Disclaimer: Not mine. Never was. Buffy's Joss', Anita's Laurell's. The first few lines a quoted almost directly from Danse Macabre. They don't belong to me either.
A/N: Silly Bunny's been bouncing around my head since I first read the book. The reread did me in.Pfft.
A/N: Remember that HP cross I was talking about? I'm stuck. Totally. So with permission from the lovely Anneliese
, I'm looking for a second beta to help me get over this damn block. A beta-beta, if you will. Anyone willing and interested to help, please leave a comment or mail me, alright? Thanks in advance.
“How old was she?” Micah asked and I shuddered. Nathaniel had knocked up a girl, a fellow prostitute when he'd been a grand total of thirteen years old. Sometimes hearing him talk about these things, things he'd seen or done, so casually, still made my stomach churn.
“Jesus,” I said.
He smiled, that gentle almost, condescending smile that always let me know what a sheltered life I’d led.
“And she got pregnant,” Micah said, softly. Clarifying. For my sake, probably.
Nathaniel nodded. “The odds were that it wasn’t mine. We had sex twice. Once so I could see if I liked it. The second time so I could get better at it.” His face softened in a way I’d never seen before.
“You loved her," I said, voice as gentle as I could make it.
He nodded. “My first crush.”
“What was her name?” Micah asked.
His smile turned a bit happier, like the question brought up a memory that wasn’t bad. “Buffy,” he said, “Her name was Buffy.”
I couldn’t quite suppress my snort so I covered in with my hand, trying not to offend Nathaniel. I found myself doing that recently. “Sorry,” I muttered, “but…”
He nodded, smile growing a bit wider. “She hated her name with a passion. I don’t think she ever met anyone who didn’t comment on her name somehow. She told me that when she was kid playing with her dolls, she always called herself Joan.” There was that sorrow in his eyes that even I could never touch. It came sometimes, when he had a bad day and I had learned to just ride it, to give him time. But this time I couldn’t just stand there and neither could Micah. We both moved forward as one, wrapping Nathaniel up in our arms, regardless of the fact that he was taller than both of us.
We stayed like that for a long time before I dared ask, “What happened?”
He stiffened under my hands. "I held her hand while the test turned positive. Her pimp paid for an abortion. I went with her. Me and another girl." He shrugged, "She couldn't have kept it. I knew that. We all knew that. I was a junkie. She was a junkie. There was never going to be a baby."
I didn't know what to do, so I just hugged him tighter. "What happened to Buffy?"
My face was pressed into his neck so I couldn’t see his face, but I could feel the shrug of his shoulders as he whispered, “I don’t know.”
I frowned, pulling away enough to meet his purple gaze. He looked young, so young. Most of the time it was easy to forget how old he really was because he’d been through so much, seen so much anger, hurt and pain but in that moment he looked younger than his twenty years. And, god, he’d really loved this girl. A junkie, a whore, a girl named Buffy who took his virginity and his heart. He loved her.
“How can you not know?”
He grabbed my hand, pulling it up to his chest like a favourite stuffed animal, holding on tight. “She said if her father ever found her he was going to kill her. She preferred the streets over her family. And then one day he came. Her parents found her, all the way from LA and they took her away, kicking and screaming. I never saw her again.”
I didn’t ask if he thought she was still alive. Nathaniel was sixteen by the time he got off the streets and he’d lived a lifetime by then already. I wasn’t going to stir that up worse than I already had. Instead I moved another few inches closer and laid my head back on his shoulder, inhaling his scent, vanilla and the musky flavour of sweat. I closed my eyes and felt him rest his cheek on my hair. Micah joined the confusion of limbs on Nathaniel’s other side, wrapping an arm around my waist.
“I’m sorry,” I said. And I meant it.