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Author's Note: I've made it a relationship episode, focusing on their personal lives, rather than slaying, which I felt needed to be done as I had neglected them all of late. Also, a lovely B/A scene for you. Enjoy.

A Mundane Life.

"You're early," was the abrupt response which the slayer found herself greeted with from her and Angel's resident house guest when she was prevented from entering the Mansion after returning home one early evening.

"Spike!" Buffy exclaimed as he closed the front door behind him, leaving them to conduct their conversation outside. "Why are you barring me from the house?"

"Don't rail at me, it's all Peaches idea," Spike replied with what could only be described as leering grin. "He's got something special planned."

Buffy regarded him with critical brown eyes. "What did I tell you about insulting your grandsire?"

Spike pretended to think for a moment. "Er, to do it with originality and flair?"

The slayer glared at him. "Careful. I can always insist you join us."

He grinned. "Come on, Slayer. You know playing gooseberry would be more fun for me than either of you two. Besides I've got my own date tonight."

"I wondered why you were all smart," Buffy said as she took in the stylish trousers and jacket in charcoal grey, a contrast to his bleach white blond hair, topped off with a crisp white shirt. "You better treat Tara right. She's one of the good guys."

"I will, don't worry. Even if your threats are a tad lacking at present."

"I can always ban Passions." Buffy grinned as the chipped vampire before her acquired a look of outrage.

"You wouldn't dare," Spike cried.

"Try me."

"You wouldn't know how."

"I know how to install the parental lock," Buffy informed him. "Think my threats are empty now?"

"You're a cruel woman," Spike replied before opening the door a little as Angel's voice could be heard from the kitchen.

"Yes, she's back," Spike replied. Due to the large expanse of land which the Mansion covered, it's owner's tones were only audible to vampires. But even so, the one at the other end of the ground floor had to strain to hear him. "You want me to do what?" Spike asked. He nodded in understanding a few moments later, while Buffy remained confused and puzzled by all this mystery of her soulmate.

"Right," Spike began, turning to face the Slayer. "Angel requests that you go inside and upstairs, where you will change into the new dress he has laid out for you." Spike grinned at her curious expression. "Then you may go downstairs and into the dining room."

"Thank you, Spike," Buffy returned as he stepped aside to let her enter the Mansion at last. From the other end of the house wondrous smells drifted to her olfactory senses. Allowing herself a brief indulgence Buffy inhaled them deeply before making her way upstairs to the master suite she shared with Angel.

A deep royal purple gown awaited her on their bed, with a scooped front and low back, no sleeves, only straps. Smiling, she quickly shed her practical college girl blouse and skirt for the silken feel against her smooth skin. To finish off the ensemble she choose her cross necklace that had been his first gift to her and strappy silver shoes.

She found the dining room alit with the light of a thousand candles, their gentle flames casting a soft glow over the long mahogany table set for two. Buffy silently admired all the trouble that her soulmate had gone to when she sensed that she was no longer alone. Turning round she encountered Angel's brooding gaze from his stances at the threshold of the kitchen. He had gone for the classic black suit and white shirt, his black bow tie hanging undone around his neck. Few men could pull off the look and he was one of them in Buffy's opinion.

Buffy smiled at him. "What's the occasion?" She asked him as she walked towards him, swinging her hips as the dress showed off every inch of her curves, making him swallow hard as he summoned all his half vampire control to keep himself from taking her up against the door right there and then.

"Do I need one?" He countered, taking her hands in his as she stood before him. Mesmerised his dark eyes took in every facet of her glory, admiring how well her long blond tresses contrasted with her tanned skin and purple dress. Unable to resist he took her in his arms and captured her lips with his.

These were truly the happy times of their love, where there were no obstacles, no limits, no one and nothing to come between them. Where all the trials and heartache were long behind them, and the only thing which lay ahead was his eventual complete Shanshu into mortality. Somehow a certain normality had settled upon them and they could experience a truly healthy and ordinary relationship, even with the slaying.

Wishing to wine and dine her first, Angel reluctantly parted from her lips and led her to the table. Installing her in one of the chairs, he bowed and then disappeared into the kitchen to return a moment later with the first course.

Elegant and gentle piano music stemmed from the entertainment system as the couple partook of Angel's sumptuous meal. The romance of the evening contrived to make them forget the present big bad which had occupied their minds since the Slayer's first encounter with the woman in the red dress. Conversation consisted of nothing but speculation as to how the other slayerettes were amusing themselves and aspects of their past which the other had been previously unaware of.

Opportunities for a night like this had been few and far between since they agreed to let Spike move from Jenny and Giles' apartment into the Mansion. Along with their other more recent house guest, Elita, slaying and their sperate university lives, time for just the two of them had become a precious commodity.

"Where is Elita?" Buffy asked before taking a sip of her drink.

"Giles offered to invite her to his and Jenny's for tonight," Angel replied.

"You didn't need to go to this much trouble," Buffy uttered, gazing around once more at the candles, soft music and sumptuous food.

"Yes I did," Angel said softy. He took her hand and put it to his lips. Tenderly he turned it over to kiss her palm and then her wrist, until a sigh erupted from her mouth. "We haven't had much time for our relationship lately, and I wanted to give us an evening to relish it once more. To celebrate how far we've come." His fingers began to stroke the still captured hand. "I mean, nearly three years ago, did you think that we'd be living together and I'd be almost completely human?"

"No," Buffy acknowledged. "I didn't. But I remember correctly, I was still trying to convince you that we could be together. You were all doom and gloom and brooding." She smiled at him. "Not that it wasn't sexy. Still is," she added with a grin.

"We're approaching that normality you wanted," Angel added.

"Yeah," Buffy accepted. "Turns out though, I didn't really want normality. I wanted us, for ever. And we have that." She gripped his hand then let go to return to her meal. "I couldn't ask for anything more."

 


Spike paused only for a moment after Buffy left him to obey Angel's request, half looking through the front door glass after the slayer, half staring at the transparent pane as if it's nothingness would suddenly present him with a reflection of his appearance. After over two hundred years he was sceptical of such an event, but he had learned during that time that anything was possible.

If someone had told him where he would be right now that night Druscilla had made him a vampire, he probably would have killed them on the spot. Two hundred years had transformed him from a sadistic monster into a man who was nervous about a first date. It was his old soul who was awkward around women, not he.

Tara was different however. Almost from the first moment he knew her, she had treated him differently from the rest. While Xander had helped him- on the orders of the slayer -to escape the Initiative, the rest of the Scoobies, once they had let him in on Operation 314, had treated him with the suspicion he had earned from St Vigieous, Halloween, and the rest. Doubtless someone had filled Tara in on what he did to the Scoobies nearly two years ago. But it had not altered her opinion of him. He had punched her in the face, yet still she was dating him. Perhaps that did not speak well of her, yet Spike believed it did. Like the slayer and his grandsire, Tara had given him a second chance when she presented him with his chained talisman to protect him from the deadly rays of the sun during the summer. He had returned that favour when he trusted her humanity in the face of her family's belief in her demonic heritage.

And this new relationship had been the result. Something was created between them during their time together which neither of them could ignore. Spike had been witness to the love which developed between his grandsire and the slayer, but he did not expect one to occur for himself. Angel had a soul, while he only had a microchip to make him conform to society's morals and behaviour. Which was the more remarkable, Spike did not know.

Shrugging this question aside and trusting the correctness of his appearance on the judgement of the slayer, Spike climbed into his Desoto Sportsman and drove off to the university campus dorms.

Parking in the lot by the Residence Hall, Spike took care to avoid Lowell Frat House on his way to Tara's dorm. Even though the Initiative was now disbanded and the building had undergone a complete overhaul during the summer, Spike and the Slayerettes still distrusted the assurance from the university governing body that the underground complex was destroyed and rendered inaccessible.

He arrived promptly and one knock on the door brought Tara into his view. She was in her usual blouse and skirt, but more dressy than those reserved for college lectures. Her expression was her traditional nervousness, but in Spike's eyes she looked beautiful.

"Hey," he said from his leaning position on the wall opposite, which due to the narrowness of the corridor, brought him nearer to her anyway.

"Hi," she replied.

Spike offered her his arm and they walked through the dorms to his car.

"Where are we dining?" She asked as he opened the door for her.

"Wolf in Sheep's Clothing," Spike replied before closing the door and walking round to get into the driver's side. Since his new immunity against the sun the Desoto had undergone an almost total refit, replacing the blacked out windscreen and rearview with fresh panes transforming the car into road worthy capability.

The restaurant was in the good part of town, a few miles away from the campus and a local haunt for the more bookish students, with its soft light and quiet ambience lending an air of sophistication, despite it's rather unusual, yet oddly appropriate name.

They were showed to their reserved table and a brief silence ensued between them as they studied their menus. Their order was soon taken, leaving no further barriers between them.

Spike's first question rather surprised her, although his tone indicated that he already knew the answer.

"You and Wesley dated, didn't you?" he asked.

Tara nodded. "How did you know?"

"He seemed to know more about you than everyone else, including your family." He paused to change his tone to one of quiet understanding. "What happened?"

"I met him through a local demon hunt case," Tara began. "He heard the gossip about my family and we used to have long talks whenever I could get away from them. I suppose I found him easy to talk to because he knew about demons and was a stranger. He encouraged me to leave them and suggested this place as a possible destination. He gave me the confidence to get away. We split when my family assigned him to find me." She sighed. "He was never sure if I was human. It wasn't a healthy relationship."

"I've had them," Spike sympathised knowingly. "Dru and I weren't exactly the conventional either."

"I've heard about her," Tara remarked. "Was she really.... disturbed?"

"Certifiably insane," Spike replied. "Peaches- Angelus I mean, drove her mad before he sired her. Killed all of her family, sent her to a nunnery. He was one of the old ones. Always originality in the kill. Me I just went for a straight fight. Quick and painless." He took a sip of his drink. "Sorry."

"It's alright," Tara assured him. "I think I need to adjust to this, if we're dating."

Spike grinned. "Sounds kinda weird, doesn't it?"

"Oddly no," she returned, much to his surprise. "But then we're not the first."

"True," he agreed, as their first course arrived.

"Buffy said the gang had a hard time accepting her and Angel," Tara said as she began to eat her meal.

"Well, I wasn't there for all of it, I only came to town after everyone knew he was a vampire," Spike replied. "I think the hard time was mostly due to Xander's jealousy, and when Angel lost his soul. Everyone wasn't prepared to see her viewpoint of saving him by recursing him. They wanted her to kill him. And Buffy was losing the love of her life. I think it was a hard time for all of them. Buffy was more mature than them, due to the slaying. That time they spent growing up fast. Too fast." He paused to take a bite of his meal. "If they hadn't had a whole airing of issues before he returned from hell, I don't think they would have had a smooth time of it. Well as smooth as one can have, living on the hellmouth."

"Do you think that's something we'll face?" Tara asked, as her mind recalled Wesley's reaction to her interest in Spike, and whether it was just from jealousy, or a natural distaste for vampires due to his profession.

"I don't know," Spike replied solemnly. "I warn you now, my unlife hasn't been a walk in the park. There were, are, many things I did which I regret, and which you're gonna find hard to accept."

"I guess the question is, do I think we're worth it?" Tara mused.

"And do you?" Spike asked.

Tara smiled. "So far."

 


"Wesley Wyndam-Pryce," the former watcher introduced himself, rising from the chair at the table, holding out his hand for his new client to shake.

"Noémie Wyatt," the woman replied, shaking his hand. Wesley gestured silently to the other chair, and she sat down opposite him.

"I must say I'm surprised," Wesley began.

"Really, why?" She asked as she sorted out her napkin.

"I've never had a client request to hold the meeting at a restaurant before," Wesley replied. "Nor pay me so much for a nothing more than a dinner date."

"And yet you agreed," Noémie remarked. "Does that not say something about you?"

"It could say many things," Wesley returned. "I may not have had a decent meal in months. I wanted a place with witnesses to meet someone who I didn't trust. Or I haven't had a date since I arrived in Sunnydale."

"And which of these would be true?" She asked as she took up her wine glass.

"Any one of them," Wes replied. "Even all of them. Ultimately I have to ask, however; why did you want a date?"

"A client must be allowed to have some secrets, however far privilege spreads," Noémie said.

"You've yet to reveal to me what exactly you require my services for," Wes reminded her as someone came and handed them the menu.

"Yes I have," she replied.

Wes looked at her for a moment before realising. "A date?"

"Exactly."

"Couldn't a dating agency have served better?"

"Do you know of one in this town?" She smiled. "Seriously, I wanted a date. Not because of who I am, but of what I am."

"I don't understand."

"What do you know of Faustian deals?" Noémie asked him.

"Faustian deals; 'originated by a German astronomer and necromancer called Faust or Faustus who died around 1540. Reputed to have sold his soul to the Devil in return for knowledge and power, he became the subject of many legends and was the subject of a drama by Goethe, a play by Christopher Marlowe, an opera by Gounod, and a novel by Thomas Mann,'" Wesley quoted from memory. "Recent studies have since discovered that he became a immortal demon, and now offers the same deals to other humans and ................ demons," he finished, his pause taken in sudden understanding.

Noémie nodded. "I wanted to experience humanity. My immortality was my price."

Wes took a long sip of his wine. "How much did he give you?"

"A year."

"And you haven't had a date in all that time?"

Noémie shook her head. "Have you any idea how hard it is to cram all of humanity into one year? Very hard. I've been on planes, and boats, all forms of transport. I've been around the world. I've explored every piece of food known to man, I even went to college to experience education. I toured all continents to visit all forms of civilisation. Having a date seemed inconsequential until I had seen what else humanity had to offer."

"So you did not want to experience love?"

"What use would I have for love that only lasted a year? How is someone meant to experience something which is worth a lifetime in three hundred and sixty-five days?"

"Some would say that love is love, no matter how short a period one experiences it for. That a year of love is worth it compared to a lifetime without it."

"True," she allowed. "But how could I inflict the pain of my loss on the person I loved? They may think it worth the sacrifice, but I do not."

"You are definitely unlike few demons I have met," Wesley remarked.

"I'll take that as a compliment."

"It is, believe me." He sipped his wine. "So, if you'll forgive me for asking, what about the physical side of dating?"

"You mean sex? Oh, I've done that. It is a regret though. Humans lack the endurance for demonic satisfaction."

Wesley had difficulty producing a noncommittal reply to her remark, delivered without blush or embarrassment, almost the attitude of a scientist on test project. "Oh."

"Yes," Noémie smiled at his chagrin. "I would need a slayer, but they are women, and I chose to be that sex."

Wesley took a long slow sip of his drink, as a part of him mused that he had just learned a piece of information he did not need to know about the slayer. "Do you mean you were male demon?" He asked her.

" Actually I was neither," Noémie replied, "and both, if that makes sense." She took a bite of her meal. "But I did not call you to talk shop."

"Then what shall we talk about?" Wes asked her.

"Anything and nothing," Noémie answered. "I've spent too much of the year debating about philosophy, politics, history. You name it, I have talked about it."

"You sound almost weary of life," Wes commented.

"I am a little. I think I tried to experience too much all at once. But if I could go back, I wouldn't undo my decision."

 


Oz gazed at the cloudless night sky one more time. Despite his talisman being one year old, he still felt antsy the night of a full moon and the nights preceding it. The wolf inside him was contained, but he could still hear it's howl, still feel it's pulse beating in time to his own, still feel those primal instincts within, calling to him to listen. He still felt restless during those three nights, unable to sleep and ravenous for something more than what normal human existence offered.

Willow had told him that if he accepted the talisman, her birthday present to him, these feelings would lessen and eventually disappear. But he could not. A part of him still felt guilty for the circumstances in which he earned the charm; the night after he and Veruca discovered their mutual hidden werewolves. Though he had not cheated on Willow, he still felt that night was an act of betrayal. And he could remember her emotions when he confessed to her all which had occurred, could still visualise the expression on her face, could still hear, or rather not hear the silence she had maintained until they told the slayer. Though she had never said, he felt he had still hurt her that day.

"Penny for your thoughts," her voice said now, arousing him from his reverie. He turned, his fingers still fiddling with his talisman, to find her beside him, watching them, and his face, observing the emotions through the stoic mask.

"No thoughts," he replied, "just musings."

Willow's eyes followed his fingers movements. "You still feel guilty, don't you," she said. It was not a question.

"Yes," he confessed. "I don't deserve this, Will."

"I think you do," Willow objected. "Oz, you didn't betray me," she added, taking his hands from the talisman before they broke the chain. "You ignored her attractions, even when you were wolfy."

"I still spent the night by her side," Oz protested. "I still woke up next to her, not you."

"But you didn't mate with her," Willow returned. "Why can't you see that distinction?"

"The temptation, the desire was there."

"But you resisted," Willow replied. "That tells me you cared for me far more than the desire."

"Did we do the right thing?" Oz asked, still gazing at the moon. "Handing Veruca over to the Initiative?"

"I don't know," Willow confessed. "I half expected to find her when we commandeered the place, alive or...... not. There was little we could do however, short of putting her down ourselves."

"Her band split and moved away," Oz informed her. "I heard they regrouped some where on the east coast with a new vocalist. Whatever they did to her I hope it was kinder than what they did to others."

"Maybe they gave her a chip like Spike's," Willow suggested hopefully.

"Maybe," Oz allowed. He turned from the window to draw her to him. Softly he kissed her forehead, then kissed her lips as she lifted her mouth to his.

"Let's forget the moon," he said to her.

"Just what I've been trying to tell you," Willow replied before doing so as he kissed her again.

 


"Why do we have to go out?"

"I told you before, Anya," Xander replied, exasperated, "this is what couples do. Go out to fancy restaurants, eat fancy food, then go home."

"Why can't we skip the first part and stay your place and have sex?"

"A little louder, I don't think all the consumers of the fancy restaurant heard you," Xander returned sarcastically.

"I don't care," Anya returned, "I want us to have sex. We haven't had sex for ages."

"Anya, we've both been tied up with work," Xander replied.

"That's true," she nodded eagerly, "bondage is something we've yet to enjoy."

"Anya," Xander groaned and blushed as more of the people in the restaurant turned round to stare at them. "If you recall, this was your idea."

"I was thinking more candlelit cold dinner at your apartment," Anya replied.

"Why couldn't it be at your place?" Xander asked. "And why would it be cold? I do know how to cook, or rather, how to work a microwave."

"You know my landlady thinks I'm nice, innocent girl," Anya reminded him. "And the dinner would be cold by the time we got to it."

"Why did I ever agree to this?" Xander murmured to himself as the waiter gave them funny looks while serving the next course of their meal. Everyone else of the Scoobies were going out on dates, but it did not mean he should. He could have volunteered to babysit Ellis Giles and Elita whatever her last name was.

"Because I promised to be your slave," Anya replied with giggle, causing him to snatch the wine bottle away from her before she could refill.

"Relax, I'm not drunk," she informed him. "I lived in an age where alcohol was trusted before water," she added, receiving another strange look from a nearby passing waiter. "I could probably drink everyone in this hellmouth under the table."

"Still, let's stay off the liquor, shall we," Xander said, moving the wine bottle further away from her side to his. "Besides, if this night continues to be the worst night out of my life, I might just need all of it," he muttered to himself.

"Just for that, I'll take away the bondage offer," Anya remarked, her hearing catching his every word.

"Oh thank god," Xander murmured.

"You know, Xander, anyone would think you didn't want sex," Anya remarked, her tone taking on an insulted sound.

"I do," he replied, "I'd just prefer no one to hear that you want it."

"I want it? I'm only trying to be a good girlfriend by satisfying your needs of pleasure," Anya huffed. "Personally, sometimes it is too sweaty, too noisy, and too messy. Especially when you get too excited."

"Anya," Xander cried, as almost the entire restaurant turned from their meals to stare at them.

"Excuse me, sir?" One the waiters addressed him suddenly, making Xander jump.

"Yes?" He asked nervously.

"Would your partner mind keeping her conversation to polite topics, and a low decibel," the waiter requested.

"I'm sorry, we'll try to keep it down," Xander apologised.

"You see, this is another disadvantage of not having a cold candlelit dinner at your apartment," Anya remarked after the waiter had gone. "We can't talk about what we want to talk about."

"Anya, if we were having a cold candlelit dinner at my apartment, we still wouldn't be talking about this," Xander replied.

"True," she agreed. "Because we'd be doing it instead."

Xander groaned and glanced at the clock on the wall behind her, silently wondering how much longer this torturous dinner would continue.

 


"Poor Xander," Cordelia remarked softly to her dinner companion. Their table in the same restaurant was in such a position as for them to observe her former boyfriend and his girlfriend without being observed themselves.

"Couldn't agree with you more, Delia," Doyle replied, as he glanced at the quarrelling couple as well.

"You'd think he'd have learned by now, not to date demons," Cordelia added before returning to her meal.

"I take it then that Anya's not his first demon," Doyle inquired.

"No. Before her, there was a resurrected Incan Mummy girl, and a teacher who turned into a praying mantis."

Doyle laughed heartily. "How on earth did you two end up together?"

"It started with a lot of bickering," Cordelia answered, "which progressed into kissing in darkened closets until I broke up with him, whereupon he had Amy cast a spell to get me back. Only it went wrong, and made every other girl attracted to him but me. The girls wanted to kill me, and we ended up running away from them until the spell was undone, then I finally broke from the popular set and renounced myself to Scoobydom."

"And before him?" Doyle asked.

"Various popular boys, the lead of Oz's band. I entertained a brief crush on Angel before we all knew what he was and who he only had eyes for, even when he was unsouled." Cordelia paused. "What about you?"

"I was wondering when you'd ask this question," Doyle replied.

"Worried about how I'd react?" Cordelia asked him.

"Sort of."

"Well, whatever it is, it can't be as bad as that," she indicated Xander and Anya, whose fight had upped another decibel.

"They're gonna be thrown out soon," Doyle commented. "Well, I guess there's only one way for me to say it. I was married."

"Married?" Cordelia echoed his last word in shock. "Who to? And for how long?"

"Her name was Harriet; Harry," Doyle replied. "We fell in love, married, just before my father's inheritance started to show itself. I expected her to run screaming, which she did at first. Then she got interested and became an ethno-demonologist. But we were just kids when we married. Too young. Both of us respected each other, liked each other, but after we discovered my nature, the relationship became too hard. So we divorced a few months before I came to Sunnydale."

Cordelia reached across the table and took his hand in hers, giving it a gentle squeeze. "It must have been difficult," she said.

"It was," Doyle agreed, returning the gesture. "That's when I got into the drink. Then the visions hit me as well, which only sent me free falling even faster. Harry got over her freakout in time to pull me back from it, but the damage to us was already done. She's happily married now."

"So," Cordelia began uneasily, "do you think the Bracken genes will pass on?"

"Probably, though there's no way of knowing how powerful the strain will be," Doyle remarked. He looked at her carefully. "Why, something you couldn't face?"

"No," Cordelia replied, surprising him, "I happen to like your other face."

"You're a strange girl," he commented, but his words belied the tone of his voice, and the look in his eyes, indicating that he was touched.

 


"Rupert, did you bring home the Raufman Chronicles?" Jenny Calendar-Giles asked her husband as she wandered into the living room from their bedroom.

"Yes, here it is," Giles replied, unearthing the leatherbound volume from the large pile of similar ancient books which were scattered about him and handing it to her. When her hand did not reach out to take it, he looked up from the old text to see that her gaze was directed elsewhere. Turning in said direction, he saw Elita making cooing noises at Ellis, who was happily gurgling in her company.

"Who on earth could be after her?" Jenny asked him softly, and Giles found himself agreeing with her at this moment. They might have no idea who Elita was or who was supposedly after her, but in the short time she had been with the Slayerettes, none of them had failed to like her. She was four years younger than the slayer, though her youthful face made her appear almost childlike at times, black-advised and with startling green eyes. Quieter than Tara, yet seemingly more mature than the rest of them put together, though she also possessed a naiveté and innocence about her which few failed to find endearing.

"Have you found out anything on the girl who attacked Buffy?" Jenny asked him, arousing him from his reverie.

"No," Giles replied, turning to face her. "But then 'blond, red-dressed and Queen-C like' is not a helpful or informative description."

Jenny laughed. "Come on, Rupert. If you wanted Buffy to be more the dutiful slayer, she wouldn't be the girl you love like a daughter."

"That's true," Giles agreed. He sighed and glanced back at the book beneath his eyes. "I studied enough to conclude that it's likely to old, probably before written word."

"Which means more powerful than what we've faced before," Jenny guessed as she glanced at the text before him too.

"We'll overcome," Giles uttered, surprisingly confident.

"How do you know?" She asked him.

"We always do," he replied, kissing her.

 


"Thank you," Noémie said as she stood up from the table.

"Do you want me to escort you anywhere?" Wesley asked as he rose also after paying for the dinner date.

"No, thank you," she replied. "I know it's customary for a gentleman to walk a lady home after a date, but I'm afraid my time is almost over, and I would rather be somewhere that my passing does not shock the populous."

"Would I presume too much if I asked to bear witness to such an event?" Wesley asked. "I confess myself very intrigued by the whole thing."

"No, I think you deserve to see it," Noémie replied. "Do you know of somewhere that is unobserved by others where I may best go?"

"The woods I think would suit," Wesley answered, and offered his hand.

She took it, and let him lead her to them, not stopping until the darkness caused by the leaves of the trees surrounded them, darkening the moonlit night sky above.

"One more thing before I leave you," Noémie said as she let go of his hand and stepped a little away. "A warning. The slayer is facing a bigger challenge than she knows. A greater evil than you can ever imagine. She must win this fight, and you must all prepare her to do so, else the world will change into something darker than you have ever known."

"A greater evil?" Wesley echoed. "When will this arrive?"

"It already has," Noémie replied, and then she transformed into a brilliant white light, causing Wesley to hide his eyes until his lids felt darkness once more.

And when he opened them, she was gone.

 


"Like this?"

"No, like this," he replied, and smiled as she chuckled.

Dinner had long since ended at the Crawford Street Mansion, turning into the supper of old, elegant society, with a dance following. Angel was teaching his beloved how to waltz. Classical music suited to the dance echoed around the room from the sound system, punctuated by the slayer's soft laughter as he taught her the next step or position. Angel's hands clasped one of hers whilst the other was placed on the small of her back, just where the purple silk narrowed into a triangle to fall floor-length to the slate floor of the mansion. Her other hand gathered up a small part of this to give her feet room to move without tripping over the material.

Angel led her in small circles around the dance space before the table and chairs, smiling and laughing too in between gentle words of instruction. Her laughter was infectious, which together with her long blond locks caressing her smiling face and shimmering dark eyes was a bewitching combination. The fingers of his hand placed on her back could not resist mimicking the circles their feet made upon her soft skin, a touch which he guessed was also making her laugh.

Suddenly he dipped her, catching her by surprise. As he raised her back up, her hair swept about her shoulders, shielding them for a moment in a private world. Waltz lessons were forgotten as Angel kissed her lips. The hand clasping hers left to tangle itself in her blond hair, as his mouth opened to let her tongue duel with his.

Buffy moaned into his mouth, letting her now free hands roam underneath his dress jacket, questing for the buttons of his crisp white shirt. She arched into him as one of his hands slipped from her hair to stroke her skin through the clinging purple silk. Angel's hand spanned her side and slid up to the underside of her breast caressing the nipple into aching hardness behind the material.

Her own hands were by no means idle, as they undid shirt buttons to slip inside and stroke his bare chest. She grasped fistfuls of white material, shaking the shirt out of his trousers. Her fingers skimmed his waistline, searching for touches which made him pur, growl or groan.

They broke apart for air, whereupon she bent her head to kiss his taunt torso. She nipped and licked his skin, making him pur, growl and groan. In retaliation he cupped her breasts through the silk, his thumbs brushing her nipples into hardness until she groaned, the breath warm on his cold skin.
Surrendering, she lifted her head and gazed into his dark eyes. Then she stepped away, clasped his hands and led him through to the living room upstairs to their bedroom.

Inside he tossed off his jacket and let her peel away his shirt, his hands caressingly lingering from her hips to her neck before sliding the purple silk down her arms and gently off her wrists.

With the dress clinging to her waist, Angel drew Buffy close to him and kissed her again. The purple silk had sculpted her body in such a way as to leave no room for her bra, causing skin to touch skin during their long sensuous embrace. Despite his immunity to temperature, the startling contrast of her warm skin and the cold metal of the cross he had given her over five years ago caused him to shiver as he let her lead him forward to their bed.

Breaking their embrace once more she sank down to rest upon the sheets, her hands hooking themselves around the limits of his trousers as she finished undressing him. He lifted her up to finish peeling the purple silk away from her skin, taking her pants with it, before pushing her back down on to their bed.

Time passed slowly as they worshipped each other and both were grateful for that, as since the arrival of Elita and the troubles with the blond woman, they had been left little time to enjoy the pleasure of togetherness. Angel nipped tenderly at the scar of the bite he had given her, the healing powers of her destiny never quite eliminating it from her smooth skin. His hands caressed skin below, moving on when his lips replaced them, until they prepared her mound for his arrival, first with mouth and tongue and then his sex, joining them as one.

As for the slayer, she let herself forget her trials, sinking into the worship of her love, as he showed her the power of their unity, and the blessings of pleasure it produced, enriching her with the necessary strength and wisdom to defeat her enemies when they next showed themselves.


The End.
To Be Continued In

Amulets and Bloodstones.