Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, though I wish they did. They belong to Joss, Marti, David, Kuzui, the wonderful Mutant Enemies, and some other faceless corporate entities. The song lyrics [blah] belong to Sister Hazel. They come from the song ĎYour Winterí
[The grey ceiling on the earth
Well it's lasted for a while
Take my thoughts for what they're worth
I've been acting like a child
In your opinion, and what is that?
It's just a different point of view]
Weíre sparring in the training room at The Magic Box. Your hair is coming down around the edges, framing your face. Blonde hair, like a halo; deceptively angelic as you stare at me with cold, rage filled eyes. Iíve been out of prison for a year, in SunnyD for 8 months. The whole Angel Investigations crew came to help stop an apocalypse; somehow I got roped into staying here to be their representative on the hellmouth. Whatever, I get paid extra to be here and I still get to talk to Soulboy and Queen C almost every night.
Shit! You just nailed me in the face. Mental note: Do not let ruminations about my shitty situation get in the way of my concentration. That smug look you always get when you land a good hit is on your face again. It seems like thatís the only time I see you with an expression these days. I stop trying to hit you and back away. Hands up in a gesture of peace. I canít take this anymore today.
ďWhatís the matter F? Canít hack it?Ē you ask venom dripping from each word.
I shake my head and sigh internally before I reply. ďI just think thatís enough for today B.Ē Iím proud of myself for not punching your face in. I love you, but you piss the hell out of me sometimes. Especially when youíre like this, all self righteous and on the anti-Faith campaign that everyone else got tired of a long time ago. Jesus, even Red and I hang out sometimes, and she didnít even like me the first time around.
Iíve tried apologizing, but it doesnít seem to help. The only thing that Iím grateful for is that you didnít beat me to death for it. Not for lack of trying though. Thank God Angel was there. You going to prison for murder definitely wouldnít be good for the kid, or the world for that matter. You just donít get it. I really am sorry. I was so fucked up back then. Kinda like you are now. Taking all the hurt into you, letting it fester. Shutting everyone and everything out. Thatís not good B. I learned from experience. I want to help you but you wonít let me show you just how much I care for you. I wonít hurt you again.
[What else can I do?
I said I'm sorry, yeah I'm sorry.
I said I'm sorry, but for?
If I hurt you then I hate myself
Donít want to hate myself, don't want to hurt you
Why do you chew your pain?
If you only know how much I love you, love you]
I walk out the door, heading back toward my apartment. Not the one the mayor gave me. I couldnít stay there. Too many bad memories, not the least of which is you slamming cold steel into my gut and twisting. I hadnít felt pain like that since the X-man told me that you and Angel had been making with the love again. I get to my place and flop down on the couch. On the end table is a picture of us, together, from the first go round. Before Finch and the monumental fuck up that my life became. Itís us at homecoming together. Your dress is trashed cause you and Cordy got hunted, but in my opinion you never looked more beautiful. I kinda looked at that dance as our first real date. Something different from Angel, a way to separate what we had from the Ďthe greatest doomed love affair since Romeo and Julietí. Joint patrols were what you and he used to do, I wanted so much more.
The phone rings and I answer dejectedly.
ďI take it things havenít gotten any better,Ē the voice on the other end says.
ďHey C. No change at all. If anything things are getting worse. Hell sheís even annoying the Scoobs.Ē
ďAt the risk of making a bad pun, I still say that youíve gotta have faith.Ē
I laugh. Cordy is the only one that can make me do that lately. I wish I was smart. I wish I could fall for her. Feel even a fraction of what she feels for me for her. I love her, but not in the way she wants. I offered; said we should give it a try. She turned me down. She said the sweetest thing to me then, and I knew that if I wasnít in love with her after that that I never would be. ďI love you too much to have you just in body, and maybe Iíd even have you in mind, but what counts, your heart and soul will always belong to Buffy Summers.Ē She laughed bitterly then, and went on. ďIt figures that I make cheerleading instead of her, but the only two people Iíve ever loved in the world are both in love with her. Makes me wonder what kind of evil I did in past lives.Ē
ďThanks C. You always manage to make me feel better. I donít know how you do it.Ē
ďItís a gift. Gunn and Wes miss you. Baldy says that you need to come for a visit, so you can make another trip to his old hood so he can watch you scare the piss out of some of the thugs there, and Wes promises to find some mucousy demons for you, he knows those are your favorites.Ē
ďTell them I said thanks for thinking of me. Iíll visit soon. I miss you all; especially you Cor.Ē The last part is almost a whisper. I do love her, sheís my best friend.
ďI gotta go Faith. Take care of yourself. Iíll kick your ass if you dieĒ she says before she hangs up.
I can hear the tears in her voice as she says that last part. I always do, no matter how hard she tries to hide them. Thing is Iím crying too.
[Old picture on the shelf
Itís been there for awhile, frozen image of ourselves
We were acting like a child
Innocent, in a trance
A dance that lasted for awhile]
I hear a knock at the door, and look around in confusion. Shit, I must have cried myself to sleep. That must be you. Weíre supposed to patrol together tonight. I head over to the door and open it, stepping aside to let you in. You take one look at my face and I can tell you want to say something, but for once you hold your tongue and Iím glad. Iím not sure I could have stopped myself from hitting you tonight, and I donít want to trash the apartment that Iím paying for. I tell you that Iíll be ready to go in a second, then head to the bathroom to wash my face.
I come back into the living room and find you looking at the picture of us. I canít read the expression on your face. It isnít the open happiness that I associate with my early days in SunnyD, but it isnít the mask of hate that youíve been wearing lately either. It seems almost wistful, but maybe that wishful thinking. ďYou ready to go B,Ē I ask while grabbing a couple of stakes from a drawer.
You shake your head as if to clear it before answering. ďIím ready if you are F.Ē
The words lack your usual vitriol, and I have to wonder if maybe, just maybe itís time for the winter to end.
[I wonít be your winter
I wonít be anyoneís excuse to cry
We can be forgiven
I will be here]