SUMMARY: A little alternate universe series in which Angelus was never cursed by the gypsies, yet finds his way to Sunnydale nevertheless.
DISCLAIMER: Anyone recognizable is Joss Whedon's and the WB
DEDICATION: For J, who wanted it so badly, and who was so patient. And especially for the Evil Twins, who deserve much more than this measly fic.
It was minutes before sunrise when the dark shape slid into town unnoticed. He had never been there before, yet knew instinctively where to go. An old mansion at the edge of town was waiting for him, and he glanced up at the street sign that read Crawford Street before heading up the overgrown pathway to the door. It was unlocked, naturally, because this was home, although he hadn't ever stepped foot in the place before now. The door closed behind him on the rising sun.
Across town, in a well-equipped school library in Sunnydale High School, was a delicate teenager. Her blonde hair was caught up in a high ponytail, circled by a fine blue ribbon that matched the top she was wearing. Her white skirt was flattering to her figure and emphasized her nice legs. The pink fingernail polish she wore was light and airy, and was on her toes as well. Her eyes were wide and startling, and gave the impression at first glance that they were brown, but upon closer inspection one realized that they were a hazel color, changing from green to brown and then back again, depending upon her mood. She was small and slim, a virtual picture of California sunshine, and the only thing that marred the perfection of her was the deadly crossbow she held in her hands.
Squinting, she aimed the crossbow at a cork practice dummy that was directly across the wide room, and fired. The arrow landed directly in the dummy's stomach.
"No, no, NO!" fussed the man watching her, and he crossed the room to remove the arrow.
"That was a good one," the girl said cheerfully.
"It was not a good one," he replied crossly, giving the arrow a hard yank.
"The last one was in the leg. I'm getting higher."
"Buffy. You can not kill a vampire by shooting it in the stomach. You can only succeed in angering it, which in turn means you are placing yourself in more danger."
The girl didn't reply except to heave a dramatic sigh and take careful aim once again. Closing her eyes briefly, she pictured the dummy in front of her, and allowed a calmness to descend over her. Opening her eyes, she released the trigger on the weapon and the arrow cut smoothly through the air to land squarely in the dummy's would-be heart.
She grinned triumphantly, showing perfect, even teeth, and flopped down into the nearest chair.
The man in tweed loaded the crossbow again and handed it to her. "Again. In the black of night in a crowded cemetery, with a moving target, you won't have three chances. Get up."
The girl's nostrils flared in rebellion, but she obeyed. "Sheesh. Can't even get a 'Good job, mate,' out of you." She hefted the weapon and concentrated briefly, letting another arrow find its mark in the dummy's heart.
Her Watcher was secretly pleased.
In the mansion on the other side of town, a dark form slept. There was a shift in the balance of good and evil, a rend in the delicate fabric of continuity. A cloud drifted across the sun and settled there. Lives were changed.
"Faster. Watch me. Don't watch my staff, watch my eyes. My eyes will tell you which way I'm striking next."
The small blonde Slayer set her mouth in a determined line and concentrated. She held a long, smooth pole lightly in her hands and was blocking the attacker in front of her, whom also held a similar weapon. Buffy brought up her staff in time to ward off a blow from above, then instinctively swung around to jab her opponent from below.
"Ooof," her Watcher huffed, as the staff found its mark in his chest, despite his protective gear.
"Hey," the Slayer mused thoughtfully. "How come you get all that padded stuff to wear and I don't?"
"I need more protection from you, than you from me," he replied, rubbing the sore spot on his chest. It would bruise, just like the others did. He was a mass of black and blue and yellow, and he couldn't be happier.
This Slayer was strong, and gaining power every day. The Watcher still marveled at it, marveled at the fact that this tiny, bubbly teenager with pink fingernail polish was one of the strongest Slayers the Council had ever witnessed. And the fact that she was unaware of her strength was even more astounding.
There were problems, naturally. Problems like her friends, whom at this moment were sitting in the library chairs cheering Buffy on while she and Giles dueled. They were distractions to her, a danger that she refused to believe. If she did not concentrate exclusively on her task, she would die. Inconceivable to a child of 16, that they were not immortal.
She would learn.
Having bested Giles with staffs, Buffy had retreated to the table where Willow and Xander were sprawled in their chairs. Giles sighed with impatience and called to her, "You aren't finished. There are stakes to be sharpened."
"All he has to do is put one up his rear end and twist, and there you have it," Xander whispered, pleased with himself when both girls giggled.
Buffy got up from the table and walked back to Giles with a resigned look. "Give me the stakes," she said, holding out her hands, and he pressed the unsharpened wood into them.
"Buffy," Giles warned in a low voice, "this is not a game. This is your..."
"Calling," she finished for him with a grimace. "I know. I was Chosen. But, gosh, Giles, don't I get to have any fun?" She plopped herself down next to him and glared sullenly at the wood.
Fun? Ridiculous. And this was only the beginning. Giles shuddered to think of the next two years of high school. Soon, the boys would start sniffing around, and then he'd be really hard-pressed to keep her in line.
The dark person in the mansion was restless. It had been nearly two weeks since his arrival, and he had yet to lay eyes on the Slayer. He had heard rumors of her from the underground network of demons in the city, and he imagined her to be a large, hulking creature, much like the German Slayer he had killed. The German had been strong, but not too bright, because he had dispatched her easily. All he had to do was smile at her, and she had paused momentarily, which was when he had snarled and bit her.
She had tasted of schnitzel, and given him heartburn.
Tonight, he would watch for the Slayer. Then he would kill her, and drink from her, and the Hellmouth would be his.
Buffy slept fitfully, waking often and peering into the darkness. Had something woken her? Or was it just the coffee she had drank before bed, a mistake she would not make again? It didn't matter, she was awake now and was restless. Turning to her window, she watched the curtain flutter slightly as the spring breeze wafted in. It was as bright as day out there, the moon had risen full and strong in the sky and was painting the landscape with silver shadow.
Suddenly she wanted to be out in it. She slipped noiselessly from her bed and dressed quickly in shorts and a t-shirt, then scampered out her window with ease. Down the rose trellis she went, jumping the last three feet, until at last she was standing in the night, bathed in moonglow.
Her gaze was drawn to the cemetery, only two blocks away. Maybe she should do a fast patrol. She was anxious to try the new technique Giles had shown her. It involved some tumbling and rolling, but was extremely effective. Checking the potted plant by the front door, Buffy withdrew two stakes she had buried in the dirt, and tucked them comfortably into the waistband of her shorts.
To the cemetery, then.
The man dressed entirely in black leaned against a headstone and waited.
She was coming. He could tell. He wondered briefly at it, because in the past he'd never been able to tell when a Slayer was about. He must be getting better, after over a hundred years as a vampire, one learned a few things, he supposed. In any case, she was coming.
Buffy entered the cemetery carefully, as she had been taught to do. Never assume a quiet cemetery is an empty cemetery. She did not walk down the main path, but instead cut to her left and wove silently in and out between the crumbling headstones. She stepped easily over the small bouquets of flowers that had been left by mourners, their leaves dropping noiselessly to the ground and the petals turning brown on the edges. She picked her way through the weeds and twigs that had fallen on the overgrown grass, being careful not to step on any and warn of her approach.
He knew of her approach whether or not she stepped on twigs or blew a fanfare to announce it. He was curious as to the reason why his skin was prickling so strangely. It was as if there was a large amount of electricity in the air, making the small hairs on his arm stand on end. He shifted uncomfortably, trying to brush off the strangeness, but only succeeded in making himself more restless.
The two came upon each other at the same time. Buffy entered the slight clearing at the same time the man in black swiveled his head around to see her. Both stopped short.
The first thing that crossed the young Slayer's mind was the fact that whoever this was, he was breathtakingly handsome. He was of average height, yet exuded something that made him appear taller. The clothes he wore were all black, and matched the raven shade of his hair. From her distance, his eyes appeared black as well, but somehow Buffy knew that they were instead a deep, chocolately brown. He did not seem to be that much older than she herself was, perhaps he was in his mid to late twenties. Whoever he was.
Angelus had dismissed the young girl as soon as he saw her. This could not possibly be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She was too small. Petite, in fact. Slayers were tall and solidly built and did not wear little rings on their fingers or ponytails in their hair. Poor child, whoever she was, she was about to become his breakfast. Actually, judging from the twitch in his groin, she was about to become something else first. It had been a while since he'd fucked a fresh young thing like this. He sized her up hungrily.
Buffy did not like the way this man was looking at her. Gorgeous he may be, he still let his eyes travel from her breasts to her legs and back again, wolf-like. She was insulted. "Seen enough?"
"Not quite." When he spoke, his voice was low and rich.
"Okay," she smiled, and leaned back against a headstone. "When you've seen enough, let me know." She looked up at the sky and pretended to peruse the constellations.
Angelus blinked. Cheeky, she was. Her blood probably tasted thick and sweet, and his stomach growled in response. Enough playing, he was hungry. Advancing on the girl, he stood directly in front of her. She refused to look at him, annoying him further. He reached out a hand to draw her face to his.
The trees did not even have time to rustle before Angelus found himself bent backwards over the headstone the girl had been leaning on. He gaped, open-mouthed, at the stake that rested lightly on his shirt, the tip of the wood poking a tiny hole in it.
"You a vampire?"
Wisely, he said nothing.
"You sure as hell don't look like one," she mused, more to herself than to him. "Who are you? Cemeteries aren't safe at night around here."
"I'm....new," Angelus replied softly, gaining his composure.
"That's your name? New?" Buffy eased back slightly from the hard body under her. Not that it had felt unpleasant.
Angelus rose from the headstone but still did not make a move against her. His mind was spinning. This? This little bit of a girl was the almighty Slayer? He glanced uneasily at the stake she now dangled loosely from her fingers. It seemed to be so.
She stepped back from him, looking him up and down in much the same fashion he had done earlier to her. "You like black," she noted.
"I like the night," he corrected softly, an idea forming in his mind.
"Well, there's a lot of things that like the night that aren't as friendly as I am," she warned, still keeping her eyes trained on his face. Who *was* he?
The idea took shape as he looked at her, this small pretty girl who looked desperately out of context in this place of the dead. If she were the Slayer, why not have a bit of fun with her before he killed her? If she were truly as legendary as he had heard, wouldn't it stand to reason that he would inherit that legacy if he were to make the Slayer his slave of passion before he finished her?
A Slayer forced into slavery by a vampire....it hadn't been done before.
Buffy eyed the man standing before her. He still hadn't told her his name. "So? What's your name, man of mystery?"
Angelus looked down casually, pretending something on the ground had caught his interest. Buffy tilted her head, trying to see his face, and she unwittingly took a step forward. "Well? What is it?"
In a flash, Angelus reached out and snatched her wrist, drawing her tightly up against him. His face changed in an instant and he snarled at her through his fangs, "My name is Angelus. Remember it, Slayer." And then he was suddenly gone, leaving Buffy white faced and gasping.
She sank to the ground on trembling legs, watching the spot through the trees where he had vanished, and brought up one hand to encircle the wrist he had grabbed. The flesh was tingling.
"If you follow a hook with an uppercut, you can usually surprise your opponent every time," Giles instructed, from inside a boxer's face mask.
Buffy, who wore no such mask, nodded to show she had heard, and continued to take sharp jabs at her Watcher's chin. Giles, however, was dodging the blows quite effectively.
Panting, Buffy lowered her gloved hands and stared at him. "How are you doing that?"
"It's like you know which hand is going to move next. I haven't managed to hit you in the last thirty minutes."
"I've explained this method to you before. The eyes, Buffy. Watch your opponent's eyes. They give him away every time, unless of course your opponent is skilled enough to not reveal that to you. But most are not. Skilled, I mean."
She set her jaw determinedly and faced him again, her hands fisted. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and exhaled slightly. When she opened them again, Giles just had time to glimpse the shuttered look in them before she reached out with a right cross, catching him sharply on the jaw and knocking him clean to the floor.
"Wheee!" she sang, twirling around in a circle. She removed her half-gloves and dropped them in a heap on Giles' chest before dancing about the room again.
Giles watched her from his spot on the floor. When Buffy danced past the sunlight streaming in the window, she sent up a whirl of dust motes that drifted about her lazily, and he thought momentarily that she had been caught in a sprinkling of pixie dust. Now if she were only to think happy thoughts, she would be flying...
She pranced past him, still elated over her victory, but stopped when she saw him lying on the floor. Dropping to one knee, she furrowed her brow. "Did I hurt you?"
"Oh, Giles! Here, let me get a cold cloth or something...damn, I'm sorry..." she fussed about, trying to drag him from the floor.
"Stop that, stop it." He brushed away her attempts to help and rose unsteadily on his own, turning away from her so she would not see the gleam of pride in his eyes. He leaned against a nearby table and gingerly fondled his sore jaw. "Did you patrol last night?"
A glance at him, then away. "Uh huh."
"Well? Anything? It's your duty to report activity."
"It was quiet. Guess they heard about my newfound crossbow skill." She grinned brightly, remembering target practice from the previous day.
"That's rather unusual. You didn't kill a thing?"
"Nothing, Giles. Sheesh," she said impatiently, anxious to be away from the topic. She pretended to be interested in the scattering of ancient books on the table, while she let her mind drift unwillingly to the night before.
After her encounter with the tall, dark-haired vampire in the cemetery, Buffy had remained sitting on the ground for long minutes, shaken. She had been in Sunnydale for several months, and had dusted at least a hundred vampires, not to mention the other distasteful demons that crawled endlessly from the mouth of hell. She'd had no idea that there was such an unending supply of them. But the vampire who had boldly snarled in her face just moments ago was not like the others. For one thing, he hadn't let his human facade slip until the last possible second. The others usually ran around with their fangs hanging out like a dog's tongue. And he hadn't spoken much, though Buffy had the feeling that he was of some intelligence. Rare in a vampire, they were usually stupid things who couldn't string a sentence together.
And lastly, he was beautiful to look at.
It was the last troublesome thought that brought Buffy back out of her memory and into the library once again. Giles had been speaking to her, she realized, but as she tried to focus on what he was saying, the double doors burst open and Xander and Willow came cavorting in like puppies.
"....so I said, 'Oh, yeah? Well, maybe you should try using a fork to eat with instead of combing your hair...' oops, training. Interruption. Training interruption." Xander looked unfazed by his intrusion, while Willow managed to look both concerned for intruding and adoringly at Xander at the same time.
"It's all right," Buffy said cheerfully, picking up her backpack from a chair. "We're done."
"Actually, we're not quite," protested Giles, but to no avail. They were gone, remnants of their laughter drifting back out the doors behind them.
He sighed, martyr-like, and turned back to the Pergamum Codex laid open before him. It was a sacred book, containing the most complete prophecies about the role of the Slayer, and Giles read it faithfully in order to be kept abreast of what his Slayer would be encountering and the best ways possible to train her for it.
When he turned the next page, he looked curiously at the picture. It was a vampire, but not merely one of the usual undead. No, this one was different, according to the barely discernible writing beside it. The Scourge of Europe, it seemed to call him. There was even a quote overheard from the Master himself: "...the most vicious creature I ever met..." Giles stared intently at the picture of the vampire, finally noting the name of the creature scratched underneath. Angelus.
"The one with the angelic face."
"....and then, he snarled right in my face, and he was gone." Buffy sat back in her chair and folded her arms.
Willow remained bent over the table toward Buffy, her eyes wide. The steam from her mocha rose and swirled between them, making a silvery pattern in the air. "Just...gone? He didn't try to...to..."
"Kill me? Drink me? Rape me? Nuh uh."
"What did Giles say?"
"Nothing." She looked away.
"Giles never says nothing," Willow replied.
"I didn't tell him."
Willow drew in a surprised breath. "But...but...you have to tell him! It's the rules! Isn't it?"
"Yeah, yeah. The rules. The rules are starting to suck." Buffy knew she was grumbling but couldn't stop herself. "Will, I just wanted to find out about this vamp by myself. I'm sick of reporting every little detail to Giles, just to watch him drag out those books and look through them for hours. I have to tell him everything, Willow. *Everything*," she repeated, glowering.
"You mean like, *everything*? Like even when you have your..." she trailed off with a squeak when Buffy nodded grimly.
"He has to record it in the Watcher's Diary and then report to the Council on my mood changes or hormonal swings or whatever. It's the rules."
"That's just...icky." Willow looked worriedly at her friend. This slaying business was definitely more than any of them had bargained for.
"So anyway," Buffy shrugged, "I didn't tell him about Mystery Man last night. But one thing's for sure, whether I tell Giles or not."
Willow looked at her expectantly. "Yeah?"
"He's a vampire. I have to dust him."
Angelus dropped the limp body onto the dirty, sticky pavement in the alley, but not before he had used the boy's shirt to wipe his mouth clean of blood.
Stupid little shit, thinking he was a prostitute. Just because he was hanging out in a damp, disgusting alley did not mean he was soliciting, for fuck's sake. This town was no better than New York City or Los Angeles or Chicago, or any of the hundreds of cities he had visited internationally. They were all the same, with their homeless and their destitute. He remembered briefly the poem that rested at the bottom of The Statue Of Liberty.
//give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free//
Angelus snorted. This country was full of them, that was for sure. Tired and poor were around every corner. And the huddled masses...well, since they provided nourishment, he couldn't really wish them away, could he? He sighed. What did he really expect from a Hellmouth, anyway?
Not a small, blonde Slayer, that was for damn sure.
Buffy. Her name was Buffy, and she had surprised him, caught him off guard and managed to pin him beneath her. It was the last time he would make that mistake.
Stepping gingerly over the broken body on the ground, he set off toward the cemetery. Tonight, he would watch her. He would follow her home, see where she lived, where she lay her pretty head at night. He wanted to know her as well as he possibly could, so that she could not surprise him again.
Some nights were better than others for slaying, and tonight was one of the better nights, Buffy thought, as she agilely dodged a vampire's clumsy attempt to reach for her throat. Turning her back on him, she delivered a solid back kick into his chest that sent him tumbling backwards and directly into a protruding fence rail. The rail pierced him from behind and the vampire had just enough time to look at her pathetically before he was reduced to ash.
"Aww, that was too bad for him," she remarked casually, smoothing down the front of her shirt. Darn it, that stupid vamp had managed to put a grass stain on it, she noticed. Hopefully Mom could get it out. Just like she got out the blood from last week, and that putrid slime from the week before...her mom sure was good at not noticing things.
Buffy checked her watch and figured that midnight was late enough for a school night. Sunnydale would live to see another day, even if the resident Slayer went home to get her beauty rest, she reasoned. Humming softly, she slung her pack, heavy with stakes, over her shoulder and headed quietly out of the cemetery.
She did not notice when a shadow slid from its place and followed her.
It has been written and recorded that Vampire Slayers often have prophetic dreams. Giles had told Buffy as much, and asked her often if she had had any dreams during the night that she felt he needed to know about. Until now, Buffy had just shrugged and gave him a blank look. The only prophetic dreams she'd ever had were the ones involved with getting failing grades on tests. And those were because she hadn't studied, so failing them was kind of a given. No real prophecy there.
So when she awoke long past midnight, gasping for breath and clutching at the side of her neck, she was terrified. Her dream...her dream...what had happened in her dream? She reached quickly to the nightstand and snatched the pad of paper that was there. Scribbling madly, Buffy managed to get the last vestiges of the nightmare on paper before they vanished from her mind altogether, as dreams are wont to do. When she stopped writing, she leaned back against the pillows and read it.
*...there was blood, but I liked it. I wanted more of it. And there were shapes...no...just one shape...he was kind of looming over me (he? was it a he?) and then there was pain in my neck but it only hurt for a second...and then something was inside me from down below and that hurt more than my neck...and then I remember hearing a dog snarling, or some kind of animal anyway, and then I don't remember any more after that.*
When she finished reading her short paragraph, her eyes turned instinctively to the window, as if perhaps someone else had snuck into the room and was reading over her shoulder. And although she knew there was nobody there, she still tucked the pad underneath her pillow for protection. She would show it to Giles in the morning, he would be beside himself with joy that she was finally dreaming of something other than which shoes would go with her new nailpolish.
And as her eyes grew heavy again of their own accord, and she slid lightly back into sleep, she thought briefly of what else had happened in her dream and the reasons she did not write them down. Buffy knew it was him, the vampire from the other night, even though the shape in her dream had been faceless.
It was troubling, and even more so was the fact that she was not inclined to tell her Watcher of him. Their paths had crossed only once, yet she felt an urge to keep him a secret. Her own secret.
Angelus climbed stealthily, noiselessly to her roof, blending in perfectly with the night, as he had blended perfectly for over a hundred years. The night was made for him, was part of him. He worshipped all that was darkness and was repelled by all things of the light.
Why, then, was he drawn to her? It plagued him even as he stood there outside the Slayer's window, gazing hungrily at the slim form under the sheet. She was the embodiment of light, and he knew this after only seeing her once. Well, twice, if you counted tonight's stalking. She was golden and shimmery, and when she laughed, it was like the light burst from her and surrounded the air momentarily.
If he had been human, he would have been enchanted by her. As a demon, he was fascinated and repelled at the same time. She went against all he knew how to be, and a part of him wanted desperately to destroy her, to wipe the earth clean of this breath of sunshine. Yet part of him...part of him wanted to experience her. To touch that shining hair, to see those glowing eyes grow smoky with want. And then to crush her beneath his fist even as she still shuddered from pleasure.
He would have her, and then he would destroy her. It would be a triumph.
He continued to watch over her while she slept, memorizing the curves under the sheet. After a moment, she turned in her sleep to face the window, and his eyes fixed on her face. Her nose was small, her lashes a dark brown tipped with gold, and they made small fans on her cheek. Her forehead was smooth and unlined, and her mouth...
Ahh, her mouth. Angelus studied the pink lips that were slightly apart, and found himself growing tight and hard inside his pants. It was those lips that would encircle his cock while he arched into her mouth. It was those lips that he would be sure murmured his name when he surged into her tightness, breaking the barrier of her virginity. Angelus was positive that she was a virgin, because, after all, he'd never fucked her and somehow he knew that Buffy was meant to be his. Therefore, if he'd never been with her, it stood to reason that she had never been with anyone else. It would be sweet, his conquering of her.
His eyes traveled from her mouth back up to her face, and it was then he realized that her eyes were wide open, luminous, staring at him. She had not moved or called out, simply lay there and watched him as he had been watching her. He watched her throat convulse as she tried to swallow, and a small smile lifted the corner of his mouth as the scent of her fear reached his nose. She was afraid, this mighty Slayer, even though he was barred from her house by an invisible fortress, even though he could not touch her while she huddled in her bed, she was afraid. Good.
Yet...yet...there was something else in her shining eyes, something that Angelus did not think he liked when he saw it. It was curiosity, a question she held silently in her eyes, and it bothered him. It should be solely fear that he saw, but there were other things there too. Curiosity, and...something, something that flickered when she looked him up and down. Was she actually sizing him up, brazen little thing that she was? Unconsciously he drew himself up straighter and folded his arms across his chest. Then, before he could stop himself, he spoke to her.
Buffy did not answer him, but sat up in bed and let the sheet drop to her lap. "Who *are* you?"
He was proud of the question itself, for it showed her awareness that he was not just some vampire among thousands that she saw every day. "Hmmm...a friend?"
"No vampire is a friend of mine." She said it casually, though twinges of nervousness still reached his nostrils.
"Then listen closely, Buffy Summers." Angelus leaned into the window as far as the barrier would allow and whispered fiercely to her in the silence of the night. He was satisfied when she drew back from him, although she knew he could not enter uninvited. "My name is Angelus. I told you that the other night. Say it."
Mutely, she shook her head. To say his name would be giving him some sort of power over her, and Buffy was wise enough not to do it.
"Say it!" he hissed at her, his anger growing.
Again, she shook her head, and then Buffy forced her paralyzed limbs to move. Crawling over the bed, she reached beneath the side closest to the window and drew out a newly sharpened stake. Holding it lightly in her fist, she looked up at him. "All I need to do is reach out the window," she remarked calmly.
"If you won't whisper my name tonight, bold little Slayer, then you can be sure that one day you'll scream it."
And then he was gone, leaving Buffy clutching her stake.
He was everywhere, yet he was nowhere. Buffy thought she saw him in every shadow of the cemetery, and when she foolishly rushed forward with a stake poised, the shadow melted into nothingness. It was making her crazy.
She had not told anyone of their last meeting outside her bedroom window. It was a secret she guarded closely, not sharing it with Willow or Xander and certainly not Giles, who would only begin to stutter incoherently over the fact that she had not yet killed the demon.
Why hadn't she? Buffy knew that she could have tracked Angelus down by now. She was getting much better at her tracking skills, she had asked Giles specifically if they could work on them. He had looked at her oddly, but was pleased with the request, and for two weeks they perfected her hunting skills. She could now track down a silent owl in the dead of night, yet she had not tracked the seductive vampire.
Seductive? Buffy bit her lip and pondered it. Oh, yes. Definitely seductive. He was evil, was what her mind told her. He was deliciously handsome, was what her body told her, especially when she awoke in the middle of the night and her sheets were damp with her sweat.
More dreams had come since the night Angelus had appeared at her window, a month ago now. And they were disturbingly realistic, making Buffy feel as if they had actually happened, in fact were actually *happening* while she was dreaming. There were always slight murmurs that she couldn't quite hear. The dark head bent over her body, doing things to it that she had only read about in books or seen glimpses of in movies, and she was surprisingly unashamed of it. The dark faceless figure was unquestionably Angelus, she had tried to pretend that she didn't know who was haunting her dreams, but the more she dreamed the more obvious it became. It had been him from the start.
The daylight made her scoff at him, made her turn up her nose at his arrogance, but when the night fell and he once again invaded her sleep with his evil seduction, Buffy could not lie to her body. It always betrayed her. Her nipples would stiffen against her soft cotton top, no matter how she willed them not to. When, in her dream, Angelus nipped roughly at her soft flesh, the wetness between her legs would increase and begin to seep out, and once or twice Buffy awoke abruptly to find her pillow between her legs and she was rubbing hard against it.
She was sure of only one thing, and that was that this obsession was going to end one way or another. Which way it would end was still to be discovered, and it made Buffy restless and uneasy.
Buffy climbed the stairs to her darkened room, energized from patrol. There had been plenty of vampires for her to practice on, and since Giles had accompanied her, she had tried to utilize the numerous skills she had been learning. Odd, though she somewhat resented the Watcher for the authoritative role he had in her life, she still had the urge to please him, to see him give the abrupt nod of approval.
Shrugging off her pack and dropping her unused stakes carelessly in the corner, she lifted her sweaty tank top over her head and sat down in front of her vanity. Clad only in her bra and shorts, she began to brush the tangles from her shining hair. When she reached for a hair tie, she brushed a small, oddly shaped paper from the top of the vanity, and watched it curiously flutter to the floor. Leaning to pick it up, Buffy found it was a crisp piece of ivory vellum, and it had been cut into a shape. She turned it one way, then the other, until she realized it was a letter. The letter "T".
*Now that's weird,* she thought. *When did I cut that out? Why did I cut that out?*
She took a small piece of tape from her drawer and taped the letter T to the mirror. Leaving the vanity, she drew down her shorts and let them drop at her feet, stepping out of them and pulling on a soft cotton shirt that brushed the tops of her thighs. Buffy moved to the bed, then stopped.
There, on her pillow. The letter "O". She reached for it, then stopped, suddenly wary. *What the hell...?* Buffy forced her hand to move, and took the creamy white paper, crossing the room to tape it to the mirror next to the T. She looked at them both for a moment, then moved back to the bed and drew down the satin coverlet. This time, she sucked in a sharp breath and backed away from the bed.
The letter "M", lying on top of her sheet, waiting to be discovered.
Someone had been here. Someone had been in her room, had placed these letters with care, had known she would find them. Buffy's eyes darted wildly about her room, searching for the culprit, knowing all the while that of course they weren't here. She glanced at the three letters, T O M.
Tom? That didn't make sense. There had to be more. Setting her mouth determinedly, Buffy began a thorough search of her bedroom and bathroom, finding five more letters hidden strategically about both rooms. They were all capital letters, and they were all cut from the same ivory vellum, and when she was exhausted, Buffy spread them out on her bed, including the ones from the mirror. She only had to play with them for a minute before she discovered the word they spelled.
T O M O R R O W
Buffy's pulse began pounding so loudly that she couldn't hear, and a clammy sweat broke out over her skin. "Mom!" she screamed, panicked. "Moooommm!" Buffy continued staring at the letters on her bed, her breath coming in frightened gasps, and then Joyce was throwing open the door.
"Buffy! My God, what's wrong with you?!"
Buffy turned so that Joyce's view of the letters was blocked, and swallowed hard. "Mom. Listen. Did anyone come to the house tonight?"
Joyce looked guilty, and Buffy wanted to shake her. Instead, she fisted her hands and waited calmly.
"Yes," she admitted, looking at Buffy fondly. "Why didn't you tell me you were seeing such a handsome young man? I wasn't supposed to tell you he was here. He just wanted to leave a present in your room, and he looked so earnest I couldn't turn him away, so I invited him in."
"Did he introduce himself to you?"
"Of course. He said his name was Angel."
Buffy felt her heart leap into her throat. Angel, was it? He was no angel. "Ok, Mom. Thanks. Sorry I scared you."
Joyce looked at her strangely. "You've been spending a lot of time with that study group in the library. I think you need some more rest. I want you home by ten o' clock for the rest of the week."
"Uh huh, sure. Ok." Buffy nodded her head, agreeing to anything, anxious for Joyce to leave.
With one more odd look at her daughter, Joyce left, closing the door softly behind her.
Buffy whirled back around and dropped to her knees beside the bed, looking again at the letters. T O M O R R O W.
He had been here. He was promising her he would be back, and soon.
Tomorrow was her birthday.
She would be seventeen.
The day dawned bright and clear and blue, deceptively peaceful. Buffy glared balefully at the sun that was smiling through her window.
It should have been raining.
Rain would have matched her foul mood perfectly, would have given her an excuse to be grouchy and snappish and just generally nasty. Instead, she would be forced to smile and be gracious and pretend that everything was just fine and dandy today.
Today, her birthday. She was seventeen, and she felt like she was a hundred. Buffy had slept fitfully, awakening once or twice an hour, and had scanned her dark room for the source of her discontent. She was alone, of course, there was nobody in the room with her and no noise to cause her to wake, yet she had not slept well all night. Buffy refused to consider the simple fact of her insomnia: she was afraid.
Afraid? No. She couldn't be afraid. She was the Slayer, the Chosen One, and it was not her job to be afraid. It was her job to soothe others' fears of things that bumped in the night or growled from under the bed or hissed evilly from the closet.
But who was going to soothe *her*?
Looking away from the cheerful sun, Buffy gazed about her room, looking everywhere except at the small pile of papers on her nightstand. She didn't have to look at them to see them in her mind, the perfectly shaped letters that spelled out both a promise and a prophecy: T O M O R R O W. Well, tomorrow was now today, and perhaps if she burrowed far enough under her covers, he wouldn't find her.
Yes, he would.
Angelus watched the sun try vainly to stay above the western horizon, and when it finally surrendered and slid out of sight, his eyes narrowed in satisfaction. He'd paced the mansion all day, cursing the wretched sun that kept him imprisoned, too full of energy to sleep. *Slayer, Slayer, Slayer...* his mind had whispered endlessly, reminding him unnecessarily that he had already waited long enough for her. He had done his evil best to keep her on edge, because he wanted her tense. Tense, taut, every muscle trembling with strain, her senses alive with fear and awe and wonder of him. His nostrils flared slightly just at the thought of her quivering beneath him while he dominated her innocence.
Whirling on his heel, his black duster billowing behind him like a cape, he left.
The music was loud and pulsing, and on the dance floor, teenaged girls moved their lithe young bodies to the beat while teenaged boys watched them hungrily. Couples pressed close together to feel the seductive rhythm in each other, and above their heads, red and blue and green lights flashed on and off.
The Birthday Girl, as her pink pointed hat proclaimed, watched the dancers and felt a strange sort of agitation. It was arousing, watching the couples join their bodies together, and the beat of the heavy music was settling into her blood and starting a slow, lethargic pulse in her limbs.
She had been this way all day, tense and uncomfortable, and had not understood it. Buffy had done her birthday duty and let Willow and Xander drag her to the Bronze, both of them insisting that she not stay home, although that was what Buffy had desperately wanted. Home was safe and familiar and quiet. Instead, she was here, grudgingly wearing the birthday hat Xander had plopped on her head, and pretending that there was no dark shadow lurking in a strategic corner.
All day long she had been jumping at those dark shadows, although she knew that there was no way for him to get at her during the day. And yet, as night had descended on Sunnydale and the comforting daylight had given way to the whispering dark, Buffy began to relax slightly. The night was not only made for him. She too was familiar with darkness, had spent a year with her Watcher training to work in the shadows. Night was for vampires, and Vampire Slayers.
Yet....she was apprehensive. And tired of sitting in this uncomfortable chair and wearing this ludicrous hat and pretending that she didn't want to be anywhere else, and then suddenly she was standing and removing the hat and saying, "Guys, thanks. But I'm gonna go."
They both looked bewildered. "Go?" Xander repeated, as if it were difficult to understand why she would want to.
Buffy began nodding and backing away from the table. "Yeah. It's been a great time and all. But Giles wants me to patrol."
"But..but..your birthday!" Willow was flustered.
"Hey, I was birthday girl all day. Now I have to be slay girl before Giles wrinkles his tweed."
"I get her hat," Xander announced to Willow, who was watching Buffy curiously as she made her way through the dancers. When Xander snapped the elastic of her hat under Willow's chin, however, she broke her gaze from Buffy sliding out the door and immediately dropped an ice cube down the front of Xander's shirt.
Her relief was overwhelming. Buffy had not realized how badly she had wanted to be by herself until she actually was alone. All day she had been surrounded by people who had wanted a bit of her time, a piece of her attention, giving her birthday hugs and wishes, and she had hated every second of it. All she had wanted was to be left alone.
...*so he can find you*...
What? Where had that wayward thought come from? Buffy most definitely did not want Angelus to find her, in fact, that was why she was headed directly for her house at a very fast pace.
...*by way of the cemetery*...
She *had* to go by the cemetery to get home, she told herself. Besides, there were six cemeteries in Sunnydale, you couldn't get anywhere without passing one. Or passing *through* one, as she was doing now.
...*the same one where you first met*...
"Shut up," she murmured to herself, putting her hands momentarily over her ears as if she could block out the sound of her own whispering mind. She began to quicken her steps, head down, eyes on the ground. She had reached the middle of the graveyard and was now on her way out the other side, and if she craned her neck hard enough she could just see the street sign on the corner that signaled she was almost home.
...*almost home, almost home*...
Buffy looked back later at the events of the night and often wondered why she was not startled when the sinfully handsome vampire materialized beside her. One minute she was alone, the next minute Angelus was lounging lazily on a headstone and smirking at her. Buffy would swear that he had not been there a moment before.
The surprise was the fact that she felt an odd sense of relief at seeing him, as if she had been unconsciously waiting for him to appear in order for them to face off. And now he was here, cocking his dark head and trapping her with a strange smoldering gaze.
Slowly, as if in a dream, Buffy reached down for the stake that was kept hidden in a discreet ankle holster. She widened her stance and lifted her arm, lowering her head but keeping her eyes on her opponent's face as Giles had patiently instructed.
Angelus' mouth quirked up in a semblance of a smile, and he shook his head. "No," he said calmly.
"No?" Buffy repeated, unsure of what he meant.
"No. That's not what we're here for, little Slayer."
"That's what *I'm* here for," she informed him, still on guard.
"No," he said again, more firmly this time, and he pushed himself off of the headstone. He advanced on her, noting with satisfaction that she did not retreat, instead, she stayed with her feet firmly planted. He did note, however, the delicious pulse in her neck increased. How sweet it would be to rip that vein open like a dog, to suck all that honeyed blood into his mouth and swallow it.
Not yet, though. After.
It was an easy thing to take the weapon from her, Angelus merely made a move with his left hand. When she reacted too soon, he swiftly dispatched her arm and the stake fell uselessly to the grassy earth. She looked down at it, puzzled, as if she could not understand how he had done that so easily. Buffy raised her gaze back to his face. Her eyes were wide, luminous in the dark, and Angelus felt his cock harden in response. He had been half-erect all day, thinking of her, and now he was hard and pressing against the seam of his pants just from being near her.
The slow, languorous beat that had begun in the Bronze started up again in Buffy's blood. Although she was trembling with the effort to keep her muscles stiff and ready, she felt too warm and hazy to keep it up for long. The vampire was merely standing next to her, not touching her, and her limbs felt as if they wanted to melt. She looked up at him wonderingly. "Who *are* you?" she murmured.
"You'll learn who I am, little Slayer. You'll learn fast and well." He had leaned down very close to her to whisper this in her ear, and though he had no breath to tickle the fine hairs at her neck, goosebumps rose anyway.
"Enemies," Buffy declared, trying to remember that this was a demon, one she should kill.
"Maybe later," he said seriously. "But for right now, we're equals." And with that, he brought up one strong hand to squeeze her breast. He didn't kiss her, he didn't even move in so their bodies were touching. He just gripped her breast in his hand, waiting until he felt the nipple begin to pebble, and then he ran a rough thumb across the tip. That was all.
Buffy froze when he touched her, a small part of her mind crying out at the injustice of not being able to hurt him, not *wanting* to hurt him in the way she should. She wanted to explore him, to let him do things to her, to find out who this vampire was that made him vastly different from the others. That was not at all what she had been trained to do, and she tried to rebel one last time, to make a move to break away from him and reach for the stake he had flung away.
Instead, Buffy stood like a statue.
Angelus knew his victory long before it was evident. He closed his eyes and took a moment to smell her, smelled the delicious fear and agitation in her blood and underneath it, slightly, a hint of desire that only needed a small fanning. Good. He would give it to her, and then he would finish her.
Using the tight grip on her breast, Angelus tugged slightly. Buffy had to take a step toward him lest she fall, and this brought her up squarely against him. Their bodies touched, from chest to thigh, there was no room to even slide in a piece of paper. When Buffy looked questioningly up into the hard planes of his face, it was all Angelus could do not to laugh out loud in triumph at the reluctant trust he saw there. She was trusting him? He was better at seduction than he thought.
She was practically begging for his kiss, Angelus noted, watching the Slayer part her lips slightly and then moisten them with her small pink tongue. His eyes narrowed as he immediately pictured that tongue laving his shaft, leaving soft wet trails across his stomach and then back down to smooth his heavy sac. With a rumble in his chest, he finally brought his head down to kiss her, demanding she give back equally.
Buffy didn't know how to give back equally, she had not been trained for this. Angelus was assaulting her senses with his onslaught, thrusting his tongue into her mouth and letting his hands roam where they may, landing occasionally on her breast, her neck, her back. Then, unexpectedly, he was gentling the kiss, sweeping his cool tongue across her trembling bottom lip and coaxing her to open her mouth willingly.
...*cool? I didn't know vampires would have cool tongues*...
Random pieces of thought began to fragment in her mind, Buffy tried to fit them together but she was having trouble thinking anything coherent except for the fact that she was standing in a cemetery, kissing her vampire lover.
...*lover? No. To be lovers, we would have to...oh!*...
Buffy's eyes flew open and she tried to struggle away from him, but his grip on her arms merely tightened a fraction and all the fight went out of her once again. She made a small, soft sound in her throat, and Angelus left her mouth to kiss the side of her neck where her heartbeat moved against her skin. When he lingered there, Buffy moved her head to try to peek at him, and found him with his nose buried in the hollow of her shoulder, his lips open and wet against the soft skin. He dragged his mouth away from the place, up to the soft lobe of her ear, and instantly Buffy felt herself grow wet when he took it into his mouth and sucked lightly.
She shifted her feet, slightly embarrassed at her response, and brought her hands up tentatively to his broad shoulders. She needed something to hold on to, because the world was tilting a little at the edges, and she couldn't stay upright very well. And then Angelus was facing her again, sweeping the dark recesses of her mouth with his tongue and growling very low in his chest.
Angelus was not going to be able to keep his control, he realized moments after kissing her. He wanted to shove her down on her stomach and rip the pants from her waist, spread her cheeks wide with his hands and ram himself into the tight passage that he knew was virgin, hear her cry out with pain and fear. And most of all, he wanted to hear her scream his name, as he had promised Buffy she would do. The lust in him was rising, he felt it from his stomach, coming up into his chest and in mere moments it would show in his face. He already felt his eyes burning, signifying the golden glow that would come, and his mouth began to ache from the effort of keeping sharp fangs at bay. Do this fast, he warned himself, and make the Slayer want it as badly.
His arousal strengthened, pressing tightly against the front of his zipper, and he wanted nothing more than to spring the button and feel the relief of letting it out. Instead, he held himself back forcefully, knowing that this conquering would be doubly sweet if he could make the Slayer feel what he felt, if he could make her body sing and have her gasping with pleasure beneath him before he killed her. So he continued to kiss her while slowly his hands made a foray underneath her soft shirt, encountering her breasts barely concealed by a scrap of a lacy bra. Her nipples were hard, and he could feel the gooseflesh surrounding them, and he was dying to see them.
When Angelus began to lift her shirt over her head, Buffy struggled to help him. She was hot everywhere, she noted curiously, and her clothes were only a sweaty, sticky hindrance. She wanted cool night air on her skin, and so when the shirt was lifted from her head, she flung it away impatiently. Her bra was next, of which he discarded easily, and she thought distantly that he must have done that before. She stood trembling before him but did not try to cover herself, and she could see the gleam in his eye that she took for approval.
Angelus looked at the Vampire Slayer, standing half-naked in the graveyard, and he almost laughed with glee. Her breasts were small and tight, with pale pink tips that were quivering with each shaky breath she took, and her golden hair fell over her shoulders to lightly brush the very beginning of the mounds. He kneeled down on the grass and took a pink bud in his mouth, hearing her whimper, and he smiled around her nipple. "Perfect," he murmured to her while he sucked. "You have a perfect, beautiful body. I knew you would."
The vibrations from his voice were sending chills up and down Buffy's arms, and she felt herself sinking down to join him on the ground. Bolder now, she took his head in her hands and brought it up to her mouth, kissing him of her own accord, desperate for something that she felt he could give her. She was past caring who, or what, he was, she only knew that she wanted him and wanted something that she had never had, and she would think later about what she had done. Later.
Angelus could taste her innocence and desire mixing together and it was heady. She was pressing soft kisses along the plane of his shoulder, pressing herself to his chest, and he couldn't wait. Easing her down to the ground, he jerked her pants from her, leaving her completely naked on the soft grass. He watched her swallow hard but lay still, waiting. Gritting his teeth, he did not bother to remove his own pants but simply opened the zipper and let his cock spring free. Buffy's eyes lit on it, and he saw the concern shadow her face at his size, and then it was gone again as he covered her body with his own. He felt her slide her arms around his neck as he sifted a finger through the curly dark hair at the juncture of her thighs, finding her hot, wet heat.
Buffy arched toward him when he slid his finger inside, feeling a small bit of the ache ease, but it wasn't what she wanted. She felt herself stretching around him, enclosing his finger that he moved inside of her, and felt a small twinge of pain. Buffy felt liquidy and warm, could feel her own juices slowly starting to seep out of her, and moved her legs restlessly against his hand.
"You're ready. You're ready for me, aren't you, Slayer? Say it."
"SAY it!" he commanded.
"Yes," she sobbed on a breath, "yes, for God's sake."
In that instant, his eyes turned a feral yellow and his forehead ridged. Through his fangs, he rasped at her, "God can't help you now, Slayer."
Buffy turned her head from his game face, feeling tears begin at the back of her throat, and she buried her face in her shoulder. Then his hand was gone and Buffy felt something bigger and harder at her slick entrance, and it was beginning to probe her. She felt the hardness slip inside and knew that it was him, that she was letting a vampire violate her, and that the consequences of her actions would be impossible to face. Another second had Angelus' heavy length pressed firmly against the last of her virginity, and she winced from the hard pain, trying to push vainly at his shoulders to get him out. He didn't budge, just lay still and waited for her pain to fade.
It was the last thin barrier he had to conquer, and then she would be his. With a grunt, he surged forward, feeling Buffy stiffen beneath him and then muffle a sharp cry of pain in her shoulder. Not good enough, he thought. He wanted to hear her, so he roughly thrust back and into her again, giving her no time to recover from the intrusion. She couldn't hold back the second cry, and it was a pitiful sound in the silence of the night, carrying up to the tops of the trees where an owl sat watching. Angelus smiled briefly.
Buffy began to cry out a third time from the pain, but found the sound muffled by a cool, demanding mouth on top of hers, distracting her. Buffy lay as still as she could, her body invaded in a way she had never expected. She felt him filling her utterly, and it was as if she was branded by him, possessed in a strange sort of way that would never let her go. He had claimed her.
She belonged to him, Angelus thought, as he began to slow his rough thrusts. She...was...his. He thought each word as he slid in and out of her, coaxing her along with him, knowing that the initial pain of her virginity was fading. She was moving slightly now, clumsily trying to meet his thrusts, her body springing to life despite itself.
Buffy hazily realized that something was happening inside her, that the pain had faded without her even realizing it, and now something fierce and hot was beginning to burn. She felt Angelus' thrusts, each one of them possessive and hard, and suddenly she was crying out again in anything but pain. Lifting her hips, she tightly wrapped her legs around his waist to invite him even deeper, and then she was reaching down to grab his buttocks with her hands to pull him inside as far as he could go. She lifted her hips off the ground, straining, reaching for the peak, and then, blessedly, it streaked through her like a hot wind. She made a sound, a whimper deep in her throat, and kept whimpering through the shudders that wracked her slim frame.
Above her, Angelus drove into her harder. Bands of muscle began to throb across his shoulders, and a light sheen of perspiration covered his ridged forehead. A growl began in his chest and worked its way upward into a snarl, contorting his features and ringing out into the night. One thrust, then two, then his gilded golden eyes fixated upon the steady pulse in her perfect neck. As if possessed, he lunged forward at it, rending the skin on contact. His eyes rolled back in his head when he felt the honey gush into his mouth, and he drank it down like nectar. Sweet, sweet slayer blood, there had been none like it before. He had never tasted this kind of power in a kill. He felt it flow through his own useless veins, looking futilely for a heart to nourish, and since it found none it merely continued to rush back and forth in his undead body.
And then, strangely enough, he felt Buffy stir underneath him, felt her inner muscles begin to contract, and then she was arching up against him and tossing her head against the mossy earth while he fed from her. It was a testament to her strength, Angelus noted with reluctant admiration. He had thought her drained of it. Without withdrawing from her neck, he snarled at her through the blood. "Say my name, Slayer."
He widened his tiger-gold eyes and turned slightly to find her gaze fixated on him, her eyes heavy-lidded. "Slayer."
"That's not...my...name." Her words were slurred and slow, but unmistakable.
Something unexplainable welled up inside him at her challenge. He spoke again, without lifting his mouth from her neck. "You will not win this fight....Buffy."
Buffy could not turn her eyes away from his fierce ones. "There won't...be a...winner....Angelus," she forced out, before her eyes slid closed and she turned her face away from his. He snarled again into the stillness, and when another jet of her blood hit the back of his throat, he began to shudder uncontrollably. With every muscle and sinew taut and trembling, he thrust one last time and then held himself very still, reveling in the feel of both his climax and Buffy's as well.
After a long, still minute had passed, Angelus rolled from atop her and lay on his back in the grass. His face smoothly transformed back into its human guise. Had he killed her? Suddenly he did not want her dead. He did not want the vivacious life drained from the feisty girl. If she were dead, if those startlingly large hazel eyes were closed forever, there would be a part of himself that was missing. He had taken her virginity, and that made her part of him for eternity. Her death meant he would never taste that fresh, innocent blood again, and that would be a travesty.
Looking out of the corner of his eye, he searched anxiously for signs of life. She lay still as stone in the grass, her hair fanned out behind her like spun gold, one arm flung wide. After a moment, Angelus was rewarded with the slight rise and fall of Buffy's chest, signifying that she had defied him yet again, and lived.
For the girl to remain alive was far better than killing her. To have a Slayer for the taking, whenever and wherever he chose, opened a world of possibility. She would be bound to him with invisible chain, and Angelus grinned with satisfaction. Buffy was his.
Rising silently from the ground, he fastened his pants and took a last look at her, lying naked and limp at his feet. His tongue darted out to lick the corner of his mouth, where he found a last remaining drop of the sweetest blood he'd ever tasted. Then he left her.
It was long after midnight when Buffy slowly and painfully climbed her stairs. She was terribly sore and bruised, and not just on the outside. Inside, she was shattered at what had happened, what she had allowed Angelus to do to her, and at the fact that he still lived.
She had failed Giles, and her friends, by allowing a vampire to live. She had failed herself.
She reached at last the comfort of her bedroom, and sank down gratefully on the chair before her vanity table. Turning reluctantly to the mirror, she gingerly pulled the fabric of her shirt away from her neck to examine the wound there. Her frightened eyes found two small puncture wounds, freshly made.
From them trailed a single crimson thread of blood.
She had fucked a vampire. Or, rather, she had let a vampire fuck her. "Fuck" was the only appropriate word she could come up with, because they hadn't "gone to bed together". They had done it on the ground. They certainly hadn't "made love". Making love was for...well, lovers. People who cared about each other.
So, Buffy mused, a vampire had fucked her. He had looked into her eyes, and taken her virginity, and, perhaps most frightening of all, had drunk from her. Buffy absently raised her hand to her neck as she had done countless times since the night of her birthday. She could not feel the scars, but they were certainly visible in the mirror. The skin had healed completely smooth, but, curiously enough, had left an imprint of two twin pinpricks.
They mocked her, those pinpricks.
There had been a purple rose on her bed the day after she and the vampire had coupled in the cemetery. She had found it after returning home, weary and heartsore, from patrol. She had spotted it immediately upon entering her room, the purple petals mocking her from her snowy white pillow. Buffy had never seen a flower that shade before, and doubted she would again. It was symbolic of her lover: mysterious and beautiful. But beware of the thorns.
She had told Willow. She hadn't wanted to, but she did. It had been eating at her insides for the ten days Buffy had tried to keep silent. And then, one night over Toffee Heath Bar ice cream, Buffy's tears had started to slip down her cheeks and land in salty drops in her lap. Alarmed, Willow had dropped her spoon with a clatter on the table and was instantly at Buffy's side.
"Buffy! What is it? Tell me!"
And Buffy had poured out the whole miserable story, pausing only to blow her nose and hiccup sadly. When she was done, she looked at Willow cautiously, dreading the pity and perhaps the condemnation she would see in Willow's green eyes.
There was none. Buffy saw only sadness and sympathy, which made her cry all over again, and Willow held her close and stroked her back gently. "Not your fault," Willow murmured over and over while Buffy sobbed. "Not your fault."
But it *was* her fault, Buffy knew. It had been her fault because her body had betrayed her, had responded to Angelus even though her brain had screamed its denial. There was no escaping that fact, just like there was no escaping the fact that she woke up almost every night, imagining that she heard something at the window, and when there was nothing there, she experienced a sharp pang of disappointment.
She had seen neither hide nor hair of him for ten days, and she hated the fact that she was counting. She hated the fact that she felt connected to him in an intimate, personal way, and she hated the fact that he had used and discarded her like so much trash.
And most of all, Buffy hated that she wanted him to do it again.
Buffy kept a watchful, wary eye out for Angelus every evening while she patrolled. Wanting to see him was one thing, being taken by surprise was quite another. She had no intention of being caught off guard again. It began to consume her thoughts constantly, to the point where even absent-minded Giles noticed her listlessness.
"Is something troubling you?" he asked her, while they were sparring together in the library.
"No," she responded immediately, lunging forward with the long-bladed fencing sword she carried.
"You've been rather...distant," Giles remarked casually, feinting to the left and parrying.
"Oh? Yeah, well...nope, nothing troubling here." Buffy knocked his blade from his hand and rested the blunt tip of her sword just above his heart. "Gotcha."
Angelus drummed his fingers on the doorjamb while he watched the sun slip helplessly below the horizon. It had been long enough, he thought. Long enough for Buffy to wonder where he was, why he had vanished. He wanted her on the edge of suspense, watching for him around corners, thinking each and every shadow was him. If her nerves were strung taut, it would make it that much more pleasurable when she broke.
He also could not deny the fact that he couldn't wait anymore. Her body had been so tight and hot around him, he dreamed of it often. Angelus had woken up with his cock hard as iron, tenting the fabric of the sheets, his own hand gripping himself and bringing himself off as he thought of Buffy.
And there was another disturbing thought: when had she ceased to be merely "the Slayer" and become...Buffy? Was it because the little bitch had made him say her name that hot, wanton night in the cemetery? Or was it because she consumed his thoughts through night and day? Whatever it was, he was furious at her, and himself, for personalizing her. He could not go back to thinking of her as a Slayer among hundreds of other Slayers. She was his, she was branded.
She was Buffy.
"Fucking bitch!" he roared, pounding his fist against the door frame. The sound echoed throughout the mansion, ringing off the wooden beams in the ceiling. She would pay, he fumed, beginning to pace, watching the sun go down.
Oh, would she pay.
Buffy needn't have worried about being snuck up on. She knew he was there even before he appeared in her window. There had been a crackling in the air, almost like it was charged with electricity, and the fine hairs on her neck had risen. She had whirled around just in time to see him landing lightly in a crouch on her roof.
"Invite me in," he smirked at her, kneeling at the window and leaning his elbows on the sill.
"Ha," she sniffed disdainfully, trying to hide the thrill she felt at seeing him. "I'll put that right on my 'to do' list."
"You *want* me to come in."
"Sure I do," she remarked, nodding. "So do my stakes over there."
"Awww, Buffy. You're not going to stake me." Her name rolled easily off his tongue.
"No, I'm not. Because you can't get in."
She was wrong. He rose from the roof and swung a leg over the sill, ducking beneath the window and entering her bedroom. Angelus stood there, a lean, dark contrast between the soft pinks and yellows of her room.
Buffy looked incredulously at him, then the window. "You...how..."
"I was invited already," he said, advancing on her. "Your mother is such a trusting soul."
She groaned inwardly. She had forgotten, neatly blocked out the gifts he had previously left for her in her room. The letters, the purple rose. Her mother had unwittingly granted him access.
Buffy watched him warily as he drew closer, looking around at her soft, girlish bedroom. "Nice," he remarked casually, nodding at her framed picture of Van Gogh's "Starry Night". He snorted with derision when he came upon the small collection of stuffed animals in the corner, then paused at her vanity and picked up a small bottle of perfume. He sniffed it appreciatively, his eyes never leaving her face. He held it out to her. "Put some of this on."
"Because I *like* it," he said softly, dangerously, and she snatched the bottle from him with impatience.
Dabbing a drop behind her ears and then recapping it, she held it out to him. He shook his head and smiled. "You didn't put it everywhere," he told her.
"It's not bath gel," Buffy said snappishly. "I don't bathe in it."
Before she could even blink, he was by her side, gripping the wrist of the hand that held the perfume. Angelus squeezed tightly and her hand opened helplessly, dropping the tiny bottle into his waiting palm. "Seems to me," he said softly, deceptively, "that you think I'm one of your little lapdogs. I've watched you, Buffy. I've watched those boys fawn and pant and slobber over you, their cocks so hard that they have to sneak into the bathroom at school to jerk off after merely talking to you." He almost laughed out loud when her eyes widened at his words, and he continued. "I'm not like them. You don't control me. You don't use that tone of voice with me." Angelus was lying, and he knew it. She did have some kind of control over him, else he would not be here in her bedroom. And as far as her tone of voice went, well...he much preferred a fighting, spitting little cat over a meek kitten.
He would face the sun before ever revealing that to her.
Uncapping the bottle of fragrance, he turned it upside down and let it wet his finger. "Now," he said silkily, "this is where a woman should apply perfume." Still holding her wrist near his face, he lightly tapped his finger to the pulse point, leaving a faint, airy scent behind. He lowered her hand, drawing her arm around his waist so that they stood with their bodies touching.
Buffy pressed her lips together tightly to keep from sighing at the contact, reveling in the feel of his hard chest against her, and growing even more angry that she liked it at all. The light scent of her perfume was reaching her nose now, mingling between them, surrounding both of them in a cloud of pleasant flowers. She watched his hand as he dipped into the bottle for more, the tip of his finger glistening with the liquid, and then he dabbed it at the hollow of her throat. Her eyes closed instinctively at the cool touch, her head tilted slightly to catch the contact. His hand lingered there, hovering just over the skin, then he was trailing his finger down her throat to the soft, dark hollow between her breasts.
"A woman puts perfume where she wants to be kissed," he murmured, letting his finger rest there.
"I don't want to be--"
"Yes, you do, you little whore," he growled at her, and her eyes flew open at the harsh words. "You want to be kissed, you're begging to be kissed. You're begging for me to kiss you and tear those clothes from your ripe, willing little body, Buffy. And then what? What will you beg for next?"
"Nothing," she ground out, realizing distantly that he had her by the waist and was pulling her to him tightly, so tightly that he was leaving her no room to breathe.
"Tell me!" he roared at her, furious that she was defying him yet again. When she merely stared at him with her luminous eyes, he flung the bottle of perfume across the small bedroom. It crashed into the mirror over her vanity, cracking the mirror and shattering the little bottle into a thousand shards of glass that sprayed all over the room.
Her eyes flicked to the mess on the floor, and then back to him. He was frighteningly angry, and Buffy knew that he was going to take her and use her again, just like their first time. In the instant before Angelus ground his mouth down onto hers, Buffy wondered why she was not properly afraid.
He did not kiss her. He mauled her instead, biting at her lips and feeling the power well in him when she whimpered. He gripped her hair tightly, forcing her head back so that her mouth opened, and pushed his tongue inside. He drove it down her throat, blocking her air, nipping at the soft skin on the insides of her cheeks. Buffy could not do anything but stand there limply and take it, he was too physically strong, and his grip on her was like a vise.
Angelus did not want her to merely take what he was forcing. He wanted her to respond, he wanted his power over her validated. She was his, this little Slayer of vampires, and she damn well better know it. He lifted his lips a fraction from hers and stared down into her eyes. "Mine." It was not a question.
He could see the defiance in her eyes, and shook her hard by the shoulders. "Mine!" he said, more forcefully, his nostrils flaring, his eyes burning yellow.
Buffy met his gaze unflinchingly. She raised one hand and poked her finger at his chest. "Mine," she repeated, suddenly realizing it was true. He was hers, he was obsessed with her.
"Fuck you," he snarled, before attacking her mouth again, and this time Buffy was not a passive participant. She threaded her fingers through his hair, mildly surprised at how soft and rich it was, and met his angry thrusts with her own. She was suddenly too hot, the tiny breeze from the open window not sufficient enough to cool her sweaty skin. The scent from the perfume Angelus had applied to her was wafting up again, set off by the body contact and Buffy's heat, and when Angelus began mindlessly tearing at her clothes she did nothing to stop him.
She had at the very least expected him to take her to the bed, but he did not even grant her that small respect. He dragged her to the floor, ripping at her soft velvet shirt, sending the tiny rhinestone buttons flying in every direction. He did not stop tearing her clothing until she lay naked beneath him, yet he did not try to remove any of his own hindering clothes. Buffy had closed her eyes when they hit the floor, but when a full minute went by and there had not been a sound from Angelus, she opened them again. His face was even harder and darker than usual with passion, and he was staring at her nakedness.
"What are you doing?" she whispered, drawing up an arm to cover herself.
He slapped her hand away roughly and pinned it to the floor. "Looking at you." As he said it, his gaze roamed over her breasts and down her sides, then skimmed quickly over her legs before rising back up to rest on the dark hair at her thighs. "Looking at what's mine. This," and he gestured to her body, "this is all mine. If you ever dare *think* about letting some other man set his eyes on it, I'll kill you. Do you hear?" He leaned his face down very close to hers, taking in a breath of air he didn't need just so he could smell her.
"I hear you," she said calmly. "But you're not the only one who can kill people."
He would have chuckled if he hadn't been so angry. She was reminding him who she was, what she was. A vampire slayer. And, all joking aside, she did have the power to reduce him to ashes.
But would she? It remained to be seen. The very question itself was highly arousing.
Angelus slid quickly down her body and came face to face with her sex, noting with satisfaction that she was glistening under the dark curls, the smell and heat of her desire unmistakable. His tongue came out to lap at it, and Buffy twitched at the sudden intrusion, lifting her hips slightly off the floor. He held her steady with his strong hands and literally buried his face in between her thighs, wanting to hear the cries of pleasure that were wrung from her by his own mouth. She didn't disappoint, as he worked her with his tongue and teeth she writhed in little jerks, sobbing in each breath and clutching at the carpeting with boneless fingers.
Buffy knew that he would not let her find her release until she did the one thing he had asked for each time they had met. She didn't want to do it, she tried desperately to keep her voice silent, but each time he brought her so close to the edge and then away from it, she felt it rising in her throat. Finally, after the fourth time of reaching for her climax and Angelus skillfully denying it, Buffy couldn't keep it back any more. She sucked in a breath as he took her sex into his mouth again, and cried out.
She actually felt him grin against her as she said his name. Showing her the first bit of mercy he had ever displayed, he brought both thumbs up to rub against the sides of her swollen, aching bud while he sucked on it. Buffy thought she would die if he stopped again, but he didn't, he kept up his delicious rhythm while he exerted pressure on her clit, and she felt her orgasm rising to the very top. It finally peaked, and as she exploded into his mouth, he quickly unfastened his pants and shoved them down. She still lay shuddering beneath him as he entered her, and he grunted as he felt her passage expand immediately to accept him.
When she tried to push his shirt from his shoulders, he snapped, "No."
"Why?" she gasped, as he thrust deeply.
He didn't answer, just lowered his dark head and drove into her soundlessly, bringing her yet again to another shattering climax before he himself felt his own climax ready to burst. He reached down to lift her hips securely against him, driving into her so hard and so deeply that he lost himself in the power and sensation of it, and when his orgasm came it was strong enough to send him collapsing on top of her, helpless while he let it roll through him.
He did not lay with her like lovers do, but rose almost immediately from the floor. Buffy watched him soundlessly as he buttoned his pants and ran a hand through his deceptively soft hair. "Thanks, Buffy. I'll be around." And with a wink, he left her bedroom the same way he had come.
Weary, sore, but deliciously sated, Buffy crawled from the floor to the shelter of her bed. Huddled beneath the down-filled comforter, her gaze fell upon the shattered remains of her perfume bottle. She would not let herself become that. She would not let Angelus splinter her life that way.
Yet, she was a part of him. Her blood flowed in his veins.
Kill him, and she killed herself.
Buffy was dreaming, and not for the first time.
It was different, somehow, and she knew it even in her deep state of sleep. For one, her dream was not dark and ominous. That was the usual pattern, and it was how Buffy always knew she was dreaming of Angelus. And secondly, there was an overall feeling of warmth about her, another oddity. Her dreams of the dark, sinfully handsome vampire were always accompanied by a cold chill that she could not shake off until well after she had awakened.
Hence, her confusion, even in sleep.
There was a softness in the air that was nearly tangible. It brushed against her skin like the richest velvet, creating the illusion that she was cloaked in something caressing and warm. The air was lightly scented, sort of salty and spicy sweet at the same time, not an unpleasant smell. Buffy had the vague impression she was near the ocean, although there were no sounds of crashing waves and no sand under her feet. It was perhaps the smell in the air, the scent of the beach, that gave her the idea that she was at the shore.
Although a light fog blanketed everything, she could see clearly. It was a strange combination of haziness and clarity, and added to the utter oddness of the entire dream. There seemed to be nothing of substance around her that she could touch, yet the ground was solid beneath her bare feet and she could feel the shirt on her back as it moved over her skin. Buffy peered into the dimness, curious, and at that moment a shape began to materialize from the mist.
Not dark, yet not light, either. It moved toward her purposefully, its edges taking shape as it drew closer, and when the shape that was in the form of a person finally stopped, Buffy's eyes widened in disbelief. This was not an Angelus dream, but here he was again, haunting her even in sleep with his cocoa eyes.
Yet...not. It was not him, and how Buffy sensed that fact was unexplainable. It certainly looked like him, the angles of his cheekbones were cut just as finely, his spiky-soft hair standing up just as thickly. His body appeared as lean and hard as she knew it to be, his hands just as strong, with their long fingers that had done many wicked things to her most intimate places. He quirked the side of his mouth up at her in a half-grin, and the curve of his lips was the same, along with the perfect, even teeth.
This was not Angelus, and the confusion was evident on her face because the man spoke, in that same, rich-timbered voice that by now was a familiar sound. "Buffy."
"You're...who...who *are* you?" she queried, feeling a bit like Alice through the looking-glass. "I know you...I think."
"You know my body. You know all of my outward physical appearances. But you don't know my soul."
"You don't have one," she said, eyeing him strangely. Curiouser and curiouser.
He heaved a sigh, strange thing for a vampire to do. "Angelus doesn't have one, that's the truth. But I do, little Slayer." The man who looked like Angelus but wasn't laughed ruefully. "You could say I was cursed with a soul."
Buffy cocked her head to the side and studied the man. It was his eyes, she decided suddenly. His eyes were the reason she knew this was not her illicit lover. Angelus had eyes that were empty of love but filled with lust, empty of empathy but filled with scorn and desire and obsession. This man's eyes were warm and generous and were looking right through her. "We know each other," she stated thoughtfully. It was not a question.
"In another time, another place, we know each other."
"You aren't Angelus. What do I call you?"
Another sad, sweet smile. "You can call me Angel."
"Angel." She tested the word out on her tongue, decided it fit. "You certainly look like Angelus. You have many of his...ummm...finer physical qualities." Buffy couldn't help eyeing his firm biceps appreciatively, then blushed.
Angel chuckled softly. "Once, a long time ago, I was known for my 'finer physical qualities'. I used them to my advantage, you could say."
"Well," Buffy murmured, shocking even herself with her boldness, "care to show me some of them?" She bit her lip, unsure of his response. Two months ago she never would have been so brazen, even in a dream. But then Angelus had stormed into Sunnydale and taught her what being brazen would get her.
Angel gazed fondly down at the small blonde girl, knowing that this Buffy was different from the one in his world, but the underlying similarities would always be the same. It was Buffy, and he was her Angel, and they were both dreaming of each other from separate universes. A love that spanned an entire wrinkle in space and time. How could he refuse her request? It would be like denying himself sustenance.
"Yes," he said very softly. "I would care very much to show you some of them." Angel drew her into him so that their bodies were touching, molding, and watched a look of wonderment creep into her eyes.
"You feel like him," she marveled, "but you're not him. You're making me feel warm all over just by looking at me."
"Well," Angel said, a mere hair's breadth away from her mouth, "let's see what kissing you will do." And with that, he lowered his hard mouth onto Buffy's soft one, and Buffy could not help but sigh in delight when he did.
He began to kiss her, to nip at her mouth, and his hands were roaming from her shoulders to waist and back again with such soothing caresses that Buffy's head began to feel light. This man from the mist of her dream was so different than the hard, evil lover she had come to know. Buffy had forgotten, or perhaps never really known at all, that kissing could be so loving and warm. She was used to rough, punishing lips that drew blood when they pleased and never lingered long on her mouth. This man...Angel, his name was...was drawing out the sheer pleasure of loving her lips with his mouth and tongue, and Buffy suddenly drew in a breath on a broken sob and melted into him. It had been long, so long since she had felt whole and secure and strong. Angelus had torn her down piece by piece to ensure his dominance over her, and her resistance to him had only left her feeling more weak than ever after their encounters together. But not with this man. With this man, she was...loved?
She felt it, in the desperation of his kiss, in the clutching of his hands at her arms. Buffy could tell he was trying to keep himself in check while they kissed each other, but the signs of his urgency were obvious. Angel was pulling her into him, his hands now firmly planted against her backside and the evidence of his desire pressing into the suddenly aching spot at her crotch. She pressed back, hoping to relieve the pressure slightly, and heard Angel begin a soft rumbling deep in his chest.
The quiet purring sent her a little higher toward her peak. Buffy felt the dampness in her underwear begin to grow warmer, soaking through the thin silk into her jeans, and she anxiously lifted a leg to twine it around Angel's solid calf. His hands had wandered aimlessly under her shirt and the strong fingers she knew so well were brushing hesitantly against the underside of her breasts. Another notable difference, she thought hazily. Angelus was never hesitant about anything. What he wanted, he took.
Buffy shifted just slightly, placing her breasts squarely in the palms of his large hands, and felt him smile against her mouth. "So perfect," he whispered, sending chills throughout her arms and legs. "So beautiful and perfect...forever, for the rest of my miserable undead life, I'll remember the perfection of you..."
Buffy felt a small rend in the tattered fabric of her heart at his tortured words. She did not understand the exact meaning, but the agony in his voice as he spoke was heartbreaking. She felt a strong urge to comfort him, to draw him close to her and croon to him until the raggedness of his voice went away and the tortured look in his eyes was soothed. I wonder if that's how I look and sound, she suddenly thought, realizing that this man and she were more similar than different.
"Angel," she spoke, liking the way his name sounded when she said it, and liking the way that he clutched at her with desperate fingers when he heard it. She said it again. "Angel..." and this time, it ended on a sigh because he was drawing her down to the ground with him and roughly pulling at her clothes.
Buffy helped him, drawing her own shirt over her head and then reaching for the buttons on his with shaky fingers. He stared at her while she undressed him, his chocolate eyes burning into her, asking for something unexplainable. And then their naked bodies were meshing together again in a tangle of limbs as each of them fought for the submissive position.
"Don't...don't you want to be on top?" Buffy asked shyly, used to taking a subservient and docile posture.
"Better view from down here," Angel replied with a wink, dragging her easily atop him and settling her astride his legs.
Buffy blushed --again with the blushing, she thought disgustedly-- and glanced down at his erection jutting up proudly between them. It looked good enough to taste, so she did, bending her head slightly and letting her hair create a curtain around his cock as she darted her tongue out to the tip. He jerked, bringing his hands up to grip her thighs tightly, and began the soft rumbling in his chest he had started earlier. The low sound served to bring another rush of wetness between her legs, and she began to rock slightly against Angel's pubic bone while she laved his cock with her little tongue.
Angel lay perfectly still while she tended to him, and Buffy couldn't help but marvel at it. Angelus was too rough with her when she had her mouth around him, he liked to thrust harshly into her throat and didn't care if her lips were bruised and bloody for days afterward. Angel did not move except to clutch her thighs with his fingers in time with her movements, and Buffy began to take more and more of him into her mouth, loving the cool velvet of him. His cock was slick now with her saliva and the pre-ejaculate that was leaking from his small slit, so Buffy brought up her hand to encircle him while she sucked. She began to squeeze him tightly, reveling in the power of it, still grinding herself against him and tightening her thighs around his hips.
Angel moved too quickly for Buffy to protest, and suddenly she found herself lifted slightly and then brought down hard on top of his throbbing shaft. "Why'd you do th..." she began, but found herself dragged down to his mouth and silenced.
"Because," he snarled through razor-sharp fangs, "I'm about to come in an incredible way, and it needs to be inside of you."
Buffy widened her eyes and was about to reply, but when she felt Angel push her up to a sitting position so that he could place both thumbs on her clitoris, she found she couldn't say anything but cry out his name into the haziness of the mist. "Angel!"
And then she was tensing and clenching around him, pushing against his thumbs with all her strength and rubbing up and down on them until she finally began to shudder with her climax. She fell forward onto him, twitching and gripping him tightly with the strong muscles in her legs, and heard him growl as his cock thrust up inside of her wetness and then began to jerk with little spasms inside her.
Buffy felt the pointed teeth against her neck, resting there, and knew that he would not sink them in unless permitted to do so. Without speaking, she turned her head away from him and nudged up against Angel's mouth with the soft part of her neck. He did not waste a moment, merely pierced the fragile skin and Buffy felt, for the second time in her life, a vampire drinking her blood. She heard him rumble in contentment as he swallowed the thick liquid, felt the contractions of his throat as her life's fluid flowed into him, and knew a strange kind of power.
He only took two mouthfuls before withdrawing from her and morphing back into his handsome human form. Angel rolled from his back to his side, pulling Buffy with him and settling her back against his chest. She felt him nuzzle his nose in her hair, smelling it. Buffy turned to look up at him over her shoulder. "I'm still not sure I understand the weirdness of this," she said softly, looking into Angelus' face, but not Angelus' eyes.
"It's meant to bring you strength, little Slayer."
"Strength? To fight?"
"In a way."
The dream faded slowly, dissolving liquidly into nothingness, and it took Buffy a moment to realize that she was no longer asleep. When it sank in that she was alone in her bed, without strong arms encircling her, she experienced a moment of profound sadness so intense that tears welled up and spilled over onto her cheeks. She clutched herself tightly, hugging her arms to her chest, and cried brokenly into her pillow. There was no man named Angel. There was no man to look at her tenderly and lovingly and worship her like a goddess.
There was only Angelus, and his obsession was not such that would allow for worshipping.
After a long time, Buffy's tears gave way to deep, shuddering breaths and an occasional hiccup. She turned to her back to stare at her ceiling, feeling the dried tears on her cheeks. She was suddenly tired, so tired that she could feel it deep in her bones, and dragged herself from her bed to brush her teeth. When she reached the sink in the bathroom, she braced both hands on it and hung her head, loathe to look in the mirror at the wreck she knew she'd find.
Taking a deep, strengthening breath, she lifted her head to meet her reflection, and stared in disbelief. On one side of her neck were the very faint pinpricks of Angelus' marking of her. And on the other...
On the other side were two identical holes, and trailing from them was a single crimson thread of blood.
TO BE CONTINUED
BACK TO THE SILKEN CAGE