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Leaning on the Egde of E (excerpt, contains B/A)

 
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D.M.
Dark Avenger


Joined: 28 Nov 2003
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 8:17 pm    Post subject: Leaning on the Egde of E (excerpt, contains B/A) Reply with quote

This is kind of unusal for me. This is a chapter in a much longer work but it also works as a stand alone story so I'm offering it up as the answer to my own Halloween chapter (eventually you'll get to see the story this comes from) I hope you enjoy it (the challenge only required one questionable alcoholic drink and someone in costume) . All you need to know as back story is that this is Post - Not Fade Away and Angel, having survived, starts off on a year long journey of self-discovery and fence-mending with his son. The reason I'm putting this here instead of in the B/A fic is that this chapter comes at the end and while it's B/A MOST of the story is not. It's more Angel/Connor (father/son, nothing strange, promise)

LEANING ON THE EDGE OF E

By D.M. Evans

Disclaimer - Not mine, never have been, never will be. Iím just grateful to Mr. Whedon et al for the chance to play in his sandbox. All lyrics included belong to The Cure

Rating - R for violence

Timeline - Immediately after Not Fade Away.

Summary - Connor joins his father in the battle against the demon horde and they learn what it means to be father and son

Authorís Note #1 - This is written for Crazy Girl Maryís cd challenge. http://www.geocities.com/crazy_girl_mary/mychallenges.htm. You need to use ALL the songs on one album. I chose The Cureís disintegration album.

CHAPTER

Swimming the same deep water as you is hard
"the shallow drowned lose less than we"
You breathe the strangest twist upon your lips
"and we shall be together..."

The Cure - The Same Deep Water as You

Well, at least I was getting to see the crypts of Dublin; hear my sarcasm. Our continuing odyssey brought us to Ireland, which of course I should have thought of when Connor first came back from Quor-Toth. I should have shown him the world wasnít a big, all too often dirty and dangerous, city. I was well aware there had been no time for such things then but that didnít ameliorate my guilt.

I wish I could have joined in all the sight seeing Connor was doing, watching my son drink in the history of my homeland. He absorbed Galway City like a sponge. We spent days there before moving on to Dublin. At least it was October and it got dark enough for me to see some sites before they closed and others I could sneak into. We both enjoyed the pub crawling. I knew I shouldnít encourage that behavior but Connor seemed to be having fun and I was enjoying that too much to deny him it.

But fate wouldnít let us just relax and be monster-free. Still, the two of us wouldnít be us without a little action and we were certainly getting plenty of it now. The crypt of Christ Church Cathedral was the largest in Ireland and had a good infestation of vampires. I was mostly hanging back watching my son fight, keeping an eye on his back. Half the time Iíve seen Connor fight, he had been kicking my ass.

I watched him now with a tremendous swell of fatherly pride. Connor was pretty amazing, moving with liquid speed that I wasnít sure I could match. I made more of my size and strength, which Connor lacked, well size at any rate. He was plenty strong for a string bean. He was taking good care not to wipe out any of the relics and monuments in the crypt as he spun and twisted in battle in amongst the forest of stone pillars that held up vaulted arches nearly nine hundred years old.

I heard that slight explosive sound of a vampire dusting but it didnít come from where Connor was fighting. The vampires swarmed towards the sound as if sensing a new target and just had to go for it. Sometimes my kind could be so stupid, and Iím sure my son would include me in that from time to time. Connor followed, not caring if he took some from the back. For a moment, I lost him in the mass of vampires and stone and I moved in to help. I saw a flash of gold and watched Connor grab the woman as she went for him. He batted her away, unable to get a clear shot at her. Even as she flipped and turned back to battle him, I knew who it was.

Before I could shout a warning, her stake flashed at my sonís chest. She pulled the punch, realizing he wasnít a vampire but not before she impaled the arm Connor threw up to block the blow. He grunted and punched her in the face, pulled the stake out of his arm.

I had to step in and take out the vampire who was trying to take advantage of their distraction. Hearing a whoop behind me, I glanced back, seeing Faith tossing herself off a medieval coffin and into the fray.

"Buffy," I whispered, almost hating myself for turning to her before seeing how badly Connor was hurt. I couldnít tell if my son noticed. He was busy staking a path to Faith through the grey stone. I reached out, tilting up Buffyís chin as she tried to pinch off the flow of blood from Connorís direct hit to her nose.

"Angel?" she said sounding more like Ďain-bell.í Her eyes were huge. "What are you doing here?"

"Vacation. How about you?" I moved her aside to try and stake the vampire coming up behind her. I didnít have to. She just shoved her hand back causally with another of her stakes, dusting him.

"Work." She smiled thought the blood that was driving me insane with hunger and longing. I wanted to taste her again, any Slayer really. I knew the legend of Slayerís blood long before tasting Buffy; a century before she was even born, I had wanted to drink in a Slayer.

"Hey Faith," I heard Connor call, forgetting she no longer knew him, dragging my attention away from Buffy for a moment.

"Do I know you?" Faith asked, barely pausing as she staked a vampire.

"Not any more," came my sonís sardonic reply.

"You okay, Buffy?" I asked, content that Connor and Faith werenít going to be mistaking each other for prey.

"Fine. Who the hell is that?" Buffy stabbed a thumb in Connorís direction. "How does he move like a Slayer?"

We both watched as Connor flipped up on the ancient stocks taking out two vampires as he went. Faith looked disappointed he hadnít left any for her. He did an arial off the stocks, so obviously showing off for Faith, then trotted over to me.

"Connorís special," I said, pulling him to me. I took his arm, examining it. There was a large hole in his forearm, spilling blood freely. His blood smelled every bit as delicious as Buffyís. I knew what Connorís blood would do to me but that didnít stop the gnawing hunger.

"This looks bad," I fussed, gently poking at the jagged hole. He hissed in pain. "Weíd better get it bandaged up."

"Iím fine." Connor tried to pull away but I wouldnít let him. Faith handed me the bottom half of her shirt as a makeshift bandage. I started binding Connor up as he ogled Faithís taut belly. Honestly, that much teenaged hormones couldnít be good for him.

I patted his back. "Better?"

"Iíd be better if you didnít look at me like I was dinner." Connor poked me in the forehead.

I rubbed my ridges. Between his blood and Buffyís, the demon had come out to play and I hadnít even noticed. "Sorry."

Faith snorted. "This is freaking me out."

"What?" I shot her a confused look. Buffy seemed a little freaked, too.

"Watching you do the hurt-comfort thing. I didnít think you went in for little boys as well as the girls," Faith replied.

Connor made a disgusted noise, summing it up for us both.

"Really, Faith. Iím not the least interested in men," I said.

"But you do know the nose-breaker." Buffy nodded at Connor. At least she wasnít bleeding any more.

"You stabbed me first," Connor retorted.

"I thought you were a vampire. How do you move like that?" Buffyís eyes dissected my son.

"Genetics," Connor replied, going back to checking out Faith.

"Your mom a Slayer?" Faith made a face. "Robin didnít get any moves like that from his mom."

"Not a Slayer," Connor said, then glanced back over at me. "And youíre still eyeing me like dinner, Dad."

"Sorry. Youíre still bleeding," I said in my defense while Buffy and Faith were too stunned to make a sound. I knew that wouldnít last. I wish I had been the one to break the news and done it a little more gently but I had spent the last several weeks trying to get Connor to acknowledge our relationship openly so I could hardly be angry he had.

"Like Pavlovís dog. Youíd better not lick me." Connor grinned one of those wide psycho smiles of his.

"Thereís an image," Faith mumbled.

"Okay, I know you hit me pretty hard in the head," Buffy said. "But I thought you called Angel your dad."

"As much as I sometimes pretend to the contrary, that is what I said," Connor said.

"Okay, thatís not possible," Buffy said, in a tone that suggested she wouldnít even entertain the idea.

I rubbed a hand through my hair. "Actually, Buffy, Faith, itís true and itís a long story."

"How?" Buffy squeaked out.

"He knocked up Darla," Connor offered, with a shrug. I had to wonder how much of his natural bluntness had been heightened by hanging out with Spike for a while in L.A. I needed to pound on Spike as a reminder to not influence my son.

"Guess it wasnít such a long story after all." I eyed my son sourly as he started heading out of the crypt, trailing blood.

"Angel?" Buffyís eyes seemed to be nothing but whirling color.

"This is so whacked," Faith muttered, watching Connor intently.

"Youíre telling me," Connor said, patting the stocks. "How many times did they put you in something like this when you were my age, Dad?"

"What are those?" Faith asked.

"Stocks and never." Connor knew about Buffy and what she meant to me from our talks so either he was in one of his moods tonight and was out to be difficult, or this was his unconventional way of breaking the tension.

"Yeah right. I think the ladies want an explanation. I say we get out of the crypt and head to where we were going before we learned about the nest," Connor said.

"Can we get a drink there?" Buffy asked, surprising me. It was more of a Faith question.

"We were headed for the pub," I said, reaching for her but she moved away. "This wasnít how I had hoped to tell you about this."

"How long have you been keeping it a secret that you have a teen-aged son?" Buffyís voice held a growl.

"Not as long as you might think," Connor said, heading for the surface again.

I shrugged. "Heís right."

"Tell us while you lead the way," Buffy said, her face dark and pinched.

All the rehearsed lines I had for breaking this news to her went out the window as we walked. Strolling through the streets of Dublin with Buffy getting more and more closed off and quiet and Faith cursing at me for tinkering with her mind, never even made the list of ways I thought about doing it. It was even worse when Connor popped into an all-night pharmacy to get a proper bandage for his arm, leaving me with the girls and their angry eyes. At least he brought out some alcohol and swabs and Buffy used that to clean the blood from her face, trying to daub it out of her shirt. We were still blocks from the pub when I ran out of story. Faith migrated off to talk to Connor about their previous meetings, leaving me with Buffy and the glacier between us.

Finally she made eye contact with me. "Did you tell me before the mind wipe?"

I hung my head. "No. There was never any time, which I know is no excuse. You had enough on your plate at the time, Buffy, readjusting to being alive again. I didnít want to add to it."

"Youíre right, thatís no excuse," she said but she didnít sound quite as angry as she looked.

I stared at my feet. "I know. Then Holtz came and Connor was gone and after he got back..."

"He tried to murder you and not one of your friends even thought to tell us you were gone." She sounded so bitter about that and I didnít blame her. I could imagine what I would have felt like if Willow hadnít told me Buffy had died.

"In their defense, Iím not sure either Gunn or Fred even knew you and we had washed our hands of Wesley. Iím sure he doubted youíd want to hear from him after what he had done. Once he rescued me and Cordy returned, all hell broke loose, quite literally both in L.A. and Sunnydale. I donít honestly know if they told you about Connor when they asked Willow to help restore my soul again."

"And then you did the spell thing," she said.

She made it sound like a betrayal and it really hurt. "There was no choice. Connor was too insane for traditional ways of helping someone whoís suicidal. Heís a lot better now."

Her face softened. "You really love him."

I looked at her. That was such an odd thing to say. How could she think I didnít? "Heís my son, Buffy. Of course I love him."

"No matter what heís done to you."

Oh that, I suppose from the outside looking in, most people wouldnít blame me if I popped Connorís head off like a dandelion for the stuff heís pulled. "Connor had reason enough to be a bit psychotic, Buffy. I donít blame him. Heís almost all I have left in this world. Most of my friends died in Los Angeles," I said, bitterly. A swell of pain washed up in me.

"You still have me," she said, softly.

"I wasnít sure of that," I said, instantly regretting it. Her eyes turned flinty as the pub came into view.

I was grateful when Faith asked loudly -"what kind of name was Brazen Head?" - as she pointed to the scroll painted on the side of the building with a fiddle under it.

"Itís been a pub since the late 1600's," I offered, desperate for a chance of subject. "And there was another ale house here before that."

"Cool," Faith said. "Thatís the weirdest thing about the whole European experience, being in buildings so damn old."

"I like it, all the history and I love this pub," Connor said, picking up the pace, lured in by the music floating out if I knew my son. "Itís good craic."

"Angel letís you do crack?" Faith glanced between us as if weíd lost our minds.

"Not that kind of crack." Connor laughed.

"Itís Irish for good fun, more or less," I said.

We passed through the carriage-gate and into the courtyard. Connor led the way and managed to find an empty table. We all sat down rather uneasily. I felt like going behind the bar and just drinking straight from the tap and consign this night to oblivion. It would be better than the awkwardness. The parts of me that were Liam had been reasserting themselves, good and bad, ever since Connor and I had started our journey. I think those parts connected well with Connor and it had me vaguely worried.

"Any suggestions for drinks?" Buffy asked, looking at my son, pointedly ignoring me.

"Thereíre two drinks I got addicted to in school. One thatís popular with my frat, but you probably wouldnít like it. The other one is something one of my girlfriends turned me onto," Connor replied.

"One of? How many do you have?" Faith smirked, her eyes raking over him. Connor was not blind to this; I could tell.

"Iíd rather not get into that in front of you know who." Connor pointed at me as if to prove tonight could indeed get more awkward.

"Gotcha. So what is the drink?" Faith asked.

"Something I canít ever order because itís too girly," Connor said. "I bet you two would like it, The Dark Side."

"Sounds perfect," Faith said, lounging back in her chair.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "You donít even know what it is."

"Who cares? Trust the frat boy. They know how to drink," Faith said sagely, and I didnít want to think about it. She waved over a waitress. "Whatís the other drink?"

"Iím not sure they make it here," Connor said. "Satanís Revenge."

"What the hell is that?" I blurted out, all sorts of things running through my mind and none of them good.

"Itís a shot. Itís part tequila, part Jack Daniels and part Goldschlager with a few good hits of tabasco sauce," Connor said, and I think I was making the same face as the ladies. It was worse than what I had imagined.

"I donít want you drinking something like that, son. Thatíll rot your brains."

Connor got that stubborn look of his. That look was a hundred percent Darla. "Itís good."

"Itís a death wish," I countered.

Connor shrugged. "Well, maybe youíre right. I should save my brain. Spike said given my parentage, I couldnít have inherited much brain power to begin with."

I pinched the bridge of my nose against the headache that was threatening. Vampires shouldnít get headaches. It didnít help that Faith was snickering at that. "Son, what did we talk about regarding Spike?"

"Never listen to him." Connor smirked.

"Boy, that expression looks familiar," Buffy said, ticking a finger off Connorís sneering lip, and Connor rolled his eyes. She was entirely right, of course. Connor might not have inherited any of my looks, such as I remember them from that brief period on Pylea, but he had many of my mannerisms. I supposed I wouldnít be put out if he was in fact smarter than either Darla or I.

"What can I get for you?" the waitress asked, looking weary as she bustled over to our table.

"Two Dark Sides for the ladies and two pints of the black stuff," Connor said and she headed for the bar.

"Do I want to know whatís in the black stuff?" Buffy asked.

"Just Guinness beer," I said.

"Best stuff in the world," Connor said.

"On that we agree, but no more Satanís Revenges." I wagged a finger at him and he gave me the look that said heíd do ten shots of the stuff out of defiance the first chance he got. "You donít have the body weight to drink stuff like that," I added, and got the eye roll again.

"Giles would love to meet you, Connor," Buffy said, taking another careful appraisal of him.

"Love it in a Watcher way or a Ďdissect meí way or is that the same thing?" Connor asked without a lot of concern.

"Iím sure we can protect you from the scalpel." Faith slapped his shoulder.

"Giles is a good man, son. I was hoping you could meet him some day. I just wasnít sure where anyone was or I would have already asked," I lied. I did want him to meet Giles but I wouldnít have called the Watcher, not until our vacation reached a natural end point. "We lost track of Buffy in Italy."

"I didnít know you even knew I was there," Buffy said.

"What?" It was my turn for the wide eyes.

"I didnít know...you thought I did. Is this what you meant about not knowing if you still had me as a friend?" Her expression softened a bit.

Should I even tell her about it? I didnít want any more secrets. Hadnít I promised that to Connor? Buffy deserved the same treatment. "Yes. Spike and I both came to Italy. We were worried about you and the Immortal since we knew what heíd done to Darla and Dru way back when and didnít want you getting hurt."

Buffy made a face. "Ewww, are you telling me he slept with those two?"

"Yes, I am." I hated the horrified look on her face and was glad Faith and Connor were taking pains to try and ignore this part of the conversation.

"Why didnít you find me and tell me?" she demanded.

"Andrew told us you didnít want to talk to us, that youíve moved on and we had to, too. Thatís why I didnít come looking for you again. That was a pretty cold way to find out you didnít want to see us," I said far more bitterly than I intended. I hadnít wanted to bring that up but once my mouth got going it wouldnít stop.

Buffyís face went red and Faith edged her chair closer to Connor presumably to be out of blast range. "Iím going to kill him."

"Angel, I wouldnít listen to ninety percent of what Andrew says. Heís so full of himself now that heís being trained as a Watcher he makes Wesley-in-Sunnydale look like...whatís the opposite of pompous fuckwad?" Faith slung her hair back.

"I never told Andrew any such thing, Angel. I had no clue you two were in Italy." Buffyís gaze dropped down to the warped wood of the old table. "Andrew listens to Xander a lot and you know how Xander feels about you and Spike."

"Heís never gotten over being jealous of you and us," I said as the waitress came back with a tray of drinks. "We didnít realize...and we didnít want to be the jerks and ignore your wishes."

Buffy took her drink, something dark and creamy, stabbing at it with the straw it came with. "I should have talked to you two, especially after Spike came back from the dead. I tried once Los Angeles went to hell this spring, but all the numbers I knew to call you at werenít good any more."

"By the time we got there, we couldnít find you," Faith said, "Which I guess since big hunks of L.A. were missing, thatís not a surprise."

"Gunnís still there. He lost a leg," Connor said, his face grim. I think he really liked Gunn for all that he fought with him.

"Cordyís dead but you might already know that. Wes and Fred are dead, too," I said mournfully. "Spikeís with Illyria."

"Illyria?" Buffy asked.

"An ancient demon inside Fredís body. Spikeís looking out for her. Theyíre in England right now," Connor replied.

"Weíre all here but Xander and Andrew," Buffy said. "Thereís supposed to be a big each uisage gathering here. I guess theyíre a water spirit that appear as horses. They rip people apart and eat everything but the liver. Whatís up with that?"

"I wouldnít think theyíd find many victims these days. Who rides horses?" I asked.

"Never underestimate the power of a horse over little girls...and not so little ones," Faith said with a wink.

"Exactly. A lot of the victims have been young girls," Buffy said. "Giles and Dawn heard about it first then called in me, Faith and Willow, so weíre here to stop them."

"Sounds like fun," Connor said. "Try your drink."

Buffy complied, her lips working the straw in a way I couldnít help but watch. Her mouth spread in a broad smile as she visibly relaxed. "This is delicious."

Connor beamed that too-big-for-his-face smile. "Thought youíd like it."

"What is it?" She took another long swig.

"Amaretto, 151 rum, triple sec, thatís the orange flavor, dark creme de cacao, kahlua, vanilla ice cream and lots of chocolate syrup, see what I mean about it being girly?" Connor looked longingly at the drink.

"I can live with girly," Faith said, licking her lips. She pulled the drink closer to her chest as if expecting my son to sudden make a lunge for it.

"Decadent," Buffy purred. "Weíll have to introduce Willow to this at the Halloween party."

"Party?" Connorís eyes sparked. ĎOh, no,í I thought, Ďweíre going to a Halloween party whether I like it or not.í

"Thereís a bar in town that really caters to Americans, which I guess is no big duh, right," Faith said. "Itís throwing a Halloween party complete with costumes. You two should come."

"Yeah, thatíd be fun so long as I can duck the parental unit for at least part of the night," Connor said, making a face at me.

"Iím sure youíll be doing something Iíll be trying very hard not to see," I said sardonically and he snorted.

"You have to wear a costume, Angel," Buffy said, a ghost of a smile on her face.

"No, I donít," I said, trying to imagine that scenario.

"Thatís right, spoil the party before it even starts," Connor grumbled.

"Iím not wearing a silly costume."

"Oh, put on your game face and go as a vampire." Connor waved me off.

"See, problem solved." Buffy smiled at me.

"Fine. Weíll see," I conceded.

Faith looked around. "I donít feel like sitting still, but hereís not really room to dance in here."

"We could go out to the courtyard. Plenty of room there," Connor said.

She tapped his shoulder. "Letís go."

He and Faith grabbed their drinks and disappeared. Buffy looked at me. "Did we just get abandoned?"

"I think so." And probably because they knew Buffy and I needed to talk without an audience.

"Youíre just going to let him go off with Faith?" She looked at me like I had lost my mind.

"Iíd hate to see what would happen if I tried to stop Connor. They most likely canít get into too much trouble in the courtyard but Iíll probably have to toss him into the River Liffey on the way home tonight to cool him off." I smirked.

She laughed softly, then sobered. "Iím sorry."

"For what?"

"For not saying that Iím very glad to see you again, Angel, even if Iím a little hurt about being kept in the dark," she replied, not looking at me.

"Itís okay, Buffy. You have the right to be hurt and Iím sorry for that."

She looked at me. "Connorís kinda cute."

"Be careful of letting him hear that. I understand he has a thing for Slayers." I smirked again.

She wagged her head. "No fears there. Iíll leave him to Faith." She took another drink of the sugary Dark Side then suddenly was half out of her seat, her arms around me.

She pressed her ice cream cooled lips to mine in a ferocious kiss. She tasted like chocolate and oranges, sweet, luscious. I could smell her blood on her, adding fire to my kiss. Our tongues fenced until she finally sat back, needing to breathe.

"Wow," she whispered. I stroked her hair and she turned her head, pressing her lips to my palm. "I didnít know just how much I missed you."

"About as much as I missed you." I kissed the top of her head. "Thereís more I have to tell you, Buffy, about me, the curse, ways around it...not that Iím expecting to need it...just that I donít want there to still be secrets."

She looked at me expectantly and I searched for the easiest ways to tell her without inciting jealousy. It wasnít an easy tap dance but I knew, in the long run it would be worth it. She said nothing about Nina when I told her. What could she say after Spike and the Immortal? We both had had our lovers. It was natural and I still might be jealous of the time she had spent with Spike but I wasnít going to let that show any more. I had grown a little I guess.

"So itís being happy and not...you know." Buffy looked a little embarrassed.

"Itís being happy," I confirmed. "Wesí advice about how often does true happiness occur so just go for it, is still as dumb and risky now as it was when he said it but...."

"Knowing the risks, sort of spoils the mood just a little," Buffy said. Did she sound a little hopeful?

I nodded. "Thatís not a bad thing. I know whatís at risk and so long as Iím happy enough without it being perfect, thatís all I can ask for."

"Thatís good to know," she said and I read all sorts of happy scenarios into those words even though she didnít appear to have anything but a general Ďgood-for-youí in mind.

"Hey you two," Connor said, coming back to the table. "Time to go."

"What?"

"Last call, old man. Time to go," he informed us. I saw Buffy trying not to laugh. I didnít blame her. Connor was either unaware he had a large sucker bite on his neck or he had the top buttons on his shirt undone to show it off like a bandage. I wasnít surprised. Faith wasnít know for her restraint and no teenaged boy was ever known to even having a passing acquaintance with the word.

"Shall we?" I got up, holding a hand out to Buffy.

"You can walk us home. Itís not safe for a girl out there alone at night." Her eyes twinkled as she put her tiny hand in mine.

"No, itís not," I said as we headed for the door where Faith waited. "And son, good boys donít let girls suck on their necks. It leads to bad things." I ticked a finger against the still-wet bite. "Trust me, I know."

He batted at me. "Got news for you, Dad. Iím not going to be the next Irish saint."

"You donít know that. Thereís a whole cult of vampires that want to worship you," I replied.

All three of them stared at me and Connor asked, "Do I even want to know what that means?"

"Didnít I ever tell you that story? Thereís a cult of vampires who think youíre their messiah."

"You crazy vampires," Faith chortled.

"Thatís what happens to the brain when itís dead too long," Connor grumbled, looking unhappy.

"Where are we heading?" Faith asked.

"Theyíre walking us home," Buffy replied.

"And then weíll have to get back to our hotel before sun up, which I guess means I still have plenty of time."

"Youíre staying together?" Faith sounded disappointed.

"That tends to go with the whole vacationing together thing so Connorís nightís probably about to get a whole lot less interesting," I said.

"No kidding." Connor sulked.

The sulk didnít last long though and while Buffy didnít invite me into the house the Scoobies were renting, she did extract a promise for me to meet her here tomorrow. Connor and I did a little more patrolling before heading back so he could get some sleep since he had been up early. He was showering when I placed a call to London. I hung up, suddenly aware of eyes on me. I turned and Connor was looking at me, a towel wrapped around his reedy body. The puncture on his arm was half-healed.

"You told Spike Buffy was here. Isnít that called shooting yourself in the foot?" he asked.

"Yes, and Iím good at that. But, Spike deserves to know, too. Heís earned it." I didnít like thinking about it but it was true.

"And you think heís in love with Illyria anyhow."

"For his sake, I hope not," I replied, thinking yes, Spike probably was. Maybe he could actually humanize Illyria.

Connor shrugged and headed back into his adjoining bedroom. "The vampire messiah needs to get some sleep if heís planning on going to the botanical gardens tomorrow. Think the ladies would like to go?"

"Ask them. And you and I need to have a talk about Faith," I said.

Connor shuddered, nearly losing the towel. He was way too thin. I needed to encourage him to eat more of my homelandís cooking. Potato soup, a good Guinness stew, thick soda bread, that would help him immensely. "This isnít going to be some creepy sex talk is it?"

"Hell, no!" Luckily vampires canít blush. I still wasnít ready to have that talk but in retrospect my asking Cordyís help with that was one of my worst ideas. "Iím assuming you already know all you need to at this point, including all the protection stuff. I donít know how much you actually know about Faith," I said, wondering how to broach the subject.

"I know she killed some people. She told me."

"There might be stuff she didnít tell you but it can wait until morning."

"Good." He ducked back into his bathroom. "Night, Dad."

"Goodnight, son."

I retreated into my room and headed for the shower myself. I had no idea how I was going to sleep knowing Buffy was just a short distance away.

* * *

I didnít know what to expect really. My son had gone to Buffy and Faithís earlier in the evening to get ready for our big night at the Techno-Harp. The name alone gave me shudders. What kind of Americanized Irish dance club was I being dragged to? How did I get talked into this? Halloween in costume? No proper vampire would go out on Halloween. All right, so I hadnít exactly put on a costume either, a move that disappointed Connor from the eye roll I got when he opened the door to Buffyís place. Or maybe the eye roll was for my black leather pants and deep red velvet poet shirt.

Or maybe I was just disturbed by the sheer amount of eyeliner and shadow on my sonís eyes. Even the fake beard couldnít offset the femininity of those eyes, highlighted as they were. I instantly recognized the rest of his costume, the long dreadlocked, bauble-laden wig, the pirateís outfit, the sword and pistol. After all, during our sojourn Connorís made me watch Pirates of the Carribean I donít know how many times.

"Captain Jack Sparrow?" I asked.

"At least I have a costume." His eyes swept over me dismissively. "Whereís yours?"

I let my demon show. "Better?"

Connor grimaced. "Youíre so ugly, you know that?" I scowled at him but he ignored it. "Iím telling you, my demon heritage had best stop with my senses, strength, and speed. Being a teenís hard enough without having to look like that." He gestured at me.

"Donít make me bite you, son."

His lips curled. "Iíd like to see you try."

"I would but then I might smear your make up and then where would you be?" I smirked.

His undoubtably smart-assed comment was cut off when Faith swept into the room dressed as Miss Swann from the movie. I would never have pictured Faith as the type of girl whoíd want to be in a gown; corset yes, the gown no. She looked simply stunning and she knew she had both our attention. She blushed just a bit shrugging her shoulders making that shiny plastic Aztec gold medallion almost disappeared between the tanned globes of her breasts, much of which were deliciously visible.

"Donít say a word." Faith held up her hands. "Buffyís already warned me what happened when she wore a gown like this."

"Hopefully thereíll be no bad magic this time," I said. "You look lovely, Faith."

"Hey, thatís my line," Connor protested. He bowed low, taking her hand, planting a kiss on it. "Heís quite right, my lady."

Faithís blush deepened and I realized the one thing Faith wasnít used to from a man was respect. "Thanks."

"Is Buffy ready?" I asked.

"Please. She is so slow... but to be fair she helped me first. This is not a one-woman job," Faith said, waving her hands at her gown.

"Buffy will be down in a minute," Willow said, coming in with Kennedy. The Slayer was somewhere between trashy and cute in her black pleather micro dress with a neckline so low nipples almost showed, black fishnet stockings and curling black butterfly wings. Willow was absolutely gorgeous. She always did have the prettiest eyes I had ever seen, not that Iíd tell anyone that. Her outfit was deep green, Grecian in flavor with a skirt so short that I knew Willow must have changed a lot since I last spent real time with her. Leaves decorated her fiery hair and ivory, almost organic-looking, wings were on her back.

"Wow," Connor said, proving he could almost still breathe.

"What he said," I put in, admiring the feminine treat before me. "You two look..."

"Great," Connor finished for me.

"Is Buffy out there yet?" Dawn called from another room.

"The coast is clear but sheís gonna see you sometime," Faith said.

Dawn came in wearing knee-high, multi-strapped romper stompers that Spike would probably kiss when he saw them. She was yet another fairy. Her hair had been streaked with red and her eyes done up in punk black. Her outfit was in two parts; a black mesh and tartan halter and a mini skirt of black leather and tartan. Her wings were fishnet and tattered. "What do you think?"

"Youíre hot," Faith assured her.

"She doesnít lie," Connor said, his eyes huge and his breathing a bit too quick. He was likely to go into shock from an estrogen overdose at any moment and who could blame him.

Dawn relaxed some then tensed up again as Buffy came in. Dawn instantly faded from my view. All I could see was the strapless, painted-on red satin dress Buffy had on, the hem like ragged flames licking her thighs. Iíd never really seen her in panty hose, I realized, let alone fire-red fishnets. She had little red horns in her hair and red pixie wings. I managed a sound that went something like "Ohguh."

Connor leaned close. "Was that a word?"

I pushed him lightly. "Buffy..." The vocabulary centers of my brain were locked up tight.

Connor whispered in my ear, "If youíre not careful, those teeth wonít be the only pointy thing on you."

I shoved him harder this time. "You look amazing."

Buffy grinned. "Weíre a collection of not-so-good fairies...though my sister wasnít supposed to be part of the pack."

Dawn tossed her head. "This was in the teen section of the costume store so deal. Iím the punk fairy."

"And when we meet Spike and Illyria at the club, expect Spike to notice," I said and caught Buffyís warning look. That was probably not what Buffy had in mind for her sister. "What fairy are you, Buffy?"

"Tinker Hell." She smiled at me again as Giles slipped into the room. I wasnít expecting him to come along, let alone be in costume. I recognized this one, too, thanks to my sonís obsession with bad movies.

"Man, youíre going as Van Helsing," Connor groaned.

Giles smirked and tipped up the brim of his hat. "If Angel is going as a vampire, he needs a nemesis."

"Iíll pay you to shoot him a few times," Connor said, and earned a third hard shove from me.

"I like the costume, Giles." Buffy patted her Watcherís shoulder. "That was a great bad movie."

"Oh please, it sucked," Connor said.

"I think the vampire offspring is a bit touchy," Faith licked her lips, rubbing the small of Connorís back. "Whereís your tail?"

He grinned, his hands going to his belt. "I can show you."

"Leave the pants on!" Buffy ordered, flinging a hand out.

"Faith, donít tempt my son into stupidity please, at least not in public. Take him somewhere else if you want to see whatís in his pants" I said then realized what I said. "Um, could I rephrase that?"

"No," Connor replied, pointing at me with his sword.

"Photo op before we go," Dawn insisted and everyone had to participate. That included me in demon face, no one would accept anything less. I just wished photo time would end.

"Come on," Willow said. "Weíre never going to get to the club just standing here."

"I still need to determine if walking in with all these lovely ladies will make my reputation or peg me as a dirty old man," Giles said.

"That last thing," Buffy said, then reached for my hand. I wasnít quite ready for that. God, her hands were so little. "So, you really are just going as a vampire?"

"Yes, and Iím very ugly, I know. Iíve already been told," I said.

"I hadnít noticed," she replied cryptically.

I didnít know what to say so I said nothing. I wasnít expecting this much flirting. I was expecting her to be holding herself distant, not quite ready to be back in my life, even though I knew how much she missed me. It was like the costume had shifted her personality to match. This really needed to be a quiet Halloween. We earned it. I wanted it.

I learned a few things on the way to the club. I could still flirt when needed; that Buffy was receptive to it; that Connor possessed the ability to totally tune me out as if I didnít exist and that he did a very passable imitation of Johnny Depp as Sparrow. It was disconcerting. I also learned that Giles was rather intrigued by my son but I think I was expecting that.

The club was packed when we got there and after paying the cover we were all made to wear little numbers on our backs. I didnít want to know why. Connor and Faith were snagged by Willow and Kennedy and they all disappeared out onto the dance floor. Giles bee-lined for the bar, which would probably take him the better part of an hour to wade through the crowd to get there. Dawn hesitated at Buffyís side for a moment until Buffy waved her off. Dawn was gone in a heart beat.

"Would you be horribly disappointed if I admitted I donít fast dance," I said, as the overly loud music threatened to turn my brain to mush.

"I remember that much." She patted my arm. "I can wait for a slow dance."

"Would you like something to drink?" I asked, not at all sure what to do. This place would have appealed to Liam but it had been far too long since I had been him. Clubs were more of a Buffy, Cordy, Faith kind of thing. As many times as I met Buffy at the Bronze, we rarely did more than sit and talk and occasionally slow dance. I think she saw I wasnít entirely comfortable here, surrounded by costumed people who seemed to know innately how to have fun. I was rusty.

"Think they have that ice cream drink?" Her hand caressed mine.

"We can find out."

Buffy and I worked our way to the second floor bar so she could at least have a birdís eye view of the dancing, and actually found one open stool which I planted her on without preamble and stuffed myself between her and the guy who had been trailing us to the bar. I scared him off with a golden-eyed glare.

"Did you enjoy the botanical gardens?" I asked once I had my Guinness in hand and Buffyís deep red lips were working the straw on her ice cream drink. Oh, to be that straw.

Buffy nodded, licking her lips. "Theyíre beautiful. I wish..." She trailed off, giving me an apologetic look.

"So do I. Thatís just one of the million things I miss about not going out in sunlight," I said.

Her eyes went misty. "Sorry."

"Donít be. Iím the one who asked." I leaned against the bar; boy, what a familiar position that was for me. It might have been more than a century since I fitted up against the rail of an Irish bar but it felt like home. "Tell me about the gardens."

Brightening, she did, in great detail. Buffy liked flowers. Who knew? When she was done, her eyes look on a serious gleam. "You know, Connor is...well, intense."

I wasnít expecting that. "Exceedingly. And this is the calmed down version."

Her brow furrowed, as if wondering if she needed to be worried about him. "How scary was he?"

"The PTSD poster boy," I replied.

"What? Oh, wait, that stress disorder. Yeah, I so get that. Can you imagine being in a hell like that," she said and froze. Her beautiful eyes opened wide. "Oh, god! Iím so stupid. Angel, Iím sorry."

I took her hand. "Itís okay. Iíve adjusted and itís not like Angelus left you any choice."

"Still."

I pressed a finger to those pretty painted lips. " You did what I would have wanted you to do, saved the world. I could have done without you giving Spike a fire poker though. He enjoyed that way too much." I smiled gently.

"Did I hear my name being taken in vain?" Spike swept up to us with Illyria in tow. He was in full punk mode. Romper stompers with skull buckles, black leather pants, a tartan shirt, black nails, lips and eyelids with a safety pink through that scar on his eyebrow. Did I know him or what? Illyria had exchanged her brown leathers for deep blue leather probably at Spikeís behest. She looked totally lost.

Leave it to Spike to show up just as I was about to kiss Buffy. "Perfect timing as usual, Spike. Did you visit the same make-up artist at my son?"

"This is all my handiwork. Iíve gotten good at this," he replied proudly, buffing his lacquered nails on his shirt. "Couldnít bloody ask Dru to do it. She was as likely to poke out an eye as anything."

"Yes, it does the vampires of the world proud, our very own Queer Eye guy," I replied, and Buffy kicked me but I could see her trying not to laugh as Spike bristled.

"You watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy?" Buffy asked incredulously.

"No, Lorne and Harmony did and they kept threatening to fly them to L.A. just for me." I shuddered. "I donít know why. Cordy always used to say I had the taste..." I stopped myself before finishing the sentence. "Never mind."

"Yeah, you always were a bit of a poof, Peaches," Spike said. "Where is the brat?"

I tossed a hand out towards the dance floor. "Somewhere with Faith."

"Ah, planning on getting lucky, is he?í Spike laughed and Buffy and I both scowled at him.

"Lucky?" Illyria cocked her head at Spike. He whispered in her ear. "Does that mean he no longer lusts for this body?"

Spike rolled his eyes, the safety pin in his face wiggling. "No, Iím sure he still does."

I wish Spike was wrong about that. It made me wonder what Connor was up to when he was living with Fred and Gunn. "Connor and Faith came as a couple so Iím assuming unless he does something stupid..."

"Gotcha. And since Iím being bad on my introductions, Buffy, this is Illyria," Spike said. "Iím sure Angelís told you about her."

"Yes," Buffy said tightly. I didnít blame her. Illyria still made me nervous. "Hello," she added more politely. I had tried to impress on her that Spike was trying to humanize Illyria to turn her to our side in the way I had wanted to try with Jasmine before Connor put his fist through her head. I tried not to think about that; Jasmine, Illyria, both very risky propositions.

"This is the Slayer." Illyria poked Buffyís arm. "She looks harmless."

"So do you, luv," Spike reminded her as Buffy managed to look highly offended.

"This shell is weak," Illyria lamented.

"Howís she been?" Buffy nodded at the demoness.

"Learning there are other ways of seeing the world other than something to be conquered," Spike said. "And Slayer, I know I forgot to say it but you look beautiful. If you can sit there with Peaches doing nothing but standing here like a statute instead of being all over you proves how much of a eunuch he is."

"Spike," Buffy wagged her head, and I reached for that safety pin in his face. He always was a fast little bastard.

"You desire her?" Illyria asked Spike, oblivious to how awkward the question was.

Spike shrugged. ĎSure. Always, but some battles canít be won and you find other ones to wage." Spike caught Illyriaís face in his hands, his thumbs caressing the blue speckles over her forehead. It was an almost heartbreaking gesture and Buffy seemed to feel that, too.

Just then Dawn popped up out of nowhere, obviously having just been to the bar because she had some sweet-smelling alcoholic drink in hand and probably hadnít seen us here through the throngs of people. "Uh-oh. Hey Spike! Nice outfit," she said, hiding the drink behind her back.

"Bit! Look at you. Love the costume. You look good enough to eat.," Spike said, wrapping his arms around her in an enthusiastic hug, nearly knocking off her wings.

"Not words I want to hear from a vampire directed at my kid sister and I saw that drink, Dawn," Buffy said, scowling at Dawn.

"Iím legal in Ireland," she protested, wiggling free without spilling her drink.

Buffy just raised an eyebrow. "Fine but I wonít be there holding your hair when youíre over that toilet later on."

Dawn rolled her eyes. "Is this Illyria?"

"Yes. Illyria, this is Dawn. Liíl Bit, meet Illyria."

Illyria cocked her head again. "This one desires you, my pet," she said, and Dawn went beet red. She turned her gaze on all of us. "Does everyone desire everyone else?"

"Pretty much. Come on, I have to teach you to dance. Dawn, save a dance for me later," Spike said and dragged Illyria off, thank God, before she mentioned anyone else being hot for someone else totally inappropriate.

"I should uh...you know." Dawn pointed into the crowd weakly.

"Forget Spike. You find someone normal," Buffy instructed as if that were an easy choice for someone in our lifestyle.

"I have. His name is Paddy and heís really cute," Dawn said defiantly. "And I remembered what you told me, no letting strange men get me drinks." She hoisted the proof. "I should get back before he thinks I deserted him."

Dawn took off before Buffy could protest. She looked at me. "Sheís found someone?"

"Itís the accent. Americans canít resist it," I said smiling.

She laughed. "Sometimes I wish you hadnít lost your accent."

"Iím sure I could find it again if youíd like." I smiled more broadly, hoping I wasnít looking like an idiot. Connor had assured me I have a goofy smile as if he should talk. Heís the only person I know outside of Dru who looks insane when he smiles. Then it occurred to me that I was in game face. My smiles couldnít look anything except for alligator-like and predatory.

"Spike actually looks happy with...her," Buffy said distastefully.

"I think he was starting to fall for Fred before Illyria killed her. I donít know if this is some kind of transference on his part or real. There was always something I never understood about Spike being attracted to you," I said, knowing it was shaky ground.

Buffy didnít seem angry. She looked more curious than anything. "Oh?"

"Spike loves taking care of women. Thatís what heís always looked for, delicate women, ones that need someone to look out for them. Even as a mortal, from what I can tell, he was after that. Dru and Illyria might not be delicate it per se but..."

"They need someone to watch over them," she filled in.

I nodded. "You never needed that, not from Spike, not from me. Sometimes maybe you did a little but for the most part youíre stronger than we are."

She sighed, setting aside her drink. "I know. I think thatís what drove Riley away, too. Sometimes I wish I were a little weaker."

I slipped an arm around her. "I donít. I wouldnít want you to be anything but what you are, Buffy. Anything else would be a lie and eventually would be just as hollow."

She smiled faintly then reached up, pulling me down for a soft kiss. "Sometimes the things you say just infuriate me and sometimes, like now, you say just the right thing."

I kissed her back. "I try."

She rested her head against my chest. "I just hope Spike knows what heís doing."

"Youíre not the only one. Just donít tell him I said this, but it wouldnít be a bad thing to have Giles and Willow looking into how to destroy Illyria should he fail," I said, hoping it wouldnít be necessary. She was all I had left of Fred, too, and I wasnít ready to lose that.

Buffy nodded. "I will, providing that Giles doesnít damage himself." She gestured out onto the dance floor. We had a good view from the second floor bar. Giles was dancing with a thirty-something woman in a witchís outfit. Spike wasnít that far from him with Illyria who seemed fairly resistant to the idea of shaking her body around. "I can not believe Giles is dancing."

"He was young in the disco era," I said. "And probably should be prosecuted for that alone if he did anything to encourage the trend."

"Thanks. Iím sure those images will be in my nightmares." She laughed again then lifted her chin as the music changed. "I do believe this is a slow dance."

"Shall we?" I offered her my arm.

She took it and I led her downstairs and out onto the dance floor. It wasnít really even slow dancing we were doing, to be honest. There were far to many people to actually move. It was more or less a rocking back in forth in our tiny section of flooring but that was not without its charms. Buffy felt good, moving against me. At one point, we oscillated past Willow and Kennedy both of whom seemed to be wrestling for control over who got to lead whom. Giles still had his witch in hand. Even Illyria seemed to get the idea of slow dancing. Finally our orbit crossed Connor and Faithís. I guess I needed to have a talk with the boy and point out, heís supposed to be leading the girl, not the other way around. Of course with Faithís tongue so obviously that far down his throat, I wasnít sure any oxygen was getting in to his brain.

Buffy captured my face, her fingers brushing over the ridges of my brow. I was tempted to get rid of my Ďcostumeí but in this crowd it would be noticed. I hated having her look at me like this but she didnít seem to mind as she kissed me. Her tongue pressed into mine past the sharp battlements of my fangs. I wrapped my arms around her, nearly lifting her off her feet. Her hands trailed down my face and neck then knotted over my shoulders. She still tasted sweet of chocolate and oranges. This kiss catapulted me back several years to those first innocent months of our courtship. It felt like nothing had ever come between us. The song changed and I barely noticed it. We kept dancing and kissing until finally the music changed back to something fast. I tried to escape the dance floor. Buffy held fast.

"Buffy, I donít fast dance," I said, firmly.

"Angel, we can barely move. You donít have to be able to dance. All you need to do is stand there and bounce a little," she argued, her chest heaving, barely contained by the shiny red satin.

"Buffy..." I whined.

She wouldnít let me move. "If Giles can do it...look even Connorís dancing and he was raised in hell...which probably explains how bad he is at this."

"Iím worse," I promised her. At least Connor didnít look like he was receiving electroshock therapy which is about as close as I could get to describe my dancing skills.

"Too bad."

"Youíve been warned," I said and gave it a shot. Itís amazing how I can move so well in a fight but you put me on the dance floor and suddenly all my limbs develop brains of their own and refuse to talk to each other. Itís always been like this, even as a mortal. Granted dancing was different then, hell it was even more complicated. Darla always found a better dance partner than me if the occasion called for it. Luckily, Buffy was right. There wasnít room for me to do more than wiggle back and forth a little bit but it was totally off beat with both the music and with her.

She laughed. "You are bad."

"I told you," I said as Willow and Kennedy started dancing our way. What is it with friends that you put them on a dance floor and they feel obligated to make rings out of their bodies, like they were some communal organism. So soon enough, I wasnít just making an idiot of myself in front of Buffy, I was wriggling like a frog in a blender in front of Willow, Kennedy, Spike, Illyria, Connor, Faith, Dawn and her friend, and even Giles and his new woman. Why doesnít a Hellmouth open and swallow you when you want it to?

The music died off as one of the club managers came out and started talking about the costume contest. I didnít wait for the music to start again. I just grabbed Buffyís arm and hauled her off, heading for the bar. I ordered another beer then turned to her. "Want another Dark Side?"

"Sure." She stood on tip toe and kissed me again. "And thank you for the dance."

"Youíre welcome. Never speak of it again." I smirked.

"That might be for the best," she said as Connor and Faith, Spike and Illyria came to the bar.

"I thought I danced bad," Connor said, leaning on the bar. "Two Graveyards," he added to the bartender.

"You think his dancing is bad, have him sing for you," Spike said with that ĎI can do something you canítí pretty boy smirk.

"Pass. Dare I ask what a Graveyard is?" I gave my son a look.

"I dunno whatís in them but theyíre good," Faith said, runnels of sweat trailing down her neck and disappearing into her bosom. I must have looked too hard because Buffy pinched my side.

Luckily her drink came and I could distract her with it. Spike was grinning at me, obviously enjoying watching me squirm under her thumb. He gave Illyria a beer, which Iím sure was not his best idea. The bartender gave my son two beer mugs, one of which he surrendered to Faith as the club manager was saying something about cutest costume.

"And since you asked, Dad, itís triple sec, 151 rum, vodka, gin, tequila, bourbon, scotch, beer and stout." Connor toasted me with the horrid concoction.

"You are insane," I said. "Maybe we should just pour all the leftovers into a pitcher and let you drink it."

"I think his drink sounds good," Spike said as Connor was busy flipping me off. "What was it?"

"A Graveyard," Connor said.

"Yeah, because if you drink that, thatís where youíll end up," I said and Buffy jostled me.

Connor rolled his eyes expertly. "You said no lectures."

"I said no creepy sex lecture though you might want to remember, too many of those and someoneís going to be really disappointed tonight," I said.

Those eyes rolled again as the club manager announced best couple as numbers 236 and 237. Faith squealed, which was not a sound I ever expected out of her.

"Thatís us, Connor," she said, shoving her drink at Spike.

"Hey, it is. Watch our drinks, Dad," he said as they pushed their way to the center of the dance floor where the announcer was.

"Yeah, watch it dissolve the glass," I muttered.

"Thatís cute," Buffy said. "Wonder what they won."

"A new liver if heís lucky."

She kissed my cheek. "You are so overprotective."

Spike snorted. "Thatís what Dawnie was saying about you."

Buffy shot him an indignant look. "Hey, Iím letting her dance with that strange Irishman."

"I thought thatís what you were doing, luv," Spike retorted.

"You can kick him if you want," I said.

Buffy looked ready to. "Donít tempt me."

I took a covert taste of Connorís drink. I think it ate my fangs but taste-wise it was pretty good. He and Faith came back with triumphant looks on their faces. Faith waved an envelop at us.

"We won an all expense paid dinner at a fancy restaurant," she said. "And a night at a ritzy hotel."

"Nice. Guess weíll not be leaving Dublin that fast after all," I said, hoping Connor and Faith wouldnít destroy said expensive lodgings.

"I should hope not," Buffy said, seeming upset that I might even consider it.

"For scariest costume, we need number 240 to come on down," the announcer said.

"Hey, Dad."

I didnít look away from Buffy and those cute little horns hiding in her hair. "Yeah."

"Thatís you. Told you, you are ugly." Connor smirked.

I craned my head over. "What?"

"You just won," Buffy said, giving her drink to Faith this time.

She herded me right where I didnít want to go, into the center of the club. How embarrassing. I had no idea I was even in a contest and to win scariest for my own face, guess that says it all. Buff seemed highly amused by it all. I just accepted my envelope and got out of there as fast as I could but not before at least two pictures were taken.

"So, what did you win?" she asked, taking the envelope from me. "Hey, theatre tickets to something called the Peacock Theatre."

I took my prize from her. "Oh, experimental theatre in the Irish language. Would you like to go with me?"

She made a face. "Your best date for this would be Giles, you know that right?"

"Yes, but Iím hoping to do better. I suppose Willow..."

She pinched me again. "Iíll go."

I laughed. "It could be fun."

"Only if I let your son fix me drinks before hand. You know I donít speak Gaelic."

"Well, maybe theyíll have a translation," I offered.

"Even without, itíll be different. Different can be good," she said, trying to meet me half way. Good, she needed to try new things.

I smiled. Spike and Illyria were gone by the time we got back to the bar. Connor and Faith were guarding our drinks. Connor came over to me and whispered. I nodded and he and Faith disappeared.

"What was that about?" Buffy asked, attacking her ice cream drink with a vengeance.

"Connor isnít coming home tonight."

She raised her eyebrow. "I hope our house can handle those two."

"He also suggested it would be much quieter at the hotel if you were interested," I said.

Buffy eyed me curiously then set aside her drink. "I would be."

I really wasnít expecting that. I was expecting us to dance around each other like we usually did, not daring to cross that line. For a moment I couldnít talk. "Are you sure?"

She took my hand. "Couldnít be more sure. Let me talk to Giles and Willow and Dawn to make sure Dawn isnít left to come home alone."

Buffy didnít seem the least bit unsettled about everyone knowing she was planning to come back to my room as she made arrangements to make sure no one was left alone, a bad thing in any city and Dublin was no exception. I didnít doubt she was also telling Willow to be sure she had an orb of Thessulah ready just in case. Buffy and I took a cab back to my hotel and I was the one feeling oddly nervous.

I paused in the doorway after throwing all the locks, looking at her as she sat on the bed.

"Is something wrong, Angel?"

I shrugged. "Just me being silly...I guess Iím a romantic at heart. And last time...there wasnít much romance, just ..." I trailed off before I said desperation since that would just kill the mood. "This isnít very romantic either, a cheap hotel room."

"In a foreign city, thatís pretty romantic in and of itself." She came over to me. "I think tonightís been pretty romantic, even if I came home with the scariest man in the club." She grinned.

I laughed and took off my game face. "Iím hoping this is less scary."

She caressed my face, her breath warm on my skin. "Very handsome." Her hands went under my velvet shirt.

"And I got to come home with the most beautiful woman in the club," I said, lifting her up, carrying her to the bed. This night couldnít have a better ending.







Authorís Notes

The Brazen Head Pub is real and you can find it here http://www.brazenhead.com/

Christ Church Cathedral is also real and can be found here.

http://worldexperience.com/ps_2001-01-26_christ_church_cathedral.html

The Peacock Theatre is part of the Abbey Theatre and can be found here

http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/
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icon by Blaar Rosir
ANGEL -No, zombies are slow-moving, dimwitted things that crave human flesh.
CONNOR -like you.
ANGEL - No! It's different. Trust me
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S J Smith
Chosen One


Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 740
Location: Scariest Place in Florida

PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Sometimes my kind could be so stupid, and Iím sure my son would include me in that from time to time.


Still love this line.

Why are there still typos? Is your computer eating the changes again?
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"I know it gives the enemy a handhold, but somehow I feel better going to a big battle with pretty hair. " --Buffy, in Kristi's "Fallen Angels"


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D.M.
Dark Avenger


Joined: 28 Nov 2003
Posts: 382

PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're kidding. I know DL said aerial was still spelled wrong and I KNOW I changed it to what you two said. Banging head. Glad you liked it.
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ANGEL -No, zombies are slow-moving, dimwitted things that crave human flesh.
CONNOR -like you.
ANGEL - No! It's different. Trust me
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S J Smith
Chosen One


Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 740
Location: Scariest Place in Florida

PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spike still has a 'safety pink' through his eyebrow. I know I pointed that out to you earlier. I think your computer just doesn't save changes.
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