A/N: So, this was actually inspired by a little conversation I had with some others on the Buffy board at . We were talking about our favorite/the best SatC episodes, and I mentioned my favorite as being the one where Carrie cheats on Aidan with Big and they have that steamy, sultry elevator scene. Of course, that led to speculation as to what would happen if Buffy and Angel ever had an elevator scene. Days later, this is the result. Because I couldn't stop thinking about the idea, I just ran with it. Some themes/ideas are the same. You'll recognize them from the show. However, other points have been shifted slightly, but I think, I hope, it all blends together well. With that said, enjoy!


Gradual Descent
A One Shot

Buffy Anne Summers was your typical college freshman… if you considered a nineteen year old social reject who lived with her watcher, prevented the world from ending on a nightly basis by killing things most normal people only have nightmares about, and whittling stakes for fun typical, then, yeah, she was your girl. But she didn't complain. She had long ago come to accept the fact that her destiny was out of her hands. After all, she was the Chosen One, the one girl picked out of all the other billions to protect humanity; she was the slayer and had been now for more than four years. On any other given night she would have just been thankful that she was still alive, that she had already surpassed her kind's average lifespan, but she was just too lonely on that particular evening to be so sensible.

Limping onto the elevator, her left hand positioned on her sore backside, Buffy pressed the button that corresponded with her floor. As she saw it light up, its warm glow a reassurance that she was almost home, she relaxed somewhat, her shoulders drooping while a sigh escaped her chapped lips. In fact, she was so lost in her own misery that she was completely unaware of the presence behind her, a dangerous mistake for any young woman to make but a life ending one for a slayer.

"Rough night?"

Spinning around in shock, she almost collided with the solid mass of man that stood just inches away from her, her eyes, nose, and mouth lined up perfectly with his sweater and leather jacket clad chest. Maybe if she wouldn't have been so startled, she would have appreciated the view, and, maybe if she wouldn't have been so embarrassed by being caught off guard and caught in such a compromising position – after all, she had just been massaging her own tender ass, she wouldn't have immediately jumped to conclusions and acted like such a shrew, but those conditions would have been under the best of circumstances and falling on the icy sidewalk not once, not twice, but three times on her way home from class definitely did not qualify anywhere near the realm of the best of anything.

"What the hell do you think you're doing," she snapped pettily at the stranger, glaring in his direction. In that moment, she found herself wishing for a stake and reconsidering the slayer's position on no violence towards civilians.

Before he answered her, he glanced about the small, now closed elevator car, his dark, rich eyes darting in either direction as if he had missed a key step in their interaction and was now searching for what it was. Finally, he responded, "uh… going up to my apartment."

"And watching me!"

"I was staring straight ahead. You just happened to come into my line of sight," he defended himself.

Immediately, Buffy pounced on the one word in his explanation that she could use against him. "Oh, you might have been staring, but it wasn't straight ahead. You were staring at my ass!"

This time the dark haired man smirked at the spectacle she was making of herself. "Let's say I was, for argument's sake," he offered generously, chivalrously. "Could you really blame me?"

So much for him being a gentleman. Eyeing him warily, the slayer asked, "what do you mean?"

"Well, you being hurt and trying to… ease the pain," her neighbor stood up for himself. "I don't know about your eyes, but mine always go to where there is movement. Besides," he added, a devilish gleam entering his chocolate gaze. "It's not like I wasn't enjoying the view."

The nineteen year old blonde immediately felt heat suffuse her cheeks as an annoyingly telltale blush spread across her face. "Yeah, well, it still wasn't yours to look at," she accused, but some of the fire had left her voice. "If you didn't lurk…"

"Hey, wait a second there," the stranger interrupted her. "I wasn't lurking. I was just standing here, minding my own business, when I saw you come in. You looked hurt, so I held the elevator for you, trying to be a nice guy. Next time, I won't. Better?"

"Yes, very much," Buffy agreed. "Thank you." Turning back around to face the front of the elevator, she missed seeing the amused, silent chuckle escape from the brunette's parted lips. However, she could still feel his gaze upon her, so she ordered, "and stop staring at my ass already. I'm not rubbing it anymore."

Instead of denying his actions, the man surprised her further by asking, "what happened? Did you get in a fight?"

If she wouldn't have been so tired, perhaps she would have been thrown by the direction his questioning had taken them, for how many college freshman got into physical brawls every day, and, really, it was strange that the man would go there without knowing anything about her lifestyle. Instead, though, Buffy infuriatingly found herself feeling slightly giddy with excitement that her handsome recluse of a neighbor was so interested in her welfare. So, that was why she answered him truthfully, despite the mortifying origin of her injury. "No, I slipped on the ice… a few times. Damn Cleveland weather."


"Yeah," the slayer sighed, sounding just as drained as she felt. "I think all that's left of it are a few shattered pieces imbedded in my… well, you know. You've practically memorized that part of my anatomy this evening."

Just then, the doors slid open as the elevator came to a stop on her floor. Before she could completely escape from their awkward run-in, the dark haired man took a step forward to hold the lift and prevent it from continuing on towards his own level. "You should be more careful," he told her sincerely, "and maybe try some more weather appropriate shoes."

Glancing down at her fashionable footwear, Buffy scowled. "What, I have boots on." Granted, they also had four inch heels, but they weren't stilettos or anything.

Laughing, the stranger slipped back into the depths of the elevator. "Goodnight, Buffy."

"Hey," the college freshman challenged, chasing futilely after him and yelling through the rapidly closing doors. "That's not fair. You know my name, but I don't know yours."

"You will," he told her, "in due time."

And before she had a chance to argue, he was gone.

~ ! ~

Cleveland weather in March was just as horrendous as it was in January. Instead of ice storms and snow squalls, Buffy now had to contend with melting snow drifts and endless days upon days of dreary, cold rain. It was so damp everywhere, even her bones felt sodden. Giles tried to tell her that it was because they now resided in a temperate climate and that the lake made the atmosphere even more volatile, but the slayer was convinced it was just more Hellmouth shenanigans, one more thing to drive her to an early grave. That was if her watcher didn't kill her first.

Oh, of course she knew that Giles really wouldn't murder her. After all, murder was bad, and Giles was good, but he was definitely going to sputter, and she would be lucky if she wasn't dragged along the next morning to purchase a new pair of glasses for the librarian after he rubbed his current pair into dust. Leave it to Giles, though, to risk a heart attack over a pile of overpriced books that, honestly, she rarely used. And, really, it wasn't her fault! So, he had told her to return to their apartment after classes every afternoon to change her clothes and drop off her school supplies before she went out to slay. Did he not realize that evil didn't wait for such frivolous indulgences? Sometimes a slayer just had to slay, textbooks be damned.

And that's exactly what had happened that evening. She had been minding her own business on the way back from her last class of the day – Philosophy of all things, way to make her schedule there, Giles! – when she had been jumped by a trio of particularly virile vampires. Granted, she had all three of them dusted within five minutes of their attack, but, during those adrenaline pumping minutes, her books had been tossed aside to land rather precariously in a seemingly bottomless puddle of mud. Maybe if they had been the first set of textbooks she had ruined that semester, she wouldn't be mentally preparing herself for death by watcher, but they were her fourth set, and the dry, boring tomes were starting to be difficult to come by so late in the school year.

Yep, her ass was so grass, and Giles was the powered lawn mower.

At least he couldn't ground her. She had left that kind of punishment behind when moving in with her watcher four years prior. Although she missed her mother, Buffy knew the logistics of remaining with her mom just weren't feasible. If she wanted her mom to stay alive, then she had to let her go, so she did. They kept in contact as much as it was possible via email, but it wasn't the same, and she knew that her mother was still bitter towards fate for the hand it had dealt her only child. But she wasn't. She had long ago accepted the ways of a slayer's life. Sure, sometimes the reality of her existence caught up with her, and she became depressed, but that was just natural. After all, she didn't have any friends, the chances were she'd never fall in love, and she'd make the Council Book of Slayer Records if she lived past her twenty-second birthday.

Oh, and did she mention that slaying posed a great risk to her wardrobe, a big, huge no-no for any nineteen year old, even one whose sacred duty it was to save the world… over and over and over again?

Glancing down at her appearance as she waited for the elevator, Buffy pouted. Her ruined pants she didn't particularly care about. After all, she had several identical pairs safely tucked away up in her closet. And her jacket had protected the cute, new sweater she had on underneath. However, said jacket – her favorite, worn in, incredibly soft, fit her like a glove leather jacket – was destroyed. Demolished. Obliterated. There would be no saving the coat… not even if she took it to her favorite dry cleaners down on Seventh and Broad.

Damn vampires.

Sighing wistfully, she slammed her still muddy palm against the up arrow button once again, her patience lost somewhere back in one of the city's many dark alleys. At least, though, it was there to keep her text books company, if nothing else. Although, she didn't think that would buy her any leeway with Giles later when she was forced to tell him the ugly truth about the present condition of her beyond blemished books.

"Hey, let's not break the elevator. The rest of us have to use it, too, you know."

Of all the voices…! Of all the people in the world to see her that night, it just had to be him. If nothing else, she was glad she hadn't wasted her money to play the lottery that night, because, luck, the fickle bitch, certainly wasn't on her side that evening. Shaking away her self-absorbed thoughts, the blonde looked at her mysterious neighbor out of the corner of her eye as he came to stand beside her. She hadn't seen him in nearly two months, not since that night she had fallen three times on the icy sidewalks and proceeded to make a fool out of herself not just once by rubbing the sore spots on her ass but twice by also jumping down the dark haired man's throat, and she tried to ignore the slight increase in her pulse and the surge of adrenaline that ricocheted through her just from being in his presence once more.

When she didn't respond, he laughed and then posed a completely inappropriate question, one that made her blush. So far, he was two for two when they were together when it came to embarrassing her. "What, did you suddenly take up mud wrestling as a new hobby?"

Pivoting so she could stare at him, Buffy exclaimed, "I can't believe you just said that to me!"

Just then, the elevator doors slid open, revealing an empty lift, and she marched forward, confident that he would soon follow. And he did, already defending himself and his remarks. "Hey, I'm not complaining, if you did. At least, I won't be," the stranger warned, "as long as you invite me to one of your matches."

She was reconsidering her decision to not take the stairs when the doors shut, trapping them inside of the lift together. Alone. Regrouping, the slayer returned, "for your information, I…" And then her words trailed off. How the hell was she supposed to explain her present condition without revealing too much?

"You what?"

Mumbling under her breath, she rambled off a few words. "There was this alley, and all this mud, and…"

But that's as far as she got. Headless of her messy condition, her neighbor gripped her by the shoulders and spun her around to face him. Gone was the carefree, playful flirt, and, in its place, was the face of someone very concerned and worried for her. "You need to be more careful, Buffy."

Scowling, she complained, "you sound just like my watcher."

"Your watcher?"

"Uh… babysitter," she offered instead, realizing only after the substitution left her mouth that it was even worse.

"Your babysitter," her enigmatic neighbor repeated suspiciously.

Shrugging off his touch, the blonde snapped, "my guardian, okay? Geez, lay off the interrogation skills for once. I'm not some suspect, and you're not a detective… at least, I don't think you are?"

"I'm not a cop," the stranger replied, but, for some reason, he didn't seem compelled to tell her what he was, just what he wasn't. Whatever, though. She was too tired, too miserable, and still too pissed off about her obliterated jacket to really care about his evasive ways. Pulling her from her thoughts, once again, the dark haired man asked, "but you're okay, right? You didn't injure your tailbone again or anything, because, if you did, I'd be more than willing to help you out with that."

"I'll keep your oh-so-generous offer in mind, but, fortunately for me and my ass, we're fine, so you can just keep your healing fingers to yourself, okay, Casanova?"

Her neighbor chuckled, the deep, purely masculine sound washing over her like a decadent bubble bath. Suddenly, in his presence, she felt wickedly sinful, though there had never been anything intimate between them besides a few passing, flirtatious remarks. As the elevator stopped at her floor and she stepped out, he called after her. "Sorry about your jacket. I know it's your favorite."

"How," Buffy questioned, taken aback that he knew such a personal detail about her life.

The handsome stranger shrugged. "You wear it all the time," he offered in way of an explanation before disappearing, just like before, behind the closed lift's doors.

~ ! ~

Tonight had been close.

It was her own fault, Buffy knew that. She had been distracted, lost in thoughts of someone tall, dark, and yummy, and she had allowed a vampire to catch her off guard. It was a rookie mistake, one she hadn't made in years, but, yet, she wasn't sorry either. Sure, she could have done without that split second where her life had been hanging in the balance, but there was no way she could regret daydreaming about her mysterious neighbor. Because her life expectancy as a slayer was so short, the nineteen year old felt it was important that she enjoy the few good things she had going for her, and the brunette stranger was firmly positioned in that column since the last time they had talked two months prior.

Or maybe he had been there since the morning after their second elevator run-in. Waking long before Giles, thanks to her supernatural DNA, she had gone down to get the mail, figuring she might as well butter her watcher up with his morning paper and a cup of tea before she told him about her mud sodden text books, but, before she could even step out of their apartment's door, she had nearly stumbled across a plain, white box. It had been unembellished without even a bow to add color to its bland appearance, but, once she opened the package, Buffy couldn't have cared less, for inside was the very same leather jacket she had twice seen her shadowy neighbor wearing. And there had been a card, too.

Simply addressed in her name, inside she found a brief explanation as to why the dark haired man had given her his coat. 'My favorite to replace yours,' the short missive had said in what she could only describe as very elegant script. Then he had gone further and added, 'Besides, it'll look better on you anyway.' Always the flirt, the stranger was, but the blonde knew she wouldn't want him any other way.

The leather jacket was too big on her; in fact, she swam in it, and, with the weather now inching its way ever closer to actually being livable, it was too warm of a coat to wear every day now, but that didn't stop the slayer from putting it on every night before she went out anyway. She felt safe in it, as if wrapped up in her neighbor's tight, protective embrace, and, if wearing it nightly meant getting a little hot under the collar, then so be it. While Buffy knew she was being a frivolous, dreamy girl, she just didn't care. And, now, that evening, as she wearily made her way home, she was really glad to have the stranger's coat with her.

Pulling its edges even closer against her quivering form, she fought to reign in her emotions and to regain her control. Although she was almost to the apartment she shared with her watcher, she couldn't lose her cool yet. No, she would have to save the tears for when she was alone, for when Giles was asleep and she was safely tucked into her own bed, her pillow tightly clenched over her mouth to muffle her sobs.

As Buffy entered the elevator, she gingerly touched the physical reminder left on her throat that she had allowed a vampire to get too close to her. With her back pressed up against a wet tree trunk, the demon had cornered her, leered into her, gotten close enough to rest his fangs against the otherwise unblemished skin of her throat. At the very last moment, mere seconds before he would have ripped his fangs into her jugular, the nineteen year old had gotten a burst of inspiration, lifted her hands above her head to reach for a tree branch, and used her new leverage to pull herself out of the vamp's range and to temporarily render him off balance by kicking him in the chest with both booted feet. It had been quick work after that to stake the undead bastard, but, for those few precious seconds when she had been frozen, Buffy had seen the end of her life flash before her, and, now, she had evidence of just how close to dying she had come.

She was so caught up in her own thoughts that she didn't see or feel the very same man that had left her distracted enough to be almost killed earlier that evening board the elevator moments after she did. In fact, it wasn't until he spoke that she realized she wasn't actually alone. "I was hoping I'd run into you tonight," her neighbor stated. Glancing up, the slayer witnessed a wide, beautiful smile illuminating the handsome man's face. "You wouldn't happen to have a white t-shirt on underneath that coat, would you," he teased.

It took her a few minutes to realize what it was he was exactly referring to – the rain. It was pouring outside, a torrential, windy, spring downpour, and, if she would have had a white t-shirt on, which she didn't, he would have gotten quite the show. However, his playful banter temporarily allowed her to forget about her emotional pain, and Buffy left go of her jacket's collar, the sodden leather parting somewhat to reveal her all black attire. "Sorry to disappoint," she returned his repartee, "but how was I supposed to know I'd be running into you this evening? Maybe if you checked with me first and didn't just appear out of nowhere all the…"

"Buffy, what the hell happened to your neck," her neighbor demanded to know, interrupting her. Crossing the short distance between their dripping bodies and taking her face in his cold, wet hands, he tilted her head up so that the dim light of the lift would illuminate her still bleeding wound better.

"Oh, that…" Anxiously biting her bottom lip, the slayer looked anywhere but into the stranger's dark gaze.

Impatiently, he countered, "yes, this."

"Oh, well, you see, it's kind of windy out there, you know. I mean, of course you know, because you were just out there yourself, and… Anyway, while I was walking home, I guess I got a little too close to a tree, and then this big gust of wind came along, causing some branches to scratch me. It's nothing," she attempted to dismiss, failing to pull away from his intense yet still tender hold upon her. "I'll be fine."

"Please, don't lie to me, Buffy." His tone was so sincere, so heart wrenchingly concerned that Buffy felt immediate tears sting the corners of her hazel eyes. However, before she could reply, the brunette was already talking once again. "Ssh… It's okay. I know there are things about you that you feel you can't tell, but you don't have to protect me. I know." As he looked pointedly into her watery gaze, the stranger reiterated, "I know," and she knew he was telling the truth.

While he might not know everything, he knew enough. He knew why she was always out late at night. He knew why she had been muddy the last time they had run into each other. He knew that there were things that went bump in the night. And he knew that no tree branch had caused the two, long gashes stretching down her porcelain neck. For the first time since she was fifteen, someone other than her watcher and the monsters she hunted at night knew really and truly who she was, and there was nothing that could ever make Buffy regret the new level of honesty between them, even if nothing more ever came of it.

Stepping away from her, her enigmatic neighbor reached into the side pocket of his black blazer and pulled out a velvet jewelry box. "Wear this," he instructed her, putting the small container into her still trembling hands, "and maybe next time they won't be able to get so close."

Before she could respond, before she could even thank him, the elevator arrived at her floor, and the brunette was fairly pushing her out into the hall. As a way of explanation, he said, "please, don't go back out tonight. Take a shower, dress your wound, go to bed early. Just relax, okay? Everyone deserve a small break, Buffy, even you."

And, with that, just like all the other times, he was gone, leaving her alone to both contemplate his words and to look at the second gift the mysterious stranger had given her. Opening the jewelry box, she found a cross, stunning in its simplicity, inside. Without waiting to even enter her apartment, the blonde slayer slipped the necklace on. As soon as she felt the cool metal fall against her skin, a wave of calm and serenity washed upon her, and, in a way, she felt as though it was already saving her.

Two priceless gifts later, and she still didn't know the dark haired man's name.

~ ! ~

It was official. There was no season in Cleveland that she liked. The fall was too… brown, the winter was too cold, the spring too wet, and the summer too humid. It was nearly eleven o'clock at night, and, still, it was well above eighty degrees outside, and there was so much humidity that she felt she more closely resembled a poodle than she did a slayer. Buffy was physically miserable. Sticky with sweat and with a fine sheen of dead vampire dust over her skin, all she wanted was to take a nice, cold shower.

Okay, she maybe she wanted to take three.

Slouching against the far wall of the elevator, the nineteen year old blonde sighed, not in relief but simply in a vain attempt to release some of the tension coiling within her. Despite the fact that her apartment building was air conditioned, it still felt no cooler inside than it did out, and there was no way she could get away with wearing any less clothing. Her shorts were practically miniscule. Giles had complained that morning after she got dressed that he had seen underwear with more coverage. As for her shirt, it was barely more than just a strip of light weight fabric held up by two teeny-tiny straps, and the back hung partially open. With her curly mess of hair tied up high off her neck, there were still damp tendrils that escaped to float against and tease her moist skin. Even the flip flops on her feet and the lone silver cross on her neck felt oppressive.

"Hey, hold the elevator!"

Glancing up from the floor, Buffy's gaze landed upon the one person she really didn't want to see that evening, not when she felt so unappealing and rumpled. And, of course, he looked practically lickable. Her shadowy neighbor didn't look put out by the heat at all. Rather, he wore a simple pair of black dress pants and a tucked in white t-shirt without a single speck of sweat in sight. In comparison, the nineteen year old practically felt naked, and, when the stranger's dark eyes met her own, she knew that he had just been mentally undressing what little she actually had on from her body. Heat immediately suffused her already flushed face.

Once he was safely on board with her, she turned to face him and wondered out loud, "so, why aren't you dying of heat stroke like the rest of us? Care to share your secret?"

The brunette shrugged. "Mind over matter," he suggested.

Laughing, she good naturedly exclaimed, "oh, that's such a copout. No, really, tell me. I want to know why you don't even look fazed at all by this heat." Before he could reply, though, she felt the elevator lurch and immediately come to a halt. The dim lights above them flickered and then shut off completely. "Yeah, that really can't be good."

"Probably a brown out," her neighbor offered in way of an explanation. "With everybody using their air conditioners, the electric company couldn't keep up."

"So, we're trapped… together… without air conditioning… on a freaking elevator?"

Without answering her, she watched as the dark haired man pushed open the emergency hatch and pulled himself upwards to peek into the shaft. Finally, he responded, "yeah, and we're between floors, too, so it looks like we'll be here for a while."

"Oh, it just keeps getting better and better."

Landing swiftly back on his feet, the stranger argued, "it could be worse."

"Really? How," she wanted to know.

"We could be stuck on here alone or with someone we don't like," he answered. "Come on, you need to relax a little. Sit down with me." Reaching out for her, he took her right hand in his own and moved to pull her towards him, but Buffy immediately stopped his progression.

"Oh my god, your hand," she exclaimed, grabbing at his wrist with both of her own hands. Placing his palm against her forehead, she sighed. "It's so cool." The instantaneous relief his chilled digits provided her with caused the slayer to become unaware of just how uneasy she was making her neighbor feel. Totally oblivious to his distress, she moved his hand down from her face and onto her neck before dropping it onto the top of her chest, the bottom of his palm resting comfortably against the tops of her pert, round breasts.

"Buffy, I can't…" Following his half hearted protest, the brunette started to pull away from her, but she whimpered slightly in complaint, and he directly stopped. "We shouldn't be… You shouldn't be allowing me to touch you like this."

"Why not," the slayer retorted flippantly, her eyelids drooping shut in bliss. "We're both adults here, and it just… it feels so good…"

As a feral, almost animalistic growl escaped from the stranger's lips, her gaze flickered open just in time to see him practically lunge towards her. In one swift movement, Buffy felt her body being lifted off the ground, spun around, and then slammed into the far wall of the elevator. Before she had time to adjust, her neighbor's cool body was pressed intimately against hers, and all further thought, all half hearted protest fled in her mind in one appreciative moan.

While holding her up from underneath her arms so that her feet were dangling off the ground, the dark haired man warned, "I want to kiss you, Buffy."

"Then do it."

"But I'm older than you," he objected.

Staring into his heated gaze, she whispered, "I don't really care about your age right now."

"And there's a lot about me you don't know," her neighbor continued to caution her.

"Same here, but you don't see me holding back. There's plenty of time for us to talk later. Right now, I want you to kiss me."

"And what if I can't stop with just a kiss, Buffy?"

In response, she simply leaned forward and allowed her lips to lightly brush against those of the man standing before her. It took less than a second for him to seize control of their embrace. Prying her mouth open with his own, his tongue demanded, ravaged, and plundered her palate. Never had she been kissed like that before, and there was something about the brunette that told the nineteen year old that no one would ever kiss her like that again. The stranger was practically desperate for her touch, for her taste, and his eagerness soon swept her up, and she found herself matching him stroke for stroke. Further words were not exchanged; they allowed their bodies to do their talking.

While his mouth worshipped her own, his hands roamed her lithe form, caressing and memorizing every bare piece of skin they could find. No longer holding her up underneath her arms, Buffy's slight frame was supported simply by the weight of her neighbor pressing her into the lift's wall. Because of their position, she could feel every single inch of his body, and she knew, without question, just how much he desired her. By the coil of heat twisting unsympathetically in her lower abdomen and by the pebbled alertness of her tender nipples, both utterly foreign sensations that she recognized nevertheless for what they meant, Buffy knew that she was just as aroused as the stranger before her.

Quickly, her shirt disappeared. Without wasting time to unfasten the row of tiny buttons in the back, the brunette simply ripped it away from her body, leaving her in nothing but her shorts. Her shoes had long since fallen listlessly to the floor of the elevator so she could curl her lean legs around his torso, and her cross, the one he had given her, had been pushed back to dangle decadently against the nape of her neck. As the man across from her allowed his gaze to rake across her bare chest, a rumble of appreciation escaped past his lips, making the slayer feel unbelievably feminine and powerful.

While peppering her breasts with open mouthed kisses and little, pleasure-pain nips, he managed to mumble out, "I don't… I don't have any protection with me."

"That's okay," Buffy was quick to assure him. Panting, she explained, "I can't get pregnant. It's a physical impossibility for me."

"And me," her neighbor admitted. "But what about…"

The slayer sobered instantly, and she stopped writhing underneath him. Shy yet still determined to be truthful and unashamed about what she was going to confess, she simply stated, "I've never done this before. I've never been with anyone else, so I'm safe."

"I am, too. I mean, I've done this before," the stranger admitted, "but it's been a while." Smirking softly, he divulged, "in fact, it feels like an entirely different lifetime since I've been with someone… this way."

"Then don't stop," the blonde breathlessly instructed him. Punctuating her words by reaching forward to trail her hands down his chest and across his abdominals, she stopped her progression at his waistband, tugging his t-shirt out of his pants and then pulling it off of his body.

It was all the convincing the dark haired man needed.

Between searing kisses and such passionate foreplay Buffy found herself in a state of permanent blushing, the rest of their clothes were eventually shed. Neither of them closed their eyes. Instead, they simply watched each other as their bodies moved together in perfect precision. There was no fumbling awkwardness, and never for a moment did the man across from her ever once allow her to think she wasn't pleasing him with every single one of her innocent, exploratory touches and fervent yet pure embraces.

Still pressed up against the elevator wall, the slayer shifted impatiently as she waited for the brunette to finally make him her first, but he seemed to pause momentarily, to freeze entirely in order to simply just stare down upon her. With their gazes locked, he leaned down to place a gentle, sweet kiss upon her lips before whispering, "my name is Angel," and, with that, he pushed into her with one swift, vigorous snap of his powerful hips. The pain she felt was all consuming for several seconds, but her equally strong and resilient body soon adjusted, and, before she even needed to blink, Buffy was matching her lover thrust for thrust, the discomfort forgotten in the face of all the rapture he was causing her to experience for the very first time.

It wasn't until sometime later, long after Angel had fallen asleep, that her actions finally caught up with her. She had just had sex. She had just had sex with someone she had only seen three times before that evening. But she didn't regret her decision to sleep with the mysterious man. In fact, there was absolutely nothing about their past or current involvement that she regretted, and, although she didn't know what she felt for the dark haired man, she knew that she felt something for him. For Angel. Although, on one hand, their connection seemed so sudden, it also felt as though she had been falling for him in what could only be described as a gradual descent for months.

Giggling softly to herself, she made sure that her delight didn't rouse the sleeping giant beneath her. It amused her immensely that such a masculine guy would have such a feminine name. In fact, his name was softer, more beautiful than her own – a total misrepresentation of their roles with one another. Despite the fact that she was the slayer and he as just a mere man, she didn't feel as though she had to protect him. Rather, to the contrary, Buffy felt as though Angel would protect her.

They were still trapped in the elevator together, but she was no longer sticky from the heat. Instead, the brunette on whom she was stretched across kept her perfectly cool, perfectly content. Drumming her baby pink painted nails against his bare chest, for he had simply put just his pants back on after they both came down from their mutual release, she marveled at how still he was, how silent. As soon as that thought entered her mind, though, her talented digits stopped, and the nineteen year old sat up slightly.

How cool his skin was…

How still and silent his body was…

How his name was so very similar to the famed Angelus Giles has told her so much about…

Blindingly searching the floor of the elevator for the stake she had taken out of her shorts' pocket before laying down earlier, Buffy moved to straddle the thing she had just had sex with, leveling the wooden weapon directly above his un-beating heart. Leaning forward, she whispered in his ear, "it's time to wake up, lover."

Almost instantly, the vampire's gaze flickered open, but his eyes were still soft with the remaining pleasure of their tryst and with the dulling effects of sleep. "Buffy…?" Despite his precarious position, for he was seconds away from being nothing more than a dirty, dusty memory, she could feel the brunette surge to life underneath her, his desire for her body once again very present. "What's… what's going on?"

Before he could say more, though, she interjected calmly, "Oh, Lucy, you have some serious 'splainin' to do."

And if the vampire wanted to live, he better talk fast.

A/N2: Some of you might be wondering if that pesky happiness clause came into effect at the end of this story, but, no, Angel was still very much Angel when Buffy woke him up. To explain this, I'll have to shed a little light upon my thought process while writing this one shot. Basically, what I had in mind is that, although Angel has feelings for Buffy, it's more physical at this point. There's respect there, there's concern, and there's definitely interest, but they're not IN LOVE with each other yet. Hence, sleeping with her did not bring to him a moment of pure happiness, and, hence, he retained his soul. Does that make sense? I hope so. Anyway, thanks for reading, everyone, and until next time…