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This story is No. 9 in the series "Birthday Insanity Challenge Ficlets". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: 28 mostly unrelated ficlets to celebrate 28 years. Multicross.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Multiple Crossings > Multiple Pairings > Ficlet Collections - OtherJmariaFR15127,9721196,2594 Dec 122 Mar 13No

Two: I Understand Why You Can’t Raise Your Voice *

Series: 28 for 28
Title: Two: I Understand Why You Can’t Raise Your Voice to Say
Author: Jmaria
Rating: FR-15
Disclaimer: Joss owns Buffyverse
Spoilers: Season 7.
Series Summary: Twenty-eight stories and crossings of worlds (read: insanity) to celebrate twenty-eight years.
Part Summary: Trying to figure out how it all works.
Words: 551
Title Quote Source: Run by Snow Patrol
A/N: Not Resurrected ‘Verse (well, maybe, if you squint.)

28 for 28
Two: I Understand Why You Can’t Raise Your Voice to Say

“Don’t go,” it was quiet. But was it enough to actually stop him from walking out the door? She could only hope. And she wasn’t big on hope these days.

“I’m not going far,” Graham’s eyes rested gently on hers, and it was enough to restart her breathing.

“You’re leaving the room -”

“But I’m not Ri. I’m not going for good.”

There went her breath again. Whooshing right out of her chest. Why? Why now, after god knew how many years since she’d seen him last - had he shown up to wreck havoc in her life? Buffy wasn’t stupid. She’d seen his eyes on her, back when Riley had taken up residence in her mind. But never her heart. Not totally. Did Graham see that even back then? That she wasn’t totally committed to his friend, his leader?

“Don’t have a great track record with men not leaving me. Merrick, Pike, my Dad, Angel, Riley, Giles, Spike -”

“Am I like any of them?”

“I don’t know. Are you?”

“How many of them have your heart?”

“All of them,” but that was a lie. Kind of.

“You don’t get how much they - most of them, your dickhead of a father not included - would have killed for you. Would have died for you. Spike did. I know he did the world that one good turn because of you,” Graham said quietly, stepping back into her space. He was shorter than Riley had been, but like most people, he still towered over her. “Two died for you, three killed for you, but did any of them really get the heart of you?”

“What makes you think you can get the heart of me?” Buffy tilted her head back, hands on her hips.

“We’re having this conversation, means I at least am making some headway,” his lips tipped up at the corner of his mouth. “You asking me to not go, means that headway is getting greater.”

“Little cocky, aren’t you?” Buffy cleared her throat. It was the first time in a long time - at least since Sunnydale - that she felt uncertain.

“I followed orders for so long. I’m not the kind who makes waves. Had you not been so wrapped up in Ri all those years ago, I might have had to change who I was to get you to notice me. But, then, you weren’t where you needed to be.”

“To be with you?” That drew her mouth down in a frown.

“We weren’t done getting to the people we both needed to be.”

She drew in a shaky breath. A step taken back, and he immediately he stepped into the breach. Because that was Graham. He could be terrified out of his mind, uncertain of the way the play was going to go, but he would always take that step firmly forward. He got that she hadn’t been there yet back when she was 18 and unsure of herself. When he’d been merely taking orders and not thinking past that.

“Cookie-me,” she said quietly.

“Cookie us,” Graham’s hand came up to her cheek. “No hesitation, no question.”

“And you knew that nearly a decade ago?”

“One of us had to know. You had enough on your mind back then, and I was willing to wait.”
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