Love will strike when you least expect it
Summary: Just before "Innocence," Angel muses over his feelings for Buffy.
Disclaimer: okay the characters belong to the big guy Joss, even Angel (pity!). I just borrow them occasionally. Lyrics - borrowed from Billy Joel's 'The Longest Time'
Author's Notes: Timeline - Season 2 (BtVS) just before 'Innocence'.
Feedback: Feedback - gratefully accepted. Send any to: jane.smith(at)amscott7.com
("Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time...
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time...
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time...")
From the first time he ever saw Buffy when Whistler took him to L.A., he knew that his life, or rather his existence, would never be the same again. When he first laid eyes on her he knew that whatever happened he would love her forever.
He remembered when Whistler had first found him - living in filth in the alleys of Manhattan and feeding off rats - and had told him about the Slayer. He wanted to help her - he knew what a huge burden it was she had been given. He wanted to help her make a difference, but more much more than that - he wanted to atone for all years he had been 'active' in the vampire sense of the word. He wanted to do something positive, to help her in her work and he wanted for his presence to matter, to make a difference - he wanted to be 'somebody'. Love hadn't been part of the equation.
Whenever he looked at her and now also even when he thought of her he felt a deep burning shame that filled his whole being - eating away at him. Shame at what he had done, what he had been and to some extent shame of what he still was. Even though he now had his soul he still was and always would be a Vampire, a creature of the night, one of the undead, though he no longer had the desire to kill, maim and torture. What was it Xander referred to him mockingly as? "Dead Boy?" It was true, he knew it was true, but boy, did it hurt!
He had been dead for more years than he cared to remember. Now since his time in Sunnydale, when he was with Buffy he could almost forget that. Her presence gave him something he couldn't define. After all those empty tortured years after the return of his soul he knew he was now a different person because of her. She, the Slayer, had been the catalyst that had irrevocably changed him - his life would never be the same again. He almost, almost but unfortunately not quite, felt alive again when he was with her.
He remembered their first actual meeting - her first patrol in her new 'territory' that was Sunnydale. He had been shadowing her - to check out her 'modem operandi' as it were and also to ensure that she came to no actual harm. He should have realised that her acute Slayer 'senses' would alert her to his presence. At least she didn't yet know what he was and had been. Even her Watcher didn't know who he was - which was a big relief. He didn't want to risk getting staked when all he wanted was to help her. At that first meeting when she had asked him who he was and he had said that he was a friend, he felt had hurt, and he had to admit to himself, a little embarrassed also, when she had told him that she didn't want a friend. Thinking on his feet he'd had to quip that he hadn't necessarily meant he was her friend. Later he had snuck into the Bronze and saw her reporting his presence to her Watcher. He had heard her describe him as being 'gorgeous' - he was pleased and flattered, and also more than a little surprised, that his presence had made an impact on her. The second time they spoke she had asked who he was and when he told her his name he was pleased with her response - telling him it was a pretty name - the small amount of sexual tension in the air implying that she thought him 'pretty' also.
Now that they had become a 'pair' and would patrol together, he loved to look in her eyes. Who was it that had once said that the eyes were the window to the soul? Her eyes were like her - extremely beautiful. He loved looking in her eyes knowing that the love he felt for her was reciprocated and mirrored there. A man could lose himself and drown whilst gazing in those beautiful eyes of hers. When he gazed in her eyes it was almost as if time stood still.
Being with her almost made up for the thing he missed most of all - the feel of the warmth of the sun on his skin. When he was with her his senses reeled from her presence. The palpable warmth he felt in her presence, warmth that emanated from her entire body, her entire being - was indescribable. It was like sunlight thawing snow - it worked on him thawing his whole being. She, and she alone had brought warmth and light back into his existence - along with something he not dared to think about, let alone expect, to come into his life, ever. Love. The love he felt for her burned throughout his body making him almost feel alive, or as near as he ever could come to it, again. Even whispering her name to himself brought a smile to his lips.
He'd loved her since that first time he had seen her - way way back in L.A. Then she was still a child. Now she was a woman and a beautiful, highly desirable one at that. He loved her with a passion he had never experienced before. A love which he had never dared hoped would or could be accepted. And he had never dared think that she might love him in return. Never before had he experienced, even in his days of life before being sired by Darla, the true joy of loving and in return being loved.
He had never loved Darla - they had merely used one another. Similarly Dru - he hadn't loved her either, she had been a toy, a plaything, something to keep him amused, especially after she had sired William, or Spike as he preferred to be known as. When Spike was around it had amused Angelus to toy with Dru and her love for him - it eased his boredom seeing Spike in turmoil from his jealousy of Angelus and Dru's entanglement. Jeez that boy had a lot to learn! Even before Spike had been around Angelus had long tired of Dru - he had tired of her outbursts, her tantrums - she had long ceased to be an amusing distraction from the boredom. He had certainly never loved Dru - truth be told he didn't even like her very much. He had found her too demanding and increasingly annoying in a claustrophobic way.
How Dru had turned out was probably his fault anyway - after all she was what he had made her. He was relieved when she had sired Spike and taken him as her companion, her lover, even though he thought she had done it in a fit of pique to annoy him or try to make him jealous. Knowing Dru as he did that was probably why she had done it. However, much to Dru's chagrin the only emotion Angel had felt, if vampires were supposed to have emotions, was one of immense relief. Now that Dru had Spike, much as Angel hated the annoying little git, Angel could forget about Dru knowing that she now had someone else to look after her. Even now in his Sunnydale days, thinking about Spike made Angel laugh - 'William the Bloody' indeed more like 'William the Bloody Idiot!' Spike was a jerk - probably always had been even in his 'pre-vampire' form.
Knowing he did and always would love Buffy, he worried about her - for her safety and for her future. What future, if any, could she have with him? Should he encourage her to find someone else to love? Should he tell her she should look for someone 'normal' to love, someone she could see in daylight and do ordinary everyday things with? Someone worthy of her, someone she could love and who would love her in return? Even Xander if need be - Angel knew that Xander had always loved Buffy. Like he himself had from the very first sight of her. Could Angel bear her being in a relationship with Xander though? He knew the boy always meant well but he could be rather immature and a bit of an idiot at times even if his loyalty to Buffy and the gang was unwavering.
Whatever he decided to do he knew he could never disguise or hide his love for her. He knew it would break her heart if she thought that her love for him wasn't returned.
Thoughts such as these tormented him during the daylight hours when he was away from her, awake and brooding, cooped up inside safely away from the dangerous sunlight. He thought that it might be safer, safer for both of them, if he tried to break off contact with her altogether - to make it seem as if he had disappeared. Could he do this? Follow her on her patrols from a distance so he could ensure her safety? Only make his presence known if and when she needed his assistance? It would be tortuous to him and confusing for her. If he took this option would she feel abandoned and that he had rejected her love for him? He would hate to hurt her that way.
He knew she wanted their love to be complete - it had been him that had held back. He knew that she wanted to consummate their relationship. He wanted this also - if only she realised how much he wanted this! Dare he risk it? Taking this final step?
He wanted to know her intimately - wanted to know every part of her soft, warm, voluptuous body. He knew she wanted to, was willing to give herself to him totally. He had never wanted anything or anybody as much as wanted Buffy. It was tortuous to him every night - breaking off their embraces, when they embraced before, during and after patrols. Tortuous to not let their mutual passion find its ultimate conclusion.
When he was in her embrace his whole body ached with desire. Each encounter was harder and harder to control - he wanted to feel, kiss and taste every inch of her warm, soft body. He also wanted her to desire him in the same way - even though his body wasn't warm, being the cold body of a vampire, even if he did have his soul. He dreaded that the coldness of his body might cause her to feel repulsion for him.
He knew that she wanted him - he could tell from her responses to their embraces, but in her shyness and innocence was afraid to voice her wants and needs. Several times he had stopped her hands from wandering to his pants - in her desire to feel and see the effect her presence had on him. She was drawn towards his hardness, his maleness. He thought of the times he had broken embraces, pulled away from and stepped back from her - and had seen the hurt and confusion in her eyes (along with the love and longing for him that also shone there) his actions had caused. Once she had whispered to him in a soft pleading voice "please, I want to, I need to..." He had silenced her mouth with soft, feather-like kisses - although it had been agony for him to deny her what she wanted, because it was also what he oh so desperately wanted also.
Perhaps one night, tonight maybe, he would cave in to his desire and her unspoken demands. Dare he take the ultimate step - and take the gift she wanted to yield to him? Her body, her innocence, her virginity? If he succumbed to his passion for her and hers for him - would it change things irrevocably?
Would anything change? Would everything change? There was only one way to find out...
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