The Burden of Slayerhood
Well, OK, also dead as in actually dead. But that’s not what I mean.
About five minutes ago I flat-lined totally, and if anyone was going to bring me back with all the pounding on my chest and dripping tears on my dress and chanting spells cutely, I guess it would have worked by now. Thanks, guys — and sorry it didn’t work out.
So that’s it. One dies, another is called. And it was saving the world again, at least — not just some Angelus wannabe who got lucky. Lots of squelch and yuk, a satisfying amount of dusting, mystic energies in all directions, the Gates of Death closing and someone firing an arrow through at the last moment. Good shot, whatever did it.
Hope it was some Prince of Hell.
I have my pride.
And what have we learned from this, children? Never put off to tomorrow what you could have done today... who you could have done today.
I mean, there were always totally good reasons — there was the eternal doomed love thing with Angel, and there was Parker who was most in need of being hit with a stick — again. Finally, there was Riley, who was never really it, but I fooled myself for ages. And for some reason, I didn’t want to be a total slut, as if that was going to make a difference.
Put me off my game or something.
Never stopped Faith, did it?
May as well start with her, because, whatever I pretended to myself, I knew from the start she was totally up for it. And I was all Eew! with myself for even noticing, let along thinking about it.
What an idiot! What a witch!
I mean me, though — not her.
She came to town carrying a torch for me, and I just pretended not to see. All I ever did was dance with her, fight with her and look at that moist mouth and midnight eyes. I think I drove her mad; she was out there killing, and all I had to do was say “Faith, stop it” and follow up with a kiss. But I just had to be Miss Straight and Perfect. I couldn’t just follow my heart.
And yes, Willow, when I talked to you about following your heart, I was being a patronizing witch, because I never followed mine. You see, my heart was a slut that I had to keep on a leash — mostly because it would have led me to way too many places that I didn’t want to go.
I knew how you felt, and I was scared. I mean, Angel and I were the big theatrical great love opera duet of all time, but the romance between you and Oz was the real thing — until it wasn’t. And then you and Tara was the real thing.
I’d have messed you up, because I’m not a keeper, and you are — but who am I kidding?
I’d lie awake in Stevenson House every night and listen to the breathing of someone else pretending to be asleep and constantly drawing breath as if about to say something in the dark that would have changed us forever.
I have regrets right now, and I guess you’ll always have them, because we didn’t say anything and now we’ll never know.
I was so into myself that I never found the time to be kind, and who’s sorry now? I am, trust me.
Xander, I never loved you, but I liked you so much and you saved my life almost as many times as I saved yours — and that’s got to count for something, right? We were warriors together, and you did have a very nice build the few times I saw you in your Speedos or digging holes. Your hair has the cutest way of flopping down over your forehead when you’re tired; has anyone ever told you that?
Of course, either Anya or Cordelia would have killed me, but guess what! I’d have had just the forfeit to pay either of them. Call me out, girls, for bedding your Xander boy; I’m sure I could have worked it out with them.
That night, after Homecoming, when Cordy and I walked out of the gym together — she’d been so brave and so useless and I just wanted to take her in my arms and finish tearing her poor ripped dress apart. I couldn’t, though; I mean, imagine what she’d have said. But then, she might have said yes.
It was worth the risk of her getting all snippy with me for the chance of running my fingers through that perfectly conditioned hair, feeling that perfect moisturized skin pressing against my cheek. That sounded witchy — sorry, this is Cordy I’m lusting after here.
It just goes on — people I really lusted after, who loved me — like a lover, or like a comrade, or like a sister. It’s all love, and what do you do for people who love you? Just about anything, it seems to me now — I haven’t even got a body anymore, and yet, lust is the part of me that’s left.
Like a lover, a comrade, a sister — or a daughter, of course.
That’s you, Giles — I’m talking to you now.
Stop wincing, Mom; I do have some standards. He was good enough for you; he was ‘like a stevedore’ as I seem to remember from when I could temporarily read minds.
Giles, I have a confession to make; you see, when we first met, you seemed so old — and, as even I know, back then it would have been so wrong. But a forbidden romance between a 16-year-old and a 40-year-old is one thing, while the romance between a 20-year-old and 44-year-old is quite a different story altogether.
Sometimes when we were training, I’d stop thinking ‘cute rump for a guy his age’ and think ‘cute rump’ instead.
I made rude remarks about how gross it was that you still had sex, because it was gross that you were having sex, and not with me. You could never have, would never have, asked me, but I could have asked you. You could have poured me champagne, played opera to me and taught me all the things you knew. You were always such a good teacher.
And there are so many others — Oz, a man who could be relied upon to shut up in bed… Wesley, who was so cute when he took off his glasses… that cute Irish boy Angel used to hang out with… and Amy when she wasn’t a rat.
And that’s just the ones who were alive. I slept with one vampire once — and I could have done it with so many more.
Once you go Drac, you never go back, they say, and I can’t say I quite go along, but it is nice being with someone who can go on for hours and never break a sweat.
Spike — I can’t believe I never did it with Spike. I used to tell myself it was the evil, and it was probably partly the perpetual taint of of pig’s blood and Camels on his lips. He wanted to go good for me, so I could probably have got him to use a mouthwash. And I fought him so many times that I can’t say I didn’t know every inch of his body — and I do mean every single pale hard inch.
Then, there’s Drusilla. You’d have to chain her down — I mean, safe sex, hello — and probably gag, unless you were writing a paper on the Surrealists that week. Then, she’d be a big help there, and probably even encourage you to do your best.
She is a babe, though; my Angel always did have good taste, and if it’s OK for Faith to go screwing every man she thought I slept with…
Little Miss Blonde and Breathless — really, really Breathless; I know I was the rebound thing there, and interesting to see what her deal is that he was always comparing.
So many of them, and I stuck with three, of course. And OK, I might as well be honest — Angel was a honey and Parker was a quickie, while the only trouble with Riley was that he took so long to leave Sunnydale. But why that three out of so many, you ask?
Well, it’s because I’m an idiot. But who knew that Slayers die like regular humans do? I mean, I thought I was going to live forever.
And now I’m out of time.
So you’ll all just have to make up for the time I lost without me.