SUMMARY: Buffy POV after "Sanctuary."
NOTE: I actually didn't agree at all with how Buffy was acting in the episode, but this is my attempt to explain it.
CONTENT: B/A angst
DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon, the WB and Fox own this stuff. I'm just the person who cries over it.
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Who'll hurt each other all the time
and never give it a thought?
Who'll lie about where they've been
and hope they never get caught?
Who'll say each other's kisses
no longer thrill?
- Bonnie Raitt
* * * * * *
by: Rebecca Carefoot
He hit me.
I can't believe he hit me. He's hit me before, when we were sparring; but that was different. That was play; there was no anger there. He hit me when he lost his soul. More than once. But that was different because I knew it wasn't really him. He hit me when he came back from hell. But that was different because he was changed, an animal.
This. This was something else. This was anger, rage, hatred, unleashed on me. On purpose, rational. It was the Angel I love, not clouded by demon or beast. It was my Angel, and he hit me in the face. He split my lip.
I know I hit him first, so I guess I deserved it. But at the time, all I could think through the shock was that he really hit me for the first time. I never thought he would raise his fist to me like that, not in that way, not with that force. And the worst part was he did it for her. He's supposed to love me, but he punched me in the face for Faith.
We were fighting about her, about whether she can be redeemed, about whether her soul can be saved. And I know he wants so much to redeem her, like he wanted someone to help redeem him. But the truth is that as much as Faith has done and as much as she is to me, and as much as I truly can't forgive her for the things she's done to me, and to him, this wasn't about her soul. Not for me. I don't care if she finds her peace or not, if it's another trick or not. What I do care about is him, and him and me, and him without me, and him and her. And him. What hurt me wasn't that he didn't listen to me, or that he disagreed with me about Faith. What hurt was that he cared more about her than about me.
I believe him when he says they aren't a couple. But it doesn't really matter whether they're together or not. He picked her over me. He chose her.
I can't even begin to describe how much that hurt.
Or how angry it made me.
And then to know that he must have trusted the blonde detective, Lockley, enough to tell her who he really is. That secret, the fact that he's a vampire, was something I had to find out by accident. That was something he didn't even trust me with. But he trusts her?
This isn't how things are supposed to be.
We're supposed to have a connection that no one else can touch. He's supposed to love me more than anyone else. No matter what. He told me I was the only one he had ever loved. But all of a sudden I feel like that doesn't mean anything anymore. I can't count on him choosing me, or trusting me, or loving me. I feel like he's slipping farther and farther away.
And does it even matter to him?
Pain, rage, pain. Damn him for not caring, for hurting me so badly without even trying.
I wanted to yell and fight and scream and pound. I wanted to beat him with my fists until he felt the way I did.
But there's more than one way to hurt.
So I told him about Riley. I told him I love someone else. I told him I can trust Riley; I know Riley. I threw it in his face that I did exactly what he told me to. I found a guy who can make love to me and take me into the light. I found a guy as empty of shadow and dark as Angel is full of those things. I spat those words at him because I wanted to bring him low. I wanted him to feel sorry for leaving me. I wanted him to feel worthless; to feel like I didn't care anymore. I wanted him to feel that what we had together, all the things we shared, was nothing.
I wanted him to hurt as much as he hurt me.
Seeing the pain flare in his eyes, hearing him pound the wall with his fists in frustration after I left, all it did was make me hurt worse. Hurting him hurts me, even when I'm the one to do it. Because no matter what's happened since, what we shared is not nothing, it can never be nothing.
And I can't stop loving him.
Why does love between us always have to hurt? Why do we hurt each other worse than anyone else can?
I can't explain it. I can't defend it. I know now that it was the wrong thing to do, that he doesn't deserve any of the things I said to him. I am a selfish little bitch for wanting his life to stop without me, when I've made sure that mine goes on. I'm a horrible person, and I know that, and I hate myself for it.
And if I had it to do over, I'd probably do it again. Because I needed to see him flinch. For my own selfish reasons, I had to know that I could still make him hurt. I had to prove to myself that he still cared.
Because I still care.
And I still hurt.
And I can't be the only one.