PART SEVEN (Connor's POV)
Dawn placed a plate in front of me. It consisted of a sandwich with chicken, mayonnaise and lettuce. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I hate mayonnaise. She smiled at me as she sat opposite; Buffy was seated next to her.
"Don't poke your sandwich." Scolded Dawn.
"Hey, I'm not your mother. But I am going to tell you what to do."
"I'm not incapacitated. I'm just…dealing."
Dawn sighed and put her hand over Buffy's and squeezed it, Buffy smiled appreciatively. Then the next instant they were both eating their sandwiches, I followed suite. Uhhg, mayonnaise! But I kept quiet and ate it all, besides the awful sauce, the sandwich was very nice. After the meal was over, I offered to help clear the table, but was immediately told by Buffy to stay sitting. I didn't expect that, not from Buffy. I expected Dawn to clear the table while Buffy starred at nothing. It was Buffy who cleared the table. Dawn and I exchanged glances.
"Buffy…" Dawn said slowly. "Are you okay?"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Buffy turned her back to us as she began to wash up.
"You're doing housework. You never do housework. Except…"
She didn't finish the sentence, I don't know why, but I do know it has nothing to do with me, so I'm not going to pry.
"I know I don't normally do housework things, but I think that I should. You do pretty much all of it."
"You do patrol and train the new Slayers, you don't have to do everything."
"But I don't do anything. I'm like this useless person who doesn't do anything except kill bad guys and train others to do it. How am I helping you? How am I keeping this house in order? I'm not, that's how. I want to, it'll keep my mind off things."
"Okay, but it doesn't suit you."
"I don't care if it doesn't suit me," Buffy turned the tap off and turned back to face Dawn. It seems they had both forgotten I was there. "This is how I deal during the daylight hours, if it was night…I'd be out there killing things like I do best. But it's day. It's day. I've never seen him during the day," Buffy's face filled with such pain and sorrow and her tears bean to flow. "I used to hate the day, because I couldn't see him. But I now I hate the night because that's when I could."
"Oh, Buffy." Dawn jumped out of the chair and pulled Buffy into her arms, the Vampire Slayer, now a shadow of her former self, not that I knew her before now, but even I could tell that she was – for lack of a better word – broken. "I love you so much, Buffy."
"I know, Dawnie. I love you too."
I was surprised at the show of affection. Ever since I got here Buffy's been emotionally distant – and for good reason – so it's nice to see Dawn bring her back.
"You go rest." Dawn instructed pushing Buffy softly away. The Slayer nodded and smiled at me slightly as she walked out of the dining room. "Could you go follow her and make sure she's gone up to her room?"
"Sure. You don't want me to-" I gestured at the dishes.
Dawn shook her head. "Buffy's well being is a little more important."
"Of course, I'll be back soon. I hope."
"Hi, Connor." Buffy greeted me as I pushed open the door to the large balcony. "Connor. What does your name mean?"
I was momentarily stunned at the question, I-I don't know."
"You should find out. Names are important." Buffy was looking out over the large grounds. They lived in a beautiful property; I wonder how they pay for it. "Did you know my birth name isn't 'Buffy'?"
"No, I didn't know that."
"It's Elizabeth. No one calls me that. No one. I don't know what demon possessed my mother when she decided to call me Buffy. But it's different, it's rare and strange and weird. Like me."
"Slayer's are. Not so much anymore, but…still rare."
I walked to the edge of the balcony and stood next to Buffy. This amazing woman captured my father's heart and never let it go. She changed the world. She's died twice. Lost friends. Lost her mother. Now she's lost him. Buffy had an inner strength that I have never seen before; I'd only seen a small glimpse of it in my father. My real father. I'll have to ring my parents again in a couple of days.
"What do you want to do tomorrow?" I ask as I lean against the railing.
She looks askance at me, "you're serious?"
"Sure. What do you want to do?"
She smiled the most heartbreaking smile. "I'll decide that tomorrow. No more planning."
"You can't think like that-"
"How can I not?" She also cried out. "Everything can change in one tiny instant. Tomorrow…I was supposed to go to Madrid tomorrow. But I'm not, because everything's changed and I don't know how to get back to what was before. I don't think you can, not meant to. Something. There are no certainties in life."
"Oh course there are."
She laughed bitterly.
"No, really. There is."
"Okay wise one, what are they?"
She was full of dread and hope. I didn't want to fail her; I wanted to give her something that she could always hold onto. "Angel loved you. Loves you. That is certain. Nothing could change that. Not even death."
"Oh, god. I don't know if I can believe that anymore. Love doesn't conquer all, it barely conquers anything. I'm not some naïve little schoolgirl. I haven't been in years and years-"
"Stop it with the self-pitying!"
"Connor, back off." Buffy pushed herself away from the railing; I grabbed her arms before she could get to the door. "Let me go." She tried to shake me off. Thank God for super strength. "Let me go!"
"No, I mean, okay. But listen to me first."
She relented and I pulled my hand away. "Fine. Hurry up."
"I don't know that much about you. But I – I've seen the way you act around Dawn, the way you care her…the way that my Dad's death is affecting you. I know you loved him more than anything. Anyone could see that. But there is something I don't get. I don't get why you don't want your friends here to help you, to get you through this. I'm not your friend, Buffy. I've known you for a few days. I don't know how to help you. You either have to tell me, or get someone who can."
"Alright, I will. But Connor, you are my friend. And Dawn's friend. Don't ever think you're not welcome." Buffy Summers smiled the first truly warm, happy and welcoming smile in days. My heart warmed instantly. There is no use denying that these two women meant something to me. There was something that I couldn't describe.
"Thank you." I think it's the feeling of belonging. I haven't had that feeling since I got my memories back. This was the first time in my life that I really felt I belonged. The first real memory. "That means a lot."
"It's okay. Sometimes I know what people need to hear."
"Sometimes I do too."
She nodded, "it's in your blood. Angel always knew what to say."
"That's good. I've never met anyone like that. He…Angel, we didn't-"
"No need to explain. Well, eventually I want you to. And I'm going to make you give me that letter one day."
"Yeah, whatever. Dad said I could give it to you if I thought you were ready." I laughed at her reaction. Buffy's mouth dropped, I could almost see the inner workings of her mind trying to figure out why Angel would do such a thing. I know Buffy believes it's her right to read the letter. But I know she's not ready for it.
"Unbelievable, bloody unbelievable." She muttered walking back into the house. I followed, still laughing.
"Dawn," I greeted her as I walked into the sitting room where Dawn was, well…sitting. "Buffy's fine."
"Whatever that means."
"I know. I don't know what else to do."
Dawn's face filled with confusion. "What were you supposed to do?"
"I'm here to help. I don't know how to do that."
"Did you just take a crazy pill or something?" she laughed to herself. "You're helping. I'm helping. Time's helping. Buffy is even helping herself, which I'm a little – okay, a lot – surprised at."
"I think I'll stick around for a while. The weather leaves a lot to be desired. But it's still kinda-"
"Yes, except I don't say 'pretty.' It's nice."
Dawn put down the book she had been reading, "so where's Buffy?"
"Right here." Buffy had silently entered the room. I was once again amazed at the skills of a vampire slayer. "Good timing, huh?"
"Or you were spying on us." Dawn added, smirking at her sister.
"You guys aren't that interesting. So what's up?"
"Nothing, I was just wondering where you might have scampered off to."
"I don't scamper! What does it even mean?"
"Not the point," I said, jumping in. "Are you okay?"
"Fine. I was," she let out a long breath and fed her fingers through her hair. Dawn and I watched on patiently. "I was thinking that maybe the others could, you know, come here. I want to see them. I'm ready to see them."
Dawn smiled triumphantly, "that's good, Buffy. I'll ring Giles." Dawn left the room at top speeds.
Buffy nodded after Dawn had already left. "Okay." She said to no one in particular. "I'm gonna go for a walk." That part she said to me.
"Sure, do you-"
"Alone. I'll be back by sundown. If not, then you can come looking."
"Thank you, Connor. For everything." Buffy reached out and gave me a hug. I hugged her back. "You'll never know how much you meant to your father. We have that in common."
"Which part?" I asked as we pulled away.
"I'll never really understand, or know how much I meant to him." She bit her lip; I could see tears forming in her grey eyes. "I wish I did." She smiled bravely and left the room as quickly and silently as she had entered it. I fell into the nearest armchair and wept.
Damn, it took me long enough to update, didn't it? Tell me what you thought and remember, I will always reply if given some way to contact you. Love, Maddy.