If Wishes Were Kisses

 

By Maquis Leader

 

 

 

Rating R

Author’s note: Set right before Hells Bells. Why wasn’t Angel at Anya and Xander’s wedding? And there was no Buffy/Spike.  As always, Angelus’ thoughts are in monotype corsiva, which you can download from the main page.

 

 

 

 

“Well, I knew this would happen.”

 

Angel skirted the edge of the counter and headed for the elevator.

 

“She always was totally unaware of the cost of things.”

 

Cordy was talking on the phone to some shallow friend about someone equally shallow. He didn’t want to catch her attention. His shoulder hurt from being flung into a very hard, very cement, cement wall.

 

“She never knew what anything cost. I mean hello! Shoes don’t grow on trees!”

 

Luckily, he still had his head, unlike the ugly pink demon he’d killed.

 

Pink? Angelus snorted.  What self-respecting demon is pink anyway?

 

Angel sighed as he hit the button for the elevator. Like a lowbrow and fangs is really attractive?

 

“That is so gross.”

 

The elevator doors opened and he stepped inside.

 

Gawd, I still would have thought she’d do better!”

 

The doors began to slide shut again.

 

“I always knew Buffy would end up this way.”

 

The doors hit Angel’s hand and bounced back open.

 

“She always was a – hey!” Cordy glared at Angel as he hung up the phone. “I was talking!”

 

“Nobody’s stopping you.” He sat on the edge of her desk. “What’s wrong with Buffy?”

 

“Just what you’d expect.” She waved her hands. “She’s broke, the state may take her sister, and she’s working at the Doublemeat Palace.”

 

“Her mother had insurance, didn’t she?”

 

“All gone.” She shrugged. “She never was good with money.”

 

“She’s the Slayer, not an accountant.”

 

“Yeah, and I guess they usually don’t live long enough to worry about money.”

 

“On the other hand – she’ll never get old, wrinkled, and gray.” Angel said coldly. “Like you will.”

 

“Well! Rude!” Cordy watched Angel stalk back to the elevator. “That was totally uncalled for.”

 

Upstairs, Angel flipped through his address book looking for a number.

 

Look under ‘I’ for idiot.

 

Ignoring the demon within him, Angel dialed a number. After two rings, a male voice answered. “Xander? Angel.”

 

 

 

 

It took longer than Angel thought for Buffy to call. He listened and let her pour out her self righteous, prideful anger. When she finally wound down, he told her. “Now, do you have any good reasons for not letting Xander fix the house?”

 

“Well – because – because – “ She stuttered.

 

“Because I’m paying for it? And why exactly can’t you go back to school?”

 

“Because – because – “

 

“Because I’m paying for it?”

 

There was silence from Sunnydale. “You can’t just – “

 

“Help?”

 

“Money doesn’t fix everything, Angel.”

 

“It won’t fix us.” He admitted. “But it will fix your problems.”

 

“How can you – where do you get your money, anyway?”

 

“I put a little away – “

 

“For a long time.” She finished. “I know the joke.”

 

“Don’t worry about it.” He sighed. “Just take care of yourself.”

 

“I can’t repay you. At least not – maybe never.”

 

We can take it out in trade, lover.

 

“Sure you can. You can let me use your body from time to time.”

 

“What?” Buffy's voice shot up.

 

“I’m joking.” He chuckled. “Relax.” Why do I listen to you?

 

“Oh.” She said quietly.

 

Was it his imagination or did she sound disappointed?  “We could, but…”

 

“The whole curse thing.”

 

“The curse thing.” He agreed. It was his turn to be silent for a moment. “Buffy, in a perfect world, we would be married. And my money would be your money.”

 

“You’d marry me?”

 

“Of course. As far as I’m concerned we were married from the moment you put on my ring. By now we should have three kids and a dog.”

 

“I like cats.”

 

“And a cat.” He heard a sniffle. “I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

 

“Not crying.” Another sniffle. “Vamp dust.”

 

“It’s noon and you’re at home.”

 

“I miss you.”

 

If not for his vampire enhanced hearing, he would have missed her confession. “I miss you too.”

 

“Xander’s getting married.” Buffy changed the subject before the tears could really start to get out of hand.

 

“So I heard.” Endlessly, after Anya had taken the phone from Xander.

 

“Are you coming? I’ll be decked out in a humiliatingly ugly bridesmaid dress.” She said with false cheer. “I think its algae colored.”

 

“You look great in green.”

 

She looks better naked.

 

“So…”

 

“I could maybe take a day off and come down.”

 

“Good, great!” Her voice rose excitedly. “We can go together!” She sobered. “Not like a date though – just two friends going to the same place at the same time.”

 

“I’ll see you next week, Buffy.”

 

“Okay. Bye.”

 

He hung up without saying goodbye. Of all the things he wanted to say to Buffy, goodbye wasn’t one of them.

 

 

 

 

“It’s five a.m.” Buffy growled as she rolled out of bed. “If that’s Anya, Xander is going to be a single man forever.”

 

“Anya! Go away!” Stumbling to the front door, she jerked it open. She stared up at the figure lounging there, hand raised to knock again. “Angel.”

 

“Hi.” His eyebrows rose at what she was wearing.

 

“Oh, I thought – “ She rubbed her eyes. “Anya kept us up until midnight. Then she called like four times.”

 

“Uh huh.” He looked nervously over his shoulder.

 

“And then – “She yawned. “And then I heard knocking.”

 

“Buffy.”

 

“Oh.” The sky behind him was a faint pink. “Come in, sorry. You know you don’t need the invite.”

 

Inside, he laid the bag with his suit in it on the sofa and pulled his coat off. “And you know I like to be polite.” Turning, he smiled down at her. “I’m sorry, I wouldn’t have woken you if I’d known you didn’t get any sleep last night.”

 

“S’okay.” She yawned again. “No big. You sleepy?”

 

“Little bit. It’s a long drive.”

 

Not at 90 miles an hour.

 

“Mom’s room – “ She noticed Angel watching her intensely. Looking down, she realized she was wearing nothing more than a tank top and panties. “I… ah…”

 

“You’ve nothing to be embarrassed about.” Her cheeks were a pretty shade of pink. “I’ve seen you in less.”

 

She retreated upstairs, Angel treading silently behind her and admiring the view.

 

Sweet… very sweet…

 

“Anya’s not supposed to be here until nine, so it should be quiet until then.” She was babbling, trying not to think of how much less he’d seen her not in.

 

Opening the door to her mother’s old room, Buffy flipped on the light. “Um… there’s an extra blanket – you won’t need that. Um…”

 

“Go back to bed.” He turned her and guided her back out into the hallway. “I’ll be fine.”

 

“’Kay. I’ll be down the hall.” She rose up on her toes and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Night.”

 

“Goodnight.” He watched her round bottom move in the pink panties and resisted the urge to go after her.

 

Too bad she doesn’t wear one of those thongs.

 

Shutting the door, Angel rested his forehead against it. I knew I could count on you to spoil the moment.

 

What moment? Angelus drawled. All you’re going to do is stare and sigh and feel all sorry for yourself. It’s all you ever do. If I’m lucky, you might jack off.

 

Stripping off his clothes, Angel lay down and pulled the covers up to his chest. He’d deny it, but the demon was right. With a sigh, he drifted off to sleep.

 

 

 

 

Buffy arched up under him, her breasts rubbing his chest and her head thrown back as she moaned and whimpered in pleasure. She was hot and wet and tight around him as he pushed into her. She smiled up at him. “Angel… Angel…”

 

 

“Angel.” Buffy patted his shoulder again. “Angel.”

 

Opening his eyes, he saw Buffy being eaten by something horribly green and poufy. “What the hell?” Her eyes widened and her bottom lip quivered. “You look… lovely.” He said quickly.

 

Definitely better naked. Is there a volume knob on that thing?

 

“It’s ugly. You can say it.”  She frowned down at the dress. “It’s part of the whole wedding thing – humiliation of the bridesmaids.”

 

He loved the way her nose crinkled up when she frowned. Reaching up, he trailed a fingertip down said nose. “Originally, the idea was to put the other eligible girls on display.”

 

“By putting them in really – is there a word worse than vomity?”

 

“That part is new.” Her skin was warm and he couldn’t resist tracing a delicate cheekbone. “Weddings were just another place virgins were trotted out for inspection.”

 

“Oh… well… “ Either Angel’s fingers were colder or her face was getting hotter. “Guess I fail that test.”

 

Angel slid his hand down her neck and gently tugged her down until her lips brushed his. “It was good.” He kissed her again. “Don’t ever be ashamed. It was pure and sweet.”

 

Not to mention all hot and sweaty.

 

Shakily, Buffy pulled away. “Wipe the smug smile and I might believe it.” His smile widened and he stretched, sliding his arms behind his head. Her eyes skated down his bare chest and belly before slamming into the roadblock of blanket. There was way too much bare Angel and not enough blanket. “We’re leaving in an hour and a half.”

 

“I’ll be ready.”

 

Getting up, Buffy made it to the door before she gave in to the imp of mischief within her. Over her shoulder, she gave him a thorough once over. “Here I thought you were ready.”

 

Angel followed her gaze down to the too obvious bulge under the blanket. When he looked back up, she was gone.

 

I damn sure was.

 

 

 

 

“Anya, your hair is fine – “ Buffy resisted the urge to tear her own hair out. “I’m going downstairs.” Willow, Tara, and Dawn all turned terrified eyes to her. She hardened her heart and walked away.

 

“Fine?” Anya’s voice rose to new levels of screeching. “It’s awful! Fix it!”

 

Closing the door on the torture chamber/bedroom, Buffy moved quickly downstairs to the safety of the kitchen. “Safe safe safe – “

 

Angel stood next to the sink, wiping a soapy rag over his bare chest. “Safe?”

 

Not safe not safe not safe! She watched soapy water run down his chest to his flat stomach. “So not safe.” Oh I wish I was a little piece of soap… “We – there’s – bath – thing – upstairs.”

 

“Four women and one bathroom? Plus a bride to be?” He shook his head. “I’d just as soon go outside at high noon.”

 

“I, uh, see your point.” She watched while he finished washing with the soapy rag. He rinsed it out and then ran it over himself again.

 

“Towel.”

 

“Towel?” Buffy blinked. Was he talking? She’d gotten lost somewhere in the area of his belly button. Or maybe where the top buttons of his pants gaped open.

 

“You’re leaning on my towel.” Angel reached around her to tug on the towel lying on the counter.

 

“Oh, towel.” She moved off of it and watched as he towel dried his damp skin. He smelled good, nice and clean.

 

Somehow her nose was buried in the soft skin under Angel’s ear and her hands were on his back. When did that happen? Looking up, she saw the chocolate eyes glimmering with amusement. “Sorry. Just checking – yep, you washed behind your ears!”

 

“Buffy!” Anya’s voice shot downstairs.

 

Angel chuckled as Buffy ran out of the kitchen. “I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder.”

 

Or she’s just really horny.

 

Sighing, Angel ignored Angelus and went upstairs to dress.

 

 

 

 

“Oh my God!” Anya grabbed Angel’s lapels. “Is this Versace?”

 

“Armani.” He pried her fingers loose.

 

“Oh, why can’t I marry you?” The curlers in her hair bobbed as she shook her head.

 

“Anya!” Buffy elbowed her. She had to admit Angel was gorgeous in the black suit. “Xander, remember Xander?”

 

“Oh, yeah, but…” Anya slid her hands over Angel’s broad shoulders. “He’s not wearing Armani.”

 

“Too bad. Deal.” Buffy shoved her out the door.

 

Dawn gave him a kiss on the cheek as she followed Anya outside. Tara skirted quickly past him, clearly still skittish. Willow stopped and said his name softly before she too walked outside.

 

A smile crooked the corner of his mouth. He loved the way Willow said his name. Like a little girl saying ‘Santa Claus’ after coming face to face with the old man in the red suit.

 

Oh, like there’s a Santa Claus!

 

“I’m the best man.” Willow’s voice floated through the doorway. “How come I’m not in Armani?”

 

“Is this a joke?” Buffy tugged on Angel’s tie.

 

“No, it’s a tie.” He straightened the silver tie.

 

“It’s not a mirror joke?”

 

“It’s silver – “ He frowned. “Maybe it is. Cordy picked it out.”

 

“Cordy?” Buffy's voice dripped acid icicles.

 

“I can’t exactly go downtown shopping.” Was she jealous? Of Cordy?  “Unless there’s an eclipse.”

 

“Oh. “ She sighed. “Sorry. Lack of sleep. Speaking of, how are we getting you there?”

 

“I parked next to the porch.” He guided her outside. What little sun that crawled through the rain was angled so that the porch was cast in shadow. “Go open the door for me?”

 

Buffy saw Angel’s black Plymouth in the driveway next to the porch. The top was up and the black tinted windows were closed. Going down the steps, she opened the driver’s door.

 

“Get in.” He told her.

 

“I’m going with – “ The other car was gone. “You. Going with you.”

 

After Buffy slid inside the car, Angel dropped over the side railing, darted into the car, and shut the door. “Not even a singe.”

 

“Nice car.” She wiggled back in the leather seat. “Very dark and leathery.”

 

“Very Angel?” He laid his arm across the back of the seat as he backed out of the driveway.

 

Offer her a tour of the backseat.

 

“When did you get a car?”

 

“You know everybody drives in L.A.” Guiding the car down the street with one hand, he curled the other one around Buffy's shoulders and pulled her closer. “It’s been a long time since I went out on a date, but I think you’re supposed to sit closer.”

 

“Is this a date?” Her fingernails were suddenly very interesting.

 

“Buffy, I’m not going to pretend I don’t love you. We can go to Xander’s wedding and steal a few moments of togetherness before we have to go back to real life.”

 

“Won’t it just be harder?”

 

“Breathing makes it harder.”

 

“You don’t breathe.” She poked a finger into his ribs.

 

“My heart doesn’t beat either.” He said softly. “But it still breaks.”

 

“Mine too.” Snuggling closer, Buffy laid her hands on his thigh. “I just wish…”

 

Angel smiled and let the Irish creep back into his voice. “If wishes were kisses, darlin,  I’d be a rich man.”

 

 

 

 

“Dead Boy! Glad you could make it!”

 

“Consider that your wedding present.” Angel told him. “Not breaking your face.”

 

“Probably the best one I’ll get.” Xander tugged at his tie. “Have you seen the freaks out there?”

 

“Anya’s friends – “

 

“I’m sorry, I meant my family. Hers are on the cover of Normality magazine compared to my family.”

 

“If you want, I can turn you and you can kill them all.”

 

“Excuse me?” Xander blinked. “Was that a joke? Say it isn’t so! What hell have they put you through in L.A.?”

 

“I work with Cordy everyday.” Angel shrugged.

 

“Ah, say no more, my man.”

 

“Nervous?”

 

“Remember when we went down into the Master’s lair?”

 

“Vividly.” The memory of Buffy lying face down in the stagnant pool of water was forever branded into his memory.

 

“Not even a blip on the radar comparatively speaking.”

 

“You love her?”

 

“Yes.” He smiled. “Oh, yes.”

 

“Then forget everyone and everything else.” He patted Xander on the back. “Just think of her.”

 

Xander was surprised at the touch, Angel not being a touchy feely kind of guy. Then he saw the sadness in the vampire’s eyes. How hard it must be for him to be at a wedding? With Buffy? “Hey, thanks.”

 

“No big.” Angel shrugged. He slipped out the door before Xander could stop him.

 

Buffy was helping people and assorted demonic types find their seats. The ugly green dress only accented her beauty. The green – whatever atrocious color it was – turned her hazel eyes a deep green and brought out the warm glow of her skin. Angel watched her walk with one of Xander’s older relatives; the flouncy dress couldn’t quite hide the taut, muscular body.

 

His eyes snapped back to the old man. That wasn’t a relative, that was Xander. Older. Maybe thirty or forty years. But still Xander. Carefully, he made his way to the old man who was now trying to get Xander’s attention.

 

What the hell is this?  Angelus growled. Get him away from Buffy.

 

Intercepting the real Xander, Angel sent him off to get Buffy who had moved on and was helping someone else.  When he caught up to the old man, he slapped him on the back. “Hey! Uncle Mike, how ya doin'?”

 

“I’m not your Uncle Mike.” The old man shifted away.

 

“Jeez, sorry.” He leaned in close. “I’m really bad with names. Cousin Jack?”

 

Buffy saw Angel with the nice old man she’d talked to earlier.  Angel’s body language was less than friendly; he was leaning over the old guy, lips pulled back in a slight snarl and his nostrils flaring.

 

“I’m not Cousin Jack!”

 

You’re not quite human either.

 

“Sorry, I really – “ He clamped down on the old man’s arm. “Suck, you know?”

 

“Let go!”

 

“But you – what is it you do?”  Angel pulled the thing masquerading as a person into the cloakroom. The scent was all wrong. “You’re not human. What are you?”

 

“Angel!” Buffy followed them into the cloakroom. “What are you doing to this nice old – “ Her eyes widened as the old man changed into a very large demon. “Old horrible icky demon?”

 

“Let go of me, fool!”

 

“Fool?” Angel growled. “You’re the one in the tacky clothes.”

 

“What’s going on – “ Buffy did a double take. “Was that a joke?”

 

“You’ll not stop my vengeance!” The demon roared.

 

Whatever.

 

“I think we will.” Angel caught the fist the demon swung at him. “I like weddings.”

 

Buffy stepped back as Angel spun the demon into the wall. “Why do you want to stop the wedding?”

 

“She has to pay – oomph!” He fell to his knees as Angel slammed a knee into his gut.

 

“I really don’t care.”  He panted. “I’m just here for the ceremony and a dance with the woman I love.”

 

“Oh…” Tears welled up in Buffy's eyes. “Angel…”

 

“Then my vengeance on you!” The demon thrust a glowing orb at Angel.

 

For a moment, Angel stood holding it, head cocked slightly to one side.

 

The demon laughed in triumph. The laughter was short lived. The orb crashed into the wall and shattered.

 

“Sorry.” Angel wiped his hands on his pants. “I already live in that particular hell.”

 

Leaving the demon staring at the shards of his vengeance, Angel led Buffy out of the cloakroom.

 

“You really still love me?” She wiped at her tears.

 

“Always.” He pulled a silk handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped her cheeks. “Go tell Anya not to listen to anybody’s crazy ranting about the future.”

 

“The future?” She caught his hand. “Is that what you saw?”

 

“The orb showed a future of despair. I think he was going to give it to Xander.”

 

“So we should give them the heads up that somebody wants to put the kobayashi on their wedding.” She nodded grimly.

 

“The kibosh?” He smiled. “I’ll go warn Xander, you go warn Anya.”

 

“Check.” After he had hurried away, Buffy remembered what he had said to the demon. “Angel, wait! Damn!”

 

 

 

 

During the ceremony, Buffy kept sneaking looks at where Angel sat in the first row. He had a half smile on his lips and once he winked at her, bringing a smile to her own lips.

 

When the ceremony was over and Xander and Anya were leading everyone into the reception hall, Buffy caught Angel’s arm. “What did you mean?”

 

“When?”

 

“You said something about living in hell.”

 

“It didn’t mean anything, let’s go watch Anya smash cake in Xander’s face.”

 

Buffy crossed her arms across her breasts and tapped her foot. “Spill. Now.”

 

“You’ve just always got to know, don’t you?” A honey blond eyebrow arched up. “The orb showed us. You growing older. Me not. You marrying and having children and dying. Me going back to being a hermit.”

 

“And you think that’s going to happen?”

 

“Isn’t it?” He sat back down wearily.

 

“No. I won’t get old. I’m already old for a Slayer.” She sat down next to him. “Angel, I’ve died twice already. How many times can I cheat death?”

 

“You’re not going to die – “ The lie choked him.

 

“I am. In a year – maybe two.”

 

“Don’t say that.”

 

“And nuclear family?” She shook her head. “Not unless it involves nuclear meltdown.”

 

“Thanks, Buffy.” Angel stood up. “Thanks for redefining my hell for me.”

 

“No, Angel.” She caught his hand. “I’m not trying to hurt you. I’m not!”

 

“I know. It’s hell for both of us.” He cradled her face in his hands. “They tell me I’ll be human someday. I pray every day that this is the day.”

 

“Who?” She frowned. “Who they?”

 

“The Powers That Be. Once I’ve done enough good to balance the evil I’ve done, I’ll be human. If I’m lucky, then it will be just a few years and maybe I can come to you – “ His thumbs slid over her cheeks gently. “If not – then I’ll have a human lifespan and I’ll wait to die.”

 

“Who are these Powers That Be?” Buffy stood up and poked his chest with an index finger. “And what evil have you done?”

 

“I murdered – “

 

“No, Angelus did!”

 

Wincing from her finger poking his chest, Angel stepped back. “That was me.”

 

“No!” She poked his chest again, backing him up another step. “No! Not you! You were – floating somewhere – I dunno!”

 

A chair caught the back of his legs and Angel sat down abruptly.

 

“This is some racket they got going.” She put her hands on her hips. “They get you to do their dirty work for nothing.”

 

“It’s not for nothing. There’s a prophecy – “

 

“Uh huh, like the one where the Master would kill me?” Buffy smirked. “I freaked – you freaked – and I died for like a minute.”

 

“But you did die.” He leaned back as she jabbed at his chest again.

 

“The point is – “ She poked his chest again. “Is that they are dangling this human carroty thing in front of you. And you can never get it!”

 

“You’re wrong, they said the time I spent in hell almost balanced my soul – “ Angel yelped as she hit the now tender spot. “Ow!”

 

“You’re just not getting it are you?” She tipped her head up and yelled at the ceiling. “You’re screwing him and he isn’t smart enough to realize it!”

 

“You shouldn’t yell at – hey!” He caught her hand. “Will you quit with the poking?”

 

“Will you listen?” She said fiercely.

 

“Listening.”

 

“Your soul was gone while Angelus was scrounging Europe.”

 

“That was Scourge of Europe.” He corrected.

 

Thank you.

 

“Whatever. How can your soul pay for Angelus’ crimes?” She held up her hands. “Well?”

 

“I – it’s – you see – “ He stuttered. “It’s like – “

 

“And maybe they’ll toss you a bone one day.” Buffy tapped Angel on the head and chanted in a singsong voice. “There you go, good little vampire! You’re human now! Have fun and enjoy your new life – oops! Time’s up! You gotta be a vamp again!”

 

If his heart was still beating, it would have ground to a halt.

 

“What?” Buffy stopped at Angel’s stricken expression. “Angel?”

 

“That – “ He dropped his head into his hands.

 

“Angel?” She knelt next to him. “Oh, God, did it happen? I’m sorry. I take it back! All of it!”

 

“No.” He groped blindly for her hands. “The prophecy says I’ll be human one day. What if it really means for one day?”

 

That would mean you’re screwed!  The demon howled with laughter.

 

Wrapping her arms around him, Buffy cradled his head on her shoulder. Laying her face against his cool cheek, she ordered. “Tell me.”

 

Haltingly at first, Angel told her of the Mohra demon and how they tracked it. The mixing of his blood with the demon’s. His heart beating and their kiss in the sun.

 

As the words began to pour out of him, Buffy clutched him tighter. A whole day? She and Angel had spent an entire day loving – and eating? And he had carried that day within him, the only one who remembered?

 

“Angel, I’m sorry.” She kissed his cheek and temple. “Oh, God, and I stood there and ranted and then just walked away.”

 

“You didn’t know.” He whispered into her throat. “How could you? They took it away from you.”

 

“If it’s any consolation, I was pretty miserable.” Angel’s soft laugh tickled her neck. “And I was such a bitch when I came for Faith.”

 

“You were jealous.” He hesitated. “Weren’t you?”

 

“You mean in a homicidal stake-you-rip-her-head-off way?” She nipped at his earlobe. “Not one bit.”

 

“I never thought you were.” Lifting his head, he rested his forehead against hers. “Let’s go dance. Let’s pretend today is the only day that matters.”

 

“Deal.” She looped her arm around his waist as they walked into the reception hall.

 

“Hope we didn’t miss the cake smashing. That’s one new tradition I like.”

 

You just want to see Xander look goofy.”

 

“Me?” He grinned.

 

 

 

 

In his long lifetime, Angel had discovered that bittersweet had many levels. Holding the woman he loved close to him, her body brushing his while they danced was one. That they could share no more than the occasional kiss or touch was another. Knowing that he would have to walk away at the end of the day was yet another. And the sure knowledge that one day soon Buffy would die alone while he was miles away and unable to protect her was a level lined with razor blades. He huffed a sigh into her hair.

 

“Shh…” Buffy tightened her arms around his waist and pressed a kiss to the cool skin of his throat.

 

They were the only couple still dancing, even Spike and his skanky date were long gone, and Buffy had the feeling that someone had told the band to keep playing as long as she and Angel were on the dance floor. And slow songs only, thank you. Note to self, remember to tip the band. Not that they had done anything but slow dance regardless of the song that was playing.

 

For someone who didn’t breathe, Angel was doing a good job of breathing down her neck. She rubbed his back as another sigh gusted across her skin. “Hey, tall dark and broody.”

 

“Hmm?” He lifted his head to look at her.

 

“What say me and you make with the smoochies?” She placed a fingertip over his lips before he could protest. “Nothing more, just smoochies. And no hands under clothes.”

 

“I can… ah… yeah.” Angel gave her a quick kiss. “There’s a closet in the hallway or we can go out to my car?”

 

An image of the Plymouth with its blacked out windows popped into her head. Followed by an image of said car rocking on its shocks. “Too private.”

 

“That’s probably not the best idea.” A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.

 

They walked out of the reception hall unnoticed by anyone but the tired band. And Xander, who was standing behind Anya as she ripped open wedding gifts. He had a smile plastered on his face and ‘oohed’ and ‘ahhed’ at the appropriate moments. Truth was, his feet hurt and his rented cummerbund was cutting him in half.

 

Watching Dead Boy draped all over Buffy had been only slightly more fun, especially when coupled with the fact that he’d doubled the band’s fee to recklessly flout the union rules and skip their breaks to keep playing.

 

“Oh, my gosh!” Anya’s voice squealed. “Xander, look!”

 

“It’s beautiful, honey.” He said automatically. “Wow.”

 

“Xander! Did you even look?”

 

“Of course I did, lamb chop.” He glanced down at the thing she was holding. “Gaa! What the hell is that?”

 

“It’s from Halfrek!” She held up the ugly gold thing.

 

“Yea!” He clapped his hands. “What is it?” Please God, not something that sits on the mantle and I have to look at it for the rest of my life!

 

“It holds a single wish. And not one of the usual kind.” She hugged the ugly statuette.

 

“The usual kind? The kind that come true?”

 

“No silly.” She shook her head. “Wishes usually – “

 

“Anya!” One of her friends hissed. “Trade secret!”

 

“He’s my husband, I can tell him.” Anya assured her. “I can always kill him if he tells. Or we divorce. Of course, I’d kill him anyway if he ever tried to leave me.”

 

“Um… hello! Standing right here!” Xander told her. “And let me just say – killing me is against your vows!”

 

“I wouldn’t do that, pumpkin.” She leaned closer. “Usually wishes are not the great thing everybody thinks they are.”

 

“Like Cordy’s wish?” That wish had plunged them into a bizzaro world where he was a vampire and yet still not cool.

 

“Exactly! The wisher gets what they ask for – usually not what they wanted.”

 

“But… this is different?” Xander eyed the ugly thing. Are its eyes moving?

 

“This is a true wish.” Anya kissed the idol’s pointy head. “You get what you wish – what your heart truly wants.”

 

“No strings? No… “ He waved his hands. “evil-parallel-horribly-bad-everybody-dies consequences?”

 

“No, but those are so much fun.” She sighed.

 

Stifle, Xander! Stifle!  “And this is our wish?”

 

“It’s a present.” She hugged the ugly statue again. “Oh what do we want? Honeymoon in Tahiti? Mansion in Beverly Hills? Rid the world of bunnies?  More – oh! Money!”

 

“Sweetie, here’s a radical idea.” Xander was sure now that the beady little eyes were moving. “Let’s do something for someone else.”

 

“Are you drunk?” Clutching the idol, Anya leaned away from him. “Are you crazy?”

 

“Anya – “ He frowned at their gawking relatives. “Excuse us?” When they scattered, he turned back to his new blushing – okay flaming with anger – bride. “I know this is something you really want.”

 

“Yes! Yes! Want bad!”

 

“But – oh, God I can’t believe I’m saying this – you should use it to make Angel happy.”

 

“Angel?” She pouted. “He can get his own wish. And his own wedding, too!”

 

“That’s kind of the point. Angel – “

 

“Won’t have a wedding.” She finished softly. “And he did save ours. Why did he have to be our friend?”

 

“Because we’re very lucky.” Kissing her, he smiled as tears welled up in her eyes.

 

“Yeah.” She handed the statue to him. “You do it.”

 

 

 

 

They had plenty of room in the storage closet, but Buffy and Angel were pressing against each other as if they were trapped in an ever shrinking box. Their mouths were fused together, tongues mating and dancing. She was panting and moaning and he was growling softly.

 

Angel was minding the hands not under the clothes rule, but found there was room for interpretation. One big hand cupped her bottom, holding her against him while the other squeezed  and kneaded a firm breast.

 

Buffy's hands were also testing the boundaries of the rules. They started off behaving and merely sliding through his thick, soft hair, but somehow one hand had wandered south.

 

Gasping for a breath, she envied his not needing air. Laying her head against his shoulder, she smiled as he growled along her throat to bury his face in her cleavage. Thank you Mr. Wonder Bra inventor. Angel’s erection was digging into her belly as he ground his body against hers.

 

Suddenly, Angel arched against her and cried out. She grunted as he slammed her into the shelves behind them. “Angel – you – couldn’t – “

 

When he threw his head back and howled in pain, his eyes were filled with a golden glow.

 

“Oh, no!” She shoved at his shoulders. “No, Angel!” His arms had locked around her, holding her trapped in his embrace. “Not Angelus! Please, please, please!”

 

“Buffy?” His knees wobbled and he nearly collapsed. “I feel… strange…”

 

“Strange how?” She grabbed a wooden doorstop off the shelf next to her. “Strange homicidal? Or strange okay?”

 

“What?” Angel shook his head. “Strange like something zapped me.”

 

Clutching the makeshift stake and praying she wouldn’t have to use it, Buffy grabbed a handful of his hair and tipped his head to better see into his eyes. The chocolate eyes were full of confusion and leftover lust, but of the evil glimmer Angelus always had, there wasn’t a sign.

 

“Can we go sit down? I feel like I’ve been hit by one of those stun guns.”

 

Angel was wobbly as they left the closet and went to sit down in the main room where Anya and Xander had been married.

 

“This is not good.” Buffy chewed her lip. “Do you think that demon did something?”

 

We should have killed him. Angelus mumbled. That hurt like a bitch.

 

“We’ll find him – “

 

“There you are!”

 

Buffy and Angel turned to see Anya and Xander rushing toward them. “We have something to tell you!” Xander said. “Boy, how do I – “

 

“I wished you wouldn’t lose your soul when you get happy!” Anya burst out. “So get with the getting happy!”

 

“I guess I don’t.” Xander sighed.

 

“You wished – what?” Buffy looked from Xander to Anya.

 

“I wished – well, Xander did – “ She hugged her new husband. “That Angel not lose his soul if – you know – you and he – .”

 

“Get the happy.” Xander finished.

 

“I’ve wished that. It doesn’t work.” Buffy felt tears stinging her eyes. “I don’t think this is funny.”

 

“Buff, no, it’s not a joke.” Xander took her hands. “We got a wish for a wedding gift. And we – well – “ His own eyes were suspiciously bright.

 

“We might not have had a wedding if not for Angel.” Letting go of Xander for a moment, Anya hugged Angel.

 

“That was what hit me?” Angel asked.

 

For the first time, Xander noticed Buffy's kiss swollen lips and flushed face. And the wooden doorstop she still held. “Please tell me you didn’t – do – “

 

“No!” Her face grew even hotter. “Just kissing!”

 

“Oh, gosh!” Clapping her hand over her mouth, Anya started giggling. “You two were? When it hit?”

 

“Yeah, big funny.” Buffy threw the makeshift stake down. “See me laughing? Ha. Ha.”

 

“This wish.” Angel stood up and caught Buffy's hand. “What’s the catch?”

 

“No catch.” Xander held up the ugly little statue. “Apparently this is the real deal.”

 

“A true wish?” The vampire took the statue. “I’ve heard of these. You gave your wish to me?” Inside of him, Angelus howled in rage as he recognized the statuette for what it was.

 

“Well…” Anya shifted uncomfortably. “I was going to – “

 

“I wanted to go to Tahiti, but the old ball and chain – “ Xander clapped an arm around Anya and squeezed her until she squeaked. “She said we should do this instead.”

 

“Wait, wait!” Buffy pulled her hand from Angel’s grasp. “You just wished and that’s it?”

 

“What? You can believe in demons and vampires but not wishes?” Anya rolled her eyes. “Please!”

 

Xander pulled Anya back toward the reception hall. “Let’s go make sure my father hasn’t started a fight. Yet.”

 

That’s it? No more curse? Buffy's chest hurt and her head spun. She imagined laying in Angel’s arms, laughing with him, kissing him, waking up with him. Tears filled her eyes and overflowed.

 

“Buffy.” Angel watched her sink down onto the floor in a puddle of algae green flounces. She was shaking and tears ran down her cheeks. “Buffy, I don’t expect you to want me back.” Not after the way I walked away from you.

 

Not want him back? She looked up at him. They’d just spent several hot frantic minutes in a closet! And she was not that kind of girl! The thought hit her suddenly. He doesn’t want to come back to me! Her heart ached and for the first time she knew how a vamp felt when she drove a stake through them.

 

“Buffy?” Instead of being soothed, she looked like he’d run over her dog. Her scent was spiked with fear and pain. “Not that I don’t want to – I’m busy in L.A. – “ Her face crumpled and she began to cry harder.  Run over the dog right after he’d stolen the family bible.

 

That was smooth. Angelus purred.

 

Shut up! If you’re not going to help then shut up! Angel ground his teeth. The demon had the damndest habit of adding his two cents at the wrong time.

 

And I should help, why? He laughed. Look at those big eyes. The tears. The pain. It’s beautiful. If I’m trapped in here forever, why should you get to be happy?

 

If I don’t get laid, neither do you! He shot back.

 

There was dead silence for a long moment. Fuck! You got me there, soul boy. A mental sigh. Do I have to do everything around here? Tell her you love her, you stupid Mick.

 

I don’t know if that’s enough –

 

I lived with Darla and Dru for how long? And kept them both happy?

 

Good point.

 

“Angel?” For a moment, it seemed Angel would say something to her, and then he had stopped and seemed to close up.  “Look, no big. You’ve got L.A. and – “

 

“I love you!” He blurted out.

 

Need to work on the delivery, Romeo.

 

“Shut up!” Angel growled. Buffy clamped her mouth shut and stared wide eyed at him. “Sorry, Buffy. I mean – listen to me, please. I love you. Do you love me?”

 

“Yes.” Though not liking the ‘shut up’ approach much.

 

Lifting her up from the floor, Angel kissed the tears off her cheeks. “I don’t know what we’re going to do, but we’ll be together.”

 

“Can we move to L.A.?” A voice came from behind him.

 

Buffy looked around Angel at her little sister. “Dawn! Out!”

 

“But – “

 

“Out!”

 

“Ooh!” Dawn turned and stomped out.

 

“I do have a hotel with a lot of rooms.” The dark eyes were full of laughter.

 

“Let’s go somewhere private.” She raised her voice. “Away from nosy little sisters!”

 

There was a teenaged snarl of annoyance from behind the door.

 

“And talk?” That got him the impish grin he loved. “I’m a little rusty, you may have to help me.”

 

“If you have the time…” She slid her hands up over his shoulders.

 

“How does forever sound?” His lips settled on hers.

 

Enough with the kissing, let’s get to the serious stuff!

 

“Want to see the backseat of my car?” Angel smiled as he carried Buffy toward the door.


 

 

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