Disclaimer: Joss owns them, I don't. And that is a great shame.
Author's note: Another Sheryl Crow inspired story, quite literally this time, that's her lyrics in italics below. Clever huh?
Safe and Sound
'Could you not be sad, could you not break down
After all I won't let go, until you're safe and sound'
Everything dies. Doesn't matter that we live in a world when most things can be brought back to life, they'll all die again eventually. People leave, they come back, they die, they sometimes stay dead. Sometimes when they're dead they're still living (in a weird not breathing way) which only confuses matters further, and doesn't add weight to my whole, everything dies theory. But everything does. And not just people, but stuff between people dies. Things like trust and loyalty never last. Doesn't matter that these same people you shared such strong emotions with have been a constant in your life for like, ever. That they are people you told your first secrets to, but now can't even share a mocha with. That they are the same people who have helped you fight all these years, and now all they do is fight with each other. They have been first in line every time an apocalypse came knocking, but now you wish one would come and swallow you up, because what you once had with these people is long gone. And you can't stand to have another debate with them, explaining why.
Everything dies you see, including friendship. Including love. Love dies the hardest. That's like one of those eternal truths Giles used to drum in to me, such as "vampires do not react well to sunlight" and "as long as there has been evil, there's been the chosen one." I've learnt a lot over the years, and the one lesson I remember most is how hard love can die between people, how quick and devastating it can be at times, and other times lingers on. Never really ending at all, just hanging in there hoping against hope that some world altering thing will happen so I won't be the Slayer anymore, and he won't be a 242 year old vampire with a soul. Yeah, love takes a while to end sometimes but when it does – dead as the next thing laying silent in the cemetery.
That was me once. Laying silent, enjoying some peace. Resting forever in this place where no-one expected anything from me. It was sorta neat. And very warm. I always imagined that death would be cold, not that I ever thought about it a lot, because as Giles' pointed out, thinking about death was a sure fire way of bringing it on. But a Slayer can't help herself every once and awhile, so back in the day I imagined death to be cold. Finding myself in a warm, comforting place after it happened put a fly in that logic ointment though. And since I've been back, it's life that is cold to me. People are cold. I touch them, living people, expecting to share in their warmth, their smiles, their laughter, their hope, and all I feel is this cold wave of hollowness settle itself around me. And I have to wonder, did I infect everyone with the same cold despair that's been haunting me since I came back? Because before I went away, everyone was very much in love, and happy, and there was less yelling, and goddamnit, it was safe and sound back then. And now…now everything has changed. It's died and I'm the Slayer, so somehow it's got to have been my fault.
'Maybe this is forever
Forever fades away'
I don't know how it's possible, to keep on breathing in and out every day when the world around you implodes, and you're the only one left standing at the centre. I don't know how every day, one foot followed the other around, leading to places of such dull banality like college, the grocery store, occasionally the coffee shop. Places that should have known that my world had ended and should have shown a little more respect instead of getting on with things. Everyday, normal things. I don't know how it's possible to cry yourself to sleep night after night, and still have tears left over in the morning, when you catch a glimpse of stark red hair retreating down a corridor and everything you had been together, and everything she did to ruin it, comes flooding back through your brain in marvellous technicolour. With soundbites, and special effects, and I can even taste her lips on mine, if I close my eyes and just pretend for a moment that the world hasn't changed. The world hasn't died, everyone is still here, together, and she didn't try to fool us, because there is nothing to fool us about, the world is how it should be. But then I open my eyes again, and see the world has changed, my world died and a new one is slowly building up around me.
And I don't know how it's possible, but the pain is getting easier to handle. The tears are slowing down and somehow each piece of me is putting itself back together, bit by bit. I'm learning to walk on my own again, learning to breathe again.
We promised forever to each other, but forever fades away. And despite being able to breathe on my own again, I don't know how I'll ever promise someone something again.
She used to think everything died, because everything in her life had. And just when she thought the cold that had taken root in her body, making her do crazy disgusting things, was going to win and never let her go, she found someone who introduced warmth back in to her life. Someone who knew about death and forever and could have been as equally cold to touch, but surprisingly wasn't. And together they learnt to live in a world where everything dies.
Author's end note: Hmmm, not the cheery ending perhaps you were hoping for? Only one way for me to find out, the review button ladies and gentleman, ta-daaa. x