[continued from here]"...Knox was one of Illyria's acolytes and had ordained you to be the one to become her, he said, because he wanted someone as majestic as you to be the vessel for Illyria to return. His plans met a snag in customs when the sarcophagus that infected you, was held there, only it was released by someone who made a deal for it to be released so that he wouldn't lose all of his knowledge, so that he could get an upgrade. One, Charles Gunn, whom I stabbed for his part in it..."
For the longest time I didn't say anything at all. So much had happened, so many things that shouldn't have... but then again, that was always the case with us. Our lives were full of what ifs, what shouldn't have been, and what could have been. Occupational hazard. I think Cordelia had been the one to say that once. But we all knew the consequences of the battles that we chose to fight.
I tried to read the expression on his face but I couldn't, there were too many emotions mixed in that it was hard to pick one that would stand out. He patiently waits for my reaction, waits as he always does. Maybe it's a sad look that covers his face- or the look of angst, or the look of happiness mixed in with awe and pain and love. As I let his words simmer into my brain I began to realize that his whole life has been about waiting. Waiting for me, for my love... Waiting for the apocalypse to come, waiting for prophecies to come to pass, waiting to become what his father wanted him to be... simply waiting, watching. But that was just my observation.
I had been dead a while and while in hell I had come to accept certain things. What else was there other than acceptance? It was too difficult to simply go on in death thinking about the past. Too hard to think about him and everything that I would get to miss. But, I guess, love always finds a way.
Finally, I broke the silence that had fallen between us. It had been only a whisper but I was sure he had heard it. "So much for being a bookman. Hmm... Death, pain, weaknesses, forgiveness... what a cruel, cruel world."
He was about to say something else, but I put my fingers to his lips, and leaned in to kiss him. I would never get tired of doing that. I tried to think about what I wanted to say and finally after taking an unneeded breath of hell's air, out of habit more than anything, I was finally able to get the words out.
"Time here seems to go on forever sometimes. And the darkness seems to just consume everything it touches," I took his hand and began to caress it as I spoke. "For the longest time I thought I would simply go crazy, thinking about the past, and what could have been… what should have been. All the things I didn’t get to do. All my friends, my parents, the mission... you."
I took another breath and continued, " I had played this very moment in my mind many times over. I had imagined what I would say should I be so lucky to find you again in this- this life after death. For months and months I toyed with the idea of 'what if', but never truly believed in it. Not until now... this very moment. After getting over the fact that my death had been unfair, and that I should be there with you until the end of all things, I came to realize that all I really wanted for you to do was to live. To be happy. To try
, and just be happy, even if it was without me. Guess things never quite work out that way for some of us. Huh..."
I leaned my head against his shoulder and I knew he wanted to say something, but I needed to get this out, I needed to let him know… what it had been like for me. "Don’t... let me finish," I whispered softly.
"For a long time I wouldn't let myself accept what had happened, but then I began to realize that I had to let go. I realized that as untimely and unjust as my death had been I had to move on. I couldn't simply hold on to empty dreams that would just destroy me in the end... This place... it can get to you some times. But now- now we have an eternity to make up for lost time, an eternity to take back what we had lost."
I thought again about all that had transpired in my absence. About this Illyria. My death had been my mistake more than anything. I should have been more careful I should have known. I also thought about Charles... I thought about Angel and Spike, Lorne... Still my friends, still the people that loved, but they were out there, in a different place. They had to carry on with the mission.
I looked up at him again, and caressed his face, ran my fingers through his hair. So soft as always, so thick and full. No more sadness, no more pain, just us. A second chance. "I guess the beast swallowed us whole and was able to digest us after all," A pause. "So much for working from inside the belly of the beast. " I said smiling. "At least you guys gave it the worst indigestion ever..."