***Part Nine***

The sun was about to come up and Buffy had yet to sleep. She was waiting to see if Angel would lose his soul again. She had passed the time touching him and kissing him. Her body felt appropriately used and sore from his lovemaking. She had no idea how many times he'd brought her to a climax. She had lost count at four. And he had continued on. Eventually, they'd moved to the bed where he finally succumbed to the need to reach his own release. He had fallen asleep, evidently spent from his efforts. Buffy had been too frightened of a repeat performance of the night of her seventeenth birthday to sleep.

"Hi," he whispered. He reached for her hand and brought it to his waist. She spooned up behind him, her chest against his back.

"Good morning."

"I wasn't dreaming I take it."

"What makes you say that?"

"I can't remember waking up to you beside me naked before."

"I know," she whispered. She kissed his shoulder blade, letting her hand drift lower along his abdomen.

"It's kind of nice."

"Just kind of?"

"Mm hmm."


"Not a very good one I guess." He laughed lightly.

"Did I not make you happy?"

"What? How can you even ask me that? If I was human, Buffy, I'd be dead of a heart attack by now."

"I mean, well," she shrugged, burying her face against his back.

"Because I'm still here you mean?"

"Yeah. I mean I'm not complaining."

"I don't think it'll ever happen again, Buffy. I'm aware of it now. I don't want to go back there again."

"Oh," she said simply. It sounded logical, though she was not sure how much she trusted it. She hadn't been thinking last night. She had been so caught up in the fact that what he wanted from her was, well, her, that she had let her guard down. And now she feared she would pay the price.

He turned to face her, watching her. "Are you sorry it happened?"

"What? Of course not. It was amazing."

"Yeah, it was."

"Egomaniac much?"

"I've had sex before, Buffy, but it's only been that amazing with you."


"Because I've never loved the other women." Her eyes fell closed. She hated thinking of him with other women. She hated picturing the events that surrounded him and Darla making Connor. "Hey, what's wrong?"

"Nothing, just being silly, getting jealous."

"If it's any consolation I can't stand thinking about you and Riley together."

She smiled. "Yeah, that makes me feel better."

His fingers went to her neck where he found his bite mark. "I really am sorry."

"No need to be. I liked it."


"Yeah, I mean, I don't know if I'd want it to be an every day thing but it was kind of erotic."

"That was the point."

"It worked."


"So? You're going back tonight?" No use putting it off. She'd rather have the band aid ripped off in one pull than slowly and more painfully.

"I have to."

"I know."

"But you'll give me some time?"

"How long, Angel?" Of course she would wait. She just had mind blowing sex with him she was not about to run off in search of anyone else.

"I don't know. I know it's a lot to ask."

"No, it's really not. I really have no desire to be with anyone else. I can't claim to like it."

"I don't either. I had a dream about you."

"You did? When?"

"I've had several since you've been back, but this one was last night."

"What was it about?"

"We were together."

"I like the sound of things already."

"It wasn't now though."

"What do you mean?"

He shrugged. "I don't know how to describe it. I just know it wasn't now, the present."

She sensed there was more that he wasn't telling her but it was just nice to hear that he dreamt about them together she didn't push him to tell her more.

"That sounds nice."

"It was."

"What do you think it means?"

"I don't know."

"Do you think it means we can be together?"

"I think it points to that."

"Angel. Last night."

"What, Buffy?"

"Last night I thought I felt your heart beat." She hadn't meant to mention it, but since he had been forthcoming about his dreams it seemed appropriate.

"You what?"

"I swear I felt your heartbeat."

"Buffy, that's impossible."

"So is a lot of stuff that's happened to us."

"True, but," he took her hand and set it on his chest, over his heart. "It's not beating."

"I know," she said, tears forming in her eyes. "It was just once, Angel. But I felt it. I swear."

"Shh, you don't need to cry."

"Why can't anything between us be easy?"

"I guess because easy wouldn't mean as much. Things you have to fight for mean more."

"Am I worth fighting for?"

"I tried to tell myself you weren't, but yes."

She smiled then, relief flooding through her. He was going to leave for LA but he'd be back. He was not going to give her his usual speech. He was going to give them a chance.

He gathered her closer, his arm going around her waist protectively. She snuggled into his chest, listening intently for a moment for the sound of a heartbeat which never came. Her eyes grew heavy, the night having taken its toll on her, emotionally and physically.

She woke and her body was alert and at attention. She would think later about why it didn't bother her to wake up and immediately be in defensive mode. She had no idea what time it was or how long she had slept. Angel had turned over again so she had been cuddling into his back, which was fine. Something had woken her, though.

She listened for a minute longer, hearing nothing she snuggled back into Angel. She must have drifted back to sleep because the next thing she knew she heard lots of shouting and swearing.

"What in the hell?" Buffy sat up in the bed, pulling the top sheet around her.

"I found her." It was Dawn.

"What are you doing here?"

"I got worried when you didn't come home last night. I wanted to make sure you were all right."

"Is she okay?" Buffy closed her eyes at the sound of Xander's voice.

"I'm fine, Xander."

"Have you lost your mind? You're lying in bed with him. Naked. Is he naked too?"

"Yes," Buffy said calmly.

"Have you forgotten? Are you nuts? Do you remember what he did to us? What about Miss Calendar?"

"I remember all of those things, Xander."

"Then how? Why? I mean, you could have your pick of any guy in Sunnydale if not Southern California?"

They both turned to regard Angel when they heard a loud growling sound coming from his side of the bed. He was in his vampire face, glaring at Xander. Buffy's heart skipped a beat, paranoia washing through her. Had he lost his soul anyway?

"You will not talk to her that way, Xander."

"You stay out of this."

"No. She's an adult capable of making her own decisions."

"Yes, well, one problem with that. When Buffy makes personal decisions involving you things tend to go all haywire and we find ourselves on the verge of an apocalypse."

"That was one time, Xander."

"You disgust me, Buffy."

"Xander," she said dismayed.

"No, I'm gone. I'm done. Find someone else to clean up after your messes and fix you when he breaks your heart again."

"I'll go after him," Dawn said, following a retreating Xander. "I'm sorry, Buffy. I didn't know."

"It's okay, Dawn," Buffy said softly, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her whole.

Angel slid a protective arm around her, kissing her shoulder. "He'll get over it once he realizes I'm fine."

"I don't know."

"I'm sorry."

"It's not your fault. I shouldn't have fallen back asleep. I should have called Dawn earlier and told her I was okay. Of course she was going to worry about me when I didn't come home. She's just gotten used to having me back and I stay out all night."

"Buffy, stop beating yourself up."

She kicked off the sheet and slid out of the bed. "I should get dressed and go find them."


She looked back at him over her shoulder. He looked so sexy, his hair mussed from hours of lovemaking and sleep. "What?"

"I love you."

Her heart soared at the sound of the words she had longed to hear from him for years. "I love you, too." If she could look back to this moment she might remember the feeling of power that surged through her just then. She thought nothing of it, though. All she knew when she was dressed and left the room, she left with a feeling she had just sealed herself to some sort of fate. Just one more thing to chalk up as supernatural stuff involving the slayer and her vampire lover.

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