Dangerous Bargain

Anna Rossini

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters they belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, WB, etc. this is only for fun purposes, no money will be gained by it.

Pairing: Buffy & Angel

Alternate Universe

Chapter 1

Angel O'Connor was a ruthless man, everyone knew that, he always got what he wanted. He had stared from nothing and he was already wealthy man when he turned his eyes to Hank Summers only child, Buffy. The Summers were aristocracy, Rupert Summers, Buffy's grandfather was the younger son of an Earl, he migrated to America and became a successful businessman, Summers Ltd. was among the leading construction companies in the west coast. However, Rupert's son Hank had a secret addiction to gambling and expensive prostitutes which soon lead to the company's falling. That's when Angel came to the scene, he had poured the money and soon he had the control of it. Now it was O'Connor-Summers, part of his growing empire. He had gobbled Hank Summers company up, merely annexed it, and nobody had been left in doubt as to who was the boss.

He had access to the beautiful Buffy now, but she blatantly ignored him. He was a patient man, he could wait, sooner or latter she'll be his.

Two years latter

It was a beautiful sunny day at Restfield cemetery, but Buffy hardly noticed. Her eyes were dry and red, her tears had already been shed, her mind was numb by grief. She could hear the priest words, but they meant nothing to her. Her beloved father was dead, his last days were touched by shame.

Her so called best friends Willow and Xander had turned their backs on her, and her other 'friends' were here only to see the perfect Buffy Summers reduced to nothing, she looked around prepared to meet their eyes. Damn them she didn't need any of them, her grief was her own. They looked away. Some of them held her gaze for a second but even the toughest had to drop their eyes. All except one.

Angel stood away from the rest, even so, he seemed to tower over them, his chocolate eyes held hers with no apology, no embarrassment.

He was powerful, tall, broad-shouldered, an immaculate, perfect body, dark hair and eyes that looked like dark pools of chocolate as they watched her. Was he waiting for her to break down? She knew those eyes; they were perfect, deep brown, the kind of eyes you could sink into and never get out. His expression gave nothing away. He was hard and perfect like marble.

The priest stepped in front of her, and she half listen. Who would comfort her now? There was no one, not now the she lost everything, she had no place to go, her house was no longer hers, there was nothing left at all.

"Miss Summers if you need help, advise..."

"She has help, I will deal with Miss Summers' affairs. There's no need to worry."

Buffy looked up at the sound of the deep voice, a voice that perfectly match the man, and Angel stood by her, overwhelming her, intimidating, something almost primitive in the intensity of his control. Words of denial rose in her throat but they were never spoken.

"I'll take you home Buffy." His hand took hers.

"I...I can't..." her eyes turned to the grave, but he urged her on obstinately.

"He's gone Buffy. You have to go home. Time will..."

"How would you know? You're made of stone. Who have you ever loved?"

She kept her voice low, but there was a bitterness he heard too well.

"Be angry at me all you want to. I can take it. Just keep down until you're home, the press are here and at least two photographers hiding behind that tree." His voice was cold and warning, his grip tightened like steel. She knew he was right, she already seen them, she took a deep calming breath. Her face showed nothing.

"Good girl," he murmured gently. "Just keep it up until we're out of here."

He ignored the car that had brought her, dismissing the driver with a wave of his hand.

He helped her into his black Mercedes and then pulled away. Buffy saw the photographers taking last minute shots.

"They'll be at the house soon," she sighed, resting her head back tiredly.

"Not with the gates locked," he said coldly.

"How can I lock the gates? People will be coming to the house..."

"No they will not. I cancelled all that."

"You did what?" She sat straight up and stared at him, but he did not even turn to see her.

"I've spoken to people. Those who were your father's friends understand too well how you feel. The others are unimportant. Nobody is going to the house but you and me. As for the gates I brought two security guards with me. The press will stay out."

She saw what he meant as the car drove into the driveway of the house. The security guards were big, tough, and she said nothing.

"A few more enemies made," she pointed out.

"Enemies don't bother me, I grew up in a tough world, Miss Summers. Right now, be thankful of it. Good breading is not really a lot of help in the real world."

"You mean I'm spoiled, childish, soft all the way?"

"A social success and frivolous as far as the real world is concerned. But you have things going for you. You're beautiful and your father loved you. He was my friend. I'll protect you all I can."

"I don't need..." she began, but as usual he never let her finish.

"You don't need the help of a nobody who clawed his way out of the sewers?" He enquired sarcastically. "Don't overstate your case too soon. Learn caution."

There was something in his voice that brought a wave of alarm and Buffy looked at him quickly, but the dark, handsome face was completely still, and she felt like she as walking into a trap.

Her father held him in great esteem, but Buffy had often felt herself almost choking when he was invited over, only her love for her father and her duty as hostess made her able to stay in the same room.

The dark force he expelled frightened her. Beneath his apparent sophistication was a savage man and she knew it. He made a name in the business world and according to her father he was brilliant. She knew he could work after other people dropped. She knew he had a weird business insight and had built his fortune out of it, but to her he was like an untamed wild cat. Cross him and he would destroy you.

Hank Summers had laughed at her fancies and she could still hear his voice.

"Sweaty Angel is an educated man. Don't mistake his poor background for stupidity. He won scholarships and he had worked real hard. Angel never talks about himself. He works to hard to waste time with words. I'm thankful he came to the company. He didn't need to."

"I'm sure he had a motivation, it's not like him to help others."

She had always resented him for it. The company was her family's legacy.

She had never worked; her father would never allowed it and she knew Angel despised her, she had always known that. He alarmed her, but she was grateful for his protection right at this moment.

Maybe tomorrow she'll be able to face reality. Her father lost everything but his share of the company. Just before he died he had told her about his addictions. Even his share in the company would not cancel all the debts, not even selling the house will be enough. She had nothing left but her pride and her resentment at Angel, he must known what was going on and let it happen, he waited like a predator and now he had the nerve to call her father his friend.

The car pulled in front of the house, and Buffy got out looking at it as she would never see it again. This house had always been the core of her life. She didn't remember any other home at all. To leave here will be the final blow.

She had forgotten about Angel until he spoke.

"You love this house, don't you?"

"Yes and now I'll have to leave it."

"That's up to you," he said coldly, taking her arm and leading her to the front door.

"I wish it were." She gave a strange little laugh. "I think I'd keep it if I had to live in one room and eat only twice a week. Everything in my life that was good happened in this house. When I'll go, everything goes too, including my happy memories."

"Memories are in the mind."

"Is that why you are so cold?" she wanted to hurt him like she was hurting, and that was funny, nothing could hurt him! "That was stupid, you're invincible aren't you? Nothing could hurt you."

"Is that how you think of me? Invincible?" he had one of this similes that always worried her, like he was thinking things she couldn't possible imagine.

"I don't ever think of you."

"Let's get into the house." His low growl scared her and she was urged on by a steel grip that lead her onwards.

Jenny appeared as they came into the hall, she had always been with them, since Buffy was a little girl, and now she would have to leave as well. She had been crying, that was easy to see, and Buffy went to her, embracing her.

"It's just you and me Jenny," she said crying.

"Yes, dear. We've better face it. We'll have to find a place to live." Jenny knew the situation, she was more than a housekeeper, she was family.

"I'll look for an apartment for the both of us," Buffy muttered desperately. "You salary, though..."

"Forget about it. I'll get a job too. We'll manage."

"Oh Jenny." Tears escaped Buffy's eyes and Angel intervened impatiently.

"Make us some iced tea, Jenn. We'll be in the study."

He wasn't smiling, but still he got the usual smile from Jenny. She liked him and never been able to understand Buffy's loathing to the tall, handsome man. He was the only one who ever called her Jenn, and she took it as a compliment. She had too started life in poverty and she admired him immensely.

"It's not the study." Buffy said sharply. "It's my fathers study and at the moment I don't want to go there."

"I wouldn't suggest it if it wasn't necessary, but we had things to discuss privately."

"You need privacy from Jenny? She's the only one here and she knows everything."

"There's something you may not want her to know."

For a moment he stared down at her, his dark eyes inscrutable. "Stop crying," he said abruptly, and simply walked off to the study, leaving her to follow or not as she wished.

It enraged her. There was no reason for him to be there. Not that she wasn't grateful for the rescue, but he could leave now. Damn him. He had no idea what she was going trough, how could he? With her father gone Angel was no longer welcome here. Until things settled and it was sold, this was her house and, as far as she was concerned, he had never been welcome. He had nothing to do with her.

She followed him to tell him that but something about him made her stop. He was standing looking out of the window, his eyes on the garden and the fading light, and she found her eyes running over him anxiously. He radiated power, so much driving energy that she rarely thought of the man himself. From first meeting him she had shivered when he looked at her, avoiding the deep brown eyes as often as possible, but now she saw his dark, frightening splendor, a superb, masculine grace.

Plenty of women tried to catch him and Buffy had always though they must be insane. Now for a second she saw him as they did. She wondered how he behave with people he liked. He had liked her father, called him his friend, and they had laughed together.

Suddenly he turned around and looked at her, his eyes watching her over, her pale face, the shoulder length honey-blonde hair now tied harshly on top of her head. Her green eyes with small flecks of gold filling her face.

"You should eat," he said curtly, his dark brows frowning.

"I couldn't."

"For how long? If you loose any more weight you'll disappear. You've reached the point of fragility."

Buffy sank to a chair, her fingers at her temples, her eyes closed.

"I need an aspirin more than food." She was about to confess a headache of major proportions when he walked out of the room, and that brought a smile to her face. Imagine telling Angel O'Connor you had a headache. It was like telling a god about a sore toe. Jenny brought the iced tea but Angel was behind her so she did not linger.

"Here, take these." He put two tablets in her hands.

"What are they."

"Perfectly safe," he rasped. "Not something I had manufactured to dispose you. Jenny gave them to me." He handed her a glass of iced tea. "Take them now."

She murmured a tanks and swallowed them, feeling guilty, but then part of his danger was that you never knew what he would do next. He leaned forward and pulled the band from her hair, frowning as the honey-blonde mass of it curled around her face.

"Having you hair tied on top isn't helping any," he muttered. "Leave it be!" he added harshly as she nervously smoothed back. "Get your drink so we can talk."

"About what? I know what happened. My dad explained it all before he died. There's nothing more you can tell me because I can't lose more than everything and I've lost that."

"Well you're not a little rich girl anymore," he agreed irascibly, angered no doubt, by her tone.

"And you think I care?" her voice rose. "He's gone! Gone! Nothing and nobody can replace him."

She turned away, hiding her face, her shoulders bent as she gave way again to deep grief, she hardly noticed when he came to her and wrapped his strong arms around her. She never thought about who it was; all she needed was comfort, and comfort was there.

For a few minutes she sobbed and he let her, holding her, then she tried to move ashamed of her behavior.

"I...I'm sorry..."

"Don't be. It's part of the healing process." He looked down at her, his arms still around her. He had never touched her before, except to shake her hand that first time her father had invited him over, and now she was well aware of his strength and her own fragility. She was unable to move unless he released her, odd feelings flicking along her veins. "How old are you Buffy?"


His lips twisted sardonically. "Twenty-four. To look as you do in the world I came from you would have had to be about fifteen. My mother died when she was thirty-nine. She looked like an old woman."

He turned away letting her go, as she watched him with wide eyes.

"How old were you then?"

"Nineteen. I was at the university. I never went back home again. Luckily I was an only child so there were no responsibilities for me."

"Your father..."

"Was a consummated alcoholic."

"I...I'm sorry."

"Are you?" He turned and looked at her, his face hard, just as it always seemed to be when he looked at her.

"Don't waste your pity on me, it was a long time ago. I've even forgotten. Maybe your tears remind me. Usually I don't have patience with tears."

"You don't have to stay and watch mine," she began defensively.

"As I told you before, I liked you father so is forgivable. As you know you father was my business partner. I owe you some responsibility." He sat down and motion her to do the same. "Sit and finish your tea. Then we'll talk."

"What could we possibly have to talk about?" She sat down and smoothed her hair back in the same nervous manner, everything inside her screamed.

"We've managed well enough so far," he pointed out ironically. "More words that you've said to me in the two years I've known you."

"So? The words are said now. There's noting left to discuss."

"On the contrary," he assured her firmly. "We're here to discuss you."

"Me?" She looked up quickly. "I'm nothing to you, no responsibility at all. I'm not a child who needs looking after and, in any case, my father was only your partner in O'Connor-Summers...just a name in your great portfolio."

Her voice was bitter and she knew it. Even now she resented the fact that the name was changed and that O'Connor was added.

He watched her for a minute his eyes running over her, while she sat on the edge of her seat, quivering with tension. His lips suddenly twisted in amusement at the way she was looking at him.

"What are your plans?" he asked and although she knew she should be telling him to mind his own business, she couldn't. he was her father's partner, anyhow. When the Summers part of the company was sold off, Angel O'Connor would have a lot wheeling and dealing to do to get another partner he could work with, even if he did own most of the company already.

"I'll stay here until the house is sold, as long as they'll let me. In the meantime I'll look for a place big enough for Jenny and me. I guess the best option will be L.A. considering how small Sunnydale is. I...I don't know how long it will be before they start sorting things out...I mean..."

"You mean you never been involved in an scandal before in you life."

Her head shot up at the cold mockery. "Did you expect me to have experience in things like this...me a spoiled brat?" Her face was flushed and angry but he just stood there looking at her steadily.

"Actually you're not involved at all. The eager actions of the press are all a waste of effort, merely because my name is linked with your father, if it only been your father his death would have gone unnoticed by the tabloids. As it is, there may be a couple of days speculation. Hank's secret lifestyle may be brought up into the open, however, facts will soon stop that. Your father's debts are settled. Nothing else is going to happen."

"What do you mean?" he wasn't a man to make foolish jokes, but she could not absorb what he was telling her.

"Weeks before he died, your father wanted to see me. He also called his lawyer. We worked out a deal. On the day he died we came again and it was all finalized."

"What do you mean...a deal?" She was afraid again, on the edge of something se couldn't clutch.