Title: Most Wanted
Summary: Everybody wants a piece of Buffy tonight...
Author's Notes: Set in the latter half of Season One. This is old skool stuff, people.
An IWRY B/A Marathon Fic -- November 7, 2004
"Hey, ugly! Look out behind you!"
The vampire, fresh blood still dripping from his exposed fangs, sneered and chuckled darkly at her. "Like I'm going to be stupid enough to fall for that one, Slayer. You're losing your touch if that's the best you can do."
"Okay," she grinned, "but don't say I didn't warn you."
Snarl twisting his lips, the vampire growled and gathered himself to pounce. He was just about to spring into the air when he exploded into dust.
Shaking his ashes from her hair, Buffy exchanged a smile with Willow and danced away to face her next opponent.
He was different from the others. Unlike the usual newly born vamps she was used to, this one didn't immediately attack her. He hung back, observing as his minions were dusted one by one, watching her fight, gauging her strength and style. Buffy knew enough to realise that made him dangerous. She made sure her friends were well out of reach before engaging him.
She greeted him with a spinning kick to his jaw, and was unsurprised when he ducked it. "Let me guess, you're the new bad guy in my life?"
He sidestepped her lunge, neatly avoiding the stake in her hand. "I'm sure you'll discover I'm really not that bad once you get to know me." He grabbed her by the wrist and yanked, flipping her hard over his shoulder.
"No thanks," she gasped, slightly winded from her impact with the ground. "I try not to associate with vampires." She was back on her feet a moment later. "They're a bad influence on me."
Feinting a punch to her stomach and managing to backhand her across the cheek when she reacted, the vampire smirked. "I'd think a girl like you would be rather in to all the hunting and killing. It's right up your alley."
"Speaking of alleys...," she beaned him with a trash can lid, then swiped his feet out from under him while he was still dazed. "Hope you like the view from this one," she crouched over him, stake poised above his heart, "because it's the last thing you'll ever see."
Faster than lightning, his hand shot out to still the pointed wood millimetres before it penetrated his chest. He met her eyes and smiled. It wasn't a nice smile.
"I don't think so, Slayer."
Buffy had one second to realise the precariousness of her position before she felt the blow to her head and everything went dark.
Laughing in triumph, the vampire swept his diminutive enemy into his arms and disappeared into the sewers. The sound of her friends screaming in outrage echoed tantalizingly behind him, a delicious musical accompaniment to his victory.
Her head was throbbing in time to her pulse. No, wait... make that her entire body was throbbing. In fact, as she came more awake, she realized her body wasn't throbbing, it was bouncing -- and it was starting to make her nauseous.
The smell wasn't helping either.
Memory and her Slayer instincts hit her at the same time and Buffy snapped her eyes open to assess how much danger she was in. The first thing she saw was someone's dirty boot-heels wading through a thin layer of truly disgusting water. Raising her head a few inches explained even more as she caught sight of one of Sunnydale's famous sewers, the favoured travel route by all things evil and gross.
"Ah, awake are we? Excellent," her stomach lurched as she was suddenly airborne, "I was getting tired of carrying you."
Rolling to her feet, Buffy screwed up her face at the mess smeared all over her new capris. "Eww... do you have any idea how hard sewer slime is to wash out of a cotton blend? I'm never going to get these clean again. You owe me a new pair of pants, buster."
The vampire appeared mildly amused by her theatrics. "Don't worry, my dear. Soon enough you'll have far more to worry about than just your wardrobe." He rattled the chains binding her arms to her side. "Walk."
"Walk, he says," she groused, stumbling as he pushed her to get going. "What do I look like, a dog?"
Pointedly pulling on the excess length of chain wrapped in his fist, the vampire smirked as she almost lost her balance in the slimy water. "Well, if the leash fits..."
Stopping abruptly, Buffy threw him a glare and braced her body. With a quick twist and a step backwards, she returned the yank along the chain connecting them. She smirked back at him as he nearly tripped onto his face.
"You were saying?" she asked sweetly.
His game face flashing briefly, the vampire slammed her up against the tunnel walls. "Don't try my patience, Slayer. You're only still alive because the Master wants you that way. But that'll only hold me back for so long before my instincts win out. I wouldn't recommend testing the limits of my endurance."
"Wouldn't that piss your boss off?" she wheezed around his grip on her throat, but stilled her efforts to struggle free.
Having won her compliance, he released her and set off moving down the tunnel again. "So what? He's not my master; I don't owe him anything."
"Then why are you doing this?"
"Because he pays well." He look the Slayer in the eye and grinned. "And because I like the challenge."
Rolling her eyes, Buffy trudged placidly along behind him for a few minutes. She'd been working her arms ever since she'd realized she was chained up, trying to wiggle herself free. Her wrists and hands were bruised and torn with the effort, but she could feel the bands getting looser as she stretched the metal. A few more minutes of Slayer strength and she ought to be able to bust herself free.
"You might as well stop struggling, Slayer. You're only hurting yourself."
Buffy froze guiltily. "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm just walking here, just like you told me." She went on the offensive. "What, the memory starting to go in your old age?"
"Please," he sighed at her poor attempt to cover up her escape efforts. "I can smell the blood from where you've cut your wrists on the cuffs. Vampire, remember? Heightened senses? Any of this ringing a bell, Slayer?"
"What's with all this 'Slayer' stuff. I have a name, you know."
He kept walking, ignoring her utterly.
Buffy was undeterred by his deplorable lack of manners. "I bet you have a name too. I mean, you don't all just go around calling each other 'vampire', do you? Because that'd be pretty confusing after a while. I can just see you guys gathered together for a social event -- do vamps have social events? -- and..."
"Do you ever shut up?!" her escort abruptly roared, stopping to spin and glare fiercely at her.
Buffy smiled innocently. "I might if you tell me your name," she wheedled.
The vampire growled subvocally, but decided to answer her if it meant he could bring his prey in quietly. "Durn, my name is Durn. I'm a bounty hunter hired to capture you, that's all. Nobody said anything about having to put up with your incessant nattering. So shut up and walk, or I'll knock you out again."
"How much are you getting to bring me to the Master?" Buffy asked curiously, "because whatever it is, it's not enough."
Sighing in exasperation, Durn crossed his arms and stared her down. "Is this the part where you tell me I won't get away with this?"
"No, this is the part where I tell you to drop dead."
He grinned evilly at her. "I'm already dead."
She smiled sweetly back. "Then do the world a favour and go 'poof' like a good vampire."
"So to disappoint, Slayer, but that's not likely to happen."
She raised an eyebrow. "Give me a chance, and I'm sure I could make it happen," she promised.
He was just about to respond when he suddenly looked down at his chest and the little piece of wood sticking out from his heart. "What the...?" He dissolved in a cloud of ashes before he could finish.
Just as startled by his death as the vampire was, Buffy dropped as much as the chains allowed into a defensive crouch. "Who's there?" she called into the darkness.
A familiar figure emerged out of the shadows.
"Angel!" she smiled in relief. "Thank god you found me. But, how did you know...?"
Lips quirked in a faint smile, Angel helped her finally break free of the chains binding her upper body. "I... heard... Durn was in town. Figured you might need a little back-up."
Actually, he'd been sitting in a back booth of Willy's bar trying to resist the urge to get drunk when Durn had walked in. He'd easily overheard the vampire bounty hunter talking about his next job, his plans to abduct the Slayer and bring her to the Master for a very hefty price. Durn's reputation was well known among the older demons, and well earned. He'd only ever failed to capture his target once -- and it had been Angelus himself who'd slipped through the hunter's nets.
Angel had remained hidden in his sheltered booth until long after Durn and his drinking buddies had left. Then he'd hightailed it out of there and gone in search of his Buffy to warn her. He'd arrived at the school library just in time to hear Willow and Xander report her disappearance to the Watcher, Rupert Giles. Cursing his timing, he'd rushed to the alley behind the Bronze and set to tracking her distinctive scent as quickly as possible. It didn't even surprise him to know he already had it memorized; something about Buffy had drawn him to her since the first time he'd seen her. He'd follow her anywhere.
Buffy was still smiling at him, something in her expression looking entirely too pleased for the situation. He stared at her in confusion.
"You were worried about me," Buffy murmured and raised her hands to rest on Angel's arms.
It was only then that it occurred to him the reason she looked so happy was because he was essentially holding her by the waist. No matter how many times he told himself it was time to stop deluding himself, that she deserved a real man to love and be loved by, he couldn't bring himself to leave her be. His soul cried out for her, and his body craved her touch just as much. He had to consciously remind himself to let her go.
"Um... we, we should probably be getting out of here before any more vampires come by." Awkwardly, he stepped away from her enticing form and waved vaguely in the direction of the nearest exit.
But this time Buffy didn't let Angel's social ineptitude distract her anymore than she'd let Durn's. Reacting quickly, she stepped closer and wrapped her now free arm around his elbow.
She looked up at him guilelessly. "It's dark in here."
Gazing down into her eyes, seeing her pupils widely dilated to absorb as much light as possible, Angel belatedly realized she was right. He reached out to take her hand in his.
As he did so he noticed the drying blood marring her delicate wrists. "You're hurt," he said softly, and raised her hand to his lips. Her watched her face carefully as he licked gently at the cuts, cleaning the wounds and laving up the spilled blood. "Vampire saliva has healing properties," he explained.
"Oh." Buffy swallowed hard, feeling her face flush with heat. She offered him her other arm. "You should do this one too," she said breathlessly.
Slowly, agonisingly slowly, never breaking eye contact, Angel reached out for her other arm and repeated the same treatment on it as he'd given the other one. He did not release the first arm, and wound up holding both of her small hands against his chest when he was done.
"Better?" he asked her, voice rumbling deep in his throat.
"Uh..." Buffy stuttered, entranced by the tender look in his eyes. "I, I... think I have a little cut on my lip from where he hit me."
Angel wrapped a hand around the back of her head, sinking his fingers into her hair. He tilted her face up the slightest bit as he leaned down toward her.
"We don't want it to get infected," he whispered against her lips, and closed in to kiss her.
Buffy sighed in pleasure at the first touch of his lips. She revelled in his gentleness, shivered at a mere brush of contact between them. Then Angel pulled her body in closer, licked at the cut at the corner of her mouth, and the nature of the kiss morphed and changed like quicksilver.
Their passion grew as the feather-light caresses deepened into sensual sweeps of tongue against tongue. They explored one another as if they'd never kissed before, relearning the tastes and textures of each other's mouths with abandon. Buffy moaned as Angel wrapped her up in an embrace, something in her soul rejoicing in the sheer rightness of being this close to him.
They were completely involved in each other. Aware only of the person in their arms, the mouth against theirs. Heaven existed only when they were together -- neither ever wanted it to end again...
The call of her name was like a bucket of cold water being thrown over the couple. The peeled apart with great reluctance and fought to compose themselves.
"The cavalry's here," Angel said, laying his head against her hair for the few moments he'd have before he had to step away.
"Mmm hmm," Buffy agreed, pressing her face into his t-shirt and clinging to him as long as possible. "They always have the worst timing."
Angel finally released her and stepped back into the shadows. "They mean well." He brushed a loose lock of hair behind her ear, treasuring the softness of her skin.
"Shh, it'll be alright. I'm always with you." He vanished back into the darkness from whence he'd come, leaving her staring after him and wishing they could be together like a normal couple.
"Buffy, are you okay?!"
"Yo, Buffster! You had us worried for a while there. Shoulda known you'd kick fang-breath's butt." Xander, leading the charge of the rag-tag cavalry, was the first to reach her. "You okay there? You look kinda... lost."
Sparing her friends a smile, Buffy turned and took both Willow and Xander by the arm. "C'mon, guys..." she said, "let's get out of here."
P.S. Be sure you also read dknightshade's November 5th contribution, He Couldn't! [/pimp]