Disclaimer: As you know these characters and concepts don't belong to me, I'm just borrowing them for a while and I make no profit from these stories (though they do help me get through sleepless nights).
Title: Sibling Rivalry
Author: Alec Star
And now to the story.
by Alec Star
There they are... *AGAIN*. Sitting at our table in our shop, researching with Giles and I don't like it. I know it's only for a few days and I know I should be happy for Giles but it's just not happening. It's not like they're not nice or anything like that, it's just that... I don't know. I guess maybe I'm kind of jealous. Everyone else seems just so taken with these two. Giles is drooling over the fact that he actually has a son. Willow and Tara just can't get over the fact that Blair's a shaman, though he doesn't talk much about it. Anya, well she just sees two really hot guys (and even I have to admit to that), but she has Xander so I don't really see the point. Blair has also managed to charm Dawn --who I now suspect has a major crush on him-- and in the meantime Xander has gotten quite attached to Jim, and the worst part is that I don't think the big guy minds. That leaves me... and Spike.
I can feel her glaring at me... *AGAIN*. I need to find a way to reach her but it's not going to be easy. I know she resents my presence here and I don't blame her, but I'm not sure she understands it herself. Of course, my father is quite oblivious to what's going on. He's a great guy and I know I got lucky, but the fact that he apparently attended the Watcher School of Parenting is a serious drawback here. I still can't believe some of the things he told me --and didn't tell me-- about how slayers are traditionally brought up. They are removed from their families and then they are raised by men who see them as nothing but tools and can get fired for loving them... charming. At any rate Giles is hurting her and he hasn't even noticed it. I've tried to drop some none-too-subtle hints but he's not getting them and I don't know him well enough to be more open about it, which means that if something's going to be done about this situation, I'll probably have to do it myself.
I think part of the problem is that everyone here is just so used to her being strong that they don't even notice when she's hurting and that's just as true of my father as of everyone else. I mean, she's little more than a child, she just lost her mother and at almost the exact same time the guy who has taken on the role of her father figure shows up with a newly discovered son... of course she's going to resent that. I wish I could find a way to let her know that I want to help her, not hurt her but it's not going to be easy. She's just too defensive and she sees me as the enemy. And to make matters worse there's the fact that sometimes I feel like we are speaking in two entirely different languages... or at least two different *BODY* languages.
Having been brought up by Naomi I'm used to touching people... a lot. I realized from the first time I met him that my father is anything but a touchy-feely kind of guy, in fact it's like he's desperately trying to hold something back, but I haven't been able to figure out what. The thing is that while Giles is kind and loving in his own way, and probably wouldn't hesitate to kill anything that threatened his 'children', I think I was touched more by Simon in the first week after I met him than I've been by my father in these past few days... and back then Simon could barely tolerate me. Add to that the fact that Giles's attitude seems to have spread and now it's like these people can't even conceive the possibility of touching each other unless it's under the most extreme circumstances or in a sexual context, and that's something I'm having a hard time adjusting to.
I know that's probably my problem, but it kind of bothers me, especially when it comes to Buffy. I have noticed that some of her abilities may be described almost as sentinel-like --though her senses are nowhere near as acute as Jim's and she's not prone to zone-outs-- and the whole environment we've encountered here is surprisingly sentinel-friendly, which leads me to believe that there may well be a number of other similarities between sentinels and slayers, in fact Giles describes them both as champions. I don't know how deep those similarities run but I do know that Jim often relies on his sense of touch to keep himself grounded and I suspect Buffy may have the same need only there's no one here to touch her, at least not now. I don't know how things were while her mother was still alive but I assume it wasn't nearly as bad, and I don't know how she's going to cope with it in the long run.
OK, so maybe I'm overreacting here and trying to rationalize my concerns into something tangible, but I do feel the need to come up with some sort of plan, something that will allow me to get close to her. I remember being where she is, resenting some of my mother's boyfriends --or their children-- a couple of times, and as awful as that was at least I had the comfort of knowing that they wouldn't be around for long. Our situation is different because I do intend to stay a part of my father's life, I just don't want her to be miserable because of it. Besides I always wanted a little sister, someone I could look after and she definitely seems to need a big brother... of course the fact that she can kick my ass with both hands tied behind her back would seem to contradict the whole notion of her needing a protector but still...
I think that's where the problem lies. Deep down she *DOES* need a protector but neither she nor those around her are willing to see it. They trust her to keep them safe and because of that she is terrified of revealing anything that might be perceived as a weakness. She is their first line of defense when it comes to keeping the monsters at bay, but sometimes they lose sight of who she is... especially my father. Yes, she's a warrior but she is also a girl who has seen more horrors than most people can even imagine. Of course, I know I'm not being fair... they have all shared those horrors, but even with their help in the end fighting them remains ultimately her duty, her responsibility... and while she can fight the monsters I'm not sure she's strong enough to fight her own demons.
I go over everything I've been told about Buffy in my mind, grateful for some of Willow's babbling, looking for some common ground, something we can share that can possibly allow me to bridge the gap between us and breach her defenses. Whatever it is it's going to have to be big, but it can't be related to my father. It has to be something important that she can't share with her friends, and seeing how close they are that's going to be difficult. It takes me a while but then I find it.
I think I have found the common thread and maybe, just maybe, it will be enough... now I only have to find a way to bring it up.