Warmth [1/1]

Series: The Slayer and her Demon

Author: Sonya (sonyajeb@swbell.net)

Rating: R

Category: Buffy/Doyle

Genre: Romance, AU

Disclaimer: I donít own Buffy or Doyle. Joss does. Iím just borrowing them and Iím not making any money off of this. Please donít sue. Iím a college student and Iím very poor. You wouldnít get much.

Summary: Sequel to Solace, Distance and Gravity. The calm before the storm. (In other words: Plot? What plot? LOL!)

Distribution: Regulars have unspoken permission, everyone else please ask first.

Feedback: Numfar, do the dance of glowing feedback! (In other words: Love it, want it, need it!)

Spoilers: Up to Who Are You on BtVS and Parting Gifts on Angel, after that this branches off into its own Buffy-verse.

Authorís notes: My thanks goes out to Tin and Mel for listening to my B/D rants and helping me to find some really wonderful songs for the website. You guys rock! (But Mel, you still owe me some ďthwap-filledĒ B/D fluff!)



If I should die this very moment
I wouldn't fear
For I've never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you

Gorecki (by Lamb)



Buffy

If I was asked to pick one thing about Alan Francis Doyle... just one... my favorite thing... it would have to be the fact that he's only a few inches taller than me. I know, I know. That sounds really trivial. But it's not.

Okay, before this will make any sense, you have to understand something about all my past relationships. Angel. Parker. Riley. All of them were so tall compared to me. Kissing them required me on my tippy tip-toes and them hunched over. At the time, it was just a minor inconvenience. Something that Xander and Willow occasionally made jokes about, completely at my expense. Nothing major.

But now, facing Alan as we stand in front of my dorm room, I have a whole new respect for men who are at my eye level. No wonder Willow dated first Oz and then Tara. No wonder Xander snuck around with Cordelia in broom closets. Compatible by way of height. As my friends, they were being especially cruel by not informing me of this sooner.

Because when I lean forward to brush my lips lightly across Alan's, and he pulls me closer immediately, like he can't ever have enough of me to be truly satisfied, my body is flush against his. My chest pressed against his, thighs touching, my arms around his waist and his hands buried in my hair. And I realize that we just... fit... perfectly. It's like he's the missing piece to the puzzle that is Buffy Anne Summers. He completes me.

So that's why my favorite thing about him is something as trivial as his height.

Of course, there are many other things to love. How when he laughs, little crinkles appear in the skin at the corners of his eyes. His lips when he kisses me, soft and gentle one moment, hard and demanding the next. The way he smiles at me and makes my insides go all gooey. The way I can feel his eyes on me no matter where he's standing in the room, and they burn into me, marking me. The way he can always make me laugh, something I don't do enough these days. The way he actually listens when I talk instead of just smiling and nodding. The way he holds me: not like Angel who was always so controlled and careful out of fear for his demon, not like Parker who seemed more interested in what I could do for him and not vice versa, not like Riley who held me like he thought I might break despite being the Slayer and ten times stronger than him. When Alan holds me, he holds nothing back. Control is out the window. He's like a desperate man, trying to get me closer until I'm inside him and he's inside me, completely immersed in each other, until there are no barriers left between us.

I could keep going for days and not get to the end of the list. But the best thing is still his height. Especially when we're lying in bed, my dorm room deserted because Willow knows I want some alone time with him before we have to go to LA tomorrow morning. And he warps his arms around me and pulls me close, his chest against my back and his legs intertwined with mine, one arm draped over my hip and his fingers tracing lazy circles around my belly button. His breath is warm against my ear. And if I had to die right now, I wouldn't mind in the least, because if heaven is even one tenth as perfect as this, then sign me up!

"Mmmmm," I sighed happily, stretching slowly like a cat and luxuriating in the warmth of his body behind mine. I took his hand in mine and placed a soft kiss in the center of the palm of his hand before lacing our fingers together. It's been a long time since I felt this... content.

"So, Vision-Boy," I teased with a smile, "You know everything there is to know about me, right?"

I could actually hear the embarrassment in his voice when he answered, "Yeah. Pretty much. The Powers that Be wanted me to know about Angel, and that meant knowing all about you, too."

I rubbed against him enticingly. "So you know all about me, huh?"

I didn't have to look at his face to know that he was blushing.

Chuckling, I continued, "Well, then I think you have me at a disadvantage, because I know next to nothing about your life before..." I didn't finish the sentence, not wanting to say 'before you died' because I still hadn't quite gotten my brain wrapped around that concept. Death and this man didn't belong together. No way.

His arms tightened around me briefly, as if he could read my thoughts. And, actually, I wouldn't have been too surprised if that was the case. "Well, what do you want to know?"

Suddenly offered the chance to ask anything I wanted, a free pass to pick Alan's brain, my mind came up blank. Finally, I settled for an all-encompassing "Everything."

Now it was his turn to chuckle. "Everything, huh? That might take a while."

I smiled, snuggling up against him. "I'm not going anywhere."



Doyle

She asked me for everything, so that's what she got. Yeah, there was plenty of stuff that I didn't really want her to know about. Like how I hadn't spoken to my mother since I'd found out the truth about my lineage. I just got an answering machine and screened all my calls so I wouldn't have to face her. Like how I didn't lift a hand to help that group of demons, out of fear and just the plain and simple fact that I was a coward, and they died because of my inaction. Like how my inability to cope with my demon side had driven my wife away from me slowly but surely, until the day that she turned up on my doorstep with divorce papers and a new lover in tow.

Like how, standing there on the deck of the Quintessa, knowing what Angel was prepared to do and all the millions of reasons why the good side couldn't afford to lose him, there was still a part of me that wanted desperately to stand back and let him make that final jump. No one would have held it against me, not really. After all, Angel was the hero. Cordelia and I, we were just the sidekicks. That was how our little trio had always worked. I got the visions, Angel stopped the bad guys and Cordelia followed around after us to file paperwork and try and collect the money she felt we were owed.

So, had I stepped back and let him die, the only person who would've held it against me was me. And, for once in my life, I just couldn't deal with that. I've always been a coward and I've always been good at that self-hatred thing. But letting Angel die when I knew it should be me instead, that would've been a new low. Even for me.

And when I'd told her everything, and I was sure that she was about to recoil from me in disgust and kick me out of her dorm room, Buffy surprised me. No, that doesn't quite cover it. Shocked the hell out of me was more like it. She rolled over so she was facing me and the look in her eyes... It was something I never dared to even hope for. Understanding. Mixed with acceptance and, even more importantly, love.

But part of me just couldn't accept the fact that someone like Buffy could ever love someone like me. It just didn't seem possible. She belonged to the handsome, romantic, broody vampires of the world. She was meant to be Juliet to Angel's Romeo, filled with a tragic but beautiful love that could never be. Only the memory of one perfect night keeping her from giving up entirely. Something for the poets of the world to make immortal in their sonnets. And me? I wasn't supposed to be happy. I was, perhaps, allowed a quick roll in the hay with some random girl every once in a while. But true love? Couldn't happen. I'd had my one shot with Harry and I'd blown it. And while I could have loved Cordelia had she given me half a chance, my pal fate had stepped in and made sure that never happened. But Buffy? Not a chance. A cowardly, half-demon couldn't be so lucky as to find real love a third time. Lust, sure. But not love.

Almost as if she knew exactly what I was thinking, Buffy smiled and kissed me gently, just a light brushing of her lips across mine. "No room for self-hatred in this bed, pal," she told me, giving me a stern gaze.

"I'll try," I responded, wanting desperately to live up to the faith she had in me. "But it's hard. There's so much in my life that I'm not especially proud of."

Buffy rolled her eyes, giving me what she termed her "duh" look. "Okay, it's not like you're the first person in the world to have regrets. Everyone does. They just deal and move on; try to make the next day better than the last one was. But you can't say 'Well, I screwed up, so that's it for me.' You can't just give up and hide away from life forever. No matter how easy it would be to give up, you have to keep on trying." I remembered something then, something from the vision I'd had of Angel's life. Something that Buffy had told him when he was ready to give up and end it all...

Strong is fighting. It's hard, and it's painful, and it's every day. It's what we have to do. And we can do it together.

People didn't give Buffy enough credit, you know. She was much wiser than anyone seemed to realize. Even me. Here I was, at least half a decade her senior and a licensed teacher to boot, and she was already teaching me a thing or two about life.

Whether I wanted her to or not.

I attempted a smile for Buffy's benefit. "Well, I'm not saying I won't wanna back out every now and again, but I'm definitely not about to disappear on you again. One time was hard enough. So like it or not, you're pretty much stuck with me."

Buffy smiled at me, her entire face lighting up. She was so beautiful just then that it was almost painful to look at her.

Hey, I said almost!

Giving me another kiss, she replied, "Sounds good to me."



Buffy

Later that night, after Alan had already fallen asleep, I lay next to him and watched the even rise and fall of his chest. And as he lay there, his face full of a peace that his many inner-demons denied him most of the time when he was awake, I whispered the three words that I knew were true... even if I wasn't ready to tell him yet.

"I love you."

And, in his sleep, he smiled.

To be continued in Rain, part 5 of the series...