Your big sister was bossy.

No, she was really, really, bossy.

She was always telling you to stop following her around.

She never let you hang with her friends when they went out at night.

She got to have all the fun.

And she never let you borrow her clothes, even though you looked way hotter than she did in them. (Or so you thought.)

If she caught you so much as looking at her favorite blue angora sweater, she'd shove you out of her room with all the cool stuff in it that she never let you play with and yell at you to "Get out!"

Everybody fussed over your big sister

She was so coool, so strong, so faaaaaast, and she always had way cool boyfriends when nobody so much as looked at you because you weren't from around here.

Mom always made a big deal out of your big sister- hollering at her when she'd disappear or have one of her cool boyfriends that mom hated.

All mom did was call you "her little Punkin' Belly" and take you to Reading Circle.

Wheee.

Like, you had to steal half of Mom's jewelry box, before she noticed what you were doing.

As if!

Not that it means anything anymore, now that mom's...

Now your big sis... good riddance!

So why do you miss her so much?

You came home from Janice's house after staying the night- Janice's mom's been letting you stay with Janice an awful lot lately ever since... ever since...

Willow and Tara are out. Maybe shopping for groceries, but the front door's unlocked.

Must be Willow, she does that all the time. Leave the front door open.

You smell cigarettes in the house, which is a major no-no- Mom didn't like people stinking up her nice house with cigarettes, and your big sister kept that rule after mom...

You walked through the empty house; there were boxes everywhere- Willow and Tara's stuff being moved in, and some of your sister's stuff being...

You climbed up the stairs past your mom's favorite pictures of doors, kicking aside a ratty looking blanket laying on the floor at the head of the stairs.

You came to your big sister's room; a lot of her stuff was gone.

Really gone.

He sat in the middle of the floor with his back to the door between two big puddles of sunlight on the floor.

He was lighting up a cigarette.

Mom's no longer around to tell him to "Put that out!" because she's...

And Buffy isn't around anymore to smack him one, hand him a blanket and yell at him to "Get out!" because she's ...

You put your book bag down in the hall and pad across the bare floor and sit down on the floor in front of him in among the cigarette butts.

You've never seen him like this.

His face is all bristly like a scrub brush, his hair is messy and he smells bad.

He's got one of Buffy's old sweaters, the one you found in the bottom of the clothes hamper yesterday when you were trying to help Tara with the laundry, draped across his lap.

And he's smoking.

There are butts all over the floor around him, another thing Mom would yell about if only she wasn't...

You look at him.

He looks at you.

For a long time.

His eyes are empty

So what if you're a big girl of fourteen who just put away her Barbies (You still get them out when you think nobody's looking because you still love to comb their hair and dress them.) you crawl into his lap and put your arms around his cold neck just like you used to do with your dad when things were too much for you.

He puts his arms around you and rests his head on your shoulder.

...and starts...

... crying, loud and hard, which frightens you because grownups aren't supposed to cry, right? And Spike's a grown-up, right? Even though most of the time he doesn't act like one...right?

...and if Spike's crying, if a demon can cry, then it must be all right to...to...to...

You start to cry...

Because Buffy...

Buffy your big ol' mean bossy sister...

...won't be around to bug you any more.

Forever and ever and ever and ever.