***Part One***

End March 1998

He entered the apartment and knew instantly she had been there. He came here to store things he wanted to keep hidden from Dru and Roller Boy. There was no telling what type of trouble Spike got into when Angelus was out nights feeding. Angelus knew better than to trust either one of them and if they found evidence that he had been within striking distance of his Slayer more than once he would never hear the end of it. Spike was already getting vocal about Angelus allowing his Slayer to still walk around Sunnydale.

{Because you love her like I do.}

"You'd like to believe that," he hissed in response to Soul Boy's interruption. Just as he had lurked inside Soul Boy all along, Angelus now had to deal with Soul Boy and his sappy thoughts. It had taken Soul Boy decades, and a beautiful blonde Slayer, to successfully push Angelus down deep enough to where Angelus knew he was talking only to himself most of the time. Hopefully, it would not take Angelus that long to quell the tiresome Soul Boy.

He walked to the bed that they had shared over a month ago, a relatively short time to him. Granted, it probably felt like an eternity to his Slayer, but to Angelus it was just a drop in the bucket. Particularly after one hundred years of being caged in and tempered by Soul Boy. Angelus ran his hand along the still warm bedding that reeked of her, which meant that she had not left too long ago. "Well, hello, Lover," he purred, his lips curling into a predatory smirk.

{Face it, you knew she had been here, that's why you came, not to hide some drawings.}

"Fuck off," he hissed and pulled the piece of ivory parchment from his pocket defiantly. He slid the framed picture from the wall and worked the combination for the safe located in the wall behind it, placing the drawing in it with the other things he wanted to keep hidden from Drusilla.

He pulled one of the drawings from the safe, his favorite piece thus far. It was a fictional rendering, of course, Soul Boy had only been with his Slayer the once, so there had been no time for fun and games. It had not been difficult for Angelus to envision what his Slayer would look like dressed in a corset, a pair of stockings attached to a garter and high heels. The drawing was in pencil so there was no color, but there did not need to be. His Slayer would be dressed completely in black, the corset leather, of course, and the laces would be tied as securely as Angelus could tie them without rendering her unconscious. Her arms were stretched out to either side, leather cuffs around each wrist attached to chains. What the chains were attached to was not in the picture, but Angelus could picture the ceiling above his bed clearly. Her eyes were what Angelus found most impressive about the piece because they sparkled with mischief and pleasure. Angelus had not drawn fear or hatred or loathing in his Slayer's eyes for some reason.

"The cuffs would be padded with velvet," he said almost reverently, tracing the penciled outline of his lover. His hand dropped to the front of his black leather pants and he groaned as he touched his hardening cock. He balked at the idea of protecting, pampering, or offering her comfort. "Velvet lining for the cuffs, indeed. Get out of my head, Soul Boy."

{You know she deserves the velvet.}

"No," he howled again. Angelus was fully aware of what his Slayer deserved. Leather and the cool links of a metal chain against bare skin. Of course, he noticed Soul Boy did not protest about the leather or chains, merely that her wrists be protected from chaffing. "She was good, wasn't she," he murmured.

{Not that you told her so.}

"Because the bitch doesn't need to know," he roared, pushing Soul Boy further down. Of course, his secret would likely be revealed once she found out that Soul Boy had achieved his one moment of true happiness in one hundred years with her. It was not the act of making love to her that Soul Boy had been truly happy about, but the trust she had placed in him. In Soul Boy. She had let him bite her, had given Soul Boy complete control, and had let Soul Boy be dominant, which was really Angelus' game not Soul Boy's but it was still a matter of trust. Soul Boy for one hundred years had been afraid of letting loose and instead had become the pansy that Spike so appropriately called ‘The Big Poof'.

He placed the drawing back in the safe, slamming it shut and spinning the dial to lock it before putting the framed picture back on the wall. Angelus did not find it unsettling that Buffy had free reign to this apartment or that he trusted her over his childe and her childe. He had found no evidence of her rifling through his things. She slept on the bed, used the shower, but otherwise left the apartment alone.

He had howled in horror the first time he discovered she had been there and obviously had plans on returning. He had found a bottle of shampoo in the shower and a few sets of clothes in the nightstand by the bed, all of which belonged to her. He had laughed sardonically at the idea of her missing Soul Boy so much that she sought solace here. Of all places they had spent time together she had chosen this place, the place where together they had released Angelus. Maybe she was a glutton for punishment, maybe she enjoyed the painful memories of the hurtful words Angelus had bestowed upon her. Angelus really did not care, but he had for some unexplained reason left her things where he found them. Everyone deserved solitude once in a while. So long as she did not come here when Angelus required the same thing he would not challenge her.

He turned to leave and paused at the door, his hand resting on the knob. Without thinking Angelus shed his leather duster followed by the crimson silk shirt he wore leaving him in just his V-neck white cotton T-shirt. He shrugged back into his duster before placing the shirt over the pillows on the bed, one still bore the indention from her head and he left the apartment.

It was not until he was in the cemetery about an hour later watching her that Angelus realized what he had done by leaving the shirt behind. He was not normally so careless and now his Slayer would know he had been to the apartment. Would she suspect he had been there more than once? "Damn you," he muttered to all three of them knowing only himself and Soul Boy could hear. His lover was too far away and otherwise occupied to notice, let alone hear, him.

He recognized the vamp she was currently in battle with as being one of his minions and grew furious. What in the hell was he doing fighting her? He had made it very clear that no one was to touch her.

{Apparently, they're not as loyal as you think.}

"Shut up," he hissed, game face falling into place. He clenched his fists tightly in anger at both Soul Boy and the minion that dared defy him. If his Slayer did not dust the insolent fool, Angelus would make sure the torture lasted for days before he actually dusted him. She was his to do with as he pleased.

Unfortunately, he was not sure yet what would please him. Turning her into Drusilla would be nowhere near as satisfying as it had with Drusilla. He had yet to decide just what he wanted for his Slayer, but to drive her mad was definitely not it.

Angelus watched from a distance, sensing when his Slayer picked up on his presence during her fight against the pathetic excuse for a minion. Apparently, the connection they shared had nothing to do with the soul, because Angelus was always aware when his Slayer was nearby, too.

His eyes drifted from the minion to his Slayer, finding the view of her far more appealing. She was dressed in an outfit he remembered well from the night Soul Boy had told her about driving Drusilla insane before turning her on the day she took her holy orders. The cream knit like top with off the shoulder sleeves and a pair of spaghetti straps made it difficult for Angelus to choose between focusing on her jugular or the expanse of skin the top left open for perusal.

She looked glorious as she fought, as the warrior for the side of good should. Her white top and blonde hair emphasized her goodness and was a direct contrast to the creature of the night he was, dressed in black leather pants and a black leather duster with his hair dark. Despite knowing Angelus was nearby, she did not waiver aside from the brief pause he had noticed moments ago. He doubted the minion was aware of it it had been so quick, so subtle, but Angelus knew her well and he knew. He could understand how Soul Boy had fallen under her spell, but all Angelus could think of was how wonderful and warm her blood would taste flooding down his throat in a rush.

He walked toward her when the minion had been dispensed with, clapping his hands unnecessarily to announce his presence. "Well done, Lover."

"One of yours?"

"Ashamedly," he said sardonically, glancing at the spot where the minion had been staked. The dust had already scattered across the cemetery lawn into the night.

She crossed her arms over her chest, stake clutched in her right hand. "So what brings you by?" she asked, her voice sounding too tired for Angelus' liking. He took a deep intake of breath, taking in her scent. He sensed no fear in her, which was more than a little insulting. He smelled exhaustion and something else that he could not put his finger on. Something was off with his Slayer, and with that realization he knew tonight was not the night to make any decisions on what he would do with her. When he decided he wanted her in peak shape or the outcome would be less than satisfying.

"Just out for a stroll," he said lazily, brushing something non-existent off his leather duster's sleeve.

"You've fed," she said simply and he was a little surprised she looked that closely at him.

"And you took longer to dispense of my minion than you should have. A down night, Lover?" She shrugged and Angelus felt Soul Boy trying to claw his way to the top when she glanced at her shoes. He gave into part of Soul Boy's desire to find out what was wrong and pressed on - without the physical embrace Soul Boy wanted to give her. "Not feeling well then? You are looking a little haggard."

She scoffed as her head shot up to glare at him, fury in her hazel eyes. "As if I have no reason to feel and look haggard it's not like my boyfriend's gone off on a killing spree."

"Still consider me your boyfriend, Lover? How quaint," he said, his gaze falling to her left hand devoid of the ring Soul Boy had given her the night of her birthday over a month ago. He growled violently, surprised to find that he was upset about that not Soul Boy. "I should be touched, but it really makes me rather nauseous," he said bitingly.

She took a step back and he laughed. "I didn't come here to fight, Lover. Not tonight. I was, honestly, just out for a stroll and thought I'd come say hello. I would have offered you a hand, but," he shrugged, human disguise dropping back into place gracing her with one of Soul Boy's best innocent, tortured boy looks, "I really don't feel like killing my own kind anymore."

"No, you're too busy killing humans and making more work for me."

"You sound bitter, Lover. I would think the Slayer would like knowing she'll never be out of a job."

"Never is a long time. Even your kind should know never isn't permanent, Lover," she said, the effort at a comeback was weak and Angelus knew it. The spark in her eyes was nowhere near as bright as it normally was and he was still puzzled by the off feeling he got from her.

"As charming as this conversation is, I have places to be," he said with a deep, forced sigh.

"Yeah, like the sun coming up. I wish I could say I'm sorry to see you go," she said, but again the comeback was said weakly. Part of the reason he had no desire to kill her just yet was that he enjoyed their little bantering sessions. He found them invigorating. True, he enjoyed taunting her, particularly on nights like tonight when he had recently fed. She had to be wondering where his food source had been discarded.

"Until we meet again, Lover," he said. He pulled her to him quickly and kissed her severely before releasing her just as fast. "I'd wish you pleasant dreams, but then I wouldn't be in them," he said tauntingly before he departed into the darkness, very aware the sun was dreadfully close to rising.

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