By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: This is a sequel of sorts to Laughing at Fate. That story departed from canon after the very beginning of Spin the Bottle. Angel’s answer to Cordy's question of "were we in love?" was “no”, and he then went to see Buffy.
The shower was running. Buffy sighed and sat up in bed. Turning on the light, she went to the desk and sat down. Opening a drawer, she lifted out a faded box. She’d found a box of stationery when they had cleaned out a storage closet years ago and lately it kept showing up in her dreams.
Pulling a slightly yellowed sheet out of the box, she picked up a pen and started to write.
I’ve lived at the Hyperion for a little over twenty years. I never leave anymore, haven’t in maybe ten years I guess. Not since the night the waitress told Angel how nice it was that he was taking his mother out for dinner. Angel corrected her, but that only made it look worse. She looked at us like he was a gigolo and I was a cradle robber.
The hotel has everything I need. A gym to keep in shape, a pool, a small movie theater, a rooftop garden where I can sit in the sun and read, and a vampire in my bed.
My heart is tired these days and I know he worries. After all, he can hear each heartbeat. I’m worried about him; he’s more cynical and bitter than he used to be. When I’m gone, I’m afraid he’ll do something foolish – something to hurt himself. Maybe I’m selfish, but I want Angel to live forever.
I think it all started to change when Faith came back to Sunnydale. Angel brought her back after she was released from prison, she had gone to him to thank him for his help and he talked her into taking up her Slayer duties again.
At first I was skeptical of her change. I’d seen it before and didn’t want to play her game again. But she was sincere and threw herself back into her Slayer training with a dedication that impressed even the stuffy old man the council sent to be her Watcher.
We patrolled together at first, but it was an uneasy alliance at best. Call me petty, but I could never really forgive her for poisoning Angel. We lied to each other the day we decided to split Sunnydale between us for ‘faster patrolling’.
The house was already full with me, Dawn,
It seems I was the only one who didn’t know that the two of
them had been spending their nights together. Sure, I’d noticed they were
sitting closer and they were doing a little kiss and cuddle, but sex? Wasn’t
Faith moved in and the Council fumed and fussed before deciding
Gradually Faith did more and I did less. Spike, now ‘doubly screwed’ by soul and chip – his words – helped track down his fellow vamps with a vengeance. Angel told me that Spike had been a poetry writing gentleman before Drusilla turned him. I think he was as horrified by his vampire life as Angel is. Spike always said it was ‘bloody good fun’ to kill vamps. You decide.
When Faith was killed a few years later, Spike was so distraught that I have to wonder if he’d fallen in love with her. He disappeared for a while, and then came back cold and distant as if a chunk of himself was still missing.
The new Slayer didn’t come to Sunnydale;
During the quiet, Dawn went to college and discovered a love of writing. Her first novel was snapped up by Simon and Schuster, and she’s now the Queen of Dark Romance. Of course, it helps that she’s really known vampires and hopeless love. You know what they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
It was a beautiful ceremony. The backyard was lit with
candles and twinkly Christmas lights. Giles gave the bride away. I was in a
very un-ugly bridesmaid’s dress –
The quiet ended soon enough and a new evil came to the Hellmouth and started handing out business cards. The new Slayer followed. All business and no nonsense. And no help wanted from a has-been old Slayer, thank you.
Her first act of ‘I’m different than Buffy’ was to stake Spike. As far as she was concerned, a vamp was a vamp. She and her equally old school Watcher died six months later and I had to go stake them both. After all, a vamp is a vamp, right?
A new vamp, called Preacher, had organized a large band of vamps and they attacked the Council’s HQ. First they grabbed two of the older, retired Watchers and turned them. The newborn vamps were able to get inside and disable enough of the charms and wards for the rest of the band to come inside.
With Dawn in college and
My new apartment was smaller than the house, but just as empty. During the day, I was busy in my store. But at night, home alone, the illusion that I had a life was harder to maintain. And impossible to believe.
Not that it was all bad, don’t get the tissues out yet. I loved working in the store helping people and discussing books and poetry. I’m sure Giles was polishing his glasses over that one. If he has glasses in heaven.
Saturdays I spent with the Harris clan, movies, the park, or maybe just hanging out. Sundays Angel would call and I’d spend the day on the phone with him. Sunday night was a bitch, tho.
Dawn married, had kids, and signed a six figure contract
with her publisher. She also became a major pain in the butt. She had this big
Then she called one night while Angel was there. True to his word, we met once a month. Usually I’d go to LA and we’d spend the day talking and the evening having dinner somewhere, maybe a little dancing, and a walk in the park. But sometimes he would come to Sunnydale and we’d hit our old make out spots. Who said graveyards aren’t romantic?
Dawn started shouting at me. Yelling that my real reason for not moving was Angel. Well, duh. She told me I was pathetic and a loser. Somewhere during her rant, I lost my temper. Said things I shouldn’t have.
There was a silence on her end when I told her she couldn’t possibly understand because she wasn’t even real. Then she said ‘Fine. Die alone.’ She hung up and we didn’t speak again for years.
Angel tried to get me to call her back and when she didn’t answer, told me I should go see her. He knows what it’s like to be alone and without family. I tried to make up with her but not very hard. I knew she was right.
Holidays are an evil time. Halloween rarely goes off without some strangeness, despite that old theory that it’s evil’s night off. Fourth of July, Mother’s Day – don’t even ask about Valentine’s Day. But Thanksgiving? There’s the real killer.
‘My head hurts,’ that’s all she said. ‘My head hurts,’ and
It was a stroke. Nothing evil we could have caught and
killed, or stopped somehow.
Something else I don’t like is Stephen King. Well, not him personally. The phone rang while I was knee deep in horror. Helping a woman load up on Stephen King novels. I answered the phone and the woman kept babbling about how she was his ‘number one fan’ while I listened to how Xander had died.
There was no one else to hate. The road was slick, and the school bus skidded and went through the guardrail. Xander was one of the bystanders who stopped to help. They said he dove down and brought children up from the sinking bus. Over and over. Until he didn’t come back up. There was no one else to hate. So I hated Stephen King.
I sold the store after that and stayed home. To hell with work. Not that I didn’t have things to do. Cook, eat, and wash the dishes. Take out the trash. Read books. Look at pictures of the past. Read and re-read the letters and poems Angel sent to me. Dust the growing collection of angels that he bought for me. Lay in the dark and wait for the sun to come up. Sit around all day and wait for the sun to go down.
What whimsy made Angel start buying angels for me? He saved this artist from a – who cares what kind – some demon. So the guy said he’d make Angel one of his sculptures. Angel told me he just nodded and said thank you. It had been his experience that most of his grateful clients never wanted to see him again and just wanted to forget the whole thing ever happened.
Six months later, the guy brings in a box with this sculpture in it. A woman lay in the arms of her lover, her blonde head thrown back on his shoulder, his dark head bowed and his lips on her throat. His wings wrapped protectively around them. Turns out the guy had this ability to ‘see’ into people. Then he could create something that reflected their innermost desires.
Skeptical? Me too, until Angel pulled the thing out of the box. It was so vibrant, so alive somehow. And so us. Sometimes I stare at it and imagine I can see them breathing.
After that, Angel kept an eye out for unique and unusual angels and sent them to me. I must have had twenty of them by the time he moved me. God knows how many I have now. The man can get obsessed like you can’t believe.
Dawn was right about how I’d end up alone.
I did try to make new friends. There were plenty of women my age at the gym I worked out in. After a few lunches and outings I figured out that I had nothing in common with them. Sex and how often they could get it was the main focus of the group. Sitting in a meat market bar watching them rub desperately against equally desperate men was worse than being alone. And Dawn thought I was pathetic?
The girls didn’t understand my lack of interest. What could I say? Sorry, ladies, I have phone sex once a week, and then once a month I have a lover I can’t actually have sex with. Why? Oh, he’s a vampire with a soul and a really vicious curse. Yeah, I’ll just sit here and wait while you call the guys in the white coats.
A few days before my 50th birthday, I gave up. Maybe it was before that, I don’t know. I ran a big bubble bath and settled into the hot water with a razor blade. The blade hit my wrist at the same time a cool hand grabbed my arm
I was jerked up out of the tub and found myself facing a very angry vampire. I was dangling off the floor wearing nothing but bubbles and Angel was angrier than I’ve ever seen him before or since. He was in full vamp face and his eyes were an ugly color. Quick vamp fact: the madder a vamp is, the redder the eyes get. His eyes were that ‘screaming through the intersection ‘cos the light’s about to turn’ color.
Mercher, the guy who’d replaced Cordy as the connection to TPTB, had seen me in a bathtub full of blood and Angel had rushed to save me. I asked why he cared. Angel has this rep as a silent, broody, tough guy – but his eyes hold a world of emotion. There was so much pain and fear in those beautiful chocolate eyes that I felt like crawling under a rock.
He told me ‘our love is eternal, immortal, forever.’ Then he brushed his lips across mine so very gently. ‘Our spirits are entwined for all eternity, and one day our souls will be together in heaven.’ What girl can say no to that?
In the end, I rinsed off my bubbles, got dressed and helped
pack. Giles, the younger Harris brat, was there to help. He was pure
Giles didn’t need books or smelly ingredients for most
spells. They worked because he wanted them to.
In LA, I found myself in a suite of rooms next to Lorne. Angel was two floors down. Lorne joked that he was our house mother and would keep Angel from sneaking into my room at night. The one meeting he’d had with Angelus – courtesy of an injection of happy drugs by a W&H flunky – wasn’t something he cared to repeat.
Giles was the only familiar face at the Hyperion. Over time, the people who worked with Angel came and went. Cordy had returned from her little trip as a higher power minus her memory and the visions. Her memory came back, but the visions never did. Whatever she did to get thrown out cost her.
Cordy stayed, but ended as she started, a glorified secretary. She started going on casting calls again and started getting parts. When she landed a role in a series, she made a last ditch effort to get Angel, but he still wasn’t interested. She left and the last time I saw her she was selling jewelry and makeup on a shopping network.
Angel and Wes reconciled eventually, tho Angel never completely forgave him. He understood that Wes had been afraid for Connor and that the guilt he felt over what had happened was punishment enough. Wes never came back to AI, staying with his own group, but there were plenty of ‘rogue demons’ to keep both groups busy.
One big factor in Wes’ redemption was when he saved Fred from Lilah. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, right? She didn’t take kindly to being dumped for a mousy girl half her age and backed it up with a nasty little demon. Angel killed the demon, and Wes killed Lilah.
Fred studied the book she’d stolen from the professor that had sent her to Pylea and got pretty good at opening portals to other places. Saved everybody’s ass a time or two. She was able to find and bring back a few of the other students that had been exiled like she was, but most were lost.
Gunn’s ghost used to rattle in the hallways. Whatever happened between him and Fred and the professor – their relationship didn’t survive. Angel told me he never believed the guy fell into his own portal, but he swallowed the lie for their sake. The truth, whatever it was, wedged itself between them until it forced them apart.
After Fred left him for Wes, Gunn hung himself in their suite. He wandered through the hotel for several years. Not really doing anything except moving stuff and making some noise. Harmless stuff. Angel finally had to have his spirit exorcised when it started breaking things and attacking people. That was a few days after Wes died in a car wreck and the same day Fred opened a portal, stepped through, and never came back.
That was before I moved in, of course. There was a whole new crew working for Angel by then. Angel had stepped back from the public eye, as well. Little hard to explain the fact that he still looked the same after thirty years. He focused on taking out the big bad evils and training the others. Early on, he’d lost a young man who hadn’t taken the fighting side of the business seriously enough. Now everybody trains and trains hard.
Once again I had a purpose. There were plenty of tips and tricks I’d learned as a Slayer that I passed on to the new kids. At first they were afraid to spar with an old lady. Until I went a few rounds with Angel. Showed ‘em the old broad still had it. Big smile… big smile!
Afterwards, I could hardly move. I soaked in the tub until I was wrinkled and then Angel rubbed warm oil into my overworked muscles. His big hands are a wonder. Strong enough to powder bones and gentle enough to massage bruised skin without causing a bit of pain. A delicate, tender touch that made me forget my sore muscles in a haze of sexual satisfaction.
Everyone thought Angel and I had no sex life, but that wasn’t the case. We couldn’t make love, true. But we could do… other stuff, you know? Not as good, but still not so bad. Especially when it’s all you can have.
Back before my 17th birthday, before our one night, we worked our way through kissing to what used to be called ‘heavy petting’. I was only 16 and a virgin, after all. I benefited from Angel’s 240 plus years of experience many times and as good as I got at giving him a blowjob, he never lost his soul over it. Hmm… now that I think about it… I’m hurt.
We slept in separate beds and we had a rule that only one of us could be naked at a time. It worked for us. I would love and worship Angel’s body until he came and then kiss him goodnight and leave him alone. The disappointment always made sure that happiness was kept down to a non-Angelus level.
Cordy liked to throw it in his face that he couldn’t have sex. That wasn’t true and it was just mean. Jealous bitch. Nobody understood that it wasn’t about the sex. It was about the trust. I was the Slayer and I knew Angel was a vampire and I gave myself to him. I put myself in the most vulnerable position a woman can put herself into with someone who was my mortal enemy.
For Angel, that was his moment of happiness. That he could be inside of me, on top of me, his mouth pressed to where my blood pounded in my throat, and I was holding him to me like I would never let him go. Loving him. Trusting him.
I think it got to Cordy that Angel had never given her more than a single kiss. Not counting the possessive ballet ghosty thingy. That his crush on her was nothing more than a lonely man needing company. When I first moved into the Hyperion, she came to visit. Whatever. She came to try to drive me out.
Did I know about his night with Darla? Yeah, and I even knew how many times he fucked her. Did I know about the three Sisters? Yeah, and we all had lunch together. Cordy was in the middle of telling me how irresponsible I was when Angel picked her up and carried her outside. Thank God it was dark; he was angry enough he might have sailed right out into the sunshine.
I really do like the three Sisters. I wasn’t just playing nice for Cordy. Angel tried to keep me away from the hotel the first time they came to redo their protection spell. Everyone was jittery; there was something up. So I took the wad of cash Angel gave me, promised to spend all day shopping, and left. For about an hour. Then I snuck back in and tracked Angel down.
I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or Angel. His eyes bugged out, but I’m pretty sure my jaw hit the floor. He was on the sofa in the old dining room and three women were draped all over him, kissing and fondling him and saying his name in – well, a worshipful kind of way. Like he was the only man on earth with a working dick.
Before I could work up a good jealous fit, the three women zeroed in on me. Ever seen one of those movies where the natives first see an outsider and they go all strange? Same thing. They kept saying ‘it’s Buffy’ over and over, circling around me and touching my hair and face. Very Indian captive movie.
It almost headed into the porno movie zone when Angel broke into their circle to explain. They ran their hands over both of us and pushed us together. Angel growled a little and they backed off. Then they pouted until he gave each of them a kiss.
Upstairs in my room, he explained that they maintained a protective spell over the hotel to keep out vamps and demons and other assorted evils. And the payment was Angel spending the night with them once a month. He looked so embarrassed that it was hard to be mad at him. I tried to be angry, hands on hips and glaring, but it didn’t work.
While the Sisters worked their magic downstairs, Angel told me how he’d met them the first time he came to LA. He’d done them a favor and they did him a favor. Over the years, he’d visited them from time to time. Those visits were one of the reasons he had no idea that making love to me would lead to losing his soul. The curse he knew about, but the ‘happiness clause’ the gypsies had kept to themselves. Just a little extra cruelty on their part.
I was the picture of understanding up to the point when he said he had come to LA to visit them while he still lived in Sunnydale. Even his explanation that he didn’t want to rush me ‘you were so young and innocent, Buffy. I wanted you to come to me in your own time’ didn’t help. Sure, yeah, okay. But knowing those times he’d disappear for a day or so he was having three way – four way? – sex still pissed me off.
Of course, I got over it when he held me and whispered in my ear all the things he wanted to do to me. Things he’d had to do to them while he pretended they were me. Naughty, dirty, raunchy things that made me ache and shiver. The Sisters worked their magic downstairs and Angel’s hands and mouth worked a little magic of their own upstairs.
Over the years, we fell into a routine. The Sisters would come to the hotel and we would sit and have lunch and talk. Angel had told them about us and why he left, and they loved to hear about our time together in Sunnydale. They’re such hopeless romantics. They worked for years on fixing Angel’s curse, but no luck.
After lunch they would reinforce the protective spell that surrounded the Hyperion and then Angel would take them home. I should have been jealous of the way they touched him and the way they said his name – dragging it out like ‘Angel’ had fifteen syllables. But I wasn’t. He needs what they give him. Men are different, you know? Sometimes they need to fuck. And love is optional. Vampires being very sexual creatures, Angel needed to burn off that excess energy every so often.
The next morning, I’d wake up to find a freshly showered Angel sliding into bed with me. His purring would lull us both back to sleep. Another little known vamp fact for you: they purr, especially when they’re sexually satisfied. You may have already figured that one out.
Angel and I didn’t sleep together until I’d been here for maybe ten or fifteen years, I guess. As I got older, my sex drive tapered off and just sorta vanished completely. Maybe because I could see myself in the mirror. Despite Angel’s assurances that I was still beautiful, I was also old.
It didn’t help that Angel was a beautiful as ever. His hair was still thick and dark. His face unlined and his body muscled and strong. Angel was forever locked into youthful perfection. Kind of hard on an old lady’s ego. Not that I’m an old hag. My belly is still flat and my boobs are still pretty much where they’re supposed to be. I’m still in good shape and I don’t look 70 by a long shot. But being naked next to his youth just wasn’t something I wanted to do anymore.
My stuff was packed up and moved into his suite after I admitted to him one night that I didn’t love him in that hot and sweaty way anymore. I didn’t love him any less, just not in a sexual way. We’d gone from full light to dim light to candle light to the bathroom light with the door shut. It was easier for me to pretend in the dark that I was still as young as he looks.
Angel’s never wavered in his attention. Even now, he’ll lie in bed and kiss and cuddle me – which I do like still! – and jack himself off. I switched from nightgowns to pjs so he can push the top up and cum on my belly. I do love to hold him and kiss him while he growls and grunts and rubs himself against me. I may be old, but I’m not dead. Angel can still kiss me silly.
He has stopped biting me, and I kinda miss it. What? You sleep with a vampire, you’re gonna get bitten. Why does everyone think that the time Faith poisoned him was the only time Angel bit me? He wasn’t objecting to having to feed off of me – he was afraid that in his condition he wouldn’t be able to stop. I hate it when he’s right.
The first time Angel bit me I was surprised. I was lying on my belly with him lying on my back and rubbing against my ass – Angel’s favorite position, by the way, if you’re taking notes – he was nipping at my neck and growling while he rubbed his hard cock on the velvet pants I was wearing that night. His hands were under me, both rubbing my pussy and holding me to him as he humped my ass. The moans were getting to the point I knew he was about to cum and then he bit me. Latched right onto the back of my neck.
Didn’t really hurt, his fangs are very sharp. There was just a slight sting. He apologized afterwards, but I was too busy trying to float back down to reality after the huge orgasm to really listen. Know why a vamp’s victim never fights after they’re bitten? Because it’s the most intense sexual experience you’ll ever have. Unless you know a friendly vamp you’ll have to take my word for that.
Tell you the truth, I loved it when Angel bit me, loved the feel of his fangs sliding into my body and the tugging of my blood as he suckled. I heal quick, so the bite marks were usually gone within a few hours. Angel never took more than a swallow or two so I was still full of bouncy Slayer energy.
I bit him sometimes, too. He’d let me sink my blunt teeth into the cool velvety skin of his throat until I drew blood. And when I say 'let', I mean just that. Angel is very much the Alpha Male.
He let me lie on top of him and rub against him. Let me kiss and touch him and bite him. Even let me win the occasional wrestling match. But he was all coiled power and strength, and could have forced me to do what he wanted at any time. Always makes me wonder why Angelus didn’t kick my ass. He could have. Thinking the demon likes me more than he lets on. When I ask, Angel just smiles that sexy little smile of his.
Everybody thinks Angel is distant and cold. Nothing but brood and sad. Not true. So not true. He’s like everyone else. Happy, angry, funny, sad – it’s all there. If everybody else gets hit with memories of the people they murdered because they’ve got a demon inside their mind who has his finger on the ‘play’ button, that is. Angel chuckles and purrs, sighs and frowns. And cries. The night he killed Connor he cried for hours. I rocked him and held him, comforted him. ‘It’ll be better, it’ll be okay’ the usual lies.
Wes’ false prophecy wasn’t false after all. Connor started out killing vamps and evil things. But then he started killing people. People he thought were evil. Not that the folks at W&H weren’t – but they were still people. Then he branched out. Started judging people and killing them if he felt they weren’t worthy.
Angel tried to stop him, but Connor was too far gone to be helped and it got ugly. The fight lasted longer than it should have, but Angel wanted desperately to save Connor – no – to not kill Connor. But in the end, he had to. As Connor died he said ‘father’ but he didn’t mean Angel, he was calling for Holtz. Connor never called Angel ‘dad’ or ‘father’ unless he was trying to manipulate him. He never truly believed that Holtz wasn’t his father.
Angel walked past everyone without a flicker of emotion. Went upstairs and got into the shower. They thought he was cold and uncaring. Only Lorne knew that Angel was suffering. He read Angel from time to time and he could see Angelus. He’d also seen the final battle with Connor coming. He warned me so I’d be ready.
I tried to be ready. But how do you prepare for such pain? How do you prepare to sit and hold the man you love while he weeps and screams and rages? How do you prepare for the horrible sound of a vampire keening in despair? You don’t. You just sit with the water pouring down on you and say all the usual lies.
Looking back, I wish I’d come to the Hyperion sooner. Angel and I did the best we could, but we wasted a lot of our time. Between you and me, I don’t think this shanshu is ever going to happen. Even if does, it’s too late for us.
I’m a little too tired these days, despite Angel’s pampering, and I use the elevator more. I tend to nod off midafternoon, which is kind of okay because Angel is still in bed and he’s a good nap buddy. Dread creature of the night and snuggle buddy. That can’t be good for his image.
The big drops on the paper are from the wet vamp leaning over me. He’s finished scrubbing off the slimy demony thing he killed tonight and he’s saying it’s past my bedtime. I’m an adult and – did I mention he bites?
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