Author: Dark Star
Summary: What happened to Angel after Graduation?
Written for the RIP challenge at the Angel Elders Mansion
Thanks to Jo for the beta.
The remains of Sunnydale High seeths with people. Students, teachers, parents, and the rescue services, all busily going about their business. But for Angel, there is only her. She is surrounded by people, but they just melt away when she senses him and turns round. Her eyes are dry, and they fix on his and stay there. She is motionless, afraid to break the spell, knowing he will soon be gone, and she will be alone again.
Time freezes. Angel forces his legs to move, makes himself turn away, takes heavy steps away from the only woman he has ever loved. Somewhere he finds the strength, and those first few steps are the hardest he has ever taken. He prays that she doesn't come after him, or call him back, and he doubts that he will have the strength to go at all if she begs him to stay.
He manages those first steps and she hasn't stopped him. She must believe it's the right thing to do, and he feels strangely hurt. But he squares his shoulders and takes bigger steps. It will be for the best.
He sits against the hard wall of the freight train, feeling the sway of the carriage as it travels through the Californian countryside. He has no real destination in mind; no real plan to adhere to. His only intention is to put distance between them. He'd told her that after graduation he would go without saying goodbye. He hoped she thought it was for some noble or dramatic gesture, but the truth was, he'd known that he would weaken if he had gotten too close. But that was him all over, wasn't it? Weak. The First had said it; his human father had said it. How had he possibly thought that he could ever be good enough for her?
The carriage rumbles to a stop, and Angel waits. There is noise and bustle outside, and it sounds like many of the workers outside are going home, but he sits quietly behind the boxes of cargo, waiting for darkness to fall.
It quietens down as the light fades. Some of the workers are unloading the carriages further down the platform, but he doesn't think they will come down as far as he is. He considers staying where is for the night, but he wants to find somewhere safer for the daylight hours. He waits until the next round of unloading starts, and he pulls open the carriage door during the commotion and slips out. He crosses over the platform and weaves among the stationary trains awaiting tomorrow's fate. He considers hopping on one of those and trying to lose himself, but his muscles ache and he has been confined for so long he needs to stretch his legs.
Outside the depot, he looks around. He has no idea where he is. Some nondescript town in some dead-end place; its just what he is looking for. What better place for the dead to end up?
The town, for want of a better word, appears to consist of a diner, a shop, and a batch of small wooden shacks. He crosses to the diner and goes inside.
The pretty blonde girl behind the counter gives him a flirtatious smile. But all he can see is her blonde hair, and he almost turns and walks out again.
"Hi there, stranger," she calls, her voice friendly, and he goes forward. "What do you want?" He knows she is offering more than the unappetising food that is on display.
"Coffee," he manages. He needs something to wash the dust out of his mouth, and he doubts she will have blood on offer. She has lots of blood. He pushes the thought ruthlessly aside and sits down.
There are only two other customers in the diner, transport workers from the look of it, and the blonde girl hovers near her most interesting customer.
"Is there any place to stay around here?" he asks, taking a sip of the bitter liquid, and manages not to spit it out again.
The girl shrugs, bending forward so that he can have a good look down the front of her very low shirt. "There's only Ma Winslow. She takes in the workers." The girl eyes him. "You ain't a worker, are you?"
Angel shakes his head. "Just passing through. Where will I find Ma Winslow?"
The girl gives him directions to one of the wooden houses and reluctantly goes off to serve another customer. He has nothing else to do, and Angel watches her cook the greasy food on the ancient griddle. She looks sad; maybe she is just bored doing the same thing every day in this dismal place. The light catches the band of gold on her finger, and he wonders where her partner is. A thick-set man comes out of the stockroom at the back and says something to her about clearing off the tables properly before she goes home, and she responds by calling him a jerk. The man slaps her on the rear and goes to wash up some of the dirty dishes. Angel finishes his bitter coffee, realising he had better arrange his accommodation soon. It's getting late, and shouldn't be wasting time by speculating on the married life of the waitress. He gathers his bag and goes outside. He has taken only a few paces when he hears a movement behind him. He knows, before he turns round that it is the girl from the diner. Her tacky perfume is making his nose itch.
"I have room," she tells him, getting closer. "It isn't far."
"I don't have any money," he lies, and expects her to slap his face. He is almost disappointed when she doesn't.
"No charge," she laughs, and for the moment, her sad look drops away. "I just want a little fun."
Angel nods towards the diner. "I don't think you've cleared the tables."
Her grin is cheeky, and he can't resist a small smile in response as she says," Max is a jerk. If it's not that, it's something else."
She steps toward him quickly, too close for comfort, and her hand rests on his arm. He can hear her heart, and her blood, and Angel's hands go to her arms to push her away, but she chooses that moment to reach up and press her lips against his. And suddenly, he doesn't have the strength. She is warm and welcoming, she needs him, and he is fucking lonely. He pulls her tight against his chest, his lips crushing her, and kisses her hard. She whimpers, wrapping her arms round his neck and lets her tongue tangle with his. She is panting, wanting him, but she stops, holding him back. "Not here," she says, and he lets her take his hand and lead him over to a tiny shack at the end of the row.
"This is home," she says a little apologetically at the sparse furnishings. "You can see why I need comfort, can't you?" She frowns when he waits outside the door, and jokes, "are you coming in, or aren't you?"
Angel enters the small shack and puts his bag down on the floor. Before he has chance to stand up again, her hands are peeling off his jacket, and her lips are fighting with his. Her fingernails rake on his skin, and its good to feel something, anything real. She is urgently pulling off her shirt and his hands move of their own volition to yank up her bra and mould round her breasts to squeeze them hard. She moans, yanking at his zip to free what she needs, and when she succeeds, that is hard too.
"Want head?" she grunts, as his fingers slip inside her, the barrier of her panties somewhere on the floor.
"No." Her blood is pounding in his ears, and he knows he should leave her, but at this moment, she is all he has. Instead, he turns her round, bends her over the table and pulls her arms up above her head, holding them flat against the table with one hand. At the same time, he is hauling her skirt out of the way, and pushing her legs apart with his knee. She moans as he finds her cunt with his hard cock and pushes deep. "More," she begs. "I want more."
He slips his hand under her stomach and pulls her up, angling her so that he gets much deeper, and still she begs him for more. He doesn't want to think, just feel, and it's good to lose himself inside of her, feel something better than the terrible ache in his gut. Her begging is turning him on, and he reaches over, tangles a hand in her blonde hair and forces her face against the table. She screams, "Yes!" enjoying the controlled violence, and she comes hard, twice, when the desperate clutching of her muscles pulls him over the precipice with her.
Neither has the strength to move straight away, and Angel eventually asks, "When does your husband get back?"
She squirms, turning round on the table to face him, and wraps her legs round his waist. She doesn't ask how he knows. "Tomorrow night. We have all day…"
It's tempting to dampen his misery with this lonely girl, but suddenly, he doesn't like the idea of being cooped up all day in a small town like this. He wants to lose himself somewhere anonymous, somewhere where he can get around during the day.
He reaches forward to caress her cheek and says as gently as he can, "I don't think so. I'm going to leave before dawn."
She nods, her eyes sad but she says nothing, and something about her expression reminds him of Buffy and his throat closes up. A little of his thoughts must have shown on his face, because she pulls him closer for a kiss. "We have until dawn, then."
By first light Angel is ensconced inside the only freight train going somewhere with a decent population. He settles down to wait; if he's lucky, he'll be able to sleep part of the way there. His thoughts inevitably go to Buffy; at least where he is going, he will be close to her, and if she needs him, it won't take long to get to her. He isn't proud of what happened this evening; two lonely people just trying to get by in this world, and she - the girl - he suddenly realises that he never actually found out her name - and he frowns. She proved to him that he could still feel, except now, he feels… traitorous. He feels as though he ought to somehow make it up to Buffy, even though she will never know about this, and he will probably never see her again. He wonders what she would want him to do with his life.
The answer is obvious. She would want him to continue the fight and to help people, the way she does. She has no choice - the least he can do is help her out. Another place, another city, but the mission is the same. He doubts that he can make any difference, but at least now he has something to do, somewhere to go.
The world outside the train starts to wake up. The city of Angels is beckoning.
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