A Time To Remember
Summary: Set after the Season 2 Episode Becoming. After sending Angel to hell Buffy is given a way to bring Angel back but at what cost?
Any other Author Notes you wish to use. A huge thank you to the creators and mods at the IWRY Community for continually helping to keep the B/A love alive and well! Also thank you to http://cordy69.livejournal.com/profile for the beta (any remaining mistakes are my own) and for the title.
Tears filled her eyes as she stared at him. It was no longer Angelus’ eyes that looked back at her but Angel’s. He was back! Her Angel was back but it was too late. Acathla had already begun to open his maw to draw the world into his own personal hell dimension. And no matter how much it pained her or how much what she had to do would destroy her she couldn’t let Acathla doom the world.
After months of anguish and pain he finally uttered the words she had longed to hear for so long. “I love you.”
If only.... She quickly shook her head. She couldn’t allow herself to wallow in if only. “I love you too.” Softly, she caressed his lips with her fingers. “Close your eyes.”
Buffy watched with dread as he did as he was bid. Pain shot through her heart as she kissed him gently on the lips before she pulled back the sword in her hand and drove it deep into his chest.
The look of incomprehension and pain that flashed on his face was almost her undoing. She wanted to take it back, to tell him she was sorry and that they would find another way but it was too late. Acathla had already began to close his mouth around her Angel.
Her harsh cry echoed through the room as she sat up in bed. She gasped for breath as she strained to get her heart beat back under control. Since the night she had lost Angel... No, that wasn’t right. Since the night she had killed Angel, nightmares had been her constant companions. It was always the same dream, the sword sliding into his chest like a knife in warm butter and her name whispered on his lips in shock at what she had done before he had disappeared from her life. Trapped in a hell dimension forever.
How was she supposed to live with what she had done? No one could understand what she was going through. How could they? No one else had ever had to send their boyfriend to a hell dimension to save the world.
With a loud sigh of frustration and sadness Buffy swung her legs over to the side of the bed and stood up. There was no sense in staying in bed any longer. She knew she would never get back to sleep even if she wanted to. She might as well get ready for work.
The sun was just barely beginning to rise on the horizon as she walked into the diner where she had worked for the last few months. Helen’s Kitchen wasn’t a great place to work but then again no one had ever claimed it was. But at least it was a job that paid the rent and that’s pretty much all she needed at the moment.
She had just walked through the door when the other waitress snapped her fingers to get her attention. “Anne, can you take that table’s order please?” As the older woman pointed to the table in the corner she hastily added, “I’ll owe you one.”
With a nod of her head Buffy walked over to the table, her pen and pad in her hand. “What can I get for you?”
For a moment Holland Manners hesitated. Surely, this couldn’t be the girl The Senior Partners were so interested in his helping. There was no way this girl could be the slayer he had heard so much about; the one who had sent The Vampire With A Soul to a hell dimension. She looked so, well... beneath notice. But of course he would do the job he was told to do. One didn’t disappoint the Senior Partners of Wolfram and Hart unless one wanted to disappear permanently. “How’s your coffee?”
“It’s hot and wet. I can’t guarantee you how good it is.” She didn’t bother to look at him as she answered his question.
Holland flashed her a rueful smile that went unnoticed. “Then just bring me a cup of hot water and a tea bag. There really isn’t any way that could go bad.”
She shrugged. It didn’t matter to her one way or the other. “You would be surprised.” Buffy wrote down his order, tucked her pen behind her ear and turned to walk away.
He watched her stiffen as the loudmouth man sitting at the table in front of him slapped her ass as she walked past. Holland sat up straighter as power crackled from her echoing throughout the room. Now this was more like it! No one else but him noticed as she ignored the power surging around her begging to be released. Without a word she lowered her head and walked away.
Well, Well. He leaned back and rested his body against the cushion. So, the stories were true after all. She was hiding from herself and what she had had to do to the vampire in order to save the world. Holland waited patiently for her to bring his order. The minute she turned her back he left the tea untouched beside a twenty-dollar bill and his business card with a hand written note scrawled on the back of it face down on the table where she was sure to find it. Without a backward glance he left the diner. The next move was up to her... at least for now.
A few hours later Buffy had finally given into temptation. She stood just inside of the Wolfram and Hart building her nerves raw and jangling. She had debated with herself all day whether she should come or not but the idea of facing another sleepless night was too much. After work, she had thrown on the first outfit she had laid her hands on and there she was. She knew she probably shouldn’t be doing this but the man or at least the note, she glanced down at his card held tightly in her hand, had said he could help.
“May I help you, Miss?” The lady behind the desk took in Buffy’s appearance. Not even a flicker of emotion or sign of disapproval showed on her features.
Buffy hastily tucked the card back inside of her pocket. “I’m here to see...”
Before she could finish her sentence Holland Manners walked across the foyer and held out his hand in greeting. “How are you?” He beamed at her. “I was hoping you would come.”
Her hand shook slightly as she tucked her hand in his. “I’m fine.” The manners Joyce Summers had instilled in her from a very young age made her ask, “And how are you?”
“Fine. Miss...” He paused for a moment. “I’m sorry.” Soft laughter bubbled from within him. “I don’t know your name.” That of course was a lie. He knew everything about her. From the date of her birth, the names of her friends, most, if not all, of her enemies and the date of her death. Although that last one could be changed depending on a lot of different factors that didn’t concern him.
He shot her a smile that she assumed was supposed to be kindly but ended up freaking her out a bit. There was something about the man that gave her the wiggins. Although she couldn’t quite figure out what it was. “I’m Buf...” She quickly clamped her mouth shut; she had almost given him her real name. What the hell? She was never this careless. She cleared her throat and tried again. “I’m Anne.”
An all too knowing look began to cross Holland’s face as he looked down at the young woman before him but he refrained from saying a word. “Hold all my calls, Louise.” He tossed over his shoulder as he guided Buffy into his office with his hand at the small of her back. He motioned for Buffy to take the seat in front of his desk as he shut the door. “Now what can I do for you, young lady?”
Buffy removed his card from her pocket and held it up. “I’m not sure. You left this card at the diner where I worked.” She turned the card over. “On the back it says I can help.” She was beginning to think that she had made a huge mistake in coming here. What if it was all just a misunderstanding and there was nothing this man or anyone else could do to help her? Pink began to stain her cheeks at his silence. She had known it. This was all a mistake. Without a word she began to rise from the chair.
Holland motioned for her to stay. “It’s true. We can help you.”
She shook her head. “But I don’t have any money.”
“Why don’t you let me worry about payment. I’m sure we can work something out.” The look on her face was priceless and he couldn’t help but laugh out loud. “Oh, nothing so immoral as what you’re thinking, Miss. I can assure you of that.”
Despite her misgivings of his motives she believed him. Whatever payment he had in mind wouldn’t have anything to do with sex. ‘I’m sure this is a waste of your time anyway.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” Once more he smiled at her and she couldn’t help but wish he would stop doing that. “There is a way to bring Angel back.”
Her eyes widened as she stared at him. “How did you...”
“Please, Miss Summers.” He smiled once more. “We’re both busy people. Let’s not play any more games, shall we?”
“How did you know my name?” The question had slipped out before she could stop herself.
A sigh escaped him. “What’s more important to you now, Miss Summers, the fact that I know who you are or that I can help bring Angel back?”
She didn’t even have to think twice about it. “Okay, bring him back.”
Holland held up his hands. “Oh, if only it were that easy but I’m afraid things are seldom as easy as we would wish they were.” He shook his head sadly. “Unfortunately, Miss Summers this isn’t something I or anyone of my colleagues can do. This is a job for you. And only you.”
“I will do anything to bring him back. Just tell me what I have to do.” The slayer would have wanted more information and details on why this person who didn’t know her at all would be willing to help her and why she should trust him in the first place. But all Buffy, the young woman hurting from lost love, wanted was her boyfriend back.
He tsked loudly as a sad sigh escaped him. “Remember those words. They may come back to haunt you. As a matter of fact you may wish you had never said them at all.”
Cold chills danced down her spine at his words but it was too late to change her mind and she wouldn’t even if she could. If there was a way to save Angel she was going to do it no matter what she had to do. She straightened her shoulders. “What do I have to do?”
His hands spread wide. “That’s easy, Miss Summers. You have to go to hell.”
That made sense since that was exactly where Angel was. “How?”
He plastered an indulgent smile on his face. “Not so fast, Miss Summers. There is the small matter of our fee.”
“I already told you...”
He cut her off before she could finish speaking. “All it will cost you is a vial of your blood.”
“Just my blood?”
He wanted to tell her that she shouldn’t dismiss her blood that easily. All things came down to blood and the blood of a slayer was almost priceless in certain demonic areas. But instead he nodded his head. “That’s it, just a little blood.”
But she couldn’t help but be doubtful. “So, all I have to do to get Angel back is give you some of my blood?”
“Oh no, Miss Summers. There seems to be a little misunderstanding between us.” He put his hand over his heart in a placating gesture. “The blood is the payment for me to show you how to get into hell.” He held up his hand to shush her before she could speak. “Let me rephrase. This information will get you into the right Hell dimension. The one where Angel is at this very moment being tortured almost beyond endurance.”
Tears filled her eyes. ‘Stop it.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Summers.” Although the look on his face said he was anything but sorry. “But it will not get you Angel back. It’s up to you whether or not he steps foot back in our own dimension.” He gave her a few minutes to think about what he had said. “Do we have a deal?”
She knew she should have taken her time and not rushed into anything but this was for Angel. She didn’t have any choice. Buffy held out her hand. “Deal.”
“Deal.” With a smile on his face, Holland leaned over and clasped his hand around hers. After he let go of her hand he slid a set of papers in front of her. “You’ll forgive me but this arrangement has to be in writing. You know how it is. We wouldn’t be lawyers without a lot of paperwork.”
She reached for the pen lying on his desk but he quickly exchanged it for another. Without a word she began to write her name on the paper before her. A look of horror began to spread across her face as she watched her name being written in blood. Her blood. She stared up at Holland.
He shrugged his shoulders. “I told you it was all about the blood.”
As soon as she had signed the last piece of paper and wrote her initials in the last spot, Holland whisked the papers away and tucked them into his briefcase without so much as a glance. “Now, Miss Summers, if you will follow me.”
Thirty minutes later Buffy stood in the corridor, outside the lab, waiting for him to rejoin her. The procedure hadn’t taken nearly as long as she had thought it was especially considering the size of the vial they had used for her blood. It had been the biggest one she had ever seen. But it didn’t matter she would have given twice as much if it would help her to get her Angel back.
“Miss Summers, Are you ready?”
Buffy jumped. She had been so lost in her own thoughts that she hadn’t even noticed Holland beside her. That was a dangerous thing in her line of work. “Where to now?”
“If you will come this way I will take you to where your journey begins.”
As she fell into step beside him she couldn’t help but wonder if he made himself sound creepy on purpose.
He opened one of the back doors and stopped just outside the building. “This is where you leave.”
“You’ve got to be kidding me. A back alley is supposed to lead me to Angel?” Her hands splayed her hips as she glared at him. If he had just had her on a wild goose chase she would seriously reconsider her stance against staking humans.
“Oh yea of little faith.” He pointed his fingers to a spot just beyond her where the area had already begun to shimmer. “There is your portal, Miss Summers. That will take you to...”
“Angel.” She couldn’t help but interrupt as his name fell from her lips in a soft whisper.
Holland tsked at the interruption. The manners of young people today were just deplorable. “Not quite, Miss Summers. Remember, the portal will lead you to the dimension to where Angel is being held. It is up to you to find him and bring him back.”
Her eyes widened before she quickly nodded her head in determination. She would find Angel and bring him back or die trying. “I will.” With that she took a step towards the opening.
He grabbed her arm to stop her. “One last caveat, Miss Summers.” As he squeezed her shoulder, his fingers dug into the back of her neck in what she guessed was a gesture of sympathy. For an older man he had a lot of strength. “Before you take that step be sure you are willing to do anything that you have to do in order to survive, in order to save Angel. Once entered you have to follow the portal through. If you change your mind once inside there is nothing else we can do. I and Wolfram and Hart have done all we can to help you. If you should fail you will be stuck in that hell dimension forever.”
Holland let his hand drop from her shoulder as she turned toward the portal. “Miss Summers?”
She hastily turned around to face him.
“You only have three days in that hell dimension.”
Her jaw dropped in shock. Talk about needing to read the fine print more closely. Sheesh. “Why?”
He gave her a level look before he shrugged his shoulders. “We don’t make the rules, Miss Summers.”
“I’ll bring him back.” With those last words she turned and stepped through the portal.
“I hope so, Miss Summers. I really do hope so.” He whispered as the portal closed behind her.
As he turned around to go back inside the building, although he shouldn’t be surprised he couldn’t help but feel a little shocked to see Lindsey McDonald standing behind him staring at the spot where she had disappeared into the portal.
“Do you think she’ll make it back?”
Holland Manners shrugged his shoulders as he walked past Lindsey and pushed open the door. “I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter.”
“What?” Lindsey was all kinds of confused.
With a sigh Holland turned to face his young protege. “Miss Summers isn’t the issue. Angel is. The Senior Partners want him back.”
“Why would they want that?” Lindsey didn’t know much about Angel except that he was a vampire and in his opinion they were all pretty much the same... Disposable.
Once more Holland shrugged. “Something about Angel and his playing a vital part in the coming Apocalypse. I didn’t really ask any questions.”
Lindsey didn’t doubt that. If Holland Manners had asked he wouldn’t be standing there now. The Senior Partners wanted their orders followed without question. “So this young girl is supposed to go up against a hell full of demons by herself just to bring back one vampire?” He shook his head as he wondered what kind of company he had gotten himself into. “Did you at least tell her that time moves differently in another dimension?”
Holland glared at Lindsey. Sometimes he doubted whether the young man had what it took to be Wolfram and Hart material. Given the circumstances it was probably better if Lindsey didn’t know everything. “Do not concern yourself with Miss Summers, Lindsey. She has been told all she needs to know to get the job done. Suffice it to say, The Senior Partners will get what they want no matter what it takes. They want Angel back in this dimension. And they want it now.” Without another word Holland walked through the door and made a beeline for his office leaving Lindsey to stare after him in shock.
Buffy stopped and leaned against the side of a tree. She was the Slayer she was used to a lot of physical exertion. But this was more than she had bargained for. She felt as if she had been walking for hours and hours. And the bad part was that everything looked the same no matter how far she traveled. To make it worse a red haze seemed to cover all that she saw.
“What ya doing?”
Buffy jumped as she spun around to face him. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t felt the demon come up behind her.
Almost as if he read her thoughts the demon began to speak. “It’s this place. It does something to you; slows you down. The things you were capable of doing in your dimension you can’t do here.”
A look of shock crossed her face. How am I supposed to free Angel if I can’t be the slayer?
“You’re the slayer!?” His voiced echoed around them and he quickly put his fingers to his lips and glared at Buffy. “Shh. Do you want the others to hear you?”
“But I didn’t say a... Never mind.” There was something about him that was vaguely familiar to her but she couldn’t quite put her finger on what. “Who are you?”
His floppy ears bounced as he nodded his head. “I’m Mac. But you don’t have to worry. I’m a good demon.”
The doubt was plain on her face as she side-eyed him. “Uh huh. Then what are you doing in this hell dimension?”
His eyes darkened. “I owed a debt.” He pulled his lips tight together to let her know he wasn’t willing to discuss the subject any further.
There was more to the story; she could feel it but if Mac didn’t want to talk about it that was fine with her. She didn’t have time to try to pry it out of him. All she wanted was to find Angel and get the hell out of here.
“Angel? The Vampire with a Soul?” He waited until she had nodded her head before he continued. “I know where he is.”
She really wished he would quit doing that. The whole reading her mind thing was starting to give her a major wiggins.
“I’m sorry. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m doing it until it’s too late.” He gave her a rueful grin as he motioned for her to follow him. “See what I mean?”
“So where are you taking me?” For some reason that she didn’t quite understand Buffy almost trusted the little demon.
“Thank you for that. Although, I have to admit that I do abhor your use of the words little demon. I’ll have you know that I am a perfectly acceptable size for my kind.” He puffed out his chest and wiggled his ears. “Besides parts of me are quite huge. Do you want me to prove...” At the look on her face he paused and quickly changed the subject. “Anyway, I can promise you that I mean you no harm and that I will help you find Angel.”
Buffy couldn’t help but notice he was quick to use the word find and not release.
Mac stopped in the middle of the road. As he turned to face her he nodded his head. “That’s right. I’m helpful not stupid. You want to find Angel that’s fine with me. I’m your demon. I will take you right to where he is being kept. I will even tell you how to get past the guard but if you want to help him escape.. Count me out. You are on your own.”
“Fair enough.” She pushed the blonde hair out of her eyes and gave him a smile. “Take me to Angel, please.”
They had only been walking for a few minutes when Mac turned to look at her. “So you’re the slayer, huh?”
She shrugged. “Yeah, but it doesn’t really mean much in here, does it?” Not that she was bitter of course. But she was beginning to wonder what else that guy at Wolfram and Hart hadn’t told her about this place.
“Fair enough.” He repeated her own phrase back to her. He wasn’t a fan of sarcasm as a rule but he guessed she had a right to it at least this once, given the circumstances. “So, how come you’re here?” He quickly held up his hand. “And don’t say to rescue Angel. I got that part. What I don’t understand is why? He is a vampire after all and unless my nose is misleading me you are entirely human. Or as human as a slayer can get anyway.”
The words ran together but he understood them. “What the hell?” Mac stopped in mid-stride. “You sent him here? Really? You are the reason that he is being...?” He couldn’t bring himself to say the word. The kid looked tore up enough. He didn’t need to add to it.
Tears filled her eyes before she brushed them away. “Yes. He’s here because of me. That’s why I have to get him back.”
“If he means that much to you why did you send him here in the first place?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“I’ve got all the time in the world. Do you?” Mac folded his arms across his chest as he waited for her to speak.
Damn it. She really didn’t want to talk about it but she only had three days. Although, he couldn’t know that... But at the look on his face she knew he had read her mind again. Damn. A sigh escaped her. “He, well it wasn’t really him but a demon inside of him called Angelus who awakened Acathla. The only way to stop him was with Angel’s blood. So, we fought and I had to stab him with a...” As she spoke her voice got softer and softer until it gradually faded away.
A soft whistle escaped him. So, she was the one who stopped Acathla from sucking the world into his hell. “Okay, I can get you to him. But if you want to see him. There will be a price.”
“But what about...?” She wasn’t sure how she was going to fight Acathla and win but she was determined to get Angel out of this place.
He quickly cut her off. “What the Master doesn’t know doesn’t hurt anyone. Besides who would have the nerve to tell him?” He wiggled his ears at her. “Would you?” He didn’t even wait for her to shake her head before he continued. “Besides in this place everything has its price.”
“What’s the price?”
Mac shrugged. “That will be up to whoever is guarding Angel at the time. Different guards have different needs or desires.” He shot her a look. “Pray for one that just wants your blood.”
Her face screwed up with disgust. “Ewww. What is it with you guys and blood?”
“Hey!” He put his hands on his hips as he glared at her. “That’s profiling! Didn’t anyone ever teach you that profiling is wrong? Just because I’m a demon doesn’t mean I like blood. Personally, I’m more of a kitten fan but that’s....”
Buffy shook her head to dispel the image trying to take root. “I get it. I’m sorry.”
He flashed her a smile as they resumed walking. “That’s okay. You’re forgiven. After all how could you know? You’re only human.”
“Oh, ha ha.”
Buffy’s sarcastic laugh brought a smile to his face. “When we get there. Don’t be shy. Be bold or they will take it as a sign of weakness. And for the love of all you hold dear no matter what happens don’t show any fear.”
That wouldn’t be a problem she was the slayer. She was used to facing her fears. But curiosity made her ask. “Why not?”
“Because most of the demons here get off on fear. They’ll do things to you, things that would scare the crap out of whatever inhabits your nightmares. You’ll pray for...” Mac answered her bluntly.
She held up her hand to stop him. She really didn’t want to hear any more. “Got it. No fear.”
“One more thing.”
Of course there was. “What?”
His ears drooped as he lowered his voice. “If a guard wants a fluid release don’t fake it.”
Buffy’s mouth dropped open as she hoped that didn’t mean what she thought it meant. “Fluid release?”
Mac tried to keep his face from turning red as he brought up this most uncomfortable topic. But it was no use he could feel the blush spreading across his face. “I was trying to be polite. But if you want blunt.” He lowered his voice even further. “Sex. Some of the guards will want sex as their payment.”
Ewwwww. And gross! She was so not going to do that with a demon!
“Oh?” The skin on Mac’s arms wiggled as he rubbed the top of his head. “I thought you said you would do anything you had to do. But maybe I was wrong.”
A disgusted sigh escaped her. “No. I will do anything to get Angel back. Even....” She swallowed hard. She didn’t even want to think about having sex with a demon much less letting it make her... Buffy shivered delicately. “Why can’t I fake it?”
Damn. The man who had sent her in here hadn’t prepared her at all. “Because they can tell whether or not you have...” His face reddened. “They can smell it.”
“Okay. No fear and no faking. Anything else?”
He shook his head slowly. “Nope. That’s all you need to know.” He paused for a moment. “Well, maybe you can pray harder for a guard who only wants your blood.”
“Do prayers get answered in Hell?”
Mac flashed her a grin. “You’re here aren’t you?” He let her take that little tidbit as she would.
Ten minutes later they were standing outside a cave entrance. “They’re keeping Angel here?” And she had been worried that Angel was being kept somewhere like the luxurious offices of Wolfram and Hart. She imagined getting inside of that building would be a nightmare but this... This was going to be easier than she had first thought.
Mac nodded his head. “Yes, he’s here. But don’t let the outside fool you it’s what’s on the inside that counts.” He held out his hand. “Here take this.”
Buffy glanced down. “What is it?”
He grinned at her. “Something that might come in handy. Don’t let the guard know you have it.”
He watched as she took it from him and stuffed it under the wire of her bra.
After she was done she whispered, “What do I do now?”
But before Mac could answer her a huge, horned demon walked towards her. His voice was deep and husky as he asked, “Well, what have we here?” His black eyes raked her body as he spoke. By the time he was finished she felt her skin begin to tingle. It was almost as if he had seen every inch of her body naked, as if he had touched every hidden cavern within her. Finally, he looked her in the eyes. “What are you doing here?”
She turned to look at Mac for guidance but he was no longer beside her. “I came to see Angel.”
He crossed his arms over his broad chest as if daring her to challenge him. “There’s a price.”
But thankfully she was ready for this. Buffy nodded her head. “I know.”
A slight smile curled his full lips as he stared down at her. “It could be more than you are willing to pay.”
She stared back at him, determination flared in her eyes. “I’m willing to pay whatever it takes to see him.”
The demon’s smile widened as he closed the distance between them and slipped his arm around her to pull her close. Slowly, he ran one of his hands down her back, gently cupped her ass and then moved to caress her hip before beginning to slide between her legs. Buffy stiffened as her hands curved into fists at her sides. She could feel herself going into full slayer mode. It was all she could do not to try and fight him off of her. But thankfully Holland Manners’ words came back to her just in time. Be sure you are willing to do anything that you have to do in order to survive, in order to save Angel. She knew she wouldn’t get a second chance. She took a deep breath and made herself relax in his embrace. She slid her hands up his arms to grasp his biceps.
“Good girl.” He whispered as he nuzzled her neck for a few minutes before he slid his arms back around her waist and finally let her off the hook. “For my payment I only want your blood.”
She wanted to slap him. “Then what was with all the touchy feely stuff?” The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.
He raised his head and looked her in the eyes. “I am a male.” Laughter rumbled from deep in his chest at the look on her face. “I wanted to be sure you were willing. You wouldn’t believe how many times someone has tried to get by me by using an unwilling body.”
She was shocked at his words. “Does it really make such a difference to you?” As soon as the words left her mouth she could have kicked her own ass. Way to go, Buffy! Piss off the only demon who can help you get to Angel.
“I may be a demon but I have standards.” He shrugged his massive shoulders. “Besides the blood tastes so much sweeter if the body is willing.”
That wasn’t the way she had heard it. But Buffy knew better than to argue after all as the saying went, discretion was the better part of valor so she kept her mouth shut. "But you're not a vampire. Right? Then how can you...?”
“Not technically. No. But I do have fangs.” As he grinned she could see the points of his teeth brush against his bottom lip. “If you want to see him...” He let his sentence trail off. He wouldn’t coerce her into letting him have her blood; it was her call.
Without another word she nodded and tilted her head to the side exposing her neck. Her body trembled but from what she couldn’t say.
“I won’t hurt you. I promise.” His arms tightened around her as he leaned down and took a deep breath. “You smell delicious.”
For some reason she couldn’t explain a blush began to steal across her face. Damn it. What was it with her and monsters?
She lost all capability to think as his tongue slid sensuously across the sensitive skin of her neck before he bit down.
Moments later it was all over. A satisfied smile pulled at the corners of his mouth as he raised his head. There were things he wanted to say; things like If you were mine I would kill anyone or anything that touched you. But he knew better. She was there for someone else.
He took his time releasing her. His hands slowly caressed her back before he dropped them to his sides and took a step back. "You may go in now."
As she began to walk inside she turned back to look at him. “Thank you.”
He nodded his head. As she disappeared through the doorway he couldn’t stop himself from whispering. “Any time.”
Buffy walked down the hallway slowly peering into each empty cell she passed. She was just beginning to think she had been had when she saw him. He was battered and bruised. His face was barely recognizable beneath the filth of the place. But despite everything she knew he was Angel. Her heart would recognize him anywhere.
“Angel.” Her voice was husky with tears.
“Buffy?” He stared up at her. Years had gone by, years of torture and misery that he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy but somehow through it all he had never forgotten her. He had come close to forgetting his own name but never her. Angel winced with pain as he pulled himself up. Slowly, he walked towards the bars and Buffy. “What are you doing here?”
“I’ve come to get you out of here.”
“Is it you?” He shook his head not quite certain that she wasn’t a mirage. “Are you really here?”
“Yes, Angel. It’s me. And I’m here.” She touched him gently through the bars.
“I don’t understand. How did you get here?”
“We’ll talk about it later. Right now let’s just get you out of there.” She looked around for something to break the lock.
“Why can’t you just....?” But before he could finish his question the answer dawned on him. “You don’t have any of your slayer powers here do you?”
She shook her head as she straightened up. “Nope. That’s why we have to rely on good old ingenuity.” She quickly raised her shirt and began to run her fingers under her bra.
“Buffy, I don’t think this is the right time for us to...” Angel took one last look at her bare mid-drift before he swallowed hard and turned away. “I mean not that I wouldn’t want to but you know that we can’t and besides I’ve been tortured for the last I don’t know how long and...”
“What?” Buffy’s face flamed red as she realized what he thought she was trying to do. “No. I wasn’t. I mean there was no...” She clenched her teeth together as her fingers finally gripped the piece of metal Mac had given her. She held it up for Angel to see. “This is what I was after.”
“Oh.” Angel had the grace to look sheepish. He also felt a little hurt. Not that he wanted Buffy to try and seduce him now because he knew his limits and he knew they couldn’t do that any more but would it have killed her just to.... Angel shook his head to dispel the thoughts. It wasn’t her fault he had spent what had felt like an eternity in this place wanting her. “Okay, what’s that?”
She shrugged her shoulder. “Mac didn’t say what it was. He just said that it might come in handy.”
He could have asked anything. He should have asked what does it do but instead what came out of his mouth was, “Who the hell is Mac?”
“I’ll tell you all about him later. Right now stand back.” She waited until Angel had put a safe distance between them before she held the metal against the lock. Her eyes widened in shock as she watched the lock melt away into nothing before her very eyes. There was no smoke, no smell of burnt metal, nothing to give them away. It was as if the lock had just disappeared. She pushed open the door. “Let’s go.”
She didn’t have to tell him twice. Angel hurried out of the cell as fast as he could under the circumstances. “Where to now?”
“I’m not sure. We can’t go back out the way I came in. There’s a guard.”
“I’ll kill him.” Angel had no problem with killing the creature that had guarded him.
“I don’t want to hurt your ego or masculine whatever you guys call it but this guy is ginormous. I mean seriously, even at your best you would have a hard time taking him and now...”
She stopped as Angel held up his hand.
“I get it. He’s big.”
“Big doesn’t even begin to cover it.” She whispered underneath her breath.
Angel shot her an annoyed look but didn’t comment. “Okay, then how did you get by him?”
“He let me by.” The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.
He tilted his head to the side as he stared down at her. “The guard just let you go...” He snapped his fingers. “Just like that?”
“Well...” Buffy ducked her head and refused to look him in the eye. “Look, can we talk about this some other time? Right now we need to get out of here.” She turned and led the way down the hallway in the opposite direction.
Without a word Angel fell into step behind her. They both knew the conversation wasn’t over by a long shot but for now he would let the matter drop until they could find a safe place to talk.
“Buffy?” A voice whispered harsh and low. “Is that you?”
“If it wasn’t you would be in a lot of trouble, Mac.” Buffy grinned as she stooped to walk out of the back entrance of the cave.
“You did it!” Mac completely forgot himself and ran to hug her. “I knew you could do it!”
A grin spread across her face. “Then why do you seem so surprised?”
“What?” He shook his head. “I’m not surprised. I’m happy.” He shot her a grin. “Geesh, learn the difference would ya?”
Buffy’s grin widened. “My bad.”
He shrugged his shoulders as he looked around. There was no doubt about it they were being followed. “We have to find a place to lay low for a little while. Follow me, quickly.”
Buffy started to fall into step beside the demon but Angel balked. “How do we know you’re not leading us back to Acathla?”
Mac’s usual smile faded as he turned to stare at Angel. “You don’t. But do you have a choice?” The unmistakable sounds made by a horde of angry demons grew louder. “You can stay here for all I care but I’m getting Buffy the hell out of here.” He glared at Angel. “This is no place for a young woman much less the Slayer.”
Without another word Angel grabbed Buffy’s hand as they followed Mac to safety.
A few minutes later they found themselves standing inside of a cave that looked almost exactly like the one they had left minus the cells.
Buffy looked over at Angel still standing inside the cave entrance. It was time to make the introductions. “Mac, this is Angel.”
Angel didn’t bother with a hello. “How did Buffy make it by the guard?”
Buffy mouth fell open in shock as a blush stole across her face. This wasn’t the way Angel acted. He definitely wasn’t himself.
“I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you.” Mac waited until he was sure he had Buffy’s attention before he continued. “He’s been here for one hundred years and it’s going to take awhile before he gets back to...”
She finally found her voice. “Excuse me? Did you say one hundred years?” That can’t be right. It had only been three months ago since she had sent Angel to...
“Yes, I’ve been here a hundred years. Now will someone please answer my damn question?” He glared at the two of them. “How did Buffy get the guard to let her by?”
When it was plain Buffy had no intention of speaking Mac hastily spoke up. “She let him drink her blood.”
A possessive growl erupted from deep inside of him. No matter how much time had passed since he had seen her, held her she belonged to him. Buffy was his!
She closed the distance between them and put a placating hand on his chest. “It was just blood, Angel. That’s it. He didn’t hurt me or touch me in any other way.” There was no need for her to mention he had felt her up before he had bit her. She quickly shot Mac a glare. You had better keep your mouth shut. That’s something he doesn’t need to know.
Mac grinned at her as he nodded his head. “It’s plain to see that you two have a lot to talk about so why don’t I just mosey along for a while and find something to busy myself with while you two...” He stopped talking as his face turned red. He knew exactly what he would be doing if he had been stuck here for a hundred years and his girlfriend showed up. Surely, Angel was no different. As humans go Buffy wasn’t all that bad to look at. He could see how she would appeal to the vampire. Yep, they would probably most definitely take the time to... Mac shook his head as the blush on his face spread to his ears. Just the thought of.... Without another word he quickly ran out of the cave.
Before they could begin to speak, Mac popped his head back through the entrance. “Oh, I thought I would mention that it’s not just your slayer powers that don’t work here. Nothing supernatural does. If you know what I mean.” He wiggled his ears at them before he left.
Buffy leaned her head back to stare up at Angel with a look of confusion on her face. “What do you think he meant by that?”
Angel shrugged. “I have no...” A huge smile began to spread across his face as it dawned on him what the little demon was trying to tell them without actually having to say it. Slowly, he slid his arms around her waist and pulled her close until her body was flush with his. “I think I have an idea.”
“You don’t think....” But then it dawned on her. The only thing it could be. “I thought you couldn’t.” Her fingers played with the edges of his shirt.
Angel smiled as his arms tightened around her. “Watch me.” He lowered his head and quickly captured her mouth with his own.
A low moan slipped from her as his tongue plundered the moist cavern of her mouth.
As kisses went it wasn’t the sweetest Angel had ever given her but it was by far the most possessive, the one that marked her as his.
“Angel.” His name was wrung from her as his lips left hers to trail hot kisses across her neck.
“Buffy.” He whispered as he claimed her mouth once more.
He wanted to go slow, to take his time loving Buffy. He really did. But the memories of the last time he had been with Buffy, the feel of her naked body against his fueled with the torture of the years without her touch and the knowledge that another demon had drank from her was his undoing. “I can’t go slow. I’m sorry, Buffy. I can’t stop. I don’t want to.” His voice was husky as he turned her to face the rough wall and deftly lowered her pants.
“I want you, Angel. I don’t want you to stop either.”
That was all the encouragement he needed. Angel pushed against her booted feet until her pants became restraints around her legs holding her in place. He pulled his shirt off and handed it to her. “Use it as a pillow so you can put your head against the wall.” He couldn’t believe how fast Buffy did as he asked. “Push your ass towards me.” He groaned out loud as she wiggled her ass against his cloth-covered erection. “Damn.” With one hand he unfastened his pants and let them fall to the floor.
Her body trembled as pleasure coursed through her as the thick head of his cock slid against her slick entrance. She couldn’t believe this was happening. That after so many months of wanting Angel; they were going to give into their desires... again. Maybe it should have occurred to her that she was taking a demon at his word but she couldn’t stop herself. She had to have Angel, she needed to be in his arms. At least one more time.
In his haste he didn’t want to hurt her. Angel caressed her hips, her thighs before he slid his hand between her legs, barely dancing across her clit as he tested her readiness.
As his fingers dipped inside of her moist heat she pushed back against him, demanding without words that he give her what she so desperately needed.
This was it, he couldn’t wait any longer. He removed his fingers and slowly began to ease himself inside of her. Hot, wet heat surrounded him as he slid inch by torturous inch inside of her until he was fully engulfed. He could feel his eyes begin to roll back in his head as her muscles tightened around him. A sound escaped him; part moan and part growl. The pleasure was more than he had dreamed, much more than he remembered.
His legs trembled as he began to move slowly, carefully inside of her. Every cell in his body urged him to grab her hips and fuck her until they were both mindless heaps on the cave floor. But this was Buffy. “Buffy.” Her name was an agonized plea on his lips.
She gripped his shirt as she pushed back harder against him, driving him deeper inside of her. “Harder, Angel. Please. Harder.”
A deep possessive growl rumbled from deep within him as he gripped her hips in his hands and began to thrust inside of her. The wet sounds echoed obscenely through the room, bouncing off the rock walls surrounding them. In and out he pushed against her, harder, faster, deeper until whimpers of pleasure escaped her and she was a quivering mass of need.
Angel wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer to him driving his cock even deeper inside of her. He nuzzled her neck as his hand moved to slide between her legs.
“Please, Angel!” Her breath caught in her throat as his fingers barely grazed her swollen clit.
Slowly, he strummed the sensitive nub. “Shh, baby. I’ve got you.”
“PleasePleasePlease.” The words ran together in a litany of prayer as tears of frustration welled in her eyes.
“What’s the matter?” His voice was all innocence as his fingers continued to work her clit.
She pushed back against him. “You said you couldn’t go slow.”
“Mmmmm.” He nuzzled her neck before he licked the shell of her ear. “I find that I lied.”
Two could play that game. Buffy clamped her inner muscles down on his cock; tightening around him so hard that his body trembled from the pressure and the ridges on his forehead appeared. With a wicked smile on her face she tilted her head to the side to offer him her neck. She was tempting Angel beyond all endurance and she knew it, she thrilled from it.
Without warning his fangs slid into her soft skin, as her blood flowed into his mouth her orgasm ripped through her body and she screamed his name.
Lights flashed behind his eyes as the ripples from her body caused her to tighten even harder around him. His control, what little there was of it, finally snapped. Harder and harder he thrust into her willing body. Her blood was warm and wet as it coated his throat. As he swallowed the delicious blood in great greedy gulps his orgasm burst from him and he roared with his release.
After he was spent he lovingly licked the tiny wounds closed. “This isn’t the way I would have had made love to you again.”
A satisfied smile lit her eyes as she turned to face him. “Do you hear me complaining?”
An answering smile spread across his face as he shook his head. “No.” He whispered as he bent to help her readjust her clothing.
“Okay, kiddies, I hope you’re decent because it’s time for us to go.” Mac yelled loudly as he walked into the cave. The last thing he wanted to do was to come upon them in flagrante delicto. Just the thought of it made his ears begin to burn again.
Thankfully they were fully dressed by the time he had entered.
“We have a small window of opportunity to get you two out of here. It will only be so long before someone thinks to search this cave. So let’s go.” Without waiting to see if Angel and Buffy were following him, Mac turned and walked out of the cave.
It didn’t take long before they fell into step beside the demon.
Minutes later and Buffy was sure she was beginning to recognize the area. “Isn’t this the way I came in?”
Mac nodded his head. “Yep, just down that way is the portal.”
“Oh my god, Angel! We’re really going home!”
Angel opened his mouth to speak but no sound came out.
Horror filled her eyes as she watched as Angel crumpled to the ground at her feet. What the hell? Even though Buffy knew she was powerless in this dimension she went into full slayer mode as she glared at Mac. “What are you doing?”
He quickly held up his hands. “This isn’t what it looks like.”
She splayed her hands on her hips ready to kick demon ass. “Yeah, that’s good because it looks like you just injected something into Angel that caused him to pass out.” She couldn’t believe this was happening. They had been so close. “If you never had any intention of letting us go then why did you let us come this far. Why did you help me find Angel in the first place?” Buffy looked around for something to knock the little demon out with. Maybe she didn’t have her slayer powers but she was pretty sure she could take the little runt in a fight.
“Hey!” Damn, the girl packed a mean attitude when she was pissed. “I told you before that I was an acceptable size for my species.” At her look he stopped. “Look, I had no choice okay?
“Remember when I told you that I was here because I owed a debt?” He waited until she had nodded before he continued. “Well, this is the debt I owed.”
“So your debt was to give me hope and then take it away?” Why would anyone want to do that to her? It didn’t make any sense.
“You’re right. It doesn’t make any sense but here we are. And just so you know. This isn’t even about you. It’s about Angel here.” He pointed down on the ground where Angel was out cold. “Someone wants Angel back in your dimension and they want him back immediately.”
Doubt shined from her eyes as she stared at the demon. “Then why make me go through all of this? Why couldn’t you have done this yourself?”
Brittle laughter echoed around them. “Have you seen you?” He looked her up and down appreciatively. “Seriously, between you and me which one of us stood the better chance of getting by that guard? Besides do you think Angel would have trusted me if not for you?”
“It seems as if Angel was right in not trusting you.”
“Ouch.” Mac placed his hand over his heart and staggered backwards as if struck by her words. “That hurts. It really does.”
She took a menacing step closer. “Stop the con act and just explain to me what’s going on.”
“Okay, okay.” Mac leaned against the nearest tree. “This is the way it is. You had to get Angel out and now I have to get him through a different portal into your dimension.”
Confusion colored her face. “I don’t understand. Why can’t we go through together?”
The demon shrugged. “Beats me.” He hastily held up his hand again as Buffy took a step closer. “That was just a saying not an invitation.” He couldn’t miss the slight curve of her lips as he continued. “The only thing I know is that you go back the way you came and Angel goes through a different portal.”
“How do I know if I leave that you will really let him go through? What if you decide to take him back?” She thought they were both very good questions even if she did say so herself.
“You’re right. They are good questions. And I have equally good answers.” He grinned up at her, impishly. “I love my life. Most of the time, anyway. And I wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize it. So as soon as you leave in he goes. I promise.”
She didn’t understand why she believed him but for some reason she did. “Okay, Can I...” She nodded her head towards Angel.
“Go ahead. He’s groggy and disoriented. But that’s so he won’t...” Mac let his sentence trail off. He had almost told her that Angel would remember anything that had happened the last couple of days. He was sure that would have went over big with the Slayer.
Buffy dropped to her knees beside Angel and took his face in her hands. “Mac, says we have to get back to our own dimension separately. But I want you to know that I won’t forget what’s happened between us these last couple of days. I’m leaving LA as soon as I get back and we can...” She brushed back the tears from her eyes. “I’ll be in Sunnydale soon.” Her breath caught in her throat as he opened his eyes and stared up at her.
“Buffy?” But before he could say anything else his eyes drifted closed once more.
She leaned down and gently kissed his lips. “I love you, Angel. I’ll see you soon.”
Slowly, she stood up. “You had better be telling me the truth. Because if you aren’t I swear to you and all that you hold dear that there is no place you can run; no place you can hide....” She made a stabbing motion with her fist as she began backing away.
“I get it. You’ll kill me.” He rolled his eyes as he watched her back away. “Trust me when I say this, Buffy but the people I owe this to are a lot more scarier than you. Angel will be back in Sunnydale soon.” Maybe he should have told her the rest but he didn’t have the heart to. Let her continue believing, at least for a little while longer, that she and Angel would work this time. That they would remember all that had transpired between them here.
“Mac?” She called his name.”
Buffy stopped in the middle of the path. “What would have happened if I didn’t believe you and took Angel with me?”
“It’s better if you don’t ask that question, Buffy.” He glanced back over his shoulder behind them. “You wouldn’t like the answer and neither would I.”
“One more question.”
Mac shook his head. “What?”
“Why did you let me and Angel have the time to...” Her face turned red. “You know.”
The demon grinned at her as his face begin to turn a red as well. “That’s easy. I wasn’t told that I couldn’t. Besides you looked at him as if he was the best thing in your world.”
“That’s because he is.”
“Then you have your answer. How could I not let you have a few moments together here without any fear of Angelus’ return?”
“Thank you, it meant a lot. I’ll never forget it.” Buffy whispered before she turned and resumed walking towards the portal that would lead her back to Los Angeles.
With a painful look on his face, Mac watched until she was out of sight before he started the count down. In exactly one hour he would push Angel through the portal. By then a couple of weeks would have passed in their dimension and Buffy would be back in Sunnydale.
The trip leaving the portal took less time than it had going into the hell dimension. Within thirty minutes Buffy could see the back of the Wolfram and Hart building and the man standing there.
A smile began to slowly spread across Holland Manners’ face. “I take it your mission was a success, Miss Summers?”
Buffy gave him an answering smile as she stepped out of the portal and it closed behind her. “Yes, it was. Mac, this demon I met, said that he was supposed to get Angel into this other portal.” She rubbed the back of her neck. She didn’t notice as something fell to the ground behind her. “I don’t know why I believed him. It doesn’t sound like me.” She tilted her head to the side. “Does it?” Buffy teetered backwards. “What’s going on?” She stared at the man watching her. “Who are you? What am I doing here?”
Holland Manners made sure to crush the small tracking device that had fallen off of Buffy beneath the heel of his shoe as he caught her before she could fall to the ground. “It’s okay, Miss Summers. I’ve got you.” He placed his hand on her shoulder and gave her a friendly squeeze. “You’ve just had a nasty accident.”
“Why can’t I remember anything?”
“You just received a bump on the head. It’s natural to be a little confused after something like this. What you need now is a hot relaxing bath and a good night’s sleep. I’m sure everything will be alright and you will see things clearer in the morning.” Holland knew Buffy would never remember that she was the one who had helped Angel get out of the hell dimension but The Senior Partners would never forget it. For a split second he allowed himself to wonder if they would have any more use for Miss Summers but he quickly shook his head. It really wasn’t any of his business. If or when the slayer was needed again he was sure The Senior Partners would let him know.
Buffy almost nodded her head but stopped herself just in time. “That does sound good.”
He held out his hand towards the man standing in the doorway. “If you don’t mind, my colleague will see you home.” His smile widened with satisfaction as he gently guided her into the other man’s arms. “Lindsey, see that, Miss Summers gets home safely.”
She turned back towards him. “Thank you. Mr....? I’m sorry but I don’t remember your name.”
“That’s quite all right, Miss Summers. You won’t remember this conversation either.”
Holland smiled at her. “It’s nothing, Miss Summers.”
“I can’t help thinking that there was something I was supposed to do. Or did I already do it?” She grabbed her head as pain shot through it. “Why can’t I remember?”
He walked beside them as Lindsey guided her towards the limousine with his hand at the small of her back.
“It’s okay, Miss Summers. Everything has already been taken care of. All you need to do now is go home and rest.” He nodded at Lindsey as he began to usher her into the backseat of limousine.
Before the door shut Buffy leaned forward. “Thank you for everything.”
“Believe me, Miss Summers. It has been my pleasure.” Holland shut the door and watched silently as they pulled out of the alleyway. “Go home, Buffy. Go back to Sunnydale and Angel.” He whispered as the car sped away. “The faster you get back to Sunnydale the faster Angel will get here where he belongs.”