Buffy looks at Angel over Caleb's dead body and it's so good to see him, to know that he came to her rescue even if she didn't need it all that much. After all, she's super Slayer now.
A part of her knows that he can't stay, knows that the world needs him elsewhere and she needs to do the right thing and let him go, because that's what super Slayers do. That's what all Slayers should do.
It doesn't mean that she can't kiss him, though, before she tells him goodbye. Tomorrow might be the last day of her second life, and if she needs to go again, she'd like to go with his kiss still on her lips.
She goes to meet him halfway between L.A. and Sunnydale and she's running a bit late. She's also nervous, like she's sixteen years old again and Angel is just a handsome stranger she can't get out of her head. Judging by the way he's pacing in front of his car, he's nervous too. He stops abruptly when he sees her and they stand there for a while, just looking at each other before he closes the distance between them in a few quick strides and embraces her so tightly that she gasps for air.
''Sorry'', he mutters and loosens his grip but doesn't let her go.
Buffy can't remember ever seeing him this way and she suddenly feels more alive than she did since coming back from the dead.
When Angel finally releases her they lean against the hood of his car, facing away from each other and Buffy wonders briefly why did she agree to come here when it's gonna cause her nothing but pain. The answer is simple: she loves him and she missed him.
''I'm sorry'', Angel says again and she frowns, tilting her head to look up at him.
''For not saving you'', he tells her miserably and she laughs. She can't help it; laughter just bubbles out and tears spring to her eyes at the same time, blurring Angel's surprised face.
''Everybody's sorry for something involving me these days'', she tells him and steps closer to him, wiping at her eyes and taking his hand in hers.
''Shh'', she puts a finger on his lips to silence him and opens the car door, pushing him down in the driver's seat and sitting on his lap.
''Just kiss me'', she orders and he does. They both want more and she knows she's driving him insane doing this, but she need to be close. She needs to memorize the way he feels under her hands before she tells him goodbye.
Angel's sitting behind her in a quiet cemetery and she's safe in his arms, shielded from the pain of her mother's sudden death. He feels solid and almost warm and she's so grateful that he came, so relieved that she won't have to get through the night alone.
When they kiss, memories of nights that seem so so long ago come rushing back and her hand presses against the side of his face in a painfully familiar way, and they get carried away.
They always get carried away and it's the reason Angel always leaves, and she tells him goodbye again and again and again. She wonders how many times before it kills her.
They stand in his office staring at each other when the demon attacks and Angel gets rid of it in less than ten seconds. She's just a little bit impressed, but she mentally slaps herself because she needs to be angry and strong and tell him everything she rehearsed on her way here, but it's hard when he's looking at her the way he is, when he seems so breakable. The last thing she wants to do is hurt him and she knows he feels the same, but the two of them always end up doing exactly that.
Angel leans down to pick up the clock and Buffy just leaves, unable to keep doing this any longer, unable to look at him and know he'll never be what they both want him to be.
There's no future for them together and that's nothing but the cold, hard truth. A part of her fears that there isn't one for them with other people either, but she's not gonna dwell on that.
She walks out in the sun and feels a strange sense of loss, like she just lost a memory, and nothing will ever restore it again.
And it hurts that she didn't tell him goodbye.
Angel's telling her that they can't be together anymore and she's got trouble keeping the tears at bay. After all that happened, after all they got though, she can't believe that she's gonna lose him again. It's worse than the last time because now she knows how much it's gonna hurt, and she can't do anything to stop it. Still, she tries to reason with him, tries to convince him that they can make it work, but she knows it's a battle she can't win. Angel's trying to protect her and he's tearing her heart apart in the process.
It feels like all she does in her life is telling him goodbye.
Buffy stakes another vampire and brushes herself off just as Angel comes out of the shadows. She quickly checks that her hair is in place and smiles up at him, feeling her blood rushing faster when he smiles too.
''Hey'', they both murmur and he pulls her close for a kiss that lasts until she's totally breathless. It's getting harder and harder to keep their lips apart, and she's never the one that pulls back.
''Done for tonight?'' He asks her and she nods, taking his offered hand.
They walk down the abandoned streets and she fills the silence with school anecdotes and training stories and Scooby gang antics and even though Angel doesn't say much, she knows she's got his undivided attention. She knows he loves her at least as much as she loves him, and that's almost more than her heart can take.
They reach her house and there's another smooch-fest before she tells him goodbye and sneaks up into her room.
It's another thing that's getting harder and harder every night.
She can't believe that her life can be this sucky. Angel is everything she wants and it's painful to know that she can't have him, that it's her destiny to put a stake through his heart.
Buffy looks up at his eyes and knows that he would never hurt her, but it's not enough, at least not in a world where everything needs to be black and white, light and darkness totally separated from each other.
She kisses him for what she believes is one last time and she tells him goodbye, turning away and mourning the loss of something that could've been special.
Mourning the loss of someone who could've been the love of her life.
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Summary: Six times Buffy says goodbye to Angel. And one time she doesn't.
Disclaimer: Characters are not mine, I'm just playing with them.