Summary: Buffy experiences a series of false awakenings.
Livejournal (Please note: my lj is F-locked.)
Rating: PG-13 (sexual situations)
S3: Ep13-14, S4: Ep1 AR (more like Alternating Realities) All belongs to Joss: I play with his characters and his scenes and themes, and even quote some of his words.
She wakes: his dust in her nostrils, despair in her heart.
As she drifts from sleep to consciousness, she lies for a moment savoring the luxury of his bed, the memory of his touch, and the knowledge of the night they shared. A soft smile forms on her lips and she reaches for him, but finds only the coolness of the pillow. She opens her eyes and looks at it. Then she raises her head and listens.
She sits up.
“I’m in here, Buffy.”
“Angel, you scared me. I thought …” Relief floods through her and she pulls the sheet free of the bed and wraps it around herself. “I don’t know what I thought.” She walks to the bathroom door, sees him and smiles.
Fresh from the shower, steam still rising from his skin, Angel stands, towel in hand, smiling at her sheepishly.
“Sorry.” He shrugs apologetically and reaches for her.
“Oh!” She giggles. “You’re all wet.”
He buries his face in her hair murmuring, “You’re all tangled up.” He kisses her hair as he unwinds the sheet. “Here, let me help you.” More kisses--her eyes, her ear, her lips.
She stirs to wakefulness and she reaches for him, moving her hand across his pillow and finding only cold emptiness.
She opens her eyes, tilts her head and listens, but she can’t hear him. She raises her head and peers into the darkness.
She calls for him, a question in her voice. “Angel?”
There is no response. She sits up.
“Angel?” Her voice carries as much alarm as query this time.
She rises and pulls the sheet around her, padding barefoot to the bathroom door. She flicks on the light switch. The bathroom is as empty, silent, and cold as his pillow.
She turns and moves across the room toward the door. Just as she reaches for the handle, it swings open and he’s standing before her.
“Angel? Where were you? I got such a fright when I … you weren’t here. Where were you?”
“I got coffee.” He offers her the paper cup. “I don’t have any. I know you like it in the morning.”
“Is it morning?” she asks taking the cup and focusing on it, feeling shy and kinda naked.
Angel smiles at her. “You’re beautiful.”
He turns and closes the door behind him, then slips his overcoat off and tosses it on a chair.
“What, no shirt?” she asks before taking a sip of coffee.
“Didn’t plan to be long. Thought I’d slip back into bed. Watch you sleeping a little longer.”
She hands him back the coffee, turns and drops the sheet.
“Well, don’t let me spoil your plans.”
She rouses; her body still warm from love, from sleep. But there is an emptiness inside her and she reaches for him to fill it. She reaches for him, but finds only the pillow. She opens her eyes. He isn’t there. She raises her head and looks into the room. He isn’t there either. She calls for him. There is no answer. She sits up, moves to the edge of the bed, calling for him again.
Her heart races. Her mind races. Where is he? She springs to her feet, struggles with the sheet, pulls it around her as she begins to move through Angel’s space, searching for him. She can’t find him. She can’t understand. Where can he be? What can have been so urgent that he left her alone, to wake up without him? To awaken in an empty bed, in an empty room. Why would he do that?
She searches through the darkness, through the cold, through the fear and longing, but he isn’t there. He is nowhere. He is gone.
She calls for him and her voice rings hollow in all the emptiness he’s left behind.
“Angel!” Her scream echoes endlessly in nothingness.
Awareness rises in her and she remembers his arms and his touch and the feel of him, the weight of him, the heat … and she reaches for him, her hand tracing the hollow where his head should be.
She raises her head and looks for him, but he isn’t there.
She calls for him. He doesn’t reply.
She sits up and pulls the covers around her, looks into the emptiness of the room. She calls again for him. Again there is no answer.
She dresses quickly and leaves, closing the door softly behind her, as though he is still asleep and she is leaving him.
She wonders where he is, what he is doing, why he left her alone in the morning. She worries. It is daylight. Has he gone to Giles to report what they found? Has he gone back to the factory? Why did he leave her?
She showers. She dresses. She goes to school. No one has seen him. No one has heard from him.
No one knows where he is.
No one seems to be as worried as she.
She goes through her day, and then returns to his place.
The room is lit, the bed is made, but he isn’t there.
And then he is.
And he is beautiful and unhurt and she runs to him and holds him and kisses him. And his arms are around her. He is laughing.
… And then…
She is walking on the beach. A breeze blows her hair back from her face and molds her dress to her body. It carries fragrances from the sea and beyond; it fills her with mystery and longing and an ancient nameless sadness. She looks toward the setting sun and watches as it slips into the ocean.
She feels his hands caress her and move around her waist and she covers them with her own and leans against him. She turns to him. They kiss.
She is content. Safe.
“How did you find me here?”
“If I was blind I would see you.”
“Stay with me?”
He whispers, “Forever” in her ear. “That’s the whole point. I’ll never leave … not even if you kill me.”
She opens her eyes with his words piercing what is left of her heart.
She is awake.