Cats and Dogs

 

Author: Vatrixsta Cruden

 

Email: trixieangelsomething@hotmail.com

 

Classification: Fluff, Angst, B/A Mush (All the good things

in life.)

 

Rating: Oh, it straddles that VERY fine line between R and

NC-17

 

Archive: Kindly tell me where it's going. Unless you already

have something of mine, in which case this is written &

binding blanket permission.

 

Disclaimer: "Golly gee, Mr. Whedon, can't I just have 'em to

play with for a minute?" "Well of course you can! I always

said Buffy was a show fanfic was meant to be written about!"

"Gosh, Mr. Whedon, no matter how evil you are, you're STILL

the BEST!"

 

Spoilers: Um, in a very vague manner, every single episode

that's been pivotal to Angel, the spin-off included?

 

Author's Notes: This is sort of an experiment . . . it's

written in the second person, a style I've never tried

before . . . comments about whether I should ever attempt it

again would be lovely  Also, it was written in about an

hour late, late, late last night, and is supremely

un-beta'd. I was in desperate need of a Bittersweet Legacy

break. This fic helped me get my groove back on.

 

Dedication: To David Boreanaz for being so damned

inspirational. Boy breaks my heart every time Angel tears

up, and makes me giggle like an idiot whenever Angel does

something silly. That's gotta count for something. (We won't

mention how yummy I think he is. I really don't see how

that's at all pertinent.)

 

Summary: Drunk Angel and his six hour adventure down memory

lane.

 

~

 

It's raining cats and dogs, except you've never liked that

expression so you refuse to think it. Instead, you compare

the rain to how it had been that night, the one you still

remember even though it's been nine years. Nine years since

you've touched her, if you don't count a sunny day in

November, and you don't.

 

You've been drinking a lot tonight, more than you have since

the first time you were human. As you down another shot of

tequila, you feel every single one of your two hundred and

fifty-two years.

 

When you were young, you used to walk to the cliffs by the

sea and stare out at Galway Bay. Out on those cliffs, you're

free. After your sister was born, you'd flee the house, away

from screaming babies and haggard mothers. Put as much

distance as possible between you and the father who was

already starting to look at you with disappointment in his

eyes, despite the fact that you hadn't even had time to grow

into a man yet.

 

After you'd disappointed him for the last time, you go out

and you make something of your life. Only you've always been

a spectacular fuckup, and you need a small blonde monster to

change you into a new man. Except you're not a man, you're a

monster too now, and you drank up your mother and your

father and your baby sister who called you an angel. You

drank up your whole town, the whole coastline, the whole of

Europe.

 

With the most beautiful monster on earth by your side, you

drank and drank until you'd left bloody footprints across

the entire continent. And then you caught something in

Romania, like the twelve step program from hell, and you

admitted you had a problem as their screams echoed through

your mind like the sound of the glass shattering in your

palm as you remember the children, especially the children.

 

So suddenly you have a soul, and you're just supposed to

stop, stop drinking, stop killing, stop existing the way you

have for a hundred and forty-some odd years. And your

beautiful monster sees you for the pathetic shell you've

become, tells you you're a disappointment to her, throws you

away just like dear old dad, and you're wandering now, the

guilt is consuming you, and you want a drink worse than you

can believe.

 

Then there were the years when you wondered why you bothered

to stay alive at all. After being rejected the second time,

you don't try to find her again, you realize you aren't like

her, you can never be like her again, your monster, mother

and lover. You can't kill, because each new death was a new

face, a change in pitch to the endless screaming in your

soul. You think of returning to Ireland, but you know that

you left no one alive in your village, and you couldn't

stand to see where your sister's grave doesn't lie.

 

Instead you go to America, someplace you'd never been but

you always wanted to visit. You spend enough time in the old

west, down in Mexico, in Hollywood, that you lose the Irish

accent that sets you apart from the rest of the world. You

don't want to be set apart, you want to blend in. Even

though you want nothing as much as you want to drink them

all up, you like humans, you wish you could be one again,

but you don't say so, you don't even think it too loud

because a monster should never dream such dreams.

 

Time passes again, whisper slow and lightning fast, all at

the same time. After awhile it gets to be too much. You

can't even remember what pushed you onto the streets, but

here you are, New York, the city that never sleeps, and

you're taking a bite of the big apple, only it tastes more

like rats, and you're about out of tether. One more night

out here and you're going to forget to find shelter and

greet the dawn in the middle of Times Square.

 

Someone doesn't want you to, though, and they send you a

bookie disguised as a balancing demon and he tells you

you've got a chance to make up for it all, to be forgiven

for drinking them all down, to maybe even gain redemption

for still craving like you do.

 

He says he has something to show you, and you go with him,

partly because you don't care anymore, and partly because

you so badly want to believe you aren't hopeless. And he

certainly shows you something worth fighting for. He shows

you sunshine and your future all wrapped up in a wisp of a

girl sucking on a lollypop. You have a moment of clarity,

watching her bounce down the steps of her school.

 

You fall in love with her hard and fast, but that's not

really the point, because anyone who looked at her with

sunlight streaking through her hair would love her. You're

different because she's not just love to you, she is

salvation. There are a thousand different faces that you see

when you look at hers, and you think that maybe, if you can

help her, if you can save her, you've got a shot at being

free.

 

So you tell the bookie you want to help her, and you watch

her for a good long while. You train and drink again, but

you don't cause more people to scream. The bookie shows you

a better way to go about doing things, even though you

already knew, because you hadn't been chasing rats for a

century. Just the last year or so when the screams got too

loud to close your eyes during the day.

 

When you meet her face to face, and she doesn't like you on

sight, you feel a surge of things you haven't felt in a long

while; some of these things you've never felt. And it's

right, it's perfect to feel everything because you're so in

love with this tiny girl who's small and blonde, but not a

monster, and has never reminded you of the one who came

before her.

 

It's foolish and irresponsible and you told yourself you

didn't love her, you only wanted to help her because you'd

hurt so many in your life, but you don't believe it and

every time you keep going back to kiss her 'one more time'

you prove how full of shit you are.

 

The catch is, she was never supposed to love you back.

You're a monster. Can't she see? Doesn't she know? The first

time you kissed her, she screamed, and that's more like it,

another scream to record with the multitude of them you

still hear in your dreams. But no, you're telling her you

love her and she's saying it back and asking you to kiss

her, but she doesn't just want you to kiss her and you both

know it.

 

Her skin is wet, and she's so cold, and all you want to do

is warm her. All you've ever wanted was to keep her warm, to

wrap her inside yourself until nothing can harm her. But you

forget the monster that lives inside your skin, you forget

it completely, and your lapse is all it takes to bring her

world crashing down around her and it's still raining cats

and dogs outside, and you say fuck it, because you can't

think of a better expression to use.

 

But you're drifting, just like you always do when you're

drunk, and you did have a point at the beginning of this.

 

A side trip to hell, an eternity of torture, and you're

back, almost good as new. Your guilt isn't diminished in the

slightest for all your suffering, and you privately believe

that all your time in hell is solely reserved as penance for

the wounds you inflicted on your love. There's still that

pesky hundred and forty-some odd years of drinking to make

up for, not to mention nearly a century of apathy.

 

You can't imagine leaving her again though, because how can

you leave your salvation and still manage to find peace?

Peace isn't something you're allowed to have, though,

because peace leads to perfect happiness, and we all know

what that leads to. But if you can't find peace, that means

being with you won't bring her any, and if there was one

thing she needed in her life, it was a little peace.

 

You want to give her the world, but all that's yours to give

is a battered heart and a threadbare soul that barely clung

to your skin. It wasn't nearly enough for her, nowhere near

what she deserved, so you drive the final nail through your

coffin and you leave, because it's best for her, and that's

what you swore to give her, the best, and your absence is

the purest thing you have left.

 

Before you leave, you have to drink from her, because she

can't let you die anymore than you can kill her spirit by

staying with her. And nothing has ever tasted as good as she

does, and when you have rational thought again, you know

drinking her dry will be on constant replay in your most

erotic musings as well as your darkest nightmares.

 

Back in Los Angeles now, you try to walk the path set before

you. The Powers That Be send you family in the form of

people determined to love and annoy you for the rest of

eternity. You hate them for it as much as you love them, and

they keep you alive until you're allowed to live again.

 

Your love still lives in a small town, keeps it safe from

the creatures of the night. She has lovers, more than you'd

like, but to your delight and consternation, they never stay

for more than a year. You wanted her to marry and have

children and sunlight and instead she seems determined to

walk in the night. You even confront her about it once, but

she shuts you down. Not once does she beg you to come back,

but you see it in her eyes anyway, and you make a silent vow

that you will come back to her one day when your life is

finally yours to give.

 

That's something you know she never quite understood. Your

life was never yours, not from the moment you fell to your

knees and drank deeply from a monster's chest. You couldn't

give yourself to her until you'd earned the right, and it

took you so long, years and battles and tears and blood, but

you did it, you earned it, and now you're human and instead

of being with her, you're in a bar, broken glass imbedded in

your palm from where you shattered it with the force of your

helpless rage and it's really starting to sting because it

had been half full of tequila at the time.

 

Your heart had been thumping for all of fifteen minutes when

you'd realized this was it, finally and at last. You feel

like you're in the final moments of an epic war drama, and

you want to shout, "Free at last! Free at last! God

Almighty, I'm free at last!" but you don't. Instead, you hug

the guys, kiss Cordelia, and race out to your black

convertible. You drive balls out to Sunnydale, and it's

daytime so you leave the top up because you find that you

love the feel of sunlight on your face. You stop long enough

to buy sunglasses, and the girl at the stand doesn't

understand why you can't stop laughing as you put them on.

 

When you finally get to Sunnydale, you're more nervous than

you've ever been in your life, and you don't want to be

nervous, all you want is to see her, and hold her, and let

her press her ear to your chest so she can hear your

heartbeat, too. You want to make a perfect day, just like

the one that came before, only this time, you'll die before

you take it back.

 

The living heart you can't quite get used to shatters into a

million pieces when you see what was once your salvation

walking down the streets of Sunnydale at sunset. Her fingers

are twined with those of a man you don't recognize, and her

upturned face is smiling at him, because Buffy doesn't just

smile with her mouth, she does it with her eyes and her

cheeks and the little crinkles around her eyes.

 

Her little crinkles are grinning radiantly at this man, and

you wonder how you could have been so selfish, so utterly

stupid as to think that she wouldn't be with someone. Anyone

who looked at her loved her, and you think for a moment how

nice it would be to run across the street and rip the man

who was kissing her strawberry lips into a thousand, bloody

pieces. You want to drink him down, but then you remember

that you don't drink anymore, and you decide it's time you

start again.

 

Which his how you ended up here at Willy's, staring at your

bloody hand, marveling at the fact that you feel nothing but

nauseated looking at the sticky red liquid.

 

Pain is more effective than black coffee, and already you

feel clearer. Luckily, though, you're not sober enough to

know better, and here you are back at Revello Drive, staring

up at the house you'd once made nightly sweeps by, just to

make sure she was safe.

 

For a moment, you consider climbing up to her bedroom

window, but you decide against it. If you fell, you'd

probably break your neck, and she wasn't going to be happy

to see you healthy and whole -- if you got yourself killed,

she'd probably yell.

 

So instead you ring the doorbell, and you feel ridiculous

ringing the doorbell to this house. Had you ever done so

before? You can't recall, and you think that you really had

had an odd relationship with your soulmate. Odd in a

wonderful way, and you're starting to remember why you got

drunk in the first place now, and you think that maybe you

should just run away before she catches you out here. You

don't think you'll be able to survive it if HE comes to the

door, or worse, if THEY come to the door together.

 

But your reflexes are sluggish, and by the time your legs

process your brain's screams to turn around, the door has

opened and she's looking at you in that way she always has

that makes you feel gutted and happy at the same time.

 

The really strange thing is, she looks like she's been

crying, and you want to take her in your arms, but your

hand's still bleeding, and she catches sight of it at the

same time you remember it, and she gasps. Then her hand is

on your wrist and she's pulling you inside and your fuzzy

mind notes that pale pink terrycloth is a very good look for

her.

 

It takes you a minute, but you realize you've been staring

at her cleavage visible where her robe gapes slightly. If

she notices you looking, she doesn't comment, because she's

somehow managed to bring you up to her room, and she's very

carefully picking the glass out of your hand with a pair of

tweezers.

 

Her room is bright, and you squint at it, then use it to

your advantage as you go back to staring down her robe.

Soon, though, her words begin penetrating the drunken fog

you find yourself in, and damn, she's pissed at you. So

pissed she gets a little rough with the tweezers, but when

you hiss, she apologizes and is gentle again.

 

Why is she so mad at you? You must have asked out loud,

because she huffs and starts reeling off a list of your

sins. You're drunk, you got drunk instead of telling her

that you're human, you assume too much about her, or too

little about yourself, or something like that, you're not

really sure, because she's crying again and the alcohol

she's swiping your hand with stings like hell and you're

starting to get a headache.

 

You take the bottle of rubbing alcohol from her hands and

toss it aside as she starts to tell you about Cordelia

calling. You are unsurprised by this development, but you

still don't understand why she's crying until she explains

that the man she was with was just another man, not the one

she loves, and didn't you want her anymore?

 

Well, damn, of course you want her, you've never wanted

anything else, and your good-as-new hand is pulling her head

towards you as your press your lips over her eyelids, and

her cheeks, and her gradually reappearing crinkles.

 

She's smiling at you now, with her whole face at that, and

suddenly you aren't straining to see down her robe because

your hands somehow undo the tie and she shrugs it off

without being prompted. Your hands are full of her warm skin

and she's a fast study, your love, because you quickly

discover you're as naked as she is.

 

Her bed is soft, but not as soft as her flesh, and you're

not drunk at all now, you're seven years in the past only

this time you're the one who's shaking like a leaf from the

cold and from her, and she's warming you with her skin,

lying back and pulling you on top of her, inside of her so

you can keep each other warm and safe the way you'd wanted

to from that very first moment.

 

It's slow and sweet, and you're bumping your nose with hers,

sliding your tongue inside the endlessly lush warmth of her

mouth, and her lips really do taste like ripe, plump

strawberries. You feel like you haven't kissed her in

centuries, and you haven't, because the only time you'd ever

kissed her as a man was on a day that never really happened.

 

Fingers are stroking up and down your back and you're taking

mouthfuls of her flesh as she whispers into your ear. She

tells you that you're loved, and wanted, and that if you

ever try to leave her again, she'll hunt you to the ends of

the earth. You think that nothing has ever made you happier

than hearing that, and you tell her so as you go back for

another taste of the scar tissue on the side of her neck.

 

At that she's arching into you, pulling you closer and

deeper and harder and oh, yes, right there, just like that,

it's been so long, too long, and you feel like you might die

right there in her arms, and you're okay with that, you

really are, because you've been alive for over six hours

now, you've felt the sun on your face and made love to your

other half, and life really doesn't have much more than that

to offer you.

 

Then again, you'd kind of like to do it all over again for

the next fifty or sixty years, and you must have said that

out loud, too, because she's laughing, giggling really as

she comes apart in your arms, and you're so damned happy

that you're laughing with her, your bodies vibrating in

perfect harmony with one another.

 

And then you're there, you're flying and falling and

screaming and bursting. You're suddenly all those words they

use to try and fail to describe how goddamned =good= it

really feels. Except those words couldn't possibly contain

in them the depth of emotion you feel in your heart to be

buried in and surrounded by the girl who'd made your

pathetic existence a life you could take pride in.

 

While you're panting in her ear, you think you might like to

sleep, and she obviously endorses this idea a hundred

percent because she's already snoring. You're still inside

her and on top of her, and you briefly contemplate moving,

but ultimately decide against it. There's nowhere else in

the world you'd rather be, so you press your cheek to her

breast and fall asleep listening to her heartbeat.

 

When you wake up you're in the same position, except her

fingers are stroking through your hair and you haven't felt

this free since the last time you stood out on that cliff in

Galway Bay, and you think that you'd like to take her there

someday. But not today, because it was still raining cats

and dogs, and you think someone really ought to think up a

better expression than that, but you can't be bothered to

try because your mouth =is= an inch away from her nipple and

you've got two hundred and fifty-two years of living without

her to make up for.

 

~

 

END

Title: Cats and Dogs

 

Author: Vatrixsta Cruden

 

Email: trixieangelsomething@hotmail.com

 

Classification: Fluff, Angst, B/A Mush (All the good things

in life.)

 

Rating: Oh, it straddles that VERY fine line between R and

NC-17

 

Archive: Kindly tell me where it's going. Unless you already

have something of mine, in which case this is written &

binding blanket permission.

 

Disclaimer: "Golly gee, Mr. Whedon, can't I just have 'em to

play with for a minute?" "Well of course you can! I always

said Buffy was a show fanfic was meant to be written about!"

"Gosh, Mr. Whedon, no matter how evil you are, you're STILL

the BEST!"

 

Spoilers: Um, in a very vague manner, every single episode

that's been pivotal to Angel, the spin-off included?

 

Author's Notes: This is sort of an experiment . . . it's

written in the second person, a style I've never tried

before . . . comments about whether I should ever attempt it

again would be lovely  Also, it was written in about an

hour late, late, late last night, and is supremely

un-beta'd. I was in desperate need of a Bittersweet Legacy

break. This fic helped me get my groove back on.

 

Dedication: To David Boreanaz for being so damned

inspirational. Boy breaks my heart every time Angel tears

up, and makes me giggle like an idiot whenever Angel does

something silly. That's gotta count for something. (We won't

mention how yummy I think he is. I really don't see how

that's at all pertinent.)

 

Summary: Drunk Angel and his six hour adventure down memory

lane.

 

~

 

It's raining cats and dogs, except you've never liked that

expression so you refuse to think it. Instead, you compare

the rain to how it had been that night, the one you still

remember even though it's been nine years. Nine years since

you've touched her, if you don't count a sunny day in

November, and you don't.

 

You've been drinking a lot tonight, more than you have since

the first time you were human. As you down another shot of

tequila, you feel every single one of your two hundred and

fifty-two years.

 

When you were young, you used to walk to the cliffs by the

sea and stare out at Galway Bay. Out on those cliffs, you're

free. After your sister was born, you'd flee the house, away

from screaming babies and haggard mothers. Put as much

distance as possible between you and the father who was

already starting to look at you with disappointment in his

eyes, despite the fact that you hadn't even had time to grow

into a man yet.

 

After you'd disappointed him for the last time, you go out

and you make something of your life. Only you've always been

a spectacular fuckup, and you need a small blonde monster to

change you into a new man. Except you're not a man, you're a

monster too now, and you drank up your mother and your

father and your baby sister who called you an angel. You

drank up your whole town, the whole coastline, the whole of

Europe.

 

With the most beautiful monster on earth by your side, you

drank and drank until you'd left bloody footprints across

the entire continent. And then you caught something in

Romania, like the twelve step program from hell, and you

admitted you had a problem as their screams echoed through

your mind like the sound of the glass shattering in your

palm as you remember the children, especially the children.

 

So suddenly you have a soul, and you're just supposed to

stop, stop drinking, stop killing, stop existing the way you

have for a hundred and forty-some odd years. And your

beautiful monster sees you for the pathetic shell you've

become, tells you you're a disappointment to her, throws you

away just like dear old dad, and you're wandering now, the

guilt is consuming you, and you want a drink worse than you

can believe.

 

Then there were the years when you wondered why you bothered

to stay alive at all. After being rejected the second time,

you don't try to find her again, you realize you aren't like

her, you can never be like her again, your monster, mother

and lover. You can't kill, because each new death was a new

face, a change in pitch to the endless screaming in your

soul. You think of returning to Ireland, but you know that

you left no one alive in your village, and you couldn't

stand to see where your sister's grave doesn't lie.

 

Instead you go to America, someplace you'd never been but

you always wanted to visit. You spend enough time in the old

west, down in Mexico, in Hollywood, that you lose the Irish

accent that sets you apart from the rest of the world. You

don't want to be set apart, you want to blend in. Even

though you want nothing as much as you want to drink them

all up, you like humans, you wish you could be one again,

but you don't say so, you don't even think it too loud

because a monster should never dream such dreams.

 

Time passes again, whisper slow and lightning fast, all at

the same time. After awhile it gets to be too much. You

can't even remember what pushed you onto the streets, but

here you are, New York, the city that never sleeps, and

you're taking a bite of the big apple, only it tastes more

like rats, and you're about out of tether. One more night

out here and you're going to forget to find shelter and

greet the dawn in the middle of Times Square.

 

Someone doesn't want you to, though, and they send you a

bookie disguised as a balancing demon and he tells you

you've got a chance to make up for it all, to be forgiven

for drinking them all down, to maybe even gain redemption

for still craving like you do.

 

He says he has something to show you, and you go with him,

partly because you don't care anymore, and partly because

you so badly want to believe you aren't hopeless. And he

certainly shows you something worth fighting for. He shows

you sunshine and your future all wrapped up in a wisp of a

girl sucking on a lollypop. You have a moment of clarity,

watching her bounce down the steps of her school.

 

You fall in love with her hard and fast, but that's not

really the point, because anyone who looked at her with

sunlight streaking through her hair would love her. You're

different because she's not just love to you, she is

salvation. There are a thousand different faces that you see

when you look at hers, and you think that maybe, if you can

help her, if you can save her, you've got a shot at being

free.

 

So you tell the bookie you want to help her, and you watch

her for a good long while. You train and drink again, but

you don't cause more people to scream. The bookie shows you

a better way to go about doing things, even though you

already knew, because you hadn't been chasing rats for a

century. Just the last year or so when the screams got too

loud to close your eyes during the day.

 

When you meet her face to face, and she doesn't like you on

sight, you feel a surge of things you haven't felt in a long

while; some of these things you've never felt. And it's

right, it's perfect to feel everything because you're so in

love with this tiny girl who's small and blonde, but not a

monster, and has never reminded you of the one who came

before her.

 

It's foolish and irresponsible and you told yourself you

didn't love her, you only wanted to help her because you'd

hurt so many in your life, but you don't believe it and

every time you keep going back to kiss her 'one more time'

you prove how full of shit you are.

 

The catch is, she was never supposed to love you back.

You're a monster. Can't she see? Doesn't she know? The first

time you kissed her, she screamed, and that's more like it,

another scream to record with the multitude of them you

still hear in your dreams. But no, you're telling her you

love her and she's saying it back and asking you to kiss

her, but she doesn't just want you to kiss her and you both

know it.

 

Her skin is wet, and she's so cold, and all you want to do

is warm her. All you've ever wanted was to keep her warm, to

wrap her inside yourself until nothing can harm her. But you

forget the monster that lives inside your skin, you forget

it completely, and your lapse is all it takes to bring her

world crashing down around her and it's still raining cats

and dogs outside, and you say fuck it, because you can't

think of a better expression to use.

 

But you're drifting, just like you always do when you're

drunk, and you did have a point at the beginning of this.

 

A side trip to hell, an eternity of torture, and you're

back, almost good as new. Your guilt isn't diminished in the

slightest for all your suffering, and you privately believe

that all your time in hell is solely reserved as penance for

the wounds you inflicted on your love. There's still that

pesky hundred and forty-some odd years of drinking to make

up for, not to mention nearly a century of apathy.

 

You can't imagine leaving her again though, because how can

you leave your salvation and still manage to find peace?

Peace isn't something you're allowed to have, though,

because peace leads to perfect happiness, and we all know

what that leads to. But if you can't find peace, that means

being with you won't bring her any, and if there was one

thing she needed in her life, it was a little peace.

 

You want to give her the world, but all that's yours to give

is a battered heart and a threadbare soul that barely clung

to your skin. It wasn't nearly enough for her, nowhere near

what she deserved, so you drive the final nail through your

coffin and you leave, because it's best for her, and that's

what you swore to give her, the best, and your absence is

the purest thing you have left.

 

Before you leave, you have to drink from her, because she

can't let you die anymore than you can kill her spirit by

staying with her. And nothing has ever tasted as good as she

does, and when you have rational thought again, you know

drinking her dry will be on constant replay in your most

erotic musings as well as your darkest nightmares.

 

Back in Los Angeles now, you try to walk the path set before

you. The Powers That Be send you family in the form of

people determined to love and annoy you for the rest of

eternity. You hate them for it as much as you love them, and

they keep you alive until you're allowed to live again.

 

Your love still lives in a small town, keeps it safe from

the creatures of the night. She has lovers, more than you'd

like, but to your delight and consternation, they never stay

for more than a year. You wanted her to marry and have

children and sunlight and instead she seems determined to

walk in the night. You even confront her about it once, but

she shuts you down. Not once does she beg you to come back,

but you see it in her eyes anyway, and you make a silent vow

that you will come back to her one day when your life is

finally yours to give.

 

That's something you know she never quite understood. Your

life was never yours, not from the moment you fell to your

knees and drank deeply from a monster's chest. You couldn't

give yourself to her until you'd earned the right, and it

took you so long, years and battles and tears and blood, but

you did it, you earned it, and now you're human and instead

of being with her, you're in a bar, broken glass imbedded in

your palm from where you shattered it with the force of your

helpless rage and it's really starting to sting because it

had been half full of tequila at the time.

 

Your heart had been thumping for all of fifteen minutes when

you'd realized this was it, finally and at last. You feel

like you're in the final moments of an epic war drama, and

you want to shout, "Free at last! Free at last! God

Almighty, I'm free at last!" but you don't. Instead, you hug

the guys, kiss Cordelia, and race out to your black

convertible. You drive balls out to Sunnydale, and it's

daytime so you leave the top up because you find that you

love the feel of sunlight on your face. You stop long enough

to buy sunglasses, and the girl at the stand doesn't

understand why you can't stop laughing as you put them on.

 

When you finally get to Sunnydale, you're more nervous than

you've ever been in your life, and you don't want to be

nervous, all you want is to see her, and hold her, and let

her press her ear to your chest so she can hear your

heartbeat, too. You want to make a perfect day, just like

the one that came before, only this time, you'll die before

you take it back.

 

The living heart you can't quite get used to shatters into a

million pieces when you see what was once your salvation

walking down the streets of Sunnydale at sunset. Her fingers

are twined with those of a man you don't recognize, and her

upturned face is smiling at him, because Buffy doesn't just

smile with her mouth, she does it with her eyes and her

cheeks and the little crinkles around her eyes.

 

Her little crinkles are grinning radiantly at this man, and

you wonder how you could have been so selfish, so utterly

stupid as to think that she wouldn't be with someone. Anyone

who looked at her loved her, and you think for a moment how

nice it would be to run across the street and rip the man

who was kissing her strawberry lips into a thousand, bloody

pieces. You want to drink him down, but then you remember

that you don't drink anymore, and you decide it's time you

start again.

 

Which his how you ended up here at Willy's, staring at your

bloody hand, marveling at the fact that you feel nothing but

nauseated looking at the sticky red liquid.

 

Pain is more effective than black coffee, and already you

feel clearer. Luckily, though, you're not sober enough to

know better, and here you are back at Revello Drive, staring

up at the house you'd once made nightly sweeps by, just to

make sure she was safe.

 

For a moment, you consider climbing up to her bedroom

window, but you decide against it. If you fell, you'd

probably break your neck, and she wasn't going to be happy

to see you healthy and whole -- if you got yourself killed,

she'd probably yell.

 

So instead you ring the doorbell, and you feel ridiculous

ringing the doorbell to this house. Had you ever done so

before? You can't recall, and you think that you really had

had an odd relationship with your soulmate. Odd in a

wonderful way, and you're starting to remember why you got

drunk in the first place now, and you think that maybe you

should just run away before she catches you out here. You

don't think you'll be able to survive it if HE comes to the

door, or worse, if THEY come to the door together.

 

But your reflexes are sluggish, and by the time your legs

process your brain's screams to turn around, the door has

opened and she's looking at you in that way she always has

that makes you feel gutted and happy at the same time.

 

The really strange thing is, she looks like she's been

crying, and you want to take her in your arms, but your

hand's still bleeding, and she catches sight of it at the

same time you remember it, and she gasps. Then her hand is

on your wrist and she's pulling you inside and your fuzzy

mind notes that pale pink terrycloth is a very good look for

her.

 

It takes you a minute, but you realize you've been staring

at her cleavage visible where her robe gapes slightly. If

she notices you looking, she doesn't comment, because she's

somehow managed to bring you up to her room, and she's very

carefully picking the glass out of your hand with a pair of

tweezers.

 

Her room is bright, and you squint at it, then use it to

your advantage as you go back to staring down her robe.

Soon, though, her words begin penetrating the drunken fog

you find yourself in, and damn, she's pissed at you. So

pissed she gets a little rough with the tweezers, but when

you hiss, she apologizes and is gentle again.

 

Why is she so mad at you? You must have asked out loud,

because she huffs and starts reeling off a list of your

sins. You're drunk, you got drunk instead of telling her

that you're human, you assume too much about her, or too

little about yourself, or something like that, you're not

really sure, because she's crying again and the alcohol

she's swiping your hand with stings like hell and you're

starting to get a headache.

 

You take the bottle of rubbing alcohol from her hands and

toss it aside as she starts to tell you about Cordelia

calling. You are unsurprised by this development, but you

still don't understand why she's crying until she explains

that the man she was with was just another man, not the one

she loves, and didn't you want her anymore?

 

Well, damn, of course you want her, you've never wanted

anything else, and your good-as-new hand is pulling her head

towards you as your press your lips over her eyelids, and

her cheeks, and her gradually reappearing crinkles.

 

She's smiling at you now, with her whole face at that, and

suddenly you aren't straining to see down her robe because

your hands somehow undo the tie and she shrugs it off

without being prompted. Your hands are full of her warm skin

and she's a fast study, your love, because you quickly

discover you're as naked as she is.

 

Her bed is soft, but not as soft as her flesh, and you're

not drunk at all now, you're seven years in the past only

this time you're the one who's shaking like a leaf from the

cold and from her, and she's warming you with her skin,

lying back and pulling you on top of her, inside of her so

you can keep each other warm and safe the way you'd wanted

to from that very first moment.

 

It's slow and sweet, and you're bumping your nose with hers,

sliding your tongue inside the endlessly lush warmth of her

mouth, and her lips really do taste like ripe, plump

strawberries. You feel like you haven't kissed her in

centuries, and you haven't, because the only time you'd ever

kissed her as a man was on a day that never really happened.

 

Fingers are stroking up and down your back and you're taking

mouthfuls of her flesh as she whispers into your ear. She

tells you that you're loved, and wanted, and that if you

ever try to leave her again, she'll hunt you to the ends of

the earth. You think that nothing has ever made you happier

than hearing that, and you tell her so as you go back for

another taste of the scar tissue on the side of her neck.

 

At that she's arching into you, pulling you closer and

deeper and harder and oh, yes, right there, just like that,

it's been so long, too long, and you feel like you might die

right there in her arms, and you're okay with that, you

really are, because you've been alive for over six hours

now, you've felt the sun on your face and made love to your

other half, and life really doesn't have much more than that

to offer you.

 

Then again, you'd kind of like to do it all over again for

the next fifty or sixty years, and you must have said that

out loud, too, because she's laughing, giggling really as

she comes apart in your arms, and you're so damned happy

that you're laughing with her, your bodies vibrating in

perfect harmony with one another.

 

And then you're there, you're flying and falling and

screaming and bursting. You're suddenly all those words they

use to try and fail to describe how goddamned =good= it

really feels. Except those words couldn't possibly contain

in them the depth of emotion you feel in your heart to be

buried in and surrounded by the girl who'd made your

pathetic existence a life you could take pride in.

 

While you're panting in her ear, you think you might like to

sleep, and she obviously endorses this idea a hundred

percent because she's already snoring. You're still inside

her and on top of her, and you briefly contemplate moving,

but ultimately decide against it. There's nowhere else in

the world you'd rather be, so you press your cheek to her

breast and fall asleep listening to her heartbeat.

 

When you wake up you're in the same position, except her

fingers are stroking through your hair and you haven't felt

this free since the last time you stood out on that cliff in

Galway Bay, and you think that you'd like to take her there

someday. But not today, because it was still raining cats

and dogs, and you think someone really ought to think up a

better expression than that, but you can't be bothered to

try because your mouth =is= an inch away from her nipple and

you've got two hundred and fifty-two years of living without

her to make up for.

 

~

 

END

 



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