The characters herein are the property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions and 20th Century Fox; they are used without permission, intent of infringement or expectation of profit. The following story is rated NC-17, so readers who are underage or uninterested in such should steer clear. All feedback is greatly appreciated, so send praise or flames to Yahtzee63@aol.com.
She's using me.
I realize that, of course. Though I try to pretend it isn't so, in truth I've always known. So I have only myself to blame. Buffy never lied to me about it. Never said she loved me, never tried to bring me into her life, her world. Not that I belong there -- not that I want to follow. But I still wait for her to ask.
Now I see her lying next to me in bed, a sated smile on her lips even in sleep. It would be so easy to make believe that she's dreaming of me, sleeping sweetly in the cradle of my love for her. To imagine it enfolding her, enclosing her, in the same way it encloses me -- my palace and my prison. But I know that whatever I've given her doesn't go any deeper than her skin. This other -- this thing waiting to be named -- whatever it is that lights her up like a candle in this darkness -- is something beyond my power. Beyond my understanding.
(Every time she calls my name while I'm inside her, I know I am both saved and lost. Saved, because she still feels the need to call for me, to acknowledge whatever part I play in the ecstasy that overtakes her. Saved to hear her voice ringing out in the mingled triumph of heat and battle and pleasure, and to know that, at least in that moment, it's me she remembers, not Angel. Lost to know that I'm only the smallest part of her triumphs, even these, the ones we create together with hands and lips and tongues. Lost, because she calls my name less and less, and I know that she'll someday stop calling for me at all.)
I think that she enjoys my company, at least. When we're out together on patrol -- yes, though she never needs me, she wants me on patrol with her, sometimes -- and we find a vampire or demon in need of slaying, she glances over at me with something in her eyes too dark for delight, but too joyous to be only the lust for the kill. She's in her element, a bird set free to fly, and she wants me to fly with her.
And I do.
(She straddles me, her powerful legs locking me to the bed, and lowers herself onto me so slowly I want to scream. Up and down again, this slow, calculating rhythm a thousand times more ferocious than any frenetic coupling could ever be. My hands twist in the sheets, clutch at the headboard, move over her breasts and her body so that she cries out. But I never change her; our rhythm is her rhythm, and my body does her bidding, no more.)
When I can bear to, I think back to the first time our hunting became -- more. We had found a pack of Velga demons lurking about Glenview Cemetery; it took us the better part of an hour to finish them all off. When the last one had fallen, I was shaking with exhaustion and not ashamed of it. She was shaking too -- but it was different for her. Glorious. Buffy had a fevered glow in her eyes as she looked over at me and whispered, panting, "We're not done yet."
She kissed me, mouth open, hands pulling at my clothes, my body. I was too shocked to think why, too delighted to care. I understand now that she was still fighting, still in battle, still looking for another victim. Even if I had understood then, it wouldn't have changed anything. I offered myself to her gladly. She took me right there, on ground given to the dead.
(I remember her lying in the grass and leaves, dirt and blood smeared across her perfect body like ceremonial paint for some pagan ritual. As though she were the one being sacrificed. I remember her arching up against me, taut as a bowstring, screaming my name for the first time; a flock of birds, startled, scattered from a nearby tree in a raspy fluttering that was almost like a heartbeat.)
What should we talk about, the two of us? I can't begin to imagine. But, absurdly, I keep trying to make conversation. Though it's hard to remember these days, I like just talking to her -- her jokes are sharp, her mind sharper, so many bright and shining edges. Something in me -- either fine or feeble, though I'm never sure which -- wants to hear that side of her speak again. Sometimes she answers me. But -- more and more, as the hunt overtakes her life, her soul -- she simply stops and stares. What business do I have trying to talk to Buffy Summers?
The Slayer is my lover now.
Does that thrill me or terrify me?
It makes no difference to her. And so it seems that there must be no difference at all.
(She will devote herself to me, sometimes, when I least expect it; she kneels in front of me, the image of a supplicant, and takes me into her warm, waiting mouth, caressing me with her lips and tongue until I come apart. She drinks me down in triumph. I know that triumph well, and I envy her power.)
This can't go on forever, of course. Buffy grows more powerful, more dangerous, by the day. The time is coming -- and coming quickly -- when she will no longer distinguish between her lover and her prey, when the passion for the kill will bleed over into whatever passion she gives to me, and I will come to harm. She's done it before, struck at me in her throes. The first time it happened, it frightened her; for the first and only time she held me tenderly, stroked my bruised jaw, kissed my torn lip, and we both pretended that she didn't taste the blood there. And I hoped it would happen again, so that she would hold me again, speak to me gently, let me whisper the words of longing and gratitude I have held so close for so long.
When it happened again, she barely seemed to notice.
But I stay. I can't leave her now, though I don't pretend that she needs me and know very well that I need -- anything else.
She's using me, but to what end? What is it she's grasping for in the night that surrounds us? I have to know what it is that has fed the fire within her -- this thing that is consuming us both. I can't leave her before I know it at last, call it by its true name. But even after that, I know, I will still serve that dark purpose -- the one that drives her -- and the other. The one I deny. My own.
("Harder," she whispers, opening her legs wider, leaning her head back so that her throat is exposed to me, begging for more brutality than I can give. She plays the victim sometimes, tries on the pain and pleasure of it herself, though this too is only at her demand. And I comply. I am hers, now. She smiles up at me, the slow, hot smile of possession, and names me.
"Slayer," I name her in turn.)