During the mayor's speech in Choices, he talks more than he should.

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Inside the schoolroom, Mayor Wilkins is looking at Buffy. What the vampire saw in the girl was beyond his comprehension because his Faith was so much better. He wanted to inflict pain in the two meddlesome creatures in front of him. He knew just what button to push.

"I wish you kids the best, I really do. But if you don't mind a bit of fatherly advice, I, uh, I-I just don't see much of a future for you two. I don't sense a lasting relationship. And not just because I plan to kill you. You two have a bumpy road ahead."

Buffy knew he was going to tease them, but use hers and Angel's relationship was not a topic she thought he would use.

"I don't think we need to talk about this."

" God, you kids, you know. You don't like to think about the future. You don't like to make plans. Unless you want Faith to gut your friend like a sea bass, show a little respect for your elders."

Angel gave one step towards the Mayor, but Buffy put a hand in his arm.

"You're not my elder. I've got a lotta years on you."

The Mayor looked at Angel and smiled. It was the time to give the final blow.

"Yeah, and that's just one of the things you're going to have to deal with. You're immortal, she's not. It's not. I married my Edna May in ought-three and I was with her right until the end. Not a pretty picture. Wrinkled and senile and cursing me for my youth. Wasn't our happiest time. You can have all the happiness you want for now because your soul is bound, but what about latter. I mean, come on. What kind of a life can you offer her? I don't see a lot of Sunday picnics in the offing. I see skulking in the shadows, hiding from the sun. She's a blossoming young girl and you want to keep her from the life she should have until it has passed her by. My God! I think that's a little selfish. Is that what you came back from Hell for? Is that your greater purpose?"

He stares at Angel and don't even realize the impact his words had over everyone in the room. He just shack his hand in disgust.

"Make the trade."

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The gang was in the library waiting for Giles and Willow compare their notes.

"Oh my God! He told the truth! Angel… your soul… it is permanent."

"Are you sure Will?"

"Yes. I am. I... We didn't bother to look the curse. We were in a hurry, so we didn't really read it. We just executed and after… well… everything, we just didn't think of looking into it. Mrs. Calendar changed the curse."

Angel looked at everyone in the room and felt a lump in his throat.

"He… he can't come back again?"

"No."

He left Buffy's side and walked to the main door. She ran after him.

"Angel?"

She saw the tears when Angel turned around.

"I… I was planning to leave you."

"WHAT?"

"Everything the mayor said…"

"Angel. He wanted to cause pain to us. Nothing he said makes sense. Do you realize that I may die today or tomorrow while patrolling?"

Angel growled loudly and his heart constrict painfully with the prospect of her dying. That wouldn't happen on his watch.

The gang had reverted to study the material Willow got from the book of ascension, but the sound made them look at the couple. Angel was holding Buffy and crying.

"Don't leave me. Please! I won't be old and smelly if I die young…you know."

She tried to joke, but Angel growled again and held her against with more force.

"Or you can die first… if that suits you better."

This time she could feel his smile against her hair.

Buffy shuddered against his body at the thought of him dying. Angel finally understood it was a double way for them. He understood that their strength came from them being together. That they being together kept them sane, gave them the power to take the right decisions.

"Be selfish. I need you."

"I am selfish."

He kissed her shoulder. He wouldn't leave the woman he loved.

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