DISCLAIMER: None of the characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer belong to me, though I am rather attached to Angel, ah well. They belong to Joss Wheadon, Mutant Enemy, the WB...definitely not me. Don't sue because I have no money.
SPOILERS: The story takes place two weeks after Angel (the episode) and it has nothing to do with any of the resulting episodes...there are some spoilers for Angel.
SUMMARY: This story is pretty much a lot of introspective pondering and a lot of romance (Angel/ Buffy..sorry Xander :) but there will be some action. This is part one, part two occurs at the same time as part one and is from Angel's point of view. And part three is where the parallel lines meet (Impossible you say? Not if they are story lines.)

Text enclosed in * * are thoughts.
Also...I know that Buffy's ability to sense vamps through cramps is from the movie not the series...but go with it. Giles did say that she could hone her senses to detect vamps.

The Sighing Game
By: Rebecca Carefoot

Part One

Buffy stared morosely out her bedroom window. The rain that streaked the window pane mirrored her dark mood. She had to say that without a shadow of a doubt this majorly sucked. She had finally found a guy who she was in love with, who actually loved her back, and he even knew about the whole Slayer thing. It was too good to be true, literally. She flopped onto her bed staring at the ceiling. How could she have fallen in love with a vampire? Ok, so he was a good vampire but a vampire none the less.

She thought about him for a second, those dark brown eyes, liquid pools of chocolaty brownness that she could just fall into and let the whole stupid world go to hell. What did the world ever do for her anyway? Oh, and that hair just a little spiky in the front. That nose so straight and well, it was just a cool nose however you wanted to describe it. He always looked super cool in those jackets he constantly wore over a white t-shirt or tank top. And the body that those t-shirts covered. She bit her lip thinking about that body. Those muscles, that broad chest, and those delicious arms. His skin was so white... She shivered. Yikes, she definitely needed to get her mind off that subject before she melted. His lips, so firm, and those kisses...she had never felt anything like that. Not in all her 16 years. It took her breath away and left her happy to be gasping. When she was with Angel the whole world disappeared, and she didn't even miss it. But she had sent him away. She groaned.

It was the right thing to do, the only thing she could do. Why had she done it? What was wrong with her? *I mean just because he has one teeny tiny, ok one humungoid flaw...why should we have to be apart?* The truth was, she knew if she saw him again, no when she saw him again, she would lose any self-control she had left. She would throw herself into his arms and cover him with kisses. She rolled over onto her stomach; she wanted to see him so badly. It had been weeks since their meeting at the Bronze. The meeting where she had said that they could never be anything...auuggghh. What had she been thinking? All she wanted in the world was for them to be something. Why did it have to be so hard?

It was destiny for them to be together, she knew it, but deep within her heart she also knew it would be just as hard to be with him. Sure there would be moments of joy but when you came right down to it, he wasn't really a man. He was a monster with a demon inside him. A horrible, horrible monster.....who had saved her life more than once. And he DID have his soul back. He had been good for a century or more. That had to count for something. He hadn't killed a living human since he got his soul back, and there was so much pain inside him. A vampire couldn't feel guilt the way he did. They couldn't care for her the way he did. But he was a vampire, no getting around it. And what was she going to do if he ever accidentally revealed his true face to her mom. Being grounded for life would be an understatement. And what if his soul couldn't fight the demon anymore, and he became evil again, and she had to kill him, but she couldn't because she loved him too much and instead he killed her and then he became the new master. *Buffy!* she admonished herself, *you are getting way carried away here.*

The truth was she didn't really think Angel would ever hurt her or her friends or anybody who wasn't supremely evil. The truth was that even if he did, she had a feeling she'd still be in love with him. The simple truth was she loved him, and nothing else mattered, not when you really thought about it. He wasn't a real vampire; he had a soul. It wasn't even that ugly when his face turned vamp, once you got used to it. It looked kind of wild and animalistic in an exciting kind of way. On other vamps it was ugly, but for Angel it was more a badge of courage. It was a reminder that he had to fight against himself constantly. That he had kept the demon at bay for a century, and that he would continue to do so. Buffy felt the trust born from her love, a trust that would accept no possibility of Angel turning evil. He was strong enough to stay good. He had to be. And if she was wrong, well she was willing to take that risk.

She pulled on a sweater and climbed out her bedroom window a little amazed at what she was doing. She was marching out of her house in the middle of the night to look for his apartment. She had to tell him right now. She had to tell him that none of it mattered, nothing was real but their love. So she walked purposefully until she reached the Bronze, then she began to wander somewhat aimlessly among the apartment buildings in the "bad" side of town. She should be able to sense him if she got close enough. A lance of pain shot through her side and she knew a vampire was near, whether it was Angel...well, that was another question. She spun lightly on the balls of her feet, her eyes constantly searching, her hand on the stake she had stuffed in her pocket.

"Show yourself!" she called. The evil in this vamp felt too strong to be Angel. Anxiously she peered into the darkness. A shadow crept slowly along the wall behind her. Then it stepped away from the wall and pounced. As it attacked the ridges of the vampire's face stood out in the harsh light of a nearby street lamp. Buffy heard her attacker as he leapt and spun to face him. His momentum carried him forward, and she fell to the floor heavily with him on top of her. Struggling against his vise-like grip she finally freed herself by throwing him against the wall. He was only stunned for a moment and quickly charged her again, but this time she was ready. She easily sidestepped his attack and plunged the stake into his back.

Her breathing slowed as the adrenaline pumping through her blood began to lessen. "Nothing like a midnight slay to keep a girl on her toes," she muttered to herself. Well at least she had managed to get her mind off Angel for a few minutes. Now to find that apartment. An hour of sneaking around every apartment near the Bronze turned up nothing. *He must not be home,* she thought. Sighing she began the long trek back to her house, or maybe it just seemed long. This was not turning out to be one of her best nights.

* * * * * * *

Part Two

Angel stared blankly at the wall of his apartment. A stake through the heart could not possibly hurt this much. To see her, so beautiful, so sad. It tore him to pieces. To know that she felt the same way he did, and yet it could not be. To be one of those doomed lovers he had always despised, part of a fated couple. It stung. To know that over 200 years of love and loss was no shield. To hold her close and feel her stripped away. It hurt like nothing else he had ever felt in his life.

Like nothing but the moment of conscience reawakened. The guilt of a hundred year killing spree across the span of the entire world, the deaths he had caused, the joy he had felt in killing. In that one crystalline moment it had all come rushing into him. As his soul was returned, he had almost destroyed himself. He would have burned himself to death in the sun's bright rays. He would have done anything to escape the guilt. But he had found another way. He had found solace in killing them. In destroying all the vampires he could. He fought the demon within himself, and he fought the demons outside as well. So far he was winning; he had made himself into a killing machine. The guilt was buried, the pain was buried, every emotion was hidden beneath a burning desire to kill them all. Angel had had it all figured out. Once he got rid of all of them he would be at peace, and he would slip away. A stake to his own heart wouldn't be such a hard thing to do. It would all be over so quickly. It was the perfect escape.

But then she had come to Sunnydale to fight the vampires, to fulfill her destiny. Beautiful Buffy, so young and so perfect. At first he had seen her only as an ally, a way to kill the vampires faster. Angel thought she might have a better chance at killing the Master than he would. After all she was the one girl in all the world with the power to stop the forces of evil. But how many times had he heard that, too many. There was always a new "one girl in all the world," and yet the Master lived. Still there was a chance, and any vampire she killed would be one less for him.

So he warned her that first week. He followed her into an alley. And she surprised him by knocking him on his ass. He thought that was when he first started falling in love with her. He hadn't been surprised in such a long time. It was
a good feeling, a human feeling. She was so suspicious and for some reason he found that charming. The way she spoke back to him, she wasn't afraid, or if she was she hid it well. He gave her the cross, silver. He had worn it when he had first had his soul returned. He had needed something to help him fight the demon, and the pain of that cross helped him gain the self control he needed to keep from feeding off warm blood. He still wore a cross sometimes, gold. It was much smaller, but it helped to calm the urges.

He began to watch her, sometimes offering hints and help; but mainly staying in the shadows. He saw her wear the cross sometimes, and it made him feel connected with her somehow. He knew that she couldn't truly love him, not if she knew what he really was. But seeing her wear that cross it was like she was his. It was as if she cared about him.

He remembered the night when he had given her his jacket. The leather one. He really didn't need it, vampires didn't feel cold. She seemed to like it, in fact she wore it pretty often. That made him feel good too. It made him feel like she carried him with her everywhere she went. He imagined to himself that she felt the same way he did. That she fantasized about him, that when she closed her eyes at night all she could see was his face, that she wore the jacket because she could imagine it being on his skin. He told himself that he was a fool, that he was acting like an overly hormonal teenager. It had to be a crush, but it was so ridiculous. He was old enough to know better.

Then that night he had followed her from the Bronze, and they had had their run in with The Three. It had been close. He had thought that they were done for when one of the three extremely strong vampires had slashed him across the ribs. He was embarrassed to say that he was almost glad he would die with her. But they had survived, and she had invited him into her house, a sacred privilege he certainly hadn't expected.

She had bandaged his wound. He hoped she didn't realize what her touch did to him. His flesh prickled with her nearness. It took all his self-control to keep from pulling her near and kissing her. He hid all day in her closet, hiding from her mom he told her, but it was from the sun he hid. And then she brought him some dinner...a little plateless she said. He didn't mind that, but it was also a lot bloodless. Poor girl, she had no idea what she was getting into. He decided then to hide it all from her, to just leave and never come back.

But she started mumbling about her diary, thinking he had read it. His heart soared as he slowly realized that she cared for him. He began his speech about having to leave but his heart wasn't in it. His heart was with her. And he had blurted out that part about wanting to kiss her. Then the incredible, the impossible had happened. They had come together like the crashing of the waves on the shore, an inevitability. Their lips had met in the kiss to end all kisses.

In the midst of his joy, Angel felt his face begin to change. He fought it, but it was too late. He stared in horror at the fear and hatred he saw reflected in her eyes and her scream. He threw himself out the window and ran into the night. But she hadn't had the will to kill him.  She seemed to understand.  At the Bronze when they fought, he could tell that she still cared for him just as he cared for her.

And then they had met for their last kiss, the most painful and wonderful kiss of his life. The world became that kiss, nothing else mattered. As she walked away, he could feel his flesh sizzling where her cross had imprinted itself on his skin. But that pain was nothing to the anguish he felt watching her walk away.

So now here he was, sitting alone in his apartment. Unable to keep his mind off her. Her face filled his mind, her smell filled his nostrils. Angrily he jumped up from the bed and threw a chair against the wall, snarling. He couldn't stand it, he had to see her. He had to hear her voice. He rushed out the door barely taking the time to grab a jacket. He walked the streets to her house filled with an urgency he could not understand. Nothing mattered but her, nothing had ever mattered but her

He stared up at her window, she had taken back the invitation. He couldn't go in. He picked up a few pebbles from the ground and flung them at the window, but there was no response to the clatter they made. He jammed his fists into his pockets trying to figure out what he could do next. Either she was out slaying, she was a really sound sleeper, or she just didn't want to see him. He was inclined to believe the latter. Lost in thought, he didn't even notice the vampire creeping up behind him. It leapt, hungrily seeking a midnight snack. Angel snarled. This was not on the top of his list of things to do tonight. His face changed and the other vampire stared a moment at the familiar ridges.

"Angelus?" it whispered.

"No one calls me that anymore," Angel said thinking of Darla. "And you are?" The vampire tried to attack but Angel was too strong, he easily pinned him to the ground.

"Why do you fight us?" the vampire asked. "Why do you murder your family?" Angel reached inside his jacket and pulled out a stake. He drove it into the creatures heart with all his strength. As the creature turned to dust Angel sneered.

"I just don't like you," he answered. "I guess there's something about your faces that rubs me the wrong way." He grinned toothily. Hunting always made him hungry. He stared up at her window once more and lightly touched his vampire face. *Not tonight,* he thought. *I'll try again some other time.*

* * * * * * *

Part Three

Angel walked slowly back towards his apartment. He felt like crawling into a hole in the ground and just lying there for a hundred years. This had turned out to be a horrible night. He stared up at the moon, it was full tonight; so full he couldn't believe it didn't just fall right out of the sky. His eyes on the sky, he bumped heavily into someone.

"I'm so sorry," he muttered distractedly.

"Well you should be!" he heard a dear voice say. "I really like these shoes and you stepped all over them."

"Buffy?!" he exclaimed, stopping the girl as she turned away.

"Angel," she whispered turning slowly to face him. It was true. After all that looking she had just gone and bumped into him. *I guess that's what they call fate,* she thought dreamily as she drank in the sight of him. He stood uncertainly on the sidewalk, unsure of his place in her heart. *Well I'll show him his place,* she thought as she embraced him tightly.

Immediately his arms encircled her, and their lips met. His kiss left her heart pounding, and she stood dazzled in his arms. This was what she had been dreaming of, and Angel did not disappoint. Their lips met again, and she felt the ground sway under her. But Angel's strong arms held her tight and she felt safe.

Angel held her close, as if he would never let go. In between kisses he stole glances at her face. The look in her eyes was full of love, and her mouth turned up in a smile when she caught him staring at her.

"Angel," she said, and his heart raced to hear those lips say his name. "We have to go somewhere a little more private."

"Why?" he murmered. "I don't care who sees us."

"That's because you don't have to deal with all the people who live in this town." She gently touched his face as she said, "Come with me." She led him to the top of a secluded hill, and they sat together looking at the stars. Being held in his arms she thought she had never been more happy in her whole life. The dark seemed warm, and the stars were jewels in the moon's crown. They sat in comfortable silence. There was no need for words, but finally Buffy spoke.

"I told you I'd see you around," she said happily.

"What were you doing out so late anyway?" Angel asked. "Isn't it way past your bedtime?" She slapped him lightly.

"Ha, ha, Mr. I'm two hundred and something years older than you."

"You must be one of those girls who goes for older guys, " Angel teased.

"Yeah, you're the first date I've had in months who isn't a skeleton. It's just so hard to find well preserved two hundred and forty year olds these days." Angel laughed at her comments. "It's nice to hear you laugh." she said. "You should do it more often."

"Sometimes it's hard for me to laugh, there's so much sadness it seems like there's no room for laughter." Buffy touched his chest over the spot where his heart was.

"You have so much pain here," she said sadly. "I feel almost guilty that my life has been easier than yours." He covered her hand with his.

"Don't feel guilty," he said. "You make me happy, and it's not as if your life has been easy."

"Nothing I can't handle," she said leaning towards him for a kiss, "with a little help from my Guardian Angel." She looked at his face for a moment. "Angel?" she began, "I have a favor to ask."

"Anything you want."

"Show me your true face." Angel started to protest but Buffy stopped him with a kiss. "I need to see it." Sighing, he slowly agreed. Buffy watched closely as his face changed. She looked at the familiar visige of a vampire, but she felt none of the hatred the face usually brought with it. Deliberately, she grabbed the back of Angel's head and pulled him to her. She kissed him as deeply as she knew how, telling him without words that she loved him, every part of him. When they broke the kiss Angel pushed back a lock of her hair.

"It's going to be hard," he said.

"I know," she answered simply her gaze meeting his without hesitation, both of them willing to try for the sake of love.

The End

Go on to the sequel Nights Like These.


Buffy&Angel // Rebecca Fic