Too Late

By Shakespeare's Girl

A/N: So, this is pretty fluffy. But it's Xangel, so I forbear.

TOO LATE

The words branded themselves over Xander's vision as he stared after Angel's retreating form. Too late.

. . . I guess maybe I thought you'd change your mind . . .

Xander blinked, but he couldn't register what he was seeing, couldn't understand what had happened.

. . . You seemed like you'd changed since this whole thing started. I thought you wouldn't mind making it official . . .

What have I done? he wondered, and he wasn't sure, wasn't sure at all. He thought he'd been saving Angel from something neither of them wanted--commitment.

Too late.

But as soon as he'd said the words--

Xander will you wear my ring?

What? No! I--I mean, come on. You don't need to do that just because we live together and occasionally fuck. It's cool.

--he'd found himself choking on them, frantic to take them back, his body frozen in time, watching Angel's face go from that deep concern to shock, to hurt, to completely shut down.

Too late.

. . . This is your last chance, Xander. I'm walking out this door and I'm never coming back.

Too late.

The door shut.

Angel was gone.

Xander stared at the closed door, the churning in his stomach suddenly ending as he had a moment of clarity . . . You're an idiot. GO AFTER HIM!

Calmly, Xander opened the door and walked out onto the front porch. Angel was throwing his duffel bags in the back of his convertible. Xander watched for a moment, then began walking toward Angel. Angel didn't see him until he turned around. By that time, they were close enough that--

Xander didn't think. He acted.

He wrapped his arms around Angel's neck, and kissed him. At the touch of their lips, Xander began to cry. Angel, Angel, Angel, his mind was filled with Angel.

He realized he was planting kisses along Angel's jaw, his cheeks, his nose, his forehead, anywhere he could reach, all the while whispering "Angel, please, please, no. Don't. I love you. Please? Stay? I want you to stay. Oh god, don't leave. Please, don't leave."

Angel's hands held Xander's head, pulling him back. "Do you mean it?"

Xander closed his eyes, sucking in a deep breath as he shut out the torment he'd caused in those deep brown eyes, torment that mirrored his own. "Yes. Don't go. I love you," he breathed, opening his eyes again.

Angel kissed him, short but sweet and hard and possessive. "Okay then. I'll stay."

And he did.

And maybe it wasn't too late.