by Mary Beth Nielsen
Copyright 1998

Here's another brief vignette. This one is from Angel's point of view and set at the end of Bad Eggs. It was my own special way of torturing myself before Surprise/Innocence aired. So I thought I'd share. < g >

The usual disclaimers--not mine, no money, don't sue. Feedback *very* welcome.

"What ravages of spirit,
Conjured this tempestuous rage?
Created you a monster,
Broken by the rules of love.
And fate has led you through it,
You do what you have to do."

How does she do this to me?

I've been sitting here, watching her window for what seems like hours. We managed to let sanity sweep in and pull us apart before it got too late and her mother realized she was *still* up. Her light was extinguished hours ago. And still I can't tear myself away. Is she sleeping? Is she thinking of me? Dreaming of me? Having nightmares? I worry. I wish I could be there to comfort her when the things she deals with every day cross the threshold of her consciousness and disturb the time that is meant for rest and pleasant dreams. I've watched her sleep before, but I stopped because it's dangerous... in too many ways.

This .... relationship... has progressed far beyond the imagination. For what man... correction ... what vampire could even imagine talking to the Slayer let alone kissing her, holding her, wanting so much more?

This is what she does to me and there is no reason to it. When I'm with her, it's as if the demon inside me has been vanquished, not by force but by love. The centuries melt away, and I feel the rush of youth and the recklessness of young love. I feel almost human; I can almost forget what I truly am. Almost.

I now live in a constant state of conflicted emotions. And I thought I'd experienced it all.

It's hard to believe it's been almost a year since I came to this town--tired, angry, determined to be done with the Master once and for all. He'd hunted me and hounded me for almost a century, trying to lure his favorite back into the fold. He disgusted me. I'd heard of the new Slayer; seen some of the remnants of her work in LA I'd followed her here, knowing that having the Slayer and the Master in the same vicinity meant a valid solution to my problem. I'd expected to find yet another young, cocky kid who'd manage to do some damage before she lost her life. Boy was I in for a surprise. I hadn't really planned on speaking to her. Until I saw her. And once I'd met her, well I couldn't leave it at that. Something kept drawing me back. Once you get to know Buffy, there is no letting go.

I wish I could figure out exactly what it is about her that has made me lose all common sense. Why, despite *knowing* that this cannot work, do we keep trying? I'm sure Giles wonders the same about her. But he seems to understand that in this case all he can do is what he's supposed to. Watch. I doubt she wonders at all. She's so adept at not accepting reality as the only possibility. Maybe that's one of the things that keeps her alive. It's definitely one of her most frustrating--and endearing--qualities.

So now here I am. Completely, utterly, and foolishly, in love with her. Not that I've told her that. Yet. It's only a matter of time before I completely give in to this insanity and say those words to her. I'm not sure when I gave up trying to deny our connection and just decided to go along for the ride. I'd like to think it was a recent occurrence. When she saved me from Drusilla. Or when she kissed me at the skating rink despite my frightening visage. Or when I told her what I'd done to Dru and she didn't run away. Maybe it was the moment she offered her neck to me when only seconds before she'd been ready to kill me, and Darla. It was more likely that first moment she knocked me down in the alley a year ago. At least I was able to pretend for awhile.

It's getting late. And still I don't move from my vigil. Some nights it's like this. I keep watch, pushing time to its limits, barely making it underground before the sun rises. I yearn for a time when I can greet her when she wakes, the sun streaming through the windows. Such dreams are foolish, but harder and harder to repress these days.

Do I regret letting things get so complicated? Did I have a choice?

It wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't inherited this makeshift family in the bargain. This was definitely not in the brochure--beautiful slayer, smart, fearless, able to make my head spin with a deft turn of phrase, a touch, a look. Nutty entourage included. The worst part is how much I've come to care about them all. And fear for them all, considering what happened to the last family I had.

Giles has his quirks, and he may seem like an eccentric uncle, but he's really quite the father figure. My respect for him is immense. He's been thrown into a stress- and tension-filled environment with an unconventional slayer who has definitely strayed from the norm. His love for Buffy is obvious, to me. And I am touched by the fact that he has trusted me and come to me for help, and that he hasn't interfered in our burgeoning relationship. As if he could. His respect matters more to me than I could ever express.

Willow is the epitome of the little sister. I think I fell for her almost as hard and fast as I did for Buffy. Her wide, beautiful eyes are filled with such ancient wisdom that I'd swear I've met her before. She may not realize it, but she is the rock-solid foundation of this group. Without her, things would have fallen apart long ago. It's been a pleasure to watch her blossom over the past few months. I know she's afraid of me, and that's probably for the best. But I'd die for her just the same.

And Xander. That boy would have gotten himself killed long ago if it hadn't been for the others. Still, even I can admit that he's changed a lot over the last few months. He's become, well, sort of like an irritating little brother. As jealous as I get of him, I have to trust that he'll always be there for Buffy--whenever I can't be. He loves her in his own way. I can't blame him for that.

So this is the situation I've gotten myself into. I find myself unable to stay away, to keep a safe distance, to deny what there is between us. And still I fear what is to become of us. She's the most exciting, wonderful thing to happen to me. I'm experiencing things I never imagined I'd experience again. I feel alive.

I'm happy.

I've spent the last 100 years angry and depressed because I believed that I was cursed to live as a vampire, guilty for all that I've done and unable to satisfy my inhuman urges. In the last year, I've come to realize I've been blessed with the heart, soul, and feelings of a man.

This is what she's done to me.


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