I originally wrote this piece for the "I Will Remember You" Bangel fanfic marathon, but I was too late to submit anything. So, after talking to some people, they convinced me to show it on here. I hope you all enjoy :)
A/N: This takes place during Season 1, Episode 7 "Angel"
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or Angel. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
"Bye, we'll meet up again and do that study thing!" Buffy yelled out the door into nothing but the darkness that was the night. As she closed the door in front of her, she met Angel's brown eyes and that somewhat familiar grin that occasionally graced his face. Without a single word exchanged, the two quietly moved up the stairs, their footsteps light and purposeful. As she closed the bedroom door behind them, Buffy latched the small lock that lay bolted to the wood itself.
"Oh." She said, turning around to face the young man that was now standing in the middle of the room, her room. As she looked past him towards her small single bed, she quickly realized that there was a lack of a place for the man to sleep that wasn't her own bed. "Two of us, one bed. That…doesn't work."
"You take the bed, you're hurt…"
"No, it's alright, I'll take the floor." He answered, interrupting her with a slight touch of grace. He was looking down at her, but in some way not bearing down at her as if he was better than her.
"No, really, you can have…"
"Trust me, I've had worse." As he finished the sentence, he flashed her that trade-mark grin of his. Inside her chest, she felt her heart skip a few beats. Mentally shaking her head, she once again let her Slayer personality take over her thoughts. No need to act like a love-stricken school girl.
"Ok." Was all that she could answer with, the word sounding like something a small child would say to an angry parent. Moving towards the window, she stopped for a moment before she turned to face the young man once again.
"Um, ok, could you turn around so I can change?" She asked, almost stumbling over the words as they left her lips. He was utterly still for a moment, before he turned his back to her, propping himself up against the door. He offered no retort, or lie saying he wouldn't peek, but still the Slayer knew that he wouldn't look. As she peeled off her shirt, the room grew absolutely silent, save for the sound of her breathing.
"So, I was born into this fight, it's my job. What's your excuse?"
"Someone's gotta do it." He answered, his back still turned to her. Pulling on a stray night-shirt, Buffy started with her jeans, her gaze never leaving the man's back as she undressed.
"What about your family? What do they think?"
"They're dead." As his words echoed to her, silence once again engulfed the room.
"Oh." Was all the response she could muster. As she pulled a pair of sweat-pants on, her mind raced to find the proper way to respond to what he had told her.
"Ok, you can turn around now." He took a few moments to start moving, but eventually he faced her once again.
"So, you want a few pillows or something?" She asked, somewhat desperate to find a way to relieve the awkwardness that had begun to infect the room.
"One should be fine. Again, I've slept on worse." The two of them took opposite paths along the sides of the bed, with Angel disappearing for a moment as he laid himself down upon the floor. As Buffy laid her back against the bed's mattress, she felt her body feel somewhat relieved. She hadn't suffered any wounds against the three super-vamps, but that didn't save her from the feeling of adrenaline exiting her system. As her head hit the pillow, she felt almost instantaneous relief as she closed her eyes.
"Angel, do you snore?" She asked, blurting out the sentence without thinking.
"I don't know, It's been a long time since anyone's been in a position to tell me." He replied, chuckling underneath his breath. The Slayer smiled at the joke as she pushed her head further into the pillow, and let her thoughts trail off as she let sleep claim her.
She was even more beautiful when she was asleep. With every breath she took, he watched her emotionless face as she continued with the dream she had become enthralled in. He knew that he shouldn't be here right now, but he hadn't anticipated being wounded by the Three. That had been unavoidable, he couldn't change that fact. She had been concerned for him, had offered him shelter for the night inside her room, and so he had agreed to say until day break. The only problem would be getting out of the house, considering the fact that vampires and sunlight didn't mix.
He still didn't know how he was going to tell her what he really was. He himself still trouble to find the right answer, even after having lived all this time with what he had become. A vampire with a soul, a human with fangs and bloodlust, a savage creature that was somewhat pacified. He was truly none of those things, and existed somewhere in between. After all this time, he was no closer to understanding why he was even here. He had no family, no life, and no reason to continue with his undead life.
No, there was one reason.
He wanted to help her, to be an ally where no-one else could. They were creatures of the same species, of the same hand of fate. He knew exactly what she was going through, being forced into a life that she had no control over, much like himself in almost every respect. He had never asked to become a vampire, it had been forced upon him, and when his soul had also been forced upon him, he again hadn't asked for it, nor had he deserved it. After years of being the Scourge of Europe, he had deserved to die a painful death, rightful punishment for each and every human he had taken pleasure in killing.
For decades, he had spent time with no-one but himself. He had survived on rats and other rodents. He had avoided even the smallest amount of contact with humans and demons alike, not ever wanting to be able to give into the temptation to bite into something and take a long drink of the being's blood. He had starved himself, let his body grow weak and withered. He had lived in the shadows, until he himself was a thing that no-one would ever take pity upon.
But then, again Fate had changed its plan for him, sending a messenger from the Powers That Be to drag him out of this hole that time had dragged him into. He had been given purpose, and at least, he had seen her. She had just been called by her Watcher, the disbelief still so fresh on her face. But he had seen her heart, had seen how pure it was, how so young but at the same time so strong it was.
He had seen her for exactly what she was.
At his side, she moved, mumbling something underneath her breath as she stirred in her sleep. Shaken out of his thoughts, he resumed his watch over her, fighting every urge to let her cheek grace his fingers. All was silent in the room before she stirred once again, her mumbling louder this time. As the words left her sleeping lips, he caught each and every individual syllable that escaped from her lips.
With every second that he watched her, his concern grew, with every muscle in his body beginning to tense. Still, he waited, not wanting to disturb her slumber with his intrusion. Whatever dream she was having, it was obviously affecting her in a way that she wasn't enjoying. Again she stirred, her mumbling even louder as she tossed and turned underneath her sheets. Without thinking, he reached out and laid his fingers gently against her cheek. Almost instantly, her body ceased its turning, and her mumbling stopped, if only for a few moments.
The minutes he let his fingers remain on her cheek slowly passed by, with each and every second savored.
He loved her, with every inch of his unbeating heart. He'd tried so hard not to, to simply be her friend, but in the end, that would never be enough for him. Never be enough for his soul to contain. He wanted everything that was the Slayer. Her heart, her soul, her touch, her love. Everything that she would give to him if she loved him.
And so, he let his fingers remain on her cheek, never once waking her or voicing his thoughts aloud to her. He simply sat, and listened to her breathing.
And that was the only place where he wanted to be.