|Red (redscorner) wrote in ba_ship,|
@ 2007-08-10 14:58:00
Older fic reposted: Damage
Status: Complete ficlet
Summary: Written for still_my_girl, Prompt 25: More damage than a soul should see. Post-NFA, like immediately post NFA.
Disclaimer: Not mine. They belong to Joss, I just like to play.
She remembers the first time she saw him, staring down at him after knocking him to the ground in that dark alley. Even then, even when he’d been cryptic and aggravating, she’d been drawn to him, like the proverbial moth to the flame. No matter what changes, that never will. She will always yearn to be at his side.
He is broken, too broken to realize she’s near and she wonders at that, wonders if she should be hurt. He’s lost everything and she decides not to take it personally. In yet another spin cycle of his existence, Angel had built a new life with a loving family and that family had been torn from him. As she watches him, moving slowly and deliberately, the pain of his injuries no doubt screaming, she realizes she’s never seen him this destroyed. Not even when he came back from hell.
He saves his son until the last, and the naked despair on his face almost undoes her. She digs her nails into her palm to keep from going to him, knowing her presence would be resented and any offer of help would be met with icy disdain. When at last he finishes draining Connor’s body, she takes a breath and starts inching closer.
She’s only twenty yards away when his head raises and he begins sniffing the air. At eighteen yards, his head turns and it’s black eyes filled with hatred that lock onto hers. She falters only a step, wondering who is going to greet her when she gets closer and then deciding she doesn’t care. If Angelus had managed to unleash himself during the horror, he could just kill her and put them both out of their misery. She doesn’t care anymore; the only thing that matters in this moment is being with the one person on the face of the planet whose soul bleeds the kind of pain hers does.
“Buffy,” he says when she finally reaches his side.
“Angel,” she responds, realizing with a jolt of pain that though Angel remained, he was miles away from the man she’d fallen in love with at sixteen.
“What are you doing here?”
“I heard what was happening. I thought you might need some help.”
“You’re a bit late for that.”
“You could have called,” she shoots back, trying not to bristle at his tone.
“And you would have come?” he says with a snort. “Because you’ve been so good at that up until now.”
He laughs and the sound is cold, colder than Angelus ever managed. “That’s rich, coming from you.” He stares at her a moment, those black eyes unnerving her with their deadness. “Go home, Buffy. I don’t need you.”
“I’m not leaving, Angel. I’m sorry I was late, but I’m here now.”
“I said, GO HOME!” he roars and pushes her away violently, reminding her of another time he’d been broken and determined to end them both by greeting the sun.
“No,” she says now, getting up and brushing off her pants.
“I don’t need you,” he repeats.
“I don’t love you anymore.”
That stings, but she pushes it aside. “Okay.”
“We don’t live in each other’s worlds.”
“I hate you,” he screams, but his voice catches and she hears the insurmountable pain he’s feeling bleed through for the first time since she approached him. She’s relieved.
It goes on for hours, he vents his spleen on her and she stands there, taking it stoically. He grows more and more frustrated at her refusal to go.
“Dammit!” he roars eventually. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why won’t you just go?”
She shrugs. “Even if you hate me, there’s nowhere else in the world I can be right now, other than here with you.”
Her words are his undoing and he sinks to the ground, his shoulders shaking with sobs. “They’re… they’re all gone,” he says.
She sits next to him and fights the urge to try to take him into her arms, choosing instead to hug her knees to her chest. “I’m sorry.”
“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I was supposed to die and they were supposed to live. Connor…”
“Oh, Angel,” she says her voice thick with tears she can’t shed. This is his pain, not hers.
“I drank their blood so that the demons couldn’t… couldn’t…” he trails off, unable to finish.
“I know,” she whispers and one rebellious tear defies her orders and makes its way down her face anyway.
“Buffy, why? Why do I destroy everything?”
“You don’t, Angel.”
One bitter bark of laughter escapes in between the sobs. “Yes, I do.”
“Why?!” he cries again and suddenly, he’s in her arms and his face is buried against her throat.
She doesn’t speak; she knows there are no words for this kind of pain. All she can do is hold him while he keens in despair, wondering if he’ll ever be whole again, if either one of them have ever been whole.