A/N: My take on Sactuary. Enjoy!

Buffy was, admittedly, slightly afraid. Faith. And Angel. On a couch. Hugging. Angel saw her, and the look on his face… It was like he was actually surprised. Didn't Giles tell him? Tell him what had happened while the dark Slayer was in her body? Apparently not, or maybe Angel would still have been holding Faith (his arms were her place, only hers, always have been, always will, so the body stealing bitch had better get the hell out of them) if he had known. Because it was Angel, and he believed there was good in everybody, no matter how far down it was. They were both up pretty quickly. Faith, trying to stutter out an apology.

"Faith, go upstairs," Angel said.

"Don't you dare-"

Angel grabbed Buffy. He had to make her see, Faith was okay again, she wasn't going to hurt anyone. The blonde Slayer turned and punched him away. She was about to apologize, realization of what she'd just done hitting her hard, but even harder was Angel. He's given her a good solid backhand, drawing blood. She looked up at him, and remorse flooded his face. She covered her mouth and looked at him through tear filled eyes.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry."

He reached out to touch her face and she backed away, "Don't touch me!"
"Buffy, please," his own eyes filled with tears, "I'm sorry."

"How could you? For her? I don't care if I sound like a bitch right now Angel. Do you know what she did to me?"

"Yes."

"Do you care?"

"Of course I care. Buffy, I love you."

"No you don't."

"Buffy, don't do this, please."

She turned away, and went to the stairs.

"Buffy, please wait," he called.

She turned to face him. Only her eyes conveyed the hurt she was feeling.

"Who the hell are you?"

He froze and she ran, up the stairs, slamming the door behind her and sinking to the floor, sobs wracking her body. Faith watched from the chair, unable to move.

"Buffy, are you…"

"Just go Faith."

"No. I'm sorry for hat I did to you, and I'm gonna prove it to you, okay?"

"Don't you want to get back to your knight in shining armor?"

"I've never been one for damseling. Screw him anyway."

"Did you?"

"No! Buffy, I'm serious. You and Angel… you guys have the forever love going on. I was stupid to think I could actually break that up. And that Riley guy? Doesn't even compare."

Buffy gave a short laugh, "Don't I know it. But I just need a guy who… isn't Angel. A guy who's the complete opposite. When I found Riley, I was just posing the question… 'How do I get over Angel?' Two months and lots of sex later, I've found the answer."

"Let me guess, frigging impossible?"

"Hell yes."

Faith walked over and took the blonde Slayers hand.

"I'm sorry."

Buffy gave her a watery smile.

"It means a lot to me that you would say that. I'm sorry that I didn't give you a chance back in Sunnydale. I should've and I didn't. I'm sorry."

"I wouldn't have given me a chance either. Don't sweat it."

Wesley appeared in the doorway.

"Faith. It's time."

"Time fore what?" Buffy asked as her sister Slayer stood up.

"I'm turning myself into the Council. Wes will help me out. Go through rehab and stuff. Therapy."

"Good luck."

"You too B."

And her new friend was gone. Without Faith there to distract her, the tears over Angel came back. Downstairs, the vampire in question sat against a wall, brooding, tears silently streaming down his face. He didn't know how long he sat there, but eventually he got up, hearing a human heartbeat. He must have brooded all night, but the heartbeat… it was slow, like its owner was asleep. Faith, he thought. The brunette Slayer must have fallen asleep when no one came to get her. So maybe it wasn't morning. Angel walked up the steps, taking care not to make much a sound. He slowly pushed the door open, and it hit something. Angel peeked past the door and the sight that met him was a surprise. A peacefully sleeping Buffy, tired after an emotionally stressing day. He could still see the tearstains on her face, and he felt ashamed to have caused that. He sidled through the crack in the doorway and gently picked the sleeping Slayer up, before carrying her carefully down the steps. Her head leaned against his silent chest and he felt content, albeit guilty. He could smell another man on her. It was that boy he'd seen with her during Thanksgiving, the one she'd been speaking to outside the coffee shop. Angel felt the demon inside him rear up, how dare this man, this boy touch what was rightfully his? The mark he'd made on her neck was still there, prominent as ever. He knew it would stay there forever. Angel laid her softly on the bed, and climbed in after. He didn't know why, but he just needed to hold her and listen to her heartbeat as she slept. Eventually, the soft sound of her breath and the thumping of her heart lulled Angel into a deep sleep.

Buffy awoke to feel a slightly calloused hand drift across her face, her stomach, and her waist. She kept her breathing steady and her eyes closed, taking in new information. She was now on a soft, warm bed, instead of the hard cold floor of Angels' office, the air held a hint of cigars and some kind of cologne. And something intoxicating that reminded her of a feeling of contentment, and passion. The hand, that had now returned to her stomach after going down her waist and thighs, was slightly cool, and that sense at the base of her spine, that told her Angel was near was tingling like crazy. The cool hand returned to her cheek. Buffy waited, waited, then with the speed of a Slayer, she reached up and caught the hand by the wrist in its path on her cheek, and opened her eyes to find Angels' surprised face. She let go of the hand and sat up.

"Oh God…"

"Buffy, I-"

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"

"You fell asleep upstairs, I just-"

"I have to go."

"Buffy-"

"Oh God, what am I doing here? You just had to do this, didn't you? You had to make moving on that much harder."

"I'm not-"

"I need to leave."

She rose from the bed, but Angel stood up, using vamp speed to be on the other side of the bed in no time. He grabbed her hand and pulled her too him.

"Let go of me," she muttered, not meeting his eyes.

"Not until you look me in the eye and tell me that when I hold you, like this," Angel wrapped his arms around her, elbows at her waist, hands splayed across her bare back, "That you feel nothing for me. Or when I do this," Angel leaned over and gently kissed the mark on her neck, his mark, "That you don't get the chills I get by just being near you. And that when I do this," Angel swept the back of his knuckles across his Slayers cheek, and stared into her fiery hazel eyes, before leaning over and giving her a tender kiss, before pulling away, "You don't care a bit, because it's just me, just your ex, or when we danced together, you didn't want to freeze that moment and live in it forever. If you can look me in the eye, and tell me all those things, then I'll let you walk away from me, and everything that we ever had and felt for each other, and I'll never bother you again, ever. Tell me, and I'll disappear, forever."

"Haven't you already?"

Angel sighed, "Buffy…"

"No, you know what, fine if that's what you need to hear, if that's what I need to say, what I need to do so that we can walk away, fine. I don't. I don't feel anything for you. I don't want to make you stay with me whenever you decide to just pop into my life and uproot everything, I don't wish that Riley were you every time I kiss him, I don't want to melt when you touch me. I don't, I don't, I don't! Is that what you need to hear? Well is it?" Buffy demanded, tears streaming down her face, struggling in her soul mate's arms.

"Buffy…" Angels own tears mingled with hers as he leaned his forehead against hers.

"I love you so much. I tried to stop. I tried to make you go away. I tried so hard to be normal, but I can't. Oh God Angel. I didn't mean to fall in love with you. I didn't want to even. But you were so… I don't know. But you were there, and you were just so… perfect to me. And I love you so much. I love you and I don't want to stop."

"I don't want to stop either. I can't."

"So," Buffy pulled slightly away from him and looked him in the eye, "What now? Do we just go back to the way we were? Back to pretend? I don't want to Angel, I can't."

"I can't either. But that's just how it goes. We love each other, but it can't ever be anything. It won't ever be anything more than what it is now."

"What? Secrets and lies? One night a year to be us? I don't want that, Angel, I can't do this anymore, I can't."

"I know. I can't either."

"So what do we do?"

"I want you to stay here, with me, always."

"Then I'll stay."

"No, you have to be in Sunnydale."

"Then come with me. Please Angel, I can't do this anymore."

"Okay, I'll come back. There are people here in L.A who already help, and AI could just move to the Hellmouth, probably more money to be made there anyway, and Cordelia would like that."

"Thank you."

They just sat in the silence for a few minutes.

"Angel?"

"Yes?"

"What about us?"

"If you're willing, I'd like to give us a chance."

"Really?"

"Always."

Buffy stood on her toes and kissed him, holding nothing back. All the pain, the fear, the passion and the love poured into one collective force. It would never stop being hard. There would always be another battle to fight, another war to wage, another obstacle to face. But she wouldn't let him be the one that got away, not ever again. They'd be with each other until eternity ended.

Always.

FIN.