Thanks for the reviews! Sorry for the late update, I've been working out of the country; hope you enjoy this chapter.

Everything was the way it was when he left, nothing disturbed, no sign of activity. Riley's knuckles cracked as he clenched his fist, she wasn't here. He had went back to LA and found the best apartment for them to share, new furniture moved in, new clothes for her to wear and here she was, avoiding him yet again.

Riley shut the door over, using a makeshift key to lock it. If he aroused suspicion then trying to extract Buffy from this town would not be as smooth as he hoped.

He decided to have a look around town, find out where she could be hiding. Eventually he caught sight of a man he'd saw interact with Buffy, he recognised him as the red heads boyfriend. They'd yet to meet.

Xander sat down at the bar and ordered a beer, there wasn't much of a chance to enjoy his quiet time as someone sat down beside him. The man signalled for a beer then faced him "You're Buffy's friend right?!" Riley could see suspicion on the man's face but then he smiled back at him.

"Yeah, I'm Xander, Buffy's friend" he took a swig of beer and smiled again, Riley forced a smile back at him, that goofy look on his face was irritating him.

"Say I've been over to see her but she's not been around, do you know where she is?!"

Xander rubbed his chin, he'd been around Willow more lately and hadn't seen her either "come to think of it, I haven't. Huh, Will's not spoke to her in a few days" If she wasn't home then she could only be at one other place, with him.

Riley took a long drink of his beer to calm him down; he would have to remain composed "...the last time I saw her, she looked in bad shape" he saw concern flash out Xander's eyes "I mean, who would hurt Buffy?!"

Gauging the reaction he knew it had worked. He had saw from a far that Xander was fond of Buffy but could see the hate he had for Angel, fuelling the fire, turning them against all him would be fun.

Xander slammed his bottle on the bar top, shaking his head in disbelief "Angel! It would be Angel; they were close then all of a sudden - Nada!"

Riley nodded slowly, pretending that he didn't know who Xander was talking about "This Angel... He a violent guy?!" Xander's head nodded profusely, his eyes wide.

"Yeah! He teaches fighting but he's been in trouble before, he's always thought he could do no wrong... He's hurt someone in the past..."

Hurt someone in the past?! Riley smirked, this he could use. If Angel didn't have an exemplary record then this could be an advantage. He lost the grin feigning shock, playing along with Xander's reaction.


Buffy made her excuses to her college lecturers about her absence, incorporating her fading bruises to make the story seem real but not the truth.

Her English lecturer couldn't care less, all she cared about was that Buffy was missing - excuses or not. Luckily a sympathetic student had duplicated the notes and gave them to her.

She made her way to the library at the college, there was time to fit in some studying before heading over to Angels once he had locked up the facility for the night. The ticking on the clock was wearing down her nerves till she couldn't focus on the words in front of her.

Buffy grabbed her books and headed to Angels. She made her way round to the back of the house, the doors were locked but he kept a spare key hidden above the patio door.

Although she had been staying at his house for a couple of days it felt strange to enter the house alone, she locked the door behind her and headed for the kitchen.

Angel had been very hospitable, he offered to sleep on the sofa but she said that was silly, it was his house after all - they'd settled on sharing his bed but they'd not touched since the first night she had ever spent there.

He made sure she was looked after; she had never had anyone make her feel this special or wanted before "Hey, what's this?" Buffy jumped around a little startled, she smiled sheepishly at him, suddenly feeling self conscious "...dinner"

Angel smiled, he'd grown accustomed to her being here, it felt like she belonged. The smell from the cooking was making him even more hungry "looks great"

He came close and kissed the top of her head, his hand resting on the small of her back. Buffy bit her lip; butterflies flew excitedly around her stomach "It'll be ready in a few minutes" Angel nodded at her and left for a quick shower, Buffy grabbed some plates and served up their meal.

Their meal was peaceful and quiet, Angel was thankful for the gesture. Today's sessions had been tough; he'd usually grab something quick on the way home or throw on a micro meal but having a proper home cooked meal made a difference.

Angel threw the plates into the dishwasher and headed upstairs, it was late and all he could think about was resting in bed. Buffy joined him shortly after, without saying anything she sat on the bed beside him.

She was reading through some of her coursework, the shorts and top she had on left little to the imagination. Angel ran his eyes over her, he hadn't touched her since she first stayed over; he didn't want her to think that was his only reason for asking her.

Buffy put down her book and shifted position so she was lying down, although she hadn't looked at him she could feel him stare at her. When she faced him, he caught her lips with hers.

It didn't surprise her, she knew he was going to kiss her but he still managed to take her breath away. It wasn't rushed or feverish, it was just perfect.

Angels hand traced a line along her stomach, coming to rest upon her hip. Their kiss was slow and deep, they had no intention of rushing this encounter. They stripped each others close off without any haste, savouring each touch, each kiss.

Lying on their sides, Angel pulled so her back was flush against his chest as he inched his way in, a whimper escaping her lips.

Angel lay still for a few moments as he kissed her neck, his hand palming her breast. He could feel her body writhe in frustration, so he began to thrust.

This was different; each time before was hard, fast and just amicable in a sense; this time was loving, caring and full of deep emotions.

Angel could feel something change, he knew he had feelings for her but having her I'm his arms like she was just now, completed him. He pulled out of her long enough to shift their bodies so she was underneath him, he was resting on his forearms, his lips mere millimetres away from hers.

"Buffy" he came closer to her "I love you" Buffy broke the gap between them so she could kiss him, she loved him as well.

Angel re-entered her, building up his speed. They had stopped their kiss; all they could focus on was staring deep into each other's eyes until they came.


A loud knocking disturbed them from sleep. Angel groaned his sleep was peaceful; he was comfortable, most importantly he didn't want Buffy to leave his embrace.

Buffy rolled her head, her eyes still closed "make them leave" she smiled through her tired state then reclaimed her spot on the pillow.

The knocking continued to get louder; clearly they were interested with speaking to him. Angel groaned again but sat up to pull his boxers on, as soon as he got rid of them, the faster they'd be back in bed.

Buffy sighed and followed suit, the knocking was annoying her too. They made their way downstairs; Buffy came to a halt at the bottom of the stairs, hidden from sight.

Angel pulled open the door to a cop standing there, ready to knock again. The cops face was hardened "Angel..."

The cop looked at him, his face emotionless "Hello Oz, what do I owe the pleasure?!" Angel drew the eyes off of him; they weren't on the best of terms.

Oz shifted, his tone dripping with sarcasm "...Detective Osborne... concerns have been brought to our attention about the welfare of a Miss Summers... Something about physical harm and you being the last to see her"

Angel's mouth fell open, he couldn't believe what he was being accused of, he would never physically hurt her, he would hurt himself before he let anything happen "You've got this wrong..."

Before Angel could continue, Buffy pushed passed him, her hands on her hips "who said that? It's not true!"

Oz was taken aback by her barging out in nothing more than a tank top and panties; he shook his head and examined her face, days old bruises still evident "From a reliable, concerned bystander... Fully trust his information"

She could feel his eyes scrutinise her face, there were faint bruises still upon her skin, it made her nervous from the way he was looking at her.

Angel looked between the pair, not liking the way Oz was looking at her then at him. He knew all too well that they'd be dragged in; Oz took life serious and didn't mess around with safety.

"I'm going to have to ask you to get dressed and come downtown" although he showed no emotion, you could tell he was serious. Buffy looked at him in amazement, she'd told him there was nothing to worry about; it was evident that they weren't at odds with each other.

"We can go quietly or if you'd prefer I arrest him" Oz tipped his head toward Angel, his eyes never leaving Buffy's. Angel raised his hands in surrender then headed back inside to get dressed.

Her stomach turned queasy, this wasn't what she was expecting. Last night had been perfect and now they were being questioned by the cops. Buffy got dressed in a hurry and went with Angel.

Buffy couldn't understand why they were taking this seriously; she had confirmed that he hadn't touched her, that it was just an accident. She wasn't ready to confess the truth just yet.

Angel sighed, he had been left alone for the past fifteen minutes, he knew the score. Leave them alone, come in and sit in silence, building pressure until you crack. Oz came in and sat in front of Angel, doing exactly as he had guessed.

Another five minutes had crawled past before anyone spoke "You know I wouldn't touch her... I wouldn't do that"

Oz stared back at Angel "I find that hard to believe... That you wouldn't hurt anyone, anyone that trusted you" his words hit their mark, he could see deep emotions on Angels face.

Angel cleared his throat "Daniel, I would never hurt Buffy... I love her"

The detective shifted in his seat, knowing Angel all these years, he had never heard him sound as passionate as he did just now "Look man, we responded to concerns, multiple concerns... Wouldn't be ethical to leave it alone"

Angel frowned, more than one person trying to make him out to be the bad one? He didn't like where this was headed. He had an inclination of who it was though.

Oz looked back at Angels face, knowing the question before it was asked "Can't say who raised these concerns, just that they were doing the 'right' thing"

If that was the way Oz wanted to play then he'd have to find out on his own. "Can I go?" Angel stood up once he was given a go ahead, he couldn't wait to go home.


Once Buffy gave her statement, she left a note for Angel saying she would be over that night; she had to see Willow in the mean time.

The walk to the apartments didn't take long, instead of heading to hers to get a few things she knew it was best to leave it for now and see her friend.

Willow smiled widely, pulling Buffy into a hug "where have you been? I've missed you!" Her breath caught in her throat as her friend squeezed her tightly. Worry was etched on the red heads face, her eyes darting over the imperfections on her skin "What happened?!"

Buffy smiled, she was grateful for the affection, Willow had become a true friend. "There are a few things we have to talk about, if that's okay?"

She was let out of the embrace, her bones thankful for not being crushed. Buffy sat down on the sofa, accepting the soda that was handed to her "where do I begin..."

Willow tucked one leg underneath her as she sat across from her friend, Buffy knew that it was time to let her know about the truth, no point in holding back now. Taking it slow and not leaving out any details Buffy started from the beginning, her childhood, emancipation, Riley... Before she could go into detail about the past few days Xander burst in.

"Buffy! I can't believe you didn't press charges against that heartless son-of-a-bitch!" Both their mouths opened in shock, Willow looked at her partner quizzically, charges, charges for what?!

Xander placed his hand on his hip, the other waving around in exaggeration "Angel! Why didn't you?!"

Buffy stood up, so he had gone to the cops? Rage filled her, how dare he interfere with something that did not concern him "what?!" Willow stayed quiet in the background, she wasn't sure what was going on but couldn't bring herself to intervene.

"Angel didn't do this!" Before she could continue Xander grabbed her forearms, holding her still as he spoke into her face.

"Don't be a victim, send him away - he won't hurt you! Be strong! Angel is a bad person; it's not the first time that something bad has happened!"

Buffy broke out of his grasp and punched him; she didn't appreciate how he was speaking about the man she loved. It was no mystery that they weren't friends; he had a vendetta against him. Not wanting to hear any more, Buffy left the apartment in a hurried state, she wanted to be with Angel.

As she left Xander shouted down the hallway "Ask about Anya!"


Buffy wiped away some tears with her sleeve, everything today had flown past, she had forgotten that she had just thrown these heavy clothes on before they were hauled in.

Despite Summer coming to an end the weather was hot and stifling, she felt in need of a good scrub. Seeing his house was relieving, she would change her clothes, wash and crawl into his arms to forget the hell of today.

Angel was sitting on a bar stool, his leg shaking with impatience. He had been counting each minute that he was alone and that Buffy was out, seeing her brought a smile to his face. He stood up, arms stretched wide which she accepted, he pulled her close, inhaling her scent and immediately felt better.

"Buffy" he placed a kiss on her head then looked down at her "are you okay?!" Her face showed fresh signs of tears, her eyes still puffed up.

The resentment that Xander had for Angel was distressing; it was eating her up not knowing what had happened between them. She looked up at him, it was now or never "who's Anya?!"

Buffy felt his body go rigid before he let her out of his arms, he took a step back from her - the look on his face was frightening. Her pulse raced in the silence, the tension was becoming unbearable.

Angel blinked away the heaviness in his eyes, he avoided saying her name, it was a dark place from his past that he hadn't quite come to terms with. After what felt like minutes but in fact had only been seconds in silence Angel took a deep breath to speak.

"She's the girl I killed"