Buffy's toes wouldn't touch the ground. It was close in the darkness, close and warm. Then suddenly silky and wet, with a rush of sound: Angel, sobbing quietly, panting...panting?
Buffy twisted and was engulfed in scent, warm and clean, warm. Warm. His mouth was mauling hers and his mouth was warm. A dream, she thought within the dream, it feels like a memory but it's only a dream. Distantly she heard herself cry out between kisses. She was on her back on a table. Dishes scattered, rattling over the floor. Buffy gave herself completely to the dream. She closed her arms around his back and opened her mouth, curling her tongue under his, coaxing it deeper. She tasted tea and the faint ghost of crackers. His breath exploded over her face, warm and humid. He drew back. His mouth was swollen and his eyes glittered with tears. His chest heaved.
"Now," Buffy sobbed, "Now, now, Angel, now-"
"I can't help it-"
"I know!" .
"God-I want you-"
"Now!" she said, her hand cupping his cheek, "Come on!"
His mouth twisted, his breath rushed from his nostrils as he hoisted her. His arms were warm and contained a trembling, fragile strength. He was human, she could feel it in the way his muscles moved; they didn't have that elastic, indefatigable strength the undead had, and that she had. Vampires were strong for as long as they existed. Their strength came from a place that was eternally cool, machinelike, relentless. Buffy could fight for hours, for days if she had to; she was made to fight until she was killed. Angel's arms were strong and capable, but they were human. They would get tired. When he was a vampire she could have killed him only after a very long fight. Now, she could kill him with a slap. This realization was followed by a wave of tenderness so powerful that she burst into tears.
He set her gently on the bed and looked down at her. He was shaking.
"Is it-" he began.
"You're human," she said, marveling at him.
A grin swept across his face and lit his eyes, a huge, bright, wholesome grin, an all-American boy's grin, the warm, heart-fed grin of a living man. He was flushed; she could imagine him easily now with a tan, running on the beach, sweating, laughing, goofing around, eating hamburgers, catching a cold, getting tired, getting old. She could see it all in one grin. She could have him now, really have him. She reached up to him and pulled him down beside her. His hands felt hot around the back of her neck, on the small of her back under her sweater, big, hot hands, pulsing with living blood. There was a glistening of perspiration in the hollow of his neck; she lapped it up, tasting human salt, and her heart leaped because what would he taste like everywhere else?
He smoothly pushed her sweater and camisole up. She pulled the sweater off. His mouth was on her belly, taking big, wet mouthfuls of her; memories assaulted her suddenly from a rainy night, memories of a confession, a decision, and then the worst night of her life. She froze.
He looked at her again, his mouth open, his eyes searching hers. It was him, but-
"That will never happen again," he said, "I love you. You know I love you,"
"I'm human," he gasped, taking her hand and placing it over his heart, "Nothing will happen after this, except I'm going to hold you," he tore at his shirt, wrestling out of it. He brought her up from the bed and crushed her against him. His heart was pounding. "Do you feel it?"
"Yes" she whispered, "I feel it,"
He rocked her. Buffy felt his sex pressing against her hip, hard as he had always been for her, but now...now would it be hot to the touch? She pulled him down, wrapping her legs around his hips. Would he be more sensitive? She'd have to be careful, now. He could be easily damaged. She ran her hands down his back, thinking of the way a human healed, how long it took, the scars that remained, and felt the tender rush again. She would protect him. She would keep him safe from everything. Nothing would hurt him ever again.
The straps of her camisole had crept over her shoulders. She pulled it off; she tossed it away and he lowered himself, moaning at the feel of her breasts on his chest. He kissed her savagely. She arched her back, both hands in his hair. He was as smooth as she remembered but now lightly dewed, slippery. The human scent of him was on her, organic and rich. She suddenly longed to taste him, to have him in her mouth, to feel the blood pulsing with living aggression through his sex as she held it between her lips. Would he make more noise when he lost himself to her? She could have him completely, any way she wanted. He was powerless with her now. It was vindicating and sexy and underneath, a little hollow. She brushed that feeling aside, because she could have him. Really have him. It was almost like having another first time. All of the "if-only" scenarios she had played in her mind were here, now, and she was going to have him.
She put her hands on his shoulders and he sat up, taking her cue immediately. That hadn't changed. She stood and kicked off her shoes. She slid her fingers along the waistband of her jeans and looked at him. He was leaning back on his hands, staring at her.
"Buffy," he swallowed, his mouth opened, he took a deep breath.
She took a step foreward, positioning herself between his knees. She looked down at her hands and then flicked her eyes up at him. He gave a little breathy snort, rocking on his hands, biting his lip. His eyes were as dark as she had ever seen them, the irises enormous and hungry. She unbuttoned her jeans, slid the zipper down slowly, pushed them very gradually over her hips. He groaned softly and leaned foreward; he slipped his hands over her hips and under the jeans, moving them down her legs. She kicked them away. He pulled her to him, pressing his face to her belly. His breath puffed softly on her. It tickled and she giggled quietly. He panted onto her as he slid her panties down; they weren't past her knees before he opened his mouth on her belly, just above her nest of curls, and slipped his tongue silkenly back and forth. Buffy gasped, drenched in the sudden, harsh thrill.
He made a guttural sound and nosed into the curls; he took her clitoris in his mouth. His mouth was warm, hot even, but it was still Angel's mouth and his knowledge of her. His fingers caressed her very lightly, exploring the softness between her legs with reverence and delicacy. She gulped; her throat was dry and her legs shook. His free hand moved gently up her belly, over her left breast, up her throat; he held her cheek in his hand. He began to move one finger into her sex, teasingly, as he slipped his thumb into her mouth. Buffy's lips closed over his thumb. He sucked her clitoris, then worked it between his lips, released, sucked and then moved his tongue along the swelling length of it, massaged it, danced over the tip of it. He pulled it completely into his mouth and slid his finger into her sex at the same time, stroking his fingertip just under her pubic bone; Buffy gave a long, full scream as moisture crept down his hand. She jerked against him, whining. He thrust his finger deep into her, then two fingers, rotating his wrist slightly, stroking the walls of her sex. The thumb of his other hand was still resting at the corner of her mouth; she drew it in and lapped at it, thinking of the size of him, how she felt in her mouth, the way he drove her jaw apart. He sipped her clitoris into his mouth again and Buffy couldn't pull away; it was too good and it had been too long. He worked her more quickly and lightly this time; his tongue rippled and flicked and levered against her. He was still eternally patient, still adoring, every touch was still an act of worship. He nibbled at her with uneven rhythm until Buffy was on the edge again, trembling, legs shaking almost violently; he withdrew his thumb from her mouth and slid his hand under her haunches, holding her still. His fingers were twisting inside her very slowly; he wiggled them luxuriously and her sex throbbed in reply, then he sucked more urgently on her clitoris and every pore of her skin and flesh seemed to open. Her head sank back, she cried out through her teeth as her hips drove against his hand and mouth. The world dimmed and dipped; he caught her easily and pulled her onto the bed.
She panted as she gripped the bed with her hands, staring up at him. Her lower lip trembled, her eyes stung.
"It's you? It's not a dream, it's you-"
"It's me," his mouth glistened; he sucked on his fingers, then closed his eyes and sighed. His eyes reddened, gleamed wetly. "Buffy...to taste you, as a human, to taste you-"
"Is it different?" she smiled suddenly, curious.
"Yeah," he was crouched over her now, his eyes devouring her, "Yeah, it's different,"
"Does it feel good? Being human?"
He looked directly into her eyes and sobbed. His eyes overflowed. He bowed his head and sobbed again. Tears fell on her breasts, warm tears. She drew him down and held him.
"I want it all now," he said, wrapping himself around her, "I want all of it. I want children, and a house, and a life. I want a life with you. I'll do anything to make it work, I don't care what it takes. I love you, I love you-"
"I want it all now, too,"
"You do?" his voice was full of longing, and it was her longing.
"Everything. But right now..." she said, and her voice trailed away as she sat up. She stood and pulled on his hand, bringing him with her. She kissed his chest, smiling at the thudding under her mouth. She unfastened his pants and let them fall. She raised her mouth for a kiss as she slid her hand into his boxers, taking him in her hand. They both gasped, breaking the kiss. He was as hard as she remembered, but not cool. He was nearly hot. She squeezed and he pulsed in her hand. His breath exploded across her shoulder. She bent to finish undressing him, then she straightened and took one step back to look at him.
He was more beautiful than any man, than anything she had ever seen. His body was a magnificent series of flowing lines, just broad enough, just tall enough, and exquisitely formed; he looked at her with such complete adoration and desire that she felt the air go out of her. She pulled him to her, drew his tongue deeply into her mouth, pressed herself to the solid breadth of him. His sex moved on her belly with an urgent nudge.
She held his face in her hands. "Make love to me,"
He exhaled in a rush; he threw her back onto the bed and crawled over her. His mouth began to take her in, her mouth, her throat, her breasts, but Buffy was past seduction, past teasing, past delicacy. She raised her legs, wrapping them around his waist.
"Now," she hissed, "Right now, like a human, make love to me, give me you. Give me human you, now," she took him in her hand and guided him to her. She was so slippery by now that her inner thighs were wet. He slid home quickly but he held off, entering her with only the tip of his sex. He paused to lock eyes with her. She squeezed with her legs and he gasped, wincing. He was gulping air; he pressed his lips together and squeezed his eyes shut, then opened them. She released her grip.
"God," she said, "I'm sorry,"
He smiled, his eyelids still fluttering with pain. "It's OK,"
Buffy took a breath. Her body hardened with contained tension; she longed to exert herself, but she refrained. Let him do the work, she thought, or you might hurt him. Pain: not romantic.
She swept her hands over him, checking him for damage. "Are you OK?"
"Yeah," he was gazing at her with worry. She caught his face in her hands. She kissed him; she undulated her hips, pushing herself onto him. They both gasped. He moaned her name.
"I want you," she whispered, "I want you inside me,"
He delivered himself to her in a shallow stroke that made the depths of Buffy's body clench and undulate like a needy sea creature. She felt herself slipping toward release already, it was like being carried by a crash of water, a flood. She fell in and he dived deeper, pushing her under. She was drowning, unable to breathe, her lungs were frozen. Pure, complete joy tore through her. She lurched beneath him mutely until the first wave passed, then she cried out a long, tremulous cry and gripped his hips, demanding him, pulling him deeper. He moaned and drew back to strike, then threw himself into her with so much force that their bodies met with an audible 'thunk'. Buffy craved more of it, the unleashed lovemaking she remembered, but that was impossible now. She was forced to hold back and every taste and sight and sound became painfully magnified, every touch was so vivid that she almost flinched from his mouth on hers, from him driving into her with the next stroke. She slid her feet under his shoulders; her knees were now resting next to her ears. She pulled on his back again and he thrust with an incredibly graceful turn of his hips, upping his pace, swinging in and out of her in a vicious, necessary dance. Buffy felt the next surge coming and opened herself to every unbearable sensation, gave herself to him absolutely, passively, letting the rest of herself fall away; she became only a vessel for him. He took her with his body and his eyes, with his beating heart, with the soul she loved. He lowered his forehead onto hers. The muscles in his shoulders and arms quivered as he neared his release; his breath flowed over her cheek, his eyes pierced hers and she drew him as close as she could, gripping the working flesh of his back, coaxing him.
"Come on," she gasped, gritting her teeth, "Come on, give it all to me now, Angel, give me you. Give it to me. ANGEL-" she writhed, washed under again, as he gave up all thought and fear, gave himself absolutely to her. Buffy held him as he cried out, she felt the jets of his pleasure within her, warm. His heart raced fiercely in his chest. They were both drenched. He fell on his back and pulled her onto his chest, wrapping his arms around her possessively, holding her tight. Buffy sighed, shuddering. The muscle in her legs still craved use, but she would get used to it. Everything was going to be different, but they could make it work. They couldn't be a team anymore; it was too dangerous for him to fight beside her now. Still, they could have a a life. He could stay home with the kids. He'd have to stay home with the kids. She wondered if that would bother him.
He turned her in his arms and kissed her lightly on her mouth, her nose, her cheeks, showering loving little kisses on her. Buffy submitted, and was happier than she'd ever been. Except for that one time. Which could never be again.
As she cuddled deep into his embrace, as his body went slack next to hers, she thought: It will all be worth it if I just don't wake up alone tomorrow.
Buffy woke up in chains. She blinked in the relentless darkness. "Angel?"
"I'm here," she couldn't see him, but she could feel him, and hear him.
"What's going to happen? Do you really want the change? Do you?"
"It's not up to me,"
"It started that Christmas, didn't it?"
"No. It started when I was thrown out of Hell,"
"That Christmas It tried to take me. You stopped It. You and...the snow. But It doesn't want me anymore,"
Buffy's heart sank. Nausea tingled through her.
She knew who It wanted.