On Fire
By Stephanie Biek

On Fire
By Stephanie Biek
Pairing: B/G baby!
Rating: PG
Summary: A little fic set after "Pangs". This is my way of righting the episode without totally bashing Angel. (Sorry, I just don't have it in me to outright kick him in the junk while he's down!) This is my second fic, and also my first song fic. I chose Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire", but I admit it was the Tori Amos version that brought me to my knees in adoration.
Distribution: Hey, if you want it, just tell me where it's going.
Feedback: Always appreciated. It's becoming an addiction. Like chocolate brownies....
Dedicated to my buddy dloane thanks for the great fics, and keep em coming!


Angel strode into the back of the Expresso Pump, Giles words ringing through his head.

"It's not fair, you know she'd say that. You can see her but she can't see you?"

He lounged against the back wall, behind the crowd. He knew that the Scooby gang would be with her at the Bronze. They never came here, as far as he knew. This place was safe.

His heart constricted in his chest, making him wince. The brief glances of her, his only love, had been too short. How he had longed to reach out for her, feel her heartbeat against his chest.

Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go and leave you alone
Got a bad desire
Ooh I'm on fire....

A rich voice rang through the bustling crowd, instantly quieting the throng. His eyes scanned for the stage. He knew that voice. The way the crowd responded with absolute silence told him that they also knew this voice.

Tell me now baby is he good to you
Can he do to you the things I won't do
I need you to cool my desire
Ooh I'm on fire
Yes....

Angel felt himself responding to the pain in the voice, those tones so haunting and filled with longing. It seemed to ring truth in his very soul. This man knew how he felt, inside. The way Buffy had looked at that guy earlier tonight, her eyelashes fluttering coquettishly up at him, a broad shouldered man, and confidence written in his stance. It had almost brought him to his knees in anguish.

She had always been his girl, belonged with him. There was no doubt in his mind that she should be at his side always. It seared him like fire to realize that it would never be, could never happen in this lifetime. She didn't belong

The crowd shifted in front of him, and he saw the man singing, a guitar held in his hand, almost as an afterthought, as he only strummed it every other sentence.

Sometimes it feels like you took a knife-edge
And, Darling cut a six-inch valley
Through the middle of my soul

At that moment Giles glanced his way, caught the only person in the crowd who could guess at the depth of his pain. The man faltered briefly, his eyes no longer hidden behind glasses. Those eyes burned into the vampire's from across the room. Those eyes that had glared at him from over her head many times silently accusing, those eyes that had mocked him with defiance when he had brought him battered and bruised to the floor over and over again, breaking his bones and taunting him. The demon within him had screamed in rage as he failed to break the man, this tweed clad bespectacled man. Who had he been to defy his power? Who was this meek English gentleman to refuse him anything?

The same man who had tried over and over again to give his life for Buffy. This was the man who stayed up countless nights, researching the answers to all of the Slayer's problems. Rupert Giles had given his life to the service of one small girl, now a woman before all of their eyes. And as he sang, his eyes never leaving Angel's, every thought was open to him. He not only gave his life to her, he gave it freely. And that wasn't all he gave to Buffy.

At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet
With a freight train running through the middle of my head
Got a bad desire
Ooh I'm on fire...
Sometimes it feels like you took a knife-edge
And cut a six inch valley through the middle of my soul
Hey little girl is your daddy home
Did he go and leave you alone
Got a bad desire
Ooh I'm on fire
I can take you higher
Ooh I'm on fire.....

"You didn't leave." Angel saw again the expression flash quickly through the other man's eyes before he had looked away, turned from his quiet accusation. And now he understood why he hadn't left, even when it seemed Buffy had grown past the need for a watcher.

Angel's eyes bore into Giles from across the room as the song finished, searching his for an answer. Giles refused to look away, and Angel nodded slowly at him. It was time to leave Sunnydale. He turned and left the Pump wordlessly, his head down. He had saved Buffy's life tonight. He would save it again if she needed him. He would never be far away from her.

But he knew know that she didn't belong to him. Not anymore. Maybe not ever.

After tonight, he would never again doubt whom she did belong to. His own sacrifices seemed petty, worthless, next to the Watcher's. If there was anyone she belonged to, it was Giles. There was nothing he could do about that. Nothing to do but leave her. Again. But not alone this time. He would leave her to him, and pray that the Powers That Be would realize the worthiness of this man's soul.

In his despair, Angel didn't notice the tears that wove silent tracks down his cheeks.