Good Clean Fun
Disclaimer -- I don't own them; Joss and Mutant Enemy and all the various other Powers That Be do. If I owned them, I'm pretty sure they'd be much, much happier.
Comments and feedback to Ralkana47@yahoo.com would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Author's Note -- Dedicated to everyone who asked for it. This is the fluff/smut sequel to For Whom the Bells Toll.
Timeline -- Five years after Chosen and Home, and you should read the previous story first.
Rated NC-17 for explicit sex. Minors please click here to return to my story index to choose another story.
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Buffy giggled as Angel raced up several flights of stairs, impatiently pulling her after him. She was used to being the fastest, to leaving her friends far behind when she was in a hurry, but by the time they rushed past Harmony's desk, she was out of breath.
"Still a fan of the unicorns, huh?" she panted, laughing when Angel shook his head and rolled his eyes as he fitted his key in the lock to his office door.
She'd been in his office before, once or twice, so she stayed by his side as he crossed to his desk and hit a couple of buttons on the phone. There was the sound of a phone ringing, and Angel shrugged out of his torn and battered coat. Smiling wickedly, Buffy moved closer and began nimbly unbuttoning his shirt, trying to ignore the various small and already healing wounds that covered his pale skin. Angel jumped, but before he could scold her, the phone was picked up on the other end.
"Wyndham-Pryce." The muted sound of worried conversation in the background was audible over the line.
"Wes." Angel bit off anything else as Buffy's small hands slid smoothly over his chest.
"Angel!" Wes exclaimed, and the other voices in his offices stopped abruptly and then rose higher than ever. "Where are you -- do you have any idea -- Harmony said -- wait, that's your offi -- "
"Yeah, I'm i-in my office," he answered, catching her hands as they slid to his belt buckle. He tried to glare at her, but the smoldering heat in her eyes only made it harder for him to concentrate. "I'm... sorry I worried everyone, I just needed some time alone to work through some issues."
"Are you all right?"
"Fine, really. I'm sorry I didn't call. Listen, Buffy -- "
"Good God! Buffy's here! She's -- "
"I know," Angel cut him off, trying not to moan as Buffy -- her hands still held in his -- leaned forward and peppered his bruised chest with tiny soft kisses.
"Ah." Wesley's voice was hesitant. "Have you... talked to her, then? Did you..."
Angel's hands tightened suddenly around hers, and he drew her close to his chest. She snuggled into him, sighing in pleasure when she felt his lips curve into a grin against her forehead.
"Yes," he said. "I told her." The joy in his voice and the rumble of the words in his chest made her shiver in pleasure and press herself into him even more closely. "She's right here," he added, and when Wes carefully said nothing, Angel laughed. "I'm happy, Wes, it's good."
"Not yet," she whispered, "But you will be." He tensed, his muscles going taut in anticipation, and she chuckled, running a fingernail lightly down his tightened stomach.
"That's wonderful!" Wes was saying. "I'll assume you are unavailable -- "
"I'll see you in the morning, Wes, and I'll apologize to everyone then. And tell Harm that if she calls my suite I will broadcast her natural hair color over the PA."
Wes chuckled, but Buffy backed away from him. "Quite. Good night, Angel."
"Night, Wes." Angel ended the call and turned back to Buffy, who was watching him with her arms crossed and her eyebrow raised. "What?"
"And how exactly do you know Harmony isn't a natural blonde?"
Angel blinked. "I can smell the dye. I'm surprised you can't, considering how often she has it done."
"Oh." She stepped closer to him, curling herself into him again. She raised her face to kiss him, and then stopped. "So what is her natural color?"
Angel sighed. "I have no idea. What matters is that she thinks I know," he countered, punctuating his words with kisses on her upturned face. "And thus, she won't interrupt us..."
"Good point," she murmured, sliding her hands under the waistband of his trousers and cupping his ass. He moaned softly, bucking against her.
Angel slid one hand into her hair, tangling his fingers in the soft locks, pulling her mouth up to his. He spun, lifting her onto his desk. She wrapped her legs around his waist, pulling him closer by the collar of his shirt. Her tongue darted into his mouth to battle his for dominance, and he groaned at the heat of her body next to his.
His hand crept up to her side, and when he cupped her breast, rolling his thumb over her taut nipple, she whimpered and nipped at him, her teeth biting gently but firmly on his lower lip. She reached again for his belt buckle, and he reluctantly pulled away from her.
"Not in my office," he growled. "We're both covered in slime and blood, and I want to make love to you in my bed."
The last part was a heartfelt plea, and joy and anticipation bubbled up inside of her. She blinked innocently. "Make love?" she asked him blankly. "I just wanted a shower..."
He growled, picking her up and tossing her over his shoulder.
"Angel!" she shrieked. "Put me down!"
"You going to behave?"
"Maybe," she answered, running a hand over his ass, which was tightening quite nicely as he walked to the wall, where he twitched a tastefully discreet wall hanging aside to reveal an unmarked door. "In any case, I could make it very difficult for you to walk," she added, laughing as he shivered.
He set her down and opened the door, revealing another flight of stairs.
"Do you really live here?" she mused as they began climbing the stairs, which were no less utilitarian than the fire stairs they'd flown up earlier. When he shot her a confused glance, she shrugged. "It's an office building, Angel. I mean... apartment, mansion, hotel even, I can see, but -- "
He snorted, cutting her off. "This is the private entrance. There's another, much more elaborate entrance accessible through the main elevator, if you have the right code. Believe me, the previous management had much more ostentatious and showy tastes than I do," he told her. Buffy smirked and tried to hide it, but he saw and stopped, turning to her. "What?"
"Nothing," she said quickly, and when he glared, she laughed. "I'm sorry, Angel. But I know you! You brood at the Olympic level, don't get me wrong, but you like the silk and the velvet and the sheets that cost more than my bed."
He smiled, but it was a sad smile. "They're my comforts, Buffy," he told her quietly. "The only comforts I could have."
Buffy blinked, his simple words knocking the breath from her as if he'd kicked her in the stomach. She threw her arms around him, holding him tightly. "Not anymore," she said fiercely, and he tried to wrap his arms around her, but it was awkward, as he was a step above her. He settled for taking her hand again and heading up the stairs once more.
"Come on, let me show you my silk and velvet and ridiculously expensive sheets."
"Big fluffy towels?"
He chuckled, just as they reached the top of the stairs and a plain door. "Yeah, those too."
Unlocking the door, he pushed it open and flipped on the light, and she gasped. The contrast from the dim, plain, concrete stairwell was amazing. Unobtrusive lighting illuminated a living area that was definitely Angel's. Pieces of artwork in different media were carefully arranged around the room, and Buffy could tell the furniture was old, but in a way that spoke of money, not neglect. The antique weapons on the wall here and there would have looked out of place anywhere else, but they fit him perfectly. The far wall behind the sofa was covered by full floor to ceiling bookcases, and she knew he'd read every book they held.
"It's beautiful," she murmured.
His gaze was fixed on her face. "So beautiful," he whispered as their eyes locked. He pulled her closer and captured her lips with his, and the kiss grew increasingly intense as their hands wandered up and down each other's bodies, reacquainting themselves after a separation that had been far too long. Finally, she had to pull away, and she began kissing a trail across his cheek to his ear. Suddenly, she stopped and reared back.
"Shower. Now," she muttered, wiping a hand across her lips. He didn't think he'd ever seen a more revolted look on her face, and he knew she'd seen things that would make a mortician run in terror. He chuckled ruefully, leading her through the suite.
"Well, there went the mood," he grinned.
The look she shot him disavowed him of that notion in an instant. "Don't think it went very far," she said, a purr in her voice. He quickened his pace.
They stopped in his bedroom, and she glanced around briefly as he threw his coat on the chair by his bed and then grimaced and picked it up again, throwing it across the room and onto the bathroom floor. He toed off his boots, and she mimicked his actions, kicking off her shoes before she followed him into the bathroom.
He turned on the water in the shower to let it warm while Buffy gawked at the sheer size of the bathroom. She squeaked as he pulled her to him, stopping him before he could kiss her.
"Trust me... you don't want to taste what I got a mouthful of earlier," she told him, and when he grimaced, she said, "Exactly."
"Why don't you get in, and I'll go get some of those big fluffy towels before I join you," he said, staring at her hungrily. She grinned, and reached to pull off her shirt, but stopped when she saw he wasn't moving. Coyly, she moved to pull it over her head, and he groaned.
"Get in," he said hoarsely as he turned and retreated from the bathroom. "Be right back."
Her hands were shaking as she stripped off her clothes and dropped them on top of his coat. A shower with Angel... It was one of the dreams she'd had for so long, one of the ones that woke her up sweaty and restless and unfulfilled, and she ran her hands lightly over her body as she stepped into the shower. The water poured over her from the three walls, and she sighed at how good it felt, lifting her face to the warm spray. Quickly, before he returned, she rinsed her mouth and took a cursory scrub at her cheeks before closing her eyes and leaning against the wall to let the water relax her.
Buffy shivered as a draft slid over her skin, and then Angel was with her, his cool hands cradling her waist, a heady contrast to the warmth of the water.
"I thought you said the shower was small! You could fit five people in here!"
He shook his head. "Nope. It's small." He moved closer, and she gasped as her back hit the cold tile of the wall. "See," he murmured in her ear, "Very tight fit..."
She whispered his name as she looked up into his eyes, the chocolate depths gone dark with desire. She grinned wickedly and slipped under his arm, ignoring his growl of protest as she retreated to the other side of the shower. She grabbed up his ramie washtowel and his body wash, smiling as she inhaled the scent that had been on his skin for as long as she could remember. When he moved to take them from her, she shook her head and pulled them close to her chest, away from him.
"Please, Angel, let me."
He grinned wickedly. "Well, since you twisted my arm... but expect me to return the favor, beloved."
She dropped the body wash, crouching to pick it up with shaking hands.
"Buffy?" When she didn't answer, he crouched next to her, tipping up her face.
"You... it's just been so long since you called me that."
He pulled her up, cradling her in his arms. "It's always been true," he whispered. She nodded and sniffled, and then poured a healthy dollop of body wash onto the washtowel. He shifted slightly, out of the direct path of the spray, and she ran the towel lightly over his shoulders, following it teasingly with her fingernails. He groaned, slumping against the wall as her fingers played over his slippery skin, washing away all the traces of the battles he'd fought that day.
"God," he moaned, "That feels so good."
"Poor baby," she murmured as she traced a healing wound. She stared up at his face as she massaged his shoulders and his arms. His eyes were closed, a tiny smile playing around the corners of his mouth, spiky hair sending rivulets of warm water down over his pale skin.
Buffy teased him, raking her nails lightly over his nipples, laughing when he growled and jumped as they pebbled at her touch. She chased the water as it trickled down the planes of his chest, marveling at how his skin warmed in the steam of the shower. He began to purr, softly at first, and then louder, his hands kneading her shoulders as she focused on her task, and the sound sent liquid heat coiling deep within her.
"I forgot how much I love that sound," she told him, her voice husky, and Angel looked at her, his eyes heavy-lidded in his pleasure. His lips quirked into a smug grin as he purred as loudly as he could. The low, sensuous sound flooded through her, drowning out the sound of the shower.
She glanced down, allowing herself for the first time to truly look at him, and she felt a fierce sense of triumph at the pleasure she was obviously bringing him. His cock was rock hard, proudly angling up towards his stomach, and she moaned and licked her lips at the thought of it within her, of him within her. Grinning, she slipped to her knees before him. Her breath skated over his skin, and he whimpered her name, and the fire and the triumph battled within her for the upper hand. She washed his legs carefully, her hands gliding over the hard muscles, only separated from his flesh by the thin, slightly rough texture of the towel.
Angel was alternately purring and growling, shifting on his feet as he tried wordlessly to get her to focus on where he most needed her. She wanted nothing more than to touch him and explore him, but she wanted all of him, and she wanted him clean, and more importantly, she was having fun teasing him.
She ran the washtowel over his feet, laughing as he twitched when she washed in between his toes. Slowly, she ran the towel back up his legs, moving higher and higher, up his thighs, sliding her hands around his body at the last minute to cup his ass. Her face rested on his thigh, and she could feel him quivering beneath her cheek. She watched as his cock twitched and jumped at her actions, and she wasn't sure how much longer she could tease him before she gave in. Slippery with the soap, her hands moved smoothly over his skin, and as far up his back as she could reach from her kneeling position.
"Buffy," he sighed, tangling one hand in her hair. She smiled and traced the muscles of his stomach, following the light, nearly invisible line of soft hair that led down to the dark curls at the apex of his thighs.
"Please," he moaned, and before he could say anything more, she moved the lathered washtowel over his sensitive skin, her hands gliding over him easily. Dropping the washtowel, she slid one hand around his thick shaft as she cradled his balls with the other. He cried out and arched his back, his hands tightening in her hair. She ran her fingers along him lightly, tracing his contours, and he began panting. Carefully, she nudged his body along the shower wall, moving her head back so that the shower's spray hit his stomach, the water sluicing down his skin, sending the suds cascading down his legs.
She nudged him a little further along the wall so that the spray wouldn't hit her in the back of the head, and he leaned on the tiles, nearly overwhelmed the by sensations pouring over him.
The tip of his cock glistened, and she massaged the moisture into his skin. Angel whimpered as she leaned forward and pressed a kiss to the very tip, inhaling his earthy scent. She wrapped her hand around him again, working it gently from base to tip, and he growled her name and began shallowly thrusting his hips.
Slowly, Buffy took him into her mouth, swirling her tongue gently over the head. She closed her eyes, remembering the times she had done this to him before, when she had been unsure and inexperienced, and he had been gentle and encouraging. She glanced up to see him watching her hungrily, and even beneath the fire of his need, she could see the same love and complete trust she had seen so long ago.
She hummed around him, and he began to thrust faster, his hips jerking. She slid her lips softly over him, letting her teeth ever so lightly graze the supersensitive skin, and his cry choked off.
"Buffy," he moaned. "I..."
She hummed an affirmative, nodding her head, allowing the movement to take him deeper into her mouth, and he halfheartedly tugged at her hair. She made no move to back off, taking him as deeply as she could, and he stiffened, his body bowing.
His muscles corded and he came, his fingers tightening in her hair even further. Her name ripped from him in a sob, and his body jerked as he spilled himself into her in warm gushes. The warmth surprised her until she realized that all of him must be warming up, not just his skin. He slumped against the wall, and she stroked as much of his skin as she could reach, soothing him down from the peak to which she'd raised him.
Angel dropped to his knees beside her, pulling her into his trembling arms. His lips slanted down over hers as he growled, plunging his tongue into her mouth to claim her, to share the taste of himself with her, and she slid her hands into his hair, holding him even more tightly to her.
He pulled away, and even in the steam of the shower, she could see the tears glistening in his eyes. "God, Buffy..."
She kissed him again, moaning as his hands slid up her sides, fingers caressing the soft skin of her stomach, mapping the curve of her breasts. Strong fingers rolled a nipple gently between them, and she hummed, urging her slick body against his.
Angel lowered his head, his tongue chasing the falling spray as it slid in crazy patterns down her shoulders. He nuzzled at her skin, laving a small circle around one hardened nipple as his fingers traced random patterns into the skin of her other breast.
"Mmm, Buffy... your skin is so sweet, beloved," he murmured, lapping and nibbling at her. "I'd almost forgotten..."
Buffy whimpered as his teeth closed on her rosy nipple, and she threaded her fingers into his hair and arched her back to bring herself more fully into his mouth. Angel growled his approval, his other hand gliding down her back to cup her ass. He pulled her hips more forcefully into his, and she clutched at his hair as he ground himself into her, his hardening cock heavy and warm against her skin.
Lines of fire began to dart through her, flashing from the trails his fingers left as they skated over her skin. Angel kissed from one breast to the other, and the fire spread, making her shiver against him. His hand skimmed down to tangle in the nest of soft curls between her legs, long fingers searching for the throbbing bundle of nerves hidden there. Buffy jumped, crying out softly, when he found it and pinched it lightly.
He kissed his way up from her heart to the pulse fluttering rapidly in her throat, purring against her skin. His hand moved lower, the heel of his palm grinding into her sensitive nub as he slowly pushed two strong fingers within her.
"God, Angel," she moaned, throwing her head back and baring her neck to him. He hissed in pleasure as her sheath tightened around his fingers, and he kissed and nibbled along her skin, following the rush of her blood as it called to him.
"You're so hot, beloved," he whispered. "Like fire, like sunlight. You should burn me, hurt me, but you're so perfect. Oh God..." he panted, stroking his fingers harder and deeper within her.
"God, Angel, please," she begged, pushing herself into his kiss and onto his thrusting fingers. "Please, Angel..."
"Mine," he growled. His teeth -- blunt, and yet hardly less dangerous for their bluntness -- bit down hard, marking but not breaking her flesh, and he plunged his fingers ever deeper, adding a third as he sent her over the edge.
Buffy keened, calling his name in breathless cries as the fire crawled through her, consuming her until all she could do was writhe in his arms, clutching at him. Her fingernails split his pale skin where she grasped his shoulders, the small, red half moons proof of the force of her release.
He continued nipping at her, whispering her name like a prayer against her skin, fingers still stroking within her as her body pulsed and clenched around them. His movements were gentle now, calming instead of enflaming, but she could feel his arousal throbbing hungrily against the taut muscles of her stomach.
Buffy quivered in his arms, her body gently and gradually relaxing into his. He cradled her against his chest, slipping his fingers from her so that he could hold her with both arms. Moving one hand under her back, he curled the other under her knees. He stood carefully, mindful of how slippery the wet shower floor could be.
"Where are we going?" she asked him dazedly.
"No," she told him, starting to squirm. "Then we'll have to dry off, and that'll take way too long. Want you now."
"Careful, Buffy!" he warned, trying to keep his balance so he didn't send them both crashing to the floor of the shower.
"Let me down."
"Just a second."
"Now," she ordered, giving a particularly dangerous squirm. Afraid of dropping her, he set her on her feet. She immediately pushed him against the wall, snaking one hand around the back of his neck to pull him within reach. She rocked her hips forward, rubbing herself against the silky steel of his erection as she eagerly claimed his mouth. He moaned into the kiss, arching against her as his hands grabbed her ass to mold her body even more closely against his.
"Buffy," he said desperately.
"Bed later, Angel," she muttered against his lips. "Shower now." She slipped a hand in between them, curling her fingers around his hard shaft.
With a sound somewhere between a growl and a roar, he spun, slamming her against the wall of the shower. Unfazed, she hopped up, wrapping her legs around his waist as she guided him into her body. Angel buried himself within her in one fierce thrust, groaning at the feel of her, close and tight and hot, rippling and molten around him. She squeaked and clutched at his shoulders, locking her ankles behind his ass.
"Fuck," he grunted as he pounded into her, pulling out and plunging back in short, hard, brutal strokes. He took her mouth as possessively as he was taking her body, tongue thrusting in to taste her, to steal her breath.
"Angel," she gasped when he finally let her breathe. "God, Angel, yes..." He was filling her, part of her, surging within her, and the waves were crashing over her, just out of reach, and her hands gripped his shoulders ever tighter as she surged against him in return.
"Please, Angel, harder," she pleaded. He slammed into her, holding her up with one hand as he reached between them. Finding the bundle of nerves just above where he pistoned in and out of her, he stroked her, fingers pressing, pinching, and she screamed, her body tightening in his arms and around his cock. Lowering her head to his neck, she bit down as the lightning sizzled through her.
Angel roared her name, and she felt his muscles tauten. She looked up just in time to see his face change, revealing the ridges of the demon within him. His eyes flashed golden, and she angled her head as far to one side as she could, baring her throat to him. He arched his back, thrusting powerfully one last time as he emptied himself deep within her. To her surprise, he didn't drink -- his head was thrown back, mouth and eyes wide in a rictus of ecstasy, fangs bared and gleaming.
His body shook with the power of his release, and as his face changed back, he dropped to his knees, still holding her. They rested against each other for a long moment, the water pouring over both of them.
"Oh God," she said eventually, her voice weak and somewhat hoarse. He lifted his head, and there was a satisfied, catlike smirk on his sensuous lips. He blinked slowly a couple of times, his eyes heavy-lidded, and she said, "Not falling asleep on me, are you? What happened to the vamp stamina?"
He shook his head, dislodging droplets of water, which landed on his cheeks, glistening. "Just savoring. God, that was good. Come on," he told her, getting shakily to his feet. He helped her up, but she stopped him before he could shut off the shower.
"You still have gunk in your hair," she told him, and he groaned. "Kneel down."
"If I do, I may just crash on you here in the shower," he said, but he got down on his knees again.
"I'm sure I could find some way to wake you up," she said with a mischievous grin as she reached for his shampoo. He leaned tiredly against her as she washed his hair.
"Love you," he mumbled as she rinsed it and helped him up.
"Love you too," she said with a smile. He took the bottle from her and proceeded to return the favor, massaging her scalp masterfully as he did so. Buffy did her best to imitate his purr, which made him laugh. Not just smile, she thought amazedly. He actually laughed!
They quickly lathered each other up with the washtowel once more before rinsing and finally turning off the shower. Angel reached out and grabbed two towels, swinging the larger one over his shoulder. He coaxed her to bend over so that her hair fell forward over her head, and then he deftly twisted her wet locks up in the smaller one he held. Taking the other towel -- which was indeed big and fluffy -- he reverently dried her off. She blinked away tears as he tenderly dried every bend and curve and plane of her body, between fingers and toes, kneeling again before her to make sure he did a thorough job.
When he was finally finished, he glanced up at her, grinning like a proud little boy. "There."
"Thank you," she murmured.
"Ever since that night... your birthday, when you were soaked and shivering... I have dreamed of doing that," he told her as he wrapped the towel around his waist. He swung her up into his arms again, carrying her towards the bed. Buffy bit her lip to stop the automatic protest -- he was pampering her, and she would let him. Just this once, of course.
She considered pointing out that he hadn't completely dried himself off and was ruining his careful drying job, but her chest brushed against his moist skin, and she dropped the idea. After all, she thought distractedly, Damp, glisteny Angel is almost is good as wet Angel.
The lights were on in the bedroom, and the bedcovers were turned back, and she distantly realized he must have done it earlier when he'd retrieved the towels before their shower. Our very long -- but very nice -- shower. A glance around the room told her that his bedroom was just as beautiful as the rest of the suite, but she was way too sated and relaxed to check it all out now.
Instead, she stared at her fingertips, giggling as he set her gently on the bed. He glanced at her, a cute half-puzzled expression on his face as he lay next to her on his side.
"What's so funny?"
She stuck her hand in his face. "I'm all pruney everywhere."
He raised an eyebrow, a smirk at the corner of his lips. "Everywhere, huh? Let's see..." He pushed her playfully onto her back, rolling atop her.
"Shh. I'm investigating," he told her solemnly. "It's what I do."
"Thought you were all mister boring businessman these days."
"Just my day job," he whispered into her skin, making her shiver. He kissed the soft skin of her stomach. "Not pruney here."
He pressed a quick kiss to her golden curls before moving on, lips trailing down her left leg. "Not. Pruney. Here." The words were punctuated with kisses, and she sighed his name.
He cradled her small foot in his hand, chuckling when she wiggled her toes at him. "Aha," he said. "Pruneyness. But still pretty." He kissed her big toe, and she laughed.
"I think I'm liking playful Angel."
She wondered if she should have kept her mouth shut when he stopped smiling, crawling up the bed to lie next to her again. He took a deep breath, and that told her he was calming himself, preparing to tell her something important. "I... the guilt... it's less, Buffy. It's been less -- I think it was part of whatever Wes and Fred did, but right now... it's just... I don't know..."
"You're happy," she said softly, and his eyes widened as he recognized the truth in her words.
"I am," he realized. "I really am. Buffy, I -- " His voice broke, and he stopped, bowing his head.
She reached over to cup his cheek, her thumb unconsciously brushing away the tear that slipped from the corner of his eye. "Do you have any idea how it makes me feel to know that after all this time, after everything we've both been through, that I can still make you happier than anything else can?"
"Of course you can," he whispered. "You are my happiness, Buffy. You. Always you..."
Angel kissed her again, softly, joyfully, gratefully, shifting onto his back so that she lay draped across his chest. The intensity of their kisses grew, but unhurriedly this time, a slowly kindled fire instead of a lightning strike. Where their hands had feverishly slid over each other's bodies before, now they caressed with worshipful, feather light touches.
She rolled onto her back, cradling his body as he moved over her and into her. They rocked together, whispered endearments and vows remaining in the air around them as they leisurely moved toward a shattering crescendo. It left them both with tears on their cheeks when it finally passed.
Buffy fell asleep curled in his arms, and she slept dreamlessly through the night for the first time in as long as she could remember.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
She woke with a start; the room was unfamiliar and nearly pitch black. There was a weight across her stomach, and she peered down, recognizing Angel's arm flung across her just as the memories came flooding back. Angel was sleeping peacefully, a tranquil look on his face, and a sob burst from her without warning.
His eyes flew open, and he was sitting up before he was even half awake. "What? What's going on? Buffy? What is it, beloved?"
She covered her mouth with one hand, the heaving sobs still tearing themselves from her. "I'm s-sorry. Didn't wanna wake you u-up. I woke up, and y-you were sleeping, and you l-looked so peaceful, and you're here, Angel! You're really h-here!"
"Shh..." He pulled her into his arms, rocking her and trying to soothe her, pressing kisses to the top of her head. After a few moments, the sobs slowed, and eventually they stopped, but she remained in Angel's lap, her arm wrapped around his neck.
"You okay?" he asked her, and she nodded, playing with the corner of the blanket.
"Sorry," she sniffled. "Didn't realize how worried I really was that you wouldn't be here."
His arms tightened around her. "I'm sorry you were worried, Buffy. Believe me, I never would have risked this if I hadn't been absolutely sure it was safe."
"I know... it's just..."
"I'm here for good, beloved. The demon is locked up; he can't ever get out again."
She flashed him a watery smile. "Bet that pleased him."
Angel grimaced slightly. "Yeah."
He held her in silence for a little while longer. They were both beginning to drift back to sleep when he jerked awake again, startling her back to full consciousness.
"What time is it?"
She tried squinting at the clock on the table by his bed, tossing him an irritated glare. "You couldn't have a clock with big neon numbers like everybody else in the world."
"It wouldn't go well with the rest of the room."
She sighed. "I can't see, but I think -- "
"Go open the blinds," he suggested, and she froze.
"Open the blinds and let some light in so you can see the clock," he said patiently, and she peered determinedly at him. Though she couldn't see the clock, she could just see the small smile on his lips.
"Angel -- "
"Buffy, you know all the glass in this building is necrotempered. Magically treated. The light can't hurt me."
"What if I just hit the light switch instead?"
"Please open the blinds?"
"Are you sure?" she asked as she climbed out of his huge bed and walked toward the window. He had told her about the special windows, but she had never seen them at work. The few times she had visited the Wolfram and Hart building after the AI crew had taken over its administration had been after sundown. "It won't hurt you?"
"What do I do?"
"See the panel on the wall? By the window?"
"Hit the big button on the bottom."
"Oh. Okay." She stared at it.
"Buffy, I'll be fine."
She nodded blankly, and then she reached out with a trembling hand and tapped the button. The room was instantly flooded with sunlight, and she threw her hands up, shielding her watering eyes. After a moment, she moved her hand and turned to look at Angel. He was sitting naked in the middle of his rumpled bed in a wash of sunlight, one hand pressed to his eyes. Dust motes danced in the air around him, sparkling like gold, and she crept closer to him.
"It's amazing," she said in awe.
"It's bright," he countered, his voice tight.
"Oh. Do you want me to close them?"
"No." He grabbed her arm, pulling her back onto the bed next to him as he leaned against the headboard. "Just give me a minute."
"How come you wanted them open if it hurts you?"
He took his hand from his eyes. He was blinking and squinting, and his eyes were watering fiercely, but he looked into her eyes. "Because I wanted to see you," he told her earnestly. "In the sunlight again."
She smiled, and then it became a frown. "Again?"
Angel stilled. "I've seen you in the light a couple times. From a distance," he said eventually. "I... you didn't see me. I made sure. I couldn't stay away," he said, his voice sheepish and laced with regret and longing.
She reached down and took his hand, squeezing it. "No more lurking. Now you can see me in the sunlight whenever you want."
He smiled and then grew solemn. "Well, not really, Buffy. It's only in this building. I still can't go outside or anything."
"Then I guess I'll be here a lot, Angel, because you are quite yummy in direct sunlight."
He frowned, pouting, and she had to restrain herself from nibbling on that sulking lower lip. "Only in direct sunlight?"
She gave in, leaning over to kiss him and nipping swiftly at his lip. "Oh yes, Angel, because I've seen you so often in direct sunlight. Jeez. Direct light, indirect light, fluorescent light, candlelight, moonlight, no light. You're gorgeous, Angel. Enough ego stroking?"
"It'll do. For now." His eye caught the clock, and he groaned. "I have to go downstairs sometime soon."
"They can't do without you for one day? Will the building fall down? Which would be bad, because you know, Nike-tempered glass probably wouldn't protect you then."
"Necrotempered," he corrected with a grin. "I was AWOL all day yesterday too, remember? And I do owe them all apologies for disappearing. But it won't take me long, and I don't have to go right now. I mean, I don't know... are you going home this morning?"
Buffy smiled. "Actually, I have three days off, starting today. I can stay, if you want."
He kissed her in reply, and she hummed happily into his mouth and settled back in his arms. Silence reigned for a while as they watched the dancing dust motes and reveled in each other's company.
"Do -- do you remember..." Buffy bit her lip and stopped.
He glanced at her. "What?"
"Your hair has little blond highlights," she observed, carefully not returning eye contact. "I never noticed them before."
"It's not important, Angel," she said, and when he just continued to gaze at her, she sighed. "I was just thinking of the last time I woke up in your arms and proceeded to let sunlight into the room. Do you remember?"
It was his turn to look away. "Of course I do."
She laughed nervously. "God, that was so dumb of me. I don't know what the hell was wrong with me. I don't know if I was really tired, or maybe I could tell that things weren't all glowy between us and I was nervous, or maybe -- "
"Buffy." He cut off her babbling, and she looked at him as he took her hands in his. "Buffy, you have to believe me. I never stopped loving you, never stopped needing you. Never. That's not why I left..." His eyes, dark pools of apprehension, beseeched her to understand, and she smiled.
"It's okay, Angel. I understand now why you left. I know you didn't want to, but if you hadn't, you wouldn't have become who you are now, and I wouldn't be me. And who knows, maybe we needed time, maybe I needed time to really get just how rare and important what we have is."
Angel pulled her into his lap again, his lips slanting over hers in a searing kiss. When he finally pulled away to let her breathe, he murmured, "Thank you, beloved. For everything. For understanding. For forgiving me -- "
"Because I love you, Angel. And don't you dare thank me for that." When he opened his mouth to argue, she narrowed her eyes. "Don't make me go Slayer on you, vamp."
He laughed. "Yes, ma'am."
She grinned wickedly. "Good boy. You know, I could get used to that."
"Buffy..." Suddenly, he wouldn't meet her eyes. "If -- if you're serious about coming over here often... I mean -- well, what I wanted to say was..."
"Angel, spit it out."
"There's... this drawer. In my dresser, I mean. I don't -- it doesn't get used very often. I could clean it out. If you wanted. So you could have a drawer, you know... for some of your stuff. If you want. Because... that's what couples do. They have drawers."
There was silence when he finished speaking, which stretched out until Angel couldn't take it anymore. He glanced up. "Buffy?"
She was eyeing him impassively. "Hmm," she said. Then, she tossed her head, flipping her hair out of her face with a blinding smile. "What if I want two drawers?"
Angel laughed, lunging at her and rolling her underneath him. His mouth captured hers, and she giggled into the kiss, making him chuckle. "Well then," he growled as he kissed his way from her lips to her earlobe, nibbling when he reached his destination. "I think we can work something out."
"Oh, yes," she purred as she arched underneath him, her body humming from his touch. "I'm pretty sure we can."
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