Title: Re-Write: The Prom pt.2
Disclaimer: Fortunately, Marti Noxon wrote this episode three years ago. Unfortunately, she made a terrible, terrible mistake.
Synopsis: I did Prom my way! Wheee!
Author's Notage: Yes. There are more Prom re-writes out there than actual BTVS episodes. I know. But… I was knee deep in about 3 really angsty stories. I wanted fluff. I wanted a little humor.
Dedication: To my evil twin. For the suggestions, commas, support, and laughing at my jokes.
Feedback: *sings* I want feedback! Lala la la!
Buffy watched, deep in thought, as Xander walked slowly away from her. She watched him join Anya, ask her to dance, and sway romantically with her on the floor. She had to admit, the man cleaned up well. Xander's tux made him look a lot older, and if it hadn't been for his joking tone, Buffy would have said that he had grown up into a respectful young adult.
And one that just told her to do anything she could to keep Angel from leaving.
Which, she reflected, was quite ridiculous. Xander didn't know anything about her relationship with Angel. He didn't know about their love, their pain, their hardships. It was crazy to think that he could give her advice on the best course of action.
Of course, Xander had never been Angel's biggest fan, as he had said so eloquently before. So, that could mean that he had thought about it in depth… and maybe… just maybe he had a point. Should she stop Angel from leaving? He was the one that was bailing on them, he was the one who was trying to take the easy way out and give up on their relationship. So why should Buffy have to be the one to go after him?
Maybe because it made her sick to her stomach to think about him leaving her.
Besides, there were reasons why Angel was leaving. She understood them, to a degree. They made sense. He was a vampire, she a slayer. He couldn't have true happiness without putting the world in potential danger.
Basically, they were doomed.
There were reasons, good reasons, for why Angel felt like he should leave her. 'He just forgot to take into account the way I love him, or the way my life wouldn't change for the better if he left. But, you know, other than that, plenty of reason for him to leave town.'
Buffy let out a deep sigh, oblivious to all those around her. Her classmates partied like there was no tomorrow, which, she supposed, in Sunnydale was always a possibility. But the partying of her classmates was less the end of the world kind, and more the end of school kind. Many of them would be leaving their homes and going to college, having their lives changed forever. So they took this last night to be kids, to be horny, to have fun with the people they would never see again.
Buffy didn't noticed. She was too busy contemplating her own life changing stuff. As it was, she barely noticed the new person to come into the doorway. If it had been anyone else, the person would have left to join in the wild partying, and Buffy would never have noticed that the auditorium had just gained one more person. But because of their deep bond, because of their connection, because of their love, Buffy looked up before she even knew who he was.
Their eyes connected.
Buffy suddenly found it an effort to draw in a breath.
Her head pounded, almost in tune to the beating of her own heart.
She felt frozen, a deep stiffness had found its way into the very recesses of her arms and legs, rendering her immobile.
For maybe a minute they both stood, staring, hardly daring to breathe, each thinking it was a dream.
Then they began to walk.
Angel wondered, for not the first time, what he was doing here. At Buffy's school. At her prom. Dressed in a tux.
It was all so… mind-boggling.
He had broken up with her earlier. Broken her dreams, shattered both their hearts, ruined his life. So what was he doing here, at her prom? Watching her across the room? Thinking about how beautiful she was and how her gaze seemed to ignite something deep inside of him, something he had thought was lost forever?
How did he go about explaining that?
He *didn't*, that was how All Angel knew was that he had been sitting quietly at home minding his own business, when some crazy notion entered his head. He would put on the tux that he had bought a couple of weeks earlier. Just to see what it looked like on him. It would be a waste of money, he reasoned, not to see what it looked like. Tuxes didn't come cheap.
Needless to say, ten minutes later he'd been in his car driving towards the school like a maniac with pained visions of Buffy and some… some… some guy! It was all too horrible, and Angel decided that he had best make an appearance at Buffy's prom.
Just to say the final good-bye, just to hold her in his arms one last time, smell the scent of her hair, kiss her sweet mouth and draw on the force that was *her*. Sighing, Angel wondered if this dance was really going to make things any easier. She tortured him at home, and he was even more tortured by her when she was only just across the room, watching him with her big hazel eyes.
It was entirely too much, and Angel was afraid he might do something stupid. Like get on his hands and knees and beg her too take him back. He felt somewhat dizzy, partly from the fact that the demon was overwhelmed by the force of all these hot, sweaty bodies crammed in one place together, and partly from the fact that he was walking towards her, and she was walking towards him.
Angel shook his head. Walking? He was actually *walking* towards her now? This was not good, not good at all. If things kept going the way they were, Angel was going to have a hard—er—time leaving her then he would have had before.
But then she was in front of him, her face slightly flushed, her breathing hard and steady. He could hear her heart pounding furiously, and suddenly he didn't remember any of the objections he had about coming to the prom, although he was fairly certain there had been quite a long list of them.
"Buffy," he wheezed, almost surprised to find his tongue very stuck to the roof of his mouth.
"Angel," she whispered back with just as much difficulty.
Not sure what he was supposed to do now, and feeling completely out of place in this new American prom tradition, Angel stared.
Maneuvering with some difficulty, as Anya was not one who liked to be swung all over the room, and Xander didn't actually know how to dance, it took Xander a whole two minutes to get over to where Oz and Willow were clutched in each other's embrace. He coughed, feeling slightly out of place, but needing to get their attention.
Willow looked up sharply, annoyed at being disturbed. "Hmmm?
Xander nodded with his head towards Buffy. "Buffy," he said, then nodded his head towards Angel who was standing two feet away from her, "Angel."
Willow looked at her friend and her ex-boyfriend, then back at Xander. "I see. Just… I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be seeing."
Frustrated, Xander let go of Anya, almost getting run into by other dancers out on the floor. Cursing silently, he said, "This is not part of the plan! I'm supposed to talk with Buffy, make her realize how much she love's him, and she's supposed to go to the mansion, make with the nice, and they would run off together into the sunset."
"After the sun had actually set, as we wouldn't want Angel to burn up," Xander amended. "Whatever. What are we going to do?"
Willow shrugged, turning back to Oz. "Maybe they could make with the nice here, and then ride off into the night."
"They are riding off in a car, right? Because I don't know how well Buffy knows how to manage a horse."
"Xander, let them be."
"How do you know this is going to work?"
Willow glanced over to where Angel was taking Buffy into his arms. "Because… it's just so…"
"Right," Xander finished.
Buffy pressed herself even closer. She thought that maybe if she got close enough, she could pretend that it all wasn't happening, and she could just stay there for a while. Like forever. She was pretty sure she could handle that. Staying in Angel's arms forever. It had a nice ring to it, almost seemed somewhat poetic.
Although, it could get kind of yucky when she got older and wrinkly and eventually died. So maybe forever wasn't exactly the best idea. Maybe she could just go into a time warp for all eternity. She and Angel. Dancing at the prom. Never changing.
Now that was poetic.
"Angel," she whispered again, his name sighing off her lips. He had such a great name. [i]Angel, Angel, Angel…[/i]
He looked down at her, "Hmmm?"
She blinked. Oh, right. Good. 'Say his name over and over again… while he's standing right there. No… that isn't too stalkerish.'
"You're name is so beautiful," she said aloud, then blushed. 'Oops.'
Angel looked at her, pained. "Don't make this harder."
"Don't make what harder?"
Angel sighed. She was going to make it harder. "You know what I'm talking about."
She looked up at him, eyes wide, bursting with innocence and good intentions. Yep, she was bad. Bad, bad, bad. "Nope. Don't have the slightest clue."
He considered her for a moment before shaking his head and holding her tighter. "It doesn't matter, leaving you will never be easy."
Buffy sighed. Damnit, now she felt bad. "Then don't."
He didn't say anything, didn't even look at her. He was afraid that if he did, he might do exactly that. He hadn't told her, but he loved the way she said his name. Always whispered it, with love and a childlike innocence. It always made his dead heart leap. Oh, he was screwed. He really was. Somewhere someone was holding him over a barbecue and laughing as they watched him crash and burn.
Screwed. Screwed. Screwed.
"Cause really, if you think about it, your reasons don't mean much at all," Buffy added, after he didn't say anything. "Sure. You vampire, me slayer. You dark, me light. I can't have children or picnics in the park if I'm with you. And then there's the whole sex issue, true happiness… blah, blah, blah. If you think about it, those reasons aren't all that good."
This time he graced her with a look. "They are, too!" He cried indignantly, trying to pretend that he wasn't at that very moment sounding like a little child who had just been told his pen wasn't good enough.
She snorted. "Whatever helps you sleep at night."
Annoyed, Angel stopped dancing and stood with Buffy in the middle of the floor. A couple of people turned to look at them weirdly, but no one said anything. "Number one, I don't sleep at night. I sleep during the day." Buffy raised her eyebrows at yet more displays of childishness. "And number two, my reasons are perfectly legitimate."
"As I said, the important thing is that *you* believe that."
Oh, they were so *not* going that route again.
"Maybe we should go somewhere else," Angel suggested looking around and noticing that they weren't in the best place to be having this discussion.
Buffy pouted and leaned back into his arms. "But I'm happy right here."
Angel, stunned for a moment, finally reacted by putting his arms around her and holding her close. He was leaving soon, fine. But that didn't mean they couldn't take this chance to be together one last time. It didn't mean that he couldn't hold her and breathe her in. Didn't mean he couldn't tell her how much he…
"I love you."
Angel closed his eyes. That… that wasn't supposed to happen. He was supposed to *think* the words, not open his bloody mouth and tell her!
Buffy sucked in a breath. "What?"
"Nothing!" Angel said quickly.
She pulled slightly away from him and squinted her eyes. "You said, 'I love you'!"
"I said no such thing!"
Angel opened his mouth and was about to say 'Did not' when good breading got the better of him. "Buffy, don't act like a child."
"I'm acting like a child?"
"Yes." She got that look in her eyes and said she was about to pummel him, so he rushed to say something. "I do love you." Darnit, wrong something. Her eyes softened and she looked almost like she was about to start crying. He touched her face, trying to memorize the way it felt against his fingertips. "I want you to know that, I'll always love you. No matter what happens, no matter who you're with."
She shook her head. "Stop it. Stop… please."
He looked confused. "I'm sorry… it's just… I don't want you to think that I'm going because I don't care."
"DON'T GO!" She shrieked. 200 pairs of eyes turned towards her. Xander coughed and gave her the thumbs up. Angel was suddenly very glad he had no circulation and couldn't blush. Willow had her hands clasped together, and a knowing look in her eyes.
Embarrassed, Buffy could do nothing but nod her head towards the door. "Okay… now we go somewhere else to talk about this."
"Good idea," Angel stuttered, running from the room
They ended up in the library. Buffy didn't even want to comment on the absurdity of it. She was only thankful that Giles was chaperoning, and that they were alone.
Alone. With Angel.
It had happened many time, and had always proven that she was capable of handling it. Not loosing control. Her only problem was that this time she was angry at him, at the world, and most importantly at herself for waiting so long to try and make him stay. Without trying to attract his attention she surveyed the room. There. She could lock him up in Oz's wolf cage if the need arose.
Of course, she was kind of hoping that she was more persuasive than that, and wouldn't need to lock him up.
"Don't go," she repeated, this time in a softer, more pleading voice.
Angel turned away from her. "You know I have to."
"No," she protested, "you don't have to. I know you're looking for a reason to stay. Angel, I'm giving you one. Don't leave me."
"How old am I?" she asked, deciding it was time to try a new strategy.
"I don't see what that has to do with anything."
"Just answer the damn question."
"18," he replied after a moment.
"Very young," Angel agreed.
"And you're what? 243?"
"Where are you going with this?"
Buffy glared at him. "Just shut up and listen for a moment, okay? I'm trying to get on your way of thinking. Now, if I were you, and was about 220 years older than the girl I loved, I'd probably have some doubts, too. But that does not mean that you can just discount the girl in your decisions! Of course, I'd probably feel a little like the girl didn't know what was best in this case, as I was so much older and wiser. Hell! She probably doesn't even know what she *really* feels for me!"
Angel turned around to stare at her blankly. "You do realize you're not making any sense, right?"
She sighed. "My point is, stop deciding that leaving is what's best for me. I think it's high time you asked *me* what's best for me! I know you love me, so prove it. Do what I think is best for me."
He avoided her eyes. "Buffy, please, let me do this. Let me be strong, just this once."
"You're scared," she finally whispered.
His head snapped around. "And what," he said bitterly, "would I be scared of?"
"The future," she answered simply. "Us."
He stalked towards her. "I don't think you know what you're talking about."
Buffy resisted the urge to yell that she knew exactly what she was talking about. She was getting a strong—although angry—reaction from him, which let her know that she was hitting the nail on the head. "You're scared that one day I'll wake up and realize that I wasted my whole life. That I'll blame it on you. That I'll decide that I never really loved you, and you've deprived me of everything a nice, human boy can give me. That's what you're afraid of."
Angel stopped a meter away from her, and she looked at him dead in the eye, without losing ground. He absolutely glowered and had to fold his arms over his chest to keep from doing anything he would regret later. "Let's say I am afraid."
Surprised that he was admitting it, Buffy stood up straighter, not taking her eyes off his face. "Okay…"
"Let's say I am afraid," he repeated. "But there are reasons for that, some part of what you mentioned, some not. What you forget, Buffy, is how the curse hangs over my head every minute of every day. If I lose control, if I allow myself to feel the slightest bit content, I put the world in danger. I put you and your friends in the path of a killer. You're damn right I'm afraid to live with that."
"But we can work through that…" she argued weakly.
"Every time I look at you, every time that we're together I know that my strong hold on the curse is weakening. Who's to say that in a year from now I won't look at you and feel perfectly content? Who's to say that holding your hand in a park won't give me a moment of peace? I am afraid. I'm *not* letting that monster out again."
Buffy regarded him silently, feeling a burning in her eyes that was letting her know that she was quickly losing it. "I'll accept that you have good reason to be afraid, but give it a chance, will you? There are things we can do! We can look for a way to bind your soul… don't give up."
He regarded her with the same angry looking glint in his eyes before deflating and turning to sit down in one of the library chairs. Sadly, he cradled his head on his arms, not being able to look her in the eyes. "Maybe…" he whispered.
Shocked that he was actually agreeing with her, and sad to see him looking so heartbroken she walked slowly towards his drooping form. "Angel, I love you."
He looked up at her, eyes red. "I wish…"
"That things could be different," Buffy finished, tiredly. "I know." Reaching him, she kneeled down so she could look him in the eyes. "But this is the way thing are, and we have to deal as best we can."
"I don't know if I have the strength to walk away from you," he admitted brokenly.
"I don't have the strength to let you go."
He blinked a few times before leaning into her arms. She cradled him gently against her, running her fingers through his hair and making shushing noises. "It's going to be okay. Just don't give up."
Angel collapsed, feeling himself weaken in her hold. Letting himself be soothed by her arms. Knowing that he couldn't walk away, knowing that he was weak. "I wish I was stronger…"
"Strong is fighting," Buffy whispered fiercely. "Fighting for us is strong, leaving is weak."
He wanted to believe her, wanted to stay with her. "Maybe you're right."
She cracked a smile. "Of course I'm right."
Angel lifted his head up, studied her face. "I never, in all my life, imagined I'd end up here."
"Tell me about it," Buffy joked. "We're like the most star-crossed of all star-crossed lovers."
The vampire frowned. "I don't know, there's been so many…. Romeo and Juliet?"
Buffy snorted. "We're way more dangerous than Romeo and Juliet."
"They both died because of their love."
"I sent you to hell."
Her tone was light, well practiced but Angel caught the underlying hint of anger and regret, self-loathing and guiltiness. "You're right. Romeo and Juliet had it easy."
She sighed. "Yeah."
"I don't blame you for it, you know."
"Blame me for what?"
Angel didn't even bother getting into this game again. "Sending me to hell. You did what you had to do… I'm so proud of you."
Buffy regarded him silently. Reaching out, she traced the counters of his face laying a finger on his lips. Soon her mouth followed, and the two shared a sweet kiss. When she pulled away, Buffy gave a tiny, sad smile. "That's why I love you so much."
"Buffy… if we," he gulped, paused, "do this…. It's not going to be easy."
She looked at him, a happy grin breaking across her face. "You're staying."
"I never said that!"
"Oh, you did, too. You were about to read me the warning label, where I'm supposed to answer that it's too late to be warning me, I know what I'm getting into… blah, blah, blah." Still smiling mischievously, she glanced towards the Oz werewolf cage. "And I didn't even need to chain you up."
Buffy had to admit it was quite amusing to see him do a double take upon hearing her last words. "Chain me… uh, up?"
"Well, you know, only if you actually decided to go ahead with the leaving me for my own good plan."
She smirked. "Don't get any ideas, True Happiness Guy."
Angel looked around, and not seeing anyone, pulled Buffy into his arms. She screeched, but allowed herself to fit in the chair against him. Pressing a quick kiss to her lips, he broke apart to whisper, "Me, ideas?"
She tried her best to glare disapprovingly. "Don't get happy." Throwing her arms around his neck, she leaned forward so that he could feel her breath against his mouth. "But that doesn't mean we can't… celebrate a little."
"Just a little," he agreed sternly.
"A little," she repeated as their lips met again.
[i]20 years later[/i]
Buffy watched with love and fondness as her husband lay sleeping on the floor, curled up towards the fire. It was amazing that after so long their love had still stayed as strong as ever. Even with two kids bounding around the house, and friends and family never far away, their bond never lessened.
Though, she had to admit, the road hadn't been easy. Of course, the early years had been the hardest. After she had convinced him that their love was worth fighting for, things became simpler. Didn't mean it was ever easy, though. There were fights and pain… and people that had tried their best to come between them. There was that thing she had with Riley and then later, she shuddered, with Spike. And Darla had come back from the dead and sent Angel into a long, hard spiral of depression.
Still they always found their way back to each other.
And, perhaps, what made the good so good was because of all the bad. Buffy smiled, remembering the time that Xander had found a spell to bind Angel's soul and then the time that Willow uncovered the shanshu prophecy.
[i]Shanshu…[/i]just thinking the word filled with her with hope and happiness. Since the End of Days, their lives had been full of days in the sun at the beach and nights of making love under the stars.
It was perfect. So perfect that it almost made all the pain and all the hardships that they had to endure worth it.
She watched the firelight dance across Angel's handsome features. He was older now, and the joys of wanting to do everything humans possibly could had taken its toll on him. But to Buffy, he was no less beautiful than the day she met him. And she knew that he would always be beautiful and special to her no matter where their lives went.
All because on that prom day 20 years ago she had made a simple decision.
She made him stay.
And life… it was good.