Written for the Blood Roses Forum Rosebud Challenge.
Metal clicks gently against polished wood as the vampire drums his fingers against the banister. He looks down, and while he waits he studies the ornate shapes and swirls in the rings that adorn his fingers. He will only wear his Claddagh if she wears hers, and tonight he isn’t sure. He can feel it inside the top pocket of his duster. The two miniature hands clasp the metallic heart, settling against his own, unbeating muscle. Metallic and still, like that of the ring.
Outside, darkness spread its inky web across the town of Sunnydale. Doubtless now vampires and demons would be stirring, prowling, feeding. Fearing through the darkness, watching for the one who hunted them. The small blonde girl. Angel cast no reflection but in her eyes, the eyes that look at him and laugh with him and love him, even when she looks away. Angel closes his own dark eyes and pictures her eyes deep inside his head. Angel had truly believed he cast no reflection in anybody, until he met Buffy.
He waits now at the foot of the stairs, waiting for her to come to him. Standing patiently, he hears her humming as she does her hair. He imagines her hands, the Claddagh perhaps on her finger, twisting up her shiny hair. Those hands that snap necks, punch monsters, and hold a vampire in his dark bed, brushing lipstick on her smooth mouth. The two lives she leads, crash together inside him. Insanity and clarity rolled together in a dead heart. Angel touches his chest and knows that it beats when she is near him.
Angel does not go to her, but waits at the foot of the stairs, waiting for her to come. This moment, one of a kind, where the Slayer can be as normal as a Slayer can be. Getting made up and dressed, washing her hair, smiling at herself in the mirror, wanting to look her best for her partner. This moment was hers, and hers alone. And so Angel waits at the foot of the stairs, on the outskirts as he so often does. On the outside looking in, waiting for the moment when she will appear and put her hand in his. Their Claddaghs will touch together. The two hearts crushing together, almost painfully, yet with a beauty that will pass the world by unnoticed. Angel waits for her to privilege him, the living amongst the dead.
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