The Last Of The Spirits
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: Set in the possibly not too distant future… Thanks, Ral, for tossing me some nice lines to tuck away in here.
Creeping quietly out of her sister’s house, Buffy looked back at the dark windows with a small twinge of guilt. She’d promised Dawn no slaying while she visited. “Sorry.”
Dawn didn’t understand, no one did. How can they? Buffy sighed. When I don’t?
The only time she felt alive – felt real – was when she was killing vamps. The numbness lifted for a while, and she felt like a part of the world.
Walking down the quiet streets, she ignored the twinkling Christmas lights and family homes and headed for the dark places. The places evil liked to hunt.
“Hey baby, buy you a drink?”
Buffy shook her head. This guy was annoying, but not a vampire. Unfortunately.
“You know…” He leaned closer and put a hand on her thigh. “I’ve got a Porsche.”
“I hope you’ll be very happy together.” She squeezed his fingers until he yelped and moved his hand.
“That’s me.” She spotted a pair of vamps at the table with two girls. Sipping her soda, she watched as they laughed and danced and pretended to be human.
One was big and dark, and Buffy felt an ache in her long dead heart at the sight of him rubbing and grinding against one of the women. How long had it been since she’d had sex? Five years? Longer? “Sex is for the living.” She muttered.
Finally the vampires lured their prey outside. Getting up from her chair, Buffy followed them. Stalking the predators.
The back door opened into a dark alley. Why do they always go into a dark alley with somebody they just met? Her lip curled up scornfully. Sometimes she almost waited until it was too late to save them. She never did. They were stupid. But they were still people.
Sounds of scuffling and a muffled cry brought her attention back to the task at hand. Pulling the stake out of her jacket pocket, Buffy jogged quickly to the end of the alley.
One vampire had his victim pinned to the brick wall. Her shirt was ripped open and her skirt was pushed up. His pants were down around his knees as he forced himself inside of her. Over the large hand clamped across her mouth, the girl’s eyes were wide in terror and pain.
The other vampire was slapping his victim. He held a handful of her hair and forced her face to his crotch while he fumbled with the zipper of his pants.
“Gee, whatever happened to dinner and a date?”
“Get lost, girly.” Wallhumper growled over his shoulder.
“Please, help me!” The girl on her knees in front of Face Slapper cried out as he slapped her again.
“If it were up to me, I’d let you both die because you’re stupid.” Buffy shook her head. “Unfortunately, it’s part of my job to save people. Even the stupid ones.”
She grabbed Face Slapper by the collar and spun him around. Looking down, she giggled.
Snarling, he pulled back a hand to slap her. “We’ll see if you laugh when you’re choking on my cock!”
“That little thing?” Ducking under his arm, she drove the stake through his heart. “Not likely.”
Buffy was turning even as he exploded into dust. Wallhumper was pulling his pants up as he lunged for her. Stepping to one side, she let his own momentum impale him on her stake.
The two girls were crying and clinging to each other. There had been a time when she would have comforted them, helped them to their feet, and walked them back to some place safe.
Turning her back on them, Buffy walked away. There were more vamps to kill before the sun came up. San Diego wasn’t Sunnydale, but it had its fair share of monsters.
The alley opened into an empty lot. Homeless people crouched around small campfires and hid in cardboard boxes. Walking past them, Buffy avoided their hollow faces and empty eyes. They reminded her too much of her own reflection.
On the far side of the lot, she felt a tingle. Vampire. Turning slowly, she zeroed in on it. She almost didn’t see it at first. The huddled, dirty creature blended in with the homeless people like he was one of them.
It scuttled away as she approached. With a sigh, she followed it into the next alley. Jogging after it, she slowed as she realized the alley was a dead end.
The vampire turned, realizing its mistake too late. It swayed back and forth as if it didn’t know what to do. A soft whine drifted to her on the night breeze.
Don’t feel sorry for it! Buffy pulled the stake out of her pocket again. It’s still a vamp!
Scrambling back away from her, the vampire cowered in a corner of the alley.
“Sorry, guy.” She raised the stake. “You look like it’s past time somebody put you out of your misery anyway.”
The vampire’s head snapped up, and he looked at her with wide, startled eyes. The stake halted inches from his chest. “No.” Grabbing a handful of thick, dirty hair, she forced it out into the open and twisted its face up. Moonlight gilded the vampire’s features with silver.
He whimpered and tried to pull away. Dirt and grime covered his face but couldn’t disguise the beauty beneath it.
“No.” Staggering back, she stumbled over something and fell to her knees. “No...”
The vampire whimpered again and jerked loose from her weakened hold.
Buffy got to her feet and hurried after him. He was running wildly, blindly, and was easy to track. Before long, she had cornered him in an underground garage. Keening in fear, he clawed frantically at the locked metal door barring his way.
“Angel?” Buffy held her breath. She was wrong. It had been a trick of the light. Angel was dead and dust. Gone for years. This was some dirty, bum vamp. Nothing more.
“Angel?” She reached a hand out to touch him.
Yelping, he spun around and crouched down as she touched his shoulder. Whimpering, he cowered at her feet as if expecting to be beaten.
“Look at me.” She forced his face up. Chocolate brown eyes stared fearfully into hers.
“Oh my God...” Crouching down next to him, she wiped at the grime on his face. It smeared, and she tore off a strip of her shirt to scrub at him with. Gradually, she uncovered the strong cheek and jaw, exposing the angelic face.
There was no recognition in his eyes, and he shivered and trembled as if he expected her to strike him.
“Get up.” Rising, she pulled him to his feet. “Come on.”
“N – no – “ He pulled back as she tried to lead him back out into the open.
“You’re coming with me.” Ruthlessly she dragged him with her until she found an older model car. She smashed the glass in with her elbow. Opening the door, she jerked the wires on the screaming alarm. “Get in.”
Turning, she found he’d run to the shelter of a nearby doorway. Hands clamped over his head, he rocked back and forth and whined.
“Come on.” She jerked her hand back as he growled. “The bad sound is gone. Let’s go before the owner shows up.”
She pushed him into the car, and hotwired the ignition just as someone came running out of the building across the street.
“You’re going to behave.” She turned to where he sat in the seat next to her. “You hear me?” He scooted closer to the car door. “I want to get a better look at you – nothing more. Hear me?”
When she stopped at a red light, he jerked the car door open and spilled out. Throwing the gearshift into park, Buffy scrambled out after him. Catching his ankle, she hauled him back into the car.
“Do that again – “ She raised her fist. “And I’ll – “
He cowered in the floorboard, crying and keening softly. His hands were crossed protectively over his head, exposing thick scars on his wrists. Shame flooded her. If this was Angel – and she wasn’t convinced it was – he’d been badly abused by someone. And she was no better than they were.
“Listen.” She said softly. “I’m going to clean you up. I won’t hurt you.”
On the edge of the city, Buffy pulled into a seedy looking motel. The clerk leered at her as she signed the credit card slip one handed. The other hand was locked around the vampire’s wrist.
Opening the door to the small hotel room, she pushed him inside. “Bathroom. Wash.”
When he stood without moving, she pushed him toward the only other door in the room. “Wash. You stink.”
The bathroom was small and windowless. There was no way for him to escape. “Don’t make me wash you.” She tugged on his shirt, and he backed away. “Use soap. Lots of it.”
Closing the door, Buffy sat on the bed and waited. A few moments later, she heard the water running and then the sound of the shower. Satisfied that he was washing up, she picked the phone up to call her sister. Then set it back down. There was no way to explain this.
The water ran for a long time before she decided to check on him. Opening the door, she peered through the steam covered shower door.
He was sitting on the bottom of the shower, scrubbing listlessly at his grimy hands. The dark inked lines on his back rippled with the movement. The gryphon had its head cocked to one side as if shy about his nakedness.
“Angel, oh God, Angel!” Opening the door, she knelt next to him. He was thin, and his bones showed through the pale skin. But he was alive.
“B – B – Buffy?” His voice was rough as if he hadn’t spoken in years.
“Yes.” She wrapped her arms around him, heedless of the water pouring down on them.
“Cordelia told me you were dead.” Buffy combed her fingers through Angel’s dark hair, trying to work the tangles out. “Said you – you were burned alive.”
“It’s been almost ten years, Angel.” Tears burned her eyes. Her first in so many years she couldn’t remember. “Why did you let everyone think you were dead?”
“Couldn’t get out.” He offered her his scarred wrists.
“Someone kidnapped you?” The scars were thick and ugly. Given the way a vampire healed, Angel would have had to have been chained for months or possibly years to mark his skin this badly. “Who?”
“Dead.” A slight smile curled his lip. “Careless.”
“And when you got loose, why didn’t you let anyone know? Didn’t you think I deserved to know?”
Angel cringed at her harsh tone and pulled away.
“I won’t hurt you.” She rubbed at her eyes as the tears threatened again. “I’m sorry, Angel.”
“Sorry.” He leaned close and touched her cheek. “I’m not – not – Angel. No more.”
“Yes, you are.” For a moment she wondered if he had somehow lost his soul. No. No way Angelus would ever sink so low. “You should have come to me.”
He pulled away and curled up on the bed, tugging the ugly bedspread up over his head.
Whatever had happened to Angel, he didn’t want to talk about it. Buffy shut off the light and lay down next to him. He seemed ashamed of whatever had happened to him or of his condition, probably both. Wrapping an arm around his waist, she laid her face against his back.
Vanilla. One of the good dreams. Angel snuggled into the warmth. The good dreams were so rare and precious. The hunger gnawed at him to wake. No…
“Angel.” Buffy stroked his back as he whimpered in his sleep. “Angel, wake up. We have to leave.”
“Buffy?” Lurching up, he grabbed her shoulders. She was real. He buried his face in the curve of her neck and breathed in the soft sweet scent.
For a moment, she wondered if he was going to bite her. Instead he seemed content to burrow his face into her throat and snuffle at her. Stroking her hands through his soft hair, she kissed the top of his head before pushing him back. “It’s dark. We have to leave.”
She reached for a paper bag sitting on the bed. “I got you some clothes. And some blood.”
The plastic bag seemed to glow as she held it out to him. Blood. Human blood. More than he’d seen in one place in forever. Greedily, he tore the bag open and poured it into his mouth. When it was empty, he licked the inside clean. Blood had splattered onto his chest and belly, and he wiped it up with his fingers and sucked them.
Buffy tossed another bag onto the bed. With a snarl, Angel snatched it up and devoured the rich blood, his eyes a glittering amber as he watched her, as if he feared she’d take it away. Anger choked her. Anger at whoever had reduced him to an animal. Anger that she couldn’t do the same to them.
Reining in her temper, aware that Angel could easily scent her rage and in his condition it might goad him into attacking her, she sat on the bed and pulled the third bag of blood out of the sack. Moving slowly, she laid it within his reach but was careful not to encroach on his territory.
Angel pulled at the collar of the shirt while Buffy buttoned it for him. The fingers of his right hand wouldn’t close completely, and the buttons had resisted his efforts to force them through the holes.
“There we go.” Buffy smoothed a hand down the front of the shirt. “It’s not silk, but it’s the best I could do.”
She nodded. The thrift store didn’t have much in Angel’s size, not that Angel was Angel’s size anymore, but at least it was clean. “A clean Angel is a good Angel.”
He stumbled back as memories of whips and fists crashed in. Chains rattled, and the voice echoed in his ears. Covering his head with his hands, Angel fell to his knees, cowering and waiting for the blows to fall.
“Angel?” He was whimpering and shaking at her feet. “Angel, what’s wrong?”
“Good – good – “ The voice was in his head, and he pressed his hands over his ears. “No more – good – “
“Angel.” Kneeling next to him, Buffy pulled his hands away so she could see his face. He wouldn’t meet her eyes. “You’re safe.”
“Please – good – “
“Angel, baby, it’s okay now.” The soft keening tore at her heart. Even when Angel had returned from hell, he hadn’t been like this. Confused and frightened, but not terrified as he was now.
He had been calm and quiet only a minute ago; what had set him off? They had been talking about the shirt. Silk, clean, good – “Good? Was it – good? Angel?”
Angel scrambled back, a fresh cry tearing from him as the sounds of flesh ripping and bones breaking deafened him. And the voice. Above it all – the voice.
This was something she had seen before. Victims freaking on a word or combination of words. It was a common tactic of torturous weirdoes to dominate and keep their victims under control.
‘Good’ was used most often. Be ‘good’ and you won’t get hurt. If you’re being hurt it’s because you weren’t ‘good’ and you deserved to be punished. Of course, no matter what the victim did, they were never ‘good’.
Cautiously, Buffy approached where Angel cowered against the wall, his hands over his head. “I understand now. I won’t say it again.”
Reaching out, she took his hands away from his face. “Angel, listen to me. Look at me.” Moving closer, she pulled his arms around her and leaned against him. “You’re safe. Safe and no one will hurt you. I won’t let them.”
Her cheek was warm against his, and Angel snuffled along her face and neck, breathing in her scent. Buffy was safety. Buffy was love. Buffy was his mate, and she would protect him. A sudden fear made him jerk his head back. “Mine?”
“Mine?” The dark eyes were pleading with her. Mine yes or mine no? What’s mine? “Is ‘mine’ go – what you want?” When he nodded, she smiled. “Then yes, mine.”
Resting his cheek against hers again, Angel relaxed into Buffy's arms. The fear couldn’t get him as long as she was here.
“We’ll go get my car. And some better clothes and some more blood.” As she rubbed her hands along Angel’s back, she blinked back tears at the feel of his bones through his skin. “Lots of blood, we’re going to fatten you up.”
They walked through the dark streets, stopping occasionally to let Angel rest. Buffy had ditched the stolen car on her shopping trip, and now she wished she’d gone to Dawn’s and picked hers up. At the time, she had been afraid Angel would wake up and run away before she got back.
“Angel, why didn’t you come to me?”
“Home was empty.” Angel leaned back on the wooden park bench. “Strangers. Hotel gone.”
The Hyperion had been destroyed in the blaze that had also claimed Angel’s life – or so they’d thought. Buffy frowned. She had moved numerous times since then, restlessness driving her from place to place. “Sorry, guess I didn’t exactly leave a bread crumb trail, huh?”
“The Slayer is dead.” He rubbed at the scars on his wrists. “Why search?”
“There is no one Slayer anymore, remember?”
“The Slayer.” Looking up, he reached out and touched her cheek. “The Slayer.”
“I got hurt – pretty bad – and almost didn’t make it, and the rumor was that I died.” Too many baddies had the same opinion Angel did, that she was the only Slayer worth worrying over. “It made things easier.”
“How long have you been – free?”
“I – don’t know.” Angel thought back over the blurred nights. “Rainy.”
“Spring?” He nodded and she did a quick mental finger count. Six months, maybe eight. “How did you get to San Diego?”
“Train.” He tapped his chest. “Memories. It hurt.”
“The memories hurt?”
He nodded. “Hurt.”
“I hate to be critical, Angel.” Buffy sighed. “But you’re saying less than you did when you were being cryptic guy back when we first met.”
“Speak only when spoken to. Say only what you’re told to say. Be – ” A rough, unneeded breath. “Be – be – good – Angel – “
“New rules. Say whatever you want, whenever you want.” Putting an arm around his shoulders, she pulled Angel against her. He was shaking and panting, and she held him until he calmed.
“Rested now?” Standing, Buffy held a hand out to him. When he took it, she pulled him to his feet. Raising her hands to his face, she made him look her in the eye. “And Angel – you are good. Hear me? You. Are. Good.”
The voice screamed at him, and he trembled as the sounds of pain rose up. Staring into the gray eyes, Angel found new strength to push the fear away. “Safe – “
“You’re safe.” She smiled reassuringly.
“I’ll be – “ He smiled slightly. “Am – good.”
“You say you killed this guy.” Too bad, ‘cos I’d like to cut his heart out. And make him eat it. In teeny, tiny bits!
“Knife – in my belly – he turned to get – “ The memory made him growl. A careless moment finally presented to him. “I pulled it – stabbed – stabbed – “
“Wish I’d been there.” The growl was encouraging. “I’d have helped chop him up.”
“Not much left.” He said matter of factly.
“Come on, let’s go.” Buffy slid an arm around his waist. “Still a ways to walk.”
“You could steal – another car.”
“Hey, is that a joke?”
“I’m funny.” Angel laid his arm carefully around her shoulders. “Remember?”
Dawn’s house was lit up even though it was well after midnight. Buffy unlocked the passenger door of her SUV. “Get in. I’m going to go grab my bag and – “
“And have an ugly confrontation with my sister.” She sighed as she turned around. “Hello, Dawn.”
“Where were you? It’s been over twenty four hours.” Dawn put her hands on her hips. “I was worried.”
“I’m sorry, I was going to call – “
“You promised me! You promised no more slaying!”
“Dawnie, I can explain – “
“No! No more explanations! No more excuses!”
Beside Buffy, Angel shifted restlessly, the sharp, angry voice making him nervous. “Dawn, calm down – “
“Calm down! You come to my house! You promise – “ Dawn stopped, noticing the man beside her sister for the first time. He was wearing baggy clothes, and his dark hair was long and nearly covered dark chocolate eyes. “Who is this?”
“That’s why I didn’t call.” Buffy rubbed Angel’s shoulder. “I found Angel.”
“Angel – that’s not – not – Angel?“ Dawn rushed forward to hug him. “Oh my God – “
Angel backed away, stumbling off the curb and falling against the car. A panicked growl erupting from his throat.
“Dawn, no!” Buffy grabbed her sister’s arm and jerked her back.
“You’re scaring him!”
“I’m scaring him?” Dawn turned to look at Angel. He was cowering against the side of the SUV, and he was in game face, alternately growling and whining. “What happened? Why is he acting like that?”
“It’s a long story. Just back up and give him some room.” Buffy held her hands out to Angel. “You remember Dawn, don’t you?”
Taking her hands, Angel let her pull him to his feet. He sniffed questioningly as his face changed back. Her scent was familiar, and he searched the woman’s face for signs of the young girl he had once known.
“Angel, hi.” Dawn walked slowly to him and held out her hand. “Remember me?”
“Dawn – I remember.” He ignored her outstretched hand, stepping back until Buffy was between them.
“Oh, God, he’s not crazy like he was when he came back from hell, is he?” She dropped her hand.
“This is different.” Buffy told her. “And how tactfully you put that, may I add.”
“How is it different? Look at him!” Dawn pointed at Angel. “He’s a mess!”
“Well, gee, I'm sure he's very sorry that his having been captured and tortured makes you uncomfortable.” Buffy stepped protectively in front of Angel, blocking him from Dawn’s sight. “You don’t know what he’s been through.”
“What he’s been through? What about what I’ve been through?” Dawn stepped closer. “You running around and being Slayer Supreme! Going all crazy – crazier – because he was dead!”
“Was I just supposed to forget him?”
“Yes! So now what? Are you going to take care of him? Again? Get him well? Again?” Dawn stalked up to her sister and poked her with an index finger. “Go crazy when he leaves you? Again?”
“Shut up, Dawn!” There was a warning growl from behind her. “He’s not going to leave – “
“Is the curse gone? Well, is it? Is it?” She poked Buffy again, ignoring Angel’s growls. “My God, Buffy, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is insanity!”
“Maybe it is. But I’ve felt more alive for the last twenty four hours than I have since Willow brought me back.” Buffy opened the car door. “Angel, get in. I’ll be right back with my bags.”
“She’s angry.” He slid into the seat. “Be careful.”
“Don’t worry about it.” She patted his shoulder. “You just stay here, okay?”
Angel didn’t like the fear in her scent. “Promise.”
“I’ll be right back.” Smiling, Buffy closed his door. Before she could turn, something heavy hit her in the back. The impact knocked her into the door. Inside the car, Angel roared in fury.
“There’s your damned bag!” Dawn picked up the other bag and threw it at her sister. “And your damned weapons!”
Buffy caught it and set it on the ground. “Dawn – “ She put a hand on the door and held it shut as Angel tried to get out.
“I’m tired of worrying about you.” She shook her head. “You’re not going to be happy until you’ve killed yourself. I just can’t deal with it anymore.”
“How typical, Dawn. ‘How does this horrible thing affect me?’” Picking up the bags, Buffy walked around the SUV and opened the rear door so that she could toss them inside. “You won’t have to worry anymore. I won’t be back.”
“Fine!” Dawn yelled at her. “And when you two screw up and Angelus comes back – just remember I’m not on your list of victims!”
“No, you’re not.” Buffy opened the driver’s door. “Because the list only has room for friends and family.”
Dawn turned and walked into the house before Buffy's SUV had pulled away from the curb and into the darkness.
“Hey, no problem, cookie.” Lorne waved away the money Buffy tried to hand him. “Now you’re insulting me. Keep it; Angel’s a friend. A friend I’ve missed.”
Angel looked up from his third mug of blood. Lorne had grabbed him and hugged him when he’d followed Buffy into Lorne’s apartment. He knew Lorne was his friend and harmless – but he was still leery of him.
“You can’t tell anyone we were here.” Buffy closed the lid of the ice chest, satisfied that there was enough ice to keep the blood fresh. “Everyone thinks he’s dead. Most people think I am.”
“I know it’s for the best, but – “ Lorne held his hands out. “But Wes and Cordy – everybody – they have a right to know.”
“They gave up on him.” She said angrily. “They let him suffer for years.”
“Slayerkins, we didn’t – “
“Look! Look at this!” Grabbing Angel’s hand, she held it up for Lorne to see. “Look at the scars! Look at how thick and twisted the scars are! It’s so bad he can’t even button his own shirt!”
Angel pulled his hand away and then hid both hands under the table. Lorne looked away not only from the sight of the scarred flesh but also from the fear that radiated from Angel at Buffy's harsh tone. “Take whatever you need. And please – take care of each other.”
“We’ll get the windows tinted black. Maybe curtain off the side windows.” Buffy maneuvered the SUV around a slower moving car. “I’ve got some money left from when the Hellmouth ate my house, plus there’s what you had stashed away. Next time use smaller rocks, okay?”
“We need one of those little refrigerators to keep your blood cold. And a microwave.” She patted his leg. “We’ll be fine.”
As they reached the freeway, Buffy pulled over and looked at the map she’d picked up at the convenience store where she’d filled up the gas tank. “So, where do you want to be?”
“Where you are.”
Tossing the map over her shoulder, she guided the SUV back onto the road. “Let’s just go look.”
Buffy watched Angel carefully sketch the raccoon that was washing his paws in the creek. His fingertips were smudged with pastels, and there was a streak of charcoal on his cheek.
Sensing her attention, Angel turned and smiled at her before going back to his work.
He had filled out in the months they had been on the road. Good, rich, human blood, courtesy of the black market, had put weight back on his bones, and exercise had helped build his strength again. He had suffered from nightmares and panic attacks, and loud noises and quick movements still startled him.
One night, she had helped him slice the scar tissue off down to the raw flesh so that it would grow back clean and unmarked. The process had seemed to lift his spirits somehow, as if the chains had still been on his wrists. After that night, he kept his head up, meeting her gaze more often, and the panic attacks began to fade away.
Putting her hand on his leg, she waited until he turned to her again before leaning over slowly to kiss him. Buffy gave him time to decide if he wanted to be kissed or not. One of the hardest things for her to get used to was Angel’s initial reluctance to kiss or touch. She understood, but it was still hard. Even now, he’d sometimes turn his face away when she tried to kiss him.
Angel’s cool lips pressed against hers, and he teased her mouth open with his tongue. He sucked and lapped at her for a few moments before turning his face and resting his cheek against hers.
Ruffling a hand through the soft hair as he turned back to sketching, Buffy grinned as he growled at her.
At first, Angel had curled up into a tight ball when they lay down to sleep in the morning, barely letting her rest against his back. Gradually he had begun to turn to her in his sleep, snuggling into her embrace, and after a time it seemed as if they had always slept in each other’s arms.
That first day on the road, after she had showered and crawled into bed with him, Buffy had been eager to kiss and touch him. She had slid a hand down his chest and under the sheet and had found he wasn’t aroused. His cock had been soft and flaccid in her hand, his eyes had been closed, and he lay passively. She had felt sick as she realized that Angel wasn’t responding to her; he was purring because she had asked him to, and the way his muscles quivered under her fingers had been from fear and not desire. He’d shifted his legs open not to encourage her, but as a sign of obedience.
Somehow the thought that Angel had been abused sexually, as well as mentally and physically, was one that hadn’t occurred to her. Angel was big man, very male, not some girly looking boy. Then it had dawned on her that it had been just one more way for his captor to destroy him. How better to crush the alpha male spirit than by making him nothing more than a bitch?
She had pulled the blankets back up over him and apologized. Reassured him that she loved him and that she wasn’t angry with him. After he’d curled up with his back to her, Buffy had gone out and searched for something to kill.
When she had come back, Angel was awake and frantic, afraid that she had been angry and disgusted by what happened to him, afraid she had abandoned him. He had kissed her and pressed his body against hers, running his hands over her until she had made him stop. His whispers of fuck me, words she'd heard a thousand times in hot and sweaty dreams of him, had turned her stomach. Angel had offered what he thought she wanted, begged her to use him and degrade him, terrified that she would abandon him otherwise.
They had laid down new rules. Kissing and touching was something that it was up to Angel to decide if he wanted. She would ask or move slowly so he could refuse if he wanted, and she wouldn’t be angry. Buffy reminded him that the curse kept them from having sex no matter what either of them might want, and maybe this was for the best.
Time had made Angel more comfortable with physical contact, and he had accepted her offered kisses more often and had begun to kiss back and touch her without her initiating it. He had rediscovered his love of lying with his head in her lap while she ran her fingers through his hair, and would crawl over to her, purring even before she touched him.
One late afternoon, Buffy had awakened to find him touching her breasts, his fingertips barely gliding over her nipples as they hardened beneath the t-shirt she wore. When she had opened her eyes and reached for him, Angel immediately pulled away and rolled over.
The next afternoon, she awakened again to Angel touching her. This time, she had lain still as he carefully stroked his hands over her breasts. For several days, the pattern had continued with Angel touching and petting her as long as he thought she was asleep. The big hands would slide over her breasts and belly, growing bolder as time went by, even cupping and squeezing her ass if she was lying on her stomach.
She began sleeping in silk teddies that had low necklines and matching skimpy panties, and the afternoon she had felt his cool mouth close over her breast, a surge of triumph had gone through her, almost overwhelming the desire his suckling brought.
It had been all she could do to lay still and pretend to sleep the day Angel cautiously climbed on top of her. He had pulled her panties aside, but his cock hadn’t been hard enough, and she could feel him pressing against her and slipping off. His whimpers of frustration were more than she could bear, and she had had to curl her fingers into the bed sheets to keep from helping him.
As casually as she could, Buffy had rolled her head back and to one side, exposing her throat to him. Immediately, Angel’s mouth had gone to her pulse and had begun to nip and bite, growling as his cock swelled and hardened. He had buried himself inside of her with a happy grunt.
Her fingers had dug through the sheets and into the mattress to keep from touching him, and the urge to wrap her legs around his hips had been forced down as well. Luckily, it had been over quickly, only a few hard lunges before his cool seed had gushed into her. Lucky because her self control had been hanging by a thread.
Afterwards, Angel had tried to roll off of her, but she had held him to her. The chocolate eyes had been full of shame and guilt, and Buffy had done her best to kiss it all away. She had coaxed him into a second time, smiling up at him and telling him how much she loved him. The second time had lasted much longer and had been infinitely more satisfying for both of them.
Buffy had been stroking her fingers through Angel’s hair when it hit her that the knot holding Angel’s soul to his body had just been untied. Tensely she had waited, his head cradled on her naked breasts, waited to wake up with Angelus. The sun had set with no sign of him.
The curse didn’t seem to be a problem anymore. They didn’t know if it was gone or if Willow hadn’t put it back the last time she’d restored his soul. It was possible that the curse was still there, and Angel just couldn’t ever be completely happy anymore.
She took another look at him, at the slight smile on his face as he sketched. If that was the case and Angel continued to improve, even slowly, she needed to be wary. Or not. She hadn’t decided.
With Angel she was alive and without him she was dead. If Angelus showed up one night, he could just finish her off. They were together and screw what anyone thought.
The Angel she had fallen in love with was gone, and might never come back. This Angel was quiet and thoughtful, content to follow her wherever her whimsy led them. And she didn’t love him any less. Someday he might regain who he had been, but if not, it didn’t matter.
They spent their time making love and sleeping the days away, driving down the road and seeing America by night. The Grand Canyon, the Alamo, the French Quarter of New Orleans for Mardi Gras, where Angel had gotten cranky about how many strings of beads she collected by flashing her breasts.
In Las Vegas, Angel had shown her how to play blackjack and they had fucked atop their winnings, rolling around in the money spread over the bed until she’d complained about paper cuts. He’d licked the blood off her skin, and she’d shrieked until hotel security knocked on the door and asked them to keep it down.
The Empire State Building, Niagara Falls, The Largest Ball Of Twine In The World, Graceland, they were taking the grand tour. Even places she’d seen before were new when she saw them with Angel. Her parents had dragged her out to see the sequoias and the cable cars and she’d hated it. Bored now. But they were beautiful and fresh when Angel was holding her hand.
“It’ll be light soon.”
“Hmm?” Angel’s voice brought her out of her thoughts. “Are you done?”
“Yes. A lady raccoon came by, and he followed her.” A smile tugged at his lips. “Got the feeling she was in the mood.”
“Must have been the mask. You know how we girls like the bad boys.” Standing, Buffy helped him gather up his pencils and sketchpads and put them in the SUV.
“I’ll have to get a mask.” He pulled her to him and lowered his mouth to hers for a kiss.
Buffy eased the SUV over into the right lane. Ahead she could see the exit she needed to take. Glancing over her shoulder, she smiled at the sight of Angel lying sprawled out naked on the air mattress in the back, sated and sleeping. The bite on her neck stung pleasantly, and she raised her fingers to it. “Sleep, baby.”
The sun was just beginning to rise behind them.
I had a lot of fun doing a DVD type commentary for Revenge, Version 1.0, and I thought I'd do another one.
The devil's in the details, as they say.
Sometimes a song inspires a story, but in this case the story reminded me of a song. Here’s the lyrics for You Can Sleep While I Drive.
You Can Sleep While I Drive
Come on baby, let's get out of this town.
I got a full tank of gas, with the top rolled down.
There's a chill in my bones,
I don't want to be left all alone,
So, baby, you can sleep while I drive.
I'll pack my bag and load up my guitar.
In my pocket I'll carry my harp.
I got some money I saved,
Enough to get underway,
And, baby, you can sleep while I drive.
We'll go through Tucson up to Santa Fe.
And Barbara in Nashville says we're welcome to stay.
I'll buy you boots down in Texas,
A hat from New Orleans,
And in the morning you can tell me your dreams
You know I've seen it before,
This mist that covers your eyes.
You've been looking for something,
That's not in your life.
My intentions are true,
Won't you take me with you?
And baby you can sleep while I drive.
Oh, is it other arms you want to hold you?
The stranger, the lover, you're free.
Can't you get that with me?
Come on baby let's get out of this town.
I got a full tank of gas, with the top rolled down.
If you won't take me with you,
I'll go before night is through.
And, baby, you can sleep while I drive.
Performed by Trisha Yearwood.
Written by Melissa Etheridge.
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