Part the First: I swore that I would NEVER, under ANY circumstances, EVER write a piece of fanfic based on a song. <sigh> Okay, so I lied. But it *is* Sarah McLachlan, the ultimate Buffy/Angel angst songwriter. I Just Couldn't Help Myself (TM). It also deserves an "A" for angst and a double "M" for mushy.
Part the Second: Not mine. No money. No sue. 'K? 'K.
This story is written around the Sarah McLachlan song "I Will Not Forget You".
"I remember the nights I watched as you lay sleeping
Your body gripped by some far away dream"
Angel was a light sleeper. Over the years, this particular quirk had saved his *unlife* more times than he cared to remember. And so it was not a surprise to be jarred awake by an unfamiliar noise, like the sound of someone's breath catching in their throat.
His eyes slid open, seeing clearly in the darkness that enveloped him, noting the stains on the ceiling above his bed. His head jerked to the side as he heard the sound again.
Every muscle in his body went from sleep relaxed to fully alert in an instant. She was there, lying trustingly in his arms. A golden goddess held in a demon's embrace. He felt more than heard her breath catch again as her body twisted in the throes of a dream. Angel shifted slightly so he could watch her more closely.
"Well I was so scared and so in love then
And so lost in all of you that I had seen"
She scared the shit out of him.
He was two hundred and forty one years old and he was afraid of a sixteen year old girl. It was absurd, really, except that his heart refused to follow his head. His heart, his stupid, insane heart, was going to get them both killed. He knew it deep in his ravaged soul. He also knew there was no going back. He was in too deep to back out now. He loved her too much. He loved her, this girl, more than he had loved anyone. Ever.
It galled him sometimes, the way she made him feel: the lust, the anger, the rage, the tenderness and the love all mixed together in a jumble.
Buffy murmured in her sleep.
Foolishly, his heart swelled as his eyes filled up with unexpected tears. Unbidden, her Watcher's words rang in his head, "A vampire in love with The Slayer...it's rather poetic". Was he really so transparent? Were his feelings for her written so clearly on his face? He frowned at the thought. He never used to be this maudlin'.
It was her, then. She had done this to him. He grinned. He was damn glad, for the thought of his life without her in it was unbearable.
Selfishly he was glad that she still slept, that he could watch her, touch her skin lightly -- a butterfly's touch -- to remind himself of her softness, her sweetness.
"But no one ever talked in the darkness
No voice ever added fuel to the fire
No light ever shone in the doorway
Deep in the hollow of earthly desire"
That softness was going to get him into trouble.
That was a given.
There were times, like now, that all he wanted to do was to lay her on her back and sink into her, until everything bad was forgotten in the fire of her body. Until there were no more prophecies, no more soulless demons stalking the living, no more hatred, no more blood...no more anything but her clenching around him, moaning his name.
That's all he wanted. Buffy. Mind, heart, and soul. Time without end, amen.
He knew she loved him. He could see it in her eyes every time she saw him, every time she whispered his name. He felt it when she touched him, those soft hands soothing his hurts and making all of his fears seem much smaller when confronted with the pure drive that was the Slayer.
He had seen those hands rip vampires apart by sheer brute strength, but yet to him they were delicate, beautiful. He smiled to himself, thinking what Buffy would say to him if he ever dared to voice that thought aloud.
She still had to learn that he was the LAST person to whom she would have to defend her skills. He had more faith in her than in himself, because he knew Buffy would do it or die trying.
"But if in some dream there was brightness
If in some memory some sort of sigh
And flesh be revived in the shadows
Blessed our bodies would lay so entwined"
Angel looked down into her face, noting the dark smudges under her eyes. She worried him. She needed rest more than he did, damn her. And yet she was always going, as if driven by some inner strength that he could only guess at.
Sometimes, on the rare occasions when he thought that the entire world was NOT out to get them, he found himself wishing for more than he could have.
Like a life with Buffy involving white picket fences that were not used as handy stakes, with a backyard pool filled with non-holy water. Things he hadn't wished for, ever.
When he was mortal, he was too in awe of the world to want to do something so *ordinary* as settle down. Now that he had lived in that same world for more than two centuries, all he really wanted to do was to grab Buffy and make a run for the hills. Realistically he knew that death would follow them always, but he could still hope.
And hope he did. Often. Fervently.
He rested his chin against the top of her head, snuggling himself against her.
And for a while, Angel slept.
"I remember when you left in the morning at daybreak
So silent you stole from my bed
to go back to the one who possesses your soul
And I back to the life that I dread."
The next time he woke it was to Buffy trying to disentangle herself from his embrace. He shot a glance at the clock next to the bed -- 6:00. He groaned.
She touched his cheek. "Angel, I didn't want to wake you...you were sleeping so peacefully...but I have to go home and actually make it look like I was there all night long."
He looked at her. God above, she was beautiful.
"You need glasses, Mr. 'I Have the Visual Acuity of a Hawk' if you think I'm beautiful in the morning before my...uh...beautification rituals."
He had the good grace to blush. "I...uh...didn't mean to say that outloud."
"So you *don't* think I'm beautiful," she teased as she flattened herself against his chest.
He threaded his fingers through her hair, pulling her head close to his mouth.
"I <kiss> think that <kiss> you are THE <kiss> most beautiful woman <kiss> in the world."
"Oh. I like that."
"I thought you would."
He smirked as he rolled them over on the mattress.
"Now *this* is a wakeup call I could get used to," he mumbled as he bent his head to kiss her again in earnest.
"Mmmmhmmmm...I know what you mean..."
Suddenly, her head jerked off the pillow. "Ohmigod, I have to go, I'm gonna be late, and then The Slayer is grounded. For life. Hello, end of the world, here we come."
She pushed at his shoulders and he obligingly rolled off of her. She began to pull clothes on -- he didn't want to point out that they were his clothes, as he felt a certain primordial need to cover her with himself.
"Whoa, major fashion statement here," she laughed as she stripped his pants off and grabbed her own, leaving his shirt on.
Leaning over, she kissed him. "I have to go, sacred duty calls, yadda yadda yadda."
With that, like a diminutive whirlwind, she blew out of his apartment into the street. He wanted to follow her, having a powerful need to make sure she was safe, but reality kicked in. Somehow, he didn't think that Buffy would be too pleased with Angel Crisp. He never really understood the whole no sun thing, but he knew that if he so much as stuck a finger outside, he would have a very lovely burn to show for it.
"So I ran like the wind to the water
Please don't leave me again I cried
And I threw bitter tears that the ocean
But all that came back was the tide...
And I will oh I will not forget you
Nor will I ever let you go
I will oh I will not forget you"
This was his life. Or unlife. Whatever. Such as it was. It really wasn't such a bad life, once one discounted all the people out to kill/mutilate and/or otherwise harm him.
He had only one major problem: he just couldn't escape the feeling that he was ruining Buffy's life by loving her. All he wanted was to walk up to her door, walk inside WITHOUT having to be invited in, and have dinner with Buffy and her mother. He wanted to go out on a normal date with her, no stakings or smooching fests in the graveyard.
Well, the smooching wasn't the problem, it was the whole death and decay atmosphere.
Even if he walked away right now, just grabbed his bag of treasures, and left town, he couldn't forget her.
She was etched onto his soul as surely as the tattoo was etched on the skin of his back. He knew it and so did she. The only thing left for him to do was to give in gracefully and tell her just how completely insane he was for her, how much he loved her and worshipped the very ground her stylish size seven feet walked upon.
Which was easier said than done.
But he'd find a way.