Title: Dear Slayer 1/4
Author: Elsa Frohman, elsa@frohman.net
Feedback: Yes, thank you
Spoilers: End of S6 and beginning of S7 speculation
(nothing solid)
Disclaimer: This fan fic should not be read while
operating heavy machinery
Summary: There was a time when correspondence was an
art.


Dear Slayer;

I saw you on the street tonight, and I know you saw
me as well, so I guess it's time to get this over
with.

You're probably scrambling around now getting a
disinvite spell set up on your house and floodlights
set up in your yard. But there's no need. I have no
intention of standing outside your house watching
you, and even less of trying to get inside.

If I ever had any right to approach you, I forfeited
it the last time we saw one another. So I will not
be troubling you.

You may wonder why I came back to Sunnydale at all.
Well, I'm not sure of the answer to that myself.
When I finished with what I left to do, it only
seemed natural to go home. I just wasn't sure where
home was -- London? Europe? Neither seemed to call
to me, so in the end I came back here.

But let me repeat that it was not so I could
continue to pursue you. That's over with and done.

I won't tell you that I no longer care. But I doubt
I could ever make up for what I tried to do to you,
so I will stay away.

Once I thought I loved you for the darkness in you.
I thought what you needed me to help you embrace
that darkness. But when I finally came to look at
what happened between us honestly, I came to know
that what called to me was the light, not the dark
at all. And somehow, I believed -- in the part of my
heart I could not acknowledge directly -- that you
would somehow find and the light in me and nurture
it.

That's not what happened. Instead, we only hurt one
another. I know I hurt you and I condemn myself for
it.

But I also know that you hurt me. I'm not blaming
you. You were lost and damaged, and I was anything
but the guide you needed to find your way back to
what you once were. So even though I assign no
blame, I have to acknowledge that being with you did
me no good. Not only were you bad to me, you were
bad for me. And I know now that if I'm going to be
any use to anyone in this world I have to protect
myself.

So I've accepted that you and I can never be
together again.

I hope the Nibblet is doing well. All that has
happened can't have been easy on her. I suppose
she's going to spot me sooner or later. So I hope
you'll find some way to explain why I haven't
contacted her. The last thing I want is to cause her
more pain.

Yours truly
S

--------

Dear Spike;

You're right. Dawn spotted you, in fact, she's the
one who figured out where you're living so I could
address this letter. I let her read yours. It seemed
like the best way to explain why you wouldn't be
coming around.

I have to congratulate you on moving up -- an
apartment rather than a crypt -- even if it is a
basement. Very good. Must be nice to have running
water and electrical outlets.

It seems strange writing to you rather than coming
over to talk. But then, we never did very well with
the talking, did we? It's probably better to do it
this way.

I'm sorry. Very sorry -- for everything. And it
isn't "patronizing sorry," or "oh, real for you not
for me sorry," or "will you please go away if I just
say I'm sorry, sorry."

I'm sorry that I was so wrapped up in my own pain
that I never saw how I was hurting you. What
happened -- I so know that it wasn't you. Well, OK,
it was you, but I know you would never have done
anything like that if I hadn't destroyed every bit
of hope you ever had. If I hadn't ignored every good
thing you ever did and focused on every misstep. If
I hadn't said "no" when I meant "yes" again and
again. If I hadn't used you and discarded you
without a thought for what you must have been
feeling.

If I hadn't been so blind, I might have seen how
hard you were trying to be a better man. I might
have encouraged you rather than beating you down.

But I didn't, and I'm afraid it's too late for
regrets. The time for all that is past.

However, I'm in the uncomfortable position now of
having to ask you for a favor -- despite everything
that has happened. I understand and respect your
decision to stay away from me. I really don't blame
you. If I were in your place I would want nothing to
do with me, either.

So, I hope you can find it in your heart to indulge
me, not for my sake, but for Dawn's.

She has lost so much. More than any child her age
should have to bear. In the past two years, she lost
her mother. Then I left her to sacrifice myself.
Even when I returned I had nothing to give her. Now
she has lost her surrogate mothers as well. Tara's
senseless death hit her hard, and what happened with
Willow afterward was even worse.

She is doing better now, and I'm doing my best to be
there for her. But it would still mean a great deal
to her if you would allow her to come visit with
you. I promise I will stay away and not interfere.
She still loves you, and it is so unfair that my
failure of humanity should deprive her of a friend
who means so much to her.

I know it's a lot to ask, considering our history.
But if you could do this one thing, I would be
forever grateful.

Thanks,
B.

PS: I know this sounds incredibly shallow, but you
have beautiful handwriting! I feel like I've been
putting chicken scratches on this page after looking
at yours again.

-----------

Dear Slayer;

I would be more than happy to see Dawn. She knows
where I live. If she wants to drop by after school,
that would be fine. Or if you'd prefer, I could meet
her in a public place.

Unlike you, it does not seem strange to me to be
writing to you this way. I grew up in an age when
correspondence was an art. More like dropping into
an old habit for me.

I hope my previous missive didn't distress you too
much. I didn't mean to try to place any
responsibility on you. The responsibility was always
mine. I should have seen how wrong things had become
and walked away. I can only blame myself for
continuing to accept all you dished out. Please,
let's not keep beating a dead horse. What's past is
past. We can't take any of it back. Time to move on.

Meanwhile, if Dawn wants to meet me at the ice cream
shop on Main Street on Wednesday evening, I'll be
there.

Regards,
S.

PS: About the handwriting -- they used to teach
penmanship when I was in school. Got my knuckles
rapped if my loops weren't round enough.

-----------

Dear Spike;

Thank you so much for the fertility god statuettes.
I've put them on the bookcase in the living room.
African artwork -- for some reason, they make me
think of my mother. She was always bringing home
things like this from the gallery.

Dawn said you were looking good. I'm glad to hear
it.

By the way, I have your leather duster. You left it
here that day. I could have Dawn bring it to you
next time you see her, if you like.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate your taking
time to spend with Dawn. It means a lot to her --
and to me.

Thanks
B.

--------

Dear Buffy;

I'm glad we could work something out with Dawn. It
means a lot to me, as well.

I'm happy to see she's doing better in school this
term. She's a bright girl. Have you given any
thought beyond high school? Now is the time to start
planning for college. I know she's only a sophomore,
but it's never too early.

Don't worry about the duster. Do whatever you want
with it. Doesn't really suit my style these days.

I hope the slayage hasn't been too strenuous. It
must be difficult for you to have to work full-time
in the day, and fight vampires at night. As far as
I've been able to see since I've been back, things
are pretty quiet. I did notice there was a pack of
vamps setting up in my old crypt. Just thought I'd
let you know about that in case you wanted to drop
by and clean them out. No big deal. They look pretty
pathetic if you ask me. You can probably take them
out with out working up a sweat.

Not that it matters, mind you. I don't have any
designs on the crypt these days. Much more
comfortable in my flat -- even if I do have to pay
rent.

Warmest regards,
S.

-------------

Dear Spike;

I know we've agreed to stay out of one another's
hair, but I wonder if it would be too much to ask
for a little suspension of that rule.

It's Dawn's birthday next Friday. I'm inviting Clem,
Sophie, Dawn's friend Janice, Jonathan and Xander. I
know Dawn would be really pleased if you'd come as
well. If you would prefer not, I'll understand.
Particularly since Xander is going to be here. But
I've let him know that this is Dawn's day, and I'm
going to take it very hard if he messes it up for
her. He said he would put aside old grievances for
Dawn's sake.

The party starts at 6 p.m. Let me know if you're
coming.

While I'm at it, thanks for the tip on the vamps in
your old crypt. You were right -- they were
pathetic. I could have sent Jonathan after them.
They just don't make vampires like they used to.

Yours truly,
B.

-----------

Dear Buffy;

Thanks for the invite. What sort of present would
Dawn like?

Just don't seat me next to Harris.

Sorry for the short note. I'm late for work. Must
dash.

Sincerely,
S.

----------

Dear Spike;

Work?

Regards,
B.

-----------

Dear Buffy;

Yeah, work. Gotta pay the rent. I'm doing the
midnight shift at the morgue. Not much to do. The
clients aren't very talkative. Just sit there and
make sure the customers don't try to leave. Take a
few deliveries. The ambience is familiar, the job
seems to suit me.

Saw a nice cashmere sweater at the mall. What size
for Dawn?

If you're at loose ends, pet, you might check out
the warehouse on Sands Street. Looks to me like
something's going on in there.

See you Friday,
S.

---------

Dear Slayer;

I guess you're not too thrilled with me now. I'm
sorry. I shouldn't have let Harris get to me. I
suppose I still need to work on keeping control of my
temper.

I'd go try to apologize to Harris, but I don't think
he'd be too happy to see me.

I'm sorry to have ruined Dawn's party.

Really sorry,
S.

----------

Dear Spike;

I am so not blaming you for the Xander incident. He
was in the bag before he got here. Staggering.

I went and talked to him this morning. Ripped him a
new one, actually. He's feeling pretty sorry
himself. He realizes it was his fault.

I know you don't want to hear me defend Xander, but
he had reason to be off his game. He got a letter
from Giles and Anya earlier in the day. That still
hurts him -- a lot. So by the time he got to the
party he was pretty well pissed -- in all senses of
the word.

I blame myself for not getting him out of there when
he started in on you. All that snarky "dead thing"
and "soulless demon" stuff. I should never have let
it go on. I don't know why I didn't shut him down. I
feel pretty bad about that. I need to be more
proactive about things like this. Just because
Xander is my friend doesn't mean I agree with what
he says. I should have let him know right then that
he was out of line.

And you showed considerable restraint. You only hit
him once -- and that after he'd swung at you and
missed -- three times.

Dawn was pretty upset, but she's not blaming you
either. She's pretty mad at him.

Xander is feeling very low at the moment. More than
low -- he's pretty much in full-grovel mode. Dawn
will probably forgive him -- in a couple weeks. It
may take longer for me.

Look, can we make it up to you? Why don't you come
over Tuesday. We can have dinner -- just the three
of us. No Xander. I promise. I'll even have some
pig's blood for you. And after, there's a creature
feature marathon on Sci-Fi.

Sincerely,
B.

-------

Dear Buffy;

I don't know if that's such a good idea.

But I am glad to know you aren't going to hold
Xander's broken nose against me. Now there's an
image I could have done without.

Seeing you again brought back a lot of memories. If
you don't mind, I think I'd like to back off a
little now.

But let's not let this affect the Little Bit. Please
let her know she's still welcome to drop by any
time.

Respectfully,
S.

PS: There's something stirring at Sunny Rest
Cemetery. Not sure what -- doesn't look like the run
of the mill vamp nest to me. Please be careful.

-------------

Dear Spike;

You were right about Sunny Rest. We're not sure what
it is either. Jonathan is doing some research. We're
taking a wait-and-see approach for now. Whatever it
is, it doesn't seem to be fully emerged yet. We want
to know just what we're dealing with before we go in
stakes blazing.

By the way, were you planning on going to Dawn's
play Friday? I've been happy to see her getting
involved in the Drama Club. And I'm so proud of her
landing a principal role in Midsummer's Night Dream.
My little sister -- Titania!

So, I was really bummed when the OT shift at work
came up. I so can't afford to turn down OT right
now. It would be sad for Dawn if there was nobody
for her in the audience when she makes her
triumphant debut. And Jonathan just wouldn't be the
same.

Finally, I guess I understand about the backing off
thing. (Left it to last -- not being avoidy or
anything am I?) Whatever. I'll stay out of your
hair. (Speaking of which, have I mentioned that I
like the new look?)

Regards,
B.

----------

Dear Buffy;

I wish you could have seen Dawn tonight. She was
brilliant. And so beautiful in her fairy queen
costume. There has never been so perfect a Titania.
And she didn't miss her marks or flub her lines even
once. She glowed -- positively glowed.

The girl is destined for the stage, I tell you.

By the way, you might suggest that Jonathan check
out "Gaeus Antimony's Chronicles." Just a thought.
Something about that thing at Sunny Rest reminds me
of it. Can't quite put my finger on what.

Hope the extra shift wasn't too tiring.

Sincerely,
S.

----------

Dear Spike;

Thanks for being there for Dawn. It means a lot.

You were right about the Chronicles, by the way.
Jonathan says thanks. We're going to go in and try
to deal with it tonight. Can't wait any longer. It's
getting stronger. Gotta take care of it while we
still can. At least, I hope we still can.

If anything happens to me, I know you'll continue to
look after Dawn.

Love;
B.

----------

Spike;

You miserable bastard. Now I see it. The lies. It's
all starting again.

I suppose this seems a bit ungrateful after last
night. I probably wouldn't have made it if you
hadn't showed up to watch my back. I am grateful for
that, no matter what it seems like.

But dammit! Why didn't you tell me? Why did you hide
it? How can I trust you when you keep this sort of
secret?

Did you think I wouldn't notice? When you knocked me
down to keep that thing from taking my head off, I
felt it.

Why did you keep it from me? When did this happen?

B.

---------

Dear Slayer;

I suppose pointing out that not telling everything
is not quite the same thing as lying isn't going to
help now.

No, I didn't tell you. Dawn knows, but I asked her
not to tell either. She noticed right away after we
started seeing each other. She doesn't miss much.

Where do I start?

I didn't want you to know because I don't really
understand what happened myself. I'm still not sure
what it means.

It happened last spring when I went to Africa. It
wasn't what I thought I was bargaining for. Odd how
things turn out, innit?

Giles and Anya know about it. I went and stayed with
them for a while after it happened. But in the end,
I could see I was getting in their way. They've just
got a small flat in Bath, and there isn't room for a
permanent houseguest. I asked them not to mention it
if they talked to you.

Giles helped me get the necessary documents so I
could fly back here. Can't really travel by cargo
container anymore.

Giles has been researching what's happened to me,
but he hasn't found anything particularly useful so
far. It doesn't seem to have happened before. At
least, he hasn't found any record of it happening
before.

At first, the heartbeat was driving me insane. It
just goes on and on -- thump, thump, thump. I know I
had one before I was turned, but I had completely
forgotten what it feels like. Kept me awake. But I
got used to it.

I still seem to have a great deal -- if not all --
of my previous vampiric strength. I can still handle
myself in a fight (as I'm sure you saw last night).
When I cut myself, it heals quickly -- so I think I
still have accelerated healing -- but I haven't
sustained any serious wounds to test that theory.

I need to breathe now, and eat. And I can go out in
the sun, though I sunburn so easily that I haven't
been taking too much advantage of that, yet. I've
been going of for short periods -- wearing sunscreen
-- SPF 30. I hope to get to the point where I can go
to the beach someday. But I'm not there, yet.

I'm not sure what I am now. I didn't want to tell
you until I'd figured that out.

I'm sorry you had to find out that way, rather than
having me tell you myself.

Sincerely,
S.

-----------

Dear Spike;

I'm sorry I freaked. It was just such a shock. I
really wish you'd trusted me enough to tell me about
it. Jonathan is looking into it, but he's of the
same opinion as Giles (who I called and talked to
this morning). Nobody seems to have heard of
anything like this before.

By the way, Dawn asked me to tell you she's not
going to make it Saturday night. Would you believe
she's got a date?

Vampires and demons I can deal with. But this is
really scary. I've told her if she isn't home by 10
p.m. her boyfriend is going to meet Mr. Pointy.

Am I being the mom from hell? I know she needs some
space to develop her independence, but this is the
Hellmouth. I'm going to be a nervous wreck until she
gets home.

Yours truly,
B.

----------

Dear Buffy;

What do you know about this boy? Have you met his
parents? Where are they going? Do you think it's
wise to let her go out without a chaperone? This is
the Hellmouth, you know.

If he doesn't have her home by half ten, you won't
have to go after him. I'll bring you the pieces.

Sincerely,
S.

---------

To be continued.