Chapter One - Didn't you know?
Title: Fear of losing
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their respective owners, all things Supernatural belong to Erik Kripke and everything Buffy belongs to Joss Whedon. Chapter 1 – Didn’t you know (how much I loved you)?
Dean’s finger pressed against the trigger of the taser-gun, the electric current running from his gun through the demon in front of him with a sharp blue and white intensity. He felt a little strange, his body slowly burning, like his muscles were sore from a hard workout. With a pained groan he suddenly realized where the pain originated; his feet, the water and the electricity that was now killing him and the demon. Both he and the dark creature collapsed in a pile of their own, the water splashing up over Dean’s body. He looked up from the his dark corner, seeing Sam and Buffy coming running down the stairs. A few feet away the demon stayed unmoving.
Their shouts where the last thing he heard before blacking out.
Buffy held Dean’s hand in a tight grip, tears rolling down her face as she heard the doctor telling Sam just how badly off Dean was.
“He’s young and strong, but the electricity gave him a heart-attack. He hasn’t got long.” The words burned and pained her, like someone was beating her brain with a lit torch and made sure her mind both melted from the fire the idea of Dean dying lit in her as well as the massive headache that came from a good blow to the head.
Buffy tried to shake herself from her destructive, erratic thoughts. She couldn’t. Dean was going to die, unless she and Sam found or did something.
Someone had to call John.
“I found this,” Sam said, sitting down opposite her. She looked at the article. She shook her head.
“He’s not going to go for this. Dean hates everything faith-y. No way is he going to go to faith-healer.”
“Not unless you make him.”
“Like he’d listen to me,” Buffy muttered annoyed. Sam nodded.
“He would. He loves you.”
“Not out loud he doesn’t.” She felt a sting somewhere deep inside and her eyes began to burn.
“Buffy please. It’s Dean we’re talking about, you know you want him to live.”
“I do!” she exclaimed, exasperated. “But he doesn’t want us to save him, Sam, or haven’t you noticed? Every idea, every single suggestion that could save his sorry as, he’s shot down or-” Her voice broke and she looked away from the begging look in Sam’s eyes. She didn’t want to lose Dean. But what if Dean refused, yet again?
There was a soft knock on the door and Sam got up from his place in the chair. He looked over his shoulder at Buffy who was still trying hard not to cry. The door opened and Buffy felt her heart jolt in terror.
“Dean, what the hell are you doing?” Sam asked him, and Dean smirked.
“Like I was going to die in a hospital were the nurses aren’t even hot,” he smiled at Buffy. “Besides, everyone I love is right here, so I should be too.”
“We tried getting to John,” Buffy said, helping Dean to sit down in the armchair Sam had just been in. Dean nodded.
“Lemme guess, he won’t pick up?”
“Yeah. But I left a message,” Sam said.
“We found something,” Buffy said, beginning to feel a little more hopeful.
Sam swallowed and Buffy saw him brace himself for another rejection. “A faith-healer.”
“And if you don’t go, Dean, I’m leaving you.”
Dean’s eyes widened and he looked from Buffy to Sam, resting his eyes finally on Buffy. “You want me to do this? Nothing is ever free Buffy.”
“Thank you, I know that.” She looked at him sternly. “I will leave.”
A moments pause. “I’ll go.”
Buffy smiled and leaned over to rest her hand on his.
“But if this doesn’t work Buffy, I want you to leave. I can’t stand the thought of you watching me-”
“Sch, none of that. One thing at the time.” His hand closed around hers and she smiled. But she was wondering, and she could see the same wonderment in his eyes. What if Sam’s faith-healer couldn’t help?
Dean got out on the right side of the car, ducking out in his usual manner. Buffy ducked out the back door on the same side, taking Dean’s arm in a firm grip; like a loving wife. She leaned her head against his shoulder and smiled softly at him as they crossed the mud to get into the big white tent.
“Sam, is this really a good idea?” Dean murmured.
“Yeah, it is,” Buffy answered before Sam had time to react. “And damn you if you back out.”
They saw a blond girl and what looked like her mother enter the tent before them, and Dean cursed under his breath. Buffy tried to smile, she knew he was trying to break the tension in her grip.
And in her heart.
“Come on,” Sam said. “Up front.”
“No, Sam, I wanna sit back here,” Dena said pointing to three empty seats.
“Do as he says, for once?” Buffy pleaded and with a strained look on his face he finally nodded.
“You, young man,” the blind minister said, pointing to Dean. Buffy felt her heart jump and she beamed at Sam. “Come on up here.” The crowd started clapping for him to get up. But Dean shook his head.
“No thanks, why don’t you just pick someone else?”
“I didn’t pick you son, God did.” Buffy felt him hesitate, so she grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet. She knew that he in no way would be able to fight her strength in his weakened state.
“That’s right come on up here,” the minister’s wife smiled, and the crowd began to cheer again. Buffy smiled at Dean as she left him on the stage.
“Be nice,” she said. He rolled his eyes at her. God, did he look uncomfortable up there.
“Here we go,” the minister said and place his hand on Dean’s forehead.
Buffy watched, her hand clutching Sam’s as they watched Dean fall to his knees, his face going blank and then the minister calling out for whatever it was he needed.
Buffy felt cold, stone cold and angry, she was scared and her eyes watered as she watched the pained look on Dean’s face.
The blind man before hand’t looked anything like this. Something was wrong, and she could see it on the ministers face too. He looked confused. Dean fell, head first, and landed with a massive thud against the wooden floor. Buffy flew out of her chair, grabbing Dean’s lifeless body.
“I don’t understand,” the minister mumbled. “I don’t-” And then he, too, fell.
Dean, pale and hollow, looked up from his place in the hospital-bed with sad eyes.
“How are you?” she asked, feeling her voice not just a little unsteady.
Sam stood behind her. “We’re gonna fix this,” he insisted. Dean got a bitter look in his eyes and she knew – they knew – Sam was wrong.
“I’m gonna die, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Buffy took his hand.
“Let’s get you out of here?”
“No.” She nodded, sitting down by his side.
“Okay, then I’m gonna tell the nurses I’ll be needing a bed in here. I won’t share yours, you kick in your sleep.”
Dean was propped up against a bunch of pillows. He still hadn’t opened his eyes since the day he had refused to leave the hospital- and Buffy was scared out of her mind!
It had been weeks; and he was wasting away!
Every now and then, even though neither she nor Dean were the type to pray, Buffy fell to her knees beside Dean’s bed, holding his hand, and prayed for him.
One morning Buffy woke up and found that the man in the bed beside her no longer breathed. The sobs broke from her and she felt like her heart had been torn in two. Her mind was reeling at the thought of having lost Dean.
Her sobbing woke Sam up, who fell to his knees by the bed. He buried his face in his hands. Somehow, and she didn’t know how, Buffy got over to him and they clung to each other as they sobbed their hearts out.
A nurse sat in the corner, finally getting up to turn the monitors off. And with the simple gesture she had admitted there was no hope for Dean Winchester.
One week later Buffy stood by Dean’s grave; a wooden cross buried in a pile of dark dirt. She held her hands clasped over her heart, Dean’s pendant between them.
“How are you?” a voice asked. Buffy nodded.
“I miss him like crazy. I still wake up every morning thinking he’s gonna be there smiling at me.”
“He always were a strange one, I thought I had him figured for being a loner. Not the one to go off and get married.”
“Well, it was very of the moment us getting married,” she smiled. She turned to face Sam, Bobby and John. She reached out the hand holding Dean’s pendant to Sam.
“He’d want you to have it.”
“What now?” John asked.
“I’m going home. I promised my mother I would come by and visit, before- We were gonna tell her. Them.” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “No use in hiding it now, now is there?” She spun the ring on her left hand.
“I’m glad he got to-” John stuttered.
“We all are. That he had you.” Bobby was the one who had an easy time talking when he was sad, and John just stuttered. Buffy had observed them in the past week. They were like brothers, like Sam and Dean had been.
“How are you gonna get there?”
“I’ll take the bus Sammy, I don’t want his car. You take it. Just don’t pimp it, he’d hate you for it.” She smiled and gave her in-laws one last hug.
She hadn’t only lost the love of her life. She’d lost his family too.
The bus-ride was long and tiring, but she needed the time to be alone. To think about what she was going to tell her family when she got home. And when she finally reached Sunnydale, she had made up her mind. She put her wedding ring in her bag and started the walk home.
Buffy froze on the porch, the silhouette of Riley through the kitchen window giving her the chills. Her mother opened the door with a smile and she spoke to Riley in a soft and warm voice.
Riley’s smile made her feel better, his warmth spreading from inside the house out into the chilly California evening. Buffy felt her grip loosen and the bag slide out of her hand and drop to the ground. They both turned to face her, a few feet ahead of her. Riley smiled. How could he be so nice, when she’d been so horrible?
“How are you?” he asked with a kind of love that made Buffy need him. She closed the distance between them in a few quick steps and fell into his arms. Her head leaned against his chest and he cradled her to him. “Buffy,” he murmured. “What’s wrong?”
She looked up at him, his eyes tight on her face. She knew the tears were spilling over and she didn’t care.
“I missed you,” she mumbled, burying her face in his shirt. He didn’t smell at all like Dean. Riley smelled like the sun and oranges. She wanted to stay in his arms. And he let her.THREE MONTHS LATER
Buffy tossed and turned, her dreams making her more than restless as she watched Dean delivered punch after punch. Her brave man. Her brave, strong man.
“Buffy,” her mother said. “You look so tired.”
“I guess, I’ve been having really strange dreams.”
“Slayer-related? No, I don’t think so. They’re about- You know what, never mind.”Buffy grabbed the empty bowls from the dinner table and pushed her chair out.
“Is it about Dean?”
“Mom,” she said, disappearing of into the kitchen.
“You know, it’s okay if they are. You were together for a while, facing all sorts of things-”
“We were more than just together mom,” Buffy mumbled and picked another bowl up.
“I thought you said you weren’t that serious?”
“Well, yeah, I mean, no, we weren’t. But it was a lot more intense and fun than-” Again Buffy made a run for the kitchen.
“Do you miss him?”
Buffy froze for a moment, as she re-entered the kitchen. “Sometimes. Mom, I gotta go meet Riley, I promised him a movie and coffee.”
“Go, have fun.”
“Thanks mom. See you tomorrow.” Buffy bent down and kissed her mother on the cheek. As she did, a flash of Dean went through her mind.
He was sitting down, looking at her with intense eyes, burning with love for her.
She closed the door to her mother’s house and started down the street. In her mind she was somewhere else entirely – she was in a small haunted house. She had been locked up and trapped. Dean had come, kicking the door in and saving the day.
“Willow, may I ask you something?”
“How do you think Buffy is, really? She has been training really hard, pushing herself beyond her normal limits and to be frank, I think she might be in some denied state of pain. She refuses to even talk about Dean Winchester with me and I might not be in the loop as you would say, but I am concerned.”
“She doesn’t talk to anybody about Dean, Giles. Not just you. It’s like she doesn’t want to remember him.”
“Did she love him, do you know?”
“She said she did. When she came back. When she said he was dead. But after that... Nothing. Not to me anyway.”
“Do you think she would admit if she was feeling... Lousy?”
Willow looked around the room, the very Giles-ish room with the books and weapons. “Maybe, if she felt she needed to talk.”
“If I asked?”
Giles removed his glasses and gently started polishing them with a corner of his shirt. “I fear Buffy is feeling-”
“Lonely,” Willow agreed.
“Yes. And I can’t help but wonder what to do.”
“Let her come to us. And if she doesn’t, then maybe she can handle it herself?”
“Yes, maybe.” He put his glasses back on and Willow turned to the computer again.
“I worry about her too,” she said softly. “I hope she talks about it, soon. Or I might have to yell, and I don’t like yelling...”
She crawled in under the soft covers, the sweet and warm smell of Riley filling her nose as she cuddled closer to him. His arms closed around her and she slowly let herself close her eyes. She had really beaten the vampires to a pulp and felt tired and happy as she allowed the dark. Though Riley’s arms held her safe and the warm smell of him filled her nose, the image on the inside of her eyelids were something different.
He was pale and hollow, his cheeks losing color and softness by every passing day. He grew weaker and he could no longer breathe on his own. The machines and the beeping, the rhythm of the heartbeats and the mechanical sound of his breathing took the place of the silent bedroom she was in. She could reach out and touch the cooling hand of her lover, husband, friend. She woke up as Riley caressed her cheek, and she noticed she was crying.
“Don’t tell me, it doesn’t matter. I just didn’t want you to cry, in your sleep.” She turned around, facing his chest, and sobbed herself back to sleep; Riley stroking her hair and kissing her forehead.
Xander and Willow walked the dark path by the cemetery alone, as they had a hundred times since Buffy came back. They each held a little cup of ice-cream, a custom by now.
“I know you don’t like to talk about him, but you met Dean-” Willow began, and Xander nodded silently. He looked over at her as her hand moved away from her ice-cream in a gesture of explanation. “I think Buffy might be having a really hard time getting over him, she never talk about him. She never shows us any pictures...” Xander kept nodding and with the last of her gestures and stopped them.
“Look Will, Dean was a typical Buffy-kinda-guy. He was fun and though and that was enough. As far as I can tell, Buffy’s move on and up with Riley. No offense, I don’t like speaking ill of the dead – unless they’re vampires –“ he added with a smirk. “–but Dean was no good for Buffy, Will, they were the same amount of destructive.”
“But she loved him-”
“She loved Angelus too-”
“No, she loved Angel.”
“Same shit-” Willow exclaimed before he finished the sentence. He focused on his ice-cream.
“Xander Harris how dare you, Angel saved your life too.”
“Yeah, throw that in my face.”
“I will, often, until you realize just how much he did love her.”
“He tried to kill her.” He emphasized every word a little extra.
“And she killed him never changed a thing though, did it?”
“We weren’t talking about Angel.”
“Right. So Dean, what was he like?”
“Overprotective, stubborn, trigger happy, always acted before thinking...“
Willow smiled at him. “Sounds like someone we know?”
It had been morning for some time when Buffy felt a jolt of energy flutter through her and her sleeping mind. She was standing alone in the middle of two feet high grass, trees all around her and her heart beating fast.
Suddenly she wasn inside a small dark space, a lighter being lit by her hips, the dark having swallowed her. She tried to speak, but her throat was dry.
She was back up among the long stems of grass. She saw a hand break through the earth and she realized where she was. The wooden cross and the clearing making that day ring in her ears. Dean had been dead, they had buried him. It had been months.
The little whole got bigger, a hand, an arm – two arms, shoulders and a head gasping for breath. Fresh air being his sole goal.
He crawled out of his grave, lying flat on the grass gasping. He was breathing heavily as she crossed the clearing. He wasn’t aware of her. But she looked at him and felt startled. He was alive. Or he would be alive soon.
She woke up to the sun reflecting and breaking in her mirror, right into her eyes. She sat up on her elbows and felt her face wrinkle. Had it been a dream, or a slayer dream?
“I just don’t know what to do anymore,” Joyce exclaimed as she sat down on the steps to the upstairs. “She’s closed up and barely talks to me about him, she tries but she doesn’t really get anything out. She just says she thinks of him sometimes or that she had a bad dream about him. Never anything specific.”
Tara and Willow kept burning the spices, turning seeds into powder.“Hopefully this will work,” Willow said and smiled at Tara.
“Or maybe she might find the way to be at peace,” Tara smiled back and looked away as Joyce began a monologue about the troubles of men, and with a soft smile she sighed and told them that one day they’d understand what it was like to be under the thrall of a man.
Tara glanced at Willow and they shared a secret smile.
Buffy panted, her breath catching in her throat as she tossed in her bed.In the dark she could feel the stuffy air, the terror of being locked in a small cramped space. She felt her heart as it started beating faster, faster – body giving way under the amount of pressure it was under.
Suddenly she above the ground, standing behind the wooden cross. She could hear the muffled yelling from under the long, yellow grass. Suddenly two hands burst through the ground and she leaped back a step or two. She bent down, sitting on all fours like a cat on the prowl. She reached out through the grass, the grass tickling her arm as she almost reached the hands. The sun burn down on her as she finally touched his hands, the rest of his body bursting through the dirt and the grass. He panted.
She woke up with a start, beads of sweat rolling down her spine. Riley looked up at her.
“Bad dream?” She nodded, not sure she could trust her voice.
Was Dean back from the dead?