***Part Two***

He felt her stiffen ever so slightly when Spike came into view. Did she really have feelings for Spike? He found it unfathomable, but even he had to admit Spike could be charming when he wanted to be. Even if he was a moron most of the time. It was one of the things that had made them successful in the hunt. Together, the four of them could appeal to just about anybody.

"Spike." He spoke lazily, as if he hadn't a care in the world. Or knowledge that the other vampire was involved with his slayer.

"What the hell is he doing here, Buffy?"

"You act as if I don't belong here."

"You don't, you belong in LA."

"I'm here to help Buffy, I'll always help Buffy. She knows that."

"Right you were right there to catch her when she dove off that tower. Oh wait, no you weren't. Got the shit pounded out of you, too, while a god was on the loose looking for Niblet. Oh wait, no that was me."

"Had I known I would have been here."

"On your terms."

"What's your concern here, Spike?"

"Angel, don't." She turned to face him, her eyes searching his face. Briefly, he wondered what she saw. Was she able to tell the difference in him? No, she couldn't. "I'm going to take him to the high school. We'll be back in a bit."

His arm still at her shoulder, he slid it around her neck to draw her beside him. He did not intend to be back in a bit. If he had his way, they wouldn't see her for days. He was on borrowed time. He wanted to get his fill of her because there was no way Soul Boy would give into his baser urges where his slayer was concerned. Eventually they'd realize Angelus was gone and they'd get with their save the world ways and resoul him.

"Yeah, I remember how much work you two got done out together."

He placed a finger over Buffy's lips when she started to reply. "Don't make promises you can't keep, Buffy." It was loud enough Spike would hear, which was what Angelus wanted.

They walked in virtual silence to the high school. It made him laugh that someone came up with the idea of building the new high school in the same spot as the old one. Someone had a twisted sense of humor. Angelus could appreciate that. Buffy made with the small talk, updating him on life on Sunnydale and Spike's situation.

"Unbelievable." He couldn't believe it. Spike sought out his soul? Impossible.

"Yeah, it's pretty miraculous."

He tried to think of what Soul Boy would say. The type of questions he'd ask given the situation. It was not in his nature to care that anyone might be experiencing a hard time. "How's he handling it?"

"Better now," she said, and went on to explain what he'd been like when she first found him. They did stop a time or two along the way to kiss. One or two were at his prompting, one or two at hers. He had forgotten what it was like to kiss her. Gone was the innocent, inexperienced girl he'd first kissed years ago. But there was still an uncertainty to her.

She led him to the basement where the seal was. The area was dimly lit but he didn't need any to see it. He wasn't sure what to say. It didn't seem big enough to unleash evil. He glanced where she stood by the door and noticed for the first time she had a stake in her hand.

"What's going on?"

"You tell me."

"You're not Angel."

"Buffy, how can you say that?"

"One Eyed Jack?"

He winced, realizing she'd caught his slip. "It seemed to fit at the time."

"When did it happen?"

"Time means something different to me, Buff, surely you know that."


"A few weeks ago."


"Believe it or not, it was intentional. Those idiots Soul Boy has working for him believed that I'd have answers Angel didn't. They didn't stop to realize my memories are his memories. There is no separation."

"Boy, do I know that. And you went along with this idea."

"Well, I, Soul Boy that is, didn't realize they were going to be idiots. Not to mention I had help. They built a cage, the plan was a sound one, extract my soul, keep it contained, and as soon as they had their answers they'd put it back. Only problem is, I don't like to be anybody's lapdog, and I'm sure not going to give answers knowing they're just going to make me disappear again. I wasn't counting on Cordelia setting me free."


"Yeah, I couldn't believe it either. I mean, she was the only one of the group that had seen me in action without my soul. Go figure, right? I heard talk of the Slayer coming to town, found out it was Faith, not you."

"The phone call."

"Bingo. I've always told anyone who claims you're dumb not to underestimate you."

Her lips curled up into just the barest hint of a smile. "Thanks, I think."

He stalked toward her. She didn't seem the least bit frightened, and that made him hesitate. She smiled then. No hint, a full-fledged Buffy smile. "You're welcome."

"So, Faith did her magic?"

"You know she did. A little rusty from lack of practice, but I'm sure breaking out of prison and getting past all those guards got her real stoked."

"We could use her."

"I'm sure they'll send her down, but they're busy looking for me."

"Why did you come?"

"I needed to see you."

"Wrong answer."

"It's the honest answer. You need to know some things Soul Boy would never tell you. So it's up to me."

"Why should I trust anything you say?"

"Have I tried to kill you yet? Harris? Your potential slayers? Do you have any idea how a house full of the blood of young girls appeals to me? Slayers."

"Go on."

"Oh, I will, Lover, but first I need another kiss."

"And I'd kiss you why?"

"You've known for how long I'm not your one true love? Yet you still kissed me, let me touch you in front of Harris and Spike, left with me."

"I wanted the others safe."

He shook his head as he closed the distance between them. "Liar."


He growled softly, grabbing her and dragging her toward him as he had on her porch earlier. Here at least he could kiss her as he wanted to. Devour her. Didn't she understand she'd be no good to him dead? And there was no chance of him turning her. He wasn't foolish enough to believe she'd become subservient or relish the lifestyle.

"How did they do it?" She finally got free of his hold on her, but she didn't flee.


"Take your soul?"

"Some magic guru, gave me visions. I thought I was making love to Cordelia."


He placed a hand at her chin and tilted her face up to look at him. She looked hurt by his confession. Of course, he knew that would be her response which is why he'd told her the unedited version. "It was your name I called out when I felt my soul leaving, Buffy. It was you I thought of when I reached that moment of happiness. I've been with women since you and never lost my soul."


"I'm not here to sweet talk you or candy coat things for you, Buff."

"Why are you here?"

"You're making a mistake being with Spike."

"And you have say over my love life since when?"

"Your lover has made an error in judgment. He needs you. I need you. He was human you know? And gave it up for you."

"What are you talking about?"

"Well, now," he started. He was excited at the opportunity to tell her this. Soul Boy had been an absolute idiot to let her walk out his door not knowing, believing they'd done nothing but fight. She'd returned to Sunnydale and, within a month, into the arms of Riley Finn.

She backed against the door, distancing herself from him. He wasn't the one who'd hurt her, who'd taken away and altered her memory of that day. Her eyes were wide. He saw pain there, revulsion even. There was no question she believed him. She slumped and slid down the length of the door until her cute ass made contact with the cement floor. She crawled to the edge of the steps and began to wretch.


"Stay away from me."

He turned away. This wasn't the reaction he had expected. He wasn't sure what he'd hoped to gain by revealing the truth of that day, of Angel's actions, but her getting sick was not it. He heard the sticky sound of sweaty, bare skin meeting cement and turned to face her again.

He knelt beside her, pulling her hair away from her face. "Come on, Buff."

"I said stay away from me."

"I don't see why you're getting sick, Buffy."

"You wouldn't."

"Explain it to me."

She looked at him then. Her eyes normally strong and full of life held so much pain, guilt, revulsion he didn't understand. And he wanted to. It rocked him to his very core, but so help him he wanted to understand.

"I was with Riley."


"Oh my God. Maybe that doesn't mean anything to you, but it does to me. Weeks after being with Angel, you, I was with Riley."

"I'm already aware of this and don't think I need to be reminded."

"No wonder you were so angry. I didn't get it, tried to but I didn't. Our last visit as far as I know had ended badly."

"That's how Soul Boy wanted it."

"Why? What is so wrong with me that you'd give up everything we dreamed of? You talked about my chance at a normal life, but you didn't want to give it to me?"

He brushed her tears away with the pads of his fingers, licking them clean. She didn't seem to notice, which was probably best. He placed his hands on either side of her face and made her look at him. "Because with the soul I'm a pathetic person who would rather suffer than see you get hurt. And God forbid I be the reason you're hurt."

"You mean that?"

"It seems this is my day for being honest, so yes."

She stood then, brushing off her jeans. "I'm going to go find a bathroom."

"I'm going to check out this seal."

"It's closed."

"Curious minds want to know."

"You're not going to reopen it, Angel."

"Not with you standing right here, no. It's been a while since I've been out, roaming free but I'm not dumb."

He took the stairs back down to the basement floor and walked to the seal. He didn't know what about it interested him. This close to actually seeing the hellmouth he imagined. What demon wouldn't want to pay homage to such a sacred thing? His slayer, his mate had managed to close it. He wondered what that meant exactly.

She returned a few minutes later, looking better. That wasn't a difficult order to fill considering the shape she was in then.

"Hi," she whispered.

"Hey," he mumbled. He cursed himself for talking so pleasantly to her.

"Why did you come here?"

"I told you."

"I know what you told me, Angel. But if you wanted to run amuck, coming here wasn't the wisest course of action. You'd have to know I'd realize sooner or later."

"I was counting on later," he admitted with a shrug.

"But why?"

"I told you, you're making a mistake being with Spike."

"He has his soul, Angel. He's not going to lose it. It's not a curse with him."

He reached to touch her face with the palm of his hand. She pressed into his touch. "Look at the way you react to me, Buff. Even knowing I don't have my soul, that I could leave here and turn Sunnydale upside down. You still seek my touch. I'm your mate, Buffy. You could try settling for Spike, but it would never work."

"What am I supposed to do?"

"Love me."


"You heard me."

"I do love you. I've always loved you. More than anything I love you."

"No. You love him. Soul Boy. Love me, Angelus."

"I can't."

"You can, you do, you let me touch and kiss you knowing or at least suspecting I didn't have my soul. You trusted me with your life."


"I've been losing control for years, Buff. Leaving Sunnydale while the smartest thing I ever did as far as we were concerned. There was no way we were going to be able to stay celibate. It just wasn't going to happen. But without you, your goodness, your light, your slaying I'm on the edge. I never know which way I'm going to fall."

"What are you saying?"

"Would the Angel you know lock a room full of lawyers in with a hungry Dru and Darla, Buffy?"

Her head jerked up, her eyes wide with surprise. "That's right. I did that with the soul. And that was just the beginning."

"What do you want from me, Angel? You're talking in riddles. Nothing you've said so far tells me what you want from me."

"You. I want you. I want you to remember that day. I want to know when I go back to LA with my soul intact that I'm not the only one living with the memories."

"And I'm supposed to want this why?"

"You already know it happened. Which is worse? Not remembering the details but knowing it happened or having a tangible memory to grasp onto when you need it."

"How do you know you're going to get your soul back?"

"It's inevitable. They'll find it, they'll call Willow, she'll fix it and you'll have your dearly beloved and departed Angel back."

"What do you want?"

"You want me to spell it out?"

She nodded but said nothing. "You, just you, alone with me until the soul is back."

"The potentials."

"Can wait a few hours. What's another day?"

"Angel, I can't turn my back."

"When was the last time you did anything for yourself?"

"I can't think that way. There's no time for myself, Angel."

He lowered his mouth to hers. "Make time," he whispered before closing his mouth over hers. His tongue pried her lips apart; she wasn't as unwilling as she wanted him to believe. His tongue found hers and danced intimately inside her mouth. Her hands gripped the front of his coat, drawing him closer. She pressed her body against his. "Meant to be mine," he murmured.

"You really believe that?"

"You fit me, I fit you. I'd like to remind you just how well."

"And then I have to go back to my heart breaking."

"And you're really happy with Spike?"

"I was getting there."

"Do you love him?"

"I do."

"What?" he roared? He sucked in a breath, not expecting that response at all. His mate loved another, it wasn't possible.

"I do love him, not in the same way as you. Never. But he's changed, Angel. He's a good man."

He dropped his hands into hers, clutching them as if he were drowning and she was his life preserver. "We're not men, Buff, we're vampires."

"You don't need to remind me."

"Come with me," he murmured.


"The mansion."

"Oh God, Angel, I don't think this is a good idea."

"You need to relieve some stress, I need to get the idea of Cordelia sex out of my head."

"You could pick up anybody you want to have sex with. Go to The Bronze."

He growled low, in warning. "I don't just want sex, Lover, I want it all."


"Food and fucking."

"You think I'll let you."

"I know you will. You got off on it when I fed the last time. With the soul I was too much of a gentleman to admit I noticed. Soul's gone, I can tell you that I know." He kissed her, knowing she was close to succumbing.


He kissed her again, dipping his tongue into her mouth. He knew how to play the seductive lover when he needed to. "You need this."

"I shouldn't."

"You should." He slid his hands to her ass, cupping her so he could tug her to him. "You must."

She groaned softly and he knew he had her. He slid his mouth to the scar on her neck. He grazed the individual fang scars, lapping at them with his tongue. He ground against her. It would have been obscene if he had thought about it.

"And then what? I just let you go?"

"You've heard the expression third time's the charm. I don't think Soul Boy will want to let you go a third time. Use me, Buff, use me to get the love of your life back. In his bed he won't be able to turn you away again."

"You don't know that. He does it every time."

"He misses you." She whimpered as he grazed the inviting flesh of her neck with his fang. "I miss you," he whispered.

"They'll come looking for me."

She had a point there.

"I'm willing to chance it. It'd be more exciting that way." He slid one hand between her legs, rubbing his finger along the cleft between her legs through her jeans. "Just think, we could be up in a bedroom, me deep inside of you as I should be while Xander or Spike come to find you."

She let out an aroused whimper and he knew he was close to getting his way. He reached around to the waist of her pants, finding the fastenings and began to undo them. "Remember what I felt like inside of you? How perfect we were. It wasn't the fucking that made me lose my soul, Buff. I've fucked before and since. Hell, Darla was a pro, you don't think she could have made me happy? But she didn't. It was you. Just you."


"Say it!" He reached into her pants now, stroking her through her panties.

"I'll go with you to the mansion."

"And if I'm in the middle of fucking you when they come? Are you going to beg me to stop or keep going?"

"I want you to finish."

"There's my girl," he whispered. He gave her a sloppy kiss while peeling back the edge of her panties to stroke her outer lips once. He brought his finger to his mouth and licked it. "Slayer. Mate. Mine. They all taste the same. All three wrapped together in a delicious package."

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