Near You Always
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Part Two

Disclaimer: I don't own 'em.All lyrics from Gloria Estefan's cd Unwrapped, the song used in this particular chapter is called "In the Meantime"

Rating: NC17 overall, but those parts will be clearly marked and I'll try to have the story make sense without them.

Distribution: Let me know.

AN: This is the first time I've added Faith to the B/A mix, but I really couldn't decide who Buffy should choose, and I've since grown endeared to the relationships in this fic as I'm writing them, so I hope it comes across the way I hope it will.

AN2: This will be updated very scarcely because it's difficult to write the way I want to, so tell me if you have any suggestions or anything.

//Take a little breather/ Figure out the reasons that you stopped believing//
Something felt wrong. She knew she was safe. She was sleeping in her Angel's lap, and Faith was next to them, holding Buffy's hand and whispering to her. Except she couldn't be sleeping because she was thinking. And Faith wasn't holding her hand anymore; she couldn't even feel the other Slayer's leg touching hers.
Then she felt the cold water hitting her face and rolling over her cheeks. For some reason, the water felt sad to her, and Buffy opened her eyes to see what made it fall. "A-angel?" she whispered, but he didn't hear her. She brought a hand up to brush away the tears that she realized were falling from his eyes onto her face, but it only made more fall as he pulled her tighter against her. "No cry, Angel. Good now."
He smiled weakly. "I hate to see you like this," he admitted, taking her hand from his face and gently stroking it with between his. "I hate to see you hurting."
"No want to see me?" her lower lip quivered as she thought about what could happen without him to watch over her. "No like me anymore?"
Her words made Angel cry again, and Buffy started to cry too, terrified that he had stopped loving her, because he was supposed to love her forever and ever and if he stopped than Faith could stop to and no one would love her anymore. The mean man was right, she was bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad, bad...
"No... no, Buffy, you're not bad," Angel argued, bringing a hand to cup her cheek. "That's not what I meant at all sweetheart."
"You... love me still?"
"Always," he affirmed, brushing his thumb back and forth over her cheek. "I'm angry with whoever did this to you, but never with you, princess."
"Princess?" he never called her princess. No one but her Daddy called her princess, not Angel. Angel didn't call her princess or take her to the fair and give her cotton candy, or yell at her when she spilled hot chocolate on the new baby.
"Princess," he nodded. "My beautiful princess."
Buffy smiled. "I like princess."
"Me too."
//Save me your caresses/ Go clear up the confusion that your face confesses//
Faith watched in silence from just outside the bathroom door as Buffy and Angel interacted. They still had the whole starcrossed lovers thing down pat, and Faith should have been jealous. Would have been, just a little over a year ago, but Buffy's 'death' had given her time to think.
It made sense that Buffy had had two soulmates, that she had been with both genders, that she didn't seem to have a discernable type (sometimes dangerous came to mind, but Riley and Scott proved that theory wrong). Buffy's heart was so big that even if she was never over Angel, he couldn't threaten Faith's place in it. She could probably fit everyone in the entire world in her heart, and still be equally willing to die for anyone.
That was her secret, the reason Buffy was better than any other Slayer in history. She actually cared about the world, not just her own life, in fact barely even her own life, but the lives of everyone she knew, even people who'd never respected her or treated her like anything more than dirt. That was why she was so forgiving. Her heart was large enough to forgive again and again because she could never run out of room.
That heart was unique to her. Both of her parents were selfish and near-sighted, no matter how wonderful Buffy claimed they were. Faith had met her mother in Sunnydale, and her father years later, and she'd liked them both well enough, but she was willing to admit that they were closed off from Buffy, from the world she lived in. And they had none of her goodness.
At the moment Angel needed Buffy most and that was what mattered.
//On your lips only my name/ That you will whisper/ And remember//
"So she's coming here?" Gunn rose an eyebrow. "The infamous Buffy finally arrives?"
"I imagine she won't be the woman you've heard of for quite some time," Wesley sighed, leaning back in his chair. "She's been in captivity and horribly mistreated for over a year, according to Mr. Giles. She's barely speaking."
"But she's still... she's still the woman Angel loves right?" Fred smiled dreamily. "From the way he talks about her, I think he'd love her no matter what."
"Mmm," Wesley sighed. "I believe he would. But we cannot assume... that is she's..."
"Shaked up with that Faith chick?" Gunn supplied.
"Charles," Fred slapped him on the arm gently.
"I'm just sayin'..."
Wesley sighed, afraid that bringing Buffy to the hotel would only invite her to become an attraction at a zoo.It would be hard enough for her to adjust to the new living arrangements, and with both Faith and Angel there it would undoubtably be confusing. She didn't need Fred gawking at her like she was some kind of a... superhero or something.
Which, she was, but that was beside the point.
He was worried, more than worried. He'd been confidant in his decision to leave Sunnydale because Buffy had had Giles and even without him she'd always been self sufficient. She didn't need him, nor would she accept his help. Though it was neither him nor Giles that had put that self sufficiency in her, if anyone it was Merrick, he'd always felt the same pride her as strongly as Giles had.
He almost didn't want to see her dependent upon Angel and Faith's care. He knew she had been before, knew that she was never quite as independant as she'd appeared, and that she'd almost always had someone looking out for her alone, Angel, then, for a time, Riley, then Spike,then Faith for the longest time; he knew that it was their love and concern that had caused her to reach 26, and kept her sane during her kidnapping, but she had always been strong, perhaps the stronger in all of her relationships.
He could not imagine the girl he still occasionally thought of as his charge weak. Not for anything.
//Take all the time that you need/ I'll be waiting every moment/ In the meantime//
The plane touched down and Buffy found herself in a wheelchair as Wesley helped her to the car. Faith and Angel were getting their bags, and Buffy was alone with her old watcher, but for some reason she wasn't afraid. He was practically a stranger now, and she hadn't really trusted him when she knew him, but she had the feeling he would never hurt her.
"Hi Wesley," she rasped, her voice still shaky and raw, despite her using it more and more over the few days she'd been with Angel and Faith.
"Hello Buffy," he smiled affectionately, and Buffy smiled back. "I'd ask how you've been, but given the circumstances..."
"Lucky," she told him. "Faith and Angel make me lucky. Love me."
"I believe they're the lucky ones, Buffy," Wesley corrected. "That you love them in return."
AN: I wanted to do a Buffy/Wesley friendship bit in here, and I didn't really know how to write it, so I hope this works.
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