Title: The Reason he Stayed
Author: Goldy
Disclaimer: Evil yet somewhat genius Joss is the creator. Unfortunately that means he also owns it. Along with the WB and Fox or something...
Content: B/A, AU, future fic. Buffy's POV
Timeline: This takes place when Buffy is 23. It starts where The Day he Came Back ended, but you don't have to read the first one to understand the second. Basically the End Of Day's Fight happened-- Angel got his reward and came to Sunnydale for Buffy. Just he got his humanity a week after the fight ended, and Buffy doesn't have her slaying powers anymore.
Feedback: I know that you want to...
Dedication: L.G. thanx a bunch for always listening to me babble on senselessly about absolutely nothing, and putting up with my Buffy and Angel 4ever bitching. You know I love u for it.

I am finally here in the arms of the man I love. The man with a heartbeat, that even now I can hear from my place against his chest. His strong arms are holding me. I've lost my slayer powers and he's lost his vampire strength, but I've never felt so safe.

I look up at him, "you came back." I whisper softly hardly daring to believe that it was true.

He looks at me guiltily for a moment and I remember how hurt I'd been when he ran away from me after The End of Day's fight, but I realize that it doesn't matter. Nothing really matters. Just me and him.

"Of course I came back. When I first heard of my shanshu my first thought was of you," Angel said looking into my eyes for some sort of a confirmation. "Do you," he gulped, "do you still want to be with me?"

"Are you asking me if I still want to be with you after you gave up on us and left, after you found your shanshu prophecy and didn't bother to tell me, and left again after the fight when you didn't get your reward right away???" Sure I couldn't be happier to see him again, and human for that matter, but damn it I was really pissed! With great effort I managed to back away out of the safety of his arms, and give him what I hoped was one of my best glares.

Angel gave me a hurt dear-caught-in-the-headlight's look, which made my glare disappear and my heart jump a beat. "Well... yeah," he mumbled looking none too sure of himself.

I sighed my anger gone as quickly as it had come. I walked back over to him and buried my head in his chest. "I'll always want to be with you. I've never stopped wanting to be with you."

Angel gently ran his down my hair. "I'm sorry I put you through all of that."

"S'okay," I murmured and closed my eyes. And it really was. O.K I mean. It was true that he hurt me, but the truth was it hurt even more to be away from him."

"Buffy..." Angel started.

"Look don't," I interrupted, "don't try to tell me I don't deserve you. Don't try and tell me that I want someone that doesn't know about the darker areas of my life. Because your heart is beating, Angel. It's beating."

I heard him chuckle, and I fumed. What could possibly be so funny?

"Alright I promise, but that wasn't what I was going to say. See I was kinda wondering, do you maybe, if you want... get married?"

I felt my face get really hot, "right open mouth inser... um what?"

Angel flashed me a grin, and wow, I am so never going to get used to Angel grinning, and then he kissed me. God, it was like home or something. His mouth was hot and heavy against mine, and the world was hazy. I pulled him against me, circling my arms around his neck. He nibbled gently on my bottom lip coaxing my mouth open with his tongue. I eagerly let him in, and our tongues danced, licked, and tasted. He pulled away leaving my head dizzy from lack of air.

Breathing hard he got down on one knee and took my hand, "Buffy Summers, will you be my wife?"

Ohgodohgodohgod I can't believe this is happening. It's like a dream come true. The idea that Angel and I would one day have a future for ourselves wasn't one that I ever was able to think about without a heavy heart and a box of Kleenex. But it's happening and for once it isn't a dream. Not trusting myself to speak I nodded even as I felt my eyes fill with tears.

"Love, don't cry..." he pleaded helplessly.

"I know I'm just so happy," I sniffled, but I managed to get a hold of myself.

He looked at me for a minute as if considering something. Suddenly, he grabbed my hand and pulled me out the door. "Where's your car?"

I pointed to a black Chevrolet parked in front of my house.

He looked at me for a minute and then nodded to himself. "Black?" he asked with raided eyebrows.

"Hey, I'll have you know that I like the colour black," Angel didn't say anything to that, just gave me one of his "yeah right" looks. I groaned inwardly. I remember buying that car a year ago. At the time I told myself that I really liked the colour black, and being a slayer and all it would blend in perfectly with the night. But that was all crap. I had bought the damn car, because it reminded me of Angel. His colour was black, and so was my car. I had a strange feeling that he'd already guessed as much.

"Okay get in," Angel commanded when we reached the car.

"Angel, would you mind telling me where, exactly, we are going?"

"To a church," he answered simply as he opened the passenger door for me.

Against my better judgment I sat down in the car. Unfortunately Angel was already in the car, and had started it, by the time his words sunk in.

I opened my mouth to protest, but Angel beat me to it, "Before you say anything, I want you to know I can bypass every argument you might have."

I realized that my mouth was still open. Oh well, I could put it to good use, "Oh yeah?" I questioned hotly.

"Yeah."

"Okay then mister, what arguments do I have and how are you going to bypass them?"

"First of all we don't have a ring," he took his eyes off the road for a moment to glance down at my hand. "Although, the ring I gave you for your 17th birthday happens to be a wedding ring."

Angel let that sink in as he concentrated on driving. I looked down at my hand and at my claddagh ring. Again I opened my mouth to protest.

"I didn't tell you, because at the time it didn't matter. The meaning was the same thing. The ring said that you belonged to me and I belonged to you. A wedding ring says the same thing," Angel explained.

"Oh," I muttered. I didn't tell him, but I was impressed, we hadn't been together for five years and he still knew me better than anyone.

"As for not having a proper ceremony with friends and family, I don't feel like waiting another 6 months to a year to marry you Buffy, and we would have a hard time explaining the whole ex-slayer marrying the ex-vampire to those who don't know."

I sighed. He was right. Even if we had a small wedding, mom and Dawn would want to plan it and get a proper dress yadda, yadda, yadda, and I wasn't willing to wait that long to marry Angel either. We'd waited long enough.

"And where are we going on our honeymoon, love?" I teased, and batted my eyes at him.

Angel smiled naughtily at me, "We'll drive east until we run out of gas and money, and stay in some cheap motels along the way."

"Cheap motels?" I repeated.

Angel shrugged, "well there isn't any chance of me losing my soul..."

"Oh that's right, now we can have hot crazy sex." I giggled evilly.

Angel blushed and kept his eyes on the road. I giggled again. It was great to know that I wasn't the only one that could blush.

"Okay," I said.

"O.K what?" Angel asked bewildered.

"O.K lets get married."

"Buffy... I don't want to push you anything."

I sighed dramatically and hit my forehead with my hand. "Now, you're worried about pushing me into something?"

"Look," he began crossly, "its not fair for me to push you into doing so anything. We haven't been a couple in five years, and I can't just show up on your doorstep and expect you to run away with me."

"No Angel, you look, we haven't belonged together for five years, but we always belonged to each other. And of course you expected me to run away with you, or else you wouldn't have come in the first place." I cried starting to get angry.

Angel got really quiet, and I felt the tension spring up in the car. My eyes began to burn with unshed tears. It wasn't supposed to be like this. He was supposed to turn human and we were going to live happily ever after.

"Why do you think I didn't get my humanity right away?" Angel's question cut sharply through the silence that had settled over the car.

I shrugged letting my annoyance show. What did that have to do with anything?

"I think that the PTB were trying to tell us something."

"Wow, really? Very impressive work there, Angel," I bit off angrily.

Angel ignored my outburst and continued, "when I was fighting next to you in the End Of Day's Fight all I could think about was how close we were, but still so far apart. I was secure in the knowledge that when the fight was over, and we both survived, we'd finally get our happily ever after." Angel paused and closed his eyes for a second.

"When I didn't get my shanshu right away I was so bitter and angry. I thought that everything was out there to keep us apart. A week later I got it. I came back for you mere hours ago, sure that we could finally be together this time. It isn't perfect Buffy, and our past is going to get in a way. Both of us are going to get hurt, I'm realizing it's never going to be easy."

"You think that the Powers waited to give you, your humanity to show you that our relationship can never be perfect?" I asked beginning to see where he was coming from.

Angel nodded, "I do."

"Maybe, but I think that the problem is you Angel, not us."

He looked at me angry and hurt for a second, before pursing his lips and turning his attention back to the road.

I struggled to explain myself in a way that wouldn't hurt him, "As soon as it looks like I'm depending on you and caring about you all of your old doubts come rushing back," I yelled. Yeah nice job there on the calm and no hurting him thing. I took a deep breath trying to relax, "that is what the Powers wanted you to know. I love you. I always have, and I always will."

Angel sucked in a sharp breath, "can we make it work even with our pasts?"

"I want my happily ever after," I whispered, my voice cracking a little.

"I'll do my best to give you one," Angel promised. We lapsed into silence again, but this was a comfortable one.

"Where are we going, anyway?" I asked suddenly realizing I had no idea where we were.

"Vegas," he answered.

"Um, Vegas is nice, but why?"

"Where else can an ex-slayer and vampire get married?"

"Point taken," I agreed.

"Buffy," Angel began hesitantly.

"Yeah?"

"I love you."

I smiled and took his hand, "you better."

THE END

A/N: I kinda like this series so if you think that I should write another story about what happens after their wedding day... nice feedback would help:)