|Disclaimer: the author does
not claim ownership to the characters or plot development mentioned from
"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel". These properties expressly belong
to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Greenwolf Corporation, 20th Century Fox Television,
WB Network, etc. Any other characters contained in the original story are
Historical Note: The action
in this story takes place after during the BtVS episode, "Forever".
Author's note: Is it possible?
Evan Como writing B/A? Incredulous, Wiseblood read, then graciously did
the Beta thing. e.c. 25 Apr 01.
06 Jun 01: Cree Summer's
song, "Still Heart", accompanies.
MY BEATEN HEART
by Evan Como
The Comfort Snugglies. Not
long after locking hands with him, she'd figured out a way to make her
rational mind ignore the affliction. CosmoGirl or Glamour or Seventeen
-- God! 17 -- was where she'd read all about it. So, it wasn't like she
was the first person to ever glom onto the security found in an old lover's
The irony conundrum was that
he had always been old, but she hadn't become an adult until crowned into
womanhood by succession.
She had yet to stop staring
at the site in front of her; she wasn't sure she'd been blinking. How many
times she'd sat by a grave not much different than her Mother's and waited
for some un-earthly-wanted creature to rise. The damp, sweet scent of freshly-turned
soil had a much different odor than ash blonde waves laundered in Herbal
Essences and inside wrists spritzed with Cabochard.
She wanted to scrape back
the sod, pry open the casket, and get to spooning. Rest her head upon a
silent breast and pull that lifeless arm around her way burdened shoulders.
She'd chosen that particular time capsule not for its pretty lacquered
surface but because it looked the comfiest. Dawn and Giles had interrupted
before she could test and make sure. That obviously proved she was a grown-up;
as a child, her cousin Celia's coffin had heebied her geebies to the point
she couldn't approach the kitchen appliances for months.
The plot was situated in
a pretty spot during the daytime, shaded at moments by the palm tree they
sat up against. She shifted position a little; one of the large plastic
buttons down the front of Angel's coat annoyed a nerve along her spine.
It was good, really good,
that someone had invented buttons all those long eons ago; but in the modern
world wouldn't it be easier if everything could be retrofitted with Velcro?
There'd be a whole lot less discomfort if rip-and-schmush technology was
applied to everything. But then, she was still ripping and schmushing and
she considered herself a very modern girl -- (Woman!). It's just that someone
-- oh, say, a century or nine ago -- should have rounded up all the monsters
and remanded them to the custody of folklore.
She reached back awkwardly
and grappled the front of Angel's coat from behind her back. Resettling,
her fingernail ran the seam down the side of his leg. He slouched his perfect
There. Comfy. Again.
His voice. Speaking softly,
that hypnotic tone of his murmured little reassurances -- "... strong ...
time ... heal ... better ..." She held her breath in anticipation, but
she was "... smart ..." enough to know he'd be careful not to utter ...
Not while he was saying such
Dad things, at least.
Riley would have said the
same words but they would have bored her. Riley would have stayed after
the funeral, but he would have just been in the way. Riley would have taken
care of the world if she'd just stepped aside long enough for him to gain
some footing. Riley would have embraced her but his arms never knew when
to let go.
Angel knew to let her make
her own decisions. He knew when to side-step even though that was no guarantee
that he wouldn't get side-slayed. He'd taken the abuse and he'd come back
for more and ... He was reliable, and trustworthy, and there, and ... and
Angel. She'd hesitated, then looked into those soulful eyes of his.
She wanted his taste in her
"... Needy ..." She'd warned
him. He'd been willing. The kiss? Simple at first. Friendly. Hyper-jumping
to lethal on one breath, it was coolly reassuring. She still owned him,
the part of him, at least, that had brought him to her side. When she pulled
back, he'd accepted her decision.
It had always decreased the
ick-factor of their situation with her as the predator.
He was beautiful to look
at, but it was best not to stare. Their connection went all fritzy as pre-dawn
crescendoed on their reunion. She'd told him "... forever ..." and she'd
meant it, deep inside. Although she'd repressed the memories -- those feelings
of Angel connected to her in every physical way -- they'd been as constant
as her pulse. The forever she wanted wouldn't have limits. The forever
she wanted would leave both of them sated. Forever this time, with his
cheek coronating her head.
For always and a night.
Her alive, his unlife had
been their undoing; her undead, his human soul would be their demise.
He'd nuzzled her hair and
she'd let him. She'd cupped his hand to her cheek, kissed the heel of his
palm. Long before that, she'd thanked him for coming the exact way she
would have written it on a note card. He didn't hear how fake her words
were; he didn't know how to listen to the meaning in her voice anymore.
They did their chatty thing like the bestest of buds speaking someone else's
Maturity had sanded the edgy
off their drama.
They stood together, his
hand curled around hers. He'd swept her hair from her ear and whispered
something endearing. She smiled. She nodded. And then he departed as silently
as he'd arrived.
With tears in her eyes, she
considered her Mother's grave and took a hugely needed breath. Forever
was either walking away or stretching beyond the brightening horizon or
resting beneath her feet. But until she was finished saving her sister
and the universe, whichever it was would just have to wait.