Counting Seconds In Heartbeats

Summary: The thoughts running through Buffy's mind towards the end of I Will Remember You. Angel/Buffy.

A/N: My first foray into Buffy and Angel fanfiction.

For one long tortuous minute, she could see the situation as he saw it. Fate was keeping them apart again, but this time, it wasn't because he wasn't normal. It was because she wasn't. As the Slayer, she would always be drawn into potentially deadly fights. As her Angel, he would always do anything to protect her, despite the fact that he no longer had vampire strength and near-invulnerability. She, in turn, would do everything to protect him, even if it put herself and countless others in danger.

It would get him killed. Or it would get her killed. In either case, they would both lose. It wasn't a worst-case scenario, either: it was an inevitability. They would die, one at a time or together, and perhaps put even more lives at risk.

Even though they stood apart, she could hear his heartbeat, that new wonder, ticking solidly in his chest. It was unbearable to think that it was going to be ripped from them, and worse still that she would not remember it. Angel probably thought she got the better deal, to be able to forget how close they came to having everything. But she couldn't agree. How was it fair that the most beautiful, happiest day of her life was going to be torn away from her? He would remember it all: the laughing together, the eating together, the making love and giving everything they had to give to each other.

It was too much. The grief hit with overwhelming force, and the tears slipped down her cheeks. She wouldn't forget, she couldn't forget this day. Angel enfolded her in his arms, trying to comfort her, but he too was shaking with suppressed mourning for what they must lose. She could feel his warm skin, could feel his breath on her face, and could hear the sound of his heart breaking with her own.

And then the tortuous, tragic, hateful minute ended, and for one shining second afterward, she could still remember. Just as she had known he was in Sunnydale without knowing he was in Sunnydale, she could feel his presence as an extension of her own, a completion.

He would always be her completion.

And then the feeling was gone, and she was left to say goodbye to Angel, and while both hearts were still breaking, only one was beating.

And then she left, not even remembering that there was anything worth remembering.

A/N: Ah, I'm pretty sure I cried during this scene. Or I at least wanted to. Anyway, reviews are much appreciated!