Funny About the Pain…
…the one thing in her life that she couldn’t quite puzzle through. He was this strange mixture of peace and storm and passion and guilt and never ending suffering that made her eyes tear up at the thought. He was brilliant and sweet and intensely stupid and mean and perfect because of it. He was this big quandary that no one would ever really understand, even himself.
Except she was sure she understood him. She understood him in ways that no one else really would because she knew the wonderful parts of him, the caring, compassionate, loving parts of him. And she knew the horrible parts – the darkness, the murderer, the mass of guilt that twisted and rent inside him. Sometimes, if she looked close enough, she could almost see sparks flying where the demon was grating against the heart of a poet.
He had told her clearly that he loved her, that he would die for her, that he wasn’t fit to touch a hair on her golden head, but when he turned into Angelus, when he walked away, she was flattened by the reality of it. She couldn’t help but think if she had been better or smarter or faster that she could have found a way to save them.
He hadn’t meant to hurt her, but they were both aware that it was inevitable long before it happened. Strange how simple foreknowledge doesn’t make a damn bit of difference when your heart is ripped from your chest. Dichotomy and irony dripped into the sewer that night. A demon with a human soul and a Slayer, mortal enemies and eternal lovers, standing in a dark, dank, murky underground tunnel fighting over love and light and children.
She almost didn’t believe it when he walked away. She stood there with the same stunned look on her face both times, tears arriving before the truth had actually settled in completely. He really did leave. And just like he promised, he really didn’t say goodbye.
She understood. She understood in the way that a person whose heart is shattered can’t possibly understand. She wanted to scream, Why can’t you just hold me? Why does it have to be that complicated?
The part that Buffy’s bone deep pain could never really comprehend was that it took every single bit of willpower in his ancient body to walk away from her. Every step was an amputation, every unneeded, shuddering breath was an admittance of loss. He could *feel* her tears. He almost thought he could smell her pain even when he was miles away.
What’s funny about the pain is that even when it’s the most horrifying and lonely, even when it’s so intense it makes you fall to your knees, it helps you remember that you weren’t just dreaming when you had a love so real that it sank its teeth into your soul.
They both felt the weight of a light that burned so brightly that it couldn’t possibly hold its flame forever.
But every once in awhile the sorrow became maniacal and they laughed
through their tears.