Adverse Reaction

Part One

Buffy gasped.

Ricocheting up off of the bed, she felt the blankets that had been gently tucked around her just moments before glance off her bare skin and float down to rest somewhere below on her lap. At the same time, though, she didn't notice the abandoned covers. In fact, there was a part of her that didn't realize anything but the intense, mind numbing pain that was washing through her entire form. Moments later, there was a hunger, a thirst that accompanied the concentrated agony, splitting her attentions in two.

Nothing was like she had expected… and, still, Angel slept on.

She didn't wake him, though. Not yet. Before she did, if she did, she wanted to think through the throbbing and the desire wrecking havoc upon her body, but said choice of action was easier said than done. In fact, it was hard to think of anything beyond her suddenly relentless instincts.

Feed.

Drink.

Take.

It was beyond confusing.

Despite the fact that she had been a virgin just a few mere hours before, Buffy wasn't naïve. She had gone into sex with Angel with her eyes wide open. Yes, she loved him, and, yes, she had wanted – still did – to be with him, but she also knew that her first time wouldn't be all sunshine and roses… or moonlight and jasmine. The fact that they had just returned from facing a demonic monster intent upon plunging the entire world straight into hell was proof enough of that.

She had been prepared for the requisite twinge when her boyfriend first pushed into her, and, afterwards, she had expected to feel sore and tender, but this… The pain she was experiencing was excruciating. Blinding, searing, deafening, the young slayer could feel the beads of perspiration dampened her forehead, shoulders, and back. The moisture, brought forth as a result of the extreme discomfort, ran down her arms, her stomach, her cheeks, making her skin feel as though it was sizzling. If she didn't know better, she would have thought that she was on fire, burning from the outside in.

As her body nearly convulsed from its aching, it was difficult for the pretty blonde to stop suffering long enough to analyze what was happening to her. Though there was no way for her to be sure what was happening to her, she could, at least, describe what the sensations felt like. It felt as though her blood was screaming through her veins, stretching, ripping, tearing them apart only to heal before she was even aware of them breaking. It felt as though her muscles were being extended and then snapped back together, stronger and more vital than they had been just moments before. And her bones almost felt like rubber, there but not necessarily needed any longer.

A part of her wanted to laugh. Though it was an odd reaction, what else could she do when faced with such severe discomfort? Buffy could never regret what she and Angel had shared that evening together, but she could certainly lament the physical reaction her body was displaying. If this was what it felt like to become a woman, to finally be with a man, then she wasn't sure sex was everything it had been cracked up to be.

But, then again, she had not been with a man. She had been with Angel, a souled vampire, something not even the most star-crossed lover obsessed author could have cooked up some lonely night. And she was not just a regular woman; she was the slayer. Perhaps that was why her body was reacting in such an agonizing way. Maybe, physically, she and her boyfriend were not as compatible as she had believed them to be. Although the idea saddened her, it made sense as well.

Her superhuman strength only was triggered when in the throes of battle, but Angel's was permanent. While they had been making love, to her, he had seemed perfectly gentle and sweet, tender and affectionate, and he had been. That she would never doubt. But maybe it had been harder for him to control his brute potency than she had thought, and, lost in the depths of their passion for one another, she hadn't noticed. However, glancing down at her nude form, that explanation lost all its merit.

There were no bruises upon her porcelain, delicate skin, no blemishes, no redness. Hell, Angel had even been so intent upon keeping her safe that she didn't even have a hickey… which kind of disappointed her. Wasn't a hickey another right of teenage passage that she should have been granted that evening? Oh, she understood why her boyfriend had been hesitant to suck on her neck. One couldn't forget about those pesky fangs of his, after all. But, still, in the strange limbo of great pain and joy that she was teetering in, Buffy yearned for the outward expression of what they had shared.

If someone saw her at that precise moment (with clothes on, of course), they wouldn't know that she had changed. They wouldn't understand just what exactly she and Angel had shared that evening, and they certainly wouldn't comprehend just how much their act had meant to the both of them. While clichéd and emotionally hollow, even she would have to admit that, a hickey, at least, would have alerted anyone who saw her, would have started to guide them down the path of truth.

Yes, sleeping with her boyfriend had been private and even more beautiful because of its personal nature, but, at the same time, she was definitely not sorry that it happened or embarrassed. It was just one more oddity to add to the mountain of oddities that evening… or early morning. Not only could the slayer not understand the almost unbearable soreness she was experiencing, but, now, she also had mixed feelings on just how much she wanted to reveal about her change in sexual status.

Then there was also her implausible, rapacious appetite to consider as well.

Buffy wasn't a stranger to food. In fact, she liked food tremendously. Burgers and fries, chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting, bowl after bowl of sugary breakfast cereal with just the right amount of ice cold milk, turkey and jalapeno cheese quesadillas with lime and chili powder sauce, the list could go on and on and on. Not that anyone could tell by looking at her, though. Other than the whole fighting evil and vanquishing the demons to make earth just a little safer for those who were on the side of good, that was her favorite part about being the slayer – the metabolism. The blonde teenager could eat what she wanted, whenever she wanted, and not have to worry about the consequences.

However, none of her favorite things even tempted her in that moment. She didn't even want ice cream which was a thought that practically bordered on blasphemy. Perhaps because her appetite consisted of a strange combination of both thirst and hunger, none of her usual staple snack choices appealed to Buffy in the slightest. Whatever she wanted, though, she needed to figure it out quickly before the craving destroyed what was left of her rapidly dwindling sanity… or before the terrible discomfort did.

Slipping out of bed, Buffy tiptoed to the old fashioned fridge that Angel had on the other side of his small yet cozy apartment. Though the windowless space could fit entirely into her mother's living room, she liked how intimate the flat was, relished in the fact that, wherever she and Angel were in the one, big room, they were always still with each other, could always still see and feel each other's presence. Why she was walking so softly, though, she wasn't sure. Her boyfriend was out cold… sleeping like the dead…

Exhausted.

He was exhausted. Any other euphemism was just too creepily close to the harsh, unpleasant truth of Angel's undead dead status to even consider using. However, she liked the idea of him being exhausted, of being the one to make him feel so worn out. Smirking smugly, Buffy yanked open the fridge's door, now unconcerned about the noise that she was making, and relished the idea that she had depleted her very own vampire lover. That thought alone was enough to almost banish the pain, and the thirst, and the suddenly ravenous appetite she was now sporting, for it made her want to forget her craving and crawl back into bed with Angel, to wake him up and seduce him into seducing her for the second time.

Almost.

Glancing into the appliance, though, the slayer crashed back to reality when she found only blood residing inside. No food. No cans of pop. And certainly no ice cream… not that she had wanted it anyway. In fact, she still didn't know what she sought, but that didn't stop her from desiring it any less. It… everything… was just so confusing, and, no matter what she did or what she thought, Buffy couldn't find any answers.

Unconscious of her actions, she found that one of her hands was reaching for a bag of blood. Once it made contact, the coldness of the thick, congealed liquid surprising in its attractiveness to her, she yanked her fingers away, slamming the refrigerator's door shut with a resounding crack.

Her actions confused her, and her reactions scared her, so much so, in fact, that Buffy found herself scampering back to bed, her craving going unsatisfied. Instead, she needed Angel. That much she knew for certain. Though sometimes it pained her to think about, she knew that she wasn't his first, that what they had shared that evening had certainly not been a first for the souled vampire. He was more than two centuries old, and had been with countless women. If anyone could answer her questions, sooth her concerns, and make her feel better, it was him, though.

Crawling back under the covers, she turned towards the man she loved. He was so beautiful to her – strong, handsome, good, but it was the fact that he loved her so unselfishly that made her love him so much. Without him giving voice to the thought, she knew that Angel would do anything and everything within his power for her, and, in return, she was honestly able to admit to herself that she felt the same way. It was the synergy of their union, the harmoniousness of their feelings that made their relationship as resilient as it was, and, after being with him for the first time, the slayer could admit that she felt even closer to Angel now afterwards. Such a realization was so unbelievably sentimental and perhaps even foolish, but she couldn't help herself in feeling it. It was the truth.

Perhaps it was the sheer joy she experienced in that moment, but, whatever it was, the pain began to rapidly fade. However, that still left the slayer with her strangely gluttonous appetite. While she had expected to be hungry upon waking up later that morning, after all, between fighting The Judge the evening before and making love to Angel, she had certainly worked up quite the appetite, this was something entirely different. It wasn't the typical post-coital thirst for food and drink… at least, she didn't think it was. If it was, all those books she had read in the past, all the movies she had seen, and all the television shows she had watched were missing a few very important details.

Leveling herself above her boyfriend by leaning on a bent elbow, Buffy smiled down upon Angel's still peacefully resting countenance. She really didn't want to wake him. In fact, a part of her just wanted to sit there and watch him sleep forever, but the other part of her, the more dominant part of her, needed answers, needed a respite from the overwhelming craving she was experiencing. However, that didn't mean that she couldn't make waking the vampire up enjoyable for both of them.

Giggling girlishly at the thought, the blonde seventeen year old lowered her lips to her boyfriend's neck. Even though he was timid when it came to kissing her there, she certainly felt no such restraint. And why should she? It wasn't as though she could hurt the man she loved that way, and Angel had such an exceptionally appealing neck. It was graceful and dependable, gorgeous in its sheer strength and power. So pale, so cold and smooth, Buffy literally found herself aching to touch it with her lips, to kiss it, to lick it, to suck on its porcelain perfection.

As her mouth came into contact, though, with Angel's skin, she felt it part, felt her teeth reveal themselves as she grazed them along the milky white flawlessness before her. Just one little bite wouldn't hurt. She would be gentle, oh so gentle…

But, as the first pinprick of her lover's blood flowed and blossomed over her tongue, her supernatural senses suddenly becoming even more alive than she could have previously imagined them ever being, Angel's own gaze crashed open, met hers, and she could see something immediately die inside of him. He was awake now, but she no longer had any questions; she didn't want any answers. All she wanted was him.

All she wanted was his blood.