Summary: Set about a year after Not Fade Away. Angel's not happy, neither is Buffy. But she comes to town and needs his help and he just needs her. Not a great summary, but let me know if I should finish it up.
Disclaimers: Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon own it all.
This is the last chapter, hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed working on it. I may write a sequel to this one, kinda came up while working on this. Thanks to all who reviewed, especially thekorapersonality, your input really helped
Buffy stood in front of the window, staring at nothing. Breathe, just breathe. One breath, then the next. I can do this, she thought. Are things really all that different? Okay, some things are different, strange. But she was still Buffy. She was still a slayer, still had a sister, still loved Angel. She had come back different, not wrong, just different.
Angel was sitting on the edge of the bed, waiting. When he had told her about the demon he wasn't sure what to expect. But he had expected a reaction of some kind. Yelling, denial, crying, items thrown across the room. But not this, not nothing. So he waited, afraid to leave.
"You can relax. I'm not gonna jump out the window. Even if I did, it's really not that much of a drop." She turned to face him.
"This had nothing to do with all the wiggin I went through when I came back Angel. I mean, it would be great to blame all my crazy on the demon, but I really don't think so."
He just looked at her and listened.
"I know I can be the queen of denial sometimes, but I made some really stupid conscious decisions back then. Key word being conscious. I accept it Angel. I take full responsibility for all of it. Even that stupid cookie dough analogy a couple of years ago. Buffy in all her Buffy-girl glory."
"Now?" She walked over and sat next to him. "Now, things are making sense to me. I know I'm me but I also know that I'm more, different. I can stop fighting me. I stopped looking for normal a long time ago, so this is really appropriate for me, don't ya think? It's really weird, should I feel the bad in this demon, 'cause I really don't." She leaned into him and Angel put his arms around her. "I feel sorta... free? Does that make any sense?"
"Knowledge is freedom, babe. The truth, all that stuff. This may sound weird, but not all demons are bad, evil. I mean, it's not all black and white, Buff. Not all demons are like Angelus. But you know that, you've met some. They live in different dimensions, they live lives. The one in you, well, we could spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out what it is, but it really doesn't matter 'cause it's a part of you now. You know Cordelia had to become part demon to survive her visions, it helped her. Maybe…I don't know babe, you've made it through the last three years."
"I can't believe how well I'm taking all this. Maybe I'm in shock? I suppose part of it is it's just such a relief to know I'm not crazy, well not insane. I guess this explains the dreams. I thought it was just wishful dreaming. I do dream about you, a lot. And with intensity, but these dreams, wow!"
"I know. So, now what babe?" He whispered into her ear.
She shook her head. "I don't know. You tell me. Do we try to remove it? Do I live with it? Will it eventually take over? I'm a bit overwhelmed Angel. It's not everyday you discover a demon is sharing your body." She gave him a sly smile. "Okay, so maybe it's an everyday thing for you, but not for me."
"According to Doyle, this demon is a part of you now. We could talk to Willow about it, and Giles, see what they have to say. I just don't know."
"I don't want Willow or Giles to ever know about this. It's taken a long time, but Willow and I have made peace about the whole thing. This'll just reopen old wounds, it's pointless." She was vehement about this.
Angel pulled Buffy onto his lap. "I've come to some decisions." Buffy began to bristle.
He laughed. "Sorry. Okay, not decisions, more like realizations. I'm not prepared to be that self-sacrificing martyr anymore. I'll fight the good fight, Buff, at least the best that I can. But I will not be guilted into pushing away the things that I need, that I want. I've also come to the conclusion that pure bliss, pure happiness just isn't in the cards for me and I'm okay with that."
"And this means?"
"You. I need you, want you in my life. And I'm not afraid. I can face the loss, live with the pain if I have you. And I think you need me too. I'm not an avatar, Buffy, I'm not a Buddha, I don't want to do this alone anymore. A little peace, some completeness, that's all I'm asking for. And that's what you bring to me." He searched her eyes for an answer. "I'm home when you're with me, I'm whole."
She put her arms around his neck and held him close to her. "I'm thinking maybe this demon brought me here to you. I didn't need to come with Dawn, you know. I felt pulled, drawn to you and when this L.A. trip came up it was perfect timing for me."
"It's time Buff. We've waited long enough."
"He's here. Can't you feel him? He's here, but so am I and I'm stronger and we've come to terms. I accept him as a part of me. He knows what we've been through and he realizes that he won't be getting out again." He drew small circles on her back.
She looked into his eyes. "I guess there's something to be said for the tragic life, huh?"
"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, or so they say. Will you stay with me?"
Buffy felt him hold his non-existent breath. "I think I'd have to say yes to that one. I love you. Seems me and the demon can't get along without you. And I need you to help me with this. I'm not sure what else to expect. So, how long a life does this demon have? You know, Anya lived for over a thousand years before she lost her mojo."
"Doyle wasn't sure, indefinitely was all he could say. He was always a bit squirrelly with straight answers. Does it matter? I'll be with you for as long as we have."
"That is such a good answer. You really are gonna be a great boyfriend. I can totally deal with that. Do you think you can stand me for a really long time?" She nuzzled his neck and gave him a little bite.
He shuddered with pleasure. "Only forever, but I have to admit, you're making me nervous with all the agreeable. This isn't Buffy and this definitely isn't the demon. Are you sure you're okay with all this?"
She smiled a sad smile. "So, you're the only one who can change? Of course I'm not okay with all of it. Not yet anyway. But I want to be. I want to fight and howl at the gods. I want to fight vampires and demons and apocalypses. But I don't want to fight my life, not anymore. And I don't want to fight you. I've been fighting my desires, my instincts for so long Angel. I just want to let go. Accept my here and now. Accept a life with you."
Angel held her close. He hadn't felt this relaxed…ever. "This is good, really good. Okay. What do you want to do? Patrol, stay in, talk some more?"
"I'm all talked out, babe. Why don't we move all my stuff in here first? I am so not going to live in the same house as you and not share your bed. Sound like a plan?"
Angel stood up with Buffy in his arms. "Sounds like a great plan."
Buffy awoke to Angel's arm and leg thrown over her body. She smiled. It felt so good, so comforting, and really heavy. Sort of like her life, except maybe not quite so heavy. Actually, for the first time in a really long time, despitethe demon, she felt light. Kind of all floaty. Maybe that was because of the demon, but she didn't care, she was almost happy.Nearly three weeks of living with Angel and they were both still alive and themselves, no escaping demons. Yeah, she was in all kinds of happy. Giles had been a little upset over the new set of events, but Willow was, as expected, supportive. Even researching Romanian gypsy curses, just in case. But Buffy had no doubts, this was forever. Just as it was meant to be, she was sure.
Looking over at the clock on the dresser, Buffy saw that it was almost two in the afternoon. She and Angel had found a particularly nasty nest ofvamps on patrol last night. Once they had dusted the lot, they had made their way home and a restorative shower had turned into them making love until well past the sun coming up. Faith had been right about what a good battle could do to a person. She was starving, too.
And she was sore, but in a reallysuperior way. Buffy had blamed their demons for their passionate, at times bordering on violent love-making. But Angel told her it was them, the two of them finally accepting all that they felt for each other, the soft and the hard. Neither of them were subtle, shy. They were passionate, physical, violent. And when they came together, it was all there. He had smiled at her shocked look. "We should revel in all that we are babe, all that we are becoming, together." And so she did as they continued to make love throughout the rest of the morning.
As Buffy was attempting to extradite herself from under Angel her cell phone started blaring "Mama Mia". The past couple of years she had developed a fondness for ABBA. She told Angel this was a choice from the demon, she would have never picked Abba in the right frame of mind. Actually, Buffy discovered she could use the little sucker as an excuse in any number of circumstances. Things were turning out just fine, she thought smugly.
As she made a dive for her purse to retrieve her phone she flipped Angel onto the floor with a loud thud. He looked up at her in confusion, rubbing the back of his head. "What?"
"Sorry babe, the phone." She was laughing as she answered. "Hello.'
"Buffy? You didn't forget, right? You're picking me up tomorrow night at seven? He's like a vampire, sucking the life and joy right out of me. One more day with him and I swear your father gets a stake through the heart! I can do it too since he's really not my father, after all, I'm just a false memory." Dawn was practically hyperventilating.
Buffy stifled a laugh, "Don't worry Dawnie, we'll be there."
Dawn picked up on that right away. "We? There's a we? Who's the other half of you that makes a we?"
No time like the present, Buffy thought. "Angel. Angel and I will be picking you up at the airport. Actually, we'll be staying with him, at his hotel."
Buffy had to hold the telephone away from her ear as Dawn let out a 30 second shriek. "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod! I knew it! I knew you guys would get back together. I just knew it. I even told Willow, just ask her, really. So, like were there lots of smoochies? Come on, spill. Oh my god, is Angel still Angel?" There was a slight pause, "I guess you wouldn't be telling me all this if he did go all fangy. So, how, what, where, when? Givegivegive…"
"Dawn." Buffy cut her off mid-sentence. "Please take a breath. We'll talk tomorrow, okay?"
"I'm just so excited, good news is good. Tell Angel I'm really happy for you guys." Then, in a smaller voice. "Buffy, are you okay? This is of the good, yes?"
""I'm really good Dawn. For the first time in a long time, I'm really good. We're really good."