AUTHOR’S NOTE: This will be a series of vignettes taking place after indie’s fic, “Glimpse.” They will be set in the same universe that indie created in “Glimpse” that breaks off of AtS canon after Season 2. It's set a few years after Buffy's second death. They never brought her back. No Connor. No bad ass Wesley. If you have not read indie’s fic, you may be confused by mine - FYI.
Please note that this universe is completely indie's creation. I am just borrowing it for the purpose of these vignettes. Many of the ideas that will be coming into play will also partly be ideas that came up in discussion with her. I give her full credit for much of the creativity that comes along during this project. *G*
DEDICATION: For my twin, indie, for taking a wonderful idea, writing a wonderful ficlet and giving me permission to write the sequel to it. *smoochies*
[Elizabeth] shook herself lightly and looked at him. “My heart and my soul belong to Liam,” she said. “But the ... animal ... in me longs for a Master. Up until now it has been easy to fight that instinct.”
Angel licked his dry lips. “Until I arrived,” he said knowingly.
Her breathing came in labored puffs and Angel could see the outline of her pebbled nipples through the tight fabric of her shirt. “Liam isn’t being paranoid,” she said quietly.
Angel was dreaming again. He had been since he left the alternative world and more importantly, Elizabeth. His dreams always started out with Buffy – his human Slayer Buffy – but before the end of the dream she became Elizabeth, the very undead version. She, not the deceased love of his unlife, was tangible, real, and just a portal jump away. She wasn’t Buffy and would never be, but Gods, they both smelled like suspended sunshine.
The two years since Buffy died had been constant torment for him. He hadn’t really thought about living without Buffy before, which was strange because she was not only mortal but the Slayer. Slayers had short life expectancies. But Angel had always known at the core of his being that he would die first. He would give up his immortality and die saving her life. He knew this for certain, so when she died the axis of his world had cracked and shattered. He had foolishly thought that this was the worst thing that could ever happen to him. He had believed that there was no greater tragedy than losing Buffy. But that was before he met Elizabeth.
He didn’t love Elizabeth. She was a just a shade of his Slayer, a demon who wore her face…and her eyes and her voice and her golden spun hair. Just a flashing memory of her face creased with the demon, blood dripping from her lips, her bare breasts catching droplets of Liam’s blood was enough to stop him dead in his tracks and take unneeded breaths. Buffy had been his mate, but he craved Elizabeth, dreamed of her and often thought of sneaking down to the Hyperion’s lobby in the middle of the night, creating a portal and stealing her from his other self.
However he knew he couldn’t have her. She belonged to the living, breathing version of himself that ate, drank, smoked and cursed like a sailor. Buffy had been dead two years and he had never kept his mind this far from her aching memory until he jumped through a portal three months before. He had spent every moment of those years waiting for Buffy to walk through the door or call him to tell him she had clawed her way from her grave. Now something new and strange had settled in his chest and wouldn’t let go. He wasn’t quite sure if it was regret or hope, but now he was waiting for Elizabeth instead.
Cordelia had started getting that look on her face, the worried look that meant she was going to help him or worse – try to cheer him up. He didn’t want to be cheered up. Truth was, he was already cheered by the knowledge that in some time, in some place Buffy was alive (almost) and Liam loved her and would protect her. Liam was a selfish, immature asshole who reminded Angel of the worst of his human self that he had spent hundreds of years trying to forget, but the likeness in them was painfully apparent in their love for the same woman. Angel was cheered as much as he was going to get about the subject considering that he woke every morning (late afternoon) with the blankets tented by an arousal so fierce he now habitually started off the day with a freezing cold shower.
That morning however, when he woke up from the dream of her, it seemed as if the bonds between the dream world and reality had blurred. He opened his eyes; yawned, arching his back and inhaling air that he didn’t need and found much to his surprise that something was weighing him down. He grumbled before he even opened his eyes. His luck would be that Cordy bought him a pet or something that was currently shedding and slobbering all over his designer sheets.
He opened his eyes to examine the intruder and couldn’t believe what he saw. Buf…no, Elizabeth was lying across his chest. Most of her body was huddled over his as if she didn’t want to sleep without being sure he couldn’t escape without her notice. She was completely naked and smeared with dirt and grime. Her usually silky blonde locks were tangled and filthy, her cheeks were streaked with the tears she had undoubtedly shed and her arms were chained behind her back. How the hell did she get here?
Angel blinked and shook his head, convinced he was dreaming, but Elizabeth stayed right where she was instead of fading away like his dream lover often did. No, in fact, she murmured in her sleep and snuggled more closely into him. She shifted positions and raised her leg, brushing against his turgid flesh. Angel jerked so hard with the teasing caress he almost spilled into the sheets.
He wasn’t sure what he was expecting or what this strange event could possibly mean. He didn’t know what would happen when he woke her up but when her leg rubbed against his throbbing cock, he knew he wouldn’t be able to wait to find out. He was going to have to get out of that bed as fast as vampirically possible.
“Buff…” Godammit, he groaned silently. Taking a deep breath, he shook her gently, “Elizabeth. Wake up.”
“Mmmm…Liam,” she murmured, smacking her lips appreciatively. She nuzzled the spot where his shoulder met his neck and inhaled a deep unneeded breath. “Five more minutes,” she whispered against his skin.
“Wake up,” he insisted again, shaking her more firmly. “Elizabeth!” he barked, trying not to choke on the lump in his throat because her leg started its trail over again. The scent of her, the sight of her even covered in dirt was almost too much to bear. The hope he had clung to for years and then months was lying in his bed, her lips against his throat.
“Liam, please,” she whimpered, “So tired. Just one more-“ Angel shook her again, his hands trembling on her narrow shoulders. Elizabeth’s eyes opened wide and her sentence was left hanging when she tried to move her arms to caress him only to find that she couldn’t move them at all. She craned her neck to look up at Angel’s face and then dropped her head again quickly. “A-Angel,” she whimpered, “For a second I thought…I thought I hadn’t escaped.”
Elizabeth scooted back a bit to get a good look at him and couldn’t help the tears from starting all over again. She rolled over awkwardly, curled in a little ball to hide her tears from him. He looked like Liam and even, in some respects, was Liam, but still, he was a stranger and she was crying over what he had already lost years before.
Angel stared at her, afraid to move as her light weeping became shuddering sobs. He closed his eyes for a second and then he gathered her into his arms and rocked her, kissing the top of her tangled hair and whispering soothing, nonsensical words to her. He held her so tightly she winced in pain, but said nothing. She didn’t care that she was filthy, starving or that her hands were still bound behind her back. All she wanted was for him to keep holding her more tightly. She didn’t want to get away.
His hands smoothed over her shoulders, down her arms and finally to the chains that bound her arms behind her. “It’s okay,” he said, running his hand over her matted hair. “Everything is going to all right.” She felt the chains snap and fall free, landing with a metallic rattle on the bed.
Elizabeth was pacing in Angel’s bedroom, biting her lower lip as one of his shirts ballooned around her. He left a black silk shirt on the bed for her to slip on after her shower and a mug of warm blood on the bedside table. She showered, dressed, drank the blood and then waited.
She was beginning to get a glimpse of what Angel must have felt when he showed up in her world seeing his lover’s face on someone else. Liam…she closed her eyes and tried to blink back the tears. Liam had been dead for a few scant weeks and none of the torture her would-be Masters had inflicted on her came close to what they had taken away when they killed him. The only thing that kept her alive was getting to Angel. She suspected that he must feel the same way about her. She wanted Liam, missed Liam, loved, lusted and dreamed of Liam, but if she could have Angel, she might be able to go on yet another day.
It took Angel hours to return and when he did, he had a suitcase in one hand and a shopping bag in the other. The suitcase was very old, battered and covered with a thick layer of dust, but he laid it gingerly on the bed as if it were filled with china plates rather than clothes.
“Those…” he said, gesturing at the suitcase helplessly, before looking at her. His eyes welled up as he dropped his hand. Looking at her was almost too much. She made no move to approach him but stayed where she was, regarding him with curiosity. Everything that crossed his mind, everything he wanted to say, sounded painful and raw. He cleared his throat and then opened the shopping bag. Maybe that would be easier but when he started to speak, he only stopped again. He raked his fingers through his hair and slowly, he turned to face her.
“Liam died, didn’t he?” Angel asked slowly. He gazed directly in her eyes for the first time and the heartache was unbearable. She nodded, those lustrous hazel orbs filled with tears.
“They killed him to get to me,” she sniffled, her voice thick with unshed tears. “I should have known that a ronin vampire living with the Council would not be allowed for long. It’s my fault he’s dead.”
“No…Elizabeth,” Angel denied, crossing over to her and pulling her into his arms. It was so hard to not call her Buffy. She clung to him and pressed her cheek against his unbeating heart just the way Buffy had so many times before. “It wasn’t your fault,” Angel continued when he had his voice back. “Liam was the Slayer. He would have been a target anyway.”
“He was the strongest Slayer in history,” she whimpered, “They caught me first so I couldn’t warn him. He was searching for me. It made it so easy for them to find him. They hunted him down like an animal and destroyed him because he wouldn’t let me go.”
“It wasn’t about you or Liam. It was about power. How many ronin vamps were there in your world? How many strong enough to withstand the lure of a Master? A handful? They couldn’t let you go outside the system because that’s how power crumbles.” He drew her back into his arms and held on to her shoulders as he looked into her eyes. “If I had been in Liam’s shoes, I would have done anything to protect you. I would have risked everything to save you too.”
Elizabeth dove back into his arms and pressed her face against his chest again, rubbing her cheek against the silk shirt he wore. He held her for a long time, but when she calmed and began caressing his back he stepped away so quickly she stumbled. She gaped at him as he crossed over to the suitcase. He unzipped it briskly and flipped it open, revealing that it was filled with female clothes.
“These were…they belonged to Buffy,” Angel stated quietly. He turned back to the shopping bag and began pulling out the things he had bought for her while he was out. Panties, toothbrush, hair brush and as she stepped closer, Elizabeth realized with some measure of shock, that they were all the types she would have bought for herself, even the cosmetics were right. She shuddered even though she felt an intense swirling of desire in her belly.
“You either really pay attention or you’re a great guesser.” She forced a smile and absently touched the items he set on the bed. When he spoke he was standing directly behind her, his lips so close to her ear that she could almost feel them moving. His voice was soft and seductive. She knew that voice better than she knew her own. “I pay attention,” he said, “but you already knew that.”
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