Part Thirteen

By Tango

i want women who are out of my reach

"Holy fucking Christ," one of the guys hissed as he and a few of the others prepared to tramp through the great room to leave by the front door early the next morning. Angel was lying on the sofa bed, obviously nude under the blanket that was left covering him, half of which was pooled on the floor next to the bed. What was covering most of his body was a very naked and sensuously beautiful Buffy Summers. She was lying on top of him, apparently aware of his wounds in her sleep and not touching them. Her tiny fingers were curled around part of the bicep of his injured arm and her long blonde hair was flowing over her back, streaming in silky ribbons to tickle Angel's flesh.

Angel's uninjured arm was holding her securely to him, his hand spanning almost all of her delectable naked back. The blanket was covering the firm curve of her behind but they could see her full breasts pressed against his chest, giving them a side view of the promised beauty they would see should she decide to sit up.

"She's...damn, she's even hotter than I thought she was," one whispered, glancing at his two fellow voyeurs. All eyes turned back toward the couple as she moaned in her sleep, languidly moving her body over Angel's.

"Mmmm..." she said, kissing his chest as she felt his arousal growing against her, "Someone's awake."

"Busted," he said, his voice a rough and sexy mumble as the corners of his mouth twitched up and he opened his eyes. "I didn't want to wake you up. I couldn't help myself."

He smoothed his hands over her naked back and threaded his fingers through her hair as she scooted up his body to kiss him. She rubbed against him as they kissed, growing more aroused with every early morning second. "I thought you were wearing my shirt to bed, baby," he said against her lips.

The guys looked at each other and then back at the couple grinning widely. They were all thrilled she hadn't worn his shirt to bed. They watched as one of her arms came up to see that the giant shirt was still attached to half of one arm.

"Still wearing it," she said, dropping her arm and moving to nibble on his jaw before suckling on his neck. He felt her legs slip around to straddle him, opening her moist heat and pressing down against him. "How are you feeling? Do you need more medicine?"

"I need you to stop doing that before I take you right here while the morning troops stomp through," he said, grabbing the edge of the blanket and pulling it around her body. "We need to go upstairs."

"Why?" she asked, ignoring him and kissing down his chest. She stopped to suck a tempting nipple into her mouth, clamping her warm lips around it and lashing it with her tongue.

"You...uh...have class," he ground out, jerking his hips against her involuntarily.

Their audience meant to back away and exit the mansion through the back door, but they couldn't tear their eyes away from her. The passion coming from her tiny body was threading through the air towards them, stepping into their space and rooting them to the spot.

"Not going," she said against his skin, moving to the other nipple and giving it the same special treatment. Her mouth spread into a bright smile as she stopped and looked up at him, inching further down his body. "I'm going to take care of you today..." she purred, "in more ways than one."

Seeing where she was going as she moved down his body, peppering kisses on his skin, he grabbed her arms and winced as he pulled her back up to his mouth. His shoulder still ached and today he found he was more stiff than before.

"Not here," he said, causing the breath to come out of their onlookers. One guy actually groaned out loud in disappointment, causing them both to turn and find them standing there.

"What are you doing in here?" Angel roared, wrapping the blanket more tightly around Buffy and preparing to move her over so that he could go after them, forgetting his wounds and his own nakedness entirely. Before he could even sit up, they turned and ran full speed from the room.


turn away from the pain that you don't want

"Lily?" Gunn asked as she opened the door. He and Spike both fought over who went to talk to her and who to take with them on the trip. Finally, it was decided that Gunn and Willow would go, since a female would definitely be needed for the confrontation. Spike offered Dru, but in the end, Willow seemed a better conversationalist.

"Y-yes," the pretty blonde answered, "I used to be. I go by ‘Anne' now. Can I help you?"

"We were wondering if we could talk to you about something," Willow said quietly, "if you have a minute or two."

"What about?" Anne asked, keeping the door wedged firmly in her hand, preparing to slam it closed at any moment.

"Riley Finn," Gunn answered after a moment and Anne's face contorted into a mask of pain and shock before attempting to slam the door closed. Willow stepped forward and said loudly, "He's hurting other people, Anne! He hurt my best friend and we need your help! Please just listen to what we have to say."

"There's nothing you can say," Anne shouted back through the closed door, "Go away! I'm done with that part of my life."

"Anne!" Willow shouted more forcefully, pressing her face against her door, "He needs to pay for what he's done! Are you just going to let him stay free to hurt other people?"

"Go AWAY!" Anne said through her door, "Please. I'm sorry your friend was hurt but I don't want to have anything to do with this."

"If you change your mind," Willow said, "We both live at Liam Angelus' mansion on Crawford Street."

Gunn lead Willow back to his truck even though she wanted to wait there for several more minutes just in case Anne/Lily changed her mind. She sadly climbed in and ran her fingers over the tear in his dashboard sadly.

"I thought she would help," Willow said sadly, "Think she'll change her mind, Gunn?"

"Hope so," Gunn said, "But it sounds like she's moved on."

"Maybe if Buffy talked to her..." Willow offered and then shook her head, "Guess Buffy doesn't really need people slamming doors in her face these days."

"I'm sure as hell don't need it," Gunn added, starting his engine and pulling from the curb, "We can't make her testify if she doesn't want to, Willow."

"Guess not," she mumbled and then widened her eyes at Gunn, "Unless she's subpoenaed!"


you're possessed with a power bigger than the pain

Lindsey McDonald let out a low whistle after Buffy left them alone in Angel's room later on that day. She ran downstairs to make drinks for them, but really left because she wanted to be away from the situation. She knew Lindsey was Angel's lawyer and she knew he was there to talk about how to press charges against Riley. If there was anything she could do to avoid talking about the situation, she was willing to do it. Hopefully, the coffee took an extra long time to brew today.

"Damn, is that who you've been sleeping with lately, Angel?" Lindsey said, smiling in approval, "Rumor has it, she's your only piece of ass now."

"I'm going to marry her," Angel said, making sure the warning came through in his tone. Even though he looked rumpled in his robe and his eyes were not as sharp and focused as they usually were due to his medication, Lindsey couldn't doubt that he was serious about what he said. He knew Angel was shot from the phone call he received earlier that morning and thought the meeting was about that, which is why his jaw dropped when Angel said he was going to marry her and then added, "And she's the reason you're here."

"Nuh-uh. No way," Lindsey said, shaking his head, "You want me to write up a prenup? That's why I'm here?"

"No," Angel said, "I haven't even asked her yet and when I do, there won't be a prenuptial agreement. She was raped, Linds. I want you to nail the bastard that did it. But before she comes up here, I want to give you this."

Lindsey stared at the paper in his hand in disbelief, "Angel, you can't make these changes to your will! You barely know this girl. She could be using you for your money! And Spike? You can't write Spike into your will!"

"I can do whatever I want," Angel said, "I want those changes made as soon as possible."

"But you aren't going to tell her that you're leaving most of your fortune to her, are you? That's why you wanted to do this when she wasn't in the room?" Lindsey asked, his hands shaking as he stared at the words, and more importantly, the huge numbers before him.

"I don't want her to know I'm thinking about my will because I almost died, Lindsey. She doesn't want to think about my death," Angel said, regarding his old friend seriously. "I love her, Linds. She's the one and I want her to have almost everything if something happens to me."

"What about Spike? You can't stand your brother," Lindsey said, "You told me you would never write him back into your will a couple of years ago."

"Things change," Angel said, shrugging and then wincing in pain for attempting the motion, "No matter what happens from here on out, Spike has earned part of the Angelus fortune. Like it or not, he's family. He deserved to be included when my father died and he deserves it now."

"Maybe you should wait until your medication wears off," Lindsey said slowly, "I don't think you're thinking straight. I see you've left Giles in, but leaving Spike a hefty chunk and then giving everything else to that girl? Jesus, Angel! She's beautiful, I'll grant you that, but this is millions of dollars. You can't give her all that."

"Lindsey," Angel said, "I love her. She deserves more than I could ever give her. Everything I have is hers as it should be. Now put the paper in your briefcase and make the changes. I'll sign the will when you're finished with it later this week. I want this legal as soon as possible."

"Angel," Lindsey said, preparing to argue again when the door opened. Angel smiled at Buffy as she came in juggling a tray filled with cups of coffee and a few pastries.

"Angel, your coffee pot is evil," she said, handing Lindsey a steaming cup. He waved off the pastry and eyed her closely, looking for signs of the greedy whore he knew she had to be.

"What happened, love?" Angel asked, smiling at her as she handed him his cup.

"I wasn't ready for it to start going and when I poured the water in, it started spewing all over the counter! The guys were laughing at me!" She answered, shaking her blonde head, "Like I knew there was some special reservoir thingy in it!"

"She's not much of a cook," Angel said, winking at her and shooting a deliriously happy smile at Lindsey.

"Good thing you can afford to hire one then," Lindsey leaked snidely despite his effort not to. He thought the term "delirious" fit his old friend well. He looked at Buffy closely, watching her face and her movements, but as much as he wanted to hate her, he couldn't seem to find a thing about her to be suspicious.

She rolled her eyes at Lindsey's comment, not noticing that Angel bristled from it and she laughed, "It'll do him good to eat some burnt toast or something from time to time. Builds character. Besides, I've eaten a lot. Cooking can't be that hard. I just need a little more practice."

Angel chuckled at her comment and earned himself a swat on his good arm before she curled up beside him on the couch, snuggling in while she held her steaming cup of coffee to her lips. She seemed to be incredibly nervous, her hands shaking lightly as she prepared for Lindsey to talk to her about the rape.

"Guess...um...Angel told you why he asked you to come," Buffy finally managed to croak out and snuggled more tightly in at Angel's side. He wrapped his arm around her and scooted her closer to him. Lindsey was shocked when Angel turned, kissed her temple tenderly and whispered in her ear. It wasn't that he was surprised that Angel was being so nice, it was just that he was so...gentle and attentive toward her. It was strange. He was used to Angel being more interested in sex than feelings and certainly could never imagine him leaving a cent to some girl!

When Angel was done whispering in her ear, she nodded with tears in her eyes. As she started to tell her story, she clung to Angel tightly, setting down her cup so she could grip his hand with both of hers. The more time Lindsey spent with the couple, the more it occurred to him that Angel hadn't been kidding about her. They really did love each other.

After about a half hour into the discussion, Buffy saw how much pain Angel was in, wincing at her side every few seconds. A glance at the clock revealed that once again the drugs had worn off but there was still a little over an hour before his next dose. She stopped, surprisingly in mid-sentence, and said, "I'm sorry, Lindsey. Angel's not feeling well. Can we finish this tomorrow? I can come to your office if you want."

"Uh, sure," Lindsey said, noting that Angel didn't argue, but just sat there with his jaw clenched and his eyes closed in pain. "Angel? Are you okay?"

"What?" Angel said, focusing on his friend once more, "Uh, yeah. I think Buffy's right. Can we pick this up tomorrow?"

"Sure," Lindsey said, "I'm going to start researching Riley. Give me a call tomorrow and we'll get this in motion."


all i want is to lose myself in your room
all you want is a slow fuck in the afternoon

"I'm sorry, baby," he said, after she'd shown Lindsey to the door and came back to help him to bed.

"What for?" she asked, "I wasn't enjoying that anyway. I'm glad to have a break."

"You said you wanted to get it all out so it was over with," He said, grunting as he laid back on the bed, "And I messed it up."

"Oh, I guess you expect me to angry with you because your bullet wounds got in the way of me talking to someone?" she asked incredulously.

"Sounded better in my head," he said, staring off at the far wall. As he tried to channel his pain in another direction, he breathed deeply, but couldn't seem to get a grasp on his injuries. He really wished he had paid more attention in Tai Chi. He heard a rustling across the room and saw that Buffy was flipping through his CDs. Finally, she found something she liked and flipped it on, filling the room with a sensual jazz beat. He watched her curiously as she shut the bedroom door and turned to face him, swaying her narrow hips to the music.

"What are you doing?" he asked, as she raised her arms above her head, concentrating on the rhythm.

"You need something to focus on," she said, smiling carnally at him and adding an extra rotation to her hips, "And I think I'm getting pretty good at distracting you."

He meant to say something but she reached behind her head and removed the clip holding her hair in place. He watched with growing interest as her hair cascaded down her back, when she shook it free. Keeping in time with the music, she wondered if he found this attractive at all. She was only wearing a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. In hindsight, she should have changed clothes first, but at the spur of the moment, she hoped it would work. Checking his face when she turned around, he seemed to be enjoying it. It never even occurred to her that she needed the distraction just as much as he did. Anything was better than thinking about what she had just told Lindsey. It seemed like another violation that she should have to share those details with anyone else.

Angel swallowed and was beginning to forget about his pain as she tossed her little t-shirt aside, leaving her only in a bra and those jeans that rested low on her tiny hips. As she moved, twisting and turning to the music, he fought the urge to get out of bed and touch her. She slipped off her jeans seductively, managing to remove them with a smooth, slow motion that left his mouth dry. Clad only in her peach silk bra and matching panties, she moved her hands over her own skin, closing her eyes as she danced before him.

"Come here," he finally whispered, "I want to touch you."

Teasing him a bit more, she took a few minutes to answer his request, making each step closer to him a part of her dance routine and not just an obvious step toward him. In the five steps it took to reach him, she discarded the rest of her clothing and swept the blankets away that she had only covered him with ten minutes before. Playfully, she reached out and swiped at the sash of the robe he still wore, revealing his naked body underneath.

"I see I got your attention," she said huskily, before slowly swinging her leg over his hips and leaning to catch his lower lip between her teeth. Hovering over him on her hands and knees, she kissed him, dueling her tongue with his as the rest of her body still swayed to the beat.

"You never lost my attention," he answered, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her down until her skin was against his. He was sure that holding her actually added to the allotted movement he was supposed to have with his injuries. Course, he couldn't feel them most of the time because her warm, lithe body was really good at distracting him from everything else.

"Now I can finish what I started this morning before you got mad," she announced happily and started her route from the beginning, nibbling on his jaw line and making her way to his neck and shoulder.

"They saw you," he grumbled, "Your beautiful naked body in the morning sun is something only I should see...ever!"

"Shut up, Angel," she said, smiling against his skin, "They were just being boys and they couldn't even see anything."

"They're going to be dead boys," he fumed, remembering more clearly his fury from the morning, "And I can't believe you aren't more upset about this! It doesn't bother you that we were almost making love and they were watching?"

"Again with the mad about things that can't be helped right now," she whispered, expelling a puff of warm air over his nipple, still moist from where her mouth had been, "I'll give them the cold shoulder later. Right now, I want to focus on other things."

Punctuating her words, she made her way down his body. She loved the feel of his muscles beneath her lips and the way he couldn't keep his hands off of her. He was always caressing her skin and running his fingers through her hair.

"Now," she said, finally reaching his cock, wrapping her small hand around him and snaking her tongue out to taste him, "Do you want to talk about this morning or should we focus on the present?"

"Alright," he breathed, pulling her back up to his mouth. As much as he wanted to see her full, pink lips circling his cock, he needed even more to be inside her, to have her body pressing fully against his. "I'm sorry I was so mad this morning, okay? I can't take the thought of them seeing you. You're mine to see! Not anyone else's."

"Sorry, cave man," she said, growling at him before she kissed him playfully, loving the way he arched against her hand as she caressed him, "You can club them later."

"Are we done talking?" she asked, positioning him at her entrance and not waiting for her answer as she sank down on his throbbing cock.

"Oh yeah," he mumbled, attacking her mouth as he thrust up against her. "I think you're turning my brain into mush, my love."

"Good," she whispered, biting playfully at his neck, before sitting back and propping her hands on his chest, bucking her hips harder against him. "You're putty in my hands," she moaned as he slid his hands up from her belly over her ribs to her breasts. He cupped them in his hands, twisting her nipples almost the point of pain until she was pounding him into her harder and harder. He gritted his teeth, silently pleading for her climax as he felt himself nearing the edge. He moved his hands back to her hips as he plunged back against her harder and harder, lost in her slick heat.

"Come for me, baby," he groaned, tipping her hips that her clit was hit with every thrust. When she realized her trademark shuddering moan, he let go, feeling her inner muscles flutter around him in her climax. She collapsed against his chest, panting against his chest.

"This distraction stuff is getting to be more and more fun," Buffy said breathily as she kissed him passionately once more.

"Fun? Hell, this has to be the best injury I've ever had," he said, smiling at her and cupping her face, "But you shouldn't feel like you have to have sex with me every four to six hours, love."

"I can think of worse ways to spend my time, Angel," she said wryly.

"If you insist," he said and watched as she hopped up from bed and padded nude to the bathroom to get his medicine. He watched her retreat appreciatively and felt his arousal growing once more as she made her way back. She raised an eyebrow at him when she saw he was already hard again and he grinned sheepishly at her. "It's your fault," he said, placing blame where blame was due.

"Guess I'll just have to make it better then won't I?" she whispered, and huffed in mock drama, "You are such a chore."


Part Fourteen

By Tango

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Everclear


DEDICATION: Thank you, Stephanie!


all i need and crave
loud life with the power to fade
i am living because i keep it all in, keep it all inside
yeah, i keep it all in, keep it all inside

The following day Buffy and Angel did not call Lindsey for an appointment. Angel was still in an enormous amount of pain and Buffy could think of three million things she would rather do than talk about her rape and what happened after that. So instead of facing the reality that she had barely allowed to fringe her thoughts, she cared for Angel, distracted him from his pain and made sure he had everything he needed.

When he slept, which was often because of his medication, she hung out with Willow and Xander between their classes, or Spike, Dru, Gunn and some of the other guys. Of course, there were three in which she snubbed just to teach them a lesson for their exercise in voyeurism.

In the late afternoon, when Willow came bounding back from her classes, Buffy lounged on the guest room bed, while her friend excitedly talked about the days events. Buffy was always astonished at how Willow could turn a boring lecture into a momentous occasion and how a few happy words from her made all the difference in an otherwise dull day.

"How are things with you?" Willow asked when she had finished spouting about how Dr. Livingston had complimented her grasp of a difficult theory.

"Alright," Buffy answered noncommittally, "Angel's still in a lot of pain and the medication wears off too soon for him, but besides that everything is okay."

"Yes, but how are you?" Willow asked, almost whispering her question. Caving, Buffy explained Lindsey's visit and how she had intentionally not made an appointment with him.

"Don't you want to get this part of your life over with?" Willow asked, nudging her friend toward dealing with things she knew she hadn't yet let come to the surface.

"I don't want to share my most intimate details with him," Buffy answered, "He looks at me like I'm stealing his best friend or something."

"You can't avoid this, Buff," Willow said, scooting closer to her, "Just get it over with and then things'll be better. I'm sure of it."


i turn, i reach for you
wanna touch our life before it fades

Angel was fully dressed for the first time since he was shot and sitting in his library later that afternoon. He was really surprised when Lindsey called that morning and insisted that he speak to Angel and Angel alone. Angel tried to argue that Buffy should be present, but Lindsey adamantly refused to have Buffy involved until he spoke to him first.

Angel managed to clean up and get dressed after reluctantly explaining to Buffy that Lindsey wanted to meet him alone. He was baffled when she happily agreed to stand aside and let him handle it. Course, he saw how shaken she had been after their last meeting, even if she tried to blow it off afterwards.

He sighed, leaned his head tiredly against the back of his chair and looked around the room. He hadn't spent very much time in here but he always thought it would someday mean something to him. He could almost imagine working in here after he'd gotten out of college and managed to find some sort of career. If he closed his eyes, he could picture himself hunkered over the mammoth desk across the room, working on something when Buffy - his wife in his vision - would tiptoe in and ask him if he was coming to bed.

He could see her in her little robe, her eyes squinting in the dim light and her hair rumpled around her shoulders. One tiny hand would extend itself toward him, beckoning him to take it and go with her to the bedroom and he would. Smiling, he imagined curling around her tiny body and sleeping every night for hundreds of nights, thousands. A male clearing his throat made him open his eyes and look up at Lindsey, standing there in his expensive suit, holding his brief case lightly in his hand.

"Hey," Angel said, shaking off his imagined wife and her warm body as his friend sat down in the armchair across from his.

"I need to talk to you about a couple of things," Lindsey said, looking grim and serious as he opened his briefcase and took out the updated will, "First of all, here's the new will."

Angel leaned over painfully and took the will, reading it closely for his changes. He knew Lindsey didn't approve of the money he was leaving to Buffy or the fact that all of his nonliquidated holdings went to her, as well as his car and the mansion. The only piece of property that wasn't being left to her was the house in London, which he was leaving to Spike. Seeing the Lindsey made all the changes, even if some of them were done with irritation, he signed the will and handed it back.

"What else did you want to talk about?" Angel asked, anxious to get to the heart of the matter, "Since you don't want Buffy here for this, I'm really curious about what you want to say, Linds."


i wish i could go back
yes, back in time

Buffy's hands shook as she stood in the bathroom, wrapped in a towel, holding her packet of birth control pills. As usual, she took it when she got out of the shower every day and today was no different. The only problem was she should be on her third day of her period and she wasn't. She squeezed her eyes closed and then looked down again, refocusing on the pills as if she expected somehow they had misled her the first time.

When the first day passed and her period didn't arrive, which had been like clockwork for as long as she could remember, she brushed it off as stress. The second day she was getting nervous but today she was certain she was pregnant. There was no other earthly reason why she wasn't menstruating.

The clatter of the case falling to the floor barely registered in her ears as she stumbled out of the bathroom. Every minute of suppression for her abuse and rape that she had been forcing back from her thoughts and her daily life flung to the surface. Tripping over her own feet, she made her way to the bedroom and grabbed a sweatshirt from the closet, pulling it over her head without realizing that it was both inside out and backwards. Horror covered her face as she slipped on panties and jeans, then forced her feet into tennis shoes without bothering with socks. What the hell did socks matter when she was pregnant with that monster's child?

A sob erupted as she found her purse and grabbed a small overnight bag. She couldn't stay here, that was for sure. She couldn't tell Angel that she was not only damaged but so used that she was filled with the horrid offspring of Riley Finn. How would she explain this to him? How could he ever want her when she was ruined now?

Every fleeting thought of staying with him, of someday being his wife flew away the moment her pill pack hit the bathroom floor. She knew as certainly as she knew she was pregnant that she couldn't have Angel now. She was a fool to think she could move on and have a decent life to begin with, that she could be with someone who loved her like Angel had.

Had. She was already in past tense and she hadn't even left his room. Remedying that, she turned from the bedroom. She didn't place a single article of clothing in her bag, instead she went to the bathroom. Opening the medicine cabinet, she tossed in every bottle of medication in there. When she was done the only things left were eye drops and Angel's pain medication.

It took several seconds to zip up the bag before she ran from the room. She didn't hear it if anyone greeted her or asked her what was wrong as she quickly made her way down the stairs and out of the only place that had given her sanctuary. All she wanted was to be far away when Angel came out from his meeting with Lindsey. Hopefully, by the time anyone found her, it would be too late.


sometimes i get so mad, i just want to break the world

"The other day," Lindsey started taking a deep breath, "I gave you the impression that you would need me for Riley's conviction."

"And we don't need you?" Angel asked, his face plainly showing his confusion.

"No," Lindsey admitted, sitting on the edge of his chair like he was prepared to dart from the room if he had to, "I'm not a criminal lawyer and even if I was, this case will be handled by the state. The prosecution is already motion, actually. With Buffy's testimony, along with yours, her mother's and your friends', they will have no problem sending him away for a good long time. Finn will never even see this go to trial, Angel. He's guilty and everyone knows it. All that's left is the bargaining, which is in process now while he's cooling his heals at the hospital."

"Why did you have Buffy tell you about the rape then?" Angel raged, not feeling the pain of his injuries as he lurched forward in his chair, "Why the fuck would you put her through that when you knew godamn well that you wouldn't have shit to do with this?"

"Because," Lindsey explained, struggling not to cower under Angel's furious glare, "I wanted to know if you were being used. I didn't know anything about the rape at the time and I wanted to see if she was trying to get your money, Angel. When you gave me the will, I nearly had a heart attack."

"It's not your decision, Lindsey!" he shouted back, "If I want to give her every dime of my money right fucking now and live in a cardboard box, it's not your business! You are my lawyer, not my watch dog!"

"I'm your friend too," Lindsey countered, "You meet this girl and within days she's living with you and so are two of her friends? You're shot and going after her ex-boyfriend like it's some vendetta! You have to admit that this is strange behavior for a guy who wouldn't even let a female move into the mansion a couple of months before! Mr. Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em all of a sudden is being lead around by the dick by this girl? Something's wrong with this picture, Angel! Even you have to admit it!"

"I love her!" Angel said, "I don't expect you to understand it or even agree with it, but as my friend and my lawyer, you need to not torture her by making her bare her soul to you! What kind of sadistic fuck are you anyway, Lindsey?"

"I'm sorry, Angel," Lindsey said, "I just didn't trust her before. After speaking with the prosecuting attorney, I know what she went through and-"

"You have no CLUE what she went through!" Angel roared, "How dare you think you could even come close to knowing what she's been through and then you add to it! Well, thanks for being a friend! Next time you want to stab me in the back-"

"I wasn't going against you," Lindsey argued, "I was trying to help. Really."

"DON'T!" Angel shouted, pulling himself up to his feet as quickly as he could, which compared to his old self was very slow, "I don't need anyone else hurting her and if you want to keep being my friend you'll remember that in the future. Whatever you think is important to me, I promise you that as of now it is all below Buffy. Got it? I don't care about the money or what my brother's doing or even school. I care about her and she is my top priority, understand?"

"Yeah," Lindsey said, slumping in his chair, "I understand."

"Good," Angel said, turning toward the door, "Now make sure the will is-"

"Angel!" Gunn said, nearly breaking down the library door as he rushed in, his feet thumping loudly on the hardwood floor.

"Calm down," Angel said, shooting an angry glare at Lindsey before looking back at Gunn, "I was just having a disagreement with Lindsey."

"No, man," Gunn said, shaking his head, "Buffy ran out of here crying and she had a bag with her like she wasn't planning on coming back tonight. I called Spike and he's out trying to find her to see if something happened, but she looked really fucked up. Something's wrong."

"When did she leave?" Angel demanded, thrilled he had gotten dressed that morning. He limped toward the door and passed Gunn without waiting for his answer. Struggling up the stairs and cursing how long it was taking, he went to his room to get a pair of shoes and his keys. When he finally made it in, he looked around for signs of struggle or anything clue that could make him understand why she had left. Seeing nothing in plain view, he slipped on shoes, grabbed his keys and went back out as quickly as he could.


yes, i will accept, i will accept my pain
i don't deserve to die like this, no one deserves to die like this

Buffy had no idea where she was going to go. She couldn't go home. It wasn't like her mother would understand or sit idly by while she took her own life. She couldn't go to any of her friends, especially since they all lived at the mansion now. The only place left she could think of was Giles' office, which she still had a key to even though she hadn't been to work in quite some time. Glancing at her watch, she saw it was after three.

She headed in that direction, racking her brain on what his schedule was and what day it was. She remembered her pill pack and couldn't stop the next round of sobs. She knew exactly what day it was. Giles had his final class at two and almost always headed home early to do...whatever it was he did. She tried to make herself as invisible as possible as she walked hurriedly up the stairs, down the hall and around the corner to his little office.

Once inside, she locked the door and leaned against it, closing her eyes thankfully that she was alone. She crossed the room and opened Giles' bottom desk drawer where she knew she would find a high quality bottle of brandy. She tore a blank sheet of paper from what she affectionately called his "junk jet" printer and grabbed a pen from his top drawer. Any other day, she would have giggled to think that she should blow the dust off the paper first, since she was fairly certain he didn't even know how to turn the "blasted machine" on.

Her handwriting looked scrawled and wobbly as she made out a quick note. It wasn't more than a few sentences but it said what it needed to: Apologizing to Giles for drinking his brandy and thanking him for the job he had given her and sending her love to Willow, Xander and her mother.

She stared at the page for a long time and finally, she wrote, "And finally, my Angel, I hope you won't think that my death means that I don't love you. When I met you, I realized you were the only thing I've ever wanted and now I know you are the one thing that I can never have. Please don't be angry with me for not being as strong as you wanted me to be. I love you. -Buffy"

The last word was the clearest, in all capital letters. She stared at the page and then set it down, knowing she couldn't read over it again. No one would understand this when she barely could. The idea of the life she had always dreamed of taken in this one afternoon with a bottle of brandy washing down the contents of Angel's medicine cabinet was more than she was willing to deal with.

She shakily opened the first bottle of aspirin and dumped its contents on the desk. Scooping up a couple at a time, she began taking them, washing them down with the rich alcohol she had never grown to like and never would. She curled up in Giles' big squeaky desk chair and thought about the days past as she downed the pills a couple at a time.

She had been so focused on forgetting Riley, keeping her mind on caring for Angel, that she hadn't even started to deal with what had happened. Her body seemed like a vehicle for taking her straight to hell. She tried to make Angel happy and wanted nothing more but to burrow inside him and disappear. In fact, that's what she had tried to do. His shadow was so strong and tall she was sure she could cower in it until the rest of the world fell away. If he loved her, she could forget the things that hurt her.

She knew when Willow asked her how she was that her facade was beginning to fade. She had been avoiding Willow in large doses. She thought tiny visits with Will would work to make sure their friendship, at least to the casual observer, was intact. The truth was that her chipper redheaded friend had been trying to break in for days, but Buffy wouldn't let her. Xander only got a moment or two of her time lately and Buffy didn't even know what color Oz's hair was these days. All she saw was Angel and that was all she wanted to see because in his eyes, she was perfect. In his eyes, even her imperfections were perfect and he was so busy loving and protecting her, dosed heavily on those drugs, that he forgot to make her live for herself and that suited her.

She hadn't stopped to think about what would happen when Angel wasn't sleeping most of the days, when the medication was done and she couldn't fill his few waking hours with flesh and impassioned kisses. If she had, she would have been terrified. Sooner or later, Angel would have wondered when she was dealing and the problem was that Buffy Summers never planned to deal at all. She just wanted to be immersed in his arms.

She laughed bitterly as she finished off the aspirin and opened a box of decongestants, carefully pushing all the little pills through their foil encasing. Now all she was immersed in was drugs and alcohol. Swallowing the first couple pills, she forced down another gulp of brandy wondering why people called this the easy way out. There didn't seem to be anything easy about it at all.


don't die
don't give in
no way, no way
please don't leave me

Angel had looked in every place he could think of to find Buffy. He had Willow, Oz, Xander, Spike, Gunn and several of the guys all on the lookout for her too and even though his cell phone kept ringing, the reports were all coming up Buffyless. Finally, he parked his car in the faculty lot and hobbled up to Giles' office. The dark cell of a working space was the last place he could think of to find her.

The thought had crossed his mind that since they met, they had been mostly in the mansion. There hadn't been a lot of time to talk about favorite places or to go anywhere. Now he wanted to bang his head against the wall for not finding out where she went when she wanted to be alone. That little tidbit would have been incredibly useful right about now.

When he opened the door, he barely had time to look around the office before he hobbled inside. Giles' desk chair was turned over on top of her and her overnight bag was sitting on top of the desk, soaked in the overturned bottle of brandy, which was leaking through the blotter covered in pills and empty bottles and packages.

"Oh my God," he croaked, as he flung the chair off of her and scooped her into his arms. Tears were already filling his eyes before he made it to the door, leaving it open behind him. He cursed his wounds as he tried to move faster to get to his car. He thought about calling an ambulance, but he knew he could get her there before they could reach him.

"Don't die, Buffy," he begged as he set her in the passenger seat and got in, buckling neither of them in as he started the engine and took off at three times the speed limit.

"Please, baby, just hold on," he said, keeping one hand on her to keep her in the seat as he swerved around quiet Sunnydale traffic and kept going when a police car turned on its siren and began following him. The cop trailed him all the way to the hospital and he ignored him, carrying Buffy inside the emergency room doors, screaming for help.

Angel had to be held back by two hospital guards as the emergency crew took Buffy in to have her stomach pumped and he sagged in their hold when she disappeared through the swinging double doors. He slumped to his knees and stared at the doors, still moving from where she had disappeared and choked as he felt his stomach twisting in revolt.

Some time later, he vaguely heard Willow crying out his name. He looked up at her and watched her mouth move as she frantically spoke to him. He wasn't even sure how she had known to come there.

"Angel? Angel?" her voice echoed until he found his voice.

"She's..." he said, tapering off as he pointed in the direction of the doors and then looked back his love's best friend, "She's not going to die, is she? Please tell me that she won't die, Willow."

"She won't," Willow promised, sounding unsure through her sobs, "She...she can't, Angel. She can't."