Character's sadly belong to others.

Buffy strolled through her house lazily as she spoke with her good friend Willow over the phone for a few more minutes before finally saying goodnight. With a sigh, she hung up the jacket that she'd just flung over a chair when she'd came in, checked to make sure the front door was locked, as useless as she knew that could be around here these days, then turned out the lights as she made her way back through her tiny space she called home.

As she entered her bedroom, Buffy let out a tired sigh. Today had been pretty damn hectic. Hell, the past few months had been pretty damn hectic.

Sitting down at her vanity, Buffy quickly ran a brush through her not-quite dry hair then reached over to plug her cell phone in for the night. When she sat back up, Buffy let out a short but startled gasp at the figure sharing the reflection in the mirror with her.

Forcing herself into remembering how to breathe, Buffy quickly gave him a one-over before lifting her eyes to meet his own in the glass.

"Hello," she greeted.

His ski-mask hidden head gave a sort of nod. "Good evening, Miss Summers," his voice replied, sounding like melted honey, sending a not-entirely-unexpected wave of lust through her tiny body.

"I wasn't expecting to see you again," she said after clearing her throat.

"Well, that's just not true, Buffy. You invited me here. And you knew I would come."

Buffy raised an eyebrow at him.

"Okay, maybe I read between the lines."

"You saw my story."

"I did. I must say, I was impressed. By both your work and, of course, myself," he said with a light chuckle.

Buffy rolled her eyes at the man who had ended up giving her the biggest break of her career. "Well, I am just so glad that I could be of service in stroking your ego."

"Well, since you've been such a big help so far, there's other parts of me that are in need of a good stroking or two."

Buffy's face went into flames before she could stop herself. "Get out," she choked out with a shake of her head.

He chuckled again. "Now, now, calm down."

Buffy glared at him in the mirror before standing up and turning to walk towards him, her arms crossing over her chest as she went. Since she was so short and he was so tall, Buffy had to crane her head to meet his eyes again as she stood before him.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

One glove-covered hand reached out to stroke a string of her dampened hair. "You invited me, remember?"

Buffy's breathing hitched as leather danced lightly against her skin as he touched her blonde locks. "I did no such thing," she argued. "And even if I did, which I will repeat that I did not, why would you have come?"

His head tilted slightly to the right, his dark eyes sweeping over her before returning to her own. "I thought that was rather obvious."

Buffy gasped then glared, slapping his hand away. "Pig."

Before she could take that first step away from him however, a large arm came wrapping around her waist pulling her to him. His other hand made quick work of lifting up his mask, exposing just the lower half of his face, then bent down to capture her lips with his own.

Buffy was proud of her self, for a whole two seconds, before she lost the fight and her body turned into mush in his arms. She eagerly deepened the kiss and her arms reached out for him. One gripped onto the almost skin tight long sleeved black shirt which he wore, the other sneaking up to his neck, toying with the bottom of his mask drooping there.

He stilled as her fingers brushed underneath but when they both realized she had no intention of taking it off, just running her fingers through and grabbing at his dark locks, he relaxed.

They both knew this was wrong, very wrong. Each for their own, completely different reasons, but neither of them could even begin to care right now.

OoOoO

"What the hell are you sitting there grinning like a fool for?" Gunn asked while tossing an empty water bottle at his friends head, smiling as it hit him. "You're not daydreaming about her again are you?"

He most certainly was. Not about their first meeting, at least not at the moment, the one Gunn knew about given he'd been there too at the time, but the one from late last night.

Reaching down, Angel picked up the bottle he'd been struck with a moment earlier then tossed it back, laughing as Gunn barely made time to swipe it out of his face before it would have clipped him.

"Hey!"

"Boys," Faith said rolling her eyes as she crossed through the room.

"Sor-ry," they both mumbled before giant smirks took over their faces, earning another eye roll from the female Lehane.

Happy that the two of them started up a conversation, Angel let his mind once again drift to the petite blonde who'd taken him over by surprise.

The first meeting had been a completely unforeseen event. He and the boys had been on a hit at a museum when in walked one of the managers, with his unhappy-looking date. It had been a last minute decision on Riley's part, dragging her here as some way to impress or interest him, little did he know... Hamilton had unfortunately, and fortunately, knocked him out by the time he'd joined back up with the better part of the gang, and they had tied him up to her up in the middle of the floor to a column.

"What is this?" he asked slowly from a distant corner, his eyes racking over the beautiful blonde. She didn't look at all scared he noted, just really, quite annoyed. And angry.

With a sigh, Lindsey stepped closer to him and whispered the situation, best he knew of it anyway. Angel remained quiet as his friend drawled on, only asking a few quick questions once he'd finished. He wasn't thrilled with the surprise but less about the fact their new guy had harmed someone.

Even if that someone happened to be Riley Finn.

That was a big no. First rule, no one gets harmed.

With a sigh, Angel made his way over to her, stopping a time or two along the way in order to speak with someone in hushed voices about what had happened, or to glare over at Hamilton. "Miss Summers, is it?" he asked, crouching down to her. The boys hadn't found much on her but they had managed to scramble up some sort of ID on the poor girl.

Buffy was tied but her mouth was left uncovered, though she didn't speak, at least not to him. She gave a hard glare and that was about it.

"Okay, I deserve that. I do not have words to describe the sorrow in my heart for the events that took place here tonight. I can assure you that you have nothing to fear from me or my men, Miss Summers. And I can promise you that absolutely no harm will come to you. That no harm should have come to you or Mister Finn here," he nodded back at the blonde man who was still out of it. "New trainee," he tried to joke.

She didn't budge though.

"Okay," he sighed again then stood. He wasn't used to being in this sort of position. That included being attractive to the almost hostage.

Deciding to leave her be for now, he stepped away and focused on the job they'd come to do.

Everyone but Lindsey and he left once they'd gotten what they had come for. Telling his friend to stand guard, Angel returned to the woman, apologizing once, then twice more. "I know you must be quite uncomfortable," he told her, apologizing for that as well, "so I brought you this," he held up a small pillow. "I promise I'm not going to harm you, I'm just going to come over there, lifted you up and place this underneath you, alright?"

She looked at him with weary eyes before nodding ever-so slightly.

It was a small victory.

He made good on his word, carefully bringing her up against him and into his arms, holding her for several seconds too long, before setting her back down on the cushion. "Is there anything else I can get you? A blanket, glass of water?"

"You can let me go," she spoke, him finally getting the pleasure of hearing her voice.

He breathed out a sigh, his hand moving all on it's own to come brush her cheek. She didn't yell, flinch, glare or any of the things he'd expected. That she seemed to have expected her own self to do. "I cannot untie you," he finally spoke, his voice filled with a smidge of huskiness.

"So, what, you're just going to leave us like this until morning?" she spat, her anger finally returning then.

"Of course not. We will take our leave then I will call and give an anonymous tip to the police and they will come to your rescue."

She let that sink in for a moment. "You promise?" she asked him quietly.

Under his mask, Angel smiled. "Yes, I promise. I will send help."

Buffy nodded then let out a breath. "Okay."

Angel stared at her for many moments, which she began to grow uncomfortable with and began squirming from. He knew he should have left, right then, but he found he hadn't wanted to. Stealing a few more minutes with her, he pretended to check her bindings as he spoke about whatever mundane topic came to mind. She'd been a little standoff-ish and questioning him many times over, but she kept up with the conversation, even having grown almost comfortable with it.

"I know who you are, you know."

At this, he stilled.

"You're The Gentlemen, aren't you?"

Then he let out the breath he'd been holding and chuckled softly. "That's what they call us."

"And you're the leader."

"Fishing for information, Miss Summers?"

Her head turned and she gave him a pointed look, making him laugh.

He thought about not answering her, not that she had spoke it as a question, but finally nodded his head. "You could say that I suppose."

When she kept digging for answers, Angel then decided it was really time for him to take his leave.

When he was just about to disappear from the room, he heard her call out.

"Hey, ring leader?"

He stopped but didn't turn around.

"You promise?" she asked again.

"Yes, just sit tight Buffy." And with that he walked away. And made good on his promise, calling in the police, an ambulance, then sending Lindsey off on his way as he found a suitable rooftop nearby to make sure.

It was only a few short hours later when he found out that their Buffy Summers was a pretty unknown reporter for the local newspaper, but when she broke the story, she wasn't so unknown anymore and everyone wanted a piece of her.

That included him.

She was the only thing he seemed to be able to think about over the next few days. He followed her a time or two and did more than enough research on her in his free time. He paid attention to everything she said, in quick interviews and stories, paid attention to anything that had to do with her at all. Paid even more attention than usual, if that was possible, to anything being said about him and the team as well after this fiasco.

He tried to stay away, truthfully. Even as everything about her was screaming out for him, everything in him screamed for her. He ignored the urge to chase her around town as best he could, to not think about her the best he could. He ignored those fleeting moments in interviews where it seemed she was trying to tell him something, whether she even realized it herself or not. The looks she gave on the television, the tone to her words he'd read.

Then finally, her multi-page article came out, and he had to go see her.

Angel smiled at the memory. The first time their paths had crossed, she'd been in a slinky red dress, matching shoes seated beside her, her hair and make-up done up. This time, she was just out of the shower and dressed for bed. And he found her even more beautiful than before.

She didn't have a hint of make-up on and her hair was still damp from her shower, dripping wet spots on her shoulders and down her back, she had on white socks, some banana yellow lounge pants, a huge bow from the drawstrings hanging down unevenly, and a white shirt with colorful splatches and splots on it, looking like something Jackson Pollock would have created.

And she was breathtaking.

He knew it was wrong to go to her, that it was dangerous, but the moment his eyes fell upon her... he knew it was worth it. He became more confident in that by the end of the night, after spending hours with her in that small bedroom of hers. He didn't take it any farther than a heated make-out session, but damn...

"Earth to Angel?" Faith called, unknown to him for the third time, breaking him out of his Buffy trance. For a matter of moments anyway.

OoOoO

"You kissed a thief and you liked it," Willow sang, teasing her best friend with her Katy Perry parody.

Buffy let her head fall smack against the counter in front of her. "Shut up." Her head slowly lifted back up and she sighed. "What am I going to do about this? I should go to the police, you know."

"And why haven't you?"

Buffy sighed again.

That was a question now wasn't it.