Welcome to Denial of Destiny!
The end of Carpe Noctem:
“Angel! Willows on the phone. She’s alive! Buffy’s alive!”
** This is NOT the version of what happens here. Pretend that part of the conversation never happened… **
Angel sat in his darkened office, a little tired. Not physically, but more so emotionally and spiritually. His talk with Fred went well, all things considered. Gunn, Wesley and Cordy had taken her out for Taco Bell. That girl would turn into a taco at this rate.
Angel paused momentarily… a vague feeling tugged at the back of his mind. He thought about Buffy. He honestly was far from getting over her. He knew that immortality had it’s price. Watching the ones you love grow old and die. But having the one thing you loved in the world unfairly ripped away from you was almost more than he could bear.
He sat the poloroid of her down on the desk. He didn’t even realize that he was looking at it until he sat it down. The book- the same one from years ago was a good one, well worth reading again. How many times had he read Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet? He couldn’t count.
There is was again. Something was wrong. Angel stood and sat the book down, heading towards the door of his office. This feeling was unique, but impossible…
Then again, in his life as a vampire (wait! There’s no such thing as a vampire, right?) he learned nothing was impossible.
At the double doors of the Hyperion was a beautiful blonde girl. One that had died.
Angel’s walk slowed to a halt, Angel shaking his head. This was impossible- something the First Evil was playing on him again. But how could the First create that feeling inside him?
Buffy gave him a quiet smile. “Hi,” the apparition said. Angel, mouth agape, shook his head feverently.
“No… you’re not here…” The Buffy-apparition gave him a compassionate look, her head tilting to the side slightly.
“It’s me, Angel.” She said softly. Somewhere deep inside Angel’s non-beating-but-alive heart, a little spark of hope appeared. He slowly began to walk towards her.
“But Willow said… I went to the…” he started, swallowing deeply. She took a step down from the landing as he continued to approach her.
“I was brought back. Willow the wiccan, remember?” Angel’s heart, no, his soul began to want so badly to believe this was real.
“No…” he managed, breathlessly. Tears now stared to rim his eyes. Was this the cruelest joke of all? He could smell her now. Something about life, her heart beating, the blossoming flower scent of her hair, the smell of her skin he’s know in a crowded room. It was a really good apparition, but would no doubt disappear when he touched it.
“Yes.” Was her response. She spoke softly and emotionally. “I’m so sorry, Angel. Willow told me what happened when you found out.” Tears now filled her eyes as well. Angel didn’t know if he could take this. The once-evil scourge turned champion of good reached out a shaky, almost timid hand towards her. Her hand came up as well, reaching for his…
And they touched.
Angel let out a sob of held breath when their fingers interlocked. Mouth hung open, a tear rolled down his cheek as he looked into her eyes. The spark in his soul became a bonfire. If this was an apparition… kill him or not, he would be happy to go and die, only after explaining all his feelings. With much effort, his lips began to form a word.
“… Buffy?” he asked breathlessly. She blinked tears from her eyes as well.
“Angel.” She emoted. Angel, tears running down his face, suddenly pulled her into an almost crushing grip, holding her so tight to him.
“Oh, God… I thought I’d lost you forever. Oh, thank you, thank you so much…” he cried. Angel began to smother Buffy with kisses across the top of her head, cheeks, face and lips. They collapsed together on their knees, Angel refusing to let go and Buffy holding on as well.
He pulled back enough just to look in her wet eyes. “I’m so sorry I left” he confessed. Buffy looked at him, puzzled. “I left Sunnydale thinking you needed to move on, to have a normal life. One without me…” He swallowed. “… and it got you killed.”
“I told you, I want my life to be with you.” Buffy pleaded, in better surroundings than a sewer this time. Angel froze, completely still for a moment. Almost silently, he wanted to speak to her soul.
“I love you so much.” There. He said it. “I missed you, I wanted you with me but never had the nerve to say so.” Tears rolled down Buffy’s cheeks as he made his confession. He leaned his forehead in to touch hers. “I need you.” He cried to her. “Forgive me… I’m sorry I never told you.”
“Angel.” She whispered back. Together they were crying rivers. She cupped his cheek, wiping his tears away. “I always knew. I can tell I’ve been in your heart the whole time, and I know you’ve been in mine.”
Heaven sung in his ear as she said “I love you, too.”
Angel’s tormented soul had a few moments peace.
It had, in the end, been mutual. They really didn’t want to part company, but she had to return as Sunnydale’s protector, he had to go on protecting the innocent. He held nothing back from her, realizing how total truth was at any moment in their life. He told her everything… the Prophecy, Darla, even the forgotten day… everything. She told him everything as well, but the most important thing was that she loved him.
They would both try and go on in their own worlds. They would try and be happy. They’d try to date other people as well, but they both accepted that as always, they were bound together, forever.
“How’s forever? Does forever work for you?”