Thrice as Nice
A Buffy and Angel Valentine's Day One Shot

There had been a years when all she wanted was a little, relaxing Buffy-time. It wasn't that she didn't appreciate her gig as the slayer. Sure, her dry cleaning bill gave her nightmares, and sometimes the pressure was a little daunting, but there was also something kind of trippy about being the one person, the one thing standing between the world's complete and total destruction and the safety of humanity. Nobody's ego was immune enough to those kind of seductive charms, not even hers.

Also, it wasn't that she didn't appreciate her friends and family. After losing her dad because of either her parents' divorce or just his lack of interest in being a father, she wasn't sure which, after losing her mother to a brain aneurysm, after losing so many classmates and acquaintances because of vampires, and demons, and witches, oh my, and after losing Angel because destiny and fate were both bitches, Buffy certainly knew how to appreciate those that she loved. However, that didn't mean that she craved constant companionship.

At one point in her life, she would have given just about anything to have had an hour to herself to take a nice, long bubble bath and then paint her nails without having to go out and get them chipped twenty minutes later. She would have sacrificed just about any possession to read a fashion magazine cover to cover without Giles casting disapproving glances in her direction as he oh-so-definitely-not subtly hinted that she should be reading supernatural tomes filled with predictions and stomach churning descriptions of past evil horrors and atrocities. It would have been a small miracle if she had been allowed to spend a Friday night alone watching a movie and going to bed early instead of paling around with Willow and Xander. And it would have been divine to curl up to a delectable, frosty pint of ice cream without her annoying sister pestering her for a bite or cryptic, confusing images of a human Angel eating ice cream for the first time while they lounged together in an unfamiliar bed.

Now, though, those very same things that used to prevent her from ever enjoying Buffy-time were the very same things she found herself wanting the most. But that was life, wasn't it? Didn't a girl always want what she couldn't have - the impossible? At least, it seemed to be the case where Buffy was concerned.

Now, her nails only chipped from everyday wear and tear - from washing dishes, and folding laundry, and tapping her nails against the keyboard at work. Now, she subscribed to and read each and every American fashion magazine in print... and even a few foreign ones, too, and Giles only smiled in bemused yet satisfied contentment when he spotted her wiling away her time with such publications. Now, it seemed that she only saw her two best friends once or twice a year, their own lives keeping them too busy to hang out every single weekend. And, now, as for Dawn, she, too, lived in another city away from Buffy, off studying her choice topic of the week. The girl who was once on the border of flunking out of high school had suddenly become a professional student, too enthralled with the freedom and the normal-ness of college life to ever consider actually graduating and getting a real job. But Buffy didn't mind.

Oh, she missed Dawn, just as she missed Willow, and Xander, and Giles, too, but, as graciously as she could, Buffy had let them go, cutting the strings that had tied them to her for so many years, finally granting them the chance to make their lives about something other than slaying and saving the world. Her family had given up so much in order to stand by her side – love, safety and security, education and career opportunities, throwing on The Powers that Be's battle armor without a second thought in order to fight the good fight, slay the not-so-mystical dragons, and rid the world of evil simply because such a decision had not been offered to her. At times, Buffy questioned if her friends and family had really had the option to choose for themselves either.

However, that was then, and that evening was now, and, despite the fact that she was sitting alone in an otherwise empty restaurant, Buffy found herself offering the quiet establishment a tiny grin. After so many years of having the slayer's destiny shape their lives, Willow, Xander, Giles, and Dawn were finally mapping and determining their own destiny. Willow, though she was still a Wiccan, had left magic behind in favor of returning to simple, scientific chemistry. In fact, she taught high school, spreading her enthusiasm for the periodic table onto the next generation. Xander had surprised everyone by actually electing to attend college, getting a degree in Architecture, when evil was finally vanquished once and for all, and, now, he had a small firm in Southern California and was working like his wife on a permanent caffeine high to help rebuild Sunnydale... slightly away from the town's former site just in case. Yes, finally, Xander and Willow had managed to get it right.

Giles had retired. As simple as that sounded, he was relishing his new life of leisure, playing his guitar, reading books that did not have to do with future prophecies and past phenomena, and slowly tossing himself back into the dating pool once again. Though perhaps younger at heart than he had ever been before, his tweed suits permanently banished, it was when Buffy looked at Giles that she truly felt her oldest. Despite his protests to the contrary, she could see the visible signs of just how much knowing her, mentoring her, loving her had aged the former watcher. Luckily, though, he seemed to savor the wrinkles and the lines, proclaiming them to be badges of honor, and Buffy wasn't plagued with thoughts of guilt and remorse too often.

As for Dawn, if anyone out of the five of them had fully embraced the idea of truly living each and every day to its full potential, it was her little sister. At first, Buffy had embraced life in a similar manner after leaving Sunnydale for Europe. She had thrown herself into a never before seen level of merriment, dancing and partying the night away while sleeping long into the late hours of the afternoon. She had become a serial dater, moving from one man to the next, not in a trampy, slutty way, she thought, but in an I'm young, I'm alive, and, if you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with kind of way. However, she had quickly tired of such a lifestyle.

Maybe it was her age, perhaps it was memories of what her existence had been like before she was called to be the slayer, or maybe Buffy simply wasn't cut out to be so carefree and spontaneous, but, whatever the reason, she had gone back to school, completed her degree, and moved back to the states, New York City to be exact. She rented an apartment, got a job as a social worker, and made a life for herself – a lonely, boring life, but it was steady and dependable, for slaying, because of the hundreds of other activated slayers, had become rather low of her totem pole of priorities.

A couple of years later, she woke up without her super strength and nifty over-night healing abilities. All the other slayers in the world became normal girls again, too. Vampires ceased to exist, demons were only of the human variety, and, if there was anything of the supernatural still out there, it certainly kept itself on the extreme down-low. Even then, though, Buffy didn't re-enter the dating world. Sure, there were the occasional dinners with a cute guy, but her heart wasn't in, and they quickly discovered her lack of interest.

Simply put, when she looked into the future, she still only saw one man. However, Buffy wasn't even sure if Angel was still situated in the present. It had been years since she had last seen him, since anyone she knew had even heard of him. The last piece of knowledge she had secured was about the battle of Los Angeles. One day, Angel had been the CEO of Los Angeles' branch of Wolfram and Heart, and, then, the next day, he and everyone from his team disappeared as though right into the ether. At first, she had been hopeful that Angel and his friends were just lying low or off fighting evil somewhere discreet and remote, but then evil was no more, and vampires disappeared, so where did that leave her evil fighting vampire with a soul?

She feared he was dead. If Buffy was entirely honest with herself, she had to admit that she had long since feared that horrific idea. In fact, there was a part of her that wondered if Angel had died that night during the battle of Los Angeles. There'd been no tug to her heart, her world didn't stop, and she hadn't immediately burst into tears like she had always imagined would happen if he died while she was still alive and away from him. Surely, two people as deeply connected as they were would simply just know when the other one was no more. Since nothing so gothically romantic occurred, she had allowed herself to believe he was alright until blind faith and wishful thinking could no longer buoy her heart.

She wasn't completely certain, though, which meant that she couldn't even fathom the idea of starting to move on... even when she watched cheesy chick flicks and the girls always ended up with the man of their dreams, even when she saw her dream house advertised in the real estate section and she imagine making it a home with her husband, even when she saw a baby food commercial and felt the pangs of her biological clock tick-tocking away inside of her, because she only wanted to end up with Angel, she only wanted to make her dream house a home with him as her husband, and she only wanted to carry Angel's babies.
The whimsical smile that had been illuminating her face as she thought about her friends and family slipped, replaced with a sad, distant frown. Unfortunately, it was a countenance Buffy knew well. It was the one she greeted her coworkers with every morning, the one she saw mirrored back towards her while riding to and from her apartment on the subway, and the one she fell asleep with at night only to wake up with it, once more, in the morning. Glancing down at her plate, sightlessly looking at the Korean noodles with black bean sauce she had ordered and was now automatically eating without conscious thought, her actions nothing but rote memory, Buffy sighed.

She wasn't sure why she celebrated Black Day. It wasn't a traditionally heralded holiday in America. Hell, she was pretty sure that most Americans had never even heard of it. She wouldn't have if not for Willow who, several April 14th's ago, had suggested that Buffy take part in the Korean tradition. While February 14th was for lovers in a committed relationship, April 14th – Black Day – was for singles. The dateless, the pathetic, the lonely were supposed to get together on that one evening every year to eat jajangmyeon, perhaps bonding over their shared loser-ness.

However, for Buffy, the holiday simply meant that, when April 14th rolled around every year, she didn't have to contemplate what she would eat for dinner; It was always noodles and black bean sauce... hence the Korean holiday's name. She went to her neighborhood's local Korean restaurant, ordered a plate of the traditional food, and ate while being bestowed with pitying glances from the apparently happily not-single waitresses, cooks, and restaurant owners. The saddest thing, though, was the fact that no one else ever showed up to eat at the establishment on that night once a year. Whether it was because they knew of the significance of the day and didn't want to proclaim their singledom or because nobody else in New York was single, Buffy didn't know, and, as she pouted, mourned, and ached for a man she hadn't seen in nearly seven years, she didn't particularly care.

"Is this seat taken," a deep, spine tingling, familiar voice asked, already moving to sit down. Buffy knew who it belonged to even before she looked up, but nothing could have prevented her from meeting his gaze, not even the end of the world.

And, just like that, with his own dish of noodles and black bean sauce held in his hands, Angel re-entered her life.

* ~ *

A year ago, he never would have imagined his life turning out so perfectly. After the battle of Los Angeles or, more accurately, during it, he and those who remained of his team – Spike and Illyria – had been transported to a demon dimension. There, for years, they had fought together to defeat the wells of evil that created the various types and forms of demons on earth. It wasn't the original evil, the first evil, like Buffy and her friends had fought a year prior in Sunnydale, but it was the source of the vampire, the werewolf, and every other deadly creature of the night. In essence, he, Spike, and Illyria, after years of fighting, managed to take out every single set of demon parents. When the lines were destroyed, so were the races, and he was sent back to earth human, apparently rewarded by the powers.

During their years in the demon dimension, Spike had died. It wasn't as flamboyant of a sacrifice as he had made previously in Buffy's honor, but, perhaps, it carried even more weight and importance. Without his help, he and Illyria never would have been able to wrestle forth their victory, let alone actually survive. While the evil still existed, it had to find humans to carry out its malicious intentions; demons had been destroyed for good.

Almost immediately after their return to humanity, Illyria disappeared. Where she went off to, Angel wasn't sure. In fact, the former goddess didn't even stick around long enough for Angel to find out if she had retained any of her previous powers. That, in and of itself, pretty much told him, though, that she was now what she had always disdained: completely and entirely mortal, physically Fred again but mentally and emotionally still Illyria.

Unlike his blue hued counterpart, Angel rejoiced in his suddenly bestowed humanity. However, with the waves of gratitude and joy that crashed upon him, so did waves of grief as he was finally given enough peace and time to mourn those he had lost before being thrust into a battle too big to even worry about what and whom he had left behind. So, while he relished his days in the sun, ate food as though he would never be given another meal again for as long as he lived, and bought a ridiculous amount of mirrors, crosses, and vials of holy water just because he could, Angel did not immediately set out to find Buffy.

If it were possible, becoming human once and for all had only made him love her that much more, so it wasn't the fact that he had moved on or that he craved the single life that forced him into Buffy-solitude. Rather, it was the simple fact that he didn't feel ready to live happily ever after... or as close to it as was possible outside of a fairytale... that made him shy away from finding the only woman he had ever and truly loved.

So, for two years, he wandered. He mourned for his fallen friends and comrades and took solace in his prized, precious memories of them. He thought of his son but left him alone, grateful for the wonderful life Connor had been granted because of Angel's sacrifices. He traveled, too, always seeing sights that he longed to share with those already lost. And he thought, too; he thought about what he wanted out of life, what he should do with his life, and how he was ever going to support himself once his small reserve of resources were depleted. Suddenly human for the first time in more than two hundred years... other than his one day foray into mortality after defeating the Mohra demon, Angel quickly realized just how expensive real living was.

He could no longer simply claim an abandoned basement for himself and make it into a cozy, sunless apartment. He couldn't feed off rodents, and, whereas when he was a vampire a pint of blood would do him good for an entire day, now he was a full grown male man who needed at least three healthy meals of actual food. And he didn't like to settle for boxed dinners and cheap frozen meals. After not eating anything but blood for several lifetimes, he glutted himself on fresh fruits and vegetables, rich cuts of meat, the softest breads he could find, and the most delectable, artery clogging desserts bakers could make. Plus, there were little changes to his budget, too – things like heating bills, and hair cuts, and life insurance premiums - basic, fundamental aspects of everyday life that he had forgotten or not even discovered yet as a vampire.

He didn't brood, though, not even when it came to the loss of his friends. Rather, for the first time in years, since he had given Buffy a Claddagh ring, he embraced his Irish ancestry. He celebrated Wesley's life, Gunn's life, Fred's life, and Cordelia's by remembering them fondly, doing things he thought they would appreciate and enjoy, and putting his recollections of their happier moments down with charcoal on paper. For two years, he held a traveling wake in their honor, and, in the process, discovered who human Angel really was.

He was a man, first and foremost, who loved Buffy Anne Summers, who, when he looked into the future, saw only her, and who, if he were ever going to have children, absolutely refused to allow anyone to be the mother of his children besides Buffy. He was a man who liked sunrises better than sunsets, who still, even after leaving his demon ways behind, preferred the color black to all others when it came to his clothes, and who refused to buy a single pair of curtains. He liked to cook, hated to wash dishes, and had a feeling he'd be one of those guys who took great pride in his lawn when someday he eventually had one.

As for a career, despite the fact that he enjoyed reading and learning new things, Angel just couldn't go to college. It wasn't his pride, though. He simply knew that he would feel ridiculous in such a youthful setting. Whether he looked to be in his late twenties or not, he had the life experience of someone ten times that old, and, frankly, he didn't have the patience to wait for years to start his life; he wanted to be able to make a livelihood immediately, to be settled and secure when he approached Buffy, hoping that, despite the odds stacked against him because, in his opinion, she was the only truly desirable woman in the world, she would actually still be available. His hotel was gone, so he couldn't very well open it up as a viable business, and he didn't actually own the land, so he couldn't simply sell it for profit and provide himself with a small nest egg.

Instead, he thought about what he liked and what he was good at, and he settled upon the idea of opening up his own business. Despite being gone from the human world for several years, he still had connections in both the antiquities field and the collectible books field, so he used those connections to start accumulating a stock of goods, and, after discovering that Buffy lived and worked in New York City, he bought a small shop in Connecticut and opened a store. He sold antique furniture, rare, first edition books, and artwork, both his own and that of undiscovered local artists. He would also do consulting work in those fields, helping out local designers, artists, and gallery owners. It was both fulfilling and profitable.

When he finally approached Buffy, revealing he was alive and proclaiming his intentions, Black Day had not been a coincidence. When he had decided he was ready to finally be with her, that he had adjusted to his new life and grieved enough so that it wouldn't weigh her down and drag her along with him, Angel had contacted Willow first to make sure he wouldn't be disturbing her life. Buffy's best friend had been, at first, completely speechless by his tale and, then, only too willing to bend over backwards to help him. She had told him about how Buffy celebrated the Korean day for singles, done some research to find out which restaurant in the city the blonde went to for her noodles and black bean sauce, and then sent him on his merry way, her fingers crossed in wishes of good luck for them.

Three months later, they were married and living in Buffy's recently purchased dream home in Connecticut.

He felt his eyes drooping as exhaustion fought to pull him under the veil of unconsciousness. Despite the fact that it had been both a holiday and the weekend, he was tired but still fighting against sleep. For the first time in his life, he had celebrated Valentine's Day with the woman he loved, and he didn't want the experience to end. He wondered, down the road, after they were used to the idea of having not forever but a pretty damn good lifetime together, if his and Buffy's enthusiasm for all things romantic would be damped. Would they always throw themselves into the little things? Would they always make sure they said I love you ever morning and night? Would they always gift each other with small tokens of appreciation even when there wasn't a holiday or birthday in sight, and would they always gift each other with larger, more extravagant tokens of appreciation when there was? He wasn't sure of those answers, but what Angel did know was that, while they still celebrated their love so dedicatedly, he would enjoy it.

Bright and early that Sunday morning, Buffy had awakened him with breakfast in bed, and, after spending an entire day lounging about the house – while he sketched and read, she curled up beside him and watched a movie while painting her nails, they had retired to bed to make love. Buffy had even gifted him with homemade chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels and presented him with a puppy. She had made a big production of giving him the dog, telling him first that he was about to be a father. For a brief moment, he had wondered if maybe she was pregnant and rejoiced in the idea, but, when he was proven wrong, he didn't feel saddened or let down. Instead, he was just motivated even more to make that wish come true sooner rather than later.

However, no matter how wonderful their first Valentine's Day together was, it wasn't the memories of it that kept him awake or the reassuring feeling of Buffy nestled into his arms. Rather, he was worried that he had done something wrong, that Buffy had been disappointed by the fact that he hadn't acknowledged the holiday in return for her. As he thought, he wondered if she knew of White Day, of the female version of the male holiday of Valentine's Day that the Koreans celebrated. Surely, since they had reunited on Black Day, she did, but what if she didn't? And then he recalled the fact that it had been Willow who had first told his wife about the singles' holiday, and, knowing Buffy, she had fully embraced the idea without doing any of her own research.

Chucking softly, he dropped a kiss onto his wife's sleeping crown, snuggling deeper into their bed and pulling her against him even tighter. White Day was only a month away, and he had a lot of planning to do if he was going to make it three times as special as she had made Valentine's Day for him.

* ~ *

Arching her back, Buffy felt the very tips of her long, blonde locks brush against her bare derrière as she careened over the edge of sanity and into a deep, rushing pool of bliss and ecstasy. Orgasms with Angel were always blindsiding. Riding out the waves of pleasure, she was dimly aware of his body still thrusting up inside of her, his movements' lack of smoothness and languidly informing her that he was nearing his release as well. With one final, powerful surge against her, he collapsed, and she fell on top of him, deliciously spent.

Several minutes passed, and neither of them moved besides the requisite inhalations and exhalations used to breathe. Slowly, their heart rate decreased and descended back into a normal rhythm, and it wasn't until then that Buffy allowed her gaze to flicker open. Their room was dim, lit only with the pulsating flames of nearly a dozen candles, and it took her eyes a moment to adjust to the near darkness. When she did, though, memories of the past day came back to her quickly, and she sighed in delight and contentment.

"It's official," she announced, her voice naturally softer due to the intimate setting she was sharing with her husband. Rolling her chin against his chest, she maneuvered her face so that it was upturned and meeting his own. The slight change in her position, though, told her that her thick, damp strands of hair were sticking to her own skin and that of Angel's. Sitting up as she talked, she reached across the wide expanse of their bed and plucked a stray ponytail holder from her bedside table. "Today is now my favorite day out of the whole year."

As she hastily combed her hair back with the nails of her fingers, tying her wild locks away as efficiently as possible, Buffy could feel her husband's gaze upon her the entire time. His rich, chocolate orbs immediately zeroed in on her bare and unbound breasts, and, if she didn't know any better, she would have said his attentions singed her already warm skin. When her arms lifted to rake her hair back, pulling the generous globes that much higher and tighter, she felt him begin to harden once more inside her, and she grinned in appreciation while, at the same time, her rose hued nipples pebbled in excitement.

Once she was finished and repositioned, her body sprawled across his own, it took both of them several still, calming seconds before they could talk. Angel was the first to speak, questioning her previous statement. "More than Christmas?"

Before, she had always had a love/hate relationship with holidays. While the simple concept of them was appealing, as the slayer, days of celebration and relaxation oftentimes ended up disappointing, and, after evil was vanquished once and for all, the holidays had reminded Buffy of just how lonely she was, but, since Angel had dropped back into her life so suddenly eleven months before, she had a whole different outlook on festive occasions. Their first Christmas together had been her most joyous ever, and her husband knew that, for she had told him so herself as they drifted off to sleep, cocooned in each others arms that past December 25th.

"Much better than Christmas," she answered, punctuating her statement with a teasing, light brushing of her lips against Angel's collarbone. Unable to curtail even the slightest whim when it came to the man she loved, she also decided to bite the clavicle as well before continuing. "I had to share you with everyone on Christmas; today, it was just the two of us."

"What about your birthday?" Though past years had seen disastrous results when Buffy attempted to celebrate turning a year older, that past January had been nothing but a success. "It was just the two of us then."

"Yes, and it was perfect... for a birthday. You bought me lots of presents, you took me out to dinner, you even danced with me a few times, but today has been..."

"Perfect, too," Angel agreed, not needing her to finish her thought.

"And we didn't even have to leave our bed."

He chuckled. "Maybe you didn't, but I did. Those three gourmet meals you enjoyed didn't fix themselves, you know."

Buffy laughed, too, both at the taunting words and the dancing of nimble fingers against her bare, silky back. Angel loved to tickle her. "Really," she playfully questioned, "because all I know is that, when I opened my eyes, the food was there."

But that was because Angel had cooked while she had been asleep. Her breakfast had been prepared early that morning before she aroused from a satisfyingly deep slumber. After spending the morning in bed opening her first set of presents and enjoying the temptations of her husband's body, she had peacefully drifted off into a light, restorative nap, only to awaken to lunch already fixed and waiting for her. Dinner had arrived after the same set of events – presents, making love, and then falling back asleep. Even with two naps, she was still tired that late night hour, so Buffy had no doubt that Angel was absolutely drained. Still, though, he refused to waver, obviously intent upon making sure she felt loved and appreciated for each and every single second of the day.

Drawing her away from her thoughts, he queried, "what about our anniversary?"

"I don't know. After we celebrate one, get back to me."

Even in the candle light, Buffy could see her husband's gaze alight with anticipation and inspiration. She, too, couldn't wait to celebrate their one year wedding anniversary, but, in the meantime, she wanted to finally know what had spurred Angel into transforming just another gray and wet March 14th into a fantasy actualized. When she had asked him earlier, he had requested she wait for her answer. He promised to tell her, but he didn't want to do so until the day was almost over.

Shifting her hips against his and grinning crookedly when he gasped in sudden appreciation, Buffy whispered, "it's nearly midnight."

"So?" Angel's single word response was harsh with want and raspy with barely restrained need.

Nothing made her feel more womanly, more attractive, more desired than his base, almost carnal reactions to the littlest sexual advance she bestowed upon him. Despite the fact that they had already made love that day three times, the last just mere minutes before, she knew Angel would gladly extend that number to four if she insisted. Asked. Begged. Hinted towards. "Did you suddenly come into a windfall of cash, or was I just a really, really good girl to deserve so many presents?" When she said the word good, she squeezed her inner muscles around his length that was still deliciously half aroused inside of her.

Gritting his teeth so he could respond, Angel said, "today is... or was White Day."

"Good to know."

At her flippant remark, he grinned. "Just like Black Day, it's a Korean holiday. The Japanese and Taiwanese celebrate it, too."

"Okay...," Buffy drawled out, knowing she sounded both curious and impatient. "And that has to do deal with us, because...?"

"Because, since we saw each other for the first time in years while celebrating the Korean day for singles, I thought we'd stick to their holidays when it came to couples, too. That means that Valentine's Day is for me, and White Day is for you."

Narrowing her gaze at him, she accused, "so, that's why you didn't buy me anything for Valentine's Day, why you never even wished me a happy one."

"Yeah," Angel shrugged. "I just figured you already knew about White Day, and I didn't put the pieces together that you didn't until that night, and, by that time, I just decided to surprise you."

"And suffer my wrath in the meantime," she finished.

He grinned once more. "It wasn't so bad."

Snuggling down deeper onto his chest, Buffy buried her face in the crook of his neck, allowing her lips to suckle slightly at his pulse point before parting to lick the tender, erotic spot. "Tell me more about this holiday devoted entirely to me," she requested.

"In return for what a man is given on Valentine's Day, he's to give three times the amount of gifts he received to the woman he loves on White Day."

Thinking about the gifts he had showered upon her that day, Buffy realized how meticulously her husband had followed that rule. She had received three dozen white chocolate macadamia nut cookies, three pieces of barely there, sexy lingerie, three dozen delicate camellias, and a necklace on which three exquisite white pearls hung. Whereas she had given him one meal in bed, he had bestowed upon her three. They had made love once on Valentine's Day; so far, during White Day, they had already been intimate together three times.

Perceiving an obvious pattern, she worriedly asked, "you didn't get me three puppies, right?"

Angel chuckled. "No, but... Do you remember what you said to me that day?"

"That you were responsible for the walking, the feeding, and the bathing; I would handle the accessorizing."

Ignoring her, he answered his own question. "You said that I was going to be a father."

"And you are. We're the proud parents of one lazy, spoiled, self-involved Irish Setter puppy."

This time it was his turn to seduce her. Dipping the wandering fingers of his left hand below her waist to pet and caress the firm mounds of her bottom, Angel ran the back of his right hand against the side of her body, paying particular attention to her shoulder and breast. Delicately placing a light kiss against her hairline, he advised, "think about what you just said."

At his insistence, their conversation ran itself back through her mind. White Day. Everything he gave to her was thrice as nice. She made him a father by gifting him with a puppy. They made love three...

"Oh my god."

Sitting up, momentarily forgetting just how intimately connected they were at the moment, Buffy exclaimed once more, "Oh my god, Angel! You didn't!"

He grinned impishly. "Time will tell, nine months to be exact."

Mentally she calculated her cycle, realizing, as her husband's newfound luck would have it, that she was at her fertility premium that day. "But how did you...?"

"Buffy, you're my wife. Of course I know those things about you."

She wasn't so sure that other guys could say the same things to their wives, but she knew that Angel was unlike any other man she had ever met or known, so she didn't doubt his statement. Taking him at his word, her gaze ricocheted back and forth from her husband's gaze to her own flat, tanned stomach, wondering.

Finally meeting his eyes without wavering, she threatened, "if I even have triplets...," but the warning went unheard as Angel wrapped his arms around her and rolled them both over, pushing his hips forward to stifle her words and remind her of just how he might have succeeded in causing her to be with child. It was a reminder she extremely appreciated.

* ~ *

Eight months and three days later, Buffy gave birth to their twin daughters. As Angel slid into his wife's hospital bed with her, one of their baby girls wrapped carefully in his right arm while the other slumbered contentedly against her mother, he grinned smugly to himself. While he might have missed the mark slightly, failing in his thrice in return goal, double the pleasure wasn't so bad. Besides, he and Buffy had many more White Days to celebrate together in the years to come. Maybe he'd get it right yet anyway.