Part Seven "The Want"

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.
DISTRIBUTION: Of course you can have it! Please let me know though.

FEEDBACK: Thank you so much for your feedback! I really appreciate it!

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Barenaked Ladies


DEDICATION: For Nina. Miss Sweetness and Light, you really made my day today...several times. Thanks for "taking one for the team." *G* This one's for you, my friend.


i'm so done, turn me over cause it feels just like i'm falling for the first time

Angel's old frame of mind was creeping in as he kissed her. He felt his arousal growing, sex flooding his mind as he explored her warm mouth, loving the way she responded to him. Just a flick of his wrist and her tiny camisole would be gone and he would be able feast his hungry eyes on her full breasts. Taking each second of self control he never used in the past, he broke the kiss and released her. Her lips were moist and parted as she expelled little puffs of breath. Keeping her arms around him, she seemed to be silently asking for another kiss.

He leaned in and kissed her again, promising himself it would be the last. She tasted so sweet and her body fit against his so perfectly that he almost thought he was dreaming it. He thought back on that night with her falling asleep in his arms. He was so concerned about her welfare that he hadn't taken the time to relish in the feel of her. Tonight he had that time and was trying to keep himself from it again.

When he broke the kiss the next time, he entertained the idea of jumping out the window. It seemed like the better alternative than trying to get her to go home. He loved her and yet, he felt as if he shouldn't corrupt her integrity. It seemed wrong for someone like him to be with someone like her but the way she was looking at him, that innocent lust in her pretty hazel eyes was more than he could stand.

"Are you going to be ready for our lesson tomorrow?" he asked, having a bit of difficulty getting the words out.

"Yes," she answered, nodding her head in confusion. Weren't they just kissing? Who gave a rat's ass about the lesson tomorrow?

"Good," he said, nodding and stepping away, hoping she didn't notice the uncomfortable bulge in the front of his pants. He sat down on the couch and she sat on the opposite end, slipping off her sandals and pulling her feet up against her chest.

"Why do I feel like you regret kissing me?"

"I don't," he said, "I mean, I loved kissing you, Buffy, I just think that maybe we shouldn' that."

"Why not?" she asked.

"I'm just not the kind of guy you should be with."

"So you want me to go out with another guy?"

"NO!" he said, standing up, "I mean, yes. Yes."

"Are you trying to talk yourself into that? I thought you said you were falling in love with me."

"I am," he said, facing the window she now recognized from his painting, "...already in love with you."

She walked boldly over to him. She stood behind him for a second before she wrapped her hands around his waist, resting her cheek on his back. She felt her hands trembling slightly as she held him and she breathed deeply, waiting there in silence for a second.

"Angel," she said quietly, "I love you too. I want to be with you."

She let him go and walked around him, leaning against the window pane as she continued speaking, "I'm not sure why you think you're not good enough for me, but I don't care what you did in the past or who you slept with before. All that matters to me is here and now. It's what you are to me, how you treat me."

"I'm not so sure," he said, shaking his head.

"Do you want to be with me?" she asked sternly.

"Buffy, it's not that-"

"Do you want to be with me, Angel? It's a simple question."

"Yes," he said, meeting her eyes, "Yes, I do."

"Good, now that we have that out of the way," she said, stepping closer, "I think you should kiss me again."

He crushed his mouth against hers, plunging his tongue into her warm mouth. He stepped forward, pressing her against the glass behind her. He ignored the fact that his arousal was against her, alerting her of just how much he wanted her. As she kissed him, she reached down and pulled her shirt up, breaking the kiss to pull it off, baring her chest to his gaze. He paused for a second, licking his lips while his mind raced on the right thing to do. The rarity of these emotions were crowding in with his lust. She unbuttoned his shirt and slipped it off of his shoulders. After a second, she pulled his hands to her chest, placing them over her breasts.

"Please," she whispered, "Don't think about it. Just touch me, Angel."

He cupped her breasts gently, brushing his thumbs over her erect nipples as he leaned in to kiss her again, slipping down to her neck and then capturing one of her nipples in his mouth. She threaded her fingers into his hair and moaned as he sucked in one nipple then the other, pausing to leave a dozen little kisses in the valley between her breasts.

She squealed in surprise when he lifted her into his arms and carried her to the bedroom, kissing her passionately on the way. He set her on her feet next to his bed. He looked down at her flushed skin, her swollen lips and the way her eyes sparkled with want. He shook his head and groaned in pain as he stepped away. She reached out and grabbed his arm, keeping him there and then slipped off her jeans. Her black lace panties were all the clothing she had left and as she moved to remove them, he stopped her.

"It's too soon," he said.

"I want you," she breathed, her voice husky with desire, "I thought you wanted me."

"I do," he answered, "You have no idea how hard this is for me. I just think we should wait. I don't want to ruin it."

Buffy stepped up, closing the space between them and pressed her nearly naked body against his. She kissed the smooth column of his neck, allowing her hands to roam freely over his chest and back. She felt him weakening as one hand slipped into her hair and the other traced her spine. She sucked his nipples into her mouth, mirroring his previous movements and a shiver of desire rippled through him.

"Buffy," he said as her hand slid down to caress the rigid outline of his cock through his pants, "I'm begging you, baby. We have to wait."

"Uh-uh," she said, reaching for the button of his pants, "Don't wanna."

With a growl he knocked her hands away and backed her toward the bed, pushing her back on it. He slid her panties off easily and spread her legs, sliding his hands down her inner thighs. God, she was perfect. He leaned in to inhale the musky sweet scent of her arousal and then dipped in to taste her. He kissed her outer lips before teasing her open with his tongue, pressing her legs further apart as she opened for him. The guttural moan she released when he finally sucked her clit into his mouth was enticing, to say the least, and spurred him on. The years of practice were paying off as he nibbled, licked and sucked her, exploring the contours of her with his expert mouth.

He pushed a finger inside her, moving shallowly for a moment before pressing deeper. When he hit her hymen, he almost cried. She was a virgin. He suspected, but didn't really think it was true and now that it was, he wasn't sure how to continue. He slowed down, crafting her orgasm, prolonging the pleasure until she was trembling underneath him and gripping his shoulders.

"Angel," she gasped, raising her hips and pressing her dripping sex against his mouth. Answering her request, he sucked her clitoris into his mouth, sucking hard until she came, screaming and bucking beneath him. His name appeared inside her moans of pleasure and it was perfect.

He gathered her trembling body against him and nestled with her against the pillows, holding her tightly against his chest. She waited for him to move to make love to her, but he didn't. Finally, she turned over in his arms and looked at his face, blanketed with lust and determination.

"Don't you want to make love to me?" she asked.

"Yes," he said through gritted teeth, "But I'm not going to."


"Not tonight, Buffy," he said, kissing her lightly, "Please, just let me wait."

"You're just torturing yourself," Buffy said, pressing her hand against his pounding heart, "You can have me, Angel. I'm not going to disappear."

"I know, love," he said, but he didn't.


it's really amazing

Angel couldn't believe that Buffy was in his bed, blissfully naked and snuggled against his chest sound asleep. Okay, so he hadn't made love to her but that didn't change the fact that she was in his apartment, in his bed, in love with him. He would have been dancing around the room, jumping up and down with joy, if it didn't mean leaving her arms. He smiled down at her, studying her like he never bothered to study any other woman. She was so small and perfect, her leg tossed over his, her warm heat pressing against his leg, her hand so small as it rested on his stomach. It was the first time in years he had gone to bed in clothing. He was in boxer shorts, which was far more than he had slept in a long time, except for the night he held her before. In some twisted part of his mind, it felt good. He wasn't her lover yet but it didn't matter, she loved him.

The morning sun was filtering through his windows, flooding the room with heat and light. She shifted in her sleep and he knew that she would wake up any moment. He waited, smiling down at her as she murmured in her sleep, rubbing her face on his chest. Her hand moved over his chest as if in half sleep she was trying to remember where she was. She opened her eyes and blinked. A second later, she looked up at him and smiled back at him.

"Morning," she said, her voice full and groggy. She turned her face up for a kiss and he obliged, delighted she wasn't one of those women who had to run to the bathroom to brush her teeth first. He knew it was sad, but everything she did made him love her more.

"Morning," he said, as the kiss ended, rubbing her back gently, "How did you sleep?"

"Better than I have in weeks actually," she said, sitting up. She glanced at the clock on his bedside table and groaned, "I have to get to the gallery. I have a meeting this morning. Can I borrow your shower?"

"Sure," he said, nodding toward the bathroom, "There are clean towels in the closet."

"Thanks," she said, kissing him again before getting up and heading toward the bathroom. He watched her perfect, golden, naked body as she walked, swaying her hips generously. At the door, she stopped and turned around, "Wanna come?"

"Don't tempt me," he grumbled, sitting up in bed.

"That's exactly what I was trying to do," she said, winking at him before disappearing into the room. He dropped his head in his hands and reminded himself that it was too soon to have sex. Too soon. He thought about their conversation the night before, how he had insisted that they wait and she disagreed. He was trapped in a world of confusion. He was telling a woman they should wait? If only Spike could hear him now. He listened to the running water in the bathroom, imagining her little body under the spray, water streaming over her breasts, tracing each perfect rib, over her abdomen and this rate, he was going to have to write it down and keep it in his pocket like a flash card. It's too soon to sleep with her, Angel.


before all the fireworks exploded
our conversations were so loaded
innuendo flying

There were several rounds of bets going on at Gunn Investigations lately. Some of the staff, actually ALL of the staff and some people outside it, were betting on how long it would take Angel to sleep with Buffy. Some of his subcontractors, who knew Angel well, had lost the first round of bets on that one. Now that they were edging toward the first month, money was being exchanged almost every day. No one could believe Angel hadn't gotten her into bed yet. The idea of Angel waiting one night without nailing a beautiful girl was inconceivable, but a month? Are you fucking crazy?

The second round of bets were the ones that Gunn found hilarious. Everyone was dying to know how long it would take Angel to beat the shit out of some guy who hit on his girl. All the men who watched Buffy on a regular basis, both at her apartment and at the gallery, had a bit of a crush on the sweet but bitingly sarcastic blonde girl. Angel had warned several of them in a not so nice tone that if they touched her, he would murder them in cold blood. The scary part was they really didn't think he was kidding.

"Hey people! You will not bloody believe the latest," Spike said, laughing so hard that tears were coming to his eyes as he strolled into Gunn Investigations that evening. Spike had been a integral source of knowledge for their rounds of bets since he was sleeping with Buffy's employee, Anya, who did not think it was a big deal to blurt out everything that was going on.

"Better hurry up and leak it," Gunn said, glancing up half heartedly from the file in front of him. The grim pictures in the file kept him from being as interested as usual in Angel's sex life. LA was becoming more dangerous and violent, at least he thought it was. Either that or he was becoming known for taking on the more grisly cases. Why couldn't he look for a lost kitten or something? This shit was sick, "They're going to meet here in for a sparring session in a little while."

"What's up?" Tommy asked. He was one of Gunn's guys who currently had a lot of money riding on the couple. He stepped forward with interest as Spike sank down to sit on the steps of the Hotel Hyperion, clutching his gut with laughter.

"Buffy...oh God, this is so great," Spike sputtered, "Buffy..."

"Spit it out!" Damon, a seven foot giant of an employee yelled as he stepped closer as well.

"Buffy wants to sleep with Angel, but he wants to wait!" Spike said, collapsing into a fresh spout of guffaws. This was terrific. He couldn't even grasp the idea of his friend requesting that they "take it slow." What a bloody riot! The funniest part of it all was that Spike had an inkling since Angel first spotted the girl that this was going to be different and he had hedged his bets accordingly. These morons were going to make him rich before Angel could get a piece of her sweet ass.

"What?" Tommy screamed. It couldn't be true. It just couldn't. Angel was his goddamn hero. He screwed every beautiful woman in LA and some outside of LA. Shit, half the women he had dated in the past couple of years had already slept with the artist. Now he was going to lose a bundle of his next paycheck cause Angel suddenly got a heart and conscience! It wasn't right.


Part Eight "Beating The Odds"


you walked into the room and the whole place stopped to notice

Every time Angel walked into Gunn Investigations lately, he felt like he was under a microscope. All of the guys were like cats staring into a fish bowl and he was a floundering goldfish trying to figure out what all the staring was about. He arrived twenty minutes early for his meeting with Buffy and found the guys crowding around Spike who was giddy as hell over something. A hush fell over the room and forced hisses for silence erupted as Angel passed by.

He found Gunn buried in a case file, not paying attention to the ruckus, but Angel knew that the boss had to know what was going on. He leaned against the desk, his back to his friend so he could size up the crew and after a few moments the realization hit him.

"They're betting, aren't they?" Angel asked with a groan. Locker room talk was expected. He knew rumors would be flying about his newfound celibacy but he hated the idea of them betting on Buffy like that.

"Yep," Gunn said, flipping through glossy photos of recent carnage.

"You playing too?" Angel asked, sinking into the chair on the other side of the desk.

"Got $50 bucks on you, studly."

"Jesus," Angel grimaced, "You're a bunch of assholes."

"Oh come on, man," Gunn said, setting the file aside. It was nice to have a distraction because his usually steel stomach was doing flip flops, "You know damn well that if it wasn't you, you'd be in on the bet."

"But..." Angel protested, "It's Buffy. She's not just any ordinary girl. This is different..."

"Which is why money is passed around here like a crack house lately," Gunn grinned, "Relax. Everyone's being quiet when your wonderful ball of sunshine is around."

"If she finds out about this..." Angel warned, "I can't believe you are cheapening my feelings for her by making ringside bets on our relationship."

"What you just said," Gunn said, standing up as Buffy walked through the door, "Is why they're doing it. You've gone completely crazy over this girl."

"Yeah," Angel said, smiling as he watched her hug and greet the men congregated around the room. From the moment she walked through the door, the men's room quality of the room died and it scene transformed into an adore Buffy session. They were a crowd of teddy bears, anxious to be next in line to soak in her warmth. Spike was the only one who didn't participate. He sat back and eyed her closely, leering at her curvy body in his normal manner. Unlike the rest of the men there, he didn't think Buffy was anything more than another beautiful woman. He couldn't wait until Angel fucked this up. He was going to be there to catch her when he broke her. He planned to screw her sorrow away, again and again.

Angel tried not be jealous as she chatted with them, kissing their cheeks and allowing herself to be pulled into overly generous embraces. After a minute or two, he moved around to the counter leaned against it, watching her and waiting for her to notice his presence. She finally broke away from the barrage of men and found her way into his arms. She seemed oblivious to their stares as she greeted him warmly, tilting her head up for a kiss. He obliged greedily, forgetting momentarily that they had an audience as he wrapped his arms around her petite body and met her lips.

"Hi baby," he said, kissing her one last time before letting her go just enough so she could look up at him but remain in his arms.

"Hi," she said, "How was your day?"

"Not bad," he said, "I think I might have to go to New York in a couple of weeks for an art expedition. There was a guy from a gallery there visiting during my first show. He's interested in keeping some of my pieces at his place but he wants me to go up there first."

"Wow," she said, grinning, "I'm so happy for you."

"Thanks," he said, "How was your day?"

"Well, the appointment this morning went well," she said, "and the rest of the day was okay, I guess. But-" she said, turning around and pressing her back against Angel's chest, her ass resting snugly against his groin in the most tantalizing way. She faced the guys as she spoke, addressing them rather than Angel, "Anya told me about the Buffy's sex life pool that's been going on here. I'm trying to decide how upset I am about that."

The guys stopped in shock, hovering between fight and flight. They were trapped between frustration and guilt. Buffy was not supposed to find out about it. Angry eyes turned on Spike, who sat in the corner, grinning again.

"What?" Spike said, "It's not like any of you are innocent here. Besides, you all are missing the fun in this situation."

"I just found out about it, love," Angel said, in a voice too low for the rest to hear. Just knowing about it for ten minutes was enough for him to feel guilty and they were his friends after all.

"I know, honey," she said, rubbing the arm wrapped around her waist, "I'm not you."

Buffy kissed his cheek before sauntering to the bathroom with her sports bag, "I'm going to change clothes. Maybe you guys can all bet on how long it'll take me!"


you try to match wits
you try to hold me but i bust through
gonna make a break and take a fake

Bet or no bet, Buffy Summers was determined to Angel into her bed or his, but with sex this time. He explained the whole slowing down and taking it slow theory but she didn't want that. She realized that sex meant something different to him than it did to her. She understood that he had been with so many women that he thought sex would somehow make their love less if they hurried. Yep, she got all that, but she wanted to feel his hands on her bare skin again, wanted to know what all those other women felt when he was inside them. She wanted him to make love to her. She tried to explain the difference between making love and having sex and he seemed to get it but wouldn't budge. He wanted to wait and she was teetering on the edge of full blown sexual frustration.

She shivered as she undressed, remembering his hands on her body, his hot mouth on her skin. The way he touched her last night, the feel of his tongue and teeth between her thighs, it was perfect. More than perfect. Mind-blowing. She could hardly believe that after that he was able to keep himself from making love to her.

She wasn't sure how much this bet thing was going to push him toward her or away. She could only hope it was toward, as in closer, much, much closer. First things first, she thought as she pulled her hair up and looked in the mirror. Her weapon was in place and it nothing to do with sparring. She had chosen a skimpy sports bra and little shorts to wear for their workout. You know, cause it was important to be in clothes that didn't hinder you...from showing your boyfriend as much skin as possible.

"I thought you were putting on clothes," Angel gulped, suddenly feeling the need for a drink. Angel wasn't the only guy in the room who suddenly needed looser pants.

"What?" she asked, looking down in feigned confusion, "Do I look bad?"

"No," he said, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the basement door where Gunn had an impressive gym area for his employees, "'Bad' is not the word I'd choose."

"What word would you choose?" she asked playfully as he shut the door behind them and thought about locking it. Unfortunately there was no lock to keep the guys out. He briefly thought about finding a chair to prop against the door to keep those assholes from the sudden need to work out he was sure they were having. He knew within minutes they all would be down there pretending to get in shape just so they could see her cavort around in that minuscule outfit. It was obscene and he wished for a window. There wasn't enough air down there.

"Naked," he choked, eyeing her body without shame.

"Angel," she said, waving off his comment, "Naked is when you don't have clothes on."

"You don't," he said, shucking his shirt and standing before her in black sweat pants. His muscular chest rippled before her as he made his way to the sparring area. She had to wonder if he was trying to help the situation or not when he looked so gorgeous there, bare chested and jealous. She laughed at his comments and they playfully moved around on the large blue mat on the floor for a few moments, dodging small kicks and swings, shifting into focus.

Angel had been impressed from the first lesson on her ability to learn so quickly. Her memory for intricate steps, punches, kicks and holds was fascinating. It took her half the time it had taken him to learn and for such a small person, there was a lot of power behind her movements. She knew her center of gravity and was able to focus all her strength into what she was attacking. In fact, there were a couple of times that he had to gasp in pain as she struck him.

Completely into each other, neither noticed about half the guys, including Spike and Gunn, making their way into the workout area. They washed with unabashed stares as she dodged his swings, using her smaller size to her advantage as she shifted out the way. Surprising Angel and the rest of the room, her body twisted into flight as her small leg flew up and contacted with his jaw, sending him to the mat, fast and hard.

"GOD Damn!" Gunn said as Angel's bulky frame crashed to the floor. Buffy rushed over and knelt at his side as he sat up and shook off the daze.

"I'm sorry!" Buffy said, rubbing his hand which was currently cupping the footprint on his face, "I didn't mean to...I mean, I didn't think...Oh God, Angel, are you okay?"

"Yeah," he said, smiling broadly as he pulled himself back to his feet.

"What? Why are you smiling like that?"

"Because Buffy," he said, "You took me down and hard, baby. I'm glad you can do that. I'm not sure where that came from, but I'm glad. Makes me feel like you're safer."

"I think she should spar with someone else," Gunn said, stepping forward. Angel gave him a deadly glare as he stepped onto the mat in challenge of the pretty blonde, "Don't look at me like that, Angel. If she only fights with you then she won't be used to other techniques and different movements, you know that."

"I don't know if that's a good idea," Angel said, shaking his head. What if something happened? Could he trust his friend to not hurt the woman he loved? He knew he could but still...

"Don't worry, Angel," Buffy said, placing a small hand on his chest and gently pushing him off of the mat, "I won't hurt your friend."

"Feisty," Gunn said with a grin, "I like that in a woman."

"Gunn," Angel growled from the sidelines in warning.

"Don't worry," Gunn said, circling her and moving into position, "I promise I'll be careful."

"If you hurt her..." Angel said, evenly and seriously.

"Angel!" Buffy admonished, stopping to turn and look at him. When she did, Gunn rushed forward, charging her. Angel's eyes flew open and he opened his mouth to warn her, but she heard him coming. She turned and sidestepped, parrying his blow with the expertise of a woman who had studied martial arts for years, not weeks. Gunn shifted back, recovering quickly and attacked again, not giving her much chance to gloat over the success of the move. The more she succeeded, the more he added strength and speed to his actions, seeing her as a real opponent.

Angel tensed on the sidelines, waiting for a moment when he would need to step in. Buffy swung and missed, countering with a kick that was blocked. Gunn grasped for the leg but she snapped back as Angel taught her, too quick for him. Turning, she moved under his swing and ducked, leaving a hard jab in his side, which surprised him and the onlookers. The girl was good.

Gunn turned and swung, expecting her not to be there, since every other time she wasn't. This time she was and his fist met her solar plexus, sending her flying back on the mat, gasping for the air that had been knocked out of her. Gunn dropped to his knees beside her as Angel roared, hurrying in from the sidelines. He punched his friend hard in the mouth forcing him on his back on the mat not far from where Buffy was trying to sit up.

"I'm fine," she gasped, "It wasn't his fault, I just lost my footing for a second."

"I'm sorry," Gunn said, "I wasn't trying to hurt her. Damn man, I think you almost broke my jaw."

"You deserved it," Angel said.

"You okay, Buff?" Gunn asked, looking over the girl who had suddenly turned pale.

"Yeah," she moaned, "But I think I'm done for the day."


cause then you'll know the vertigo is gonna grow
cause it's so dangerous you'll have to sign a waiver

"Are you sure you're okay?" Angel asked for the thousandth time as he walked her out to her car.

"Course," she said, rubbing her chest and wincing slightly, "Think I'm gonna have a bruise though."

"Gunn's gonna have couple more," Angel said. She reached up and touched his face, looking into his eyes as she shook her head.

"Don't," she said, "He's your friend and he wasn't trying to hurt me. You know that. Just calm down."

"Are you going to bed?" he asked, trying to sound casual, leaning against her car.

"Oh, I almost forgot," she said as she leaned in through the window and dug through her bag. Producing a shiny new silver key, she handed it to him, "Here."

"What's this?"

"It's a key to my apartment," she said with a smile, "I thought after you go have drinks with the guys you might want to stop by."

"If I don't drink too much I might. Thanks," he said, slipping the key onto his ring and then rubbing it between his fingers. He couldn't believe she had just given him a key to her apartment. He had never given anyone a key to his apartment. Well, no one except for Darla, but that was a long, long time ago. Seemed like that was another lifetime.

Angel watched, still smiling, as she pulled from the curb. He stood there as she drove off, seeing that Tommy was professionally discreet as he followed her, even though she was well aware she was being followed. When she reached the stoplight ahead, he furrowed his brow as she didn't stop at the stoplight. She rolled through without slowing down and he was already running toward the intersection as another car struck hers. Even over the sound of twisting metal and breaking glass, he could hear her screaming.


Part Nine "Flashing Lives"


pinch me, pinch me
cause i'm still asleep
please god, tell me that i'm still asleep

They say when you drown your life flashes before your eyes. Well, when Buffy's little car was struck in the center of that busy intersection, her life flashed before Angel's eyes. The parts he saw as he ran down the street, willing his legs to move faster, were the things he hadn't been able to see yet. It's funny, the things you think of in times of crisis. Angel wondered what mundane idiosyncracies he had yet to find out about his would be lover.

Later, he would wonder what those specific things were like what she bought when she went to the grocery store, what essential item she never left without. He wondered how she took her coffee, if she liked sugar in her tea, if she drank regular soda or diet. He puzzled why he never checked the stack of CDs that sat next to her stereo, indicating they were listened to most recently. He had been so busy trying not to love her that he hadn't been paying attention to the little things.

It's amazing, the amount of time that's left to thoughts, the ones that creep in between the panic and the disorder. It seemed like it happened quickly to onlookers, but Angel thought it was painfully prolonged. His feet moved so slowly, he was certain the asphalt was sinking beneath him. When he made it to the cars, the man who hit her was out of his vehicle, peering in the shattered driver's side window. Angel butted through the gathering crowd and shoved the man aside. He looked in, resting a hand on the crushed in door, seeing immediately what the man had been staring at. Her head was resting against the steering wheel and there was blood trickling in a stream down the side of her face, mixing with her blonde hair. He pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911 as he jerked on the door handle.

He gave the operator a stream of words he hoped told her where he was and what was wrong as he tried to pry the door open. He slipped the phone in his pocket as he ran around to the other side to get in through the passenger side but Buffy had done exactly what he told her to do and locked all the doors. He banged his fists on the window, screaming. He punched in at the thick glass, feeling it crack, but it wasn't breaking nearly fast enough.

"Buffy!" he shouted, feeling a dull ache begin in his hands as he pounded relentlessly, "Please baby, please, wake up!"

She laid there, her pretty eyes closed to the world as her blood dripped over her eyelids, splashing on the steering wheel and rolling off onto her legs. Angel whirled around and saw the man standing there. He was in his late 50s, kind looking and a bit shaken by the incident. He couldn't tear his eyes from the car he had hit or from the lovely young girl who was not waking up. Angel stalked back around the car and pointed to the man's car.

"Open your trunk," Angel commanded.

"E-excuse me?" he asked.

"I need a crowbar or something to get this car open," Angel explained, "Now open your fucking trunk."

The man nodded, still confused and fished the keys from his pocket. He pressed a button and his trunk opened with a little thunk. Angel bent in, ripped away the covering on the bottom of the trunk and tossed his spare tire aside to get to the jack. He pulled out the metal bar attached and went back to Buffy's car. He heard sirens wailing in the background as he began striking the bar against her back passenger window. Paramedics screeched to the scene as the window broke enough for him to fit his arm through. He slammed little pieces of broken glass out of the way with the bar and reached in to release the locks. He barely noticed his knuckles bleeding from pounding on her windows before or the long, red angry lines down the arm that plunged recklessly through the broken glass.

As he got the door opened, the paramedics pushed him aside and went to work to get her out of the car. When they loaded her into the ambulance, Angel hopped in with her, leaving the police officers and Gunn to exchange information.


then something bends, and then it breaks
your worst mistake
accepting enemies on bended knees;
a litany of tragedies,
you're vexed, it seems you're hexed

When he walked into his flat, she was standing at his window, looking out over the night sky. The moonlight outlined her body, shimmering there in her white silk dress. He groaned in pain at the sight of her, while still ingrained in his mind was the memory of Buffy broken, silent and bloody being loaded into the ambulance. He crossed the room, knowing she heard him come in, knowing she would have known anyway.

"Your hands are red," she whispered, her lips nearly touching the glass pane. He wrapped his arms around her and nuzzled into her long dark hair.

"I know, pet," he answered, his voice muffled, "God, I know they are."

"And you've been with her," she said, tilting her head to the side to rest against his, "You've been unfaithful again."

"I'll stop seeing her and I'll help Buffy. I'll make it right, love," he choked as she turned around to face him, "Is it too late?"

"Do you love me, Spike?"

"I love you, Drusilla," he answered, gripping her narrow hips with trembling hands, "I didn't think I could love anyone, but I love you."

"She's bleeding," she said, brushing her lips against his cheek, "She can't stop it. My poor Angel can't find the wound, but you know."

"Yes," he said, "I know."

"It's time," she moaned as he pulled her into his arms. He slid his hands down her thighs and drifted along the smooth surface of her dress until he reached the bottom, draping the worn carpet on his floor. He lifted the hem, gathering the yards of fabric in his hands as her pale satin skin appeared. One more night in her arms, he told himself and then he would make it right again.


i guess it's over now
because I've never seen so much, never seen so much, so much blood
in all the confusion, there's something so serene
I'm just a posthumous part of the scene
now I'm floating above looking in

Angel went through the motions, numbly answering the questions of the nurses. They wouldn't let him in her room. Family only, they said. Critical condition, they said. He dialed the phone, called Spike, got Anya's number. Anya said she would handle everything, call everyone. Angel fumbled his thanks and leaned against the cool metal of the pay phone.

Family only, they said. Family? He didn't even know what that word meant. Orphaned at birth, growing up in the streets, he had no idea what family was. That was probably why he never thought to even ask Buffy about hers. Did she have a family? Mother, Father, brothers, sisters? He thought about lying to them, claiming to be some relative but he couldn't make his mind form the lies. He lowered his large frame into a chair and sat there with his head in his hands, staring at that horrible white tiled floor, wishing it would tell him everything would be okay.

"Angel!" He looked up and saw the redhead, Willow, rushing toward him, closely followed by Xander, Cordelia and Doyle.

"Is she okay?" Willow asked, sitting in the chair next to him. Doyle sat down on his other side, saying nothing but offering his presence as comfort.

"I don't know," he answered, "There was so much blood and she wouldn't wake up. God, I screamed and she wouldn't wake up..."

"What happened to your hands?" Willow asked, touching his bloody hands. He vaguely remembered a nurse or someone mentioning it, but he walked away. He didn't want a bandage, he wanted to see Buffy.

"The door wouldn't open. I told her to lock her doors. Always lock them," he mumbled, feeling a sob rising up in his chest, "I tried to break in the window. She was trapped in there..."

"But you got her out," Willow said, holding his hand loosely in hers. She couldn't believe what she was seeing. The guy she had seen was always full of confidence and larger than life. Now he was broken and shaking. She was certain he was going to cry any second. She wasn't sure what she expected his reaction to be, but this wasn't it.


"Giles!" Willow shouted, running over to jump in the older gentleman's arms. Cordelia and Xander gathered around him, as Angel watched.

"Any news?" he asked, pulling off his glasses and wiping them thoroughly before putting them back on.

"Critical condition," Angel said, rising to his feet, "They said only family could see her. She hasn't woken up yet."

"Rupert Giles," Giles said, extending his hand, "I'm Buffy's uncle. Since her father doesn't have much regard for his daughter, I am her only family."

"I'm Angel," he said, reaching out to shake Giles' hand but pulled away when they both noticed his bloody hand at the same time.

"So you're the chap," Giles said with a kind look in his eyes, "She told me about you."

"She did?"

"She doesn't talk about much else these days," Giles said, with a slight chuckle, pretending not to be nearly as worried as he was, "I'll go check on her."

"She'll be alright," Doyle said, standing at his side, as they watched Giles walk toward the nurses' station.

"She has to be," Angel answered grimly.

"Listen buddy," Doyle said, clapping a hand on his shoulder, "Gunn's on his way. Said something about having some news."

"About the accident?" Angel asked hopefully.

"That was no accident," Doyle replied, "Someone clipped her break line while you all were inside the hotel."


the wailing voice

Drusilla demanded that Spike take her with him. She wanted to be a part of it. She wanted him to know that without her there was no "right." He was beginning to understand. The first night he met her, at Angel's art show in her gallery, he knew Angel had originally planned to take her home. Spike didn't take her home that night either. He went home with Anya, but the next day he was back at her gallery.

He had never fallen in love before. He didn't believe in the saps that quoted poetry and went on about eternity together. He didn't love Drusilla. Not right away. Or that's what he told himself. She was perfectly insane, partially clairvoyant and rolling in wealth. He told himself he wanted her money, that he was using her and just to prove it to himself, he shagged Anya and kept shagging her. He kept reminding himself that she was just another girl to rut, that she was mad, but in the end it didn't matter. He lost himself in her arms. In bed that night, she told him what he had to do to make things right. What his conscience had already made clear, his lover demanded.

"Is she dead?" Darla asked, looking up from the fireplace with a glass of white wine in her hand.

"No," Spike said, sitting on the couch with Drusilla closely at his side.

"Guess we'll have to try again," she mused, "Wine?"

"No," Spike said, shaking his head and hardening his eyes as he looked at the beautiful blonde.

"Don't tell me you're getting a conscience now, Spike," she said, "It's not like you did anything but keep your mouth shut. Now all you have to do is continue to keep your mouth shut and everything will be fine."

"But I didn't keep my mouth shut," Spike said, wrapping an arm around Drusilla with a smile as the door busted open.

"You fucking bitch!"

"What's the problem?" Darla said, eyeing Riley Finn gravely.

"You tried to kill her," he said, moving across the room until he was standing in front her chair, fuming with anger.

"I said I would separate her and Angel," Darla said, taking a sip of her wine, "I'm doing exactly what I said I'd do."

Riley grabbed the glass from her hand and tossed it aside. Reaching down, he wrapped his hand around her delicate throat

"The deal was for me to get Buffy back and for you to get Angel! When you had that fake attack set up, you promised me that nothing like that would ever happen again. You told me you wouldn't try to hurt her again. I didn't lose her just to have her die!" he said, squeezing just slightly. He felt a hard jab and saw a small hand gun pressing into his stomach. He released her and stepped away slowly, shaking in fury.

"The plan was for me to get Angel," she said, standing from her chair, "You added the Buffy part. I don't care what happens to the bitch, as long as she's not with Angel. And for the record, I never said I wouldn't hurt her. I said I wouldn't have her attacked again. I didn't."

Darla turned to smiled coldly at Spike, "I suppose you shared the news with Riley?"

"Yeah," he said, standing up and reaching out a hand to Drusilla, "I think my work here is done."

"I don't think so," she said, pointing the weapon not at Spike but at Drusilla, "There are no happy ever afters in this story, William."


when you walked in, i said with a grin, that we were just talking about you

"You know what I find amazing," Detective Kate Lockley said, as she sauntered up to Angel in the hospital waiting room.

"I bet you're going to tell me," Angel said, standing up again slowly. Giles had just returned to tell him that the doctors were still performing tests and they were all sitting there waiting for something to happen.

"That one person can have three different last names," she said, looking down at her notepad, "And then there's the part where the same girl is hurt violently twice within a month's time, shortly after making your acquaintance and you just happen to be there both times. Don't you think that's odd?"

"I would never hurt her," Angel said, "Why do you think I hired investigators to watch over her and protect her?"

"That's the part I don't get," she said, putting a hand on her hip, "Care to explain?"

"My friend, Charles Gunn, is an private investigator," Angel began, "I've hired him to-"

"Excuse me," Giles said, stepping in and interrupting Angel, "My apologies, Angel. Detective Lockley, please allow me to introduce myself. I'm Rupert Giles."

"Giles," she answered snidely, "If you think your money will influence me-"

"Let's not get off on the wrong foot," he said calmly, "I spoke with your chief earlier this evening. I have conducted my own investigation on the subject of my niece. I believe if you speak with him, he will inform you that Angel is not to be taken into custody today."

"You have got to be shitting me!" she raged, "He is the prime suspect of this case!"

"I understand that," Giles said, nodding solemnly, "However, my niece is currently unconscious and needs the man she loves by her side. I have my own suspicions about his character, but I will not have him taken in for questioning until she regains consciousness. Once she is lucent, we will be happy to cooperate."

"I'm speaking to the chief and then I will be back to take him in," she said, before turning on her heel and stormed from the room.

"Mr. Giles," Angel said, "I appreciate what you just did, but I need you to believe me. I would never do anything to hurt Buffy."

"I'm fairly certain you wouldn't," Giles said, "But let's focus on Buffy for now."


if you scream in your sleep or collapse in a heap
and spontaneously weep, then you know you're in deep

When Angel finally was able to get into her room, with the help of Giles, he looked down at her fragile body, lying against those crisp hospital sheets. Tubes and wires trailed from her to several machines that monitored her. Losing the courage he had held onto so tightly, he dragged a chair to the side of her bed and then sat down in it slowly. He picked up her limp hand and kissed it before pressing it to his face.

Her skin was warm and she was breathing. The doctors had spoken to Mr. Giles in lowered tones but Angel had caught pieces of it. They thought she would regain consciousness soon. Brain damage wasn't likely but she probably had a concussion. The force of the wreck had been jarring enough for the seat belt to break three of her ribs but fortunately, she hadn't punctured her lung.

Angel held her hand in his and did what the doctors told him, he began to talk to her. He started with the important things, how much he loved her and needed her. After a while, he began to tell her about his childhood and how he grew up, all the things he never told anyone if he could avoid it. As he waited for her to wake up, he told her funny little stories about him and Spike shoplifting candy bars at the corner store, about the woman who owned one of orphanages who called him her angel, about the boat they had found that tiny child in all those years ago.