Author: Dark Star
Written for the 2007 Blood Roses Advent Calendar
Summary: Forever is composed of nows. (Emily Dickinson)
"Sunnydale residents shouldn't expect to see the sun at all today. That cold front isn't going anywhere. With temperatures in the high 30s (about 3C), means you better bundle up if you're planning to go outside and enjoy the change in the weather."
The snow is slipping down the sides of her shoes and making her feet wet. Her clothes are sticking uncomfortably to her legs and her hands and face are bitterly cold.
But Buffy is happy. She holds hands with Angel, his large fingers caress her cold ones in an attempt to warm them; but he is alive. The sun never rose and instead, the snow came and he lived. She considers that miracle as they walk through the snow covered town centre. He had wanted to die and yet… he hadn't. There had been no warning of any cold front coming in, and yet… here it is. Part of her wonders if it is all just a coincidence, but another part wants it to be a miracle. Wants to believe that The Powers That Be need Angel to live. Why else would they bring him back? Maybe he is her gift? Her reward for the daily grind of fighting to keep others safe? If only he was always by her side, her destiny would be so much easier to handle if she could share it with him.
She looks up and sees him watching her. His expression is hard to read, but she thinks he looks more content than he has done for a long time. She wants to ask him if he is all right, for the millionth time, but she stops herself in time. For now, they are walking in silence, enjoying the simple pleasure of being outside together during the daylight hours.
Two small children run past, laughing, and a third pops up from behind the parked cars and throws snowballs at the others. The first child shrieks as the cold snow drops down her neck, and her friend mocks the aim of the attacking child when a snowball aimed at him misses by several feet.
Their laughter is infectious, and Buffy can't help but laugh at their antics. Even Angel has a small smile gracing his mouth, but his eyes return to settle on her and his scrutiny is making her feel uncomfortable.
She wants to show him her world - the one that is hidden from him by the dark, and she takes him to all of the places that he normally cannot go. Eventually, she can tell that he is becoming shell shocked by so much noise and activity and they walk back toward the mansion. Buffy puts her bags of shopping on the table, and starts pulling Christmas out of the bag. Angel has made no preparations for the festive season and Buffy wants him to take part in the experience; maybe he won't feel so apart if she can get him to feel the magic.
She has an artificial white tree that she gleefully places on his table, where she adds sparkly decorations and a white angel with specks on her dress. Her Angel is looking slightly bemused when she begins to add some holly and tinsel at various locations around his home.
"There!" she finally says triumphantly, adding the finishing touches to the holly wreath on his door, and he smiles in appreciation. "It's lovely," he says diplomatically, and she beams at him. It's worth filling his living space with the useless junk just to see her so happy. He never meant to hurt her earlier, and he can't quite believe how close he came to ruining everything. He's not sure that he believes that he can make amends for what he has done, but he is awed by her conviction that he can make a difference. Nobody has ever had such faith in him before, and he wants to believe that he matters. The snowfall's timing was impeccable, but it was coincidental, he knows that. There is no Higher Being rooting for him, there is only the Chosen One to do that.
The last item out of her bag is provided coyly. She holds a small sprig of mistletoe in her hand, and she isn't certain whether he will get the message. She looks… anxious, and Angel reaches across to take the greenery from her hand and holds it above her head. She looks up at him expectantly, and he hears the rhythm of her heart hasten; He lowers his head and intends to give her a quick peck on the lips, but somehow it turns into something that lasts for much longer and is much more pleasurable.
She curls against his chest and he pulls her close. He doesn't know what the future holds for them but they have now. This moment. For today, that is enough.
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