DISCLAIMER: Characters belong to Joss, but says we can play with them, so...
TIMELINE: Goes AU during The Yoko Factor.
SYNOPSIS: Memories are tricky.
NOTES: Written for iwry_marathon. Thanks to my wonderful, patient, supportive beta extraordinaire deird1!
"...I come to see you, to help you and you treat me like I'm just... your ex. Then you order me out of your city. And then you come here and start pounding on my boyfriend? What is this? I'd really like to know: What the hell are you trying to do?"
Angel looked away, embarrassed.
"I was trying to make things better."
Buffy chuckled mirthlessly as the absurdity of the situation hit her. Angel smiled too - softly, tentatively.
"You really think you can make things better?" Buffy said wearily. "It's impossible."
"I have to deal with an indestructible nuclear Frankenstein monster. And - and with jealous vampire crap! I don't know what is worse."
"No more jealous vampire crap, I promise." Angel assured her hastily. "And, about the Frankenstein monster - I think I found something."
"I found his lair."
"You did?" Buffy frowned. "Have you been spying on me?"
Angel looked away. "Los Angeles is full of rumors about a super-powered robot who wants to rule the world. So I came here, and smelled a trail of metal, flesh, and nuclear waste and traced it back to Adam's cave..."
Buffy scrunched her nose. "Firstly - eww, gross. Secondly, thanks. Thirdly, do you know by any chance how to switch off this creep?"
"No. But I have an idea where to start."
Buffy perked up. "Have you?"
"Spike. His smell is all over Adam's lair."
"Spike works for Adam?" Buffy stomped her foot. "I'll dust the idiot. Slowly and torturously"
Angel snorted involuntarily. "You can't dust a vampire slowly. Unless you mean something I don't even want to think about. So, about Spike..."
"I hate vampires," Buffy declared gloomily.
"Buffy, Spike is an opportunist. We can use him against Adam. So, this is my plan..."
Pity apocalypses don't take place in Paris. Or, say, London. They'd celebrate their victory on the Eiffel Tower or Millennium Wheel. They'd earned something special, really.
Of course, a picnic at Kingman's Bluff was pretty special too, if you could have your previously-departed-to-fight-the-good-fi
Buffy sighed, contented, as Angel spread a comforter on the edge of the cliff and started to get stuff out of the bag. Who could have imagined that Angel could organize a real picnic, complete with a bottle of juice, a pack of cookies and a tub of ice-cream?
Then again, who could think that Angel and Spike could work together without killing each other? That Angel could convince Spike to work against Adam? That Spike - that blabbermouth - could actually work as a double agent? Of course, he almost spoiled everything when he started arguing with Adam that the Sex Pistols were cooler than The Beatles - but, luckily, their arguments quickly devolved into musings about sex guns, sex cannons and sex missiles.
In the end, Angel's plan worked: Adam thought he was luring them into a trap, while, in fact it was them who lured him into a compound with a powerful generator of magnetic field... Buffy giggled, remembering how hard it was to choose an outfit without a single metallic detail, as they were preparing to go to the compound where they did their enjoining spell. Plastic fasteners, plastic clasps, plastic buckles...
"Yay plastic," she murmured absent-mindedly, fiddling with a white spoon that was part of the ice-cream package. "The role of plastic in the world-saveage is seriously underappreciated."
"It's the common fate of those who save the world." Angel opened the tub with ice-cream and took a spoon for himself. "White spoons, white hats. Disposable tools, that's what we are for them."
"Powers That Be."
Buffy frowned. "I'm not a tool." She looked up and - was it her imagination? - for a moment it felt like the stars stared back at her, curious and detached.
Suddenly she was cold. Angel hugged her and she happily snuggled into his arms.
"You're not a tool either," she whispered. "We kicked Adam's ass, together, because that was the right thing to do. Not because some stupid Powers wanted us to."
"Sure," Angel said and smooched the crown of her head. She chuckled and digged him in the arm.
"I'm serious. I make my destiny with my own hands. Okay, I admit that there are things I can't control, like your decision to move to LA - but we were mature and honest with each other, and... Angel, are you actually eating the ice cream?"
He grinned sheepishly and licked his spoon.
"I just want you to remember how we ate ice-cream together."
She furrowed her brow. "Why? Is it some kinky vampire fetish - eating the..." she checked the label on the container, "'Rah' ice cream together with a slayer?"
Suddenly Angel looked uncomfortable. "Just thought it would be fun," he murmured.
"I never saw this brand of ice-cream in Sunnydale."
"I ordered it in LA."
Buffy stared at him, incredulous. "You ordered this ice-cream to be delivered from Los Angeles?"
"I wanted it to be special."
"How is this ice-cream special?"
For a moment there was something in Angel's eyes. Something she couldn't fathom. Confusion? Doubt? Desperation? As if he wanted to reveal something important.
"Tell me," she said softly. "Please."
Angel looked away. "I - the thing is, I like the song - you know that Howard Johnson song - 'I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For Ice Cream - Rah! Rah!'"
For a moment Buffy was speechless. Then she burst out laughing.
"God, you're so adorable!" She hugged him tight. "You have no idea how cute you are when you're crooning ancient tunes!"
"Hey! I don't croon! And I'm not cute."
"You do and you are." She licked a drop of ice-cream from his cheek. "You are cute, and brave, and noble - and absolutely stupid if you think that I will be mocking your music tastes. Seriously. You shouldn't be afraid to tell me the truth. Because I love everything about you."
Again, that strange stare.
"Don't look at me like this, stupid. I swear, I love the song and your ice-cream is delicious."
She fed him a spoonful and watched him eat, unable to tear her eyes off his mouth.
"Really delicious?" he grinned uneasily.
"Yes. Tonight is perfect."
She finished the last spoon of ice cream, licked the plastic curve. Little disposable tool, brave survivor of the encounter with vampire teeth. On a sudden impulse, she put the spoon in her pocket. It would be her talisman. A reminder of this night. She could look at it before sleep and think about her future ice-cream-y excesses with Angel...
"Thank you," she whispered, feeling safe and comfortable in his arms. "I will never forget how we celebrated our victory."
Three days later she has found a plastic spoon in the top drawer of the bedside-table in her room and stared at it, utterly puzzled.
Why has she put it here? She definitely remembered eating ice-cream together with Dawn, right after they had defeated Adam. They were talking about some stupid old song... very old song, how come her little sister knew it? And Little Miss Muffet was licking her spoon, and it was really gross, but she said she thought it would be fun, so Buffy forgave her and told that she was cute. And they were arguing about destiny, and truth, and something else - but she couldn't recollect what exactly.
The only thing that she remembered for sure - the taste of the ice-cream was delicious.
"Buffy!" Dawn's voice from downstairs was shrill and insistent. "We'll be late for the movie!"
Ignoring a sudden pang in her heart Buffy grabbed the spoon and headed to the door.
"You spent half-an-hour in front of your mirror!" Dawn grumbled when Buffy descended into the living room. "If we're late, I'll tell Mom it's your fault!"
Buffy gritted her teeth and did her best to produce a cheerful smile.
"We won't be late, Dawnie. Everything is under control."
And she dropped the plastic spoon into the wastebox.