Disclaimer: Not mine, it’s just for fun.
Theme: Angst, but with a happy ending – for once!
General Btvs season 6
NC17 – language
A vampire’s take on getting back to nature.
Yes please – to firstname.lastname@example.org
A sense of Balance
By Lisa P
Angel was hunting again. He thrilled to the scent of his
prey, stalking it silently, creeping closer and closer. And then the final
rush. That instant where the prey realised its peril, started for its life.
Too late. The crash of body against body, hide to hide, fingers clutching,
clawing, fangs ripping and tearing. The sudden gush of blood, pumping
bright red from a panicked heart.
Thrashing, dying struggles, the flow of blood weakening, until the
prey stilled, eyes glazing as the life finally fled from it.
Angel lay over the body of his kill, panting, gorged
with its blood. He couldn’t remember the last time he had felt this
satiated. He lazily licked at the final drops that oozed from the torn out
throat of the deer that he had so carefully and patiently stalked.
With a satisfied grunt, Angel rolled off the cooling
corpse and slowly got to his feet.
He scented the air around him, revelling in the lush
multitude of night-time aromas that pervaded the forest in which he stood,
confident in his status as the ultimate predator within a wilderness full
of hunters and their prey.
The vampire slipped back into the darkness of the
forest, dappled moonlight catching the merest reflection of his pale body,
streaked and blotched with the drying blood of the dead deer. He was
looking forward to the hot shower and welcoming fire that he knew would be
waiting for him on his return.
The pine cabin was completely isolated, miles from its
next neighbour, half a day’s drive from the nearest shop. It was a perfect
place to let go, cut off from the outside world, only the flora and fauna
of the surrounding forest for company. For Angel, it was a sanctuary, and a
much needed release from the world he occupied these days. Here he could
finally – safely – liberate himself for a time. Angel sighed contentedly as
he wrapped himself in the quilt and snuggled down on the big, soft sofa
that was in front of the wood-burning stove in the cabin’s small living
room. There was a generator which supplied electricity, but Angel had never
switched it on. The stove heated the water for the shower, and Angel didn’t
need artificial lighting other than the glow from the fire. Clean, fed and
comfortable, the vampire relished the feeling of being warm and full of
hot, fresh blood. Not quite like human…but a more than adequate substitute,
the tang of fear-induced adrenaline being particularly sweet. He had
brought a shelf-full of books to read, but was just happy to doze for a
while, luxuriating in his fullness, and the rare sensation of being
He had needed this. Almost without him noticing, he had
become ever more tightly wound over the past weeks and months. The strain
of living among humans, trying to behave as they did had begun to tell on
him. And even though his mission to help the helpless often meant he had to
track and eliminate evil demons, there was none of the excitement that he
had experienced tonight, a predator hunting down and catching his prey,
feeding from a hot, living creature. The freedom to roam, unwatched,
The first night he had been in the forest, Angel had
hunted and killed a small wild pig. After feeding, he had howled at the
moon and rolled and cavorted in the long damp grass of the forest glade,
the dew smearing the gore from his kill all over him. Alone, yes, but free
from all the constraints and conventions that usually contained him as if
in a straitjacket. He had returned to the cabin shortly before sunrise, his
body marked with dried blood and grass stains.
This was now the fourth night of Angel’s sojourn in the
wilderness. He had hunted and killed every night, but tonight’s kill was
the largest prey so far, and the most satisfying. He frowned slightly as he
thought briefly about his human colleagues, and how appalled they would be
if they saw this side of Angel’s nature. Once again he acknowledged how
very little they understood about him, even though, on occasion, they had
witnessed the feral part of him surface in the heat of battle. It was such
a relief to let his wildness emerge, not having to appear tame and
predictable, day after day, week after week, month after month. He
stretched, a purr vibrating from deep within his chest.
A sound caught his attention. Angel cocked his head,
listening. A car engine. Still far away, but definitely coming closer.
Angel growled in annoyance, and got up from the sofa. He would have to get
dressed and investigate. Grumpily, he pulled on black sweats and a cotton
jumper, but stayed barefoot. He walked over to the front door of the cabin,
opened it, and stepped outside.
There was only a
narrow footpath leading to the cabin, the nearest road was a good mile
away, ending in a small clearing where those who were renting the cabin
could leave their cars. Angel headed towards it, wondering who would be
coming up here at this hour of the night. As he slipped silently through
the woods he kept scenting. Then he stopped dead, every nerve tingling as
he caught a scent that, although it was not what he remembered, was still
familiar enough to cause him to tremble from head to foot.
She was pulling a bag from the back of the SUV, and now
she turned to face him.
“I knew if I found the car park that you would find me.”
She said simply.
Angel was wary. “I don’t understand…why are you here…who
told you I was here?” He fell silent, knowing that he must have sounded
unwelcoming. Buffy’s scent unnerved him.
“Wesley told me you had gone away for a while, where to
come. He seemed to think it would be a good thing for me to know.” Buffy’s
voice was flat.
Angel saw that the Slayer was still the same as when he
had seen her last, when she had been thrown back into the land of the
living after sacrificing herself to save her so-called sister. This Buffy
was not the girl he had given up his long isolation for. Not the same
golden girl he had fallen so hopelessly in love with. This Buffy was a
woman who had lost her way, who had been irrevocably changed. Who even
smelled different. Who smelled…used.
“I can see this was a mistake. I’ll go.” Buffy made to
throw her bag back into the car.
“No. Wait. I’m sorry, it’s just a surprise…” Angel took
the bag from Buffy. “Come with me, it’s not far, about a mile.” He led the
way, trying to give himself time to get used to the idea of Buffy being
there, so close, but so closed off.
They walked back up the woodland track, Buffy’s slayer
instincts making her nearly, but not quite, as silent in her movements as
Angel. Neither spoke.
They reached the cabin, and Angel stood aside to allow
Buffy to enter first. She trudged past him, not even glancing at him as she
went inside. Angel followed, putting the bag down just inside the door.
“I hope you brought some supplies with you….There’s
nothing in to eat. I wasn’t expecting visitors.” Angel said quietly.
“Oh. No. I forgot. It doesn’t matter. I’m
Angel took a good look at the Slayer. Buffy was thin to
the point of gauntness, her soft curves just a memory. She stood in the
middle of the room, her whole demeanour one of defeat and weariness.
When she had first returned from the dead, Angel had
rushed to see her, unbelieving,
overcome with the fact that Buffy had been, like him, granted a
second chance. But as soon as he had met her, he knew that things were very
different for her than they had been for him. She had accepted his embrace,
tolerated his kisses, and then told him that they would not meet again. No
tears, no emotion at all. Her voice had been flat, her eyes opaque. He had
tried to reach her, argue with her, but it was like she couldn’t hear
him. He had left her then, knowing
that finally, even more than when he had heard that she had died, that he
had lost her.
Now she was in front of him. Why had she come?
“Sit down. Get warm.” Angel pointed to the sofa where he
had so recently been happy and relaxed. Buffy did as she was told. Angel
retreated to the shadows, her scent still upsetting him, although he
couldn’t quite work out why.
“I suppose you can smell me?” her bluntness startled
Angel. He nodded, but didn’t speak.
“What do you smell?”
Angel shifted uncomfortably, not wanting to articulate
what he sensed. “It’s you…but not. You smell…uh…different.”
“Angel. Stop it. You can smell it, I know. It’s like I’m
alive, but not. Not like you, a vampire, but similar…more like a zombie,
perhaps? And the other smell. Perhaps its confusing you. The scent of the
undead. It’s Spike. I’ve been screwing him.”
Angel froze. It was true, he had scented it, he just
hadn’t for one moment believed Buffy would do such a thing, had put it down
to…to…something – anything - else.
He clamped his teeth together, trying to suppress the
growl that was threatening to erupt from him. Spike….how had everything he
had wanted for her come to this? Buffy, his golden girl. Full of life,
hope, sunshine. He had left her so that she could have the normal life she
so craved. This…person…who was slumped on the sofa….how had things got into
such a mess?
“I suppose you hate me now”. Buffy stared into the
embers in the stove, sounding as though she didn’t care one way or the
“I don’t hate you. I just don’t know you anymore. Buffy,
why did you come to me tonight?”
She shook her head, staring at her hands that were
pulling distractedly at her pants. Then Angel saw a tiny splash land on one
of those hands, a single teardrop. In an instant, he was beside her,
gathering her to him.
“Buffy….Oh, Buffy” he whispered into her hair, shocked
at her skeletal thinness, holding her gently so as not to bruise her. Buffy
hid her face in his chest, and started to sob.
Angel had tucked Buffy into the only bed in the cabin,
an old-fashioned double brass bedstead with a feather mattress.
She had sobbed
as though her heart was breaking, crying herself into complete exhaustion
while Angel held her, rocking her, trying to soothe her. Finally she had
stopped, too tired to speak or move. Now she was sleeping, and Angel was
wondering what to do next.
One thing was for certain, Buffy needed to eat. He
peered into the empty kitchen cupboards, cursing himself for not having
brought anything with him. But then, why would he, when he had all the food
he needed outside in the forest? He remembered the deer he had killed only
a couple of hours earlier. Angel quickly penned a note in his extravagant,
flowing handwriting, telling Buffy not to worry, he had gone to get her
food, just in case the slayer woke in his absence.
He took a last look at the woman asleep in his bed, and
then returned to the wilderness.
As he padded silently into the darkness, Angel
considered his and Buffy’s situation. Seeing her now, he once again
wondered if he had done the right thing by leaving her. At the time there
had seemed no other option, and his own doubts had been crystallised by the
Mayor’s cruel comments, and particularly by Joyce Summers’
visit to him. He’d
truly believed that Buffy would get over him - her first love - and go on
to another who could give her everything that he could not. He knew that
those who loved Buffy best were glad to see him go, and he had thought she
would be cared for and kept as safe as it was possible for a slayer to be
by those same people.
But Joyce had died, and her friends had dragged Buffy
back from her peaceful death. Giles had abandoned her too. It was probably
no surprise that Buffy had turned to Spike, he was possibly the only one
who could come close to understanding what she was going through. Angel
fought down the anger that seethed in him as he thought of Buffy and his
Childe together. But try as he might, he couldn’t help the growls that
An answering growl stopped Angel in his tracks. Angel
scented. He could smell the deer he had killed earlier, and also the
unmistakeable reek of bear. He stepped into the little clearing where he
had left the carcass of his kill. Crouched over it, huge jaws gory with the
entrails of the deer, was an enormous black bear. The two predators stared
at each other, neither moving a muscle. Angel didn’t want to fight, but he
also needed to have the food he had killed for Buffy, and get back to her
as soon as possible. Leaving the kill and finding new prey could take much
longer than he wanted to be away from her.
He felt the change transform him. The bear,
already aware that the creature that had disturbed him was not human, now
recognised that this creature looked to be a fearsome opponent, despite it
being smaller and much lighter than itself. The bear rumbled a deep
warning, hackles raised along its back. Angel snarled his response,
preparing himself for the confrontation. But as if sensing that this was no
ordinary predator, the bear hesitated, and then backed away, still growling,
but not wanting to engage this fierce creature in a fight.
As the bear shambled back into the depths of the forest,
Angel relaxed again. Reaching down, he slung the carcass over his shoulders
and then headed back the way he had come.
Buffy woke to the aroma of roasted meat, with some kind
of herby overtones. Her stomach rumbled with hunger. She sat up in the bed,
squinting into the darkness, her eyes drawn to the faint glow that was
coming from the living room. She got up and went over to the doorway. Angel
was slowly turning the pages of a book, his brow furrowed in concentration,
so absorbed he had not realised that she had awakened. She gazed at the
vampire, lit by the fire that was crackling in the old range, and with a
small shock saw again how very beautiful he was.
“You’re awake”. Angel had noticed her presence. He put
down the book and stood up to greet her. Buffy suddenly felt shy.
“I know you’re going to tell me that you’re not hungry,
but please humour me and eat something. I’ve roasted some venison…no
vegetables unfortunately, and only water to drink, but it will have to do
for now.” Angel led her over to the kitchen table, where he put a match to
an old-fashioned oil lamp for more illumination.
Buffy smiled weakly. “You look pretty expert with that
thing. I can never get them to light”.
“Well…I did have over 150 years worth of practice.
Candles, oil lamps, flame torches, rubbing sticks together…Not as
convenient as flicking a switch though.” Angel replied as he carved some of
the venison haunch. “I found some wild rosemary, and fortunately someone
had left salt and pepper in those little packets in the kitchen.”
Buffy began to eat, her eyes widening as the rich,
succulent flavour of fresh, organic, wild venison hit her taste buds for
the first time.
“Mmmm. I’ve never tasted meat like this before.” She
thought grimly of the awful, almost meat that she served up to customers at
the fast food outlet she worked in. Angel didn’t reply, he had turned back
to the book he had been so engrossed in.
“What’re reading?” Buffy mumbled through a mouthful of
“Uh, this was in the bookcase. It’s called Food from
the Forest. It’s got all the stuff that you can collect that’s safe to
eat, mushrooms, berries, leaves. I thought…well…if you were planning to
stay a while….” He tailed off.
Buffy kept eating, not knowing what to say. When she had
called LA she had not been thinking straight, not thinking at all really.
Wesley had answered the phone, telling her that Angel was not there, that
he had needed a break. Although she had barely spoken to the English
ex-watcher, he had obviously picked up on something, and had volunteered
the information as to Angel’s whereabouts. She’d thanked him, put down the
phone, packed a small bag and driven straight to Angel, having no idea what
she was going to do or say once she had got there. Now she was here, and
had already acted like a complete idiot, crying uncontrollably and then
flaking out on him.
She realised with a jolt, that none of her friends – or
Dawn – even knew she had taken off.
“Oh God, I didn’t even think to tell them I was going”.
Buffy said, her voice thick with resignation. “They’ll be wondering what’s
happened to me….I’ll have to go.”
“Buffy. Wait. I have a cell phone. You can call them.
That is, if you want to stay.”
For one fleeting moment, Buffy felt something other than
bone-weariness. Both the fact that Angel obviously wanted her there, and
the revelation that he owned a cell phone, made her feel lighter inside.
She gave a tiny chuckle.
“Somehow, I can’t visualise you with a cellphone”.
“I’m afraid I can’t visualise it either. Cordelia
insisted I have it, but I’m always leaving it switched off, or with a flat
battery. And this voice mail thing…lost on me. But don’t worry” Angel added
quickly “It’s all charged up at the moment. I was given a crash course,
with written instructions on how to access the voice mail, and I check it
every day, in case something comes up where I’m needed back in LA”.
Buffy watched as Angel rummaged around in the pockets of
his leather jacket. Like her, Angel had changed, but in his case, he looked
somehow more comfortable with himself, more a part of life, instead of just
a bystander. How strange that their positions now seemed reversed.
Angel handed Buffy the phone. She stared at it
unhappily, not knowing what to say to Dawn, or Willow. She handed it back
“I’ll call them, shall I? Just to let them know you’re
OK, and that you’ll stay with me for a while.”
Buffy felt a surge of gratitude. It was so long since
anyone had taken charge, and as ever, Angel seemed to know instinctively
what she needed without her having to say anything at all.
The next days and nights passed with Buffy and Angel
spending much of their time foraging for the food that the book had said
would be safe for Buffy to eat. There was enough venison for several meals,
but Angel had continued to hunt, waiting until Buffy had drifted off to
sleep before disappearing into the forest. She hadn’t asked him where he
was getting his blood from, and he hadn’t been inclined to tell her.
Angel was actively feeding Buffy up, ignoring her
complaints that he was trying to turn her into a barrage balloon.
“I think if I force fed you for a year, you’d still be
the thinnest barrage balloon the world has ever seen. Buffy, you’re too
thin, it’ll be making you weak.” Angel was insistent. He had found himself
taking charge of the slayer, and was surprised that she had been so compliant,
another change from the headstrong girl he remembered.
“Yeah. Then I’ll really be good for nothing.” The
bitterness in Buffy’s voice caused Angel to come over to where she was
sitting, peeling some mushrooms they had found earlier that evening.
He put his hand over hers. “Whatever are you talking
about? Since when do you think you are good for nothing?” Angel was
“Look at me, Angel. You’re right, I’m a wreck. My
reflexes are shot to hell, I can’t remember the last time I trained. Dawn
is a shoplifting truant, I’ve got a totally crappy job….Tell me that sounds
like a success story.” She paused, and then stared defiantly at him. “Oh.
And Yeah. I get my kicks from screwing a vampire in a crypt. Home run.”
Angel’s expression was unreadable, but he took his hand
from hers. That small action was all Buffy needed. Suddenly she wanted
nothing more than to hurt him.
“Have to say, Spike’s
a great fuck though. Vampire stamina of course, we go all night sometimes.
I can hardly walk home afterwards. And inventive? God, I don’t think
there’s a position, or a place that we haven’t done it in.” She saw Angel’s
face twitch, but otherwise the vampire remained completely still.
“Yeah, and when he fed from me the first time….” Buffy
stopped, realising she was speaking to thin air. Angel had bolted from the
cabin. Her heart pounding, Buffy felt a vicious sense of triumph sweep over
her. She felt powerful. She laughed, scornful of Angel’s pain. Following
him out of the cabin, she saw Angel standing in the darkness, facing away
from her, every line of his frame taut with tension.
“What’s the matter, Lover?” she called. “Is all this sex
talk getting you going?” She threw the words at him as though they were
“I thought you would have enjoyed hearing all about it,
after all, that’s all you can do, isn’t it….talk about it, I mean.”
“Buffy….please” Angel turned towards her, his voice so
low it was barely above a whisper.
“Please what? Stop telling you about Spike and me? Spike, my lover, who fucks me and feeds
from me whenever he pleases?” Buffy’s eyes glittered, wave upon wave of
sadistic pleasure rolling over her as she saw Angel’s shoulders hunch in
misery. She felt, strong, potent in a way that she had almost forgotten.
She was the Slayer once more, all powerful, crushing evil demons under her
feet. Then Angel was walking towards her, tall, determined.
“Buffy. Stop. You’ve done it. I’m hurting. You can stop
Buffy slapped him, hard. “Don’t you tell me when to
stop. I like this feeling. I want to hurt you. You deserve it, and it makes
“Alright then. Carry on. You just keep going.” Angel’s
totally unexpected response floored Buffy. He stood before her, trembling
“If it makes you feel good - if it makes you feel
anything for that matter – then go on.”
Buffy glared up at him. “Oh no you don’t. Reverse
psychology. Give me permission, encourage me, then I’ll not want to do it.
Sorry Angel, you don’t win that easily.”
Angel stared back, dark eyes unfathomable. “Win? Who
said anything about winning? Game’s already over Buffy. You see, I know why
Spike wants to screw you. Do you?”
Buffy felt the first flicker of uncertainty. “Spike says
he loves me, needs me.”
Angel smiled, the smile not reaching his eyes. “And you
“I believed you.”
Buffy retorted angrily.
“He came to me, you know, about a year after he had that
Buffy started, she knew Spike had disappeared from
Sunnydale after the Adam fiasco, and had re-appeared over a year later, but
hadn’t known where he had gone.
“He had nowhere else to turn. You and your friends had
abandoned him. Not that I blame you. But he came to me. You forget, Buffy.
He is my Childe. I own him. He couldn’t stay - it was for the best
that he went back to Sunnydale - but while he was with me, he became mine
again. He sees you as part of me, Buffy. When he’s with you, it’s as close
as he can be to being with me. Don’t you see? Spike’s not screwing you. He’s
Buffy gasped, her heart thudding painfully in her
Angel’s dark eyes gleamed. “So I know why Spike’s
screwing you. What I want to know is, why are you screwing him?”
Buffy sank down to the ground, her legs refusing to
support her. The surge of power had drained away from her, passed from her
back to Angel. She felt vulnerable once more, weak and helpless. Then she
felt herself being effortlessly lifted from the ground. She found herself
in Angel’s arms, being carried back to the cabin. As her head lolled
against his broad shoulder she heard him whisper.
“You carry my mark, Buffy. Spike may have fucked you,
but he’s never fed from you, no matter how much you may have begged him
Angel had left Buffy lying on the sofa, covered in the
large patchwork quilt. He had returned outside, needing to be away from the
broken slayer for a little while. The sounds and scents of the night time
forest both stirred and calmed him at the same time. He wandered further
into the black woods, distancing himself both physically and mentally from
Buffy. He had to think. Even though, as a dominant male vampire, he was
furious that another of his kind had had the temerity to touch anyone he
had marked, he also understood that Buffy, as a slayer, would have been
difficult for Spike to refuse, even if he had wanted to.
What had really hurt and upset Angel was Buffy’s sheer
misery. This lashing out, deliberately wanting to hurt him, was so unlike
her. He could only begin to guess at how bad things were for her that her
only way of feeling something other than despair was to inflict pain on
Angel could feel anger starting to roil within him
towards all those in Sunnydale and everywhere else who had let Buffy down.
He made a decision and stalked back to the cabin.
“You’re not going back”. Angel’s voice was firm. Buffy,
awash with shame for her earlier behaviour, glanced up at him, startled.
“I want you here, with me. We’re going to fix this. I
can’t help you if you’re in Sunnydale, and I’m in LA. We’re going to stay
here until we’ve worked through everything.”
“Angel….I can’t…Dawn needs me”.
Angel shook his head. “No. I don’t buy that. You’ve done
everything for her. You protected her, cared for her. Buffy, you died for
her. It’s time she gave something back, and stopped behaving like a brat.
Christ, from what I’m getting, she’s even resentful that you were happy
after you died. Willow can look after Dawn. She needs to atone. This can be
part of it. I’m not going to see you sacrifice yourself on the altar of
martyrdom. You’re worth more than that.”
Buffy sighed. “It’s not that simple, Angel. There are
bills to pay. I have to earn otherwise we don’t eat.”
Angel was implacable. “Not your problem, Buffy. Your
friends know that they owe you. Big time. They’ll sort something out
between them. After all, what would have happened if you hadn’t been
spirited back?” Privately he had
decided to ensure that the essential running costs of Buffy’s home would be
covered if the Scoobies weren’t able to come up with a solution.
“Why are you doing this, Angel…you’ve every right to
want to throw me out on my ungrateful ass, not try to help me, after the
way I’ve been to you.” Buffy muttered unhappily.
“I’m not even going to grace that with an answer.” Angel
said. Then he reached down for her, and pulled her to her feet. “Come on.
We’re going hunting.”
Too surprised to protest, Buffy allowed herself to be
led into the night by the tall vampire.
Buffy turned to Angel, her eyes shining, still panting
from the exertion of the final rush and lunge at her prey. She had missed
the wild pig by a whisk of its bristly tail, and it had gone squealing off
into the safety of the undergrowth. Despite her failure to capture the pig,
the sheer exhilaration of the hunt had made her flushed with excitement,
the blood racing around her veins fuelled by the huge release of adrenaline
into her system.
“Shit! I was so close, I nearly had it! God,
Angel, that was just fantastic!” She was laughing now, wiping her hand
across her sweaty forehead.
Angel smiled back at the slayer, his dark eyes amused.
“Not tired, I hope. After all, that was my dinner that just escaped. Now
we’ll have to find something else to hunt.”
“Can’t wait…your turn this time though, I want to see if
you can do any better than me”. Buffy’s happy face, her teasing voice
warmed something inside of Angel. She stood before him, hair tousled, mud
streaking her face, his beloved Buffy once again.
Barefoot, Angel slid silently back into the depths of
the woodland, Buffy following as quietly as she could, slayer senses on
full alert. She watched with admiration how Angel almost floated across the
ground, questing around him as he did so. Buffy could sense and track
vampires, and many other demons, but she freely admitted that her
supernatural powers were restricted to those she was destined to destroy.
Angel, on the other hand, was the complete predator, all of his senses
designed to hunt any living prey. His sense of smell was awesome, and both
his sight and hearing were still far superior to her own. Only in terms of
strength were they a match. As she tracked him, it occurred to her for the
first time that although she fought evil, her super powers were solely
there for the purpose of destruction. Angel, on the other hand, needed his
in order to survive. This thought made her pause for a second. Angel looked
back over his shoulder at her, questioningly. Buffy smiled at him, and
caught up to him again.
For five minutes they crept through the night-time
woods. Then Angel caught a scent. He began to stalk. Angel was extra
cautious, knowing that Buffy was behind him. Despite her superhuman powers,
she was unskilled in the art of stalking animal prey. It would have been
easier for him to suggest she wait for him to finish the hunt, but
instinctively he wanted her to be with him, to watch him. He scented
continuously, all senses on high alert. His prey smelled like another wild
pig. Gradually, he crept closer and closer, freezing every time he sensed
that the pig had become uneasy. Waiting until it had begun its snuffling
again, Angel finally saw his quarry on the edge of another glade. It was a
full grown boar, with murderous-looking tusks, and a heavily muscled,
powerful body. He could feel Buffy’s excitement radiating off her as she
came alongside him. He motioned her to remain still, and allowed the change
to come over him. Leaving the excited but motionless slayer, Angel began
his final stalk, yellow eyes glowing like hot coals, focussed completely on
the wild boar.
The wild pig lifted its head and snorted in alarm, at
the same instant that Angel sprang at it. Buffy saw the two bodies collide,
the force of Angel’s attack throwing the boar onto its side. She leapt to
her feet, running across the glade to where Angel, growling and snarling,
was tussling with the terrified animal, its squeals echoing in the forest.
As she reached him, she saw the vampire grasp the boar firmly by one of its
tusks, and yank the animal’s head back sharply, while simultaneously
sinking his fangs into the throat of the creature. With every muscle in his
body corded with the effort of restraining the struggling beast, Angel
drank the life blood from it, feeling its strength flow into him as the pig
weakened by the second. Buffy stood, transfixed by the sight, shuddering
breaths coming from her open mouth as she watched the vampire feeding.
Finally it was over, the boar gave a last, convulsive
heave, and died. Angel disengaged his fangs from the corpse’s throat, and
stared up at Buffy, his golden eyes glittering, mouth and fangs running
red. Over the smell of the blood, he could scent her excitement, a feral
musky smell that aroused him considerably. Buffy knelt down by the side of
him, panting, her eyes flicking from the gory wound in the pig’s throat, to
Angel’s bloody fangs. Slowly she leant over to him, and licked at his
mouth, tasting the blood. Angel growled, a deep rumbling sound.
Then he was kissing her. Not a gentle, loving kiss. But
hard, passionate, possessive. Buffy moaned, a small sound in the back of
There, on the edge of the clearing, half in shadow, half
in moonlight, Angel took possession of the slayer. No wondering, tentative
lover now – amazed that anyone could love him in return – this was feral, a
male vampire stamping his mark, claiming ownership. No perfect love and
happiness, this. No tenderness. Rather, a snarling savage domination of one
powerful predator over another.
After it was done, Angel got to his feet, pulling Buffy
up with him.
Wordlessly, he reached down, and slung the boar’s
carcass over his shoulder, and then turned in the direction of the cabin,
not looking back, knowing that Buffy would follow him.
Buffy entered the cabin, feeling exhausted. She had
been, quite literally, drained of her energy. Not dangerously so, but
enough to make her flop down onto the sofa, never wanting to move again.
She sighed as Angel gently covered her with the quilt, and then saw him
slide back into the shadows, face averted.
“Angel? Come over here….sit down beside me”.
Reluctantly, Angel complied, sitting awkwardly on the
edge of the sofa, not meeting Buffy’s eyes.
“What happened…in the forest….” He stumbled to a halt,
not having the words to explain himself. Buffy too, couldn’t articulate her
feelings. The whole experience had been so primal, wild…alive. She touched
her fingers to the wound on her neck, she was re-marked, the new mark
overlaying the old scar exactly. But this time – somehow – Angel’s drinking
from her had restored her, in the same way that last time it had restored
him. Buffy felt life leaping through her veins, felt excited and hopeful in
a way that she had forgotten was possible. She smiled up at him, every line
of her face alight with happiness.
“Buffy?” Angel was studying her, his face puzzled,
“It’s OK Angel. In fact, it’s so much better than OK. I
can’t explain it, but I feel…it’s like I’ve been sleepwalking, and I’ve
just woken up. Do I seem different to you too?”
Angel nodded in dawning amazement. “You smell…like you.
I mean, like you used to smell. All vanillery, fresh, alive…Buffy.”
She laughed. “I feel alive, I feel like Buffy” She
stroked the vampire’s cheek. “I don’t know what happened out there, but
it’s like a miracle. What about you, Angel, do you feel anything different
too?” For a moment Angel thought Buffy was concerned about the anchoring of
his soul. But what had happened in the forest between them…it had been
ferocious, lustful…almost painful, and as far from human love as it was
possible to be.
Angel stilled, his dark, liquid eyes turned in on their
own fathomless depths. “Yes. I feel…right. As though the connection is now
as it should be.” He hesitated, trying to explain this new feeling. He
gazed at Buffy. “I needed you so much Buffy, when I came to Sunnydale, and
after I came back from Hell. You were the strong one. You made me feel
human. Now, tonight, it’s as though the balance is redressed, as though I
was able to make you feel all the passion and wildness of being a
vampire. It makes me
Buffy pulled a
teasing face. “You’re just a typical male, aren’t you, Angel. Completely
unreconstructed.” He chuckled, but
didn’t disagree. Now he knew he could see Buffy return to Sunnydale, and to
her friends and family. He wouldn’t need to worry about her any more. And
as for Spike. He almost wished he could be there when Spike saw Angel’s
renewed mark. The younger vampire would be too terrified to go within ten
feet of the Slayer from now on. Not that Buffy would need to go to Spike
now, in any case. Still, there was time enough to think of the future. For
now, Angel had everything he could want. He was fed, warm, and had Buffy
all to himself.
He started to purr.
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