Authors: Christine
Co-author: LelaRose

Summary: AU. Set in a future where humanity has taken a nose dive, and it's a kill or be killed world plagued with poverty and nasty things waiting around every corner to harm you. Buffy is a bounty hunter, known for her beauty, strength, agility, and cunningness. She has something akin to slayer strength, but it's not the PTB that gives her supernatural power, it's the beast that rages within her.


The phrase, ‘Kill or Be Killed’ was trite, clichéd, and all too true.

Humanity lived on, but not in the grand civilization once prophesied by scholars, poets, and world-leaders alike. No one was entirely sure how things got so bad, though the theories were as varied as they were prolific. Some say it was because of the arrogance of the human race, some because the world decided to fight back against the destruction humans inflicted not only on the plants, animals, and atmosphere, but on themselves, as well.

To some, it was because the Prophecy of Time had been thwarted, though what that prophecy was, no one could really say. Others insisted it was the natural evolution of mankind – to become what they once were, and to be hunted by the strongest of their species. Others, still, insisted that this was a test by God, and only those worthy could ascend to the next level. Whatever that next level was.

In the end, as she crept down the alleyway, silent and invisible, Buffy didn’t care. This was the world. Deal. She did.

She dealt with the rapists who killed her mother and sister; she dealt with the drugs that took a dear friend away from her – one she was forced to kill to save the rest of her friends’ lives. She dealt with the overgrown rats and the people who fed off them.

The criminals that ran rampant through the streets of every city in every corner of the world…there was a mythical place said to be beautiful, green and temperate, with fresh water and clean food. No one knew where that place was, and Buffy didn’t believe it any more than she did the reasons for humanity’s fall. It was just the way things were, and making up stories to ease a world that was cruel and harsh and desolate didn’t help anything or anyone.

“I know you’re there,” she called in a soft voice. “It’ll go easier on you if you just come out.”

The laugh was cold, cruel, and not from one man, but from several. Perfect, Buffy thought with a feral grin. Play time.

They attacked all at once, falling from the sky as if they were avengers, dropping to the ground in a circle around her. Large, and not entirely human, they looked at her with hunger dilating their gray-white eyes, salivating at the mere presence of her. Predators; scraping the bottom of humanity, finally finding something worthy to kill, destroy…and eat.

“You’re not the top anymore,” Buffy promised, standing perfectly still as she watched the man directly in front of her.

“What do you know?” the leader demanded. His eyes glowed, a mouthful of jagged teeth gleamed in the dim moonlight. “You want it as much as we do.”

The smile she sent him gave the being pause. Buffy continued to watch his eyes, listening for anything more from the other half dozen surrounding her. He wanted to ask what she meant, Buffy could tell; the moment when he paused told her all she needed to know. He wanted to ask her what she meant by those words.

Instead, he looked to his comrades, and they attacked. Buffy was ready for them. With grace and skill – both from inborn talent and hours of long practice – she pulled her sword from the scabbard on her back, and sliced through the closest being’s arm. He screamed and fell back, but Buffy ignored him.

The rest paused, torn…predators who preyed on the weak and old…and injured. Scavengers who took whatever they could get, even if it was from one of their own. Two who happened to be closest to the injured being turned from Buffy to him, attacking; tearing at flesh and bone, eating as wild animals do when on the hunt. Buffy ignored them, too.

The remaining four lunged for her, feral eyes blazing red in the darkness. With ease and dexterity, she cut her way through them, leaving them bloody and limbless for their comrades to have, and continued forward. To the small, scared child they were protecting.

Protecting, not for the child’s sake, but for theirs. A tender, juicy meal for their insatiable hunger. Crouching before the child, Buffy offered her hand, waited impatiently for the girl to take it. The chaos behind her continued, flesh tearing, growls of appeasement or warning echoing down the alleyway.

“We don’t have a lot of time,” Buffy said shortly, and simply picked up the girl when she didn’t move. One glance back the way she came told her that, while they seemed intent on their meal now, chances were slim that two fresh humans were going to be passed by.

“Hold on,” she instructed the crying child who looked like she’d seen better days, and who held a raggedy piece of material. Buffy looked at it again, frowning; it was a doll, or was supposed to be a doll, with long blonde hair and unusual golden eyes.

“Are you her?” The girl asked, as she obediently wrapped her arms tight around Buffy’s neck and her legs about her waist. She shoved the doll into Buffy’s face, and asked again, “Are you her?”

Not having any idea what the girl was talking about, Buffy absently patted her arm. “Not now,” she insisted.

Backing to the far wall, she took a small running start and leapt up, holding child and sword, and grabbed the top of the three-story building with one hand. Grunting, Buffy hauled herself, and her cargo, over the edge, and dropped to the rooftop. Alone, she could easily scale that distance, but with the added weight of the girl, no matter how scrawny she was, Buffy was out of breath.

“Must be the smog,” she muttered. Standing, she untangled the girl from her neck before the child choked her, and took her by the hand. “Where’s your mom?”


“Dad?” Another shrug. “Sister, brother, aunt, stranger off the street?” Nothing. “Where do you live?”

The girl pointed to the alleyway Buffy had so recently rescued her from, and her savior sighed. “Alight, alright, come on, then. I know where you can stay.”

It was a short walk across rooftops to the shelter where Buffy planned on taking the nameless child. Wrapping the child around her again, Buffy gracefully dropped to the ground, and quickly moved into the shadows as a group of self-appointed guards nosily marched by. Their drunken shouts at those few souls unlucky enough to be on the streets when they walked by, echoed off the grimy buildings.

Waiting until they were down the street, Buffy waved her hand over an unadorned door, one that looked like every other drab place in this city, and muttered a few words in the ancient language of her mother.

“Willow!” Buffy called as she opened the door, child still clinging to her back like some kind of…clingy thing. Closing and locking the door, adding her own brand of magical protection to the entrance, Buffy waited while the redheaded leader emerged from the shadows, arrow cocked and aimed at Buffy’s heart.

“Buffy!” she said, lowering the bow and arrow and racing forward. “What happened?” She paused and looked at the child still hugging her savior. “And when did you have a child?”

Snorting Buffy lowered the nameless child to the floor, sheathing her sword. “Saved her from a gang of Crawlers. Take care of her?” Willow nodded, and Buffy asked, “How’s the food supply?”

“Running low, but we should be able to manage for another week.”

“Good,” Buffy nodded, and turned back to the door, waving her hand over the metal and wood construct, and muttering a few words to release the protection spell. “I’ll be back.”

Willow watched her friend – protector – exit, heard those strange words once more, and turned back to the wide-eyed child. Another mouth to feed…Willow had no idea how she was going to manage that, but hadn’t said anything to Buffy. The blonde did enough for them, protecting them here, finding food and medical supplies, seeing that the neighborhood was relatively safe. Willow wasn’t about to complain – or add to her burdens.

“Nicole,” she called to the closest person. “Take…” to the child she asked in a soft voice, “What’s your name, honey?”

The girl’s eyes were glued to the door Buffy had recently gone through, and when the nice woman asked her that, she said the first thing that came to mind. “Buffy.”

“No, honey,” Willow laughed. “That was Buffy – she saved you. What’s your name?”

“It’s her,” the girl whispered, holding her doll up for Willow’s inspection but not taking her eyes from the door. “Look, it’s her.”

Willow obediently looked at the doll, and frowned. “Who is this?”

“She’s the one,” the girl insisted, still staring at the door with something skin to hero-worship. “My momma told me about her. See? She’s the one.”

“The one what?” Where this child’s mother was, or anyone else to take care of her, Willow would ask later. For now, she was intensely curious as to why the child thought her doll was Buffy…and who she thought Buffy was.

“She’s the one.” The girl repeated, adamant.

Willow let it drop, but vowed to ask Giles about it the next time he came round to ‘collect’ their protection money. He had all the remaining books in this town, so he had to know what the child was talking about. Right?

“Do you have a name?” Willow asked, waving Nicole off and taking the girl with her to their makeshift kitchen.

“Buffy,” she said with a decisive nod.

Sighing, Willow let it go. Apparently, Buffy had another admirer in this child; Willow wasn’t surprised. Buffy had a great many admirers in this neighborhood, not just for what she did for them, but for what she was. Oh, the older woman never talked about it, but Willow knew that Buffy wasn’t like them. She was something more…what, Willow didn’t know, but it wasn’t exactly human.


Buffy leaned against the heavy door she’d just exited.

She felt like the weight of the world rested on her slender shoulders, bearing her down with all its might until she broke. She let out a sigh; although Willow hadn’t said anything else on the matter, Buffy knew they were running low on food – they always were. With another mouth to feed they would need to restock not only their food supply but medicines as well. Plus, the child would need clothing. Although their little rag tag group was high on determination and dedication to save the surviving humans, they were low on cash and reserves.

Buffy massaged the back of her neck, closing her eyes for a brief moment as she willed everything away. She was so tired. Bone tired. The nights seemed to get longer and longer, with more Night Crawlers out than there had been. And still, she was alone. Oh, Willow ran the house well enough, but no one else had Buffy’s strength, skill, or dexterity. Not even Gunn, who almost took her once – she’d been tired and weary, gone three days without sleep and little food, and he’d surprised her.

He was training their new recruits now, taking over when Buffy couldn’t be there. But she missed him, missed his wise-ass remarks, missed his advice – sometimes sage, sometimes just odd. And she missed his arms. But whatever they had was long over, and he was with Willow now.

At least the redhead was there, fighting with him, taking care of the same family. While Buffy…

Buffy was alone. She was always alone. Everything seemed so hopeless when she had no one to tell her things would be okay – not that she ever shared with Gunn, but it was nice to know that if she’d had, he’d have listened. It was, in fact, one of the many, many reasons they weren’t together any longer. That, and the more they were together, the more she found that his touch…repulsed her.

It wasn’t specific to him – any man who touched Buffy repulsed her. To the point where she thought she’d go mad if they didn’t stop. Male touches itched, burned, and made her want to vomit with the feel of them so close to her. She was convinced, or mostly so, that there was something wrong with her, but hadn’t ever been able to determine what that something was. Only that she couldn’t stand to be touched by any man. Ever.

But that was a matter for another time.

Now was for now – the past was dead and unchangeable, and the future would be whatever she made it into. She’d do whatever she had to to see that her family survived; and that included fighting the Crawlers that scavenged the land. Except, that no matter how many of the Night Crawlers she killed, more took their place. The city seemed to be over run with them, with more arriving from other places – why she had no idea – and more being made every night.

The only salvation was the day; the Crawlers hated daylight. It burned and itched, driving them mad with fear and hallucinations. Easy targets for even the weakest of humans to eliminate.

Buffy pulled the flyer out of her pocket and looked at it again. It was worn and stained, a rumpled piece of paper that was one of the few left in this world. But then it was government issued, and they had all the resources.

She spent what little spare time she had during the days and nights reading the Reward flyer. Willow had run across it while doing some research on the Network, an expensive network of computers and digital information many of the former world governments used to spread their propaganda, the news they wanted you to know, and, most importantly to Buffy, bounties.

With the government now coalesced into a loose and corrupt single World Government, the Network had deteriorated into both more and less. Hackers now ruled the Underground Information World, and it was one of the main ways to communicate with others who sought to simply survive. Oh, there were still those stupid enough – or optimistic enough – to think that they could change things, but those were few and far between.

Buffy looked again at the single page in her hand. The reward was for the capture of Angelus, known as the ‘Angel of Death’. Wanted dead or alive.

There wasn’t a picture of him, apparently no one knew what he looked like, but the site gave a vague description: White male, 6’1”, approximately 200 lbs., dark brown hair and eyes. Preferred clothing: Black. Well, Buffy snorted, that was everyone’s preferred color of clothing – colors were reserved for only the very rich, those who could afford such niceties.

He always wore a Claddagh ring – again, no one knew why – and he had a tattoo on his right shoulder. The tattoo was described only as a pair of mysterious glowing green eyes that, the paper read on, may or may not have supernatural powers.

How a tattoo could have supernatural powers, Buffy didn’t know, but she was curious as to why the Govies would admit to such things. If they wanted him so badly, she supposed it was possible that they’d give any information out that could facilitate his recapture. But Buffy had heard rumors that Angelus worked for the government. So why give out information that they most likely wanted to remain hidden?

Buffy had Willow look up everything she could find out about Angelus on the Network, even going so far as to enlist the aid of several other hackers for intel. Even with that, Willow hadn’t been able to find much. There had been a lot of supposed sightings of him, but so far Willow had come up empty handed. The only thing Buffy was able to learn was that, of the over 50 bounty hunters that had attempted to capture him, all had failed. 

Buffy was determined not to fail; she needed the bounty on Angelus’ head. The life and survival of her friends, their family, depended on it.

Pushing away from the door, she wearily continued her patrol. She didn’t have time to fantasize about what she’d do with the money if she caught the ‘Angel of Death’. She had more pressing things to worry about; like patrolling the streets. She was the only thing that stood between the Crawlers and the humans, and she’d be damned if she’d let the Crawlers claim the night.


“What is it with you people?” he demanded. “All I want is to be left alone.”

With that, Angelus viciously snapped the man’s neck, and let his lifeless body drop to the filth-covered ground. It had been a clean, quick kill, and not at all his usual method. Tonight, however, he didn’t have time to enjoy himself. Or maybe he just didn’t want to. He looked contemptuously down at the dead body – no, that probably wasn’t it. The body, already forgotten as Angelus slipped out of the alleyway, was just another bounty hunter, this one mediocre at best.

Just one of many trying to collect the astronomical bounty placed on his head; placed there by those that had created him. He gave a derisive snort, pulled out a cigarette – one of the good kind that was expensive and difficult to find – and lighted it. The government had spent millions making him into what he was today, and now they were paying just as many millions to have him killed, captured, or anything in between.

It was rather ironic.

Angelus was made into what he now was, created to be the ultimate Super-Soldier, honed as a ruthless, unmerciful creature that delighted in torturing his victims. He had excelled. He was the best there was, and had never failed a mission. He’d never been caught, and, although he was known as the ‘Angel of Death’, no one had ever seen his face – and lived.

Physically strong, stronger than even the scientists that had created him ever imagined he’d become, Angelus was also smart – and he didn’t think it had much to do with the drugs they’d given him every day until his escape. Whatever they’d done to him, their experiments had surpassed their wildest imaginings. Not only was he physically strong, but he also seemed immune to pain.

And he had been through a lot of pain: the scientists, if such a term could be applied to so sadistic creatures as they, had put him through painful test after painful test, measuring his nerve reaction, his mental state, even his reaction time immediately afterwards. The only thing they hadn’t tested was his sexual abilities – but Lilah, the whore of the base, had seen to that. Even now, he wanted to wash the bitch’s stench off him, and she hadn’t used him in months.

Still, he barely registered the pain.

And those who had created him, those who had made him, had thought they’d made the perfect killing machine. The pinnacle warrior. And they had; except for one small detail, even they, with all their tests and notes, and everything else they did – and tried to do – had missed.

Angelus couldn’t be controlled. He possessed an unstable and dangerous personality that couldn’t be controlled. Wouldn’t be controlled. He was who he was, and he worked for no one. Not the Govies, not the Hunters, no one.

Oh, in the beginning the government had dominated him; or tried to as best they could. Despite all that, Angelus had wrecked havoc and destruction at their will. He had been their token; murdering, torturing, and destroying at their order. At their whim. Unfortunately, for the government at least, he had tired of being at their disposal.

Tired of being a slave to the power hungry and desperate. 

Angelus was highly intelligent, and with each assignment he completed for them the more he learned. Learned about himself, his abilities, his own mind – more importantly, the more he learned about them. About the government, the scientists that created him. Now, he knew too much for the Govies to ever let him leave.

Angelus rebelled, and his masters hadn’t taken kindly to that; first they tried to reaffirm their power over him with drugs, even going so far as to implant a device in his brain in an effort to keep him under their control.

Nothing worked. Mentally, he was simply too strong to be theirs, to be controlled.

They tried to harness his strength, somehow take from him that which they’d bequeathed; when they were unable to, they doped him up, locking him away in a prison cell specially designed for him, where he was kept drugged so he wouldn’t escape. Eventually, they wanted to create another like him – just as strong physically, but weaker mentally, able to be manipulated as they deemed fit, not as their subject did.

For years, Angelus had languished in what he considered hell – but what was hell except the absence of hope? And that was what life, existence, in his cell was, the absence of hope. He would still be there, rotting away in hell, if the World Government that created him hadn’t had a mini coup themselves, virtually collapsing for months. He’d escaped when his prison facility had fallen under siege, the power cut for days. He’d needed only a minute.

Of course, now that he was free, Angelus wasn’t exactly sure what he planned on doing. Freedom wasn’t free if he had to endure these constant attacks by the bounty hunters his former masters sent after him.

Of course, what good was freedom if his private hell had followed him? There was still a lack of hope. 

Angelus leaped up, scaling the wall in the blink of an eye as he made his circuitous route towards his latest hideout. One day…one day he planned to have a nice mountain cabin, isolated in the woods, far away from civilization where it was just he and nature. No drugs, no Crawlers, no other strange mutates the plague created. No one trying to kill him, trying to duplicate him. Nothing but him and the quiet.

By the Great Being, he was tired. Not just from this night’s invitation only fight, but from life. And yet he fought to preserve his. Fought and killed to do just that.

It was just as well the Govies were so busy trying to stabilize what remained of the human population, trying to control the plagues that, even now, ravaged mankind and the menace of the Night Crawlers. They weren’t sending their best after him, merely outsourcing it to a bunch of second-rate bounty hunters.

In a true panic to recapture him, the government placed an enormous bounty on his head. Each day he avoided their grasp, the same government that made him increased the bounty. It was now so high, that more and more men and women were willing to risk their lives in the futile attempt to collect it. Each one of them had paid for it with their lives: some quickly like the poor fool behind him, and others...not so quickly.

With them, he took time to torment and torture before killing, but tonight he didn’t torture his victim. Something was coming for him; something was calling to him. All day he’d sensed it. Some sort of pull. It was as if that something was calling him to come closer, to tame that which raged within, to soothe that which roared to be free.

He ignored it, though the call was seductive.


Buffy was alert as she scanned the streets around her. She knew that the night was filled with violence; it was hiding now but it was there. She could feel it vibrating, waiting to strike.

Stopping under a broken streetlamp, she scented the air, but there was nothing there. And yet, for some reason, tonight her skin was tingling. It was a sensation she’d never felt before, almost as if the night itself was caressing her skin, soft and alluring. She looked up and down the deserted street; its calmness was deceptive, and she could feel the eyes watching her. Some indifferent, a couple friendly because they knew who she was, most unfriendly. She was used to it. This was her life.

She thought back to her carefree life before the world literally went to Hell. She missed her past life, every part of it. She missed her mother and her little sister most. She remembered that last argument she had with them; Dawn had worn one of her shirts without her permission. Buffy had been so angry over it, and had confronted Dawn; their mom had defended Dawn, even when presented with the evidence.

But Dawn was the baby, and mom always took up for her no matter what Dawn did; in that same way, their mom had scolded Buffy, as if she were the insolent child. There was no reason to be so mean to Dawn; it was just a blouse. Angry and hurt, she’d told her mother and Dawn how she couldn’t wait to get away from their home and the two of them; she hated living there with them. Two days later, a new wave of plague hit, and they were both dead.

Buffy still had nightmares about walking in the house and finding their naked, lifeless, bloody bodies. After the Plague, the Crawlers had attacked.

Every time she thought about saying those awful words to them, she died a little inside. She’d never had a chance to make up with them, never had a chance to tell them that she loved them…and now she never would. Willow, Amy, Larry, and Xander had become her family. Gunn and his family had later been added. If it wasn’t for their support, well, she probably would’ve physically survived, but Buffy wasn’t certain her mental state would’ve been stable.

Yet, they all had someone special in their lives, someone that they loved. Willow had Gunn, and Larry had Anya, Amy had the admiration of several of Gunn’s gang. And yet Buffy had only them, only those she watched out for, watched over – and still, she’d never really fit in. She’d never found anyone – not even Gunn, and she had loved him – who could come close to matching her needs. Her passions, despite her revulsion over a male touch.

Over the years she had tried to find someone special in her life. Someone to fill the void left by the loss of her family; someone to love. She thought it would be Gunn, but it didn’t work out. Then she’d met Riley; he was a captain in the governmental army fighting the Night Crawlers. Riley had loved her, she knew that, and as such had tried to make him that one special person in her life; tried so hard to make it work, to love him. She tried to be the woman she thought he wanted.

She couldn’t be; it wasn’t her. It became too hard to always suppress who and what she was – Gunn had never tried to do that, even if it hadn’t worked out between them. When she broke up with Riley, he’d called her cold…frigid. Buffy couldn’t even deny his words.

What was the use when both Gunn’s and Riley’s touches hurt whenever they tried to initiate something? When the thing within her, the thing that often screamed out her passions, crying for release, would roar in anger?

A tear trailed down her cheek, and she angrily brushed it away, furious with herself and this rare show of weakness.

The cold breeze ruffled her bangs, and her head jerked up. She felt it again. That tingle, something along her skin, touching nerves and…what was it? Whatever it was, the beast within her reared its head as if it, too, could scent the air for the source of such strangeness. Buffy moved away from the street lights, and buried her past deep in her subconscious – where it belonged.

Once more, she scented the night: Crawlers, humans, slaves to drugs or alcohol or flesh. There were the government troops who mostly left this area alone – too dangerous for them, apparently. It was one of the many things she and Riley had disagreed on. These people were worth saving, they weren’t already gone. Riley hadn’t thought so, and agreed with most of the other Govies who wanted to torch the place and start from scratch.

It was – for her – the reason things didn’t last between them – well, that and his touch repulsed her. Her lack of response with him, that was Riley. She tried, but he did little for her. She shook that off, too. This wasn’t a night for reminiscing, but for surviving.

There was something different in the air tonight; something dark, heavy, something deadly…something that made her skin, her body tingle. The very essence of her reached out and grabbed…what?

Letting her instincts take over, Buffy followed the tingle that seemed to be pulling her in its direction. She stopped at the entrance of an alley and peered down the dark street; in the shadows she thought she saw a body, still and alone, and went to investigate. As she got closer, the body came into view; it was crumpled in the dirty alley like so much garbage – killed and left.

Buffy stooped down, but didn’t bother to check for a pulse; there wasn’t one and she knew that before entering the alleyway. Instead, she rolled the dead man onto his back, briefly looking at him, but also checking his pockets for money or something equally as useful. Buffy pocketed what little money he had, and didn’t feel at all guilty for it. He was dead – her family wasn’t.

Buffy scoffed at the dead bounty hunter, wondering what happened to his weapons. “Seems like you met your match.”

She quickly inspected him, looking for Crawler wounds. But this wasn’t a Night Crawler kill. For one, he was still in once piece – a dead give away – no, this had been a clean kill. The bounty hunter’s neck had been snapped – quickly and neatly.

Again, she looked around the alley, but there was nothing that could give a clue as to his killer. She stood up and left, heading back into the night. She didn’t know what she was following, that tingle she supposed, but some instinct was guiding her, leading her.

The call was challenging…seductive. She was powerless to resist it, had to follow it.

Buffy let it lead her, let the call, an alluring siren’s call, take her wherever it demanded. She laughed when she thought that sirens always led those that followed them to their deaths – Giles had taught her that, and many other things, after she’d threatened him for daring to collect protection money on her family.

No, the siren’s analogy didn’t bother Buffy; she faced death every day. If death was her calling she’d answer. Running wasn’t her style.

Turning a corner, she found herself in yet another alley. Something was different about this one, however – her skin still tingled, stronger now, and her senses were going into complete overload. The alley seemed empty, but she knew that looks were deceiving, just as she knew there was something, or someone, else in there with her. She walked deeper in the darkness, and knew it was here.

Whatever the seductive call she’d been following was, she knew it was in this alley. Slowly turning in a circle, her eyes took in every corner, ears alert to every sound – stopping in mid-turn, she waited. Paused.

Had she heard something? Felt something? Then her eyes went straight up, and that’s where she saw him. Standing on top of the low roof, silent as the night, looking large, dark, and menacing as he stared down at her from his advantage.

Her eyes locked with his, and Buffy immediately knew who he was. The Angel of Death, her prey. Fiery green eyes locked with cold chocolate ones, and she watched as his full sensuous lips quirked up in a challenging smirk.

“Are you by any chance looking for me, little one?” he mocked. His voice was rich, smooth and sexy, and sent a shiver of need racing through her. The thing within her clawed to be free, to take what that voice offered and never look back.

Buffy shrugged nonchalantly even as her body went into full fight mode. “And why would I be looking for you?” she shot back, body coiling for their inevitable fight. And still her nerves raced with his nearness, her blood called out to him.

Angelus, for that’s who it had to be, simply laughed. “Maybe you’re one of the stupid fucks that think they can turn me in to collect my bounty.”

“No, I’m not one of the stupid fucks that think they can defeat you and collect your bounty, sexy. I know I’m the person that is going to defeat you and collect your bounty.”

Buffy bristled when Angelus’ laughter floated down to her once more. “You really think you can defeat me?”

“Why don’t you come down here and find out?” Buffy challenged.

Angelus stared at Buffy in disbelief. He’d never met someone this bold; most of the bounty hunters that tried to capture him never did so upfront. They tried to shoot him from a distance, or sneak up on him, or drug his food or drink, as if he couldn’t scent the poison. But this one…she was beautiful, bold, and sexy.

Immediately, he knew who she was, rumors about her circulated with the same intensity as those of him did, and everyone seemed to have a different name for her.

Some called her The Golden One, The Beautiful One, The Night Angel, Heaven’s Scourge. The Night Crawlers called her Bitch. Angelus’ mouth quirked up at the last name; if he had his choice he’d call her the Beautiful Golden One. For that’s what she was, even in the filthy night. Beautiful, golden, and that thing within him, the rage the Govies built into him, wanted her.

Small, to be sure, but the inherent power that surrounded her like a cape called to him, beckoned even as it warned him. And he’d noticed that her eyes were green…like the tattoo that he’d had on his shoulders for years. The one he couldn’t remember acquiring.

“What’s wrong, big boy? Scared of little ole me?” Buffy taunted, smiling up at him.

“I don’t believe in keeping a lady waiting.” He paused, watched her from the rooftop, “Even for her death.”

At those words Angelus simply stepped off the roof, his arms opened, down to the alley his long black leather coat floating around him like black wings. Buffy was completely caught off guard; even the Night Crawlers didn’t move so gracefully and effortlessly. In fact, in all her experience, she’d only known one person to do so, and that was her.

They both stood and stared at each other. Buffy had to admit that the reports she’d read – and the rumors she’d heard – about his appearance were accurate. He was beautiful. Tall and lean, well over six feet; he had a broad forehead, deep brown eyes framed by impossibly long lashes, high slashing cheekbones, and full sensuous lips. His black hair was a vivid contrast to his alabaster complexion.

And why she noticed all this, Buffy couldn’t begin to say.

It was there; Buffy could feel it, sense it in the night and from him. That pull she’d been experiencing; By The Divine, it was coming from him. He was the one who made her skin tingle, who sent out the call of seduction she’d been helpless to ignore. Her eyes glazed over only for a second as she lost herself in that exquisite feeling, but then she found her bearings.

She wasn’t used being disoriented in front of an adversary – in front of anyone, actually, and didn’t understand why her senses, her body, were rioting in the presence of this man standing in front of her.

He slowly walked towards her, and Buffy narrowed her eyes, watching him intently, but he made no move to strike. He stopped only inches from her, and she took a deep breath and stepped away from him – out of the web he created to ensnare her. Hated she had to do that, show a weakness she didn’t admit to.

He gave a sardonic smirk at that move. “What’s wrong, little girl? Do I scare you?”

Buffy scoffed, immediately realizing her mistake. “I can see someone is certainly full of himself.”

“Do you know who I am?”

“A guy with a high opinion of his worth?” she quipped. “The only thing I care about is that bounty on your head.”

Angelus circled her, sizing up the beautiful and petite woman. He could tell she was in full battle mode. He was her target, and her eyes were locked on him, her attention solely on him. Good. He hated competing for attention.

He tsked, but his eyes never left hers. “Why don’t you go pick on someone your own size,” he taunted, brown eyes flashing with a spark of gold.

Buffy didn’t let the taunt bother her. He wasn’t the first opponent that had allowed her diminutive size be their downfall – probably wouldn’t be the last, either.

“What’s wrong? Is the big bad afraid the wittle girl is going to kick his ass?”

Angelus nostrils flared at the set down and challenge. Buffy’s green eyes had turned to shards of ice as they held his, flecks of gold lighting the mesmerizing green. For a moment, he let the beast within him roar, call out to the woman before him; for a moment, he let himself just stare at her.

But then that moment was past, and Angelus decided it was time to see if she lived up to her legend. “Come on, little girl; show me what you got.”

The sky was black; the thick night surrounded them, and the air was heavy with soot, pollution, and the hopelessness that often colored the world. It was only the two of them, the street was predictably deserted at this time of night, but even those who thrived on humans, who scammed, ate, or toyed with them were notably absent from the scene.

It was hardly surprising: they both had reputations as vicious hunters, but with this pair, there was something more. No one wanted to cross them; it was as simple as that. He was tall, mean, and deadly; she was small, beautiful, just as deadly, and even the Crawlers knew that there was something...off with them.

Or maybe it was the fact that, for years, they had been at the top of their game. They never lost, always caught their bounty, never, ever, made a mistake. But now that they faced each other, now that destiny had finally brought them together, the winner would truly be master.

“Another hunter, eh?” He growled as they circled each other, even as he felt the animal within him calling...howling...for the beautiful being before him. He wanted her with a need foreign to him, distracting him to the point of madness.

“You’re prettier than the last dozen or so,” Angelus admitted with a leer; his attraction to the woman was unusual and instant, though he ignored that.

“I’m also better,” she told him with a wicked grin.

“Yes, I’ve heard…The Golden One, The Beautiful One, The Night Angel, Heaven’s Scourge…you go by many names, little one. But are you good enough to take out the ‘Angel of Death’?” he laughed, and it was a hard, bitter, menacing sound. “You’re good, I’ll grant you that. But, no, I don’t think so.”

With that, he lunged, listening to the beast clawing inside to tear and rend, to mate. Mate? Angelus was so surprised when he realized what he’d been thinking, that Buffy’s fist caught him unaware and he flew backwards into the wall.

Shaking it off, Angelus stared at the blonde before him. Long golden hair tied back in a heavy braid, flashing green eyes that glowed bright in the close night. She was good, smooth, fast, powerful...truly unlike any he’d met before. And he wanted her.

Confident in his own abilities, Angelus waited for her next attack. She didn’t disappoint, but again he was taken aback by her agility, and found himself using more of his focus and energy than he’d wanted to. And more aroused than he was prepared for.


Well, there were two ways to combat this, he reasoned. One was to simply take what he wanted...which would no doubt garner him a black eye, probably a broken nose, and several bruised ribs...or tease it out of her. The first was direct, dominant, and easy. And highly arousing.

The second was more fun.

Controlling that which raged within was harder than he’d have liked, but Angelus didn’t take the time to wonder why. Why the beast was so out of control with this beautiful woman...it wasn’t like he hadn’t had his share of women, beautiful and multi-talented, in his time. Still, he forced his iron-will on the beast, still fighting the woman before him, trading blow for blow with her, and wanting her more and more with every moment that passed.

“Your name suits you,” he purred into her ear as he held her against the filthy brick wall, forcing her arm higher, but not breaking it. “You are deadly.”

Flinging her head back, Buffy caught him in the nose, the satisfying crunch making her smile. “I know,” she retorted, arm swinging in a controlled arc, splitting his lip.

Laughing, he retaliated in kind. But it was a game now, and they both knew it. What changed, neither could say, nor did they fully understand. But something had, and it was enough to cause Buffy to smile at him, anticipation and something else. Whatever that something was, it broke the restraints Angelus placed on the thing raging inside him.

“Wanna play rough?” he asked, blocking another swing – she certainly had the power to back up her rep.

“My favorite kind,” she smiled, leaping up to grab an ancient metal ladder, what purpose it had she couldn’t even begin to guess. Swinging on it, she flipped backwards, somersaulting over him. Kicking out, Buffy knocked him flat. She quickly reached for the cuffs, titanium and way expensive, but before she had a chance to snap them on him, Angelus was up again, spinning around.

“Nice,” he approved, waiting, watching.

“It’s all part of the package,” she smiled. He swung out, then: no matter how the thing inside wanted her, called out for her, he was the dominant. He was the master, better than all the rest. And even though this captivating woman met him point for point, he needed to control her.

“I see that,” he agreed, splitting her lip as she had his.

Smiling around the blood, she spat at him, laughing a little at the surprised look on his face as the blood hit the corner of his mouth. She was unprepared for the heat that entered his eyes as his tongue peaked out, licking her blood off his lips. She didn’t even want to think what that small – really gross – but oh, wow, incredibly sensual move did to her.

The fire within raged to life, licking and growing; growling for release.

She wanted him on such an intense and primal level, Buffy thought she’d explode. Not one for casual sex in an alley, she was even more surprised when she found herself wanting just that. Staring at him in stupefaction, wondering just what else that tongue could do, she missed the answering look in his eyes, and the quickness in his step.

Before she could blink Angelus had her pressed against the wall, the tongue she’d just been admiring dancing with hers. The kiss slammed through her with such heat, she thought she’d explode. Resistance never entered her mind, and she kissed him back with every ounce of need she had in her.

There was no coldness, no frigidness. It was pure primal heat; it clawed in her, wanting to break free and consume.

His hands, large and cool, held her head as he plunged, taking, taking, and Buffy knew she’d never felt anything like this in her life. Maybe it wasn’t her, came the fuzzy thought as Angelus’ mouth licked its way down her neck, sucking at her pounding pulse point. Maybe it was them, Gunn and Riley, not her.

Arching into him, Buffy whimpered, swore she felt his smile against her throat. Those cool fingers cupped her breast, lifting her out of the molded corset she wore when tracking her prey, mouth leaning in for a taste. When his lips closed over one needy nipple, Buffy thought she’d die, never had she felt anything like this. It was as if a charge raced over her skin, igniting her.

The next moments were a blur, desperate hands clutching his shoulders as Angelus lifted her against him, mouth seeking his, body wrapped around his. It was fast, hot, and furious. Never had Buffy thought sex could be like this. She wanted more.

Wrapping leather clad legs around his waist, she moved against his erection, feeling his hardness through their clothing, wanting to feel him without the layers separating them. How her pants ended up on the ground, Buffy never knew, but suddenly the fingers she’d already admired were spreading her legs. Flicking impatiently against her clit, driving her towards that elusive intangible she craved.

“Harder,” she whispered, clamping teeth around his earlobe and tugging. He growled, jerking back to look at her, and Buffy noted the change in his eyes. Gone was the brown, in its place was hot gold, and Buffy knew, not really understanding how she knew, that that gold matched her own eyes.

He said something then, but she wasn’t sure what – was it in the language of her mother? Was it the ancient language only she seemed to know since Joyce had died? Whatever he murmured, whatever he said to her, his mouth was once more on hers. He pressed her against the wall, hands cradling her head so she didn’t slam against the dirty brick, as her fingers tugged at the snap on his pants.

Freeing him, Buffy guided his length into her, sighing when they were joined. Complete. Moving against each other, Buffy rode him; where the impulse came from, the instinct, she didn’t know, but it was wonderful. Better than that. It was…perfection.

“Yes,” she murmured, and then, in her mother’s tongue, the words flowing easily. “Bite me.”

Whether he understood or not, Angelus’ mouth was on her neck, teeth pressing against her soft skin, breaking the skin, drawing blood. She screamed, orgasm slamming through her with such intensity, she thought she blacked out for a moment. But then she recognized what she was doing – biting Angelus in return.

Before she could stop herself, come to her senses, the mark was made, blood exchanged, and another shudder of pure pleasure raced through her as she climaxed again.

Long, long minutes later, she felt herself being lowered to the ground, gently, carefully, with a soft caress here and there, a murmured whisper of affection, a lingering kiss. Shaking her head, she reached for her pants, slid them on, looked up at Angelus.

Now what? She must’ve said that aloud, because the next things Buffy knew, he was kissing her again, a hard, greedy mating, and then he was gone. Leaving her there, still somewhat stupefied, and feeling his loss as keenly as she’d ever felt anything.

“It was only sex,” she muttered, stalking out of the now empty alleyway, pissed at herself for letting him go. “It was only sex.”

It was more than that, and she knew it – it was primal, a mating of bodies, timeless and passionate. The most exquisite thing she’d ever felt.


“It’s not funny,” she grumbled, glaring at Willow as the girl – also, apparently, Buffy – clung to her arm like a…well, Buffy wasn’t sure what she was like. But she clung, strong and sure in her hero’s strength, as Buffy swung her arm back and forth to the peel of childish laughter.

Something that hadn’t been heard in their home in…too long, way too long.

“Really?” Willow asked again, containing her mirth, poorly. “In the alley? Buffy!” the laughter burst forth. “I’m shocked! Well,” she admitted with a sly smirk, “Not really. Good for you, I say.”

“Willow!” But Buffy smiled now, too. “I’m supposed to capture him, remember? Huge reward, loads of money for medical supplies, food, and clothing?”

“Oh,” Willow nodded agreeably, “I remember. But the fact that you and he…” she gestured, mindful of the still giggling child who worshipped Buffy. “Not what I pictured when you said you were going after him.”

“Yes,” Buffy drawled. “Thank you.”

“So wait,” Willow took the younger Buffy off the elder’s arm and shooed her back into the designated playroom. Toys were scarce, but it was something, at least. “If you’re tracking him, why are you here?”

“Tracked him close by,” Buffy admitted. “Came to check up on my family.”

“We’re all fine,” Willow scolded. “You don’t have to worry about us so much. Okay, yes, you’re the strongest and fastest, and whatever, fine. We know that. But we can take care of ourselves while you capture the most dangerous criminal in recent memory.”

“No,” Buffy said quietly, “The most dangerous criminal was Xander.”

Willow shuddered at the name. Xander was human, one of them, a member of their family, and he’d gone mad. Grief over his wife’s death, and drugs he’d bought off a junkie had driven him to kill seven of them before Buffy stopped him; she threw him out the fourth story window. It’d broken her heart – Xander was a friend, a longtime companion who helped cook and clean, who taught the children to read, and who helped the adults with…pretty much everything.

Killing him to stop his slaughter had hit them all hard. Buffy the worst. She’d never forgiven herself for it, for not seeing what was happening sooner, for not somehow preventing Xander from killing his family.

“That wasn’t your fault,” Willow told her, as she had nearly every day for the past five years.

Buffy shrugged it away as if it didn’t matter as much as it still did. “The point is,” visibly forcing the memories into the back of her mind; into the locked box she kept all her failures, she grinned – feral, dangerous, predatory. “Angelus is mine.”

“Yes, apparently. The question is,” and that mischievous look was back in Willow’s eyes. “Will you be able to capture him, or simply screw him? Better,” and now she was laughing outright. “When you tie him up-”

“Willow!” Buffy’s scandalized voice was at odds with her own laugher. Oh, it felt good to laugh, to have something to laugh at, even if it was over herself. Shaking her head, Buffy picked up her weapons, adjusted those she hadn’t taken off when she entered the building, and waved over her shoulder.

“Use heavier chains next time, Buffy!” Willow called. “Maybe he won’t…get away.”

“Bitch,” Buffy muttered, but there was no malice in her voice as Willow’s laughter followed her out the door.


Meditation wasn’t working.

Killing the Crawlers that prowled the streets wasn’t working.

Evading – and killing – the all-too stupid government officials sent to kill him, wasn’t working.

Pounding the bounty hunters into the already blood stained ground wasn’t working.

In fact, nothing was. For days now, since his encounter with the beautiful and amazing bounty hunter, his Beautiful Golden one, Angelus hadn’t been able to do much but think of her. Dream of her. Want her.

It was driving him insane.

Worse, the thing within him wanted her, too. It howled and screamed, tracking her though Angelus knew she was tracking him. It wanted her, and a part of Angelus was willing to let it run wild; let it find her, have her, sate the insatiable need within him. Another part of him, the sane human part, dismissed finding her no matter that he’d tracked her to this place.

That other part of him wanted to protect her from the beast within, wanted to push her away from the animal he knew himself to be. Unfortunately, he hadn’t listened to that side of himself, and now Angelus was in a new city, not far from where they’d last met, debating whether to find her or not.

She was close by, he knew that. Her scent called to him, summoning him to her; as irresistible as a taste of paradise. His head jerked to the side, nostrils flaring. Opening brown eyes, Angelus scanned the area – was she hunting him? Drawn to him just as he was to her?

Sex in an alley wasn’t the way to deter such a woman, that Angelus knew – Buffy was as determined as she was beautiful, and the object of her focus was him. Turning him in for the reward? More of the passion they’d yet to fully explore? Both?

Standing with a fluid grace he was unconscious of, Angelus waited. The rooftop was lit only by the faint light of the stars, so very far away and useless to them on this hellhole of a planet. Artificial illumination was distant, in the remote reaches of the government-controlled areas of the city, and as accessible as the night stars.

There she was, light and passion, spice and heat, blocking all other scents from his mind – the stale odor of garbage, of rotting flesh and desperate longing, the pain and suffering this world of theirs employed. She was a bright spark, and he was as drawn to her now as he’d been on their first meeting.

So he waited, allowing her to catch up with him, allowing her to find him.

“Waiting for me?” she asked, leaping across the expanse between buildings. Close together as they were, she’d leapt straight up and over, landing with a smooth grace on his much taller building.

“Yes,” he answered honestly. “But I’m still not letting you take me in. I’m never going back – the government can fuck themselves for all I care, and they know that.”

Tilting her head to the side, Buffy stopped her approach. “Why tell me this?”

“Don’t know,” he shrugged. “Maybe,” and now he sent her a lightening fast smirk, heat and power and dominance. “Because I like you.”

“Hmm,” she grinned, a strange flutter in her belly. “And here I thought it was my good looks, fascinating smile, and charming approach to hunting.”

“That, too,” he smirked, but he made no attempt to avoid her as she stepped closer to where he waited.

Beast and man raged within, wanting to taste her again, wanting to screw her into submission, wanting to take comfort in her body, in her scent, in her passion and heat. Man won. He was never going back to the government; he’d die first. Beast won. He needed this woman.

When she leapt, he didn’t expect her mouth on his, but rather a sword to block and parry. When her hands held him near, Angelus was lost, and gave up all semblance of hope to regain himself.

“Why are we not fighting?” she demanded. Her eyes glowed gold, hot passion sparking in them, but then her mouth was back on his, and Angelus didn’t reply. What was the point? This was what he wanted, man and beast, and if she was offering herself to him, he certainly wasn’t about to ignore the gift.

“Downstairs,” he hissed, a growl of need erupting as her heat came in contact with his cock. By The Divine, he wanted her.

“Yes,” she agreed, clinging to him as he carried her off the roof.

Really, she was going to fight him. Honestly. Just as soon as this raging fire overwhelming her was cooled. Just as soon as the thing within her retreated, calmed, stopped howling for the man in whose arms she currently was.

“Need you,” she muttered, tongue lapping his neck, the exact spot she’d bitten a week ago. He didn’t say anything, but when she felt the yielding bed on her back, the wide expanse of clean sheets and welcoming cleanliness, Buffy knew his answer.

There was no softness, despite the gentleness with which he laid her on the mattress. It was wild and hot and greedy, and something neither could stop nor resist. Clothes were torn off in their haste to touch, to taste, thrown around a room Buffy hadn’t bothered to look at. For all she knew, this was Angelus’ way of deterring her; of keeping her prisoner as he made his escape.

There were worse ways to be kept prisoner…

She’d find him again, of that she was certain. He was in her now, in her blood, in her senses, and she was deathly afraid that he wasn’t leaving – that she’d always know where he was, always be able to find him.

With a growl, she rolled them, rising over him to take charge. Lowering herself onto him, Buffy purred in contentment, stilling for a bare moment. But the primitive urge within demanded movement; demanded completion and ecstasy.

“Beautiful,” Angelus growled, eyes shinning golden at her in the dark night. His hands tangled in her long hair, brushing the heavy braid out and wrapping his hands in the softness. He’d never seen anything like it before, soft and shiny, a golden waterfall of color that entranced him.

Much like the woman currently riding him as if he were the only thing in this world she knew.

“Harder,” he rumbled, hands on her hips to slam her onto his cock. Oh, she was tight; tight and hot and wet. She was damn near perfection. He tugged her hair, arching up to attack her mouth with his, pulling her head back to taste her neck, the long column of her throat.

Flipping them over, he slammed into her, hissing when she dug nails into his back, growling at the scent of blood – his – and sex – her heady arousal – that hung heavy in the air. They rolled over the bed, kissing, fucking, fingers digging into soft flesh, nails biting into skin, growls permeating the air. Mate. Need.

His hands clasped hers, pulling them high on the bed, stretching out her supple body for his pleasure. Growling in frustration at his lack of foresight, Angelus nonetheless continued to move within her, even if she wasn’t tied to the bed, completely at his mercy. Later. There was definitely time for that later.

For now, he thrust into her, yearning towards that peak, that pleasurable and satisfying bliss that only she seemed able to provide him. He drove her up, over the edge, growling at the feel of her tightening around him, only to shatter in beautiful ecstasy for him to drive her up again.

“Angelus!” Buffy screamed, body convulsing around his, hard and tight and he thought his eyes rolled back, his body tightening…exploding as she continued to climax around him. His mouth found her neck again, teeth clamping on the spot he’d marked during their last encounter. A high keen sounded in the room, and Buffy tightened around him again, holding him close.

Sated. Tired. Complete.

The beast was quiet, at rest, satisfied now that it found its mate, its other half. Pleased with the choice, though it had no choice in the matter. Purring gently in contentment, wrapped around him, wrapped around her. Whole.

Buffy looked up into his eyes, not entirely certain what had just happened, but knowing that it was bigger than she realized. She’d never felt like that before; wild, out of control, the beast within her taking over and liking it. Oh, she enjoyed it. Wanted to do it again.

Angelus relaxed onto the bed, scooping her against him as he breathed in the scent of her. Of them. The beast within, that thing the government had turned him into, was at rest. Quiet for the moment. He didn’t question why, didn’t question how, simply enjoyed it. His back stung, but the strips of flesh she’d torn would grow back; unless she attacked him again. Which he wouldn’t mind.

Not at all. In fact, this was the first time the thing howling within him had enjoyed a woman – not that Angelus hadn’t, not at all. But the beast continued to howl, calling out in greed and in protest. Now, it was at bay.

Holding her close, burying his face in the crock of her neck, he drifted to sleep, for the first time in ages, relaxed. And when he woke in the morning, a smile played around the corners of his mouth. She was still there, her scent called to him, and he opened his eyes, reaching for her.

Tied to the wall? Huh? Confused for only a moment, it didn’t take Angelus long to realize what had happened. She was standing at the foot of the bed, fully dressed – pity – and looking as delectable as last night. She was also staring at him with hard eyes, not the hot golden green of the night before.

“A little bondage, lover?” Angelus asked, eyeing the outfit she wore. Leather, his favorite, black and red, nice; her body was covered, he’d have to do something about that, and tempted him even through the leather. Her hair, all that golden silk, was again bound in a tight braid, hanging to her hips.

And she was still the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

“Maybe later,” she smirked, but there was a softness in her eyes, now, for just a second as she looked at him. “We’re going on a little trip.”

“I don’t like to travel,” he laughed, working the heavy chains. Damn, she was good. They were titanium, thick and heavy, and it’d taken even him a while to break free. If he could even find a weakness in them; titanium was renowned for its indestructibility.

She nodded, lifted her right hand from her side; a needle glistened in the pale sunlight. Stiffening, Angelus redoubled his efforts to escape. There was no way she was turning him in; no way he was going back to those government bastards.

Needles. They’d started with needles.

Jabbing him with clear liquid as they poked and prodded, stabbed and cut. Experimented on him. Made him into something he wasn’t so that they could have a controlled weapon to do their bidding.

They’d used needles with white liquid to sedate him, with colored mixes to screw with his mind, to change his perspectives.

Testing him, his tolerance for pain, for tiredness. They’d kept him awake for days, only to push him into a room filled with Crawlers and other things he’d never heard of. Forced to fight. To kill and destroy and win. He always won. That was one thing they’d never get from him.

His will. Strong and fierce, he wasn’t giving into the Govies, wasn’t going to let them win. He was stronger. They were fodder.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

And she sounded truly sorry; her scent was full of remorse and self-loathing. But she stuck the needle in his still naked leg. When Angelus looked back at her, caught her green eyes with his, he swore there were tears there. But then he just swore, as the drug began to work, and he felt consciousness slipping from him.

“Damn you,” he muttered, eyes closing.

“I already am.” It was the last thing he heard, but the last thing he scented was the reality of her tears. Damn them both, then.


It wasn’t easy. First, she had to dress him, then she had to unchain him and finish the job. Picking him up? Buffy almost called for backup, but couldn’t, for some reason, bear to have him seen like this.

She should’ve been gloating. The Great Angelus, the Angel of Death, in a drugged sleep that she’d put him in. Her reputation was made, which made it all the more dangerous for her and her family. Now, every up-and-coming hunter was going to test her, try and usurp her place and be number one.

Buffy sighed as she hefted Angelus a little closer to her, carefully descending the stairs from wherever he’d managed to get a room – clean and fresh, with a huge bed they’d managed to nearly destroy, and soft scented sheets.

Finally, nearly a lifetime later, she exited the building. Her muscles were strained, beads of sweat dotted her forehead, and she felt as if she was going to collapse. Never had she had to work so hard for something. Strength was inherit in her, she’d always had it, had grown used to and dependant on it.

Carrying over two hundred pounds of sleeping male was testing that limit.

She was going to need transportation to get Angelus onboard the ship; there was no way in hell she could carry him herself, despite her preternatural strength. She made a quick call to Willow on a rigged device her friend called a communication…something.

“Hey, Will. Can you ask Gunn to meet me in the alley behind Mercer Street? I need his help.”

“What’s wrong?” Willow asked nervously.

Buffy gave a wry smile down at the gorgeous man at her feet. Hmmm, Angelus slave for the day; it was something she could get used to. “Let’s just say I put my hormones back where they belonged and bagged our prey.”

“Wow,” Willow shouted through the static-filled line. “You actually caught him? I bet he’s pissed.”

“He will be when he wakes up,” Buffy admitted with a frown. Crouching next to him, she brushed his cheek, a silent apology for what she had to do. “Right now he’s knocked out, and I want to get him on board the ship before he regains consciousness. So, tell Gunn to haul ass.”

“Okay, I’ll send him now.”

Buffy flipped the device thingy closed, and looked at the unconscious man. She was feeling a little strange about turning Angelus over to the government authorities. Even though she kept telling herself she had no choice, that this was the way it had to be, Buffy didn’t want to turn him over. A good fuck, she reasoned, wasn’t reason enough to give up the reward on Angelus’ head; those that depended on her so desperately needed the money to survive.

And yet it was more than a fuck, good – great – or otherwise. It was…

“You’re losing it, girl,” she muttered, but didn’t straighten from beside his prone form.

She just had to keep telling herself that Angelus was a trained killer; she didn’t have the luxury to second guess herself. Angelus was the key to her survival, and she was going to take it. But her eyes lingered on him for a moment longer, hand still caressing his cheek. With s sigh she’d rather not acknowledge, Buffy stood and walked away from him.

Facing him, watching him, she sat down against the wall and waited for Gunn.


“This is one big mutha,” Gunn grunted as he helped Buffy lift Angelus into the back of the motorized cart. Buffy wasn’t even breathing heavily, he noticed with a frown and a jealous glare; he also noticed that she took an inordinate amount of time to assure herself that Angelus was lying comfortably on a blanket.

Why she cared, she couldn’t have said and shrugged it off. He was her greatest prize; she didn’t want him damaged any more than necessary.

“So, this is the famous Angel of Death,” Gunn said impressed, studying the unconscious man for several seconds. “He doesn’t look so dangerous now,” he muttered.

Buffy snorted, then realized what she’d done and jerked her hand away from Angelus’ face. “Take my word for it,” she assured her former lover. “The guy is very, very dangerous. You’ve read the reports – he’s all that and more, believe me. He’s as lethal as they claim, as strong as I am, and he moves almost as fast as I do.”

“Then how the hell did you get the drop on this guy?” Gunn looked up at the building. “And how the hell did you carry him down?”

Buffy hoped the night hid her blush. “Let’s just say I surprised him.”

Gunn gave her a speculative look but was smart enough to let it go. “Well let’s get him on the ship, then.”

Gunn moved to the front of the cart and, with a flick of his wrist, the motor – quiet and efficient, ah, what a great choice, Gunn – started. They headed for the docks, and Buffy wondered how much longer Angelus would be out. She figured six hours, and that was stretching it. He was big, strong, and angry. He’d be more so when he woke.

With Gunn steering and – hopefully – not paying attention to her, she let her fingers linger on Angelus’ face, trace his cheekbones, the strong length of his nose. Unable to resist, Buffy pressed her lips to his. There was a long scratch down the side of his cheek, and she smiled, kissing that, too.

Their night had been wild, more so than she’d ever have imagined. And explosive. The tingle that never seemed to leave her anymore, spread through her lightening quick. Was it the closeness of him? Or something else? Buffy didn’t know but knew she needed to get him on the boat, and back to the government facility he’d escaped from before she did something else as stupid as sleeping with him.

The money he’d bring her was enough to keep them in semi-comfort for a good three years, five if they stretched it carefully. And Willow was very good at stretching it.

One last lingering caress, and Buffy moved to the front so she could speak with Gunn, give him a few last minute instructions, and hope nothing happened to her group until she returned.

Looking over her shoulder, she watched Angelus for a moment as Gunn maneuvered them through the streets. He was still out cold, no movement whatsoever. But that was next to the last of her sleeping drug; she had one more dose, but needed it for actually removing him from the ship to hand him over to the government.

It was going to be a long week at sea.


Buffy had arranged for a room on the bottom deck. She had specified the iron bed; it was sturdy, and, she hoped with the specialized chains she wrapped around Angelus’ feet and wrists, it would deter any efforts of escape.

The room wasn’t large but it served her purpose; it was away from the other people on the ship, but, most importantly, the crew and the captain hadn’t asked questions. The only concern was that she paid the amount requested.

The room was gray and gloomy; no window to let in sunshine or fresh air, two light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, but that was about it. It had a small private bath, and it was secluded; she had also arranged for meals to be delivered to the room three times a day.

And yet, she kept reminding herself that this was not a luxury cruise. Why she kept forgetting it, she didn’t know, but with Angelus, anything not him seemed to flee her brain.

Buffy and Gunn deposited Angelus’ heavy limp body on the narrow bed with a thump. Standing away from the massive man, Gunn looked around the confined living quarters. “You sure you gonna be okay?”

“Yeah,” she tore her eyes away from Angelus to look at her friend. Shrugging, she offered a smile. “It’s not a palace, but I’ve lived in worse.”

Gunn snorted derisively, “So have I; much worse.”

He and Buffy looked at each other both thinking about the months they had to survive on the street while the government structure fell – again – and chaos filled the world. A time when they were all alone, before they found each other and their little group banded together. Buffy was the first to shake off the unpleasant thoughts.

“Well, things are better now. We might not have much, but at least we have a roof over our head, and we have each other.”

“Yeah, we do,” Gunn said solemnly, thinking of Willow.

Buffy tried to lighten the mood, “And once I turn Angelus in for the reward, we will finally be able to buy some much needed medical supplies, weapons…and food.”

Gunn brighten, “It’ll be nice knowing we can have a least one square meal a day.”

“We will,” Buffy promised, and Gunn knew her well enough to believe her. She didn’t make promises lightly. “This should only take a couple of weeks. You should have enough food to last until then.”

“I need to get out of here before this baby sails.” He gave Buffy a quick hug. “You take care. Be careful around this guy; if he’s as dangerous as you say he is, the last thing you need to do is let your guard down.”

Buffy hugged Gunn back, promising, “I will. I’m depending on you to take care of the gang.”

“You got it, Blondie,” Gunn teased affectionately, kissing her cheek.

Gunn was the only person that Buffy allowed to call her Blondie, but she still glared at him. God, she hated that name. “Get out of here, Baldie” she laughed as she pushed him out the door.

Buffy locked the door behind Gunn and checked Angelus’ chains again. He was as secure as he was going to get and she knew that. Still, she blew out a shaky breath, looking around the stark room. For the next nine days, she’d be sharing this space with Angelus. She both cringed and felt elated at the thought; nothing like sharing space with the man you’d betrayed to his worst enemies, was there?

With nothing left to do Buffy laid down next to her captive. And tried not to think about him.


Angelus realized three things immediately.

One, he was no longer in his apartment. He slowly concentrated, taking in his surroundings, trying to make sense of what had happened. His keen senses picked up the salt air and the gentle sway; he didn’t have to be a genius to realize he was on a ship. The question was why?

The second thing he realized was there was a soft warm form rolled up close to his side, an arm carelessly thrown across his torso. Soft and warm, and he hadn’t immediately realized that? Still, there was something familiar about the woman next to him, but his mind was still a little fuzzy. He tried to roll over, see who she was, and he realized number three.

He couldn’t move. Fuck, he thought as realization number three slammed into him. He pulled against his restraints, only to realize the chains securing his hands to the rails of the bed were pretty damned immovable. He tried to twist his body and realized his legs were restrained in the same manner as his hands.

“What the fuck is all this?”

At his outburst, Buffy rolled off the bed and was on her feet in fighting position, knife in hand, in less than a second. Despite his admiration at the move, Angelus turned cold brown eyes on his captor. “What did you give me? Where are we?”

He remembered the needle. They’d started with needles, drugs to fuck with him. She’d given him something, he remembered. Something to knock him out, to restrain him. Traitor. She’d turned on him and, even now, he wanted her. Even now he wanted to take her, to appease the beast within that wasn’t howling for her death, but for her.

Her body, her spirit. To take comfort and to sleep. To relax with her, to assuage the thing that drove him; to finally be at peace with himself. With her.

Buffy shrugged, stood upright and met his eyes. He could see more than she was aware in those eyes, the power she controlled, the feelings she hid. And the fact that she hadn’t really wanted to do any of this to him. It should’ve made her weak. All it did was make him want her more.

“I gave you something to make you…more cooperative. And we’re on a ship bound for the government stronghold. I told you I was going to deliver you for the ransom. Two fucks didn’t change my mind.”

“It was two encounters, lover,” Angelus taunted in a silky smooth voice that belied the need he felt in her mere presence. “But five different times, since we’re keeping count.” He pulled the chains once more time for good measure; they still didn’t move.

“You can’t break them,” she informed him in a quietly superior tone. She didn’t, he noticed, contradict him on their fucks. “They’re made of a special metal.”

“So you’re just going to hand me over to them?” His voice was calm though his eyes blazed with hatred and something else.

Although he asked the question evenly, Buffy knew that what Angelus was feeling was far from. His emotions on the matter buffeted her like the strong winds that circled the alleyways of the city.

“That’s the plan,” she nodded.

Angelus laughed derisively, settling back on the bed comfortably. “Do you actually think they’re going to let you waltz off that island after you deliver me?”

Buffy shrugged nonchalantly, but had wondered the same thing. The government wasn’t the most trustworthy group in the world. “Why shouldn’t they?”

Angelus stared at her as if she was a fool. “You are either very naïve, or very foolish, lover. Not that it matters which one; they’re both going to get you killed.”

Buffy kicked the bed, but the knowledge of that was already in her eyes before he’d said anything. If she knew all that, why was she still doing this? It’d be a simple matter for them to leave, to go to a mountain retreat and stay there until they either tired of each other, or burnt each other out. Instead, she had to ruin a perfectly wonderful liaison with bounties.

“If I want your advice,” she said, voice hard, “I’ll ask for it. Until then, shut the fuck up.”

They stared at each other for long seconds, neither moving, neither giving in. Angelus broke the silence first, though they both understood it was in no way a sign of weakness on his part.

“I will not go back to become a living experiment, again. You might’ve won this battle, my little Golden One, but let me assure you; I will win this war. It’s what I’ve been trained to do from birth. It’s what comes naturally to me. And when I escape, you will forfeit what every other bounty hunter has forfeited that has crossed my path,” he promised ominously.

Buffy knew the answer but she had to ask. “And what have they forfeited?”

Angelus quirked an arrogant eyebrow and gifted Buffy with a chilling smile. “Their lives.”

Buffy stared in his face, and realized deep down that Angelus meant every word he said. But that wasn’t what caught her so. No, it was the knowledge that the government had experimented on him. She nodded once, but said nothing on that matter. Was it because she didn’t want him knowing she hated herself for doing this? Or was it because no one deserved what the Govies did to him?

Either way, she wasn’t offering him sympathy or pity. He wouldn’t accept it, and she wasn’t one to give it. For a long moment, Buffy watched him. Hoped he understood, though she wasn’t sure why she cared, that this wasn’t personal. It never was.

“Then I better make sure that you don’t escape.” She said quietly. She had betrayed him and become one of his enemies. In his mind, she deserved to pay for her betrayal. Buffy knew that and frankly couldn’t blame him.


She’d fallen asleep next to him again.

Briefly, Buffy had debated the wisdom of that, but she was tired, so very tired, and bored. Definitely bored. There wasn’t much to do on the ship until they docked, and she doubted very much Angelus’ willingness to screw each other until she turned him in. Oh, she knew he wanted her still, that thing within her seemed to sense it. But she wouldn’t do that to him.

It was bad enough turning him into the Govies for money, bad enough that every time she looked at him she wanted to save him. From the things that drove him to such depths of slaughter, that made him move around the world, never staying in one place long. She wanted to save him from the government that used him, that tortured and created him.

She wanted to love him.

Which was why she couldn’t do any of the things she wanted to do except turn him in.

Much as she hated it, much as she didn’t want anything to do with the Govies, the ransom, hurting Angelus more than she already had, her family was relying on her. They needed the medical supplies, the food, and clothing that the ransom money would buy. And if Angelus was right – if the government captured her, too?

Buffy was deathly afraid of that. Even when she was with Riley, she’d been careful to keep all her talents to herself. Showing him what she could truly do wasn’t something she wanted – the more he knew, the more danger she was in.

But she was exhausted, for years she’d survived on little-to-no sleep so that her family would be safer than the others that hid on the streets. Sleeping on the floor of their ship wasn’t an option. Neither, however, was sleeping next to Angelus.

She did so anyway.

“I am sorry,” she said one night as she lay on the too-small bed next to his chained and angry form. “It’s not personal. But the Govies want you back badly enough to pay a large fortune, and that gold is what’s going to see my family through the next several years.”

He didn’t say anything for so long that Buffy thought he was going to ignore her until they landed. Again, she couldn’t blame him. “You have a family?”

It wasn’t what she’d expected him to say, but she answered, anyway. “There are a lot of people in the same situation; we found each other when we were young and stayed together.”

“And this family,” he asked, tone neutral. “Do they know who you are?”

“You mean do they know what I can do?” she asked. “Yes. I’m their protector or something like that. I’m the whole neighborhood’s protector.”

“No, that’s not what I meant.” He looked down at her then, catching her curious gaze with his dark eyes. “I meant do they know who you are?”

Frowning, Buffy asked, “What do you mean? I’m me. Human. I’m stronger than most humans, but then,” she placed a hand on his chest, strangely gratified when he didn’t growl at her or flinch from her touch. The tingle that first drew her to him was a constant presence now, stronger when they were together, faint and itchy when they not. “So are you.”

“I’m not human,” he growled, but still didn’t do anything about her hand. “The Govies made me into what I am now.”

“Then why are we so similar?” she asked, leaning up on an elbow to better see his expression. “Why do you know the language of my mother? Why can you do things only I can do?”

For a moment, he silently looked at her, offering no answers to the questions they both had. “I don’t know,” he admitted.

And that seemed to be the end of their conversation. But the questions stayed with Buffy the entire trip, though she didn’t bring the subject up again. It took them nine days to cross the ocean, and for seven of those nine she slept next to him. Stiffly at first, they were both uncomfortable. But once sleep overcame them, it seemed as if their bodies knew each other, what they wanted, how to respond.

Every morning Buffy awoke curled around Angelus, refreshed from the best slumber she’d had in years. And aroused, By The Divine, she was aroused. She wanted him with an intensity that frightened her, even as that, too, attracted her to him.

“What’s wrong, lover,” he said this morning, the last of their trip. “Afraid of me?”

The moment she woke, Buffy had rolled off the bed. As she had every other morning, afraid that if she stayed next to him, she’d do something she’d regret.

“Afraid,” Buffy shook her head, snorted out a laugh. “Hardly. You think too much of yourself…lover.”

He stretched, or as much as the chains would allow. “With reason,” he laughed, watching her through hooded eyes as she, too, stretched. It was a morning routine she’d done without fail – and one that had Angelus hard and aching.

“I’m sure,” she dismissed, but knew that they both knew how wet she was for him.

“Come over here, lover,” he purred, and Buffy felt her stomach clench in need. “I promise I won’t bite…” he grinned. He was going to kill her, that wasn’t the point. But by everything he’d once believed in, he wanted her. “Hard.”

“You just want to be the Dom,” she shot back, answering the short rap on the door. Breakfast, such as it was, was now served. Taking the tray with a smile, she shut and relocked it before setting the tray on the single table.

She usually ate first before feeding Angelus. It was an exercise in eroticism they both enjoyed, even if neither said so. It was also a test of Buffy’s will – and her will where Angelus was concerned weakened noticeably the longer she was around him.

“Face it,” he taunted as she ate. “You like it when I overpower you.”

“Face it,” she laughed, sipping the…milk? Frowning, she sniffed the white liquid again, taking one last cautious sip. Not milk, something similar but not. Well, that’s what happens when one spends over a week at sea. Setting the drink to the side, she sipped the water instead. At least it was…cold.

“You can’t accept change.” She stood, taking the plate with his food with her. “Consider this a lesson in submission, baby.” She laughed, but settled next to him to feed him.

“Does it make you want me more?” he asked between bites of meat and bread. “Tying me up, knowing that – if you only let yourself – you could have your way with me?”

The thought sent a spike of need straight through her, and Buffy caught her breath. Turning gold-green eyes to him, she didn’t answer. Feeding him another piece of the bread, she watched him.

“It’s not personal,” she promised in a soft voice as he drank from the glass of mostly clear water. Her hand lingered on his cheek, and he allowed it, watching her with those eyes she often dreamed of. “I’d never…if my family didn’t need the money your ransom will give me, I’d never have tracked you.”

He didn’t look convinced, and Buffy couldn’t say she blamed him one bit. Leaning over, she surprised both of them with a gentle kiss. “I didn’t know I’d want my prey so badly. Why couldn’t you have been lower on the wanted list?”

Without another word, she rose and headed for the bathroom. She’d quickly bathed yesterday, but wanted one more cleansing before landing at the government facility. She’d considered allowing Angelus time in the water-pool, but decided that in doing so she’d lose her advantage. So she’d taken to bathing him.

Another lesson in eroticism Buffy was hard-pressed to ignore.


They disembarked from the ship early the next morning.

The sun was just rising, and for a moment, Buffy simply reveled in the feel of it on her skin. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt the sun, the cleansing heat of it. A quick glance at Angelus told her nothing – he was as stoic as ever, half drowsy with the half of syringe she’d given him. She hadn’t been able to completely knock him out – it was too dangerous that way…too dangerous to him, screw the Govies.

No, he gave nothing away, but Buffy could tell two things about him, both of which came from the thing within her who, even now, yearned towards him. One was that he hated being on this island more than she did – and Buffy couldn’t blame him one damn bit. And two, he enjoyed the feel of the sun just as much as she did.

By The Divine, she hated doing this to him.

Standing close, she reached behind her and fumbled for his hand. He was confused, she could tell, but allowed her to grasp his hand tightly for one long moment. When the car door opened, and a nearby waiting van spilled several guards – all obviously waiting for them – Buffy stepped forward.

And left the key to the chains in Angelus’ grasp.

Buffy’s first impression of the island, as she scanned the area just behind the Govies, was stark and barren – her second wasn’t much better. In the distance she could see gated compounds with guards stationed at their posts, holding large guns that no doubt shot a great distance. She imagined the entire island was heavily guarded.

Glancing at him once more, she thought about the promise Angelus had made to escape. She couldn’t imagine anyone escaping such a heavily guarded place; it was in the perfect location for prisoners. They only way off the island was by plane or boat, and those areas were easy to spot as they had double the soldiers and triple the weapons.

She hoped he managed, nonetheless.

Angelus hadn’t spoken to her since their early breakfast. As much as she hated to admit it, she was beginning to regret her decision to turn him over to the government. She had no great love for the Govies herself; it was their greed for power and supremacy that had landed the world in the predicament they currently found themselves.

Then, while the people had suffered, they had confined themselves to climate controlled heavily guarded facilities, like this one, until the worst was over. Buffy took a deep breath and shook off her thoughts. She had to keep in mind those that waited for her return, those who depended on her to bring back the money for this ransom.

Angelus didn’t know why he cared, but for some unknown reason he felt he had to warn her about these people. She didn’t trust them, he could tell that easily enough. Whether it was the beast within who wanted her safe, or him, Angelus found himself warning her.

“Do not trust them for one moment,” his words were slightly slurred, and he hated that. Even as he knew she only gave him a fraction of the dosage to completely knock him out. He wondered why she hadn’t, but didn’t question it. Nor did he question the key currently in his grasp.

Forcing his voice to steady, he said, “They will shoot you down like a rabid Night Crawler the moment they get a chance.”

For some reason, the warning bristled Buffy, even if she had been thinking the same thing. “I’m not stupid,” she hissed softly. “I don’t trust them anymore than I trust you.”

“Then you are a fool, little girl. The only one worthy of your trust on this island is me. And like a fool, you have rendered me helpless with these chains and that drug. It’s a decision I assure you will regret before this is over.”

He was probably right. Buffy nodded once, in acknowledgement, saw his eyes narrow at her. In that split second, she let whatever confused feelings she had for him show on her face. In his stoic silence, she mouthed, ‘Thank you, good luck,’

Then commanded, just as the Govies moved close enough to hear their conversation, “Shut up.”

An older blonde woman stepped out, approaching them with a contingent of guards at her back and sides. She stopped several feet from them, letting her eyes wander over Angelus from head to toe before a sinister smile spread across her face. Buffy didn’t like the way she looked at Angelus, as if she owned him, as if he was her personal property.

Jealously, hot and thick, clouded her mind for an instant before Buffy shoved those feelings away.

Bitch. Only she was allowed to feel that way about Angelus.

“Welcome back, Angelus.” Angelus acknowledged her greeting with a slight incline of his head. The woman watched him for a few more seconds, then turned her attention to Buffy. “You are the Huntress who brought Angelus back to us?” she asked rhetorically. When Buffy nodded, once, she continued, “I’m Dr. Walsh; welcome to The Compound. If you will follow me to my office, we will conclude our business.”

Buffy hesitated. She didn’t like the idea of leaving Angelus to these guards. He was right; in chains he was almost helpless. At least he had the key. That had to help…only probably not just yet. More and more Buffy was not liking this situation. Maybe Angelus was right. Maybe coming here was a mistake. Coming here was a mistake, and Buffy knew that the first night on ship.

Damn this whole situation.

“What about Angelus?” she asked.

“He’ll be taken care of.” Dr. Walsh turned and motioned to doors of the van, which opened immediately. Buffy watched in astonishment as a tall blonde stepped out of the van. She couldn’t believe her eyes and blinked rapidly for a few seconds, but she knew there was no mistake.

“Hello, Buffy.”

“Riley. What are you doing here?” Buffy demanded.

“You knew I worked for the government. I was reassigned to Dr. Walsh’s group not long after I left.” He turned towards Angelus. “We’re dedicated to eradicating the Earth of scum like this.”

“Perhaps you should start the eradication with yourself,” Angelus taunted. Then he glanced at Buffy with accusing eyes, though she’d said nothing more.

Part of him wanted to demand she explain how she knew the tall guard; the beast within him hated that she’d been with any other. Part of him smirked at her unconscious reaction, though she didn’t let on. Whatever was once between her and this Riley, she hadn’t been able to help her unconscious agreement at Angelus’ words.

Riley’s lips turned up in a snarl, and he raised his gun. Buffy didn’t know if his intentions were to strike Angelus or shoot him, but she was standing in front of Angelus before she realized she’d moved. She glared at Riley, daring him to do anything to the much taller man behind her.

“Why are you protecting this scum?” he asked incredulously.

“No one hurts him until I get the ransom,” she said in way of an answer. Her body, however, leaned against Angelus’ for a moment; felt him behind her, felt the slight caress of back and buttocks. Bastard, he did that on purpose. “Once I’ve been paid the ransom…” she trailed off, stepping forward. Away from his tempting body and wandering hands.

“Your concern for my well being is so very touching,” Angelus drawled sarcastically. But the key she’d slipped him earlier was now tucked in his waist, safe from prying eyes and roving hands. Yes, his Beautiful Golden One was a mystery…one he was eager to unravel as soon as he was off this island.

“Shut the fuck up,” Buffy snapped. Only Angelus heard the soft note in her voice, and he suppressed a smirk at it. Definitely a mystery he was willing to spend ages unraveling.

“Then let’s get on with this matter, shall we?” Dr. Walsh inquired, nodding decisively. “Riley, take Angelus to his cell and make sure he is not harmed; he’s too valuable a commodity. Is that understood?” Her eyes bored into Riley’s as she spoke.

“Yes, Dr. Walsh.”

Riley reached to grab Angelus’ arm, but Angelus shook off the offending hand with a regal inclination of his head and a derisive snort.

“I’m capable of walking, minion.”

Riley scowled, but only motioned with his gun, and Angelus walked slowly in front of him. Riley looked once more at Buffy, before falling in with the rest of the guards surrounding their most prized prisoner.

Angelus looked neither left nor right as they marched him along the road, but his photographic memory was taking in everything around him. He was quickly making a blueprint in his mind of as much of the island and the compound as he could see. He knew that within a few hours all the information he stored would be crucial, for he was well aware that within those hours, Dr. Walsh would start drugging him again.

The crazy bitch had this thing with experiments, and her favorite subject seemed to be him. Angelus, however, had no intentions of being a lab rat ever again. And now that his biggest problem, how to get these chains removed, was solved, he could concentrate on other things. Much more pleasurable things.

Like this Riley’s death. Eh, so he hadn’t met the man before today. That wasn’t the point when faced with the fact that his lover had once slept with the Govie before him. It all made perfect sense when looked at that way.

Buffy trailed behind Dr. Walsh as the older woman led the way to what was obviously her office.

There was something about Walsh and this whole situation that didn’t smell right to Buffy. As she followed behind the so-called doctor, she, too, took in everything around her; from the number of guards she could see, to the location of the dock and air strip, to the compound in the distance. Something told her she would need this information soon.

Very soon.


She looked back once more.

The imposing island did nothing to ease her fear over Angelus’ fate. Not fear. Well, maybe a little.

Yeah, that unease was still present, despite the sack of gold now in her rucksack that would see her family through several years – she planned on hiding portions of it from everyone, even Willow. Not that she didn’t trust them, but she didn’t want a spending spree because they could. There were so many things they wanted that, presented with the opportunity to purchase them, there was no telling what they’d buy.

The ship she came on pulled away from the dock, and still Buffy continued to look at the island. She had a feeling she could sense Angelus if not see him. And he was pissed. Way angry, and she couldn’t blame him. She’d betrayed him in the worst possible way.

Betrayed him, turned him in, and left him there; and to the one faction that had hurt him the most. To those who had used and experimented on him, and made him what he was. But then Buffy had to wonder if they’d made him, or if something else had happened.

She was so similar to Angelus, the drive, the strength…she’d never met anyone with the same abilities as her. And that frightened her. Terrified her to the point where she gave him over to the Govies.

So if they were so similar, then he wasn’t created. He was made, born so. And, Buffy’s heart pounded in fear, so was she. But no, there was nothing between them. Hell, she couldn’t even stand him! All they’d had was sex, and that was it. Really hot sex, seriously great fornication, but…it was just that.

They weren’t just fucks, well, they were. Really good ones, too. But it was more. Did she feel anything for him? Buffy honestly couldn’t say. But she felt enough to know that she didn’t want him in that place. She didn’t want anyone in that place. Could he escape?

A smile played around her lips as she felt his roar of anger. Buffy hoped it was directed at that Walsh woman; she was a bigger bitch than Buffy had ever met – and she’d met some big ones in her time. Yeah, he could escape. She had confidence in his ability to do so, even without the key she’d slipped him. He’d escape, and she was unbelievably glad about that.

Of course, when he escaped, Buffy frowned as the ship continued its passage away from the island and Angelus, he’d come after her. She was as sure of that as she was anything.

New plan, Buffy decided as she headed back down to the room she’d shared with Angelus. Opening the door to their room, Buffy quickly closed it behind her. Sitting on their bed – the bed, it was only a bed damn it. So her new plan was to get to her family, give them enough gold to last them several months, and bury the rest someplace.

She’d have to figure that place out between now and then; the old stone building by the riverfront? She didn’t know what it was originally made for, but it was deserted enough now that not even the Crawlers ventured there.

Then she’d have to leave. He could track her; Buffy knew that as well as she knew that she could track him. Whatever had happened between them had created that really odd vibe, too. One she didn’t really want to think about.

Was it the sex? The thought came hard on the heels of that last thought, and Buffy found herself thinking of Angelus despite vowing not to. Was it the sex that had them able to track each other? Or something else? If the Govies created Angelus, then was there something inside him that forced this link between them? And if they hadn’t…if they hadn’t, then what was it between them?

Scratching the side of her neck, the place he’d bit her during their first highly explosive encounter, Buffy wondered just what exactly was between them. She’d never felt anything like that before, not the heat of it, not the passion. She’d wanted him – still wanted him – with a drive that eclipsed all else.

Her insides clenched, and she flushed at the memory, and still Buffy couldn’t stop thinking about it. Or him. She wanted him again, even now, with him once more a prisoner on that island, a prisoner she’d made him. She wanted to feel him inside her, wanted to move over him and experience those exquisite sensations once more.

When he was tied up, on the bed, Buffy had to restrain herself from attacking him. He’d been at her mercy, and she found that more than a little exciting. To be able to taste all that hard, pale flesh, to know that he couldn’t escape, that he had to lay there and beg. A flash of arousal shot through her at the thought of him begging.

Better…at the thought of her begging him for more. Of him tasting her until she didn’t think she could stand it another moment longer. Of his body against hers, of his mouth on her.

With a noise that was partly a whimper for satiation and of annoyance, she left the room. There was no way she’d be able to sleep in there tonight.


Angelus watched as Walsh took her little notes, hmming and tsking her way down a checklist he couldn’t see.

But he knew what the list said. His height, weight, muscle percentage, white blood cell count, adrenaline in his blood. A thousand things she’d gone over time and again until he knew the list as well as she. Better, probably.

“How is he?”

Ah, he was wondering when the head bitch would arrive. She was the reason he hadn’t escaped yet, despite the key to the chains and the slight opportunity he’d had when that bastard Riley led him back through the labyrinth of hallways. No, he had payback to give out, and Angelus wasn’t about to let such an opportunity go to waste.

“Lilah,” he purred, menace dripping from his tone. “I’ve been here an hour now, and this is the first you come to see me?” he sent her a chilling smile. “And here I thought you cared.”

“Angelus,” she smiled, her perfectly coiffed appearance doing nothing for him. She was a cold bitch who got off torturing him. Not that he didn’t appreciate it rough, but she had no finesse, no stamina, and did absolutely nothing for him.

Now Buffy, on the other hand…just thinking about her had him hard.

“I hear we have a little girl to thank for returning you to us.” Her rings flashed in the dim light they kept him in. Little did they realize that if they brightened the room to an unbearable degree, they’d do more damage to him than they had in the years since capturing him.

Snorting, he grinned, all teeth and predator. “She’s hardly a girl, Lilah,” he coolly informed her, his body tightening at the thought of Buffy clenching around him. Hell, of kicking his ass, of verbally sparing with him. Of tying him up.

Oh, he’d get her back for turning him over to the Govies, but he’d take his punishment out on her his own way. And it’d be erotically pleasing to the both of them. After all, she had given him the key, the perfect means for his escape; why she’d done that didn’t matter, all that mattered was that she had.

“Honestly, Angelus,” she tsked, shaking her head as Walsh stood next to her looking annoyed at the interruption but intrigued. Sexually as well as mentally. “I had more hope for you than that. All the bounty hunters we sent after you, the price we kept raising on your hard, sexy body. And it took a girl to take you down. Must be slipping.”

Sighing in boredom, he smirked at the couple. Lilah was such a bitch in heat; she was wet for anyone willing to satisfy her. “Lilah, Lilah, Lilah…” he shook his head, sent a lazy smile at her. “She was so much more than that. She knew how to please a man, unlike you.”

The hard look that came into Lilah’s eyes had his smile widening. She was so predictable. “And she didn’t even have to tie me up.” She had, but he’d never admit to that. No, what went on between him and Buffy stayed between them. Even the pleasurable punishment he had in mind for his little beauty.

“Maggie,” Lilah purred, turning to the head scientist. The older woman immediately looked to her superior, eyes the only thing softening in her features. She was a hard woman, more interested in making humanity what it once was than anything else. But Lilah had a way about her that seemed to make everyone want her; or everyone on this miserable island. Personally, Angelus didn’t see it.

But then he was more discerning than the average male. It was all about taste.

“Dear,” Lilah caressed her cheek, a slow almost lover-like movement, and bent to briefly kiss Maggie’s lips. “Leave us, will you?”

As Maggie Walsh went to do just that, a jealous look in her eye, Lilah crossed to an electronic pad by his cell door. “Lindsey, darling,” she purred into the intercom, “Angelus is back.”

He heard Lilah’s husband’s reply and wondered just what kind of man allowed his wife to screw half the base. Growling at the thought of Buffy in another’s arms, he missed Lindsey’s response. She wasn’t going to ever be allowed in another’s arms, he’d kill every man or woman to even look at her. She was his and no other’s.

“I’ll see you later, darling,” Lilah promised now, a husky tone in her voice, before turning back to Angelus.

“Now, then Angelus,” she casually opened the cell, releasing the electronic as well as regular steel bar door. “Tell me about this bounty hunter that brought you in. I’m sure she’ll make a fascinating addition to our facility. And I’m sure it’ll make her feel that much better knowing you’re right,” she moved closer, her skirt inching up slowly in a vain attempt to arouse him.

“Next,” she straddled his hips, knowing she was moderately safe from him breaking free. The chains were durable, and he was once again pumped full of the drugs they used to keep him sedated. “Door.”

“You’ll never touch her,” he promised, eyes hard and glinting as he watched Lilah settle himself on him. He’d already unlocked Buffy’s chains, the key she’d given him once more secure in his pocket. Angelus didn’t know why he kept the key, why he bothered, but didn’t question it, either.

She gave it to him; he used it and kept it. That was all that mattered.

“That I promise you.”


He stepped through the door, not bothering to glance back at Lilah’s unseeing eyes.

She’d actually thought that he wouldn’t break free, that he’d endure the unpleasurable act she called sex when she’d foolishly left the door wide opened for him. She was a stupid woman, but then Angelus hadn’t expected anything else.

Whatever the reason Buffy had given him the key to the chains, Angelus wasn’t going to bother with. She had, and that was all that mattered. Strike one against them. Strike two was Lilah’s taunts about Buffy. And three was of his own devising. He simply refused to be in this hellhole another moment.

“Payback’s a bitch, darling,” he murmured to his captor, though Buffy wasn’t there. Absently, he scratched at the side of his neck, the throbbing there reminding him of their first encounter. “But I promise to make the pain as pleasurable as I can.”

He rounded a corner, deadly silent as he stalked through the dimly lighted corridors. The alarm shouldn’t sound for another few minutes yet; even the Govies didn’t have everything they desired. Whatever a vie-eo-camo-her-ah was, whatever it did, they didn’t have it; he’d heard some of the soldiers, who apparently didn’t realize that he had super hearing, talking about the old days when they could spy on their prisoners without being across from them.

Angelus was grateful they didn’t have their vie-eo-camo-her-ah; it’d probably make his escape that much harder.

He knew this layout intimately; the exits, the laboratories, the offices, and living quarters. Nearly every room in this base he’d been in or passed by. The fools who created him hadn’t realized what a superb job they’d done and hadn’t bothered to take the proper precautions. The outside was something else entirely, as he’d only see it that once, when he’d first escaped – his memory, whether Govie-enhanced or his own, now ensured he knew that layout as well as the interior.

As such, he could name each and every person on the base, where they lived, who they were intimate with, and when they were on duty.

And Lindsey was rounding the corner now. No doubt in search of his errant wife. What he saw in Lilah, Angelus didn’t know, couldn’t even begin to imagine. But they seemed happy enough, strange as that was. Even though Lilah screwed half the base and Lindsey the other half, he’d sensed them together on many occasions as Walsh paraded him around the facility to one experiment or another.

Waiting around the corner, he pounced the moment Lindsey rounded it. Holding him by the throat, Angelus snarled, “You shouldn’t have bothered to find me again, Lindsey.”

Turning bright blue eyes on his assailant, Lindsey tried to speak. Angelus simply squeezed tighter. “Don’t bother,” he said. “Just listen carefully. I’m not going to play games; I’m not going to bother with you. It’s this simple. Let me go, or I destroy the rest of this base.”

Lindsey snorted around Angelus’ chokehold. “Don’t believe me?” Angelus asked. “Even after all this time you don’t believe me?” he laughed, letting go of his tight hold on the man.

“You shouldn’t have bothered with me again, Lindsey,” he said close to his ear. “And you never should have let your darling wife into my cell again. That’s where you’ll find her, by the way.”

With that, he released Lindsey completely and started back down the hallway. The alarm would sound any second now, as soon as Lindsey raced to a pull station. Good. Angelus smirked as he heard Lindsey’s feet speed in the opposite direction – to the pull station? Or to his dead wife?

Seconds passed as Angelus continued to make his way through his prison. Wife it was then. Lindsey was going to be in for quite the surprise when he entered the cell – and the door clanged shut behind him. But then the Govies always were more interested in his strength than intellect. Another point against them.

Lindsey’s scream was music to Angelus’ ears, and, long seconds later when the guard ran to see what the yelling was about and the alarm finally sounded, Angelus was nearly to one of the many rear exits, a trail of corpses behind him.

Fifteen minutes after that, a chain reaction began in the main power generator. Another five minutes later, and the entire base was scrambling to secure the prisoners Angelus’ power outage set free. A minute after that, and Angelus was on a single engine boat speeding his way back to the Eastern Mainland.

“Buffy, Buffy, Buffy,” he said as he navigated towards another island where he could trade this boat for passage on a bigger and faster one. “You’ll never be able to hide from me, darling.”


“Are you sure?” Willow asked, eyeing her longtime friend.

“Yeah, I need to get away,” Buffy smiled. She hadn’t mentioned anything about Angelus, the reward, the way she felt about just turning him over to the Govies – and Riley – or that she’d given him the key to her chains. She didn’t want to think about that at all. Or the fact that she knew he was going to escape and come after her.

“It’s better this way. Especially now, with everyone knowing that I turned in Angelus.”

Hugging the shorter woman, Willow whispered, “Take care of yourself, Buffy. I’m going to miss you.”

“Take care of everyone, Will…and I’ll be fine,” she returned with a smile. “You have the gold; it’ll be enough to see you through the next year. Spend lightly, it has to last. Don’t tell anyone about it, not where you got it, nothing. I’ll be by to check up on you.”

Little Buffy clung to her leg, large eyes looking up at Buffy with tears in them. “Are you going to save us?” she asked.

“I already did,” Buffy told her, confused. She crouched down to look at the girl, smoothing her hair off her face. “You’re safe here with Willow.”

“But you’re her,” the girl insisted. “You saved me. You’re the one, I know you are.”

Kissing her forehead, Buffy stood. “You’re safe here,” she promised again, unsure how to deal with the child, any child, but especially one who worshipped her like this little girl did. “And I promise to stop by and check up on you.”

One last hug for Willow, and Buffy left. Her heart was heavy, but she knew this was the right thing to do. Oh, she didn’t think Angelus would actually hurt them, he seemed more the isolated until tracked down type. But she wasn’t taking chances with the Govies. They’d given her the reward, and that was fine, but Buffy didn’t think they’d just let her go now that they knew she’d been the one to capture their Angel of Death.

Racing across town, taking the roofs as her path, she paused once to tighten her bag around her so it wouldn’t slap against her back. She had several pieces of the gold the Govies had given her, the rest of her clothes, and her emergency contact with Willow.

Looking over the rooftops as she readjusted her sword more comfortably, her three knives, and various other small weapons she carried, her thoughts inevitably turned to Angelus. He was across the ocean, pissed and violent.

And looking for her.

How Buffy knew he’d already escaped, she couldn’t say, but knew he had. “Looking for me, lover?” she asked the night. “Come and find me then.”


It took him weeks to find her. And the bloody swath he’d left in his wake was a testament to the blinding rage that burned through him as he tracked her.

She wasn’t hiding, per se, but she wasn’t making it easy on him either. Moving all the time, not staying in any one place longer than a day or two. Good, he smirked from the shadows – he so hated when they made it easy for him. And Buffy was anything but easy. Smart. Graceful. Violent and dangerous in her beauty. Passionate.

Yes, passionate. He wanted her; wanted her with an obsession that was foreign to him, but one that he associated only with Buffy. The fire in her eyes, the way her hair shone in the dimness of the club. The lithe movements of her body. A body he wanted wrapped around his, writhing under his as they moved together.

Hard for her now, he continued to watch from the shadows of the club. She moved against a stranger, and Angelus wanted to rip the boy’s eyes out for looking at his woman. Tear his hands off for even attempting to touch her. But she did not allow it; allowed the child only so close to her before pushing him away, uninterested. Her eyes looked for him, he knew it. Knew she could sense him, knew she knew he was watching her.

“You know I’m here, lover,” he whispered into the loud club, watching as she lost her rhythm. She stopped now and stood still in the center of the dance floor. Her eyes searched for him, sweeping the enclosure swiftly and expertly.

The boy pulled her closer, oblivious to her disinterest, and Angelus growled.

“You’re mine, lover,” he snarled into the dark.

She heard him, that wasn’t the question. Buffy knew he was there; her body was too attuned to his not to automatically know. She wanted him; her body couldn’t hide that, either. The moment he entered the small, loud club, her body recognized his; her arousal scent the air, making him smile, her face flushed from it, eyes large and golden-green.

Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping...waiting. And though unwanted...unbidden...it will stir.

Angelus stalked forward, watching her the entire time. She was ignoring him now, and he couldn’t help the lance of anger that burned through him. A red haze colored his vision for a moment, and he growled because she caused him such emotion, such…feeling. She wasn’t going to ignore him. She wasn’t ever going to ignore him.

Open its jaws, and howl. It speaks to us…guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have?

The song changed, though the tone was all too similar. Most music was these days, but the people didn’t care. They didn’t come to these clubs for the musical taste, but to get away, to forget the dull gray of their lives. What was Buffy doing here? What was she running from, hiding from, forgetting?

As if on cue, Buffy pushed away her too-ardent suitor. She whirled around and headed to the back of the club. Following her, Angelus let her lead him out of the crowded room.

Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love…the clarity of hatred…and the ecstasy of grief.

“Waiting for me, lover?” he whispered when she stopped a block from the rear entrance.

“Took you longer than I thought to find me,” she shot back, turning to face him fully.

“You lead a great chase,” he took a step forward, but she didn’t move away. Good. “One would think you didn’t want to be found.”

Smirking at him, she tossed her hair, loose and alluring, behind her shoulders. Oh, she was beautiful. Lethal and seductive at the same time. His Beautiful Golden One. Angelus wanted her with a need that bordered on insanity. Stepping closer, he awaited her reply. But she said nothing. Merely waited for him to – what? Touch her? Hit her?

“What are you waiting for?” she asked, but her voice was soft in the hot and heavy night. The moon was obscured by perpetual fog, the stars hidden from their gaze. And still, she didn’t run from him. Fight him. Taunt him.

She simply waited for him, an absurd thought Angelus liked entirely too much.

“What do you want me to wait for?” he asked instead.

“Nothing,” she admitted, still unmoving, looking at him with those mesmerizing gold-green eyes.

Reaching a hand out to cup her cheek, he allowed himself a moment to simply feel her soft skin. Pulling back, almost feeling pain at the lack of her touch, he straightened to his full height. She looked up at him, stiffening and waiting.

And the fight was on.

They were equally matched, strong, powerful, agile. Trading blows, moving along the alleyway, onto the main street. Those few who lingered this late at night in the city scattered as the hunters’ fight spilled into the open. Buffy flew through the air, hitting the far wall with a thud.

“Damn,” she muttered, slowly standing to face her attacker. “That hurt.” But she deserved it, and Buffy knew it. She had, after all, turned him in.

“Something wrong, lover?” Angelus asked, stopping in front of her as she shook off his blow. For a moment, he thought he’d truly hurt her, but she immediately stood. That was his girl.

“Just wondering how long I have to pretend you’re stronger than me,” she shot back, wiping a line of blood from her cheek. Her head ached, her back was going to be horribly bruised, and she was almost certain that a rib or two going to be painful in the morning.

A bark of laugh escaped him, and he smiled down at her. “You’re good,” he agreed, blocking a blow that was sure to take his head off, if she’d actually made contact. “But,” he pinned her to the wall, cradling her head with both hands. He really had hurt her. He saw the pain she couldn’t quite manage to hide clear in her eyes, heard it in the way she breathed, so shallowly. Hated that he’d hurt her. Reveled in it.

“I’m better,” he whispered a second before lowering his mouth to hers.

The kiss was hot and hungry, needy in a way that defied description. For a moment, Buffy succumbed to the feel, the need of him. Abruptly pulling back, she landed another blow, knocking him back a step or two before following him.

“Are you now?” she mocked, smiling up at him.

He let out another laugh before flipping over her, kicking out and knocking her forward. She stumbled once, caught herself and whirled back around to attack. But now it was half hearted, and they both knew it. Blows were still traded, lips bloodied, bruises given. But it was more a seduction dance now than anything.

Leaping up, Buffy took the fight to the roof, wanting more room than she had on the street. Angelus followed, as she knew he would, and she had to wonder where he was leading her. She was under no delusion that this fight wasn’t leading someplace. A trap? Wasn’t Angelus’ style. So what, then?

Pinning him to the wall in one swift move, ignoring the pain in her body, Buffy kissed him. His lips were hard and cool, bliss under hers. His hands circled her waist, holding her close to him.

“Give up?” she asked, pulling back just enough to see his eyes.

He chuckled, but didn’t verbally reply. Instead, he brought her mouth back to his, hefting her up, flush against him. The leather of her corset was soft under his fingers, and when he cupped her breast, pulled her breast into his cool hand, teased the already hard nipple, she hissed his name. At her moan of pleasure, he deepened the kiss, pushing away from the wall, Buffy still held securely in his arms.

“Where are we going?” she murmured against his mouth, legs tight around his waist, arms holding him close. He leaped across several rooftops, still kissing her, deftly maneuvering them across the cityscape.

“I’m going to make you scream,” he promised. “Your punishment has only just begun.” He smiled at her look, but kissed her again as he dropped from the roof onto the fifth story balcony of an apartment building that looked as drab and similar as a thousand others in this new world of theirs.

Opening the balcony doors and stepping into the dark room, Angelus didn’t let her go, merely moved towards the bed, laying her on the soft sheets. “Now, lover,” he whispered against her skin. “Tell me why I shouldn’t kill you for what you pulled in handing me back to the Govies.”

But then he kissed her, hands gentle and caressing and belying his softly threatening words.

It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.


She had expected his anger. She’d expected his wrath. She’d even expected him to try and kill her. She hadn’t expected his tender caress.

“I don’t know,” Buffy admitted to his question. “I don’t have a reason why you shouldn’t kill me.”

He watched her, studying her carefully. “You gave me the key to your chains,” he said. “Why?”

“I needed the money.”

“And why did you give me the key?” he repeated patiently.

However, he didn’t move off her, didn’t chain her to the bed, the wall, or even outside, hanging her upside down by her toenails. No, he simply asked her questions. Asked her questions as he aroused her body and looked at her with those darkly piercing eyes that wanted to consume her, body and soul.

“Because…” Buffy swallowed, but didn’t look away. “Because no one deserves to be in that place,” she said instead of the words she wanted to. Because she needed him. Because she’d never felt so connected to someone. Because she wanted him with a passion that scared her; because the thing within her needed him with equal fervor.

Because she was desperately afraid she loved him.

“Hmm,” Angelus murmured. He didn’t believe her, that much was clear, but he didn’t call her on it, either. “And what,” he whispered against her ear, cool breath sending a shiver of need through her. “Should your punishment be, my dear?”

This was it then. There wasn’t a choice, not really. He’d won, she’d lost, and Angelus, as victor, chose the punishment. Still, she really didn’t want to die. Actually, Buffy liked her life, enjoyed it even if most times the burden of saving so many weighed on her unbearably. And since Angelus came into her life…well, it was best not to think on that too much, actually.

“You won,” she said in as steady a tone as she could manage. What with him pressing against her, his cock teasing her until she thought she’d explode from unfulfilled need alone. “You captured me, Angelus. The choice is yours.”

The smile he gave her wasn’t that of a predator over his prey he was about to destroy. No, it was that of a man who’d just been given everything he could ever want…and who planned on making the most of it.

“Well, then, my Golden One,” he purred and cupped her face between his large hands.

She felt the thing within her rear up, try to capture Angelus as he kissed her, hard, rough, thoroughly. Felt, in a distant part of her mind, the answering call of his own beast, roaring in male pleasure, in, strange as it sounded, completion.

“It looks like you’re mine.”


Mine, as it turned out, meant something different to Angelus than it did to Buffy.

For instance, mine to Angelus meant tying her to the bed, not in chains, but in brightly colored scarves of the softest material she’d ever felt. Buffy suspected it was silk, but since it’d been so long since she’d felt anything this supple against her skin, she wasn’t sure. For a moment, she’d had a vivid flash of memory of soft shirts and supple blankets, of material as wonderful against her skin as Angelus’ hands.

But then it was gone, and there was only Angelus.

Mine also meant that once she was completely naked and opened to him, Angelus took his time exploring her body. Every…inch…of…her…body. “Oh,” she cried as his teeth closed over her clit. “Yes, Angelus!” she arched against him, begging for more.

In typical Angelus fashion, mine also meant that he’d give her more in his own damn time.

She tried to hold out, tried not to mindlessly beg, but it was no use. Her body needed him, the beast within her cried out and snarled for him, willingly yielding to him the moment he entered the room. Well, yielding was too a strong word, neither Buffy nor the thing inside her yielded. More like accepted the inevitable.

This was her – this was their – mate.

Pure need clawed at her, begging for release, and all Buffy knew was that Angelus was the only way for her to reach that peak. Her fingers curled around the scarves, nails leaving bloody marks in her palms. Her back arched off the bed into Angelus’ mouth and Buffy felt a tear leak from the corner of her eye when once again he refused her release.

“Buffy,” he purred, hands gentle on her face, wiping the lone tear from her cheek. “Look at me, lover.”

Slowly, she opened her eyes, saw his, gold and black looking back at her. In that instant, she realized the power he held over himself, the control of his own needs and will. He wanted to bury himself in her as desperately as she wanted him to. They were both too stubborn to admit it. To give in.

Buffy realized something else, too. She realized that she wanted him more than anything else in this world. More than keeping her family safe, more than the gold that’d see them through years, more than her next breath.

With that, she relaxed and let the wild need consume her. Rearing up, she caught Angelus’ lips with hers, kissing him hungrily. Bit his lip and drew blood, sucking the few droplets into her mouth.

“Yes,” she murmured, heart pounding, breath coming in pants. “Now, yes, fuck me now, Angelus.”

His eyes changed, she saw – literally saw – something shift within them. But then he was kissing her again, hard, brutal, branding her as his with his mouth as surely as he did with his body.

And the beast with her roared in pure, primal ecstasy.

Unable to hold back, Angelus entered her in one hard thrust. Buried in her unbelievable warmth, he stilled, tore his mouth from Buffy’s eager one to bury his face in her neck. By The Divine, she was the most exquisite thing he’d ever known. More than, greater than anything in his experience. Very probably in this world.

Her whimper had him moving, gripping her hips as he pounded into her, once more catching her cries with his mouth.

“Let me go,” she panted. “Angelus, untie me so I can feel you.”

That wasn’t in his plan. No, his plan had been to tease her to the brink of orgasm until she promised him everything he asked for, everything he demanded. Somehow, that wasn’t what happened. No, that wasn’t at all what happened.

Almost without thinking, he tore at the knots on the scarves until they gave way. Once her hands were on him, nails scraping down his back, thighs gripping his hips, body molding into his as he continued to pound her into the bed, it was all over.

Not his release, though Buffy cried out as hammering wave after hammering wave of her own orgasm shuddered through her when he finally allowed her that blissful satisfaction.

Angelus, The Angel of Death, the Government’s Single Most Wanted in the history of history…fell.

Latching onto Buffy’s neck, instinctually knowing where he’d last bitten her, last marked her, he let himself go. Came in wave after wave, her name a roar, her body the only thing he was aware of. Heard the equally primal roar of that thing inside him claiming, marking, having/wanting/being.

To that which roared within Buffy.

And Angelus knew he was in trouble.

Because Buffy was no longer merely the only person to capture him and turn him into the Govies. She wasn’t just the woman to make him want her longer than the moment allowed. Nor was she the woman on whom he was going to take his revenge.

She was his. Mate. Lover. His.

Slowly, he blinked, opened his eyes. He must’ve passed out, because he was still lying on top of Buffy, one hand tangled in her hair, the other clutching her fingers as tightly as she clutched his. His breathing had yet to steady, and he noticed hers wasn’t much better. Her thighs held his hips tightly, and Angelus vaguely thought he should untie her legs.

He should move. Probably. In a minute. Because never in his entire life had he felt so… There weren’t words for it; nothing seemed to fit. Sated, complete, whole. All inadequate. There was a word in the ancient tongue he’d somehow always known, however.


His everything.

Belatedly rolling off her, Angelus slipped out of her warm body and didn’t miss the sound Buffy made when he did so. Staring at the ceiling for a moment, he forced himself to move; grabbing his knife and slicing through the scarves holding her legs to the bedposts.

Finally, he turned his head and looked at her. Buffy’s eyes were heavy with sexual satisfaction and sleep, but she looked at him steadily enough. She curled onto her side, one arm bent under her head, and watched him.

Shivering, whether from cold or something else, she whispered, “Well that explains it, doesn’t it.” There was a small smile on her face, but her eyes drifted closed and she gave a rueful chuckle. “And isn’t that typical.”

Angelus watched her sleep, tugged the sheet and blanket off the floor where they lay in a crumpled pile and reluctantly covered her body. But she shivered again and inched closer. She was asleep, he knew that, and yet her body moved towards his even then. Seeking warmth? No, he wasn’t foolish enough to believe that. Seeking him.

But what did she mean by her cryptic words?

Resting his head on one hand, Angelus continued to watch her throughout the night. Thoughts vied for space in his brain, but he refused to acknowledge any of them, ignoring everything but what his eyes showed him, what his senses sought and held. Just as the sun began its hazy ascent into the usually bleak sky, he allowed himself the comfort of sleep.

And when he woke, untold hours later, Buffy was still asleep, curled atop him as if to physically pin him down and force him to stay.

Consternation flashed over his face, but Angelus made no move to dislodge her. Couldn’t, never mind he didn’t want to. Hell, this was so typical. Being fucked over by the Govies was one thing, and something he expected. Being chained up, drugged, and turned over to the Govies by the woman with whom he’d enjoyed the best sex of his life was just something he should’ve realized would happen.

“Fucking Divine,” he murmured into Buffy’s hair, fingers combing out the tangles he, himself, caused. He was hard and aching for her, and knew he’d held her tight throughout the hours they’d shared in sleep.

But being screwed in a supremely ironic twist by The Divine wasn’t something he ever thought to experience.

Dropping a casually affectionate kiss to the top of Buffy’s head before allowing his tired body to find sleep once more, Angelus supposed he shouldn’t be surprised. At least he found her.


Slowly, Buffy woke, several small degrees of wakefulness intruding into her unbelievably deep slumber. Damn, she hadn’t felt this rested in…never. She’d never gotten more than a few hours sleep, not even before the plague destroyed her real family. There was always a restlessness in her that forced her to move, to fight, to tire herself out before she exploded.

Sighing, she thought of the reason why she felt this way, and realized, with a jerk, that Angelus was that reason. “Oh, fuck.”

“If you want to, baby,” he purred and she felt that rumbling clear through her, making her wet and achy for him all over again. “I’m more than up for it.”

She didn’t look down because she could feel his hard cock throbbing against her inner thigh. Inner thigh because that’s how she lay, one leg thrown over him as if chaining him down with her body.

Buffy didn’t blush, didn’t look away in embarrassment, but she did close her eyes for a minute as the full impact of her memories washed over her. Well, wasn’t that typical. Giving in like she had, letting him – hell, begging him! – to fuck her. And damn, he was a fantastic lover.

No, she wouldn’t be opposed to it again.

“Hmm,” she turned her head to look at him, all heavy lidded and sexy smile. Buffy could just barely see the flashing gold of his eyes as he studied her studying him, and smiled wider. “You certainly are,” she whispered, shifting her body to take him into her.

Rocking against him, Buffy braced her hands on his chest, smooth and hard, and couldn’t help but dig her nails into that perfection. Not to mar his beautiful skin. To mark him.

It was the sex that gave her the words to ask him. That, and she’d never had anyone else to ask. Never known anyone else with the same needs, instincts, beast as she.

“It’s content inside you, isn’t it?” Angelus looked at her sharply, eyes more gold now than brown. “The beast, it claws and roars, but now,” she smoothed her fingers along his muscles up over his shoulders and down his arms. Twining her fingers with his, she continued her slow movements against him.

“Now it’s silent. It knows, doesn’t it?”

His jaw clenched, and for a moment Buffy was afraid she was wrong. That she’d made it all up so she’d feel better about the beast within her. Or maybe he just wasn’t going to answer her because she was wrong about his own beast being content. Or that he even had one, or that-

“Yes.” Short, sharp, succinct, and very unwillingly said.

“What is it?” she whispered. “What are we?”

His hands left hers, gripping her hips and holding her motionless for precious moments. He was still hard inside her, filling her in a delicious way that made her want to purr – and move, damn it! Was he going to push her off him? Was she so wrong about him that he was going to leave the bed now rather than answer?

“We’re mated.”

Buffy frowned at him, as he scowled and cursed over what he’d just admitted. For some reason, that made her breathe easier. “Lánúinchéile, isn’t that what you said?”

Angelus growled now, and a spear of lust shot through her at the sound. “No.”

“No?” Buffy laughed, knew she was right, knew this all felt right. She didn’t know what this was, but it was. Rolling her hips, she leaned down to kiss him. Smiled against his lips when his impatiently took hers.

“Damn it!” he roared, rolling them over and moving sharply within her. Held her head gently between his large hands as only someone well aware of his strength could. Pounded her hard and fast, moving them over the bed until Buffy was nearly falling off. Pulled her up and kissed her, holding her tightly to him as her own strong legs lifted her off him, only to slam back onto him.

She bit his lip and drew blood, soothed with her tongue. “Why can’t you accept it?”

“Why do you?” he countered.

“Because,” she breathed, voice hitching as his hands once more slammed her hips down onto him. “Yes, Angelus.” Her head fell back, nails digging into his shoulders as she continued to move.

What had she been saying…?

“Because,” she repeated, forcing her neck to hold her head up so she could see him. “This is the first time everything fits. My mind is calm, my soul doesn’t ache, when you touch me I need more, not to scrub the feel of you away. The creature that usually howls for release is now growling for you and only you.”

Buffy was on her back again, legs bent and pushed nearly to her shoulders. And each time Angelus thrust into her, he hit a new pleasurable spot. Had she said something? Was she supposed to think while he was…

“Right there,” her hands clenched on the headboard, only now realizing it was some kind of iron. Her back arched, hips meeting him as he continued to move, hard, harder, more, need…more…there! “Yes, harder, yes!”

“Mine,” Angelus growled, “You’re only mine!”

And with that, she felt it. Felt the literal release of himself as she had earlier. Felt his beast roar in conjunction with hers. Felt his lips on her neck, his teeth clamping hard on the spot that made her want to literally explode from the sheer rapture of it. Felt him open himself and give. To her.

“Angelus!” she shouted. And it hurt to breathe, how was she supposed to breathe through something so all-encompassing and consuming and everywhere and By The Divine, this was pure perfection.

He didn’t roll off her this time, simply shifted their bodies on the bed, still holding her. He wasn’t inside her, but Buffy was almost okay with that. Looping her leg backwards, she hooked it over his hip, just to feel him, and felt his cock harden at the movement.

Smiling at that, at his strong presence behind her, his hands on her hip, her head pillowed on his shoulder, she ultimately found the strength to turn her head and face him. He wasn’t asleep, despite the fact his eyes were closed.

“You can’t deny it.”

“No,” he said quietly, opening beautiful brown eyes that were clear and depthless. Buffy saw herself reflected deep within those eyes, and moved her head just enough to give him a peck on the lips.

Lánúinchéile,” he murmured, closing his eyes again. “I’m never letting you go.”


“I have to check on my family,” she said three days later.

They’d spent the majority of their time together exploring each other’s bodies. And minds; learning about the other, but not too much. It was too new for that, and they were to used to being alone to open themselves to something so intimate.

Their bodies, on the other hand, were well mapped, well explored, and well loved. Through that, they’d grown more affectionate to each other, a caress here, the touch of a hand over a meal, a soft kiss before falling asleep in each other’s arms.

“Why?” he demanded.

“Because I don’t want them in danger, and with the…” she stopped, swallowed. “With the reward money they now have,” she continued slowly, “I don’t want anything to happen to them.”

Angelus successfully ignored her mention of ‘reward’, but his smile promised retribution in a pleasurable way for that. He hadn’t forgotten her betrayal, but he had forgiven it. Especially since Buffy’d promised that retribution against the particular Government facility was a perfect course of action.

“I don’t like you putting yourself in danger.” He stated, shaking his head. “They can take care of themselves.”

“Yes,” she snapped hotly, “But I’m better. They know the score, that’s not the point. I’m better, stronger, faster, and can sense things they can’t.”

“You’re mine,” he snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her flush against him. Crushed her lips with his, his other hand tangling in her bath-damp hair. “I don’t like you in danger.”

Angelus didn’t add that he didn’t like her away from him, either. Instead, he stated, “I’ll come with-” he cut himself off.

It was there and gone in a flash, but the unmistakable look of relief shone clearly in Buffy’s eyes. Apparently, she didn’t want to be away from him, either. While Angelus wasn’t sure how this new mating thing worked, he was certain he couldn’t bear to let her out of his sight, let alone immediate presence.

“We’ll leave tonight,” he finished with instead of whatever he was going to say.


“ACK!” Willow squeaked, stumbling back a step when Angelus followed Buffy into the house.

Immediately there were half a dozen more people in the room, all with weapons drawn and aimed at the newly arrived couple. Angelus, for his part, sneered at them in an imperial kind of way that clearly said he couldn’t be bothered with such…underlings. Buffy suppressed a snicker at the look.

“Willow, it’s fine.” At her friend’s look Buffy relented. “Okay, so there’s a story, but it’s still fine.”

Buffy waited a beat, but no one moved. She could feel Angelus’ ever present anger begin to seethe at those before him, not because they threatened him, but because they threatened her. Finally, a cry of excitement jerked everyone around, and the little girl whom Buffy had rescued ages ago raced past the adults – all with their weapons still aimed at Buffy and Angelus – and launched herself into Buffy’s arms.

“You came back!” she cried, hugging her tightly, snuggling her face into Buffy’s neck. “Are you going to save us now?”

“Ah…” Buffy looked helplessly at the child, Little Buffy, then at Angelus who was eyeing the child with the same distrust he did everyone else in the room. “She thinks I’m humanity’s savior.”

“You are.”

In one smooth move, Buffy whiled around, set Little Buffy behind her, drew her sword, and faced the new voice. Angelus, sword already drawn, was next to her. He all but vibrated with energy, but held himself with the same iron will as always. The group before him never realized how lucky they were not to already be dead.

“Maybe not the savior, but there is a myth about you.”

“Giles,” she snarled, glaring at the low-level government flunky. “What’s he doing here?” Buffy asked Willow.

“He quit, Buffy, and has been here for a month now.”

“You can’t quit being a Govie,” Angelus stated, eyeing Giles with disdain. “You still smell like one.”

“Yes, well, be that as it may,” Giles shrugged, looking as laid back as he could while still looking slightly dangerous. “I am the one with the information.”

“And that is?” Buffy demanded.

Giles glanced around the room, the mass of weapons drawn, the little girl standing behind Buffy as if she was absolutely positive that Buffy would protect her until there were no more threats in this world, and shrugged. “If you insist on here…”

“I do.” Angelus snarled. “Speak.”

Giles sniffed back at Angelus but shrugged again. “Very well. There’s an ancient myth about an extinct race that will save humanity. No one knows the origin of this myth, nor of the race itself. All that’s known is that it was once predicted an Ancient Race of…well, superbeings, for want of a better word, would be the force to bring humanity back. Not to its former – and dubious – glory, but into a new age.”

“If this race is extinct,” Buffy said in a flat, cold voice, “How do you know about it?”

“The race isn’t extinct. You merely went underground when the wars started and the plague came.”

“Why do you think I’m one of this not-really-extinct-race of extinct superbeings?”

“Because,” he didn’t look at anyone but she and Angelus, and yet Buffy had the impression he wasn’t comfortable sharing this information with the others. “I’m a descendent of those who were supposed to help you.”

“Right,” Angelus barked out a laugh. Deadly and lethal. “You’re supposed to help this so-called superbeing race save humanity.”

“That’s what I was given to understand, yes.”

“You don’t know?” This was from Willow, who looked torn between interest and protectiveness towards Buffy.

“Willow,” Giles sighed, “What I know about myself is as much myth as what I know about Buffy and…Angelus.”

Angelus growled at that, and even though he hadn’t moved, Giles felt the threat clearly. “Yes, yes,” he nodded, tiredly. “You as well.”

But Angelus had already known that. Because whatever Buffy was, other than his, so, too, was he. They were the same, and both of them knew it. He didn’t like being anyone’s savior, let alone the very humans he detested. He’d rather go to his mountain home with Buffy and ignore the rest of the world for the rest of their lives.

Might still do that.

“What else do you know?” Buffy asked, voice still emotionless. Only Angelus heard the change. It wasn’t that she believed this Giles, or believed in this myth-shit. It was something deeper than that.

A need to find out who she was.

While it was a need he shared, Angelus was also perfectly content to simply have Buffy. For with her, he didn’t need to hear about myths and superbeings, or anything else. He knew who he was.

“Not much more, I’m afraid.” Giles admitted. “The only references I’ve been able to find all point to a ‘faraway land, lush and fertile, where the plagues have not reached’.”

“That’s…” Buffy twisted her mouth again in another scowl and wondered if she’d be able to form another expression after today. “So not helpful. And no place on this planet.”

“No,” Giles agreed. “But it’s all I have. And that this land, whether real or not, is across the ocean.”

“In the Territories?” Angelus demanded, then laughed, short and harsh. “Right.”

The Territories were worse than the Mainland was. The wars started there, the plagues began there, and everything spread. There were rumors, there always were, about how humans ate their young just to survive, and burned their old and infirm to stay warm. About how even the Govies didn’t patrol the streets, and people disappeared all the time with no explanation.

“Despite that,” Giles nodded at their unspoken words. “That is where this land is said to be.”


“I’m going to kill him.” Angelus said later as he and Buffy moved silently across rooftops.

“Because he thinks there’s a way to save humanity?” she asked, smiling over her shoulder. “He’s delusional, not dangerous.”

“That little girl believes him.”

“She’s young and…” Buffy stopped, frowned. “Actually, she believed that when I rescued her from the Crawlers. Something about how I was ‘her’, and I was going to save them from something or other.”

“You don’t actually buy this, baby, do you?”

“What?” Buffy brought her attention back other lover, saw both derision and concern in his eyes, and laughed. “No,” she said slowly. “No, I don’t. But…what if?”

“Then we’d have heard something by now,” Angelus said with conviction, shrugging it off. “If you really think we’re a part of this ancient race, then don’t you think others would have tried to find us? No, it’s not true.”

He moved to the edge of the roof, looking down at a group of Crawlers fighting over one of their own dead. Sneering in disgust, he finished, “The Govies did this to me.”

“Angelus,” Buffy moved closer to him, ignoring the scene below. “Love, no, they didn’t. They tried to find out about you, the experiments, all that. It was so they could figure you out. They didn’t make you into who you are, Angelus.”

“They didn’t make me a killing machine?” he turned sharply, eyes golden and hard. His rage was still there, tempered only when they were intimate. It burned brightly now, hot and angry and threatening to overwhelm him. “You mean I was always like this? Willing to fight and kill? To take lives without thought? To slaughter my way across this world?”

Buffy stopped him by simply cupping her hand on his cheek. Breathing hard, he looked at her, silent, but no less coiled. “They may have used your natural instincts for survival, those other instincts we both have, but they did not create you. Brainwashed you, yes. Made you believe you were something they could and did control. Did something to you that caused you this rage, but they did not create you. And they could never own you.”

Breathing deeply, Angelus turned abruptly and dropped straight down into the middle of the melee. Buffy watched from the rooftop as he took out all twelve Crawlers, slicing and punching his way through the group. She didn’t help, didn’t interfere because he wanted neither.

And when he was done, when there was nothing left but the dead, she went to him. Silently wrapped her arms around him and let him breathe in her scent. He shuddered once, arms tightening even more around her.

She slipped her hand down, stroking his erection through his pants, unzipping the material and cupping his cock. Without a word, he backed her against a wall, away from the death he’d wrecked, and allowed her to comfort him. Allowed her body to take his into her, to stroke and yield, to caress and to love.

It was silent and violent, a mating of bodies as Buffy held him to her, always whispering. “I won’t let you go. I won’t let them have you, love. I won’t let them take you from me now that I’ve found you.”

She shuddered around him, Angelus found his own release, stilling within her for precious minutes before finally setting her back on the ground. Not letting her go, he held her close as she redressed. It was more than a little awkward, but Buffy managed because Angelus needed her, and she wasn’t about to let him down.

When he lifted his head, those eyes she loved so much were again clear brown, beautiful and calm.

Kissing him softly on the lips, eyes always on his, Buffy smiled. “I love you, and even if the Govies fucked with you somehow, it doesn’t change who you are. Or how I feel about you.”

It was the first time either had spoken of love, and the words caused Angelus to shudder again. Slanting his mouth over hers, he kissed her hard, hungry, needy. Pulling back, he offered a smile. One of the half smirks that made her wet and her knees weaken.

“I’m going to destroy the Facility first,” he said. They’d already talked of that, though, of eradicating everything that once housed him, everyone that once tortured him.

“And then I’m taking you to my cabin, and I might not ever let you leave. But,” he continued. “If you want…we can search for this…race. At least for more information on them.”

“Afterwards,” Buffy smiled, nodding. “We’ll find them afterwards.”


The sun was setting over the mountains, red and fiery, vivid and breathtakingly beautiful.

Buffy had never seen anything like it, and she wondered why Angelus had ever left this place. When she’d asked him, he’d shrugged it off, mumbling something about a tingling sensation and a need.

While she hadn’t questioned what he’d meant any further, she thought she knew. The beast inside wouldn’t let him enjoy anything without its mate. It forced Angelus to always move, to always search, even if he hadn’t known what he was searching for. Or whom.

She felt his presence behind her long before he slipped his arms around her waist, turning her from the sunset to kiss her. It was difficult going more than a few minutes without touching each other, a kiss, a caress, and neither bothered to deny the instinct.

They’d destroyed the Govie facility where Angelus had been held captive for years, where Buffy had turned him back over to the sadistic bastards. The explosion was spectacular. And had incinerated all of that bitch, Maggie’s, ‘experiments’. She wanted to recreate her success in Angelus. Whether or not she’d actually had a hand in anything relating to him, she believed she had, and wanted another like him.

Wanted an army like him.

The results were not pretty, were twisted and grotesque and always insane. Which may have worked to Maggie’s army-dream advantage, had she not insisted on continuing her work to find the perfect killing machine who listened to her orders alone.

Her body was never found in the wreckage, but even if anyone investigated, they wouldn’t have been able to find the…pieces…Angelus left.

Riley wasn’t so lucky. He didn’t die in the explosion, but was tracked down by Angelus later – without Buffy’s knowledge – and tortured. That hadn’t lasted long, as Angelus didn’t like, and most probably couldn’t, leave Buffy for more than a few hours without going slightly insane himself. Still, by the time Riley had died, he heartily regretted ever having met Buffy. Short-lived relationship or not.

Angelus looked over her shoulder at the last tendrils of the sunset, fingers entwined with hers. Eventually, they’d leave here and search out the missing pieces of this Ancient Race puzzle, but not now. He had way too much time to make up with his lover to worry over saving humanity.

The rages had grown more manageable since he found Buffy. He wasn’t sure if it was the destruction of the source of so much of his pain and loathing, or if it was Buffy’s presence alone that soothed the savagery of his emotions, but the berserker fury that overtook him had lessened. With her and her alone, he was slowly learning that somehow he wasn’t weakened by giving her a more gentle edge to the passion and love that flowed between them.

If anything, it made him deadlier to his enemies; he had so much more to lose now.

“Come on, baby,” he murmured in her ear, licking the mark on her neck. “Let me make you scream.”

They didn’t make it back to the cabin, but watched the stars begin to shine as they lay in each other’s arms, naked and sated.

The End

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