The Last One To Know
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Iím always the last one to know.
I found out that I was a Slayer after the council had already decided my fate. They decided to call me into being the Chosen One although I had no proper training and no background, like other Slayers do. They all knew. Merrick, my first Watcher knew. Whistler knew and hell, even Angel knew and watched me being called. I was stuck in the dark until Merrick took me into a cemetery, thrust a stake into my hand and introduced me into the rest of my life. Apparently, he had that Ďthrow a kid into the water and hope it learns to swimí mentality. He signed my death warrant that night. Thatís how it works. I do this gig until I die.
I didnít find out that my dad had an affair with his secretary until after everyone on our block knew. My best friend, Francine, said that her maid overheard my parents screaming at one another about it. I knew it was bad. I knew it was really bad and had been for a while, but it still floored me when I came home and there was a moving van backed up to our front door. I had no idea they were even getting a divorce until it was final and mom had secured her job in Sunnydale. Yep, last again.
I found out that Angel was a vampire by mistake. It wasnít something he shared with me, like he apparently did that pretty detective, Lockley, I think is her name. I saw her badge on her chest. Not that I was looking at her chest, even though I guess I was, I was judging her. I have no breasts to speak of and she had more than enough. Anyway, Iím sidetracked. What I was saying is that he didnít care enough to tell me about the vampire thing himself. I found out by mistake and I donít even know if he ever would have willingly told me at all.
Angel called Giles, not me, when he needed to ask about Faith. I was the last one to know that she was in Los Angeles and had tried to kill him. Can you believe that? Giles didnít almost die so Angel could live. Giles didnít give Angel his virginity and then spend months fighting off the monster that it created. (repress, Buffy, repress) Giles didnít invest every beat of his heart into loving him completely. But Angel called him and not me. The person who did.
So, I admit it. On the busride to L.A., I got myself pumped up and pissed. Pumped up about the prospect of pummeling Faith and breaking her scrawny neck for what she probably did inside my body. I still have complete strangers coming up to me on campus asking me for another Ďlapdanceí or a Ďflashí. Whatever! I was pumped just thinking about killing two birds with one stone. Saving Angel and ripping Faith to shreds. Then I got pissed when I got to thinking about the fact that Angel left me out of it. He canít go up against a Slayer and win. He knows better than that, especially where Faith is concerned. Hell, I would have a hard time winning against her. Iím not evil and crazy.
I was ready for anything by the time the bus stopped a block away from Angel Investigations and I made the short walk down the sidewalk. I was going over what to say to him in my head. "Hey. How are you? You look good." Hell, he couldnít look bad if he tried, you know? I was going to tell him that I was there to watch his back, for as long as he needed me to be. I was gonna say, "Angel, I know that weíve had a hard time with each other, but Iíve come to terms with it and I want you to know that you can depend on me to be there if you ever need an extra pair of eyes and hands. You can count on me as a friend. Okay? Good, letís kick her ass." Then I was going to rail him about trying to take on a Slayer without a Ö Slayer to help.
I was mapping it all out in my head when I bumped into Cordelia. She was hurrying down the front stairs and didnít see me. "Oomph!"
"Buffy! Oh my god! Youíre here!" She grabbed me and hugged me, something that should have alerted me to the fact that my world was about to be thrown into a blender and pureed until a baby could eat it.
"Yeah, Iím here." I patted her on the back and stepped away. "Howís Angel?"
"How is Angel?" Cordelia yanked her glasses off and pointed at her eye. "A whole hell of a lot better than me. Unless of course, Faith doesnít like jelly donuts and decides to gut Angel for it."
She took a deep dramatic breath and kept pointing at her eye, waiting for me to say something about it. "Jelly donuts?"
"Jelly donuts!? Look at my eye! I had auditions this week and how can I possibly audition looking like a dropped apple? This is all your fault."
"Yes. God, if you hadnít gotten yourself killed by the master, there never would have been a Kendra, who never would have died and made Faith."
Itís nice to know that in this ever changing world, there will always be a Cordelia who remains the same. "Cordy, Iím sorry that my dying affected your auditions."
"You should be." She replied, shoving her glasses back on her face. "And if youíre looking for Angel, heís downstairs with Ėher-."
"Her?" It took me a second to realize which Ėher- she meant. But any Ėher- scenario I could come up with was just as painful as the Ėher- being Faith. I think the only thing that could hurt me worse than him leaving me would be for him to find someone else.
Cordelia opened the door for me, telling me she wasnít staying for the Ďorgy of freaksí, then pointed me toward a stairwell in one corner. I descended slowly, half afraid of what Iíd find and not trusting my legs to hold me upright at all if I tried to hurry. Iím glad I went slowly because once I was able to comprehend her in Ėhis- arms, I went numb all over. Comfortably numb.
I flashed back to the time that Angel pretended to be bad, kissing her, groping her and her eating it up like a hungry kitten. I flashed back to Riley telling me that he had slept with her. I flashed to Willow in her arms with a knife at her throat. I flashed to the look on Xanderís face when I told him Faith didnít take men she slept with seriously. I flashed to her going toward my mother with a knife and then taking over my body. I flashed to Angel dropping to his knees in front of me near the movie-theater, the poison arrow jutting dangerously close to his heart. I felt like my heart had been pierced. Not by poison, but by the memories of everything I had gained and lost since Faith came into my life.
Then I could focus, but all I saw was red.
I walked down the rest of the stairs and he pulled away from her and stood. His shirt was unbuttoned and I glanced at his chest, my hand instinctively flattening against my thigh as I recalled how smooth and cool his skin was. We spoke briefly, but I donít recall most of what was said. What I remember is the fact that Faith stood up and attempted to apologize to me. I think I said something about beating her to death and so help me, I wanted to.
Then Angel was there between us. He chose her over me. His face hardened, his voice grew cold and it happened fast. I made a move for Faith as she started around me. I donít know if I would have hurt her. I donít know what I would have done, but I felt Angel grab me and I swung, backhanding him across the face. It was like something else, something I didnít know, had taken control and when he pushed my hand away, I swung again and he hit me.
He. Hit. Me.
To keep her safe.
To keep me from going after her.
To put me in my place.
The one who almost killed him and our friends.
He. Hit. Me.
He apologized immediately, but by then the damage had been done. I know I hit him first, but part of the attraction I had for him was his whole Knight In Shining Armor mentality. When we went someplace together, he opened doors for me. He pulled out my chair. He said please and thank you and acted like a gentleman, even on the night we made love, it was about me. So, when I felt his fist connect with my face so hard that it caused me to stumble and half spin, more than just my lip cracked open.
My soul had started to bleed.
What happened next is a jumble of things. Iím not even sure if Iím remembering it right. If I had some bad beer, I could explain it fairly easily. Faith. Roof. Watchers. Bad. Helicopter, or would that be flying machine if I was cave Buffy? Guns. Bullets. Angel. Safety. Angel. Jail.
And Ö "Sheís nobody."
Thatís what he said about me in the jailhouse when that Lockley chick was telling him about the sunrise in four hours and how she would let it fry him. I was coming to terms with that, wrapping my mind and my heart around the possibility that I couldnít protect him and wondering how to beat all the cops away when I heard that I was nobody.
Iím the nobody who loved him more than anyone should be allowed to love. Iím the nobody who loved him so much I couldnít kill him, even when he was evil and trying to pick off my friends one at a time. Iím the nobody who laid my life down for his, even though I knew he was leaving me. And Iím the nobody who would do it again.
So, you would think that nothing would surprise me now. But Faith did. She turned herself into the police, restoring my uhm, faith in humanity and the spirit of a Slayer. I was proud of her. I was proud of Angel for being right.
What I should have said to him was that he had done a good job and that I backed him a hundred and ten percent. I should have put my arms around him and told him that his life in Los Angeles was a good one and he had done better than I had done. Instead, one thing led to another and we fought. Again.
Iíve seen Angel look angry before, but never at me. Not like that. I wanted to cower down, I wanted to run away and I wanted to beg him not to be mad at me at the same time. He told me I had come to his town for vengeance and god is my witness, it stunned me that he still has that much ability to read me like a book. He has no right to still know me that way.
So, I gritted my teeth and listened to him tell me that I couldnít do that in Ďhis cityí. Then I remembered what I had thought about when Cordelia had said, "Heís downstairs with Ėher-." I realized how to hit his soul like he had done mine with his fist without raising a hand.
"I have someone new in my life. That I love." I said it calmly, my voice never once betraying my pain. "Itís not what we had, but itís new. Want to know whatís new about it?" I could have played the heartbeat thing and said that heís alive or warm or wouldnít hit me, instead, I looked him dead in the eye and said, "I trust him. I know him."
It hurt me to say it and I know it hurt him because of the things he said in response. I wonít write it down here. Some things are better between only us. He told me to go home though and thatís where Iím heading. Back home, back to a life I donít want, a man I want to love for the sake of loving and a demon hybrid that I donít know how to stop.
I walked as slowly as possible toward the bus station. I could have gotten a cab, but I wanted to give him every possibility to come after me. I guess part of me figured that if he could forgive Faith and restore her soul, he could forgive me and kiss away the wounds he put on Ėmy- soul. But I guess nobody, me, is worth the trouble.
I made it to the corner when he drove past me. Wesley looked at me, but he didnít wave. He just looked through me. Angel didnít seem to notice me at all.
So here I am, writing in a journal that Iím not even obligated to keep anymore. The bus is barreling back toward the hellmouth at sixty miles an hour and it still canít outrun the things I want so desperately to forget. Iím going back into the life that robbed me of my childhood and broke apart my family. Iím heading back into a town where every park, every cemetery, every sound in every night reminds me of Angel. Iím heading back into a life full of shadows where he lurks until I focus more clearly and realize it wasnít him at all. Iím a Slayer, but Iím still just a girl, damnit.
And Iím nobody. Nobody to him, nobody to the council and nobody to the powers that be.
I donít know what will happen with Adam or Riley or if Iíll die again tomorrow. Iím always the last to know so Iíll just take it as it comes and hope for the best.
But at least this time, Iím not alone.
Angel will be the last to know what was really in my heart tonight.
Nobody felt a whole lot for somebody.
I didn't see the fire burn to ashes
I couldn't feel the winds of change
I was lost inside the passion
Blinded by the memory of a flame
I guess I should've felt it when you touched me
I should've seen it in your eyes
But I believed you really loved me
Why can't I believe you've said goodbye
Oh why is the last one to know
The first one to cry and the
Last to let go.
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