Title: Off Route 17
Timing: Season 6, Post Flooded
Warnings: Sexual situations
Summary: “Something stable, something familiar. She needs that. She needs land and not water.” Or, Buffy and Angel’s off screen encounter shortly after her resurrection. Part I here.
They drive half an hour until Angel veers onto a commercial strip and coasts down the main drag, eyes scanning the horizon for flashing fast food and hotel signs.
“Where are we?” Buffy asks, face pressed to the glass, watching a dancing Hooter’s owl hop around the parking lot off to their left, handing out flyers.
Of Xander’s “Fabulous Ladies Night Club” fame? Her eyebrows rise thoughtfully.
“Huh. Not what I was expecting.”
“What were you expecting?”
“Strippers or something.”
He gives her a confused look and pulls into an all-you-can-eat buffet’s driveway.
Two plates, a shake, and a cup of rice pudding later, she waits patiently in the lobby while Angel gets a room for the night. What is it with hotel lobbies? They all look the same: potted plants, comfy chairs, maybe a sofa, those ashtray stand thingies, a mirror, and a breakfast bar for the more upscale places. She glances at the flyers stacked neatly on a low shelf announcing all the attractions within driving distance, most of them tourist trap activities in LA. There’s even a few for the Bay Area. Nothing mentions Sunnydale, though, demon capital of the western seaboard. She guesses it’s more a word of mouth, creepy hell vibe that attracts the seasonal influx of baddies to her town.
“You ready?” Angel asks. He hands her a keycard with a Domino’s advertisement on it and heads toward the elevator, looking over his shoulder at her with worry. They take the ride up in silence, both of them looking at her sole tired reflection in the mirrored panels of the car. He mutters that he’s used to it when they step out onto the carpeted hallway and trudge to room 3G.
It’s clean and kinda homey. She squeezes past him, poking her head into the bathroom, the closet. It’ll do.
“They didn’t have any with two beds,” Angel explains, scrutinizing the king at the center of the room skeptically, like he might just whip out a black light and start examining the sheets for cum stains. For a guy who lives in an old hotel, his prudence strikes her as strange.
She drops her bag onto the mattress with a bounce, unfazed. “It’s fine.”
Sacking out next to her stuff, Buffy’s eyes close. Belly full and thoughts somewhat quieted, she’s drifted into a listless state. There was conversation over dinner, about
When her eyes open, Angel is still standing off to the side, edging around the bed nervously, like if he touches it he’ll burst into flames.
“You’re twitchy.” It hadn’t occurred to her until now what’s gotten him wound up. Souls going kaplooey from a little in and out seems so trivial in the face of everything else. “Is it us… here?” she hedges. He seems embarrassed.
“It’s nothing to worry about,” he says, as though she needs convincing. He keeps his cool, sits back against the headboard, but the looks he shoots her from beneath his lashes clue her in, in no uncertain terms, that it is on his mind, that under the protection and safety, he is unsafe and hungry. Something uncoils in her, interest piqued, and writhes low into her loins.
“Just relax, watch TV. If it’s okay, I’m going to take a bath.”
He watches her go after she’s toed off her shoes and handed him the remote.
On the other side of the bathroom door, she twists the taps on, and stares at the water foam and bubble from the dollop of bubble bath gel she found on the counter. If anything does happen with him, she’ll be safe as houses, she thinks, her legs falling open under the jet of water. There’s only one place she’s known perfect happiness and there’s no chance she can get back there anytime soon.
Her hair is still damp when the nightly news comes on. She tries to remember when she was actually home to see the 10PM highlights and not out patrolling. Giving up, she leans her cheek against Angel’s shoulder, one hand playing with his fingers resting on her arm. It’s nice, domestic. She likes the quiet, and immerses herself in it, only surfacing when words like rape and double homicide flash on the screen. This is the world she has to fight for, a world worth saving, where humans do this to each other. She asks Angel to change the station, which he does. They settle on a historical movie on HBO. She’s not sure what it’s called, but it has Kate Winslet and Joaquin Phoenix in it.
“Marquis de Sade, huh? You ever meet that guy?” she asks Angel. “Somehow I don’t really see you in tailcoats.”
Angel’s eyes stay riveted to the screen, Winslet and
“Bet you must have been having a gay old time, then.”
Angel says nothing, his mouth a thin line. She thought so.
The heroine has died, a tragic victim of circumstance. Young, virginal, in love, and loyal, she goes to her watery grave mutilated. Buffy trembles, watches the tragedy unfold, fighting off a long ago paralysis and the pain of the bite that soon followed. She still remembers the Master’s mocking red eyes, like goblins in the night.
Laid out on her funeral pyre, her distraught love interest grasps her hand, presses goodbye kisses to her knuckles, tears falling because he couldn’t save her. Buffy’s breath catches when his kiss revives her and he takes her, claims her, her thighs a cradle to his black robes now that she’s been recalled to life.
“If only…” Buffy whispers. She looks at Angel sharply when he suddenly changes the channel. “What was that for?”
“I really don’t need anymore temptation.” He shifts his hips, his trousers tenting at his groin. She wants to laugh. It won’t happen that way, not for them, at least.
Drawing herself up, she deliberately pulls her top up and off. She doesn’t give him a choice and presses herself to him without comment, her hands running lightly into his hair, kneading his neck.
“Buffy, we shouldn’t.” His hands hold her hips, stilling her movements.
“Why? Why not, if it feels good?” She’s sick of the dictating, sick of what’s right and wrong. What about her? Hasn’t she earned the right to be selfish, to take what little pleasure she can wring from her life? The lick of danger that Angel presents feels right in a world where nothing is safe. If hard and harsh is the only thing at her disposal, then she wants it on her terms, wants it all.
“And what if it doesn’t in the morning?” Angel points out, trying to spare her what he thinks can only lead to disaster.
She scoffs. “It couldn’t feel any worse than this.”
She presses his hand to her breast, so he can feel her heart, know that this is something she needs – someone to bring her to life. “Please,” she says softly, arching into the touch. “I want this.”
Solemnly, he kisses her, his fingers lightly plucking her nipple until its hard and rosy. She watches him do this, trying to lose herself, trying to let everything else go. “You’re still so beautiful,” he swears, looking at her sadly. She doesn’t want his pity.
“Come here,” he entreats. He folds her against his chest, strokes her hair, and coos quietly to her like a babe. She’s so frail, volatile. Is this what it will take for the fission inside her to split her apart, release the heat and hate and uncertainty that’s causing this overload? She keeps pulling at straws and coming up empty-handed. It pains him to think that this is what she believes will set her free. She was like this the summer she came back from her shanghai in LA, distant, angry, and different. She used her pain to lash out; she traded her sexuality for a well-placed slight. The simmering feeling of loss goads her onward; he doesn’t know how to pull her back, how to exorcise this from her.
Her kisses are needy and searching, but he receives her tongue kindly and pets her in long, soothing strokes as if she were an overwrought cat. Her slight trembling subsides, tiny muscle tremors that scream fatigue and insomnia. It occurs to him that she’s avoided sleeping.
“If you want to sleep, you can. I’ll be right here.”
She says nothing, just continues to kiss him. She doesn’t want anymore words. Words can’t help her.
“Do you have dreams?” Angel tries, fingers in her hair, his palm cupping her chin.
“Nightmares,” she corrects. “Sometimes I wake up and I can’t breathe. There’s dirt in my mouth and no air. I scream, but no one hears me. I claw my way out of my grave and when I touch my face it’s…” She bites her lip, bites hard enough to draw blood because that’s what vampires do.
“It’s just a dream.”
She stares at him incredulously. “I had to crawl out of my own coffin like some dead, evil thing, Angel. Like a vampire.” She spits it out, disgusted. They left her to rise like a common bit of pestilence, vomited forth from the earth, as though she really had escaped from one level of hell only to stumble onto the floor just above it.
“What am I?” she pleads, fire and anguish accenting her welling but unshed tears. Her words mimic Darla’s, and he wonders if the fear and confusion of resurrection is a common symptom that turns to mania and can only abate with time.
“Don’t think about it now. Put it out of your mind. Just feel.” His acquiescence to her desire comes quickly, so quick that in an instant his mouth is on her breasts, roving between them with pulling sucks that cause a hot and needy flush to crawl up her body. There’s so much shattered debris that she has to wade through, everything feels dampened and soft. She needs more; she needs hard in order to thrust her past the wreckage of her life. Open sea, open sea. He can row her there. He can.
“More,” she whines urgently. Flat on her back, she shimmies out of her sweatpants, pushing them down her thighs, spreading them wide. This isn’t me, she thinks. I don’t do this. She moves fast, like someone hit the chapter select button in search of the climax, detail and nuance be damned. Her hand is between her legs, dabbing lightly, just to be sure she’s awake. She is, she’s wet. It pleases her to know that something still responds, that she can still feel desire, still want. His knuckles are soon beside hers, slippery and dewy as he reacquaints himself with her, how she likes it, what will get a rewarding twitch. She lets loose long moans, just to try different sounds, test them out. Her groin warms when he pushes a finger in and then another. She bridges up to meet him, gasps, and he starts to skate them in and out of her with purpose. She likes that his eyes are wide and focused, serious about her pleasure, serious about delivering. Good. It’s not worth it if he doesn’t want to play, too.
It goes on like this for some minutes until she realizes, a dark corner of her mind sneering, that he’s keeping her suspended, but not pushing her over. She wants to fall. She wants to fall. Her fist clenches. She wants to punch through a wall.
“You won’t break me.”
He looks up at her, dazed, nostrils flared. He nods, his thumb falling to her clit, a third finger crowded next to the other two. She shudders, jerking, but it only takes the edge off.
Her hand is in his hair and she tugs him down, pushes his face to her. She can feel his nose against her, sniffling in all the smells he comes across, moving low and then higher, his tongue painting a slick line across her sex. He holds her thighs down, plastered flat to the bed, and lays her open with his fingers, so that she’s spread wide and he can look. She groans, presses her hips up, and flexes her muscles, causing the whole area to tighten and sigh. He works her hard, pounding evenly, tongue whirling in circles, stabbing into her between thrusts of his fingers. Light, hard, light, hard. She spins, around, around, around. Suddenly, his pace changes and he’s rooting into her like a pig, desperate and hungry, snarling and everywhere at once. He loses the rhythm, and gluttonously licks and nips, starved. When she feels something sharp, she cries out, and he abruptly pushes himself off her, his head turned. The telltale crunch is all she needs to know. He vamped.
“Buffy, we can’t do this. It’s too dangerous.” His voice is strangled, torn. The rational part of her brain that should understand refuses to acknowledge him. Chin trembling, her legs slam shut, a hot shame filling her, anger seeping into her belly. He said he could make the pain go away, but it’s still here, strangling her, no amount of endorphins able to shoo it away. Her pussy aches, heavy and full, left buzzing on the brink.
He slinks off to one side of the bed, like a chastised dog. She wants to scream snap the fuck out of it, but that would be the pot calling the kettle black.
“I’m going to bed,” she announces instead, sweatpants back in place, disappointment barely suppressed. They don’t touch when she slides under the covers. They don’t look at each other. She thought they could get past this, the awkward hurt, the shame, but Angel made sure the repeating pattern stayed the same. When she closes her eyes, frustrated tears fall, lighting up her cheeks with fire.
It’s 11AM when she finally wakes up. The numbers of the red digital clock on the night stand shimmer and jump as she focuses. He’s not in bed, but he’s there, reading the paper, coffee and blood on the table with a plate full of eggs, waffles, and yogurt.
He cranes his head back, the newspaper shuffling a little with the movement. “Sleep well?”
She blinks. “Actually, yeah. I didn’t dream anything.”
He nods. “Do you want to eat something? I can heat these up for you.” She watches him pop the plate into the microwave next to the small fridge.
They don’t say anything about the night before. She eats and watches The Price is Right; they trade off calling out the lowest retail prices. Angel’s better at it than her. Figures.
She catches him staring at her more than once, a little sadly. She doesn’t know why, doesn’t know that he’s reminded of the day that never was, how he ate ice cream with her, and lolled in bed like two young lovers unconstrained by fate or destiny. He gave up his humanity in order to protect her. He thinks now that it was a foolish choice. No amount of bargaining would keep her safe. What would they be doing now, two years later? Would they have a home together? Would they sleep in the same bed just so they could eat ice cream and fuck the next morning? Or would he have buried her, mourned like men mourn, and moved on just the same? The thoughts rush past him, a treacherous Audubon of reflection, while she eats a waffle and he pretends to watch the news. He decides it never would have been enough.
Game shows give way to soap operas as the afternoon wears on. She cashes in on her veg-time; they already decided he would drive her back come sundown. She’s surprised to find him just outside the bathroom door when she comes out. They look at each other, a question floating between them, conviction in Angel’s eyes. Pushing her gently against the wall, she can feel his erection nudge her, his back spooning hers. His hand is at her hip, and then it’s between her ass cheeks, rubbing her pussy through her sweatpants. She says nothing when he pulls them down, and his fingers steal between her thighs, dipping each finger into her in turn, prepping her. She wants him to take her like this, quickly and without thought. Fuck out every little bit of doubt and fear, put his love into all the rotted and decaying places inside her. She flattens her palms against the wall, bracing herself.
“I wish I had been able to save you.”
She looks at him over her shoulder. “It wasn’t your choice to make, Angel.”
He turns her around, words falling, unloading his guilt on her. There’s talking? Why is there talking? Why is he doing this? It’s not helping. He brushes her cheek, starts kissing her, but this isn’t it. This won’t work. Fight fire with fire. She moves away.
“Are you really that dense? You have a girl standing in front of you that wants to be made love to and you want to talk about regrets. It’s done, Angel. I died. Move on. I should head back anyway. They’ll be wondering about me. I saw a bus stop only a few blocks away.”
“Buffy… Don’t do this. Don’t throw up these walls.”
Her eyes flash a warning. “I’m tired of words. Shit or get off the pot,” she hisses. She thinks he’ll take a step back, but instead he grabs her arm and hauls her to him with enough force that it surprises them both. The kiss is bruising, a hard slap that splits her lip. She moans when his tongue licks at the wound, sucking the beads of blood up like condensation.
Soon he’s inside her, full up, big and load bearing. It’s a wide stretch and her thighs flower open to accommodate him. He has the small of her back pressed flat to the bathroom door, legs draped over forearms, sustaining her, bearing her up with each resounding thrust. She rocks along with the pleasure; it bursts hot and loud, steaming liquid pouring over her, making her loose and easy. He palms her ass, one finger working between her cheeks, pressing into her, so that she’s crying out, piercing and unapologetically, uncaring who can hear them next door or in the hallway. He growls low when her nails leave raw crescents in his shoulders like downturned smiles.
They finish on the floor, her wrists pressed firmly into the carpet by his meaty hands.
She resurfaces hours later, hair tangled and back shining with sweat. They murmur to each other, his hand wedged between their bodies, absently rubbing the tissues of her sex back and forth.
“Drive you back?”
“Yeah,” she sighs. She presses a bruise on his cheek, a cut on his arm. She thinks she sees teeth marks. “Are you okay?”
“Fine.” He doesn’t seem bothered by it. She gets up to dress.
On the car ride back, she thinks about what they did, how his heart wasn’t in it. It reminds her of Riley, how her heart hadn’t been in it, how she had to dial it back so she wouldn’t hurt him. After the first time against the wall and then the floor, he reeled her in, bringing her back to a place less wild, less liberating on each succeeding bout.
“Be here with me,” he’d said, slowing her down, reestablishing eye contact that was hard for her to hold. She slowly ceded control to him without even knowing it, he was so subtle. Something in her resented him for not letting her go, for not coming with her.
They’re close to home. She starts to recognize streets and landmarks.
“Can you stop here?” she asks, pointing to a local chicken joint with a garish yellow awning. “I want to run in and pick up some dinner for Dawnie.”
“Sure.” He turns in and shuts the engine off as soon as she’s out of the car.
She orders a bucket of drumsticks before asking where their restroom is. The establishment only has one and it smells like piss. The urinal cake sure isn’t doing its job. A glance down reveals how sticky the floor is. Fixing her stare on the scratched mirror, the tears come quickly, the sharp, pungent smell of the restroom chasing them from their cache behind her eyes. She’s back, she’s here, and it’s only a little better. Life has arrived to swallow her back up, its salivating maw just inches behind her. Angel couldn’t make it go away, couldn’t beat it back for her. Alone again, alone at last, it’s her battle to fight. She can only rely on herself. White knights don’t exist for her; she doesn’t have the luxury of a “get out of jail free” card. This is it. This is what she has to face.
Her hands are warm from holding the chicken by the time she returns to the car. The radio drones some ’80s ballad that Angel bobs his head to. He turns to her and lets the car idle when they reach the front curb by her house.
“I’m only a phone call away,” Angel reminds her, pulling lightly on her looped pigtails. She smiles a little when he tickles her cheek with the loose strands.
“Thank you, for the distraction. For everything.” She says it weakly, but it’s heartfelt. Her hand cups his cheek when she kisses him goodbye.
“If you need me…”
“I know. Phone.”
They reluctantly inch away from each other, the knowledge of what they did squeezing between them like jabs of an elbow. They’re waiting for her inside.
“I’ll check in soon,” Angel calls when she’s on the porch. She watches him slowly pull away, his black car disappearing down a street and into the night. It makes her wonder if they bore her body away in a hearse. She shudders and pushes the morbid thought away.
With a deep breath, she leaves her bag on the porch, grasps the deep fried chicken, and opens the door with a smile.