An Irish Story
Summary: This isn’t an American story, it’s an Irish one. Post IWRY
She bit her bottom lip and looked up at him. “So how does the mature plan work?”
“We keep in touch…” he offered quietly.
She nodded and took a step backwards. “Just not literally. Funny,” she half whispered taking another step toward the stairs. “I better…” she trailed off. Her eyes found his and begged him to ask her to stay.
“Yeah…” Angel whispered. His fingers curved around the lip of the sink, holding on so he wouldn’t move toward her.
“You’ll call…sometime?” She asked, backing up the steps. She knew it’d take one touch, one whisper and she’d be in his arms. The Mature Plan would be completely shot.
“Tonight. Can I call tonight?” He asked sounding like a little boy at Christmas.
She nodded, a smile lighting her face. “I’d like that. Call late? So you’re the last person I talk to at the end of the day. If… you don’t…I mean you can call anytime.”
He smiled a real smile. “I’d like to be your end of the day call.”
The mature plan had worked better than they’d thought it would. They’d played by the rules. He came to visit, took her to coffee and the movies. She went to Los Angeles and he took her to the ballet. Eventually she moved into the hotel and spent every other weekend, more often if needed in Sunnydale.
Buffy curled up against Angel with a happy sigh. “Tell me a story.”
He smiled, his fingertips grazing across her bare shoulder. “What kind of story?”
One corner of her mouth turned up in a grin and she lazily kissed his chest, the warmth made her lips tingle. “You know what kind.”
He chuckled softly and placed a kiss on top of her head. “You like American fairytales. You know most of them aren’t written that way…with happy endings. The American’s take them and change them.”
“So tell me an Irish fairytale.”
He shook his head. “You don’t to hear an Irish fairytale. They’ve got sad endings.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Why would you want to hear a story with a sad ending? I’ve had enough sadness and crying in my life for a good long while.”
“Exactly. That’s why you don’t want to hear an Irish fairytale,” Angel whispered with a grin, silently admonishing himself for his part in that sadness.
She laughed. “Okay then. I’m predictable. Tell me an American fairytale.”
“Once upon a time…” he started.
She grinned. “These are my favorite kind. If they begin with that they always end with happily ever after.”
He growled at the knock on the door. It was an intrusion. They’d specified absolutely no intrusions. There had been a minor crisis in Sunnydale the weekend before and she’d been forced to stay there. Angel had been busy with a case and hadn’t been able to be there. They were making up for lost time now.
“Go away,” Buffy grumbled.
“Uhm….there’s….I wouldn’t be bothering you, Sweetheart, but…” Doyle hedged.
“You had a vision?” Angel asked. Buffy smacked him in the chest.
“Do not ask him that,” she hissed. “You know what it means if he has a vision.”
Angel shrugged. “I have to ask,” he whispered.
“No…no vision…unless you count the evening news,” Doyle hesitated.
Angel grumbled and pulled a blanket off the bed, wrapping it around his waist. He answered the door while Buffy slipped on his shirt and buttoned it up.
“What’s wrong, Doyle?”
“Well…you remember the Morah demon?”
“Yeah, get to the point,” Angel urged him.
“The army of darkness it mentioned…” Doyle trailed off again.
“Yes. I remember. Now can you please finish a thought?” Angel growled growing more irritated by the moment. Underneath the irritation was fear.
They caught a reprieve early in the morning not long after the sun rose. Buffy sat down against a wall, her sword across her knees. She bowed her head and sighed. An involuntary smile curved her lips when he rested his hand at the nape of her neck. He crouched down next to her.
“Are you okay?” He asked.
She nodded. “Yeah…just tired…wondering how long this dry spell is going to last.”
“Probably long enough for you to take a nap. I can sit watch for a while,” he offered.
She shook her head. “I’ve got slayer metabolism going for me. You need the rest.” She anticipated his refusal. “I’ll make a deal with you. You sleep now. I’ll wake you up in a few hours and you can take watch. Maybe they won’t hit us again until sundown.”
Angel hesitated and then nodded. “Okay, but you let me sleep here. Remember the whole not letting each other out of sight agreement we made when you moved in?”
She laughed softly. “Yeah. I remember.” Nostalgia flavored her voice. “Sleep.” She stretched her legs out in front of her and patted her lap. He lay down with his head pillowed on her legs, one arm wrapped around her waist.
“Tell me a story,” he prodded her for a change. It got the anticipated result. She smiled.
“You’re the storyteller in the family,” she hedged and then tilted her head. “Okay…story…uhm…I’m so not good at these. Oh! I know!” She twined her fingers in his hair. “Once upon a time there was a slayer and she fell deeply in love with a vampire with a soul and he with her. There were some things and some stuff and they didn’t get to be together because of the dumbest act of revenge ever known to man, aka Gypsy Curse. Anyway they did the being apart thing. It was his idea, slayer totally against it. It shortly became a moot point because poof he became human and they lived happily ever after. The end.”
He smiled. “An American story.”
“Of course, ‘cause look an American girl, besides, don’tcha think we’ve earned it?” She asked. “Now close your eyes and sleep, that’s what this whole story thing was about.”
It didn’t take long for him to drift off. She closed her eyes and rested her head against the wall. It wasn’t real sleep but it would do until this was over and she could afford to sleep.
Several times she lost sight of him in the crush of demons and blood but she knew he was there. There was that tingle tickle up her spine trickling warmth through her bones. They easily fell into that ballet that came so natural to them. He no longer had the super natural strength, speed or healing, but he did have more than two centuries of experience behind him. They could do a lot together, almost anything, but there came a point when they couldn’t fight the odds anymore. They made their way toward a warehouse, back to back and managed to get through the door and into the warehouse, slamming the heavy steel barrier behind them.
Buffy looked over at Angel with a grin. “That’ll hold them for a little while. Maybe long enough to plan our next move.”
“Which would be?” He asked.
“Me,” Willow grinned and stepped out from the shadows.
“A secret weapon,” Buffy confirmed.
She saw him fall from across the room and things downshifted into slow motion. The enemy switched from the demons in front of her to the space between them. She made it across the room in record time in spite of the fact that the air around her seemed to have turned to a thick semi liquid. She gathered him into her arms, one hand splaying over the gushing wound in his stomach. The battle around them faded into the nothingness. All she saw was him and he had never seen anything but her.
“Angel?” Tears glittered in her eyes and she forced a smile to her lips. She passed her hand over his forehead, ignoring the clammy coolness there.
He started to say something that ended up a strangled cough. She shook her head and quieted him. “Shhh. Don’t try to talk. Just hold on a little while longer. Willow’s doing her spell.”
“It’s okay. I got you,” Angel wheezed.
“You’ve always had me, Angel,” Buffy answered as tears tumbled off the edges of her lashes and started down her cheeks.
He reached up and touched her cheek, streaking blood across her face. “Worth it. Love you. Always.”
“No. No, no, no. Angel, hold on. Listen, that’s Willow’s spell,” Buffy shook her head. Her tears dripped onto Angel’s cheeks.
The air smelled like a lightening storm. It cracked, rent with blue white light and then nothing. The demons were gone, only bodies remained. The plan had been for Willow to send every living demon into a pocket dimension. Buffy spared a glance around the warehouse to notice that it had apparently worked.
“Now, come on. Let me get you up and to a hospital,” Buffy said as she started to lift Angel. He shook his head.
“It’s not an American story, Buffy. It’s an Irish one.” His words came out a half whisper, strained with pain.
She paused, looking down at him. They were both covered in his blood. “No, this is not how our story ends. Happily ever after…remember? We get that. We earned that!”
“We will. All those stories have ends. We don’t have an end,” he smiled slightly.
She stood with her arms wrapped around her and stared up at the stars. She’d expected them to burn out in protest of a life entirely too short and for a while she’d raged because they hadn’t. Her world had ended when he died and she had expected the rest of the world to comply.
“Hey,” Willow said softly as she stepped up beside her best friend.
Buffy glanced over at her, smiled softly and looked back up at the stars. She’d had a few months to come to terms with his death. She hadn’t accepted, but she was no longer angry with the sun for rising, spring for arriving and summer fast on its heels.
“How you doing?” The redhead asked. Angel had died six months ago.
“I’m okay,” Buffy answered surprise coloring her voice. She meant it and was shocked to discover that.
“Yeah?” Willow asked needing reassurance.
Buffy nodded. “Yeah. I’m not the hills are alive with the sound of music…I probably never will be again, but he’s right. We don’t have an end. We are ever after…He waited two hundred and forty one years for me. Where ever he is now, he’s waiting.”