Current Meet Former
"Buff, sit down." Steve said. "You're making me dizzy."
"Sorry. He'll be here soon." Buffy said, pausing in her pacing for only a moment. She, Steve, Sam, Bruce, Pepper, and Tony were all sitting in the front living room of Buffy and Steve's townhouse in DC waiting for their guest to arrive. It had been about four months since the destruction of the Triskelion. Buffy and Steve had settled into their life together away from S.H.I.E.L.D. They were going over to London for a while and working at Slayer HQ since their search for Bucky was hitting dead end after dead end.
"You know that you didn't have to call him." Tony said. "This is just asking for trouble."
"Tony!" Pepper scolded.
"What? It is trouble. Look at what happened when I met your ex."
"Killian was not my ex."
Tony ignored her and looked at Steve. "You're not supposed to seek out the ex, Rogers. What if he hates you?"
"So he hates me? I don't need his approval." Steve said.
"Then why call him and invite him over for dinner?"
"Because he's important to Buffy and I want to meet him."
"Please stop arguing." Buffy said. "Can't you two be together for five minutes without arguing?"
"I'm so sorry, Buffy." Pepper said.
"No, I'm sorry." Steve stood up and gripped Buffy's shoulders. "I shouldn't let him bait me like that."
"I'm not baiting anyone." Tony said. "I'm just stating that it's inviting trouble in when you meet the ex." Buffy shot Tony a withering glare and he sighed. "Look, I get that this Angel guy is your first love and that you care about him, but didn't him meeting Riley go over like a lead balloon?"
"That was different." Buffy said. "They met in a dark alley when Angel was fighting the Initiative commandos trying to kill him…. And it was also just after I'd told Riley that Angel upset me…. And on top of that, Xander had opened his big mouth and told him what triggered Angel losing his soul. Riley was just…. being protective. So was Angel."
"So you're not worried about your house being trashed?"
"No. Steve knows everything between Angel and I. He's very well prepared."
"Then why are we here?" Tony pointed at himself, Pepper, Bruce, and Sam.
"I really wish you wouldn't drag me into this. I'm just here for the free food." Sam said.
"You guys are here because you're our friends and this is a dinner for friends." Steve said.
"Where's Natasha?" Bruce asked.
"Still MIA. We haven't seen her since we saw her at the cemetery a few weeks after we took down S.H.I.E.L.D."
Just then, the doorbell rang. Buffy's eyes widened and she took a deep breath. Steve gave her hand a squeeze as she went to open the door. Angel stood there in his typical black pants, a dark gray button up shirt, and a long black duster that stopped just past his knees. His hair was a little longer and styled a little better than his usual crazy spikes. He looked just as handsome as she remembered, especially when he smiled at her.
"Buffy." His voice formed her name like it always had. He was carrying a large bouquet of stargazer lilies.
Buffy smiled. "Hi." She stepped outside, took the flowers from him, and gave him a tight hug.
"This place is pretty amazing."
"Giles found it while we were in the hospital three months ago."
"You were in the hospital?"
Buffy chuckled. "Yeah. Did you hear about that big Helicarrier crash in the Potomac?"
"The one that destroyed that government agency's building?"
"Yeah. Well, I had something to do with that. In fact, I was in one of those Helicarriers as it was crashing with three bullet holes in me."
Angel shook his head. "What have you gotten yourself into?"
"Well, I did have a nice paying job with S.H.I.E.L.D., but like all government agencies I get involved in, it turned out to be not so great. So I got rid of it." She smiled brightly. "Come in, Angel. I want to introduce you to everyone."
"You can start with me."
Buffy looked around Angel to see Natasha standing there. "Nat! What are you doing here?"
Natasha smiled as she moved around Angel and hugged Buffy tightly. "You didn't think I'd miss this, did you?"
"How did you even know about this?"
"Just because I blew all of my covers doesn't mean that I don't have ways to keep tabs on my friends." She looped one arm through Buffy's and held her hand out to Angel. "Hi. I'm Buffy's friend Natasha."
"Hi Natasha. I'm Angel." He said, shaking her hand.
"The ex. Yeah, she's mentioned you." Natasha looked at Buffy and grinned. "Nice flowers. What's for dinner?"
Buffy led the way back inside where Sam, Bruce, Pepper, and Tony stood up. Steve stood off to the side waiting to greet Angel. Natasha went over to him as Buffy introduced Angel to the others. "Angel, this is Sam Wilson." Angel shook his hand. "And this is Pepper Potts."
"Nice to meet you." Angel said, shaking her hand.
"I've heard a lot about you." Pepper said.
"This is Bruce Banner."
Bruce shook Angel's hand. "It's nice to meet you."
"You too." Angel said.
Buffy turned Angel to Tony. "And this is…."
"Tony Stark." Angel said. He leaned down as he was shaking Tony's hand and lowered his voice. "How are you friends with Tony Stark?"
"Long story." Buffy shook her head and directed Angel towards Steve. "And this is Steve…."
Angel's eyes widened. "Captain America?"
"Wait…. You're…. Dating Captain America?"
"More than, I guess you could say. We're living together. This is our house."
"Where have I been?"
"I don't know. It's been a few years since I last saw you."
"Sorry…. Can I…. Can I talk to you in private?" Angel made his way to the kitchen.
Buffy looked at Steve for a moment. Tony looked at them and held his hands out. "See? What did I tell you?"
"Tony." Pepper hissed.
Buffy shoved the flowers into Tony's arms. "Shut up." She headed into the kitchen and took Angel's arm, leading him out to the deck.
Angel paced away from Buffy and leaned against the railing, looking out at the darkened yard. She shut the door behind her and crossed her arms, steeling herself for whatever he had to say. "I thought this call was the one I've been waiting on." He said finally. "The one where you tell me you're finally ready for a relationship…." Angel turned around to look at her. "With me."
Buffy took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. I should've told you about Steve when I called.""Yeah. You should've."
"I didn't know that you thought…." She took a deep breath to keep from getting upset. "It's been years since we last talked, Angel. Why would you think I would call you out of the blue and want a relationship all of a sudden?"
"Isn't that what we said that night?"
"That was years ago. I was a different person. Back then, when I looked into the future, yes…. I wanted it to be you. Two years ago I still wanted it to be you, but Steve…." She smiled at the thought of him, unable to stop herself. "I didn't expect Steve. Hell, I didn't expect any of this. When S.H.I.E.L.D. approached me about a job, this is not where I thought I would end up."
"Do you love him?""Very much so, yes. These last two years with him…. They've been amazing. We were both lost when we met. We didn't know where we stood in the world anymore. He had just been woken up after 70 years on ice and I was starting to feel like I wasn't needed at Slayer HQ anymore. Xander, Willow, and Giles had everything running smoothly. I just went out and backed the girls up every now and then. So when Fury wanted to stop Loki from destroying our world, he threw the Slayer and Captain America together as partners in a team of superheroes. Steve and I became great friends through our partnership and our work with S.H.I.E.L.D. We began to rely on each other and this…." She gestured at the home they were making for themselves. "This just grew from that. I trust him completely. You know, I've never had that before."
"I guess you haven't."
"We couldn't be together, you know. You still have that loophole."
"I know." Angel took a deep breath. "I'm sorry. When you called…." He shook his head. "I've been so lonely since that battle with Wolfram and Hart. Illyria isn't exactly the best of company."
Buffy moved over to stand next to him, looking out over the yard as well. "You know you have a place at Slayer HQ. We could always use your knowledge to help train the girls."
Angel nodded and turned to look at her, leaning one arm on the deck railing. "You didn't answer my question."
"How are you friends with Tony Stark?"
"Carefully." Buffy laughed. "He can be a handful sometimes." She glanced back inside where she could see into the front living room. Everyone was pretending not to be interested in the conversation going on out on the deck. "He's a great friend, though. When Steve and I lost pretty much everything we had when we brought down S.H.I.E.L.D., Tony stepped in and helped us get up and running again."
"How did you meet him?"
"We're all part of the Avengers Team."
"That was you in New York a couple years ago?"
"Wow. I'd heard there was a strong blonde woman fighting with Captain America. I should've guessed it was you."
"Can you believe I actually get paid to save the world?"
"You've been complaining about the lack of pay for that."
"For a long time. Guess I'm back to that now that we took down our bosses." Buffy shrugged. "So, will you meet Steve now without freaking out?"
"Can't guarantee anything." Buffy glared up at him and he chuckled slightly. "Sorry."
She shook her head and walked over to the door, opening it and calling Steve's name. He walked out on the deck and Buffy shut the door again. Tony held out his hands and gave her a what-the-hell look. She just smiled at him and turned around. "Let's try this again. Angel, this is my boyfriend Steve Rogers. Steve this is Angel."
Steve held out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
Angel took Steve's hand and gave it a firm shake. "Likewise. You and your Howling Commandos did a lot of good during the War."
"Didn't you serve some, too, Angel?" Buffy said.
"I wouldn't call it serving. Some military thugs showed up, said they had a captured sub in trouble and they needed someone like me to go down and save them. I was forced into it." He smirked. "They were surprised when I showed up in their torpedo tube. I heard one of them say they thought I was in the Super Solider program like you."
"What happened with the sub?" Steve asked.
"The Nazis were transporting vampires for experimentation. They wanted to make their own Super Soldiers from them. The vampires woke up and the crew that captured the sub couldn't handle them." Angel looked at Buffy. "Spike was one of them."
"He told me." Buffy said.
"I killed two of them. Should've gotten rid of Spike, too. The sub got damaged and the German hostage got free and shot the commander of the sub. I had to turn him to save the rest of the crew. I sent him and Spike swimming before I jumped ship off the coast of Maine and hid till the war was over. I didn't want to end up one of those experiments."
Steve nodded. "What happened to the commander?"
"Showed up a few decades later threatening to kill my friends. He'd lost his mind somewhere along the way. He was a soldier without a purpose and that was my fault. I ended up finishing the job I should've finished back in the 40s."
Buffy noticed that Steve didn't seem to appreciate the ending of that story. She slipped her hand into his and said, "Tony is getting ready to invent an eavesdropping machine if we don't go back in. Let's not be rude to our other guests anymore."
Steve nodded. "Yeah. The food smells about done now."
Natasha met them in the kitchen. She was looking through the refrigerator for something to drink. Buffy walked over and stood next to her as Steve and Angel joined the others in the living room. "You all right?" Natasha asked.
"This may have been a bad idea." Buffy said, grabbing the plates to set the table with.
"Don't tell Stark that." Natasha picked up the silverware and napkins and followed Buffy to the table. "He's been in here saying just that."
"He was saying it before Angel even got here."
"What was all that about?"
"Angel thought that I was calling to tell him I was ready for a relationship with him."
"You got it all sorted out now?"
"Maybe." Buffy glanced at Steve checking on the food in the oven. "I hope."
"Steve's not going to be rude."
"It's not him I'm worried about."
"You think Angel will?"
"He's almost 300 years old and manners have never been his strong suit."
Steve walked over with the large bowl of salad. "Dinner's about ready to be served. Just waiting on the bread."
"I'll go make sure the veggie tray is still a hit." Natasha said, walking back into the front living room to give them some privacy.
Steve set the bowl down and turned to Buffy. He took her hand and pulled her into the back living room, gently brushing her hair back from her face. "Are you ok?"
"Yeah. I'm sorry about that."
"Don't be sorry. You couldn't have known he would react like that."
"Can I ask why he reacted like that?"
Buffy sighed and looked down at her heels. "He, uh…. He thought I was inviting him here to start a relationship with him again. You were a surprise for him."
"You didn't tell him on the phone?"
"No. I told him there was someone I'd like him to meet…."
"And when he got here, a good portion of the Avengers Team was standing around."
"Yeah. I should have told him about you, but I never even thought that he would think…. I'm sorry, Steve."
He smiled and kissed her forehead. "Don't be. We'll be fine."
"You seemed kind of upset about his sub story. I'm apologizing for bringing that up, too. I remembered that he'd been a part of the War and I thought it would be common ground for you guys. I didn't know about the ending."
Steve smiled slightly. "It was only upsetting because it just reminded me that we all did things we aren't proud of back then. Also, if Angel had killed Spike back then, he never would've hurt you that way."
Buffy wrapped her arms around Steve and buried her face in his chest. "Don't think about it."
"I just…. I hate that anyone could do that to you. I want to protect you, even from your past. I know it's completely irrational, but…."
He chuckled and it rumbled against Buffy's cheek. "That's love." Steve kissed the top of her head.
"So I'm guessing that meeting Spike is out of the question."
"Oh, I would put a stake through his heart faster than you could say 'Bob's your uncle.'"
"He's really not that bad…. Well, now he's not that bad. I do still care for him."
"I'd have to set my foot down on that one. It would be pushing it for me."
Buffy looked up at Steve. "That's fine. No inviting Spike over for dinner."
"Speaking of dinner…. What is it with you making me burn food?"
They went over and started pulling everything out of the oven and putting things in their serving dishes that "Pepper" had gotten them. Nothing was burnt, thankfully. The table was set and the food looked great. Steve set out the bottles of wine they'd gotten for the occasion and called everyone to dinner. Buffy and Steve sat on opposite ends of the table since they were the hosts. Angel sat to Buffy's left with Natasha beside him and Sam between her and Steve. To Buffy's right was Tony and Pepper sat between him and Bruce. The table had originally sat six people, but Steve and Buffy had discovered an extra leaf and two extra chairs down in the basement, so everyone fit comfortably.
"This looks great, Buffy." Angel said.
"Thank Steve. He's the cook. But I made the salad. It's idiot proof. Open bag, pour in bowl, add cheese." Buffy said.
"You helped with the rolls, too." Steve said. "It wasn't all me."
Buffy shrugged. "Kneading isn't so hard."
"So this is all homemade?" Pepper asked."Steve wanted to make this dinner special."
"So, I bought some cookbooks and watched a lot of the Food Network." Steve finished. "Hopefully it tastes as good as it looks." Bruce said.
As they all began passing around the food, Tony looked over at Angel. "So, Angel, what do you do these days? Are you still running…. Angel Investigations, was it?"
"Angel Investigations. Yeah." Angel said. "No. I haven't used that in a while. No one to run it with."
"Everyone that I ran it with is, um…. Gone."
"Oh. Sorry. Buffy didn't tell us."
"I didn't think you'd ask." Buffy said.
"Angel, why don't you help out at Slayer HQ? I'm sure your skills and experience could be used there." Natasha said.
"Buffy's offered a couple of times." Angel said.
"Why haven't you taken her up on it?" Steve asked.
Angel shrugged. "There's not much I can really do. I'm a bit limited on when I can work."
"There's plenty of training indoors that could be done.""Tony has offered to be a benefactor for Slayer HQ. He's building a state of the art training center for the girls." Buffy said.
"Really?" Angel looked impressed. "That's very generous of you."
Tony shook his head. "It's a good cause. Those girls are like an extension of Buffy. They keep the world safe just like their amazing leader does."
"So, you two met in New York?" Angel gestured between Tony and Buffy.
"Germany." Buffy said. "He saved me from Thor's brother, Loki."
Tony waved away the comment. "You were holding your own. I distracted you and that's the only reason he got a shot in."
"Steve and I were on our first mission as partners. Our boss Fury had called Tony in for backup."
"He called us in to get the Avengers together." Natasha said.
"You know," Tony said. "Just because S.H.I.E.L.D. is out of the game doesn't mean the Avengers have to be."
"What do you mean?" Steve asked.
"I mean…. Let's keep a good thing going. Earth's Mightiest Heroes keeping the world safe."
"I thought that was Buffy's army of Slayers."
"They don't have outfits."
"I don't have an outfit." Buffy said. "Well, I don't anymore."
"Actually…. I've been working on one for you. And for you, Rogers."
"You're part of the Avengers. We all need suits."
"Banner doesn't have a suit." Natasha said.
"Well, it's a little difficult to get the green guy's measurements."
"Green guy?" Angel asked.
"We call him the Hulk." Buffy said. "He's Bruce's alter ego."
"I was trying to replicate what happened with Steve using Gamma radiation." Bruce said. "The experiment backfired and I ended up with a…."
"Giant green rage monster." Tony interjected."That."
"Oh." Angel nodded. "I remember seeing that on the news…. A few times."
Angel looked at Buffy. "You're keeping interesting company these days, Buffy."
"Haven't I always?" Buffy retorted.
"How did you and Buffy meet?" Pepper asked.
"He was stalking me so I kicked his ass." Buffy said.
"That's not exactly how it happened." Angel defended.
"You were stalking me. I lured you into an alley and then used my Slayer skills to attack you from behind."
"I just wanted to give you the necklace."
"That's one way to fall in love." Bruce said.
Everyone laughed. "Angel didn't want me, though." Buffy said. "He spent months being Mr. Cryptic and keeping his distance."
"I didn't want you to know I was a vampire." Angel corrected."Well, I figured it out eventually and you still avoided me."
The rest of the dinner went smoothly. Everyone took turns telling stories and getting to know each other better. Buffy caught Steve's eyes at one point and they smiled at each other. After dessert was finished, Natasha helped them clear off the table while Angel took a tour of the house with Sam.
"You were worried for nothing." Natasha said to Buffy as they headed out to the patio.
"Apparently." Buffy said. "I'm glad it's going well. I was worried something would happen."
"Well, like zombies attacking or having to run off to save someone or Angel being rude to Steve."
"I don't think we gave him much of a chance."
"I appreciate that. I'm really glad you could make it."
Natasha nodded. "You guys have really made a home here."
Buffy glanced at Steve wiping down the table. "Yeah. It's really nice. I'm going to miss it."
"A few reasons. Mostly Giles needs some help running Slayer HQ since Xander is leaving for his job in LA and Willow is going to be gone for a couple of months on a witch retreat. And with all the projects Tony's got in mind, someone has to oversee them. We're leaving for London next week and then we're talking about moving back to New York in a couple of months and making Avengers Tower a second base for Slayer HQ."
"I've missed a lot while I was gone."
"You should stick around for a while. You'd be a great help with the girls."
Natasha laughed slightly. "I don't make friends easy. Especially girl friends."
"You don't have to tell me. I know firsthand."
She smiled. "I'm happy for you two. Maybe once everything is settled, I'll come join the Slayer Brigade.""I would like that."
Bruce walked out onto the patio. "Ladies."
"Dr. Banner." Natasha said.
"Buffy, your house is nice. I took the tour as well."
"I wish I could take credit for choosing it, but that was all Giles." Buffy said. "Steve and I were just laid up in a hospital bed. And speaking of…." Steve was making his way over to her. "Hey."
"Sorry the chicken was dry." Steve said again. "I left it in for too long, I think."
"It was good." Bruce said. "Not dry at all."
"You're a good cook, Rogers." Natasha said.
"Thanks." Steve said. "I appreciate you saying that."
Bruce smiled and pointed between Buffy and Steve. "So when will I get a Save the Date from you two?"
They exchanged glances and shrugged. "We don't have any plans for that yet." Steve said.
"I still can't believe Xander beat me in the pool. I thought I'd gotten it the closest."
"You put money in that, too!?" Buffy cried. "Seriously?"
Bruce laughed. "The chemistry between you two is undeniable."
"Thor even put some money in." Natasha said.
"Yeah. We heard about that." Steve laughed.
"Out of curiosity," Tony said, walking out onto the patio with Pepper. "Do you two ever fight?"
"What kind of question is that?" Buffy asked.
"Well, they say couples that have never fought are doomed to fail. I've never once seen you two have a disagreement and that worries me."
"Yes, we've had arguments." Steve said. "We just don't have them out in public or in front of our friends. We're just like every other normal couple in the world."
"Good." Tony smirked. "I don't want to have to build those walls back up between your apartments."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Thank you for caring in your special way, Tony."
"You're welcome. Hey, what would your couple name be? Stuffy?"
Before anyone could respond, Sam and Angel came out onto the patio. "This place is amazing, Buffy." Angel said. "You guys have really made it something."
"Thank you." Buffy said.
"So, Bruce and Sam did some convincing while I was on the tour and I think I'm in."
"You offered me a position at Slayer HQ and I'm in."
"Oh! Really? You changed your mind?"
"I may have thrown in some incentives." Tony said.
"Like what?" Steve asked.
"Uh…. A paycheck. Necrotempered windows on his car…. And a flat in London."
"And what will Angel be doing?" Buffy asked.
"Teaching. And whatever else you want me to do." Angel said.
"He'll be a paid employee at Slayer HQ just like we agreed for your friends." Tony added.
"Actually, it wasn't the incentives from Mr. Stark."
"Sorry. Tony. It was Sam talking about you and the Captain and all the good you've done with S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers and Slayer HQ…. And talking about when we first met, it reminded me of why I started fighting the good fight." Angel sighed. "This is going to sound corny, but I have to say it. I tend to lose my way sometimes. I signed away my shanshu and didn't think I had anything to fight for anymore, but I forget that since the very beginning, Buffy, you've been the key to my salvation. This dinner reminded me of that and I'm ready to get back into the fight."
Buffy shook her head. "I had no idea you did that. Why did you do that?"
"It was the only way to bring down the Senior Partners. The members of the Black Thorn wouldn't trust me until they knew I had nothing left."
Buffy nodded. "You're kind of an idiot, you know that? You should've called me. I would've helped."
"You made your feelings perfectly clear about the firm I was working for."
"Yes, I hated Wolfram and Hart. After everything you told me about them, all the horrible things they did to you and your friends, not to mention countless others in the world…. Of course I hated them. They were pure evil. And you deciding to work for them was probably the craziest thing you've ever done. But despite all of that, I still would've helped you. I'm never above helping my friends out."
"You should be."
"I defeated them."
"Not without heavy casualties that were completely unnecessary if you would've just picked up the phone and called me."
Steve squeezed Buffy's waist to reign her back in. "Buff, he said he was sorry."
Buffy sighed. "I know. Sorry."
"It's fine." Angel said. "You're right, though. I should've put my anger at you aside and called for help."
She nodded and smiled slightly. "It's just because you wanted to slay the dragon and not share."
"Dragon?" Tony asked.
"There was a dragon." Angel said.
"They're real?" Pepper asked.
"Yes, but they don't live in our dimension anymore." Buffy said. She looked at Angel. "I wonder if it was the same dragon that came through the portal the night I died the second time."
"I thought the same thing when I saw it." Angel said. He shrugged. "Guess we'll never know."
"I'm ok with that as long as it's gone from our dimension."
"I made sure of that."
Bruce looked at his watch. "It's getting late. I better head back to the hotel. It's not good if I get too tired."
"Want some company on the way back?" Natasha asked him.
"Sure. It'll be nice to catch up." Bruce looked at Buffy and Steve. "Dinner was great. We should do it again soon."
"Definitely." Buffy hugged Bruce tightly. "We'll see you later." Bruce shook Steve's hand as Natasha hugged Buffy.
"I'll try not to be such a stranger." She said to the blonde.
Natasha looked at Steve. "Rogers."
"Nat." Steve said, giving her a smile. They watched as Bruce and Natasha said their goodbyes to everyone else and headed out.
"I'm gonna follow their lead and head out, too." Sam said.
"We should, too." Pepper said to Tony.
"You don't want to stick around?" Tony asked.
"We should let Buffy and Steve have their house back."
As they made their way to the front door, Angel waited in the living room to let Buffy and Steve say their goodbyes to Sam, Tony, and Pepper. They joined him a moment later. "I shouldn't overstay my welcome." He said.
"Where are you staying?" Buffy asked.
"A hotel a couple miles away."
"Do you need a ride back?"
"No. I've got my car. It's parked three blocks away. But you can walk me to it, if you like."
"Ok." Buffy nodded. "I'll get my coat." She went into the coat closet under the stairs and grabbed her coat. "Steve, I'll be right back."
"Ok." Steve smiled and kissed her quickly. "I'm going to finish putting the dishes in the dishwasher."
Buffy and Angel made their way down the front steps and onto the sidewalk. "You've really got a good life finally." Angel said.
"Yeah. I think so." Buffy said. "It's a good balance between my Slayer life and my regular life now."
Angel glanced back at the townhouse. "I like him, Buffy. He's good for you."
She smiled. "I wasn't sure you'd give a seal of approval."
"It's begrudgingly that I do, but I can't deny that you two have amazing chemistry together. It's good that he can keep up with you, too. Not a lot of guys can give you normal and superhero at the same time."
"Was that a dig at Riley?"
"A little bit. I know he's married with kids, but I still don't like him."
Buffy shrugged. "It's ok. He still doesn't like you, either. He was going to come tonight until I told him you were coming."
He laughed. "You'd think we'd have grown up a little by now."
"I will admit that it hurts that it's not me you've found happiness with. I am jealous. But I want you to be happy and you are very obviously happy."
"Thank you." She spotted his car parked on the next block. "I'm glad you agreed to come help out at Slayer HQ."
"I am too. Will I get to see you much or will you be busy working with the Avengers?"
"My time will be split. HYDRA is still out there. Fury has been in contact with us about it. There's a lot of factions out there that the remnants of S.H.I.E.L.D. can't handle without some help. This isn't the first time Tony has talked about keeping the Avengers going. Working with Slayer HQ to make it bigger and more state of the art is sort of our version of a new S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Is that a good idea? I mean, didn't you say the reason you had to take down S.H.I.E.L.D. was because HYDRA took it over from the inside? Wouldn't bringing back S.H.I.E.L.D. be dangerous with HYDRA still out there?"
"HYDRA infiltrated S.H.I.E.L.D. over the course of decades and since we know about it now and we know a lot of their tactics they've been using, it'll be a lot harder for them. With the Avengers on the front lines and Tony keeping tabs on everyone that comes in and out of Stark Industries and joining forces with an army of Slayers…. It would be really stupid to try anything."
"I hope that's the case."
"You and me both."
"Well, this is me."
Buffy ran her hand over the side of the car. "You've had this car for ages."
"It's a good car."
"Not as good as mine, though."
"I didn't know you had a car. What kind of car do you have?"
"A silver 2013 GT Mustang. I got it back when Steve and I broke into our old apartments and got some of our stuff."
"That's great." Angel smiled. "You know, you've come a long way since Sunnydale. This grown up Buffy? I like her a lot."
"Yeah? If you'd have told me when we first met that I would be a part of a group of superheroes saving the world with the help of Stark Industries, I would've laughed at you and found a way to commit you."
He laughed and held out his arms. Buffy stepped in and hugged him tightly. "It has been great to see you, Buffy."
"Likewise. I'm glad you're coming to work with us finally."
"When do you want me to start?"
"Whenever you make your way to London. Steve and I are leaving here next week."
Angel nodded. "I'll probably be there around the end of next week. I've got a few things to tie up before I leave."
Buffy nodded and stepped back. "Good. I'll see you in a week or so, then."
"I'll see you." Angel waved as he got into his car.
Buffy turned and headed back to the townhouse. Steve was sitting on the stairs outside waiting for her. "Hey."
"I like him." Steve said. "He's a good man. And he genuinely cares about you."
She smiled and sat down next to him. "Yes he is. I'm glad you like him. He likes you, too."
"He said that?"
"He gave you the Angel Seal of Ex-boyfriend Approval. Which he never gives out."
Steve smiled. "Proving Tony wrong again."
She shook her head. "Steve, you have got to quit competing with him."
"I'm not competing. It's just nice to prove him wrong when he's being negative. He said meeting Angel would go over badly and it didn't."
"I think Angel won everyone over. Tony included."
He nodded and took her hand. "Have I ever told you how glad I am that I met you?"
"Not today. We've been a little busy." She put her head on his shoulder and he wrapped his arm around her.
"I love you, Buffy."
"I love you, too, Steve."
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