Page 1 of 2
Summary: Angel appears in this rewrite of the episode "Living Conditions."
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, or even the idea for the plot they find themselves in. They belong to Joss, Mutant Enemy, etc.
Author's Notes: This is kind of a rewrite of the episode "Living Conditions" - the second episode of the 4th season of BTVS. While watching it and thoroughly enjoying it, I said to myself "But oh - how much more compelling and satisfying this episode would be if Angel were here...". If only... so... I wrote him into it. Why? Because I CAN. Assume that most of the episode is the same, except for the parts about Parker (for obvious reasons). Also assume that everything up to about "The Prom" from season 3 happened... except that Buffy and Angel didn't let an insignificant little curse stand between them and happiness, and he never left. Leave me be... I am living in Denial-land. Willow is just a better wicca than she gives herself credit for, and reattached his soul without a curse... which they found out at some point. Details, details... I'd rate this a PG-13... a few bad words an a few little sexual innuendos - nothing too randy.
Feedback: Feedback is received with hoots and hollers at ealutz(at)hotmail.com
Angel sighed deeply as his girlfriend snuggled against his chest. This was really the way he'd ideally love to start every morning... except of course for the part about Buffy showing up at his front door at 6 am, snuffling and angry about her rooming situation at college. She'd practically knocked him flat she'd rocketed through the door so quickly, and instantly ensconced herself in his bed. Where he - with a slightly disturbing, very territorial male attitude -- thought she look like she belonged.
"It's not that I don't enjoy seeing you, baby... it's just starting to be conspicuous that you're over here every morning. Avoiding something?" Angel guessed, stroking Buffy's back soothingly.
He felt her shift a little, then her quiet admission. "Someone."
"Okay... someone. Your roommate?" he hazarded. She'd already alluded to as much earlier, before he'd... taken her mind off her troubles.
"Yeah..." She was sleepy now, he could see the edges of her eyelashes fluttering.
"And...?" he prodded, when it seemed like she was going to fall asleep in mid-conversation.
"She's... it's just... nothing..." Buffy finished miserably.
Angel stroked her shoulder, trying to calm her. "Are you getting enough sleep?" he asked casually.
"No! I'm not getting enough! I'm just... it's crazy -- she's insane! With the Celine, and the Cher, and IRONING of the jeans... and, and... phone calls being logged in..."
Trying to still the disjointed flow of words, Angel kissed her. She responded immediately, pushing up against him and sighing deep in her throat. When he lifted his mouth from hers, she blinked lazily and contentedly, then her eyes snapped back into focus. "And the tagging along! I go for coffee, she goes for coffee. I eat lunch, she's in the cafeteria! I mean..."
Angel groaned, throwing an arm across his eyes. "Buffy, it's a little early for this."
"You've been up all night, what do you care? Honestly, Angel, you sleep like, ALL the time now."
He uncovered his face and arched an eyebrow at her in surprise. "Not all the time. I patrol with you, and a lot of the day I'm up doing research," he commented mildly.
Buffy avoided his eyes. "Well, it doesn't seem like it, I guess. Anyway, I have to get going. I wanted to stop by Giles' place to tell him about the slimy-ugly I fought last night."
Again, Angel was surprised. "You fought a demon on patrol last night? You didn't tell me."
"What are you, my dad?" Buffy snapped, then immediately apologized. "God, Angel, I'm sorry. I don't know what's wrong with me today. I'm just not sleeping enough, and this thing with Kathy is really bothering me. Forgive me?"
Angel smiled at his love, pulling her back against his chest. "You don't even have to ask, Buffy. Just... you and I are a team, so next time let me know when something's bothering you before it gets out of hand, okay?"
"Okay." She patted his chest for awhile, soothing them both, before sitting up with a disconsolate sigh. "Well, I guess I'd better get to Giles' place. I need to tell him about this demon, and it gives me yet another excuse not to go back to my dorm room before Perky Kathy leaves for class. You'll call me later, right?"
"Of course. And you know you can always come here. You have a key, and I won't mind," he leered playfully, lunging for her.
She pushed him away, giggling and sliding out of the bed. "Later, later," she promised, scooping her clothes up from the floor and going into the bathroom to get ready for her day as Angel settled back against the pillows for an early morning nap.
When the phone rang around noon, startling him out of slumber, he groggily answered it, sure it was Buffy. "Hey."
Giles was obviously a little flustered by the casual greeting, but recovered quickly, identifying himself promptly, so as to avoid hearing any inadvertent endearments.
"Oh... sorry... Giles, I didn't think you'd be calling me now," Angel said lamely.
"Buffy has just left my apartment, and I thought you should know that she's been acting... well, a bit odd."
"With you, too? She was over here this morning, obviously angry about her living situation at UC Sunnydale. She told me she was going to go over to your place..."
"Yes, to tell me about the demon... right. Well, I'm going to research that of course, but I was troubled by her other complaints. You've heard a lot about her roommate then?"
"A lot more than I ever thought I would," Angel admitted. "She's just getting used to it, right?"
"Yes, of course. I was just...concerned, because she seemed so very upset by everything, and she keeps insisting that she KNOWS something is wrong. I'm just reading things into the situation that aren't there."
"I think Buffy's probably overreacting... I guess," Angel replied doubtfully. "I would just hate to doubt a Slayer's instincts on something like this."
"I'm doubting an 18-year old girl's instincts, Angel - this is the first time Buffy's been away from home with a roommate..."
"Well, I'm still wondering. Have you actually met this Kathy person?" Angel asked, fidgeting with the edge of the sheet.
"Not as yet. I thought I might pop over to the University tomorrow to see how Willow and Oz are getting on, as well. Maybe I'll just casually drop by Buffy's room..."
"Assuming you can find it?"
"Yes, yes... just drop by and see what all the fuss over this girl is about. It's probably nothing."
"So Giles came by campus today?"
Buffy watched the last flakes of their adversary settle to the ground before tucking the rest of her stakes back into her jacket pocket. She swiped some hair out of her eyes before replying. "Yeah. He was around. I had a funky dream, and I was telling him about it, just when Miss I'm-so-perky shows up."
"Ohhh. And then...?"
Buffy sighed, boosting herself onto a low stone wall. They were patrolling the west side of campus before heading back to her dorm. They'd already swept most of the cemeteries in town, thanks to Angel's new car. He'd finally decided that with Buffy living five miles away, he needed wheels. It was well past midnight, but still they lingered... mostly because Buffy didn't seem to be in any hurry to get back to her room. "Then I told her off, and went to class. Giles thinks it's nothing." Buffy yawned, fingers fluttering in front of her mouth. "You have no idea what it's like. Roommate from Hell!" she lashed out, kicking a garbage can.
Angel watched unhappily as the dented can sailed into a kiosk, the resultant collision causing a small whirlwind of multi-colored flyers. "Well," he ventured, "Isn't there some way that you could change roommates? To Willow, or something?"
"No," Buffy sulked. "They do the whole thing by lottery, and I lost big-time. I thought college was going to be cooler than this! I'm stuck with a horrible roommate, really hard classes, and I hardly ever get to see you," she finished in a whine.
Angel smiled down at her, pulling her into his arms. "Don't worry, baby. This is just a... a..." Angel groped for the right word, "... a phase, and once we get through..."
Wrong word. "A phase!!" the Slayer raged, yanking herself away from him. "You sound like my mom! This isn't a 'phase'. My roommate is evil, Angel -- get with the program!"
Angel was just opening his mouth to argue when something heavy slammed into his back, pushing him to the ground. He scrambled for a moment to regain his footing, then leapt up, fangs at the ready to deal with the new threat. Buffy was already engaged with another attacker -- not a vampire -- that Angel could see clearly in the moonlit night. These must be the demons that she'd had an encounter with the other day -- they matched the description Giles had relayed to him. He heaved the musty-smelling creature off his back, flinging it up against a tree. Despite a sickening crack on contact, the demon jumped up again immediately, grappling with Angel. A spinning kick shook the glow-eyed creature, but not enough to put him down again. Angel looked anxiously over at Buffy, seeing her go flying into a bench, which splintered with the force of impact. Kicking furiously at the demon who was still hounding him, Angel lunged towards her, wanting to help. The demon behind him grabbed wildly for his ankle, and brought Angel down in an undignified heap. Rolling instantly to his feet, he saw both demons running away through the trees. Ignoring that for the moment, he turned back to Buffy, helping her extricate herself from the remains of the bench. She still looked angry, and Angel wasn't honestly certain if it was because of the fight, or because of the argument they'd been having. She cleared it up pretty quickly.
"I'm the SLAYER," she hissed, brushing splinters off her outfit. "It's my job to know the baddies from the good guys." As she spotted a rip in her jeans, she transformed from a picture of rage, back to the earlier pouting. "Damn... these were new."
Angel just stared at her for several long seconds, trying to figure out what to say. "I didn't mean to upset you more," he finally said quietly. "I'm trying to help."
Buffy's lower lip, stuck out in a petulant pose, gradually faded into its normal position. Disregarding her torn, dirty clothing, she turned her full attention on him. Her eyes softened, and she crept closer to him, holding out her hand, palm-up. "I'm sorry... God -- it seems like all I've been doing the past few days is apologizing to people. You, Giles, Will... Oz. I've just been in a really crappy mood. But that'll all change now." She smiled cheerily up at him. "Walk me back to my room?"
Angel smiled at his girlfriend adoringly. She was back to her sweet self -- a state brought on at least partially by the fact that when they'd gotten back to her room, Kathy hadn't been there. Glancing at the clock, Angel wondered aloud where she could be.
"Who cares? Not here. That's the important part," Buffy announcing, flopping onto the bed. "I know I should probably be worried, but this is college... maybe she met a guy, or she's at the library or something."
Angel had agreed without enthusiasm, more for the sake of keeping the peace than anything else. Now all was sweetness -- Buffy was lying back against the pillows, trying to read the required chapters for something called 'Psych', and Angel was giving her a footrub, trying to ease away the inevitable discomfort she always experienced after patrolling in slingbacks. He adored her feet -- so tiny, pale and feminine, her little toes painted the faintest peach color. He was so wrapped up in blissful contemplation, that he completely missed the telltale sound outside the door of keys jangling.
"Hi roomie!" Kathy came bounding into the room and stopped short when she saw Angel. Buffy immediately sat up, and as Angel looked back and forth between the dark-haired girl and Buffy, he saw Buffy's expression darken dangerously. She pulled her feet out of his lap.
"This is... Kathy. My 'roomie', she mimicked cruelly. Angel stared at his girlfriend, surprised, before turning his attention back to Kathy. She seemed normal, although he was still feeling after-effects from their run-in with those demons. He could still smell their musty odor on his jacket, and it was driving him nuts. "Kathy, this is Angel, my boyfriend."
"Pleased to meet you," he murmured, holding out his hand.
Kathy took it reluctantly. "Um... we never discussed the boyfriend situation - in terms of you being here," she said perkily.
Angel removed his hand from her clammy grip and smiled. "I'm not really a situation," he said quickly. "I was just walking Buffy home from my place, and wanted to see her room."
"Wow... isn't that great?!" Kathy seemed doubtful. Angel glanced sideways at Buffy, and saw that her body was tensed, her mouth hard. He suddenly understood her dislike of this 'Kathy' person. She was just so... He growled in frustration, surprising both girls. He and Buffy didn't need to spend any more time with this bitch.
"C'mon, lover," he murmured, standing up, ignoring Kathy and grabbing Buffy's hand. He led her tense form over to the door, smirking back at Kathy. "Nice to meet you, Kathy. We'll be seeing you... later. Don't let the bedbugs bite," he sniped, then dragged Buffy out of the room.
By the time they reached the mansion on Crawford, he was feeling much more human. That horrible smell seemed to be gone from his jacket, whipped away by the night wind, and Buffy was a lot more relaxed, too.
"Um... Angel, we forgot my shoes."
"My shoes. We forgot them. Just left the room without them."
Mystified, Angel looked down at Buffy's tiny, bare feet. "I guess we did."
"I don't want to go back for them," Buffy said quietly, sitting down on the couch.
Angel shuddered a little, sitting down next to her. "Neither do I. Want you to go back, I mean. Stay here tonight?"
She smiled at him a little. "Can I make you beg?"
"I thought I just did," he teased playfully, glad that the disturbing undertone that had colored everything they'd done earlier was gone.
"Pretty casual for begging. You're not taking me for granted, are you?"
Angel's head jerked off the pillow, his eyes wide. Realizing that someone was knocking on the front door of the mansion, he stumbled out of bed, pulling on his sweatpants as he somehow navigated himself into the entryway. A wild glance at the clock told him that Buffy had been gone for at least four hours...
"God, she's right, I DO sleep all the time, now," he muttered to himself.
The pounding on the door resumed, and Angel ran a quick hand through his hair, knowing he looked like he'd just rolled out of bed. He sincerely hoped it wasn't a salesman. They'd had the worst luck with them...
"Ah. Angel... is this a bad time?"
Giles was standing in the open doorway, looking very proper and coifed.
Feeling even more disheveled than he had a moment before, Angel waved the former Watcher inside, wincing at the bright sunlight just outside the threshold. He followed Giles into the living room, gesturing for him to take a seat.
"Can I get you something to drink?" Angel offered.
"No, no thank you. Perhaps some tea later, but for now I'm quite well," Giles said.
Wondering how much later Giles intended to still be there, Angel excused himself briefly to put on a shirt and run a comb through his hair. "So, what can I do for you?" he prompted Giles finally, when it appeared the other man wasn't going to make the initial foray.
"I was wondering if I might talk to you about this whole situation with Buffy... and college."
"Her roommate," Angel guessed, heart sinking.
"Well, yes, and these demons. Funny things... I can't quite figure out what they're doing here." Giles toyed with the small stack of books he'd carried in, then held them out as an afterthought. "And, of course, I've brought these books back. Very good of you to let me borrow them. You've an extensive collection."
"Yeah... fortunately I've managed to keep most of it with me," Angel said quietly.
"Very fortunately, in many situations. But I fear they weren't any help in this case."
"I have others. I'll get them," Angel said, standing up.
Giles waved him back into his seat. "In a bit. Have you met Kathy yet?"
Angel nodded slowly, considering the events of the previous night. "I took Buffy back to her room last night. We'd been arguing..."
"What do you think? About Kathy. And we fought two of the demons right after that. Then we went back to her room, and Kathy came in. She was..." Angel tried to grasp the feeling. "...very energetic," he finished in frustration.
"Yes, I thought so too," Giles agreed. "But there was something else?" he guessed.
"I'm not sure. She made me angry, I guess... just the way she treated Buffy."
"How was that?"
Angel rubbed his hands over his face. "I don't know. Nothing in particular."
Giles sat back. "Well, I don't think there's any more either of us can do on that front. It's just going to be a matter of those two girls working things out. Now, you said you had other texts?"
Just as Angel stood to retrieve the other books, the phone rang. He picked up the receiver, pretty sure Buffy was on the other end. He was surprised. "Willow?"
"Angel - is Giles over there?"
"Yeah... do you want to talk to him?"
"No... just, you and he need to know that Buffy's on her way over to his apartment right now, and she's kind of insane. In a homicidal way."
"Giles!" Buffy walked into Giles' apartment like she owned the place... and right into a trap. A net fell from the ceiling, and Angel was instantly behind her, restraining her while Xander tied her hands.
"Dammit! Angel - what are you doing?" she howled, kicking furiously.
Automatically avoiding her kicks, he solemnly turned her around to face him. "You're out of control, Buffy. Willow told us what you said at school today. About killing Kathy."
"She's EVIL! I keep telling you that, and nobody believes me!! Giles! Giles... in my back- pack, in the pocket - her toenails... they keep growing, Giles!"
"Buffy, sweetheart... you need some help," Angel pleaded. In the next moment, he leapt back out of the way as she viciously thrust a knee up at him.
"Wow, she's pissed," Oz commented from behind them, helping Giles retrieve a plastic baggie from Buffy's backpack.
"Yes, well, we can't very well let her go about committing murder, can we?" Giles asked rhetorically, examining the clippings.
Angel cocked his head. "I don't know... if anyone ever deserved it..."
"What did Kathy ever do to you?" Xander demanded. "I take your sides, of course," he finished quickly as both Buffy and Angel rounded on him.
"Come now... let's just all calm down," Giles said rationally, flipping quickly through the pages of another text. "Ah... here we are."
"I'm not calm! You tied me up!" Buffy raged, fighting the ropes. Angel just stood miserably by and watched her, afraid that doing any else to subdue her would make her even more angry at him.
Giles ignored her and gestured to the others to gather around. "I have a spell here to cure whatever this... possession is. If Buffy is indeed possessed by this demon, she'll be returned to her normal state soon enough. However, there are some things I need from the magic shop.
"I'll go!" Xander volunteered hastily after another evil glare from Buffy.
"No, no, surely it's best if I go. You won't know what to get," Giles decided, grabbing his coat on the way out the door.
"I'll go pick up Willow," Oz said, disappearing as well.
Fifteen minutes later, Angel and Xander were talking about the situation, still waiting for Giles to return. Buffy was sulking on the ottoman.
Five minutes after that, Giles came to the realization that the toe-nail clippings that Buffy had given him were in fact those of a demon... in fact, those of the type of demon on the printed page of the book he was examining.
Two minutes after that, Buffy broke free of the ropes, knocked Xander unconscious, and kicked Angel through Giles' sitting room window.
"Buffy! Wait for me... this isn't safe!" Angel yelled, running after his girlfriend. He shook shards of glass out of his hair and off his jacket as he staggered after her. He hadn't been seriously injured by his brief flight into the courtyard, but he was extremely disturbed that Buffy would have done that to him without thought - so casually. She MUST be possessed... she just had to be. He didn't know what it would mean if she wasn't...
When he finally caught up to her - it wasn't a huge challenge to know where she was headed - she was fighting Kathy in her dorm room... at least, something that had once been Kathy. The freshman's face had been peeled off to reveal one of the glow-eyed demons from the night before. She and Buffy were battling tooth and nail... literally, on the floor of their room. Buffy was on the bottom now, but as Angel watched from the door, she heaved Kathy over her head to collide with the mini-fridge. The Slayer tried a round-house kick, which Kathy blocked, but the reverse punch caught her in the head, and she slammed back against the wall, knocking down some shelves. Angel moved forward, fangs sprouting as his vampire visage took over in response to his rage. Kathy scrambled between Buffy's legs into the center of the room, turning to face her, barely acknowledging Angel's presence.
Buffy turned to follow Kathy, lunging for her, and Angel watched in horror as the demon reared up at Buffy's headlong rush, propelling the Slayer out through the window. Buffy disappeared in a shower of broken glass, a sharp, surprised cry escaping from her. Angel was alone with Kathy. He growled in his throat, circling her.
"God... I can't believe Buffy had the nerve to comment on MY physical appearance, and she sleeps with YOU," Kathy taunted. "Talk about ugly."
"Sticks and stones," Angel mocked around his fangs. "You shouldn't have hit Buffy."
Kathy darted around him, picking up a huge tome labeled "Biology" from the floor and slamming it into his face. He grunted, barely able to stay standing. "You can't stop me now," Kathy declared. "They're coming for me, and they're not going to collect."
"What are you talking about? Who's coming?" Angel ducked under a wild swing, and managed to nail a solid punch to her stomach. She went down like a pile of bricks. He rushed to restrain her, but she was up in a moment, knocking him onto his butt.
"Them. And they'll look for the girl without a soul. So I thought..."
Angel froze, appalled. "You were stealing her SOUL??" To Angel, nothing could have been more horrific. No wonder Buffy had been behaving like that. No wonder.
"Well, I had to take somebody's. You don't understand, I left my dimension to go to college..." The demon landed a devastating kick on Angel's jaw, snapping his head back and laying him out, full-length, on the floor. He cursed himself for being distracted.
"I don't care." He rolled to avoid another kick, but came to a sudden stop when he hit Buffy's bedframe. Trapped. "You can't just take her soul away."
Kathy stomped down with one sneakered foot... directly on his neck. He stared up at her, down for the moment. "You're right. I can't. Not anymore - you both have ruined the whole thing!" Kathy looked speculative as she put more pressure on his throat, threatening to crush his larynx. "On the other hand, maybe YOU can help."
"Forget it," Angel rasped, trying to struggle away without damaging himself too badly.
"That wasn't a request." Kathy smiled down at him, her eyes lit with unholy fire. "This is kind of perfect. I mean, Buffy's soul won't be completely gone, but I'll have a complete soul, at least, so they won't take ME. They'll probably assume I'm her... and that I just haven't finished the ritual."
"Ritual?" Angel was still confused, still trapped, and increasingly certain he didn't want to be stuck in a room with a demon that was talking casually about soul removal. The window... he could barely see it out of the corner of his eye... Buffy was down there, and she might be hurt...
"So you won't mind if I take some of yours, will you? Didn't think so." Kathy paused for a moment, considering him. "And how very lucky for me that you drank animal blood not long ago. Makes it so much easier."
Not letting the pressure off his throat for an instant, she leaned over him, opening her mouth. Angel remember the dreams Buffy had told Giles about. He trembled, afraid of becoming something horrible and tormenting Buffy. *Please let her kill me quickly this time, before I hurt someone,* he pleaded silently, then closed his eyes. He didn't feel anything... then cracked one eye open at the demon's snort of surprise. "Are you aware that you soul is... like, stapled on? Well... if at first you don't succeed..."
She fixed him with her glow-eyed stare again, and this time Angel, his eyes open, felt a gut-wrenching separation. *Oh God...*
Kathy, mission accomplished, made the mistake of easing the pressure on his throat. Angel wriggled out from under her foot, snarling. "Bitch. I'll kill you!" he howled, throwing himself at her.
» Read the the next page. »
This fanfiction collection is part of Angel's Secrets, a rusted-crush.com production. No infringement of any kind is intended. This not-for-profit fan website is a display of admiration and expression, and we gratefully acknowledge the sources that have helped make this site possible, as well as the writers who have allowed us to post their work here. The Frequently Asked Questions page contains more site information. Thanks for reading; enjoy these creative works!