+ I have all the icons, all the icons, because jane_wanderlust gifted me more icon space, along with more paid time for the graduation thing, and I cannot. I cannot even deal with that or thank her properly. Basically just fall at her feet and flail for all eternity. (I literally come back to stare at my userpics after every half an hour: IS THERE AN ICONICS ANONYMOUS SOMEWHERE?)
+ I wrote four fics for the comment ficathon thing when I should have been studying. But that is kind of what I do every single time my exams roll around so it's a ritual by now, basically. (You notice how I casually inserted the exam mention because I need an excuse for the quality of the fic? /slacker five) BUT FOR FOUR DIFFERENT FANDOMS, I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD PUT THAT ON MY RESUME.
She thinks she wants to have his children by the fourth drink.
It's stupid and cliché and conforms to the idea of a universal motherhood that all those patricidal bastards try to impose on women. Or is it patri-something-else, because she may be drunk, but she's still a feminist, she knows this stuff. She's a drunk feminist. She's Britta.
Which might be a good thing in the context, because god knows, he’s had sex with Britta. Which puts her higher on the what-are-the-chances-in-hell-Jeff-Winger-w
Which leaves, well, her.
And it actually leaves her, as in, in that very metaphorical way which will be literalized when he leaves her after graduation, and then she’ll be some girl he'll vaguely recall as the super annoying classmate who made sure all his credits were genuine and bothered him a lot about being a good person. She’ll be the girl whose name sounded like it had a double ‘e’ in it somewhere (was it Ashlee? Or Aimee?) and he would spend approximately two point five seconds trying to recall it before giving up and going back to some hot blonde in his arms. (In her mind they’re always blonde, because of cultural stereotypes and Britta and ‘gentlemen prefer blondes’ and Britta and western models of beauty and Britta).
Or maybe, worse, she’ll be the kid who followed him around and had this thing for him and was mostly just embarrassing in her intensity, and twenty years later, at some reunion, they’ll accidentally run into each other and he’ll remind her of the horrifically obvious crush she had on him and how she thought kisses on stage, on the road, in the kitchen were supposed to mean something and they’ll laugh about it. Or at least he’ll laugh and she’ll pretend and he’ll never know the difference.
That’s two more shots down and she feels like she can fly which she knows is a complete lie, but it doesn’t matter because damn, she can fly. And if she can fly, she can totally tell Jeff Winger to have sex with her. (Because then she won’t be the wallflower. That girl who ended up in Community college because of a pill problem, whose name he wouldn’t be able to recall. Then she’ll be the girl he slept with on his graduation night and that’s someone worth remembering).
And then he’s at her side, and she can’t think anymore. Which is an interesting phenomena and there should be scientific experimentation conducted on her to find out what it is about Jeff Winger that makes her feel this way, because she’s pretty sure no one in the whole world has ever felt that way before, which might be of interest to the scientific community.
“Ease up on the alcohol, kid,” he says (and she is not the kid, okay. She is not safe. She is not who he always tries to make her), “you don’t want to spend your graduation locked up in the bathroom with an overactive gag reflex, do you?”
She wants to spend her graduation with Jeff Winger inside her, but it makes her blush and she can’t say it anymore. Even though it would be kind of sexy to say, if she can get past the red face and the stuttering. Maybe he'd have slept with her if she'd just said it, because she's freaking old now and she can do sexy and she can talk about that thing without calling it 'doing it'. Because she's old now. “I’m fine.”
“You look more than fine actually, you look like you’re going to die of alcohol poisoning and enjoy every moment of it.”
“You’re not my dad, okay,” she snaps, and godammit, she always does this. Always reminds him that he’s older and could have anyone he wanted and that she’s young enough to still compare men to her dad, and—
“I think we’ve effectively established that in three years, yeah?” he raises his eyebrow, and it’s signature Winger and it frustrates her a little and it flusters her a lot more.
And then he’s looking at her lips and suddenly it’s a whole lot more than it was a moment ago. And then he’s kissing her and it’s not— it’s just so— she can’t even—
(And it’s stupid and very twenty and she’s obviously read way too many trashy romance novels, but she thinks she’s going to be the girl whom he doesn’t remember, wouldn’t need to remember, because she’s always going to be around too much for him to ever forget in the first place).
title: you'll never know what it means (but you'll know how it feels)
He loves too much and she’s loved too much and they make perfect lovers.
The first time is exactly what you think it’d be. Drunken recriminations and too much screaming and suddenly they’re standing one point three seven feet away and then there isn’t any space to pass air through and she drowns somewhere between his words and his mouth. She has Stefan in her eyes and her skin and her breaths and his brother inside her.
She fucks him and he makes love to her and that’s their tragedy in two acts.
The seventh time, it’s him in her room, and her clothes at his feet and he really needs to stop coming in like this.
He’s down on his knees in front of her and he has been since such a long, long time and she’s sorry, she really is. Sorry because he always loves the same kind of girl with the same kind of face and this girl with her face never seems to love him back. She’ll tell him to go for someone else, some nice girl somewhere who hasn’t broken his heart in seven ways since Sunday, but she’s too selfish for that. Always has been too selfish for that.
She’ll be heavy in his arms tonight and he’ll take it as an affirmation of something else, something more and she won’t correct him.
The twenty first time they’ve had another grand session of declarations of love that lasts forever (his) and silences (hers).
And when he looks like her that, she won’t tell him this. She’ll never say anything, won’t tell him that she doesn’t know, god Damon, it’s complicated. She’ll stay silent, let him imagine his name on her lips, leave Stefan out of her eyes, and keep Damon there because there’s this moment when she thinks he might leave her and there’s this moment in which she can’t breathe, and they are the same moment.
And was it worth the wait, she won’t ask, because then he might realize she never was.
By the sixty ninth time, she doesn’t need excuses.
She doesn’t need alcohol, she doesn’t need grief, she doesn’t need the reminder of his brother rejecting her again and again and again. Doesn’t need anything more than that second where his eyes darken and he turns away from her and doesn’t allow to see his eyes change. That instant where his teeth graze her lips and draw blood, but not quite, and she’s ridiculously proud because he’s always the one in control while his brother gets lost and she wants to do this to him.
And because he won’t leave her, he won’t ever leave her, Stefan, she says, oh god, Stefan.
He stays anyway.
(The hundredth and fifth time she makes love to him.)
title: follow the lights that line the streets
She counts lifetimes in days and seconds in years and she only starts keeping time again when Kate is back on the Island and Sawyer’s eyes stay on her a little too long for it to be coincidence. (“Don’t mistake coincidence for fate” Jack would tell her, but these days Jack spends his time trying not to be a hero, so maybe he doesn't say things like that anymore).
“We should invite them to dinner”, she says, because what do you know, she’s a masochist. Possibly certified.
“Invite who for whatnow?” he’s reading something and has his glasses on and she thinks she likes him best like this (and then he’ll takes off his glasses and go inside to get water and she’ll think she likes him best like this).
“Kate,” she says, and draws out the name because she’s looking for a reaction, because apparently she’s the kind of person who does things like these, “and Jack and the rest of them.”
“Now why didn’t I think of that before,” he smiles his sarcastic, you’re-an-idiot smile and it makes her cramp inside with something close to tenderness. “You livin’ up to the stereotype of your hair color, Blondie? The low-key-profile-we-don't-know-who-you-ar
She turns away and doesn’t let him see her eyes, because it’s three years later and he can read her now and it’s a little unfair and it’s annoying and it’s terrifying, “we could always tell Horace, we were trying to bond with the new arrivals. He wants all of them to feel at home; you know that.” (She can’t remember what her sister’s eyes used to look like sometimes. There’s a photograph imprinted in her mind and she remembers that every time she thinks of her sister, and sometimes she tries to make the mouth move, recall things Rachel used to say, and the picture blurs and she’s left with nothing.)
"No," he says, but he's not so much engrossed in the book anymore and she thinks she likes him best like this.
“It just seems like the right thing to do. They came back, James. Risked everything, left everything and came back for you.”
He looks up then, and she thinks she’s said too much and she thinks she can’t possibly ever say enough. “Boo-fucking-hoo. Didn’t tell them to come back, don’t want them here, have no interest in their drama and wish they could just go back.”
“You don’t mean that,” she swallows the yes, please, James, I need to— stay okay, I need you to stay with – I can see the look in your eyes when she – “you know they did it for you. For us.”
And there are all these moments (now that all she’s doing is counting time, every second is just that much closer to the next and every moment passing before she’s had a chance to register it came at all) when she wonders if someone had said, “Juliet's still on the Island. We need to save Juliet,” if someone had remembered her. Not that it matters. She isn’t one of them. Never has been.
He’s standing now and she knows the downward curve of his mouth because she can’t read him yet but she’s touched it often enough for it to be flesh memory. “They did it because they couldn’t be big damn heroes in the real world so they had to take one more plunge into the life that made them more than they ever were. Well guess what, Pinocchio, you’re a real boy now, and the world ain’t working that way no more.”
She thinks she may have made him bitter. She’d think she made him care, but she doesn’t think that because Kate had done that part before she came in. It was already who he was before the flashes, and time-warp and the loneliness and the days of talking that turned into nights of staying quiet and all those things they never write about in books because it’s made of too purple a prose to make good literature.
"You're just being contrary," she says because I want to see how you act around her-- do you love her-- she came back for you-- never seem to make it past the back of her throat where they sit and choke her.
“It’s not like I don’t know what this is about, sweetheart,” this is something she knows: he uses endearments like weapons and sometimes they cut and sometimes they soothe where they cut. And sometimes he’s the one hiding the marks.
“Do you, James.” because confrontations? That’s something they do. When he has Kate in his eyes and home at his tongue and she’s furious because she has nothing but him, they do this. Without saying this is what they’re doing, but they do this. They were real back then, back when reality wasn’t quite so real like it is now.
“Now that the Doctor’s back to don his Romeo mantle, you’re thinking you needn’t waste any more time than the three years you’ve already let go by, yeah? Sorry to disappoint you, darling, I ain’t gonna step aside for the grand love story. You want the epic romance, we’ll make love before dinner and leave the dirty plates in the sink till morning and it’ll be more epic than the Doc could ever give you with a lifetime of heroism and brooding and tragedy.”
And there’s a split second as long as three years and then she’s laughing. Laughing because they’ve been lost so long, laughing because they’ve been so hard trying to get home, laughing because there was never anywhere to go at all.
“James,” she says and smiles up at him, and smiles and smiles and smiles, “kiss me.”
And he's looking at her strangely, like he does when he thinks that she’s more patient than doctor, and then his mouth turns upwards and she can’t read him, but she does remember the feel of it, so maybe all the words are already mapped out on her skin for leisure reading, “you got it, Blondie.”
title: for i have measured out my life with coffee spoons
She’s saved the world sixty five point four three times (okay so there was that one time with Adam where the Scooby Gang might have contributed around point five seven – and she’s kind of being generous really— in the world saving business, but it isn’t like she was totally out of the scene there).
Not that she’s keeping count or anything.
She thinks someone should write a book.
Not the Watcher’s Diaries. Not records that will only ever be read by some British guy in a stuffy suit with a stiff upper-lip. Not records which will tell everyone who bothers to know that she died twice, and that she once fell ‘in love’ with a vampire (‘in love’ within quotes because it’s a record and she doesn’t know if they have that word in the Basic Guide to Slayerisms or if it’s blasphemy for a Slayer to mention the word because it’s not a synonym for ‘duty’ or ‘destiny’ or whatever the cool kids call it nowdays).
Not records with the dates and the Joyce Summers died on— Dawn Summers was inserted into the fabric of reality on—Buffy Summers came back to life on— not that stuff. Not about the life and times of Slayer Number 104-whatever-the-hell-42343699432. But like a real, proper book. The interesting kinds in the aisles that Dawn drags her through, with the dark mysterious covers and blood dripping out of half-eaten apples, which are cliché and symbolic and romantic all at once.
And it’ll be titled Buffy. Not something like Buffy the Slayer of Forces of Darkness or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or something. Because that’s too mundane. That’s every single day of her life in one title and she doesn’t want to be the kind of girl whose entire life can be compressed into four words.
So maybe, like, Buffy the Girl. Buffy at Age Sixteen and Her First True Love. Buffy and the Amazing Adventures of the Self-Titled Scooby Gang. Buffy the Skank and Her Bleached Blond British Lover. Buffy the Daughter and the Five Stages of Grief. The Endless Shenanigans of the Summers Sisters. Something about those moments that slip through the cracks in the everyday of being heroic and averting apocalypses and things.
Because she thinks those are the ones that might be forgotten someday. (She remembers saving the world a lot, but she thinks those are the ones she might forget.)
(She thinks when that book is written she'll keep a copy in her desk to remind her. Just in case.)
She hopes she has enough time to rename the Endless Shenanigans to Travelling Sisterhood of the Communication Gap.
“I’m old enough to decide this stuff on my own, Buffy!”
“The fact that you need to state that kind of implies that you may not be, Dawnie.”
“Stop calling me that,” her sister is nearly in tears, “you think you can forever categorize me under the ‘kid sis’ label and never really bother till you get the chance to refuse me something.”
“And everyone thinks you’re like, a cool, older sister that they would like to have. That is, everyone who doesn’t think you’re a freak. Which is everyone who actually has a cool, older sibling who went to high school with you. Everybody is going to be there. Everybody. I’ve already said I would go, Buffy.”
There’s a hammering at the back of her skull that resembles the hammering of her heart all those times Angel was around. There may be some poetry lost in the metaphor but god, she misses Angel. She doesn’t miss Angel when it’s Spike above her and around her and all over, but that’s neither here nor there.
“I told you it’s too dangerous, especially at that time of the night, with the possibility of an impending apocalypse and—”
“Screw the apocalypse,” Dawn is actually in tears now and she’s suddenly so very, very tired, “there’s always an apocalypse. There’s always going to be an apocalypse. And if I can’t live because of that, then how is it any better than dying in the stupid freaking apocalypse anyway.”
And honestly, it makes her stop for a second because she hasn’t thought about it like that. Maybe she was too busy actually being dead in the last stupid freaking apocalypse to carpe diem it. Saving The World is like a mission statement or a job or a calling or destiny or something, she’s hazy on that part. But it’s something she’s kind of good at and they don’t pay her for it, so it probably gets her heaven cred. And she wants to go back. She wants to go back so, so badly.
(And because she’s not stupid she knows she can’t. Not after S—everything. Not when the only thing to bring her pleasure these days is something as removed from raindrops and roses as she will be from heaven the next time she grandly sacrifices herself or accidentally falls off a cliff or something. She’s pretty sure she lost the metaphor again, but there’s poetic justice somewhere in there for sure.)
“Mom would have let me go,” her sister says with quiet triumph, like she can’t believe that argument won’t win her the case even with a jury comprised of her neo-nazi sister, “she always let me go. Even when she found out about the Slayage and that the world was a badder, horribler place than it had always seemed. She still let me go because she knew how to live.”
You only know how to die.
And she wants to say something ugly then. Something about yeah well, she knew how to live but she’s dead now, so your point is moot. Or something uglier about how the girl in front of her had never known what mom would do because she had never been there to know what mom would do. And mom, mom had been real. Mom had been too real and too overprotective and cared too much and she didn’t get mellower with the second child because there was no second child.
She bites her tongue then, swallows the ugliness. The blood tastes real enough. Maybe someday she'll let S…omeone confirm it for her.
Dawn goes anyway, and she thinks she's done with the world because it was never worth saving in the first place. It’s a sort of habit with her, she thinks, and she can break it. Because habits, those can be broken. Unlike memories of blinding light that doesn't blind and peace that doesn’t fit into the word she uses for it.
(That night she saves the world again.
Which brings it to sixty six point four three or maybe sixty six point four two, because it's not like she's keeping count or anything).
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