"She's too self-involved to notice I did anything special," Buffy murmured to nobody, as there was no one there to listen to her. Her mother was working late at the store, not that she knew Buffy was the Slayer.
"Or maybe it's that she has seen you do special things since you've come to Sunnydale and she just takes it for granted," Angel said from the yard below her window.
Buffy could not help but smile, happy to see him. He had not been around much lately, since the night she had gone out with Owen really. She did not understand why Angel stayed away from her, but so long as the information got to her team she guessed it did not matter. Of course it mattered, and it hurt, she was in love with him. Or at least she thought she was.
"Cordelia wouldn't recognize something special done by me if I staked a vampire right in front of her." Buffy shook her head and shrugged. "In fact, I did when I killed The Vessel."
In barely longer than a blink of an eye he was on the rooftop landing outside her bedroom window. There were times it was easy to forget that he was a vampire with heightened abilities. This was not one of them. "People try to explain what they don't understand or don't believe in terms they do."
"I know, Giles says the same thing." She looked at him then. He was dressed in a blood red silk shirt and black jeans with the black boots he always wore. He looked good, but then he always did. He sat on the rooftop, an arm resting on her windowsill and looked out over the neighborhood apparently waiting for her to talk. "What are you doing here?"
"I came to make sure you were okay."
"You knew I was in trouble?"
"Yeah," he did not seem to like admitting that.
"Don't sound so concerned for me or anything."
"How can you say that?"
"How can I not say it? You aren't doing a very good job of helping me."
"I have helped."
"You've been going through Giles," she said, already knowing the answer.
"It's better that way."
"Then why are you here?"
"I had to make sure you were okay. I never thought of losing you to a human."
"Losing me? That would mean you think I'm yours to lose."
"It's best if we don't talk about this, like this, Buffy."
"Why? Explain how if we like each other it's best?"
"It just is. You said it best, Buffy, I'm over two and a half centuries older than you. You're the Slayer, I'm a vampire. There's absolutely nothing in our favor."
"Love." He winced and she wished she had not said it. Darla had said Angel loved her, but that had been shortly before she had begun shooting at Buffy ala Annie Oakley-style. So perhaps she was foolish and dreaming to have believed the blonde vampire who had once been Angel's lover.
"I have to go, Buffy. I'm glad you're all right, but it's better this way. Really. This isn't easy," he said and stood.
Buffy's heart started pounding, she did not want him to go. Not yet. She was alone and felt vulnerable and a little sorry for herself that a human had been able to get the better of her. "Don't go," she said softly.
"We don't have to talk," she said, feeling as though she was begging him.
He smirked at that and she felt her cheeks grow warm from the heat of a blush. "What did you have in mind then?"
"Just sit and watch the stars."
"You don't seem like the stargazing type."
"I don't know that I was before I became the Slayer, but now," she shrugged.
"You find yourself looking up there hoping for some guidance from someone in charge?"
She nodded, realizing that he had said almost exactly what she felt sometimes. There were times she wondered if she was making a difference or not, she honestly did not know. To have someone tell her, show her, she was on the right path would be so nice.
"It won't come from up there, Buffy," Angel said softly and knelt so he was right in front of her, their faces almost even.
He shook his head and pointed a finger at her, touching where her heart was. "It will come from in here."
"How did you know what I was thinking?"
He tilted her head up slightly so her eyes met his. "I recognized the look on your face. You were chosen for a reason, Buffy, know that and never forget you are the chosen one. In the end it comes down to you."
"Yes, I've heard this spiel before from Giles many times."
"Then you know it's true." He leaned over and kissed her lightly. "I'm glad you weren't hurt."
"Me, too. Thanks."
"You're welcome. I have to go."
"I knew that was coming. You always leave as soon as something nice happens between us."
"Because I just don't see how nice can be sustained, but I can't stay away either," he said and silenced her by placing a fingertip over her lips. "Good night, try and get some sleep."
There was no way she was going to get to sleep with thoughts of Angel kisses on her mind, but she did not bother arguing with him. He was going to leave, disappear into the night no matter what she said. "I'll try."
"That's all I ask you to do." His eyes narrowed slightly, as if he was tempted to say or do more but he backed away from her instead. "Pleasant dreams," he said before descending from the rooftop in a fluid grace that if Buffy did not know better she would have claimed was flying.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com