Author: SCWLC

Disclaimer: Standard boilerplate, Joss owns everything. Even the stuff Noxon and Greenwalt messed up. The song is “Leave the Pieces” by the Wreckers.

Timeline: Right after “Pangs” when Buffy’s storming her way to LA.

Rating: PG

Summary: Buffy’s just heard from Anya that Angel was in Sunnydale all Thanksgiving. She’s not exactly happy.

Feedback: Goes, as it always has, to

Site: I didn’t used to have one of these, but I have an LJ dedicated to fanfic, and this will go up there eventually.

Notes: First Buffy fic I’ve written in forever. I have no idea how this will go down, or if people even want to read my songficcy character studies any more, but here goes.





“I want my life to be with you.”


“I  don’t.”

Buffy, Angel – “The Prom”





Why did he always do this?


It had been the hallmark of their relationship from the start. He’d always been the one to vanish into the night. He’d always been the one coming in and out of her life, disrupting everything, and never leaving her an instant of peace.


You're not sure that you love me,
But you're not sure enough to let me go.


They met for the first time in that alleyway and he’d been disturbing and frightening, starting off a fun evening with an upset that she’d remained angry about for weeks. It didn’t really matter to her feelings that his information was key to stopping the Master. Just as she’d started to forget about the strange sexy man in the alley, there he was, in the crypt mocking her.


Just in time to set her temper on edge again. He’d showed up again when Ms French had started substituting, just in time to give her a nearly-useless cryptic warning about a vampire she’d ultimately not had much trouble with at all. And given her his jacket. Just as she started to think he was just an older guy with info, he did something as sweet and intimate as lending her his jacket.


He’d come to see her while she was out with Owen, seemed jealous, then started talking about work.

Baby it ain't fair you know,
To just keep me hangin' 'round.

Why did Angel have to just keep dangling her along like that?


After she’d faced the Master down, he’d taken her to the Spring Fling. He’d been attentive, sweet, danced with her and danced attendance. Not one of the girls had dared to say a bad thing about her with such a handsome older man on her arm. He’d shut down the few whispers calling her a slut with ease and Buffy had felt like the belle of the ball.


She asked that evening if he would see her in LA over the summer, and Buffy thought he’d agreed. She’d waited that whole summer for him to come and take away her nightmares of drowning.


He’d had the gall to show up in her bedroom after she got back to Sunnydale as though nothing had changed.

You say you don't wanna hurt me,
Don't wanna to see my tears,


She’d broken down in his arms and had believed it would be okay. He’d walked her home, hushing her like a small child and making her feel like he’d keep her safe from the world. She could remember Angel staying by her bed until she fell asleep, holding her hand. The look in his eyes had assured her that he wanted to stay.


Buffy felt gypped when she woke the next morning before school and he wasn’t there. Of course he couldn’t have stayed into the morning, but he could have woken her before he left. He could have left a note. She didn’t see him again for weeks.

So why are you still standing here,
Just watching me drown?

Why did she always hear about him being around from someone else? Giles about the rescue from the utility room, Xander about Angel showing up on Parent-Teacher night . . . Anya about Angel being in town to save her from the Chumash warriors.

And it's alright, yeah I'll be fine,
Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine.
Just take your love and hit the road.


He’d left her. He’d walked into the smoke and fog and the flickering lights of the remains of the high school and never said goodbye or came back. Why the hell couldn’t he just stay away if he was going to do this to her?

There's nothing you can do or say,
You're gonna break my heart anyway.
So just leave the pieces when you go.

It was always inevitable that he’d do it. He couldn’t stop himself. Any time he came into her life he’d leave in a blaze the left everything of her heart lying in a pile of ashes in her chest. The bastard just waltzed out every time looking completely unaffected by everything. Would it hurt him to show some feeling about it?

Now you can drag out the heartache.


He’d come and gone all through the previous year. He’d been in her dreams the whole summer, holding her and loving her and vanishing like the stars in the morning when she woke. It had left her aching and guilty and everything that made her chest ache with the pain of loss all over again.


He’d come back from Hell and he’d needed her. He’d depended on her, and it had salved the ache in her like nothing else ever could. The terror she’d felt when Faith had nearly killed him had made every other fear she’d ever felt pale in comparison. She’d known what it was to truly lose him then and never wanted to feel that again.


Baby you can make it quick.
Really get it over with,
And just let me move on.

They’d listened to Spike. Angel had left, promising never to return. She’d had to comfort Willow and comfort Xander and smooth things over with Cordelia and Oz. No one had time for the sense that she’d lost something important that wouldn’t come back.

Don't concern yourself
With this mess you've left for me.


Seeing him staggering around, falling apart that Christmas, flying in and out of her consciousness and her life with frightening rapidity and frequency in such a short period of time had made her head spin.


Then they were on top of that hill, overlooking the town and she’d only been able to think that she wished they could let go and cut the cord. She wished he’d stop chasing after her only to run off promising he was never coming back. He’d stayed that morning.



I can clean it up, you see,
Just as long as you're gone.

How it hurt when he wasn’t there. He’d held her and helped her with her mother’s raving about the dead children in the park. He’d been there for her when she needed his support at her birthday. The rest of the time he hid and she always had to go to the mansion to see him.


But she could feel him. She could feel him there, watching and waiting and protecting and it meant she never got perspective because he was always there and never gone. She needed to feel him there like air, but Buffy needed more than that. He wasn’t next to her, holding her and being there. Angel was always seven steps behind and to the left. Just close enough to ache to touch him without being able to.

And it's alright, yeah I'll be fine.
Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine,
Just take your love and hit the road.


He’d left her in the sewers, telling her he didn’t want to be with her. He’d just said it and walked away. Left her feeling bereft and alone and with a friend who had no concept of what having someone feel like the other half of your soul. Willow had made appropriate noises, but nothing made up for feeling like Angel had walked away and taken the air with him. He’d taken everything without looking back once.

There's nothing you can do or say,
You're gonna break my heart anyway.
So just leave the pieces when you go.

The world had lit up when he appeared at the prom, and Buffy had felt like she could breathe for the first time in days. They’d both known it was inevitable that he’d go and take the moon and stars with him and leave her with nothing but the dark and the harsh daylight to choose between for the rest of her life.

You not making up your mind,
Is killing me and wasting time.
I need so much more than that.

He left her because a vampire and a slayer couldn’t be together. Then he came back. He left because he thought she should be in the light. Then he came back. He left because she made him too happy. Then he came back. He left because he didn’t want her to be with him. Then he came back.


He’d abandoned her after graduation.


He’d been back again.


How was she supposed to be with someone if he was always there reminding her of everything she was missing?

And it's alright, yeah I'll be fine.
Don't worry 'bout this heart of mine,
Just take your love and hit the road.


She’d been fine when he’d been gone. She’d seen him around every corner and felt him watching and told herself it was just her imagination. She’d finally begun to look at other men again. As long as he stayed gone she’d been able to convince herself she’d find herself someone new.

There's nothing you can do or say,
You're gonna break my heart anyway.
So just leave the pieces when you go.

Now she knew he’d been there the whole time. Now she knew he’d been dangling his presence and his scent right in front of her. How did he dare get off on telling her to get over him when he was just going to stay and remind her of himself and break her heart all over again by leaving?

Leave the pieces when you go.

She felt like screaming at him to leave her alone to do what he’d told her to do. Would he leave her the broken pieces of her heart so she could glue them back together without him stomping it under his heel like a glass at a Jewish wedding?

Leave the pieces when you go.

Buffy wanted to beg him to let her be so that she could gather those broken pieces up and cradle them to her to savour the pain of her solitude. Would he leave her to hold onto them in piece so she could get used to the pain without him raising her hopes and making it feel worse every time he left again?

Leave the pieces when you go.


She was going to LA to tell him to stay away and leave her broken heart alone.


She was going to LA to be close enough to feel her heart break again.


At least when she shattered she knew she was still alive.