Title: Crashing

Rating: R

Summary: Picks up near the end of Smashed (Btvs S6) Buffy has a what the hell moment and takes off.

Disclaimer: I own nothing sob I don't even own the first part of this fic, it's from the smashed transcript with me adding a bit. I don't own the song that inspired this either, Morrissey does and it's called Jack the Ripper. This was written for Aaronlisa and a challenge she offered up. Lyrics and official challenge at the end.

Spike has me pinned against the stairs. He chuckles and his words come back to me.

"And part of you wants it...not only to stop the fear and the uncertainty, but because you're just a little bit in love with it."

"Every slayer has a death wish."

Then I didn't believe him, now I know he's right and maybe it's just me, maybe I just want to go back to Heaven. I punch him and he punches right back. He lifts me up so he can look me in the face.

"I wasn't planning on hurting you. Much," he smirks.

"You haven't even come close to hurting me," I bite back.

"Afraid to give me the chance?" He asks, cocking that scarred eyebrow at me.

I break his hold and throw him against the wall. A satisfying hole appears in the wall and cracks run through it. I grab him and shove him up against the wall.

"You afraid I'm gonna-"he starts.

I stop him by kissing him hard. The pain of his lips hard against my own split and bleeding lip grounds me. It feels good, more importantly; it feels...like something...like anything. I slam my fist through a wall, more pain, more feeling.

Spike grabs me roughly by the shoulders and shoves me against the opposite wall. His lips are still on mine, and I can feel the fresh cuts splitting and bleeding again.

"Baby likes being hurt," Spike growls against my mouth.

He paws at my clothes and I hear something rip. His nails rake across the upper part of my nearly exposed breast and I let out something that's half scream, half moan. I slam Spike against another wall and it occurs to me what the hell am I doing? I break the kiss and shove Spike against a wall. I race down the stairs and out of the house as fast I can, running from his words, running from our actions, my actions.

I don't even think, I'm just in the car and driving, getting as far away from myself as I can possibly get. I breathe a sigh of relief as I pass the Now Leaving Sunnydale sign. When was the last time I felt like Buffy? Not the slayer, not a sister, not a mother just Buffy. I don't know. It's been so long I can't even remember.

What if Spike is right? What if I did come back wrong, what if I'm not entirely human anymore? Does that make me one of the monsters? I kill the monsters. I am not the monster. I can't be the monster because then I don't know how things work.

The little voice inside of me screams that that's the reason things have been so wrong, the reason I can't feel anything. The old Buffy would be in tears, she'd be upset that maybe she'd become a monster. I remember the nightmare and becoming a vampire. I remember how hysterical it had made me. I'm not hysterical now, I'm not crying, I'm just numb and I'm so very tired of it.

The rain starts pouring sometime during my drive; at least the sky can still cry.

The jeep seems to stop of its own accord and I'm not surprised to find myself in front of Angel's hotel. He's always been my refuge in the tornado or hurricane, whatever. Angel is where I feel safe, only I don't know if I'm welcome here anymore. The last time I saw him, we sort of agreed that no matter how much we want, no matter how much we need, the world is more important then us. Most of the time I agree but right now I'd like to tell the world to go to hell, I want Angel, I need Angel.

I swallow hard and white knuckle the steering wheel. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I can't be here. I can't run away from the things I don't like about life, if I do I'll just start running and never stop. I sit there in the humid heat of the car and listen to the rain pour down around me. I can feel Angel inside and somehow, even out here on the street, I feel calmer, more like Buffy. Maybe I can do this, just maybe.

I start the car and put it in drive. His palm slapping on the rain beaded window stops me. I bite my bottom lip and hesitate. The cut on it breaks open and fresh blood, metallic and salty, seeps into my mouth. I put the car in park and glance over at him out of the corner of my eye. He's soaked to the skin; water runs in rivulets down the angles of his face, his eyes burn, a fire surviving in a torrent of rain.

"Are you coming in?" He says.

I can hardly hear him through the glass over the noise of the rain. I consider ignoring him for a moment but this is why I came here, wasn't it? This is why that subconscious part of me drove me here. I sigh and nod slightly. I turn off the car and get out. I shove my hands in my jacket pockets. I bow my head and water runs down the back of my neck.

"Buffy,"

And for a moment, it doesn't matter that it's raining. It doesn't matter that I got ripped out of heaven and it doesn't matter that I almost fucked Spike tonight, just for a moment.

I nod. I can't force his name past my lips, not because I don't want to, but because I want to so much.

"Come on in, you're getting soaked," he says.

He turns and pauses, waiting for me to follow. He takes me through a courtyard and into the lobby of a massive hotel.

"Let me get you some dry clothes," he says.

The words make me ache. I remember another night so different from this, when he offered me dry clothes. I can't say anything because I'm afraid I'll crack. He smiles so slightly at me and squeezes my upper arm, too intimate to squeeze my hands. He nods and disappears up the stairs for a moment. A shiver goes through me and I want to blame it on a drafty hotel. I wrap my arms around myself, denying that I want them to be his arms. I glance around the lobby. It whispers of old grandeur and silent movies. A slight smile curves my lips. The hotel seems like Angel, even more so then the mansion did.

He comes back down the stairway. His wet hair is sticking up and I can almost see him scrubbing a towel over his head on his way out. He has on dry clothes but they look exactly like the dark clothes he took off. He hands me a small pile of clothes, black sweats and a charcoal gray sweater.

"There's a bathroom right over there, toss your wet things out and I'll run them down to the dryer," he says.

I nod and lock myself in the little bathroom. The thing I love about Angel, besides everything, not once has he asked me why I was here. He just acts like I belong here, like I have every right to show up in the middle of the night. I strip off my wet clothes and open the door a crack, tossing them onto the tile floor. I see a sliver of Angel bend over and scoop them up. I slam the door shut, cutting off that small sliver of him I can see.

I hug the pile of Angel's clothes close to me. They smell like him; I take a deep breath and it covers me like a warm blanket. I want to stay right here in this bathroom with this pile of Angel smelling clothes forever. I don't wanna go back to a life where I let Spike slam me into walls and kiss me, or worse.

I can feel Angel pacing outside the bathroom door so I stand up a tired, weary old woman and slip on his clothes. The sweat pants swim around my ankles and the hem of the sweater hits my knees. I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I recoil. I honestly don't remember ever having so many bruises and cuts on my face. My top and bottom lip is split and there's a bruise blooming on my jawbone. My left eye is cut and a beautiful shade of black blue. There's dried blood all over the place. I turn the water on and let it run cold, then splash my face with it several times. I give myself a hard look before I swipe the towel over my skin. I don't look anything like the girl I used to be, the baby roundness in my cheeks are gone. The sparkle and light in my eyes has disappeared. There are circles under my eyes worthy of a woman twice my age. I'm not a girl anymore and it's written all over my face.

Inevitably I must leave the bathroom so I decide not to put it off any longer. I open the door slowly, my gaze fixed on my bare feet and the floor just in front of them. I'm not ready to meet his eyes yet, to explain what happened.

He doesn't say anything to me just takes my wrist in gentle fingers and leads me to a funky round couch. He tugs me down gently and opens a first aid kit. I wince as he dabs antiseptic on the cuts.

"What happened, Buffy?" He finally asks.

"Got in a fight," I say.

He cocks an eyebrow at me and waits me out. Angel's always understood that sometimes silent understanding works better for me then all the words in the world. He finishes cleaning up my cuts and adds a small band aid to the cut on my eyebrow. I slick my tongue over my lips.

"You're going to lick all the antiseptic away," he says.

"It makes my lips dry," I tell him.

Angel and I are so good at dancing around all the things we want to say, to ask. Sometimes in my head I imagine this elaborate dance reel, like the ones you see in the old movies.

Angel's fingers creep over my hand and slowly, so slowly, twine with mine. I feel like I can breathe. I want to wrap myself up inside of him. I forgot what this feels like, what safety and acceptance feel like, what love feels like. It all comes crashing down on me, I mean everything, really, losing Mom, dying, losing Heaven, Giles leaving, the thing with Spike, everything. A sob rips itself from the parts of me that I hide from everyone and my whole body jerks from it and then they are pounding over me like waves, each one in succession and I can't swim up out of them.

Angel gathers me up into his lap. "Crash into my arms," he whispers and it's odd that he uses those words because that's exactly what I'm doing, crashing like one magnificent car wreck, the kind where the only thing left is shattered glass and twisted metal.

His fingers twine through the wet strands of my hair, his cool breath on my scalp calms the fever of my body. He makes little shushing noises and rocks me gently back and forth. I grab fistfuls of his shirt, trying to bind him to me but the truth is that's why this feels so right, Angel and I are bound to each other, as tightly as two people can be bound, tighter then anything a piece of paper, or a ring or even an oath can do.

"Nobody knows me, Angel, no body," I sob.

His hands stroke patterns on my back. "I do," he whispers and I know he does. A thousand years apart and a million miles wouldn't change that Angel knows me better then anyone else. The parts of me that Angel knows are deeper then Buffy, or the Slayer. The parts of me that Angel knows never change.

"I want you," I whisper. It sounds plaintive and lost and not remotely sexual because I do want Angel that way but I also want Angel in every other way.

He just nods. There's really nothing to say. I know he wants me too but we can't have each other, in any way. If I ever get back to Heaven, I am so giving the Powers a piece of my mind.

After a little while and a lot of shushing, Angel releases me from his arms. His fingers glide over the cut on my eyebrow and then the cut on my lip.

"What did this to you?" He asks. I can almost hear the unspoken And is it dead?

I bite my bottom lip and wince as the cut bursts open anew. Angel winces and reaches out to touch it. He glances at his fingers stained with my blood. I wonder if he wants to lick it off. Spike would and maybe that's why Angel doesn't.

"Who?" He changes his question.

"Spike," I whisper.

Angel looks perplexed. "Doesn't he have some sort of chip in his head? The army guys put it there?"

I nod. I turn my gaze up to Angel and I know it's filled with tears. "I came back wrong, Angel."

Angel hesitates, shocked I think, and then shakes his head. "No, why do you think that?"

"Spike. He said-he can hit me and it doesn't hurt him," I say.

"Maybe the chip is malfunctioning," Angel says.

I shake my head. "I came back wrong, Angel. I came back something less then human." I crumble from the inside out, my spine bows and my body caves inward. Angel gathers me back into him. He buries his nose in the crook of my neck and takes a deep breath.

"Buffy, you smell human. I don't know what Spike did or what he said but you're human," he says.

"I can't be. I came back wrong, I had to have come back wrong," I sob.

"No, Baby. You didn't come back wrong. You came back you, you came back perfect," he says and smoothes the tears into my skin with his thumbs.

I shake my head. "No, no, no, no." He can't be right if he's right then everything, kissing Spike, letting Spike hit me, it's all my fault, my fault, my fault.

Angel sighs deeply, so deeply I can feel his soul ache with it. He wraps his arms around me and tucks my head into the crook of his neck, that place made just for my head.

"Why do you think you came back wrong, Buffy?" He asks after a moment.

"I almost let-no that's wrong, I wanted Spike to fuck me tonight," I say.

My words hit him like a whip. He recoils slightly and then recovers, almost.

"W-why?" He asks.

"I don't feel, Angel. I don't feel anything," I say.

"Buffy, I can't imagine what you've gone through, to come back from where you were-of course you're depressed," he says.

He's not listening. "No! I'm not depressed, Angel! I don't feel anything. I don't feel sad, I don't feel happy, I don't feel scared or grateful or angry or anything except pain," I say.

He swallows hard. "So you were going to let Spike hurt you," he says.

I nod a little. "I'm sorry," I whisper and my voice cracks.

Angel shakes his head. "No, you don't have to apologize. I'm sorry. I thought it would be better for you if I weren't there, if I stayed out of your life," he says.

"Sort of got it wrong there," I say.

"Why didn't you tell me then? When I met you a few weeks ago?" He asks.

"What was I supposed to do, Angel? Beg you to stay with me?" I ask.

"I just-"he starts and stops.

"I know," I say and I do. I know how hard it is to have a little piece of the pie when you want the whole cake.

Angel's eyes and fingers slide over my face. He rests his hands on the ridges of my collarbone. "You look so tired," he says.

I shrug. "I haven't been sleeping much," I confess.

"Nightmares?" He asks.

I nod.

"Crawling out of your grave, it's not something you get over easily," he says and for a moment he looks far away and lost.

"You have nightmares about it?" I ask.

He nods a little. "Not so much anymore and never as Angelus but when I was cursed-it took awhile to get over them," he says.

And the ways Angel and I are bound just keep growing. Angel slides his hand down my arm and twines his fingers with mine. He stands and then tugs me to my feet. He leads me up the stairs to his bedroom. I know without question that it is his. It looks like him; it feels like him even more so then the rest of the hotel does. A smile touches my lips as I recognize one of his sculptures from Sunnydale.

"I didn't realize you kept anything from Sunnydale," I say.

"I kept so many things," he says looking at me.

He tugs me a bit closer to the bed. It's a big bed and I wonder if he shares it with anyone.

"You need to sleep. You can go home in the morning," he says.

I nod, content to share just another moment with Angel. We lay down on the bed in sync, his arms wrap around me and I spoon up against him. He tucks his nose into the nape of my neck and tears well fresh in my eyes. How many nights in Sunnydale did we lie like this? Too many to count, more then I'll ever tell Willow or Xander. I want to stay awake so that I don't have to leave this circle of safety. I'm crashing down, down, down and inside Angel's arms I can finally rest.

"Shhh, sleep," Angel whispers, a cool breath against my skin.

I swallow hard. I don't know how he knows, but he always does. "I don't want to," I say.

"Afraid the dreams will come?" He asks.

I shake my head. "No, I don't want this to end," I whisper.

Angel sighs and lifts his head. He places a kiss on the top of my head and strokes the hair off my shoulders and neck. "Buffy, I don't want to make promises I can't keep but tomorrow when we've both slept, we'll figure something out. You don't have to do this alone," he says.

"I'm not worried about doing it alone, I'm worried about having to do it without you," I say.

He considers my words a moment. "I promise you won't have to do this without me."

Fin

Oh, you look so tired
Mouth slack and wide
Ill-housed and ill-advised
Your face is as mean
As your life has been

Crash into my arms
I WANT YOU
You don't agree -
But you don't refuse
I know you

And I know a place
Where no one is likely to pass
Oh, you don't care if it's late
And you don't care if you're lost
And oh, you look so tired
(But tonight you presumed too much)
Too much, too much
And if it's the last
Thing I ever do
I'M GONNA GET YOU

Crash into my arms
I WANT YOU
You don't agree -
But you don't refuse
I know you

And no one knows a thing about my life
I can come and go as I please
And if I want to, I can stay
Oh, or if I want to, I can leave
Nobody knows me
Nobody knows me
Nobody knows me
Nobody knows me
Oh, oh
Nobody knows me
Oh, oh
Nobody knows me
Oh, oh
Nobody knows me
Oh

It's called "Jack the Ripper" by Morrissey. The lines in bold must be in the fic (Crash into my arms, I want you.) The other two requirments of the fic: 1) it must be a Buffy/Angel fic (when & where is up to you) and 2) it can not be smutty at all (so an R or lower.)