Entranced, he watches her as she regales him tales from her latest conquest at the mall; the topic didn't interest him as much as her expressions did, and years later it will be her soft smile in response to his appropriately-timed laughter that comes naturally to his mind when he tries to recall that specific moment.
What do you get a vampire for his birthday? is her dilemma for the past week, but at the last moment she settles on a baby album about his miracle son and feels elation and relief at the way he stutters at her when he opens her present.
His dimly-lit room is a mess of scattered art and he sits at the very middle of it, ruminating on whether or not his strokes are able to catch her indomitable spirit on paper.
She stands her ground at the face of his blatant disrespect of their boundaries, unflinching even as she watches the wary movement of his mouth and the ugly glint of something undefinable, unrecognizable, in his eyes.
(i don't even know who you are anymore.)
He closes his eyes in the midst of blinding light; spots dance along his vision but slowly, slowly, they form into her face and it's bare and dirty and above his and he thinks, not for the first time in his unlife, that it's the most beautiful face he's ever seen.
(it's either a bachelor party or a scam.)
She takes an unhealthy obsession with his taste buds and experiments on what other things she can add to his blood to make it more palatable; she settles on whipped cream with nuts and drizzled chocolate and mildly detests the panic on his face when she shows him her latest creation.
There's hesitation in her steps as she walks and he takes in her pained expression despite her efforts to hide it; without giving her a chance to argue he lifts her off her feet and into his arms and in response she demands to be put down immediately, you moron.
(i just need some protein in me and then i'll be good as new.)
She watches him from her designated seat in the higher planes and vows to help him however she can; she doesn't have to burden herself with him because she's beyond all things mortal now - beyond him, even - but she does anyway.
(i'll be with you until you do.)
Her picture sits untouched atop his executive table; most of the time it's facing the wall as he can't bear to look at it - look at her - since he's an excruciating reminder of how much a failure he is now that he's without a guide--
He inhales brokenly and she tries to soothe his pain away through her touch; later, as he lies sleeping on his bed with the gunshot wound on his torso cleaned and covered, she thinks she's succeeded - somewhat.
Bound and chained, she howls in deep pain and cries openly and curses at him as he mouths the re-ensoulment spell right back at her; at the same time his mind and heart is chanting please work please work please work--
(i need you back.)
She smiles gamely at their newest client before turning that same look at him; her expression, however, is somewhat made dimmer by the look in her eyes that plainly tells him, screw this up and I'll stake you dead.
The hellbeast has yet to breathe its last by the time he forcibly pulls his ax out of its skull; he tells his companions I'll go check on Cordy and leaves without waiting for a response.
She fidgets, unsure of her place, as she finds herself in the midst of the vampire and the Slayer; she remembers saying something sharp and biting before bolting the hell out of their daytime soap encounter, not wanting to be a witness to their never-ending drama, thank you.
The towel hangs on his finger and he stands at the middle of her room, not knowing what to do with it, until she opens her bathroom door and demands that he hand it over.
She breathes hard and fast and glares at him with all she's worth; he taunts her repeatedly and in response she lets her right hook fly and it hits him square on the nose, the bone giving way to her assault.
(i'm a vampire. you can't hurt me.)
Her mouth is hot and warm and blood pulses under her flushed skin and he savors her taste, savors her, like he hasn't allowed himself to, before - like he hasn't dared to, before.
(i'm only alive when you're inside me.)
He tells her he's going to Tibet and she nods, expecting his need for escape; what she didn't expect is the hollowness in her chest the very day he leaves them all behind without saying goodbye or even an assurance of when he'll be back.
Three months after she dies, he finds a floral blouse in his closet and it's hers, it's hers, and suddenly he's on the floor, clutching the old clothing to his chest, breathing her name like a prayer.
(i am lost without you.)
She bursts into his darkness with a radiant smile on her lips and, without care for his need for silence or privacy, shoves the client's check (their first) right into his face, all the while proclaiming now you can pay me!
He hovers behind her as she curls into herself after a particularly nasty vision; something in his soul snaps as she sobs brokenly and turns to him and there's no hesitation in his arms when he embraces her.
(you know how they look painful? well, they feel a whole lot worse!)
She knows it's her time to go; still she clutches his face, his arms, trying her best to hold on to him for as long as she can, knowing that she can never touch him again - and that this memory will be her souvenir for all eternity.
The coffee cup in his hand shakes and he glares balefully at it; who can even imagine him, The Scourge of Europe, buying coffee for his former employee and certified pain in his ass--
(man, atonement's a bitch.)
Her teeth draws blood from her lip, but she presses on - she pulls and hears a distinct popping sound before catching him when he sways towards her, his brows slick with sweat and his eyes glassy from the pain of having his dislocated arm re-set.
#25 Yin Yang
She holds his hand and resolutely pulls him with her to the dance floor; he feels out-of-place and uncomfortable until she starts swaying against him and despite everything - despite himself - he feels his body grow warm.
One day, after so many decades, he walks alone along a busy street, head bent down and his hands tucked in his pockets. He draws comfort from the sound of beating hearts all around him, knowing his sacrifice meant that all these souls will have lived another day, month, year--
--someone bumps into him rather forcefully, and automatically he mutters, "Sorry."
"That's it? That's all you're going to say?"
He looks up and blinks and stares dumbly at her.
She offers him a smile that borders on being shy. "Hey, you. I'll say 'long time no see' but I don't want to sink into your level of doofusness. Can I get a hug, though?"
--Like she even needs to ask.