Pride and Blood

by Maureen Wynn
Copyright © 1997

Don't ask! With PROFOUND apologies to Lizzie, Darcy, and Jane Austen...

Buffy yawned widely as she stumbled up the stairs to her room. She knew she shouldn't have left her History homework for the last minute. A simple 5-page paper which should have taken no more than a couple of hours to write had instead taken up most of the night. Well, maybe it wouldn't have taken so long if she hadn't gotten distracted by the program she'd accidently discovered on TV. And it wasn't even the kind of show she would usually watch, but it was so good she'd gotten hooked. Who knew it would last so long?

Buffy tossed and turned, then stilled, sighing deeply as she settled into a deeper dreaming state...

"...In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. Buffy, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." Buffy stared at Angel, unable to believe what she had just heard. She was about to throw herself into his arms, when, suddenly, she found herself to be angry at him instead. She turned her back to him, fuming. He doesn't want to be in love with me? she thought. Man, this bites! Well, I don't want him if he's going to be like this. This vampire thing has gone on long enough! She turned back to him and opened her mouth to tell him off, and was totally stunned to find herself saying, "I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly." She paused, then decided that the words she found herself saying exactly expressed her feelings. "I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation."

Angel frowned, almost snarled, and turned away briefly from Buffy, struggling to contain his reaction. Nice pants! Buffy thought, distracted for a moment by the rear view of Angel in the short jacket and snug pants that he was currently wearing. Wait a minute, I'm mad at him. Focus, girl!

Angel turned back to Buffy with such a forbidding expression on his face that Buffy had no difficulty returning her thoughts to her anger. Don't brood at me! Buffy thought. Say something, already!

He did. "And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting! I might, perhaps, wish to be informed why, with so little endeavour at civility, I am thus rejected."

Buffy replied, "I might as well enquire, why, with so evident a design of offending and insulting me, you chose to tell me that you liked me against your will, against your reason, and even against your character? Was not this some excuse for incivility, if I was uncivil?"

"And this is your opinion of me!" Angel said as he stalked across the room. "This is the estimation in which you hold me! I thank you for explaining it so fully. My faults, according to this calculation, are heavy indeed! But perhaps," Angel added, stopping in his walk, and turning towards her, "these offences might have been overlooked, had not your pride been hurt by my honest confession of the scruples that had long prevented my forming any serious design."

Buffy felt herself growing more angry every moment; yet she tried to stay calm when she said, "You are mistaken if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentleman-like manner."

She saw him start at this, and a snarl escaped his throat, but he said nothing, and she continued, "From the very beginning, from the first moment I may almost say, of my acquaintance with you, your manners, impressing me with the fullest belief of your arrogance, your conceit, and your selfish disdain of the feelings of others, were such as to form that ground-work of disapprobation, on which succeeding events have built so immoveable a dislike; and I had not known you a month before I felt that you were the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to... well, date."

Buffy suddenly recoiled — Angel's 'game face' had come out. He said, "You have said quite enough, madam. I perfectly comprehend your feelings, and have now only to be ashamed of what my own have been. Forgive me for having taken up so much of your time, and accept my best wishes for your health and happiness."

And with these words he hastily left the room by the window, and Buffy heard him scrambling across the roof and dropping off on to the front lawn.

The tumult of Buffy's thoughts was now painfully great. Wait a minute, did I really want him to leave?! she thought and started running toward the window. "Angel! Angel!" she screamed, and found herself sitting up in her bed. She looked around wildly, then looked down at the baby-doll nightie she was wearing, suddenly realizing that before she had been wearing... something else entirely more concealing. "It was just a dream. That's all," she muttered, plopping down into the pillows again. She burrowed under the covers, declaring sleepily, "No more A&E right before bedtime!"

She was so sleepy, she never noticed the form hiding in the shadows beyond her window...

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