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Chapter Eight

Dreamin' of You

I don't have a clue what time it is. Well, I know it's night because it's dark out and I'm back from patrol, so I guess that's a pretty big tip off. I'm just laying in bed, waiting for my heart to stop pounding, which experience tells me is not gonna be for a while. I wish I had some cigarettes, but I smoked my last one before I fell asleep. Whatever, I got other means to settle myself down.

I grab the half empty bottle – and yeah, that's exactly how I see it -- from the nightstand, and take a couple big gulps which almost choke me since I barely lift my head from the pillow. A little trickles down the side of my chin, but not much, which is good since I can't afford to waste any. It's my last bottle because I decided like a dipshit to cut back a little, but I made that decision in the daylight like idiots always do.

I could go out, there's a liquor store three blocks down that's open 24/7, and yeah, I don't know why they don't just stick a bull's-eye on their front door. But their love for rollin' the dice has come in wicked handy for me way more than once. Just not tonight.

Because tonight I'm way too fucked up to get dressed and head out again. I'm still shaking and I'm nowhere near being able to throw it off. I can still taste her, can still feel her skin against mine, her breath blowing along the side of my face. I can still feel her hands, her grip tight as she pulls me where she wants me, then sends me to heaven like she owns me. I can still see her smile when I came, can still feel every bit of her as she slid back up, her eyes so beautiful as they looked into mine…


I shove the covers back and let the night air blowing through the open windows dry some of the sweat offa me. I can hear noise from the street below, but it's not the usual roar which leads me to believe it's pretty late. Not that they roll up the sidewalks, but this part of the city's not much for all-nighters. I finally get enough energy to make the effort to turn my head – I swear the clock says 6:66 a.m., all lit up in red and staring at me through the shadows.

I don't get lots of street light in here, thanks to the angle and the busted out bulb that's just an accurate bottle toss from my window, but I get some. The way the light hazes in at the corners reminds me of my room when I was a kid, which makes sense 'cause that's where I'm at. Not the exact same room, but close enough to get the effect. Beantown's favorite punching bag's returned, although this time around I know how to punch back.

It makes a big difference, but I can't claim it doesn't still bother me bein' here. I guess you could say it remains to be seen if that's a good thing or a bad thing. What I do know for sure is it's a done deal, so bring it, fucker. Let's see what happens.

Last time around, I hauled ass first chance I got. The joke of it was that even though I got away, I never stopped looking back. I had a shot at a whole new life, but I couldn't handle any of it. Right in front of me they dangled the chance to be happy, to be somebody who mattered in the world, and I freaked.

I fucked it up just as bad as anybody could, and I take all the blame for what happened. But I do gotta wonder how it works that you just yank a fucked up girl outta her shitty life, throw her into the mix, and tell her to go be a hero. That can't work smooth most of the time, 'less you get somebody like B. And what are the odds of that? Far as I know, it's only happened once.

I take another swig and keep chugging until it makes my eyes water and I feel it burning all the way down. If I had more booze I could do that over and over again until I passed out, I'm in a good spot for it. Boston definitely loves its drunk Lehanes, place just ain't the same without us, I'm sure.

Drinking's one of the pleasures when you stay in a room like this. So's smoking late at night and watching the glow from the cigarette flare up in the dark when ya take a drag. They make these places for fucking strangers, drinking yourself quiet, and for doing the kind of thinking that'll kill ya if you're not careful.

It's not my first time in a room like this, not gonna be my last neither. Kinda feels like I belong here, like no matter how clear I get from it, I'm always gonna end up right where I am. It's like the opposite of cream risin' to the top…more like shit sinkin' to the bottom. Living any other way seems like a total fantasyHell, even when I was in jail it seemed like I had a better chance than I do now.

I don't even know why I came here, let alone why I keep sticking around. There's nothin' but bad memories and everybody I got a beef with is dead anyway. Rest of'em were never more than background noise I didn't wanna see then and for sure don't wanna see now. I know the feeling's nothing but mutual, but I still keep hanging around waiting for…for what exactly? There's no end anyplace in sight, and I know my prison shrink would be nodding all sad right about now and saying I gotta make my own "closure in a creative way". Uh huh, I'll act it out with some dolls, that'll do the trick.

I guess I'm here to see how much I can hurt myself or maybe I'm just trying to prove that I'm past it. Fuck if I know, both things seem like they could be true at this point. They both also seem like a lie too, so I've got "nuts as hell" covered from every angle. Love to see the shrink come up with a doll for this sitch.

It sucks here, that much I do know. I don't like being alone in general or without her in specific. Nothing's good when she's not with me, not like I didn't already know that though. Whoever said knowledge is the most important thing is a liar. It doesn't help anything, it just makes everything hurt more. Thank Christ I never finished high school or I'd be way worse off than I already am. Even being an ignorant asshole is giving me plenty of pain to deal with. I'm just managing to do the basics to stay alive, no way could I handle anything more.

Patrol tonight was a tough one. There were more vamps than I thought there were gonna be, and I was up to my tits before I knew it. I'd figured on six, maybe eight, but I found out fast that I was standing in the middle of a pretty big nest. I woulda run if I could've because despite the way it's been looking lately, I don't wanna die. But there was no exit I could get to, so I sucked it up and fought for my life.

I don't know why, but I've always thought I'd know when my time was up. I figured it'd be during a fight, hopefully when I was savin' somebody. An epic battle or a dark nowhere alley, either way would work just right for me. I wanna go out doing something good because I'm a Slayer and I'm living a Slayer's life. That's the best any of us can ask for because our "sell by date" is never far from expiring anyway.

That's just the nature of the job, although I'm really hoping the Head Slayer goes quiet and peaceful in her sleep like an old lady oughta. But I know odds are that's not how it's gonna shake out for her. She probably wouldn't let it even if it could go that way because she's a warrior, and warriors oughta go down in battle. It's poetic and shit, but then she's kinda her own poetry, so there's no telling when it comes to B until it happens.

Anyway, I've always been sure I'd get a heads-up, something inside that would pop an alarm bell on and let me know without any doubt:

"This is it, gotta make it count."

You'd think standing solo in a nest would be enough to have the sirens wailing, but I got nothing but a surge of adrenaline and a really intense desire to make it through alive. It was touch and go for a pretty long stretch, but then it started swinging my way and I knew: nobody was getting called, leastways not tonight. And yeah, I know "getting called" isn't what happens anymore, but it makes the point I wanna.

Before the last of the dust had even settled, I was limpin' outta there with another win sittin' pretty in the Slayer column. And maybe it was more sittin' "banged up and lucky as fuck", but the win was still legit and it counted. I made it back here and hit the shower, letting the warm water do its magic as long as it could, then I climbed into bed sore, hungry and horny. I was just gonna rest my eyes for a minute, then order a coupla pizzas, but I nodded off before I knew what hit me and here I am.

I'm so fucking fired up, but then why should I be surprised? I've dreamed about her ever since I left, and each and every time this is how I react. I can't shake her or how she makes me feel, and in a lotta ways I don't want to. Right now I'd give almost anything if she was here with me.

Sometimes I think they're Slayer dreams, sometimes I know they're not. It doesn't matter in most ways, I'll take B anyway I can get her, even when the dreams are freaky ones, like the one a few nights ago. If that was a Slayer one, it had to be hers because I'd never come up with such a lame sitch, 'specially one with no sex.

We were on a picnic together. The blanket was this one B loves, it's multi-colored and softer than any outdoor blanket oughta be. We were just sitting there eating and I felt a little shy for some reason. She gave me a big chunk of grapes still on their sticks, and her hair was blowing just a tiny bit and lifting off of her shoulders like I like to see it.

"Thanks, B."

"You're welcome. It's so pretty today."

"Yeah, it's nice. Peaceful."

These two white doves flew by, but floaty, like in slo-mo.

"Do you think that's us?"

"The birds? Maybe B, could just be the meatball hoagie I ate."

She laughed and touched my hand for a second.

"My romantic. Don't you have any faith at all?"

It was my turn to laugh, but I quit when her cross got huge for a second, flashing all golden until it shrunk back down to its normal size.

"You makin' jokes, B?"

"No. Well maybe, but I mean it."

She reached into the basket and pulled out a chocolate cake with two forks in it. I jerked one out, but the forks were welded together and I couldn't pull'em apart. It freaked me out, but B put her hands on mine.

"You're not supposed to pull them apart. They go together."

I just stared at her, but then her happy smile put me right at ease. We ate some and it was the best cake ever, but there was more.


She lifted a watermelon outta the basket, then cut it open with one of my favorite knives. It looked good, all red and juicy, and B was beaming, proud of herself.

"I grew it after you planted it."

"Looks perfect, B."

"Yeah, we work good together, F."

She reached in and ripped out the center with both hands.

"I've got it.


"The heart."

Before I could say anything else, she let it plop down on the blanket, then rammed a stake through it, her eyes deadly.

"What're ya doin', B?"

"I'm doing your job for you. I just do it faster, is all."

She looked at me so sad, the watermelon juice looking like blood as it slid down her arms and splashed onto her white shorts.


I woke up in a sweat, heart pounding, scared to death, and so depressed I sat by the window and smoked and drank the rest of the night away.

I way prefer the sex dreams. I think they're usually just regular dreams, but sometimes they seem wicked real too, like tonight. Me and B don't always have to be confusing or big with the message shit. We can get down and dirty too.

I'm assuming that's what just happened: a Slayer sex dream, and I wish I could get myself off. I know from experience I can't, and even if I do, it doesn't help much. I need her, she's all I want. She's the only person who can really get the job done, so as much as I love the dreams, I hate'em too. They're like torture when what I need's way too far away to help.

"Fuck me."

I drain the bottle and toss it on the floor. It's empty, but I don't fucking care. It's not like it was doing me any good anyway. Usually it helps at least a little, but I'm still so horny and keyed up…I miss Buffy so bad. I just wanna hold her, feel her, hear her, see her up close, taste her neck, feel her hands on me, for real. This night sucks every which way.

The breeze picks up a little, and it feels good blowing across my skin. I kick the covers all the way down to the end of the bed, so frustrated I could scream…which I do, as out of nowhere a body lands flush on top of mine.

"Jesus Christ!"

I try to stand up, but I never make it past the halfway sitting point.

"Don't move, Faith."

She's trying not to puke, and if we stay still, she won't.

Teleporting makes everybody else heave, but not B if she gets a second. As long as she doesn't move, her stomach settles and she's good to go. I stay as still as I can, my heart pounding as it threatens me with a heart attack. No matter how much I love and want her, her turning up outta thin air and landing on top of me scared the shit out of me…almost literally.

She squirms off to the side a little, ready to throw up on the floor `stead of me if she's gotta, but she's already doing that nodding thing she does that means she's gonna be fine. Me? I got other problems, big problems.

I'm naked, she's in her sushi pjs and moving on me when I'm hot for her and haven't seen her in weeks. I'm trying to keep control of myself so I can find out what the fuck she's doing here and send her back home, but the feeling of her stomach skin against mine from where her top is riding up just a little…

"Faith, I…"

That's all the explanation she gets out before my hand goes to the back of her head and I slam our mouths together. She doesn't fight me at all, and my legs bend up and she falls between them putting our pussies flush with just a thin piece of cotton in the way. My other hand slides into the back of her loose pants and I grab her ass hard and shove her into me. She moans and pushes herself in tighter, her left hand grabbing onto my hair and her right one squeezing my tit.

I tell myself to stop, but nobody's listening to that shit, least of all me. Her tongue is playing with mine and making me just about explode, then I feel her hand slip down between us. I'm ready for her, I've been ready for about an hour, and she slides in where she belongs.

She doesn't do anything but that and I'm already coming for her. I tear my mouth away from hers, not on purpose, just 'cause I gotta, and I let out this weird noise like I'm gonna cry mixed with a laugh, even though nothing's even close to being funny. My eyes are closed, but I can hear her voice in my ear:

"It's okay, baby, I've got you."

She kisses me again and starts moving, and I'm lost in her. There's nothing else for me in the whole wide world. The bed's gone, the room's gone, Boston's gone, my fucked up sitch is gone, and there's just Buffy Anne Summers. I cling to her, wrapping around her like my life depends on her, which I suppose it does. I've got no clue how many times I come, no clue how to even count. I don't care about anything but her and the way she's making me feel, so let somebody else keep score.

I'm not sure when it happens, but at some point I roll on top and start fucking her. I don't know if she gave me control or I just took it, but I'm all over her, doing everything I can think of. At some point I might've even invented some stuff nobody's ever done before, but whatever's going down, we both can't get enough.

We finally stop and daylight's threatening to sneak its way into the room pretty soon, but I don't give a shit. I'm on my back trying to breathe normal again and B's head's on my chest right above my breast. Her hand's on my stomach and she's still all over me, just off to the side more. Her hair's laying on my skin and her leg is thrown across me so that she's rubbing against my hip. She makes this little satisfied sigh, then flicks my nipple with her tongue, and that's it.

I spin her over and I'm on top of her in one second. I have to have her again.

"I thought we were fin…"

I shut her up with a kiss that lets her know we're nowhere near finished, and most likely never will be, then I lift up even though she's trying to pull me closer. I kiss my way down her legs, her moans and my name keeping me company. And a little later into it, I love how her hands feel on my head as she pushes me into her, holds me in place, then tries to rip the hair right outta my head.

I wake up to the sound of bells from down the street to see B's already awake. Her head's propped up on her hand and she's smiling at me while her free hand's trailing along my arm and shoulder.

"Good morning."


I was pretty convinced I'd dreamed the whole thing, but no, she's still right here next to me in my bed with her smell, her touch, her every goddamn perfect thing about her. I smile, just so fucking happy to be with her, and my hand starts running along her hip, loving the feel of her skin on my fingers. We're not saying anything out loud, but I guess we're saying lots of stuff. She slides over and I roll onto my back with her in my arms.

It's like this little perfect moment in time, all is right with the world. The noise from the street sounds alive, the breeze rolling in feels cool, and the room's bright and sunny. I kiss the top of her head, but when I look over at the clock, I see the time and I also get a good look at where we're really at.

We're in a shithole of a room, and it's crazy wrong. She doesn't belong here, and even though she's lighting up the place, I can see the shadows coming and I'm not gonna do that to her no matter how much I want and need her. She deserves so much better, starting with somebody who can live in the light with her and won't keep bringing the darkness with'em every fucking place they go.

One of her hands kinda cups my breast, not like for sex, but just for love. It's like a greeting, all soft and tender and sweet, and my arms tighten around her. She snuggles into me making the cutest sound when she finds the sweet spot against me, and I can't think right with her here. She shows up and I start kidding myself I've got a shot at a life with her, and it's wrong of me.

"What the hell are you doing here?"

I feel her body tense at my tone.

"It was mostly an accident, a very happy accident."

She says the last part so sexy, I get to my feet as fast as I can before I take her again. I look around for something to put on:

"An 'accident'?"

"Yep, but you left out the happy part."

I find a t-shirt and yank it on, followed by a pair of sweats that were under my jacket.

"Listen, wanna explain without makin' me ask fifty fucking questions?"

She sits up then, pissed and well on her way to getting mad, but she still answers calm.

"I've been wanting to come here forever, but I've been trying to give you your space. I kept going back and forth trying to decide what to do, so Willow finally set it up so that I could just teleport myself. After that dream we had last night, I guess I said the phrase out loud before I was all the way awake, and now here I am."

I don't say shit, just start picking up while I try to keep my eyes offa her. Her hair's all messy, she's naked, and the fucking sunshine is so happy to see her, it's streaming in like it never has before. The whole goddamn room feels lighter, cleaner, and there's hardly any shadows. Everything smells fresh and clean, and it's all so different I can barely recognize the place.

"So you're really going to do this?"

"Do what, Buffy?"

"Get mad at me, act like what we did last night doesn't matter, give me the cold shoulder...I'm sure there are plenty of other ways to describe it, but I think I'm making my point."

She pisses me off so fast, and it's always because she sees right through me. The problem is it doesn't change anything. It doesn't stop me because what the fuck else am I supposed to do? The sitch is still the same – she shouldn't be here, she shouldn't be any place with me.

She's standing up now, the sheet wrapped around her as she gets ready to go toe to toe with me. I'm dreading it, yet I can't help but love the sight of her. She's so beautiful when she's mad, nothing compares to her, and it makes my breath come out shaky as I fight not to grab her. Her eyes are so green, all intense and filled with passion, and she holds her head a certain way that's so sexy and scary, and I want her.

"So what, Faith? You think we can make love like that and it doesn't change anything? Sorry, that's not the way it works. God, why won't you understand how much I love you, that there's nothing more important to me than you?"

No cigarettes, no booze, just the fucking sunshine blasting in the windows and her eyes drilling a hole right through me.

"Buffy, I came here to…"

"Yeah, that's good, let's talk about that. Why did you come here? What's the real reason?"

"I…we…it wasn't…"

I'm stuttering like only she can make me do and I feel like a total dumb ass.

"…it wasn't working between us and…"

"Yes it was, it was working perfectly until you got it into your head that I didn't love you. Then instead of just talking to me about that, you ran with it until things sort of stopped working. Once we got that all out in the open and I started trying to fix it, you never even gave us a chance before you took off like a coward."

"I did not!"

She laughs, the one I hate because she's not laughing at something's funny. She's laughing because she can't believe I'm as big an idiot as I am.

"Really? Look around at where we're at, then add in how you waited until I was asleep before you snuck off."

"I had to do it like that and you know it."

"Yes, because we both know I never would have let you go otherwise. You had to put your tail between your legs and…"

"Shut up, Buffy!"

She pulls the sheet tighter as she advances on me, her eyes mad like she's out on patrol.

"So tell me what we're doing now, Faith."

"…You know what we're doing."

"No, I don't think I do. This isn't about me anymore, this is all about you, about your past and how it's..."

"Stop putting words in my mouth."

"…screwing everything up. It hasn't been about us in forever, at least not like that. You know I love you and it scares you. You're in some sort of tailspin and you're trying to convince us both that you don't deserve me, that you don't deserve to be happy."

I sling a pizza box towards the trash can, but it hits the floor instead and takes two beer bottles with it.

"Thanks for the expert head shrink, Buffy."

"And thanks for the expert lovemaking, Faith."

That makes me blush and my body heat up all over, and then she's next to me. Her hand is soft and gentle on my jaw as she lifts my head so I'm looking right at her.

"I love you and I miss you. Sharing dreams with you isn't enough, popping in and making wild, beautiful love isn't enough either. I need you with me, I want to spend my life with you."


"I want to help you, I'll even stay here while you do what you need to do, but then let's go home. Running away isn't going to help anything, it's just making everything worse."

"You don't understand. I can't be there right now."

Her hand doesn't budge, she just steps closer and her other hand strokes my hair in the way that makes me lean into her.

"Why? Why can't you be at home?"

"I can't be with you. You should just move on, okay? I don't know if I'm ever coming back, if I'll ever wanna go back. I probably won't, and if I do it'll be a long, long time from now."

She looks like I just slapped her. She lets go and steps back, her eyes full of tears.

"So that's it? You're leaving me?"

"B, I already did leave."

"But I didn't think you meant it, Faith. I thought this was just a temporary thing."

I shake my head and try to explain:

"I love you, Buffy, you know I do, but I told you…we can't be together."

She starts crying for real and like always I go to her, but for the first time ever she shoves me away and doesn't cave.

"No, don't touch me."


"No, I don't…I can't…I'm not going to do this."

"I'm sorry. I never meant for…"

She cuts me off, her face full of pain and anger and defeat:

"It's pretty ironic, isn't it? Here you thought it was me that didn't love you enough. Turns out it's the other way around."


"I hope you find what you're looking for, that you can make yourself more miserable than you've ever been before. That'd be quite an accomplishment."

"I…Buffy, try to understand."

"Oh I do, I understand perfectly now. You're Faith Lehane, the Dark Slayer who can't escape her tortured past. Such a tragic figure, you're not allowed to take the happiness you've fought for and earned, even when it's being handed to you on a silver platter."

I want so much to say something to her, something to make it better for her, but I can't come up with anything. The look on her face is horrible. She's so hurt, devastated in a way I've never seen before.

"I guess it's just my luck I get taken down with you. Buffy Summers, the Golden Girl. Never lucky in love, never quite good enough. No wonder we're so perfect for each other."

"Jesus, B, please don't…"

The tears are mine now too, and I move for her, determined to comfort her even if she doesn't want it from me.

"Goodbye, Faith."

Then she says some mojo words and she's gone, teleported back home in an instant.

I can't feel anything, not my arms, not my legs, nothing except my heart which feels way too big for my chest. It hurts so bad and I sit down on the floor where she was just standing, feeling shell-shocked and nothing but alone. I know my heart's gonna bust outta me in a second, so I lay back slow and wonder how long I can live without it. And how long I can live without her.

Buffy's gone for good just like I wanted, and the whole room's nothing but shadows on top of shadows. How it can be so dark in the morning is something I wish I didn't understand.


The light in this place is really bad
Like bein' at the bottom of a stream

Any minute now I'm expecting
To wake up from a dream

Miss so much the softest touch
Like the grave of some child

Who neither wept or smiled
I'm hidin' my faith in the rain

I've been dreamin' of you
That's all I do

And it's drivin' me insane
Somewhere dawn is breakin'

Light is streakin' `cross the floor
Church bells are ringin'

I wonder who they're ringing for
Travel under any star

You'll see me wherever you are
The shadowy past is so vague and so vast

I'm sleepin' in the balance of pain
I've been dreamin' of you

That's all I do
But it's drivin' me insane

Maybe they'll get me, maybe they won't
But whatever it won't be tonight

I wish your hand was in mine right now
We could go where the moon is white

For years they had me locked in a cage
Then they threw me onto the stage

Some things just last longer than you thought they would
And they never ever explain

I been dreamin' of you
That's all I do

And it's drivin' me insane
Well I eat when I'm hungry

Drink when I'm dry
Live my life on the square

Even if the flesh draws off my face
It won't matter long as you're there

Feel like a ghost in love
Underneath the heavens above

Feel further away than I ever did before
Feel further than I can take

Dreamin' of you
Is all I do

But it's drivin' me insane
Everything in the way is so shy like the day

In queer and unusual form
Spirals of golden haze here and there in a blaze

Like beams of light in a storm
Maybe you were here and maybe you weren't

Maybe you touched somebody and got burned
The silent sun has got me on the run

Burnin' a hole in my brain
I'm dreamin' of you

It's all I do
But it's driving me insane

-Dreamin' of You - Bob Dylan



Some Days

Vamp #One Zillion dusted. Demon #One Million beheaded, eviscerated, and killed. Punch. Kick. Stab. Club. Slice. Fight won. World saved. Body count. Injury report. Blood. Pain. The life of a Slayer.

Another long, hot soak in a big Jacuzzi tub to help ease the ache of being used like a supernatural punching bag. A glass of wine balanced perfectly on the ledge of the previously mentioned big Jacuzzi tub helps out even more, especially when the bottle sits right next to it. Life is just perfect.

I'm so tired, but then staring up at the ceiling the entire night before kind of has that effect on anyone when the next day rolls around. I hit the button to activate the jets at my back and it feels nothing but good, a literal blast of ecstasy that's gone almost as soon as it arrives. I can't help but laugh because nothing is funny and it hasn't been for a long time. I take a sip of wine, then lean my head all the way back and close my eyes.

It wouldn't be so bad if the memories would just leave me alone, but then I guess that's what everyone in my situation says. Memories are all that I have left…unless I choose to go into her deserted room and sit with all of the other discarded and left behind things. I fit right in, so delightfully snug and cozy that I try not to go there too often. Being left behind might be my specialty, but that doesn't mean I have to rub it in.

Willow, Xander, and I are supposed to hang out tomorrow; that was the deal if we managed to survive tonight. While I'm deliriously happy to report that we're all safe and more or less sound, I'm already dreading the fun we're going to be having. I guess we'll probably do lunch and maybe a movie, but we're definitely doing dinner and then heading to our favorite bar afterwards for some wild party fun.

"We'll make a day of it, Buff. Just the three of us."

"Okay, but we have to ask Kennedy, Will. Plus Dawnie will feel left out if…"

I should have started with Dawn because Willow was onto me the second I mentioned Kennedy.

"Sorry. Just you, me, and Xander for some Scooby style fun."

I smiled and told her I couldn't wait, but we both knew the truth. Still, I gave her the full Buffy – a smiling, suntanned, perky blonde California Cheerleader, and she had to go with it. That's the rule for at least two, maybe three times on the same topic before it's all bets off and she goes with her "Resolve Face". Then there's no escaping without a total heart to heart and maybe even some blood being spilled. Ours is a complicated relationship.

The almost apocalypse tonight was a tough fight, but the good news is we won and everyone made it through. We had the usual scrapes, bruises, and broken bones, but there were only three serious injuries. I stopped by our hospital wing like I always do after any big battle, and the med staff assured me that everyone was going to pull through. That kind of news is always the best kind ever and I never get tired of hearing it.

Chalk one up for the good guys, the minimally damaged good guys. The bad guys can only say they suffered major damage and very serious injuries…Well, they could say that if they weren't all dead, the kind of dead no one comes back from, not unless they have Willow on their team. And they don't, although as stated previously, that's not always everything it's cracked up to be.

I don't mean that, of course. I just wish I didn't have to go out, but I do because I'm focused on being normal and doing normal things. I'm all about living my life and carrying on, which makes it a lot easier for me and everyone who cares about me. None of us needs the extra hassle of me falling apart; it's bad enough that they're still worried even when I'm doing just great, thanks for asking.

As much as I want to, I can't do this any better than I'm already doing it. At a certain point you reach a certain point, and I've reached it. It doesn't mean I can't live, it doesn't mean I can't hang out with my friends, and it doesn't mean I can't do my job. But I'm not okay, and I don't think a big part of me will ever be okay again. I'm certainly not counting on it at any rate. I'm just hoping that things will somehow get better someplace down the line. It's hard to believe they will though because this seems different somehow, like something is broken inside of me.

I suppose I'm being dramatic and maybe feeling more than a little bit sorry for myself, along with a bunch of other unpleasant things like that. Besides, my track record speaks for itself: I'm tough as nails, unbeatable, at least the kind of unbeatable that lets me keep coming back for more. I get knocked down all the time, but I always get back up, one way or another, and there's nothing different about it this time…except it sure feels different.

It feels like there's no point in getting back up even if I can manage to do it. I know that's not true, it can't be true because I've got plenty of things to live for. But right now all that seems to matter to me is being the Slayer and holding it together enough so that I can do my job. That and putting up a good enough front so that people don't worry about me. It's tougher than it sounds, but I work hard at it.

It was really bad at first, which I guess is how it goes when the life you've always dreamed about is dangled right in front of you, then torn out of your grasp. It's devastating, like having a knife thrust into…Yeah, I so don't need to go there right now, if ever, and I don't want to think about Riley making himself into a vamp snack either. Reminiscing about running Angel through or remembering how Spike went up in flames is also out for tonight and any other night in the foreseeable future.

Besides, all of those things got better as time went on and this will too because I'm a grown woman now with grown woman responsibilities. That means I have to act like an adult, not some devastated teenager who didn't get asked to the prom…which I didn't, although that surprisingly turned out mostly okay in the end.

Great, it's another night of dwelling. I could have sworn it was supposed to be another night of worrying about her…which I was going to do my best to turn into another night of pretending I don't care about her at all. I'm not sure why it still surprises me that my nights just do whatever the hell they want to with me. I guess I like to pretend I'm still the one in control of my own life, but the reality is I just go wherever I'm taken. I do my best just to hang on and try to make it through the hours until another day starts, not that the new day will necessarily be any better than the previous night.

I turn off the tub, hit the drain switch and step out. "Pruny" Buffy is nobody's friend. The phone rings like it was just waiting for this moment and I wrap myself in a towel and pick up on the fourth ring. I know if I don't answer, it will just cause problems that I don't want to deal with.


"Hey, Buff."

So Xander drew the short straw tonight.

He's so cute; such a sweet boy who grew into such a sweet man. One of the luckiest moments in my life is when I had my bag knocked out of my hands on my first day at Sunnydale High. His opening question was pure Xander:

"Can I have you?"

I didn't hear him calling after me that I'd forgotten my stake, and I didn't sense him later in the library when Giles and I spilled all of the beans. Sometimes you just get lucky and I did that day, for a lifetime.

"Hi, Xander."

"I just wanted to know if we're still on for tomorrow."

"Yep, we're definitely on."

"Excellent. So how do you feel? You took a few hard shots, even for a Slayer."

"A little sore, but I'm just getting ready to have a long, pain erasing soak in the tub."

I lie when I have to, and right now I have to. He's gearing up to invite himself over to keep me company and I don't feel like company tonight, not that I ever really do anymore. Still, I can easily get out of this one, so I'm going to.

Xander sounds nothing but puzzled:

"Oh, I figured you'd be done with that right about now."

For a second I feel guilty because he's so totally on the money, but then I push it away. He'll live with being wrong, even though he's right and knows me inside and out. I guess I should at least toss him a bone:

"Normally you'd be right, but I was starving, so I ate first. The quiet, relaxing part of my night is dead ahead."

"Okay, well, I'll be up for awhile if you want some company when you get done. Just let me know."

He sounds a little worried and I know he'll be on the phone to Will the instant we hang up.

"Hmm…maybe, but I didn't sleep very good last night. I guess I was worried about the fight. Anyway, I'll probably just head straight to bed after."

"A good night's sleep would be great!"

Yes, we're at the point now where my loved ones scream out their happiness when I'm going to get some sleep.

I'm selling this pretty well I think, but I know he's still going to call Willow. They both know that for whatever reason, I always get especially depressed after a big fight and can't stop thinking about her. I don't know why exactly, but I just seem to miss her in a different way at times like this. It's like I miss her, then every other single minute I've missed her gets brought into it until it becomes a great big depressing mess of depression.

I realize I've been lost in thought for too long, so I make myself sound tired, but happy.

"Yep, eight glorious hours of log sawing after a long bubbly soak and a glass of white wine. It sounds like nothing but heaven to this Slayer."

"To this Scooby too…except maybe I'll skip the girly 'bubble' part."

I laugh and so does he because we both know that Xander loves bubble baths. He's a total girl when it comes to things like that.

"I'm willing to pretend if that's what you need."

"Thanks, Buff, it's good to have friends. Speaking of…"

"I promise I'll call if I change my mind."

"Because I'll be up for a while watching manly movies while I do only manly things."

Faith would so say something totally disgusting right here, but I try never to go to that place with Xander.

"I know. So enjoy the bubbles and 'An Affair to Remember'."

"Hey, that movie's a classic!"

"Goodnight, Tough Guy."

"Sleep tight, Buffster."

I towel my hair dry and comb through it while I wait for Willow to call. She does less than five minutes later, and we chat casually until I've put her more at ease than she was. I don't think I've fooled her, it's just that by making the effort I've let her know I'm at least functioning at an acceptable level for a night like tonight. Satisfied that I'm just the "regular, standard" depressed as opposed to the "dark, life is pointless" depressed, she hangs up so she can get back to Kennedy and I can get back to Tony Tiger and my beloved window seat.

It's windy tonight and I really should put in a work order to have those stupid, sexy branches cut back. It's a pretty night out though, now that I'm not fighting for the safety of the world and all of humanity. The moon's in full beam of course, which explains the epic battle tonight. It seems like the bad guys always need a full moon to do their thing, which kind of gives new meaning to:

 "When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie".

That has to be the stupidest song lyric ever. No, correction – the song Giles had to sing during Karaoke Challenge Night at his pub wins that award. Neil Diamond feels bad and tells us that not even the chair cares what he's going through. Faith couldn't get over it for weeks:

"Hey B, my hand still hurts, but the lamp doesn't seem to give a shit. Can you talk to it for me, find out what's wrong?"

Then there was this classic performance:

"That's it, Buffy!"

"What? What's wrong?"

"There's nothing good on TV, but when I complain about it, the fucker just sits there and doesn't say a word."

"Faith, how long are you going to…"

"It's like when I use the john. There's always some asshole in there talkin' shit behind my back."

Eleven weeks now, that's how I'm keeping track. Months seem too official and days sound like way too many. Weeks is kind of like a good compromise, although the best thing would be not to keep track at all. It's a goal, a long term one, like making sure I don't lose too much weight or that I get enough sleep so that I don't doze off in every meeting and give Giles a complex.

I finish the last of my cereal, then drink up all of the milk. That's something I never did until I saw Faith doing it. I'd seen lots of people do it before, but Faith just made it seem so sensual, so tasty.

"What, B?"

"You're drinking the milk."


"Isn't that sort of…not 'gross' exactly, but…"

Faith just laughed and looked at me like I was a dummy.

"B, it's just me who's been eating it. Same as drinkin' it out of a glass, 'cept better."

"I know, but…"

"Just try it next time. You'll be fine, promise."

So I had and I was, fine, and now I always do it. I'm not sure why I didn't before, it's absolutely yummy.

I get up because I am not going to just sit here and stare out into the darkness all night long and think about her. I'm getting past that, slowly but surely, and a part of that process is to keep trying to convince myself that I'm in charge of this whole situation. But I'm not in charge, and that's just the truth of it.

I guess God, The Powers, Fate, whatever, thought it would be funny to finally let us get together, only to take her away from me when it would hurt the most. Big laughs for somebody, I suppose. What was it? Were we too happy? Too satisfied? Too filled with optimism and hope?  

Why none of that is ever allowed for me is a mystery. Maybe it's because I've never followed the rules and being in love with the other Slayer was just too much to try and get away with. Maybe...I don't really know.

The couch looks inviting so I sit and try again with the head leaning back, eyes closed approach. But she's still there along with everything we've ever done. The good and the bad all flitting around inside my head, and all of it leading right to the love I feel for her now. The pain of our past is long gone, even more insignificant now as it's been replaced with the current pain of being without her.

I'm mad and I'm hurt, but I still want her back. Just to hear her voice all low and sexy in my ear, just to watch that slow smile that takes over her face when she's satisfied. I want to see the almost scary look in her eye when she wants me, or the way she sometimes looks so sad and afraid until my arms reach out to hold her. I want to feel her snuggle in against me and fit like no one else ever has. I want to hear her laugh, everything in her whole and happy, even if just for a moment. I want to feel her shove me aside with her Slayer strength as she grabs the last piece of pizza and then offers it to me anyway, all sweet and shy which always leads us right into the hottest, most beautiful…


I stand up, go into the bedroom, and pull the blanket off the bed. I wrap it around me and return to sit in the window seat. At least here, I know what I'm in for. I pull my knees up in front of me and rest my chin on them as I look out into the night. It feels like she's maybe doing the same thing, and aren't we just a pair?

I know she's hurting, I know she knows I'm hurting, and I know the biggest part of her hates this whole thing. I know she wants to be here with me, but that doesn't really make any difference, not that I can see anyway. We're not together, and the dreams still taunt us both when we let them.

Life goes on, only much less alive. And much less fun.  And much less romantic. And much less hopeful and much less everything I've ever wanted.

"Nice going, Lehane."

Talking to myself or to her out loud, never a good sign. Although I suppose it's the least of what I could be doing. I just wish I could find a place to rest, a place where all of this pain and sadness would just leave me the hell alone. Or maybe I could find a place where there's the possibility that one day things will be different, better even. Right, I'm certain that's just around the corner.

It sure is dark tonight. I sit and stare and want and ache while I try to hold on. I know that's what I need to do: just hold on. I've done it before, although not when it hurts this bad and not when I know it won't be any easier when the morning comes…which is many hours away and will seem like many more because I am definitely not going to sleep tonight. I don't want any dreams, Slayer or otherwise.

"And I am so getting those limbs cut back tomorrow."

One step at a time, one sway at a time.

Punch. Kick. Stab. Club. Slice. Fight won. World saved. Body count. Injury report. Blood. Pain. The life of a Slayer. The life of Buffy Summers.


If you see dark skies in my green eyes
It's just that I can't find no cover

These ghosts that haunt me
They get me when they want me

And some days are better than others
I didn't sleep last night, I guess that's the price

You pay for a soul this troubled
And curse or blessing I'm here confessing

Some days are better than others
I have these moments of weakness

But I've had a lifetime of strength
And I know I will defeat this

But that's not what my heart wants to think
And even tomorrow is tinged with sorrow

When one fool longs for another
This can't last forever, just like the weather

Some days are better than others
If you see dark skies in my sad eyes

It just means that I can't find no cover
These ghosts that haunt me

Take me when they want me
And some days are better than others

Some days are better than others

-Some Days - Trisha Yearwood



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