Caged

 

By Ares

Written for the RIP Second Anniversary of Angel.

 

Thank you, Jo for your expertise in all things.

 

Summary: Have you ever wondered where Buffy was the day after Joyce’s funeral? There was Dawn going about her nefarious business during the day and Buffy was absent from house and home. This is what I like to think happened.

 

 

Extract from BtVS 5 Forever.

 

“No, I’m so grateful that you came, Angel. I didn’t think I was gonna be able to make it through the night.”

 

“Well, we still have a few more minutes until I have to go.”

 

“Good.”

 

**

 

“I have to go.”

 

“Where?”

 

“The old place, if I leave now I can just make it.”

 

“I – I don’t want to go h-home.” Her breath hitched, his arm embraced her and pulled her close. “There’s no one there.”

 

His warmth was not physical although she warmed at his closeness. She burrowed in to that warmth, wanting to drown in him and never approach the surface of her life again.

 

He led her to a monster of a car and gently placed her upon cool seats. The car was old, but strong and sleek like its owner, black and shiny and it smelled of leather. For Angel shone in the light of the night, the moon made him glow luminescent and beautiful, she thought, as she watched him in quiet reflection.  

 

She was numb, cold inside, frozen in a universe where her mother had died. Heart fluttering like a bird, she felt it beat against the wall of her chest in a desperate attempt to get out of its cage of grief. The key to that cage sat alongside her, driving them through the night: should she ask him to carry her away? She wanted him to, needed that freedom, but she could not. She had Dawn to think about. She was tired of thinking, tired of putting on a brave face, weary of the grim smile that had cemented itself to her lips.

 

His arm snaked about her, pulling her to his side. The sigh that was trapped in her throat escaped. Buffy’s spine relaxed and she nestled against his chest, and thanked the heavens for his heart’s absent music. She wished that her heart drummed silent instead of its hummingbird beat. Maybe in death she would have some peace, be finished and done. She closed her eyes to the music of two hearts that beat to the tune of one.

 

She was floating, flying; she was weightless, and boneless. Old silk, musty and stale, offered a soft landing into which she sank, refusing to open her eyes. A brush of wool against her skin, gone and moments later was back, fresh from a shake and warm about her shoulders. She felt and wriggled her toes, her boots left her feet, and the woollen warmth enveloped her stockings. The mattress dipped and he was there, careful, always careful with his embrace and it felt like coming home. She was in its doorway, a foot inside and she didn’t care. Just this once, Buffy was going to ignore all the warnings, the common sense that wasn’t, and stay in this bed with the one person she loved and would always love. She wriggled back into his arms and felt the long, strong, wonderful body against hers and sighed this time with contentment. Another’s arms was what she needed, a pair of loving arms that reminded her, that yes, there was someone out there that loved her unconditionally. Buffy fell asleep when she least expected, she never thought to sleep again.

 

 

Angel smiled sadly into golden hair. He doubted Buffy had slept since she walked into her lounge and found her mother lying there. To be helpless in the face of ordinary human death was frustrating and heartbreaking to one who constantly saved the world. That it was her mother that lay there must have broken Buffy’s heart.

 

He wouldn’t unburden his soul and tell Buffy about the hell of his last few months. Off the rails, wasn’t that the expression? A train wreck had less impact than the destruction his obsession had had on his friends and everyone around him. He hoped that Buffy never spiralled into devastation and hopelessness like he had. He prayed – a vampire praying; now there was a paradox – for his love to weather the storm of grief, to gather her friends close and accept help when offered. With all his dead heart, he wished he could be that help, that shoulder she could cry on, the one on whom she could rely. It wasn’t to be. It could never be.

 

The flame of her lips, the fire it ignited inside his soul burned bright still. His love for her, hidden away from the light of day, from the inspection of prying eyes and disapproving minds, lay dormant not dead. It needed only the match of her desire to flare into intensity, into a passion that consumed them both and the world. Placing a soft kiss upon burnished locks, Angel knew that he was kidding himself. His love for Buffy was never dormant, never quiescent. He restrained it, chained it to the walls of his heart, kept it captive, and at the merest hint of escape it roared. He would never be free and he never wanted to be. Loving Buffy was glorious, it was the miracle that kept him going and he had forgotten that over the last few horrible weeks.

 

He gently tucked his chin against her shoulder, buried his face in her hair, and closed his eyes to the dawn of a new day. He listened to the beat of her heart, safe, sure in its rhythm, knowing that he was blessed to feel it reverberate against his chest. His hand caressed the swell of her breast once, and with a sigh he let it fall to her waist, regret and longing swelling in his. He stilled, defied the sleep that threatened to snatch away the pleasure of just being. Angel fought the battle and lost, he drifted away, afloat in a sea of longing and contentment. No one else made him feel this way; wanted, cherished and loved. A small smile graced his lips as he gave in to whatever passed as vampire sleep. He had traded his life for Buffy’s. The Powers had promised him she would live if he gave up his life. He had given up everything and she was safe because of it. What more could a vampire in love ask for? 

 

The End

May 2006

 

 


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