Summary: Buffy visits Angel in LA, and they settle some things. Written
before IWRY. B/A romance and angst.
Spoilers: Minor through the fourth season of both BtVS and Angel.
Disclaimer: Joss.
Rating: PG13
Feedback: It's a perfect yum.
Thanks to Tracy, for being incredibly tolerant as I go on my B/A kick.

Forever Times a Day

by: Amy

* * * * * *


It was a small, quick knock, but Angel stiffened when he heard it. The sound
was shaped around her hand; it was a knock he had heard a thousand times
before-- when he was awake, and more often when he was sleeping. It was
Buffy's knock. He stood up, walking over to the door.

"What is it, man?" Doyle asked, raising his eyebrows.

Angel shook his head, trembling.

Cordelia sighed. She turned to Doyle. "I've only seen him look like that
when he was around..."

Angel opened the door. His voice came out rough. "Buffy."

He drank her in greedily with his eyes. The same shining hair, though
longer, was just as beautiful as it always had been. Her eyes, though tinged
with unbearable sadness now, sparkled just as brightly. She had the same
lingering scent of vanilla hovering around her. She was... He swallowed.
She was perfect.

But then, she always had been.

She shifted awkwardly under the fluorescent lights, passing her tiny purse
from one arm to the other. After a long, silent moment, she broke his gaze
and stepped inside. She gave a tight laugh. "I know-- You can't invite me
in."

Angel shook his head, flustered. "No. It's a public building. I... Just
was surprised to see you."

She shrugged. "Yeah, well, I didn't call." Her eyes darted to Doyle, and
then to Cordelia. "Hey, Cordy. How's life in LA treating you?"

Cordelia's face shifted into a pleased expression. "Much better than life in
Sunnydale ever did!" she said brightly. "I see now why Angel wanted to leave
and come here so badly."

Buffy flinched. Angel glared at Cordelia.

"Cor, why don't you and Doyle go out and celebrate something?" he said with
an edge in his voice.

"All right, all right," she huffed. "Geez, I was only kidding." Placing her
hands up in a gesture of surrender, she started out of the room.

When Doyle didn't follow, she pierced him with her eyes. "Are you *coming?!*"

Doyle smirked, leaning against a desk. His eyes slid up and down Buffy. "No
thanks, Cordy. I'm fine right here."

He pushed himself off the desk and approached Buffy. Taking her hand, he
raised it and kissed the back of her wrist gallantly, his eyes never leaving
hers. "I see now why Angel sits by himself in the dark so often," he
murmured.

Buffy raised her eyebrows. Cordelia's mouth dropped open.

Angel's eyes seemed glued to Buffy's hand, still in Doyle's grip. "Doyle,"
he warned softly.

Doyle smiled. "If you ever get over him, call me first. I'll be available
for you."

Cordelia frowned. "That's because you've never been *un*available in your
life," she spat. "Now come on."

He nodded, following Cordelia out. As they walked down the hall, Buffy heard
Cordelia ask, "Now why haven't you ever acted that charming around me?"

"Oh, ya liked that did you?" he rebuffed. "See, your problem is, you judge
people too quickly. Never know what we're capable of. I can be a *very*
charming guy, Princess."

Buffy tilted her head, trying to follow as their voices got fainter.

The next sound was a slap.

"Hey!" Doyle yelled, his voice painful. "What was the slap for?"

"Why did you put your hands on the no-handed territory?" Cordelia laughed
smugly.

"Just watch," he muttered. "Soon you'll be wantin' my hands, and they'll be
nowhere near..."

Buffy snickered as their voices faded out completely. She turned to Angel.
"Are they always like that?"

"Her, yes. Him..." Angel trailed off thoughtfully. "Also yes, when it comes
to her."

They smiled at each other, and then silence fell and the relaxation drifted
away. Angel wondered idly if it was even possible, or if the moment had been
imagined between them. He looked around, gestured to a chair. "So, sit."

Buffy nodded gratefully, sinking down.

"Why are you here?" he asked.

"New demon," she murmured. "I was in the neighborhood, or was going to be.
I'm visiting my dad for the weekend. Giles asked me to pass along the
information. I thought, 'what could it hurt?' " Buffy paused, glancing at
Angel. "Could you sit down? You're doing the pacing thing that Giles does
so well, the one that always makes me nervous."

Angel sat. He looked at her apologetically. "I'm uh... It was nerves.
Making me pace. Over the demon. What demon?"

"Oh." Buffy looked down and took out a slip of paper from her purse.
"Mielish?"

"Oh," Angel echoed, nodding vaguely. "Yeah, I know how to deal with him. I
could have killed him a couple of centuries ago, but..." He cleared his
throat.

"Yeah," Buffy said softly. She forced a laugh. "You know, this really
shouldn't be so awkward. You were a demon who didn't want to kill a demon.
There. It's been said."

Angel smiled tightly, then looked down at his hands. "I suppose that says it
all, doesn't it?"

"I guess," Buffy whispered. A moment later, she stood, smoothing down her
skirt. "I should go. I'll... Well, goodbye."

She stumbled out of the room quickly, and Angel both saw and felt her heated
skin as she brushed passed him, and he could smell the fear that had replaced
that lovely scent of vanilla. What exactly was she afraid of? He frowned,
intending on letting her go, when he saw her purse lying on the chair where
she had been sitting.

Oh, hell. He wasn't going to let her go, and he knew it.

Grabbing her purse, thankful he had an excuse to follow, he darted out of his
office and clambered down the stairs. She was already out the door. He
silently swore, for the first time annoyed at her Slayer speed.

He slowed once he got outside, spotting her at a pay phone. Not wanting to
surprise her and have her accidentally stake him, he walked up slowly. As he
neared, he could hear her conversation. "Okay, yes. What room? 346? Okay.
Thanks. I'll be there by check-in."

Angel paused, concerned. She hung up the phone. "I thought you were staying
with your father," he murmured, leaning close to her ear.

Buffy spun around in surprise. "I was. Am. That was..."

Angel laid a heavy, steadying hand on her shoulder. "A hotel," he said
quietly. "Why did you lie?"

Buffy started at the feel of his hand, at the physical shock of connectedness
between them, the shock that would probably always lie between them. "I
didn't... Want you to know that I came up here to see you. I didn't want you
to know that the demon was just an excuse for me to come, and that everyone
offered to come but I wouldn't let them."

"And why didn't you just want to stay at your dad's?" he asked gently.

Buffy smiled, embarrassed. "He's out of town."

"Why didn't you tell me that?"

"I... didn't want you to think..." She looked down. "I didn't want you to
think that I was only coming here for you. Though... I guess I kind of was."

He smiled, trying not to show how flattered he was. "Thank you. For the
tip, and for the... For coming in the first place."

Buffy laughed awkwardly. "Sure. Anytime. ...So...."

"So," he repeated. Then he smiled again. "Why don't you just stay at my
place?"

Her eyes flew up to his face, and then darted back down. "I'm not sure that
would be the best thing," she said, startled. "I mean... you and me and...
beds. It doesn't seem to work with us, really. Either you end up losing
your soul, or I almost dust you by opening the curtains too early... And then
there's the whole broken up thing. Which is what we are. So..."

Angel laughed as she sucked in her breath to continue. "I'll behave," he
promised, amused. His eyes twinkled, and Buffy got a warm feeling while
looking at him that she immediately banished. He wasn't Buffy-girlfriend
territory anymore. She couldn't claim him.

She didn't even think she was allowed to have those fluffy feelings anymore,
she admitted to herself with a sigh.

Finally she nodded, and looked up at him in an uneasy silence. He took her
arm and led her back across the street, opening the door for her.

Buffy glanced up at him, rested her eyes on his skin and cheek and mouth and
sighed again. She had the feeling it was going to be a long night.
* * * * * *

Angel walked into the room silently, as only a vampire with centuries of
practice could. He pulled up a wooden chair next to the bed and sat in it,
leaning close to Buffy as she slept. She smelled like vanilla and roses. It
was the lotion she used after a shower, he was pretty sure. Her mouth was
slightly open and she was breathing deeply in and out, hiding somewhere in
her dreams.

Hiding from him?

Angel wouldn't blame her.

He sighed. It was almost too hard, getting her to spend the night at his
house. And when they reached downstairs, he found himself waiting her
reaction to his apartment... To see if she liked it. Though he didn't know
why it mattered, exactly.

She had smiled at him.

"Same old Angel," she'd said softly, trailing her hand across a small ivory
elephant that he had picked up a long time ago in Africa. "I like the look.
It's you... It shows the way you think, I guess. It shows who you are."

He listened to her words greedily, her approval washing over him like waves.
"Who I am?"

"Yeah." Buffy's smile was sad. "And I like who you are."

His eyes fastened on her neck, and he had approached her slowly. Brushing
her hair aside, he fingered the faint white scar that lingered there. "From
me?" he asked hollowly.

"From you," she echoed.

"Even the... Even the Master didn't leave a scar," he whispered, a little
stunned.

"No," she agreed, looking into his eyes. "He didn't. But you're different
in a lot of ways."

Angel flinched. "Yeah, I am."

Instantly, seeing his sadness, she reached out and held his hand. Gripped it
tightly, bringing it to her heart. "In all of the good ways, Angel. This
isn't a bad scar. It reminds me. It gives me a little bit of you. It helps
me remember how special everything about us is... Was. It's good to
remember."

"All of the time?" he asked. Then he immediately regretted his tone, knowing
that he had been referring to the boy Spike had mentioned.

Buffy had blushed. "Even... Even all of the time," she whispered. "You're
special. This, all of this..." She gestured to her scar, "Helps me keep that
in mind, helps me know what to do, and what not to do. Granted, what I
choose isn't always the right thing, but this scar weighs heavily on all of
my decisions. All of them."

He looked down, his hand still on her neck, feeling the warmth exuding from
her skin. "Which ones do you mean? How all?"

Buffy sighed, leading him over to the couch, a little unsure of what to say.
"Everything I did with you, the dreams we shared and the kisses and the talks
and the..." she stumbled over the word with difficulty, "Night... Gave
something to me that... I guess I want to recapture. It just took me a while
to realize that it's impossible to do. And that's all I'm going to say about
it."

Angel nodded, glancing up into her eyes. So blue. "You didn't have to say
anything in the first place, Buffy. I'm the one who left. You don't owe me
anything. I'm not your keeper."

"But you are," she refuted with a small smile. "And I do."

He smiled back, his eyes dark. And then he was leaning in, and her breath
was against his lips.

He hesitated; pulled back. She opened her eyes. "You should go to bed," he
finally said.

Buffy stood quickly, too quickly. "Yeah. I should." She looked around.
"Um, where is there a bed?"

Angel's smile was full this time. He waved in the direction of the bedroom.
"Over there. I'll... Take the couch."

"You don't need to," Buffy said slowly.

He gave her a cryptic smile. "I think I do."

She reddened again, her face heating up rather fast. Angel shuddered as her
blood called to him, reminded him of the amazing night she had laid in his
arms before he left, and the night she had laid in his bed with him, so long
ago. He pushed down the lust, and bloodlust, that sang through his veins and
gave her a little shove. "Go on. Sleep well."

Buffy smiled at him, picking up her bag. "I'll try."

He didn't know how he had gotten into the room, three hours later. Maybe it
was the soft sound of her snoring, the sound he liked so much that had
tempted him. Maybe it was the smell that had drifted through the open door,
the smell that was uniquely Buffy. It could have been a lot of things.

Mostly, he thought, he had just wanted to look at her before he slept.

He hadn't had that opportunity in a long time.

So he looked. Touched her hair tenderly. Smiled when she mumbled his name
in her sleep. Wondered if she was dreaming of him. Memorized every line of
her face, every nuance of her body and hair and the smallness of her hands.
He covered her with the blanket she had kicked off when she shivered from the
cold, and let himself kiss her cheek, a little too close to her mouth.

"Ahem."

Angel spun around, locking eyes with Kate.

Kate shifted awkwardly. "I didn't realize you had company. I mean, I needed
your help on a case, but I thought... I just didn't know... I should have
known. Sorry. I can call you later. It was rude of me to just... God, I
just broke in. I'm really sorry."

She turned to leave, and Angel winced internally. He got up silently and
followed her. "Kate," he called in a loud whisper.

She slowed, then halted, turning back around. Her smile was tight. "Hi."
She nodded her head back in the direction of his room. "Is that your
girlfriend?"

Angel looked up, not sure of how to answer. "Yes. No. It's a very long
story."

"Isn't she a bit young for you?" Kate whispered, a tinge of anger in her
voice.

"Everyone's a bit young for me," Angel muttered dryly. Then he caught
himself. "She's almost nineteen. I've known her for... A long time."

"And how old are you? Twenty-seven? Twenty-eight?"

"I'd rather not talk about this, Kate," Angel murmured. "I'm sorry that...
Well, I suppose I'm sorry that you're angry with me. What was it you needed?"

Kate whipped a paper out of her purse. "I need to find the location of a
witness. I think someone's harassing him, telling him that if he talks,
he'll be dead. So he's gone into the rabbit hole. Can't find him anywhere."


Angel took the paper from her, but her hands lingered under his and then took
hold. Angel cleared his throat awkwardly when she still held on after a
moment.

"Angel..." Kate's eyes dipped. "I'm really going to regret this later, I'm
sure. But... Isn't there something special between us? At all?"

Angel looked into her eyes. Blue eyes, like Buffy. But so different. Less
innocent. And they had somehow seen less pain, too. Angel wondered idly how
Buffy managed to stay so pure after all that had happened to her. He smiled.
"Yes, something special."

Kate sighed, relieved. "Good, because I thought--"

"I *so* need to leave," Buffy said from the doorway.

Angel pulled away from Kate's touch, and turned to Buffy, trapped. "Buffy.
I didn't mean what it... It wasn't. Not like that."

Buffy slipped on her shoes with Slayer speed and grabbed her bag. Slinging
it quickly over her shoulder, she shot out of the room and up the stairs
before he could say another word.

Angel's eyes widened with panic. He looked at Kate. "Friendship is very
special. And that's what I feel for you. I'm sorry, but I need to go."

Kate bit her lip, looking down, and nodded. "When you gotta go, you gotta
go."

Angel locked eyes with her for an instant, and then flew after Buffy.
* * * * * *

He found her on the steps outside his building. Waiting for him?

Buffy's head snapped up. "Don't get the wrong idea," she said bitterly. "I
broke my heel. I was trying to fix it."

He smiled at her words, however angrily they were spoken. She could still
read his mind. "Buffy, I'm never going to stop loving you," he said calmly,
as calmly as he could say the words that meant the most to him.

She stared at him. "But you need to move on, like you're forcing," she gave
a sharp laugh, "I mean 'letting' me move on?"

"Kate's a friend, Buffy. A friend who I managed to give the wrong idea to.
I'm sorry you heard that and misunderstood it. But there's only one love of
my life," he said quietly, certainly.

Buffy lifted her head mutely. "I shouldn't have come. I really shouldn't
have," she mumbled. "I'm going to really go now. I need to."

As she turned to leave, Angel caught her by the arm. His eyes penetrated
into hers, forcing her to meet his stare. "Don't you know that I think of
you every single day? Every time I hear something on the radio, I think that
the lyrics sound like our relationship. Everytime I see a beautiful blond
girl, I think she's you before she turns around. Everytime I smell vanilla,
I can't help but think of your face."

"You think of me?" she asked in a small voice. "You think of me a lot?"

Angel let out a frustrated sigh. "I think about you all the time! I think
about you... I think about you a thousand times a day. I think about you..
Forever times a day."

"Forever times a day?" She asked, her eyes shining. "That's how much I think
about you."

He smiled. "Yes. That much. More than that. If there was a way to
describe what you mean to me, I would. But there isn't, so I can't, and I
can only hope that you know what I mean."

"Yes," she breathed. "I know exactly what you mean."

Angel pulled on her arm, and brought her chest against his. His arms wrapped
around her waist tightly, possessively, and he felt a growl well up in his
throat when she melted against his frame. She slipped her arms loosely
around his shoulders. "Don't ever think I don't," he commanded hoarsely.

"No," she agreed, her eyes on his mouth.

Angel smiled, wider, and leaned down, capturing her lips under his. His
tongue raked her lower lip and tasted the hot recesses of her mouth when she
opened it for him. Buffy slowly pulled him closer, as close as she could
have him, and let him ravish her mouth, her knees buckling under the pleasure
of kissing him again.

Angel certainly knew what she liked best.

Finally, he pulled back to give her a moment to breathe, and then resumed
kissing her. He didn't want to stop. And she didn't want him to, either.

They both knew that this would be one of the last times they would get to
experience this. They both knew that it couldn't happen often, if at all.
It was too dangerous, to both of their hearts, to allow themselves to be part
of each other's lives. Which was why he had left. Which was why she hadn't
admitted to either of them why she came.

But after the kisses, after the sadness and tears of her leaving again, and
after she was gone, there was still going to be one thing. There was always
going to be one thing.

The thoughts, the memories...

Forever times a day.

The End

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