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Wild Horses by Mark Jones

Buffy looked down at the award she had been given by her classmates. "Class Protector" it said. They knew, and they realized, what she had done all these years. All this time as an 'outcast', staying awake every night, finally paid off a little. She was appreciated by someone, she thought.

"You deserve it, Buffy." Giles said, smiling at her. She looked from the trophy up at Giles, looking very dapper in his tuxedo.

"Yeah, I guess people surprise you sometime." Giles attention was caught, and he reached over and took the trophy from her hands.

"Yes, sometimes they do." He said, a slight smile on his face as he stared off. She looked up at him, and followed his stare to see...


Wild, wild horses

couldn't drag me away...

Wild, wild horses

couldn't drag me away...

He stood there just inside the doorway, dressed in a tuxedo with matching black patent leather shoes. Momentarily, her breath was taken away from her. He was so handsome... so built, so... so Angel. Part of her was sad at the sight of him, because she knew what him being here meant... their last time together. But another part of her, deep inside her, screamed to be let loose... desire.

He slowly walked over to her, looking at the floor, the the corsage he carried, her shoes, anything but her, it seemed. But then he stopped less than a foot from her, and looked up in her eyes. She shook internally as he saw directly into her soul.

"I thought you'd never come." she said, looking up at him lovingly.

"It's a special night." Angel said. "I couldn't miss it." Buffy smiled a little at this... "It doesn't mean... I mean..." he paused. "It's only for tonight."

"I know." she interrupted, stopping him from saying any more painful words." I mean..." she started again, slower. "I understand."

Angel looked deeply at her again, and for a moment she could swear she saw conflict in his eyes, or at least confusion and caring. "Dance with me?" he said. Buffy smiled slightly as she nodded and moved into his arms. She settled into his embrace, more comfortable now than she had been the entire night.

I watched you suffer

a dull aching pain

and now you decided

to show me the same

Wild, wild horses

couldn't drag me away...

Wild, wild horses

couldn't drag me away...

Buffy looked up to see Angel staring down at her. For a moment, it seemed that they both became suddenly acutely aware of the distance between their lips. Then, just as they would seem to move to kiss, one would lose nerve and look away. They danced, and each wondered that magical thought... would the other stay?

"Angel." Buffy said looking up. He glanced down at her in that peculiar way he does sometime, almost as if he's afraid he'll break her. "Why is it really that you're leaving?" Angel's mouth opened and closed a couple of times, as if he was putting the words together but unable to say them.

"When we first met, I fell for you. Hard." Angel swallowed, thinking this was harder than he thought it would be. Why did she have to be so beautiful? "I look at you now... grown up, ready for college, moving on in your life, and it scares me. I hold you back." He snickered. "I hold life back. By all rights I shouldn't be alive right now. But I cannot let myself hold you back any longer. You have to move on."

She looked up in Angel's face, searching for a clue of cold heartedness, but found none, only genuine concern and caring for her. How could she hate him for that? She laid her head back on his chest, and felt his jaw nuzzle against her.

"I don't want you to go." she said softly. Angel's eyes immediately shut, as he was afraid this would happen. But all he said was...

"I know."

They danced, and she looked up at him again. "I've decided," she announced, "to go to college locally so I can stay around Sunnydale." Angel looks down at her, somewhat surprised. "So has Will."

"Buffy, I hope you didn't..."

"No!" she said, stopping him. "No... I had decided that long before you and I... talked." He words kind of trailed off in the end, and Angel knew it was hurting her to talk. She suddenly hugged him tighter to her, and he could smell her perfume. He pressed his eyes closed again, feeling the rise and fall of her chest against him. The myths about vampires and their hypnotic powers were true... but this vampire found himself powerless when confronted with the one he felt the most passion, the most love for in the world. She who made him human again. Angel had wagered and lost his soul last time, for this love, for this one that gave him a reason to continue this existence. And he knew, he would do it again. How could he...

"I won't go." Angel looked into a startled Buffy's eyes as she looked up into his. Her mouth parted, her eyes started to brim with tears as Angel's started to tear up as well. "I was going to go to free you. But I realize me leaving would trap you. Our love is beautiful... and..." Angel paused, choking up a little. "... I said that I'd never leave you. You can kill me and I'll still never leave, right?" Tears freely ran down his face as he broke down as he finished. Buffy, crying as well, picked his drooped chin up and looked into his eyes.

"I love you, Angel. I always will." she said. He smiled, lowered his face, and kissed her as a single tear ran down his cheek.

"I love you, too. Forever."


**Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all likenesses thereof are property of Joss Whedon and the WB network. "Wild Horses" is performed by the Sundays. Buffy and Angel forever.***

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