Summary: Angel's thoughts after "Prophecy Girl."
Disclaimer: Joss owns all.
Author's Notes: Feedback is welcome! ligeia_angel(at)yahoo.com.au
Naked bulbs give way to safety lights, their sickly yellow-green reflecting off leprous walls as we search the passageways under the old power station. I glance over at Xander and he mistakes my interest for hunger. He doesn't trust me. Smart boy.
The jaundiced lights flick by faster as we turn east towards the school and pick up the pace. Fragments of recent memories flare up and die away slowly like searing after-images as my mind struggles to make sense of the past few months. I feel like I'm running through my life, from dark to deeper darkness.
Flash. We stand in the crypt by the door leading down to this place and you wonder why I won't fight by your side. I tell you I'm afraid. But not what I am afraid of. Not of them. Not the other vampires; not Darla, not the Master. I'm way past fearing them anymore. I'm afraid of being in that dark place with you. The dark place in my heart. I fear myself.
Flash. A silver cross blisters my skin as your kiss burns into my soul. I pull you closer, welcoming the fire. It lets me know that I can still feel.
Flash. In the library, tonight. Your face as you hear the Prophecy. You turn to me, angry and afraid. You say to me 'you're never gonna die', as though it is a thing to be desired, envied. Something I should be blamed for. How could I tell you then how abhorrent my existence is to me. Life is a plague and death is its only cure. Eternity is the ultimate life sentence.
Flash. You tear off the little silver cross and throw it on the table. But its not so easy to lay down your destiny, is it? Then, in one of those rare moments of true clarity, perfect and painful, I realise I need you more than you need me. That there is nothing I can say or do to save you. I would give you anything you want but I have nothing that you need. But you were all I wanted. And without you I was nothing.
Xander runs close behind me now. His breath is rasping, his heart pounds out a desperate mantra - Buffy... Buffy... Buffy. I run in silence but my mind is screaming.
Sulphurous light stains dank moss-covered bricks an unhealthy gangrenous hue as we approach the lair of the Master. I know we are close now... I can smell him. I remember well the stink of old blood and dark magic. Water drips like tears as our footfalls send splashy echoes back and forth along the tunnel. We are in the belly of the beast and it is about to consume us.
A quick glance behind to make sure the boy has kept up. He avoids my direct gaze. Neither one of us wants to see the fear in each other's eyes. It would be an admission of guilt - an act of disloyalty - to allow the possibility that the Slayer might not prevail.
He puts me to shame, this child. I'm not worthy of him, of any of them. While I sat at home feeling sorry for myself, so that I wouldn't feel sorry for you, Xander was taking action. When I opened the door to see him standing there I was angry at first. Hiding in my apartment, I still had the hope that you hadn't gone out to meet your fate after all, that you had meant it when you said you would quit. That someone else could take on the Master.
Then Xander was there, his expression telling me all the things I didn't want to hear.
Suddenly a surge of energy washes over us, a bow-wave of power unleashed as the Master ruptures the barrier securing him within the confines of the ruined church. The Hellmouth has been breached.
I look at Xander and this time he doesn't look away. I feel the words unspoken. Buffy is dead.
Dreams of what might be, fear for what is yet to come, all are stopped dead like a frozen heartbeat when I see you lying there on the ground.
My world has become a star folded in your heart and I would have made this whole world shine for you. My soul was about to be transformed again, like a nightborn butterfly struggling to emerge from its slumbering metamorphosis. I thought I could be whole again but I can feel my wings have broken in your hands.
I feel the waves of despair crash down inside of me. As they pull me under I realise I've been waiting for you for so long. Waiting for love, that special kind of love that finds no fault. That forgives. The love that would redeem me.
Now all my dreams are falling down on the ground, crawling round and round in the mud and the blood.
I lift you up out of the filthy water, limp, your skin waxy in the light of dozens of votive candles. Another white clad virgin to the slaughter - the usual sacrifice. But your death will not hold back the darkness nor buy the world even a moment's respite.
Xander, our practical hero, has not given up yet. He suggests CPR.
My throat and chest are so constricted I can barely croak out 'You'll have to do it. I have no breath.' But the truth is, I can feel the rising impulse to put my lips to your throat and grant you a life that would bind you to me forever.
The boy's eloquent glare says he considers me lower than something that just crawled up out of the slime. Let him think that. It's better than what I think of myself right now. I disgust him and I know he won't ever fear me again.
He breathes into you and your chest rises and falls in a passive imitation of life. With each assisted breath I hear myself pray 'Don't take her yet!'. But I haven't had much luck with prayers and as he works to press your heart back into service I want to drag him off you to let you lie there in peace.
Then you stir. You breathe, shudderingly at first then more strongly. I begin to hope again.
You open your eyes, looking faintly surprised to find it is Xander who has saved you. I move closer to let you know I'm there too.
Buffy, I'm still waiting for you to save me.
- Finis -
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