Rise and Fall: Interlude
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the copyrighted material(s) herein.
“Whatcha’ doin’?” Buffy bubbled, spying J.D. hunched over a canvas, easel and brush in hand. He’d been doing this a lot lately, and she’d always found the sight of the hugely powerful figure delicately holding a tiny brush to be amusing.
“Math,” was his reply, and she rolled her eyes. He really was spending too much time with Spike and Xander. Their sarcasm was starting to rub off on him.
“Fine, what are you painting
“Come and see for yourself, I’m almost done,” he said, his slightly British accent fairly dripping with pride.
She skipped over, smiling. It vanished as her jaw fell slack in surprise, her breath catching slightly.
“Wow! J.D. this is amazing!” she gushed. It was a portrait of a large group of people posed together. They all seemed happy, and he’d somehow caught the tight camaraderie of the group. Though they were all dressed in armor and armed with swords, they seemed more like a family than anything else. She said as much to J.D.
“Thanks, but I wouldn’t really know. I don’t know who they are or anything about them, really. I just kept seeing these faces in my mind, and once I decided to try and paint them the rest of the details came out.”
“Hmm, lemme see if I can use my keen female intuition to try and pick who is who.”
“Be my guest,” he replied with a smile.
With a grin, she launched into her deductions; “Ok, this first guy here, he’s totally the leader. The bald head and goatee with an extra helping of scars make him look scary, but he’s got really kind eyes which make for an overall yummy impression of dangerous and sexy.”
She moved down, “This little kid here has got to be his son, they have the same eyes and mouth, and judging from the pointy ears –what’s up with that, anyway- this,” she continued, “has got to be the mother. She’s super-cute and tiny, but you totally know not to underestimate us vertically challenged girls right? She could probably kick your ass.”
She moved to the figure crouched down next to the boy, ignoring the suppressed laughter coming from next to her, “This redhead here, wow she seems a little more detailed than the rest, you can tell by her huge grin that she’s a total prankster. And even with the scar she’s really pretty. Ooh, and so is the next one, she seems a little cold though. I know some hippies in LA who would just die
for her hairdo.”
They chuckled together at the thought for a moment before Buffy moved on again, “Now this guy I don’t know what to make of, he’s really built though and the tattoos are a little freaky but… is that a hamster? He has a little hamster! That is so adorable! He’s a just big softy isn’t he? I totally want to hug him now.”
She paused when she saw the next person in line, who was the only one so far that wasn’t smiling even a little bit, “Ok now this guy,” she said, eventually, “he’s an ass. I can just tell he likes pissing people off, and those eyes… yellow? Seriously? Ok, it’s your painting, but if I met him I’d kick his ass on principle. I have to admit though he looks like he’d be a tough fight.”
Finally, she moved on to the last in the line-up. She paused for some time here as well.
“…three, four. Four swords? Really? Because I can only count two arms. And are those cat ears… no they’re like horns or something? Wiggy…”
“Actually,” J.D. said, interrupting for the first time, “I wondered about that too, but I just had to draw her like that, somehow I feel she doesn’t really need them, either.”
“She looks it, she’s the second shortest one there but she’s actually freaking me out more than Yellow Eyes. And this time it’s not the eye-color, although the neon pink and matching hair is totally weird, it’s the look in them. Because she’s with the rest of them in one picture she’s gotta be a good-guy, but she’s a stone-cold killer. I’ve seen that look before; she would kill me in a second if she thought I was a threat, to her or her friends.”
J.D. frowned at that, “How do you know they’re all friends though? I painted it, and I’m not even sure they all belong together.”
She smiled as she said, with only a hint of boasting, “Well with my keen female intuition, I’ve noticed something you haven’t. They all have a matching piece of jewelry. Looks a little like a harp.”
J.D. hunched closer, squinting his eyes before he leaned back on his stool, he hadn’t even noticed that!
“Oh wait, J.D. why didn’t you say you weren’t finished?”
He looked to where Buffy was pointing, and frowned when he saw the white space he had left open. Buffy pulled up another stool and sat down next to him, sensing the change in his mood. She had an idea of who was supposed to go there, but asked anyway.
“Yes, I do know who’s supposed to go there,” he answered, “but I just can’t bring an image to mind of what she looks -looked- like. My sister, if I even had one and that wasn’t just my mind trying to trick me out of my despair.”
He tossed the easel and brush aside and dropped his face into his hands, sighing deeply. Buffy squeezed his shoulder, trying to offer some comfort, “Don’t worry like that you big lug, look how many things you’ve remembered already. These people, that you had a sister, the name of your mother. Also, you might not have noticed it, but I did, you’re remembering more things and the interval between them is getting less.”
He looked at her then, surprise evident on his face.
“Yep,” she continued, “and it won’t be long before Professor Marshall starts teaching us about repressed memory, then I could really start helping. Now quit with the mopiness! Mom asked me to pick up Dawn from school today, and I’m so not leaving you alone when you’re all depressed. You might try and slash your wrists and end up breaking the cutlery, mom would be so pissed.”
He laughed aloud at that, his mood already lightened by the irrepressible Buffy Summers, “Ok, ok… I’m driving.”
“Nuh-uh! You don’t have a license!”
“And yet, I’m still better at it than you.”
“Yuck it up, at least I can fit in Giles’ car.”
“True, how is Marshall by the way, as a teacher?”
“He’s not Walsh, and… no that’s the most important thing, so he’s awesome.”
The two friends left the room, their laughter echoing through the house, leaving the unfinished painting alone, the sadness of its existence momentarily forgotten.***To Be Continued***