The Breath of You

Bulletproof

Buffy had unpacked her old bed again, needing to feel safe, secure in familiar surroundings, even as her mother's boxes crowded around her, reminding her that tomorrow she would have to face that new and daunting world alone again.

But not for tonight.

* * * * *

Angel had sped down the L.A. freeways, concentrating on nothing but the hum of his car beneath his fingertips, of the feel of the wind on his dead skin, afraid that if he let go of the drive for but a second, he would logic himself out of it and turn tail back away from Sunnydale.

He needed to see her. He needed to feel her beautiful air around him, the one that sang to his soul, the one that would keep him safe and warm for just that second longer.

He needed that moment of weakness.

And he had been so strong. So damned strong.

The countless times he thought he could hear her laughter, see her light, feel her skin beneath his, though all figments of his imagination, could have sent him running back if he hadn't been strong.

But then, Cordelia had come.

Cordelia, a solid, physical reminder of life in Sunnydale, of the joking and carefree veneer that would always hide that hint of shadow that lurked in the sadness of their souls.

And that was all it took to send him back, standing on her roof, by her window as she moved around her room, invaded by a clutter of impersonal boxes that held no scent of her.

He watched as she ran a lingering finger across her bedsheets, sighing with her as he reminisced of all the times they had lain there in pefect silence, allowing their connection to flow freely between them because they couldn't go another second without it. A simple truth in their otherwise chaotic lives.

And he could never deny that connection. For even after he had said those words, had committed the ultimate crime against his soul by whispering the lie that he did not want her life to be with him, he had still come to her 'perfect high school moment', instinctively knowing when she needed him most.

And that's what it was. It wasn't some conscious, logical decision to fulfill her dreams. No, even if he had made one, it would have been of no consequence. Nothing could have stopped him from coming as her soul cried for his. Nothing could have stopped him from revelling in her gracious smile, in the way her eyes lit up as they fell upon his form on the dancefloor. Not even as the music ended, not even the vampire they dusted on their walk to her house, not even as he kissed her goodnight, but never goodbye.

Just as nothing could have stopped him from coming to see her now.

He wondered at the ring of shadows to her haunting eyes, at the slight stiffness of her right arm, at his mark that lay upon her neck.

He watched, unable to look away, as she rid herself of the clothes that she wore to face her new days, and replaced them with a babydoll t-shirt she had worn many times in the mansion, and something that looked to be his boxers.

She turned down the covers, approaching the window and he held his back flat against the side of the house, watching as she stilled, seemingly sensing something, a familiar tingle that danced on her skin, allowing it to penetrate her entire being before returning to her task.

She slid into her bed, switching off the lamp before settling further.

She breathed in deeply, as if seeking his essence before whispering so softly that any other being could not have heard it,

"Good night, my Angel."

He slowly turned to face the window, gaping in what clutched at him as trepidation, wondering if she had actually seen him.

But all of a sudden it didn't matter.

The sight of the satisfaction that adorned her sleeping lips was enough.

As Angel sighed, a small sad smile played on his lips.

"Good night, my love."

END

 f e e d b a c k

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