Cross posted to sickchicks and my regular journal
Hell Is In the Details – Interlude – The Game Is Afoot
Buffy toed off her shoes and threw herself face-first onto the luxurious bed in her borrowed room. God, she was exhausted. That dinner party had been a colossal bore. Her face hurt from holding onto a smile of the damned for literally hours on end.
‘Hello, I’m Buffy – nice to meet you,’
‘Yes, it’s true – I’m that Slayer,’
‘No, I certainly don’t miss guarding a Hellmouth.’
All night long, the same questions! Over and over and over again. And all night long, the same answers. She could have sent the Buffybot for all the sparkling wit or personal opinion she’d been allowed to exhibit.
And she’d been plastered to Angel’s side for the entire evening – paraded around like a show dog. It wouldn’t have surprised her if some of the guests had thought about prying her mouth open to look at her teeth. She’d practically had to ask permission to go pee!
If parties like this were going to be a staple of her new life with Angel, they were going to have to have a talk, and soon.
She remembered being introduced to some of the original Fang Gang – Gunn… and Fred, was it? Definite issues between Gunn and Angel. An undercurrent so thick you could have cut it with a dull butter knife. They’d stared and postured and waltzed around each other like prizefighters before a match.
At one point, it seemed as if Angel was sniffing at him like a dog! Buffy shuddered, delicately. No matter how much time had passed, that scenting thing was the one vampire sense that really, really creeped her out.
For the umpteenth time since she’d decided to make Angel part of her life again, Buffy pondered her choices. She missed the companionship of someone who knew her life from top to bottom. Someone who she didn’t have to explain things to, who knew what being the Slayer had done to her. Who knew her heartaches and her losses and would never inadvertently bring those subjects up to cause her pain.
Angel fit the bill, He knew almost everything that mattered about her. She’d loved him once, fully and without reservation. And he loved her. So why wasn’t she more enthused?
For a change, she wanted to talk. Needed to talk this all out with someone who wouldn’t judge her and find her wanting.
She needed Spike. It was so easy to picture in her mind’s eye and ear, the way the conversation would go:
Spike, my brain’s all muddly. I don’t know what to do about Angel.
~That ponce? Why are you bothering with him for?~
Be nice, you. I need someone in my life and since you’re no longer here, he’s the next best thing.
~Bloody hell, Slayer – who are you kidding? You don’t need anyone but yourself. And I’m always here for you, pet. All you have to do is open your heart.~
I wish there was some other way, Spike. I’m not as strong as you think.
~Yeah, well – he’s a right git, that one. Don’t let him push you around, luv. You’ve always been perfect for me. Loved your highs and your lows.~
You never judged me, even when you should have.
~Got no high point on which to stand, do I? Can’t help who you love – you just do.~
Buffy shivered and wrapped her arms protectively around herself. She wished she could just keep her eyes closed forever and listen to the sound of his voice.
Angel was thrilled. Walking into his suite, he quickly undressed and tossed his clothing into the hamper for the maid service to pick up in the morning. The smile he wore, however, he knew he wouldn’t be able to lose for a week.
Buffy had been just perfect tonight, dressed to the nines in a blood-red velvet gown with matching heels, making her at least four inches taller than her petite five feet two. Arm in arm they’d greeted his guests and employees. She’d been everything he could have hoped for – charming and sweet, winning over everyone she met.
He couldn’t remember a better night at Wolfram & Hart. Except for one little flaw… Gunn. Something was just… off about the man. Wary and ill at ease – hearkening back to the days when the street punk had first allowed his guard down enough to work with a vampire.
And his smell… something had pricked at Angel’s senses when he’d scented Gunn tonight. Something almost familial, with hints of terror and resignation. A heady aroma, but disconcerting. Was it possible he’d run into Dru?
The only other time he’d smelled quite that combination of aromas was… William! That was it. When William had first fledged, he’d been terrified. Angelus had taken full advantage of his situation to ‘teach’ William the finer points of submission and family pecking order – by beating and fucking the fear out of him until he’d come to expect and then crave the attention.
Angelus had relished destroying the last illusions of self-esteem the younger vampire had. Drusilla was a wonderful tool, and he’d used her to crack the thin veneer of importance and place William had wanted with his new ‘family.’ Tease and taunt, pretend to allow and then snatch it away at the last moment – that was the perfect way to break William down.
And the nights he’d taken his frustrations and pleasures out in William’s ass were the sweetest of all. He’d never been easy; always put up a fight before being beaten and overpowered. Plowing into that virgin hole for the first time was like being strangled by an iron fist in a velvet glove, and he’d made sure to ‘shake hands’ with the boy as often as possible.
Angel could feel his demon crowing even now over those delicious memories. In his own way, William had been as much a masterpiece of devastation as Drusilla ever was. But that was done – over with.
He shrugged the memories off like an old coat. Those days were gone, Spike was gone. Unimportant in the scheme of things.
Buffy was all that mattered now.
He’d grinned to himself. Oh yeah. He had some wonderful things planned for the pair of them…