Author's Notes: Yes, an addition to 'Buffy and Angel on the 'Titanic.' And just after I was so sure I would never write another piece about 'Buffy and Angel on the 'Titanic'' again. Anyway. This is the epilogue. The LAST part of the story. The very last part of the story. I swear this time. I just wanted everyone to get to know future Buffy and Angel and I had a hankering for writing B/A fic and since those hankerings are coming less and less these days, I went with it. Enjoy! Special thanks to everyone who's given me reviews on this story. It certainly wasn't my best, but it was my most popular so I thank everyone for their kind comments!
Five Years Later
It was midnight.
Angel woke up sharply, his senses immediately attuned to the fact that his wife was no longer sleeping peacefully beside him. He closed his eyes and reached out to her. In a moment the relief came, she was outside. Not far, but too far for his liking.
He threw the covers off and slowly padded down the hall, his bear feet chilling on the cool floor. He frowned when he spotted her out on the patio. Her arms were wrapped around her chest and she was shivering slightly.
She didn't even notice his appearance.
She hadn't been sleeping well lately. She never did, this time of year. They were both creatures of the night, used to creeping around at all hours. But it made what little rest they did get all that much more important. He knew that she'd been off her game lately and felt he spent more time watching her on patrol than he did demons.
He knew, given another week, she would be back to normal again. But that didn't make her pain any less real.
He came up behind her, wrapping his strong arms around her thin waist. She sighed and leaned back against him, looking wistfully up at the stars.
"It's been exactly five years," she whispered, into the stillness of the night.
He tensed. "Has it?" He'd stopped keeping track…he'd seen too much tragedy in his life. She never had, she always knew the date.
"Giles, Xander, Riley… they died on this night five years ago."
Angel swallowed. "You remember."
"Every minute." She turned to look at him, her blue eyes wide as she studied his face. "It reminds me how close I was to losing you."
He took her hand, and their matching claddagh wedding rings glinted in the moonlight. "Don't. Think of the future."
She shook her head and pulled away. She sat down on their lawn and curled her legs up to her chest. "I can't ever forget. I don't understand how you can."
He accepted the jab, though it hurt. When Buffy was in pain, she lashed out. That much he'd learned after five years and three years of marriage. "I haven't forgotten."
"Yes, you have," she said bitterly. "You didn't know what day it was, you never do, you never take a minute to reflect, you don't care."
Angel sighed and sat down next to her. He cupped her chin and made her look at him. "Do you really think that?"
She pouted. "No. I just don't understand why it doesn't cut so deep for you this time of year."
He leaned back on his haunches and wondered, as he often did, how to voice his thoughts so that she'd understand. Sometimes he forgot there was such an age difference between them. "I don't have to know how much time has passed, I don't have to know whether or not it's the anniversary because it hurts every day. The time of year doesn't make it hurt any more… or make it hurt any less."
She pondered his words for a moment before smiling shyly at him. "You're really wise."
He traced the outline of the black smudges under her eyes. "And you, my love, are very tired."
She leaned back against him. "I'm too cold to sleep. Always am."
Angel rubbed her forearms. "How's Willow doing?"
Buffy shrugged. "Goes between bouts of high perkiness to moments where she starts crying. Despite Oz… she still misses Xander."
"That's never going to change."
Buffy blinked. "I still miss Xander."
Angel didn't say anything. Just held her tighter. She leaned her head back against his chest and starred wistfully up at the sky. The moon cast a faint glow on their house behind them. She shivered slightly before calming herself.
"I'm so tired," she whispered.
She turned to look at him. She smiled reassuringly, and touched his cheek gently. "Thanks for being worried about me. But I'll get through it… I always do."
He kissed her gently, the touch of her sweet lips somewhat of a relief. "Come to bed."
He offered her a hand up and frowned when she half-heartedly accepted it. She allowed him to steer her into their warm house. Despite the shelter, Buffy shivered harder. "Angel?"
He watched her in concern, as she floated over to the big windows in their living room and stared out into the night. "Can you see all the stars?"
He followed, resting a comforting hand on the small of her back. He looked out and the sky was perfectly clear. "Yes."
"Do you remember how clear that night was? There wasn't a cloud in the sky and the stars were just like this. Do you remember?"
"I remember because I was young and in love and it was beautiful."
He rested his head on hers and pulled her against him. "I hate seeing you hurt like this."
She blinked back tears. "I'm sorry. I know… you understand. You were there, too."
"You miss them all, you miss your innocence, you still feel bad for being alive when they're not."
She didn't say anything because he was right. He always knew what she was thinking. "Giles was so steadfast on getting me on the boat," she gave a wry chuckle. "He didn't stop to think about what he, himself, would do."
"He was brave, Buffy. I've never known anyone braver."
She bit her lip. "Thanks. That helps."
"Is your mother coming over tomorrow?"
Buffy shrugged. "I guess. She feels it, too this time of year. I think it helps her."
"And it might be the only conversation we'll ever hear from her that doesn't ask after her chances—"
"Of grand-children," Buffy finished tiredly. "Don't I know it."
"For some reason she still hasn't bothered to ask why she's never seen me in direct sunlight."
"Or why we never got married in a Church."
"Or why there are blood bag in the fridge."
"Stakes in the cupboard."
"Axes in the vestibule."
"A bottle of holy water in my underwear drawer."
Angel jumped back. "What? Do you have any idea how easy it would be to KILL me with that?"
Buffy blushed. "That was one of those things I wasn't ever going to tell you."
"No secrets. It was part of our wedding vows. I think I'm going to have to divorce you now."
Buffy gave him a weak smile. "Anyway, we both know Mom has become a master of looking in the other direction. She always has been. As for the sunlight thing, I told her you were Albino. She seemed to think it explained a lot."
Angel stared at her. "Was that another one of those secrets I wasn't ever going to learn about?"
Buffy shrugged. "It wasn't so much of as a secret as something I wasn't going to tell you unless you asked me directly."
"Is there anything else you would like to share? Some bit of information that I should, perhaps, as your loyal husband know?"
"Angel," she said seriously. He looked at her in concern and she took a deep breath. "I'm a vampire slayer."
He chuckled softly and pressed a loving kiss to her forehead. "I love your wit."
She pulled back to look at him, a slight twinkle in her eyes. Angel felt his heart lighten in relief. "Oh, yeah? What else do you love about me?"
"I love the way you can look at me like no one else, the way you can kill something with your bare hands, the way things touch you, the way you feel the pain of others and want more than anything to stop it."
She smiled shakily. "Thanks."
He smiled back, pressing a thumb to the corner of her eye to smooth away a tiny tear. He nudged her in the direction of the couch and pulled her down into his arms. She pulled a blanket over the two of them and snuggled down into his chest letting out a little sigh of contentment. "I'm not sleeping," she muttered, but closed her eyes, anyway.
He rubbed her arm gently. "I can't ever regret the 'Titanic,' Buffy. It brought me to you."
She nodded. "I know. It's hard, knowing that, and trying not to feel guilty for living."
"I don't regret going on the 'Titanic.' I regret what happened to the 'Titanic.'"
Buffy mulled his words over before bringing his fingers to her lips for a quick kiss. "You're really smart, you know that?"
Angel laughed hollowly. "I don't know if I'm wise, so much as I've learned a few things over the decades. But... thank you."
Buffy shrugged. "No problem."
"And it's not like we've had an easy few years of it, either."
Angel pressed an understanding kiss to her forehead. It was true, since the 'Titanic' they'd faced more than their fair share. The engagement went a long time unannounced, as the perfect moment after the tragedy took a while to find itself. Then they had to get accustomed to living together in the real world. What it meant being a vampire and being the slayer, and being a vampire and a slayer together.
Of course, add to that their inevitable clashes with pain. Like when Darla showed up and Drusilla and Spike a few years later. Not to mention the many close brushes with death Buffy faced on a daily basis.
He traced his fingers along the milky, smooth skin of her elbow thoughtfully. "All the pain, I think it's been worth it. We ended up married in the end."
"And happy," she added, sleepily.
"Most of the time, anyway."
"For being you, for reminding me that I can feel bad about the 'Titanic' without letting it control my life. For always knowing how I'm feeling."
"Your welcome," he answered quietly. "Now sleep."
She yawned widely. "kay."
"I love you."
She closed her eyes and began to drift off. "I love you, too."