Rating: PG (for violence)
My feet hit the ground and I'm off at a run.
I always knew I'd die, and somehow I knew it'd be just like this: hard and fast. Blood's pouring from places I can't name. Sweat and tears are staining my skin with salt. The tangy scents of spices reach my nose as I race through the village. Words of caution in a language I don't really understand reach my ears, followed by screams and shouts of horror as they get a glimpse of the thing chasing me.
I can hear his grunts of exertion, but I'm not fooled. This bastard's put up one hell of a fight and is showing no signs of slowing down. Me, on the other hand...I just gotta get him away from the populace. Time isn't really on my side, but I'll sure as fuck take him down with me.
I've been close enough to death that I don't need to wonder what it'll feel like, no sense in romanticizing it.
It hurts like hell when he tackles me. My knees buckle and I go sprawling belly down on the muddy ground. His enormous weight crashes down on me and I feel my ribs creak in protest. Claws rake my back, digging into my flesh with brutal force. He lifts me off the ground, holding nothing but my skin as it pulls and tears.
I scream and he laughs. I have enough presence of mind to know I'm not down for the count, not yet anyway, and I slide my dagger out of my sleeve. The cold handle settles into my palm like a handshake, a familiar, welcome weight. He lets me go long enough to turn me around, and it's all the opening I need.
The bastard's still laughing; rows of sharp teeth drip with saliva gleaming in the sunlight. I grin back and slam the dagger into his gaping mouth, burying it to the hilt in his brain. His yellow eyes, just slits in the sides of his head like a snake, pop open in surprise as he drops me. He stands above me, convulsing and gasping to breathe, before he drops dead.
My body's convulsing and gasping, too. I can't move, but I can't stop shaking, either.
Oh God, I can't move.
I've never felt pain like this in my life. I know I'm losing consciousness. Everything's going white. I hear the villagers shouting and gathering around me, but they're fading, far, far away.
My mind's going off in all directions, but one clear thought comes to me: What brought me here in the first place. I laugh out loud and feel blood gurgling out of my throat. White fluorescent lights blinded me, but Giles' face was clear as anything.
"We need you, Faith." I laughed then, too.
He was dead serious, forgive the pun. His Slayer was dead, and even though they wanted to resurrect her, the sick fucks, some freaky trip into a future dimension showed them that the world would be better off without her. Her time was up, her number'd been called, she wasn't the one and only Chosen One.
They still needed a Slayer, though.
So long as I agreed to stay out of their way, out of their town, the Super Friends let me roam free. I play good dog to the Council, travel from hot spot to hot spot and help out when an apocalypse pops up, and they get to mourn their Slayer and pretend I never existed. It's been about a year, and I gotta say, I think I had a pretty good run.
I don't feel anything, now. No pain, but not numb. Just, nothing. It's too bright to see, but I don't have to squint. I figured Hell would be a lot hotter, more fire and eternal torment and all that. Maybe a big, ugly dude with horns and a tail and a pitchfork.
As I'm thinking about where I am, I realize I can move again. I stand up, taking in the gleaming white underneath me, above me, all around me, when I feel it: That slow, delicious tickle up the back of my neck that I haven't felt in...
No, can't be.
She shouldn't- I shouldn't be here.
I fall to my knees, the pain from my injuries coming back on me tenfold. I'm gasping and sobbing, trying to find a breath that doesn't cause searing pain everywhere else, and then I feel her hand. It's warm and soft on my back, calming me and soothing my pain.
Oh God. Everything's too clear, too bright. She kneels in front of me, her face radiant and beautiful. She takes my hand and all I can do is follow where she leads. She cups my cheeks with her hands as we stand, confusion and fear swimming in her green eyes.
I hear stone grinding on stone behind me but her hands tighten on my face, preventing me from looking. I'm reassured by the warm weight of those hands, so different from the weight of the dagger I held just moments ago.
"I don't belong here."
She shakes her head. "Shh, that's not important."
I open my mouth to tell her everything I could never say in life, but in death becomes so clear. "Please?"
Tears drip from her eyes, so green amidst all of this white, like two endless, bottomless seas. I brush my thumbs against her cheeks, gathering those tears to banish them from marring her angelic face. There should never be tears here.
Her skin feels like an echo against mine and my heart sinks.
"Please, Buffy?" I choke on a sob. I can already feel my time here slipping away, like her tears through my fingers. "For me?"
Her eyes close and she feels so far away. I can't stay here but I need to finish this.
"Open your eyes, B," I whisper and she does as she's told.
I smile to stop her tears. She lets me turn my head and I see the door behind me. I feel peace seep through whatever is left of me at the sight of it. She grasps my head, turning me back to see her and only her. She bites her lip, shaking her head.
"You'll be alright," I coax. "You'll be alright, B. At least I got to see you one last time." I press a kiss to her forehead, and then down to her lips.
I want to leave here on my own terms, not when whoever's running the show decides my time is up. I take one last, long look at her face. I see everything she can't say written clear as day there. I smile, just a little, just to let her know that we're ok.
I won't find peace here, not like she has, but I know I'm in her heart and that's enough. I press one last kiss, as gently as I can manage to her lips before turning and charging the door. I always knew I'd die young, but I think I had a pretty good ride. If seeing B in the afterlife, if only for a moment, is my reward for being a good little Slayer this past year, I'll take it. Can't wait to see what else is waiting for me on the other side.