after.midnight // v.naked TITLE: Outside Looking In
AUTHOR: Tamara
RATING: R - sex, angst, A/F, A/F/S implied, F/S implied, A/S implied.
DISTRIBUTION: I'm probably going to change it again, but email me and we'll talk.
SUMMARY: Buffy's POV. You want more than that you have to read it.
FEEDBACK: If you find the time, send it along.
DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Joss. The only thing I own is this story.
NOTE: I've got this Angel/Faith obsession that's just not going away. Oh well. Also, this is the first time I've attempted to write anything from Buffy's POV since 3rd season. I was as sympathetic to her character as I could be. Lastly, hasn't been beta read. All mistakes are mine alone.


I guess I just wanted to know where I stood. A lot of time had passed since he left and plenty of angry words had been said during those years. Most of them by me, I will admit, as Angel didn't say much. But the words he spoke hurt the most because they were nothing if not true. Everything Angel ever said to me made me think about who I was and who I'd become. The only thing my words had managed to do was push him farther away.

But for all that he didn't like me, and though I'd never asked him, I had no doubt about the truth of that, some part of him would always love me, and if I needed him enough to call, then he'd be there. Even when coming to Sunnydale meant he had to deal with everything he'd put behind him; me, my friends, and this town where the bad memories outweighed the good.

But I'm rambling. The point is, I needed him and, no questions asked, he came.

I did not, however, allow myself to believe that he rushed back to Sunnydale just to be near me and bask in the glow of my presence, soaking up the light of my love one last time before he was forced to go back to his grim and lonely existance. I may be a little stuck on myself sometimes, but I try not to get stuck on stupid. Angel's got quite the wonderful life in LA. Friends who love, adore, and do anything for him. A business that's successful and thriving. A duty he does, not just to atone for all his past deeds, but out of genuine desire to help those in need. Hell, he's even got a couple of lovers who make sure that he never, ever goes to bed alone.

I don't begrudge him that, although you wouldn't guess that from the way I act around him. If anyone deserves to be happy it's Angel. I just wished he could have been happy with me.

And maybe that's the real reason I braved the wind and rain and went to the mansion. I guess I just wanted to see how thoroughly I'd been replaced. Angel didn't need me anymore, didn't want me in his life, and I was having an extremely hard time dealing with that. It was funny though, you'd think after 8 years, I'd have gotten over it already.

But it's one thing to know someone you once loved, and if you're honest, still love, had moved on. It was quite another seeing it with your own two eyes.

So, is it any wonder that I felt my heart crumble into a million pieces when I looked through the glass doors of the courtyard to see Angel sitting naked on the black leather couch, his lap straddled by my equally unclothed sister Slayer, his hands buried in her long dark hair, her lips devouring his?

The sight of the two of them together should have been enough to send me packing, but I've always been a masochist and pain was never enough to drive me away.

I looked around for Angel's other lover, but I could only detect the familiar feel of one vampire on the grounds. Wherever Spike was, for the moment, he wasn't getting what used to be belong to me. That didn't really do much to soothe me now.

Finding out about Spike hadn't hurt me nearly as much as the knowledge that Angel had chosen to be with Faith. At least Spike's presence in his bed could be explained by familiarity, a bond of blood that wasn't love or hate, but something much deeper than both. What he and Spike had could not be denied or forgotten, controlled or explained. It was just what it was. Other lovers would come and go, love would turn to hate and back to love again, but they would always remain, truly together forever.

Faith was a whole other matter entirely. Despite everything she'd done to him, to me, to us, he wanted her. When his soul was anchored and his curse was no longer a threat, he made love to her. When Faith had come to town, telling me in great detail about her affair with *my* vampire, he came after her. He always went home with *her*. But it wasn't just that he chose her, that she was who he needed, not me, it was that he loved her. You could see it in his eyes when he looked at her, hear it in his voice when he said her name. It was in every touch of his lips against hers, every caress of his fingers on her skin. He loved her, even though they both knew that one day things would change between them. And she loved him.

Sometimes when I'm lying in bed at night, allowing my thoughts to drift, I wonder if there's any significance to the fact that the two people Angel loves have both tried to kill me.

Against my will, my gaze strayed back to the two on the couch, my breath catching in my throat as Angel settled Faith over him, pulling her down slowly until they were intimately joined. As he entered her, Faith let out an impassioned cry and Angel's lips tilted up in that little half smile I'd always thought was only for me. And as I watched the two of them moving together in familiar rhythm, all I could think of was how it should have been my lips he was kissing, my nipples squeezed between his fingers. I should have been the one taking him deep inside, warming his cool flesh, making him growl in exquisite pleasure.

"It should have been me," I whispered in the night, tears streaming down my eyes.

"Slayer," a familiar voice said from behind me and I whirled around to find Spike sitting in a chair, smoking a cigarette. "Enjoying the show?"

He was shirtless, his leather pants undone, and his pale skin shone brightly in the rays of moonlight that illuminated the garden. A wave of desire slammed through me at the sight, visions of Angel's hands on his chest, of Faith's lips on his skin. One more thing that should have been mine.

"Why aren't you inside?" I asked, ignoring his question as I wiped the tears away. "I figured you'd be a major player in that action."

Spike took a drag from his cigarette, blowing the smoke out slowly. "Well, Faith and I had our own bit of fun earlier," he said with a wicked smile. "I figured I'd let Angel have a go now."

I rolled my eyes. "I'm surprised you three can keep track," I remarked snidely to cover the pain inside.

Spike laughed. "Threesomes can be fun, love," he said, stubbing out his cigarette. "Too bad you couldn't go the distance. You might have learned just how much."

I started to speak, but a scream of satisfaction, followed by a familiar growl of triumph, echoed through the darkness. I turned back to the mansion to find Faith lying against the back of the couch, her legs wrapped around her lover's waist. Angel thrust inside her twice more before collasping against her, his head nestled between her breats. As I watched, Faith's arms came around him, holding him tightly as a small smile graced her red, swollen lips and she whispered sweetly to him.

Just when I thought nothing could hurt worse than seeing the two of them together, that my heart couldn't break anymore than it had, seeing them so content in each other's arms, it did.

"Go home, Slayer," Spike's voice whispered in my ear, startling me. He stepped around me and into the manison, but the two on the couch never moved a muscle. "There's no place for you here."

Gently, he closed the glass doors behind him and, to bring the point fully home, he shut the dark crimson drapes that kept out the threat of the sun, leaving me standing there broken and alone in the dark.

Resolving not to break down until I had a bed to cry on, I walked up the steps of the courtyard and away from the mansion, oblivious to the rain that poured down angrily from the sky.

I knew where I stood now; outside Angel's life and his heart.

There was no place inside for me anymore.