Where Angels Fear to Tread

by Philip S.

SPOILERS & SUMMARY: AU. Buffy is in her first year at College. She and Angel have never met. Everything from Season 1 to 3 that did not involve Angel directly (Master, Spike & Dru, Faith, Ascension) took place.

RATING: PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Buffy and Angel belong to Joss. I'm fooling around with the characters and the story without ever going to make money from it. Too bad.

FEEDBACK: Mucho!

###



"I heard we have a new psychology professor."

Buffy barely listened to Willow, too occupied with her own thoughts. God, how could she ever have fallen for a guy like Parker? Her record with boyfriends wasn't all that good, but a slimy bastard like him ...

"Did you hear me?" Willow asked.

"What? Sorry, I was ..."

"Brooding about a certain bastard we know?"

"That's about it, yes."

"You know he is not worth brooding about, don't you?"

"Yes, I know. It's just that ... Willow, why can't I ever meet a guy that does not suck? I mean, Scott, Parker, David, Riley, they all seemed so nice at the start. Am I a poor judge of character?"

The two girls walked on until they reached the class room and sat down. Their old psych prof was dead. Twice dead in fact, as Buffy had put a stake through her heart a few nights ago. She had wanted to do that since the evil bitch monster had given her an F for her last paper. Okay, she hadn't wanted to see her dead in quite that way, but ...

"There he is, look," Willow whispered.

Buffy forgot all about Parker, her dead professor, and just about everything else for that matter. Her eyes were glued to the man walking into their class room right at this moment. He walked across the floor, taking of his black leather jacket in the process, and sat down at the edge of the desk.

God, was he a hunk, Buffy thought.

She let her eyes wander over his body, tight black jeans and sweater showing off his trim figure, then took in his face. He had wonderful dark eyes and spiky hair. She wanted to run her hands through it, down that chest and below the sweater.

"Good morning," he said. She loved his voice. "My name is Angel Fitzpatrick and I'm your new psychology professor as of right now. Any jokes about my first name will get you an immediate 'F', unless it's one I haven't heard before."

He smiled while he said it and most students laughed. He continued talking, but Buffy found she had trouble concentrating on the words, she just listened to the sound of his voice. Never before had a man caught her like this. She had to restrain herself from bouncing down the steps right at this moment.

"Think he is married?" she asked Willow, unable to tear her eyes away.

"I don't see a ring." Willow smiled. One didn't need to be a witch to see what was going on inside her best friend right at this moment.

Buffy's heart leaped. Then she chided herself. What was she thinking? This guy was her professor. She knew for a fact that relationships between professors and students were strictly forbidden. Why did she have such a hard time caring?

"You're starting to drool," Willow remarked.

Buffy's hand flew to her mouth, her cheeks flushing a bright red. God, had anyone noticed? Her eyes couldn't turn away from him. Angel, he said his name was. Angel Fitzpatrick. Had he seen her staring at him?

He looked her way and she felt like drowning in those dark eyes. It seemed to her that his gaze rested on her for half an eternity, but it couldn't have been for more than a few seconds. He continued talking, making eye contact here and there, seeming unaware of her stares.

"God, Willow! Look at that guy," she whispered.

"Good looking, I have to admit."

Buffy smiled. Willow liked to check out the guys, but she was up on cloud nine with Oz. Which left the road free for ... for what? He was her professor, she reminded herself once again. With a sigh she slouched back in her chair, wondering how she was supposed to improve her marks here when she had such a hard time concentrating.

#

Angel walked home after his last class ended, having enjoyed himself. He loved teaching and Sunnydale was a nice town. Nice and quiet. He needed that right now. After all that had happened he wouldn't be disappointed if this place turned out to be the dullest place in the world. That was what he needed right now.

The apartment he had rented was on the small side, only until he found something better. He did plan to stay for the long haul. Of course he had planned the same in the last three towns he had lived in. It never worked out. Maybe this time.

Maybe this time he would finally remain free.

He didn't notice the dark figure that followed him. Didn't see crimson lips curve into a smile as amber eyes glowed in the darkness.

#

A few weeks later Buffy had a very strange dream. At first she had dreamed silly stuff, like opening a coffee shop with Giles somewhere in Kansas with Drusilla as the waitress. She often dreamed stuff like that, it was the only way to stay sane with all the things going on in her life.

Then the dream changed and she found herself standing in an old mansion in front of a burning fire place. She found herself wearing a long, white nightgown, her hair hanging loosely down her back. The room was cold, a bitter cold that seeped right into her bones. She shivered, wrapping her arms around herself.

There was a man sitting in a large leather chair in front of the fire, reading a leather-bound book. She could just make out some of the words on the page that he had open. Blood red letters depicted the words "Butcher Knight". Below it there were four lines in smaller print, too small to read.

A large sword was leaning against the chair beside him, the blade gleaming as the light of the flames played across it.

The man looked up, his gaze falling on her, and she froze. A Vampire. Or was he? Somehow she wasn't quite sure. Amber demon eyes glowed as he studied her.

"So you are the Slayer that has been giving us so much trouble." He smirked at her and rose off the chair. He wore tight leather pants and a black shirt fluttered loosely around his chest, unbuttoned. Buffy tried to step back, but her feet wouldn't move.

"Must be something special if they sent me," he said as he closed the distance, rubbing his cheek along her hair like a cat. A purring sound came from his throat and Buffy found herself unable to so much as breathe.

"We'll meet soon," he whispered, his fingers brushing along her cheekbones. Then his fangs sank into her neck and Buffy screamed.

"Buffy! Wake up!"

She opened her eyes and found Willow leaning over her bed, studying her with worry in her eyes.

"Are you all right? You screamed like ... like ... I can't think of something gruesome enough right now, but you screamed like that."

Buffy found that she was panting heavily, her entire body stained with sweat.

"Just a dream," she muttered, "just a weird dream."

Or so she hoped.

###

"Butcher Knight," Giles said, his voice trailing off. Buffy knew that look on his face. Any moment now he would start searching for a book and wouldn't rest until he found it. Then he would open a certain page and say something along the lines of "Here it is!" or "Aha!".

She exchanged a glance with Willow and the redhead whispered "Five minutes or less". Buffy frowned, then whispered back, "three minutes. Tops"

"You're on," Willow said, looking at her watch.

Two minutes and twenty-six seconds later Giles came back with an open book in hand.

"Here it is," he announced. Buffy grinned at Willow, who scowled and handed her five dollars. Giles didn't notice and set down the book on the table in front of them.

"The Butcher Knight. According to lore he is a warrior of darkness, created sometime in the middle ages."

"Created what for?" Xander asked, upset that he hadn't participated in the bet.

"Apparently the Butcher Knight was created as ... as a countermeasure to the Slayer."

"A countermeasure?" Buffy asked, not liking the sound of that.

"Yes. During the middle ages there was a long succession of very powerful and long-lived Slayers, resulting in a severe decline of the Vampire population. The Butcher Knight was, ah, was created for the sole purpose of seeking out Slayers and eliminating them."

Giles turned the book around and showed her a painting of a large, dark man in black knight's armor, sitting on a monstrous horse, wielding a heavy broadsword. There was no face to be seen beneath the black helmet, no way to know whether that was the guy she'd seen in her dreams. The sword looked vaguely like the one she had seen leaning against the chair in front of the fireplace, but she wasn't sure.

"Okay, so if this guy is coming for me," Buffy said, trying to sound unworried, "what can I expect? What can he do?"

Giles took back the book and scanned the pages.

"There is a lot of contradiction here. Some legends say the Butcher Knight was a Vampire of exceptional strength, yet those same legends say that he also rode in daylight. Others state that he was a one-of-a-kind demon. Still others say he was a man who pledged his soul to evil and received tremendous power in return."

Giles sighed.

"There are not a whole lot of eyewitness accounts. The Butcher Knight would set out searching for the Slayer and, ah, slaughter everyone in his path. Entire villages were razed to the ground because the Slayer was suspected to be there."

"Hence the 'butcher' part of the name?" Xander asked, trying to lighten up the mood a bit and not succeeding.

"Giles, if this guy is such a bad ass and has it in for Slayers, how come you never told me about him? And anyway, I've been the Slayer for over three years now. Why didn't he seek me out before?"

"The last recorded sighting of the Butcher Knight was over a thousand years ago, Buffy. While there have been some rumored sightings of him scattered throughout the last millennium, the, ah, general consensus is that he has been destroyed somewhere around the tenth century and is no longer to be considered a threat."

"Like the Judge?" Xander asked. "Like Akathler? Like ..."

"That's enough, Xander," Giles interrupted him. "Though you're right. If Buffy has had a prophetic dream about the Knight, there might be a chance he is still alive and on his way here. We will have to research and find out more about the Knight's capabilities. Buffy, we should probably intensify your training. Come by after patrol!"

Buffy sighed. Being the Slayer never gave her a break. She had looked forward to go to a special lecture at college tonight. Not because she was anxious for more study time, but because of the man who would hold the lecture.

She guessed she could write off catching another few looks at Angel tonight. Life sucked.

#

Angel walked onto the stage of the auditorium. A lot of students had come and he guessed that had more to do with the topic of the lecture than with their desire to learn. That was okay with him. Learning shouldn't be an end in itself, after all.

He was amazed at how quickly he had come to fit in here. Being asked to hold this lecture had surprised him, as colleges tended to be touchy about stuff like this. Being told that he was already considered one of the most popular professors at SCU had made him blush.

"Thank you all for coming tonight," he greeted them. "I am sure you're anxious to get started."

He took the chalk from the desk and started writing on the blackboard.

"As you know our topic today is," he completed the last of the three letters, "sex!"

As expected he received numerous enthusiastic yells and some applause, as well as someone asking whether they could be given some practical demonstrations. Angel smiled.

"I'm not gonna be starting with the bees and flowers here, as I can't seem to shake the suspicion that the largest number of you people already has seen some action in that field."

Again he had to wait for the cheers to die down. He found himself smiling. What could be greater than teaching young people? He loved doing it.

"We're here to talk about doing it the right way." More cheers. "Now don't get your hopes up! I'm not talking about the right positions here!" Some disappointed boos. "Just a note on the side, though, there is no such thing as a wrong position." More cheers.

Angel continued to give a lecture about respecting the wishes of the partner, about the dangers of AIDS, about pregnancies and responsibilities, always making sure to keep the mood up while not making a joke out of a very serious topic.

He knew that most of his colleagues were uneasy talking about said topic. Americans were such prudes, he thought. Besides, most of them didn't want to realize that these weren't children anymore, but young adults. He would be surprised if there was more than a handful among these students that had yet to lose their virginity.

"Questions anyone?" he asked when he finished the lecture.

"How many positions do you know?" Laughter sounded through the room.

"Somewhere high up in the two-digit range," he answered with a straight face, earning a few shouts of disbelief. "More questions?"

Most of the questions coming at him were jokes and inquiries into his own love life, but some students did have serious questions and he did his best to answer them. It was already late, but Angel didn't feel tired. He could have continued this for hours.

He found he was a little bit disappointed not to see the petit blonde, who was always undressing him with her eyes in psych class. Her name was Buffy, if he remembered right. Beautiful girl. Angel, he told himself, you're a dirty old man.

Suddenly he saw someone else standing at the door and his blood froze.

"Professor?" a student had asked him a question, but he hadn't heard a thing.

"Sorry," he began, barely able to get the words out. "I just remembered I've got to get going."

He grabbed his jacket and hurried on out, ignoring the questioning looks of his students. He needed to get out. Get away. His car stood outside. Maybe if he just hopped in and drove right out of town, then ...

A woman was leaning against the side of his black convertible, looking his way. Her eyes bored directly into him and the chill of resignation filled him. Why did he always believe he could get away? She always found him sooner or later. Always.

He walked toward her, trying to keep a neutral face.

"Hello, Angel," she greeted him. "You weren't trying to hide from me again, were you?"

She caressed his chest with her hand, pulling him in closer.

"Hello, Darla," he said, not resisting. It was pointless anyway.

###

Buffy had hurried through both patrol and training and was now running towards the campus grounds, hoping to at least catch a little bit of the lecture. She didn't know why she was putting herself through this. It wasn't like there was a chance Angel would ever ...

She skidded to a stop outside the auditorium as she saw the object of her thoughts standing in front of his car ... talking to a woman? What was he doing talking to another ... she shook her head. Buffy, you're behaving like a school girl.

She couldn't help but watch, though. The woman, who just had to be very beautiful, of course, seemed pretty casual around Angel. She ... she was stroking him. One of her hands was on his chest. Buffy turned away, she *so* didn't need to see this. Angel just stood there, seeming neither to encourage nor to rebuke her. She couldn't see his face.

Something about that woman was giving Buffy the creeps. Maybe it was just jealousy. Come to think of it, it probably was jealousy. Still, there was something about her ... Buffy crouched down in the bushes and continued to watch.

Maybe she should go a little closer. She couldn't quite hear them from here.

#

"I see you haven't forgotten me," Darla said.

"It was not for lack of trying."

"Now you're trying to hurt my feelings," she pouted mockingly.

Angel wanted to run. Run as far as his feet would take him and then continue to crawl on his hands and knees. He knew it wouldn't avail him anything. She always found him.

"I'm so glad to see you here," Darla said. "I was afraid I would have to search half the world for you, just like last time. Imagine my surprise when I found out that you were here already."

"Here?" Angel asked, not understanding.

"Of course here, where else?"

Angel looked around. Perfectly normal American town. Okay, he had noticed it had its share of creepers running around after dark, but what could Darla possibly ... no! Anything but that!

"I see you know." Darla smiled, content.

"I will not do this! Never again!"

She leaned back against the hood of his car, crossing her arms.

"Oh, Angel! Are you still not over fooling yourself? You know, I've been here for a few weeks now, watching you. Nice little setup you have here. College professor in suburban America, lots of little students looking up to you, probably looking for nice girlfriend somewhere down the line."

She stood up again to drape her arms around his neck, leaning in closely.

"Haven't you learned after all this time? It never works!"

A tremble went through Angel's body. Was she telling the truth? He had tried so often, in so many different places. It had never worked. Not once. Yet what else could he do?

"Be that as it may," he said, his voice almost steady, "but that doesn't mean I will do your dirty work again. I'm through. It's over!"

"Is it?"

She shifted into her demon face, amber eyes staring at him. Her lips spread into a smile, showing her gleaming fangs.

"I think I know a few words that will make you rethink things."

"Don't do this, Darla," Angel whispered.

She smiled broader, enjoying the terror she could feel welling up inside him.

"Please don't," he pleaded with her. "Don't you remember what happened last ..."

"By Bond of Blood I call the Might," she began.

Angel turned away from her to start running, even though he knew it was too late. Darla made no attempt to follow him, but her voice rang in his ears, even as he could feel his innards start to come apart, his lungs refusing to draw in the air.

"Of Fire From Hell, Inferno's Light"

He stumbled, pain lancing through his body. He could feel the buildup of power around him, the air was thick with it. No, it mustn't happen! He wouldn't allow it! He needed to do something! Anything!

Suddenly there was a loud thump and Darla's next words turned into a yelp or surprise. The magic around him evaporated, Angel could breathe again. He came to a stop, looking around to see what could have made her stop the incantation. He was more than a little surprised to see a blonde woman straddling Darla's prone body, raining blows down on her.

He was even more surprised when he found that he knew her.

"Buffy?"

She looked up at him and he was sure. That was the little blonde from his psychology class. What was she doing here? Why was she ...? Oh, no!

#

Buffy looked up, seeing Angel looking at her. Before she had time to make sense of the strange look upon his face the Vampire she held down became active again. A fist impacted against her chin and lifted her into the air.

"Well, what have we here!" The Vampire got back to her feet the same time Buffy flipped back up and fell into a fighting stance. She drew a stake from her jacket.

"I got something here, all right," she said, focusing on the Vampire.

Amber demon eyes just looked past her at Angel and fangs flashed as lips curved into a smile.

"She's cuter than the last one, isn't she, Angel?"

Buffy resisted the impulse to turn around and look at Angel.

"Can we fight now?" she asked the Vampire mockingly. "I need my beauty sleep."

She just laughed and then turned to run away. Buffy was so surprised that she didn't make a move to follow her.

"I'll leave her to you, Angel," the Vampire yelled over her shoulder, then disappeared.

Buffy was confused, turning around to face Angel. What had she meant with that last one? Angel stood some meters away from her, his eyes glued to her. She had wanted to be the object of his attention for some time now, only she hadn't really wanted him to look terrified at that moment.

"Are you all right?" she asked him. "Look, this might seem pretty strange to you, but ..."

"You're the Slayer!"

Now she was dumbfounded. He knew? For a moment a terrible suspicion crept in to her mind. The Vampire hadn't bitten him, even when she had the chance. She had said she'd leave Buffy to him. Could he be ...?

No, she shook her head. She had seen him in daylight. They had shaken hands one time after class and she had felt the warmth of his skin, the blood pumping beneath it. He was no Vampire.

"How do you ...?" she began, moving toward him.

Angel flinched back from her, pure fear in his eyes, sweat glistening on his forehead.

"Stay away from me," he whispered.

"What? Angel ... Professor Fitzpatrick, it's me! Buffy Summers! I'm in your psych class! I won't hurt ..."

"Stay away," he screamed and started running toward his car. She could only look after him as he jumped in and hit the pedal for all it was worth. The black convertible jumped onto the street and vanished.

"Was it something I said?" Buffy wondered.

TO BE CONTINUED