Joss Whedon owns "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and related characters; George Lucas owns "Star Wars" and related characters; I own nothing.Note:
This story takes place after the chapter "He's Not Dead Yet"
in Dance Along the Edge.~*~*~
“Buffy?” she heard Anakin’s voice ask from behind her. They were standing in the troop transport on their way to Mace Windu’s Jedi Cruiser, finally leaving that hellish mud pit otherwise known as Jabiim behind.
“Yeah?” she replied, not turning around from the bulkhead. She felt so tired, so drained that she just wanted to go to sleep and slip away into its comforting darkness. The darkness would be an escape from the knowledge that most of her troops were dead, that she had been forced to shoot at the Jabiim Loyalists so that she could evacuate the ships that she could, that in a sick twist of fate, she was the highest-ranked commanding officer to survive, that her friend, Obi-Wan, had simply vanished without a trace. Everything about Jabiim weighed heavily on her soul and she needed to get away from it all. The darkness would be a welcome escape, if the nightmares didn’t follow her there.
“Master Windu said he wants to speak with you as soon as we reach his flagship,” Anakin told her, the concern in his voice palpitable. Buffy didn’t blame him. Under the best of circumstances, she and Windex didn’t get along too well, and given her current state of mind, any bystanders would be lucky to escape with slight collateral damage. Her temper was already frayed to a breaking point, and talking with Windu would push her closer to slipping off that edge.
“Of course he does,” she answered, her voice harsh from yelling over the sounds of battle. “We wouldn’t want to make him wait while I cleaned this damn mud off of me.” Or while she hit a few things to get most of the anger, frustration, and grief out of her system. A hand settled on her shoulder and gave it a squeeze. She finally turned around to look at Anakin.
“It wasn’t your fault, Buffy,” he told her. “Zule was the one who disobeyed your order to leave with the rest of of the Padawans.” Buffy looked away, not wanting his sympathy, his attempts at understanding. It was her fault. Obi-Wan had put her in charge of the Padawan Pack, trusting her to keep them safe, and she had failed him. She had failed them. Zule’ lightsaber hung heavily from her belt as a reminder. “Buffy...”
“We’re approaching the cruiser, Stalwart
,” the clone pilot interrupted, causing Buffy to turn back around to face the bulkhead. Taking a deep breath, she did her best to collect herself and get her head back on straight. She only needed to get through this last hurdle before slipping into sleep’s welcoming darkness.