Scent Memory

Author: Gia
Rating: R/NC-17 probably
Disclaimer: Own nothing. All belongs to Joss, ME, Fox,
Pairing: B/A.

Author's Notes: Four years after Chosen/End of Days.

Inspired in part by some short story that I read in a collection of Erotica that I no longer seem to own. My apologies to the author of that story for not being able to offer credit for the original idea.

Dedication: For Tango. Happy birthday, sweets!!


Distribution: Anywhere currently hosting my stuff; my site: EverySixSeconds; anywhere else, just let me know.

Completed 9.30.2002

When Buffy opened the small box, the smells rushed out, still surprisingly rich and full. Closing her eyes she inhaled deeply, drawing the familiar scents to her, letting them swirl around her like a mist.

The box held memories of a love lost -- a time capsule of sorts, closed for just over four years. It was the only thing that she had kept from the devastation of Sunnydale, by simply mailing it to her aunt Arlene in Illinois before everything went down. She hadn't been sure then why she had chosen the few things she had and packed them in the box and time hadn't brought her any closer to understanding the reasons.

Slowly, deliberately, she drew back the cardboard flaps to peer at the contents inside: an envelope of pictures, her family and friends. Mr. Gordo, her trusted childhood pal. Letters, only a few, bound neatly together with a functional clip. They offered glimpses of moments of love and loneliness, of times when distance was the only thing that kept their resolve from weakening; when distance kept them from simply throwing caution to the wind, choosing each other instead of duty.

Beneath the letters was a pool of heavy, black silk. Drawing it out of the box, Buffy held it to her lips, breathing deeply. Though impossible after all this time, she could still smell all of the scents that had once defined her love.

Setting aside the box and the letters, Buffy slid off her simple chemise nightgown and slipped her arms through the sleeves of the black silk. The soft material caressed her bare skin, raising goose bumps along the back of her neck and her arms. Her nipples tightened beneath the caress of the cool silk and she shivered, crossing her arms over her chest. She could almost feel his arms over her own, encircling her.

The shirt had fit him perfectly, clinging to his broad shoulders and emphasizing his tall, muscular frame, but on her, the sleeves hung well past her hands. The hem covered her modestly, reaching just above her knees.

Moving to the window, Buffy stared with unseeing eyes out into the dark night. Tilting her head and lifting the collar, she rubbed it against her cheek as a tear slowly slipped from her eye to soak into the weave of the material.

When she had last worn this shirt, she had been happier than she could ever remember being before or since. They had been drowsing lazily in his bed, content and blissful, when her stomach growled reminding her that she hadn't eaten in almost a day. His warmth breath, so unfamiliar and yet so amazingly, wonderfully extraordinary, teased her ear as he laughed softly, teasingly against her skin.

Between kisses and whispered promises of delicious pleasures to come, he rose from the warm bed. She watched with avid eyes as he, nude and completely unselfconscious, disappeared with a wink and a smile through the door into the kitchen.

The shirt was lying on the floor near the bed, where it had been shed between lingering kisses hours earlier when they finally had gotten around to removing their clothes. Missing his warmth and his presence already, she had retrieved the shirt and tugged it on. Smiling, wrapped in his scent, she curled up against his pillow to wait for his return.

She whispered "I missed you" to the silence of the empty room, strangely overjoyed that he would not hear her as he once would have with his preternatural senses.

He had returned with some of her favorite treats: chocolate, peanut butter, cookie-dough-fudge mint chip ice cream. Tastes that she loved that would later only make her cry.

He smiled at her, his hair slightly rumpled from her fingers as he savored the delicious treats that they shared. His chest was bare, the sheet slipping down to just cover his hips. She would remember what he looked like in that moment always, his image etched in her mind. She had thought then that he had never been more perfectly handsome and that she had never loved him more.

And she had been so afraid… now that she had so much more to lose.

Instead of voicing her fears or the depth of her feelings, years of avoiding those things too ingrained, her words were light, playful.

/* By the way, I'm over the whole needing to be mature thing. That time you just spent in the kitchen? That was enough time apart." */

His kisses washed away her fears for awhile, his hands slipping under the shirt to caress her bare stomach. When he pulled her forward, she straddled him eagerly her lips meeting his in a kiss. He tasted cool and faintly of mint, and she was reminded of the many kisses that they had shared before tonight, before he was human.

She kissed a path down his neck to his chest, savoring the sound of his heart beat as she tugged at his flat nipple with her teeth, laving it apologetically after with her tongue. Her nails teased his skin as she explored his body with her lips, her tongue, her fingers.

He had pulled her up to him again, his open mouth sliding along her neck as he murmured something about his shirt never looking so good. With skilled fingers, he slipped open the first few buttons and pushed the material back, framing her breasts. He nuzzled the hardening peaks, licking and tugging on them as she writhed slightly over his hips.

Her hand slipped between them to find the hard length of his erection beneath the sheet. Hard again, even though they had been making love for the better part of the afternoon. Stamina was apparently not something her lover had lost along with his vampire status.

His breath caught as she closed her fingers around the hard shaft, stroking him through the slick material of the sheet. He moaned softly and whispered her name against her skin, his voice rich with emotion. She felt a tremendous sense of power and pleasure at being able to affect him so intensely.

His hand slipped between her thighs, his slender fingers exploring the silky, swollen flesh with slow lingering touches that made her burn with need. His warm mouth closed over her nipple, sucking softly in cadence with his fingers.

She pulled aside the sheet, her hands eager for his bare flesh. A surge of greedy lust traveled through her veins as she felt the pearly drops of desire on the crest of his erection.

He rolled her beneath him, pushing up the shirt in a single gliding motion and kissing her stomach, moving lower. In a low husky whisper he told he that could smell her, that he could smell himself on her. A warm throaty laugh had escaped her lips.

Buffy sighed softly at the memory. She had never met anyone else that seemed to love her scent as much as he had; no one else had reveled in their combined scents so much.

Unlike their earlier frenzied passion, they made love then with special tenderness. Each touch, each kiss, each sensation seemed precious. Even their climax seemed to linger, the exquisite sensations reverberating through their senses for long minutes after they collapsed together, a sheen of sweat the only thing separating their bodies.

Now it seemed presentient of their fleeting time together, the remaining minutes ticking by with excruciating speed.

Lying sated and content in his arms she wanted only to hold on to that moment. Blissful visions of the days and months ahead of them drifted through her mind, as did a fleeting glimpse of their future children. She snuggled into his warmth as her eyes drifted close.

In less than twenty-four hours, her dreams were shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. Logically, of course, she had understood why he had made the choice that he had made but emotionally… Emotionally she was numb, ripped apart. He had made his choice. He thought she hadn't known and she hadn't been brave enough to tell him.

Instead she had walked away.

After she had left the offices of Angel Investigations, she wandered aimlessly through the city, finally ending up on the very pier where he had found her just a day before. For hours, she sat alone and watched the waves with unseeing eyes as every memory of what she had just lost played through her mind.

Before she left for Sunnydale, she had crept back into his apartment and had stolen that shirt, wanting something tangible to hold onto since all else was beyond her reach. If he ever missed it or knew it was gone, she never knew.

She had held it many a night; adding the salt of her tears to the earthy scent of their passion, to the ivory soap clean, woodsy, spicy scent that defined her Angel.

It had been four years and some odd number of days since she had seen him. Four years since she had kissed him or touched him or heard him speak her name. Buffy wondered what she could say to him now, what she would tell him if she saw him again. Would she tell him all the things she had written in her journal - things that she wanted to say - or would she just awkwardly stammer a hello?

A knock on the bedroom door startled her and she realized then that she was crying. Wiping her eyes on the sleeves, she took several deep breaths to force away aching empty pain in her heart.

"Yes?" She said in answer to the repeated knock.

The door behind her opened with a soft creak. "Buffy? Honey? Are you all right?"

"I'm fine." She closed her eyes, willing away the stubborn memories.

"I brought you some cookies. They just finished baking."

Her heart squeezed in her chest; her aunt's words a painful reminder of the last words she had shared with the one man who would always have her heart.

Silence hung in the room for the space of almost ten seconds.

"Aunt Arlene?" Buffy turned from the window, sniffing slightly and dabbing at her eyes. Through her tears she smiled. "Can you take me to the airport? I need to go home, to LA."

To Angel.



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