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CYA 2012: Dance with the Devil

Title: Dance with the Devil
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Author: Dralf
Wordcount: 5,616
Setting: S6 AR
Characters/Pairings: Buffy/Angelus
Rating: R
Disclaimer: These are Joss Whedon's toys. I'm just playing with them.
Summary: When Angelus comes to Sunnydale, it’s impossible for Buffy to resist. S6 AR after Life Serial.
Notes: Here’s my entry for cya_ficathon. The prompt’s at the bottom to avoid spoilers, but I’ll thank whoever gave me the prompt right now. Thank you for such an awesome prompt! I had a lot of fun with this story and I hope you enjoy it. The title’s from the song “Dance with the Devil” by Breaking Benjamin (amazing song, amazing band, go listen!). Also, a big thank you to my buddy Alex for beta-ing this story.



She must be dreaming.  

Angel stands in the cemetery, leaning against the wall of a mausoleum. Last time she saw the vampire, she had told him to stay in Los Angeles, that she didn’t need him around. It’d been a lie, but she couldn’t drag him into this when he had his own life and mission. They’d parted ways with a promise that he would come if she called. But she hasn’t called and yet here he is, a dark knight in black coat.  

“Angel.”

“Buffy.”

She rushes to him, but stops when she notices the body slumped by his side. All the joy of seeing him rushes out, leaving her cold. Of course Angel’s busy, of course he wouldn’t come without a call. But Angelus…

“What? Not who you were expecting?” He lays a hand across his chest. “I’m hurt.”

“How?”

If it was perfect happiness…  

“A Thanatic demon.” His eyes flicker across her body and she feels the burn of his gaze, the hunger smoldering in his eyes. Finally those eyes meet hers. Intense, predatory eyes stare into hollow, dead eyes. “You’ve changed since we last met.”

“Dying will do that to you,” she quips.

“It wasn’t the dying that did this. It’s the living.” His words send a shiver down her spine, freezing her in place.

With a final smirk, he melts into the shadows and with him, her dreams. 

When Buffy gets home, Dawn runs up to her, holding a long, thin box. “Buffy, this came for you today!”

She accepts the box from her sister who stays, chattering on, “It only came a few moments before. We don’t know who sent it – maybe a secret nighttime admirer.” Dawn smiles, but it falls when Buffy doesn’t smile back.

Buffy’s body goes still when she sees the contents. It’s a box of red roses, throwing her back to last time. Suddenly she feels seventeen again, heartbroken and foolish. However, rather than ‘Soon’, the note reads ‘I’ll be around, lover’. 

“Buffy…” Dawn murmurs, placing a hand on her frozen sister’s shoulder.

“It’s Angel. Angelus.” She corrects after a beat. “He’s back… I saw him earlier.”

Everyone gathers in the living room to listen to her encounter with Angelus. They’re all frowning, brows creased with concern and worry. Everyone who was there relives what Angelus did last time; Anya and Tara have no memories of Angelus but they’ve heard the stories.  

Anya breaks the silence first. “As long as he doesn’t ruin the wedding, I’ll be happy.”

“He will if he’s around.” Xander mutters.

He looks at Buffy and she attempts a smile. “He won’t be around that long.”

“I’ll try the spell.” Willow smiles genuinely. Buffy has a feeling it won’t work this time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying. As Willow stands to go, Buffy remembers the demon Angelus mentioned.

“Giles, what’s a Thanatic demon?” The demon’s name is seared in her mind, so she doesn’t slip up the name. This is too important.

His eyebrows furrow in thought. “Where’d you hear that?”

“Angel. He said it had something to do with losing his soul.”

Giles nods his head. “They’re soul stealers. They take souls from creatures and string them around their necks like macabre trophies. It’s quite fascinating; Thanatic demons are known…”  

Buffy cuts off Giles’ impending lecture, “How do I find it?”

“I don’t know.” Seeing her downcast expression, he adds, “I’ll do some research.”

“Thank you, Giles.” 

Angelus comes out of the shadows, clapping. “I didn’t know you liked to sing, lover. And my, wasn’t that a sad song?”

Her cheeks heat up. Why is he always around when she least wants him there?

“Shut up.”

“Going through the motions,” He shakes his head and then flashes a feral grin. “It’s almost poetic.”

Angered, Buffy runs at him. They fight, trading blows and for once, it feels like the old times. It feels good to be fighting a worthy foe and it isn’t just going through the motions. It’s not exactly living either; it’s more like flirting with death. But it’s preferable to the way she’s been since she rose from her grave. 

One minute they’re fighting in the cemetery, her angry and him amused, and the next Angelus has her up against him, lips locked.

She’s too surprised to react at first, but as his lips move against hers and his tongue slips inside, she’s following along. Her own tongue twists with his before running through his mouth, recalling every inch. Angel’s mouth. It’s so familiar and though she wants to hate everything about him, she can’t. It’s been impossible since she fell for Angel.  

Fire blazes within her, igniting feelings she thought were long dead. It feels good, it feels like the veil of death has lifted and the rest of her is finally out of the ground. Her heart hammers in her chest and she feels alive

Then the feeling’s gone as he pulls away so suddenly that she lets out a small whimper.

Smirking, Angelus licks his lips and disappears into the night, calling out, “I’ll see you around.”   

She should regret the kiss.

After all, she was locking lips with a monster. The monster who eats people and takes pleasure in pain. The monster who tortured her and her friends for months. The monster who killed Ms. Calendar. The monster who even now has an agenda.

But she can’t regret it without lying to herself.    

“Buffy, there’s something I need to tell you.” Giles has his serious voice, the one that’s about to deliver bad news.

“What?”

“It’s about Thanatic demons…” She looks at him pointedly when he hesitates to polish his glasses. “…Well, they’re impossible to track. Spells don’t work and they can slip between dimensions with ease. There’s no telling whether the one with Angel’s soul is still here.” He places a hand on her shoulder and sighs, “I’m sorry.”

Her eyes have closed. She can’t imagine staking Angelus, but it’s the only thing to do now that there’s no hope for the soul. She’ll have to say good-bye to Angel and dust him; it’s a Slayer’s duty. Her heart crumbles at the thought of losing him again, of killing him again, but she has to do it. Slayers don’t let monsters run free. Her eyes open to Giles who stares at her with pity and sadness.

“This wasn’t the only reason you brought me here.” He could’ve told her this information just as easily at home as at the Magic Box. It’s not as if he has any good feelings for the vampire.

“No, it’s not… Buffy, I’m leaving.” 

It only takes a moment to effectively smash the last foundations of her life.

She sits in her bedroom, a crossbow on her lap, waiting for the sun to go down. Giles is gone, having left when she most needed him. He said it was for her good, but she can only think of comfortless days and adult responsibilities she doesn’t know how to juggle.  

And Angel… He’s lost to her forever, further away than a phone call or a drive into the city. Only the demon remains.

Tears track down her face. She lets them fall, hoping that by tonight, when she does what she needs to do, they’ll be all dried up.    

“You’re going down.”

He smirks, unthreatened by the crossbow pointed his way. “And what makes you think tonight will be any different than every other night?”

She doesn’t answer, instead firing the bolt at his chest. He catches it and tosses it aside. “Really, Buff, what would you do without me?”

“Have one less vampire to worry about.” She charges at him with a stake, determined to end him once and for all even though her heart is screaming at her to stop.

Angelus grabs her wrist tightly and pulls her up against him. He whispers in her ear, “You don’t want to kill me.”

He’s so close now that he’s flooding her senses. She can imagine gentleness and love in his brown eyes; this close, she can only think about Angel and his lips and that kiss. That kiss which made her feel closer to life than anything else has since she returned.

Buffy pushes the two of them against the mausoleum’s walls, her stake dropping. She doesn’t know what she’s doing, but she lets her feelings take control, throwing sense and thought out the window. Her mouth presses hotly against his and it’s even easier to disregard all the reasons why this is a bad idea.

Angelus responds to her, kissing back with animalistic passion and brutality. Their tongues war as his hands wrap around her, slipping under her shirt to press her closer. She can feel him against her and she cries out in desire, wanting and needing him. He moves his hands lower, tugging her jeans and underwear down. Meanwhile, she swiftly undresses him.

Then he swivels them around, so she’s the one pressed against the wall and he’s on the outside. His hips smash into hers. She cries out in ecstasy, pain, life, and then pleasure; sweet, wonderful pleasure that rules out all else.

Buffy wakes up on the floor of the mausoleum, Angelus by her side. He has an arm wrapped around her waist, holding her close.

What am I doing?

She recalls the sensations from before, the glorious heat and animalistic furies unfurling in their love/hate/passion. She recalls the fire, the life, the dance with death. And then she looks over the body by her side.

When he’s sleeping, he looks exactly like Angel although an Angel untroubled by nightmares. She reaches out her hand to trace his features with feather-soft touches. It’s the same face, she notes as she runs fingers along his jaw, and that’s where the difficulty’s always been. Angelus, Angel, two sides of the same coin.

When her fingers trail across his cheek, his eyes snap open and he’s no longer her Angel. He’s Angelus once more, cold eyes staring out at her from an angelic face.

“What are you doing?”

She jerks away and shakes her head. It’s a good question: what is she doing?

As Buffy walks home, Spike joins her. Things had been strained between them since he’d sung his piece, but they’ve settled into a semi-normal pattern now, whatever semi-normal means between them. At least there’ve been no more declarations of love from him and they’ve simply resumed their old routine.    

Even before he says hello, Spike wrinkles his nose. “Bloody hell! You’re shagging the bastard!”

She curses keen vampire noses butting their way into things. Especially things like this where she’s so uncertain about everything and throwing Spike into the mix just makes it more volatile. Like pouring gasoline over the fire.   

“It’s none of your business who I’m with.”

“He doesn’t love you.”

“I know,” she murmurs quietly.  

“Then why the bloody hell did you do it?” A note of desperation and hurt colors Spike’s angry tone.   

She brushes by. “I don’t need to explain myself.” She wouldn’t be able to either.

“He’s not Angel.”

“I know that!”

Hot tears gather in her eyes and she blinks them away furiously. Angel’s gone forever, but Angelus is here. He’s not a good substitute, no one is, but he’s the closest there is and they’re a lot more alike than she’d admit.

“Then why?” Spike yells back. “He’s only going to hurt you!” 

“I can take care of myself.”

“Angelus is going to screw you over.”

“I need him.”

The truth hangs in the air between them, bringing silence for once. She doesn’t know what it is about Spike, but the truth always seems to tumble out in his presence, no matter how gratuitous and awful. And she knows that it’s the truth, that she craves what he gives her after weeks of emptiness. This last night with him… It was good.

Spike stares, taking her in with lost eyes. “I could be that. And I don’t go around killin’ folk.”

“No you can’t.”

His eyes sharpen into furious bits of blue. “Then I hope you have fun with him while he kills everyone around you.”

“Spike…”

But the blonde vampire is gone and she doesn’t have the energy to chase after him. 

It’s been a hectic day with Dawn going to the hospital and Willow swearing off magic. Buffy’s righteous anger has dissipated, momentarily satisfied by her friend’s vow. She’s not certain if Willow will hold true to a no-magic life, but she wants to believe the best in her friend. Willow’s vow reminds Buffy of what she’d doing, of the nights in Angelus’ arms, and she feels the urge to confess to Willow.  

“I need to tell you something.”

Her friend turns back, already half up the staircase. “What?”

All her readiness to confide in Willow about Angelus leaves her in one fell swoop. She finds her tongue unwilling to spill forth her secrets about the soulless vampire. Maybe it’s because her best friend isn’t the friend she once was or maybe it’s because there’s an insurmountable chasm between them. Or maybe it’s because she doesn’t want to tell anyone about Angelus because… Because why? They’d make her stop? Shouldn’t she want to stop (the fire, his fingers running across her skin – no, she doesn’t want to think about that when she’s trying to stop – what the hell is she doing)?

Buffy doesn’t know, so she simply shakes her head and fakes a smile, “Good night, Willow.”

Willow looks at her closely, but she’s got her own problems and so she smiles back. “Good night, Buffy.”

Once Willow is gone, Buffy drops her head into her hands. She’s tired from the day’s events and she doesn’t know what to do, where to go.

Eventually she leaves the house to wander the dark streets of Sunnydale. There’s a comfort in the darkness, a sense of belonging. And when familiar arms wrap around her, she doesn’t resist.

They’re at Angel’s old apartment, the one where she made love for the first and last time to Angel. It’s more or less the same as before except for the couple in bed together. They’re far from the pair on that night. 

He presses kisses along her jaw-line down to her neck where he stops at Angel’s mark. She tenses under him, pulse quickening in a mix of anticipation and anxiety. When she feels his face change, clarity reasserts itself and she pushes him away.

Angelus growls, “What was that for?”

She glares up at him. “I don’t want you biting me.”

“That’s not what your scent’s telling me.” He turns his head to the side and smirks, “Or your heart.”

Buffy hates her body for betraying her like this, but her mind is stronger, at least in this regard. This is one thing, perhaps the only thing, she won’t budge on.

“If you try biting me again, I’ll stake you.”

“I’d like to see you try.” Angelus laughs and she reddens with fury. “What are you going to do if I’m dust? Fuck Spike?” He laughs again.

Nonetheless, he doesn’t try biting her again.

“Buffy Summers, Slayer extraordinaire. Working in a dump like this.” She groans internally, wondering how he found her here. He sniffs the air, scowls at it. “How the mighty have fallen… It’s pathetic.”

She shrugs. His words can’t hurt her anymore; she hasn’t been that vulnerable in ages. “I need the money.” 

They’re alone in the backroom of the Doublemeat Palace wrapped in the odors of employee sweat and grease. She’d been getting her stuff, shift done, when he came in.

Now he steps up to her, brushing blonde locks from her face. The movement’s almost gentle, so Angel-like, that she’s frozen in place. But then one of his hands tightens in her hair, the other snatches at the back of her shirt, and the illusion shatters. She reminds herself that Angel is gone, that the closest she’ll ever get is this monster.  

His lips smash against hers, moving hungrily. She responds in kind, feeling the hours of work melt away in the heat. Sense pushes through as his hand slides down.

“Not here.” She mumbles against his lips and he pulls back.  

“And here I was thinking you’ve lost all your standards. I’ll leave then.”

“No!” She flushes at the anguish in her voice. Angelus’ smirk widens and he waits. She looks away because she won’t say that she needs him, that he’s the only thing that makes her feel and she needs that so much. She’s stronger than that, dammit.

“Grease is a bit of a turn-off, love.”

“You didn’t have problems kissing me a moment ago, Angel.”

He growls at the name and she smirks.

“You’re really not helping your case here.”

As he turns to go, she calls after him, “Meet me at the apartment?”

He pauses, waits for an unbearable stretch of time, and then shrugs. “I suppose you’ll have to see.”

Buffy glares at his retreating back, tempted to not go, to stand him up. But his kiss has left her wanting and unsatisfied, so she goes and finds him anyway.

It’s awkward having her ex back in town with her… demon lover/shadow-of-the-love-of-her-life/whatever-the-hell-Angelus-is. She doesn’t tell Riley that Angelus is there – it’s none of his business, not since he left her – but, of course, Angelus shows himself. He can’t ever let things be easy.

“Drop him!” She snarls at Angelus, gripping her stake. She’s not sure she can kill Angelus for Riley’s sake, but it makes her feel better having the weapon there.

Angelus pulls away from Riley’s throat, baring his bloodied fangs at her. “And let him walk? You’ve got a lot to learn about me if you think I’d do that, love.”

Buffy runs at Angelus. He deliberates for a moment and then drops Riley to the ground. She leaps over his body, kicking at Angelus. It feels good to have an opponent to focus on and as always, the fight invigorates and fires her nerves. The stake’s been abandoned, no use carrying it when they both know she won’t use it, so it’s simply fists and legs going between them. And where there’s fighting, there’s -    

“Don’t you have a patient to care for?” Angelus asks in the midst of their fight, smirking. “Or have you forgotten in the rush?”

She had forgotten and a part of her is irritated that he’s the one to point her duty out. The rest of her is simply irritated that their fight has to end now, that there’s nothing else coming besides a trip to the hospital with her ex-boyfriend.

“Go ahead.” Angelus nods his head at Riley. He smiles, flashing bloody fangs. “I know you’re mine.”

Buffy goes to Riley’s side, Angelus’ words turning in her mind despite her attempts to block them out. She’s his – once upon a time, she had promised she was Angel’s girl, always, and she’s still his girl even now when the soul is gone.

Forever.   

Everyone’s gathered in the living room, wearing identical grave faces (except Anya who looks like she wants to be elsewhere). The urge to run fills Buffy, but she ignores the instinct and simply greets them with a simple, “Hey guys.”  

“When were you going to tell us that you were sleeping with Angelus instead of trying to kill him?” Xander starts, arms crossed.

“Xander!” Willow intercedes, glancing nervously between the two. There’s blame in her eyes and some guilt.

“How did-“

“Riley told us he thought something was going on, something about what Angelus told him before he bit him. We went to the cemetery to look for you and we saw the two of you together.” His face contorts with disgust. “How could you do that, Buffy? He’s not Angel.”

“I know he’s not.” Buffy yells, fists clenching tightly. She hates the looks they’re giving her, but she hates that they’re right even more. “It’s just…”

How does she tell them that she’s still dead inside, that he’s the only thing that truly gets rid of that feeling?  

“Just what? Just fine to sleep with him while people are dying?”  Xander crosses his arms. “Would it still be ‘just fine’ if he hurt Dawn?”

“You don’t get it.” She steps up, her eyes flashing with anger. Xander takes a step back and she knows her patented Slayer death-glare is working.

He shakes his head. “Maybe not, but I don’t want to.” Before she can say another word, he storms out of her house.

Willow looks over at Buffy. “Xander’s just…”

“I know.” Buffy cuts her off. She doesn’t want to hear Willow defend her or Xander. The Slayer turns away and starts up the stairs. 

“Buffy.” Buffy pauses on the stairs, but doesn’t look back at her friend. She can’t face the accusation or pity in the witch’s eyes. “I’m sorry that you’re not feeling good, but you don’t need Angelus to feel better. We can talk about it.”

There were days when she could’ve told Willow anything, would’ve told her everything. However, those days are long past, buried by pain and betrayal. Willow wouldn’t understand this and Buffy doesn’t need that.

“I just want to be alone right now.”      

Upstairs, Buffy thinks about Angelus and Xander and Dawn and duty and life and love. Then she thinks about Angel, the Angel she fell for, the Angel she wishes was here instead of Angelus who makes everything so complicated and simple at the same time. She thinks about the days post-resurrection and pre-Angelus when the world was ashes and pain and numbness. She thinks about the days since Angelus, which have also been painful but at least there’s been fire and feeling. There’s been something more than a shell.

Tears fill her eyes and she thinks about Ms. Calendar. When she was brutally killed by Angelus, Giles was torn apart and though he learned to smile again, he was never quite the same. Can she continue letting Angelus live while he tears other lives apart on a daily basis? How many fathers, mothers, lovers, sons, sisters have been hurt by his murders?

A better question: can she give up what he gives her for the sake of other lives?

Once upon a time, it would’ve been a yes. But she’s not as strong as that girl. That girl plunged a sword into her true love’s heart because she had to, yet, here she is, unable to drive a stake through the demon in her lover’s body. She doesn’t know if she can be selfless anymore, not when it walks hand-in-hand with a hollow existence.

“I don’t think I can kill him this time.” Buffy whispers to the room. Photos stare back at her in judgment and she lowers her eyes.

She’ll try, of course, because she has to, but she’s uncertain about her capabilities. However, and this she knows she won’t budge on, just like the biting thing, she’s going to make sure he doesn’t hurt her friends.  

Buffy arrives at the mansion. Her friends’ words reverberate through her mind and for a moment, she fools herself into thinking that she can do this. It’ll destroy her, but she can stake him. Like any other vampire.

Except Angelus isn’t any other vampire.

Angelus laughs when she pulls the stake out. “Thinking of staking me? C’mon, Buff, we both know you couldn’t do it months ago and you sure as hell can’t do it now.”

She glares at him, wills herself not to listen to him, not to rise to his bait. Instead she punches him in the jaw.

He fires back with a punch of his own, which she dodges. They trade blows, adrenaline pumping through Buffy’s blood. All the confusion from earlier, all the uncertainty of her friends, melts away in the fight. Everything’s so simple when she’s locked in battle, when her body’s fitting to… No, she’s not going to think about that.

“What would you do without me?” When she doesn’t answer, he continues, “Face it, lover, you need me. You need to hate me and you need to love me. You’ll go back to just existing, walking the world without any passion. Going through the motions, as you sang. Are you ready to be hollow again?”

Angelus understands. It’s a scary thought that he gets her while her friends can’t see her reasons. They can only blame her, pity her, but he gets it.

Using her momentary distraction, Angelus lunges forward, tackling her to the ground. He smiles at her and leans down, hungrily kissing her. Heat courses through her body, igniting every nerve ending. The stake slips from her fingers as she lifts them up to pull him closer.

“My friends…” She mutters, looking up into his brown eyes.

He smiles and it’s so much like Angel’s that it’s almost like having him back. If she ignores the absolute lack of warmth in his eyes. “Would it be easier if I promised not to hurt them?”

“Yessss,” Her answer turns into a moan as his hips grind into hers. His smile turns into a smirk and he leans down to her once more. 

His lips trail to her ear where he whispers, “I won’t hurt them, but remember; you can’t beat, lover. My games, my rules.”

She opens her mouth to object, but then his lips are back and his body is settling into a smooth rhythm and all rational thought dissipates into sensation.

After that, Buffy moves in with Angelus. He laughs at first, but she can’t handle the looks her friends give her anymore and there’s nowhere else to go. 

Despite his insistence that they leave Sunnydale, she refuses. He glares and yells about the ungratefulness of her friends, the citizens of Sunnydale, the world. She shrugs and replies that saving people isn’t about getting a pat on the back. It’s about helping people and the Hellmouth is where she can do the most.   

She continues her job at the Doublemeat Palace, slipping the money she doesn’t use on her own sustenance into the mailbox of her old house. Even though she’s managed to avoid contact with her friends and sister since that night, she still loves them and she still wants to support her sister. No matter what Angelus says, she doesn’t stop.

Days go by and then weeks. She slays, she works, she hides, and, at the end of the day, she always returns to Angelus.

When Xander and Anya’s wedding day arrives, Buffy goes. She stands in the shadows, watching the ceremony.

Xander meets her eye briefly and for the slimmest of moments, there’s a genuine smile. Then he glares and looks away. He doesn’t say anything to anyone and no one else notices, which is fine by Buffy. She only came to quietly support her friend (ex-friend? she doesn’t know).

Spike’s there too, but only at the end. He sees her and though she wills him not to come over, he does anyway.

“Heard you moved in with the bugger.”

Buffy nods her head. She hasn’t spoken to Spike for months, hasn’t seen him either. She thought he had gone, but here he is, black leather coat and platinum blonde hair.

“Bit misses you.”

Buffy looks away, finds her sister in the crowd. She’s smiling at Xander and Anya, but her eyes are clouded, far from the joyous events taking place. Buffy returns her gaze to Spike.

“They don’t want me if I’m with Angel.”

“Then ditch him.”

She looks away, down at the floor. “I can’t.”

In that moment, she hates herself for her weakness, for her inability to give up Angelus. She tries imagining life without him, life without the passion and heat he brings and can’t. Going back to being a shell isn’t acceptable and she’s not sure she can be anything else without him there.

Not for the first time, she wishes Angel was here, that he could hold her instead of Angelus. But that’s impossible and Angelus is the closest she’ll ever get.   

Buffy notices that Spike’s been staring at her for a while, awaiting an answer for words she didn’t hear. “I need to go.”

“Buffy!”

But she’s already gone, feet quickly taking her out of the sacred chapel to the unholy arms of her lover.    

Warren is skinned, no longer a threat, and Willow’s to blame. She stands by the corpse, power crackling across her skin.

“Willow, you need to stop this.” Buffy pleads, hoping that her friend will listen.

Willow turns and shakes her head. “Not until they’re all dead for killing her.”

“The other two didn’t kill her.”

“They were part of Warren’s team. They’re responsible.”

“Willow, don’t-”

“No!” Willow shouts, sending a ball of magic into Buffy. It collides with the Slayer, knocking her back into a tree. She gasps in pain and shock. The witch walks up to her. “You don’t get to tell me what to do. Not since you decided fucking Angelus was better than protecting people.”

“I didn’t-”

“No excuses, vampire whore.” Her lips twist unpleasantly and it’s impossible to recognize her friend within this darkness. “If you weren’t so focused on Angelus, you could’ve taken down the Trio long before they killed Tara. It’s your fault.”

Her eyes glimmer with magic and Buffy wonders if this is it. If the magic that brought her back will now end her. If her own friend would so quickly take her life.

All she knows of the story is that Warren had come to her house, looking for the Slayer. Seemingly he’d missed the memo of her move-in with Angelus. When he saw blonde hair through a window, he shot first, not noticing that the girl wasn’t the Slayer, that she was an innocent civilian who didn’t deserve a mistaken bullet in her chest.

Xander had called Buffy, explaining what had happened in short, clipped sentences. He’d been frantic and calling the Slayer was second-nature at this point, even when she was sleeping with the enemy. So Buffy came and tracked a black-haired Willow down to a skinless Warren.  

“Don’t get in my way.” With that final warning, Willow disappears. 

Slumped against the tree trunk, Buffy isn’t sure what saved her from Willow’s wrath. Is it some remnant of friendship? Is Willow not quite as fallen as they feared? Or is she simply too intent on her current goal of taking out the other two that she hasn’t moved on to offing the Slayer?  

The fight is finally over and the two sisters stand side by side in the rising sun. Dawn shuffles her feet and then looks over at Buffy. In a tremulous voice, she pleads, “You can come home.”

“I will.” She hefts the sword on her shoulder. “But I need to do something first.”

Dawn’s lips press tightly together. It’s clear she wants to know, but for once, she doesn’t pry. Maybe she senses her sister’s gravity, notices the flint steel in her eyes.

“I’ll see you later.” Buffy promises and walks off, each step a resolution.

For Tara. For Willow, Xander, and Dawn. For Giles and Ms. Calendar. For all the victims whose names I don’t know. For myself. For Angel.     

Angelus pulls her to him the moment she crosses the threshold. For a few seconds, Buffy simply enjoys the embrace, tight as it is.

She closes her eyes and remembers everything that has happened over the last few months. The pain, the sense of closeness, the need – everything. When her mind tries going further back in time, she shuts it down.

Thinking of Angel will only make it harder.

“You nearly got killed.” He mutters angrily against her hair, one hand twining through the locks of gold.

“I didn’t know you cared.”

“It would’ve been a waste.”

His lips push violently against hers, tongue snaking in to fight with hers. Then he moves away, placing hard kisses across her jaw-line to her neck. He sucks at Angel’s mark, eliciting a moan from her. His brow becomes bumpy and there’s a brief pause in time.  

When she doesn’t push him away, his fangs slide into her flesh. Though pain bursts in her body initially, it’s rapidly overcome by the thrill and ecstasy of her lover’s bite. 

It would’ve been so easy to lose herself in that instance, to claim that she hadn’t expected his bite to be so intoxicating. The waves of pleasure wracking her body demand that she let go, but she refuses to give in. Instead she thinks solely of her mission and her simple plan.

Her hand drifts to her waistband, withdrawing the stake she’d hidden. He starts to pull away, but it’s too late and the stake pierces his chest. Mouth open, lips stained with her ambrosial blood, he crumbles into dust just like any other vampire.

Buffy stares at the pile of dust, not believing that it’s finally over. Tears roll down her cheeks. There’s no easy way to define her feelings for the vampire, stained as they are by both hatred and love. But what he gave her - months of clarity and confusion, of pain and pleasure, of recovery from having been torn from Heaven - she won’t forget.

But she has to try moving on, that’s what this is about and though it’s hard, she’ll do it. So she quietly says her good-byes to Angelus and then to Angel too because she hadn’t let him go before.     

Then she turns away and walks home.

THE END


Prompt: Angelus/Buffy, AR S6 where Buffy goes to Angelus instead of Spike, psychological battle between the two where Buffy ultimately wins, angsty with dark elements



Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
ashes1753
Apr. 20th, 2012 08:56 am (UTC)
*bounce bounce* OHHHH this is my prompt!! :D I love it!! Very interesting using a demon rather then perfect happiness like normally happens. I like the idea of a demon taking souls. :)I really liked your style here, giving hints to moments in the canon series but also putting in all the extra bits with Angelus and Buffy, and of course using Angelus instead of Spike. Hahaha!!

I hope you had fun with this prompt, i've never seen an AR s6 with Angelus before.
dralf_burns
Apr. 22nd, 2012 05:41 am (UTC)
Thank you, both for the comment and the prompt! I had a lot of fun writing this though the end was tough. I couldn't decide whether to go with a happy ending or this one. In the end, this one felt more fitting for the overall fic.

I needed some way for Angel to lose his soul and it was simpler to invent a demon that could take souls than figure out a way for Angel to achieve perfect happiness under the circumstances.

I'm glad you enjoyed the fic. Again, thank you for the awesome prompt! It was fun reimagining S6.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )