Spoilers:The Body, and basically the 6th Season, Dead Things specifically, and it would help if you knew about Angel's shanshu, which was explained in To Shanshu in LA.
Dedication:To Heather, who was oh-so excited after reading this, and telling me to definitely post it. She's also the one who really got me hooked on B/A, thanks to her awesome music videos, and her wonderful e-mails that keep me going. Also to my extra-awesome boyfriend, who got me Angel S1 on DVD, and then was too anxious to watch it to actually wait another 10 months for my b-day.
Scene:I pictured this being set in a renovated warehouse/loft, with lots of open space, a few very plush chairs and sofa, maybe a fish tank in a corner -- but very airy and open. With a big eastern-facing window, that dominates a wall. It's not relevant to the story, but I thought it would help if you knew what I was picturing when I wrote this.
Premise:It's sort of explained in the story, but basically, when Willow brought Buffy back, the spell that gave her a 'molecular suntan' also made it so that she wouldn't age and die. She can be killed, but she won't just die.
They sat in silence, Buffy staring into her cup of rapidly cooling tea, Angel just looking at his hands folded and draped over his knees.
"Wow," Buffy finally said softly. Angel nodded. "Yeah, wow." Neither of them sounded very excited about it. Why? Why weren't they excited? "Shouldn't we be excited?" Buffy asked, more to herself. Angel shifted his gaze to look at her, but kept his head bent down. After a moment he looked back down and nodded. "I think we should, but..."
Buffy nodded. "Things are so... different, now," she finally said. She sighed wearily. "You know, I used to dream about this. Not in a prophecy way, but just a daydream-y way. And this was never how I saw it turning out."
"I guess... We finally know how the other felt, all those years ago," Angel said. Buffy nodded distractedly, deep in thought. He waited for her to say something.
"Can we make this work?" She finally asked, sounding much younger than her advanced years. "I mean, now that... that we actually could be together... can we make 'together' work?"
Angel ducked his head a little further down, not wanting to see the vulnerability on her face even peripherally. He was still older than she was, no matter how old either of them looked. "I don't know," he finally said, his voice nothing but a hoarse whisper, the words scratching their way through the emotion building up in his throat and behind his eyes.
"We've wanted this for so long," Buffy said softly to herself, glancing over toward the window, where they could see the sky beginning to turn a lighter blue with the coming sunrise. "How can we not make it work, now that we have it?"
"Buffy--" Angel started, glancing up at her with an almost desperate expression on his face. He didn't want to hear her sound so defeated. But when she whipped her head around to look at him, he hated himself for saying anything. Her eyes were wide, unshed tears pooling at the bottoms, and her lips were pressed together, but trembling despite her efforts to stop them. She looked exactly like she had when she was a teenager, and he'd had to say things, do things that upset her. And suddenly, he just couldn't live with upsetting her anymore.
"What?" She asked tightly, clenching her jaw after she got the word out, hoping it would keep her from crying. She was going to be strong, now. She was an adult, she was more than an adult, and she could handle whatever he had to say to her. She'd handled it before when he'd said it wouldn't work, and she could handle it again.
Angel softened his voice, trying to be soothing as he explained something. "I didn't just leave you because of my soul," he said. "I left because I knew I wouldn't be able to live if you died. And you were going to die eventually, Buffy, you were the Slayer."
"I still am the Slayer," she interjected softly. Angel gave her a hard stare. "Not anymore -- not like before. You can't die now, Buffy! Don't you get it? You'll never die, and I will."
"I get it!" she said angrily, setting her teacup down on the table, tea sloshing dangerously close to the edge. She paid it no attention as she leaned toward him. "Do you think I don't? I'm not eighteen anymore, Angel, I know about death. I understand that people die. My mother died, Giles died, my friends are dying, do you think I don't get that? I understand. I just-- I don't want to be alone anymore."
No, you don't get it,Angel thought sadly. "I'm gonna die someday too, Buffy. Right now, you're not alone yet, but if we're together, I'm going to grow old, and I'm going to die, and then you won't have anyone."
Buffy's shoulders started to shake as she continued to try not to cry, but tears were slipping down her cheeks faster than she could blink them away. She bit her lower lip so she wouldn't sob. "So, what? You don't want me to end up alone when you die, so you're going to make me be alone now?" Suddenly, her tears and sadness were forgotten, and Buffy was pissed off. "Dammit, Angel!" She slammed her hand down on the coffee table, hard enough to make her teacup rattle. "You don't have to sacrifice happiness anymore! You're human! You've got your just reward, or your redemption, or whatever -- that means you *can* live a life now! Stop being so damn noble and for once, be selfish! What do you want? Huh?" She asked angrily, almost yelling at him. "What do you want? Tell me, what do you want?!"
"I want you!" Angel screamed at her. "I want you to be with me!" He started to cry. "But -- it won't work. I want to grow old with you, but you -- you're not gonna grow old, you're gonna stay the same way you are, forever. You're never gonna look like anything but a twenty-year-old, while I'm gonna grow old, and I'm going to die..." Angel trailed off, his tears overwhelming him. He rested his elbows on his knees, bent his head and sobbed. He was going to die. He was going to die, finally. For someone who had lived for over three hundred years, and had known that very few things could kill him, suddenly knowing for certain that he was going to die at some point was truly one of the most frightening things he'd ever faced. He finally looked up at Buffy, his face red from crying, his eyes slightly puffy. Buffy thought she'd never seen anything more beautiful.
"How did you do it?" he asked. Buffy shook her head, not knowing what he meant.
"How did you stand knowing that you were going to die? You were the Slayer, you knew you were going to die, probably young. How'd you deal with that?"
Buffy gave a rueful smile. "I rebelled, remember. I dated a guy, like, four times my age, who also should have been my sworn enemy. I had friends, and family." She paused, catching his eyes before saying meaningfully, "I wasn't alone."
Angel swallowed thickly, leaning back in his chair and wiping at his face. Buffy leaned back too, suddenly calm and understanding. Silence reigned for a long while. The sun slowly rose, bathing the room in first dusky blue, then oranges, pinks, yellows, and finally becoming white as the sun crested the horizon. And still neither spoke, lost deep in their own thoughts. Cars began to drive past on the street below, and humanity could be heard passing by. Finally, a whisper passed through the room.
"Can we make this work?"
I'm not evil on purpose, I promise! I just wrote this on a whim, and that's where it stopped. Please don't threaten me to make a sequel -- the girl I sent this to before posting it begged me to make a sequel... All I can say is 'maybe'. I actually rather like the way it ends here, left hanging -- much like the show, so that people can draw their own conclusions of what happens next. In any case, that's all -- for now. Tell me what you thought!