Laughing At Fate

By Maquis Leader




Rated PG13

Author’s note: Set at the very beginning of Spin The Bottle. As always, Angelus’ thoughts are in monotype corsiva, which you can download from the main page.




Angel knew what was coming. Knew why Cordy had wanted to talk to him alone. On the night she’d come back, he’d found her looking at the picture of the two of them with Connor. She had asked if Connor was theirs, but hadn’t asked him the question. Not yet.


Cordy looked up at him, doe eyes wide with hope. “Were we in love?”


“No.” He cringed at the flash of pain in her eyes.


“Oh.” She looked down at her clenched hands.


“We’re friends.” He put a hand over hers.


Yeah, give her the old ‘let’s be friends’ speech. Angelus cackled. That’ll make it hurt less.


“Good friends.” Angel said firmly.


“But not…” She looked up at him again. “Not in love?”


See how irresistible we are? The demon drawled. No memory and she still wants us. Hey, we could get a little pussy if –


“No.” Angel said both to Angelus and Cordy’s question.


“Fine. Okay.” Getting up, she hurried out of the courtyard, brushing past Lorne as he came out of the hotel.


“What’s wrong, honey?” He turned to Angel. “Good news, sweetcakes. I have just the thing to restore Cordy’s memory.”


“Great.” He eyed the bottle clutched in Lorne’s green hand. “A potion?”


“A memory spell.” He cocked his head to one side. “Oh, no. You’re not – “


“Wait until I get back.” Angel turned and headed for the hotel’s garage.


“What about Cordy?” Lorne grabbed Angel’s arm. “What about how you feel?”


“This is about how I feel.” He pulled away and kept walking. “How I really feel.”


Lorne stood gaping as Angel melted into the darkness.






“Why did I do this? Why did I play this game?” Angel sighed.


So they’d get off your back? ‘Cos you’re a wuss?


“True on both counts. So they’d stop the ‘oh, you should try and be happy’ crap. In my face constantly. ‘Stop brooding and join life!’ Huh!” He laughed bitterly. “Like they really want me to be happy?”


Hey, if it’s any consolation, I want you to be happy.


“Yeah, that’s funny. So I played along. I let them drag me into the 21st century.” Angel rolled the window down and threw his cell phone out. It bounced and shattered on the blacktop behind the speeding Plymouth.


“And a watch?” He stripped off the Rolex. “What do I need with a watch?” It sailed out the window in search of the phone. “I’m two hundred and forty freaking years old – I need a watch to mark time?”


You’re older than that, moron.


“It’s my own fault.” He cranked the window back up. “Didn’t see where it’d hurt anything. What the hell?”


The road to which is paved with good intentions. Or so they tell me.


“I like Cordy, but love her?” He shook his head. “I could never love her.”


Just because she’s shallow and stupid? Angelus chuckled. Just because her brain isn’t wired to her mouth?


“How could she think I’d just forget Buffy?” Slowing the Plymouth, Angel swung off the interstate and onto the exit. “If I didn’t forget her after four or five hundred years in hell – why would I forget her after three years in LA?”


LA is hell, just a different area.


“You know what I think? I think Cordy liked keeping me to herself. She told everybody how I couldn’t have sex –“


Eunuch was the word she used, I believe.


“Eunuch!” Angel growled. “Like I can’t get it up? Does she really think I’ve went a hundred years with no sex? I’m cursed, not neutered!”


And the difference is?


“Shut up! And did you see how she acted when she found out I’d slept with Darla?”


Sleep? I don’t remember sleeping.


“And that whole tirade about the Sisters? How I couldn’t go pay them for lifting their spell because of the curse?”


A little of the green eyed monster there?


“Did you see her face when they saw me at the club?” The memory of the three Sisters and their breathy ‘oh, Angel’ made him laugh. “Her eyes almost popped out.”


I like the blond one. Angelus purred.


“You would – she likes it rough. I like the youngest.”


You would. He parroted. All that gentle and tender crap is right up your alley.


“Whatever. They were all happy when I left.” He smiled smugly, remembering the three Sisters sleeping in a big warm pile of satisfied femininity. “Eunuch, my ass.”


And you can thank vamp strength for that.


“And talent – stamina is – never mind.” He shook his head. “The key here is Cordy. She was jealous and yet – Groo shows up and she’s all over him.”


Now who’s jealous?


“I’m not jealous. Just pointing out that if she really had this big love for me – what did Lorne call it?”


The love of destiny. Angelus sighed mockingly. And without reading either one of you, now there’s a talent.


“And if she had this ‘love of destiny’, would she have gone off with him on vacation?”


Good move, by the way. Giving her the money and that ‘go be happy and in love’ speech.


“Got rid of her, didn’t it?” Braking the Plymouth to a crawl, Angel turned down a dark street. “And kept her out of my closet.”


She dressed him like us… do you think she… There was a mental shudder.


“Don’t even go there.” The thought of Cordy pretending Groo was him in bed was nauseating. “She loves me but screws him?”


You love Buffy but you screw the Sisters. Angelus reminded him. On a fairly regular basis.


“Completely different.” The car eased over to the curb. “Completely different.”


Sure it is.


“Buffy wasn’t there, I didn’t grope some other woman in front of her.”


Opening the car door, Angel stepped out into the cool night. Quietly, he moved between the shadows cast by the crypts and monuments. A scent wafted to him on the chill breeze. The sounds of scuffling grew louder as he followed the delicate scent.


Hi, honey, I’m home!


A slim figure spun and kicked, keeping one vampire at bay while she drove a stake through the second. Even as the dust was drifting to the ground, she turned and staked the other one.


Brushing her hands off, Buffy flicked vamp dust off her blouse. “So, you just going to stand there and watch?” She’d felt the tingle that warned her of a vampire and had known instantly that it was Angel.


“I love watching you work.” Angel stepped forward out of the shadows.


“I hear you spent your summer vacation locked in a box.” Walking to him, she looked him over critically. To anyone else, he would look the same, but she could see he was weakened and thinner.


“I hear you spent yours saving the world.” Brushing back a strand of honey blond hair turned silver by the moon, he smiled. “Again.”


“Not me. Xander.” The moonlight cast a glow over him and her heart ached at how beautiful he was.


“There’s a surprise.” He stepped closer, until their bodies touched.


“What brings you to Sunnydale?”


“This.” He held up his left hand.


It took a moment for her to register the rings on his hand. Claddagh. His and hers. “Oh.”


“Found it on the floor of the mansion, once I got my head together enough to clean up.” He slid the ring off his little finger; it had fit barely past the first knuckle. “I kept it. Put it with what little of you I have.”


Not counting the thousands of drawings?


“I left it there – “ She watched as he slid it on her finger. “I thought you were dead.” I thought I’d killed you.


“I think it brought me back. Well, not the ring exactly.” Lifting her hand, he admired the moonlight glinting off the silver band. “The love. Your love.” He twined his fingers with hers and lifted her hand to his lips. “Our love.”


Since she had lain awake too many nights wondering the same thing, Buffy didn’t contradict him. “So, after three years, you drove for hours to bring it back?”


“Yes.” He pulled her closer, the hand holding hers going around her waist. “And for this.”


Their joined hands rested at the small of her back as he bent her back, arching her body into his. She watched mesmerized as Angel’s face lowered to hers. Fire burst as their lips met. Sizzled and burned through their veins until it threatened to consume them.


Her free hand slid into his thick, silky hair and she rose up on her toes to mold herself fully to his body. Between them, she could feel his erection throbbing against her belly.


Angel let his other hand slide down her back to cup her ass and hold her to him. Teasing her lips open with his tongue, he plunged into her mouth in an erotic rhythm that mimicked the act of sex. What they wanted but could never have again.


She was panting when Angel finally let her breathe. His mouth moved from hers to her throat and his tongue laved at the scar there. “Mine.” He murmured against her skin.


“Angel…” Her skin was tingling as he nuzzled and nipped along her throat.


“Mine.” His voice was a growl.




“Yes.” When his fangs pierced her skin, Buffy cried out and her knees buckled. Deep within her a tremor started. One strong pull of her blood. Then a second. An explosion rocked through her and only Angel’s arms kept her from falling.


Forcing himself to stop, Angel kissed the twin punctures. The guilt he felt at marring her delicate skin was assuaged by the scent of her arousal and the taste of her satisfaction as she climaxed.


Lifting her up in his arms, he carried her back to where the Plymouth waited. Opening the door, he set her inside and slid in next to her. Starting the car, he drove to the house on Revello Drive.


Dawn opened the door when he kicked at it. “Angel!”


“Sorry, brat.” He dipped down to kiss her cheek. “Didn’t have a free hand to knock.”


“S’okay. Is she hurt? What happened?”


“She’s all right. A little too much excitement.”


“Okay, whatever.” She followed him up the stairs. Wow, great butt! How come I never –


“Dawn! Shame on you.” Angel grinned over his shoulder at her. “I’m family.”


“Um… I didn’t…” How did he know?


In the hallway, Dawn danced past him to open the door to Buffy's room. Inside, he lay Buffy down on the bed. “Top drawer, left.”


“Top – uh, sure.” Dawn opened the top drawer on the left of her sister’s dresser to find neatly folded nightclothes.


“Down in the bottom, red silk.” Angel had pulled off Buffy's shoes and socks and was gently rolling her out of the black leather coat she was wearing. His coat.


I love her in leather. Angelus mused. And nothing.


Digging under the pajamas and nightshirts, Dawn found something red and silky. Lifting it out, she whistled. “I don’t even want to know how you knew that was there.”


“I gave it to her, but she never had a chance to wear it for me.”


“It’s pretty.” Holding the nightgown to herself, Dawn twirled around. She stopped so suddenly she almost lost her balance. Angel had pulled Buffy's shirt off and was unhooking her bra. Buffy's eyes had opened, but she seemed dazed. “Um… should I leave?”


“Would you get me a basin of warm water and a washrag?” He asked.


“Sure.” She laid the nightgown on the bed and ran to the bathroom.


Under the sink, she found one of the brown tub things her mother had brought home from the hospital. Filling it half full of hot water, she dropped a washrag into it and after tossing a towel over her shoulder, left the bathroom.


“Thanks, brat.” Angel wrung out the washrag and ran it over Buffy's face.


Retreating to the doorway, Dawn watched as Angel gently and tenderly washed her sister’s naked body. He washed every inch, from her ears to her toes, and yet there was nothing lewd or sexual in his touch.


He murmured softly to Buffy, sometimes in words Dawn couldn’t understand, and occasionally leaned down to kiss her lips gently.


“Hair brush?”


“Huh?” Dawn blinked.


“Hairbrush?” Angel patted Buffy dry with the towel and pulled her up so he could slip the gown over her head. Dawn was still staring. “You know the thing that she’d use to brush her hair with?”


“Oh, duh, hairbrush!” She snatched it off the dresser and handed it to him.


Pulling the clips out of Buffy's hair, he brushed until it was tangle free and shining. Buffy sighed and leaned back against him contentedly.


Handing the brush back to Dawn, he lifted Buffy up from the bed. “Pull the covers back, will you, lass?”


“Lass?” Dawn giggled as she pulled the bedcovers back.


“You’re getting a wee bit old for me to call ‘brat’ anymore.” He lay Buffy on the cool sheets and pulled the blankets up over her. “I’m sure there’s boys sniffing around your skirts that I need to scare off.”


Can we eat them instead?


“No.” Sniffing around my skirts? What century is that from? Dawn shook her head. “No boys.”


Buffy raised a shaky hand to Angel’s face. Leaning down so she could touch him, he laid his cheek in her palm. “Dawn, could you give us a minute?”


“Sure, Angel, I’ll be downstairs.” She closed the door quietly as she left.


“Buffy, I love you.” Angel kissed her palm.


“I love you, too.” She smiled.


“I know it’s not fair, but I want you to wait for me.” He held her hand to his still heart. “I’m supposed to be human one day. I don’t know when. Could be next week, could be next year.” He sighed. “Could be never.”


Her fingers rubbed his chest as if to ease the ache. “Buffy, no matter what – I will be back for you. Somehow – someday – I will be back.”


“I’ll wait.” Her neck stung where Angel had bitten her, but she wasn’t angry. Somehow the act had sealed them together. Bound them even tighter.


“You know about Darla.” When she nodded, he continued. “I’m not making excuses, but I was so lonely, so full of despair. Everywhere I looked, it was dark and evil. Then I rebounded in the other direction. Became Mr. Happy.”


Not happy enough, obviously.


“You? Mr. Happy?” She grinned impishly. “I’m not seeing it.”


“You’re the only one. I played along so well I convinced everyone I’m in love with Cordelia.”


“Cordelia?” Her eyes narrowed.


“I’m not.” He assured her. The flash of jealousy in her hazel eyes warmed him. “I was going to tell her that before I was stuffed in a box.”


“And how is your wonderfully delightful – “ 


Hellspawn?” He offered.


Hellspawn of a son?”


“Alive. I threw him out.”


I’d have ripped his throat out.


“But you keep an eye on him?”


“You do know me too well.” Angel lifted her hand to his lips again. “He hates me, Buffy. He – “


Buffy sat up, unable to bear the pain in the chocolate eyes. “He doesn’t know you.” She laid her cheek against his cool one.


“When he was a baby – he was so beautiful – “ He hung his head as tears filled his eyes. “And he loved me – he did – “


“Of course he did.” She cupped his face in her hands. “Look at me. My Dad – if he’d ever been around   if Dad had raised me to hate someone – really hate them – and then that person started saying that they were my dad – are you with me?” When he nodded, she continued. “I wouldn’t believe him. I’d still hate him. You can’t make Connor love you.”


“I know.” He sighed. “I just – “


“Just be yourself, Angel.” She kissed him gently. “You’re a good man. He’ll see that.”


“I hope so, I hate to think that he’s evil – just misguided.”


“He’ll come around.” Smiling, Buffy stroked his cool skin. “And he’ll love you as much as I do.”


“If he doesn’t kill me first?”


No more moonlight sails, please. Unless we use him for fish bait.


“Now, that’s positive.” A frown creased her forehead.


“Buffy, we’ve been screwed by Fate. Maybe we always will be.”


“Okay, now I’m depressed.” Lying back, she pulled the covers over her face.


“We’re screwed, but we’re not going to take it anymore.” Angel pulled the blanket off her face.


“We’re not?”


“No. No more rolling over and taking it. New rules. I can’t stay, I’d make love to you and that would be – “




“Sounds like the old rules to me.” Bitterness laced her voice.


“From now on we write, we talk on the phone, I send you roses on your birthday, and we see each other.”


“We do?”


“Yes.” He leaned down and kissed the tip of her nose. “Maybe once a month?”


“You don’t think – “Her bottom lip quivered. “That’ll make it harder?”


“What I think – “He rubbed his thumb over her lips. “What I know, is that we both skidded downhill because we had nothing to hold onto.”


“I – when I died, I wasn’t being unselfish or heroic, Angel. It was a way to end the loneliness.”


“I know, and I shouldn’t have left you alone after you came back. I thought Willow, Xander, and Giles would be able to help you.”


“I didn’t tell them.” She closed her eyes. “How could I? I decided I’d just deal.”


“I know about Spike.”


Buffy's heart froze between beats. “I – I – “


“And you know about Darla. And before you say it, it is the same thing.” Leaning down again, he brushed a kiss across her forehead. “I had an epiphany. I woke up in bed with her and realized I was at rock bottom. I couldn’t even lose my soul that’s how far down I was.”


“Wish my epiphany came that fast.”  She opened her eyes. “I kept going back.”


“But no more.” It wasn’t a question.


Won’t matter, let’s go kill him. Angelus growled. Damned pup always did want what was mine.


“Don’t worry. I hit the limit on my disgusto meter.”


“From now on, we keep in touch.” He leaned down until his chest brushed her breasts. Resting his weight on his forearms, his lips hovered over hers. “From now on we laugh at Fate.”


“God, I missed you.”


“I’m going to buy you nightgowns, lots of silky sexy nightgowns. When I go to bed, I want to think of you laying in bed wearing something I bought for you.”


“And what will you be sleeping in?”




“Wow, there’s an image.” Winding her arms around his neck, she giggled. “Can we do phone sex?”


I’m there!


“We can try.” His lips caressed hers. “Do you know how to pleasure yourself?”


“Angel!” Her cheeks flushed.


“Well?” He laughed against her lips. “Do you?”


“Yes!” She hissed.


“Don’t be embarrassed. I think of you, I lay in bed and pretend you’re touching me, loving me.”


And I can vouch for that.


“I do that too.”


“Do you have a lonely widow?”


“A what?” Pulling back, she looked at him in confusion.


“Back in the day, we called them a lonely widow. I don’t like the word dildo – “


“Oh my God!” She pushed at his chest. “No!”


“I’ll get you one.” Chuckling, Angel kissed her hot cheeks. “It’ll be better than just your fingers. But I won’t get you one as big as me.”


“Want me to miss you?” She couldn’t resist teasing him.


“I don’t want you to replace me.” He kissed her grinning lips.


Like you could replace me with a dildo? The demon snorted.


“Fat chance.” She rubbed at her neck. “You gave me a heck of a hickey.”


“It won’t scar.” He kissed the bite mark. “Not like last time.”


“Wait.” Catching his hand as he started to get up, she pulled him back to her.


Grunting when Buffy's teeth bit into his neck, Angel rolled his head to one side, exposing his throat to her. Her teeth and tongue worked painfully at his skin, sending a ripple of desire through him. Angelus stirred and growled lustfully.


“There.” Buffy kissed the love bite. “Now Cordy will know you’re taken.”


“Uhh… Cordy doesn’t remember anything. Did I forget to mention that?”


“Then everybody else will know.” She held up her left hand, Claddagh ring gleaming on the third finger. “Like I know.”


“I’ll make sure.” He held up his left hand to hers, with its matching ring on the third finger.




Dawn was waiting on the sofa when Angel came downstairs. She bounced up and followed him as he went into the kitchen. Leaning on the counter, she watched as he opened the cabinets and the refrigerator. “Hungry?”


“No.” He turned to her. “Do you know where your sister’s checkbook is?”


“Um… yeah.”


“Get it.” Stripping off his coat, he hung it up on the coat hook by the door.


“Here.” Dawn brought him Buffy's checkbook.


“Hmm…” Not good.


Not good? It’s pathetic.


Tearing out a deposit slip, Angel folded it and put it in his pocket.


Dawn felt ashamed. “Buffy's been – “


“She’s done the best she can. Being the Slayer has robbed her of a lot of things.” He pulled out a wad of money from his coat pocket. “You go get some clothes.”


“Oh my God.” She stared at the pile of money he put in her hand.


“Clothes, shoes, makeup – spend it on you. All of it.”


“Ooookay!” She threw her arms around him. “You’re the greatest!”


“From now on, when Buffy gets down and depressed, you remind her that I love her.” He hugged her. “Deal?”




“Here’s the number for the hotel.” He grimaced. “My cell phone had an accident. You call me here night or day if you need anything.”


“Okay. Here, wait, let me give you my cell phone number and Buffy's, too.” Dawn grabbed a pen and wrote the numbers down for him. “Xander got ‘em for us. He’s moving in with us.”


“He’s what?”  A growl rumbled through his mind.


“Well, he gave Anya the apartment and he’s staying in this really crappy place.” She explained. “And, I think he’s been helping Buffy out with the bills sometimes. With Willow gone… it’s been hard.”


Angel wasn’t quite sure how he felt about Xander moving in. Part of him agreed with Angelus and he felt a growl coming on. “I need to go, brat.”


“Okay.” She hugged him again. “Love you.”


“Love you, too.”


“Wait!” She grabbed his arm as he opened the door. “Your coat.”


“Leave it there.” He winked. “I’ll be back for it.”





“Infomercial. Infomercial. Infomercial. Pretty girl – ah… no… infomercial.” Xander shut the television off and threw the remote down. “Another fun night at home.”


A knock on the door roused him out of his self pity. Getting up, he crossed the room and jerked the door open. “What?”


“Do you open your door for anybody?” Angel asked.


“Seeing as how vamps can’t come in and demons just kick the door in – “ Xander shrugged. “Don’t figure there’s any danger.”


“Sound reasoning for Sunnydale.” He smiled sardonically.  "I could be an axe murderer." 


“Speaking of, what brings you to our lovely slice of hell?”


“Can I come in?”


“No.” Xander leaned on the door. “Say your piece from there.”


“Fine.” It was no secret that Xander had never liked him. Not that he could blame him. “Here’s my number at the Hyperion.”


He took the card from Angel. “Angel Investigations? What is this, a dead bug?”


“Cordelia drew it.”


“That explains it.”


“Dawn says you’re moving in.”


“Yeah, well.” Xander waved a hand at his apartment. “A guy can stand only so much posh living.”


“I’m going to put money in her bank account every month. If she doesn’t spend it, tell me. I’ll give it to you instead.” He pulled a handful of bills out of his pants pocket. “And buy groceries.”


“Listen, Buffy – “


“I know.” Angel held out the money. “I can’t stay and help her, Xander. I don’t want her to have to work at the Doublemeat Palace, or want for anything again. Take care of her and Dawn for me.”


“Sorry, man.” He took the money and shoved it in his pocket as Angel walked away. “I – she still loves you.”


Angel smiled as he slid into the Plymouth.


“Why do you have to be such a nice guy?” Watching the black car pull away, Xander shook his head.


Why do you have to be such a nice guy?


“Where have you been?” Angel hadn’t heard a sound from Angelus since he’d left Buffy's house.


Enjoying the memory of her blood.


“Last taste you get.”


We’ll see… Laughing softly, Angelus went back to the memories of the sweet taste of his mate’s blood.


“So, you up to kicking Spike’s ass before we head back?” Angel laughed as the demon’s growl rolled through his mind.



Read the sequel Dear Fate.

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