Near You Always
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Part Two

Dear Angel,


I have to admit that your letter surprised me, but I am grateful for your sympathies. I’ve missed him more than I thought possible since I moved here. Japan was supposed to be our place. We’d been talking about moving out here before he died, and when I saw this place, I guess the first thing I thought of was how much he would have loved it. I had to take it, for his memory, and for my own sanity. I had to get out on my own for awhile.


The house is amazing. The dining room is entirely outside, except for the ceiling and one wall that connects it to the interior of the house. Before you start panicking about my safety, there are magic protections up, and I pull a screen around the room when I’m not home or when I’m sleeping. It’s a marble room, with a private bar, and a dining table that takes up most of the room. Overall, the furniture is simple, but there are a few exquisite details that make each piece unique. There are four chandeliers, each only minutely different, but at night the room looks even more beautiful than I had imagined it would be when I decorated it. I wanted control of the dining room, though. I spend most of my time in there, in the kitchen or in my bedroom.


My bedroom windows have no glass pane, and while that may not seem practical; I love to hear the rain as I fall asleep. Rain always reminds me of youth, and innocence, and love. Rain was always my favorite weather.


It’s a private paradise, mainly cut off from the world, but I have an amiable elderly woman who insists on cleaning for me a few times a week. She was a servant of the architect as a young girl, and she speaks English and Japanese. She and Dawn talk on the phone almost as often as Dawn and I do.

Dawn is off in New York, rushing around in the busy world of Big Apple Home Security. She’s involved (be prepared to shudder) with Andrew, Tucker’s brother. Final Proof that she actually has worse taste in men than I do. She is, however, finally over Xander, who’s staying with me for awhile. He helped me move in, and he’ll be here another month. He’s helped me transition, as has my dear housekeeper. She introduced me, and Xander, to her daughter, whose English name is Janine. I don’t know what her Japanese name is, but their last name is Sadaki.


It’s incredible to walk the streets in town. It’s an extreme culture shock for me. Everyone goes by their last name, some wives even all their husbands by their surnames. I have to catch myself every time I meet someone new, and say “Summers san” instead of Buffy. I suppose I’ll get used to it. In the meantime I’ll wait for your letter.






A knock and subtle cough alerted Angel that someone waited for him and he groaned. “Honestly, do I even have a secretary anymore?” he muttered as Gunn walked into the room.


“No. The intern left last week, and you turned every single one of the applicants away,” Gunn answered as he dropped a file on Angel’s desk. “The Council wants backup on a situation in Japan.”


Japan?” Angel echoed, opening the file cautiously.


“Yeah, and fairly close to your girl,” Gunn smirked, catching Angel’s look. “What? I got people.”


“Faith told you.”


“Giles,” Gunn corrected smugly. “Seriously, Brit seemed worried about this. Three chicks with super powers and a demon, prophesies, the whole deal. And he’s worryin’ about your blondie.”


“What does he want?” Angel asked, scanning the vague file. Burkle-Pryce-Chase-Doyle Investigations, named in memoriam, had only been allied with the Council for 2 years, although it had been operating since the fall of Wolfram and Hart. Giles had only recently realized he actually needed help sometimes, and the BPCDI staff was wary of giving in too easily.


“4 BPCDI operatives, the best we’ve got,” Gunn answered. “I want to send Connor.”


Angel froze. The words on the papers before him were just blurs. Gunn wanted Connor to travel around the world to fight demons the company knew nothing about.


“The Watcherman was really stressed about this, Angel. I know he’s new, and he’s young. But, without sending you, he’s the best we’ve got.”


“Who else are you sending?” Angel tried to keep the emotion out of his voice. Gunn and the rest of the world didn’t know Connor was Angel’s son, only that the two were close. Connor was in his early twenties, and he didn’t need a new father. His ‘normal’ life was still, and most likely would always be, stronger in his memories.


“Pat, Jaime, and Akash,” Gunn leaned forward, putting his elbows on his knees. “They’re all experienced and they’re all good fighters. The kid’ll be safe.”


“You better be right about that.”


There was no use fighting it. Connor had to go out into the world sometime. If this was his chosen path, so be it.




“You actually came home,” Nina’s voice wafted to his ears before he was fully in the door. “I’m surprised no emergency came up. Are you sure you checked every single file in the building before you left?”


She was standing in the door way, in his favorite red dress, and three inch heels, a glass of wine in her hand and teasing smile on her face. Thank God. He did not want to fight tonight.


“I thought you had a showing tonight,” Angel pulled off his jacked before kissing her cheek and moving into the living room. Jazz was playing on his stereo, and all his candles were lit. Clearly Nina had a romantic evening in mind.


“Tomorrow night,” she corrected, pouring him a glass as they sat together. She crossed her legs and touched his arm. “You don’t mind this right? I mean you gave me the key, and I thought… but maybe I was out of line, and I can go if I was…”


“No,” Angel turned to look her in the eye. Hazel eyes flashed through his mind for a moment, but only for a moment, and then he was seeing Nina again. “Tell me about your day.”


“What about it?” she looked self conscious as she set her wine glass down and ran her hand up her thigh. “I painted all morning, did the laundry and came here.”


“Did you miss me?”


“Like crazy,” Nina smiled and tilted her head and Angel kissed her, slowly and passionately. “Mm.”


There wasn’t a spark when they kissed, no electric shock or sensual pull towards one another. But they were always good kisses, each holding the promise of more. He enjoyed kissing her.


“Why did you come here?”


“I wanted to see you,” her blond head rested on his shoulder, and he kissed it. “I wanted to spend a romantic evening with my man.”


Are you still my girl?



Maybe contacting Buffy had been a mistake. They’d tried to be just friends before, and proven they weren’t any good at it. He was happy with Nina; he didn’t want to ruin that with memories of Her popping into his head. Nina was good for him. But he hated thinking of Buffy alone in a house miles away for town in a foreign country with a foreign culture. He couldn’t leave her lonely.


“Deep thoughts?”


Angel shook his head and kissed Nina again, willing himself to believe that this would end just as it was, with Buffy as his friend, and Nina in his bed.