Never Kill A Boy On The First Date - short story
Author : Jo
Feedback : Pretty please. At LJ or to email@example.com
Rating : General
Summary : What does Angel think about Owen and dating?
Never Kill A Boy On The First Date
He’s done a lot of lurking, recently. He’s good at it. Very good. He thinks that, among all his skills, it’s one of the few things that might actually be useful to the Slayer. Recently, though, he’s been lurking on his own account.
Not all of it, admittedly. Angel has been sneaking down into the Master’s lair, to find out what Darla’s sire is up to. And yet... He wants to find Darla, to know whether she is still alive. He shouldn’t care, but he does. It bothers him that he doesn’t know whether she still exists, although he thinks she does. He can still feel her, as he has since he came to the Hellmouth, and surely he wouldn’t, if all that was left of her was dust? But he can’t find her, and he daren’t spend too long in that lair, hunting for her. While he was there, though, he heard about the Anointed, the Master’s greatest warrior.
He heard the Master read from that familiar, thick, dusty book of prophecy. The ancient vampire hasn’t given up his ambitions of ruling the Earth.
‘Five will die, and from their ashes the Anointed shall rise. The Brethren of Aurelius shall greet him and usher him to his immortal destiny.’
Five will die.
Angel’s spine prickles as though a monster – a monster other than him – has walked over his grave. His mother used to say that meant a premonition. Thanks to the Slayer, the Master is very short of adherents just now – Angel can only identify three remaining clan vampires other than Darla – and he hopes that, if it is a premonition, it isn’t because he’s going to become one of the five to be sacrificed for the Anointed. He’s come here to protect the Slayer, not help to kill her. He doesn’t want Darla to be one of this lost five, either.
Perhaps something in him can truly feel the shape of the future, although he doesn’t know that, not yet, and what comes will be nothing like he could ever imagine.
‘And the Slayer will not know him, will not stop him, and he will lead her into Hell.’
No one’s going to lead the Slayer into Hell, if Angel’s got a say in the matter. Already, he thinks he might be prepared to die to prevent that. Not even Owen will be allowed to cause her unhappiness. He knows about Owen, but he doesn’t see the way that Buffy’s fantasies have picked a tall, solitary, brooding guy who’s obsessed with death. For Angel, Owen’s just... well, not competition, because this isn’t a contest. Buffy’s human, and Angel isn’t. Owen is something he’s going to have to put up with.
Angel’s been lurking in the library, and he’s seen Buffy with her Watcher. And with Owen. Now she wants to read Emily Dickinson, because of Owen. Angel can do Emily Dickinson. He knows her poetry off by heart.
A long, long sleep, a famous sleep
That makes no show for dawn
By stretch of limb or stir of lid, --
An independent one.
Was ever idleness like this?
Within a hut of stone
To bask the centuries away
Nor once look up for noon?
No. Perhaps not that one. It’s too close to home. But there are plenty more. Yes, if she wants Emily Dickinson, he can do that.
He feels something stirring in the pit of his stomach, but then he sees what the Watcher is researching, and the incipient jealousy, the need to possess, passes unrecognised. Buffy is holding the ring of the Order of Aurelius. Reluctantly, he melts into the shadowy stacks and goes back into the night, on the Slayer’s business.
Angel hears the music on his way to the Bronze. He’s no idea about today’s bands, but the distant lyrics are hitting him in the libido.
I’ll be right along / 'Cause, baby, you're so strong
Baby, baby, I know it's always been so / Physical love is, oh, so meaningful for you
So strong / Baby, I'm yours / You know / Because you're so / So strong
You would suffer, suffer for me...
It might have been a long time between feeds, but it’s been a long time between other things, too. Sex, for one.
She looks delicious, and he has to stand for a moment before going over to her, has to get himself in hand. The rolling thunder of teenage heartbeats is roaring through his chest, but she’s the one that turns him on. He wants to feed and... Well, he just does. When he gets to her, he can smell Owen all over her.
And so he blurts out his greeting more sharply than he’d intended, together with his warning that she needs to be out there. But she already knows. He’s risked his life to find out what game the Master is playing, and she already knows. He’s useless, worthless, always has been, always will be.
Then she tells him she’s here on a date. There’s that stirring in the pit of his stomach again, the stretching of claws, and the velvet words of the demon, telling him what he should do. There can be no competition. He tries to subdue that thought, to act the part of a normal human, as he faces the gentle catechism from her date.
Work. He knows her from work. Oh, but he wants to know her so very differently...
He almost loses his temper when Xander and Willow succeed where he has failed, and she at last accepts the need to go. Then it happens.
‘Bite me!’ she says, in exasperation.
He knows exactly what her blood would taste like on his tongue, thick and sweet, laced with the darkness of the Slayer, filling his mouth and his hunger. She might as well be in his arms, because he can feel the softness of her flesh pressed to his, her warmth cooling as her heart flutters into death. Against his will, his lips part, ready to embrace the silken skin above the throbbing pulse in her throat. More than anything in the world, he wants to take her.
He listens to her make her excuses to Owen, as he stands in the shadows behind them, waiting for her. He can’t possibly see the lean and hungry look on his face, but he can feel it as he swallows down his need. If he can’t regain his iron control, someone’s going to die tonight to slake his thirsts. Or he’ll have to leave Sunnydale. And he watches her kiss Owen with a new understanding.
He’s in love with the Slayer.
That’ll go well, he tells himself, as he watches her leave. It isn’t one of his obsessions. At least, it doesn’t feel like that. Surely the soul is proof against Angelus’ style of obsession? Nevertheless, he has to walk away from this. He has to. When she’s gone from sight, he looks across at Owen. Not competition. Angel might be in unfamiliar territory here, but he’s been around long enough to see off a boy like this.
He knows that Owen is fascinated by death. He knows that he should stop the boy from getting into trouble, thinks that she would expect it of him. But he doesn’t. Instead, he watches Owen leave the Bronze, on his way to the Sunnydale Funeral Home. Angel intends to get as far away as possible from all the throbbing hormones and the sound of racing blood but before long, he, too, finds himself in the cemetery outside the funeral home.
He gets there just as Owen, dazed and unsteady, comes out of the door, supported by Buffy’s friends. Willow and Xander help him, one on either side, as he tries to walk home. Then Angel sees Buffy and Giles come out. She’s hurt, but she’s mending. He sees her refuse Giles’ offer of a lift home, and so he follows her, as she walks, making sure that nothing takes advantage of her. He’s longing to talk to her (to feed from her neck, and from her lips), but he simply follows.
Owen was almost killed. That much is obvious. Angel knows that Buffy will blame herself for that. He can see it in the set of her shoulders, in the toss of her head. But he’s at fault, too. He should never have left the boy alone. He should have kept him safe for her. Instead, he let him almost get killed on their first date, because of jealousy. He’ll carry that blame for a while.
He thinks of when he first saw Buffy, from that blacked-out car, as she sat on the steps. He remembers that infinitesimal moment of peace, when he forgot the demon, forgot his sins, forgot everything except the young girl before him. He remembers how wonderful that moment was, so wonderful that it hurt, a deep pain in his chest, almost as though she was casting the demon out.
He thinks that she killed him in that instant. She killed what he’d been, just for that splinter of time until memory returned, and the peace and the pain faded away.
Angelus is dead. Long live Angel.
He knows that will never be. He tries to put all thought of her out of his mind as she closes her door behind her. He can never do what Owen did, never ask her for a date, never take her anywhere. Never hide what he truly is, in so intimate a meeting. Never touch her as he wants to touch her, never taste her sweetness, never drink her life down and give her the gift of death. He won’t do that. After all, he doesn’t want her to have to kill a boy on their first date.
1 We'll see the sacrifice of five again, of course, when Wolfram & Hart raise Darla from the dead in 'To Shanshu In LA'