Inside My Head, I'm Screaming
Songs to a Fallen Hero
Summary: One night in a cemetery on the night of the Slayers funeral. The sorrows of her sister and those who come to pay homage to her life.
Disclaimer: I don’t own anyone. Or anything. Buffy is own by Joss. Chapter One: Inside My Head, I’m Screaming
The spot she had chosen was secluded from the rest, separated by a light smattering of trees. It was truly breathtaking in the daylight, but the night made the spot feel empty, as if waiting for her smile to fill it up, a smile that would never again grace her face, a face too cold to move.
They had made her face beautiful again, unlike the crushed, bloody, and bruised one that had graced her features when Spike carried her away from the tower. He had not let go of her for hours after that fateful jump, letting only Dawn come near him and his burden for the entire night, a night that seemed like forever, as if the moments had been trying to cling to her, to have her for as long as the world dared, hoping to see her brightness driving away the dark once more.
Dawn hadn’t spoken since that moment, her voice refused to surface, and no matter how much they tried, she knew it would do no good, she had no words, there would never be words good enough to speak now that Buffy was gone, nothing in the world was good enough to experience now that Buffy was gone.
The others tried to bring her out of what they called her depression, but she honestly couldn’t make the effort and began spending more time in Spike’s company to avoid their fake cheerfulness. He at least understood the level of her sorrow, the gnawing guilt, that creature that lived in the pit of her stomach incessantly eating at her until she felt like she couldn’t breath, would never breath again.
Willow had been forced to dress her tonight, as she couldn’t be bothered to move. Why should she, they were putting her sister in the ground, away in the cold dark where light would never reach her.
She stood between Spike and Angel, positioned there to keep them from fighting, she supposed, but in reality, they were like twin pillars of strength that she was attempting to draw from, but kept coming up short. Her head rested on Spike’s shoulder, his arm holding her up from around the waist, as she had almost collapsed when they began to lower her sister into the grave that would be her resting place.
The moonlight that shone on her face was a pale imitation of the sun she had loved so much. Dawn tried to remember the smiling face of her sister, but could recall only the pain she had seen as Buffy had fallen through the portal to her death. The death that should have been hers. None of them would say it, but she knew it was what they all thought, if she had jumped then Buffy would still be alive. She knew that they loved her, but she would give anything to give Buffy back to them.
Upwards of four hundred people had shown up for Buffy’s viewing the day before, they had been forced to begin in the morning for fear that not everyone would get to say their goodbyes. Every preacher, priest, pastor, and nun from all of the thirty-four churches that Sunnydale laid claim to had spoken to the assembles mass, testifying to the blessing that Buffy was in life, how sorely she would be missed in death, and their certainty of her final reward. They had quoted scriptures that reminded them of her, and blessed her body before giving the small stage over to the patrons that had come to speak over Buffy’s body.
For almost eighteen hours, one Sunnydale resident after the next came and spoke of how Buffy had saved them one night, or how she had helped them, always portraying her in the light of a hero, a savior. Songs to her deeds.
Not many of Dawn’s family had come, and the two that did left before the funeral, saying that they were needed at home. Dawn barely even acknowledged their existence and allowed Giles to exchange pleasantries.
She knew that Giles was broken inside, it shown in the way his eyes had glassed over since that day, in how his breath always smelled faintly of bourbon and the dark circles under his eyes that said he hadn’t slept. Dawn wondered if he feared the nightmares that would come, like they had come for her the one time she had fallen asleep in the two weeks since her sister’s death. Spike had been so startled by her screams in the dead of night that he had come racing into her room with a broadsword in one hand and an ax in the other, sure that some sort of beastie was attacking his beloved niblit. That had been four days ago, she hadn’t slept since.
Dawn had been forced to sit through that entire viewing and listen to them spout off about what Buffy was like when she was alive, silently hating them all, hating the time the were privileged to be in Buffy’s presence, time that she had been robbed of. Spike and Angel had been with her the whole time.
As the coffin finally came to rest in place at the bottom of the six-foot hole, the crown started to disperse. Dawn briefly thought about the dozen or so people standing at the far side of the clearing that she didn’t recognize, but she didn’t really care.
Cordelia and Wesley had come with Angel, but they had to get back to their own city. They had brought her gifts, to cheer her up she supposed. It was thoughtful of them, but, again, she couldn’t’ show that she cared. The world had slowed down around her like she was being held in molasses, and she had lost all desire to move.
Cordelia had given her a beautiful tiara that she said was from another dimension called Pylea. Apparently, they had made her a princess there due to her visions. Wesley had given her a book about the Monks of the Order of Dagon. She had made a mental note of going through the Turkish script at a later date. She hadn’t shown Giles or Willow yet, she didn’t want to share that part of herself quite yet with them, but she had shown it to Spike.
They hugged her before making their way to the others who where standing by Angel’s convertible, waiting for them.
She turned in Spike’s arms to face him. Her sister’s beloved. Or one of them at least, perhaps the most important. She tightened her hand around Spike’s before letting go and coming to stand directly in front of him and looking up into his face. The face of an angel, the face her sister had loved.
She imagined that her eyes must look like drowning pools right about now. She had attempted to hold back her tears for most of the ceremony, not a hard feat when you can’t feel much to begin with. But with him in front of her now, a small part of the dam holding back her emotions began to crack and her eyes filled.
Angel smiled at her softly before taking her into his arms. She buried her face into his neck, raising herself up so that she could reach. He rubbed circles in her back and it felt like an eternity before he palmed her upper arms and stepped back so he could look into her face.
He searched her face for a moment before talking. “I don’t hate you. It was her choice, and not your fault. She loved you. So do I. Dawn, if you need me, or anything, come to LA, I’ll even let you bring Spike."
He waited for her to reply but none was forthcoming. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to say anything, but that she physically didn’t think she could.
“That’s alright Dawn. Your voice will return in time, when you’re ready. Give me a call when it does, okay? I have to go now, will at least smile for me?”
She looked down and closed her eyes, mustered her strength, and looked up at him with what passed for a smile these days. He took her face between his hands and kissed her forehead before pulling away and addressing Spike.”
“Take care of her William.” And in a rare moment of compassion, “Take care of yourself too. You’re on the right path. She would have wanted you to be a better man.”
Spike snorted, but she could hear the tears that he was struggling to keep at bay. “I’ll never be a man and we both know it. Best I can do is look after the ‘bit.”
Angel nodded and went to say goodbye to the rest of the Scooby Gang. Dawn went back to Spike’s arms, a warm haven against the cool night air.
“We’ll be alright ‘bit, this too will pass. Peaches is right, she would have wanted you happy.”
She buried her face in his shoulder. She didn’t want him to see the expression on her face. The look that said she absolutely didn’t believe him. That things would never be alright. She couldn’t let him see that look on her face, because he needed to believe that things were going to be alright, otherwise, they were both lost.
AN: yay, a new story. This idea came to me in the middle of writing another fic. I'll try to update them at least once a week both. Reviews are goo, I like reviews.