Welcome to Denial of Destiny!
By Mark Jones
"Whoa, you’ve got it bad, don’t you?" Lorne asked. Angel looked up from his drink to the Host of the Caritas bar. The look on his face was one of confusion. "Come on, Sparky…" Lorne continued. "You don’t have to be a green skinned empath to see something… or more properly… someone is on your mind."
Angel’s face, if it could get longer, did. A look of almost pure misery crossed his face, and Lorne could almost see moisture start to form in his eyes. With a concerned look on his face, Lorne pulled up a chair to the table where Angel sat, and eased down beside him. "Want to talk about it?"
"I haven’t talked to anyone about it." Angel said quietly. He stared at his half-empty drink, trying to build up the courage to talk about it or to tell him he didn’t want to talk about it. He had held a lot inside… but then again, he was supposed to suffer, right? He was supposed to be in pain?
This was almost too much to bear.
"I first saw her a long time ago. Her blonde hair, athletic figure, and an aggressive personality on top of it. When she would kick or punch… she was… breathtaking." Angel looked up at Lorne, a slight smile on his face as he spoke fondly of her. "I knew I felt for her instantly, I just didn’t know how much, or how strong." He swallowed. Things were starting to get hard for him.
"I found out months later, after just speaking in short sentences for so long, that we had some kind of… connection. It was nothing that was said, but more what was felt." Again the longing face. "I knew I wanted to be near her, but she’s the Slayer, and I’m the vampire. Destined to be enemies? I’m not sure… but I know destined not to be together." The pangs hit Angel again as he spoke of her. It was very close to the surface now. Raw emotions threatened to consume him with his every thought of her.
"She finally told me, over email, that she felt an attraction for me. It was… I was awestruck by the thought that my feelings could be returned. We both knew we had separate lives, and that neither of us could do anything about that, but it didn’t change how we felt." He took a sip of his drink, sighing deeply, the first of many such sighs.
"I saw her the next day. She told me she hadn’t been sleeping, eating or anything because of what she felt inside. The thing was… I hadn’t been either. We met briefly… she touched my arm and said I had nothing to be nervous about around her. I guess…" Angel’s head rocked back and to the right as he re-imagined that day. "I guess that was the catalyst that did it. I reached over and kissed her cheek to say it was okay… and she turned her head to me, not away. The course back from her cheek brought me right to her lips… the next thing that happened was… magical."
Lorne nodded softly, tilting his bottle over to re-fill Angel’s glass. He always knew that Angel and Buffy’s bond was deep, but he always thought Angel was over it.
"We kissed, just softly, then with more passion. Her hand ran through my hair, and…" Angel shook his head. It was incredible to think about. "I went to walk away. In hugging her, it was something that we both knew wouldn’t work. Two different worlds." Another sigh escaped his lips as Angel was apparently struggling to continue.
"And I went to walk away… and she held onto my hand and as I looked in her eyes… she said ‘don’t go.’" Angel’s eyes began to tear up again. "How could I walk away from that? I couldn’t walk away… I just hugged her and told her I didn’t want to."
"We met again the next day, just to talk. We both knew we couldn’t work like this, but we both also knew how close we wanted to be."
"I can’t explain it… but I know that the more I see you, the more I want to see you. The more I touch you, the more I want to touch you." Angel said, looking in her eyes.
"Yeah, me too." Buffy said. Angel drank in her appearance like he was slaking his thirst. She had on a white t-shirt, jeans and slip on black leather shoes. Ill fated though it was, he could not deny the feelings that welled within him. They went to say goodbye, and in a final hug, neither wanted to let go. Angel felt comfortable there, in her arms. They kissed… they kissed so much. She had made him a CD, and it said more to Angel than any words about how she felt about him. Heartbreaking. They decided to say goodbye, not to talk anymore. No emails, no phone calls, nothing. Distance and space was the only way to overcome this.
"…so we decided to stay away." Angel finished. "But a couple of days later I saw her for a little while… we were both at the same bar. We were both occupied with other things, but there was still a… tension in the air. In her face. In her movements." He reflected back on the moment. "It was terrible. Afterwards, we both knew what had to happen. We met in our usual spot. I remember I had U2’s "One" (live) playing in my convertible… something she gave me on the CD." Angel closed his eyes as bittersweet memories came flooding back to him.
"I remember once I got out of the car, she came over and we embraced. We didn’t hug, we embraced." Angel looked up to Lorne, tears previously rimming his eyes now trickling down his cheeks.
One love, one life, when it’s one need in the night,
One love, you get to share it… leaves you baby, if you don’t care for it.
"We wept in each other’s arms right them. Not for the situation, unable to love each other in the sun, not for the love itself, a more beautiful thing than you can ever imagine. But both. I remember so clearly standing with her, running my hands thought her beautiful blonde hair…" Angel looked up to Lorne, sniffling. "We couldn’t even look at each other while we talked. We were too busy holding onto each other in our beautiful, terrible, loving, soul-connected desperation." His eyes shut, fresh tears continuing to pour from them. Lorne had never seen this in his life.
Is it, too late tonight to drag the past out into the light?
We’re one, but we’re not the same we carry each other…
"She said… she said ‘at least we know how we feel about each other.’ It was never meant to be, but Lorne, I tell you… when she’s there, I can’t be with her… I can’t protect her…" Angel’s head went forward onto the table, sobbing noisily. Lorne was kind of glad he had no other customers there this time of night. It wouldn’t do much for Angel’s good-bad-guy persona.
Have you come here for forgiveness, have you come to raise the dead,
Did you come her to play Jesus to the lepers in your bed?
"Why do you feel the need to protect her?" Lorne asked. Angel’s head lifted to look at him with bloodshot eyes.
"Because… because I love her. She loves me. She’s a part of me, and when she’s not with me, I feel it. And she has her life, I have mine, but I need her…" Angel’s fist pounded the table suddenly. "She should be with me." He pleaded. "That’s all there is it to. She belongs to me, I belong to her… am I wasting my life here when the one person I really want to be with is out there? Am I doing nothing when the one that makes me happy is there?"
Words escaped Angel for a long moment, just soft sobs. "I love her so much…" he managed to whisper, just as he had told Buffy that day. He shook his head softly. "Don’t make me stay away from her." He said as if asking God himself to grant this wish.
"Do you think that she wants to be with you, too?" Lorne asked quietly. Angel shrugged softly.
"If she’s thinking about me as much as I think about her… yes." Angel’s eyes shut again. "I can still feel her here…" he said, touching his chest. "So good together… there is no feeling in the world like when I’m in her arms. Safe, wanted, loved…" Angel looked up into Lorne’s red eyes. "She looked me in the eyes and told me she loved me, and always will. How can I just walk away from that?"
"So why did you?" Lorne asked. Another sigh.
"Complicated. She has her world, her Watcher, her friends, her life, security and stability. Who am I to ask her to give that up? I can’t… even if I will give up everything in my life – the agency, my friends, Cordy… for her… it has to be something that she willingly will change." A look of determination suddenly appeared on his tear-streaked face. "I would take care of her, love her, give her security and more love than she would ever even need." His burst of energy deflated kind of quickly, as the desperation of his situation came back to him. He spoke very quietly. "But that’s up to her. All she has to do is show up or say the word."
They sat for a few moments in silence. Finally Lorne reached over and put an arm around Angel and gave him an encouraging squeeze.
"So what now?" he asked. Angel shrugged again.
"She’s always with me. She’s always inside me. Even when we’re together or apart, I still feel her. When you fall in love so fast, it hurts even more. And to love her, I need to let her go. Because I love her so much, I have to let her go. It’s for her health and life." Angel’s eyes grew distant. "She told me…"
She looked at him with those beautiful eyes, touching his soul. "If nothing else, we have something right now that other people never find in their lives. We’ll always have this." She held his hand, he held hers tight. Angel didn’t want it to end, but knew it had to. His demon inside wasn’t the ‘vampire’ that was part of him… his demon inside was the part of him that would never let her go, that would haunt him the rest of his days.
Lorne’s eyes had since teared up as well for his friend. He had heard stories, many stories as the Host of the bar. He read auras from singing. But he had never felt a story so much as he did this one.
"Just… just hum something for me, Angel." Lorne asked. A sarcastic smile appeared on Angel’s face as he spontaneously sang the refrain of "Wish You Were Here" by Pink Floyd.
Lorne sat there for a minute, unmoving with his mouth hanging open. A look crossed his face of pure pain, agony and ecstacy all at the same time. Lorne took a moment to bask in the pure heaven-sent love between Buffy and Angel… something that he had never felt before. It brought the Host to tears as well.
"What happens now?" Lorne finally asked again once he had composed himself, apparently not satisfied with the last response from Angel, and more a believer since he felt what Angel felt.
"It’s not something you get over… and I don’t think she’s over it, either. We’ll try to stay away from each other, and overcome it…" He blinked, looking up again. "But the demon inside me speaks… it’s not over yet."
… to be continued?