Note: I’m not very good at describing fight scenes, so when you guys read what I wrote, just imagine Buffy kicking ass as usual, okay?

Thanks for all the reviews everyone! Keep them coming, its what motivates me to write – well, that and the fact that I have a large desire to see Angel and Buffy together again.

xxx

Fred studied the woman tending to Angel out of the corner of her eye as she poured two cups of tea and placed them on a tray. For a moment, she felt sadness wash over her as the tea reminded her of a certain former friend… how had things changed so drastically in months? She didn’t think she would ever understand the circumstances, no matter how much she went over the situation. She shook off the thoughts and moved towards the table that Angel had placed in his room months earlier when Connor had been born. She placed the tray down and then sat, watching as Buffy pulled up the covers and tucked them around Angel with care.

She sat there and watched in awe as Buffy sat on the bed and ran her fingers through Angel’s hair. Angel, in turn, smiled up at the slayer and even Fred could see that the vampire trusted Buffy with everything in him. It was a rare sight, to see Angel looking so content. She could count the handful of times she had ever seen her boss smile and it was clear that the smile he had for the slayer was one all of its own. In all the time that she had known him, Angel had never been quite so open with his feelings, never had let his guard down and the only time that came close, was the time he had spent with Connor as a baby. Anger, frustration, his brooding – these were all things that were familiar to Fred. But he had never acted like this. Ever. It was almost like watching a romantic scene from a movie.

It was interesting to watch how they interacted; the scientist in her just couldn’t help observing them. It was exactly like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, minus everyone dying – though in this case, Angel was technically already dead. Star-crossed lovers that defied impossible odds, unable to be together and yet still loved one another with every fiber of their being. She had never witnessed their love first hand, but she clearly remembered the time when Wes and Cordelia had acted out their story.

At the time, it had been told in mockery and she and Charles had laughed, but now she felt a stab of anger on both Angel and Buffy’s behalf and guilt at her own giggles. She remembered clearly how devastated he was when Angel had heard news of Buffy’s death and how quickly he had rushed out of the hotel when he heard that she had been brought back. And the look on his face when he walked in on Wes and Cordy’s antics… it was no wonder he hadn’t wanted to talk about their meeting… and later on when Angel wanted ice cream… well, vampires really couldn’t taste anything other than blood so Fred had to wonder if the cookie dough fudge mint chip ice cream cone he had ordered meant something in their relationship.

They were talking quietly now, or rather Buffy was whispering something to Angel and Fred wished she could hear what it was, but knew it was extremely private and intimate. Her heart melted as she saw Buffy press a kiss to Angel’s forehead and at Angel’s bright smile in return. Seeing the scene in front of her brought out Fred’s romantic side and she decided to give them a few minutes alone. The brunette walked out, closing the door to Angel’s room quietly so she wouldn’t disturb the conversation inside. She walked down the stairs that led to the lobby slowly; her thoughts still on the way Angel and Buffy interacted.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

She looked up, startled, but let out a sigh of relief when she saw Charles staring at her with curiosity. She smiled and walked toward him, feeling instantly comforted when he wrapped his arms around her. It had been a long night and looking outside at the windows, told her that it was almost daylight soon. She was exhausted but couldn’t sleep yet. At least, not until she got some answers. Looking up at Charles, she knew he felt the same way.

Gunn was still looking at her and she suddenly realized that she hadn’t yet answered his question. She shook her head and gave him another smile. “Oh, I was just thinking about Buffy and Angel,” she told him. “You should’ve seen them up there, Charles. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Makes my heart ache that they can’t be together.”

“Yeah,” Gunn sighed. “They sure are something alright.” They stood there for another few minutes before he spoke once more. “Connor took off again.”

Fred stiffened. “Do you think he really had something to do with Angel’s disappearance?”

“The way he came at Angel with that stake?” Gunn shook his head. “No doubt about it. I’m sure he had someone helping him too. Probably that Justine chick.”

She pulled away from his embrace. “What are we going to do about him?”

Gunn could only shrug.

Fred sighed and glanced back up the stairs. “Guess we should go and find Buffy, huh?”

Before Gunn could answer, the doors to the hotel opened again and Wesley stepped through, surprising the both of them. Neither one had thought the former Watcher would come back so soon, if at all. Wesley walked towards them carrying a small bag in his hands.

“What are you doing here?” Fred blurted out before she could stop herself. She hadn’t meant to be so blunt, but after the night’s events she just couldn’t bring herself to care about being tactful anymore.

Wesley showed no reaction as he walked toward them and he placed the bag he held into her hands. “This is for Buffy,” he said, his voice devoid of any emotion. “I thought that I would bring this to her seeing that it’s more than likely that she would want to stay with Angel at the moment. Please let her know that she is still welcome to stay at my apartment should she want too.”

As Wesley turned to leave, Buffy’s words suddenly came back to Fred. You’re wrong, you know. Wes cares a lot, otherwise he wouldn’t have spent the last three months helping me. She watched his retreating back with a sad expression on her face. Would things ever be the same again? She knew the answer instantly without even thinking about it. No, nothing would ever be the same again. The door closed behind him with a soft click and she took the opportunity to peek inside the bag, curious as to what it contained.

Feminine clothing stared back up at her and she realized suddenly how thoughtful it was of Wesley to bring Buffy a change of clothes. Neither she nor Gunn had even realized that Buffy was still wearing her wetsuit. Shame filled her and she had to blink back the tears, this was the sort of thing that Wesley would have never forgotten about.

She let out a tired sigh and started back up the stairs towards Angel’s room, Charles trailing behind her. As they neared the room, she quietly pushed open the door and poked her head around cautiously, not wanting to interrupt anything. Again, the sight made her heart melt.

Buffy was still sitting at the edge of Angel’s bed, watching as the vampire slept. Fred couldn’t see Buffy’s expression as the slayer’s back was facing her, but Buffy’s whole demeanor indicated that she was content to just sit there and watch Angel sleep. And the look on Angel’s face as he slept was one she had never seen before. Nothing could describe the peaceful expression, one that was content and worry free. In that moment, Fred was struck by how handsome Angel really was when there was nothing burdening him.

Suddenly, as if she had sensed them, Buffy turned around and smiled when she spotted him. She eased herself slowly off the bed and walked towards them as she and Charles entered the room and quietly shut the door behind them. Without a word, she gave Buffy the bag that Wesley had brought and quietly pointed out where the bathroom was, indicating that Buffy could change clothes in there.

Minutes later, Buffy emerged from the bathroom donning sweats and a simple t-shirt, her hair pulled back into a ponytail and the three of them sat down at Angel’s table and were sipping the now lukewarm tea. There was an awkward silence as each person figured out what to say first.

Finally, Buffy sighed and set down her tea cup, looking at the people sitting across from her. “I guess I should start by telling you how I knew Angel was in trouble, huh?”

Both Gunn and Fred nodded and leaned forward, curiosity shining on their faces. Buffy took a deep breath, contemplating what to say. “I don’t know how much you guys know about our relationship but pretty much the word to describe it was intense.”

The slayer shook her head, lost in the memories, her eyes glazing over as she relived all the wonderful and tragic moments in her mind. “What can I really say? From the moment I laid eyes on him, I was hooked. He was so handsome and mysterious, you know? And it seemed like he wanted to help me.”

Fred nodded, remembering her own rescue from Pylea and how Angel had saved her. Boy, did she know what that felt like.

“And when he first kissed me, I can’t even begin to describe how that felt,” Buffy smiled, turning slightly to glance affectionately at the sleeping vampire across the room. She turned back to face them. “It hadn’t been my first kiss by any means but it might as well have been. He ruined me for anyone else.”

“As time went on and our relationship grew more intense, so did our connection. It got to the point where I could feel whenever he was nearby. And I don’t mean the tingle I get when a vamp is near either,” Buffy said as she placed a hand on her chest. “I mean I literally feel him inside deep down, his soul – it calls out to me every time.”

Fred couldn’t help but let out a tiny sigh, lost in the slayer’s story. It was just so romantic… Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Charles grinning at her reaction.

“On the day that Angel disappeared, I was in Sunnydale and was fighting these creepy zombie things,” Buffy paused, seeing that Gunn wanted to know exactly what she had been fighting and shook her head. “Don’t ask, I’ve kind of repressed the memories of that particular fight. Anyway, one of the zombies knocked me back into a wall and I felt this pain go through me.”

“At first I thought one of the zombies had managed to attack me when I fell, but when I opened my eyes, I saw that they were still a few feet away and no where near me. That’s when I knew Angel was in trouble. As soon as the Sunnydale crisis was averted, I made my way to L.A.” She took another sip of her tea; her throat was beginning to get tired from all the talking. The warm liquid helped soothed her throat immensely. “I was pretty worried when I got here. I had called the hotel dozens of times on my way up and it was empty when I arrived. I couldn’t get a hold of Cordelia and showing up at Wesley’s place had been my last resort. Thank goodness he had been home that night – if he hadn’t been, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”

“What I don’t get,” Gunn spoke for the first time since they had sat down to have this conversation. The man in front of her was frowning. “Is the fact that you’ve been in L.A. for the last three months looking for Angel. Why didn’t you contact us? I mean, you had to have known that we needed your help. We were in way over our heads.”

Buffy shrugged, a sheepish expression appeared on her face. “Sorry. I really wanted too, but couldn’t because of Wesley. Don’t worry though; I kept an eye on you guys. Believe me, if you really were in trouble I would’ve been there.”

“You mean, Wes told you to stay away from us?” Gunn’s demeanor had changed and he started to rise from his chair, his voice rising with the beginnings of anger.

“No!” Buffy hissed, quickly turning to see if Angel had woken up from the noise they were making. She relaxed when she saw him still sleeping. “Sorry,” her voice was softer. “I should’ve made myself clear… how do I put this without offending you…” she trailed off and then looked at Gunn straight in the eye, a defiant expression on her face. “The fact is, you guys didn’t know who I was – we hadn’t ever met. Wesley was someone that I was familiar with, even though he and I had ended on the wrong foot the last time I saw him.”

“He let me stay at his apartment for three months, rent-free by the way, even though he had no income of his own. He didn’t look at me like I was crazy when I told him that Angel was in trouble, instead, he asked me how he could be of help,” the slayer held Gunn’s gaze, ready to defend her friend with everything she had. “And on top of that, I saw that he was lonely and needed company because other than you guys, he had no friends or any support group around him.”

Buffy’s gaze then moved onto Fred and it was all the skinny brunette could do to not shiver under her stare. “Wesley knows he’s made a mistake and believe me, no one realizes it better than he does. He kicks himself for it everyday. All summer long, I’ve watched him throw himself into trying to locate Angel and even though I was around, I knew he missed you guys even if he wouldn’t admit it. Did any of you ever stop to think about why he couldn’t trust you with those prophecies? Why he felt he had to do it all on his own? I stuck by Wesley because I didn’t want him to think that he didn’t have anyone left to turn too. Believe me, I know what it’s like to realize that when you’re truly alone, there’s a darkness that spreads within you and it traps you until you feel like you can’t do anything other than something destructive just to feel something. And Wes was feeling numb inside – he never said anything, but he didn’t have too. I recognized the look on his face. I’m glad I got to Wesley when I did, because if he had been left alone any longer, that darkness would’ve consumed him and who knows what stupid thing he would’ve done.”

“You sound like you speak from experience,” Fred responded softly.

Buffy snorted, thinking of her own destructive path and all the nights she had spent with Spike. “You have no idea.”

Silence fell over the room and Buffy shook her head once more. “Anyway, back to the story. Over the next three months I kept having flashes at night, dreams if you will, about water, coldness and a metal box. And once in awhile, I could feel what he was feeling through our link.”

“I don’t understand how you could feel him though,” Gunn replied. “I mean, I get that you guys have a connection or whatever but dreams? It sounds sketchy to me.”

Buffy suddenly grinned. “Wesley thinks it was because of this.” The blonde tilted her head to the left so that her companions could clearly see the large scar that covered the right side of her neck.

“Jesus,” Gunn looked incredulous. “Angel bit you?”

“Yeah, he had been poisoned. It’s a long, long story,” Buffy winked, trying to make things a bit more light hearted after the conversation they’d just had. “Don’t worry, I’m still the slayer, not turned or anything.”

Gunn rolled his eyes. “Well, that’s a relief.” He stood up and stretched. “Alright, I’m gonna hit the sack. It’s been a long couple of hours.”

Buffy nodded, feeling very tired herself. “Sure. We can continue this conversation later on.” She paused, suddenly feeling quite unsure of herself. “Um… where should I sleep?”

Fred giggled, standing up as well. She hadn’t felt this light in ages. “I think it’s obvious you’re going to stay in here with Angel,” she said with certainty. “After all, who else is going to protect him?”

“Do you think he’d mind?”

“Girl, you saved his life and you’re asking if you think he’d mind you sleeping next to him?” Gunn sighed. “Dumb question. This is too much drama for me, I’m out.”

“Have a good rest, Buffy,” Fred called as she followed her boyfriend out. “We’ll see you later.”

The door shut behind them quietly and Buffy was left alone with Angel once again. The slayer turned and walked towards the bed, where her ex-lover laid, still peacefully asleep. She stared at him for a moment before shrugging her shoulders and crawled onto the bed, pulling back the covers and settling down next to Angel. As if he knew she was there next to him, Angel automatically shifted and pulled her against him, letting out a sigh as he did so. Holding her breath, Buffy waited to see if Angel had woken up but the vampire continued on sleeping, oblivious to the world around him. Slowly, she relaxed and took a deep breath, inhaling his familiar scent. It was amazing how he still smelled like chocolate and fresh leaves and other things that was uniquely Angel. Not to mention, being in his arms felt like home. It was home.

That was the last thought on her mind before she drifted off to sleep.

xxx

Night had fallen and Buffy walked along the streets anxious to get her patrolling started. She had slept most of the day away and had woken up feeling refreshed and itching for a fight. The cold air brought her senses alive and unlike the night before, she relished being outside tonight. It was amazing what could happen in a few hours, she mused as she continued to walk. Angel had gone from ‘missing’ to ‘found’ and Buffy could not be more relieved that he was safe and sound.

Of course, now that Angel had been found, it was most likely that she would be heading home soon.

She sighed wistfully. She had only found Angel last night and they had yet to have a conversation, but already she was used to his presence back in her life. That probably meant an emotional disaster was coming, as it always did where Angel was concerned. Wonderful.

Her cell phone rang at that moment, interrupting what might’ve been the start of some serious thinking as far as she could tell. Relieved for the distraction from her thoughts, she reached into the back pocket of her jeans and pulled out her phone. “Hello?” she answered.

Hey Buffy!”

“Dawn!” A smile appeared on her face as she heard her sister’s voice through the phone line. She continued to walk, ignoring the feeling that was starting to creep up her spine. She was sure there wasn’t any danger just yet.

Just wanted to check in and see how things were going.”

“Oh they’re going alright. We finally found Angel last night.”

You did? Buffy, that’s great!” There was a pause. “It is good news, right? I mean, Angel’s okay isn’t he?”

“He’s fine. He wasn’t so hot when we found him, but he’s okay now. We found him trapped at the bottom of the ocean, believe it or not.”

Are you serious? At the bottom of the ocean? Of all the places to be…”

“No kidding. The water was freezing cold and I was so scared I was going to run into a shark.”

How did he even end up down there in the first place?”

“Long story,” The tingling feeling was crawling up her spine again as she rounded the corner and approached the cemetery. Her slayer senses told her that there would be a few vampires rising tonight and she felt anticipation flow through her as she approached one of the graves. “Hey listen, I gotta go. Got some vamps to slay. I’ll call you later?”

Sure. Be careful!”

She hung up and placed the phone back into her pocket, just in time to see a fledging rise from its grave. The vampire looked up at her, growling and began to advance towards her. She just grinned, her stake held firmly in her hand. This was her calling and she was finally okay with that. For close to two hours, she twirled, danced and kicked her way through fights. It was a rush when she rammed her stake into their hearts and seeing them turned to dust, that she couldn’t deny.

Finally, the night seemed to slow down as no vampires were rising at the moment. The night was still young though, so she decided to hang around the cemetery for a few more hours. Sighing, she sat down on a grave stone and prepared to wait for however long it would take before another vampire rose. The feeling crept up her spine again, reminiscent to the one she had when she was taking on the phone with Dawn earlier. She rolled her eyes and turned around, staring off into the darkness.

“You can come out, you know. I know you’re there.”

A moment later, Connor came forward from the darkness. He stood before her silently, regarding her with an expression that reminded her of Angel from their early days, back when he had been so mysterious and cryptic (not that he wasn’t still!). His back was rigid, his hands in his pockets and the look that he was giving her was definitely all Angel.

If she had any doubts before, she didn’t now.

Wonderful, the brooding thing is genetic.

She held his gaze. “Just so you know, that whole lurking thing? Bottom line, don’t do it. It’s creepy. I hated when Angel did it and I’m sure my opinion won’t change if you do it.”

He shook his head and continued to stare at her. “You are the strangest person I have ever met.”

She certainly hadn’t been expecting that. “Why thank you!” A pause. “So, why were you following me?”

Connor shrugged, looking unsure of what to say. “I just don’t understand,” he said after a moment of silence. “You’re supposed to fight and kill vampires. Why would you protect him? Why would you want to protect him?”

She smiled at him and patted the spot next to her on the grave stone, indicating him to sit next to her. When he did so, she shifted slightly so that she faced him. “Angel is my soul mate,” she said, her tone in a matter-of-fact kind of way. “He is and will always be my strongest love. That’s enough reason for me to want to protect him.”

“So, you were lovers.”

She gave a dry humorless chuckle. “I guess you can call it that. It only happened the one time.”

“The mark on your neck says otherwise.”

“That’s a whole other story. There were special circumstances,” the slayer shook her head. “My past relationship with Angel is really none of your business.”

“But, he’s a monster… he killed my father! I don’t understand how you could ever become involved with him.”

“Did you ever get your facts straight?” Buffy asked. “Were you a hundred percent sure that Angel killed the man who raised you? Because I know Angel and he would never willingly kill a human unless he could help it. If he says he didn’t kill him, then I believe him. Maybe this Holtz guy and Justine chick just wanted you to think that.”

“He’s a demon. That’s all the proof I need,” Connor said. But there was a flicker of doubt in his eyes that she didn’t fail to notice.

Inwardly, Buffy sighed. Apparently, Connor had inherited Angel’s stubbornness as well. She shook her head and shrugged. “Well, I don’t think there’s much I can say to change your mind. I’m sure you’ve had enough people trying to convince you that Angel’s a good guy.” Seeing Connor’s surprised look made her chuckle. “What? I’m not going to sit here and defend Angel’s honor if you’re not going to listen. That would be wasted breath.”

“You’re not going to lecture me? Tell me that Angel is good just because he has a soul?”

Buffy grinned, knowing she definitely had Connor’s attention now. Thank you psychology 101!

“Well, I’m the one person that can definitely tell you about Angel without his soul, seeing as how I had to fight him for a couple of months. Angelus isn’t fun, be glad you’ve never met him. But yeah, Angel with a soul is definitely more preferable.” Buffy turned away from Connor, aware that his gaze was still on her, and stared up at the dark sky. “The way I see it, demons can either be good or bad. Most are destructive and want to kill you, but there are some who are nice, mild mannered and want to help anyway they can,” she grinned, thinking affectionately of Clem, the demon with large floppy ears, loose skin and friendly smile. Her smile faded and she shook her head. “Humans aren’t so perfect either. They have souls and yet, we’ve got murders and rapists in the world. How is it fair that we condemn all demons when there are things happening in the world caused by humans?”

There was silence as Connor contemplated her words. For a brief moment, she wondered if she had done the right thing by getting into Angel’s business and telling Connor some of the things she knew. She thought over the conversation and decided that no harm had been done, seeing as how she had said things that Connor probably already knew anyway. She reached out and patted the boy on the shoulder. “I’m not saying that you should go and be best friends with Angel or anything, but give him a chance. Trust me, Angel cares about you otherwise he wouldn’t try so hard.”

“Yeah, I locked him in a box and dropped him into the ocean,” Connor said bitterly, rolling his eyes. “I don’t think he’s going to be so forgiving anytime soon.”

Buffy snorted. “Buddy, that’s nothing. I stabbed a sword through his stomach and sent him to hell for a couple hundred years. Try beating that.”

“Are you serious?” He looked incredulous.

“Oh yeah. And I’m pretty sure he still likes me after all that.”

As Connor continued to stare at her in disbelief, Buffy couldn’t help the pride that welled up within her. She probably shouldn’t have meddled into Angel’s business but she couldn’t help but think she might’ve had a break through as far as Connor was concerned. Even though Angel had never discussed it with her, she knew her ex-boyfriend well enough that he would desperately want a relationship with his son. Hopefully, her conversation tonight with Connor would be the start of something new for them.

She could only hope so for Angel’s sake.

xxx

Review Reply to Angel-Buffy17 because she didn’t leave me an email address to respond too: Thanks for your review hun! I would love to write a fic where Angel and Buffy get back together permanently and to continue the season with Buffy as a major character but unfortunately I don’t think it’s going to happen. The outline I have for this fic doesn’t extend farther than just a few chapters but I appreciate that you like my story enough to want it to last longer! I’ve got a few ideas for other fics involving Buffy and Angel, so be on the look out for those! (grins)