"Sure," Buffy said casually. She was having a difficult time paying close attention to what exactly her best friend was saying with the feeling that Angel was nearby and watching her. She had not caught a glimpse of him yet, which in a way relieved her. She was not sure what she would do the next time their paths crossed.
"He's still Oz. Right?"
"Right," Buffy said with a nod. Her arms were folded across her chest, a stake clutched at the ready. There had been two burials at this cemetery that day and since there were no grave markers yet she did not know which body was in which grave.
Since Angel had lost his soul, Buffy had stepped up her patrolling. She was amazed at how one vampire could make such a difference in the number of new vampire risings in Sunnydale. Angel seemed to be making up for lost time and enjoying antagonizing her by choosing people she knew more often than not.
Tonight it was Leah Lunde, a classmate she knew vaguely at best. Staking people she had known before they died was never easy and Buffy was growing tired of having to do it.
"At least Oz hasn't killed anybody."
"That we know of," Buffy added. She regretted saying the words as soon as Willow whimpered softly beside her. "I'm sorry, Wil."
"You didn't say anything I haven't already thought of. I just don't like to think about him eating anyone."
"You should be more careful when you're wandering around, Lover." Buffy heard the voice from behind her, not close but not far away either. Her earlier feeling that he was watching her was right once again.
"If you weren't filling up the empty spots in Sunnydale's cemeteries I wouldn't have to be wandering at all."
Angel tilted his head to one side as if considering her statement. "Get used to being busy then," he boasted. "Because I'm not stopping anytime soon, Buff. Consider it a reward for setting me free."
"I didn't set you free."
"You want to believe that you had nothing to do with your current plight, but you did. I was there inside your boyfriend all along, clamoring to get out. I had no idea you would be the key to my getting out or I wouldn't have pushed you away for as long as I did."
"Stop it," Buffy protested wishing she could hide how much his words hurt her. He was too astute to not pick up on it, though.
"So were you relieved when you found out it wasn't your friend's puppy dog doing the killing? Or were you disappointed? It means you'll have to try and kill me."
"Eventually," she bit out.
"Why not tonight?" he asked. She noticed the newly risen vamp approaching them and debated about who her attention should be focused on. She was not ready to take on Angel yet. Soon she would have to, but for tonight she would choose the other vampire. Angel would be gone by the time she was done dispensing with Leah, so she would be granted more time once again.
"Sorry," she said. "It will have to wait for another time."
He grabbed a hold of her quickly and kissed her. His mouth was rough and demanding, but eerily familiar. Though she knew it was not Angel she could not help but give in, until he pulled away much too quickly. "I continue to look forward to it, Lover," he said. He pushed her away and turned his attentions to a silent Willow. "Keep your dog on a leash or I won't be the only one the Slayer has to kill. Want to place a wager on who she would kill first? Double or nothing, it won't be me," he said cockily before he spat on the ground.
Buffy steadied herself in preparation of having to stake a classmate. In barely the amount of time it took to blink an eye, Angel had disappeared into the night with a swoosh of his leather coat. She could still feel his kiss on his mouth, so familiar yet so different.
Buffy performed her nightly ritual, taking out Leah with little exertion on her part. She turned her attention to Willow once the vamp dust had settled. "Don't let him get to you, Wil. That's what he feeds on. Oz is going to get help, from us. He won't be hurting or killing anyone."
"I know," she said as Buffy placed an arm around her best friend.
"As long as Oz wants help and continues to get it, I have no reason to kill him."
"I know that, too," Willow said. She did not sound too convinced Buffy would not kill her boyfriend not that Buffy could blame her necessarily.
"I think we're done here, let's go home."
"That was some kiss, considering he doesn't like you anymore," Willow said coyly. Like Buffy, Willow seemed to find it difficult to wrap her mind around the fact Angel was gone and the demon was now in charge. Buffy often thought Willow hoped Angel would become Angel again miraculously almost as much as Buffy wished it.
"He just did it to bug me."
"Did it work?"
Buffy shrugged. How could she explain that she still loved him, demon in charge or not? Willow was aware of this without Buffy having to say it outright. "Nah, he doesn't kiss like he did before." It was a lie. There were differences, sure. Angel was tender and almost uncertain where Angelus bordered on wanting to possess her. Sadly, Buffy was not sure she wanted to fight his possession of her or just give in and be done with the inevitable.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com