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Empty Protection

by Oroborusfox



Summary: He wears a cross.


He wears a cross, but he's not catholic.

It's a cheap metal thing with chipped silver paint, and it hangs on a worn piece of string around his neck. It came with a chain, but it broke so long ago that he barely remembers it.

He moved to this town because it seemed peaceful and the houses were cheap. He and his wife were newlyweds and this seemed the perfect place to settle down. They have three kids and don't go out at night.

After his first daughter was born he wandered down to the gift shop and passed an orderly wheeling a covered body into the elevator, he glanced back and saw something move under the sheet just as the elevator doors closed. He told himself he imagined it. He bought the cross from the gift shop for three dollars and tried not to think about why.

He also bought a teddy bear and some flowers, then went back to his wife and child. The cross was around his neck. It's been there ever since.

He's not catholic or any other religion. He doesn't need a cross; it won't protect him from the gangs of Sunnydale, from vicious men. And it won't protect his daughter.

His wife teased him about it, asking him if he'd suddenly found God. She doesn't tease him any more, but she also won't wear the cross he bought her. It represents something she refuses to believe.

He gives one to each of his children and at first they scoff. They lose friends (the gangs, police say), and they start wearing them.

The gangs are vicious in this town, people talk about them in hushed voices. Goth kids, blood fetishes, terrible things that they don't want to speak about.

No one says what they're really thinking.

His daughter goes missing when she's seventeen. He's home alone when she knocks on the door a week later. He holds out the cross and doesn't invite her in. She smirks, and then leaves.

He sits in her room and notices her cross on the dresser. She'd forgotten it the day she went missing.

That night he starts planning to move his family.

He doesn't want to be carrying a cross the rest of his life.




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