Disclaimer: Joss owns them, I don't. And that is a great shame.

Author's note: The title is a Sheryl Crow song, like a lot of my BTVS fictions are. Don't know why, she just always seems to be playing when I write.

The difficult kind

By Mbard

It was quiet at night before she came. The house giving up the activity of the day to the low hum coming from the kitchen fridge, the buzzing noise the bathroom light makes and the sound of my sleeping lover next to me. Her breathing deep, and slightly nasal. I'd lay awake for hours, hearing nothing more than a tree leaning in to the breeze outside, the humming and buzzing coming from inside, and the sighs of my lover. And I'd think to myself how empty our world had become without her. How silent and lonely the house was, even though they all stopped by during the day, and would gather here before patrol at night. It was always a hollow laughter I'd hear in their voices when one of us made a joke, sharing a bowl of popcorn in front of the TV. There was no urgency to their steps when we had the odd night out at The Bronze, their movements slow and awkward on the dance floor, waiting for a partner that would never come back. And pillows were always damp in the morning, after another night of crying ourselves to sleep, remembering how things were, how things had changed. It was like all of us had died that day she saved the world, only someone forgot to tell our bodies, so we were still walking around, breathing in and out, eating food we couldn't taste, making love we couldn't feel.

We don't go into the reasons why we did it. All of us convincing ourselves it was for a nobler cause than making us feel better – she needed saving from a hell dimension, pretty simple when we put it like that. I know why I did it though, I am not afraid to admit it.

It was not to please a lover more powerful than I, but still needed my help at the time. Help that's getting harder to give, the less she believes she needs it. It wasn't because I could no longer stand to see a sweet lost girl, crawl into a bed at night not her own, to cling to a body never alive as it resembled her dead sister. And it was never about bringing her back because the rest of the world needs her, fighting their corner, because they are too afraid to fight themselves. My reasons were more selfish than that. Reasons that no one would suspect me of. Reasons that are the difficult kind to explain.

I wanted her back.

I missed her.

There is light again inside me. The air that I breathe now is not stale and suffocating. I still lay awake at night, but no longer do the silent sounds of the house deafen my ears. Even though it's going to take her time to realise, she has brought life back with her from the grave. She's made this house live again, she's made us all live again. Most important of all, she's made me live again. No matter what my lover thinks, she can not take credit for bringing the smile back to my face. That honour goes to the blonde girl I can hear cry sometimes. The girl that needs time, needs help, needs us all to stop apologising for wanting her alive.

I don't apologise. I want her alive.

One day I'm going to tell her that. One day I'm going to tell her how silent it was without her. How dark and cold the house seemed, how everything I touched felt like I was holding hands with a corpse. Then I'll tell her how when she returned, she gave me my light back. She saved me from the darkness. She made me breathe again, feel again.

I'll tell all her that, one day. One day, when the conversations between us aren't the difficult kind, I'll tell her how much I love her.

But not today.

The end

Author's end note: Hit the review button if you like it and put a nervous writer out of her misery ;-)