Easy Night

SUMMARY: S2 fic. "He picks her up at the library tonight."

Written for Rachel (edgechick816) at B/A Drabble Tag. Prompt: For the dark finds ways of being engraved in the light -Serenade by Emilana Torrini.


He picks her up at the library tonight. Her laughter reaches him even though he hasn’t reached the doors, and when he enters the room, her smile is still wide and open.

“Angel!” she says, standing up and pushing chairs aside in her eagerness to greet him. Behind her, Willow is also smiling and even Xander seems in a mood good enough not to glower at the scene. Angel leans for a quick kiss and is admittedly surprised when she happily stays in place and doesn’t let the hug end.

He looks around, feeling out of place in a school library with a teenage Slayer holding him and her teenage friends staring. Plus a Watcher. The noise has brought Giles from his office, and at least with him Angel can exchange a quick, normal nod of formal greeting.

Buffy still has her arms around him, though. “How was your day?” he asks, wanting to fill the silence. She looks at him with a twinkle in her eyes and he knows that he said the not-right thing, again. He just doesn’t know what boyfriends tell their girlfriends these days.

“Good. Now it’s better,” she answers anyway. Thankfully, she never minds that he’s awkward in the romance department and that weeks with her hadn’t improved that fact. After reaching for another kiss, she disentangles herself and checks that all stakes are in place. “Cornell Memorial?” she asks as she secures the one at her calf.

He nods. This is familiar territory for him. Saying hello to his girlfriend in public? He can’t do it without making a fool of himself – and yes, he can hear Xander’s snickers and that Willow is barely withholding one of her own. But planning the schedule for tonight’s hunt? He just follows the flow of instincts and this itch for battle and his and Buffy’s minds are automatically in synch.

Giles gives them the names of possible fledglings and Angel commits them to memory even as he takes the piece of paper. Either he or Buffy will lose the note in the way, and Buffy is hopeless with names. Last week they stood for hours at Mal Sling’s grave when they should have gone to Valerie ‘Val’ Smith’s one. "They rhyme!" had been Buffy's pouting response when Giles chided her. Angel hadn't had a better excuse than that he'd been too focused thinking how long it'd take for Mal-Val-whatever to rise and be staked so that Buffy would declare patrol over and make out time started.

Today there are four names in the list. It'll be hours before he can have Buffy to himself, Angel knows. When did he start thinking of patrol only as a passageway to Buffy's kisses? It's her influence. Hopefully - he adds to himself, even if he knows that he'd never dare to indulge in one of those kisses here, where everyone is watching.

Buffy uses the time he's spent tangled in his own thoughts to say her goodbye to the guys. She’s still waving away Giles’ last recommendations with her usual eyeroll and ‘I’m not a little girl’ smile, when he moves a little closer to her. “Ready?”

She nods. Then she takes his hand to lead him away. A chorus of ‘Good luck!’ follows them. Too late, Angel notices that Willow is saying goodbye to him, too; but before he can answer the door is closed behind them.

“What are the chances we’ll take less than two hours?”

Angel raises an eyebrow. Buffy knows better than him that waiting for fledglings takes longer than that.

She shrugs and heaves a long sigh. “Thought so. I just have this huge test tomorrow.”

So that was why Willow and Xander were at the library tonight. Unless there’s something important underfoot, the only ones who stay until late hours are Buffy and Giles. He looks at his girlfriend and knows that she is worried. It really is not fair that, try as she might, she’ll never have enough free time to dedicate to school. She hates presenting Joyce her low grades, Buffy told him once. She could do better. She used to do so much better. And now to have to go home with Cs when she’s lucky and no evil guy has tried to take over the town in the week before finals. “I feel like I’m disappointing her,” she’d said, slowly, not looking at him but at the ground, the only contact between them being their linked hands. “But I can’t do anything about it... Can I?” Angel had wished he could lie to her. But he couldn’t.

“I could go alone,” he offers. He can do that. It’s not the first time he’s patrolled on his own, and it wouldn’t be the last. He likes that Buffy has some time for herself, even if it’ll never be enough.

Buffy looks tempted at the offer, but finally shakes her head. “Thank you, but….” Angel notices as her fingers clench and unclench, subconsciously going to the stake at her waist. “…I’ll be a good Slayer tonight.”

He nods and doesn’t tell her that he understands, that he knows that the grinning girl he found earlier will all but disappear once she finds a prey and an undead heart to aim for. Buffy is smiles, dances and Lit tests. She also is a blur of death and a satisfied smirk when her kill is done. Nothing will change that she yearns for a fight as much as he does. Darkness always finds ways of being engraved in the light, and the Slayer is neither one nor the other. That’s part of why he’s attracted to her, why she is attracted to him.

This time it is he who reaches for her hand. “We’ll make it quick,” he promises.

She smiles, even though both know it won’t be true.

The End



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