Lunasea - April 13, 2003
It was a beautiful moonlit night at the Summers' house. Spike and Faith had gone out on "patrol" together. Buffy remembered how little actually got done and such patrols, but she was only sixteen at the time. What was their excuse? She was glad to have them both out of the house. She was tired of watching them rub up against each other. Buffy figured she would just ignore them. It wasn't like they had a apocalypse to fight. Wait! They did have one and she needed them to concentrate on it rather than each other. She sighed and went downstairs to see what everyone was up to.
Willow and Dawn were sitting at the dining room table huddled around Willow's lap top. They were obviously engrossed in what they were looking at. Buffy didn't want to disturb them. She walked over to the beautiful chest that Xander had made her for her twenty-first birthday. They kept it in the dining room now to make room for more sleeping bags. She opened it. Not much was in there. Angel must be working with the Potentials. She was so glad when he took training them off her hands. It freed her up to. . .wander the house aimlessly looking for something useful to do.
Buffy heard a loud scream come from the living room. It sounded like a girl. It must be Andrew. She grabbed a throwing ax from the chest and ran to save him.
"Bloody hell," Giles said looking up from his notes. "When are people going to learn that guns are useless against the supernatural."
"But rocket launchers can be rather effective," Xander reminded him stuffing a handful of popcorn into his mouth.
"Pipe down," hissed Andrews. "I thought you weren't going to watch the movie."
"I'm not," Giles retorted. "That stuff will rot your...oh come on. That is just beyond ridiculous. Who actually watches this stuff?"
"We would if you would stop talking long enough," Xander let him know. Andrew's hand crept into Xander's popcorn bowl. Xander smacked it.
"Mine's all gone," Andrew said rubbing his hand and then holding out his empty bowl to show him. "Don't the good guys share? Isn't that what makes you good." Xander paid him no attention.
"Guess no one needs saving in here," Buffy said dejectedly. She wasn't in the mood for a movie. She decided to go to the kitchen to make some more popcorn for Andrew, that way she wasn't so useless. No one even noticed her leave.
The kitchen was a disaster. She found Anya trying to straighten it up.
"We should institute a cleanup schedule," Anya said as Buffy walked over to a cabinet and grabbed a thing of popcorn. She stuck it in the microwave and pushed the buttons. She watched it as it turned around.
"There are so many Potentials running around. Why should we be cleaning?" Anya continued. "Isn't that why people have kids any way? They are still kids. We could tell them it was part of their training."
Buffy really didn't feel like hearing Anya talk. She looked out the window. "Sure, whatever you want." She noticed Angel talking to the Potentials. Maybe he could use her help.
"I'll get one of Andrew's boards and write it up for everyone to see," Anya called out after her as Buffy went outside.
Angel was standing in front of the Potentials. More than a few were staring dreamily up at him. They all would rather hear him talk than Buffy. They were glad when Buffy told them that Angel would train them. Angel saw Buffy come out and smiled at her. She smiled back. She was going to offer to help, but she decided to just watch instead. She liked how Angel was with the Potentials. She sat down on the porch.
"Rona, how about we see if anything I've been saying makes sense?" Angel said holding a sword out for her. Rona took it.
"No problem," she told Angel. "What do you want me to do?"
Angel lunged at her. "Not get killed." Rona dodged his blow deftly. She was a real natural at it. Angel kept talking as the sound of metal clashing filled the backyard. It took Buffy back to the last time she had seen Angel use a sword. Buffy did not want to go back there, ever.
"What is the most important thing to keep in mind when working with weapons?" Angel asked the girls.
"Maintain focus," Kennedy yelled from the back.
"Very good," Angel told her. "Why?" he asked continuing the lesson.
Kennedy like showing off that she knew more than the other Potentials. "Because if you are distracted even for a split-second, the results could be disastrous, even more so when your opponent has a deadly weapon."
Buffy got up to go inside. She couldn't watch Angel with a sword, not again, not after the last time. Angel noticed her get up and that something was wrong. What he didn't notice was Rona's sword coming in on his right side. She sliced him near the waist.
"Like that," Kennedy said as the other Potentials ran over to see how Angel was.
Buffy was opening the door as she heard the commotion. She couldn't tell what had happened with all the Potentials crowding around, but she knew it wasn't good. Buffy couldn't imagine what could have happened. Angel had tremendous control when he fought and would never injure a Potential.
"I'm fine. Really. Don't worry about it. I heal fast," Buffy heard Angel tell the girls. She leaped down the stairs and ran to him.
"What happened?!?" she asked. Then she noticed the blood. "Oh my god," she started to say.
"It's nothing," he told her. "I let my guard down and Rona got in a good blow.
"Sorry," Rona stammered. "I am so sorry. I just..."
Buffy cut her off.
"That's ok. You didn't do anything wrong. Kennedy will you take over while I clean Angel up?"
Kennedy loved being in charge. The other Potentials hated when Kennedy was in charge. She was bossier than Buffy. A collective groan almost went up. Kennedy came over to take Angel's sword from him. He handed it to her.
"Thanks. Why don't you put those away and work on something that doesn't involve physical contact?" Angel told her. By his tone, she could tell it wasn't a request. At least she still was in charge. She'd whip these maggots into shape.
Buffy took Angel inside. Anya noticed the blood.
"I just finished cleaning. If you make a mess, you're gonna have to clean it up yourself," she let them know.
"Thanks," Buffy said. "Where's the first aid kit?" she asked.
"Buffy, I'll be fine," Angel tried to say.
"I know you will, AFTER I get you all fixed up. You're helping me out with the Potentials. The least I can do is take care of this," Buffy said in that tone of voice that told Angel it was pointless to argue with her.
"You were the last one with it," Anya told Buffy. "It is probably still in your room. You don't put anything back."
Buffy didn't want to start arguing with Anya. She wasn't even sure why Anya was here. "Fine" was all she could think to say. Then she left to go upstairs. Angel didn't move.
"You coming?" she asked him. Angel didn't say anything or move. "Stop being such a baby and get upstairs," she told him.
I'm not being a baby, Angel thought. He knew better than to say it out loud, though. He followed Buffy up to her room. She went in, but he didn't. She started to look for the first aid kit. She found it on her dresser. When she saw that Angel was waiting in the hallway, she got annoyed.
"Bloody hell," she said, her annoyance showing.
"Sounds like someone has spent too much time around Giles," Angel tried to joke.
"Probably, " she said. "If I start to call you a `berk' then I've spent too much time with Giles. What is a berk any way?"
"Hell if I know," Angel said trying to be more nonchalant than he felt.
"Get in here!" Buffy commanded him.
"Buffy, I don't think..." he tried to protest.
"Why not?" she wanted to know, already knowing his answer.
"That is your bedroom," he said trying to not sound as uncomfortable as he felt.
"Which you've been in before. At least this time I'm not hiding you from Mom." The thought of her mother made Buffy a little sad. She shook it off. "It's a room with a bed in it. So? We are both adults. Now get in here before I drag you in here."
"Buffy..." he started to say.
"Besides, I REALLY don't want the Potentials to see you without your shirt on. Half of them are already madly in love with you," she was half joking, half serious and completely annoyed.
"Really? Which ones?" Angel wanted to know.
"Yes really," Buffy said with a laugh. "I know you can't see yourself, but one of these days you're going to have to accept how much of a hottie you are." Angel smiled. "My room is the only place in this house with any sort of privacy. So stop being a berk, whatever that is, and get in here."
Angel relented and went into Buffy's bedroom. He thought about the last time he was in here and the first and every time in between. He went over to the window he used to climb in through and looked out. Buffy went over to the dresser and opened the first aid kit.
"Sit down on the bed," she told him as she found the supplies she was looking for.
Angel turned around and looked at the bed, remembering the dream he had when the First was here last time. He tried to clear his head. He went over to her desk and pulled out the chair. He sat down on that instead. When Buffy turned around, she noticed Angel wasn't on the bed. She started to say something. Then she noticed where he was. Fine, she thought. Whatever. This wasn't exactly easy for her either. She walked over to where Angel was.
"Take off your shirt," she instructed him.
"Buffy, it really is nothing," he protested.
"Then let me see how nothing it really is," she said starting to lift his shirt. Angel took her hands to stop her. She looked at him and quickly dropped the shirt. She walked back over the dresser and fumbled around in the first aid kit. Angel walked over to her.
"I'm sorry," Angel said.
"Look, can we just get this over with, please?" Buffy said obviously upset.
"We don't have to do this at all," Angel said. "It would be best if we didn't."
"Angel," Buffy said getting exasperated. "I've seen you without your shirt on and I'm no longer some swooney little school girl."
"Buffy, I never saw you as some swooney little school girl," Angel tried to tell her.
"Whatever," Buffy said just dismissing him. She really didn't want to get into this. "Then take off your shirt and sit down, over THERE," she said motioning to the bed.
Angel sighed and did as told. It wasn't Buffy's feelings he was worried about. It was his own. That was a place he didn't want to have to revisit. Forget, that is what they said. How could he forget there in her bedroom with her so close? He was afraid of what feelings her actually touching him would stir up.
So was Buffy. She wanted to do this more to prove to herself that she could than because she was worried about Angel. He was a vampire. He had that whole immortality thing going for him. He healed even faster than she did. She had seen it. There he was, without his shirt on sitting on her bed. She gulped and steeled herself for what she had to do. She sat next to him and took a look at what Rona had done.
"It's not so bad," she told him. "Just needs to be cleaned up."
"Told you," he said not looking at her. He looked at her once while she was inspecting his injury. Then he thought better of it.
Buffy got up and went to the first aid kit. She came back with a bottle and some wipes.
"What's that?" Angel wanted to know.
"Alcohol," she told him pouring it on the wipes.
"Not necessary," he told her.
"Stop being a big baby," she said placing the bottle on her night stand and sitting next to him. "I have to clean your wound."
He squirmed away from her. "Not with that you don't. It stings."
Buffy laughed. "Get back here. It only stings for a little while. You'll get an infection."
"No I won't," Angel said standing by the first aid kit. "Remember, vampire?" It does have some advantages." He smiled.
Buffy came and stood by him. "What if it's a mystical bacteria?"
"Got any mystical alcohol?" Angel said. They both laughed.
"Maybe Willow does," she told him and left the room. Angel looked around awkwardly trying to relax.
Buffy came back in a few moments with some other supplies. "No mystical alcohol, so good old soap and water will just have to do." They both laughed. The tension seemed to be clearing. "Are you going to sit down or do we have to do through this again?"Angel smiled and sat down.
"Buffy..." he started to say.
"What?" she asked smiling at him as she began to clean him up.
"Thanks," he said.
"No problem," she said. "It's my fault this happened." Angel froze. Did she know what distracted him? He wondered what had upset her.
"How so?" he asked trying not to give away his concern.
"If you weren't helping me with the Potentials, this never would have happened," she said not looking up from her work. Angel relaxed.
"I like working with them," he said. Buffy smiled.
Rona had gotten Angel pretty good. The cut went around to his back. Buffy climbed behind him to continue cleaning him up. She tried to concentrate on her task, but her eyes weren't so cooperative. They kept straying.
"Angel, can I ask you something?" Buffy wondered in that bright wonderful tone that only Buffy had.
Angel couldn't remember the last time he heard Buffy like that. Hearing it again made him feel wonderful. "Anything," he told her. He meant it. Anything that would generate that tone, Angel wanted to talk about.
"It's silly really, but it is something I've been curious about," she got out.
"Go ahead," he said as Buffy finished.
"Your tattoo. What is it? I figure the A is for Angel," she started.
"Actually, it's for Angelus," he told her.
"So it is from your evil vampire days," she said without a hint of judgment or discomfort in her voice.
"That's one way to put it." He wanted to add that only she would put it that way, but thought better of it. He turned around and looked at her. They smiled at each other. She sat next to him.
"What is it?" she wanted to know.
"A lion," he told her.
"Um, Angel, have you ever seen it?" Buffy asked him.
"No, but Darla said the guy did a good job."
"Then Darla lied. It isn't a lion." Buffy liked the idea of Darla lying.
"Yes it is," Angel let her know. "I could feel it when it was put on."
"It's got wings, Angel. Lions don't have wings. Not sure when you went to a zoo last, but lions definitely don't have wings."
Angel laughed. "It's a winged lion."
Buffy laughed too. "So why do you have a winged lion permanently etched onto your back? It's pretty big. Must have taken a while."
Angel smiled. It was nice that Buffy was interested in something so trivial and for once, he could talk about something in his past that wasn't horrific.
"It did. But it should be obvious why a lion," Angel said still smiling.
"It's not to me," Buffy said still showing interest in this inconsequential matter and giving Angel her full attention.
"King of the beasts," Angel said almost proudly.
"Pretty good description of Angelus," Buffy said still showing no signs of discomfort. Then and idea hit her. "You said you've never seen it, right?"
"Nope. No reflection, no way to see your own back."
"Great!" Buffy said. Angel just looked at her. "Not great you can't see yourself, but...wait right here. I'll be right back." She jumped off the bed and went to leave the room. She stopped when she got to the door and turned around still excited. "Don't move. I'll be right back."
"You said that," Angel said, but Buffy was already gone. He wondered what had her so excited. He didn't really care. It was great to see Buffy like this again. He was just curious.
Buffy knocked down Xander as she came out of her bedroom.
"Sorry," she yelled as she ran down the stairs. Xander was stunned for a moment, but was ok.
"No problem," he yelled after her.
Buffy didn't hear. She was already downstairs. She headed for the dining room, where Willow and Dawn were still engrossed in what they were doing. Anya was sitting at the other end of the table working on the cleaning schedule.
"Will, do you know where the digital camera is?" Buffy asked her best friend.
"See you don't know where anything is." Anya interjected looking up from her work. "We need to assign everything to a place. That way when someone wants it, they can find it,"
"Sure, whatever," Buffy told her. "Why don't you do that, Anya?"
"Don't think I don't know what you are doing Buffy Summers. You just want me to..." Anya started.
"Andrew had it last," Willow interrupted not looking up from the computer.
"Thanks," Buffy said as she left the room.
Xander came into the dinning room rubbing his arm where he collided with Buffy. "Anyone know what is up with Buffy?"
"She just came in here looking for the digital camera," Dawn said also not looking up from the computer. "She seemed excited about something."
"Wonder what she wanted it for," Xander thought out loud.
"Probably wanted to take naked pictures of Angel," Anya said still engaged in her task.
"WHAT!!!!" Xander yelled.
"Isn't that what you do with a digital camera. They've been up there a while now," Anya let him know.
"WHAT!!!!" Now Willow and Dawn looked up from the computer.
"You mean you don't know? Buffy took Angel up to her bedroom ages ago. I thought everyone knew," Anya told them.
"No!" the rest of the Scoobies said simultaneously.
"I guess I'm the only one who knows what is going on in this house," Anya said looking up from her work. "It's getting too couply around here. Why is everyone so shocked?"
Buffy ran into the dining room carrying the camera. "Thanks Will. Andrew had it."
"Um, Buffy," Xander started, "What are you going to do with that?"
"Make a little present for Angel," Buffy said with a huge smile and ran back upstairs. Everyone stared after her.
"So it is naked pictures of Buffy, not Angel," Anya said. "Angel would be better."
When Buffy got to her room, she hid the camera behind her back. She still had on her big smile though. Angel heard her come in and turned to see her.
"Good boy, you didn't move," she told him.
"What are you up to?" he asked, his amusement clearly showing. "What do you have behind your back?" he asked knowing she wasn't gong to tell, yet.
"You'll see," she said climbing behind him. "And don't move." She framed his tattoo in the display. It was so big she had to move back.
"What is going on back there?" he asked. She took the picture.
"Shhh. No talking. No moving...Damn," she said looking at the display. "I said no moving."
"Ok," Angel said sitting as still as he could.
Buffy took another picture. "Great!" she said rather pleased with herself. She climbed closer to Angel. "Close your eyes," she told him. Angel was getting more curious, so he did as he was told. "Are your eyes closed?" she asked barely able to contain her excitement.
"Yes," he said his own excitement showing.
"Good," she said and with that she leaned over him so she could show him the display on the camera. She smelled so good. "You can open them now." Angel opened them. "So is that what you wanted it to look like?" she asked happy that she could show it to him.
Most of a gift in in the thought. Angel was incredibly touched that Buffy wanted to do this for him. It meant a lot to him how excited it made her, like she had found something he always wanted but couldn't get for himself. He didn't have the heart to tell her it wasn't something he wanted. There was more to the tattoo and he wasn't sure he wanted to tell that part. Still, she was awfully cute when she was so excited and she had no problem with his past. Angel took another look at the camera's display.
"The guy did a good job. Probably shouldn't have eaten him afterwards." He took the camera from Buffy and looked at his reminder of his past. Buffy looked at the actual tattoo as Angel looked at the display.
"Willow could print it out if you want," Buffy let him know getting absorbed by the details of the artwork that decorated Angel.
Angel thought about it. Have a print out that reminded him of his past? Not so much. Have a print out that reminded him how much the beautiful woman behind him cared about him? That sounded like a nice idea. It made him smile.
Buffy looked at all the lines that made up the tattoo. She could see the lion now. It had a lion's head and paws. The wings just obscured the body. It looked medieval or something. "It's pretty," she said tracing the wings with her finger tips. That sent shivers through her fingers up her arm and down her spine. She pulled her hand back. "Sorry," she murmured as she moved to sit next to Angel.
"That's OK," Angel said quietly. He, too, had been affected by Buffy's touch. All of the sudden he felt very naked. He stood up and put his shirt back on.
"Did you draw it?" Buffy asked.
"What?" Angel managed to get out, trying to erase how Buffy's touch felt, how it made him feel.
"The lion. Did you draw it?" Buffy asked, still curious, not just trying to come up with something to talk about to ease the awkwardness that had returned tenfold.
"Um, no," Angel let her know. "I copied it out of a book."
"Which book?" Buffy kept asking questions. Angel started to worry about how far she would dig. How much did he want to tell her?
"The Book of Kells," he told her hoping that would end it.
"What's that?" Buffy continued
Angel took a deep breath and walked over to the window. Why not tell her? Buffy was the one person who never judged him harshly. She was the one person who really did see beyond the demon, even when there wasn't much to see yet. He had done a lot of good since then.
"It's an old edition of the Gospels," he said looking out the window.
"Angel, that makes no sense. You said it was from your evil vampire days," Buffy said, her confusion showing.
"It is," he said still not looking at her.
"You're telling me that an evil vampire sat still long enough to have an elaborate picture from the Bible put on his back, forever? `cause forever really means forever with a vampire." Buffy was trying to make sense of this. It was obvious she really wanted to understand.
"I know," he said. Then he turned around and looked at her. "And yes, that is EXACTLY what I am telling you." From the way Angel looked at her, Buffy could tell he just said something that was both important and hard for him to say.
"You'll have to excuse me Angel, but not with the understanding here. If you don't want to talk about this, I understand."
Angel came over and sat down next to Buffy. "Actually, I don't mind talking about this. . . with you," he told her. They both felt and understood the weight of those words. Buffy wasn't going to insult that by not continuing.
"King of the beasts makes sense and from my experience rather appropriate, but a picture that gives glory to God? That makes no sense," she continued.
"Because it doesn't give glory to God. It mocks Him,'" Angel started "That was Angelus' MO. Marking his victims with a cross, having a preference for convents and confessionals, even my name, all ways to mock God."
"Angelus, the vampire with an angelic face. At least it fits," Buffy said wistfully.
Angel laughed. "Where did you hear that?" he wanted to know.
"That's what the Watcher's Diaries said."
"There's a lot of stuff that is wrong in there," Angel said still laughing. When Angel stopped laughing, Buffy decided to continue.
"So where does your name come from, if not that sweet face you can put on when you want to?" she wanted to know.
Angel really wasn't sure if he wanted to tell her that. He had just told her he didn't mind talking about this, but his name was different. Why did he have to throw that in?
"You don't want to know," he said getting up and going back to the window.
Buffy just sat here. She knew a lot about what Angel had done as Angelus, not only what he had done to her, but also prior to being cursed. He knew that she knew. What could be so bad? If Angel felt she didn't want to know, should she press him? She looked down at the floor. Very timidly, she managed to get out, "Yes I do." It wasn't curiosity that propelled her. She really wanted to understand Angel, even if this meant hearing unpleasant and downright horrifying things that she wished she didn't have to hear.
Angel still didn't look at her. "It will change how you look at me," he said. Angel wasn't sure he could handle that.
Buffy smiled, "Nothing you say will change how I feel about you, Angel. You should know that by now. Your past is your past. You aren't that monster any more." There was such warmth and reassurance in voice, that Angel wanted to share.
"It will change how you look at my name at least," he started.
"I doubt that Angel," Buffy told him and she meant it. Angel could tell. It gave him the strength to continue. He still kept looking out the window though.
"A vampire can't get into a home unless he is invited in."
"I know that," Buffy said, "You taught it to me." Angel didn't even hear her. He was in another place, another time.
"Including his own," he continued. "When I first rose...when I came back to my own house," he could barely get the words out. It was obvious to Buffy that this was very hard for Angel. "My sister Kathy, she was so happy to see me. Her face lit up with joy. She didn't know, how could she. Even if she knew, how could she have believed it? You know how people are. My sister, she was so sweet and good and pure and innocent. She was the angel, not me." With that a single tear fell down Angel's cheek. He couldn't continue.
"Angel?" Buffy said as tenderly as a mother talking to her new born or someone talking to someone she loves very much after he has been hurt very badly by something.
Angel turned around. "My sister thought I was an angel and invited me into the house. I then proceeded to slaughter her and my mother. I had to wait around for my father, but I made sure I got him, too."
"Angel, I am so sorry," Buffy started to say.
"An angel! My sister thought I was an angel. She had no idea what a monster I had become."
"You're not a monster any more, Angel," Buffy tried to reassure him. Angel didn't hear her.
"Darla thought the whole things ws rather amusing. She started calling me Angelus. The rest is legend."
"What was your first name? What did your mother call you?" Buffy wanted to know.
"Liam," he said quietly as he turned around to look out the window. He wasn't seeing the moonlit night, but the rolling green hills of Ireland.
"That's pretty," Buffy said, "in a manly sort of way, of course." Angel managed a small laugh.
"That was so long ago. I don't even feel like him any more." He went and sat down next to Buffy. He looked at the floor. Buffy took his hand.
"I guess you wouldn't. You were right though, I will never look at your name the same way again."
He looked at her. "See this is what I was afraid would happen..." Buffy didn't let him continue.
"That name started out as something grotesque and perverse and twisted, just like you."
Angel looked down at the floor again. He couldn't bear it if that was how Buffy thought of him. He wanted to protest, but she was right. Another tear fell.
Buffy continued, "But it has become something good and strong and wonderful, just like you."
Angel just looked at her, "You really feel that way about me, don't you?"
Buffy just nodded and smiled her biggest and brightest Buffy smile. It lit up the whole room. It made Angel smile.
"I always thought your name fit. Besides the whole face thing you've got going on, you've been my guardian angel. You've saved my life countless times and even more importantly, you've saved my heart. There were times I didn't think I'd make it and you're the one who pulled me through. Your sister was right. You are an angel. You just hadn't gotten your wings when she saw you." Buffy let him know.
Angel couldn't hold back any longer. He hugged Buffy.
"Thank you," he said through his tears.
"You're welcome," Buffy said through hers.
They stayed like that for awhile, hugging and crying. Each wanting so much more, but knowing it could never be.