Summary: Angel's pov in the episode "Angel."
Spoilers: Ummm, the episode "Angel." :) And some of Becoming, I guess, for talk of the Whistler.
Disclaimer: These characters aren't mine, no matter how much I wish they were. < sigh > They belong to Joss Whedon and the WB I have to live with borrowing them for my stories.
Rating: You watch the show, this is fine.
I had been watching her all night. She seemed sort of different, down in a way. I watched her halfheartedly talk to Willow, and for the millionth time, hated myself for what I was. I wished I could've made her smile. But that wasn't my place. My place was in the shadows. The Whistler had made that abundantly clear. Other than helping, I *was not* supposed to interact with the Slayer. I always wondered why.....
I gazed at her from my corner and saw her smile dreamily at Willow. They glanced at Xander on the dance floor, and, not for the first time, I felt jealous. She smiled. As he came over to them, the smile slipped off her face and she sort of spaced out. It was easy to watch her. I could do it all the time. I pretty much did, then, only slipping in front of her gaze long enough to give her some vital information and disappear. I knew she wondered about me. I knew she was attracted to me too, but I didn't know much else about her feelings, though I'd been watching her for over a year. I liked to watch the pulse pick up a faster beat in her neck whenever I came around. It made me feel good.
She glanced ruefully at her friends and got up to leave. I sighed, which came out automatically, though I didn't really breathe. It was like me eating food, or drinking something. I just did it because I felt like it, not because it did me any good. I didn't want her to go. I would follow her home of course-- I always did-- and watch her from her window, but I liked being in the same room with her.
After a moment, I followed her out. We walked a ways, on the same path to her house that she took every night, and suddenly she stopped. She turned around, and I slipped around the corner; she wouldn't be able to see me. She started back and stopped again after a beat. My ears picked up what she was saying, though I was about a hundred feet away. "It's late, I'm tired and I don't wanna play games. Show yourselves." Not her usual pun. Hmm.
Three large vampires attacked her at once. I recognized them immediately. Wow...The Master had sent the Three after her. He must've been really scared. I was torn between helping her--I didn't want her to get hurt--and letting her do it on her own. I decided that if it looked like she needed help, I would, but not before. She got them all down, and I was selfishly disappointed that I wouldn't get to help her. I was also pleased with her ability to hold her own.
They got up. Uh oh. Two of them grabbed her from behind, and she started struggling. I knew the Three. She wouldn't get away if two of them had her pinned. I decided to help. I took a nearby tire iron and ran. When I reached them, I slammed it into the first ones skull. He let go. The other did, too, out of surprise, I guess. Buffy didn't look at me at first, she was too busy getting into her fighting stance, but when she did, I noticed her pulse pick up speed, and her eyes widen. There are *some* advantages to being a vampire. You notice these things.
I smiled in her direction, and it was enough of a distraction for me to not pay attention for a few important seconds. One of the vampires took out a knife and swung it at me. I leaped back to avoid getting cut, but I already had. Oh, well. It wasn't *too* deep. I wasn't concerned.
But Buffy was. She noticed my intake of useless oxygen, and felt bad, I think. She grabbed my hand and pulled me at a pace that only a Slayer or Vampire could have kept up with. I was lucky that she didn't seem to be questioning things like that. We headed to her house.
We got to her porch and she struggled with the door long enough for me to worry about what she would think when I couldn't run in. I didn't have to worry for long. She pushed the door open and fairly yelled, "Get in! C'mon!!" I dashed in after her. We shut the door, and she looked out the window worriedly.
"Don't worry." I tried to reassure her. "A vampire can't come in unless it's invited." It hurt me to say that, even though I had come to terms with my life-- or non life-- a long time ago. She mistook the pain in my voice for physical pain, and trained her eyes on me seriously.
She answered my remark first. "I've heard that, but I've never put it to the test before." Her eyes looked at my now blood-soaked shirt. "Ohh. I'll go get some bandages. Just....take off your shirt and jacket." Her voice trembled slightly as she spoke. I think she was nervous for some reason.
She started for the kitchen, and after looking out the window one more time, I followed her. I shed my clothes as we walked. She was bending down, to get under the sink, and I looked at her in that interesting position before mentally smacking myself upside the head. Stop acting like a schoolboy! But, still, I decided I liked the short skirts she wore. She had nice legs. I shook my head and turned to look out the window as she straitened up. I heard her breath catch.
"Nice tattoo." She exhaled deeply. "I was lucky you came along.... How did you happen to come along?" The inevitable question.
I decided to go with casual. "I live nearby. I was just out walking." Lame as it was, I hoped she would buy it. Out walking in Sunnydale after dark? I stifled a derisive snort. She looked up at me with a smile.
"So you weren't following me? I kind of had this feeling that you were." Perceptive girl.
I smiled back and teased her lightly. I'm not accustomed to teasing, but in Buffy's case, I seemed to be doing a lot of things I wasn't used to. "Why would I do that?"
"You tell me. You're the mystery guy who appears out of nowhere. I'm not saying I'm not happy about it tonight, but.... If you are following me, I'd like to know why." She looked up, and finished bandaging. I was having a hard time concentrating on what she was saying while her little, warm hands were touching my perpetually cool skin. I didn't know if she knew what she was doing, but after she finished, she let her hands rest on my chest for a moment. My heart nearly exploded, and I blurted out almost exactly what I was thinking, much to my chagrin. It took me years to learn to be cryptic properly.
"Maybe I like you." I gulped, and waited for her reaction. Like her? Since I first saw her, I've felt an emotion that had been foreign to me for so many years. I couldn't tell her that, of course, so I waited in silence, hoping I hadn't scared her.
A sweet smile curved her lips. "Maybe..." There was my opening. I opened my mouth to speak... And we heard the door slam.
My mouth snapped shut abruptly as Buffy went charging out to distract her mother. I heard them talking, Buffy frantically trying to persuade her mom to go to bed. I hurriedly put on my shirt, backwards to cover the blood stain. I put on my jacket over it and exited the kitchen.
Buffy's mom was starting upstairs. Darn! I should've waited a minute longer. She looked at me, and then at Buffy, and then at me again. "Hi."
I smiled at her; my charming smile, hopefully. I hadn't been able to see myself in a while, so I couldn't really practice it in front of the mirror. "Hi."
I noticed that Buffy looked half-panicked at my speaking. She decided to step in. "Oh. Okay. Um...Angel, um this is my mom. Mom, this is Angel. We ran into each other on the way home." She looked at me.
"Nice to meet you." I smiled again.
Joyce Summer's looked at Buffy questioningly, but aimed her query at me. "What do you do, Angel?" I opened my mouth to speak, but Buffy interrupted. Okay by me. I was starting to feel tense.
"He's a student." Her mom supplied a disbelieving look. "Um..first year at community college. Angel's been helping me with my history. You know I've been toiling there." Good girl! Pick a subject I can go with! Not that she knew that, I guess, but still....
"It's a little late for tutoring. I'm gonna go upstairs, and uh, Buffy?"
"I'll say goodnight and do the same." She said.
Her mom nodded in approval. "It was nice meeting you, Angel." She went upstairs tiredly, and I heard the soft click of a door a minute later. Buffy gestured for me to be quiet, and opened the front door. I knew what she was going to do, but didn't really try to stop her, though I should have. I was injured. That's the only reason, I justified. Yeah, right.
Buffy called out the door, "Good night! We'll hook up soon, and do that study thing!" She shut the door heavily, and motioned for me to be quiet again. Buffy caught me by the arm, and pulled me gently upstairs. We got to her room, and she shut the door softly behind us. I had to at least speak up.
"Look, Buffy. I don't want to get you in any more trouble...."
She interrupted me. "And I don't want to get you dead. They still could be out there." I urged myself to tell her before it was too late. Before she got in as deep as I was. She moved to the center of the room, and faltered. "So, um, oh. Two of us and one bed. That doesn't work." My mind betrayed me, and whispered that it would work just fine. I whispered back for me to shut up. "You take the bed. You're injured." That was sweet.
"I'll take the floor." I knew that if I took the bed, I wouldn't be able to sleep, being surrounded by her scent. That mix between jasmine and silver roses drove me nuts at this distance; there was no way I could accomplish the perfunctory act of sleeping with it filling my nostrils all night.
She tried to talk me out of it, but I broke in. "It's okay. Don't worry, I've had worse." And the understatement of the year award goes to....
She nodded. "Okay. Um, why don't you go look out the window and see if the Fang Gang is still loitering, and uh, keep your back turned while I change?"
I looked out. "I don't see them." I could hear her clothes being peeled away, zippers moving, and buttons disconnecting. I stared hard out the window.
She started talking. "You know, I'm the Chosen One. I'm supposed to fight like that. What's your excuse?"
"Uh, somebody has to." Smooth. Suave. Well, she'll never suspect you're older that 12.
"Well, what does your family think of your career choice?"
I turned slowly, curbing the impulse to whip around, and giving her time to tell me if it was too soon to turn. Her question processed and I closed my eyes against the pain. "They're dead."
How does one tell someone else that they are responsible for killing everyone in their family? How was I supposed to tell her? I didn't want to lie.
"I'm sorry." Her voice was filled with a sympathy that I had never dared dream for, and that I certainly didn't deserve.
"It was a long while ago." I didn't want her to feel bad.
"So this is a vengeance gig for you?"
I didn't know how to say it, to tell her, so I changed the subject. I looked at her. She was wearing some sort of silk top thingy with some silk shorts. She usually went to bed in a long t-shirt. I smiled at her wanting to look nice for me.
"You e-even look pretty when you sleep."
I took her by surprise. Her pulse quickened again. I felt good to have the ability to do that. She seemed to struggle with what to say for a moment before settling with, "Well, when I wake up it's an entirely different story." I doubted it.
We walked over to the bed, and she handed me a comforter and pillow. I laid them down on the floor, and fell after them. She slipped under her covers. "Angel?"
"Do you snore?" I smiled to myself at the real question. Buffy really knew just how to make me feel good about myself.
"I don''t know. It's been a while since anyone has been in the position to let me know." I wanted her to now that I understood what she was really asking, and smiled up at her. She looked sleepy, and smiled back at me before snuggling down in to bed.
She fell asleep quickly, and I listened to her slow, deep breaths and the even beating of her heart. I smiled. The night would pass by too quickly.
I woke with a start at 6:12. The sun was rising. It panicked me for a moment, but then I realized that I was covered in the shadows of her bed. I didn't realize I had fallen asleep. The last thing I remembered was wishing I could touch her face without disturbing her.
I watched her, lost in my thoughts. Her hair partially covered her face and looked so soft. I could smell it. It smelled fresh, like oranges. I could just watch her like this forever.....
Her alarm went off. Apparently I couldn't. She moved down further into her covers before sitting upright to slam her hand down on the annoying thing. I closed my eyes and lay motionless. I still don't really know why I did that. I think I just wanted to see what she would do. Maybe I didn't want her to know I had been staring at her for the last 15 minutes. She yawned, a great morning yawn, and I heard her purr in satisfaction as she stretched.
Buffy quieted. I could feel her face leaning over mine, and her hand trail the air. I felt her knuckles graze my cheek softly, and the feeling of it was too much for me. I stirred. Buffy yanked her hand away and stared down at me as my eyes fluttered open. She was blushing a rosy color and I smiled at her. I decided I wouldn't say anything about her touching me--she looked too embarrassed.
"Morning." I couldn't really think of anything else to say, my heart was too full in that moment. Unthinkingly, I took her hand and placed it against my cheek, palm flat. She looked a bit startled, and fascinated at the same time. I turned my head slowly, giving her the opportunity to pull away, until my mouth was against her hand. I kissed her palm. She seemed dazzled, and drew her hand away slowly. I was glad, then, that I had been well-versed when I was young in the way to properly court a lady. I could tell no one had ever kissed her palm before.
"Morning" I repeated it to give her an opening to talk. I hadn't wanted to stun her. Well, okay, maybe I had a little. She had a slight smile on her lips, like the one she had been wearing the night before at the Bronze. Dreamy....Could they have been talking--. I wasn't going to even give myself the hope. I had overstepped my bounds already.
She started talking, very quickly. Her pulse was beating very fast and she was clutching her palm with her other hand. The air was thick. "Did you sleep well? Was the floor to hard? Are you feeling okay? Do you think you're still bleeding?"
I wanted to smooth the air between us. I really hadn't intended to scare her. I answered her questions, calmly, in order. "Yeah, I slept good. Just fine. Note really. Nope." She turned to me, calmer now, though her heartbeat was still skipping a little.
"Um. I'm going to be at school today, but you're welcome to stay here. Just- if my mom comes in, you might want to stay in the shadows, you know, not step out and say 'hi, I'm Buffy's guy friend who spent the night here'." She smiled at me, and I smiled back, but I was busy thinking about the phrase "stay in the shadows". Not like I could go stare at the sun. I sighed.
"Thanks. No problem. I had planned on doing that anyway." Like I was supposed to. Like was required of me. Like I had not really done for the last ten hours. I had broken the rules, and stepped out of the shadows into Buffy's light. I sighed again.
She got her clothes out from the closet and I took that as my cue to turn around. I headed for the draped window, but realized that if I got close enough, I would get burned. I headed for the closet instead, and closed the door behind me. It didn't take her long to put on her clothes, and she called to me that she was done. I came out.
I stopped when I saw her. She was looked at me, her eyes wide, and I could smell the blood rush to her face. She had never looked prettier to me; every day she surpassed herself. We drifted closer to each other. She watched silently as my hands--of their own accord-- glided up, and my finger tips brushed against her brow. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, leaning in slightly. He skin under my fingers was sleep warmed and smooth. My words came out in a whisper. "You *do* look beautiful when you first wake up." And I let go.
I stopped pretending that I would ever be content to just watch her, help her. I was surprised that I had let go, as it was not my place, or right. A vampire isn't even supposed to have a soul, so giving it to another should be out of the question, but I did anyway. Totally and completely, with no thought to the future, I gave myself to Buffy. In that moment I felt something bright pass through. She was giving herself to me. No conditions. It wasn't something we could've helped, or stopped, even if we'd wanted to. Her head lifted, and my head dipped in agonizing slowness. But I've learned to be patient. It wouldn't have seemed *right* any other way.
Our lips were centimeters away, when I caught the scent of musk. Not Buffy's perfume, and it was getting stronger. I yanked away and dove for the closet, shutting the door, just as I heard the other open. Buffy's mom came in. I heard her speak. "Buffy? Oh you're ready! Okay, well, breakfast is on the table if your hungry."
I heard the door shut and the footsteps pad away before I came out. Buffy's mom seemed like a nice woman, but I *really* wished she hadn't come in when she did! Buffy looked disappointed as well. She addressed me. "Be careful today, okay? And how did you know my mother was coming in?" Oh, great. Well, it wouldn't be a total lie.
"I, uh, heard her keys jingle." And I had, too. Buffy seemed to accept that response. We looked at each other, a bit sadly, before I spoke. "I'll be careful. What time will you be home?" I looked at her, hoping she wouldn't be annoyed that I would be taking the initiative to stay until she came back.
"I have to patrol tonight, so probably not until around 8. You'll be here?" She tilted her head as she asked me the question with uncertainty in her voice. I nodded.
"If you want me to be, Buffy." I searched her eyes for the answer I was hoping for. She nodded back at me, her eyes welling with tears for some reason, as we gazed at each other. She looked deeply in my eyes, and I felt like she was looking into my soul. She was reaching in, taking hold, cleaning, and healing my scars. We heard her mom call, and again she broke us out of our trance.
Buffy pulled me into a hug. I hadn't been hugged since I was human. Not a real hug, at least. The pure kind that offers friendship and understanding. And love. That's what she offered me. When I regained my senses, I returned it, scooping her tightly in my arms. She was warm and soft, and I could feel her heartbeat flutter against my chest. She giggled softly, and I pulled back, in question, a half smile on my face.
"I'll tell you later.....Sometime" I would settle for that. That meant there would be a later. My smile grew and I released her from my grasp. After looking at each other for a long moment, she headed downstairs. It was going to be a long day. My smiled remained for a while after she had left.
I hadn't genuinely smiled in a long time. I could get used to it.
I was right. It was a long day. I kept the curtains drawn, which gave me the ability to maneuver around the room without getting hurt, but it seemed like there was nothing to do. I called home to check for messages. I read a couple trashy romance novels, which were actually pretty good, and I thought a lot.
I thought about Buffy. I smiled, remembering her flushed cheeks after I came out from hiding when her mom came in. She'd looked so disappointed. I had been, too. I looked down at the ancient Claddaugh ring on my finger. I took it off, stared at it for a moment, and put it back on. This time the heart was inward. I would love to give her a wedding band like it, one day. It would look beautiful on her hand. I smiled and shook off my fanciful thoughts.
Her mother entered the room, and I dove for the closet for the second time that day. I watched her straitening up, through the slits in the door. She opened Buffy's drawer and took out a couple things, to place something in there. She then got down on her hands and knees and reached under the bed, pulling out a red blouse that I recognized as Buffy's from a few months ago. I sighed deeply when she left.
I heard a door slam downstairs, and heard Buffy's voice. She was stopped by her mom. I looked longingly at the door, wishing she could evade her mother and join me, but I knew should could not. I didn't really blame her. If I still had a mother, I would want to spend time with her, too. Thinking that, guilt clawed at my heart again. I snapped back to reality, and knew that I had to leave as soon as it got completely dark. I was a vampire. I wasn't meant to be having a normal life, or to be having it with a girl. Especially the Slayer. I was already in over my head. I didn't want to drown Buffy, too.
With that focused in my mind, I set myself determinedly. It was far too dangerous for her to be around me as it was. I smiled grimly and sat to wait for her to come upstairs so I could say good-bye and leave. It took a while, but soon enough, I heard her walk quietly up to her room. A smell invaded my senses, and I realized that she was bringing me dinner. How sweet of her. My heart hurt again, knowing that I had no use for it. My stomach growled, though, telling me that I needed *something*. I hadn't fed in over 24 hours, and the bloodlust was getting to me.
She entered the room a minute later. It had gotten dark, and I was standing by the window. She looked around for a minute. "Angel?"
"I'm here." For someone about to leave, I was sure quick to reassure her I hadn't left. She turned on her desk lamp and walked over to me, holding a baggy of chicken and potatoes.
"I brought you some dinner. It's a little plateless, sorry." I was touched by her consideration towards me, and cursed myself for needing something other than what she brought me. I took it in my hands, and stared down at it. "So! What'd you do all day?"
"I, uh, read a little." I glanced over at the romance novels on her desk, and she followed my eyes. "And just thought about a lot of things. Buffy, I...."
She interrupted me, her eyes blazing with anger. " My diary?! You read my diary?!" She walked over to the desk and threw a small leather book in the drawer. "That is *not* okay! A diary is like, a persons most private place!" She stalked back over to me. "I....You don't even know what I was writing about! Hunk can mean a lot of things-bad things! And when I said your eyes were penetrating, I meant to say....bulgy!"
I realized what she was saying, and my heart leapt in response. I didn't want to interrupt her, but the gentleman in me wouldn't let me do anything else. "Buffy..."
She wasn't going to be interrupted right away. She continued. "And 'A' doesn't even stand for Angel, for that matter. It stands for....Achmed, a charming foreign exchange student, so that whole fantasy part has nothing to do with you at all!" God, I loved her. I even loved the anger she was feeling towards me.
"Buffy, I didn't read your diary. Your mother moved it when she came in to straiten up. I watched from the closet. I didn't read it, I swear." Silence greeted my revelation. Shocked silence.
"Oh!.....Oh." She looked down. To let her off the hook, I started explaining that I had to leave.
"I did a lot of thinking today. I really can't be around you" She looked back up at me. "Because when I am......" She looked back down, and I could see the hurt fill her eyes. I had to get it over with.
She started muttering quietly. "Hey, no big. Water over the bridge....or under the bridge." She looked so sad. Get it over with, I commanded myself.
"All I can think of is how badly I want to kiss you." My voice came out husky. Wait-no. That wasn't what I was supposed to say. I couldn't be doing this.
"Over the dam.....Kiss me?" She leveled her eyes on mine, the beat in her throat accelerating. We stared at each other, and I realized that I was walking in some very dangerous territory.
"I'm older that you." No lie. "This can't ever....I''d better go." I looked down at her little frame, my heart betraying me, and silently begging her to tell me to stay for a while.
"How much older?" We were drifting slowly towards each other. I couldn't seem to control my feet.
"I should...." The words died on my lips.
"....go.....you said...." I tilted her head up, and her mouth met mine softly. We were on a rollercoaster, careening wildly out of control. She locked her hands around my neck, and I caught a glimpse of heaven. Her scent invaded my nose, and I inhaled, just to smell her some more. The kiss grew deeper, more intense, and it was the closest thing to happiness I'd experienced since the curse. I wound my arms around her waist, pulling her closer against me. Her body was so soft and warm. The blood rushed to her face, and she sighed in contentment.
I smelled the blood, and kissed her harder, bordering on roughly. I felt my face start to change, and realized what had been happening, what I could do to her in that state. I pulled away harshly, denying her kiss-reddened mouth from me. I turned away. Just a few seconds......just a few seconds, and I would get it under control. Just a few more seconds. I didn't get those few seconds. She pulled me back around. She fell silent in disbelief.
Then her scream tore apart the night. I had never heard anything like it. It was a scream of pure terror and anguish at the lie I had told her. So many lies.... I couldn't stand to look at her, fear and disgust filling her face. She looked so betrayed..... I jumped out the window and slid down the roof to the ground. She was still screaming. After one last look at her window, I took off. Tears filled my eyes.
I ran the entire way home.