Title: HEARTBEAT Chapter 20
AUTHOR: Mistress Ace
EMAIL: rosewood@inreach.com
FEEDBACK: Helps ease the darkness in my soul...
DISCLAIMER: Don't own the characters at all. They belong to Joss Whedon et al. And thanks to the Powers That Be we get to share in his vision every week... And they say miracles never happen. Please don't sue I'm doing this to appease my muse. Plus it gives me something to do in the evenings other than watch Taz wash his kitty toys...
RATING: NC-17 (You expected anything different from me?)
PAIRINGS: B/A/R/A(us)
SPOILERS: The I in Team and Goodbye Iowa
SUMMARY: This story takes place in my universe, not Joss'. Adam is dead, Buffy and Riley have gone to L.A. to bring Angel back to Sunnydale... There is so much more to the mated bond thing that even I suspected when I started writing this piece.
DISTRIBUTION: FINNactics, FINNSmut, Jen, it's yours... anyone else, just ask
EXPLANATION: Anything within ** denotes internal thought. Please see final notes about the Gaelic in this piece. If I put the translations up here, it might... well just read and you'll see.
DEDICATION: To my father, for encouraging me to always try and fulfill my dreams... And to Amy for calling me this morning and pushing me to get this out today. Don't despair my readers, this is not the final chapter for our lovers.

 
CHAPTER 20

"Angelus... Could you get Riley, please? I-I want him here for this." She nodded toward the bathroom where they'd heard the sounds of a shower being run for the part of their tense discussion. The running water stopped a few minutes ago and she was certain he was waiting in that room for a signal from them to return.

Buffy was grateful for his discretion in this matter. She did have to handle Angelus on her own for once...

Her lover nodded, his eyes once again losing their focus as he reached for his bonded mate.

After a long moment of silence the bathroom door opened. Riley stepped out with a few stray drops of water glistening on his chest and hair still damp. A dark blue towel was slung low around his lean hips, it swayed gently as he made his way through the apartment to rejoin them. His handsome face was impassive.

Riley felt their combined uncertainty about her final decision and he himself was concerned about the outcome. If Buffy refused the bond, what would happen to the rest of them?

She opened her arms to Riley, welcoming him back with a warm smile and a hug. Some of the tension drained away from him as he accepted her embrace but the look of concern did not fade from his Angelus' face. Before leaning down to kiss Buffy, Riley shared his deep fears with the vampire through their bond.

Her lips were warm and soft, her fingers twined through his silky hair to draw him closer. Riley had to strain to hear her quietly spoken words once the kiss ended. "Riley... are you okay with this? I know he seduced you, he's really good at that. But is this what you really, really want?"

His eyes filled with warmth and happiness as he nodded slowly. "Yes, Buffy. This is what I really, really want. I had some time to think about this while I was in shower. I love you with all my heart... If this bond will give me the same connection to you as I have with Angelus and with Angel, I want it..."

He held her close, his heart thudding in her ear as he cradled her cheek against his broad, bare chest. Riley's gaze rose to lock with his bonded mate, the next words were directed at him. "I want all of you so badly... My life would not be complete without you..."

Riley stopped actually vocalizing his thoughts at this point, Angelus received the rest of his speech within his own head. *My life would not be complete without any of you... You are my mate, Angelus. I have accepted that. But she is my love... If she spurns you, I will go with her...*

Angelus sighed, he knew it was true even though it broke his heart. Over the past two weeks he'd changed from hating this young man for being his mate's lover, to respecting him as a fellow warrior and finally to loving him enough to take him into his heart as a mate. He fought off bitter tears of disappointment as that quiet, cherished voice continued. *I will miss you for the rest of my life... I-I love you Angelus, not as much as I love Buffy or Angel. But I do love you as well...*

"And I love you, Riley Finn..."

Angelus was distraught, unaware that he had spoken aloud until both of his human lovers turned toward him. Two pairs of hazel eyes regarded him solemnly for a long moment, then Buffy shifted slightly, indicating she needed to be released. Riley complied, moving away from her to stand beside Angelus, touching his shoulder briefly to reestablish physical contact.

His mate leaned into that fleeting touch, enjoying what might very well be a final moment of communion between them. Even though Buffy and Riley had pursued Angel to his home, bearding the lion in his den as it were, Angelus was enough of a pragmatist to realize her refusal of his mated bond could abruptly end their idyllic union.

He wanted to rage, to scream, to tie her to his bed and make love to her until she relented, even if it took decades... But he knew it would do no good. She was not just the Council's Chosen One, she was his chosen one, taken into his heart by his own free will and he wanted the same declaration from her. He couldn't force her to do anything. Not if he wanted to keep her love and he wanted that so desperately.

Buffy regarded them both, noting the love and concern that flowed like a palpable stream between the two men. She gave each of them a small smile, watching it lift the cloud of doom from each of their faces as hope began to dawn in both sets of beautiful eyes. "Angelus?"

He cleared his very dry throat, his voice a mere whisper. "Yes, my love?"

"So what do I have to say?"

"Say?" Please, please, please let that light in her eyes mean what he thought, what he hoped, dammit what he prayed it meant. *I'll give everything up for her, Angel, everything. I'll wear a cross every day, I'll bathe in Holy Water, I-I'll got to confession and not eat the priest... I'll do anything if I can have this one thing.*

Riley recognized that teasing gleam in her eye and he wanted to whoop out loud as her little hand came to rest on Angelus' chest right above his heart. Her voice was soft. "Yeah... Even though I know how Riley did it, you need to tell me... What do I have to say?"

A stunned look crossed the vampire's dark visage, this time he knew his heart had actually started to beat. His bonded mate was grinning from ear to ear, bouncing on his toes with joy as he tried so hard to keep silent.

The smile that lit Angelus' face could have rivaled the sun. With a shaking hand, he caressed her cheek marveling at the silken texture of her skin. He was clearly amazed and almost speechless. "A-all you have to say is yes, m-"

She stood on tiptoes, kissing away the rest of his sentence. Angelus moaned deep in his throat, his knees suddenly weak as he felt his Slayer's love flow out of her little mouth into his body. One word was whispered against his lips and the power of it drove him to his knees. "Yes."

A kaleidoscope of emotions overwhelmed him as his first chosen mate accepted him fully into her heart. Angelus wept, great wracking sobs tore from his body as he wrapped his arms around her waist, clinging to her like a drowning man.

Buffy held him tightly, feeling his anger, his ancient rage at the Watcher's Council, his hatred of her destiny being washed away by the sheer flood of her love for him. A glance up at Riley showed he was completely hooked into the bond through Angelus, his own face awash with matching tears.

Buffy removed one arm from her bonded mate's shoulder and reached toward Riley, beckoning him closer. He chose to kneel in front of her, one arm around his weeping vampiric mate. She lifted his head until their eyes met before she leaned over to kiss him as well.

The same single word was spoken to him, sealing the three of them together. "Yes." Riley was now just as speechless as Angelus, the powerful flood of her love poured into him through a direct link. He placed his head next to his vampire mate's just below her breast and wept with him, the dark coil of tension within him completely released by her acceptance.

Both men held onto each other as well as their little mate, their darling girl, their bright shining goddess who swayed between them, rocking them in her arms. She murmured soothing nonsensical words, crooning to them as all their fears were washed away by her love for them.

Angelus turned to Riley wordlessly seeking his kiss, drinking the tears on his skin before claiming his mouth. Their tongues dueled with one another as passion rose, hands reached out to grip muscle and bone, each seeking dominance over the other. Riley gave Angelus a run for his money; his teeth broke the flesh of the vampire's bottom lip as he gave him a deep nip.

A single drop of blood trembled on the abused spot when they broke apart. Riley stared at it, his tongue reached out to taste his lover's blood but Buffy beat him to it.

Her little tongue flicked out, swiping the ruby drop away, swirling it around her mouth before swallowing. The taste of Angelus' blood was so powerful she found herself dropping to her knees while still locked in their embrace.

She was suddenly so greedy for more of his deliciousness that she reached for his mouth, intent on drinking as deeply as she could from the little wound. Angelus shook his head, drawing back from her abruptly, his hand pushing her away. "No..."

"No, why no?" Buffy reached for him again and was rebuffed. Angelus turned his head away, choosing to bury his face in her neck, soothing her with long licks on her mate's mark. A rumbling purr rose from his chest as he encompassed that beautiful scar with his mouth and sucked on the fragrant skin.

Riley took advantage of his withdrawal, tangling one large hand in her hair before covering her lips with his. She moaned deeply, her mouth filled to its limits with his warm tongue as Angelus continued to purr.

When he finally chose to speak, Angelus' voice was a mere whisper of sound against her skin. "Because too much of it would turn you, my little mate and I promised."

Breaking away from Riley's kiss, Buffy gasped. She was stunned by the knowledge that he had actually kept his head when she had not. Angelus lived up to his promise to all of them by refusing her his blood. She arched up against him, his hands rose to cup both breasts as he ground his cool body against hers.

All her shields were gone and Buffy was almost lost in a sea of sensation. She could feel all three of their voices in her head as they lavished her with praise and sweet caresses. In another moment, she would lose complete track of where each of them ended and the next began...

Angel's gentle voice finally dominated the other two, pushing them away as he silently spoke. In his extremely emotional state, he reverted to his birth language. *An toir thu dhomh?*

Riley and Buffy broke their kiss, both turning their heads to look at him.

Angelus conceded control, he had what he wanted. The strength of Buffy's love for him had not only healed his old wounds, it had reconciled him with the soul he shared Liam's body with. It was time for Angel to bond with each of them. Once Angel was linked into the bond with his mates, Angelus would be able to feel everything that happened to him anyway.

Both of the humans gazed deeply into his eyes, welcoming Angel back to conscious control of his body. Buffy was the first to speak. "What do you want us to give you, Angel?"

"Thu?" They understood him perfectly, he wanted them to give him themselves. The answer was the same as Buffy had given Riley and Angelus earlier.

Both of his human lovers answered in his native Gaelic. Their inflections perfect, filling the one word with all their love and acceptance of his soul. "Seadh."

It was his turn to cry, held between their warm bodies as both of them spoke again, their voices melding into an exquisite blend of masculine rumble and feminine sigh. They asked him the same question in the same language. "Aingeal, an toir thu dhomh thu?"

He sobbed the words that sealed him into the mated bond forever. "Seadh, ceisd mo chridhe. Seadh, mo daor caraid. Seadh, mo deamhan. " His demon reeled in shock as the meaning of the final words of acceptance struck him to the core. Liam's soul had not only bonded to his two other mates but had accepted him as well. *Angel? Liam... Me too?*

Angel laughed, amused by his demon's stunned question. He repeated himself, his voice loud and strong as he accepted all of his dual nature. "Seadh, mo deamhan, saedh..." Angelus fell silent, completely speechless for the first time in a century of cohabitation.

He hadn't expected Angel to take the final step and fully bond with him as well. This would bear some deep thought. He withdrew slightly for them all to indulge in one of Angel's favorite past times. Angelus chose to quietly brood.

His mates laughed at him. They teased him, urging him to come play with them but soon realized he needed time to think. So they let him sit silently in Angel's head while they embraced one another. Buffy tickled both Riley and Angel, sending each of them into gales of laughter as they wiggled around on the living room floor. Two of them would gang up on the third and then change sides; they played until they were almost exhausted.

The three of them collapsed in a heap on a pile of scattered pillows, most of which had been tossed off the couch when Buffy tried to escape from their combined assault. Buffy was lying with her head on Riley's chest and Angel had laid his head on her side, his fingers stroking Riley's knee.

Angel grinned up at her, his emotions still running high from the power of their bonding. He spoke without thinking, not bothering to revert to English. "Leannen, plasog bhur gobhal. Tha mi acrach."

Buffy's connection with him translated the Gaelic phrase instantly. A deep red blush rose in her cheeks as she obediently laid back against Riley's chest and spread her legs for him. Angel dove in without hesitation, his mouth meeting her sex with a soft moan of utter bliss. He was hungry for her...

Loud cries of ecstasy floated up through the elevator shaft to the empty office above as the mated trio renewed their bond in each other's flesh...

******

"Do I have to wake up?" Buffy's head was buried in the pillows on Angel's bed. They had made love all night long and she was dying for some sleep.

Riley and Angel made some sort of stupid masculine bet with each other when she went to take a shower sometime before midnight. When she came back to bed, they were waiting for her with innocent looks on their faces. Angel pulled her down to lie beside him. While he kissed her tenderly, Riley knelt between her legs and started to lick every inch of her warm, wet sex.

Once she reached orgasm with him, the two men switched places. She rested her head on Riley's warm chest while Angel's cool fingers and tongue teased, caressed and loved her thoroughly. For the better part of an hour, they kept trading places, coaxing more and more from her. Each climax grew stronger until she slipped into unconsciousness after coming for what must have been the tenth time.

When she awoke, Riley was inside her, his warm cock stroking where Angel's fingers had just been. He hardly broke a sweat before she was screaming, sobbing her fulfillment into his shoulder. Before she came down from that sweet pinnacle of sensation, Riley rolled away and Angel took his place, hooking her legs over his shoulders as he rose up on his knees. This new position placed the tip of his thick penis right in that wonderful spot and she was coming again almost instantly.

He stopped mid-stroke, his game face sliding into place as he fought off his own orgasm. When her tremors subsided, Angel withdrew from her while Riley's hands turned her over. He pulled her up onto her hands and knees then sank his cock all the way into her from behind.

One large warm hand cupped her left breast and the other skirted over her belly until he found her sore little clit. He knew she was too tender to actually touch there so he slowly traced around the little nub, pulling lightly on the flesh above it until she flooded him with yet another screaming climax.

She was past caring as she begged them to stop, she couldn't take anymore. Angel laid on his back underneath her, drinking in the sight of her sweat soaked brow, her bruised lips, the wild look in her eyes as she pleaded with Riley for him to come and give her little body a break.

The sheer beauty of her in this state inflamed him so much he had to join them in their race for completion. Angel wrapped his hand around his aching erection and started to stroke it in time with Riley's thrusts.

His heart swelled with love as he watched the deadliest woman alive reduced to a trembling pile of limbs as Riley's body jerked against her. The young man threw his head back and gave out a mighty cry as he finally came inside her, losing the bet by mere seconds. Buffy used the last of her strength to pull Angel's mouth to her mate's mark. He could not resist the temptation; he broke the tender skin with his fangs and drank deeply.

His bite sent her spiraling into the strongest climax of her entire life, she forgot even how to breathe as it slammed through her. Tearing his mouth away from her, Angel's roar of fulfillment followed Riley's, his cool semen jetted upward to bathe Buffy with his very essence. Her knees gave way and she fell forward onto his chest, Riley followed her down to land on top of Angel who easily cushioned both of them with his body.

Buffy slipped away again into unconsciousness, waking only when Riley lifted her from the bed and carried her into the bathroom. Angel turned on the taps in the huge claw-footed tub to draw her a bath while Riley leaned back against the counter, cradling her little body to his chest.

When the water was the right temperature and depth, Riley carefully climbed into the tub. He sat down, gently easing her into the water with him. Angel joined them, sitting in front of her and leisurely washed each limb with a soft cloth lathered with his distinctive sandalwood soap.

They took turns washing her, pampering every inch of her luscious skin until she glowed from their solicitous care. She was covered in kisses as they both dried her carefully. Angel wrapped a gorgeous black silk dressing gown around her before he carried her into the kitchen. Once there, Riley coaxed her into drinking some water while Angel massaged her feet and the muscles in her legs, which had knotted up from the pressure of withstanding too much pleasure.

Buffy had never felt so cherished in her entire life. The rest of the night continued in the same vein until the three of them collapsed in a heap on the bed somewhere around dawn. Angel found just enough strength to pull the sheets up over the three of them before his eyes closed. It would not do for Cordelia to come barging in on them again without some form of covering.

But Queen C left them to sleep in. Angel awoke a few hours later, he gave each of his sleeping mates a tender kiss then stumbled into the kitchen to make them breakfast. During his time in L.A., he had become rather a good cook and it pleased him to share his skills with his lovers. After a few moments of chopping vegetables and cheese for an omelet, Angel broke some eggs in a skillet then dropped bread in the toaster.

When he reached into the cupboards for some basil, a pair of arms wrapped around his bare chest and he was pulled up tight against a warm nude body. Angel set the spice bottle down while tilting his head to one side, purring softly as a pair of firm lips laid a soft kiss in the hollow between his neck and shoulder. "Mmmmm... Maduinn, leannen."

A hard cock pulsed in the small of his back as Riley returned his greeting in English. "Mmmmm... Morning, lover." He kissed Angel again, marveling at how good his cool flesh tasted.

Reluctantly, he released his hold on his lover's body as Angel moved away to stir the eggs. Riley snagged a piece of cheese of the cutting board, its rich flavor complementing the taste that lingered on his tongue. "Can I help?"

*****

They put together breakfast quickly, placing it on a tray so they could feed their little Slayer while she recuperated in Angel's bed. She had been magnificent last night, rising to every challenge they put before her. Now it was time to replenish her depleted reserves before they dealt with the outside world.

Angel held the tray while Riley extricated her from the pillows, the young man dealt with her grumbling with good grace. After a brief tussle which ended in a deep, toe curling kiss, he managed to get her upright, tucking several pillows behind her back. Once she was in position, Angel set the bed-tray in front of her and the wonderful smell of food caused Buffy's sleep-filled eyes light up. She hadn't been aware of how hungry she was until that very moment.

They settled down on either side of her and took turned feeding tidbits to her. The first bite of Angel's omelet sent such a thrill of sensual overload to her brain and out through the mated bond that all three of them gasped. Buffy laughed at the stunned look on their faces, Riley took the forkful he'd been holding up for her and tasted it himself.

His eyes went wide as the delicious combination of flavors filled his mouth, he turned to Angel with a huge smile. "Damn, Angel... you can cook for me anytime."

Angel chuckled, feeding Buffy a bite of toast slathered with real butter and gooseberry jam. She made a little happy sound, her eyes rolling back in her head and both men moaned as they reacted to her pleasure. Her toes curled up as did Riley's. Angel experienced the texture and flavor of the food through their bond; he was delighted they could share such a mortal sensation with him. He thought this was a joy forever denied to him after he had given up his mortality to save Buffy...

He heard her sharp intake of breath and looked up into her eyes, not realizing what he had just let slip. She stared at him in utter disbelief, Angel shot a glance toward Riley where the same expression was mirrored on his face. Buffy found words first. "You did what?"

*Oh hell, soul-boy, now you've really put your foot in it this time.*

He shot a sarcastic comment to his demon. "Good morning to you too, Angelus."

Riley cleared his throat, the bite of omelet held on his fork forgotten as he stared at his vampire mate. "Angel, what did you do?"

He sighed, settling down for another long session of explaining his behavior to his mates. Trying to interject a bit of levity, Angel asked. "Do you want the long or short version?"

Buffy gave him the look, the one Spike had always referred to as the tell-me-before-I-ram-a-stake-where-the-sun-doesn't-ever-shine look. It was going to be a very long morning...

********

An hour later, Buffy was lying down on the bed sobbing in his arms. Riley had moved the tray off the bed and joined her in holding Angel tightly. If he'd ever had any doubts about the vampire's love or loyalty to Buffy, they were completely gone now. Riley knew if he had been faced with the same choice, he probably wouldn't have been so damned noble...

Angel kissed her, running his hands through her hair, crooning softly in her ear as he tried to calm her down. This was not the way he had intended on telling her about their lost day... In fact he had never meant to tell her about it. Both Buffy and Riley shouted at him as that thought filtered through the bond. "No!"

Riley ducked his head, letting Buffy take the lead as she grabbed Angel's face in both hands, holding his gaze with hers. "Don't you ever hide anything from us again... Do you understand? Not ever!"

"I won't... I promise..." There was no guile in his expression, she knew even without the bond he was telling the truth. She kissed him thoroughly, regret over losing his humanity oozing out of every pore. "Buffy, please... No regrets... I did it to save you."

"Angel, I can save myself, thank you very much..." The look in her eyes was deadly serious. "The next time you run into a Mohra demon, you had damn well better get its blood all over you and in you for that matter. Got it?"

"But, Buffy..."

"No buts. We'll just have to figure out a way to work around the loss of your vampiric strength. Riley's buds at the Initiative can probably give us a hand with their technicolor food of strongness, can't they?" She looked over Angel's shoulder to meet Riley's steady gaze. He nodded, stroking Angel's side as he replied.

"Yeah, I bet we can come up with something..." Riley dropped a gentle kiss on Angel's shoulder.

"But..."

Buffy was getting exasperated with his protests. "But what, Angel?"

"If I become mortal, Angelus..." He couldn't finish the thought. It was his dearest wish to be mortal again, to share a normal life span with the two of them. But if he did, Angelus would be gone, ousted from his body back into Hell.

They both caught the thought and were instantly dismayed by their dismissal of Angelus from their equation. Riley recovered first, he wrapped his arms tightly around Angel's body silently trying to reach the demon within him. Angelus responded to his touch, arching his back and purring softly.

Buffy touched his face, murmuring an apology to both of them. "I'm sorry, Angel... I'm so sorry, Angelus..."

Angelus rose up through Angel to give her a quick kiss. "It's okay, little Slayer. I know how much you want Angel to be human... Just realize I'll put up a helluva fight. Get it?"

She nodded, "Got it. No Mohra demons."

He chuckled before fading away. "Good. Now finish your breakfast. I like my women tiny, but not thin..."

"You sure couldn't tell that from looking at that Kate Moss wannabe, Druscilla."

Angel laughed at her expression of distaste. Buffy had never been silent about her dislike of Angelus' mad childe. "She fits Spike's taste, not mine. Me, I like pleasantly rounded hips, full breasts and that lovely little rise of belly over your mound of curls. So eat, you're too thin."

"Great, of all the vamps in the world, I end up mated to a Jewish mother..."

******

Gaelic translations (Warning, my grasp of this beautiful language is far from perfect)

An toir thu dhomh? Will you give me?
Thu You
Seadh Yes
Aingeal, an toir thu dhomh thu? Angel, will you give me you?
Ceisd mo chridhe Darling of my heart
Mo daor caraid My dear friend
Mo deamhan My demon
Leannen, plasog bhur gobhal. Lover, open your legs
Tha mi acrach I'm hungry
Maduinn, leannen Morning, lover