Act 1, Scene 1 of Surprise, BtVS season 2:
“This is nice. I like seeing you first thing in the morning.”
“It’s bedtime for me.”
“Well, then, I like seeing you at bedtime. . . Umm, you know what I mean.”
“I think so. . . what do you mean?”
“I like seeing you. The part at the end of the night where we say goodbye, it’s getting harder.”
“Yeah, it is.”
For the next few precious moments they stare into each other’s eyes. His gaze seems to break down any barriers that could exist between them and she opens herself up to him. When Angel looks at her, Buffy loses control; she cannot hide her true feelings and the protective outer shell of her being dissipates so that he may see her innermost desires. With his 240-odd years of experience, he can read her better than she can read herself just with that one, simple, eyes-locked gaze.
“Buffy. . . As much as I hate to say this, you really do have to go to school,” he says without blinking, realizing that until he breaks their eye contact, neither one of them is capable of leaving. There is a power between them that screams out; their love needs to be honored. Buffy and Angel, both preternaturally strong, are mere puppets in the face of their love.
“Ugh, I know. I have a math quiz this afternoon and Will and I are cramming before first period,” she responds as she wraps her hand around his and lets their fingers intertwine. “Math has never been my strong point but I actually get algebra. Well, some of the time at least.”
Now he is doubly distracted. Her eyes still hold his attention but the feeling of her petite fingers and strong hands lying in his is a sensory perception so intense it appears to create a layer of fog over his thought process.
“Angel,” she continues, “what was your favorite subject in school?”
“Before I was changed, I had no interest in academics. I shunned everything my parents encouraged. But since, I’ve developed a fascination with history. School is important, Buffy. It exercises your brain and creates productive, intelligent, and worthwhile citizens. Back then, I was useless; my presence held no value.”
Still looking deep into his eyes, she intensifies her gaze and tightens her grip on his hand simultaneously.
“You could never have been useless. If you hadn’t been through all of that, you never would have become the man standing here with me. And Angel,” she says his name almost as if it were a question, her voice rising, allowing him to pick up on the timidity with which she opens herself up, heart and soul, and gives him the honor of knowing her true emotions. “What would I have been if you had never entered my life?”
In the silence that ensues, their physical presence in each other’s personal space speaks volumes. The tender loving care with which they treat each other makes it clear to both that the thought of a life without the other has become obsolete and impossible to imagine. They cannot comprehend the implications of losing the most important person in their lives enough to actually grasp the impacts of that difference.
Breaking the silence, Buffy reluctantly whispers, “I really do need to go to school.”
He answers her with an innocent kiss, meant as a goodbye. She turns to open the door and with one, final glance over her shoulder, walks out into the hallway. Buffy is almost out of range of Angel’s apartment when she hears her name being shouted. She turns around to see Angel walking down the hall towards her. After a moment’s panic, she begins walking back towards him assuming she forgot something in the heat of the goodbye moment and he is merely reminding her about the copy of Jane Eyre she dropped.
“What is it?” she asks once she is only a few feet from him.
He inches closer to her before saying softly and a tad reluctantly, “I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I saw you walking away and couldn’t stop myself from calling out your name and,” this time he interrupts himself instead of her with his kiss.
Her smile at his adorable gesture slowly melts into his passionate kiss as she rises to her toes as if floating on their love. Pulling away slowly, she says in a barely audible whisper, “I guess I’m going to be late to school,” and returns once more to his lips.
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Summary: “The part of the end of the night [morning] where we say goodbye, it’s getting harder.”
Timeline: BtVS Season 2. This story is a continuation of act 1, scene 1 of Surprise (the scene in which Buffy visits Angel’s house after her first nightmare).
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not mine.