Like Lightning In The Skies
by Beth C.

I. "But you're hogging her, you're guarding her"

The first one appeared on Mother's Day, a slight gash above her eye, weeping slowly.

The next appeared on the anniversary of her graduation over the soft flesh of her abdomen, more brutal then the first. As he kissed her, she pushed his hands to run rough fingers over the open flesh. As he entered her, she pushed a finger into the wound and Wesley didn't know whether her cry was for pleasure or penance.

Another appeared only a few days after, a deep burn on her palm that she refused to let him see. She fell asleep cradling her hand, curled tight on the corner of their bed.

The scars decorate every inch of her, from slices across her ribs for Dawn, and slashes up and down her back for Giles.

She thinks it's a secret, that he doesn't realize that everyday he leaves and comes back to a different Buffy, that even though he's seen every inch of her body, he doesn't see the new marks that appear. But he knows, he even knows where she keeps her knives.

She creates that first wound in the morning, and gouges at it all day to make sure it scars on skin that refuses to mark.

One night he returned to find a thin white line running across her throat and it made everything ache again. She smiled slightly at him, like a little child showing an art project and announcing, "Look what I did while you were at work!"

He kissed the new mark delicately and promised to make sure she had no more scars to make.


II. "Mister, look at your girl, she loves it"

She doesn't know what she's doing.

She thinks because she's lived and died, that she knows what's going on, that she knows the way the world works.

She has no clue how things work, and why people stay away from clubs like this, from this type of element, and from this neighborhood.

She has no idea what she has gotten herself into.

But sometimes it seems like the only moments she's happy.

The crowd moves around them because Buffy owns this dance floor, and she owns every person in the club. The mass of people ungulate around her as she shakes her body in an offbeat yet perfect rhythm.

She's not a teenager playing at being an adult anymore. She's not performing those moves that she thinks people find sexy because she saw Britney or Christina do it in a video one day. She's not even imitating Faith who was the only other person Wes knew could own a dance floor like this.

There is no one on that floor besides her, swaying her hips and throwing her hair from side to side.

She drags him on the floor with her.

But she always dances alone.


III. "I can see it in her eyes"

Wes drives her to the neighborhoods Gunn told him never to go into.

"I don't care what that crazy-ass white girl wants," Gunn yelled, as Wes sat silently on his couch, "I preferred it when you were dating Fred, or Jesus, even when you dating evil chicks."

"They all died," Wes thought while he agreed to do as Gunn said, "They all died, and now I have her."

He leaves the car idling as she hopes out into a rundown little house on the corner of a nearly abandoned street.

Doctors employed by the new council give her every type of painkiller and sleeping pill available in this dimension, but she still comes her for the other things she needs.

She comes out of the house with wide eyes and a glimmer of sweat across her forehead.

It had started out so simply with little dime bags and a pink pyrex bong she kept in her underwear drawer. She'd giggle softly before she would light it and for the first time in years, she started to fill in the spaces between her ribs because she had been given back an appetite.

Wesley would join her some days, but usually he would just sit beside her on their couch and pet her hair as she talked about how Oz used to buy for pot for all of them but she never touched it because someone had to watch out for them.

Then it became little pills of ecstasy, or tabs of LSD, and Buffy would wander through the park by their house with a grin on her face, tripping over her own feet. Wesley helped her when she would have a bad trip, rubbing her back and talking her down.

Now it's cocaine, and Wes wakes up with blood covering his pillow as Buffy's nose drips red in her sleep.

He doesn't know how to stop her.

Sometimes he even wishes he could join her.


IV. "She hopes this lasts forever"

What if they were wrong?

What if they had never gotten Faith back in the right body and Buffy had just decided to fight for that body's redemption instead of against it?

Or maybe nobody realized that no slayer is completely sane, that there is always craziness in them and maybe Faith was just sick of hiding it.

What if Buffy was the one they should have locked up?

"What's wrong with me Wes?" she whispers one night as Wesley slipped into bed beside her.

He looked at her blank face unsure, "There is nothing wrong with you Buffy."

She slapped him as soon as he shut his mouth, "Don't fucking lie to me, I could go back to Angel for fucking lies.

He just shook his head, "I don't know what's wrong with you."

"Is it bad that I don't want to get better?" she frowned

"I don't know Buffy," he answered, reaching out for her as she pulled away further, "I really don't have any answers for you

"Why do you stay with me?" she questioned.

"Because I want to," he moved closer as she got off of the bed to pace across the bedroom.

"Do you want to save me?" she asked firmly, "If you ever try to rescue me, I'll leave, I promise you that."

"I don't really know if I could rescue you even if I wanted to," He thought as she pulled in close to him.

"I love you Wes."

She lost everyone because of who she is.

He has no one left because of who he was.

"I love you too Buffy."

Maybe one day they would have each other.

But they don't yet.


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