***Part Twenty-One***

"That didn't take long," Angelus said from the garden. Buffy had known when the living room was empty that this was where she would find him. He was unable to come out here during the day, but for some reason whenever he needed time alone in the evening this is where he came.

"Well, I didn't see the point in going to the hospital with her. Giles would want to stay there with her anyway. When it comes down to it, Xander, Willow and I are just kids."

"You're right," he said simply. "Though you've moved up a notch on the ladder to adulthood, Buff. You're a mother now."

"Care to talk about it."

"You being a mother? I don't know that there's much to say."

"No, about Miss Calendar."

"I don't know that there's much to say there either."

"How did you find her?"

"Are you accusing me of having something to do with what Spike and Dru did to her?"

"No," she said and was surprised at the truth behind her words. "I'm curious how you found her."

"I was looking for you at The Bronze and ran into Spike in the alley actually. He said he had an enlightening surprise for me. I thought they might have had you, or Ryan, so I went."

"Why didn't you let them kill her?"

"What makes you think they were going to kill her?"

"Come on, Angelus, you don't inflict that much damage to someone that you intend to let live."

"Unless they wanted to make her live scarred and imperfect."

"You I could believe that of, but not those two. I don't think either of them could think that far ahead."

Angelus laughed softly. "You're right," he said as he stood and walked to the fountain in the middle of the garden. He let his fingertips graze the water causing it to ripple. "Spike was never one for plans. You saw how capable he was of going along with plans the night of your teacher conferences."

"So, you went with Spike?" Buffy prompted not wanting to dwell on Spike or memories of Angel.

"Yeah, I went with Spike. I knew if they had you you'd have let me know somehow, but I was afraid maybe they had Ryan and you didn't know it yet or something," he shrugged.

"But they had Miss Calendar instead."

"Yeah, I had no idea at first why Spike thought I'd find her enlightening." He laughed again, clutching the edge of the fountain with both hands.

"She wanted to restore your soul."

"That's what he said. Dru had one of her visions."

"And yet you stopped them from killing her."

"I knew if something happened to her that you'd believe I was a part of it and retaliate against me."

"You think I'd kill you without uncovering the truth?"

"If you had to choose between me and Giles?" She found the vines on the walls suddenly very interesting when normally she avoided looking at them because they sort of creeped her out. "Well?"

"You," she said softly. "I'd always choose you, Angelus. I wish I wouldn't."

"Buffy, I don't pretend to understand any of this, anything that you make me feel. I certainly can't pretend to know why I connected with my soul that day I felt the baby move."

"Do you want your soul back?"

"No," he said, though he was not overly convincing.

"Why? We could be together."

"But not in the way a man and a woman were meant to be together, Buffy. I've had you around me, tasted you, and felt you respond to me. I've felt your heat and your love when I'm buried inside of you. I couldn't knowing I could never have you again."


"Really," he said with what Buffy thought was sincerity. It was hard to tell with Angelus, he could appear very sincere and not be.

She walked toward him, placing a hand over his and squeezing it. "Show me," she said softly. She had to remember to call Willow about not doing the spell. If Angelus changed and went back to his sadistic ways Buffy would kick herself but knowing that the soul could be restored gave Buffy hope that she would not have to kill him.

"Show you what?"

"How much you want me," she said running fingernails up the length of his arm. "How much you would hate not being able to be with me again."

"That's an easy request to fulfill. Shouldn't you be checking on our son?"

"I'll call Mom and tell her I'll be a little late, but he should be fine with Mom until I get home."

Buffy found him in her bedroom after she had used the phone to call both Willow and her mom. Willow had not said much when Buffy told her not to do the spell; maybe she had expected Buffy not to go through with it after all. She did ask Willow to make sure to have the supplies and the actual spell ready were it to ever come to it. She hoped it would not come to that, but she was fully aware that she was playing with fire.

The night was a perfect one. The moon shone brightly through the windows in the room, making the vampire lying on her bed look ethereal. This unworldly being was waiting for her and she suddenly felt a little frightened. This was not spur of the moment sex between the two of them, this was planned and thought out. What did that mean? Should she be willingly having sex with him?

"Your Mom thinks your patrolling?"

"Yeah," she said with a shrug. She let her hair down, apparently having answered her own question about whether she should be doing this without realizing it.

"And Willow?"

"What about Willow?"

"Come now, Lover, you can't lie to me about this. You were going to give me one last tumble in the sheets."

"I told her not to do it," she said under her breath.

"Good girl," he said, offering her a wink. "Come to bed then, Lover. Let me show you."

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him they needed to set up rules for their relationship and for him, but all thoughts left her mind when he pushed the covers back revealing he was complete nude and very happy to have her there with him. Rules could wait, she decided, Angelus obviously could not and she was not sure she could either.

Buffy lay next to Angelus, her head tucked into the crook of his arm while her hand toyed with his smooth and pale chest. She wondered what he would look like with a tan, but realized he was not from an era where tanning was done so she imagined it would look odd on him.

Tonight had been better than she had hoped, even better than the night of her birthday seven long months ago. It was better because Angelus did not hold back yet tonight was about more than sex. She was placing her trust and faith in him completely and without question, something Buffy did not believe anyone had done with Angelus before now. His lovemaking tonight seemed evidence that he needed her to trust him. It was something soul or not he needed.

"I love you, Angelus," she said softly before she succumbed to sleep in his arms. Distantly, she heard Angelus whisper, "Love you, too, Buff."

Angelus woke her a little while later. "You need to get home, Buff."

"I don't want to go."

"I know you don't want to, but I'll walk you home."

"You will?" she asked, sitting up feeling lazy and in no way ready to get dressed yet.

"Yeah, I will," he said meeting her gaze evenly. His eyes were unreadable as they usually were.


"Do I have to have a reason?"

"No, but you rarely do things without a reason, Angelus."

"A man wants to walk his mate home and you think he has to have a reason to do it?"

"Not a man, Angelus, you."

"I'm afraid Spike and Drusilla might retaliate or seek you out to see if you got the message."

"And you want them to see you with me?"

He was quiet for a moment. Buffy hated moments like this since he did not breathe he was completely still. It freaked her out. "Yeah."


"Because I may have been trying to run from it for the past seven months. I have rebelled against the very concept. I have tried to forget it. I have tried to use violence to change it. You're mine, Buffy, and despite everything I've done to you and put you and your friends through you still love me and you are still good to me."

"I'll always love you."

"I'm starting to realize that I'll always love you too, and it's pretty frightening."


"I have a lot longer to worry about than you do, Buffy."

"Oh," she said, feeling stupid for not thinking about that.

"That's the worst thing about it. You made me feel human, made me want to be a part of your life, and that's very dangerous for someone who has an eternity to live. I can't promise much, but I'll be around for you. And for Ryan, even if it's only through pictures and letters."

"It's more than I thought I'd get."

"It's less than you deserve." She shrugged slightly, yawning.

"Is that a promise?"


"That you'll be around for us."

"Yes," he said simply, his eyes meeting hers. "Do you want us to seal it?"

"With what a kiss?"

"No," he said softly, moving her head so her mouth was at the base of his neck. Buffy bit down and he cried out in response as her dull teeth broke the skin and finally drew blood. "Blood," he groaned as she drank from his neck, baring her wrist to him so that he could feed as she was feeding from him.

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