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The Taken Series

by Eden Lee Raven

Disclaimer: Joss, ME, Etc


"What you could have had, you just took"

"You.. You *used* me." I can feel the slight sting of bile rise in the back of my throat, as I choke on the words tumbling out of my lips. My eyes stare on, unblinking at the top of the coffee table, my elbows resting on my knees as I sit there, praying that you didn't.

Knowing that you did.

"I.. I'm sorry. It was a mistake. A.." I raise a hand, cutting off the rest of your jumbled and stuttering sentence. I feel like I've been slapped, or bitch punched across my jaw.

I woke up this morning in a tangle of your bedclothes, the smell of hard liquor fermenting in my mouth. The stale smell of forbidden sex surrounding me, as I lay naked beneath your sheets.

I remember the door opening as I came to pick you up for our night out. I remember getting to the Bronze. Dancing, laughing. Bursting with need as I watched you dance ever closer to me, ignoring every other soul on the floor as if they were nothing.

And the tequila. The vodka. And something that was colored brown. Thousands of tiny shot glasses, lining the edge of the bar, dancing and swimming in front of my hazy and distorted view. The burning sensation of utter blissful oblivion slamming down my throat and taking over my body.

'It was a mistake' the words almost causing me as much of a physical reaction of gut wrenching pain, as the fact that you thought you had to get me drunk, in order to have me.

Don't you get it?

"A mistake." I whisper, my eyes burring a hole through the wooden table I sit and stare at, as if it'll suddenly come to life and explain to me exactly when you became so blind.

"Just… just a mistake Faith. I swear I didn't.." I jump up, grabbing you by the collar and slamming you into the nearest wall. The knuckles of my fist the only contact my body makes with yours. Why should I give you, what you took already?

Haven't I had enough of me taken away? Stripped from my soul, and burned into nothingness? You had to take this from me too? The one thing I needed, the one thing I craved, the only thing I ever felt like I could have. And you stole it from me.

"I bet you didn't." I snarl softly to you. Rage flickering through my eyes, straight through into yours. I can feel your anger rising. I can almost taste its bittersweet tang on the air between us.

You reach up, grabbing my fist and giving it a hard squeeze. The skin on skin contact makes my entire body flare up in sudden need. It's oddly ironic that my body should remember your touch, but my mind refuses to.

"I have offered you everything," I whisper, leaning forward, resting my forehead on the wall next to you ear. My words carrying gently across the scorching air to you. "I have given you all that I have. And everything you could take from me, you took. But this?" I pull back, my eyes shrouded in tears. Small droplets of oceans pain that should have been cried years ago, wavering yet not falling. "B, you had to take *this*?"

A wave of confusion rocks your face. Splintering the hard mask of anger and rage you had worked up inside of you just then. Preparing yourself to shoot me down with your almighty backlash. Telling me how drunk we both were. Telling me it was just a mistake.

"It was just one night. I'm sorry. You don't remember. Lets just forget it." the pleading quality your voice takes on, when you know you simply won't win, is edging your soft voice like a knife. A double-edged blade, that cuts both ways.

"I already have." I whisper, letting go of you as I turn around, and angrily swipe away a stray tear, that had escape and ran for the freedom it had been longing for for years.

You shift behind me. I can feel the ripples your gentle movement causes the atmosphere surrounding me. Holding me up. Choking me. I feel like I can't get enough air into my body, like I can't breathe deep enough to make this black spot on my memory fade away, and leave me with only startling clarity.

I want to remember. I *need* to remember.

"I don't understand why you wanna know Faith." You voice is soft, talking to the back of my head. I can feel your breath whispering across the skin there. I hate that my skin stands to attention in shivering goose bumps. I hate the fact that I still want you. "It was just… it was just a.."

"Don't." I shake my head, stepping forwards slightly, needing to be further away from you than I already wasn't. I needed to run. But I knew you'd hold me here. Like a river to the sea, I'll always find my way back.

"But I don't understand why you.." you smaller fingers wrap around my arm, thumb trailing a slow stroking movement over my skin as I stand there, and simply be.

Is it truly called living, when you can't feel a thing at all?

"Because I can't remember!" yanking my arm away from you, I take another step forward, not understanding why you would move closer to me, when all I need is just a little room to breathe. I spin my body, my eyes locking with yours, and I fight the age-old impulse to flicker my vision at your lips, before focusing properly on your face.

"What?" you seem to sway slightly on your feet as confusion etches its way clearly across your features.

"I wanted to be there B!" I swing my arms out widely, gesturing to the entire room as I rip my eyes away from your face. I can't not look at lip lips anymore. The need to do so, is killing me. The need to have you, has already killed me.

Because I already have had you. I just can't remember a single thing about it.

"You're making no sense!" and now I'm slammed against a wall, your body pressed flush into mine, your hands pushing at my shoulders, fingers digging into my flesh. Irritating the bruises that are now there, that weren't there when I left my motel last night.

"I wasn't there B! It was my body, but it wasn't me!" I tried to scream it back at you. I tried to yell at you. To make your head jerk backwards as if punched, my fingers curling into a fist as it connected with your face.

Slamming my head back against the wall, I look upwards, attempting to swallow the tears that made my voice crack. That gave you a slight look inside. That let you in.

Haven't you already taken enough from me?

"So congrats B. you got your one night's fuck wFaitFaith. Have a party hat, blow out the candles on the cake." I look back at you, my eyes locking on your hairline and refusing to be taken in by your endlessly green eyes ever again. "But it was just the body. It was never me."

"This is it? This is what you're upset about? Someone's finally made Faith the notch on the head board, instead of the other way around?! That is so pathetic I don't even know where to start."

You just don't *get* it, do you?

I spin up around, slamming you back into the wall again, pressing your wrists into the plaster above your head and growling into your face. It may have been obvious to me, but I had to say it to you.

"You just don't get it do you, you stupid bitch." My words are like a well-placed slap. Stinging the skin they touch, causing you to wince at the few syllables I let out. Whispered into your lips. "The one thing, I was waiting to give you. The one thing I *wanted* to give you, you just took. I wasn't there B, but I fucking *wanted* to be there!"

And silence. The soft hum of the television as it sits in stand-by. The gentle howling of the wind as it rushes through the branches of the tree outside. The hammering and pure agony of my own heartbeat, hammering it's way into my chest. Pushing against my ribs so hard, for a moment I think you could even feel it against your own.

The realisation of everything hit you like a tonne of bricks. Smashing into you, forcing you to lay still, and quiet, and let the ramblings in your mind take over.

You took me out, you got me drunk, you took me home, you had sex with a body that responded, you *enjoyed* it, and then you tried to forget. But you didn't need to get the body drunk, to have the mind follow willingly into the pit of open desire, need and want that would have been offered.

"You could have had me any time you wanted me Buffy. You never needed to steal it from me." I whispered, the feeling of your lips being mere inches from mine causing them to tingle slightly. The muscles in my back straining with all my might, to stop myself from leaning forward and taking from you, what you took from me.

"We.. we can never.. be." your breathing hitched, as your eyes locked on my lips. The color of them drawing you in, locking you in a maze of multicolored emotions that bore nothing of the pain that now vibrated between us like an electrical current.

"You still just don't understand, do you B?" I whisper, watching your eyes as they pull themselves upwards and lock into mine. "Now? Now it's not about that we can never be. Screw destiny. We could have worked that out. But now, you can't have me."

I yanked myself away from you, my body screaming at me to go back. To find the comfort in your arms that I so desperately needed. To spill all those dirty little secrets to you, like I knew I was destined to do. To be with you, until the Powers That Be decided that enough was enough, and it was time for the end.

But my mind refused to give into the primales tes that screamed their way through my body. Blood alight with the whims and wishes of a child so young, and forever forgotten. The innocence I once had, crying itself into a stupor at what I was doing. What I was about to do.

"What you could have had, you just took. You *stole* from me. You could have had it *all* B. *We* could have had it all." I shook my head as I yanked on my jacket, still staring at you, despite the tears I could feel slowly re-forming behind my eyes. "You could have had me anytime you wanted me Buffy."

"And now?" your voice called to me as I pulled open the front door. I turned my head slightly towards you, eyes trailing along the floor, but refusing to look at you one last time. Because I knew if I did, my resolve would crumble. My body would win; my mind would scream its defeat.

"And now you'll never know." My words whistled across the room, carried on the wind, as I softly pulled the door closed behind me. I swiped a tear away as I walked down the path and onto the sidewalk.

I didn't even have the emotions left to slam the door on the way out.



Tourniquet - "...to be used?"

The gentle breeze that was softly coming through the open window caused the curtains to flutter slightly, dancing shadows across her slumbering body, as it lay beneath the sheets. Hard, un-compromising wood digging into my back as I sat in the chair, my elbows resting on my knees as I watched her.

Memories of the previous night washing over my mind as the grey skies turned to the ether-real glow of morning. It covered her skin, causing it to shine and almost glimmer in the barely breaking dawn light. A part of my mind admitting to myself that I had never seen a creature as beautiful as she was.

The underground club reeked of smoke and sex, the smell penetrating my senses, memories washing over me with a stab of pain. Followed closely by a mouthful of Jack Daniels. I stood leaning on the bar, watching in fascination, as the bodies on the dance floor seemed to converge together, at the chorus of the song, to become one seemingly flawless organism. Each entity that made up the whole, breathing in it's own rhythm as the beat of the song washed over them, through them.

And the crowd parted to reveal her. Her body an effortless symphony of movements all on it's own. Her being seemingly framed by the bodies surrounding her. Her startlingly blonde hair rolled into large curls, bounced around her shoulders, almost gleaming in the non- existent light.

Yes, she was perfect. I'd admitted that to mys3elf along time ago. Or as perfect as any one human could ever hope to be. But seeing her there, as if a permanent fixture in my only dark world, her black pants and long sleeved, black hooded and fitted t-shirt, clinging to her body in ways I could never hope to remember. It was as if she was planted on the earth just so she would break all those who dared touch her.

And I knew why she was here. She'd never come to a place like this without a reason. I'd been avoiding her for weeks. The agony of lost memories driving me away from her betrayal. I saw her only at meetings, insisting that splitting up was the way to so, and having half of the town entrusted to me. I'd ran away from her when I saw her, making poor excuses to leave and ignoring her unless it was business related.

I hated what she'd forced me to become. A refugee within my own mind. My thoughts blurrered, contradicting themselves and tumbling over each other as they cried to be heard, my emotions following their lead. To the point where I can't even trust myself anymore.

I moved out onto the floor, my drink forgotten as my eyes fixed only on the girl dancing obviously for me. I circled her in a wide arch, never breaking my gaze as I tightened my circle around her. Closing her in until I was stood behind her, an arms length away from the person I was born to meet, destined to love, and fated to have betray me.

She knew I was there. Even before I took that last step towards her, wrapping my arm around her waist and bending my knees to her height. She knew exactly where I was the moment she walked into the smoggy must that was surrounding us, even as I began to match my own body's rhythm to hers.

Like it was written in the stars, we danced as if we were the only ones there. Singular movements that were designed to make us look as completely whole as any two people were meant to be. We danced for an eternity. For only a moment in time. But it was enough to cause my body to flair up in forgotten need and passion, which only a drunken mind could ever hope to remember.

She turned within my arms, her fingers coming up to link together loosely behind my neck. Trapping a few locks of my hair between her fingers. And despite the atmosphere, I could feel her thumb running over the tresses of mine that she had claimed for her own.

Our eyes had remained untouched to each other for time, and I suddenly felt the need to find myself once again lost in their depths. Despite a part of my mind crying for me to go, screaming for me to leave. I ignored it, locking my eyes on her face, studying its soft curves, tanned and flawless skin. The gently carved angles that made her face so indescribably hers.

Feeling me watching, she lifted her head, green oceans looking into me, tossing me about within their depths, until oxygen clawed to get into my starved body. My dry throat demanding me to swallow some moisture and nurse the desert inside my mouth.

If I stopped to think, I would leave and never find out what could have become. So I swallowed deeply, the sound of the action lost to even me within the club, and then leant forward and kissed her. My lips locking on to hers, my tongue easing open her lips and explored her freely yielding mouth.

And after that a colorful blur of motion until I find myself once again clear headed, lying down next to her on her bed. One arm stretched underneath her neck, the other on her back as her hand roamed the side of my neck. Small digits caressing my skin and lazily running through my hair. Teasing the collar of my fitted t-shirt as she explored.

Slowly, almost lovingly, I peeled back her clothing, one layer at a time. To reveal to me the physical perfection that led beneath. Smooth expanses of athletically formed muscles roping under her bronzed skin. All that power rolling off her in heavy waves. Strange that naked, you can taste the raw power she possess, while being clothed hides it all so well.

Stripping, I joined her on the bed, neither trying to hide, nor suppress the moan that escaped me, as I lay on top of her. Our skin pressing our torsos together, my lips finding her as if they were always meant to.

Her soft skin yielding to the gentle touch of my fingertips and eager lips as I explored. Laying small, open-mouthed butterfly kisses to every area of skin I came across. Gently taking a nipple into my mouth as my hand roamed ever lower. Teasing her upper thighs and hips with the promise of something more.

Slowly delving into her core, fingers coming away dripping as I ran them over her, being unable to get enough of the soft flesh I promised myself I would deny myself forever. The heady scent of her arousal coating the air in a thick blanket, broken only by her moans and groans of approval. And a need that was being met.

Her orgasm swept over her, my head drawn away from her body so I could watch her as she came. Biting her lip softly as her eyes screwed tightly shut. Her head pressing back into the ow aow as she arched off the bed, before lowering and curving herself up into my ever-eager hand. Her hips and lower body spasming and twitching as I slowed, but didn't relent my ministrations.

Her cries were heard well into the night, joined with and occasionally paired with my own, as I finally found the conscious release from her that I craved like a drug. Hours passing as I continued to bring her over the edge again and again. My own selfish need to see her in a state of almost divine pleasure, as she came, over taking me.

She led in my arms long after sleep had claimed her, and I allowed the liberty of finding comfort in the only arms I have ever wanted something more from. Staying wide-awake and breathing in the scent of her shampoo, I watched the shadows change and become lighter across the ceiling. Making sure that I wouldn't forget a single moment, of the night I got to have her.

The sun weaved its way across the bed, inevitably crossing over her face, and resting there. Making sure it was noticed before it moved on, waking her gently. Pulling her back into the world. My world. She wanted in so badly, and she gets everything that goes with it. My world has never been pastel colors and happy endings. She proved that the night she stole from me, what she only ever had to ask for.

Sitting bolt upright at, what I hoped, was the absence of me in the bed; her eyes searched the room until they met mine. Relief washing over her unearthly features for a spilt second, before she took in my appearance. And the look in my eyes.

She knew, almost as much as I did, what was going to happen now. Despite most of me screaming at myself to just get undressed once again and join her in the bed. Her world of gently waking mornings, snuggling under the covers and picnics in the park on hot sunny days.

"So tell me," my voice sounded choked as I locked eyes with her, a part of me dying with every word I uttered. "How does it feel, to be used?"

I let the weight of my words sink in, waited there for just long enough to see tears spring to her eyes, as she clutched the bed sheet to her naked chest, before standing up.

And once again closing the door quietly as I left.



Vociferous - "She didn't have any dignity. So she took mine"

I remember these sheets, this bed, this room. My mind holds on to and pulls in the gentle smell of shampoo as it lingers over the pillow I find my head resting on. But I find no comfort in my surroundings, no peace at the memories that have risen within. Only mind numbing pain that is far too much for my conscious body to deal with.

My eyes stare blankly ahead, seeing the dresser from a side angle and detachedly wondering how weird it looked. The smiling faces of the people in those photographs seemingly mocking me from their distorted resting places, even myself as I smirked at the unseen camera. The faded pastel wallpaper reminded me of lazy nights watching movies or playing video games on the tv I knew was stood in the opposite corner of the room, all bringing those lost tears to my eyes once more. Like they have so many times in the last month.

The muscles in my neck strained against the almost physical need to close my eyes against those little droplets of salty water, to hold them inside, to lock them back away where no one could ever witness them. But if I closed my eyes, the person I could feel laying a distance away from me, would stab me to death in my sleep.

At least emotionally. Or maybe I'd already been to sleep, and had awoken to find some more trust in them, as I gave them the only side I was never comfortable in showing someone: my back. The one side someone could hurt me from the most.

But no, I know for a fact I haven't been to sleep yet.

It's funny now that my mind remembers all the drunken details, but on the night it matters the most: it abandons me to hurt.

The stale a wholly disgusting floor of the trash dive I found myself in: spilled alcohol making the floor sticky and a sickly brown color. The souls of my boots making a velcro sort of sound as I pulled them up to walk another step forwards.

In my sober state at the time, I refused to even touch the mahogany bar as I called out my drink order to the girl behind the barrier. Almost afraid to find out what kind of putrid liquid would be covering my arm in a thick layer of what you could mistake for cooking oil. Bowls of peanuts and pretzels lining the bar like soldiers. Protecting the innocent, and I use that word lightly, bar staff from drunken, groping hands of men far too gone to realise they have wives and kids waiting for them at home.

I remember the look of surprise as a girl with dirty blonde hair came to serve me, probably at the fact that I was sober enough to have a look of utter disgust and distain fixed over my features, to even notice the scum lining the walls and spilling over onto the floors.

But I didn't care. It was the nearest bar I could find. One offering those without morals enough cheap alcohol to drown whatever sorrows they might have, in hopes of numbing the pain of living and blurring the harshness of the reality around them.

I'd need a river to drown myself in.

One bottle, two bottles. Three. Enough alcohol to render those around me into oblivion and possibly land half of them in hospital while they were at it. But just enough to lower my guard of wanting to sta cle clean as I could possibly get. At least physically. And get me to sit on one of the bar stood, my elbow leaning against the wood of the bar as I slammed back shot after shot of foul smelling whiskey.

I remember that I only ever had to fend off one greasy, over weight guy, who thought he was romeo incarnate, and that was towards the end of the night. When my attitude of pure danger had washed away slightly, leaving only a broken girl in it's wake. The beginning of the night had found me not being asked for i.d and no one coming anywhere near me, as my very pores seemed to be leaking the feel of my power. And even if you don't know what a slayer is, you can still feel pure, undulating power when you step near it.

I even remember the feel of the bar as my forehead lay upon it. Tacky, sticky, with a smell so deeply disgusting, if I hadn't worked so damn hard to get all that alcohol inside of me, I would have thrown it all up again by now. But I swallowed deeply, breathing through my mouth as my eyes looked at the floor. Broken pieces of pretzels and flecks of beer bottle labels scattering the wooden surface.

My eyes focused on a single peanut, as it lay broken in a river of yellow liquid that ran along side the bar. I gasped as I felt another lump rise in my throat, this one not from the smell of the surface beneath me. I pulled air heavily into my lungs as I lifted my head; feeling the skin stick to the bar as I pulled away slightly, putting my left arm where my head was and laying it back down again.

I closed my eyes, blocking out the sight of the place I'd come to find myself in, trying to send the alcohol raging in my system to my brain to wipe the images of her betrayal and my personal revenge, however petty the word, from my mind. But finding myself being able to think of nothing else. Images twisting in front of my eyes, creasing where they ran over the edge of the river of beer, puckering as they lay over disguarded food bits.

The feel and taste of her skin becoming fresh in my mouth, the musky sent of her arousal blocking out the must of the bar surrounding me. The heat I felt as I watched her mouth drop open in a small o of ecstasy flooding my body and causing the fist, that belong to the arm I was resting my head on, tense in painful reminders of the wall I had beaten half to death on my way here.

I gasped again, releasing the breath I didn't even know I was holding, only to find my tears so much more closer to the surface, wavering before silently falling out of my eyes and splashing into the river below. Harpooning upwards in little crowns of intermingled beer and salty water. They almost looked as if they were praying; as I suddenly become fascinated by the personal rainstorm I was creating myself. Reaching up towards a higher power to make the pain wash away.

Like they were praying to me.

But I tried. I tried so damn hard to make it all go away. I tried to kill the pain by handing her back her betrayal on a silver plate. But only succeeded in bringing myself more. More pain than I have ever felt before. Because even though I knew what she'd done, even if my body remembered, my mind couldn't. It was supposed to make it easier to walk away. But my mind and emotions contradicted themselves, making me want to have what I couldn't remember.

You can't miss, what you can't remember. But you will forever crave what you find yourself having had.

How could I possibly try to walk away now, that I know what she feels like beneath me? How she reacts to my hands as they trace every single curve of her body. How her lips feel as they dance in a long forgotten dance with mine. Her tongue brushing against mine in a certain way that would have made my knees bend and buckle beneath me, had I not already been led down.

I watched as the tears continued to fall, I felt as the pain washed away the blur of most of the alcohol, leaving me with just a soft buzz where I had once been so drunk I doubt I would have been able to walk. I listened as I sat there, hearing the vociferous swearing of a guy who'd just lost all his remaining money in a pool game.

I could consciously tell the time by how many tears had fallen, by how much less drunk I was feeling in mind. No amount of slayer powers would have gotten rid of the bodily effects of the drink I had consumed. But the main purpose was for me to drink myself so blind, I wouldn't have to watch those images and memories play back in front of me as I cried and distorted the pictures for a few seconds.

I hadn't cried in years. I have lived through my mother beating me for no good reason at all. I lived through my father leaving because she got too much for him to handle. I lived through watching her make my brother leave the house. And in all that time, I had never cried. But this, now, right here, reliving the memories of utter betrayal and heart break, to my own twisted version of payback, to my own denial of the goodness I could have had in my life, made all those tears burst free.

I cried for an hour, I cried for an eternity. I don't remember.

What I do remember is the exact moment that I felt her. I could see her, in my minds eye, as she walked almost hesitantly through the doorway, her eyes flickering over the crowd as she searched, obviously for me. Or maybe some demon to pummel. Was she really there for me? Who knows. But she saw me.

Hunched over the bar, my head resting on my arm as I tried to ignore her very presence. As I forced myself not to sit up and watch her as she walked over to me. I could feel her standing there, wrestling with the idea of reaching out and touching me. Waves of fright reaches across the air to me in tidals as she watched me, waiting for some sign that she knew I was there.

Should she reach out and touch me? Should she just call my name? Would I even answer her if I did? I could almost hear what she was thinking, without ever having to hear her speak them out loud. If only she hadn't have stood in the place she had. Her image was reflecting in the river of beer into which I had found myself crying. She hair tied back in a hazardous knot as she chewed her bottom lip and watched the back of my head.

She reached out to me, my body being far to full of whiskey to flinch away from her like I would have done, had I been sober. Instead I toppled to the opposite side, causing her to grab me around the waist and haul me upwards. Off my stool and backwards into her body. I tried to hold on to the tears again, tried to hold that sob back.

But my body betrayed me. My knees fell out from under me as the pressure of almost unbearable pain crushed my chest and my body heaved with the force of that sob. I was prepared to fall to mees ees and wail, but her arms around me prevented me from doing so.

She slowly walked me out of the bar, throwing a glare back at the bar girl as if it was her fault I had gotten into the state I was in. but I must have passed out, because the next thing I remember was opening my eyes to the scene before me. Of knowing I was in B's bedroom, of feeling her laid behind me on the other side of the bed, her hand crooked under her head as she watched me.

And I knew that she could feel the moment I woke up. But she didn't say anything, and I never moved, or offered her a single word. I just led there. Perhaps hoping she would fall asleep, giving me the chance to walked out of her room without having to see her watching me with those silently pleading eyes for me to stay.

But I knew she wouldn't.

"She used to hit me." The words rang out across the eerily silent room, and for a moment I was shocked at them, wondering who would break the silence, and only realising it was me as I felt B tense up on the bed behind me. "When dad left, she blamed me. And my brother. And she hit us. Used to call us twisted. That little line scar on my cheek is from when she hit me with her ring on."

I could feel the waves of anger rolling from B's body, feel the bedclothes pucker as her fist grabbed them as she held her arm away from touching me. I didn't know where the words were coming from; I didn't even know whyas tas telling her. I've never told anyone. But she was always different from everyone else I've ever met.

"She didn't have any dignity. So she took mine. She *stole* mine." Maybe that was the point: I thought B was different. And maybe now she needed to know why she cut me more deeply than anything when she took from me what she did. Maybe she needed to know why she was now like everyone else.

I let my words sink in, before I carefully pulled my legs off the edge of the bed and sat up. Grabbing my disguarded jacket from beside the bed and slowly pulling it on. And not finding it ironic that I was now completely sober and found my hand to be aching in that deep seated way that only a brick wall could ever make you feel.

I stood without a word, walked to the word without looking at her, and opened it. My hand resting on the doorknob as I looked at the floor in front of me. The world was once again in full, startling technicolor ancoulcould feel my surroundings as if I was born knowing every molecule of everything around me. The cool feel of the brass door handle beneath my hand, the soft rushing sound of the water running through the pipes. The very low humming noise of the radio alarm on Buffy's bedside table.

"Well done Buffy. You did the only thing she never managed to do. I hope you're very proud of yourself."

I heard a sob escape her lips as I pulled her door shut quietly behind me.



Nothing's Changed - "Why do you keep coming back?"

I felt myself being lowered to my bed. Crumpled sheets from the afternoon when I had woken up, bunching beneath my weight, pressing into my face. The harsh material of not at all expensive bed clothes scratching against my skin, giving me something physical to focus on, instead of the humiliation I already felt. Coupled with the fact that I'd just been carried to a bed, staggeringly drunk. Again.

I had returned to the bar I had first been found in. this time not so much focusing on the stale bitterness of my surrounds, but more on the number of whiskey bottles I had lined and emptied along the bar. In my drunken haze I can recall giggling as I counted to six and then lost count.

I hardly stopped for breath as I slammed glass after glass full of the cold burning liquid down my throat. Slayer healing be damned. I was getting drunk. So drunk, in fact, that I wouldn't have been able to find my way home again, even if a map came up and hit me.

As I starred down into my tumbler, swilling the alcohol within the glass, I suddenly found myself sobering up. No, the irony of what I had intended to do to myself wasn't lost on me. Drowning myself into oblivion, choking off my mind with cheap whiskey that was far too expensive in a dump like this.

They always say you turn out to be your mother.

And despite the fact that Buffy had finished the job my mother so kindly didn't get chance to finish, I didn't want to become her. I knew that road; I've seen where it leads. I placed my glass back onto the bar, resting my elbows in a large puddle of indescribable ale and held my head in my hands. I doubt I've wanted to be so sober in my life.

And a part of me just couldn't help but desperately want her to come rescue me again. I'd fight her; I'd push her away. I'd scream for her to leave me alone. But I wouldn't mean it. I'd let her drag me out of here, probably literally. Follow drunkenly as I stumbled behind her in my effort to stand up straight as she led me home.

But the longer I sat there, forcinselfself to sober up, compelling those little mystical parts of me to do their work and start to make me as close to me as they could get me, the more I realised that she wouldn't be coming again. The last time I left her, I had the distinctive and painful notion that it would be the last time she let me close a door to her.

I wondered when metaphors became so real, so physical.

And then came the anger. She used me, she stole from me. And now she had left me? Given up and walked away. Wasn't I good enough her her to care just a little bit longer? Did she care if she never saw me again? Did I?

I threw a bundle of notes on the bar top, idly wondering if the bar girl would mind fishing the wet and now dripping dollars out of a pond of beer. Or would she just grab them in her haste to get paid and get the hell out of the place? I knew what I would do if I was her.

I dragged my body from its stool, barely aware that my legs and arms still refused to sober up as fast as my mind did, and started to slowly walk away. I promised myself I wouldn't come back here, and try to kill myself in alcohol. But a part of me knew I was lying. Anything was better than the pain I seemed to go through without it.

I hated going to sleep. Because for those few precious moments, when the mind wasn't fully awake, I forgot. I could live in the world were nothing had ever happened, where her betrayal didn't haunt me. I would smile, and reach across my bed in a stretch. But then I would open my eyes, and another wave of grief would crash over me, so much more painful than the first.

Pummelling me with flashes of that forgotten night, of tastes and touches and sounds of the night I can actually remember. I could physically feel my heart ripping into smaller, more un-fixable pieces every single time I woke up. And with the stale taste of whiskey and smoke in my mouth, I would weep. Curl up into a foetal position and sob. My body shuddering with their force as they poured their way out of my body.

I would cry until my lungs burned and my chest heaved, eyes stinging from the salt that accompanied the water as my tears fell. My pillow would be wet, my cheeks red and blotchy, and an itch of agony buried so deep within my chest, I would try to scratch it out of me, numbly recognising the blood as it dripped out of the wounds my nails left behind.

I stumbled, catching myself on a near by street lamp and looking upwards, trying to figure out where the hell I was, until I recognised the house I stood before. Odd that my body will always remember the one place I was drinking to forget. And all the memories that came with that house. That room. That bed. Her face.

I staggered around the side of the house, unnervingly remembering exactly how to climb that tree, with an ease born from many nights sneaking back into her house after a patrol. Or simply for the hell of it, to scare to to keep her company. To keep her awake with endless hours of movies and video games. To grin as she remembered she had to wake early the next day.

Her window was open slightly, and I froze as I saw her. Back turned away from me as she slumbered peacefully in her comforter. Cocooned in a kind of place I had once hoped I would always find. Pity the person I hoped to find it with turned out to be just as bad as the person who broke me in the first place.

I shunted the window open, dropping one booted foot inside and completely misjudging the distance to the floor. I stumbled forwards, cracking my forehead on the window frame and falling face first on the floor. My elbow smashed against the side of her bed and I swore, harshly. Loudly. Not caring if she woke up and heard me.

"Faith?" her voice was leaden with sleep, shocked, tired and confused at her pull from sudden peace.

I grunted at her, trying to put my hands beneath me to push myself off the floor again. I couldn't seem to make them move, a stab of pain shooting down my left arm when I attempted to do so. So I stayed there. My cheek pressed into her carpet, my eyes open and starring at the sweater she had dumped on the floor near the door.

t.. t.. what are you doing here?" I could here her shoving the comforteay fay from her and shuffling over towards the edge of the bed. Did I want her to see me like this? No. Was she going to? Yes. She slowly pushed her hands underneath my armpits, gently tugging me to sitting, before shifting me in her arms and pulling me to sit on the edge of the bed. My head fell forward, my chin touching my chest as I sat there, feeling her so close to me, and yet knowing exactly how far away she was.

I slumped forward, my elbows on my knees and I pushed my fingers into my hair, pulling it away from my face as I focused on the floor and held my now throbbing head in my heads. Yes, I was a mess. I could even smell the alcohol and smoke on myself. And something much less appealing to my self-destructive nature, that was perhaps the smell of the bar itself: dark, musty, musky and mouldy.

"Are you ok?" her voice broke into my thoughts, her hand landing gently on my back and she leaned forward, attempting to see my face. I shot upwards, launching myself to my feet and clenching my fists at my sides.

"This is your fault." I whispered in a harsh, forced voice. Tears straining at the back of my throat as I starred at myself in the mirror. That person, that broken, bloody and disgusting person reflected back at me, wasn't in fact a stranger. Like I had been hoping all my life. But me. For the first time, I could see what anyone else saw. I saw the rage, the wild side, the bitch and the slut. I saw the pain I could cause, and the agony I could infuse in people.

For the first time, I could see the mask. The one I hid behind so very well. The one that had made B think she could play me, could use me. Is this what everyone else saw? I knew it was.

And I hated her just a little bit more.


"This is *your* fault!" I screamed, turning around and finally looking at her. My anger ebbing slightly as I saw her confused look, her bed tangled hair and pink pyjamas. "All of this! If you had just left me alone, none of this would be happening to me!"

I was being irrational, I was being hurtful. I was screaming and waking up her sister. I knew. I didn't care. If she was feeling even just a little bit of what I was, then it'd all be worth it. All those nights spending hard earned cash on shitty whiskey that tasted like cats piss anyway, all those tears wasted and burned away to nothing. All those walls which now have a good few holes in them. All of that, would be worth it. If only she'd feel what I was feeling right now.

"You came here to tell me that?" she stood, crossing her arms over her chest as she looked at me. The slightly hostile look in her eyes pissing me off more, surging my body with adrenaline.

"If you haven't noticed B, I seem to be drowning here." I turned my head away, feeling that lump rise a little higher in my throat, feeling those tears burning my eyelids as I swallowed. Why was I whispering? Why was I being quiet? I came here to hurt her. I came here to make her feel what I was feeling. "I'm drowning…" a tear spilled over as I looked back at her "…and you just don't seem to care."

I raised my hands to my face, covering my features as a sob ranked my body. I could feel her eyes on me, her arms dropping from in front of her chest as she watched on, helpless as I dropped to my knees and sat back on my feet. My sobs coming thick and fast now as I felt the burning humiliation of simply just being there. Of staying there. Of *wanting* to stay there.

I felt her walk over to me, kneeling in front of me and not being able to tare her eyes away. I could feel her want to hold me. To reach out and pull me into her arms and hold me there. But I could also feel the fear. The fear of me pushing her away again, of telling her something else that cut her right to the core and left her naked from within.

But she did anyway. Held me close and whispered softly into my ear as I wept away a lifetimes worth of pain, triggered by her betrayal of me. Pulling me up to my feet and slowly walking me down her stairs, when I'd cried too much and not enough. Becoming silent as the tears continued to fall but my body refused to work the way I wanted it to. She led me home, fishing my keys out of my pocket, opening my door. Closing it behind us.

Taking off my jacket and laying me down softly on the bed. Taking care to remove my boots and put them near the dresser next to the wall. Taking the blanket off the back of the sofa and draping it over me, tucking a stray piece of behind my ear and giving me a lasting look as she started back across my apartment.

"Why do you keep coming back?" I whispered, halting her from walking out of the now open front door. I could see her out of the corner of my eye as she turned and looked at me, saying nothing for such an extended length of time, I thought she would calmly point out to me that this time, she didn't come to me at all.

"I want to help put you back together again."

Her soft words hung in the air long after she'd closed the door behind her.



Revoke - "Forever's too far away..."

Silence surrounded us like a dark, black cloud. Ready and waiting, almost willing, to burst forth it's wrath upon us, if even so much as one word was spoken. Tension carried over the airwaves, rippling over my back as I sat on the window ledge and watched the rain as it battered the panes of glass I sat next to.

A distant thought swirled around my head, a question that burned and ached. Willing itself into my concious mind, to spill forth and shatter the silence we sat in, like a baseball bat would shatter glass. It was like a splinter in my mind, slowly driving me mad.

Causing hot, bitter anger to rise to the surface at the apparent uselessness of my memory. It had failed me so many times recently, I wondered if someone had come and stolen it from my body while I slept in a fitfull state of longing and pain.

Before the rain began to fall, I had found myself stood on the street, hands delved deep into my pants pockets as I hunched against the on coming cold. I flickered my gaze towards the sky, feeling a slight wave of sadness wash over me at the absense of the stars above me. Once shinning so brilliantly, so brightly. Now dull and faded as they hid behind the clouds.

Bringing my eyes back towards the building across the street from me, I watched in idle fasination as a burly man with greasy dark hair staggered out of the open doorway, bracing himself against the wall with his hand and steadying himself. I could here him drawing air in deep, rattling breathes, finally cut short as he keeled over in pain and retched so loudly, so painfully, that I winched for him.

But I didn't feel enough sympathy for him, to go and help him stagger home.

Two days ago, I had been that man. Crowding a bar stool with my frame and swallowing cheap whiskey as if it were water. My blurry eyes not registering the grimy, filthy world around me as I attempted to fill my body with enough alcohol to forget. And then maybe remember. Only to finally swallow one mouthful too much, to throw my body out of the stool, slamming through that doorway and emptying the contents of my stomach over the wall just outside the door.

A waft of vomit hit my senses, causing me to reel backwards a step and slam my back into the wall behind me. I swallowed deeply, pushing out the fetid air from my lungs and opening my mouth to breathe. For an instant I was tempted to cover my nose with my hand, to block that smell from ever entering my body again, from causing the bitter taste of acidic bile to rise in the back of my throat.

From a distant place, I could still feel the alcohol I had been trying to kill myself with over the last number of weeks, still lingering inside my body. Swirling through my system with the blood that makes me so very different from anyone but her. I would still wake up in the morning with the foul taste of stale drink on my breath, my head pounding and my stomach turning as it attempted to rid the distructive liquid from my being.

Slayer healing or no, alcohol is like a bad memory. Fading but never quite leaving, lingering around the edges of your mind and senses until one single word can bring it all crashing back to you in full, living technicolor.

A part of me was screaming at me to fight my way past the man who had passed out in a pool of his own vomit, to claim that bar stool once again and to try to drink the lost memories out of me. I knew my logic was seriously flawed, because no matter how much alcohol I was drinking, I could never bring those images and feelings back to me. I now have a different night to remember. One that I caused, one that I stained. One that I broke.

How many times in a life do you think you wish to be able to turn back time, to halt something from happening. To make something different? Countless, endless times have I laid on my bed as a child and wished that someone would grant me the power to do just that. New bruises forming on my arms and chest, cuts drying bloody over my pale legs. A smelly and holey blanket clutched to my chest as I listened to my mother screaming at my brother downstairs.

Silent tears would pour out of my eyes, my body rocking gently back and forth as the words 'I wish' fell in a constant stream from my mouth, lips hardly moving as I prayed for someone to come and save us.

I would jump to hear a loud bang from downstairs, realising that it was the kitchen door slamming shut behind my brothers back as he ran up the stairs. His footfalls slowing and becoming almost silent as he crept towards my bedroom door. To check if I was asleep. He was never dissapointed that I wasn't.

He would come into my room and kneel by my bed. His big hand gently running over my forehead as he told me stories, that it would all be ok sometime soon. I never believed him, but I always listened, wishing once again that it were true. Knowing, that even as a small child, he was protecting me, and taking as much as he could possibly handle, to keep me from being hurt more than I was already.

And when he thought sleep had claimed me, he would carefully pick me up, cradling my small body against his 19 year old frame as he took me into his room. His job letting him have a proper bed with thick, thick comforters and locks on his door. Shelves full of food and drinks lining the wall above his desk, food which he was more than willing to share with me when I became too dizzy with hunger to even stand. He would tuck me up in the far corner of his huge bed, and then climb in after locking up his door and bolting down his window.

I can still remember in avid detail how safe I felt as he gently pulled me into the circle of his arms, whispering to me that he'd protect me, and that someday he would take me away from all this. When he had enough money, when he could run far enough away from her. From the woman whom we were supposed to call 'mother'.

I shattered the day I watched him walk out of that house. His eyes were almost dead, looking at me with a deep sadness tainting the brilliant blackness of his eyes. I could see, in the moments just before she slammed the door in his face, the hopelessness he felt at having to leave me there. His heart breaking into tiny little shreds as it dawned on my face that he had broken his promise.

He would no longer be there to protect me. He wasn't taking me away. He wasn't coming back.

For years afterwards I would still use his room as a safe haven, long after the food on the shelves had rotted and began to smell, years after the comforters that covered that once huge bed began to wear away. If I concentrated enough, I could push the smell of rotten food from my senses, and I could still smell him sometimes. A waft of his hair on the pillow. The sutble sent of his aftersave lingering by the window.

I shook myself out of my thoughts, finding that having my mind wandering over the most painful period of my life, did nothing to ease the pain that I was currently going through. It, in fact, had almost the same effect as my sleeping would have. I would drag myself back to reality, only to find the agony still waiting for me, ready to wrap it's icy fingers around my body again, and squeeze until I thought I would shatter.

"It's a bit late to be hanging around the streets isn't it?" a voice penitrated my conciousness, but I didn't move, simply blinked. I had no idea who it was, but I knew for a fact that I wouldn't be moving, even if someone attempted to drag me away.

"Fuck off."

"Now now pretty girl. That isn't the way to talk to a man." He was stood two foot to my left, leaning against the wall and attempting to act as if he were gods greatest gift to man kind.

"I ain't your type." My voice sounded slightly strained and I cursed myself in mad fad for it. it made me sound like he scared me, like I was afraid of what he might do to my poor, fragile, female body.

"I kinda doubt that." I flickered my gaze towards him for a moment, my eyes taking in the stained and grubby wife beater he wore, dispite the drop in temperature. His black jeans had smudges of paint and dust over then, as if he'd been working on a building site. Dirty blond hair hung in strings over his forehead, and I wondered if the color was due to nature, or that fact that he smelt like he hadn't bathed in weeks.

"You shouldn't. So leave." I looked back towards the doorway of the bar, almost grinning to see the burly guy straining to stand up, his hand clutched to the side of his head as if he'd been bull whipped with a two by four.

"Listen you little…" his words were cut off as he watched a small, delicate looking hand, deeply tanned in the californian sun, slink its way across the front of my chest, just underneath my neck, to hold on to the opposide shoulder. The sent of her hit me like a hammer, causing me to close my eyes and swallow deeply at her near proximity.

Had I been waiting for her to come and find me again? Perhaps. Did I care that she had? I'd like to say no, but a part of me was highly doubting that she would come back again, dispite her confession of late. 'I want to help put you back together'. Her words still rung clearly in my head, and even I couldn't deny the quality of senserity within them.

"Hey baby." Her voice had dropped to a husky, deep level, the words she spoke vibrating through my skull and dropping down my spine at an alarming speed, causing the hair over my arms to stand to attention under the cloth of my jacket. She slowly pressed her body into the left side of mine, modling her form to fit mine as her other arm came up and around the back of my neck.

I could feel dirty blo's e's eyes on us, as she manuvered her body more in front of me, so he could get a damn good look at exactly why he wasn't my type. Almost without thought, my hands pulled themselves from my pockets and wrapped themselves around her waist, pulling her closer to me. My body flaired in waves of heat as her pulse beat against my chest, her eyes drawing me into them. Causing me to feel that free sense of falling, like I always did when she captured me with those hazel pools.

"Hey." I whispered back to her, wishing dirty blonde would get the message so I could push her away from me and start to breathe again. I could see blossums of white exploding behind my eyes as my oxygen starved body screamed out for her to let go of me, to step away. To grant me breathe again.

"Sorry." And then the guy practically ran across the road and into the bar.

As I heard it slamming behind him, I took hold of her shoulders and gently pushed her backwards, my upper body leaning downwards as I gulped in masses amount of sweet oxygen. Her hands held on to my forearms as she waiting for me, watching me with her eyes.

The wind rose, whipped my hair around my head as I stared at her boots, causing tears to rise in my eyes and spill over as the cool sweeps of air stung my eyelids. Dammit. I didn't want her to think that these tears were for her. I've already spilt a lifetime of tears over her, I've wasted enough energy trying to force the pain from my mind.

I let go of her, leaning back against the all, my eyes looking once agains towards the sky as my breathing calmed down again, slowing to normal intakes as my heart followed suit and gentled out to it's normal rhythm.

"I'll walk you." she said, turning back towards my left, back toward the way she came from, and waiting for me to follow.

The walk to my apartment was almost as silent as of when we arrived. The rain starting suddenly as we took those first few steps, my hair and clothes soaked in minutes, as it always happens with californian rain. Huge almost tropical drops spilling forth from the sky, covering everything it can reach within ater ter of moments. My hair hung down in wet tendrils, hiding most of my face from her view as we walked.

I flickered my eyes towards her reflextion in the glass, looking slightly surreal as the rain poured down the window. Almost making her look like she was crying. She was slumped in one of the chairs, her elbow resting on one of the arms, her fingers covering her lips as she stared off at some unseeable point. I had been spending the last god knows how long, just watching her reflection.

The bleeting of my phone startled her from her thoughts, causing her elbow to slip from the arm of the chair and her eyes fly open wide as she shot a look towards me. If I had any humour left, I would have laughed in amusement. But as it was, the most I could manage was a faint smile that hardly reached my lips, let alone my eyes.

I glanced towards caller id, my mind wrapping itself around the number as I couldn't quite read the name from so far away. I recognised it, but chose to ignore it, letting the machien pick it up.

"It's me. You didn't pick up before. I've rung you three times. I know this is a painful day Faith, but we have to talk about it. we always do. It's only one day a year our mother died on. And I miss you. call me back." The machine clicked and I watched in rapt fasination as the words rolled themselves around buffy's mind. Her brain focusing on certain words to try and figure out who the hell the guy on the phone had been.

Her eyes gently lifted towards mine, meeting my gaze in the glass as it finally sunk in. a wave of sorrow crossed her face, but no words were forth coming. If they were pity, I'd rather she didn't say them at all.

"He saved me." I moved my eyes away from hers, still feeling their gaze upon me as I looked at the street below. "I waited forever for him. And he finally came."

I spun myself around on the sill, dropping both feet to the floor and taking hold of the wooden ledge as I lowered my eyes to the floor somewhere in front of me. She shifted in her chair, but I didn't look at her.

"I refuse to wait that long again," I lifted my eyes to her face, forcing all the pain to the surface as I locked my gaze with hers. Pushing all that fear, all that agony and all that bitter pain across the room to her with just my eyes. "for you to save me."

Something crossed her gaze then, as we stared at each other, a game of wills to see would would turn away first.

I didn't give her the chance to lose. I stood, pushing my still damp hair behind my ear as I folded my arms over my chest and walked across the room to my phone, picking it up on my way.

I stopped in my bedroom door, my back towards her as I fiddled with the pant clip on the back of the telephone.

"Forever's too far away." I whispered softly to her as I closed the door soundlessly behind me.



How Soon Is Now - "I was terrified of forgiving her. I was terrified of *not* forgiving her..."

I can feel her shifting around behind me, quickly guiding processed food from their cartons onto plates, wiping up any mess she might have spilled. My body continues to look as if her very presence doesn't affect me. My eyes turned towards the television screen, as if deeply engrossed in the program that I continue to not know the name of.

But we never talk. Never share anymore more than a word of hello and a word of goodbye. Dispite the sounds of my stereo or tv drowning out the quiet, the silence still wraps around me like a thick blanket, at times making it so hard to breathe, I find myself opening as many windows as I possibly can do, even if a chill lays in the air.

For days she just comes around, not bothering to knock anymore, just coming inside and heading straight for the kitchen. It's not as if I don't know who's there anyway. And each night she rustles up some food for the both of us. I'm not entirely sure where she golf olf of it, but now it seems she's found my kitchen completely bare apart from a few energy bars and cartons of juice in the fridge.

The first night she came, she spent an almost eternity of hours, until the sun had started to peak above the horizon and small birds were chirping the start of a new day in the tree that stood outside my bedroom window. And still, we never said a word.

Some far off and distant part of my mind, the part that hasn't crumpled and died without it's innocence, the single part of me that still *has* it's innocence, keeps bringing forth the questions that plague me most of the day. The rest of me following up one of those questions with another, the voices in my head over running and confusing themselves, to the point where I don't know which to trust anymore.

Her very presence knocks my senses into another galaxy. Her smell wrapping itself around my head, drowning me in the scents that could only ever be her: vanilla, woodrth,rth, rain and something so individually Buffy that not one person alive could ever double it. All those smells innately covered over by some vanity product. The smell of sweet heathers somehow not hiding it all from me, but perhaps adding shinghing to her, but also means my slayer senses will always smeer cer coming from a mile away.

My muscles always hidden, tightly knotted underneath the baggy sweater I wear, simply so she can't see how tense I become with her near enough to me so I can touch her. Something I want to do as if it was written in my very genetic coding. But I never do. I sit, and I watch, and I listen to the silence that is always a part of her being here.

Because for all that little innocent voice in the back of my head, the part of me that craves her like a drug, that needs her as if she were air, there will always be the rest of me. That dark and painful voice that suffered through years of beatings by the one person who was supposed to protect me in the first place. It whispers to me. That she isn't any different from the rest of them, that she will inevitably hurt me just as bad as the rest of them. No, more.

I feel the sofa pitching slightly under her weight as she sits and passes a plate of Chinese food over to me. I take it without question, using the fork she provided me to shovel in a mouthful.

The tastes explode out over my taste buds, causing me to wince slightly in the sudden attack within my head, but quickly calming down as I chewed and got used to the flavouring. Chinese had always been a favourite food of mine because of how the taste f it would almost make my head explode.

Just like her.



The room spins and blurs in front of me, colors crashing together to make one painfully bright wash of violence. Seconds bleed into each other as I stand there, watching the black blob in my vision waver in and out of focus.

I can hear him talking to me, words dribbling over my senses in slow motion, distorting into sounds I don't understand. Knowing that I never want to understand them.

His name is too good to come from this strangers mouth.

Forty cigarettes a day, gurgling tar in his lungs, rasping namename out that even through my cacophonic version of the rest of the sentences, I can still hear his name being said to me.

Like it's on repeat.

Jabe… Jabe… Jabe… Jabe…

With a clarity so slingling, my world comes back into screaming focus, and I'm still stood in my apartment, stood in front of the cop. I was still holding onto the doorknob, feeling her very presence behind me. She doesn't say, or do anything. Just stands behind me, listening to the words that I'm so desperately trying to rid my mind of.

Not even a second has passed since I regained the harsh reality I don't want to live in, any more than my place of funny clown colors and wailing of sounds, before it starts to tilt.

The darkly stained, hard wood floors washing into my vision, and I know that I'm going to fall. My face smashed painfully into the wood, knocking me on conscious.

And suddenly, I realise how much I don't want to sleep. Because then, for at least a little while, I'll forget. And then a new wave of grief will greet me when I wake.


My descent to the floor is jarred to a halt. Small arms wrapping around my waist from behind, holding me up. Her lips press gently to my ear, whispering words I don't quite hear, but I don't care anyway.

For at least a moment in time, she caught me as I fell.



"Miss Raven?" the cop I answered the door too looked astonishingly like the cop I swore blind was 'butch' a while ago.

"Yeah? And who the hell're you?" Buffy softly nudged me in the back with her elbow, causing me to smirk at her over my shoulder.

"I'm office Jenson, and I need to have a private word with you. If that's possible?"

"What about?"

"Can I come in? It's quite urgent."

"No, you can stay right the fuck there and tell me what the hell is going on."

"It's.. it's about your brother. A Mr Jabe Raven?"

"What about him?" I used to laugh at that expression, of someone walking over your grave. How can someone do that, if you're not dead yet? Now I knew. It the that impossibly freezing cold feeling that slowly slivered it's way down your spine, and raising the hairs on the back of your arms and neck.

"There was an accident. A car crash? He erm.."

"What the hell happened?! Is he alright?!"

"He died early this morning Miss Raven. The doctors did…"

And then my world blurred in front of my very eyes.



She handed me a glass of water, before sitting down next to me and wrapping her arm around my shoulders. I had the irreversible urge to shrug her from my body, but my body wasn't liste to to me anymore. It did as it pleased, it responded how it liked.

A voice started screaming at me inside of my head, yelling at me that I shouldn't be thinking about Buffy and how my body acted around her right now. My brother had just , an, and already I missed him with a passionate burn, dispite not having seen him for years.

"Are you ok?" I shook my head, looking down at my glass of water and wondering why it was everyone always asked you that, when they knew that you weren't ok.

"I was just wondering why I was thinking about.. something else. And not Jabe."

"Don't beat yourself up about it." she pulled me a little tighter into her body and laid a gentle kiss on my temp. "When we're hit by so much grief, our minds can't handle it all at once."

"You think I'm grieving?"

"You're mindmakimaking the abnormal, normal. When my mom died.. I was worried about the patch of vomit I left on the hall floor."

We lapsed into silence, me thinking about Jabe, about what she just said to me. Wondering how I could make this seem like anything normald yed yet, realising that that's prly hly how people can deal with so much pain all at once.

Make it all normal, and it doesn'rt srt so much anymore.

The bed pitched slightly to the side, bouncing me back upright as she got off the bed. I didn't want to see her walking back out through that door. I didn't want her to leave me alone.

But I didn't have the strength left in me, to ask her to stay.

The door clicked softly shut, leaving the room utterly silence.

And then I felt her hand, fingers running through my hair and coming to rest on the side of my neck. I looked up into her sparklingly green eyes and sat there in astonishment, as she leaned forward and gently kissed me on the lips.

"You don't have to be alone tonight." She laid me down on the bed, before climbing over me, and pulling my back firmly into her stomach, wrapping her arms around me and kissing the back of my head.

"But what about tomorrow?"

"I'll be here when you wake up."

"And the next day? And the next?" I was terrified that she'd stay the night, and then I'd never be able to let her go. I was terrified that if she stayed with me the night, that I'd forget all my anger and pain at her, for what she did. I was terrified of forgiving her.

I was terrified of not forgiving her.

"When ever you wake up. I'll be here."

The first comfortable silence we've shared in what seems like forever washed over us, lulling me into a place I refused to believe I would ever get back to. No more words passed between us.

We had nothing left to say.

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