Part Five
By Tango

FEEDBACK: Yes, please keep letting me know what you think. Everyone who sent feedback is still TERRIFIC, FABULOUS and WONDERFUL! THANK YOU! Again, if I haven't returned your email, I will. *G*

LYRICS: All lyrics are from the Counting Crows

RATING: R? For now.

DEDICATION: For Eleni Angel.


won't somebody save me please

Cordelia's fake, cackling sort of laughter was disturbing as Buffy and Willow stepped into the hallway of Sunnydale High. Buffy glanced over and saw Cordelia's head purposely tossed back in mid-laugh before her entourage of little mindless followers.

"...See?" Cordelia said, taking on a serious instructional gaze for her audience, "Dr. Debi says when a man is speaking to you, make serious eye contact, and you really, really listen, and you laugh at everything he says."

Buffy cringed at the second bout of cackling that erupted from Cordelia Chase and thought about being a part of her family. She nearly stopped in the hallway as the realization struck her that she had every intention of becoming a permanent part of Cordelia's life. She knew she loved Angel and saw nothing but him in her future, but real life was weaving its way into her fantasies. She wanted to be with Angel forever and in the serious, marry him and be his wife sort of way.

She was already blushing when she and Willow stepped out of class, knowing they were about to take on an Angel-y sort of topic, but her blush deepened as her friend whispered conspiratorially, "He spent the night? In your bed? With your mom there?"

"Uh-huh," Buffy nodded, as her face twisted into a wistful, dreamy smile and then snapped back to reality, "With Mom there to catch us in the morning."

"Oh..." Willow said, gulping nervously as if she had been there herself, "Wow. Big trouble, huh?"

"Biggest," Buffy said, "I'm sure when I get home I'll have a lecture coming."

"So...when you know in bed together...what happened?" Willow asked, stumbling over her words and reddening furiously.

"Stuff," Buffy said, smiling at her friend's nervousness at the conversation.

"Oh! Stuff!" Willow blubbered, wringing her hands, "But you didn't..."

"No," Buffy said and nearly laughed as Willow released a loud almost thankful sigh. Buffy couldn't resist adding, "But only because he stopped me."

"BUFFY!" Willow shouted in shock, "So...was it like in the movies?"

"Will," Buffy said, stopping to eye her friend gravely, feeling that warmth feel her belly as she thought about the night before, "The memory is in surround sound. It was a the hills are alive sort of experience. But between Mom doing the disapproving parent thing and Angel being all mature and standoffish, I don't know how this is going to work."

"You two are so right for each other," Willow protested, "Except for the him being a cop and older thing. And the Mom thing."

"And the Buffy is doomed thing," she pouted, "I'm brainsick, Will! I can't have a relationship with him. I want to but I already know he's not going to give me what I want."

"Well, you can start slow," Willow suggested, "Like have him take you out for coffee. It's not a date; it's a caffeinated beverage. Okay, so it's hot and bitter like a relationship, but..."

"I think we're a little beyond coffee now, Will," Buffy said dryly.

"Who's ‘we'? What's like a relationship?" Xander questioned, as he rushed out of his classroom like a boy on fire, fleeing the dragon at the chalkboard most liking emitting it.

"Nothing I'll ever have," Buffy complained and then caught the confusion on her friend's face, "Coffee."

"Huh?" Xander said, still confused as he watched his two female best friends stopping to drink from the water fountain. He glanced over where Cordelia stood and felt a sort of giddy irritation as he always did when he saw her. His body told him he wanted to be around her and his mind told him to run in the opposite direction. Her bossy voice wafted to his ears as she told her sheep, "There's no comparison between college men and high school boys. I mean, look at that."

"So, Cor, you're dating college guys now," Xander said, his mind racing to be quick on his feet with her and trying to forget that her finger was pointed his direction, showing how she felt him to be so much lower than whatever creature she was dating then.

"Well, not that it's any of your business, Xander, but I happen to be dating a Delta Zeta Kappa."

Buffy's ears perked at that part of the conversation as she realized that Cordelia was dating an older guy. An out of high school older guy. What was the difference between Buffy dating Angel and him letting Cordy go out with some frat guy? Her plan to explain things rationally to her bullheaded would be boyfriend was already coming together. There was no way Cordy was going to have all the fun when she was going to be stuck...

"Buffy," Giles said, poking his head out from his sanctuary and interrupting her thought process, "If I might have a word..."

"If you're going to lecture me on behalf of my mother," Buffy groaned, stomping toward the library after sharing a look of commiseration with Willow, "I'd like to request that you kill me now."

"Actually," he said diplomatically, having already planned his words carefully beforehand, "I am going to be reorganizing the library as I have intended to do since my arrival in this godforsaken school and I would like you to help me after school if you have the time."

"Oh! I get it," Buffy said, plopping down into a library chair, "You're all working with Mom to occupy me so I won't hang with Angel. I totally tried to help you out and Mom at the same time and you repay me with plotting behind my back. Great! I'm sure when I get home Mom will have activities for me too. Let me ask you this, Giles: That little slice of life that will be mine from, I don't know, seven to seven-oh-five in the morning, can I do what I want then?"

"Buffy," Giles said, taking a seat on the other side of the table, where it seemed safer, "I understand that you want to be with Angel. Your mother and I-"

"Oh, now it's ‘your mother and I,'" Buffy shouted, "What happened to ‘she needs time to mourn' and all that crap?"

Giles straightened his back more tightly and gripped the arms of his chair for strength as he looked over the girl in front of him. Taking a deep breath, he launched into the rest of his planned conversation, which already wasn't working out according to the pretend Buffy he had spoken to in his mind. From the glare on her young face, he was certain he was going to get nowhere with her and silently asked the pretend Joyce in his mind why he was going through this torture.


get away from me
this isn't gonna be easy
but i don't need you
believe me

Buffy stood still in Angel's living room that day after school, staring at him until he looked up. She had already had enough of people telling her how to live her life for one day and she wasn't looking forward to going home to speak to her mother, which is why she came straight over here. Before she expended one more minute of energy fighting for this relationship, she had to know that Angel would back her up. Having caught a ride with Cordelia, she wasn't going to leave until he took her home. She wasn't going to run away again and allow him any more brooding time.

After a few moments, he glanced up from his book, sensing her presence and sucked in a breath as if he hadn't seen her in weeks rather than hours. He was always taken back by her beauty, as if he had convinced himself that she wasn't really the goddess he pictured in his mind. But she was. She was dressed like an adult and even though his fantasies were with her womanly side, he still saw her as a girl.

A simple black camisole and gray dress pants should have been innocent enough but Buffy made it look erotic as she crossed the room and sat down on the couch next to the chair he sat in. The pants fit well, slipping over her curves with each twist of her tiny hips and each flex of her toned muscles. The camisole was loose but it held tightly over her breasts, announcing their fullness and refusing to be ignored.

"Buffy," he said finally, as she sat waiting patiently with her hands resting on her crossed knees. One leg swung loosely over the other. Not angrily, but sweetly. Calmly. As if the storm was that brewing so deeply her eyes hadn't been sensed by her body yet, "What are you doing here?"

"Cordy gave me a ride," she said, arching an eyebrow at him, "Should I have called and asked permission first?"

"No," he said, placing his book on the table next to him. He watched as a small puff of dust came off the old volume and turned his eyes back to the real attraction in the room, "How was your day?"

"Did you break your promise?" She asked, ignoring his question and jumping right to the point. She couldn't stand one more moment of the casual facade he was failing miserably at. What she wanted was to be in his lap, nestled against that worn denim. She wanted to press her face against the soft cotton of his t-shirt for a moment and then proceed to tease him until he made love to her.

"What promise?" he asked, wrinkling his brow in confusion as he tried to remember what promise he had made.

"The one where you promised you wouldn't spend the day trying to think of another reason why we shouldn't be together," she said, meeting his eyes directly. All day she had been filled with a sort of determination that wasn't rare in her personality. What was rare was how focused she was, how she knew exactly what she wanted and how she planned to get it. Or him actually.

"I kept that promise," he said softly, easing his tongue out of his mouth to wet his dry lips. He was trying to center his attention on what she was saying but mostly he found that he was watching her mouth move. He was entranced on the way her lips shifted around her words and the tiny glimpses of her pink tongue as she spoke.

"Did you really?" she asked, trying to remain calm and adult about this. She had a plan and intended to keep the plan in motion. She wanted Angel to decide to be with her and discuss it in a mature manner. If he objected, then she already had a mindful of arguments that she carefully prepared during her ignored classes.

"Yes," he said, keeping his eyes focused on her sharp green eyes, steeling his resolve for the fight to come, "I never had to think about it. I already know why we can't be together."

"So, you've just decided that you really don't love me," she choked, looking up at the ceiling briefly as if she were checking her notes before curling her tiny mouth around the rest of her sneered sentence, "And you're just going to be alone brooding for the rest of your life while I find someone like Cameron to punch me in the mouth when I don't give it up quick enough. Is that right?"

"Buffy," Angel growled, "I didn't lie about loving you. I do love you. More than you will ever know. That is why I am going to stay away from you. All guys are not like Cameron. You'll find someone better."

"Like the frat guys that Cordy dates?" she demanded, "Want me to hook up with some of them?"

"What frat guys?" Angel asked, rising to his feet, "She's not dating any frat guys! They're too old for her just like I'm too old for you."

Rising to her feet, she looked over him with a stern anger that surprised him, "Right. Whatever. Take me home, Angel. If you want me out of your life so badly, you'll have to personally remove me from it."

"All that surrounds my life is death and darkness!" he shouted, rising to his feet, "I don't want you to be a part of that!"

"I understand," she said, walking towards the door, "Please take me home."

"Buffy," Angel whimpered, padding after her like a lost child, "You have to understand why I'm doing this."

"I already told you, I understand completely," she said, stopping at the front door with her hand poised on the doorknob, "Do you have your car keys?"


cause i got all this shit to say
but i've come back to find my way

"Will," Buffy fumed the next morning as they stood on the front stairs of Sunnydale High, "I completely stalled last night with Angel. I had all these arguments planned perfectly and I just went blank! I let him take me home without so much of a teensy retort to his stupid I-can't-be-with-you crap."

"Well," Willow said, biting her lower lip thoughtfully, "It sounds like he at least felt bad for taking you home."

"Yeah," Buffy grumbled, "I made him feel like shit, which might I add was part of the plan, but that didn't make one bit of a difference. Giles is trying to make me work in the library to occupy me and I thought Mom would never stop talking about why I shouldn't date an older man. That was nothing compared to the why-you-shouldn't-be-involved-with-a-cop part of the argument-"

"Buffy!" Cordelia shouted as she stormed up the front steps, "How could you tell Angel about the fraternity? What the hell is your problem?"

"Sorry, Cordy," Buffy said, slumping against the railing, "I was trying to make Angel understand that we should be together, not get you trouble. I didn't know he didn't know."

"Well, thanks a lot!" she fumed, tossing her dark hair over her shoulder with fury, "I had to have a long conversation last night with my brother about the party tonight and I'm just barely getting out of the house now. My night was ruined last night and it's all your fault!"

"I'm sorry," Buffy mumbled, feeling tears fill her eyes. Normally, Cordelia wouldn't get to her and the fact that she was yelling hadn't. It was the idea that she would never have her as a bitchy and annoying sister-in-law, that Angel would never let her into his life.

"Well, don't cry," Cordy snapped and then softened, feeling one of the rare moments that weren't focused on herself. She knew during her fight with Angel last night that he was hurting, that he wanted to be with Buffy and still was keeping himself from it.

"It's fine," Buffy said, wiping her face with the back of her hand and strutting away. Cordelia caught her arm and kept her there, but was glad they had moved away from Willow. Leaning in, she said, "He still won't give up with the stubborn?"

"Not even kinda," Buffy said, wishing there was a cave she could jump into and hide in.

"Huh," Cordelia said, her brilliant and somewhat conniving mind going into full force. The gears in her head were grinding loudly as she looked at the girl she knew would someday be her brother's wife. Cordelia knew that the only thing that had made Angel happy in a long time was Buffy and the only way they were going to be together was if he was forced to see the light. Smiling brightly, she patted Buffy on the shoulder.

"What?" Buffy asked, clearly confused.

"Come on," she said, tugging her aside, "I have an idea."


it's the breathing
it's the breathing in and out in and...

"Does this look okay?" Cordy asked as she stepped into the living room and looked over her brother sitting in the same chair he had occupied for weeks. She spun around for him, knowing that she never asked his opinion before. She really didn't care whether Angel liked her dress or not. Actually, she was hoping he didn't.

"Look okay?" Angel asked, narrowing his eyes, "For what? You aren't going to some fraternity house in that tiny excuse for a dress, Cordelia. That'''s obscene!"

"Oh, I see," she said, nodding, "It's not okay for me to dress like this, but Buffy's dress is much skimpier than this. I bet you'd think hers was okay!"

"B-buffy's dress?" Angel asked, stumbling out of his chair and nearly tripping over his own feet, "What do you mean ‘Buffy's dress?'"

"The dress that Buffy is wearing," Cordelia said, rolling her eyes in mock irritation and trying to keep from allowing her equally mocking smile to come through as she stared at her brother with her hands on her hips.

"For WHAT?" he roared.

"For the party," Cordy answered, "She's not wearing it for her Mom, if that's what you were thinking."

"She's going to the party with you?" Angel snarled so menacingly that if he had been speaking to anyone else, they would have backed up and maybe ran away, but Cordelia Chase stood her ground. No one intimidated her. Certainly not her brother.

"Uh, yes," she said, looking at him as if he were stupid, "My date told me I had to bring a cute girl with me tonight to even out the guy-girl ratio. His friend, Tom, saw Buffy today and thought she was a hottie. He asked me to ask her and I told him no way, that she was totally involved with someone. Then she told me that you guys were over, so I asked to her come along. I mean, as much as I hate to admit it, she's okay looking and Tom seemed to think she was cute. Why? It doesn't bother you, does it?"

"You know DAMN WELL it bothers me!" he shouted.

"Well, why should she sit home crying over you on a Friday night, Angel?" she demanded, "She might as well have some fun before she seriously looks into the convent because my STUPID brother broke her heart."

"She is not going to that party, Cordy," Angel growled, "I can't believe I'm letting you go either. In fact, I don't think you should. Neither one of you should have drunk hormonally charged college guys grope you."

"You can't stop me," she said, heading for the door, "You may be my guardian but you don't own me. I'm eighteen now and I can do whatever I want. So can Buffy, by the way. Oh, and don't wait up!"

Angel struggled to breathe as he stared at the front door his sister had just slammed. It seemed to be bleeding into a crimson red color the longer he stared at it.

Buffy was going to the frat party.

He paced around the room, running his hands through his hair as he thought about it. And his sister of all people had invited her! He felt betrayed, hurt and above all else, jealous. He knew he couldn't follow them and demand that they stay home. Cordy was right. He didn't own either one of them and he couldn't control how they lived their lives. He knew he told Buffy that they should stay apart. When he said he thought she should see someone else, he didn't mean she should see someone else. And certainly not tonight! And not a frat boy for crying out fucking loud!

He felt like pounding his fist into the wall. The idea of her being in that house where he knew there would be all those men looking for some girl to initiate into their collection of fraternity triumphs made him want hurt someone. He had no doubt that a girl as beautiful as HIS Buffy would be just the thing for their ideas of how to spend a Friday night.

There was no damn way he was letting someone touch his girl. He was sick and fucking tired of trying to rope in his feelings. Some part of him realized that Cordelia was doing this on purpose to make him jealous and even with that realization, he couldn't help feeling just as she wanted him to feel - a blind, raging jealousy that went far beyond the simple green that it was usually associated with.

Running up the stairs, he took two at time. When he reached his room, he glanced at the mirror in passing and then backed up to take a second look. He looked like shit. He hadn't shaved since before he spent the night with Buffy. His hair was standing in more disarray than usual and he was certain he smelled.

He jumped into the shower, washed and quickly shaved, thankful that he didn't slice his face open in his haste. Hurrying around, he tried to make himself look as presentable as he could, thinking that maybe Buffy would see in him what he couldn't see in himself. He couldn't lose her. Not now. Not when he had already lost everything else.


i can't remember all the times i tried to tell myself
to hold onto these moments as they pass

"Did you lie to your Mom?" Cordelia asked as Buffy climbed into her car.

"Not totally," Buffy admitted, "Because I told her I was staying at your house tonight, which is true. But she doesn't know I'm going to a college party, if that's what you're asking."

"You told her you were staying at my house and that was cool with her?" Cordelia asked in surprise.

"She doesn't know your house is the same as Angel's house," Buffy explained, "And I hope to keep it that way."

"I'm sure she'll find out soon enough."

"I'm not so sure this is a good idea," Buffy said, biting her lower lip and pulling the hem of her short dress down, "I really don't want to upset Angel."

"You have to upset Angel," Cordy said, driving fast and carelessly as she spoke, "Besides, it's too late. He's already upset. God, if you could have seen the look on his was priceless!"

"You're enjoying this a little too much," Buffy answered, holding onto the door handle with dear life. If Angel didn't kill her first, Cordelia definitely would, "What did he say?"

"He completely and totally flipped out," Cordy answered, flashing her a brilliant smile and nearly running over someone as she turned her eyes toward Buffy rather than the road.

"Really?" Buffy asked weakly. She was starting to feel nauseous and it wasn't completely because of Cordelia's driving. She didn't want to be with some other guy. What if Angel was so angry he didn't want to speak to her ever again? Would she be able to stand spending the night at their house tonight?

"Oh yeah," Cordy answered as she pulled in front of the Delta Zeta Kappa house and bumped the car in front of her, "Oh, why do they have to park so darn close? Are you ready for this?"

"Nope," Buffy said, slumping in her seat.

"Me too!" Cordy said excitedly as she opened the door, "Let's go!"


Part Six


but we only stay in orbit for a moment of time
and then you're everybody's satellite
i wish you were mine

"Richard!" Cordelia squealed as she saw her date approaching with drinks in his hand. Buffy groaned inwardly. She knew the minute they walked through the door that this was a mistake. As much as Cordelia did actually want to help, she knew damn well that now that they were there she was only interested in her date.

"Welcome ladies," Richard said with a charming smile that made Buffy want to wretch. If he were any less genuine, she would have to insist that he came with a warning label. She took the drink he passed to her and peered at the liquid in the plastic glass cautiously, "I-is there alcohol in this?"

"Just a smidge," he said with a wink. Now she was definitely going to have to look around for a bathroom. The guy was a total player. Buffy looked at Cordelia to see if she saw it, but she didn't. She was smiling blindingly at her date.

"Come on, Buffy," Cordelia said, elbowing her, "It's just a smidge."

Buffy set her glass down as they wandered away, not even hearing what they said. She didn't want to drink or dance or do anything but find a way to get to Angel and explain everything. She just wanted to be with him. That's all. Why was that so difficult a concept to grasp?

Lost in her thoughts and fidgeting nervously, she soon found that she had drank all of the contents of her plastic glass and was feeling the rush of the smidgeon of alcohol Richard had promised was in it. Trying to keep herself on her feet, she probably would have missed the drunk guy rushing to tackle her if he hadn't shouted, "New girl!" first.

"Can I have this dance?" Tom asked, pulling her quickly out of the line of fire and onto the dance floor. She stumbled along after him and fought the urge to rest her face on his chest. The room was spinning and it made the dancing process was so much more difficult as she tried to teeter on her too high heels.

"Thanks," she slurred, holding on to him to keep standing.

"You know," he said, shaking his head, "We're not all drunken louts. Some of us are sober louts. I'm really glad you decided to come...and you're not."

"No," she said, keeping her emotions in check even though the drink was racing through her veins, "it's...I shouldn't be here."

"Because you're seeing someone," he said, looking down at her through sympathetic clear blue eyes. She really liked Tom and thought that if she weren't already in love with Angel she might have liked to date him. Unlike Richard, he seemed really sweet.

She wanted Angel though, she thought drunkenly. She could just imagine his soothing voice right then and his large hands cradling her body against his. His eyes would sweep over her and pretend not to as he kissed her forehead and...

"No," Buffy said a bit too abruptly.

"You're not seeing someone?" Tom asked, as a light of hopefulness seemed to shine in his eyes.

"Someone's not seeing me," Buffy said, starting to sag more in his arms. She hadn't drank much but this was so much stronger than anything else she had ever experienced. She felt heavy and light at the same time and the feelings of doubt were beginning to fade.

"So, why shouldn't you be here?" Tom asked, running a hand over her back. Up and down, up and down. Buffy thought she was starting to wave with his motions.

"Dunno," she slurred, finally leaning her head on his chest, "Feel funny."

"Why don't we go find a place to sit down?" he asked, nudging her toward the stairs. He tried to urge her there carefully and slowly, keeping one hand on the small of her back, right above her perfectly round ass.

"Okay," she answered, nodding unevenly. She stopped at the railing and peered uneasily up the stairs before turning and resting on the bottom step, "Why don't I just rest here?"

"Sure," he answered, allowing a little of the disappointment to creep into his voice. She leaned her head on the railing and closed her eyes, only to open them again when the spinning became even worse.


i'm falling from the ceiling
you're falling from the ceiling now and then
maybe you were shot down in pieces
maybe i slipped in between
but we were gonna be the wildest people they ever hoped to see
just you and me

Angel let his fingers glide along his sister's car as he walked past it. It didn't escape his notice that she had rear ended the car in front of her but he could care less if he was going to have yet another hike in his insurance rates. There would be plenty of time to yell at his reckless sister later.

He moved silently forward and caught one of the frat boys as he attempted to enter the house. Pulling him back roughly, Angel nearly knocked him off his feet, but the boy wobbled, taking several steps back to keep his feet on the ground.

"What the hell is your prob...Angel?"

"Xander," Angel said, realizing who he had just assaulted, "What the hell are you doing here?"

"Looking out for my girls," he answered, puffing his chest out proudly. Having gotten over his grandeur, he stepped closer to Angel nervously, "Something's up, man. The party's almost over and I haven't been able to spot them for a long time. I don't know where they are but they're still in there somewhere."

As far as back up went, Angel would rather have the tooth fairy with him than Buffy's witless foil, Xander Harris. The boy had no common sense whatsoever and he didn't like that he referred to his sister and his...Buffy as being "my girls." Shrugging off his questions, he headed toward the house, knowing that Xander was still mumbling behind him.

"Be quiet," Angel hushed, flinging a deadly look over his shoulder at the teenager, "When we get in there, follow my lead. If you can avoid it, try not to speak unless you're spoken to."

"Fine, Mom," Xander whispered bitterly, remembering once again why he hated Liam Angelus.

The inside of the house was littered with alcohol bottles, cups and trash. Riddled amongst the trash were couples making out sloppily, exchanging inebriated kisses with wandering hands in full force. Angel quickly scanned the room and not finding either girl he came there for, he made his way up the stairs.

The first door at the top of the steps was unceremoniously tossed open and Angel flipped on the light, gazing over the couple rolling around in bed naked. The girl hid behind her angry partner, nearly screaming in shock and embarrassment. Not speaking, Angel shut the door with a warning glare and heard the boy breathe a sigh of relief. The boy didn't have to fight the furious and not to mention large man that burst in, for which he was supremely grateful.

Angel was planning on opening every door until he found them, but he didn't have to when he heard voices wafting down the hallway. The first was undoubtedly his golden love, shouting, "Let us go!"

The second was the shrill voice of his sister, "My brother is a cop! Not just a cop, but a detective! You're going to be in deep shit, buddy. He's not even going to take you right to jail. He's so gonna kick your ass first!"

Angel glanced at Xander and hurried down the hallway. They probably would have smiled at Cordy's scolding if the situation wasn't so serious. Angel stopped at the door and felt Xander collide clumsily with his back when he heard an older man's voice, obviously speaking to another and not the girls, "You chose someone who has a police officer in her family?"

"I'm sorry," a younger voice replied shakily, "I didn't know."

"Well, if you would have asked," Angel said, pushing the door open and strolling inside, "I'm sure she would have told you. My sister isn't much with the secrets, you know."

"Angel!" Buffy and Cordelia cried out together. He turned to look at them and grew angrier than he had been previously. They were tied to a king size bed, side by side, clad only in bras and panties.

"You're dead men," he said, moving in on the three men, standing in the center of the room - two young and one middle aged. The identity of the older man sunk in just as Angel's fist flung out to strike the younger man closest to him. He felt the boy's jaw cracking under his fist as the unmistakable sound of a gun cocking caught in his ears. Angel twisted his body, dragging the boy's body in front of his in time to catch the bullet.

The boy screamed in pain as the metal tore through his flesh and continued screaming as Angel tossed his bloody screaming form at Mayor Richard Wilkins, effectively knocking the gun out of his hands. Not stopping to admire his work, Angel shot forward and spun. His mouth twisted into a cold smile as his boot contacted with the second boy's surprised and frightened face. Busying himself on kicking the gun away before the Mayor was able to retrieve it, Angel didn't hear another person entering the room.

"Angel! Behind you!" Buffy screamed, tugging on the ropes that Xander was hurriedly untying, but it was too late. Angel turned around just in time to see the blunt end of a gun striking his face. He fell into a slump on the floor.

"Shoulda brought an oozie, chump. Would've saved your ass right about now," the intruder said, looking down at Angel with a smile.

"Thank you, Mr. Trick," Mayor Wilkins said as he pushed Richard's body off of his and looked down at the blood on his shirt in disgust, "It seems that our lovely captives here have friends on the police force."

"Yeah," Trick said, turning toward Xander, "And he brought another little hero with him."

"Hey," Xander said, holding up his hands. Both girls were untied and had scooted off the bed. Standing not behind him, but boldly beside him, they watched the men holding them captive, "I'm not a hero. Just came for my girls. If you're done with them, we'll just be going now."

"Sorry, young man," the Mayor said, pulling his handkerchief from his pocket and wiping his hands off, "But after what you saw, I'm afraid that I can't let you leave. Oh, don't worry, we'll tell your family you were really brave...even at the end."

Buffy looked sadly down at Angel and her breath caught in her throat as he stirred, thankfully not making a sound. Taking action, Buffy stepped forward, ahead of her friends, "So, you just think you're going to get away with killing us? That's pretty ballsy, if you ask me - even for a mayor."

"I didn't mention killing you, did I?" the Mayor said, keeping his voice upbeat and polite, "That's because we don't want you dead. You see, in order to keep myself in my office, I have to provide certain acquaintances with their requests from time to time. This time they wanted girls. Two pretty ones. You and your friend will do nicely."

"Hell no, we won't!" Cordelia shouted, stepping up beside Buffy. Shifting together, they blocked Xander from the point of Trick's gun, both trying to keep their eyes from the awakening Angel.

"I'm a total spoiled bitch," Cordelia said, continuing.

"She's not wrong about that," Buffy agreed, receiving a dirty look from Cordelia for her efforts.

"I won't do anything they tell me to and neither will Buffy," she said, crossing her arms over her bare torso, "As beautiful as I am, I think you should chose a less pretty girl for more cooperation."

"You'll cooperate," the Mayor threatened, "Or you'll die. Now, I have one of the boys getting milkshakes for us, so if you would please return to the bed, we'll talk about your new life over a little snack."

Angel groaned in pain as he reached for the gun at the tip of his fingers, alerting the room to himself. Tom scrambled from the corner to get to the gun, while Trick turned and aimed.

"No!" Buffy screamed, running forward. Cordelia grabbed Buffy and pulled her back as Angel gripped the weapon and rolled over, releasing a round into Trick's chest. Wrenching herself free, Buffy flung one bare leg out and caught Tom in the groin as he crossed the room. He dropped to his knees with a choking groan, doubling over in pain.

Pressing the gun against the Mayor's temple, once he had dragged himself to his feet, Angel growled out his demand, "Hands on your head."

"Now young man," the Mayor said calmly, "Please remember that you are now holding a weapon that was procured from the police department and is responsible for killing two people."

"Walk forward," Angel ordered, pressing harder against his scull.


round here we always stand up straight
round here something radiates

When the police arrived, Angel had the Mayor tied up near the door with the ropes that had previously held the two most important people in his life and he forced all of the house's occupants to sit on the living room floor. No one made a sound, but sat quietly and nervously. Many of the partiers were still intoxicated, including Buffy and Cordelia.

When Angel had finished organizing the party into what looked like a hostage situation, he turned around and faced Buffy & Cordelia. Both were huddled in the corner. Both clad in only bras, panties and high heel shoes. Angel took off his coat, cursing himself for not finding clothing for them earlier, and tossed it around his sister's shoulders. He quickly removed his shirt and handed it to Buffy. She put it on without comment and looked at the floor.

"Detective Angelus," The first uniformed officer said as he stepped onto the scene, "Sir, it was my understanding that you were on an extended absence. The Chief said that-"

"This was personal," Angel said, interrupting him.

"What's up here?" another man said, walking in behind the two uniforms and looking around the room. He was not dressed in a uniform as the other two, indicating to Angel that he was probably a detective, although he had never seen him before, "I'd hate to see what you do when you're on official business. I'm Detective Charles Gunn, your new partner."

"Gunn," Angel grunted in greeting, taking the man's offered hand.

"These two ladies must be the personal part," Gunn said, eyeing the two attractive girls that had pressed themselves at Angelus' sides, as if they could protect him from the impending investigation. Gunn forced his eyes away from the two girls and refocused on the man who, before this night, was the guy who was supposed to be his partner. He was a little thrown by the two girls. They were complete opposites, both extremely beautiful and nearly naked, clad in what he had to assume were Angelus' clothes, as his partner's bare chest betrayed.

"Yes," Angel answered with another angry grunt. His arms were crossed over his broad, bare chest, ignoring the women at his side. He radiated anger at the room, focusing most of it on the Mayor bound on the floor.

"We're gonna have to take them in for some questions," Gunn said gently, feeling the tension in the room escalating at his words.

"Of course," Angel answered and looked down at Buffy as she whimpered in response. He wrapped an arm around her and she took the opportunity to glue herself to his side.

"We'll need to ask you a few too, Angelus," Gunn said firmly, knowing his partner was already well aware.

"I understand," Angel said as Buffy pulled herself out of his arms and approached Gunn. Her green eyes were filling with tears as she took his hand in hers, "It wasn't his fault, Detective. It's mine, okay? He didn't do anything."

"We're not arresting him, ma'am," Gunn said, squeezing her hand gently, keeping the "yet" out of his answer, "We just need to find out what happened."

"Buffy," Angel said, coming up behind her and touching her trembling shoulder, "It's okay, baby."

Flinging herself into his arms, he nearly staggered back at the force of her tiny body colliding with his. He heard the tears before he felt them against his skin as she sobbed in his arms.

"I'm so sorry, Angel," she wailed, "This is all my fault."

"It's not your fault, love," he said, kissing her hair and smoothing his hands over her back, "It's going to be alright."


she walks along the edge of where the ocean meets the land
just like she's walking on a wire in the circus

Buffy was sure that they had been at the police station for longer than sanity allowed as her statement was taken, along with Cordelia and Xander's. When they were all finally released, Buffy looked around for Angel, forgetting her desperate need to leave. Not seeing him, she approached the nearest police officer and jabbed her finger into his arm to get his attention.

"Ms. Summers?" he asked, "Can I help you?"

"I'm looking for Detective Liam Angelus," she demanded, smoothing his shirt absently, which was flowing around her body and reaching her knees. She tapped her high heel shoe on the floor as she waited for his answer.

"He's still...uh...debriefing," the officer answered.

"When will he be done?"

"I'm not sure, ma'am," he said, "If you'd like, I can take you home and have him call you when he's finished."

"No," she said, "I'll wait for him."

"It could take a long time," he said, "There's a lot of information to cover."

"I said, ‘I'll wait for him'," she repeated, turning on her heel and preparing to stomp away, when he touched her arm, stopping her.

"I just wanted to tell you," he said quietly, "That your father was one of the best detectives, I've ever seen."

"Thank you," she said, wincing from his words. Feeling tears, fill her eyes yet another time, she wandered back to Cordy and Xand. She could hardly believe that this nightmare was actually her life. Blinking back her tears, she tromped across the room. There were too many emotions to deal with them now.

It took a while, but Buffy finally convinced Cordelia and Xander to go home. She didn't think it was fair to keep them there when they were both so tired and freaked from the night's events. She curled up in a chair and waited, sternly refusing to leave to any officer that bothered to speak to her.


if i could make it rain today
and wash this sunny day down to the gutter
i would
just to get a change of pace
things are getting worse, but I feel a lot better
and that's all that really matters to me

Angel felt all of the eyes in the office on him as he approached Buffy. She was laying over three chairs, curled up asleep and drowning in his shirt. He was glad that had been able to retrieve a t-shirt from his locker before his "debrief" or more aptly "interrogation," since everyone was so focused on him right then. He felt strange being back in the office after over a month of being gone. Now he wasn't sure if he ever wanted to come back. Not after Hank had died and now this. It was very discomforting to be on the receiving end of the questions after so much time being the one who was demanding the answers.

"Why is she still here?" Angel asked Gunn quietly.

"She wouldn't leave," Gunn answered, sweeping his gaze over the beautiful blonde sleeping on the hard chairs along the wall on the other side of the room.

"Damn," Angel muttered, preparing to go wake her up.

"Angelus?" Gunn asked.


"Just for the record, I know tonight wasn't your fault. Everyone does," he said, "No one's blaming you for this or for Hank. We're going to do what we can to keep you on the force...if you want to come back."

"I almost killed the Mayor, Gunn," Angel said blandly, moving away, "And it would have been one death that I had no remorse for."

Everyone watched Angel closely as he approached the lovely young girl on the chairs. They all had either witnessed Angel's fight with Hank over her or were told about it. After what had happened that evening, they wanted to see what happened when she woke up.

"Buffy," he whispered, sliding his hand along her arm. He couldn't help but want to take her in his arms and never let her go. Lying there, clad in his shirt, he couldn't help but think it looked right. It seemed right that she would wait for him, that she would want to protect him as much as he wanted to protect her. Everything about Buffy Summers seemed so perfectly right. Why was it wrong then? He couldn't seem to make himself remember.

"Angel," she murmured in her sleep, reaching out one small hand to feel for him without opening her eyes.

"Wake up, love," he whispered, feeling the eyes of the whole department burning into his back. She blinked her mossy green eyes open sleepily and took a second to focus on him before sitting up slowly, "Are we done?"

"We're done, baby," he answered, smoothing his hand over her face. She turned into his hand and kissed his palm, as if she didn't realize where they were, "Come on, I'm going to take you home."

"No," she mewled, sitting up, looking around her urgently and waking up completely. Pressing her hands on the side of his face she asked, "Are you in trouble?"

"We can talk about it later, baby," he said, "Let me take you home."

"No," she said, sliding out of the chair and stepping around his crouching form gracefully, "Where's the boss guy?"

"The Chief?" he asked, quizzically.

"Yeah, him," she said, looking around the room with her hands on her narrow hips. His shirt ballooned around her fingertips as she charged her glare around the room.

"No, Buffy," he said, tugging her back, "It's time to go."

"The HELL it is, Angel," she said through gritted teeth, "I have some things to say."

"Buffy," Angel said, nervously, placing his hand on her hip, "It's time to go. There's nothing you can do here. You're tired and you need to sleep. Let's go."

"I'm not going to leave here when you could still be in trouble," she said firmly, "I know that you wouldn't tell me if they were going lock you in some little, dingy cell forever. You'd just send me off to my house like a good little girl while you rotted for something that wasn't your fault. Now, where's the damn Chief at?"

Crossing his arms defiantly and saying nothing, he glowered at the woman he loved. He was not going to say a word. Gathering up her small frame, she approached the nearest onlooker, who tried to pretend he was sifting through some files.

"You," she said, looking up at him with her green eyes flashing so furiously, he felt like he was an inch tall, "Where's your boss?"

Sighing, Angel ran his fingers through his hair followed after her. He grabbed her arm and spun her around, bending slightly to scoop her tiny body in his arms. Ignoring the department stares, he plunged against her mouth. He smiled into their kiss as her body relaxed against his.

"He's not here," Angel lied as he broke the kiss, glaring at the officer for confirmation who nodded vigorously, "Now, we're leaving. You can yell at people later."

"Angel," she pouted, "You're not just going to take me home and make me forget about this."

"Wanna bet?" he asked, smiling down at her with a twinkle in his eyes. Turning, he carried her out of the office, leaving them all surprised and grinning behind him. No matter what happened, Liam Angelus was going to be all right.