Sweet, Sweet Baby


She felt his return long before he turned his key in the lock and swung open the heavy oak door downstairs. His arrival flooded her senses... all those little signals that always touched her down to her very center - his spicy cool scent, the sound of his unnecessary breath. Heat and relief, love and desire in equal measures flooded her heart and soul.

Angel was home.

Buffy smiled, a private rush of joy tingling over the fine hairs on her skin, raising goosebumps in their wake as though he'd physically touched her. She knew that their twice weekly ritual of patrolling alone, giving the other a badly need respite of privacy and quiet from the growing danger of their Callings, was a gift Angel wanted to give her. She knew he was more than capable of taking care of himself - hadn't he done it for a couple hundred years before she was even born? It was also important to him that she rest... relax... have time for herself to do simple things that the chaos of their daily lives so often denied her: painting her toenails... watching a movie and pigging out in her pajamas... reading a magazine or listening to music while she danced in her underwear around the mansion's cavernous living room. It made him happy to think that she was happy. Which made her happy, because he was happy that she was happy... an endless circle of the really nice kind.

But even knowing all of these things, she still missed him, still worried about him whenever they were apart. So much so that his return to her after only a few hours was like a cool wave of relief over the fire of fear that simmered constantly in her blood in his absence. Her Angel was home... safe... about to be in her arms once more, where he belonged.

Buffy knew he felt the same fear for her - despite the fact that he too knew bettter. She was the Slayer. THE Slayer, really. Nonetheless, he never stayed home on what were supposed to be his own nights off, choosing instead to follow her, shadowing her, keeping out of sight and lurking on hunter's feet, where he seemed to have convinced himself that she wouldn't notice him.

Of course, she did. She could always feel Angel's presence... his protectiveness and concern. He never directly interfered in her battles, but she could sense his tension - feel the trembling readiness in his muscles as he crouched in wait nearby, ready to aid if things got out of control.

She never called him on it. Never said a word about the mud on the bottom of his boots in the foyer when she returned, despite the fact that she always found him reclining on the couch near the fire with a book in his hand, as though he'd been there all night.

He needed his secrets, she imagined, so Buffy let him have them. It really wasn't the worst, as far as secrets go...

Tonight, she could sense that his exhaustion was deeper than usual, hanging like a dark cloud in the air as he moved through the house. The increased demon activity over the past couple of months was wearing on him, and her lover was just too generous with himself, never taking enough time to relax and replenish his own energy before rushing out to help the hopeless once more.

Well, she thought with a smile as she got out of bed and slipped into the sheer sundress she'd picked out earlier (the very same one he'd nearly torn right off her body the first time he saw her in it), he might not be willing to slow down enough to take care of himself, but she sure as hell was going to make sure he was taken care of. She just wouldn't give him any choice in the matter.

As she came down the stairs, he glanced up... the fatigue on his beautiful features vanishing in an instant, morphing into a smile just for her.


The same quiet greeting he had always used since the night they met - a single, casual word full of infinite levels of feeling.

She returned the smile, and the greeting. "Hey." Taking in his obvious weariness - the circles under his eyes, the slump of his broad shoulders, her smile vanished. She approached him slowly, gently urging him to sit down. "You look like..." she hesitated, rethinking her particular choice of words - Hell was not something mentioned lightly, in their house. "Rough night?"

Angel watched her crouch down to remove his boots. Though he was easily tired enough to pass out right there on the couch, still fully clothed and covered with drying demon muck and vampire dust, just seeing her again filled him with an electric joy... like the first time all over again. For a moment, he thought about blowing off all the trouble he'd seen that night... sheltering her from the newest stream of horror he had discovered in Sunnydale's sewers. But he knew full well that he couldn't lie to her. Even if he wanted to, eventually (hopefully shortly), she would discover the cuts and bruises covering every inch of him, and the four long gouges across his abdomen, courtesy of the Granbuch Demon King and its seven-inch, razor edged claws... and then she'd figure it out for herself.

"Yeah," he finally admitted with a sigh, feeling every moment of his 250 years in his aching bones. "Pretty rough. We managed to get the king, but... it wasn't easy."

Buffy could hear the strain clearly in his tone, and knew that things were just getting worse out there. The world was hurtling headlong into the End Days, and it seemed like over the past year, one night just got more Hellish than the last. There was little doubt in her mind that soon, they wouldn't even have these peaceful hours of the morning to enjoy one another . They would once again be forced to put aside their lives as lovers, sacrifice what thin shreds of normalcy they had managed to cling to, to draw strength from. She had nightmares about it - she and her beloved reduced once again to mere soldiers in the growing war against darkness, their only comfort that they might be allowed to die side by side.

But not today. Today, they were still blessed with this: the quiet, the safety and solace of home, and the simple comfort of one another's presence. So for now, she forced herself to shove that shadow of dread aside to enjoy it, and make sure that he got to do the same.

"Well, have no fear, oh big, strong hero type guy," she purred, filling her words with promise, "Dr. Buffy's in the house, ready to drive all your troubles away with a good dose of her special patented looooove medicine."

She grinned up at him, a playful twinkle in her eye that made Angel laugh in spite of everything as she peeled off his socks and tossed them away. He sighed happily at the sensation of cool air on his sore feet, flexing his toes, his eyes fluttering shut at the simple pleasure of it.

Which only multiplied as she took one in her tiny, warm, Slayerstrong hands and began to carefully knead the arch.

He moaned deeply. "You're going to put me to sleep right here and now, if you're not careful."

She tapped a gentle kiss to his big toe, and rubbed harder. "You can sleep if you want to... or... you can tell me about your night. Getting it off your chest always makes you feel better."

"Mmm. I'd rather hear about yours," he insisted. Frankly, he wanted to let all the monsters go, for now, while it was still possible for them to do so. He knew all too well that soon, battles like the one he'd just survived would become the norm, rather than the exception. Tonight, he wanted nothing more than the tendrils of bliss rippling through him, the warm waves of relaxation radiating outward from her hands to be his only reality.

"'Kay," she agreed, leaving off his foot, and starting to rub the big bones of his ankle. "Let's see... I called Will... Miss Kitty finally had her kittens..."

Angel let his head fall back on the couch, her sweet voice washing over him, soothing his raw senses as she described her evening, her hands never ceasing their work, until his feet, ankles and calves felt like puddles of mush at the bottom of his legs. For a long, sweet while, there really was nothing else in the universe but her... her warmth, her strength, her sweet, clean smell, her tender touch. He drifted off easily, lulled to sleep by her love.

His wife always took such good care of him.

Buffy smiled when she looked up again and found him sleeping, his beautiful face graced with a happy little smile, relaxed, truly angelic in repose. Good. Let him rest, she thought. That gave her a chance to prepare for the rest of his pampering.

She kissed him lightly on the forehead before moving away to stoke the fire in the enormous hearth. She went down to the cellar for a bottle of his favorite beaujolet, and opened it to air, then lit all of the hundreds of giant pillar candles throughout the mansion until the place was lit to golden with soft light.

Buffy paid special attention to the bathroom, filling the gargantuan claw-foot tub with searing hot water, healing herbs that Willow had given her, and rose petals from the bouquet of two dozen Angel always brought her on Fridays. She changed the sheets on their king-sized bed to his favorite crimson silk ones... lit sage, sandalwood, and rose incense (his favorite scents), and the smoke blended in the arm air with the aroma of the cedar of the logs in the fireplace and the herbs of the bath, giving their home a sweet, comfortable atmosphere.

Satisfied, she returned downstairs, only to find Angel in exactly the same position she had left him in on the couch. She stood for a few moments, frozen by his beauty, gazing down at him with naked adoration flowing over her in warm waves. She was almost loathe to disturb the perfect beauty of his sleep. He looked so happy... free of the hellish nightmares that so often haunted him more mornings than she wanted to remember. Her Angel needed his respite when he could get it.

But... she was pretty sure he would forgive her, once he saw what she had in store for him.

Gently, Buffy knelt beside the arm of the couch, reaching up to brush a fingertip to his soft lips,and whispered in his ear, "Wake up, my love."

His eyes instantly snapped open, his body tense, those kissable lips now marred with a frown as he immediately jolted to complete awareness.

"What? Buffy? Are you all right?" His eyes scanned her quickly, assessing for injuries. Finding none, he relaxed a little, his trademark half-smile reappearing.

He had to smile... there was no choice, when he looked at her. She was twice as beautiful in the soft fire and candlelight, and the love in her eyes was like a balm on his weary soul. Just the way it always had been.

"I'm sorry," he apologized softly, "I didn't mean to fall asleep on you like that." He took the tender hand caressing his face and brought it to his lips.

Buffy shook her head. "It's okay. I would have let you rest, but... I thought you might enjoy a hot bath first."

His smile grew. "You know me so well." Giving her hand a tug, he drew her little form into his lap and kissed her gently, until she was trembling and breathless in his arms.

God, the feeling of her, so small and warm against him... how could there possibly be any monsters existing in the same universe with such an amazing treasure?

And that "dress"... more of a slip, really, and almost totally see through. As much reverence and love as he felt for her, desire welled up in equal measure. It seemed that all the horrors in the universe could never overwhelm his desire for her.

"I do," she replied when their kiss reluctantly ended, and looked deeply into his eyes. "Like right now, you're thinking that this dress is 'scandalous', and yet you have a perfect visual of ripping it off of me... again."

He gave her a predatory grin, cupping one cheek of her soft rear end and giving it a squeeze. "I wouldn't mind if you left it on."

Buffy scrunched up her nose happily and wriggled against the growing hardness in his lap for a moment. Then, before he could make a move to stop her, leapt up and grinned down at him, offering her hand. "Bath and dinner first. No bath and dinner, no dessert, young man."

He leered and accepted her hand, letting her pull him to his feet. "Seems to me we could take care of all three at once."

His wife merely gave him a coy wink, and led him upstairs.

Angel didn't really notice... or care... at first, where they were heading, or about the cozy, romantic atmosphere she had set for him. He was far too occupied with watching her firm little rump swing tantalizingly under that barely-there dress as they made their way through the house. The way his own tired body responded to that simple movement, he realized that he wasn't nearly as ready for sleep as he'd assumed. But then... he could be on the brink of Final Death, and a single touch of her hand could bring him instantly back to life.

They finally arrived at their destination, and he couldn't help but gasp at the virtual Heaven she had created of their bathroom. When they had moved into the mansion together three months after their reunion, he had told her to design and decorate it any way she wanted. It was, after all, hers. All he needed was a sink and a shower stall.

But the creation that resulted from her careful planning was like a vision of the Summerland... the giant tub, the warm emerald green colors, the thick carpet and antique silver fixtures. Admittedly, he had gotten a lot of use from her little sanctuary, too.

Very pleasurable use, as a matter of fact. It had quickly become his second favorite room in the mansion.

"Stay," she commanded firmly, and bent to dip her hand in the water and make certain it was still hot.

It was. But not as hot as her vampire as he watched her , teasing him with a view of her smooth thighs and white satin and lace panties.

He gulped audibly, and Buffy spun around, giving him a poor imitation of a chastising look. "You just keep your eyes to yourself, buddy," she warned, shaking her finger at him.

Angel held his hands up defensively. "I don't know what you're talking about."

With a mock-beleaguered sigh, she stepped toward him. "Okay, Count Sexula. Bath time," she drawled, untucking his filthy shirt and working at the buttons.

He couldn't help himself. He combed his fingers through her long, soft hair, bent down, and peppered her ears with little kisses.

After she got the shirt open, she gasped. "Angel..."

Oops. For a moment, he had forgotten about the craters in his gut. "It's okay. Just a scratch."

Buffy backed away and gave him a dark frown. "Yeah, sure. Just a scratch... from a fifty foot tall, two thousand pound *cat*. Are you okay?"

He smiled down at her. Even now, all these years later, her heartfelt concern for him still took him by surprise, and filled him with gratitude. "I'm fine. Look... they're already healing. And with this caliber of TLC, I'll bet they're gone by morning."

She pouted. "Can I just say again how much I *hate* not going out on patrol with you? I mean... you might still get totally mauled if I was there, but at least then I can say I tried to protect you from it."

Angel reached up to gently caress her beloved face, and whispered, "Aren't I supposed to be the one doing the protecting?"

That earned him a genuine glower. "There's two warriors in this family, mister." And with that, she bent slightly and lovingly kissed the jagged edges of his wounds, smoothing her hands up his sides, barely skimming the surface of his skin with her fingertips.

"Mmmm," he sighed, rubbing little circles into her shoulders. "You're going to spoil me."

"That's sort of the plan," she replied, replacing her lips with her fingertips over his abdomen, sliding up his torso to his shoulders, pushing his shirt away until it was a forgotten pile of cotton on the floor at their feet.

Now it was Buffy who couldn't help herself. She trailed soft, hot kisses over the cuts and curves of his muscled torso, a burning hot, healing bliss down the center of his form. Even as she worshipped him, she had to force herself not to weep at the damage she found... the slices... the bruises and burns. His wounds were her wounds, his pain her own, and even the smallest nick was like a hole dug in her heart with a spoon.

Angel let out a deep, shuddering sigh. She was, as she had always been, like magick. But before he could think much more than that, she was suddenly gone, stepping back to undo the fly of his slacks, and slowly pushing both them and his boxers down his long legs, returning to the healing kisses once more... now down his thighs, his knees and his calves, lifting first one foot, then the other, until he was finally naked before her.

She took a long, lingering look at his body, from toe to head, breathless for the millionth time at his absolute gorgeousness, made no less magnificent by his wounds... his god-like build and carriage, his hard... everything.

When she finally managed to gather her wits enough to stand straight once more, Buffy made sure to press a single kiss to his hardest 'thing', giving a teasing flick with her tongue.

Finally face to face again, she found a hungry fire had sparked in his dark eyes that tugged at something deep inside of her, sending its wet and wanting heat curling into her belly.

"Do that again," he growled, "and we'll never make it to the tub."

Would it be so horrible to take him right there? Pull him down on top of her and inside of her and heal him with her own vitality? Buffy pushed the sudden, vivid visual of jumping him right there on the bath mat away. For the moment.

"Into the tub, Tarzan," she ordered him with a grin.

With a lusty smile of his own, he obeyed, hissing as first one foot, then the other, submerged in the steaming water. The combination of the heat and the aromatic herbs immediately soothed both his senses and his aching bones as he sank down with a deep moan. When he was wet up to his neck, his entire form melting into the tub, he glanced up once again, only to find his wife watching him with the same reverent lust in her green eyes as he could feel coming to a boil in his blood.

"Are you going to join me... I hope?" he purred seductively.

Buffy shivered, but arched a wry eyebrow at him. "Gee, I don't know. Do you think it's safe for me in there?"

His smirk turned undeniably wicked. "Sure. Absolutely," he lied smoothly.

"Insatiable," she grinned.

He nodded enthusiastically.

With a chuckle, she turned to hit play on the CD player before looking down at him again. The light, blusey tune infused the air, mingling with the soft lights and myriad scents, kicking Angel's desire up another notch... or ten.

"Nice choice," he approved.

Then he was silenced as Buffy began to sway, gracefully undulating to the beat as she worked her sundress up over her firm body, inch by delicious inch.

"Many times, I've been told that I should go
But they don't know What we've got, baby.
They may not see the love in you
But love, I do.
And I'll stay right here."

He sucked in a gust of unnecessary breath as she stripped for him, agonizingly slow... languid... a temptress of silken hair and golden skin. Revealing herself one millimeter at a time, driving him deliciously insane as each part of this most precious gift was revealed before his eyes. Her firm thighs... her satin-encased pelvis... her round hips and tiny waist, perfect breasts, creamy shoulders... and in a blink, the dress was gone, leaving her clothed only in candlelight and those tiny panties. She continued dancing, caressing her body playfully, and his entire form jerked in response to her display.

"Mm. Sweet, sweet baby.
Life is crazy.
But there's one thing I am sure of.
I'm your lady
Always, baby.
And I love you, now and ever."

Just when Angel thought he was certain he was going to combust into ashes, floating in the water with the herbs, Buffy finally had mercy on him... she slipped out of her panties and gazed down at him, his radiant goddess... ready to devour him...

He could hardly wait.

Buffy, for her part, was fighting desperately to keep control... not to get lost in the inferno of desire that exploded to life inside her, making her blush from head to toe as she looked down at her husband's hot... wet... hard body. She tried to focus on the song, instead, determined to tend to him from head to foot before she finally gave in to what she really wanted... what they both wanted, if his apparent readiness was any indication.

Sometimes, being together, it was easy for both of them to forget the world that lay outside their door. Who they were and why they were put on this planet. For those moments, the only reason they existed was for each other.

"Sugar, wishes won't change what is real
Or how it feels
In the bad times, baby.
For whatever he is, he is mine
All the time
And we'll get by with our true love."

She managed to get her burgeoning lust under control enough to stop trembling and settle her feet into the steaming tub. Angel immediately reached for her, cleanliness be damned - he wanted *dirty*! But his lover slapped his hands away, kneeling between his long legs and taking up the washcloth and soap.

He pouted petulantly, and she shivered at the dual lightning bolts of love and want that shot through her at the sight, but managed to soap up the washcloth with his favorite sandalwood soap and get to work anyway.

Angel puddled under her touch, all of him quickly dissolving as she carefully, tenderly scrubbed him from head to foot, paying special... long... torturous attention to the one part of him that wasn't at all soft. By the time she was done with his front, and urged him forward to start on his back, he was completely torn between grabbing her and impaling her on him and passing out entirely from the bliss.

Buffy's strong hands were like living sorcery, making his strain and worry vanish in mid air. Her touch radiated pure concern and caring, and when she cleansed the deep wounds on his belly, her tenderness almost reduced him to tears.

She settled in behind him, wrapping her strong little legs around his waist and pressing a soft kiss to the top of his spine.

"Better?" she whispered, working her fingertips into a particularly nasty knot in his shoulder.

He sighed contentedly. "You always make everything better."

"I'm not done yet," she vowed, nipping at his ear.

Her husband groaned. "I don't know how much more I can stand before I liquefy completely."

Buffy hung the washcloth over the edge of the tub and picked up his shampoo, pouring a healthy dollop into her hands and lathering up.

"You're immortal. You can take it," she teased, and plunged her fingers into his thick hair.

"Uhhhhhhhgahhhhhd..." he moaned, melting back against her, his head nestled between her breasts as she massaged his scalp. "You have *no* idea what that does to me."

"Mm. Sure I do," she insisted, enticing his erection with her toes. "Now shhh. Just enjoy it."

She took much longer than she needed to if she had really only been trying to get his hair clean. She knew this was his very favorite thing... and he proved it by breaking into a low purr that vibrated both their bodies and the water around them with ripples of contentment.

Satisfied that he was, literally, putty in her hands, Buffy gently nudged Angel forward, and scooted out from behind him, returning to her original position on her knees between his once more.

"Rinse, Sweetie," she encouraged, pushing him down until he was completely submerged, and ran her fingers through his hair until all the shampoo was rinsed away.

Taking care of him was *her* favorite thing in the world... and... surprisingly enough, his purr was all the reward she ever wanted for it.

"Mm. Sweet, sweet baby
Life is crazy
But there's one thing I am sure of.
I'm your lady,
Always, baby.
And I love you, now and ever."

Of all her sacred duties, this always felt the most sacred... the most profound. Angel was, and always had been, her power center... the place from which all her courage came, even in these darkest of days. Even when her soul had drifted in the aether after her death, her love for him was ever present, as if divesting her of her physical body had washed away any of the pain and resentment she might have harbored for all their difficulties, and left nothing but Pure Truth... she loved him. She belonged to him, and he to her. Their essential essences were created for one another. And when she returned to life, after the horror and the shock of losing that flawless peace wore off, she had realized...

With her Angel was where she was meant to be.

Taking care of him... making him happy... were honors she had never really appreciated, before. Now, the privilege was so fulfilling... to finally be able to return even a fraction of all the things his presence in her life had brought her, since the night they met. No matter how dark or ugly things got now, ever since he had returned to her, she was certain that there was nothing she couldn't face... nothing that could defeat her - not even Armageddon, or another death. Not as long as he was by her side.

Angel was the very bedrock of her strength. The cornerstone of her courage. The foundation of her heart and will to go on... to win... to survive. She often wondered how she had made it through even a single minute without him. All those years apart seemed like a nightmare now... and each new day they spent together was a sweet, sweet dream.

As her glistening Adonis emerged once more, her heart caught in her throat, and the love she had carried in her heart for him since she was sixteen years old surged like a storm in her blood.

He smiled - soft... secret. His Buffy Smile. He took one of her hands and pulled her toward him, love lighting his eyes as he claimed her lips tenderly with his own.

"Who'd of ever thought
Just the two of us
That we'd come this far together?
So I'm here to stay,
'Cause without you, baby,
I can't go any further."

Any semblance of restraint she had managed to maintain vanished when he touched her, and she melted into his embrace, realizing that if anybody was putty in anybody's hands, it was she, in his. The way it always had been.

Angel pulled her closer, impossibly close, it seemed, until it was difficult to tell whose body and limbs were whose. Her arms and legs automatically encircled him as she returned his kiss with such sweet fervor, he swore he could almost hear her thoughts, and it tugged fiercely at his dead heart.

And other, not so dead parts of him. He cupped her face in his hands, guiding her away only enough to gaze into her passion and steam-flushed face.

"You are so beautiful," he murmured, the pads of his thumbs stroking circles on her cheeks, "Do you know how much you mean to me? How much I love you?"

Buffy's eyes filled as she claimed his beloved face in return. "If it's half as much as I love you, then it's enough to fill up the whole universe."

He smiled softly at her sweet sentiment, close to tears himself. He wondered if there would ever come a time when being with her like this... making love to her and seeing that look in her eyes... would become routine. If holding her soft, warm body in his arms would ever feel anything but holy... like a million benedictions he never thought he'd have... never imagined he deserved until he saw her, innocent and golden in the afternoon sunshine all those years ago...

Probably not. Their mouths fused once more, tongues slipping between seeking lips, tracing teeth, meeting to dance and stroke and twine, flickering and gently sucking.

Buffy cooed as pleasure rippled through her. It was so funny... Angel could almost make her come just like this... simply with his lips and tongue making love to hers, his big hands painting her back with consuming ecstasy, compelling her to rub her torso against his, desperate for the friction, frantic to have him inside of her, safe and warm and loved, where he belonged... where he had always belonged... where he should always be.

He groaned deeply as her breasts pressed into his chest, the slick heat of her sex grinding deliciously against his straining erection. It was so simple to lose control with Buffy. Every inch of her was living, breathing eroticism, an undulating orgasm in healthy pink skin and goldensilk hair. He almost hated how quickly just this contact, just her touch, her kiss, and the steaming hot water lapping at their entwined bodies could bring him so close to the edge. He fought the imminent explosion of his every cell and the surging demon long enough to claim her lips once more and lift her slightly off his lap. She automatically opened herself for him, her knees coming to rest on either side of his thighs with a sigh as he eased himself deep inside her molten flesh.

Buffy's eyes flew open at the wonderful invasion as his body stretched and molded her own to it, her gaze locking with his, fingers clutching his shoulders for purchase as she began to ride him, long and slow and so, so deep.

His lips parted to expel another gasp as he watched her rise above him, hovering at the very end of his shaft, twisting her hips in slow, lazy circles as her inner muscles grasped at his head, and then settled fully on him once more, sheathing him to the hilt. His fingers dug convulsively into her hips, wanting moreharderdeeper, battling with the will of the Slayer to wrest control of their rhythm from her.

She panted, smiling, refusing to let him take it, and continued their bodies' languid merging, loving the way the pleasure built inside of her, wave after gentle stormy wave. Loving the way her big, strong lover whimpered in sweet pleasurepain, his every muscle taut and trembling as he braced one hand on her lower back. Arching her away from him, he took advantage of the position to take great, sucking mouthfuls of her flesh into his mouth, laving at the curves of her breasts, suckling ardently on her nipples.

Angel knew that he could win this battle. Her breasts were so sensitive, he'd made her come a hundred times just by lavishing them with attention. He nursed roughly on first one pebbled nub, and then the other, flickering his tongue over and around each diamond hard tip before drawing it into his mouth, biting down gently and worrying it with his teeth until Buffy's control slipped, and she began to thrust harder against him, giving him the very thing that he had wanted in the first place.

"Yes! Angel... please...yes... harder..." she cried out, increasing her pace as her inner muscles began to quiver.

He grinned wolfishly at the sweet victory, pulling her entire body tightly flush to his once more, thrusting upward into her heat with all of his might, impaling her on him, hard and fast.

Buffy gave a long, keening cry as her first powerful orgasm took her, throwing her head back as she slammed herself onto him over and again. Her channel pulsing and clenching around him was too much... that one last sensation that he couldn't handle and still be the one in control. He felt his features shift as he surged up into her, so deeply that he could feel the mouth of her womb shivering against the tip of his rigid cock. He growled, his animal Self roaring with the pleasure of claiming its mate, and his body pulled tight even as hers began to relax. She once again took control as awareness reclaimed her and smiled down at him, into his golden eyes, caressing his demonic features as tenderly as she had his human ones as she rocked against him.

"Yes, my love," she sighed, "Yes... let me feed you, Angel... Let me fill you the way you fill me."

Another groan, this one hungry and desperate as she offered her throat submissively, with perfect love and perfect trust. He took hold of the back of her neck and pulled her roughly to him, laving her pulse point with long, burning pulls of his tongue until she thought she'd go insane if she didn't fell his teeth sinking into her flesh NOW. The powerful eroticism of his claiming rushed through her as he teased her neck, until she had once again been washed back to the edge of orgasm.

"Oh God, Angel... Now. Baby, now... nownownownowpleasenow! Please take me!" she begged, unable to wait another moment before he drank her.

He nibbled softly over the length of her throbbing artery, his body pulsating in response to her cries, in perfect time with her thundering heartbeat. He opened his jaws and slowly, painstakingly, eased his fangs into her flesh.

Buffy gave a wrenching scream as her reality imploded. She came hard, stars lighting her vision the greedy sucking sounds he made as he fed, hard and deep like a soundtrack of beautiful music to her ultimate disintegration. She clutched the back of his head, urging him closer, deeper, to take more, to take all of her as her climax rocked on and on...

His lover's charmed blood hit Angel like a freight train, and he tore him self away from the feed, driving her onto him with a bruising pace, giving a strangled shout of his own as he joined her in ecstasy, shooting his cool seed deep inside her body.

She collapsed into his arms, dizzy and spent, pecking absent kisses to the part of his shoulder that she could reach from where her head came to rest.

"God, Angel..." she panted, her body boneless and languorous against his.

He chuckled softly, craning his neck to place a tender kiss to her swollen lips. "You're not tired already, are you?"

Buffy groaned.

Suddenly full of energy, Angel decided that maybe he should take care of her now. Cradling her small frame in his arms, he carefully rose, pulling the plug in the drain before he stepped out of the tub. Grabbing two fluffy bath sheets from the shelf, he carried his sleepy beloved out to their bedroom, set her down on her feet before him, and proceeded to lovingly pat her dry before easing her onto the bed.

"Mmmmmm," she sighed, letting him position her so that her legs dangled over the edge of the bed. "I think I could sleep for a week."

He sunk to his knees, resting a gentle hand under either thigh, tugging her closer. "Not quite yet, sweet," he breathed.

His wife forced her head up to look at him as he parted her legs and scooted between.

"Wh...what are you doing?"

Angel grinned. "Dessert."

Her laugh was a little desperate. "You do know that you're going to be responsible for yet *another* one of my deaths, right?"

He brushed a kiss to her inner thigh. "You've already had two tonight. What's one more? Not the worst way to go, right?"

As his mouth explored her sensitive skin, Buffy threaded her fingers in his wet hair, mewling in encouragement. "Ohhh... no. I've... definitely had worse."

Although deep down, his beloved's deaths were never truly funny to him, he found himself buoyed by her levity about the matter. Her mortality frightened him down to his soul... that she was so able to accept it was the only thing that kept him from falling apart sometimes.

Besides... laughing was so much easier than the alternative, which was breaking down and sobbing hysterically to think of losing her again. That would be such a waste of this moment. His soul's mate was alive now, pliant and hot and wet beneath him, pleading for his touch, and as he inhaled her clean, heady scent, he could almost convince himself that she was really immortal after all.

At least she was in his heart...

He let his mouth wander closer to the apex of her pulsing body, suckling tiny nibbles of skin into his mouth until he reached her soft intimate lips. He laved her cleft slowly from top to bottom and back again, delighting in the muskysweet taste of her.

Buffy whimpered softly, arching into him, clutching his scalp frantically.

"Angel... please..."

"Please what, love?" he taunted, blowing a puff of cool air into her steaming skin.

"Inside... your tongue," she sobmoaned, "Taste me... touchmeIneedyouPLEASE..."

Her pleas were like a shot of pure, sexual adrenaline straight to his groin. The timbre of her voice was almost hypnotizing in its feminine desperation, and there was just no way he could deny her what she asked when she was that way.

He parted her outer lips gently with thumb and forefinger, then plunged his tongue deep and hard into her fluttering entrance. She cried out harshly, thrusting up into him as he tongued her, mimicking their earlier tryst with firm, deep strokes.

Angel's purpose wasn't to tease her... right now, anyway... but to bring her to the same heights of bliss that she'd brought him to before she drifted off to sleep. He had often spent hours buried between her thighs like this, torturing her, teasing her until she roared in frustration. But he knew exactly what she liked... exactly how to rocket her into oblivion... he knew what she needed, and what he wanted to give her.

He trailed his tongue up over her quivering clit, filling its former place with three gentle fingers as he sucked the hard little pearl between his lips, flicking the tip rapidly with his tongue as he slid his fingers in and out of her center.

"God... Angel... Angelangelangelangelangel...yesgodmakemecomeI'mgonnacomeso hard god harder... fastermoresogood...sogoodbaby YESSSSSS!" she bellowed, clamping her knees around his head as she slammed her hips up into him.

Angel tasted the sudden onrush of her honey, scented the edge of her climax in the blood gorged flesh beneath his mouth, and took that as his final cue. He crooked one of the fingers buried deep in her channel to caress the hypersensitive spot in its roof, while chattering his teeth down over her clit.

The scream that came from her rattled the windows, made the candles flicker, and started wolves howling like a chorus in the woods near the mansion as she exploded before the first peak had even eased.

He licked her clean and then rose, scooping her up and gently sliding her beneath the covers before easing in beside her and taking her into his arms.

Now Buffy purred as she snuggled up to him. "I like taking care of you. Big... rewards..." she yawned.

He kissed the top of her head and settled his face in her hair. "You deserve a lot more reward than that for all you do for me."

She managed to look up at him with a sleepy smile.

"It's worth it, you now. Moments like now make it all worth it."

Angel pulled her closer, his eyes fluttering shut. "They do.  I would die a thousand deaths just for what we shared tonight. For this single second." He tenderly petted her soft hair. "And you know... someday, this is all we'll have. No more war, no more demons. Just us."

Buffy sighed, her body unwinding in his embrace. When he looked down, he found her fast asleep, a little smile playing on her lips.

Another surge of love rushed through him, and he thought... Yes. It was all worth it. All the struggles, all the pain. The wounds of their past, and the battles of their present. Everything, just for this. When all else crumbled around them... the one thing that would always stand was their love.

"Sweet, sweet baby
 Life is crazy
 But there's one thing I am sure of
 I'm your lady
 Always, baby.
 And I love you know and ever."

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