Between Light and Nowhere

BY : ProphecyGirl
Category: -Buffy the Vampire Slayer > FemmeSlash - Female/Female > Buffy/Faith
Dragon prints: 1631
Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and make no money from this story.

Oh I'm scared of the middle place

Between light and nowhere

I don't want to be the one

Left in there, left in there



  • Avicii, "Hope There's Someone"

 

Prologue

[Sunnydale, 2000]

Words they come and memories all repeat

I lift your head while they change the hospital sheets

And I would never lie to you, no

I would never lie to you, no

I felt you long after we were through, we were through

The plans I make still have you in them

Cause you come swimming into view

And I'm hanging on your words, like I always used to do

The words they use so lightly, I only feel for you

I only know because I carry you around

In the background

- Third Eye Blind, "The Background"

Her hand was cold. Not like ice; nothing so sharp and angular as that. Despite the bones showing through her pale flesh and her jaundiced, sunken face, her hands were still soft in their cool translucence. Like someone had pumped out her blood and replaced it with ice water. I sat quietly, my hand in hers, and wished as I always did for a twitch. One single jerk. The doctors said they were just muscular contractions; her body fighting atrophy. But they didn't know Faith like I did. Somewhere inside this shrinking shell of a body, Faith was buried and trying to claw her way out; I knew this with the same certainty that I knew the sky was blue or the grass was green.

The room was cold, too, and the air thick with the smell of antiseptic. Usually the hospital was bustling with noises and beeping machines, but down here in this.. basement, this dungeon, it was as silent as always. I tried not to think too much about the machine that should have been singing angrily as I watched the flat line zip across the screen. A few electrodes dangled from the neck of her gown, and it struck me that if I couldn't see her chest rising and falling slowly, if she really were dead.. nobody would even notice.

I watched the clear tubing push a milky fluid into her stomach, feeding her, and wondered if she wouldn't have been better off dead at this point. Left down here to rot. What was the point? But probably that was my own guilt talking, because part of me was terrified that she would wake up, and she would see what I did to her, and she would hate me even more, and I wouldn't know what to do. I'd stabbed her, sure, but she jumped off that rooftop. I didn't push her. I couldn't have pushed her. I couldn't have fed her to Angel either, and that was clear to me the moment I stepped into her apartment. I was all hat and no cattle, and that was the worst part of it all. I didn't go after her to save Angel, not really. I went after her because I was angry, because I wanted her to face her failures and just stop it, like an undisciplined child. In my dreams, that's what I always said to her. Please stop it, Faith. Just stop. Maybe if I'd listened to her instead of scolding her..

This is your fault, the voice in my head said. You did this to her. You trapped her in a lifeless body and left her here to be abandoned by everyone. After all those promises you made, you left her trapped in a basement where nobody cares if her lines clog or her bags burst. She's in a coma, so what does it matter if she's covered in her own piss, right? Poor Faith, abandoned by everyone. And you made all those promises..

"I didn't abandon you," I whisper quietly, because that voice in my head always belongs to her, it's always her blaming me. "I'm right here." But I can't even tell if I'm trying to convince her or myself. Sure, I'm here holding her hand, but what's it worth if I can only be around her while she's unconscious?

Nobody knew I was here; nobody knew where I disappeared to. Nobody asked, though, so maybe they did know. Maybe they suspected.

Angel probably knew.

He had that incredibly annoying habit of knowing everything I was feeling before I even knew I was feeling it, even from LA. Just like he'd known, looking into my eyes as he died from the poison coursing through his dead veins, that I would do what I had to, to save him, but that I didn’t want to do it. That it was more from obligation than anything else. After all, I had really been the one responsible for the monster Faith had turned into. I had been the one responsible for her jealousy of the vampire that, she felt, was the only reason she was the other woman.

I was responsible for both of their pain, and as I'd watched Faith's body (there was so much blood, how could anyone survive that much blood loss, does this even count as surviving?) free-fall through the air and land with a series of sickening cracks into the truck bed below, I knew I couldn't save her. With that guilt heavy on my conscience, I'd beaten Angel with anger coursing through my veins until he was helpless to stop himself. I often wondered whether my rage was palatable—whether Angel could taste my anger and self-hatred flowing over his tongue. Whether he knew how much I hated him in that moment even though it was her that made me choose between them. Whether it bothered him that I had given him my life out of obligation. Whether he could taste her in my blood, too.

But that’s Buffy in a nutshell, isn’t it? Do the right thing. The responsible thing. He loved me; he always loved me. Something in me responded to him and loved him back in the best way I knew how, but it was never like it was with Faith. I never felt that electricity, the static that sparked between us. Everything with Faith felt good and it was so different from the sadness that saturated and ruined everything that existed between me and Angel.

Even sitting there, holding her icy and unresponsive hand, I felt the warmth of our connection.

It was stupid. We would never have a life together, we would never be a couple and go to the movies and ice skate and give each other massages after a long day. Ironically, in this position Faith would probably outlive me by years. I hoped she wouldn’t, though. Because once I was gone, she really would be alone.

I thought of us a lot; dancing at the Bronze, helping her with her GED, going to college together. Stupid school girl dreams. I couldn’t explain it, but even after everything that happened I wanted to be with her. And part of me was angry with her for ruining that. The rest of me was angry with myself. If I had taken her hand like this sooner; if I had said something in the alley that night. If I had just been there for her and let her know, then maybe things would have been different. Instead of asking her why she betrayed me, why she went to the mayor, I should have asked why I betrayed her; why I let her go.

The regret overcame me like it always does and I released her hand, standing up. In my head, her eyes stared up at me accusingly from underneath darkened lids. Leaving already? Can’t handle it? Pussy.

“I have things I need to do,” I whispered lamely.

Yeah, whatever B. Just leave me here like you always do. It should be you in this bed. You wanted to save Angel, you should have done it; not tried to feed me to him like I was just a slab of meat. Throw me to the wolves, no problem.

“I can’t keep having this fight with you.”

It’s not me. I’m practically dead, B. I’m not arguing with anyone anymore. You keep arguin’ with an unconscious person, though, and they might chain you to the bed next to me. Pump you full of Thorazine and drug that crazy right out of ya.

I swallowed hard, looking at her, but she lay still as ever. I touched the back of her hand lightly, hoping one last time for one of those rare defiant twitches, but there was no reaction. She was gone; gone from everywhere and everyone. It was just me left. She had machines feeding her and going to the bathroom for her and staving off atrophy for her. I was the only one with a heartbeat who cared anymore, who appreciated that her heart was still beating too.

With those thoughts swimming in my head, I shouldered my purse and walked back upstairs to my mother's room. I curled up against Dawn in the recliner and, with my forehead pressed against the back of her head, I slept fitfully and dreamed of my mother, Faith, and cousin Celia. Their ghosts springing from their hospital beds and circling me, their voices listing the many ways I'd failed them.



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