Angel's Reply

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Dawn,

Buffy was... I know you probably won't believe me, but I did and always will love your sister very much. Any good that I do in my life, I owe all of the credit to her. She made me see beyond the evil things that I had done, to find the person that I could be and not the demon that I was.

I loved her from the moment I saw her at Hemery High. I told her that once. I said that I could see her heart and I wanted to protect it with my own. But you know that, you read it too. I'm ashamed to admit that I wasn't able to protect her heart from me.

I only survived my time in hell by memories and thoughts of Buffy, of our time together. Visions of walking on a beach with her, holding her, were so vivid that I survived to fight another day. And, it was her love that brought me out of hell or at least I'll always think that. The spot where I returned was the same spot where Buffy placed the ring that I had given her. We never talked about what had happened - perhaps we should have - but neither of us wanted to relive that pain. Being together was enough - at least for me, for a while.

Do you really think it was easy for me to leave her? Especially after all that she had done for me? All that she had risked in saving my life? Every day until the day I left - no, even after I left - was hard. Being with her and yet not being with her was a torment to rival my experience in hell. Each day with Buffy brought me closer to peace and happiness; each day soothed the ache in my soul. I wanted her, desperately. Yet, it was a danger that I could not afford. I knew that it was too great of a risk for us to be together. Part of me had hoped to take the easy way out, hoping that I wouldn't survive the Mayor's ascension. I hated leaving her that night, but I knew it was the only way.

I always wanted more for Buffy than what I could give her. She deserved all the best that the world had to offer. In my guilt over all the horrible things that I had done in my life, especially those that I had inflicted on her, I felt that I would never be good enough. How could our life together not be stained by those events? I never knew until now that she forgave everything, that despite herself she continued to love me, both demon and man. I would have loved for Buffy to meet Connor, and I'm sorry now that I wasn't strong enough to call her. I wasn't sure she would understand and I wasn't sure I wanted to explain the weakness in me that had led me to Darla.

Buffy was an amazing person. She was beautiful and strong, sweet and caring. She could be vicious when hurt or cornered. In the few fights that we did have, she often struck back where she knew it would hurt the most. I understood her though. The connection that we had was rare, special. Yet so much had changed in both our lives. I'm sorry that we never found a way back to each other.

Dawn, I hope that you will the find love in your life like I had. I hope that you never reach a point where you settle for companionship and the warmth of another person's touch rather than risk your heart for love.

I have to live with the fact that I never had another chance to tell Buffy how much she meant to me, how much I missed her, how much I loved her. Knowing that she still loved me, that she was waiting for me it's a pain that I hope you never have to experience

Thank you for sending her journals to me. I'll treasure them always.

Angel

P.S Thanks for the warning about the new slayer I'll stay away from the hell mouth.

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