So Lost

by Jill

Disclaimer: let me check ... nope, still don't own them. Sigh! I'm not making any money off this. The song at the end is by Westlife from their album World of Our Own, and it's called "Angel".
Rating: PG-13 (I think)
Pairing: B/A, (mention of B/S)
Distribution: my site (http://www.never-ending-love.de), Land of Denial, if you have any of my stories, take it; anybody else tell me where it goes
Timeline:  Set after "Wrecked" and "Lullaby"
Spoilers: the whole B/A-canon to be sure, but especially "Smashed", "Wrecked","Offspring", "Lullaby".
Summary: This is my first after "Smashed"-Fic. Buffy goes to Angel. More would give the whole story away.
Feedback: oh yes, please
Dedication: this goes to all of you who suffered through "Smashed".

Author's note: I wasn't so sure about the rating of this. There are some bad words in it, when Buffy describes certain things or thinks about them. But it's not really descriptive sexual content. So ... I think you can read it when you can see the show, because they don't leave a lot up to our imagination these days.

Buffy's POV and Angel's POV (alters)

She looks innocent and the way she always has now that she is sleeping in my bed,
under my covers, looking like an angel, almost unreal, beautiful. And I can
already picture the coming nights in my head, inhaling her scent still lingering
on my bed, in my pillow, dreaming about her. Not that I don't dream about her
anyway, but her scent makes it more real, almost palpable.

I couldn't believe when I saw her standing in the lobby tonight, looking at me,
with those huge eyes that once seemed so lively and sparkling, and it breaks my
heart to see them now. Empty. Tired. Telling of all the lost dreams. The lost
hopes. The lost love.

I know I'm responsible for a lot of them. I took her innocence in more ways than
only the literal one. The night that should have been the most beautiful, the
most treasured in her heart, became a nightmare without end. We both know,
because we're still living it.

Day after day. Night after night.

I've been good at denial lately, making myself believe that I can be happy
without her, not even thinking about her. But when I close my eyes, it is still
her face I see, her voice I hear. She is the one who fills me, makes me whole.
Darla made me all those centuries ago, but Buffy gave me life, made me human
again, maybe made me human for the first time. Made me believe that there was
more. She was the one who showed me that I was more than a monster.

Because she made me love.

Love is the one thing that makes us truly human.

I didn't know love before she came into my life. And without doubt I know that I
will never love another woman the way I love her. How could I. She is me. She is
my heart, my very soul. Every breath I take, I breathe her. She's in every cell,
she's deep inside of me. She isn't just a part of me, she's the very essence.

She moans slightly in her sleep and I smile. I remember those little moans. Her
lips are slightly parted, little puffs of breath coming out in a steady rhythm I
still remember the sweet smell of her breath, as it tickles my skin, makes it
warm, makes it feel. And I want to go to her, kiss her, and inhale this breath,
and keep in there, so it can stay there after she is long gone.

Connor cries in the next room, and I rise quickly so she won't be disturbed. She
looked so tired when she came. We didn't talk. I simply took her in my arms, held
her, and she cried. She cried for a long time, and when she finally fell asleep,
I lifted her up and carried her upstairs, placed her on my bed, and covered
her. And now with her in my bed and Connor near by I know for the first time how
a real family might feel.

And a longing so strong as I never experienced it before rises inside of me.
God, I want this. I don't want to be a warrior. I want to take Buffy, and my son,
and just leave. Run away to a place where nobody can find us. Where we can just
be a family. Pylea maybe, where I can walk in the sun. Or just far, far away
where
no aplocalyptic prophecies can find us. Where we can be happy.

I take Connor from his bed and inhale his scent. It's so fresh and clean that for
a moment I wonder how this innocent baby can be related to me. A person who
carries such evil inside of him. A person who can remember more horrible things
than any man can imagine. But Connor belongs to me, and somehow this gives me
hope. Like the smile of a blond girl did, when she came down the stairs of her
old school and I saw her in the sunshine.

They both looked at me and never saw the monster, just the man, the soul, behind
the mask. I wonder if any of them will ever know what it meant to me. Both gave
their love unconditionally, and I pray that I won't disappoint my child the way I
disappointed the woman in the next room. That I won't hurt him the way I hurt
her.

I know what I did to her when I left, or when I took Faith's side. I know it left
scars. Not on the outside, but deep inside where nobody can see them. But I can
see it. In her eyes. I wear those scars, too. But I've been around for a while,
and I've become a master of disguise. I can weep inside, and still smile. I can
bleed in my heart, but to my friends I look completely normal and happy.

Like that night when I came back from my meeting with Buffy. After she came back
from wherever she's been. It tore me apart to hear my friends mock something so
sacred to me. But the last thing I wanted was to talk about it. So I put up a
good front and pretended it didn't matter. But it did. It hurt. So much that I
wanted to scream.

I came back from the woman who means more to me than anything, had held her,
talked to her, knowing that it could never be. And they expected me to act as if
nothing had happened. Even made fun of it. I had only two choices. Keep cool or
lose it right then and rip them apart. Being what I am, a vampire *with* a soul,
it wasn't much of a choice to begin with.

Connor hiccups on my shoulder, and I pat his back, whisper soothing words and I
can feel him calm down. He is the best thing I ever did. It's hard to believe
regarding the fact that he was made without love, without any feeling but
emptiness.

Life goes strange ways. Darla took my life so long ago. And now she gave it back
to me. I wonder if it was meant to be.

*

I can smell him surrounding me, and I don't want to open my eyes. It's the first
time for so long that I don't hate myself, and I don't want it to end. I want to
like me
again. Not look into the mirror and see that strange person who looks like me but
has nothing in common with the girl who once fell in love with a vampire. Who
believed in impossible dreams, who loved life and was sure she could handle
whatever it had in store for her.

But it is gone. The girl disappeared and I cannot recognize what's left. If
anyone had told me years ago I would fuck an evil vampire's brains out, I would
have laughed. Now I don't feel like laughing anymore.

I slept with Spike. I fucked him. Not once. Once could have been an accident.
Once could be excused. But we did it again. And again. And again. I couldn't get
enough of him that night. Because it finally made me feel. I felt pain when he
beat me up, and I felt ... something. I cannot even name it. God, I cannot even
name what I felt when he was deep inside of me, his cock buried deep to the hilt.

I cannot name it. Does that mean I didn't feel it? But I can remember it when I
pulled him out and impaled myself on him. *I* was the one who made the first
step. I still remember Spike's shocked gaze, the way he kept completely still,
not able to believe what was happening. I initiated it. I wanted it. I wanted him
to make me feel.

Afterwards his scent lingered on me. Followed me. To my house, into my bed. I
can't even count the times I've showered since then, and I can still smell it.
Like a foul smell that never leaves you, that stays with you, reminding you of
what you've become. Only now, lying in Angel's bed, it seems gone. Like a bad
dream. Vanished into insignificance.

He took me in his arms when I came. He didn't ask, didn't want to talk. He just
held me. The way I remembered he always did when I came to the mansion after he
came back from hell. He gives his support unconditionally, always has, and I
wonder if that's what I miss most. Riley always wanted something for his
affections. He wanted me to love him, to show him I loved him. Angel never did.
He just loved me, never asked anything in return. I will never forget that look
of wonder in his eyes every time I showed him he mattered. As if he was given a
precious gift he couldn't believe he was getting.

And while he held me I realised for the first time how much I missed him. Sure
we met after Willow brought me back, but it was strange that night, we both
didn't really know what to say. I was still trying to adjust and Angel ... he was
as if he couldn't believe I was real. He had mourned me, and finally let go, when
I suddenly was back. I wonder who was more shaken that night.

I hear a door open, and blink. And think I'm still dreaming when Angel enters
carrying a baby on his shoulder, stroking the child's back, whispering to him. I
don't know who or what this baby is, but I can feel it's important to him. He
seems so in tune with it, and I can feel a painful stab of jealousy surging
through me. He used to be in tune with me. It seems like a lifetime ago.

"Hi," he smiles at me when he sees I'm looking at him. "Feeling better?"

"Yeah," I reply, and surprisingly I do. I feel better. "How long did I sleep?" I
know I've been sleeping. I remember Angel carrying me upstairs, but I didn't say
anything, afraid he wouldn't bring me here if he realised I wasn't really
sleeping.

"Four hours." He shifts the baby on his shoulder, then sits down on a chair,
watching me, "You looked as if you needed it."

"Great. Nice of you to remind me, I looked like hell," I try to joke, but it
sounds lame even to my ears. I swallow, "Thank you for ... letting me stay."

He's suddenly very serious, his eyes dark and warm, and I want to drown in them,
"Buffy, you can always come to me. Whenever you need me, I'll be here for you."

God, I'm going to cry, I realise with sudden embarrassment. If we don't stop
talking like this, I'm going to bawl all over him in a second. Blinking rapidly,
I
desperately search for a way to change the subject and jump on the next best
thing, "Interesting attachment," I say, smiling at the child.

I see him averting his eyes for a moment, then he looks at me. And there is
something in his orbs I cannot quite understand. Is it fear? Shame? "I ...," he
starts, his voice sounding rough, uncertain, "That's Connor," he says finally.

"Oh," I smile again, ignoring the uneasiness radiating from him. "Hi, Connor. A
... case?"

"No," he replies, then clears his throat. "Actually ... it's ... that is ...
Connor is my son."

He says the last words in a rush, his eyes sending a silent apology, and I can
see his hand tremble slightly where they are holding the baby. That's when the
meaning of his words sinks in. "Your ... son?," I croak, swallowing hard. His
*son*? I can clearly remember Angel telling me that vampires can't have children.
Has he adopted the baby, I wonder? But no, no agency would give a baby to someone
who's technically dead.

"Yeah," he nods, shifting the baby on his other shoulder. "He's my son and ...
Darla's."

I know I'm hearing the words, but I cannot understand him. Did he say Darla? As
in his sire? As in the person he staked to save my life? "How?," I whisper,
staring at him.

"That's ... uh ... a long story." He tries to smile but his lip don't obey.
Instead it's more of a grimace. "I was ... ah ... on a downward spiral last year.
Darla was brought back to life. Literally. She was human-"

"Human?" I stare at him because he's stopped and only then I realise I've
interrupted him. "Sorry," I apologize.

"It's okay." Now his smile works. "It's pretty shocking. Believe me, I can
relate." He chuckled, but there is no humor in it. "Anyway. She came back human.
Then she was turned into a vampire again. I saw it as a personal failure, and
cracked. I ... let's just say I wasn't quite myself then. It all ended when I
slept with her. When I woke up, I realised what I had done and ... I sent her
away. Some weeks ago she came into the hotel. Pregnant."

I have to shake my head, try to understand the meaning behind his words. He and
Darla have a baby. He slept with Darla. But what ... "What about the curse?," I
hear myself ask. "Did they re-curse you?"

He smiles then, and for the first time it reaches his eyes, "No," he shakes his
head. "I didn't lose my soul. Not with Darla."

In response I feel myself smiling as well. Like an idiot. He didn't lose his
soul. Not with Darla. Only with me. I want to jump on the bed and dance. He just
told me he slept with his sire. He told me he has a child with his sire, and I
suddenly feel deliriously happy. Isn't it strange? Maybe I really came back
wrong. I actually feel good about the night of my seventeenth birthday. He lost
his soul. With me!

And for the first time in months I feel alive. Really, actually alive. And
another thing hits me like lightning. I'm just sitting here, talking to Angel.
Smiling at Angel. And I feel. And I want to cry. I want to bawl because what
makes me so alive I can never have.

After Angel left I was angry with him. Until I realised he was right. There was
no way we could be together. Seeing him at Thanksgiving, shortly after he left
Sunnydale, made it perfectly clear. I went into his office, I left after five
minutes, and I felt more than I felt when Riley kissed me. It's an instant
attraction. When Angel's in the same room, I feel my skin prickle, I feel my
heart beat, I feel the blood racing through my veins. I feel alive.

Again tears threaten to well up, and I suppress them. I cannot risk starting to
cry again. Last night I cried my soul out in his arms. I cried for losing him.
For all the lost happiness we might have had. I cried for the person I was, the
person I have lost on the way without him. I cried for Giles who says I need to
be strong on my own, and for Willow who seems lost, too. And for mom who wasn't
allowed to get any older.

And through all this Angel just held me, and by doing that he told me he
understood.

I look at him now, sitting across the room with his son in his arms, and I know
that I have never seen anything more beautiful in my life. "He fits you," I say
and a smile lightens up his face I have never seen before. And it makes me want
to cry all over again. He rarely smiled in Sunnydale, I have never seen him
really laugh. But I'm sure that I never saw him like this. So at eas with
himself, so ... happy.

And I know it's immature and ridiculous because Connor is just a baby, but I feel
suddenly incredibly jealous, because I wanted to give him that, and I couldn't.
I wanted to be his reason. Because it made feel so special when he told
me I was his reason for fighting, his reason for so many things in his life. And
I miss it. I feel betrayed. But there's nobody I can blame. Not even the gypsies
who created his stupid curse, because they were hurt and were acting out of
grief.

"Thank you," he replies, smiling. "He's very special to me." I can feel his voice
shaking slightly, and I know the words come straight from the depth of his soul.
"I never thought ... I could have this. A child. A son. And now that I have ...
it's so ... precious."

I want to go and take him in my arms, but suddenly feel I can't do it because I
am dirty. Only a few nights ago I let Spike fuck me senseless. I have no right to
be part of this. It seems too pure for someone like me. "I slept with Spike." The
words are out before I can stop them. I don't even know why I said it like this,
but all of a sudden it seemed very important. Still I hate myself for it, because
I can see Angel freeze, and instantly all the closeness I could feel between us
for the last minutes vanishes into nothingness.

*

It's as if everything around me disappears. I feel numb. I feel ... I'm not
exactly sure what I feel. Or if I feel at all. My thoughts are in a turmoil. My
mind spins. And I feel cold. I know it sounds strange because I'm usually cold,
but I'm accustomed to it. Don't feel it anymore, most of the time. The cold I
feel now is different. It starts deep inside, spreads, like a disease. Infects
every cell of my body, my mind, my soul.

There have been times when my soul felt cold. When it returned to my body and I
didn't know what to do with it. When the images of blood and terror threatened to
consume me. Shortly before I realised I would lose it. When like a flash I
realised what was going to happen to Buffy as soon as it was gone. When I left
her and moved to L.A. All those times I have felt cold.

But not like this. Never like this. This is deeper, so deep that I'm not sure if
I really understood what she said to me. She slept with Spike? As in she had sex
with him?

God.

Oh God.

Oh God. Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.

I don't want to think about it, but can't stop thinking. I don't want to imagine
her with Spike, but my minds keeps sending me all those images of them naked,
rolling in the dust, getting at it like animals. Grunting. Shouting.

I've seen Spike when he had sex. And I don't want to think about he and Buffy. I
don't want. But I can't stop. Those images keep coming, and it makes me sick. I
feel like throwing up. I can feel my body tensing up, I feel my muscles tighten.

Suddenly Connor starts to fuss on my arm, wriggles. He is of course feeling the
change in me. I try to concentrate on relaxing and I seem to be successful
because the baby calms down, snuggles back in to my arm and soon I hear his even
breathing.

The images are still coming, faster and faster. I can think of nothing but of
Spike and Buffy.

Buffy.

Suddenly I come back to life, my head turning towards her. I see the shame
on her face, the sadness in her eyes, and another expression, I've never seen
before. It's an expression of feeling lost, of belonging nowhere. Of losing
herself. I know it so well, because I've felt it myself.

I have a flashback of Darla and me together. The way we were fucking. Like
animals. Without feeling. Without love. And although it should make me understand
what happened, because I went through the very same thing, it just increases the
sickness I feel already. Because I don't want Buffy connected with something like
that.

She is human. She has a soul. Spike is an evil vampire. He's got no soul.

Oh God.

I hated to see her with Riley. I really did. I wanted to rip his throat out and
dismember him. On my bad days. On the good days I saw him as the good guy he was.
The way he had looked at me, and then at Buffy. And I knew that moment that he
loved her. She was important to him, and although I wanted to scream because I
was so jealous, I could endure it, because he loved her.

But Spike.

Spike is incapable of love. He makes himself believe he can love, but he can't.
Because he has no soul. There isn't such a thing like love for a vampire. Darla
told me she loved me again and again. But she left me to burn when it came to her
life or mine.

Again nausea hits me and I force it down. I look at Buffy again, see the shame
deepen in her eyes, see the way she looks down at her lap, her hands playing with
each other. I want to say something. Anything. But I have no words. How can I
find words for something my mind refuses to accept.

"No." I cannot believe that I said the word, but I know I did when Buffy's head
comes up and she stares at me. I see tears welling up in her beautiful eyes, see
the disgust in them, the repulsion. And it's directed inward. At herself.

"I ... I ... I ..." she stammers, her eyes moving restlessly, never focussing on
anything.

"I just put the baby down," I tell her, standing up. Of course it's just an
excuse. I know I'm a coward, but I have to get away from her. I cannot stand to
look at her. Or I might say something I could regret later. It hurts so much to
see her like this. Where was I that I never saw what happened to her? Was I too
busy with my own life to miss this? Or didn't I care enough?

Putting Connor in his bed, I refuse to accept this. Of course I care. I love
that woman, dammit. Care! She is the most important person in this world for me.
And she's falling apart. Right before my eyes she's falling apart. She's done
something she cannot deal with, cannot understand. And I ...

I feel my gut knot. And I just ran out of the room. She was looking at me, a part
of her pleading for me to understand, and I just ran away.

My mind racing, I kick my feet into gear, and as I expected she's gone from my
room. Her clothes have disappeared from the ground. I race out of the room, down
the
stairs, the moment she wants to leave, "Buffy," I say gently. "Please. Don't go."

She stops, and for a moment I feel dizzy with relief. I wouldn't have been able
to forgive myself if she'd left like this.

She just stands there, her shoulders tense, her hands knotted into fists, her
head lowered, her eyes staring at the ground. She's a tiny person. She always
was. But today she looks even smaller than usual. As if she tries to crawl into
herself.

"I'm sorry," I whisper, taking a tentative step towards her, but when I see her
tense even more I stop. "I'm sorry," I say again. "I was an idiot up there."

She just shakes her head, keeps staring on the ground, her whole body language
crying despair and misery.

I want to cry. I want to scream. What happened to her? What happened to the
laughing girl, the strong warrior, the woman I adored? "Buffy, please," I say
slowly. "Turn around."

Again she shakes her head, wraps her arms around herself as if she's cold. And
she probably is. Didn't I feel cold just before, as well?

"Buffy." I say it gently, and take another step towards her.

"No." Her voice is nothing but an agonized whisper.

"Buffy, please," I try again. "Look at me. Talk to me. Let me help you."

"You can't," she replies, her voice shaking, "Nobody can."

"Yes, I can," I insist, taking another step. I'm so close now, I can feel her
heat reaching my skin. And suddenly the cold vanishes. "You just have to let me."

"I don't know who I am anymore, Angel," she suddenly tells me, still looking at
the ground. "How could I do this? I enjoyed having sex with him. How could I?
What's happening to me? Who am I?"

"You're Buffy," I tell her, keeping my voice quiet but firm. "Buffy Summers. The
girl I fell in love with, the woman I still love. And will love until the day I
cease to exist."

"You can't," she says, and I see a tear slip from her lashes. "The woman you're
talking about doesn't exist anymore. The Buffy you are talking about wouldn't
have done the things I did. She wouldn't have rolled in the dirt and enjoyed the
way Spike was fucking her brains out."

I flinch at her words, suppress the images that threaten to come back. This isn't
about me. This is about her. About Buffy. And she is hurting badly. So badly that
it didn't even matter anymore that Spike is an evil vampire. Her mortal enemy. I
think about a night when I used Darla to make me feel. "The Buffy I'm talking
about is standing right in front of me," I say, "She's lost herself a little, but
she's still standing strong." I pause, then add, "And I'm still helplessly in
love with her."

Her head comes up then, slowly, but steadily, and when she finally looks at me I
can feel my heart break into a million pieces. Not in a million years I would
have expected her to look at me that way. Not ever. She is lost. Nothing makes
sense anymore. And I know the feeling, because I felt it for a long time, before
she came into my life. She saved me without knowing it. Because she loved me,
when I thought I didn't deserve it. Because I hated myself so much. Because I was
lost then.

I reach out my hand. She stares at it for a long time. The tentatively she puts
her hand into mine.

Our fingers close, our eyes meet.

And we both belong.

// Spend all your time waiting
For that second chance
For a break that will make it OK
There's always some reason
To feel not good enough
And it's hard at the end of the day
I need some distraction, oh beautiful release
Memory seeps from my veins
Let me be empty and weightless and maybe
I'll find some peace tonight

In the arms of the angel, fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

So tired of the straight line
And everywhere you turn
There's vultures and thieves at your back
And the storm keeps on twisting
You keep on building your lies
That you make up for all that you lack
It don't make no difference
Escaping one last time
It's easier to believe
In this sweet madness
All this glorious sadness
That brings me to my knees

In the arms of the angel, fly away from here
From this dark cold hotel room
And the endlessness that you fear
You are pulled from the wreckage
Of your silent reverie
You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

You're in the arms of the angel
May you find some comfort here

Some comfort here //


END