all i need
by not jenny

(All I Need by Air
"All I need is a little time,
To get behind this sun and cast my weight,
All I need is a peace of this mind,
Then I can celebrate...")

I. All I need is a little time

And sometimes, the rain drip drip drips its way into your soul.

It's too cold for September in California. Too wet. More like England, she imagines, though she's never actually been there. Giles has, though, and Spike. Willow. She could ask them about it. "Hey, Will, is this what it was like when you were out in England recovering from that whole flaying people alive and trying to destroy the world thing?"

Nope, won't ask. Too complicated. Confusing. A C-word, at any rate. Complex.

Too complex, her many complexes. You have a superiority complex, and inferiority complex, and complex complex. She laughs. Sits on a tombstone, lies down. Maybe if someone had though to sire Sigmund Freud, she could work out the tangled workings of her mind. Or maybe she'd just want to fuck her father. She shudders. It's cold.

Cold. Wet. Stereotypical horror movie weather.

She reminds herself to ask Dawn what she had for dinner. To check the trash for an empty pizza box, to start cooking wholesome yet tasty meals. Maybe even buy a cookbook, something by Julia Child or that Emeril guy from the Food Network. Learn to grill a chicken without making it taste like cardboard. Or, you know, find a takeout place that does hummous. Or salads. Salads are good.

The rain won't stop; when did it start? It wasn't all wet and drippy before, when she was going through vamp-o-therapy with high school psychology guy. Was it? No, she'd remember that, even after the whole Spike siring new vamps revelation.

Not that she's surprised. Nope, not her. She's unsurprisable.

Or something.

Going home, at any rate.

Wet. Tired. Drained. Pick a word, any word. The Chosen One.


II. To get behind this sun and cast my weight

There are mornings when even breathing seems like too much work.

In. Out. In. And she reminds herself that no spell can make things easier, not really. Out. In.

The library is drafty and silent. Rain pounds on the roof, and she tries to concentrate on her book. On her studies. On anything but the thud of her heart, the wind whispering in the trees outside, the simple beauty of Tara's voice floating through her brain.

When her cell phone rings, she answers methodically. Dawn's voice creeps through the fog.

"Willow, are you there? Willow?"

She half-imagines Tara peeking out from behind the reference desk. Her voice sweeter than ice cream and candy canes; her eyes wide and open and alive. Singing like magic, and her white dress glowing and ethereal. Willow smiles, mouths "hello." The vision shatters into a million shards of light.


She cries, her fingers digging into the wood of the table.


III. All I need is a peace of this mind

The house is a mess.

Buffy isn't answering her phone, so she tries Xander. Anya. Spike. And finally Willow, who is the only one to actually answer. Who sounds like Dawn feels, like she's been hit by a speeding truck and then thrown down a cliff, where the evil Lord of the Dance performed his entire routine on her chest. Tappity-tappity tap. The house creaks. She jumps.

Grips the axe even tighter.

"Will? Are you okay?" Because I'm not, she doesn't add, because my dead mother came to me tonight to tell me that my sister is going to betray me. That bad things are going down, and I can't trust anyone and. And she was wearing a glowy white dress like she was in a movie, and now I can't move from this spot. And the house is all messy and broken. "Cause you sound kinda funny."

"Hey, Dawnie."

"Can you come home please? I'm scared." She hates admitting that she's not always as brave as she should be. That she's practically all grown up and afraid to be alone in her own home. That every shadow is a monster and every monster worse than the last. And maybe the world really is ending, this time.

"I'll be right there," a sniffle, "just hang tight, kay?"

The room is silent, accusatory. The axe heavy in her arms, ready to strike. Predatory. Prepared.

She is not afraid anymore.


IV. Then I can celebrate

Her blood is hot, hotter than a thousand hells, boiling. red. red. blood.

Hotter than a fuck on a cold cement floor. (her heart pulsing under him, her clit. hotter than the Slayer, inside her, hotter. redder than her blood.) He can feel the woman's life in his veins.

He should be upset, he vaguely remembers, morally outraged. Should feel something at any rate. Blinding pain. Guilt. (her breath coming in short little. gasps. raspy and broken and. her fingers clawing his back.) When he realizes that he doesn't, he bites harder. Her blood tastes faintly of nicotine and alcohol, with subtle traces of Vicodin. Salt and it's almost a margarita, almost, and he drinks. Drains her dry.

The light is blinding. Sharp. A bloody disco, and he's dancing at Studio 54 with a hot young thing in his arms. The floor spins. She isn't fighting him, not anymore, not with her veins half empty and her heart slowing and slower.

Her body cooler, dying. Lips turning the same blue as Buffy's when she. Died.

He doesn't even flinch at the sudden vision; Buffy in his arms instead of this stupid chippy, Buffy's blood staining his lips. His chin. Buffy's blood pouring down his throat. Burning him from the inside out and. (he comes, hard and sudden. and she's oh so hot and tight and. she screams so loud. so good, baby, so red.)

A whisper, a tickle in the back of his brain. Sire her.

He can feel her presence behind him. The Slayer, half-soaked and all heat and fire. He can feel her disappointment, her self-castration. Her. He drops the dead woman on the concrete. Turns. And it is all cracking bones and boiling blood. Anger and hatred.

Teeth and lips and arms and taut muscle.

Sire her, hissing in his head, sire her.

His mouth on her neck already.

She turns to stake him; everything explodes in a burst of red.


V. Then I can celebrate

The door is open when she gets there, and Dawn is rocking Willow in her arms. A scrap of paper fluttering nearby; her axe half through the floor. Dawn whispering, "I'm not afraid, I'm strong, I'm not afraid."

A voice, cutting through Dawn's mantra, slicing. She is not your sister.

A green light. The Key.

"What happened in here?"

Kill her.

She can smell their blood.


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