Dreams of Eternity

By Mariah

Rating - NC-17 (1,2,7,11/12). The rest are like the show. But for you all smut-lovers, they have sex. LOTS of sex, and I don't mean the kind you usually read about in B/A fics, which sometimes looks like the censored version. I mean sex. Real sex. The only rule to this game - everything's allowed. Anal sex, oral sex, fruit...yummy...
Disclaimer - The big guys own Buffy, Angel, Willow, Oz, Xander, Anya, Cordelia, Doyle, Spike, Giles and Joyce. The rest of the characters are purely the outcome of my imagination.

Songs as followed:
Take That - "How Deep Is Your Love?"
Leeann Rimes - "Can't Fight the Moonlight"
Barbara Streisand - "Woman in Love"

- "In The Dark", and...nothing else...I think....
Synopsis - The third and the final part in the series - Angel is finally back, and for good (as if in my fics it could ever be any other way!), and he and Buffy are together. Let's just say - he took his rightful place as a father and a husband, and he's here to stay!:) 

Oh, and Riley's gone...eventually... Just thought it was worth mentioning...;)

NOTE1 - Spike is in no way romantically involved with Buffy. Just for the record, Spike is my most favorite character ever (after B/A, that is), and I don't want to ruin me loving him by making him involved with Buffy (I don't want Joss to do that either, but that's wishful thinking...as we all know...:().
NOTE2 - 'Hero' never was, which means Doyle isn't dead. Hell, in my fics Doyle's never dead, and I still hate those morons for killing him out of the show. Are they actually going to kill EVERYTHING that's good there? (first go B/A relationship, then goes Doyle, what goes now? Actually, on second thought, what's left there?)
NOTE3 - Willow isn't a lesbian, and there is no Dawn, and no Darla crap, and there is no End of Days, and no Joyce dying.
NOTE4 - Couples: Buffy&Angel (DUH!!!), Cordy&Doyle, Xander&Anya, and.....check out who else gets back together:).
NOTE5 - Phrases between ' * ' are the person's thoughts (that stands for the entire series).
Feedback - Whatever it is, need it, love it, crave it!!!!! Did I say NEED IT?

Part One

Angel beheld his beloved sleeping in his arms, and gently removed her head from his chest, placing it on the pillow. He rotated on his side, and faced her sleeping form.

Angel slowly rose a hand to gently caress the side of her face, and then her neck, as her whole body seemed to be tingling with his touch, albeit her slumber. Silent moans escaped her lips, as his hand roamed under her nightgown, mildly caressing every spot of her.

He smiled at her reaction, and his hand slowly traveled farther down into her panties, and was now mildly caressing her hot center, the tips of his fingers brushing her clit.

Buffy groaned contently in her sleep, and as if out of instinct, spread her legs for him. 

Angel smelled her arousal, her juices wetting his fingers. He couldn't wait any longer. He hardened, as he gradually slid her panties off of her, not even once removing his gaze from her moist blonde curls. After he tossed the hindering clothing to the floor, he shifted his body in the gap between her thighs, and erotically slithered against hers. His gaze encountered the impassioned lust in her now open eyes, as his already stiffened penis seemed to harden even more, his entire being craving for her, just like hers for him. 

"You woke up." He said in a low seductive voice. "I wonder why." He slid his head underneath her silky nightie, and brushed her belly with light kisses, while pulling the attire over her head, and exposing her fine breasts.

Buffy uttered another moan and grabbed his shoulders, when Angel gently thrust one finger into her, while cupping one of her breasts with his other hand. "Oh, God.Angel.more." She breathed out the words, as his lips closed around a rigid nipple, and his finger moved inside her, making her body curve to the titillation.

He complied eagerly, adding a second finger, as more juices flowed out of her, and her body was trembling with sensuality.

Buffy clutched his head to her chest with one swift motion, and squealed softly as he nipped her tit. Angel appended a third finger, and her legs enclosed strongly around his waist, followed by another contented groan. "God, Angel." She moaned. "Angel, please.I need you.I need you inside me.Oh!" She screamed, as he added a forth finger, tormenting her G-spot.

Forbearing became more and more intolerable. He craved to be inside her. He craved to be inside her NOW. But something was intercepting him nonetheless. He paused, and peered into her eyes. A small voice rebuked him for not thinking about it BEFORE inciting both of them like he had. "It's been a long time, sweetheart." He spoke restrainedly. "Are you sure you're ready? I don't want to hurt you."

Buffy beamed inwardly at his perpetual concern. But she was. She was ready. She was so ready, she felt she'd blow if he didn't enter her NOW. "I'm sure." She uttered, lowering his head and seizing his lips in a passionate kiss. 

Angel's hand abandoned her genitals, as he carefully withdrew his fingers from her, one by one, causing her to moan with satisfaction subsequent to each, and slid his hand up the curves of her body, to land on the neglected breast. "I love you." He whispered softly in her ear, as he finally entered her, as gentle as only he could be.

Buffy exhaled a breath of relief, as she felt his length filling her inside. "I love you." She whispered in response to his former words. It wasn't until now, that she fully realized how much she'd missed the feeling of completeness he alone had the power to grant her. Angel was right. It had been too long. Too long without his strong body being pressed against hers, too long without the tenderness of his kisses, too long without the three words that made her heart melt every time HE softly said them to her. Too long.

She wrapped her arms around his back, holding his body against hers, as he thrust in and out of her, in an unhurried but gradually rising pace. He reached his climax somewhat later than usual.

His hands moved from her breasts to her shoulders, and from there snaked around her back, as he increased the tempo, rocking her body to accord with his own in every lunge, emitting quiet groans each time his length was entirely swathed with her inward heat.

Buffy moaned softly, when he shoved one final time, spilling into her, and Angel could tell she came again. One of his hands left her back, and found one of hers, while his other hand was blandly stroking her golden hair, abstractly removing the sweaty tresses from her jaded face. His body lay comfortably on top of hers, his cock still inside her. "Are you alright?" He asked her, his breathing almost as heavy as hers.

Her response was a tender kiss to his neck, as she encircled one arm around him, mildly stroking his upright muscular back.

Angel closed his eyes, breathing in her sweet fragrance, as the sounds of their heartbeats were lulling them both into a serene sleep.

Buffy woke up to the sound of someone knocking on the bedroom door. She chose to ignore that sound, and snuggled her face deeper into Angel's armpit, pulling the sheet over her head. He merely tightened his grip around her, and went on sleeping like a baby.

But unfortunately, the noise wouldn't go away. 

Buffy saw she had no other choice, but to fully wake up. She rose her head from its hiding place, and peered at her love's sleeping face. "Honey?" She whispered. When she received no response, she placed a tender kiss on his lips. "Angel?"

Still no answer. 

Buffy smiled, and shifted her body on top of his, pressing a fervent French kiss to his lips, to which she had received an immediate response. He wrapped her in his arms, clinching her body to his, and buried his hands in her hair, while his tongue hungrily spiraled with hers. 

In a point, Buffy unwillingly pulled off. "We have a visitor." She informed hoarsely.

"Whoever it is, they're REALLY gonna have to wait." He replied, his tone similar to hers.

"No, they.oh, God." She moaned, feeling his hardened erection between her thighs.

He beamed impishly. "You were saying?"

"Mom?" They heard a voice calling from the other side of the door. "Dad?"

Both of them stared at each other with wide eyes. "Oh, boy." Buffy mumbled in confusion. She rapidly wrapped the sheet around her body, and lay back down next to Angel. "You better keep THAT under control, mister." She hissed, glimpsing at the direction of his erect shaft.

"Easy for you to say." He hissed back. "It's not YOU who's lying in bed with YOU naked."

Buffy nudged him in the chest, but smiled. "Come in, honey." She told Liam.

When he came in, he strode straight to the bed, granting both of his parents bewildered stares, and perched on its edge. 

"Why were you knocking?" Buffy asked all of a sudden.

He shrugged. "Spike told me to."

"Spike told you to knock?" Angel didn't understand.

Liam only nodded. "He said that if I didn't knock, I would walk in on something I was too young to see."

Buffy and Angel exchanged a quick glance, and Buffy flushed, still having Angel's damp erection rubbing against her warm skin. She could feel the beginning of her arousal, and Angel could too. They both swallowed.

"What exactly.did Spike tell you? Besides that?"

Liam shook his head innocently. "Nothing. Just that now that you're back, you and mom will be spending a lot of time in the bedroom, and that I shouldn't disturb you when you're there. And that I can't just walk in like I used to do before."

"I think I'm gonna have a word with Spike. Something small about what my six-year-old son should and SHOULDN'T know." Angel started rising from the bed, when Buffy's firm hand on his arm pulled him back.

"You're not going anywhere." She stated. "Not like this, you can count on that." Her eyes glanced at the bulge-in-question under the comforter. Angel's eyes followed hers, and he obediently lay back down. "And besides." She went on, whispering the words in Angel's ear. "If Spike is so eager to tell our son all those things every respectable parent would be dreading to tell his kids, once Liam starts asking the really BIG questions, we'll send him to Spike." 

Angel returned her sly beam with a knowing smile. "Definitely." He whispered.

"And." She continued. "If Spike DIDN'T tell him anything, we'd be caught now in a very.unpleasant situation."

"Hello?" Liam cut into their private conversation. "Just wanted to let you know I'm still here." Despite the harsh sound of his words, there was a hidden smile on his face. He was so glad seeing his mother finally happy, and he was even gladder having his father home. It had been no more than a week, but it was the best week in his life. It seemed to the boy like his entire world had changed in a flash, and it all was only for the best.

Buffy turned to her son. "What did you want, honey?"

"The fish's here." He let them know.

Buffy frowned. *When would Xander learn that everything that leaves his mouth is caught by Liam's ears and not all of it is good?!*

Angel suppressed a giggle. 

She sighed. "Liam, I thought I told you not to.WHAT?!"

Liam grinned. "Downstairs."


"He wants to see you. I told him to go, and that you didn't want him here, but he wouldn't. Anyway, Spike and I are going to play basketball, so I came up here to tell you before we leave."

"Don't you have school?" *What's THAT has to do with anything?* Her head was obviously too confused.

Liam peered at her with misunderstanding. "Mom, it's Saturday morning." 

"Umm.Liam, could you.could you tell Riley I'll be down in a second?"

He nodded. "Sure." He turned to Angel. "Dad, you wanna go with Spike and I?"

Angel peeked at Buffy's plagued mien. "You know...I think I'll join you later." 

"Okay." Liam sounded a little disappointed though.

"What am I supposed to tell him?" Buffy asked Angel after Liam had left.

"Nothing." He smiled reassuringly.

"How can I tell him nothing? What, you think he's THAT dumb not to see that there's SOMETHING?"

He grinned. "Should I answer that or is that gonna be evil?"

She nudged him. "You're as deep in it as I am, buddy. We should have told him at the start, but we didn't. I mean it's not that pulling a funny on Riley is such a horrible thing to do, but still..."

Angel embraced her to his chest, placing a gentle kiss on her nape. "You're worrying too much." He said softly. "Just tell him now." He reinforced the circle of his arms around her waist. "Or better, let's stick to the dinner plan."

She revolved to face him. "Gosh, you're serious."

He nodded. "That is me, serious. Don't I deserve to have some fun? Don't we all?" He added with a shady beam.

She grinned. "Why do I even wanna marry you?"

He shrugged innocently. "Probably cuz of moments like this."

She kissed his lips tenderly. "If you're sure about this, I can play along." She grinned. The thought of humiliating Riley didn't REALLY sound so bad....

"Absolutely sure. You?"

Angel's conniving beam was now also Buffy's. She leaped from the bed, wrapping her robe around her naked body. "Give me five minutes, and get your sexy butt downstairs." She whispered charmingly, kissing him one more time before she left to meet Riley.

Angel followed her with adoring gaze.

Buffy found Riley sitting on the sofa, reading a magazine, when she walked into the living room. He put away the journal as he saw her approaching, and locked eyes with her. Buffy offhandedly noted that Angel would always stand up the moment she'd enter a room. She smiled inwardly. It might be trivial, but it was one more difference between the two. It was one more small reason why her Angel could never be replaced. She sat down on a couch in front of Riley, and crossed her arms on her chest. "You know, I'd appreciate it if you stopped staring at me." She pointed out plain and simple.

Riley averted his eyes, blushing a bit. He really was staring at her. It was clear to him she was nude underneath that negligee. "Sorry." He muttered.

"Forgiven." She smirked. "Did you want anything in particular? I was kinda in the middle of something." Buffy didn't mean to sound so harsh. After all, she was supposed to 'go with the plan', but the thoughts of the flawless naked body of her love waiting for her upstairs, made her head spin in a way she literally wasn't able to concentrate on anything else. 

"Oh.well, I just wanted to see if you were okay. You know." He took a deep breath. "I probably should have come sooner, but I wasn't sure you wanted me to."

"Not like it's ever stopped you before." She muttered.

He threw his hands up in defeat. "God damn it, what do you want, Buffy? You're the one who's clinging to a ghost here, not me! You're the one who locks herself away from the rest of the world, and from me, just cuz you're supposedly waiting for someone DEAD to come back to life! He was never worth a piece of shit while alive, and now, on top of everything, he's dead! DEAD, Buffy! What does it take for you to grasp that?"

Buffy tried to regain control over herself, because otherwise she might become the first suspect in a murder case. This man was going to get EVERYTHING he deserved after sneering Angel the way he had for over six years. "Riley." She managed, feigning her best ever smirk. "Would you like to come for dinner tomorrow night? If you don't have any plans, that is." She added as sweetly as she could.

Riley was taken aback. Now, he thought he was finally getting somewhere with her. "I.ummm.sure.I.I'd like. When?"

"Be here around seven. You think you can make it? No previous obligations? I mean, it is a weekend, after all. Everyone's gonna be there. I'm calling mom, Xander, Anya, Willow who's probably gonna bring a date, Cordelia, and Doyle. Oh, and Spike's naturally gonna be there, but I doubt HE'LL be bringing a date. So, can I count on you to show?"

Riley looked slightly let down. *It's not gonna be just us.but it's still a progress.* "You can." He assured.

She smiled. It was something behind that smile Riley was trying to interpret, but was making no headway whatsoever. "Good." Was all she said.

Suddenly, Riley's eyes widened in shock and incredulity, as he gaped at something, or rather SOMEONE, behind Buffy. She rotated just in time to see Angel walking around the couch and sitting down next to her. She smiled, and leaned into his inviting embrace.

Riley's jaw dropped in stupefaction. "Wh.what.what are you doing here? You.you're dead! You can't.you're dead!"

Angel grinned. "Not more than you are." He kissed Buffy's head, while his fingers were tenderly stroking patterns on her arm.

"You're dead!" Riley insisted helplessly. 

"Again - wrong answer." Angel replied, his voice sounding bored, as if this argument had been going on for ages. "You see, dead is such a harsh word. Now, that after over two centuries I'm finally alive, I'd really like not to be called 'dead'."

Riley turned to Buffy for help. "Is this.is this a joke?"

She shook her head slightly. "Doesn't look like one to me. Why? You'd want it to be? Nope, no joke." She turned to look at Angel scrutinizingly. "Ummm...pulse.....check. Breathing......check. Body heat.....also check. Well, to sum it up, I'd say he's very much alive." She kissed Angel's hand. "As you can clearly see, the ghost I've been living with is not really a ghost." Then she smiled her sweetest beam at him. "Are you still coming for dinner?"

Riley opened his mouth to reply, but instead stormed out of the house.

"I doubt we'll be hearing from him.ever again." Angel voiced his musing. "However, if he comes...it's gonna be an unforgettable dinner."

"Let's change the subject." Buffy angled her chin up to level their eyes, and brushed her hand against his chest under the T-shirt. "The house is so big." She whispered, removing his shirt over his head and pressing a kiss to his bare chest. "And so empty." She kissed one of his nipples. "And no one can walk in on us." She kissed the other one.

"Oh, God!" Angel groaned, as her hand abruptly slid into his boxers and her fingers closed around his erection. 

"I was thinking." She continued, her voice hoarse and passionate, her eyes glowing with carnality. "Maybe we could play."

Part Two

Buffy peered at the threesome entering the house, her eyes lingering on Angel. He was wearing sweatpants, and a white T-shirt that clung to his body like a second skin, evincing his perfect muscular build. He returned her smile with one of his own, throwing her the basketball he had been holding.

Buffy laughed and tossed it back the way it came, but instead of Angel catching it, it landed in the hands on the little boy sitting on his father's rear.

"How was the game, guys?" Buffy approached Angel, and he pulled her into his embrace. She brushed her palm over his chest. "You stink." She whispered, grimacing with playful repulsion as he removed his arm from around her waist to put Liam down. 

"It's the repercussions of having fun, my love." He smiled and kissed her.

She beamed, and he rose his arms and ducked a little so she could pull the shirt off of him, then she did the same to their son, whose mien already told her he DIDN'T want to shower, but knew he would have to go nevertheless. "So, who won?"

"We did!" Liam announced happily.

"Just cuz I let you to." Spike retorted.

"Maybe you should come with us next time, mom." Liam offered. "Then you can team up with Spike and he might actually have a chance." He grinned and stuck a tongue out at the platinum vampire, springing up the stairs. 

Spike hadn't waited a split second to start chasing him.

After a moment, both Buffy and Angel heard their son's squeals of laughter upstairs, merging with similar ones coming from the vampire. 

Buffy grinned in her lover's arms, and turned around to face him. "Make sure your descendant gets a shower, will you?" She requested. "Then you and Spike do the same."

He kissed her. "You don't like me sweaty?"

She took a second to think about it. "Oh, but you know I do." Buffy grinned, running her hands up and down his back. "But mom's gonna see you for the first time tonight, and I REALLY don't want my mother, who'll be here in not later than three hours, to run into you.like that." She added.

He beamed and kissed her nose. "Honey, your mother won't like me, no matter how I look."

Buffy stood on her tiptoes and put her hands on his shoulders, looking him straight in the eye. "Get your butt into the shower." She whispered in a low tone. "Now."

"Well, if you ask me like that." Angel contemplated for a second. "No." He shook his head.

Buffy eyed him suspiciously. 

Angel pulled her closer. "But there's a way that will convince me." He whispered in a seductive voice, his lips only inches away from hers.

Buffy's gaze reflected her utter acceptance of his invitation and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. "Then I guess I'll better try it." She whispered, closing the almost nonexistent gap between their lips. 

Still kissing, she jumped on him, encircling her legs around his waist, just as he enclosed his arms around hers. 

"You mind if I join you?" She asked between heating kisses.

"I mind if you don't." Was his reply, as he stumbled up the stairs, carrying her into the bathroom, barely able to shut the door.

Buffy landed on her feet and swiftly locked the bathroom door behind them, while Angel was busy in practically tearing her clothes off of her, and simultaneously disposing of his. 

When they both were fully naked, Buffy shoved him against the wall, and rubbed her body against his, as her hands were traveling up and down his back. He pulled her closer, as his erection rose, rubbing its damp brim against her hips and around her gentiles.

Buffy groaned, feeling the juices just about gushing out of her. "God, Angel." She threw her head backwards, giving forth another sigh when his hard almost entered her, but at the last second changed course. 

Angel smiled and bent his head down as she jerked hers aback, to hungrily kiss her breasts, devouring them with his mouth, but continued driving her crazy with his erection. 

Buffy's hands ran down his back, and grabbed at his buttocks, squeezing it as much as his firm muscles allowed, as he did the same to her, swiftly backing away from the wall when her legs snaked around his waist as he finally entered her.

Buffy held him to her with one hand, pressing against the wall with the other, as his both hands supported her rump and he forcefully pushed into her, they're both groaning with each intense drive.

She detached her hand from the wall and buried both of her hands in his hair, lowering his head towards her neck. Angel brought a hand to her rare, and prodded it upwards until his mouth met the hollow of her neck and was kissing every spot on it it could reach.

Buffy emitted a silent cry and tilted her head back again, when she reached her orgasm, by that exposing her breasts to his hungry mouth, and he nibbled at each one with special attention. Hungry. Hungry for her, for all of her. 

Angel hadn't withdrawn from her, even though he'd already finished into her. His length was still inside her, as they both sank down to the floor, enervated, knocking down the towels' hanger in the process, but giving no mind to it. Buffy inclined her worn body onto his, burying her face in his neck, as he leaned his head back against the wall, holding her strongly in his arms, and still inside her. They both closed their eyes and tried rearranging their heavy breaths and speeding heartbeats.

When Angel withdrew from her, their breathing was already almost even, and weary but content smiles were spread on both of their faces when she shifted herself in his embrace, leaned her back against the crook of his arm and reposed her head on his shoulder.

Angel groaned quietly when her hand started caressing his length, and instinctively tightened his hold around her.

"I guess now we both need a shower." She observed, with a sly grin on her face.

"I guess we do." He confirmed, the same grin on his face as he looked at his love.

Buffy continued brushing her hands over his gentiles, and smiled at his instant groan when she unexpectedly grabbed his testicles.

Angel shot her an aware look. "Oh, you're not gonna do this to me." He sighed.

Buffy beamed and moved her hand to his cock. "No?" She asked innocently. "Are you sure?" She closed her fingers around it and he almost screamed with relish. It immediately hardened again in response to her touch. "You don't want me to?" She asked artlessly. 

He swallowed and closed his eyes. "God, if you only knew half of what you're doing to me." He moaned.

She smiled, sending her free hand to turn on the water in the bathtub. "On the contrary." She squeezed his hard again, and this time, he did scream. "I think I have a pretty good idea." 

He regarded her, all of her, and his eyes locked on her full breasts. "I can never get enough of you." He whispered.

"That's good." She replied huskily, facing him and wrapping her arms around his neck, as he pulled them both to their feet and scooped her up in his arms, placing her inside the almost full bathtub and climbing in himself. "Because ESPECIALLY right now." She placed a kiss over his pounding heart. "I can't get enough of you either."

Angel smiled and turned off the water, before they'd start overflowing. He leaned on his back against the side of the tub, keeping his head above the water, and Buffy lengthened all over him.

"I was thinking." She told him, as his hard rubbed against her under the water. "Since we both need a shower anyway." She placed her hands on his shoulders as he wrapped his arms around her waist. "Why not to kill two birds with one stone?"

Angel beamed. "I think I could live with that." He whispered, before meeting her mouth in a passionate kiss and slowly entering her the same time.

Buffy broke the kiss to utter a soft moan when his seed started feeling her inside, driving into her in a relatively sedate rhythm.

But the quiet version didn't less, and as they both started heating up, they abruptly found themselves outside the bathtub, on the floor, rocking against each other, now in a vehement and accelerating tempo, in a growing orgasm.

After he finished, he again, remained inside her, as her body lay, seemingly lifeless, atop his. After a while, they rolled on the floor, until he was hovering above her, and he sat up, slowly pulling out of her, his legs bestriding her body. 

Buffy started writhing on the floor when Angel's head disappeared between her thighs and his tongue started exploring her insides. She pressed his head with her hands, emitting low cries, as he kept up slurping until she came again, and her body stilled.

Angel then rose his head, and gazed at her shut eyes as she lay motionless on the floor, only her chest speedily rising and sinking along with her breathing.

He crept up and lay half on top of her half next to her, taking her hands in his and winding their fingers together.

"I can proudly say." He heard her whisper, as he reposed his head on the soft pillow of her breasts. "I'm spent."

"For now." He added.

She chuckled. "Definitely, for now."

"You think we can have that shower now?" He inquired with a giggle.

"Uhmm." Buffy replied exhaustedly. "As soon as at least one of us is going to gather enough strength to stand up."

"Shower can wait." Was Angel's instant reply.

But it didn't wait for long.

"Hey!" They heard a familiar voice, accompanied by two intense knocks on the door. "Is anybody alive in there?"

Angel opened his eyes a little. "What do you want, Spike?"

"Well, for once, mate, try to explain to your son why his parents are screaming in the bathroom and why the noises emitting from in there are giving away the impression of World-War-Three."

Both Buffy and Angel rolled their eyes smiling. 

"But you used to be so good at that, Spike." Angel answered him. "Can't YOU handle it?"

"Damn you, people!" Spike muttered, making sure they heard every word. "You do one good thing, ONE, and it comes right back to hunt you!"

Buffy exchanged another amused grin with her love. "Believe me, Spike, you are highly appreciated."

They could hear his grin in his next words. "I'm glad. Now, can you please get out of there? Incase it slipped your mind, there are two other people in this house who also need to shower. You can continue YOURS in your bedroom."

Buffy giggled silently. "It's okay, Spike, we're...finished."

"Great, just the details I needed to hear." He grumbled. "Just get out of there already. And make sure you wash EVERYTHING!"

"Anything for you, Spike!" Angel retorted.

"You're bloody right!" They heard the vampire's voice as he was retreating from the door.

Buffy and Angel smiled at each other and started gathering themselves from the floor.

Part Three

"Hands off, mister!" Buffy playfully smacked Angel's hand as he reached for the vegetables in the salad bowl. 

He encircled his arms around her waist and mildly stroked her earlobe with a cool scrap of cucumber. He then put it in his mouth and reclined his chin on her shoulder, watching as she chopped the vegetables.

Buffy sighed smiling as he started kissing her neck. "You know, if we keep that up, we're gonna have nothing to feed the guys with when they show up. Xander's not gonna be too happy."

"We'll order in." He said between kisses. "He wouldn't know the difference."

Buffy put down the knife and whirled around to face Angel. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he pulled her closer. "You're incorrigible." She whispered.

He beamed. "Isn't it why you love me?"

She licked his lips lingeringly with the tip of her tongue. "It's one of the reasons." 

"Uncle Xander is right. You ARE getting grosser by the minute." Liam interrupted from the entrance to the kitchen, leaning on the doorway and observing his parents.

Angel pulled off and he and Buffy smiled at each other. 

"Did you want something, honey?" She asked their son. 

Liam shook his head. "Lost my appetite." Then he sent one final glance towards his parents and left the two alone. He smiled to himself when they didn't see him though. He could never understand why his parents were so allover each other all the time, but he was happy. He was happy, because for the first time in his six years there were real laughter and smiles in his house, because there was no more silence, no more tears, and no more pain.

"He's spending too much time with Xander." Angel remarked grinning.

Buffy giggled and leaned forward to whisper in his ear. "I promise to become even grosser after dinner. But only if you leave, because otherwise, I'll never finish that salad, which by the way, I've been cutting for about an hour thanks to you." She faced away to proceed her work.

Angel enveloped her in his arms from behind, reposing his chin on her shoulder. "I'm hungry." He moaned.

Buffy laughed and stuck a piece of tomato before his mouth, which he took in. "Not for that though." He whispered, returning his chin on its place on her shoulder, and tenderly brushing her neck with his lips.

"Stop." Buffy demanded, though her voice distinctly said she didn't want him to.

Angel sighed and removed his lips from her neck, but not his arms from around her waist, staring down at the cutting board. "You know, somehow I never pictured you in the kitchen." He observed abstractly.

"Yeah, well, you know, having to raise a child all by yourself kinda changes you as a person."

Buffy bit her lower lip and squeezed her eyelids shut, the moment these words escaped her lips. She would have been able to feel the full depth of the pain they inflicted on him even if he hadn't removed his arms from around her waist and took a step back.

She put the knife down, and for some inexplicable reason counted until three before turning around and meeting his orbs.

She didn't have to count though. HE wouldn't look at her. He cast down his eyes, trying to evade her in any way he could, backing away until he was hindered by a counter. 

"Angel." She started towards him, but stopped, as she saw he backed away even more though there was nowhere to escape. He took a hold on the counter with both hands, gripping with a potency that made his knuckles white. He still wouldn't look at her direction.

"Angel, please." Buffy didn't move now, only spoke. Her voice both mellow and lugubrious. "Honey, I'm sorry. I didn't." She swallowed. "I didn't mean to." She was ready to kill herself for what she made him feel. She knew it wasn't his fault, and with only words, only a few words, she made it seem like it was. 

Angel moved to the side, and was now near the doorway. Buffy hadn't even blinked. For a moment she forgot he had repossessed his vampire speed among other things. "I'm going to." He faltered, still looking away from her. "I'm gonna go for a walk." With that he vanished from her view, and she heard the front door's slam a second later.

Buffy groaned, sinking into a chair that stood nearby. "Damn!" She bashed the table with her fist exasperatedly. "Why am I so stupid, why?!" She leaned her face in her hands as tears she hadn't cried in a week gushed out.

Suddenly she felt heartening hands resting on her knees and she faced the person who was now squatting in front of her.

"What happened, pet?" He asked her.

"God, Spike, what have I done?" She sobbed.

He took her hands into his and looked into her eyes. "What have you done?" He inquired thoughtfully. 

"I.I just.could you believe I just.I said something that."

But she didn't have to go on. It was too manifest on her face for Spike to bypass it. "You blamed him." Was all he said.

She nodded. "How could I do that? How could I ever do that? God, what the Hell is wrong with me, Spike?"

He grinned weakly. "Nothing, Slayer. Nothing's wrong with you. Listen, we all say stupid things sometimes. Life's pretty much all about mistakes, you know, and Angel knows it. He knows you'd never really mean something like that." 

"But.I.I could have found millions ways to blame it all on him. Millions. And I've never looked for a single one. And now.now, I had to say.this."

"Look, it was a slip." Spike sighed. "Do you know how much he loves you?" He asked it in the most rhetorical way.

She smiled and nodded. 

"So get these bloody gibberish out of your pretty little head and go talk to him."

She sniffled. "He doesn't want to talk to me."

Spike chuckled. "And who told you that? He did?"

Buffy was quiet.

"He's upset, that's why he took off. You're upset too. Go and find him, okay? Be upset together." 

Buffy had to laugh at that.

Spike stood and pulled her up to her feet. "I'll do that." He glanced at the unfinished salad.

Buffy grinned gratefully and hugged the vampire. "Thanks." She whispered.

"Any time, pet." Spike bowed playfully.

Buffy spotted him in the park, on one of the few benches that weren't yet occupied with young couples who usually came here to enjoy the night. He was sitting there by himself, his shoulders dropped, showing out the weight of his pain, as his eyes stared at the ground. Something tightened in her stomach to the sight of him. There were others too in that park. He wasn't alone. But they were all talking and laughing together. Groups of teenagers, or couples who came here to be with each other. To take pleasure in the beautiful starry night, not even surmising what might be lurking in the shadows behind them.

But not he. He sat alone. It seemed to her now, that that's how he'd always been. Alone. He had an aura of solitude about him. That drove people away from him. Buffy was a witness to that herself when two teenagers that were sauntering through the park shot him a wary glimpse and moved aside in their stroll. People could never interpret him. No one could...but her. And she knew that. She was aware of that. She was more than aware of that she was all this man had. She was the only person in this whole wide world that would always be there to catch him when he fell and to hold him when he cried. That was the main reason why it hurt so much every time she maltreated him. Because then, she, even only for a split second, broke his believe in the only thing he could always count on. Her love. 

Buffy made her way towards Angel, and sat next to him on the pew, taking his hand into hers before he was quick enough to even try to pull it away. She touched his chin gently and angled it up to level their eyes. His were teary. It was the first thing she gave notice to. Her heart cracked at the sight of those tears. It seemed sometimes that it hurt her more to see them than it hurt him to shed them. Buffy gently wiped his eyes and he leaned his head on her shoulder as she enveloped him in her loving embrace. 

"I'm sorry." She whispered, gently stroking his back. "Angel, you have to know that I didn't mean that." Her voice was almost pleading.

"I know." He said, pulling away slightly. "But you shouldn't be...sorry, I mean."

Buffy gathered her legs under her and snuggled closer to him, as he wrapped one arm around her. 

"I'm not sure I know why I'm taking it like I am." He acknowledged. "I.you know, I've been trying to.to understand how it must be for you, and even though in a way I am.in a way I can't. What was for me no more than several weeks of absence, ever since that night we parted, for you was six years. It can never change. I feel like I can never understand the way you feel about it, because I CAN'T feel that way, even though I try. It's so much more vague for me, you know. You KNOW it's been six years.while I'm still trying to process that, and.to tell you the truth.it's becoming harder by the day."

Buffy gently clasped his hand, letting him know that she was listening. That she understood. 

"Every day I wake up, and I see how much it really has been six years. And it's hard, and it's painful, because I know I haven't been a part of it, and I should have been. I should have been there for you, should have been there for Liam, and I haven't. And I'll regret it for the rest of my life." He kissed her hand. "Time was never important to me, I mean, I have lived most of my so-called life as a vampire. Time was only important whenever it came to do with you, because I knew that for YOU, time was limited. I knew that for YOU, one day time would be over, and that I should savor it while it lasts. It was one of the reasons everything felt so much better after I turned human. Then, in a certain, selfish way, I knew that my time was limited too, that when you would be gone, so would I, and it felt good. It felt good, because it meant I wouldn't have to be alone as I formerly feared I would. And then...then THIS happens, and after leaving a nineteen-year-old woman, the woman I love, pregnant with my child, and going out to fight some demon, I come back...into the...the..." His eyes filled with tears and Buffy squeezed his hand lovingly. Angel sighed. "I come back into the...nightmare, that is also my best dream ever because it brought me back to my family, but a nightmare nonetheless, where this woman is now twenty-six, and the child is six, and I am...I'm the same as I was when I left, only several weeks older. God, it is...Buffy, it's...do you even imagine how it feels like?" He turned to look at her desperately. She had no answer however. All she could do was to bring his hand to her lips and kiss it tenderly, showing him once again that she loved him, and that she understood. He continued. "You know, sometimes.sometimes, it's even easier to pretend it hasn't been so long, because then it becomes easier to cope. And then I look at pictures. Pictures of you, of our son.and I feel there's an empty space in each and every one of them.because I should have been there too." His voice died away, and Buffy perceived the tear cascading slowly down his cheek. She reached out and gently wiped it away. 

"But that's the point. Angel, I don't want you to act as if it has been that long. I..." She tried to find the most suitable words. "I want to pretend these years have never happened. I want to live like you have never left me. Like...like I haven't been through that Hell. I want to erase it. It's lost time. I want it to stay lost. I don't want us to talk about regrets. I want us to...I want us to talk as if it was only yesterday you saved me from that vampire in the cemetery." 

He smiled. "Do you? Are you sure?" He wanted that too. It was probably the one thing he wanted right now more than anything else in the world.

Buffy beamed, her smile giving him only one possible answer. "I shouldn't have ever blamed it on you." She whispered, hugging him tightly. "I.I can't believe I have. I'm sorry. Gosh, if I could take it back, I."

He pressed a gentle finger to her babbling lips. "But I don't want you to." He smiled bitterly at her. "Remember how I once told you some things were better to remain secrets, and that once you're old enough you'd realize why?"

She nodded.

"I was wrong. It's wrong. Everything is better once it's out in the open. It's better said. In a way.I don't know, in a twisted way, I guess.you needed to say that, and I.well, I just needed to hear that."

Buffy smiled and kissed the upside of his palm. "Am I ever gonna live to see the day when you'll say or do something entirely selfish?"

He chuckled and guided her head to lay on his shoulder. "I am. We never really." He took a deep breath. "We never really talked about.this, since I came back, and it was a mistake. We should have. We should have told each other what we felt inside, because until we do it...after that, we can pretend for the rest of our lives it never happened, but until we do it once and for all...we won't be able to move on. I know we have talked.in an aspect, but it evidently wasn't enough. After tonight's over.I want us to find time, and to do it right. You think it's possible?"

Buffy smiled and kissed his lips tenderly. "I'm sure it is." 

"So." Angel grinned. "Who's finishing the salad?"

Buffy chuckled. "Actually, Spike is."

"Spike?" He inquired. "Spike's cooking? That's an historical milestone. I think you're the first woman who made William the Bloody spend some quality time in the kitchen. It's indisputably your greatest achievement of all."

Buffy beamed and brought his face down for a kiss. "My greatest achievement of all is the sweet and gorgeous cryptic-brooding guy who's sitting right next to me." She whispered before their lips met in a tender passionate kiss. 

They parted when someone snapped their fingers.

"See? I told you that's gonna draw their attention." Xander told his girlfriend. 

Anya nudged him in the gut. 

"Xander, is there anything we can do for you?" Buffy asked.

"Umm.let's see.aren't you supposed to be home right now? Say, expecting your dinner guests? You know, I haven't eaten anything all day, counting on your dinner."

"I really really having troubles believing that." Buffy grinned. "Anyhow, Spike's home, and Liam, so they can let you in, and I'm SURE you can find your way into the kitchen by yourself." She peeped at her love. "We'll be right there ourselves."

Xander rolled his eyes in mimic displeasure. "Great, now I'm gonna have Dead Boy hosting me. What fun." 

"I thought that was I." Angel pointed with a smirk.

Xander waved his hand. "Nah, I can't call you Dead Boy anymore, cuz first of all, you're not dead anymore. Anyway, it's no fun like this. So, now that you won't get confused, whenever I say Dead Boy, I refer to Spike."

"Thank you so much for clearing it up for me." Angel replied. "What would I do without you, Xander?"

Xander shrugged and beamed. "What really?"

"Oh, but I have only one mention." Angel told him. "If Spike wants to rip you into shreds because of calling him Dead Boy, I won't be standing in his way."

Xander opened his mouth to respond to that, but no sound came out of it. "I think I'd better come up with another nickname for Spike." He decided after a while.

"I think you'd better come up with another brain." Anya suggested a better idea. "We'll see you in the house." She beamed towards Buffy and Angel, while dragging Xander away in the direction of their house.

"Should we get going?" Angel stood up, pulling Buffy with him.

She snaked one arm around his waist as he did to her, and leaned into his embrace. "Honey?" Buffy looked up at him with her large green eyes as they were walking home. 

"Hmm?" He met her gaze.

"Please be nice to my mom." She added her sweetest smile to that request.

He grinned and kissed the tip of her nose. 

"Promise?" Buffy insisted on a verbal answer.

This time Angel kissed her lips. "Promise."

Part Four

Buffy and Angel arrived home a short while after Xander and Anya. They were all surprised when they found the table already set, by Spike. Since they had nothing left to do before the rest of the guest's arrival, they all assembled in the living room. 

Anya, and even Xander, were hooked in Spike's stories of everything he'd seen while the years he was away, traveling nearly everywhere is the world. Angel, with Liam on his knees, and Buffy by his side, were sitting on the sofa opposite to the trio, planning their family trip to Disney World they were to have in a week. The current topic of discussion was that Liam wanted to stay longer than for the weekend, while Buffy and Angel insisted he had to be back for school. It was clear that eventually the boy was going to win.

The doorbell hushed the voices in the room.

"I'll get it." Angel stood up, with Liam still in his arms, and headed to the door.

"Riley." Angel greeted icily when he saw the man in the door. "What a wonderful surprise."

"Mom, F...Riley's here!" Liam informed his mother, encircling one possessive arm around his father's neck, shoving the fact that he was back, and now, Riley WITHOUT A DOUBT had nothing to do here, right into the other man's face.

Angel pretended to have overheard his son's minor slip, while Riley glared at the boy, with the impression that if Liam called him 'Fish' or anything else he heard from his uncle ever again, he'd blow. He had already detested the boy with a burning passion from the very first second he was born, and merely because of the identity of his father.

"I was invited for dinner, wasn't I?" He asked Angel naturally.

"Sure." Angel smirked. "I just received the impression you'd change your mind. As I said, it's a wonderful surprise. Please do come in, and welcome to our modest home. Oh, wait, you've been here already. Remember? I think it was when you tried to hit on my wife while I was absent." Angel nodded to himself, simpering at the other man. "Definitely. It was then." 

Riley gritted his teeth. "She is NOT your wife."

"Yes, she is." Buffy approached them, wrapping her arms around Angel's waist. "Has been for years long before you ever turned up in my life, as far as we're concerned, actually. By the way, incase I still haven't told you, we're making it official November twenty-third. Hope you'll make it." She smiled, kissing her lover's jaw. Afterwards, he smile vanished within a wink. "Why are you really here, Riley? I mean, come on, if you had any self respect AT ALL in you, you'd stay where you're wanted. Away, that is." 

"Beloved, if he hasn't gotten it within six years, I honestly doubt he'll get it now." Angel implied.

Riley smirked. "You know why I'm here?" He asked through screeched teeth. "I'm here to see Joyce kicking your sorry ass out of her daughter's life like she had to have done years ago."

Angel smiled, embracing his free arm around Buffy's slender shoulders. "That would be kind of a deja vu, you know? And besides, Riley, please, don't use these words in front of my son, he's only six years old, I really wouldn't want him to pick up bad manners. Because you know, if he does, he might want to go and beat SOMEONE up, and with his potency, YOU really don't want him to. You see, he's received both Buffy's strength, and mine. There really is a possibility I won't be able to stop him." He grinned serenely, as Buffy chuckled in his shoulder. 

Riley flushed with anger. "You have no idea what a pleasure seeing you being slammed is gonna bring to me."

Buffy regained control on her voice and spoke calmly. "You're gonna have to wait at least a lifetime for that." She announced. "Cuz in this one, it's not gonna happen."

"I will personally blow this bubble you're living in." He told her. "Let you see what it's like to have a REAL man by your side, and not some.low-life-ex-demon." He spoke the last words with blunt disgust. "I've been patient with you for far too long, hoping you'd come to your senses by yourself, and it's only now that I see what a mistake that was. THIS TIME, he won't come back. I'LL make sure of it personally."

Buffy clinched her fists. "If you don't shut up RIGHT now, you'll find yourself six feet under ground." Suddenly she smiled, making a step towards Riley, and her voice softened to nearly a whisper. "The last person who TRIED to hurt Angel, has been in a coma for almost eight years now, put there by me. With you, I can't promise to be that gentle."

Riley chuckled, as if doubting her story, but a second hadn't passed before her gaze told him just how true it was. He gulped, flinching, but answered nevertheless. "Just try." His voice sounded more wavering than strong though.

Buffy made another step forward, her eyes shimmering with fury, but stopped as Angel's gentle yet firm hand closed around her arm.

"He's not worth it, sweetheart." He told her softly. "Let Riley have his fun. While it lasts."

With that, he rotated to go back into the living room, and Buffy accompanied him, none of them looked back to see if Riley had followed.

The doorbell rang again before they even sat down, and this time Buffy went to the door.

"Hey, Will." She hugged her friend. "What's up?"

Willow smiled. "Everything's cool. You know, I can actually get used to seeing you so shining." She commented.

Buffy beamed. "Well, I'm keeping that new look."

"You should." There was a slight distress in the redhead's voice as she uttered those words, while hanging her coat.

Buffy examined her best friend. "Why are you alone tonight? Thought you'd have a date."

Willow shrugged and sighed. "I didn't feel like bringing somebody, that's all."

Buffy pulled her back when Willow started towards the living room and peered at her face. "What's wrong, Will?" She asked her softly.

Willow took a deep breath and leaned her back against the door, closing her eyes for a moment. She smiled weakly when she opened them. "You know." She began. "Nine years ago today, Oz and I had our first date." She divulged.

Buffy looked down in understanding. "I'm sorry, Will. You still miss him, right?"

Willow nodded. "I'm trying not to. You know, I realize it's kinda late, but I'm finally starting to understand how it was for you without Angel all these years. Especially at the beginning, before you knew he was, well." She turned away her eyes. "Dead. I'm finally starting to recognize how it is to wait for a call, or a letter, or.anything, a sign that'll let me know he'll come back in time. You know, I get it it's not the same. I know that Oz and I broke up, that's why he left. You and Angel.that's a whole other story. But I still feel."

"I know how you feel." Buffy said. "I know how it's like to lose someone you love. I can't say the reason why makes a real difference." She felt a sudden urge to hold Angel she couldn't explain. She just needed to feel close to him. To feel his love, and to let him feel hers. She knew it wouldn't be fair towards Willow, but she just couldn't help it. "You know, he might come around."

"No." Willow shook her head. "No, he won't. He's not Angel." She smiled. "The guy will move heaven and earth to get back to you. Oz had five years to pick up a phone, and he hasn't. Angel was dead." Willow swallowed when she noticed Buffy shudder at her words, but continued. "What's Oz's excuse?" Then she waved her hand dismissingly. "But it doesn't matter anyway. We broke up. That's the end of that saga."

Buffy followed Willow as the redhead paced into the living room to join the others.

Liam leaped from his father's lap to sit next to his aunt, and Buffy instantly seized his former place, hugging the somewhat astonished Angel and kissing his lips passionately. 

He returned her kiss hungrily, and wrapped his arms around her, as she snuggled in his embrace. 

"What was that for?" He asked after they let go, with a brilliant smile on his lips. "Don't get me wrong though. I'm not protesting."

Buffy gazed into his chocolate eyes, engulfed in their bottomless profundity. She reached her hand to tenderly caress his cheek. "Just wanted to let you know how much I love you." She whispered. 

Angel smiled and covered her palm on his cheek with his own. "If it resembles in any way to how much I love you, I think I have a pretty good idea." He kissed her brow and tightened his embrace as she lowered her head back on his chest, closing her eyes with a content smile playing on her lips.

Riley turned away in disgust.

The next one to arrive was Joyce. Needless to say her reaction to the sight of the man holding her daughter was priceless.

"What is this?" Was her opening line, as she froze still in the entrance to the living room. 

"Hi, mom. Nice to see you." Buffy shared a smile with her son who was following his grandmother into the room.

When Joyce didn't respond, Buffy spoke again. "This is Angel, mom, I'm sure you've met. You remember Angel, don't you? He's my vampire-boyfriend who YOU decided wasn't good enough for me and made him leave me. Does that clear your memory, MOM? Rings a bell?" Angel squeezed her arm gently, but she was too far ahead to stop now, and pretended to ignore it. "It's actually the same Angel who is the father of my son, and because of whom, as you've very clearly pointed out, on SEVERAL occasions, my life was irrevocably ruined, and so was my son's. So, NOW, do you recall Angel?" She smirked.

Her mother's reply was far from any anticipated. "What is he doing here?" Joyce demanded once she found her voice again.

Buffy rose her eyebrows as Riley smiled happily. "Living here, actually. It is HIS home too, you know, in case that little fact slipped your mind in some point."

"Don't play with me, Buffy. He's supposed to be dead. What is going on here?"

"Well, first of all, it's so very nice to see you too, Joyce." Angel forged his best grin. "Now, to you're question, I'm back among the living, and I'm so glad to see you're thrilled over it."

"Honey." Buffy whispered in his ear.Now, it was HER turn to restrain HIM. "You promised to behave. I'll handle it myself."

Angel shrugged, encircling one arm around her waist and leaning back against the cushions.

"I don't think ANYONE in this room approves your attitude, mom." Buffy said coldly.

Riley, of course, interjected. "I do." He beamed from ear to ear.

Buffy had never wanted to pound him as much as she did now. Anything, just to erase that beam off of his face perpetually. Luckily for him, Angel's hold on her tightened the moment he sensed her thoughts, therefore all she had left to do was to simply ignore Riley.

"Did you know about this?" Joyce's intense gaze surveyed the other people in the room. 

They all chose to lie low.

"Yes, they did." Buffy replied for them.

"I can't believe this! You told them, but you didn't tell ME? How could you hide it from me?"

"And why should I have told you?! So that you could gain time to plan a strategy on how to make sure Angel's out of my life for good? Again? God, mom, hasn't the previous time taught you a lesson? It doesn't matter what you scheme, or how you manipulate, you STILL can't drive us apart! When will you give up?! And get that grin off your face before I do this for you!" She told Riley. He obliged. "The bottom line is." She turned back to her mother. "THIS is a party for Angel's homecoming. All our friends are here.other people too, and you are here, because you're my mom. So, it's your choice, and yours alone. Whether you stay, and accept Angel, because whether you like it or not, we ARE getting married, or you can leave. You choose." 

Joyce sighed and gazed at Angel. She smiled inwardly, ironically. What could she have done? Nothing. No matter how she hated it, she would have to face it, and to embrace it. This man, and no other, was her daughter's choice to spend her life with. She conceded to herself, that if she hadn't been too blind, she would have accredited it much earlier. Years ago. She had to admit there was never a way to separate these two. No matter what she'd done, she failed helplessly. It just wasn't an accomplishable task. They survived everything. EVERYTHING that would cause a normal couple to have parted by now. But they were still standing, and if anything, they were more in love than ever. They'd been through his vampirism, they'd been through the loss of his soul, through him becoming Angelus, they had been through her killing him, Hell, then him leaving her, him dying.Joyce reached a resolution it'd be much easier to count the things that DIDN'T happen to them. And they sustained. They sustained it all. Joyce had no choice but to avow their love was much stronger than she could have ever conjectured. It was evidently invincible. It was the supreme happiness, and a part of her was jealous of her daughter, who was now snuggled in the loving embrace of her Angel, for achieving this happiness. That's something she herself was never able to find. No. She wouldn't stand in their way. 

Joyce sighed and took a seat next to Angel. "Maybe we could have launch sometimes.or something." She suggested falteringly. "We never really got a chance to talk."

Angel smiled. Joyce noted to herself the candidness of that smile. It was the brightest one she'd ever seen. "Sure. I'd love to." He said.

Buffy beamed and reclined her head on his chest, reposing her palm next to it as he was gently stroking her hair. "Thanks, mom." She acknowledged.

Joyce beamed too. "I just want you to be happy." She gazed at Angel. "The two of you."

"Are you insane?!" Riley exclaimed. "Are you letting this.fiend, to be with your daughter?! What is wrong with all of you? How dense are you?!" He turned to the rest.

Buffy tried to release herself from her love's ironbound hug, but saw it was no use. Angel held her firmly. "Beloved, it's not worth it." He whispered in her ear. 

Spike stood up menacingly. "Shut your gob, or I'll cut your head off!" He hissed.

Riley only smirked at him. "Somehow I doubt YOUR head will stand it." 

Spike cogitated over his next move for a second, but then only sighed silently and sat back down on the couch.

"All of you! You are ALL insane! Blind!" Riley yelled. 

Liam, who was sitting cross-legged on an armchair next to his, giggled silently. 

Riley shot him a hateful glare.

"Hey, guys!" Cordelia's cheerful voice filled the room. She sauntered in with Doyle in tow. "Why are we insane?" She asked Riley. "Oh, sorry for just walking in, but it was open, and you know, since we knocked like.a hundred times and NONE of you bothered to lift your big fat asses off the couch and open.oh, sorry, Mrs. Summers, I didn't see you."

"Cordelia." Buffy interrupted her, her voice hinting the brunette to be quiet.

After looking around and taking in everyone's faces, Cordelia grasped her drivel was REALLY improper. "Sorry. I'll be shutting up now." She took a seat next to Spike on the couch, and Doyle perched on its arm next to his girlfriend, not saying a word.

"You're mad!" Riley went on, absolutely ignoring the newcomers after a moment. "Your twisted minds haven't gotten the slightest difference between right and wrong. For heaven's sake, there are two demons in this room! TWO! And him." He gesticulated in Angel's direction. "The Hell knows what he is now!" He seemed to become more incensed with every word he voiced. "How can any of you allow this?" He gestured towards Buffy and Angel. "Is it just me, or is there not a single sane person in this entire room, but myself?! After everything he's done, he deserves to be happy?! He deserves to be LOVED?! He deserves to be dead! He should be tortured to death! He should have remained DEAD, for God's sake! And I would be more than happy to spit on his grave once I see it!"

Angel descried tears in his beloved's eyes. He enveloped her in his arms tighter and she turned away from everyone and buried her face in his protective chest, as he was mildly caressing her golden locks, whispering soft words in her ear.

Liam gazed at his parents, then back at Riley. "Son of a bitch!" He hissed, surprising almost everyone present in the room.

"Shut up, you demonic half-breed!" Riley lost all forbearance, and rose from his seat. Before anyone could process it all, he approached the boy and slapped his face. Liam was quick to recover though, and his fist hit Riley so hard, that the man floundered and made a few steps backwards before toppling to the floor. As he wanted to stand up, four inexorable hands clutched him, two on each arm, and waggled him to his feet. The next second, he found himself being dragged out of the room, and fixed to the wall by both Spike and Angel. The first thing he became aware of was that Spike was perfectly fine.

Spike saw the unasked query in his tremulous eyes before he was able to verbalize it. "Chip, right?" He inquired with a smirk. "Well, I guess I forgot to mention it. I got rid of it." 

The dismay in Riley's eyes only grew, if that was possible.

Spike loosened the hand around Riley's neck, just as Angel's occupied its place. Riley was slowly becoming blue from the deficiency of oxygen. 

"You know what the funny thing is?" The vampire asked him, pining his wrist to the wall with his hand, until the man's bones seemed to be braking, even worse in the wrist Angel was gripping. "Angelus was well known for his sole methods of tormenting people. He wreaked the topmost afflictions on his victims in his good old days. That was a jocular display. I even picked up a few very creative ideas from my Sire." Spike pressed a finger to a spot on Riley's chest and he shrieked with pain. "But now we have a problem, don't we?" Spike went on in an even voice, with a tone that would terrify anyone. "The eminent Angelus is gone. For good. But then on the other hand, me.I'm still here." He beamed. "And guess what? I don't have a soul, I don't have anything to stop me, except for my conscience, which I developed only thanks to the Slayer and Angel, who you hurt, and to their son, who you dared to hit, because they showed me there's more to life than spending them on proving to everyone who cares to see just how evil I may get. So, I will
never hurt the people I love, but you.oh, how I'm gonna hurt you. If Angel here doesn't do anything." He glanced at the ex-vampire. "Which I REALLY doubt, I will. I will make you squeal in your own blood on the floor. I will hurt you so much you will never hit anyone again. It's been too long since I have tortured anyone. Congratulations. You get to be my first." He grinned, morphing into his vampire features in an instant. 

Riley grew white, and NOT because Angel's hand was now stifling his gullet so much he was barely able to breath. He understood his current position more than perfectly. He was like an owner of a savage tiger he'd been torturing for years...and now this tiger was suddenly on the loose. Perspiration appeared allover his face, as he saw the huge fangs of the vampire he himself once caught and abused, by implanting a chip into his head. The icy tone of Spike's voice penetrated every inch in his trembling body. He regretted he was ever born when the vampire spoke to him. 

Angel put his hand on Spike's and removed it from Riley's wrist. Spike silently obeyed his Sire and took a step back, leaving the man to Angel.

Riley's eyes were full of fear from the coldness and hatred in his opponent's gaze. Angel's hand grabbed his palm, and before he could even breath, one of his fingers was broken. Riley emitted a painful shriek.

"Oh, my God, what are you doing?" Joyce yelled at Angel, but no one else moved, and he had obviously ignored her.

Angel broke another finger, and another one, and the remained two, with even intervals between each. "That, was for slapping my son." He supplied the steely curt explanation. Then his hand lay on the other man's arm, and just before the pain from the fingers faded, Riley felt his bones snap again. He cried out in pain as his arm went completely numb. "That was for ever touching him."

Angel finally stopped. Instead, he grabbed him by the collar of his shirt, and dragged Riley after him back to the others. He stopped before Buffy and Liam. "Say you're sorry." He commended, his voice leaving no room for discussion of any kind. "To both of them."

"I'm sorry." He barely got the words out, striving to get over the agonizing pain in his arm.

Angel dragged him away from them and shoved him into Spike's arms. "He has other unclosed business with you." He told Riley calmly. "Whatever Spike does with you, I won't be in his way." He nodded in approval towards the vampire, and Spike dragged Riley outside.

"What is he going to do to him?" Joyce inquired nervously. 

"I don't care. It's his business." Angel replied evenly. "Whatever it is, he deserves it, and Spike has every right to crave for vengeance after the way Riley had abused him."

"Will he kill him?" Joyce asked.

"He won't." Angel said, his voice telling her it was end of discussion.

He approached his son, and hugged him, lifting him in his arms. 

Liam embraced his father's neck and clung to him. "I don't want you to die, dad." He whispered.

Angel caressed his back soothingly. "I'm not going to. Don't worry."

He then wrapped one arm around Buffy's shoulders, briefly kissing her crown as she clung to his other side, and the three headed up the stairs.

"I guess dinner's off." Xander observed. But his tone betrayed him. Even HE wasn't able to form a joke in a time like this. 

On to Part Five