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So Afraid to Love You

By: Serena

Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters in this story, they are property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and the little Master dude that says "Grrr...Arg." Please don't sue, I need to save my money to buy a car. I also don't own any of the lyrics. "Lately" belongs to Divine, "Angel of Mine" belongs to Monica, "I Will Remember You" belongs to Sarah McLachlan, and "When You Love Someone" belongs to Brian Adams. So don't you people sue me either!!!! :-)

Author's Notes: I guess this story takes place at the end of the third season, I really don't know. I just had an idea and wrote about it. The companion piece is called and is Angel's POV of this story. I live for feedback, so if you read this story please take the whole three seconds it takes to e-mail me and just tell me what you thought. It doesn't have to be long, a word is nice. Thanks!!! Enjoy!!!

Lately (I've been watching you)
Been thinkin' 'bout you baby (and everything you do)
Just sittin' away watching the days go by
Lately (I've been watching you)
Been thinkin' 'bout you baby (and everything you do)
Just sittin' away watching the days go by

Have you ever felt a breeze hit your heart,
Like the wind was blowing it apart
As you're spinning like a merry-go-round,
Indications of a storm touching down
Wish that I could weather any storm,
But I guess it was heart break from the norm
Was a day I will always remember,
The saddest day in sweet November...

Lately (I've been watching you)
Been thinkin' 'bout you baby (and everything you do)
Just sittin' away watching the days go by
Lately (I've been watching you)
Been thinkin' 'bout you baby (and everything you do)
Just sittin' away watching the days go by

Baby I'm on my knees praying God help me please,
Bring my baby back, right back to me
If lovin you was right then I don't wanna go wrong
So I drown myself with tears,
Sittin' here, singin' another sad love song

Lately (I've been watching you)
Been thinkin' 'bout you baby (and everything you do)
Just sittin' away watching the days go by
Lately (I've been watching you)
Been thinkin' 'bout you baby (and everything you do)
Just sittin' away watching the days go by

Lately I've been torn apart,
I wish you hadn't broke my heart
I'm missin' you babe,
Missin' you everyday
Lately I've been torn apart,
I wish you hadn't broke my heart
I'm missin' you babe,
Missin you everyday

The sad song floated around my room as I sat on the windowsill. I closed my eyes as the silent tears fell.  A breeze blew through the open window, gently blowing a few stray hairs out of my face and half-drying the tears that slowly slid down my cheeks.  It was a beautiful night, the full moon lighting the whole street in an eerie glow.  The neighborhood was quiet, no dogs barking or stereos blasting.  I was totally oblivious to the world around me, I just sat, listening to the radio and crying.

It was my new daily routine, do a quick sweep, kill any demons that got in my way, and come home and cry.  It had began the night he had left me, forever.  The night that had been the most painful in my life, worse than when I had died, worse than the night I realized he was not himself any longer, that he had changed.  My mind began to replay what had happened, just as it did every night when I did this.

"Hey, what brings you here this late?" I asked when I heard someone at the window.  He entered, a troubled look on his face.  I put my hairbrush down and went over to stand in front of him.  I took his hand and smiled at him, but he just looked at me with pain and longing in his eyes.  I frowned.

"What is it, Angel?" I asked again, concerned this time.  Angel looked away, not meeting my gaze.  I just looked at him, my eyes searching his face.  Finally, he looked at me.

"I...I've come..." he said, then faltered.  I waited for him to continue.  "I'm leaving."

"What?" I asked, confused.  "But you just go here.  What's wrong?"

"I don't mean here.  I mean Sunnydale.  I'm leaving," he said quietly, avoiding my gaze completely as my world crumbled.  My lip trembled and I fought not to cry.

"But...I don't understand.  Why?  Is it me?  Did I do something?" I whispered.

"You need to get on with your life, Buffy.  You need to find someone new to love, who can love you completely, no curse in the way.  You need to forget me," he replied, tears forming in his eyes.

"I don't want someone else," I cried, hysterical.  I looked back into his eyes and my heart just broke.  Tears began streaming down my face and I hastily wiped them away.  "I want you," I whispered achingly.

I watched him struggle with himself, watched the conflict within.  I knew in my heart he didn't want to do this, but for some stupid reason, he was.

"We can't be together, Buffy, you know that as well as I do.  It''s too dangerous."

"I don't care about the dangers!" I shouted, angry and heartbroken and utterly confused.  "Dammit Angel, I don't care!!  I want you and you want me.  You can't leave me!!"

"Buffy," he said, trying to soothe me.  He reached out to touch my arm, but I jerked away from his gentle touch.  "Buffy.  I hate this as much as you do.  But it has to be like this."

"Where will you go?" I asked suddenly.  He shrugged.

"I'm not sure yet."

"Will you ever come back?" I asked, a glimmer of hope left in my heart.

" the future.  To come see how you are," he said.  "Buffy, I want you to do something for me.  Move on."

I just stared at him, then said simply, "No."

"You have to," he said desperately.

"I don't want to," I replied as he drove the knife in deeper.  Not only was he leaving me, but he also wanted me to forget about him and find another.

"Buffy...we sometimes have to do things we don't want to," he said.

"I guess you would know something about that," I said angrily, then felt horrible when he looked at me with heartbroken eyes.

"Buffy...I want you to," Angel whispered, and I realized how much he must love me, to be able to tell me to find another man and have him take his place in my life and heart.  Our love continued to mystify me, but I shook my head.

"Well, I don't care what you want.  I care what I want.  And I don't want that," I said.  "I have a choice here, Angel, and I choose not to."

He sighed, obviously knowing that he could not change my mind on this one.

"What would you do for me?" he suddenly asked.

"Anything," I replied without hesitation.  He started to speak, but I interrupted him.  "Except that.  Angel, please.  This is my decision, please don't ask me to do something I know I'll never be able to."

Angel looked at me and I memorized his face, every little detail.  I watched another struggle that he had with himself, knowing what he was wrestling with.   He knew in his heart I couldn't promise him that, not when I had no intention of keeping it.  I voiced what he was thinking.

"Angel, I can't promise you something that I can't promise myself.  Please...just understand," I begged.  He finally nodded.

"I knew that would happen, but I had to try.  Please, Buffy, you have to believe that if I didn't have to do this, I wouldn't.  But I do," he said as the tears continued to stream down our faces.  I pulled him into my arms, kissing him softly, freezing the moment.

The world disappeared as we kissed, the only two people that existed were us. Our love shone around us, as if it became a tangible thing, something that if we reached out, we would be able to feel graze across our skin.  We kissed desperately, hungrily, not being able to get enough of each other.  Time stood still, until he reluctantly broke off.

"I'd better go," he said, and I nodded, crying too hard to say anything.  It hadn't sunk in yet that this was the last time I'd ever see him, that my guardian Angel was leaving me, forever.  He kissed me again, softly, tenderly, our tears mixing.  He touched my face and I leaned into the caress.  He gazed at me for a long moment.

"I love you, Buffy.  Forever.  Remember me," he said as he threw one leg out the window.

"I love you too, Angel, forever and ever.  Don't forget me?" I echoed, my heart and soul crying out for him.

"Never," he said, then with one last look was gone.

I looked out the window, staring out into the black night, and put a hand to my mouth and sobbed.  I stood by the window for hours, numb and feeling empty and lost.  He was gone.  My soul mate was gone.  With that thought playing over and over in my mind, I fell onto the bed, curling into a little ball and crying myself into a restless sleep.  I knew in my heart things would never be the same without him.

The next months were hell, complete hell.  I found myself growing distant from my friends and family.  I was in shock as my heart tried to mend itself.  It couldn't, for the thread it needed came from the person who had broken and torn it, all in the name of playing it safe.  I had lost him, and it hurt more than I could bear.

I had tried, for him, to move on, but strangely all the guys I went out with repulsed me.  They weren't him, they could never be him.  I could never go back to a mortal love after experiencing the love of an immortal.  It was eerily unfulfilling and empty.  Maybe it had nothing to do with mortality, maybe it had everything to do with finding the person I was destined to be with.

The song playing on the radio brought me out of my sad reverie.  It was depressing hour and the song they played made me even sadder.

When I first saw you I already knew
There was something inside of you
Something I thought that I would never find
Angel of Mine

I look at you looking at me
Now I know why they say the best things are free
Gonna love you boy you are so fine
Angel of Mine
How you changed my world you'll never know
I'm different now, you helped me grow

You came into my life
Sent from above
When I lost all hope
You showed me love
I'm checkin for you
Boy you're right on time
Angel of Mine

Nothing means more to me than what we share
No one in this whole world can ever compare
Last night the way you moved is still on my mind
Angel of Mine
What you mean to me you'll never know
Deep inside I need to show

You came into my life
Sent from above
When I lost all hope
You showed me love
I'm checkin for you
Boy you're right on time
Angel of Mine

I never knew I could feel these moments
As if they were new
Every breath that I take
The love that we make
I only share it with you
You, You, You, You

When I first saw you I already knew
There was something inside of you
Something I thought that I would never find
Angel of Mine

I listened to the song, mulling over the lyrics and their meaning.  He really was my angel.  I continued to stare out at the darkness, the darkness that was slowly and painstaking crawling into my soul and killing me.  He had taken a part of me with him, and it was the strong part, the fighting part.  I was getting weaker, I could feel it.  When I fought vampires, it took me twice as long to make the kill.  My heart just wasn't in it anymore.

Kendra had said that emotions were weakness, and this time she was right.  My love and torment were killing me tediously.  I couldn't go on without him.  It just hurt too much.  I felt myself slipping deeper into the darkness, slowly letting go of all that I held dear.  But the strange and disturbing thing was that I didn't fight it  I didn't have the strength and courage to.  I allowed myself to fail.

I sniffled and wiped some of the tears from my face as I allowed my mind to drift back to my room.  'My All' came on the radio next and I smiled at the irony of it.  I shifted my thoughts to him, and I wondered what he was doing.

"I wonder if he's found someone to replace me," I whispered to no one in particular as the tears slipped off my face onto my nightgown.

"Not possible," a voice said from behind me, startling me.  I jumped up and turned slowly to the owner of that voice...that very familiar voice.  I put out the flame of hope in my heart, knowing it couldn't be him.  He had made it clear he wasn't coming back for a long time.  Deflated, I came face to face with the person standing at the door of my room.

My hand reached up to cover my mouth, which had fallen open, and I sucked in a sharp breath.  No, it wasn't possible.  It was some trick.  After all this was a dream.

"Angel?" I whispered, almost inaudibly, afraid the slightest sound would make him vanish from my sight.  I gasped and suddenly felt dizzy.  I started to fall, but Angel came up to my side in a flash and caught me.  He looked me in the eye and I lost my control.  He helped me stand again and kept his arms around me for support.  I just stared, not trusting myself to speak.  I wasn't sure if I'd scream at him or tell him how much I loved him and missed him.

He seemed to understand my conflict and just held me, gazing down at me as I wept.  I couldn't believe he was here--now--in my room.  It had to be some dream, some trick.  Angrily, I looked at him.

"What, just coming to see how I was and then disappear into the night again?" I heard myself saying bitterly.  I would not let him hurt me again, if he had just come for a few minutes and would then leave me again I would try and take it.

"Guess I deserved that.  Buffy, I know you're angry--"  I cut him off before he could say anything else.

"Angry?  You got that right!  What's this about Angel?  Come to check up on me?  Are you just gonna stay long enough to see that I'm still breathing and then vanish again and leave me here, all alone?  If you are, then save yourself the trouble of staying any longer.  I will not stand here and allow you to give me hope that you're back, and then leave me again!  I can't go through that again.  I can't," I whispered the last sentence, pain and sorrow in my voice.  I was literally shaking, but I refused to back down.  I had to know why he was here.

He sighed, not looking me in the eye.  I just knew he was going to leave again.  He gently sat me at the end of my bed, then sank slowly into the mattress next to me.

"Buffy...look.  I know I hurt you...but I didn't have a choice, I--"

"Didn't have a choice?  Please, Angel.  You had a choice, and you chose to leave me.  Why are you here?" I asked him, my voice deflated.

"Buffy, just let me explain.  I...I was told...that it would be best for you if I left," he started, and I moved to cut him off again.  He just held up his hand and gave me a pained look, and I reluctantly closed my mouth.  I decided to hear him out and then rip into him again.

"So, after a lot of thought, I decided...that it would be best for you if I followed that advice and left.  I went to L.A. and tried to live alone.  It was total agony...I realized I couldn't live without you," he said quietly, as my anger started to melt away.  He stood up and began to pace around the room.  I followed his body with my gaze, staring at his beautiful face as he continued.

"I didn't come back because I thought you had moved on, found someone new to love.  And even though I told you to do it...I can't tell you how jealous I felt.  To think of you with another ripped me apart inside.  But I love you so much that I--I just want you to be happy," he paused, gazing out the window.  I waited for him to continue, not pushing, just listening and piecing together everything he told me as he poured his soul out.

He turned back to me, and I was somewhat shocked to see the pain in his eyes.  I had no idea it affected him this much.  "I should have stayed away...but I'm selfish, Buffy.  I don't want you to find someone new, I want you to love me.  I want to be the one that you love with your heart and soul, the only one you ever want to be with...the only one you ever want to love," he said, then dropped his voice so I could barely hear it.  "The only one you ever want to make love to.

"So I guess what I'm trying to that...I'm sorry.  I'm sorry for all the pain I caused, sorry for what I did to you.  Sorry for being selfish and coming back, when I know I should stay away.  I'm sorry for being this way, so that we can't be together.  I'm just so sorry..." he trailed off, eyes still glued to the old tree outside the window.

Not until I sniffled did I realize I was crying.  Tears poured down my face as I caught some lyrics softly wafting from the forgotten radio.

So afraid to love you,
More afraid to lose.
Clinging to a past that doesn't let me choose.
Where once there was a darkness deep and endless night
Gave me everything you had
Oh, you gave me light

We looked at each other, staring into each other's naked souls.  I could see the song touched me as deeply as it touched him.  It was so true...

"It's true, Angel.  I'm so afraid to love you, but just the thought of you leaving again makes me want to die.  I can't lose you again...I can't go through that again.  It hurts too much.  I'm dying without you," I murmured as the tears continued to slide down my face, but I made no effort to clear them away.  "And you are the only one I ever want to be with, ever want to love, ever want to make love to.  You're the only one for me.  I just wish..." I trailed off, not bothering to finish the thought.  Wishing wouldn't change anything.

He came over to me softly and kneeled before me.  He lifted a hand up to my face and gently wiped away the tears.  I leaned into the caress, grateful for contact with him.  His hand cupped my cheek as his thumb drew the tears away, and I reached my hand up to touch his.  Our rings touched as we both became aware that the other still wore theirs.  I curled my fingers around his as he slowly leaned his head in, brushing his lips against mine tenderly, tentatively, not sure how I would react.  I pulled him closer and we continued to kiss.

It became almost desperate, we couldn't get enough of each other.  I reached out with my free hand, running it over his back, through his hair, tracing the lines of his face.  He did the same to me as our other hands stayed clasped.  After a long time, we reluctantly broke off.  I realized we were both lying on my bed, with him on top of me.  Almost as if he was embarrassed, he rolled off and glanced in the mirror.  I followed his gaze and saw what he saw--just me, staring at the mirror.  I felt him tense up and knew he was going to try to leave again.

"Don't even think about leaving me ever again.  Angel, do you hear me?" I asked, forcing him to look at me.  I winced as I saw his face, how sad he was.  "Did you just hear what I said?  I don't care what you are, that means nothing to me.  All that matters is that you're you, the one I love."

He stood slowly and I looked at him fearfully, not sure what he would do.  He just held his hand out to me and said, "May I have this dance?"

I nodded, completely lost in his eyes.  Mechanically, I took his hand as he helped me stand, and we wrapped our arms around each other and started to sway softly to the music.

When you love someone - you'll do anything
You'll do all the crazy things that you can't explain
You'll shoot the moon - put out the sun
When you love someone
You'll deny the truth - believe a lie
There'll be times that you'll believe
You can really fly
But your lonely nights - have just begun
When you love someone
When you love someone - you'll feel it deep inside
And nothin' else can ever change your mind
When you want someone - when you need someone
When you love someone
When you love someone - you'll sacrifice
You'd give it everything you got and
You won't think twice
You'd risk it all - no matter what may come
When you love someone
You'll shoot the moon - put out the sun
When you love someone

As we danced, we clung to each other.  We needed body contact.  I rested my head on his chest and he rested his on mine, occasionally sniffing and kissing my hair.

"Angel, don't leave me tonight.  Please...I need you here with me," I pleaded, knowing he'd give in.  He nodded and kissed my forehead. When the song was over, I reached and turned the radio off.  He took off his jacket and boots and we climbed into the bed and under the covers together.  I didn't turn out the light, though--we had to talk.  There was a pause.

"So how've you--"

"What have you--"

We looked at each other and smiled.  He indicated that I should go first.  "What did you do...when you left?" I asked.

"I went to L.A. and tried to live like I had before I met you.  I tried to interact with people, but they shut me out.  Everyone was so I basically lived alone.  You'd think that in such a big city I'd find someone to befriend...but I didn't," he said as he ran his fingers through my hair.  I nodded.  "God, I missed you so much!"

"I missed you too, Angel.  I tried--for your sake--to do what you wanted me to, to find another.  But all the guys I went out with...they couldn't even begin to compare to you.  I began to shut everyone out--Willow, Xander, Giles, Cordy, Oz, my mom.  I built a wall around myself while I tried to heal," I told him.  "But I couldn't heal, because I missed and needed you too much.  And...and I felt myself letting go."

"Of what?" he asked.  I swallowed and looked away.  "Look at me, Buffy.  No secrets."

"Of life," I whispered.  "I couldn't go on without you, it just hurt too much.  I felt myself growing weaker...getting closer.  When you left you took the strong part of me with you, the fighting part."

"Oh Buffy...I'm so sorry.  I'm sorry I did that to you," he said with sorrow in his voice.  He leaned over and kissed my forehead.

"Angel...promise me you'll never do it again.  Promise you'll be with me until my dying day," I said and looked him in the eye.

"I...I can't," he said.  I looked at him with confusion and hurt in my eyes.  He just smiled.  "I'll be with you long after you're gone from this world.  Forever...that's the whole point," he stated, echoing words he'd said to me in one of the dreams I had had about him when he was suffering in hell.  I wondered if he'd been in those dreams...and then he looked at me and I knew he had been.

"Forever," I echoed.

"Buffy...can we make this work?  I mean, without unleashing the demon again or destroying the world?" he asked, concerned.  I just smiled at him.

"To hell with the world.  I've saved it enough times, I deserve happiness.  Besides, maybe there will be a way that we can be together totally and completely, as one.  All we need is time," I said.  He suddenly got up and I looked at him, confused for a moment until I saw he was closing all the blinds.  He slid back next to me and I snapped the light off.

"Where's your mother?" he asked suddenly and I smiled into the darkness.

"Visiting friends in Arizona.  Don't worry."

"I love you," he whispered and tears welled up in my eyes again.  I'd waited so long to hear those words escape his lips and it brought me so much happiness to know he meant them with all his heart.

"I love you too," I whispered back.

I leaned over and kissed him lightly, then nuzzled his neck.  He wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close.  I knew then that I was going to be okay, that in the end everything would work out.

I drifted off to sleep as my walls crumbled and my heart took the thread he offered and mended itself.  I knew everything was going to be okay...our love would see to it.  His promise pulled me out of the darkness I was so close to being consumed by and back into the sunlight, where we both belonged.


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