"Just forget it. Forget it all ever happened. Have that normal life." Those were her words. But it was his wish and she knew it.
Five minutes after the universe went dark, just stopped for a moment. Five minutes after they stopped the world from ending. Five minutes after the pungent, slick blood stopped coating Los Angeles streets.
Five minutes after he became human.
"Buffy..." he said her name. Her name had always contained his universe.
"No no, Angel. I can't. You wanted the sunlight for me. But you really wanted it for yourself. I don't do sunlight. I'm a Slayer. Always was and always will be. I can't walk out of the dark. I can't sleep while things go bump in the night and others risk their life to stop them. I can't. But you should." She paused, rubbing at an impossibly glossy-red streak on her cheek. "Watch the sunrise, Angel. Go to the beach, Angel. Get a suntan, Angel. Live, Angel. Live. Angel." She repeated his name as if it was the last time she'd be able to say it. Maybe it was. All she knew was it cut her. Like a dull blade dragging through her innards, propelled by force rather than the point-thin sharpness it should have.
"Buffy," he said and it was his prayer. The sun was coming up. The sunrise she was talking about, it was happening.
"Go, Angel." She didn't know she was crying, didn't realize that crystalline drops of salted water were smearing the perfect warrior paint on her face.
"Are you cookies, Buffy?" he asked urgently and didn't notice his own hand straining upward, just dying, absolutely dying because he could die now, to wipe those tears away. To clean off the dirt and blood and demon guts that so precisely marked her skin.
"I... Yeah, I'm fucking cookies. Fucking chocolate chip perfectly golden chewy-soft cookies. Yeah, okay." And that was that because she just couldn't lie to him. Not look in his eyes and lie.
"Buffy," he prayed and let his hand do what it wanted because dammit he could die now. His fingertips brushed her cheek, soft and sticky. Fucking cookies...
"No, Angel, please no nono," she whimpered. But she didn't move.
“I dream of you, you know," he said, his espresso-brown gaze tender and unyielding. "Every night, I close my eyes and you’re burned into my eyelids. I hear your voice, soft and encompassing, as you laugh at me, blowing me kisses from the tips of your delicate fingers. Your eyes light up the darkness, and I can see your body thrown into a relief of chiaro-scuro. The swell of your hips. The hollow at your throat. The curve of your calf. The shadow behind your knee. Little pieces of you that are easier to watch than remembering the sum of your heart-breaking parts. And you know what else? I can’t stop. I can’t forget. Even if we had never met, my soul would know. My soul would scream for you in the dizzying cold that missing you thrusts me into.”
"Angel," her voice was a mere breath.
"Buffy," he replied and one word said everything he forgot to mention. Which was everything. And nothing. The sunlight gilded her hair, the messy disarray sanctifying her in a halo of glimmering haze. She was no celestial being. She just looked like one. And had that heart.
She didn't remember the Lost Day. If she did, she would know that the faint auburn highlights in his hair amazed her the first time too. And his too-pale complexion didn't matter beside the bright glow of his smile.
It started that way, the stories tell. With his name. And her name. Both written in the stars.
And it ended that way. His name. Her name. And a kiss.