Title: Dear Slayer 4/4
Author: Elsa Frohman, elsa@frohman.net
Feedback: Yes, thank you
Spoilers: End of S6 and beginning of S7 AU (Since my
outcome of the African trials doesn't match ME's)
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: This fan fic should not be read while
operating heavy machinery
Summary: There was a time when correspondence was
an art.


Dear Spike;

I guess nothing I could say would really help right now.
Not to try to weasel out, though, you didn't try very hard to
explain before. But I guess I get that too. Tired of having
to justify yourself.

For what it's worth, I know I was unfair to you. But we've
been through all that already, haven't we?

The box with this note is a small token on my part (don't
worry, it's not from Andrew). Just call them the Chocolate
Chunk Macadamia Nut Cookies of Infinite Regret.

I let Willow help with the baking.

Let me take another whack at the big test question:

What's different? Less than I thought, more than you
know.

The big difference in you is that this time, even though it
hurt remembering, you took the trouble to make me see
the truth. Before, you sulked off and licked your wounds.
This time, you understood that I'm not perfect and
sometimes I need to have things spelled out. Before, you
assumed that sooner or later I'd come around.

So, I think what's different about you isn't the beating
heart or steady job. It's that you're seeing me and my
faults more clearly.

That you can still care enough to have anything to do with
me is a testament to your character. But steadfast loyalty
has always been a part of what you are. That isn't new.

For my part, I know you're a person, not a thing, now. And
it's not because you have a heartbeat. This change is on
my side, not yours.

After they brought me back, I never treated you as if you
were real. That wasn't because of you, it was because
nothing was real to me -- nothing and nobody.

I died and was dragged back to Sunnydale kicking and
screaming -- I was doing my best to resist. I think you died
last summer (I've talked to Giles a bit. He didn't tell me
much, but it was enough) -- but you came back of your
own free will.

I am the chosen one -- I didn't have a choice in that. But
you've done the choosing of your destiny. Maybe the chip
gave you a push in the direction you're going now, but
ultimately, you are what you are because you made a
decision.

I envy you that.

So, did I pass the makeup exam?

Chastened,
B.

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

Dear Buffy;

A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.

Yours,
S.

-----------

Dear Spike;

Did you write that? You've started writing poems again?

That's really neat!

Impressed,
B.

-----------

Dear Buffy;

What on earth do they teach in these American schools?

No, I didn't write that. It was Emily Dickinson.

I went and had a talk with Andrew today. I really don't
think it did a bit of good. It was a very surreal experience,
though. Several times, I found your words coming out of
my mouth.

I think I understand something now that completely
escaped me before. My persistence where you were
concerned was not a good thing. I believed that you
loved me and were denying it. But that was because
that's what I wanted. I wasn't paying any attention to what
you wanted. Even if you were denying your true feelings,
you had a right to say no -- for whatever reason was
important to you. My refusal to take no for an answer
denied you the right to control your own life.

Live and learn.

Regards,
S.

PS: Brilliant cookies. Shared them at work. Everybody
wants your recipe.

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

Dear Spike;

I had another talk with Andrew today. I think I may have
got through to him in some small way. The first time,
Jonathan and I were all doom -- better watch out, Spike
could tear your head off stuff.

Now you've given him the "sorry but I'm not interested"
routine.

So this time, I sat down with him and explained how it felt
when you wouldn't leave me alone. I asked him if he
wanted to make someone he cared about feel that way.

It probably won't do the trick. He's pretty much out of
synch with reality. But I thought it was worth a try.

I feel sort of sorry for him. He's really lost now. He was
never very good at being evil, and he hasn't a clue about
how to be good. Jonathan seems to have a lot more
sense of who he is than Andrew ever had. Andrew really
needs someone to show him the way. (I'm not suggesting
it should be you. He'll never give up if you give him the
slightest opening.)

Anyway, I suggested he try volunteering at the Gay and
Lesbian Coalition. He could meet like-oriented people,
get some sense of where he fits in the scheme of things.

By the way, having spent my lunch hour explaining to
Andrew what it feels like to be stalked, I just thought I'd
mention that I don't feel that way anymore.

Sincerely,
B.

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

Dear Buffy;

I would hope not.

I'm beginning to believe that we've covered nearly all the
ground where apologies are concerned. Except for the
last one. The one that I still can't find the words to frame.
There aren't any words that could possibly express my
remorse for my attack on you.

It still stands between us. I wish it were different. I can't
look at you without remembering what I did. I have more
than a century of mayhem to atone for, but that one act is
the one that weighs upon me more than any other.

I don't know how to lift that weight. And I don't see how
you and I can go forward otherwise.

Yours in remorse,
S.

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

Dear Spike;

We haven't covered all the apologies yet -- not by a long
shot. I haven't told you how sorry I am for the beating I
gave you outside the police station. That sounds so
shallow and inconsequential. I don't even have a good
way to describe what I did to you. "Beating" isn't a strong
enough term.

I know you never held that against me. But I've held it
against myself. So much so that even now it's difficult for
me to acknowledge that I did it and that I owe you more
than an apology.

But it strikes me that we have something in common
here. We've both done something that we regret so
deeply that forgiveness seems beyond possibility.

This next bit is really hard for me to write, so forgive me if
it's disjointed.

When I beat you, I totally lost control. I have this
tremendous physical strength, and with it comes the
responsibility to use it without anger. I must always use it
to protect the innocent and the helpless. I must never use
it for personal gain or to vent my frustration. Yet, that
night, I used my slayer strength to pummel someone who
cared about me to the ground. It was worse than that
even, I beat you senseless and probably close to death.
When I remember myself doing that -- losing all sense of
right and wrong, of how much is enough, who I am and
what I'm supposed to be -- I feel a shame that goes
deeper than I can bear. I betrayed everything it is to be a
slayer. Worse than that, I betrayed my own humanity.

Remembering that night makes me wonder whether I'm
worthy of this power. If I could do that to you, who in the
world is safe from me?

Is that anything like what you feel when you remember
attacking me in my bathroom?

Let me put a different spin on that awful moment.

I woke up that day in the bathroom. I'd been sleepwalking
for so long. But that day I saw you -- really saw you and
what was happening to you -- for the first time since I
came back from the grave. I saw how I had hurt you, and
how little there was left of what you had been. Seeing
that forced me to stop and take stock of how little I'd been
seeing, how much I had closed my eyes to. And I had to
accept responsibility for my part in our little mess. It's not
my fault that you attacked me. But it is my fault that so
much of your self-worth was destroyed that you were no
longer in control of yourself.

That was the moment that changed things for me.
Everything went straight to hell right after that, so I was
pretty distracted and didn't get everything sorted out right
then. But I hate to think what the outcome would have
been if I'd gone into that last battle in my previous state of
numb detachment.

So, in an odd way, I think you may have saved me.
Funny how these things work out.

I don't think there is anything that positive that could be
said about my attack on you.

Sharing your remorse;
B.

PS: Will you join us on Thanksgiving? I know Dawn
would love you have you here, and I would too. Xander
will be here, but I get the sense that he's made his peace
and won't be a problem. I know what was up now -- his
mother has filed for divorce. And she's moved in with
someone she met at the wedding that wasn't. Krelvin --
who would have thought? She was hanging on, she
actually told Xander she wouldn't do it unless he gave his
blessing -- poor woman didn't want to lose her husband
and son in a single stroke. Xander had to do a lot of
thinking before he came to the conclusion that
sometimes just being human isn't the only thing that
matters.

PPS: Willow has invented a new kind of cookie! Maple
Pumpkin Walnut. They're absolutely sinful. She's getting
better. I can leave her alone in the kitchen now without
anything ending up all flamey and charred. And she's
throwing herself into the "developmental side" of baking
with the single-minded determination she used to reserve
for computer hacking. The one drawback to living with
someone who feels compelled to bake the cookies of
remorse: I think I'm gaining weight.

-----------

Dear Buffy;

I would be delighted to join you on Thanksgiving -- if you
promise not to tie me to a chair and let Indians -- sorry,
Native Americans -- shoot arrows through me.

As for Xander, that's what he had on his mind when we
talked (We? No, he talked -- and talked.) He wanted to
know whether I thought there was any possibility of a
demon and a human finding love together.

When he let me get a word in edgewise, I asked how
many human-human relationships he'd seen work out. I
said it seemed to me that the relationships that work are
the ones where both people are committed to making it
work -- the ones where when things go wrong you ask
yourself why and try to make changes. Human-human,
demon-demon, human-demon, hardly makes a
difference. The only thing that really matters is whether
both people are willing to make changes to make it work.

Love;
S.

PS: Even if you do arrange for Indians, it won't seem the
same without Anya and Giles. Do you suppose Xander
could pretend to have syphilis for the afternoon?

PPS: I'm thinking about your last letter. More later.

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

Dear Buffy;

Quiet night here at the morgue. So I'll try to address your
last letter.

It helps a little to know that you don't hold my failure
against me. But not that much. I still have to accept that I
lost control of myself. I am resolved that it will never
happen again. But I was resolved that it would never
happen in the first place.

But I do see what you mean about having something in
common.

That I forgave you for the beating goes without saying.
And apparently, you have forgiven me.

But that's the easy part. What I can't forgive is myself.
How do I do that?

I'm at a loss to know where we go from here.

Your obedient servant,
S.

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

Dear Spike;

I know what you mean. Forgiving you is easy. Forgiving
myself is hard.

I've been thinking about it a lot. (Can you see the cartoon
smoke coming from my ears?)

All I can suggest is this: I love you. I know that you love
me. Can you forgive yourself for my sake? If you can do
that, then surely I can forgive myself for yours.

And in case you were struck with hysterical blindness in
the previous paragraph, I'll say it again: I love you. I
cannot imagine my life without you in it.

You're not convenient. You never were. There is nothing
reasonable about the Slayer loving a vampire -- even an
not-quite-vampire-anymore whatever you are now. It's
damn inconvenient.

Slayers never get happy endings. Every slayer comes
with a sell-by date. Each slayer is on a journey that ends
with a defeat -- alone, vanquished, in the dark.

But if we can tear down the last of this wall we've built
between us, then you will be my happy ending. Can I be
yours?

Love,
B.

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

Dear Buffy;

Love is too young to know what conscience is;
Yet who knows not conscience is born of love?
Then, gentle cheater, urge not my amiss,
Lest guilty of my faults thy sweet self prove:
For, thou betraying me, I do betray
My nobler part to my gross body's treason;
My soul doth tell my body that he may
Triumph in love; flesh stays no further reason,
But rising at thy name doth point out thee
As his triumphant prize. Proud of this pride,
He is contented thy poor drudge to be,
To stand in thy affairs, fall by thy side.
No want of conscience hold it that I call
Her 'love' for whose dear love I rise and fall.

Yours eternally,
S.

PS: Before you ask, no I didn't write that. It's
Shakespeare.

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

Dear Spike;

Can I take that as a yes? (Sorry, don't speak Bard.)

Love,
B.

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

Dear Buffy;

You're an ignorant bint. But I love you with all my heart
and soul. You thought I would say no? I who lived for
you, died for you and lived again?

So, I suppose we shall abandon these thoughts in ink
and paper now. Time to move into the realm of flesh and
blood.

But one final thought:

There once was a vamp loved a slayer,
She peeled him layer by layer,
The heart she decried,
Was all that survived,
But love heals all with its favour.

And I did write that one.

Forever;
S.

-----------

The End

































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