Here I stand head in hand
turn my face to the wall
If she's gone I can't go on
feeling two foot small
Everywhere people stare
each and every day
I can see them laugh at me
and I hear them say
Hey, you've got to hide your love away.
-You've Got to Hide your Love Away
So this is what it feels like to have your heart ripped out. I thought I had felt real pain, as searing and vivid as pain could be, tearing at me when she kissed me good-bye at the Bronze, when she left me with a cross shaped burn to remember her by. But that pain was nothing, because I still had hope. I knew real pain when I felt that sword she held go through me, when she pinned me to Acathla, when she sent me to hell. I hurt for a hundred years. I thought that nothing could hurt worse than that. I was wrong. I was so very wrong. She sent me to hell to save the world, and even when she ran me through I knew she did it for a reason. I trusted her, though I could not understand.
But this. This time I'm sure the pain can never be worse. This time it's so real I can taste it, and it hurts so much I want to scream. This time I truly understand how badly love can burn, how deeply it can slash when it's not enough to make her stay.
"I'm not coming back."
This time I find it hard to hope because I've had my chances. I've had more chances than I have a right to. I knew my luck would run out eventually. It has. When we denied our love the first time, she told me she would see me around. This time it's different. She's said that she's going, and this time she means it. She's not going to see me around. She's not going to see me at all.
She said it calmly, like it didn't matter. She said it the way she would have said, "See you next week." It took me a moment to understand her words because she spoke so naturally, so uninvolved. At first I thought I had heard her wrong.
God, I wish I had heard her wrong.
I know she was being strong. I know she wasn't uneffected. She hurt too. It was in the way her eyes were pleading with me to understand that she did love me. She told me with those eyes that she did it because she had to, not because she wanted to. But it stung. It still does.
She's right. I know she's right. We are lovers. We used to be both friends and lovers, but we can never take the lover part out of the equation. I know she's right because every time she's close to me I tremble with the desire to kiss her, to touch her in any small way. To twist my fingers in her hair, or hold her hand, or hug her, or just brush my hand against her in passing. I want her in my arms. I want to smell her sweet scent. I want to feel her near me.
She helps me stand when I'm weak, and I feel myself shiver. I long for that touch, a touch that tells me she still cares. She still wants to help me. She still... We can never be friends.
We only had that one slip up. That one kiss. That kiss we both said was a mistake, but I know it shook her as deeply as it shook me. I know in that one moment, everything was the way it had been. Hell, sword, Acathla. None of that mattered. Nothing ever mattered but us when we kissed.
I would give anything to kiss her again. And again. To be able to enfold her in my arms and draw her close and meet her lips with mine.
I wouldn't have done it though. I would have hidden my desire from her. I could have. I swear it. I've controlled my demons for so many years; I could have controlled my passions too. If it meant that I could still see her, still hear her voice, I would never have touched her again.
For all my words and resolve I don't know. I can never be sure, and that's why she was right.
I am so weak. It's my own fault that she's left. My resolve is nothing when it comes to her. The first time we denied our love, we reneged that decision. This time, who's to say it wouldn't have happened again? She was right to go.
My mind is telling me she did the right thing for both of us. But my heart is screaming so loudly, that I can't hear the rational thoughts trying to reassure me. I hurt too much. Because I don't think I can do this. I don't think I can live without her. She is my link to sanity. She is my reason for fighting. She is everything to me. And if I can't even see her, how can I survive?
I wonder if she feels the same. She wouldn't have done this if she did.
Maybe she doesn't love me anymore.
Maybe she just wanted to get rid of me.
Maybe the sight of me disgusts her.
I did something horrible I know. I can't remember it all, and we never talk about it. But I know I did something. I called Acathla; I made her send me to hell. I hurt people. Giles. I don't remember how. I don't want to remember.
But I know that's not why she did it. I know she still loves me. She has to. I heard it in her voice when she told me that she could never have what she wants from me. She wants more than friendship, just as I do. But there's so much between us now. Too much. And I can't give her happiness. I can love her with so much of me that I have nothing left without her, but I can't give that love to her. I can't tell her, or show her, or touch her.
I could have kept her with me. I would have been able to see her at least, if I had done what she asked.
"Tell me you don't love me."
I tried to. I did. Because I knew I was losing her. I knew if I didn't say it she would walk out the door, and that was something I could not handle. I really did try. But I couldn't. I just could not say it because more than anything in my life it is not true. My love for her is what my life is built on. I couldn't deny it.
So I lost her. She's gone, and it's my fault. And it's her fault. And it's no one's fault. And I hurt. And without her, I always will.
I don't know what to do. I can't just not see her. Yet I have to respect her wishes. She's made a decision, and I hate it. But I have no right to intrude on her when she's told me not to. If I see her on patrol, I'll walk the other way. I won't seek her at the Bronze, or go by her house. I know she won't come here again. I'll do what she asks.
But I'll never stop loving her, and everywhere I go I'll look for her. And if I do happen to see her, I'll let myself drink in the sight of her. I'll allow myself that luxury, to stare at the way her hair drifts in the wind, the way she walks with authority, the way she smiles. I'll let myself look, let love burn me again, and live for her even if she never speaks to me again.
How can I even try
I can never win
Hearing them, seeing them
In the state I'm in
How could she say to me
Love will find a way
Gather round all you clowns
let me hear you say
Hey you've got to hide your love away