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The Tragedy of Being

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The sun was bright and shining high as the sickly-sweet sonic voice of the radio broke the silence that filled the beat-up old car.

'Sunnydale. A small quiet suburban dream, where your neighbours become your family and your family become your friends. Sunnydale, where your new life is waiting….'

Chestnut brown eyes left the road for a moment to lock with the stormy blue orbs of the passenger in sharing a single thought 'Yeah, waiting to end.'

Believe it or not, not all the people of the small Californian town were completely ignorant, just because people decided not to talk about the blood on the walls, didn't mean they were blind to it.

Take these two for example, yeah, that middle-aged guy with the salt and pepper beard and silver streaked black hair that was driving, and the little redheaded girl with her perfectly painted crimson lips and ivory kissed skin, sat staring bored out the window.

Jim and Norrie Glass; Father and daughter. They'd both lived in Sunnydale their whole lives and knew well and good that this little corner of sunshine was nothing short of truck stop for everything bad and between.

Maybe that was one of the reasons Jim insisted on driving her to school every day, to try and keep her from the monsters lurking in the shadow's for just one more morning or maybe it's because the old penny-pincher wouldn't buy her a car.

Honestly, she wasn't sure.

"Alright, so do you need a ride home?" the older man asked as they pulled up to the infamous hell known as Sunnydale High.

Norrie was checking her backpack with a brief shake of her head "Alex is dropping Jane off after practice."

Jim eyed his daughter with the worry only a parent could know "good, good, now straight home okay, no clubbing…"

"…on a school night, I know. I also know the emergency numbers and not to talk to strangers." Norrie's dark blue eyes and butter wouldn't melt tone where dripping with sarcasm as her head tilted towards her father.

With a deep breath Jim gave a half-hearted chuckle "okay, okay I get it. Just… be careful."

"Always. Love you, Daddy." Norrie smiled her bright hundred watts smile before leaving a quick red lipstick mark on her father's cheek.

"love you too, Peanut." Jim called after her as Norrie strolled out of the car like she was ready for war in her wine-coloured stilettos.

He watched her until she found the safety of her friends, almost hesitant to leave until the radio on his dash crackled to life "314, this is Base, do you copy?"

Jim sighed heavily while snatching up the radio "Base this is 314. Over."

"we have a 10-15 off Peach and Main, over."

"314, on route, over." And with that screeching sirens and flashing red and blue bleared from the car as he raced off down the overcrowded street.

Norrie watched her father leave with blank stare, that is until a pair of black painted fingers clicked in the redhead's face "earth to Norrie!"

Kat, the little Asian girl dressed head to toe in different shades of black was watching Norrie and had obviously been saying something when Norrie spaced out "Sorry, I'm lacking caffeination."

"Oh, here, have some." A mocha tinted hand pretty much shoved a flask into Norrie's face.

"Thanks, but we've made that mistake before, your coffee tastes like ground dirt." Jane just smiled with a roll of her onyx eyes, while fixing the collar of her green blouse "fine, but when you're dropping Z's in Bio don't come crying to me."

"don't worry, I won't." The two girls shared a playful smile before Kat groaned at the sight over the redhead's shoulder "bitch alert!"

"Out of my way, freak brigade!"

Cordelia shoved past the small trio with little more than annoyance at their existence while they stared at her in distain, and Kat sneered "one day I'm going to shove that crown of entitlement so far up queen C's ass she'll be spitting diamonds."

"It actually hurts my brain to think you and she were friends, where you concussed the whole time or what?"

Norrie sent Jane a lukewarm glare before shrugging off any effort it would take to actually be annoyed "I wish… by the way if my dad asks tell him I got a ride home with you and Alex."

"Are you ever going to tell him you quit cheerleading and stop all this lying?"

"Are you going to tell Alex that the only cherry he's ever popped is his own? And I don't lie, I just told him Alex was giving you a ride, he made his own assumption's."

"Fine, but you owe me a smoothie." Jane demanded with a sip of her coffee.

The bell blared right down their ears and Kat complained "if you two are done? We have class!"

The other two girls cast a quick glance before Norrie spat "Since when the fuck have you ever cared about class?"

"Since my Parents started looking at military school pamphlets after they saw my report card." Kat was all but dragging her friends at this point.

Yeah, because some military training would be so bad in this town.

The day was passing in that usual bleary haze, class, laughing, boredom, class. Norrie's weekly visits to the guidance counsellor was one of the few things that broke up her mundane routine, until that to became part of it.

"Well principal Snyder seemed happier with your grades, he's starting to wonder if you need me anymore."

"I didn't need you in the first place." Mr Platt gave a sad smile to the redheaded girl who dismissed him to examine her nails.

"No, you didn't. but you do need something. Elenore you experienced something extremely traumatic and tragic and you act like it doesn't phase you, like it didn't matter."

"It's all that matters!" the dark blue of her eyes became almost black with rage, her fingers gripping the chair so tight the wood was leaving splinters, but her voice was calm, almost mechanical "but it doesn't change anything does it, it happened, but I'm still here. Living my life. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do?"

"You're not supposed to do anything, Elenore, but you do need to deal with this. Burying it wont help you. You've been coming in here now for nearly a year… why wont you let anyone help you?"

"Because there's nothing to help." Mr Platt watched her resignedly, sighing in defeat as the lunch bell echoed down the halls.

"looks like our time is up."

Elenore didn't think twice before she stood up, fanning out her power pink skirt as she took her exit. She didn't feel bad about how disappointed Mr Platt was; she didn't feel much of anything these days…

"Do you guys even believe what this place tries to pass off as food?" Jane snarled at her plate of leaking sloppy Joe and tatter tots, before pushing the tray over to Kat, who wiped up the spilled meat, if you could call it that, with her finger and licked it unceremoniously "you're such a snob! Tastes good to me."

"Because your stomach is made of lead!" a gruff voice bounced down between the caramel skinned beauty and the angry Asian goth, leaving a kiss on Janes cheek as Kat shoved her perfectly packaged home-made sushi towards the other girl.

It's kind of ironic how much Kat hated Asian food; don't tell her parents though.

"I think that was almost a compliment." Norrie smiled, popping the lid off her own packed lunch.

The blonde, curly haired boy recoiled mockingly as he stole a tot from Kat's tray "yeah because that's going to happen!"

"Where have you been all-day? You missed French." Jane tried not to pout as she snuggled closer to her boyfriend.

"Babe I love you, but it's time to face the facts; me and French, it's just not going to work out." Alex smirked as he tried to pinch another Tatter tot only for Kat to slap his hand and grimace in disgust "my god, you loved up monsters make me sick."

Jane and Alex laughed and made kissy faces just to bug the crap out of Kat who tried desperately to change the subject "speaking of Monster's, where's Billy?"

"last I saw he was roughing up some guy in the hall." Alex mumbled around a mouth full of tots he'd managed to swipe from Kat.

"Why this time?" Jane gave an eye roll at Billy's predictably.

In that same moment a boy with a cocky smile and deep green hazed eyes plucked a strawberry from Norrie's lunchbox "how about you mind your own beeswax?"

"Billy…" Alex sent his best friend a warning glare.

"Oh relax, man. Like I'd really threaten my girls' girl." Billy smiled innocently at Norrie, who moved to fix a stray chestnut lock on his perfectly styled head with a proud smile.

"So, what have you been up to today, besides beating up jocks that is?" to anyone who didn't know better, Norrie's reaction to her boyfriend's bruised knuckles and the small splatter of blood on his jacket would seem flippant, maybe even ignorant but the truth is… she just didn't give a shit.

"This and that… I might actually go to English." Billy gave his brilliantly sweet smile, arm swinging around Norrie's shoulders as he picked at her lunch.

"Mr Danes might have a heart attack! Oh, and I need to go to the library."

"We have a library? I just thought that room was decorative." Jane laughed with a pop of some raw fish into her mouth.

The small group laughed, completely emerging themselves in their everyday routine and blind to Norrie forcing the muscles on her face to try and mimic a smile.

It wasn't long until the bell when the group split, leaving Billy to wrap his arm possessively at Norrie's waist "So Halloween's coming up, what are we thinking? Henry's annual party, might be a rave or two going on?"

"I don't know, depends on where Daddy's going to be stationed that night. Do you have a costume yet?"

"I didn't know we'd picked a theme?" Billy said, while glaring at some guy with fresh bruises from across the hall.

"I was thinking we do our own costumes this year, to be honest I'm still kind of pissed you guys made me go as that airhead last year." Norrie couldn't help but grimaces at the memory of their last Halloween outing while pushing past the library doors "you weren't an airhead, Daphne's one hot Babe!"

"She's the idiot that always gets kidnapped and is only even there because she's clearly screwing Fred, I would have taken being Scooby over that idiot!"

"Too bad Kat wouldn't trade with you, you'd make a Foxy dog."

"Shut up!"

The pair stood at the library desk for a second, Norrie tapping her blood red nails on the counter waiting for some attention from the Librarian; his back to them as he mumbled to a not unfamiliar trio shrouded under the dim lights.

"Erm, excuse me!" Norrie's shrill tone seemed to catch them off guard and make Billy bite back a laugh from behind her.

"Yes, may I help you?" Giles asked in mild shock while starting to clean his glasses. The three teenagers looking sheepishly to their intruders.

"I'm here for my book… Rebecca?... Daphne du Maurier? You said you'd have it by today." Norrie rolled her finger in the air for a dramatic effect of the trying to turn the old English mans cogs into gear.

"Yes, right you're the young lady from the other day. I do apologise, I have it right here for you." Giles scurried into his office, trying to get these two out of the library quickly so he could return to the latest disaster.

Norrie cast a glance at the three and offered a hollow smile to the only other redhead in the room "Love the Jellies, Rosenberg."

"Hey! …wait… what are Jellies'?" Xander piped his silly little head up to try and fail to protect his best friend while said best friend hid behind a curtain of red hair and the blonde in the small skirt rolled those big green eyes with a fold of her arms.

Norrie felt Billy begin to move and held up her hand to stop him beating the crap out of the weaker boy; after all she'd more than heard whisperings about Buffy, the perky little blonde that had been popping up all over the place ever since she moved to town, if there was trouble, that girl and her little tag team were never far behind.

"Relax Harris." She spat his name like it was dirt in her mouth "it was a compliment; Not that you'd know what that is."

"Shoe's Xand, she's talking about Will's shoe's." Buffy quickly educated the boy as Giles emerged from his office.

The boy took a quick peek at Willow's feet and smiled stupidly "Right, Jellies'; because they're all with the see-through and look all sponge-like. I get it now."

"If you would sign here please." Giles broke the gauche tension and handed Norrie a pen along with the sign out book "I hope you don't mind my prying, but this book doesn't seem to be in the school's syllabus."

Norrie quickly scribbled her name with a blistering glare to the librarian "is there something wrong with a girl who enjoys good literature?"

"No, no not at all, however this seems unusual reading material of choice by someone so…" his eyes locked with her stormy blue orbs and Giles fought the urge to look away in embarrassment at her intense and reserved frown "no, of course not, my apologies. Please enjoy."

Her claw like nails snatched the book from the desk as she stormed out with her head held high, a stance of a queen, Billy grinning like the Cheshire cat at he gave a two-finger salute and a sly wink, just to make Willow squirm, before following after his girlfriend "see you round, boys and girls."

"what an… intense young lady."

"Yeah, that's one word for her, Elenore Glass, aka Norrie the ice queen of the north." Xander joked as he swung his sneakers onto the table. Buffy poked out her bottom lip in thought "she sits behind me in French. I've never really talked to her, she seems pretty much of the Cordette category."

"Her and Cordelia were actually like best friends right up to freshman year, I, um, well I don't really know what happened but Norrie's not so bad. We've buddied up in Bio a few times. Cordelia's mean because she's all popular having. Norrie's mean as like a person, with everyone, even teachers." Willow spoke like giving lip to an adult was one of the nine circles of hell. Then again for her I guess it was.

"Well I don't like her, she's all high and mighty. Like she's better than us with her perfect hair and Angelina Jolie lips and soft looking skin…"

"Xander! Come back to us." Buffy waved in the almost drooling boys face.

He jerked slightly further into his seat "Okay, I'm back. So, she's attractive, but my point still stands."

"There was a point in that hormonal drabble?" Giles asked without sparing the boy a glance, opting instead to brush Xander's feet off the five-hundred-year-old text they'd been resting on.

"Yes, that Norrie…"

"has soft looking skin?"

"Angelina Jolie lips?"

"Perfect hair?" Giles threw in the last one, sharing a poorly hidden grin with the girls on the group.

Xander waved his arms dramatically in the air, clearly annoyed "besides all that, Norrie is just a mean, mean girl!"

"Well be that as it may, I believe we have bigger things to focus on than this girls lack of polite etiquette. Now Buffy your sure the Demon said it wanted 'brains'?"

The last few classes came and went with little thought or care in mind, Norrie was emptying her locker when she noticed her best friends eager smile approaching "sweetie I love you but it's actually pretty frightening when you smile."

"Good! Now guess what?" Kat beamed, pretty much bouncing on the spot.

"Snyder revealed his true monstrous rodent form and everyone's banding together to lynch him?" Norrie's tone was almost hopeful, don't get me wrong she was far from hippy-dippy-Flute's biggest fan but at least the man wasn't a complete bastard.

"like Frankenstein?" if it had been anyone other than one of her best friends, Norrie's nails would be tearing out their eyes and not biting into her own hand right now.

"Frankenstein was the Scientist, the Monster had no name, ergo Frankenstein's monster. Now just spit it out!"

"Geeze alright keep your panties on. I just talked to Veronica and since you decided you weren't coming back they figured…"

"Their making you Jammer."

"I told V that if it wasn't cool with you I was so out, like beating-me-up-with-my-own-skates-for-asking out!"

Norrie could help the heat that rose to her chest, warming her heart as an actual genuine smile graced her ruby lips "Kat, it's fine, you deserve it. I'm happy for you?"

"For real"

"3d real"

Kat threw her arms around the redhead, almost knocking both into the lockers "Oh my god you're amazing! You're the best! I swear I won't let you down and the second your ready to come back, the crown is all totally yours."

"Thanks, but no thanks."

"We'll see. I got to go, Laura's giving us a ride to practice, you want to come watch, talk to the girls?" Kat had been bugging her to visit the rink ever since she quit last month, but every time she offered Norrie just wanted to crawl into a dark corner and feign sudden mutism.

"I'll pass, I have things to do." Kat looked disheartened before planting a kiss on her friend's cheek and racing off down the hall.

She understood Kat meant well, they'd started the whole Roller Derby thing together, sure as rivals but still. Norrie loved staking, she loved the rush and violence, she loved it all… at least she used to, but ever since last year, her heart just wasn't in it anymore.

Not in Roller Derby.

Not in cheerleading.

Not in waking up in the mornings, actually the idea of getting out of bed made her feel like an anvil was crushing her into the mattress.

That was just the way things were now, that's how she survived tomorrow.

Not that anyone really noticed.

The sun was starting to fall out of the sky, leaving a wash of pinks in its wake when our redheaded had managed to walk almost the edge of town, not to far from that ridiculous mosh pit style Fish Tank club.

In all honesty if you didn't know where you were you'd probably get lost, and you'd never even notice the large steel door of some nameless warehouse. That steel door just happened to be the one Norrie's knuckles gently rapped against as she looked straight into the security camera hanging just out of sight.

The door clicked open a second later, a large body builder like demon with sunken black eyes, blue pigmented skin and a white silk shirt smiled down to the small girl "Miss Elenore, a pleasure to house you this evening. May I take your coat?"

Shrugging the light black denim from her shoulder's Norrie smiled brightly "Good evening Ralf, is he here?"

"He's at the balcony table, as always Miss Elenore." The demon, Ralf, politely bowed his head as he hung her jacket in a makeshift coatroom behind a red velvet curtain.

"Thanks Ralf" Norrie took down the spiral staircase like a movie star took to the stage, stopping half way down and stepping onto to the balcony facing the rustic styled bar.

The Black Candle was a 20's style club, or maybe it was opened in the twenties and they just never updated; either way it was a nice place, classy. A definite step up from the rabble at Willy's that's for damn sure.

"Hey Kaz." There under the dim mood lighting, overlooking the crowd below was a hairy red demon (well more like furry), wearing a dark Armani suit as two almost human looking bodyguards stood either side of the red leather booth.

Black jagged fangs smirked at her as he stood, taking her hand and setting a tender kiss against her pale skin "Norrie, pleasured to have you. Please, sit."

Sliding into the booth Norrie took a look to the people below, demon, human and vampire alike… hey, throw in a few beer stained sofa's, scratches on the pool tables and a poorly paid band and it could be the Bronze.

But classier… and with Demon's.

She barely noticed when Kaz reclaimed his seat and slid an arm around her shoulders. She was too enthralled with the mob below as they all danced to the slow, jazzy song that was playing.

It made her want to scream!

How could they dance when the world they lived in was nothing but ugly, twisted, bullshit? She felt her first genuine emotion of the day then; hate.

"A scotch for me and get the lady a coke." Kaz spoke without even looking to the bouncers, one leaving to get the drinks. No, he was watching Norrie with his green serpent eyes and a flirty smile "so how have you been? You and that little human boy of yours?"

"Billy and I are fine. Do you have it?"

Kaz couldn't help his chuckle, shaking his head with a lick at his black fangs "straight to business then, here we are…"

His manicured claws pulled a small bag from his suit pocket, Norrie all but greedily reaching for it before Kaz snatched it just out of reach at the same moment their drinks arrived "Now, now." His finger tapped against his furry red cheek with a toothy grin.

Norrie, to her restraint, didn't roll her eyes but instead smiled sweetly, leaning in to put a stain of red lipstick into his fur; but that didn't happen.

At the last second Kaz whipped his head round so Norrie's lips locked with his own. Cupping her cheek to keep her close as he tried to deepen the kiss, but as his forked tongue brushed against her teeth the red-haired girl pulled away from him. Kaz watched her for a second, searched her eyes for some sort of reaction. But there was nothing, those fiery blue eyes may as well have been drained swimming pools.

"Thank you, Kazran."

He watched her stand and leave without even touching her drink or a backwards glance, only stopping to snatch the baggie from his hand before taking to the stairs with a sway of her hips. "Your welcome…" Kaz spoke to the empty space she left beside him, downing his scotch in a single gulp.

And not for the first time regarding Norrie, Kazran of the Negortie Clan wondered if he was doing the right thing?

Somehow during Norrie's short visit to The Black Candle the sun had abandoned sky, leaving the almost half moon and glittering stars to guide her home. So, slipping the baggie into her pocket she strolled along the docks, heading to her favourite little cafe…

'It was a shame to waste such a pretty night.' A familiar almost chipper voice echoed inside her head.

The night had led Norrie into one of the old parks, the café had been too crowded, all those people talking and living and breathing, it made her skin crawl. It actually became harder to hide her distain for people after dusk, the sun wasn't there to shine down like a spotlight and judge her anymore while the moon and stars were too tired to care, too busy fighting off the black sky to worry about one little girl.

.

At least that's how Norrie felt about the whole thing.

The swing creaked lightly as Norrie gently swayed along with the cooling breeze that only ever seemed to come after the sun finally went down. It was one of those rare moment when nothing else mattered or existed, she was just a girl sitting on a swing. And for a moment, that was enough… until it wasn't.

"Well now, what have we here?" the voice was soft, with a sharp edge as blue eyes shone from the shadows, such pretty blue eyes. It was the first thing Norrie noticed, well aside from the Billy Idol dye job "now what's a pretty little thing like you doing out here all on 'er lonesome?"

The shadowy figure had been watching her for the last six minutes; ever since he picked up her scent from outside the abandoned playground, she smelt divine, like sugar cubes and tulips. He couldn't scent any fear on her, not even after he took a few predatory steps closer, she just tilted her head, making her scarlet curls bounce as she sipped at her straw "can I finish my milkshake first?"

Her tone was dull but blunt, this, and her strange request made the stranger confused and inquisitive "come again, Pet?"

"Can I finish my drink before we get to the whole killing thing? Because I paid a nearly ten bucks for this thing, seems a waste is all."

With an arched brow, uncloaked from the shadows, the stranger gaped at the girl, as he inhaled the night air, he could sense she wasn't afraid. So his confusion took a sceptical and suspicious turn "Slayer…"

"What?"

"This is a bloody set up in'it!?" twirling around on the spot, the blonde haired guy called out into the darkness "come on out Slayer, jig is up. You want to kill ol' Spike, take more than some silly little chit to get me off guard, girly."

Norrie watched the vampire, with amusement that was quickly becoming annoyance "who are you talking to?"

Spike's nostrils flared in rage, how dare they try to trick him, how dare they think him a fool. He snatched Norrie up by her shoulder's, making the milkshake splash to the floor and onto Spikes boot's "Great, so much for last requests."

"where is she?" Spike snarled

"what the holy fuck are you talking about?" Norrie snapped, more than kind of pissed about her milkshake.

"the Slayer!"

"the band?" Spike eyed the girl, she wasn't lying, her heartbeat was steady and her face was twisted in confusion and aggravation.

And now it was Spike's turn to be confused "you're not one of her little pals, are you?"

"Who are you talking about? What are you talking about? Are you high? Have you been munching on stoners or something?" she shoved his arms off her, brushing out her clothes before groaning "whatever, I don't actually care…"

Spike took a second to eye the girl, she was a pretty little thing, almost reminded him of one of Dru's little dolly's, all porcelain skin and silken hair "you aren't afraid of me."

It was a statement, clear as day… or I guess night to him.

"Clearly." She was past annoyed now, she just wanted this absurd conversation over "well it's been strange, I'm going home."

Norrie turned on her heel and headed out of the park, Spike snapping out of his confused daze as he heard the gate close behind her "Oi!"

He chased her down the street, stopping in front of the redhead with his demon face slipping into place "now, where'd you think your goin', Kitten?"

"Home, I believe I covered this, unless you plan to talk me to death?" Norrie was getting tired of this game, folding her arms over her chest and tapping her toe to try and relay that to the vampire.

"What the bloody hell is wrong with you? A vampire decides to off you and you act like I'm a bleeding sales rep or somethin'!" Spike just didn't understand this, screaming, crying, a little begging. Okay a lot of begging, those things he knew, hell he reviled in; but this indifference he just didn't understand it. "you one these suicidal birds, all woe is me?"

"Oh, please don't flatter yourself. If I was going to kill myself I'd do with some class, like Marylin Monroe, not sit around waiting for some scrawny vamp like an idiot!"

"Who you callin' bloody scrawny?"

With a roll of her eyes Norrie made to go around him, but again Spike blocked her path, making her bump into his chest so she could get a feel at how un-scrawny he was.

They were almost nose to nose now, Spike could feel the heaving of her breast against him and chose then to inhale more of the sweet scent that was now strong with their new-found closeness "well now, hasn't this kitten got claws? Do you want to die, Kitten?"

It was supposed to be threating, but she didn't flinch, barely even a flutter of her eye lashes "it wasn't in my day planner but hey, this is Sunnydale. And my name is Norrie, I'm not a fucking cat!"

"So, 'cause you live on the Hellmouth you've just resound yourself to death, tha' it?" Spike growled in frustration, staking angry steps away as he feels a migraine coming on. "and what kind of bleeding name is Norrie, anyway?"

"…as in Elenore. And I'm sure your name is so much better!"

He straightens himself, giving her a toothy grin with as much pearly fang showing as possible, his demon yellow eyes watching her sinisterly "Spike."

There was a long moment as Norrie nodded "Great, I'm going to get killed by a guy with the same name as my dead dog!"

"You better watch it little girl."

"my god tell me you have an actual name, please because I just can't have people know a vampire sharing my dogs name killed me. The weekly memorial will turn into comedy hour."

"You really do have a bloody death wish don't you." He growls, burring his hand into the back of her scarlet curls and yanking hard.

She let out a high squeal of pain because hair pulling, yeah, owe! But she didn't back down, Elenore Glass was many things, a pathetic coward wasn't one of them "so what if I do, what do you care? Do you always play with your food or should I feel all tingly and special?"

Spike found his stomach was no longer growling, not because he wasn't hungry but because there was no joy to this kill, even a simple seduction feed was better than sheer apathy. Honestly, he found her lack of distress insulting.

He let her hair go with a defeated sigh and reached instead for his cigarettes, beginning to walk off as one touched his cold lips "so now you're not going to kill me?"

"Nope, your no fun… and I don't want to catch whatever buggered up mess it is goin' on in that head'o yours. You're one miserable bitch you know that?"

"It's been noted. Love the coat by the way." Norrie didn't feel relief that her death had been delayed for another day.

She didn't feel anything, nothing new.

So she just headed home, if she wasn't going to die tonight, then she might as well get home before her father does and kills her himself.

While across the other side of the street Spike was cussing to himself about the little bitch that had caught him off guard, he just wanted a quick meal before heading back to his wicked plum, she was getting worse, barely eating, it was breaking his heart to see her so weak, but for a moment in the heat off bitter annoyance and the closeness of that harsh, sweet scented girl he almost forgot why he'd ventured out in the first place.

The minions were running up the walls with their master's determined mindset of finding a cure for his black hearted princess. Then Dru was refusing to eat, he picked her up some pretty, little thing from the nice side of town but still she wouldn't eat, just sat having tea with her sodding dolls; ignoring how all this was torturing her devoted Spike.

So yeah, the man needed a breather, so stake him.

Then some high and mighty little cherry top has the audacity to just stand there, waiting for him to kill her… it was insulting. Where was the fear, the bloody scream for mercy, the respect?

Infuriating, bloody, women!

Norrie walked through the front door was greeted by a grey patched white cat that began nuzzling at her ankles "hey Muse, how was your day? Catch my mince, maybe a rat?" Dropping her keys into the bowl near the door, she leaned over to take the cat in her arms, stroking the soft warm fur.

Walking into her house the redhead knew she was safe from her father's steely glare thanks to the lack of light or noisy TV shows, she'd beat him home, not much of a shock these days; the only question was if he was sorting through the latest missing person's reports or getting wasted in some bar or another.

Not that it mattered much.

So Norrie went about her nightly routine;

Feed the cat.

Refill the birdfeeder.

Get rid of any dead things Muse had brought home.

Make dinner, Meatloaf and buttery mashed potatoes.

Put Jim's plate in the microwave.

Shower.

That was it, well unless Billy was going to call but she doubted it, he was 'working', dragging poor Alex along with him no doubt. Jane would be going over the new routine for the Cheer Squad and Kat would be celebrating her new position in the SunnyDevils.

That meant she was alone for the night.

Again.

Most people would probably feel lonely, maybe even a little secluded but in all honesty Norrie felt so much better without everyone around, staring at her, expecting her to smile, to laugh, to breathe.

The cold nothingness was easier, less demanding.

It was almost 1am, but Norrie wasn't feeling tired, however, she; her overly sweetened coco and her little baggie she got from Kaz headed upstairs.

She completely bypassed her own bedroom, clearly marked with the fabric pink roses pinned along the arch and a glittering red 'E' stuck against the white wooden door. Instead she headed to the door at the end of the hall, which didn't have any stupid decorations like hers did.

Norrie took each step into the room like she was walking on holy ground, she headed over to the wardrobe after setting her coco on the nightstand beside some brightly coloured makers, lingering to gaze along the butterfly's that had been so carefully framed on the walls beside the hastily pinned band posters. She pulled out a simple brown jumper, one she remembers calling ugly and boring as she now inhaled it like it's the first breath she's taken all day.

Grass and lilac and something else that was almost like sunshine.

Pulling the jumper over her slightly damp hair Norrie headed for the bed, sitting crossed legged as she took the small red poppy flowers from her baggie, crushing one in her hand before letting the remints fall into her coco and stared it in.

She was pretty grateful Kaz had contacts he did, despite how little she showed it, also it didn't hurt that he had a little thing for her. Maybe it was her hair, it would match his fur nicely in photo's.

She needed the Poppies; those sleeping pills from the doctors just weren't cutting it these days.

This was the only way she knew how to sleep anymore. The only way to fight off the nightmares that just kept getting worse.

Taking a long sip, a marshmallow bumping her nose, Norrie started pressing buttons on the VHS remote with barely a glance.

The TV screen flickered to life, showing the faded winter sun through a window and two figures stood in kitchen just down stairs, both wearing stupid novelty aprons.

"Oh my god, what are you doing?!"

"I don't know, the flour is in cohorts with the blender in a plot to destroy me!"

A small, sad laugh, a real laugh and real tears began to fall from the shell of a girl. She watched the screen like it was a religion, hell maybe it was.

"Come on, best get out of there before our little Peanut joins the alliance!" her fathers voice chuckled from behind the camera, it'd been so long since she'd heard that laugh.

Screen-Norrie just looked so pissed off at the mess that had been made from her just trying to do some damn baking. She remembered how angry she was, glaring at the camera and everything; not that it lasted.

"please, like my lil'Nor would ever do such a thing… she's more likely to have you offed than me."

A lean boy with black shaggy hair and the warmest brown eyes enveloped the redhead in a crippling hug, holding her so tight and forcing kisses onto her face and hair as he spoke "love, love you, don't be mad… love you Norrie!"

Norrie watched as her other-self giggled with a roll of her eyes, pretending to be mad about the mess as her brother broke through her ruse, making her laugh as he lovingly teased her.

They looked so happy.

So alive.

It made her want to die.

"Love you too, Charlie."