***Part Four***

She looked fine. He wasn't sure why she was here at The Bronze with Xander instead of somewhere on campus. He wondered when he saw them head to the dance floor if they were on a date. Angel knew Xander wasn't enrolled at the university like Buffy and Willow were.

After a few more minutes of watching her from his shadowy vantage point he headed toward campus. It was time to find out what he could about the guy who'd taken advantage of her. He wasn't foolish enough to believe Buffy had been forced into anything by a human. He did know that she was a passionate person who no longer had an outlet for it.

He wasn't sure which bothered him more. Her taking up with a stranger or Harris. The stranger had hurt her, something Angel knew Xander would never do. At least with the other guy Angel had no face to put with a name. Yet. He would rectify that problem tonight. While he could not vamp out he could put the fear of God in the guy.

UC Sunnydale's campus was not that big. At the bar the campus offered Angel hit pay dirt. It had been surprisingly easy. He had overheard a few guys talking about the latest notches they added to their bedposts. The mug of beer Angel held shattered under the pressure of his grasp the more he heard the punk talk about Buffy. Intimate things that no one had the right to know about her.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I don't know what happened."

"It must have been a faulty mug. I'll get you another one. On the house."

"I'm fine, really."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," Angel said, suddenly missing Willy. This guy was probably worried about getting sued. "Who are those guys?"

"Just a bunch of no good punks. They're in here every weekend talking about their conquests. They are good, though, just watch, there goes one of them now," he indicated as the one talking about Buffy approached a table with a group of girls. "He seems to be the most successful of the group."

"What's his name?"

"Patrick, Parker, something like that. I think it's Parker, it's something not so common. You sure you don't want another drink?"

"I'm positive," Angel said, setting some money on the bar as he prepared to follow Parker and his latest target outside. They ended up at a fraternity house Angel realized with distaste. He followed them inside. Did Buffy participate in these things? She was one for a good time, but this was trouble waiting to happen. Despite her calling, she was still relatively na´ve when it came to things, like guys who would prey on a broken hearted freshman.

"Hey Parker," Angel called out after hearing a few people greet him.

"Do I know you?"

"I've seen you around. I saw you at the bar tonight. Didn't I see you here with Buffy?"

"You know Buffy?"

Angel smiled and called on some of his mannerisms without his soul to pull this off. "No, but you could say that I want to. I thought you were, you know, with her." He was cocky, sure of himself, a rival for Parker to get nervous about.

"Nah, she was just a whim, but if you go for the clingy type she'd be all right."

"Clingy?" Angel asked, guiding Parker into the privacy of one of the house's hallways.

"Yeah, she seemed like she was cool with just having a good time, but it was worth the aggravation. She's a wildcat in the sack. I could barely walk the next day."

That was all he could take. Quicker than a blink of an eye his hand was at Parker's throat and he was pinned against the wall.

"Hey man," he said before Angel squeezed tighter.

"You're going to stop talking about Buffy. Anyone you've already spoken to about her if they ask again you're going to say you were exaggerating. And then you're going to apologize to Buffy. After that, you're not to look at or even think about her again. If I hear that you've said one word about her beyond the fact that she's a nice girl who you had fun with I will come back."

Parker's eyes were wide with fear and Angel relished the sensation. He could get off on this. It would be easy to just keep squeezing until he could no longer breathe. How many times had he gotten off on the sensation of feeling a victim's body lose consciousness and then the passing of life altogether? It had not been that long anymore since he'd given into the baser side of being a vampire so it was still fresh in his mind. The taste of fresh blood. The thrill of the hunt. The euphoria after a kill. Angel loosened his grip around Parker's neck. "Do we have an understanding?"

Parker nodded, his hands reaching for his throat.

"And I will know if you do or say anything I've just instructed you not to do."

He nodded again and Angel released him. "Who are you?"

"It doesn't matter," he stepped back and thought of one last detail. "Buffy doesn't know we had this little talk. Enjoy your party," he said and left, a billow of leather and rage surrounding him. He wasn't sure at that moment which was more tangible.

He stopped at her dorm only to find she wasn't at home, not that he'd expected her to be. A glance at his watch told him it was still early, it hadn't taken him nearly as long to hunt the bastard down as he thought. He rested his hand against her door, accepting the small token of comfort he received from knowing she had touched it, too.

"Get a grip," he whispered.

It wasn't too much later he returned to The Bronze. His mood as it was, he neglected to worry about being discreet or stealthy in his approach. Now that he had seen and touched the guy, knew that Spike had been telling the truth, his emotions were in control. She and Xander and a few other people he did not know were sitting at the same table she picked out earlier.

He heard her laugh as he approached. He felt a jolt of regret and anguish coarse through his body as her eyes met his. He saw shock there. He offered her his hand, which she took without hesitation and he helped her stand.

"Angel's here. Buffy you were right. Great."

"Xander, mind your own business," Angel said with a low growl and escorted Buffy from the table, through the crowd and out the door.

"What are you doing here?" She stared at him as if not quite believing he was there, which made Angel smile. "You were watching me earlier."

"Yes."

"Why?"

"I needed to see you."

"And your plan was for me not to see you?"

"At first."

"What changed your mind?"

"Your choice in dates."

"Oh come on, you're not jealous of Xander."

"Not that date."

She frowned. "I'm not here on a date, Angel. If I was what business is it of yours?"

He growled, allowing his human visage to slip away. He tugged her to him and kissed her until she was breathless. He slid his mouth along her jaw and neck, his fangs worrying the scar there. He had made that scar. It was his mark. She was his forever. He would know her anywhere, could find her no matter what. He licked the scar once, twice, sinking his fangs in with the third swipe of his tongue.

She gasped in surprise but made no move to get away. Her arms slid around him, drawing him closer not that it was possible for him to sink any deeper into her. She rocked her lithe body against him so he could feel every curve, every muscle. She welcomed him, accepted him for the monster he was and still he drank.

His hand slid in between their bodies to her thigh. His hand pushed her skirt up and her panties aside, allowing him to enter her. She gripped his finger hard as he slid in and out of her. He tasted her blood in his mouth and felt her feminine essence with his fingers. It wasn't enough. It would never be enough.

"Angel," she whispered and he knew he had to stop. He withdrew his fangs, swiped the holes with his tongue sampling the last of the sweet nectar that was slayer blood. His slayer's blood. But he wasn't done with her. He needed her to know she was not going to cast his memory off so easily.

She remained pressed against him, a finger resting deep within her joined by another. His mouth found hers and it was euphoria. The idea that someone else had been with her and didn't appreciate the gift he had been given was beyond him. How could someone not want forever with Buffy?

He felt her hand against the front of his pants searching for the button and zipper. He wasn't sure what had overcome him. It went far beyond jealousy. He needed to possess her, for her to know that she would always be his. There would be no substitute, no other man for her. Just as there would be no other for him.

She freed him, cupped his erection with her hand and stroked him to heightened arousal. "Should we be doing this?" she asked, wrapping her legs around his waist. It was too late, he was too far gone to care.

"I don't know. I think it's okay," he whispered with honest uncertainty. Cupping her bottom, he guided her onto him and let out a howl in release of his pent up emotions and arousal. This was home to him, here in her arms and inside of her. Their first time he had been gentle and careful, mindful she had never been with a man. Tonight, thoughts of her experience or lack of it were far from the forefront of his mind. What was he that he needed to control her so deeply? Possess her to her very core? He knew the answer. He was an animal, a monster, a freak in love with the very person he should be at war with.

"I love you," she whispered as she fell over the edge shortly before his release. There would be no misunderstanding this tryst for making love, but it was much more than just a fuck.

"Did I hurt you?"

She laughed softly and it lightened his mood. "Hardly." She unwrapped her legs from around him and he released her once her feet were firmly planted on the ground. "What was that all about?"

"You were with another guy."

"Uh, yeah," she said. "You left me."

"Not to take up with the first college guy that sweet talked you out of your pants."

"As if that's any of your business."

"You are my business, Buffy. You could get pregnant or get a disease."

"No, you see, that's where you're wrong. And, hello, used protection, not that it's any of your business."

"I just made it my business. No more."

"No more what?"

"No more frat guys. No more guys period."

"Excuse me? Have you lost your mind?" Her eyes widened. "Your soul."

"Still here on both counts." He ran a finger along the fresh mark on her neck. It wasn't exactly even with the scar she had there before, so her neck was going to look pretty freakish after this. He felt her shiver at his touch and smiled. "The first time I did this I didn't know what I was doing. You made me and the need to survive outweighed anything else."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm not letting you go. This mark proves it."

She threw her arms up and stalked away from him. "You need to make up your mind. How do you know what I am doing?"

"You mean who you're doing?"

"Whatever. How did you know?"

"Spike."

She rolled her eyes and let out a sharp exhaled breath. "Of course, Spike, I should have known he was going to blab everything to you. Did he get the ring?"

"No, I destroyed it." He watched her as she gracefully pulled a stake out of her purse. "What are you doing?"

"Are you going to go all soulless on me? We had sex."

He shook his head. "I don't think so. I know about the curse this time and I don't want to lose my soul."

"Then you won't mind if I take you back to the mansion and use those shackles?"

"I never knew you were into kink, Buffy."

"I can't let you leave here until I know for sure."

"I'm not leaving."

"Fine."

"I thought you'd be happy."

"I'm not overly happy about you waltzing in here and taking over my life as if you own me."

"Don't I own your heart? And let me enlighten you in case you missed it, that was mind blowing sex."

There was just the hint of a pause on her part but it was enough. She said she loved him there was no taking that back or denying it. "I'm not sure my heart is what I should be thinking with."

He slid his hand into hers and began walking out of the alley. "Is Xander going to be all right getting home?"

"Yeah, he met me here. Where are we going?"

"The mansion."

"You're agreeing?"

"I don't have much choice do I? I just had the best quickie ever I'm not ready to get into a fistfight with you."

"Thank you."

He wasn't sure if she was thanking him for the compliment about the sex or his not wanting to get into a fight with her. "So, what do you tell people about that scar?"

Her fingers went to her neck where she rubbed the new mark first and then the older one. "That I was attacked by a dog."

He laughed. "And they believe that?" People were so gullible.

"Of course they believe it. I suppose if I wasn't doing my job and they knew there were vampires running rampant in Sunnydale they might not."

"Do you need to tell anyone where you're going?"

"No. Willow is with Oz and there's no one else. Xander might wonder, but he'll figure it out I guess. I told him I thought you might be here."

"I guessed you sensed me."

"Why did you come?"

"I needed to see you. I was getting nothing accomplished in LA after Spike left. I kept thinking about you hurting and taken advantage of."

"No one took advantage of me."

"I saw the guy, Buffy. Come on. You're way out of his league anyway."

"Thanks."

"You were just an easy mark."

"Thanks a lot."

"It wasn't meant as an insult. You were vulnerable, men like him sense that."

"I just don't get what it is about me that makes men go away."

"I'm not leaving again, Buffy."

"You say that now."

"I mean it."

"What about our freak show? What about my chance at normalcy?"

"I decided I like freaky. And what's normal?" He felt her eyes on him, intense and judgmental. He glanced at her and shrugged. "I can't stand the thought of you with someone else. That alone should tell me I can't let you go."

"I don't want you with me because you're jealous, Angel."

"It wasn't jealousy, Buffy. I wish I could explain it. I told you once I wanted to protect you, your heart, and while I hate the fact I hurt you and broke your heart I can't stand by and allow others to do the same. They don't know you, they don't know how special you are."

"So just like that, you're back?"

"It's not like I need to file a change of address with the post office. Mayor Wilkens scored some hits with his speech about his wife, Buffy. I won't deny that. But I realized the past few days that I'm miserable sitting there wondering if you're okay. If you have to die, I'd rather it be with me then alone."

"Depressing much? I think you need to bone up on the post-coital conversation tips."

He chuckled. "I'll research that immediately."

"You know what, I take that back. Your soul stays intact and I give you freedom to discuss whatever you want."

"Deal." He really didn't think it was going to be a problem. He would never let his guard down like that night again. Had he known that night what was happening he might have been able to stop it, to fight for possession of his soul. Once the soul was gone the desire to fight for it left with it. He'd had no chance. This time he knew better, though he wasn't sure Buffy's friends and mother would see it that way.

"Giles needs to know, Angel. It's no one else's business really, but he needs to know."

He had nothing to say to that, his mind trying to imagine just how that conversation would play out. The mansion was just ahead of them. "I don't suppose I could talk you into?"

"No," she said quickly, cutting him off. "No more sex for you. You know, after Parker I'd pretty much decided to give up on sex. I just don't get the hoopla. You have sex, you feel good for a while, and then the whole world comes crashing down."

"Not this time," he whispered at the mansion door. He cupped her face, tilting it up so he could kiss her. "The whole world will be here for you tomorrow welcoming you, Buffy. I promise."

"I hope you can keep your promise, Angel, for all our sakes."

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