It was well into the morning when Buffy finally came to. She felt as though she was coming out of a fog as she rolled onto her side and stretched expecting the heaviness she was experiencing to diminish as she became more awake.
"I know you're awake, Buff," his voice was soft yet raspy as if he had not used it in a while. Had he brought her home? And he was still with her. It was a good thing her mother was gone.
She groaned softly. "I don't want to get up." In truth, she did not want to face him knowing she would just see amusement in his eyes for what had happened the night before.
"You don't have to get up, but I need to make sure that you talk to me for a while."
"Why are you here?"
"You are with me, Lover, not the other way around."
"What do you mean I'm with you?" she asked. Visions of his giving her to Drusilla and Spike flashed before her eyes and he laughed, almost as if he knew what she was thinking.
"Yes, with me," he growled. "You didn't seem to question that last night when I took you from the hospital."
"You didn't bring me home?" She had realized since she woke up that she was not at her house, or at least not in her bed.
"No, we wouldn't be left alone there."
"Why do you want to be alone with me, Angelus?" she asked, placing a protective hand over her abdomen.
"I assure you I have no desire to harm our baby, Buff."
"Why should I believe you?"
"You told me on the way here that you trusted me."
"I was lying."
"You were not, Buff, you might be able to lie to Rupert or your friends but you don't lie well to me. I want to ensure you recover and won't go back to slaying or doing anything else to risk harm to the baby."
"Like what you did to me, you mean?"
"It wasn't intentional, Lover." He pushed himself off the window ledge he had been leaning against. "You were far too tempting dressed as you were. It was as if you were daring me to take you. I merely accepted the challenge."
"You fed off me. Again."
"And you fed off me, Lover. That's what mates do. Didn't you enjoy it?"
"No," she lied.
He laughed and walked to the side of the bed, sitting next to her. "Oh, Buff, and after I just got done saying you don't lie very well. At least not to me. I was there, remember? Both times."
"I'm surprised you remember either time. One girl twice in two hundred forty years can't be that special."
"You're not just one girl, Buff, you know that."
She was quiet as she tried to figure out what he meant. Was he saying that he still loved her? Angel had been confusing, but at least Buffy had understood why he was confusing. She knew, now, that he was trying to prevent from happening what happened. True, Angel did not know that they would release his soul back to wherever it disappeared to, but he sensed somehow that bad things would happen.
Her hands traced along the seams of the comforter. It was a deep blue in color and while soft to the touch it smelled as if it had just been removed from the packaging. Had he bought these things for her? She did not want to dwell on why Angelus would be so generous with her and what he might hope to gain in return. "Why did you feed off that girl?" she asked, her eyes downcast.
"You'll have to be a little more specific than that, Buff."
"Last week," she glanced up at him and realized he was going to make her say it. "After we were - together - in my bedroom, Oz saw you feeding off a girl that night."
"Jealous, Lover? How touching."
"It's just that you had fed off of me that morning. From the things Spike has said I didn't think you'd have needed to feed again so soon."
"Spike has come after you lately?" he growled. His eyes turned yellow, not the deep shade that usually accompanied his game face dropping into place. She had no idea what she had said, but he was clearly not happy.
"No, but he's mentioned the blood of a slayer a time or two when he's tried to kill me."
"Yes, it is very empowering."
"So why did you then?"
"Because I needed to get the taste of you out of my mouth. I was angry with you, because you didn't come back to your room," he added.
"I was scared to. What if I had come back?" she asked. She probably sounded pathetically hopeful with that question.
"I don't know," he admitted. "Is that why you made the offer last night?"
"I'm not sure. I don't like the idea of you feeding off people, and I don't like the idea of you going from me to some vampire junkie."
"I have to feed, Buff."
"So what's wrong with me?"
"I think you need all of your blood for the next few months. I have no problem feeding off of you like the two times I have. But that was for fun, to heighten the moment, it wasn't truly feeding. Hell, I can't deny I haven't thought about seeing just how close I can get you to that point. I get hard thinking about it. I get hard thinking about hearing you beg me to do it, to finish the job and turn you."
"Because it's the only way we can be together, Buff. You know it, I know it."
"It's not, Angelus. It's the only way we can be together because you choose to be evil and do evil things."
"It's what I am, Buff. It's what I'm good at. I'm not the same man your boyfriend was. No soul, remember?"
"So? Why does not having a soul have to mean you're evil? You still have a brain, you still have the ability to think. The soul just erases your conscious and any remorse. I know you know right from wrong and are capable of doing some good. I know Angel, his soul or whatever it is that's left of him is still there inside of you. I heard him last night. I feel him with me sometimes. I know it wasn't the soul that wanted to do right, to do good. He could have gone on killing despite the soul."
"Buff," he said cupping her face with both hands. "It can't happen. Soul Boy might have been tempted to take his relationship with you for a spin and see how far it went, but I am not."
"Why?" she cried out.
"Because it would never work, Buff. I can't stop feeding, can't go back to drinking pig's blood or the swill that Willy serves."
"But you love me."
"I'd love to deny that, I'd love to tell you it was the soul and without it those feelings are gone. But, Buff, you have to believe me, it's for the best."
"How can it be for the best if you feel it too? I can't imagine my life without you."
"We're not going to talk about this anymore, particularly right now, Buff. I'm not going to argue with you, which is all we would do. You need your rest, but I wanted to show you where we were in case you wake up and I'm not here."
"You're going to leave me?" she asked, shivering at the thought of being somewhere strange alone.
"I need my rest, Buff."
"Oh, I just assumed," she felt her cheeks grow warm then and looked away.
"You assumed I'd sleep with you? I can, but you'll still be awake at times when I am not given you don't sleep days. And I need to feed."
"Where are we?" she asked, not wanting to think about where he would go to feed. She was the Slayer, she was supposed to stop him from feeding off innocent humans.
"Few are as innocent as you'd like to believe, Buff."
"What?" she asked, confused.
"A benefit of the blood exchange, I believe."
"You know what I'm thinking?"
"Not all of the time, but you had your mind open and receptive to my probing."
"I don't want you probing me," she said, horrified that even her thoughts were not protected against him.
"That's not what you said last night, Lover," he said as he tucked a few strands of her hair behind her ear. "But to set your mind at ease, I don't particularly like knowing you can touch my mind and know my thoughts either."
"How do you think you heard the little conversation I was having with your boyfriend last night?"
"I don't know, I didn't think."
"That's the problem with you, Buff, you don't think."
"Fine, insult me. I know I'm not the smartest person."
"That's just it, you're not as dumb as you would like people to think you are. I know, I've seen you in action at times when your instincts take over and you don't seem as concerned over what people might think of you."
"You think I want people to think I'm dumb?"
"No, but I think you like the fact that people underestimate you, your teachers expect mediocrity from you, it allows you to merely get by which I think you like for some reason."
"No reason to do much more than get by when your life comes with an expiration date."
His hand which had been pressed lightly against the side of her face, his thumb stroking her cheek for the last few minutes grew rough at her words. He jerked her face so she was forced to look at him. "Don't talk like that."
"Why not? It's true."
"Not if I can help it, Buff."
"What can you do about it? No one else can perform my duties, Angelus."
"I'm working on it."
"You're working on it?"
"I am," he hissed. "Don't question me, Buff. I'm working on it. Do you think I want my child to grow up not knowing its mother because she died at a young age? I might be an arrogant son of a bitch, but I don't know the first thing about children beyond the fact that I like how they taste."
"Let's not talk about your preferences as far as food goes."
"You'd never accept me. The true me, Lover. You were okay with Soul Boy because he did not talk about our past."
"I don't mind hearing about your past, Angelus."
"Only the approved for younger audiences version, though. And that's nowhere near as fun."
"No, that's not it. I just hate the sound in your voice that indicates you miss those things. Feeding off children. And you wonder why I'm afraid of what you might do to the child?"
"I enjoyed doing them, Buff. I can't say there's a thing I regret."
"So why haven't you gone off on a torture spree then?"
"Because I have you to deal with."
"I'm sorry to interfere."
"As soon as the baby comes I won't have to worry about your interference any longer. I can wait a few more months. At least I don't have to be broody and pathetic like I was with the soul."
Somehow she had to make him change his mind, see that he was supposed to be here with her otherwise she would not be having this baby. But he was so stubborn, he was not going to give in today. "Is there another bed made up somewhere for you?" A change in the subject seemed appropriate. He was right, after all, they would do nothing but argue about this and she was not in the mood to argue.
"No, I was going to sleep on the couch. Did you want me in here with you?"
"It would make the time go by a little better I guess, since you're ordering me to rest."
"Not my orders, doctors orders. Two of them."
"Do you mind?"
"I can't say that I mind a warm, willing, human woman wanting me to sleep beside her, no. But don't get used to it."
"This mind thing, is it going to get any worse?"
"That's up to us, I think, and how proficient we get at controlling it."
"We'd have quite an advantage over opponents if we were actually working together," Buffy said. He stood from the bed and began removing his clothes.
"What?" he asked.
"You aren't getting undressed?"
"What did you think that I would sleep in my clothes? It's a little late to worry about your virtue, don't you think?"
"No, but I just wanted you to sleep here. I don't want to have sex with you."
"That did not seem to be the case last night, Lover. But you have nothing to worry about, the doctor said that sex was out of the question for a while." He met her gaze, almost daring her to look away as he shed his leather pants. "There are things we could do if you were of the mind. There's a world of things I could teach you."
"I don't know that I would like anything you could teach me."
"You seemed to like it rough last night, Lover. If you were truly a good girl you would not have let me take you like that." He joined her on the bed and with lightning quick speed had her top up, revealing her breast and the bite mark there. "You got off on this. I felt it. So cut the innocent school girl act with me."
"I am innocent," she said willing her body not to react to the fingertip he traced along the bite mark there.
"Not any more," he said with a low growl.
She tugged on her top, pulling it down and sighed softly. "You know, maybe this isn't a good idea. You were nicer to me when I was getting sick all of the time. Now you're just being mean."
"You want me here, don't try and deny it."
"I don't hear you protesting, Angelus," she said mockingly. "You could have gone to sleep on the couch if you really wanted to. Or maybe my warm human body appeals to you more than you'd care to admit."
"You overestimate your appeal, Buff."
She took a deep breath, closed her eyes and swallowed her pride for a moment. "Oh really," she said coquettishly as she cupped his member with her hand. "Then why do you react so easily to my touch?" she asked as she felt him harden under her ministrations.
"I'm a man, Lover, what do you expect? You'd have to be damned ugly for me not to get hard."
She smiled wickedly as she met his gaze. "Then why were you just thinking that you wished Drusilla's hand felt this good?"
He growled and pushed her off of him. "Get out of my head."
She knelt near his legs facing him, her left hand mere centimeters from the cool expanse of his thigh. "My drinking from you was your idea, Lover," she said with a smirk.
"Clearly, I wasn't thinking coherently at the time or I wouldn't have done it. I don't need you in my head. It's bad enough I have to worry about Drusilla getting into my head."
"Just think what we could do together if we were fighting together instead of each other," she said, tracing a fingernail over his bare thigh. She had never really taken the chance to look at him before. Not naked as he was now. He really was nice to look at despite his body being pale from lack of sun.
"It's not going to happen, Buff," he quipped as her hand slid higher along his thigh. She was not sure if he was talking about them fighting together or something else.
"It could happen, though."
"I had no idea it would be so strong," he said.
"The bond. I should have known, it was strong without our drinking from each other."
"Well, you can just stay away from me and then we won't have to worry about it."
"It doesn't work that way. I hate to tell you that, but I could be on the other side of the world and hear you."
"I think so," he admitted with a nod of his head, looking at her from underneath hooded eyes. "I've never done it before."
"No, not in the same way as with you. You're my mate, I don't know how I happened to come by a human mate."
"Probably, but it shouldn't have happened even with the soul. Let's not argue about it anymore today, Buff. I brought you here to rest, to get your strength back, not to weaken your physical or mental state."
She snorted and rolled her eyes at that. "Since when?"
"I'm trying to do what's right here, Buff."
"I ask again since when," she teased.
He growled again, but she was not scared by it. He seemed to sense this and frowned at her. "Are you going to let me sleep sometime today or are you trying to drive me crazy so I'll go to the couch after all?"
She pouted and sighed heavily, stretching out alongside of him. "If I have to."
"It's not going to work, Buff. You need your rest, probably more than I do. The doctor says you've put both you and the baby at risk."
"I put us at risk?"
"I helped perhaps, but the point is you need to be careful. Rest. When does your mom get home?"
"Wednesday I think. It might be Thursday, I don't know for sure."
"So that means you'll be here with me until then."
"Where is here?"
"I'll show you later. There's a bathroom through that door," he said gesturing to a closed door. "You shouldn't need anything else before I wake up."
"Hello? What about food?"
"There's fruit over there on the table and one of those little refrigerators with some other things in it. So you should be fine for a while considering you're supposed to be resting anyway."
"Thanks," she said, glancing at the table he mentioned. It was not exactly a smorgasbord, but she saw a couple of oranges and apples as well as a few bunches of green grapes. She had been craving grapes for the past couple of days. So far her cravings had not been anything abnormal or disgusting. Grapes she could deal with.
"I know," he said with a shrug.
"You wanted green grapes, not the red ones. And you don't like the black ones at all."
"Ew," she said, wrinkling her nose and he chuckled lightly. For a moment she could have believed this was Angel she was looking at, laughing at her.
"Get some rest, Buff."
Buffy did not find it difficult to get back to sleep. Her last conscious thought was wondering if Giles or any of her friends knew where she was. Unfortunately, she was never able to ask the question.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com