Title: Hope Enough
It had been so easy to love her last year.
She’d been vibrant and alive, despite grief that lined her face, despite worry that sharpened her tongue, and despite the hopelessness that dimmed the light in her eyes. He’d seen her at her best, and had thought that losing her mother and having her sister threatened had been her worst.
He’d been so very wrong.
Compared to this, last year’s lines had been the delicate tracings of maturity, last year’s sharp tongue had been gentle admonishments and last year’s dim eyes had glowed with fire and passion.
Now he saw true despair in every contour of her body. Now he saw surrender in every hesitation and misery in every stumble.
He saw her wish for death.
And despite all that, he still loved her.
Last year’s love seemed pale and insipid compared to how he loved her now. Last year it had been too easy to be real. So easy, though it felt hard enough at the time. She’d been strong then, strong enough to keep him at arms length. Strong enough to force him to worship her from afar, which had been his preferred courting method even when he’d been a proper and pasty Victorian gentleman. Her hard words had seemed to pierce his non-existent soul, but what damage could words really do? He’d suffered far worse at Drusilla’s side, bled from real wounds at Darla and Angelus’ hands.
But to still love this pale shadow of a woman? To still fall at her feet when she looked like a victim? She should rouse his every predatory instinct, should make him a slavering beast.
Instead he panted after her like a loyal dog. Instead he was ready to throw himself between her and danger, to sacrifice himself for love of her.
In the end, her death wish would win out. Even the undead couldn’t fight that. But for now, he’d revel in this madness, this dark and difficult love for this dark and difficult woman.
For now, he’d have hope enough for both of them.
Originally posted at http://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/422770.html