The wondrous feeling I had floating among the clouds in a land of my own making was something I couldn’t accurately describe. There just weren’t special enough words to detail it. Nothing could compare to absolute peace and tranquility I had experienced there. It was heavenly, pun intended.
And I missed it.
To be thrust into my own body, my own dead human body was pain. All pain. My eyes filling with sense, my body thrumming with my moving blood and a beating heart. Everything hurt, from my hair to my toes. Everything became … alive. Questions and thoughts stabbed through my brain, making my head hurt even more. It was like lightning firing into every part of me.
Where was I? Why does it hurt? A few questions among many.
My eyes cleared somewhat and I could just make out where I was. It was dark but with my slayer enhanced sight I could see white fabric surrounding me. I reached out a hand and touched it … satin. It was soft under my hand and a brief wondering thought of why I would be surrounded by satin entered my head before I finally knew. Before the realization of where I truly was engulfed me.
I was in my coffin!
What the fuck?
Why the hell is this happening?
I started to panic, my heart beating loudly, my hands shaking as I clawed at the material. I felt like I couldn’t pull in enough air and I gulped it in greedily, not even thinking about conserving. I tried to calm down. I tried to even everything out but I couldn’t get control.
I was in hardcore slayer mode now. Survival at its most intense. I clawed and scraped, the satin shredding under my nails. A feeling of relief went over me as my hands felt the lacquered wood of my coffin. I ran my hands along it slightly almost lovingly before punching my way through.
If anyone had been standing near my grave, they never would have believed their eyes at what was happening. My hand thrust up out of the mud, followed by a very dirty and panicked me. I shook my dirt caked hair and gasped for air. My lungs burned with the force of my breathing and the feeling of air passing through them again.
I tried to get my bearings, knowing I was in the cemetery. I finished pulling myself out of my grave and tucked my feet beneath me, spitting out dirt and wiping at my streaming eyes. I wanted to scream and cry bitterly. I wanted to demand why I was returned to this place. I wanted to know what I could have possibly done to be cast out of heaven.
If I had the strength I would have stamped my foot and screamed all my frustrations out. I would have pulled at my hair and kicked any and all things in my way.
Instead I looked to the moon lit sky and got unsteadily to my feet. My knees shook a little and I grabbed onto the headstone to steady myself. I willed strength to my wobbling legs and with a slight cry I started to walk.
I was incredibly disoriented in my head but my feet … they knew where to go. My body moved on auto pilot, retracing the last steps it took. I know I fought some demons, I felt the earlier fight like a bruise on my skin. I felt the heat from the fires that burnt. I heard the blast of motorcycles and the breaking of glass. But that didn’t deter me from where I knew I was meant to go. A flash of Willow and my friends crossed my sight but again it didn’t make me stop.
A shudder ran through me as I find what I was looking for. My eyes growing wide as I stare up at the structure… at the place where I died. It was wobbly and rickety and I held onto the pipes as I climbed the tower. The mounting danger as I went higher didn’t faze me. I needed to play this out.
Whatever that meant.
Before I know it I am standing on the platform. A feeling of dread washes through me and I see flashbacks of the last time I was here. Playing like a movie against my eyes.
Dawn looks at me with horror stamped in her eyes. “Buffy no!”
“Dawnie I have to,” I hear myself saying. I run to her and hug her, holding her shaking body against mine. I whisper in her ear and kiss her cheek. Turning I run and jump…
“Buffy?” A voice says behind me. Shaking me from my flashback.
I turn slowly and my eyes land on my sister. She is looking at me as if I’m a ghost. I want to run to her but I can’t. I’m stuck in the past, the events of my death still playing.
“Buffy…” she says again, uncertainy plain in her face, her voice full of longing and disbelief.
I can’t take it and I turn around, staring down at where I jumped. Is this why I was brought back to earth? Why I was brought back to the land of living? To jump again? To die … again? I’ve died twice now. I know they say third time’s a charm but come on.
Dawn is chattering along behind me, nervously. It’s as if she knows what I’m thinking. If only she truly knew the thoughts plaguing my mind. I wanted to go back to heaven. To my own imagination and happiness. I didn’t want to be here. I did this already. It was too hard and too painful.
I know Dawn’s talking, begging me to turn around. To not look down but I can’t help myself. This is the last thing I saw while I was alive. I remember the jump. I remember the pain as it sliced through me. I remember gazing down at my broken body and feeling … relief? Was it relief? No it couldn’t have been that ... could it?
Dawn’s high pitched voice is piercing through me and I close my eyes against it. I just want to end this.
The structure shifts beneath me and again slayer mode kicks in. It’s almost like I have no control. My body does what it always has done. Protect those who need protection. I turn around and Dawn raises panicked eyes to mine. I take in a deep breath and run, grabbing her and flinging us down the rickety tower as it shakes around us.
We are thrown to the bottom and before we can sigh in relief we are rolling again, the metal monstrosity crumbling down. I grab Dawn and pull, running for safety as the tower falls with a deafening crash.
We are both breathing hard from exertion and the feel of adrenaline pouring through our veins.
Dawn is touching my face, tears sliding down her face as she says my name over and over again. I wish I could say something back, something to make her feel better but I’m overwhelmed.
“You’re here…you’re really here,” she says as she pulls me into a hug.
This I can do and I wrap my arms around her tightly as she cries. Knowing that my arms will convey things I cannot bring myself to say.
Images started to form in my mind as I held Dawn. Spike broken, his face bloodied, his eyes on my dead body. The absolute anguish in his face as he put his head in his hands and wept. A hot salty tear slides down my cheek and I wipe at it. My heart starts to pound and I want to see him, to hold him. To show him I am here. That the impossible had happened. I want to erase the anguish and guilt he has been feeling since that day.
And then it occurred to me. Maybe I wasn’t meant to go to heaven. Maybe I was in a holding area … waiting for my inevitable trip back.