He's growling in his sleep, tossing and turning with a feral grace that's almost feline to the eye. She is still, her heart aching- wanting, needing- as he reaches out for someone, strains against the chains that bind him and lets out a whimper when there's nothing there.

She can't look away, not when he's so needy. Angel…he's always been the strong one in their relationship, her buttress of support when she needed one, guiding her, loving her- don't you love me anymore?- and rarely the one who would need reassuring. The role reversal here is as exhilarating as it is terrifying, and she clamps down on the latter, forcing it away so she can do what she must.

"Angel?" she whispers, and he pulls at the chains again, seeking her even in his sleep. She lets out a choked sob and crawls over to him, regarding him tearfully. "Angel," she murmurs again, and the hands take her, pulling her warmth to him instinctively.

Her eyes close and she snuggles against him, for a moment in a different world where he is lover and she is beloved, where she never has to doubt that he'd be there for her. She's safe in his embrace, Angel and Buffy together where they belong and the universe is right again-

Blunt teeth scrape against the side of her neck and she freezes. The illusion is gone, the animal is back, and she can barely bring herself to face him, trembling fists raised to press against his chest in a weak, reluctant defense.

He snuffles curiously, his mouth still playing at her neck, licking and sucking where the Master's bite once penetrated her skin, and she gasps as his lips wrap around it, sending a jolt of heat directly to her core. "Ohh…Angel…"

But he's still asleep, even as his hands strain at the chains to run down the length of her body and his lips inch closer to her own. She captures them gladly, thoughts of- what's-his-name, boyfriend, who cares- escaping her- had they even been there to begin with?- the instant she has Angel kisses again, lost, utterly lost in this ecstasy…

He awakens.

A growl against her mouth and he starts, wild and afraid and angry at her closeness. He throws her aside, snarling angrily, and she scoots backwards. He's back to himself- whatever himself means these days, anyway- and no longer safe to be around, the beast returned and the man forgotten.

But not entirely. Somewhere in there, he still knows her, still feels her and loves her. Somewhere in there, he's still Angel.

And as she watches the animal on the outside bare his teeth and charge at her, she can't help but smile.