Broken Chances

by Kristi

Summary: Future very post NFA. B/A B/Other

A/N: Written for <lj user=moviequotemini> using this quote: "I didn't think so much of him at first. But now I get it: he's everything that I'm not." - Royal Tenenbaum in The Royal Tenenbaums

“Just like that? You’re leaving me?” His voice held disbelief, a hint of anger and a lot of pain.

“It’s not just like that…” she trailed off. She looked down at the suitcase half filled with her clothes. “It’s been a long time coming.” My whole life spent waiting in the wings for this moment.

“Maybe to you, but until three weeks ago I thought we were perfect. I bought a damn engagement ring!” His voice finally louder, fraught with the anger it had earlier hinted at.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered in contrast, turning to the closet and pulling a sweater out, she added it to the suitcase.

“Stop it,” he ground out, stepping across the room to take her hands in his, squeezing them both hard enough to make her let go of the sweater she clung to. “Stop apologizing and stop leaving me…Please.” His voice turned to pleading with that one word. His eyes took her feet from beneath her and she ducked her head, averting her eyes.

“It’s him…isn’t it,” he said, stepping away from her. “That guy from your past…Angel.” He shook his head and retreated back to the doorway.

She avoided looking at him because she didn’t have any answers for him. What was she supposed to say? Of course, it’s him. It’s always been him…from the moment I met him in that alley…It’s always been him. From the moment I took my first breath…I’ve been waiting for this…for my life to begin. “I…” excuses died on her lips as she forced herself to look up at him. He deserved that much. “I didn’t intend for things to end up this way, Jack…I love you…I do…” Just not as much as I love him? Just not as much as I will always love him

“Then why is your suitcase half packed? Why is it such a chore to look at me? If I call his hotel in a few hours, will you be there? Or will you be too busy fucking him to answer the phone?” Jack screamed more in pain than in anger.

“He…I never thought he and I would have a chance…” Buffy started. She put down the clothes she held in her hands like a security blanket and turned to Jack. He was a good man. He’d never asked questions, loved her completely and accepted that there were things in her life that she wouldn’t or couldn’t share with him. She’d intended on making a life with him, a future with little blonde babies and a white picket fence but three weeks ago, Angel had walked back into her life. Three weeks ago, he’d gotten something he called shanshu, something that had made him human and that had changed everything.

“Half explanations...that’s all I get? You can’t even explain to me why?” Jack shouted at her stepping toward her and grabbing her wrist. He jerked her to him. “I gave you everything! I trusted you with everything! And this is how you repay me?”

“If I were you…I’d let go of her wrist.” His voice was calm, low and all the more threatening because of it. Her jade eyes flew to his dark ones, half surprised, half expectant.

“Angel,” she breathed as if she said it any louder he’d disappear. She couldn’t help that tiny exhalation of his name. She never had been able to.

Jack released her wrist and turned to him. “Or what? You’re going to beat me up? You’ve already taken everything away from me. You can’t hurt me anymore.”

She saw Angel hesitate, take a breath and almost literally bite his tongue to keep from saying anything. She knew he could beg to differ but he wasn’t a cruel person. This wasn’t something that they’d done to hurt Jack. This wasn’t something that they’d done. Falling in love with each other had never been optional for either one of them.

“I never intended to hurt you, Jack. That’s why I can’t give explanations or reasons. Anything I say will just hurt more,” Buffy said as she finished packing her suitcase.

“Nothing can hurt more than losing you, Buffy.” Jack told her. He looked back at Angel and then to Buffy again. “I get it now…he’s everything I’m not.” He shook his head when the answer wasn’t forthcoming and started out of the room. He paused beside Angel, reached into his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a small, black velvet box. He shoved it into Angel’s chest, forcing the big man to step back. “Maybe you can use it because I sure as hell know I’m not gonna get that chance.”