Beyond the Sun
Disclaimer: Stupid Joss! I actually really hate him right now. After hearing some spoilers for season six, I rue the day he ever signed the ownership papers!
Summary: After Buffy comes back, she and Angel head out onto the road to nowhere...
Category: B/A, Angst
I had a dream that was not all a dream- Byron
Looking back now, I think that I didn't expect any of it to happen. I just wanted to tell him I was alive and go home. After all, I was still a bit shaky and Dawn couldn't even spend a day at school without calling to make sure I was still there. There was slaying to be done and teachers to talk to and a life to get together. I figured I could wrap up Angel in an hour and be back in Sunnydale by dinner. The crux of it was that I didn't want to see him, or touch him or hear his voice. Before I left, I stared at the wall for a long time, making sure I wouldn't cry when we talked.
It was hard for me to talk to or about him after we broke up. I remember that the most. How difficult it was- how my throat would ache when I caught ghosts of him in other people- he always haunted me in the smallest of ways- in the tilt of a head, the slant of a smile
and my chest would squeeze and I'd have to breathe deeply to make myself calm down.
So when I ran lightly up the steps to the Hyperion Hotel, I just wanted to be free again. I wanted to have a quick word, a hurried "I'm back, break out the piρata," and be home in time to make Dawnie's lunch for the next day. She was staying at Willow and Tara's still- as was I- until we could get the house ready for our return- but I liked doing those little tasks for her. She told me when I returned that I was dead for three months and she thought she might scream. I hugged her close, felt the fluttery beat of her pulse, and whispered that I'd start to bug her again in no time. She breathed in the scent of my hair and said nothing. Her eyes looked old and I wondered how long that stain of time would stay.
I recall the way he looked when he opened the door and saw me. It's sort of a blur- that day- but his face burns in my memory like the clearest of glass. The moon shone behind me- and my hands were trembling. He stepped back, involuntarily, and I had an absent thought that maybe it would have been kinder to call and warn him. But no
I had to see his face. I realized that in a startlingly selfish flash that hit me straight in my belly. It churned and I felt sick, staring up at him with blind eyes.
He stared at me too- for a long time. And then he made a sort of choked sound. His fingers reached out and brushed my cheek- which was flush with blood and the sunshine of earlier that day. He said my name, but I barely heard him. It sounded like gibberish. His eyes glowed and I remember how dizzy I felt. Never had I thought telling him would be like that.
" I murmured and the rest of the night and day is just a jumble of words and images. I can't quite recall what happened. We talked, and he was shaky and trembly and I kept tugging on the ends of my hair. He didn't talk about his reaction to my death- and I suppose I didn't ask because Willow had told me that when she went there to deliver the news- he locked himself on the roof and screamed.
My face had hurt when she told me that, and I blinked at her, not knowing what to say- what she expected me to answer with. A flippant rejoinder was what she wanted- what they all needed when we spoke about him- but I couldn't oblige. I just got up and walked out of the room and we didn't talk about it again.
I do remember the next night though- the moment when he turned to me and said, "Let's get away."
I nodded and smiled and said in a calm way, "You mean go get some ice cream? I want fudge. Missed that while I was doing the dead thing."
He shook his head and pointed to the door- or the far far away places we'd never seen together and answered, "No. Let's go away. On a trip. Let's just drop everything and go, Buffy."
I can't quite grasp what I replied with- but I know somewhere along the line, he melted through my shock and rebuttals with his Angel voice and his glances and fierce strong hands. I said yes. I went with him. To nowhere. We were on the road to somewhere and going absolutely nowhere. I knew it then. In the back of my mind was an insistence- but I--
-- I didn't care.
He bought me sunscreen on the ferry, which I thought was funny. It had garish yellow lettering and I laughed at him and said I was tanned enough not to need any covering. He just sort of shrugged and looked embarrassed and told me to wear it. I did, secretly pleased and all girly over him being worried about me. I thought I was regressing a bit, becoming sixteen again- and maybe I was. I called everyone before I left, and now I can't recall the anger I know lashed their voices, but I can remember the lilt in Dawn's as she whispered to me so no one would hear, "Please be happy. And don't die again." I said I wouldn't, and hung up, my heart lighter.
The sun did burn the back of my neck when I stood at the top deck of the ferry and thought of Angel deep in the bowels, stuck in the dank darkness. He said he wanted me to be outside, which was the only reason I wasn't down there with him. It was the end of August and I wasn't in the ground and Mom was dead and Angel was with me and I couldn't quite think. Sweat pooled in all the hollows of my thin flesh and I stood there, soaking in the world I never knew I'd miss.
We travelled by boat and walked and hitchhiked, until we got to Europe. It wasn't really a conscious thing- our decision to go so far. But once we got on the road, we couldn't stop. I let my hair grow until it touched my lower back. We ate when we could- usually bread and cheese at local places that would let us work for food. Not that Angel didn't have money- but we liked to keep it for important things. Like stupid souvenirs, and tickets and funny postcards. We were being kids. It wasn't something either of us were accustomed to- but soon we fell into it like a knife goes through melted butter. Or a sword through ribs.
"Angel," I said when we got to Greece. I was wearing a tie back top and a long patched jean skirt and felt younger than I had in years. Since I was called. Since I killed him. He turned to me and didn't touch me. He was careful not to- always. We both knew that we were always teetering on the edge of something- a precipice- and we couldn't fall.
"Yes?" he answered with a slight smile and the moon shone from his eyes. I stumbled for a moment at the brilliance of it and didn't recognize him. The air rushed over my skin.
"Where should we go first?"
He shrugged, a careless movement beneath the black T-shirt he wore- one size too small. It always made my belly rumble to look at him- so I tried not to. "Somewhere. Does it really matter?"
"No," I agreed, a chill suddenly sweeping up my spine like the long finger of Death. Shaking it off, I glanced behind me where the sun was cloaked by the clouds. Beyond it was the nothingness I'd come from. I didn't want to go back there. "It doesn't matter."
In Greece we slept at a hostel, in separate rooms, although I felt as if they were air- because I could feel his every movement so acutely it was like burning agony. Perhaps I ignored it- bore it- because I didn't want any of it to end. I felt like it could- as if we were connected by a fragile string that would snap if I applied the slightest amount of pressure. So I kept silent, and didn't look at the way his muscles rippled when he lifted my bed so it'd be closer to the window. Didn't spare a glance for the sheen of his skin, rich like alabaster in the moonlight. Tried not to stare when he'd just had a shower and came to my room, smelling like soap and dust and Angel, his hair wet.
In the days, I went out alone, a beaten, weathered bag on my back and a map between my fingers as I scoured the countryside for out of the way ruins, museums, rich earth and the shock of the golden sky. Sometimes I'd lie out in the grass, my face turned up to the heat, my skin scorching against the sun baked grass, and I'd think of Dawn and my mother and my friends- and it was strange- but it was as if they were all so far far away- like a dream I hadn't quite woken from. I remember how simple I felt life was- how desperate I was to keep that time to myself, not let it get blown away.
I remember the night everything changed. We'd been in Greece for a month, and we were at the Acropolis one night. Angel liked to sight see during the hours before dawn, and it was kind of fun, trekking around all the ancient ruins with only the light of the warm stars burning above us. Our legs carried us up the hills, the breezes washing from the coast flowing against our flesh. He kept looking at me as we wound our way into the stones and I felt the past swirling in the air. The circle of rocks seemed to clutch at us and I recall how trapped I felt.
"Do you like Greece?" Angel asked me softly, and I nodded.
"I love it
very sunny. Not good for you though."
He nodded calmly, and leaned against one side of the crumbling Citadel, his arms crossed over the breadth of chest that rose and fell with imaginary breaths. I stood, so tiny, feeling lost. He looked at me and raised a hand to my face, grazing it with his palms. "Do you love me?"
"Of course," I replied without hesitation, and then laughed, blushing a hot red. "I mean
Cutting me off, he kissed me and I reared back from the fire of his lips. But his hands, those capable hands, they grappled with my waist and our teeth bumped as he kissed me again. All of the again. I felt blurry and sort of sick, but in a strange way- like pleasure and pain. Like when he slid into me that first time and I felt the hot spill of blood and come between my legs.
Angel kissed me in the starry night and I kissed him back and time faded and I felt angry and relieved and happy all at once. He was there, and his mouth was on mine and I didn't have to dream it. It was real. His mouth seared, and my breath hitched, and he lay me down as if he was going to do something that would make his soul soar. I felt the sharp rocks beneath my hips and my hands flailed for some kind of balance. Nothing good could come of this. I knew it.
We were on the road
As his face sunk into my neck, and I felt the sting of his teeth as he kissed and nibbled the scar he'd left so long ago, I gazed up at the sky and remembered the sun, hiding just out of view. The killer sun that could take my love away in an instant.
Beyond the sun was where I'd come from. I'd had that thought before, I recognized. I didn't want to go back there. Greece shimmered below us, and it was as if I was coming apart- as Angel touched me and made me his again. Tears spurted from my quiet eyes, because it was him and I couldn't quite forget- never could
I still can't. It has been so many years.
Thousands. It's funny to think that. It's been so long since I died. Since I jumped from that tower into the crackling energy meant for my little sister. I slipped into a dream- a little piece of heaven- that I didn't wake from until I looked beyond the sun that night as we lay on the Acropolis and Angel came inside me. I can still feel it- the heat, the sweat, the cool lips, the even cooler breath.
I remember it all. The dream of it. The reality of it.
It's become my heaven. The only part of me still left. Of the Buffy Summers that used to exist- used to breathe and laugh and shout and weep and rage. Her flesh may have disintegrated long ago, but her memories still remain- and so do her dreams.
And so we still wander. In the hills of the world, and I keep hold of that- those remembrances- of a time I was fooled into thinking I had a second chance at happiness- at life-
And was given a taste of the life I always wanted.
"Love in a subtle dreame, disguised
Hath both my heart and me surprised" - Sense and Sensibility soundtrack- "The Dreame"
| Fiction Index | Home Page | Back |