Buffy jolted, awake. Her heart sank. The First was gone. It must be on him again, now.
"Fuck," she muttered.
There was an earth-deep sound, a growling. It was a frustrated sound. She heard the giant slithering movement, like an enormous animal dragging itself through a hollow mountain range. Then a roar.
Buffy was hit with a force that flattened her nose across her cheek. She gasped, blinking.
"Where is she? She is near. Where?" it roared.
Buffy coughed. "I'm right here, First Idiot,"
"You know where she is. Give her to me,"
"Yeah. That'll happen,"
"WHERE IS SHE?"
Angel was above her, smiling, when she opened her eyes. They gazed silently at each other. She reached up to touch his face. He closed his eyes. She smoothed her hand over his cheek.
"Has it got you, now?" she whispered.
"No. It's looking for Erinne,"
"What can we do?"
"Nothing. It's her fight,"
"There's got to be something,"
"That's the issue," he said, "It's her fight. It's her time. It's just using us,"
"It can't have her," she bit the inside of her lower lip, "We have to-"
"We can't," he said, "This isn't about us,"
"Shhh, shhh," he soothed, "Keep the focus off her,"
"OK. You're right,"
She sighed, deeply.
He stood behind her in the bathroom. In the mirror she could see the faint, ghostly outline of him.
"I feel so old today," she said.
She gazed at her reflection. "Well," she tried to stop but it was on her then, "I mean, look at the lines around my eyes now. And-"
"I hope some of them are mine,"
"You get them from smiling,"
She sighed, unable to fight off the creeping depression.
"Look," she felt his finger on her cheek, could almost see it in the mirror, "See how they make your eyes stand out a little more?"
"No, they don't,"
"Yes, they do. Like shading in a drawing. And see-"
"I'm getting lines by my mouth,"
"They make you look mischievous,"
She huffed. "Are you serious?"
"Look for yourself,"
"They make me look older,"
"Older is like a color. There are a billion shades of red. There are a billion ways of aging. Many are actually very beautiful,"
"I just-I hate it,"
"It's disconcerting, I'm sure. But what I hope for is to find out,"
She turned to him, held him. "Oh, Angel," she said, "It looks like it might happen, doesn't it? Maybe...oh, I hope all the time,"
"I do too," he said softly. Then he gently turned her back toward the mirror. "Try to see what I see, when you look at yourself sometimes," he said.
"I can't see getting older as beautiful,"
"But I didn't fall in love with you because you were young," he said, laying his fingers lightly on her cheek, "I didn't fall in love with you because of this beautiful face. It's much more than a smooth layout of eyes and mouth without flaws, there are millions of faces that are geometrically even, especially young faces. But you...your heart was pounding out this...this signal around you, you were so completely in love with life, so strong in heart. That's what caught me, and it still does it to me every time I look at you. And you've grown. You're stronger now, you're smarter, you're more creative, you're more playful than you were then. Have you noticed? We have more fun NOW,"
"I know," tears were moving down her cheeks. She turned to him again and pushed her nose under his chin.
"You're more beautiful to me now," he whispered, "I love you more now,"
"But we need to get on with this thing where you're breathing more often, and I can almost see you in the mirror, and someday you'll be alive and you can start aging," she said, "Because the day that somebody thinks you're my son I'm going to TWEAK,"
He laughed. "Don't you think younger men are sexy?"
"Ugh. Younger men. Don't even say that,"
"I think you are,"
"Yeah?" his fingers crept smoothly up her blouse; he began to slip the buttons through and the blouse fell open, inch by inch. Buffy watched in the mirror, imagining that if she turned around he'd still be just a milky outline, that he was almost invisible. For some reason the thought was very arousing.
"Talk to me," she whispered, staring into the mirror, watching his translucent fingers.
"When I kiss you," he said softly, his voice velvety and low, "I'm not just kissing you. I'm kissing memories, too. All the times I've kissed you, all the times I've seen you. Sometimes when I'm kissing you I'm fantasizing about you at the same time,"
Buffy giggled. "That sounds...silly,"
"Yeah, I guess it does," He slipped the blouse over her shoulders; it slithered to the bathroom floor.
"But...I mean, it's neat, too. I'm lucky that-"
"I picture you fighting, some of your best fights, sometimes, and it makes me-"
She arched her back, pushing her haunches back against him, "Does it make you hard?"
He laughed, softly, a little demurely. He had never been much for earthy language. "Y-yeah,"
"Like, which fights?" she asked, but then she laughed, because he reached past her to turn the water on in the sink. "What-" she began, and he splashed cold water onto her breasts; her nipples stood up under the wet lace and he grasped them gently, rubbing the fabric on the delicate flesh. It was rough, and Buffy winced a little. He reached for a hair clip on the shelf and twisted her hair, pinning it high on her head. He rubbed his nose across the back of her neck.
"Remember the fire demons in that cave? The year before I left,"
"Ummm. Yeah," she took in a breath; he was cupping handfuls of water and releasing them onto her chest. He kissed the back of her neck and her skin rippled, she shuddered.
"That was a rough year. I didn't remember everything, but I knew how bad it had been for you. I felt...the guilt, vividly, but I couldn't even begin to apologize, or-" he stopped, his mouth pressed to the tender place under her ear, his arms around her waist, "I couldn't talk to you about it. We didn't talk much, that year,"
"No," she said, feeling it, as he did, the ghost of sadness, the memory of so much pain that belonged to both of them.
"But, you were still there for me. You still stood by me. I was amazed by that. I'm still amazed by that,"
"Always, in my heart-"
"I know," he said, "I know...but that night, it wasn't what you were wearing, or how you looked. It was the way you fought with me. We were really starting to fight together then,"
"Instead of. You were...you are...such a perceptive fighter. You have beautiful instinct. You are a real hunter. It terrified me, the first time I saw you,"
"You scared me," he said with sweet humor, his voice muffled in her neck. He had unhooked her bra, but it still clung to her wet flesh.
"No way," she said, but she remembered something in his letters about that. And he had told her that, one Halloween night. Still, she wanted to hear more.
"So how can it be a turn-on if you're scared of someone?" she asked.
Angel laughed. His shoulders shook, she could feel them. His face was pressed into her hair at the nape of her neck. He laughed again.
Buffy giggled; his laughter had a contagious quality. "Angel-" but he started again, and she had to join him, "Angel, how-"
"You terrify me, you still do," she could hear the grin in his voice, "It's very exciting,"
"Do you mean, like, Slayer-fear?"
"Have you always felt that?"
"It's...it's a buzz...there's always an element of danger, for me. The demon shivers, the demon recoils a little, and I get...but there's another element to it, of course,"
"I love you," he said, "You could destroy me anytime you wanted to,"
"I love you," she said, "I'd do anything to keep you safe,"
"You've shown me, so many times," he said, "I know that. But still..."
"Danger is supposed to be unhealthy," said Buffy, "You sense someone is dangerous, you're supposed to bolt-"
"If it's not dangerous, you're not really invested in it," said Angel, "So how can that be love?"
"Safety is an illusion," she said, "I learned that. If it looks safe, something's fake. If someone seems too good to be true, they are," she thought quickly of Riley, the expert poser, then dismissed him. A hard lesson. She looked in the mirror. Angel's misty form hovered around her, supernatural, unsafe, and adoring. He was kissing her back. His hands slipped beneath her skirt, moving smoothly up her thighs. He leaned against her, pushing her closer over the sink and splashing more water onto her, which ran down in tiny, crooked trails. She sighed. His hands cupped her breasts.
"Oil," he said. She reached up and took the oil off the shelf. "But, my skirt-"
"I'll buy you another one,"
She laughed, a bird-like laugh, because she was a little startled. They had been cozy, so safe for so long. There was a reckless quality to him tonight. He opened the bottle and poured the oil over her chest; it ran down, and Buffy was suddenly breathless. Her clothes didn't matter, the mess didn't matter. She suddenly wanted something different, something rougher, something new. Something a little dangerous.
"I want-" she began.
"Tell me," he nearly growled; he seized the back of her skirt and tore. It ripped easily, but with a loud, ragged, satisfying sound. It took her breath, and she felt him smile into her hair. She kicked the torn skirt away. He smoothed his hands into the oil on her skin and began to spread it all over her, around her belly, down her hips and legs, up the length of her inner thighs. Her shoes would be ruined, too. She didn't care.
"Talk to me," he said. His big hands were in continual motion, encompassing her. The oil was thickening, becoming sticky. She splashed water onto herself. Wherever he wasn't touching her, she moved her hands there. He ground against her. She wanted to undress him, but she also wanted to pretend he was invisible. He seemed to read her mind then; he began undressing. She pushed her sodden panties down her legs and tossed them away. She poured more oil down her back, refusing to think about what it was going to be like cleaning all of this up. She heard him make a low, guttural sound. He was finally free of clothing. He cupped her hips in his hands and braced her against the sink; he gripped the flesh of her behind and lifted, pulling her open. She whined. He leaned forward and took her ear in his teeth.
"What do you want?" he slurred.
Buffy was biting the inside of her lip. She couldn't say it out loud, somehow the words would ruin it, make it sound filthy instead of enchanting. She reached in back of her and wrapped her hand firmly around his sex. He grunted. She stretched up on her toes and guided him to where she wanted him, to where she had never wanted him before.
"Unh," he said, "Are-are you sure?"
"Who's the Slayer, here?" she said; she was beginning to feel impatient. She suddenly wanted him, wanted him to take her, and none too gently.
"Angel," she sighed quickly and twisted. Her shoes flew out from under her. The next thing she felt was her face cupped in Angel's hand; if he hadn't caught her, she would have smashed her face into the sink.
"That's it," he said with finality, "This floor's not safe,"
Buffy looked at the mirror, beaming. "You're right," she said. She braced her hands on the counter and leaped up, with one knee on either side of the sink. She looked back over her shoulder at him. "Don't slip," she said.
His hands moved under her, pulling her back against him. "You're sure?" he muttered, his voice thick and low. His fingers were already sliding between her legs, lingering further back than usual, tracing a careful circle. She poured the last of the oil down her back; she could feel him watching the shining trail run down her spine. When the oil began to drip between her legs he caught it and rubbed his slick fingers across the opening, pressing more and more firmly, finally slipping one finger into her. Buffy gasped, and then crooned; it hadn't occurred to her that it would be that pleasurable, and she was surprised. He wrapped an arm around her and brought her against him. His chest was smooth and cool.
"I don't want to hurt you,"
"Hurt me a little," she whispered. He rotated his finger, slithering another into her, then another, while she panted and bit her lip. Where the craving had come from, she didn't know, but she was trembling with it now. She arched her back, closing her eyes. His lips met the back of her neck. She felt a little dart of air from his nose and smiled. She was making him take a breath; it always gave her a sense of triumph, and she was grateful for him, for his desire. His hands were shaking. Her heart began to pound.
"Come on," she urged gently, "Come on, do it," she felt the head of his sex, thick and solid and enormous. It was going to hurt. She shivered. His mouth was glued to the back of her neck. She felt the first push and exhaled, trying to relax herself, but an anxious moan came out of her.
He froze. "Buffy-"
"Don't you want to?"
He made a low, gravely sound, then, "Yes,"
"Then coax me," she rasped.
He held her firmly against him with one arm; he pressed his mouth to her cheek and whispered to her as he held her hip in his other hand, keeping her still as he began to push, very gradually.
"OK," he muttered, "Relax,"
Buffy whimpered, it was just what she wanted.
"Shhh," he soothed, gripping one cheek of her haunches in his hand; his sex began to push her apart, and for an instant it was nightmarish. Buffy's lips parted. She saw her own expression in the mirror, she saw bliss. Angel's reflection was changing, eerily; his hands would take on more density and then fade, as if they were glass hands filling with mist that dissipated. He glanced up and she saw a clear flash of his eyes, dark, but bright and sharp, sharp as the points of stars. She gasped at the sight as the hard, round tip of him thrust into her. She shouted, then dissolved in little breathless croons. His hand moved smoothly up and down her belly, then crept lower, taking her clitoris between two fingers and pressing firmly. She moaned.
"That's my girl," he whispered, "That's my good girl,"
At any other time condescending language was one of her least favorite things, but right now it was just what she wished for, to be completely out of control, to be coddled and tortured at the same time. She looked into the mirror. His eyes flashed at her again, like faceted jet, a sparkle of black; she could only see them completely in moments, then they disappeared into the haze of his vague reflection. He slid deeper into her and the first jolt of true pleasure shot through her, harsh and uneven, electrical, slightly sickening. She writhed, helpless, even when he stopped moving. The climax seemed to have ideas of its own. Buffy trembled and cried out over and over again as he held her, marveling at her.
"Is it that good?" he asked warmly, his mouth on her ear.
"God-" gasped Buffy, "Oh, GOD,"
Buffy was unable to make sound other than a cry; he slowly stroked into her, giving her more, and she was amazed at the quality of pleasure it gave her. It was unwelcome at first, part of her wanted to rebel, to pull away, but this intensified her craving for it at the same time. Then she heard herself,
His fingers crept around her clitoris, holding it in a delicate grip. It was swollen, and becoming slippery. He began to rub it gently with a small twisting motion.
"OK, I'm going to give you more. Be my good girl,"
Buffy felt moisture crawling down from her sex. It was a lovely feeling, to crave him there so ferociously. The very wanting of him felt ecstatic. He slid completely into her; she felt impaled, driven in two, and she screamed with something like relief. It was a release so absolute that she lost all her other senses, her sight and hearing disappeared, it seemed. She was a sheath, his sheath, and that was all. He stopped moving, hunched over her with his cheek pressed to hers, listening raptly to every sound she made, as if she were singing a song and he wanted to memorize it. Buffy finally regained speech.
"Is it good?"
"Yes," he groaned.
"Really give it to me now, as hard as you want to, make me take it,"
"You're going to take it," he hissed.
"Yes!" she screamed, and he stood upright, keeping one hand between her legs and holding her hip with the other, pulling her toward him as he drove into her. She could no longer hear the sounds she was making and she no longer wanted to. She caught her breath as she could, gasping wetly, watching her reflection thrash and twist, watching his build and ebb like fog. His fingers worked her; he knew the jumping muscles in her thighs and the demure twitching of her sex by heart, and he worked her quickly now, she could feel him swelling and becoming so hard that it seemed he would burst. Buffy gave over to it, shouting and sobbing, and he gripped her hips with both hands. Buffy's mouth was open but she was unable to make another sound. She listened to the slapping of her thighs against his chest, then to his shout, then felt his arms around her, plastering her to him, felt his face in the crook of her neck. She felt a puff of air from his mouth, felt a throb against her back.
Tears sprung from her; she sobbed several times, quickly, then laughed, a laugh that trembled. He craned his neck to look at her. "What?" he asked anxiously.
"It didn't really hurt," she said quickly, "I just-"
A giggle burst from her. "I...it's just a nice release, that's all," he pulled away from her and she sighed, a long, long sigh. He smiled, a hesitant smile.
She kissed him. "It's OK. I feel great. But...I want a shower,"
"Yeah," he was grinning now. Buffy cupped his cheek in her hand, looking at him wonderingly. "I never knew it was possible to feel so close to someone," she said quietly, "How much you can share with someone. It still amazes me,"
"It is amazing," he said. He stumbled slightly, then leaned against the sink, holding her, "But I think you can't find amazing without a risk or two. There's always danger first,"
She looked into his beautiful eyes. "Spoken like a real fighter," she said, grinning.