Whenever I Remember

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When the rain is fallin' and I'm overcome
With the doubts and demons of a love undone
No voice need tell me that you were the one

Sometimes I think that the pain is going to settle right in the pit of my stomach and take my breath away. Other times, I am able to push it aside and not really think about it. Itís in those moments when I get to smile, I get to be strong, and I get to fool the world. But I can not fool my heart. It beats a steady, thrumming rhythm in my chest, pushing my blood through my veins, constantly forcing me to live a lie, and I do it. I suck up my pain, I laugh when I want to cry, and I donít give in.

Because I remember.

I'll remember all my life
A love that set me free
Whatever comes of you and I
I will still believe
That once upon a time a dream came true
Whenever I remember loving you

It wasnít supposed to happen this way. I know that much. Iím not even sure when I realized that it wasnít some random memory from some random dream. But I remember it washing over me, burning into me, ripping me apart, and at the same time Ė leaving me so completely breathless that it was like you had just grabbed me, right then and there, and kissed me all the way to my soul. Only you could kiss me that way. And you did.

At first it was the small things Ė the sewer, something happening there that I couldnít quite place. I patrolled the sewers of Sunnydale, and one day I saw a newspaper lying soaked in the rancid water and something clicked. Los Angeles. Something had happened in the sewer in Los Angeles. I drove there and sure enough, as I wandered through the musty tunnels under your house, it all began to come back to me. Fragments that were suddenly falling into place. I wanted peanut butter and chocolate, but the taste made me cry so hard that I almost choked. I thought about drinking tea that I really didnít want while I sat on the edge of my seat waiting for you to tell me what I wanted to hear. I thought about walking along in the sun, staring down at the crowds on the beach, and you suddenly appearing through an awning of green vines. I could see you strolling toward me so casually, yet with such a purpose that I couldnít open my mouth to say a word.

Sometimes, I find myself lost in that day. People can be milling around me, going about their business, and I wonít even be aware. Some crazy demon could run down the middle of the street with a bomb, and Iíd be so lost in the thought of ice cream Ė on youóthat I wouldnít even see it. Even if it put the bomb at my feet, Iíd only see your face, hear your voice, taste your kiss. And itís pretty pathetic really, but itís a dream within a dream -- and it happened.

I know it did.

Thatís what I said to you when you told me about going to the Oracles. You told me that I wouldnít remember and that it didnít happen, but I told you it did, I knew it did, and you held me. Your arms felt so good, so warm around me. I felt your heart beat and I wanted to smash the clock that was about to take you away, but your arms felt so good and the time was too short for me to try to do anything. But God, Angel, your heartbeat! It was so consistent, never missing a beat. It was the most comforting sound I had ever heard.

I kept putting my fingers on your warm neck that day, feeling your pulse just below your skin, and it brought tears to my eyes then Ė and now. And your breath, hot against my skin, blowing out the candle of doubt that had lingered in our background for far too long. Our tears washed away the dirt that had settled in our souls and the steady rise and fall of your chest lulled me to a place that I had never before visited. And havenít since.

How could you believe I would forget?

How do you forget the only dream youíve ever known that came true? How do you forget completion? A moment so perfect and so right that you have to keep telling yourself that itís really happening and youíre really there, and for the first time in forever Ė youíre whole. I told you I would never forget.

I wonít forget the promises or the hope that sprang from our eager plans for a future we were sure we had. Sometimes, when I lie in my bed, tossing and turning, listening to Willow sleeping peacefully across the room, I almost hate the fact that I do remember. I know that this is why you did the things that you did that day. I understand now why you didnít want me to remember and why you chose to remove my option, but so help me, I think I would go crazier if I didnít remember. I canít imagine where I would be right now if I couldnít close my eyes and replay every single second of that day.

Your hand grasping mine, just as I was about to leaveó

It was magnetic, the force that lowered your head to mine. I could feel it in the animalistic hunger that you poured into it. Almost in a daze, we were swept up in the emotion, and I was lifted in your arms, pushed against the refrigerator and finally lowered onto your table. Oh god, your hands were in my hair, tangling, pulling, and tilting my jaw so you could caress my neck. I felt your blunt teeth, and even that was a constant reminder of your mark on me, not just vampiric, but purely man. I belonged to you and we both knew it. It was primal, the passion, the need, the want, and then we basked in the glory of beating the odds. Of the miracle.

Not a single moment, not a single kiss
Would I have traded, would I have missed
No other could ever move me like this

Over and over again you showed me what it was to love. To make love. To join our souls and our hearts and our bodies in so many different ways that we fell into an exhausted heap Ė only to speak the soft endearments that would lead to more. Always more. We made no mention of a past that was so haunting, so hurtful, and instead, we focused on the brighter tomorrow we would have. You promised to make love to me on the beach, as the water lapped at our tangled limbs, and the sun rose, a beautiful yellow baptism for you, and the dawn of a new life for the both of us.

Oh god, how I wanted that. Your bed, your shower, your table, your sofa, you had me everywhere, but I wanted you in the sun, in the one place that I could never hope to have you until that day. When I fell asleep on your chest, I had your promise that you would wake me in time, and I dreamed of it. I dreamed of you sliding your hands over my flesh as the cool winds blew the salty air from the ocean over our bodies. I could hear the seagulls, taking flight against the rising day, and I could imagine looking into your eyes as you made love to me. The sun would rise so slowly, taking her time, teasing us Ė, then she would shine away everything that was ever unholy, and I would see you there, silhouetted against a skyline that I would forever reminisce about.

And then you would hold me in your arms.

But I woke up alone.

Again.

Oh I'll remember loving you
Oh I'll remember all my life

If I could erase anything from that day, it would be the pain you suffered during your last encounter with the Mohra demon, the one that almost cost you your humanity. Seeing you in pain like that is something that haunts me. The thing comes at me, unexpectedly, in the middle of the night. Itís the thing that causes me to scream out, reach for you, and try like hell to cradle you against me. But youíre not there and I can only curl into a ball, much like the one you laid in that night you almost died, and long for your arms to be there Ė to warm away the pain. I would rather take a thousand angry fists against my physical body, than the million tiny daggers that pierce my subconscious.

Maybe you knew that. Maybe you knew how hard the memory would be for me. I donít know how you carry this burden, because you had to know that it would be almost impossible, and you did it anyway. I always knew you were strong, but I also thought you were selfish. Thank you for proving me wrong.

I just looked at the clock on my desk. I watched the second hand ticking slowly toward tomorrow. And tomorrow will come, bringing with it new challenges, new demons, new obstacles. I will crawl out of bed, go about my day like I donít remember at all, and I will respect the fact that you had a reason for trying to make me forget.

But I also believe that someone out there has a reason for making me remember. And every time I plunge my stake into a vampireís heart Ö every time I take a blow that knocks the wind out of me Ö every time I save a life or stop someone from being injured Ö I tell myself that Iím one step closer to being with you.

I tell myself that I glimpsed our future that day.

And I will not be denied the light forever.

It's not that I don't feel the pain as deep as pain can be
But I will not be denied the light
Your love has brought to me
What you've given me will last forever
I refuse to lose the treasure
Of you inside my heart eternally

<><><><><>

Ripping the pages from her spiral bound notebook, Buffy moved across the floor of the mansion and kneeled in front of the fireplace. She put the crumpled pages down, struck a match, and stood back to watch. It took mere seconds for the fire to char the paper, and when it did, she scooped up the pile of soot and turned, blowing it across the room. It danced through the air, each fleck wafting like a feather caught on a breeze, and then it settled on the ground.

For a long time she stood, staring at the scattered remnants of her letter, then, with a sigh, she lifted her notebook and slowly made her way through the courtyard. Past the gargoyles, past the broken fountain, and past the wrought iron fence that had become overgrown with weeds. When she reached the end of the driveway, she glanced back up at the mansion and her breath caught. The candle that she had used to illuminate her writing was still burning in the windowsill, even though she had been sure to blow it out.

But instead of going back into the house to make sure Ė she took it as a sign.

A sign that the flame that burned between a cursed vampire and a Slayer would never be extinguished.

And no matter what the future held, she would never forget that.

She would remember.

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