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Hold My Heart

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Breathe Again". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Samuel had never meant for things with Buffy to get this far. When he had first seen her all those weeks before, his only intention had been to flirt with a pretty girl, only to have her lead him on a merry chase. Written for the 2011 August Fic-a-day.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Literature > Vampire/Supernatural > Mercedes Thompson SerieskerrykhatFR1311,822031,4896 Aug 116 Aug 11Yes
Disclaimer: Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; Patricia Briggs owns "The Mercedes Thompson Series" and related characters; I own nothing.

~*~*~
“What about this one?”

Buffy held up the dress in front of her so that her roommate could see it. They were in Buffy’s room in the apartment that she shared with her friend, Marissa, trying to decide what Buffy would wear for her first real date with Samuel. Her roommate studied the outfit for a moment before shaking her head.

"I'm not feeling it, Buffy," she answered from her seat on Buffy's bed with a shake of her head. "I'm going out with Lu tonight, remember? You have the place to yourself," Marissa added with a suggestive wag of her eyebrows. “You want that dress to look fucking magical on you.”

Buffy rolled her eyes as she placed the rejected garment with a growing pile. "It's one dinner date. With a guy, who I don't really know…"

"Who you've been flirting with for over a month," Marissa interjected, rolling on her back and letting her long, curly brown hair hang over the edge. "And don't get me started on those coffee dates of yours. Admit it, Buffy. It's more than a just a dinner with that hot doctor of yours."

Buffy made a face but didn't argue with her. Marissa and her family had a gift of the Sight, and Marissa was one of the few people in on Buffy's little secret of immortality. It was hard to hide that from somebody who could catch glimpses of your soul. In a way, though, it was nice to have to hide that part of herself, even though she was wary about forming connections. Decades after her imprisonment at Blackwood's hands, she was still hesitant to become close with others for fear that they would be used against her.

It still sucked when your roommate totally blew your carefully crafted self-deception out of the water.

“Well, hello! Where you come from?” Marissa’s question startled Buffy and she snapped out of her introspective moment. Her friend had moved off the bed and was looking in the far corner of Buffy’s closet. Peering over her shoulder, Buffy quickly spied the dress that had caught Marissa’s attention.

“You had this here and you couldn’t decide on what to wear?” Marissa asked incredulously as she pulled out the silky, dark green dress.

“Isn’t it a little much for tonight?” Buffy replied, gesturing at the dress. She’d forgotten about that one. It has been bought in a fit of shop therapy after a particularly bad week a few years ago, but it had been sitting in her closet ever since. Buffy wasn’t much with the dating scene nowadays, and hadn’t really any need to wear it.

“You said he was taking you to a nice dinner, and a nice dinner means a nice dress,” Marissa protested, shoving the hanger at Buffy.

Buffy took it with a practiced sigh, although she knew that the battle had already been lost. It was a nice dress, and it did bring out her eyes, which was why she had bought it in the first place.

“Turn around,” she ordered her friend. Marissa shot her a triumphant look over her shoulder before turning to face the wall while Buffy quickly changed into the chosen dress. “OK, how does it look?”

“Like you’re gonna get lucky tonight,” Marissa answered after a critical look-over. “If I wasn’t a taken woman, I’d tap that.”

“I’m sure Lu’s thrilled to hear that,” Buffy teased back as she went over to her jewelry box to find the right pair of earring. She was looking at two potential candidates when a knock at the front door reached their ears.

“I’ll talk to him while you finish getting ready,” Marissa said, opening the door to the hallway. “Do you want me to...?” she asked, pointing at her eyes.

Buffy shook her head. “As much as I appreciate the offer, no. I’m a big girl. I don’t need you to screen my dates.”

Marissa nodded and quickly exited the room to let in Samuel while Buffy finally made her decision about jewelry. Slipping on a pair of silver hoops, she tried to calm herself down before she started working on her makeup. It was just a date, that was all. Nothing more. Granted, her love life these last few decades had been more along the line of Faith’s old “get some and get gone” strategy. Most likely, this entire date-thing would end with nothing more than an agreement between the two of them that dating would not be of the good.

If that was the case, though, why had her heart done the cliché and skip a beat when she had heard that knock?

~*~*~
Samuel pulled his car into the parking space in front of Buffy’s apartment building and turned off the engine. He stayed in his car for a few extra seconds, wondering if he should really be doing this.

It had been almost two years since Aimee, but the wounds she had left still festered within Samuel’s soul. Alone, that might not have been enough to cause lasting damage, but in conjunction with his wolf mourning his lost mate after his father had sent Mercy away, it was enough to drive him closer to the edge of madness than he had ever been before.

Only through throwing himself into his residency had he maintained some sort of control over his life. Despite the fading of his grief over his lost child and potential life with Aimee, it was still there.

In the back of his mind, his wolf growled, impatient with Samuel’s train of thought. His wolf lived in the moment, never dwelling on the past more than needed. It was a lesson Samuel still failed to fully master.

Fine, he thought, checking his watch as he finally got out of his car. Even with his brief pause for self-reflection, he was still on time.

Buffy’s apartment was on the second floor, so he opted to take the stairs instead of the cramped elevator.

Reaching the door, he paused before knocking, feeling nervous in a way he hadn’t felt in years. Decades, really.

He had never meant for things with Buffy to get this far. When he had first seen her in the cafe all those weeks before, his only intention had been to have a good flirt with a pretty girl, only to have that same pretty girl lead him and his wolf on a merry chase. He was a patient hunter, though, and his patience had been rewarded. But, by the time he had finally convinced Buffy to allow him to buy her a cup of coffee, he had found himself intrigued by the walking contradictions that formed Buffy Summers. Silly, and yet very serious at the oddest moments. Young--too young for him if he wanted to be honest with himself--but there were times when she looked at him and it was like looking into they eyes of a were who had seen over a century.

“Coming! Coming!” a voice shouted from behind the door, interrupting his thoughts. Seconds later, the door opened and he was greeted by who he could only assume was Buffy’s roommate, a medium sized woman with light brown skin peppered with freckles, her long curly hair loose around her face. “She’ll just be a few more minutes,” the young woman continued, opening the door wider so that he could step inside.

“Marissa, right?” he asked as she closed, although he already knew who she was.

She gave him a wide smile as she answered. “Oh, so you’ve heard the stories. I’m surprised you said you’d show up at the apartment instead of meeting her at the restaurant.” She gave him a once over, taking in his dress pants, dark blue shirt, and grey blazer up to his face, although she didn’t quite meet his eyes. “You’re a braver man than I expected.”

Samuel returned her smile with one of his own, although he wasn’t quite sure which stories she might be talking about. Buffy had mentioned her roommate in passing, but hadn’t given him any specifics.

“What stories?” he replied, curious in spite of himself.

“Nobody likes a bragger,” Marissa answered with a wink, walking into the kitchen. “Want anything to drink?”

“No, thank you.”

He glanced around the main room in the apartment, noting the organized clutter on the main table, the worn brown carpeting, and the vintage recruitment posters on the wall for the WASPs and the WAVES from the Second World War. His eyes lingered on them. They were a little out of place in this room that otherwise was like any other apartment leased by college students. More contradictions, just like Buffy.

He heard a door opened, and he stopped his examination of the posters to see Buffy standing in the doorway of her room, using the frame to support herself as she slipped on her shoe.

“Sorry I kept you waiting,” she apologized as she straightened up. “I hope Marissa didn’t scar you too badly.”

“She was a perfect hostess, although I want to know what stories you were supposed to have told me,” he answered, taking in his date. She was dressed in a simple, yet elegant dark green dress, which not only brought out the green in her eyes, but also nicely contrasted her loose blonde hair and tan skin. He felt his wolf stir, sensing that an end to the hunt was near before Samuel silenced him.

Buffy laughed and shot a look at her roommate. “I thought you said you weren’t going to scare him.”

“I didn’t. He’s still here, isn’t he?” Marissa answered with an innocent look on her face.

Buffy made a face at her as she opened the closet and pulled out a leather jacket that completely contrasted the dress she was wearing, but still oddly suited her. “I’m ready,” she told Samuel with a shy smile.

He opened the door for her and as they were walking out, Marissa called out, “You two have fun tonight. See you tomorrow morning.”

Samuel looked over at Buffy who was blushing furiously. “She’s staying at her girlfriend’s tonight,” Buffy muttered as they went down the hallway towards the stairs. “Which is why she’d be seeing me in the morning and not later tonight, and can we forget she said that, please?” she asked, looking up at him.

“Said what?” Samuel replied, although he knew what Buffy’s roommate had been really saying. It wasn’t that he was opposed to spending the night with Buffy, but he wasn’t going to push his luck. He was a patient hunter and if he moved too quickly, he might spook his prey.

Buffy smiled at him and interlaced her fingers with his as they reached the lobby, her touch light and almost hesitant. Samuel smiled back and, for the first time in many years, he felt his heart skip a beat.

The End

You have reached the end of "Hold My Heart". This story is complete.

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