Just To Be With You
Disclaimer: Joss and company own everything
Summary: Fixing The Prom
AN: Third story in my Remedy series. For this series, Ive just decided to pick episodes at random to rewrite trying to fix Joss mistakes.
Spoilers: Everything up to The Prom, plus the first two stories of this series.
AN: For this series, theres no happiness clause in Angel's curse, so there was no Angelus, and no Angel being sent to hell. However, Angel has moved into the mansion on Crawford street. Jenny was killed, only by Spike. And Xander and Willow never kissed, so everything's still peachy between W/O and X/C.
AN: "Neon" belongs to John Mayer, "More Than Anything" belongs to Hanson, "Chained to You" belongs to Savage Garden.
Rating: I'd say PG-13.
Distribution: Want it- take it. Just let me know where its going.
Feedback: As always, greatly appreciated.
When sky blue gets dark enough
To see the colors of the city lights
A trail of ruby red and diamond white
Hits her like a sunrise
Outside, the sky had lightened to a blue that was almost crystal clear. A newly rising sun lit the tops of the buildings, but found it hard to penetrate the heavily-covered windows of the old mansion on Crawford street. On several mornings, the owner would awake sweating, tangled in damp sheets, overtaken by his nightmarish memories. Other mornings, he would thank the heavens above to awake holding the precious beauty who had captured his heart.
On this particular morning, Angel was wide awake, carefully studying the exquisite features outlining Buffy's face. He was careful not to wake her as he inched his face closer to hers, a curious smile forming on his lips.
As Buffy went to go lay back down on top of the nice, soft spot that she had become accustomed to stretched out across Angel's body, she noticed that he was awake as well, facing her with a huge grin. "What? Do I have funny bed hair or something?"
"Or something" he murmured, letting out a small laugh.
"MmmI guess we got a little carried away with the whole post-slayage nap thing," she sleepily smiles, reaching a hand up to feel the mess that was her hair. "Ohh- not good"
"Where are you going?" Angel makes a soft grab at her arm, not willing to let her leave his side just yet.
"To go kill a cat on my head."
"No mirrors" he solemnly reminds her.
"You know, this place isn't really girl-friendly. You'd think after all the time I spend here it would have more of a woman's touch. I mean, no mirrors, no natural light-"
"I think you look perfect," he earnestly tells her, reaching out a hand to caress the side of her face.
"Oh yeah-" she brushes off his compliment. "I'm sure I look- okay" she shrugs, giggling as she leans closer, submitting to his touch as they laid back down together. "You know, maybe we should think about getting a few mirrors. And, maybe a drawer, you know, for some of my stuff. Because that's what couples do- they have drawers."
"Hmm. That's right"
"That way I'd always have some stuff here for when I spend the night. You know, like after the prom tomorrow night, it would be nice to just come back here and spend some time together."
"The prom?" Angel had overheard her talking about the event with her mother and friends, but was still a little uneasy discussing it with her himself. Mostly because of her latest conversation with Willow regarding the Scoobies plans for afterwards.
"End of highschool, rite of passage thingy," she explains. "Think cotillion with spiked punch and electric slide. I can't wait to see you in your tux."
"Don't worry, it's at night. And lots of girls have older boyfriends. You'll blend" she smiles up at him.
"Probably none as old as me" he sighs, his grip around her waist loosening.
"And none as wonderful as you," Buffy corrects him, reaching over to kiss him, but surprised when he turns away. "Angel, what's wrong?"
He'd planned how he would do it; he would sit her down in the lamplight- the only light he would ever be able to see her in- and tell her. "Buffy" he would say, "I'm leaving you" But he wouldn't be able to continue; he would never learn how to let her go and would spend hours trying to convince himself that he would be doing the right thing. He was amazed, in fact, that he'd managed to fool himself for so long. This was the simple fact that had upset him most- fooling himself for so long into thinking he could ever give Buffy a normal life while at the same time fooling her too.
Often times, the nights she would stay over, he would stay up just to watch her sleep, allowing his mind to drift over the few memories he allowed himself to recall of his own humanity. He remembered the feel of the wind on a summer day- how it used to billow through his house with the smells of the town. As he would finally lay his head down on the pillows beside his sleeping love, he would see before him one final image that he would never be able to grant her- a small child laughing as she ran towards Buffy on a sunlit beach.
"Angel?" It only now occurred to Buffy that something more was bothering him. "What's wrong?"
"It's nothing. You should get going, hmm?"
"Mmmthere must be a few more hours before sunrise." Reluctantly, Buffy stumbled out of the bed, heading over towards the curtain-draped balcony. As she peeled back the heavy wool, light burst out, a blazing streak radiating across Angel as he let out a moan in pain. He leapt off of the bed, fleeing the sun's harsh rays as Buffy clasped the curtain shut, turning to make her apologies.
"Sorryguess it's later than-"
"That's what's wrong!" Angel's words came out more as a shout than he meant.
"Angelhoney, I'm- I'm sorry" she managed to stammer out, still shocked by his yell.
"No- Buffy, I didn't mean" He slowly approached her before continuing. "It's not youit's me." There was a deep, studious silence before Buffy responded.
"What do you mean?" she asked, her eyes scanning his distraught face. Angel, as if it were him who had been struck by his own outburst, averted his face sharply and stared away at some distant point.
"The other nightI overheard you and Willow talking about after the Prom."
Buffy's eyes widened as she finally realized the only place Angel could be going with this. A certain embarrassment accompanied the slayer's frown as she thought back on her best friend's news that Cordelia's parents had given her the okay for her and the rest of the Scoobies to spend the weekend at their beach house just down the coast. Unwilling to leave Angel's side, Buffy had turned down the offer, not knowing that Angel had overheard them.
"So that's what this is about," she says, slowly stepping over to the bed.
I can't be her angel now
You know it's not my place to hold her down
But it's hard for me to take a stand
When I would take her anyway I can
"That's just a small part of it," Angel sighs, moving over to sit back down on the bed beside her. "Buffyyou can't tell me that you're happy"
"You're right" she breathes out, much to his surprise. Sliding over to place herself in his lap, she leans forward in an attempt to kiss him. " *Now* I'm happy"
"Buffy, I'm serious," he pulls her off of him, settling her back down onto the blankets as he stands before her. "I think we have to talk. But not now- and not here. You have to go home and get to school-"
"No. You think I'm going to be able to go to school like this? Angel, come on- you're scaring me."
"I've been thinkingabout our future. And the more I do, the more I feel like us, you and I being together, is unfair to you. You deserve more. You deserve something outside of demons and darkness. I mean, look at what just happened. You deserve someone who can take you out into the light. And children-"
"Children? Can you say jumping the gun? I killed my goldfish! Angel- I don't care about any of that-"
"Today. But you have no idea how fast it goes, Buffy. One day before you know it, you'll want it all- a normal life."
"I'll never have a normal life," she cries, as she tries to find some way to edge into his pointless rant. "Angel, * you* make my life normal. Having you is what gives me something normal outside of demons and darkness. I want my life to be with you, and it's as simple as that." With a no-nonsense, determined look, she stands up to head out of the room. "Now, since we're done here-"
"We're not done," Angel races over to her, grabbing onto her hand. "Buffy- think about this rationally, will you? You know how much I love you-"
"Exactly my point. So if you don't mind, I have to get to school, so" She knew she should've left right then and there, but she didn't. Instead, she turned and gazed at the cloth-covered window, slightly tilting her head to the side.
"Buffy, I'm trying to do what's right here," he urged, searching her face with pleading eyes as he took off after her down the staircase.
"What's right?!" By now, Buffy's eyes were filling with tears as they both reach the bottom of the stairs. "Angel- what's right is you and metogether. I've never known anything more right than that. You don't just give up on someone that you love."
"I'm not giving up on you!" he responds, still trying to make her understand. "I love you, and I've told you that nothing will ever change that!"
"Then what is all of this stuff about us not being together about?!"
"I just" A heavy sigh followed as he tried justifying his case. "I don't know"
"I have to get to home and then get to school" Buffy absent-mindedly ran a hand through her hair. "So I hope by the time I come back here tonight to meet up for patrol you can come up with a stronger argument, because even if you can, nothing is ever going to change how I feel about anythingespecially you." Without giving him a chance to respond, she turns on her heel headed out the door. "I love youthere is nothing else"
Alone with his thoughts for the next few hours, Angel wandered throughout the mansion, fidgeting with various odds and ends. As he walked past the couch, he took notice of the notebook Buffy had in haste left behind after her quick departure. Picking it up, he couldn't take his eyes off of the design that adorned it's back cover. <Buffy and Angel foreverwhy does this have to be so hard?> The sudden knocking at the mansion's front doors took the sullen vampire by surprise. Dropping the notebook off to the side, he makes his way over to let his guest in.
For a brief moment, an awkward silence passed between the two, until finally Joyce spoke up. "Did I come at a bad time? I- I can come back later if you were sleeping. Yousleep during the daydon't you? I- I mean, that's what I've always heard about"
"Nono, come on in. You know you're always welcome here." He moves aside to let her in, closing the door behind her as he runs a nervous hand through his hair. "Can I get you something? I- I don't have any coffee, but-"
"You don't drink coffee?" Joyce's spirits were dampened even further by the atmosphere of the elaborate building. By it's lack of light, the certain grim spareness that accompanied it. She almost wondered if he was feeling a bit under the weather, considering all the other happier times she had spent dinner with both him and her daughter at the dining room table.
"The caffeine makes me jumpy. And Buffy doesn't really like it either, so I don't usually keep any. But I've got juice, and a lot of other stuff."
"If I could just have some water," Joyce asks, sitting down on the nearby coach as Angel hurries into the kitchen. Handing her the cold glass, he takes a seat across from her, anxious to find out why she was paying him such an early morning visit. "So youslept last night?"
"I slept a little" he replies.
"I understand Buffy spent the night too."
"She did. I know it was a school night, but we were both exhausted after patrol."
"MmmBuffy seemed a little tired when she came home this morning." Joyce slowly places her glass onto the sidetable before she presses on. "She was also a little upset" Angel noticed her concerned glance give him a quick once-over, until finally she reached her point. "AngelBuffy told me about somethings that happened this morning. That's why I wanted to stop by. Maybe see if I could get the full story from you."
"Joyce" he took an unnecessary breath, gently rubbing the back of his neck as he lowered his eyes towards the floor. "I didn't mean to upset Buffy. You know that I would never hurt her-"
"Oh I know that, Angel. I know"
"Butin the long-runI think I am hurting her. I mean, you can't honestly tell me that I'm who you pictured your daughter to be with."
"Angel, I won't lie to you. I mean, a year ago I never would've believed that vampires even existed, let alone the fact that my daughter is a slayer and in love with one" Angel's eyes quickly averted to the side until he saw Joyce lean forward, addressing him with such sincerity in her eyes. "But that doesn't mean that I'm not thrilled she has you." A small smile was shared between the two before Angel stood, beginning to pace around in front of the fireplace.
"But she deserves a normal life, Joyce," he insisted, leaning an arm over the mantle. "I love her so muchand it kills me to know that our relationship, our bond, exists at the cost of all her other dreams. Childrenjust being able to have someone to hold her in the sunlight. There's so much that she deserves, and so little that I can give her. Joyce" his eyes lifted, staring into hers with such despair, "what is she really getting out of our relationship?"
"Everything. You give her everything, Angel. All the things she's never had before." She quickly stood, sauntering over to his still frame beside the fireplace. "Her life is so full of complications and risksshe'll never have a simple, normal life, Angel. Even I've come to accept that. Butwhat the two of you share goes beyond all that. You, and Mr. Giles, and all her friends give her the only normal life she'll ever know."
"And you," he adds, causing the corners of Joyce's mouth to lift into a warm smile. "You've beenincredible about everything. She's very lucky to have you."
"WellI wish you'd come to realize how lucky she is to have you." She watched as he moved back to the sofa, wringing his hands in front of him. Following his lead, she sat down beside him, setting a hand on his sleeve. "Angelperhaps one day, your" she searched for the right wording, hoping not to offend him, "situation willchange. Butisn't what the two of you have worth more than everything else?"
There was a pause. You could pluck this single moment out of all time, Joyce thought, and still discover so much about her daughter and Angel's relationship. Buffy was always so brisk and breezy, but Angelshe'd always thought of him as being somewhat opaque, a reflecting surface flashing the better parts of your own self back at you, giving you no hint of the wonderful person that he was.
Joyce observed him in silence, glancing at him confusedly tugging at the shock of her visit and intentions. He'd always liked Joyce and took a sort of pride in the fact that she was so fond of him as well. But never had he imagined her to be the one to explain the significance of his relationship with her daughter and why they would never be able to exist without each other. Angel's pensive stare and eventual half-smile and nod was all it took to let Joyce know she'd accomplished her mission. "Joyce" for a lack of word, unable to produce any further sounds from his mouth, Angel's eyes were his only form of expression.
"I know," she patted him on the shoulder before rising to her feet. "That's what mother's are for, dear." She paced over towards the front door, preparing to leave until she turned to face him. "SoI take it you two will be able to fully enjoy the prom tomorrow night? I've already bought five rolls of film," she flashes him a quick smile as she secures her purse over her shoulder.
"Absolutely. And Joycewould you mind if Buffy spent tonight here? I mean, I know it's still a school night, but tomorrow's Friday, and I know she gets to go home from classes early to get ready for the prom, and-"
"Not a problem, Angel. I understand," she nods, giving him a final pat across the chest. "I guess I'll see you tomorrow night then."
"Tomorrow night," he replies, pondering for a brief moment before deciding to pull her into a friendly hug. "Thank you, Joyce."
"Just happy I could help," she says, pulling out of their embrace to face him. After he shut the door behind her, Angel returned upstairs, already planning how he would apologize to Buffy once she arrived later that evening.
"Angel actually said that?" Willow had a hard time all day trying to believe the conversation her best friend had been stressed out about. "That's likegosh, I don't even know what to tell you," she pouts, noticing Buffy's worried stare. "But he's wrong though!" she quickly adds as an afterthought. "He's so wrong! Isn't he guys?" the redhead turns to the others sitting outside the front of the school. She received only an appreciative nod from her taciturn boyfriend, expecting nothing less, but still happy to see him agree with her.
"Absolutely," Cordelia chimes in, receiving a confused glare from Buffy. "Hey- don't look so surprised. I can be sensitive too! Isn't that right, Xander?" she turns to her own boyfriend.
"Sure, Cordy. You're sensitive" he smiles. "Whenever it comes to fashion" he adds under his breath, Oz being the only one who picked up on it, sharing a small chuckle with him.
"See, even Xander agrees," Willow cheers.
"Who said I agreed?! This is one guy who's learned to stay as far away as possible from the whole Deadboy/Slayer love issue."
"Wellyou don't count!" she snaps back at him, turning once again to her best friend. "The point is, Angel's wrong! And I'll go tell him that personally if you want. I can be very intimidating. Just lemme at him!"
"By all means, you try telling him that, because he wasn't listening to me this morning," Buffy sighs. "And then I come home and mom goes all postal on me because I was upset."
"What'd she say?" Cordelia asks.
"Just to go to school and that she was sure things would turn out for the best. Wait" Buffy's mind finally clicks with the realization of what her mother's words could've implied. "You don't think that mom would've talked with him, do you? Maybe she put him up to this?"
"No" Willow resolutely answers her. "Buffy- you're mom really likes Angel. You've said before how you think she's only spending more time with you to spend time with him," she smiles.
"That's trueI don't know what to do," the small blonde wimpers. "I just hope we can straighten things out tonight."
"Sure you will," Willow, the eternal optimist that she was, tried cheering up her friend. "You have to. You two are still going to the prom tomorrow nightaren't you?"
"I don't know, Will. The way he was talkingI just hope he's still here."
"He'd better be!" Cordelia suddenly shouts out. "After all the preparations I had done to our beach house just so he can come alongooops" the brunette cracks an apologetic smile as the others flash her angry stares upon hearing her blurt out their big surprise for Buffy and Angel.
"What're you talking about?"
"It was supposed to be a *surprise*," Willow squeaks out between gritted teeth. "We all kinda figured that you and Angel would be bummed about not coming with us this weekend, so Cordy and Xander drove down the other night to fix up the windows for Angel. Oz taped up the back windows in his van and tinted his front ones so we could all take it down for the weekend. Surprise" she manages a weak smile, horribly upset that Cordelia had ruined their plans. Buffy, a bit taken back by all that her friends had done for her, finally passed them all a warm smile before getting up to head into the library for some training with Wes and Giles.
"Thanks guysnow all I have to do is convince Angel" After finishing up training at around 8, Buffy was half tempted to rush straight over to the mansion, but resisted and instead found herself walking into her kitchen to find her mother just getting off of the phone.
"Hi honey," Joyce's voice was a little too perky for Buffy's liking. "How was school?"
"Finesame old, same old. Who was on the phone?"
"Oh- that was Angel." Buffy's eyes immediately shot up as she heard his name. "He wanted me to tell you he wouldn't be able to make patrol tonight, but if you wanted to stop by afterwards, he would probably still be at the mansion."
"*Probably* still be at the mansion?" Buffy's smile soon faded as her mother confirmed what she was just told.
"That's all he said, honey. You think you'll be spending the night at the mansion? Or haven't the two of you made up yet?"
"Okay- what is going on?"
"What do you mean?"
"Something is going on and I'm the only one left out! You talked to him, didn't you? You probably put him up to this!"
"Buffy, don't be ridiculous! I would never do that! But I did talk to him"
"I knew it! What- what did you say?" Joyce hesitated, debating whether or not to let her daughter find out from her or straight from the source. "MomI swear, if you-"
"Why don't you take a few things with you in a bag and go talk to him yourself after patrol. I'm sure eveyrthing will be fine by now. He's had a whole day to think things through." Not giving a response, Buffy races upstairs to grab her duffel bag, slamming the back door behind her as she hurries over to the mansion. <The hell with patrol! If I need a workout I'll just practice knocking some sense into him!>
After her third knock, an impatient Buffy came storming into the mansion. She moved rapidly through the great hall, noticing that there was something pinched and starved about the décor. Not a single book or sketch pad was strewn about on the tables or couch. Only a few pictures were left hanging on the walls. Even the side tables were completely bare. Through clenched fists, Buffy began searching through some of the drawers. Seeing that for the most part they were bare, she straightened, feeling panicky. <He couldn't have left. He wouldnt' have>
She decided to check upstairs, hoping against hope that she would find some trace of him still being there. Her proof came as she walked down the upstairs hall, noticing a few mirrors had been put up along the wall. Stopping to stare at her own shaky reflection, she was startled as she felt two strong arms encircle her waist from behind.
"You're beautiful" Angel whispered, placing a gentle kiss to the side of her head.
"Angel" she breathed out, turning in his arms to face him. "You're still here."
"And I'm not going anywhere," he silences her, placing his lips over her own in a soft kiss. "Buffy, I'm so sorry. This morning, I justI don't even know what I was thinking, and I'm sorry. The only thing I really know is that I'm not leaving your side for anything." He sees the glimmer of unshed tears in her eyes, taking her by the hand and leading her further down the hall to the master bedroom. "I want to show you something else"
As they enter the room, Angel leads her straight over to a bureau she'd never seen before. She runs a hand along it's smooth finish, admiring its simple design. "It's beautiful."
"It's yours," he grins, stepping alongside her. "I know you said you only wanted a drawer, but I thought you'd like this a little better."
Buffy reaches up to give him a soft kiss, deepening it as she wraps her arms around his body. Angel smiles in between kisses, laughing with her as they both walk back towards the bed, his arms still wrapped around her as he lifts her up by the waist, placing her onto the sheets. Buffy gasps as she notices the wonderful array he has set-up, a large blanket with big throw pillows, the flames of the brightly lit candles sending flickers of light playing across his features.
"Angel, this is wonderful," she smiles. "I love you" Angel feels her soft lips graze the side of his neck, making him jump a little. She moves her lips across his neck, up to his waiting lips, gently sliding her tongue into his mouth, as they share an intimate kiss. After a few minutes, she pulls away, sitting up. "And if you ever pull something like that again, I swear"
He sits up, tenderly taking her into his embrace, running his thumb along her jaw. "I won't. You and I together is worth more than everything else," he whispers, repeating Joyce's all too true words from earlier. "I love you" Buffy sighs as she feels Angel come to rest on top of her. "I love you...so much," she says, wrapping her arms around him, pulling him down closer to her, meeting his lips for a deep kiss and a smile, as the couple lovingly continues their gentle affirmation, falling asleep in each others arms towards the early hours of the next morning.