TITLE: Afterthoughts ~ Heartthrob
AUTHOR: Goddess Isa
EMAIL: goddessisa@aol.com
SUMMARY: Angel and Wesley spend some time talking about lost love
RATING: TV-PG
SPOILER: Heartthrob
DISCLAIMER: Joss & David G. own all. I own none. Blah.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I keep feeling like my stories don't flow anymore. Do they flow? People write to get feedback, you know!
10/5/01



"Shouldn't you be home by now, Wesley?" Angel asked. He put a new weapon into the case and closed the doors tight.

"I should, yes," Wesley sat on the couch and looked at his friend.

"Then why aren't you?" Angel asked. He began trying out moves with a new fighting staff. "If you're worried about me being home by myself--"

"You're not by yourself," Wesley interrupted. "Fred is here."

"Exactly."

"But I wasn't worried about you being alone," Wesley added.

"Good."

"Quite."

"So you can go."

"Not exactly," the former Watcher shifted position so that he was leaning with his elbows on his knees. "Cordelia told me that you two spoke about Buffy."

Angel slowed his movements and stared. "She did?"

"Yes. She said you spoke about her in detail."

"So?"

"I thought you might need to talk with someone who had less of a connection with Buffy," Wesley said gently.

Angel began practicing again, this time slicing the staff through the air with such force, his shirt blew open. "I don't."

"Are you sure?"

Angel let the weapon fall to the ground. "Not really."

Wesley gave him a small smile. "Maybe I could say something?"

Angel remained silent, so Wesley said, "Buffy was a hero. She died as a hero and she will always be remembered as that."

"She was more than a hero," Angel said quietly.

"She was the Slayer," Wesley added.

"She was my life."

"Where did you go?" Wesley asked.

"I told you, I went to--"

"No, really. Where did you go?"

"Sunnydale," Angel admitted. "I spent weeks sitting on the porch, at the cemetery, anywhere that reminded me of her."

"That makes sense," Wesley said.

"I couldn't get it to sink in, I couldn't make it real. You don't know how many mornings I almost met the sun."

"But you didn't."

Angel glanced at him. "I wouldn't meet her, anyway."

"And you're waiting to die a hero's death so that you might?"

"I'm waiting for the world to stop moving," Angel said. "I'm waiting for life to end. Why don't people realize what's happened? Why does no one understand what we've all lost?"

"We all feel it, Angel. We just handle it in different ways."

"I keep thinking of Dawn. Her mother and her sister in one year."

"I've spoken to Willow. She's struggling but she hasn't lost it yet," Wesley told him. "I suppose that's something to be thankful for."

"It isn't much."

"It's all we have."

Angel walked over and sat next to his friend. "I don't want to ever forget her."

"You won't."

"I don't know that. I don't know that I won't wake up one day and forget her smile, or her laugh. I don't want her to slip away from me."

"She isn't going to Angel," Wesley gestured to the Claddagh ring on Angel's left hand. "Buffy is a very big part of your life, and your soul. She always will be, and I think your worry about keeping her memory alive only solidifies the fact that she will always be a part of your life."

"Do you think........." Angel let his voice trail off.

"What?" Wesley prodded.

"Do you think it's my fault? I left her alone, made her vulnerable, made her a different Slayer ever. I know she stopped patrolling, let others take care of her battle. It was her war and she didn't win."

"But she did."

"She died, Wesley, how the Hell does that equal a win?"
"She saved her sister."

"I know," Angel said after a long silence. "She died for her."

"It was her choice," Wesley reminded him.

"It doesn't make it suck any less."

Hearing Angel say "suck" made Wesley laugh. The vampire swatted his friend and they both wound up in miserable laughter, staring at themselves as though they were completely pathetic, which they were.

"Do you think I'll ever function again?" Angel asked.

"You're functioning now," Wes reminded him gently.

Angel nodded. "It's a long road."

"You're not alone, Angel. Just remember that."

Wesley got up and left, and Angel stayed there on the couch for the rest of the night, thinking of Buffy, and of his friends, and of the battle that wouldn't end until he found Buffy again.