Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel, nor any of the characters mentioned in the cannon.
A/N: Firstly a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to review the last chapter I'm so sorry that I have been so slack getting replies out, life has been busy and what time I had I wanted to devout to trying to get chapters finished. I hope that you find it worth the wait and lack of responses to your reviews, which I appreciated, very much. With that out of the way I shall leave you all to enjoy the chapter.
A small slender looking demon with skin that was a blue-black like dark angry bruises adorning pale flesh. He was wearing clothes that were sizes too big for him, a hooded jacket covered his head hiding the small harmless horns that protruded on his otherwise bald head. His eyes skittered around the darkness of the night, his keen sight easily piercing it to search out those who were chasing him. His eyes spotting the quickly moving shadows that were starting to close in on him. Hastening his pace he hurriedly turned a corner hoping to lose his pursuers in the many twists and turns coming up ahead of him. He heard a woosh of sound that was reminiscent of a coat flapping in the wind and he pushed himself faster not wanting to be caught by his pursuers. A cry of pain renting the air made his steps falter and look over his shoulder to see what was happening behind him.
What he saw made him stop completely and turn around so that he wasn't craning his neck to see the vampire in a dark coat fighting the small group of demons that had been chasing him. He watched shell shocked for a moment before glancing to the side and quickly side stepping into an alley to hide from sight, not wanting to chance being seen, not wanting to risk getting hurt by the much larger demons. Still he stood hugging the alley wall watching the battle rage on with wide eyes.
Angel growled as he snapped one of the demons necks and threw it towards one of the other demons, knocking him down to the ground. Angel turned his attention to the other demon that was coming at him, shifting his stance, he caught the demon with his hands and lifted him up into the air, before throwing him into the brick wall of a building. Angel pivoted on his heel as he felt the demon he had knocked over with the carcass of his companion coming up behind him, kicking him down with a solid roundhouse to the head, Angel grunted as the demon he'd thrown into the wall jumped onto his back, his pointed teeth ripping into his shoulder causing Angel to cry out in pain his face shifting with a growl Angel swiftly moved backwards until the demon and his back hit the wall and the demon released his shoulder. Knocking the demon against the wall for a second time disorienting the demon, he reached back and grasped the demon pulling him from his back, flipping his body over his head and slamming it into the ground. Slipping a knife from his pants, he plunged it into the demons chest. Pulling it free he looked up to see the last demon coming at him, changing his grip on the knife he threw it at the demon.
The knife imbedded itself in the demons throat knocking it back on its back, with a growl he jumped up to his feet and leapt with a fluid motion into the air and landing on the demons chest, his senses telling him that it was still alive, gripping its head in a firm grip he gave a sharp twist, hearing the sound of the snap and feeling the bone break through his hands. Letting the demons head drop to the ground carelessly, Angel pulled the knife from the demons neck and wiped the black sticky blood clinging to it on the demons clothes, before straightening and placing the knife back in its hiding place. Wincing Angel lifted his jacket and shirt from his shoulder, he glanced at the wound that was already starting to heal and sighed softly as he let the damaged cloth fall back over the wound, knowing that when Buffy saw the healing wound she would worry and make a fuss about doctoring him. Not that he minded the attention, but he didn't like worrying her.
Angel glanced down at the demons that he had killed, wondering if he should make an effort to dispose of the bodies, before swiftly deciding against it, what was the point when The Watcher's Council would do it before him. Angel glanced to his right his senses picking up what seemed to be another demon nearby. Turning slightly to be able to see the area better, he scanned it and for a moment he swore that he saw a shadow move a moment later he was sure of it as he felt the demonic presence fading. Angel took a deep breath before releasing it and turning away, the demon that was running wasn't going to do any harm, there had been no evil in the demon he'd felt lurking in the shadows of the alley, but there had been fear.
Beginning to walk back the way he had come, wanting now to just get home to his girl, who he hoped was asleep this time. It wouldn't do her mortal body any good to be up to all hours of the morning just to wait for him to get home.
Buffy smiled as she heard the door open, letting in the dull light from the hallway, relief filling her at knowing that Angel had finally made it home alright. She'd tried waiting up, but after last night she'd gotten far too tired and had to go to bed… not that it had mattered she hadn't slept just closed her eyes and waited. She heard the soft movements as Angel moved around in the dark, she risked a peak at him when she heard the tell-tale noise of a light switch being turned on, seeing him walking into the bathroom the door closing so softly behind him that it barely made a sound as it clicked shut. Turning over onto her back she stared blindly up at the ceiling as she heard the sound of the shower turning on, water rushing through the pipes. For a moment she considered getting up to join him… but it was too comfy and warm under the covers and Angel would be snuggling under with her soon enough.
Letting her eyes blink shut again she listened to the sound of the shower as she waited for him to finish his shower and come join her in the bed. Her mind began to drift sleepily, but not quiet sinking into the depths of sleep and the next thing she knew the apartment fell silent and she smiled as the darkness of her eyelids changed in response to the light of the bathroom as the door opened. A moment later she felt the covers shift and the mattress dip as Angel slid under the covers joining her at long last. With a soft sigh she rolled over onto her side facing him, and snuggled in against him. "Hey." She murmured softly.
Angel looked down at her in surprise. "I thought that you were asleep." He said, his tone a little reprimanding.
Buffy gave a little shrug her cheek pressed against his chest. "I tried, but my brain wouldn't switch off."
Angel placed his arm around Buffy's back holding her against him. "Well, how about we see if we can't get that brain of yours to switch off now." He murmured, his hand rubbing up and down her back.
Buffy smiled. "Somehow, I don't think that it will be a problem anymore. You have a very calming effect on a person."
Angel smiled in response to her words, but couldn't help remembering just how he had had the exact opposite effect on her when they had first met. He gave his head a little mental shake though as Buffy slid her arm across his chest, her small hand coming to rest against his side. Things had come a long way since they had first met, in ways that he had never dared to hope could ever happen. "So, how did it go tonight?" Buffy asked, breaking the comfortable silence that had fallen between them.
Angel gave a wince that went unnoticed by Buffy in the dark, having hoped that she wouldn't ask. "Uh, it was uh, quiet. Took a small group of demons off the streets. That's about it." Angel told her, deliberately steering clear of the small fact that he had received one injury that was already… mostly healed, by morning there would be no evidence of it what so ever.
"Well, that's good." Buffy murmured as she shifted gently against his chest as she tilted her head up to look up at him.
"How was your night?" Angel asked.
Buffy shrugged a little. "It was quiet… apart from the neighbours having an argument… a loud one… as in so loud that the breaking dishes where the quietest part of it." Buffy shook her head. "But apart from that, it was good. Gonna have to go get more food tomorrow. Where out of juice and I wouldn't mind trying another one of those vegetarian recipes."
"Another salad?" Angel asked.
"No… a pasta one this time." Buffy corrected.
"Sounds nice." Angel murmured, his hand stroking her back.
"Uh-huh, and hopefully it'll taste that way to." Buffy said.
Angel smiled amusedly. "I'm sure it will." He assured her. Buffy smiled and gave a little laugh against his chest, sensing his amusement and feeling it herself.
"How about you worry about that tomorrow and try and get some sleep." Angelus murmured.
"Sounds good." Buffy murmured tiredly, now that she knew Angel was safe, the tiredness that hadn't affected her before he was home assaulted her now relaxing body.
Angel smiled as he heard her body relax into sleep after a few more moments of comfortable silence between them. Sliding his hand further up her back until it was buried in the warmth of her soft blond hair, he shifted gently so that he could hug her more closely to him and more easily press an affectionate kiss into her hair, the movement causing Buffy to shift a little in her sleep, before settling herself against him, her small hand curling softly against his chest in a way that he found undeniably cute. "I love you." He murmured affectionately, before pressing a kiss to the top of her head.
"Hmm, I love you too." He heard Buffy murmur before he lifted his head from the kiss he had given her. Her voice surprised him and he paused thinking that he had perhaps accidently woken her, but her body was still humming the rhythm of sleep and he sighed in relief not having wanted to wake her now that she had finally gotten to sleep. He couldn't help the wide bright smile that curled up his lips at the fact that he had gotten a response from her sleeping form. Not having expected to hear one from her… not whilst she was sleeping. It made his heart swell with love and affection and he held her tighter, making sure not to hurt her delicate mortal body with his preternatural strength, his eyes closing as he breathed her scent in deeply savouring it, whilst ignoring his inner demon as it shifted angrily and snarled in annoyance at the mushy feelings it was being assaulted with… being forced to feel over a little blond slip of a girl. Angel blocked him out not in the least bit interested in what the demon had to say on the matter, wanting only to sleep now with the woman he loved safely wrapped in his arms.
Buffy stretched a little as she straightened up from picking up Angel's clothes from the bathroom floor, walking back out she smiled to see Angel still soundly sleeping in the bed. She was moving as quietly as humanly possible not wanting to wake him, but she knew that there was still a chance that she might do, her eyes took in the expanse of his pale back, the griffin tattoo catching her eyes and she couldn't help, but stop and admire his back. After a long moment Buffy managed to pull her gaze away from his naked back and moved her way over to the pile of dirty washing she had thrown into the washing basket she had dug out of a closet.
Pulling the belt from the pants before she let it drop into the basket, she checked the pockets of his jacket out of habit, before letting it fall into the basket as well. She was just going to do the same to the shirt when her gaze caught on the red stain on the left shoulder. Bringing the shirt closer to her she gasped her eyes widening as she took in the ragged hole in the shoulder of his shirt, that from the looks of it had been made by teeth… teeth that were sharper than a humans.
Buffy turned her gaze to the sleeping form of Angel, her eyes wide with hurt. 'Why didn't he tell me, he got hurt?' She thought as her fingers tightened in the material of the shirt he had worn last night. Moving slowly towards the bed, still not wanting to wake him from his peaceful slumber. Her gaze focused on his left shoulder searching with her eyes for any sign of the wound he had sustained last night, whilst he'd been out patrolling to help the innocent. As she searched his shoulder Angel shifted in his sleep, before blinking his eyes open, his sensitive nose picking up on his love's distress. Rolling onto his side so that he could look at her with his still sleepy gaze, he gave her a reassuring smile, hoping to help calm her. "Morning, Buffy. What's the matter?" He murmured sleepily.
"What's the matter?" Buffy repeated a little angrily, and Angel sat himself up as he swiftly woke up completely having heard the anger in her voice. His eyes focusing on the ruined shirt that was clutched in her hands. "How about what happened last night?! Why didn't you tell me when I asked?" She asked with a frown pulling down her brow as she looked at him for an explanation.
"I-I," Angel stuttered as he wondered which question to answer first. "I got bitten last night whilst dealing with that group of demons I told you I took care of. It wasn't a serious wound." He assured her.
Buffy nodded disbelievingly, still feeling hurt that he hadn't told her last night, had deliberately kept it from her when he knew that she would want to know if he had gotten hurt! "If it wasn't serious… why didn't you tell me about it?"
Angel met her hurt angry gaze and swallowed. "I just didn't want you to worry." He told her truthfully.
Buffy stared at him for a moment, before sighing and throwing his shirt at him. He tried to catch it out of instinct. "I'm going to go get the shopping done." She told him as she walked away from the bed her back to him. "I'll be back." She told him as she picked up her handbag and walked out the door without a backward glance.
Angel watched her leave before sighing and running a hand through his hair, his gaze going down to the incriminating shirt Buffy had thrown at him and another sigh escaped him. He had been trying to do a good thing, by not making her worry over such a small thing… but obviously all he had done was hurt her feelings by not trusting her.
Buffy handed the money over to the cashier, before picking up her bags of groceries and beginning the trek back to the apartment she was sharing with Angel. She was calm now and feeling really rather apologetic for the way she had acted. She hadn't even said good morning, she'd just cut into him. And in a way it was kinda sweet that he hadn't wanted her to worry, but it was her right to worry about him. Well maybe not her right, but as the person who loves him she was allowed to worry about him. Buffy sighed, wishing that one of her hands were free so that she could brush some hair off her face. She trudged up the street and gave a polite smile to a person who was walking past her on the path way.
Seeing a little coffee shop, Buffy hesitated on the path, before walking towards it feeling the need for a caffeine fix before going the last stretch to where Angel was waiting for her to come home.
Angel opened the microwave a second after the machine beeped shrilly to let him know that it was finished heating his blood. Pulling out the mug he took a big gulp of it his gaze going to the door for what felt like the hundredth time since Buffy had left that morning. Forcing his gaze away from the cheap wooden door knowing that watching the door wouldn't make Buffy walk in through the door like he wanted. His gaze went past the clothes horse that the drying laundry he had done to keep him busy after Buffy had stormed out, having realized that that was what she had been doing when she had found his ruined shirt. Finishing his mug of blood in another two large gulps he moved to put it in the sink when he heard the sound of the door opening.
Jerking his head towards the door he smiled as this time he actually saw it open and the open door revealed Buffy awkwardly shuffling in through the open door with her bags of shopping. Hurrying over to her he relieved her of the heavy bags and he set them down on the ground before taking her in his arms. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I didn't tell you. I really did just didn't want you to worry." A shaky sigh of relief escaping him as she hugged him back.
"No, I'm sorry. I didn't even say 'good morning' to you this morning. All I did was jump you about not telling me about getting injured." Buffy said apologetically as she rested her head against his chest.
"And next time. I'll tell you." Angel swore softly as he pressed a kiss into her hair.
"Well, that's good to know." Buffy murmured as she breathed in his scent. "As your girlfriend I have a right to worry and patch you up if you get injured." She quipped seriously. Angel chuckled at the tone of her voice and nodded as he pulled back slightly. "But, uh, don't go making a habit of getting injured. Ok?" She tacked on.
"I promise." Angel assured her.
Buffy sighed as she place a hand on one of Angel's arms that were still holding her. "I suppose I should get the washing at least started, if we want to continue wearing clean clothes."
"Already done." Angel said proudly, gesturing over to the washing that he had done.
Buffy glanced over at the freshly washed clothes and smiled as she turned her gaze back to him. "Let's never fight again, ok."
Angel shook his head at her. "We didn't have a fight, Buffy. We had a misunderstanding, that's all. But let's never have another one of those, ok?"
Buffy nodded with a little laugh. "Sounds good to me." Buffy stayed in Angel's embrace for a long moment, before reluctantly pulling back from him. "I should put the groceries away."
"Yeah, probably should." Angel replied allowing his girl to pull away from him. "So, what did you get?" He asked as he picked up one of the bags and walked with Buffy back into the kitchen.
"Everything I need to make that vegetarian pasta I was telling you about last night and the all-important juice." Buffy replied as she set her bag down on the kitchen bench.
"Did you want some help making it?" Angel offered, and Buffy smiled brightly in answer, before she began pulling things out of her bag. Angel looked in his and seeing the juice pulled it out and walked over to the fridge to put it away.
The demon with the blue-black oily skin stood in the dark shadows watching the apartment building, his hands carefully hidden in his coat and his small horns hidden by the hoody he had pulled up as far as he could over his head as he stood as much in the shadows as he could, being careful to avoid eye contact with the humans that were still wandering the streets. He watched the door of the apartment complex he had seen the vampire that had saved him from the band of demons that had been after him. He'd been standing across the street since night had fallen dark enough for him to conceivably go unnoticed by the humans that were forever bustling to and fro always too busy to take much notice of someone loitering around outside a building minding his own business. He took a step back plunging deeper into the shadows as the door to the apartment complex opened revealing the vampire that he had been waiting for. His eyes narrowed as the tall dark vampire looked around the night for a moment, before he walked down the three steps that led up and from the door and headed up the pavement away from him. The slender demon hesitated a moment, remembering just how powerfully viscous the vampire could be, before hurrying across the road and after the vampire.
Angel glanced to his left without moving his head, his keen senses picking up on a demon following him, a demon that he had sensed briefly before it had disappeared as quickly as he had sensed it. Angel kept his pace steady, not wanting to let on to the demon that he knew that he was following him. Walking for a couple of blocks, before he turned down an alley and out of sight of the demon following him, merging into the shadows as he quickly stepped into the shadows allowing them to swallow him completely as they had done so easily for the last couple of centuries since he had been turned. Lurking in the shadows he waited patiently knowing that the demon would come, he could still sense him coming closer. It didn't take long before the demon turned the corner into the alley.
The demon's eyes searched the alley for the demon, only to see an empty alley, something that he hadn't expected, causing him to slow cautiously. His experiences telling him that something was up. Angel merged out of the shadows and with a swift movement as the demon turned to leave the alley, his survival instincts telling him to run for his life… to try again when things didn't feel so fishy. Angel grabbed him tugging him deeper into the alley, causing the demon to let out a growl and struggle, but his efforts where all for nothing as Angel slammed him up against the alley wall with a growl of his own. "Why are you following me?" He growled, his eyes turning amber as he allowed his face to shift in the hopes of encouraging an answer from the demon that now reeked of fear exciting the darker part of him that he so desperately tried to keep hidden deep within him.
"I don't know what you're talking about!" The demon snarled with an attitude that was bigger than himself.
Angel growled. "I have things to do, so stop jerking me around, before I decide to just plunge my pretty silver knife through your rotten heart." He said impatiently.
The demon struggled for a moment, his eyes widened as the vampire's hand disappeared inside his jacket and he let out a frustrated growl. "I-I wanted to thank you!" He grunted out, relief flooding him as the vampire's hand withdrew from his jacket as empty as it had went in.
"You're the demon I sensed last night after I killed that group of demons in the alley by the docks. They were after you." Angel murmured as he released the demon from his grasp.
The demon straightened his overly large clothes and self-consciously pulled the hoody back completely over his head. "Yeah, that's right."
Angel looked the demon over with considering eyes. He could tell that he was young, young enough in demon standards of his kind that he shouldn't be out on his own, let alone getting into the kind of trouble that had mean burly demons sent after him. "What did you do?" He asked, his gaze going back up to the young male demons face.
"Nothin'." The demon said defensively, his arms crossing over his chest.
Angel sighed and gave the demon a look. "Those demons that were after you, their Bunki demons. There too dumb to go after someone on their own and they won't chase for too long if you've stumbled across them. They prefer easy meals, but they are particularly viscous. They are the kind of demons that a stronger demon would send after someone that's crossed them and can't be bothered dealing with personally. So again, what did you do to get a group of bounty demons sent after you?" Angel asked again.
"Nothin'!" The demon answered, but this time elaborated. "My father owed a demon… a powerful underworld demon a lot of money. Now, seeing as the old man died, they are looking to collect it from me. Only I don't got their money." The kid scuffed his overly large shoe against the ground his head dipping for a moment, before looking back up at the demon that had saved him from the wrath of the demons looking to collect from him, one way or another.
Angel sighed again, feeling sorry for the kid standing before him and so he took a small step back giving him a little more room. "What's your name?"
"Karl." The demon answered.
Angel nodded slowly. "Karl, do you know which demon is after you?" He asked.
Karl scowled up at the vampire. "I don't need your pity or sympathy vampire!" He said stubbornly.
"I wasn't giving you any." Angel tried to sooth. "So, what do you want from me?" He asked.
Karl gave him a look. "Nothin, my dad always said that if somebody helps you even if you don't ask for it… or want it," Karl made sure to add. "That you should thank them and make sure that you even the score. 'Cause it's no good to be in debt to any man or demon." Karl explained, a frown darkening his face as he spoke. "So, what do you want from me?"
Angel smirked in amusement, not being able to help himself as he stared down at the small demon in front of him that was staring at him defiantly as if he was ten feet tall instead of 4. "Nothing, kid."
"Well, great." Karl said sarcastically. "I've done what I've had to… and I'm not a kid!" He added as if just realizing that the vampire had dared to call him that, causing Angel to chuckle. Karl scowled at him indignantly, before hurriedly moving towards the street.
Angel gazed after him as the kid stalked away from him. "Karl," He called as a thought struck him, causing the young demon to turn and look at him again questioningly. "You don't happen to know of any boats leaving for Los Angeles do you?" He asked.
Karl shrugged a little. "Might do. Why do you wanna know?"
Angel shrugged as well. "A friend and I are looking to move there." He answered. Karl gave him a thoughtful look, and Angel felt hope swell in his chest as he waited for Karl's reply.
Buffy sat herself down on the chair by the small dining table, her heart beating an agitated rhythm in her chest as she fought to process the words that Angel had told her with an excited look on his face. A look that was beginning to turn worried as he took in her reaction. "A-A demon's ship?"
"Well, uh… it's more like a yacht." Angel corrected gently, as he pulled out the chair beside the one she was in and sat down in it facing her.
Buffy blew out a breath, her hands clenching together worriedly. She really, really didn't like the idea of being on such a small vessel with an unknown demon. "Are you sure that sailing to L.A in a demons bo… yacht…"
"Buffy," Angel began concernedly, not likely the colour pale colour of her tanned skin of her face. He had been so excited at the idea of being able to get on the road… or water to L.A that he hadn't even considered her reaction to the idea of travelling with an unknown demon. Something that he really should have considered before going off with Karl to look at the vessel that he had to offer. He's just been so happy at the idea of being able to leave London, a place that they both weren't overly fond of… "We don't have to take this boat to L.A we can wait for the one that's leaving in a few more days." He offered.
Buffy took in a deep breath trying to compose the uncomfortable beat of her heart as it battered against her ribcage. She met his eyes and attempted a smile for him in an attempt to calm his concerns. "You said you saved this demon last night?"
Angel nodded slowly. "I did."
"And that's why he came up to you tonight…" Buffy added with a small frown darkening her brow. "No other reason?" She couldn't help, but murmur.
"None, Buffy. He was just doing what his father taught him." Angel tried to assure her, his hand moving towards her as he reached across them to take one of her hands in his own, giving it what he hoped was a comforting squeeze. Drawing Buffy's gaze back to his. "Buffy we really don't have to take this yacht to L.A I can wait the couple more days."
Buffy hesitated a moment longer, still not really liking the idea of being a passenger on any kind of vessel that would mean close quarters with a demon… one that she didn't know. She took a deep breath in an attempt to calm the uncomfortable beating of her heart as she tried to swallow back her fear, knowing just how badly Angel didn't like it here, and wanted to get on his way to Los Angeles and on his way to redemption… Forcing herself to give him a bright smile. "No… it's alright. I trust you, and if you say that this demon," Buffy paused for a second. "Karl, is safe then there's no reason why we can't take him up on his offer."
Angel remained silent for a moment, he could tell that she still wasn't completely sold on the idea, but the stubborn tilt of her chin told him that she was determined to stick by her decision. Despite feeling bad for not thinking more clearly before bringing up the idea, he couldn't help but also feeling somewhat elated by the fact that she would place that much trust in him. Buffy cleared her throat trying to remove the lump there, before she sprung out of her chair trying to act like her usual self. "So when are we leaving?"
"Karl, said to meet him tomorrow night at the docks an hour after nightfall if we were coming with him." Angel replied, his brown eyes following Buffy's progress as paced in small circles in front of him.
"So, he's going to L.A too." Buffy murmured half to herself half to Angel, trying to wrap her mind around the idea.
Angel shook his head. "No, he just wants to drop us off there in return for me saving his life. He's not interested in the cesspool that is Los Angeles." He explained as he stood from the chair he had taken after she had sunk down in her chair. Walking over to her he interrupted her pacing as he stood in her path almost causing her to walk into his much larger frame. Without hesitation he wrapped his arms around her, drawing her against his chest gently. Buffy slid her arms around him in return, resting her head against his strong chest, hoping that Angel didn't feel the tension that she was sure was in her shoulders.
She allowed herself to stay in his embrace basking in his strength and the love they felt for each other. "I guess we should start packing." She murmured softly against his chest, knowing that he would hear her.
Angel nodded slowly unwilling to move for the moment as he enjoyed the feel of her small warm body against his. "Not just yet. We've got the whole of tomorrow." Buffy smiled happily and snuggled deeper into Angel's chest, pressing so close that she could hear the echo of her own heartbeat in his normally quiet chest. Angel closed his eyes, his sensitive hearing easily picking up the beat of Buffy's heart and the echo that reverberated in his own chest, allowing him for the moment to believe that it was the beat of his own heart and not merely stolen from the woman he loved above all others.
A/N: Well, that is chapter 10, I'm sooo sorry that it is so late! But I had a little trouble, so I really hope that you all enjoy it and hopefully with some encouragement my muse will be inspired to get the next chapter out much faster.