Disclaimer: *up chucks* I think we all know who really owns these guys…
Synopsis: The sequel to 'Lies of An Angel'. Angel's down in the ocean in a box. Why? Cause Connor put him there. What is he thinking about? Well, I'd tell you, but it would ruin the story.
A/N: Sequel to that previous story of mine. Angel's POV. Yes, he's kind of a jerk in here. But he's kind of a jerk on the show, so I couldn't help but incorporate that. I know this isn't as good as Buffy's POV, but I did my best being on the Angel hatred rage I'm in now.
Dedication: JENNEM! For her commas and suggestions… and suggestions. And looking it over AGAIN today because I still wasn't sure about posting it. And then betaing 14 pages of 'Titanic'. The girl is superwoman, I think.
Special Author's Notes: I'm still a die-hard B/Aer. No way will I ever ship C/A or B/S or anything close. But I'm angry, and bitter, and feel like I've been screwed over by ME. And this… this is my therapy.
It's a complicated word. Love.
No one knows exactly what it means. Scientists claim it has something to do with endorphins in the brain. Being in love, it can make you terribly happy… and terribly miserable. Confused, helpless with want and need, not complete in self unless you're with your other half. You're soulmate.
I've lived a long time. My soul has been back for more than 100 years, and the demon has been around for almost 250. Does that mean I know anything about love? Does it mean I have the slightest inkling of knowledge about it? Does it mean that I know more about it than Liam did when he went out drunk and whoring every night?
Most times I would answer 'yes' within a heartbeat. I have loved and been loved back, something that Liam never got the chance to have. But, unlike what most would like to think, age does not necessarily bring knowledge. At least not in this case. Love is as much an enigma to me as it is to everyone else in this sad, miserable, world.
But, now, I'm alone. I'm in the bottom of the ocean, trapped in a box. It's dark and I can't see anything even with my vampire sight. I can't move. I can't even talk.
But I can think, and thinking, as most would say, leads to brooding.
So I'm going to be honest. No. I don't know love. I don't know the first thing about love. I know it makes you do crazy things, I know it makes a person act and say things they normally wouldn't do or say, but *why* is beyond me. What is it about that feeling that changes perfectly sane, normal human beings into blithering idiots?
I just don't get it.
I think of the last time I fed. Recently. I can live here for a while. I don't need to breathe, I don't need to eat food, I can survive for a month. Maybe two or three. I won't die down here. And as I told someone once, I've had worse.
No. I'm not going to die. Will I go crazy? Maybe. I mean, really, if you think about it, it was love that put me down here in the first place.
The love a parent feels for their child. There are, I've discovered, literally no words to describe it. I wasn't allowed to have children. It was never a thought with me. I'm a vampire, children is not part of my thinking. And Connor, in some respect, was like a gift from God. Or the Power's that Be. My days as a good Christian are long gone.
But then Connor came. Connor. He was so little. He would latch on to my finger, in that sweet innocent way that all babies do, and I loved it. Kids have a certain quality to them. They're incredibly easy to love. They're bright, beautiful, happy, and just want you to love them. And he was *mine*. My kid. My son. *Mine*.
And I loved him. Like a parent loves a child. Unconditionally. It didn't matter that he threw up after eating, or that he would keep me up half the day wailing his head off. Because all I wanted was to love him. Forever.
When I was with *her* it was different. It was love, but it was different. It was never unconditional and it was never without price. It was hard, and it was painful, and it was dangerous.
It was never the pure, unpolluted love that a parent feels for a child.
A child that put me down in a box. Who chose Holtz over me. Who's probably gone after my friends now that I'm taken care of.
My child. Who I let get taken away to another dimension.
It's all my fault, really. If I hadn't let him be taken away….
I deserve to be down here. I deserve to think. I deserve to brood. I deserve to have to think about painful memories, and thoughts that I've been suppressing for months.
How many months?
Since she *died*. That's how many months. That was the end. My dreams, my life, it was shattered when Willow came to see me that day. That was the end. When she died, nothing mattered anymore. It was *Buffy* and even dead, she was still a force. On me, on the people she loved. But, then, she always had an effect on everyone. In life. In death. It shouldn't really surprise me.
I didn't take a trip to the monastery to get past her death. I didn't take the trip to the monastery to help deal. I fooled myself, and I fooled everyone around me. No, I took that trip to the monastery so I could start *forgetting*. So I could stop brooding. So everything would stop hurting so much. Fate has a twisted sense of humor. I couldn't forget her in life, and yet, I tried my hardest to forget her in death.
And it worked. I put her out of my mind. I went back to work, back to my friends. I didn't talk about it, didn't think about it. Didn't think about much of anything, really. I just existed. Not alive. Not dead. Just living because I had to.
Then she came back. I didn't know whether to be happy or angry that she was going to put a hole in my routine of putting her out of my mind. A routine that consisted of doing everything I possibly could to keep her from entering my head.
When Buffy died… it changed everything. I don't like to think about it. Or her. Or anything that happened within those few months. Because I know what it means. She died. I loved her, no less than I once had when we were together, but I kept her safe in my heart where she would be forever unblemished by the cold realities of my life. And I would think… someday… maybe someday things would be different.
But she died.
I don't want to think about this. I haven't dealt, or thought, or talked about her for so long. I banished her from that space in my heart where I kept her warm, clean and unblemished. I pushed her far down, deep, deep down, so I wouldn't have to think. So I wouldn't have to brood. So I don't have to feel the hurt and the pain that comes with it.
So I wouldn't have to do what I'm doing now.
She's still there, she's always there, fighting to get out. Fighting to be in my heart once more. Fighting to be a part of my dreams, and my fantasies.
The love I feel for Connor, is so different. All I wanted for him was to grow up and be happy. I wanted to watch him mature, go to school on the first day, come to me crying when he scraped his knee, become a rebellious teenager.
I fooled myself. I thought I had finally gotten as close to my reward as possible. And Buffy went further down. I rarely dreamed about her, and I rarely thought about her. I was moving on.
Then there was Cordelia.
Kyrumption, Fred called it. When two champions meet. Well, I had figured, Cordelia wasn't exactly a champion in the true meaning of the word, but she was Cordelia. My friend Cordelia. Sure, she didn't understand a lot about me, she didn't understand the deepest and scariest parts of me, but she *cared*.
Besides, it would be easy. That was the important thing. There would be no pain or heartbreak. It wasn't like we were star-crossed lovers or anything. And it was Cordelia. Cordelia. I cared for her as a friend, deeply so, would it be so very hard to start caring for her in a way that was a little less friend-like, and a little more lover like?
And it was easy. Easy. Easy. Easy. For once I just wanted something to be easy.
I had Connor, and she cared so much about Connor. I never knew that Cordelia had such a way with children. I had Connor, he was mine, my child, my unconditional love. Would it be so bad if I had Cordelia, too? Didn't I deserve it?
Does the fact that she has blonde hair now, is partly demonic, has superpowers, and sort of does have moira have anything to do with it? Does it?
Of course it does. When I told Buffy that she was the only girl that I have loved in 243 years, I didn't mean it lightly. A love like that… you don't just go getting over. And I hadn't, not really. It was all a show, an act. And no one else knew that was all it was to me.
Which brings me back to my point, the love that I felt for Buffy was not unconditional. I may have seemed selfless in the eyes of my friends. I left her for her own good, I turned back the day that wasn't for her own good. I sacrificed my happiness so she could have some semblance of a normal life.
But does that make my love unconditional? Does it make it without price? Does it make it unselfish?
No. Never. Never once in the time that I loved Buffy, did I love her unconditionally and selflessly.
So I went after Cordelia. It was only rational, I thought. Two people in a working place… eventually feelings develop. And Cordelia was a beautiful woman, sure of herself, and she had changed so much over the years.
It was only natural that I should fall for her.
Or so I told myself.
Besides, Buffy was back. I saw her. It was almost as if she hadn't ever left. And that helped to steer me in the right direction. She *left*. I moved on. She couldn't just come back. I was not going to go through it all over again.
Of course, that was what my head told me, tried to convince me. But there was still the overwhelming joy, and *relief*. All the time while she was gone, I knew it couldn't be true. Buffy couldn't have died. It just wasn't possible. It really only made sense that she would come back. I knew it wasn't her time.
And, yet, I tried to move on.
I wanted to move on. I wanted to have a life with Connor, and just forget about her. Forget about the hurt that she caused me. Forget about what it felt like to be alone, ultimately alone, when she died.
So when I moved on to Cordelia, it had everything to do with *me*, and nothing to do with Buffy.
It just had everything to do with her.
I can see that. Now, as I'm left in this prison. Thrust into a darkness so complete that the only images I can see are in my head. Images of her. Blonde hair, forever beautiful and forever innocent. Her eyes sparkle, and she's happy.
Not like she was when I rushed out to see her after she'd been resurrected. In my head, she's happy. When I saw her last, she was breathing, but she was dead. Her sparkle was gone, and her eyes held a confound darkness.
And I tried to move on. Ignoring the feeling that all was not right, ignoring the way my heart felt at being reunited with the only woman that I have ever loved in 245 years, ignoring the truth, and ignoring so much more.
Because, when it comes down to it, I'm selfish. I wanted her to hurt. The way that she hurt me when she left his world without any regrets and without a good-bye.
A few weeks ago, when I was out hunting, I came across a fledgling vampire. I was about to go in for the kill. None of it was out of the ordinary. It was just another routine, easy kill. The vampire started begging for its life, pleading that he'd do anything. He'd be my slave; he'd get me whatever I wanted… I just had to spare him.
I took him up on his offer.
Without realizing it, without meaning to, I told him to go seek out the Slayer and merely give her a message. I told him to find her and simply tell her that he'd found out that her ex-lover was now in love with a seer… going by the name of Cornelia. I figured that she'd figure out what the vampire meant, and that he'd heard it somewhere and just got it garbled. It didn't matter that Cordelia was making loving faces with Groo at the time, it only mattered that I was moving on… and she knew about it.
I love Buffy. But it's not unconditional. And it's not pure. And it's certainly not without selfishness.
I wanted her to hurt. Pure and simple as that. I can't help but wonder if that vampire ever made it to Sunnydale. He seemed petrified of me, like he would walk right into a burning house if I told him to. But that didn't mean that he didn't chicken out. No fledgling vampire would willingly go seek out the slayer. Even if he did go, there's no reason to think that Buffy gave him time to relay his message. It's more than possible that *if* the vampire found her, she staked him before he could even open his mouth.
So the chances that she actually thinks that Cordelia and I are in love are pretty low.
But it doesn't matter. Because, you see, my feelings for Cordelia have nothing to do with her.
Except having everything to do with her.
I want to hurt her, I'm not out to get her, and I'm not thinking about how much I want her in pain. But intellectually, somewhere deep inside me, not the demon, just the man, wants her to pay for the pain she caused me by dying.
No, Liam didn't know anything about love.
250 years later, I still don't. I've been loved, and loved back. But understand it? Know what drives normally sane people to lash out and purposely hurt the one's they love? Do I know anything at all about that feeling?