Still Sixteen & In Love
Notes: Set post-Chosen but not Season Eight-complaint.
Summary: They still love one another even after all the years that have gone by.
The confrontation is fast and furious; it leaves her feeling winded, bruised and horribly clumsy. But afterwards, he’s there to hold her close and to kiss away the pain. Buffy smiles up at him and she feels like she’s coming home even though she knows that what they have isn’t right: he’s a vampire and she’s a Slayer. Never should the two mix. Yet here they are, mixed up perfectly and complete. Kissing him is something that she takes for granted.
* * *
Ten years later, any confrontation with
Angel leaves her heart bruised and battered and her mind full of what might
have been and what could have been. And even now ten years later, he still has
the innate ability of stealing her breath away. Only this time, Angel doesn’t
pull her close, whisper sweet words of love in her ear or kiss her better and
breathless. Instead they keep apart from one another, a prescribed distance
that feels like it’s slowly killing her. Their body language mirrors one
another, as they remain casual, aloof and cold.
His curse keeps them distant even though she knows that they both probably want nothing better than for her to jump into his arms, to wrap her legs around his waist while she peppers kisses all over his face just like she used to so long ago. Instead, they remain formal, a lesson for all of the younger Slayers about why vampires and Slayers should never mix.
Buffy sighs, brushes her hair off of her face as she looks up into his and her heart shatters. He looks her in the eye before quickly looking away, turning from her with a dramatic flair. Spike had told her about the Shanshu prophecy and she doesn’t blame Angel for signing it away, there are more important things in this world than their love for one another.
“Angel,” Buffy says.
But he’s gone before she can say anything else and she wonders how many more years it’ll be before she sees him again.
* * *
Things have changed and this time he rushes
forward and gently sweeps her into his arms. Too many years have gone by and
she knows that he had allowed the comfort of the phone and emails and other
technology to let them have some semblance of closeness. In person, they were
always too cautious, too afraid that a simple hug or caress after her dismal
failure of relationship with the Immortal would lead to something else.
Now it’s too late. She still feels the same swooping sensation in her stomach because of him but time has robbed her breath away from her and time has made her heart ache. Still she’s grateful that he’s there. His brown eyes are wounded and she can read the question written on his face about why she hadn’t called him to her earlier. She gives him a weak smile unsure of how to tell him that she didn’t want him burdened with memories of a long illness or of how she slowly deteriorated, it’s bad enough that Willow, Xander, Giles and Dawn had to live through that. But she couldn’t bare the thought of Angel watching as she wasted away or of him having to carry those memories with him through eternity.
She gently cups his face, relishing the feel of his jaw against her palm. All of the years that have gone since Sunnydale seem to melt away and she’s sixteen again, terrified of the death that she goes out to meet on a nightly basis. She just wants to grab life by the horns and live for every single minute that she can. Her lips curve into a smile with a lost memory of how he looked in the Bronze, all dark and mysterious, his heart already hers.
“I love you.”
The words are simple but they have a weight to them. Even now after all of the years that have passed by, after all of the years where they’ve been prisoner to the curse, to the reality of who they are. She smiles at him and for a moment she can almost believe that she’ll be better and that tomorrow they’ll head out for patrol in one of the many cemeteries that litter Sunnydale’s townscape. It’s always been Angel for her, ever since she was sixteen years old.