Title: Superman

Author: Aeryn Sun

Email: willowrose_98@yahoo.com

Feedback: Sure, be nice though. Flames are for bbq-ing, not criticism.

Archiving: You want this piece of crap? Well, ask first, I'll say yes, I just want to know where it goes. I like to visit and bring candy. Chocolate, lots of chocolate.

Rating: PG, I guess. Angst.

Spoilers: Everything up to and including The Gift.

Summary: Buffy's thoughts as she leaves Dawn on the tower and thinks about the song Superman by Five for Fighting.

Author's notes: My paltry attempt at answering the challenge, hammered out while watching The Chronicle on Sci-Fi with closed-captioning and listening to Superman by FFF on repeat on my walkman. I'm a wiz at multi-tasking.

Warning/Disclaimer: If the idea of a relationship between two women that goes deeper than friendship is offensive or bothers you, man, are you lost! The Prude Power mailing list is over there:::points to the far right:::: Leave now or forever be sucked into the Alt universe. I wasn't fast enough and look at me now (not that I'm complaining ;)) Characters do not belong to me, they belong to Joss and Mutant Enemy.

Author's Notes: Not much in the way of Buffy/Willow here, just some wandering thoughts of Buffy. Kind of different but, I hope you like it.

I hate good-byes. They're always full of sentimental crap that no one really means. OK, maybe you mean some of it but most of it is just what you think the other person wants to hear. Maybe that's why I didn't say good-bye, I don't know. Or maybe I didn't want to have to look in her eyes when I did say it. It's not that I knew things were going to go sour like this, I'm not psychic, not always, but something just told me that the dice were going to come up snake-eyes for me this time. Now they have and I'm standing here in what I know to be the last moments of my life. There's a song playing in my head that I haven't been able to get rid of since I heard it a few days ago. And I realize that it fits.

<I can't stand to fly
I'm not that na´ve
I'm just out to find
The better part of me>

And I did find it, five long years ago standing at the water fountain at the local high school. She really is the better part of me, I wish I had the chance to tell her that. Damn it. All my chances are gone and I doubt I'll get another one. This is the end of me, it's either me or Dawn or the entire world. I'd never be able to live with myself if I let Dawn die or the world become Hell on Earth so, me it is, I guess. Kind of a no-brainer actually. I am the Slayer and it is my duty, my job in life to protect the innocent. Yeah, yeah, blah, blah, woof, woof.

I have nothing funny to say about this situation, mostly because it isn't a funny situation. They say that childhood ends when you realize that you die, or something of the same but, I've known for a long time just how tenuous life is. How quickly the candle can get snuffed out and not just by something supernatural, either. Mom proved that death doesn't have to come in the form of some slime covered icky to be final. I've always tried to keep a grip on a little bit of the innocence I had before this stupid Slayer crap and that's part of where my comments and quips always came from. But now, I think my innocence is finally gone.

<I'm more than a bird
I'm more than a plane
More than some pretty face beside a train
And it's not easy to be me>

It isn't (wasn't, should I start with past tense?). There were so many times when Giles or the Council couldn't see past the `Slayer' to see me, Buffy, the person behind the title. But she always did. Willow knew I was more than the Slayer, more than a figure written about in a dusty old book or on a piece of parchment. That there was more to me than the fantastical things I could do. She saw me as more than the powerful `one-per-generation' girl I was. Or maybe she saw me as less, but in a positive way. Willow always cared about me as a person first and everything else came second. I never got a chance to thank her properly for that. If I have any regrets besides not seeing the wonderful person I know Dawn will grow to be, it's never thanking Willow enough. And not telling Willow exactly how deeply I love her.

Love seems like too delicate a word for the depth of what I feel for Will. For someone who hides from emotions and stuff like that, I feel things very deeply even if I have trouble putting words to them. I wish more people understood that but it seems only she does. To express what I feel for her I would need the best poets, writers and singers in the world along with the largest dictionary and thesaurus you could find to get it right. To put it simply, I would not only give up my life for her, (that's a given, especially since I'm about to do that for everyone), I'd also give up my Slayer powers, everything I own and Mr. Gordo just to try and make her understand. Does that make any sense?

<Wish I could cry
Fall upon my knees
Find a way to lie
About a home I'll never see>

God, I'm about to die. I'm scared but I can't let Dawn see that. I tell her that I love her and start to turn away, consumed by my own thoughts. I wish I could cry, but emotions have always been hard for me. I love Willow but I was worried that being the Slayer was killing the human side of me and that I was losing my ability to love outside of her. Plus, I couldn't tell Wil how I felt. But the First Slayer told me I was full of love and that because of it, `death was my gift'. I didn't understand and kind of wish I still didn't but I do and although I'm scared, I'm also relieved. No one else has to die because I wasn't good enough at my job. It's all up to me now, win or lose. I wish I could see my home one more time, my friends, everything just to memorize how everything looks and smells and tastes. I never want to forget, or to be forgotten. I think that's my greatest fear, that after I'm gone, nothing will matter and I'll be forgotten. Will I?

Please Willow, never forget me. I know I never told you but please, somewhere in your heart know that I love you with all of mine. You saw me for me, not the Slayer. To you I wasn't the Chosen One in so many prophecies, I wasn't a sacred protector, I was your friend, your best friend. And you were mine. I could have never asked for any more than the trust and friendship that you gave to me without reservation or regret, Willow. You gave me all of you and I never gave you enough in return. I'm sorry, my love, for that. And so much more.

<It may sound absurd
But don't be na´ve
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed
But won't you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream
It's not easy to be me>

All I ever wanted was a normal life, one without the vampires, demons, late night nasties and endless death but that was never in the cards for me. The only thing that kept me from being bitter about that was Willow. If it hadn't been for my `destiny' I never would have come to Sunnydale and met the special girl who has unknowingly stolen my heart. I have no witty one-liner about discovering that I'm gay, sorry if that's a disappointment. I love her, body and soul but never had the courage to tell her. How pathetic is that? I just faced a Hell God with nothing more than a Troll's hammer and a smile and I was afraid to tell the best friend I ever had that I loved her more than my own life, more than words could ever express and more than I ever thought humanly possible. I think any idiot can swing a hammer or pull a trigger but it takes a real hero to speak their heart out loud. Guess which one I am?


Haven't I given enough to the cause? When is enough enough? How much is too much? Was I ever going to be given a chance at the normal life I longed for? Or as normal a life as one who lived on the HellMouth or knew as much as I do could get. I wouldn't have cared what it entailed, my only condition would be that Willow is a part of that life, as a friend or significant other, I don't care. Either way I would have wanted her in my life. But no one was willing to give me that, were they? The PTB were never going to be satisfied until I gave everything including my life to their `precious' cause. Damn it. I turn and start running, for the last time, I realize. But am I running away from or towards?

<Up, up and away
Away from me
It's all right
You can all sleep sound tonight
I'm not crazy
Or anything>

The world can sleep soundly tonight not knowing that I just jumped off a tower into a swirling vortex to my death to stop Glorificus' hellish dimension, not to mention every other dimension, from overrunning this one. It does make me seem crazy to do all this and never get any recognition for it. I mean, I'm not a glory-hound (oh, bad funny) or anything but just once I'd like someone outside my circle of friends to maybe say, `Thank-you for nearly getting killed or horribly maimed to save the known universe' or something. Asking too much? I don't think so, especially after everything that I've sacrificed, not to mention what my friends and family have sacrificed to save the world more times than we can count.

I'm starting to sound bitter but I'm beyond caring. This isn't even about me dying anymore. As I fall, (Damn that's bright) I can see my entire life play out in front of me and everything becomes alarmingly clear. I loved Willow from that first moment; it just took me a pathetically long time, not to mention a few disastrous experiences to realize it. (I know I'm skipping subjects again, try and keep up, I'm dying and my thought processes are screwy.) I realize that I'm bitter about my lost opportunities with Willow. Opportunities lost because of my calling as the Slayer and my fear.

<I can't stand to fly
I'm not that na´ve
Men weren't meant to ride
With clouds between their knees>

I'm dying, but strangely I'm all right with that. I still have my regrets but I have this overwhelming sense of relief. I wasn't meant to do this forever, my ticket was eventually going to get punched, I'm just sorry I didn't get the chance for a proper good-bye. Isn't that ironic? I hate good-byes for their sentimental crap and now I wish I'd had the chance to say good-bye. Or at least say what I know they would want to hear. And what I need to say to Willow. Damn it.

<I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
Digging for kryptonite on this one-way street
Only a man in a funny red sheet
Looking for special things inside of me>

The Slayer has done her job and now all that's left is me, Buffy. I wonder if Mom will be waiting for me or if that's just a fable told to chase away our fears as children and our grief as adults. Either way, I will find a way to be there when it's Willow's turn, hopefully many, many years from now. She kept me from losing myself in the Slayer persona, in the emotionless thing I could have become whether she knows it or not. I will always owe her for that. And I will always love her for so much more. She reminded me of who I was when it got hard to remember or when I wanted to forget. Willow is my center, my rock and the greatest friend I could have wished for. She was what was special about my life. I never got the chance to tell her. In the next life, I'll have to remember to.

<It's not easy to be me>

In these last moments, I am not the Slayer, the Chosen One anymore. She died when she hit the vortex. I am Buffy Anne Summers. The Slayer is dead, long live Buffy.

Aeryn Sun

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