Title: Ordinary Moonlight

Summary: Post NFA Baking has its mishaps.

Rated: PG-13

An: Written for the 3rd round of the CYA ficathon. Requests/restrictions at the end. The lyrics belong to Kendall Payne and her lovely song "Scratch"

Would you still say you loved me? Under this ordinary moonlight

Buffy hesitated outside the door. It was an ordinary looking apartment door in an upscale Los Angeles complex. She'd double checked the mailbox three times and the address scrawled on the palm of her hand a dozen. She'd seen his living spaces. They'd always provided a reflection of the man within. This one didn't. She rapped lightly on the door before she lost her nerve. The box in her hand slipped and fell to the floor.

"Great…nice way to make an entrance," she grumbled to herself as she knelt in front of the door, gathering the box into her arms. She froze when the door swung open. Timidly her eyes went to the bare feet at the thresh hold.

"Buffy… "

She would have known it was him by the way he said her name. There was no one else in the world that said her name that way. She looked up, a lump lodging itself in her throat at the sight of him bare chested. When she said his name it wasn't the exhalation of breath it'd always been. Instead it was something more akin to a squeak.

"Angel."

His hand went to her elbow, helping her to straighten up. "What are doing here?"

"Uhm…" she looked down at the box in her hand. She knew she'd had something clever prepared but the sight of him had caused everything clever to flee. "I-cookies…I have cookies and…I thought you might want cookies."

He quirked an eyebrow at her, ushering her into the apartment and closing the door behind them. The interior of the place looked much more like him. "You came all the way from Rome to see if I wanted cookies? I'm sorry…I just woke up but…" his eyes widened as realization dawned. "Cookies? Not cookie dough?"

A smile raced across her face as she shrugged. "I told you years…so it was a year and a half. I'm the quick bake version." She set the box down on a small table.

Angel laughed, pulling her into his embrace and capturing her mouth in a tender kiss. He pulled away after a moment, his forehead against hers, his nose brushing hers. "I like cookies."

"Funny thing…so do I," she whispered, unable to keep the bliss out of her voice. "I heard this rumor…actually its pretty well founded…that your soul was bound."

A cocky, slow grin curved along his lips. "Yeah…not so much rumor. It was compensation for ending a few apocalypses."

"Did they realize what a nifty slayer present it was too?" Buffy asked.

Angel shook his head. "I don't think so but nice that it turns out that way."

"Nice," Buffy said as she tilted her head for another kiss, her fingers tangling in his hair and pulling him deeper into the kiss. Her body arched up into his and his arms wrapped around her, pulling her in closer. She mewled softly as her fingers walked down his chest to hook in the waistband of the sweats he wore.

He trailed wet, open mouthed kisses down the column of her neck until he reached her scar. She lost all resolve when he nipped lightly at the raised skin there, crying out, impatient for him in a way she'd never been before. Her legs wrapped around his waist, tucking herself in closer to him.

His nimble fingers slipped up her sides, carrying the light sweater she wore with them. He pulled it over her head and tossed it to the floor as they made their way through the apartment toward the bedroom.

They knocked over a lamp during their journey and he stifled her laugh with a kiss.

"Bad lamp," she giggled against his lips.

"I'll buy a new one," he promised her and continued toward the bedroom only to be distracted by her lips on his neck. He pushed her up against a wall, knocking a picture off in the process and tangled his fingers deep in her hair.

"Angel, I brought coffee and donuts…well the donuts are for me bu-"

Time crawled then froze, thawing just as quickly with a pop. Angel pulled away from Buffy as if she burned, turning quickly unconsciously keeping her behind his back. The blonde that had interrupted them stood on the thresh hold, eyes wide, expression a portrait of betrayal and shock.

"Nina…"

The woman shook her head then turned and ran out of the apartment.

"Nina! Wait!" Angel yelled and started to go after the woman then stopped and turned back toward Buffy. He watched as she struggled against crumbling. "That was-" he started.

Buffy shook her head and held up a hand to stop Angel's words. "No. I understand." Her voice was cold as she moved away from Angel. She picked up her sweater and put it on. He grabbed her wrist, fingers curling completely around it.

"No, you don't understand. I need to explain," he told her in a calm, quiet voice.

"There's a girl that has a key to your apartment. She's bringing you coffee and having breakfast with you. I'm blonde but I'm not dumb. I get the picture," Buffy said as she jerked her wrist away from Angel.

"No, you don't," he repeated. "Yes she's my-I don't know what she is. She's a werewolf. I got there in time to make sure she wasn't killed but before she was bitten. We-we dated. I sent her to Mexico during the apocalypse and she came back."

"So it was just easier to pick up where you'd left off?" Buffy volleyed back at him.

"You were dating The Immortal!" Angel half raised his voice.

Buffy looked at him like he'd lost his mind. "No…I went out with him a couple of times, purely work related. We thought he was in charge of a big vamp ring in Rome. He wasn't…but he had drinks every Friday with the guy who was. Once I found that out all pretenses of any dating were off. I'm guessing Andrew's story of exactly what was said when you and Spike were in Rome isn't exactly what happened."

"I was led to believe you were dating The Immortal." Angel's voice was tight, anger lying beneath the calm, cold tone.

"I'm gonna kill him. I'm gonna kill Andrew…" Buffy sighed and shook her head. "So…you thought I was dating and decided tit for tat, you'd start dating?"

Angel shrugged. "That was…sort of…I mean…"

"Do you love her?" Buffy asked point blank. She was tired of games. She was tired of dancing and if he was going to break her heart, she'd rather he do it quickly.

"I-I care about her. Enough that I hate that she walked in," Angel answered. He shoved his hands into his pockets and fixed his gaze on the broken shards of the lamp scattered about the floor.

Buffy nodded. "Well…it wasn't a picnic for me either. I'll get out of your hair so that you can go make amends."

"Buffy, wait." His words stopped her when a hand on her wouldn't have. "I didn't think you and I had a future…at least not an immediate one. I needed someone. Nina was there for me. She accepted what I am, even craved it because it made what she is okay. She's in my heart." His eyes went to hers as he echoed her words regarding Spike. "But she isn't my heart. That position belongs to you. It always has."

Buffy raked her fingers through her hair. "Take care of your girlfriend. If you happen to find yourself without one in the next couple of days, I'm staying at The Ambassador not far from here."

It wasn't until after she was gone that he noticed she'd left the cookies.

It's a big girl world now. Full of big girl things

Buffy took the dress out of the closet with a soft sigh, the fragile silver gray lace overlay slipped through her fingers, rasping against the pale pink silk. She'd bought it in Rome for this trip. It was a dinner dress designed for a night out with flowers and wine at a restaurant that required reservations. She'd never gotten the opportunity to wear it because Angel had never called. She put it in the suitcase on top of everything else and zipped it up. Her plane was leaving in three hours. She picked the suitcase up from the bed and rolled it to the door, taking a last look around the hotel room. The trip had been nothing that she'd hoped it would be.

Buffy opened the door, glancing back behind her at the cityscape visible through the open window. "Bye bye city of Angel," she whispered.

"I was kind of hoping you'd reassess that."

Buffy looked up a second before she walked right into Angel. She glanced down and stepped backwards, stumbling over her suitcase. Angel grabbed her elbow, steadying her.

"Can we talk?" he asked and nodded toward the room.

"Yeah…but my plane leaves in three hours," Buffy answered. Doubt made her hesitate.

"I only need a little while," he promised her. His voice was pleading.

Buffy sighed and nodded, turning back toward the room. Angel picked up her suitcase and carried it inside for her. The door shut behind them with a solid, final thunk.

Buffy wrapped her arms around her waist, standing protectively near her suitcase as if that was any sort of guard against Angel's words. "Oh…God…sorry," she said as she rushed over and jerked the drapes shut, allowing Angel to move from the tiny shadowed slice of the room he was trapped in.

Angel nodded his thanks and slipped further into the room so that he could pace. "I ended things with Nina."

"Yay…you wanna party?" Buffy snarked and then sighed. "Sorry…mind me asking exactly what took you two days? I've broken up with people…even ones I liked and it takes like fifteen minutes…tops."

"Buffy…it was complicated. Nina…Nina loves me. I needed her to understand why I was leaving."

"And you…I know I've asked you this before but two days implies reluctance. Just because you have your soul and I'm cookies it's not a given that you have to be with me. I mean I thought that's what the whole not getting older thing was about but hey it was a stressful time, apocalypse was coming, new and exciting visitors plus gaudy necklaces…makes a perfect enviro-"

He crossed over to her in one stride, pulled her roughly into an embrace and kissed her. After a moment, Buffy forgot what she was rambling about and wrapped her arms around Angel's neck, tangling her fingers in his hair. She broke the kiss panting and breathless.

"Can we start from scratch?" Angel asked as he cupped her cheek, his fingers slipping over her cheekbone and down to her chin.

Set: Post-Chosen/Post NFA

Buffy shows up at Angel's doorstep with a box of cookies and an explanation.

Things I want:
The song Scratch by Kendall Payne (http/ answering the door without a shirt or shoes.

Angel's soul being already bound or Buffy having a way to bind it.

Buffy babbling and Angel shutting her up with a kiss.

The quote: "When you kiss me, without uttering a single word, you speak to my soul"

Someone interrupting them. You can choose who depending on the angst level you want (i.e., Giles low angst/embarrassment. Nina High angst)

Happy ending either way.

Things I don't want:
Spuffy, Non B/A ending. Buffy having actually dated the Immortal.