Buffy slid the heavy iron grate to the elevator closed behind her with a loud sigh. She rolled her shoulders in an attempt to loosen them and winced at how sore they felt. She dropped her small overnight bag by the kitchen table and slowly took off her jacket, letting out a little groan at the pain it caused her. Closing her eyes, she rubbed the back of her neck, trying to massage the knots out of it as she made her way to the bathroom for a much needed hot shower. Buffy wasn't really paying much attention to where she was walking so she almost jumped out of her skin when she ran into a solid chest.
"Hey, you're back, I didn't hear you come in," Angel said as he wrapped his arms around her tiny body in a hug. Buffy just groaned in response as she buried her head in his chest and melted into his cool embrace. She felt his chest rumble as he chuckled at her and rubbed his hand up and down her back. "Rough visit?" he asked with a strange mix of concern and amusement in his voice. His blonde slayer girlfriend had just gotten back from one of her frequent visits to Sunnydale to check on things and make sure the guys there had everything under control. He just felt her nod against his chest as a response.
Buffy was enjoying the feel of her boyfriend's strong arms around her tired body when she felt him place a few fingers under her chin and gently brought her face up so that she was looking into his dark brown eyes. "You know I don't like you going there alone," he told her. "I get worried."
Buffy just rolled her eyes at his unneeded concern. "I'm fine Angel, I can handle myself. I'm supposed to be doing this alone, that's kind of the whole point," she said a little more harshly than necessary.
She sighed as she felt Angel physically withdraw from her and say, "So you don't need me then?"
"Angel, stop it. You know that's not what I meant. It's just been a long weekend and a long drive home and I'm kinda cranky."
Angel eventually smiled down at her, seeing the truth in her words. He stepped behind her and held both of her tiny hands with his own and led her down the hallway towards the bathroom. He kissed the side of her neck and whispered in her ear, "Well then let's get you a little un-cranky, huh?" Buffy just smiled and let her boyfriend take the lead.
The next afternoon Buffy strode into the office in a much better mood than she was in last night. Her classes went well that day and her last one had been let out early. Wes and Cordelia were already there sorting through some paperwork. Wesley looked a little startled when he saw Buffy walk in but tried to pass it off. "Buffy! Don't you have class now?"
"She let us out early," Buffy said with a smile as she walked over to where they were sitting and looked through the papers being sorted.
"Oh, well isn't that nice. And how was Sunnydale?" Wes continued.
"Yes, how was our dear little Sunnyhell?" Cordelia asked with false enthusiasm.
"Just great, you know the usual. There was a couple of nests that had built up since the last time I was there, but it's all taken care of," Buffy answered them as Angel came out of his office. His face lit up when he saw Buffy there; he wasn't expecting her for a while longer. "Hey you," Buffy said with a smile as she walked over to where he was standing and stood up on tip toes to kiss him.
"Hey, I thought you had class." Angel asked as he rested his hand on the small of her back.
"Let out early," Buffy said with a smile. "So how were things here over the weekend? What'd I miss?"
"Oh, nothing too big," Wesley told her. "We cleaned out a nest of Swaloni demons that was occupying the basement of a shipping factory," he said with a little revulsion in his voice and Buffy heard Cordelia give an audible noise of disgust.
"Another Swaloni? Wasn't that the slimy thing down by the docks? The one that exploded like a piñata of goo when we killed it?" Buffy shuddered at the memory.
"Yes, but that was only a newborn. This was an adult colony."
"Oh lordy…" Buffy trailed off as she imagined the sight and behind her Angel winced as he remembered their weekend.
Later that night, Buffy and Angel strolled through one of LA's many cemeteries on patrol. Things seemed pretty quiet, just a fledgling or two that were easily taken care of.
"So I've been thinking…" Angel said tentatively.
"Really? Well that's a shock…" Buffy said sarcastically.
"Funny," Angel said with a smile. They stopped walking and he turned to face her and pulled her close to him. "How would you like to get away?" He asked as she looked at him puzzled. He ran his fingers through her silky hair and brought her face up to his in a kiss. "Europe. You'd love it there." Buffy's breath hitched as he said it and he kissed her lips again. "London and Ireland and Paris, it's beautiful." He kissed her again. "Portugal." Kiss. "Spain," he whispered into her lips before kissing them. "Greece and Italy." Kiss. "You'd love Rome, it's amazing."
Buffy looked into his eyes. "Angel," she said breathlessly. "You can't be serious."
"Of course I am. You're almost done with school for the year; wouldn't it be a great way to start the summer?"
"It'd be amazing," she said quietly. "But we can't just abandon our…jobs," she said gesturing to the graveyard around them.
"The guys here can handle it. LA survived somehow before we showed up."
Buffy just looked at him, a slight smile on her face and Angel smiled back at her, knowing he was getting through. "Just think about it okay?" he told her. "We can talk to Cordelia and Wes later." Buffy nodded at him and wrapped her arms around his neck and brought her lips to his. She pressed her tiny body closer to his as he moved his lips gently against hers, nibbling at her lower lip. Buffy reluctantly broke away when breathing became an issue and rested her forehead against his as she tried to calm herself.
Suddenly there was a low growl from somewhere behind Buffy and she rolled her eyes before saying angrily, "Oh, come on!" She turned away from Angel and whipped out a stake and saw two vampires before her.
The first one lunged at her and she easily avoided it. She got in a few good kicks and punches; the vamp wasn't very strong but he was quick. She saw Angel easily fighting the second vamp out of the corner of her eye so she wasn't too worried about him and could focus on her vamp. She got him knocked down on the ground and was about to deliver the fatal stake, but he suddenly shot up and sprinted across the cemetery and disappeared behind a sarcophagus. Buffy glanced back at Angel who seemed to have everything under control. Really, it just looked like he was playing with the vamp now; he probably could have staked him a while ago. Buffy rolled her eyes at her boyfriend and took off after her target.
After chasing him halfway across the graveyard, the undead track star seemed to be slowing down so Buffy was soon right on his heels. He slowed to almost a walk, looked at his surroundings and abruptly stopped in the middle of the cemetery. Buffy nearly collided with him, but stopped herself. She stared at the vamp's back in confusion and said, "You guys just get weirder and weirder," as she thrust her stake into his back and watched as he turned to dust. "That was-"
"Almost too easy?" came a raspy, heavily accented voice from behind Buffy. She quickly turned around and saw a short girl, more like a cave-girl really, crouched by a headstone. She was dressed in tattered clothing, some of it looking like fur, and had long dreadlocked hair with beads and shells woven in it. Her dark skin had white paint or clay on it in different markings and shapes.
"And you would be?" Buffy asked the girl, eyeing her warily. She didn't respond, just stared silently back at Buffy with pitch black eyes. She didn't need to say anything for Buffy to know who she was; she silently communicated with her. "You're her. The first slayer." The girl, the first slayer, continued to just stare at Buffy, who seemed to understand exactly what she was saying without saying anything, and couldn't tear her green eyes from the girl's black ones. The girl stayed crouched and moved a little to the side, still staring at Buffy. "You want me to want something from you," Buffy said, feeling a strange pull as she stared into the dark eyes of the first slayer. "Or maybe I want what you're offering? You are offering me something right…"
The first slayer let out a low snarl and said in her raspy voice, "Power." She took a deep breath. "Strength."
Buffy shook her head, trying to pull herself out of the power the first slayer had over her. "I think I'm strong enough thank you, but I appreciate your offer. Bye now." She turned around to walk away and try and find Angel, but was face to face with cave-slayer again.
"You won't want to turn this down," she said hoarsely.
Buffy took a breath to protest but the first slayer lunged at Buffy, who couldn't get out of her way fast enough. Buffy stumbled backwards a little when the first slayer ran into her. It felt like running into a brick wall. She was breathing heavily as she tried to clear her suddenly muddled mind, even though she hadn't done anything to be out of breath. She looked down at her body as if seeing it for the first time. She felt strong; really strong. Buffy looked down at her hands and could almost see the new power coursing through her veins. She hadn't felt this confident or powerful in her body since she found out she was the slayer.
She heard Angel coming long before she could see him. Her mind was still muddled and she felt a little groggy as Angel came into view. As soon as she saw him, a voice that was not her own sprang up in the back of her mind. "Don't tell him." Buffy didn't question the voice; she just looked back down at her hands as Angel approached her.
"There you are, did you get the other vamp?" he asked.
"Yeah," Buffy mumbled as she continued to look at her hands, turning them over.
Angel lowered his head as he tried to look her in the eye. "Hey, you okay?"
Buffy tore her eyes away from her hands and looked up at his face with a smile. "Yeah, I'm just fine."