A/N: There are some scenes in here that are, as the story already states, PG 13, or T.
The morning dawned on the former, but never really ex, lovers. They had fallen asleep in each other's arms and Angel hated the fact that he couldn't be with her every night. They had spent barely any time together at all on this visit, and after the insanely long wait in between the times that they last saw each other, Angel was extremely pissed at the prospect of leaving. It was killing him to think about the fact that he very nearly died two weeks ago, and the love of his life hadn't spoken to him in over a year. Why did all things crappy have to happen? After everything that Angel fought for, Connor still ended up remembering the life Angel so dearly wanted to gift him with forgetting, he still lost some of his closest friends through the years, every relationship he'd ever had crashed and burned, he saved the world countless times and in the process lost any chance of becoming human, which was ironically the terms to him becoming human in the first place. Everything Angel touched turned to ash; every person he had met on a personal level came out worse and more tinged with pain after the experience than before it.
"What's wrong?" Buffy's quiet voice broke through the vampire's thoughts. He hadn't noticed that she was awake.
Angel gave her a comforting smile but didn't respond.
"I've known you for nearly a decade. And maybe that's not a lot in comparison to your nearly three hundred years alive but to me that means I've known you for almost as long as I haven't. So don't try to patronize me with that smile, I know something's bothering you." Buffy somewhat crossly said.
Angel let out a small laugh, but seeing her eyes full of her signature stubbornness, he admitted, "I was just thinking…"
"Nothing good can come from you starting a sentence like that." Buffy flatly interjected.
Angel flashed her another smile but continued on, "I was thinking and you want to know what the truth is? Nothing I've done has turned out completely right, for all my intentions I've done more bad than good."
"You spent most of your vampire life as a soulless monster, and most of your human life as a drunken immature Irish jerk." Buffy stated.
"Tell me how this is going to make me feel better?" Angel raised an eyebrow.
"I'm getting to that." She grinned. "You may have spent a good chunk of time being a bad ass but when it comes down to it, you've been the best person I've ever seen. Angelus was a beast. You are not. There is a clear difference, Angel. Your soul makes you who and what you are, and since getting it you've tried, worked on, done, so much good. And you've never once hesitated in sacrificing your own happiness, well being, even life, to help those around you."
"First of all, for a while after I got my soul I was pretty much a rat-eating hobo." Angel pointed out. "And despite anything I may have wanted or tried, people have still died and been hurt since I walked in their lives. No one who knows me can say that they haven't had some awful things happen to them since they met me."
"You are such a drama queen." Buffy lightly swatted his arm. "Shit happens. You can't say that anything bad that's happened to people you know is your fault."
"A lot of it is." He shrugged, giving her a look at the drama queen remark.
"You really can't have a conversation like this to me and expect me to agree with you. So stop trying to convince me, because I think you're forgetting who you're talking to." She smiled.
"You're the clear example of what I'm saying is right." Angel sighed. "Buffy, you know how much I love you, you know how much I would rather shoulder every sadness that you've ever had for myself. But after I came to you, I broke your heart, led you to running away, led a certain duo of vampires into town that until recently bothered the crap out of you, and started you on your path to being cynical and shutting your heart off."
"You're not getting it, are you? You're going to make me spell it out." She shook her head and looked down at her hands in a shy gesture she hadn't resorted to in years. "It's because of your love that I've made it through this far. You gave me the strength to carry on; you supported me when I was first starting out as a slayer. It wasn't your fault that I was immature and ran away. It wasn't your fault that Dru is a creepy and insane, and if I hadn't been forced to push you into a hell dimension, which by the way, is worse than anything you could ever do to me, I would never have been able to have the strength to make tough choices that I'd have to inevitably make. The fact is I wouldn't be who I am today if you weren't in my life. I'd probably not even be alive; you've saved my life every time I needed to have it saved. You've saved my life in every way that I could possibly have it saved."
"You've been watching Titanic, haven't you?" Angel smirked.
"Shut up, DiCaprio is hot." Buffy said defensively. "Look, the point I'm trying to drive into that skull of yours is, do you really think I'd ever wish that I'd never met you? Even the darkest of times can't overshadow the light you shone on my world. Tell me, do you wish that you had never met me?"
"Of course not," he answered. "But sometimes I wonder if you would have been better off."
"Stop guilting yourself, it's things like this that's led you into becoming such a broody tortured person. I wouldn't change a thing in our history of knowing each other, except perhaps I would have tried harder to make you stay in Sunnydale, or booked a flight to LA right when you left and dragged your ass back." She told him with a small smile.
"You would've kept the whole losing-your-virginity-and-subsquently-causing-me-to-lose-my-soul-and-become-a-sadistic-monster thing?" Angel crossed his arms.
"That was really crappy." Buffy said thoughtfully. "And I wish with all my heart that I could have changed the way that ended… if Will had completed the spell just a moment faster or I had been able to delay you for just that extra moment… But, and here's a little ego boost for you, I've never had a night that great in my life."
"You're saying sleeping with me was worth all that?" Angel raised his eyebrows in disbelief, though a self-satisfied smirk was working its way onto his features.
"So, how long can you stay here?" Buffy brightly asked. The downcast look on his face spoke volumes. "…You're staying at least until the end of the week, right?"
"Buffy…" Angel looked down.
"Don't 'Buffy' me, we barely hung out and I'll knock you unconscious if you try to leave earlier than a week." She threatened.
"On any other girl, that'd be an empty threat," he laughed. "Look, I'd love to stay but I've got to get back-"
"Why? From what I've heard, Willow's got things under control and there isn't anything that needs doing. You're just trying to make up an excuse to leave."
"You're right, I am. Because this isn't a good idea. The longer I stay the harder it will be to leave and the worse it'll make us both feel." Angel flatly told her. "I thought about staying for a bit longer but after talking to you, I realize I just can't."
"Angel-" she protested.
"It'll be too hard." He swallowed, his eyes betraying the pain he was feeling.
"You just got here." She murmured, looking like a little girl who just got told that Santa wasn't real.
"I'm sorry, Buffy." Angel sighed.
"It's broad day light, you can't leave anyways." She said, switching to logic.
Angel gestured to his huge leather duster. "This'll provide enough cover, there's an underground tunnel that's not too far from here."
"I don't understand why you can't just stay a few more hours until the sun sets." She crossed her arms.
"I'll see you around."
"Don't you fucking say that!" Buffy snapped, her temper officially ignited. She grabbed onto his arm and yanked him back onto the bed. "Last time you left it took over a year for you to see me again and I'm not some girl you took on a date and are now proceeding to shake off, don't say that to me."
"I'll call." He promised. Buffy narrowed her eyes and twisted his arm around.
"Stay until the sun sets." She ordered.
"You've gotten mean." He commented.
"I miss you." She shrugged, expertly keeping a knee on him so that he couldn't use his legs either.
"Fine. I'll stay. But when I leave at sunset, you can't try to get me to stay." Angel caved.
"Fine." She smiled. Both of them knew that he could've gotten Buffy off of him, her grip wasn't tight because she didn't want to hurt him, but Angel didn't want to leave much, either, and though a part of him was exasperated at her somewhat childish tactics, most of him was pleased that she wanted him to stay that badly.
"So, what do you do around here?" Angel asked a whilelater after Buffy had quickly gotten the pair of them some coffee for her and some blood for him.
"In this musty old place? Mainly channel surf and call every number I know to check up on everyone." She said, sounding more than a little lonely. "I've been to each of the stores anywhere near here more times than I can count. And I'd like to take this opportunity to give you hell for not asking me togo down to L.A. when Will did."
"I didn't do the asking, I didn't even know Willow was going to be there!" Angel held his hands up. "And you're the one who shooed me off when I wanted to stay and help you out with the first."
"True." She relented.
"So, what do you want to do?" Angel cocked his head.
"There's not a lot to do," Buffy admitted. "And especially since our list is cut short since we happen to be able to turn almost any activity into a steamy one."
"That's not my fault." Angel grinned.
Buffy laughed. Then she suggested, "Wait. I think I know something that needs doing and that no one on this earth could make sexy."
"…What do you have in mind?" Angel cautiously asked.
A half hour later, Angel was on his hands and knees and groaning.
"I can't believe you wanted to clean." Angel exclaimed. (What were you thinking it was?)
"It's got to be done, and hey, this way we can talk and be productive at the same time!" she cheerfully said from her perch on the windowsill.
"It looks like a thinly veiled attempt to make me do your dirty work." He pointed out.
"Oooh we should totally paint this room! I've got some brushes and paint just over there!" Buffy ignored his remark.
Angel gave the girl a look but picked up a brush. He couldn't say no to her. Besides, she looked really good in the clichéd overalls. The two worked for a few minutes, Angel grumbling and Buffy grinning when she suddenly tripped over the newspaper covering the ground and accidentally ran her brush over Angel's bare arm.
"Oh I'm so sorry-" she laughed. But she wasn't done falling yet and proceeded to elbow him in the arm before falling into him, causing both of them to fall hard on the floor.
"You've gotten so coordinated." Angel wryly commented.
"I'm still holding a wet brush." She cocked her eyebrow up and with an evil grin she put identical paint marks on both his cheeks. "The green really suits your skin tone."
Angel let out a laugh that turned into a string of laughter that infected Buffy into a fit too. Angel was a serious guy, so you've got to understand the rareness of the occasion. Then again, it wasn't usual you'd find him lying on his back with paint dripping down his face. He reached out and flicked some paint on Buffy's face while she was shaking with laughter and it turned into an all out paint war.
"What are we, six?" Buffy snorted as the two slipped to the ground upon realizing that the paint canister was officially empty. She had green and white paint streaks across her face, over her clothes, and decorating her shoes. Angel had wisely avoided dumping any on her hair.
"May as well be." Angel grinned as he leaned over the blonde and wrenched the brush out of her hand, lest she discover that there was still some paint on it. He looked down at her multi-coloured face and a genuine smile came onto his features and made him look years younger.
"You should really smile more often." Buffy said, stroking his cheek.
"I smile more when I'm with you then I do in a month." Angel remarked. He looked into her clear blue eyes and in a day where they had both lost most adult thoughts and given into childish impulses, he bent down and softly touched her lips with his own. He pulled back and smiled again at the girl, feeling happier than he had been in a long time. His eyes looked over her messy hair, the mischievous smile on her face, the colourful overalls… and with a jolt he realized she wasn't wearing a shirt underneath the loose overalls. "We shouldn't be doing this." He instantly said, looking away from the gorgeous blonde as he began to get up.
But Buffy's hand found his face and she pulled him back to her, kissing him back softly at first, the softness gave way to the feeling of loneliness a year of being apart brought upon them and in a heartbeat their lips were crushing against each others furiously. Feeling a bit as if this was as necessary to living as air itself, Buffy clung to the vampire and ran her hands through his mussed hair, her lips pressed against his in an intensely passionate technique. She took his hand and placed it in the middle of where her overalls ended and the skin beside her breast began. In a mad fire of desire, lust, and love, the two held on to each other, their hands wandering aimlessly yet with a determined purpose, their lips pressing everywhere and anywhere they could reach. This lasted for who knows how long, both of them were breathless and suddenly Buffy worked Angel's shirt off and caressed his bare chest. This was going very fast and very powerfully, heading into extremely dangerous territory.
Angel had slipped off the buckle of Buffy's overalls and was now pressed against her collar bone and working down. The woman, meanwhile, had her hands fidgeting with Angel's belt and she had undone it in a moment, her hands unbuttoning, unzippering, and pulling down his pants. It wasn't until her hands were dipping under the elastic to his boxers and the entire top half of her overalls were no longer covering her, his lips going over her, that Angel came to his senses. He pulled himself off of her, and gently took her hand in his and lifted it away.
With a jerk, he pushed off Buffy and managed to say, "We really can't do this-"
Buffy was trying to catch her breath and her hand was playing with Angel's still uncovered back.
"No-" Angel shook his head, tenderly turning back to face the girl and putting her buckles back on. "This-this is why I knew I had to leave earlier."
Buffy sat up and put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "It's okay."
"No, it seriously isn't-" he shut his eyes and reopened them.
He kept his back turned on the girl as he pulled fresh clothes on and when he turned around again he found that she had on paint-free clothes as well.
"I'm sorry." He told her.
"No, don't apologize." Buffy shook her head. "It was my fault. I shouldn't have gone that far, when I knew you couldn't-"
"See, this is why you've got to be with someone else. You deserve to be with someone who can-" Angel painfully began.
Buffy just walked over to him and gave the man a tight hug. After a moment of this comforting silence, Buffy joked, "Even when I'm not a teenager anymore I'm still as hormonal as one. I guess this is what one calls going overboard."
"Balance doesn't register to us, I'm guessing." Angel softly said. "Either we go too far or we never see each other."
Buffy shut her eyes and a tear fell from her eyes. "I wish it wasn't like this."
"Me too." Angel said, swallowing heavily as he felt the tear drop from her face. Hating to see her in pain, Angel hoped to ease it by suggesting light-heartedly, "Do you want to see a movie?"
Buffy looked out past the curtains and said, "But the sun's set, you don't have to stay anymore."
"I know." Angel smiled. He held out his arm and gestured to the door. "How about it?"
"I'd love to." She answered, leaning against him.
"Let's pretend nothing is the way it is. Let's just be a young couple, in love, going out together. Just for tonight." Buffy pleaded.
The handsome vampire nodded and gave her a smile, wrapping his free arm around her shoulders protectively. If nothing else, Angel was going to give her as close to a normal date as he could.
In a moment, the two discussed brightly and evasively what kind of movie to see, both having become experts at ignoringwhat they didn't want to see through the years. They were okay with just enjoying each others company and for the moment, niether wanted to think about what nearly happened, and about Angel's departure which would be coming much too soon.
A/N: I'm very sorry it took so bloody long for this to come up! Thanks for reviewing, I hope you guys are still interested in this story after all these months. The Oz/Will relationship will be mentioned again, I just wanted to focus on Buffy and Angel for now, but the focus will pan to L.A.