pairing: Buffy/Tara, Dawn
word count: ~1,000
summary: Buffy's memories continue to blur between realities and Tara searches for a cure
a/n: I forgot about my little ficlet blurring the lines, but red_satin_doll's top 5 Buffy/Tara rec post reminded me and I decided sporadically that I had more to say.
Sometimes there is darkness.
Sometimes there is light.
Mostly there is darkness and light all at once and it is blinding and intoxicating and it kills and it baptizes and it is the mouth of hell but it already spit them out once so let's just stand here and fight and laugh into the face of it because why not?
Sometimes there are memories that don't belong.
Sometimes there is clarity.
Sometimes there are memories of a life alone in a big house with a mother that smiles and frowns and cries and laughs and begs and shouts and raises an ax because that's what mothers do but there are only two and there are less shadows only more shadows and the floorboards creak when no one is there as if anticipating a different life but these are the memories and she feels them, empty.
Sometimes there are memories with a man's smiling face and he kisses her but he doesn't try to kill her (that's new) and everything is the same and no one is missing but at night the man wraps his arms around her and she is restless and can't feel them and that is what is wrong so she throws herself into the night and the clarity is that something is still missing even if no one is missing.
Mostly there is clarity,
Mostly there is her crooked smile over Dawn's burned pancakes and oh sweetie these are great! with no sarcasm because we don't do sarcasm here there's no room for it because there's softball practice scooby meetings track practice sleepovers science fairs slaying staying up nights on the porch fingers intertwined just to hear the sun wake the world up.
She fusses because something is wrong and there are worry lines and Buffy reaches up to touch them and she loves that she can reach up to that face but still feel stronger without feeling guilty or like she should apologize for being so small and so strong and the tall one is supposed to be strong but they are both strong and there's steel in that crooked smile you just can't feel it with your hands it's all in the heart and they fit and she fits and she's not too much and she's not too little she's just right she's enough and she smiles and shrugs because there's nothing wrong everything is just right and that's wrong there's just nothing to slay.
She stays up late and is at the kitchen table with books and candles for light which makes Buffy laugh in the doorway after slaying and she wakes up Dawn and they have midnight cocoa and cookies and no one mentions Dawn's perfect eyeliner or dancing boots and no one mentions the bags under her eyes or the manic edge to Buffy's laugh because it's midnight cocoa time but she stays there and it's research mode and no one stops pretending it's just another scooby task.
Sometimes Buffy watches her dance with a girl with red hair and a too-bright smile and they sway and look happy and Buffy isn't allowed to touch and she cries out and screams and screams and no one can hear her because she's not supposed to see this this isn't her world only it's someone's world and she doesn't like it, it's not supposed to be this way because this world ends in blood and hers can't.
This is borrowed time. You'll leave me.
Why would I leave you?
Because you don't belong to me.
Says the other world.
She stops sleeping altogether and then everyone notices and Willow is called in from Oxford and Fred is put on speaker phone and the conclusion is vacation and Buffy is ecstatic (when do Slayers get vacations?) and Dawn types up several itineraries and packs extra sunscreen and the bus never knew what hit them and they are happy and their fingers are all curled up inside each other and she gets a tan and Buffy's cheeks hurt from smiling.
Buffy doesn't sleep much now that the Hellmouth is closed and the slaying is so sparse and there's no good demon activity anymore and so she picks up hobbies and the floors are littered with her discarded projects and paints and yarns and bits of wood and piles of stickers (hobbies are so expensive let's not have them anymore) but the emptiness never fades and she slips more easily the less there is to do and worries she may get caught there.
Because Slayers are built for action and for war and without war there is nothing but the vastness of the mind.
No one considered the mind of a Slayer because the war isn't supposed to end.
Am I dead there?
Sometimes. Mostly... Yes.
Do you love me there.
You belong to someone else.
Did you mourn me there.
I mourn you every day.
I'm right here.
They know the answer within short order and it's not in a book and that's the trouble because the answer is nearing seventeen and the captain of the softball team and has a track scholarship in the wings and probably won't be Prom Queen but she'll have a nice time and there'll be a limo and she's talking about a nice dress and none of her friends have been eaten in a while and here she's not best friends with a vampire and here she has a nice, steady girlfriend with dark hair and thin lips and steady hands and there she was alone and here her hair is shorter but there she cried more and they know the answer but they don't share it because there's time yet to ruin a life with truths.
They know the question and the question burnt nutella into the waffle iron again this morning but the answer is nothing they can face so they pretend they don't know.
And Buffy keeps slipping and the lines keep blurring and they keep holding on tight.
I met your family there once.
You are my family.
That's not how it always goes.
But that's how it always ends.
(my abuse of English grammar/punctuation continues and my inability to respond to comments or do anything other than lurk and write abusive emotional-fic continues right along with it)