Sometimes I wonder why I stay with her, through all
the shit and the abuse. I think 'once more and I'm out of here': I've even
said it to her on occasion, when it all gets too much to handle. How many
times can you say "Never again!" before you start to sound foolish?
I had been in prison when Buffy died, and I had felt it like a physical blow all those miles away. I was back slaying in Sunnydale when Willow resurrected her, and suddenly I had a real chance to atone for all the wrong I had done to the only person I ever really gave a damn about.
We didn't realise for a long time just how bad Buffy was. She was in shock, hurting - after all she'd been brought back from the dead, and then had to claw her way out of her own grave. That's all it was: before long she'd be back to her old self. For the longest time I wouldn't accept that there was anything else wrong with her. I couldn't allow anything to interfere with the joy I felt at her return.
Everyone made allowances at first. Her mood could swing from almost childlike good humour to violent fury in seconds, and then just as easily swing back. Sometimes she seemed just like the old Buffy, but she could also be a complete stranger. She always apologised for her actions afterwards, even crying in my arms at times. She started to become increasingly depressed, and seemed unable to open up to anyone.
The only time she seemed to enjoy herself was when we were patrolling. Before, she had always seen Slaying as a duty or a chore. Now she threw herself into it with reckless abandon, displaying a terrifying ferocity. To be honest, seeing her fight was scary - but it was also exhilarating, a real turn on. I guess she felt it too, because one night when we were patrolling alone she jumped me. Looking back, I don't think she would have taken no for an answer, but luckily that wasn't an issue. After that night, Buffy seemed more like her old self, and life seemed to return to something like normality.
Slowly, however, Buffy became more. demanding. She knew I loved her desperately, probably always knew, and was happy to take advantage. She used me like some kind of comforter, without ever giving me anything of herself. You could never call what we had then a relationship
The first time it happened, it didn't seem like anything to worry about - in fact it seemed to mark a turning point in our non-relationship. We were arguing as we tended to do, and I don't even remember what it was I said now. It must have been pretty bad, because the next thing I knew I was on the floor, my head ringing. Buffy was laying into me, and I grabbed her and we fought.. and suddenly we were crying in each other's arms, and kissing. We actually made love instead of Buffy just fucking me senseless, and finally I felt that she really did love me.
For some weeks after that Buffy was more relaxed, and we all began to breathe more easily around her. Then Spike came into the picture, and Buffy lost whatever tenuous grip she had on the plot. Apparently he had been 'stalking' her for some time, following us and pestering her when I wasn't around. I'm pretty sure anyone could have told him how bad an idea that was.
He had discovered that his chip didn't stop him from attacking Buffy, although he was still harmless to anyone else, and claimed this was evidence that she was less human than she had been before. Of course we all said this was ridiculous to Buffy's face, but I'm sure we all wondered - I know I did. Buffy was desperate for confirmation that she was alright, but she knew as well as any of us that she wasn't the person she had been.
This time she didn't retreat into depression, but she certainly became colder and more calculating. Her relationships with the scoobs became strained, and with me she would veer from needy to aloof. Spike eventually pushed her too far - he was just as drawn to her as the rest of us I guess; how fucked up is that? A vampire obsessed with the slayer - and she dusted him in a fit of temper. For a short while she was inconsolable, and then she just seemed to forget about him.
Occasional acts of violence started appearing in our relationship - then they slowly became more common. At first I would fight back: I'm as strong as she is and no slouch in a fight. But I couldn't compete with her sheer fury, and retaliation only made her angrier. Eventually it just became easier to let her get it out of her system. It was as if she was driven by a darkness inside, some compulsion towards violence and anger that Slaying could only partially assuage. She would take out her aggression on the vampires and demons, and anything left over would be expended on me. Afterwards she always became tender, apologising endlessly and promising never to do it again.
Giles left when he found out what had been going on between us. I don't think he could bear what had become of his ward - he'd always been the closest thing Buffy had to a father figure, but there was nothing he could do to help her. When he walked in on her beatin' on me he tried to stop her and she damn near killed him. I managed to get him out, but he was never able to look her in the face again without flinching. At least he agreed to keep what he had seen to himself before he returned to England.
So we fell into a routine of fighting and making up, with bouts of Slaying in-between. For a time we were pestered by an alliance of Warren, Andrew and Jonathan - they called themselves 'The Troika' - but they were only mild annoyances until one day Warren tired of being thwarted by Buffy and turned up with a gun. It was a good idea - about the only way I can think of to beat B - but he should have learnt to shoot first. He only winged her, and she practically tore him apart. He died later in hospital, but the Police viewed it as justifiable homicide. We had witnesses after all. Buffy tracked down Andrew and Jonathan and ran them out of town - not that they were doing much running by the time she finished with them. I guess somewhere along the line she mislaid that idea about not hurting humans.
These days Sunnydale is a fairly quiet place. We still get vampires and demons, but they're generally either the stupid ones or just plain arrogant. It's been a long time since I've seen anyone or anything that could last more than a few seconds against Buffy. Except me of course: I take it because I'm the only one who can. She needs me, needs a safety valve to release the pressure. Without me she would be out of control, a danger to herself and everyone around her.
So I love her, and she needs me. I can accept that. I can accept the pain because somewhere deep down inside I know the old Buffy is still there. Sometimes I find myself pushing her, goading her until she breaks because I know how sorry she will be afterwards. Once the storm breaks she'll be as loving as I've always wanted her to be, if only for a few hours. Okay it's kinda fucked up but I'm a big girl, I can take it. For now at least.
She's getting worse though. I suspect Buffy will be the death of me eventually, because I can't leave her. All she has is her anger and me. When I'm gone, the anger will consume her until there is nothing left. Until then, I'll give her whatever I can.Looking down at her asleep in our bed it's hard to believe that this little blonde angel could be so dangerous - but then demons are angels too. Slipping into bed beside her I gather her into my arms, and she murmurs sleepily and opens her eyes. She runs her fingers over my face, tracing the fading bruises. They don't bother me now; they'll be gone by morning. She opens her mouth to speak but I forestall her, kissing her gently. She responds hungrily, passionately, and rolls me onto my back. I close my eyes as she works her way down my body, and give myself over to her. No matter what I'll always be there for her, until it kills me.