Title: Throw Your Arms Around Me
Author: Cat D
Email: cat_5555@hotmail.com
Disclaimer: The characters and situations from 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel' are the property of Twentieth Century Fox, and the brainchildren of Joss Whedon et al. I lay no claim to them.
Spoilers: BtVS/Ats timeline through to 'Superstar' and 'Eternity' (but no kiss and make up scene for Buffy and Riley at the end of Superstar).
Summary: Angel wakes up in bed, and he's not alone.
Author's notes: The title and lyrics are borrowed from Hunters and Collectors fabulous 'Throw Your Arms Around Me' from their 1986 LP 'Human Frailty', lyrics by Mark Seymour. This idea came to me while reading Gem's excellent story "In the Darkness Before Dawn", one of my favourite fanfics ever. If you haven't read it, do so! And yes, I know that the plot is pretty weak, so just go with it, hmm? This is unbetad, so any constructive criticism welcome. Also, if anyone would be interested in running an occasional eye over my work (and trust me, the way I write it would be occasional) please let me know, I would be happy to return the favour.
Feedback: Please, I would really appreciate it.






Angel sighed, shifting slightly against his soft cotton sheets as his mind climbed towards consciousness through the foggy remnants of a dreamless sleep. Eyes closed, he was loath to move and leave the unusually warm and peaceful cocoon he was floating in, as the sounds of traffic and other human activity filtered into his bedroom. Becoming more aware, a thump followed by a curse from above told him Cordelia was in the office, and the warm breath on his face told him ... wait.

Heavy eyelids still closed, resisting his weak attempts to open them, Angel catalogued some startling facts that until this moment he hadn't been fully conscious of. One of his legs was thrown over a firm, silky thigh, one of his arms held a warm body close, very close to his chest, and puffs of sweet air on his face told him that a pair of lips were close to his own.

Sliding his arm gently up the other person's back, caressing it through the thin fabric that covered it, Angel's lips curved into a smile as he inched forward and pressed them against a soft, receptive mouth. 'What a wonderful dream...'


I will come for you at night time
I will raise you from your sleep

***

'What a wonderful dream...' Buffy thought, as her mind registered a gentle, familiar kiss to her mouth. Last night climbing into her cold, empty bed, she had felt so depressed as she listened to Willow's steady and untroubled breathing across the dorm room. But now ... she hadn't had this dream in a while, and despite what she told herself in broad daylight, she had missed it. She had missed imagining this tender embrace, these hands roaming over her body setting it alight at their touch, missed this incredible feeling of happiness and peace. But most of all she missed him.

As his kisses stilled momentarily, allowing her to draw in necessary air, his name emerged at the front of her mind.

"Angel," she breathed, as her eyelids fluttered open.


I will kiss you in four places
I'll go running along your street

***

Pulling ever so slightly away form her delicious mouth, Angel opened his eyes to see Buffy's head close to his on the pillow, her smooth skin flushed faintly pink.

"Angel," she breathed as her eyelids fluttered open, presenting him with the hazel gems beneath them. The way she said his name, the way she breathed it as if the word itself was as essential to her existence as oxygen - it caused a pang in his chest as he remembered happier days. Days of companionship and laughter and love. But those days were long gone, and all he had left to him were dreams like this.

Pressing his lips to hers again, more firmly this time, Angel was determined to enjoy this unusually vivid dream for as long as he could. Though he fantasised often of such situations, the dream world was only a dull, lightweight depiction of reality, so it was strange that Buffy's lips tasted so sweet to him. It was strange that this shifting of her body against his felt so real, strange that her gentle moan as his hand swept over her unusually warm body rang so true, even as Cordelia could be heard clomping down the stairs...

"What the hell?" Cordelia's strident voice rang out as she watched a shocked Buffy and Angel look at her in surprise, glance back at each other, and then spring apart to opposite sides of the bed in shock.


I will squeeze the life out of you
You will make me laugh and make me cry

***

Buffy shut the door behind her as she slid into her room, grateful that Willow had forgotten to lock it when she had left for her morning full of lectures. Flopping onto her rumpled bed, she gazed at the ceiling as her mind struggled to process what had happened earlier that morning.

She had repeated Cordelia's shocked 'What the hell?' as she had looked at Angel across an expanse of unfamiliar sheets. The delightful dream kisses and caresses had turned out to be a frightening reality that placed her somehow in Angel's bed in LA. After denying Cordelia's outraged accusations of sneaking into unsuspecting vampires' beds at night, Buffy gazed helplessly at Angel as she tried to understand how, having gone to sleep in her dorm in Sunnydale, she had woken up here in, of all people's beds, his.

After a short spell of tense silence, Angel had begun to postulate theories involving demons and spells, weakly trying to offer a plausible explanation. An uncomfortable expression had remained on his face as she had scrambled out from under the covers, tugging the baggy t-shirt she wore further down her exposed thighs as she stood up, asking about the possibility of a change of clothes. Ducking out of the room she had changed into an outfit Cordelia kept handy in the event of a demon goo emergency, before begging a bus fare from a silent Angel. As he quietly handed the money, her eyes had shifted nervously away from his intense gaze, her hand retreating quickly to her side after coming into contact with his fingers. The early bus ride back to Sunnydale had been a mass of contradictions, her brain running at a mile a minute but producing no rational thought, her body numb but acutely aware of the sensations it had only recently experienced.

And now she lay on her bed, having hurried there straight from the bus station, hoping to avoid any familiar faces. On seeing her empty bed upon waking, Willow would just have assumed she had left for a jog, or to pick up a shot of mocha to kick start her day. There was no need to explain to her, or Giles, or anyone at all what had happened.

When she had woken up in Angel's arms a few hours earlier, she had thought it a dream, and that was how it would stay, a dream. A strange, wonderful, electrifying, terrifying dream, one to push to the back of her mind as she went on with her positive, happy life. One to put down to unexplainable Hellmouthy phenomena, and forget completely.


And we will never forget it
You will make me call your name
And I'll shout it to the blue summer sky

***

"Buffy!" Riley pulled his door open wide, stepping aside to let her into his room as a delighted smile stretched his mouth. Kicking the door closed he put his hands on her shoulders, leaning down to kiss her and glad that she didn't flinch at his touch as she had lately.

"Hi," Buffy replied, stepping back to an arms length distance. Slipping her backpack from her shoulders, she dropped it on the cheap carpet as she wandered about the room, pausing at the window to look out at the night sky.

"I'm surprised to see you," Riley said as he moved to stand next to her. "Not that I'm upset or anything, I'm really happy that you're here. I just haven't seen you for a few days after that thing with Jonathon's altered reality, I know you wanted some space..."

"Can I stay here tonight?" Buffy asked, interrupting his rambling. After a moment of surprised hesitation, Riley smiled broadly.

"Sure, yes, sure! Of course you can! Oh Buffy," he said as he moved to take her in his arms, "You don't know how much I've missed you. I know that you've been upset about the Faith thing, but I'm glad that you've realised that it wasn't my fault, and that we can go back to the way things were." Riley leaned down to kiss her, but Buffy put her hand on his chest, pushing him away before any lip to lip contact was made.

"No." Buffy took a small step backwards. "I don't mean 'Can I stay here?' as in 'Hey stud, I'm in the mood for some hot lovin' ', but 'Can I stay here?' as in 'Can I stay here - sleeping, just sleeping, with you?' " Riley tried masterfully to conceal the disappointment that flickered across his face, before replacing it with a hopeful, reassuring smile.

"Ok, sure. Just sleeping, I'm fine with that. I was just about to head to bed myself." Buffy nodded, and moved over to her backpack, rummaging around in it for a pair of pyjamas. Flannel top and bottom in hand, she turned to look at Riley, her expression expectant.

"What? Oh." Riley's face fell as he realised that Buffy didn't want to get changed in front of him. "Right. I'll er ... I'm just going to go clean my teeth." Buffy silently watched him walk out the door, before quickly changing into the pyjamas, and sliding into Riley's bed. As her head hit the pillow, she tried to quash the uneasiness she felt at being there.

Ever since Riley had slept with Faith, while the brunette slayer had been occupying her body, Buffy hadn't been able to relax around him. Part of her accepted the fact that he believed it was her he was making love to, but the other, more insistent part was hurt and angry that he didn't realise it wasn't her.

And so she had been keeping him at arm's length - a very long-armed person's arm's length, uncomfortable and unhappy with the relationship. But now ... Buffy looked up as Riley came back into the room ... now she needed to remind herself what her life was about. So as Riley got into bed beside her and tentatively curling his body around hers, Buffy forced herself to relax as he threw a heavy arm across her waist, accepting his awkward embrace.

'Riley - my boyfriend's name is Riley,' she thought to herself as she drifted off to sleep. 'It's Riley's arm around me, Riley's body next to mine. Riley is my boyfriend, Riley, Riley..."

***

And you will throw your arms around me
You will throw your arms around me


"Angel," Buffy moaned, in between his passionate kisses. One of her hands was trapped between their two bodies, while the other trailed over his bare chest and back, reacquainting itself with the smooth, cool contours of naked muscle and flesh.

She sighed again as he transferred his kisses to her neck, his hand tangling briefly in her curly hair before sliding down her back. 'I'm in heaven,' she thought as his hand drifted around to her front, slowly moving upwards to cup a warm, full breast through her flannel top. At that intimate touch Buffy gasped, breathless as her eyes shot open.

"Angel?" As her eyes ran over the room she was in - one that definitely didn't belong to her commando boyfriend, Buffy tried to draw his attention away from the hollow of her throat that he was so absorbed with. However his activities there meant that his name came out more as a throaty moan than as a demanding question. Steeling herself against the shivers of delight running through her body, Buffy tried his name once more.


We may never meet again
So shed your skin and let's get started

***

"Angel!" Buffy's worried tone pulled Angel back to reality and he stilled, his mouth pausing just millimetres away from her delectable skin. Reluctantly he drew away, his hands leaving her warm body as he met her worried gaze.

"It happened again." His tone was flat as he acknowledged that once more his dream had turned into reality, Buffy somehow ending up in his bed hours away from Sunnydale. Rolling away from her Angel sat up, slipping his legs off the bed, sitting with his back to Buffy to avoid the tempting sight of her lying between his rumpled sheets. Head bowed, he ran his hands through his hair, fighting down bitter disappointment that he couldn't wake up this way everyday, making tender, passionate love to the woman he adored more than anything.

"We're going to have to do something about this," he sighed. "Make sure it doesn't happen again." Behind him Buffy remained silent, and Angel took that as a sign of tacit agreement. Grateful that he had worn boxers to bed, he stood and walked from the room, not turning around so Buffy wouldn't see just how much her presence affected him, both emotionally and physically.


I dreamed of you at night time
And I watched you in your sleep

***

"So you're saying that you went to sleep here in Sunnydale, but woke up in Los Angeles, in Angel's bed?" Giles questioned, quite stunned at what his former charge had just revealed to him.

"Yep, that's about the gist of it," Buffy agreed, as she strolled around Giles' living room, her hands tapping nervously on her thighs.

"Twice."

"Uh huh."

"And you didn't go there deliberately?"

"Nope." There was a pause.

"And Angel didn't come and ..."

"Giles!" The ex-watcher looked suitable chastened as Buffy emphatically denied his suggestion of kidnapping on Angel's part. "Neither of us ... we didn't plan ..." Buffy struggled to explain the unexplainable. "I don't know how I got there. When I woke up in Angel's bed, I though I was dreaming." Buffy blushed as she remembered exactly how pleasant the 'dreams' had been. Catching the expression on her face, Giles cleared his throat uncomfortably, removing his glasses and cleaning them with a handkerchief he pulled from his pocket.

"Er, you and Angel, you didn't ..." Buffy's embarrassed, pointed look silenced Giles' awkward question. "Quite, quite." He nodded his head, returning the glasses to the bridge of his nose. "Well naturally I shall look into this, try to understand how and why you are relocating while asleep, so we can prevent any further occurrences." There was silence for a moment.

"And you won't tell anyone?" Buffy asked, her worried eyes meeting those of her ex-watcher.

"No Buffy, not if you don't wish it."

"Good."


I met you in high places
I touched your head and touched your feet

***

Tossing an extra blanket over the end of her bed in case of a late night chill, Buffy lifted up the covers and climbed into bed, her lace-edged satin nightgown riding up a little as she sought to get comfortable. The lovely gown, a gift from her mother last Christmas, wasn't something she often wore to bed, but her pyjamas had been in need of a wash. That was the only reason she was wearing it - certainly not because it was more attractive on her than a pair of flannelette pjs. It was strictly to do with cleanliness - which after all is next to godliness.

Despite her best efforts at avoidance during the day, Riley had caught up with her, cornering her not long ago in her dorm. He had returned her backpack she had taken to his room the night before, a little upset that she hadn't woken him before she left. Coming up with a weak apology, Buffy then had to feign extreme exhaustion as Riley angled for an invitation to stay. Luckily he had taken the hint, after much exaggerated yawning, and he had left promising to drop by the next day.

Rolling on to her back Buffy told herself that the reason she hadn't wanted her boyfriend to stay was that she really was tired. Two long bus trips in as many days would have a draining affect on anybody, slayer or no. Otherwise she would have been happy to have him stay. Very happy. Satisfied with that logic, Buffy turned on to her side, her eyes closing and her lips curving into a small smile as she anticipated the night, and its morning after, ahead.


So if you disappear out of view
You know I will never say goodbye

***

Angel gazed at the ceiling of his bedroom, listening to the whirring of a garbage truck in an alley alongside his building. He had been awake for almost half an hour, too scared to move in case Buffy woke. Her head was nestled against one of his shoulders, her body pressed to his side while one hand lay on his chest, clasped in one of his own. Every now and then she fidgeted in her sleep, her golden hair tickling his chin as her warm cheek moved slightly against his skin. His free hand rested on her back, and Angel felt a sense of contentment so deep that he was almost scared for the safety of his soul.

So it was with some relief, as well as some disappointment, that he watched Buffy come awake, a particularly loud bang from the garbage men jolting her from her slumber. Her head lifted, her drowsy eyes meeting his, and she leaned forward automatically, kissing him gently before coming fully awake.

"Sorry about that," Buffy said, her tone betraying that she wasn't entirely apologetic. Angel found that he couldn't take his eyes off her, as she propped herself up on one elbow next to him.

"You seem to be making quite a habit of this," he said by way of reply, his own tone indicating that he wasn't entirely unhappy with the fact. Almost without thinking, his hand rose and he trailed a finger down the curve of her cheek.

"Cordelia's going to kill me when I ask her for more clothes," Buffy smiled. "You might have to clean out a drawer for some of my stuff." The air between them was immediately tense, and Buffy winced as her words recalled a similar conversation from the past, and its heartbreaking aftermath.

"Have you had any luck with research?" Angel rolled out of bed, quickly pulling on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt.

"Giles is looking into it, nothing yet." Buffy followed his lead, looking uncomfortable as she stood awkwardly next to the bed.

"Wesley and I haven't had any luck..." Angel gulped as he took in the creamy satin gown she wore, and prayed for self-control. "We'll double our efforts."


And though I try to forget it
You will make me call your name
And I'll shout it to the blue summer sky

***

"It happened again?" Giles had been enjoying a leisurely read of the morning paper when Buffy knocked on his door. "I must say this is getting to be quite serious."

"I'll say. Cordelia made me swear upon pain of death that I wouldn't stain this skirt." Buffy sat down on the couch, opposite a quite concerned Giles. "And I have to keep borrowing money from Angel for the bus fare..." she recalled how his fingers had reluctantly let hers go after handing over some notes, "...I can't keep doing that."

"Hmm. And Angel hasn't got any clue as to what could be causing this?"

"Nope. He and Wesley have been researching, but they haven't found anything."

"Well, I'm afraid my reading hasn't been any more fruitful." Giles moved to his desk and thumbed through one of the leather bound tomes piled there. "I cannot find a reference to a similar occurrence in any of the standard texts or watcher diaries. There is an account of one fourteenth century slayer who believed she had the power of translocation, but it turned out she was under the hallucinatory spell of a Krylit demon, and that species was wiped out by disease in the 1740's."

"Oh well, I'm sure you'll come up with something." Buffy shrugged. "You always do."

"Buffy, I did have a thought," Giles said quietly, "But I'm afraid you might not like it." She looked at him expectantly.

"What?"

"Well, while the details are naturally not exactly the same, it did cross my mind that this could be the work of the First. Of course, this time you aren't actually sharing dreams ... you're not are you?" Giles asked curiously.

"No." Buffy's heart plummeted at the thought of the First being involved.

"Well then, even though the modus operandi may differ, it is possible that the intent is the same. That is, to tempt Angel ... well that is to say you and Angel ... to encourage you to involve yourselves in..."

"It's ok Giles, I get the picture." Seeing the slayer's slumped shoulders and weary expression, he attempted to look on the bright side.

"But of course, that is only a theory, and there could be any number of possible explanations that I simply haven't found yet. Which is why I would like to call the others to assist me in researching."

"No!"

"Buffy, I understand your reluctance, but you must consider ..."

"No. Giles, I don't want the others to know about this. We'll figure it out between the two of us." Buffy could imagine her friends' reaction to the situation, especially Xander's, and she didn't have the strength to deal with them right now. Giles watched thoughtfully as she rose from the couch and paced anxiously in rings about the furniture.

"Have you discussed this at all with Riley?" he queried gently.

"No," Buffy snorted, shaking her head. How could she tell her boyfriend that she was somehow waking up each day in the arms of her ex-lover, who, she was starting to admit to herself, she was still in love with? How could she tell Riley that she was trying to find a way to stop it happening, when secretly she couldn't wait to go to sleep at night - half hoping she would awaken at Angel's touch?


We may never meet again
So shed your skin and let's get started

***

Angel gazed into Buffy's luminous eyes, their heads resting close together on the pillow as they lay quietly side-by-side. Every now and then he would lean forward, pressing a gentle kiss to her lips, or accepting one of her sweet touches in return. His hand resting on her exposed shoulder, Angel pulled back from a particularly tender kiss, and memorised the contours of her serene face. Her eyes remained closed, and a tear emerged from under her lashes, slowly trickling down her cheek. His brow furrowed, Angel softly brushed the tear away with the back of his hand, concerned at her troubled mood.

"Buffy," he said softly. "Buffy, tell me what's wrong?" It was some moments before she answered.

"It's just ... I wish ..." Buffy sniffled, "I wish we could wake up like this every day." Angel sighed, as her eyelids lifted and he met her sad gaze.

"I know love, I know."

"It's just not fair!" Buffy cried, as she sat up in the bed. "Why should everyone else get to be happy except us? I worked so hard to forget you, but I just couldn't." Angel sat up next to her, and held her hand. "Angel, nothing's the same since you left. I tried so hard ... I really thought I was doing well ... but these last few mornings with you showed me how wrong I was. And no matter how much I love waking up next to you, I can't keep doing it, because it makes not being together that much harder to take. Giles thinks the First might be causing this, and maybe he's right, because being here with you makes me forget all the reasons we shouldn't be together."

"Shh, shh." As Buffy erupted into sobs, Angel took her in his arms, resting her head on his shoulder as he stroked her back. He couldn't stand to see her so upset. And she was right. No matter how perfect the past four mornings had been, close to each other in the hazy moments before full consciousness, the inevitable partings were just too painful. Each day she had left, and he had spent the next hours in depressed remembrance, slipping back between the sheets to envelop himself in her scent for as long as it lingered there.

Buffy lifted her head, and stared into his tortured eyes. Suddenly wrapping her arms around his neck she pulled him to her, desperately kissing him with passionate abandon. Knowing it was possibly the last embrace they would share made it bittersweet, and Angel eagerly returned her kiss, before burying his head in the crook of her neck.

"I'll find out what's making this happen, and I'll stop it."


And you will throw your arms around me
Yeah you will throw your arms around me

***

"What have you brought us, Warrior?"

"A jade necklace." The trinket left Angel's hand and flew through the air, landing in the female Oracle's outstretched hand. Smiling as she examined the gift, the Oracle then turned her gaze to the anxious vampire who stood before her and her counterpart in their otherworldy chamber. "Why have you summoned us?"

"Buffy ... the slayer. She's been waking up in my bed each morning, somehow being transferred there during the night from her home in Sunnydale." The male Oracle looked bored at this statement.

"Yes, we are aware of this."

"I need to know what's causing this." Angel began to pace back and forth in front of the two supernatural beings. "I need to know how to stop it from happening."

"A force far greater than yourself is the architect." Angel halted at those words, almost afraid to voice his next question.

"Is it the First?" The Oracles paused, their heads tilting to one side as if listening to a sound only they could hear.

"The First is not the cause," the female declared. Angel sighed in relief.

"Then what is? I have to find a way to stop it happening, because waking up next to her..." he swallowed, "...it's just too hard, for both of us."

"You cannot prevent these occurrences, until you understand and accept their purpose."

"Purpose?" Angel was confused. "What purpose?"

"This is not the work of the First, but rather its counterpart - its balance on the side of the Light."

"So you're saying that this is being caused by the Powers That Be?" The Oracles nodded in response.

"But why? Why would the Powers do this, when they know that only bad things can come from Buffy and I being together?"

"Do you remember the Dark Warrior's words?"

"Dark Warrior?" Something clicked in Angel's mind. "The Mohra demon ... it said together we are powerful, alone we are dead."

"And it is to this purpose that you are being drawn together, just as you were lifted from Hell by way of the slayer's love - to unite and forge a powerful weapon against the Dark." Angel was silent for a moment, as he digested this news. It was not the First who had dragged him from Hell to do ill, but rather a force for good, powered by Buffy's generous love. It was so tempting to accept the Oracles' resolution that they should be together, but he knew that it wouldn't work.

"But what about the curse? We can't be together if it endangers Buffy's life, and others."

"The curse is no more." Angel stared at them in shock.

"What?" he barely managed to croak.

"With your noble sacrifice of humanity, your soul was bound," the female answered. "It cannot be torn from you again." Angel was still as a multitude of emotions swept through him. Joy and hope and sadness battled for dominance as he thought of what he and Buffy could have, and what he had given up. But something just didn't add up.

"But, Angelus was in control of my body - how could that happen if my soul is bound?"

"The drug that was used left you vulnerable to the demon's suggestion, and because you believed it possible, he was dominant temporarily. But your soul did not leave your body, and it will continue to remain in control now that you know the truth. The demon holds no power over you."

"But..."

"Go," the male Oracle commanded. "We have told you all there is to know. Do not trouble us with this matter again." And with the wave of his hand, Angel was thrown backwards, landing hard on his back in the shadowy cavern beneath the post office.


Hold me
Hold me

***

Buffy gradually came awake, her eyes opening and adjusting to minimal light in the room. Through the darkness she could see the outline of Willow's empty bed, and her heart was heavy as she realised she was in her own single bed on campus. The curtains were closed against the dawn and Buffy was glad, because she didn't think she could stand the early morning light shining in on her.

Tears welled in her eyes unbidden, and she could not summon the energy to wipe them away. Though her mind knew that she couldn't continue to see Angel, her soul cried out at the loss of his touch, and her heart twisted within her at his absence.

Suddenly the mattress shifted behind her, and an arm wrapped itself around her waist, drawing her close to a firm body. Buffy froze. It's comforting, familiar presence didn't feel like Riley's, and she didn't remember inviting him to stay last night. Heart pounding, hope growing despite her best efforts to control it, Buffy turned ... to see Angel's brown eyes staring back at her. Tears now rolled freely down her cheeks, and her mind was blank with shock as he gathered her close in his arms, pressing his lips to hers.

"How?" Buffy managed to whisper between kisses. "How is this possible?" Angel pulled back to look at her, his eyes shining as he radiated happiness.

"The Powers That Be ... they did this, to bring us together."

"But why?" She could barely believe that this was happening.

"Together we are powerful, alone we are dead."

"The curse?"

"Gone." Buffy burrowed her head against Angel's chest, sobs racking her small frame as she tried to process her emotions. Finally ... after so much heartache ... after so much pain and loss, they could finally be together. Lifting her head again Buffy smiled into Angel's loving eyes through her tears, his answering smile more beautiful than anything she had ever seen.

"How did it happen?"

"My sacrifice, they deemed it ... me, worthy."

"Sacrifice?"

"I'll explain later." Rolling her to her back, settling his weight above her, Angel cupped her cheek in his hand and lowered his mouth to engage hers in a passionate kiss. Buffy's body thrilled in anticipation, her heart threatening to burst at the joy she felt. "Now," Angel whispered, "Now all I want to do is love you."


Yeah you will throw your arms around me
And you will throw your arms around me

***



Sappy, I know. I'm not too sure about my fluff writing skills, so please let me know what you thought.