Part Ten "Memories"

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LYRICS: All lyrics are from Barenaked Ladies



only memories, fading memories

Dena Franklin strolled into work twenty-five minutes late from her lunch hour, which was actually more like dinner since she worked the night shift. She was prepared to try and sneak in or think of a good excuse for being late but when she arrived at the nurses' station, surprisingly enough, none of them even noticed she was late or that she was back at all, actually. They were whispering amongst themselves, gossiping about the recent arrival of a blonde girl who was still unconscious after three hours of being admitted to the ER.

"Her uncle is Rupert Giles," one of her co-workers confided.

"The Rupert Giles?" another asked, "As in the rich and handsome Rupert Giles?"

"That would be the one. Have you seen her boyfriend?"

"The drop dead gorgeous artist who has been sitting by her bed? The things I could do to him! If only he would let someone look at his hands. He's bleeding all over her bed, but no one can seem to get him out of there. If Dr. Thomas sees him, there's going to be hell to pay."

"He's famous, you know."


"Angel? Ring a bell? His work has been exploding all over the city."

"Angel?" Dena asked, leaning over the counter, still holding her purse.

"Yes. Have you seen him? He's definitely more interesting to look at than his art, I can tell you that."

"Are you sure it's Angel?" Dena asked, "The artist?"

"You know him?"

"I use to be involved with him," Dena confided, moving toward the room they indicated. The other nurses stared at her as she moved toward the room in question. "Involved" was a pretty acceptable term for what they had, she supposed. It was more like raw, hedonistic sex in exciting places. He always thought of a new slightly public location to engage in indecent activities with her. Probably, the most thrilling event was what she thought of as "the restaurant night." He picked her up at her apartment that night and smiled appreciatively at her short skirt. He had a way of smiling that made her knees weak and a way of taking advantage of her weaknesses that could easily be added to the list of his other talents.

She kissed him in greeting and stepped out her apartment, locking the door as she always did and wasn't at all surprised when he stepped up behind her, pressing his groin against her ass. What did surprise her, however, was when he slipped his hand under her skirt and ripped away her silk panties. She gasped in surprise and turned to face him, watching his face slip in a cool smile as he tucked her panties into his pocket.

"Ready?" he asked casually as if he had been standing there like a choir boy the whole time.

"Um...yes," she said, nervous and excited at the same time, feeling unusually naked now.

"Don't worry," he said, as they stepped into the elevator. When the doors closed behind them, he reached between her legs, feeling her and grinning happily to see that she was already wet for him, "You're going to love this one."

He took her to an Italian restaurant, plush and dim-lit, where the tables had crisp white table cloths and elegantly dressed waiters. He swirled his red wine in his glass and took a sip, rolling the liquid in his mouth for a moment before swallowing it.

Out of all the times he had her, in different places, in a variety of ways, of all the things he talked her into doing, that evening was the most memorable. He whispered little things to her over their expensive plates, drinking more expensive wine. The things he said would have made anyone choke on their pasta had they overheard. He relished in making her hotter and wetter with each passing moment, savoring his food without even touching her hand. By the end of the meal, she was begging him to fuck her. At that point, she wouldn't have cared if it was on the table in the middle of that exquisite restaurant or on the sidewalk out front.

The worst part of it was her own loss of dignity, her need of him to the point of whimpering across the table at him. Just a caress, just a touch would have lifted the strain but he refused. He sat there, smiling and gorgeous, his lips wrapping around his words so beautifully she wanted to lick them. He didn't touch her until they left the restaurant and at that point she was panting and dripping for him. He pressed her against the side of the building, against the rough brick. She spread lustfully for him that night and any other time he asked her to she did the same.

As she made her way down the hall to look into Buffy Summers' room, she took a deep breath. She knew that if he asked her to, she would sleep with him on the hospital floor, a few feet from where her current lover was making his rounds, the Dr. Thomas everyone was so intimidated by. Dena thought that half the women he slept with and painted were in love with him. She wasn't sure. She didn't know if she loved him, but she did know she would never refuse him.

She was shocked to see the girl, beaten and bruised, lying in the bed. Dena was thinking she would look like his other women, sophisticated and voluptuous. She wasn't more than a girl, innocent and sweet looking. She shifted her eyes to her ex-lover. He was awake but seemed to be in shock. He held her hand to his lips, elbows resting on her bed, staring at her unconscious face. His expression was twisted with pain and his eyes looked anguished and blank. The other nurses said he talked to her on and off and wouldn't leave her side. They kept trying to treat his wounds but he refused. He didn't care about his injuries, only hers.

Dena stepped slowly into the room, feeling like a trespasser, "Angel?"

He looked up slowly, focusing slowly, and stared at her for a minute or two before he said, "Dena?"

"Hi," she said, feeling strange in her uniform in front of him. He probably never saw her in so many clothes, "You probably don't remember that I was-"

"In nursing school," he mumbled, looking back over at Buffy, "I remember."

"She's only been unconscious for 3 hours," Dena said, moving closer, "She'll wake up. There's no reason she wouldn't."

"I'm sorry," he said, blinking back tears, which caused Dena to swallow her gasp of surprise, "I can't...I can't talk right now."

Angel jerked when she made it to his side and gently pulled one of his bloody hands from Buffy's, "Let me bandage your hands, Angel. You can't help her if you're sick too. These could get infected."

"I'm not leaving her side," he said firmly, his jaw set in determination.

"Okay," she said softly, "I'll do it right here, right by her bed. Alright?"

He nodded slowly and watched as she moved to get bandages. She blinked back her tears as she headed out of the room. She had never seen him like that, never thought she would see him care that much about anyone other than himself. He was a generous lover, unselfish and giving, but when he came to emotions, he wasn't in it for that. Seeing him there, so obviously in love with that tiny blonde girl, was painful. She never thought loving Angel was an option. He always made it seem like it wasn't and maybe he was right...until now.


call it impulsive,
call it compulsive,
call it insane
but when i'm surrounded, i just can't stop

Spike stepped forward and steered Drusilla until she was standing behind him, protecting her body with his. He'd never been the sort of throw yourself to the wolves type mate. He was more the protect yourself and screw everyone else type, but this woman he knew he couldn't live without.

"Isn't that sweet?" Darla sneered, "Protecting your crazy bitch? Doesn't matter. Before I let you walk out that door and spill everything to Angel, I'll kill you and then her. You should know by now that I don't give a fuck what happens to you, Spike, or anyone else for that matter."

"That's funny," Drusilla said, releasing a throaty laugh before resting her chin on Spike's shoulder, unafraid of the possibility of her own death, "You're going to kill people over Angel. Who's the mad one?"

"My man, Drusilla," she snapped back, "Is more important than your pathetic lives."

"Ah," Dru returned smiling and looking past the gun, into Darla's cold blue eyes, "I see. You must be irresistible to him."

"He can't stand the bint," Spike added and didn't flinch when Darla moved to point her gun at his chest, "He really does hate you, pet. Not sure why you keep this up."

"I asked for your silence, not your opinion!" Darla shouted. She barely finished her sentence before she fell to the floor. Spike grinned at Riley, holding her a small sculpture in his hand.

"Hey, that's one of Angel's," Spike commented, "Thanks for the save there, mate. Coulda been a bit slower though. She nearly shot me."

"It would have been a gift to the rest of the world," Riley said as he moved toward the doorway, tossing the small statue aside as if touching a piece of Angel's artwork actually caused him physical pain. He already felt the bile rising in his throat and he couldn't decide whether it was for Darla, Angel or himself.

"Where do you think you're going?" Spike said, wrapping his arm around Dru's waist as they followed behind, moving in their traditional leisurely fashion.

"The hospital," Riley shouted, "My girlfriend is there, in case you forgot!"

"Actually," Spike answered, "She's Angel's girl now. If you start to forget that, I'll be glad to fill her in on all the help you gave Darla in recent past."

"You don't know what I did!" Riley answered, "I didn't do anything. I said I'd help but she kept me in the dark about everything."

"You didn't tell her everything about your little pet?" Spike countered, "You didn't tell her where Buffy was going to be at certain times? Where her gallery was? What car she drove? Where she lived? You spilled all the details so that you could risk her life for a piece of ass."

"I didn't know what Darla was going to do!"

"After Buffy was attacked by Penn, you knew what Darla was capable of and you did nothing to stop her," Spike said, strolling past him and out the door, "She'll believe me. If you try and get between her and Angel again, I'll make sure they both find out about it."

"Spike," Drusilla said, whispering in his ear once they were back out on the street. She clutched his arm possessively as they walked, wearing a soft smile of pride, "She's not safe, you know. The sky, it knows, it's not clear yet. Murky things are coming."

"I'm sure they are, love," he said, pulling her closer, "But I said I'd make it right, didn't I?"

"Yes," she answered, leaning her head on his shoulder, "You'll make it right. My Spike will always make it right."

"Eventually," he muttered.


isn't it beautiful to see two people so much in love?

Buffy's eyes blinked open four hours and twenty-three minutes after the crash. Angel leaned in, holding his breath as her eyes twitched and then made a sleepy little half flutter.

"Buffy?" he whispered, squeezing her hand.

"Angel?" she said weakly and then winced from the sound her own voice, ripping painfully through her head.

"I'm here," he said, moving closer and kissing her knuckles gently, waiting for her eyes to open completely. He wanted to beg her to look at him, wanted to promise her the world if he could just see her eyes and know that she was okay.

"Where am I?" she asked, finally looking at him fully.

"Hospital," he said, pressing the buzzer for the nurse, "You were in a car accident. Do you remember?"

"The brakes didn't work," she said, "I kept pushing them but the car wasn't stopping and I went through the redlight."

"Yes," he said, nodding. No amnesia. She remembered everything.


"Yes, love?"

"Can I go home now?"


well, can you blame 'em?
uh, yeah

Angel hated cops more than Spike did. Spike thought Angel would be ripping the room apart by now if he had been forced to sit there and be patient for as long as he had been waiting. Course that had been old Angel, juvenile delinquent Angel. Gunn was the only one of their group of friends who could tolerate the police station and that was because he'd had to kiss so much polyester clad ass in the past couple of years since he'd been a detective. Well, as close to ass kissing as Gunn got anyway, which mainly consisted of telling them what they wanted to hear and then doing what he wanted to do anyway. His policy was that it was better to ask forgiveness than ask permission. Not that he ever asked for forgiveness.

Spike was reminded of the adolescent quibbles he had gotten into with Penn, Angel and Gunn as he sat in what Kate liked to call the "Conference Room." It was an interrogation room if he had ever seen one. He stared down at the cigarette burns on the plastic white table and drummed his fingers as he waited for Detective Lockley to grace him with her presence. He finally lit a cigarette and blew smoke calmly at the two sided mirror. He knew this waiting game. She thought it would make him nervous and twitchy if they stared at him like a caged animal from the other side of that glass.

Spike didn't give a flying fuck if they stared at him all godamn day just as long as he had plenty of smokes and Angel didn't overhear any of what he was about to say. If he could get through this without losing a friend, it would be a miracle. He ashed on the floor unapologetically as the pretty blonde made her way into the room.

"'Bout time, pet," he said, taking a long drag on his smoke and leaning the chair back so it balanced on two of the four legs, "Thought I was going to have to go out for a beer and come back at a better time."

"My name is Detective Lockley," she said, "And I'm sorry I kept you waiting."

"That's alright but let's get on with it already."

"You have some information about the Buffy Summer's case?"

"Oh do I," he said, dropping the chair back to resting on all fours, "Let's discuss possible outcomes of me telling you things first, love."


take it from a fella
who's been around the block so many times
he knows the only parking spot that's free

"Buffy," Xander complained as he went into her apartment a week later, with Willow following closely behind him, "I want you to be safe and all, but can you do something about the bodyguard outside your front door? Guy looks like a freight train and every time I come here he acts like he doesn't remember me."

"Tommy?" Buffy asked, "He's really sweet once you get to know him. He's just doing his job."

"He doesn't look very sweet to me," Xander grumbled. Willow smiled and patted his shoulder, "It's okay, Xand."

"Where's your crazy boyfriend?" Xander asked, craning his neck to look around the apartment.

"He went home," Buffy said, "I asked him to give us some time to hang out."

"He has a home?" Xander blustered, "He hasn't left your side since the accident. I thought maybe he gave up his own place in moved in here so he could growl at anyone who dared look at you."

"Don't be an ass, Xander," Willow said, nudging him with her elbow.

"Don't like that guy," Xander mumbled underneath his breath as he moved to sit on the love seat with Willow.

"What?" Willow asked accusingly.

"What do you want for dinner?" He amended, smiling at the dirty looks he was receiving from his two female companions, "What? Aren't you hungry?"


Part Eleven "Night"


DEDICATION: For Mystic, who is designing my website, which will hopefully be out soon. Thank you, Mystic! You're an angel and a talented one at that. (You guys don't want to know what it would look like if I had attempted to do it myself. It would have been scarey. Very, very scarey. *G*)


it just measures up the distance

Buffy sat alone in her apartment for the first time in over a month. She stared at her book and shifted uncomfortably as she tried to set herself at ease. She thought she wanted an evening to herself and after talking Angel into going out with his friends and convincing her own friends that she wanted an evening of alone time, she found her apartment miserably lonely.

She set her book down and wandered onto the balcony to stare out into the night. It was one of the rare occasions that stars could actually been seen over the city and she smiled at them gratefully. She thought about calling Angel, but talked herself out of it. He deserved a night out with his buddies, drinking and having a good time. It wasn't fair that he felt he had to babysit her all the time.

She ran a hand absently over her nearly healed ribcage and wondered if he would ever touch her again like he had that one wonderful night before the car accident. All the nights since then had been filled with snuggling and gentle kisses but he never let his hands wander, never tried to spark anything more. He held her like he expected her to break any moment and broke off embraces that lasted a fraction too long.

When a knock sounded on her door, she jerked in surprise and hurried back inside to answer it, thinking it must be Angel. Even though he had a key, he never used it. She was glowing in happiness and smiling brightly when she answered the door, only to have it fade when she saw Riley standing there.

"Hi," she said, looking at him questioningly.

"Hi," he said, uneasily, "Can I come in? I'd like to talk to you for a minute."

She stepped back and allowed him to enter, glad for the first time that evening that Angel wasn't there. He would not have been pleased at all about Riley's unannounced visit. She gestured to the couch and sat down in her cream colored overstuffed chair to keep the distance between them.

"I wanted to see how you were," he said, perching nervously on the edge of the couch, "I heard about the accident."

"I'm fine," she said, "Almost all healed up."

"That's good," he said, nodding slowly.

"How are you?"

"I'm okay," he said, running a hand through his hair, "Actually, I'm not so good. I miss you, Buffy. I was hoping you would think about giving me another chance."

"I'm sorry," she said gently, "I'm seeing Angel."

"I heard," he grumbled, "I'm not trying to bad mouth him...actually, I'd love to. He's used more women in this town than you would believe. I'm afraid he's going to hurt you."

"I can take care of myself," she said, raising her chin in defiance, "And I know all about his past. That doesn't mean anything to me."

"Buffy," he said, moving over and sitting on the ottoman in front of her, "I can make things right between us. I know I can. Can you just give me a chance?"

"I'm don't think so, Riley," she answered, "I don't want to hurt you, I just...I'm seeing Angel now."

"You already said that," he said harshly, "He's going to break your heart."

"He won't," she whispered.

"When he does," he said, standing and heading toward the door, "I'll be here."

"Don't wait for me," she said, trying to fill her words with as much confidence as possible.

"I have to," he said, before stepping out of her door and closing it gently behind him, "I love you."

Buffy stood up and looked at the closed door for a moment before slipping on shoes and grabbing her purse. All of a sudden her apartment seemed too big or too small or both. Either way, it was frustratingly empty. Once outside, she passed up her car with a nervous glance. It had been fixed weeks before and she had even driven it, but since the accident she avoided it at all costs. She went over to where Tommy was sitting in his car and leaned in the window.

"Hey there," he said with a smile, "Saw your ex visit."

"Yeah," she said, biting her lower lip, "Can you take me to Angel's? I don't want to stay at home tonight. I figured since you're going to follow me anyway, maybe you wouldn't mind..."

"Sure, honey," he answered, unlocking the doors as she circled the car to climb in, "You know he's out with Gunn and the guys, right?"

"I have a key," she said, holding up one of the keys on her keyring for him to see after she had climbed in and navigated her footing around the fast food containers and soda cans.

"He gave you a key to his apartment?" Tommy said, nearly shouting in surprise at her as he pulled out the parking lot.

"Yes," she said, "Why? Something wrong with that?"

"Nope," he said, shaking his head with an incredulous smile, "Uh-uh."


i discovered alcohol
forget the caffe latte
screw the raspberry iced tea

The beer was bitter, cold and heavenly as Angel swallowed the end of his first glass quickly and slammed it on the counter. Doyle, knowing his friend's torments of the heart and soul recently, smiled at him and gave him a refill on the house. He made short work of the second glass as Spike slid onto the stool next to him.

"Your dog die, mate?" Spike asked with a grin, "Or are you still suffering from not shagging your girl?"

"Bite me," Angel answered, taking another gulp of liquid assurance, thanking God that Doyle was such a good friend and quick with the refills.

"That's what I thought," he said as he accepted the whiskey neat set before him by his friend and bartender, "How long's he been drowning his sorrows, Doyle?"

"Not nearly long enough," Doyle answered with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Yeah," Gunn offered from the other side, "I'm surprised he hasn't been here every night after leaving Buffy's side."

"You know what the strangest thing is about all this," Angel said, tracing his fingers in the side of the frosty glass, "Is that Detective Lockley never came back to take me in for questioning."

"Really?" Spike said, raising an eyebrow in mock surprise, "Well, that is strange. Maybe they found the responsible party."

"Wouldn't they have told Buffy?" Angel mused.

"What about her uncle?" Doyle offered, "He seemed to have his fingers in a few of the pots around the city."

"Maybe," Angel said, taking another drink, "I guess I'll call her this week and see if they came up with anything new."

"And get arrested?" Spike said quickly, "No mate, maybe you should just wait for them to remember you instead of reminding them."

"If they haven't arrested me already..."

"Believe me," Spike offered, downing his whiskey and sliding it across the bar, "It's bloody idiotic to go to the police station, mate. Just watch out for your little cutie. Where is she anyway?"

"At home," Angel said, gloomily.

"By herself?" Spike asked with surprise.


"Are you out of your gob?! You haven't slept with her and you leave her alone on a Friday night?"

"What?" Angel asked, almost feeling the rain pelt on him from the dark cloud he was sure was hanging above the bar, "She told me to go out. She wanted me to take some time to hang out with you jerks."

"And you listened to her?" Gunn asked, piping in again.

"Well...yeah," Angel said, "I shouldn't have?"

"You should being fucking the life out of the girl," Spike grunted, taking a swallow of the new drink in front of her.

"She's gonna think you don't want her," Doyle added.

"But I do want her!" Angel yelled, "She knows that."

"Does she, mate?" Spike asked, "Cause it's only a matter of time before some other nancy boy prances up and touches her the right way and-"

"No one's going to be touching her," Angel growled, eyeing his friend angrily.

"Really?" Spike said, "Hope you're right mate. Poor girl, been through all that pain and hurt, only to sit home by herself thinking about how you haven't made love to her yet."

"What are you trying to do to me?" Angel said, "She's not ready for that."

"She's not or you're not?" Spike asked.

"You don't know shit about her."

"I know women, Peaches," Spike said, "And I would have thought you did by now. You've slept with half the women in this town. I bet your little blondie is wondering why you would sleep with everyone else and not her."

"No, she's not," Angel said, knocking back the rest of this beer and pleading with Doyle silently to refill it.

"Alright," Spike said, holding up his hands.

"Why do you care, anyway?" Angel asked, "You're just waiting for me to screw this up so you can slither your way into her life."

"Damn right," Spike said, honestly, "She'll need someone's shoulder to cry on."

"It better not be yours."

"You say that like you're already expecting to lose her," Doyle said, ignoring for the moment the onslaught of Friday night traffic as he drifted in and out of his friends' conversation.

"I hope I don't."

"Well, Cordy seems to think you're an asshole," Doyle said, grinning, "I keep tellin' her she's right and she just keeps agreeing with me."

"Thanks a lot, Doyle."

"Don't mention it."


just try to figure out what all this is for
it's the perfect time of day to throw all your cares away

Buffy made her way into Angel's apartment and couldn't believe the stifling heat in there. It made sense that he would keep the air off since he was never there anyway, but she had already broken into a sweat before she made it to the windows. She opened them one by one and breathed a sigh of relief as fresh air swept through place, making it infinitely more comfortable in a manner of minutes.

After she opened every window in the apartment, she laid down on the couch and thought about why she had even gone there in the first place. He wouldn't be angry about her going there, she knew that, but she still felt she was violating his space. She didn't feel bad enough about it go home though. His apartment made her feel more safe and secure, like nothing would hurt her if she was there. She kicked off her shoes and curled up, falling fast asleep on his sofa.

She jerked awake an hour later when the phone rang and she ran to answer it, but paused. Deciding against it, she let the answering machine pick up, feeling slightly guilty for listening to the message that someone was about to leave. After four rings, she heard his sexy, rumbling voice speaking, asking the caller to leave a message.

"Angel," a high pitched female voice crooned, "It's Brenda. Are you there? Guess not. Call me soon, lover."

Buffy winced with the word "lover" and sat by the phone for a few minutes. She hadn't really taken the time to think about all the women he had slept with. At least, she tried to force it from her mind when it wandered in that direction. She was sure he wanted her. Well, she was pretty sure she was sure, but he hardly touched her, barely let their kisses rise to the point of passion. He said he had stopped seeing the other women, that she was the only one he wanted, but if that was true, then how come he hadn't made love to her yet?

She chided herself for her thoughts as she headed back to the couch. He spent every night in her bed, just about. There was no way he was seeing anyone else. Besides, she had been attacked and then with the car accident, she was sure he just wanted to make sure she was ready. She smiled with her reasoning. Still feeling overheated, she slipped off her jeans and laid down once more. She reminded herself again and again that he did want her, she was attractive and when he came home, she would remember that it was all true.


just get on the phone
tell her you're coming home
if you need her, you should be there

After few too many, Angel allowed Spike to drive him home and thought about calling Buffy on the way. He looked at his watch and realized she would be fast asleep by then. He groaned in irritation. What a useless waste of an evening. He spent the whole time drinking, thinking about her, defending his actions to his friends and trying to keep three of his ex-lovers from molesting him.

"Glad you're not going to see Buffy tonight," Spike said nonchalantly as he steered his car toward Angel's apartment.

"Why?" Angel slurred, thinking just the opposite.

"Cause you reek like beer, smoke and perfume from the bints crawling all over you tonight and there's lipstick on your collar."

"Jesus," Angel swore, flipping the visor to look in the mirror and taking several seconds to focus on a red smudge there just as Spike had said.

"Yeah," Spike said, with a smile "But good show with the self control. I wouldn't have made it out of there without at least one blow job. Actually, I didn't."

"Great," Angel spat sarcastically, "I'm so happy for you."

"Knew you would be," Spike answered as he pulled into the apartment complex's parking lot, "By the way, I want to borrow your motorcycle."

"You're just asking me now ‘cause I'm drunk."

"Good call," Spike said, "What do you say?"

"Don't care," Angel said, knowing it was the liquor speaking just as much as Spike did. There was no way he would have agreed so easily otherwise. Spike followed him up to his apartment and walked in behind his stumbling friend.

"Hot as hell in here, mate," Spike complained, "Don't you believe in air conditioning?"

"Never here anymore," he said as he moved toward the answering machine and pressed the blinking button in the dark, anxious to see if it was Buffy, instead finding Brenda's voice there. He deleted it with disappointment as Spike flipped on the lights. He turned with the sound of Spike's whisper, "Holy shit."

On the couch, lay Buffy completely, gloriously naked except for a pair of white lace panties. Her hair fanned around her, curling over her shoulders and her full breasts were in full, perfect view. Angel nearly tripped as he moved across the room to stand in front of her, blocking Spike's view.

"Bedroom," Angel ordered, pointing toward the room in question, "Go in the bedroom."

"Why?" Spike asked, leaning a bit to see if he could get another look at her, "Are there more naked women in there?"

"No," Angel said, in a low, dangerous voice, "the motorcycle keys are in there on my dresser. Get them and get the hell out."

"Relax, mate," Spike said, strolling down the hallway and taking a deep breath as he did, still seeing her golden skin and lovely body in his mind as he went, "You're the one who keeps it so hot in here that a girl has no choice but to take off her clothes."

Angel quickly took off his shirt, intending to cover her with it, only to glimpse the lipstick stained collar. He tossed it aside and grabbed the blanket that hung on the back of the couch. It was hot as hell but he didn't care. Spike wasn't going to see one more square inch of her body. He stood there next to the couch looking down on her until Spike returned, taking his sweet time, with the keys.

"Getting undressed already?" Spike noted, nodding at his friend's bare chest.

"Goodbye, Spike," Angel said irritably.

"See ya, Peaches."


Part Twelve "The Real Me"


DEDICATION: For Nina. Feel better and SOON!


i think it's getting to the point where i can be myself again
i think it's getting to the point where we have almost made amends
i think it's getting to the point that is the hardest part
and if you call, i will answer
and if you fall, I'll pick you up
and if you court this disaster, i'll point you home

Buffy woke up, not on the couch as she expected, but in Angel's bed covered in a crimson silk sheet. The comforter was tossed aside, folded back over the bed. She glanced over to find his side empty and frowned. She inhaled the cool air, heard the light humming of the air conditioner and looked over to see that he had closed the windows in the bedroom.

She stood and was initially surprised that she was nearly naked, before vaguely remembering shedding her clothes because of the suffocating temperature. Goose bumps appeared all over her body and her nipples hardened in complaint of the now cool air. She wandered over to his closet and opened it. She shuffled through his shirts, sliding them over the bar until she found one she liked and pulled it on. She stood in the open closet door, buttoning the shirt and looking down over the unorganized mountain of dirty clothes covering the entire expanse of the closet floor. She smiled and nearly giggled at his mess. It was a good thing he had so many clothes because it didn't look like he did laundry too often. He probably just bought new ones instead of washing the others.

As she was about to turn away, the shirt on top caught her eye and she bent over to pick it up. A smudge of bright red lipstick decorated the collar and her hands shook as she brought the piece of clothing to her nose. Inhaling slowly, she caught the faint scent of not one woman's perfume but at least two buried inside the smell of alcohol and smoke.

With tears filling her eyes, she dropped it and hurried into the living room, almost praying that he had gone back out with one of his lovers rather than staying there where she would have to face him. Her prayers were not met. She found him standing at the windows, freshly showered and wearing a pair of Levis that fit him too well. She ran over to the couch and scrambled to silently put on her jeans and nearly gasped inside her quiet sob as he turned around.

"Buffy," he said, walking over to her, "What's wrong?"

"Right," she snapped, unable to keep the tears from pouring from her eyes, "It shouldn't be too hard for you to figure out."

"What are you talking about?" he asked, holding her shoulders in his hands. Whatever alcohol was still in his system, fled as the sobering reality of her angry pain met him.

"I saw the shirt you wore tonight," she said, "Maybe you were too busy to think about hiding the evidence."

"Lipstick on the collar," he groaned, closing his eyes for a second, "Buffy, listen, I did not do anything with anyone tonight. I swear, baby. I ran into one of my I was involved with before and she was hitting on me. I pushed her away."

"Don't call me, ‘baby,'" she said, stepping out of his arms and grabbing her shoes before she headed for the door. Angel ran, or more accurately, sprinted, toward the door and slammed his back against it to keep her from leaving.

"Am I your prisoner now?" she demanded, crossing her arms over her chest, feeling his shirt billowing around her, as her shoes dangled from one hand.

"No," he said, shaking his head sadly, "You can leave whenever you want, but just please give me a second to explain."

"Fine," she said, dropping her shoes on the floor by the door angrily, "Whatever."

"I would never do anything to hurt you," he began, words tumbling from his mouth in a stream of panic, "I haven't slept with, kissed or done anything else with another woman since I met you. Believe me, if I didn't want to be with you, I wouldn't be. I've always been sexually active but all my lovers knew that I wasn't dishonest with them. Buffy, I'm not lying. I love you. I only want to be with you."

"All your lovers," she breathed angrily, "Including Brenda on the answering machine?"

"Brenda too," he answered, feeling shame rise in his chest, "She's been calling me on and off for the last couple of months. I used to sleep with her regularly, but not anymore."

"I don't know if I should believe you," she said, turning from him and crossing the room, feeling if she had to spend one more second looking into his eyes or the muscular expanse of chest in front of her that she wouldn't have the strength she needed.

"I don't know how to convince you," he said to her back, "Except to ask you if I have ever given you a reason not to trust me. Except for my past, have I ever done anything to make you think you couldn't trust me? Buffy, I'm new at this love thing. I'll admit that, but I'm not stupid. I wouldn't do anything to risk losing you."

He watched as her shoulders began to shake and then, seconds later, emerged the sound of her sobs. He crossed the room and hesitated before circling her and pulling her into his arms. She allowed it, spilling tears on his bare chest, seeping through his skin and breaking his heart.

"I love you, Buffy," he repeated, kissing the top of her head. It was almost as if his words renewed her strength and she pulled out of his arms, stepping back.

"If you love me so damn much, then how come you won't touch me?" she demanded, fire streaking through her eyes, "You haven't even tried to make love to me once since we've been together. It's curious how many people tell me what a whore you are and then you refuse to make love to the woman you supposedly love. Don't you think that's interesting? I sure as hell do. Angel! If you don't really love me, if you aren't attracted to me, then just tell me now. I can't stand living this...whatever this is, if it's a lie."

"It's not!" he shouted, returning her anger with his own, "You want to know why I haven't tried to make love to you? Fine! I'll tell you. First, there was the attempted rape by a man I thought was my friend. Then there was the car accident where you nearly died and the men I hired couldn't even protect you from that outside their own damn office. The police are no fucking help. I have women throwing themselves at me whenever I'm not with you. Every time I come home, there's a message on my answering machine from an ex-lover inviting me to fuck them. And do you know what I do? I take a cold shower and go to see you! Buffy, something is not right here. My life is fucked up and it's fucking your life up too and I don't know how to make it better. I know you keep getting hurt because of me and I am powerless to stop it! I've never felt this godamn helpless in my entire, horrible life. All I know is that to me sex has always been that - sex - meaningless gratification. I don't want that with you. I want to make love to you but I don't want it to be cheap or less than what it should be. I don't want to hurt you for any reason. Ever. If you want me to make love to you tonight and every night for the rest of your life I will, but what happens on the day when you wake up and decide that I'm not the right guy for you, that you gave your virginity to a whore?"

Buffy took another step back and stared at him for a second. He was breathing heavily and his eyes were a strange mixture of fury and devotion like nothing she had ever seen. The only way to describe it was passion. God, she loved this man. All of him. She loved his overprotectiveness and his uneven communication skills. She loved the way he touched her and the way he didn't. She felt new tears slipping from her eyes, trying to decide what to do. He closed the distance between them and dropped to his knees before her, pressing his face against her abdomen as real tears, personifying every drop of pain he had experience in his life, poured out of him.

"Buffy," he choked as he held himself tightly against her, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, love."

She stood there for a moment, looking down at the man kneeling before her, showing real, raw, base emotion. She threaded her fingers through his short, spiky hair and slid the other around his broad shoulders, holding him to her for a few moments before dropping to her knees as well. She placed her hands on both sides of his face and pulled his face to hers, forcing him to meet her eyes.

"I love you, Angel," she whispered, "I want to be with you. I want you to make love to me tonight and every other night, but only if you want to...only if you want me."

"I want you," he said, "More than I've ever wanted anything else."

She bit her bottom lip to keep a fresh stream of tears from escaping and he stood, pulling her up with him before sweeping her into his arms and carrying her to the bedroom.


even a eunuch won't resist the magic of a kiss from such as you

Angel found himself standing in his bedroom, kissing Buffy as if his life depended on the success of that moment. He held her, suspended and against his chest, too involved in her sweet lips to wonder if she would ever begin to feel heavy. For someone so small, she breathed a passion and life in one kiss unequaled to nights making love to his other lovers.

Finally, he set her on her feet and unbuttoned the shirt she had stolen from his closet, holding his breath as the beautiful torso that he hadn't seen for over a month was revealed. He pulled her into his arms again and kissed her, bare chest against bare chest, denim against denim. He couldn't believe he was actually nervous about this, but he was. He kissed her neck as his hands moved to her waist, unbuttoning her jeans and unzipping them. He moved down to her breasts as he slid them off of her hips and down. She moaned as he caught one of her erect nipples between his teeth, biting down hard enough to make her groan, before sucking it roughly into his mouth. He moved to the other breast as he pulled her pants off, leaving her in her panties.

As he made his way back up to her lips, she reached for the button of his pants and he tensed for a second, then relaxed as she unzipped them. She mirrored the movement he had before, sliding them off of his hips. His erect cock bounced free and she felt a simultaneous twinge of arousal, fear and surprise. He hadn't bothered to put on boxers after his shower and so there was no barrier now that she removed his jeans. He stepped out of them and she nervously allowed him to pull her back to his arms, feeling his erection pressing against her stomach.

"Don't worry, love," he whispered, "I won't hurt you."

"I know," she said, shakily and meant it, but it didn't ease her fear. He slipped her panties away and then laid her down on his bed gently. He crouched over her and kissed her for a long time, feeling her begin to relax, delving deeper into his mouth, allowing her hands to move over him tentatively at first and then more daring, but keeping away from non-neutral zones.

He moved down her slowly, taking his time as he explored her body, worshiping her and giving her time to become accustomed to his touch. He kissed over her tender ribs and dipped into her adorable belly button before moving over her thighs. He kissed her inner thighs as he ran his hands lightly over the outside of them, moving up to her narrow hips and back down.

He spread her wider and he dipped in to taste her, laving his tongue over every contour of her, lashing at her clit and sucking it into his mouth, only to avoid it until she squirmed and whimpered beneath him. He smiled as he nibbled at her tender bud again, scraping his teeth gently over it and relishing in her jerks of pleasure. He settled there as he felt her climax building, lapping at it again and again until she was moaning and panting beneath him, lifting her hips from the bed to press harder against him. He sucked it into his mouth and heard her cry out as she climaxed. He held her thighs apart as she bucked and trembled. Greedily, he lapped up the juices escaping, giving her no mercy.

He kissed his way back up her flushed skin and after a long time of focusing on her torso and breasts, he made his way to her waiting lips. She kissed him deeply, tasting herself in his mouth. He entered her slowly, feeling her stretch to accept him. She paused and tensed as she felt the intrusion of his cock. He groaned as he felt her inner muscles tense and tighten around him. The feel of her tight, wet entrance squeezing the head of his cock was agonizing divinity.

He kissed her again, smooth his hands over the soft planes of her body. She began to relax again after a moment and he settled his fingertips on her sensitive clit, rubbing lightly. She moaned into his mouth as he continued to kiss her and felt her thighs open wider once more. He pressed in a little further, until he was pressing against her virginity. Knowing the pain was inevitable, he increased the pressure and speed of his fingers on her clitoris, waiting for her second orgasm to arrive. As she began neared climax, she thrust up against him and he moved down, breaking the barrier. Her eyes flew open and she gasped in new pain as he settled inside her, still not filling her fully and felt the waves of her orgasm come over her. She panted in pleasure and pain as he pushed in further, feeling her spasm and flex around him.

Slowly and gently, he pulled way and moved back in, waiting for her to join him in his thrusts. Each movement was angled to press against her clit, sending jolts of pleasure through her with each stroke. Finally, and much to his happiness, she moved up to meet him, digging her fingers into his broad shoulders. She moaned his name as he increased the speed of his movements.

He waited, gritting his teeth to hold on until she joined him. He felt her nearing the edge once more and groaned, as if the sound would increase the arrival of her release. She slammed back up against him as she came and he released his seed inside her, moaning her name as she shouted his.


you can't believe it but it's true, she's given everything to you

Angel woke up shortly after he had fallen asleep and looked down at his lover. Her tousled head rested on his chest, her fingertips burning heat into his abdomen, her eyes closed peacefully. He smiled down at her and felt like pinching himself out of this dream. She gave him her heart, her virginity and her trust. And now she lay in his arms. For the first time in his life, he felt warm and loved. He felt like at thirty, life had just begun.

Buffy must have felt his unwavering stare, because after a while, her eyes fluttered open. She first saw the hard marble skin of her lover and glanced up to see chocolate brown eyes looking down at her. Instantly remembering the night before, she blushed beneath his gaze.

"Hi," she said sleepily.

"Morning, love."

"Is it morning already?" she asked with pouted lips that begged to be kissed. Angel easily pulled her up to cover him, sliding her over his body deliciously and took her mouth with his.

"Technically," he said, nodding at the window, "but the sun hasn't risen yet."

"Good. I'm not ready to leave yet. You''re not ready for me to leave yet, are you?"

"I'll never be ready for you to leave," he answered honestly, his voice rough from sleeping. She felt his arousal against her and in spite of the soreness she felt, she couldn't help but be excited by it. He still wanted her, even after she had shown how little she knew about lovemaking the night before. She blushed again and wondered if she would spend the whole morning blushing at him, wanting him.

"Sorry," he whispered, placing another kiss on her silky lips, "I can't help it. Doesn't mean that we have to make love again if you aren't ready."

"I don't know," she answered truthfully, while her insides churned for him, while need laced through her, leaving scorching trails of heat lancing through her veins. The fire that welled up inside her and the want for her lover was something that wasn't new with the recent lovemaking. She always felt it in his arms, as if the whole world was burning for him. He smiled down at her as he saw the lust in her eyes. Wrapping his arms more tightly around her, he kissed her intoxicating lips again.

"That's okay, baby," he said, smoothing his hands over her skin. She felt softer than satin and if he were allowed to only touch her bare skin until the end of time, it would be enough to sate him...almost. He didn't need to make love to her again. He could take the memory with him until the end of time and find happiness there, but damn, he wanted to so much the thought made his heart pound.

"I...I want to," she blurted, more aroused by the second as his large hands wandered over her body, keeping from erogenous zones but his feather light touch felt like a million kisses on her skin.

"Are you sure? Because we don't have to," he whispered, looking intently into her eyes.

"Yes," she said and waited for his response. He rolled them over carefully, placing her softly against the pillows and watched her hair flutter against the crimson pillow case. As he prepared to make love to her again, he realized that they hadn't used protection the night before. Taking a deep breath, he tried to make himself not hyperventilate, because he realized that once again he had completely fucked things up.

"Is something wrong?" she asked, watching the emotions fly across his face.

"You're not on the pill, are you?"

Her eyes widened with the same thought that he just had, affirming his suspicions. Some women took the pill for other reasons, so she could have been on it, but he sincerely doubted it. Now he knew for sure even before she choked out the word "no."

"Damn," he said, "I'm sorry. I should have thought about it, but I didn't and...damn."

"That's kinda what I was thinking," she said, "But it's not your fault. We were both there last night."

"I have a drawer full of condoms right there," he said, pointing at the bedside table, "I'm just a fucking moron."

"Angel," Buffy said, pulling him on top of her, "There's nothing we can do about it now, so reach in the drawer and get a condom and make love to me. Whatever happens we'll deal."


"Angel," she said, kissing him lightly and biting his lower lip, "Are we going to fight about what we can't control or are you going to make love to me?"

"I'm going to make love you," he growled, the words rumbling angrily in his chest.

"Good," she said, "Because I want to feel you inside me again."

His growl turned into a moan of desire as he kissed her and reached into the drawer.