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Cold and Smooth in the Purple Dusk

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She no longer questioned her dreams. They’d told her little, of late—Buffy wondered if that was another change, another way she was different from the girl who’d gone into the ground. She slept, and they were muddled, grey; she woke without knowing, as if she’d just closed her eyes, though the changing light around her said otherwise.

Whenever they were clear, she’d wish they hadn’t been. She went to Spike to escape, not to have him follow her even in sleep, with demands and a hunger she could not satisfy. Every time she remembered he had them she felt the hole she was still in growing deeper, and she sunk onto him more fiercely to escape the cold dirt feel against her fingers.

There was a time when she would have looked to magic, a demon; it was not unreasonable, in the life that bound her. Maybe, Buffy thought, that girl deserved a shot at being listened to. A way out. Mindful of Willow, of what she could and could not ask—remembering what she herself could not give—she went to Tara. Tara had provided a fix, with her resurrection, without going unstable. If anyone could provide a fix for the resurrection, solve the problem of it, it would be Tara, who could smooth things out with her words and the certainty that kept her away from the house and the needy people inside.

Tara couldn’t, and so after Buffy cried into her lap, Tara’s hands smoothing her hair, Buffy took those hands, calloused from cooking up magic. She held them in her own, calloused from weapons wearing into her skin, and rose from her knees to wedge Tara’s apart, slide onto her lap, press a kiss on those smooth lips, to fill her dreams with something warm.