Authored by: Tisienne (akatistoo)
Disclaimer: Not Joss. No money made.
Timeline: Future fic.
Warnings: Angst (duh).
And now on with it.
There’s a moment when I watch him each night, a moment when his breath is stilled between going in and out.
There’s a moment when I wonder if this will be the particular moment, the instance, the second when he doesn’t breathe again.
It’s getting to be that time, even though I don’t want to know it.
Still, that knowing is unavoidable, isn’t it?
We’ve had a good run, I know he’d say… hell, he has said it, and more than once.
That doesn’t change the fact that he’s getting older every second.
Doesn’t change the reality that one day—and probably soon—he’ll fall asleep right here in my arms and never wake up again.
Fifty years, it’s been, since we accidentally pulled our heads out of our asses and realized that we hated each other so much because we were just alike… and because we loved.
Oh, it didn’t come to either of us easily or quickly, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Everything we despised and ridiculed about each other was exactly what we hated about ourselves, and it took us… years to realize it… and a moment.
We did, though, and now here we are. In love. For half a century.
I remember the first time I saw him.
He was so cocky, so confident and sure of himself, no matter how much he had to have been scared. He had every reason to think he was safe, considering his back-up, but even when that didn’t work out the way he’d hoped, he was still… strong. I could tell.
And maybe that was the start of it.
The start of my fascination. My… obsession.
I convinced myself that I hated him after that. Treated him badly, every chance I got. I made fun of his lovers, his clothes, his every weakness, and still… some part of me knew and was afraid.
Looking at him was like looking in a mirror.
A mirror distorted by different ages of humanity, but… if I’d grown up in the world he did, I’d have been just like him—taken for granted, abused, laughed at.
Hell, I was just like him… and I’m glad. It gave us something in common, eventually.
But it took us ages to get to the point where we could bond even a little. It took a soul and a lost eye and years in Africa and Los Angeles… and even when we finally met again, it was… awkward. Until I walked in on him naked.
I’d just woken, and apparently it was just after he’d shut the water off in the shower, because I stumbled into the bathroom without any clue that he was there, and I… saw him.
I remember it like it was yesterday, and it’ll be the last memory I have because I plan to replay it as I lie on his grave and let the sun take me.
I saw all that soft, silken skin—hell, I never thought it would look so smooth—and I saw disordered hair that looked darker for the wetness above wide, somehow frightened eyes.
I saw the almost delicate trail of coarse, dark hair that disappeared beneath the hastily grabbed towel, and…
Well, I convinced him that we were meant to be.
I can’t say that he fought too hard, of course, and I can’t even pretend that he was at all reluctant.
He actually asked me what had taken me so long, once he understood that I meant it.
There were so many changes afterwards, but we never changed. Not in our feelings, I mean.
He was there—or at least a few feet away, although tied up and screaming—the night I was turned and the Tampa Slayers showed up just that little bit too late.
He was there the next night, when I woke with an irresistible urge to drink human blood straight from the source.
He even tied me up to keep me from doing just that until Willow found yet another Orb and cemented my soul to my demon.
Hell, I miss Willow. She was my best friend until… fuck. Ten years ago.
I sent a nice floral arrangement, though, and Kennedy and the kids seemed to appreciate it, but I digress.
He saved me.
But he won’t let me save him.
He’s lived enough. Seen enough.
And he doesn’t want to be a demon again. Not after he finally managed to achieve his so-called reward… the reward he fought Angel for so desperately, that one time. When it was Mountain Dew.
He doesn’t want eternity with me. Not even now, when his body is breaking down and failing him… and failing me by failing.
I never understood before, but I do now. It takes courage to love a human. To know they’ll age and die. To know your own heart will be destroyed when they finally succumb to the passage of time.
But I love him.
I love him!
He may be eighty human-years old… he may be starting to lose his mind and wonder why I’m not wearing clothes, most nights… until I remind him.
But I love him. I’ll always love him.
I’ve promised him I’ll go on after he dies, but I still have a demon, regardless of the slapped-on soul, and… I lied.
I’ll lay him in the ground one night soon, and I’ll say the right words… and the next morning, after the Priest has gone following his own words, and whatever other mourners there might be have left, I’ll… crawl from the back of the van I bought a few years ago.
I’ll run, huddled under the old blanket he gave me after I was turned, and…
I’ll collapse on the bare, naked earth covering him as the sun makes me his.
My ashes will filter into the soil and eventually sift their way down to his box… then meld with his remains when the wood deteriorates, and it will be right. Perfect.
We’ll be joined again, and probably after as many years as it took us to find each other.
I’ll be joined with him. Part of him. And that’s all I could ever want.
I was never anything before I met him, after all.
It’s only right that I be nothing once he’s gone.
But for now, for this moment, I watch him… and hope that each breath won’t be his last.