BtVS (Boston'verse). Angel/Buffy: Helpless, Redux
SUMMARY: Boston'verse. Some secrets were not buried deep enough in the Council archives.
Written for coppersinger. Prompt: Sometimes, she's alright with being the 'damsel'.
Just to make it clear, if her worst enemy (to date) hadn’t been meticulous enough to bomb out the old Council, Buffy herself would be taking the first flight to London and setting those charges.
“How long will it last?” she shrieks into the phone.
On the other side of the world, Giles clears his throat. “Erm. Last time –” Pause. He doesn’t like remembering her eighteenth birthday any better than she does. “- the effects faded after three days, if I remember correctly.”
Three days of weakness, closeting herself at home, and fearing that the news would spread to her enemies. For her younger self, it had been hell on earth.
“If I find out anyone still alive did this…” she says, upset enough to squeeze the speaker into her fist, and even more upset when it doesn’t bend under her strength. Angel always jokes that they go through half a dozen sets every month, more when Dawn manages to get herself in trouble (Dawn is her little sister, no matter that she’s in her twenties. She should be focusing on her studies, not discovering Boston’s underbelly!). Tonight he puts his hand around hers and slides the phone away from her grasp.
“We’ll keep you updated,” he tells her ex Watcher before setting the phone down. One arm around her waist, he pulls her to him. “Are you all right?”
If she tried to loose herself from the embrace, she wouldn’t succeed unless Angel allowed it. No, she’s not all right. “What if it’s not the same drug?” she whispers, letting out her most terrifying doubt since they discovered her Slayer powers were gone. “It’s been years, Angel, more than a decade. Someone must have tampered with the formula in that time.”
He doesn’t tell her that it’s impossible, or that her body will flush it out either way. They may deal with demons and arcane information, but modern world evil is no stranger to them. “You should rest.”
She chortles a laugh.
Back in Sunnydale, she had not been able to sleep more than thirty minutes before some nightmare startled her awake. Not the worst she’s ever gone through, of course not, but bad enough to rank high in the list of things she never ever wants to repeat.
Yet here she is, weak and pathetic again.
“I hate my life,” she mumbles against Angel’s shirt right before he picks her up and heads to their bedroom. “I won’t sleep,” she warns.
“Then just lie down and picture the new decoration design. I know you’re planning one,” he says when she would have protested her innocence, “I saw one of the little guys sneaking around to take measurements.”
“I told him to wait until you were gone,” she grumbles.
He grins. “He never noticed I’d come back.” With his foot, he pushes the door open. “Now, what do you think of going back to greys?” She makes a face, he laughs. “Okay, then think of something better.”
She can do that. She’s getting tired of red, perhaps a new round of blue? With yellow highlights this time?
He pulls the covers down with one hand and settles her in. To her surprise (no, not really), he climbs onto the bed next to her, scuttling across the wide mattress to lie next to her. “You’re safe, you know,” he tells her as he places a hand over her heart.
It’s beating more rapidly than usual, she notices. An outward sign of the thoughts running through her head - can’t fight, can’t protect, can’t fight! “Right now any of the new recruits could take me down.”
He brings her even closer and drops a kiss on the rim of her ear. “Not while I’m here.”
His voice is so earnest that Buffy can’t help the smile tugging at the corner of her lips. “Because nobody messes with your girlfriend?”
There’s no responding chuckle, and for a moment Buffy believes he’s forgotten that long-along line of hers. But then his arms tighten around hers, and if that’s not a growl coming out of him, it’s pretty close. “I wouldn’t stop at broken legs, Buff.”
She believes him. If someone dared attack her tonight, they’d leave the apartment in pieces, if they left at all. Any other time, she would tease him for trying to play the brave knight to her helpless damsel; sometimes she’s all right with that, but not tonight of all nights.
But when she turns around to give him a piece of her mind, their eyes meet and the words die in her throat.
He has no illusions of becoming the hero in this tale of theirs, no more than she could stand being stuck in a tower without forcing her way out of it.
That’s okay. Their story was never meant to be a fairytale.
Not unless one remembers the darkest ones, the ones with fierce dragons guarding their treasure, their power a sure death sentence for whoever dares invade their cave.
“I am safe,” Buffy says instead, touching his cheek and running her fingers down until they grasp his chin, “because you’ll make sure of it.”
She doesn’t ask why he couldn’t reassure her this way twelve years ago, when she’d been a confused girl seeking his help. They were two different people, back then, and she wouldn’t have appreciated this vow of his while, deep down, she’d still believed death to be the last resource.
“Thank you,” she tells him, and doesn’t let him answer as she pulls his face down for a long kiss. Then she snuggles against him and closes her eyes.
The next morning, as she opens her eyes and glances at the bedside clock, she’s not surprised that she slept the night away.