Kaddish

Author: Trix
Disclaimer: Um, Joss? I love you.
Fandom: Buffy




His eyes have changed. Her teeth bite down on the fleshy part of her lower lip as she avoids that truth. But it keeps clanging, bell-like. His eyes his eyes. Despite the years, the puddles of blood, the Claddagh and the dark night he tore his flesh on the dragon, she somehow expected his eyes to remain the same. She had somehow expected him to keep humoring her by staying the one constant in her whirly world.

She leans over, picks up the bottle of beer from the steaming asphalt.

He shifts against the hood of the car. His head falls back as he gazes up at the red moon, his eyes suddenly hooded by night. She watches, relieved.

“You’re studying me,” Angel comments dryly.

“Sorry.”

“It’s making me self-conscious.”

“Right.” Clipped sentences. She feels better surrounded by them. “Bad Buffy.”

He sips his beer. “It’s beautiful here.”

Each time a visitor comes, they mention that. And she realizes it all over again, the beauty of it, this place in which she is hiding, and she lets it in. The air suddenly drones with cicadas, the smell of bougainvillea soaks her flesh and she becomes aware of things again. Birds, stars, breathing.

“All kinds of pretty,” she agrees. “Mind-numbing.”

“Is it?”

“Angel?”

“Mmm?”

“Did Xander send you?”

“Xander?” he laughs. “I’m gonna say no to that. He’d sooner gut me than talk to me.”

“Then who did?”

He looks at her. “Buffy—“

“Yes? Finish the thought. I’m sure it’s educational.”

He smiles briefly. “There wasn’t a thought.”

“Then why did you say my name? Just like the way it sounds? Me too.”

“Stop it.”

She takes a long drink of beer, the foam cool and soapy in her mouth. “I’m not in High School anymore. So don’t make like you’re the big bad teacher and you can tell me what to do. You’re not—“ her voice breaks. “Giles.”

“I’m sorry, Buffy.” He pauses. “It was sudden? The cancer?”

“Like a ton of bricks. Very heavy ones.” She drinks more beer and begins to feel slightly blurry around the edges. It’s a wonderful thing, not to be able to quite see his eyes. The bells again. His eyes his eyes. “But that’s life. It’s a bitch and then there’s coffins. Is that how it goes?”

“Not quite.”

“No? I’m losing it. The ability to pun. I think it goes with the territory, though. A Slayer ages and she stops forming vowel sounds.”

“You’re barely thirty, Buffy.”

“Must seem young to you, huh?” she laughs a little and squirms against the hot metal of the car. The windshield is reflecting the burning stars back into her skin. “I should get back inside. Dawn is—“

“What?”

She stumbles. “I don’t like to leave her in the house alone.”

“Her ashes?”

“Don’t—“

“It’s not Dawn, Buffy. It’s just her ashes.”

“Not true.” She blinks. “I can feel her in the house. We lived here. Don’t tell me what is or isn’t Dawn, Angel. You wouldn’t know.”

“Ok.”

“I said it once. If she dies, I’m done. But nobody listened.”

“I’m sure they listened.”

Buffy stares up into the night, but it is bleeding too much for her to take. “I can’t go back. There’s nothing for me there. A big fat nothing.”

“Your friends?”

“They don’t—understand.”

“I do.”

“Like I want to go through that again.”

He laughs harshly. “That?”

“You. Understanding me.”

“There’s nothing for me anywhere,” he says, and it makes her breath hitch.

“Did they all die?”

“In a manner of speaking.”

Buffy remembers their mouths, fused, glowing. She remembers the hot friction of it all. She remembers drawers never filled and stupid silly promises and she remembers his eyes, how they used to be. She thinks that he is probably right, there is nothing for him in this world, this lonely wind-swept world that hasn’t done her any favors.

Sliding off the car, she holds out her hand, fingers curled inward. “Come inside.”

Finis


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