To Truly Love
Even though I joked with Gunn about how I should have gone
to Vegas I knew it wasn't true. Sri
Lanka was just what I needed, even if it wasn't the quiet contemplation Wesley
envisioned when he suggested it.
I could have brooded in my room just as easily as in a
What I needed, what I found there, was a fight to the death
with little more than my life at stake.
I would have found battles in LA, when have I not? But I would have been different. Here I could have convinced myself I was
only fighting to protect my friends, the client, who ever. There, in an isolated corner of the world,
far from anyone I knew and myself the only one in immediate danger, there was
no avoiding it.
I fought because I wanted to live. Even with Buffy gone, I still chose to live. I saw that and I ran, back to LA as fast as
possible. For the first time since they
were invented I truly wished that flying wasn't out of the question for a
Because in that moment of knowing, and in the weeks since,
all I wanted was to forget. Buffy, the
girl who will always hold my heart was dead.
How could I possibly not want to join her in that stillness? Only I didn't, I wanted to live.
So I came home, to the place where I don't have to
think. Where I planned to forget my
betrayal of her in the unwinable war that I've been enlisted to fight in, in my
friends' concerns, in the everyday act of living. I could use those things to fill every waking hour, even if I
couldn't escape my nightmares.
Endless dreams where Buffy comes to me, sometimes in tears,
sometimes in rage, always because I didn't love her enough to die for her,
because I wasn't there to die for her when it might have saved her.
Of course James and Elizabeth would be the first demons I
encounter on my return.
The only real pain James managed to inflict on me in his
ill-planned attempt at vengeance was when he said I could have loved her, not
if I could continue without her, but Cordy was right. It took me awhile to realize it but she was. Buffy wouldn't have wanted my death.
Maybe Elizabeth would have been impressed by what James did,
but she was impressed when James risked all of our lives for a trinket. Buffy, on the other hand, would have
probably hit me for being an idiot.
I know how Buffy feels about suicide; she'd never forgive me
for taking that path.
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to
I have a mission and a duty, both to my friend and to the
Powers. Buffy didn't run away from her
scared duty, she didn't take the easy way out.
How would it honor her memory for me to do that?
It would be easier to give up, to give in, to let grief take
my reason. Death or insanity would be
an escape, but I can't do that. I
won't do that. I made that decision
even before I understood why. I chose
to live because I've got a purpose to be fulfilled, that's what Buffy would
have asked of me, not death. And
Shanshu doesn't just mean to live, it means live until I die; rejoin the cycle
of life and death that is mortality.
Die a natural death and move on… maybe she'll wait for me. Until then, I have to live.