more in the epilogue, but it is, I warn you PURE SAP!

Written for B/A Shippers




Days later

She stood beside Giles at Jenny's grave. She hadn't been strong enough, and Angelus had killed Jenny Calendar. Only the first, she knew. Part of his rage that she had revoked his invitation, ending the dance he wished to lead her. But she would get stronger, now. She had given up hope of Angel ever coming back to her. She would do her duty as a Slayer

Weeks later

She came back to herself in his arms, and for one shattering moment there was tenderness in his eyes, tenderness in the way he held her. He wasn't Angelus; not the creature enraged by her denial of him, and determined to kill her and her friends. He had to be"Angel?" she whispered, needing so badly for it to be him, needing it with the whole force and weight of her bruised and battered soul. The ghosts had departed, their own dance done, and he recovered quicklybut not completely. Hatred was back in his eyes, but he did not reach to kill her, to drain her blood, to force his own blood into her mouth. He threw her away from him and fled down the hall of the school, leaving her gasping, hurting, broken behind himwith only the tiny seed of comforther beloved, her own Angel had indeed died forgiving her

And after that

She had the strength, now, and even the anger, because it was Angelus she fought, not Angel. He had said he would never go to Hell without her, and she was finally ready to send him there. She could drive the sword into him and keep the gate to Hell closed because her Angel was gone, his soul resting in the aether, and maybe, by fulfilling her sacred duty at such a terrible cost, she would earn just enough grace to join him there --Please God! Soon. Please don't make me wait to join him.-- She didn't have time for weakness. Her last attack had driven him to his knees, she raised the sword for the killing blow --

--and his eyes glowed golden, breath he did not need flooding his lungs in a gasp.

"Buffy," he said, and her shattered heart began to break all over again

Months --a lifetime-- later

She had done her duty, and kept the prom safe for her friends, and all of the kids who had never been her friends but who had shown her that they weren't as unaware or as uncaring as she had always thought. A little of the pain around her heart let go, as she laughed with Giles, who was as proud as any father of her accomplishment. Then his face changed as he looked at something behind her, and he spoke gently, taking her award. She turned, already guessing what she would see.

Her Angel came toward her, her dark and beautiful Angel who loved her so much he would leave her rather than keep her from the full life he felt she deserved and that he could never give her, leave her rather than risk turning into the monster who had hurt her so thoroughly, before. She could no longer argue with his choice, however much it lacerated her too-often wounded heart. But as she moved toward him, she was so grateful that he had come here for her tonight


She remembered the dance he had forced from her as Angelus, and the next tender dance, when Angel had come to the Prom, even though they thought they could never, ever be together again. Buffy smiled, radiant, her heart whole and healed and full, the memories no longer able to hurt her, now that it was over, now that they were here. He smiled back, completely, happily, in a way that had only become possible for him in the past few months. He walked toward her as she, too buoyant with happiness to merely walk, floated toward him, until she was where she belonged, where she had always belonged, and would always belong: in his arms.

"Dance with me?" whispered her dark and beautiful Angel, sealed to her forever as their claddagh proclaimed, while the strains of an achingly sweet, achingly slow song drifted toward them.

"Always," Buffy whispered joyously back.

"Ladies and gentleman," the announcer told the guests, "Sharing their first solo dance, I give you the bride and groom."

The Beginning



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