"So Ms. Calendar was there? She's the gypsy girl, reincarnated, that you killed that made you lose your soul in the first place?" Cordelia asked later that morning. "Boy…women in your life just don't go away do they?"
Day had broken and sunlight flooded the streets of Sunnydale. They had made their way back to the magic shop and Buffy and Angel filled them in on what they had missed while entranced during the ritual.
Angel nodded. "She's the girl, the favorite daughter. They reincarnated her in the form of Jenny Calendar and sent her here. She was supposed to watch us, to make sure that this time things went differently…that The Ten found each other."
"And we all have been reincarnated ourselves? We've been in other people?" Willow asked, a hint of nervousness in her voice
Buffy nodded. "Over and over again, trying to find each other so we could do what we did tonight."
"Past lives…neat," Oz said more to himself than to the group.
"Wayneat!" Cordelia cried, sitting up. "I wonder who I was…maybe Marilyn Monroe! Or Cleopatra!"
Everyone rolled their eyes. "I can probably help you with that," Willow told her, "you know, we could do a spell sometime to find out who we were."
"I just wonder which of us met up before…which of us were friends in past lives," Gunn mused.
Wesley turned to Buffy and Angel. "So we each provided an aspect of ourselves for Angel, so that he now possesses all the attributes of a warrior?"
They nodded. "Guess I owe you guys for that," Angel said.
"I feel a fruit basket coming on," Cordelia muttered. "What?" she cried when Angel glanced at her.
"I keep telling you, no one wants a fruit basket. Jewelry. People…I, I want jewelry."
"Does this mean that Angel is now a werewolf…with visions…and is a revenge demon?" Oz asked.
Giles shook his head. "No, I seriously doubt it. I think it means that he's taken from us that which we possess or do best…the spiritual strengths."
Anya suddenly gasped and whispered urgently into Xander's ear. He blushed deeply. "Yes, I still have it," he told her and turned back to the group. "So! Still, as rituals go, very cool. I am the heart," he said, lowering his voice.
"You are the doofus," Cordelia corrected him, but her tone was teasing.
Buffy looked confused. "You remember that part?" she asked. Everyone nodded.
"The last thing I remember," Willow told her, "is sitting here waiting for you guys to come back, after Cordelia and Oz and everyone disappeared. And then all of the sudden we were standing in a circle in the graveyard…talking to Angel. But it was like, I just knew what I needed to do…what to say." Everyone nodded again.
"That pretty much sums it up," Wesley agreed.
"Ms. Calendar said that Angel wasn't supposed to have become a vampire?" Oz asked.
Buffy shook her head. "Nope. He was supposed to have been hero-guy, to save her that night from whatever really was going to try to kill her."
"That would be me," Spike said, raising his hand, walking in from the back. "All set to kill her when Darla stops me…wants the girl for her darling boy instead."
Angel shook his head. "Can't be you. If I hadn't been changed, then Dru wouldn't have been, and then she wouldn't be your sire. You would have been dead by that point."
"Unless Spike and Drusilla were always meant to be vampires…maybe it would have happened anyway," Willow said.
Giles put his head on the table. "I don't have the energy for paradoxes."
"So, Angel," Gunn said, changing the subject. "What now?"
Angel shrugged. "No idea," he admitted. He looked down at Buffy. "Last time I was human I had one thing on my mind…"
She grinned. "Definitely, definitely hold onto that thought," she said coyly. He kissed her again.
"This is astounding, truly," Wesley said. "You're human, but with the strength you possessed as a vampire."
"Vamp-like," Cordy said, thoughtfully, "but without the pesky side effects of bursting into flame in sunlight, and you know, wanting to kill everyone all the time."
"And now you can eat garlic," Anya told him. "Hey! Now you can eat!"
"And hold a cross without getting burned," Gunn said.
"And see yourself in a mirror," Willow added.
"But just so you know," Oz said helpfully, "a stake through the heart or beheading? Probably still kill ya."
Angel looked at Oz sideways. "Thanks."
"Here to help."
"Are you guys going back to LA tonight?" Willow asked.
Cordelia, Gunn and Wesley exchanged glances then turned to Angel who was completely engrossed with Buffy. "Probably not," Cordy told them, rolling her eyes. "I'd imagine you're stuck with us for another few days." She turned back to them. "Him? Might be more like weeks."
Gunn snickered. "Months."
Wesley shook his head. "Years?"
Buffy and Angel broke their kiss and looked up. "What?" Angel asked innocently.
"Nothing," Willow said, giving her best stern glare to Wesley, Gunn and Cordelia. "We're happy for you."
Buffy grinned. "Me, too. I'm happy for us."
"So…what now?" Xander asked. "I mean, check us out. We're a team. We're the almighty Ten for crying out loud!"
"It's just The Ten, you sot," Spike said, "Nothing special."
"Unwanted undead," Xander zinged back.
Spike rolled his eyes and turned with a huff to Buffy and Angel. "Thought you two might want to know… checked out the warehouse. More than half the vampires have made tracks. Others are probably on their way home as well."
"They just left?" Gunn asked.
"Yeah. Guess since Master didn't exactly have a successful business trip they've decided to skedaddle," Spike said. "Fickle little fanatics, aren't they? Can't get a good army together anymore."
"Well, that's good," Buffy said. "Did enough fighting tonight. Last night…whatever."
"Nobody messes with The Ten," Xander said dramatically. Everyone ignored him.
"Can we go to sleep now?" Cordelia asked. "It's like 6:30 in the morning and I haven't even seen a bed in twenty-four hours."
Giles nodded. "Yes, sleep."
They rose and gathered their belongings. Buffy and Angel remained seated, engrossed in each other. "Best day ever," she told him.
"The best," he agreed. "Guess I'm not going to get used to that sleeping at night thing today."
She shook her head. "I'm exhausted. We should probably go home, too. We can talk about all this stuff later on."
He was looking at her with a strange smile on his face. "What?" she asked him.
He kissed her nose. "I love—Cordelia!" he cried suddenly, jumping to his feet.
Buffy looked deflated. "Nice way to tell me," she said.
He glanced back at her. "No, I wanted to tell her, about Doyle." He strode up to the front door just as Cordelia was exiting. "Cordy," he called. She stopped and turned.
"I forgot to tell you…I wanted to do it in private," he said softly.
"What's up?" she asked impatiently.
"Doyle was there," he told her.
Her expression changed from one of annoyance to one of tenderness.
"What?" she gasped. "When?"
"Towards the end. He came to help explain what was going on. And he had a message for you," he stopped and looked at her meaningfully.
"What!?" she cried, smacking him on the shoulder. "Now is not the time for dramatic pauses!"
Angel winced and rubbed his shoulder. "He said to tell you…he's proud of you. And that he watches you…he likes Gunn. He's happy for you."
Cordelia slumped, her heart swelling. "Really?" she asked in a small voice.
She smiled suddenly. "Thanks," she said, and kissed him on the cheek. She turned to walk out of the door, where Gunn waited for her. Thinking twice, she glanced back at Angel. "Oh, and by the way, I can't believe you even thought about turning me into a vampire…I don't talk that much, and I'm way cuter than Buffy!"
Angel was stunned. "How do you remember that?"
She raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow at him. "Hel-lo? I'm the visionary, remember? She who sees? I just didn't tell you about that one," she said, and sailed out into the street.
Buffy and Angel took their time walking back to the mansion. Angel was enjoying the sunshine entirely too much, and she was more than happy to oblige him. "Watch the skin though," she warned him. "No sunlight to speak of in 200 years…you'll fry."
They entered the mansion and faced each other. "Are you tired?" Angel asked her.
She nodded. "Pretty much…not at all…" she admitted.
He smiled and walked to her. "Me either." Shyly he took her hand and leaned in to kiss her. Just before their lips met he whispered, "I love you." The kiss began slowly, tentatively. His lips brushed over hers, seeking permission. She gave it, kissed him lovingly in return and wrapped her arms around him, holding him close to her.
"Don't ever leave me," she whispered to him.
"Don't worry," he said, his breath coming quickly. Breath… She felt the change in him…he stiffened a bit.
"What?" she asked, pulling back from him.
He laughed shakily. "Nothing, really. I just…I just noticed that I'm breathing…and that it's hard to do when I'm around you."
She smiled. "Ooohh…score one for the Champion."
"Lots of changes," he said, deep in thought.
She nodded. "Lots of things that are going to change."
"I want to be with you," he told her. "We've got a lot of things to talk about."
She looked at him skeptically. "Things that are so important that we have to talk about them right now?"
He didn't hear her. "Where are we going to live? I mean, we're moving in together, right?" he glanced at her for confirmation, then kept going, "and what about the agency? I can't ask them all to move down here. And we'll have to get married…married…wow…huh…I'd never seriously considered that before…"
"Married?" the one word had caught her complete attention and had made her just a tiny bit nervous.
He turned to her. "Well…someday…maybe?"
She smiled at him sympathetically. "Poor Angel. You're having an over-load." She kissed him. "We can work this all out later." She didn't seem to be getting through to him. "Angel!" she said sternly.
"Take me to bed."
That got his attention.
She leaned in and kissed him gently, but as all their kisses did, it quickly intensified. "Sorry," he apologized, then moaned as she undid his belt buckle and her fingers brushed his stomach. They stumbled towards the bedroom, trying not to lose contact with each other as they undressed. She unbuttoned his shirt and he undid her belt. Shoes were cast aside…clothing created a trail. They reached the bed and he lifted her gently and laid her down, quickly moving to lie next to her. His fingers traced her jaw-line, his eyes locked with hers. "I'm going to make you happy," he swore to her.
"Right now, or forever?" she teased.
"Both. I'm serious. Always. We'll never do that again…be apart for so long," he said, his eyes determined.
She nodded, then looked down as her fingers lightly skipped up and down his chest. "Why am I nervous all of the sudden?"
He grinned sheepishly. "I don't know…but I am too." He kissed her hand. "I think because we're back at the beginning…everything's new." There was a pause before he leaned in to kiss her again. "Now close your eyes." The kiss deepened. She moaned and stroked his back as his hand ran up her thigh. He covered her with his body, marveling in her perfection, and began the dance that would last them long, long into the night.