Note: The Following chapter was co-written by the lovely Ashes at Midnight. Visit her FF dot Net page for more Buffy-Angel-related stories. Darling, couldn't have done without you! #MyAustralianMuse lol

I'm BACK! Sorry it took so long, but work has been top priority. Inspiration for the title and some of the words below can be credited to Colbie Caillet's "Hold On"; great song, got my muse singing again. And now…Here…We….

…Go.


Bring Me To Life — A Buffy The Vampire Slayer / Angel Crossover Event

Part 29— Hold On


Hyperion Hotel, 4 a.m. – Angel's room

Now


Angel stewed silently as he turned another page of the book he was reading. Barely an hour had passed since the ugly incident in the library, but it felt like so much longer than that for him. He was lying in bed, the bedside lamp lighting the room as he relaxed. The bruises from his fight with Spike visibly fading.

But the guilt he was feeling over Buffy's latest predicament was still quite raw.

In the span of only a few short days, he had somehow managed to pull Buffy into every sort of calamity possible. He dragged her into yet another apocalypse—one that conveniently meshed with hers, but was even more dangerous than anything either of them had ever faced—then put her at odds with her vampire-hunting boss and gotten her fired from a job she sorely needed, then put her in the middle of his tiff with Spike, the end result being Buffy forced yet again to make a painful decision, because he unwittingly forced her hand. Again.

Angel shook his head, disgusted with himself. If only he had been able to control his anger, his rage, this wouldn't be happening to her right now. But the moment his eyes landed on Spike, the images of Buffy screaming for help underneath his lowly GrandeChilde sparked a white-hot fury inside him that scorched every shred of self-control and discipline that he had cultivated within him over a century to the ground in a charred mess.

And in the process, he was sure that he had lost Buffy's trust in him, that he had let her down. And that knowledge felt worse than any wound that he had sustained in this long, blood-filled, miserable night.

He shook his head in frustration as he absently flipped the page on the book of Irish sonnets that he was reading to calm him when suddenly, he heard a small knock.

About a beat later, the bedroom door opened and in slipped Buffy, an unsure look on her pretty face, wearing a robe of light white silk that barely covered her thighs.

Angel's eyes widened, his eyes and thoughts wandering every which way, from surprise and awe to caution and…and, well, the kind of thoughts most guys have when a beautiful young woman wearing a revealing outfit walks into their bedroom. Feelings that were only amplified considering that it was not just any young woman, but Buffy that was standing there. Which led to Angel trying to desperately muster as much of that self-control as possible; he couldn't allow such thoughts to be a conscious thing. He knew where that road led—and it led somewhere that could get her and everyone around them killed.

"Buffy?" he managed to say around the sudden lump in his throat.

She tentatively smiled, and closed the door behind her. "Hey," she said somewhat timidly, by way of greeting. "I was hoping to find you here."

"What's wrong?" he asked, putting the book down and sitting up.

She shrugged her shoulders as she crossed the room and sat down on the edge of the bed next to him. "Nothing. I-I just think it's about time we talked, that's all." She fidgeted somewhat, shyly. "If-if that's okay…"

He tore his gaze away from her thighs, hoping she hadn't noticed his distraction and looked her in the eye. "About what?" he asked.

She gave him an amused smile. "Us. I…I think it's time we cleared the air. This can't…shouldn't…go on much longer," she said, noticing his attention was focused elsewhere, but enjoying it.

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Yes, you're right."

Her lips turned up in a smile. "Come on, it's not that hard to talk about."

"You know this whole 'talking thing' isn't one of my strong suits."

"You don't say," she said easily, almost knowingly, earning a glare from him. "Good thing I talk enough for the both of us."

He chuckled softly at that. It was funny how she always had a way of making him smile, even in the tensest of times. "That you do," he agreed.

They fell silent for a few seconds, watching each other silently. They had so much history, and enough baggage to last a lifetime. Or two, or three. It would be nice to finally clear everything up. Maybe not have to deal with all this sexual tension…well, not all the time, anyway.

Before he could stop himself, Angel found his eyes drifting downwards. Her robe had opened as they had sat and talked, and the curves of her breasts were clearly visible. It was almost unfair how beautiful she was, how stunning. Angel had often wondered if she truly realized the extent of the full power of her beauty; then again, he figured, it would have likely be something she didn't make a big deal out of. She wouldn't be Buffy…his Buffy…if she did otherwise…his beautiful, alluring Buffy…

Summoning as much focus as he could, the immortal detective licked his lips and forced his eyes back up to her face. Buffy hadn't noticed. She was looking down at her lap, where her hands were clasped together, a solemn, sad look in her eyes.

"I…I'm sorry about…about earlier. With Spike," she began apologetically. "I, I said some things to you that I didn't mean, and…I just didn't want to leave it on that note. This is….it's all so messed up, and…" her eyes looked away in shame, "and it's all my fault."

He looked at her sadly. "You don't have to explain anything to me. I've done my fair share of messing up."

She just shook her head, wiping a stray tear from her right cheek, which was followed by another until both her eyes brimmed and shined in sadness.

"Hey, hey," Angel muttered soothingly in concern, sitting up and quickly wrapping his arms around her, gently pulling her against his larger frame. "It's gonna be ok."

Her watery eyes glistened, and even in her obvious sadness, Angel's unbeating heart stirred at her beauty while it also broke for her at the same time. I did this, he thought, guilt-wracked and ashamed. This is my fault. Oh, Buffy, I'm so sorry.

She turned towards him, wrapping her arms around his neck and buried her head against his chest. "I don't know how to make it right, Angel," she whispered, quietly and forlorn. "I don't know how to fix it. This is all just so much, and…I-I just want it to be ok again. I…I just want to be us again."

Even as Angel tried to comfort her, one word made all other thoughts stop in his mind. "Us? Buffy…"

Before Angel could say anything more Buffy had lifted her head from his chest, and kissed him full on the mouth. Shocked, Angel could do nothing as she shifted her weight, spreading her thighs so she was straddling him. With a gasp, Angel put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her away.

"Buffy! Buffy, stop, we can't…" he pleaded desperately. If the souled vampire had been able to draw breath at the moment, he would have been literally left breathless. The last thing he needed was to lose control, now. Not with the apocalypse looming over their heads.

"Angel, we might die in the next few days, weeks. Who knows how long we have left. I just…I want to be with you." She smiled and squeezed her thighs tighter around him as she leaned forward and whispered in his ear. "I want to feel you inside me."

"Jesus," he whispered, closing his eyes briefly. He didn't know how he was going to control himself with her sitting on top of him like that. He could smell her arousal building and it was doing his head in. An intoxicating scent of vanilla and lust filled his sensitive nostrils, enveloping him in a haze of desire that he was desperately trying to stave off. But this was Buffy, here in his bedroom, half-naked and willing, who he had only ever wanted for so long now...

His mind swimming, lost in her exhilarating scent, powerful urges and a long-repressed longing for the most pure, most beautiful thing to have ever entered his life, it was all Angel could keep from losing complete control. Suddenly, his judgement snapped its head above the sea of lust he was drowning in, as he managed to put his hands on her slender shoulders and push her back, though he didn't…couldn't…release his grip on her.

"Buffy," he said again, his tone still gentle, but with a hint of resolve behind it. "We shouldn't…"

"Angel," her voice suddenly dropped to a soft whisper as she pulled back, her sad, pleading green eyes meeting his stunned, pained brown irises. "This might really be it this time. For real. I can't run away from what's coming. I can't promise that I can keep everyone from dying. I can't even say that I'll survive this time…"

He opened his mouth, wanting to assure her that she would survive, that he wouldn't allow it to go any other way, but she continued to pour her heart out over his protest. "I don't know what's going to happen in a few weeks, or a few days. All I know is that I'm really tired, really scared, everything's going to hell again and back and…"

She swallowed, more tears falling and the very sight of her looking so vulnerable, so afraid, shattered Angel from the inside out, crumbling his will like a sand castle in the path of the sea. "For just one moment…one stinking, lousy moment, I…I just want the world to stop spinning off its axis. I just want to be Buffy again. Even for a minute. Just for one second. And the last time I ever felt like I could be her…was in your arms, Angel.

Her voice wavered with emotion. "Can't we…can't we pretend, just for a moment, that I don't have to be The Slayer, and you don't have to be saving souls? Can't I just pretend for a minute that I'm just a woman, and you can be just a man? That we can just be two people who love each other the way normal people are supposed to? Can't we just have one moment? Just for us? Please? I…I need this, Angel." Her eyes glistened in the dim light of his night light. "I need you. No one else. Just you. Just us."

Her hand drifted down over his cold chest, where his heart would have been beating out of his frame if it still worked. Her voice was but a breath. "Just this."

I'm feeling further, feeling further from you every day,
You're in the stars, in the stars, yeah, you're worlds away
I'm moving on, moving on, then I hear you say,
"Hold on, hold on"

When it came to his principles, Angel had willpower in spades. He could turn away a mountain of cash without a second thought. He could be offered all the gold on Earth and turn it down without batting an eye. He could be offered the fairest, most beautiful women in all the cities in all the world throwing themselves before his feet and he'd step right over them.

But when it came to her…to Buffy…all of that inner strength vanished.

It always had. When it came to her, he wasn't a resolute force for good, a oak-like pillar of justice, a tireless, immovable Champion of the Light. When it came to her, he wasn't even a vampire…he was only a man.

A tired, lonely man who had lived an ever-too-long, miserable, hard life devoid of happiness, joy or any trace of love…until she came bursting through the dark clouds of his heart and showed him the meaning of what it meant to live, what it meant to love. When it came to her, in this moment…when it came down to 95 pounds of blonde, half-naked, toned-to-perfection, sun-kissed, green-eyed, ready-to-go with her arms around his neck, staring at him with those wide, expressive eyes, pleading with him so tenderly, so softly for a wretch like him to give her a sign of hope, of love, of some kind of peace of mind, even for a few fleeting moments…knowing that she was the first one to ever love him, the only one to ever accept him—all of him—for who and what he was, the only one that ever made him feel like he could be so much more than just a worthless man's soul trapped inside a monster, that he could reach out from the cold, empty darkness that had ruled him for so long and dare to bathe in the warmth, the light that was her… …when it came to her, his beautiful, lonely, sweet Buffy, all he was, all he ever would be...was a man who wanted to love her. When it came to Buffy, all bets were off.

Always.

We're losin' light, losin' light, yeah, we're fading fast,
We had a fire, need a spark or we'll never last
Just look at me, look at me,
I've been burning for you so long, so long
I should walk away…

With a wordless nod from him as his gentle gaze met her hopeful eyes, he consented. Leaning back she untied her robe, pulling it over her shoulders and throwing it to the floor. Leaving her in her lacy white panties and nothing else. Angel moaned quietly, and drew her into his arms, kissing her passionately. Buffy moaned again and wriggled in his embrace, grinding herself against him as she felt him respond to her touch.

Oh-oh, oh-oh,
I look at you and,
Oh-oh, oh-oh,
I get the feeling,
Oh-oh, oh-oh,
I think that I should hold on, hold on

He ran his hands over her body, touching her breasts, gripping her hips and holding her tightly against him. He kissed her passionately, wanting, needing to touch every part of her, worship her the way she deserved to be. And he intended to pray at the temple of her body ardently and long into the night. Buffy wrapped her arms around his waist, kissing his neck and shoulders. She pulled a hand away and reached under the covers, wrapping her arms around him and stroking him slowly.

Oh-oh, oh-oh,
I look at you and,
Oh-oh, oh-oh,
I get the feeling,
Oh-oh, oh-oh,
I think that I should hold on, hold on

He moaned quietly, unable to think straight with her stroking him the way she was. But then, he didn't want to think at all. Not now. He just wanted to feel. To feel her. Her flawless, tanned skin, her amazingly soft, yet firm body, her warmth, her boundless love, everything that she would offer him. He would have taken a mere smile from her and have been content with only that, if that was all she was willing or able to give him. And instead, she offered everything she was, all of her…her body, her heart, her soul…never had Angel felt so humbled. Never had he felt so blessed.

I'm losing love, losing you, losing everything,
Losing faith in the world, where I want to be
So I don't care if the one thing that's killing me,
Is so wrong, so wrong

His large, strong hands roamed over her body desperately, putting his hands on her hips and ripping her panties away. Buffy raised herself off his body, pulling the covers, and his pants away. Angel gripped her hips, and guided her down on top of him. Both of them gasped in pleasure at the feel of him deep inside her after so long…so very, very long…

I should walk away…

Buffy closed her eyes, and tilted her head back, and he could see that she was enjoying the sensations as she moved above him. Angel leaned forwards and kissed her breasts, running his hands down her back and holding her against him as they moved as one, again and again, euphoria and bliss and love exploding across his mind like fireworks.

Buffy threw her hair over her shoulders, the lines of her neck exposed. Angel drew in a breath and glanced away. The lure of her blood was made even stronger by the arousal that permeated the room, vanilla and hormones tempting him, calling to him more sweetly than any siren's song ever could. Against his wil ,he felt his fangs lengthen and his face shifted. He growled softly.

And I can't stop this feeling,

The sound drew Buffy's attention and she opened her eyes, looking up at him. She stared for a few seconds then she reached out and placed a hand on the back of his neck, pulling him closer as she leaned forward. "Go ahead," she gasped out between thrusts, "It's okay…I want you to."

And I can't stop this feeling…

Angel looked at her neck again and before either of them could object, something primitive, something primal overtook him, overriding the human part of him deep inside that screamed "No!" as he leaned forward and wrapped his lips around the base of her neck, giving her a quick kiss before opening his mouth and sinking his fangs into her neck.

Buffy gasped loudly, and the scent of her arousal grew. The warm blood flowed out and down his throat, the sweet Slayer blood on his tongue pushing him over the edge. Inside, his human side's pleas for him to stop, to not do this, not to do this to her, grew louder, but he was helpless to resist the call of her blood, her lust, his all-consuming desire for her. With a loud groan he shuddered his release, clutching her against him as he pushed inside her a few for a few more strokes, Buffy cried out her own release, shuddering against him.

He pulled away, retracted his fangs and leaned back. Holding her close as he came to his senses, still buried deep inside her, he looked away, ashamed, frightened and in disbelief at how he let his baser instincts take over him, let him do…what he just did…

"Oh, God," a frantic Angel panted, shame coursing through him even as his body tingled, vibrated with bliss. How could he have done it? How could he have bitten her…again? How could he have been so stupid to have put the one most precious to his heart at risk like this? He was a fool, a damned fool…

"Buffy…I'm sorry…so sorry…I didn't mean to, I…"

He slowly lifted his head and met her eyes…and was horrified by what he saw staring back at him….

Yellow demon eyes and a pair of fangs greeted him. Buffy-no, not Buffy, not his Buffy, not anymore-smiled cruelly and licked her lips. With a smirk, she purred her next words. "So…was it good for you, too?"


"NO! Buffy-!"

Angel awoke, wide-eyed and alert, his eyes flying all over the dark room.

Nothing. He found nothing. He was alone, in his bed, in his room. Not a sign nor a trace of Buffy or anyone else could be seen.

Gradually, the immortal detective began to realize that it was a dream. That was all it was. Just a bad dream. But it felt so real…

More disturbing than the surreal nature of the dream were the realizations that Angel had overlooked. In the last few days, he had been so wrapped up in jealousy at the thought of Spike and Buffy having been together, so lost in the emotions that Buffy evoked in him when they were together…that he completely overlooked one glaring problem standing in their way.

The Curse.

Damn it all. How could I have been so stupid? The souled vampire cursed himself, running a still trembling hand across his dark hair. All this time, things had changed between them, except the one thing…one of many things…that still posed the greatest threat to them. As much as he longed to, he knew what would happen if Buffy and he had acted on these emotions and feelings they still had for each other; his soul would be lost, and the monster inside would once again be free to destroy everything and everyone Angel loved—the top of that list being Buffy herself.

Not just Buffy. There was Connor to worry about. And Cordelia. And Wesley and Fred and Gunn and Lorne. Darla. Faith. Willow and the others. Kate. All those Potential girls. Angelus would kill them all, and hurt Buffy last and worst of all, just to make Angel suffer, to make him pay for locking him away deep down inside for all these years. In the brief time that Angelus was free weeks ago, he had caused quite a bit of damage, though not nearly as much as the blood-soaked terror he unleashed in Sunnydale years ago the last time he was free. And now, there was The First to consider. The original evil was already amassing an army and allies like The Beast to its cause. What would happen if Angelus got free and somehow the First could convince the Scourge of Europe to side with it? A monster of Angelus' brutality and cunning in league with the limitless resources of the First Evil? The End of Days would surely fall down upon them all…

Aside from that, Angel realized in dismay, he knew not much else had changed about why he and Buffy were apart. He was still a vampire. A dead man with a demon and a soul taking up space. He couldn't give her the things she needed. Marriage. Children. Sunlight. A normal life apart from this madness and darkness that surrounded her every night. She deserved it. Spike sure as hell couldn't give her those things, and he was a terrible choice for Buffy, but that didn't mean that Angel could give her what she deserved, either. Not like this.

Sure, there was the Shanshu prophecy, but who knew when that would take place? It could be decades, centuries before he regained his humanity, assuming the prophecy was even true. By then, Buffy could be long gone, anyway. Would it be fair to her if he asked her to wait around for a destiny that may take lifetimes to come true?

Angel stood and walked over to the window, watching the rain cascading down the glass in rivulets and waves. Staring at his city from the balcony, he looked down, his gaze repentant and solemn. All he had ever wanted to do, aside from gaining redemption, was to love Buffy. But he should have realized by now that anyone he loved would always be in danger if they came too close to his life. He had too many enemies, there were too many dangers, one of them being himself.

He knew he had won Buffy's heart on this night…but would the price of her heart be her own life? Could he live with himself if Buffy's death was on his head?

No, he realized, sadly. I can't. I was a fool, such a fool. I can't do this to Buffy. I can't hurt her again. She has to be kept safe. She has to be. I'll find a way. I'll find a way to protect her…even if that means staying away from her. So she can have everything she deserves. Everything I'll never be able to give her.


"Angel!"

The Slayer shot up from her bed, heart pounding in her chest as she looked around her bedroom.

Nothing. Only the inky blackness of the night and a dim nightlight across from her greeted the sharp moss-green eyes of the Chosen One.

Still under the covers of her bed, Buffy brushed a shaking hand and smoothed back her blonde hair from her face, trying to make sense of what she just dreamed. Angel…her…making love…it felt so real. God, it felt so real, so…good…until that horrible moment when he bit her. And her face…that awful, ridged demonic face…

No. No, that was just a dream, she rationed it out, her head falling back onto her pillow as she stared at the ceiling, eyes deep in thought. Just a stupid, non-real, Quentin Tarantino-y dream. Angel wouldn't…he'd never do that. That stupid dream didn't mean anything…right?

It didn't feel like one of her prophecy dreams. Something about this one felt more…personal.

Things with Angel were happening so fast. Only days ago, they had re-entered each others' lives after all this time apart, and already, she had come to grips with who her heart belonged to after she proclaimed her love for Angel in front of Spike's face just hours ago. It was unbelievable when she thought about it, and yet…and yet it all seemed to make sense. Angel was all she had ever wanted ever since she was just 16. The connection they shared, what they had, was simply unmatched, overpowering anything that had ever come before. And while saddened about crushing Spike like she had, Buffy had never felt more sure about what she wanted now. Of who she wanted. And Angel's admission to her that she was "The One" in his heart strengthened that resolve. She loved him, he loved her, and as far as she was concerned, that was all she needed to know.

But something about that dream gave birth to an unsettling feeling in the pit of Buffy's stomach as she tossed restlessly to her side, frowning as she stared out to the darkness of the night outside her window. She wanted to believe that it could be that simple, that she and Angel could be together, curses be damned and the hell with their separate lives and destinies, wanted to believe that their love could truly conquer all. But she had been crushed by the result of how that ended years ago. And while she was older now, stronger, smarter, and still willing to take the chance if meant she could finally be happy with the one man she had loved more than any other in this life, she had a feeling that things were only about to get even more complicated in the mess that was this oncoming apocalypse.

And that terrified her, deep inside. She could go toe-to-toe with vampires, take a punch from a hellgod, take a lickin' from Ubervamps and still keep on tickin'…but her heart had already been broken so many times over the years. Too much loss, too much pain, too much pressure to persevere just because she was The Slayer. This time, this time it had to be different with Angel. It just had to. As strong and powerful as she was, there were only so many times her heart could be broken before it became un-fixable. If things fell apart now…she wasn't sure if she could recover.

Or if she would want to.

Stop it, she chided herself, shutting her eyes as she fitfully tried to get back to sleep. This time, it will be different. Angel and I will be okay. We will. We have to be…

But the last thought drifting into Buffy's troubled mind before sleep claimed her wasn't as sure. We just have to be…


Next: As Spike makes his decision on whether or not he'll stay, he has a heart-to-heart with both Faith and Buffy. Can he let go of his past to take a look at his future? Angel and Cordelia clear the air; and while Buffy and Angel try and figure out their uncertain romantic present, will an unwanted visit from an old Enemy threaten to crush everyone's futures?


Next chapter coming up soon. Bear with me, I have a lot of work ahead, but I've not forgotten this story. Read, review, inspire! Lol Until next time!

#JeantheGuardianProductions


-Jean-theGuardian