By Maquis Leader
Author’s notes: Set a few years after Chosen and Time Bomb. I was Jossed as I was writing…
“Out – get out!”
“No – “ Angel dug his heels in and pushed back against the hands on his back. “No – I can’t!”
“Get out – out – “
They shoved him out into the blazing sunshine and Angel cowered, instinctively throwing his hands up over his head. “No!” He quickly scrambled back into the shade of the portico.
“Angel!” Fred plopped down on one of the benches. “Honestly!”
“You big chicken.” Gunn shook his head and walked inside.
“I can’t.” Angel pressed against the cool wall and looked out at the sunlight warming the paving stones. “I – I just can’t.”
“Angel.” Wes walked over to where Angel crouched against the wall. “The sunlight can’t hurt you any longer. You’re human now.”
“I know.” Boy, did he know. His heart was pounding like a trip hammer.
“We’ve been down the list. Crosses, holy water, rosaries, the bible – this is the last thing on the list.”
“It’s just – “ Angel lifted his hands helplessly. “Two hundred and fifty years – give or take – of being afraid of the sun isn’t something that goes away overnight.”
“Two hundred and fifty years – give or take – should have given you the fortitude to face your fears.” The former Watcher took a step out from the wall so that he straddled the line between shade and sun.
“If I tell you to stick your hand into fire – will you have the fortitude to do it?”
“Of course not. But fire will burn me.” Holding his hand out to his friend, Wes smiled. “The sun won’t burn you. Not any longer.”
“I’m trying, Wes.” He reached his own shaking hand out.
His fingers touched Wes’ and he took the other man’s hand and let Wes pull him to his feet. One step, then two, and Angel stood at the line. Their clasped hands were just inside the shade. “I – I don’t – “
“One more step, Angel.” Wes squeezed his hand, trying to give him the courage to overcome two centuries of fear. “Just one more.”
“I can’t – “ He shook his head. “I just – “
Turning, Angel saw Buffy at the gate leading into the courtyard. He dropped Wes’ hand. “Buffy?”
“Willow said Fred called.” Her gray eyes swept over him. He looked nervous and shaken. “What’s wrong?”
“Fred?” Wes raised his eyebrows at her. “I thought we’d agreed to wait?”
“Oops?” She ducked her head and grinned.
“Angel?” Buffy shut the gate and started across the courtyard. “Is something – “ Her eyes widened as she watched Angel walk across the sunlit courtyard toward her.
Pulling her into his arms, Angel lowered his lips to hers. There was a small, startled squeak before she wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss. Years had passed since they’d done more than allow themselves a chaste peck on the cheek, but their tongues slid and caressed each other as if they’d kissed just yesterday.
“Angel…” Buffy breathed against his lips. She felt him smile as he said her name softly in return. Stupid little ritual they had, but it thrilled her. Her fingers slid over his hair, warmed by the sun.
Her eyes popped open. The sun – they were out in the sun! “Oh my God – Angel!” Buffy shoved him backwards toward the shade.
Angel staggered and fell against the wall. Buffy pressed against him, blocking any sun that might find him, and began running her hands over his body.
“What’s the matter with you? Are you crazy?” She searched for any wisps of smoke or flame. “You just walked right out into the sun!”
It was odd – déjà vu in a twisted way. They’d lived this scene before. Lived it but only he remembered it.
“You’re not on fire.” She sighed gratefully. “You’re not on fire.”
It was like being in a play only he had rehearsed for. Next Buffy would ask, “Why aren’t you on fire?” And she’d frown, making her bottom lip stick out in a pout.
“Why aren’t you on fire?” She frowned.
He smiled down at her. “Buffy, there’s something – “
“Feel how warm your cheeks are? And your neck?”
“Buffy, I’m human.” Angel laughed at the look on her face. Even though he’d remembered it clearly, her look of ‘did you hit your head?’ was priceless.
“Did you hit your head?” She ran her fingers through his hair. It dawned on her suddenly. “Shanshu?”
“Feel.” Catching her hands, he laid them over his heart. “Feel.”
At first, she felt only the silk of his shirt, and then a pulsing teased her fingers. Strong. Steady. Constant. A heartbeat? “Your heart? It’s beating? Oh my God, it’s beating!”
“I’m human.” He grunted as Buffy threw her arms around him and squeezed. This time, he didn’t stagger and almost fall. When The Powers That Be had given him his humanity, he’d asked for a few favors. Strength to deal with his tiny Slayer being item number one.
Her soft, warm lips found his again, and Angel eagerly returned the kiss. A part of his mind ticked off the events as they were happening. Again. She’d ask how and he’d explain, then they’d agree they needed to talk. And then came the part where he was insanely stupid and told her they should take things slowly. Nope, nu-uh, not this time.
Angel slid his hand down Buffy’s back and pressed her against him. Let her feel that and they could skip the mature talk and go right to the polishing of the nearest horizontal object. The nearest horizontal object that was not a table that would tip them onto the floor.
“Yeow! Yeah, baby!” Gunn whistled. “Who’s your daddy?”
“Gunn!” Fred giggled.
“What?” He sat down next to her. "I go inside for a minute and when I come back, there's a parental advisory scene goin' on out here."
Last time there hadn’t been an audience. They could throw a wrench in the works. “Buffy and I need to talk.” Angel rubbed his thumb along her lips.
“Talk – yes.” She let Angel take her hand and lead her inside. “We need to talk.”
She had a million questions, but he was only going to answer them until they were in his room and the door closed. And locked.
“You did your shanshu?”
“We killed the Senior Partners.” He guided her up the stairs. He’d probably rape her in the elevator – better take the stairs or they might end up in the basement. “They had the apocalypse all lined up, and we stopped them.”
“You make it sound like you just issued a memo. 'From Angel to all associates. Stop the world ending now. Or no Christmas bonus.'”
“Well… that’s close.” They were a little off script, but not too much. Exit Mohra demon and enter The Powers That Be. “They gave me my humanity.”
“They? Not the Senior Partners ‘they’, right?” Buffy rubbed her thumb along his warm – how strange – hand.
“The Powers That Be ‘they’. The Senior Partners ‘they’ were big piles of ash.” Ash, blood, and ichor, but she didn’t need to know that.
“Did it hurt?” She asked softly.
“No.” Her concern made his newly started heart twinge just as it had the first time. “It didn’t hurt. Kind of… tingled.” Short version, but the long version wasn’t fun to remember.
“Good.” Squeezing his hand, she looked back over her shoulder. “I thought Fred was dead.”
“They restored her. Illyria hadn’t destroyed her soul after all and they gave her back to us.” The demon/goddess had been miserable in her new form and had gladly helped destroy the Senior Partners for a chance to escape her prison. “Wes cried.”
“I was… sniffly, but I didn’t cry.” The heat in his face was still surprising. “Maybe a little. Just a little.”
“You’re cute when you blush.”
They walked along the carpeted hallway for a few moments before Buffy asked a question that hadn’t been in the first script. “When did it happen?”
“Yesterday – well, late the day before – maybe the night before.” Angel tried to pin down exactly when it had happened. “Things have been a little crazy.”
“And you didn’t want to call me?”
He’d lost the ability to read Buffy’s scent, but he didn’t need it to know she was hurt. “Only until I worked a few things out. Like walking outside without a blanket over my head.”
“Is that what you were doing outside?”
“That? No, Wes just wanted to hold hands.” She didn’t laugh. “Why does nobody laugh at my jokes?”
“They’re not that funny?” Buffy teased.
“Hey, I’m a funny guy.” Angel opened the door to his room for her.
“So, you want to talk?” Walking into the room, Buffy hesitated. “About – about us?”
“No.” He shut the door and locked it. “I don’t want to talk about us.”
“Right.” Air wouldn’t come in. Her chest felt crushed like one of Xander’s soda cans. “’Cos we’re over, right? There’s no us, right?”
“No talking about being mature or taking it slow – none of that.”
“Nope. No need to do that.” Tears burned and threatened to fall. “We’re history. Ancient. Moldy History Channel history.”
“There’s only one thing to say. I love you.”
“Okay, so I’ll go – “ She looked up. “What?”
“I love you.” Reaching out, he cupped her face in his hands. “I. Love. You.”
“Oh… Angel – “ Buffy rose up on her toes, throwing her arms around his neck as she kissed him.
Angel grunted as the doorknob gouged into his back. Lifting Buffy up, he turned until he could press her against the wall next to the door. Better than the refrigerator, the wall didn’t move.
The zipper in her pants didn’t move either. It was nearly impossible to work while she was sucking on his tongue. Completely impossible as she wrapped her legs up around his waist.
Grinding his hard cock against her, Angel broke his mouth free from hers for a moment. “Clothes – can’t – “
“Clothes bad – “ Buffy agreed, jerking his shirt open. Onyx buttons bounced across the carpet. Her hands slid over the taut, pale skin. “Oh God, you’re so warm – it’s so – “
“Weird?” Grinning at her, he stole her line. “I know. But good weird, right?”
“Yes.” Her lips went to his shoulder and she kissed her way along his collarbone and down to a dusky nipple.
Fire shot through him from her hot mouth suckling at his nipple. Flat – they needed something flat before he fell down. “Couch – “ The couch was large and soft and definitely of the non tipping variety. He hoped.
Sliding his hands down from where they were squeezing the perfect little breasts, Angel grasped her ass – equally perfect in his opinion – grinning at the way Buffy arched against him.
Walking to the couch was torture of the sweetest kind; each step rubbed his already aching cock against her. Buffy’s legs tightened around his hips, adding to the exquisite friction.
When he was finally next to the sofa, Angel knelt on the edge and laid them down, covering her body with his own. Finally!
“Wait – clothes – “ She panted against his mouth. Unlocking her legs, she let Angel get back up.
Buffy pulled her shirt off, and Angel licked his lips at the sight of the golden flesh held in a tight white bra. “Leave it.” He told her as she started to undo the clasp.
“I guess you can handle that one yourself.” An impish grin lit her face as she kicked her shoes off.
“Oh, I intend to handle them all right.” Anxiously, he watched her peel her jeans off and slip out of the tiny white panties. He could have handled those himself, but the sight was too erotic to pass up.
His own fingers were having trouble unbuttoning his pants, and Angel considered ripping them off. Who needed pants? Naked was the way to go.
“Need some help?” Buffy sat up and brushed his hands away. Unbuttoning the buttons, she pushed his pants down, out of her way. His cock jutted out, hard and ready. “Well hello there.”
She rubbed her cheek along his cock, and Angel felt his balls clench up and begin to choke him. “Buffy – stop – “
“But you like it.” She took the hard shaft in both hands and kissed the fat head. “Want me to – “
“No!” Angel pushed her back onto the couch and climbed between her spread legs. “I’ll come before we’re even started.”
Grasping his cock, he slid it along her inner thigh and through the soft curls until he found the warmth and wetness he remembered from his dreams. He grinned at her gasp as he pressed into her.
He’d had his eyes closed, his mouth on hers. Not this time. Angel propped himself up on an elbow. Buffy’s eyes widened as he pushed himself inside of her. Her lips parted in a husky moan. After a moment her eyes fluttered shut, and her teeth caught her bottom lip.
When he was fully sheathed inside of her, Angel allowed his own eyes to close. The memory didn’t even come close. She was hot and sweet, tight around his cock, muscles squeezing and gripping him.
“Angel…” A single night so many years ago, and she still remembered the feel of him. Only then… Buffy smiled up at Angel. Only then she hadn’t known what she was doing.
Sliding her legs up along his thighs, she locked her ankles and arched up into him. She brought into play muscles that she’d learned about under Angel’s patient tutelage, clamping down on the hard length inside of her.
“Jes – Buffy – no – “ Angel’s eyes popped open. This was not in the script. Buffy had been inexperienced and had held onto him while he'd pounded her into the kitchen floor. Now she was moving under him and squeezing his cock with muscles he’d had wet dreams over.
Pumping into the wet heat of her pussy, Angel jerked the clasp of her bra open and lowered his mouth to the pale pink nipples. He suckled greedily, setting a hard, punishing pace, knowing exactly what Buffy wanted and needed. He grinned at her gasps and moans, rising up again to look down into her face.
Her head was thrown back, hair spread like honey over the sofa cushions, her throat bared to him. Under the skin, Angel could see her pulse throbbing wildly.
The urge to bite into that soft flesh and taste her rose up, startling him. Angel licked at the mark on her throat, nipped at it, surprised that the need to bite and mark her hadn’t left with his demon.
“Angel – yes – “ Buffy tangled her fingers into the soft, thick hair. “Need it – bite me – “
A kink – and not just in the script – Angel bit down harder, sucking her tender flesh into his mouth. Who knew they’d miss his fangs?
The sting of Angel’s teeth brought a shock of pleasure. No one else had bitten her – no one else had been allowed to – that was reserved for Angel. His growl wasn’t the same, but it was still possessive, and Buffy arched up under him in response.
Electricity jolted from his mouth, through her breasts and belly and down around the thick cock pumping into her. Reaching between them, Buffy slipped her fingers around the slick shaft. “Harder – more – “
“Yes, lass – yes, that’s it – “ This time he had the strength to give her what she needed. Not that he’d left Buffy unsatisfied before, but his strong, fierce Slayer had a hidden need to be dominated that he hadn’t been able to quite manage.
Shifting his weight, Angel rested his forearms on either side of Buffy’s head, the move curling her body up tighter until her thighs were nearly to her chest. “Hang on, lass. Daddy’ll give you what you need.”
With that warning, Buffy felt Angel’s muscles tighten under her hands as he shoved himself deeper inside of her. A squeaky rush of air burst from her as he pulled back only slightly before burying himself inside of her again. Each thrust crushed her down into the sofa cushions, his weight smothering her.
Angel’s chest pressed against her face, and Buffy arched her head back, seeking air. Her lips found the soft, warm flesh of his throat and she nipped at it, leaving her own marks on him. He might be the dominant one at the moment, but she wasn’t letting him think she wouldn’t fight back.
It was wonderful, being helpless under him, and Buffy gave up trying to match his fierce movements. Instead she focused on catching and stroking his cock with her inner muscles, making them both moan and whimper.
Too soon! Angel gritted his teeth as his balls clenched up. Fire was eating him alive from the inside out, and he couldn’t hold it back any longer. His muscles locked in one last plunge into her warmth and his seed spurted free in delicious pain.
Gasping, Buffy held Angel as he collapsed on her. It felt odd, warm inside of her and not cool like before. Small price to pay. She stroked her hands up and down his heaving back. Miss the biting, too. Damn.
The thought of Angel’s cool fangs in her throat brought one last ripple through her and she arched up into him with a sigh.
“Baby – don’t do that – lay still for Daddy.“ Panting, Angel kissed her ear and cheek, the only places he could reach. “You’ll push him out, sweetheart. He’s helpless.”
Men and their dicks. Buffy giggled into Angel’s shoulder. “Daddy? Isn’t that a bit perverted?”
“If you’re my baby, I have to be your daddy.” He kissed her ear again as he remembered lying with his head on her breasts. “Sometimes, maybe I’ll call you Momma and you’ll see how you like that.” Buffy burst out laughing, and he moaned softly as he slipped from her body. “Now see what you’ve done? We’ll have to start over.”
She didn’t answer, and Angel realized he was probably crushing her. He lifted himself up, planting a quick kiss on her swollen lips and smiling at the sight of her eyes, heavy lidded and deep green. Buffy pulled her legs together as he stood up and buttoned his pants, and he could see that she suddenly felt vulnerable and frightened.
A moment from their past opened to him. Buffy’s trembling whisper in his ear as they lay panting on his bed after a repeat performance of their kitchen act – sans tipping table.
Back to the script, with a slight revision. “Buffy – “ Angel leaned down to look down into the gray-green eyes. “It’s not just sex. I love you, I’ve always loved you.”
“I love you, too.” She reached up to touch his face. Angel was always thoughtful and sweet. How did he know what she needed to hear?
“Don’t ever think it’s just sex.” Angel scooped her up in his arms and carried her into the bedroom. “We’re not fucking just because we can.”
“How did you know what I was thinking?” Tucking her head under his chin, Buffy sighed at the comfort in the familiar spot.
“Leave me some secrets.” At least till we’re old and gray and you’re too weak to beat me to death. “We’ve been apart for so long – denied each other’s touch – I think our bodies are going to want to shove themselves together like crazy for a few days.”
“Just a few days?” Buffy nuzzled at his ear.
“Well… we have to eat sometime.” Setting her on her feet, Angel pulled her against him. “There’s so many things I want to taste.”
“Start with me?” Smiling, she looped her arms around his neck and pulled his head down for a kiss.
Buffy sighed and stretched against Angel's side. He rubbed a hand along the curve of her back. "Happy?"
"Deliriously." She nuzzled along the underside of his jaw. "You?"
"More than I thought was possible." It was true. As much as he treasured the memories of their lost day, this was infinitely more satisfying. He'd been able to avoid the few issues they'd had then. A little knowledge was a good thing.
"I can't believe you've been human for hardly a day and you've already got ice cream." Buffy ran her fingers around a flat male nipple, smiling as it hardened. "My favorite flavor, too."
The memory of Buffy licking ice cream off his chest was a cherished one, and a wee tilt of the spoon at just the right time had allowed him to relive the experience and share it with Buffy.
"I want more garlic bread." Angel eyed the empty Papa Louie containers. "And some scampi – that's made with garlic – a lot of it, right?"
"And Buffy added breath mints to her shopping list." Patting his flat stomach, she grinned. Watching Angel dig into lasagna and garlic bread had been quite a sight. She'd never seen anyone so enraptured by food.
"There's a lot of Italian food in Rome." Angel cringed as he realized how stupid he sounded. This was a lot easier when I knew what was going to happen next. "I mean, if you want to go back to Rome, that's fine with me."
"You want me to go back to Rome?”
“If you want. Whatever you want to do is good with me.”
“Oh.” Great, he wanted to fuck her and then have her go away.
“There are so many things I want to show you there.” Angel chuckled. “Hopefully they’ll be just as beautiful in the daylight…"
"Or we could go see Willow if you want.” He continued. “She’s in Tibet?”
“No, she’s back in England.” We could go? “Angel, are you saying you want me to stay with you?”
“Do you?” He ducked his head down, trying to see her face. “I do if you do. Do you?”
“Well, I do if you’re saying you do.” Looking up, she bit her lip. “Do you?”
“The only reason I wanted to be human was to be with you.” Cuddling Buffy tighter against his side, Angel ran a fingertip along her cheek. “Wherever you go – I go with you.”
“I gave up on it, Angel.” She reached up to touch his face. “I didn’t think it would ever really happen.”
“I gave up on it myself.” He admitted. “For awhile I thought Spike was the one.”
“They promised him that he would be human, too.”
“Spike?” Buffy’s eyebrows went up. “I mean, I know he’s been fighting with you – “
“Fighting with you the last few years.” She pinched his chest playfully. “But I don’t see him as the big champion type.”
“He’s changed.” It felt decidedly odd to defend his grandchylde. Former grandchylde? This is worse than a divorce. “Having his soul has made him – different.”
“I guess that – “ Buffy sat up as she realized what the promise to Spike meant. “Oh no! Not another huge apocalyptic mess!”
“No. Well yes, but they said it wouldn’t be for some time.” Pulling her back down on his chest, Angel rubbed a hand soothingly along Buffy’s back. “There’ll be peace for awhile. Evil took a major blow, and it’ll be a long time before there’s a threat large enough to endanger humans again.”
“So only small threats? Goody.”
“Better than the big ones.” Sighing, he rested his cheek against her hair. “I’ve had enough of it – let Spike deal with it.”
“So… “ Tracing her fingers along the line down his chest to his belly, Buffy echoed his sigh. “What are you going to do?”
“I don’t know. Haven’t thought that far ahead.” He patted a soft buttock. “Just be with you. Whatever you want to do, wherever you want to go – I’ll be there with you.”
“I want to go to Ireland.”
“I can’t go there.”
“What?” Sitting up again, Buffy leaned on his chest. “You just said you’d go anywhere with me.”
“Not there.” He shook his head.
“Angel…” She leaned down and tickled his lips with her tongue.
“No.” Pushing her back, he swung his legs off the edge of the bed and sat with his back to her. “I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth. But not there. I won’t go there.”
The gryphon trembled under her fingertips. “I want to see where you’re from. When I was in Europe, I traveled all over – but I wouldn’t go to Ireland. Not without you.”
Willow and Kennedy had toured Ireland while she and Dawn had stayed behind in London. Her friend had understood why she wanted to wait. Willow had even offered the opinion that Angel might need to go home and center himself if he ever became human.
“Angel, I want you to take me there.” Buffy wrapped her arms around him, pressing against his back. “Take me to see where you came from.”
“There’s nothing to see.” Breaking her embrace, Angel stood up and walked away. “I killed them all.”
“Angelus killed your family.” She stressed the demon’s name. “I know that – “
“You don’t know! You don’t know anything!” Turning on her, his lips pulled back as if he still had fangs to bare, Angel stalked back to the bed. “I killed them all! My family – the neighbors – shopkeepers – I killed them all!”
Sitting back on her heels, Buffy didn’t flinch as his hands shot out to grab her face in a punishing grip. Willow had been right; this was a guilt that he wasn’t going to give up easily.
“Darla and I – we killed everyone – down to the smallest babe! We hunted them and slaughtered them!”
“Angelus and Darla.” The guilt in the chocolate eyes cut slices in her heart. “They killed everyone – including you. And you need to make peace with that.”
“I don’t know how.” Cradling her face in his hands, Angel rubbed his thumbs over the red marks on her cheeks. “I don’t know how.”
“We go back.” Buffy covered his hands with her own. “We go back and together we put them to rest.”
“Of course we can!” Rising up, she wrapped her arms around his neck. “Together, we can do anything. Look at all the demon butt we’ve kicked.”
“This isn’t a demon we can slay.” He rested his forehead against hers.
“It is. It’s a big one, but we can kill it. Besides…” Buffy brushed her lips across his. “I would kinda like… “ Another brush of her lips. “Another ring… “ And another. “Mine’s gone…”
“It’s not gone.” Catching one last kiss, Angel unwound her arms from his neck and walked to the chest of drawers. He pulled the top drawer open and took out a small velvet box. “It’s here.”
“Oh my God, Angel! You found it!” Buffy bounced up and down on the bed. “You’re so romantic! I used to dream that you’d saved it and you were keeping it for me just in case we could be together again!”
She reached out and snatched the box from his hand as he came back to the bed. “Oh, Angel, Angel!” Opening the box, she squealed. “It’s b – it’s – “
The ring was blackened and twisted until its original shape was completely lost. It was a charred lump with only the heart, hands, and crown remaining unscathed.
“It’s disgusting.” Her bottom lip trembled. “It’s supposed to still be beautiful.”
“It brought me back from hell.” Angel sat next to her on the bed. “The Powers That Be used it as a conduit to bring me back.”
Tears pooled up in her eyes. This wasn’t the fantasy she’d had at all. The ring was supposed to be, at the very worst, just a little marred by mystical heat and magic.
“It was inside of me all this time.” He touched her chest over her heart. “I didn’t even know it was there.”
“It – it was in your heart?” Blinking back the tears, she turned to look at him. “They put it inside of you?”
“The ring bound me here, to this plane.” The intense pain as The Powers That Be pulled it out of his body before turning him human again, Angel decided to keep to himself. “They used our love to save me.”
“That’s romantic.” She looked at the charred ring again. “Sort of.”
Taking the box, Angel shut it. “I’ll buy you another ring. But we can get it here – “
“No.” Crossing her arms across her chest, Buffy lifted her chin stubbornly. “I want one from Galway.”
“Buffy – “ He shook his head. “I’m not going to Ireland. You can’t make me.”
A grin curved her lips and her nose wrinkled up in the way he found irresistible. “Want to bet?”
“I can’t believe I let you drag me here.”
There was so much green. Buffy looked across the gently rolling hills. Green everywhere, like a Hallmark card. Angel had stubbornly refused to look at any of the sights she had pointed out to him, answering her questions about the area in short, terse sentences.
This was no sightseeing trip, she reminded herself as she followed the overgrown path through the crumbled buildings. They’d flown from LA to Dublin and then driven to where they could take a ferry to Galway in less than twenty four hours. If not for Slayer stamina, she’d be in a heap on the ground.
“This is insane.” Angel said again. He’d said it so many times he’d lost count. “The grave won’t be here. They dig up the old ones and put the bones in a crypt so that they can lay more bodies to rest.”
“Not here.” Buffy looked at the stone Willow had given her; it was pulsing steadily and pulling her along the narrow path. “The locals think the area is cursed. Nobody’s lived here since the mid 1700s.”
“Wonder why?” He snorted. “Oh wait! Because a demon killed everyone!”
“Exactly.” Smiling, she ignored his glare. “A demon who’s gone now.”
“Your grave is here. Willow said this stone will lead us to it.”
“How?” The stone was an ugly blue color, and he felt like snatching it from Buffy and throwing it as far as he could. He was still pretty strong, so that could be a ways.
“I dunno, it’s magic.” She shrugged. “Something about your body and your grave. Dido was on the radio so I didn’t listen real close.”
“My body isn’t in my grave.” Angel thumped his chest to make his point. “I’m wearing it.”
“Your DNA or something?” Another shrug. She was the Slayer and Willow was the witch. Willow didn’t tell her how to slay and she didn’t tell Willow how to… witch. The pull was getting stronger. “We find it, and then you’ll feel better.”
“Then can we go?”
“Then we’ll go.”
They stumbled out of the overgrowth and into a small graveyard. Stones were overturned and crumbled. At one end, an ornate Celtic cross still stood, defiant of time.
Angel sat down on a pile of rock that might have once been a large headstone. “Hurry up, then.”
“You could help.” Buffy shot him a dirty look. “This is for your benefit, you know.”
“You made me come – I’m here. That’s it.” He crossed his arms and looked away.
“You’re such a – “ Her toe caught a stone hidden in the grass and she stumbled. “Damn it to hell!”
“Already been there.” A smirk curled his lips. “Got thrown out.”
Ignoring him, she circled the stones, pulling grass away from them and rubbing at the faded letters. The stone throbbed and pulsed in her other hand, but she couldn’t find his grave.
“It’s getting dark.”
Her back ached from bending, and she knelt down to tug grass away from another stone. “Scared?”
“Why should I be?” Yawning, he pretended to not watch her. “The Powers That Be promised that demons wouldn’t harm me again.”
“Did they promise you that I wouldn’t hurt you?” The edge of a headstone snagged a nail and tore it off. “Ow!”
“What?” He slid off the stones and rushed to her. “Buffy, are you all right?”
“No.” Tears threatened, and she buried her face in her hands. “I can’t find you! I can’t find you anywhere!”
“I’m right here, love.” Angel knelt beside her, pulling her into his arms and resting his cheek against her hair. “I’m here, and I’ll never leave you.”
“I want to find you here.” She tipped her head back to look at him. “None of them say Angel. And most don’t say anything – all the words are gone.”
“Buffy, you’ll never find Angel here.”
“No joke?” She said bitterly.
“My name wasn’t Angel.” He said softly. The gray eyes showed the hurt. “I didn’t tell you because… because I didn’t… don’t like him – me. He isn’t me.”
“Who is he?”
“He was a stupid, shallow, worthless boy.” And that was only a fraction of the story.
“What was his – no.” Buffy shook her head. “You’re already too many people. What was your name then?”
“Liam.” Buffy said the name softly as if tasting it. “Liam.” She looked up at him and smiled. “You don’t look like a Liam.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment.” Smiling, he lowered his lips to hers.
“Mmm… nice.” She ran her fingers through his hair, yelping as the thick strands caught on her torn nail. “Ouch!”
Buffy glared at the stone next to them. “Stupid stone!” The name caught her eye. Faded by over two hundred years of wind and rain, sun and storm. “Angel! Look!”
1727 – 1753
“1753? That’s about right isn’t it?” She rubbed her fingers along the name. “This is yours?”
The stone was canted back at an odd angle as if it’d been shoved over long ago. Angel ran a fingertip over the name. His name. “Yes.”
“There’s no hole.” Buffy pulled back leaves and grass. “Didn’t you dig your way out?”
“It’s been over two hundred years, it’s filled in.” Frowning, he tried to remember if he’d come back to the graveyard to check on his grave once he’d left it. “I think… I think my father had it filled in.”
“You think? Don’t you remember everything?”
“I didn’t exactly give him a chance to tell me.” He looked away from her, staring out over the headstones at the setting sun.
“Okay. We found it. So get better.” Buffy nudged him in the belly. “Go on. Get it out.”
There was bitter amusement in the chocolate eyes. “Did you really think it’d be that easy?”
“Yes.” Her torn nail was so very, very interesting. Stupid Buffy.
“I’m sorry.” Standing up, he brushed the leaves and dirt off his pants and walked away.
“No.” She leaned on the cold stone and watched him walk away. “I’m sorry, Angel. I thought it would help if you made peace with your family.”
“Buffy, my family isn’t here. At least, I don’t think they are.”
“But you were here.”
“There were a few survivors, people who left in the daylight.” Angel looked out past the edge of the graveyard to the hills beyond. “After Darla and I left, I don’t know if they came back and buried the dead.”
That the bodies had been left to rot where they lay hadn’t occurred to her. Until now. “Oh, Angel. I’m so sorry.” She got to her feet and went to him. Offering her hand, Buffy held her breath for the long moments it took for Angel to wrap his fingers around hers. “I love you, Angel.”
“I know.” He lifted her hand to his lips. “And I love you for doing this. I’m sorry it didn’t work.”
“I should never have made you come here.”
“Can we go home?”
“Sorry, lad, you can’t go home.”
“What?” Angel leaned on the counter.
“Look at the fog.” The man jerked a thumb over his shoulder at the bay. “The ferry’ll not be leaving in that.”
“Fine, we’ll drive.” He scowled at the fog. “Where can we rent a car?”
“At this time of the day?” The innkeeper laughed. “That’d be nowhere, I’m thinking.”
Buffy rubbed Angel’s back. The muscles were corded taut and she could feel the strain of not strangling the innkeeper.
“Sit yourselves down and I’ll bring you a mug and somethin’ to eat.” The innkeeper turned away. “Me wife will get you a room for the night.”
“Great. Just great.” Angel shook off Buffy’s hands and stalked to the windows. The fog had gathered just as they reached the main square. “I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait to see England again.”
“Angel, we’ll leave in the morning.” Standing on tiptoe, she whispered in his ear. “We can lock ourselves in our room and make love till morning.”
“There’s a bit of merit in that…” He smiled as her teeth nipped at his ear.
“Liam! Liam, lad, come sit yourself down to supper.”
“What?” Angel blinked the sleep from his eyes.
“Come on now, you’re not a wee lad to be taking a nap.” The voice came again. Male and hauntingly familiar.
“I don’t – “ He sat up and looked around. There was a hazy blue glow to the room.
“Come on, Liam!” A girlish voice piped up. “There’s lemon cake!”
“Who’s there?” Reaching for the stake Buffy had stashed under her pillow, Angel pulled back the covers and slid out of bed.
“Liam, hurry up, now.” A soft, womanly voice floated across the room.
“Begone, pooka!” Angel looked around the room. There seemed to be a double image. He could see the bed with Buffy sleeping soundly – but there was also a sofa and a table. And in the wall was a doorway where none had existed before. “I know your tricks! Get thee gone, faerie!”
Pookas were faeries, playful spirits for the most part, and he wasn’t afraid of them. But they could be a pain in the ass with their tricks. Angel knew a spell to banish them if need be. He wished for a moment that he could still slip into game face. That’d teach the little buggers.
“Get out – go play your games with someone else.”
“Liam! Come on, boy!” The man’s voice came to him through the doorway.
There was movement on the other side of the doorway and Angel edged closer. Cautiously, despite the assurance that demons and magic could no longer harm him. Not all The Powers That Be were good – or played fair. Trapping him in another plane or in some fantasy might not technically count as harming him.
Beyond the doorway, he caught the swaying movement of a woman’s skirt, a man’s broad shoulder. Their voices drifted to him, teasing his memory. He knew those voices. This place.
A child stepped into the doorway. A girl with long dark hair and eyes the color of rich chocolate. “Come talk with us, Liam.”
“Kathy? Kathy – no!” Stumbling back, Angel raised the stake. “Damn you! You’re not my sister!”
She held her hand out to him. “Please, Liam, just to talk a bit?”
“No!” Searching his memory, Angel found the words to the banishment spell.
“Please, Liam.” Kathy’s eyes were sad, and her lower lip drooped.
“We’ve nothing to talk about – you’re not real!”
“’Twill help you to talk – “
Shaking his head, Angel began to recite the ancient words.
Her hand rose to the dark hair and pulled it back to expose the wound on her throat. “ – about this.”
The words caught in his throat, choking him, and Angel turned away from his evil. “No! No!”
“No!” Angel bolted upright and found himself still in bed. The ghost was gone.
“Angel.” Buffy sat up next to him. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Just a dream – a bad dream.” Laying a hand over his pounding heart, he wasn’t sure he liked this part of being human. Would it explode if it beat too hard? “Go back to sleep.”
“What were you dreaming about?”
“Nothing!” He snapped. “Go back to sleep!”
Hurt, Buffy pulled her hand away and watched as Angel lay down and curled up on his side with his back to her.
How could she have thought this trip would be good for Angel? What little she knew about psychology she’d learned from Professor Walsh. Yeah, there was the picture of a stable mind.
Angel hadn’t had a single nightmare in the time they’d been back together. Unlike the times she’d watched him sleep back in Sunnydale – restless, whimpering and moaning – Angel had been sleeping like a baby.
Buffy stroked her fingers through the soft hair at the nape of his neck. “I’m sorry. I thought this would help. I didn’t mean to make it worse.”
“It’s not your fault.” He said quietly.
“Isn’t it? I made you come here. Stirred up all those bad memories.”
“The memories will fade.” Angel sat up again, looking out the window at the bright moonlight. “They said if they took them away, I wouldn’t be myself.”
“But they’ll fade?” She put her hands on his shoulders. “Then won’t you be… different?”
“The memories will still be there, and I can remember anything I might need to, but they won’t be in my conscious memory.” Wes had spent quite a bit of time on Angelus’ memories versus Angel’s memories when the representatives of The Powers That Be had appeared following the battle. He’d quizzed the powerful beings as if they were students. “Bad and good – they’ve made me what I am.”
“And I love what you are.” Leaning against his back, Buffy rubbed her breasts against the soft, warm skin. “I love who you are.”
“My head feels so empty sometimes, Buffy.” He laid his head back on her shoulder. “I spent a hundred years with Angelus in here with me. And sometimes it seems so… quiet. I almost miss him.”
“Yeah, okay, whatever. You’ll get used to it.” Wrapping her arms around him, Buffy slid her hands down his chest and belly. “I just don’t want you looking at any of the bad memories and brooding.”
“I don’t brood. Anymore.”
“Angel, I know you. You brood as easily as you breathe.” Her hand moved down his belly to tease along the inside of his thigh. “No brooding. Don’t make me get naked Buffy after you.”
“Oh my, I’m brooding. Help me.” Angel grinned up at her. “Whatever shall I do?”
Her tongue slid along his ear as her warm hand closed around his cock. “That’s helping… a wee bit…” He sighed.
“Wee?” Squeezing the hardening shaft, Buffy giggled. “I don’t know what you’re thinking about, but this doesn’t feel wee to me.”
“Ah, but you see, lass, he grows.” Closing his hand around hers, Angel helped her stroke his cock just the way he liked. “He’s full of surprises.”
“So I’ve noticed.” Pulling him back on the bed, Buffy quickly straddled him and took the hard shaft in both hands.
“You’ve got a few yourself I see.” He gasped.
“Seriously though.” Leaning back, she let go of his cock.
“I was serious.” Angel groaned.
“Some of these things you may need help with. You need to talk about them.”
“The only thing I need help with is you putting your soft hands back on my – “ Angel rose up on his elbows as he heard a rustling across the room. “What was that?”
“What was what?” Buffy looked around the room. “I didn’t hear anything.”
“I heard something.” He insisted.
“Liam. Please come talk to us.” The little girl’s voice came from the end of the bed.
Turning his head, Angel saw Kathy standing there. “No! You’re not – Buffy, do you see her?”
Buffy turned to look in the direction that Angel was looking. “I don’t see anyone.”
“Just for a bit.” The little girl said. “Please, Liam.”
“No!” Angel closed his eyes and covered them with his hands. “Dear God, go away!”
“Angel.” Buffy crawled off of him and pulled him into her arms. “There’s no one there.”
“I saw her.” He clutched at her.
“What did she say?” Looking around the room, she tried to spot anything out of the ordinary. “What did she want?”
“To talk. She kept saying she wanted to talk.”
“Not your typical ghosty stuff.” There was a glow from the floor in front of the dresser. “Stay put.”
Climbing off the bed, Buffy made her way carefully to the glowing spot. It was under the jeans she’d tossed to the floor as she and Angel had stripped each other. Kicking them aside, she saw the stone Willow had given her. It was pulsing blue like it had in the graveyard. “Willow, I’m going to shoot you.”
“What is it?” Angel felt like a child, cowering in bed while his mother looked under it for monsters.
“The freaking stone Willow gave me.” She picked it up and glared at it. The stone continued to pulse, clearly not bothered by her anger. “It’s doing something. Channeling or tapping into the all night spirit station. All spooks all the time. Bet it stops if I flush it.”
“Wait.” Sitting up, he wrapped the sheets around his waist and went to her. “Maybe… maybe I do need to talk.”
“Okay, we’ll talk.” Buffy raised up to kiss him. “Let me chuck this thing – “
“No, don’t.” Taking the stone from her, Angel rubbed his fingers over it. “Let’s go back.”
“Back? Where?” She stopped as she realized what he meant. "Oh, no, not there. Haven’t we had enough graveyards in the dead of the night?”
“Just one more?”
“Why do I let myself get talked into these things?”
“I love you.” Angel said weakly.
“Yeah, whatever.” Buffy pulled her coat tighter around herself. Ireland at night was a hell of a lot colder than Sunnydale at night. “Isn’t it summer?”
“It’s what passes for summer.” He grinned over his shoulder at her.
“Ha. Ha. Ha.”
The blue stone lit the path as clearly as any flashlight could and soon they were back at the abandoned village. Angel resolutely did not turn to look at his family’s home as they walked past on the way to the graveyard. The stone didn’t pull him toward the house and he thanked whatever gods, fates, or powers that were on his side.
Angel was all but running as they reached the graveyard, the stone pulling him toward his headstone. Stumbling, he fell to his knees in front of it, and the stone bounced from his hand and shattered against the marble.
“Angel!” Buffy threw her hands up in front of her face as the stone exploded. Blue light flared up and blinded her. “Angel!”
Blinking, she groped for him. “Angel, answer me!” Her hand hit his leg and she crawled along his body. He was limp in her arms and she pulled his head onto her lap. “Angel, please, talk to me!”
“Talk to me, Liam.”
“Da?” Angel looked around the modest kitchen.
“Sit down, son.” Soft hands led him to a chair at the table.
“Mam?” He took her hands and held them to his face. “I’m sorry – I’m so sorry – “
“There, there, boy.” His father patted his shoulders. “We all made our mistakes. They can’t be undone.”
“I never meant for it to turn out this way.” Angel looked up at the ghosts of his parents. “I never meant to be the way I was.”
“You’re a good man now, son, and that’s all that matters.” A smile curved his father’s lips. “Whatever I said then, ‘twas all in anger. When I look at you now, I see how wrong I was to judge you too soon.”
“But I killed you – “ He remembered the feel of his fangs breaking the flesh.
“No, lad, the demon killed me.”
“The demon is gone now.” His mother said firmly. “All of his evil deeds died with him.”
“But – it was my hate that brought him to you.” Angel reached up to clutch his father’s hand. “My resentment – “
“Your love brought him to our door, Liam.” A firm shake of his father’s head. “Had you not loved us, he wouldna have given us a thought.”
Turning at the soft voice, Angel found his sister beside him. “Kathy. Is it you, sweet?”
“’Tis me.” She smiled at him. “I’m glad you came to talk to me.”
“Angel, please wake up.” Buffy held Angel’s still form to her and rocked him. Her sight had slowly returned, and she could see that he was unhurt, but he remained unconscious. “Angel – Angel, come back to me.”
“I came back and hurt you.” Angel reached out to his sister.
It didn’t hurt very badly.” Kathy said solemnly. “Just a bit and then it was dark.”
“I’m sorry, sweet.” Angel picked her up and held her tightly. “I loved you so very much that he couldn’t bring himself to hurt you.”
“I know.” She touched the wound on her throat. “It’s not very big.”
The bite was small in terms of the damage Angelus had done to other victims, but the wound was a huge tear in his own heart. “I’m sorry – I wish – “
“I forgive you, Liam.” Kathy took his hand and laid it over the wound. “Now you must forgive yourself.”
“I can’t.” Tears burned in his eyes and overflowed.
“You must.” A firm hand squeezed his shoulder. “You must, son.”
“Liam, to be truly happy with your new lass, you must forgive yourself.” His mother stroked his cheek.
“If only – if only I hadn’t left – “ He tried to pull his hand away but Kathy’s grip was stronger than his. He remembered wiping tears from her soft cheek as he left their father’s house.
“Then mankind would have died.” She said. “It was destined, Liam. Just like in the fairy tales you read to me.”
Was it? All the things he’d done since his soul had been restored rushed past him, burning through his mind. The innocents saved, the demons killed, the final battle with the Senior Partners. What would have happened if he hadn’t been there?
“The prophecy…” The scrolls of Aberjian were how old? Angel shook his head.
“If you’d not been there – “
“Angel! Where are you?” Tears ran down Buffy’s cheeks and onto his face. She could feel his breath against her throat. He was alive, but somehow his body felt empty. Empty in a way he never had before he was alive. “I’m sorry I made you come here – I’m sorry, Angel – please forgive me – “
“Forgive me, Kathy.” Angel laid his cheek against his baby sister’s. “Please forgive me.”
“I have.” She pressed his hand harder to the bite on her throat. “Now you have to forgive yourself.”
“I – I – “ He’d killed his family and saved the world. Was it a fair trade off? Angel thought of Buffy and how she’d thrown herself to her death to save Dawn. She wouldn’t trade her sister for the world. But she was wrong. “I’m sorry, Kathy.”
Lifting his hand from his sister’s neck, Angel saw that the wound was gone. “I’ll always be sorry, sweet.”
“As long as you remember it was for the greater good.” His father whispered into his ear.
“The greater good bites...”
“Angel? Oh, God, Angel!” Buffy squeezed him until he grunted. “I thought you were gone!”
“No.” He sat up slowly. His head hurt. “I was… talking…”
“Talking?” She wiped her wet cheeks. “I’m out here going crazy and you’re talking?”
The smile on his face drained the sudden anger from her. Later she could thump Willow for whatever spell she’d put on the stone. Except that it had done some good. Well, she’d only thump her a little bit.
“I used to wonder what would have happened if I had stayed in Paris. My father took me on a business trip and I wanted to stay.” Angel leaned back against his gravestone. “There were painters and artists everywhere. It was like heaven.”
“Why didn’t you stay?”
“My father bullied me into coming back here.” He sighed. “I used to think that if I’d been stronger – if I’d been a man – I’d have stayed in Paris, and Angelus would never have been born.”
Buffy leaned against his side and let him talk. She’d traveled thousands of miles for this moment. Shivering, she pulled his arm around her shoulders. Only she’d imagined it being sunny and warm.
“But it wouldn’t have changed anything.” Hugging her close, Angel laid his cheek against her forehead. “Darla would have found me in Paris, and I still would have become Angelus.”
“Oh, I know that one. Destiny with a capital d.” Prophecy Girl, that’s me. “No getting out of those.”
“No. But – “ Leaning down, Angel pressed his mouth to hers, his tongue teasing until her lips parted and her tongue met his. “Umm… then we wouldn’t have this.”
“True.” Licking her lips, she pressed a kiss to the corner of his mouth. That was good so she kissed the other side. “Let’s go back to the hotel.”
“Inn, lass, it’s called an inn.” He pulled her up onto his lap and wrapped his coat around her.
“We’re staying out here, aren’t we?”
“The sun will be up soon.”
“And we could see it from our hotel room – our inn room.” Buffy said hopefully. “From our nice warm bed.”
“This is nice. There’s a wonderful view over the bay.”
“Why do we always end up in a graveyard at the end of the night?” She huffed into his throat.
“Destiny.” Yelping as she nipped his throat, Angel couldn’t help laughing. “It’s not all bad, you know.”
“Can I tell you a secret?” Buffy kissed the red mark on his throat.
“I wish you could still purr for me.”
He could feel her pout against his skin. “Me too.”
“And I miss the fangs.”
“Me too.” Pulling her head back, he bared her throat and nibbled his way along her soft skin. “We’ll just have to make do.”
“It’ll take time…” Buffy let her head fall back as Angel’s mouth moved down.
“I’ve got forever.”
“Mmm… what a coincidence…” She sighed. “Me too…”
Other stories in the Fluffily Ever After Series.
Giles talks. And Buffy listens?: Don't Wake Me
Confession is good for the soul: Before I Wake
A fluffily ever after ficlet: Roses
Back to the main page for more B/A fic.