***Part 5***

It was late at night exactly two weeks after Buffy had run into Angel at the club. She had not seen him since, so he was keeping his end of their bargain. Strangely, she got disappointed each night when she walked out of the club and found nobody waiting for her. Well, there were guys waiting for her sometimes, but none were the guy she wanted to be there.

She had just finished washing the night's dishes, which consisted of a frying pan, a plate, a fork and a glass. Her eyes drifted to the corkboard by the phone as she wiped down the table. Angel's business card was still there. She had not touched it since that night and thought she had exercised a good amount of restraint waiting this long. She had thought for sure he would seek her out despite asking him not to.

She pulled the push pin out that was holding the business card in place and ran her acrylic pinky fingernail along the edge of it. "Should I call him?" There was no one there to answer her, but she reasoned that there was no harm in letting him know she had been looking for information.

She glanced at the clock and realized it was an insane time to call but she was wired. If it sounded like she had woken him she would just hang up. He was a vampire, so maybe he was up at this time. She took a deep breath and brought the business card upstairs with her to the den.

Buffy loved her house. She was only renting but her landlord had mentioned a rent to own option if she got further into the lease and decided she would be staying. She loved having her own space, lots of it, after sharing every inch of her house with the potentials for months. One day, she wanted to get the spare bedroom set up as an actual bedroom. She had never really considered herself much of a clotheshorse but she had filled her bedroom's walk-in closet as well as the den's closet with clothes. The spare bedroom's closet was full of her dancing costumes. She had accumulated quite a variety by now. Some netted her more in the way of tips than others and she remembered which ones those were.


"Shit," she said softly, forgetting her vow to hang up if it sounded like he had been sleeping.

"Buffy?" he said, sleepily.

"Yeah." Now she felt like a fool. He was going to assume she had information for him when she had none. So then it was going to be dreadfully obvious that she wanted to talk to him. She had craved hearing his voice since he left that night.

"It's four in the morning, is everything all right?"

"Yeah," she said.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah, I was just thinking about you."

"I've been thinking about you, too, Buffy."

"I can tell," she said dryly.

"Well, not all of us have a job that keeps us awake until all hours of the night. And somebody didn't give me her phone number and told me not to visit her at work." He was sounding more awake with each word. She heard something that sounded like movement on sheets through the phone and she had to force the images of Angel in bed out of her mind. Despite being over seven years ago the images were so vivid and real Buffy thought they might be forever imbedded in her mind. "Don't you have school tomorrow?"

"Yeah, I have class at ten."

"Buffy, why are you doing this to yourself?"

She closed her eyes. As much as she liked being independent Buffy it was nice to have someone show concern for her. Aside from Giles she had not gotten that since before her mother died and she missed it. "A girl called in sick."

"So long as you're not killing yourself," he said followed by a sigh. "Buffy, did you need something?"

"I, well," she closed her eyes and thumped her head against the top of her desk. "No, I don't need anything. I just wanted to hear your voice." Honesty might not be the best way to go, but the words were out before she could stop them.

"Oh, well," he said with a low sultry sounding laugh. Since when did Angel laugh so casually? "You can call for that reason anytime you want." She gulped, unprepared for his answer or the seductive tone his voice took on with that sentence. She was in way over her head and probably way too deep already to stop from getting her heart broken all over again.


"What are you doing?"

"Sitting in my den."

"That's it?"

"I don't know," she laughed lightly. "What else should I be doing?"

"I don't know," he said, his voice low and dripping with innuendo.

"Well," she said, wanting to get back to neutral ground. "I haven't found out anything at the club."


"You know, the case you're working on?"

"Oh." He sounded genuinely disappointed that she was changing the subject. "I almost thought maybe you'd changed your mind."

"No, I wouldn't do that."

"Well, you're in the middle of a much deserved break."

"Yeah," she said softly, not needing to be reminded of that.

"And I realized after I left that I probably shouldn't have asked you to help me. I mean, you're working, you're going to school, and I'm sure in between you try to have a life. But I didn't have your phone number to call you and I didn't want to just go over there in case, well, you know."

"No," she replied quickly, automatically. She did not want him to think she was involved with anyone. "I mean, of course I have a life but it's a pretty dull one."

"Is dull on the menu for tonight?"

"I don't work."

"Would you like to see my place?"

"You're somewhere different?"

He laughed again. "Buffy, you haven't been here in over six years, that was three places ago."

"Oh," she said, wondering where the time had gone. She suddenly felt bad because he was right. He had come to Sunnydale more than once since leaving. She had not been to LA since her freshman year of college and the visits had not been stellar ones. "I didn't know."

"It's okay. Do you have a pen and paper? I'll give you the address."

"Yes," she said, grabbing a pen and the nearest piece of paper and wrote as he gave her the address.

"Spike might be here."

"That's okay. I mean, it's okay with me. Is it okay with him?"

"Well, I haven't asked him but I don't see how he can say anything. Unless you think he has reason to be mad."

I love you,' Buffy recalled telling Spike the last time she had seen him. He had been disintegrating into ash at the time and his response had been No, you don't, but thanks for saying it.' He had told her to go then, willing to die and give up his newly acquired soul to save the world. "Not mad, no," she admitted, contemplatively. Mad probably would not be the word if Buffy were to show up to see Angel.

"Anytime you want to get here is fine. We work from the house, any daytime assignments Illyria handles. But I'll make sure my schedule stays clear if you give me a guess on a time."

"Say five? That way if something comes up I won't keep you from it when the sun goes down."

"That's fine."



"Who's Illyria?"

"She works with us and aside from Spike and me is the only one to have survived the take down of the Senior Partners. There's more to the story than that, but that's the short of it."

"Oh," she said softly. "And Giles told you he wouldn't send help?"

"In not quite so blunt a way, yes."

"I'm sorry, Angel. If I had known we would have come in full force. There are hundreds of slayers now."

"It would have been helpful, yeah."

She had not realized Giles could be so vindictive. To turn his back on someone in need, someone asking for help was just not like him. She would have to remember to ask him about it sometime. "Well, I guess I'll let you get back to sleep."

"I don't know how likely that is now."


"Because now you have me wondering what your get-up was tonight."

She smiled then, feeling a lightness in her heart that she had not felt in years and it went right down to her very soul. "I was an Indian princess."


Her smile widened. "You'll have to come watch some night to find out."

He groaned softly. "You expect too much of a man if you think I could take that a second time."

"Good night, Angel," she whispered, feeling suddenly breathless and giddy. For a second she was right back in high school and that sixteen year old girl who was crazy about the older, mysterious man who helped her.

"Good night, Buffy. I'll see you later. Fully dressed, I hope."

"You can count on it," she said and hung up before they got themselves into trouble.

She was too wound up to go to sleep now, so she slid her chair in front of her computer and turned the monitor on. She rolled her mouse around so her screen saver stopped. The picture of Willow, Xander and her that Giles had taken to replace the one lost of the three of them from high school was her desktop photo. It was a different photo than the one that had been taken back in high school. They were much older and wiser now. Life had not been easy for the three of them.

She opened her email program and double clicked on Willow's name. She had a feeling Willow would not be overly surprised at the tone of her conversation with Angel tonight. Willow had emailed Buffy almost every day asking if she had called Angel yet. Every day Buffy had said no, until today. She tucked her hair behind her ears and found she was happier after her conversation with Angel than she had been in a long time. She was not sure if that was a good thing or not, Angel happiness had led to bad things in the past.

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