House Hunting 101

By: Serena

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters you recognize from Buffy.  They belong to Joss and his crew and the little Master dude that likes to say funny things and wear little hats on special occasions.  I own no one except Katrina and Mrs. Cooper, the lovely realty lady, who is based on the assistant superintendent in my school. :-)

Author's Notes: This takes place after my trilogy.  It's the first in hopefully a long series of fluff stories about my favorite couple, who should be together, not getting new love interests.  But that matter will be dealt with in time... ::evil grin::  Okay, I'm really not as sick as I sound...  So, *anyway,* you'll want to read them first, Another Chance, Vanishing Act, and A Deadly Game.  This will make a whole lot more sense if you do.  This is intended to be pure fluff, I don't know how it'll turn out yet.  The title pretty much gives away the story--Angel goes house hunting!  This is my first attempt at it, I usually write the dark, depressing stuff.  So let me know what you think, I get very inspired by feedback!!!

Angel awoke slowly to the sound of Buffy's alarm clock going off in the background.  Garbage's Push It was playing at full blast and Angel groaned as he rolled over.  He forgot Buffy was in bed with him for a moment and was startled when his stretching arm encountered smooth flesh.  Buffy opened her eyes and smiled sleepily at him.

"God, they couldn't play nice classical music in the morning, could they?" Angel grumbled as he sat up.  Buffy gave him a look as she sat up also, then promptly flopped back onto the mattress.  She hid her eyes from the sunlight and pulled the covers over her head.  Angel reached over her body to shut off the pulsing song.

"Someone sure is grumpy this morning," she said, her voice muffled by the comforter.  Angel grinned.

"You're one to talk," he said as he grabbed the covers away from her and laid back down, pulling them over his head.  She whined as a ray of sunshine hit her face.  She opened her eyes and saw Angel had burrowed himself in the comforter.  She hit him weakly, demanding he share.

"Angel...Angel, come on.  Share the wealth!  Angel, don't make me hurt you," she warned as she shook him.  He grumbled something uncomprehendible and shifted in the bed.  Buffy gave up and decided to launch an all-out attack.  She tickled him vigorously.  He twitched under the blanket and she grinned, digging her fingers under his ribs lightly.  He released the blankets and sat up, trying to get away from her.

Buffy saw the opportunity and grabbed the blankets back, wrapping herself in them.  She snuggled in as Angel sat staring at her.

"Buffy, honey.  You know you want to share with me.  You love me," Angel pleaded, lying down next to her and cradling her body.  She laughed at him and pulled the comforter down to reveal her smiling face.  He gave her his best puppy dog expression and she sighed.

"Well, since I'm *such* a nice girlfriend, I guess I can," she said as she surrendered half of the covers.  Angel grinned triumphantly as he pulled them over his face.  Buffy looked at him.  "But there's one thing you gotta do."

Angel perked up, suddenly intrigued by what she had to say.  He looked at her, a question in his eyes.  "No, not that," she giggled.  "Not with my mom in the house, anyway." Angel looked away, his hopes tossed out the window.  She grinned at his distress.  "Hold me," she said simply.

"Well, if that's what you *really* want, I'm sure I can at least try," he grinned as he gathered his Slayer in his arms.  He winced slightly as she put a little pressure on his still-sore ribs, and she glanced sympathetically at him.

"Sorry," she said as she gave him a light kiss, making up for it.  He leaned in and deepened the kiss.  She sighed when it ended and flung her head into the soft pillow.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

"Oh, nothing, it's just that we were in another hemisphere yesterday," she said.  He nodded.

"Freaky, huh?  Speaking of hemispheres, when's Katrina leaving?" Angel asked, glancing over at the clock on the nightstand.  Buffy shrugged.

"I don't know, my mom said she could stay with us as long as she wanted," she replied.

A knock on the door startled them both slightly.  "Come in," Buffy called, smoothing her hair.  Joyce Summers stuck her head in the room.

"You have an appointment with the real estate woman at twelve, Angel," she reminded him.  He nodded.

"Thanks, I was just about to get up," he told her.  She smiled.

"Eggs for breakfast sound okay?" she asked.

"I don't want you to go out of your way or anything--" Angel was interrupted by Buffy's laughter.

"Let her make you eggs, Angel.  Maternal instincts kicking in, she needs to cook for someone," Buffy grinned.  Her mother stared at her disapprovingly.

"Eggs sound great," he said, giving Joyce a smile.  She nodded and closed the door behind her.

Angel turned to Buffy.  She looked at him tiredly.  "Do I have to get up?" she whined, sounding as though he was making her get up to go to school.  He laughed.

"Buff, it's eleven.  I know you want to take a shower and spend at least a half hour putting mascara on," he teased.  She gave him a look.

"Are you making fun of my beauty habits?" she challenged.

"No, of course not," he said smoothly.  "I was just...commenting on them.²

"I'll give you something to comment on..." she said as she tackled him, tickling him again.  He laughed and wrapped his arms around her body, making it hard for her to move.  She gazed into his eyes.  "Hey, no fair."

He responded by kissing her slowly and deeply.  She sighed and closed her eyes, leaning into it.  He broke it off and she looked at him, annoyed.

"Shower," he said as he sat up with her in his lap.  She grumbled as she slid off of him and went over to the dresser.

"What to wear, what to wear," she pondered as she opened a drawer.  Angel groaned, knowing she'd take at least ten minutes to pick out a rubber band for her hair.  His groan didn't fall on deaf ears, though, and Buffy turned to him in mock annoyance.  "What?  I have to look nice, you know."

She began pulling things out and tossing them aside.  In a matter of moments her floor was covered in clothing.  She spent about five minutes more searching for 'the perfect outfit.'  Angel sat on the bed the whole time, wondering how one couldn't find something to wear in all the clothes she had.

She finally settled on a white baby-tee with a navy tank top over it and a navy skirt with white flowers imprinted in the fabric.  She gathered her clothes and walked out the door.  Angel sat for a moment, then began picking up the clothes that were scattered around the room.

When Buffy emerged from the bathroom a half hour later, she was dressed and ready.  She went downstairs to grab a glass of orange juice while Angel showered.

Katrina and her mother were in deep discussion at the counter as Buffy entered, but they quieted down as she went over to the fridge and pulled out the carton.  "Morning," she said pleasantly to Katrina.  Katrina smiled.

"Did you sleep well?" she asked in her soft voice.  Buffy nodded, stifling a yawn.

"I could use about a decade's worth of sleep, but I doubt I'll be getting that anytime soon," she said as she poured herself a glassful and gulped some of it down. "So, how long are you gonna stick around for?"

"Well, your mother invited me to stay for as long as I like, and since I don't have to go back to England for a few days, I thought I'd stay and enjoy the nice weather," Katrina said as she picked at her bacon and eggs.  Buffy nodded.

"Good, I'm glad," she smiled warmly, happy that the Watcher was staying.  Now all she had to do was hook her up with Giles...

"About what?" Angel asked as he walked into the kitchen.  Joyce stood and went over to the stove, where Angel's eggs and bacon sat.  She picked up the plate and offered it to him.  "Thanks."

"That Katrina's staying for a couple of days," she told him as she grabbed a fork and speared some scrambled egg from his plate.  She popped it into her mouth.

"Oh, that's great," he said as he wolfed down his breakfast.  Joyce and Katrina drove him and Buffy to the realty office afterwards.  Angel asked them both to stick around.

"I've never done this before, we used to build our houses," he joked as they sat in the office waiting for Mrs. Cooper to enter.  They agreed.

"Well, hello!" Mrs. Cooper said when she entered.  She was a short, rather stocky woman with a puff of blond hair on her head.  She wore a lot of eye makeup and a clashing outfit and was bursting with energy.  "I'm Jan Cooper, I'll be taking you around our *wonderful* town, Sunnydale.  You must be Angel," she said, sticking her hand out enthusiastically.  Angel shook it and looked at the woman wearily.  "Shall we?" she gestured to the door.

"Isn't this a *beautiful* day?" she asked as they walked outside.  Buffy took Angelıs hand as they walked to her car.  Joyce and Katrina would follow in Joyceıs car.

"Yeah, it is," Buffy said, cocking an eyebrow at the woman.  "Do you think she's evil?" she whispered to Angel.

"Canıt tell yet," he replied.  They climbed into her purple Toyota and drove off to the first house.  As soon as the engine started, Garth Brooks came blaring on.

"You two look *so* cute together!" she gushed, glancing in the rearview mirror at them.  They smiled politely.  "Mrs. Summers told me what you wanted, I've got so many *lovely* homes to show you two.  Buffy, you look *wonderful* in that outfit!"

"Actually, the house is for Angel.  I'm not moving in...yet.  And thanks...I think," Buffy replied, already sick of the woman.  Mrs. Cooper smiled.

"Well, we'll find something *perfect* for you, Angel," she said as they pulled up in front of the first house.  It was very ugly and unkept.  The porch was slanted and several of the windows were broken.  "I know it doesn't look like much, but with a little work and a coat of paint itıll be cozy," she said as they stepped out of the car.

"Talk about your fixer-uper," Angel commented.

"I think a wrecking ball will do the job nicely," Buffy said under her breath as they stared at the house.  She started to walk towards it, but was stopped by Mrs. Cooper.

"Sorry, honey, but you can't go in.  It failed its last inspection, so you can't see it," she said.  Buffy looked at Angel and he rolled his eyes.

"This is definitely not what I'm looking for," he said as he and Buffy climbed back into the car.  She smiled and walked around to the driver's side.

"Well, we'll find you something *wonderful,* don't you worry," she said as she maneuvered onto the street.

"Could we find something that's not hazardous?" Angel asked.  She nodded, smiling profusely.  It was like the woman had a permanent grin on her face.

They pulled up to a trailer next.  Buffy and Angel took one look at it and shook their heads.  "I will so not be seen going into a trailer.  There are enough rumors about me in school, I don't need one going around saying I'm trailer trash," Buffy said as they pulled away.

The next house was on the edge of town, which meant they had to spend more time in Mrs. Cooperıs car, country music blaring.  She asked them all sorts of questions, always smiling enthusiastically and saying everything was 'wonderful!'.  As they pulled up to the next house, Angel and Buffy thanked whatever God would listen that they wouldn't have to answer anymore stupid questions.  At least for a few minutes.

"It's nice," Buffy said as she eyed it.  They waited for Katrina and Joyce to join them before starting up the walk.  They entered the house and looked around.  The living room was nice, airy and comfy.  There was no furniture, just a table with a white sheet draped across it in the middle of the room.  They toured the downstairs, inspecting the kitchen for leaks and infestation.

They went upstairs.  The house had three bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor.  Buffy was feeling optimistic about it as they descended into the basement.

As Mrs. Cooper turned the light on, pairs of red eyes gleamed in the shadows.  "What in heaven's name are those?" Mrs. Cooper asked as they slowly stepped forward into the light.  Grotesque creatures with four legs and a pair of wings eyed the strangers warily.  Buffy looked around for a weapon of some kind, her eyes resting on an ax in the corner.  She moved toward it with lightning speed and began hacking at the creatures.  They attacked, driving her back.  Angel joined in, having found a rusty knife lying around.  They made quick work of the twenty or so creatures and emerged from the basement straightening their clothes.

"What were those things?" Mrs. Cooper asked as they left the house.

"Mice," Buffy said simply as they walked to the car.  Thankful for the loud music for once, she turned to Angel.  "It figures that we'd look at a house that was infested with demons.  We couldn't have normal problems," she said.

"I know.  At least she's too stupid to notice," Angel said, jerking his thumb in the direction of the front seat, where Mrs. Cooper sat belting out the latest Wynonna song.

They looked at houses all day, most of them either too small or too ugly.  Mrs. Cooper was very optimistic that they'd find what they were looking for, and kept her spirits up all day.  Within two hours Buffy was ready to kill the woman.

"If she says 'wonderful' on more time..." she said threateningly as they turned onto Revello Drive.  Buffy recognized the street at once.  "Hey, I didn't know anything was for sale here."

They pulled up to the house that Mrs. Kalish had lived in before she had unexpectedly died.  Buffy had heard people saying she had been eaten by centipedes...and she wouldn't be too surprised if that's what really happened to the woman.  They *did* live in Sunnydale.  They walked into the house and looked around the living room.  It was shaped like Buffy's house, only it was larger.  The floor layout was the same, only opposite the kitchen was a small office and a bathroom.  A lava lamp stood in the corner and psychedelic curtains hung on the windows.

"We need to do some major redecorating," Buffy whispered as they toured through the house, liking it more and more.  There was also a huge kitchen on the first floor and an enclosed patio out back.  An unfinished in-ground pool sat in the backyard, and Buffy wondered how she could have not known her next door neighbor was putting in a pool.  The upstairs had three bedrooms and two bathrooms, one off the master bedroom and another at the top of the stairs.  The basement was finished, with a pool table and more of the hideous furniture and paintings scattered around.

"Well, what do you think?" Angel asked as they stood in the living room.

"A keeper.  As long as we burn all the furniture first," Buffy wrinkled her nose in distaste.  She suddenly thought of a major problem.  "Angel, how're you going to pay for this?"

"Well, I got a lot of insurance money from the apartment, actually, the whole building.  Plus I have my resources.  Don't worry, I'll be able to afford it," he said as Joyce and Katrina joined them.  They had been talking to Mrs. Cooper but managed to escape.

"If I have to spend one more minute with that woman, I'm going to go insane," Joyce said, shaking her head.  "So, do you like it?"

"Yeah, we do," Angel said.  "A lot, actually.  And it's close, which is good," he paused, seeming to debate something in his mind.  He glanced at Buffy for a moment.  "Can I talk to you for a sec, Joyce?"  She nodded and they walked into the dining room.  Katrina and Buffy stood in the living room and Mrs. Cooper joined them.

"I love your outfit, Buffy. It's--"

"Wonderful.  I know, you told me that before," Buffy said, rolling her eyes.  She didn't mean to be rude, but the woman was driving her up a wall.  They were saved when Angel and Joyce reappeared.  Joyce motioned for Katrina to go outside with her and Mrs. Cooper tagged along, eagerly chatting about her petunias or something.  Buffy looked at Angel.

"So, do you like it?" he asked as he gathered her in his arms for a sweet kiss. She nodded.

"It's great, and it's really close.  I can sneak out at night and I won't have to walk across town to see you," she said, careful to keep her voice low so her mother wouldn't hear.

"You won't have to," he said, a smile slowly creeping across his lips.  She looked at his questioningly.

"What do you mean?  I highly doubt she's gonna let me come over for a sleep over every now and then," she grinned.

"So you're sure you like the place," Angel said again, changing the subject.

"Oh no, you're not getting off that easy, buddy," Buffy replied, giving him an even stare.

"Can't fool you, huh?  Okay, well then I guess I'll just say it.  Buffy, I want you to move in with me," Angel said.  Buffy stared at him, surprise on her face.

"Really?" she asked, her whole face lighting up.  Angel nodded.  "Oh my God, that would be awesome!  There's just one small problem and she's standing outside the door," Buffy said, her hopes deflated.

"She said it was your decision," Angel told her.  Buffy looked up at him, her eyes shining.  She leaned up for a soft kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck.  He pulled her closer and they stayed entwined for a minute.  "So, is that a yes?"

She laughed and kissed him again.  "Of course it is!" she cried.  "Wow.  Angel, we're gonna live together," she said, everything sinking in.  He nodded and smiled.  He grabbed her hand as they walked outside, where the three women were sitting on the porch swing, Mrs. Cooper still talking about her damn petunias.

"Well?" Joyce asked as they stepped outside.  Buffy wrapped her arms around Angelıs waist.

"We'll take it," she said, grinning from ear to ear.  Joyce got up and hugged her daughter.

"So, I guess youıre moving out, huh?" Joyce asked.  Buffy nodded.

"I just have one question.  Who are you and what have you done with my mother?" she joked.

"Well, you and Angel are obviously in love, and you will be very happy living with him.  Plus you won't have to sneak out of the house every night to go spend time with him.  There are just a few rules," Joyce said, suddenly growing serious.  "One, you have to keep your grades up.  No ifs, ands, or buts about it.  Two, be careful," she said, her voice suddenly dropping.  "I want grand kids, just not yet."  Buffy nodded, kids were definitely not something she wanted to deal with right now.  "Three, you come visit.  A lot."

"That's it?" Buffy asked.  Joyce nodded.  "You got yourself a deal!" she squealed.

"Oh, this is *wonderful!!*" Mrs. Cooper cried.  The others turned to stare at her.  "I have the papers in my car that you'll need to sign, we want to close the house today."

Angel nodded and walked to her car.  He signed everything and a half hour later the house was theirs.  Mrs. Cooper had already called movers to come and get rid of all the gross furniture, and they were scheduled for the next day.  Buffy wanted to keep the pool table, and Angel agreed.

"Well, that was fun," she said as they cuddled on the couch later that night.  Joyce and Katrina had gone off to see a movie, so they had the house to themselves.

"Oh yeah, it was great.  We saw a house that should have been demolished five years ago, a *trailer,* had to fight a bunch of demons, and had to put up with the most annoying woman ever," Angel laughed.

"Hey, look on the bright side.  We're moving in together.  Plus we get to go shopping!!" Buffy said, smiling.  Angel froze.

"Shopping?" he asked.

"Of course, silly, do you want us to sit on the floor?  We need furniture, stat," she said.  He groaned.

"I can already feel the migraine," he groaned, imagining the hell shopping would be.  "Great, more annoying salesmen."

"Oh, come on, it won't be that bad," Buffy promised.  Angel gave her a look.  She smiled sweetly and snuggled closer to him.  They turned their attention back to Contact.  For about five seconds.  It dawned on them that they had the house to themselves for a few hours, and they glanced at each other before tearing up the stairs to Buffy's room.

The terrors of the day--and that annoying woman--were forgotten for the time being.


On to the next story, Furniture Shopping for Dummies

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