Ever After?

By Maquis Leader




Rated NC17

Author’s note: I started writing this right after I watched Apocalypse, Nowish and Conversations With Dead People, and only had some rumors of what was coming on both shows to go by.  While I nailed a couple things right on the head, I was way off on others.


Author’s note 2: The story was shelved after chapter two when the idea mutated into what became The End Of Days, and I didn’t get back to it until almost six months later. By then I knew I’d missed the boat on some of what Joss had planned – okay, most! – but I left the plot as is.





Buffy carefully soaped her battered and cut body. She had more scrapes and bruises than she cared to think about. At least she was alive. A lot of people weren’t so lucky.


Jonathan’s death had unleashed a horde of monsters from beneath the high school. Demons and other creatures had poured out in a seemingly endless stream. Willow’s theory was that the Hellmouth had been ‘uncapped’ somehow. She had been able to reseal it after a gruesome battle. Gruesome even by Sunnydale’s standards.


As bad as it had been for them, LA had been the real focal point of whatever demon it was that had wanted to end the world this time. The city had been bombarded with fireballs and other apocalyptic strangeness now being explained away as a volcano. And a drugged water supply. And mass hysteria. And anything else people could think of to comfort themselves.


Buffy scrubbed her hair, trying to get out three days of ickyness. She didn’t know what the demon’s name had been this time, and she didn’t really care. It was dead and all in her hair. And she hadn’t been able to contact Angel or anyone at AI since all hell had literally broken loose. Massaging her aching scalp, Buffy told herself that Angel was alive and she would know if he were dead. If he had been killed, surely there would be a gaping hole in her chest where her heart used to be.


Rinsing out the shampoo, Buffy ran down a mental list of what she would need before she left for LA. Full tank of gas, water, food – blood for Angel? If he was hurt, he’d need to eat, and there was a blood shortage due to the number of people that had been injured. Ice chest – plus ice to keep the blood cold – went on her mental list.


A tingle started at the base of her spine and ran over her skin. Vamp. Close and getting closer. Sticking her face under the spray to get the last of the shampoo off, Buffy grabbed the wooden handled back scrubber from its holder. A vamp couldn’t get inside the house without an invite – which wasn’t likely.


The tingle bloomed into a familiar ache low in her belly.  Please oh please!  Whipping back the shower curtain, she found Angel leaning against the doorframe. He was filthy and bloody. But he was alive.


Buffy scrambled out of the shower and threw her arms around him, heedless of the blood and dirt and who knew what type of demon ick covering him.


“Angel! Oh God, Angel!” She tangled her fingers into his thick hair and held him so she could look into his eyes. “I was so afraid you were dead.”


A slight smile teased the corner of his mouth. “I am dead, remember?”


“You know what I mean!” She clutched him to her again. “All we knew was the fireballs and no phones and – “ Burrowing deeper into his arms, Buffy squeezed Angel until he groaned.


“Buffy, I need to – need to – “ He sagged against her. There had been no time to rest or feed over the long days of battle and the horror that had followed. The fear that Buffy hadn’t survived the opening of the Hellmouth had fueled him during the drive down from LA. Now he had nothing left.


“To sit down.” Grunting a bit under his weight, Buffy guided him to the toilet, flipping the lid down and lowering him to where he could sit on it.


“I need to ask you – “


“Everyone’s fine, we’re all safe.” She kissed and hugged him once again.


“I – I need – “ Angel winced and hissed as her hands hit the cuts on his back.


“Oh, wait.” She turned and shut off the water. “Save the hot water for later.”


“Buffy, I have to ask you – “


“You can stay, don’t worry about it.” She frowned at his sigh. “Not the question?”


“No.” He caught her hands as she reached to touch the cuts on his face. “Buffy, do you – “


“Love you? Yes.” Buffy’s smile faded as Angel closed his eyes and growled in obvious frustration. “That’s not the question either, huh?”


“No.” Angel opened his eyes, his heart aching at the hurt in her gray eyes. “Though I like the answer. And I love you, so that’s good – because – I have to ask something else.” He paused. “Do you forgive me?”


“Yes.” Buffy answered without hesitation. “For what?”


“For the things I’ve done.”


“What things – yes.” Squeezing his hands, she smiled at him again. “Consider yourself forgiven.”


“Buffy, I’ve done things.” He searched for the words. “Horrible things.”


“No – Angelus did those things.” It was Buffy’s turn to sigh. “Haven’t we beaten this horse to death already?”


“I killed people.”


“I know. And I’ve already forgiven you, Angel. Your soul was gone and – “


“Babies!” He blurted out.


“Babies?” Tilting her head, she frowned up at him. “You want babies? ‘Cos I don’t think we can – “


“I killed babies.” Angel squeezed her hands harder. He had never given her details about his life as Angelus. The fear that Buffy would turn away from him in revulsion haunted Angel’s nightmares. But now he had to know if she truly accepted him – all of him. “I ate them – like appetizers.”


“Angelus ate them. You weren’t there.” She pulled her hands free and cupped his face. “I forgive you. You didn’t do it, but I forgive you anyway.”


“I enjoyed it – “ He turned away.


“Listen to me!” Threading her fingers into his hair again, Buffy forced him to look at her. “If you want forgiveness, then I forgive you! I’ll forgive Angelus, too – for everything!”


“Angelus?” Angel blinked in surprise. “How can you forgive him?”


“Because it’s his nature. He’s a demon, he’s evil.” There was no condemnation in her voice, only a statement of fact. “Fish swim, birds fly, and demons kill. And I forgive him.”


Tell her...  Angelus’ voice was faint. The battle had weakened him as well. Tell her I don’t need her fucking forgiveness...


Despite everything, a smile crooked the corner of his mouth. The demon was down but never truly out. “I know you hate that part of me.”


“Don’t even.” She silenced him with a hard kiss. “I don’t hate him. I can’t. He’s part of you. Given a choice – then no, I wouldn’t pick the demon in my boyfriend’s body option.”


“You’d take the prince charming option?” Angel smiled. Did she still consider him her boyfriend?


“Boring. The dark knight guy is the one we girls really go for.” Buffy smiled.


“Dark doesn’t even begin to cover it.”


“You’re the man you are because of him.” She shrugged. “I love you both.”


“You can’t – “


“I do.” Rising up on her knees, Buffy kissed him again, softly this time. “And I forgive you, unconditionally, without reservation.”


“Angelus was – we had to let him out.”


“Let him out?” Hurt flashed in her eyes once again. There was only one way out for Angelus. “H – how?”


“Not like you think.” Angel caressed her cheek. “Wes put my soul into a container. Angelus was better suited to handle the Beast.”


“Ah, okay.” And I’m glad you didn’t make the happy with someone else! “How did you get back?”


“Wes did a binding spell. Not that Angelus cooperated.”


“I bet.” Buffy trailed a finger across his dirty cheek. “You’re icky.”


“And you’re naked.” A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.


“You just now noticing?” She frowned as she saw the fresh layer of dirt and grunge on her previously momentarily clean body. “I’ve lost my charm, I guess.”




Pulling Angel’s jacket off, Buffy stared, horrified, at the slashes across the back. The black leather hung in bloody strips. “Oh my God…” She threw it to the floor and stood up to look at his back. Angel’s shirt was nothing but a blood soaked rag.


Buffy's bare breast brushed his cheek, and Angel couldn’t help nuzzling at the soft skin.


“Behave.” She carefully pulled the shirt off, wincing when he hissed in pain as the material pulled away from the raw wounds.


“I’m exhausted, but I’m not dead.” Angel chuckled softly. “Okay, I am dead. But not completely.”


“What happened to your throat?” She tipped his head back to look at the half healed wound under his chin.


“He stabbed me.”


“Why do I get the feeling that’s less than half the story?” Buffy snorted as she knelt to pull his boots off. “And your belly and chest – what happened?”


“Arrows. Wes shot me.” He couldn’t hold back a grin as Buffy's head shot up, the gray eyes furious. “It was an accident.”


Once is an accident.” She growled. “Twice gets the Slayer on his ass.”


Angel struggled to his feet, hanging onto the towel rack as she undid his pants and pulled them down.


“How long since you’ve eaten?” Even though Angel was filthy, and cuts and bruises marred his skin, Buffy couldn’t help pausing to admire his body. Pressing her lips to a place on his hip that looked reasonably clean, she smiled at the way the muscles quivered beneath the cool skin. She made sure he wasn’t going to fall before she turned the water on in the shower.


“I don’t know.” There’d been no time to feed; even Angelus had all but ignored the easy prey on the streets in his pursuit of the Beast. Kill it and find Buffy had been the demon’s mantra. “Three days, maybe longer.”


“Cleanliness first, then food.” Satisfied with the temperature of the water, she helped him step into the tub. Her heart clenched as he sagged against the tile wall. “Hang on for a sec?”




“Dawn!” Buffy poked her head out the bathroom door and yelled down the stairs. “We need blood for Angel!”


“Are we donating?” Dawn hollered back up at her.


“Only if he takes enough to shut you up!” She rolled her eyes. “Call Xander, he knows where to get it!”


Stepping back into the bathroom, Buffy shut the door. “God, she’s such a pain! She – “


Angel was down on his knees in the tub, slumped against the wall. His eyes were closed against the water pouring over his face.


“Oh, Angel.” Stepping into the tub, she pulled the curtain shut and lifted the showerhead out of its holder. She knelt next to him and kissed his closed eyelids. “Just relax, I’ll take care of you.”


Being naked and in the bathtub with Buffy was a favorite fantasy. “I’m not sure we should be doing this.”


“Hey, if you think you’ve got the energy – “ She smiled. “Go for it. But I’m thinking the vamp’s at the Slayer’s mercy.”


He chuckled. “Be gentle with me.”


Gently and tenderly, Buffy washed Angel, cleaning the cuts and claw marks as carefully as she could. Dirt, blood, and demon gore swirled down the drain.


“Connor’s dead.” Angel said quietly.


“Oh, God, Angel. I’m sorry.” She dropped the soapy washcloth and hugged him. Please tell me you didn’t have to kill him!


“The Beast, it was connected to him somehow.” He hid his face in the curve of her neck. “It came up out of the same place where Connor was born. The two of them – “


“Maybe Connor was born to defeat it?” Two vampires having a baby was impossible without mystical intervention. “Giles told me Connor was in a prophecy.”


“Connor killed it – but – “ Angel thought he’d run dry of tears hours before. “I wasn’t there – Angelus was – “


“Shh…” She held him close, kissing his cheek and temple. “Connor knew you aren’t the monster Holtz tried to make you into.”


“He was a beautiful baby. And he loved me.” He whispered against Buffy’s wet skin. “I used to pretend he was ours – yours and mine.”


Tears filled her eyes and overflowed onto Angel’s face. Rocking him, Buffy cried with him for the child he had lost and the children they would never have.






Sighing, Angel leaned back as Buffy scrubbed his hair. He felt lighter, almost as if she were washing his soul and spirit clean along with his body.


“Can you get up?” She shut the water off, satisfied he was clean.


“Yeah, I think so.” He braced his hands on the sides of the tub and heaved himself to his feet. Clutching her shoulders for balance, Angel stepped out of the tub.


After wrapping him in towels, Buffy led him down the hall to her room. He was leaning heavily on her, almost as if the effort of walking was too much. “Just a little farther.”


“Xander says – Oh my God!” Dawn stopped at the top of the stairs, her eyes wide.


“Says what?” Buffy checked to make sure all the essential Angel was covered. “Dawn? Hello? Did Xander say something or has he taken up religion?”


“Huh?” Dawn blinked at the expanse of naked muscled shoulders and chest. “Oh, uh, he’s on his way with stuff for Angel.”


“Thanks. Now go back downstairs.” Buffy glared at her sister. Dawn didn’t need to be around a half naked man, even if it was Angel.


“Um, what if you need help?” Dawn chewed on her lip and tried to look anywhere but at that pale, bare skin. “I could help.”


“Thanks, brat.” Angel reached out and stroked Dawn’s hair as they passed her. “I’ll be okay.”


“Downstairs.” Buffy said again. “Now.”


Dawn gasped as she saw the cuts on Angel’s back. “Oh my God, Angel!” She looped an arm around his neck and laid her cheek against his.


“It looks worse than it is.” He gave her a hug and a gentle kiss on the cheek. “Go on downstairs, lass.”


In her room, Buffy helped Angel over to the bed. He groaned softly as he sat down. “Will you be okay for a minute?” When he nodded, she went to her dresser and dug through the bottom drawer for a pair of sweatpants.


Angel raised his eyebrows. “Buffy, as much as I love the idea of being in your pants – they’re not going to fit.”


“These are yours.” She unfolded a pair of black sweatpants and held them up. “I wore them home one night. Some icky demon, remember?”


“I can dress myself.” Angel protested as she knelt in front of him. Despite how tired he was and how much his wounds hurt, having a naked Buffy on her knees before him was arousing.


“Uh huh, just like you were able to undress? And like you were able to bathe?” Buffy slipped the sweat pants on over his feet and pulled them up to his thighs. Her face pinkened as she noticed his semi aroused state. “Lift your hips.”


Angel groaned as he lifted up so Buffy could pull the pants up. Her hands brushed his hips and buttocks, and her breath warmed his chest. It was all he could do not to push her face down against his hardening cock.


“Guess that answers that old question.” She joked. “A man can be dying and still get a hard on.”


“Women of course being made of sterner stuff.”


“Of course.” Getting up, Buffy went back to the dresser.


Angel watched her pull on a set of pale blue pajamas. He could tell her that he knew better, that he could smell the spicy scent of her desire, but at some point he’d been taught better manners.


Buffy turned as she heard footsteps in the hallway. Xander poked his head cautiously around the edge of the doorframe, one hand over his eyes. “Dawn tells me you two are naked.”


“Xander!” She blushed even pinker.


“Hey, just don’t want to see too much of the Buffster.” Xander peeked between his fingers before putting his hand down. “Buff being the key word.” He nodded at Angel. “Angel, hey.”


“Xander.” Angel looked Xander over. He’d changed considerably in the three years since Angel had last seen him. Taller and broader at the shoulder, and his eyes seemed far older than his twenty one years.


“Hear tell you saved the day.” Xander handed the sack he was holding to Angel.


“I slept through it, actually.” Pulling the sack open, he took out a plastic bag of blood. “This is human.”


“Yeah.” Xander shrugged. “Figured you needed the good stuff – Dawn was a little freaked. Told me you were pretty beat up.”


“You don’t look so good yourself.” The other man had a split lip, and one side of his face was black and blue.


“But I earned another Slayerette merit badge.” Xander shrugged again. He noticed Angel was still holding the bag of blood. “I’ll go make sure Dawn gets the rest of it put away.”


“Thanks, Xander.” Buffy gave him a quick kiss on his cheek.


“It was nothing.” He ducked his head. “Though I’m gonna need the money back. The whole roof over my head thing being something I’d like to continue to have.”


Closing the door behind Xander as he left, Buffy leaned back against it. Angel was reading the label on the bag. She remembered that when he’d come back from Hell, he’d been shy, almost ashamed, to eat in front of her. “Do you want me to leave?”


“No.” He shook his head. “Just wondering where he got this. AB positive.”


“The good stuff?” She sat down next to him. “Probably Willy.”


“He probably paid too much.”


Buffy watched as Angel’s beautiful face morphed into that of the demon inside him. His fangs punctured the bag, and his eyes closed as the first taste of blood filled his mouth.


Her fingers smoothed the lines of the ridged forehead, the arch of his brow. “You’re beautiful, Angel.” The golden eyes flickered open and he grunted softly, a negative sound. “I know. But – “ She trailed her fingers through his thick hair. “Beautiful.”


The bag was soon empty, and Buffy handed him another one from the sack. As Angel drained the second one, his eyes closed again and he slumped against her. Easing him down onto his side, she took the empty bags and tossed them into the trash can. She crawled into bed next to Angel and pulled the blankets up over the two of them.





“How long has he been asleep?”


“Twelve, maybe fourteen hours.” Buffy looked at the clock on the VCR. “I think. It was late.”


“And you weren’t wearing a watch.” Dawn added. “Being naked and all.”


Shooting her sister a shut-up-or-die look, Buffy went back to her phone conversation. “So I should wake him up?”


“You said Angel drank two bags of blood?” Wes asked.


“Almost. The second one still had a little left in it.”


“He needs to feed, preferably on human blood, every four hours or so. And he needs to get up and move about.”


“Shouldn’t we let him sleep?” When he’d been hurt by Spike’s attempt to heal Dru, Angel had slept more than usual.


“A seriously wounded vampire can slip into a coma like state – hibernation if you will. If he does – “


“That would be bad?” She interrupted him.




“Do I want to know how you know this?” Buffy grimaced.


“Probably not.” Wes pulled a book off the shelf in Angel’s office. “There’s a healing salve that’s proven very effective in the healing process.”


“Guess triple antibiotic cream is out of the question, huh?”


“Hmm? Oh, yes.”


Wes reminded her of Giles in a lot of ways. Buffy could picture him frowning and pushing his glasses up as he looked through some ancient, crumbly book.


“Go wake Angel and get him to eat – at least three bags – though four would be better if you can manage it. In the meantime, Willow can make the salve.”


“I will. And Wes – thank you.” She handed the phone to Willow. Taking the blood Dawn had heated up, Buffy went upstairs.


In her room, she set the tray down on the bedside table and spent a few moments savoring the image of Angel in her bed. The covers had slipped down to expose his shoulders and chest, and even curled up on his side, he still took up the majority of her bed. Just a big lug.


“Hey.” Sitting on the bed next to him, Buffy ran her hand over his bare shoulder. “Angel.” He didn’t move. “Angel?”


After saying his name a few more times, she shook his shoulder, gently at first, and then more roughly until he stirred. “Let me sleep.” He burrowed his face into her pillow.


“No can do.” She tugged on his arm until he sat up. “You have to eat.”


“’M not hungry.” He pulled away.


“Don’t say that.” Pouring blood out of the pitcher and into the glass, she held it up. “AB positive, remember? The good stuff. Mmm… nummy.”


“No.” Angel fell back onto the bed, crying out as his torn back hit the mattress.


“Angel!” Rolling him onto his side, Buffy was horrified to see blood on the sheets. “These should be healing!”


“It will.” He mumbled. “Let me sleep.”


“No. Sleep bad.” She pulled him upright once again. “Blood good.”


The chocolate eyes were dull, and he stared at the glass without taking it. “I’m not hungry.”


“Angel, please.” Holding the glass to his lips, she sighed as he turned his face away. “Okay, we do this the hard way, then.”


Setting the glass on the bedside table, Buffy dipped the fingers of one hand into it and grasped his chin with her other hand. She smeared her fingers across his lips. Angel tried to pull away, but she held him easily, dipping her fingers into the glass and smearing blood over his lips once more.


Despite his malaise, Angel found himself licking at her fingers. When she brought her dripping fingers to his mouth for a third time, he licked and sucked them clean.


Buffy fed Angel this way for several minutes, until he finally picked up the glass and drained it. Pouring more from the pitcher, she stroked his face and hair as he drank down a second glass and half of a third.


“Better?” She asked as he set the glass down on the tray.


“I guess I was a little hungry after all.”


“Good.” Standing up, she held a hand out to him. “Come on. My vamp care manual says you need to exercise now.”


“Buffy.” Angel groaned as she pulled him to his feet. “I’m really tired.”


“Just a little walk.” She led him out of her room. “Just to the bathroom and back, you can do that.”


The walk to the bathroom was much longer than Angel remembered. He was tired, so very tired. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he’d slept. Really slept and not catnapped between fights.


Buffy let him rest against the bathroom doorway while she got a wet washrag. “Hold still.” She washed his face, carefully avoiding the cuts and scrapes. Her mom had always kept a wet washrag handy whenever she'd been sick, and it had never failed to make her feel better. Hopefully, it would make Angel feel better as well.


“Buffy.” He was ready to lie down on the bathroom floor; his knees were wobbling so much he wasn’t sure how much longer they would hold him up.


Tossing the washrag into the sink, she led him back down the hallway. Angel was leaning heavily on her when they got to where Willow was waiting at the top of the stairs.


“Angel, hey.”


“Willow.” He groaned as Buffy stopped.


“Wes said this would help.” Willow held up the bowl in her hands. “Cordy said to – “


“I don’t care.” Cutting her off, Angel took a shaky step, pulling Buffy with him.


“Oh.” Willow frowned. “She’s worried – “


“I don’t care.” He repeated.


“Later, Will.” Buffy said over her shoulder as she guided Angel back into her bedroom. He tried to lie down, but she held him up.


Willow sat down on the end of the bed. “Wes says we need to put a thick layer over the wounds.”


“It’s pink.” Buffy dug a finger in the bowl. “What the heck is it?”


“Well, lots of things.” The redhead smeared some of the salve on Angel’s back. “A little blood and ah… let’s just say it’s not kosher.”


“What?” Looking at the sticky pink stuff on her fingers, Buffy frowned. “Never mind. I don’t wanna know.”


The salve made his skin tingle, and Angel growled softly as Willow and Buffy coated his back.


“Shush.” Buffy followed a cut up over his shoulder, smearing the salve on as she went.


“Itches.” He complained.


“Itching's good.” Willow said. “My mom always said that it means it’s healing. Well, Xander’s mom – someone’s mom – itching is good.”


“Itching equals healing.” Buffy agreed.


“This is kind of fun.” Willow grinned. “Paint by numbers, only without the cute little pictures and the numbers.”


“But with ick.” Making the appropriate ick face, Buffy dug her fingers into the bowl again.


“Ick not usually being a factor.” Her friend agreed. “My Little Pony was ick free.”


“Now you can lie down.” Buffy patted the bed.


Settling himself on his belly, Angel sighed. This was much better. His eyes closed. They flew open again as he felt his sweatpants being tugged down. “Hey!”


“You’ve got some nasty cuts on your hips and legs.” Buffy pushed his hand away as he grabbed at the waistband of his pants. “Relax, Willow left.”


“She did?” Angel raised his head and looked around. He hadn’t heard her leave. “Did she use magic?”


“No.” He didn’t hear Willow leave and shut the door? The vamp who could hear a heartbeat a mile away? “Angel, you listen to me, you’re going to get better.”


“Sure.” He closed his eyes again.


Buffy pulled the sweatpants off and dropped them to the floor. Normally, she would have taken time to admire the muscled back and taut buttocks, but Angel’s pale skin was crisscrossed with cuts and claw marks that hurt to look at.


Swallowing her tears, Buffy smeared the salve over the vicious wounds. Angel never moved, even as she covered the worst of the cuts. His chest had long since stopped moving as it normally did. He must be asleep. Her hands shook as she put the salve on every cut and scrape she could find on his body.


A mark by his eye caught her attention. It was a deep puncture, and there was another one by his ear. Sliding her fingers through the dark hair, she found several more wounds. They were in a neat row almost like – teeth marks? “Oh, Angel.” Gently, Buffy searched through his hair and found a matching set of punctures on the other side of his head.


Tears ran down her cheeks, and she sobbed softly as she rubbed the salve into the deep wounds. Something had bitten down with enough force to punch through Angel’s skull.


Is that why he’s so sleepy? Buffy wiped at her tears with the back of her hand. Can vampires get brain damaged?


Gently pulling the sheet up to his waist, she kissed Angel’s cheek before she left the room, quietly closing the door behind her.


Downstairs in the kitchen, Xander was munching on a strip of bacon. “Buffy, cholesterol, breakfast of champions. Want some?”


“I’m not hungry.” She eyed the platter full of bacon as she went to the sink to wash her hands. “Did you get a sudden craving for fat?”


“It’s one of the ingredients in the salve.” Willow set a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich in front of her. “Eat.”


“I’m not – “


“Hungry, I know.” Opening a can of soda, Willow set it next to the sandwich. “Eat anyway. We can’t take care of you and Angel both.”


“I wouldn’t argue with her.” Xander gave Willow an affectionate hug. “She’s one mean chicky.”


Buffy picked at the crust on the bread for a moment before working up the courage to voice her fear. “Willow, can vampires get brain damaged?”


“You mean can they have brain damage?” The green eyes widened. “Does Angel?”


“I don’t know. He’s – there’s like – something bit him – “


“Bit his head?” Xander shuddered. Neck biting is bad enough to think about! Head biting is against the rules!


“I don’t know.” Willow said. “I mean, wasn’t Spike in a wheelchair for awhile after the organ loft fell on him? And we’ve seen, you know, broken bones and stuff, but, brain damage? I’m sorry, Buffy, I dunno.”


“He seemed okay earlier.” Xander reminded her. “We talked and he was all there, remember?”


“Yeah. Talking he’s okay.” Buffy pushed the plate away. “But he didn’t want to eat – I had to make him.”


“Make him? How?” Leaning over her, Xander eyed her neck. “Did he – “


“Not like that.” She frowned at him. “I had to – feed him – like – “


“Are you sure there’s no bite marks?” Xander jumped back as Buffy swatted at him.


“I got the blood on my fingers and put it on his lips. After a couple of times, he started licking – “


“Whoa! Whoa! And that’s more info than I needed, thank you! Sorry I asked.” Xander put down the piece of bacon he’d been eating. “Hand feeding a vamp can’t be pretty.”


“Wes said he was pretty badly hurt.” Willow put a hand on Buffy's shoulder. “When they found Angel, he was blind.”


“Blind? Jesus.” Xander put his arm around Buffy's shoulders. “Angel’s gonna be fine, Buffy. With you taking care of him, how can he not be?”


“Wes said he didn’t even try to attack them or anything.” Willow’s own worries came tumbling out. “Considering he was still Angelus at the time – that’s – “


His hand paused in stroking Buffy's hair. “He’s… not… Angelus… now… is… he?”


“Xander, no!” Willow glared at him over the top of Buffy's head. “Wes put Angel’s soul back.”


“Oh, good.” Xander gave an exaggerated sigh. “Good to see we don’t have to do everything around here.”


“He’ll be okay, Buffy.” Willow wrapped her arms around Buffy and Xander. “We’ll take good care of him.”



Chapter Two