Sundowning - Dust
"To..mmm..to your health B!" I clink the bottle of whiskey off a corner of the nearby headstone and then lean back and take a long swallow.
"Aaahhh.." I gasp wiping off my mouth with the back of my hand. "That burned real good. Want a bit?" I hold out the bottle, no hand bursts from the ground to grab it from my hand, nothing happens actually. Not even a wind through the tree.
No..wait.. there's a cricket. I leap to my feet and stomp it.
"No. I suppose not." I mumble sitting back down. "And I'm guessing the whole 'health' thing is a moot point too." I pat the grave. "Look at you, lyin' down on the job. Tsk, tsk..yer lowering your standards B." I shake my head. "What is the world coming too?"
"That's right!" I say snapping my fingers. "The world is continuing! And why is that we ask ourselves. Because you saved it B! Good for you. How do I know? Well.." I hiccup. "Scuze me. 'Cause it says so right here!"
My fingers don't tremble even the teensiest bit as I trace the carved words on the stone. 'A Lot.'
"This...this had to be Red's..scuse me again..Willy's idea." I giggle a bit and take another swallow. "It's..kinda sweet actually. A bit added on to the hokey factor but..nice I guess."
"You better appreciate what I'm doin' for ya B!" I say fiercely poking her grave with a finger. "I cleaned out what little saving I had coming to see you. And for these." I hold up the bag with two more full bottles of whiskey. One Black Velvet. One Johnny Walker Black.
I slump against her headstone, using it to support my back.
"I'm not even sure what I'm doing here B. I'll admit that much." I say. "It's not like we were friends or anything. Oh sure we had a couple good times, the whole duel slayer thing, that night out...course everything had to go all poof on us. Me. Whatever."
"And then ye olde honorable mayor comes along. Ah...fuck it. I'm not in the mood for..bearing my heart. Though..despite all the knife, gut, coma thing..I still have the scar..wanna see? Anyway..despite all that..I came B. Okay, I'll confess one last little thing and then I'm just gonna get good and drunk. I mean..what else can I do? Can't hurt ya, can't tease ya with innuendos. The dead are known for there lack of...mmm..temperament. Unless they're undead of course, then they're real temperamental. You're not temperamental are ya B? I mean, I'd stake you in a heartbeat if you were..but I'm betting the 'Scoobs'", I give a snort. "I bet they were _real_ careful makin' sure you'd rest well."
I carefully inspect the open bottle. A whole third left! I can feel my mind beginning to move around in my head..sorting through memories..opening boxes..let feelings flow.. I'm beginning to feel B's loss. Can't have that now. No way. Through the teeth, past the gums, look out Brainy Wainey ..here it comes!
I kill the bottle.
"Aaahh..that was good." I say to no one in partic..part...special.
I pause. "Brainey Wainey?" I ask myself then give a short barking laugh. "God B, I have been around you people too long."
I lurch to my feet and look at the empty bottle in my hand. "Hmmm..all gone B. No big loss, it wasn't very good." I hold it up to eye level. "May you bounce off the knoggin' of a vampire!" I intone seriously, lean back and heave it out into the darkness. I lose sight of it instantly but the whistling sound it makes can still be heard for a few seconds. I don't hear it land.
Now..now it's silent again. No..wait. Cricket again! Stomp!!
"Where were we?" I say while sitting back down next to the headstone. "Oh yes. I remember. So..yes.. ah. So. Uhm. I heard about what happened a week or so ago. I think..yeah..I had just gotten out of work, didja know I work in a strip club? No, I'm not that hard up, I'm the bouncer and a good one too, though with all this Slayer bonus that's not saying much.
Humans..feh..you know I can't even hit a guy once at full strength? I'd pop his head, no I just tap em' and they fall over. No fun at all..." I shake my head a bit.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm sure you'd disapprove but hey, I like action. Since I laid off that 'get some get gone' stuff, and you can thank Willy for that how she talked me into it even I dunno BUT...it's all I really got left. So I'm coming home from work and I hear a scream and decide to check it out. We both know I'm not a slayer officially but..duty this that..and you can pound on a vamp real good and not hold back. That's a rare treat for me y'know?"
I reach into the bag and grab the Black Velvet. The Johnny Walker Black is for later...that's special. I crack the top and take a sip. A sip, not a chug. Yes, eventual shitfacieness is the goal but not yet.
"So I go round this corner and I see a vamp about to chow down on this girl. You wouldn't have liked her ya redhead loving fool, she was a brunette. Not bad lookin' I suppose. Though it's really hard to get an idea of some babe's face when she's wearing this expression of terror. Course I grab him round the neck and drag him offa her. So he's snarlin, and she's sobbin, stupid bitch didn't have the brains to run but there's that whole 'in shock' thing goin' so I can't be too hard on her and I am kinda distracted with fang face there."
I take another swallow. Feel the burn baby and knock those grey cells on their ass before they start dropping feelings you don't need on yer head.
"He's all grrr and everything and I yawn in his face. It takes him a while but he finally catches on that I'm not all 'paralysed with fear'. So he actually talks. 'Who are you?' he says. I just grin and do that little hip shake, y'know the one, made yer pal Xander go all googley eyed the first time he saw it..anyway.. I do the shake and smile and just say, 'I'm the Slayer.'"
I laugh a little, remembering Xander's face. Take another hit.
"Now before you get yer panties in a bunch..they did bury you in panties didn't they?..I know I'm not the Slayer..really..you are..were..jee..does that mean I am? No Watcher as of yet, eh..they'd probably try and kill me anyway. SO..I say 'I'm the Slayer' and he just laughs at me. Which was not what I was expecting of course. It honked me off righteously too. 'What's so funny?' I demand and he just keeps laughing. 'You?' He says. 'The Slayer? Fat chance girly, we just killed the Slayer two weeks ago!'."
Oh..shit. Some..feelings are getting around the alcohol, getting a little hard to breathe, got this knockin' on the inside of my ribs..can't have that. Not yet, later..maybe..not now though. I take a huge swallow of the whiskey..and just to safe I take two more. Half the bottles gone. Ugh..I'm going to be payin' for this in the morning.
"I..really felt all cold when he said that B. Still not sure why though and I didn't pay it much no nevermind at the time. Y'know me B, I'm not much for hesitation or second guessing. I think I just jumped him..really carelessly maybe. But he wasn't expectin' it so I bowled him over. It's kinda fuzzy in my head, or I could finally getting a buzz...that is one major suckage about being a Slayer, takes a hell of a lot just to get a mild buzz..anyhoo..So I'm on top of him and I think I'm screaming something like 'liar' but..who knows. I know I was shouting something cause afterwards my throat was really sore."
I take a deep breathe and let it out slow. I think I still..yes! I reach in my pocket and pull out a packet of smokes. Still got a few left and I light one up. "Chill B." I say holding up a hand in the direction of her grave. "I'll be careful where the ashes go. Cool?"
"And I'm on top o'this bloodsucker and I'm just pounding him, and pounding him and pounding..this I'm really sure of and he's the one screaming now. I never heard a vampire scream before didja know that? Sure they grunt, snarl too but scream? Well..this one was screaming. I had him pinned down, straddling his chest and he's trying to claw me off o'him and I just grab his arms and bend em' back at the elbows. But he's not screaming yet, it's after I've been poundin' on his face for a good minute or so he begins screamin'. But..not for long."
I lean in close and whisper really quietly to her headstone, like I'm tellin' her a secret..maybe I am.
"I discovered a new way to kill vamps that night B." I whisper. "I hammered through his face and pulled out his brain..he dusted underneath me. It was cool!" I pause and consider.
"But..kinda slow." I admit. "In that case slow was good though."
"Oh..B you should have been there!" I say aloud again no longer whispering. "It ..it was such a _rush_! 'Member that crack I did about hungry and horny? This was better..way..way..better. Like..like..I dunno..a Wargasm! Scuze me for gettin' all creative with the english language."
I lean back against her headstone and study the sky. Cigarette's almost gone and I very deliberately lean away from her grave and flick it into the darkness.
"There see? Just like I promised." I say leaning back again. "It was a rush B..and all it took was your life."
"So. To make a long story..less long..I got some cash and rushed right out here. I'm not sure why..it's not like anyone 'round here would be happy to see me, cept maybe Willy but I've not seen her for a bit and it probably wouldn't be a good ti-"
I shut up. I heard something..and it was most defiantly not a cricket. I look around in the darkness and I don't see anything but..there's something out there. Vamps..I can feel them.
I dash over to the tree and yank off a dead branch, better than nothing and I for..whoa..now my head decided to start swimming. Damnit! That was careless of me...this could be trouble!
I move back to the grave..not much better lighting but...
They move out of the shadows...six of them... moving slow and careful. These are not newbies and things are looking less good then before. They begin to encircle me..better and better. Figures, Summer is supposed to be slow but..I just have to arrive on the one night they tossed out the rules.
My head takes another trip and the world veers away into a very strange angle. Great.
"Well B." I say to her grave, forcing a smile. "Looks like you and I may have finally something in common."
"Hmmm..we come to pay our 'respects' to A dead Slayer and we find a live one." One vamp says.
"Respects?" I snort. "You? Get outta here."
He shrugs a bit. "Polite term for 'desecrate' actually, it's been a slow night."
Desecrate? B's resting place? No fucking way.
"Over my fucking dead body." I say snarling, the adrenaline is pumping through my system and some of the alcohol fog fades away but I'm still not at my best..if I were..six vamps would still be hard.
The vamp who actually bothered to talk pauses a moment.
"In that order?" He asks me with a smile. It's not a nice smile and I know they're going to jump me any second now. I don't know what's worse..the fact that I'm probably going to die or that I spent twenty bucks on that bottle of Johnny Walker Black and it's going to get busted open.
Oh hell. Great..as if things were not complicated enough.
She moves out from behind the tree that I just broke the branch off of. She wasn't there a second ago. She's...off. Somehow.
The vamps send my instincts all a'buzzin, Willy, she's making them scream. She drifts from behind the tree, she's wearing this long gown, deep red with a even darker red trim. A simple brown belt seems to be the only thing holding it closed and from the belt dangle a few pouches of ..whatevers.
"What are you doing here Faith?" She asks me quietly.
Willy is a lot of things, brave, sweet, kind but 'solid' is not one of them. She stutters, babbles, wrings her hands and, is not very confrontational..easily. I mean she won't run away but she'll be nervous. Correction..she wouldn't have been nervous. I don't know this girl now. She's not solid either..she's obsidian. She left solid behind a long time ago.
"Willy." I say between clenched teeth. "Run."
She gives me this very honest, confused look, cocking her head to the side. "Why?" She asks.
The vamp leader smiles a bit more. "So much for it being a slow night. You three," He points to the three vamps circling behind me. "Kill the witch, we'll handle the Slayer here."
I whirl to rush to Willy's side, protect her..do something. Blaze of glory maybe..even though B's dead, she'd kill me if I let anything happen to Willy. Course..that's the plan of action. I freeze up when Willy just smiles at me softly.
Even though there are six vampires rushing at us at warp speed her hands move slowly, drifting down to the pouch at her waist she reaches inside and clasps her hand around the stuff inside.
The vampires are closing..they're gathering around us, closing tight, they're moving so fast yet everything is so very, very slow. I bend my knees to jump at them, maybe knock a few down, give Willy room to run away.
Her fist comes up to her lips and she open her fingers and blows. These..tiny..particles? Dust? Flow from between her fingers and float into the night air. Looks really pretty but they don't seem to do much.
I then hear her whisper. "Seco." There a rapid series of popping noises and the four vampires moving in on Willy are blown backwards, flipping through the air and..disintegrating in midflight. Now there's a lot more dust in the air.
I finish my leap and tackle the two remaining vamps who had stopped dead at watching four of there number get dusted so spectacularly. They don't even put up a struggle as I stake them with my tree branch.
I clamber back to my feet slowly. Willy is still standing there, looking relaxed, untroubled...dead.
"What...what was that stuff?" I ask her carefully. Then I spit, vamp remains in the air..yuck!
"Sawdust." She says simply. Expressionless. No giggle, no reluctance to make eye contact. Just..here's Willy, the rock.
"Sawdust?" I say again. I feel stupid, I can't stand it when people repeat themselves and now I'm doing.
"Yep." She nods. "I just got it moving very, very fast. Tiny stakes Faith, many, many, tiny, tiny stakes." Old Willy would have put a tiny grin at the end of that sentence, maybe even a small laugh, something. I've seen more passion in Encyclopedia Salesmen.
I smile..I don't _want_ too but it happens anyway. I choke down a laugh but it sneaks out around my lips anyway.
"What's funny?" Willy asks me. Not in offended manner, just one of honest curiosity. Creepy, but I keep laughing.
"Nothing..nothing..Willy." I gasp out between laughter. "You..you just invented the vampire shotgun is all!"
"Oh." She says, her face, her expression don't change a bit. I laugh harder.
"That's a good name for it Faith, I'll have to remember that." She turns away. "Thanks."
"Where ya goin' Willy?" Finally got control of myself. God that was awful. "Aren't you here to visit Buffy?"
"No." She says. "I'm patrolling. Just happened to be in the vicinity. Buffy's dead Faith. She doesn't need visitors."
I involuntarily take a step backwards.
"I have to leave Faith. Miles to go before I sleep. You understand?" She says plainly. Again..nothing. No facial change..just..a mask. It's a mask. Why didn't I see it before? I was always so good with masks, stupid, stupid girl, you don't know what you're getting into!
Oh God B, look what you've done! She's..she's...Willy... I.. I don't.. know what to do!
So I don't do anything.
"Gotcha." I say, I have to force myself to smile now, a minute ago I couldn't help it and now if I don't...
"'Night Willy." I say, I manage to sound cheerful, I even wave.
And she's gone.
In more ways then one.
The strength leaves my knees and I collapse beside her headstone. Buffy's I mean, Willy doesn't have one yet...at least one in the ground, she's carrying hers though, it'll be earthbound soon enough.
"You...you..." I hiss at the headstone I'm wrapped around.
The alcohol is failing, it's breaking down..lost it. Here we go, ready Faith? Emotional maelstrom at three o'clock high.
"You BITCH!" I scream and slam my fist into the headstone.
Shit that hurt!!
"You just up and leave, run away like a coward! Look what you've done to her! Just _look_ at her! Not Willy, Willow! Your fucking best beloved! She's dying! You couldn't have snapped her neck or something, no you had to leave her behind and let her starve to death!"
I snort a bit.
"Starve to death." I repeat. "Yeah..I think that's about right. Starving. For what..well that's an easy one. You. I figure this, and I'm the last person to know the working of another person..cept where to hit em' to make em' stop working that is, but.. she's dying. 'Cause yer not here. You..were..umm.. special..the..heh. Yeah, you were the apple of her eye, the..spring in her step."
Aha, there you are my little friend, come to mama!
I grab the bottle which is still half full and just say nothing, feel nothing, don't even taste anything as I grab it by the neck and chug-a-lug something fierce.
It's empty, done..gone. Hey...look a physical example of Willy.
I hold the bottle up to the half moon over head. Watch how the light moves through it. Yeah..this is Willy all right.
"See?" I say gently holding the bottle out to the headstone as if it actually had eyes. "This is what we have left of Willy. A bottle. Actually, I'm wondering if maybe she don't have bunches of this kind of stuff at home. And..and you know what else?"
I hesitate. I don't know what else so...
Oh this is all crap, crap bullshit and more bullshit.
Why the hell am I here?
"Why the hell am I here?" I ask out loud.
Of course I get no answer.
I think about that for a second.
Why am I here... to pay my respects? Did I respect B? Yeah..kinda. Grudgingly. To check up on Willy? Well..she had been...ahem..helpful. Calling her every once in a while. Just chit chatting. But this isn't Willy, she's someone else. Willy's dead.
I've paid my respects.
Seen that Willy's dead.
Time to cut my losses I guess.
"I'm leaving." I say. I say it proudly, like I'm pleased with being so capable of just... stopping. Maybe I am.
I bend over and grab the bag with the Johnny Walker Black inside. I take the bottle out and hold it in my hands letting the plastic bag fall back to the earth. An enviromentalist I ain't.
"I was going to do something utterly sentimental B."
I roll the bottle in my hands and trace the gold lettering with my finger.
"I was going to pour it over your headstone. Y'know, one for the road, some symbolic bullshit. Stupid really."
I slip the bottle inside the lining of my jacket and flick out the last cigarette, light it up.
"But I'm not going too." Inhale deep..deep..okay, I see the blue spots in my vision, that's enough inhaling. Exhale.
"You know why B?" I jab the cigarette in the graves direction. "Because it isn't necessary. I'm not with Willy on this, that 'you don't need visitors' crack. Maybe you do, maybe you don't, what I'm talking about is that maybe others need to visit you. But I don't.
Yer dead B. Dead and gone and while I'll miss ya..a bit.. I can think of a lot better things to do with this bottle. Maybe I'll raise a toast to your memory."
Something's naggin' at me. More has to be said. Mmmm..
"Vio con dios." I mumble around the cigarettes. "Buffy."
And that's about as sentimental as I care to get.
I have a bus to catch.
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