Speaking in the Dark
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
CHAPTER SIX – Speaking in the Dark
Buffy stood alone on her front porch looking into the night sky when she heard the door open behind her. Using the back of her hand she wiped the tears from her cheeks.
“I’m fine Cerridwyn. I’ll be inside in a little while.”
Jack cleared his throat. “Sorry, not exactly Cerridwyn. Is this a private party or can anyone join?”
Buffy smiled at him over her shoulder and gestured for him to join her. “Sorry, I don’t usually break down like that in front of strangers or for that matter tell strangers all my deep dark secrets.”
He looked down at the petite blonde next to him, “So why did you?”
“To be honest. I’m not really sure. Well, that’s not it exactly either. Despite just meeting all of you and despite your snarky comments I feel like I can trust you. Crazy I know and it will probably come back to bite me on the ass but there it is. Did you have more questions?”
“A few. You’re story was unbelievable to say the least but I’ve heard a lot of weird stories in my day. One story in particular comes to mind about a special ops unit called the Initiative. Ever heard of it?” Jack watched for her reaction out of the corner of his eye.
Buffy turned a hard stare on Jack trying to decide how to answer. She clenched her hands into fists thinking about all the damage done by the military in its efforts to control mystical forces it did not understand. Tersely she said, “I’ve heard of it.”
“I take it by your reaction the experience wasn’t all fun and games.”
“No, more like blood and death. What do you know about them Jack?”
“Not much. To be honest I thought the stories were a bunch of crap. But after what you told us…I’m not sure I can discount them.”
“You shouldn’t. The Initiative tried to control forces it didn’t understand. Tried to put the mystical into neat scientific categories. That attempt led to a wholesale slaughter of the majority of the soldiers involved.” Her tone became hard, “The mystical and the military don’t mix. The woman in charge of the program didn’t learn that and her attempt to mix them killed her. Some things are not meant to be controlled or at least not controlled in the manner the military wanted to.”
“I would think you could use the help.”
“No Jack. What the military didn’t understand is that a balance needs to be maintained on both sides of Earth’s mystical war. The military’s attempt to destroy what it called hostile subterrestrials put things out of balance. The balance was only restored at a terrible price.”
Jack looked up into the night sky thoughtfully trying to decide what to say next.
Buffy let the silence surround her waiting for his next question. Sometimes it amazed her how much she’d changed since rolling through the Chappa’ai. In her previous life she hadn’t been able to stand silence – in fact she would have just babbled along about nothing rather than stand there silently.
Finally, Jack spoke again, “It must have been strange suddenly finding yourself on a whole new world.”
“In some ways yes but in others it’s not that much different than home. I left one fight against evil for another. I’m still the Chosen One. I’m still responsible for the safety of my people. Those responsibilities have changed over the last few years. Since the Jaffa stopped coming. I don’t have to fight anymore. Part of me misses the action but the rest of me finds extreme satisfaction in my life here.”
Buffy thought quietly for a moment. “In Sunnydale there were so many expectations about how I was supposed to be. My friends, as much as I loved them, saw everything in black and white. I did too for a long time. But that’s not the way the world, either that one or this, works. There are so many shades of grey. Some of the choices I made back there were in that grey area. My friends couldn’t or wouldn’t understand. It made things hard. But here…my decisions are respected, I’m respected. I think in Sunnydale I was supposed to be perfect, the embodiment of good. It was a hard image to live up to.”
As Buffy spoke images of her friends reaction to her relationship with Angel both before and after Angelus swept through her mind. How all of them, even Angel, had pushed her to want normal. And god help her she’d tried to be exactly what all of them wanted. But it had never been enough and it had made her miserable. If she was honest with herself it was one of the reasons she’d jumped. She’d been so tired of trying to be the perfect slayer, perfect friend, perfect sister and perfect lover.
Buffy thought with regret of how she’d treated Spike. Even after he’d proved himself to them. His attempt to profess his love to her had been bizarre but that was Spike. She’d known even when she was chained to his crypt wall that he wouldn’t have hurt her. But the words she’d used - when she’d told him he was beneath her – she’d definitely been channeling the Buffy her friends wanted her to be. But Spike had been there – when her mother was sick, refusing to give up Dawn to Glory. She knew she hadn’t loved him but she was ashamed of the way she’d treated him. The last night on their way to fight Glory she hoped he’d understood that he was her friend.
Finally, Buffy shook herself out of her reverie. “Sorry Jack –just got lost in my memories. I’ve made a good life for myself here. It hasn’t always been perfect happiness but it’s closer than I’d ever thought I would get back in Sunnydale. Don’t get me wrong I miss my friends, my sister, but I’m happy here.”