She likes to draw. Pencil, lead only, she's not good with colours. She's tried charcoal but it smudges too much. And now it really is a blessing, pencils are still readily available, and all she needs is one and any piece of paper.
She sketches whatever she sees; furniture, views out the window, weapons – she particularly likes to detail the curves of blades – and people. There are plenty of people, from all over the world, and she relishes experimenting with the shapes of eyes, the slope of noses, skin tones, and the texture of hair.
She's quiet, and occasionally someone will try and befriend her, but she usually gets distracted when the light hits their face in just the right way, and she draws. Soon people don't come for small talk, they come for a picture. Some she's already done without their knowledge, and she offers these drawings up, and they usually prefer them to any deliberate pose.
Some, she knows, send them to their families, friends, whoever they left behind. Others tuck them away, for what reason she doesn't know. Some tell her to keep them, and she writes their names carefully underneath, folds them and places them in a simple tin box to keep them safe.
When things start getting worse, and she realises that the end, whatever that may be, is coming, she sits in front of a mirror and sketches herself. She writes her name underneath and puts it with the others in the box.
As they leave the house for the last time she places the tin on the kitchen counter. She hopes that after everything is over someone might find it, and that their faces won't be forgotten.
She's been there about a month when some of the girls come home one day with many, many bottles of cheap wine. They set themselves up in the dining room, and pass the bottles around till there's nothing left. It's the first time in months she hasn't been afraid. The aches from training fade away. She doesn't feel anything.
The next morning reality and pain and fear return, so she searches the cupboards and finds a half empty bottle of tequila, which tastes foul but does the job, and spends the day underneath the stairs in the basement drinking it till she passes out.
She wakes up to the amused smirk of that stupid neutered vampire – and she thinks any judgment coming from him is a bit rich – who suggests she brushes her teeth and take a shower. A hangover from a two day bender and smelling like a brewery with a leaky toilet is pretty bad, worse is when she realises that no one even realised she'd been gone.
She knows she's not cut out for this, being a Slayer, saving the world. So she drinks till she forgets. It takes more and more effort to find what she needs as the town empties, but she manages. Everyone is so caught up in their own impending death, they barely notice her.
She occasionally goes to training, though she never feels like it, and… that girl… whatever her name is, just rolls her eyes as she stumbles, as she tries not to vomit. It occurs to her that maybe everyone does know, but it just isn't that high on the priority list.
She realises one day that she is totally unprepared to fight. She's going to die. Because of her, others might die. The terror stabs through her chest and she can barely breathe. She drinks steadily from a bottle of vodka until it fades, and as she marches into battle she doesn't feel a thing.
She's in love. She's also probably going to die in a few weeks, so it figures. But she's in love. With a girl, which is new, but not as scary as it should be. Possibly because, you know, impending death. Sexual identity crises aren't nearly as terrifying as they used to be.
It seems wrong, but she's actually deliriously happy, with Marie, training and cuddling and being, according to some, 'repulsively cute'. Others just say 'repulsive' and sneer in their general direction, but no one likes those girls anyway. She knows she should be more upset about people reacting like that, wondering about living the rest of her life like that, but she just has to look at her girl and all is well. She doesn't think too much about the possibility of the rest of her life being less than a month to month.
They're not alike; don't really have anything in common to be honest. Marie is quiet and intense, Carys is loud and brassy. Marie has a sly sense of humour and intelligent eyes that seem to take in everything in the room, Carys likes to think she's reasonably smart, but she acknowledges she can be more than a little ditzy. Marie is short and stocky and better with her fists than a sword, while Carys was a dancer, with long limbs and feline grace. Marie is the best kisser Carys has ever had the pleasure of kissing, but she likes to think in that regard they're equals.
It's because of Marie more than anything that makes her want to live now, want to fight. She can't imagine living without her, and she refuses to imagine dying alongside her. They will fight, together, and they will survive, she won't have it any other way. Then she'll worry about Marie meeting her mother.
She's forever working out, training, building her strength. She mostly does it alone, because while there are classes they don't go all day, and she just doesn't think they're intensive enough.
She needs to be prepared; she doesn't need a speech to know that, so she practices with every weapon available. She gets more help with these than her general training, she goes to the experts. Kennedy with the crossbow, Faith with blades, and one of the other girls who is strangely skilled with a staff.
She trains, eats and sleeps. The other girls regard her as an oddity, with her expanding muscles and lack of interest in socialising. She has no interest in making friends. People will die, and she has no intention of being one of them.
She will be the best, strongest fighter. She will not waste time on anything else. She refuses to be weak, to be a casualty. She may not have a Slayer's abilities, but she'll have the next closest thing.
She works till her muscles burn, feels the sweat dripping down her skin and ignores her body's protests. She cuts her hair short to keep it out of the way. She lets the calluses form, a barrier, protection. No softness, no vulnerability .
She spars at every opportunity; with the other girls, with Faith, even with Mister Giles. She even spars with Buffy once. She loses, but Buffy nods and tells her she did well and to keep training, and she thinks that if she keeps going, becomes strong enough, she may just survive.
She's not a fighter, no matter what they tell her about destiny and being chosen, she's not a fighter. She's a mother.
Too young, even she admits that, but she's a mother, and a damn good one at that. Her daughter is her calling, her everything, her world, even now, when she's so far away. Especially now.
She didn't leave to fight or to save the world, she left to keep her daughter safe, and it was the right thing to do, she knows that. She was a target, that made her daughter a target, and that was unacceptable. She made sure her daughter was safe, and she got as far away as possible.
She trains the best she can, she's not the worst, but she's certainly not the best. She spends time with the other girls, tries to make sure they're okay and taking care of themselves, ends up mothering them despite herself. It makes the ache worse, the gaping hole in her chest; she misses her. Like a missing limb, like part of her soul has been torn away, she thinks about her constantly, from the minute she wakes till she finally sleeps, she misses her girl, her darling girl, her reason to be.
She calls, coos down the line, until the phone is cut off, and writes letters until there's no one left to deliver them. Then she has nothing left but a photo she clutches to her chest as she whispers words that she prays will reach her daughter, somehow.
She's not a fighter, but she will fight. She will fight with everything she has, and she will do it for her daughter, for her world.