Kill the Pain

by Philip S.

SUMMARY AND SPOILERS: Set after the end of S2. Buffy is still in LA, trying to deal with Angel's death. There she meets someone who wants to help her deal with the pain. Includes some general spoilers for Season 3

RATING: R

DISCLAIMER: The characters belong to Joss Whedon and people, the story is all mine.

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Looking out of the window onto the city that spreads out before you, you feel the pain once more. Let's be honest, pain is just about all you feel these days. A deep, mind-numbing pain that has spread through every part of your body, has infected every cell and drop of blood. A constant aching, a longing for something that you will never, ever have again.

It's been five months since a man went to Hell, sent there at the hands of the girl he loved.

Two months ago you got a taste of your own. A brief visit to a place called Hell, a relatively quiet corner of an endless dimension of tortures. It was like the gods wanted you to know what your lover is undergoing even now. Wanted you to receive the tiniest taste of what he will have to undergo for the rest of eternity.

Then they did the worst. They let you go again.

These days you move through life like a robot. Eating, working, sleeping, dreaming, but barely a conscious thought behind it all. Because all that you are, or rather were, has been erased by the pain. Whenever you close your eyes you sees his face, those eyes that beheld you with so much love and concern, not a clue to the crimes someone with those same eyes had committed against you and your friends, your family.

"Close your eyes!" You whisper over and over again, seeing his face as he does what you ask, only to suffer the ultimate betrayal as you drive the sword into his body.

His face, a mask of pain and confusion. His eyes, full of the need to know. Why? Why have you done this to him? Why have you killed him?

As you cry yourself to sleep there is no answer that will make the pain go away.

Days and weeks go by and you can't go home. For a moment you toyed with the thought. Maybe seeing your friends and family again would help you deal. Help you get rid of the pain. You know better, though. They won't understand. They won't understand why you feel so much pain, so much guilt.

They weren't there. They didn't have to kill him. Like you did.

As sleep begins to overtake you, you know that your new friend will be there. I am always there, your friend. Have been ever since the dreams stopped. The dreams about him. In which he came and you walked together in the sun, kissed in the day's warm embrace.

The dreams are gone. Your friend is here.

"Make it go away!" You whisper to me in your sleep. Your friend hears and understands. I know what you need to kill the pain. To make it go away for the brief moments. I beckon for you to follow and like in a trance you rise off your bed to join me.

You and me, we walk into your closet and dress for the night. Dress like he did, the way you remember him. Because memories are all you have. Memories and me. All you'll ever need.

We dress alike, like he did. Black leather pants, tight like a second skin. Like his skin, dressing ourselves in his remains. Shirts the color of night, long black dusters allowing us to blend into the shadows. You want no part of the human world anymore. It will only hurt you. Let it into your heart again and it will only hurt you all over again. Better to block it out, keep it away with a layer of dead blackness.

Dressed in the dark skin of your lover, black leather encasing us like a protective embrace. Dark like your hair, colored a dark brown to match mine. You want to look nothing like the old girl, the girl that had to grow up so fast, the girl that died the day it had to drive a sword into the unbeating heart of the man she loved.

You're a woman now, and all you have left is that face in the mirror, the face you no longer want to see. So you change yourself, allow me to change you, make you more like me. Dark. Detached. Impossible to hurt.

Add the weapons of our trade, stakes and blades, the thing we do better than anyone else in the world. The Chosen, that is what we are, you and me. I am your friend, you are mine, and together we kill the pain, bit by bit every night. We go out, our dark shapes melting into the shadows, and we kill the pain by killing the monsters.

Even here, in this city of angels, named after your lost man, there are monsters. That is all right with you, isn't it? You want it that way. Want to embrace the darkness and lose yourself in it, slaughter your way through it until all the pain is gone and nothing is left, for pain is all you are now.

A dead man burns in hell, praying to be alive again.

A living woman burns in something very much like hell, praying to be dead.

But your friend is here, keeping you alive even when you'd rather be dead. Be glad that I found you. Be glad that I exist. Where would you be without me now? Dead? Possibly. Lost? You still are, but not for much longer. For even as you try to lose yourself in the night, I know how to bring you on the way again.

Night after night we go out to hunt, to do what we do best and turn the most brutal of monsters into dust. Bit by bit we kill your pain and it makes me feel good, too. But there is only so much pain to kill here in the city of angels. For your true pain does not lie here among these dark buildings and alleys.

We return to your small apartment and you prepare to go back to true sleep, even as I prepare everything for the journey we will undertake. The journey that will lead us back to the source of your pain and allow us to kill it.

Stretching out on your small and dirty bed, thinking of your beloved, but no longer dreaming of him. The dreams are gone and all that is left is the pain. Your lips form his name in your sleep.

"Angel!"

I am by her side, like a friend should be. I am your friend, Buffy. The only friend you will ever need. Soon you will see. When I bring you back to show you all that you have left behind. All that you still carry around with you like a collection of old scars. Your friends. Your family. Your mentor.

When you see them again soon, that is when you will finally see that you are mine now. That I am the only one who can bring you the relief you seek. The only one who can kill your pain.

Whisper your dead lover's name in your sleep if you like! Wrap yourself in your memories and suffering like a shroud!

It is my name, though, that falls off your lips when you don't know how to go on. My name you speak when you ask what to do now. Your friend, your companion, your partner, your sister-in-arms, all you will ever need.

My name.

Faith!

TO BE CONTINUED