DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon. I'm just playing.
SUMMARY: Courting Sin 'verse (see profile). Buffy-centered. Bringing B/Aus into S3. Hope you enjoy these mini-episodes!
A.N: Major spoilers to other CS'verse. stories; but you'll survive if you read this without having read the others.

Written for open_on_sunday (LJ comm) Prompt: black.

by Leni

301. Anne.

"Slayer crashes demon celebration - wonder what spin the LA papers will put to it."

"Gangs on drugs," her companion answered matter-of-factly.

Buffy pouted. "But that's so small town!" Nevertheless, she checked her weapons. Looked up when he didn't mirror her. "Angel?"

He lifted one black eyebrow. "You said you were bored," - he waved his hand towards the lair - "I promised you some entertainment."

If he had a soul, she could have convinced him. But…. "Fine. Be that way. But if I die in there, I'll---"

"Oh Buffy." Angelus laughed, reached out to tap her chin. "You're not dying tonight."


302. Dead Man's Party.

Willow saw her first, grinned and nudged her other best friend. Xander looked up from his school work, still worrying a helpless black pen between his teeth, and his smile looked comical through the plastic. Scrambling to his feet, he opened his arms theatrically.

For once, Buffy didn't care about looking silly - she'd missed them, this. She barraged into him, and a second later her laughter joined Willow's as Xander tried to recover his breath.

"LA was boring?" the redhead guessed.

"Giles was missed. Sorely."

Her friends tutted commiserately, and it didn't even cross her mind to tell the truth.


303. Faith, Hope & Trick.

Out of nowhere, Cordelia sat beside her at the library study table. True to form, the brunette didn't bother with any niceties. "Remember Ryan's funeral?"

"Of course."

"Looking for a repeat?"

Buffy frowned.

"Scott Hope. Cute guy panting after you, completely unaware that your ex will chop-chop him if he keeps that up? "

"He's still at it? After last night…." A headache started slowly. "Don't I already have enough drama?"

"Black-haired Slayer on the block?" Cordelia shrugged at Buffy's look. "Willow told me." Then, cheerfully, "When is your new friend slaying Angelus?"

Buffy laughed sourly. "As if she could."


304. Beauty and the Beasts.

The wolf was closer to the surface on full moon days. Buffy could almost see a black shimmer below their skin. Werewolf. Demon.

Deep breath. "I only want answers, Oz. Were you at the cave or not."

The boy looked her in the eye, a protective arm tight around his girlfriend. "You already know that Giles couldn't find Nan."

Frustration filled her. So did disappointment.

Oz growled. "You don't get to judge us." Werewolves were good trackers. He'd smelt Angel on her months ago. "Not you."

"You're my friend," she whispered. "But that won't save Nancy if she killed Jeff."


305. Homecoming.

He sat motionlessly beside her. Waiting. He was rarely this patient.

"Knock it off, Buffy."

Ah, that was more like him.

Buffy opened her eyes, turned lazily towards him. Mid-movement, he grasped her shoulders and pulled her up so they were face-to-face. She laughed in delight, "Please. A girl can't have a near-death experience without you turning all caveman?"

He dumped her back onto the black pillows. "You're crazy."

She looked down at her bruised, bandaged body. "Cordy owes me big." The brunette wouldn't have survived if Buffy hadn't taken her place. "Angel? Some 'hunters' escaped."

"Already taken care of."


306. Band Candy.

"Hear the good news, Slayer. Everyone has a dark side." He clicked his fingers and beams of energy slice through the air.

Buffy retreated further into the alley, shaking her head.

"My advice as your Watcher?"

A police car exploded behind him.

"Find it."

Straightening the black leather jacket, he stepped confidently toward her small hideout.

"Embrace it."

He prepared another launch of power.

"Love it."

A second later Giles lay unconscious on the sidewalk. Angel smirked down at her. "Aw. Wouldn't he be proud you're such a good student?"

She couldn't help it. Broke into tears and ran away.


307. Revelations.

"B is for Bitch, after all," Faith spit out.

Buffy refused to feel guilty. "Just say yes. Please."

The younger Slayer struggled harder against the chains.

"I think that's a no," Angel purred, making to advance toward the brunette.

Faith glared at him challengingly, but Buffy gripped his arm to halt him. "You have no choice." She reached for the black hair, yanked her hand back when teeth almost caught her fingers. "You can't kill us if you're dead."

Angel laughed. "She wants to kill us?"

Buffy gave Faith a pitying glance. "It's what I'd do in her place."


308. Lover's Walk.

"Hey!" Spike protested as he fought her hold. "Careful with the hair!"

In response, Buffy twisted his arm tighter, annoyed that she couldn't find the proper angle for a stake. Slippery bastard.

"That's it." An elbow to her breast stunned her, and her grasp loosened for a second. One second too many. Now he stood indolently, a sneer firm in place. "You really shouldn't upset your friends' kidnapper."

Her eyes widened.

"Hm. Didn't know you were down some playmates, huh?" He relaxed. The rules had changed and they both knew it. "Up to blackening your conscience with a new deal?"


309. The Wish.

The new girl put her arms around Willow consolingly; Buffy bit her lip at the sight. It was forever since she'd been moved to do something so simply… human. "Will?"

"I'm okay," Willow sniffled. "It's just - I really thought…. This time. Maybe this time it'd work, you know?"

Buffy nodded as expected. "Xander is a moron."

"No, he isn't," the redhead defended, loyal to the end. "He just doesn't feel… what I feel. I just wish…."

"Yes?" the new girl said encouragingly.

Willow wiped her cheek. "I wish I'd never met him."


And reality was swallowed into the black.


310. Amends.

"Hope I'm not intruding."

Buffy dropped her plate. Stared at the newcomer.

"This is nice." The sandy-haired boy looked around the apartment. "A bit small, but I liked that about you. Not one high-maintenance vibe."


He grinned. "There were rumors. Easy Summers; I didn't believe that."

"Stop." Her eyes closed. His breath seemed even louder, so she opened them again.

"I should have. Because it was easy to get your attention." He stretched his neck, showing the twin black marks he sported. Vampire bite. "I only had to die."

Buffy opened her mouth to apologize; but he was gone.


311. Gingerbread.

Amy's eyes faded from pitch black back into their usual green. Her gaze drifted to the decapitated demon, then to the scythe. "It's almost too much power," she whispered, looking at it covetingly.

Buffy held it closer; but couldn't deny the pronouncement. "Are you okay?"

Amy nodded.

Willow was still staring. "That's one big knife," she started timidly. "I didn't know…" Her eyebrows puckered. "Does Giles know?"

"He doesn't."


"And he won't."


Amy laughed. "Somebody's hoarding all the good toys," she sing-songed.

"This isn't a game!"

"And yet," Amy grinned mock cheerily, "you play by your own rules."


312. Helpless.

Angel leered at her from between her breasts. "I could kill you so easily tonight." He pressed his fingers against her hips, until black-and-blue prints bloomed on her skin.

"Easily enough," she agreed, not bothering to wriggle away. Three gashes ran across his cheek, barely pink anymore; but a good reminder that the effect of the Council's injections was just temporary. "Too bad we don't do 'easy'."

His mouth quirked up, but he hid the reaction in a long lick along her collar.

"Besides," she said grimly, pulling him into a proper kiss. "One betrayer is enough for my birthday."


313. The Zeppo.

Xander's eyes lighted up when his ex girlfriend walked past them. "Hello, sexy bomb," he called out, "Grrr."

Buffy and Willow cringed, too aware of the thin peaceful veneer between them. But Cordelia laughed, and to their utter astonishment, ruffled Xander's short black hair affectionally. "Say it again," she whispered - then pulled his hair. Hard. "And you'll wish I hadn't distracted your new buddy last night."

"New buddy?" Willow asked, eyes narrowed.

Buffy grinned at her friend's version of jealousy.

Xander's arms surrounded the redhead, pulling her over and squeezing tight. Over Willow's giggles, he answered, "Total deadbeat, I swear."


314. Bad Girls.

Faith sauntered into their bedroom defiantly. "I've been thinking."

Buffy startled at the voice, hastily pulling her shirt down and moving to sit up. Angelus reached up to pin her shoulders to the mattress; resting his cheek against her hip, he looked at the intruder. "Honey, did you order dinner?"

Both Slayers ignored him.

"Okay, killing humans equals badness. Point taken. But your secret," - Faith eyed Angelus' body appreciatively - "seems a little bit darker."

Angelus smiled back. "Thank you. Nice blackmailing speech, too." Amused, he studied the unseemly stand-off. "They just don't make Slayers as they used to, do they?"


315. Consequences.

Buffy stared at her lover. "She didn't," she said, even though she knew that Angel wouldn't lie. Already rubbing the skin between her eyebrows, she sat heavily on the bed. "Stupid girl. Stupid stupid girl. Does she think Wilkins will play fairer than us?"

"Because a Slayer's little black heart can't be lured by power." He grazed his fingers against the dagger she always carried, felt the pull of energy between them. "Can it?"

"That's different," Buffy snapped. "I'm not siding with the enemy!"

Angelus laughed. "You wound me."

Buffy's lips curled into a furious snarl. "You're not my enemy."


316. Doppelgangland.

Buffy looked at the vampiress currently occupying her bed. "Not to self: Raven black is so not my color."

"I don't know," Willow said nervously. "It's kind of sexy, in a demonic homicidal way." She scrunched her face. "That's not helping, is it?"

Xander patted her hand. "Hey, we were nearly eaten by our best friend. Feel free to bundle up those nerves." He turned to Buffy. "What are we doing with her?"

"I don't think one of you could…?" Both teenagers looked horrified by the suggestion. "Thought so," Buffy sighed. "Staking myself - as if I didn't have enough issues."


317. Enemies.

Buffy sat tiredly against the cage bars. "Did you really think Angel wanted you?"

Inside the cage, chains rattled. "Fuck off, B."

"You thought - what? That you did evil better than me?"

The silence was enough confirmation.

"He isn't interested in evil."

"Could've fooled me." Faith laughed bleakly. "Besides, he gave quite the performance - how's the black eye?"

Buffy touched gingerly the tender skin; but didn't take the bait. "What interests him is how evil affects someone - me."

"Aw," Faith snickered. "Isn't that true love?"

"No." Buffy threw a key into the cage and rose to her feet. "It's not."


318. Earshot.

She'd practically moved to the mansion months ago; but never had she felt so simply content within its walls, on these black sheets. "I love that you're so quiet," she murmured, snuggling deeper into the vampire next to her.

Angelus traced her hairline, almost fondly. "You didn't know you wouldn't be able to read me."

Buffy shook her head. "Blessed silence after Mind Reading Hell." She kissed his neck. "Never been happier to have kept you."

He let out a laugh. "Now you'll say you wouldn't have peeked in my plans."

She frowned. "When have you bothered to hide any?"


319. Choices.

Buffy looked happily at the small reunion in her apartment. Willow was finally chatting with Nancy. Cordelia and Xander were keeping their nose-biting to a minimum, and Giles seemed content to sit back and enjoy.

Time for the toast. "First, let's thank Oz for the booze. Here's to band players of dubious habits."

"Here, here!" the others (sans Giles) chorused.

Buffy noted the omission. "Okay, putting a black mark in our evening, my Watcher will lecture us on the dangers of alcohol."

Giles rolled his eyes. "Not tonight," he allowed.

She smiled. "And now, our guest of honor… Willow Rosenberg!"


320. The Prom.

If she turned around, their anger (their disappointment) would drown her.

Instead she burrowed deeper into her lover's chest, moving along to the slow song.

((Cordelia's voice, shrill with disbelief - Buffy ignored it.))

"You could have made an effort," she whispered, fingering the black material of his trademark shirt. "It's a formal occasion, after all."

((Anya and Willow were fighting. Oh Willow, always too loyal.))

"I didn't plan to stay." He sounded amused. Listening to the pseudo-whispers behind them, Buffy thought he had good reason to. "Now, though…."

No. "Let's go."

He laughed, pulled her closer. "And ruin the evening?"


321. Graduation I.

"Thanks for coming," Buffy said, opening the door.

Willow didn't cross the threshold.

"Will…." This was a mistake. This was asking for too much. But she'd saved Willow's life, damn it. "Do you really fear me?"

The redhead's eyes told the truth, but she bravely stepped forward. "I'm not helping him." She wringed her hands. "Don't ask me to."

Buffy stomped on her despair. "So you'd rather let the Mayor win?"

Willow bit her lip.

"Angel may have terrorized us; but Wilkins will make Sunnydale into nothing but a black memory." Buffy looked at her friend in the eye. "Choose."


321. Graduation II.

"An entire world and you choose LA. Why?"

"It's close. I need to be close." Her eyes fixed on the scenery rushing by. A lone house. Trees - one tree, two, three…. "I need to."

"Not that you're wanted," he said meanly. "Who said they'd rather see you dead?"


"Hm. Must've read between the lines."

She raised her gaze to the skies, followed the route they'd come from. Black. Black. Lighter. Bright with town lights. And there, a brighter spot, wildly lit -

Sunnydale High going up in flames.

"I'll make it better, Buff."


"Do you believe me?"

Buffy nodded.

The End

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