Author's Name Kristi
Title Love Untied
Fandom Btvs/Ats
Rating PG
Warnings (if applicable) NA
Summary You’ve redefined your definitions of pain. The summer between S3 and S4 of Btvs.
Disclaimer: They belong to Joss, evil being that he is. I’m just playing with his toys.

Letting go, it’s so hard,
The way it’s hurting now,
To get this love untied.

~ Washing of the Water by Peter Gabriel



Pain.

You expected a lot of things when you walked away from her. You expected to miss her. You expected to grieve for her smile, her laughter and the way she looked at you.

You didn’t expect pain. At least not like this.

Not the kind of pain that rips your soul. The kind of pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night drenched in a cold sweat and sends you cowering to the corner to whimper like a whipped puppy.

And you consider yourself an expert on pain. Just how much the human body can take. Just how much the vampiric body can take.

You’re testing the limits with this pain.

You didn’t expect to become a vigil ante so soon, but it drives back the memory of her just enough that you can no longer taste her blood in your mouth, feel it in your veins.

And that presents its own sort of pain.

You are relentless from the moment the sun goes down until the moment it comes back up. And it always comes back up.

Except for a one cold winter morning.

Sometimes you wonder if they held back the sun to spare you, or because they knew you would leave. They knew the kind of soul rending pain it would cause. So much more pain than Hell can produce.

And you should know. You’ve been there.

You fall into bed, exhaustion breaking you down. You don’t want to sleep. You know you’ll find her in your dreams and spend the day wrapped in love, hope and sunlight.

Only to wake up.

Pain. You consider yourself an expert on it.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


~ The way it’s hurting now
   To get this love untied.


Pain

You focus on every single breath just to get through the next. You expected it to hurt. It started hurting the moment he told you he was leaving.

You’ve redefined your definitions of pain. That wasn’t pain. That was numbness. Emptiness, a part of you gone.

You’d like to go back there. Please.

Pain digs its claws into you, hanging on your heart and jerks you through each day. Otherwise, you know you’d never get out of bed.

You could write a script for your days, right down to the conversation. Breakfast with Mom. Choke down some orange juice. Keep up the bright smile so no one can hear you scream.

Only they would.

If they’d listen.

Kicking ass is comfort food. You remember telling Giles that, not long ago.

The graveyards are empty and tourism on the Hellmouth is way down.

The word is out.

He hurt you. And to chase that pain away you’ll kill everything that starts with d-e and ends with m-o-n.

It doesn’t really make the pain better. It isn’t comfort food like chocolate ice cream. You thought it would. You thought you could put his face on every demon you kill and somehow it would make the pain better.

You don’t want to kill him.

You want him to not be gone.

“Buffy, why don’t you go visit your father? I talked to him last night. He’d love to have you for a month or so.”

Change of location. That’s all it will be.

And you won’t have to listen to your friends tell you it’s better this way.



What are the odds? You think. What are the odds that you would find him standing here in one of hundreds of Starbucks in Los Angeles? Of course odds haven’t ever meant that much to either of you. What were the odds that a slayer would fall in love with a vampire? And he with her? And yet you wouldn’t be here if both of you hadn’t beaten the odds.

Sometimes you hate beating odds. You wish your life were less about miracles and impossibilities, more about normal.

“An-Angel.”

It’s not a question. You know it’s him. No one else, nothing else causes this much pain. This much hope, this much happiness or this much heart ache.

“Buffy.”

Why does he have to say your name like that? Why can’t he just say your name? It’s not a sacrament or a prayer. It’s just a name.

But not when he says it.

“What are you doing here?” You ask.

“I…this is where I came…after I left.” He stuffs his hands in his pockets and shuffles his feet. You know from experience it’s a gesture that means he’s getting ready to run.

You nod. “I’m here visiting my dad. Not that he’s here. The company needed him in Seattle. I didn’t know-I wouldn’t have come.” You would have gone the other direction, as far from him as possible. At least that’s what you tell yourself. Part of you knows you’d like to be here, to watch, to lurk like he used to.

“No. It’s-I’m sorry…that he’s in Seattle. Did you…if you wanted,” he flounders and glances up at the Starbucks sign. “Can I buy you some coffee?”

“You don’t have to. I can turn around. We can pretend we never saw…” you trail off, knowing you can never pretend. You wonder if he’s gotten better at pretending. Maybe he was always good at pretending. He just didn’t with you.

“No. I’d like to.”

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Conversation is still awkward and stilted with coffee between you. She fiddles with the plastic top on her cup. You miss real coffee mugs.

“How have you been?” You finally ask. There are so many other things you want to ask like are you seeing anyone new?

“Fine.” She gives you the smile that works on her friends and her mom.

It doesn’t work now. You know she’s trying to keep from screaming. It’s not your problem anymore.

You wish it were.

“You?” She finally asks.

“Alright. I’ve got an apartment. I’ve been…there are lot of…I’m still fighting, Buffy…demons and vampires I mean.”

It’s important that she know that. It’s important that she knows she changed your life, gave you your life.

“Oh,” she nods. “Good,” she manages to choke out.

And you’re reminded that you were supposed to fight together. Be strong. Together.

But you remember the sixteen year old girl that wanted normal so bad. And you can’t take that away from her. You won’t be that guy, even if she wants you to, but you never imagined it would be so difficult to not be that guy. Falling in love with her was easy. Hurting her was even easier. You never imagined that getting this love untied would be so hard.

“I’m sorry, Buffy-” You need to apologize for hurting her. You know there will never be enough apologies for that.

She stops you mid sentence. “Can we just not? I’m trying so hard not to die inside and anything you say is just going to make it worse.”

She walks out the door.

And you’ve never wanted to go after someone so much in your entire existence.

Instead you wait a long time, making sure you won’t run into her again. In a city of 9 million people what are the odds you’ll run into one girl again?
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