Beyond the Gift
Disclaimer: blah, blah, blah all the crap that keeps me from being sued. I mean how ridicules are it that we actually have to put it here? If I owned Buffy and crew this would be an episode of Buffy, not a story being posted on a FANFICTION site. :) Ok rant over.
Spoilers: Just The Gift really, not bothering to acknowledge season 6 yet. I may write something later that takes place after or during season 6 *shrug*
AN: For the record I'm a recovering alcoholic and drug abuser, I neither support nor encourage drug/alcohol use or abuse in any form. While other may be able to enjoy a drink, sadly I cannot.
Chapter 1: The Aftermath
Before I met Buffy I drank... heavily, but from the moment I saw her all thoughts of booze fled my mind. Even in my worst drug induced stupor I remember every detail, the way her skirt flared when she turned. The wind had caught it just right and she was wearing a thong, I got the most amazing glimpse of her ass. I almost made a mess in my pants, and then I hit the railing. What surprised me was the way she winked at me, as if saying she knew I caught the peep show. It didn't make any difference anymore though; with her gone I was dead.
The moment I realized she had been killed, I felt a piece of me die with her. Handing Anya to Giles I forgot about them. I made my way to my parent's house, by then I was going on autopilot. Opening the door I expected them to scream at me, but they seemed to sense my aura of defeat. Wordlessly they offered me a seat, nothing was said but I could hear the words in the silence. 'Misery loves company son, we always knew you would be back, you're a failure from a family of failures'.
When my mom tied off my arm I knew what she was doing, you don't live in a house with drug dealers without picking these things up. I didn't care though, when she slapped my arm I didn't move, when the needle pierced my skin my face was blank. I willingly sank into the oblivion the drugs offered me, my mind in a world of it own. I was back at the tower, but this time I saved Buffy's life. In the drug induced euphoria I built a fantasy world, Buffy and I were together and happy.
To my friends I had disappeared, I don't think they even thought to check here. I didn't really care though; I had my drugs and my work. At first I was able to keep my drug use a secret from my bosses, when I was there nothing existed for me but the task at hand. Gone was the hollow mockery of the man I once was, gone were all thoughts of Buffy and the constant what ifs. As long as I had someone telling me what to do I was ok, if anyone reads this they'll probably question why I didn't do something about my 'problem'.
The thing is though when I was at work I didn't think, nothing mattered because I never really ever thought at work. Sounds kind of funny, eh? I mean I've been told over and over I'm a natural at construction and building in general. I think I owe my ability to concentrate so well to the soldier incident, my love of building things with my hands I owe to my Uncle Rory. Before he took the plunge into the alcoholic side of the family he had been a construction worker, and a damned good one. I actually owe my job to his reputation before his fall.
A few months after our death (and to be perfectly honest that's what it was) I had stopped living the moment she did, all my hopes and dreams died with her. If you think about it that's all that really keeps us going day to day. Any how the inevitable happened, my work started suffering; people started to notice my decline. The little things like not showering for days, not eating for weeks on end, not sleeping all of these things caught up with me. A few days after they noticed the signs my boss summoned me for a meeting in his office.
I was told due to my outstanding performance to date, they were willing to give me some leeway. Yippee, I wanted to shout; IT DOESN'T CHANGE THE FACT THAT SHE'S DEAD. Due to all the overtime hours, I had built up tons of vacation time; coupled with sick leave and general kindness they gave me three months to straighten my life out. As far as I was concerted I would take the checks and use it to buy drugs. If my parents can survive selling the shit, then so could I. FUCK THE WORLD.
It had been down hill ever since Buffy died, now it was at a much faster rate. I didn't have to hide my drug use anymore, so I reveled in it. Not a second was wasted in sobriety; I smoked, injected and snorted anything I could get my hands on. Then it happened, my dad asked me to pick up a shipment of heroin for him, so I walked across town to his suppliers house. On the way back I cut though the graveyard for no particular reason.
I think it was the last piece of the old me that drove me to do it, that little voice in my head that hated what I had become. When I saw her grave I stopped, I just stood there staring for hours. Night turned into day, I sat down and kept staring. Day steadily progressed towards night, as I slowly and painfully sobered for the first time in months I came to a conclusion. I couldn't continue anymore, it was either deal or die. Reality came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks; everything suddenly came into focus.
In avoiding her funeral, not coming to see her grave I had chosen the easy way out. Drugs had replaced grieving, so I sat there screaming and yelling with my soul laid bare. I began crying, not only for Buffy but also for what I had become. My tears were burning tracks down my face; I realized I could've done things differently. I should've turned to my friends instead of my family. They had welcomed me not in love, but in shared agony. If they had loved me they would've stopped me.
Even then I couldn't blame them, they couldn't be anymore than they were. I knew what my family was when I left, and when I returned I knew they only had death to offer. That's why I went there, it had been death I was seeking all along. It was all too much, all too soon. Beside me lay enough drugs to kill a small town, 100% uncut pure heroin. Pulling out my 'kit' I prepared my last dose; I couldn't live with myself, with the things I had done. By living there I condoned their lifestyle, by selling drugs I had destroyed lives.
Like I said it was too much. Too much grief, too much guilt and too much lost. The withdrawal alone felt like it was killing me, and I had been sober less than twelve hours. I knew that Old Xander could've done it, and done it with a joke on his lips but he was long dead. So I prepared my death in a needle, and sat there preparing to say something, anything. I needed to say something to Buffy before I joined her, even if it was to her grave.
Speaking was painful, my voice sounded like two rocks scraping together. "I'm sorry Buffy, sorry I couldn't be there in time for you. Sorry I've been wasting my life since you died. Sorry that my suicide will trivialize your sacrifice, but I can't do this anymore. I'm caught in a web of destruction of my own making; I just don't have the will power to fight anymore... I'm just sorry."
With everything said that could be said I picked up the needle. My acceptance of death gave me a new awareness of life around me. I heard the sounds of life around me, but it was too little too late. I tied a piece of rubber around my arm, the veins there were still good. Most of the time I shot in my legs, old habit from working and trying to blend in. I watched as the needle flashed on the setting sun, the way it reflected the dying rays of light. Everything seemed to fascinate me as I pierced my skin and prepared to take the final plunge....