Part Three
By Tango

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.
SPOILERS: Completely AU. Everyone's just plain ‘ole human.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from the Counting Crows

RATING: R? For now.

DEDICATION: For Eleni Angel.
For Trammie, my kindred spirit.


i wanna be the knife that cuts into my hand
and i wanna be scattered from here in this catapult.

Angel cursed under his breath as he got into Hank's car and put on his seatbelt. This whole day had been a whirlwind of nightmarish events intermixed with the sweet, surreal memories of having Buffy in his arms. All he ever wanted was to make sure she was happy and as he looked back at her standing in his doorway, still wearing his maroon silk shirt with a look of utter destruction on her beautiful face, he knew he had failed.

He didn't need to be able to see her tears to know they were there and found himself wondering what she was going to say to her mother when she called. He wanted to think that Joyce would be Buffy's ally, but her parents had been so wrapped up in hating each other lately, that he wasn't sure.

The two detectives sat in silence for as long as Angel could stand it, which turned out to be approximately six and a half minutes. He cleared his throat and broke into the car's violent silence, "I didn't touch her."

Angel looked over and saw Hank setting his jaw tightly, not even contemplating speech. Although his partner looked as if he were steps from pulling the car over and bludgeoning him to death, he forced himself to continue, "She called me as I was driving home because the guy you let her go out with tried to date rape her in the club."

"And she just took off her clothes and went into your bedroom without any help from you?" Hank said, nearly twitching with anger. Angel sighed. There was no plausible way to explain how she had come to be nearly nude in one of his shirts. He couldn't help but remember how she brazenly stepped forward and touched him when he tried to back away, placing her hands on his chest and burning a new sort of humanity through him. A consuming urge to blare out at Hank overtook him. He wanted to scream until his throat was raw and keep screaming until his voice broke.

"I didn't sleep with your daughter, Hank," Angel said when the urge to scream had passed. He spoke slowly and evenly, making sure he enunciated every word.

"When this case is over, you are out of our lives. I'm asking for a partner change and I don't want you anywhere near my house or my family," Hank said as he pulled in front of the police station. He didn't wait for Angel's response. Instead, he strode directly inside, intending to leave Angel as far behind him as possible. His partner, however, had different plans.

Angel scrambled out of the car and jogged after him with panic shooting through him. He had told himself a thousand times or more that he would stay as far away from Buffy as humanly possible and he could almost grasp the thought of never making love to her, never marrying her, never being able to tell her his true feelings, but he couldn't fathom the idea of being completely tossed from her life. He wouldn't let her father or anyone else keep him from her. She needed him. He knew somewhere deep inside that she needed him just as much as he tried to forget he needed her.

"I think your daughter should be able to decide whether or not she wants me in her life," Angel forced out, half a step behind him.

"She's a child," Hank answered without turning.

"She's eighteen," Angel retorted firmly as they mounted the steps into the police station. He knew this was insane. He knew that less than an hour ago he was telling Buffy why they couldn't be together, but the idea of never seeing her again was more than he could take.

"She's my daughter!" Hank screamed, not even noticing that they had reached the office and were surrounded by their peers. Neither felt the shocked eyes of the officers around them and neither would have given a damn if they had noticed.

"I'm in love with her!" Angel screamed back and then snapped his mouth shut in shock. Had he just said that out loud? He felt a lump forming in his throat and he knew for the first time that it was the absolute truth. It was the only truth he had known since his family died, since he killed those people. Buffy was the only thing he saw in the future and without her there really didn't seem to be a point.

"Are you so supremely stupid that you think saying that to me is going to justify what I saw tonight, Angelus?" Hank demanded, "My daughter was naked, three steps from your bedroom and you're telling me you didn't touch her one second and that you're love with her the next! Get the fuck out of my sight!"

Jaws gaped all over the room as they watched the interchange between the two detectives. With Hank's last statement, Angel stepped closer, flaring with a sort of anger that made everyone want to take a step back, "Hank, I am in LOVE with your daughter. I haven't touched her. I didn't make love to her tonight, but I promise you, I will. I'm not leaving her life. I'm becoming a permanent part of it if I have to marry her without your blessing!"

When Hank coiled his arm back in preparation to hit him, Angel saw it coming as if it was in slow motion. He didn't move to block it or even sway to get out of the way. He wanted it. He deserved it and if his partner needed to beat the shit out of him, so be it, but he knew for the first time in that moment that his future was sealed.

The punch came hard and fast and Angel's head snapped to the side when Hank's fist caught his jaw. He turned back around to face his love's father, feeling his mouth flood with his own blood. Bending, he spit into the nearest trash can and looked back at his attacker.

"I'm in love with her," Angel said, "I want your blessing and I know Buffy does, but she's...Hank, she's everything to me. I've stayed away out of respect for YOU, but guess what? Now, I'm going to do the opposite out of respect for the woman I love."


these seconds when i'm shaking leaving me shuddering for days
and i'm not ready for this sort of thing
but i'm not going to break
and i'm not going to worry about it anymore
i'm not going to bend
and i'm not going to break
and i'm not going to worry about it anymore

Hours later, Angel balanced precariously on the edge of insanity, as he stood on the Summers' front porch. The dawn that was already starting to crease that sky made his skin itch. It couldn't be a new day because the nightmare hadn't ended yet. If he could just wake up, he knew it would be fine again. But he wasn't waking up and her door stood there in front of him, taunting him with its solid existence.

He knocked on the door, rapping on the window pane lightly, as if he hoped she wouldn't hear. Blood was smeared on the glass where he had knocked and he stared down at his bloody knuckles disjointedly. He hadn't known he was bleeding and his hand seemed alien to him. Dazedly, he looked away from his hand and tried to peer into the large front window for signs of movement as he forced himself to knock louder.

Finally, after several minutes, he turned around and lowered himself to the front step. It was slightly chilly out and the cold of the concrete underneath him was almost soothing. It seemed real when nothing else did. He knew he had to get up and knock again but it was so hard to focus and wasn't sure he could. It took all of his strength to do it the first time.

His head was pounding with a delicate mix of physical and emotional pain. He blinked, swiping at his eyes and finding he still couldn't see the steps in front of him. Somehow his jacket and had disappeared and he had no idea where it was. Strange, that he thought about that for a moment, just to concentrate on something else besides what he had to do. Unfortunately, that thought led to the rehashing of the evening and he closed his eyes, trying to shut down his brain again.

But it wouldn't shut down. He could still hear the bullets tearing through the air, through glass, through flesh. He remembered leaning through the window of the car and unloading round after round of flying fatality as Hank drove. The memory of a body slumping in the backseat of the car they were chasing was imprinted on his brain. He had killed again and this time he was no hero.

He took out their two rear tires despite the mad weavings of the car chase but they kept driving as fast as the car would allow. They were all over the road and in Angel's memory, the smell of burning rubber was so intense he felt like he was going to vomit in Joyce's flower garden. The memory, however, didn't leave time for such relief.

There were three men left alive in car and one of them had been shooting holes in Hank's car for miles. Angel had long ago kicked the windshield out so they could see through the spider webbed glass, which is probably why he didn't know Hank had been shot until the car veered off to the side and out of control. Shocked, he had turned and grabbed the wheel to steady the car but let it go when he saw his partner. When he saw the bullet wound in his partner's head, a part of him wanted to die too.

The rest of the events were distorted as he struggled to remember anything but the sound of the car crunching against a building. He still felt like he was still in flight as he recalled being tossed through the windshield. Even though he was fairly certain he had a concussion and his right wrist might possibly broken, he had staggered away as soon as he could escape and came here. He could still hear the paramedics demanding that he stay and the six uniforms that had been following the chase trying to physically detain him.

Ten long regret filled minutes passed before he stood from the cool porch stoop and curled his hand into a fist. Twisting his wrist, he hovered there for a couple more minutes and then he banged the side of his hand against the sturdy wooden door. He kept banging until a light came on inside and he stopped, taking a deep shaky breath. Any second she would open the door. Any second he would have to tell her and he knew that he would sacrifice anything if he didn't have to.

She appeared finally, still wearing his shirt and gray cotton pants covered with little red hearts. Her eyes were barely open and her hair was delightfully bed rumpled, hanging around her shoulders. Half of her face was still black and blue and she was still the most exquisite thing he had ever seen. He fought the urge to run full speed in the opposite direction but he met her eyes reluctantly and saw them change from a sleepy yawn to alarm.

"Angel," she gasped, wrapping her little hands around his arm and tugging him inside, "You're bleeding! Are you okay? Oh my God, was Daddy with you?"

He knew he opened his mouth but he wasn't sure if he actually said anything or if he only mouthed the words, as she guided him to the kitchen and went about gathering the first aid kit. He stood there staring at her, trying to make those words come out. She shushed him as she began to clean his wounds, apologizing for the pain.

"What's going on?" Joyce said, appearing sleepily at the kitchen door. She trudged over the kitchen table and sat down slowly, resting her chin in her palm, watching her daughter tend to Angel's wounds. He moved away from her and she pulled him back, "Don't be a baby. I won't hurt you."

"No, it's not that," he finally managed to spit out and looked from mother to daughter and back again. Taking a shaky moment of strength, he leaned heavily against the counter and said, "I don't know how to tell you this...but Hank..."

"Is okay," Joyce said with a fierce determination, pulling herself to her feet quickly as if she hadn't just been half asleep, "He's okay, right, Angel?"

Angel shook his head slowly, feeling tears welling his eyes as he watched them well in theirs, "I tried to save all happened so fast..."

"No," Buffy said, shaking her head violently from side to side, "It's not true."

"I'm sorry, love," he whispered, "I wish it weren't."

Before they could stop her, Buffy crossed the room and dialed her father's cell phone number. She listened as the phone rang, whispering, "Pick up, Daddy."

"Buffy," Angel said gently, prying the phone from her hand, "Please."

"No!" she screamed, pounding on his chest with little fists. He tried to grab her shoulders to still her but she shrugged him off and rushed over to her mother's side. Joyce had sank to the floor, kneeling there on the ivory tiles. She didn't move or cry, but just sat there, looking at that floor that they had installed together, tile by tile so many years ago. She could almost hear the music coming from Buffy's baby swing as she rocked in the corner, sleeping through the installation.

Buffy dropped to the floor in front of her mother and Joyce slowly looked up to see her daughter. Could she explain to her child that if Hank had lived he would have moved out the following week? She didn't even know if she loved him anymore or not, but she had to because grief was twisting its way through her body, entangling itself in her own self hatred. Maybe she could have tried harder, maybe if he hadn't been so angry at her, at the world then he might have lived.

Meeting her daughter's eyes, they sat there for a moment, letting it soak in. It was just the two of them now. Moving in unison, they leaned toward each other and accepted the news. Angel stood there and watched them grieve for a moment before backing out of the room. He stopped at the doorway and looked down at his adopted family.

"If you need me..." he said, trailing off at the end. There was no point in continuing the sentence. They couldn't hear him.


it's getting cold in california
i guess i'll be leaving soon

Angel walked out of the front door and realized that his car wasn't there. He had convinced one of the uniforms to bring him here and now he had no way home. A long time must have passed while he tried to focus on how to get home without going back inside the house. His cell phone was still in his pocket but was irreparably broken from the crash.

"Angel?" Buffy said, coming out of the front door and whisking her feet through the grass as she approached him.

"I don't have my car," he mumbled as she pulled him back toward the house.

"Stay here," she whispered hoarsely. She pushed him back on the couch and he sat there in stunned silence as she gathered her mother from the kitchen and ushered her off to bed. He could hear her speaking in low, soothing tones to Joyce as she tucked her into bed. As he heard her footsteps coming back down the stairs, he wanted to run back out the door rather than face her but he couldn't get his body to move.

"I'm so sorry, Buffy," he said as she crawled into his lap and buried her bruised face into his shirt, "I tried to save him. I'm so sorry..."

"I could have lost you both," she whispered back, looking up and touching the fresh wounds on his face. Fresh tears sprung in her eyes and he wanted to wipe them away but thinking he had caused them made all the difference. Even though she was tucked in his lap, he couldn't touch her.

"I wish it would have been me instead," he said. She laid her head back against his chest and he could have sworn he heard her muffled voice say, "Shut up, Angel."


the reason that I'm driven straight to tears
waiting here for you
wanting to tell you
how i get my endings my beginnings mixed up too
just the way you do
i thought if i told you
you might want to stay for just another day or two

A month later, Cordelia Chase stormed into the Sunnydale High School library and whipped her dark head toward the table where Buffy sat talking quietly to Giles.

"This is trying time for you, Buffy," Giles said, "I wish I could do more to help, but I'm not certain I understand what you are asking.

"Mom told me about you two, Giles," she said, "I know you never stopped loving my mother."

"Buffy," Giles stammered, "Your mother and I...that was over long ago and she is hardly a month into her grieving process. I cannot enter her life again now."

"She needs a friend, Giles," Buffy begged, "Can you just call her or something?"

"I know who else needs a friend," Cordy said, placing her hands on her hips. She glared down at Buffy like she was preparing to go into war.

"Cordelia, I'm trying to have a conversation with Giles-"

"Buffy," Cordelia said with a tremble of anger in her voice, "I don't know what you did to my brother but he won't leave the house. He hasn't been back to work and he won't even...He won't even talk to me!"

"W-why do you think I have anything to do with that?" Buffy croaked. She had been crying herself to sleep every night since her father died. She had fallen asleep with Angel on the couch and when they woke up in the morning, she felt so perfect sleeping in his arms, but he panicked. It was almost as if he couldn't wait to get out of there and before she knew it he had called a cab and left.

Other than a few polite words, an earnest apology at the funeral and kiss to her forehead in the cemetery, she hadn't seen or spoken to him. She had originally felt incredibly guilty because she was glad she hadn't lost them both. That smidgeon of happiness that had broken into her grief had been a much needed relief no matter how remorseful she was for feeling it and now she realized she that had lost them both after all. She just had been hoping that wasn't true during these weeks she had spent without him.

"He's in love with you!" Cordelia spat at her, "I can't begin to understand what he sees in someone like you, but I know my brother and he can't stop beating himself up for your father's death."

"I don't know what you expect me to do about it," Buffy said, rising to her feet, "He left! I tried to talk to him and he won't even look at me. You saw him at the funeral, Cordy!"

"Buffy," Cordy said, grabbing her shoulders with desperation in her eyes, "He's dying inside. You have to do SOMETHING before I lose the only thing I have left in my life. Please. Help him."

Cordelia Chase has feelings. The idea was like a freight train to Buffy. Even when Angel had told her about his mother and his other sister, she still couldn't wrap her mind around the idea of Cordelia caring for anyone but herself. She stared at the taller girl for long moments, letting the knowledge set in. Finally, she nodded slowly and followed her out of the library. Cordelia led her out to her car and drove like a madwoman home.

Buffy found Angel in the living room with a drink in one hand and a cigarette in the other, staring at the walls as if he were listening to them speak.

"Hi," she said, sitting down on the table in front of him.

"Why are you here, Buffy?" he asked, taking a long pull off of his cigarette and looking at her blankly.

"I came to find out why you aren't speaking to me anymore."

"Maybe I don't have anything to say," he answered bitterly.

"So you lived and Daddy died," Buffy announced, "but you decided that you would rather die, right? You wish it so much that you're going to sit here until you rot."

"What do you want?" he asked, his mouth twisting into an acidic frown.

"I want to know if you love me," she asked, fidgeting there on the edge of the table.

"Forget about me," he said, pulling himself to his feet and brushing past his sister without a glance as he left the room. Buffy charged after him and grabbed his arm, pulling him around to face her. He saw fury flashing in her eyes as she began to shout, "I know you love me. You feel guilty that my Dad died. I get that but what you're doing is...fucking stupid!"

"You're eighteen years old, Buffy," Angel shouted back, coming to life, "What do you know about love? What do you know about guilt? Huh? I killed three people two years ago and last month I killed someone else and your father died anyway. Now, if you don't mind, I'd like to-"

"What brood some more?" she shouted, "Feel sorry for yourself a little bit longer?"

"I can't become a killer, Buffy," he said, "That's what I'm turning into. I'm turning into this thing that won't be able to love anything."

"Then fight it."

"It's too hard," he said, pulling away from her, and leaning against the wall, "I can't live like this. All I want to do is take comfort in you, but I can't. Before your father died, we got into a fight about you. He told me that he would never approve of me being in your life and I was going to do whatever I could to convince him that we should be together, but now he's dead. It's all my fault and nothing you or anyone else says can change that."

"I know what happened, Angel. Mom and I read the police report. It wasn't your fault!" Buffy answered. She waited for him to make any motion of acknowledgment, but he just stood there staring at her blankly. She took a deep breath trying to fight the tears she couldn't stop, "What about me, Angel? I love you so much and I tried to stay away but I can't. And I hate it! I hate that it's so hard...and that you can hurt me so much. Oh God! I felt so guilty because I was glad you didn't die too. I wish that I wished you died instead, but I don't. I can't."

"Buffy, please," he said, weeping as he spoke, "Just let me follow your father's wishes. Let me be strong."

"Strong is fighting!" she shouted, "It's hard and it's painful and it's every day, but it's what we have to do. You can sit here and waste the rest of your life and mine, or we can do it together! But if you think I'm going to move on with my life and fall in love with someone else, you're wrong. If you just drink and smoke yourself to death, then all my love dies with you."

Liam Angelus and Cordelia Chase stood in shock and watched as Buffy left the house, slamming the door behind her. Tears streamed down her face as she walked away, not knowing how she was going to get home. She wished she cared about getting home, but she didn't. Everything she cared about was back there in that too large house with his little sister.


Part Four


DEDICATION: For Eleni Angel.
For Starrkitty for making me smile and missing me. *G*


it does not bother me to say this isn't love
because if you don't want to talk about it then it isn't love
and i guess i'm going to have to live with that
but i'm sure there's something in a shade of gray
or something in between

"Angel," Buffy said into the telephone after she'd dialed, after she'd walked for a long time to get home. She wasn't sure how long it had taken. An hour? Longer? She knew that Cordelia came running out of the house and roared in her candy apple red car after her. Buffy had hidden behind a tree and waited until the car had passed before trudging back out to the sidewalk and crying her way home. If Angel hadn't come after her, then she would rather walk.

Each step reminded her of another horrible part of the last month. Spending all that time without her father or the man she loved was not nearly as horrendous as she had imagined it would be. It was much, much worse.

All she wanted when her father died was to curl up in Angel's strong arms and cry. She wanted those fears and feelings to spring free, only reaching the safety of his ears. But she wasn't allowed that. Her mother was either drunk or catatonic every day, her father was dead and Angel wanted nothing to do with her. Buffy couldn't help wondering why she was being punished.

"Thank God," he breathed into the receiver. She could imagine him smelling of liquor and cigarettes rather than that clean smell he always had, like leather and soap, "Cordy came after you and-"

"Shut up, Angel," she snapped, trying to keep her voice strident. She couldn't let him hear her voice break in pain. Not again, "I just called to tell you one thing."

She paused, but she could only hear his breathing as he waited for her to continue. She almost smiled. He was shutting up.

"I'm a real person," she said clearly, "I decide who I love and what I want to do with my life. My father told you to stay away from me, but it was never his decision. It wasn't my mother's either. This is my life. I decide. Not them. Not you."


Angel was silenced when the line went dead on the other end. He sat down in his chair again, cradling the cordless phone in his hand as if he thought it would morph into Buffy if he waited long enough. He should have been the one to go after her. He should have run out that door and kept running until he caught up with her. Already, he could feel her lips against his and the imaginary sigh that was escaping into his mouth from hers was so sweet, he was trembling.

"Why?" Cordelia said, perching on the arm of his chair and looking down on him. He peered up at his beautiful sister and watched as she pushed her long, dark hair over her shoulder so that it wouldn't block his face.

"Because I love her," he said, tossing the phone and watching as it bounced on the adjacent couch, "Because I don't deserve her."

"She loves you too," Cordy said, taking his hand and squeezing it. She gritted her teeth for a second as she made the words she had to say come from her mouth, "Listen very carefully Angel because I won't say this again. I don't like Buffy Summers. I never have and I don't think I ever will, but she loves you. She makes you happy like no one ever has since Mom died. You need her in your life and the little...she needs you. I hate the idea of thinking of her as family but I already do. I have to."

"Cordy," Angel said, leaning his head back against his chair, "Don't you think-"

"I think that I need my brother," she said, clutching his hand tighter and blinking back her own tears, "I can't do this without you, Angel. You're the only one who really loves me. I can't lose you and if that means accepting Buffy into our lives then I can live with that."

"What if I ruin her life?"

"What if you ruin ours?" She demanded standing up and straightening her skirt. He watched as his sister's bitchy demeanor returned. She placed her hands on her hips and tapped her foot urgently, "Now get your ass up and shower because you're smelling up our house."

"Cordelia," Angel warned, narrowing red rimmed eyes at his sister.

"No," she said, turning and walking from the room with a flipping cloud of dark hair trailing behind her, "Go make up with her, Angel! Grovel for her forgiveness and don't bring your sorry ass home until you have."


it's not all that easy
so maybe i should nap her up in butterfly net
pin her down in a photograph album

"Buffy!" Joyce called as she entered the house and slammed the door. Buffy called out her response as she tramped down the stairs. She met the worried eyes of her mother and Giles as she reached the bottom.

"We were looking all over for you," her mother shouted, "You left school early without permission and then disappeared without a trace. We called Angel's and he said you left hours ago."

"I walked home," Buffy said, shrugging her shoulders, "Sorry you were worried. Didn't think you'd miss me that much."

"We were preparing to call hospitals," Giles said, calmly as he pulled out the handkerchief that was always tucked in his pocket and began wiping his glasses.

"Giles," Buffy complained, "When I asked you to talk to my mother, I didn't mean you needed to rat me out for ditching school early."

"I certainly didn't ‘rat' you out," he answered, perching his glasses on his nose once more, "She called me and that is entirely beside the point."

"Do you want to lecture me?" Buffy asked, sinking to the third stair, "Cause I'm all yelled out for the day. Why don't you two just let me know when you're done, okay?"

Buffy nearly choked when Joyce pulled her roughly into her arms and embraced her tightly, "I was so worried. Please just tell me when you're going to be late, okay?"

"Okay," Buffy muffled in bewilderment as she patted her Mom's back lightly, "Okay, Mom...oxygen is becoming an issue."


we're gonna have to think about the consequences
she can't stop shaking and i can't stop touching her and...
this time when kindness falls like rain
it washes her away

Angel showered extremely slowly. He dried off, dressed and headed out the front door even more slowly. He observed the exact speed limit all the way to Buffy's. Not because he was a police officer but because he didn't know what he was going to do once he got there.

All the lights were off in the house when he finally arrived and he almost turned around and went home until he saw that her bedroom light was on. Taking every bit of courage he had, he slipped his keys in his pocket and climbed the tree by her house, stepping off the branch onto the porch overhang in front of her window.

She was sitting on her bed with her knees against her chest hugging a stuffed pig. Her long blonde hair was streaming down her back, slightly damp in some places. He loved the way it contrasted with her blue silk pajamas, looking like the beginnings of an Indian summer sunset.

"Buffy," he whispered, crouching near her window and bracing his hands on either side of it.

"Angel," she said, tossing her pig away and sliding to her feet, "What are you doing here?"

"I...I came to apologize," he said. He watched as her feet landed on her floor and remembered the first time he saw them. They weren't painted sparkly purple this time, but a blushing pink color. He almost smiled as he recalled that he wanted to kiss them. He still did.

"For what?" she asked, her anger coming through in her words.

"For being an asshole," he said, "For not coming after you, for loving you too much. I don't deserve you, Buffy and I'm not sure how to make this right."

"You can start by getting off my roof," she ordered. His face fell and as he began to pivot to leave, she reached through the window and caught his arm. She tugged him lightly toward her, "and coming inside."

Gingerly and gracefully, he slipped through and found himself in her bedroom. Suddenly, this seemed like a very bad idea. He could see the faint outline of her bare breasts through the fabric and her tanned legs were visible underneath the shorts she wore. He tried to look anywhere but at her as he struggled to speak.

"Do you love me?" she asked, repeating her earlier question with even more trepidation than before.

"I-I love you. I try not to," he said, meeting her beautiful green-hazel eyes, "But I can't stop."

"Me too. I can't either," she whispered, stepping forward and pressing herself against him. His arms automatically wrapped around her and his lips acted on their own as they sought out hers. She opened her mouth to his tongue and tentatively slipped hers inside his warm mouth. He tasted like toothpaste and love, air and life.

"I should go," he said, breaking the kiss and backing away quickly. She ignored his words as she stepped forward and caught his lips again. He was so delicious and she could feel her whole body tingling from his closeness.

"Don't go," she murmured against his lips before sucking his tongue into her mouth again. He threaded his fingers into her hair and delighted in the feel of her body pressed dangerously against his. It was perfect and alarming at the same time. Nothing had ever felt that wonderful.

"You need to go to bed," he whispered back, allowing himself another kiss. He thought he could explore her mouth for the rest of his life and never get over what he was feeling right then. He never wanted to stop.

"God, you feel..." she moaned, holding him tighter and more desperately. Her tiny hands roamed over his back, tracing the lines of his muscles.

"Tell me to leave," he begged against her lips, "Tell me that I don't deserve you."

"Stay," she answered, "Never leave me, Angel."

Swiftly, she pushed his jacket from his shoulders, shoving it lifelessly to the floor as if she had done it a thousand times before. Nimble fingers released the buttons from his shirt and sweet lips kissed the flesh that was revealed.

"Buffy," he groaned, catching her hands, "Stop. We can't do this."

"Why?" she asked, looking up at him demurely, "We love each other."

"Not tonight," he said, kissing her fingertips, "It's too soon."

"Will you stay," she asked quietly, "and hold me?"

He nodded after a long moment and slipped off his shoes. She unbuttoned the final two buttons on his shirt and was careful not to meet his eyes as she pulled it off of him. Taking an extra second, she caressed his beautiful chest and abdomen while he stood very still, breathing heavily. She avoided the urge to kiss him again as she turned and shut the door. Even as she turned out the light, pulled the covers aside and crawled in, he knew this was a mistake. He already knew if he held her for one night he would never be able to turn away.

Casting aside his fears, he crawled in behind her and wrapped his arm around her waist. He buried his face in the crook of her neck and inhaled her intoxicating scent as she molded against him. Her small frame fit perfectly against his as no other woman ever had.

The movement of her silk top felt like water beneath his fingers as she pulled it up inch by innocent inch until his fingertips touched her bare belly. When she had slipped the fabric completely away and his whole hand was in contact with her skin, he tried to think about anything that wasn't sensual, anything that wasn't Buffy but when her tiny hand covered his, his brain exploded. She nudged his hand up until it covered her breast.

Her breath came out in nervous puffs and he could feel her heart pounding beneath her skin as he tried to think about how to get out of the situation. Losing his resolve, he brushed his lips over her neck and rolled her hardening nipple between his thumb and forefinger. She moaned as she turned over, lying on her back.

Her promised himself that he would not let it go too far as he bent and licked her perfect nipple before sucking it between his lips. Buffy felt warmth spreading through her entire body, beginning in her lower belly and spanning her limbs. His other hand covered her other breast as he suckled her nipple, switching sides after a short while to lave the same pleasurable ministrations there.

He felt her arching urgently beneath him and moved away, knowing it had already gone too far for the evening. Tugging her top down again and ignoring her whimper of protest, he pulled her into his arms and held her closely once more.

"Sleep," he whispered, kissing her forehead, "There's time for this later, baby."

"Angel?" she asked, gliding her fingers over his forearm.


"Do you snore?"


it's a sin to be fading endlessly
yeah, but she's alright with me
she is leaving on a walkway
she is leaving me in disarray
in the absence of a place to be
she stands there looking back at me
hesitates and then turns away

"Buffy?" Joyce said as she pushed open her daughter's door, "Time for school...Oh my God."

She stared at the two bodies wrapped around each other in Buffy's bed. Sometime in the middle of the night, they had kicked the covers away and Buffy had turned in her sleep, pressing her face against Angel's bare chest. His large hand was outlined by the material of Buffy's pajama top as his hand spanned her back underneath it, pressing against her bare skin. Their legs were hopelessly tangled with one another and they clung like lovers who had been too long apart. Barely awake, Buffy kissed the patch of chest in front of her and snaked around him to spread her hand over his back.

"Buffy!" Joyce shouted, taking a step forward in her frenzy. Buffy opened her eyes and met with Angel's chest before shooting her gaze to the door where her mother stood. Seconds later both Buffy and Angel leapt from the bed, each escaping from a separate side. Buffy shook her head in regret as she realized that she had forgotten to set an alarm.

"Joyce, I assure you," Angel began and closed his mouth when she glared at him menacingly.

"Buffy," Joyce demanded, "Get ready for school. You're late. Angel, please see yourself out."


"School!" Joyce shouted, "Weak explanations later. I'm sure having an entire day for preparation will allow you to come up with an acceptable reason why a 26 year old, half naked police detective spent the night in your bed."

"Shit," she grumbled as her mother strode away. She turned to Angel who looked sufficiently guilty and seemed to contemplating something to say. She interrupted him before he started, "Please don't say it."

"You don't even know what I was going to say," he objected, crossing the room for his shirt.

"You're right," she answered, stepping closer to him, "And I don't want to know."

He looked up at her bed rumpled hair, streaming over her shoulders. The top couple of buttons of her top had come free in the night and he had an extra glimpse of her bare skin. Arousal for her fanned throughout his body as he met her eyes and watched her skin flush in response to his inappropriate gaze.

"Kiss me," he said, smiling despite himself.

"Finally something I want to do," she whispered, meeting his lips. Lost in the moment and in the soft body pressing against his, he began moving her toward the bed again. He caught himself just before he lowered her to the mattress and broke the kiss. Slipping on his shirt, he breathed in deeply before sitting down to put on his shoes. Suddenly, she was on his lap, straddling him and greedily stealing another kiss.

"You're going to be late for school," he said hoarsely, mentally denying himself the knowledge that she was now on his lap. She silenced him with another kiss, wiggling in the most delightful way.

"Promise me you aren't going to spend the day trying to think of another reason why we shouldn't be together," she said, keeping her arms around him.

"I promise," he answered reluctantly, shifting his eyes away from her. Something that felt so right and was so wrong was a contradiction that he wasn't sure of how to deal with.

"I want to be with you, Angel," she said quietly, "And I know you want to be with me. Why do we have to fight it? Can't we just be together now?"

"It's not that easy, love," he said regretfully.

"You said you loved me," she retorted, "You came here and held me all night long. I think it is that easy."

With that she slipped off of his lap, grabbed her robe and left the room. Angel finished putting on his shoes quickly and thought about climbing back out the window. Instead, he took the stairs and planned to slip out the front door before Joyce had an opportunity to speak to him. Unfortunately, she was waiting for him, nursing a steaming cup of coffee.

"Joyce," he said, acknowledging her with a nod.

"I want to talk to you," she said, turning and heading for the living room. He followed and sat down on the couch, waiting for her to yell at him. She crossed her legs and said nothing. Instead, she simply sat there.

"I love your daughter, Joyce," he said finally, "I have for a long time."

"What are you intentions?" she asked, taking another sip from her mug.

"I don't know," he answered honestly, leaning his head into his hands.

"I think you'd better decide soon because if you think you're going to spend the night in my daughter's bed and then disappear without any consequences you're sorely mistaken. She may be eighteen but she's still a child. My husband told me of your...exploits. I don't want her to be another notch in your bedpost, Angel."

"She will never be that to me," he said, "I've never loved anyone the way I love her. I would never hurt her."

"Then decide what you want from her or walk away," she said, rising to her feet, "I've seen that look in her eyes for quite some time. She stopped talking about other boys after you showed up. She's just like any other young woman in love. All she can see in the future is you. I hope you're mature enough to decide what's best. If you're going to break her heart, all I ask is that you do it now when she can still heal from it."

"I don't want to break her h-heart," he stuttered, feeling a lump rising in his throat.

"You might have to," she said before heading out of the room and back up the stairs. Angel watched her leave before stumbling to the door and letting himself out.