Text enclosed in * * represent thoughts.

This part contains graphic violence.

Part 10

Angel watched Lily warily as they circled each other, testing each other. The other vampires backed out of the way. Once the battle was begun they could not interfere. Not that they would want to anyway. The power rolled off the two warriors, electrifying the air around them. Where their aura’s met, sparks flew.

Angel moved suddenly, faster than sight and struck at Lily’s chest with his foot. She felt him coming and side stepped easily, returning with a kick of her own that forced him to scramble back. They circled each other once more. She leapt at him, arm outstretched. He dodged out of the way, grabbing her arm and twisting it behind her. She struggled against his grasp and swept his feet out from under him. As he fell to the ground, he threw her away from him. They both jumped up and began to circle again, feinting at each other. Lily sent a bolt of power flying as she tried to entrap Angel’s mind. Her power was a crushing weight against his will and he felt her thought, her commands invade his brain. He warded off her mental attacks by launching an attack.. He sent her power flying back at her with a bolt of his own power. She staggered slightly, and he used his advantage, pressing forward to leave a long scratch along the length of her face. She shrieked in anger.

"You can’t be this powerful," she screamed.

"Says who?" asked Angel as he leapt at her again. This time she was ready, and she turned his blow aside, answering with a blow of her own. Her fist sent him reeling as stars exploded in his vision. He blinked once to clear his eyes and rolled out of the way of her kicking foot. He rose to his feet in one smooth motion, grabbing her foot and sending her flying through the air to land on her back. He licked the blood from the lip she had split with her fist. She growled and dove through the air. He tried to side-step her attack but she caught him in the shoulder, driving him to the ground along with her. They rolled on the floor, biting and scratching at each other. Lily attempted to gouge out Angel’s eyes, but he quickly moved his head out of the way, while using their momentum to end up on top of her, straddling her struggling form. He pulled his fist back and smashed it into her face with all his strength. Bones snapped but she clung to consciousness, using her legs to throw him off her. Dripping blood, she came at him, grabbed his throat and squeezed as hard as she could. He laughed weakly. Vampires didn’t breathe. Understanding her mistake, she changed her grip to tear out his throat. Realizing her intentions, Angel punched through her chest with his claws. His hand emerged from her chest, holding her heart. Blood sprayed in every direction, coating Angel in gore. Lily stared in disbelief at Angel’s hand, still squeezing her heart. Blood burbled up her throat, and she sank to the ground. With a casual movement, Angel tore out her throat.

He had won. He stood over her and watched as her body exploded into dust, adrenaline still surging through his system. Without thinking he licked the blood from his hand. His lip curled in distaste. There was power in it, but evil too. Overwhelming evil. He could still feel the battle rage, the heat of combat. He shook slightly as he forced himself to slow his heart. As he forced his body under control. Then he looked out at the world. The other vampires had run, and Colin was gone with them. A sudden wave of panic broke over him, and he searched frantically for Buffy. She was still right where he had laid her, leaning against the tree’s supportive trunk. He limped over to her, shaken by an irrational burst of fear that somehow she had died.

She lay against the tree, her eyes closed. He sat down beside her and tenderly moved an errant strand of hair from out of her face. Slowly responding to his touch, she opened her eyes. She smiled when she saw him sitting beside her, staring worriedly into her face.

"I’m fine," she said. He smiled in response and she reached up to touch his face. "We’re a fine looking pair, you’re completely covered in blood, and I’m sitting here with barely any left."

"Do you feel any better?"

"Actually I kind of do. I guess we won, huh?"

"I’d say so. Did you sleep through the whole fight?" he asked teasingly.

"Just the boring parts," she said grinning. "To tell you the truth, I felt like I was fighting too. I felt like I was a part of you."

"You are," said Angel softly, leaning towards her to kiss her mouth softly. She returned the kiss, tangling her fingers in his hair. Then she rested her head on his shoulder.

"I got blood on my dress," she said. "I really liked this dress."

"I’m sorry."

"I was worth it," she said with a grin. "It was worth it all for that kiss and the look on Lily’s face."

"Which look?"

"The one where she saw you holding her heart in your hand."

"You saw that?" Angel asked cringing.

"I saw." Buffy answered simply. She thought about the bloodlust she had felt during the fight, the joy of battle, the viciousness, the feelings she had shared with him as if they were her own. That could wait, she’d tell him later.

"Can you walk?" he asked, standing up slowly.

"Yeah, no problem." She pushed herself up off the floor. "Witness me walking. The great vampire slayer thinking being able to walk by myself is a huge accomplishment. What’s wrong with that picture?" Angel smiled at her lighthearted comments and swept her up into his arms. "Put me down," she said. "You’re not in any shape to carry any one."

"Hey it’s my fault you can barely walk, and you’re the reason why I won. Besides it’s so much faster this way."

"Okay, just this once." Buffy relaxed in his arms, hugging him around the neck. He bent his head to kiss her and began to carry her to Giles’ house where the Slayerettes were waiting. "Oh I almost forgot," Buffy said suddenly. "You have to come over to the house tomorrow and meet my mom."

"Oh God," groaned Angel. "And I thought it couldn’t get any worse than facing the most powerful vampire alive and almost killing my girlfriend in the process. "

"Just try not to let the vamp pop out while you’re talking to her."

"Gee, thanks for the advice." Laughing, they continued down the street.

Giles winced as the loud music that filled the Bronze assaulted his ears. He had agreed to come in a fit of joy over their triumph. Now he was beginning to regret that decision. He should have stayed home and re-read one of his favorite books. That was more his kind of celebration. He sat down at a table, drink in hand. He would need several more to get through the night. He stared out at the dance floor, searching the gyrating bodies for a familiar face. His gaze finally settled on Xander and Willow, dancing together. He smiled at the look of rapture on Willow’s face. It was almost worth it just to see her so happy.

Watching Xander dance, Willow giggled a little. *It's kind of endearing how he throws himself into the dance, not caring what anybody else thinks.* She felt a sudden rush of affection for his total lack of rhythm.

"C’mon Will," he screamed over the music. "Cut loose. We saved the world remember, so boogie down." Willow shook her head doubtfully. She would feel too ridiculous. She watched as his face fell slightly at her refusal, and she immediately regretted her decision. The guy of her dreams was asking her to dance, and she refused because she was afraid of a little embarrassment. *Well not tonight,* she decided. Tonight she just wouldn’t care what the rest of the world thought.

"All right!" she yelled. "Let’s get funky!" She abandoned her traditional dance, which consisted of bouncing from one leg to the other, and began to gyrate wildly.

"Whoo hoo!" Xander replied grinning, and the two shook and shimmied to the music.

Buffy laughed as she watched the pair’s wildly flailing limbs. "I can’t believe it," Buffy said to Angel. "Willow has never danced like that in her life. She looks like she’s having a seizure...I mean in a good way." Angel glanced over at the pair and chuckled.

"That’s what love’ll do to you," he said. They were sitting at one of the many tables that filled the Bronze. They had cleaned themselves up as much as possible. Angel’s jacket had been completely ruined so he was wearing one of Giles’ tweed numbers. *It's amazing,* Buffy thought, *he even manages to make Giles’ clothes look good.* They had washed her dress in the sink, but it hadn’t dried in time; so she was wearing an over sized T-shirt and boxers. She covered the outfit with the leather jacket Angel had given her. It wasn’t her best look, but right now she couldn’t care less about fashion.

"Tell me again why we can’t dance too," she whined.

"Mainly because we both almost died tonight."

"Oh yeah," Buffy said. "But I feel so much better." Angel shook his head forbiddingly, just as Jewel’s Foolish Games came on. "Oh, please!" she begged. "Slow dancing is just swaying anyway, there’s no exertion involved." Angel looked into her pleading eyes and couldn’t resist.

"Just one." They walked to the dance floor and wrapped their arms around each other. Buffy lay her head against his chest. Feeling his strength; drinking in his heat, his smell. She looked up as she felt him shift in her arms. He kissed her forehead lightly, and she raised her face. Their lips met tenderly, then again more passionately. She ran her hand up his back, inside his jacket, and he shuddered a little. He twisted a strand of her hair on his finger, and drew her closer. Buffy knew that they still had issues to work through. She had felt his blood lust during the fight, and it scared her. And there was still the sex thing. Xander had been cruel when he brought it up, but it was a valid point. She let all their problems slip to the back of her mind. There would be plenty of time for problems later. Right now they were together and tomorrow would never come. She smiled up into his beautiful eyes. *Tonight problems don’t matter. All that matters is being in his arms.* Xander caught her eye as he danced with Willow. He grinned and Buffy couldn’t help but grin back. Everything would work out, she just knew it.

Xander hugged Willow a little tighter. He liked the feel of her in his arms. This was nice, really nice. He smiled down at her head and let the music carry them.

Angel leaned his head on top of Buffy’s. She pulled back to give him a kiss on the nose, which he returned. He smiled at her, and his fangs peeked out of his mouth glinting in the dim light. Quickly he shut his mouth, hiding them. He was suddenly very aware of the blood, the life in the room. He could feel the heat of the bodies that surrounded them. He could hear the heart beats that pumped blood through each of the bodies. The sound filled his ears, pounding against his skull. He licked his lips nervously and his glance fell on the girl nestled in his arms. Her look was questioning, but her eyes were full of trust. He forced his heart to stop racing. Gradually he recovered his calm. He was in control. He touched her lips lightly, and kissed her hand. She was enough.

The End

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Read the sequel....The Morning After


Buffy&Angel // Rebecca Fic