He watched her through the windows. He saw her strength falter as she took in the news. He had seen it before...he had seen it often actually. The ecstasy of grief was intoxicating to him; watching Buffy slide down the wall as she silently grieved was like a drug for him. He couldn't get enough of it. He smiled as Willow cried openly in Joyce's arms. But he couldn't take his eyes off Buffy. She had heard it from her own Watcher--Jenny Calendar was dead.
The minutes passed by slowly. Angelus knew he should leave, should go, but he couldn't bring himself to leave the sight of Buffy. He knew her Watcher--Giles--was coming over soon. He needed comfort, and Joyce had called him back immediately to demand that he come to the Summers' home. Buffy had agreed with a silent nod. It would keep him out of trouble, away from the idea of revenge, which Buffy knew he would turn to if he was left alone for too long. He loved Jenny, and Angelus knew it. It was the reason he killed her--to get to Giles,
to get to Buffy.
Angel slipped quietly behind a tree when he saw Giles' old car pull up to the Summers' home. He watched as the Watcher somberly knocked on the door and waited to be let in. Willow was the first to the door, and she wrapped the old librarian in a quick hug. Her face was still streaked with tears, Angelus noticed with a smile. Buffy hadn't gone to the door. In fact, after Angelus had taken his eyes off of her to watch Giles, she had disappeared from her spot on the dining room floor. Angel's curiosity was piqued. He wanted to see the Slayer suffer. He wanted to see her mourn, grieve, to feel the loss that he had inflicted upon her and her friends.
Angelus walked slowly around the house, peeking into each window as he passed it, searching for the one thing he wanted to see--Buffy in pain. He should head back to the factory, let Drusilla and Spike in on what he had done, give them a heads up in case a seriously pissed off Slayer went for some revenge of her own, but Angelus couldn't bring himself to leave. He couldn't admit it to Dru or Spike, or even to himself, but there was something left over from his days as the soulful Angel that continued to draw him to Buffy. He wanted to see her. Granted, he wanted to see her in pain now instead of wrapped up, happy and safe in his arms as he had wanted to see her then. Still, he was obsessed, and obsessions were what Angelus was about. Drusilla had been an obsession, and Angel was more than pleased as to how that conquest had turned out. She was quite a victory for him, one that he continued to celebrate every night, especially now that Spike was confined to wheels and handicapped parking spaces.
Nearing the back of the house, Angelus slowed his pace. He hadn't found Buffy in any of the downstairs rooms. She may have gone up to her bedroom. As he stepped around the back corner of the home, he stopped. He heard quiet sniffles, the faint dripping of tears falling to a wooden porch. He listened for a moment, heard one slow, steady heartbeat, and then silently continued his walk. He had crossed the backyard and was at her side in a second, although she still hadn't noticed him. She was too wrapped up in her grief to have paid attention to the dark presence that was standing at her side, looking down at her. Angel smiled slightly, wondering at the sight of the small, blonde Slayer wrapped up into such a small ball, crying by herself on her back porch. It was a wondrous sight to see what damage one determined vampire could cause.
At that moment, Buffy noticed him. She hadn't looked up, she hadn't heard him breathing--he didn't need to breathe. She had simply felt a change in the air. Something dark, something powerful, and something that was painfully and achingly familiar. S he could feel his presence, and it hit her in the deepest part of her body. Her heart hammered hard in her chest, as it always did when Angelus was around. Part of her knew it was the feelings she still had for the man he was, for the Angel that had a soul, and part of her knew that it was the slight fear that Angelus really could be stronger than her, more powerful. He scared her--both because he was strong and because a part of her didn't want to kill him. Actually, he terrified her.
She was up and on her feet in a second. Wiping a tear off her cheek with the back of her hand, she backed up so she was out of striking distance from him. She wasn't up for a fight at the moment. Unfortunately, moving away from him meant moving away from the back door, something she wished she could run through, into the safety of her home.
"What do you want?" she asked him, through gritted teeth. Her lips trembled in anger, her fists clenched so tightly at her sides, she was ready to strike.
"Hello, lover," he answered her quietly. He narrowed his eyes at her. "I see you got my gift."
"Go to hell." Buffy's eyes glowed with anger. Even Angelus would have to admit that the Slayer looked pretty damn impressive at the moment. Anyone would have to be a fool to take her on at a time when she was so incredibly pissed off. Angelus wasn't a fool, but he was craving a fight.
Buffy, however, didn't want a fight. She wanted to sprint to her screen door, run through it, and slam it in his face. Her and Willow's spell would keep him out of her home, would keep Buffy protected inside of her house, and Buffy needed that protection. She couldn't fight him. By murdering Jenny, he had just proven to her that no matter how much she tried, she couldn't protect everybody. No one was safe as long as they were tied to Buffy. In fact, no one was safe at all as long as Angelus was around.
A smiled played in the vampire's eyes. "I've already been there, lover. You should join me sometime." He wasn't poised to fight her, despite her own fighting stance. He knew that his work tonight had done its job. He had hit the Slayer hard. He had proven to her that, no matter how hard she may fight against him, she could still lose. She could lose the people that mattered most to her.
She was already losing them.
Buffy's fists relaxed slightly, as she noticed he was not going to attack her. Her heart still hammered in her chest, warning her of the danger nearby. She shut her eyes hard for a second, another tear fell from one of them and ran down her cheek silently. Angelus suddenly had the urge to step closer to her, to wipe that single tear off her cheek, to run his hand down her face as he had when she had been sleeping. Before his hand could get too far away from him, Angelus stopped himself. Buffy's eyebrows furrowed quizically as she took in what he had been about to do.
No, she reminded herself. He's Angelus still--the vampire who is murdering your friends, who is stalking and torturing you. Angel is gone.
"I'm going to kill you," Buffy stated simply. She watched as Angelus simply stared at her, her words seeming to have no effect.
"Try." The single word hit Buffy hard. She would have to try to kill him. It wasn't a nightly patrol, it wasn't a simple fledgling who had just crawled from his own grave--it was Angel. Her Angel, and she would have to try to see if she could beat him. There were no guarantees. Slayers lived short lives, and this could be the end of hers.
She suddenly found herself horrified. She couldn't fight him tonight, not after what he had just put her and her friends through. She needed to be there for Giles. She hadn't even had the chance to see her Watcher yet. How would he manage if she tried to fight Angelus tonight and lost? He would be burying the two people who meant the most to him at the same time. Buffy couldn't do that to him. She needed to get away from Angel for tonight. She couldn't fight him, she couldn't risk what it would do to her Watcher, to her friends.
She took a tentative sideways step toward the door. Angelus stayed where he was, simply watching her. She took another one, this time a larger step, but now Angelus followed her, countering her step with one of his own. He wouldn't let her just walk away, she realized with a sinking feeling. She fought back another tear. She just couldn't fight him tonight--she couldn't.
All she had to do was convince him to save it for another night.
It was the last thing she wanted to do of course, to ask him for anything. She gave orders, she was the Slayer, and yet she was about to ask her enemy for a raincheck on their fight. Or maybe...she might be able to make it to the door before he could stop her. He was no longer welcome in her home--he wouldn't be able to get to her once she was inside. The problem was that it would make a scene. She didn't want Giles to know that Angelus was even there. Her Watcher would try something stupid, and he would get himself hurt or even killed. Buffy couldn't lose him, and she definitely couldn't bear to put him through any more pain tonight. Seeing Angelus would bring the whole memory of seeing Jenny dead back to him, and Buffy wouldn't do that. If she could just get inside quietly, then she could go to Giles. She would have the night to spend with her friends, with Willow and Xander and Cordelia. She needed the night.
"Going somewhere, lover?" Angel asked, taking another step that put Buffy even further away from her home.
"Please," she said quietly, "not tonight, Angel. Save it for another night." Inside, she was screaming. She wanted him to get the hell away from her. How dare he take someone who was close to her and then not give her the night to grieve. That wasn't fair. That wasn't playing by the rules.
Angelus cocked his head at the Slayer curiously. She was asking him to put off the fight. Funny. He hadn't even gone there to fight with her, he had just felt himself drawn to her, to see her pain and her suffering first hand, to smell her salty teardrops as they fell from her eyes. Her pleading with him just made the night all the more interesting.
He took a deep and unnecessary breath. "Slayer," he began. "Are you scared? You don't want to fight?"
"I will kill you you bastard," she said harshly in response. "Just...not tonight." She looked down slightly, her fists now completely unclenched, her hands loose and weak at her sides. Before she knew it, Angelus was in front of her, inches away from her, but she didn't move. She held her ground. He wasn't going to attack, she told herself. She wasn't sure how she knew it, but she could tell that he hadn't come here to fight. Let him play his mind games on her, as long as it meant she got to go inside when all was said and done.
"That's an insult," he breathed quietly, inches away from her face. "Why put off for tomorrow what you could get done tonight, Slayer? That is, if you think you can still do it."
Buffy looked up into his eyes. He was still so incredibly Angel, not Angelus. His eyes were Angel's and his face was Angel's. It was unnerving, and against her will, Buffy found herself shuddering.
Angel raised a hand slowly. He knew that moving too quickly would set the Slayer off, and he honestly didn't want to fight anymore. He hadn't even wanted to confront her, but he had anyways. He raised his hand to her face to wipe away a falling tear, but before he could touch her, she backtracked. She was now two full steps away from him, and two full steps further from her home, her safety.
Angelus sighed loudly. Then he had an idea. Why not play with her head a little bit tonight? He didn't want to fight her, but that didn't mean he couldn't still have some fun with her before he let her go inside, saving the real fight for a different night. He smiled slightly, and looked her in the eye.
"I'll make a deal with you, Slayer," he said quietly, getting her attention. "We won't fight tonight. I'll let you go back to your friends, your Watcher, your mother, without a problem. We'll save it for a different night when you're...feeling more up to it. I'll even promise to give both you and them a full week to recover from your...unfortunate loss. Even I understand the need to grieve." Buffy narrowed her eyes at him.
He smiled slightly at her. He knew what he wanted in return.
Unfortunately, he also knew that it was very unlikely that Buffy would give it to him. He would try though. If anything, the request itself would play with her head enough to satisfy Angelus.
"And..." Buffy prompted, clearly fed up and annoyed. She wanted to be inside, away from him. Not outside making deals with the devil.
Angelus stepped closer to her, close enough to where he could almost whisper in her ear.
"Undo the spell you and Willow did for your bedroom. Take the cross down from the window. Just for your bedroom, Slayer. You can keep the rest of the house safe and secure. No one will have to know, and mommy will be safe." Buffy brought a hand up quickly and hit him across the face.
Angelus simply laughed, one hand going up to touch the area where she had hit him.
"I thought you didn't want to fight tonight, Buff. Fine, let's make alot of noise, we'll get everyone out here. Mommy can find out about all your vampire issues, and Giles can have his chance to fight me...to make me pay for what I did to his precious computer teacher. Wonder how long he'll last?" Angel smiled slightly.
"You're sick," Buffy said, a look of disgust crossing over her face.
"Just your bedroom, lover. All you have to do is take the crosses out of your room, and that's enough to just undo the spell in your bedroom. Like I said, no one has to know."
"Why?" Buffy asked, confusion and revulsion showing in her face.
Angelus shrugged. "I like watching you sleep."
Buffy narrowed her eyes at him again, her mouth twisted in disgust.
"I'll kill you if you ever enter my room."
"Like I said, you can try." Angel smiled again, and took a step out of her way, giving her an almost clear path back to the house.
"What's it gonna be Slayer? Either I move now and I see you tonight, or we fight now and maybe end this once and for all. Either way, it's gonna be fun. It's your choice."
Buffy stared at him incredulously for a long moment. Then she shook her head in defeat.
"Whatever, just get out of my way. She started to walk past him, only slightly nervous to turn her back on him in order to walk to the house, but he grabbed her arm as she walked by him, turning her to face him.
"Is that a yes?" he asked, holding her arm tightly.
"Yes," Buffy grunted, as she yanked her arm out of his hold and moved her other hand to rub the area he had grabbed. She turned her back on him again, conscious of every sound that he made behind her, making sure that he didn't attack her while her back was turned.
"Good," Angelus called from behind her, before turning around and heading back into the woods behind her house. "Then I'll see you tonight."