I can't explain the idea behind this fanfic. The entire scene trapped my mind, forcing me to write this.
I cried writing this
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or Angel. They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy.
Everyone had already left the cemetery, leaving the dead to begin their long rest. The moonlight resting above him, Angel kept on his path, his mind never once deterring from the grave he had come to find. Every inch of his unbeating heart ached with each step he took, forcing himself to continue on his way. The feeling felt alien to him, this heartbreak was unlike anything that he had ever experienced in his undead life. It made him want to rip the heart from his body, to make the pain stop, if only for a one moment. But he knew the pain would never stop, he would never be free from it. Fate had made sure of that.
Everything around him lay silent, as if the entire world had foreseen his visit, and had hushed every creature and every being, human and demon alike, that inhabited the town of Sunnydale. A town that he had both come to, and fled from, both by choice. A town that was filled with memories that returned to him like a knife twisting in his side…a town that had been her home.
He could still picture her face perfectly, every inch of her face preserved in his mind. The way her golden hair had fallen around her shoulders, the sound of her voice, how soft her lips had been, the emotion that covered her eyes. Her every word that she had ever spoken to him, both with a soul and without, ran through his mind, refusing to release their grip on his mind.
He remembered the day that he had made the Oracles take back, in order to save her life. He remembered how he had held her as she had cried into his chest, telling him that she would never forget. How every day since then, he had remembered every second of that day, his soul washed with happiness and overwhelming sadness. He remembered the plans that they had made together, how they had planned to spent forever with each other.
He thought of how wasted it had all been, how he could have been happy with her, the first time in his entire life that he could have taken her out into the light of day. He had given up his humanity to protect her, and in the end, that sacrifice hadn't been enough to save her. Everything that he had done, it hadn't been enough to protect her from Death, the single thing constantly seeking her. There was nothing he could change or take back now, for he had nothing to exchange to the Powers for her life.
She was gone, mind and soul, with only her body remaining, staying to remind him of how beautiful she had been.
Stopping, he saw the tombstone standing in front of him, the freshly dug dirt resting in front of it. He stared at the stone, his entire body refusing to move a single inch as he looked at the place where she was at rest. She had given her life to protect others, just as he had given up his own to protect her. The irony didn't matter to him now, what difference did any of that make? He would never be able to hold her, never be able to even touch or speak to her again. His curse had come true, he would go on living while he watched those he loved die.
It wasn't supposed to happen like this. She was supposed to live a long life, to grow old and finally depart from this world with a full life behind her. But as he looked down at the mound of dirt in front of him, Angel could see that the thought alone had merely been his wish for her. He had wanted for that single wish to come true, she had deserved that much. He had left Sunnydale in order for that to happen, he had died a thousand deaths every day that they had been apart for that wish to come true.
And in the end, that wish lie broken in front of him.
He remembered falling to his knees as he continued to look at the tombstone, reading what lie inscribed there, memorizing every word so that he would be able to remember it each and every day.
Buffy Anne Summers
Beloved Sister and Devoted Friend
She saved the world
He had failed her. He had set out on this path to save her, wanting to protect her from the moment that he had seen her. He had come to Sunnydale to help her, to guide her. He had been in love with her from the minute he had seen her, sitting there on the steps to her school in Los Angeles. How young and fragile she had looked, her Slayer heritage still unknown to her.
She had died, and he was still here. What purpose did he have in this world now? All that he had ever done, all the lives that he had saved, the apocalypses averted, he had always done for her. She had been his purpose, the light into his soul, the thing that guided him in his path, the strength that had kept him walking.
That purpose was no longer of this Earth. She lay underneath the ground, so close to him but yet so far away. More than anything in this world, he wanted to touch her, to hear the sound of her voice, anything.
He wanted her to live.
His hands touched the dirt, the substance so cold and lifeless, just like his entire body. She was here underneath all of this, surrounded by something that was in the same vein as he was, cold and emotionless. He let the dirt spill out of his hand; let it slip back into the pile that covered her coffin. Looking up, the stone again mocked him, showing him that he failed, as if he himself needed any reminder of that fact.
As he returned to his feet, he refused to remove his gaze from the grave. His fingers touched the ring that lay around his finger, with the heart pointing towards him, showing him that his heart belonged to her, that it would always belong to her. That all of his loyalty lay to her, like a knight faithfully serving a queen. The hands representing the friendship that had saved him, had kept him sane during his time in Hell, the love that he had cherished more than anything in the world
I can stay in town as long as you want me. The words came back to haunt him, ringing across every inch of his brain. He had sat with her here, only a few feet away in the same cemetery as she mourned for her mother.
How's forever? Does forever work for you?
"I'm so sorry." He whispered, hardly able to contain the emotion running through him. He removed the Claddagh ring from his finger, holding it in his grip for only a moment before kissing it and setting it down onto the tombstone. Giving the words inscribed in the stone one last look, he turned and started to walk, leaving everything he had ever loved buried behind him.