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Just the Lonely Talking Again

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The tape was still in the VCR, cued up to the scene that she had played over and over, as if searching for some secret in its depths, and the scent of her perfume still lingered in the room and on the bedspread where she had sat. He could still feel the warmth of her lips on his, her body pressed against his, as he held her in his arms. It lingered there - like a ghost.

The others were out getting a drink, celebrating a success, together, happy to be alive. They didn't know what was to come, or the price that had been paid to give the warning that might save some of them. Angel knew they couldn't all be saved. He never could save them all, especially not the ones that he loved.

He knew that if he pressed play, fast forwarded just a bit, he could see her again - bright, shiny, happy. Before she loved him, before he had loved her, and before they had paid the price for that gamble at happiness, she was still Cordelia. He could see her face, hear her voice, but he knew he wouldn't do it. Instead, he would take the tape out of the VCR and carefully pack it away. Maybe, he'd take it back to the Hyperion and slip it into the room that held the rest of her things, and never look at it again. He didn't need this poor reflection of the girl she had been to remember the woman he would see every time that he closed his eyes.

He knew that he didn't deserve true happiness, beyond even the curse that denied it to him, but his soul was still human enough to wish for it, and to treasure the moments that it did find in the darkness. That's what he did now. As the others celebrated their ignorance, he lay down on his bed, in the quiet dark of his room, and breathed in the lingering scent of his love, his friend, remembering the echoing thud of her heart and the tone of her laughter. If stolen moments were all that he was allowed, he would make the most of them.

Tomorrow was a new day - a day to set aside the past and prepare for the future. Tomorrow, he would make the most of her gift, and banish his grief beneath his desire for justice, steeling his heart for battle. Tonight, he just wanted to remember a time when he wasn't alone.

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