A/N: Huge thanks to Sotia for beta-reading and to Chantel for helping me with the summary and title. *hugs*

Secrets

Chapter One

"I've had enough." Buffy dropped a pile of envelopes onto Angel's desk, then sat down in the plush leather chair opposite him.

Angel didn't meet her eyes, keeping his gaze focused on his computer screen. Every so often he clicked the mouse and typed something on the keyboard. "I don't know what you mean."

"The notes. The cryptic text messages. The mysterious e-mails from a Mr. Anonymous." Buffy opened one of the envelopes and pulled out a sheet of paper. "This is your handwriting. I know it's you, Angel. I want you to stop."

Angel sighed, and stopped typing. "I really don't know what you're talking about, Buffy."

"Is this some residual jealousy thing?" she asked. "I thought you were past that. You're happy with Cordelia now, right? So why are you doing this?"

"Fine, you caught me. I just don't want you to be hurt," Angel sounded sincere. He rifled through the envelopes until he found one labelled Wednesday 15th October. "I do still care about you."

"As a friend."

"Of course." Angel placed a piece of notepaper in front of her.

"Then, as my friend, you should know that what you're doing is only upsetting me." Buffy looked at what was written on the paper, and shrugged. "This doesn't mean anything to me. It doesn't prove anything."

Wed. 15th Oct
Arrived Behan's Bar (B&B rooms to hire), 1.45 p.m.
Left Behan's Bar, 6.00 p.m. — over 4 hours!
Drove to area just south of Linfield Park. Too risky to follow.

"It doesn't mean anything on its own, but you're not that naïve. Look at the rest of them." Shuffling through the envelopes, Angel pulled out pieces of paper with various dates and times on them, names of out-of-town restaurants and bars with hotel rooms attached. And several visits to somewhere just south of Linfield Park.

Buffy stared at the words blankly, refusing to believe what she knew Angel wanted her to think. "No. It doesn't mean anything."

"For God's sake!" Angel stood up, his sudden movement making the wheels on his chair squeak loudly. "Are you that stupid?"

"Why are you doing this? I can't believe you had him followed." Buffy stood up too, and began to push the papers together into a pile, her hands shaking. "That's just… sad. We broke up six fucking years ago, Angel. You don't get a say in my life anymore!"

"I'm just trying to help you!" Angel took a deep breath, then continued, more calmly. "You're a clever girl, Buff. All the evidence is there. Do with it what you will."

Buffy shook her head. "Shut up. Don't come near me, and if you send me any more of these stupid messages, I'll report you to head office for harassment."

Dumping the armful of envelopes into the wastepaper basket that was by the door, she left his office without saying another word.


"He's wrong. Wrong." Buffy repeated the words like a mantra as she washed and prepared some vegetables for dinner. There was no truth in anything Angel had said. None.

Until a week ago, when Angel had started sending her the notes and messages, there had been no doubts, no questions, no worries that Spike might be cheating on her.

Angel was wrong. No doubt about it.


At ten past eight, when Spike was two hours late coming home to their tiny flat, and the chicken dinner she had prepared had gone cold on the kitchen table, Buffy began to wonder if perhaps there was some truth in what Angel had said.

As she looked back, her mind threw forward other instances over the last few months–things she hadn't even considered at the time, but that now had a negative slant in light of Angel's notes. Missed dinners, secretive phone calls and a general evasiveness.

He locked his study, now.

Kept a password on his computer.

Tiny, insignificant things. And she couldn't help but wonder.


Buffy tried to keep her mind off things by settling down in front of the television, a re-run of Friends playing on low volume. She had just about dozed off when she heard the front door click open and the heavy tread of Spike's boots on the hallway carpet.

"Buffy, love?"

She sat up, putting Chandler and Joey on mute. "In here."

Moments later, Spike appeared in the doorway, cheeks flushed and the tips of his hair sparkling under the hall light. He was grinning. "You look outside, pet? First snow."

Oh. So that was melting snow in his hair. For a moment she had thought he'd stopped off somewhere to shower, to get the scent of another woman off–

But no, Angel was wrong.

"Buffy? You all right?"

"What?" Her gaze snapped back to her boyfriend. He looked worried. "Oh, I'm fine. Just spaced for a moment." She forced a smile. "You're late. I threw the chicken away."

"I–ah, had a meeting." Shrugging his coat off, he collapsed on the sofa next to her. "You didn't get my text?"

"No."

"Oh."

He slipped his arms around her, and Buffy automatically laid her head on his shoulder. Closing her eyes, she nestled into his neck, to breathe in the scent that was so familiar to her. There was no hint of anything unusual, no strange perfume.

For the first time that evening, she relaxed.


Buffy slid into bed, shivering against the cold. It was at times like this that she missed the warm Californian sunshine. But she'd been living in England for so long now that she knew she'd miss the overcast skies and gloomy weather if she ever went back to America.

Spike padded into the bedroom, his pyjama pants hanging low on his slim hips. He sent her a heated look, and she could see that he was already half-hard. Smiling, she drew the quilt back.

Good. Sex was good. If he wanted sex with her, it meant that he wasn't cheating. The dates on Angel's little slips of paper went back three months, and nothing had changed in their sex life. It was just as good as ever. That had to mean something.

Spike kissed her, and she responded eagerly, trying to lose herself in the sensation. Trying not to think. She was just being paranoid.

She slid her foot up and down Spike's leg, and he broke the kiss with a laugh.

"What?"

"Cold." He grinned, and kissed her nose. "Your feet are cold."

"Oh." She closed her eyes, as Spike left a trail of burning kisses down her neck and onto her breasts. "Warm me up, then."

"I'm planning to." Spike sat back, and pulled his pants off. When he was naked, she reached for him, bringing him back down on top of her. His weight was comforting, and the feel of his hard length against her sent sparks of lust shooting through her body.

Spike's hands stroked her into a frenzy, and though she had felt his touch on her a hundred, a thousand times before, it still felt new, still felt amazing. She couldn't imagine that he would touch her with such love, with such reverence, if he was having an affair.

When he entered her, she let out a cry of satisfaction. Spike moaned, and hooked one of her legs further around his waist, changing the angle, hitting her deeper, prolonging her gasps.

Every thrust stoked the fire inside of her, until she felt that she would burn if there was no release. "Please please please please, Spike. Please!"

He brought his hand between their bodies, finding her swollen clit. Buffy groaned, and pressed her nails into Spike's shoulders, her heels into the backs of his thighs.

With a loud wail, she let go, waves of pleasure crashing over her. Spike thrust against her once, twice more, and came.

"Love you, Buffy."

She felt overcome with the emotion–confusion, love and paranoia swirling around in her mind and in the pit of her stomach. She didn't know what to do. It was only when he rolled off her, that she realised she was crying.