Ten minutes into patrol and she already knew that it would be one of those rare, boring nights. She glanced over at her dark, silent companion and thought about starting up a conversation, but from prior experience it would more likely be a monologue. Not that he didn't listen attentively and from the questions he asked, it was obvious he thought about what she said. He just wasn't a Chatty Cathy. She stole a quick glance at him and left her thoughts drift.
Back in L.A., she had been on the junior varsity cheerleading squad, had been the freshman year May Queen and had never lacked for a date come the weekend. She had kissed more than her fair share of boys by the time she had moved to Sunnydale. Nothing had prepared her for what kissing the man next to her would be.
Every kiss was completely different from any that had preceded it. It was as if he knew a hundred varieties of kisses and was determined to share them all with her. Absolutely none of them fell in the plain vanilla range, they were always darker, more decadent. Then there was the shock and excitement of how much colder his lips were. He wasn't exactly chilly, but the initial temperature difference always made her lips tingle. Best of all was how soft his lips were. The more demanding and passionate his kisses got, the more pliant his lips felt �" almost as if he was melting into her. She found herself looking at him again and unconsciously her tongue traced her lips.
"Penny for your thoughts."
She jumped and quickly turned away so he couldn't see the blush she felt blossoming. "Ice cream," she stuttered. "I was thinking about ice cream."
She sat, her head cradled in her hands, swinging her feet against the stone crypt. It was all too obvious why that particular memory had surfaced. The weather tonight was much the same, one of those perfect spring evenings where all you smell are plants bursting back into life. The dead, for once, were staying dead, the same as that long ago night. And the fact that this was a small cemetery in Rome rather that Sunnyrest in Sunnydale was immaterial, in the ensuing years she had discovered that graveyards around the world were much the same.
Of course, the biggest reason for that memory had shown up, out of the blue, a little over two hours ago on her doorstep. When she had first opened the door to find Angel standing there, she had been so shocked that she had done nothing except stare at him until finally he asked if she was planning to invite him in. After he explained why he was there, only giving the sparest of details and displaying very little outward emotion, she had managed not to scream or laugh or cry. Instead she calmly thanked him for the news and then, just as calmly, asked him to leave. Five minutes later, she had gathered up a handful of stakes and flown out the door.
She was so lost in thought that she almost didn't hear the slight crunch of grass. After slaying for over twelve years, long lead times weren't all that necessary and she had the stake out and against the interloper's chest before she had time to blink. She managed to stop herself a scant millimeter before the fatal plunge. "What the hell are you doing here? I could have killed you. You think that traipsing around Rome in the middle of the night is such a great idea, considering?" She was shaking in barely repressed anger.
He held his hands up in surrender and took a step back. "I went back to your house and Dawn told me where your usual patrol spots were. So, not traipsing. I know I shouldn't have come looking for you, but…" His voice trailed off as he turned away. "I'm going back to L.A."
"Angel". She sighed. She had never been good at this kind of thing. "We haven't even talked in five and a half years."
"Just because we haven't spoken, doesn't mean I haven't thought about you."
"But that's the problem," she said with a touch of impatience. That girl you think about was literally buried a long time ago."
She later realized that he had intended to kiss her on the cheek and leave. As usual, fate had had something else in mind. She had tilted her head at that exact moment and instead, the kiss turned out to be not on the cheek and not all that quick and she noted that the voltage increase up and down her body still happened. Without thinking, she pulled him closer. In the cool of the night, he was steam heat and he tasted sweet.
As soon as the kiss ended, she pulled away from him and forced her mind away from its kiss-induced haze. All the daydreams in the world couldn't have prepared her for the effect he had on her. She was shaking again, but this time not from anger. Her body felt, thick and syrupy, heavy with want, even as her pulse raced out of control and her head seemed so light for a moment she thought she would faint.
He didn't know her anymore, but he had been more than willing to accept her for herself in the past. He had hurt her and left her, time and time again, but never willingly. She didn't need him to protect her, she was more than capable. But the kiss had awakened her to how much she still desired him.
She noticed that he was trembling also and the sight served to thaw her. "Penny for your thoughts," she teased. She smiled at the blush that crept over his cheeks. "I was thinking about gelato", she added, almost as an afterthought.
"Gelato?" he stammered, confusion plain.
"Italian frozen goodness. There are a lot of flavors and you need a guide. I know a place that's still open," she said as she slipped her hand into his. She looked into his melty chocolate eyes and thought she could feel the pulse in his thumb hammering against her hand. "Tomorrow I'll teach you the finer points of eating pizza."