I really hope that shellybelle will like this.
Title: Fractured Hearts
Summary: Ten years post-NFA Buffy and Angel think they’ve forgotten all about their demons, when one of them comes back to remind them.
Neither one was sure how the both of them came to be there. Both heroes had retired, gone back to their every day lives, desk jobs. They’d left the fighting behind them, gone off to be leaders and organizers.
For ten years neither was willing to admit to being more than they were. Watcher and artist, both seemed to forget that either of them ever held a demon inside.
Buffy sat at her watcher’s right hand, organizing her slayers. Too important for the field and not really all that interested in going back to the fight, why would she, since no one even expected it of her. She’d done enough, given enough. So what if she came to the council less and less? So what if she lived her normal life, with her friends, her sister, her job?
So what if she forgot?
Angel shrouded himself with his humanity. Discovering once again, all the frivolities of life. Finding art and beauty in the sunlight. At first he still fought if he was faced with evil, but with every bruise and every wound he just… slid out of it. Why should he fight after all? He wasn’t the champion anymore. No longer the Power’s hero; the ensouled vampire.
Once again, just a man… and the man wanted to live.
They had tried it right after the battle, finding each other, living together. As heroes, it just didn’t seem to work. He’d give her orders and expected her to follow in line, she’d shrug them off and be annoyed when he didn’t follow hers. Both too much in need of control to ever truly let the other guide them.
Angel would forget about her at times. When he was busy with a painting; or she was out clubbing without him. She’d given up on asking him to go along. It’s not that he didn’t love her, but he didn’t seem to notice it when she was needy. She didn’t realize the depth of his pain. No matter his body, the memories still haunted him. But why bother the other with that? They didn’t really need to talk… wasn’t love enough?
And after a while, she was gone for longer periods of time, and he sat there in his home in the dark. Happy for the place to be quiet. Because it seemed to be so much more quiet when he spent his time with her, neither of them quite knowing what to say. He missed the sound of someone who talked just for the pleasure of it. Someone that didn’t care if what she said interested him. Someone who expected him to be interested and he’d better well listen to her, even if it went on for hours. Buffy didn’t do that, not anymore. And he missed it, he missed Cordelia.
Buffy didn’t cry. He’d been surprised to discover that, even though he shouldn’t. At first he’d thought it meant she was happy. He’d been surprised to find it a mask. She’d been shocked when she found out he hadn’t even realized. He didn’t understand how she could expect him to know she was in denial. She didn’t get how he could ‘not’ know.
There was a hole in their world and neither of them talked about it. Why would they, when he was the one that had left? Did they resent him for it? If they did, neither of them would admit it.
Why had he left? The one that neither of them would talk about? Neither of them knew, and both thought the other did. Buffy knew he survived the battle, Angel wasn’t sure of it. She’d seen him right before she ran up to Angel. The former vampire had fallen on his knees as he’d cringed at hearing his heartbeat for the first time in years. She’d seen a flash of white hair, but once she got Angel up, the man leaning on her shoulder, that flash was gone. And they were alone. A slayer, a man, a god and the body of the last of Angel’s friends lying on the ground, dead.
Neither of them was willing to talk about the ones that weren’t with them.
They tried again a few years later, when both of them were fully retired, just a man, a woman, together. But it didn’t work. Neither of them was willing to blame the other for no longer being the one they’d believed them to be. And neither was willing to take the blame.
So she kissed him and held his hands and said nothing while he stared after her as she took her suitcases and went back to England. He closed the door, waiting for her to return and hoping she didn’t.
It was understandable how much of a shock it was to see one another now. Here at this place, Martinelli’s gallery. A place for art, designs and the most exquisite bits of beauty found both in the human and demon worlds – including some of the most exclusive demons found for sale anywhere.
Martinelli was a collector. He didn’t care what the hunt for his object entailed, and paid heavily for their delivery. Whatever he bought had to be unique. He’d never accept demons in his stable that weren’t in some way one of a kind. The last of a species, even if his people had to slaughter all the others. A prophesising Mucus demon or a demon deformed at birth in such a way that he or she became worth keeping.
And then there was the heralded prize in his zoo. Martinelli had just gotten his hands on it and was planning to show it off for all to envy. Rumour had it he had gotten his hands on a demon so rare that it was beyond measure. Most people scoffed at that. After all, that was what was was said about all of Martinelli’s art.
The council was worried that he'd gotten his hands on a slayer, so they sent their best. The only of their group that they managed to get an invite for, Buffy Summers, 'the' slayer. Still the One, even amongst many. She'd come, dressed to the nines, but ready for combat at any second.
Angel hadn’t received an invite, but as a local artist of some renown, he’d managed to get in regardless. He wasn’t even sure why he was there. Maybe part of him wanted an excuse for a fight? Maybe he just wanted a night out. Either way, he was there. When he saw her he stopped breathing.
They talked; of course they talked. About the weather, about how the other was doing. Neither of them mentioned that it had been four years since they’d last seen one another. That wasn’t supposed to matter. She didn’t ask about Connor; his pain ran too deep. He didn’t ask about Dawn, and couldn’t remember Buffy’s current boyfriend’s name.
She told him about Willow, about Xander, about Giles. He still cringed at the mention of his name. Fred’s death, like the others, was never forgotten.
The curtains started to open before either of them could ask the one question; both were desperate to ignore.
Buffy’s first thought was a prayer of relief, the council had been wrong, Angel’s first thought was, ‘I know that back’.
Murmurs went on around them, disappointment from most. It was just a vampire, nothing more… nothing unique.
“The one and only vampire with a soul in existence.” Martinelli said quietly in awe of his own possession.
Buffy finally took a good look at the vampire, her hands curling into fists. Angel held her back. “Not now” he whispered.
Both stood there stunned, unable to do anything but watch as Martinelli put the vampire in front of them through his paces. Chained up and gagged, the vampire would have been unable to fight, even if he’d seemed inclined to do so.
Dressed in nothing but jewels and a collar the vampire seemed utterly defeated. Martinelli petted the vampire and Buffy’s rage was palpable. Why wasn’t he fighting back? Why was he allowing himself to be molested in public?
“Kept perfectly under control by the gems of Dala. Under normal circumstances I could tell you about all the various uses this vampire has. Both as a fighter, decoration and for pleasure purposes. Which I would…” his fingers moved past the vampire’s spine, down, touching oiled skin. “If he were actually for sale.”
Buffy and Angel shared a look and kept an eye on Martinelli, both once again professionals, ready for a fight. And once they got their chance they struck, Angel going for Martinelli, and Buffy for the vampire. She almost cried when he flinched away from her rescue attempt.
She hesitated. Angel knelt by his side.
“Spike?” he whispered.
The vampire in question remained mute and submissive.
Pairing and/or character requested:B/A or B/A/S ...My OTP and OT3, respectively, as it were. *giggle*
Up to three things you would like included in your story: purring, a coffee shop, leather jacket
Up to three things you would not like in the story: Im all against the watersports thing. Alot. Pretty much whatever else you want is fine.
Rating preference: Whatever suits you, go for it. Im a grown up now. :-)