Innocent Bystander

Author: Lokoa (mehlk@netzero.net)

Distribution: All you gotta do is ask

Disclaimer: I keep asking Joss, but he hasn’t returned my calls. The song "Bells" and its lyrics at the end do not belong to me, either.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Well, nothing too specific aside from "Chosen", but let’s be safe and say the B/A saga

Pairing: As if this is EVEN needed – B/A

Synopsis: Takes place about a year after the BtVS finale. Since Fred’s first moments back in L.A., her life was again toppled by one name - "Buffy". People don’t give Fred enough credit. She’s been displayed as one who kind of shys away and is unaware of Angel’s history…but oh contraire. Do you really think she never took it upon herself to ask questions? I don’t think so.

Notes: Written in Fred’s POV

Feedback: It’s been a while – I’m probably rusty. So any thoughts/comments would be mucho appreciated

Dedication: To my wonderful DSS Karen. SMOOCH And to the B/A story as well as for those who’ve been swept away by it. I also want to give a quick mention to Chrislee and how much her fic has inspired me to pick up a pen a write again. Though I’m sure she has no idea, but that’s beside the point. ;)

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It’s bizarre how life chooses to take the twists and turns it does. You know, like one day you’re harmlessly reciting strange words from a book because, well, they’re strange and you’re interested in the composition of such foreign words, only to find that curiosity does kill the cat, and consequently you live (survive) the next years of your life (this can’t be my life) trapped in a misanthropic dimension.

Yeah, kind of like that.

Or maybe it’s for the defective amusement of the Higher Powers that we are so convinced are the "good guys". A cat and mouse chase, where we're always their mouse.

Sometimes I don’t know why we keep fighting (almost dying) for all mighty beings who reward our victories with the gift of an even more dexterous opponent whom we must put more sweat, more blood, more loss, into defeating. But I never voice this, of course, because what would be the point?

And then I feel guilty for these thoughts because here I am with a rather gracious life compared to one two-hundred-fourty-six-year-old-redemption-seeking-brooding-vampire-with-a-soul (Whew!) who can still find someplace in his heart to compel him to keep fighting. Well, maybe it’s not his heart that gives him the strength precisely – maybe it’s the petite blonde standing in front of him in the lobby.

She hasn’t been here but twenty minutes (hours?) but in those minutes, the air around us has been effectively altered, prickling against my skin and creating a warmth that was absent but moments ago.

This young woman has to be Buffy.

Lorne shifts beside me, his sequenced suit rubbing together, creating a rip in our silence. We watch through the safety of the office, not meaning to stare, but unable to tear our eyes away.

"It’s his Queen," he says in that musical way that only Lorne can.

"Queen?" I whisper, unsure of why I do so, but knowing that it feels appropriate.

"Of his heart, pumpkin."

I blink at his words and watch as Angel reaches (strains) for her, grazing her arm, and resting his strong hand against her cheek. She turns her face into him, eyes closed, and brings her hand to rest against his. This looks like a practiced routine between them, beautiful in its simplicity, extraordinary in its even more complex meaning.

Through the memories of Cordelia (The Buffy and Angel show? Fred, honey, how much time do you have? Because I guarantee we’ll need more) Wesley (No documents have ever recorded such an occurrence. Eternal love shared by a vampire and a slayer. It’s dangerous, practically impossible. Yet theirs is unbreakable) and even through the visits of Willow (I don’t even know if it can be put into words, Fred. Buffy and Angel are a forever type of deal, no matter how separate their lives run. Their hearts were given to each other long ago) I was able to form a picture, however jumbled and distorted it was, of two people destined to love, lose, and inescapably love again.

The rules of science, rules that I’ve studied throughout my life and pride myself on believing, merely do not apply in love. Love cannot be defined in dissertations and theorems, it can only be explained by stating its state of unexplainability.

I learn this now as I watch the two of them (a single soul) and though I know there must be so many stories between them I will never know, it hardly matters. A back history isn’t needed to see the emotion they share. It’s bright (blinding) and painfully obvious if you just open your heart and look.

They’re staring at each other now, bodies a breath apart, and I’d bet my whole study of Newton’s undiscovered laws that if the world crumbled around them all they would see was each other.

I wish someone would look at me like that. I used to wish Angel would be the someone to look at me like that. But to be in Buffy’s shoes…I’m not so sure I would have made it. To have heard the late night stories (run-for-your-life-or-fight-to-your-death-the-world-is-surely-ending-this-time stories) Cordy and Wesley used to remember together about their long ago lives in Sunnydale, always when Angel never seemed to be around, and knowing that the Slayer had to have been right in the thick of it just puts things in perspective.

And even if I could have gotten through all (all all all all all) of that, I would have surely collapsed under the heartache of their relationship. Even the scratchy surfacy knowledge I have of Buffy and Angel is enough to make me stand in awe right now as I witness a meant to be reunion that was never meant to.

The dreamer in me aches to experience even a shadow of eternal love. Could Wesley and I have ever gotten somewhere close? We’ll never know. But it’s just not meant to be easily attained. A simple, concise answer for the scientist in me to comfort and soothe the thoughts of the little girl on the other side.

Maybe.

Someday.

But for now I feel a kind of peace as lips meet in a soft sigh I swear I hear even in the office. Her hands wrap around his neck, pulling, molding his body into hers. One of his rests at the small of her back, and the other is content in the act of twisting her golden locks between his fingertips – something I am almost certain he is unconscious of.

Is it odd for me to feel this way in seeing them together, to see the practically palpable joy surrounding them? I don’t know. Probably. It’s not even though as if I’ve been a dear friend of theirs along this journey. I’m just somebody who has collected facts over time, a witness to the ability of broken rules.

I must be smiling because Lorne pats me gently on the back, one of his own on his green, amiable face. "In the end, everything will be okay. And if it’s not okay, it’s not the end," he reveals, offering no further explanation.

I play the words over again in my head, chewing and digesting. No words were ever more fitting for the couple. They’ve gone through so much to reach their end (new beginning) and their emotion is surging through their bodies as they link hands, two lovers, two warriors, two normal people.

She’s leading him to the table now and I see a flat object resting on its surface. I had forgotten she’d first brought that with her in the maelstrom of emotion that swept through the room with her entrance. It’s sealed in its mystery and she reaches for the lid with only one hand, unwilling to break their contact.

She reveals the contents hidden beneath, but from my position in the office, I cannot make out what is so secret. Maybe a symbol shared between them, a gift, or something from their past they identify with together.

"Hm, smells like cookies." I look at Lorne. I was just thinking the same thing.

Whatever it is has Angel beaming like I have never seen him before as he leans forward to rest his forehead against hers. The look is indescribable and I wouldn’t even try to detail it.

They’re gone now, as the door leading from the lobby into the night creaks shut behind them. I wonder where they’ll go to, and if it even matters as long as they’re together. Angel didn’t leave a note, didn’t call back to Lorne or I with a place to reach him should something suddenly come up.

Maybe he’s gone off to tell her about Shanshu. How Wesley recently discovered its much more recent approach, sooner than any of us ever expected. Months even. On his heels at a deadly accurate pace.

But I have a feeling it's more than that. I have a feeling he’ll be gone for a while.

I’m left with a final thought before Lorne and I make our way out of the office. A thought on life and its bizarre (thank god they do so) choice of twists and turns.

If the war we’ve been living

Would cease to be, let us live again

If the chains that have held us

Would break away and set us free

Then my heart like an eagle

Would fly away into the blue

Close the book, quietly disappear

My darling

If only you

Bells

End

 



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