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Title: Forever
Author: the one and only *Leighann*
Summary: 15 years after Angel's shanshu, Buffy gets a letter from a person of her past...
Author's Notes: This was something that I had cooked up in my head for awhile. If there are any spelling and/or grammar errors, let me know, because my spell checker has been off lately... *cough cough* *G*
Spoilers: none, but some reference to the Day the Wasn't and Angel's shanshu.
Timeline: 15 years into the future after what would be season 6, however, in my story, pretty much nothing after season 4/ season 1 has happened in either show. This is just the way it is. Live with it. *G*
Rating: PG-14, but reference to "Pleasant numbness" ... *G*
Feedback: This is a stupid question...duh.
Buffy stood outside in the crisp morning air and looked out over most of New York City. From her apartment, she could see most of the apartments and the city, and the whole of Central Park. Buffy smiled and breathed in the cool fall air.

  "Good morning, Miss Summers", Mr. Forest, the postal carrier, said.

  Buffy smiled. "Good morning, Herb. Hows your wife?"

  Herb smiled. "Great. She thanks you for your wishes and the lovely bouquet of flowers she received in the hospital."

  Buffy smiled and opened her front door. "Please, think nothing of it. I'm just happy to hear that Emma is doing well. Have a nice day", she said as she walked inside her first floor apartment and kicked off her sandals.

  "Lets see.....bill.....bill....bill....Magazine.....Ahhh, Broody", she said as a large bassett hound bounded through the narrow hallway. "Come here, boy, come here."

  Broody ran as fast as his little paws could carry him. Right before he reached her, however, he slid on one of his floppy ears and went sliding on the hardwood floor, taking down his master with him.

  "Not again. I really should put a pad down or something. Anything to keep you from sliding", she said. The hound gazed up at her with his large brown eyes and cocked his head sideways. "Don't give me that look. It's either I put something down or I buy you a pair doggy sneakers."

  Broody stood up and trotted back down the hallway. Buffy looked down at the mail sprawled over the floor. All right. This is wonderful oh, owI should really put some more time in at the gym She said as she bent down to pick up the mail.

  One of the only good things about being a slayer, she thought. An able body. She stopped for a moment and recalled the times when being a slayer was more than just a way to keep in shape.


  It was a way to stay alive.


  The only way.


  Buffy sighed and started shuffling through the mail once again. She was standing up, when a short fat package caught her eye.

 " What the heck?" She said aloud. Buffy turned over the package and read the return address. "Hm. None. Okay then." Buffy collected the rest of the mail and headed into her small, but cozy living room.

  The living room mainly consisted of a plump rose-colored couch, a matching loveseat, a wine colored recliner and a coffee table with small carvings of cherubic figures. There was a fireplace, but since Buffys apartment was gas heated, she rarely lit it, and when she did, it was because Xander and Willow came over for a night of recalling the times when baddies roamed the street and roasting marshmallows. On the mantle, were pictures of she and Willow, she and Xander, her mom, and Dawn, and of Giles and herself.

  Buffy walked into the living room of her suburban apartment and sat down on the couch. She looked at the package carefully.

  "Hm to open, or not to open" She mumbled to herself as she flipped it over, once again looking for a return address.

  Buffy sighed and shook the box. Inside, she could hear a dull thud of objects hitting the packaged sides. Buffy smiled. Well, not a bomb.

  After shedding the rest of her inhibitions, she tore into the thick packaging. After tearing apart the first layer of brown paper, a puzzle was presented to her.

  First, a large box wrapped in pink paper was present. On top of that, was a smaller box also wrapped in shiny pink paper. The thing that really interested Buffy, however, was the long rolled up piece of parchment that was tied down to the rest of the packages. Buffy smiled brightly. "Yay! Presents for Buffy!" Broody poked his nose in Buffys lap and whimpered a bit.

 " I said, Buffy, not Broody", she said to the dog as she reached for the parchment. When she opened it, the first thing that caught her attention was the smell. It was like a fresh spring rain clean smelling and there were traces of was that sandalwood? She wondered. She looked down at the finely hand written letter and gasped.

  Angel she said.

  It had been almost 15 years since she had seen her love, but she knew well enough that he was still out there.

  He had to be. She could feel his presence even from over 1000 miles away. The way her skin prickled every time she walked outside. The way she could almost smell his clean scent in the breeze. Oh yeah. There was no mistaking Angel was alive.

  "Besides, if he was dead, wouldnt I have felt it? After all these yearsbeing soulmates must have meant something" She thought as she skimmed the letter.


  Dear Buffy,

     How have you been? It has been such a long time since weve spoken, or even mailed each other for that matter. Im sorry I havent contacted you sooner.

    Actually, I believe the last time we spoke it was after the end of days. I had been granted my shanshu, and we walked around the beach for hours just talkingbathing in the warm sunlight. Ill never forget that particular memory. I hope you havent forgotten it either, because if you have, I will feel rather stupid for just assuming.


  Buffy smiled faintly. Of course she remembered. How could she not? The morning after the hardest battle of her life, all her dreams came trueand then she walked away.


     I'll never forget that morning though. The sun was bright and warm, and the water was warm enough to keep the breeze from making us shiver. It was exactly how I pictured my first day as a human. My first moments. And there was no one Id rather have spent them with, and for that, I thank you.


     But, times have changed. I have to admit, that life has been great. Its been full of changesgood changes. And lately, Ive felt more like a real person than I ever have.

    Cordelia was married last month. I was her best man. She looked so beautiful as she walked down the aisle. I have to admit, I was proud of her, for before me stood a independent, beautiful, REAL woman. Gone was the selfish schoolgirl I once knew. It was a truly wonderful moment. And after all these years, I am ecstatic to know that my two best friends have found happiness within each other. Can you imagine? Wesley and Cordelia Wyndom Pryce. Ironic, isnt it?

     I'm really sorry you couldnt make it. It was a beautiful ceremony. The church was filled with white lilies and tulips. Thousands of rose and vanilla scented candles filled the space, and the scent was enough to make it a scene from heaven.

     I have to admit, that it was almost like the wedding I had once pictured for myself.


  Buffy felt happiness and a slight tinge of jealousy well up inside her. She was happy for Cordelia and Wesley, and the fact that they had finally found their way back into their arms, but she couldnt help but be jealous that Cordelia was now going to partake in everything Buffy never had. This lead up to the next question that made Buffy a little more than uneasy. Had Angel found someone?


     I am finding that there are some things that are too good to miss and some thingsId rather not subject myself to.

     Just yesterday, I went to the park and sat in the grass with a book and read. The grass was so warm and moist with the morning dew, and the tree provided shade from the otherwise garish sun. Then, I rode in one of those horse drawn carriages you see on TV all the time. It was actually  very relaxing and romantic. That is, if I had been riding along with someone.


  Buffy let out the breath she didnt realize she was holding. She felt her body begin to relax and loosen a little. So, there was still a chancea slim onebut a chance


     I did a lot of thinking while I sat in the park and watched people pass. There were so many couples. Some oddly paired, some that looked so natural, it was almost as if they were made to be together. There were some couples that had children. Children. Small gifts. Treasures. Our future. Something I had been missing out on for the last 267 years of being. And gruesome as it is, I have to admit, the last time I held a childit was right after I got my soul back over a century ago


  Buffy grimaced. She had been in direct contact with Angels alter ego Angelus, and she had to say, if it had been Angelus with the baby well, yeah.


     There is a point to this letter. Im sorry if Ive been rambling, its just that, over a span of 15 years Ive come across some major changes but theres always been something missing. Some piece of the puzzle that was missing. And I have been oblivious to it for a while. Mainly because I have been staying busy and trying to live my human life to the very max. But yesterday I found a box of pictures pictures of a young woman I once knew. She was more beautiful and brilliant than a godfairer than the moon. The stars paled in comparison to what I say in her eyes. Fire seemed weak against the burning passion for life that was evident to everyone that surrounded her. Even in the pictures, her aura seemed to cleanse me with its pure, loving glow. And sometimes, when I looked into her eyes, all I saw was this radiant light of love. I found my missing half in her eyesand then, she was gone. And once again, my life was swirled in chaos and denial, but I can no longer deny my true feelings, and the pain that runs deep due to the gaping hole in my life Buffy do you know what the missing part of my life is?


  Buffy felt her heart start beating wildly in her chest and her breath hitch. She had been waitingprayingdesperately wishing for something this extraordinary to happen. Buffy pleaded silently with the Gods

  "Please please please" she thought desperately as she continued with her reading.


     Buffyafter 267 years of living, I've only loved, and can only love one person Elizabeth Anne Summers, I love you. With all my heart. With all my soul. Theres no replacing you. And as hard as Ive tried to ignore it, to make the aching in my soul and the pang in my heart go away, its always been truei ts always been real.

     Buffy, that day, at the beach, I couldnt think of anything more perfect. All I wanted to do was take you in my arms and hold you until the end of time. But instead, I respected your decision to leave Sunnydaleto leave California. But I just cant bear the separation any longer. Buffy, I want youI need you. I need you to complete my mind, my body and my soul. I need you to make this subtle, yet constant, pain from invading my sanity. I love you Buffy. I always have, and I always will.




  Buffy put the letter down and brought her knees to her chest. She clutched at the silken rose-colored pillow she held against her face as she sobbed in joy.

  After all these years, and after all the pain she caused him by leaving, he still cared.


  And so did she.


  When the sudden realization of her hidden feelings hit her, they hit with the force of a tsunami. Suddenly, she was awash in memories, some good and some bad. But most of all, she felt a feeling that she feared had long been forgotten. Something that had been drained from her body when Angel left. Something vital.


  Passion for life.


  Suddenly, the dull numbness that she had been living with for the past 15 was replaced by pure joy and sheer agony at the irony of it all.

  Buffy was in New York, and the last she had seen of Angel, he was in L.A.

  Buffy wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and opened up the larger box first. Inside, she found every single letter she had ever written to Angel, and letters that Angel had obviously started writing, and never sent. Letters that confessed his love and want and need.

  This sent Buffy into another semi-hysterical crying fit.

  "Ohh Angel" Buffy wailed into her pillow. It wasnt fair! After all this, after all it took him to send her the letter, he was still practically a world away.

  Buffy then noticed the unopened box sitting on the sofa. She reached over and grabbed it, steeling herself for another crushing blow of memories and sadness.

  Unfortunately, nothing could have prepared her for this.

  Inside the box, among wads of cotton, was her claddagh ring.

  That was it. That was the last straw, as far as Buffy was concerned. Buffy was up in an instant and running out the door with a speed that rivaled any she reached in her prime as slayer.

  Buffy was just running out the door when




  She ran smack into a broad chest.

  Buffy started to stammer out an, "I'm sorry", when she looked up into the owner of the a fore-mentioned chests face.

  At that moment, it was as if time itself had stopped.

  The first thing that Buffy noticed was the smell. Such a cool, clean scent with just a hint of sandalwood no, it couldn't be Buffy thought as her eyes searched out answers in the strangers eyes.

  She saw love, and compassion but a little behind that, she saw a light that made her want to cover her eyes it was so bright.

  Pure, uncorrupted love.

  Buffy stood up a little unsurely. Her knees felt as if they'd buckle at any moment. "A-Angel?" Buffy asked as if she wasnt sure if he was real or not.

  Angel smiled. "Wow. Teeth", Buffy thought awkwardly. "Heh heh no fangs"

  "Buffy hi", he said awkwardly. "Um, how are y" Angel started. But Buffy was in his arms so quickly, he hardly had time to recover as she clutched at him and breathed in his cool, masculine scent.

  "I've dreamt of this dayfor so long so long" She wept into his shirt. And amazingly enough behind the cool fabric of his sweater, she could feel a steady heartbeat.

  Angel hugged Buffy back just as ferociously, letting his own pain of the past leak out into his tears as he kissed her neck and ran his hands through her smooth honey hair.

  "I love you, Angel I love you" Buffy mumbled as she pulled his lips down to hers in a crushing embrace.

  The first impact of his lips onto hers made Angel shiver involuntarily. Then again, he had been practically trembling ever since he had first felt her delicate form crash into his chest. He had very little time to look her over, but then again, she hadnt changed much. Even at 36 she still looked beautiful and innocent. She had grown more fleshy curvy, as she had matured. Her hair had become a more subtle blond color. More brunette with honey highlights, and she had cut it off so it just grazed her shoulders, but that was about it. She still had the same brilliant green eyes, and sweet lips. He didnt think too much after that, because he was too lost in her kisses.




  Later that night, after they lied breathless and pleasantly numb in each others arms, Buffy finally spoke.

  "How did you find me?"

  Angel smiled against the top of her hair." It was easy. I asked around about a beautiful blond with a radiant smile."

  Buffy giggled giggled. Something she hadn't done since she was 18 years old. "No, really. How did you find me?"

  Angel began tracing the curves of Buffys smooth lower back. "Well, I recently moved to Manhattan, and I was visiting the city when I saw you walking home from work one day."

  Buffy mock frowned up at him. "That's a little stalker-ish", she said. "Reminds me of the old days."

  Angel laughedreally laughed. "Yeah. Tell me about it."

  Buffy placed her hand over his beating heart and listened to it thump steadily against her palm before speaking again.


  "Hmm?" Angel asked sleepily.

  "We will well make it work this time right?"

  Angel's eyes softened and tears grew behind his eyes as he remembered the last time he had heard the exact words come out of her mouth.

  "Yes, love. We will. Because this time, I'm not letting you go You're staying with me" He said as he placed a soft kiss to the top of her head.


  They both sighed softly as they drifted off into a peaceful slumber.