He Moved On

Disclaimer: Characters and Premise are borrowed from the show "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer."

The bus ride back to Sunnydale feels endless and I've got nothing but my thoughts for company.

When Angel broke-up with me a year ago I thought it would be easier for me if I could see pain in his eyes, if I knew he was hurting as much as I was.

Even as I moved on I kept that thought in mind, that somehow if I could see him suffer for giving up on us it would mean... I don't know what. That he really loved me, maybe? That what we had was as important to him as it was to me?

I could never have done what Angel did. He turned his back on us. Even though he was right, even if we were headed for disaster I would have chosen glorious flames over letting go. Over doing what was right. I already did right rather than what I wanted. I sent Angel to Hell because it was the right thing to do, it's not fair that I had to loose him because of doing the right thing again. I'd rather have done the wrong thing and faced the consequences. After Angel left there were days when I believed that it would have been easier if we'd just given in, broke the curse again and literally killed each other. That it would have hurt less than knowing Angel could walk away from me.

Then I'd think that Angel must not have really loved me if he could leave me. Deep down I always knew that it wasn't the truth, I knew that Angel left because he loves me and wants the best for me. Still, sometimes deep down is a candle at the bottom of a well shaft, even though you know it's there you can't see it.

All I could see was that Angel left me, and that he didn't look back.

So I pretended not to love him. Pretended that my relationship with Angel was only pain and misery, and tried to forget how safe he could make me feel. Forget how he always tried to find the right thing to say to make my dark and confusing world sane again. He couldn't always do it, and he was always too eager to blame himself for anything that went wrong, but he always tried and that meant so much to me.

I pretended that that stuff didn't exist and I moved on. Then Faith woke-up, I hoped that my dreams were some indication that she'd changed, that she would welcome the chance I was ready to offer her for rehabilitation. She threw it in my face before I got the words out of my mouth. Then I come to LA and find that she was willing to let Angel help her.

Of course I thought it was a game, she wanted everything I had: Angel, Riley, my friends, my watcher, my mother, my body, my life. She wanted to take all of that and make it hers. It's what she's wanted since she first showed up, anything I have she tries to take. I knew this guilt thing she was doing for Angel was just her latest attempt to steal him from me. She'd tried it before, why should this time be different. She went to Angel all guilt-ridden and in pain before, then she tried to steal his soul. Angel was an idiot to believe her this time.

If she really wanted to change why hadn't she let me help her back in Sunnydale? What could Angel offer her that I couldn't? Why does the fact that Angel's done horrible things make him a good role model for her. What? I haven't screwed up my life so I could possibly be the one to show Faith how to be a better person? I guess they think that the blind really can lead the blind.

And what hurts the worst is they're right. Angel actually got through to her. When it mattered Faith came through for Angel. She walked into that police station and confessed, and in doing so she did what I couldn't, she saved Angel.

Angel hadn't needed me at all, in fact my coming just screwed things up for him. He had a new life, one that works for him, one that includes friends who aren't me. Back in Sunnydale Angel was mine and mine alone. The only people who he ever socialized with were my friends first and they only tolerated him for my sake. Angel needed me, he would have killed himself if not for me. I was truly and simply the center of his world. Now I'm not. I'm really not. He has this whole life that doesn't even include me.

I used to have this day dream that he'd come back, that Angel would tell me how he couldn't live without me and beg me to forgive him for leaving me. It's not going to happen, seeing him in LA this time proved that. Angel doesn't need me, not anymore. He may have thought he was weak back when the First was tormenting him, but he's not. He's strong and in control of his life. He really can exist without me, and that's what he wants.

When I realized that it was like he was breaking up with me all over again. And once again I started thinking that he never really loved me. That if he had he would have let me get even with Faith for all the pain she had caused me.

So I told him about Riley. That I'd moved on to someone new, someone I loved and unlike Angel someone I trusted. I thought if Angel really loved me that what I said would hurt him, even though he has to know I lied about not trusting him. I thought if I could see that it hurt Angel that I'd moved on then I could deal with his having moved on too.

Only it didn't work that way. Oh, I got to see pain in Angel's eyes. Anger and heartbreak and loss, everything I wanted to know he felt. But it didn't make me feel better. It made me feel guilty, Angel made me feel guilty. Guilty for my happiness with Riley, guilty for lashing out at him, guilty because in the end he couldn't even look at me.

Knowing that Angel still and always will love me was supposed to make me feel better. It doesn't, because it doesn't change anything. Angel didn't leave me because he didn't love me, he left because we were destroying each other. True love is supposed to overcome all obstacles, but Angel's and mine are just too big.

Yet another childhood myth torn to shreds.

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