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To Take Care of Each Other

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“Don’t be such a baby,” Buffy said as her husband whimpered in pain. Despite her words, her tone was soft and her hands gentle as she ran them up and down his back massaging out the knots.

“It hurts,” Angel grunted as her fingers worked on a particularly tight knot. The muscle relaxant cream that she’d rubbed into his skin earlier was aiding in soothing his sore back, but he could still feel the pain radiating down in some areas. “I don’t get it, I’ve been stretching just like you told me to!”

“Yeah well sometimes it takes more than that to fix a bad back,” Buffy said, shifting her position to become more comfortable straddling his thighs. Adding more of the rose scented oil she rubbed her hands together before placing them on the small of his following the smooth muscular slope up to his broad shoulders and back down again.

“I do not have a bad back,” Angel protested before he grunted as her hands landed on another sore spot. “Not that bad of a back anyway.”

“Bad backs come with humans getting older, it’s a part of life,” Buffy said kneading her thumbs between his shoulder blades. She didn’t miss the small smile on his face at the reminder of his new life.

A few years ago, after defeating the Senior Partners in LA, Angel found and rejoined Buffy and the Scoobies in Europe. Happily reunited, but showing amazing self-restraint the star-crossed lovers worked together training new potentials and defeating big bads as they sprouted up. The Slayer and the Ensouled Vampire united again in an unstoppable front. Then one day after stopping what they thought of as your everyday average apocalypse, an invisible force knocked Angel unconscious. He awoke to Buffy hovering over him and the sound of his heart beating in his ears.

The Shanshu prophecy had been fulfilled.

A new man free to live his life, Angel had quickly made Buffy his wife to spend the rest of that life with. Together they explored the world together with fresh eyes, neither taking a moment together for granted. Angel reveled in his new life as a human, loving the feel of the sun on his skin, the way food tasted in his mouth. The enraptured look he got when he discovered yet another thing he enjoyed would even bring a tear to Buffy’s eye, she never thought she’d get to see Angel this happy.

And the way they made love to each other – sweet, freely and often – well at times they wondered if they’d truly survived all their battles because surely there couldn’t be a better heaven than being in one another’s arms.

Angel grunted again. However, after almost three centuries of being nearly indestructible, Angel was having a hard time adjusting to his new mortal shortcomings. One of those shortcomings the couple was beginning to discover was that Angel a bad back.

If he twisted a certain way in a fight or worked it the wrong way at the gym, he’d be laid out for a week. He wouldn’t switch his new life for anything, and he was grateful that the powers had thought to leave him his strength so he could continue to fight beside Buffy, but he wished that they had left him his rapid vampiric healing too.

“Maybe I’m faking so that I could get your brand of TLC,” Angel said smirking. As it was he was spread out nude on his stomach on their king size bed, her lithe figure moving over him. If he could still purr, their skin to skin contact would have drawn a few out of by now. He grunted again as Buffy applied more pressure to a lump she had a personal vendetta against.

“Oh, I gotcha you wanted your wifey to play nurse with you?” Buffy teased back. Her nimble little fingered zeroed in on a large knot in particular. The knot persisted throughout their massage and she’d often had to abandon it to work on other sore parts of his back. She glared at the spot as she worked it out of her husband’s muscles. How dare they settle into her husband’s back and make her hubby uncomfortable. “I think you should lay off the slaying for a while.”

“WHAT?” Angel’s eyes shot open and he almost dislodged his wife. Buffy’s strong hands pushed him back down into their soft bed and went back to work as if nothing had happened. She was this close to getting rid of that knot and wasn’t stopping till it was gone.

“Don’t think of it as retirement, more like a much-earned vacation,” Buffy smiled in triumphant as she defeated the knot, feeling nothing but smooth skin wear the lump used to sit. She leaned forward and placed in a kiss on the oil-covered redden skin.

“I’m not leaving you alone to fight. No. Not again,” Angel argued trying to stay strong despite how good her hands felt caressing up and down his spine. His back did feel better and he could just turn over and have her straddle him for a whole different reason… But he wasn’t done with this conversation.

“There hasn’t been a real threat in a while. You’ve on patrol you’ve seen how calm things are,” Buffy softly traced the design of his tattoo making him shiver under her touch. She loved having such an effect over him.

“Then you should be fine with me coming with,” Angel said trying to ignore the soft patterns being traced into his skin. And the kisses his wife was leaving, “if things are so calm.”

“Angel,” Buffy rose on to her knees so he could roll over and face her. As she settled back down, both tried to ignore the pleasurable position they’d be if she’d settled just a little bit more forward. “If the roles were reversed would you be okay with me slaying right now?”

She had him there.

“How about when I broke my wrist last year and you insisted I stay in while you took over patrol?”

Angel opened his mouth to say something but couldn’t think of what to say to help his argument.

“And what about all those times you hunted for me when I had too much homework? Or all the other countless times you’ve taken care of me,” Buffy finished stroking her fingers through the hair on his temples.

“I know, it’s just I worry about you,” Angel admitted capturing her hands and bring them to her lips.

“Good then you know I feel when I worry about you,” Buffy said earnestly looking into his eyes. “I just got you back, I don’t want to lose you again. Besides I can handle myself.”

“Never love, you’ll never lose me again,” Angel conceded pulling her down to lay on top of him. She was right, at this moment he’d be nothing but a hindrance in a hunt. A liability that could get her killed. It’d be best if he rested up to be at full capacity when he joined her next.

“And I’m not going anywhere, so let me take care of you. We’re partners after all, and partners take care of each other.” Buffy smiled as she leaned forward and placed a soft kiss of his lips.

They had the rest of their lives to fight side by side, and looking out for each other they’d make sure they were long lives.