Picture

Warning, bad songfic. Probably should be taken down, but it’s a bit of history now.

Author’s Notes: Inspired by the song “Picture” by Kid Rock, featuring Sheryl Crow. It really does help to hear the song.

Rating: General

Disclaimer: Own nothing. All belongs to Joss, ME, Fox, et.al.

Pairing: B/A.

Distribution: My site, EverySixSeconds; sites currently with permission to host my fics; all others please ask.

Originally posted: Jan 28, 2002

Angel poured another drink and collapsed on the sofa in his apartment.  The alcohol helped to hold off the aches in his body, but the pain in his heart was another matter entirely.  Why did some things seem so much harder now that he had his soul permanently? He had thrown himself into his work and was undeniably at the top of his game professionally.  And Connor had brought lightness to his life that he hadn’t felt since, well, since Buffy.  He sighed and took another drink of the amber liquid.  His thoughts were interrupted by the petite blond coming out of the bedroom clad only in the tiniest bits of lace. He moved quickly to scoop her up in his arms and head back into the bedroom.

Livin’ my life in a slow hell
Different girl every night at the hotel
I ain’t seen the sun shine in 3 damn days
Been fuelin’ up on cocaine and whisky
Wish I had a good girl to miss me
Lord I wonder if I’ll ever change my ways

“I can’t believe him.” Cordelia turned an exasperated face to Wesley.  “He brings a different blond home from who knows where at least once a week.  Do vampires get sexually transmitted diseases?  Did you know I had to ask the last woman to leave for him the next morning?  And she took my chocolate yogurt!”   Wesley knew not to interrupt Cordelia when she was in the middle of one of her tirades.  And he knew that Angel was behaving rather recklessly, but that had been going on for the last few months or rather, since Angel had received the news that his soul was permanent.

“Does he think he has to make up for lost time or something? And they’re all small, blond and Buffy-ish – which, you know, has to be some sort of mental problem he needs to deal with.”  While Wesley might agree with Cordelia, he didn’t think Angel would appreciate advice from either of them…

Angel left the bed as soon as the sex was over.  He didn’t like to linger in bed, much less cuddle with the women that he picked up.  He pulled on black sweats and moved quietly into the living room.  Pulling his CD player out of the end-table drawer, he sighed as he noticed Buffy’s picture next to it.

I put your picture away
Sat down and cried the day
I can’t look at you, I’m lyin’ next to her
I put your picture away, sat down and cried today
I can’t look at you when I’m lyin’ next to her


And, in Sunnydale…

Another late night of solo patrolling. Buffy sometimes thought that everyone was coupled up but her.  Xander and Anya were planning their wedding, Tara and Willow seemed to be working things out, Giles was living happily with Olivia in England… She even heard through one of Cordelia’s friends, that Cordelia was happily dating someone named Gunn.  Cordelia’s name naturally brought Buffy to thoughts of Angel.  She wondered how he was and what he had been doing.  It had been almost 3 years since they had seen each other.  Without realizing what she was doing, Buffy pressed the speed dial on her cell phone and dialed the number to Angel Investigations in LA.

“Angel Investigations, we help the hopeless” Cordelia’s voice rang out as she picked up the phone.

“Um, Cordelia, hi. It’s Buffy. Is, uh, Angel around?”  Buffy’s nervousness could be heard in her voice.

“Buffy! What a surprise.  Why are you calling?” Cordelia was genuinely surprised, but was also very wary of a midnight phone call from Buffy.  That could mean trouble.

“Um, no reason Cordelia. No problem. I, just, uh, thought I would say Hi to Angel.”

Cordelia knew from past experience that Angel strongly preferred not to be interrupted when he had a ‘guest’.  “Oh. Well, Angel’s busy right now.  I’ll tell him that you called though.  Bye.”


I called you last night in the hotel
Everyone knows but they won’t tell
But their half hearted smiles tell me
Somethin’ just ain’t right
I been waitin’ on you for a long time
Fuelin’ up on heartaches and cheap wine
I ain’t heard from you in 3 damn nights

Buffy sighed heavily as she hung up the phone.  It was probably for the best anyway.  They were supposed to move on with their lives, and a phone call in the middle of the night to say hello probably didn’t fit into the moving on scenario.  Knowing that she wouldn’t sleep, Buffy removed the cross from around her neck – why did it happen to be the one that Angel had given her so many years ago?  Ok, freaky coincidence – and headed toward the cemetery.  Spike was always good for a distraction…

I put your picture away
I wonder where you been
I can’t look at you while I’m lyin’ next to him
I put your picture away
I wonder where you been
I can’t look at you while I’m lyin’ next to him


Several days later…

Buffy looked anxiously around the bar.  She had come to LA after her Dad had called.  He was getting married in Vegas over the weekend and wanted her to come to LA to meet his fiancée before the big day.  As usual, he was late.

Spinning around, she ran right into Cordelia.  Oh what were the odds that of all the places in LA they would run into each other? “Buffy?!”  “Cordelia?”  “Buffy, what are you doing in LA?”  Cordelia frowned.  Buffy showing up in LA a few days after she had called could not be a good thing.  “Oh, I’m meeting my Dad for dinner.”  Buffy looked over Cordelia’s shoulder just as Angel walked in with a tall black man that Buffy didn’t recognize.

I saw ya yesterday with an old friend

Angel stopped abruptly.  “Buffy.”

“Angel.”

For as long as she could remember they had always greeted each other like that.  It was strange how so many unspoken words and emotions would be tied to a single name.

“How are you?”

It was the same ole same “how have you been”

”Fine.”  “You?”

Since you been gone my worlds been dark & grey

She looked beautiful.  Her hair was longer and a rich golden hue.  Her tan skin still radiated warmth and sunshine to him.  He finally met her eyes.

You reminded me of brighter days

Buffy’s couldn’t help but stare.  Being around Angel always took her breath away.  Nothing had changed.  She felt her heart beating and the blood rushing through her veins.  No one else could affect her so powerfully, so easily.

I hoped you were comin’ home to stay
I was headed for church

”I’m doing ok.”  Other answers crossed his mind, but Angel never was one to over-share. What could he tell her anyway?  That he spent nights searching for even the smallest bit of what she made him feel?

I was off to drink you away

“Buffy?  Honey?  There you are.”  Hank Summers voice broke into their thoughts, making both Buffy and Angel realize that they had been staring motionless at each other.

“It was great to see you Angel. I’ve, er, gotta go.”  Buffy quickly whirled away and headed down the aisle to where her father and his fiancée waited.

“Cordy, Gunn, I’m gonna take off.  I’ll see you guys later.”  Angel too, turned and went out the door.

I thought about you for a long time
Can’t seem to get you off my mind
I can’t understand why we’re living life this way

Buffy dumped the contents of her suitcase on the bed.  The few days she had spent in LA were difficult since she and her father had grown apart so much.  And running into Angel had shaken her to the core.  He had been on her mind constantly.  Turning to put her things away, she noticed the cross hanging from the mirror.  Once again, memories of Angel – the times that they had spent together – flooded through her mind.  Buffy took a deep breath, not daring to believe what she was about to do.  She knew she was about the roll the dice on her entire future.  She picked up her phone and dialed.

I found your picture today
I swear I’ll change my ways
I just called to say I want you to come back home
I found your picture today
I swear I’ll change my ways

Angel jumped in surprise as the phone in his hand rang. “Hello.”

As she head the deep voice on the phone Buffy thanked her lucky stars that Angel answered instead of Cordelia.  Without a pause, she rushed into what she wanted to say.  “Angel, I’ve missed you. A lot. The normal life that you wanted for me is not what I want for myself.  I’m old enough now to make that decision – for myself.  And nothing’s changed.  I still want my life to be with you.  I still love you. I’ll understand if you feel differently, but I wanted you to know.”  Buffy let out the breath she had been holding.

Angel swallowed hard, not quite believing what he just heard.  She said the words that his heart wanted so much to hear. “Buffy. Sweetheart. I’ve missed you too. I never stopped loving you.”

Buffy’s eyes filled with tears.  “Angel.  I’m coming to LA. Tonight.”

“I’ll be waiting for you.  We will find a make it – us – work.  And Buffy, I have a lot to tell you…”  Angel said as he smiled at Connor who was sitting in his lap.

I just called to say I want you to come back home
I just called to say, I love you come back home

The End.