Unglued

 

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com
DISCLAIMER: Of course I don't own them, although I wish I did!
DISTRIBUTION: Sure, just let me know.
FEEDBACK: Please, please, please! And thank you!
RATING: NC-17 - What else? *g*
LYRICS: All lyrics are from Fiona Apple.

SPOILERS: Challenge from Heather - Full description of the challenge is at the end of the fic

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Heather, this one's for you. I hope you like it! Cheers, Tango

***

i wanna spread the news that if it feels this good getting used
well, you just keep on using me until ya use me up

The thrill of shagging The Slayer out in the open, down in the grass, was more of a thrill than Spike had imagined - if that was possible. Snuggled between her warm thighs, he frictioned his way into oblivion inside her. Cool night was wrapped around him, creating a buoyancy to their movements and her quiet moans sent tingles down his spine.

She didn't love him. Somewhere deep inside himself, far below where hope was allowed to venture, he knew she never would. Buffy Summers would never, ever love a soulless demon. He felt like the immense shadow of his Grande Sire Poof followed him wherever he went nowadays. Being with Buffy, didn't make him feel guilty to his Sire, it made him jealous that he couldn't rise above the eclipse over her heart Angel had caused.

When he was making love to her, he was sure that half of the time, when she squeezed her eyes closed that she imagined another vampire making the pain disappear. The truth was, that even though he loved her, this woman was not who he fell in love with. He didn't love this empty shell of Buffy nearly as much as he had the unreachable, larger than life, pre-death Buffy. The fact that she yielded to his touch was undeniable proof that she was dead inside. That knowledge lay deeper, it fell into the crevices of subconsciousness left over when his soul fled.

The tortured, impassioned Slayer beneath him was better than the other in one very important way - this one was his. Angel didn't know this girl, hadn't loved her. He smiled as he moved harder and deeper inside her. Peaches lost his Buffy. She died and hadn't came back. All that remained was his.

so what would an angel say
the devil wants to know

Spike smiled more broadly when he thought about what Angel would say, what he would think if he could see them now. He knew Angel's tortured soul would break into chaotic panic at the sight of them rutting on the hard cold ground like a couple of animals. Spike's successful intrusion of The Slayer was proof that he was not less than the Poof, he was more because he had beat harder odds. He hadn't won her heart, but he had gained access to the emotions that no one else could even see. He got to see the true behind her constant lies to herself and those around her.

He was the champion here. And Buffy could not resist coming back for more.

***

Oh, it's evil, babe, the way you let your grace enrapture me
When well you know, I'd be insane - to ever let that dirty game recapture me

Spike's fluid, undaunted, perfect motion created a tidal wave of pleasure inside Buffy that chased everything else away. And she hated him for it. She hated that he was the one who could touch her, that nothing else could make her feel. She despised every tiny fraction of love he felt for her and the person she had become.

She thought Angel had taken everything when he left, but the tiny semblance of Buffy Summers that had remained when she lost him, was gone when she was resurrected. It was a sad revelation that she didn't hate Spike nearly as much as she hated herself. She hated the person who was lying in the grass, spreading for a soulless demon when she wasn't working at a fast food restaurant. She never had a lot of dreams for her future, but the few that she kept tucked in the center of her clenched fists contained nothing of her present reality.

Spike was right, she did close her eyes and she did try to pretend that the vampire making love to her was Angel. The problem with that scenario is that without a soul, the love Spike felt for her was a pitiful mockery of the true emotion and nothing about his touch except it's coldness had any resemblance to her ex-lover's. Buffy laid back and allowed Spike to take her fears away, clenching her eyes closed tightly. Every now and then, for a second at a time, he felt like Angel.

is that why they call me a sullen girl - sullen girl
they don't know i used to sail the deep and tranquil sea
but he washed my shore and he took my pearl and left an empty shell of me

This time as Buffy closed her eyes, she could feel Angel. It was almost as if he was approaching, gently nudging his memory over the demon who she was allowing to touch her. The feeling of her soul mate was like a psychic cure to her indifference and she moved her hips up against Spike's, feeling heat and a much greater arousal course through her suddenly very alive veins.

Just as her climax was approaching, she opened her eyes and allowed herself a peek at her lover, just to make sure. But the muscular shoulders of Spike greeted her, his blonde hair blurring in the fury of his movements. Allowing her gaze to settle over his shoulder, she looked directly into the anguished, brown eyed gaze of the only person she could hurt that much.

***

your gaze is dangerous and you fill your space so sweet
if i let you get too close, you'll set your spell on me

Angel walked slowly through Sunnydale, letting his body relax into the humming sensations of The Hellmouth. The mystical energy here was always a shock to his sensitive system and he found himself walking in time to his old feelings. Buffy's presence washed over him and he knew she was not far.

He began moving in her direction, dropping the fake, drippy grin from his handsome face. He was safe here, inside Buffy's love. Even if they weren't together, he knew that she loved him, that at least a little part of her would always be his. That thought almost made him smile but he didn't. Angel had smiled enough lately. He didn't want to smile, he wanted to float and dream and be close to her.

Buffy was never a "person" like Angel's friends expected him to be. She never was that kind of human. Maybe it was The Slayer in her, but he didn't think so. He thought it was the soul she carried inside her. One that would have been just as beautiful without her incredible duty to the world. She never expected him to just get over it and smile. She knew the weight of world and tipped it carefully over her fingertips. Not to say that having fun and smiling wasn't nice but he hadn't smiled a genuine smile since he was in her arms. And as he walked through the streets of his love's home, he was afraid he never would again.

He walked along and felt as if his heart was close to beating inside his chest as he neared her. He could almost smell her perfume wafting in the air already, he could almost hear her voice. As he closed in on her, using his natural instinct toward The Slayer to guide him, he did smell her and he did hear her. What he smelled was her distinctive arousal and what he heard was her moans of pleasure.

He picked up the pace toward her, even though his mind was screaming for him to run in the opposite direction. He couldn't believe his other senses this time. He had to see it. He slowed to a walk as he entered a denser tree lined place in the cemetery. Her moans were getting louder and the scent of her sex was violent, almost feral. He finally reached the couple making love under the shadow of a tall grave.

First he saw Buffy moving obscenely beneath her lover, which in itself was a shock to his system, but then he saw that the lover was Spike. Even though he couldn't see his face, he knew that a vampire was fucking his mate and he knew inside himself that it was one of his children. The bleach blonde hair of his kindred was flashing sign of identity. Angel shook his head, trying to make the vision disappear but his eyes wouldn't obey his mind's begging scream. Buffy's eyes reached him, glazed over with pleasure and his soul snapped in half.

***

angel come on down from heaven yesterday
stayed with me just long enough to rescue me

One moment Spike was a second from coming inside the searing Slayer and the next his head was cracking loudly against a gravestone. His shoulder scraped painfully along the rough cement as he slid to the ground.

"Bloody hell, Slayer," he yelled, holding his head and looking around for the lover that had tossed him off of her with superior strength, "What the hell -"

He stopped speaking but left his mouth open as he saw his Sire's hulking frame standing just a few feet from them. Buffy pulled on her jeans and tried to pretend that Spike wasn't there, as if he would disappear by sheer force of will, that Angel would forget what he had just seen. A low growl was coming from her ex-lover and he had turned to his game face.

Buffy could handle every humiliation in the world. She could live without school and without a good job. She could handle her friends' distance and her sister's anger. She could handle her self-loathing for being with Spike. She could handle it all if only Angel hadn't been there to see it. His witnessing of her fall from grace made her whole pitiful existence become painfully real.

She approached him gingerly, whispering his name, pleading forgiveness in the soothing recitation of his name. He growled louder, snarling fiercely first at her and then at Spike and back again. The closer she got to him the louder he growled. She reached out her hand in an attempt to touch him and he turned away and ran.

***

but, oh, it's so evil, my love, the way you've no reverence to my concern
so i'll be sure to stay wary of you, love, to save the pain of once my flame and twice my burn

Just as Buffy was about to touch him, Angel ran away. He didn't need the rest of her extended hand to reach out any further to know that she wouldn't actually touch him and he didn't need the heat of eternal flame to know he was back in Hell. The interesting thing about Hell was how deceivingly erratic it was in it's appearance and texture. It wasn't always hot but it always burned. It was predictable in that way. It was a constant ebbing flow of torment and pain.

He recognized the scene before him before his eyes connected with the realization part of his mind. The stinging familiarity of the sight of Buffy with Spike was a recreation of a thousand recreations of a thousand afflictions he had while during his visit to Hell. It was exactly as it had been before, every smell, every look, every moan was identical to what he had been replayed again and again.

He whimpered as he ran, thinking about the other scenes he might have to relive and how many times he would have to see this one again. Buffy screwing Spike wasn't even one of the worst. His growls and whimpers intermingled as he thought about his escape and knew there was none. He wanted to wait for day and turn to dust but knew it would never come. There would be no release and he didn't deserve it.

He tried to search his mind, trying to remember what had happened to bring him back to eternal torment but he couldn't make the sequence of events come together in his mind. He had driven to Sunnydale, hadn't he? He was just visiting, wasn't he?

He thought, trying to clear his mind with logic while he had it, or something close to it, but the vision of his lover running after him, screaming his name was breaking his will to stay lucent. She would chase him forever, she would make love to other men, other demons, while he looked on, helpless. She would disembowel him, kill him and he would never die or he would come alive again long enough for her to kill him again. He would come back to that place where Spike was making love to her, where she was moaning with the release of her pleasure with her beautiful legs wrapped around him. She would smile at the sight of him and dig in with her icy green eyes. Her smile would send a cracking whip into his soul, causing unmendable rips to form and he would bleed with the knowledge of her hate for all eternity.

It wasn't hot here but Angel knew Hell and this was it.

***

you'll never touch - these things that i hold
the skin of my emotions lies beneath my own
you'll never feel the heat of this soul
my fever burns me deeper than i've ever shown...to you

"Fuck!" Spike yelled as he zipped up his pants, watching Buffy sprint after Angel. There was no escape from reality this time. There was no hiding behind the fake knowledge that he could somehow hold on to a part of her that Angel could not have. In the barest drift of time that just passed, he lost anything he might have held of her, which wasn't much.

She literally tossed him aside for another and he knew now that he never had any part of her. He had sex. She used him to feel. The emotion that covered her face for Angel was the fiercest feeling she had since her death. He knew that for certain.

He leaned against the gravestone and crossed his arms, wondering where he could possibly go from here.

***

let me know the way before there's hell to pay
give me room to lay the law and let me go
i've got to make a play to make my lover stay

Buffy ran after Angel as quickly as her shorter legs could carry her. She panted as she ran, screaming his name over and over. Instead of slowing him down or causing him to stop, her voice seemed to push him further away. It was as if her screams urged his feet to move even faster.

Buffy couldn't wonder what she was going to do or say when she finally caught up with him. She couldn't allow her mind to get that far. She didn't know how she was going to explain it, she just knew she had to catch him. His forgiveness had to be in him somewhere. If it wasn't, then the last shred of her need to survive would disappear.

He didn't stop until he made it to the mansion and she followed him inside. He finally turned to face her, snarling like a wild beast. She was certain he still had his soul, but she couldn't see it in his eyes. All she saw was pain, fear anger...and the loss of hope.

"Angel," she said, stepping closer.

He backed up when she stepped forward and growled his warning. His eyes darted around the room for a means of escape and the only place he found he could go was back outside. It looked like the Sunnydale sky half an hour before dawn but he knew it would not come. Sunrise never came in Hell. Nevertheless, he feared that doorway into what threatened sunshine.

Buffy saw him look toward the door and horror filled her entire body. He would rather face the day than look at her. She had never known true defeat until today, not even when he had left her. He edged to the side and she sidestepped, blocking his possible escape. Angel snarled and charged the phantom of his lover. He didn't fear her getting hurt because this apparition was not Buffy but it tormented him to hurt her just the same.

Buffy ground her feet in and pivoted, sweeping his feet out from under him. He stood and charged again, trying to gain access to the door. His large fist made contact with her solar plexus, knocking her back two feet and forcing the wind from her chest. She gasped for breath and Angel took the opportunity to run toward the door.

Buffy grabbed his arm and swung him back into the room. Angel pushed back off of the wall that he smacked into and attacked the demon wearing his lover's face. The delicate hand, identical to Buffy's, flew out, swiping the side of his head and he was reduced to peaceful darkness.

And he was grateful for it.

***


what i need is a good defense 'cause i'm feeling like a criminal
and i need to be redeemed to the one i've sinned against
because he's all i ever knew of love

Buffy fell on top of Angel's unmoving form and hugged his large form against her as she sobbed. She laid her head against his chest and let every second of her life out, crying every tear that should have been shed had she been able to feel until now. She pulled his heavy arm over her and pretended that he was holding her, that he understood and still loved her in spite of her choices.

She cried for a long time against his broad chest and hoped harder than she had ever hoped before that he would wake up and love her, forgive her. But she was certain she had driven him insane. She recognized his behavior as when he had returned from Hell. It was almost as if the love she had healed him with before had disappeared in the one moment he had seen her with Spike. And here she was, making it back full circle to the pain and guilt she thought she had healed from - that she thought he had healed from.

She hoped he would forgive her but knew he wouldn't. She was sure he couldn't and as she laid there, she imagined herself sucking up all the pain from him and inserting it inside herself. She wanted to be the one to bear the wounds this time, but there were already too many inside him for her to take them all.


***

you'll remember me like a melody
yeah, i'll haunt the world inside you

Angel woke up with a pounding head and found that his arms were wrapped around Buffy. He looked down at her golden hair and for a second thought that he was okay. But as he took in her scent and the remnants of Spike's scent, he knew this was just another painful part of his torture. He waited for a moment, pretending his arms were around Buffy, pretending that he was actually back in the arms of his lover. He was truly confused on whether the truth or the pretending was more painful.

Then he looked out and saw daylight streaming in from between the heavy drapes. He blinked several times and kept looking at the beautiful sunshine that had actually come. He eased himself away from her and stood, mesmerized by the possible release that waited for him there. He knew it was dangerous to believe he could actually die and be carried away from this place but he couldn't turn away from the sight of those rays.

He wasn't sure if dusting himself would even be an escape. He had died many times before inside Hell but as always, he wanted so badly to believe he could get away. He took a step toward the light and it remained there, waiting like a dream for him to come into it. He glanced over his shoulder and saw her still sleeping where he had left her.

She was so perfectly shaped, so flawlessly Buffy. He was almost tempted to believe it was actually his love lying on the floor. He was tempted to believe that this was actually the mansion and that the feeling inside him was really coming from her. But he shook his head, trying to force the thoughts from his mind. He had been here before and knew none of it was real.

He approached the light and reached his hand out, touching it with his fingertips. Longing turned to rejoice as pain covered his hand. He watched his skin searing in the light and smoke rising from it. He felt his face shift but he smiled over his fangs and began to step forward.

***

heaven help me for the way i am
save me from these evil deeds before i get them done
i know tomorrow brings the consequence at hand

Buffy woke with the absence of Angel and opened her eyes. She found him standing with his hand out in the thin ray of sunlight that trinkled in from between the drapes.

"Angel!" she yelled standing and running towards him. His eyes widened with surprise and he hurried into the light, hoping it was an escape and not the doorway to another torment. Buffy launched herself at him, pushing him away from impending death. She landed on top of him and he struggled to get away. He looked back at the light every few seconds as he wrestled The Slayer, or something that looked like The Slayer, fearing that his chance would disappear.

Buffy could not keep him down on the floor. She thought he might have grown stronger since he left or maybe she just didn't remember clearly how strong he really was. She glanced over at the chains across the room but they were too far. There was no way she was going to get an enraged, suicidal vampire all the way across the room, let alone chain him up.

"Damn it, Angel," she yelled, slamming his head against the floor, "Stop trying to kill yourself!"

Her only answer was a growl as he continued to struggle. He grabbed her by her narrow hips and threw her across the room, scrambling to his feet as she hit the wall with a sickening crack. If she had stopped to think, she might have noticed the flow of blood coming from her head and dripping a lovely stream down her body. If she had stopped to think, she might have wondered why the man she knew loved her had just hurt her. Maybe she had been abused a little too much with Spike. She already hundreds of bumps, scraps and bruises on her body from her time with Angel's Grande Child. But she wasn't thinking of anything but keeping Angel from the light he was so desperately trying to reach.

The coffee table, long covered with dust from time waiting on Angel's return, lended itself as a useful weapon. It broke in half over his dark head and he fell beneath it, unconscious again.

***

but as the scenery grows, i see in different lights
the shades and shadows undulate in my perception
my feelings swell and stretch; i see from greater heights
i understand what i am still too proud to mention to you

It had been the longest day of Spike's unlife and now he waited anxiously for the last bits of dying day to fade beneath the horizon. He had nearly burst in flame several times when he got a bit too close to the window in an attempt to spy his lover coming, which of course, he never did.

Spike wasn't much with the thinking ahead, so as he stomped out of his crypt, moving at a pace that was akin to hunting his prey, he didn't know what he was going to do or say to remedy the current disastrous situation. All he knew was that he couldn't wait one more second without knowing what was going on. He made short work of the distance between his lair and his Sire's previous one. He crept through the mansion until he could see Buffy and Angel.

Spike was more than a little surprised at what he saw. He wasn't really sure what he was going to see but he didn't think it would be Angel chained to the wall. His hands and arms were charred as is he had been out romping in the sunshine and his constant growl did not lend the lovey dovey type mush that Spike expected. Buffy's blonde hair was matted on one side with blood and her clothes were spattered with it, as was Angel. The coffee table was lying in the middle of the floor in two broken pieces and the wooden legs called to Spike. He wanted to rip one of them free from it's hold on the splintered table top and force it through the chest of his Sire.

But he was content to wait for awhile since they didn't seem to be anywhere near close to shagging. Not that they could. Maybe this was better than he thought. Maybe he hadn't lost her altogether to the Bloody Poof. Maybe she would come back...

Spike looked on at the exchange between the ex-lovers with the hardening knowledge that Buffy would not come back to him, even if Angel left again. He saw the disgrace on her pretty face and the sag she was trying to hide under her defiant shoulders. She was ashamed of what she had done and more ashamed that Angel not only knew about it, but had seen it.

***

you say love is a hell you cannot bear and i say gimme mine back and then go there for all i care

Angel could not stop growling and he didn't want to. If he could, he would have beaten the bloody apparition of his love until she could haunt him no longer, even though he was sure she would just reappear and begin her abuse again. She tried to touch him several times but thanks to his ferocious snarls, she kept away. The only thing worse than her constant pretending to be Buffy was that she kept talking to him. That was far worse than just looking at her.

Finally, he spoke for the first time and the venom of his words, burned like acid, "Shut the fuck up, bitch!"

She gasped and took an involuntary step back. She whispered, "Angel," with hurt in her voice. She had never heard him speak that way. Not even after he had lost his soul. Angel kept his body and soul hardened against her. She wasn't real. She wasn't Buffy. He wasn't really hurting her. He kept reminding himself of that one fact but he was weakening more with every second.

"Stop talking to me," he growled.

"I'm...I'm sorry, Angel," she whispered, sliding against the far wall, "I've been so...off since I got back from heaven."

Angel wanted to laugh out loud. The demons haunting him knew nothing of heaven. He certainly knew nothing of heaven, except for the light shining out of her eyes. That was the closest to heaven he had ever been and he was beginning to believe it was possible he was heading there now.

No, he told himself sternly, This is not Buffy. They will break you and your sense of self will slowly disappear.

He knew that he had to hold on just like he had last time and remember that the visions they tortured him with were the reason he wanted to live. For Buffy. He stared at her, his angry golden eyes meeting pure pain in her green ones and the ice over his heart began to crack. This couldn't really be Buffy...could it?

"Angel," she said, holding onto his gaze with dear life, even though his anger and pain was slicing into her, "I...when I got back..." She stared at the floor trying to make the words make sense when she voiced them, "I've been empty inside. Leaving heaven was like nothing I had ever felt before. Worse than losing you."

She hung her head and looked down for a moment trying to gain the strength to talk to him. She looked back up at him, hurt and chained to the wall, and was thankful that at least he wasn't trying to attack her and had actually spoken. That was something, at least.

"The only person I could talk to was Spike. He seemed...he seemed to understand. No one else did. He was the only person that could make me feel something. Anything at all."

"I don't want to hear this," Angel said, trying to keep the hardness in his voice and failing.

"I know," she said, her voice cracking, "I don't want to say it but I have to. I need you to understand."

"Why should I listen to you? Huh? I don't even know who you are. You're not Buffy, that's for sure."

This mind, this body, and this voice cannot be stifled by your deviant ways
so don't forget what i told you, don't come around, i got my own hell to raise

"That's really harsh," she said, allowing her tears to flow for the first time, "Please Angel. If you ever loved me at all...try to listen and understand. I need you to. Please."

"I don't want to listen," he said, the growl creeping back in his voice, "Buffy would never fuck Spike...I don't love you."

Buffy stared at him with wide eyes and let the shock of his words sink in before she began to sob openly. She didn't care about pride or strength. All that mattered wa that Angel just said he didn't love her. Angel didn't love her.

But Angel did love her and when she started to sob like that, the way that only Buffy could, he was suddenly very confused. Even in Hell the illusions didn't last this long. She was being too kind. None of it made sense. He watched as she cried and felt his own eyes tearing up. Even if this wasn't the real Buffy, everything about her was exactly like his mate and her tears were killing him.

He didn't mean to speak, but the words just kind of fell of out his lips, "Shhh, baby, don't cry."

She looked up at him, startled and her eyes narrowed in anger, "Don't cry? Don't fucking cry? You just told me you don't love me and I'm not supposed to cry? What the hell do you want from me?"

"I want to be free from these chains," he said, taking on her anger, "I want to get the vision of someone who looks like my mate fucking Spike. I don't want to be in Hell anymore!"

"Angel, I know I screwed up. I know sleeping with Spike was the wrong thing. I'm sorry, I really am. I need to make you understand!"

"Buffy," Angel said, shaking his head, "or whoever you are..."

"Who ever you are?! Why are you being so mean to me? I know you're angry Angel, but I know you have more compassion than this!"

Angel stared at her. Compassion?

He shrank back as she rushed across the room to him. Her hands were warm against his chest, so warm and her sweet breath was close to his lips as she spoke. The feeling of her was so real and he was sinking. Hell was winning and he knew that one more second of this and he would have to relent.

"Please don't touch me," he begged, gripping his chains tightly, "I can't stand it."

"Am I that repulsive to you?" she asked, drowning him in her tearful green sea.

"You're not Buffy."

"Angel! What's wrong with you? Why do you keep saying that? I'm Buffy. I know I've changed, but I'm still Buffy!"

"How do I explain to Hell that I'm in Hell?"

"What?"

"You're a torment from Hell," he said, feeling strange as the words came out of his mouth, "You look like Buffy, you smell like her and talk like her. God, you feel like her, but the minute I give in you will disappear. If I reach out for you, you'll be gone. If I let myself love you, I'll be lost."

"Angel," she said, pulling in closer, "You're not in Hell. You're with me. Buffy. The real Buffy."

"No," he said, shaking his head, "No."

She pulled the keys to his chains from her pocket, knowing that if he ran, at least it was night now. She unlocked his chains gently, pausing to wince over his charred flesh. She slipped the keys back in her pocket and kept her stance in front of him.

"Touch me," she whispered close to his lips, "I'm real, Angel."

"Before," he whispered back, "with Spike. I saw it when I was in Hell. It was exactly the same...everything. I have to be..."

"You're not, honey," she said, looking up in his eyes, "You're on the Hellmouth, but you're not in Hell. Touch me."

"You'll disappear," he said, his voice broken, "and it will..kill...me."

"No," she said. She waited, hovering in front of him. The few inches of air between her body and his was buzzing with chemical want. Angel clenched his hands into fists and steeled his strength. He took a step back and found he was against the wall. With no where else to turn and nothing else to do, he reached out and touched her.

***

and there's too much going on
but it's calm under the waves, in the blue of my oblivion
under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
under the waves in the blue of my oblivion
it's calm under the waves in the blue of my oblivion

Spike stood watching, knowing that he was just slightly outside of their peripheral vision. If they turned, they would see him. But he couldn't look away or move from his spot. He waited for Angel to kiss her and after a long, full, drawn out minute, he did.

Spike watched with silent awe as his lover melted against Angel, forming with him. He could plainly see that all of her emotions and love were poured into the kiss. She had never kissed him like that, never clung to him that way and he found himself in a backlash of rearing jealousy as he watched. He was envious of a kiss when Angel couldn't even make love to her. But Spike knew, as Buffy did, that there was more intimacy in that single kiss that all of their nights of lovemaking combined. There was more emotion there than Spike had ever seen and certainly more than he had ever felt while he was a vampire.

He nearly toppled over when the scent of her arousal reached his sensitive nostrils. He knew her arousal well and the stages she went through. In Angel's arms, she skipped all the preliminary levels. Spike was no longer jealous, he was outraged. How was it possible that just being in his arms could make her so wet that it made Spike's whole body quiver? He could tell by the way Angel was kissing her that he knew the response well. Angel knew what effect he had on her.

Spike backed away from the door, not wanting to see anymore. He kept alive one tiny light of reassurance as he left her to her eunuch. Angel could not make love to her. The familiar sense of evil deviousness made Spike smile. Maybe he would never make love to her again but neither would Angel.

***

i've got a lot to lose and i'm betting high
so i'm begging you before it ends just tell me where to begin

Angel broke the kiss and slipped quickly from the between the wall and Buffy. He was panting unneeded breath as he stumbled across the room, needing more distance from her than was ever possible.

"Angel," Buffy said, turning with him as he crossed the room.

"Buffy," Angel said, shaking his head with confusion, "If I'm not in Hell, then you really were having sex with Spike."

She nodded.

"How could you...I mean, I don't get it."

She shook her head and felt the tears, which had never stopped, increase their pathway on her face. Angel crossed the room again and pulled her into his arms.

"I guess I'll never understand," he whispered, absently inspecting the wound he had caused on the side of her head. It had healed completely and seemed to be a minor contusion. He whispered his apologies against her hair and held her more tightly.

***

once my lover, now my friend
what a cruel thing to pretend
what a cunning way to condescend
once my lover, and now my friend

Buffy watched Angel's car leave Sunnydale at 3 AM and walked slowly to a house that no longer felt like home. Trying to cope with all that had happened since his arrival was mind boggling at best. There was no way to wrap these feelings up and shove them in the closet again this time. After those kisses and a night of soul baring solutionless conversation and more kisses, Angel left.

She tried not to concentrate on the feeling of him leaving and the emptiness returning. She tried not to focus on the future that she was very unsure about. She was trying not to focus on anything at all, which is why she nearly collided with a very tense bleach blonde vampire.

"So I see the bloody Poof left you again," he said, "and a little worse for the wear, pet." He gestured at her bloody hair and torn clothes for emphasis, but they both knew that was not what he meant.

"What do you want Spike?" she asked tiredly, suddenly exhausted.

"So we're back to that, are we, love?"

"First of all, I told you not to call me that and second, yes. We are. It's over," she said, more harshly than she intended. She turned and began to walk away, holding on to the strength Angel had given her. She had to end it now before the strength was entirely gone. Spike pulled her back, spinning her around to face him.

you wanna make me sick; you wanna lick my wounds

"So that's it?" He asked, "That's all I get? Peaches strolls into town and messes everything up and leaves again and now I'm out of the picture? He left and I'm all you have left. If you leave me now, what will you have?"

"Dignity," she said, staring back at him coldly. She yanked on her arm, pulling it from Spike's grasp and turned around again and walked away.

***

i'm building memories on things we have not said
full is not heavy as empty, not nearly my love, not nearly my love, not nearly

Every mile that took Angel from Sunnydale made him wonder more why he was leaving. Guilt and love were the two strongest emotions battling for the brood. He should have swept her into his arms again and never let her go. He should have told her that his soul was anchored. He should have never left.

He wasn't sure what made him walk away again except that he was hurt. He was destroyed by the sight of her having sex with Spike. The vision in his mind was almost more than he could handle. He tried to make himself remember the normal life excuse, but the fact of the matter was if she wanted a normal life, if she really could have one, she wouldn't be sleeping with Spike.

Being in her arms again was more perfect than he even remembered. Those feelings running through him again were more surreal and aching than he thought possible after all this time. He had allowed himself to forget what being loved felt like. It was easier to go on with his life if he didn't live with that every day.

It was not easy, however, to drive away, which is why he turned around and went back.

***

darling, give me your absence tonight
take the shade from the canvas and leave me the white
let me sink in the silence that echoes inside
and don't bother leaving the light on

Buffy stepped into the shower with a heavy heart. And it hurt. A lot.

And she was thankful for it.

It was blissful affliction. Angel left again. She broke up with Spike. But she felt almost alive. She like she was half a step away from being someone who could function again. She was a couple of inches from being at least part of a whole. She washed blood and Angel and Spike from her body. She washed death from her skin.

When stepped out of the shower and into the steamy bathroom, she took a deep breath. She decided, as she slipped into her robe, feeling the aches, cuts and bruises on her skin smart with her movements, that she would start over. Starting now, she would live again.

The house was quiet and everyone was asleep. She wondered if anyone even had worried about where she had been. She decided they probably hadn't. She hadn't been around much and besides Dawn's snappy comments and her friends' occasional hints, they all seemed content to carry on with their lives without her.

Strange thing was, she wasn't sure how she felt about that. She knew the Scooby core would never be what it was. She ached for that relationship, for that team. She missed Giles. She brushed her hair out as she walked down the hall and thought about what time it was in London. Maybe she would call. She was in the middle of configuring the time zone change when she walked through her door and found Angel leaning against her windowsill.

he rose, brilliant as the moon in full
and sank in the burrows of my keep

"Angel," she whispered, "I thought you left."

"I did," he said, with a fire smouldering in his eyes, "But there's a few things I didn't say and I decided that I want to say them."

"Okay," she said, nodding. She wanted to be wondering what he was going to say but she was trapped in his stare. He was beautiful, leaning against that window again, in his casual-not-so-casual way and it made her nervous. It made her remember. Mostly, it made her want him, as if she hadn't spent every second wanting him before.

all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet
and my winter giving way to warm

Angel willed himself to begin speaking but he couldn't take his eyes off of her body. It wasn't her robe, which was blue terrycloth and covered most of her delectable flesh. It was that there was only a loosely tied sash between her robe and her naked body and he gripped the windowsill as he always did to keep from touching her.

Memories came flying back as he remembered all of the times he climbed through her window, to talk to her, to wake her up or watch her sleep and he always found himself holding onto the windowsill, as if it was the only thing keep his soul from leaving his body. He was actually surprised he had never ripped it off the wall before now.

"I wanted to tell you that I'm angry with you," he said, in a low, soft voice that rubbed smooth lines of love over her skin, "I'm angry that you would turn to Spike instead of anyone else on the planet. I understand why you didn't come to me but I'm pissed that you went to Spike, that you gave that unworthy bastard such a precious part of yourself. I'm upset that you are working at a burger joint -"

"I need money," she said, interrupting him, "I have to take care of Dawn."

"Buffy, why do you always underestimate yourself? You are smart and resourceful. You could do anything!"

"It was a short interviewing process and -"

"Bullshit," he spat, "that's bullshit and you know it. You thought you weren't good enough to get anything else so you didn't try. That's the same reason you were with Spike."

She didn't say anything to agree or disagree. She didn't need to. She waited for him to finish his tirade.

"I'm sorry," he said, "I'm sorry that you didn't want to come to me, that you felt you couldn't. I'm sorry I left - last time and this time."

He crossed the room and stood close to her, making sure she heard every syllable of what he was about to say, "I love you, Buffy. My life is darkness. You know that. But more than anything I want you back in it."

"Me too," she whispered, her lower lip trembling the way it did when she was trying not to cry. Angel pulled that adorable lip between his own before delving into her warm mouth. Angel swiped the belt of her robe and slipped his hands inside and around, pulling her naked body to his fully clothed one. He ran his hands over her back and felt the injuries over her skin. Pulling away, he looked over her.

"What is all this?" He asked, inspecting her naked skin now as a doctor would instead of a lover. She stared at him, not wanting to let Spike's name come into the moment. He nodded silently, buckling his anger down inside himself. His childe was going to pay for every bruise, bump and tiny little cut on his beloved's body.

he goes along just as a water lily
gentle on the surface of his thoughts his body floats unweighed down by passion or intensity
yet unaware of he depth upon which he coasts and he finds a home in me
for what misfortune sows, he knows my touch will reap

He mapped out her injuries, giving each one his undivided attention and his gentle kiss. Slipping the robe from her shoulders, he skimmed lightly along her body, worshiping her the way that Spike could not. Buffy rolled with the feelings of his lips and hands on her skin, standing before him, running her fingers through his hair, touching him when she could. His touch had been gentle and he strayed from erogenous zones, focusing on the parts of her that were hurt but when he finished his journey, he moved on. Kneeling before her, he kissed her stomach and hips, while he slipped his hand between her legs to touch the wetness he knew was there.

"Soul," she murmured, in a statement of fact.

"Not an issue," he whispered against her belly button.

"How?" She asked as he circled her clit, causing a little moan to escape from her lips.

"Later, love," he whispered, dipping in to taste the honey he missed for more days and months that he cared to recall. She silently agreed as he sucked her clit in and out of his mouth, swirling his tongue around her. Mere moments were necessary before she exploded. Her legs were trembling and made of rubber. She grabbed hold of the wall for support as Angel, stood and took her lips in his again. He wrapped his arms around her and lifted her far enough off the floor so that he could walk to the bed and keep her lips on his.

He laid down on the bed, taking her down under him as he went, feeling unbearable waves of lust and love shoot through his body. Buffy yanked his coat off of his shoulders, causing the arm to rip slightly as she shucked it to the floor. Together, they tore the rest of his clothes from his body and he sheathed himself fully inside her, closing his eyes as he arrived home again.

"I love you, Buffy," he said hoarsely as he moved inside her with urgency.

"I love you, Angel," she said back, sliding her hands over his silky, pale skin, re-memorizing each plane of him. He laved her nipples, sucking them roughly between his smooth lips as he thrust inside his love. She wrapped her legs around his waist and moved in time with his strokes.

They reached orgasm together. Completely whole, both lost souls had begun their journey home. Angel rolled, pulling Buffy to lay directly on top of him and he glanced over at the door, which was slightly ajar. Reaching on either side of him, he pulled the comforter over them like a taco, covering their flushed, bare skin.

"I want you to come home with me," Angel said, kissing her sweaty forehead.

"To LA? Dawn has school and there's the house and..."

"We can work it all out," he said, in his sexy bed voice that always made her believe that anything in world was possible.

THE END

***
THE CHALLENGE:
Courtesy of Heather (thrdayschild@yahoo.com)

While Angel was in hell, he was tortured by among other things visions of Buffy and Spike having sex. When he hears that Buffy and Spike have had sex, it triggers extreme flashbacks of his time in hell, completely driving him insane. He becomes convinced that he never left. I think the entire Connor and C/A storylines should be left out. It would just complicate the story too much.



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