Always A Bridesmaid…Never A Bride…

by Isis FG

Feedback: vagabond_angel@comcast.net

Disclaimer: Let’s see…are Buffy and Angel together? No! Then obviously I don’t own ‘em…the annoying people at ME, Fox, UPN, WB, etc do

Rating: NC 17…for sex, although it’s not overly descriptive.
Pairing: B/A…who else would I write?
Summary: A bunch of years into the future, Buffy and Angel run into each other with interesting results.
Spoilers: None really…very vague ones for ‘Sanctuary’, that’s about it

Distribution: my site (Vagabond Soul), ff.net, BA_Fluff list, and LoD; & Starrkitty’s Archive if they wants it, anyone else, just ask first.

Author’s Notes: All right, this is pretty much a plotless ‘let’s put Buffy and Angel back together’ fic. I just wanted to write something fun, mostly fluffy, and not very serious or heavy on plotline. It was birthday present to myself :)

AN2: Timeline wise, this fic sorta jumps canon after the ATS s1 ep ‘Sanctuary’ where the big fight occurred. For the purpose of this fic, ‘The Yoko Factor’ never occurred, and B/A never saw each other again after the LA incident, and for the seasons after that, I didn’t really think about what did and did not occur that would impact this story. So just assume some of it did happen and some didn’t, it’s not really all that important to the fic because, as I said, this is just meant to be a fun story. Anyways, this takes place about 6 or 7 years after ‘Sanctuary’.

AN3: Not beta’d, blame mistakes on me.


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Part 1
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Buffy plopped down on the sofa in her hotel room, pulling her feet up under her. What the hell was she supposed to do for the rest of the night? She glanced at her watch. It was only one a.m. and she was still wired. Over ten years of being a Slayer had pretty much made her a night owl.

She considered getting some slaying in, but due to the fact that she was in a strange city it didn’t seem like the best idea. Why the hell did Dawn decide to get married in Las Vegas anyway? They could have had a nice wedding in Sunnydale. Of course some vamps were likely to have ruined things. So maybe Vegas wasn’t such a bad idea.

Dawnie was now married. That thought struck a sad chord in her heart. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. She’d now been a bridesmaid in the weddings of the four people closest to her. First Xander and Anya, then Giles and Olivia, and then Willow and Oz two years ago. And now, her baby sister. They were all paired off, happy and in love. Which is why she was sitting by herself in her room.

Everyone had gone their separate ways after the wedding to spend time with their significant others. But she had no one. Just herself. It had been that way since Riley. She wasn’t really alone, but it wasn’t all that fun being the odd wheel on the happy couple train.

Being a Slayer just wasn’t compatible with having a love life. Sure, there had been Riley, but he’d never been accepting of her calling which in turn made her not all that comfortable in the relationship. The only person that had ever made her feel truly and completely loved was…no, no need to bring *that* up.

Even though it had been many, many years since that period of her life, *he* was definitely something she did *not* want to even think about. It was taboo territory. They all knew that which is why his name was never mentioned. It still hurt too much to remember, especially considering how their last meeting had gone.

She’d done what he’d asked then; gotten out of his town and out of his world. She could say that she’d never looked back, but that’d be a lie. She looked back on that day a million times. The memories still hurt and were still so vivid in her mind.

Nothing had ever been simple with them. They’d never had chance. Some things just weren’t meant to be, and they were one of them. Doomed from the start. But there were so many good memories with him too…

Buffy shook her head slightly to break off the train of thought her mind was steering toward. It wouldn’t do her any good to think about the past. She would just have to face the fact that marriage, family, and love weren’t part of her future.

Standing up, Buffy smoothed out the wrinkles in her short, maroon dress. There had to be something she could find to do considering she wasn’t the least bit tired. And anything was better than sitting around commiserating over her lack of a love life. She grabbed her wallet and headed out of her room, hoping to find something to pass the time.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

Angel groaned as he listened to Cordy and Gunn bicker over what to order from room service. Why had he let them convince him to take this little vacation? And why did they all have to share a suite? They were all in Los Vegas for what his friends called a little ‘demon-free R & R’. He didn’t see what was so fun about the whole thing, but he seemed to be the only one.

Fred and Wesley curled up on the couch watching a movie while Cordy and Gunn were sitting at the table arguing over menu choices, but that was typical for them. It was some sort of foreplay. He was the only not enjoying himself. Maybe they would all go to bed soon…which would still leave him alone. Always alone.

That was the story of his life. He had friends, which he was grateful for. But they had each other and he had…nothing. At the end of the day when everyone went home, it left just him. It had been that way since…well since that time he didn’t want to think about but always ended up thinking about anyway.

Years had passed, but it still hadn’t dulled the memories of *her*. Had he really thought it would? Not really. Some things were just impossible to forget about. He wasn’t sure if that was a good or a bad thing. There were so many good memories, and many that he wished had never happened.

Angel sighed and pulled himself out of his internal thoughts. He really didn’t need Cordy chastising him for brooding. Glancing around the room, Angel noticed that none of his friends seemed about to go to bed anytime soon. He wasn’t sure how much longer he could just sit there just doing nothing. There had to be something he could find to do, they were in Las Vegas after all.

“Hey, man. Where are you going?” Gunn questioned when he saw Angel stand and walk toward the door.

“Out,” Angel stated simply.

“Umm, anywhere in particular?” prodded Cordelia. She’d noticed him sitting on the chair in total brood-mode.

“No,” answered Angel, leaving the room without another word to his friends.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^
Part 2
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<a few hours later>

The noise inside the bar was starting to hurt her head. How long had she been there? She guessed it didn’t really matter. She thought for a short moment that maybe she should go back to her room, but she wasn’t quite sure where her room was. Or where she was for that matter.

Buffy looked around the bar, hoping to recognize something, but all she saw was a mass of swirling colors and light. Her stomach began to churn so she turned back around on her stool to face the much calmer side of the bar. Reaching out for her shot of tequila, she missed and ended up knocking over a bowl of peanuts. The goof made her giggle uncontrollably, only stopping when she finally got her hand on the shot glass and raised it to her lips.

She swallowed the liquid in one gulp. It no longer burned her throat or made her eyes tear. Or maybe they were and she just didn’t notice it anymore. She wiped off the little bit that had dribbled onto her chin and slammed the shot glass down on the counter, shattering it.

“Oops!” she giggled. Damn Slayer strength!

The bartender glared at her, wondering if he should ask the blonde headed woman to leave. She’d been sitting there for over two hours, tossing back drink after drink. He was about to go over and gently urge her to head back to wherever she was staying when he saw her get up off the stool, nearly falling over in the process.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

Angel fumbled around in his coat pocket trying to find his wallet. He knew it was there somewhere. He grinned when he finally retrieved the leather contraption and opened it to get money to pay his bill. What did a twenty dollar bill look like again? Was it the one with ‘1’ and the ‘0’? He squinted his eyes trying to remember. Giving up, Angel pulled out a wad of bills and threw them onto the table.

He got up out of his chair, quickly placing his hands onto the closest sturdy object to steady himself. The room spun for a few moments as his head adjusted to him now standing. He started to turn to walk away, but stopped when he realized he had no idea where he was supposed to go. Reaching again into his pocket he found a plastic card. He studied it for a moment trying to make out the words, but all he saw was a bunch of lines and colors. Maybe if he went outside he’d remember where he was supposed to go.

(AN: the plastic card was one of those annoying motel ‘keys’ that don’t seem to work half the time)

Whirling around a little too quickly, Angel ran smack into something, or someone. His instincts took over as his hand reached out to grab whatever had stopped his forward motion. He realized he had bumped into a person when his hand came into contact with an arm.

Looking down he saw short person in front of him who had blonde hair and, glancing farther down, was obviously female. His grasp tightened when the female began to wobble on her high heeled shoes. When she finally steadied she looked up at him and mumbled thanks.

His bloodshot eyes stared at her, trying to clear his vision, but his drunken haze only allowed him to see shapes and colors. But what he did see unintentionally aroused his interest. His eyes continued to roam her body until they came to a stop where his hand clasped her forearm. Something flickered in the back of his head, but his state of mind made it impossible to capture.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

Buffy fumbled with trying to put her coat on, finally giving up on the obviously defective article of clothing. The noise in the bar was getting on her nerves. She wondered if maybe there was a quieter one somewhere else. With that in mind she began to leave, her steps unsteady due to alcohol and three inch heels. She was halfway to the door when she collided face first with something large and solid.

Her balance faltered until suddenly a hand grabbed her arm. Once she steadied herself she looked up to see what had gotten in her way. All she could make out was that it was a tall, dark haired man, who, as she looked down his body again, apparently liked the color black. Her eyes squinted as she tried to make out his face, but it was hopeless.

The hand on her arm held her tighter when she almost fell again. She regained her balance momentarily but again started to wobble. Not thinking, her hand reached out and landed on the man’s chest. A zing of sensation snaked through her but the feeling was muted somewhat from her tequila based daze.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^
Part 3
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The pair remained standing, swaying slightly from their alcohol consumption. Both were suddenly overwhelmed by a feeling rising within them. Their eyes stared at each other, or at least they each thought they were staring at the other’s eye, but they weren’t quite sure. They only thing they knew was that they wanted to be closer to the other person.

Angel’s hand slowly drifted up her arm and over her almost bare shoulder. Tiny goose bumps raised on Buffy’s skin. On an unconscious level she recognized the feeling inside her but her mind had yet to realize the true meaning of it. Instead she went with the desire burning inside her for the unknown, faceless man.

Somehow, they ended up seated on a bench outside the bar. Buffy sat straddling Angel’s lap, her mouth attacking his. Her hands grasped at his neck while his roamed over her back. One of Angel’s hands slid in between them and groped at her breasts through the satiny material of dress.

Buffy groaned at his ministrations. She felt like she was on fire inside. The only thing she knew for sure was that this man was the only one who could put out the blaze of desire. Needing more contact, she ground her pelvis down against his obvious arousal.

At the feeling of her lower body pressing on his, Angel sucked in a breath. He needed…something. And he was pretty sure this woman could give it to him. Her hips rocked against him as his fingers tweaked one of her nipples.

Dimly, he realized that they were in a very public place. Part of him didn’t care at all, but for some reason he didn’t want to subject the blonde on his lap to that. Thinking quickly, Angel stood, ignoring the whine from his companion, and stalked toward the parking lot where he was somewhat sure he’d parked his car.

Throughout the whole walk, the woman in his arms sucked and nipped at the skin on his neck. The action caused him to growl slightly which only seemed to make her bite harder. Angel sighed in relief and anticipation when he spotted his car near the back of the lot. He reluctantly set the blonde down in order to grab his keys from his pocket and open the door.

The second the door opened, Angel jumped into the car, pulling the girl in after him. Before the door even slammed shut, she was on his lap again. Their mouths fused, tongues battling for control.

One of Buffy’s hands slipped down between their bodies and grasped the hem of his shirt. The moment the material was free, her hands furiously pulled at the black silk, ripping it apart. Neither heard the clinking of the buttons flying through the car.

With her prize finally free, Buffy’s head swooped downward to the strong, muscular chest in front of her. She licked a path across his skin, veering right to one of his nipples. Her teeth teased the rigid flesh causing her soon to be lover to groan.

Angel’s head flung backwards at the sensations the woman on top of him was bringing forth. His hands gripped her hips, pushing her down onto the aching need between his legs. Finally, unable to take anymore, Angel swiftly turned them and lowered them both down. He inwardly praised himself for having a car with such a large back seat.

Wasting no time, Angel’s hands raised the lower hem of the maroon satin dress while Buffy worked on getting the button and zipper of his pants undone. In his haste to remove all obstacles, Angel tore the black lace panties off her body, but neither cared.

Free of barriers at last, Angel leaned his head down, engaging the woman beneath him in a heated kiss before finally thrusting inside her. Both gasped at the instant pleasure derived from the action. Each idly wondered at the sense of familiarity within them, but the thoughts were quickly pushed aside by the rising need inside them.

Angel slowly began to rock against Buffy as her legs wrapped around him. The only sounds to be heard were the occasional groans and grunts as well as the sweaty slapping of skin on skin.

Their pace increased rapidly, both utterly lost in the pleasure and odd sense of completeness. Feeling his peak nearing, Angel snaked a hand down between them through her damp curls. His mouth moved across her neck, stopping to suck on a curious patch of roughened skin as his thumb and forefinger stroked her clit.

Thrusting deep into her body, Angel roughly pinched the bundle of nerves between his fingers as he tipped over the edge. Gently biting down on the patch of skin beneath his lips, he released his seed into her body, simultaneously feeling the ripple of her internal muscles as his lover orgasmed with him.

The two collapsed, both panting for air from the intensity of the emotions pouring through them. Neither spoke, the ability to form words lost somewhere between the copious amount of liquor in their systems and the strangeness of the situation they found themselves in. All either one knew was that they didn’t want to let go of their mystery lover anytime soon.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

<sometime later that night/morning>

The door to the cheap motel room swung open with a thud as the lover’s stumbled into the room. Their hands groped and grabbed at each other in desperate need for contact. Not bothering to turn on the lights, they moved further into the room. Angel tossed the key and other items in his hand on the nearest surface before resuming his attack on his blonde haired lover.

Reaching the bed, the pair fell backwards, quickly shedding the boundaries between them. Despite their earlier activities, both craved to be joined once again. If either had been in the right state of mind they would have questioned the pull toward the other or consciously noticed the familiarity of the other person. But neither did.

Soon, they were again lost in each other. For the rest of their waking ours, the lovers frantically sought to sate the undying need between them. Sheer exhausting finally ceased their actions. Their need for closeness, however, remained, as both drifted off to sleep wrapped up in each other’s arms.

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Part 4
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<elsewhere in Las Vegas – mid morning>

“I don’t like this. Where would she be?” Willow worriedly stated as she stared at the untouched bed in Buffy’s hotel room.

“M-maybe she got up earlier,” answered Giles, grasping at any answer.

Willow glared at him. “Since when is Buffy a morning person?”

“She’s got to be around here somewhere. We should look around the hotel,” Xander posed, equally concerned for his missing friend.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

<on a different floor in the same hotel>

“Fred? Wesley? Have you guys seen Angel?” Cordelia yelled toward the room where the couple had slept.

Wesley opened the door and walked out into the living room of the suite. “No. Why?”

“He’s not here and it doesn’t look like he slept in his room. I didn’t hear him come back last night either,” explained Cordy, growing more worried for her boss and friend.

“Cordelia, I’m sure he’s fine. He probably just went for a walk in the hotel or something,” Fred stated, trying to calm the brunette.

“Hey, why don’t we go look downstairs? I’m sure we’ll find him,” suggested Gunn to his girlfriend.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

<back at the cheap motel room – early afternoon>

Buffy slowly drifted back to consciousness. Her head was pounding. What the hell had she been thinking drinking that much the night before? Inwardly cursing herself for her stupidity, she suddenly noticed the soft, yet hard feel beneath her head. Too afraid to open her eyes for fear of what she’d see, she attempted to remember the previous night, but only came up with a big black hole of nothingness.

Still not opening her eyes, not wanting to make the fact that there was obviously someone in the bed with her real, Buffy moved her hand slightly. The act only confirmed her worries, there definitely was a man in the bed with her. She again tried to remember what she had done and how she had ended up in the position but could find no clue as to her actions.

The miniscule movement of a hand on his chest pulled Angel from his sleep. Either there were mice in his bed or he’d done something very very stupid the night before. He tried to recall what he’d done after leaving his hotel suite but only remembered going to a bar and then next waking up a few moments earlier.

Almost unwillingly, he pried his eyes open. His fears were confirmed when his gaze landed on a blonde head lying on his chest. Blonde. It figured that he’d pick up some chick with blonde hair. He remained still while trying to figure out what to do about the situation he’d gotten himself into. Drunken one-night-stands were something he was not familiar with, at least not in his soul-possessing day.

Buffy finally opened her eyes, deciding to get the awkward situation over with. She nervously lifted her head and turned towards man beneath her. Her eyes instantly widened at the familiar face that greeted her.

Angel’s eyes held similar shock when he realized the identity of the blonde headed woman. Both were completely speechless, unable to comprehend what was going on and what had gone on the previous night. Snapping back to her senses finally, Buffy leapt from the bed, pulling the sheet with her to cover her naked body.

“OH MY GOD!!!” she shrieked as Angel fumbled around in the bed trying to find something to cover himself with since Buffy had taken the sheet.

“Please tell me this is some really really bad joke,” she practically yelled at the absurdity of the situation.

“Could you not yell,” Angel growled at her, raising a hand to his head.

“What the hell are you doing here?” Buffy ground out, not in the mood to play nice.

“I could ask you the same question,” glared Angel, wishing his pants weren’t so far across the room. This was definitely not his idea of fun.

“Okay, smart ass, then tell me why we…as in you and me…are here in this room…together,” demanded Buffy. What the hell had she gotten herself into? The last thing she need in her life was another hit and run with Angel.

Angel looked down at his body then over to her equally naked body before meeting her gaze with a raised eyebrow. “I don’t think that should be too hard to figure out.”

The implications of his words suddenly hit her. They had had sex. Lots and lots of sex. Angel…and sex. Those two words did *not* belong together. “Oh my god! Y-you…y-your soul,” she stuttered, backing away from the bed.

Angel quickly realized what she was worried about. “Don’t worry, Angelus isn’t coming out to play.”

Hurt slashed across Buffy’s face, her head turning downwards to stare at the carpet. She took his words to mean that he didn’t find happiness with her. “Oh.”

“But not because…he won’t come out again, ever,” Angel furthered, realizing what he may have implied.

Buffy’s eyes lifted to his and narrowed. What exactly did he mean by that? “You fixed the curse?”

“Not exactly,” dodged Angel, suddenly nervous.

“What do you mean?” questioned Buffy, wondering what was going on with Angel.

Angel thought for a minute. He didn’t know how to tell her why the curse was not an issue. His need for an explanation was negated when he heard Buffy loudly inhale a breath. When he looked up, he found that her eyes where staring at one of his legs which was lying unaffected in a patch of sunlight from the window.

“Y-you…y-you’re…” she trailed off, too shocked to spit out the final word.

“Human,” finished Angel, feeling suddenly guilty.

“H-how?” she asked, almost in awe of the sight of him in sunlight.

“The Powers That Be granted it to me a year ago as a reward for my work,” Angel explained, his words tinged slightly with guilt.

“O-oh. C-congratulations,” Buffy forced out, hoping he didn’t hear the hurt in her voice. Why hadn’t he told her? Why hadn’t he come for her? Tears welled in her eyes at the realization that Angel no longer wanted her, not even when it had become possible for them to be together.

Her eyes scanned the room for her dress, finding it balled up in the corner. She snatched the garment off the floor and spoke without turning to face Angel. “I-I need to get dressed. The g-gang is probably l-looking for me.”

“Buffy, wait,” Angel gently asked. He knew that she was hurt. It hadn’t been that he didn’t want to tell her, he just didn’t feel like he had a right to barge back into her life. Not after so many years had passed without any contact at all.

“I-I better h-hurry. They’re p-probably worried,” Buffy stated and then hurried into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. The only thing she wanted at that moment was to be out of that room far, far away from Angel and his new-found humanity that he hadn’t bothered to tell her about. And let’s not forget about the fact that they had spent the whole night before having sex.

Angel sighed and ran a hand over his face. Looked like he had completely screwed things up…again. Realizing he could now retrieve his pants, he got out of the bed. As he pulled his black trousers on, his eyes caught sight of something on the table next too the door.

He picked up the piece of paper, reading over the words on it.

“Oh shit,” he groaned, his eyes darting to the bathroom door.

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Part 5
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<back at the gang’s hotel>

“She’s not around here anywhere,” Xander stated, his grasp on his wife’s hand tightening.

“I’m worried, it’s not like her to just disappear,” said Dawn, concern evident on her face.

“Maybe we shoul-…Oh my God! Cordelia?!?” Xander yelled when he spotted the familiar brunette across the room

Cordy, and the rest of the AI team, turned toward the voice that had called out her name. “Xander?”

“What the hell are you doing here?” the both shrieked.

“Uhhh…we’re here for Dawn’s wedding,” Willow explained for her group.

“Vacation,” Cordy stated succinctly, eyeing up the man with his arm around not-so-little-anymore Dawnie.

“Oh dear lord,” muttered Wesley, coming to a sudden realization. “Where’s Buffy?”

“We don’t know, she’s…” Dawn stopped mid-sentence, realizing one person was missing from the other group. “Oh shit.”

“What?” questioned Xander, not yet catching on to what had the other’s nervously looking at each other.

“We seem to be missing someone too,” Wes explained.

“Oh…OH!” Xander finally realized what had the others so worried.

“Oh boy,” Willow groaned, fearing what her friend might be going through at seeing Angel again.

“So, uh…either they are busy beating the crap out of each other…or…or…uh,” Xander stated, suddenly fearful at the alternative. “Maybe we, uh, should be getting as far away from here as possible.”

“Huh?” Cordelia asked and then realized what he was referring to. “Oh, uh, well, that’s not quite an issue anymore.”

“What?” questioned Giles, wondering how it was possible the curse was no longer an issue.

The AI team then explained how it was that Angel had regained his humanity from The Powers That Be and how he was still a warrior for them. The Scooby gang listened intently, finding themselves relieved that Angelus wouldn’t be making a reappearance.

Dawn was about to state that they still had no idea where either Buffy or Angel were when her eyes landed on the disheveled pair walking through the hotel entranceway.

Buffy’s dress was hopelessly wrinkled, one strap broken and hanging down, her hair looking like it had been attacked by an egg beater. Angel faired no better, his shirt ripped and hanging open, a few stray scratches across his displayed chest.

“Oh my God!” yelped Dawn causing everyone else to turn and stare at the direction she was looking in.

“What the hell happened to you two? Did you run into a nest of vamps or something?” Cordelia worriedly questioned at the sight in front of her.

“Or something,” Angel muttered quiet enough for only Buffy to hear. She, in turn, shot an angry glare in his direction.

“Are you all right Buffy?” Dawn asked, giving her sister a quick hug.

“Fine,” Buffy muttered. She knew that they were about to get hammered with questions about their night. And really, she didn’t have very many answers since the night was pretty much a blank to her.

“What happened?” Giles demanded, his suspicions growing due to the pair’s odd behavior and their seeming refusal to make eye contact with anyone.

Buffy and Angel exchanged nervous glances. What were they supposed to tell their friends? That they’d both gotten unbelievably drunk, jumped each other without even knowing who they were mauling, and screwed each other silly?

Not knowing how to explain anything, Buffy simply held out the piece of paper in her hand. Willow eyed them curiously before taking the paper. Her eyes shot up to them after reading the words. Seeing Willow’s reaction, Cordy snatched the paper and read it as the others gathered around and read over her shoulder.

“WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO???” she screamed in response.

“I think the paper is fairly self-explanatory,” Angel grumbled. How the hell had he gotten himself in this situation again?

“I can’t believe you two got married!!!” Cordelia screamed again.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^
Part 6
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A half hour later, both the LA and Sunnydale gangs were gathered in the AI team’s suite. They’d decided to move the discussion upstairs away from the general public. After arriving at the suite, Buffy and Angel had given the others the PG-rated version of what had happened to them the night before or at least what they could remember of it.

“We’re getting it annulled,” Buffy coolly stated, missing the hurt look in Angel’s eyes at the words.

“Oh, y-yes. I s-suppose that’s best,” agreed Giles, not quite sure what to think about what he had just been told.

Willow eyed both Buffy and Angel, who were standing on opposite sides of the room. Both were attempting to mask their feelings, but having known both of them, she could tell both were fighting their emotions. They may not have intended their…fling…or their sudden marriage, but something had still drawn them to each other. For them to have encountered each other in a city with as many people as Las Vegas…well…it was more than a little curious.

“I need to shower and change,” Buffy stated, wanting to get away from the prodding eyes of her friends.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

Buffy lay curled up on the couch in her hotel room, silent tears streamed down her cheeks. Her mind fought to keep thoughts of Angel out, but it was hopeless. He was the only thing that she could think about. It had always been that way when it came to him.

She didn’t quite know why she’d acted so coldly to him after their initial encounter upon waking that afternoon. Part of it was obviously the shock of the situation. The last thing she had expected to happen was a night of unexpected, absolutely incredible sex with Angel. At least she assumed it had been incredible. She couldn’t really remember much of it.

The fact that they were now married was even harder to swallow. Once upon a time that had been something she’d always dreamed of. And then he’d broken her heart and left her, telling her that she deserved a life he couldn’t give her. Why didn’t he come to her then when he’d regained his humanity? That little, or not so little, detail stung the most.

He hadn’t told her. To her, that obviously meant he didn’t care. Him becoming human was the solution to their problems. Sure they hadn’t even spoken to each other in years. But that didn’t mean the love had suddenly vanished. At least hers hadn’t. But she assumed his had since he hadn’t bothered to tell her about something so important.

She just had to face the truth, Angel didn’t want her anymore. Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on her door. Wiping the tears from her face, Buffy stood and moved to open the door.

“Willow, I swear, I’m fi-,” she stopped when she found Angel standing outside her room.

“Hi,” Angel nervously stated. He hadn’t been sure about what he was about to do, but his resolve was increasing at seeing her again.

“What do you want,” Buffy sighed, not bothering to invite him in as she walked back over to the couch.

“We need to talk,” Angel said resolutely, closing the door after he entered her room.

“Whatever,” groaned Buffy. Couldn’t he just leave her alone?

“Buffy,” Angel chastised, knowing she was going to make this difficult.

“What?” she yelled. “Just say whatever you want to say and leave.”

“Fine. I don’t want to get an annulment,” he nearly growled at her, frustrated by her indifference.

“You what?” Buffy yelped. She couldn’t have possibly just heard what she thought she heard.

“You heard,” answered Angel, taking a seat in a chair opposite her.

“You *want* to stay married?” Buffy asked totally surprised. What was going on with him? She was not expecting this at all.

“Yes,” Angel stated, staring straight at her.

“Why?” Buffy asked incredulously.

“Why?” he repeated, wondering why she wouldn’t want to stay married. It was everything they had wanted so long ago.

“I don’t see why you’d want to stay married. You obviously don’t care about me anymore,” huffed Buffy. Why was he making this so difficult on her?

“What are you talking about?” questioned Angel. How could she think he didn’t care anymore?

“If you still cared you would have told me about becoming human,” Buffy stated forcefully.

Angel quickly looked down, guilt flooding through him. He should have realized that his actions were the cause of her hostility. And he knew he should have told her about his redemption.

“I’m sorry, I should have told you,” he spoke softly, finally raising his eyes to look at her. “I didn’t think I had a right to jump back into your life.”

“What?” Buffy wondered. Angel’s actions were suddenly becoming clear in her mind. How could she have forgotten his blatant noble streak?

“I didn’t think it would be fair to just show up and ruin your life again,” he explained, breaking eye contact.

“Angel,” sighed Buffy before standing and crouching down in front of him. “You never ruined my life. You were the only thing that ever made sense in my world.”

“But-“ started Angel, but was quickly silenced when Buffy’s finger pressed against his lips.

“No buts,” requested Buffy. Would he ever understand that he was everything to her?

Silenced reigned in the room for long moments. Neither knew what to say next or how to handle the unexpected marriage they found themselves in. Angel fought to find the right words while Buffy nervously twirled her fingers. It was Angel who finally spoke next.

“I never stopped loving you,” he whispered, looking directly at her.

Buffy’s eyes welled with tears. She’d longed to hear those words from him. “I never stopped either.”

Her words spurring him on, Angel reached out and pulled Buffy onto his lap. His arms wrapped around her, holding her close to his body.

They remained like that for neither knew how long. Both feeling at peace again after being apart for so long. Buffy hadn’t lied when she told him he was the only thing that made sense in her world. He was the only aspect of her life that ever made her feel safe and whole. And now knowing that he still loved her, she was determined not to let him run away again.

“So you want to stay married?” she asked hesitantly, hoping that he hadn’t found some reason to take back his words.

“Yes,” Angel answered, easing her fears.

Buffy looked up at him and smiled. “Me too.”

Angel grinned back at her, one of his hands reaching up to caress her cheek. Their mouths drifted toward each other, meeting halfway in a sweet kiss that soon grew passionate. They may not have remembered much of the previous night together, but both were determined to replace the memories with new, even better ones.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^
Part 7
^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

The sun was shining bright outside as Buffy stared out the window in Angel’s hotel room. She smiled when she felt Angel walk up behind her and sneak his arms around her waist. Nothing could feel more perfect than being in Angel’s arms.

For the past week, they had spent hardly a minute away from each other. After having been apart for so long, neither wanted to be out of the others presence. For each, it had been the best week of their lives. There were no curses, no demons, no disapproving friends to worry about. For once, there was nothing in their way.

“Are you sure about moving to LA?” Angel asked hesitantly. He couldn’t help but feel bad for making her uproot her life.

“Yes, and if you ask me one more time I’m gonna have to hit you,” Buffy teased with a playful slap on his arm.

They’d been over the decision countless times since their reunion. She’d explained to him that it was easier for her to move than him. Faith had been doing most of the slaying in Sunnydale anyway, eager to prove her rehabilitation. If she moved, at least Faith would be able to guard the Hellmouth, but if Angel moved, LA would be left unguarded. And with Dawn still attending UCLA, and Willow and Oz having moved to LA, she’d be closer to some of her friends anyway.

“I just want you to be sure,” Angel stated, placing a kiss on the back of her neck.

“I’m sure, Angel. Stop worrying,” she sighed. Some things with him never changed.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^

“It’s about time you two came out of the bedroom,” Cordy grumbled. She didn’t even want to think about what they’d been doing in there for the past week.

“Are we ready to go?” Angel questioned, ignoring Cordelia’s jibe.

“Yup, all packed,” answered Fred. They were all heading back to Los Angeles, with a stop in Sunnydale so Buffy could collect some of her things.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Gunn stated as he picked up his and Cordy’s bags.

They all turned to look toward Buffy and Angel who were engaged in a passionate kiss. Wesley, Gunn and Fred smirked, while Cordelia groaned.

“God! Next thing you know, they’ll be having sex in the car,” she muttered, disgusted by the PDA’s.

Buffy and Angel heard the statement and both burst out laughing as they recalled their hazy memories from a week before.

“What?” Cordy demanded, her eyes narrowing at their reaction.

“Trust me, Cordy. You really don’t want to know,” chuckled Buffy. If they only knew about what had gone on in the back seat of Angel’s car.

^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^-^


THE END!

AN4: Just a little PSA (public service announcement) that I felt was appropriate…I, in no way, condone unsafe sex, but the reality tends to be that completely drunk people don’t usually think about condoms. So that’s why I wrote it that way.

SEQUEL: It Started As A Simple Night Out