Just playing with them, don't sue!

"Night Angelus!" Gunn yelled at his friend as he retreated out the door.

Angel laughed when he looked back, Gunn was waving wide and had a huge, very drunk grin on his face. "Night all."

Then door clicked behind him and he continued to his car.

Angel had just spent the past few hours partying with his friends for his twenty-second birthday. And he was glad he hadn't gotten drunk off his ass along with them since the party place was quite aways from where he now called home.

He had lived in the dorms for his first two and a half years. He finished out his third year of college renting an apartment, then moved the scale up this year and bought himself a house. He'd had the money all along, he wasn't Bill Gates rich or anything, but he was well taken care of for the rest of his life.

But that wasn't the issue at hand. He just wasn't ready. He thought it was a big deal, his own place. That was quite a big step in his mind, but something about the place he ended up felt right. He couldn't explain it... or why he even went to go check the place out in the first place. 'Another step in growing up,' he'd thought.

It was his last year of college then he'd be thrown out into the real world, unless he decided for more schooling. He hadn't really thought about it enough to have a set decision yet though.

Angel got to his present filled car and hopped in. They'd had one small party with gift giving at the dorms with his friends, then another one at his house with other friends who'd forgotten, or he hadn't seen earlier, and this was the third round. Tomorrow he knew he had a family thing and whatever else might come. 'Thank God it's a Friday.' He doubted he could handle it this year if it'd been smack dab in the middle of the week. It never really ended well when that happened.

He looked through the window of the bar he just left and saw his friends still partying on. He laughed at their actions, at their continuing fun, then shook his head and started the engine and pulled out and headed home.


Buffy didn't know where in the hell she was and she continued cursing herself out for heading here, to Los Angeles, to somewhere she didn't know too well and didn't know anyone... or well, that was a lie. She knew people who lived here, just not how to find or get in contact them. Especially not off the top of her head.

She was in a safer part of town at the moment, or so she assumed. She didn't know where it was though or how she got here exactly. Not that any of it mattered. She was just glad she was alive, or guessed she should be glad to be.

She had run away from her home in Sunnydale and came out here. She'd been in town a week tomorrow. And it'd been on pure impulse to come here, a stupid impulse, but she had to get away.

Buffy had some money, not a lot, but it had gotten her by. She knew it wasn't enough though, and after two nights, she stopped paying for motels.

She had brought along with her four quickly filled bags, but now was down to only three. Some guys and her had a confrontation earlier and she'd lost one in the trouble.

It was also how she got here now, to wherever here was. She had just ran and ran.

She ended up hopping into a cab then when it got to fifteen bucks, she hopped out. Then she ran some more. When she found she couldn't anymore, she walked. And the next time she looked up, she was here.

She didn't know where she was, but she was tired and hurting still from what happened back in Sunnydale, then the events since being here in this crazy ass town.

Buffy knew that with her she had a few pairs of clothes, a few things of make-up, her toothbrush and toothpaste. She had a brush and small mirror, Buffy knew she still had Mister Gordo who was her favorite stuffed animal, two notebooks and a few pens. She had a few pictures of her friends and family back home. She had small bottles shampoo and conditioner, miniature soap and a few other odd things she'd taken from the motel. She had keys to things back in Sunnydale... like her house, her locker. She had two bottles of water that she had refilled time after time with a few snacks were still left. A few bottles of nail polish, very few things of jewelry, and an extra pair of shoes. She'd made sure to grab her state ID card, school ID and other informational things like that. She also had cards from different places she'd been since coming here, mostly cab drivers', and some other things she couldn't think of right now.

Buffy didn't take a lot when she left, but she was trying to remember what all she had with her. More so to keep her mind from freaking the hell out at the moment. And to keep awake.

It was night, which she hoped was good. No one would have to see her, but then she was afraid that could be worse, some strange figure moving around this fancy place at night? Someone might get worried. 'Homeless bum Buffy, here to rob you all! Right, that's me,' she thought tiredly.

And just as luck would have it, it started to rain, just sprinkles then a loud boom of thunder came followed by some lightening which made her jump and squeal.

Buffy hated storms. She liked rain, when she wasn't out in the middle of it with nowhere to go anyway. But hated storms. Had for the longest of times, too.

She told herself it would just pass that it was hardly sprinkling anyway, but that thought wasn't much help because soon, without warning, it was pouring down hard.

She ran towards the closest house to her, thankful she didn't see any lights on, cars in the drive, fences, gates, or any dogs ready to attack. She hoped there wasn't anyone watching her in the houses around or in the house. She knew just because lights were off and didn't see a car doesn't mean they weren't really home.

The garage door was closed and maybe even they were careless and besides, any neighbors could look and if they paid enough attention she was sure they could see her. She just hoped no one was giving a damn tonight.

The porch to the huge house was roofed and that's where she ran to and into a corner close to the door trying to be hidden from onlookers. She shook from the cold and held her stuff close, hoping the shit would die down soon so she could get out of this place.

'Yeah, then I can go to the next place where I'll feel exactly the same,' she thought and her tears fell down with the rain.


Buffy had fallen asleep. She was not sure for how long and cursed herself for it too, especially when she realized what woke her up was a car pulling up into the driveway of the house she was hiding out at. The lights had flashed at her when it pulled in.

Panic filled her and grabbed her stuff and bolted up and into the still pouring rain, heading... well, she didn't know.


Angel saw a figure run off his porch and was now running through his yard.

He didn't know what the hell was going on.

It was raining and whoever was now running down the street in it.

He watched for a few moments, then not bothering to put the car in the garage like he'd been planning, chased after them.

It didn't take more than five seconds for the rain to completely drench him. It was raining hard. Really damn hard. But he'd easily caught up with the figure, noting it was a girl. There were a few street lights but some had been knocked out or something, but he was close enough now to tell.

"Hey!" he called out still coming closer.

No answer, just more running.

"Hey!" he said again, "look, I'm not going to hurt you or anything." And he kept after her.


Buffy was terrified. 'Why the hell did I leave? Did I come here? Why did I let myself get into this damn mess?' she thought and kept running into the pouring and cold rain.

She was cold, sore and out of breath. She was wet and tired. And finally, her body just couldn't take it anymore.

Buffy collapsed.


Angel saw the girl fall and ran even harder towards her. He was fast but damn so was she, he'd get close then she'd just push harder.

She was struggling to pick herself back up when he reached her.

"Hey," he said once more, "are you okay?" he asked, honestly worried.

"Look, yes, I'm fine. And I'm sorry... I'm just trying to go. I'm sorry that I bothered you... just please..." the voice finally spoke, scared and shaky.

Angel had reached her, stepped in front of her then knelt down to help. "I'm Angel," he said and grabbed the small girls arms to help stand her up and he started to again himself.

No answer, nothing besides crying.

"Shit, are you okay?" he asked again. He still had his hand on her shoulder and he stepped closer to her.

The girl finally lifted her head towards him and the most beautiful green eyes he'd ever seen stared back at him. They were so full of fear, hurt and pain. And, she was crying.

She was hurt, he could see cuts and bruises. He could also make out her outstanding beauty.

"I'm sorry..." she started, trying to hold back the tears stinging her eyes, "I just... it started raining... and... and... I didn't see any lights on and I... I hid. I'm sorry. I'm sorry... and leaving okay." The fight with tears was one she lost at that moment and she started to pull away from him.

Angel grabbed her gently to stop her. "It's okay... just.." he sighed, "just come back to the house with me okay? I can't have you running off into the night, in the middle nowhere in the rain." Angel turned her around and started leading her back.

But she tried to resist. "I.. I can't... just... I have to go..."

Angel started to tell her again, but instead, he picked the small girl up and started carrying her back, He was thankful she didn't attack him or fight him anymore after.

Angel carried her all the way back to his house. He saw he'd forgot to close the car door when he ran out and started towards it.

The girl in his arms slowly looked that way and then started crying. "God, I'm so sorry," then started wiggling to get out of his embrace.

He held firm though. "It's okay, it's just a car," he said softly.

Angel reached the soaked car and sat himself down, still holding the girl in his arms, and sat down in the drivers seat. He sat halfway actually in the car, half not so much. He clicked the garage door opener and with them half sticking out and the door still open he turned the car on once again and slowly pulled it into the garage with his others.

Then, once they came to a stop, shut the garage, turned the car off, grabbed his keys and helped them both back up, all while still holding onto her.

Angel closed the car door then started unlocking the door to get from the garage to inside his place. Once in, he flicked the light switch, thankful that it had worked and his lights weren't out because of the storm.

At least not yet anyway.

Then finally he gently let the girl down.

He didn't move away from the blonde, didn't take his hands off of her, just lowered her to the ground and helped her stand and finally took a good look at her now that he could see.

She was beaten up pretty badly, but he knew she was without a doubt beautiful. She was a few inches over five feet with a small form but curved just right, especially for his liking. She had lightly golden skin, blonde hair to her shoulders and those emerald eyes. She had pouty lips and the cutest nose he'd ever seen and the fact that she was dripping wet and her clothes were clinging didn't escape his wandering eyes either.

And all the while he was taking her in, Buffy had been doing the same to this stranger. 'This hunk of a stranger,' she thought. The strange man was tall, over six feet she guessed. And strong. He'd picked her up like she was nothing, plus while he carried her all the way back to where she was now standing she could feel him. Now clearly see him too. He was soaked through his shirt and it was clinging to him. He'd worn a brown long-sleeve pullover and it outlined his muscles well. 'He must work out. A lot,' she guessed. His face was sculpted like a god. He had full lips she wanted to feel, to kiss and bite at. His eyes were brown and deep pools of chocolate she wanted to get lost in. He had even darker brown hair that she assumed he spiked. Some of it still partly was, but with the heavy rainfall, it had been patted it down. It was messy but cute. Everything about this man was.

Angel snapped out of his daze and smiled at her. "Here. I'll, uh, get you a towel and some clothes," he said as he carefully lead her to a chair in the kitchen. As she sat he started walking away but paused and looked back at the scared girl. "Please don't run off. I promise I won't hurt you. I'll just be a second," he pleaded softly. He got a nod in return. Then he left deeper into the house to grab her a towel and some of his clothes so that she could change into them.


Buffy just nodded at the man when he asked her to stay. She didn't have anywhere else to go and she hoped he didn't call the police or something on her. She scratched her head and looked around at her surroundings. 'He has a nice place. Big. Neat,' she thought as she continued to look. Buffy could see a cake and some balloons over on one of the counters. 'Might have been a birthday,' she thought.

Buffy didn't hear the man come back in, only the thunder that made her jump.

"You okay?" she heard a second later causing her to jump again.

"Sorry," she said, "I'm.. yeah... not a fan of storms is all."

"Oh. Um.. well, here," he handed her a big green towel and some items of clothing. "Uh... they might not fit, sorry," he smiled weakly.

"Thank you."

"Don't mention it," he held out a hand which she took after a moment of hesitation. "I'll show you to a bathroom so you can change. That is... if you want."

Buffy nodded and thanked him again.


"Feel free to use whatever's in here if you need it. Or if there's anything else just hollar and I'll see what I can come up with."

Buffy locked the door to his bathroom after she heard his footsteps start retreating away then switched the lights to a dimmer view. It was giving her a headache.

Next, she slowly began peeling off her wet clothing. She wrapped the towel around her and looked at the tub. She wanted badly to soak in there for the rest of the night. She'd only taken showers at the hotel, didn't trust it enough for a bath, then of course the outside good times of this evening. But since it was still raining she knew she couldn't.

Instead she sighed, grabbed a brush, then sat on the side of the tub and began to brush her hair out.

A thousand thoughts were rushing through her head. About this guy, about her friends and family back home, what she was going to do next. She wasn't sure about any of it.


Angel thought he should feel something. Strange. Worried. Weird. Something like that. He didn't exactly go around inviting strange people into his home like this. She didn't look or have the homeless feeling, yet that seemed to be the case. He felt she'd been lost. He didn't see her moving towards a car or anything, plus the bags she had on her that were now sitting on his kitchen floor by the table she'd recently left. She was clean. And nice. 'Maybe she'd just lost?' he thought, among with a thousand other things about this and about this girl.

The whole thing? 'Just another feeling about,' he put it off as.

Angel was worried his lights might go out so began searching around for lanterns, matches and candles. and any other supplies they might need. Then he quickly fled to his bedroom to change himself, hoping she didn't head for the hills or something if she came out.


Buffy used the towel to dry her skin then her hair. She brushed it again afterward and reached for the clothes he'd given her.

There was a black tee shirt and a dark blue v-neck long-sleeved shirt to pick from. She thought that was sweet. 'He didn't know what to give me.' She grabbed the tee shirt and slipped it on. She figured it had to be kind of small on him but still she was drowning in it. He also gave her three boxers to choose from. There was one black with white hearts on it, one plain red pair and a black with gold lips all over pair. Or two pairs of drawstring pants... one black, one blue. She decided on the black pants, everything had been too big but the drawstring helped. They were still majorly long, the blue were shorter, but she liked silk better than cotton which the blue pair was.

She looked herself over in the mirror trying to fix herself up the best she could then grabbed her wet clothes. She folded them and laid them down in the corner then picked up the pile of clothes that were his and folded them and put them in two different piles. She used the bathroom, rearranged her clothing again, looked through the cabinets as quietly as she could.

'He did say use anything I wanted,' she thought as she grabbed the bottle of toothpaste and an unopened toothbrush and brushed her teeth.

She put those back up and decided to head back out.


"So... you're an angel huh?" she said as she made her way back out to where he was. It took a few wrong turns but she made it.

He apparently had gotten together some candles and stuff while she'd been away. Also he'd changed out of his own wet clothes and was now in some khaki pants and a brown tee shirt. He was at that cake she seen earlier digging in with a fork, looking at her puzzled.

"Earlier, outside.. you said you were an angel," she clarified.

He laughed, "Oh, no, I said 'I'm Angel.' As in that's my name. Angelus O'Connor actually but everyone calls me Angel."

"Angelus O'Connor," she repeated. 'Why does that sound familiar?' "Oh. You know Faith," she realized out loud.


"Faith Lehane?"

"About this," he held his hand up, "tall, dark brown eyes and hair. Wears lots of leather?"

"Yep, that's the one."

"Yeah, I know her, or used to anyway... wait, you know Faith?"

"Sure... she mentioned you a time or two," she thought knowing a common person would make her feel safer, only to realize she'd felt safe with this guy all along.

Angel smiled. "I haven't talked to her in awhile. Small world though, huh?"

"I guess so."

"Want some cake? Or, well, something else? I have plenty." He grabbed a fork then pointed it her way.

"Sure, thanks." Angel waved her off as she walked closer and grabbed the fork. She couldn't make out what the cake might have said but figured once more that it had been for a birthday or celebration of some sort. "Did I miss a party?"


She was chewing on a bite so just pointed her fork down at the cake they were both enjoying.

"Oh, right, yeah.. some of my birthday party leftovers."

"Oh. Happy birthday. How old?" she hoped that didn't come out as rude to him as it did her, but he laughed.


"Oh, well, if I'd had known earlier I'd had brought something," she joked and flashed him a half smile.

He laughed louder. "You want something else or something to drink? Please, help yourself."

"Thank you."

Buffy waited a moment before walking around this strangers kitchen. She grabbed a can of Dr. Pepper once she'd gotten the courage to open the fridge up and looked around to see if there's something she might want to eat.

"I got some stuff in the cabinets and pantry too if you want."

She looked back at him and smiled. "I kind of suck at cooking so I'm thinking something that's not difficult," she admitted then looked back to search more.

Angel came up behind her, lightly moving her out of the way and guided her back to the table and off to a different seat than her previous one where she sat and got it all wet. Then he grabbed the cake and brought it over to her and sat it in front of her.

Buffy looked at him confused.

"Tell me what you want and I'll make it."

"Oh, no, you don't have to do... I wasn't trying..." she was trying to tell him but he cut her off.

"No, no... just let me know what you want."

She saw the look in his face and knew she wouldn't win this one, plus she was starving. "Would it be any... um... any trouble... to make some soup and maybe some grilled cheese sandwiches?" she asked quietly.

"Nope, not at all. What kind of soup do you want?"

"Chicken noodle?"

"You got it," he turned and started looking for his supplies. "You want regular cheese or ham and cheese?" he paused for a second, "or both?"

"One of each?" she said as her stomach growled at the thought, hoping the beautiful man she now knew as Angel didn't hear.

"You got it."


There had been a few minutes of silence as he made her her requested food. He was making some for himself too.

'She looked amazing,' was his first reaction to the girl's return. 'And is pretty damn funny.'

He was also surprised they knew someone in common. Faith of all people at that, though Faith seemed to know everybody in the world so it really shouldn't have surprised him any.

"Sorry, I forgot to ask, the clothes okay?" he broke the silence.

"Yeah, they're a little big but it's okay. Thanks again."


"It's fine... everything you're doing.." he heard a break in her words and looked back at her, his heart breaking as tears started to form.

He walked over to her and bent down in front of her, holding her head in his hands and wiping away the tears as they fell. "Shh, it's okay. You seemed to be in trouble and I just wanted to help."

Tears kept falling as a response.

"Shh, baby please, it's okay." Angel brought her closer to him to hold her, surprised that she didn't fight him. As she continued to cry into him he realized how right this all felt. Like she belonged in his arms. Belonged with him.

"I'm sorry," she finally said with tears still flowing and her head buried in his chest. "You probably think that I'm some insane looney person."

He chuckled and kept rubbing her back and holding her. "Nothing to be sorry about. And I promise I don't find you to be an insane looney person at all."

He heard her chuckle to and slowly lifted her so he could look into those gorgeous eyes once again.

"Now that's more like it," he said with his trademarked half smile. The food he was cooking began to pop. "I'll be right back," he said and got up to check on it.


Buffy was embarrassed about crying in front of and on this guy, and for, well actually, the whole thing. She felt her insides turn to mush though while he held her, called her baby, soothed her and made her laugh. She wiped her eyes. "When's the last time you heard from Faith?"

"Oh, wow, I don't know. Six months ago? Maybe more."

"Oh," she said sadly.

"Were or are you, uh, looking for her?"

"No, not exactly. She moved to Sunnydale a few years ago... she came to LA a lot still, I just thought she might be around was all, but wasn't technically looking for her."

"So... you're not from here?"

"No... I'm not."

"I haven't seen her, like I said, but I can maybe find her for you if you decide you do need her or something."

"Thanks... that...that'd be great."

He was silent for a few minutes then came back to the table with food.

First he brought the two bowls of soup then the plates of sandwiches, then came back with some napkins, a glass of water and a new can of Dr. Pepper for her.

"Thanks so much again, Angel."

He smiled at her, "You're welcome."

"Buffy. My name is Buffy, Buffy Summers." She'd only now realized she hadn't told him her name.

"Well, you're very welcome Miss Buffy Summers."

She smiled and they began to eat.


Buffy had still been jumpy from the thunder booms but not as bad as she usually would have been. And anytime she gave a small embarrassing yelp or jump Angel would hold her hand and smile at her for a few minutes.

'He feels so safe,' she thought.

Buffy began looking around and noticed her rain soaked bags. "Oh, god!"

He looked at her worried. "What? What happened?"

She pointed down at the bags. "I got everything wet! Your car, your floor, your furniture. God, I am so, so sorry!"

"Buffy, baby, it's okay. It's water, it dries. I am sorry if any of your things got ruined though."

'He probably wonders about all of this..' she debated for a few minutes on whether or not to tell him. "I um.. ran away from home.."

His eyes looked sympathetic, true, and warm. "I was wondering about that. Wanna talk about it?"

She brought on of her legs up onto the chair, folded it so she could lean her chin onto her knee. She bit her lip so she didn't cry again in front of him before gathering herself enough.

"A lot of things... they kind of... it was bad." 'Wow. Lame, stupid girl, that's what I am.' "I um... I had a fight with a friend of mine. My best friend actually. Her name's Willow. That was the emotional and with words one, not the bruise causing one that I'm sure you noticed the aftermath of."

Angel nodded sadly.

"No... that was from my step-dad." She saw a flash of anger in his eyes. "His name's Ethan. He um... it wasn't the first time.. or twentieth either. But... I just had to get away. My mom... she um... passed away about two years ago and my dad's not really in the picture and hasn't been for some time now. Ethan's kind of what was left. Lucky me," she said that bitterly and the tears started to fall. "I was afraid he was going to... do something... more... you know... so I just ran. I didn't know where to go, I was going to go to my friends but I felt... ashamed? Then I thought of Giles... that's um Mister Giles, he's a librarian and a actually a really good friend, but then I remembered he wasn't in the country. He'd left for an emergency back home... home for him is England.. so..." the tears kept coming.

Angel got out of his seat and came to her and held her once more.

"I just ran and ran. Sunnydale's a small town... I was just so confused. After I felt he might have gone to sleep... I um.. I sneaked back in and just grabbed things then I ran again. I went to the bus station. I'm old enough but I don't drive so I couldn't do that, so a bus was my next choice. I didn't know where to go, I've hardly ever even been out of Sunnydale. I've came here a fair share amount of times and there was a bus leaving soon so I just got on it," she made it out, though it took forever with trying to tell it between sobs. "I was so scared, I still am. I don't know what to do. I got off the bus and didn't know... I was lost... I know a few people here but didn't know how to get to them, reach them, anything. It was stupid of me to come here but I realized that a little too late. I found a hotel and stayed and I didn't leave for a few days but then I didn't want to waste what money I had brought with me, so I left. I was so lost, Angel. I stayed on the trains and buses, trying to stay hidden and away from scary people. Tonight some guys chased me and I ended up here after running and running. I took a cab but still kept running. I didn't know..." she couldn't say anymore, the sobs became violent and she shook so much it hurt.

Angel continued to hold her the whole time and she held right back like he was the only thing to keep her from dying. He'd stayed silent through the whole thing, but now he was whispering how he'd take care of her, wasn't going to hurt her, that it was okay and anything he could think of to try and help.

It took a long time and some deep breaths for Buffy to calm back down.

"Are you okay?" he asked softly.

"No," she whispered and silently continued to cry.

The next thing she knew, he was lifting her out of the chair and into his arms once more. She wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck tighter, not caring where the hell he was taking her, just as long as it was him with her.


They moved through the house easily, he turned off lights as he continued to his destination. 'Wherever that is' she thought. She didn't really care though, she just hugged her body to his tighter and pushed her head down into his neck.

She heard a door open and a light turned on.

"Buffy?" he asked softly.

'Don't leave me,' she thought in a panic. "No," she said as she clutched him tighter.

"Baby, I just thought you might want to lay down in here..."

"I...I do.." she said then whispered with tears once again forming "I.. I just... I don't want you to go..."

"Oh." Angel flicked the light back off, turned around and started walking again. After a few short moments he once again opened a door and turned a light on. He closed the door with his foot, walked over and turned on a lamp, walked back over and flicked the main light off, then walked over to the bed where he laid her down on. Never taking his hands off of her as he put her down and into the covers then lowered himself in too. "This okay?" he asked quietly then began taking off his shirt but keeping one hand on her the whole time.


Angel reached over and turned off the light and scooted down into the covers and then grabbed her and pulled her into his arms. She grabbed his arms and pulled them away and he started to apologized but she didn't let him finish as she turned over to face him and let his arms fall and she snuggled close. He then again wrapped his arms tighter around her tiny body.

'This is where I belong. Where I always have,' she thought happily as she fell asleep to his beating heart.

Angel listened to this Buffy Summers girl's breathing, taking in her smell and how her body felt against his.

Soon, he too fell asleep.