TITLE: "Smash Crashing" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis mc@verticalcrawl.com
SITE: http://verticalcrawl.com/fic
FEEDBACK: Oh, alright.
DISTRIB: My site, Curiouser, list archives. Or just ask.
SPOILERS: Up to and including "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb" (AtS) and "The Gift" (BtVS).
PAIRING: Angel/Fred
SUMMARY: "There's comfort in taking each other for granted." Angel comes home after the funeral.

* * *

The night I came back from Sunnydale, she had moved everything she owned into my room. All the books and clothes her mother had kept since her disappearance five years ago - everything now cluttered my living quarters, in a way that made it seem like she had been around forever. The room felt warm and lived in, and it felt like the most natural thing to just drop my coat on top of a pile of hardcovers on a chair, and join the sleeping girl on my bed. I sat with my back to her, looking at the glowing white light of early morning through the thin curtains.

I'd barely made it back here before sunrise. It had been so hard to leave Sunnydale behind; I had felt like being part of the grieving, and my natural tendency towards gloom had drawn me to Buffy's friends and family. But ultimately my need to be alone overwhelmed that feeling, and I had left town after barely three days. It was good to be here. It was good to come back to her, for some reason. She felt like home, already, no matter where we were. It was just... easy to be with her. The realisation was somewhat jarring.

She woke up a moment later and looked at my back for a little while, before walking her fingers up my back.

"You're back," she observed.

I smiled absently. "Yeah."

Her fingers raked back down my spine, playful. "How was it?"

I sighed, and it didn't feel hollow. It was healing, already. "It was... nice. She was very loved."

I felt her nod, and we didn't said anything else for a while. Then she crawled over and sat up with her back to mine, and we stayed like that, comfortably leaning against each other.

She was shorter than me, and the crown of her head nestled itself safely in the curve of my neck. She was swaying gently against me, something she did when she was in deep thought. I watched the filtered sunlight creep slowly across the bedroom floor, feeling strangely content.

Her hand wandered away from her and played with the bedspread to my left. When I turned my head slightly to look, my cheek caressed soft brown hair. She had long fingers with blunt tips, and her wrist was bony and delicate. She smelled like soap and new linen, and a little bit like wood and fire, still.

I thought about how easily she had readapted to her native world, but had kept a little something wildish about her. I thought about how she had settled here instead of with her family, and about how it didn't occur to any of us to mind. It would have felt off had she gone anywhere else.

I reached out and put my hand next to hers, and our fingers touched, lightly. I turned my palm up and her index finger poked at it inquisitively, before tracing the inward curve of it.

Then her hand disappeared and I felt her turn her head back to look in front of herself. I did the same, listening to traffic increase outside.

After a while, she spoke again, easily, like we hadn't been silent for the past half-hour. Sounding more grown up than the little girl she often appeared to be, she whispered, "Want to make love?"

I thought about it, about the curse, about Buffy dying, about Fred being here with me now. About how easy it all seemed. I leaned my head back on hers, and I felt lightheaded with the decision. "Yeah," I let out in a soft, decided sigh.

She said nothing, and I wondered if she meant now. But then she put her hand back where it had been on the bedspread, this time palm up. My fingers found themselves entangled with hers again, and she squeezed them securely.

I couldn't be perfectly happy, but there was no harm in being content.

END (I think.)

Feed me?