The Hunger, Chapter 3

Author: LelaRose, Rehatha, & Gia

Author’s Notes: See previous parts for notes.

Rating: Adult; explicit sex bappaAward2_sm

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

Pairing: B/A, C/Pike.

Distribution: My site, EverySixSeconds; all others please ask.

Originally posted: Oct 28, 2002

They had agreed that the others would wait at the Hyperion. It was a good central location should they need bappaAward1_smhelp, and having everyone in one place would make it easier. Riley and Xander grumbled, but agreed. After spending the day with them, Gunn was none-too-happy to have the two guys around either, but consoled himself with the fact that by tomorrow they’d be back in Sunnydale.

Riley didn’t tell anyone that he had planted a bug in Pike’s truck. He didn’t trust the guy despite the fact that Buffy had apparently known him for years and had spent time with him each and every summer she had stayed with her father. He also didn’t like the fact that Buffy was going off with the guy for hours on end, when he wouldn’t be there, so this seemed the next best thing. The Initiative had certainly given him the skills and the technology, it only made sense to use them.

He’d asked Cordelia if there was a private room where he could set up some equipment to assist Buffy. He didn’t bother to tell her Buffy didn’t know about this. She led him to a room almost directly under the stairs and left him. Riley hadn’t noticed that Xander had followed them. When Cordelia left the room he went about setting up his equipment. He was so engrossed in what he was doing he didn’t hear Xander open watching him curiously as he set up the radio.

Gunn noticed Xander sneaking around near the room under the stairs and decided to investigate and it became a domino effect. Next was Wesley, then Cordelia had to go see why everyone was going in the room with Riley when she knew no one even like the guy and of course Willow thinking everyone must have decided to meet in a new place followed the voices.

Riley had just turned on the radio and was tuning the noise frequency when Cordelia came back into the room, behind Gunn and Wes,

“What is he doin’?” Xander asked Cordelia.

“He said it was somethin’ to help Buffy and Pike. Although, I don’t like the idea of Pike out there with Buffy. She’ll get him hurt.” Cordelia was still grousing, unhappy that Pike had gone so easily, so trustingly with Buffy. “Why didn’t you go instead?” She looked at Xander in exasperation, seeing him as the most expendable member of the team.

“I volunteered to replace cripple guy. Buffy turned me down flat,” Xander said jealousy creeping in his voce.

“Only because she didn’t want you to get hurt,” Willow said trying to soothe his feelings of jealousy.

They turned their eyes to the sounds now coming from Riley’s radio. At first all they heard was static then voices came across clearly. It was only a moment before they realized that it was Buffy that was speaking.

Cordelia looked up at Riley in startled surprise, then at the radio then back at his face. He gave her a guilty look. She looked at him in surprise finally realizing what he was up to.

“If she knew you were doing this she’d probably kick your ass, Cordelia said.

“Well, we’ll just have to keep it a secret won’t we?” Riley replied turning up the volume of the radio.

Angel walked in the front office. He still wasn’t pleased that Buffy had gone off to deal with these demon dogs with only Pike for backup, but he had agreed to let her handle it, so he would. When he didn’t see anyone he followed the noise and voices to the room below the stairs. It only took him a minute to realized what they were doing. He became angry.

“What the hell are you doing, Riley? You have no right to invade Buffy’s privacy like this.”

“Chill, Angel. He just wants to make sure they’re safe since they had to change their plans and use that old construction site instead of the play ground they used before. We’re only listening so if they need help we’ll know and be able to get to them quickly,” Cordelia reasoned attempting to calm down Angel. She would be damned if she missed this opportunity to find out what Pike would say about her.

Angel thought about protesting further but he realized no one else saw anything wrong in listening to Riley’s little bug. Plus he reasoned he was worried about her. He didn’t want to listen. Knew that listening to their conversation was wrong, that it was a violation of trust, of privacy – but against his better judgment, his interest was peaked just the same.

At first all they heard was static then Buffy’s and Pike’s voices came through the speaker clearly.

“Mobility’s gotten better.”

*Angel could tell her tone was strained.*

“Yeah. Doctors didn’t think I’d ever get out of that damn wheelchair. They were sure that beneath the broken bones my spine was damaged.”

“And the arm?” Buffy asked

“Bones knitted fine. Joint’s at 90 percent.”

“Is -?”

“That’s as good as it’ll ever get.” There was resignation in his voice. Acceptance of his fate.

“Does the cane help?”

Yeah, it does. Plus it’s cool. A cane with a sword inside. Comes in handy too. I know it was very expensive. I wished you hadn’t sold those diamond earrings your father gave you to buy it. I know how important they were to you.”

“No, biggie. I was able to buy the book on the Sk’larra demons and your cane. Those were more important than my vanity. I think it was a good deal. Besides I didn’t have many places to wear diamond earrings anyway. And killing demons and vampires isn’t exactly a diamond occasion.

“You have a point,” Pike laughed.

“I never told you how sorry I was. But then, sorry just seemed like such a worthless thing to say…It won’t make you better, and it won’t take it back. Sorry just seemed like it was for my benefit. To ask your forgiveness when I didn’t deserve it. That’s why I never asked.” she admitted.

“It wasn’t really your fault. We were both under the influence of that bitch succubus.”

“We were headed there anyways, Pike. I faced death every night and…I liked you.”

“But you didn’t love me?”

*Cordelia held her breath, as did Riley. Even Angel felt himself waiting for Buffy’s answer.*

“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t, but I mighta got there, if the spell hadn’t rushed us through to the end. It would’ve ended the same way. I would’ve…. crippled you or worse while we were – you know. And we both would’ve known just how much of a freak I was,” she said miserably.

“I never meant that Buffy. I was in pain —,”

“No. You always said that I wasn’t like other girls. And you were right. My metabolism is 4 or 5 times that of a normal person. If I’m not eating like a pig, I’m sucking down protein shakes and bars to maintain my energy levels, and too embarrassed to let my Mom and my friends know. Angel is probably the only person who knows how much I really eat. How much food it takes to maintain my energy level. After a night of slayin’ we would usually go back to his place and he’d cook for me. For a guy on a liquid diet he’s a great cook. It used to give him so much pleasure to see me eat everything he cooked. I have never been comfortable with anyone else knowing about how much I eat but Angel. And now you. Did you know that I had to practice picking up glassware so I didn’t accidentally break things when I grabbed them in a hurry? And I have to be so careful not to hurt people when I embrace hug them. I really am a freak.”

*Angel’s heart broke when he heard the despair in her voice. Now everyone knew why she looked so guiltily when she watchedat Pike so guiltily. And as much as Angel hated what happened to Pike he was glad they never consummated their relationship. Glad that she had saved herself for him.*

*”She could have told me,” Willow said hurt lacing her voice. “I wouldn’t have cared how much she eats. Xander eats like a pig and doesn’t even have a good reason. She had nothing to be ashamed about. If anyone is a freak for eating too much its Xander.”

*”Why thanks for all the love, Will,” Xander said sarcastically.*

Pike’s voice came over the speaker.

“No, you are not a freak…I was angry and scared that night. And jealous. Jealous that I loved a girl that was 10 times stronger than me. Jealous of your strength; of your gift. I’ve always been jealous that when were together I was the *damsel in distress.*” After a few seconds, he added softly, “I’m really sorry I said that, you know.”

“I know. You don’t have to keep apologizing. And I’m sorry I couldn’t love you. You deserved it.” Her voice was a bare whisper of anguish.

“Don’t go more *guilt trip* on me than you already are. I should have told you I loved you, but I was trying to be cool waiting on you to tell me first. Which you didn’t.” He laughed derisively, “I guess I didn’t know how to tell you so I kept it to myself.”

*There were a few minutes of silence. The listeners held their breath hoping that the connection hadn’t been lost. Pike finally broke the silence changing the subject.*

“What I don’t understand is Cordelia said Xander had sex with Faith. She’s a Slayer too so why aren’t his bones broken?”

“Well, for one they weren’t driven half mad with uncontrollable lust. Two, from what Faith told me Xander had a little problem with *pre-ejaculation*. He came as soon as he got it in. They didn’t get a chance to *mess around.* She said she got pissed at his *lack of control* and threw his ass out of her room, naked, his clothes in his hand as soon as he had dressed.”

*The eavesdroppers all looked at Xander. Xander’s face turned bright red with embarrassment. He was looking a little sheepish. Willow was looking at him with a little sympathy. Cordelia was openly grinning. Gunn had a look of amusement on his face. Wesley had his head down cleaning his glasses. Angel’s expression was unreadable. *

*”Geez, it was my first time. I’ve gotten better,” he muttered, feeling the need to attempt to salvage some pride.*

*”Sure you have one second boy,” Cordelia taunted.*

*”Shh, I can’t hear them.” Gunn chided.*

*The voices from the speaker came through again as Buffy and Pike continued their conversation

“Well, now I know. Let’s hope your friend has solved his little early *jacking* problem.”

Buffy laughed. “He’s older, more experienced. I’m sure he has.”

Pike was curious about Angel, about what he had seen earlier. Tentatively, he nudged the conversation in that direction.

“So, Angel was the guy you were seeing around…when was that? Christmas in your…junior year?”

“Yeah.”

Buffy stared out the window of the truck as Pike drove, her thoughts drifting back to those happy days. When things seemed so easy, when her future stretched out in front of her with the possibility for unlimited happiness. How quickly things had changed.

“So what happened? You were giddy over him. You blushed every time I asked. And you were wearing his jacket all the time – and looking radiant in it, I might add.”

Pike looked at Buffy out of the corner of his eye, noting her thoughtful expression, the sadness.

Buffy pushed aside her thoughts and attempted to joke her way through the conversation.

“It’s leather. It’s hard to look bad in leather.”

Pike chuckled. “Puh-lease. You wore my leather jacket for a while and you never looked half as happy to be wearing it.”

“It was just a jacket, Pike. Leave it.” Buffy sighed.

“Yeah, right. Then how come you were always sniffing it? You never smelled my jacket.” He teased, as only a long time friend can.

“Oh, Shut. Up!” She laughed.

They were silent for awhile, Pike turning the truck off now that they had reached the warehouse where the dogs were contained.

“Wanna talk about last night? You seem a little distant today. And your *creature of the night* friend seems a little meaner than before if that’s possible.”

“Oh, really? I hadn’t noticed.”

“Yeah, I’d say he’s definitely not in a good mood today. And you seem to be fidgeting a lot. Unable to get comfortable. Why can’t you sit still? What’s with that?”

*Angel grimaced thinking of the wince of pain on her face this morning. He knew she was probably sore from last night. They had really gone at it all night long. He didn’t think they took more than a 5-minute break at any given time. The others looked at him suspiciously. He refused to meet their stares. He knew she had to be sore. Last night was her first experience with anal sex and he knew Angelus had been a little rough with her. He again wondered if he should follow them. Just to make sure Buffy wasn’t suffering any lasting effects from last night. *

“What happened? Did you two have another argument after we split up last night? Did his evil side Angelus appear?”

Buffy laughed, “The man of many questions. I see Cordelia has gotten you up to speed on some of the news. So how’s it going with Queen C? You do know that ‘s what’s on her license plate?”

Pike laughed too. “Yeah, I know. I stayed at her place last night.”

*The other listeners now focused their attention on Cordelia. She placed her hands on her hips and met their stares. “It was perfectly innocent. I was scared.”*

“Did you really?” Buffy’s voice was teasing.

*Pike’s next words gave credibility to Cordelia’s disclaimer.*

“She was scared. She had a very horrific experience yesterday, plus battling hellhounds last night. It took a lot out of her. I spent the night with her but we didn’t do anything.”

At Buffy’s skeptical look, he smiled shyly.

“Okay, maybe some really hot kisses and heavy petting but that was all. And yes I slept in her bed with her but the operative word is *slept.* Cordelia thought I’d be more comfortable in the bed instead of trying to manage on a sofa with my bad back. I like Cordelia. I think she’s a very beautiful, intelligent, witty person. When all this is over, I hope to get to know her better.”

*Cordelia beamed. “I knew he liked me. I can’t wait until we can kill these dogs things and Pike and I can start exploring our relationship.*”

“So now that I’ve answered your questions answer mine. Cordelia filled me in pretty much and I must admit some of the stuff she told me about you and Angel was really hard to believe. Did you really let him almost drain you to save his life?”

“Yeah.”

There was a lengthy pause. Then Buffy let out a resigned sigh. Pike wasn’t going to let this go, so she might as well come clean.

Her voice sounded as if it were coming from a distance, at least to her. “My love for Angel is a little frightening. It sorta borders on obsession. That whole thing with Faith shooting him……forced me to realize something. I’ve always known that I’d die for him, that’s never been an issue, but, well, when his life was threatened it made me realize I’d do the thing that slayers are forbidden to do. I’d kill a human to save Angel.”

*The eavesdroppers all shifted uncomfortably as the obviously heartfelt and emotional declaration. They were reminded again that they were listening in on a personal conversation. A very personal conversation. In the next minute, they all came to the same realization. Buffy didn’t use the word love in the past tense. She was definitely talking the present tense. Again all eyes turned to Angel. He ignored them again. His own thoughts chaotic. She loved him. It wasn’t just something she said in the heat of passion. She really loved him. So why the cold-shoulder this morning and this evening? Why was she avoiding him?*

“Yeah, that is frightening,” Pike observed, studying Buffy carefully. In all the years that he’d known her, known about her feelings for Angel – ‘leather jacket guy’ – he’d never stopped once to consider the sheer depth of her feelings. She was so strong and seemed to keep so much to herself, that he never considered that she might love someone so deeply that it frightened her.

“Who ya telling? Doesn’t matter now. Angel and I are through.” Buffy signed resignedly, then shifted on the seat trying to find a more comfortable position. The leather creaked with her movements.

“If you and Angel are so over, then why are you tryin’ to hide the *Love bites* and puncture marks on your neck?”

Pike felt a shimmer of anger that Angel would use her and then leave her, again. Cordelia had told him that Angel had left Buffy after she sacrificed herself to save him. Left her in fact, without saying good-bye.

*Once more, all eyes turned to Angel. His back was to them now and he stared out the window into the dark night. He was resisting the impulse to go to her now and attempt to make things right. He didn’t care what the others thought. And again, he was reminded that they should not be listening to this conversations. He wanted to tell Riley to turn if off, but he couldn’t.*

“Oh! You noticed. Do you think anyone else noticed?”

Buffy reached up, adjusting the scarf she wore. The marks were fading but still noticeable.

“They did unless they were blind. They just didn’t want to say anything. So, the question still remains what did you and Angel do last night?”

“Are you sure you want to hear this?”

“I asked didn’t I.” Pike wasn’t sure, but Buffy was his friend and he felt that she needed someone to talk to; someone that wouldn’t judge her or berate her for anything that might have happened.

Buffy took a deep breath. It could clearly be heard over the speaker. After a long silence, she spoke her words coming out in a rush.

“Angel/Angelus and I spent the night fucking each other’s brains out on top of the roof of his hotel and scaring the pigeons.”

*”Why you bastard,” Riley roared, jumping to his feet. “I should fucking stake you.”*

*Angel barely glanced at Riley over his shoulder. “Don’t try it boy. I won’t even break a sweat to kill you. You planted a bug on Buffy and now you’ve heard something you didn’t like. Maybe next time you’ll think twice about eavesdropping on someone’s conversation.”*

Gunn had also come to his feet prepared to assist Angel if necessary. He didn’t like Riley, so any excuse to throw the soldier boy’s ass out on the street was a good one.

*”This isn’t over,” Riley said menacingly. Hatred was blinding his vision. He knew that he would not leave LA until he killed the monster that had fucked his girlfriend.”*

*”Can you please shut up so we can listen,” Cordelia snapped, her love of a good gossip taking precedence over a male testosterone pissing contest which Angel would undoubtedly win.*

*Riley glared at Angel and clamped his mouth shut. Angel knew that he would now have to keep his eyes on Riley. He knew the look. If given half a chance Riley would definitely try to stake him.*

“You did what?!” Pike asked in disbelief.

“You heard me. I spent half the night fucking my *creature of the night * ex. Both the good and the evil version of him and loving every minute of it.”

“Um, okay. How can that be?” Pike suspected as much, but he was surprised at Buffy’s blunt declaration.

“Believe it or not pretty simple. They both kept reappearing. Angel is so gentle and tender passionate and caring when he makes love to me. Where I’m always so careful with others Angel treats me like I would break. I love it. Angelus is the exact opposite. He’s just pure unadulterated lust. He’s passionate forceful and mixes pleasure with just a little bit of pain. They had me begging and screaming all night.”

“The big guy is gentle?! You mean the guy I saw rip brain and spine out of a hell hound last night with his bare hands -that one- is gentle.” Pike couldn’t quite picture it given what he knew about Angel.

A wistful smile crossed Buffy’s face. “Well, he is with me. I like how careful he is when he makes love to me. No matter how passionate or heated things get Angel is tender with me. Brutally tender sometimes, but still tender.”

“I don’t believe this. If you are that into Angel, then what happened to break the two of you up? When you use to tell me about him you said *not only is he perfect, but I can’t hurt him.* So why are you datin’ soldier boy and fuckin’ creature of the night boyfriend behind his back? If you are still so into him why did you and Angel break it off?”

“It’s the usual Buffy story…. again. I hurt him. Not physically, much worse. I jeopardized his soul. He finally decided I was a freak too. Right before the prom he told me he was leavin’ me and our *freak show.* He didn’t even say good-bye.”

Buffy’s words reflected all the hurt and the anguish she felt at the time. The hurt that she still carried around inside her.

*Angel’s color drained from his face. He didn’t realize that she thought he was calling her a freak. He was the freak in their relationship. Not her. She was everything that was good in their relationship. He would definitely set her straight as soon as she got back. She wouldn’t get out of it this time. She’d talk with him. It had waited long enough.*

“Yeah Cordelia told me about his soul. I’m sorry.”

“So how were you able to be together last night?”

“I guess he’s resolved the issues about his soul. And of course, he didn’t bother to tell me. The little freak he left in good ole Sunnydale wasn’t worth a telephone call to say *hey, guess what, my soul is permanent.*”

Pike heard the deep hurt inflected in her voice.

“So, you hooked up with Riley after Angel left you. Do you love him? Riley that is?”

“Nope.” Buffy wanted to say something different, wished she could, but there was not hesitation in her voice when she spoke.

*Riley’s face fell at Buffy’s revelation. His lips tightened and his eyes became hard and brittle. Willow who had been standing near him backed away.*

“Then why are you with him?”

“Because I don’t love him. When he leaves I won’t care. It won’t hurt.”

“When he leaves?” Pike glanced out the window. It was almost time.

“Everybody leaves.”

“Do you really believe that?” He turned his attention back to Buffy, surprised somewhat by her words. Was she going to go through life alone because she didn’t want to risk her heart again? Again, he felt an irrational anger towards Angel for hurting her so deeply, for setting the precedent so firmly in her mind.

“Yeah. The man I love left me because I was a freak and because he wanted me to fuck. So, I fuck. If I didn’t, then he left me for nothing.”

“But how can you and Riley………?”

“Well, first I fucked a guy named Parker. I damn near crippled him too. He avoided me and I was too ashamed to tell anybody why. So, I faced the humiliation of his lies – to cover his embarrassment – and let my friends think that I was used. Granted, that’s all he probably wanted to do, was use me, but Slayer strength was just a little bit surprising…painfully so. I learned from that. Now, I take precautions. And Riley, he’s a steroid junkie: I can smell it on him.”

“What are you talking about? What precautions? You mean like condoms”

“Yeah that too, but besides that I mean Slayer precautions. I take a little bit of diluted poison before we have sex. It weakens me enough so I don’t break him and it wears off by morning. That and the steroids give him a strength boost.”

“Poison? What type of poison?”

“Mohra blood. At eighteen, the Watcher’s Council likes to poison their Slayers so that they’re weaker than even normal girls and then send them out to battle vampires, that way they can prove that the Powers or whatever were right in choosing us and that we’re worthy of our sacred duty. Mohra blood is one of the compounds they use to turn a Slayer weak. In humans, it slows their healing rate and inhibits adrenaline – therefore weakening its victim. Intravenously it takes days for the effects to wear off, ingested, just a few hours. That’s why I can’t have sex with Riley while we’re here. I’m not taking the poison because I need to be strong to fight the Sk’larra. And of course now that I’ve spent the night fucking my ex I certainly can’t fuck Riley.”
*Angel’s mind raced. Mohra blood! They day that he had been human, the day that he had given back. Had the presence of the blood in his veins that day been enough to weaken her so that she hadn’t hurt him? And, an even bigger question looming in his mind – had the weakness he felt as a human that day been only temporary? When it wore off, would he have retained his strength and power, yet been human? Had the Oracles tricked him? Granted, the curse had been lifted that day. He would have to get some answers, but he couldn’t do that now. *

Buffy let out sharp laugh.

“I spent half the night fucking Angel/Angelus. No poison in my system just au natural Buffy. I didn’t have to worry about breaking his bones or being too rough with him because he can take what ever I dish out. Too be honest with you I’m the one who begged off last night. He–They wore me out. I couldn’t go anymore. It felt good to be in the arms of the man I love and not have to worry that I might hurt him with my passion. It was exhilarating to just let my passion loose unguarded running wild. My body hasn’t felt this sated since the first time Angel and I made love.”

“So, now what are you going to tell Soldier Boy?”

“The same thing I just told you.”

“And that is……?”

“That I spent the night fucking my ex. I won’t elaborate or go into detail, but he deserves to know the truth. After we get back to Sunnydale I’ll tell him.”

“And if he breaks it off with you?”

“That’s just a chance I have to take.”

“So, you’re going to get back with Angel?”

*There was a long pause. For a moment the eavesdroppers thought that Buffy wouldn’t answer. The sound of the car door opening creaked as Buffy prepared to get out.*

Buffy grabbed her bag and checked the contents. They needed to get moving now. She could even hear the restless Sk’larra moving around in the building from the short distance away. They could smell her, the warm blood.

*The car door slammed. Was she going to answer the question? The occupants at the Hyperion waited with bated breath.*

“I don’t think so.” Buffy finally answered Pike’s question. It wasn’t the first time that she wished she had another answer to give him or herself.

*Riley smiled maliciously at Angel. Angel’s dead heart constricted in his chest.*

“Why?”

“You notice I said I fucked my ex?”

“Yeah, I noticed.”

Buffy’s voice was faint, as it was obvious she was now talking to Pike from outside the truck.

“That’s because not once during that long night did Angel tell me he loved me. I told him but he never told me. That’s why I call it *fucking* and not *making love.* When we were datin’ – back in good Ole Sunnydale the one thing I could always depend on was that he would tell me three to five times a day that he loved me. I miss that. I miss hearin’ Angel tellin’ me he loves me. I miss feelin’ the kind of love Angel and I shared. I miss the life I shared with Angel. Hell, I miss Angel. I’ve always had this hunger inside me gnawing at my insides screaming to be fed. With Angel the hunger was always sated. Since he left it’s with me constantly. Even when we couldn’t make love the hunger was always satisfied. I don’t care how often I fuck Riley it won’t go away. It’s always there. The hunger is so great without Angel it’s painful. He’s the only man who has ever been able to sate that hunger and he doesn’t want me,” she said sadly. She laughed tryin’ to play off her somber feelings. But on the bright side,” she said false cheer lacing her voice, “Angelus told me I was his whore-bitch for life. I think that meant a lot to him in his own twisted murderous, torturous hell-y way.”

Pike laughed and Buffy joined in.

*At that moment Angel would have given his unlife to be with Buffy to hold her to comfort her. To let her know he’d never stopped loving her. To let her know he missed her too. He missed telling her he loved her. He missed being with her. He missed their life together too. He felt that same hunger. He knew what she spoke of. It constantly ate at him. These last two days the hunger had left him. He knew why he was no longer hungry. It wasn’t just because he’d made love to Buffy it was because she was back in his life.*

*He’d also have to tell Buffy that being Angelus’ *whore bitch* was a great honor at least in Angelus’ mind. He’d never bestowed the title on another female not even Darla his sire or Druscilla his obsession. She was the first. To Angelus *whore bitch* meant love the only way he knew how to give it in his twisted, murderous, torturous hell-y way.*

“Now you’ve heard my whole love-life in all its sordid and gory details. Maybe when this is all over, you can tell me how I can do better.” Buffy smiled at Pike, thinking how much easier it would have been if she had fallen in love with him.

“I doubt that. I’m not exactly a role model of successful relationships. Although, if things work out with Cordelia, I may have something to share.” Pike returned Buffy’s smile.

“See you at dawn. Stay in the truck, okay?” Buffy tapped twice on the truck and jogged toward the warehouse as Pike watched. When she opened the door to loose the hellhounds, he rolled up the window. She sprinted past, the dogs racing behind. The game was on.

* * * * *

The night was unbearably long for the occupants at the Hyperion. They could do nothing but wait. Buffy having left strict orders that no one appear near the warehouse to distract the dogs. She needed their full, undivided attention to capture them all.

Angel paced and Cordelia fretted. She would have been relieved to know that Pike was simply watching and waiting from the safety of his truck. His job was to count the hounds and make sure that none strayed. If necessary, he could shoot the strays from his truck.

Riley watched Angel angrily from under his lashes, envisioning a slow painful death for the vampire. Wesley studied the web site with the Sk’larra information, along with several texts of his own that he had pulled out. Willow was reading one of them, anything to occupy her mind and kill time. Xander and Gunn were playing cards.

* * * * *

Buffy stopped in the center of the abondoned steel structure. A perfect circle had been drawn around it. She was panting from her fast run to keep the dogs from snapping at her heels. She watched the red eyes approaching fast in the darkness. The second the first dog bounded across the circle, Buffy jumped up and grabbed the iron bars of the structure and hauled herself up. The dog leaped at her feet, narrowly missing her as she climbed.

Buffy waited, watching carefully as more of the hellhounds joined their pack in the circle. They were restless and yapping, snarling and growling as they paced beneath her. The few that attempted to step out of the bounds of the circle yelped in pain. She sighed, it was working.

Curiously, a second wave of dogs arrived. These dozen or so stopped just to the edge of the circle and sniffed the air. One dog, clearly the leader, seemed to be watching her, studying her. The dog howled and the others stopped, several dropped to the ground as if frightened while others howled in reply.

“Come on little doggies, into the nice circle.”

Buffy watched them nervously, their behavior unusual. Last time they had all rushed into the circle, greedy for the hunt, for the promise of fresh meat, Then Pike signaled her and they performed the ritual. Granted, there hadn’t been as many of them.

Maybe their circle was too small? She grumbled in frustration and looked out into the darkness, hoping to see Pike pull up in his truck any minute now. Reaching into her bag, she dug for her cell phone.

 * * * * *

“Well, what is this?” Wesley sipped his tea, his voice breaking the tense silence.

Angel looked at him distractedly, as did Cordelia. Willow sat up with interest, while the others seemed not to hear him at all.

“The birth of the third litter of three shall bring forth the hunter, and he will bring order to the chaos of the pack.” Over his shoulder Willow read aloud the passage that he pointed at several times, as she attempted to make sense of it.

“Yeah, so what?” Cordelia, exasperated, ran her fingers through her hair and looked at Wesley.

“Angel, didn’t you say that there was evidence that the animals were mating?” Wesley flipped to another page in a different book, his fingers moving rapidly over the page.

“Yes.” Angel’s attention was focused one hundred percent on Wesley now. He walked toward him, his eyes unwavering.

“I’m not sure I understand completely, but it would appear that this *hunter* is a sentient being, capable of logic and reason. Clearly it only comes forth when their numbers are large, third litter of three and all that, but from what little I see here, it could be quite dangerous.”

“Oh, oh. Here.” Willow pointed to the book she held in her hand. She read for a moment then looked up with a worried expression on her face. “I think we should warn Buffy, if the pack has a hunter, then the ritual that they are using may not work. This hunter would be smart enough to sense a trap.”

“Pike! We have to call Pike.” Cordelia’s thoughts first went to the man she had been daydreaming about for the last few hours. “He’s there with her, he can warn her. Who has his number?” They all looked at her blankly. If anyone should have his cell number, they thought it would be her. Buffy’s friends all just dealt with Pike through Buffy, so they didn’t have it.

“So, we’ll call Buffy.” Unexpectedly, Xander came up with the next best thing.

“Yes. Buffy. Call Buffy.” Willow babbled nervously and jumped to her feet.

“Uh, phone?”

Angel, Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia all pointed her to the office. Willow rushed over, Angel and now Riley, close behind, the two men practically elbowing each other out of the way.

Willow dialed and they all waited tensely. On the first try, the signal came back as *out of the area.* She dialed again. It rang and rang, no answer.

“I’ll go.” With preternatural speed, Angel whirled around and grabbed a large and very lethal looking crossbow out of the weapons cabinet, along with an ax.

“No way. If anyone’s going, I am.” Riley crossed his arms over his chest, illogically thinking that he’d be able to block Angel’s path. It only showed that he was either stupid or not thinking, in that he also attempted to stand his ground with the vampire so heavily armed.

“Sorry, *boy*, but you’re warm blooded. They’ll smell you in a second.” Angel dismissively walked around Riley. Glancing at Wesley and Gunn, Angel nodded toward the office where Willow was still trying to reach Buffy. “Keep trying to get a hold of her. I’ve got my phone. I’ll call.”

* * * * *

Pike stopped his truck near the edge of the abandoned structure and flashed his lights. Buffy shook her head vigorously, hoping that he’d be able to see her in the dark. All the dogs were not in the circle, she couldn’t start the ritual. She looked down at the ground where her cell phone lay, now ringing repeatedly. She fumbled it on the steel bars when she tried to get it out of her bag, now it was next to useless. Several of the dogs had pawed at it curiously when it fell, but were largely uninterested since it was apparently not a meal.

Pike sat up straighter, now tense and wary, a crawling sensation forming on the back of his scalp. In the bright light of the moon he could see the dozen or so dogs clearly as they trotted around the outer perimeter of the circle. They had stopped suddenly and were now staring in his direction, the glowing red of their eyes eerie in the still of the night.

What had happened? Why weren’t they all in the circle? As his mind ran through the possibilities, his eyes were once again drawn to Buffy. She appeared to be climbing down. What was she doing?! She couldn’t fight off that many dogs by herself.

Pike grabbed the crossbow from the backseat. He had half dozen or so bolts easily within reach. Slowly he started up the truck, preparing to move into position so that he’d have a better shot at them. That’s when he saw the lights of a car speeding toward him. The car was coming fast, the driver obviously someone with a purpose.

Buffy had just been preparing to drop to the ground when she too saw the headlights of the oncoming car. She groaned. Just what she needed – not only were the dogs being uncooperative, but now she’d have a bystander to deal with. Her attention distracted, one of the dogs leapt up and snapped at her leg, biting with just the tips of it’s fangs before Buffy snatched her leg out of the way. She hissed in pain at the scrapes.

“Damn it.”

Angel’s car came to a sudden stop just to the right of Pike’s truck. He could see the dogs, and Buffy, clearly. With a quick assessment of the situation, he opened the car door.

Pike rolled his eyes at the melodramatic arrival. Leave it to Buffy to find a guy that would make a near movie perfect entrance at a dramatic moment.

Angel nodded to Pike, and slung the crossbow over his shoulder as he walked slowly toward the playground. The hunter and his pack watched Angel warily, their noses lifted as they took in the scent of the new arrival. Snarling, they advanced toward him. It wasn’t warm blood, but it was blood and they were hungry.

“Buffy!” Angel yelled, continued his slow walk toward her.

“Angel! What the hell are you doing here?”

“Later. Which one is the leader?”

He could guess, but he wanted to be sure. He needed to be right, he’d only get one shot before they would get him.

“The black and gray one.”

Angel spared her a frustrated glance. They were all black and gray, and mixed with the bare pink of their raw flesh.

“The young one second to the right, I think,” she pointed.

The dogs were picking up their pace as they came increasingly near to Angel. The other hounds in the circle had sensed the increased tension of the others pack and they began snarling and yelping in with increased frenzy. They lunged in Angel’s direction, but were stopped by the invisible barrier of the circle. With frothy pink foam coming out of their mouths, the hounds salivated and barked – anxious for the kill.

Angel stopped and drew the crossbow. Behind him, Pike had shifted the position of his truck and also aimed. Within seconds of each other, they both fired. Angel’s bolt struck the leader squarely through the head, the powerful weapon he held dangerous in extreme. Pike managed to hit the one to Angel’s right in the neck.

With the hunter down, the pack began howling in frenzy.

“Get the hell out of here!” Buffy yelled at Angel as the dogs neared him.

Without a second thought, she dropped to the ground. The dogs drew up short, the smell of a warm meal more appealing than what they sensed in front of them.

“Go!” Buffy screamed again, without looking at him, her focus on the dogs now charging once again toward her. Her ploy had worked, the remainder of the dogs had now entered the circle. She leapt up and grabbed the bars. One dog managed to bite her foot as she jerked it up, but otherwise she was unscathed.

“Come on! You’ve got to get away from here.” Pike yelled at Angel from his truck, knowing that Buffy needed to get the ritual underway.

Angel hesitated for a few minutes, then turned and walked back the way he came. He talked with Pike for a few minutes, then sat in his car and waited.

Buffy knew it was time. She closed her eyes, summoning her strength. This required her to tap into rarely used powers that Slayers possessed, power to control the basic natural elements, to create wind, rain, fire. She began to chant.

Slowly a white flame rose from the ground in a circle as Buffy’s voice grew louder.

Angel watched in stunned silence, unaware of the power she could command. When the first flames began, he flinched. He was worried too. Buffy was in the middle of the ever-rising flames. He was fascinated. Angel stayed watching Buffy until the gray light of dawn forced him to leave. Finally, he started his car and drove back to the hotel to wait.

 * * * * *

With the first cool light of morning, the flames receded. By the time the sun was peeking over the horizon, the powdery white remains of the Sk’larra began to drift with the breeze. Within a day or two, there would be no evidence of what had taken place here.

Pike climbed painfully down from his truck and trudged across the grass and dirt to where Buffy lay collapsed on the iron bars. He knew that the powers she had called on last night were as draining on her as they were powerful. They were also frightening, because she often felt as if they could easily slip from her control.

She groaned as he called to her, rising groggily. Slowly she managed to climb down, dropping to her feet next to him. She hissed in pain at the bite and few scrapes on her leg. They were already healing, but still tender. Add that to her over indulgence in pleasure the night before and she was sore and weary. Of course she had to admit at least with the night of indulgence it was quite pleasurable.

“You okay?” Pike put his arm around her shoulder and she in turn, carefully wrapped her arm around his waist as they made their way off the playground. He insisted on helping her in to his truck when they reached it, though it was unnecessary.

“Yeah. Tired.” She gave him a small smile. “When did Angel leave?” She remembered him being there until she lost consciousness.

“He left on the tails of day break. I think you need to talk to him. Something tells me you’re wrong about his feelings for you. The guy that sat in his car last night and watched you until the gray light of dawn drove him away was very much a man in love.”

Buffy wanted so much to believe him. “I want to believe that Pike, but what if you’re wrong? What if he looks at me with pity and tells me he doesn’t love me or worse that we’re just friends? I don’t know if my pride or heart for that matter can take that kind of blow. Besides, he wanted out of the *freakshow* before – I’m not sure he’ll want back in.”

“Which would you rather have – your pride or learning whether the man you love loves you in return?” He arched his eyebrow as he looked at he intently.

Buffy gave him a tired smile. She thought about the hunger that had eaten at her since he’d been out of her life. She knew only he could sate that hunger. “I must be tired since I’m actually considering taking your advice,” she teased.

They both laughed as they wearily made their way to his truck.

* * * * *

When Angel arrived back at the Hyperion, he’d made a few decisions. He thought about the last two nights. For two nights the hunger he’d felt for the last two years had been abated. It had not gnawed at his gut endlessly. Buffy had filled his hunger. And he intended to end his hunger forever. Even though questions were coming at him in all directions, he ignored them as he stopped in front of Riley.

“Get out. Go back to Sunnydale.” His tone was cool, but decisive.

“I don’t think so. I’ll be waiting here for Buffy.” Riley drew himself up to his full height and stared back at Angel. He hadn’t fared quite so well in their last confrontation, but Riley was undaunted.

“I won’t ask you again.” Angel stared the younger man down.

“Don’t you know who I am? I’m Buffy’s boyfriend and she won’t like this.” Riley’s high-pitched voice betrayed his fear.

“I don’t care if you’re the King of the World.” Angel resisted the urge to smirk, having heard of Riley’s tendency to mimic the scene from the Titanic. His next words however, were a snarl, “In case it hasn’t penetrated your thick skull. Buffy doesn’t love you. She loves me. And after today I can assure you I will never let her go again. Now, leave before I throw you out physically.” The rest of the team saw now why other demons had trembled before Angelus, courage and boldness clearly a honed trait.

“You’ll regret this.” Riley took a step backward. “Mark my words.”

Angel advanced, closing the distance between them in two quick strides. Willow let out a short squeak in surprise and Cordelia gasped. Grabbing a handful of Riley’s shirt, Angel hoisted him up as if he were weightless. His voice was the merest whisper. “What was that?”

Riley’s hesitated, his eyes searching the room.

“No one’s going to help you boy. And I can crush your puny, steroid ridden body without breaking a sweat. Now get out of my hotel.” Angel dropped him then as if he were distasteful.

Riley scrambled to his feet, “She’ll never forgive you for leaving her. Never! Just watch, she’ll come back to me,” he said as he stumbled out of the hotel. At his hasty exit, everyone seemed to breathe a sign of relief.

“Yo, Angel, man, what got in to you?” Gunn turned from watching Riley leave and looked back at Angel.

Angel glanced at Gunn and shrugged. “I didn’t like him.” He turned then and left the room.

* * * * *

Buffy insisted that Pike take her to her dad’s condo first so she could shower and change clothes, not to mention bandage her few wounds. While she was in the shower, Pike called Cordelia.

“Hey, beautiful.”

“Hi Pike!” Cordelia fairly blushed. “How’d it go?”

Willow and Xander glanced in her direction, anxious to hear that Buffy was all right.

“Fine. No more Sk’larra, at least for awhile.”

“Where are you? Are you guys coming here? When will I see you?” The brunette seer twirled her hair.

Pike laughed softly at her impatient questions. “Buffy’s dad’s. Probably, and I hope soon.”

“What do you mean probably and you hope? You are, coming *right*?” She emphasized.

“Buffy isn’t sure that Angel wants to see her.”

“Yeah, right. After the male testosterone-pissing contest he just put on earlier today believe me he definitely wants to see her. Do what you have to do, but get Buffy here.” She looked up in time to see Angel coming back down the stairs. He’d been up there so long she thought he had fallen asleep.

“Okay then, see you in about an hour.” The brunette hung up the phone, glancing up at Angel. He seemed to be in a remarkably good mood after getting rid of Riley, he was almost smiling. She was worried.

“What’s up with you?’ The ex-May queen asked, her own mood brightened by Pike’s call. “You’re wearing a white shirt and you’re not all broody.”

Angel shrugged. “Does something have to be wrong? I’m in a good mood.”

“Uh-huh.” She was skeptical. She caught Gunn’s eye over Angel’s shoulder.

“What? After over a year of no action, the man got laid the other night by a *beautiful* blonde, what’s not to be happy about?” Gunn lifted his coffee cup in mock salute. “Or, maybe I should use her term and say, spent half the night fuc—Okay, okay.” Gunn grinned but stopped talking when Angel shot him a dark look.

Cordelia rolled her eyes, but smiled. Willow blushed and Xander looked upset.

When Pike and Buffy arrived back at the Hyperion it was mid-morning. Pike made his way slowly, laboring with his cane. When Cordelia spotted him, she rushed forward and hugged him, nearly knocking him over in her exuberance.

“Cool footwear you got there Buffster!” Xander teased looking at her choice of footwear.

“Thanks Xan, you know me always the trend setter.” Buffy laughed and hugged Xander and Willow. She was wearing her cow head slippers, the bandage on her foot not comfortable in any other shoes.

“I’m glad you’re okay, although I wasn’t really worried because I know you said you had gotten rid of those nasty dogs before, but then we read the other stuff and I was a little worried. But then Angel went to help you and when he came back he said you were alright……and I’m rambling,” Willow said smiling sheepishly.

“That’s okay Will. There’s something to be said for a good ramble,” Buffy laughed.

Buffy looked around the room, “Where is Riley?”

“Heard some news that upset him a little. He decided to leave,” Xander told her smiling mysteriously, “and not a moment too soon I’d say.”

Gunn and Cordelia laughed at Xander’s explanation of Riley’s departure.

“*Ooo-Kay*,” Buffy responded not sure what or who had forced Riley to go back to Sunnydale but grateful that he was gone. She had only just released Willow and Xander from her hug when Angel stopped in front of her. Without a word, he jerked her forward and threw her over his shoulder.

“What the……?!” Buffy gasped, the air knocked out of her by his shoulder as he started toward his rooms. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

Angel turned then, as if suddenly remembering his manners. “We’ve got some things to discuss – privately. And rather than argue with her and have her ignore me or worse just let her slip through my fingers again, this seems the best way to handle it. Everyone, make yourself at home. We’ll be back later.”

“Angel, dammit.” Buffy struggled, pounding on his back. “Put me down.”

He swatted her once on the behind, effectively silencing her protests as her face flamed in embarrassment. *Oh, just wait until he puts me down, she thought. Boy am I going to give him a piece of her mind.*

“Well, that’s certainly one way to get a lady’s attention.” Pike drawled watching Angel swiftly climb the steps with Buffy over his shoulder.

Cordelia shrugged nonchalantly, “Just another episode of the Buffy and Angel show. Well, let’s go get somethin’ to eat and maybe catch a movie. Other than the fact they are probably going to be up there for the rest of the day I don’t want to be around when they *do it.* Somethin’ tells me they might be really *loud.*”

The others looked uncomfortable all remembering Buffy’s description of how she had screamed all night making love to Angel and Angelus.

“So, where we goin’?” Xander asked always ready to eat.

Cordelia produced a credit card. “I have Angel’s credit card,” she said wiggling her eyebrows. When Wesley gave her a disapproving look she justified, “Hey it’s not like it’s his Platinum card. It’s just the Gold one. We’ve all worked hard I say we deserve a good meal. Everyone that agrees follow me. Anyone else,” she said pointedly looking at Wesley, “can stay here and listen to those two moan and scream the roof off the hotel.”

Pike supported his love interest, “I’m with Cordy. Where she leads I’ll follow.”

“We are goin’ to get along so well,” Cordy gave him her heart breaker smile as her arm circled his waist. She looked over her shoulder as she was walking with Pike to the door, “Comin’ Wes?”

“I guess we all deserve a meal. It can be written off as a legitimate business expense for entertaining out of town guests,” Wesley relented.

“My vote is on the place over on Fifth Avenue. They have the *hottest* buffalo wings in the city. Do you like wings Red?” Gunn asked following behind Willow as they left the hotel.

“Yep, especially when they serve them with celery and blue cheese for dipping; and they’re like really, really, really hot and make your eyes water, you nose run, top of your head sweat and you have to guzzle strawberry soda to cool the roof of your mouth,” she gushed.

“Red I can see now we are going to be good friends,” Gunn said smiling down at the pretty red head as they followed the gang out the door.

* * * * *

Angel deposited Buffy on the sofa in his suite. She struggled to a sitting position and glared stakes at him.

“That was the most…. the most cave-vampire, Neanderthal…….display I’ve ever seen! What the hell has gotten in to you?!”

“It seemed to be the quickest way to talk to you,” He squatted down until he was eye level with Buffy. His hands were flat on the sofa on either side of her.

“What’s there to talk about? I know what you want to say. You want to tell me that the other night was a mistake. I know that. I won’t hold you to anything. So, you can put your old fashioned sense of Chivalry to rest.”

Angel never being one to elaborate decided to take the short route.

“I love you,” he said reverently looking deeply in her eyes.

“Excuse Me?” Buffy said staring back at him. She wasn’t sure she’d heard him correctly. “You love me?”

“I always have and I always will. That will never change. Forever, that’s the whole point – or don’t you remember?”

“Then why the Hell are you living in LA and I’m still in Sunnydale? Why the Hell have I spent the last year fucking a man I don’t love?”

“Because I’ve been stupid.”

“At least we agree on something,” Buffy muttered. “So, why tell me you love me now Angel. What has changed? Other than we can fuck without risking your soul. Which by the way I’m pissed that you didn’t bother to tell me your soul was permanent.”

Angel took a deep breath. He had almost forgotten how quickly she could changed topics in the middle of a discussion or argument. She could spin his head with tangential topics and logic that made sense only to her.

“The other night was as much about making love as *fucking.* I tried to show you with every kiss- and every touch how much I loved you.” He let his declaration sink in before he continued. “What’s changed is I don’t want to spend another moment without you in my life. I know I still can’t give you all the things I left so that you could have.” He stood and started pacing restlessly. “Buffy you were never the freak in our relationship. I was. I can’t walk with you in the sunshine, I can’t give you children. And maybe it’s selfish of me to want you in my life when I have nothing to offer you.”

“Nothing to offer me? How about your love? How about your support? How about backing me up at night when I’m out slayin’? How about somethin’ as simple as your companionship? Angel I’m not some swoony eyed schoolgirl. I wasn’t the night you broke up with me in a stinkin’ sewer and I’m not now. All the things you left me for I didn’t want then and I don’t want them now. What I do want is you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. How about accepting what I want to give you without all this broodin’ and guilt? I love you. I want to give you my love without having you throw it back in my face and walking away from me. You want to offer me something…” she stood and walked to where he stood, “offer me you for as long as I live.”

She stared at him. The love in her eyes shining. He pulled her in his arms and hugged her tightly. She hugged him back. Her hug would have broken the ribs of a normal man. Her face was smashed against his chest.

“Buffy? I need to apologize to you too. For how Angelus treated you. I know he was rough on you the other night. I never wanted- well, I didn’t intend to allow him to take over during your first time for anal sex and I know he wasn’t as gentle as he should have been. Did he hurt you?”

Buffy looked up at Angel, her arms still wrapped tightly around his waist. “No, he didn’t hurt me. I’m a little sore but it was my first time so that’s expected. Angelus isn’t as gentle or considerate as you are, but don’t worry – he didn’t hurt me. You don’t need to apologize, Angel. I made a choice. And if that choice meant having sex with your evil twin to keep him from running the streets and *offering an ugly death to everyone he met and doing it with a song in his heart* then I’ll spend the night having sex with him. Besides, you were always right there keeping me safe from him, making sure he didn’t hurt me. Although it was his mind sometimes, it was always your body and our love. It made the night so special. I love you Angel. If that means occasionally I have to put up with Angelus, then so be it. I feel like I should apologize to you for the way I acted with him. It was like I was starving. This hunger took over me and I just couldn’t get enough of you.”

“Baby, you don’t have to apologize. I’ll admit that I wish I could have had more control over Angelus the other night, but I realize that we were switching back and forth so quickly you were having a hard time just keeping up with who was making love to you. I felt the same way. This hunger for you has been gnawing at me since I left you. I was finally able to appease it, being with you. It’s the first time I’ve been able to rest in a long time.”

“I’m still angry at you. I may still trust you with my life, but I don’t know if I can trust you with my heart. You haven’t taken very good care of it in the past. I still love you, but you can’t just walk in my life again and pick things up like you never left. You have so much groveling to do you might need an eternity to do it,” her words were mumbled against his chest but he understood everyone of them.

“Give me a chance Buffy and I promise to keep your heart safe. I’ll cherish and protect it for as long as I live. I know that I have a lot of making up to do and groveling. We can do anything you want to do as long as we do it together.”

“Anything?”

He nuzzled her neck inhaling her intoxicating scent, “Anything. What do you want? Just ask.”

“She looked longingly at his bed. Then snuggled deeper in his arms. Buffy felt the beginnings of his arousal.

“Oh, no you don’t. We went at pretty rough the other night. I may be the Slayer but even I need time to heal. I was thinking about getting more than four hours of sleep for starters.”

“I can arrange that,” he said nuzzling her face his hands cupping her ass pulling her close. “And maybe in a few days we can do other things?”

“We’ll see.”

He laughed scooping her up in his arms. “I’ll tuck you in and hold you while you sleep. When you wake up I’ll fix you something to eat.”

* * * * *

She snuggled closer to his cool body. The grogginess and fog of sleep slowly dissipating. She inhaled his dark erotic scent and threw her leg over his hip pressing her swollen lips against his cool hips. She pressed a hot wet kiss on his chest and mumped her warm breath heating a patch of his cool skin.

“Mmm, Angel,” she mumbled, pressing her warm body close to his.

‘Mmm,” he answered still between sleep and consciousness going more with instinct.

His hands caressed from her thigh to her hip pushing his white shirt out of his path as his hands travels up her leg. He’d given her the shirt off his back to sleep in when they decided to take a nap. He was only dressed in his black silk boxers.

“Baby?” he asked his voice husky with sleep.

He could smell her beginning arousal. She pressed herself against him and he could feel her moisture through his black boxers. He turned over leveling his weight on his elbow to look down at her. Her eyes were still closed, her mouth still pouty with sleep. He leaned down and brushed his lips across hers.

“Feels good,” she muttered her eyes still closed.

Angel realized she was still asleep. He also knew she was still sore. He felt her swollen nether lips pressed against him. She was in that drowsy erotic sleep. He tried to pull away from her. As he tried to pull away she tightened her arms around him and forcefully pulled his body against hers.

“Want you,” she muttered. Angel trailed a few kissed along her face. Smiling at her forcefulness.

Buffy was in an erotic dream world. She could feel his cool body pressed against hers. She was sore and tender but she wanted her lover. Wanted him to express his love to her in the physical sense. Wanted him to love her without words with only hands, lips, teeth, tongue, nose and emotions. She wanted her lover to put action to the words of love he had muttered to her as she fell asleep.

“Baby you’re too sore for this. Maybe we should wait a few days.”

“It’ll be alright if you’re really gentle and tender like I know you can be. Like you were the first time we made love. It won’t hurt if you ease in me gently, smoothly. I might feel a little pain but the pleasure will out weigh that.” She didn’t tell him that Angelus had taught her that there could be pleasure with the pain.

Angel groaned. He warred with his desire and his love’s well-being. He brushed a strand of her hair out of her eyes and kissed each eye. He bathed her face in soft kisses trailing his tongue and lips over the soft contours of her face before capturing her luscious lips in a deep kiss. His tongue sunk into the warm sweet recesses of her mouth and tasted everything that was his love.

His mouth devoured hers as his nimble fingers released the buttons to his shirt she wore. He trailed a line of kisses down her throat, licking a path across her collarbone, between those two perfect globes topped with dusky rose nipples. He gently took one in his mouth and sucked it as his hands tenderly kneaded the other. She moaned and writhed beneath him.

Angel trailed his kisses down her chest to her stomach. His hands curved over her breasts, while his tongue played in the little indentation of her navel. She sucked in her breath and moaned in pleasure. His lips returned to her breast, sucking it deep in his mouth then withdrawing to watch her nipple harden and the color deepen. His hands moved over her, sweeping along the outer curve of her breast, down her ribs to her hips.

Her hands rested on his shoulders as he buried his face against her firm abdomen, inhaling deeply and savoring her scent and her warmth. He moved lower, his hands still moving in sweeping caressing along her body.

Angel parted her thighs and Buffy whimpered softly, knowing what was to come. The tingling warmth was building and she could feel the wetness at her core. He watched her for a moment, her eyes closed. He teased her inner thighs with his tongue, brushing across the passion marks he had left on her two nights ago. They were faded, but still apparent. Softly he kissed each and every one, feeling both a masculine pride and a touch of guilt that he had marked her so.

When his tongue gently stroked the pouty lips between her legs, she gasped. With barely there caresses, he licked her, tasting the moisture that began to seep from her. Leisurely he savored her, his lips and tongue exploring where they would as her fingers curled into his hair while a breathless series of whispers and incoherent words came from her lips.

He brought her to the very brink of passion and held her there for long moments, teetering on the edge and drawing out her pleasure. When she finally catapulted over the edge, she cried out his name softly and clutched at him.

Angel moved up then, parting Buffy’s legs wider to accommodate him and pressing his mouth to hers so she could taste herself on his lips. Eagerly, Buffy ran her hands along his shoulders, his arms, his back, caressing every part of him that she could touch. With palms flat, she slid her hands down his chest stopping to take his nipples between her fingers and play with them. Angel paused, his body held rigidly above her, delighting in her touch yet fighting hard to keep his desire from hurtling out of control. When her hands slid down his ribs to his hips, he pushed forward sliding into her.

Buffy let out a soft cry, still sore despite his tender preparations. The pain was brief, especially compared to the feel of him. When he was inside her, filling her, making love to her, Buffy felt as if she had been empty and only now was whole.

Angel moved gently within her and Buffy sucked in her breath, the sensation even more pleasurable than anticipated. When he almost completely withdrew, she dug her fingers into his back wanted to keep him with her. He thrust forward again and she released a breathy sigh. As he moved, Buffy dropped her head back assailed by sensations she had so rarely experienced, sensations only Angel could provoke. There was still a frisson of pain with each thrust, but far overshadowing it was the startling pleasure.

Angel moved deliberately, straining to keep his movements slow and gentle despite the desire raging inside him, encouraging him to drive hard and fast until he was gloriously spent. When Buffy wrapped her legs around him, locking her ankles over his lower back, his control broke. He thrust hard and Buffy lifted her hips to meet each down stroke. She screamed when the hot, wild pleasure seized her again, He moved quickly, his strokes hard and deep, and then he groaned hoarsely near her ear as he shot his seed inside her.

Collapsing against her, Angel wrapped his arms around her and held her to him. There was no woman like her. No woman as strong, yet vulnerable as she, that could love as she did. No one that could drive him to the absolute heights with the thrust and sway of her hips, with the merest whisper or soft cry that could take him to heaven.

He loved her. Deeply and forever.

He rolled, pulling her close. They slept, their hunger sated.

* * * * *

Buffy woke to the smell of food. She sat up pushing her hair from her eyes as Angel came through the door carrying a large box and two bags. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and squinted at him. She looked out the French doors a cool breeze blew the sheer curtains softly. Buffy gave a leisurely stretch, Angel’s white shirt hanging off her shoulders.

Angel was looking just as delicious as the food he was carrying. His hair was mussed from sleep and her running her fingers through it. He was shirtless and shoeless. There were *love bites* on his neck and chest. Buffy smiled thinking about how he’d gotten them. His black sweats pants were riding low on his hips. Her nose picked up the aromas of the food. He flopped down on the bed beside her.

“Tada!” he said with a flourish as he opened the box to reveal an extra large veggie pizza. He opened the first bag that held an extra large order of chili cheese fries and buffalo wings and in the second bag were two slices of Double chocolate cake and a cola.

She leaned over the food and hugged him. “I knew there was a reason I love you,” she giggled. She grabbed a slice of pizza and bit into it. “Mmm,” she moaned her eye rolling in pleasure.

He watched as she polished off half the pizza before attacking the chili fries with relish. She then alternated between the wings and the fries licking her fingers in between. His eyes followed the action of her pink tongue and thought of how much he’d like to be her fingers.

“Let’s drive to Vegas and get married tonight.” He said out of the blue.

“Huh?” she asked almost choking on her chili fries. “Come again?”

“I said, let’s drive to Vegas tonight and get married. No more waiting Buffy. Let’s make it official tonight. If we leave now we can be there before dawn. Get married and be in our honeymoon suite before the sun comes up.”

She stared at him like he had lost his mind. For long minutes she just sat there holding a buffalo wing in her hand the sauce dripping down her fingers unnoticed.

Suddenly in a move to rival the hellhounds she had just killed she launched herself at him knocking him backwards kissing him all over his face. He could feel the buffalo wing at his neck the sauce dripping down his back If he breathed her tiny arms would have squeezed the breathe out of him. For once he was thankful he was a vampire. Her hug would have broken his bones had he been human.

“Buffy, love, is that a yes?” He asked trying to pry her arms from around his neck.

She pulled back to look in his eyes. “That’s a YES!!! Let’s go,” she said jumping off the bed and heading to the door.

Angel looked at his love and laughed. “Baby I think we have enough time to put on some clothes.”

Buffy stopped in mid stride and looked down at herself. She started laughing. “Okay five minutes to dress and then we’re out of here. In a few hours I want to have a ring on my finger and a husband in my bed.

“I think I can arrange that,” he said as he got up to dress. He took her Claddagh ring from his jewelry box. He’d buy her a diamond when they reached Vegas to go with it, but this one simple ring would be the symbol of their love.

* * * * *

If the elderly minister in the tacky vibrant blue suit notice anything unusual about the couple repeating their vows he didn’t say anything. The groom was wearing black leather pants and a duster with a white silk shirt. The bride didn’t look older than sixteen although her license said otherwise. Her hair was wind blown, her face was flushed and her eyes were brilliant with happiness. She was wearing white pants, what the minister knew were her husband-to-be’s white silk shirt and leather jacket that dwarfed her small frame. That was not the most unusual thing about her attire. It was the black and white cow head slippers on her feet that drew attention to her.

Nothing seemed to dampen the glow coming from both of them as they repeated theirs vows holding each other’s hands gazing into each other’s eyes as if nothing in the world mattered but the two of them.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” the minister finished.

The tiny blonde launched herself into the waiting arms of her lover – and now husband – as he engulfed her in his embrace. His kiss devoured her. The hunger that had been eating at both of their souls had finally been appeased.

END.