Absently watching Willow scroll and browse through the contents displayed on the computer screen, Buffy kept herself occupied by flipping her pencil in the air. Her lips tightened to repress the heavy sigh that threatened to wrench from her throat. Hours of boring patrol would have been preferable to this.
Uncomfortable knots churned in her gut just from being in this particular classroom. Shifting to ease the numbness spreading from where her butt rested on the hard unyielding wood caused the deft movements of her fingers to momentarily falter. The pencil instantly clattered loudly to surface and dropped through a gap between Jenny Calendar’s two old desks.
With an annoyed huff, Buffy bent awkwardly and shoved her arm down the narrow space to retrieve it. As her fingers curled around it, something hard brushed against her knuckles.
Mild curiosity struck, but it was only a floppy disc. “You dropped this.” With a shrug, she handed it over to Willow, who’d looked up from the computer monitor to watch Buffy doing a pretty cool impression of a contortionist.
Turning over the dust-laden plastic, Willow checked for a label, then shook her head with a frown. “It’s not mine.” The still-fresh pain surged through, her eyes blinking rapidly to clear the instant film of moisture. “It might be something of Ms. Calendar’s.”
Although Willow seemingly completed the task with calm efficiency, inwardly she wished to be anywhere but here right now. Yesterday’s horrific revelations over Cordelia’s fate had brought it all too painfully back to the forefront of her mind.
After blowing off the dust, she tentatively inserted the disc into her temporarily set up laptop’s floppy drive, and felt a shudder run down her spine when it clicked and whirred into life.
“This feels kinda morbid,” Buffy commented, shivering a little.
“Uh huh,” Willow nodded in fervent agreement. “I’ve gone through most of her files already.”
“Does that make it less morbid or really morbid?” Buffy asked her, intent on easing the uncomfortable silence as they waited for the disc to start up. Neither noticed the strange text scrolling into the left-hand window of the monitor.
When Willow needlessly reminded her of the fact that she was temporarily teaching Ms Calendar’s class, Buffy rushed to assure that she’d merely wanted to ease the stressful atmosphere.
A beep sounded out and two pairs of eyes simultaneously turned to the screen. An English translation scrolled in a window to the right of the one showing the unreadable text.
Buffy leaned forward and peered closely at the English version. “Does that say ‘restoration’?” she asked, then kept reading.
Willow suggested it was probably one of her spells, continuing on to explain small facts of their ex-teacher’s interests until Buffy interrupted her. Her attention was brought back to the screen on noting Buffy’s now-rapt expression, and quickly read through the translation.
Gasping aloud, her eyes widened in stunned amazement as the words sunk in.
“Oh, boy. Oh, boy. Oh, boy.”
Surveying his sketch with a critical eye, Angelus finally allowed a small satisfied smile to curve his pale lips. He was certain it was one of his best efforts yet. The smile faded upon comparing it to the living woman, and a frown creased his brow.
Each bold line titillated both the eye and libido. His fervent gaze roved the tempting landscape of sun-kissed skin, lingering with male appreciation on the rounded fullness of breasts that rested high on her chest. The gentle curve of a taut belly led the eyes towards rounded feminine hips and the long line of lightly muscled legs.
Her spectacular beauty had been captured to perfection.
Angelus had always found this activity to be deeply relaxing, thus allowed plans to develop into fruition. He’d refused to let the fact that his subject wasn’t even aware of his presence bother him. It wasn’t the first time he’d sketched someone who’d slumbered while his hands were busy duplicating their likeness onto vellum.
He’d even sketched his dead victims on occasion- mementos to show off to Darla when he’d been particularly inventive in his torture. Those had been especially satisfying knowing they’d later had the opposite effect on the soul.
But Angelus had to admit the detailed sketch of Cordelia surpassed all of those done in the past.
Rich dark hair spread wildly with her head thrown back in ecstasy. Beautiful face contorted into a mask of pleasure. Delicate spine arched. One hand clutching the pillow in a death grip. Sun-kissed limbs bent and splayed open invitingly while her other arm angled along her body. Slim fingers worked frantically between her thighs in exacting detail.
Angelus licked his lips hungrily at the sight.
Hours earlier, after pacing the Great Hall, Angelus had become both bored and restless with only the two guarding vampires and Acathla’s stone form for company. Spike and Dru hadn’t shown their faces, unfortunately- for him. At least he could have taken his slowly growing frustration out on them. When they’d continued to show no signs of rising anytime soon he’d opted to returning to his room in the hope of finding something to take the edge off.
Surprisingly for him, impatience added to the mix when again faced with Cordelia’s unnatural stillness. Knowing it was necessary to the completion of the bond offered no solace, but an unexpected surge of creativity had him stripping off her protective covering and artfully arranging her supine form across his sheets, then sought out his recently little used sketchbook.
The use of a few pillows enabled the perfect arching of her spine, and lax thighs once bent at the knee easily fell into sultry abandon. She was indeed passion personified.
But still something wasn’t quite right. His dark gaze returned to the portrait, raking the delicate charcoal lines and mentally listing the slight differences.
Softly shimmering eyes, glazed with passion stared back; full mouth parted and the tip of her tongue darting out to lash seductively over her upper lip. The graceful turn of her throat revealed his still-red mark; another, equally deep, strategically placed high up on the soft flesh of one inner thigh.
The rich, dark liquid from the bite at her throat painted her flesh and soaked the sheet below, while the fresh puncture marks on her thigh streaked twin lines that coated her fingers and the soft dark curls partially covering the source of her pleasure.
Desire turned his irises to obsidian as he imagined himself kneeling at the foot of the bed, one hand grasping her hip while his other fingers thrust fast and deep into her as she worked her clit at his hoarse demand. The image was so strong he could almost taste the rich fragrant blood on his tongue, and a low groan fell from suddenly parched lips.
Dropping the sketchpad to the floor, Angelus let his imagination run wild, the soft rasp of his zip sounding out in the otherwise silent room and his hand delved into his pants to release the heavy weight of his growing erection. After several short, hard pumps, he slowed to a lazy rhythm and wallowed in the scene that continued to unfold in his mind’s eye.
Cordelia moaned huskily as she pleasured herself under his watchful gaze; his face so close that if he’d given into the urge to dart out his tongue, it would have touched those busily working fingers. As the scent of her arousal grew, his head fogged with desire and without pause turned his mouth to her thigh. The moment his fangs sank deep into the butter-soft flesh, she jolted and gasped in momentary pain.
Pressing her thigh against the mattress to hold her in place, Angelus formed a seal around the puncture marks and let the hot liquid sweetness slide languidly down his throat. After a slight pause he felt the flutter of movement against his cheek as Cordelia’s fingers resumed their play and his arousal increased. Lifting his head, he watched for a long moment, amber eyes flaring hotly as she rapidly worked her reddened and pulsing clit.
Flanking limbs quivered with spiraling pleasure and with a lusty growl he released her thigh and covered her hand. Stroking briefly, his fingers ran along her slick length before sliding deep into her clutching core. Still not entirely satisfied, his tongue darted out and lapped at her fingers, sliding along and between to lash at her clit.
Her hips bucked at the sensation, a low keening falling from panting lips. At the sharp nip of his teeth, Cordelia hastily removed her hand, then cried out when his lips instantly wrapped around the swollen bud and suckled hard.
Slick inner walls clenched around his roughly thrusting fingers and, undone by it all she started to come. Angelus fluidly rose to his knees, freeing his hands to grip writhing hips and dragged her closer to the edge of the bed. His throbbing cock surged in to the hilt, and with panting breaths he fucked her hard; eyes glazing over at the overwhelming pleasure of tight muscles flexing uncontrollably and the burn that brought his balls closer to his body.
Hips arched high off the chair as he came, bucking jerkily against his rapidly pumping hand. Blessed satiation followed- blinding yet sadly all too brief. Flopping back into the chair, Angelus’ amber gaze flicked down only long enough to note the sorry state of his leather pants before lifting to survey the girl spread out on his bed. The frustration that had dogged him most of the day came back with a vengeance.
Cursing virulently he rose to his feet and headed for the bathroom, but paused when reaching the foot of the bed. Feral eyes ran from head to toe, then lifted to linger intently at the inviting apex of her thighs.
The drawing wasn’t the problem. It was the still-flawless skin of her inner thigh that taunted him. Decision abruptly made he dropped to his knees and leaned in to deeply puncture the butter-soft flesh.
After surveying the bite, more than satisfied by the twin trails of blood lightly streaking her skin, he licked the remains off his fangs and grinned.
“Hi! For those of you who’ve just tuned in,” Xander rose abruptly to his feet, “everyone here is a crazy person.”
The others watched him in taut silence as he stalked stiffly towards the end of the library table. Dipping his head, for a moment, lips pursed, he finally let out a breath and met Buffy’s wary gaze.
A slight smile stretched his mouth when he continued. “So this spell might restore Angel’s humanity? Well, here’s an interesting angle.” The smile abruptly vanished. “Who cares?“.
Choking down the hot retort that hovered on the tip of her tongue, Buffy instead looked down at her hands as she twisted her fingers together and took a calming breath before replying with a soft, “I care.”
“Is that right?” Xander replied, unsurprised by her words. He hadn’t missed the brief flare of anger in her expressive eyes, either, which changed his mind about holding back on the sarcasm that coated his response.
As the atmosphere thickened uncomfortably, Giles hastily intervened. “Let’s not lose our tempers, Xander.” He leaned back in his seat at the table, his worried gaze flitting from one to the other as they faced each other, expressions reflecting their inner conflict.
Willow, who’d been in the middle of setting up her laptop, froze in her seat and just stared at her friend in dismay.
“Kind of hard, watcher man. Angel’s a killer,” Xander continued flatly, standing his ground.
“Xander…” Willow finally found her voice and gently chastised him.
Buffy seemed to wilt under his unrelenting gaze for a brief moment before she managed to collect herself. “It’s not that simple.” A small frown marred her smooth brow at the instant ‘pfft’ that left his lips. The all-too familiar sound pulled on nerves already frayed to the point of falling apart.
“What? All is forgiven? I can’t believe you people!” the disgust apparent on his face clearly echoed in his tone. He didn’t bother to hide that either, and after several tense seconds of staring into stormy brown eyes, her own dulled green gaze slid away.
Clearing his throat uncomfortably, Giles attempted to remain objective. “Curing Angel seems to have been Jenny’s last wish.” He nearly choked on his words. The repercussions from such an act – especially if he was involved in the undertaking didn’t bear thinking about. Personally, seeing the vampire put in the ground would have been more than satisfying.
“Yeah? Well, In case you forgot, Jenny’s dead.” Xander’s cold retort had Giles shooting to his feet. His troubled gaze, that had discreetly rested on his slayer narrowed into slits as he focused on the youth. He pressed the palms of his hands on the smooth surface of the table and leaned forward.
“Don’t you ever speak of her in that tone again!” Fury surged quickly to the surface and with it the urge to shake him until his teeth rattled. But he forced it down. Right at this moment feelings were running high in them all, and violence was not the answer.
Xander threw up his arms, too worked up to see beyond his own frustration and anger. “Can’t you hear what I’m saying?” he yelled, taking a step forward. “You aren’t the only one who’s lost someone!”
The chair behind Giles scraped back as he rose to his feet. Thinking the pair were close to physically confronting each other, Buffy rushed over and quickly planted herself between them.
“Stop it! Just stop it!” Both halted, but continued to glare angrily at each other over her head. A long tense silence followed before finally they stepped back, making a visible effort to calm down.
Satisfied that they weren’t going to start again, Buffy turned away with a relieved puff of breath and walked over to stand beside Willow.
Reaching out a supportive hand, Willow quickly squeezed her friend’s fingers before asking, “What do you wanna do?”
Buffy dipped her fair head then moved to perch on the edge of the nearest study table. “I-I don’t know,” she admitted hoarsely, then looked up, her weary expression laced with an almost desperate insistence. “What happened to Angel wasn’t his fault.”
“Yeah, but what happened to Ms. Calendar and- and Cordy is.” Two pairs of eyes turned toward Xander to stare at him in disbelief. Giles shoved clenching hands into his pant’s pockets, his expression unreadable. He watched Buffy hop jerkily off the table.
“That wasn’t Angel!” Although conviction could be heard in her voice, neither one of them missed the flicker of uncertainty that dilated her eyes.
For once, the automatic soothing reflex that usually kicked in with regards to Buffy- especially when showing signs of distress was strangely missing and Xander continued on doggedly. “You can paint this any way you want. But the way I see it is that you just wanna forget all about their murders so you can get your boyfriend back.”
Taking a step back, her face tight with shock, Buffy shook her head, eyes filling quickly with tears. After attempting to reply, she finally gave up and swiftly turned away to head out of the library.
Xander swallowed down the flare of guilt and held his ground. “Wake up and smell the blood, Buffy! Not like you could miss it ‘cos there’s enough of it spilling around lately.” He called after her, adding matter-of-factly, “Whether you put the soul back or not, Angelus will still be in there.”
She spun on her heel and glared at him, denial rife on her pallid face. When he stared back unrepentantly, his mouth a pinched slash across his equally pale face, she turned stricken eyes towards Giles, who had frozen to the spot. “Tell him it’s not true, Giles!” Her tremulous voice rose in volume when her Watcher looked away. “TELL HIM!”
With a shaky breath, Giles finally looked directly into her tear-drenched eyes and spoke, his words almost too low to be heard. “I…I’m sorry, Buffy. I can’t,” flinching at the gasp of pain that instantly escaped her whitened lips.
“You’re wrong. Both of you. Wrong!”
With a stifled sob, she swiveled on her heel and ran out of the library, leaving a deathly silence behind her.
“You planned this all along, didn’t you?” Spike shook his head, admiration warring with disgust.
Angelus shot a cold look towards the reclining blonde vampire, unreadable eyes flickering as they moved to rest briefly on Drusilla, who simply smiled back. Her eyes glittered mischievously when Spike added; “Little bit’d have had to be willing for it to work. Don’t know how you managed that.”
His lip curled. “I mean, she’d have to be seriously kooked in the head to wanna be stuck around you for more than five seconds,” glancing pointedly up at Dru. He couldn’t hold back the satisfied grin when the older vampire scowled and turned his back on him.
“Keep your nose out of my business, boy”. The growled warning only caused his grin to stretch wide. Taking advantage of weaknesses was usually Angelus’ bag, but it looked for once like Spike had struck lucky. It was a damned good feeling, and to let such an opportunity pass him by would’ve been a crime.
Ignoring the signs of tension in the air, Spike went on. “Got your own little Happy Meal to take for the trip of an unlifetime – she DOES know the little details, I take it?” he asked curiously. Angelus remained silent, seemingly intent on the stone demon.
Relaxing back in his wheelchair Spike’s head tilted to one side, coming to rest against Dru’s bony hip. Nuzzling closer, he took a brief moment to figure out how to pry the information out.
Sod it. Never one to mince his words, he just outright asked.
“How didja do it?” He kept his posture loose when Angelus abruptly swiveled to face him, and he lifted a shoulder in an easy shrug. “Can’t blame me for askin, mate’. The chit was sobbin’ like she’d lost ‘er granny a coupla days ago. What changed?”
“Daddy did!” Dru’s high voice suddenly pealed through the thick silence and Spike looked up, startled. “He played a game,” she sighed blissfully adding; “I always loved them.” Then a grimace of distaste twisted her features as she eyed her Sire. “This game was just for her. I wouldn’t have liked it, anyway. Ugh.”
Spike frowned up at her in confusion – then his eyes widened with sudden clarity and he turned to stare at him in awe. “You shysty bastard!” An impressed grin tugged at his lips. Seeing the glint of smugness that flickered to life in Angelus’ eyes, he instantly wanted to quash it. “Thinking about it though, you had enough practice; what with havin’ it for so long.” It worked.
But it didn’t make him feel any better.
The cloud of doom that had hovered over him the past week dropped like a clammy, suffocating veil, and settled sickly in his gut. It seemed that he’d underestimated his Sire’s abilities in the area of intelligence. Ruddy great.
Several boring minutes passed, and fed up of watching Dru gaze adoringly at Angelus, who absently tapped his fingers against his mouth as he surveyed Acathla, Spike spun round and headed out of the room.
He had to do something to stop that wank wrecking his future.
But what? Right now he hadn’t a clue.
While his hands expertly handled the wheelchair, his head spun faster than the spokes as he feverishly mulled over various ways to get him and Dru out of the shit that was sure to start flying.