WARNING: If you haven't seen up to Buffy Season 7 and Angel season 4 (specifically up to "Conversations with Dead People" and "Rain of Fire") then you might not want to read this story just yet…
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters, Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy and all those important people do. I'm just a kid; I own nothing.
Summary: Buffy goes to Angel hoping to get help for Spike but gets sort of sidetracked during her mission. B/A, mentions of b/s and a/c too.
Quickly grabbing the bags from the trunk of his car, Angel hurried up the walkway to grab the door. Gunn followed behind, hobbling on his crutches past Angel and into the lobby of the Hyperion.
"You're home!" Fred squealed, rushing from her desk over to Gunn with a beaming smile.
"Yeah," Gunn responded with less enthusiasm.
"I'll go put these in your room for you," Angel suggested indicating the bags in his hands. Angel brushed past him, quickly making his way towards the stairs.
"Wait Angel, actually, could you put those things in a spare room? I think I'd like to change rooms," Gunn remarked casually, purposefully avoiding eye contact with Fred. Fred stared at him, shocked by his request.
Angel looked back and forth between Fred and Gunn uncertainly, before nodding and answering, "Sure."
"Thanks, man," Gunn replied shuffling farther into the room.
"You're moving out of our room?" Fred asked as soon as Angel was no longer visible. The hurt in her voice was audible, and Gunn felt a stab of guilt at the sound of pain in her voice.
"I've had a lot of time to think these past two weeks, and I think we both need the space to get ourselves together for a while. A break might be good for both of us, ya know?" Gunn stated firmly, putting on a false façade of confidence.
"A break? As in breaking up?" Fred's voice cracked as she began to understand what he was suggesting.
"For now. I think it would be best for the both of us," Gunn answered calmly.
"But Charles, I almost lost you again! You can't walk away from me now!" Fred was nearly hysterical, as tears began streaming down from her eyes.
"I'm not walking away. I'm right here, and I'm not going anywhere. Fred, I love you, but something has changed in our relationship; it's not what it use to be. I don't think I can go on pretending that it is. Maybe after some time passes, things will seem clearer and then we can sort things out, but for the time being…" Gunn trailed off.
"You want to break up," Fred finished, wiping at the tears streaming down her face with the back of her hands.
Gunn simply nodded, then watched as the woman he loved bounded up the stairs fleeing from him. His heart wrenched thinking about how much he was hurting her, but he couldn't help feeling that they both needed some time to themselves. After everything that happened with Wesley and her professor, it was time to rethink priorities. He could only hope that when they were done thinking, they would find each other again.
Angel slowly approached the top of the staircase, listening carefully for any signs of life. He had taken off earlier sensing that Gunn and Fred needed some alone time to talk, or possibly yell. But now he needed to get back to his office, and in order to do that, he needed to travel right through the potential battlefield. Angel carefully made his way down the stairs and was surprised to find the area silent. Scanning the room, Angel spotted Gunn sitting quietly on one of the sofas, staring off into space.
"Hello," Angel greeted, finding the seat across from Gunn.
"Oh, hey. Didn't see you there…" Gunn responded, looking over to Angel and attempting to put on a false smile.
"Everything okay?" Angel asked, noticing Gunn's depressed mood.
"Yeah… Fred and I just decided to take a break," Gunn admitted, his gaze falling to his lap where he was clasping his hands together, anxiously.
"Oh, I'm sorry," Angel replied sympathetically. An awkward silence passed, and Angel tried to come up with a change of topic. "Wesley was going to be stopping by soon with Chinese food for dinner. He should be here shortly."
"Wesley, just who I wanted to see," Gunn replied sarcastically.
"He was worried about you. We all were," Angel reminded Gunn, hoping the two would be able to get along for dinner. Angel had been dealing with enough of his own conflicts recently; he certainly wasn't looking forward to witnessing any conflicts between his friends.
"I know," Gunn answered reluctantly. "I don't know if Fred will be coming down for dinner, anyway. Maybe she will when Cordelia gets here, though."
"Cordelia's coming?" Angel questioned, raising his eyebrows.
"Yup. She said she'd stop by as soon as I was out of the hospital. She even mentioned bringing the kid along."
"Oh…" Angel's thoughts trailed off as images of Cordelia and Connor in bed together came to mind.
"They should probably be here soon," Gunn commented, looking to the door as it opened. As if on cue, Cordelia entered the lobby, slowly followed by Connor. Cordelia strolled directly up to Gunn and wrapped her arms around him in greeting. Connor stood back, carefully taking in his surroundings. His eyes darted around the room suspiciously before landing on Angel in a deadly glare. Angel was more than happy to return the stare.
"Gunn, I'm so happy to see you're doing better," Cordelia said as she loosened her grip on Gunn, and took a step away to inspect his condition.
"Yeah. The doctors said I healed quickly and I should be back to new in no time."
"That's a relief."
Angel watched silently, as Cordelia spoke cordially with Gunn for a few moments, before deciding he was better off not in her presence. Angel was still having trouble putting the past few weeks' events behind him, and since she had arrived it had become immensely more difficult.
"I need to go finish some work up in my office. I'll be in there," Angel informed the group before quickly making his way to his office and shutting himself in where he could be alone. It wasn't normally like Angel to hide, but it seemed that was all he was doing lately: hiding from Cordelia, hiding from his thoughts, and hiding from his own self-loathing.
Sitting down to his desk, Angel began flipping through the ancient Sumerian spell book he had been studying earlier that evening. He had been searching for a spell to vanquish a particularly tricky demon, and was hoping by focusing his concentrations back on work, he would forget the certain someone who had broken his heart that was in the adjoining room.
This plan was, naturally, shot to hell, when the aforementioned person knocked gently on the door before sticking her head in and smiling nervously. "Angel? Do you think I could talk to you for a moment?" Cordelia asked, stepping farther into the office and shutting the door behind her.
"Actually, I'm kind of busy. Maybe later?" Angel answered, not looking up from the text.
"Well, it's important, and I'd really like for you to hear this first, before I tell everyone else," Cordelia tried to persuade Angel.
Angel looked up at her for the first time since she had entered the room. Giving in, he finally asked, with evident irritation "What is it?"
Cordelia was slightly taken aback by his attitude, for a moment, and simply stood staring at him, nervously.
"I'm sorry Cordy, I shouldn't have… What was it you wanted to tell me?" Angel asked more calmly, this time.
"I… I just wanted you to know, before everyone else, that I'm… p-pregnant," Cordelia stuttered nervously. Unshed tears began to blur her vision, and she struggled to keep her emotions under control.
"What?" Angel yelled in shock, standing up abruptly.
"I… Well, Connor and I… we… He's the father," Cordelia struggled to explain, looking to the floor in embarrassment.
As what Cordelia was telling him began to come clear, pure rage began to seep into his blood. Angel stood dangerously still, trying to rein in his emotions. "I have to go," Angel stated, quickly darting from the office and through the lobby, passing Wesley with such speed that he caused Wesley to drop the paper bags containing the Chinese food.
"Angel!" Cordelia called running out into the lobby, just in time to see the front door slam shut.
"What was that all about?" Wesley asked bending down to pick up the dinner he had spilled.
Connor simply stood back and smirked, as he stared at the door his father had just stormed out of.
Angel had been driving for almost two hours, the entire time his blood boiling with anger and feelings of betrayal. His mind was racing, thinking of Connor and Cordy together, it all seemed so wrong to him. It was as if things only got harder the longer life went on, he didn't understand why everything had to be so unfair. The only child he would ever have, not only hated him, but was now having a baby with the woman Angel was in love with. Or he had thought he was in love with her. Fate sure seemed to have a strange sense of humor when it came to Angel.
Cruising down the highway, Angel began to look around, recognizing the scenery. He hadn't any idea where he had been heading; he had been too focused on his anger to take notice of where he was going. After thinking for a moment, Angel realized why his surroundings seem so familiar.
"Home, sweet, home," Angel mumbled quietly as he passed the 'Welcome to Sunnydale!' sign on the outskirts of town.
Buffy flicked through the television stations, looking for something to occupy her mind. At that moment anything would do; she was home alone and bored out of her skull. The last thing she wanted to allow herself to do was wallow in depressing thoughts, and so she sat quietly in front of the idiot box, hoping for any form of entertainment or distraction. Unfortunately, there is absolutely nothing interesting on TV at ten o'clock on a Friday night.
Finally giving up, she switched the television off and stood to stretch. Glancing around the room, Buffy hoped to think of something else to occupy her time. She briefly considered going for another patrol, but she had already spent a few hours slaying that night, and patrols tended to remind her of certain undead ex-boyfriends she was trying to keep her mind off of. If only she had a life, she wouldn't be sitting at home alone and bored on a Friday night. Willow was out of town for an assembly on witchcraft, Xander and Anya were out to dinner together, and Dawn was spending the night at a friend's house. Even Spike seemed to be busy; Xander claimed he hadn't seen him in days, predicting it had to do with the strange hours he kept. It seemed everyone on earth had a social life but her.
Plopping back down on the couch, Buffy begged her brain to let her fall asleep, but she already knew the attempts at sleep were fruitless. Her mind was too busy torturing her with thoughts of Angel. It had been two entire weeks since her encounter with Angel, yet he was still the only thing she was able to think about.
"What to do? What to do?" Buffy said aloud to herself. She was distracted from her thoughts when she heard a loud rapping on the front door. Hurrying to the door, Buffy opened it to find Angel standing on the doorstep. Angel stood still silently staring at her.
"Angel?" Buffy questioned, looking at him curiously. He appeared weak and exhausted; his eyes were dark and cheerless. After a moment, Angel stepped forward and buried his face in the crook of her neck, pulling her body close to his. He held onto her tightly, as if she were all there was securing him to the ground.
Buffy's first reaction to his gesture was shock. She stood rigid with surprise for a moment before she eventually relaxed in his arms. She backed him away from the door and farther into the house, running her hands over his back as she tried to soothe him.
"Angel? What's the matter?" Buffy finally asked, pulling away slightly so she could look him in the eye.
"Nothing," Angel answered, grimly.
"Nothing?" Buffy repeated, doubtfully. Buffy watched him carefully as he sucked in an unneeded breath and let out a sigh of frustration.
"I don't know why I came here," he stated, his eyebrows furrowing in confusion.
Reaching a hand up, Buffy caressed the side of his face gently. Closing his eyes and leaning into her touch, he placed a soft kiss on the palm of her hand. This surprised Buffy, but encouraged her to continue. Reaching up on her tiptoes, she kissed Angel on the lips lightly. Angel's eyes shot open immediately, having not expected the kiss.
"Sorry," Buffy mumbled, backing away from him. "Sorry," she repeated before turning away and mentally scolding herself. What was she thinking?
"Buffy," he whispered, wrapping his fingers around her arm and pulling her back towards him. He leant down and kissed her gently. Pulling each other closer, the kiss intensified until they were each pulling at the others clothing.
"Bedroom," Buffy instructed in a muffled voice, gasping for breath. The two scrambled up the stairs, breaking the kiss only long enough to find their way to the comforts of Buffy's bedroom.
Angel awoke with a start, sitting up straight in the unfamiliar bed. Looking around, he quickly realized where he was. Grabbing his chest in a panic, he stopped all thought to concentrate on whether or not he had his soul. Confident that his soul was firmly in place, Angel relaxed for a moment and lay back down on the bed. Turning on his side, he watched Buffy sleep calmly beside him.
Gazing at her bathed in the moonlight streaming in through the curtains, he realized he had never seen her look more beautiful. She looked so peaceful; he couldn't bear to think of what would change tomorrow. He would have to explain to her that he had run to her for comfort, when he couldn't have Cordelia. That he had used her to ease his broken heart. And to think of hurting her, making her feel as though she was no more than second best, was not something he could even stomach. The last thing he ever wanted was to hurt her again, yet for the second time in less than a month he had risked her emotions for his own selfishness. He disgusted himself.
Looking over to the clock, he saw that it was just two o'clock in the morning; he still had enough time to make it home before sunrise, if he left soon. Weighing his options, he thought it best he leave now rather than wait around and be stuck in Buffy's house all day, after having to come clean about the Connor/Cordelia situation, and admitting that he had used her yet again.
His heart broke at the thought of leaving her side without saying anything, but had she been awake, he wouldn't have known what to say either. Brushing the hair from her face, he placed a soft kiss on her forehead before getting dressed and leaving, without so much as a note.To Be Continued…
AN: Again, not anything spectacular, although everyone who has reviewed has been so sweet, thank you so much. I know that they're not really behaving in character, and they wouldn't really take these kinds of risks, but I'm kind of playing on the idea that they are depressed and lonely. I don't really know if it works. I'd like to know what you think or if you have any suggestions.