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Reality and Realizations

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This story is No. 2 in the series "The Steps it Takes to be Free". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Sequel to the Coolness of a Window.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
BtVS/AtS Non-Crossover > Dark > Buffy-CenteredAmesWhiteFR131939018003 Oct 113 Oct 11Yes
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy. There! Are you happy I admitted that.

A broken figure, at least, that's what she saw every time she looked herself in the mirror. Her blond hair wasn't as vibrant and had far too many split ends from a lack of real care. Well, the amount she would have once done, but that was only a few of the hints of her inner state. As she leaned towards the mirror, she carefully scanned her body. There were not as many scars as there should have been due to her Slayer healing, but that didn't mean she was as healthy as she should be. It was something she hid with sweaters, baggy pants, and the use of layers. It was strange that Buffy found enough energy in herself to hide the fact that she wasn't eating enough. At that thought, she withdrew herself from the mirror and finished drying her body.

"Hey!! Buffy!! C'mon!! I need to get ready too!!" Dawn shouted as she pounded aggressively on the door.

Buffy stilled briefly and, as if nothing was wrong, teased her sister.

"What? Is there a hot date that you didn't tell me about?"

"Ha!! If I had one, It be through a web cam as he'd be far away from your death threats!! Now hurry up, I'm going out with Chelsea!"

As Buffy quickly dressed, she wondered what it would be like to no longer be here in this big, full mansion with some of her old friends and too many adolescents running about. What would happen if she just walked out on her responsibilities? It was such a tantalizing inquiry that she forgot about Dawn. Well, until the pounding resumed.

"I'll be out in a bit!" Buffy shouted to her sister.

"Yeah? Think you could get out of there even quicker? Like now?!"

And with those snide questions, a sudden clarity hit her. Why was she secretly killing herself slowly? Why did she put so much effort in appearances when she felt so much apathy towards her loved ones? Why did she have to be a shell of what she once was? How could she become happy and full of life once again? Buffy felt over whelmed, lost, and angry as she grabbed the door handle.

"Dawn." Buffy blandly said as the door opened to a long, brown haired 17 year old teenager.

"About time!!" Dawn said with annoyance as she rushed past Buffy without any awareness to the shift in her sister's demeanor.

With only a quick glance at her sister's form, Buffy walked out of the bathroom. She breathed deeply, feeling the air in her lungs as she wondered what she'd eat for dinner. Maybe, oatmeal would be appropriate as breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Buffy's lips quirked a bit upwards at that thought.

Buffy's steps towards the stairs were slow, determined as she continued to think about her realization. It had been so long since she had truly been happy, even before her start as a slayer. Something always seemed to happen that seemed to drag her further down. Yes, her life hadn't been completely horrid until her death, but now as she looked back on her life something seemed wrong.

Buffy grabbed hold on the banisters for support when a wave of despair ran through her.

"Is there something wrong with me? Have I always been like this?" Buffy whispered to herself.

Her right hand became clenched together and she gritted her teeth. No thoughts of whether her inner Slayer was involved in her dilemma. She understood the Slayer had come after her beginnings with her chronic sadness and pain. So it had to be something else.

Loud laughter, noise, and young teenager voices quickly reached Buffy's ears. Swiftly, Buffy started descending the stairs in an attempt to avoid the young girls.

"That was so cool!! I love Dr. Hemmingway!! She's so smart!!" a pretty redhead teen exclaimed.

"Yeah!! I like it how she makes psychology so much fun to learn. Even with the stuff about Depression. She made it so understandable with the case studies." another ravened haired teen replied to her friend.

Her friend nodded exuberantly.

"I wonder if my friend, Nicole, back at home as it..." the redhead said hesitantly.

"Hey! Maybe you could email her tonight some of the case studies. You could tell me what you just said about how cool our teacher is and what we learned about. That way she doesn't feel pressured or in the spotlight. Does that sound good?" The darker haired friend asked her friend sympathetically.

Buffy paused her descent briefly, but the effects were immediate. How could she haven't known? Involuntarily, her throat tightened on her with a sense of doom. Her breathing increased and became shallower as she crumpled with her hands gripping tightly to the banister.

"I'm not okay. I'm not! Why can't anyone see this? I don't want to be like this anymore!!" Buffy fearfully cried out.

As Buffy struggled to calm her breathing, her phone began to vibrate loudly. She ignored it, but it seemed that the caller was being persistent today. After the fifth incoming call, she shakily withdrew the phone and saw a unfamiliar number. With disinterest, she tucked her phone away as she carefully stood back up. Right now, she couldn't bare to talk or be around people. So as far as she was concerned, it was time to start taking care of herself. Damn her responsibilities, friends, her sister, and the rest of the world. She was done taking care of others when she had been needing to save herself for years.

"Time to go..." Buffy said with forced determination.

The End

You have reached the end of "Reality and Realizations". This story is complete.

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