Waiting On An Angel

By Maquis Leader

 

 

 

Rated PG13

Author’s note: Set during BtVS second season prior to Surprise.  As always, Angelus' thoughts are in monotype corsiva, which you can download from the main page.

 

 

 

“Where’d he go?”

 

“Through there.” Angel pointed out a loose board in the fence that was hanging slightly askew. Moving it aside, he held it while Buffy slipped through

 

When Angel followed, he found Buffy had the vampire cornered where the fence met the side of a house. Settling his shoulder against the house, he watched her work. She was such a contradiction. Dainty and petite, yet as dangerous a predator as any vampire she killed.

 

They’d missed the vampire when he’d crawled out of his grave because they’d been leaning against a nearby mausoleum, too busy groping and kissing to notice that the vamp they’d come to stake had escaped.

 

Squeezing Buffy's tits is more fun anyway. Angelus yawned.

 

The vamp was a newborn, clumsy and confused. Angel remembered that moment, clawing through the dirt, so hungry it felt like his guts were being ripped out. He’d had Darla there to guide him and feed him a convenient gravedigger. This newborn had risen alone; whoever had sired him hadn’t been interested enough to stick around.

 

Jeez… what’s the world coming to? There was a mental tsking. In my day, we mentored the newborn.

 

Whatever.

 

Excuse me? There was an indignant snort. What chylde of mine was ever abandoned?

 

Angelus had him there. My bad. He hadn’t sired very many, but he had been there when they rose to teach them to be as depraved and vicious as he was.

 

You take that back! No vamp’s as depraved or vicious as I am!

 

Sighing, Angel shook his head. That’s the truth. A whimper of pain made his head jerk up. Had the newborn managed to hurt Buffy? Angelus growled softly.

 

He heard the sound again, moments after Buffy drove the stake through the vamp’s heart. A small sound, as though someone were trying to muffle their cries into a pillow.

 

“Good thing I don’t have allergies.” Buffy brushed vamp dust off her shirt. Turning, she saw Angel standing tensely, his head lifted and nostrils flared. “What’s up?”

 

He turned slowly, trying to home in on the small sound. There was a hint of fear in the air, and he closed his eyes to focus on it.

 

“Another vamp?”

 

“Shh…” Not a vamp or he wouldn’t hear the pounding heart.

 

“Wh – “ Buffy froze as she heard a sob.

 

Angel’s head swiveled in the direction of the window a few feet away. Soundlessly, he moved next to it and listened.

 

From within he heard the stifled crying, and the sharp scent of fear was stronger. Through the glass, he could see a small child lying in a bed. Bruises marred the pale face.

 

Innocence… how sweet…

 

Buffy peeked in. Seeing the crying child, she felt ashamed, like a peeping Tom. Which technically I sorta am. Peeping Buffy anyway. There was a sudden crash and thump from another room, and then voices raised in anger.

 

A familiar feeling of despair washed up over her, and for a moment she remembered hiding under her own covers listening to her parents argue. There was a brush of cool fingers across her cheek and she looked up to see concern in Angel’s eyes. Shaking her head, she turned away.

 

Angel was torn between the crying child and Buffy. In the end, he turned and followed Buffy out of the yard. Her scent was clouded with sadness, and he remembered hearing Buffy's parents argue as he lurked outside her bedroom window.

 

They walked silently back to the graveyard, Angel catching Buffy's hand and curling his fingers around hers.

 

Giles was waiting by the entrance, reading a book by flashlight. He dropped it as they stepped out of the darkness. “Bloody hell!” He clutched at his chest. “Warn a person next time! Stomp your feet – or – or whistle!”

 

“Sorry.” Angel shrugged. “Habit.”

 

This is Sunnydale. Angelus snickered. You’d think he’d be more er… watchful.

 

“Did everything go all right?” Giles frowned. “Buffy?”

 

“Fine. Good.” She crawled into the backseat of the battered Gilesmobile. “See vamp. Kill vamp.”

 

Of course, in our case, it’s see vamp and kiss vamp.

 

Something wasn’t quite right. He turned to Angel. “What happened?”

 

“We sort of saw something.”

 

“Saw something? Another vampire?” Giles’ eyes widened. “A demon?”

 

“We overheard an argument.” Angel slid into the passenger seat of the car. “Crying child, fighting parents – you get the picture.”

 

No demons except those pesky personal ones.

 

“Ah, I see.” Merrick, Buffy's first Watcher, had written in his journal about Buffy's turbulent home life before her parents’ divorce. Giles understood now why she was troubled.

 

The car moved slowly through the dark streets. Angel turned and reached between the seats to pat Buffy's leg. She smiled briefly at him before turning to look out the window at the quiet houses with all their secrets.

 

 

 

 

“We can’t do anything.”

 

Angel whirled around, face morphing into a snarl. Buffy took a step back, and he let his game face fade away. “Sorry, I didn’t hear you.”

 

Good thing I can’t have a fucking heart attack!

 

“S’okay.” She smiled at him and stepped close to kiss him.

 

It was barely dark; she had slipped out as soon as she was able, climbing out her bedroom window the moment she heard her mother turn on her computer to work on the gallery’s expenses. Angel hadn’t been waiting for her, and Buffy had known somehow he’d be back here.

 

She put a hand on his arm. “We can’t do anything.” She repeated. The muscles quivered under her fingers. “It’s – it happens, you know?”

 

“That doesn’t make it right.”

 

“No.” From within the house came the sounds of arguing and shouting. “And the sad part is, she thinks it’s all her fault. If she were better – if she were good – then her parents wouldn’t fight all the time.”

 

“She is good.”

 

She’d be better with a side of fries. There was a big mental yawn and a stretch. Can we go kiss Buffy now?

 

The low growl startled Buffy. Angel was upset and she couldn’t figure why. This was a rerun of her life predivorce, but how did that connect to him? “Angel?”

 

Well forgive me for wanting to do something better than brood like you’ve done for the past hundred fucking years!

 

“’Tis always the little ones what suffer.” He muttered.

 

From inside she heard the sounds of slaps and crying. “What – “ Peering inside, she didn’t see anything, but she clearly heard the sounds of a fist striking flesh and cries of pain. “Oh God – “

 

“He doesn’t see.” Angel voice was thick. “He doesn’t care.”

 

Tugging at his arm, Buffy pulled him away. He resisted for a moment before following.

 

 

 

 

“Buffy, I’m not sure what you expect me to do?”

 

“He was hitting her – “ Buffy said helplessly. “Can’t we tell someone? The police?”

 

“And tell them what exactly?” Giles pulled his glasses off. “That you were window peeping and saw someone beating their child?”

 

“Yes! Well, no – not the peeping part.” She frowned. “But the other part.”

 

“Buffy, I detest people who abuse children.” He looked up as Angel paced past the table. “But there’s nothing we can do. If the mother doesn’t report it – “

 

“Why can’t someone else report it?”

 

“We can, but you realize – “ He broke off as Angel paced by once again. “Angel, do sit down!”

 

The vampire dropped into the chair next to Buffy, glaring at her Watcher as he did so.

 

That was rude. You should bite him.

 

“Many times, children protect an abusive parent.” Giles told her gently. “A child’s love is unconditional – even when it shouldn’t be.”

 

“There have been complaints.” Willow waved them over to where she sat at the library’s computer. “They’ve all been dropped though.”

 

Buffy got up to look over her shoulder at the screen. “How can he not go to jail?”

 

“His wife always drops the charges.” Shaking her head, Willow scrolled through the reports. “Why would she do that?”

 

“Because she doesn’t know what else to do.” Xander spoke up for the first time. “She doesn’t have anywhere else to go. No way to take care of herself and her kid.”

 

Buffy turned to look at Xander; he’d been uncharactistically quiet since she’d told them what she and Angel had seen. After the first ‘Dead Boy’ comment, he hadn’t said another word.

 

Willow gave him a sympathetic look. Xander’s parents fought on a daily basis, sometimes hitting each other. Luckily, Xander had never suffered any physical abuse, though there was no shortage of verbal and mental pain handed out to him.

 

“As much as we want to, Buffy, we can’t fix this.” Giles put his glasses back on. “This is one demon you can’t slay.”

 

 

 

 

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

 

The childish voice drifted out to Angel.

 

Oh, me too! Me too! Angelus said excitedly.

 

“God bless Grandma and Grandpa and Mommy and… Daddy. And please make math easier.”

 

Buffy arched an eyebrow at that. Praying for grades? Worth a shot. Dear God, ditto on the math thing.

 

“And please can I have a guardian angel? Mommy says everyone one has one, but I don’t think I do. I’m kinda little, maybe you missed me? I could really use one, pretty please. Not even a big one – a little angel would be okay – “

 

“Stop that crap, Kasey, and go to sleep!” A gruff voice interrupted. “There’s no damn angels!”

 

“Mommy says – “

 

“She’s stupid and you’re even more stupid for believing her.” There was a sharp slap and a cry. “Now go to sleep!”

 

Buffy rubbed Angel’s back. He was angry and tense, his jaw clenched tightly. She rubbed in gentle circles, feeling the growl vibrating under her fingers until the little girl’s crying stopped.

 

 

 

 

 

Buffy sat on the bed and watched Angel prowl restlessly around her bedroom. He picked up Mr. Gordo, put him back. Picked up a bottle of her perfume, sniffed at it, put it back. Picked up the silver cross he’d given her, dropped it and shook his burnt fingers.

 

“Come here, before you accidentally stake yourself.” She patted the bed. “Sit.”

 

Angel dropped onto the bed next to her. “I should go.”

 

“Not until you tell me why you’re so upset over this.” She took his hand and checked the damage. The burns were already healing over.

 

“Doesn’t it bother you?”

 

“Of course it does.” Lifting his scorched fingertips to her lips, she kissed them gently. “But there’s something more – something deeper, Angel.”

 

Dear God, no! Angelus growled. Don’t give him a chance to drag out that crap!

 

“My father – “ He shook his head. “He was – I wasn’t – he wasn’t happy with us.”

 

“Us?”

 

You had to ask… There was a mental shudder.

 

“Kathy and me – mostly me.” He laughed bitterly. “Nothing was ever done right. Nothing was ever good enough. I don’t know why – I’ve never been able to figure it out.”

 

Buffy sat silently, biting back her questions, sensing that Angel was uncovering a part of him that was long buried.

 

“There were just the two of us – not the big family Da wanted. The one every Irish Catholic man is supposed to have.” He studied her slim, tanned fingers curled around his pale ones. “Though he mounted my mother often enough to keep her with child – but they always died. Stillborn mostly or sickly, weak babes that died soon after.”

 

Well, boo hoo! Cry me a fucking river! My sire died, do you see me crying?

 

“There was me.” Angel lifted her fingers to his chest, spread them over his still heart. “And when I was fifteen – maybe sixteen – there was Kathy.”

 

“I didn’t care. All I wanted was gone. Didna care where – just away from Da.” Angel’s eyes closed. “Kathy wasna sickly. She was strong. I didna want to hold her – but my mother put her in my arms. And she stole my heart.”

 

There was a smile on his lips, a tender curving she’d never seen before. Angel had told her once about his sister, but he’d been angry, full of pain and self hate. With her free hand Buffy traced his lips.

 

“I loved her, Buffy. Oh, God I loved her.” The chocolate eyes opened, revealing the shine of unshed tears. “And I couldn’t leave her to live in that hell alone.”

 

 

His head was pounding, and Liam pulled a pillow over his face trying to block out the annoying sound that had awakened him. The sound continued, pushing into his brain.

 

“Sweet Jesus, can’t a man die in peace?” He pulled the covers up over his head.  A cry made him bolt upright. “Kathy?”

 

Rolling out of bed, Liam staggered to the door, jerking it open and following the sounds of his sister’s cries. In the great room, his father stood over a small huddled figure, the strap coming down in a steady rhythm.  “When will you learn? Are ye so daft that you can’t understand the simplest things?”

 

“Leave her be!” Liam pushed his father aside.

 

“Leave her – “ The older man stumbled and almost fell. “You ungrateful wretch!”

 

Scooping up his sister in his arms, he started for his room when the strap fell across his shoulders. The next blow caught the back of his head. The previous night’s carousing had left him sick and weak, and the blow knocked him to his knees.

 

Helplessly, Liam curled around Kathy’s body, protecting her as the strap came down over and over. Her sobs mingled with his own whimpers of pain.

 

“Insolent brats!” His father continued until his arm was too tired to raise the strap. Huffing and puffing with exertion, he stood over his cowering children. “All I asked for were good children! And God gave me the two of you! Cursed me!”

 

“Worthless!” He kicked his son in the ribs. “Worthless, the both of you!”

 

Grunting at another kick to his ribs, Liam laid as still as possible, not wanting to antagonize his father further. He lay there until the old man walked away, panting and cursing them.

 

Slowly, painfully, Liam sat up, cradling Kathy in his arms. Her heart beat frantically against his bare chest, and her fingers clenched in his hair as she cried silently. She had learned that crying aloud would likely bring their father back for another beating.

 

Making his way back to his room, he closed the door and set Kathy down on the bed. She clung to him, not wanting to let go. “Shh… come on, sweetie.” He pried her fingers loose from his hair. “Let me look at you.”

 

The brown eyes were huge in her pale face, and her teeth bit into her bottom lip to hold back her cries. Her thick petticoats had protected her somewhat, but the strap had torn through the back of her dress and chemise and left ugly welts on her pale skin.

 

The door opened, and his mother came in with clean cloths and a jar of salve. She set them on his washstand and poured clean water from the pitcher into the washbowl. “I’ll take care of her, Liam. It isn’t proper – “

 

“It isn’t proper?” Liam turned to look at his mother.

 

“At your age – “

 

“Get out. Go wait for Da.” He sneered. “Perhaps he’ll get the perfect child on ye yet.”

 

Without another word, their mother turned and left, closing the door behind her.

 

Carefully, he took off Kathy’s clothes and bathed the welts. Only a few had broken the skin, and he gently smeared the salve over them.  His own back throbbed and burned, and his ribs ached.

 

When he finished, he let her tend his back, hissing in his breath as she cleaned away the drying blood. It didn’t escape his notice that at barely six years of age, Kathy had already learned how to care for the damage their father inflicted.

 

Turning, he picked her up. Proper or not, he savored the feel of his baby sister’s bare skin against his own. Kathy was warm and alive. More and more he felt cold inside, as if he were dying.

 

From his dresser, Liam took out a pale cream-colored shirt. “Arms up, lass.” When she lifted her arms, he settled the shirt over her head. “There we are.”

 

“I’ll get it dirty.” Kathy ran her fingers along the soft material. “It’s too fine.”

 

“’Tis only lawn and lace.” The shirt had cost him a pretty penny when he was on the continent. “Someday, Kathy sweetie, I’ll dress you in silks and satins.”

 

The chocolate eyes gazed adoringly into his as he buttoned the shirt up and rolled the cuffs up for her. Lifting her up, he settled her into his bed and lay on his side next to her.

 

Brushing back the thick, dark hair, he kissed her forehead before resting his cheek against hers. “Sleep, lass. Someday I’ll put an end to all this.”

 

 

“Angel, oh God.” Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed against him. “I’m sorry, so sorry.”

 

“Buffy.” Angel rubbed a big hand up and down her back. “There’s nothing for you to be sorry for.”

 

“He was awful.” She kissed his cool cheek.

 

“Why do you think I killed him?”

 

And the first guess doesn’t count. Angelus purred over the memory of killing his father.

 

“But – “ She pulled back to look at him. “You – you killed her, too. Why – “

 

“She’s in heaven – she belonged in heaven.”

 

“She – “ Buffy stopped; the grief in Angel’s eyes was raw and fresh, as though his sister had died the day before. This was obviously his way of dealing with what he had done. “She is in heaven, Angel. She is.”

 

 

 

 

“Wow.”

 

“Major wow.” Buffy pushed her half dead school lunch around on the tray.

 

“Kinda explains the low self esteem issues. ‘Cos if I was gonna be young and handsome forever and was strong and fast – I think I’d be a little more confident. Hopefully.” Willow frowned sadly. “Bad enough when your parents don’t know you’re there – but hitting and stuff? I can’t imagine.”

 

“Seeing this kid, I guess it brings it all back to him.” She stabbed a gray lumpy meat bit with her fork. “Too bad a guardian angel can’t show up and give Dad a kick in the butt.”

 

“Yeah, that’d be…” Willow’s fork clattered to the tabletop. “What if he can?”

 

Buffy looked up to see a grin on Willow’s face and a gleam in the green eyes.

 

 

 

 

“Oh, oh! Run! Hide!” Xander held up his fingers, forming a crude cross. “I know that look, no one gets out of here alive!”

 

“Xander.” Willow rolled her eyes. “Quit being silly.”

 

“Silly? Silly? 'Ha' to silly, I say!” He smacked a hand down on the library table. “May I remind you of the Great Frog Caper of ’95?”

 

“That was – “

 

“And the Library Fiasco of ’93?”

 

“They were banning books!” She looked to Giles for support. “That’s bad, right? We had to do something! And frog dissecting? Also bad. Especially for the frogs.”

 

“I have to agree with Willow.” Giles held back a smile. “Though I do tend to rate book banning above frog dissection on my list of things that are bad.”

 

“See!” Willow turned back to Xander. “See! So then I say 'ha' to your 'ha'!”

 

The library doors opened to admit Buffy and Angel. “Hey guys.” Buffy dropped into a chair next to Willow.

 

“Buffy tells me you have some sort of crazy – “ Angel winced as Buffy dug an elbow into his side. “Plan.”

 

“Willow’s plan is for us all to spend some quality time together, Dead Boy.” Xander told him. “In detention.”

 

“This doesn’t have anything to do with school.” The redhead frowned at him. “Principal Snyder can’t give us detention.”

 

“Ah good.” He made an expansive gesture. “Jail then?”

 

“Xander! We won’t go to jail!” Willow turned to Buffy. “We won’t go to jail, will we?”

 

“No. No jail.” Buffy assured her.

 

“What is this plan?” Angel asked impatiently. He hadn’t slept well the past few days, nightmares of his sister, and their father’s abuse, driving him from restful slumber.

 

“You’re going to love it.” Willow promised, the gleam returning to her eyes. “You’re really, really going to love it.”

 

“Excuse me.” Giles waited until he had the group’s full attention. “In my official capacity as Buffy's Watcher – I forbid this.”

 

“Giles!” Buffy protested.

 

“Buffy, please.” He held up a hand. “All right then, now that that’s out of the way, what are we doing?”

 

 

 

 

Angel walked silently through the dark house. To his heightened senses, it was if every light in the house was on. He walked through the den and down the hallway, following the girl’s scent to her room.

 

Gaining access to the house had been surprisingly easy. Earlier in the evening, Buffy and Willow had pretended to be doing a research survey for a school project, and when the girl’s mother had invited them in, he had gone in with them.

 

The bonus was that Buffy had worn her cheerleader’s outfit as part of her ‘cover’ and they had managed to get in some quality groping and kissing while waiting for the house to settle for the night. If things went well, he’d get another chance to get his hands under that short skirt.

 

Too bad she didn’t bring the pom-poms.

 

Shut – oh wow… He almost stumbled. Shut up!

 

Like you weren’t thinking it? Angelus snickered. Buffy does Angel.

 

Ignoring his inner demon, Angel opened the door to the little girl’s room and stepped inside. He stood for a moment, looking at the toys neatly lined up on the pink shelves and the smiling teddy bears on the wallpaper, before sitting on the bed next to the small figure curled up under the covers.

 

“Kasey.” He whispered. “Kasey, wake up.”

 

The little girl stirred and rolled over. “It’s dark…” Her eyes widened at the sight of the strange man sitting on her bed. She opened her mouth to scream but only a squeak came out.

 

“It’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you.” Angel held his hands up. “I’m here to say I’m sorry.”

 

Kasey scuttled away from him, backing up against the rainbow-striped headboard and clutching her stuffed tiger. Another faint squeak came from her open mouth.

 

This is going well.

 

Fear curled around him, pulling at him with sweet fingers. Ignoring it, Angel went on with his prepared speech. “I’ve been so busy. I’m kind of new to this guardian angel stuff.”

 

“Angel?”

 

“Um… yeah.” He held his hand out. “That’s me.”

 

“Really?” She took his hand carefully. “You’re not a crazy-psycho-murderer?”

 

Define crazy-psycho.

 

“No.” Angel smiled. “I help people – you know, the helpless? But I haven’t gotten it all figured out yet. I’m sorry.”

 

“That’s okay.” Kasey crawled over to him, her earlier fear forgotten. “Where’s your wings? And aren’t you supposed to have a halo?”

 

And a harp! Don’t forget the harp, kid. Angelus guffawed, conjuring up a picture of himself with wings, halo, and a harp.

 

The leather pants clash with the wings. “Don’t tell.” He leaned down to whisper conspiratorially.  “But that’s only for the movies.”

 

“I won’t.” She promised. “You’re pretty.”

 

“Uh…”

 

Outside the window, Buffy clapped a hand over her mouth while Willow bit her lip to keep from laughing out loud.

 

I feel pretty! Oh so pretty! There was a pause. Crap! Now that song’s gonna be stuck in my head all night!

 

“I stopped by to tell you that things are going to be better.” Angel brushed a wayward strand of hair back from the girl’s face.

 

“Your fingers are cold.”

 

Angel jerked his hand back. “I’m sorry.”

 

“Is it because you live up in the clouds?” She took his hand and examined the silver rings he wore. “It gets colder up high, I learned that in school.”

 

“Uh, yeah, that’s it.” He watched as she measured her small hand against his. For a moment, he saw Kathy doing the same thing, laughing as he wrapped his fingers around hers.

 

“You’re pale.”

 

“I do a lot of night work.” Angel deadpanned.

 

“You’re nice and cool.” Getting to her knees, Kasey touched his face, tracing his cheekbones and nose. “I like it.”

 

Outside, Buffy frowned. “I know she’s only a kid.” She whispered to Willow. “But still.”

 

“Paws off?” Willow giggled softly. “Maybe we should put a big ‘property of Buffy’ sticker on him?”

 

“Or a tattoo.”

 

“I’m going to go talk to your father, explain to him that what he’s doing is wrong.” The little girl climbed up on his lap and Angel awkwardly put his arms around her. “And it is wrong, and it’s okay to tell.”

 

“I try not to be bad.” She whispered.

 

“You’re not bad.” He held her close and pressed a kiss to her cheek.

 

Aww… give her a chance! She could grow up to be bad!

 

“You need to go back to sleep.” Angel lifted her up and placed her back in bed. Pulling the covers up around her, he tucked her in. “Now, this has to be our secret, okay?”

 

“Can’t I just tell Lisa?”

 

“No, you can’t tell anyone.”

 

“But we pinky swore. We poked our fingers and bleeded and everything.” The big eyes were serious.

 

“I know. But I could get in trouble.” He tapped her nose with a fingertip. “We’re not supposed to let anybody see us.”

 

She frowned. “I don’t want you to get in trouble.”

 

“So don’t tell.” He brushed a kiss across her cheek. “And from now on, I want you to be strong and sure of yourself.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“And just give the math a little extra study.” Getting up, he made one last adjustment to the bed covers. “I’m going to go talk to your father now. You go back to sleep.”

 

“But won’t Daddy tell?”

 

Angel paused in the doorway and smiled slightly. “I don’t think so.”

 

 

Back in the living room, Angel looked down at Kasey’s father. The man was sprawled in a recliner, a half empty beer in one hand and a remote control in the other. Glancing out the window, he saw that Willow and Buffy had taken up their positions. Willow gave him the thumbs up.

 

Kicking the handle on the recliner, Angel backed away and watched as the footstool crashed down, jarring the man awake. The beer can hit the floor with a thump.

 

“What the – “ Blinking, he rubbed a hand over his face.

 

“I’m sorry, did I wake you?”

 

The soft voice startled him, and he jumped when a figure stepped out of the shadows. “Who the hell are you? How’d you get in my house?”

 

“I’m Kasey’s guardian angel, and I’m a little unhappy with you.”

 

“Get the hell out before I call the cops!” He jumped up from his chair, remote control clutched like a weapon.

 

“Sit down.”  Putting a hand on the man’s chest, Angel shoved him back in his chair. “Let’s try this again.”

 

“I’m warning you – “ Lunging up from the chair, he grabbed Angel by the lapels. He pushed. And found himself straining to push the seemingly immoveable object.

 

“I said – “ Angel morphed into game face. “Sit down.”

 

His heart seized up, skipped a beat, then raced frantically. The golden eyes mesmerized him, and he couldn’t look away. “Ohgodohgodohgod – “

 

I’m thinking he’s not on your speed dial, dude.

 

“No.” He leaned down and smiled. “Just an angel.”

 

The moonlight coming in the windows gilded the ivory fangs. “What – what the hell are you?”

 

Getting warmer…

 

“I… am Kasey’s guardian angel.” Lifting a booted foot, Angel set it between the man’s flabby thighs. “And I’m not happy.”

 

“There’s – there’s – there’s – “

 

“No such thing as angels?” He smirked.

 

“You’re – you’re – “

 

Complete sentences, please. Moron.

 

“The new guy.” Angel leaned down and licked his lips. “Let’s face it, some people need a guardian angel who can kick some ass.”

 

Oh, let’s! Angelus purred. Tenderize him and then eat him.

 

“You’ve been hitting Kasey.” Angel pulled the remote from the man’s limp fingers. “I don’t like that.”

 

The remote was crushed into a jumble of plastic and wires. He jumped as it was dropped onto his chest.

 

“If you lay one hand on her again – “ Angel’s boot slid forward to rest on the man’s crotch. Slowly he applied pressure. “I’ll be back.”

 

Gasping as the man – the thing – the angel? – crushed his balls, he nodded then shook his head frantically, not sure if he was supposed to agree or disagree. “I won’t! I won’t!”

 

“Good.” Angel leaned down until he was eye to eye with the cowering man. “’Cos I get to eat the bad ones.”

 

A strong hand jerked his head back and for a second of eternity, the cool fangs slid over his exposed throat. A soft growl vibrated through his skin to his panicked heart. “I won’t – I won’t – I swear to God!” Tears ran down his face.

 

Taste the fear? The demon growled. Kill him!

 

Releasing him, Angel stepped back. “I’ll be watching.” Clasping his hands behind his back, he nodded.

 

There was a bright flash of light, and Kasey’s father threw his hand up to shield his eyes. When the light faded, the living room was empty.

 

“A dream. It was all a dream.” There was a stinging pain along his throat. Lifting his hand to touch it, he pulled it away covered in blood. Looking down, he saw the mangled remote in his lap. “Oh God…”

 

 

 

“That was so cool!” Willow giggled as they walked away from the house.

 

“Nice light show, Will.” Buffy patted her on the back. “Very heavenly like.”

 

“Or something.” Angel laid an arm around Buffy's shoulders and pulled her against his side.

 

“And we made for the slick getaway.” Willow said proudly.  “Very Batman.”

 

“So, you think we convinced him?” Sliding an arm around Angel’s waist, Buffy looked up at him.

 

“I think so.” He smiled slightly. “I’m pretty sure he pissed his pants.”

 

“Eww!” Both girls chorused.

 

Sure it wasn’t just the beer?

 

He dipped his head down by Buffy's ear. “And that little scratch on his throat will help him remember.”

 

“You didn’t bite him?” Her eyes widened.

 

“No.”

 

No, damn it.

 

“Just a little slice.” He rubbed his cheek against hers. “He would have tasted bad.”

 

“I wouldn’t have blamed you if you did.” Willow told him. “He kind of deserves it. I’d have bitten him.”

 

“Will!” Buffy laughed. “Shame on you!”

 

If the redhead ever gets turned… Angelus mused. I’m thinking she’d be an evil bitch. And sooo much fun…

 

“This was so much more fun than the usual night’s slayage.” Buffy said wistfully. “Maybe I should consider a new line of work?”

 

Buffy and Angel walked Willow home, watching until she was safely inside before walking to Buffy's house. Her mother was asleep on the sofa, and they crept quietly past her.

 

In Buffy's room, Angel pulled off his duster and laid it over her dresser while she turned on a lamp. The red scarf draped over the lampshade threw pink shadows over them.

 

Buffy smiled as she pulled open the black leather coat to reveal the scarlet, thigh high skirt.

 

Well rah, rah, baby!

 

Eagerly he stepped into her arms and dipped his head down to kiss her. “Do you still have the pom-poms?” He whispered against her lips.

 

“Angel!” She giggled. “You are so typically male!”

 

So… is that a yes?

 

 

 

 

This story was inspired by Concrete Angel, but it has a much happier ending.

 

Concrete Angel

 

She walks to school with the lunch she packed

Nobody knows what she's holdin' back

Wearin' the same dress she wore yesterday

She hides the bruises with linen and lace

 

The teacher wonders but she doesn't ask

It's hard to see the pain behind the mask

Bearing the burden of a secret storm

Sometimes she wishes she was never born

 

Through the wind and the rain

She stands hard as a stone

In a world that she can't rise above

But her dreams give her wings

And she flies to a place where

She's loved

Concrete angel

 

Somebody cries in the middle of the night

The neighbors hear,

But they turn out the lights

A fragile soul caught in the hands of fate

When morning comes it'll be too late

 

Through the wind and the rain

She stands hard as a stone

In a world that she can't rise above

But her dreams give her wings

And she flies to a place where

She's loved

Concrete angel

 

A statue stands in a shaded place

An angel girl with an upturned face

A name is written on a polished rock

A broken heart that the world forgot

 

Through the wind and the rain

She stands hard as a stone

In a world that she can't rise above

But her dreams give her wings

And she flies to a place where

She's loved

Concrete angel

 

 

Sung by Martina McBride

written by Stephanie Bentley and Rob Crossby

 

 

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