SPOILER WARNING: Spoilers for The Body.  This fic's fairly dark, so watch out.
RATING: PG-13 (imagery - I didn't do the blood/violence/sex that usually categorizes dark)
FEEDBACK: Aw, what the hell,  e-mail me.
SUMMARY: Remember that really old Tales From the Crypt where they digitally inserted Bogey into a murder mystery?  This is the same concept, but with Joyce.  Try to enjoy.  By the way, the title's taken from a Dusty Springfield song "I Wasn't Born to Follow" from the Dusty in London "album."  Just some trivia.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Buffy et. al. - Joss Does. The idea (and I use that phrase loosely) is mine. Try not to reprint this puppy if ya don't ask me first, ok?

    Wow.  So this is it, huh?  Not much different than being alive, really.  Here I lay, or lie... which was it?  I guess my English doesn't really matter now, does it?  Those lovely flowers, just out of my reach... if I could just get up to smell them again.  They smelled so lovely.  But I can't move.  My body's a dead weight, pardon the pun.  Where's Buffy?  She just has to hear about my date last night.  Wait - there's the key in the door.  I hear her calling "Mom!  Mom?" to find me.  Why doesn't she ever just come into the living room?  I'm right here on the couch, dear.  On second thought, don't come in here.  Go back out the front door, and go get someone who can handle this... go get Mr. Giles.  No, don't go to the flowers... don't turn around... oh God, she's seen me.  She's seen death before... she'll handle this ok... oh... "Mommy."  She just called me "mommy."  She hasn't called me that in, God... years.  She's shaking me now - dear, stop that, it's not going to work.  Go pick up the phone and dial 911... there you go.  Just tell the operator what's wrong... CPR.  Oh, that's not going to work, you know that - *crack*.  There broke a rib... I can faintly hear the operator on the phone: "That's not important."  No it isn't right now...  Buffy asks if she should make me warm.  I feel warm inside, I really do.  I just suppose that I'm not warm to the touch.  You really don't need to, dear.  Why did you just hang up on the operator?  Who are you calling?  It's not that it makes a bit of difference... oh, good, you're calling Mr. Giles.  I hear the sirens in the background... they're coming to help.
    They try to revive me.  Silly men - I guess they're just doing their job.  I can see Buffy as she stands there... she's not focusing on the man as he explains everything to her... she keeps looking at me.  The paramedics leave, and Buffy calls out "good luck" after them - even though she's in total shock, she's still thinking of others... then back to me.  Buffy leaves my sight for a while, but I can hear the sounds of her getting ill - sweetheart, it'll be all right.  The back door opens... I can hear the Williams boys playing outside.  They're oblivious, bless their hearts.  I hear someone opening the door gain.  Is it the coroner?  "Where is she?" No - it's Mr. Giles.  I've always liked that man.  Granted, it was awkward being around him after the candy incident, but he's always cared for Buffy.  He's rushing towards me, but Buffy stops him: "We mustn't move the body!"  She stops in horror and he holds her.  They stand like that for what must be forever... The coroner comes, places me in a body bag, and zips it.  I see black.
    Wow, the glare.  Those bright lights... where am I?  Oh.  The morgue.  Makes sense I suppose.  Someone is standing over me with scissors, and... hey! Don't you *dare* touch that blouse!  Excuse me?  There are other ways of removing clothing than cutting it off.  I guess modesty isn't really the issue here, but... it's obvious I didn't die of any open wounds or anything, right?  Just look at my medical records... brain tumor... hmm.  Maybe a hemorrhage?  The man's grabbing a small saw now... it seems that he's going where the charts tell him to.  I can feel him pulling back my hair and cutting into me.  It doesn't hurt.  Not that it would, but I expected it to... I guess it's because I'm lying here thinking, and I'm dead at the same time... how absurd is that?  A while passes, and the man finds what he's looking for, I suppose, since he stitches me back up and covers me with a while sheet like I'm a parakeet in a birdcage.  I can hear him leave - I suppose he's going to explain to Buffy and the kids what happened... but I'm sure they already know. They're a bright bunch... they've been so good for Buffy.  And Dawn.  The daughter that I have and never did.  Yet another absurdity in my life.  I remember giving birth to her... but she's only really six months old... just a walking, talking, thinking, feeling... thing.  But she's human, I know she is.  I wonder what happened when Buffy told her?  Does she understand what death is?  Does she even really understand what life is?  Wait - no, that's silly.  I never did.  No one really does.

    I hear the door opening.  I suppose it's the pathologist coming back in... someone else must have passed away too.  The steps are too light to be a man, though... I wish I could see through this sheet... I can hear someone else in here too... the footsteps sound barefooted... that's certainly not sanitary.  A scream.  A loud, feminine, young scream.  Dawn!  What are you doing in here young lady?  Something crashes over... Dawn's fighting with something... Buffy, where are you?  Get in here.  There's a thud at the door, and another, and the sound of the door breaking open.  Oh, thank goodness.  The fighting keeps going... how is Buffy going to kill that, thing?  I guess it's a vampire... wait.  I know it's a vampire... the damn thing just pulled my sheet off!  God, could my privacy be invaded just once more tonight?  Buffy grab that saw on the ground - good job.  Behead that son of a bitch.  No.  Dawn, get out of here - both of you.  "Mom?"  "That's not her."  Yes it is, dear.  "She's not there anymore."  Yes I am! Can't you at least feel me?  You deal with the supernatural all the time... you should be able to sense when your mother's nearby!  "Where'd she go?"  Well, certainly not where they told me I'd go when I was in Sunday School.  No white light, unless you count those over my head.  I better not be doomed to be stuck here for eternity... I really don't want to be present like *that* at my own funeral.  Dawn's getting up... sweetie, don't... she reaches out and touches my cheek.  I can feel her hand... it's so warm.  She looks down at me, and then covers me with the sheet again.  I see white.

    Wait.  This isn't the sheet anymore.  This is billowy cloud stuff.  I think... yeah... I'm free.  And then about two tenths of a second later, I'm back in that damn morgue.  I look down, but I'm standing up.  I have my clothes on, thank *God*.  And I'm watching my two daughters go out into the waiting area.  I move a foot.  I can move!  I decide to put that to good use, and I follow them out to their friends... I guess they're their family now.  I bet I'll be doing a lot of following from here on out.