Heading back home was always a chore. Not that she could call it home, though, seeing as it was an unfamiliar motel in an unfamiliar town. A town that she had come to hoping to find some comfort, some help, from the only person in the world who could give it to her.

But, unfortunately for her, Buffy was having none of it. She supposed it was natural for her to feel threatened by her presence, considering the fact that they were both alphas, supposedly. Though, at the moment, she didn't have a pack. Buffy did, hence her feeling encroached upon. While she didn't have anything to lose, Buffy did. Maybe she shouldn't have tried so hard to impress her friends so much the second they had met. No, just not have done such a good job at it…

It was too late now, though. She had fallen into a pattern, a groove, that she couldn't get out of. She couldn't stop herself when around Buffy, she just had to embarrass and look nonchalant and relaxed about everything. If she had just shown a bit of nervousness, a bit of something, other than confidence and the façade of control, then maybe Buffy would let her in, or at least not feel so defensive. Changing now would just make her more suspicious, and she couldn't afford that.

She had just had another patrol that consisted of a quite bit of re-death for the vampires unfortunate enough to come into contact with the two of them, and copious amounts of blushing on Buffy's behalf. She enjoyed the small blonde's company, despite the coldness that tended to be exhibited.

Turning a corner and seeing the dark, shady motel was not a relief, even though she was tired and it was one o'clock in the morning. It just reminded her that her plan, the one that consisted of befriending and receiving support from her sister slayer, had, so far, not come to fruition.

The door needed a special shove just to open, one that forced her to grunt slightly even with her enhanced strength, and the light only flickered slightly when she flipped the switch. Comforting? No. Convenient? Yes.

She scoffed. Convenient. Everything in her life was only there due to convenience. She was only there because it was more convenient to the Powers That Be to keep her around to help Buffy.

She scolded her self. It wouldn't do to be thinking about her own existence in such a way. She was lucky to be alive, after the childhood she had received, and it would be best to remember it and not take things for granted.

That thought was at the root of her Want, Take, Have philosophy. She never knew, growing up, what might still be there the next day. Her father, money, food, her mother. So she learnt. And taught herself not to expect, or desire what she couldn't attain for herself. Dependence had become, to her, taboo.

That was the crux of it. The whole reason for her morose and pessimistic mindset; she was dependent on the company and help of someone who couldn't really stand her being in the same town. She had needed help with Kakistos, and hadn't wanted to part ways. Couldn't have parted ways even if she had wanted to.

Buffy was her opposite, and she was drawn to her. Like a pathetic, mentally challenged moth to the burning and fatal flame. She was dependent on Buffy's permeating heat to keep her from freezing completely, to keep from losing her humanity to the Slayer inside her. Buffy seemed to keep her identity and the demon aspect separate, through sheer will and the futile wish for normalcy.

And it was futile, she knew this, but Buffy continued to hold it above the torrential waters of the demon, like it was a small, flickering flame. Just another reason that they were different; she had long ago, almost from the moment of her calling, accepted the fact that she would not be normal. That she couldn't, and didn't especially want to, be normal.

Then and there, she decided to wean herself from Buffy's dangerously addictive company. She knew she shouldn't need the other slayer like she did. She shouldn't desire friends and family like hers, and she shouldn't feel as hurt as she did about Buffy's reluctance to befriend her, and the fact that she would never be needed in the same way. Unrequited dependence was pathetic.

As she lay down on the moth-bitten covers, she laughed to herself. She would still attempt to gain independence, but she knew that, ultimately, it was like the slayer connection was a great, big bungee chord, and that she'd end up in a similar situation at some point. Whether it would be months, years, or when they would inevitably meet in heaven, she didn't know. But she would continue to be dependent on the other slayer, and she wasn't sure she wanted it to be any different.

--

Two months later found her with her hands covered in soapy water and raw from furious scrubbing. Her self-hatred had to manifest in some way, and it was easier than visibly hurting herself.

She looked up at the achingly concerned blonde in the small, moldy bathroom. She knew that this was her opportunity, the perfect time to cleanly gain independence. Did she want it, though? Would it be worth all the heart-ache and loneliness that would indubitably accompany the so-called liberation? One comment, and she would be distanced enough from Buffy to delude herself into thinking she had attained independence.

Her mouth opened before her mind could fully process all the consequences, but she realized, even vaguely, that she wouldn't have a semblance of autonomy for any substantial amount of time, in the scheme of things. Her own body wouldn't stand it for long, not to mention the Powers That Be.

"No, you don't get it." She gained control of her lips and smiled involuntarily, completing the sentence with an awful clarity, "I don't care."