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This story is about the Buffy/Angel relationship, and Buffy's fight against The Big Bad of season 7.

Title: Foreplay
Pairing: Buffy/Angel
Rating: PG, no sexual content
Spoilers: all of Buffy and ATS episodes "I Will Remember You" and "To Shanshu In L.A."
Notes: Angel arrives in Sunnydale to help Buffy and rehashes old issues.

By Electrcspacegrl

Buffy sat on the cold gravestone with a stake in her hand, looking up at the stars. There was a freshly filled grave in front of her and she was waiting for the vampire to rise from it. She checked her watch. She had been waiting for an hour and there was no sign of Mr. Grr yet. No sign of anything, actually. The town seemed dead, as if everything in it had been frightened away. It didn't surprise her considering all the evil that had been stirring up lately.

She got up from the gravestone and walked toward the woods, past the cemetery gates and further away from the street. The moon was bright and full and looked down on her like a giant eye that wouldn’t quit watching. She wondered what it knew while watching the world every night from up in the sky.

Staring up at the moon, she didn’t notice the figure standing behind the tree she had just passed.

"You should be more careful, you never know what might be out lurking at night."

Buffy spun around, her stake at the ready. She saw the dark hair, the soft smile, and those eyes. "Angel," she whispered.

"Buffy," He gazed at her adoringly. "Any bad guys out tonight?"

She sighed, twirling the stake in her hand and slipping it back into her pocket. "Nope. They all seem to be sleeping. What brings you here?"

"I thought you might need some help." He stepped closer. "I might have some information."

She stared at him. She wanted to run into his arms and be safe there. His arms were so strong, his chest solid and muscular-"Yeah, um, information...sure! That would be great." She caught her breath. "Let's take a walk."

They started walking toward town, not saying anything for a while. She looked at Angel, at the face she had memorized a long time ago and would never forget. She didn’t know if she held onto the feelings because she had been so young and the pain of their breakup had been so deep, or because the love was so strong. She wasn’t sure if she would ever know.

"You look deep in thought," he said to her after several minutes.

"Yeah. Lots to think about. Lots to do. You know me, busy slayer."

He smiled and they continued walking in silence.

Finally Angel said, "You know, there's something I never told you."

"What's that?"

"When Willow came to me with the news that you had..." Angel paused.

"Died," she finished for him.

"Yes. When she came, when I-I saw her eyes...I knew, Buffy. I knew you were gone and I fell apart inside. I had to go into seclusion. I wanted to set myself on sunlight. I couldn't imagine living...existing....in a world without you in it."

They stopped walking. Buffy looked into his eyes. Angel's eyes. The eyes she had never wanted to stop seeing from the moment they had first met...eyes that when she looked into them, they seemed like forever. She had always thought that there was never a time when she didn't want to see those eyes.

Angel leaned in. "Buffy, I had dreams...strange dreams," he looked away and shook his head. "I saw things that didn't even make sense. Everything was a metaphor, even-even her."

Buffy looked up at him "Her who?"

"This woman, a guide. She was full of light, she was light....sunlight. When I looked at her I started burning....but I couldn't look away. She taught me the reason why, no matter where you are, even if you aren't in the same world as me, you are always with me. Your strength, your heart, your perseverance, those are something you gave to me that live on in me, no matter if you live or..."

He started walking again. They were in downtown Sunnydale now, near The Bronze. They were near the alley where they had first met. There were no other people anywhere.

"Angel, why is the town so dead tonight?"

He ignored her question as if he didn’t hear her. "I just knew I had to go on. I knew I had to keep fighting." He stops talking and looks at her. "Have you ever heard about the Shanshu Prophecy?"

She shook her head. "No."

"It tells about a vampire with a soul who, after stopping several apocalypses, will earn his humanity, will become human again. This is what I exist for. To be human and....maybe finally be with you....the way we should be."

She stared at him, not knowing what to say. "Angel."

"I know, I know, it's presumptuous of me, and, well, who knows how long it could take. Who knows, it may be 300 years from now. Man, I can't even imagine another 300 years without..."

Buffy smiled up at him. "I know." She sighed. "Look, we can't even discuss something like this. Or even-why did you tell me about this, Angel? Do you think I need yet another reason to pine away for you, knowing I can never have you like I want?" She turned away from him and kicked the curb.

"I know. I'm sorry. Wait, you pine for me?"

She ignored his question. "We have only been together once like that, Angel. And it was a long time ago."

"No. We were together another time. You just can't remember."

Buffy spun around to look at him. "What? I'm sure I would remember something like that." She choked out a laugh. "You have some nerve, Angel, coming here, telling me these things, telling me..." She threw up her arms, "telling me about your little sexual fantasies when...when I don't even know if I would be with you even if I could!"

She turned around and let her hands fall to her hips. She looked down at the ground. "Angel, I am not the same person I was when I was sixteen. So much has happened. I sometimes don't even know who I am besides being The Slayer. Who am I?" She looked up at the sky. "All my life is spent fighting these big baddies and as long as I'm doing that, I can't ever have a normal life....or be a normal girl."

Angel stood behind her. "I don't want a normal girl. I want you. Maybe we could....maybe if you gave Faith the job, maybe we could run away together, just the two of us...."

"What about your curse? We can't even be together! You and I can't ever..." She turned to look into his eyes again. "I want you to sand shoe. I do."


"Angel, you are a fighter. You've done so much to help people. You are a good man and you deserve to be human again. If or when that ever happens, we can talk about it. But you have to stop fantasizing about our imaginary sex life, it's not healthy."

He laughed. "Yeah." He paused and looked at her, smirking. "Remember when you came to L.A. that first year, telling me to stop sneaking behind your back-"


"And we fought that demon?"

"Of course. You killed it and then I left."

"No. What really happened, what happened for me…we fought the demon and I got some of its blood mixed with mine and it made me human. I walked in the sunlight. We ate cookie dough mint chip in bed, and we spent the whole night making love. But the demon came back, and it was stronger. I couldn't fight it. It nearly killed me, and you. I went to The Oracles and they turned back time so that the day never happened. I was the only one who would remember it, so I could do it differently. When I told you this, you said you would never forget. But when the day turned back you did. You forgot."

She couldn’t speak. She stared at him with her mouth open, not believing.

Angel sighed, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have told you."

"You're sorry? You're sorry you told me? Why-why did you? Are you trying to mess with my head or am I-" She spun around and stormed off down the street and back toward home.

Angel was by her side in a second. "I'm sorry."

"You have no right to come here and tell me these things. I have work to do, a big bad to fight, and you aren't making this easier."

"I just wanted-"

"You just wanted to what, Angel, rattle me? Good work, you succeeded. Now go away and leave me alone. You just aren't helping."

They reached her house then. The lights were on.

"Buffy," Angel pleaded.

"I can't do this right now. I have to deal with other things."

She opened the door and walked into the foyer, seeing Willow, Dawn, Xander and Anya cleaning up the mess from the night before. "Hey guys." She moved past the living room and into the kitchen. Angel followed.

"I can't leave with you angry, Buffy." He looked at her with concern. "I can't leave you when you don't even know what you're up against."

She took a glass out of the cupboard and filled it with water from the faucet. "Oh, and you do?" She took a drink.

"That's why I came."

"Oh, so it wasn't to tell me we had sex that I don't remember?"

Just then Buffy noticed Xander in the doorway. "You had sex?" He asked with alarm. "Is he evil again?" He grabbed a stake from the kitchen counter. He turned to Angel. "Get back. I know how to use this!"

"No, he's not evil." Buffy put down the glass, then looked at Angel with sudden suspicion. "Wait, you're not evil, are you?"

Willow suddenly rushed into the kitchen, eyes big and worried. "Angel's evil again?"

Angel sighed. "I'm not evil, will you people stop saying that?"

Buffy turned to Xander and Willow. "Guys, this is a private conversation. Can you give us a minute?"

Xander looked defeated and put down the stake. "Yeah, sure."

"Ok," Willow said, leaving the room and pulling Xander with her.

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Look, Angel, if you want to help, then help. But don't start bringing up all this-this stuff again while we are dealing with some evil ghost-thingy that pretends to be dead people. I just can't deal with this right now.”

Angel looked at her intensely. "I know. I won't bring it up again."

Buffy swallowed hard. "Good. Now, what do you know about this thing?"

"Well I know that it can't touch anything, and it can't-"

At that moment the telephone rang. "Just a minute." Buffy picked up the phone. "Hello?" There was silence at the other end. "Hello?" Then she heard the voice on the other line.

"Buffy." She knew that voice well.

She froze. "A-Angel?" she whispered.

"Buffy," Angel began. I need to talk to you about some big evil brewing. I don't have much time. Can we....Buffy, are you okay?"

Buffy stood there silent and stunned, the wheels in her head turning. "Can you....listen....tell me it's really you. I know this sounds strange, but just....prove to me right now that it's really you."

There was a long pause at the other end of the line. "I would never trick you Buffy. Whatever is happening, just remember that I would never say or do anything to hurt you."

She took a deep breath. "Thank you. I'll have to call you back. Now is not a good time."

Buffy hung up the phone and turned to the vampire standing in her kitchen.

"Who was that?" He asked.

She gave him an icy stare. "That was you. Or, I should say, it was the person you are pretending to be. Who are you?”

He gave her a puzzled look. "You know me, Buffy."

"No. I don't. You're not Angel. Who are you?" She grabbed the stake off the counter and pointed it at him. "I don't know what you are but you are not Angel."

Willow, Xander, Anya and Dawn rushed into the room, having overheard the conversation.

"Buffy, what's wrong?" Xander glared at Angel suspiciously.

Buffy stared at the thing pretending to be her ex-boyfriend with a look of steel. "This is not Angel. It's someone pretending to be Angel. I don't know who this is, but it's not a friend."

Anya piped up. "It's like the thing that Willow talked to the other night."

Dawn's eyes grew wide. "What is it?"

Buffy never took her eyes off Angel. "I don't know but I'm going to find out." She ran toward him and kicked at his chest. Her foot went right through him. "What the-"

Angel laughed. He started to speak to her in sweet tones which raised the hair on the back of her neck. "If we were alone right now I would tell you all the things I wanted to do to you after our one night of...oh, shall I say, perfect happiness?"

Buffy felt a cold chill come over her. "Angelus?"

"I'm Angel, I'm Angelus, I'm John F. Kennedy." A thoughtful look crossed his face. "Oh wait, that was last week's job." Angel laughed. "All this dressing up is just so much fun! Now, who is it that you really want me to be? Ah, yes," he said as he suddenly morphed into Joyce. "Her."

Her mother looked more beautiful than Buffy had remembered, or maybe it was just because it had been so long since she had seen her. She glowed like something from Heaven and smiled at her daughter with sweet affection.

"Buffy," her own name from her mother's lips was a melody. It was the only thing she ever wanted to hear.

Dawn gasped and stood there frozen. "Mom."

Buffy walked toward Joyce. "Mommy?"

Willow ran to Buffy. "Buffy, Dawn, it's not your mother. It's-it's some evil shape shifting demon." She looked at the woman with worry and horror.

"And don't forget its go-through-able-ness." Xander added.

"Yes, don't forget that," Anya eagerly chimed in.

"Is this the same thing I saw last night?" Dawn said, in tears. "Was that not Mom?

Buffy stared into her mother's eyes, wanting this so badly to be true. Her mother stared back at Buffy, loving her, her eyes full of pride. But this was not her mother.

"What do you want to tell me, Mother?" Buffy spat out the last word as if it was poison.

Joyce smiled. "You won't win. You will die. All your friends will die. This whole town will fall into hell and everyone in it will be destroyed. Your only chance is to get out while you still can."

"Are you are telling me that because it's true or because you don't want me here in this fight?"

Her mother was still smiling. The smile cut clean through Buffy’s heart, and all Buffy could feel was the years of feeling lost without Joyce. "From beneath you," she said, and as quick as a blink she disappeared.

Buffy stood there not moving. After a moment she walked past her friends and past her sister. She moved around their questions and comments, not listening. She walked to the stairs and climbed the steps. The hallway above was quiet like she needed it to be. Her room upstairs was cool and clean. She shut the door behind her. Lying down on her bed, she counted the colors on her bedspread, and in her head she organized the pattern they made. A soft cool breeze from the open window caressed her face as she closed her eyes.

The one thing Buffy wanted more than anything, more than a normal life, more than all the evil to just stop coming; the one thing she wanted that would make everything else bearable again, was to be with her mother once again. She wanted to talk to her, to tell her that she loved her, and let her know that she had kept Dawn safe like she promised and everything was just fine.

For a second she wanted it to be true. She wanted everything the Angel imposter had told her to be true. Then there was Joyce Summers, her mom....tears fell from her eyes and she let them come, succumbing to the richness of the sadness. If someone could have tasted her heart just then, it would have tasted as sour as lemon drops.

Buffy closed her wet eyes against the world. She saw the dark behind her eyelids and she needed it. Just for a moment, and just for right now.
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On August 12th, 2003 01:39 am (UTC), twilight_moon commented:
Wow, you really got into Buffy's head. There was never a point when it stopped sounding like her, and it was just...great!

I'd really love to read that other story you mention, as well.
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On August 12th, 2003 01:54 am (UTC), esg_novel replied:
Thank you so much! I wasn't sure, you know? I think a lot of it was just...when I write about what people are feeling, it's just this sense I get, and with the Buffy characters, it's sometimes hard to know exactly what they are thinking because we see them through a filter, which is language. I wrote this as if it's in her head, not as an observation of her behavior, and that's a lot more difficult.

The other story is sort of... I don't know, I'm having trouble with it because it gets way too strange. Whenever I start writing stories they tend to be very supernatural, and I think it can get way over the top, like my story about reincarnation that's still on hold (not a Buffy story). But the Angel one, it's an emotional one for me. See, I can write melancholy very well. I love writing Angel because there's so much depth to his character. So, yeah, that one is also written in the first person, from Angel's point of view. I'll start looking at it tomorrow. It's more poetry than anything, and less dialogue. It may confuse people.
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On August 12th, 2003 12:15 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl commented:
Author's Note:
Oh, by the way, there was no way to say this in the story, but the tune that Buffy's humming in the graveyard at the beginning, it's Going Through The Motions from "Once More With Feeling".

Just thought I'd mention that.
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On August 12th, 2003 02:35 pm (UTC), secretlyevileen commented:
Loved it... :)
Hi :)
I'm not very good at giving advice on how a fic can be better..so I'll just say: I really enjoyed it... I thought it was funny that when Xander came in and heard sex he jumped to the conclusion that Angel was evil and then Willow naturally running into the room at the words Angel and evil used in a sentance hehe.. It was a good idea this story...
Any chance you'll write more?
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On August 12th, 2003 02:44 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Re: Loved it... :)
I remembered that many times when Angel came around after season 2, Xander was suspicious of him being evil again. But you might say I rippedthatscene off from "Pangs" in season 4. It is sort of similar but something that you can imagine happening a lot to Angel. On ATS, in the first season there are a few times his coworkers think he's gone evil. So I guess it's a running joke. I'm glad you liked it and that it made you laugh.

I am always writing, but right now I mostly write essays on BTVS. I want to finish my Angel story, I just need to totally rewrite it. I will let you know, I just need some ideas.

Oh, I did think of a Buffy/Angel plot that might be fun. It's sort of....what would have happened if Angel's curse had been different....that's all I'm going to say for now.
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On August 12th, 2003 06:13 pm (UTC), secretlyevileen replied:
Re: Loved it... :)
lol yeah I noticed that too.. the similarity to "Pangs" with Willow :) As for the new idea you have cooking i can't wait to read it ;) I write fanfics too so if you want to check them out here's a link: My Buffy/Angel Fics
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On November 23rd, 2003 07:43 pm (UTC), spikessweetgirl commented:
Hi:) I loved the story. Usually I read Spuffy fanfic, but your story reminded me so much of the Angel and Buffy I fell in love with in the first and second season. I really did think it was Angel Buffy was talking too and really surprised when it was the first. That was a really great twist:)

Plus, you also have both Angel and Buffy down really well. Especially Angel. I could actually hear the angst in his voice. I loved it:) Keep up the great work.
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On November 23rd, 2003 07:53 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Well thank you very much! :) I spend a lot of time emersing myself in Buffy and ATS and when I wrote this it was a fit of passion. I wrote it in two days, and then it took months for me to actually edit and revise it. When I wrote it, I definitely heard Buffy (SMG)'s voice in my head.

The thing about that is, I first wrote it in the first person, so it was actually Buffy's point of view. I finally changed it to third person because that is just better writing. But yeah, I thought I got the voices down pretty well. What did you think of Xander, Willow and Anya? I am open to any contstructive criticism. I still want to add a scene and a character (Dawn) to it someday, but right now I'm focusing on my vampire legend.

I'm glad you like it.
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On November 23rd, 2003 07:59 pm (UTC), spikessweetgirl replied:
:)Xander, Willow, and Anya were great. I had just watched Pangs a couple of days ago and could clearly picture that scene:) LOL Very amusing.

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On November 23rd, 2003 08:09 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
I'm a big Angel fan (the character and the show) and those two scenes in Pangs when first Willow thought Angel was evil again, and then later Xander accused him of being evil; it's such a running joke with me and a friend. I call that scene in my story an homage to that episode. hehee.

ANYA: So this is Angel. He's large and glowery, isn't he?
XANDER: He's evil again.
ANGEL: I'm not evil again. Why does everyone think that?
WILLOW: Angel's here to protect Buffy.
ANGEL: I haven't been evil for a long time.
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On November 23rd, 2003 08:21 pm (UTC), trueseven commented:

Perfect! The thing I love about fan fic is that the character voices have already been established. Sadly enough, many fic writers still can't capture it. You nailed Xander with that line. Nice.
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On November 23rd, 2003 08:23 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Actually, I think he (or somebody) said that line in the show. I just stole it...er, it was my homage to the show, that's right. :)

Thanks. I'm glad you liked it!
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On November 23rd, 2003 08:50 pm (UTC), bitterbyrden commented:
Yay! Great work. It reads well. It was nice to see it progress.
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On November 23rd, 2003 09:27 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Thanks! Now I can devote all my creative energy to my vampire story. I may be needing another brain for that one.
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On December 16th, 2003 05:58 pm (UTC), rachel2205 commented:
Saw the link on Buffy_fan - good fanfic! It's definitely believable in light of season 7.
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On December 16th, 2003 08:56 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Thank you. :)
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On March 15th, 2004 02:53 pm (UTC), dee_dee26m commented:
I read it. I liked it!

"Don't forget its gothroughableness" ..Xander to a 'T' :-)

I've oftne wondered what would Buffy's reaction be if she found out aboiut that 'missing day' from 'Remember Me'....poor Buffy, she'd probably go mental./ I know i would.

Good stuff!!
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On March 15th, 2004 05:32 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it.
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On July 30th, 2004 11:11 pm (UTC), raspberryhats commented:
what a great fic! you really captured buffy and angel's relationship. and i like the last two paragraphs. what can i say? i'm a sucker for sadness!
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On July 31st, 2004 05:52 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
Thank you. That was the first story I ever completed and the first fan fic story I ever attempted. I'm glad you like it.
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On April 3rd, 2005 10:38 pm (UTC), harmalicious commented:
great story
Hey! You mentioned fan fic in one of your whedonesque comments so, hey I found yours! Maybe you'll inspire me to write some. I love the twist in this one, I totally believed it was Angel. I always wonder what Buffy would think if she new about the shanshu and the mortality bit. Good stuff, I'll read more. Yea!
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On February 16th, 2011 01:01 pm (UTC), moscow_watcher commented:
Wow. Stunning story, terrific twist - it's one of those tales you have to read twice to enjoy its richness. And it reads even better the second time when I could savor all the small details that foreshadow the revelation.

I love the irony of the story - very Jossian! You're a great writer. Have you written any stories about Buffy and Spike?
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On February 17th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC), electrcspacegrl replied:
This is my main LJ account. The esg_novel account was used to post my fiction.

Thanks you for your kind words. That's really nice of you. I struggle with my writing and I'm not prolific. I have perpetual writer's block and in fact, I haven't written about five years.

That was my very first story since high school. It's what made me realize I'm more of a fiction writer than a poet. I wrote a few other fan fics, mostly concerning things I wish the show had dealt with, but I don't write smut and I never wrote Buffy/Spike fic.

Again, thanks for the compliment. I've recently been confronted with my lack of creativity, and your comment is trying to light a fire under me. Let's hope it works. :)

I love the irony of the story - very Jossian! You're a great writer.

This line really made my year. Bless you.
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