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Beholden to Yesterday, Part Ten

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list August 4, 2001

Title: Beholden to Yesterday (10/?)
Author: trixie
Disclaimer: Joss and Jason own all;) Thanks for your time
Rating: NC 17
Author's Notes: Sorry for the length of time it's taken me to get this out. RL has been a bitch lately, and I've had no time to write. But here it is... and it's taken a lot of time and effort. I don't know why- but bringing Angel into this (in person) has been really hard.
Feedback: It would be utterly lovely. You know I crave it like sex;)
trixiefirecra16@hotmail.com
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Dedication: to the people who are still writing to me asking what happened to this. Here's the next part- and it's all for you:)



There's no hope in you for me
No corner you could squeeze me
But I got all the time for you, love
The space between
The wicked lies we tell

        - "The Space Between" - Dave Matthews Band

        We stare at each other for breathless moments. His eyes are unblinking, and I see myself in them, the dark orbs, my terrified mouth and sharp teeth. Or is that him? Everything is blurry. I wonder then if it is Angelus who returned, or my love. Is the monster going to sink his fangs into my throat, drink the butter soft blood- or is Angel going to slide his lips over mine and weep?

        I wonder also... which one would I welcome more?

        He rolls away, and I can't see his face. My chest squeezes. "Angel?" I choke on the word. I haven't said it in so long, and wanted to... every day. Tears burn deep in my eyes, soaking my lashes with salt. "Angel?"

        He stands up, and holds out his hand to me. I glean him for answers, for blood... or a smile, or a smirk. Something to tell me who he is, and what he wants, and why he's back from Hell... from where I sent him with my careful hands. "Buffy," he says quietly, and takes my fallen fingers in his, pulling me up. "It's me."

        "I know it's you," I snap hurriedly, angrily, my cheeks running with tears that feel like fire. They sting and I press a palm to the side of my face, suddenly tasting Liz on my tongue. Oh God... Oh God... Liz...

        I think of Liz, and her shiny hair and the soft insides of her thighs that I licked just a few minutes ago, and want to scream. I can feel her come, as if it is still on my lips, dripping down behind her knees, running over my chin. I feel it and my belly aches, sick hunger swelling in my throat. How can I do this? How can I leave her? I know that's what he expects... I know that's what he'll want. He'll call Giles, and my Mother and everyone, and they'll beg me to come back... but to what?

        I stare at him, sweat bubbling in my belly button, fierce and hot. "How long have you been back?"

        "A week," he answers coolly. "I've spent it looking for you."

        It sounds as if we're discussing the latest pleasure cruise he's taken, and I feel hysterical giggles pushing their way up my tongue, to my lips.

        "There's a scar, you know," he says suddenly, and my head snaps up.

        "What?"

        "There's a scar." He brushes the flat panes of his ribs with his hands and smiles slightly, sickly. "I usually heal right away... but that one stuck with me. Even for hundreds of years."

        Hundreds of years. I sent him to a place for an eternity of torture. Vomit stings my lips and I turn, falling to my knees as I hold my stomach and retch, my insides coming up in a fury of sorrow and misery. Blood seeps from my torn throat, spurting past my teeth, down my neck. Wailing, I tug my hair back and run at him with my fists. "I hate you!" I scream. "God I hate you so--- so much! You ruined my life... and I love you, and it hurts... I never wanted this..." Dropping down in front of him, I grip the front of his shirt loosely with my shaking fingers and sob into the grass and dirt.

        I know he's weeping too, but for what I don't know. At finding his lover such a mess on his return? Because his girlfriend was the one who aimed the sword into his bowels and fed him to a monster? Maybe he just knows what we've lost. He doesn't touch me, his arms hang loose at his sides, and even as I grasp bunches of his shirt, I know he's gone away. He's not mine anymore. The thought is panicking. "Angel... Angel..." I whisper desperately, standing and running my hands over his face and neck and back, trying to remember him. Remember the feel of him.

        "Buffy..." he groans and yanks me against his chest, his eyes startling in the night. They reflect the branches of the trees behind us. "Stop it. Stop it..."

        "I can't," I moan brokenly, and pull away, my tear swollen gaze upturned to his. "Don't you see that about me? I can't stop... I can't stop loving you. I can't stop hating you. And I can't stop running away. I have to stay here. You don't understand."

        "You found someone," he says without any inflection.

        I want to deny it. I don't know what he's talking about. Someone? Dimly I glance at the sky and see the moon blinking at me.

        Liz...

        I love you

        I know

        "Is that even important anymore?" I ask finally, the hot sick feeling in my stomach not going away.

        He looks at me and he's beautiful. "Probably not," he admits, and holds out his hand. "Are you going to come back with me? Everyone misses you."

        "Do they understand why I left?" I ask, my throat hurting. Space yawns between us and I can't find a way out of it. I don't know what to think. Here he is... my love. My sweet, sweet Angel. Who has bitten me every night in my dreams, who I have killed over and over again- whose blood I have felt sprayed over my face. Can I bring him from the nightmares into real life?

        His teeth tug at his lower lip and he seems worried and confused. I immediately want to comfort him and feel like screaming. How can he be doing this to me again? Then I realize there is no again. There is simply an always. He's an always. I wish I could escape. I should have taken a different way home.

        "I don't know," he finally answers, honestly. "I just think they miss you, Buffy. They want you to come home. Your mother especially."

        "She kicked me out," I say without inflection, and my breastbone beats out an angry plea for a cigarette. He doesn't know I smoke. Oddly, I wish he did- simply because I know it would make him furious.

        He looks startled. "I didn't know that. But... I still think you should come back."

        "To be with you again?" I ask, knowing what the answer to that is. He appears miserable, and his eyes are huge against the bleak milk of his face. I hate him so much and love him so much that I think it's going to go to Hell again. Nothing good can come from this. When I was a child I imagined love as sweet and light- like a chocolate chip cookie, or something equally without meaning. Maybe my feelings for him should have been left in Pandora's Box. Maybe when he kissed me and showed his fangs I should have shown him the door and never looked back. Maybe I never should have opened up my skin and let him crawl inside.

        Maybe I should have done a lot of things. It doesn't matter now. My fingers itch for a smoke as he glances at me.

        "I think we can't go back," he replies to my question. "We can't go back to when things were... simpler. But you can go home, and try and make... something out of what's left, right?"

        I think of Liz, then... think of her sitting on her balcony, writing in her diary. Think of her eyes and her skin, or her smile and her anger and her musings. Of the way she tastes. I want to cry- because I know that it's over. It's over because Angel's here- and it shouldn't be that final, it shouldn't be that easy, but maybe it is.

        "I'm tired," I say, rubbing my blurry eyes. He shifts in and out of focus.

        "I'll walk you back to your place," he responds, not touching me. His palm is so close to mine that I think I can almost feel it on my skin. The burning coolness of it- the faint roughness of his flesh- I can imagine I feel it. Sliding against mine, curving over the swell of my breast, the peak of my nipple. I hate this. These impossible fantasies. I thought I'd gotten over them- well I lied to myself just enough that I almost believed I'd gotten over them. Gotten over that night- the one night that we had. A single breath of skin and sweat and rain and blood and come that was supposed to last me forever, I guess. I wish I'd known- I would drawn it out, I would have held him so close, so tightly, that his soul would never have gotten free. My arms should have been enough to contain it right? If I squeezed had him hard enough- made him stay inside me, made him *mine*?

        I don't know. I have a vague idea that he's making me dizzy all over again, but I ignore my thoughts.

        I let him walk me back to my hotel room. I don't let him come inside.

~~~

        The kitchen at the Crashdown is almost unbearably hot. Sweat and dirt coalesce on my forehead and the back of my neck, making my uniform stick to my skin in wet patches. Michael works the fryer with a kind of stoic misery that reminds me of Xander in some unfathomable way that I don't want to dwell upon. It would have made me giggle one day, but now it just stirs sympathy in my breast, and I spend half my shift handing him bottles of water- most of which he pours in heavy splashes over his face and neck, trying to alleviate the heat.

        I barely look at Liz, who doesn't notice, because Max is here, and when he's around- usually he consumes her moments. I suppose I can understand that, although that doesn't mean I don't feel the bite of jealousy every time he glances at her with those puppy eyes and makes her frightened. It's sick that I envy him that power- but I do. He has a power over her that I think I never will. But I know I have her body- and that can be enough. If I let it.

        "You all right?" Michael asks, but it's more of a grumble.

        "Why?" I respond, a little startled.

        "I don't know," he answers, looking irritated. "You look sad. Hence my asking if you're all right. Pass the seasoning."

        "Fine." I pass him the spice, and watch as he pours it liberally over some onion rings. I place my hands on my ribs and suddenly can't remember when I ate last. My belly doesn't even growl at the thought, which scares me. "I don't remember—" I break off and he spares me a glance, his eyes squinting. He is sweating profusely.

        "You don't remember what?"

        "I don't remember when I ate last," I inform him in a cool tone.

        "Probably because you couldn't fit any food past those cancer sticks," he says blithely, and wipes his forehead. "Are you going to take these fries out? Or can Liz do it?"

        Liz...

        I love her name. It makes me feel warm inside. And sad too. Cause I know warm feelings aren't enough. Loving her name isn't going to be enough to keep me in this town.

        "Or Maria could. Where is she anyway?"

        "On her break," he snaps grumpily. "She's been out there for a while."

        "Why don't you go get her then, you little wuss?" I snap back, tired of his incessant denial of feelings for Maria. "Look, Michael. I'll make this easy for you. Maria- you love her. It's fine. It happens everyday. People fall for each other. Just get over the issues and go out there and kiss her and make me happy, cause God, I can't stand listening to your surliness for one more second. If I have to, I'll probably kick your ass. And I mean that."

        He stares at me for a moment and then smiles. His teeth are faintly pointy. He should be a vampire, I think. With that sulky mouth and those eyes he'd be able to get legions of willing females (and some males as well) to follow him through the path to darkness. I wonder if that's how Angelus got his pleasure. If he made his victims believe that blood was the answer- that that final drink was going to be what made them happy. Or if he was just so beautiful that they were content to give him their necks and their veins- if he'd only give them a little kiss.

        I remember a time when I was helpless, on my knees, for one taste of him.

        It occurs to me that I still am.

        "You're going to kick my ass?" he repeats my words back in a mocking tone, looking me up and down.

        "Damn right," I tease. "I'm going to go get 'Ria. You get back to work. Or unsatisfied customers will follow."

        Opening the door to the alleyway, I see Maria leaning back against the wall, her eyes closed. She is holding a bottle of green liquid- which I guess is one of her herbal drinks and she looks better than usual. Under her eyes are clear- there are no purple Michael smudges. That makes me happy, and I touch her arm gently.

        "Hey Buffy," she smiles, and opens her eyes, blinking at me. "Is it getting too busy for me to enjoy this peace?"

        Laughing, I nod sheepishly. "Yeah, sorry babe. We need you badly. It's all chaotic and I think Michael is getting sort of girly and scared. Customers are shouting at him."

        Maria giggles and I'm glad. She nods. "Well this is something I need to see. Michael humiliation is definitely what dreams are made of. Although usually in my dreams I'm the one doing it."

        "Oh really?" I raise my eyebrows. "Sounds suspiciously kinky to me."

        "Oh yeah it is. Involves a lot of "I'm sorry's" and "I'm not fit to kiss the ground you walk on's", and then it gets all NC 17 when the whips and leather come out, so it's probably not something you want to listen to before 10am."

        I laugh and loop my arm through hers. "I think Michael wouldn't mind hearing that, though."

        Hurt shadows her eyes. "Hmm... I don't think so. I think he wants to be wherever I'm not, so telling stories about bondage and apologies might not be a good thing."

        "Come on," I tug her hair, "bondage is *always* a good."

        She leans her head on my shoulder, smiling slightly. "Yeah, it is. But I don't think he'd be too into that right now. Besides, if I tied him up, I might give into temptation and kill him. Wouldn't be good. At least, not from some people's point of view." She grins, and then her lower lip wobbles. "He still won't return my phone calls. I wish he'd just talk to me, you know?"

        "I know," I commiserate. "Let's just stay out here for a while longer. We'll let him stew."

        She laughs quietly. "Thanks."

~~~

        Standing outside after work, I wonder what to do. Look for Angel? Look for Liz? Escape with Maria? Have a smoke? The cigarettes win out as I'm reminded I haven't had one all day. My hands shake slightly as I light the tube of burning paper, and lift it to my lips.

        "Hey," a soft voice whispers from behind me, and I lean back into the arms I know are waiting.

        "Hey Lizzie."

        She kisses the side of my neck. Just once, but it makes me feel sick. Angel, I think. What would he think if he saw us now? Would he leave me alone forever... would he disappear into the earth and never come looking for me again? I don't know. I don't know if I want to know.

        "Do you want to grab some dinner?" she asks. "We could rent some movies, get Chinese, you know."

        "I hate Chinese," I remind her and she laughs, a loving sound in my ear.

        "I know. But I love it. You can have some spring rolls and ice cream. Besides, you never eat, baby."

        I think I love her. I know I love her. "Ok," I agree, and turn, kissing her full on the lips, feeling her nipples through the thin cotton of her uniform. She whimpers a little into my mouth, wriggling against me. "Sounds good. My place?"

        She nods, and presses me back into the knotty brick of the ally where we first met. Where I got shot. Where I tasted her last night. She wants me. I can smell it. "Liz," I murmur. "Can we go eat? It's getting dark."

        Monsters are coming out.

        "Sure," she replies easily, and squeezes my fingers. "Let's go."

~~~

        We eat in the quiet darkness of my hotel room. She snacks on bean curd, rice and sesame noodles. I eat cool ice cream and smoke, curled up on the wrinkled sheets of my bed, which I had no time to make this morning. Every so often, she makes a comment about the movie we're watching- some horror film where all the blonde girls get killed, and all the girls like Liz survive. They usually make me laugh, but tonight I feel anything but amused. When she stretches to get the remote, the material of her shirt outlines her small breasts and I feel such an overwhelming surge of desire for her that it catches me unawares.

        Leaning over, I kiss her, and she responds eagerly. I wonder dimly if it's each other we want. Or if I'm still feeling the effects of last night with my old lover and if she's still thinking about the way Max was looking at her in the Crashdown today. It doesn't matter. I lower her down and we take off our clothes. She touches me and I see her eyes glowing in the wash of the moon.

        Her teeth sting my nipples, and her fingers are hot and invading between my legs. The sick feeling in my belly is back, and as I slide my tongue inside her, I swallow, and feel her come wetting my lips. It's sweet, and bitter, like her. I love her. I don't want to, but I do.

        She cries out, just once, and I wonder if Angel heard it. I know he is close- I can feel him as if he is still beneath my skin- and I imagine what he is feeling right now. Rage, and hurt, and burning lust and love... and sorrow. I know he didn't expect to find me this way when he returned. A mess. A fucking mess. What did he expect though, I wonder? A shiny happy life... a girl who doesn't see ghosts each night in her nightmares?

        I don't know. I feel tired.

        Liz holds onto my arm with hers as she falls into a drowsy sleep. I stay awake, and stare at the ceiling.

        The door creaks open. I left it unlocked- deliberately or not, I'm not sure. Angel's face is a shadow. He's not looking at me- at us, but I feel his pain, and it makes tears spring to my already salty eyes.

        "I'm sorry," I finally whisper.

        "For what?" he rasps. "I died."

        "I killed you," I remind him.

        "No you didn't," he corrects me gently. "I killed myself- a long time ago, Buffy."

        I can't answer that. "I'm sorry for Liz," I say helplessly. "I wish I could say I stayed faithful to you."

        He laughs harshly. "It doesn't matter now. I don't want you to be lonely. I never wanted that. I just want—" he breaks off, and sighs, the sound full of misery.

        "What do you want, Angel?"

        He shakes his head, a slight movement in the stillness of the room. "Nothing. I don't want anything. Just you."

        My breath hitches. "And if I said I wasn't yours anymore?"

        "Then you'd be lying, wouldn't you?" he says softly.

        "Yes," I admit and Liz begins to stir. "You'd better go."

        "All right," he breathes out and then, almost like a dream, I feel his palm brush my cheek. "Goodnight, Buffy."

        "Goodnight, Angel," I murmur, and the door closes.

        To be continued...

        End of part ten. Feedback is sooo needed! Tell me what you thought, please! Trixiefirecra16@hotmail.com

Continue to Part Eleven

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