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Safest Place

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Paradise Lost". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: She is breathing again, but her heart is still cold and she tries to hard, but it's never enough. Paradise Lost, Part Three

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: JeanClaude(Past Moderator)FaithUnbreakableFR1512,0142188,9485 Jun 055 Jun 05Yes
Disclaimer: Nothing mine. Don't sue.

A/N: I added a Series index with a matching fanart. So all of you who wanted me to keep going with this, here’s your answer. I’ll keep going. I’m thinking of writing some of the stuff before Buffy got pulled out of heaven, so any character and pairing preferences are welcome. I aim to please, ya know?

A/N2: Since I’m too damn lazy to go back and reread all those lovely reviews now, I’ll just go with the basic: Thank you all a lot, for reviewing and making me think about stuff and write more. I hope you this as much as I liked writing it. And don’t forget to drop me another line. Toodles and Good night.

Safest Place

Buffy once told Dawn that the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.

She knows now how wrong she was.

The hardest thing in this world is to live. Period. There are moments when she is sure the sky is falling and there is nowhere she can go. Nowhere she wants to go.

“I think this is the safest place in all the world.”

“What place?”

“The place right here in your arms, in this bed, ma petite d’or. It is the place where no evil in the world can take me from.”
(Little golden one)

She wakes up in her darkened room and turns to her side, reaching out for the phantom of a lover that will never be there again. Or she does something stupid and thinks that she has to remember to tell Asher, when he is back. And in the next moment she realizes that he will not be back.

“Tell me about your night, before we die.”

“There is nothing to tell, Asher.”

“Then tell me about nothing.” She looks at him, head cocked to one side, nose crunched up in confusion for a minute before she smiles, “I can try.”

And she talks.

She has been back for two months when Dawn asks for help with her French homework and when she skims over the text she remembers that she always had a D in French.

Hush, hush. Can’t tell baby where she’s been for the last century. Can’t speak French.

She shakes her head and tells Dawn to ask Willow, because she sucks at French and then she runs to her room and locks the door.

She slides down the wall beside the bed until she is nothing but a heap of clothes and disgusting life and she goes very still. She doesn’t even blink as she refuses to allow her body what it needs to survive. Vampires don’t need to breathe.

She loves it here, at the little lake, hidden away in an ocean of roses that make the night air heavy with perfume. She giggles madly as she jumps out of his reach and dives into the cool water, naked but never cold. She takes a few strokes before she hears him follow her with a splash and a laugh and then he is there, grabbing her around the waist with one arm and searching blindly for her face with his free hand.

He finds it in a wave of blonde hair that winds around her head like snakes and clouds and pulls her close for a water filled kiss.

Pulling away she giggles again, never ashamed of the sound, but amused by the few bubbles that escape her. Then she reclaims his mouth and they stay like that, below the surface long enough to have to run to reach safety before sunrise.

Maybe, if she stays like this for long enough the pain will subside enough for her to move again, to cry. But for now she just stays very still until her chest burns and her vision starts to swim and she never hated anything as much as she does her body in that moment, because it is alive.

Because he is not there to hold her and will never be again.

”The safest place? Then we’ll just have to stay here, yes?”

It’s almost a year later when she sits at her brand new desk in the brand new high school and listens to a girl stutter and whisper her way through a fairy tale where the big bad wolf who asks the little Red Riding Hood to come closer to the bed is her own father. It is one of those moments again, when the girl starts to cry and Buffy wishes for Valentina to be there, so she can teach the wolf a lesson. But there is no Valentina and there is no Asher and no Jean-Claude and all she can do is hold the sweet girl close as she cries like the world is ending.

The tiny vampire curtsies gracefully and then becomes very still, waiting for whatever may come. What she probably doesn’t expect is the soft hand that reaches down to cup her face and pull it upward.

Two pairs of eyes, both so young and yet so old meet and something passes between them.

“Did you kill the devil that killed you, my sweet?”

Valentina raises and eyebrow at the question, but only for a second. She is not the child she looks anymore, but she does appreciate a child’s way of asking questions, directly, and answering them truthfully. So she nods.

“He is dead, yes.”

Lissbeth nods, “good,” and pulls the small vampire closer to her and they start talking like old friends, while others look on in stunned silence. Trying to see what the two child women seem to have seen in the other.

Afterwards she sneaks into the basement and curls up around the sleeping form of her other vampire lover, the one who tried so hard and could never fill the hole where her heart used to be. And she cries.

She cries for all the what ifs and the hope she saw in Jean-Claude’s eyes whenever he let his guard down and for the love that always made the air between Asher and Julianna hum. She cries for Valentina’s tiny hand in hers as they walk through her rose garden and for the feeling of the night air soaring around her airborne body as she flies through the dark, happy as a child.

And afterward she locks it all up again and walks away because if her heart has to beat, it will always beat for him and for the world that she lost.

So she walks and talks and shops and sneezes, but silently she wishes for the flood to come and rip her away, though it never does. All she has are her moments of forced stillness, where even her thoughts stop until all she feels is the pain rising in her chest form the lack of oxygen.

Willow finds her like that once, not breathing, her heart rate slowed to a tortured crawl and her eyes focused on worlds none of her friends can ever hope to grasp. She shakes her and yells and panics. Buffy is only a heart beat away from peace, literally, when Xander comes and shakes her so hard her teeth rattle. She falls back into reality with an angry snarl and shoves them all off her before leaving the house.

She runs until she can almost feel him beside her and then lays down in the grass, covering old graves and whispered memories. It almost feels like home. She lies there staring at the sky for she doesn’t know how long, until she hears the soft sound of footsteps and smells the familiar mixture of cigarettes and leather.

Spike, all soulful and with eyes so blue, like his, lies down beside her and for a while they both stare at the stars with that inborn stillness that only a predator in their prime has. It is the stillness born out of the knowledge that if they wait long enough, their prey will make that one fatal mistake. Buffy used to be almost hyperactive once. Funny how the little things always give you away.

It is the vampire that finally breaks their silence.

“Want to tell me what’s wrong, pet?”

She doesn’t turn to look at him anymore than he does, but she reaches up, above her head to grab his cigarette before he can fully bring it up to his mouth. He waits for her to throw it away with a resigned sigh when she takes a deep drag and asks, “What makes you think that anything’s wrong?”

“You’re talking in your sleep. In French.”

She doesn’t respond, just keeps smoking his cigarette, because it gives her hands something to do and her mind something to concentrate on. No sense in denying what they both know to be true. Her words are much more numbered these days. It’s like her mind hasn’t caught up to the fact that she doesn’t have an eternity ahead of her anymore, only a few mortal years. Maybe only weeks, or days.

“Were you really in heaven?”

She answers, without hesitation this time, “Yes.”

He steals his smokes back and they stare again and it’s almost peaceful, although she wishes for Spike to be someone else. Not because she doesn’t want it to be him, but because she wants it to be him even more.

“Were there puffy white clouds in your heaven?”

That gets a smile out of her. “Of course.”

“Bloody hell, woman you know what I’m talking about. I’m trying to help here.”

“Of course there were clouds. We used to lie in the grass, just like this and watch them dance in the moonlight.”

“Who’s we?”

“My heart.” It is an odd answer, she knows, but Spike didn’t take care of a lunatic for over a century without learning how to understand what was never meant to be understood.

“How long was it really, where you were?”

Finally she turns so she is lying on her stomach and waits for him to do the same, so she can look into his eyes and let him see what she never wanted anyone to see.

“Not long enough. Not nearly long enough.”

She looks away, away from the clouds and the stars and the look on his face, but he doesn’t allow it for long. Cupping her cheek her pulls her face to face with him again.

“He was a vamp, right?”

She just looks at him, so silent she doesn’t appear like the girl he knew at all.

“I do speak French, you know?”


“You want ‘ta talk about it, luv?”

She shakes her head and pulls away, sitting up and turning away from him.

“You already did enough for me.”

The hand that reached for her a second ago drops away at her pained voice and out of the corner of her eye she sees his face crumble like ashes.

“You really never loved me, did you?”

Her head jerks up, because she doesn’t want to cause him pain, but she should have known that he would figure it out. The dead may tell no tales, but they see them all.

It is her turn to force him to meet her eyes and when he finally does she looks him deep in the eye and searches for a piece of truth in the both of them.

“Je t’aime”, she tells him in her quiet and dead voice, void of sunlight and the taste of candy cotton it once held.

“Je t’aime comme je peut, mais pas comme je devrais.”

She loves him like she can, but not like she should. It’s not what he wanted to hear, but it is more than he ever hoped to get from her.

He can go on with that. Quietly he pulls her close as her tears start to fall, for her lost love, her lost friends and the life she didn’t get to live, as well as for him and herself. She cries for them both while he holds her silently, because one of them has to stay strong.

She tries to love him like he deserves and he tries to keep his marbles together and become a man and although they both know that they can never succeed, they keep trying. They both have their moments, she quietly, he madly raving, but they try.

Tomorrow they will have to fight a war and battle to keep a bunch of innocent girls alive long enough to at least taste life, but tonight is for them.

Tomorrow they will try again, because sometimes it’s all we can do, but tonight is for grieving for their loves they can never have.

”Oui, ma petite d’or. We will stay here, for ever and always and nothing will be able to touch us.”

.:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:. .:.

The End

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