Part Sixteen "Sickness"

DISCLAIMER: Nope. I still don't own them.
SPOILERS: This takes place two years after "Drawings of You." Completely AU. Everyone's just plain ‘ole human.

PAIRING: B/A, of course!

DISTRIBUTION: My site (, Starrkitty's Adult B/A Archive (, Forever, Always and Then Some (Tara's site), Duck's Babble Board and my yahoogroups. Anyone else who houses my fic is welcome to it. All others, please let me know and then, of course you can have it.

AN: If you would like to see any of the back chapters of this fic, they can all be found at the sites above. Thanks!

FEEDBACK: Thank you to everyone who has urged me to continue with this fic. I'm really glad you want more of it. Please let me know what you think of this latest part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from the Cure.



the first short retch leaves me gasping for more
and i stagger over screaming on my way to the floor
and i'm back on my back

Buffy woke up in the morning and barely opened her eyes before she lurched off the bed and ran to the bathroom. She wretched violently out what meager food she had eaten the day before and then heaved at what felt like her small intestines. She laid back on the floor and rested her face on the cool tile, breathing heavily.

"Angel?" she choked out after a long time and was met with no answer. Shakily, she pulled herself up and looked at her reflection. Her complexion was a shade of pale green and she felt her stomach gurgling insistently. She washed her face and applied toothpaste to her toothbrush, before going out to look for her missing lover. She padded through the apartment, brushing her teeth, stopping several times to keep from running back to the bathroom.

In the kitchen, she found a little note he left on the counter for her, torn from his sketchbook. It was a charcoal drawing of her lying in bed, presumably created sometime in the night. At the bottom of the page, written in his neat handwriting he had explained that he was meeting Lindsey at the house to work the plans once more and that he would call later.

Sighing at his sweetness and grumbling lightly that he wasn't there to take care of her, she finished brushing her teeth and stepped into the shower. As she began pouring shampoo into her cupped hand, she fell to her knees on the shower floor, once again overtaken by waves of nausea. She regretted having nothing in her stomach because the dry heaving was so painful.

It took three times longer than usual to get ready, but she was bound and determined to go to the gallery. She had been away for far too long and no little flu bug, no matter how violent it was, was going to keep her from making sure everything was in order.


your delicious dreaming
slack jawed
green eyed
rub my nose in

"I want to knock out that wall, Linds," Angel said, whistling a little tune as he spoke, pointing at the wall between the dining room and another room he and Buffy were still trying to figure out the purpose of. It wasn't even a room really. It was more of a closet with windows.

Angel really didn't care about the wall. He didn't care about the house, other than the memories of his kindred spirit adopted grandmother and the fact that Buffy was excited about it. All he could think about was making love to her all night long and waking up with her in his arms.

He had stayed up long after she fell asleep the night before and just held her, looking at her. She was exquisite, the way she snuggled into him and held on, making sure he couldn't get away in the night. The idea of doing this same thing for the rest of his life was the most appealing thought he ever had. He loved the idea of waking up fifty years from now and seeing her silver hair against his chest.

"Are you sure you wanna do that, Angel?" Lindsey said, peering to see if the action made sense. The little room seemed like a great little reading nook for Buffy. He could see plants in the windows and a big, comfy chair for the petite blonde to curl up with tea.

"Yeah," Angel said, looking at the little room again to confirm that he still didn't like it, "Buffy and I already talked about it. This room is a waste of space. We could add to the dining room and Buffy likes the idea of more windows in here. Too dim."

Angel had been smiling all morning. It was beginning to annoy the hell out of Lindsey. Sure, he had slept with Buffy's incredibly sexy and honestly, phenomenal sister the night before but that didn't mean he was in any way over Buffy Summers. If Angel didn't wipe that gluttonous grin off his face, Lindsey wasn't sure he was going to be able to stay there for the rest of the day. The man was way too happy for a normal, sane person and since Angel wasn't a happy, smiley person as a general rule, his big smile came off as alarmingly maniacal. It wasn't right.

"Well, if you want to do that then-" Lindsey began but cut off his sentence as Angel's cell phone began to ring.

"Hello?" Angel said, recognizing the number displayed on the face of his phone to be Buffy's Gallery.

"Angel, it's Anya," she said in her most serious voice, "You have to come down here right now."

"Why?" Angel said, falling headlong into a full blown panic before he even waited for her to finish. Buffy had only just come back to him and he couldn't imagine something happening to her now, "What's wrong?"

"Buffy has been throwing up all morning," Anya explained, "She's making horrible noises and it's scaring off customers. Paying ones. We're losing money, Angel."

"Throwing up?" Angel echoed as he hurried through the house and through the front door, "Did she say what she thought was wrong?"

"She says she has the flu, but I don't think that's what it is," Anya answered in annoyance, "She's scaring the money away. Are you coming?"

"On my way," he said, hanging up on her as he ran out the front door, leaving Lindsey there alone with no explanation. Lindsey gathered from the one sided conversation that something was terribly wrong and felt an icy fear run through him. What if the antidote didn't completely heal her from the drugs?


gasping for air
i'm gasping for air
i'm gasping for love
i'm gasping for air

Angel found Buffy in the small women's bathroom in the back of the gallery lying on the floor. Her hair was damp and she was groaning loudly in pain. Her arms were clutched around her stomach as she tried to curl more tightly in the fetal position.

"Oh, love," he whispered sadly, falling to his knees and gathering her into his arms. Her teeth were chattering in her mouth and she sobbed openly when her head fell against his broad chest.

"Angel," she stammered. She began wretching again and tried to pull away from him, but he held her tightly and stood. He was sure she probably had nothing left in her stomach to lose, but even if she did, he could care less if she threw up all over him. All he wanted was to get her to the hospital as soon as possible.

"It's okay, baby," he murmured, placing a soft kiss on her sweaty brow, "I'm going to take care of you."

"Can't stop h-heaving," she breathed, lying limply in his arms as he carried her out, "Won't stop."

"You should have called me," he said, holding her more tightly against him as if just the pressure of his embrace would make the difference. It was as if he thought if he loved her just enough, she would be okay. But her whole body was shaking violently and her tiny fingers were digging painfully into his flesh every time a wave of nausea came over her.

"Sorry," she sobbed, crying harder with every word, "Thought it would go away. I'm sorry, Angel. I'm sorry."

"It's okay, love," he said, tucking her into the passenger seat and clicking on her seatbelt before running around the car and jumping inside. He drove like a lunatic to the hospital, weaving in and out of lanes of lunchtime traffic, which why he was disturbed when she removed her seatbelt and crawled across to lay her head in his lap. Curling up in a ball, she held onto him with dear life.


blood thick swimming around your feet
as you're choking
choking on the fleshy words

Angel stormed into the emergency room with Buffy in his arms as if he were going to war. He snapped at the nurse behind the window when she asked him to fill out forms and received no quicker response for his actions. He demanded that she admit Buffy immediately and the nurse simply repeated her request for the proper information without blinking an eye at his rudeness or apparent panic.

"You're going to have to sit down and wait," the nurse finally demanded, growing angry at the young man's audacity. It didn't take a genius to see that the girl was a drug addict going through withdrawals. Obviously, he had no idea that his lover was a user. The snide part of herself wanted to tell him to take her home and let her sweat it out. She stared at him, returning his angry glare and waited for his response.

"Page Dena Franklin," Angel growled, growing more furious with every whimper his lover made.

"I'm not sure she's on duty today," the nurse answered and then seeing his determination, obliged his order.

Angel sat down in the nearest seat and navigated around Buffy's trembling form to fill out the necessary paperwork. Finally, with her chattering teeth and moans of pain, he threw the clipboard across the room and watched it clang against the opposing wall and fall with a clatter to the sterile floor.

He stood, gathering Buffy carefully and kissed the top of her head before striding purposefully back over to the window. He was prepared to blast the nurse who was currently thankful for the window guarding her from the young man, when Dena walked into the ER.

"Angel," Dena said, looking over the scene before her. She always thought Angel sexy and desirable but something about his love for that little blonde made him even more attractive. He was in a state of total despair as he approached - or rather stormed toward - her.

"I need someone to see her right now," Angel snarled, casting a dark look at the ER nurse, "She's been vomiting for hours. She's fucking dying here, Dena!"

"Okay, Angel," she said, daring to touch his bicep gently, "But you're going to have to calm down or they'll kick you out of here, alright? Follow me."

"I'd like to see them get me out," he threatened, holding his entire life tightly against his chest.

"It's going to be okay," she said, nodding her thanks and apologies to her co-worker before leading him into a room. Angel laid her on the bed that Dena indicated and grasped Buffy's hand tightly before turning back to look at Dena, "Please, get someone in here. If she dies..."

"Just a moment," Dena replied calmly and hurried out the room. She searched for Dr. Thomas, who as her current lover would see them more quickly as a personal favor. As she lead him toward the room, she shuddered, still caught in that tortured look in her ex-lover's eyes. Angel had never showed more emotion than lust when he was with her and she knew that she had just seen tears in his eyes again for Buffy Summers.

When she looked over the blonde, all she saw was an attractive, innocent, slip of a girl but obviously there was more to her than met the eye. She must have something special to make Angel love her that much. The look in his eyes was dangerously insane. It was a glare that told her that he would gladly give his own life or take another's just to save her.


not broken in pieces

"Mr.?" Dr. Thomas said to Angel after his examination of Buffy, searching for a last name. Angel, however, hated using any of his inadequate surnames and avoided them at all costs.

"Angel," he answered, "What's wrong with her?"

"Your fiancé appears to be going through drug withdrawal," he said gently, looking over the young man's face for signs of surprise. What he found was anger and fury. Taking a deep breath, he continued, "According to her physical health, it doesn't seem to be something she has been addicted to for very long. Although we sometimes use medication to aid patients in healing from this sort of abuse, I'd like to recommend against that in her case. She will simply need rest in a safe, non-threatening environment until the withdrawal passes."

"What should I do?" Angel asked, nearly begging the doctor for some sort of quick fix.

"You can expect a range of reactions," he continued smoothly, "Nausea, cold sweats, tremors, restlessness. I have a list of signs to watch out for. If she begins displaying showing any of the signs listed, please bring her back in immediately. We do offer counseling if she would like that as well."

"I'll ask her," Angel mumbled, "Isn't there anything I do except wait?"

"Just make sure she's comfortable," Dr. Thomas answered, "And keep her away from all medications. Staying away from all drugs and alcohol is advisable as they will interfere with the healing process."

"Thank you," he said, heading back to her bedside, blinded by the visions of Billy Fordham in a wide variety of different chalk outlines.

"Oh and...Mr. Angel?"

"Yes?" Angel asked, turning back around.

"In a case as sensitive as hers, I would suggest being extra careful in observing her."

"What do you mean," Angel asked, "as ‘sensitive' as hers?"

"She's pregnant," Thomas said, "She didn't indicate surprise when I told her, so I assumed you already knew. I'm apologize."

"She's pregnant?" Angel said, his mouth gaping open like a fish. He felt like his stomach was flopping around inside him like a fish out of water as it was.


this girl has got a smile
that can make me cry
this girl just burns with love
she's burning, burning deep with love

If Angel didn't need to hold Buffy through the night, he might have gone out to find and kill Ford for this. The aftereffects of this drug were more violent with every second and Buffy kept crying. God, she kept sobbing and whimpering in pain. Every mewled sound that came from her made his need for blood shed even greater. He truly hoped that Ford was smart enough to skip town while he was ahead because if he ever saw him again...

"Angel," Buffy cried out while he was in the kitchen trying to make tea. It seemed a chore to be away from her long enough to put water in the kettle and Buffy must have thought the same thing because seconds after he left she was already calling for his return.

"One second, love," he called back, tossing the kettle onto the stove, turning on the burner and jogging back to her.

She reached out weakly to him as he climbed back in bed next to her. She was still shaking as she clutched him, not wanting to let him go.

"I was just making tea," he said, holding her against him.

"All I want is you," she whispered, "Just stay with me, okay?"

"Of course," he said, sliding down in bed. He wasn't surprised at all when she climbed on top of him and blanketed his body with her own. Shivering against him and trying to bury herself inside him, she nestled against his chest. He kissed the top of her head again and again, thinking about the latest news. Finally, he looked down at her, knowing she was far from sleeping and whispered, "How long have you known you're pregnant, baby?"

"Didn't know for sure," she said, her voice muffled against his shirt, "But when I got my memory back, I realized that I hadn't been taking my Pills. Was gonna take a test this week."

"Did he...did Dr. Thomas say anything about...problems from the drugs?" he asked, feeling as if he tongue was growing larger inside his dry mouth.

"He said right now he didn't see any complications," she whispered. He couldn't hear her tears in her voice, but he felt them seeping through his shirt, "But we might not know until later."


i really should have known by the cut of your smile
that the answer would be simple

"We've initiated you," Faith sneered at Billy Fordham. She smiled wickedly at the form casually leaning against the wall in the corner and turned back to Ford, who was tied to a chair in the center of the room, "But there are still four more phases of torture. We're through with blunt. Do you have a request?"

"Let me go," he begged, "I never wanted to hurt Buffy, I swear."

"A little late for that, don't you think, mate?" Spike said, stepping into the light and revealing himself. Ford looked over the thin, bleached blonde man with a twinge of fear. He shared the same dark, wicked glee as Faith and there was something about the way they communicated that told him they knew each other well.

"Besides, ‘let me go,'" Faith said, "Is not one of the five torture techniques. Sorry, buddy. You're just gonna have to pick another one."

"I love watching you work," Spike said, cocking his head to the side to take in Faith's leather clad, round ass as she bent over Ford.

"We could be having a lot more fun if you weren't monogamous, these days, Spikey," Faith complained, fingering her favorite knife as she looked over him.

"Ah, well, love," he said, almost regretting it himself, "you know I would love to shag you until the sun rises, but my chit always knows when I've cheated on her."

"So that's what keeps you honest?" Faith mused as she made the first light line on Ford's arm, "Because you can't hide it? Should've known."

"No," Spike answered, serious for a moment, "What keeps me honest is that I don't want to lose her. Ever."

"Well," Faith said, speaking louder over Ford's moan of pain, "This is all so new and exciting."

"Shut up," Spike growled and glared into her laughter. One thing about Faith Summers - she loved torture a bit too much.


i was gray, damp and sore
the bedroom was an engine
and my heartbeat was erratic

Angel had been gone well over an hour and Buffy thought she might die every other minute he was gone. He had promised he'd be right back since he was just running down to the store a couple of miles away, but he hadn't come back and she was starting to worry. In the days that had passed, neither one of them had left the house and even though she was starting to feel a little better, she still couldn't stand the idea of being without him.

She finally called his cell phone and hung up when he didn't answer, dialing again almost immediately. She hated that she was turning into this clingy little freak who couldn't be without her lover for more than an hour, but this was different. She was sick, shaky and she needed him more now than ever.

When two hours passed, her worry twisted into a new creature. She threw on jeans and a tennis shoes, not caring that she was swathed in one of his too big shirts. When the elevator reached the ground floor, she dialed Gunn's number and left an urgent message on his answering machine. Repeating the process, she left a message on Faith's cell phone, Giles' home phone and even resorted to calling Spike. No one was answering.

She made her way into the small neighborhood grocery store and found the nearest employee, a young cashier. The girl had worked there for over a year and Buffy saw that she recognized her immediately.

"Do you remember my fiancé?" Buffy asked her quietly, "Tall, dark haired? He was supposed to come in here today."

"He hasn't been here today," the girl answered, knowing all too well who Angel was. Any female with the gift of sight knew who he was. She regretted that he hadn't shown up. Drooling over that sexy man would have seriously made her afternoon better.

"Are you sure?" Buffy asked urgently, "Could he have been here and you missed him?"

"I've been here without a break for about four hours," she said, taking in Buffy's sickly appearance. She looked like she was going to drop to the floor at any minute, "And I wouldn't have missed him. This is a small place. Ma'am, are you okay?"

"Yeah. Thanks," Buffy said and turned toward the door, dialing his number again. Something was seriously wrong. When his voice mail picked up again, Buffy hung up with tears of frustration pricking in her eyes. Finally, she dialed her sister again and left a second, more urgent message there. If anyone would know what to do, it was Faith.


Part Seventeen "Revealing"

FEEDBACK: Thank you to everyone who has urged me to continue with this fic. I'm really glad you want more of it. Please let me know what you think of this latest part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Cake.


AN: There have been several emails over the past couple of weeks that I could not reply to because there was no email address (from feedback gear at Tara's site) or because mailboxes were full. Just wanted to disclaim here that I tried to email you back and if I haven't, then there's a reason. *G* I really appreciate all the feedback, so please keep it coming because it keeps me going. I hope RL will cooperate so I can start writing faster again. Cheers, Tango


DEDICATION: For Serena. Happy Belated Birthday. Hope you like.


you think she's an open book
but you don't know which page to turn to, do you?
do you? do you?

Buffy trembled, curled up in Angel's big leather armchair, staring into a cup of tea that she poured into his Starry Night mug. The warm, honey colored liquid dribbled over the sides and on to her wrinkled jeans as she tried to think of what to do next. Her body was still trying to deal with the violent withdrawals from the drugs and now her lover had disappeared, which was so much worse than any tremor or wave of nausea.

He had been gone for six hours and thirty-three minutes. Most of that time, Buffy had spent trying to find him. When her trip to the grocery store had turned out to be fruitless, she had headed back to the apartment and called everyone she could think of. No one had seen him anywhere all.

After her third message to Faith's cell phone, Buffy was startled when the phone rang.

"B?" Faith said, speaking loudly over the sound of passing cars and rushing wind, "What the hell is the emergency?"

"Angel's missing," Buffy whimpered, trying to speak clearly over the lump in her throat and her own chattering teeth, "I can't find him anywhere."

"Maybe he stopped somewhere for a drink, B." Faith said calmly, while glancing over to the passenger seat at Spike.

"He didn't stop for a drink, Faith!" Buffy shouted, allowing her temporary dam to break and the tears to fall down her flushed cheeks, "Angel would never do that when I'm sick like this and you know it. He's missing. Something's happened."

Faith tried unsuccessfully to calm her panicked sister, before promising to come home soon and hanging up her cell phone. She tossed the phone down on the seat beside her and turned to look at Spike, who was just hanging up his own phone.

"Angel's missing," Faith said, gritting her teeth angrily and swinging the car into a reckless U-turn that nearly took out two other drivers.

"I gathered," Spike said, slipping his phone in his pocket, "She left messages for me too. Where the hell do you think you're going? Shouldn't you be headin' over to calm the chit?"

"No," Faith said, clenching her jaw in furious anger, "I'm going back to the warehouse. That little fucker knows something else he's not telling us. If he doesn't tell us what's happened to Angel, I'm going to introduce him to a whole new world of pain."

Screeching to halt, Faith swerved to the side of the road and looked at Spike, gesturing to the door, "Get out. Find your way to my sister. She needs someone with her. Guess you'll have to do."

"You're leaving me on the side of the bloody road? You could at least take me to a better location to find a ride, pet," he said, looking over the shady area around him. This wasn't exactly the best part of the city.

"Gimme a fucking break, Spikey," Faith said, pushing his shoulder roughly, "You're a trained assassin, for fuck's sake. I think you can get out of the bad part of town."

"I think you'll find you can get more volume if you speak from the diaphragm," Spike grumbled, glancing at the group of men sitting on a nearby stoop, "Obviously, you didn't take the discreet class in your training, love."

"Bite me," she said, flashing him a smile, "I'll keep my cell on. Call if there's news."

Spike stepped out and leaned in the window, looking over her warily for a second, "I know she's your sister, but you're taking this a bit more personally than I expected. Angel's my friend after all. I should be the brassed off one here."

"Then get to it," she snapped, stepping on the gas. Spike stepped back quickly to avoid losing an arm as the crazy brunette squealed around the corner. Chuckling, he flipped on his phone and called a cab. Strolling the nearest corner, he leaned against the wall of a liquor store while he waited for his ride and dialed his phone again.

"Spike," Drusilla said into the phone before he could say hello.

"Dru," he said, smiling at her voice. He loved the breathless tone of her voice and the fact that she always knew who was calling. It used to unnerve him, as did the fact that he couldn't keep anything from her. Now he was glad he finally had one person who knew everything about him, that he couldn't hide from. Dru knew it all and still loved him.

"Your hands are red again," she whispered, "You promised me you'd stop."

"I was just watching, love," he said, and then lowered his voice, "I need to know what you see. What's happened to Angel?"

"Bound," she whispered back, "Bound to the angry woman. She's the one to fear. She makes Darla's memory whither, Spike. Have to stop her."

"I will, love, I will," he promised reassuringly before flipping his phone off and resting his head against the rough brick. He knew who the woman in question was. Jhiera was the only person who could have done this. Something in her eyes always made him nervous, even when she was with Angel. People thought Drusilla was crazy, but that bint was teetering closer to the edge than his lover ever would.


you turn the screws
it's what you choose to do
you think that i must turn them too

Angel winced in pain even before he opened his eyes. He shifted in the chair he quickly realized he was bound to and opened his eyes in alarm. His vision was slightly blurred and it took a second to focus on his surroundings as the memories of what had happened flooded into his mind. He remembered leaving Buffy to pick up some odds and ends at the grocery store and at the spur of the moment, decided to pick up a bouquet of flowers first.

He remembered hand picking the yellow and white daisies for the arrangement and insisting that the flowers weren't wrapped but tied with a piece of ribbon. He liked the way it made them look like they were chosen from a field someplace rather than a refrigerated case. Having finished the surprise, he waltzed down the street to the little store on the corner that was highly overpriced, but convenient. Buffy loved that it was owned by a small family, rather than a large chain and insisted that they at least buy some of their groceries there.

As he was a few blocks from the store, he distinctly heard his lover's voice in a panicked scream coming from nearby. He ran down an alleyway and followed the sobbing to a warehouse. He barreled inside, desperate to find her. A solid fist contacted with his jaw and he remembered stumbling back in surprise, before regaining his bearings. There were only two of them, but they were more than prepared for his attack. He fought, swung and ducked, kicking out and landing several hard blows before a blunt object met with the back of his head. As the darkness swallowed him, he could still hear her voice in the background, begging him to save her.

Now, he found that he was alone in the room and securely tied to a wooden chair. He pulled at his bindings and found he wasn't going to easily break free. As he began shifting in his seat, trying to break the wood, rather than fray the ropes, he heard voices rising from a room nearby.

"I told you to knock him out and tie him up, not beat the hell out of him!" a female voice shouted angrily. Angel tensed at the familiar voice and immediately recognized it as Jhiera's. Of course, he thought bitterly.

"You didn't tell us he knew martial arts," a male voice protested.

"Yeah, fucker nearly dislocated my shoulder," another added.

"JHIERA!" Angel shouted and then closed his eyes in pain from his own voice. He didn't see Buffy or hear her and the range of possibilities was sending him into a blind panic. He jumped up and slammed the chair back on the floor, managing to hurt himself more than the solid wood. He continued slamming the chair down again and again, groaning in pain with each jarring blow.


i'm not feeling alright today
i'm not feeling that great

Buffy was preparing to hang up the phone from speaking with her sister, when she realized that Faith hadn't hung up. She heard a thump and a rustling that sounded like the phone had been tossed aside. Buffy was about to yell into the phone to let her sister know her phone was still connected, when she heard her voice tersely announce to someone, "Angel's missing."

A male voice responded, "I gathered. She left messages for me too. Where the hell do you think you're going? Shouldn't you be headin' over to calm the chit?"

Spike. Buffy recognized his distinct voice immediately. She pressed the phone to her ear, trying to eavesdrop over the sound of traffic and screeching tires. How the hell did Faith know Spike and what were they doing together? Searching her mind, she couldn't remember if they had met before, but the last couple of days were foggy at best anyway. Everything had happened so fast and with her illness, she was lucky she knew who she knew, let alone Faith.

"No," she heard her sister say. Faith's voice was filled with more fury than Buffy ever remembered hearing in her sister's voice. She listened intently as Faith continued, "I'm going back to the warehouse. That little fucker knows something else he's not telling us. If he doesn't tell us what's happened to Angel, I'm going to introduce him to a whole new world of pain...Get out. Find your way to my sister. She needs someone with her. Guess you'll have to do."

"You're leaving me on the side of the bloody road? You could at least take me to a better location to find a ride, pet." Buffy was surprised at Spike's voice. He seemed surprised that the darker Summers' girl was leaving him somewhere, but the tone of his voice told her that he wasn't all that shocked about the rest of the situation. Something in the way they spoke to each other sounded familiar, comfortable, like they had known each other for much longer than the few days. Had Faith known Spike before this? And who were they talking about? Who was she going to see?

"Gimme a fucking break, Spikey," Faith's voice sneered over the phone, "You're a trained assassin, for fuck's sake. I think you can get out of the bad part of town."

Assassin! Buffy's mind barely had time to reel from the news as she heard Spike's response. She had to strain to hear his low voice as he responded, "I think you'll find you can get more volume if you speak from the diaphragm. Obviously, you didn't take the discreet class in your training, love."

Buffy listened closely to the rest of the call and when she heard the speaking end, she held the phone loosely, clutching it in her hand. Allowing the news to sink in as she kept her ear to the phone, she thought about what Faith had told her before about leaving for a job. It was all coming together. If this was true, that was why her sister didn't want to tell her what she was really doing. But was it possible? Was her sister capable of...killing people?

"Fuck," Faith's voice announced. It sounded closer as if she were speaking into the phone, "Buffy?"

Buffy held her breath and waited. Finally she heard a click and she quickly hung up too, staring at the phone. What if Faith knew she knew? She jumped as the phone rang and dropped it on the floor. Scrambling, she scooped it up and answered, "Hello?"

"Buffy," Faith said, "My phone didn't hang up all the way when I spoke to you. Did you...uh...hear my conversation?"

Thinking quickly, Buffy lied, "I heard voices, but I couldn't understand what you were saying. I finally hung up."

"Oh okay," Faith said, trying not to sound as relieved as she was. She couldn't believe that she had allowed emotions to cloud her reasoning so much that she would be so reckless. It was if all of her training had been thrown out of the window at the prospect of her sister's unhappiness. She didn't know how she was going to make this better, but she couldn't let her sister's fiancé die, "I have to make a stop and then I'll be over, alright?"

"S-sure," Buffy stammered.


when you tried to kiss me, i only bit your tongue
when you tried to get me together, i only came undone

"Where's Buffy?" Angel demanded, still trying to shake off his daze. He wasn't sure how badly he was hurt, but he felt like he had been beaten half to death. Several of his ribs had to be cracked and he didn't need a mirror to know his face was bruised and bleeding. He stared at his ex-lover, keeping himself from showing her his fear. He wasn't afraid for his life, but he was terrified for his future wife and their unborn child. Her frightened voice still echoed in his mind.

"Oh, don't worry, lover," Jhiera said, smiling slyly, "We don't have her...yet."

"Don't bullshit me!" he shouted, pulling harder on his restraints, "I heard her voice!"

Still smiling, Jhiera turned and pressed play on a boom box in the corner. He heard Buffy's voice screaming for him, her tears as audible as her voice. After a couple of seconds, he screamed for her to turn it off. He couldn't bear to hear one more second of it.

"Where is she?" he asked, once she had turned it off, "And what have you done? Where the hell did you get that recording?"

"Calm down," Jhiera said, crossing the room, "I haven't even told you why you should be upset yet. This is nothing. This is just from when she was drugged, when she used to scream for you in her sleep."

She made her way to Angel and flipped one leg over him, straddling his lap. He jerked away as her fingers traced the bruises on his face.

"Don't touch me," he snarled, trying to pull away from her as much as possible. In his bound state, he wasn't able to escape as she continued to touch him lightly. After a moment of silence, he demanded, "What do you want from me?"

"Oh, Angel," she crooned, running her fingers through his hair before grabbing a handful of it and jerking his head sharply, "I don't want you back. I want to kill you, but first I want you to know what I'm going to do after you die."

"You're going to kill me because I'm in love with someone else?" Angel asked, his eyes widening. All this time he thought the danger had died with Darla.

"No, Angel. Don't mistake me for Darla," Jhiera announced, as if she had read his mind, "I'm not doing this because I want you for myself. I'm way over that. I'm going to kill you because you're a worthless piece of shit. You spent years using women, turning their bodies into instruments for your pleasure and now you think you should be left alone to find happiness?"

"You're insane."

"Yes, that's probably true, but my sanity is not what you should be worried about right now," she said, grinding against him as she stayed perched on his lap.

"Really?" he snorted, "All evidence to the contrary. You're about to kill me, so I'd say that your mental state is pretty important right about now."

"Aren't you forgetting Buffy's mental state?" she whispered, leaning in closer.

"What about Buffy?" he said, his voice coming out in a menacing growl.

"Oh, little miss sunshine and happiness is going to suffer for you. After all, wouldn't that be the final triumph?" she said, "I spent all of our time together taking you from other women, but destroying your little blonde obsession is going to be my brightest hour."

"Leave her out of this," Angel said, nearly begging for his lover's safely, "She has nothing to do with this. It's about me. You wanna kill me, then kill me, but stay away from Buffy."

Oh Angel," she crooned, "She's the best part of the plan. When you die, she'll be alone, pregnant and suffering from those terrible withdrawals, until one day, she'll be injected with something that takes all that pain away. A variation of the other drug, but no memory loss. It'll be just enough to ease her withdrawals with a little happiness slipped in. It'll feel so good, she'll want more. She'll need more when the shakes come back harder than before."

"Stay the fuck away from her!" He screamed, leaning so his voice nearly reverberated through her smaller body.

"She'll need the drug and we'll give it to her...for a price," Jhiera continued, as if he hadn't just screamed in her face.

"Jhiera..." Angel warned, in a low, dangerous voice.

"Don't try to intimidate me, Angel. You're already dead. This conversation will be a distant memory when she becomes addicted to the new little mixture we've cooked up. She'll do whatever I want to get it and the whole time she'll hate herself for it, but she won't be able to stop. She'll miscarry your child and before the drug kills her too, the only thing she'll hate more than herself is you. This is all your fault, you see and she'll know it. Her last thoughts will be of why she ever allowed herself to fall in love with some thing like you."

"NO!" Angel roared. Visions of his beautiful lover's death and sorrow overtook him. He bucked against Jhiera but she stay put laughing with delight over his tortured scream.


i'm so nervous
i'm so tense
my heart can't forget about this self-defense
the air is so hot and my breath comes fast

Buffy was running from her apartment, headed for Giles' when she slammed into the very person she was trying to avoid. She found herself caught in Spike's arms. She twisted and desperately tried to get away, but he held her tightly, craning to look into her eyes.

"Buffy, calm down, love," he said, trying to keep his voice calming. Using what Angel had taught her, she wrenched herself free. Planning to flea, she made it a couple of steps, before a wave of nausea hit her. She dropped to her knees in the grass and heaved for a second. Strong arms circled her waist and she allowed it, as she allowed her sobs to break free.

"We'll find him, ducks," he whispered into her hair, "I promise."

"I h-heard your conversation with Faith," Buffy sobbed, "She didn't hang up her cell phone. You're sister is...Oh God..."

"Listen to me," Spike said, tensing from the news and holding her face between his hands and forcing her to meet his eyes, "Your sister is an assassin for the United States government. She has spent the last few years taking out terrorists and other threats. I retired at Drusilla's request two years ago. I will not hurt you, Buffy. I'm here to help. We'll find your bloody poof."

"H-how?" she whispered, after a long moment of silence.

"If anyone can find him, it'll be Faith. That bitch can find a needle in haystack. Come on, love. I'm taking you back upstairs."

"No," Buffy said, pulling away from him, "I want to go to my sister. I have to find Angel."

"You're sick, pet," he answered, "Just let us find him."

"I'm not going to lay in bed while someone could be hurting him," Buffy demanded. She grabbed two small fistfuls of his shirt and pulled him close, meeting his shocked blue eyes, "I don't care how well trained you are, you can't stop me. I am going to find Angel and you're going to help me. If you don't, I'll kick your ass and then I'll find him by my damn self!"

"Alright, alright," he said, easing her clenched fingers from his shirt, "I'll help you. Calm down."

"I'll be calm when I get him back," she huffed, spinning on her heel and pulling her car keys from her pocket, "Come on. Let's go."

Spike hopped in the passenger side and Buffy looked him for a second before releasing an exasperated sigh, "Well? Where are we going? Where is she?"

"I don't think we should go see Faith," Spike said, putting on his seatbelt. He thought it would be pretty damn stupid to die in car accident after all the dangers he had been through in his life.

"God! Don't start that again! Tell me where she is!"

"I think we should go see your uncle first," Spike answered calmly.

"Giles? Why?" Buffy asked quizzically.

"Ever wonder why Faith always calls him ‘Ripper'?" Spike asked as a grin slowly made it from his eyes to his lips.


i play both good and evil parts

"Blunt was fun. Sharp was fantastic," Faith said, looking over the bloody body of Billy Fordham. She was enjoying the hell out of this and she hadn't even made it into the third phase of torture, "We've both had a little rest and now I have to decide what to do next."

"Fuck you," he spat, sending spittle intermixed with blood from his quivering lips. The man was sobbing. Crimson tears streaked his cheeks, but she hadn't broken him. Not yet. When she left earlier, she planned on leaving him there for a while to give him the impression that he would die, that he would rot there unless he told her what she needed to know. She liked it when the victim had plenty to time to think about their fate. Now, she was done playing games. She had to find Angel before it was too late. If there was anything she could do for her sister, she knew this was it.

"Alright," she said, resting her boot on the edge of his chair just between his thighs. Slipping forward, she crushed the steel toe into his groin, "You're gonna tell me where Angel is or I'm gonna change your religion."


Part Eighteen "Truth in Curious Packages"

By Tango

FEEDBACK: This is the last part. *sniffles* Thank you to everyone for all your support and wonderful feedback. I really appreciate it! I hope you'll tell me what you think of this final part.

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Cake.


DEDICATION: For Trammie. Thank you!


if you want it, confront it

Buffy's teeth were chattering in her mouth, her hands were trembling violently on the steering wheel and gushing waves of nausea were coming over her as she drove to Giles' sprawling estate. She leaned out the window and punched in the security code as she had thousands of times before and waited impatiently for the large, wrought iron gates to slide open. When she finally made it to the front doors, she burst in without knocking or checking to see if Spike was trailing her.

He was. And what he saw was not the sickness that covered her, the trembling in her limbs or the breaths that were coming out of her tiny frame in ragged gasps. What he saw was a determined girl in search of her lover. Going to Giles' was just a necessary step to get to Angel and she was barely willing to take that step.

"Do you know where he is?" she demanded from her uncle, who looked up from his book to calmly eye his niece.

"Yes," he said, nodding, "Faith just called in and she has pinpointed his location. She is going to get him."

"Look, Giles," she said, taking a second to breathe deeply as another horrible wave of sickness came over her. Reaching up to wipe the sweat from her brow with the cuff of Angel's shirt, she continued, "I know there's a long story here and there's a lot of stuff you aren't telling me. I don't care about that. I just need to get to Angel, so tell me where he is and I'll be on my way."

"I'm sorry, Buffy," he said, shaking his head sadly, "but I will not tell you where he is. You are sick and in no position to go off half cocked-"

"Where is he?" she shouted, stepping in closer.

"And you don't have sufficient training to deal with this sort of threat," he continued, "Your sister will bring him home."

"I might not be a killer like you and Faith," Buffy sneered, "But I'm not going to sit here and wait for him to be brought to me. I've never seen Faith in action, but she seems like the shoot now and ask questions later sort of assassin."

"I'm sorry, Buffy. I cannot allow you to put yourself in this sort of danger."

"Giles," Buffy said softening her voice, "I love you, but if you ever want a chance to explain things to me, you'll tell me where Angel is being held. If you don't, I'll leave here...forever and I'll never speak to you again."

"A small price to pay for your safety," Giles answered with unmistakable tears in his eyes.


somehow i know it won't last
somehow i know it won't last too long

Angel had his eyes closed while Jhiera was taking her time, slowly cutting into his skin with a knife. Her voice came like poison sprinkled in sugar as she whispered in his ear. He fought to keep his mind elsewhere, away from the torture, away from the thoughts of what would happen to Buffy when he died.

He forced himself to picture her in his mind, her laugh, her kiss, her sweet voice. He tried to steer his thoughts away from the future, or the lack of it, but thoughts of Buffy always led to thoughts of the future, so every vision of her came to the demise of her and his unborn child. The only thought to console him was how strong she was and how she had so many people to love her. They wouldn't let her die. She would do everything to protect their child, even after he was gone. With that a smile spread across his face. He knew she would be safe.

"Tiny cuts," Jhiera whispered, "Little pools of blood will form all over your body until there's no more."

"You can't break me," he said, his voice raw and hoarse, "The only thing you can do is kill me."

"That's all I want," she said, continuing her work as she sliced through his shirt and moved the knife into his flesh, "I don't want to break you, Angel. I want to break her."

"You'll never break her either," Angel replied, opening his eyes and staring into hers, which were brown, but much darker than his, much more full of hatred, "You're so far beneath her you couldn't even scratch the surface."

He roared in pain as she plunged the knife between his ribs, pushing it in deeper than before. When the agony slightly subsided, he looked at her again and shook his head, showing his pity for someone so horribly misguided. Shrugging his shoulders, he leaned back in his chair and waited for more.


i need my baby, i need my baby next to me

Buffy had made it out to her car, running so that Spike or Giles couldn't stop her, and jumped in. She hit the locks as she heard the pounding of Spike's boots coming behind her, started the car quickly and took off, leaving both men standing where her car had been. Even after all her threats, Giles wouldn't budge. He wouldn't tell her where Angel was and she knew something horrible was happening.

She pounded her hands on the steering wheel and screamed in frustration as she drove away. There had to be something else she could do, some way to save him. She couldn't even think about living the rest of her life without him, raising her child without Angel by her side.

She pulled out her cell phone and was preparing to call Faith to demand her lover's location, when it rang. Startled, she dropped it and had to scramble to pick it up again.

"Hello?" she said, knowing her voice was as thick with tears as her eyes were.

"Buffy?" a whispered voice answered.


"It's Lindsey."

"Hello," she said tentatively, not sure what to say, how much he knew of the current situation or what she could possibly say.

"I found Angel," he whispered.


"Followed Faith," he said, "Don't worry. I'm gonna help her bring him home. I just wanted to tell you that he's...he's okay."

"Where is he?" Buffy asked, pulling over and pressing her ear against the phone. She was afraid she would crash as she struggled to listen to his quiet voice coming over the phone line.

"In a warehouse," he answered, "I'll bring him to you. Meet me at-"

"Godamn it, Lindsey," Buffy growled into the phone, "Tell me where!"


you twist the knife

"She has such lovely skin, Angel," Jhiera crooned, circling him as she pressed small, short, shallow cuts into his body, "So soft and golden. I can't wait to see how she looks on the inside."

"You'll never get the chance," he growled, blinking to keep his vison focused. The loss of blood was starting to get to him and he knew that it was only a matter of time before he passed out. He looked straight in front him at the jumbled mess of equipment, boxes and hulking pieces of machinery around him. He shook his head and looked harder in front of him as he saw Buffy's face in the back of the room. He was sure he was seeing things, but she was a beautiful hallucination. She was wearing his shirt, just as she had been when he left her and even though her pallor was ashen, she was still perfect.

He watched the vision of his lover creep around the junk in the building, moving gracefully as she always did. He thought for a second that she might be real as she moved closer because he could see that she was sweating, could see that her hands were shaking. He smiled as he looked down at her hand, her delicate fingers stretching forward, the diamond on her finger glinting as she wrapped both hands around a piece of pipe on the floor. Her tiny hands looked so fragile, so lovely wrapped around that cold metal.

It wasn't until he saw movement on the other side, when he saw Faith looming in his peripheral vision, that he thought that he might not be dreaming. Faith was crouched beneath a stack of boxes, holding a gun in her hands. Her eyes were not focused on him, but on the person cutting into his flesh. As he caught sight of Lindsey coming up behind Buffy, he knew he was not hallucinating, he was being rescued. He held his breath as Buffy's torso twisted and her arms swung back with that piece of pipe in her hands. She released the object and he watched it as it seemed to move in slow motion, flying through the air, propelled with perfect love. It struck Jhiera's lower back and it hit her hard enough to force the knife out of her hand. Picking up the nearest blunt objects, Buffy and Lindsey rushed forward.

"What the fuck?" Faith shouted, watching as her sister and her lover moved forward together. Faith propelled herself forward as well, already expecting Jhiera to stand up and hurt her sister. Her eyes flew open in shock as Buffy ran towards her lover's captor, sick, pregnant and shaking with pain, anger and fear. Buffy was a tiny instrument of fury as she flew forward and stopped long enough to kick up at Jhiera's surprised face. Faith, Lindsey and Angel gasped in unison as Buffy became a blur of punches and kicks.

Jhiera dropped to her knees, still trying to defend herself from the onslaught of her insane blonde attacker. Twisting and nearly moving into flight, Buffy spun around, kicking Jhiera's temple. Buffy's lips were curled in a snarl as she watched Jhiera fall to the side.

Buffy sneered ferally at the unconscious woman before turning to Angel and running to his side. Scooping up the knife, she proceeded to cut the ropes from his hands and feet, while Faith and Lindsey watched, slack jawed.

"Angel," Buffy breathed, from her kneeling position once she had finished cutting his legs free. She caught his shoulders as he fell forward with her name on his lips.

"Buffy," he panted, resting his head on her shoulder, "My love."

"I'm here, Angel. You're safe now," she whispered back, holding him to her for a second, before rising to her feet and struggling to pull him up. She grunted with frustration, knowing she couldn't move his bulky body by herself and turned to Faith and Lindsey, huffing struggling breaths, "Are you guys going to help me?"


outside, outside the world

After his wounds were treated at the hospital, Angel was released the same day and gladly left with Buffy. When they reached the apartment, he told her to pack a bag and they left again immediately, without resting for even a moment. He wanted to be where no one would find them for a few days, where they were safe from everyone.

They checked into a hotel on the other side of town under a fake name. Once inside the room, they undressed, climbed under the covers and went to sleep. Neither spoke about the fears they had, about what had happened or what was to come. They just clung to each other and fell into a peaceful slumber.


shut the fuck up
shut the fuck up
learn to buck up
shut the fuck up

Across the country, in a remote building, unmarked and hidden in a dense patch of woods, Jhiera woke up in a small room, strapped to the chair, circled by sterile white walls. She watched with a drugged haze as the doors slid open and a man entered, followed by a stern looking woman.

"Jhiera," the man said, his voice clipped and British, "I am Rupert Giles. The building you are in is underground and heavily guarded. There are no marked entrances in or out. The authorities do not know of this place, nor does anyone else but the highest officials of the US government, myself and of course, the people who are employed here."

"What is this place?" she managed to croak through her raw and dry throat.

"It is a government organization existing solely to protect the United States from threats, both domestic and international," he explained, standing near the doorway, holding his frame upright and rigid, "Your life has been spared and you are not in jail simply because your skills can be utilized by us. You will do as you are told and you will train to become an assassin for our cause."

"What if I don't want to be a part of your little club?" she asked, having no intention whatsoever of cooperating with these people.

"Then you'll be killed," he said, with a careless shrug of his shoulders, "You see, Jhiera. You not only kidnapped my niece's fiancé and threatened her well-being, but you have caused tension in my family, namely my relationship with Buffy. That is unacceptable, but we cannot ignore that your viciousness is something that, once honed and refined, can be of use to the cause. Of course, you are not so useful that I would not take great pleasure in destroying you personally. The staff is under strict orders to give you less free reign than any of the others training here. One false word and your life will end."

"I'll run away the first chance I get," she said, raising her chin defiantly.

"And when you do you'll have a bullet in your back, my dear," he answered, turning he nodded at the other woman in the room, "This is Dr. Maggie Walsh. She will assist in your assimilation and mental training. I think you'll find her sufficient in the torture category, something I'm told you were rather...rudimentary at. Hopefully by the end of the session, you will see why you failed to break my future nephew. Good day."

Nodding at Walsh, he exited the room. Jhiera looked over the woman she was left with and shuddered. She knew from the glint in the woman's eyes that her life would never be the same.


i'm just rearranging hell
i'm just talking to myself

When Buffy and Angel came home a week later, rested and feeling much better, they were assaulted with a barrage of panicked messages. They had informed everyone that they would be unreachable, but it didn't seem to keep them from worrying about them. They curled up together on the couch and listened as the messages on the answering machine played through - Willow, Xander, Gunn, Spike, Anya, Faith, Cordelia, Doyle and on and on.

Somewhere in the middle of the messages, was one from Giles and Buffy tensed as she heard his voice, filled with emotion and pain, "Buffy, this is Giles. I understand that you not only found Angel but singlehandedly saved him, showing a brilliant campaign. I'm sorry if my love for you clouded my ability to see what you were capable of. You and Faith are all that I have left in the world, you see. Your sister risks herself on a daily basis, but I thought I could take steps to keep you safe. I know I have failed you in every way and although I know that is unforgivable, I can't help but harbor a small hope that you will find it in your heart to forgive me anyway."

Angel didn't need to look at Buffy's face to know her eyes were filled with tears. She snuggled into him and waited as the rest of the messages played through, barely hearing them. He caressed her, running his hand over arm as they listened in silence. After a long pause, weighted by silence, Angel spoke.

"Are you going to talk to him?" he asked quietly.

"I don't know."

"He was only doing what he thought was best."

"You could have died!" she said, looking up into his eyes, "I could have lost you because of him!"

"It wasn't his fault," Angel said gently, trying to calm her by keeping his voice low and even, "I would have done the same thing if I were him. If he asked me, I would have told him not to tell you. He was trying to keep you safe, love."

"You think I'm some stupid little girl?" she demanded, "I'm weak and useless, is that it?"

"No, of course not," he said, feeling an angry desperation bleeding off of her, "I don't want anything to happen to you and our child. I would do anything to keep you from danger, even if that means sacrificing myself."

"God!" she shouted, pulling away from and standing, so she could alternately pace and glare at him from afar, "Are you this dense, Angel? Don't you think it would hurt me and our child more if we can't have you in our lives? Isn't your life worth just as much as ours?"

"No," he said, meeting her gaze.

"No? NO?" she shouted. When he didn't answer, she stormed back toward the door. Standing finally and wincing a bit from his wounds, he strode quickly after her, "Where are you going?"

"Somewhere where thick headed men like you and Giles aren't!"

"Buffy!" he said, grabbing her shoulders and forcing her gaze to him, "I love you, dammit. I'll say I'm sorry that I would do anything to protect you if you want, but I'm not fucking sorry. I don't want to live in a world that doesn't have you in it. I won't put you or our child in danger and if that means sacrificing myself, then I'll do it. If you want to be mad about it, then be mad, but understand this, I will NEVER choose my life over yours. Never."

"You're an asshole!" she shouted back, twisting away from him. He wrapped his arms around her and buried his face in her hair, knowing she couldn't escape him, knowing she wouldn't try, "Yes, I am."


"let me go," she said, "let me go and i will love you more."

"Giles," Buffy said, several days later, walking into the library, which was the room in his house where he most frequently visited. He wasn't reading, drinking tea or doing anything else. He was sitting in his worn chair, staring at the wall in front of him, looking more tired and old than she had ever seen him.

"Buffy," he said, twisting to look at her and waiting for her to speak. His heart sped up at the thought that she might be willing to forgive him, but he couldn't let the full hope reach his heart. He was too afraid that it might not be true.

"I'm still angry with you," she said quietly.

"I assumed as much," he answered dully.

"You had no right to make that choice for me," she said, still standing just inside the door.

"I apologize," he answered, after a long pause, "But I can't say that I wouldn't do the same thing if given the chance."

"Yes, well, you and Angel are both stupid," she snapped, marching closer to him, "...I came to tell you one thing."


"I'm getting married in a month," she said.

"Congratulations," he said, thinking it was the only appropriate response.

"You're not my father," she said, watching as he nodded sadly. He had always wished he was. Hank Summers certainly should not be allowed any parental rights, biological or otherwise. As far as Giles was concerned, Hank had no right to see either of his daughters under any circumstances. A time or two, he was tempted to make sure he didn't, but he knew that Buffy would never forgive him. He was fairly certain, however, Faith wouldn't mind at all. Buffy took a deep breath and moved a step closer, "But I thought that you would want to give me away anyway."

Giles stood up and walked into Buffy's waiting embrace. For the first time in Buffy's life, she saw a tear escape from Giles' kind green eyes.


defies all earthly descriptions

Two weeks later, Angel turned off the screaming alarm and shook the bundle at his side that contained his wife to be. She grunted in annoyance and snuggled closer, wrapping her arms more tightly around him.

"Baby," he said, peeling back the covers until her tousled blonde head appeared. He smiled at her, she scooted down until she was under the covers again, her cheek pressed against his stomach, "You have to get up. You're wedding planning with Willow and Cordy today."

"Don't wanna," she moaned as he pushed the covers down further, "Just tell them I'm sick or something."

"Sure," he said, sitting up and moving away. He grinned knowingly as she groaned in protest, groping for her lost pillow of flesh.

"Angel," she whined, pulling him back down into bed, "Come on. Don't leave."

"If you don't plan the wedding," he said as she crawled up his body and laid on top of him, "We can't get married. If we don't get married, love, then we can't go on the honeymoon...and I really wanna go on the honeymoon."

"Let's elope," she said, opening her eyes and sitting up, straddling his waist, "Cause if I have to argue with Cordy about how everything has to be designer this and designer that for one more day, I'm going to go insane. Why does it matter if the dresses have a certain label on them? She's only going to wear the damn dress for like four hours anyway. It's not like she's going to be on a runway, for crying out loud."

"You know you want a big wedding," he said, sliding his hands up her legs, "With flowers and Giles giving you away and Willow as your maid...person."

"Of honor," Buffy corrected. She let out a little moan as he reached her hips, pressing her against him suggestively.

"Right," he said, rolling them over and kissing her gently as he pressed his growing arousal against her. He caressed her body, leaving open mouthed kisses on her warm flesh, whispering in between his tastes of her skin, "You want to...wear a wedding dress...walk down an aisle...with all your friends and family there...have a reception...throw rice..."

"No rice," she whimpered as he laved her erect nipples, slipping his fingers between her thighs, "Bird seed."

"Right," he said, smiling against her still flat belly, "Bird seed...and a veil...garter belt..."

"You want the garter belt," she answered as he kissed her glistening sex.

"Yes," he answered, parting her with his thumbs and licking her slowly, "I hands...up your...thighs...feel my way up...until I reach...that little...piece of lace...and...satin...."

Buffy arched up as he stopped speaking, pulling her clit between his lips and lashing it with his tongue. She gripped his shoulders and pressed herself against him as he suckled her bundle of nerves, pushing his fingers into her to feel her muscles clench him with her orgasm.

"Convincing argument," she moaned as he made his way back up her body and kissed her slowly and deeply, nipping at her full lips.

"I want to marry you," he said in between kissing, "I want to be your husband when you give birth to our child. I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

"Make love first," she whispered, wrapping her tiny fingers around his length and guiding him inside her. He hissed with pleasure as he entered her, intertwining his fingers with hers, pressing one arm above her head as he moved inside her. They rose and fell together, moving in perfect synchronicity with each other, having long ago memorized each facet of their mate's body.

"I love you," he whispered as he watched her face contort in pleasure from the gentle lovemaking, feeling an undescribable happiness fill him at the realization that he would be able to witness this again and again, that she would finally be his forever. As they laid together, wrapped in love and warmth, Angel nudged her to keep her awake, knowing that she would soon have to shower and collect her friends for another stressful day of wedding planning. He also had plans to meet up with Lindsey and work on the house.

"Angel?" she whispered, sitting up to look at him.


"What's my last name going to be?" she asked, "It just occurred to me that I don't know what last name we're going to use."

"I've been thinking about that a lot," he said, brushing her hair away from her face, "I don't have a real last name or a real family or anything to offer you. The only names I've ever known belonged to foster families."

"What do you want to do?" she asked, unsure of what direction he was heading in.

"I want to have a name that has real family and real history," he said quietly, "I thought we could use your name."

"Mr. and Mrs. Angel Summers," she said smiling.

"What do you think?" he asked, searching her smiling face for a hint of doubt, "I know it's not exactly keeping with tradition."

"You have my body, heart and soul, Angel," she answered after a moment, "I think it's okay if you have my name too."

He smiled broadly, kissing her and hugging her closely once more. She felt his voice rumble in his chest as he spoke again.

"This is what I always wanted," he said, kissing the top of her head, "to be a normal guy with a real name, to be part of a normal family."

Shifting, she looked into the deep brown eyes of the man she loved and smoothed her little hand over the side of his face, "When I fell in love with you, you became a part of a family, Angel. You're not an orphan anymore, baby. You haven't been for a long time."

"I love you, Buffy," he said as she snuggled in and closed her eyes, "...but you still have to get up."


The End.

To start reading the third part of this trilogy, click next below. *G*