Fandom: BtVS/Angel X-over
Disclaimer: Please don't sue. I don't own *insert fandom name from above*... All I own is an overactive imagination.
Summary: Riley-centric breakdown with a bare dash of quasi spiteful Angel/Riley slash.
Warning(s): slash
Pairing(s): Angel/Riley
Word Count: 2,032

A/N: Day 08 of "22 new fandoms in 22 days." Calendar link up in my profile.
Okay, don't know much about Buffy or Angel. Technically, everything I know I learned from Wikipedia (which should be put on a shirt or something). So, sorry if their characterizations are off, but come on, they're going to have to be in order for them to get together. Duh.
Story note: Who cares about timeline, right? I'm just throwing in a lot of crap together and making him angsty.
Oh, and blame this story to slasher logic, cuz it makes sense to me.

o.o.o.o

Leave
By: Lucifer Rosemaunt

o.o.o.o

Riley ran away. He scoffed to himself. Running away implied that there was something to run from. He had nothing left, and what was worse was that he'd never had much to begin with. The Initiative had been poisoning his mind and body and Buffy had… she didn't care. She wouldn't notice if he was absent. She had her friends and her slaying to keep her busy enough.

Officially, they were still together. Yet, when he was with her, he knew he would never be a part of her life. It was as though she tried to keep him separate. He knew her secret, knew what she was trying to hide, and yet she still tried to push him out. It just didn't make any sense to him. She could kiss him but when it came to talking about her slaying she would refuse.

She'd always been distant though. Even when they were close, her mind, her heart was far away. No matter how much he held her close, it was not close enough when he knew that there was someone out there who'd had more, when he knew that there could be more. Buffy had said that she'd moved on from that vampire. A vampire? He just didn't know how he could possibly compete with that. The monster wasn't even around any longer and she never forgot him. He knew that in every way, he was being compared to Angel, and he was sick of it.

He wasn't running away; he was running to something. He'd already made it to Los Angeles. All he had to do now was find wherever the hell Angel Investigations was and… and do what? Kill him? He was going to do something. He just didn't know what or how. This was a vampire, even if he did have a soul. Riley would be a significant disadvantage. Maybe he was doing this just to be spiteful; Buffy had told him to stay away.

Pulling his car over to the side and parking, Riley placed his head on the steering wheel. He knew he was close. It wasn't about finding Angel Investigations. He already knew where it was, had stared at the phone number and address he'd found too easily. It wasn't as though he could have just called. This wasn't the type of conversation one had over the phone. Riley didn't even know what he wanted to say.

"I'm your ex's new boyfriend and I want to know what you did to mess her up so badly?"

He laughed bitterly to himself. That probably wouldn't go over very well. In fact, Angel probably didn't even know Buffy had a new boyfriend. He probably didn't care to know.

Anyway, from what he'd gleaned from their fractured conversations about the vampire, he could guess what had happened. How had Willow said it that one? They loved each other, but being together was not an option.

He'd been speechless after hearing that. It was better than being together and never having her love him. She didn't even respect him. He wasn't a friend, wasn't a confidant, wasn't even really a boyfriend. He'd heard it all really. They had once been in love, and even though there would never be another Angel, that didn't matter because he wasn't there. That was comforting. He didn't have to worry because he wasn't there? Well, that wasn't good enough for him. It meant that he would really only ever be second best in her life. She didn't even understand why that mattered. Buffy made him absolutely crazy.

Riley squeezed his eyes shut and tried to think. He was falling apart and there was no one he could possibly run to in hopes that they'd help him keep it together. He didn't know what he was doing here, didn't know why he was so hung up on Buffy. He loved her, didn't he? That's why he wanted so badly to be closer to her. He'd never met anyone like her in his life, strong yet somehow still delicate in her own way.

She didn't love him though, could never love him. That didn't settle well with him. It was a one-sided relationship, and at one point, he would have been damn content to take the make-out sessions and sex and call that a healthy relationship. However, he was past that. He wanted something more and it was clear that he was the only one really putting any effort forward.

In fact, at this moment, he absolutely hated her. He wanted to hurt her. Killing Angel had crossed his mind and it had never been to get closer to Buffy. He wasn't stupid enough to believe that killing her ex would make her love him more. That was laughable. She would hate him, but at least it was something more than what she'd ever felt for him in the past. At least she would remember him like he remembered her, with pain and scorn.

This wasn't even a new feeling. Gradually, he'd been drifting further away from her, too. He'd stopped seeing the great Buffy, stopped holding her up in a pedestal. The characteristics that had once made him love her were now nothing special. He'd stopped understanding why he'd fallen in love with her in the first place, why he'd kept chasing when it was so obvious she was someone he'd never be able to obtain. Maybe it had been the chase itself that had drawn him. The unattainable had always been a siren call for him.

It no longer mattered. He hated her for leading him on, for making him believe that there had been a chance to be something more. He hated her for turning him into a person he could barely recognize.

This wasn't him. He wasn't the type to seek revenge, to run out of the city, to leave everything behind without telling anyone where he was going. That last one would have been impossible since he hadn't known until he was halfway to Los Angeles where he'd been going. He wasn't the type to be so vengeful. He was responsible. He loved his work, loved helping people and making a difference in the world. He was a soldier, a fighter. He had thrived in the Initiative, and though he'd not thought it possible, he didn't want to work for them, work for the government any longer. He no longer knew how he'd survived so long under all those rules, under all those prying eyes. He couldn't just take orders anymore.

Yelling in frustration, he slammed his hand against the wheel.

Without the Initiative and his work, what did it matter who he was? There really was nothing left for him in Sunnydale, anywhere, and he refused to head back home to Iowa. He wanted to find a place where absolutely no one would recognize him. It felt appropriate. If he couldn't recognize who he'd become, no one else should either.

He'd left, but until this moment, he'd never realized what that meant. There really were only two ways he'd thought this would end. He would die trying to kill Angel or he would succeed and return to see the expression on Buffy's face. He'd probably die then, too, but he'd long since reconciled with the fact that he no longer had a reason to live.

Suddenly, he realized those weren't his only options. He couldjust disappear. He could still help people, like he knew he wanted to do, but he didn't need Sunnydale. He didn't need the vampire slayer. He didn't even need the Initiative. He'd learned enough from them and whatever he didn't know, maybe he could do some research himself. Maybe he could align himself with an ex-watcher or something. It didn't even matter. The prospect that he could leave everything behind and start completely anew was unbelievably attractive. Everything he owned was on him or in this car. It was perfect.

All he ever did was follow orders and follow the rules, follow what he'd taught had been the right thing to do. Look where that had gotten him. He didn't even second guess himself as he changed gears to drive.

However, as he was about to pull away from the curb, a man in a trench coat caught his eye. He didn't know why that had caught his attention, but when he glanced upwards, he saw a sign that made him stop cold. Angel Investigations.

Not knowing what he was doing, Riley turned off the car and got out of the car. His mind clear of thoughts, his feet carried him towards the door. Entering, he finally hesitated. For a second he didn't see anyone and it was a little intimidating. However, he heard footsteps and suddenly he was face to face with the stranger that had led him to the one place he probably should have never entered.

"Hello?" The man said. He had spiky dark hair and brown eyes. When Riley couldn't respond, the man continued, "Did you need some help?"

Unable to do much else, Riley nodded. He did need help. He needed to get out of here. He'd just decided to disappear, decided to leave his past behind him. He shouldn't have left his car. What if Buffy's ex saw him? It wasn't like he was going to try to kill him now. That would only make Buffy seek him out if he tried to run. He'd just… he'd wanted to see him. He wanted to see who he was being compared too and why he'd managed to fail so miserably. He'd wanted to maybe assess him, see if he'd ever stood a chance to start with.

Seeing that the man was just staring at him, trying to figure out what was wrong, Riley decided that impulse that had brought him here had been wrong. He turned and tried to quickly walk out of the building without outright running.

The man was surprisingly fast though and caught his arm. "If something's wrong, I can help you. That's what we do here."

Riley just barely managed not to shake the man's grasp from his arm. He cleared his throat before replying, "You can't help me with my problem."

"I think I can," the man replied softly, as though he was scared that anything louder and Riley would try to run again – Riley wasn't sure he wouldn't have. Then, the man said words that made him freeze completely, "I'm Angel."

Riley turned around slowly. This was Angel. Buffy's ex looked at him, brown eyes filled with empathy, and Riley laughed. He couldn't help it. It was absurd. Angel was going to help him with his problems. It was amusing to see the vampire actually flinch at the sound.

When he finally stopped laughing, he stepped away from Angel and looked at him again. He was taller than the vampire, but he was certain that meant nothing in terms of strength. Brown eyes to his blue. The man was pale, but that was to be expected. Angel being the undead and all. All in all, Riley didn't know why he'd lost. So what if Angel had that bad boy look down? He was a vampire.

"Is something wrong?" Angel asked. He looked at Riley in confusion, but Riley could tell that he was ready for anything. His stance had widened a bit and he'd tensed.

Riley looked at him and couldn't hate him. He was close. This vampire might have made Buffy who she was, but Buffy was the one that was really at fault. She was the reason why he was standing in this building and the desire to make her feel the same pain came back to him, the desire to somehow take something away from her.

He realized slowly that he wanted something she couldn't have.

So, he ignored the logical side of his brain, ignored all the shortcomings that flashed through his mind and quickly reached forward, grabbing the back of Angel's neck. He crushed their lips together and pulled away before the shock wore off and Angel reacted. He ran out of the building as quickly as possible.

o.o.o.o

End ficlet

A/N: Don't forget to R/R (Read and Review)!
Story Note: Damn it. This barely had slash. But whatever. Spiteful slash is alright with me.

Honestly, I couldn't stand writing this fic. This is the third, literally, third plotline I went through because the other ones actually sucked more than this. Can you believe that? I did the bare minimum in terms of editing for this, so sorry.