SPECIAL NOTE TO THOSE READING AT THE "site-which-cannot-be-named": The version posted here is censored due to ratings restrictions...which isn't that big of a deal. It just means that I have to edit out one scene. But the full version can be read on my website. I will add a note when I post the chapter that has been edited.

Title: Smoke and Mirrors
Author: Isis FG
Started: February 1, 2005
Completed: January 16, 2006

Feedback: if I owned them...well, B/A would be off on some tropical island getting their groove on.

Rating: R

Pairing: B/A, (minor: Gi/Je, Fa/S, Fr/We, C/Gu)
Summary: total AU – Angel, an LA cop, responds to a call about a break-in and finds himself face to face with the girlfriend he'd left after she'd broken his trust four years earlier.
Main Characters: Buffy, Angel, Faith, Spike
Supporting Cast: Giles, Jenny, Dawn, Cordy, Gunn, Fred, Wes, Xander, Lindsay
Spoilers: no spoilers, it's a total AU

Distribution: if you already have something of mine, you may take this. If not, please ask first!

Author's Notes: This fic was the result of me humoring my muse and to have something not so serious to work on as a break from 'Midnight Angel'. I meant it to be a fun diversion, but the damn thing went and developed a plot on me. So what was supposed to be a short, light fic, ended up being long and plotty. Go figure. Oh...yeah...the prologue is very different from the rest of the fic, and Buffy is rather out-of-character in it, don't worry, there is a reason for that!

Thank you: to my homegirl Stars for beta'ing this for me even those she's insanely busy.

Warnings: angst, some violence, language, sexually explicit scenes

The club was loud, smoky, and crowded, not exactly a relaxing place to be after nine hours on the job. But for twenty-three year old Angel Callahan, it was better than going back to his quiet apartment and staring at the walls until he fell asleep. He hadn't gone to the club for any particular reason. When he'd gone off-shift at the Sunnydale Police Department, he'd simply had a vague notion about going somewhere, and doing something. He'd ended up in the town's lone club, The Bronze.

Clubs weren't exactly Angel's forte. He was more suited to less raucous surroundings, but once in a while, he didn't mind the flash and noise of a club. Tonight was one of those nights. He was feeling restless for reasons unknown to him. Perhaps, he thought, it was the lack of action on the job. His transfer to the Sunnydale police force from San Francisco was only three months old, but he'd already come to the conclusion that being a law enforcer in a small town was quite a bit different than being one in a big city.

The transfer hadn't been his idea. His boss in San Francisco had approached him with the move, saying his friend, the police chief in Sunnydale, was in need of a new officer. Angel still didn't know why he'd said yes. He'd liked San Francisco. But at the time, the idea of moving to a small town had seemed appealing. Now, three months later, he was wondering if it had been a mistake. He missed the action of the big city, and the friends he had there. Having been in Sunnydale only three months, he hadn't really had the chance to make new friends. Angel supposed that was why he was currently wandering through some noisy club.

As Angel approached the bar, he was unaware that his movements were being watched by a pair of appreciative female eyes. She'd noticed him the moment he'd entered the club. But then, so had practically every other female. He was the type that just drew the eyes of all the women around him, and she was no exception.

From her table in a darkened corner, she watched as he leaned against the bar and ordered a drink. He was a little over six feet tall, she guessed, and he filled out his well-worn jeans and dark gray sweater nicely. There were some definite muscles on that body. Ones she wouldn't mind getting her hands on. The rest of him was a pleasure to look at as well. His hair was dark brown, spiky on the top, and his eyes appeared to be just as dark.

She didn't ever remember seeing him at The Bronze before, and his was a face she wouldn't have forgotten. Deciding to go over and introduce herself to the handsome stranger, she slid off her chair and sauntered over toward the bar.

Angel took a sip of his beer and scanned the crowded club. There was quite a mix of ages present, he realized. Most seemed to be of high school age, or college, but there were a scattering of adults as well. He figured that was because it was the only place in Sunnydale, besides the seedy back alley bars, that offered music and drinks, as well as the age-old tradition of flirtation and seduction. He wasn't here for that. But no sooner had he thought that, he saw a striking young woman crossing the dance floor.

Her legs were encased in a pair of tight black leather pants that showed each and every curve. The black of the pants was contrasted by a snug electric blue tank top that barely covered any skin. A navel ring winked out from her toned stomach, easily seen by the mid-riff baring top. He couldn't help but stareat the little silver bar. There was something innately sexy about it. But after a moment, his eyes drew upwards, over the curves of her breasts and up to her face.

He blinked when he noticed that her straight, blonde hair was streaked with hot pink. It was definitely different, but not altogether bad looking. If her hair wasn't so blonde, bleached he assumed, the pink wouldn't have been nearly as noticeable. As it was, it only drew his attention for several seconds before her eyes pulled him in. They were a deep, mossy green. He wondered what they would look like without the heavy black eyeliner, mascara, and smoky eye shadow.

The woman was a short ten feet away when Angel realized those eyes were trained directly on him. Their gazes held as she strode up to him and slid onto the empty stool to his left. Unconsciously, he shifted his body to face her directly. He thought idly that she wasn't exactly his type, but he pushed the notion away. There was just something about her.

Pulling out a cigarette, she held it up to her lips. "Got a light?"

"No, sorry," Angel apologized, his eyes drifting down as she crossed her legs.

Her slim shoulders shrugged and she drew a silver lighter from her pocket and lit the cigarette. "What's your name?"


She smiled, her eyes dancing. "Pretty name."

"What's yours?" he asked, leaning in to be heard over the din of the music.

"Lizzie," she answered, drawing deep on the cigarette. "I've never seen you here before, and believe me, I would have noticed."

The direct statement startled Angel momentarily, but he recovered quickly. "I'm new in town," he told her, taking a sip of his beer.

"That explains it," she said with a laugh that was bright and rich.

"I take it you come here often," Angel mused, his eyes flicking to her lips painted in dark red.

Those lips curved into a smile that had his blood heating. His fingers were beginning to itch to see if the skin along her bare throat was assmooth as it appeared to be. Instead, he gripped his beer tighter. He was twenty-three, he told himself. There was no reason for his hormones to be leaping like a teenage. But damn, he wanted to get his hands on her, even if she wasn't what he typically went for in a woman.

He wasn't a prude, by any means. During his high school years, then his abbreviated time in college, he'd done his fair share of dating, a loose term for his encounters with the female kind. After joining the academy and entering the force, though, he'd lost the desire for affairs. This petite blonde, however, was bringing back the urge full throttle.

Lizzie watched his eyes darken with desire as he stared at her. She had to resist the inclination to lick her lips. It wouldn't do to be too overly obvious, but she was already imaging the passion that lurked in that muscular male body.

"Yeah, I come here often," she finally answered, bringing his attention back to her and away from her body. "Gonna buy me a drink?"

"Sure. What would you like?" he asked as he signaled the bartender.

"Rum and coke."

Angel flicked a glance over her face. "How old are you?"

She ground out her cigarette in the ash tray at her elbow and eyed him steadily. "Twenty."

"Just a coke, then," Angel relayed to the bartender.

"Spoilsport," Lizzie muttered in disgust. "Isn't twenty close enough?"

"Nope, sorry," Angel slid a bill over the counter to pay for the drink before shifting his attention back to Lizzie. "Why pink?" he questioned, gesturing to her hair.

"Why not?" she responded, sipping the coke, and wishing she'd been able to get the rum to go with it. "Pink is different. I like to be different."

"You've succeeded," Angel agreed, his lips quirking in a grin.

The little twist of lips had a ball of desire pooling in Lizzie's stomach. He had a fabulous mouth. She certainly wouldn't mind getting a taste of it. To curb the urge to just grab him around the neck and pull his lips to hers, she pulled another cigarette out.

"Those things will kill you." Angel nodded to the cigarette.

"Everyone's gotta die of something," she shot back.

"You've got me there," he conceded.

She laughed and leaned back against the counter. "I could die in thirty years from cancer, or I could die tomorrow by walking across the street and getting hit by a car. Ya gotta live in the moment."

"Carpe diem?"

"Close enough." She reached up, trailed a red-painted fingernail down his chest. "Tell me, do you ever do anything...risky?"

Angel fought the urge to shudder at the touch of her finger. His eyes met hers, held. "I'm a fan of taking risks."

"Isn't that handy?" she asked, trailing her finger back up his chest. Her legs shifted so that their thighs touched.

He would have had to have been deaf, dumb, and blind to miss the invitation in her eyes. This little blonde was a definite live-wire, he thought to himself. The question was, did he want to take his chances getting singed?

Lizzie slid off the stool, pressed her body against his. She didn't miss his groan of appreciation as she leaned forward, nipped at his earlobe before whispering, "Wanna get out here?"

Angel's hand curved over her leather covered hip. Singed, he thought? He was likely to be fried to a crisp. But it'd damn well be worth it.

"Sure. We can go back to my place and..."


He laughed, full-bodied and very male. "Baby, I don't think a whole lot of talking will be going on."

Smiling, Lizzie trailed a hand dangerously close to his crotch. "I have no problem with that." She turned and sauntered away toward the door, her hips swaying in a way that had every male drooling in appreciation.

Without a second thought, Angel followed after her.

Years later, he would still be telling himself he should have run in the other direction.