Title: Don't
Author: Emily
Pairing: B/A, C/A
Rating: PG 13
Summary: Cordy's missing and Angel asks for Buffy's help.
Timeline: Future.
Spoilers: Vaguely for the C/A storyline on AtS.
Music: Jewel: Don't


" Don't walk too close
Don't breathe so soft
Don't talk so sweet
Don't sing
Don't lay oh so near
Please, don't let me fall in love with you again"

He was always beautiful. I remember that. Of all the things in this life, I remember that. Like it was yesterday. Ten years ago and it's a clearer memory than whatever I did yesterday. Lips and eyes and hands and skin and I can't breathe again. It's that simple. Damn him, I never wanted this. When he kissed me when I was sixteen I didn't know that I'd still want him this way. But, then, I didn't know that he'd leave me or I'd kill him either. I didn't know anything and I still don't. Only that he's here again and this is tearing me apart. That's all.

He needed help. We both always did. He came to me because he needed help with demons and blood and monsters and of course I helped him. After ten years apart it was still demons and blood and monsters, that was the way it always went. We helped each other because terrible things were happening and the world might end. We ignored the way we'd once made each others worlds end and begin. We pretended like we'd never been in love and that was how it went. And, after years, we were just as fucked up as we always had been. But, this time it was different. He needed help to save Cordelia who he apparently loved, he'd been with her for years now, and why the fuck did he think I would help him with that? Because I would. I tried to break those promises of always and forever but in the end it seemed they were carved into my skin and running through my blood. I would help him, I always would and I did. I helped him help Cordelia of all people and he loved her and I let him sleep in my house.

And I wanted to kill him in his sleep.

Life, death, love, hate, being together, being apart. They were all the same with us. They all hurt. Sometimes I wondered what the difference between kissing and killing him would be. After all, both tore me apart. Killing him, I could do it again and it would hurt me less than kissing him would. He says he loves Cordelia now and I was accepting that. I was trying not to feel that sharp sting of rejection that comes, unbidden and bitter in the middle of the cold night. Then she went missing and then he turned to me. Because of course selfless Buffy would help him save her. That's what I do, save things. People, the world, and now he wanted me to save the person who now ended and began his world. The same way I did once. I just wish someone would save me. No, I wish he had just fucked her in High School instead and let me be if this was the way things were gonna turn out. Then I wouldn't need saving.

In the end I needed saving, or something, so damn badly that I didn't protest when he kissed me. One night of tirelessly beating up demons and looking for leads on Cordy, and nothing, Angel frustrated and tired back at my place. He smashed a snow globe and all I could think of was him pushing me to the ground as the snow fell I doubt he remembers snow and tears on a hill. Like I said, we both pretend like we were never as close as two people could possibly be. So, maybe he does remember and doesn't say a thing in the same way that I do. I guess I should give him the benefit of the doubt. Afterwards he picked up the pieces of the snow globe and he apologised and I thought, if only picking up the pieces was that easy. If only they would fit together again.

You see, after all that time Angel was still Angel. He was still beautiful and still noble; he just loved someone else. And to this day I don't understand why what happened that night happened. If he loved her then how did he come to be looking into my eyes with his hand tangled in my hair? When he looked at me like that I froze up. I was seventeen again and terrified and wanting him. He said my name. I said "Don't" and of course I didn't mean it. I meant, fuck me please, damn it Angel take me. And he leaned forward and he kissed me. I didn't stop him. I didn't punch him or yell at him or damn him. Maybe I should have. I kissed him back and we ended up entangled on my living room floor. Fucking like we had one night to live. Like it was the end of the world.

I think I died that morning when he wasn't there. Again. I couldn't breathe for a second or two. Again. Then I remembered that everything was fucked up and that of course he didn't love me anymore...and oh God. Why were we in this situation again? He was human now. He'd done enough saving to get rewarded - and I wonder if anything will ever come of me saving the world. I doubt it. It pretty much seems like the world is out to screw me over. The one man I ever loved included. Angel gave me the talk later. The 'it was a mistake, I'm sorry' talk. I guess it was better than him telling me I was no good in bed like the last time. I didn't want to hear it, who does? I almost told him to get the hell out then. I tried. But my lips wouldn't form the words and I couldn't and it was then that I realised I loved him again. I didn't know when this had happened but it wasn't the sweet elation of when I'd first loved him. It was something entirely different and it hurt. Most of all, it hurt.

We got a lead eventually. The rest, it went the way I never wanted things to go. I helped him save Cordelia. I killed the monsters, I spilt the blood, I saved his new world. I loved him again and I may have saved Cordelia but I lost all hope of saving myself.