After Effects
by indie



"Xand," Willow asked nervously into the phone, "have you seen Buffy lately?"

"Buff?  No.  Why?  Is something wrong?"

"No.  I mean, I don't know.  She's been gone since last night and Giles and I haven't heard from her.  It's really not like her to be gone that long without checking in. You know she calls him after patrol."

"Have you asked her mom?"

"No.  I don't want to worry her, or get Buffy in trouble," Willow said sighing in concern.

"Don't worry, Will.  She's fine.  She's probably just hanging out with Riley." Xander assured.

"You're probably right."

*****
Riley stared down at the unconscious girl draped over the cot.  She'd been lying there for hours, ever since she'd been "detained". Detained? No. Riley didn't try to kid himself.  She'd been kidnapped.  She was an innocent, regardless of whatever amazing physical attributes she might possess, and he had some serious moral reservations about holding her against her will.

"Agent Finn," Walsh said, coming to stand beside him, "having second thoughts?"

"No, Ma'am," Riley answered quickly.  He'd committed himself to his part in this whole mess, and he would follow orders from his superior.  But he had never been ordered to like it.

"We should be ready to administer the second set of drugs in an hour or two.  Are you ready, soldier?"

"Yes," he answered curtly.  Ready?  What did that mean?  He wasn't going to need Viagra if that's what she was wondering.  He didn't like the idea of having sex with someone who was not in their right state of mind, but he was incredibly physically attracted to the tiny blonde sprawled before him. He'd be able to perform regardless of any moral issues he possessed.

They'd been dating for months.  She was his mission, and not a bad one as far as missions  went.  He was supposed to sleep with the Slayer, get her pregnant.  Unfortunately, for her as it turned out, she'd nixed all of his attempts to take their relationship to a more physical level.  As a result, his commanding officers had lost all patience and resorted to this.  The idea was that she would be so drugged out of her mind she wouldn't remember any of it.  He prayed they were  right, for both his sake and hers.

*****
Buffy came awake slowly, her body going taut as she was assaulted by unfamiliar sounds and smells. Her head was pounding.  Her Slayer senses were screaming. What the hell was happening?  For probably the first time in her life, Buffy decided to err on the side of caution.  Remaining perfectly still, she tried to piece together what had happened.

She'd been attacked by Initiative soldiers, she remembered that much.  She assumed she was being held somewhere in their underground complex. It would explain why she could sense so many vamps.

Buffy had been privy to quite a few of the Initiative's secrets given that she was dating one of their officers, but she couldn't figure out why in the world they would have kidnapped a human civilian.

She and Riley were on shaky ground, true, especially after Giles had slipped up and mentioned something in front of her about Angel's soul being permanent.  The Slayer’s lips tightened in remembered pain and annoyance.  It seemed Angel didn't value her enough to tell her that little bit of info himself.

She heard the glass door to the holding cell open, but didn't move.  That turned out to be a  mistake, because she was quickly straddled and held down by four rather imposing men as something was injected into her neck.  She heard one of them mutter something about the “Slayer" as he gripped her tightly.  That in itself was alarming considering she'd never divulged the details of her secret life to Riley.

Whatever they had injected her with burned.  Focusing all her senses on the men above her, Buffy searched for any weakness, any possibility of escape. When she felt one of the soldiers loosen his vice-like grip, she bucked quickly, knocking one off.  A couple punches and a kick and she was out the door, running blindly for an exit, stolen passkey clutched tightly in her hand.

*****
She made it outside and onto the UC Sunnydale quad before she felt them gaining.  Luckily, there was a large lecture class departing from one of the buildings and the throng of people, coupled with the onset of evening gloom allowed her to elude her captors.

****
Reaching home, Buffy snatched the keys to her mother's SUV. Once inside the vehicle, she attempted to do an assessment of her physical state and get herself under control before trying to maneuver the behemoth.

It was impossible.

Her heart was pounding in her chest and she felt like she was crawling out of her skin.  She couldn't concentrate on anything for more than a few seconds.  She just knew she had to run, where to she didn't know, but somewhere.  Slipping the keys into the ignition, Buffy started the SUV and sped off.

*****
"What do you mean she's gone?" Walsh shrieked.

"The boys lost her on the quad, and our intelligence indicates that the Slayer is no longer in Sunnydale," Riley said, wincing at the furious glare he received.

"Where would she have gone?  In her drugged state she should be looking for the nearest available male," Walsh said, baffled.

******

Buffy wasn't looking for the nearest available male.  She was tracking her mate, which was why she was barreling down the freeway to Los Angeles drugged half out of her mind in search of the vampire who had abandoned her.

******

The lights inside Angel Investigations went dark.

"He's cut the power ... where's the box?" Wesley asked.*

"Side of the building," Cordelia replied. *

Cordelia sent a withering look toward the actress crouching in the corner.  "If we don't make it out of here alive, I'm going to *kill* you!" she spat.  "What the fuck were you thinking making him happy?  Angel plus happy equals *bad*!"

"I don't understand," Wesley said, ignoring Cordelia's comment.  "There is no loophole in Angel's curse anymore.  How is Angelus surfacing?"

Cordelia stared at the Englishman in the dim light.  Reaching over she smacked him on the forehead.

"Angelus is still there, Wes!  He may be bound, but he's part of Angel.  This drug obviously let him out to play.  It had better wear off."

Wesley sighed dramatically.  "Let's just pray it does so quickly."

*****

Buffy pounded down the street as fast as she could, each step jolting her body, inflaming her already sensitive tissues. She was so hot. She need Angel, needed his ice-cold body to cool her down.  She needed him to fuck her until she screamed in agonized release.  Maybe then the fire in her blood would be banked.  Maybe.

She'd ditched the SUV several blocks ago and taken off on foot.  She could feel his presence, like a growing ache in the marrow of her bones.  He was close.  She scented the air again, tracking him easily.  She would be able to find him if she was blind.

Quickly turning a corner, Buffy headed down a darkened alley.  She couldn't really see, but she  didn't need to, she could feel him, throbbing, screaming in her veins, in her bones.

****

Angelus never heard the Slayer coming.  He was taken completely by surprise when the force of her body ramming into his knocked him unceremoniously to the ground, landing him on his back.

Normally, he would have been more than a little disturbed by the fact that he hadn't even felt her coming.  Now, however, was different.  She was on top of him, pinning his arms to the ground, her tiny, hot mouth clamped around his jugular in a show of vampiric dominance as she straddled his sprawled form and rubbed herself against him.

Angelus was too shocked to move.  Everything in his body screamed Slayer.  His instincts told him to throw her off and run for his unlife, but he didn't move.  The pressure of her blunt teeth on his neck held him effectively in place.  The only creature ever to pin him like this was his Sire, and that had been more than a century ago.  It was the possessive hold of one mate to another, one so visceral,  he could not ignore.

He knew Buffy had done it on several occasions to Angel, but the simpering soul had always discouraged her from showing any sort of vampiric behavior.  Angelus wasn't about to discourage her from doing anything.  His eyes were about to roll back in his head from the sheer carnal pleasure of the act.  He thrust his hips up against hers uncontrollably, seeking, needing the pressure and the friction.

She smelled incredible, hot and extremely aroused.  She was rubbing her dripping cunt against his instantly hard cock.  He could feel her moisture seeping through both of their clothing.  She began to whine around the bite, and Angelus found himself stiffening further in reply.  She was the Slayer.  He was a demon.  Angelus didn't know if she had any idea it was him and not Angel.  He doubted that in her current, obviously mindless, state that she would care at all who was about to fuck her, because she was indeed about to get fucked.

"Buffy," he growled through clenched teeth.

She whimpered, releasing her bite on his neck and sitting up.  Letting go of his pinned arms, she scooted down his body so she was straddling his thighs and moved her hands down to the fly of his black slacks.  She fumbled impatiently with his belt for several long moments before managing to unbuckle the confining leather.

Slapping her hands out of the way, Angelus dealt with the zipper himself.  He had his cock free in seconds, and then went to work on the soft cotton pants she wore.  He didn't bother trying to take them off of her, he just pulled the fabric covering her cunt until it gave, the material rending loudly in the pronounced silence of the alley.

When her sex was exposed, Angelus flipped them, rolling her body under his as he buried himself to the root in her warmth.  She keened, rolling her head to the side and exposing her neck for him.

What the fuck was going on?  The Slayer practically raped him in a dark alley and then offered her blood to him.  Never mind if she thought he was Angel or not, the idea that she would do that for any vampire was mind boggling.

Angelus pumped forcefully into her hot body and she was coming in waves at the first few thrusts, scratching deep gashes through his shirt and into the flesh of his back.  Her body was unbelievably aroused and she was whimpering, tears leaking out of her eyes from the force of her multiple releases.  He couldn't hold on much longer, not with the erotic picture she presented.  Bending his head, he bit deeply into her neck and roared as his cold cum coated the scalding hot walls of her passage.

Angelus must have passed out for a few moments.  When the world solidified again, he was laying on top of the Slayer, his now limp cock still inside her hot little body.  She was awake and alert, but not doing anything to encourage him to move from his spot.  Her breathing and heart rate had slowed a bit, but were still far above normal.  She was simply holding his body to hers, practically purring in satisfaction as she nuzzled against his neck.

The vampire levered his upper body off his lover, bracing his weight on his hands which were planted on either side of her head.  He stared at her.  She looked back up at him docilely, a small smile playing on her lips.  She sighed with self satisfaction, and then turned her head to kiss the inside of one of his wrists.

There was something wrong with the Slayer, Angelus could taste it in the blood he'd stolen from her.

Maybe someone had slipped her one of those date rape drugs or something.  Lucky for the poor bastard that she came looking for her true mate rather than grabbing the jackass that dosed her.  The force of their coupling would have killed a human.  Even now, Angelus could feel the wounds on his back just beginning to heal, and that was probably only due to the infusion of her powerful blood.

Angelus licked his lips again.  Yes, there was definitely something in her blood.  He hadn't taken very much of it, and it was already making him feel funny ... hot, aroused.  Just when he was trying to decide if it was the drugs or the hot little body underneath him that had him so stimulated, the Slayer wrapped her legs around his waist.  Flexing her muscles, she brought their pelvises together again.  Angelus growled, looking down at his mate.  She met his gaze unafraid, grabbing the collar of the shirt he still wore and pulled his head down to hers.

"Mine," she whispered against his lips before catching them in a searing kiss.  It was the first word she'd spoken since jumping him and he didn't feel inclined to debate the veracity of her statement.  Cluing her in right now that he wasn't her beloved Angel probably wouldn't be the wisest idea.  He decided to play it safe for a while. He met her kiss with equal ardor, thrusting his once again hard cock into her softness.  She whined, arching against him for friction.

Angelus propped himself up on his arms again as he thrust in and out of her body.  Gods she was magnificent.  Where had the whiney little bitch that Angel was so in love with gone?  He didn't know but he sure as hell hoped she stayed away for a long time.  The creature writhing beneath him was in no uncertain terms *his* mate.  A creature his equal in every way, unhindered by thoughts of morality, decorum or duty.  Lowering himself over her body again, he bit deeply into her neck, nursing roughly.

Beneath him, Buffy's mouth opened in a silent scream of ecstasy as she came from his bite, the intense pleasure of being claimed by her mate tipping her over the edge.  This was what she had wanted, this was what no other male on the planet could give her.  This sense of absolute completion and synchronicity.

They were each other's only equals.

Angelus rocked deeper into her body for several thrusts before reaching climax.  The infusion of her blood, laced with the powerful aphrodisiac was too much for him to resist any longer.  As he regained a bit of clarity, he removed his fangs from her neck, but continued to gently lick the wounds.

"Mine," he whispered against her soft flesh.

Beneath him, she smiled.

Angelus considered his options.  He had been planning on going back in the office and killing his employees and that insipid actress, but he wasn't about to leave his bitch to do it.  He didn't have any idea how long the drug Rebecca had slipped him would last.  He was sure Angel would be back in control once it wore off and he wasn't about to waste one second of his time with Buffy.

He pulled out of her body and rose to his feet, refastening his pants. Just as Buffy began to whimper, he scooped her up in his arms and strode down the alley looking for somewhere to spend the rest of the night.

******

"You're *sure* he's not out here," Cordelia said in a yelled whisper at Wesley, tightly clutching both a stake and a cross to her chest as her head whipped around frantically.

"Yes, Cordelia," Wesley replied in his normal, speaking voice as he fumbled with the breaker box on the side of the building.  "I'm sure he's not out here."

The conversation was momentarily halted as the lights snapped back to life.

"But how can you be sure?"

"Because," Wesley stated, brushing off his hands, "we're all still alive."

"Well, you do have a point there," she conceded, her frightened stance quickly replaced by a thoroughly annoyed one.  "Where do you think he went then?"

"I have no idea," the former Watcher said as he walked back in the building, Cordelia following closely behind.

Faith and Spike walked in moments later, mutually groping each other as they stumbled through the doorway.  As they became aware of Wesley and Cordelia staring at them, they stopped and glanced around.

Surveying the collateral damage and the blood spattered actress cowering in the corner, Faith asked, "Up to new tricks, Wes?"

*****
Angelus was still trying to recover from the last round when the needy Slayer reached for him again.  He was an insatiable demon with centuries of debauchery behind him.  He should have been the one pushing her limits, but it was the other way around.  His tiny little near virgin was giving him the ride of his unlife.

He pulled her to his chest, trying to fend off her latest assault for a few moments while he regained a bit of composure. The Slayer wasn't having any of it.  Releasing a frustrated growl, she wiggled out of his embrace, and moved down his body.  She wrapped her mouth around his semi hard cock, sucking and caressing him back to full tumescence.  She then straddled him, dropping her well pleasured body onto his erection yet again.

Angelus moaned.  She was so fucking hot and tight.  The little bitch had been completely faithful to her one true love and he was thrilled by it.  No other male had dared touch her, she hadn't allowed it.  She knew who she belonged to even if his weakling "better" half was unwilling to claim her.

******
Angel woke with the dawn, a decidedly odd occurrence for a vampire.  He blinked in the gray light.  He was laying on a tarp.  Licking his lips, he tasted drug laden blood still in his mouth.  Sniffing the air, he wrinkled his nose.  It was thick with pungent, stale odors - an abandoned warehouse.  Shaking his head, he tried to piece together how he had arrived in this place.  He looked down at his nude body.  Nude?  He cocked an eyebrow.  Why was he was naked?  And why were there scratches all over his chest?

To his surprise, the bump in the tarp next to him let out a little snore.  He sat bolt upright.  He was naked in some warehouse, which if memory served correctly was just down the street from his apartment, with a sleeping *something* next to him.  He could feel the heat coming off of it, so it was alive whatever it was.

Angel shook his head trying to remember the night before.  He remembered Rebecca coming over, but it all got really fuzzy after that.  Had he slept with Rebecca?  And if so why couldn't he remember it and why were they in a warehouse?

Gently, he pulled back the tarp covering his partner.  Hair.  Blonde hair.  Rebecca wasn't blonde.

He pealed it back farther.  Buffy!  She blinked, glaring at him and proceeded to yank the tarp back over her head in an attempt to block the intrusive light.

"Buffy?" he squeaked, shocked.

She winced, removing the tarp to glare at him again.  One eye was closed like she was suffering from a horrible headache.

"Who *exactly* were you expecting Angel?" she hissed at him, then laid her head back down, closing her eyes.

He took a deep breath, clearing his mind, and then concentrated on retracing the events of the previous evening.  Rebecca came over, she put something in his drink ... something that would simulate bliss.  Oh gods.

Angelus.

Somehow Angelus had taken over.  He'd threatened Rebecca, thrown blood in her face, chased her upstairs.  He'd attacked her, Wesley and Cordelia.  He'd gone outside and thrown the power, fully intending to go back inside and slaughter everyone when Buffy had jumped him in the alley.

He looked at the grouchy bundle next to him.  Someone must have drugged her, that was the only explanation.  Even when their relationship was at its most stable and intimate, Buffy would never have been that forward with him.  An aphrodisiac.  It would explain her actions, but it didn't explain why Angelus had chosen to spend the evening fucking the Slayer rather than draining her.

Angel searched inside himself and was unable to deny the truth, however repulsive he found it.  The demon wanted her, not just as a possession, but as a mate.  He was willing to share her with Angel simply because he had no choice, but he would kill if necessary ... and probably happily ... to keep her away from anyone else.  Buffy probably didn't even know she had spent the night  with Angelus and not him.  In her current, pissy state, he wasn't sure he wanted to tell her.  But she needed to know.

"Buffy," he ventured quietly.

She didn't open her eyes to look at him.  "I *hurt* Angel. *Everywhere*.  Please just let me sleep."

Talking wasn't helping, so why not try a different approach?  "Everywhere?" he purred in her ear, pulling her back against his chest as he rubbed his stiff cock against her dripping folds.   Moaning, she lifted her leg up and back over his hip in silent entreaty, ceding him power to do whatever he wished.

He knew he shouldn't.  He knew that there was so much they needed to discuss and sort out, but he could not ignore his body's absolute hunger for it's mate.  With a gentle thrust he buried himself in her body.  And, okay ... so maybe he didn’t want Angelus to have all the fun.  She was *his* girlfriend or, um, rather, ex-girlfriend.  He wasn't sure exactly what she was at the moment, but given that he was buried inside her, he really didn't care.

*****
It was late morning when Angel woke again, this time feeling a bit more rested.  He looked around taking another quick survey.  They needed to move.  The slanting morning light was creeping across the floor towards their makeshift bed.  He was fairly sure there was sewer access to this building.  Hopefully they could use it to reach the safety of his apartment.

"Buffy," he whispered softly, hoping her nap would have resulted in a better mood.

"Hrmph," came the little grunt.

"Buffy," he said more forcefully.

She came fully awake, yawning and stretching, pulling the tarp down so her upper body was free.  Propping herself up on one elbow, she looked at Angel, blinking.  "Huh?" she asked sleepily.

Angel just stared at his mate.  She looked like hell.  Her hair was one huge rat's nest, sticking up everywhere.  Her neck was black and blue with huge hickeys and puncture marks.  She also seemed to be unaware that one of her breasts was completely bare where the tarp had ridden down.

She looked marvelous.  Angel couldn't stop himself from unconsciously licking his lips as his gaze roamed over her naked breast.

Buffy followed Angel's hungry gaze down her body.  Everything seemed to click at once.  Buffy naked.  Angel naked.  They were wrapped in some dirty piece of heavy material and she felt heat beginning to pool between her legs again.  AGAIN?

"Oh gods," she screeched, diving beneath the covers.

Angel's brow furrowed.

"Buffy?" he said, trying to pry back the tarp.

"Go away!" Buffy shouted, afraid she was going to spontaneously combust from embarrassment.

Angel attempted several futile campaigns to get the Slayer to come out.  She wasn't budging.  He decided to go in after her.

"Love," he said, after he'd wrapped his naked body around her equally stitch-less form.

"What?" she hissed, still horribly embarrassed.  But as he pressed against her, she involuntarily arched back against him.

Angel could tell she was blushing even in the dark.  He could feel the extra heat pouring off of her body.  He tried not to smile.  This confirmed his suspicions.  She hadn't been in her right mind, but judging from her response, she definitely remembered the previous night, and morning.

"You want to tell me what happened?" he gently coaxed.

She made a little strangled sound.  "You were there," she spat.  "Why should I have to tell you?"

He cringed.  Time to come clean.  "I wasn't," he admitted, "not exactly."

She stopped breathing for several seconds.

"*Yes* you were!"

"No I wasn't," he calmly reiterated.

Under the tarp, she twisted so they were face to face.

"What do you mean you weren't there, Angel?  You were there!  Trust me. I can smell you all over me.  I can *taste* you!"  She then cringed outwardly as the ramifications of the last statement hit her.  She dropped her gaze to his chest, which did nothing to alleviate her mortification, the broad expanse of pale skin was marred with deep gashes.  If memory served right - and she knew it did - those gashes were from her clawing as she'd ridden him.  Unbidden, her body moistened at the thought.

"That's not what I mean, Buffy," Angel said, trying his damnedest to ignore the scent of her blatant arousal.  "I didn't mean my body wasn't there.  I meant *I* wasn't there."

"What?" she demanded, terrified at what she suspected.

"Angelus," he stated simply.

Buffy threw back the tarp, glaring at her mate.  "How?" she screeched. "There isn't any loophole in your curse, Angel.  How did I spent an entire night fucking Angelus?"

He flinched.  She was pissed, and rightfully so.  "Doximall."

"Who?"

"Doximall.  It's a drug that simulates bliss.  A woman ... a client," he quickly corrected, "slipped some in my drink.  I don't know how, but it allowed Angelus to take over for a few hours.”  He paused for a moment before asking, “How did you know about the curse?"

Buffy's glare deepened and Angel instinctively inched away from the furious Slayer.  "Don’t change the subject!  What were you doing having drinks with your client?" she bit out. "And, for the record, I learned about the state of your soul from *my Watcher*, which by the way I'm not to pleased about either.  You can tell some stuffy Brit, but not your lover!"

Somehow in his most heated memories of their prior relationship, Angel had forgotten about this.  He'd forgotten how fights with Buffy didn't really follow the rules of logic.  She should have been asking "how did Angelus take over" or "how long did the drug last", but no, she wanted to know about him having drinks with another woman and why he hadn’t told her about his curse.

"Everything with Rebe- the client, was completely innocent," he said.

"Really?  Innocent? You're having drinks and drugs with some whore and it's innocent?  What would you think of me doing a little Doximall with some guy while we split a bottle of champaign?"  Buffy prodded caustically.

Angel growled at the mental picture her words evoked.

Still unable to control most of her responses, Buffy moaned openly at the sound, reaching for her mate as moisture flooded her hungry core.  As he found himself once again being mauled by the Slayer's hot little mouth, Angel realized how imperative it was that he find out what had been wrong with her, what was *still* wrong with her.

"Buffy," he said, pushing her away although all he wanted to do was bury himself in her molten depths.  "We need to get out of here.  Somebody drugged you.  We have to find out why."

The Slayer whimpered, but did not fight him as he rose to his feet, quickly pulling on his dirty slacks and wrapped her in what remained of his shirt.  Her clothes were in tatters, strewn about the floor.  Bending down, he fished a set of car keys out of one of the piles and then without a word, lifted her into his arms and headed for the tunnels.

*****

Angel and Buffy entered his apartment through the sewers, taking extra care to be quiet so they could avoid his staff.  They each took turns in the shower, rinsing off a day's worth of grime and an abundance of bodily fluids.

Buffy's entire body ached from overuse and tension.  Her head was still pounding, no doubt a lingering effect of the drug.  She had spent the entire night having sordid sex with Angelus, then a quickie this morning with Angel and she still felt horny, unsatisfied.  She sat under the hot stream of water, trying to let herself relax.

When she was done in the shower, she studied herself in the small mirror Angel kept in the bathroom closet.  Her neck was still bruised, but the hickeys were fading fast.  The puncture wounds were already healed completely.

Her life had just gotten a whole lot more complicated.

*****
Buffy was curled up on the couch waiting for him when he emerged from his bedroom after his shower and change of clothes.  She was wearing one of his sweaters because she had no clothes of her own. It fit her like a dress, and her curves looked especially enticing beneath the soft material.

Angel sat down on the couch a short distance from the Slayer.  He wasn't sure what kind of mood she would be in now that she'd had time to think about the implications of the previous night.  He was a bit surprised when she crawled into his lap, leaning against his chest, but he wrapped his arms around her tightly.

He inhaled deeply.  She was calmer now, and clean, but he could still smell himself on her.  It pleased him to the core even if it was Angelus who was responsible for the majority of the marking.

He was still worried, though.  Her scent was ... off.  Surely the work of whatever she'd been whacked out on the night before.  Not that she smelled bad.  In point of fact, she smelled wonderful.  In spite of her shower and change of clothes, he could still tell that her body was aroused.

"Does anyone know you're here, baby?" he asked.

When she shook her head no, he continued, "For the moment, it would probably be best to keep it that way.  I don't think we should let anyone know, not even our friends, until we find out what is going on."

Nodding in agreement, Buffy asked, "Why didn't he hurt me?"

Years of practice had acclimated Angel to his mate's rapid subject changes.  He didn't need to ask who "he" was.  With a small sigh he attempted to explain his demon's attraction to his mate.  "Because in his own twisted way, Angelus loves you just as much as I do."

Buffy pulled back so she could study his face.

"But he spent six months trying to kill me.  He almost sucked the world into hell just to get rid of me.  I was out of my mind last night, why didn't he just finish it instead of ... "

"Angelus never wanted to kill you, Buffy.  He wanted to possess you. You didn't want him, and you were too strong for him to force the matter, which is what he’d always done in the past.  He tried to suck the world into hell because he couldn't have you.  Last night he finally got you, there would have been no reason for him to cause you harm."

"I didn't know it was him."

"I know you didn't, sweetheart.  He knew too.  He wanted to keep it that way."

"Do you ... I mean ... are you mad at me?"

"No.  Why would I be mad at you?"

"For um ... you know ... " She averted her gaze bashfully.

"Having sex with Angelus?  No, I'm not mad.  I would have preferred it been me you jumped rather than my evil twin, but I'm not mad.  You had no way of knowing.  I *was* there, not in control, but I know what happened.  I felt everything he felt."

"You did?" she asked, thoroughly embarrassed that he remembered her wanton behavior.

"Yes," he said firmly, understanding her embarrassment.  "You were amazing last night, Buffy.  Beautiful.  Perfect.  You were the most erotic thing I've ever seen."

"I love you," she said quietly, planting a gentle kiss on his lips, unable to listen to his complement without blushing furiously.

He kissed her back, squeezing her until she giggled.  He was trying to keep the moment from getting too sexual.  He could already feel the heat building within her and he needed to get a few answers before it consumed both of them.

"Now that we've established what happened to me last night, how about telling me what happened to you?" he prompted.

"It's a long story," she said wryly.

"Do you remember what happened?"

"Yes," she replied, unable to meet his gaze.  It was all so ... sordid and uncomfortable.  "I was kidnapped and drugged."

Angel's body stiffened, his arms pulling her tightly against his chest in a protective gesture.  "Do you know who was responsible?", he growled, unable and unwilling to hide his emotions.

Buffy laughed as a tear slipped from her eye.  This was going to be fun.  "It was my boyfriend," she said so quietly Angel almost couldn't hear her.

"Boyfriend?" he asked after several long moments, trying desperately to keep his voice neutral. They were broken up.  He'd encouraged her to start a new life, to find a normal, human lover.  The reality that she'd made progress towards that goal did not make him happy.

"I was dating a guy named Riley Finn.  He is a demon hunter, an agent for the government group that put the chip in Spike's head.  Somehow they knew I was the Slayer.  They kidnapped me, I'm not sure what exactly they wanted with me, but they're the ones who drugged me.  I managed to escape before they could finish their plan."

"Did they hurt you?" he asked, knowing full well that if they had he would hunt every last one of them down and put Angelus's extensive mental rolodex of torture techniques to good use. Torquemada didn’t have anything on his demon.

"Hurt?  No.  But I'm afraid the drug is not out of my system yet," she said, bowing her head to hide her blush.  "I still feel very ... funny."

"Trust me, sweetheart, I know.  Whatever they gave you, it had a powerful aphrodisiac in it," he said with a small groan.

Buffy let her body press more fully into his, whimpering in need when she felt his very pronounced erection.

Needing to get back on track, Angel asked, "You don't know why they would have wanted to kidnap you?"

Angel's brow furrowed at her negative response.

He understood them doing behavior modification on demons, no matter how reprehensible he found it, but what would they want with Buffy?  She was human.  The only explanation for dosing her with an aphrodisiac would be to have sex with her.  Surely the Initiative wasn't looking for a gang bang with a Slayer.  They could definitely find more docile prey than an overstimulated super human.

"What's goin' on in there?" she asked, lightly tapping his forehead.

He smiled, kissing her again.  "I'll let you know as soon as I figure It out."

"Well," she said seductively, "I have a few other things you do with your body while your mind puzzles it out."

Angel groaned as she pulled the sweater over her head, revealing her complete lack of undergarments.  He couldn't ignore the fact that his lover was aroused to a fever pitch one second longer.  Leaning forward he captured one of her pebbled nipples between his lips.

"Angel!" she yelped.

******
Angel was digging through the drawers of his desk when he became aware of someone standing in the doorway.  Looking up he saw Cordelia holding a rather large cross in his direction.

"Are you still evil?"* she asked, not withdrawing the cross an inch.

Angel sat up in the chair, lifting his hands in a sign of surrender. "I'm so sorry, Cordelia," he said shamefully.

Cordelia cocked an eyebrow at his sincere apology.  Angelus definitely wouldn't have bothered.  "In the future," she said caustically, "maybe you shouldn't get quite so *friendly* with your clients."

Angel nodded ruefully.  "That is some very good advice, Cordy.  Speaking of which, is Rebecca ... ?"

"Scared shitless," she offered a bit too gleefully.  "She probably has a restraining order against you by now, and just so ya know, I *don't* think you'll be getting paid for this one."

He noticed she said *you’ll* instead of *we’ll*.  He knew he was going to have to pay her despite the clusterfuck.  "You're probably right," he said.

"I *know* I'm right.  I had to lend her a shirt to wear home since hers was covered in the blood you threw at her."

Angel cringed.  He was going to have to buy her a new shirt as well.

"In all honesty, Cordelia," Wesley said, having just arrived at work, "it wasn't Angel that threw the blood, it was Angelus.  Who," he said, carefully studying Angel, "I'm assuming is safely tucked away again."

"Yes," Angel stated firmly.  "Angelus is gone."

"Just be sure you keep it that way," Cordelia said, turning and leaving his office abruptly.

As Wesley turned to follow, Angel stopped him.  "Wesley, could I please have a minute with you?"

*****
Wesley stood in the doorway to Angel's bedroom staring at the sleeping Slayer.  She was buried in the covers, but it was obvious that she was nude underneath.

"I see," the former Watcher said quietly. "We wondered why Angelus didn't come back last night to kill us.  Apparently you had your hands full."

*****
Several minutes later, Angel paced the cramped space in his office, waiting for Wesley to digest his accounts of the previous evening.  He was anxious, he needed to be out doing something, anything, unfortunately the sun had yet to set.

He was antsy, surely an after effect of the drugs Buffy had been given and both he and Angelus had fed on.  He'd only gotten a small amount and he was about ready to climb the walls.  He realized ruefully that Buffy must be in misery.

"You say they drugged her?"  Wesley asked, his eyes wide.  "That's very odd.  Why would the government want to drug her?"

Angel rubbed the back of his neck with one hand, looking out the window of his office into the lobby.  "They gave her a powerful aphrodisiac, stimulants, some sort of perception altering drugs after they abducted her."

"Those are just the drugs you're sure about?"

"Yes.  Who knows what else was in their controlled substance cocktail."

"How are you certain that the drugs are still in her system?" Wesley asked.

"I can taste them," Angel answered without thinking, abruptly shutting his mouth as soon as the ramifications of what he'd just said hit him.

"Taste?" Wesley asked, confused.  The Watcher's eyes then went wide as the full meaning sunk in.

"You *bit* her?" he hissed, years of training causing him to be automatically appalled at the idea of any vampire feeding on a person, much less a Slayer who was once his charge.

Looking sheepish, Angel attempted to justify his actions.  "Well, yeah, I bit her. I mean, I wasn't ... feeding ... we were just ... you know ... ," he said foundering helplessly.  "I *am* a vampire, soul or no soul and there are just certain ... things that happen when vampires are ... .intimate."

Wesley closed his eyes, horribly embarrassed by Angel's explanation. Trying to get back to safer ground, he said, "But an aphrodisiac.  What would be the purpose of that?  Sending a being of Buffy's physical strength into some sort of mating cycle would not serve to make her more manageable.  If anything it would make her infinitely more difficult."

Difficult?  No, Buffy hadn’t been difficult, in fact the term that popped to Angel’s mind first was *easy*.  Very easy.  Hooker easy, but without the whole exchange of money thing.  He laughed to himself.  Buffy would kill him if she knew he even thought that about her.  To be truthful, he would have killed somebody if she had chosen to be easy with anyone but her true mate, namely him.

After recovering from his internal digression, Angel explained to Wesley, "Theoretically she would be difficult unless having sex with her was the ultimate goal."

The Englishman's jaw dropped open.  "Why?"

"There is only one reason I can think of."

"They wanted to impregnate her," Wesley offered, his face contorting into a grimace of revulsion.

"Yes, that's what I came up with too."

"They wanted to create a child with the Slayer ... and then do what?"

"She says their main mission is demon behavior modification, but that isn't all they do.  Their newest project is some sort of Frankenstein's monster.  They're trying to create the ultimate fighting weapon by crossing demon species with human and mechanical parts, but it isn't meeting with a lot of success."

Wesley sank back into his chair, his face a mask of horror.  "They want to turn the child into a weapon? They can't build a monster so they want to *breed* one?"

"I came to the same conclusion, only it appears all of their work is for naught.  She chose to mate with the one male in her life who could not possibly get her pregnant."

"Yes," Wesley agreed, "I suppose you being a vampire is a bit of a blessing in disguise on this point."

"I still want to find out what exactly the drugs were that they gave her.  We have no reason to assume that they would be harmless."

"Yes," the former Watcher agreed, "I have several old acquaintances that are physiology researchers at UCLA.  I could call in a few favors and have them run some tests.  Surely we would just need a blood sample from the Slayer."

*****
"Wow, Wes, you're *awful* handy with that," Buffy said bitchily as she watched Wesley fill a vial with her blood.  "Neat that they teach all you Watchers these handy little tricks.  Bet it makes it easier for later when you have to poison your Slayers."

"Miss Summers," Wesley stated calmly, "I have never participated in a Cruciamentum before, nor will I ever.  Watchers are given basic paramedic instruction due to the dangerous lives their  Slayers face."

Turning her attention to Angel, Buffy whined, "Are you sure you have to leave?"

Angel tried to steel himself against her plaintive cry.  "Yes, Buffy, we have to know what they gave you."

"Why can't Wesley go by himself and you stay here with me?" she pouted, shifting uncomfortably on the bed to try and assuage the ache between her legs.

"Because *I* want to talk to the doctors about this.  You’re free to come along," he explained.

Buffy frowned, laying back on the bed.  She wasn’t going anywhere near anything even remotely resembling a hospital.  Truth be told that was probably best.  If he didn't get out of the room in a hurry he was going to take her right here, audience or not.

As Wesley finished, Angel quickly grabbed his arm, ushering him from the room.

*****
Buffy was laying on his couch watching TV when he returned.  The errand had taken much longer than anticipated.  He'd been gone for hours.  She was lonely and cranky, her entire body felt tender and swollen.

"Finally," she snapped, glaring at him as he entered the apartment.

She was tired and achy, she hadn't anticipated being left all alone for the entire afternoon and a large portion of the evening.  She'd tried to sleep through most of it, but she was still feeling the effect of the drugs.  It felt like her skin was too tight, she was restless and edgy. And although she was extremely pissed that he'd left her on her own all day, she really just wanted to fuck him senseless.

Gone was her outfit from earlier in the morning.  She was currently wearing nothing but one of his silk shirts in which she swam. Angel couldn't help it, he got hard just looking at her.  She was so damn hot.  And she smelled wonderful ... needy, aroused.  It was a heady perfume.  He knew that if he pulled up the shirt, her nether curls would be glistening with her delectable moisture.

Shaking his head to clear it, he offered her a hand, leading her towards the kitchen table.

"Great," she whined, "shop talk."  She didn't want to chat.  She wanted to fuck.  She didn't care if it was the drugs talking or not, she needed him and as far as she was concerned, he owed her.

Angel seated Buffy and then took the chair across from her.  He laid the sheaves of paper containing the test results on the table.  Picking them up, she studied them intently.  They made no sense.

Buffy eyed him.  "So what exactly did Dr. Feelgood shoot me up with?"

"A lot of different things.  There were approximately twenty-five different compounds found in your system, most of them designer drugs custom created for you."

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked, twisting in her seat, trying to alleviate the clenching need to have his body deep within hers.

"It looks like the Initiative has been seriously studying you for quite some time.  According to Dr. Branscombe, the researcher who did the tests, the amount of engineering that went into the chemical compounds had to have taken months."

Buffy leaned back in the chair, quiet.  Angel knew what she must be thinking.  The implication was that her entire relationship with Riley had been a sham.  He knew the revelation would hurt.  She'd been used, lied to, all by someone she trusted.  It wasn't an easy pill to swallow.

"So," she said, her voice thicker than usual.  "They've been studying me for months.  Why?  What else was in my blood?"

"We think they were trying to get you pregnant, Buffy."

"What!" she yelped, leaning forward in her chair.

Angel picked up the test results.  "The drugs that were loaded into it were ones designed to create a sort of estrus in you."

"Estrus?"

"Heat.  The drugs sort of ... put you in heat.  The idea being to make you as receptive to male advances as possible.  The drugs would stimulate and arouse you, make you almost drunk so your judgment would be impaired.  Also, one of the drugs they gave you is similar to one that infertile couples use."

"Infertile?  They think I'm infertile?"

"I doubt it.  The drug is similar to one that is used in cases where the female partner is fine, but the male partner has a low sperm count. Only the drug they used on you is much more powerful.  It makes the female egg much easier to fertilize.  I would assume the reasoning behind giving it to you was that it would increase your chances of becoming pregnant with the least amount of  ... copulation."

"More bang for the buck, eh?" Buffy said wryly.

"To put it bluntly, yes," he said.  "There's more."

She looked at him, awaiting what could not be good news.  "What?"

"It seems they must have been monitoring your monthly cycles as well."

Buffy just stared at him, her growing anger apparent.  "They kept track of when I was on the rag!" she bit out.

Angel cringed a bit at her choice of language.  "It would seem so."

"Why would they want to know that?" she asked in confusion.

"They probably weren't monitoring when you were menstruating, exactly," Angel said with absolute candor.  "They were more likely keeping track of when you were ovulating.  It would let them know when you would be fertile and therefore naturally more inclined to seek out male companionship.  Most women experience that sensation to some degree. You're a Slayer, a predator, consequently more primal than most so it would affect you more profoundly.  Couple the natural hormonal changes with the drugs they gave you and you get an absolute biological imperative."

Buffy seemed to take it all in, bowing her head as she sorted things out for herself.  Suddenly her head popped up and she narrowed her gaze at her mate.

"How do you know?" she asked calmly.

"Know what?"

"You said they're keeping track of when I'm ovulating.  How do you know that?  What would make you think that?"

He shifted uncomfortably on his chair, lowering his gaze.  "I can tell," he said, not looking her in the eye.

"You can 'tell'?"

"Yes.  You ... .um ... smell different when you're ... fertile."

"You can smell when women ovulate?" she gasped at him.

He looked up, finally meeting her gaze.  "No," he clarified firmly, "Not women.  *You*.  I can tell a lot of different things from the way you smell."

She just gave him an exasperated look.  "I always *knew* there was so much you weren't telling me," she said trying to ignore her physical need and concentrate on the information he had just given her.

"Buffy, Dr. Branscombe wants to see you again in a couple of weeks to do follow up blood work.  She needs to see if there is any organ damage or other lasting effects from these drugs," Angel explained.

Buffy nodded her head, but for long moments after that, didn't speak. She continued to study the printout, her brow furrowed as she stared at it.  Angel wished desperately that he could hear the internal conversation she was having with herself.  Eventually she let out a loud, tired sigh, raising her eyes to his.

"They were going to get me pregnant and steal my baby," she said quietly.  She wasn't looking for him to confirm her suspicions.  She knew that she was right.  Angel nodded anyway.

Buffy stood, beginning to pace.  "I don't get it," she said, her voice thick with unshed tears.  "Riley obviously was supposed to be the father, but how?"

"How ... ?" Angel asked in confusion, certain Buffy understood the mechanics of a male impregnating a female.

She shot him a look of disgust.  "I don't mean how was he going to get me pregnant, Angel.  I mean how was he going to do it?  How was he going to just hand his child over to the military so they could turn it into some kind of a monster?  Didn't he care?  What kind of sick fuck is he and how did I not notice?"

Angel didn't say anything.  Truth be told, he didn't have anything to say.  He didn't know Riley.  He had no idea what he was capable of, but  it was a rather startling prospect.  The boy had obviously been involved in the plot against Buffy from the start ... and she had trusted him.

"It doesn't matter, Buffy," he said gently.  "The plan didn't work so you don't have to figure out the 'hows' or 'whys' of this.  You're safe."

"Am I?" she asked, turning to face him.

"Yes," Angel replied, moving to her side and enfolding her in his embrace.

******
Upstairs in the office, Wesley was studying a copy of the printout from the lab.  It, coupled with the write up from Dr. Branscombe, and a dictionary of pharmaceuticals was keeping him very occupied.

He furiously scratched notes on a legal pad.

*****

Buffy sighed, relaxing in his familiar arms.  She nuzzled her face into the hard planes of his chest.  "I missed you," she said, her body suddenly on fire.

"I missed you too," he answered, taking a deep breath of her intoxicating aroma.

Craning his neck, he captured her lips in a tender kiss.  Buffy sighed again, parting her lips to allow his questing tongue access.  He tasted so wonderful, the cool of his tongue so much like home.  She moaned softly, a quiet needy sound.

Their tongues melded together softly, his gently caressing hers, drawing it into his mouth so he could nurse it as his hands tangled in her hair.  Their kissing gradually became more passionate until they were mauling each others' mouths, teeth nipping, sucking, biting.  Buffy gasped as Angel abandoned her mouth in favor of her neck.  He sucked harshly at the raised skin of his brand on her neck.  Buffy could feel his erection pressing into her stomach as he pulled her flush against his body.  He was growling a soft possessive rumble as his tongue laved the site of his feeding.

His teeth were still blunt, his face showing the smooth planes of his human countenance, but when he bit into the brand, Buffy exploded.  She surged her hips against his as her orgasm washed through her, panting harshly.  His bite hadn't broken the skin, but he still gently licked the area, soothing her as she recovered.  Angel was purring as he held her to his chest.

"I *really* missed you," he whispered quietly against her fragrant flesh.

Buffy pressed herself against his chest as he lifted her, carrying her to the bedroom.

*****
Double checking his notes, Wesley hesitated a moment before picking up the phone.  What if he was wrong?  He didn't really have any proof, just a feeling.  Maybe he should wait for Angel.  No.  Angel was downstairs with Buffy, he wouldn't be seen until the next day.

Picking up the phone, he dialed.  On the third ring, there was an answer.  "Hello Dr. Branscombe, I hate to bother you again, especially at this hour ... "

*****
To Buffy, it seemed Angel took hours to undress her, which said a lot considering his shirt was the *only* thing she had on.  She was practically crying with need as he took his own sweet time baring her skin to his touch and taste.

As he uncovered her breasts, he took her aching nipples into his mouth, gently nursing.  She clutched the back of his head, holding him to her  as she writhed beneath him.

"Angel," she whined, panting softly.

Taking pity on her, Angel rose from the bed and stripped off his own clothes.  When he was nude, he returned to the bed, crouching over her.  The shirt she wore was still partially buttoned, the sides of it pushed back to reveal her heaving breasts.  Pushing the shirt up and out of the way, he spread her slick thighs and entered her with one powerful thrust.

She pulled him against her, wrapping her legs tightly around his hips as her tiny mouth bit into the flesh of his shoulder to smother her cries. She was so wet he slid into her completely unhindered.  His eyes nearly crossed at the sensation.  She felt so good.

He had experienced what Angelus had felt when he was fucking her the previous night, the drug hadn't been the same as losing his soul.  He was still resident although Angelus had control of their body.  But this was so much more intense, not distorted through the demon's perceptions.  She whined his name again and he surged against her roughly.  Somewhere in the back of his mind, Angelus' jealousy registered.

Incensed by the demon's possessive nature towards *his* mate, Angel pulled out of her welcoming body, flipping her over onto her stomach before she could bemoan the loss.  Putting an arm under her stomach, he raised her onto her hands and knees, thrusting into her again as his chest blanketed her back and his fangs found their way into the nape of her neck.

Buffy thrust back against him involuntarily as her body exploded again from the force of his bite.  Angel continued to pump into her, his body in exquisite agony as he tipped over into his own orgasm.  Her vaginal walls milked his rigid flesh, drawing every drop of his cold seed into her heated depths.

He wasn't done, not yet, not until he'd pushed her to her limits.  He slowed his thrusts until she seemed to calm and then used one hand to fondle her clit as he began to move within her again.  Buffy whined, pressing her hips back to meet his thrusts.

*****
Hearing two animalistic cries emanate from the apartment below the office, Wesley cringed.  It was too late, but what did it matter, it was too late last night.  No need bothering them with "what ifs".

He locked the door securely behind himself as he hastily fled the office.

*****
It was nearing dawn when Buffy finally collapsed into a dreamless sleep, her body thoroughly exhausted.  Beside her, Angel breathed an unneeded sigh of relief.  He'd actually wondered a few times if he would be able to outlast the Slayer.  She seemed to have a bottomless reserve.

She finally looked peaceful, sated.  Curling her up inside his embrace, he too drifted off to sleep.

******
"I'm sorry, Riley," Giles said into the phone, still groggy at being awakened up so early.  "I don't have any idea where Buffy is.  If I hear from her I will be certain to let you know."

He hated life on the Hellmouth.  Picking up the phone he dialed Willow's number.  They had all assumed that she and Riley had decided to make their relationship more ... permanent, but the boy hadn’t seen her either.

*******

When Buffy woke well after noon the next day, she wanted to weep for joy.  The constant, insistent pull in her veins was gone.  She rolled over to face her sleeping mate, wincing at the soreness between her legs.  Gods they'd really gone at it the night before.

"Angel," she said, shaking him gently.

Nothing, not even a grunt.  She shook harder.  He finally woke with a start, sitting up in bed, looking around the room like he expected the armies of Hell to be ambushing him.  His vision finally lighted on Buffy, and he calmed as he remembered where he was.

"Are you okay, baby?" he asked, pulling her into his embrace.

"I'm fine," she said in a chipper tone.  "Better than fine, I'm *wonderful*.  I think the drugs wore off."

"Oh," was his only response.

She looked at him confused.  "Did I say something wrong?" she asked.

"No," he answered.  "I just wish you weren't quite so happy that we don't have to have sex anymore."

She smiled broadly at him.  "Honey, I *love* being with you like that, I just don't appreciate it being a biological imperative, complete with hormone imbalances and mood swings."

"Love it, eh?" he whispered seductively, cocking an eyebrow at her.

"Oh no," she said sternly.  "Stop right there.  I'm sore and tired and I know you have to be too, Mr. Macho.  Give it a day or two."

Angel frowned at her, but nuzzled against her neck.

*****
"You didn't have any idea that the Initiative was interested in you?" Wesley asked Buffy.  They were all seated around Angel's kitchen table, discussing their plan of action.

"No.  I did think it was kind of weird that they took me into their group, but they were always really careful about not letting me in on the whole story.  Basically they just used me as muscle.  I'm about a hundred times more effective than their most elite soldiers when it comes to taking out a demon, and that's without the million dollars worth of gadgets they all carry around with them."

Angel smiled, he loved the fact that Buffy could kick ass so well.  He also loved the fact that he could keep up with her.  Obviously Riley had a serious inadequacy complex.

"I don't like this," Wesley said, taking his glasses off to polish them.  "The Initiative failed, but there is nothing to keep them from simply trying again."

"Except for the fact that now I know they're coming," Buffy pointed out, with a small smile.  The Initiative knew how dangerous she was, they would think twice before tangling with her again.

"I'm not sure that's a positive," Angel chimed in.

"Why?  I'm not going to let them push me around," Buffy said defiantly.

"I understand, but letting them know you're on to them could only serve to put you in more danger.  They were being cautious before, if they think this is all out war, there is no telling what they would do."

"I'm not afraid of them," she replied, sticking her chin out.

Angel had to suppress a laugh.  She was so damn cute.  "Buffy," he said seriously, "this isn't just about you.  The Initiative knows who your friends are.  If they can't get to you, Willow, Giles, Xander, they may all be in danger."

"Don't forget about your mother," Wesley reminded.

"I hadn't thought about that," the Slayer admitted her voice withering in defeat.

"I think the safest bet would be to pretend you have no memory of the events," Wesley stated bluntly.  "Considering that their last attack failed so miserably, they will need to regroup which will give us time.  Also if they think you're ignorant of their plot, it will make things a lot safer for you and everyone else in Sunnydale."

Buffy nodded.  "So what should I tell the gang?"

"Nothing," Wesley and Angel said in unison.

"What?" Buffy said defensively.

"Buffy, it's just that the less people who know about this, the better off you are," Angel explained.

Buffy nodded, but added, "For the record, I don't feel right keeping things from my Watcher."

"Oh please," Wesley added cattily, pointedly staring at Angel, "it's not like you haven't kept things from him before."

*****
"But I don't want to leave," Buffy whined.

Kissing the top of her head, Angel said, "I don't want you to either, but if you're gone any longer, you're never going to be able to explain it."

"I'll be back in three weeks.  I've got that follow up with Dr. Branscombe."

"I'll be here, Love."

*****
"We were all very worried!" Giles admonished his Slayer.  "How could you be gone for this long without letting anyone know you were okay?"

Buffy looked at her feet, absently scuffing one of them against the carpet.  "I'm sorry," she said meekly.

"Go!" Giles snapped, disgustedly pointing at his front door.  He was angry, but mostly he was terribly relieved.  He knew he'd have to apologize for his behavior later, but at the moment he was too angry to care.

*****
Skipping a week of class hadn't done anything to further Buffy's academic career.  Most of her teachers had been pretty apathetic about it, not really caring what her excuse was, but Maggie Walsh was all over her.  When Buffy didn't come up with a satisfactory explanation for her absence she was summarily booted from class.

Still reeling from the public humiliation of being dressed down by a professor in front of the entire class, Buffy was not really paying attention to where she was going.  As she was leaving the building for destinations unknown, a familiar voice stopped her.

"Buffy!  Wait!" Riley yelled after her retreating form.

Buffy stopped, turning to face her former boyfriend.  She stared at him expectantly, her arms crossed protectively over her chest.  He foundered under the weight of her stare, nervously shifting as he searched for something to say.  Buffy wanted to laugh.  What was he going to say? "Gee, sorry I helped a bunch of armed men drug you and try to get you pregnant."

When he finally did speak it wasn't anywhere near as forthcoming.  "So, how've you been?"

Buffy stared at him blankly.  "Huh?"

"You've been gone.  For a week.  Are you okay?  I thought maybe you were ... sick or something."

"I'm fine," the Slayer answered, walking away from her ex.

*****
Picking at the sterile gauze taped to the inside of her elbow, Buffy nervously swung her feet as she waited for the doctor to return.  This wasn't a hospital, but the research facility was so sanitary clean that it was almost as bad.  She wanted to run for the exit.

"Miss Summers," Dr. Branscombe said warmly as she entered the room, "it's nice to meet you.  I would like to discuss the blood work with you."

Buffy eyed her nervously.  "Don't you want Wes and Angel in here?"

The doctor sat down in a nearby chair.  "Eventually, but first I need to discuss some of the test results with you privately."

"Oh gods, I'm dying," Buffy said hysterically.

"No, no, no," Dr. Branscombe, quickly assured her patient, "you're not dying, far from it."

"Okay.  So what is wrong with me?"

"Nothing is 'wrong', dear.  You're pregnant."

*****
Carefully folded in Angel's protective embrace, Buffy sat with him and Wesley in the vampire's living room going over the results of the blood tests.

"What are you worried about, Wesley?" Angel grouched.  The Englishman's assessment and reassessment of his mate's test were unnerving him.  "Dr. Branscombe assured us she is fine."

"Yes, well, I just want to make sure," Wesley said, not looking up from the computer printout.

Buffy was quiet, conspicuously quiet.  She hadn't said a single word since before arriving at Angel’s.  She had remained absolutely silent the entire time Dr. Branscombe went over the results with the Slayer, Angel and Wesley.  All of her responses were limited to nods or grunts.

"Buffy," Wesley finally said, looking up, "are you *certain* that there isn't anything more?"

The Slayer shrugged evasively.  Wesley sighed.

"You were in there for a time alone with Dr. Branscombe," the former Watcher continued, "you're positive she didn't discuss anything ... else with you?"

"Wesley," Angel grumped, "she said there wasn't anything else." Lifting Buffy's head to look at him, he asked, "There wasn't anything else, was there?"

Buffy hedged.  She had no problem lying to Wesley, but Angel was a different story.  "Well ... " she started quietly.

"What's wrong?" Angel asked frantically.

Buffy looked away, fixing her gaze firmly on her hands folded in her lap.  She eventually looked up at Angel, then to Wesley, and back to Angel.  Apparently the former Watcher was expecting this.

"I'm pregnant," she said quietly.

"That's what I thought," Wesley said smugly.  He wasn't trying to upset Buffy, he was just happy his suspicions had been confirmed.  Angel didn't take it that way.

"What do you mean that's what you thought?" Angel hissed, game face to the fore.  "Is there something I should know about?"  Gently, but unceremoniously, he dumped Buffy off of his lap, stalking over to stand in front of Wesley.  Grabbing the terrified man by the collar of his shirt and yanking him out of the chair, he pulled him up until they were face to face.  Through a mouthful of fangs, he asked, "Did you *touch* her?"

Wesley couldn't even speak, he just sort of made this pathetic little squeaking noise.  Buffy on the other hand wasn't afraid of the angry vampire.

"What?" she yelled, offended by the very idea.  "There's no way in Hell I'd let him touch me."

While the former Watcher was thankful for her denouncement, the delivery still stung a bit.

Turning, Angel asked her, "Then *how* are you pregnant?  I'm a *vampire*."

Buffy glared at her lover, "DUH!  That's why I didn't say anything.  I don't know *how*."

Wesley, still held firmly in Angel's grip, spoke up, "I believe I may be able to clear this up."

Angel looked at the frightened man.  As his anger receded, he released him, returning to the couch where Buffy promptly crawled back onto his lap.

Sensing he had the audience's attention, Wesley began.  "When we received the original results, I began researching certain ... aspects, on a hunch.  I was afraid there would be some lasting after effects we had overlooked.  The dosage and type of drugs that you were given, Buffy, coupled with several of Angel's characteristics that make him unique among vampires have had some unexpected consequences."

"Not to sound like a broken record here, "Angel said wryly, "but I'm a *vampire*, you know dead body.  No children."

"A vampire, yes, but not your typical vampire.  Aside from having a soul, there are several other features unique to you."

"Like what?" Buffy asked, curious.

Addressing the Slayer, Wesley continued.  "It seems that since Angel fed from you last year, he has a heartbeat ... on occasion.  Not a heartbeat in the same sense that humans have one, but it's there nonetheless."

"Oh really?" the Slayer asked mockingly, shooting her lover a furious look.  "Were you going to bother telling me about this? Let me guess, when you told me about your soul."

Angel shrugged sheepishly as Wesley cleared his throat and continued. "The heartbeat is merely a sign that his body is not completely dead. Not the way it is in ordinary vampires.  He's alive to some extent.  I think that his status combined with the dosage and strength of the fertility drugs you were given, Buffy, and the ... er ... amount of times you coupled are likely responsible for the pregnancy."

*****
As they lay in his bed later that evening, Angel tried to wrap his mind around the concept.  "But I'm a vampire," he said lamely.

"Oh yeah, I forgot," she said, punching him in the arm.  "You're a vampire with a *heartbeat*.  Of course I'm fine with the fact that you didn't feel it necessary to clue me in on that little detail."  Sarcasm dripped from her words.

Angel scowled, but didn't retaliate.  Buffy sighed as her annoyance dissipated and sank back on the pillows next to him, pulling her nightgown - which just happened to be one of his shirts - up, baring her still flat belly.

Angel watched as she gently rubbed her abdomen.  A baby.  *His* baby with Buffy.

She turned to look at him, her hands still resting on her belly.  "What are you thinking?" she asked.

"I have no idea," he answered truthfully.

"Do you believe Wesley's explanation?" she asked, her voice tinged with fear.

He thought about her question and realized that he did believe it, completely.  He could almost feel the fact that it was his child growing inside her body.  "Yes," he finally answered quietly.

"Are you upset?"

He tore his gaze from her stomach to her face.  "No," he said a little more forcefully than necessary.

Buffy smiled at him and took one of his large hands, placing it on her belly.  He could feel it, not movement or anything like that, but a tiny life, so faint, yet so strong.  His child.  It couldn't be any bigger than a grain of rice, so vulnerable and precious.  Without a word, Angel pulled her against his chest, burying his face in her neck, clinging to her desperately.

"I love you," he said firmly, pulling back to look at her.

"I love you too," she said just as firmly.

"I am *very* happy about this," he said.

"So am I," she answered with a smile.

Gently pressing his lips to hers, Angel coaxed Buffy's mouth open.  She sighed in pleasure as he nipped gently at her lips, sucking on her tongue and generally worshiping her mouth with his.  She felt like it had been years since she'd been with him rather than weeks.  All of his touches and caresses were done with a deliberate tenderness that made her want to weep with pleasure.

"I'm not that fragile, Angel," she said trying to reassure him.

He smiled a wicked smile at her, but didn't change the pressure or tempo of his touches.  He moved onto his hands and knees and crouched over her body.  Slowly, he lowered his body over hers, supporting his weight on his forearms as he gently kissed along her collar bone.  Buffy moaned, pulling at him, trying to get him to rest his weight on her.  She needed to feel him pressing into her.  He wouldn't do it.

Slowly, he moved himself down her body, unbuttoning the oversized shirt as he went, baring her skin to his tongue and teeth.  He gently nipped and licked and kissed the length of her torso, stopping to nuzzle against her belly.  He could feel it, the energy pooling beneath her skin.  He placed gentle kisses against her flesh, tantalizing and inviting.

Scooting down lower, he lifted her thighs, positioning them over his shoulders as he licked the slit between her nether lips.  Buffy moaned arching up against his questing tongue.  He didn't want to tease her, so he wasted no time burying his face in her dripping sex.  She tightened her thighs around his head, desperate for more friction.  As she ground against his face, Angel drew her slippery bud into his mouth, sucking forcefully until she exploded around him.

While she was still catching her breath, he moved up her body, positioning his cock at her entrance and slowly sheathing himself. Buffy let out a long moan, trying to pull his body down onto hers with her arms while her legs wrapped around his waist to bring him more forcefully into her body.  He still wouldn't rest his weight against her, but he lowered his head to nuzzle against her neck as he began to thrust shallowly within her.

"Please, Angel, harder," she babbled almost incoherently, pulling him against her passion flushed body.

He groaned almost painfully, slowing his motions until he had himself under control again.  Beneath him, his lover whined pitifully, wanting him to pound her into the mattress.  "Humor me, please," he said in a strangled voice.  With another whine, Buffy relented, relaxing as he gently began to move within her again.  The sensations were wonderful, she just wanted him to be more forceful.

As he slid a hand between their bodies to rub his thumb against her clit in time to the strokes of his cock, she forgot about her reservations.  He concentrated on keeping his motions fluid and gentle and as he felt her vaginal muscles flutter around his rigid flesh, signaling her release, he let himself go.  It took every ounce of strength he had not to collapse on top of his mate as his release overtook him.  A few long moments later, trembling, he fell in a heap on his side next to Buffy.

"So what?  You think now that I'm pregnant that I'll break or something," she said, narrowing her sleepy gaze at him.

He sighed dramatically at his lover.  "Buffy, you just told me you're having *my* child.  Would you please forgive me if I don't feel like throwing you against a wall and rutting like animals in celebration?"

Her expression softened and she smiled at him, giggling lightly as he pulled her against his chest.

******
"The Ops Mission has been cancelled?" Riley asked, looking at Professor Walsh for confirmation.

"Yes," she said, a wry smile pulling at her lips.  "Seems there's no need."

"No need?" Riley asked, trying not to sound overly relieved they'd scrapped the plan.

"Apparently Subject 19 did find some male companionship after our last attempt."

"Huh?"

"The Slayer is pregnant, Agent Finn.  Our plan can proceed as scheduled."

Riley was too shocked to say anything.  Buffy was pregnant?  Whose was it?

"There are a few loose ends to tie up," Walsh continued.

"Such as?"

"The paternity of the child.  Our intelligence indicates that the Slayer hasn't started seeing anybody new so it was probably a one time liaison while she was under the influence of the meds.  That will probably make him much harder to track down, but we need to be thorough."

"So do you want me to divert resources to that project?" Riley asked.

"No.  Not yet.  At the moment we still need to focus on Project 314.  It should be fully functional within the month.  There isn't that much of a rush with the Slayer.  It should be early next year before the child is born.  After 314 is up, you may requisition all of the resources you need to complete your investigation."

*****
"I miss you," Buffy said into the phone.

"I miss you too, Baby," came Angel's gruff reply.

"This probably isn't the best time or way to discuss this," Buffy started nervously, "but ... "

"But what?"

"Are we, I mean, impending parenthood and all, are we back together?"

There was silence on the other end of the line for a moment that made Buffy's heart ache.  "I sort of figured that was a given," Angel finally replied.

Buffy sighed heavily, trying to muffle her sniffles as she started crying in relief.

"Are you crying?" he asked in disbelief.

"No," she lied, her voice thick with tears.

"Buffy," he said rather annoyed, "did you honestly think I was going to abandon you and our child?"

"I don't know," she replied honestly, "it's not like you haven't walked away before.

He was silent again.  "I guess I deserved that," he eventually answered.  "I promise, Baby, never again."

*****
"Wow," Buffy said to Riley.  "You look like death warmed over."

She was knee deep in the middle of finals.  She'd run into the Iowa farm boy while exiting the library on a sunny May afternoon.

Riley smiled weakly, the pain causing him to regret his actions. "Thanks," he said softly, bristling slightly at her offhanded comment. No doubt Buffy would have survived the skirmish with only a bruise or two, not the near debilitating injuries he'd suffered.

"Care to share?" Buffy asked, truly curious about what happened to his face.  Riley looked awful, like he'd gone ten rounds with Ali, or a very nasty demon.  She was betting on the demon, but you never could tell with the government.

"It's classified," he responded, avoiding her gaze.

"Oh," she said with a small nod.  "So now that we're not an item anymore I've lost all of my top secret privileges." It wasn't a question.

"Buffy ... " he began.

"No, no," she interrupted, putting her hands up in front of her in a motion to stop him.  "Don't worry about it, it's okay.  I'm sure the fate of the world rests in me not knowing who beat the hell out of you."

Looking around, Riley decided they had a reasonable amount of privacy. He motioned for Buffy to sit on the steps beside him.  When she was settled, Buffy looked at him expectantly.

"Project 314 sort of blew up in our faces," he said in hushed tones.

Eyeing him critically, Buffy said, "You weren't kidding about 'in your faces' were you?"

Giving her a wry smile, Riley continued, "This was a huge setback.  The entire program is being re-orged.  A lot of our funding was suspended. Walsh was wounded fairly seriously, it will take her months to recover. I'm being reassigned, at least for the summer.  Walsh hopes to be back on track by the fall, but who knows."

"So the Initiative is caput?" she asked, trying not to sound overly hopeful.

"For the summer, at least.  Like I said, Walsh hopes to get things up and running again by fall.  But we'll have to wait and see."

"I hope you have a nice summer, Riley," Buffy said truthfully as she rose and headed home.

*****
"Buffy," Angel groaned as he lifted her short skirt, discovering she was wearing nothing beneath it except a tan. Angel paused for a moment to wonder how she managed to get sun there, but he quickly turned to other more important things.

She didn't answer his moan, just grabbed him and pulled him inside one of the mausoleums, throwing him forcefully against the sarcophagus in the middle of the room.  He'd found her on patrol.  It had been weeks since they'd last seen each other and the Slayer wasn't wasting any time on small talk.

"Now," she demanded, pulling insistently at his belt.

He twisted, trying to evade her long enough to get the belt undone. It was expensive Italian leather and he knew if he didn't get it unfastened in a hurry the Slayer was simply going to tear it from his body.  In a few short seconds he had it and the fly of his pants undone.

Buffy growled, yes growled, throwing him on top of the sarcophagus on his back.  In one swift move she pulled his pants down to his knees and dropped herself on his hard cock.  Mewling at the sensation, she began to ride him.  He assisted her, firmly placing his hands on her hips and guiding her along his body.  He bucked up into her forcefully, his eyes rolling back as she clenched her vaginal muscles around his cock.

He'd come to Sunnydale to see her, to hold her and comfort her, but when she jumped him, he decided that all tender emotions aside, he really wanted to fuck her.  Good thing, too, since his continued existence in this world probably depended on his compliance with her wishes.  He'd even wondered for half a second if maybe the Initiative had dosed her again, but then recalled her recent confessions.

Buffy was getting in tune with her sexuality.

For her, sex and sexuality had always been something somewhat tainted, due partly to the way girls were raised, but caused mostly by Angelus' cruel treatment after Angel lost his soul.  Forced to deal with her sexuality as a repercussion of her pregnancy, Buffy was no longer able to ignore her body's needs.  The Slayer had to accept her voracious physical appetites.

Several weeks earlier, she'd admitted to Angel that she masturbated, *a lot*.  He'd been shocked, but not unsupportive, often times now he would talk to her on the phone as she pleasured herself.  He knew it was a poor substitute for his physical presence, but most times it was the best he could do.  And really, there wasn't much to complain about.

But he was here now.  He moved his hands from her hips, sliding them up her chest, under her shirt and bra to gently tweak her sensitive nipples.  Her body bucked at the sensation, pushing more fully into his large hands.  As she began to whimper his name, plaintively begging for more, he moved one hand back down to stroke her clit.  Biting her bottom lips to muffle her cry, Buffy exploded in a flurry of bucks and pants.

Watching his mate reach her pleasure, Angel let himself go.  They had been too long apart and the endless nights of listening to her on the phone had worn away much of his self-control.  Letting out an animalistic growl as he pulled her head down, biting deeply into the tender flesh as
he came deep inside her hot little body.

As they both calmed, he withdrew his fangs, his tongue laving the torn skin gently.  Moving as little as possible, Buffy unbuttoned the top buttons of his shirt, allowing her to rub her face against the bare skin of his chest.

"Good to see you," she greeted him sleepily.

"Same here," Angel echoed.

"How long are you here for?"

"A couple hours.  I had to see you, but I can't stay."

Buffy whined, and Angel wrapped his arms around her tightly.  "We've discussed this, sweetheart.  If I start hanging out in Sunnydale again, someone is bound to notice and the secret will be out.  You think the Initiative wants you pregnant now, just let them find out the baby's father is a vampire and they'll go nuts."

Buffy sighed, she knew he was right, but she couldn't stand the thought of him leaving her in a few short hours.

"Speaking of the secret," she said, "when am I going to tell everyone?"

"How far along are you again?" he asked.

She knew he knew exactly how pregnant she was, probably to the minute, but she humored him.  "Eight weeks."

"You probably need to let them know.  You're so little you're going to start showing soon," he said gently.  His tone of voice told her of his happiness at the thought of her belly swelling with his child.

"Yeah, no problem.  I'll just tell my mom and Giles about how the Initiative gave me all these drugs and I just jumped some guy.  No name, no address, we just got a motel room and now I'm having his love child."

"Do you really think either of them would be any more pleased to find out it's mine?" he asked, a wry smile on his lips.

"I don't know," she retorted, "I mean *yes*, I think that they would prefer it to be yours.  At least that way Buffy doesn't come off looking like the whore of the century."

Angel laughed.  She was laying on his chest, his softening cock still inside her body.  "We wouldn't want *anyone* thinking that," he said sarcastically.

Sitting up she looked at him with a deadly gleam in her eyes.  "Are you insinuating that the mother of your unborn child is a whore?"

He swallowed convulsively.  Oops.  "No," he said forcefully, trying to backpedal his way out of the uncomfortable situation.  "I think it's wonderful that you're sexually liberated.  Given, of course, that the only person you actually have sex with is me."

"And Angelus." She reminded, still a little annoyed.

"Well, yeah, but I guess I can forgive you for that, given the drugs and all."

"How gracious of you," Buffy said caustically before laying back down on his chest.  "Back to my dilemma.  Why again can't I just tell them it's yours?"

"Because the more people who know, the more apt the Initiative is to find out about it."

"So we just sneak around for the next seven months?"

"I don't see any other solution at the moment," he said sadly.  He really did hate having to sneak around, it made things seem sordid - which they weren't.  He loved Buffy.  She loved him.  They were both thrilled about the baby.  It just put a pall on all of it that they couldn't be open about everything.

*****
Buffy was pacing around her dining room table as Joyce and Giles looked on in confusion.

"Buffy," the Watcher said uneasily, "I assume you have a reason for asking us both here?"

"Yes," Buffy said curtly, trying to put off elaborating for as long as possible.

"Well?" Joyce prompted.

Buffy stopped walking.  Now or never.  "I'm pregnant," Buffy said bluntly, her gaze darting back and forth between her parents.  Even if Giles wasn't technically her father, she wouldn't be too surprised if he threatened to take a baseball bat to her impregnator.

Giles mouth opened and closed, but no sound came out.  Joyce wasn't having the same problem, "Pregnant!" she screeched.

******
Looking at her best friend sitting dejectedly at the Bronze, her head pillowed on her arms on one of the high tables, Willow couldn't help but feel sympathetic worry.  "Buffy, it's all going to be okay," she reassured, doing her best to offer comfort.

The Slayer didn't look up.  "Giles and my mother think I'm a whore," she said succinctly.

"They do not, Buffy!" Willow admonished.  "You told them what the Initiative did.  They understand why it happened and they know it's not your fault."

"Yeah," her friend answered, finally looking up with a small laugh, "not my fault, but I am the one who's pregnant."

"Well, yes," the witch admitted, "there is that."

"But the Initiative is really responsible, right?" Xander asked.

"Yes," Buffy and Willow said in unison.

"And they're shut down for the summer which means we have to wait until fall to beat them all to bloody pulps," he said with a devious smile.

"I don't know about bloody pulps," Buffy mourned.  "I'm already starting to show.  By the time school starts again I'm going to be a whale.  I don't know if I'll be able to see my feet, let alone beat anything up."

"Well," Xander said, brightening, "it's not like we have to wait until fall to beat something up.  I'm all for finding the guy who got Buffy in this mess and goin' to town on him."

"Why?" Buffy asked dryly, "it's not like he raped me, Xander.  Remember, Buffy The Big Whore over here."

"Please!  If you were actually as doped out of your mind as you say, how could he take advantage of you like that?  It wasn't right.  I say we find him."

"Xander," Buffy pled.  "It may have been questionable behavior, but not illegal.  I was consenting.  Try saying no to a determined Slayer, not pretty.  Besides, I wouldn't even know where to look.  I have no idea who he was."

"So," Anya chimed in, "your child won't have a father?"

Buffy looked at Willow and Xander uncomfortably.  "Well, no."

"But if you could find him," Anya persisted, "would you?"

"What do you mean?" Buffy asked, confused.

"What I mean is that if you were as demanding as you say, and he had to go along with it for fear of bodily harm, would you expect him to be responsible for the baby?  I'm all for punishing men who have wronged women, but it sounds like this guy was pretty innocent. It's not like you two were in a relationship or anything?"

"I don't know?" Buffy answered honestly.

"Shouldn't a decision to have a child be consensual?  If he wasn't given a chance to consent, then why would you expect him to act like a father?  Who knows if this guy even wanted kids.  You've taken the choice away from him.  You would be forcing him into something."

"Anya!" Willow and Xander said in unison.  Buffy just sat there, staring sadly into her drink.

*****
Angel found her swinging listlessly in the deserted park.  Her head was drooped and she looked miserable.  Without a word he scooped her up into his protective embrace, carrying her back to her house.  She didn't say a word the entire walk home, laying unresponsively against his chest.

Armed with her house key, Angel opened the door and quickly ascended the stairs to her room.  Joyce was out of town for the weekend and he had anticipated taking every advantage of that fact.  Studying Buffy's somber countenance, he wondered if he'd be taking advantage of anything.

"Love?" he finally queried after laying her on the bed and changing her out of her patrol gear and into her "comfy clothes".

Responding to him for the first time that evening, she gently urged him down on the bed next to her so they were laying on their sides, face to face.

"Do you want this?" she asked timidly.

"Want what?  To be here this weekend?" he asked, confused.

"No," she clarified, sighing in frustration.  "*This*, all of this.  Me, the baby, everything."

Angel had no idea what had happened to set her off, but it was obviously something serious.  Holding her tightly against his body, but never breaking eye contact with her, he quietly said,.  "Yes, you know I want this."

Buffy closed her eyes, trying to voice her concerns more thoroughly.  "I know we never discussed this, it just sort of got *dumped* on you, without a choice.  I don't want you to feel ... obligated to me," she said lamely.

"Obligated?" he asked in shock.  "You don't think I should feel *obligated* to the mother of my only child?  That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!  Of course I'm obligated to you, you're giving me the most precious gift in the world.  Do you really want me to just throw that in your face like some idiot boy incapable of appreciating the wonder of creation?  I'm not a boy, Buffy.  I can handle the responsibility."

“Angel,” Buffy started gently only to be ignored completely.

“Obligated,” he muttered.  “You’re just going to go through being pregnant, morning sickness, stretch marks, weight gain, swollen feet, back pain, breast feeding, dirty diapers, toilet training, driver’s ed and I’m not supposed to feel like I owe you anything?”

Buffy smiled at his vehemence when he finally stopped.  He met her smile with a grouchy expression.

"I wasn't insinuating that I thought you weren't ready," she clarified, trying to pacify his rising temper.  "I only want to make sure that you don't feel trapped."

He softened and smiled down at her, kissing her tenderly on the tip of her nose.  "You can trap me anytime you want, Summers," he said with a wink.  "I promise not to gnaw off any body parts to get away from you."

"Good," she said with a mischievous glint in her eye, "I'm rather fond of your body parts."

*****
By the time school started again in early September, Buffy was feeling the effects of her pregnancy.  At just over five months along, her protruding belly announced to the world that she would soon be a mother.

She managed to get through an entire day of classes without running into Riley, but as she was heading across the quad to meet Willow, she heard him call her name.

"Buffy," he said panting as he jogged up to her.

As she turned to face him, his gaze instantly fell on what Angel lovingly referred to as her "Buddha belly".

"Wow," was all he could say.

"Yeah," she said mockingly, "wow."

"Uh... I guess you must have a new guy in your life," Riley finally spat out.  Of course he'd known about her pregnancy, but he was still unprepared for the physical evidence of it.

"Why do you say that?" Buffy asked, completely deadpan.

"Well ... uh ... you," he blustered, "last time I heard it took two people for that to happen."

Buffy tried not to smile.  She really didn't mean to torture him, but she wasn't about to 'fess up to her relationship with Angel to a member of the Initiative.

"I really," she started, then changed her mind and stopped, "I don't have time right now.  I'm supposed to meet Willow."

"Sure," Riley said in a good natured tone, "I don't mean to hold you up.  Maybe we could go for an ice cream cone and pickles sometime."  He didn't want to prolong the awkward conversation any more than he had to, but it was still his mission to discover the child's paternity.

"Okay, yeah, sometime," Buffy said vaguely.

"Thursday night?" Riley asked hopefully.

Buffy wanted to get away, and figured saying yes was the best way to get rid of him. "Sure, Thursday.  I'll call you."

*****
"So the Slayer doesn't know who the father is?" Walsh asked as she debriefed Riley after his outing with Buffy.

"According to her it was just some guy she met in a bar, and that tidbit of information took me hours to get."

"After escaping our troops she must have found someone."

"That's my guess," Riley concurred.  "She seemed pretty ashamed about the whole thing, kept saying she didn't know what got into her."

"That would make sense," Walsh agreed.

"She doesn't know who this guy is, how are we supposed to find him?" Riley asked his superior.

"I don't suppose we can, Agent Finn," Walsh answered.  "We'll just have to go on the assumption that he was your average able bodied human male."

Riley sighed in relief, maybe he could quit having such a vested interest in Buffy's sex life.  It was creeping him out.  She was going to be someone's mother, he felt like he should be more respectful.

*****
Gently, Angel helped Buffy lay down on the sofa in his new suite at the Hyperion.  His employees were off celebrating the holiday with their friends and families.  Buffy had come to town the previous evening and after a short stop by her father's house, she'd spent the rest of her time with Angel.  For someone who didn't eat, he was a pretty good cook.

"That was so much better than last Thanksgiving," Buffy said, rubbing her full stomach, and wincing slightly as the baby gave a sharp kick.

Noticing her discomfort, Angel quickly asked, "Are you all right?"

She smiled, nodding sleepily.  "Fine.  Just junior here kicking me in my very stuffed stomach."

Angel smiled, kneeling next to the couch, rubbing his mate's stomach tenderly.  The baby was awake and very active.  At times like this, he couldn't wait to be a father.  "You sure it's going to be another month?" he asked.

"You've read the same books I have and talked to the same doctors.  They all say thirty-six to forty weeks and you know that puts us anywhere between the second week of December and the first week of January.  I may look like I'm about to explode, but we've still got a little while."

"We probably need to pick out a name," he noted.

Buffy frowned, they'd been trying to decide for weeks.  They were completely unable to reach a consensus.  The process was only made more difficult by the fact that they decided to let the baby's gender be a surprise, so they needed two names.

Chewing on her bottom lip, she said, "I have an idea."

Looking at her expectantly, Angel asked, "What?"

"I say we let Willow choose."

Angel thought about it for a moment.  Out of all their friends, Willow was definitely the only one he would consider trusting with this responsibility.

"Okay," he finally agreed.

"You're serious?"

"Yes.  Weren't you?"

"Yeah, I just never thought you'd go for it."

******
"Hi Buffy," Willow said cheerily into the phone.  "Happy Thanksgiving to you too, although you know I don't celebrate the holiday."

As Xander and Anya stared, Willow's normally pale skin blanched even whiter.  "You want *me* to name the baby?" she squeaked into the receiver.

"This is such a *huge* responsibility!" she exclaimed, talking a mile a minute.  "What if I mess up?  I could scar this child for life.  I could pick the wrong name and he or she will get beat up on the playground.  I don't think I can do this."

As Buffy obviously did her best to calm Willow, the witch sunk into an oversized chair.  After she hung up the phone, she looked at her guests.

"Buffy wants *me* to name the baby."

*****
Buffy laid out on the relatively new king size bed in Angel's room. He'd bought it after discovering Buffy was pregnant, deciding they would need the extra space.  He talked Buffy into coming to L.A. as often as possible so they could be together.

When he'd first found out Buffy was pregnant, he'd thought they could juggle their two lives, but some part of him knew that once his child was born he wouldn't be able to be separated from either of them, even for a day.  He hadn't said anything to Buffy yet, but he'd decided that once the baby arrived they would have to work out a way for them to live together, either in L.A. or Sunnydale.

Turning onto his side, he looked at his mate's nude body as she lounged unashamedly in the fluffy covers.  When her pregnancy first became apparent, Buffy had been terrified Angel would be disgusted by her quickly distorting body.  As it turned out, she had no worries.  While he was undeniably hyper-aware of the changes in her, he wasn't turned off by it, just the opposite.  Her swelling belly and breasts only seemed to turn him on more.  He was always watching her with this enraptured and hungry expression on his face.  Armed with that type of positive feedback, she was often unclothed when they were alone together. She enjoyed the freedom from binding material and the appreciative glances from her mate.

"I thought this vacation would never get here," Buffy said, enjoying just being near her mate.

"Me too," Angel seconded, incredibly thankful none of his employees had stuck around to keep him company.

"Are you ... wanting to go to sleep?" he asked meekly, hoping she wasn't.

Buffy giggled.  "Why?  What do you have in mind?"

Smiling wolfishly, he quickly rose from the bed, shedding his clothes.  Despite their new level of intimacy, Buffy couldn't help but suck in her breath sharply at the sight of his nude, pale, *very* aroused form. She still found it hard to believe her swollen body had such an affect on him.

Acting on autopilot, she rolled over onto her knees and elbows, resting her head on the bed as she spread her legs in blatant invitation.  Angel knew she was ready for him and he hadn't even touched her.  As her pregnancy progressed she became more and more responsive to him.  A well timed glance, a gentle touch, and her panties were soaked with her need for his flesh against hers.

Kneeling between her spread thighs, he gently nudged the head of his cock against her dripping opening.  He wanted to tease her, to make her beg, but he knew from experience that it was not wise to make a hormonally unbalanced Slayer wait.  As carefully as he could, he thrust into her welcoming flesh, hissing as her heat engulfed him.  He did not sheath himself to the root, too afraid of jostling the child she carried.

Leaning forward, he blanketed her searing hot back with his cool chest, placing gentle nips along her shoulders and neck as he thrust shallowly in her decadently wet channel.  When she began to whimper, he reached one hand around her protruding belly and gently but firmly stroked her sensitive clit.  Now she hissed, clamping down her vaginal muscles tightly on him as she thrust against both his hand and his cock.

"Please, Baby," she whined, arching her neck against his lips in invitation. He didn't know why she liked this so much, but it was undeniable that she took great pleasure in it.  Bending his head down, he lapped wetly at the raised skin of his scar on her neck.  He never took much, it was the mere act of biting her, claiming her that held the pleasure for both of them.

As he felt her near her peak, he vamped out, fangs gently breaking through the skin on her neck.  She screamed loudly in release, pushing back powerfully against him until he was completely sheathed, her vaginal muscles milking him spasmodically.

Angel groaned loudly as he reached his own climax, sheer force of will the only thing keeping him from pounding into her welcoming flesh as hard as physically possible.  As they both calmed, they sunk onto the bed.  Angel carefully wrapped his mate in the warm comforter, pressing himself against her back as she fell asleep.  He didn't want to miss a moment of their precious  time together.  All too soon his love would have to go back to her life in Sunnydale, leaving him  with an empty bed and loneliness.

****
Angel was distracted, in a hurry to reach Buffy's house.  Joyce was gone for the evening and he really wanted to spend time with his mate, this would probably be the last chance they got before the baby was born.  Buffy was due in a week or two.

He was so busy trying to figure out how best to tell Buffy of his plans for them to be together, forever this time, that he didn't hear the soldiers until it was too late.

****
"You're *sure* you haven't heard from him?" Buffy asked Wesley for the tenth time, trying desperately not to break into tears again.

Angel was missing.

He was supposed to be at her house no later than nine and he just hadn't shown.  It wasn't his style, especially with the baby's due date so close.  She knew something terrible had happened to him.

"I'm sure it's nothing," Wesley lied, trying to reassure the nearly hysterical Slayer.  "We'll find him.  Don't worry."

Seconds after he hung up the phone, Wesley heard a loud thump.  Faith came hurtling over the counter, fumbling for Cordelia's painkillers.

"Angel's in trouble.  We've got to get to Sunnydale," the brunette Slayer said frantically.

****
"Most interesting specimen," Walsh almost purred, "Hostile 85 is so much more ... resilient than the others."

Riley gave a sharp nod of agreement.  This particular vamp was quickly redefining most of their long held "knowledge" of his species.  They theorized he was much older than the other HST's they'd captured, but they couldn't prove anything.  There was nothing about him that would allow them to date him with any degree of accuracy.

His teeth were perfect, no signs of any dental work at all.  He didn't have any noteworthy scars that would help them out - not even a smallpox vaccine scar - which could mean a multitude of things.  Possibly he was turned before smallpox vaccines were available, but then again, maybe he slipped through the cracks and didn't get one.  The tattoo on his shoulder blade and his jewelry leaned towards the Celtic, but whether he was actually from Ireland or whether he had been an Anglophile American was indeterminate.  His clothing was of no help, all of it was modern.  A lot of the vamps they brought in were helplessly stuck in the time period they died in, no such luck with this one.  To top it all off, he wasn't speaking.

Vampires on the whole were legends in their own minds.  They loved to stroke their own egos.  This one - not a peep.  Not only was he not bragging about his conquests, he wasn't speaking at all.  A battery of physical tests showed that there was no injuries that would impair his ability to speak, he just didn't seem to want to.

Exceedingly odd.

Setting him apart from every other specimen to ever pass through the Initiative was his indifference.  They couldn't goad him.  He didn't respond to taunts, physical pain or hunger.  He simply ignored his captors with a grace more akin to a Buddhist monk than the walking dead.

Maggie Walsh carefully studied the dark haired vampire.  He was sitting in the middle of his cell in the lotus position with his eyes closed.  He was barefoot and barechested, clothed in only a pair of black slacks.

"Is he meditating?" she asked rather incredulously.

"It would appear that way, Ma'am," Riley responded.

"How long have we had him?" she asked, leafing through his chart.

"Eight days."

"And he hasn't responded to any of our ... techniques?"

"Not one."

Listening intently, Angel's expression remained completely neutral. Part of him wanted to smirk very badly.  They were bumbling novices. Dru's lovetaps were far more vicious than any of their "physical threshold tests".  If need be, he could wait them out indefinitely, but he was quickly tiring of captivity.

He didn't have the luxury of showing them just who they were dealing with.  He needed to be outside, he needed to be taking care of Buffy. With him incarcerated, and her semi-immobile state, she would be easy prey for a multitude of predators.

At this point, he couldn't do anything besides wait.  Eventually they would become complacent with his passive resistance and they would let their guard down - and he would escape.  He wasn't sure how.  The only time they ever opened his cell was to run tests on him.  They were therefore very attuned to his movements at those times.  The room he was in was ringed with cells, most of them filled to overcrowding with a wide variety of demons.  He was the only creature to be housed by himself.

"Agent Finn, I believe it is time we take another approach," Walsh said, a smile curling the edges of her mouth.

"Ma'am?"

"You'll see," she said cryptically, taking Hostile 85's chart with her as she left the room.

******
"Buffy, you need to rest," Giles pled.

Looking at him with bloodshot eyes, Buffy did not respond.  She didn't need to, he knew she wasn't going to sleep.

Taking his glasses off and rubbing the bridge of his nose, Giles continued, "You aren't going to do Angel any good if you put your health and the health of your child in jeopardy."  When she ignored him again, he added, "Do you really think he would want this?"

The Watcher immediately regretted his too harsh comment when his Slayer buried her face in her hands, and surrendered to a wave of violent sobs.

"Oh Buffy, I'm so sorry ... I didn't mean to," he said, wrapping his arms around her, trying to comfort her.

She latched onto him desperately, squeezing a bit too hard, but he didn't complain.  "Giles, I'm so scared.  You saw what they did to Spike.  I *know* they're hurting him," she choked between sobs.

"Buffy, we can't even be certain that the Initiative is responsible."

Pulling back so she could look in his eyes, Buffy frowned.  "You know they're behind this!  Cordy saw him being attacked by soldiers in her vision."

Giles looked away sheepishly.  He'd been trying to make her feel better, But The truth was he knew as well as she did that the Initiative was behind Angel's disappearance.  He knew that Buffy still cared for her former boyfriend, but he was attributing the strength of her distress to hormones.  As far as he knew, Buffy and Angel hadn't even spoken in over a year.

"The others are coming back this evening.  Hopefully with Faith and Spike both here this time, we can find some answers," the Watcher said.

Buffy nodded sadly.  Due to Wolfram & Hart's machinations, it had been impossible to get more than one or two of the L.A. bunch to Sunnydale at a time since Angel's disappearance.  With a bit of luck, Angel Investigations, together with the Scooby gang, would be able to come up with some answers.  And a little extra supernatural muscle around never hurt.

*****
Angel didn't fight them as they pulled him roughly from his cell and strapped him face down on a gurney.  This would undoubtedly lead to another round of decidedly boring torture.  He was shocked, however, when they didn't wheel him into the adjoining room they'd previously used for their "experiments".  Instead, they left him in the center of the room, right where they'd strapped him down.

He knew without turning his head, the moment that Walsh entered the room.  A loud outburst of profanity and growls from the creatures in the other cells always accompanied her arrival.  Only centuries of practiced self control kept him from flinching as she swabbed the back of his neck with a cold alcohol laden cloth.  What was going on?  He felt an intense burning sensation as Walsh injected something into his spinal column. Angel shuddered involuntarily as the large needle scraped his vertebrae.

"Well, well," she said smugly, "we finally get a response of some kind."

Angel lay still again, unwilling to rise to the bait.  Walsh sighed loudly in disappointment.

"So far you've been unresponsive to everything we've tried, so now we're going to experiment with drugs.  It should be interesting to see how long you can remain impassive while under the influence."

*****
"B, this isn't a good idea," Faith almost whined as she watched her sister Slayer struggle to pull a jacket around her distended stomach.

"I'm going," Buffy responded firmly.

Spike shook his head.  They were heading to campus to try and sneak into Initiative headquarters.  Buffy's presence would not help, in fact it would probably hinder them severely.  She had a lot of trouble moving with the extra weight pregnancy had brought, and her exhaustion only made it worse.

"Slayer, you aren't going to improve the situation by getting yourself caught too," Spike said bluntly.

"I'm not asking for your permission!" she spat at him.

"You damn well should be!" he shot back.  "I don't know how you think you're going to be able to help.  Angel hasn't even spoken to you in a year.  Why are you so hell bent on risking your life for the prick?"

Scowling, Buffy didn't answer.  Ignoring the room full of protests, she stomped out the door.

******
As his back slammed into the cold tiled wall, Angelus came fully awake. Reaching a hand up, he cautiously felt around the puncture wound on the back of his neck.  He didn't know what the bitch had given him, but he might just give her a quick death as a reward for setting him free.

Angel had been content to sit here and play possum for a week.  Pussy. He was going to find a way out tonight.  Time was too short to spend it locked in a cage, especially when his mate was looking for him.  He could feel her calling to him.

******
Struggling to keep up with her sister Slayer and Spike, Buffy finally realized that maybe she shouldn't be doing this.  She was beyond tired, not to mention severely winded from the short, brisk walk.  If they ran into any real trouble, she would only be a liability.  She wanted to weep with frustration.  Angel was in the Initiative compound somewhere, probably being tortured, and she was absolutely unable to help him. Buffy stopped, waiting for her companions to realize her absence.  When they did, they turned, and began walking back to her.

"Problem, Princess?" Spike sneered.

Swallowing, Buffy said, "You should probably go on without me."

"You just figured this out now?" Spike yelled in frustration, earning himself a sharp cuff to the ear from Faith.

"We'll walk you back, B," Faith said quietly.

"No," Buffy replied guiltily.  "It's okay, I can make it home from here.  Just find him. Hurry."

Faith nodded and then quickly turned, dragging Spike behind her as she sprinted for campus.

*****

"Any change with Hostile 85?" Walsh asked Riley as he entered her office.

"Yes," he said, much to her surprise.

Walsh looked up, raising her eyebrows.  "How is he?"

"Severely agitated," Riley replied.

Walsh's brow furrowed.  "Agitated?  The drugs should have calmed him down, relaxed him.  What do you mean agitated?"

"He's pacing his cell like a caged tiger, fangs and all."

******

Buffy was so wrapped up in her own thoughts she didn't even hear the vamp approach.  He'd knocked her to the ground and managed to sink his teeth into the side of her neck before what was happening even registered.  She struggled against him, but he had her pinned securely. As she began to lose consciousness from blood loss, she heard people approaching.

She was dimly aware of someone ripping the creature off of her as her world went black.

*******
Walsh stood several feet in front of the cell that held the agitated vampire.  He was staring at her through the glass, his body perfectly rigid, not even blinking.  She couldn't figure out why Doximall should have had such an effect on him.  All previous research stated that it should have a similar effect on vamps as it did on humans.  It should have mellowed his demeanor, especially considering the amount and purity of the drug she had administered.  Maybe she shouldn't have been so cavalier about the injection, it could take a day or two for the compound to work itself out of his system, less if he fed, but she didn't intend for that to happen.

He was definitely not mellow.

She turned her head abruptly as Graham entered the room holding a struggling garden variety vampire he'd obviously captured on a recent sweep.  "Where should I put him?" he asked Walsh, surveying the rows of overcrowded cells.

"Put him in with this one," Walsh responded, pointing towards the cell that held Angelus.

Graham responded without comment, quickly thrusting the HST into the cell that held Walsh's newest pet.  The dark vampire didn't respond to his cellmate ... at first.

Angelus debated about trying to make a break for it when they opened the cell to throw the idiot fledgling in with him, but decided it would be too risky.  The odds of getting away weren't good and anything he did would simply tip his hand.  He had no intention of letting them know what exactly he was capable of until it was absolutely necessary.  He took a deep breath as he continued to stare at the blonde bitch in the lab coat.

An involuntary possessive growl erupted from his throat as the scent of blood hit him.

Walsh jumped, startled by the menacing sound coming from Hostile 85. She watched as he spun in the cell, staring down at the HST crumpled in the corner.  The creature whimpered in fear, trying to crawl farther into the corner as Angelus approached.  He was a fledgling, but he knew enough to recognize and fear his elders.  He could feel the power and rage pouring off of the Master's form.

"Agent Miller," Walsh asked, not taking her eyes off of the holding cell, "where did you find this HST?"

"Campus, Ma'am.  He was attacking a woman."

"Where is she now?" Walsh prompted.

"We brought her in.  It was Subject 19, Ma'am," Graham said, then stared in stunned silence as Angelus approached his prey.

"You. Fed. On. Her." Angelus hissed through his fangs.

The fledgling looked up, confusion clear in his features.  It occurred to Angelus that the idiot was probably so young he didn't have any idea what he'd done.  Just some random victim.  He didn't know he'd just attacked and fed from a Slayer - and one that was marked as well.  Such a trespass would *not* be forgiven.

"Is she alive?" he growled, his eyes glowing a vibrant yellow.

The fledgling looked at him in bewilderment.  "Master?" he asked, helplessly trying to placate the enraged vampire above him.

Angelus brought his foot down swiftly, the force of the blow pulverizing the bones in the fledgling's ankle.  "Answer me!" he spat.  "Is she still alive?"

The fledgling screamed in pain, unable to answer the question.  "She who, Master?  I don't know what you're talking about."

"The girl.  The one you fed on, you idiot.  The Slayer!  My mate!"

"Y-Y-Yes," he stuttered out, "she's still alive.  They brought her in with me."

Angelus grabbed him off the floor, pulling him up until they were nose to nose.  "She is marked," he hissed.  "She is mine."  He didn't wait to see if the fledgling offered groveling apologies, he simply sank his fangs into the flesh of his throat, draining him until the body burst into ash.  The little shit had taken a considerable amount of blood from Buffy, it was still strong.  Angelus had to find her.

Walsh watched in fascinated horror at the events playing out before her.  The previously impassive Hostile 85 was turning out to be even more intriguing than she'd originally dared to hope.  Without a word, she left the room, pointedly ignoring Angelus' hawklike stare.

******

Buffy was still unconscious, but she would recover well enough.  The transfusion of blood had been administered immediately and she could wake up at any time.  Carefully, Walsh examined her neck, her touch lingering on the raised flesh of the scar.

"Marked," Walsh mused.

"Ma'am?" Riley asked, uncertain about what his commanding officer was doing.

He studied Buffy carefully.  She looked awful, her pallor was still pronounced despite the transfusion and there were several huge bruises visible where she had been attacked.  He looked on in confusion as Walsh studied the opposite side of her neck.

"Hostile 85 just killed the HST that attacked Miss Summers.  Before draining him dry, he told the creature that she was the Slayer, and that she was his."

Riley's mouth gaped.  Buffy "belonged" to that creature.  "Do you believe him?" Riley finally managed to spit out.

"I would not have been inclined to, no, but this scar seems to be proof enough."

Riley looked at the scar.  He'd asked Buffy about it when they'd been dating, she'd been very reluctant to discuss it.  She'd given him some lame excuse about an "angry puppy".  He hadn't believed her, he'd insisted it was a vamp bite but she refused to divulge anymore information.

Staring in disbelief, Riley watched as Walsh carefully restrained Buffy's limbs.  When she was secure, Walsh reached for a large syringe. He had to turn away as the professor took a sample of amniotic fluid from the unconscious Slayer.

"What are you doing?" Riley finally asked.

"Just ruling out a few possibilities."

******
Buffy woke slowly, her head pounding and her entire body achy.  The first thing she noticed was Riley sitting in a nearby chair, watching her carefully.   Trying to sit up, she quickly discovered she was in restraints.  She didn't have the energy or the impetus to try and free herself.

"What are you going to do with me?" she asked, unable to look at him.

"I don't know what Walsh has planned," he admitted, sounding rather ashamed.

"Am I all right?" she asked, terrified of the answer.

"As far as I know, yes.  We had to give you a transfusion, you were attacked by a HST.  We did a sonogram and your baby seems to be fine."

Buffy sighed in relief.  Her baby was all right.  She could worry about getting out of here later.

******
Walsh studied the results in disbelief.

How could this be possible?  She'd only run the test on a hunch, almost convinced it would be fruitless.

******
Riley stood as Walsh entered the small room Buffy was being kept in.  He was hoping she would release the Slayer, but he doubted that was a possibility.

"Is there anything you would like to share with us, Miss Summers?" Walsh asked, smiling with fake cheer.

"Like what?" Buffy snarked at her.

"Like how exactly the father of your unborn child is a vampire."

Buffy snorted.  She'd been waiting for this.  She knew they had Angel, no doubt they'd run batteries of tests on him.  She was sure they'd done the same to her while she'd been unconscious.  Riley had admitted to the sonogram, but she knew they'd done more.

"What?" Riley screeched, when Buffy didn't deny the accusation.

"Miss Summers," Walsh prompted.

Glaring at her, Buffy said in the most biting tone of voice she could muster, "I'm sure you *never* get laid, Professor Walsh, but I really doubt you're so naive you don't know *how* I got pregnant."

Riley was trying to make sense of the conversation and the implications it hinted at.  "So you were involved with him *before*, right?"

"Before what?" Buffy asked.

"Before he was a vampire," Riley said, exasperated.

Walsh stared at the boy.  He could be so dense sometimes.  "Do you honestly think that creature has been a vampire for less than nine months?" Walsh asked him.

Riley seemed to consider this and reached a conclusion he wasn't happy with.  Exhaling a heavy sigh, he sat back down in the chair.

"Is he all right?" Buffy asked, not meeting Walsh's gaze.  She didn't want to appear weak in front of the professor, but she was so terrified for Angel.

"He's very angry.  He killed the HST that attacked you and is presently trying to claw his way out of the holding cell to get to you," Walsh said calmly.

Buffy didn't appear shocked by the revelation.  Walsh had been sure the lonely young girl had been seduced by the nefarious creature in the holding cell, possibly under what was sometimes referred to as "thrall".  But, judging by her reactions, Buffy didn't appear to be under any outside influences, and she wasn't shocked by Walsh's revelations.  That in itself led somewhere unexpected, a Slayer involved with a vampire.

"How long have you been with him?" Walsh asked.

Glaring at her once again, Buffy spat, "That's none of your goddamn business."

The outburst only served to amuse Walsh.  "I think you should cooperate if you want any chance of getting out of this, Miss Summers.  How long have you been involved with him physically?"

"Four years."

Walsh could almost hear Riley's jaw hit the floor, but he didn't say anything.

"And has he been a vampire as long as you have known him?" Walsh continued.

"He was a vampire before this country was founded," Buffy said without inflection.

Walsh raised an eyebrow.  No wonder he passed their tests with flying colors.  He was centuries older than any subject they had ever studied before.

"You have continued this relationship willingly?" Walsh asked.

"Yes."

"The scar on your neck is from him?"

"Yes."

"He has fed from you?"

"Yes."

"He knows the child you carry is his?"

Buffy stared at Walsh for a long moment before answering, "Of course he knows."

Walsh narrowed her eyes at the duplicitous young woman.  "Have *you* always known that the child was his?"

"Yes."

"So your explanation for the baby's father to Agent Finn was a lie?"

"Yes."

"How could you be so certain the child was his?"

Buffy looked at the older woman, seething with irritation.  "He is the only man I've ever been intimate with."

"He's not a man."

Buffy smiled, "So you say."

******

Riley was still in shock.  Buffy was pregnant by that ... that ... thing.  It wasn't a *man*, it was an animal, a creature of the night that subsisted on blood.  How could she?  And she didn't even have the decency to be ashamed.  She hadn't wanted to talk to Walsh about it, not because she regretted her actions, but because thought it was none of Walsh's business.

He looked at the creature pacing in the holding cell again.  His demonic visage was still plainly visible, exactly as it had been since Walsh had administered the Doximall.  Buffy had *sex* with that thing.  The idea made Riley's skin crawl.

****

"How do you know he's not going to hurt her?" Riley asked.

"I don't," Walsh replied blandly.

"But you're willing to risk it?  To risk the life of her child?"

"Agent Finn, we aren't going to get an opportunity like this again, we have to take advantage of it."

"But I thought this baby was the whole point of this exercise.  If he hurts her and the child we'll lose everything."

"We'll make sure he doesn't cause her any harm, Agent Finn."

Riley was getting more disgusted by the minute.  Walsh wanted to observe the interaction between Buffy and that animal.  She wanted to find out just what kind of relationship they had.  Riley doubted it would be pretty.  On numerous occasions he'd observed male vampires with their supplicant bitches.  The relationships were often vicious and brutal. He had no desire to see the very pregnant Slayer knocked around by her vampire lover.  She was in no condition to defend herself.

"How can you be so sure?"  Riley asked.

"I can't, but since I'm in charge, not you, we're going to do this.."

"We have years of research that points to the stupidity of this experiment.  Vampires are not reasonable creatures, they're beasts."

"We'll see, Agent Finn," Walsh said, curtly dismissing him.

*******

Angelus watched as they brought Buffy into the room, he pressed himself against the glass of his cell, growling loudly.  She looked horrible, bruised and weary, barely able to stand.  Someone was going to die for this.

"Back away from the cell door," Walsh commanded.

Angelus stared at her in disbelief.  They were going to put Buffy in with him?  He'd assumed they would torture her while he watched or something equally sadistic.  These people had a lot to learn about how to break wills.  Slowly he backed away from the glass.

"Against the far wall," the bitch commanded again.  "Turn around and put your forehead against the tile."

He did as she ordered, his senses going into overload the second they shoved Buffy into the cell with him.  Twisting, he caught her before she collapsed to the floor.  She started crying violently, rubbing her face against the smooth planes of his bare chest.  He held her tenderly, slowly sinking to the floor with her in his lap, his arms wrapped around her protectively.  He made low shooshing noises to her as he rocked her gently against his body.

Both Walsh and Riley watched in awe as the demon's ridged facial features disappeared, replaced by his human countenance.  He stroked her hair lovingly, peppering tiny kisses over her face until she calmed.

The captors quietly left the room to monitor the situation from the video system.  They wouldn't have audio, but their departure would encourage the subjects to interact more naturally.

"Are you okay?" she asked, her voice still thick from crying.

He smiled, "I'm fine, Lover.  Are you okay?"

Buffy nodded her assent, smiling as he put his palm against her protruding belly.  "Is the baby okay?" he asked anxiously.

Buffy nodded again, resting her head against his shoulder as she watched his hand caress her large stomach.  "They gave you something, didn't they?" she asked quietly.

Angelus looked at her intently.  "Why do you say that?"

"I'm not whacked out on meds this time," she said.  "I *can* tell the difference between you two, ya know."

He stiffened slightly.  She knew it was him and not Angel.  In bewilderment, he watched her place her little hand over his where it rested on her belly.

"Why are *you* worried about the baby?" she asked in a tiny, confused voice.

"Because it's mine," he answered brashly.

She narrowed her gaze at him.  "It's Angel's," she corrected.

"Mine," he said flatly.

She huffed at him, "Why do you say that?"

"Because I was the one who had sex with you."

Briefly sticking out her tongue, she replied, "Angel and I had sex too."

He frowned, and then shot back with, "Well, I was first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and *sixth*."

"So?  Angel was seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth -"

He cut her off, asking, "Can you prove it's his and not mine?"

Buffy didn't answer.

"There you go.  It's mine," he said with finality.

She sighed in exasperation.  "Why do you even *want* a baby?  You're a vampire."

"Because," he explained very seriously, "you are my mate and if you're having a little bastard it better damn well be *mine*."

She flinched and then smacked the back of her hand against his chest. "Don't say that!"

"Say what?"

"Don't call the baby a bastard."

He smiled at her obvious discomfort.  "You don't have anything to worry about.  I didn't mean it the way you took it."

Buffy frowned at his strange response.  She was indeed aware that her child would be considered illegitimate, but in this day and age what did it really matter.  She just hated the term "bastard", it implied some level of sordidness she just didn't believe existed between Angel and herself.

When her frown didn't dissipate, Angelus asked, "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," she replied tersely, not looking at him.  She didn't move away from him physically but he could feel her withdraw.

"What's wrong?" he asked again, this time more forcefully.

She looked up at him, chewing on her bottom lip.  "Nothing ... I just ... I mean I understand if he doesn't ... " she trailed off.

Angelus was getting more confused by the second.  "If who doesn't what?"

"If Angel doesn't want to marry me," she blurted out before she lost the nerve.

He stared at her incredulously.  "What *are* you talking about?"

"About the baby being a bastard," she replied quietly.  "I mean I didn't expect Angel to marry me just because we're having a kid.  Lots of people have kids without being married."

His look of utter disbelief didn't leave.  After a few long moments he seemed to come back to himself.  Reaching down he grabbed her tiny hand and held it up.

"Do you have any idea what this means?"  he asked, pointing to her ring.

"Sure," she said, "it's a Claddagh.  It means my heart belongs to someone."

"It's a wedding ring," he said forcefully.  "You and the pansy have been married since your seventeenth birthday.  This baby is *not* a bastard."

Buffy blinked a few times, her gaze flickering between the ring and his face.  He wasn't kidding, she could feel how serious he was about this. Married.  She was married, and had been for years.

"Why didn't he tell me?" she spat out.

"Because he's a total fucking spineless moron," Angelus answered honestly.

Buffy glared at him.  She was rather upset with his alter ego at the moment, but she didn't need Angelus berating him.

"How long before the drugs wear off?" she asked.

"Why?  You wanna do something?" he asked, cocking an eyebrow seductively at her.

"Sure," she replied caustically.  "You have no idea how absolutely sexy I'm feeling right now."

She gasped as he bent his head to root for a nipple through the fabric of her shirt and bra.  Grabbing his head, she pushed him away forcefully.  "I was *kidding*!"

As she glared at him, she realized he was laughing at her.  "I know," he replied.

As she yawned, he laid down completely on the floor, pulling her against his side, allowing her to pillow her head on his chest.  "Sleep, Little One," he ordered, placing a gentle kiss on the top of her head.

*****
"Not exactly a text book example," Walsh noted, watching the couple sleep.  They had shifted as they slumbered and hulking male was curled tightly around the little Slayer's back, spooning her, protecting her.

"Is this what you were expecting?" Riley ventured cautiously.

"I'm not sure if I was expecting it," she mused, "but I'm not shocked. I wouldn't believe someone of Miss Summer's strength of character to be involved in an abusive relationship with a domineering male."

Riley shook his head, he supposed she was right.  Buffy had too much fire to bend to anyone's will to the extent that most vampiric relationships demanded.

*****
"Are you sure about this?" Giles asked for the hundredth time.

"Christ in a can!" Spike said in a strangled whisper.  "Either move your pinched British ass or stay here.  This is the only chance we're going to get."

Giles scowled, but kept his lip buttoned as they crept through the bushes as soundlessly as ten people could manage, or rather nine people and one grouchy vampire.  They were hoping for strength in numbers. Spike had managed to locate the cooling vent he'd escaped through and they were gunning for a sneak attack.

*****

Spike whistled quietly as he watched Red and the cheerleader hack their way through the Initiative security systems.  Who would have thought someone with a body like Cordelia's could have half a brain?  He'd gotten them into the ventilation tunnels, but they needed to find out where Angel was being held - and if Buffy was here as well.

"We're in!" Willow said in an excited whisper.

Faith rolled her eyes, trying not to pace.  She hated just waiting around for someone to catch them, much preferring to take the offensive in any situation.  Spike grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her against his chest.

"Just wait a bit longer, Pet.  We'll get to knock a few heads," he purred into her ear.

"You know, G man," Xander noted, "do you think maybe you've failed somewhere in your Watcherly duties?"

Giles shot a nasty look at the boy.  "What on earth are you talking about?"

"Both of the Slayers you've been in charge of are currently, or have at one time been, shacked up  with the undead.  Do you see any problems with this?"

Giles shook his head and leaned over Willow's shoulder again to watch her progress through the Initiative's files.  He wasn't going to respond to Xander's inane comments, no matter how much truth they held.

"Found 'em!" Willow said, clapping silently.  "They're being held ... in the same cell.  Wonder why."  As she continued to read through the notes in the file, she quit breathing.  "Oh no."

"What?" the tunnel's nine other occupants asked in unison.

"The notes are *very* detailed, so I'm just scanning," she explained, "but if I'm reading this right, Walsh couldn't break Angel physically so she resorted to other methods."

"Bloody humans have *no* idea.  That kinky fucker will take everything they can dish out and beg them to hurt him just a little bit more," Spike said, garnering open mouthed stares from the rest of the group.

"Ah, yes, Spike, thank you very much.  Now I'll spend the rest of my natural life trying to forget that comment," Giles noted dryly.  "Now back to Willow's 'oh no'."

The gang slowly turned their attention back to Willow and she turned to Wesley and asked, "What was the name of the drug that the crazy actress slipped Angel that let Angelus out?"

"Doximall, I believe," the former Watcher replied.

"I was afraid of that.  It says here in the notes that Walsh was trying to elicit any type of response from Angel so she gave him a significant injection of Doximall."

"When was this?" Wesley asked, starting to panic.

"Yesterday morning, a little over thirty-six hours ago," Willow said.

"And the dosage?" Wesley continued.

"It was *very* high.  It would have killed a human.  As it is, it will take quite a while to work out of his system.  The notes say it will dissipate more quickly if he feeds, but Walsh wouldn't let him.  But then it also says that he killed a young vampire by draining him, so maybe ... "

Wesley took off his glasses, rubbing the bridge of his nose in a manner very reminiscent of Giles.  "So maybe," he continued Willow's line of thought, "the drug will be wearing off soon, but odds are that Buffy is currently locked in a holding cell, probably injured, with Angelus."

"Yeah," Willow confirmed quietly.

"Damn," Giles said, rising to pace in the confined space.

Reading off the directions to the holding cell Buffy and Angelus were being held in, Willow told the others to go ahead without her.  She had just gotten into a few large databases, and they couldn't afford to let this opportunity pass them by.

*****
Walsh was studying the quiet couple in the cell.  Buffy was sitting on the vampire's lap, enfolded in his embrace as they talked rapidly in hushed tones.  Both of their hands were folded over her belly protectively.

Hearing the door open, Walsh turned to address Riley and stopped.  Riley was standing in the middle of the room, but a young brunette girl held his pistol to the back of his head.  Instinctively, Walsh ran for the intercom.

"Don't bother," Giles said calmly.  "communications are currently down.  No one knows we're here."

"Highly unlikely," Walsh spat at the Brit. She never had liked him.

"On the contrary," Giles continued a bit smugly, "you're very short staffed right now.  We have subdued your sentinels and the rest of your troops aren't scheduled to report for another five hours.  We'll be long gone by then."

Willow came running into the room.  "We've got all of their files," she said panting from exertion.

As Faith, Spike, and Gunn tied up Walsh and Riley, Willow ran to the glass front of the holding cell.

"Buffy, are you okay?" the witch asked frantically.

Buffy whimpered in pain, pressing her face against Angelus's chest as she squeezed his hand tightly.

"You hurt her, you bastard," Willow screamed at the vampire.

"No I didn't, but you might want to hurry up and get us out of here," Angelus said calmly.  "She's in labor."

Willow gasped and then yelled at Spike to find the passkey for the holding cell.  Spike quickly found the passkey on Walsh and handed it to Willow.

"How are we going to get her out without letting him out?" Willow asked Spike.

"You aren't," Angelus informed them both.

"Giles!" Willow yelled.

As the Watcher made his way over and discerned what was going on, he asked the vampire, "What do you want?"

"Her," Angelus stated calmly, his face belying nothing.

Hit with another powerful contraction, the Slayer's face contorted in agony.  "Angel?" she whimpered quietly.

"Buffy," Giles said, "that's not Angel, it's Angelus."

She looked at him, through the glass his concern palpable.  "I *know* who it is," she said forcefully.  "Let us out."

Giles stared at her in disbelief.  "Are you out of your mind?  He's a killer."

"I don't *care*," Buffy screamed, trying not to let her terror take over.  "I am *not* having our baby alone!"

Giles looked at his Slayer in shock.  "What do you mean 'our' baby, Buffy?"

"It's mine," Angelus stated calmly.  "That's why she didn't want to tell you."

Reluctantly, Giles tore his gaze from the agonized Slayer.  "Are you going to hurt her?" the Watcher asked seriously.

"No."

It didn't seem the vampire was inclined to plead his case any further. He wasn't going to offer reassurances, he'd said what he had to say. "Fine," Giles said in an exasperated tone, "let them both out."

Willow eyed the Watcher suspiciously, but dutifully opened the door. Angelus was out of the holding cell, carrying Buffy in his arms, before any of them could blink.  Walsh and Riley had been watching the series of exchanges intently from their vantage points tied to chairs against the
far wall.

When it was apparent they were all leaving, Walsh spoke directly to Angelus.  "Why are you doing this?"

"Doing what?" he hissed at his former captor.

"Protecting her.  She's your mortal enemy."

"She is my *wife*," he said, his voice deathly cold.  "If you ever come near her or my child again, I will make you rue the day you were born."

*****
"I bet right about now Dead Boy's wishing he'd just stayed out cold," Xander mused, trying to get comfortable in one of those notorious waiting room chairs.

"I would say that's a safe bet," Cordelia replied.

On their way to get Buffy to the hospital, Angelus had briefly passed out as the drugs left his system, and Angel regained control.  The brooding vampire had shrugged off all notions that he should rest, insisting that he be by his mate's side.  They all wondered if he was rethinking that decision as Buffy entered her tenth hour of labor.

"I still can't believe Buffy never told us," Willow said, obviously hurt.

"They didn't mean to hurt you," Wesley explained, "they kept it a secret in hopes that the Initiative would be less inclined to hurt Buffy."

"That worked out well," Xander added sarcastically.

"That may be," Wesley said, "but they had the best interests of their child at heart.  I don't think anyone can blame them."

"Easy for you to say," Cordelia said loudly.  "You knew the whole time, you little turncoat."

"Well, even though she lied, I feel happy for Buffy," Willow said.  "It has to be a much more promising scenario to have a child with your soul mate than with some guy you picked up in a bar."

*****
The gang all looked up as Joyce entered the waiting room, smiling broadly.  "Willow, I hope you picked out a little boy's name," she said happily.
*****

Entering the hospital room, Willow saw that Buffy was deep in sleep.  A short distance away, stretched out on a small sofa, Angel was holding his tiny son against his chest as the sleeping infant tightly clasped his hand around his father's large finger.

"Wow," Willow said, kneeling beside the couch to look at the baby. Gently she placed her hand on his head, rubbing his mop of dark hair.

"He's pretty amazing," Angel said in awe.

"Yeah he is," she agreed happily.

"So do you have a name for him yet?" Angel asked.

"No," Willow said.  "I had a few options picked out, but that's before I knew you were the daddy.  Once I found that out, I had to start all over again."

"Oh," Angel said guiltily.

"Angel?" Willow began.

"Yeah?"

"What was your name when you were human?"

"Liam," he answered still gazing adoringly at his son.

"What would you think about him being named after you?" she asked.

"I don't know," he answered, "I never really thought about it.  I would kind of like him to have a name all his own."

"Yeah, but you don't use it anymore," she pondered.

"I suppose so," he said.

"How about Liam Rupert Summers?"

"Liam Rupert Summers, I like that," he said, watching his son yawn in his sleep.

"Another thing," she said, "it's a good thing you guys 'fessed up before he was born."

"Why?"

"Because he looks just like you.  We all would have known anyway."

Angel smiled.

~*~END~*~

After that, I need FEEDBACK