Letters from My Father
Part 11

"Hey?" said Buffy, into the darkness.


"Did that happen? Did we have a day? Were you human for a day?"

He hesitated. Then, "Yes,"

Buffy was silent.

"I didn't know when to tell you. The right time never seemed to come up," said Angel.

Buffy stared numbly into the blackness. "You know, if we weren't in here, we'd be fighting right now,"

"Yeah," he said, resignedly.

"You know," Buffy couldn't help it, "I thought we'd gotten to a point where you didn't carry so much alone. Where you don't hide things. That's the point of marriage, Angel. We fight together,"

"I know,"

"Were you ever going to tell me?"

"Well, how would it have sounded to you?"

"Why does that matter?"

"I'm glad we're not fighting," he said.

Buffy sighed. "All right. All right,"

"I mean, what good is it going to do?" he said, gently.

Buffy was silent for a moment. "Is there any other part of our history that I don't know about?"

"You told me-" he stopped.


"You told me you wouldn't forget. You were supposed to forget," his voice dropped to a ragged whisper, "You remembered a day that didn't happen. The Oracles took the day back, so it never happened. No one would remember but me. But you did. The clock was running out and you kept saying you wouldn't forget," he paused, and she could hear the tightness in his throat, the welling of emotion, "So I never had to tell you,"

Buffy's eyes stung. "I wasn't supposed to know about it?"


Buffy's entire body ached with the need to hold him. "Angel," she said.

"I love you,"

"I love you," she said, "I wish I could touch you,"

They were silent again.

"Hey," he said, "Remember our last big fight?"

Buffy thought. "Yeah. It was a while ago,"

"Want to remember it with me?"

Buffy was walking down a hallway, running her fingers through her wet hair. Home early from patrol, had a nice shower, put on a light summer dress. Angel staying home tonight, and almost bedtime for the girls. Time with the hubby. She knocked on a door.

"Yeah?" Her teenage daughter said from within, wearily. Buffy opened the door. Erinne was at her desk. Her long, dark hair was caught in a ponytail, which sleeked over her shoulder. She finished typing and turned blank eyes to her mother.

"Hi," said Buffy.

"Hi," Erinne conceded, with effort.

"How's the essay?"

"We'll see,"

"I bet it's great," said Buffy quietly, "You get that from your father,"

"Dad said they're not seizures," Erinne blurted before Buffy had finished talking.

"They're not,"

Erinne sighed. "Good. So Aunt Willow's right. I knew it."

"I did, too,"

"She deals with it really well," said Erinne, "I can tell. She doesn't take it too hard at school. I think she sees under the ugliness in everybody,"

"Nicely put," said Buffy.

"But she's tough enough," Erinne continued thoughtfully. She made full eye contact with Buffy for the first time in the conversation, and Buffy's heart jumped a little. God, what a beautiful girl, she thought. Erinne had started plucking her eyebrows, wearing mascara, just a touch, very tastefully. Her eyes were huge, enveloping dark. The angles of her cheekbones cut a slightly triangular slant and her jaw was well-defined, containing her mother's full mouth. She's so lovely, thought Buffy, so lovely and so serious. "So, they don't think there's any damage?" Erinne asked.

Buffy laughed, remembering Angel with Joy in the doctor's office. The doctor had asked if there had been any changes in Joy's alertness or mood, and Angel had asked Joy what she thought. Joy had given the doctor her usual silent smile.

"Nope," Angel had said, "No changes,"

"You're certainly a quiet little girl," the doctor had said, "Most little girls that I see talk a lot more than you do,"

"You know the ones that can't talk?" Joy had said.

"Yes," said the doctor.

"They know," said Joy.

The doctor frowned. "What do they know?"

"That you want them to get better. They know it but they can't say it,"

The doctor had fixed Joy with a penetrating stare.

Joy had smiled suddenly. "So, don't worry so much about that,"

Buffy told Erinne about this exchange and Erinne nodded gravely, "Yeah. She sees all the time, but I think it's a strength. She's resilient,"

"What about you?" Buffy asked suddenly, "I know it's been hard-"

"Not really." Erinne turned back to her work, began typing.

"I-I just meant-"

"Mom," sighed Erinne, "We've talked it to death. I'm a lot more OK than you might think,"

"I love you," said Buffy.

The shining dark head bent a little lower. "I know," she said, so softly that Buffy barely made out the words.

Buffy shut the door carefully, biting down on her sadness. Maybe she'll grow out of it, she thought, but I miss her. I miss her so much.

Ann's door, as always, was open. Ann was on her stomach on the bed, feet swaying in time to the music that was probably at brain-melting volume on her headset. She was reading a vintage paper comic book.

Buffy leaned over so Ann would see the movement and look up. She grinned a simple, spontaneous child's grin at her mother. Buffy sat on the bed and bounced in time to the echoes from the headset. Ann giggled and joined her. Buffy gently pulled the contraptions from her ears.

"I don't want to buy you new eardrums, " said Buffy sternly, then, "No VR tonight?"

"I need some new games," said Ann, her expression rapidly changing from plaintive to warmly manipulative, "The military have those cool new-"


"But Uncle Xander said-"

"No! Those are...too grown up for you,"

Ann's almond-shaped eyes narrowed with pleasure. "Really?"

"Yes, and that means no," said Buffy, but as always, Ann was trying to make her laugh. She folded her upper lip over her teeth and smirked wildly at her mother. "Knock it off," snorted Buffy.

Ann rolled onto her back, looking up at Buffy like an inspired kitten waiting for string. "When can we go hunting again?"


Ann sighed, gazing at her mother thoughtfully. She was still wearing her shin guards. Buffy bent over her and began unstrapping the Velcro fasteners.

"Homework?" asked Buffy.

"Daddy says I'm getting really good at reading now,"

"You are. We're very proud of you. What was your homework tonight?"

"Daddy already checked it,"

"So I can't see it, too?"

Ann smiled and bounded to her desk, bringing up the files on the monitor. It all looked so involved to Buffy. They crammed so much information into kids these days. With all the sports, not to mention hunting, Buffy worried that Ann might not have time for a normal kid's life. Friends, parties, stuff. But all of Ann's friends were either on the soccer team or the football team.

"Good job. Bed," said Buffy.

"So, when can I get new games?"

Buffy sighed. "All right, I'll call Xander next week. You're probably ready. Just don't push the point too hard, OK?"

Ann grinned, jumped across the room, and landed on the bed. Her eyes were her father's, narrow with very large, piercingly dark irises; her hair was short, a glossy dark brown framing a round face with her mother's girlish cheeks and pointed chin. She had her father's fluid muscularity when she moved, her teammates called her "the cat". She was the most manipulative of the three girls and the most outwardly charming. Buffy ruffled the thick, soft hair. Ann's long arms went around her neck.

"I love you, Mommy,"

Buffy sighed happily. Why can't I always be Mommy, soon they'll all call me "Mom". She kissed her daughter and wandered further down the hall. Joy's door was slightly open. A soft triangle of light lay on the hall carpet.

Angel sat in the chair by the bed, watching Joy sleep. Buffy leaned in, saw the glistening shadow of a tear slip over his cheek, then another. She laid her hand gently on the back of his neck.

"Hi," she whispered.

He stood and moved past her into the hallway. Buffy knew what it was.

They stood together for a time, not looking at each other.

"Daddy?" Joy's small, sleepy voice.

He wiped his face with one quick swipe and a comfortable smile slid effortlessly across his features; he turned and went back into the bedroom. He sat on the bed and leaned over Joy, brushing a lock of pale blonde away from her cheek.

"What's up, baby?" he asked, "It's sleep-time,"

"I have to tell you something," she said. Buffy stepped quietly into the room behind Angel, staying out of sight . She was in time to see it happen again. Joy's tiny face went suddenly slack; her eyes focused on something beyond her father.

"You have to let them go," said Joy, "You're the only one holding them. They haven't been grieved for hundreds of years, except by you. You're holding them back. You have muh..." Joy struggled to make out a word, and Buffy was chilled, wondering, where is she hearing it from? Or seeing it? Where does it come from? Joy made out the word, "M-mourned them long enough. Let them go,"

Angel's mouth tightened and he swallowed, but he didn't move. He waited for Joy to return to herself. Her little round face became alert, her eyes focused. She sat up, holding her arms out to him urgently. He gathered her against him.

"Daddy, don't be sad, don't be sad,"

"It's OK, baby, I'm all right. It's OK," he shushed her softly, rocking her, as if she had been asking him for comfort.

"But you have to stop being sad about some things, Daddy,"

He tucked her into the bed, slowly, carefully. He gazed at her.

"I will, sweetheart. I promise,"

"You will?"


Joy yawned suddenly. The episodes made her tired. Angel bent over her, whispering something to her. She smiled and closed her eyes, pouting, waiting for a kiss. He kissed her.

"Mommy kiss," said Joy.

Buffy had learned early that she couldn't hide from Joy. No one seemed to be able to. She kissed her daughter and followed her husband downstairs, out the back door to the patio. Angel stood with his hands in his pockets, gazing up at a crust of moon.

"Were there a lot of kids?" asked Buffy. They'd never talked numbers. She never asked him about those memories. Maybe she should, once in a while, give him a chance to talk it out, but it was a subject they avoided. Maybe they should change that.

"Around a hundred and fifty," he said, his voice calm, "No. One hundred and fifty-two,"

Buffy was stunned; she hadn't expected to be. She gulped. She recovered.

"She's right, you know," she said.

"Yeah. I know,"

"Not as easy as it sounds, I bet," said Buffy softly.

"It...meets in a strange place. Love. It rubs the demon's face in what it hates most. I look at them and I love them so much I feel...I feel dizzy. It's like vertigo. And then, the memories. Like a backlash or something,"

"Wow," Buffy said, almost under her breath. He'd never told her before so clearly, what it was like to house the demon. What would he be like without the demon? She seemed to be asking herself that every day. Would he still be...him?

"How will you let them go?" she asked.

"I don't know," he walked away from her, under the canopy of trees. It was one of the features they had most liked about the house from the very beginning: over half of the expansive backyard was heavily shaded. Angel could walk out here at midday and watch the girls play in the sun, although they spent most of the time swinging from the intricate network of swings and rope ladders that dangled from the enormous trees. He had built each addition by request from the girls, but it had been his idea at the beginning. At first Buffy was amused, thinking that it looked like a circus training ground, but it had been a wonderful mix of fun and training.

"Women need to be confident," he'd told Buffy when Erinne was tiny, "And confidence comes from knowing your own skill," It had paid off. The girls were strong and had excellent balance and coordination. They were not easily intimidated, physically or otherwise. Buffy put one foot up on a wooden swing and caught the ropes in her hands. The ropes creaked on the big bough overhead. Dim moonlight flickered through the leaves.

"I'm not sure it's just the...the children I murdered that I have to let go of," he said, "It's this feeling that I can't shake, that I'm imagining all of this, that it will evaporate. That I never deserved it to begin with,"

Buffy laughed. He turned to look at her. His eyes were soft and worried. She tilted her head at him.

"What was Erinne's essay about? The one she's writing tonight?" she asked him.

"Oh, she's writing a critique of John Donne. 'Death Be Not Proud'," his face relaxed, warmed, "She went from book report to essay with no effort at all. She has an instinctive grasp of literary form," he smiled, "I can't wait to see what happens when Erinne collides with existentialism,"

"What's going on with Ann's English?"

"It's what I thought," he mused, "It was fatigue. We just had to make print real for her. Shorter assignments and stories that really grab her. I think the comic books helped, and once she connected writing with proofs in geometry it was all go. She's going to finish geometry in half the time. She's such a spacial thinker. And her math-have you seen her at the grocery store? She knows what the total's going to be before the checker does. With tax,"

"What are Joy's stuffed animal's names?"

He paused, frowning at her, knowing she was making a point. He decided to play along. He's got the husband skills, thought Buffy. "You mean, just the ones on the bed?" he said.


"Um...Sparkey, Dip, Iago, Beeb and Renfield. How'd I do?"

Buffy smiled in the darkness, breathing deeply, "One more thing. What's the next step with Joy?"

He put his hands in his pockets. "Shields. I'm so afraid of that. How can she be so perceptive all the time and not get injured, or worn down? She needs to learn how to protect her mind. Willow said-"

"Angel, you know what?" she interrupted him.

"What?" he said, waiting.

"My father knew what I got on my report card. That was it. He never knew what my assignments were, even my Mom never knew. You are so involved with them,"

"Too much?" his brow furrowed.

"No!" she laughed again. "You don't drive them. You support them. You're interested in everything,"

"Maybe I'm smothering them,"

"Not!" Buffy sighed and slid down the smooth ropes of the swing, sitting and pushing with her feet. She swung by him. "I was a little girl, and I can tell you, not. If I'd had a Daddy like you-"

"I like the way you turned out,"

"If I'd had a Daddy like you it would have saved me a lot of sadness. A lot of wasted energy,"

His eyes followed her on the swing, back and forth. "I get so afraid sometimes. My father-"

"You're not your father," Buffy put her feet down and stopped the swing.

He looked away from her and gulped. He turned his eyes back to her.

"God, I love it," he whispered.

"I know," she said.

"Every second of it. All of it. I love it so much," his eyes burned on her, "I love you so much,"

"I know. Come here," she stood and held out her arms to him. He enfolded her; he laid his cheek on the top of her head. They swayed slightly together, listening to the faint hissing of the leaves high above. Angel turned his head.

"Ann's light's out,"


"It's ten," he said, "That's a little late, but-"

"Little nocturnals,"

"And Erinne's light," he said.

"What will you be like with no demon?" Buffy blurted.

He was quiet for a long time. When he finally spoke it almost startled her. "There are women in a tribe in Africa that have brass rings fitted around their necks when they're young. They stack up the rings as they grow, until their necks are unnaturally long. They can't take the rings off, because their necks collapse without the support,"

Buffy was chilled. "So...you think without the demon in there," she laid her hand on his chest, "You might change?"

"Don't know,"

They were silent for a while.

"I guess you know how I feel about that," she said.

"I don't know how I feel about it," he said.

"The one thing I do know," said Buffy, "Is that prophecies are often wrong. I'm scared that you'll change. But then I'm also scared that it won't happen. It's never as easy as it sounds in the musty old books, you know? I don't want you to be disappointed, or-"

"I have you," he said, "I have this. In the end, all that matters is you, and the girls,"

She looked up at him. "Three daughters," she said. "One of them, at least, will procreate. Worst case, you won't be alone. You'll always have family,"

He broke away from her. "I thought we weren't going to talk about this. And we don't have to, anyway,"

"But what if it turns out that you have a choice?" she said, "Isn't it better to think it through?"

He turned on her. His shoulders were tensed, his hands clenched, "No,"

"Well, I think it is,"

"That's too easy," he hissed, "It's too easy for you to think about it,"

"Why are you getting so upset?" the edge in her own voice surprised her.

"Why-" he raged, then he instinctively lowered his voice, "Why? Because it's easy to be the one who leaves. Dying is easy. You don't have to worry about anything. You don't have to feel anything. You don't have to be alone,"

"You won't be alone,"

"I won't live without you," his mouth was set, his eyes hard. "I won't."

"They'll need you,"

"That's not fair," his voice broke.

"Fair to who?"

"Children are supposed to outlive their parents. How long am I supposed to do it? Forever? I'm supposed to bury you, and then my daughters, and then my grandchildren, bury all of them? Well, I won't do that. I don't have to walk one single night on this earth with you under it. I won't do it." He stalked away a few steps and stood with his shoulders hunched, his hands trembling, looking suddenly like an old man. "I have a human heart, Buffy. It wasn't designed for eternal grieving. And that's what you're asking me to do,"

Buffy dissolved. The tears were hot, they stung. "You're right," she said. She stared at the blurry ground, "You're right. It was wrong of me. I was selfish. It was for me. I'm sorry,"

There was a long silence. "OK," he said. His voice sounded worn, and Buffy realized that if she left him that way, sentenced him to that, he would eventually die of a broken heart. Because she would, if she outlived him or the girls. It was too much to ask. It had been wrong of her to ask.

She wrapped her arms around him from behind, overlapping her hands above his heart.

"I understand," she said, "And the girls will, too. If they have to. But maybe-"

"Maybe," he said.

Buffy sighed. He turned and pulled her to him. She buried her face in his chest, inhaling him, giving them both time to calm. She felt the emotions rushing between and through them as they waited it out. They'd mastered that, it was one thing they'd made a habit of before Erinne was born, to hold each other or talk it out until the fight was over. They had developed a timing together that was like fighting demons: listening carefully, stepping aside when the need came, communicating clearly. It was something they were proud of. They fought well in unison and in opposition. When the fight was over they took time together to let it go. They never went to bed angry. She looked up at him and they locked eyes for a time, letting their thoughts settle. This was one thing she could never live without, not just him, his body, his love for her, his soul, but this, the long silences with locked eyes. She felt herself settling, her emotions winding down, felt his doing the same. He stroked her cheek thoughtfully. She kissed his chin just below his lower lip, slowly, deliberately, letting her lips press richly and then pull away. He made a deep, soft sound. Her hand trailed along the back of his neck.

"Well, time alone," she said wryly.

His eyes darkened on her. "Let's not waste it,"

She smiled and blinked smoothly at him, a catlike blink. She slid her hands into his hair and began dragging her nails very gently along his scalp, scratching in light circles. He made a sound resembling a purr, then he sighed, a little brief rush of air; those were becoming more and more frequent. She continued rubbing her fingers through his hair, which stood up thickly in her hands; he shivered. Her fingers moved down the back of his neck, into his shirt. He swallowed and shifted on his feet.

Buffy unbuttoned his shirt lazily as her mouth crept a wet trail from his throat to his chest; she kissed him with gradual, lingering kisses, rubbing her nose on his skin. His nipple came up in her mouth as she slurped on it. She levered it against her upper teeth with her tongue and licked it several times. He moaned a little and Buffy snickered. It was an old game.

"Don't wake up the babies," she whispered.

"It's not going to be me waking up the babies,"

"Oh, yeah, it will. It's not going to be me," she looked up at him as she released the last button on his shirt. She drew back suddenly, her eyes darting over him.


"Your skin in the moonlight," said Buffy thoughtfully, "It's beautiful,"

He smiled at her curiously. "Really?"

Buffy's palm stroked him, from throat to belly. "Yeah. You look like marble...or maybe alabaster. I don't know. But you're luminescent, or something,"

"Think I'd look better with a tan?"

She looked up at him. "No," She reached for his hand and led him back under the trees, into deeper shadows the moonlight couldn't touch.

His smile had warmed as he followed her. He gave a brief glance back at the dark windows of the house. They were hidden under the trees now. Buffy smoothed her hands along the curves of his chest, down his belly and back up, pressed her cheek over his heart and turned her head, letting her hair drape against him. She breathed on him and goose bumps rose under her mouth. He made a low, guttural sound. Buffy smiled; she slid down onto her knees, pulling him closer, her lips curving on his belly; her tongue snaked into his belly button and played there without hurry. Her fingers crept smoothly under the waistband of his jeans. He shuffled his stance, restlessly. Buffy glanced up again.

"Settle down. We have all night,"

His hand stroked her hair. "Then I'm keeping it all night,"

Buffy hung on to the waistband of his jeans with both hands, rocking him gently back and forth. "If you can,"

"You know I can,"

She pressed her face into his jeans and hummed, a long, "Mmmmmm," and he jumped, then dissolved; she felt his thighs clench under her forearms.


"Not everything is a contest, you know," she said, "If it happens, it happens,"

He was glaring down at her affectionately. Buffy's heart shifted with a little thrill. She laid her palm on him; his sex was so sensitive that it leaped under her touch. She stroked her hand over the soft denim, feeling a throb of response beneath. His mouth tensed. He blinked.

"It's been a week," said Buffy, "A whole week," she unfastened the button and eased the zipper down, "And you fought that whole tribe of Bulwarg demons last night. They're nasty. You must still be pretty tense,"

"I can deal,"

Buffy slipped his jeans down and cupped him in her hand. She began kissing his belly again, languidly, pushing at the elastic of his boxers with her tongue, searching for the little rasp of wiry hair that was lower. She grasped the cloth in her teeth and dragged it down; her hand played smoothly across his lower back. She leaned back to look at him. She stroked his sex gently with her fingertips from base to tip and held him against her cheek. She flicked her eyes up at him. His mouth was open, his eyes dark. She kissed the tip very slowly, loving the velvety tenderness of it, sliding her palm lightly up and down the smooth, trembling length, then smiled.

"Will you talk to me? I love it when you talk to me,"

He gulped. "I'll whisper," then the creeping sideways smile, the smile that had melted her from the inside for years, the one he used on her the first night they met when he had tossed her his first gift, the silver cross. That sly smile. Buffy gazed at him, remembering.

"Here," he took her wrist, pulling her to her feet. She smiled, looking over her shoulder. She reached up and pulled on a rope ladder, which swung down. She wrapped one arm around the rope and stepped up, swaying in the air. He stepped in and caught her in mid-swing, hands cupping the small of her back; he nuzzled her hair.

"I want to be inside you," he whispered.

"My mouth, first," her mouth was nearly watering.

"I want your whole body against me," he said, his voice low and rough, "I want to make you pass out because you can't scream. I want you to forget where you are,"

"I want you in my mouth," said Buffy, "But first I want you naked in the backyard,"

He shrugged out of his shirt, letting it drop into the grass. Buffy sighed, looking at him; her night vision had always been good, but she wasn't usually this grateful for it. He was exquisite, broad-shouldered and narrow at the hip, long of bone and nicely muscled. He was beautifully made. Buffy was happy for her daughters. They wouldn't be short like she was, they'd have at least some of this magnificent build. She hadn't really looked at him in a least a week, and she never tired of it.

His eyes narrowed as he looked at her; it was an expression Buffy saw in Ann a lot lately. Erinne had his sideways smile and Joy had the long, bottomless silences, the enigmatic stares. A little bit of Angel scattered in the gene pool. It was a comforting and deeply satisfying thought.

"What?" he asked.

Buffy grinned. "Nothing,"

He kicked his shoes off, eyebow cocked doubtfully at her.

"Slow," she said, "Tease me,"

He looked up at her with a puzzled smile and slid his hand out of sight. She leaned foreward, watching the motion of his hand; she began to undulate unconsciously, watching him.

"I can't see you,"

He pushed the jeans down, the boxers down, and brought his hand completely into the night air, gripping his sex with authority. Buffy loved this. It had taken a while to convince him to do it, but when he saw the effect on her, he had taken on the challenge of working himself in front of her. His hand slid up and down lightly; he rubbed it against his belly, then stroked strongly a few times. Buffy slid off the rope and went directly to her knees. She closed her hands around his.

He was silent; she'd have to coax him.

"What do you want?" she said.

He blinked; she knew it was hard for him, until he was warmed up.

"Make it wet," he said, very quietly.

Buffy sighed happily and pushed his hand away. She held her tongue low in her mouth, stirring moisture, then laid it against the base of him and lavished all the way up. He made a low, deep groan. Buffy licked the complete length of him, covering him in moisture, delving lower and slipping her tongue underneath, tickling softer parts of him that began to rise and tighten. She delved further under, searching for a tender spot, finding it, stroking it with her finger as her tongue moved upward. She braced one hand on the base and took the tip in her mouth, twisting her head to lend a swirl to the motion, circling the ridge with a tongue that writhed and danced. He was swollen to capacity, so rigid that he seemed painfully taut with need; she took him into her throat.

He said "OH," in a breathy rush. Buffy began to work him, drawing firmly, making every wet noise possible. She paused and looked up.

"Tell me something else you want,"

His eyes were suddenly soft as he looked down at her, almost apologetic.

"I want to be inside you. I haven't held you for more than a second in days. I want you next to me,"

Buffy winced. She always seemed to be the one erring on the side of selfishness. She extended a hand and he lifted her by one wrist, bringing her against his chest and wrapping his arms around her.

"Am I getting boring?" he asked softly.

"God, no," Buffy held him tightly; his hardness ground into her belly through the light cotton. She was seeping, light and warm. She pushed on his shoulders, hoisting herself up to stand on the rope ladder once again. He stepped out of his clothes and reached under her skirt, peeling it over her head in one motion. She slipped it over first one arm, then the other. He pulled on the rope ladder, nestling her against him again. Buffy cooed as she felt her skin on his, dissolving into a new pace, a languid new world. She purred into his neck as he held her. He levered a thumb under the elastic of her panties and pulled them over her knees; she minced her feet, finally kicking them off. His hand slid down her back and over her haunches, slowing as it cupped a soft cheek; two fingers glided gracefully between her legs and she felt his heart pulse, stop, pulse twice, stop.

She lifted one leg slowly, elegantly, draping it over his shoulder. He cradled her in both arms and stepped back. The rope ladder swayed behind her, empty. He held her with one arm under her leg, firmly wrapped around her back. With the other hand he cupped her behind. Buffy smiled blissfully, relaxing into his hold; she had a brief flash of a human lover who's arms trembled as he braced himself on his hands over her. Even a big, strong human had been unable to match her.

Angel could. He could hold her like this for hours, and if she allowed it he'd be likely to try. He lowered her slowly, rotating his hips in a sliding motion, and his sex touched the aching slick of hers. He held her there, bent slightly at the waist, so that he could kiss her. She moved her hips in a pivot, working the wet silk around him. He growled and pulled her closer, sinking in, pausing to keep a shallow depth, and rocking gently so that he moved subtly inside her, waking corners of her that craved more. Buffy crooned in a whisper, hands crawling over his chest, his face, gripping his arms. He danced inside her, a slow dance, a rhythmic teasing. When she was completely entranced he drew his hips back and lifted her higher, preparing to strike deep, and Buffy gave a long, high gasp, waiting, open, pulsing hungrily, her feet quivering on empty air.

He moved her body in a circle, making her spiral down on him with excruciating slowness, levering inside her, his sex swirling slowly into her until he was buried. Buffy lost everything else but that spiral, that series of awakenings within her that deepened and deepened, going in and in and taking her mind with it. She let her head roll back because it was much harder to scream this way. He pulled her up and began the spiral again but Buffy was past trying to attune to it; pleasure slammed through her in cruel waves, stealing everything. It broke through her like pain, searing the nerves in her fingers and mouth, deep in her stomach, rippled through the soles of her feet. It was unbearable.

"Stop. Stop. Stop!"

"OK, shhh," he cradled her, rubbed his thumb on her upper lip, "Shhh, OK, OK," he soothed her. Buffy lolled back in his arms, groping for breath. She gulped and resumed panting, her neck straining back. He brought her upright in his arms. She leaned over him, hooking her arms around his neck, heaving. He was so strong inside her that changing angles thrummed her through with pain, but she needed a break from the wash of sensation. She panted into his ear as her sex pulsed around him. He was biting his lip. He waited.

"OK?" he finally asked, and Buffy sobbed.

He lifted her again and then let her weight pull her down onto him. She dropped dizzily and her pelvic bones met his with a dark, hollow sound. Buffy bit into his neck and felt his sex expanding, swelling even further, the girth of him pushing her apart.

"I don't want to go all night," she panted, "I can't. I can't. I want it now. Angel, now-"

"A week," he growled.

"I know!" she cried softly, "Now! I want it now-"

He lifted her and brought her down in an arc, deliberately dragging her along on his sex, and she whimpered, begging him to finish. He pounded her against him. Buffy rode along with his craving, the joy of him inside her so pure that it resembled suffering, knowing what it was for him, knowing how it made him feel to take her absolutely, and falling into him like a black crystalline river. He used her body mercilessly until he began to lengthen his strokes again, she began to hear the low guttural sounds, and Buffy allowed herself to slide completely into the dark. He shuddered, biting down on his shout. He held her then; she wrapped both legs around his waist and they were still, Buffy heaving, Angel jerking a little with the occasional after-tremor.

Buffy slid down and put her feet on the ground. She turned in the night air, arms outstretched.

"It's beautiful. I wish we could sleep out here,"

"Me, too. It would look weird, though,"

"It would. But I don't mind being weird as much as I used to,"

He smiled. "Me, either,"

Buffy picked up her dress. She handed him his shirt.

"Do you mind being undead as much as you used to?"

He stepped into his jeans, buttoned them, and looked at her. "No. No, I don't,"

She slipped her dress over her head. "I didn't think so,"

He caught her in an embrace. He lowered his head, speaking into her hair. "But I love you even more than I used to, I think,"

Buffy sighed happily and then was frozen by a cold, small thought.

If he were human, would he love her the same way? Or would his love fade, would it become like all the human love she'd known, frivolous, fragile, prone to rainbow chasing and glancing at the greener side of the fence? Would his eye start to wander then, if they were so different? Would he want someone human?

No human had ever loved her like this. No human could.