Triptych 3. All fics are archived at http://www.geocities.com/elizabeth_barr/triptych.htm
Solitude: Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel: the Series
by Liz Barr
Buffy/Angel, post "The Gift"
characters and lyrics: not mine
summary: "I don't think we will meet again, and you must leave now, before the sunrise."
In his dream, he woke up. It was sunset; he walked over to the window and felt the sun's weak prickle on his skin. Heat, no fire. He didn't wonder why he could see the sunset in New York, with skyscrapers all around. There was no sun here, no stars, except reflected in the skyscrapers, the townhouses and the ghettos.
Buffy was stretched out on the bed behind him. Sleeping or dead. Both.
Neither. She opened her eyes and looked at him.
There were weapons lying all around: stakes, a sword. A hammer, a glowing ball. A gauntlet, an axe made from an old hubcap. An old rocket launcher, a set of tarot cards.
A gypsy girl lay dead on the floor, in front of a fireplace that was impossible in this modern New York apartment. Her body was covered in rose petals.
He rarely had prophetic dreams - why would he, when the Powers had Cordelia to torment? His dreams were rarely true, but were always intense.
There were footsteps behind him, and he shivered.
"In the flesh. Only not."
Her presence was like a fire: warm, seductive and deadly. Luminous. Effulgent, even. Like a flame. Darla, Drusilla and the Slayer. It always came back to blood and fire.
"Heard you were dead."
"Lot of that going around." She looked out at the impossible sunset. "Dawn is hours away."
"Do you mean your sister or the sun?" Stupid questions.
She smiled, and it was more beautiful and painful than the light of day. "Yes."
Stupid. Stupid Irish boy, too lazy to work and too dumb to stay away from seductive blondes.
"I know. I was there." She smiled, and he laughed.
The laughter passed quickly.
"I'm sorry." Inadequate.
"It had to happen. Along came a spider. My number came up."
"So I've been told."
He watched her in the fading sunlight. His flame, burning his soul. Her skin, hair, scent, blood. He knew them all. Gone now, another rotting corpse in Sunnydale.
"You shouldn't have died."
"Better than the alternative."
"You lasted so long. You had a gift for survival."
"Death was my gift. And blood. It always comes down to blood."
Her voice echoed on the edge of his memory. Drink me.
"Not your only gift," he said.
She looked away, at the sun and the city. He didn't know if she'd ever been to New York. She was a California girl. Was.
"This is a strange dream," she said.
"A bad dream?"
"Not for me. But then, it's not my dream."
"Usually I do this kind of thing with Faith."
"Maybe she's busy."
"Maybe she's not important yet."
"Well, this isn't the end. New directions, you know? I'm going places."
"Six feet under."
"Didn't stop you."
The sunlight faded, and he saw a star appear. He could see the Boxer Rebellion in the streets below, Spike and Dru dancing in the flames, intoxicated with the Slayer's blood. Across the street, in a building he knew from LA, he could knew Darla was admiring the view. It was a dream, his past and perhaps his future. He'd spent years in New York, but never in a place like this.
Buffy turned and looked around the room.
"I'm looking for someone," she said.
"She's short, dark. Wears white gauze. Back-to-Africa dreadlocks. Makes regular appearances in my dreams."
"Haven't seen her."
She frowned. "I have a message for her. How can I tell her if I don't know where she is?"
"I know a guy," he offered, "he's green, has horns. He could help. Destiny and all. And karaoke."
"I know my destiny. I just need to dispute it."
Buffy looked at him.
"This isn't an ending, Angel. It's not about the past."
He woke up. It was sunset in Los Angeles.
She had always left him at dawn.
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