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A Reason to Smile

Disclaimer: I'll just raise my eyebrows...
Rating: If it's R, it's light R
Spoilers: All post and pre Chosen, but esp. Damage and Smile Time.
AN: Fixing (erasing) Nina for all BA fans.
 
~*~*~*~
 
"Angel?" hesitant footsteps resounded through his oversized (made drastic by his... condition) office and Angel prayed for the first time since a fragile form had lain in his arms bleeding from the neck  because she'd loved him.
 
Please, God, not now.
 
"Are... are you in here?"
 
No, please, go away!
 
"Umm, okay, I guess you're not," the hesitant steps again, this time away from him, as a voice mumbled "It was stupid of me to come anyway."
 
And dammit, she sounded so heartbroken, he couldn't help but call out to her. "I'm under the desk."
 
"What? Angel why are you..." bolder then, and moving closer.
 
"No! Don't!" he cleared his throat nervously. "Don't look at me right now."
 
"Stop being rediculous. What could possibly..." he saw a hand touch the floor, then a knee, and then he was face to felt with her beautiful green eyes, shiny blond hair and well, actually, he was closest to the scoop neck of her top, and the cleavage showing there. "Oh... you're..."
 
Amusement flickered across her face, followed by barely restrained laughter, and he sighed. "Hi Buffy."
 
"A puppet," she finished. "You're a noseless puppet."
 
"What... oh dammit," he muttered, reaching behind him to grasp the piece of felt and velcro that made up his nose. He put it back on and turned to her. "I didn't want you to see me like this."
 
Buffy smiled softly. "I didn't want you to see me grossly underweight, tired, and fighting for my life, but you did. We had a nice talk even."
 
"You were beautiful," he countered, attempting to smile. Damn puppet making spell thing... and dammit, he sounded like her. "You're still beautiful."
 
"That would work better if you didn't look pissed at me when you said it," she picked him up and placed him in his big chair. She chose to sit on his desk, leaving him with his face almost between her legs.
 
"Stuck that way," Angel answered morosely.
 
"Guess I should have payed more attention to Mom's warnings, huh?" a tear looked ready to form in her eye, but she chased it away. "I... um... I'm here because... I'm sorry, why are you a puppet?"
 
"I pissed the wrong person off," they'd been so close to another topic too. "I should have known to leave the guy with the towel on his head alone."
 
"Huh?"
 
"It's a case we've been working on," Angel would have shifted into what Harmony called 'Boss Man Mode' made his serious face, leaned forward a little, but, as had been pointed out, he was a puppet. "People are working on it. I'm sitting here. Being a puppet."
 
"Permanently?"
 
"Wes said he'd work on that too." Okay back to why you're here, he mentally changed the subject, starting to feel a little testy.
 
"Oh," Buffy nodded, but her face shook as if she was restraining laughter again. "That's good then."
 
They sat in silence for a minute, Buffy trying to gather her witts, and Angel trying to forget that he was a puppet. Finally, he spoke up, asking her why she was in L.A.
 
"Andrew made it pretty clear you didn't have a trip scheduled," he added, unable to mask his hurt.
 
"That's, actually, that's why I came," Buffy leaned over and touched his hand. "God, that's wierd," she mumbled, pulling back. "I, um, I never told Andrew, or Giles, or anyone, that I don't trust you, Angel. I haven't been involved in training Slayers, and I don't live in Rome with Dawn. I no longer have custody of Dawn.
 
"When Wesley told me what Andrew said," she paused. "I've been in New York with Faith. I'm... I was a counsellor there, but Anne offered me a job here, and Faith promised her I'd take it," Buffy gave a small laugh. "And, well, she has this annoying thing where she's usually right, so... I'm here."
 
"And you trust me."
 
"I've trusted stranger play toys... horny dummy for example," she picked him up again, this time settling him on her lap, and kissing his forehead. "I love you. You are the only person who's never willing turned against me, except maybe Spike. I trust you more than anyone in the world."
 
"Andrew was lying," Angel said, wanting to clarify things completely.
 
"He was brainwashed. Giles and I haven't been on the best terms in... a long time, and I'm sure Andrew believed what he told you. But it wasn't true," Buffy sighed. "And I'm still talking to a puppet."
 
"Buffy! Harmony said you were here..."
 
She turned and stared at the man who'd just burst through the door, putting Angel right in the pain in the ass's line of sight.
 
"Angel. You're a..."
 
"Spike..." his angry growl sounded like a cranky two year old.
 
"You're a bloody puppet!"