Gone But Not Forgotten
by Whistler's Girl
Rating: R

Disclaimer: I disclaim to own the creations of Joss. Or anything else for that matter.
Spoilers: References to `The Gift'.

I don't understand why I don't let myself forget her. Why I can't forget she ever existed. She left five months ago and still nothing else fills my mind. I don't know why I fell in love with her so hard, so fast; more so, I don't know how to get over her the same way.

When I first met Faith, it was like a breath of fresh air – no, not just that – she was a whirlwind of excitement, a tornado of intense destruction. Too bad I was too wrapped up in myself to care that what she had to offer was more than `I'm another Slayer – slay with me'.

After the whole Glory thing, when the guys brought me back, I knew there were some changes that had to be made – and the first one was Faith. I don't know why, but I knew that she was the number one priority on my list.

When Angel visited me he informed me that Faith had a get out of jail free card and was gonna be out on the prowl in just a few days. I headed straight on up to LA and waited at the hotel with Angel while Wesley picked up Faith from the prison. I couldn't stop shaking – I knew that even my presence here would effect my life from then on. I was never one to lack on the melodrama, I know.

But I was right. Not only did it change my life, it changed hers. When she laid her eyes upon me, the look on her face was priceless. I'll never forget it. Every raw emotion a human being can muster made a fleeting appearance across her face, and her eyes drew me to her like a vampire to warm blood. It felt so right when I took her in my arms and held her, and then the words escaped my throat. I told her I was sorry. That was all I said, it was all that needed to be said.

After all it was all my fault – I pushed her away, I drove her to work for the Mayor, I initiated her general jealousy of Angel, I stabbed her, I betrayed her, I refused to forgive her. And after all that – it turns out I'm the one who needed to be forgiven.

And she did it in a heartbeat. Without a second thought she returned the embrace and assured me that it was okay, that the slate was clean.

We brought out the best in each other after that and it was on Valentine's Day I told her I loved her. Cliché? Yes. Disastrous? No. It was requited in every possible way – and I still don't know whether it was purely natural, or if the Slayer connection instigated it. All I know is that it was real.

But now it's finished.

I believe that on the outside, I don't care; I've forgotten her. They don't see the pain I'm in because I won't let them. No matter how many times Angel asks me how I'm feeling, no matter how hard Willow hugs me – I'm not going to weigh them down with this – I've learnt that lesson, all it does is hurt them…and then it comes back at me. In front of them I stand as a brick wall would but inside I am a mess.

I can get on with my every day life, do everyday things and complete everyday conversations with everyday people, kill everyday demons.

My days are crowded with so many obstacles and haste, but somehow every little detail sparks up something inside my mind. If I see a book, I remember how much she liked to read beside the hearth and the way the flames of the fire would illuminate her porcelain skin and incredible dark eyes. If I pick up a cup, I remember how she'd make coffee and I'd warn her to be careful not to scold herself…she always would. If I walk passed a clothes shop, I remember the times we made love inside the changing rooms and ran out laughing at the alarmed expressions on the shop assistants faces.

Everything doesn't *remind* me of her.

She *is* everything.

I hold it all in while the sun shines, keeping myself busy with the waitressing, listening to other peoples problems until the night falls upon the city and then I throw myself upon our bed, crying myself to sleep. Only it is no longer *our* bed – she isn't here to share it with me; she isn't here for me to hold while we sleep; she isn't here.

I curl myself around Faith's pillow each night and close my eyes, remembering the scent of her hair and the taste of her skin. I can still hear the sound of her laugh echoing around my mind, and I can still see the sparkle in her eyes still reflects through my soul. I remember every detail of her face – the dimples in her cheeks when she grinned that mischievous grin of hers, the slight wrinkle of her brow when she was confused, the pout of her lips when she sulked.

Before she left, I never thought about what I made her feel, if she felt I loved her enough or if maybe I just loved her too much. I could never have loved her too much – if anything I never loved her *enough*.

Faith made me feel special, like the only person in the universe. If I was feeling lonely, all I ever needed was for her to look at me and I'd feel as though I had the whole world on my side. If I was feeling upset or sad, all I ever needed was just one smile from her and I felt like the happiest being in the world.

She was all I ever needed. She will be all I ever need.

We promised each other that we would never see a day without one another, that what we had would last forever and thereafter. I believed in that promise like a naïve child and she broke my heart and my world into a million pieces, too many pieces to be placed back together. A part of me believes that she will one day return to me. One day soon, I'll open the door to our apartment to find Faith standing there. She'll look straight into me with those mesmerising brown eyes and I'll take her into my arms, not caring about the tears that fall.

That part of me will never be anything but naïve.

The other part knows Faith will never come back. She' s gone and that's that. When she left, she left for good.

I still remember the way her body trembled as her embrace enveloped me for the last time, the tightness of her chest when she tried to restrain the sobs, the quiver of her lips as she kissed my forehead, the candle that went out inside her eyes when she whispered goodbye, the glistening tears that fell down her cheeks as she turned away. True love is a curse in my life – a short, fleeting curse.

And no doubt it's all my fault.

...continued in The Right Place To Stay...