TITLE: "Sleeping Ugly" (1/1)
AUTHOR: Marie-Claude Danis
FEEDBACK: Would be delightful!
DISTRIB: List archives, or just ask.
SPOILERS: Set sometime after "Life Serial".
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You watch him sleep, curled slightly around and over him, ensconced in your own plush pillow - his, a new purchase, for you - and you think that asleep, like this, he doesn't look like such a mistake.
He doesn't look like the ambiguous baddie that's been plaguing your conscience as of late. He doesn't look like the blood-thirsty thing that tore into Sunnydale years ago, intent on killing you. He doesn't look like the neutered nuisance that always had a biting come-back to throw back at your face. Oddly, he also doesn't look like the thing that decided to love you till it hurts you both.
He looks like a heavenly thing when he's sleeping. It's deceiving.
He doesn't look like good-for-you Riley, or like bad-for-you Angel. He doesn't look like a guy you picked up for a comfort fuck. He doesn't look like the friendship you've just ruined by sharing the same bed. And he doesn't look like something you'll never do again.
He looks a bit like the thing you like to fight with, to exchange incendiary banter and quiet back porch moments with. He looks a little like what got you drunk a few days back, like what you gave a bloody nose to earlier tonight - and he'd just laughed, the bastard, snickered at you as you'd regrouped breathlessly - and he also looks a little like what had attacked you, taking advantage of a weak moment to crush a hard mouth to yours. You'd tasted his blood - although you suppose it must've been someone or something else's - but you'd let it happen, and now he looks like the one who'd undressed you lovingly, who'd known where and when to touch, who'd let you say all kinds of things while he'd just kissed it better, and who'd then made you say nothing at all.
He breathes when he sleeps, and you suppose it's just a comfort thing for him. It's soothing to watch, the in and out between parted lips, the up and down of the chest, under fading red marks your nails had left there. His hand is loosely curled up next to your belly, the back of his fingers slightly touching your skin. Under the sheet your foot rests against his ankle, toes moving absently, warming the skin.
He sleeps deeply, exhausted, sated, lulled by the knowledge that you'll be there when he wakes up. Your first impulse is to contradict that, to have the last word, to thumb your nose at him and giggle back to your own bed. But there's a reason you're here, and you're tired of running away from warm places. You stay because fighting those childish urges actually feels better than indulging in them, and because he looks like what you'd like to wake up to instead of your own blank ceiling.
And, you stay because he'd like you to.