A Letter for Buffy

Summary: A few days after Buffy sends the Gem of Amara to Angel, Oz returns with a letter from Angel to Buffy.

Disclaimer: These characters remain the copyrighted property of their owners/creators. . .I'm just steering them down the road not traveled.

Rating: PG, for themes and intensity.

Time Frame: Immediately after "The Harsh Light of Day" and "In the Dark." (This is your spoiler warning, folks).

Archiving: Please do, but e-mail me at eilandesq@aol.com because I'm interested in where stuff I write ends up, and I'll want to see what else you've got there.

Dedication: To Krissy, to make up for my nasty teasing about possibly impending Buffy/Xander smoochies.


Buffy stared at the ceiling of her dorm room, trying to think of nothing. It was late Tuesday afternoon, only a few days after her fight with Spike over the Gem of Amara, and she was still feeling the aftereffects of the fight. Worse, she could not get the unpleasant feelings that her encounter with that bastard Parker had left her with out of her mind. How could she have fallen for such a jerk? Even more frustrating, Spike had read the situation better than her, AGAIN. For a moment, she regretted that the fight had ended when it did, though she had almost been exhausted by the time that Spike fled. The tension remained, with no relief in sight. She was contemplating actually studying to distract her from the intrusive thoughts when the door opened. Willow and Oz entered and immediately walked over to their friend: Willow smiling, and Oz with his usual neutral expression.

Willow sat down at the end of Buffy's bed and asked, "How are you doing, Buffy?" Buffy grimaced and replied, "I've been better, Will." She turned to Oz and smiled gently as she greeted him, "Welcome back. Did you get the Gem to Angel?"

Uncharacteristically, Oz looked uncomfortable as he replied, "Uh, yeah, Buffy. He gave me a letter for you." He handed her a large manila envelope and elaborated, "He told me to tell you that if you needed to know anything else, you should ask me about it." He took Willow's hand and whispered, "Let's go, Willow." Willow reached out and squeezed her best friend's hand before she followed Oz out of the door.

Buffy looked at the envelope: written on it, in Angel's graceful handwriting, was written simply, "Buffy." She opened it and found several sheets of notepaper, and a smaller envelope with the notation "Don't open this yet" written on it. She set the smaller envelope aside and began to read the letter:

* Dear Buffy,

I write this letter to you after having just seen my first outdoor sunset in over two hundred years. It was as glorious as I remembered the sunsets of my youth in Ireland, and I have you to thank for it; however, it will be my last. After Oz arrived and delivered the Gem of Amara, events took a turn for the worse. Before you read on, remember, I'm all right, so don't get too upset. *

Buffy read quickly as Angel described Oz's arrival and delivery of the Gem of Amara, how he had hidden it, and how Spike had arrived and attempted to obtain it from him. Tears came to her eyes as Angel described being captured and tortured by Spike and the master torturer, and she felt a sense of irrational relief when she read of how Oz, Doyle, and Cordelia rescued him. She gasped when Angel described running into the sunlight to attack the torturer vampire, then smiled as she reached the point where Angel put on the Gem of Amara for the first time:

* It slipped onto my finger as if it was made just for me, and I felt my burns and wounds closing as I walked into the sunlight. I had forgotten what it felt like, Buffy. A soft, glowing warmth on my skin that made me tingle as I stared into the blue, blue sky. The others didn't know how to react to what must have been a childlike expression on my face: Oz kept commenting on how pale I was. I just couldn't stop looking around: I know what people look like in sunlight, but to be there and part of it was just overwhelming for me. We stayed for almost an hour before we headed back to the office, and I will never forget a moment of it. *

Buffy took a deep breath and smiled, tears coming to her eyes. She knew that there was something important yet to come, and she continued reading:

* I watched the sun set from the roof of my building. When it finished setting, I took a brick and I destroyed the Gem. Doyle was almost inconsolate: he thought that the Gem was my redemption. If I know you, and I think I do by now, that was your hope too. Unfortunately, that would be the easy way out, and for one who has done as much harm as I have over the years, that won't do. You were right to send me the ring, Buffy, but not so that I could be saved. Instead, it served to convince me that the choice I've made to make a difference is the best one for me: I will serve best by remaining a creature of the night. Also, now that Spike thinks that the torturer vampire is wandering the Earth with his ring, maybe he'll stay out of our hair for a while (hope springs eternal).

Spike, as usual, felt the need to share his insights about our relationship while I was chained up, and he mentioned that you have had some difficulties recently. I spoke with Oz, and he confirmed the outline, if not the characterization. Buffy, Spike may have the words, but he doesn't have the music. I'm sorry someone chose to take advantage of you, but it isn't the end of the world, and I'm not angry about it. In a way, you were lucky: when I was not much older than you are now, I ran into someone who made promises to me that turned my head, and I listened to her, much to my eternal regret. Learn from it, but don't brood about it: we both know that it is his loss, not yours. Buffy, open the envelope that I sent with the letter now. *

Buffy opened the smaller envelope and found several Polaroid pictures and a small plastic pouch containing a bent gold ring and some gem fragments. Buffy looked at the pictures: there were a few shots of Angel on the beach looking at various things, a group shot with Cordelia, Oz, and a medium sized, dark-haired man that she assumed was Doyle, and one showing Angel looking in the direction of the sun as it moved toward the western horizon. She picked up the letter and continued reading:

* The remains of the Gem of Amara are yours, Buffy. Keep them as a momento of the great gift that you gave to me, for even though I will never walk in the sunlight again, the memory will help sustain me through the difficult times that I know are ahead. My greatest regret in this is that I destroyed the Gem before we could walk on the beach together, but I know that doing so would have destroyed my resolve that we must stay apart. Oz has told me that things have been difficult for you, and I wish I could be there to help you through them. Ultimately, you will prevail: you have always been the stronger of the two of us, and nothing can stand against you when you decide what has to be done. Whatever setbacks we have, the fight we have chosen is worth fighting, and it is important that we both remember that. Give my best to the others (even Xander. . .he really kept quiet when you decided to send the Gem to me? What is the world coming to?) and I will try to write again soon.

All my love,

Angel *

Buffy put the letter down and looked at the pictures for a long moment. A tear appeared and trickled down her cheek. For a moment, she could see herself on that beach with him, and feel his strong arms around her as they stared at the setting sun. She blinked, and the moment was over. She took the pouch with the ring and placed it in her jewelry box, then sat down on her bed and looked at the pictures until the door opened again, admitting Oz and Willow. Willow sat beside Buffy and asked, "Oz told me what happened. . .are you all right?"

Willow was surprised to see a genuine smile from Buffy as she replied, "I'm fine, Willow." She handed Willow the pictures, and grinned at the pleased expression on the redhead's face as she saw Angel in natural light for the first time. Buffy turned to Oz and asked, "Oz, why don't you sit down and tell me what happened?"

Oz frowned and replied, "All right, Buffy. . .you're not upset about Angel destroying the ring?" Buffy smiled wistfully and replied, "No. . .I sent Angel the ring because I thought it was the right thing to do. . .and I was right. Kind of nice with my track record lately. Now, did you really crash a van into the warehouse and point two loaded crossbows at Spike?"

As Oz began his account, Willow looked up at her best friend and her boyfriend and noticed that the mood in the dorm room was more upbeat than she could remember it ever being. As she listened, a single thought went through her head as she contemplated the change for the better:

* Thank you, Angel. *

As always, comments are welcomed and desired