She falls asleep on the plane and dreams about Sunnydale. Which sucks.
In her nightmare (what else could it be?), it's like she's there again. The pit, the smell of fear and desperation and too many people dependent on her for survival, and the First's mocking laughter as she fights. Pain and people dying, a sight she's really sick of.
Buffy sees Spike smiling at her, laughing as everything falls to dust around him. She remembers Xander when he learned of Anya's fate, his face shadowed by sadness and accusations he'd never speak. Andrew's guilt in staying alive. Her own relief at Dawn's safety, and feeling guilty that she's relieved while Xander mourns.
The sight of the Hellmouth devouring its own, collapsing into darkness.
She wakes with a small gasp, glad no one notices her sudden movement. Her face is pressed against the hard plastic of the plane's interior, and for a moment she's disoriented. The cabin is dark and most of her fellow passengers are sleeping, lulled by the constant noise and relatively smooth flight.
Buffy leans back and takes a few deep breaths, staring at the patterned seat ahead of her. She wonders what would happen if the plane crashes. There would be no body for anyone to revive, for one thing. She'd be well and truly dead, beyond the reach of even Willow's magic.
She refuses to think about why that's such a relief, though she doubts anyone would fault her for not wanting to crawl out of their own grave again. Instead, she flips on her overhead light and opens the complimentary magazine, eyes scanning the page, and doesn't read a single word.
The pilot announces their descent, and she flips open the shade and looks down at the lights of the city, sparkling like stars beneath her.
Angelus meets her at the airport, waiting in the baggage claim.
He's standing in the back by the doors, skin deathly pale in the cold fluorescent light and dressed in his usual black. A few people give him a cursory glance, which could be because he's handsome or could be because he's so obviously frightening. He doesn't look at her or otherwise acknowledge her existence as she waits for her luggage to arrive on the carousel.
There's a young couple next to her, kissing and clinging to each other with the sort of desperation that makes her kind of want to puke. Buffy tries not to roll her eyes and leans in, saying "Excuse me," in a tight voice, reaching out for her luggage as it passes. Ugh. Traveling is horrible enough without happy people around making it even worse.
"Sorry," the girl murmurs, not sounding sorry at all. "You know how love is." The couple grins at each other, their eyes bright despite the late hour.
Buffy turns as she feels Angelus' eyes on her. "Yeah," she says, pulling her suitcase off the metal carousel and shouldering her carry-on bag. She's tired and the luggage is a bit of strain, though she's strong enough that it shouldn't be. It's annoying and kills people. Now move it.
She walks up to Angelus and they regard each other solemnly, like generals meeting before a battle. He doesn't say hello or ask her how her flight was. Instead, he reaches out and takes her luggage, though with a mocking sort of smile as if he's doing it just to annoy her.
Which he probably is.
The young couple is blocking the door, luggage strewn around their feet, kissing again as if the thought of going out the automatic doors without being permanently attached to each other's face is just too horrible to contemplate.
"Excuse us," Angelus says, and there's something in his voice that makes Buffy shiver, not entirely from fear. The couple breaks apart slowly, turning towards them.
"Oh…sorry," the guy says, and he sounds drunk. "We're just so happy." He twirls his companion around, arms around the girl's waist. Buffy taps her foot impatiently and wonders just how bad it would be to let Angelus drag them off into the parking garage.
Sorry. You know how love is. My evil boyfriend needs to eat, too.
Angelus smiles and nods towards the door. The couple moves hastily out of the way, obviously seeing something dangerous in Angelus' expression. Buffy feels a bizarre urge to laugh, but she doesn't. She follows Angelus out into the hot, sticky air, turning her face up to the darkness.
When they get home, he fucks her hard against the wall, growling, his teeth scraping over the pulse-point at her neck. He dumps her luggage in the hallway. It's sort of like the couple in the baggage claim, but not really, not where it matters.
Buffy remembers the thousand small annoyances of traveling; the woman in front of her at the ticket counter, arguing about a reservation no one could find. The slow service at the food court which nearly made her miss her flight—why do some people have such problems making up their minds about something as lame as value meals at Burger King? The crying baby in the gate, the people who took up all the room in the overhead bins, the stale air of the plane. All her tension slides away and it's brutal and hot and better than anything and it's the worst thing she could do, but she doesn't care anymore.
Her nails rake hard down his back, twist in his hair. It feels good just to give in, just to let go. She cries out when she comes and he laughs his cruel laugh, biting her shoulder so that she feels the press of his incisors on her skin.
He doesn't break the skin—it's a rule they have—but sometimes she wants him to. Her fingers curl over his chest, where his heart should be, feeling nothing but emptiness beneath. He's immortal, but she could kill him. He's dead, but he could give her eternal life. Oh, irony.
"I'll never love you," he whispers in her ear, pressing a kiss on the sweat-dampened skin of her neck. Her face is pressed against his shoulder, his hand still tangled in her hair.
Like the thought of the plane crashing, hearing this is a relief. She smiles against the fabric of his shirt, smoothes her hands over his back in a mockery of affection. "I know."
Later she goes into the darkened kitchen and opens his fridge, empty except for a bottle of juice. She looks at it curiously—it looks like grapefruit juice—and picks it up. "What's this here for?"
He's leaning against the counter, watching her. "For you," he says with a shrug. His expression is inscrutable.
Buffy stares at the bottle before taking it out, searching through the cabinets for a glass. She's not sure why it bothers her, other than maybe it reminds her a little too much of Spike before he got his soul back.
She doesn't want that. She wants Angelus, who's fucking her but would probably like killing her just as much. It's just that after the First, she needs something uncomplicated. It's scary to think that sleeping with Angelus is uncomplicated. It's just that when you're the slayer, you have very few options in the way of potential dates.
"Juice, Buff. It's not poisoned." He smiles at her. There's a shadow of Angel in the curve of his mouth, but enough of Angelus to make her forget it's there. "Maybe."
She rolls her eyes and pours herself a glass. The juice is tart and cold, and she drinks it thirstily, then follows it up with another glass. "Thanks." Just because he's evil doesn't mean she can't have manners.
He walks over to her, predator-like, and backs her up against the wall. He leans down and licks at her lips, hands tight at her waist. "You'd taste better with something else on your mouth," he says. His voice is pitched low enough that the hairs rise on the back of her neck.
She drops her glass and it shatters on the floor, broken shards scattering over cold concrete. It's nice to break things and not have to worry about fixing them.
She lays next to him in the dark, wondering why he's doing this. She knows why she's here, but has no idea why he does this with her, why he wants it.
They could try and take each other out at any moment. He's still a killer without a soul, and she's supposed to be the thing that stops him. While she's never made the most sensible choices in regards to her love-life, it's never been quite this demented. With everyone else, no matter who they were, there was something there that made it almost okay. Angel had a soul. Riley was a human. Spike couldn't kill.
There's no excuse for this.
"You think too much," he says, hands beneath his head. He's still as death, but then again, he's dead. It's still creepy to sleep next to someone who doesn't breathe, though.
"I don't think enough," she says, turning to look at him. "Or I wouldn't be here with you."
He smirks at her. "Buff, if I wanted you dead, I'd have already killed you."
That raises her ire, as he must have known it would. "Ditto," she snaps, but ruins the effect by yawning. "This is crazy. Isn't it?"
"It is what it is. Go to sleep." He turns his back on her, which is dangerous, and maybe that's why he does it. Maybe she's not the only one that likes the lure of things that could kill in the dark.
She presses her face to his back, inhaling his scent. It's Angelus she's sleeping with, and if she dreams about Angel, he need never know. He'll wake her later with his teeth on her neck and his hands between her legs, and it won't be Angel she's thinking about.