DreamLand V 2.0
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Author: the one and only *Leighann*
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon can kiss my arse for all I care. *sigh* Alas, they belong to the evil creature we call Joss. :(
Author's Note: this was a challenge by Joana and I decided to take it on. I needed a new change of pace. This will be a short fic series but a good one, I hope. To all the people who read "In the End," don't worry. I will keep on writing that story. It's not the end of that. :) This is just a side thing that sparked my interest. Hope you enjoy it.
Summary: Buffy is not the slayer, and Angel is a bad ass that's NOT a vampire. They both hate each other, but soon, that will all change due to a class assignment that they have to work on...together...*G*
Timeline: Incredibly irrelevant
Rating: Over all PG-15 due to the language

         This Challenge can been found in the challenge section of this site.
 
Part 1

********

Buffy Summers walked through the hallways of Sunnydale High alongside her best friend Willow Roseburg. Buffy absently twisted a lock of blond hair.

  "So, what are you doing this weekend?" Willow asked. She opened her locker and pulled out a book.

 
"I don't know might go shopping, might stay home, might go to that swim meet who knows", Buffy said giving herself a once over in Willows locker mirror.

  "Well, do you wanna go Bronzing? Oz's band is playing there on Saturday", Will said as she closed her locker
.

 
Buffy smoothed out her black tank top and played with the bottom. "Sure, I mean, its me. What do I have to do thats better?"

  Willow smiled. Her hazy green eyes looked beyond Buffys shoulder. Buffy followed her gaze to find Oz standing at his locker across the hall.

  Buffy smiled. "So, you guys getting serious?"

 
Willow looked back at Buffy. "Huh?"

  Buffy hit her friend playfully in the arm. "Willow Rosenburg, I am surprised at you getting all heavy for a guy."

  Willow blushed a deep shade of red. "I don't know. I mean, I can't help it. He is soand soand then he'sI don't know how to describe it, but thats what he is". Willow looked at her feet and played with a lock of her short red hair. Buffy knew Will and Oz had something special, and she was cool with that. Oz was a popular senior who had been held back a year due to terrible test scores. "He's just bad at taking tests, thats all", Willow had told her once. She was right about that. Oz was really smart and very laid back. Being in the best *and only* band in Sunnydale also added to his popularity.

 
Her shy friend shuffled her feet a little. "I dont know though I mean, he IS a senior."

  Buffy raised her eyebrows. "Will, I've seen the way you look at him. It will TOTALLY work. Its sweet love. Trust me".

 
Willow smiled brightly at her blond companion. When Buffy had first moved to Sunnydale, Willow had thought that her being beautiful and from L.A., she would be, well, snooty. She couldnt believe just how wrong she was. Buffy was beautiful nonetheless, but she wasnt snooty. At all. In fact, in the 2 years Buffy had been in Sunnydale, she and Willow had grown into best friends.

 
Willow and Buffy resumed their walking. "Speaking of love what about you? I mean, The Spring Dance thing is coming up. You know. The prom?"

  Buffy cringed. "I don't know. I mean, ever since I moved here, I have kinda been out of the whole, dating thing."

  "Well, maybe you have to date to into the whole dating thing", Will said. Buffy smirked and opened her locker.

 
"I dont know I" Buffy started. A pretty brunette walking down the hallway cut her off.

  "Hey Muffy", Cordelia Chase said.

 
" It's Buffy. You know, B for boy", Buffy said blushing. Buffy was considered semi-popular. The In crowd thought that anyone from L.A. just HAD to be cool, but other than that, they had about as much in common as cats and dogs.

  Cordelia giggled. "Oh, yeah sorry, I'm awful with names".

  "And science, and history" Willow said under her breath.


 
Cordelia turned on her. "Excuse me, was I talking to you?"

  Willow blushed furiously and turned to Buffy." I'm gonna go to over to Ozs. I'll see you tonight."

  Buffy watched her friend go, leaving her to fend for herself against the ravenous wolves. "Call me", Buffy called down the hallway.

 
Cordelia turned back to Buffy. "That's the bad thing about public schools you never know WHO youre gonna meet. I told my daddy to just buy the school but"

  "Nice bag, is it Prada?" Buffy interrupted. She didnt wanna hear another story about her dads money.

 
Cordelia looked down, "Yeah, you know, not many people can tell the difference between OH MY GOD"! Cordelia exclaimed. She gazed down the hall. Buffy turned around and looked.

  Angel Daniels walked down the hall. His muscular body, tight eyebrows that were always bunched up in thought, and sweet lips and dark brown eyes made every girl in the school melt.

 
Well, every girl except Buffy.

  Ever since Buffy had moved to Sunnydale, Angel had tried to make her miserable. He would taunt her mercilessly and try to embarrass her every chance he had. She had no idea what she had done to make him act the way he did toward her, and she really didnt care. All she knew was that he didnt like her, and she most certainly didnt like him.

  Following close behind him were his siblings, William aka Spike, Faith, and his older brother Roman. Spike was a bleached blond that usually wore a long leather duster and leather pants. Hell, he wore leather everything. Like everyone else in his family, he was loud and obnoxious. Spike had tried to hit on Buffy once upon a time, but Buffy had promptly refused saying, Take your stupid duster with you. From then on he hated her about as much as Angel did. Faith, their sister, was just as badass as the rest of them. Her dark hair and eyes, her pouty lips and thin body, and her tough talk and sexy attitude, made her a pretty piece of action as far as the guys at
Sunnydale were concerned. Roman was a lot like Angel. In fact, they looked so much alike, people sometimes confused Roman with Angel. They acted alike, talked alike, and even walked alike. With Angel being the second oldest, he and Roman were very close.

 
Angel walked out in front beside Roman. They were conversing back and forth when Angel caught sight of Buffy.

  He smirked at her, the trademark half-smile playing across his lips.

  "Hey, Buff", he said as he stopped beside her putting his hand on her locker. "Tell your mom I said thanks."

 
Buffy sighed. Another brilliant Angel mom joke was coming up. Ever since Angel found out about her mom being dead, he taunted her about it non-stop. Another reason to hate him, Buffy thought. She sighed deeply. "For what?" Buffy asked, playing along.

 " For the ass she gave me last night. Great stuff. She really is a tomcat in bed", he answered. The rest of his posse smirked. "Well, I gotta go. See ya around Buff."

 
Buffy smiled curtly. "Looking forward to it."

  Angel gave her a quick half smile and continued with his siblings down the hallway.

  Cordelia grabbed Buffys shoulder excitedly. "I cannot believe you talked to Angel Daniels. He is like the HOTTEST guy at school. You are so lucky!"


 
Buffy laughed dryly. "Oh yeah. Lucky like a fucking leprechaun." She closed her locker and started walking toward her next class, leaving Cordelia standing alone in the hallway.

  "But I thought leprechauns WERE lucky she said to no one in particular".

Part 2


********

Buffy walked slowly to her classroom. She dreaded this class. It wasnt the teacher, Mrs. James, and it wasnt the homework assignments, and it wasnt even the way the room had this weird sorta smell to it.

  There was only one reason Buffy hated going to English class.

  And his name was Angel Daniels.

  Of course, Buffys one and true enemy sat in the seat beside her. He was always saying things to piss her off, always trying to get her mad and upset. Buffy learned that if she just ignored him, h would turn around and shut up, or at least pick on someone else. And it worked.

  Most of the time.

  Buffy walked into the classroom. Buffys other best friend Xander sat in the seat in front of her. He was busy talking to Shane Johnson, the captain of the swim team, about the upcoming meet.

  "So, are you in Harris?" Shane asked Xander.

  Xander shook his head, "Nah, speedos just really arent for me. I like to protect my manhood. Not show it off."

  "Manhood? What manhood"? A voice said from the doorway just behind Buffy. Buffy didnt even have to turn around to see who it was. "Harris, youre lucky if you even have skin down there, let alone a dick", Angel smirked.

Xander turned around and glared at Angel. "Sorry, Angel. Not all of us are as well preserved as you are. I mean, what, only 2 more years in high school and you could be accepted for social security."

  Buffy snickered. Angel stopped smirking. He turned toward Buffy. "Good morning, Buff", he said in a low voice. He grabbed her books from her hands before she could protest. "Here, lemme help you with those". He walked over to her desk and stopped. Then, he dropped her books making papers scatter everywhere." Oops, clumsy me. Sorry, Buff, you know how it is I always forget to wash my hands after I get done fisting your mom."

  Buffy didnt say a word. She just walked over toward her books and picked them up in silence. Then, she looked up at him and smiled tersely. "Yeah, I know. But, you should know better by now, right? I mean, with all the practice you've had on your sister and all" Buffy said. Angel turned a frightening shade of red.

  Just then, a voice came from the doorway. "Is there a problem, Mr. Daniels?" Mrs. James asked in her stern teacher voice.

  Angel didnt even give her a glance. He kept his eyes locked with Buffys. "No", he said. He finally looked away giving Mrs. James a smooth smile. "Buff and I were just having a polite conversation about our families, thats all."

  Mrs. James looked at Buffy who was still obviously red with anger. "Is this true, Miss Summers?"

  Buffy looked at her and smiled weakly. "Yeah. A friendly discussion. Thats it."

  Mrs. James eyed both the teens that had returned to staring each other down. "All right then. Please take your seats."

  Buffy and Angel both took their seats. "We're not done ya know", Angel said as he leaned forward and whispered harshly in her ear.

  "Unfortunately it takes two to tango, and I refuse to play your little games", Buffy whispered back.

  "What? You dont call that little comment about my sister playing the game?" Angel asked.

  "No, I like to consider that telling the truth. Now leave me alone, or I am going tell the teache"r, Buffy said as she settled back into her chair.

  "That sounds a little school yard, dont you think"? Angel asked.

  Buffy ignored him. "Please let him go away, please let him go away", Buffy thought.

  "You know, you really are the bitch people say you are".

  "Please make him go away. PLEASE MAKE HIM GO AWAY", Buffy thought. She clenched her jaw tight and balled her fists.

  "Ooh, lil Buffy getting angry", Angel taunted. "Go ahead. Cry out. Make a scene. It'll sound a lot like your mom last night"

  All of a sudden Buffy screamed, "SHUT THE HELL UP!"

  Everyone turned around to look at her. She was huffing in anger, but turning red in embarrassment.

  Mrs. James came over to her desk. "Are you quite finished?"

  Buffy looked apologetically at her teacher. "Yes mam. I'm sorry for disturbing class."

  Mrs. James was a very nice teacher so she turned around and continued her teaching.

  "Well, now that were through with interruptions", Mrs. James said shooting a glance toward Angel out of the corner of her eye, "how about  pairing up for the class project were doing on Elizabethan Poetry", she said.

  Groans came from the entire classroom. "Now, now", Mrs. James said. "This will be a partner assignment. It will be due in exactly three weeks."

  This time Cordelia's friend Harmony stood up. She toyed with a strand of her long blond hair. "Um, Mrs. James. That wont work. Ya see, exactly three weeks from now, is the Prom. I cant do two things at once."

  "Go figure, blondie", Angel said from his desk. Everyone laughed, and even Buffy found herself smiling at his comment.

  Mrs. James ignored the outburst and the comment. "Three weeks. End of story."

  Harmony pouted and sat down quickly.

  Mrs. James continued. "Now, I have already picked your partners via computer so, go see who youre paired up with. Its listed on the board." The bell rang and the class scurried up to the board. Class dismissed.

  Buffy was in the back of the long line so she had to wait. When she finally got up to the front of the classroom to look at the list, a feeling of complete and total misery and dread curled around her stomach and squeezed.

  "Well, Buff, looks like were in for a long three weeks", Angel said from behind her. He was much taller than her, so he was looking over her shoulder.

  "Not if I have anything to say about it", Buffy said.

  "There is NO WAY I will ever work with you. EVER", Buffy said.

*******

  "I'm sorry, Buffy, but theres no way to change the partners", Mrs. James said after school. Mrs. James was grading papers when Buffy walked in to talk to her.

  Buffy looked at Mrs. James from a chair in front of her desk. It was just then that Buffy realized just how much she favored Eleanor Roosevelt.

  "I didn't do the pairing, and if I would have, I wouldn't have put you two together", she said.

  Buffy frowned. "Please? I'll do it by myself if I have to, but PLEASE do not make me work with him!" Buffy said a little louder than she intended.

  Mrs. James eyed her. "If you choose to do it by yourself, no one is stopping you."

  Buffy sighed. Relief washed over her. "Thank you."

  "However, should you decide to do the project by yourself, you will only get half a grade since it is a partner project", Mrs. James said.

  The relief that had engulfed Buffy vanished as quickly as it came, and dread once again coiled around her stomach." But "

  "No buts", Mrs. James said. She rose from her desk and grabbed her briefcase. "I will see you next Monday. Enjoy your weekend."

  Buffy watched astonished as her English teacher walked out the door.

  "How could she do this to me"? Buffy thought. "Doesnt she know that I might go insane if I work with him?"

  As the door to Mrs. Jamess room closed, Buffy couldnt help but feel a pang of irony. Obviously not, she said to the empty room.

  Buffy cracked her gum for the third time in five minutes. She flipped through the pages of Elizabeth Barrett Brownings book of poetry, Sonnets from Portugeuse. She couldn't help but keep an eye on the guy who sat opposite her.

  His spiky brown hair that looked soft and smooth, his baby smooth face, his high cheekbones, his sweet pink lips that he continuously bit while reading, and those eyes. God, those eyesdark and rich like chocolate, and full of passion, the combination of all his proud featureshe was beautiful.

  "Too bad about his attitude", Buffy thought as she looked back down at her book.

  Angel glanced upward at Buffy. Her brow was drawn tight in concentration. He examined her face. She had sweet, fragrant hair that smelled like sweet vanilla, smooth skin that was milky and flawless, a perfect nose, high cheekbones, those pouty, full, beautifully pink lips, and those eyes God, those eyes hazy and green like fresh spring grass, they reflected every one of her emotions like a mirror. The blend of all her featureswell, she was beautiful. Angel looked back down at his book and scoffed.

  "Too bad shes such a fucking goody", he thought.

  Buffy sighed loudly and shut her book. "Have you found anything interesting? "

  Angel tossed the book he was reading on the library table. "Oh yeah. If interesting also means boring as hell."

  Buffy looked through her bag and pulled out her cell phone. "This is obviously gonna be awhile so Im gonna call Giles and tell him to give us a couple more hours." Rupert Giles was the ex-librarian that once worked at Sunnydale High. When Buffys mom died, Giles retired and stayed at home watching Buffys little brother James.

  Angel looked at her like she was stupid. "You dont need to call the old geezer I'll give you a ride later."

Buffy laughed and continued dialing her phone. "I don't think so."

  Angel raised an eyebrow. "What the fuck is THAT supposed to mean?"

  Buffy shushed him. "Hi, yeah, in case your little brain hasnt picked it up yet, we ARE still in a library."

  Angel tightened his eyebrows as if that was the stupidest thing he had ever heard. "What the FUCK! I will say whatever I DAMN well please and no one can FUCKING stop me!" Angel yelled.

  Buffy covered her face with her hand and turned two different shades of red. People from other tables were looking at them like he was insane. The librarian, Ms. Holbort, came waddling over in her big orange tennis shoes and. The thick wool skirt that she wore everyday, came down to her calves and caused her to waddle like a duck. She had a large rear end and large lips. These also added to her duck like appearance.

  Can you PLEASE keep it downthis is a library", she said to Angel.

  Angel sat back down." Whatever."

  "Thank you", Ms. Holbort said before waddling off again.

  Buffy lifted the book and the first thing she saw was Ms. Holbort waddling around with a hideous yellow blazer on. Buffys eyes widened and then began to water.

  Angel, still smirking, eyed her. "What is wrong with you, besides the obvious?"

  Buffy pointed at Ms. Holbort, her face a mask of pure pain as she tried to hold the laughing in.

  Angel looked at the older lady and then back at Buffy. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

  Buffy finally couldnt take it anymore. She let out her breath in a loud laugh that rocked the shelves in the library. "SHE LOOKS LIKE A DAMN DUCK!!!" Buffy screamed as she fell out of her chair and rolled on the floor.

  Angel looked at Buffy and then looked at Ms. Holbort who was waddling back over toward where Buffy lay still rolling. Then it hit Angel like a monster truck. She. Looked. Like. A. Bloody. Duck.

  Angel tried to fight it, but the smile just consumed his entire face until the smile became a chuckle. Then, pretty soon the chuckle became a laugh, then the laugh soon exploded into an eruption. Angel laughed harder than he had ever laughed in his entire life.

  In fact, Angel couldnt remember a time when he had laughed at all. Ever.

  His brother, Roman, used to say that laughing made you weak. Emotions made you weak, and that the only emotions that were worth feeling were power and domination. Since Roman had been the father that Angel never met to him, he listened to Roman, and tried his hardest to be like him. 

  Roman would never have laughed.

  Angel tried to stop laughing once this thought came across his mind, but he found it impossible. Pretty soon, he was back into hysterics again, and Ms. Holbort was glaring angrily at him.

  "Well I NEVER" she said before disappearing into the back room.

  Angel continued laughing until his stomach hurt and he couldnt laugh anymore. When he finished, he looked down to find a once rolling Buffy staring up at him in complete shock.

  Angel, still smiling, looked down at her. "What are you looking at?"

  Buffys green eyes were still wide with shock. "Well I was gonna say a heartless asshole but I'm open for suggestions"

  Angel managed to get a hold on his emotions long enough to offer her a hand up.

  Buffy looked at the offered hand like it was a snake waiting to bite.

  Angel still held it out. "Well, don't you want up?"

  "Whoa, whoa, whoa, time ou"t, Buffy thought. "First, Angelus Daniels, the meanest, most incredibly annoying, toughest guy in the whole school was laughing, and nownow he is offering his hand to melike were friends or somethingwhat the hell is happening?" Buffy thought.

  Angel gave her a concerned look. "Hey, Summers, are you okay?"

  Buffy finally managed to find her voice. "Yeah, yeah I umm, yeah I'm fine". She finally took the offered hand and stood up.

  Angel was stilling smiling when she stood up. "I haven't laughed like that well, since I can remember", he said.

  Buffy grinned up at him. "Go figure."

  They grinned at each other for a while before Buffy looked down and for the first time noticed that she was still holding Angels hand. Angel must have realized it too because he immediately let go and turned away.

  "Yeah, well. Next time, try to keep your dumbass comments to yourself", he said, trying to regain his composure.

  Buffy immediately hardened. "Don't worry, there wont be a next time", she said as she grabbed her things and rushed away.

  As Angel watched her back, he ran a hand through his spiky hair. Laughing. Angelus Daniels the toughest guy around was laughing, he thought. Not just laughing, rolling on the floor. I was in hysterics and I was crying I was FUCKING crying I was laughing so hard.

  Angels eyes widened. Jesus Christ. "What did she fucking DO to me!?"
"He laughed?" Xander said to Buffy on the phone that night. Buffy stuffed her face with another handful of popcorn. "Yeah, I mean, he full-out belly laughed. It was a little scary."

"He laughed?" Xander repeated.

  "Buffy" sighed. Xander
 
"No, sorry Buff, but this one just isnt slipping by me. He laughed WITHyou, and not at you?" Xander asked.

  "Yeah, I mean, we were both laughing at the same thing. It was a little disturbing", Buffy replied through a mouthful of popcorn.

"A little? Im thinking a lot of disturbing."

"No, I mean, it was weird at first, but then I dont know. Then, he seemed kinda okay", Buffy said." I like him when he's not taunting me, I think."
 
Xander choked on his drink. "Wait we ARE talking about Angel Daniels right?"
 
Buffy wiped the excess butter on a napkin. "Yeaaaah"

  "Okay, I thought you hated him", Xander said.

  "Well, I don't know. I mean, I did, he was a total jerk to mebut now that I've seen him actually act like a human being I think I'm beginning to" Buffy said.
 
"NO! Buff! You CANNOT say that you like him! He's a cold blooded killer!"Xander interrupted.

Buffy paused for a second. "What?"

"Yeah I heard he killed his own mother", Xander said.
 
Buffy winced for a second as she gave her mother some thought. Bright and beautiful like an angel, she was always there for Buffy. Buffy felt tears threatening to spill from her eyes, but she pushed them back. "I dont think so. Not even Angel is that mean," she said.
 
Xander was quiet for a moment. "Then", he sighed. "Whatever. Look, Im gonna go eat. I'll talk to you later.

  Buffy sighed. "Okay. Ill see you at the Bronze?"

  Xander was quiet. Then, Buffy heard him hang up.

  "Xander? Xander.."? She said into the phone. Realizing he had hung up onher, she dropped the phone into the bowl of popcorn." Jerk."
***************
  "She made you laugh?" Spike asked in his loud British voice. Spike was a half brother to Angel through his moms side. His dad had split once he realized the burden of his son. Angel, Spike, Faith, and Roman lived alone in a old fishing warehouse down by the docks. Roman was named their legal guardian.

  Angel sighed. "Yes. It wasit was weird."

  Spike laughed. "Bloody hell! She made you laugh"! He said as he circled him.
 
Angel stood up and walked away." I dont know how!" Angel said as he ran a hand through his hair. He heard footsteps coming down the old wooden stairst o the basement where he and Spike were currently located.
 
Faith walked into view. She was wearing a black halter top and leather pants. "What's going on?" Roman asked me to come down and make sure you guys werent fighting again.
 
Spike laughed again and walked over to stand by his half sister. "Buffy Summers, you know her?"
 
Faith wrinkled her nose. "Of course I know her, shes in my science class."
 
"Yeah, well the bint made Angel laugh", Spike said chuckling.

  Faiths eyes got wide as she tried to hold her laughter in. "She madeyou laugh?"
 
Angel glared at Spike. "Yes. She made me laugh."
 
Faith burst into laughter." Oh my god. One of the preppy goodies made you laugh"
 
Angel stalked toward Faith and Spike. Y"es, and if anyone else finds out, ESPECIALLY Roman I'll have your necks."
 
"You'll have their necks if they tell me what?" A low voice said from the top of the stairwell.
 
Angel, Spike, and Faith turned to look into the darkness.
 
Several heavy footsteps followed the voice. Roman came into view. He was wearing a leather duster and black pants. His red shirt was the only thing of color. As said before, he did look an awfully lot like Angel, the only difference being the long scar on his left side that from his ear to his cheek. He got that during one of the many fights he was in.
 
"Tell me what, my brother?" He asked as he walked up to Angel and put anarm around his shoulder.
 
Spike grabbed Romans arm. "Our little Angel was busy with Buffy Summers tonight."
 
Roman smiled. "What did you do? Mug her? Fuck her? What?"
 
Angel looked down. "We were working on an assignment  for English class."
 
Roman continued smiling. "Oh, well, thats great I guess. Angel, you are the only one of us who is going to make it in college."
 
It was no secret that Roman wanted Angel to go to college and get a degree. Angel was Romans favorite brother and he wanted him to grow up,make money, and have power. Angel was a brilliant kid, although he rarely showed it. Sometimes, he would lie on his bed at night and read Shakespeareor some other form of poetry.
 
"I know. I won't let you down, either", Angel replied glad that Spike hadn't mentioned anything about

  "Yeah, well, while they were busy studyin, the little bint made Angel laugh", Spike said.

  Angel shot him a withering look from the corner of his eye. Right now, he wanted nothing more than to rip his bleach blond hair out of his head.
 
Roman looked at Angel. W"hat have I told you about feeling emotions?"

  Angel sighed. "I know."

  Roman dropped his hand and walked outside onto the fire escape the over looked the whole dock. "Do you?"
 
"Yes, Its just tha tI dont know what came over me", Angel said as he followed his brother.

Roman sighed. "Angel, the only real things you have to fear are emotions.Emotions pull you down and make you fall to your knees under their will. Emotions are what
make people weak. The only real emotions worth feeling are"
 
"Power and domination, see, I do know", Angel said.

  Roman turned back to his brother." I know you do". Roman pulled Angel into a bear hug. "You are my only real ally. I trust you with my life", he said
as he pulled back and smiled at him.
 
Angel smiled back. "I know. I won't let you down."

  Roman slapped Angel on the back. "Good then." He turned back to his other siblings. "Why dont we go out and do something?"

  Faith smiled. "Okay Oh, I just remembered, I got some new recruits", she said. "They are gonna be comin by around midnight."

  Roman smiled at his little sister. "Excellent. The more people we have to fight, the more money we bring in."

  A while back, Roman had started a fight club of sorts that met on the docks, behind the warehouse. People came to test their skills against otherfighters and other people paid to see them. It was their only real way of making money.
 
"Hey, I have an idea", Roman said. "Why not go to that place that all those kids from school go? The Bronze?"

  Angel sighed. "Sure, why not."

  Roman smiled again. "Good, we need to get you a woman for tonight. Maybe then we can wipe that emotion shit out of your system."

***********
  Buffy swayed her hips with the music. She loved dancing. She could feelthe music flowing through her body like an erotic eat. It made whatever shewas feeling before she started dancing evaporate. It was just she and themusic.

  Feelin, Ive been lost for years
You can never understand me
Unless youve seen those tears
But you never get to sleep
When Im awake
I dont mind
The deeper than  you stay
Outta time

  Buffy put her arms up above her head and moved her body silently. She flowed as the rhythm took her high. She had no idea she was being watched.

  Angel felt his heart race as he watched Buffy move her body. The way her hips swayed in those leather pants and the way her flat stomach seemed to flow underneath the red silk halter tophis heart almost stopped at the sight of it.

  Roman patted him on the shoulder. "Go, find yourself a woman. I am gonna go get our regular seats."

  Spike and Faith followed Roman. Angel was left standing there watching this incredible lady dance.

  Before Angel knew what he was doing, he went up to Buffy and placed his hands on her waist.

  Buffy was aware that someone had put their hands on her waist, but the way she felt at that moment, she really couldnt care less who the hell it was.

  Runnin, Im running from those days
Theres another one inside
Guess Ive gone insane
But you always run away when I come around
I dont mind
The day Ill track you down
Run you down

  Buffy felt his knee under her bottom and she rubbed up against it.

Pain, I cant sleep
Pain, I cant sleep
Dont stop, dont talk, do not fuck with me
Dont stop, dont talk, do not fuck with me

  Angel felt her body rubbing up and he matched the pace as he slid his hands around to the front of her waist and started rocking her back and forth.

Loaded, Ive loaded up this gun
Theres a killer in me
Hopin, hope that youre the one

  Buffy bobbed her head up and down and she felt the blood pumping through her body. She could feel his breath on her neck and she leaned back to twine her arm around his neck as they rocked back and forth.

  As the song came to an end, Buffy turned around to see whom her mysterious dancing partner was.

  "Hey, thanks for the dance. I" Buffy started. She turned around to find Angel staring seriously into her eyes. His dark chocolate ones meeting her mossy green ones.

"Hi", she said.

"Hi", he said.

  They continued to stare at each other while their friends and families stood back and watched them.

  "What the bloody hell does he think he's doin?" Spike asked.

  "What the hell is she doing?" Xander asked.

  Finally, Angel blinked and pulled back a little. "Uh, I saw you dancing by yourself just thought maybe I would, uh, come and yeah", Angel stammered.
 
  Buffy had never seen this nervous side of him before. She liked it. A lot.

"No, um thats okay. You are a great dancer", she said as she stepped back a little.

  Angel smiled. "Thank you. My brother taught me how."

  Buffy and Angel started walking toward a table. "Really?" She asked.

  "Yeah, Roman taught me everything I know", Angel said.

  "Thats cool. I have a younger brother too", she said.

  "Really, whats his name?"

  "James he is only fou"r, she replied." He's the only real family I have left."

  Angel was quiet for a moment. "Yeah, I know what you mean."

  They sat there quiet for a little while.

  "I've never seen him so thoughtful before", Buffy thought. "I think I like it."
 
"I've never felt like this before", Angel thought. "I think I like it. Wait, like it? Another voice inside of him said. Like is an emotion thats not worth feeling. What the hell did she do to you, you pussy?!"
 
"What the hell did she do me", Angel wondered out loud quietly.

  Buffy looked at him. "What did you say?"

  Angel stood back up. "Nothing. Nice dancing with you, Summers", Angel said. Then he hardened. "WALK AWAY NOW YOU PUSSY!" The voice inside of him screamed. Angel could have been dreaming, but the voice sounded a lot like Roman ROMAN!

  Angel looked over his shoulder and saw his older brother watching him from the catwalk.

  Angel turned back around and faced Buffy who was now standing up. "Whats wrong?" Buffy asked gently. Just a second ago he was sweet and thoughtful. "What happened?" Buffy looked past Angel's shoulder and saw Roman and Spike looking down at them.

  Angel turned to walk away, but Buffy grabbed his arm.

  "Angel, what is wrong?" She asked.

  Angel turned around and grabbed her wrist in a frightening grip. "Nothing, now BACK OFF", Angel said as he shoved her backwards, making her bump into a chair.

  She stared at her now red wrist and then looked up to see him being yelled at by Roman. Then, Roman grabbed Angel by the neck and shoved him outside.

Faith and Spike followed them.

  Buffy looked back at her wrist.

  "What happened?" She said out loud.
 
Buffy walked outside in the fresh night air. Could she have just witnessed something so incredibly earth shattering? Did she actually see Angelus Daniels, the biggest asshole on the planet laughing? Not just laughing, she reminded herself. He was crying, he was laughing so hard. Buffy smiled at the thought of his handsome face split by an even more handsome smile. "He looks so cute when he smiles, Buffy thought. He looked absolutely--Wait a damn minute, Buffy thought. I did NOT just think that Angel looked cute smilingdid I? Oh GOD I did!!! Oh SHIT!!!"

  Buffy eyes widened and her palms starting sweating. She ran her empty hand through her tousled blond hair." Oh god what the hell did he DO to me?!"
 
Buffy couldnt believe what had just happened. She was dancing with Angel Daniels. She was having an actual conversation with Angel Daniels. She just got a bruise from Angel Daniels.

  She just got her heart broken by Angel Daniels.

  As if on cue, Cordelia Chase appeared beside a still shocked Buffy.

 
"Buffy, you just danced with Angel Daniels. You arent a regular girl anymore. You are a GODDESS", she said in awe. "God, I hate you!" She gushed.

  Buffy couldnt speak. "What just happened? What happened?"

  Xander walked up to Buffy and grabbed her bruised wrist. The pain that vibrated through her body brought her back to reality.

 
"Come on Buff, lets get you home", Xander said as he helped Buffy up.

  Buffy looked toward the door and where Angel had vanished.

  "No, I need to go find Angel. Something is wrong with him", Buffy said.

 
Xander tightened his grip on Buffys shoulders. "No, I'm getting you home now."

  Buffy didnt say a word the rest of the way home.

  ***********
   "What were you two talking about"? Roman asked Angel behind the Bronze.

 
"Nothing we were talking about school", Angel replied.

  Roman turned around as if he were going to walk away, when he hit Angel right in the jaw full force.

  "Ahh! GOD!" Angel yelled as the force of the blow threw him against the hard cement ground.

 
"DIDN'T LOOK LIKE YOU WERE TALKING BOUT NOTHING", Roman said as he dragged Angel up and held him by the collar.

  "Roman, we weren't talking about anything", Angel said. He could taste the salty, coppery blood in his mouth.

  Roman let go of Angel and hit him in the stomach. "DONT LIE TO ME ANGEL!"

 
Angel groaned again.

  "WHAT WERE YOU TWO TALKING ABOUT? WERE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE PLAN? IS THAT IT? WERE YOU FILLING THE BITCH IN ON OUR PLAN?" Roman yelled at Angel. When Angel didnt answer, Roman started hitting Angel again in the stomach. Once, twice, three times, four timesRomans arms were moving so fast, you could barely see his hand.

 
Angel fell to the ground and held his stomach.

  "Roman!" Faith yelled. "Stop it! Stop it now!" He could hear the tears edging her voice. He turned around to her and quickly backhanded her.

  "Stay outta this!" He yelled.

 
Angel was still lying on the ground. Roman covered the length between them quickly and kicked Angel in the side. "WERE YOU TELLING THE BITCH OUR PLAN?! ANSWER ME YOU SON OF A BITCH! "

  Angel still didnt answer. Roman kicked him again, causing him to spit up blood.

 
"Hey, its getting too real", Spike said. "Come on, Roman, lets get outta here before someone hears you carrying on about the plan!" Spike said. Roman turned around to him. He kicked Angel once more in the side before he backed off.

  "You'd be best staying here tonight", Roman said, c"ause tonight, you're  not welcome home."


 
Roman gave one last look to Angel then turned around toward Spike. He quickly straightened up his duster, then he took off, running into Spike on the way.

  When Roman was gone, Spike walked over to Angel and kneeled down beside him. "Are you all right, mate?"

  Angel groaned in response. Faith got up and walked over to her older brother. "What are we gonna do with him?"

 
Spike shook his head. "I don't know, but I do know that we cant bring him home with us."

  Faith felt tears spring to her eyes. T"his time Roman had gone too far."

  "Oh, God, Im sorry. I tried", Faith said, the tears spilling out of her eyes.


 
Angel winced in pain as he reached up and wiped a tear away from his little sisters eye. "It's all right now. Stop crying. If you go home and Roman sees you like this, he will give it to you just like he gave it to m"e, Angel said softly.

  Even though the main rule of thumb in the Daniels household was Power and domination rules, they still showed emotion toward each other.  After all, they were all they had.

 
Spike grabbed Faiths shoulder. "Come on now, love. Roman might come back for us any minute."

  Angel grabbed his sisters hand. Dont worry about me. "I'll be okay. Just go home, and listen to Roman. Dont give him any reason to hurt you."

  Faith sniffled and then hardened. "Goodbye, big bro", she said before giving Angel a little squeeze and letting go of his hand.

 
Angel lay there and watched his brother and sister disappear into the night. Then, he sat up, groaning in pain as he did so.

  Angel sighed deeply, wincing in pain as he let the air out. "I gotta get somewhere before the rats come", he said to himself.

  He got up slowly, ignoring the pain in his side. His head felt about three times bigger than usual. He needed to get somewhere, but where?

 
As Angel walked down the suburban part of Sunnydale, he couldnt help but feel a pang of grief. Once upon a time, his life was a lot like this. Angel looked inside his memory and tried to remember what life was in the suburbs.

 
He was seven and he lived with his mom, his big brother Roman, his brother Willy, and his little sister Faith. He could remember building forts in their spacious back yard with Faith and Willy, and then camping out under the stars, while scaring Faith with ghost stories.

  "Quit it or Im gonna go tell mom!" Faith had yelled in her little girl voice.

 
Willy and Angel would drive their little sister nuts with their ghost stories, but it was all in good humor.

 
Angel remembered the big living room that had a fireplace and an overstuffed tan couch that he and his brother and sister used to watch TV on. He remembered sharing a room with Willy, and fighting when he found him playing with his toys. Angel remembered his mom, and her big brown eyes and dark brown hair. She always smelled like sweet candy, and she was always kind and gentle. Angel remembered being tucked in, and being read books at night.

  Angel didnt remember Roman.

 
Roman wasnt around much. Roman was only a year older than he, but he was also a lot tougher. Sometimes he would run away for days on end before returning home. Then, one day, he remembered Roman coming home with tears in his eyes. He sat down on the tan couch in the living room and cried.

  "Whats-a-matter, Roman?" Angel had asked him.

 
Roman looked at Angel and grinned evilly. "I am going to get her if its the last thing I do. I HATE HER!!"

  Angel hadnt paid much attention to him because Roman often said silly things like that. But then, one night, while Willy and Faith were at a friends house, Angel heard a loud bang in his mothers room and ran to see what had happened. When he got there, he saw his mother lying silently in bed covered in sticky, red blood.

 
Her sticky, red blood.

  "Mommy! Mommy"! Angel screamed in his little boy voice. "MOMMY!!"

  Angel turned around and saw Roman in a corner, with a still smoking pistol in hand. He didnt look scared, or upset in the least. Instead, he had this peaceful look to him. A look that frightened Angel so bad, that he ran out of the room screaming.

 
"MOMMY!!!" Angel wailed. Roman caught up to him and grabbed him.

  "Mom is gone. I am the only one you can trust now", Roman told him. Angel looked up at Roman with wide, wet, brown eyes and at that moment, realized that all Roman cared about was power. The only person who stood in the way of that, was mom. And now, she was gone. Roman killed her, Roman killed her, ROMAN KILLED HER

  The words replayed in his head as Angel fell to the street. He remembered Roman going to court and being released after a sentence of three years in the county's problem child center. He was let out early do to good behavior. From then on, Roman was the leader of their family. They lived in a foster home until Roman was 17 and allowed to make his own decisions.

 
Angel sat up and wiped his eyes. He would have been living in one of these houses today if it werent for him. You would also be dead if it werent for him, the Roman-ish voice said in his head. It was true. Roman had protected he, Faith, and Spike since they were little.

 
Angel often dreamt about his mom and her sweet smelling perfume and soft brown hair. Some of his dreams were filled with camp outs and homemade chicken noodle soup, but most of the time, his dreams were plagued with visions of his mothers blood soaking through the sheets of her bed.

 
Angel got up and headed toward the docks. He would sleep in the loft tonight, where no one would see him, then tomorrow morning, he would go out through the window and back in through the door like he hadn't spent the night in his own home.

 
As Angel walked home, he couldnt help but let his mind wander farther into his childhood. He remembered when Roman had accidentally killed the foster parents dog with a boomerang. He remembered when Roman had accidentally broken the two hundred dollar vase in their foster parents home.

 
He also remembered covering up for Roman and claiming the blame as his own. This act of love, lead to Romans trust of Angel.

  Angel crawled through the window in the loft and took off his leather duster, groaning quietly as he did so. He layed down and covered himself with it.

 
That night, the nightmare that plagued his dreams came back to him.

And as he called out for his mother, a tear slid down his angelic face.

  "Mommy"

Buffy sat impatiently at the table in the library. She twirled her pencil between her fingers. "Where was he?"

 
Angel wasnt in school that day, but he had called her and said that he would come to the library to get their work done.

  "I dont want to work with you any longer than I have to", Angel said before hanging up.

  "No complaints here", Buffy thought as she waited. "Angel where are you?"

 
Just then, Angel walked through the double doors of the library. As Buffy watched him approach her table, she noticed he was wearing sunglasses.

  "Whats wrong? Are you a vampire thats allergic to fluorescent lighting?" Buffy joked.

  "No, I just have a headache, and the lights in here are bothering me", Angel replied a little snappishly. "What is it to you anyway, Summers?"


 
Buffy put her hands up in defense. "Sor-ry!" Angel glared at her. "What is up your ass today anyway?"

  Angel didnt reply. He looked down and started fiddling with the ends of his black button up shirt.

  "By the way, where were you today?" Buffy asked. When Angel still didnt answer, she added, "What, were you too busy sticking it to your mom?"

 
Angel shot up and kicked the table. "SHUT THE HELL UP! YOU DONT KNOW THE FIRST THING ABOUT MY MOM! YOU DONT KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO HER! YOU DONT KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE WAKING UP IN THE MORNING, KNOWING THAT SHE WAS DEAD BECAUSE OF YOUR OWN BLOOD! YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD TO TRUST... "Angel yelled. Tears threatened to spill out of his eyes, but he held them back. "You dont knows o fuck off."

 
Buffy jumped up at this. "Oh, NO you don't! How DARE you accuse me of slandering YOUR mom when you take so much pleasure in assaulting MINE! HOW DARE YOU! YOU KNEW MY MOM WAS DEAD! I DIDN'T! I DO KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE WAKING UP WITHOUT A MOTHER, AND KNOWING THAT YOU HAVE NO ONE ELSE. I DO!" Buffy yelled back at Angel. He stared hard at the floor and clenched and unclenched his jaw.

 
Mrs. Holbort approached the table." Excuse me, but would you two PLEASE mind being quiet?"

  Buffy looked at her. "Why? There is NO ONE else here!"

  Mrs. Holbort glared at her and then waddled away. This time, no laughter followed her exit. Only quiet.

 
After awhile, Buffy spoke up.

  "Look, I am really sorry for saying what I did about your mom. I didn't know. I didn't. I never would have said anything if I did", she said. Angel looked up slowly. He looked into her eyes and expected to see malice or at least a tiny bit of anger still residing in her mossy orbs. Instead, he found sincerity and understanding. He couldnt help but smile at her serious face.

 
"It's all right. I really shouldn't have ever started saying what I have been saying about your mom. I have no right."

  Buffy nodded enthusiastically, then laughed. "Yeah, youre right."

  Angel smiled back at her. Then, there was more quiet.

  Buffy spoke first. "How did your mom, well, you know" Buffy looked up at Angel." I-I mean if you dont wanna"

 
Angel sighed." No. It's just that, its just I dont know. It feels like"

  "Like someone pouring salt into an already open wound?" Buffy added.

  Angel nodded. "Yeah, something like that."

  "Then, I wont push. I know how hard it is when people are constantly pushing. It makes you want to get farther away", she said.

 
Angel smiled gratefully. "Thank you."

  Buffy gazed into Angels eyes. Even through his dark sunglasses, the pools of dark brown reminded her of melted chocolate, or deep mohagany wood. Once you look into them, you can never get back out again. A lot like quicksand. And once you were in, you were pulled in past the tough fašade and quickly engulfed in such emotion. Such raw, touching emotion. She could feel his confusion, hurt, and pain through his eyes.
 

 
"Who would have thought?" Buffy said aloud. Angels brow tightened in confusion.

  "Huh"? He asked.

  She felt a blush creep upon her cheeks. "Oh, sorry. I was just thinking out loud."

 
Angel moved put his hands in the pockets of his black pants. "Well, what-what were you thinking?"

  Buffy felt like she had lost her breath, and she couldnt quite speak.

  Angel smiled. "Well?"

  Buffy felt her numb body warming when he smiled. "Might as well", Buffy thought. "What do I have to los eor maybe its what do I have to gain."

 
Buffy sighed. "I was just thinking about how different you are than I thought you would be. Youre not exactly the tough, cold hearted ass I once saw."

  Angel chuckled. "I know what you mean. You aren't the stuck up, popular goodie goodie that I thought you would be."

  Buffy smiled. She and Angel shared enough long look. Most of the time, silence can be awkward. But when this silence came between she and
Angel, it was like a blanket. Peaceful and serene.

  Unfortunately, nothing is peaceful forever.

  BEEP BEEP, Something rang. The calm that had settled over them vanished.

 
"Shit", Angel said. He pulled put his beeper. "Big members fight. Need you." Angel looked up into her big green eyes. "I have to go. I'm sorry."

  Buffy frowned a little. "Okay"

 
Angel got up and headed toward the door. "Um, can I ask you a question?" Buffy asked from behind Angel.

  "What is it?" He asked, not bothering to turn around.

  He heard Buffy get up and slide her chair in. "Um, I dont know if its just me or something, but"

 
Angel heard her hesitate and he turned around. "What?"

  "Do-do you think that we What I mean to say is Is it me"? Buffy asked quietly.

  Angel felt a pang of something he had never felt before inside his chest. Her innocence made him want to wrap his arms around her.

 
"No. It's not you. It's me. I'm sorry", Angel said.

  Buffy frowned. "I just I dont know. I thought, we, maybe, made a connection or something that didnt sound so lame."

  Angel sighed. "We did. I mean, we do, you know, click, but my family they would never"

  Buffy put her hand up to stop him. "No. It's all right. I understand."

 
Angel grabbed her hand and held it in his own. Her warm, little hands fit perfectly in his big ones.

  "I have to go", Angel said.

  Buffy squeezed his hand, then let go. "See you tomorrow?"

 
Angel smiled. "Of course". He turned once more and walked out the door. He got half way down the block when he heard footsteps running toward him.

  "Angel! Angel, wait!" Buffy yelled to him.

  He turned around and watched her run to him.

 
"You, um, you forgot your books", she said nervously.

  Angel smiled again. "Thank you." He reached out to take them when she accidentally dropped one.

  "Oh God! Sorry", she replied reaching down to pick them up.

  "No, no, let me", he said as he bent down too.

 
SMACK their heads went as they hit each other.

  Buffy yelped and grabbed her throbbing head.

  Angel groaned as well. His head already felt big. He reached for his head and noticed his sunglasses were gone. He went down to look for them
.

"I have to find them before she---" he thought. His thoughts were cut off by Buffy's cry.

  "Angel! What happened"? She gasped. Even in the poor streetlight, she could see scratches and bruises covering his face where the sunglasses were.

  "It was it was a dog", Angel lied.

 
Buffy automatically reached up to check how bad they were when he brushed her hand away.

  "Please I need to go", Angel said quietly.

  Buffy leaned forward and kissed his cheek where a bruise was located.

  Angel blinked. "Had she really done that"?

 
Buffy blinked. "Had she really done that?"

  "Um, sorry", she said.

  "Yeah me too", he said.

  "Angel?"

 
 
"Yes?"

  "Is there anyway we can be together?" She asked quietly.

  Angel sighed. "Not unless you can beat up my brother", he said.

  They shared another long look, and then he turned and walked away.

  Buffy watched him walk in the opposite direction until he disappeared. Then, she turned around and ran home. She had some business
to take care of.

**************

"Yeah! Kill the bloody bastard"! Spike bellowed from his seat near the fighting arena. It was really no more than a circle surrounded by wooden benches, but it did serve its purpose so no one complained.

  One of the guys in the ring knocked the other guy flat on his face spewing
blood everywhere. He didnt get up.

  Spike went out into the middle of the ring where he lay panting heavily. "Whoever took bets on McCaully, pay up over at the booth!"

  Faith waved to Spike from the booth. She was the one who collected and distributed the money.

 
The other guy in the ring, Jenkins, threw his hands in the air. "Is there no one who will challenge me?"

  Suddenly, he was turned around and punched three times in the face. He fell to the ground with a grunt. Everyone looked to see who the challenger was.

  Buffy Summers stood there in the middle of the ring wearing a pair of red leather pants, a black tightly fitting tank top, and boots.

  "Mind if I take you up on that?" She asked.
 

  No one could move. It was as if the ground had turned into cement. Spike was the first one who broke the silence.

 " Summers"? He asked a little unsure if she was really there or not.

  "Daniels", she answered back as she cocked an eyebrow.

  Spike must have recovered from shock, because a smirk crossed his face. "Well, well, well what are you doing on this side of town? What, did your mommy drop you off at the wrong place?"

  Buffy felt her throat tighten. "Dont kill him", she thought. "Yet. No, I snuck out."

  Spike started circling her like a piece of meat. "Oooh, big bad Summers", he said. A few tough looking guys sneered. "No, really, tell me, why are you here?"

  Buffy tossed her hair over her shoulder a little. "I heard it was a good place to be."

  Spike stopped circling her and stepped up to her with a serious look on his face."Did Angel say something?" He asked in a hushed tone.

  "No, and even if he did, it would be his own damn business wouldn't it?" She answered flippantly.

  Spike smirked again. "So, you came here to test your ability, aye?"

  Buffy smiled. "Thats right, blondie."

  Jenkins, the guy she had hit, stood up behind Spike. "Don't worry, buddy. I'll take care of her", he said as he started advancing toward Buffy.

  "Now wait a minute", Spike said as he put a hand up to stop him. "Since she is a lady, it's only right that a gentlemen take her challenge", he said. A few people snickered. He shot them all dangerous looks. They stopped snickering. "Are you sure you really want to get your ass kicked and be embarrassed in front of all these people?" He asked as he pointed to the many people sitting around them.

  "We'll see who's embarrassed", she said as she pulled her long blond hair up into a messy ponytail. She took a fighting stance in front of him.

  Spike backed up a little. "Whoa, you're serious? I cant fight you."

  Buffy didnt move a muscle. "Why? Afraid youll lose to me, boy?" She said in a taunting voice.

  Spike threw off his leather duster. "I'm not going to go easy on you."

  Buffy smirked a little. "Don't worry about me. Just bring it."

  Spike looked away, then attacked. Cheering erupted from the crowd as they watched the pair of fighters move.

  Spike made the first move. He jabbed at her face with a quick right, but Buffy easily dodged it, making him lose his balance and fall forward a little. Buffy caught his outstretched arm and brought it quickly over her head causing him to flip onto the ground.

  "Whats a matter, Spike? Tired already?" She said.

  He grunted and lunged at her grabbing her waist and hauling her onto his shoulder. He rammed her into a large wooden crate. She squealed in pain but managed to flip off the box and onto the ground in front of him.

  With one smooth movement, Buffy turned and kicked in his abdomen, throwing him backwards. He grunted as he hit the large crate he had thrown Buffy up against previously. Buffy wasted no time and quickly punched at his face. Spike barely rolled out of the way in time as her hand went pummeling through the wooden crate. She felt pain rushing through her body, and blood slowly descend her hand, but she pushed the hurt away.

  "I need to win", Buffy thought. "It's the only way I can be with Angel."

  Buffy and Spike faced each other again, circling like dogs. Again, Spike made the first move. Spike punched her stomach and she doubled over. Spike then elbowed her in the small of her back. She collapsed onto her knees. He attempted a jump kick at Buffys midsection. Blocking it, she rolled under him and kicked him from behind. He fell to his knees and rolled before she could finish the spinning kick that would send him to sleep. Facing each other again, Buffy and Spike took punch for punch and kick for kick. It was like a fierce dance, and only one could lead. Only one could win. Buffy was thrown up against the large crate again headfirst.  Pain shot instantly through her body as she cried out. She looked up in time to see Spike lifting his leg to kick her face. She easily ducked it by rolling under his leg and letting it hit the crate. She lifted his leg even higher and flipped him onto his stomach.

  "Is that all you got?" Buffy taunted. Spike grunted again and charged at her. She stood there waiting.

  "Not yet not yet NOW! "Buffy thought as she quickly spun away and kicked him in the back sending him into the crowd.

  Spike didnt get back up.

  Faith saw the whole fight and pushed past a smiling Buffy toward her brother.

  "Spike? Spike?" She asked.

  "Mum, can I have a peanut butter sandwich?" He said groggily.

  Faith got up and walked over toward Buffy. 

  "I should knock all your teeth out, Summers", she said.

  Buffy smiled. "Not if you're any better than he is", she said. Faith leaped toward her.

 " Faith! STOP"! A voice yelled from behind them. They both turned around and found Angel standing above Spike.

  "What is going on here?" He asked.

  "She kicked the shit out of Spike!" Faith replied.

  Angels face became unreadable. "Ex-excuse me?"

  Faith nodded and pointed to Buffy. "She, as in Buffy Summers, beat the shit out of Spike! Weren't you listening the first time?"

  Spike sat up, wiping blood from his lip. "She is a bleedin' freak!"

  Angel turned to Spike and looked at him. "My God", he thought, "she really did kick his ass."

  With this in mind, Angel couldnt help but smile. Again, the smile turned into a chuckle, and then into a laugh he couldnt help but let out. He must have laughed for 5 whole minutes before he calmed down a little.

  "Wait, wait, wait", he said still smirking, "she, kicked HIS ass?"

  Faith smiled too. "Yeah. She beat him like a dog", she said. She too burst into laughter.

  The rest of the crowd began to chuckle too.

  "HAHAHA! Laugh all you want! Bugger you all!" Spike said as he wiped more blood from his lip. "The fight is now over, so go the hell home!"

  The chuckling crowd began to file out of the area. As the dock became quiet once more, Faith, Buffy, and Angel, walked out of the metal fence that lead to the arena.

 "Ya know what, you're all right, B", Faith said to Buffy. Buffy smiled.

  "You're not too bad yourself, F", she replied. Faith smiled and turned to go into the large building she called home.

 " I'm out. I'll see ya inside Angel. See ya around, B", Faith said as she walked inside the door.

  "Night", Buffy called inside.

  She and Angel were alone again.

  "Um, do you want me to walk you home?" Angel asked a little awkwardly.

  Buffy smiled. "No, thats all right. I mean, if  I can survive fighting William the Bloody, I think I can fight off whatever baddie tries to get in my way", she said.

  "Ah, but you dont know that. There could be bad things out there waiting for a girl like you. I should walk you home. You know, keep the monsters away. They wont bother you when they see such an intimidating, handsome guy walking you", he replied, a slight smile playing on his lips.

  Buffy giggled." Gee, glad youre not cocky. Might make that offer seem a little big-headed."

  Angel offered her his hand. "Walk you home?"

  Buffy looked up into his deep brown eyes and smiled. "Sure. Just no funny stuff, mister. I can kick your ass five ways from Tuesday", she replied as she took his hand.

  Angel laughed lightly. "Really. Not with that hand you couldn't", Angel said as he nodded toward her other hand. It was brownish red with dried blood.

  Buffy walked along. "Nah, I could still take you. It didn't stop me any when I was fighting your brother", she said.

  Angel laughed. "Yeah, well, I'm a little harder to take down than my brother is."

  Buffy giggled." Are you sure? You mean, not all Daniels men are loud, rude and arrogant?"

  Angel glared at her half-heartedly. "You better watch it, I might just have to beat you up."

  Buffy smiled at him, then she looked down. "So, are you going to turn me in?"

 " What?" Angel asked.

  "For sneaking out. I'm pretty sure Giles would have a cow if he knew I snuck out to go to a fight club", she said.

  Angel smiled. They shared a long look as they walked toward her home.

  After awhile, Buffy spoke up.

  "You never answered me ya know", she said as she looked up at him coyly. "You gonna turn me in?"

  Angel smiled sweetly down at her. "No, I think I'll wait for you to surrender."

  Buffy smiled at Angel as they continued walking.

 

**************

 

  Meanwhile, Roman sat in his room with his head on his hands.

  "What to do what to dohe thought."

 He had witnessed the entire fight, and watched Buffy and Angel as he walked her home.

 " Shes getting to him", he thought. "There's only one thing to do when something stands in your way. "

"Take it away."

The next day, Buffy and Angel sat in the library. Piles of books surrounded them, but they werent really studying.

 " So, where did you learn karate?" Angel asked silently.

  Buffy smiled. "When I was back in L.A., I took lessons for about 4 years."

  "Ohh, so are you a black belt or something"? He asked, a smile spreading across his face.

  "No, I am only a brown belt. If we would have stayed in L.A., I could have finished my training, however you know the res"t, Buffy said.

  "Ohh" Angel replied, aggravated that he didnt have anything more interesting or witty to say. He looked up from his book at Buffy.

  Her blond hair was pulled up into a messy ponytail, and strands hung untidily around her face. Her beautiful flawless face was cut and bruised, but without any major injuries. She looked a little tired, and she went without make up. Not how he usually liked his women. The funny thing was, that the whole time he watched Buffy, all he could think was, God, shes beautiful.

  Buffy suddenly looked up and saw Angel staring at her.

  "What? Is there something on my face?" She asked. Angel blushed.

  "No, I was just, um, inspecting the damage done", he said. Smooth move, idiot. Get caught looking at her. She probably thinks youre a stalker or something.

  "Well, I have a few cuts and scrapes, but other than that, I feel pretty good. I haven't had that much exercise since I moved from L.A"., she said. She tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

  "Here, you have something on your face", Angel said.

  Buffys brow tightened. "Where?"

  "Right here", Angel said as he pointed to his own face.

 " Here?"

  "No, your right side."

  "Here?"

  "No, your other right", he replied.

  She huffed." I give up! You do it!" She said.

  He reached over the table and brushed the piece of lint away from her cheek. His hands gently grazed her soft skin. When they touched, it was like electricity flowing through his system. She must have felt the same way, because her eyes closed, then fluttered open.

  "Oh, um, here", Angel said as he handed the little piece of fuzz to her.

  "Thanks", she said. She smiled brightly at him.

  They both continued looking through their books when Angel snapped his shut.

 " You know what, I'm bored. How about we go to the Bronze or something", he said. Buffy closed her book as well.

  "Count me in."

 " Okay, then, how about I pick you up around 7:00?" Angel asked. "Does that give you enough time to do your girly things?"

  Buffy laughed. "It should. You know where I live. Just come on in."

  "Okay then", Angel said as he picked up his books and walked away.

 

************

 

  "Crikey", Spike exclaimed as he went to fan the air around him. "What kind of sick beast did in here? No, better question, what made you believe that that shit would cover up the smell?"

  Angel laughed. "Very funny, Gimp", he said. He had begun calling Spike Gimp since Buffy beat him. Since she beat him, he hobbled a little.

  "Where are you going tonight"? Spike asked.

  "The Bronze. Going on a dat"e, Angel said in a singsong voice as he ran gelled fingers through his hair.

  "Easy there, mate", Spike said." Hot one?"

  Angel smiled. "The hottest. But shes not just hot, she's beautiful."

  "Yeah, yeah, the real question is, does she put out"? Spike said to Angel's reflection in the bathroom mirror.

  Angel's reflection became serious. "Its' not like that. Don't ever say anything like that ever again, do you understand me?"

  Spike threw his arms up in defense. "Hey, sorry. Geez, if I didnt know any better, I'd think you had feelings for the girl", he said.

  Angel was quiet.

  Spikes eyes widened. "Crikey! You do! Well bugger me!"

  Angel turned and faced his brother. "I do not."

  "Oh, you do. Why else would you be defending some chicks honor if you were only planning a one night thing with her?" Spike asked as Angel walked out the bathroom door.

  "Women are supposed to be revered and honored. They are the bearers of life, Angel said. Plus, without them where would we be? Homosexual, thats where", he said. That shut Spike up. "That was close", Angel thought.

  "Glad you think that. Now just remember that after you pee. How hard is it to put the damn seat down?" Faith screamed from inside the bathroom.

  "If you want it down, leave it up when YOU'RE done", Spike yelled back at her. Angel and he traded smiles.

  "Where's Roman"? Angel asked as he pulled on a pair of black boots.

 " He's asleep. He's been thinking a lot. He hasn't come out of his room for almost a whole day," Spike replied.

 " Hm", Angel said back. "Could you hand me my jacket please?"

  Spike handed Angel his duster. "Hey, if this girl is hot, how about hooking me up with one of her friends?"

  Angel looked at Spike and just shook his head and sighed. "Goodnight", he said as he turned off and walked out the door.

 

****************

 

  From his bedroom window, Roman watched Angel get into his car and drive away.

  "Wonder what hes up to?" Roman thought out loud. Maybe, his brother should follow him

 

***************

 

  Coming, Rupert Giles said as he rushed toward the door. When he opened it, his face dropped and his voice strained.

  "Um, hi, is Buffy here"? Angel asked awkwardly.

 " Uhh Uhh" Giles replied. For some odd reason, he couldnt get his mouth to work in a proper fashion.

 " I'm here!" Buffy called from within. She appeared in the doorway wearing a tight brown skirt with a slit up the middle, and a loose fitting, tan peasant shirt. Her hair was pulled up into a half ponytail, and she was wearing brown knee high boots.

  "Hey", she said as she smiled at him.

  "Hey", he replied as he uncomfortably shifted from one foot to the other.

  "Well be back around 11, okay?" Buffy asked Giles.

  "What? Oh, yes, that'll be quite all right", Giles replied.

  "Thanks", she said as she pecked him on the cheek and quickly grabbed Angels hand.

  "Lets go!" Buffy exclaimed as she climbed into his sleek black trans am he had salvaged and put together himself.

 

****************

 

  Buffy felt the music pulsating through her body, as it pounded in her ears. She felt so good, and so free. It was nice getting out on a date. She had to hand it to Willow. She was right about the whole, date thing.

  Angel moved his hands from Buffys back to her round derriere. He was facing her, and his knee was lodged between her spread legs. Their faces were so close he could feel her breath on his face, and he could see the sweat glistening on her forehead.

  Buffy rocked rythmically with the music as it filled her. It felt so good to have his hands on her body. She had this sudden urge to kiss him.

  She ran her hands up through his tasseled hair and she opened her eyes. They stared into each others eyes before Buffy moved in closer. Just before their lips met, the song ended, and they pulled away.

  "Oh, I could use a break," Buffy said as she desperately tried to cover up her disappointment.

  "Yeah, same here. Want something to drink?" Angel asked.

  "Sure. Water, please?" Buffy asked.

 " Okay, be right back."

  Buffy went over to a table and sat down, enjoying the sensation of being off her feet. She had never danced so intensely in her life! For some reason, she thought that maybe being with Angel had some small part in that.

  "Hey! Buffy!" Willow exclaimed happily from behind her friend.

  "Hey Will, Buffy" said. She noticed Willow was holding someones hand. That someone was Oz.

  "Hey Oz", Buffy said to the short red head.

  "Hey", he replied. He was a guy that said very little, but meant a lot.    

  "Buffster!" Xander exclaimed from behind Oz." What are you doing here? Are you here alone?"

  Buffy shook her head. "Oh no, I'm here with"

  "Here's your water", Angel said as he sat the bottle down in front of her.

  "Angel", Willow said. Her green eyes were wide open like a deer in headlights.

  "Hey, um, Willow, right? "Angel said.

  "Yeah"

  "Angel", Oz said.

  "Oz", Angel replied.

  "Angel how wonderful it is to see you here", Xander said.

  "Harris "Angel said. He could tell the boy was obviously jealous of Buffy and him.

  "What are you guys doing here?" Will asked nervously. She sensed the tension between the two males.

  "Oh you know, dance, drink, party. The usual. You?" Buffy said.

  "We were just coming because we had nothing else to do", Will replied.

  S"o, Angel, decide that taunting Buffy in school just wasnt enough"? Xander asked.

  Angel remained cool.

  "You decided to start following her, is that it?" Xander continued to inquire.

  "Xander" Buffy warned. He could see her cocking an eyebrow out of the corner of her eye.

  "What?" Xander asked.

  Buffy shot him a look.

  "Is it my fault he is a psychopathic killer who murdered his own mom?" Xander asked.

  Buffy felted Angel's whole body go rigid under the table. She could tell  he was fighting off an urge to beat Xander to a bloody pulp.

  Not to say he didnt deserve it, but starting fights in public places was just not a good thing.

  "Come on, Angel", Buffy said as she grabbed his hand.

 " Bye, Buff", Willow said to her as she walked away. When she was already out the door, Willow smacked Xander.

  "What was that for?" Xander asked.

  Willow shot him a nasty glare.

  "You can't tell me you've never wondered whether or not he was insane?" Xander asked.

  Willow sighed and she and Oz went to find a couch, leaving Xander standing alone.

 

**************

 

  Unbeknowst to the couple, Roman and Spike were standing in the shadows, watching them dance, and watching them talk to Buffys friends.

  "He's getting sof"t, Roman said.

  "Soft, no, a little over ripe, yeah", Spike said.

  Roman glared at him from the corner of his eye. "I guess, we'll have to keep an eye on this thing, and hope that he hasnt packed it in for the long haul."

 

*******************

 

  "I'm sorry for the way Xander was acting. He's usually not that assholish", Buffy apologized.

 " It's all right. He had every right to be mad at me. I wasnt very nice to you before hand", Angel replied as he helped her out of the car as they arrived at her house.

  "Yeah, but still, it's not right to just accuse people of things like that. He should never have said anything", Buffy said.

 " Yeah, thats true. But, I still owe you an apology. I'm sorry for being such a jerk the last couple of years. I was a complete moron and I'm sorry", he said.

  They came to rest on her porch.

 " It's okay", she replied. "You're a different person now."

  Angel chuckled. "I feel different."

  "You are", Buffy said. She smiled at him. "You are nicer, and sweeter, and maybe even a little more human."

  Angel smiled back at her. "Well, if being human feels this good make me a mortal anyday", he replied.

  Buffy smiled at him and pulled a lose strand of hair between her fingers.

 " Oh, wait, you have something again", Angel said.

  "Where?"

  "Right here", Angel said as he reached forward and touched her face. He pulled off the fuzz and yet continued stroking her cheek.

  Buffy blushed. "Thank you."

  "You're welcome", Angel said, almost breathlessly.

  Just then, Angel leaned in a captured her lips with his. The sheer power of their slightly intimate touching made her shiver in her boots, and him groan with pleasure.

  She wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. The one kiss grew into a long kiss that lasted minutes. It wasnt a real erotic kiss. There was no tongue involved, but it had the same effect. The kiss wasnt meant to be hard and rushed.

  It was sweet.

  Buffy and Angel pulled away, completely breathless. 

  "That was nice", Buffy said.

  "Yeah, that was very nice", Angel agreed.

  She smiled at him. "Thank you for a stress free evening, and sorry again."

  Angel smiled back. "You're welcome."

  She opened the front door and walked inside. "Goodnight."

  "Goodnight."

  As she shut the door, she licked her lips and found they still tasted like Angel. She had never been kissed like that before. It was magical.

  "And to think, all I could say was, that was nice". Buffy said. She giggled then ran upstairs two at a time.

  Angel smiled. He could still feel her sweet lips pressed against his. There was no way he had ever felt this way about someone before. It was new and exciting, and yet sweet and gentle. He was sure he liked it.

  "And to think, all I could say was, that was very nice." Angel said to himself as he got in his car and drove away smiling.

--------------

  "Buffy, I did your laundry. Dinner will be ready in about five minutes", Giles called to Buffy. He was a little worried about Buffy. She had been prancing around all day and since yesterday night. In fact, he only got about five hours sleep because she kept squealing last night. He knew it had something to do with the handsome stranger she went out to the club with last night, but after that, he was at a loss.

  "Where's Buffy?" James asked. Buffys little brother was sitting at the kitchen table coloring. "I made-ed her a picture", he said. He held it up for Giles approval.

  "Ohh, thats very nice, James", Giles said. He looked at the picture of he and Buffy. They were basically stick figures with brown and yellow hair, but it was the thought that count.

Giles had been sucked into becoming Buffy and Jamess legal guardian about a year and a half ago. Giles dated their mother when they first moved to Sunnydale, and since then, he loved her children. In her will, she had asked Giles to become their legal guardian. Giles had accepted happily. Ever since Buffys mom died, James looked to Buffy for motherly support and love. And since his dad was away in Puerto Rico or something with his secretary, he saw Giles as his dad. Giles was a great dad. Since he never had kids of his own, he had a chance to make up for lost time with James and Buffy.

  "Yep! And its for Buffy cos she asked for a picture for her locker", James said. His light brown hair gleamed in the kitchen light. "You think she will like it?"

  Giles smiled as he set the table. "I'm sure she will. She always does."

  James smiled brightly. Giles had always thought that he and Buffy shared a remarkable resemblance. He had the same color hair, well, he would if Buffy hadnt have had her hair highlighted, he had the same mossy green eyes, and the same perky attitude. If it werent for the nose and the age difference, they could pass for twins.

  James suddenly stopped smiling. "Is Buffy mad at me?"

  "Why of course not. Why do you think that?" Giles asked as he sat down next to the child.

  "She never wants to play with me anymore", he answered. His voice and head drooped a little. Giles heart went out to him.

  "Buffy's been busy, thats all", Giles said. He tipped Jamess head up with a finger." Buffy is not mad at you. She loves you. All right?"

  James smiled." Are you suuuure?"

  "As sure as the sun is purple," Giles replied.

  "The suns not purple!! Its yellow"! James giggled in his little kid voice.

  "No it's not, look outside", Giles said as he got up and lifted the little boy up. "Look, purple."

  "It's yellow!" James giggled. "You're silly, daddy", James replied.

  Giles felt his heart wrench. James had taken up the habit of calling him daddy a little while after his mom had died, but every time he heard him say it, he couldnt help but tear up.

  "Oh, you know what, you're right", he said to the little boy. "Silly me", he said as he kissed him on the top of the head. "How about going and cleaning up your things so we can have dinner."

  James jumped out of Giless arms. "All righty."

  Buffy came running down the stairs. "Hey everyone", she said as she came into the kitchen.

  "Buffy!"! James exclaimed happily. The way his face lit up every time Buffy came into a room was priceless.

  "James!!" Buffy exclaimed as she kissed him on the forehead.

  "Look what I drew you!" James said as he picked up his drawing and proudly showed it to Buffy.

  Buffy smiled warmly. "This is for me?"

  James nodded enthusiastically. "Yep! Its for your locker!"

  Buffy kissed him on the head again. "Thank you, sweetie. It's perfect, in fact, I'll take down the picture of Brad Pitt and put this in his place."

  "James, go clean up your stuff", Giles said.

  James nodded and continued to pick up his things.

  "Dinner will be rea "Giles started. He looked down at Buffys choice of clothing. A little black skirt with a red silk tank top.

  "Um, not joining us tonight, I take it?" Giles asked.

  Buffy smiled. "No, actually. I have a date."

  "OOOOOH! BUFFY HAS A DAAAATE!" James exclaimed. Buffy blushed and Giles winked knowingly.

  The doorbell rang.

  "Speaking of which, I have to go", Buffy said.

  "Now wait a second, bring the lad in. I think as your legal guardian I have a right to meet him", Giles said with a smile.

  "Giiiiiles", Buffy whined.

  "Oh come on now, I didnt have a daughter myself, I think I deserve at least a shot at this over-protective dad stuf"f, Giles said.

  Buffy rolled her eyes. "Fine, but no over prodding. We have reservations."

  "I promise I won't", Giles said.

  Buffy went to the door and opened it. Angel stood there wearing a black sweater and a pair of black pants. He wasnt wearing his usual duster, but instead a wool great coat.

  "All in all, he looks pretty damn good", Buffy thought.

  It was funny, because at the same moment, he thought the exact same thing about her.

  "Hey", he said.

  "Hey", she replied.

  "Hey", Giles said from behind Buffy.

  Buffy saw Angel automatically tense. She couldnt help but smile. Angel Daniels was nervous about meeting his girlfriends dad.

  Well sorta girlfriend, and sorta dad.

  "Why dont you come on in", Giles said as he held the door open.

  "Um, all right", Angel replied as he stepped inside the house. The first things he noticed were the toys scattered around.

  "Come on it and sit down," Buffy said as she led him into the living room.

  Angel walked into the room and sat down on the couch. Giles sat opposite him in a rocking chair.

  "So, Angel, how old are you?" Giles asked.

  "I'm uh, seventee"n, he replied awkwardly.

  "And you go to Sunnydale High?" Giles asked.

  "Yes sir."

  "Oh, sir, I think I like that", Giles said.

  "There's someone here! Theres someone here!" James announced as he galloped into the room.

  Buffy walked in behind him. "Angel, this is my little brother James."

  James walked up to Angel and extended his right hand.

  "It's nice to meet you Mr. Angel. I'm James", he said. Angel smiled and took the offered hand.

  "Nice too meet you too, James," Angel said. "And you can just call me Angel."

  "Okey-dokey, Angel", he said. "My sissy likes you. She was walking around all day talking about you. Angel this, and Angel that", James said. "She was saying how beautiful your eyes are, and how well you ki" James said. Buffy put her hand on his mouth before he could finish his sentence.

  O"kay, James, time for Angel and I to go", she said. She was sure she was blushing furiously.

  "Yes, James, lets go. Its dinner time," Giles said as he picked the four-year-old up.

  "Goodbye Angel!" James yelled from the kitchen.

  "Bye, James", Angel said. He was smiling brightly. Buffy avoided his eyes.

  "'Im gonna go get my coat. I'll, um, be right back", Buffy said as she exited the room.

  Angel got up and looked at the pictures on the walls. Pictures of Buffy and James, or James and Giles, or Giles and Buffy, or all of the together adorned the walls. He walked over to the mantle and looked at the pictures. He saw more pictures of Buffy and her brother, but a picture of a beautiful blond woman caught his eye. She had blond hair and the same mossy green eyes Buffy had. This must be her mom, Angel thought.

  "Ready", Buffy said as she re-entered the room.

  Angel turned around and walked toward her. "All right, lets go."

  "One moment", Giles said from the doorway. "Angel, I dont have to tell you that I have people all over the city that report back to me daily and have my number on speed dial, so with all that already known, have a great time", Giles said as he opened the door with a smile.

  Buffy looked up at Angels face and smiled at how pale it became.

  "Yes, um, yes si"r, he stammered out.

  "Good then. Have a great time," Giles said to the couple as they walked out the door.

  "Bye", Buffy said to Giles as she walked past him.

  "Drive safely!" Giles yelled to Angel as they drove off.

   Boy, did he loooove being a dad.

 

*****************

 

  "So, I'm a good kisser, am I?" Angel asked Buffy as they drove away.

  Buffy blushed. "I never said that."

  "Oh, but your brother did. " 

  "Oh, and how would my brother know? Have you been kissing him too?" Buffy asked.

  Angel looked over at her and smiled. Her looked her over. She looked pretty damn hot in that tight black skirt. He followed the skirt up to her tight silk rank top. He could see her curves very clearly. He followed her curves up to her shoulders and her thin neck. Then he looked at her face. He was shocked to see her smiling back.

  "You better keep your eyes on the road, Mr. Angel", she said him, an eyebrow cocked.

  He smiled. "It's hard when you have a beautiful woman in the car with you", Angel replied.

  Buffy blushed. "ust drive."

  Angel turned away and continued driving.

  "So, where are we going exactly?" Buffy asked.

 " You"ll see", Angel replied.

 

******************

 

  "Can I take your coat, mademoiselle?" The attendant asked Buffy. Angel big surprise was taking her to Chez Christophe, the only real restaurant in Sunnydale.

  "Um, sure", Buffy replied. She felt a little out of place in such a fancy place.

  "Here are your seats, monsieur", the host said as he pointed to a table.

  "Thank you", Angel replied as he helped Buffy into her seat.

  "Your waiter will be with you shortly", the host replied as he walked away.

  "So, this is your big surprise?" Buffy asked.

  "Yeah, do you like it?" Angel asked.

 " Oh course. Never been here before", she replied.

  "Me either, so I guess well experience it together", he said.

  Buffy sat reading the menu. "So, what are you going to get?" She asked. The menu was all in French, so she wasnt quite sure what to order.

  "Um, I dont know yet."

  "Hm, okay."

  "Maybe we should order the daily special. I mean, that way we dont have to decide", Angel suggested.

  Buffy smiled. "All right", she said as she closed her menu.

  "Good evening, monsieu"r, the waiter said as he approached. "Mademoiselle, what would you like this evening?"

 " I think we'll both have the special", Angel said.

  The waiter scribbled down on his notepad. "And to drink?"

  "Do you have Coke?" Buffy asked.

  "One Coke. And for you?" He said, as he asked Angel.

  "Coke is fine with me."

  "All right, your dinner will be out shortly", the waiter said.

  Buffy and Angel sat there quietly.

  "So "Buffy said.

  "So "Angel replied.

  "What are we going to do about our English project? We havent gotten very far," Buffy said.

  A waiter brought out their drinks then returned to the kitchen.

 " I'm not sure", Angel said as he took a drink of his Coke.

  "Well, I personally think that it was a stupid assignment. I mean, whats interesting about poetry?" Buffy asked.

  "Lots of things", Angel replied.

  "What, you read poetry"? Buffy joked as she took a sip of her drink. Angel was quiet.

  "You do?" Buffy asked in amazement.

  "Well, my mom used to read it to me when I was little. I dunno, it kind of stuck with me", he said.

  Buffy smiled. "Who's your favorite poet?"

  Angel smiled shyly. "Elizabeth Barrett Browning."

  "Why"? Buffy asked. She was genuinely amazed that Angel read poetry.

  "She writes beautifully. And the story behind her poems is beautiful," Angel said. "She was in love with another poet, Robert Browning. She was an invalid, so she really didnt do much more than write and read. She published a poem of hers, and Robert Browning read it and wrote to her saying how much he loved her poetry. They used to write poetry back and forth between each other, and fell in love with each other before they ever met. They literally fell in love through their poetry. When they met, her father was against him, so they eloped. It was a real love story that was like a fairy tale", Angel said. He looked at Buffy.

  "That's beautiful", she said breathlessly. She had no idea he was so deep and intelligent.

  "Yeah, well, I always thought so", he replied.

  "Your food mademoiselle", the waiter said as he placed her food in front of her.

  "Great, I'm hungry", Angel said as they placed his in front of him. He took a bite of the food. "This is pretty good. What is it?" He asked the waiter.

 " Escargots Aux Grenouilles", he said.

  Angel took another bite. "Whats that?"

  "Snails and Frog legs, the waiter said.

  Angels eyes bugged out. "Ex-excuse me?" He didnt wait for an answer. He pushed out from the table and stood up, taking the tablecloth with him. It was stuck on the button of his pants. The dishes crashed to floor as Angel stood up.

  "Angel"! Buffy exclaimed.

  Angel stood there, in the middle of the restaurant with broken glass, plates, and scattered frog legs surrounding him.

  Buffy stared at him.

  Angel lifted one hand. "Check please?"

 

******************

 

  "I cant believe you did that!" Buffy laughed as the drove home.

 " I know! But who in the right mind serves you swamp creatures?" Angel asked. He laughed as well.

  They continued laughing until they reached Buffys house. When they got there, Buffy invited him inside.

  "Come on in", she said as she removed her coat and hung it in the closet. "I wonder where James and Giles are"

  "Theres a note in here", Angel called to Buffy from the kitchen.

  Buffy walked into the kitchen. "Sorry we left without telling you. James and I went out for a movie and some ice cream. If were not home by 8 o'clock send a rescue team. Love, Giles and James", Buffy read. She looked at the clock. It was only 5:30. "Well, they're gone for awhile. Do you wanna stay?"

  Angel smiled. Sure. His stomach growled." Hm, guess I didn't eat enough snails", he said with a smile.

  Buffy laughed. "I'm starving too. Giles always makes too much, plus he is an excellent cook", she said as she opened the refridgerater. "Leftovers okay with you?"

  "Anything that hasn't been living in swamp is fine with me", Angel answered with a smile.

 

****************

 

  After they ate, and Buffy changed out of her dress and into some sweats, they went into the living room and turned on the T.V. A reporter was talking about a storm coming in, but neither of them were really listening. Angel was sitting on the couch, and Buffy was outstretched beside him, with her head on top of his shoulder.

  "So, how did the school librarian become your legal guardian?" Angel asked.

  "Well, he dated my mom for awhile, and when she died, she named him legal guardian", Buffy explained.

  "It's not weird?" Angel asked as he stroked her soft, blond hair.

  "No. I mean, he first dated my mom it was kinda weird, but now, I love him. He's a better dad to me then my dad ever was", Buffy replied.

  "Speaking of which, where is your dad? Shouldn't he be caring for you?" Angel asked.

  Buffy shifted. "No. When they divorced, mom got full custody, and my dad moved to Puerto Rico to live with his secretary Danielle", Buffy said.

  "Oh, Im sorry."

  Buffy shrugged. "Nah, no big. I think I'm better off. I mean, if they hadn't have divorced, I wouldnt have moved to Sunnydale, I wouldnt have such a great father figure, and"

  "You wouldn't have such a great boyfriend", Angel finished for her.

  Buffy pulled away and looked into his eyes. "Boyfriend?"

  "Sure, I mean, you do want to, you know, be my girlfriend, right?" Angel asked a little shyly.

  Buffy smiled, then bent in and kissed him.

  When they pulled away, Angel smiled. "You still haven't said yes yet", he said.

 Buffy smiled again. "Yes. Then", she leaned in and kissed him again.

 

******************

 

  Meanwhile, Roman was sitting in his room. "So, where did you say he went?"

  "He said he was going to get some dinner, then visit mum", Spike said. His voice was straining on the last couple of words, but he managed to get them out.

  Roman was quiet for a moment. "When he gets back, come and tell me. I need to have a talk with him."

 

******************

 

  "Buffy? Buffy?" Angel asked. He nudged Buffys head with his own.

  "Mmm, just a few more minutes, Giles" She mumbled.

  Angel smiled. He slowly got up and pulled her into a sitting position. "Come on now, love", he said. "Love?" He thought. "Okay, Angel, spending a little too much time around Spike or maybe I am spending too much time around her", he wondered.

  He picked her up and slowly walked up the stairs. When he reached the second floor, he looked around for her room. Hmmlets see whats behind door number 1 He said as he nudged the slightly open door with his foot. He walked into then room and looked around.

  When he walked in, the first thing he noticed was the smell. It smelled like vanilla with just a touch of something he couldnt identify.

 " Wow I should be on a game show", he mused aloud.

  He turned the covers and put Buffy inside. He pulled the sheets around her and tucked her in.

  He got up and looked around her room some more. He saw pictures of Willow and that prick Harris, pictures of her brother and her mother, and a picture of Giles. At least 20 candles adorned her room, and she had stuffed animals everywhere. He noticed a stuffed pig and picked it up.

  Interesting, he said. He put the pig down and continued looking around. She had wicker furniture, and a wooden desk and bedside table. Her room was decorated with magazine clippings and pictures of movie stars, and also with moon and star sculptures adorning the various flat surfaces. One thing that caught his eye, however, was a small notebook, laying out on her desk.

  Buffys diary, Angel said as he walked over to it.

  He started to open it, then stopped. I cant do this, he said quietly. Then, he remembered what James had said about his beautiful dark eyes and the way he kissed and all thoughts of protest stopped.

  He opened the diary and skimmed through the pages. "Come on, where am I?" He flipped through a couple of pages, until he found one with the name Angel on the top. Interesting, he said with a smile. He turned around to make sure Buffy was still sleeping, then sat down at her desk.

  Today, Angel made fun of me some more. Big surprise. God, what is up his ass? Why does he hate me so much? He WOULD be cute if it werent for his sucky attitude. Angel winced, remembering what making fun of Buffy was like. He flipped a couple more pages.

  I worked with Angel today. God, I never noticed how hot he was. That dark hair, his flawless face, his serious lipsand those eyes. WOW! Theyre like puddles of chocolate you could literally drown in. *sigh*  He laughed. Im not kidding. He full out belly laughed. It was great. I think I like him when hes not being an asshole. Then, for no apparent reason, he just stopped, like laughing was a disease or something.  Angel recalled that memory quite well as well. He flipped a couple more pages.

  I was dancing tonight, and Angel just kind of came up behind me and started dancing. He is a GREAT dancer. Its really cool. We started talking, and he is actually really nice.  Angel smiled. He flipped a couple more.

  WHOO-HOO!! I think Angel has finally began to open up a bit. Today, he was bending down the pick up my books, and we bumped heads. He had scratches and bruises all over his face. He told me they were from a dog. I dont believe him. And then, I kissed him on the cheek, Total impulse. OMG did I feel like a freaking idiot. Then, I asked him if we could ever be together. He told me only if I could beat up his brother. HaHa Guess what? I DID! I kicked Spikes scrawny ass!! WHOO-HOO!  Angel had to exert iron will not to burst out laughing. He still wasnt over that yet.

  Tonight, Angel and I went to the Bronze. Did I ever mention what a great dancer he is? If I didnt before, Ill do it now. ANGEL DANIELS IS A GREAT DANCER!!! He almost kissed me. Almost. I was kind of disappointed. Then, Will, Oz, and Xander came over. God, what is Xanders problem? He was being a total asshole. UGH. Anyway, when he dropped me off, the most amazing thing EVER happenedHE KISSED ME! OMG, diary, you have no idea. He is an amazing kisser even if we didnt even use tongue. I know its too soon to tell, but I think I like him. A lot. And this is going to sound WAY school girlish, but I think, maybe, theres a slight chance that I love him.

  Angel froze when he read that. "She loves me? He thought. How could she possibly? I was a complete asshole to her, and she loves me" Angel almost dropped her diary. He looked at the young woman in her bed.

  Her blond hair was spread out on her pillow like a fan, and she was barely smiling. She was a picture of serenity. She was beautiful.

  Just then it hit Angel. "I like her. More so than that, I love her."

  Instead of feeling disgust like he was brought up to feel, he felt happiness and satisfaction. He loved someone. The feeling was new. He loved it.

 

*****************

 

  "Angel?" Buffy said as she woke up the next morning. The sun was pouring in through the window and the birds were singing sweetly outside. She looked down at herself. She was in bed. Angel must have tucked her in. The thought of Angel tucking her in made her smile.

  She sat up in bed and yawned. Just then, a piece of white computer paper caught her eye.

  "What the heck?" Buffy wondered out loud. The piece of paper was laying out on her nightstand, with her name written in red ink on the top of it.

  She smiled and picked it up.

  How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

   I love thee to the depth, and breadth and height

  My soul can reach when feeling out of sight

  For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.

  I love thee to the depth of everydays

  Most quiet need by sun and candlelight.

  I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

  I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

  I love thee with a passion put to use

  In my old griefs, and with my childhood faith.

  I love thee with a love I seemed to lose

  With my lost saints---I love thee with the breath,

  Smiles, tears, all my life!---

  And if God choose,

  I shall but love thee better after death.

              ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning

      I love you.

            Always,

                   Angel.

  Buffy put the letter down. She didnt even bother to wipe the tears of joy away from her face

"Hey", Buffy said to Angel that morning.

  "Hey", Angel said back. They smiled at each other. They might have only said one word, but their eyes were busy speaking another language.

  Angel and Buffy stood there smiling at each other in front of the school for a couple more minutes. Then, the bell rang.

  "Walk you in?" Angel asked as he extended his right hand.

  Buffy smiled warmly and accepted. "Thank you."

  As they walked into school hand in hand, they received various glances from various people. Some were jealous of Buffy, some were jealous of Angel, and some just thought they shouldnt be together.

  "Hey, Buffster", Xander said as he saw Buffy coming around the corner. "What's going on oh its Angel", he said as he saw Angel following close behind her, still with her hand in his.

  "Oh boy, its Harris", Angel said in Buffys ear as they approached.

  "Be nice", Buffy warned.

  "Hey, Xande"r, Buffy said as she walked into Mrs. James classroom. "Whats going on?"

  Xanders jaw practically dropped when he saw Angel and Buffy holding hands. "I don't know, you tell me", he said as he nodded toward their joined hands.

  Buffy and Angel nervously exchanged glances before letting each others hand fall.

  "So, did you guys have fun at the Bronze the other night?" Buffy asked as she took her seat.

  "Yeah well, as soon as some trash was taken outside, it was all right", Xander said with a smile.

  Angel shot him a menacing look as he sat down beside Buffy.

  "So, Angel, whats new in the psych ward?" Xander asked.

  Before Angel could reply, Mrs. James walked in.

 " Good morning class, she said as she walked in the door. Have we all been working on our reports on poetry? "

  Groans came from all around the classroom. All except for Buffy and Angel who silently exchanged glances.

  "Now class, today, we open our books to page" Mrs. James said.

  Buffy wasnt really paying much attention. "How could I"? She wondered. "The most amazing guy tucked me in last night, left me a love note, and then confessed his love for me, and they expect me to pay attention on English class. YEAH RIGHT!"

  Buffy took out a sheet of her pink notebook paper and began to write. She wasnt sure what to write, until a song that made enough sense popped into her head.

  So many times, I thought I held it in my hands, but just like grains of sand, love slipped through my fingers. And so many nights, Ive asked the lord above, please, make me lucky in love, to find a love that lingers. Something keeps telling me, that you could be my answered pray. You must be heaven sent I swear. Cause, something happens when you look at me, I forget to speak. Something happens when you kiss my mouth, my knees get so weak. Could it be true this is what God has planned for me, cause baby I cant believe, that something like you, could happen to me.

  Forever,

    Buffy

  Buffy leaned over and dropped the note on Angels desk while Mrs. James was turned around.

  Angel gave Buffy a questioning look, but Buffy just turned around in her seat and pretended like she was listening.

  "What the hell?" Angel thought as he opened the note quietly. When he read it, he felt his heart swell five times its normal size. He quietly took out a sheet of notebook paper, and began writing one of his favorite poems.

 A heavy heart, Beloved, have I borne
From year to year until I saw thy face,
And sorrow after sorrow took the place
Of all those natural joys as lightly worn
As the stringed pearls, each lifted in its turn
By a beating heart at dance-time. Hopes apace
Were changed to long despairs, till God's own grace
Could scarcely lift above the world forlorn
My heavy heart. Then thou didst bid me bring
And let it drop adown thy calmly great
Deep being! Fast it sinketh, as a thing
Which its own nature doth precipitate,
Which thine doth close above it, mediating
Betwixt the stars and the unaccomplished fate.

  Sorry it not pop music or anything, but its the best I could do.

   Always,

   Angel

  Angel quietly folded the note and passed it to Buffy. She smiled when he placed it on her desk, and she opened it hastily.

  She read it and felt her heart swell five times its normal size.

  She quietly placed the note in her shirt pocket, right above her pounding heart.

  She turned to Angel, and was surprised to find him staring at her intently. She studied the way his dark brown eyes traced the curves of her face, and she shuddered. She could almost feel his hands on her face and on the back of her head, pulling her closer as they kissed.

  She smiled broadly at the thought. "Would it be so bad to just kiss him right here and now?" Buffy thought. The thought of her pulling a surprised Angel into a passionate kiss in front of Mrs. James made her giggle a little. Angel cocked an eyebrow. Buffy shook her head and smiled.

  She looked into his eyes and could almost hear what he was saying.

  I love you.

  She wasnt sure if he could hear her or not,(in fact, she knew he couldnt physically)  but she answered back.

  I love you too.

  Angel smiled back.

  He understood every word she didnt say.

  Angel quietly grabbed her hand and held it through the rest of class.

 

****************

 

  Xander turned to ask Buffy a question.

  "Buffy, is this going to be on a te" He looked down and saw Buffy and Angel holding hands and making goo goo eyes at each other.

  "Ugh, gros"s, he said, a little too loudly obviously because the girl who sat behind him, Marsha Davis flicked him in the back.

  "Um, ow", he said as he turned and shot her a look.

 " Shh", she said.

  Xander smiled at her enthusiastically. Mean school listener, he thought. He turned back to Angel and Buffy holding hands.

  Xander didn't like Buffy like that anymore, even though he had the year when she came and he wasnt sure his feeling had quite dissolved yet, but he couldnt help but feel a pang of jealousy run through him when he saw those two practically pawing each other with their eyes.

  He wasnt sure is Buffy knew what she was doing.

  "What better person than me to point it out to her", Xander said out loud.

  "Shh", Marsha said from behind him.

  Xander sighed. "Girls.""

 

******************

 

 " Hey, Buffy", Willow said as Buffy walked by her in the hallway.

  "Hey, Will", Buffy replied.

  "So, are you going to the Bronze with me and Xander tonight?" Willow asked as she grabbed her books from inside her locker.

  "Oh, no. You know. I have studying to do", she said with a smile.

  O"h, well, you have been kind of, all work and no play Buffy", Willow said.

  "Thats me. Hittin-the-books-Buffy. Thats what you guys should start calling me."

  Willow sighed. "Buffy, Xander and I know about you and Angel."

  "You do?" Buffy asked.

 " Well, yeah, I mean, its hard NOT to notice the way you two were practically have eye sex with each other," Willow teased.

  Buffy blushed. "Are we that bad?"

  "Well, no, but I thought that last part was funny", Will said as she smiled. She stopped smiling. "It was funny, right?"

  Buffy smiled warmly at her. "Definitely funny. Hey! If Im Hittin-the-books-Buffy, you should definitely be Barrel-full-of-monkeys-Will!" Buffy exclaimed.

  Willows face became serious." Buffy, I can't say that I am exactly one hundred percent okay with this."

  Buffy became serious as well. "I know."

  "Do you really? I mean, he was, excuse my French, an asshole to you before, and now, he just suddenly, POOFS into a nice guy? Smells a little fishy to me", Will said.

  "I know he was a jerk before", Buffy said, "but Will, he's changed somehow."

  "Are you sure?"

  "Trust me, Will, I know what Im doing. I just wish Xander wasnt such a big jerk at the Bronze", Buffy said as she started to walk away.

  "Well, you cant exactly blame him for acting like that. He was a jerk to you before, you even said so yoursel"f, Willow said. She knew Xander was overly mean to Angel, and she even hit him for it, "but Xander was just being a friend, even if it was in his own Xander-stupid way."

  "Yeah, I know, but you have to admit, he was being a little over the top, dont you think?" Buffy said.

 " He was just being concerned, Buffy", Willow said.

  "Concerned is telling that person calmly. Bitching about something is not being concerned. Its being a jack ass," Buffy said.

  "Oh, yeah," Willow said.

  "Nice come back", Will, Buffy said flippantly.

  "Well, at least he was trying to be a friend. Right about now, I'm thinking he needn't have", Willow said.

  "Ugh. Fine!" Buffy said as she stormed away.

 " Fine"! Willow said as she walked in the other direction.

 

****************

 

  Buffy sat in her chair clutching Mr. Gordo. "Why was I such a bitch to Willow?" Buffy asked the stuffed pig.

 Just then, the phone rang.

  "Hello", Buffy the incredible screw up, she said into the phone.

  "Hey, Buff, its me", Xander said.

  "Oh, hey, Xander."

 " Hey, whats up?" Buffy asked.

  "Nothing. Heard you and Will had a blowout today", Xander said.

  "Oh. Did she tell you why?" Buffy asked.

  "Yeah."

 " Oh. Sorry Xander. It's just that, when it comes to Angel and me its just a sore subject. I was just upset that you were jumping on his back", Buffy said. "Sorry."

  "Dont be."

  "Really?" She asked. This couldnt be that easy

  "Really"

  "Oh. Okay then", she replied.

  Xander sighed. "Look, Buffy, I am going to get right to the "

  Buffy sighed. "It's never easy"

  "Okay" Buffy said. She didnt like where this was going.

  "Look, I love you Buff. We all love you. But right now, youre playing with fire. I just want to protect you before you get burned."

  "Why is everyone treating me like a little girl! I know what I want!"

 " Do you? This thing you have with Angel, its going to fail. You know it, and I know it. Is that really what you want"?  Xander asked.

  On the other end of the line, Buffy was silent.

 " Buff. Im sorry, but this is the only way. It's either him, or us. Choose wisely".

  Buffy was quiet again. She couldnt believe what she just heard.

  "You're giving me an ultimatum?"

  "Yes", Xander replied. "Please, Buffy. Don't be stupid."

  Buffy was silent for a couple of minutes. The only noise was the irritating buzz of the bad connection.

  "I'm sorry Xander, but you just ask me to give up what I have with Angel. It's not fair. And I'm sorry about what I said before about you to Willow, but maybe, if you can't accept my feelings toward Angel maybe, we weren't as good of friends as I thought we were. I'm sorry. Bye", Buffy said. She hung up before she could hear his response.

  "Buffy, hello? "Xander said into the silent phone. I cant believe she just did that, he thought.

  Buffy was mad. Really mad. More like pissed off her rocker. How could Xander, her supposed best friend ask her to just ditch the man she likedloved? And the way he said itlike it wasnt even something to think twice about.

  Buffy replayed her words to Xander, and she almost regretted them.    

  Almost.

  "God, hurricane Buffy fucks up again", Buffy said.

  She threw Mr. Gordo into a corner, and cried herself to sleep.

  "Whats wrong"? Angel asked Buffy in the library a couple days later. "I tried calling you the other night and you werent home."

  "I have just been around", Buffy said. Her voice was droopy and she knew she looked like shit.

  "Is there something wrong"? Angel asked. His angelic features were drawn tightly in confusion and concern.

  Buffy didnt answer, instead she sighed.

  "D-did I maybe do, um, something w-wrong?" Angel asked. Buffy looked at him. She couldnt help but smile at the pure innocence in his tone.

 " No, you haven't done anything wrong", she said as she reached across the table and held his hand. All the confusion on his face melted away, and was instead, replaced with the sweetest smile yet.

  "Okay, I mean, I was a little worried. I'm new to this love thing, and I wanted to make sure I didnt screw it up", he said with a crooked half smile. Buffy smiled brightly despite her morose feelings. He had that affect on her. Sometimes, she would just be walking down the hall and for no reason smile when she thought about him. She could be on her deathbed, and one smile from him would bring her back to full vitality.

  Buffy heard someone outside the library laughing loudly. She turned around in her seat to look, and found Xander and Willow passing by. She immediately stopped smiling.

  She sighed again and bit her lip. She felt like crying. In fact, thats all she had done the last couple of days. She had mastered brooding, and was now working on the cry factor. In her heart, she knew she was right, and that Xander and Willow had no right to yell at her like that. But, on the other hand, Buffy was being a little childish, and she knew that they were just looking out for her well-being.

  Angel didn't see her glance at Xander and Willow, but he did see the change in her personality. Seeing her sad, made him want to seek out whoever did this to her and beat them to a bloody pulp. Instead, he chose to apply those strong urges to beat someones ass into finding a way to make her smile again.

 " Hey, do you wanna get out of here. Maybe, go to the Bronze or somethin"? Angel asked. Buffy didnt meet his eyes.

  "Come on, Summers, you look like someone ran over your cat. You could use a little cheering up", Angel said. Buffy smiled sadly.

  "All right."

  "Okay, lets go then", Angel said as he grabbed her hand and pulled her out of her seat.

 

************

 

  Angel and Buffy walked into the Bronze hand in hand. Angel was wearing his usual leather pants and duster, and Buffy was wearing a red skirt with a tight black quarter length shirt that had slits down the sides of the arms. Even though Buffy refused to crack a smile, they looked pretty damn good together.

  "Do you wanna go sit down, or do you want a drink or something?" Angel asked. He was seriously getting worried. She hadn't said a word since they got in the car. All she did was stare at the window and nod or shake her head if necessary. Again, he fought the urge to bust someones head open.

  Buffy nodded. "Sure."

  Angel gave her a half smile. "Sure to which one?"

  "Let's sit down", Buffy said. She gave him what she intended to be a smile, but she really wasnt sure how it turned out. In fact, at that point, she really didnt care.

  Angel took her hand and led her over to an empty seat. When they sat down, Buffy stared at the table, refusing to make eye contact with Angel.

  "So, anything new?" Angel asked.

  Buffy shook her head. "No, not really. Anything new with you?"

 " Nah, Spike is still an asshole, and Faith is off banging the entire state of California", Angel said. He decided to leave Roman out of the conversation. He wasnt exactly on his good side right now, evidence of which was proved during the talk he had with Roman the night he and Buffy went to dinner.

  Look, I was just out getting myself some dinner, Angel said.

  Angel, dont lie to me, Roman said. You know I dont like being lied to.

  I know, but Im NOT lying. I just needed some time alone, he said.

  Roman sighed. Okay, little brother, this is the thing. See, I hear the words coming out of your mouth, but they arent exactly matching up to what I know.

  What do you mean?

  Well, Spike told me you had a date with some chick, and that you were going to take her out, Roman said.

  Angel shifted uncomfortably. Thats not true. I TOLD you, I was out by myself, knocking back a few beers and just thinking.

  Roman sighed again. All right. But you listen now, if I so much as HEAR that you werent by yourself and that you are lying to me, we will have some problems.

  Angel nodded. Fine.

  Good, now get the hell outta here, Roman said.

  Angel wasnt exactly in very well with his brother right now. In fact, he had beat Spike to a bloody pulp for saying something to Roman.

  Buffy stared at Angel. He was being quiet too. His brow was a little tight with what looked like concern, and he kept alternating between biting his lip and biting his thumbnail.

  Buffy smiled a little. "Biting your nails isnt good for them, you know", she said. Angel's head snapped to attention. If it hadn't have been for the tingling sensation in his stomach, he might have forgotten she was even there.

  Angel smiled. "Well thank you, mom, I will have to remember that in the future. "He smiled at her, even though mentioning his mother made his insides clench.

  Buffy smiled. "I was just pointing out a fact. If you have stubby, icky, nonexistent nails, don't blame me", Buffy said.

  "Well, thank you for your concern, but I think I will be just fine with stubby nails", Angel said. He was happy that she was finally smiling.

  "Suit yourself", she said, "but dont try to hold MY hand when your hands are all gross and stuff."

  Angel grabbed her hand and squeezed it gently. "Yeah right. Like you could resist this face", he said, giving her his best innocent face.

  Buffy's heart melted. He was so adorable. "I can resist it just fine, thank you", she said as she tried to keep her composure and fight the impulse to grab him and kiss him.

 " You sure?" He asked as he traced small circles on her palm. Buffy smiled.

  "Positive."

  "You're really sure"? Angel asked as he brought her hand to his mouth and kissed it gently.

  Buffy felt her body tingle with the rush of Angels warm, smooth lips.

  A sonnet came to mind for some odd reason. Something that Mr. Somberton had drilled into her when she was back in L.A. as a freshman.

 " Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hands too much", Buffy said with a smile. Angel smiled broadly. "Which mannerly devotion shows in this, for saints have hands that pilgrims hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers kiss," she said.

  Angel smiled. He had no idea Buffy knew Shakespeare. He had no idea she knew poetry at all, outside of pop music.

  "Ay, but have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?" Angel asked.

  "Ay, pilgrim, lips they must use in pray", she said back as he brought his lips to her hand again. She pulled her hand away before he could kiss her, and she looked him straight in the eye.

  "Well, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do. They pray. Grant though, lest faith turn to deep despair, he said as he brought a hand up to caress her face."

  "Saints do not move, though grant for prayers sake", she said breathlessly. She felt the familiar tingling start at her toes and quickly consume the rest of her body.

  "Then move not, while my prayers effect I take. Thus from my lipsmy sin is purged", Angel said as he slowly drew her into a tender kiss.

  "Then, have my lips the sin that they have took", Buffy said quietly. She still had her eyes squeezed shut, and she could feel his breath quickening against her mouth.

  "Sin from my lips? O trespass sweetly urged. Give me my sin again, he said as he crushed her lips to his. "When they pulled away, both of them were breathless.

  "You, um, kiss by the book", Buffy said as her eyes fluttered open. She smiled brightly at Angel.

 " You read by the book", Angel said as he smiled back. He reclaimed her hand and began rubbing it tenderly with his thumb.

  "Yeah, sometimes. When I was back in L.A., my freshman Lit. teacher made us all memorize a scene from Romeo and Juliet. I picked that one", she said.

  "Oh, well well well, Miss Summers, there are some things I dont know about you", Angel said.

  Buffy's smiled seemed to droop a little. "There are a lot of things you dont know about me."

  Angel opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off by another familiar and annoying voice.

  "Well, it seems like they let just about anyone in her"e, Xander said as he walked by.

  "Well, of course they do, I mean, it is a teenage establishment", Willow said from behind him.

  "Will, thats not the point", Xander said. "Never mind. I will have to explain sarcasm to you sometime."

  Willow gave Buffy an apologetic look, but didnt stop to talk to her.

  Buffy felt the tears she had long forgotten rush back up to her eyes. She tried to blink them away, but to no avail. All the sweet words that she and Angel had just said vanished. Instead, a feeling of sadness consumed her.

  "Um, I am going to step outside, Il'l be back" Buffy said as she got up and ran toward the door.

  "Buffy Buffy"! Angel yelled as he got up and ran after her.

  "Buffy! Wait up"! He yelled outside of the Bronze. He caught up to her and grabbed her arm. "Buffy, whats wrong?"

  "Let me go! "Buffy said through her tears. "I need to be alone."

  Angel grabbed Buffy again and whirled her around so they were face to face. "Buffy", he said." Come on, Buffy, look at me", he said as he brought a finger to her chin and tilted it up so that her eyes met his.

  She blinked, and salty tears ran down her face. She avoided his eyes.

  "Buffy, whats wrong?"

  "You wouldn't you wouldn't understand", she said as she looked down.

  Angel tilted her head back up.

  "Try me."

  Buffy pulled away. "Its them! Its HIM! GOD! HE IS SUCH AN ASSHOLE! HE TRIES TO JUST TELL ME HOW TO LIVE MY LIFE! ITS NOT LIKE IM A LITTLE GIRL, ANGEL! I KNOW WHAT I WANT!" She exclaimed. Angel stood still as she ran a hand through her hair.

  "Wait, whos them?" He asked.

  "THEM! IN THERE"! Buffy said as she stood in front of him and pointed towards the Bronze.

  "Who? Xander"? Angel asked. If he was the reason she was crying

  "Not just them! Everyone in there! They look at us and they dont accept us" Buffy said.

  Angel came over to her and put his hands on either arm. "Buffy, it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks. I know what I feel for you, and thats enough for me", he said.

  Buffy sat down on an empty crate. "What do you feel for me?" She asked him.

  "You know how I feel about you", Angel said.

 " Xander said he said that our relationship is doomed to fail. He said that you didnt really love me", she said.

  "Fuck Xander," Angel said. He hated the boy already but now, he actually had a good reason to beat the shit out of him.

  Buffy sighed. "Do you?"

  Angel's jaw dropped and his brow tightened. "What?"

 " Do you love me?"

  "Buffy" Angel said.

  "No, you've told me every way except straight up", Buffy said quietly.

  "I-I didnt think I didnt think I needed to", Angel said. As much as he tried to hide is, the sting of her words was reflected in his voice.

  "Please?" Buffy asked. She got up off the crate and walked right up next to him.

  Angel sighed. "I thought you already knew"

  Buffy sensed the hurt in his voice and she placed both hands on either side of his arms. She felt awful that she had caused this hurt, but she also needed to know for her own peace of mind. He HAD said it every way except to her face, and she needed that one silly stupid thing that shouldnt even matter to let her out inner Xander rest.

 " I'm sorry Its just that I KNOW you love me but, something inside of me isn't willing to accept it until I hear it come out of your mouth", she said.

  "Elizabeth Anne Summers", he said as he brought his hands up to her face, "I love you. I love you with all my heart, and with all my soul, and even though people may say we are rushing things and that they will never work, I believe that I may have finally found my soul mate. In fact, I say fuck em all."

  Buffy smiled and she leaned forward and kissed him gently. "You know, I liked it all up to the last sentence. We really have to work on your sweet talking."

  Angel smiled. "Kiss me."

  They stood there, in the middle of the alley with people who looked at them and smirked, kissing each other passionately. And you know what?

 

  They really didnt care.

 

******************

 

  When Angel returned home, Spike greeted him.

  "Good evening, wanker, how is Buggy?" He asked.

  Angel ignored him. "Shes fine. Hows your leg, gimp?"

  Spike stopped smirking. "What the hell is your problem?"

  "You are, dumbass", he answered.

  "Geez, its really starting to sound like your developing feelings and things for this girl", Spike said.

 " I think you need to keep your mouth shut or do I have to re-enact the scene we made last time you opened your mouth where it wasn't needed?" Angel asked menacingly.

  Spike shut it. "Bloody wanker. Just boink the bitch already"

  "What was that?" Angel asked.

  "Oh, nothing, nothing."

  "Thats what I thought."

  "You know, he is right," Roman said from the stairs.

 " Roman, hey", Angel said.

  "Are you starting to like this girl?" Roman said.

 " No, of course not. You know I would never let anything get in the way of becoming someone", Angel replied.

  "Really, because if I'm not mistaken, you ARE starting to get soft."

  "No, I'm not."

  Roman raised his eyebrows. "Really? Okay then, you and your girl are a total waste of space. In fact, the little bitch is probably so damn loose, you could fit a fuckin watermelon up that hole."

  Angel clenched his jaw.

  "Yeah. Thats what I thought", Roman said as he turned around and walked upstairs. "You better watch yourself, Angel, you better watch your girl as well. Just hope it doesnt get too deep."

 " It won't", Angel said behind clenched teeth.

  "You better hope not because if it does, I might have to take her out of the picture permanently", Roman said.

  Angel stood there and clenched his fists. He heard the door close, and he turned around and walked toward his room.

  "Ha, ha,ha ha, ha", Spike taunted as he Angel walked by him. "You punked out you little bit" Spike said, before Angel cut him off with a hard right to the jaw.

  "Spike, shut the fuck up", Angel said as he walked by 

----------

"Hey", Angel said as he walked into her house.

  "Hey", Buffy said brightly.

  "I brought movies", Angel said as he held them up.

  Buffy grabbed them excitedly. "Movie time!"

  Angel couldnt help but smile as the little ball of energy he called Buffy bounced off into the living room chanting, Movie time! Movie time! It made him feel like there was nothing else in the world to worry about. Just Buffy and him. It made him forget that there were other people that wanted them apart, and that Buffy had broken down only 5 days ago, questioning his love for her. It made him forget he had to see her in secret.

  After what happened with Roman, Angel figured hed lay low for a while. He still saw Buffy, in fact they have been going on walks in the park, but they didnt go anywhere too public where lots of people would see them. They wouldn't be going out to the Bronze since Roman was there a lot. They wouldn't be going to movies since Faith was there a lot. They wouldn't be going to any strip clubs since Spike was there a lot.

Come to think of it, we wouldnt be going to any strip clubs anyway, Angel thought as he followed his love into the living room.

  Angel had wondered if seeing Buffy behind Romans back was a bad thing. He had come to this conclusion. He loved her. End of story.

  "So what movies did you bring"? Buffy asked.

  "Full Metal Jacket, Moulin Rouge like you wanted, and Forrest Gump," Angel said.

  Buffy cocked an eyebrow. "Forrest Gump?"

  Angel looked at her seriously. "Uh huuh, glad your hearing is all right."

  Buffy smiled. "Why Forrest Gump?"

 " Why not?" Angel asked as he sat down on her couch.

  "I dont know. I just never pictured you as a Forrest Gump kinda guy", Buffy said as she sat down on his lap. "Then again, I never saw you as the sit-in-my-room-and-read-poetry-kinda-guy either."

  Angel felt her little body curl into his lap. There was nothing else in the entire world that felt so right. This was where he was supposed to be.

 " I write poetry too", Angel said.

  Buffy slapped him playfully. "You know what I mean."

  "Well, maybe next time you wont prejudge", Angel said with a half smile.

  Angel took a small hand and held it in his. She smiled at his tender touch and brought her lips down to his. The initial touch of their lips together always made them groan with pleasure. As they kissed, he gently licked her bottom lip with his tongue. Smiling up against his mouth, Buffy obliged by opening her own mouth and giving his tongue some entry.

  Angel groaned as his tongue invaded her mouth. He tangled his with hers and they quietly danced their own dance. He tasted her mouth with his tongue. Her mouth was sweet like frosting, and spicy like something he couldnt quite identify.

  Angel reluctantly pulled away. Lately, their kisses have been becoming more and more passionate, and it was hard to pull away. Buffy most have felt it too, because she groaned as she lost contact with his lips.

  Buffy opened her eyes and gazed into pure chocolate. God, he was beautiful.

  Buffy had privately made an alliance with Willow.

  Buffy! I am SO sorry! Willow said over the phone.

  Will, its okayreally, Buffy said.

  No its not! I was being a total jerk! Willow said.

  Will, its all right. I mean, it hurt, but I got over it. You were just standing up for Xander when I knocked him down.

  But, he deserved to be knocked down. He was acting all, knock downable, Will said.

  Will, trust me, its all right, Buffy said reassuringly.

  Okaybut I still feel bad.

  Okay fine.

  So, how are things going with Angel? Will asked.

  Things are goingwell. Just loverly, Buffy said.

  Hes different you say?

  Yeah, he changed. I mean, first, he was all, well you know, assholish, but then, I dont know, then we started talking and going out places, andI dont know. All I know it that so far, its been great, Buffy said.

  Willow giggled. I bet youre smiling right now, she said.

  Buffy blushed. She WAS smiling. She was smiling like a lunatic.

  Okay, maybe only a little, Buffy said.

  Yeah okay, Willow replied.

  WillI think Im in love.

  There was silence for a little while before Buffy heard the muffled squealing.

  YOURE IN LOVE!! BUFFY THATS GREAT! Willow said excitedly.

  Buffy laughed. Yeah, it really is. And he loves me too.

  Oh my gosh! You guys are just like Romeo and Juliet, Willow said dreamily.

  Yeah, I guess, Buffy said a little down.

  Okay, so if love is so great, why the down tone Buffy?

  Willow, he is the most intelligent, sweetest, hottest guy Ive EVER seen, let alone dated Buffy started.

  And?

  WillowIm thinking aboutyou know, doing it.

  There was a longer silence.

  Really?

  Yeah, I mean, the way weve been kissing, and when we have to say goodbyeits getting so hard I feel like crying, Buffy said.

  Well, what are you going to do?

  I dont know, Buffy said.

  Well, what do you want to do? Will asked.

  Well, what I WANT isnt exactly always what is right, Buffy said.

  Well, true.

  But, what I WANTWill, what happens if I never feel this way ever again?

  Carpe Diem, Willow said.

  Huh?

  Carpe Diem, it means Seize the day, Willow said.

  Buffy sighed. I dont know. But, I thinkI think maybe I will, or we will, Buffy said.

  Buffy could almost see her friend gaping on the other end of the telephone.

  Wow, Willow said. Wow.

  "Buffy Buffy?" Angel asked. Buffy blinked.

 " Huh?"

  "Hey, where ya been?" Angel asked.

  "Oh, nowhere. I was just thinking. What did you want? "Buffy asked.

  "What movie do you want to watch first?"

  "Um, you pick", Buffy said as she traced his lips with her index finger.

  Angel had to exert iron will not to smash her lips to his. All right then, he said as he gently placed a kiss to her slim finger, Forrest Gump it is. Angel grabbed Buffy and gently tossed her onto the couch as he stood up. He walked over to the tapes and placed one into the VCR.

  "Forrest Gump always makes me sad", Buffy said from behind him.

  "Why's that?" Angel asked as he rewound it.

  "Because she dies in the end. After all that and they are finally together, she dies", Buffy said.

  Angel came back to the couch and kneeled in front of her. "Well, you could look at it that way. I prefer the more optimistic side, mysel"f, Angel said.

  Buffy placed her hand on his cheek. "What side would that be?"

  Angel sighed. "Well, the way I see it, shes lived a life worth living, and when she died, she was happy."

  "Uh huh", Buffy said as she stared into his dark eyes.

  "And the way I see it? If you've lived a life worth living, then death is nothing more than living in a memory", he said.

  Buffy felt her eyes tear up. "That was beautiful".

  Angel leaned in and kissed her gently. "You're beautiful."

 

********************

 

  Roman paced. "What to dowhat to do"

  "This is serious. She is breaking him. Hes not 100% focused on his goal. On his mission. On my mission."

 " I need to do something", Roman said aloud. "But what?"

  Roman thought. "Well, I have forbade him to go anywhere near him pretty much, but that wont stop him forever."

  "If worse comes to worse I know what I have to do"

  Kill her.

 

**********************

 

  Angel hummed as he walked home. He was happy. He and Buffy had watched Forrest Gump and Moulin Rouge. They didnt watch Full Metal Jacket because Buffy said it was too manly and ick. So, they talked. Mainly about school, and Moulin Rouge. He hated to admit it, but the movies plot reminded him of their relationship.

  "I cant remember, did it end good or bad?" Angel thought. He didnt remember much about the movie. In fact, he didnt remember much about either movie seeing as how he and Buffy made out during the entire thing. It was a good thing Mr. Giles and James werent home because they might have been some questions Angel didnt care to answer.

  Angel was so happy. Nothing could bring him down.

 

  Nothing.

 

  "Why hello, wanker", Spike said from behind a tree. Angel turned and looked into the shadows where Spike was lighting up.

  "Spike, what are you doing here?" Angel asked. The little blond asshole was NOT going to ruin his perfect evening.

  "I was just strollin through the neighborhood. Hey, tell Buggy her neighbors need to trim their dogwood. Its getting awfully bushy", Spike said.

  "Spike" Angel warned.

  "Hey, I was just thinking that maybe you could tell her since you two are so fucking close."

  "Yeah, well whats it to you?" Angel asked.

  "Me? Well, lets see. Nothing. Oh yeah, besides the whole ROMAN IS GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS THING!" Spike said as he stomped out his cigarette.

 " No he's not."

  "Like HELL hes not! If Roman finds out"

  "Well Roman wont find out will he?" Angel asked.

  Spike was quiet.

  "Will he?" Angel demanded.

  Spike sighed. "Angel you're my brother, and my best friend. I hate to admit it, but I'm quite fond of that ugly face of yours. So is Faith. We we just dont want to see you get hurt again."

  Angel sighed and ran a hand through his hair." I know what I'm doing", he said quietly.

  "Yeah, you might, but remember what Roman said"

  "Fuck Roman! "Angel yelled a little louder than he intended.

  Spike stared.

  "Look, Spike, I love you and Faith with all my heart. You two will always be my family. And I love Roman. He has taken care of me since I was little. But Buffy she, I don't know. She makes me feel things I've never felt before. She-She breathes new life into me", Angel said.

  Spike stared.

 " I know its only been a couple of weeks, bu tSpike, I think I love her," Angel said.

  Spike spoke up. "You LOVE her?"

  "Yeah."

  Spike sighed. "Ange lI know you're the one who was born with the poets soul and all that shit, but please, be careful. If not for you, or for me or Faith do it for Buffy. Even if it means being cruel to be kind. If she's as great as you say she is, and if she loves you back you'll do the right thing", Spike said before he turned around and walked away.

 

  Angel was left alone standing in the middle of the street.