Full Of Weeping
by Lar

You were the smart one, the quiet one, the shy one.

You felt like you were never going to change. Growing up was a slow process right up until sophomore year. Before then it was a slow fade of day to week to month, season to never-changing season; a blur of XanderJesseWillow days and weekends, not one of them more remarkable than the next.

You grew your hair long. You wore pigtails and plaid skirts and knee socks. You studied because you liked it, and read because you loved it. Books were little worlds for you to lose yourself in, and if the boys never understood it, at least they never made fun. You discovered Fuel, a distrust of the facts present about cloning, and an embarrassing depth of sadness over the death of James Herriott. You confessed the last to Xander and he held your hand while you cried, even though he didn't know who the tears were for.

You laughed a lot before that year. You played 'Anywhere But Here,' and Monopoly, and backgammon. And for one entire sticky, sweltering July the three of you played Pictionary in Jesse's basement every single day. You always won, unless you decided to let them win.

You never, ever told them when you let them win. Later, it will seem very important to you that you kept this to yourself. At the time, you just thought it was fair.

You fell in love without trying, and every time he smiled at you, one side of that the grin higher than the other, your heart ached. You watched the way Jesse looked at Cordelia. Later you watched the way Xander looked at Buffy. You knew they wouldn't ever look at you like that. Only one of those realizations hurt you, but it was the kind of pain that wrapped itself under your heart and squeezed until you couldn't breathe.

You didn't blame Buffy. Or Xander. You only blamed Cordelia a little.

You still don't know why Buffy was so nice to you. You might, in some long-off future time, find that it was something to do with Fate, and other words that people will use to explain away a coincidence that seems too perfect. You don't ask yourself why too often, though.

You never really believed in specialness. Not in that way. Not in the Buffy way -- Chosen One, Destiny -- all words for a thing that seemed even less real than the faeries in that Yeats poem: "Come away oh human child/To the waters and the wild/With a faery hand in hand." You wished with everything in you that you could go back to a simpler time, when the supernatural wasn't real. Or necessary. You never wanted to believe that the monsters under the bed were waiting to crawl out and devour you, some dark fairy tale come true.

You cried a lot after that night at the Bronze. Before Xander walked away from your doorstep, you put your hand against his shirt and let the dust cling to your palm, gritty on soft, sweaty skin. Xander just watched you, and never said a word. When you walked into the house with your hand covered in gray dust and your cheeks covered in tear tracks, your mother said to do fold your laundry.

You said yes. You always said yes. When it came time to do the things that mattered and the things that didn't really matter at all, you were the one who said yes.


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