Promises In The Dark
By Maquis Leader
Author’s note: when Angel rushed off to see Buffy after he found out she was alive at the end of Carpe Noctem. As always, Angelus’ thoughts are in monotype corsiva, which you can download from the main page.
Buffy was alive and he’d dropped everything to go see her. Fear had tempered his joy. Fear that he’d see her and Angelus would burst free. Fear at the dullness in her voice. If she’d been in hell all this time – he slammed the door on that thought.
Turning past the all night Snak Atak, the
Inside him, Angelus was strangely silent. There had been a single mental flash of emotion when he’d heard Buffy was alive and then nothing. No taunts or jibes. Nothing. The demon had locked himself away somewhere.
“Just as well.” Angel muttered as he pulled up the driveway of his old mansion. He didn’t feel like listening to Angelus’ snide comments right now. The mansion was still empty. And dark. Had she changed her mind?
After putting up the top and the windows on the
“Buffy?” His steps echoed eerily through the main room. “Buffy?”
Stopping, he turned, nostrils flaring until he caught her scent. It guided him out into the garden. Soft sobs led him to the far corner. “Buffy?”
“Angel?” She uncurled from the tight ball she’d forced herself into and held her arms out to him. “Angel?”
“I’m here, love.” He dropped to his knees beside her and pulled her into his arms. “I’m here.”
“Is it really you?” She touched his face tentatively as if afraid he might disappear.
“It is.” Buffy clung to him, her fingers digging into his shoulders through the thick coat. “Angel, help me please.”
“Shh…” Rocking her as he would a newborn baby, Angel murmured softly to her. “This is real, hold onto it. They can’t hurt you anymore.”
“I don’t want it to be real.” She whispered against his throat.
“Buffy, this is not an illusion.” Her tear streaked face turned to him. “No one will hurt you anymore. You’re safe.”
“No one was hurting me.”
“You were in hell – I know what they did to you.”
“No, you don’t…” She shook her head.
“I – I know what happened to
“I wasn’t in hell.”
“I wasn’t – in – hell – “ Buffy buried her face in his neck again.
“I was someplace warm and nice.”
“Warm – you – “ Comprehension dawned in the chocolate eyes. “You were in heaven?”
“And I knew you were safe.” She raised a hand to his face and traced a strong cheekbone. “You were sad, but safe.”
“Sad is my middle name.” Angel said seriously. “Right after broody guy.”
She raised her head to look him in the eye. “Did you just make a joke?”
“I’ve been working on the whole broody guy image.” He kissed her palm. “Is it working?”
“A little.” Closing her eyes, Buffy rested her head on his shoulder. “Mom was with me. She said – it – wasn’t – “ The tears started again.
“Wasn’t your fault? You knew that.”
“And everyone – I knew everyone was safe.” She wiped at the tears. “I want to go back.”
“You can’t.” He shook his head. Why couldn’t
“Angel, I want to go back, please.”
“Buffy – “ He brushed back the honey blond hair from her face. “I would give you anything, but I can’t give you that.”
“You can. You can feed off me.”
“No.” He pulled back, horrified at the thought.
“Yes, I want to go back!” Pulling at the neck of her shirt, Buffy bared her throat to him.
“No.” How could she think he would kill her?
You could always turn her. Angelus finally spoke up. Her soul would be in heaven and we’d be together for eternity.
“No!” He growled both to Buffy and the demon
“Angel, please!” Clawing at her neck, Buffy’s nails scraped across the old scar. “Please!”
Grabbing her hands, he pulled them away from her neck. The scent of blood – her blood – made his own burn in his veins. “Never again!”
“But you don’t understand!” She twisted in his grasp. “It was good and safe! And warm – safe – “
“I know, but listen to me – “
“Then I was in the dark – and it was cold! And – “ A sob tore from deep within her. “In a box – and – couldn’t get out – “
A shudder went through him again. She’d woken in her own coffin, buried alive. In his day, they’d simply nailed the lid on a wooden box. Today’s coffins were metal and locked – from the outside. And she’d had to – he lifted Buffy’s hands from her face. The nails were short and jagged, and her fingertips looked pink and newly healed. “Oh Buffy – Buffy – “ He pulled her closer and held her to his aching heart. His tears mingled with hers.
“What do I tell them?”
“You can’t tell them where you really were.” Angel blinked sleepily. With full day, he felt groggy. “They thought you were in hell. They were – “
“Only trying to help.” Buffy sighed. Her eyes were puffy and her head hurt. She’d cried until she had nothing left. “So telling them I hate them.”
“Would be a bad thing.” He yawned. “If you tell them you were really in heaven, they’re going to feel bad. Beyond bad.”
“I almost don’t care.” She snuggled deeper into his arms, inhaling the unique scent of Angel.
“I was someplace I wanted to stay, too.”
“Not in hell?”
“No. Pylea. Different dimension.” He shrugged. “In the long run, almost as bad.”
“And you wanted to stay… why?”
“Well, I could go out in the sun – without exploding.”
“Always a plus.”
“And I could see my reflection.” He frowned as he remembered his first look into a mirror. “And why didn’t you tell me about my hair?”
“I like your hair. It’s all mussed.” Buffy ran a hand through his thick, dark hair. “And much shorter.”
“I cut it.” He leaned down. “And does the hair gel thing work?”
The giggle felt good as it escaped from her. “So, why did you leave?”
“I saw Angelus.” The image of the demon reflecting back at him tormented his dreams. “I saw what the demon really looks like.”
“Haven’t we already seen him?” Angel’s vamp face no longer bothered her. “Low brow – fangs?”
“No. Worse, much worse.”
“And so you came home.” Ruffling his hair, she smiled sadly. “I’m sorry you couldn’t stay.”
“Me too.” Then I wouldn’t have come back to find out you were dead.
Angel’s eyes were dull and his head nodded. “You need to sleep.” She said as she got up from his lap.
“Come on.” Getting up, Buffy tugged at his hand until he stood up. “Upstairs.”
Groggily, he followed her upstairs to the bedroom. They shook out the dusty sheets and blankets and he stripped off the long leather duster and his boots before he laid down. “I hate this feeling.”
“The day zaps you, huh?” Crawling into bed next to him, Buffy cradled his head on her chest. “Must be part of the vamp thing. Creature of the night and all that.”
“Hmm… and the rough night I had before I drove here.” Her heartbeat was steady and strong beneath his cheek. "Somebody stole my body and took it out for a spin... I'll tell you later..."
"Been there, done that." Got laid and my so-called boyfriend liked her better. She stroked his soft hair. “Go to sleep.”
“Promise me you won’t go away again.” Angel whispered. “Ever again.”
“I promise.” No matter how much I want to. Stroking his soft hair, Buffy stared at the ceiling while he slept.
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