Harsh Morning

// Trapped inside a twisted world //

// I can't even decide what's real anymore //

// As if I ever knew //

A morning person I am not, this morning least of all.  Sleep clings, like a protective blanket, around the edges of my mind.

I don't want to wake up; I know it's going to be bad.  Worse I mean, every morning is bad, waking up to a world I should have left behind forever.

I remember loving this place, but it's different now.  "You're different now," a voice whispers in the back of my head.

// Tangled in these silhouettes //

// Floating face down in a river of regrets //

// And thoughts of you //

I'm sore, bruised from fighting and sore in a way I haven't been since Riley…

The surface under my legs and stomach is hard, gritty.  It grates against my bare skin.  The grime sticks to the sweat and … and other fluids covering me, making me feel dirty.

My head and chest are pillowed on something cool and smooth.

When my eyes finally crack open, I'm staring at someone's bare chest, sculpted muscles, hollowed stomach… Okay eyes, lets not go there… Pale skin, very pale, very still too… not broad enough.

I didn't, I couldn't have.

// You believed she'd never leave //

// Rosie cheeked and oh so young //

// And full of flame //

What happened to me?

What happened to the girl who used to whisper with Willow about boys and one not-boy over neglected text books; The girl who went on non-date, coffee dates, who snuck kisses during patrol and through an open window.  The girl who, so innocently, wondered about the rightness and wrongness of seizing the day, among other things, what became of her?

She loved this world and fought for it and her right to be a part of it with fire and passion.  She taught Kendra to do the same and then… and then she died.

// Here in this bed of emptiness //

// Button by button, what have I done?  //

// And only twenty-one //

And she came back, came back wrong.

The girl who I used to be would never be waking up here, beside Spike.

She wouldn't need to be reaching, oh so slowly, for her shirt.  Wanting to cover her shameful nakedness, but afraid to wake her bedmate, because those knowing blue eyes are going to make her feel so much more ashamed than nakedness ever could.

Clear blue eyes, like the summer sky, free of remorse or guilt; a killer's eyes, my lover's eyes, although even Angelus would be hard pressed to twist the word enough to make it cover what Spike and I did.

I'm ever so much older than the pages on the calendar would indicate.  So much further removed from the girl who was than the mere passage of time could make me.  Dying sure changes a person.

// Gone like the broken words at your feet //

// You're gone in the venom lips that kiss me //

// Sweetly gone //

How many times do I have to die?

I died and came back to fight more battles.  I died when you were lost, my only love.  I died when I killed you.  I died when you left me.  I died when I gave myself so cheaply.  I wanted to die when the one who wanted to replace you left me.  I died with my mommy one very normal afternoon.  I died when I failed to protect my sister.  I died again and was buried to save both her and this world.

How many deaths can I die before all that's left is an empty corpse?  Or has that already happened?

You left me!  He left me.  Mom left.  Dad left so long ago I hardly remember what it was like to have him.  And now Giles is gone too.

Because I'm better off without you.  Because I don't need you.  Because that's how life works.  Because you don't care.  Because I'm so strong.  Because you're in my way.

Can't any of you see my body's cut open and bleeding?  My insides are falling out on the floor and no one sees but this beautiful killer beside me.

He pushes them back inside me and rearranges them to suit him better.  He licks the blood from my skin and helps make me look whole for those who need to see me as safety and stability.  The ones that need me to be okay, even when I'm not.

And even if his touch is poison, at least it burns as it destroys me.  I don't feel any other warmth in this awful place.

// Like a frightened bird into the sky //

// Won't you take everything I ever had //

// And leave me to die //

Maybe it's better that you've all left me.  You don't want to see what's left of me.

Spike likes this broken, lost thing I've become.  The rest of you would stare at it in horror if you ever bothered to really look at me.  I don't like what it is that I've become, why would anyone else?

You all took a part of me when you left.  Now I'm hollow inside, not even human.  I wish I were like him, like you, my love; I wish I could look in the mirror and see nothing.  It would hurt less than facing this thing that couldn't possibly be me every single morning.

Author's Note: the song is "Holy Tears" by Tara MacLean.