after.midnight // v.naked TITLE: The Absence of Memory
AUTHOR: Tamara
EMAIL: tamara@bitchenvy.com
RATING: PG
DISTRIBUTION: My place. Want it? Mail me.
SUMMARY: 'When one loses sight of their purpose, loving that which gave them purpose is nigh on impossible' Thanks to Scynneh for providing the right words.
DISCLAIMER: Angel belongs to Joss.

=============================

He can remember when loving her was easy, when nothing mattered more to him than they way he felt about her.  He remembers living every night to see her, to listen to her voice as she talked about her day, to watch the love blossom in her eyes when she looked at him, to feel the warmth of her skin, and taste the sweetness of her kiss.  She was everything to him, the sun, the moon, and the stars; the brightest, most beautiful being in his life.

When he's alone in his room, sitting in his favorite chair, thinking about times long past, he can hardly believe that he, a two hundred year old vampire who had seen and done everything, had been so innocent.  He'd been so deeply in love that he'd forgotten everything, what he was and everything that he had done.  So deeply in love that he thought it would last forever, that he would spend the rest of his life with his Slayer by his side and live happily ever after. So deeply in love that he'd forgotten that life was rarely fair, even to those who deserved nothing but happiness, and that dreams never came true.

He remembers when loving her was easy, when being with her chased the darkness away, giving him glimpses of sunshine he thought he'd been forever denied.  He remembers living every night just for her, to keep her safe from harm, to be there when she needed the understanding and love that only he could provide.  She was everything to him, the blood in his veins and the beating of his heart; the part of him that was alive and good and perfect.

When he goes about his day, saving the souls of people just as lost and alone as he, he sees things that remind him of her and the good times they shared.  Her favorite ice cream sits unopened in his freezer, waiting for the impossible to happen one more time, only this time forever.  The flower shop on the corner sells her favorite flower, the ones she'd pointed out to him one night as they walked the quiet, deceptively peaceful streets of Sunnydale.  And sometimes, when the loneliness becomes too much, he goes to the beach and watches the tide roll in, guided by the pull of the moon, and he remembers sitting there with the sun shining down on them, holding her in his arms, finally at peace after so very long.

He remembers when loving her was easy, when she was the most important thing in his life.  He remembers living his life to please her, hiding all of his pain and heartache to help ease the burden of hers.  He can remember wiping away her tears when the ones she loved betrayed her, fading away to the farthest reaches of her life so that she could be the normal girl she'd always wanted to be.  He loved her more than he'd ever loved himself, and when she pushed him away, time and time again, he gave her the space that she needed, even though being apart from her hurt him more than anything.

When he sees her now, on those rare occasions when their duty to the world overshadows the pain of their past, he's reminded of how their love turned to indifference, when the passion they shared faded away to nothing.  He can still recall every angry word they'd ever spoken, every time she'd ever deliberately hurt him.  Their last conversation is still fresh in his mind, the absolutely certainty in her voice as she told him that maybe she had never really loved him at all. He will always remember the emptiness he felt that night when he looked at her, the girl he thought he'd love forever.

He remembers when loving her was easy, when loving her was the one thing he knew he'd done right.  He can remember living each and every day, thankful that he had been granted the gift of her, even for so short a time, grateful that she had found something within him worthy of her love. He remembers when loving her gave him strength, when loving her was all he had.

He can't remember how to love her anymore.