Nocturnal Landscaping

AUTHOR: Ducks, theantijoss
DISCLAIMER: *arches an eyebrow at you*
RATING: R for sexual activity.
PAIRING: B/A, duh!
TIMELINE: A post-baking future, where Joss’ issues crush NO ONE’S HAPPINESS!
SYNOPSIS: One thing Angel misses about daytime life is watching things grow and bloom. Buffy decides to do something about that. Then they have sex. In the rain. *G*
DISTRIBUTION: Please ask. Chances are good that I'll say yes. :)
FEEDBACK: That would be awesome, thank you!
DEDICATION: To Lee (southernbangel), who asked for it! And to darkrhiannon, ladymackenzie, tkp, and romanyg for their birthday yesterday! *smooches all around*

Many thanks to ljgould for the beta!

Prompts: rain boots, mention of HGTV, cupcake


"Nocturnal Landscaping”
by Ducks

Angel woke to the cool, blanketing darkness of midnight, and realized the sun had already long gone, leaving the spacious bedroom bathed in an eerie gray light. To human eyes, everything would appear as though it had been drained to monochrome by some color-draining vampire.

Except to him and other creatures like him, of course. He could see all the vivid living colors of the night as clearly -- more so, actually -- as he could when looking out at the world under the full, deadly light of day. But knowing he had overslept so badly made him uncomfortable, nonetheless. He very rarely did so.

Their home was purposefully constructed in the middle of nowhere so that he and Buffy could at least pretend to make some attempt at normalcy when they left their duties behind at the end of the day (or night). Living on the campus of the Slayer School for the first year after their reunion had turned out to be an adventure a bit deeper into the realm of child rearing than he was really willing or equipped to undertake right now.

Not that he didn't wish for more children someday, he did. Just not 500 of them, all teenaged girls. The dorms there were like a nightmare of giggling, perfume, bad noise labeled as music, and posters of insipid looking pretty boys who could just as easily be girls. And barely-pubescent women staring at him like he was a piece of raw meat and they were starving to death.

He secretly hoped all of his imaginary future children would be sons. After all, Connor had turned out okay... eventually. With radical magical assistance.

His consciousness returned with a snap, and all the sensations of waking awareness washed in to fill him where the flight of his dreams left emptiness.

After so many years living at Defcon 1, it was automatic to immediately scan the environment for "wrong" things-- smells, feelings, tastes, noises that didn't belong in the usually peaceful surroundings of their solitary retreat.

So the sound of shovel frantically turning earth disturbed him in a way he couldn't consciously articulate. Somebody digging in his back yard in the middle of the night just couldn't signify anything good. It probably meant either that something was dead and needed burying somewhere out of the way, or that something very unfortunate was being unearthed and would shortly be causing trouble. Either way, it was not how he wanted to start his night.

He turned over with a groan, and the clutch of shivering dread in his chest only tightened -- Buffy was gone. She had been there beside him when they collapsed after a long night of fighting Fligisht demons with the third year students. They'd arrived home near sunrise, and barely taken a moment to kiss and wrap their arms around each other before they lost consciousness. He could still smell funk on the sheets… and not the sexy, pleasant kind that he usually hated to wash away in the laundry.

Most evenings, he had to drag Buffy out of bed kicking and screaming when he rose. Or wake her with… sensations other than the clanging of an alarm clock that got her attention in a much more positive way. On occasion, it was simply the smell of coffee that brought her back to the land of the conscious. It didn't really matter. Angel was willing to do whatever it took to see her smile, the sparkle in her green eyes, to have her back with him again, returned from the land of dreams. As beautiful and sweet as she was in those peaceful hours he liked to pass watching her sleep, he still missed her.

That she was up this early of her own volition and apparently taking spade to earth did not bode well for how the night was going to progress. Buffy and yardwork beyond the chores that required brute strength like weeding and mowing were, as she would say, non-mixy things.

But there was no screaming, and he couldn’t smell blood or fear, so he only hurried a little bit to find out what was going on. He dressed, drank his breakfast, and made his way out the back door into the barren space he hoped to make a garden someday… not a graveyard for butchered enemies or a burial ground for dangerous artifacts.

The moon was rising silver-blue over the tops of the surrounding forest, and the cloistered space was touched with its shimmering light. Somehow, seeing the moonlit world out here was less eerie than it was in the shadows of their empty bedroom. Strange how context and environment could change such similar scenes.

When he and Buffy bought the land, he had been able to see the house and gardens completed so clearly in his mind's eye. For a few moments, he had stood there -- almost exactly where he was now -- holding Buffy's hand, smelling the sweet, soapy scents of a night-blooming garden in a future that he only dreamed might someday exist.

That was enough to convince him to buy it. The earth here had a life of its own -- a wild magick that called to him, named itself Home and beckoned him to put down roots there and build that fabled future. But with everything that had been going on since they moved in, he held no illusions that the realization of that vision was anything but still a long, long time off. When did they have a night to even do the simplest things: choose the plants and seeds, turn the soil, give all the love and care such a growing place would need?

And yet...

His bare feet touched the flagstones that had magickally appeared outside the sliding patio doors in place of the muddy path that had been there only a few hours previously. The cool, smooth stones reminded him of the slate walk outside his childhood home, and to his surprise, the sensation was comforting. More magick? Was whatever Buffy had uncovered in the garden some kind of positive emotional magnifying glass? He took a deep -- suddenly very necessary -- breath and continued down the path, trying to imagine more wonderful things that all of this could mean, and dispel the horrible ones the forced themselves into his head.

When the new wash of scents reached him, the optimism stopped requiring much effort. When the garden area came into sight, real happiness came of its own accord, borne on a breeze touched with moonvine and angel's trumpet; ginger geraniums, gardenia and the soft, soapy smell of yucca blooms. And beneath it all, the warm, sunshine scent of the woman he loved, edged with the sweet musk of clean sweat. Before his eyes rose a scene of such thoughtfulness, such heartbreaking beauty and joy that not so long ago, he might have feared for the security of his soul.

She was a vision of uncharacteristic domestic grace, standing in a virtual heaven of growing things. She wore the lavender wellies decorated with a pattern of pale pink cupcakes (her tasty rain boots, she called them) that he had bought her as a housewarming gift to protect her feet when they worked in the yard. On her small hands, she wore matching gardening gloves, and with them, she was gently patting the earth around what seemed to be the final touches of her night's work while she stared in rapt concentration at a stapled clutch of papers set on the bench beside her.

Buffy had created a fairyland of night-blooming things while he slept, and now the dream he'd had the day they bought the land suddenly came to live under her gentle attentions.

She slowly looked up, sensing him as she always did, and smiled.

"You're up. I guess I finished just in time." Buffy set the spade against the trellis of moonvine behind her, and spread her hands to indicate the garden. "Surprise."

Angel stood where he was, unable to move, to speak, or to do anything at all, stunned to absolute stillness by her gift. Staring at her and this small slice of Paradise she'd brought down to earth for him in wonder.

Her smile faded a bit. "Angel?" The touch of worry in her voice, the unspoken question, 'are you all right?' brought him back from his dazed reverie.

"What... what did you do?" he asked as he stepped into the main part of the garden, where she had placed several matching stone benches and a framed swing among the flowering trees, flowers, lush shrubbery and trellises covered with climbing plants. Everything was in flower as if bought to bloom by magick.

He could never have found adequate words to describe or express the wave of unutterable tenderness that washed over him at the sight of her and the heartbreaking labor of love she had just completed. A large sheet of engineer's paper sat beside a pile of printouts on the stone bench nearest her, plans clearly drawn by Xander to Buffy's specifications.

That she remembered his long, rambling ruminations about what he'd like to build here, and then went through what had to be the substantial trouble of getting Xander to help her with anything that would in any way benefit Angel...

He took the few feet separating them in three long, vampire-fast strides, and swept her up into a rib-cracking embrace that forced a little "eep!" from Buffy as he crushed her to him.

"So you like it then?" she squeaked.

Angel released her enough so that her adorably booted feet returned to the ground and she could expand her chest enough to breathe again, but didn't let her go entirely. To stop touching her now seemed to be the worst possible thing he could do. He still couldn't seem to make himself speak.

"I hope so," she went on softly, "Because I have to do Willow and Xander's laundry for a month. Willow gave me the spells to get everything blooming, and Xander helped with the plans. I got some of the girls and Giles to help bring everything in..."

She went on, but he was fully occupied with glancing around at the haven of life and growth she had created for their home, noting that every small detail he'd ever imagined for it had been realized. From the flowering vines that had been trained to climb the stone wall of the house, down to the soft, plush, earth-toned cushion on the swing that fairly invited napping, everything was a perfect mirror of the picture in his head. Even the fact that the swing faced out through the garden, over the lush, sloping hills of their land, into the forest in the east so they could watch the moon and see the first pink fingers of sunrise if they dared to stay out that long. It was as though the woman he loved had walked into his mind, and brought his dreams out into the world for him.

"God, Buffy, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." He drew back enough to look into her beaming face, framed that vision of love and contentment between his hands, hoping to capture the look shining in her green eyes and remember it for all time. "After you."

Her expression softened, those green eyes went gentle and wet, and her gaze ticked away. She blushed, then passed off the moment of vulnerability with a shrug. "All I did was a little digging. And watched some HGTV, which I do anyway. Obsessively."

"That was why you kept turning off that tape every time I walked in the room," he realized, chuckling. "I thought you were watching some vampire porn or something."

His lover whacked him in the arm and gave him her best faux glare. "I do not watch vampire porn. And even if I did, it isn't any weirder than getting turned on by antique ink drawings of corsets and bloomers."

He wiggled his eyebrows at her. "I hope that's the next part of the present."

Her laughter rang in the cool air of the night, echoing softly against the stone walls that surrounded the outer edge of the courtyard. That blessed sound was the perfect music, set there in the breeze with an orchestra of crickets accompanying, and made the entire moment even more dreamlike. Surreality was something he'd come to expect in his endless unlife -- just not usually the positive kind. Nightmares were more his speed. He hardly knew what to do with sweet dreams come true like this.

"Not even. You couldn't pay me enough to put on those stupid bloomer things. A corset, maybe..."

For a moment, his attention ticked away from her to the visual of her nude but for a corset, garter belt, and silk stockings.

"Remind me to look into that," he said, his voice going husky with the rush of desire that washed over him. He looked back into her eyes, and found an answering spark within their mossy depths. "Tomorrow."

With that, he drew Buffy back to him once more, and claimed the sweetness of her mouth, tasting her soft lips before urging them to part and allow him access to her delicious mouth. She tasted of bubble gum and the berry flavored energy drink she liked, with the tiniest hint of beeswax lip balm beneath. Her tongue met his, teased it, urged it further inward until she could suckle it gently as she tangled her still-gloved hands in his hair. He reached up, pulling them down and divesting them of the gloves without losing contact between their lips.

When he let them go, her fingers returned to his scalp even as his slipped down her slender back to her firm, round rear, squeezing her close so that his already aching erection ground against her arching pelvis.

The lush, thriving garden seemed to claim them, then. Claim them like it had the day they'd first set foot on it and drew them in to make them part of its life. He cradled Buffy against him as they slipped first to their knees, hands and mouths devouring flesh and clothing, until they were panting and naked, and fell to the dew-damp grass, entwined together as if they had grown that way. He was filled with thoughts of he and Buffy as Adam and Eve, and this place their own personal Eden. It only seemed right to celebrate the explosion of energy and spirit Buffy had brought into being here by this most ancient and primal of celebrations.

Angel took his time with her, as he so rarely seemed to get to do anymore, with the furious pace of their lives always coming between them. Still, even the rare moments when they were able to come together were more an unattainable gift than he ever imagined he would have had only a few years ago. But on this night, it was as if time had stopped for them from the moment he'd wakened to the sound of her working. Like this moment was removed from the regular workings of time so that they could enjoy this endless, passionate moment together.

He traveled every long-adored cut and curve of her body with his mouth, worshipping each part with equal care, from the delicate line of her jaw, to the fine bones of her clavicle and shoulders; the strong, lean muscles of her arms; the palms of her hands; her fingertips. When he was done with those, Buffy was already writhing and whimpering beneath him, her entire form arching toward him as though to draw his body closer. But there was so much beauty here to appreciate, and he didn't want to miss an inch.

The taste of her skin, so salty-sweet with the sweat of her labor, made his erection pulse and his whole body howl with starvation for her. The bond between them, begun so long ago before either of them knew enough to understand its true meaning and depth, seemed only to have strengthened over the time they were apart. Those hard, lonely years stirred so much pain and emptiness into their experience that their coming together again seemed not only inevitable, but absolutely necessary to their continued existence.

Angel remembered every moment, every sensation of the first time they made love after so long being deprived of one another. How every kiss, every touch felt like something fundamental to his being that he had been missing for eternity, and only now became whole once more with its return. How the first time they had come together, his body slipping into hers as if he had been created from a mold of her, had demolished every thought, every ounce of pain and need he had suffered without her. Everything in the universe, all of reality, was nothing but the taste of her mouth, the sound of her thundering heartbeat, the touch of her hot, wet flesh all around him.

Almost three years later, the sensation was still the same. He suspected it always would be -- that he would never get enough of making love to this wonderful, giving woman he adored so completely.

Their gazes locked as he entered her, and that moment of ultimate connection took them like a storm rushing through. Lightning struck somewhere in the distance, and the air was filled with the rumble of thunder and the low hum of electricity released into the atmosphere. The power of it ripped through him, throwing his head back and tearing a cry of pure bliss from his throat, a wild sound matched by Buffy's responding cry as he thrust hard inside her warm, willing body. He hitched her legs up over his shoulders to move deeper, to feel more of her at once, to try and make their bodies as utterly and irreversibly entangled as their hearts, souls, and lives were now.

They found their rhythm just as the rain began to fall, summer warm and soft, as though the sky wept with joy for the beauty of their lovemaking. He laughed aloud at the ridiculousness of his own thoughts, the poetic comedy of the moment, the perfect, perfect happiness of making love to Buffy in the garden of their home. He looked down and found that she was laughing too, even as she pulled him to her, rolled them over, and took control.

He loved when she did this, when he could lie pliant beneath her gentle strength, able to touch more of her, watch her ride him like a goddess riding the storm, the rain drenching her as she threw her laughing face back to taste it. Droplets dribbled down to sparkle on the tips of her nipples, and he bent upward to suckle them away, wrapping his arms around her as they rocked together to their final peak.

They tumbled over the edge together, their laughter morphing to joyous cries that drowned the sound of the rain on the earth until they fell in a tangle of wet and shivering limbs in the soaking grass. Angel took a moment to catch his breath, then scooped Buffy's limp form up into his arms and ran back to the house.

While he started a fire in the stone hearth, Buffy went to get towels, and returned with them along with two cups of tea nuked in the microwave and their respective robes. He accepted one of each with a smile, sipping at the warm, sweet brew as he toweled off the worst of the wet, and then slipped into the soft robe. Buffy did the same, and when they were both dressed, she snuggled up to his side with his arm around her shoulders.

They looked out the big French doors at the storm still washing over their garden, and Angel felt a peace and rightness steal over him like nothing he had ever experienced before. He leaned his cheek against the damp warmth of Buffy's hair and breathed her in, letting the breath out with a long, satisfied sigh.

"How do you do this?" he whispered, pulling her close until he could feel her heartbeat against him even through their robes. "How do you make everything so magical, like there's nothing else in the world but us and this?"

He could almost hear her smile. "Because there isn't anything in the world but us and this. It's everything else that's just an illusion."

Angel turned to smile down at her. "And here I always thought Willow was the sorceress."

Buffy grinned. "Lots of people make that mistake," she said, and laughed as she glanced down at her feet.

She was still wearing the purple wellies with the pink cupcakes on them.

"I was wondering what that squeaking noise was when we were making love," she said.

"I wasn't," he confessed with his own cheeky grin, and playfully fondled one of her breasts. "They're no corset and silk stockings, but...I still find them strangely stimulating."

With a saucy, smoky-eyed look, Buffy stepped away and undid the tie of her robe, exposing a line of bare flesh down the middle of her body. She traced her skin slowly, enticingly with one fingertip, drawing his eyes down to the juncture of her thighs as though mesmerized by her gesture as she caressed herself.

"Then why don't we take this upstairs and see just how stimulating they can be, sailor?"

With a wolfish growl, Angel swept her into his arms for the second time that night, colorful wellies and all, and carried her upstairs to ravish her again while the rain continued to nourish the garden Buffy had built for their dreams to grow in.

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