Title: Re-Write: The Prom pt.1/2
Disclaimer: Fortunately, Marti Noxon wrote this episode three years ago. Unfortunately, she made a terrible, terrible mistake.
Synopsis: I did Prom my way! Wheee!
Author's Notage: Yes. There are more Prom re-writes out there than actual BTVS episodes. I know. But… I was knee deep in about 3 really angsty stories. I wanted fluff. I wanted a little humor.
Dedication: To my evil twin. For the suggestions, commas, support, and laughing at my jokes.
Feedback: *sings* I want feedback! Lala la la!
Buffy applied the final touches of her lipstick carefully. She leaned forward slightly, slitting her eyes, and curving her mouth into a perfect pout. When she was done, she leaned back and let out a contented little sigh.
According to the reflection in her mirror, she looked perfect. She looked like a girl going off to the prom in a perfect dress. It was so normal. So right. So she threw herself into getting ready, obsessed over the little touches, making sure that all was done to perfection. Makeup, hair, everything had to be perfet
Anything at all to keep her mind busy.
It didn't matter that in a few minutes she would have to go and battle the prom hounds from hell. It was just the fact that she was getting ready for the night that all girls dreamed about. She wanted to preserve the moment in her mind, live it when she was down. Because it was a perfect moment. She could pretend. Pretend to be the perfect girl she was dressed as.
Pretend that Angel wasn't leaving her, and that he would pick her up in a couple minutes in a beautiful tux. Pretend that her world was perfect. Perfect for just one night.
Thinking of him, thinking of the terrible loss in her heart, brought back fresh pain. Sitting back on her bed, she looked at herself in the mirror. She looked beautiful, she looked perfect. Her inside, her heart, that was hurting. And this night could never be perfect
She wanted to be numb and pretend that it wasn't happening. Shoulder her newest blow and move on. Go fight the hounds and then laugh with her friends. She could bear this. Bear the loss. But for the moment, she just sat quietly. Grieving, wishing, thinking, hurting, Buffy allowed herself to feel the pain. To wallow in it, as she wouldn't be allowed to do in front of her friends and the people that expected her to be strong.
A knock on the door shook Buffy out of her misery. She plastered on a fake smile. She knew it was her mother, knew that she wasn't allowed to show her despair to the woman that bore her. The mother she loved so much. The mother she needed, admired, but could never cry on. Because her mother was one of the ones that expected her to be strong. Shoulder the weight of losing her life's only love and go out and save the world.
And she would. Because she was Buffy. Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
"Oh, Buffy," her mother sighed. "You look beautiful."
Buffy gave her a smile. "Thanks. I know who I get it from."
Joyce came into her room. Touching her daughter's cheek, she smiled warmly. "This is the night that every mother dreads and looks forward to."
"Why? Because I might get drunk and end up in a hotel room?"
"No, because you're growing up."
Buffy shook her head. "I grew up a long time ago."
Her mother shifted uncomfortably. "I know…"
"I'm sorry, Mom. I know you don't like it when I bring up the whole 'I've been the slayer for three years now,' stuff."
She shook her head. "No, it's part of you… I accept that."
Buffy smiled gratefully, knowing that neither of them believed that. But her mother could lie, that was fine. It helped them both to deal. She took a deep breath, trying as hard as she could to banish her earlier unhappiness. "Tonight will be fun."
Her mother looked at her suspiciously. "Are you going with…" Joyce paused, gulped. "Is Angel taking you?"
Buffy looked away, not being able to stand the parental disapproval look in her mother's eyes. "No."
"It doesn't matter. It will still be fun," Buffy lied.
"You look sad," Joyce commented, upon seeing the far away look in her daughter's eyes.
Concerned, Joyce reached for her hand. "Tell me."
Not being able to help it, Buffy felt her eyes fill up with tears. "I'm growing up but people keep treating me like I don't know what I want!" Taking a deep breath to calm her shaky voice, Buffy turned away from her mother. "Do you know what it's like to lose the one thing you knew you couldn't live without?" she whispered fiercely. "Do you know what it's like to suffer so much, and then finally to lose?"
Joyce put a hand on her shoulder. "Buffy… I… what happened?"
She didn't turn around. "It's nothing," she murmured brokenly. "It doesn't matter, I have to go on anyway. I'm expected to."
"No, baby, you don't have to. You can cry and you can feel—"
"I can't. I have stuff to do. Important stuff. World in danger stuff."
"What stuff? What happened?" Joyce's voice was beginning to rise. "I never know what's going on in your life, Buffy! I'm your mother!"
Buffy turned around. "Then tell me it's going to be okay! Tell me that there is no monster living under my bed. Tell me that love doesn't hurt this much. Tell me… tell me… that true love should conquer all. That it *always* wins in the end."
Buffy's mother stared at her speechlessly. "I can't…" stuttered, "I can't."
"Because I'm not a child anymore." Looking in her mirror, she wiped pathetically at her swollen eyes. It was no use. It was impossible to be perfect. Laying a hand on her mother's shoulder, Buffy leaned up and pressed a kiss to her cheek. "I love you, Mom."
Joyce watched Buffy's back as she fled her room. Suddenly scared about her daughter's well being and state of mental health, she hesitantly called after her, "Buffy, where are you going?"
"My prom," she answered simply.
Once Buffy was gone, Joyce sat, shaking, on her daughter's bed. She felt bad, surprisingly bad, for the conversation she had with Angel earlier. It was fairly clear that he had told her that he was leaving.
For the first time, Joyce was beginning to think that was not necessarily a good thing.
Buffy had looked so devoid of emotion. Like she was pushing it all down and refusing to grieve. Joyce could practically see her daughter slowly coming apart from the inside. She lost the one that she loved, and it was not going to be easy for her to move on. If ever.
'Why, oh why, does she have to have such a complicated life?' Joyce thought miserably. 'Why did she have to fall in love with completely the wrong person?'
Blinking back tears of regret and guilt, Joyce lay down on her daughter's bed. The first thing that she noticed was that the pillow was wet. Buffy must have been crying herself to sleep.
And she hadn't noticed.
Of course she had realized that Buffy loved Angel. Or, in the very least, thought that she loved him. Sure, she would be hurt, but eventually she would realize that it was for the best and be able to move on. Not like this, though. Not with the deep emptiness and regret in her eyes.
Maybe Buffy had grown up.
Rolling over, Joyce picked up Buffy's phone. With shaky fingers she dialed a familiar number. Willow answered on the first ring.
"Willow… it's me. I think I've made a terrible mistake."
Willow had been putting on her dress. She had to admit, despite living in Sunnydale, despite the threat of hell hounds, and despite the fact that Buffy was falling apart, she couldn't be more excited. Here she was, Willow Rosenburg, computer nerd and Geek of her class, waiting for her boyfriend to pick her up so they could spend a magical evening at the prom together.
It was nice.
So she was a little surprised when the phone rang five minutes before she was supposed to leave. Even more surprised when she learned the caller of the call. Apparently, Joyce Summers had decided that her little talk with Angel had done more damage than good.
"She's so broken!" Joyce wailed on the other end of the phone. "I just wish… I knew what to do!"
"Have you tried talking to her?" Willow fumbled in a soothing voice. She couldn't believe that she was playing therapist to her best friend's mother.
"I don't know what to say. Willow, you're her best friend. If anyone would know, it's you. How do I make this up to her? How do I put the light back in her eyes?"
Thinking for a moment, Willow finally shook her head. "She loves him, Ms. Summers. I know they don't have a future, but a love like that… it's just not fair, you know?"
"Should I call him? Tell him to talk to her?" Joyce paused, took a breath. "Maybe talking to him would do her some good…"
"Or make it incredibly painful," Willow interrupted. "I think it's time that we let Buffy make her own decisions."
"What do you mean?"
"Buffy's old enough to know what she wants. She doesn't need you or Angel making those choices for her. If she wants Angel to stay, she'll make him."
"They don't have a future… no children… no sun… no light…" she trailed off.
"They have love," Willow said softly. "They're each other's strength. They've fought so hard. And Angel's just given up. On them, on their love."
Joyce was quiet on the other end of the phone.
"Buffy couldn't be normal, anyway. She's the slayer. She's… she's a part of the darkness. And that hurts her. I think… I think that Angel's the only one that understands that. Understands what it's like to be a part of the world but ultimately different from it."
Joyce let out a long shuddering sigh. "You're right." Willow thought that she could hear the elder Summers' woman crying softly. "How do we get them back together?"
"We don't," Willow corrected. "We just give Buffy a little push in the right direction."
Sighing, Xander seriously considered, for maybe the 20th time, whether or not he should actually go to this stupid dance. Really, what was so special about prom anyway? The happy couples would get drunk and get laid, and the unhappy couples would just get drunk. Within two weeks, none of it would really end up mattering.
So what was he doing? Dressing up in a tux, on his way out to pick up his date. *Date*. Xander gave an involuntary shudder. Anya, date like date. It was so… unreal.
He supposed that he may as well go and try and have as much fun as possible. It was entirely likely that the mayor would blow up the whole school the next week, and all that would be left of Xander would be little bits and pieces.
Xander shuddered again. He hated it when he started having morbid thoughts.
The telephone rang. Jumping almost a mile, Xander needed a moment to calm his beating heart before answering. The caller, unsurprisingly, was Willow. Who, he quickly noticed, did not seem the least bit put off by his case of nervousness. Actually, she seemed quite hysterical about something and didn't seem to be making any sense whatsoever. That was fine with Xander. He'd just wait until she was done her long babble.
"And it's so UPSETTING! I mean, I saw her, Xander! I knew! I KNEW! But it was her mother that needed to call me and tell me that something had to be done. Like, as her best friend, I didn't realize it myself. She was so upset and hurt earlier. It's not fair, you know? She's suffered so much and now this! I don't know if she can go on. She tries to be strong, she feels like she needs to hide everything. Almost as if we wouldn't be able to understand. And I guess it's true, we don't understand! We have to help her Xander!"
Willow finished her tirade and paused for breath. Xander scratched his head cluelessly. "Um, who are we talking about, again?"
"BUFFY!" Willow roared.
"Oh, right. Buffy. I got it." Pausing, Xander gave a weak chuckle. "Why do we need to help her?"
Xander, in that moment, was suddenly very glad that he was talking on the phone. It was much safer that way. Willow, yelling and spluttering, launched into another long story that Xander listened to with only half an ear. He was fairly certain that the words, 'Dead Boy,' 'leaving town,' 'I'm going to kill him,' and 'we have to do something about it,' were mentioned once or twice.
He was pretty sure he got the gist of the conversation.
"So Dead Boy's leaving town and you want us to stop him?" Xander re-capped in a doubtful voice.
"Yes!" Willow snapped.
"And just how do you propose we do that?"
Willow told him her plan.
"Are you crazy?" he shrieked once she finished. "You want me to do what? Willow, you of all people should know how much I HATE HIM!"
"Xander," Willow pouted, "you only think you hate him…"
"Actually, I'm fairly certain."
"It doesn't matter. We still have to do something about it. You *know* we have to do something about it."
"No, I don't know that we have to do something about it!" he cried in frustration.
Willow sniffed in annoyance. "Well, what if bad stuff happens because they aren't together?"
"What could possibly happen?" Xander asked, trying to sound soothing and at the same time trying to convince Willow out of her suicide plan. "I mean, personally, I think it's good that we no longer have to worry about Angel's psycho counterpart coming out to play again."
"What if Buffy goes crazy? Explodes? Isn't able to stand it anymore and just does something stupid?"
Willow paused, silent. Xander nodded triumphantly. "See… I knew you couldn't find anything…"
"She might sleep with Spike!" Willow interrupted.
Xander covered his mouth with his hand to keep from gagging. "Willow! Please! I don't need those images to keep me up all night!"
"And Angel," Willow barreled on, paying no heed to how uncomfortable this whole thing was making Xander feel. "What if he ended up fooling himself and thinking he's in love with Cordelia?"
Xander coughed. Painfully. "Willow… that's crazy!"
"Is it… is it really?"
Xander thought for a moment. Cordelia. Angel. God, the thought of it made his skin crawl. "He'd better stay away from *my* Cordy!" Xander mumbled possessively.
"What was that?"
"Never mind," Xander said quickly. "Male macho stuff, it would be embarrassing."
"So you'll do it then?" Willow couldn't help but speak hopefully.
Xander sighed. "Yeah… I'll do it."
'I knew there was a reason I was going to Prom tonight,' he thought morosely as he hung up the phone
[i]Prom Night, 1999[/i]
'At least I got a pretty umbrella out of it,' Buffy thought miserably, turning it around in her hands. 'Look! It even twirls. How interesting.'
Buffy shook her head, trying to stop obsessing over the only interesting thing that had happened that night: her class protector award. She was honored, sure, but didn't understand why people couldn't have realized it when they first started spreading the rumors that she was psychotic and part of a gang. Of course, that would have made life easier for her. And life hadn't been kind to Buffy Summers.
"Hey, Buff," Xander greeted, coming up to her and slinging an arm around her shoulder. "How's life treating you?"
Buffy raised her eyebrows. "Same as always."
Xander nodded. "And how's that?"
"Hey, now! You stopped those hounds from crashing the school. I say we celebrate!"
Buffy shrugged off his arm. "Sure," she replied, in a bored monotone.
Xander gave her a concerned look. "What's wrong?"
Buffy forced a smile. "I'm fine."
He squinted his eyes, examining her closely. "No… it looks an awful lot like something's wrong. And I think I know what it is, too."
"Well, to me, it would look an awful lot like you're moping. Almost like you're trying to bear a loss of some sort." Xander snapped his fingers. "Dead Boy is either evil again… or he just broke up with you."
Buffy's mouth dropped in surprise. Then, as if remembering herself, she scowled at him. "No fair. You knew all along."
He grinned. "Nawww… I was just using my powers of telechanisel… or whatever."
"Sure you were."
Xander heard the joking note in her tone, and noticed that her jolly mood didn't meet her eyes. Her beautiful hazel eyes were sad, lost and empty. *Empty*. It scared him. It was as if the only way that Buffy knew how to go on, was to remove herself from the world.
Scary psychological thoughts. Xander resisted the urge to pinch himself. 'Must stop thinking.'
Serious again, Xander said, "So Dead Boy is leaving town?"
"Xander…. I don't want to seem rude, but why do you care?"
Buffy shook her head angrily. "No you don't. You've made your feelings perfectly clear towards Angel this year. And they aren't of the warm fuzzies."
"You don't get it." Off Buffy's blank look, Xander shook his head. "I *hate* him, Buffy. I really, really, hate him."
Even if Angel had just broken up with her a few hours ago, even if he had shattered her heart into a million pieces, even if she did want to give him a good kick in the groin, she was *not* going to let anyone talk that way about her lover. 'Ex-lover,' she reminded herself bitterly. Raising her hand, she resisted the urge to hit Xander with all her slayer strength.
"There better be a point to this speech. And it better be soon," Buffy practically growled.
Xander raised his hands, in a poor imitation of self-defense. "Buffy, my feelings towards Angel haven't change." Seeing her eyes harden with barely suppressed anger, he quickly rushed to continue. "But, Buffy, I love *you*. And it tears me up that the son of a bitch is just going to walk away from you. From your love, from your spirit. He's just giving up… and it makes me hate him more than ever."
Buffy let out a deep breath, and lowered her fist. "Okay, I won't pummel you now," she mumbled, trying as hard as she could to not let him see the strong effect his words had on her frayed emotions.
"I'm sorry," Xander whispered, laying a comforting arm on her shoulder.
Choking back a sob, Buffy threw her arms around him and held on as she forced herself not to cry. Xander stood stunned for a moment before awkwardly patting her arm and trying to be as soothing as possible.
"I love you, you know," Buffy said, even as small tears slid down her cheeks.
Xander, wishing he could be anywhere else at the moment, nodded. "I know."
It made Buffy cry harder because as good of a friend Xander was, he was no where near as comforting as Angel. [i]Angel…[/i]Thinking his name, thinking about his arms, helped for her to slow her tears. No. She wouldn't cry over him. Couldn't. Maybe later, maybe when she was alone she would allow herself to finally let go.
Pulling away from Xander, she sniffled a couple of times, busily wiping at her eyes with the back of her hands. Watching her pathetic attempts, Xander felt his heart constrict and wished there was some way that he could get the bastard over here. Angel always knew how to comfort Buffy better than anyone else. Searching through his pockets, he managed to find a half-way descent tissue which he gave to Buffy. She accepted it gratefully, blowing her nose and sniffling a few times before handing it back. Xander stared at the used tissue before shrugging and stuffing it back into his pocket.
"You really think that Angel's leaving because he doesn't want to fight for our relationship any longer?" Buffy asked, softly.
Xander suddenly wanted to slap himself for saying that. He sure as hell didn't know why Angel was leaving. And if it wasn't for the image of Cordelia and him kissing, he would have let the guy go. But Buffy looked up at him with big, sad, lost eyes and Xander felt like he had to explain himself. And give her a reason to not let him go, of course.
'Oh. My. God.' He thought, almost in a panic, "I've finally lost it."
Buffy looked at him strangely, and Xander realized that he'd spoken aloud without meaning to. "Forget I said that," he managed to choke out quickly. Buffy nodded, obviously in too much distress to make a comment on it. Xander wasn't sure if that relieved him, or made him worried. In any case, he didn't reflect on it too much as Buffy was looking for an explanation for why Angel was leaving her.
"Buffy… I'm sure that Angel had reasons for leaving. Good reasons. But, you guys loved each other. You had the whole star-crossed thing going. I mean, it just sort of sounds loserish to up and leave that. Sure, things were difficult," off Buffy's look, Xander shrugged. "Difficult and painful… is an understatement. And, I have to admit, you didn't exactly get the most support from all your friends."
Buffy snorted. "Yeah."
"Hey!" Xander through up his hands, "I had good reason—"
"To act like a child?" Buffy interrupted.
Xander glared at her and was about to snap at her before realizing that he was here to try and get her and Dead Boy back together. He could afford to show a little humility. "Fair enough. To be quite honest, I don't think it's totally Dead Boy's fault."
"Xander," Buffy snapped, "stop calling him that. And what the hell is that supposed to mean?"
'Uh oh, mad slayer, mad slayer,' ignoring the warning bells going off in his head, Xander went on with his explanation. "I just… why aren't you making an effort to keep him here?"
"He's leaving me! Why should I stop him? Like you said, he's giving up on us."
"Yeah, but what if he's looking for a reason not to give up? Does he know that you love him?"
"Of course he knows, don't be silly, Xan…"
Interrupting, Xander shook his head. "Buffy, Angel's a guy that's always going to doubt your love, no matter how many times you say it. If I were you, I would chain him up, talk to him, do anything to keep him from leaving."
Buffy stared at him suspiciously.
Xander stared back. "What?" he finally cried.
"Are you harboring unknowing feelings for my ex-boyfriend?"
Xander scowled at her. "Buffy are you trying to make me feel ill?"
"If you were me you'd chain him up?"