When Hell Breaks Loose

Part One

By Tango

His Girl Award, Best NC-17, 2nd Place

E-MAIL: Tangofic@hotmail.com
DISCLAIMER: Don't own them. Of course.
SPOILERS: Hell breaks loose in the summer after S4
DISTRIBUTION: Sure, just let me know.

FEEDBACK: Please...must have it...can't go on with out it...plllleeeeaaasseee. Feed me!

RATING: NC-17. ***Dark & smutty***

LYRICS: All lyrics are from Ani DiFranco

Humor me on this one guys...

Angel's soul is intact in this one - let's take that for granted. This happens just after Season 4 ends. Faith is in jail but Buffy never went to LA and Angel never came back to Sunnydale for "The Yoko Factor." So Riley never met Angel and all Angel knows of him is what Faith told him (and the time he spotted him with Buffy at the coffee shop). Kay? (It all works in my head. *g*)

Allllrighty, then...


tell me what are you here for
i want my old friends, i want my old face, i want my old mind
fuck this time and place

A Slayer is only caged as long as she allows it and Faith was tired of being a prisoner. The whole thing was more than she could take - rehabilitation, horrible food, fighting to keep status without killing people. She was tired of it and the gray walls were making her insane. She wasn't healing, she was itching for fresh blood.

She had been thinking about leaving for weeks. Not plotting an escape but thinking about being free. She tried to talk herself out of it. She tried to remember Angel's soothing words, but all she saw was darkness and crimson blood on her hands, encrusted like jewels of freedom. Fuck Angel and his philosophies for redemption. Fuck Buffy and the superfriends. She wanted to leave this dank hole and then she would take out every asshole who hurt her and every person who stumbled in her way. She was ready to start again in the worst way.

When the guard made his final rounds just before lights out, she watched him with the slanted eyes of a predator, crouched in the corner of her moldy cell. Her roommate, sat up in bed and watched her curiously. The nineteen year old cellmate had always considered herself a tough girl from the streets until she had been placed in a cell with Faith. She wasn't tough anymore. She was jittery and afraid. She slept lightly, terrified that one morning the lunatic she lived with would make sure she never woke up. So when she saw the dark hair girl's small form hunkering in the corner, she watched but said nothing.

The guard cut out the lights, leaving only the dim upper bulbs of the large room shedding a low yellow light over the hundreds of rows of barred rooms. He strolled by, heading for his newspaper and coffee. As his keys banged against his upper thigh, signaling his approach, he thought about what to get his daughter for her fifth birthday. He was planning the perfect gift when his temple was pulled roughly to the side. The last thing he saw was an iron bar in his peripheral vision as he faded to blackness.

Faith pulled his keys from his belt, ignoring the loud rip of the fabric of his pants and quietly let herself out. Turning her head, she looked at her roommate, "If you follow me and get me caught, I'll kill you. Got it?"

Her roommate nodded her assent and sat in her bed silently watching her roommate creep away. She had never planned to follow Faith. She actually breathed a sigh of relief as she left and soaked in the first moment of peace of mind she had experienced a very long time.


i'm imagining your frame, i'm imagining your smell
i'm imagining your laugh again and the way you say my name

Spike opened his eyes and looked down at the blonde head bobbing over his lap. He knew Harmony would be back sooner or later. If there was one thing he was sure of in relationships (or whatever this was), it was that sex with him was addicting. He knew how to make a woman scream in pleasure - after that, they always came back for more.

Right now, as Harm's cool mouth sucked him deeply in her throat and the fragrant scent of her arousal wafted to his nostrils. She was squirming on her knees as she sucked him and he watched with a sly grin as she reached between her own legs to massage her clit.

He leaned his head back against the hard wall behind him and imagined she was The Slayer, that the blonde hair belonged to Buffy instead of Harmony. He knew if could just get between The Slayer's dimpled knees once, she would keep coming back for more, just like Harmony and Drusilla.

He threaded his fingers through her silky waves as he reached the peak and bit the inner lining of his jaw to keep from screaming "Buffy" as he came.


oh, how i miss substituting the conclusion to confrontation with a kiss
and oh, how i miss walking up to the edge and jumping in
like i could feel the future on your skin

Everyone had finally gone home, Cordelia had gone to sleep and Angel was left alone on the couch, staring up at her ceiling in the dark, idly wondering where Phantom Dennis was in the small apartment. Was he watching him stare at the ceiling? Was he in Cordy's room watching her sleep?

He might have continued that train of thought for some time while he waited for sleep to take him or he might have thought about how he longed to have a place of his own instead of the suffocation that was living with Cordelia Chase since the office blew up, but his brain screeched to a halt when he felt a tiny hand on his upper thigh. Buffy's scent, feel and smell pressed at the walls and suddenly the apartment seemed much, much smaller.

Angel was alarmed immediately because he never felt her presence until he saw her, he didn't hear her come in and she was completely nude. Those thoughts were chased away as she slid her hand up his thigh and caressed his growing arousal. She silently unbuckled his belt and began unzipping his pants.

"Buffy," he whispered urgently, trying desperately to understand what was happening - that is, besides seduction.

"Shhh," she said, placing a single finger over his lips, "I need you inside me. Don't wanna wait anymore."

She returned her attentions to freeing his already erect cock from the material that bound him. She wasted no time, perching over him. Her thighs were already trembling with lust as she lowered herself over him, guiding him into her dripping heat. He groaned as her heat took over his cold flesh, sending waves of pleasure through him with her first thrust. She ripped open his shirt and touched his cool skin. Simultaneously, he reached up and cupped her breasts as she bent to kiss him.

"Mmmm," she hummed, excitedly exploring his cool mouth. Sweet, passionate ice cream kisses with her vampire lover were better than anything else she could describe, except when those kisses were coupled with his cock buried inside her. His hand moved immediately to her swollen clit and he smiled into her mouth as her throaty moan echoed inside of him. She came quickly at his hands, which caused her muscles to clench and squeeze his thrusts in erratic pleasure.

Returning from her orgasm, she placed her hands on his muscular chest and stared at him with lust covered eyes, as she moved over him in smooth, hard deliberate strokes. She moved harder as she felt him arching under her, slamming harder, teetering on the edge of oblivion.

"Yes," she hissed as he cracked up against her with vampiric force. His large shaking hands pulled her down against his chest and he shifted her so her clit was bumped with every thrust.

"Come with me, baby," he whispered in a pleasurable vibrato, clinging desperately to the edge, waiting for his lover to join him. She relented to his plea, digging into his shoulders with her strong fingers as she found her release and he immediately joined her.

Moments later she sat up, holding him inside her and supporting herself on his chest once more. She locked his gaze and whispered, "Angel, I'm disappearing."

"Disappearing?" he asked, confusion covering his face.

"Yes," she said and even as she spoke, her touch became lighter, her body falling away from him. He could almost see the wall behind her through her skin.

"Without you, I'm dying."

"Inside?" he asked hopefully. She had to mean she was dying on the inside.

"No," she whispered as the air shuddered with her exit from his space in time, "I'm dying... disappearing...without you."

we met in a dream

Angel awoke with a start and found that he had fallen or flung himself from the couch so hard that he split his lip on the coffee table. Angel never had a prophetic dream before. That was Buffy's arena, but something inside him understood that he had her dream last night. Somehow it had been given to him and he believed it with the kind of icy fear that only love can provide. He jumped up and ran for the door, nearly knocking over Cordelia in the process.

"Watch out!" she yelled in protest, holding her box of donuts to her chest, as if they could protect her.

"Um, sorry," Angel said, slipping around her to make his way towards the door.

"Where are you going?" She asked and then didn't wait for his answer as she announced, "Plan on bursting into flame this afternoon?"

He stopped at the line of glaring sunlight that he almost stepped into peaking across the room from her window and shook his head in irritation. The dream had been much shorter than all night and yet here was the day, mocking him, trapping him until night.

"And what the hell happened to your shirt?" she asked, nodding at his chest. He looked down and his shirt was ripped apart and his skin was torn on his shoulders. He might have thought for a second that he did it to himself in his sleep, except the raised welts on his shoulders could only have come from the fingernails of one very far away Slayer.


i expected he would be there in the morning, i awoke to the alarm
he was still in arm's reach but his body was just a disguise
his mind had wandered off long ago
you see in his eyes

Buffy woke in the morning and was disappointed to find herself in Riley's bed. His little "electronic parrot" had not begun chirping yet and he was sound asleep with his large arm thrown over his eyes to block the sun streaming in through the blinds. She still couldn't get used to a lot of things with him - sunshine for one and waking up with him in the morning. Those were the few things that she enjoyed about their relationship. She liked the mornings and the walks in the sun. She liked his smile, attentiveness and positive nature. She adored his warm blue eyes and there were certainly no complaints over his sexy body.

But he knew she didn't love him. She was sure that he was aware that she hadn't even started the path to falling in love. But he was starting to get that look in his eyes, the unrequited look of someone hopelessly in love, someone who desperately needed the other person to feel the same. But she couldn't. He didn't fit her. He was like a new brand of jeans - they weren't too big or too small, they just didn't fit quite right. Angel, on the other hand, hugged her curves and accentuated just the perfect places. Angel seemed tailored to fit her while Riley was from off the rack.

She slipped out of bed and slipped on her favorite jeans, which incidentally, fit very well. She looked down at him as she dressed and smiled at the dreamy sweetness on his face. She really did like him a lot. She just couldn't figure out how to love him. This morning especially, she woke with more of an ache for Angel than she had for a while.

She felt different and tried to define the difference, but only came up confused. She had sex with Riley the night before and the sex was the usual sweet, lovemaking and then she woke up feeling as if she had been fucked...and hard. She was sore, her muscles ached. She felt...well, she felt as if she had been with Angel, but not like she had been with him before. This wasn't the gentle losing of her virginity that she remembered. It was the sex that they hadn't had yet, but somehow she knew what it would feel like. It felt like - actually, it felt just like she was feeling now.

It was strange, too, she thought as she kissed Riley's forehead and headed off to see Giles, that she couldn't remember any of her dreams. She always remembered most of her dreams but this morning there seemed to be a big hole in her night, as if someone had slipped in and snipped her weavings away.

She dismissed her dreams as she walked out in the sunshine. If forgetting her dreams was the worst thing that happened today, it would be a record day for The Slayer.


my imagination is rattling in its cage

Angel was wearing a path in Cordelia's hardwood floors as he waited for the sun to set. Getting to Sunnydale was the only thing on his mind- getting to Sunnydale and getting to Buffy. He kept playing the dream over and over in his mind, which was not helping the pacing, since he had to fight his constant arousal all day long. He tried to block out the beginning and focus on her words, but his brain couldn't get past how real she felt and he knew he wasn't imagining her smell on his skin or her scratch marks on his shoulders.

He lived in a supernatural world and was well aware that anything was possible, but this was down right strange. Cordy yelled at him every ten minutes to sit down or go away and finally left to go shopping just to get the hell away from the jumpy vampire. He continued his path around her apartment, wishing he had more room to walk, while he tried to untangle his erotic dream.

When she came back hours later with bags of miscellaneous purchases, she was disappointed to see him still there and still pacing. The sun was so close to setting that the tiny hairs at the nape of Angel neck stood on end. He knew the second the dangerous rays were gone, he would be gone too. He was poised at the doorknob while he sensed naturally the coming of night, when Cordy screamed in pain.

He turned and followed the same path he had followed all day to catch his friend before she hit the floor. Her hands were pressing into her forehead as she convulsed in his arms.

Please be about Buffy, he wished silently and then, No, please don't be about Buffy. If it's not about Buffy, then maybe she's not in danger.


there were some things that i did not tell him
there were certain things he did not need to know
and there were some days when i did not love him
he didn't understand me and i don't know why i didn't go

Buffy closed her eyes as Riley gathered her close to his side following their most recent lovemaking session. How could something so unwrong, seem so very wrong? She waited for his breathing to even out into deep sleep and paused longer to make sure she didn't wake him before slipping away and getting dressed.

She breathed deeply when she reached the fresh air, as if she had been suffocating inside his embrace. She felt guilty for thinking about Angel, but not nearly as guilty as she did about not telling Riley about him when she had the chance. When Oz came back, it was the perfect opportunity to explain about her relationship with Angel and she totally flaked.

She wanted to tell him. She really did, but it was too hard. She was terrified that when she talked about Angel, her voice would crack and all the emotion she'd been trying to hide would be obvious in her eyes. Riley already figured out she wasn't in love with him and seemed to be able to handle that, but he wouldn't be able to deal if he found out she was in love with someone else...who just happened to be a vampire.

Buffy's thought process was interrupted when she heard a distinctive growl behind her. She spun just in time to see a knife swipe at her. Slayer reflexes saved her from being brutally injured but not in time to stop it from coming in contact with her skin. She gritted her teeth and parried the next blow from a different knife in a different set of demonic hands.

There were five of the large spiny creatures, armed with strange, long serrated knives. They swiped at her viciously and Buffy quickly realized that they were very difficult to disarm. Finally, she managed to dislodge one knife from one slimy grip and she dove after it, tumbling on the soft grass, snatching it up and landing back on her feet.

She turned to the demon closest to her and her blade immediately came in contact with its weapon, forcing her arm to jelly with its fierce blows before she slit its throat. The other four did not wait patiently to the side but ambushed, slicing her skin all over with their sharp metal blades. Her eyes began to swim as her skin opened for them and lay its gory sacrifice for them to see.

Their growls grew into happy victorious songs as she dispatched the second but could barely keep up with the last three. She whimpered with each cut and every time she moved, some place on her body stung with the effort. The third met its end nearly ten long minutes later and she was certain that her body would not hold up for much longer. Her bones felt like they were protruding through her numerous wounds and her muscles were sliced in a dozen different places. Utter weakness and pain throbbed through her body and she began to feel almost...helpless.

She squared off with the remaining two, who by the way, were the largest and the fastest. They knew no mercy as they lunged and attacked. They spoke to each other with what sounded like a succession of slurping vowel sounds. She was certain they felt they were winning and she was just as certain that they were right. Her blood stained the earth as she fought, feeling her skin peel away from its home at each small movement.

A blade found its way into her thigh, sinking deeply into her tissue and she screamed in pain, but was unable to rest or free it from her flesh as she blocked the next shattering blow. The demons were becoming blurred shadows as she began to lose her adrenaline rush. Slayer strength or no, her threshold of pain was weakening and her feet began to slip with every other step. A vicious blow to her shoulder sent her tumbling in the grass, causing the blade in her thigh to sink in deeper. She rolled over and weakly looked up at the sky. Colors were waving at her from the impending dawn and the two grinning creatures hunkered into her point of view. Knives raised, they swung.


the wind is ruthless, the trees shake angry fingers at the sky

Angel didn't know whether he was relieved that Cordy's vision was not about Buffy or angry that he had to deal with the imminent danger before he could get to his love. He didn't wait for Wesley and Gunn, but ran out into the night to dispatch the danger that was keeping him from The Hellmouth.

Perhaps The Powers That Be were warning him not to go to Sunnydale, but he didn't have time to think about it as he steered his car toward the simple residential home on the north side of downtown LA. He nearly spun in the road as he slammed on the breaks to avoid passing the small house by. He snatched up his broad sword and leapt from the car, landing on his feet on the concrete walkway.

He kicked open the front door and walked in, knowing immediately that the inhabitants of the house were all dead - or actually undead. A tiny young girl with large brown eyes and long brown hair falling in silky strands over her shoulders walked slowly into the room and cast her innocence across the room at Angel. He walked over to her, swung his sword and destroyed her without a word, feeling his heart break as she fell in scattering swirls of dust as his feet. She was not unlike Holtz's daughter so long ago. Anger swelled in him as he looked around the house, searching for the others.

They were easy find, gathered in the basement, apparently planning something of great magnitude - at least to them. He charged in, swinging and decapitating his brethren, ignoring their attacks on him. He barely noticed Wesley and Gunn pounding down the stairs and did not acknowledge them as they joined the battle.

The last vampire was backed in a corner and about to succumb to Angel's blade when his voice rang above the fray, "The Slayer!"

Angel stopped cold, his blade having already cut into the vampire's throat.

"What about her?" He growled as Wesley and Gunn stepped in behind him to listen as the rest of the room settled gently in a thousand particles to the floor.

"I know what's happening to her," the vampire whined, trying not to move to quickly or talk to fast so Angel would not follow through with his death blow.

"What's happening?"

"Th-the Order of Taraka," he moaned, feeling the stream of blood dripping down his neck and creating a small puddle on the floor, intermingling with his comrade's ashes.

"We stopped them..." Angel said, thinking back on all those years ago.

"No," the vampire whimpered, "They never collected their bounty. They have been regrouping, recruiting, training."

"How many are there?" Angel asked, as his mind spun and he could almost hear the sound of his sanity cracking.

"H-hundred's of them," the vampire gasped painfully.

"How do you know about this?" Angel demanded.

"We were part of the p-plan."

"How?" Angel yelled in a desperate rage.

"We were the diversion...for you."

"You were going to kill me?"


Angel's cold laugh left the vampire in a wide eyed terror and he knew that The Scourge of Europe would not let him live. He began to follow through, when the vampire whimpered, "There's more."

Angel waited.

"They hired another group of demons to open The Hellmouth."

"Another distraction?"

"Yes," he groaned, "They think The Slayer's friends were why they failed before. They won't stop this time until she's dead, even if they take the rest of the world with her."

Angel's blade slid through with little effort through and Angel turned to Wesley and Gunn, not bothering to inspect the dispersement of the demon's ashes.

"I'm going to Sunnydale. Wes, I need you to find out everything you can about The Order of Taraka."

"They have tried to kill Buffy before?"

"Yes," Angel said, "before I...before I lost my soul the first time, they tried to kill her. We thought we took them out."

"Guess not," Gunn offered.

"Yeah," Angel snorted, "Wes, you research. Get Cordy to help." Then he turned to the other man left standing in the room, "Gunn, I think I might need some extra muscle in Sunnydale, if you would..."

"Yeah, man," Gunn answered, nodding, "Let's ride."

Gunn and Angel ran out to Angel's car and were barely settled in when Angel took off. Night was edging on dawn as the darkness was beginning to fade. If they were lucky, they would have just enough time to get to Sunnydale before dawn.


and i'm warning you, i'm weightless and the wind is always shifting
so don't hang anything on me if you ever want to see it again
i am telling you i'm different than you think i am

Buffy cringed as they swung and tried to make her limbs move in self-defense, but both demons were suddenly flung away. Buffy blinked and turned her head. Squinting to see her savior, she found she was having a hard time focusing.

"Angel?" she whispered hopefully. She felt him close and the bloody hair on her arms was standing up saluting her lover's return.

"Not quite, twinkie," Faith said with a cold smile.

"Faith," she whispered at her sister Slayer as she began to lose conscious. A stinging slap landed on her left cheek and she looked wide eyed at her...

Well, what the hell was Faith anyway? Foe? Ally? She wasn't quite sure.

"Stay awake, B," she said, pulling Buffy roughly to her unsteady feet. Faith pulled Buffy's arm over her shoulder and began walking with her - or actually dragging her across the park.

"Where are we going?" she groaned as each step stabbed her again.

"There's more coming," Faith said through gritted teeth, "Don't know who you pissed off, B, but those fuckers are everywhere. The Hellmouth is crawling with him and they all want you...as usual. Gotta get you somewhere safe."

"Mansion," Buffy whimpered, "Angel's coming. Take me to the mansion."

"I was thinking more along the lines of Kuwait," Faith said with an almost grin.

"What? And miss the fight?"

"Good point," Faith said, changing direction, "Been in prison a little too long."


Part Two "Reunion"


i am watching the sun stumble home in the morning

Riley woke with the dawn and found himself alone. He reached languidly across the bed, feeling the cold mattress where his girlfriend should be. He opened his eyes, turned to verify her absence and then looked around the room for signs of her, but found none. His brow wrinkled with concern as he sat up in bed.

They had plans for breakfast this morning before she went to class, so logically she should still be here. Shaking off his feeling of absurd panic, he picked up the phone and dialed.

"Hello?" A sleepy voice answered.

"Willow, it's Riley," he said into the receiver, "Is Buffy there?"

A muted groan followed a muffled, "No. She's stayed at your house tonight, didn't she?"

"Yes," he said, nodding as if she could actually see him, "But I woke up and she's not here. Maybe she had an errand to run or something. Sorry I woke you."

"Kay," she said, hanging up. She lowered herself back to her warm pillows and pulled the covers over her head to block out the sun. Seconds later she sat up in bed, with her green eyes wide.

Buffy was missing.

"Hello?" Another sleepy, much more British voice answered after Riley listened to the phone ring three times.

"Giles, it's Riley," he said, "Sorry to wake you up. I don't suppose you've seen Buffy?"

"No, she's not here," Giles said, unable to hide the fear and worry that crept into his voice. He immediately came to the same conclusion as Willow.


i'm ok if you get me at a good angle, you're ok in the right sort of light

The strong smell of blood in the dangerous early morning light kept Spike from heading directly to the safety of his crypt and steered him toward the park. As he walked, he picked up the pace, knowing that this curiosity could kill him if it kept him out too long. Gathering a jog, he stopped in front of the bodies of 5 grisly dead demons.

Spike's face twisted into his vampire visage as he looked around him. He tried to focus on what could have happened but all he could smell was blood.

Buffy's blood.

And lots of it. The ground was soaked with her life's essence, staining the earth and attacking his senses. It was too much blood loss, even for a Slayer. He looked around but found no clue of where she might have gone and then he saw the tracks of one person who walked away and another who was dragged.

A glint of metal caught his eye and he crouched over the nearest demon, picking up a limp hand to examine the ring on its spiny finger. A chill made its way down Spike's cold spine as he recognized the insignia of The Order of Taraka. He stood and ran toward his crypt to escape the day. He barely noticed the smoke seeping off his body or the pain that covered his flesh as he entered the dark, moldy space he called home. Harmony was waiting with her hands on her narrow hips. Her lips were moving and annoying sound was breaking through the air, but Spike couldn't hear her. One thought ran through his mind over and over and over:

This is all my fault.


touch me where i'm rusty, let me stain your hands

Faith dragged Buffy into the mansion and called out, "Angel?"

"Not here yet," Buffy whimpered, "But he's coming."

"How do you know?" Faith asked, as she helped Buffy into Angel's old bed.

"I feel him," she said as she fell unconscious, leaving a worried sister Slayer looking down on her. For all the times that Faith wished for Buffy's death, she felt dangerously overprotective of her now. If asked a year ago, she probably would have said that she wanted to kill the bitch herself, but this morning, looking over her bloody body, Faith wanted to save her and Faith hadn't wanted to save *anyone* but herself for a very long time.

She almost smiled as she thought about her cognitive process over her time in jail. She didn't need rehabilitation there in the violent gray of the prison, she needed the light that only her true life could provide. She shuddered when she thought about being caught and being taken back to that place and felt the urge to run away, but she stayed by Buffy's side and waited for Angel.

Day was approaching quickly and the sun would be up any minute now. She hoped that Buffy was right about Angel coming because she couldn't decide on what to do now that the peril had passed. Hopefully, the mountain of sexy vampire wouldn't burst into flame before he made it here.


i will lean into you. you can be the wind
i will open my mouth, and you can come rushing in
you can rush in so hard and make it so i can't breathe

Angel was driving like a maniac and for all the danger that Gunn was used to, he was beginning to wonder if they would make it to the infamous Sunnydale and the legendary Slayer alive.

"Uh, Angel," he said as they roared passed the "Welcome to Sunnydale" sign, "Think you could chill just a little? I mean, I know the sun is coming up, but you might kill us before that happens."

A low growl came from the vampire and his face turned demonic. Angel didn't look over at his co-pilot with his flashing yellow eyes, but Gunn knew they were there.

"Okay, sorry, man. Never mind." Gunn said, raising his hands.

"She's in pain," he snarled.

"How the hell do you know that?"

"I can feel her," Angel replied, through the constant unwavering growl coming from his chest that he could not control.

"Alrighty then," Gunn said, looking at the town flashing quickly by them outside of the car, "You know where to find her?"

Angel nodded wordlessly, focused on the road. He pulled in front of the mansion and leapt out of the car, landing in a run toward the door. Gunn scrambled in behind him and nearly collided with Angel's back when the vampire suddenly stopped.

"Buffy!" Angel screamed, looking around at the blood that painted the mansion's floor. He heard nothing and ran toward his bedroom where the trail went. There was more than a tiny path of blood to follow. His lover was leaking like sieve.

"Angel," a light voice answered and Faith walked sullenly from the bedroom and met the vampire at the door.

"Faith," he snarled, "Where's Buffy?"

She jerked her head over her shoulder, indicating that Buffy waited in the bedroom, "She's lost a lot of blood."

Angel nearly knocked the dark Slayer over trying to get to his bed where his whole life laid bleeding. He rushed to her side and was followed closely by Gunn & Faith.

"Oh God," Angel said, taking inventory of her wounds. He felt her wrist and found her pulse steady but weak and released a sigh of relief. He pulled back the blanket that Faith had covered her with and his eyes landed on the blade still protruding from her thigh. He took a much needed breath before yanking it out of her leg. She woke screaming from pain and swung, slamming her little fist into his jaw. He ignored her punch and ripped his shirt sleeve off, quickly tying the fabric around her leg to stop the bleeding.

"Angel," she moaned, shaking from her pain and blood loss, "I've been waiting for you. Felt you coming."

"I'm here now, love," he said, tracing the bloody lines of her face with his hand.

"Love you," she whispered through hard earned breaths.

"Sorry baby," he whispered, gathering her into his arms, "You're not dying. Quit acting like it."

"S-so cold," she whispered back, "Think I'm in trouble."

"Everything's going to be okay," he said, lifting her from the bed. He stood with his lover nestled in his arms and looked over at Gunn.

"Gunn, start the car and put the roof up. We need to get to the hospital now. Open the back door and let me know when you're ready."

Gunn moved quickly into motion and Faith jumped into action, following along. One thing was not missed in their two action ready minds - the look in Angel's eyes was like nothing they had ever seen. He was dangerously close to the place where love and despair turns into something else altogether. The cool, logical vampire was cracking.


so i guess i'll just stand here with my back against the wall

Angel's call sent the Sunnydale crew running toward the hospital. Riley headed them inside the hospital doors and they all stopped in shock as they laid eyes on Faith and standing next to her was a strong, handsome man none of them had ever seen before.

"Faith," Riley said, his eyes narrowing at her in anger. Her name was echoed on several other sets of lips as they all stood off against her. Streams of despise hit her like a train and she took a step back.

"I saved her," she said weakly, "I didn't hurt her."

"Yeah and we're going believe that because you're so trustworthy?" Xander sneered.

"She did save her," Gunn said, crossing his arms in the defiance he was so good at. Faith turned and looked at him with thankful eyes. She knew he was only protecting her because he had no idea who she was.

"Who the hell are you?" Riley demanded.

"Gunn," he said, "I'm on Angel's crew."

"Is Angel still here?" Giles asked.

"Yeah," Gunn said, looking over to the doorway to his right, "He's in there with her."

"Who's Angel?" Riley asked.

"Buffy's ex," Willow answered.

"I'm going to see her," Riley said, turning toward the door.

"They're still working on her," Gunn protested, "You can't go in there."

"The ex can, but I can't? I don't think so," he said, moving toward the door. The hospital staff turned the soldier away at the door and he looked back at the group in hostile anger. He turned back to the window and stared in at the tall man clad in all black, leaning against the wall with his arms folded overseeing the medical process. His eyes were sharply peeled on the doctors and nurses, watching every move that they made. He looked like an iron statue waiting to break free of gravity and spring forward.

Riley thought he looked dangerous. He felt threat shiver through his body as he watched through the small square window, waiting for his moment to get in that room.


she was shaking and talking louder and louder
each sentence was sifted to a very fine powder
her face was wet and tight, her grip was cold and light

Buffy woke and looked into Angel's eyes, which melted into hers. She was aware that the room was filled with her friends, but she didn't want to break away from his gaze. The resolve she had held onto so tightly for so long was broken. She squeezed his hand and smiled weakly.

"Angel," she breathed, giving his undead name life.

"Buffy," he returned, moving his hand to wipe the tears that escaped her eyes.

"Thought I was going to die. Faith...Faith saved me," she said and the room gasped collectively. None of them believed it until it came from Buffy and even then, they were having a hard time accepting the truth.

"Order of Taraka," Angel said, answering her unasked question.

"Oh God," she said. Weak with the drugs the doctors injected her with, she began to sob. Angel pulled her into his arms and she buried her face into his chest, crying harder. She was sure she wasn't going to make it through this. Faith had already told her there were more. Hundreds.

Knowing death was imminent, all that mattered was Angel now and the time she had in his arms. She didn't care what her friends thought or what Riley was witnessing.

He lowered her back to the pillow when her tears had subsided and she allowed herself a quick scan of the room for the first time. Her eyes landed on her boyfriend and she felt her indifference toward him soaking in.

"Buffy," he said, stepping forward, after forcing himself to remain in the background for a long time. She didn't reply, but her eyes moved to Angel with a plead, Save me. Riley kept stepping forward and he had almost reached the side of the bed, when Angel revealed his demon, snarling at the current boyfriend.

"If you want to live, then stop," Angel growled. Buffy's soft hand reached up and smoothed the rough lines of his face. With a jerk, he looked down at her and reverted to his human form. The room's collective gasps were becoming a pattern as they looked on at the display with wide eyes.

"It's okay," she whispered as her eyes began to droop.

"You're a vampire?" Riley asked incredulously.

"I'm the vampire that's going to kill you if you get anywhere near her."

"I'm sorry, maybe you're confused," he retorted, "You're a vampire. I'm the boyfriend."

"You're a new face," Angel answered, "For all I know you're one of them. I'm sorry, but I'm not taking any chances with her life. I don't know you and so you're an enemy to me until this is over."

"Buffy," Riley said looking at her with pleading in his eyes but she had already fallen back asleep. Angel smiled down at her, knowing he didn't need to protect her from Riley. He was well aware that Riley had been around long before this happened, but it was a good excuse to keep him away from her. As selfish as it was, he couldn't stop himself from wanting him away from his mate.


you can't hide behind social graces
so don't try to be all touchy feely

Once they got Buffy safely home, Angel left her sleeping and moved swiftly down the stairs, sweeping past the group. He was almost out of the door, when he stopped and slowly turned to see his Grand Childe standing there attempting to talk to Giles about the current situation. A coldness fell over Angel and a chilling growl sprang forth, "You saved me a trip across town, William."

"Angel," Spike said, holding his hands up in defense with his face covered in guilt, "Listen mate -"

"Now it's ‘mate'?" Angel growled, cutting off Spike's words when his large fist made contact with his nose. Everyone stepped back as Grand Sire and Grande Childe faced off, "This is all your damn fault."

"Listen," Spike croaked, before Angel's boot pounded into his chest, "That was a long time ago. Thought the little bint had beaten ‘em and it was over. Never even paid the bastards."

"Well, it's not over," Angel said, grabbing him from the floor and slamming him against the wall, "But you're going to make it stop now."

"I don't know how," Spike admitted.

"You're going to figure it out," Angel growled, "And I'll keep you alive just long enough to make it happen."

"I'll try," Spike managed to spit out as he listened to his own neck bones cracking as Angel's hand settled over his throat. The room winced at they heard the same abhorrent sound.

"You'll succeed or you're dust," Angel said, slamming him against the wall again. Angel dragged him across the room, opened the door and tossed him roughly out, "Make it stop." He said before slamming the door.


it is good, good to be back home. how i missed this

"It's very likely Spike will not be able to call them off," Giles said as Angel came back in the room.

"I know," Angel said nodding sadly, "But it's worth a shot.

"Perhaps," Giles replied, looking doubtful, "But I was flipping through The Codex to see if there was anything about this there. Something about what you and Faith said about the recent events rang familiar to me. And," Giles said, flipping through the volume, "There is mention here of an unstoppable force coming against The Slayer and opening the Hellmouth."

"Just one Slayer?" Faith asked.

"Well, it's a little unclear," Giles said, rereading what he had already read three times.

"That's new," Xander said sarcastically.

"Wesley called earlier and we have been comparing notes on our research. It appears that The Hellmouth will be opened within the next week. From what we can tell, The Order will attempt to kill Buffy between now and then."

"And we're all in danger," Angel said, looking around at his ex's loved ones.

"Quite right," Giles said nodding.

"We need a plan," Xander announced and received a roomful of "duhs," "Well, we do!"

"Willow, did you find anything about those demons?" Giles asked the redhead who was pouring intently behind a stack of books.

"Yes," she said, not looking up. Her finger caressed the page as she finished her current paragraph, "I think I know why those particular demons were the first to attack."

"Why?" Gunn asked, pipping up for the first time.

"Well," Willow started, "The knives that they used have a weakening poison stuff on them and the effects last for several days. It's supposed to weaken and disorient the foe."

"Makes sense," Angel said, nodding.

"Yeah," Faith said, "Those cuts looked wicked painful and B usually bounces back quicker than that."

"Yes, um, Faith," Giles said, still trying to trust the other Slayer, "She does seem a bit more out of it than usual."

"She is," Buffy said, moving slowly down the stairs in a pair of sweat pants and a tiny tank top. Riley and Angel both felt nervous by the cleavage that was visible from the shirt, which hugged perfectly round bare breasts. Her adorable belly button peaked out, which made Angel want to cover her. Angel shot a look at Riley who was shooting a look back at him. Both men turned their attention back to the blonde coming down the stairs. One thing they did have in common was that they loved the way she looked when she was rumpled from bed. The crisscrossed cuts on her body had already started to fade but were still visible and each tiny line prickled over Angel's nerves.

"I'm completely drained," she said and even as she finished her words, she began to sink down. Angel, who was already on edge from her being there, sprang up the stairs and caught her in his arms.

"I can see that," he said with a gentle smile. He carried her the rest of the way down the stairs and sat down on the couch with her firmly in place on his lap.

"I think those demons did something to me," she said as she snuggled into his chest and closed her eyes.

"They did, love," Angel whispered, sweeping her hair off of her forehead. Riley's whole body jilted with the word "love" and he stayed twanging there as he realized that she was not moving away from him or his words. She was settling in to her ex-lover.

you know i really didn't intend to embrace you that long
but then again i noticed i wasn't the only one hanging on

Buffy's weakness was not only physical but mental. She wanted to turn from Angel but found that she just didn't have the strength to sacrifice the safety of him just then. She would talk to Riley later. She would deal later. Right now she just wanted to stay in his arms and be okay for once.

"What can we do?" Faith asked, astounding the room. Seemed like every time she opened her mouth, she shocked the room with a rather high voltage but she steeled herself against the road blocks. She expected this. Somehow she would get them to trust her again, even though in the back of her mind, she thought maybe they would never trust her. She worried that she would have to skip town to avoid the police before she earned it anyway.

"Willow," Giles answered, "I suggest you find a spell to protect the house so that we don't have to worry about possible assassins entering. Faith, Riley, and Gunn, you check around and see if you can find out how many of The Order are here and what they are planning."

"What about me?" Xander asked with a pout.

"Snacks," Buffy muffled into Angel's chest, "Hungry."

"Oh yeah, right," Xander said, heading for the door, "Always refreshment boy."

"But you're so good at it," Willow said brightly.


i'm gonna roll you over. gonna peel you back.
expose your tender center, watch the juices flow from the cracks
gonna peel you out of your protective shell
or i might just have to break right in there and raise some hell

Willow stood outside of the house with Tara. They both circled, shaking a soft powder on the ground and reciting an incantation. Power was flowing freely through them, bouncing back and forth from witch to witch. The air hummed with pagan power, shaking the inner core of both young women as the barrier raised itself with a flash of brilliant purple light.

Willow smiled with accomplishment, "That was a rush. I think it's strong."

"Yeah, I think it is," Tara agreed. Her hands were trembling from the strength of the spell and once again was in awe of Willow's power. She knew that the spell needed her help, but the power that radiated off her girlfriend was incredible. She didn't have much time to mull it over however, because a sharp pain struck her and she faintly heard Willow's frightened scream.

Willow reach out her shaky hand and used magick to fling the vampire from Tara's smooth throat. Angel came bounding out of the house with her scream and ran toward the disoriented vampire that Willow had flung to the ground. After dispatching the vampire with one fluid motion, Angel turned toward the pair of Wiccans.

"Are you okay?" Angel asked, walking over.

"Y-yes, I'm okay," Tara said, "Thanks."

"Sure," he answered, helping her to her feet along with the Willow who clung to her.

"This is only going to get worse, isn't it?" Willow asked fearfully.

Angel nodded regretfully as he escorted them through the protective barrier and back to the house. At the door, he stopped, "Is Xander still out getting snacks?"

Willow's eyes widened as she nodded.

"Damn," Angel muttered as he turned to find the boy. There was nothing he wanted to do less than to go find Xander.


there's just a couple things i'd like to know

Gunn, Riley and Faith all headed off alone in separate directions but Riley circled back around and followed Gunn. Waiting for his moment, he caught him in an alley just outside of The Bronze. Riley pushed him against the wall and pointed his handgun at the newcomer.

"You're going to tell me everything you know about Angel," Riley commanded, cocking his weapon.

"I don't have to tell you shit," Gunn replied, staring directly into the barrel without so much of a flinch of fear in his eyes.

"Oh, I think you do," Riley said, taking a step closer.

Gunn laughed with a twinkle of mischief, "Jealous, huh?"

"Fuck you."

"I'll take that as a yes," Gunn said, leaning casually against the brick wall as if he were chatting with a friend.

"What happened with Buffy and Angel? How could she have dated a vampire and how is he not evil?"

"Lots of questions, soldier boy," Gunn said, pushing off of the wall, "that you're gonna have to ask your girl. Wait, is she still your girl?"

"She's mine," Riley said, "And stop moving before I put a bullet in your brain."

"I'm new here. Don't know much, not that I'd tell you anyway," Gunn said and then turned to walk away. Riley's finger itched on the trigger as he watched Angel's friend stroll away. Gunn didn't entertain the thought for one second that Buffy's boyfriend would shoot him and he was right. Riley lowered his pistol and pushed it back into the holster, swearing under his breath. That didn't help at all. Suddenly he realized where he could find the answers. Turning, he made his way down the alley and around The Bronze.


musta blown a fuse or something
it was so dark in my mind
she came up to me with the sweetest face and she was holding a light of some kind

Angel dragged a very beaten Xander in the house and dropped him unceremoniously on the couch.

"Think you should order in," Angel said to the room before heading up the stairs to check on Buffy. He found her sitting against the wall in the hallway a few feet from the bathroom, leaning against the wall.

"Buffy, what are you doing?"

"Wanna take a bath," she said, looking longingly at the bathroom door.

"Didn't quite make it?" He asked trying to cover his smile.

"Shut up," she muttered, holding her arms out to him, "and help me."

He picked her up and carried her to the bathroom. He set her on the edge of the tub and she teetered there, looking up at him. He stood there with his hands in his pockets, confused on what he should do next.

"Shut the door," she said and he obeyed. He turned back to her and she whispered, "Need you to help me, ‘kay?"

"Okay," he answered but the word stuck in his throat as she lifted her shirt off and dropped it to the floor. He tried not to stare, but her torso and beautiful breasts were made available to his eyes. He blinked as he looked over the angry cuts that covered her nubile flesh. He wanted to touch each gash, each mark that was painted on her body but found himself frozen against the wall.

"Angel," she said, snapping him out of his blank stare. She was starting to feel slightly uncomfortable by the eyes that burned into her and felt her skin flushing with his closeness.

"Sorry," he mumbled. He leaned over and turned on the water. His shoulder was touching hers as he adjusted the temperature. He stood again and looked at her, still fumbling with the situation. He was certain that he was hearing things when a little voice came from red lips, "Take off your clothes."

He stared at her for a long moment and she nodded gently, almost ashamed at her request. He couldn't help but notice her increased heartbeats and the equally increased breathing coming from the beautiful wounded woman as he shed his clothes. He helped her out of the rest of her clothes and ignored his bordering on painful erection as he picked her up and lowered her into the water. She tugged him in with her and he stepped in, settled in behind her. He was very aware that he did not need to be naked nor in the tub to help her, but he didn't care. He wanted, needed the closeness. He knew part of it was her current weakness but hers was nothing compared to his.

She leaned back against him and pulled his arms around her. Closing her eyes, she relished in the feel of him for a few moments. He cupped water in his hands and wet her hair before lathering it with fragrant shampoo. He knew the fragrance well because it was always what her hair smelled like. He massaged her scalp and then rinsed away the blood and dirt from her hair.

He could barely get through the conditioning process because her hand ran absently up and down his leg. He tried to focus as he lathered her body, washing each violent streak of pain individually. He made his way over her body, stroking the pain away. Finally, he reached her sex and as he washed her, found his fingers settling on her clit. She moaned and pushed back against the erection she felt behind her. His other hand moved over her breasts and she turned her head to accept the kiss waiting on his lips.

"God, I missed you," she moaned into his mouth. He grunted his agreement, not pausing in the kiss to agree with words. He plunged a finger inside her, allowing the water to buoy his movements. She rocked against his assault on her and closed her eyes as pleasure washed over her.

"I need you inside me," she moaned in the same timbre of his dream, "Don't wanna wait anymore." Fear washed over him as he imagined her disappearing again or dying.

"Buffy," he groaned, closing his eyes to the pain, "Maybe we shouldn't..."

"Angel, please," she whispered, pulling his face into her hands, "Make love to me."

Without another moment's delay, he lifted her onto his lap and lowered her slowly as he guided his cock into her warmth. With her back still against his chest, she anchored one leg on the side of tub and one on slick porcelain floor between his legs. Moving herself over him, he splayed his hands on her hips to accept most of her weight, pushing her up and down on him.

"I love you," Angel said, kissing the back of her neck, "I missed you."

"Me too," she whispered as the water splashed over the side of the tub with their movements, leaving puddles of love on the floor that refused to reflect the danger waiting outside.


i cannot name this. i cannot explain this and i really don't want to
just call me shameless. i can't even slow this down, let alone stop this
and i keep looking around but i cannot top this

"What happened to you?" Harmony asked as Spike ran into the crypt looking as if he had been beaten the entire time he was gone.

"Can't stop them," he said, "They won't fucking stop! I called the bastards and I never even paid them but they don't care!"

"Who?" she asked, her face scrunched up in confusion.

"What the hell am I going to do? If they don't kill me, Angel will and what if...Jesus bloody Christ!"

"Spike, what are you talking about?" Harmony asked, standing up and walking over to him.

"Don't touch me," he said, walking away from her, "I need to think."

"Yeah, I wanna touch him instead," Riley said, throwing a punch that knocked Spike on his ass.

"What the hell do you want," Spike said, standing and dusting himself off, "Shouldn't you be over at the Summer's house keeping your woman from shagging my Sire?"

"That's what I want to talk to you about."

"Shagging?" Spike asked, with a crooked grin, "No wonder she's ditched you for Peaches."

His smiled was wiped away with another punch, "Shut up, Spike."

"Calm down, soldier boy," Spike said, crossing the room and taking a swig of whiskey. The vampire was further away from calm than Riley was.

"Tell me what you know about your sire," Riley demanded, hoping he got a bit more out of Spike than he had gotten out of Gunn. He needed ammunition against Angel and could only hope that Spike would be evil enough to provide it.

"Tall, vampire, cursed with soul, in love with The Slayer, likes hair gel," Spike answered, "Not much else to tell."

Riley sighed into his third punch, wishing this could get a little easier, but was sure he was a long, long way from mental peace.


it just all slips away so slowly you don't even notice till you've lost a lot

Faith wasn't sure where else to look so she headed into the forest, moving silently through the thick trees. Something was pulling her in that direction and she felt her body buzzing with exhilaration. She picked up the pace as the magic led her on. Her feet could barely keep up her mind and her heartbeat raced as she pulled herself into a full out run.

Slayer sense purring, she continued, leaving the world behind her and responding to the call that yanked her along like a puppy on a leash. Somewhere deep inside her, her conscience warned her to stop, to turn around, but it could not overpower the need to keep running toward whatever was calling her.

She slammed into an invisible barrier of magick and turned to escape it but found she was boxed in four imaginary walls. She looked around her and felt her heart sink. Panic clawed at her as the glowing eyes around her became brighter and brighter, emitting a light that was blinding to human eyes.


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