Dark Side of The Moon
Summary: He is a figure carved of light and dark.
Author's Notes: Thanks to Dark Star for keeping the love alive! Sincere thanks and humble gratitude to Kairos for well, pretty much everything!! Without her kind words of encouragement and phenomenal beta, this new author would never have had the guts to stick her toe in the IWRY pool. That being said, any grammar errors (you know like whacky verb tense or the stray semi colon) are the fault of the author alone. Feedback, constructive or otherwise, is very welcome, and eagerly anticipated. But please remember…it’s my first time, be gentle
Dark Side of the Moon
is a moon and has a dark side which he never shows to anyone.
- Mark Twain
The pull was too much.
And in the passing months it had gotten worse. He stopped trying to convince himself otherwise. The proof was incontrovertible. His fingertips ran absentmindedly over the smooth scrap of paper in his jacket pocket as he thought of how he’d dispose of the evidence this time. One too many gas receipts in the petty cash jar, and Cordy started asking questions.
It wasn’t this bad at first, when he started down this slippery slope. Just a quick trip to make sure she was safe. Healthy. Happy. She wouldn't even know he was there. But like any good addict, his first mistake was thinking he could control it. One little taste, he thought. Just one more. That’s all he needed, and then he could go on.
But he knew it was a lie.
Weak. It’s all he’d ever been. For all the evil he had faced, accolades of ‘warrior’, ‘champion of mankind', ‘savior’ from the coming apocalypse, he thinks it’s ironic that it’s simply a small, blonde girl that brings him crashing to his knees. He deluded himself into thinking he had buried that weakness, pushed it deep down and refused to even acknowledge it, until a blissful day in the sun had been his complete undoing.
He’s pretty sure that no one knows about her, though, knows about what he’d been doing. Or if they did, they had the good sense not to mention it. No one would understand anyway. And he just didn’t have the strength to even attempt an explanation to them, much less himself.
Coming back to Sunnydale was never an easy decision. He wrestled with it each and every time. Why choose to return to a place that held so much pain? To relive in full Technicolor the memories of what he’d left behind? Just the idea of returning to the town where in the blink of an eye he had lived and loved more than a lifetime tore at the hole in his chest. But the thought of seeing her again, even to just catch a glimpse, was a temptation he was powerless to resist.
Of course, in the end he always came to the same inevitable conclusion-- there was never even a choice. He had to be near her.
His legs carried his body on autopilot, taking him to the same spot he’d spent so many nights just like this. Through the cover of trees, hidden by branches, he silently watched her, like a predator stalking his unsuspecting prey.
Something deep inside him stirred in recognition of her nearness, a feeling he had nearly forgotten. It was pure instinct; elemental, primal, possessive. Did she know he was there? Watching. Waiting. As if reading his mind, she appeared at the window. Pushing the drapes aside, she gazed at something just beyond him, her senses picking up on the danger that lurked in the darkness beyond the soft, safe glow of the streetlamp.
He couldn’t curb the slow smug smile that teased his lips as he effortlessly melted back into the shadows. After all this time she still felt it too: the connection they shared. That she still felt his presence somehow, lingering in the air, hovering just on the edge on her consciousness, sparked a glimmer of hope to flare like a flame.
Letting the sounds of the night melt away around him, he focused all his senses on only her. Surrounded by darkness as he was, his heightened hearing picked up the soft scuffling coming from upstairs as she moved around her room preparing for slumber. A soft breeze drifted through the trees carrying her warm scent to him, caressing his skin as gently as a lover’s touch, bringing to mind things better left forgotten.
No matter how far or how long he was away, he would always instantly recognize the soft smell that was uniquely Buffy. A hundred years in hell couldn’t change that. He’d know her scent anywhere; it was forever engrained in his memory. It was warmth, comfort. It was home.
And sometimes that was enough. Content to just stand there, shrouded in darkness, listening as her heartbeat slowed into the familiar gentle cadence as she finally surrendered to the night. Just to hear her breathing, feeling her presence, knowing she was close, caused a blanket of peace to settle over him.
Enveloped by her smell he drew in a deep breath, his eyes falling closed, savoring the imagined warmth that slowly spread through him. The memories that had haunted him from the day she swore not to forget replayed rapidly behind his eyes. Visions of a happy Buffy assaulted his mind. Wrapped in his arms, laughing and smiling, the sun in her hair and love in her eyes.
Very slowly, as not to dispel the happy delusion his mind had created, he opened his eyes… and his world unraveled.
Instead of the expected onslaught of feelings of pain and loss and longing, the memories propelled the demon in him to the surface. With her this close her soul called out to his, to her blood that still flowed through his veins. His mind recalled her taste with perfect clarity as well as the exquisite euphoria that accompanied it. The unbelievable ecstasy that poured from her body over his tongue lingered just at the edge of his consciousness, driving him into a mindless frenzy that threatened to rip away his shell of sanity.
Warmth quickly turned to heat as more sensual images of Buffy intruded his thoughts: images of her lying beneath him. The curve of her hip, her velvet soft flesh warming his, the scent of her blood intoxicating him, luring him to places of dark desire and forbidden love.
It had been years since they had been together, really and truly. And until this very moment, he thought that his bloodlust was the greatest desire he’d ever felt - even greater than his love for her, he admitted ruefully.
Instinct coursed though him, a hunger so powerful, a need so overwhelming it penetrated into the core of his very being. She fueled a fire deep within him that he had thought extinguished. The flames licked at him, feeding the desires not of the demon, but of the man lying underneath.
Before he consciously knew what he was doing, before he could let the hunger coursing through him be overruled by the warning bells going off in his head, he reached up to the familiar spot in the eaves, easily hauling himself onto the roof. He made no sound as he quickly crossed the roof, a dark silhouette in the moonlight. One small step to her lace covered window and he’d be rewarded with a quick glimpse of her golden hair, or a fragrant breath falling from her lips, or —
The sight that greeted him as he peered through the glass stopped him cold.
She was sleeping peacefully, lying on her side facing the window. Her palm curled under her cheek like a small child. The vision before him was painfully familiar, dragging a kaleidoscope of coveted images from the deepest recesses of his memory. Images of Buffy. Sleeping quietly in his bed, a soft, satisfied smile playing at her lips, trusting that he would be by her side when she awoke.
A sudden wave of sorrow hit him, so powerful it brought him crashing to his knees. Through the burning tears he spotted it: her window. Cracked open, just as it had been from the very beginning. Open in silent invitation. To him.
The tiny voice of rational thought in his
head that had been nagging him to give serious consideration to what he was
about to do was getting too loud to ignore.
But he pushed it aside, disregarding it with unswayable purpose. His denial
was very necessary right now. Their relationship might not be what he once
hoped, but his mind was able to accept that what they had was enough. But in
his heart, he knew the truth.It simply was not enough anymore. He pushed open the window further and
He crossed the room in a pair of quick strides, entering her personal space with the practiced ease of someone who’d spent many a night in her room. He settled himself along the edge of her bed, the mattress dipping silently under his weight. The moonlight filtered through the trees cast eerie shadows on her form. The beams wove delicate patterns resembling braids of fine Irish lace across her face.
How many times had he done this? Crept into her room in the darkest hours before dawn to watch over her as she slept? Sometimes she’d whimper his name, easily luring him to her side. He’d lie next to her, careful not to wake her fully. Gently folding her into his arms, cradling her head to his chest, he’d place a soft kiss on her forehead, his thumb rhythmically stroking her back to lull her deeper to sleep.
He’d stay with her through the night, protecting her from the demons that haunted her nightmares, holding her until the first rays of the sun chased him away. He’d always fight her demons for her, even if sometimes they were him.
He sat unmoving at her side, unable to tear his eyes away. It’d been too long since he could observe her in this way. She looked so much like the innocent girl he used to know. But this was no girl; there was nothing innocent about her. The cruel reality of her calling robbed her of her youth long ago. She was a woman. And whatever he wished, there could be no confusion between the two.
He was pulled from his reverie by a small
sound, a soft sigh; his name on her lips.
“Angel,” she breathed.
A smile tugged at the corner of his lips as he instinctively reached out to touch her—and abruptly pulled his hand away, suddenly paralyzed with fear, acutely aware that he’d already gone too far.
For a moment he’d forgotten. It was only for a moment, the blink of an eye, but it was enough to make him chastise himself for his own foolishness. Just one touch, a whisper of a caress, could cause his ramshackle walls to crumble. One moment of self indulgence and he’d never be able to leave her side again. What little conscience he had left reasserted itself, reminding him that leaving her the first time took every ounce of strength he could summon.
He spent several minutes in a heated internal debate, attempting to rationalize a completely irrational subject, struggling to justify his overwhelming need to touch her with the tragic reality of their fate.
A small smile broke across her face as her soft, unfocused eyes fluttered open. Not a hint of fear or surprise at finding him looming over her in the dark.
“Angel.” She sighed his name with relief. “I’ve been waiting for you, what took you so long?"
He smiled ruefully at her, hoping she couldn’t see the sadness in his eyes, wishing for the billionth time that she wasn’t better off without him.
The words died on his lips at the look on her face. One look into her loving, pleading eyes and he knew everything he wanted to say--words about mistakes, regrets and decisions made in haste; words of apology and forgiveness and fervent wishes to wipe away the past--were inconsequential now.
He shoved tragedy aside for the moment; reality could wait.
He leaned closer, gently taking her face in his hands. “I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” he whispered before his mouth claimed hers. In his memory, he would remember this night as seduction, but at that moment, he knew the truth: it was supplication.
His lips stroked over hers, softly, tenderly; his arms still at his side, relinquishing control to her. The kiss deepened, their breath mingled together as their bodies longed to. Her palm slid up his chest, reacquainting herself with the taut, sinewy muscles beneath his shirt before fisting the leather on the collar of his jacket.
His body tingled with awareness. Scattered thoughts flitted through his mind, but he couldn’t hold onto any of them. Not while Buffy tilted her face up to meet his kiss. Not when despite their difference in size, her mouth fit so perfectly against his. Not when the pulse racing at the base of her throat reminded him that so much more pleasure was just millimeters away.
His mouth moved from hers to her throat, the tips of his fangs nipping at the scar there.
“Mine,” he murmured against her downy skin. He buried his face in her golden hair, the closest he would ever come to feeling the sun’s warm glow upon him. Her flesh was tingling as she turned her head, offering her neck to him. “Always.” He growled selfishly.
The startling electricity was still there, humming between their bodies and wreaking havoc on his emotions. No one before and no one since had the same effect on him. His breath caught, wondering if he was just imagining all this, or if she felt it too.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt like this. Had felt anything. He’d been so lost without her.
The warmth spread through him, radiated strength through his cold, dead veins. Ah, yes, he breathed. I remember this. He thinks this must be what drowning feels like: frenetic struggles until nothing. Complete calm. Quiet. Peace.
She always seemed to know exactly what he needed, and he was painstakingly careful not to take too much. To cross that line would have deathly consequences – for both of them. Still, it would be so easy. She had all of eternity trapped in that body, just under her skin, pulsating, flowing, and the demon in him howled to help hasten its escape. He looked away, ashamed. How dare he admire her when he’d made her complicit to the crimes he was committing.
The wolf was at the door, beckoning him back into the night.
He was quite certain that he’s a pathetic creature, living in a world of lies and denial. But for the moment he was where he wanted to be, where he’ll always want to be. Through the turmoil of his grief, the hazy darkness that always lingered just on the edge of his periphery, waiting patiently to swallow him up, she was there. A force more powerful than the evil threatening to consume him, she separates the dark from the light.
From the first moment he saw her she turned his entire miserable existence upside down, completely unaffected by the fear he inspired in other humans. After her initial shock upon her discovery of the murderous creature that lies within him, she was inconceivably drawn to his side, to his ice-cold touch, instead of running for her life, or ending his.
She was his, always had been, always will be. Blinded by his mission of redemption, he’d been fighting against the one thing that could truly save him. After all the years of battle, waging war on a seeming unstoppable evil, after all the devastating losses they’d both suffered – this was what it had always been about -- and in that clear, sparkling moment, he knew it had all been worth it. The heartache, the pain, the anguish they had endured all in the name of saving humanity had been vindicated in one instant -- the instant he held her tiny frame in his arms once again.