Title: “She Doesn’t Smile Anymore”Author: Fuer Grissa Ost DraukaRating: PGCategory: Buffy/X-MenPairing: Buffy/Logan (Wolverine)Disclaimer: Don't own any of it. Parts taken directly from X-Men 1Spoilers: No spoilers. Set after “Chosen” (Buffy) and before X-Men 1.Status: CompleteSummary: She doesn’t smile anymore. Maybe he can change that.Feedback: always appreciatedShe Doesn't Smile Anymore
She doesn’t smile anymore. Not really. When she does, it’s one of those fake forced ones that she’s become so accustomed to giving us. Not one of those ones that I remember from when we were younger. The ones that would light up her face and eyes. Her smile never comes anywhere near her eyes now.
Those changed too. Her eyes. Once warm and full of life, they’re cold and empty. Hollow and guarded. They don’t sparkle with laughter anymore. They used to be so expressive; a window to her emotions for anyone who cared to look. When she first came back, her eyes were filled with so much pain and anguish. I stopped looking; it hurt to see her in that much pain. I realize now that I shouldn’t have looked away. I stopped looking for a while, and when I tried to look again they were empty. Maybe if I had been paying attention, I would have seen when it happened.
No. That wasn’t entirely true. She knew when it happened. It was that
night. The night, almost two years ago now, that I kicked her out of her house. Yeah, I know that the rest of the gang was with me when it happened, but she wouldn’t have left if it had been anyone other than me
that told her to do go.
So, it’s mostly my fault. I just wish I could fix it.
I stop in the doorway to study her for a moment. She’s glad we’re leaving, though nothing in her features gives away any evidence of the emotions I know must be swirling around in her right now. Relief being the foremost.
I hope that this will be good for her. She never relaxes. She doesn’t allow herself that luxury. Always wary and on guard, like she’s about to be attacked.
I wasn’t sure what it was at first. It wasn’t until I noticed that she flinched, slightly, but it was there, anytime someone touched her that I recognized it for what it was. She doesn’t trust us anymore. Yes, she works with us, fights battles with us, and trains the new slayers with us, but she doesn’t really trust us not to turn on her again.
Last night, she announced that she was leaving. I wish I could say that it surprised me, but I’d be lying if I did. Willow and Xander didn’t understand it. Giles looked a bit disappointed.
Faith was the only one who actually understood Buffy’s decision, expected it even. Which isn’t too surprising. Ever since the battle with the First, they’ve been pretty close… or as close as Buffy lets herself get to anyone nowadays. Either way, it’s closer than anyone else.
“Are you ready?” Her tone is neutral, if somewhat clipped. Once the meeting had ended, I followed her out of the room and told her that I was going too. She hadn’t protested - I don‘t know if that’s a good sign or not. She just nodded and continued walking to her room.
“Yeah,” my smile goes unreturned. She just waits impassively by the car while I grab the last of my bags. Most of the luggage in the trunk of her car is mine. Besides our basic supplies, she only has one bag. It strikes me as odd that the girl who was once so obsessed with fashion now travels with only one bag.
We’ve been in Loughlin City for nearly two weeks now, which is about ten days longer than we’ve stayed in any one place since leaving England three months ago. There’s something about this small town in northern Alberta that Buffy likes, though I can’t imagine what. There hasn’t been a day since we got here that it hasn’t snowed.
She likes it though.
Every night she leaves and doesn’t come back until after three in the morning. She always comes back smelling like alcohol, and sometimes she looks like she’s been out fighting. It worries me. Not the drinking - though Buffy’s history with alcohol isn’t exactly reassuring - she never comes back drunk. It’s the fighting. I know there’s no nightlife in this town. Vamps are rare here and demons even more so, but nearly every night she comes back with cuts and bruises.
The one night I asked her about it, she just emitted a noncommittal half grunt and went into the bathroom to clean herself up. I didn’t bother asking again - I know better than to expect a different answer.
It’s why I followed her to the small bar near the edge of town tonight.
I followed her at a distance so she wouldn’t know I was there and settled into a spot in a dimly lit corner where I would have a good view of the entire bar. Buffy nodded to the bartender as she walked over to a large cage that was set up in the next room. After a few words to a man outside the cage, she watched as the two men in the cage fought. It was rather one-sided after the taller man did something to piss off the shorter one. With a few moves, the shorter man had his opponent out cold on the floor.
Buffy shrugged off her worn leather jacket and placed it on one of the benches as the announcer declared the shorter man to be the winner.
“Next we have a real treat for you. Facing off against the Wolverine, we have Slayer.” My mouth must have dropped as Buffy stepped into the cage. She’d been cage fighting
Buffy dropped into a relaxed fighting stance as Wolverine looked her over. From the predatory air he was giving off, he must not have fallen for the ‘weak, girly’ look that most people automatically associated with Buffy.
The fight wasn’t over quickly either. The two were almost evenly matched, both giving and taking hits that would’ve taken anyone else out of the fight completely. It wasn’t the graceful form of fighting that I normally saw from Buffy. This was more fighting dirty. Instinctual and animalistic. There was a look on her face that I hadn’t seen in a long time, and it took me a moment to figure out what it was. Happiness. Buffy was having fun fighting with this guy. It was pretty clear that the two knew each other. Buffy wouldn’t be that relaxed in a fight if it wasn’t some form of an all-out, no-punches-pulled sparring match.
After a few minutes, Wolverine kicked her legs out from underneath of her. She landed flat on her back. He tried to get in another move to finish her off, but she was quicker. Before he could get in another blow, she was able to sweep his legs out from underneath of him and deliver a punch that knocked him out.
When Buffy came out of the bathroom, her eyes immediately darted over to where Wolverine was sitting at the bar, beer in one hand cigar in the other. Neither one said a word as she slipped into the seat next to him and motioned the bartender over. The bartender handed her a wad of cash along with a beer, and she flipped quickly through the bills before slipping them into the inner pocket of her jacket.
As the minutes ticked on, I was beginning to question my assumption that she and Wolverine were friends. Neither one had spared a glance in the other’s direction, let alone spoke to the other.
The tall guy that Wolverine had beat earlier, walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder. Wolverine glanced over at him, with a clearly irritated look.
“You owe me some money.” The man’s friend tried to pull him away but was waved off. “No man takes a beating like that without a mark to show for it.”
Wolverine turned away and took another drag of his cigar. The man leaned in and spoke in a low voice that carried throughout the bar. “I know what you are.”
“You lost your money. You keep this up, you’ll lose something else.”
The man’s friend began dragging him away, but the guy pulled away and pulled a knife. He lunged at Wolverine. Buffy’s hand shot out and caught his wrist in a crushing grip, forcing him to drop the knife, as Wolverine spun away and stood, grabbed the man by the shirt, and shoved him into a beam. Buffy was up by his side instantly, knife held loosely by her side. Wolverine had his arm raised as if he was going to punch the man, but two blades shot out of his knuckles and rested lightly on either side of the man’s neck. A third blade slowly came out between the other two and stopped when it was pressing slightly into the man’s throat. There was a tense moment as everyone in the bar watched and waited to see what would happen next, until the bartender loaded his rifle and leveled it at Wolverine’s head.
Wolverine turned slightly as the cool steel pressed against his head.
“Get out of my bar, freak.”
He and Buffy shared a glance before Buffy grabbed the gun away from the bartender in a move to fast for anyone to follow. A second later, the gun was unloaded, bullets flung to the ground, useless. Wolverine glanced between the man at the end of his blades and the bartender, staring at him and Buffy with wide eyes, before retracting the blades and walking out. Buffy shoved the shotgun at the bartender, knocking him off balance, and followed Wolverine.
“Go home, Dawn. I’ll see you in the morning,” Buffy said as she walked out, not looking in my direction.
I waited a few minutes before slipping quietly out of the bar. On my way back to the hotel, I passed by a old trailer. Buffy’s leather jacket was lying haphazardly on the trailer bed attached to the back, and there were muffled noises coming from inside.
I quickened my pace, hoping to get out of earshot as quickly as possible. Sure, I want Buffy to be happy, but I’d rather not be scarred for life.
I cringed at the shout and stepped up my pace to a full out run. Maybe I can get Giles to foot the bills for the therapy sessions I’d be needing now.The End.