Love You (Enough To Leave You)
by Whistler's Girl
Rating: R

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

Why Buffy has to be so beautiful is a question that will never be answered. Why I have to be so in love with her is a question that can never be answered. She is sitting on the edge of our bed, the left side, my side. She's waiting for me to tell her, to tell her what I'm thinking, what I'm planning. Fuck knows I haven't the courage inside me to say the words.

I walk over to the closet and remove my leather jacket, slipping my arms through the sleeves as soon as the item of clothing is in my hands. I crouch down enough to pick up my back pack from the closet floor and pull it slowly, painfully over my shoulder.

They basically kicked my well behaved ass out of jail and the first face I saw outside the prison walls was Wesley's. It woulda been Angel's face, but the sun was out and I think he must've sensed I didn't want to be greeted by a pile of dust. But when I got to the hotel and found him waiting for me, I gave him the biggest, longest hug. I don't think I've ever felt safer.

Then I saw her. B. Blonde hair shining, eyes wide, just standing there. Shit, I've never felt so sick in my life. You see, I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to B – problem is, I cover it. Always have, and I thought I always would. I knew things weren't going to be good between us until I said sorry, and as far as B was concerned, she couldn't give a flying fuck whether I did or not – although she did threaten to pummel me if I said the `s' word.

So I guess you can imagine how shocked I was when she approached *me*, wrapped her arms around *me*, and then she apologised…to *me*. That's right. Whispered the `s' word next to my ear and squeezed me tight. It was then I was relying on her strength to hold me up, coz my knees were on the verge of buckling.

Turns out she died, too. Go figure. That's twice now, unless she's forgotten to mention any other times she's been pushing up the daisies. Sacrificed her life to save the world and her sisters life; it's a heartbreaking story, and she doesn't really like to talk about it. All that matters is she's walking around and has a heartbeat - took a little – well, okay, a *lot* of wicked powerful voodoo-witchy stuff to bring her back, though.

It wasn't long after the reunion that we got it together. Angel and the gang warned her not to fuck around with me and my emotions, and then they warned me not to put up with any of her shit. They realised that we were gonna be five by five when they saw the effect we had on each other. I shook her out of her depression, and she dragged me out of me – kicking and screaming on occasions.

I remember the looks on the Scoobies faces when we told them – especially Xander's. It wasn't so much disgust or disappointment, more along the lines of `somebody hand me a Kleenex'.

It wasn't easy getting back with the crew, believe me. But B and me, we coped. We didn't care because as long as she had me and vice versa, it was cool. Everything was cool.

But now I know it's wrong. This whole year we've been together has been bliss but it's been wrong. We've been living in an apartment in LA for the past six months and everything's been amazing; waking up to her every morning, her arm draped across my stomach, her hair spilling across my shoulder; meeting her after she's finished work, making love to her when we get home …it's all been so intense. But I can't stay here, not with her. Not in LA. I'm holding her back.

Fuck, I mean B is an underpaid, over-slaved waitress – a *waitress* when she can be so much more. Dammit – she *is* so much more. I've just come to the conclusion that I'm too fucking greedy for my own good – I want her, but I want what's best for her too. And I'm not good for her.

I've been thinking about this for weeks. It was only two nights ago I sat down with the Dark Avenger himself and spilled my guts out to him. Told him everything that was going through my head, my heart. He told me it was a decision I had to make on my own, but whatever I chose to do he promised to stand by me all the way.

B asks what's going on, the tone in her voice mirroring her naïve and innocent nature. Its heart breaking to hear the uncertain quiver within each word that is said. It hurts me to turn around, to face her and look into those endearing hazel green eyes of hers. It hurts to know that I'm going to destroy her with what I'm about to do; for this past year, her whole life has been planned around me, she has changed her dreams for me, given up almost everything but I have no choice in this matter.

I finally force myself to turn approach her. I look at her, but no words are needed to be said to explain everything. I see the world in her eyes shatter, the light involuntarily go out. The pain starts to seep from her eyes as stomach wrenching sobs wrack through her fragile structure. She shakes her head, pleading me with her eyes. I refuse to see the spark of hope that ignites within the hazel green shade of heaven. My first and foremost instinct is to gather her up into an embrace like I usually would do when she is upset, but I cannot find the spirit within me to do so. And yet, I can't stop the tears that have stung my eyes from falling. Fucking wuss.

I start shuffling towards her and I crouch down in front of her, reaching up to touch her chin and tip her head back gently. Her eyes are red and exude such intense pain I'm afraid of breaking into a million pieces. Just one glance from B can shatter me. I explain to her I have to do this, this is no longer my place. She stares at me, intent on destroying my resolve, focused on melting the ice. I tell her I don't have a choice, and that I can't do anything but leave her behind. That's when she slaps me and pushes me away from her.

B stands up and walks over to the window, staring out at the world that no longer wants us together. The City of Angels; her lights brighten up the darkness, though never truly hides the hurt she causes so many, so much. A shadow of hell and shade of heaven that is over come by passionate sorrow and torture that will eventually consume all Los Angeles dwellers. Soul Boy's rubbed off on me when it comes to waxing poetry – sickening, ain't it?

I slowly get up, dropping my bag onto the feather soft mattress of our bed and draw near her, standing behind her, peering at the city down below along with her. Another sob shakes through her and I feel it too. I tell her that my heart will never stop bleeding for her once I walk out of the door, that she is the only presence in this rapidly dying world that has kept me alive for all twenty one years I've existed. That I would love nothing more than to be with her and love her.

Her voice is quiet when she tells me I still can, but I remind her I've made a decision that is too late to change. I step closer to her and tentatively circle my arms around her waist; she leans back against me, her head falling back against my shoulder. I rest my cheek against her soft blonde hair, inhaling the coconut scent that comes from her in waves. I relish this feeling, I savour it, I memorise it for those cold and lonely sleepless nights that await me – something to remember, to believe in, to dream of.

B turns her head slightly, her face buried against my neck. Her tears continue to fall. I never wanted this to hurt so much, to be so heart shattering. I thought I could be strong, y'know? Puff out and blow out and let everything be over and done with – I even practised the speech in the mirror and everything, but I fucked that up the second I looked at her.

Still, I can't let myself give in to this aching, I won't. I tell her I have to go and she turns around, throwing her arms around me. She sobs painfully hard, clutching the back of my jacket helplessly tight as her grief refuses to cease, her fingernails embedding themselves into the leather.

"Please B, you gotta let me go. Let me go."

I try to swallow down the mounting lump that's lodged firmly within my throat, but to no avail.

Why does it have to hurt?

Gently, slowly I pry her away from me. I cup her face and carefully place a shaky kiss on her cheek and then on her forehead as I fight the urge to break down in tears. I can't look at her as I turn around and approach the bed. I grab my bag and pull it over my shoulder as I walk briskly towards the door. I open the door, too afraid to look back, too afraid to do anything than walk on ahead. I'm holding my breath as I exit the room.

Walking down the corridor, I can still hear her sobs in the back of my mind, her beseeching words. I can still taste the salt from her tears on my lips and smell the coconut shampoo from her hair. I can still feel her touch.

I miss her already.

...continued in Gone But Not Forgotten...