At the feel of his solidness against her, Buffy's stomach fluttered. It was so natural to feel him lying on her, as if they were just a normal couple sharing intimate time together. She didn't want to think right now of curses and demons and turncoat Slayers, she only wanted to feel Angel and become secure again in the knowledge of his love, a security that had been knocked from its place when she had first walked in and seen Faith.

She brought her arms up to encircle his neck, and he easily lowered his head to kiss her. He drew it out slowly, and she savored it, feeling the difference in this kiss from the others as of late. This one was deep and hungry, his tongue probing strongly and his teeth nibbling at her lips. She wanted it to go on forever, just feeling the shape of his mouth on hers. She wanted to be lost in it, and she kissed him back anxiously, wanting him to be lost as well, wanting reassurance that he too had been pursued lately by desire.

His response to her kisses was honest and true as he gathered her close underneath him. Angel wanted to wipe away the awful idea that he could have ever wanted Faith. The thought that Buffy had believed that he actually invited Faith here, to his bed, was heartbreaking. Though he was not to blame for Faith's invasion of his home, the guilt was still there, gnawing at him, making him more intent than ever on proving his heart belonged only to Buffy.

He reached for one of her hands and brought it down in between them, lifting his hips slightly so she could feel in between their bodies. "Do you feel that?" he asked her, pressing his hardness into her hand.

She met his eyes, and nodded.

"That's not for Faith. It's not for anyone but you. You could parade a million women in front of me, and I would turn away in disgust from all of them, Buffy. It's you that makes me hard like that, and not anybody else. I only get this way from thinking of you." He wondered if his words were making an impact. In his experience, talk was cheap.

"Promise?" she whispered, sounding for all the world like a child.

"I promise, little Slayer," he said, and she smiled in response to the use of his favorite nickname for her.

Lowering his head to the warm hollow of her neck, he nuzzled the fragrant skin there. He could smell her blood pulsing just beneath the surface, and he had to swallow hard and move away from the tempting spot. Her hand was still encircling him through his clothes, squeezing gently while she arched her head back on the pillow. The movement of her upper body caused her breasts to lift up and peek from the low neckline of her soft cotton shirt, and Angel moved his lips softly over them while he moved his hips against her in encouragement. He could feel her come up to meet him in response, drawing her legs up close to her body to settle him in closely, and she sighed in contentment at the feeling of him pressing against her.

"So beautiful," he murmured against her skin, lifting the bottom of her shirt to explore underneath. "So soft." The skin under his hand was indeed soft, yet rippled with hard muscle that had formed from days and nights of physical workouts. Her ribs were small beneath the flesh of her torso, and his hand came to rest briefly on her beating heart. He never tired of feeling that pulsing, and he could remember the days when his own heart had done the same. Continuing upward, he passed gentle fingers once, twice over her firm breasts, touching them with reverence while he buried his face in her fragrant hair. She smelled, as always, like daffodils.

"I love you," she whispered to him, and he felt a ray of light penetrate his darkness, a single beam of sunshine in his otherwise bleak existence.

"I love you," he returned. "Do you know how much?"

She shook her head solemnly.

"This much," he breathed, lifting her shirt and lowering his head to suckle at her breasts, first one, then the other, until both nipples were standing up against the lace of her bra and begging for his attention. "This much," he whispered again, discarding his own shirt and laying back against her bare skin, placing small kisses down her breastbone to her stomach and back up again. He pulled her shirt over her head and unclasped her bra, dropping both pieces of clothing off the bed. "This much," he told her quietly, lifting himself up just to gaze with adoration at her naked breasts, touching both of them gently and dipping his head to lick at the pink nipples. For a long time he lavished attention there, licking and biting gently, until Buffy was writhing beneath him and a fine sheen of perspiration had broken out on her brow.

"I love you more than that, though," he continued. "I love you this much." He slid her pants off in one smooth motion, doing the same to his own, then returning to her naked warmth. She gazed at him doubtfully, knowing they could not culminate the act. "It's all right," he assured her. "We won't."

"I want to," she blurted out, then berated herself. Wanting to was futile.

He just smiled down at her. "I know, little Slayer. Me too. But we have to make do."

"Making do could be good," she considered.

"For now. Until there's another way."

Angel's confidence that someday there would be a way for them was a comfort to her. "For now," she repeated.

His rock hard shaft was nestled snugly in the cleft between her legs, and because she was so slick and wet, he was able to slide back and forth easily. It almost gave him the sensation of being inside her, so tightly did she grasp him. He could feel himself slide over the tiny button of her pleasure as he moved, and as he did, she lifted her hips off the bed toward him, trying to push it even closer. Her fingers were grasping at the silk sheets beneath her, and he could tell she was straining for release.

"Relax," he murmured into her ear, stopping his motion and pressing her body back down into the bed. "Let me take care of it."

She obeyed reluctantly, her tense muscles loosening, and she took a deep breath and let it out. "I just have wanted you so badly lately," she tried to explain, but he silenced her with a kiss.

"Don't move an inch," he told her, and started the seductive rhythm again, sliding back and forth between her sleek folds.

It had to be one of the best things she had ever felt, better than getting into a hot shower, better than strawberries and brown sugar. It was perfection, to simply lie there and let him make her feel this way. Her eyes closed and she let herself just feel him, feel the steel of him, and she knew she was connecting with his heart. The low throbbing began to get stronger, and she didn't have to reach for it because she could just feel Angel bringing it closer. "Please," she sighed, "please, Angel..." He knew what she wanted, and followed her request by quickening his strokes and pressing harder on her, and it was only a minute before she was crying out and shuddering with a powerful orgasm.

He was too close to his own release to be able to stop. The added wetness from her orgasm was heaven and he still slid back and forth against her, feeling the warmth and softness. It was just before he came that he heard her say, "Take from me."

He met her eyes briefly, then could not refuse the tomenting offer. His fangs appeared almost instantly, and just as his orgasm hit, he sank them into the smooth flesh of her neck. Her blood filled his mouth while he came, making the feeling that much stronger, and Buffy could hear him snarl and feel his cool stream of liquid bathe her stomach while he drank from her.

He was careful to only take the one mouthful before letting his fangs retreat, kissing the tiny double holes in her neck. He licked a drop of crimson that had run down to her shoulder, cleaning her skin with his tongue, and then lay back on the pillow with her. Noticing the white fluid on her belly, he picked up the edge of the sheet and cleansed her solemnly. "Made a mess," he apologized.

"My kind of mess," she giggled, turning on her side to look at him. She took his face in her hands and kissed him tenderly. "Thank you," she said.

"For what, little Slayer?"

"For not wanting Faith."

He touched her nose with a finger. "Don't have time to want Faith. I spend all my time wanting you."

"Okay."

"Okay for sure?" he questioned.

She pondered it. "How about okay for now?"

"I guess it'll have to do."

Later, after she had kissed him goodbye and promised to come soon and then gone off to school, she remembered what it had felt like to see Angel in the arms of someone else, and the sickening feeling had returned. The truth remained that they could not share what Faith had been so willing to give him. Then she remembered what Angel had promised her. Until there was another way, they would make do.

Someday, there would be another way.

End