"A Different Perspective"

By TrinityLast

E-mail: trinitylast@wambtac.com

Disclaimer: Every step would say "Not. Mine. Not. Mine. Not. Mine." If I were skipping it would say "NOT mine. NOT mine..."

Rating - Same as the show

Feedback: It's like Angel shirtless. You can never have too much.

Notes: Written for a challenge I sent out, because I do that.

Challenge: What if Angelus, instead of killing that woman in the alley when he first took control in "Innocence", went back inside and decided that he loved Buffy, regardless? Re-write at *least* both the end of "Surprise" and all of "Innocence", but if you feel the need to take it farther, I'll be thrilled. Include the following: Angelus swearing out loud when he realizes that he loves Buffy, without a soul. Buffy walking in on Giles and Angelus having an argument on how to kill the judge. Angelus knowing that Xander and Cordy are making out before they come out of the stacks. The gang eating Buffy's birthday cake in the library after they kill the judge. Happy Buffy at the end!

And at least three of the following: A reference to The Beatles A book entitled "The Idiot's Guide to Vampiric Sex" Buffy proudly showing off her bite scar to Willow Angelus hitting Snyder on Buffy's behalf Willow and Cordelia kissing Those See's candy lollypops Giles swearing in another language

Note2: I am planning a sequel for this, but don't hold your breath, ok? With everything I'm working on right now, plus getting ready for the term to start back up, I just don't seem to have the time. On the plus side, one more year 'till my BA!!

I'm an Art Major. Imagine that! :p

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[this] shows thoughts. *this* shows italics.

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Surprise, Surprise *~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Angel sat up in bed, gasping in pain. He hurriedly threw on some clothes and staggered outside, falling to his knees as he hit the asphalt behind his apartment. Suddenly, the pain compounded, and he felt his soul being ripped from his body. He screamed Buffy's name and went limp.

**

Angelus found that he needed a minute to get his bearings. So he knelt there, trying to piece it all together.

[Angel slept with Buffy, and now I'm free?]

A woman asked if he was ok and he nodded absently, still a little out of it. Then he snapped back and looked up. He stood and thought of draining her. A smile crossed his face. No guilt came.

He took a step forward, but stopped as Buffy's face flashed through his head. Before he just started killing he needed to know how *he*, *Angelus*, felt about her.

After all, it wasn't like the soul coming back to the body, having been gone. Angelus was there the entire time, feeling what Angel felt.

He knew, rationally, that he should be disgusted. He was a demon. Evil. The very idea of the girl asleep in his apartment should be enough to turn his stomach.

But it wasn't.

So, he nodded at the woman in front of him again, and went back inside.

Closing the door behind him, Angelus took his jacket back off and draped it over a chair. He walked over to the bed and stared down at the small blonde asleep in it. He tried to think about hurting her, and his chest constricted. He thought about snapping Xander's neck, and he smiled, until an image of Buffy's face when she found out flashed through his head.

He swore under his non-existent breath. Conscience or not, he loved her.

"Damn it," he swore under his breath.

Sighing, Angelus sat on the edge of the bed and reached over to shake Buffy's shoulder. He had to tell her what happened. He couldn't just let her be with him and not know *who* she was with.

Then there was also the fact that she'd probably see it in his eyes anyway. They just knew each other too well.

"Buffy." He started shaking her, but she didn't wake. "Buffy!" He spoke louder, but not too loud. He didn't want to scare her.

"Hmm?" Buffy's voice was sleepy, and her eyes blinked open lazily. Angelus stifled a moan. She was so damn sexy...

"What happened?" She rubbed a hand over her eyes and looked at him. Then she caught his eye, gasped, and sat straight up. Wide awake now. "What happened?"

"You may not like this..."

Buffy raised her eyebrows pointedly. He sighed again.

"I lost my soul."

Her eyes widened, and she scooted back to the wall, searching behind him for a stake.

Angelus reached out a hand as if to stop her, then dropped it back down. "Don't. Please."

She just looked back at him, and he closed his eyes to the sight. She was trying not to cry.

"I'm not going to hurt you."

Buffy sat there for a minute more, not moving, then curled her legs under her and took an actual look at him. She caught his eye when he opened them and searched.

No guilt, but they weren't...empty. Buffy had seen the eyes of hundreds of soulless vampires, and they were always empty.

Angelus' weren't.

"Why not?"

Angelus tried to remain impassive. He noticed that her voice was calm, so either she believed him, or she'd gone into Slayer mode.

He hoped it was the first. Angelus didn't really want to wake up as dust.

"I love you."

[There. Simple. Basic.]

"Why?"

[Or not.]

"Buffy...it's..." He stopped and took an unnecessary breath. "When my soul came back, it shoved the demon down. It didn't evict. I was there. Whatever he felt...*we* felt it all. I don't have a conscience anymore, but that doesn't mean I have to be a completely different person." He caught her eyes again. "It doesn't mean I can't feel."

Buffy met his gaze with a worried look. "Will you start killing now?"

Angelus shook his head. "Not unless I have to."

"Why would you *have* to?"

"To protect you." He took her hand, and when she didn't pull away, started rubbing her palm with his thumb in a soothing motion. "I couldn't before, not really, because of the guilt, but I can now. If I need to."

"So..." Buffy reached her free hand out and lifted his chin. "You're still...you?"

He smiled. "Yeah, baby. I'm still me."

**

"So, what do I call you now?"

Buffy was lying on her back, her head resting on Angelus' chest. Their fingers were intertwined, and she was playing with his claddagh.

"Angel's fine. I don't want you to be uncomfortable."

"How did this happen?"

Angelus looked down at her blonde hair. "I don't know. I have a theory, but we'd have to ask Giles."

Buffy nodded and snuggled into him more, turning on her side to curl against him. She slid a leg over his and looked up into his eyes. "Now?"

Angelus smiled. "No. Now you sleep." He kissed her forehead and slid down on the bed so they lay flat. Buffy sighed and closed her eyes.

"Ok. But we still have the judge to deal with, too. And I have school." She opened her eyes and squinted at his side of the bed. "Do you have an alarm clock?"

Angelus chuckled. "No, but I'll wake you. Don't worry. Go to sleep."

"Ok." She closed her eyes again, and soon her breathing evened out. Angelus laid back and closed his eyes, listening to her heartbeat and wondering how the hell he would ever manage to exist without her.

She was a Slayer, and a human.

Eventually she'd die.

[Something will have to be done about that.]

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Innocence...Not. *~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Willow was standing in the library yelling when Buffy walked in.

"Xander's right! My God, you people are all...Well, I'm upset, and I can't think of a mean word right now, but that's what you are, and we're going to the factory!" She turned and started out.

"Yeah!" Xander started after her to stop short as Buffy raised her eyebrows at her friends.

Willow smiled. "Buffy!"

Xander nodded at her, though more to affirm to himself that she was safe. "We were just going to rescue you."

Willow threw Giles a look. "Well, some of us were."

"Well, I-I would have."

"Where's Angel?" Jenny looked behind Buffy at the door.

Buffy raised both eyebrows this time and shot a meaningful look at the open window. "I'm gonna go with 'at home', seeing as how he doesn't tan well."

"Oh. Right."

Cordelia slide off the counter. "So, what happened?"

"Yes." Giles stepped towards her. "The Judge, i-is he..."

Buffy grimaced. "No assembly required. He's active."

"Merde!" It was a whisper, but they all heard it. He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. Willow discreetly reached over and picked up a French/English dictionary.

"He nearly killed us. Angel got us out."

Giles put his glasses back on. "Why didn't you call? We, we, we thought..."

Buffy shifted uncomfortably. "Well...we...we had to hide. Uh, we got stuck in the sewer tunnels, and with the hiding, we just split up..."

Giles nodded. "Right. Well...the Judge.. we, we must stop him."

"I know."

"What can you tell us?"

"Not much. I, um...I kicked him. It was just like a sudden fever. If he'd got his hands on me..." Buffy shuddered.

"In time, he won't need to. The stronger he gets, he'll be able to reduce us to charcoal with a look.

"Also, not the prettiest man in town. And what's with that music Drusilla was playing? I mean, I get the whole 'evil vampiress' thing, but really, the Beatles would have worked just fine..." She trailed off at the look Giles gave her and smiled meekly. "Never mind."

"Yes, well...I better continue researching, must look for a weak spot. The rest of you should get to your classes."

Jenny nodded. "Yeah, I better go, too." They all started out. Buffy was the first one out the door. Xander grumbled under his breath as he held the door open.

In the hallway, Willow started jogging. "Buffy, wait up!"

Jenny stopped on the way out and turned to Giles. "I'll, uh, go on the 'Net and search for anything on the Judge."

Giles smiled at her. "Thank you."

Xander, not to be outdone, chimed in. "After classes I'll come back and help you research."

Cordelia patted him on the back as she walked out. "Yeah, you might find something useful if it's in an 'I Can Read' book."

Xander just glared at her.

**

At the warehouse, Drusilla laid out on her back on the big table. Spike wheeled himself around to her as she looked up at the ceiling blissfully.

Spike smiled and leaned on the table. "Are we feeling better, then?"

Drusilla sighed. "I'm naming all the stars."

"You can't see the stars, love. That's the ceiling. Also, it's day."

"I can see them. But I've named them all the same name." Drusilla tilted her head to face him. "And there's terrible confusion."

"Did you see any further? Do you know what happens to Angel?"

Suddenly she started to moan. Turning on her side, she rocked back and forth. "Angel, my Angel. Nooooooo...Angel!"

"What? What is it?" Spike wheeled to closer to her head, and started to pet her hair.

"He's back, but he still won't come home. He's staying with her! She's stolen him! My Angel!"

Spike kept petting her hair and spoke in soothing tones. "Shhh, pet. It's alright. Soon, they'll all be dead. Shhh..."

**

Angelus listened outside the door as Spike calmed Drusilla. He had a nagging urge to just go in there and dust them, but he didn't want the Judge getting independent and charging the town before Buffy had a way to stop him.

Then she might die.

And that was not an option.

So, he simply backed out and dropped back into the sewers, heading towards the school and the basement access.

He'd get some research in while the others were in class. *Something* had to pan out.

**

Buffy walked into the Library after class to hear yelling. A lot of yelling.

"Giles, we can't just sit here!"

"Angel, I understand that the loss of your soul released your conscience, but you claim you want to help. And I am telling you, we *cannot* put innocent lives at risk, when we don't even know if it will *work*!

"Whoa. What's going on?" Buffy turned to Giles. "And how do you know about his soul?"

"I told him." Angel sat down in a huff, and grabbed the nearest book off the table. He opened it and started to read, attempting to ignore Giles who was still glaring at him.

"What?" Buffy turned to Giles. "Talk."

"Angel...or, r-rather Angelus came to research the Judge this afternoon, and while we were working he asked me what could cause a-a soul to leave a body. We...we had a talk."

"You believe he won't..." Buffy's voice trailed off. She didn't really know where to go with that sentence. Not really. She loved him, and basically, he was the same Angel, but without a soul...

"I believe he is on our side, yes. Angelus, though he was many things, was never a liar. If he loves you, a-as he says he does, I am willing to accept him just as I did when he had a soul."

Buffy's eyes got wet, but she smiled at Giles. "Thank you." Then she hugged him.

"Y-yes, well, that out of the way..." Giles extracted himself from Buffy's embrace, kissed her head and turned back to Angel. "Your idea, while creative, puts too many lives at risk."

Angelus glared for a minute then turned to Buffy. "The books all say 'it took an army.' So, I just figured that the simple solution would be to resurrect that army."

Buffy considered that for a minute. "Ok...I can kinda see that." She raised her eyebrows. "Giles, why don't you like it?"

Giles took his glasses off and started to clean them "The soldiers that killed the judge were...well, a mob, of sorts. Any human in their way would be killed, and there is no guarantee that they would be able to disassemble him again, anyway." He looked up and put his glasses back on. "It's too risky. We'll just have to find another way."

Buffy nodded. "Ok." She looked at Angelus. "Ok?"

Angelus kept glaring at Giles but nodded back..

"So, we will continue to look." Giles spoke decisively and sat at the table, picking up another book. Angel continued to glare until Buffy lifted his chin with her finger and smiled down at him.

"Hey."

He grinned back. "Hey." Pulling her into his lap, he kissed her soundly, then picked up his book again and started to read. Buffy leaned back against his chest and closed her eyes.



Five minutes later, Xander and Cordelia came in, followed by Willow. Xander immediately grabbed a book and started to read, Willow got on the computer, and Cordelia went looking in the stacks. Buffy slid off of Angel's lap and took the seat next to him and picked up the book she'd been reading earlier.



Fifteen minutes later, Xander slammed his book shut. "Nada." He headed back into the stacks with it. Willow printed something out about five minutes later and went looking for a book to reference.

Giles, Buffy and Angel all heard a gasp, and Willow came running through the library and out into the hall, followed by Xander, who looked a bit...mussed.

Buffy stared after them for a second, then looked back at the stacks. Cordelia was standing between two bookcases. Her hair was messed up and her shirt un-tucked.

"Oh." Buffy's eyes got wide. "Oh!" She turned to Angelus, who was smirking, and stopped. "What?"

He looked up at her. "I already knew. I can smell that a mile away."

She nodded, "Right," and went back to her book. A second later her head shot up with a deer-in-the-headlights look and she turned back to him. "What?"

Angelus leaned over and kissed her cheek, putting his mouth by her ear. "I can smell it. I can smell when it's that time of month, too." He pulled back and planted a quick kiss on her lips before going back to his book. Buffy just stared for a minute as the implications set it. Her face got very red and she turned away, burying her face in her book.

**

The judge was dust. Literally. They'd ground up whatever was left after the rocket launcher did its thing, and then Oz had taken the bags of remains and dumped them up the coast where the current would carry to Japan, most likely.

So, the problem being solved, Buffy was now sitting in her living room, waiting for her mother to come back in. She stared blankly at the TV, still processing everything that'd happened.

And trying to figure out what to tell her friends about Angelus. They still didn't know.

Her mother came in holding a plate with two cupcakes, one with a candle, and a large coffee mug. She sat down next to Buffy.

"Did I miss anything?"

Buffy snapped back to the present and looked at her mother blankly for a minute before smiling and shaking her head. "No. Just some singing and some running around."

"Mm. I'm sorry I didn't have time to make you a real cake."

Buffy watched her mother look for matches and shook her head. "No. This is good." She smiled to herself and thought of the cake her friends had given her for her party. The one she'd missed. They'd all gone back to the library after bombing the Judge and had some. Angel had insisted on feeding her the entire slice. Angelus? Angel? She still wasn't sure which name to use when she thought of him now. "This is just fine. Though, if you had gotten me one of those See's lollypops, I wouldn't have complained..."

Joyce put her feet up on the table. "Well, we're still going shopping on Saturday?" Buffy nodded. "I'll get you one then." Buffy beamed and Joyce smiled. "So, what'd you do for your birthday? Did you have fun?"

"Fun?" The Slayer had to hide a grin. "Yeah, I had fun."

Joyce lit the candle on the cupcake. "Happy Birthday! I don't have to sing, do I?"

Buffy smiled. "No. I've heard you sing, and I don't think I need the torture this year."

"Hey!"

Giggling, Buffy closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She blew out the candle and smiled at it.

"So, what'd you wish for?"

"Now, that would be telling, wouldn't it?"

* * * * * * * * * * * *

END