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Title: The Long, Dark Bedtime of the Soul
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback: Please, to the above address!
Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask permission!
Rating: Strong R for sexual implications
Category: VA - Buffy internal monologue
Spoilers: All of BtVS through beginning of Season 6
Timeframe: Post-ep for "Flooded"
Summary: Buffy contemplates the changes in her world
DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, and the whole Buffy gang, not to me. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.
COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold October 18, 2001
Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.

Was that crack in my bedroom ceiling before? Is the whole house going to come crashing down around me because of structural damage from the antique plumbing while I lie here in bed? And would I really notice the difference?

I know Willow was only trying to help, but how I wish she had left well enough alone. You'd think she was smarter than that, but she must have been blinded to the stupidity of her actions by her need to make things all right again. How can I make her understand that things can never be all right again? She was trying so hard (and so badly) to make me angry while I was working out this afternoon, never knowing how easy it would be for me to show her how genuinely angry I am at *her*.

But I can't. It would hurt her, even though she acted entirely without malice. It would also make her angry at me, and somehow I can't imagine that a pissed-off Willow is a good thing to have bouncing around loose these days. She's my very best friend--has been ever since I came to Sunnydale. How can I tell her that she's so powerful now that she scares me to death? Uh--bad metaphor...

And speaking of friends--since when did Spike become the person who actually wanted to talk to me, and actually wanted to listen? I can never thank him enough for watching out for Dawn in my, er, absence, especially not if he's looking for the kind of thanks I think he's hoping to get. I shouldn't say that. He's been the perfect gentleman ever since I got back, which is really starting to freak me out, more than his bloodsucker posturing or threats of violence ever did...

As for the rest of them, they're just a bunch of Keystone Kops--Xander, Anya, Tara, sometimes even Willow--scooting around the set on one foot, crashing into one another, and bashing at the bad guys with fake truncheons. They spend my house into the ground and don't even bother to tell my dad that I've gone to meet my maker. I know, I know--they were just trying to protect Dawn by pretending everything was normal, but I saw that headstone... Don't they think anybody else saw it? At least the Buffybot was a good enough front when Dad called...

I almost don't want to see Dad now. I'd want to tell him how much I missed him, which, of course, he wouldn't understand because he doesn't know I've been gone. Besides that, I'd feel guilty for not taking better care of Mom. I guess I wasn't in Heaven long enough to figure out if the souls can contact one another there. If I had, now I could always tell Dad that Mom sends her regards...

No, I won't cry. I can't afford to: there's only one tissue left in this box on my nightstand. God, I wanted to cry tonight, sitting on the sofa there with Giles, who smelled so wonderful and familiar and who had felt so damned good when I hugged him in the shop. I held him so hard I might have broken a rib, until he made me stop. That's why, later, we just sat there like two lumps, not daring to touch at all.

He looked at me with such warmth and affection tonight that you'd think he *was* my dad... Don't think that that thought didn't occur to me at the time, or that it was easy to hold myself back from crawling into his lap, wrapping my arms around his neck, and crying my eyes out on his shoulder.

But how might he have reacted to that? I can just imagine him getting all Giles-flustered, rubbing my back sort of absently and murmuring "there, there" over the top of my head. He would never shush me by pressing his tongue against mine, using his lips for something other than his typical disapproving pout. Do I want him to? Have I ever *not* wanted that, maybe just a little?

He's right downstairs, sleeping on my pink butterfly sheets, innocent of any naughty thoughts I might be having about him right now. What would he do if I were to act on those thoughts? What if I tiptoed downstairs, pulled down the topsheet and blanket, lifted up my nightie, climbed on top of him, and woke him up by humping him like a horny dog?

Well, Willow says I need to feel something... It may be my own fingers at the moment, but at least it's *something*... Oh, God... Giles... I haven't been in the mood to do this since I returned from the dead, but he's only been back one night, and already I'm lying here with my hand in my panties.

Since I met him, I've felt that I belonged to Giles in some way--teacher's pet student, coach's star player, daddy's little girl... Why does that last image not ick me out, not make me want to stop doing this, but just make me a little wetter? I try so hard to live up to his expectations--I wonder what he would think if he saw me right now...

You never ever would touch me like this, would you, Mr. Rupert Giles? It would be wrong--I mean, the age difference alone... Oh, yeah--you've got about two hundred years' advantage on my first lover, so I wouldn't worry about that if I were you.

You know you're important to me, right? You were always tough on me, pushed me a little harder, made me the best damned slayer I could be. How could you possibly go back to England, especially when things are so wrong? I don't think I can do this alone. I need you here right now. Dammit, I will NOT cry.

Is there anything I could say to get you to reconsider going back? I won't ever disobey your orders again if you would just change your mind. If I'm alive and I'm good and promise not to jump into the jaws of death again, will you stay here with me and always be my coach, or anything else you'd like to be? Will you teach me and take care of me and love me?

Oh, God, I need you. Please, Giles, don't go away... Ohgod, ohgod, ohgod--Don't leave me again, Daddy! Please? I love you... Oh, god, I love you so much...


Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
"I brought marshmallows. Occasionally, I'm callous and strange."
   -- Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "The Zeppo"

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