He clenched his fist, certain he'd scared the other guy off the night before.
"Apparently not," he muttered. He wasn't accustomed to underestimating someone's resolve. If the guy's blood hadn't tasted so foul he'd rectify that. He hadn't fed yet tonight.
He wasn't sure whether he should be insulted she felt she had time to date. She should have been focused on him. Finding him. Stopping him.
Not that she could. It wouldn't happen, but he'd sure enjoy the fight when it happened. He'd contemplated the various ways he could kill her the past few months and each gave him waves of pleasure. He'd have to wait and see when the time came which would work best. She was crafty, but she had weaknesses.
He'd dismissed them last night, assuming his work had been done. The guy certainly had talked about her as if he was disenchanted. Apparently, he had a change of heart. Or other parts, which was probably the case. He couldn't blame the guy, except he'd find himself void of a beating heart if he laid a hand on Buffy. Just because he didn't want to be her boyfriend anymore didn't mean she was allowed to run around as if she was free of him.
He hadn't stopped last night to think that they might be together. He wasn't sure why it bothered him that she could date someone so quickly. Beyond the fact he wanted her attention focused entirely on him.
It wasn't that long ago they'd been possessed. She'd kissed him. She'd been certain, he was sure, that he'd be suckered in to changing sides. Of wanting to go back to her. She'd have to do far more than kiss him to convince him it was worth it. Not that he would. It'd be fun to make her think she had a chance, though.
And before that he thought she was going to die before he had a chance to kill her. That would have been poetic. A slayer going down from being sick instead of something she hunted.
He watched as she tossed her hair back and laughed, eyes on the guy. He was teaching her how to play pool. She was playing dumb. He'd seen her play and he felt his human visage slip away when he saw the guy's arms go around her, showing her how to hold the cue.
He had to get out of there and feed or he'd lose control and do something stupid. He hadn't gotten this far to come against her tonight. Not like this. When they did, it would be on his terms. His way. According to his plan.
"Another night, Lover," he murmured, grazing the tips of his elongated fangs with his tongue.
She looked up then, right at him. Surprise showed on her face and something akin to fear. He liked the fear. There was knowledge there, too. She knew he wasn't happy seeing her like this. Instead of confronting him and causing a scene, she merely blew him a kiss before handing the cue back to her date.
That was more than he could take. She was baiting him. There were usually plenty of willing donors. It amazed him how much times had changed. Just because he could find willing ones didn't mean he limited his feeding to them. And it didn't mean he had to let them live when he was done.
Buffy couldn't have been more surprised to see Angel at The Bronze. Only because he'd just been there the night before. He seemed to enjoy being unpredictable and making it more difficult for Buffy to find him on any given night.
Gabe as it turned out was a nice guy. Very different from Cam. He'd actually given her a chance to show him she wasn't the tease Cam painted her as. Not that this was a date, but it was nice to spend time with someone who didn't know how or why her last relationship went south.
So, why wasn't she having a better time?
The reason just exited stage left, game face in place. He was going to feed. She recognized the look. She'd seen it dozens, hundreds, of times before. Hunger. Need. Desire. And not for sex. She should stop him, but that would leave Gabe unguarded. Angel hadn't been leaving a trail of bodies from here to wherever he, Spike and Dru had moved to after the fire at the factory. So, she had to assume he wasn't killing everyone he fed off.
And, well, she liked Gabe and didn't want to see another one of her fellow students end up dead. So, she stuck it out at The Bronze until Gabe wanted to go home. How funny was it that he wanted her to walk him home? She hadn't really done anything to demonstrate that she was as strong as she was. So, she took it to mean he was smarter than she'd given him credit for.
Bad assumption on her part. Jock does not equal lacking in brain capacity. She should know that. She'd hung out with jocks at Hemry. She wasn't sure she remembered what any of those guys had been like, though. Not like Gabe. Nice, quiet, and willing to admit when he was in over his head. He just liked to swim.
He didn't talk much, which was okay with Buffy. She wasn't sure she wanted to answer questions. He had asked the logical, though.
"And he bit me because "
"I told you there are a lot of weird things here in Sunnydale."
"Why don't people know?"
"Why don't they talk about it? Warn us?"
She shrugged, clutching her hands in back of her as they walked. "Not sure. If they don't talk about it then it's not real. I really don't know."
"But you know it's real."
"And now I know."
"Right," she said with a nod. That summed things up pretty well.
"So, you're not really a freak."
She smiled and glanced up at him. "Well, I like to think I'm not. I realize that's up for debate by many people around school."
"How do you know about them?"
"Research and it's who I am."
"If I asked who you are?"
"I'm afraid I can't tell you that."
"Thought so. You can't keep walking me home forever."
"Yeah, I know. I'm hoping we'll come up with who's doing this and why soon."
That had been pretty much the extent of it. She supposed realizing he was on someone's hit list without knowing why beyond the fact he was on Sunnydale High's swim team was a good reason to be quiet. She'd seen him home and then decided to head home herself. Angel wouldn't make it easy for her to find him a second time in the same night.
And really, when it got down to it, Angel was her goal right now. Finding him and stopping him. She had to. If she ever wanted to look at Giles again without feeling guilty for Jenny being taken from him the way she had been at any rate.
She knew Giles didn't blame her. Not exactly. Love makes people do weird things, like be unable to come to grips with the fact the monster wearing her boyfriend's face was a full-fledged soulless demon possessing his body now. It was something that would shake anyone, even a slayer.
She climbed through her window like she'd done too many times already since coming to Sunnydale. There were times she wished her mom knew just so she could stop sneaking around. She'd always wondered why it was Kendra had been given to her watcher. That had to have meant her parents knew what she was. So, why couldn't her parents know? It wasn't her place to ask evidently and now certainly wasn't the time to ask.
Something was wrong. She could feel it, sense it. Her eyes darted around her room, searching for any sign that her mom had dusted or moved things around. No, that wasn't it. She resolved herself to just being jumpy, not confident that Angel really just let her walk away tonight without some sort of confrontation.
She put her things away, got ready for bed, and returned to her room only to find him. Not just in her room but in her bed. And he looked entirely too comfortable there.
"Presumptuous much," she murmured.
"What's that, Lover?"
"What are you doing here?"
"I came to see you."
"Mm, I'm not falling for that. And even if I was, getting naked with me has been the last thing on your mind lately."
He pulled the comforter back. Evidently, getting naked with her wasn't the last thing on his mind tonight. She looked. That's what he wanted her to do, right?
"Like what you see?"
Her eyes returned to her face, having been focused much further south. She wished she could remember what he looked like without his clothes. She hadn't had much of a chance to look that night. Their only night together. And then everything had been so steeped in the direness and drama of it all she hadn't taken the time to relive that night.
If she did, she'd cry. And she could not afford to do that right now. After this, whatever it was they were doing, was done. Then she could cry.
"You know I do."
"I could smell it even if you tried to deny it."
She rolled her eyes. "That's unsettling."
"I'm just an unsettling guy."
"What do you want?"
He chuckled then, his smile not quite Angel's. It was his eyes, they were devoid of the emotion he had with the soul. There was some there, but it was different. With the soul they had a relationship. Without the soul he was sort of primal about her. Willow had commented on it. He just went about demonstrating his feelings for her differently. But it was still about her. She snorted at that thought.
"That should be fairly obvious. And the fact you haven't gone to your chest to grab a stake tells me you aren't exactly opposed to the idea either."
"I'm so not doing this."
"You might like it."
He patted the spot next to him on the bed. She hated how tempting it was. If she did it, laid next to him with her back to him. For a little while she could forget that he didn't have his soul. She could talk to him as she used to do about the things going on in her life. Willow and Xander were good, but they just weren't a substitute for a boyfriend with centuries of experience.
He sat up then, planting his feet on her rug. "Well, you can't say I didn't try."
"What do you want?"
"I already told you."
"Why are you here? You can get that anywhere."
"Not from you."
He stood then and walked to her. She had to fight the urge to back up against her door. She didn't like the way he was looking at her. It was weird because he was looking at her the way Angel with the soul did when he was jealous.
"I'm not sleeping with you."
"I'm not sure sleeping was on my mind, but it's your loss," he said, reaching for her face.
She knew he wasn't out to hurt her. Not now anyway. So she let him touch her. If she closed her eyes she could pretend for a little while. She tried to stop the tears, but all that did was make her shake from the stifled sobs.
"Being nice to me."
"I thought that's what you wanted."
She shook her head and opened her eyes, not bothering to wipe the tears from her face. He'd seen them so the harm was already done.
"No, not like this. You can't come in here tonight and be like this because I know tomorrow we'll be back to the same old thing."
His hand slid from her face lower to her neck. It was gentle, a barely felt brush of her skin with the back of his hand. Her eyes fell closed again as he grazed the spot where The Master had bitten her and her breath caught. She wasn't sure how he found it in the dark.
His face lowered to hers. She felt it and was surprised when he didn't kiss her. He moved lower, nuzzling her neck. She groaned softly when he worried the spot with his teeth and she knew he had his game face on. She didn't care. For once, for a little while she wanted to be special to him. Give him something no one else could.
He could get sex anywhere. He could even get blood anywhere.
He couldn't get her blood anywhere.
She tilted her head, baring her neck for him. She felt him draw back and she cradled his head in her hands. God forgive me, she mused when she heard the soft growl in his throat.
He licked the spot, not once or twice but several times. It was coated in his saliva, wet with it, making her shiver a little in the night's air. This close she could smell him. He should have smelled disgusting, different, like death or blood. He just smelled like Angel she realized as he took what she offered, causing her to cry out.
She'd expected it, just not right at that moment. He didn't need to be told what she was offering. She didn't need to ask why he was taking it. They had a strong connection as it was. With her blood in him who knew what it would do.
He drank, really more of a sip. She'd seen vampires feed and he wasn't really feeding. Not yet anyway. He was treating her as a snack, or a delicacy worth savoring. She preferred to think of it that way.
Hands grew busy, both hers and his. She wasn't sure who initiated, but the next thing she knew her back was against her wall and he was flush against her. His pants were unzipped and her nightshirt was in such a position that he knew without a doubt she slept without undies on.
She should stop him. She should push him off her, but God she didn't want to. For the moment she could pretend she was still his girl and he was still her guy. Not that she'd pictured her guy taking her with her back against her wall. But, hey, she was flexible and healed quickly.
He lifted her with ease, guiding her legs. She didn't need any prompting to wrap them around him. Her head fell back against the wall as he deepened his feeding at the same time he entered her. She had to bite her lip to stop from crying out, not wanting to wake her mother. She bit so hard she drew blood. His soft moan from his spot at her neck told her he smelled it, the fresh blood. A new wound.
There was no gentleness to it this time, but oddly she knew there was still love. Emotion. He didn't want to, but he still wanted her. And not for a trophy in his repertoire of kills either. Whatever brought them together, caused them to be more than just vampire and slayer was still there. He hated it, but couldn't get rid of it.
As embarrassing as it was, he brought her to a release quick and hard. She shouldn't have been able to that easily, but he knew just what to do. He wasn't too far behind. His body stilled against hers except for the still gentle feeding at her neck.
He pulled away, swiping at the holes with his tongue before finding the fresh blood on her lip. He lapped at that like a cat drinking milk, causing her to wiggle against him and give a soft laugh.
"Tickles," she murmured.
His hand was at her throat then, tight but not restricting her airflow.
"You will not see that guy again."
"The guy at The Bronze. Last night I thought I'd scared him off. Either you're more persuasive than I am or he's an idiot. If it's the former, stop it. If it's the latter, you don't want him anyway."
She swallowed hard. How dare he? "And if I don't?"
"I'll keep coming back until I've ruined you for anyone else."
You already have. She was tempted to say it, but didn't want to make him feel too good about himself right now.
He drew away after unwrapping her legs from around his waist and setting her feet back on the floor. "I'm serious, Buffy. I've stayed away from your friends. You dont want me to start making this personal."
Personal? Ms. Calendar wasn't personal? She knew what he meant, though. Other than Jenny, if it was someone she knew it had been distantly. A casual hi in the hall. No one she was really friends with.
She really didn't owe him anything, but if he was going to go all nutty on her over Gabe who she wasn't even friends with. Well, she had to put a stop to that. "It wasn't a date. There's someone picking off the Sunnydale swim team members one by one based on their ranking."
"And he's next."
He nodded simply, fixing his pants. "All right."
"So does that mean you will or won't be coming back?"
He smirked devilishly as he walked to the window. She realized he was making his getaway before she could come to terms with what she'd just done. With what she'd just let him do. Her hand went to her neck, felt the marks there. She closed her eyes tightly, not from embarrassment so much as just not understanding why she couldn't do it. Why couldn't she hate him? Why couldn't she kill him? Every time she thought she was ready to, something happened to set her back.
"Depends. Do you want me to?"
She opened her eyes to give him a scathing response. Only he was gone. She walked quickly to her window, hoping to catch him somewhere but she didn't see him.
"It's probably best," she said, closing and locking the window. She wasn't sure what answer she was going to give anyway. If she lied he'd know. And she didn't know what the truth was anymore. One thing she did know. He'd be back. He couldn't stay away from her anymore than she wanted him to.
Sick and perverted. Perhaps. But who said love was normal. Especially love between a slayer and a vampire. Two people set to be on opposing sides from birth - or re-birth as in a vampire's case. A freak curse brought this one to her side and into her life. She didn't believe in coincidences and she'd do whatever was in her power to have him back the way he was before.