Title: Darling

Author: VladtheImpish

Summary: Just a piece of literary therapy.

Rating: Nothing worse than the show.

Disclaimer: I own nothing that could get me sued over.

Darling

I realised last night why I always cringe when Buffy calls me darling.

We've been together now for just over six months and they are without doubt the best six months of my life. After Willow had left for England to be looked after by the coven that had assisted Giles, I had moved in with Buffy and Dawn, both to help with the bills and because I needed to be close to the two most important people in the world to me.

Being around Buffy all the time, and accidentally catching her getting out of the shower one morning, soon had the feelings I though I'd well and truly buried coming back to the surface. While they were familiar to me, they also felt different as well, they weren't the feelings of a hormonal sixteen-year-old boy, these were the feelings of a twenty-two year old man.

After two months of indecision, I decided to bite the bullet and ask Buffy out on a date. It took her a full five minutes to convince me that I hadn't been hallucinating when I heard her say yes and we've been together ever since.

It was about a month after we started going out that she first called me darling. A shiver went down my spine when I heard it and not in a good way, it was as though someone had just walked over my grave, which would be difficult, as unlike Buffy I don't yet have one.

I hid my reaction as best I could, thinking that it was nothing, only to get the same sensation the next time she called me darling, and every time after that as well.

It has nothing to do with her, I love her more with every passing day and feel blessed that she feels the same. Nevertheless, whenever she calls me darling, something she does a due to the fact that it's her pet name for me, I have to suppress a shudder. I've been trying to work out why for months now and have always come up blank, but now I know why.

Yesterday was mom's 50th birthday, which meant that there was going to be a family gathering. I managed to persuade mom that I couldn't go, taking her to LA for the day instead. Dad never does anything that doesn't centre on him, so she was meeting up with her family in the evening for dinner. I made the reservations for her, ensuring that it was well lit and as far away from local hunting grounds as possible, but still asked mom that she doesn't stay out too late and to have her cell with her just in case.

In a moment of either madness or kindness, Giles had given Buffy the night off from patrolling, so we spent the evening together watching a couple of DVD's and generally enjoying each other's company. Buffy decided to be a good little Slayer and went on patrol about 1 AM and I felt the need to check on mom to make sure she got back alright; she rarely went out at night and I know she doesn't know what goes on when the sun goes down in Sunnydale.

When I got to my parent's place, none of the lights were on but that didn't tell me much so I let myself in to check. Dad had passed out in his chair, empty beer cans and whiskey bottles surrounding him. I did a quick check upstairs and found the rest of the house empty. I tried her cell a couple of times but it was switched off, so I made my way to the restaurant.

That was when I saw them, sitting outside in the patio area. I initially thought about kicking the ass of whoever owned the place, allowing their customers to be eaten isn't exactly the best way to stay in business, but then I noticed that there were crosses subtly placed around the perimeter, meaning that only an extremely determined vamp could get through.

I could see that she was okay and considered turning round and going home, no one had noticed me yet, but for some reason I kept walking until I was standing right next to them. That was when she got up, the copious amount of alcohol she had obviously consumed making her extremely unsteady on her feet, and walk/stagger over to me.

"Alex, darling, how lovely to see you!" she said as she got closer. She suddenly starts to fall over so I instinctively catch her; she then wraps her arms around my neck and tries to cut off the blood supply to my head.

"Hi Aunt Liz, how are you?" I asked, not really caring about the answer. It had been years since I had seen her, and that was the way I liked it. We returned to the table and I tried to act like I gave a damn about what they were saying whilst inwardly reminding myself that Buffy wouldn't be happy if I got sent to jail for multiple homicide.

Where dad's side of the family are more up front and physical when it came to their distaste for the human race, mom's side of the family are more subtle; they act all lovey dovey to your face, but once your back is turned they tell all that can her them how much they hate you.

It was then that I realised why I hated the word darling, it was the way Aunt Liz greeted everyone, whether she knew them or not. It was her tone that made me shiver though, saccharine sweet, it was so blatantly false and yet no one ever called her on it, mainly because they were all the same.

There were times when I was younger when I would keep myself to myself unless I was spoken to; I know that's hard for anyone to believe but that was the way I was. Because of that, they used to forget I was there when they would start they systematic character assassination of every member of my family, well the ones that weren't present. I know things about my family that, if it ever got out, would devastate them all. The way they acted towards one another when they were all in the same room was such a contrast to when they were apart that for many years it had confused me totally. As I got older I started to realise why they were the way they were, it didn't make me feel better but at least I understood.

As I'd done with so many things concerning my family, I had suppressed the feelings I had about how they acted, aided by my self-imposed exile from any and all family gatherings. That was until I started going out with Buffy and she started calling me by that name. As far as my mind is concerned, that word is synonymous with two-facedness, so whenever Buffy would call me that I would get a sudden feeling that she was just acting like she loved me, when in fact she couldn't stand the sight of me.

It seems that even when they're not around my family can still mess with my life. One word, a word said to me with love coming from a person I love above all others, has been tainted by the two-facedness of my relatives.

I hope that one day I will hear that word and not feel cold from it, and that it's still Buffy that says it to me.

End.

A/N: I know this is rubbish, I just needed to vent a little. Apologies.