Site hosted by Angelfire.com: Build your free website today!

Love Is

.

Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine. The song is performed by Brian McNight and Vanessa Williams, but I don't know who owns the rights or who wrote it, sorry.

Rating: R

Distribution: My site, sites I post to, anywhere else just ask.

~*~*~*~

They say it's a river that circles the earth

A beam of light shining to the edge of the universe

It conquers all;

It changes everything

~*~*~*~

You made everything different. You came into my world and threw everything off course just by existing. It was supposed to be black and white; me good, them bad. But you showed me that nothing's ever that clear or simple. And in doing so, you taught me how to love.

What we had was violently passionate and I thought it would last forever. Looking back it was over quickly, but it made me a different person all the same. You were the one who banned the L.A. socialite and strengthened the smarter, more considerate woman no one but you guessed was in there. I owe you my success. But you left. You took my heart and shattered it and it hurt me to watch you leave more than it hurt me to watch Merrick die. I thought I would never get over you. I thought that it would be impossible to love anyone or anything after you left.

Then I met Brian.

~*~*~*~

They say it's a blessing, they say it's a gift

They say it's a miracle and I believe that it is

It conquers all;

But it's a mystery

~*~*~*~

I wasn't easy. I didn't fall head over heals for him in five minutes like a did for you. He was just a guy; a smart, handsome guy, but just a guy. Not a lover, not even a friend really. He knew Oz and he was in my lit class. We had mutual aquaintances, but for the most part we were barely mroe than strangers.

I was nowhere near over you and he was seeing some girl named Lydia.

Then Oz left and Lydia graduated, choosing to leave Brian behind for the "more mature" men of law school. I think helping Willow deal with losing Oz helped him deal with losing Lydia. He and I got to know one another in that time. he was pre-med, a fourth generation doctor, and he genuinely loved to help other. He was in a frat his Freshman year, but he opted out when they summoned a demon to sacrifice one of their professors in exchange for riches.

Brian wasn't even one tenth evil. But even as we became friends and he became a full time member of the Scoobies, I didn't fall for him, or at least, I wasn't aware of it.

~*~*~*~

Love breaks your heart

Love takes no less than everything

Love makes it hard

And it fades away so easily

~*~*~*~

It wasn't until the last Armageddon that I realized how much I did care. He was through med school by then, and in the middle of his residency. I was working as a crisis counselor in the same hospital. We would eat lunch together daily, both awash in the horror of the hospital. He would be unable to eat some days, and I unable to speak. His quiet presence in those times mattered more to me than anything else.

When you arrived with Kate, it hurt. A lot. But not quite as much as it could have. Brian was there for me in a big way. He'd seen Lydia nearly every day on campus and she was engaged to some defense attourney then. Somehow Brian helped me pull it togeter enough to fight at your side. And we won, but not without a price.

Brian got hurt badly. He had a scar for the rest of his life, and the mark of nearly losing him never faded from my heart either. I pledged my love to him that night and he admitted that he'd had feelings for me for a long time. We made love for the first time that night, my first time since you, and it was beautiful. He was injured, obviously, and we had to be gentle, but it was passionate and loving.

When I talked to you the next morning, you told me you were human and I wished you the best of luck with an honest heart. You invited me to your wedding and I did go. You loved Kate and you were happy for me. We became friends in spite, or maybe because, of our past.

~*~*~*~

In this world we've created, in this place that we live

In the blink of an eye, babe, the darkness slips in

Love lights the world;

Unites the lovers for eternity

~*~*~*~

We exchanged our vows at sunset and instead of a limousine wisking us off into the night, a horse and buggy led us through the park where we were married to our new home a short ways down the street.

The ceremony was beautiful. It was all outside in Greensburough, California, where Brian and I, you and Kate and Willow and Tara all ended up. Wesley and Cordelia went to New York where Cordy became a staple character on a soap opera; Giles and Olivia returned to Engalnd and Xander and Anya moved to Oklahoma. But they were all there to see me enter the ranks of the normal and married. Other than Will and Tara, Brian and I were the last to do it; to this day I don't know why.

I remember that day in bits and pieces. I remember my dress, our vows (mine a sonnet he read ot me on our first anniversary, his the vows his mother ead to his mother, both now posted on the wall of our home); I remember Giles giving me away, and my Dad and Mom's boyfriend sniping at one another like Xander and... well, anybody, but mostly you. I remember Anya telling me that the bridesmaids' dresses weren't green enough (they weren't green at all, but pale lilac, elegant cut). I remember you and Kate gave us a lovely picnic basket for the honeymoon with champagne and chocolate strawberries.

I remember our first dance, his arms holding me so tightly to him, candles illuminating the park long after dusk. His mother chose the band, but he chose the song, "Something About the Way You Look Tonight," originally by Elton John, because I told him once that the only happy memory I have of my parents marriage was to that song - they were dancing, and my Dad was whispering the words to my mom the night they found out they were having Dawn.

It was amazing. I was Mrs. Brian Harper, the female Dr. Harper, and most importantly, I was loved. Brian loved me and I loved him and that mattered most to me.

~*~*~*~

Love breaks the chains

Love aches for every one of us

Love takes the tears and the pain

And it turns it into the beauty that remains

~*~*~*~

On the second anniversary of our marriage, I gave birth. Two twin girls, one blond, one brunette but both with big brown eyes, became the focal point of both of our lives. Chloe and Raven (I named Chloe, he named Raven - he loved Edgar Allen Poe, and he was proud of her hair) were my pride and joy, my little girls. They made every fight Brian and I had ever had vanish, those years at the hospital didn't seem half as bad as they used to. I was 27 and I had achieved perfection.

Brian left the ER to become a private physician and I took a job as a high school counselor, after I finished my maternity leave, of course. Everyone at the school looked at the shift as a step down, but the pay was almost the same as I had more time with my girls.

You and Kate tried too, but she miscarried 3 times. You gave up when the third nearly cost her her life, and threw yourself into being "unky Angel." Kate withdrew from you and your marriage hit pretty icey waters. For years the two of you lived off her salary as a cop and yours as and art instructer at a local middle school. Individually the earnings were pitiful, and even combined your lifestyle was frugal. I think Kate resent my and Brian's wealth. When you divorced, she went to L.A. immediately, leaving you the house and no way to pay for it.

Willow had gone through med school with Brian and stayed on at the hospital long after he left. She got you a second job as an art therapist, but it was more than money making you unhappy.

I tried to help you out, but my own paradise was falling and I knew it. I was pregnant again, but where as the twins were easy, our third child was anything but. I had nearly every health problem imaginable and when I finally did go into labor, Brian was so worried he got into an accident. Little Stephen must have sensed that his Mommy needed him to be okay, because he was. He was a healthy brunette, the same wieght as his father was when he was born.

It was 2 days before Christmas, and Brian struggled on life support and a hundred other machines until my birthday. He'd told me once that he would move Heaven and Hell to see me reach 30, and his eyes were closed, but he was there and that was enough. I kissed his still lips goodbye and I put Stephen onto his chest so he could die having held his son. Then I went hope.

I woke to the inevitable phone call.

~*~*~*~

Look at this place

It was paradise, but now it's dying

I'll pray for love,

I'll take my chances that it's not too late

~*~*~*~

Willow and Tara moved in with me, I don't know what I would have done without them. Chloe and Raven kept asking when Daddy would come home and I kept saying he wasn't coming back, but they were three. How could I ask them to understand death when I didn't?

I hired a nursemaid for Stephen, but I still spent most of the day watching him. He was so much like Brian it was unbelievable. He was a good baby, too. He knew when Mommy needed him to sleep and when I just needed to hold him. He was silent throughout the funeral, until they lowered the lid on Brian's coffin. I didn't take the children to the burial. It would have been too traumatic. For all of us.

After awhile reality set in and my life took a front seat to my loss. My salary at the school had been enough with Brian's income added and we'd been saving for a second honeymoon, so we'd be okay for awhile, but it became painfully clear I would have to become a private practitioner, something I'd never wanted to do.

~*~*~*~

Love breaks your heart

Love takes no less than everything

Love makes it hard

And it fades away so easily

~*~*~*~

Stephen just turned eight. Raven and Chloe are eleven and the differences between them are striking. Raven is quiet and studious, but fiercely passionatel.She doesn't remember anything about Brian but the damn funeral. Chloe is outgoing and popular. She loves freely and is a talented actress. She remembers Brian's laughter, and that he used to kiss her index finger when she was sad.

You live across the street, and we've seen many a girlfriend grace your hom. You were alone at my birthday party though, and we kissed. Raven smiled and told me everyone has to have someone, even if their husband dies, and Chloe scrunched up her nose. It's kind of clear that Raven does the book learning better, but it doesn't matter. I love them both equally, and they both love you.

I still have nightmares sometimes. I try not to let the kids see. I don't want Stephen to know that it was his birthday that my greatest fear came to life. I don't want him to feel how hard it is for me.

You just walked into the living room and my trip down memory lane's been interrupted. You don't say anything, just sit beside me, and I realize I have tears in my eyes. I turn to you and you don't move. You wait for me. I'm grateful for that. I lean into you, pressing my lips against yours because you're here for me and I need that. You've been here since the Armageddon, my silent knight and staunch supporter.

I love you in this moment more than any other. I love you because I'm crying over my husband, another man, and you just hold me closer, let me know that it's okay. Everyone has to have someone.

That's what it all comes down to, isn't it? You were with Kate because we couldn't be together. I never would have been with Brian if you weren't with Kate. Willow is with Tara because she was lonely when Oz left and Tara was her dearest friend. Anya and Xander are together because they don't have anyone else to turn to; and you and I are together, because, well, in the end who else is there but the one who was there in the beginning?

God, I don't mean to sound that cold. I loved Brian, and I know Willow loves Tara, and Xander loves Anya. WHat I mean is that loneliness brought us all together.

Love is letting go of that loneliness and of inhibitions and realizing that it's okay to care. It's okay to live even if your lover doesn't. It's okay to let go.

Love is life.

~*~*~*~

Love breaks the chains

Love aches for every one of us

Love takes the tears and the pain

And it turns into the beauty that remains

~*~*~*~

END

Fic Page

Feedback

Main