by Eden Lee Raven
Rating: NC-15, for mild language
Dedication: N. I hope you found the peace in death, that you could not find in life.
Author’s Notes:I've added and changed some details in this, for the story’s purpose. Also, this has an angst warning attached to it. It *isn’t* a happy ending Buffy/Faith story.
It’s beena while. It’s been almost two years, I wouldn’t actually call that a while. I’d call that forever. It was forever for me, anyway. So much has happened to her, in those two short years.
She lost her mother, to the tumour. She lost Willow, to magic. She lost Anya to a broken heart. Dawn, to the crash, if even just a part of her spirit. And she lost herself to death. And a place she hasn’t really been able to get herself back from. Not yet. Maybe not ever.
Because when you look death right in the face, and he looks right back at you, grazing your skin with his finger tips, it’s like a chill blankets your entire body, your entire soul. And it’s a veil he never lifts. Not until you’re his again.
And where have I been, during the terms, trials and pain of her recent life? It a small room, with a bed, a table and a toilet. What have I done? Eat, slept and read. A lot. There was some exercising in the yard, in the first few months. But I had that privilege taken away from me when I broke that other girls arm.
I have the entire prison privilege taken away from me in fact. Ever heard of a woman in a male jail? No? Well, here I am. The one and only. I didn’t mess with them, and they certainly didn’t mess with me. They knew my rep, knew what I’d done.
And here I am. Once more in the ‘Dale. Standing on Main Street, watching her as she comes out of the magic shop, with Dawn. Locking the door behind her, balancing her bag and the stock books in one hand as she goes
She turns back around, hooking her bag onto one of the handles of Dawn’s wheelchair, passing the books to her sister, before taking the breaks off and pushing her towards the car.
Opening the back door, using the buttons to lower the ramp, for Dawn’s chair. And then, it’s like someone’s just breathed down her neck. Because the ramp stops moving up, much to her sisters annoyance, at being left hanging in mid air.
Her short (new, but I like it) hair flicks around her face, as she looks around her. She knows I’m here. She can feel me. We’re like magnets for each other, me and B. Just like I knew that day, the day Angel came to tell me about Dawn, I knew she was stood behind the visitors door.
I knew she was stood there, pitching her hearing just right, to hear what we were saying. Her arm folded over her chest, as she chewed on the thumbnail of the other hand. I could see her, in my mind. Stood there, hidden from view, looking like the most beautiful girl in the world.
Which to me, is what she is. Nothing’s going to change that view of mine. Not even me. I have an image of her, imprinted on my brain. And whenever I feel like everything’s just getting too me, a little more than it should be doing, I close my eyes, and she’s waiting for me. Telling me what I should do about it, calming me.
I had so many dreams of her, while I was locked in there. So many fantasies. Which now, will never come true. Maybe they never would have done, even before I fucked with her so badly.
I haven’t taken my eyes off her the entire time I’ve been stood there, under that tree. The wind ruffling my hair slightly, as the shadows, from the leaves on the tree, wash over me.
And when she sees me, she’s a little shocked. Oh she knew it was me. Like she knew her own name, she could just tell. I think the shock is coming from the way I’m dressed.
Yeah, remember me back then? All leather and attitude? Not now. Not really sure what my style is now, as I’ve been wearing prison blues for so long. But now, it’s just a pair of black, draw string pants, and a white, long sleeved sweater. The pants aren’t tight or anything, and neither is the jumper. And there isn’t a sign of cleavage or stomach in sight.
I can see her finger move slightly again, starting up the ramp, that’ll take her, now paralyzed from the waist down, sister, all the way into the car. She doesn’t take her eyes off me, as she hands Dawn the button pad, waiting till she’s wheeled herself into the car, before she closes the ramp and shuts the door behind her.
I still don’t move, as she walks across the street, still, her eyes never leaving mine. And as I watch her, I see some of that old B flair creep back into her eyes, covering over the death that’s there, even for just a little while.
Then it hits me: she’s in the exact same place I was. In that place, just before the darkness gets you. The place you think is ok to stay, if you don’t think about what’s lying beneath the shadows. The place that takes you anyway, no matter how strong you are.
And it’s going to get her. I can feel it in my blood. Screaming inside of me to just reach out and give her the hug that she needs. Offer her the help that she cannot do without. To tell her it’s ok, and to love her like she once was loved.
But I don’t move. Never saying a word. Just waiting, as she comes to rest in front of me, just out of arms length, but close enough so we can hear each other, without the rest of the world knowing about our stained past together.
“You’re back.” She states, almost flatly. If I were anyone else but the slayer, I would never have heard the slight fear that tinged her words. Not have caught the tiny degree of happiness that ran, like a single silk thread, through those syllables.
“Yeah.” There’s nothing more I can say to her. There’s nothing more I can think of to say to her. And yet there’s so much I want to tell her.
“Couple of months ago.” I know there’s a hidden question behind her every word. But I want to hear her say it. Because it’ll make me feel better, that she has to reach out to me, one last time.
“It’s kinda like home,” I look around me and shrug deeply. “In a weird sort of way. Because there’s some demons I want to get rid of. Some things that I need to prove to myself are true.”
“I need to know if I’m over you.”
“Over me?” I nod, looking closer, looking deeper, to see if there’s anything else in her eyes, except the strain, the pain, and the darkness that I know is coming.
“Care to explain that one a little better Faith? Cause I’m having a little trouble here.”
“I always chose you, over doing anything I had planned. I spent every minute I could around you. And you never, not once in all that time, noticed how I looked at you? You never realised, even after I drew a heart on a window for you?”
Obviously not, because realization is only just creeping into her eyes. After all this time, she never remembered those things? Or she never thought them through to find the hidden meaning? But then, I suppose you wouldn’t really need to look for any meaning, when someone asks you to homecoming really, do you?
“I was in love with you Buffy. Everyday, I wanted you to notice me. To see where I was, and pull me back from it. And everyday, you just crept that little bit further away from me.”
“You’re blaming your psycho period on me?”
“B, I laid down the lines, and I asked you to choose. Me or him. You chose him. And when you did, it was like I didn’t even matter anymore. I was just like some little toy for you to play with, 'cept you didn’t wanna play anymore. But I needed you. I needed you to just, notice me. To smile at me once. To include me once. And you never did. So I had to get you to see me.”
“And you thought trying to kill me was the best way?”
“You know, I came here, to visit Allan’s grave. To lay some flowers out for him, to tell him I was sorry. I came here to visit your mother’s grave, cause she was the only one who was nice to me. I came to see Willow’s grave. Because even though we didn’t exactly get along, she still tried to help me, even when you had turned your back. And I came here to get rid of all my day dreams, my fantasy’s, my wishes that maybe, just maybe, you actually saw me one time.”
“And I’ve laid flowers on all the places that are now a part of my history, but aren’t with me anymore.” I pulled my hand slowly from behind my back, bringing out a single, white rose with it. Looking at it, touching its perfect petals, I lifted it to my face and smelled it’s sweet sent, just one last time.
Looking back up at her, I held out the rose to her. Watching as she carefully took it, looking at its beauty and smiling softly
“Goodbye Buffy.” I took a step back, watching her face, as the smile dropped from it. Realizing just a moment too late exactly why I’d given her the rose. Knowing that this was the last time she would ever see me again, while we were both still breathing.
Then I turned away, and never looked back.
As I stood there, the sun hitting the top of my head, as my chin rested on my chest, I never thought I’d be here again. I could feel the teardrops rolling off my face, and I suddenly realise that what I said to her, three years ago, was a lie.
I wasn’t over her. I’d been waiting for her my entire life, and I just walked away. It might have taken a little work, but one day, she would have been mine. I had that chance, one I’d been wanting to get since I met her, and once again, I blew it.
I loved her. I’d been in love with her for the longest time. I would be in love with her until the day I die. Probably for a long eternity afterwards.
I thought life had shit on me, every step of the way, until I met her. She was like my golden beauty. Forever encased in such wonder, and yet, forever just out of my reach.
My hands tighten on the handles of the wheelchair, as I look at it again. The metal frame’s shaking slightly under my grip, but Dawn doesn’t say anything. She knows I just need these few minutes to myself.
Even if there is a crowd of people stood around me. Riley, his wife, their daughter. Xander and his son. Tara’s there, floating a yellow rose in the air. It’s turning in lazy circles, as she tries to pull in her emotions, hugging her child to her body, trying to stop the girl’s body wracking sobs.
And for a second, I’m so fiercely jealous of her. Because she got to have what I will never taste. She loved the only person I ever have done, and she received that love in return.
Me and Tara have had a talk already. Buffy loved me. In a heart shattering conversation, she told me that Buffy loved me. She told Tara, that even thought she loved her: she would never stop loving me.
I don’t think I could do what Tara did. Live with someone, who loves someone else instead? Whose heart isn’t fully mine? I would want it all. I would have to have it all. But then, when it comes to Buffy, you take everything you can get. I think everyone of us, stood here today, knows that. To be loved by Buffy is the most beautiful thing in the world.
As the shaking of my limbs slow to a stop, I force my eyes open, and cast them, however hesitantly, down towards that white gravestone once more. Stood underneath that Willow tree, basking in the glow of the sunset. And I know that she’s smiling. I don’t know how, but I just do.
Slowly, I let go of Dawn’s chair, reaching over her shoulder for the flower I gave her a few minutes ago, and I step around her, walking slowly towards the only reminder we now have, of the greatest person we ever knew.
As I kneel down, not caring if my black suit gets dirty, I run my fingers over the gold lettering that’s there. Feeling every word, almost as if they’re running through my blood. As if she’s whispering them to me, softly in my ear.
Buffy Anne Summers
1981 – 2007
Beloved Sister, Sacred friend
Beautiful Wife, Devoted Mother
“There are no happy
Only the moments
And for that one second, that single instant, I can feel her. Her breath rushing over my neck, as she looks over my shoulder, at the flower I’ve placed under the words. I can feel her hand, as it rests lightly on my back, and I know, as I utter the words, so softly that even I have to strain to catch them, she can hear me.
“I never stopped loving you. I need you here with me. With us.” I’m slightly surprised they don’t get caught in my throat, choked off by the tears I find poring out of my eyes.
I’m always here.. A whisper on the wind.
Standing, I take my place behind Dawn’s wheelchair again, and then there’s just the silence. As we watch over her, like she always watched over us.
Even if we couldn’t see her, or feel her, or touch her, we knew she was there. Keeping an eye on us. Listening to the words we could only say to her. Watching us, caring for us, and loving us, even after death.
I hear her sometimes. When the night it cold, and there’s no sound at all. When Buffy’s daughter doesn’t call out in the night, when Dawn doesn’t demand something from me, I close my eyes, bringing forth the image I have stored there, of her.
And I talk to her, with my heart. It call’s out to her.
And if I listen hard enough, she calls back.