Angel stood in front of the small house, gazing at it forlornly. It had been seven long years, but he had finally realized that Buffy was the only one for him, his other half, his soul-mate. Without her, he was just a loser vamp with a propensity to brood and use too much hair gel.
Stepping up to the door, he took a deep, unnecessary breath and knocked three times. The silence seemed to stretch on forever, and he could hear the quiet sounds of the night, crickets chirping, owls hooting, wolves howling. For a moment Angel wondered why there were owls and wolves in a suburban area, but he shook that thought off as the door slowly swung open to reveal....Joyce Summers.
"Angel?" she asked, clearly quite surprised by his sudden visit after seven years of silence.
"Is Buffy here?" Angel asked. What was Joyce doing here? This was supposed to be his poignant reunion scene, and Joyce had no place in this equation! It would put a definite crimp in his style to have his beloved's mother sitting on the couch in the living room.
"Nooooooo..." Joyce said, dragging the word out to disproportionate lengths as she tried to get a handle on the situation.
"Where is she?" Angel asked, carefully enunciating each word in the hope that it would penetrate the mind of Buffy's rather...well...clueless mother.
"Her house. Do you need directions? Would you like something to drink? I have hot choco with marshmallows.." Joyce had apparently decided that the best way to deal with this was to play the considerate hostess, then pass the vampire right along to her daughter in hopes that she would deal with him.
Accepting the directions, but turning down the offer of hot choco (it was really hard to brood when you were drinking choco, especially if there were marshmallows in it), Angel turned and stalked off into the night, blending in with the rich, inky, darkness.
Twenty minutes later, he stood in front of a different small house in a different part of town. The owls, wolves, and crickets had apparently followed him there, because the night sounds swelled to a crescendo as he knocked on the door.
And then, opening the door was his beloved. He gazed at her in brooding adoration as her jaw dropped and she stuttered, "An...Ang..Angel?"
To his disappointment, she didn't immediately throw herself into his arms, but he moved past it quickly and, taking her hands in his, he dropped to his knees before her and began to extol his love for her, and his new belief that they could make their relationship work.
He was about halfway through when a tall man came up behind Buffy and looked at him quizzically.
"Old friend of yours, honey?" the man asked.
"Sort of." Buffy said, trying to free her hands. "Riley, this is Angel. Angel, this is my husband Riley."
Angel gasped in horror. "But, how could you possibly get married?? You love *ME*!"
Buffy blinked a few times, then said carefully, "Angel, you broke up with me. You said that you wanted me to have a normal life."
"But I didn't *MEAN* that you should actually move on!" Angel wailed.
Buffy rubbed a hand over her temples, as though she was starting to get a headache. Behind her, Riley leaned forward and whispered, "Do you think there is a hidden camera out there in the bushes?"
"I wish." she muttered back. Then she turned to Angel, who still glaring at her reproachfully.
"Angel," she said gently, "I spent about a year moping over you, waiting for you to come back, then I moved on with my life. I suggest you do the same."
"But how could you marry him! You can't love him! You love me!" Clearly Angel was not grasping the concept.
"I married Riley because I love him. I still care for you, Angel, but it's been seven years. I have a husband, a family-"
"A *family*!" Angel shrieked. Both Riley and Buffy covered their ears in self-defense.
"Yep." said Riley, who was clearly finding this incident endlessly amusing, "We have two children. Andrew and Clint."
"Andrew?" asked Angel, perking up a bit. "Did you give your son a name that started with 'A' as a tribute to me, your first love, whom you would never forget?"
Buffy covered her eyes and gave a soft groan of despair. "No, Angel, we named him Andrew because that is the name of Riley's grandfather."
"What are their middle names?" Angel asked, clinging to any hope he could.
"Michael and James." Riley said cheerfully. He had decided that having Buffy's old boyfriend pay a visit was much more entertaining than when her old enemies dropped by.
"Do you at least have any pets?" Angel begged.
"Yes, a cat." Angel perked up a bit, but his hopes were quickly shot down when Buffy continued. "His name is Spike."
Finally, Buffy gave up and went back into the house, leaving her old flame outside. Riley paused, saying, "Nice to meet you." to Angel before closing the door and joining his wife in the living room.
But were still able to hear Angel's horrified wail, "This isn't how the story is supposed to go!"