Raw Deal

She told Spike she was with him because he made her feel. Which was alright when they were fighting or fucking. Those things were primal and uncomplicated. She understood those things. Slayers did those things.

But sometimes, like now, when she lay next to him and there was some fragile, silent moment between them, he made her feel other things. Things that weren't so good, things that weren't part of being a Slayer.

Dying young, getting out of all this, that was her gift. She'd had one true love, a Watcher who'd been like a father to her, some good friends, and a hell of a run. It was time, dammit, well past time for her to be done with it all. Jumping from that tower had been easier than she'd ever thought possible, because she was ready. Ready to stop dreading every new minute.

But now here she was, ripped out of Heaven, too old, too tired. Trapped in the muck and mire that giving up her life to her sacred duty had been supposed to free her from. Slayers weren't supposed to grow up, grow older, get jobs, have bills. Wasn't that the trade off? So why was it that, having followed the rules, been a good little savior of the world, she had ended up with this? A sister to raise, a dead end job, unpaid bills...and a one true love that hadn't lasted nearly long enough to justify how long she'd been carrying the torch. The deal wasn't supposed to include leaky faucets, collection agencies, and loneliness.

Spike loved her. That was the problem. He loved Buffy, the girl who was angry and hurting and railing at life because she had to live it. The girl she hadn't been supposed to have time to become. The girl Angel never knew and probably wouldn't love if he did. The girl she hated Spike for making her, as if it were his fault, as if she wouldn't be this at all if he didn't force her to see it. The girl she hated, period.

It was getting harder and harder to be with him, now that the feelings she liked were ever more mixed with the feelings she didn't want at all. Maybe that was a good thing. The more he loved her, the easier it would be to walk away. When she did, her mind would be quiet again, she would feel like the Slayer. The Slayer who loved a vampire far away and whose life was sworn to a sacred duty that would take it, once and for all, very soon. She would leave the ashes of Buffy - sad, lost Buffy - here with Spike. Then everything would be okay.

The End.