Ficlet - spoilery for As You Were
Never Get It
What did I do? What did I say? What was it this time? I know what pissed you off, but what was *wrong* with it? What are the words to make it right?
Explain it to me, he'd said in the alley, when she'd tried to give herself away for something done and over, something she couldn't fix, something dead-forever and not worth drowning her light for.
Make me understand, he thinks, but doesn't say, as he looks at her now, in the wreckage of his bedroom. What did I do? What can I do? How can I make you happy again?
He knows these questions. Hes asked them, times uncounted, arms crossed, huddled against the wall outside the lair, whichever lair it was. Didnt matter, summer, winter, Paris, New York. Was always cold when he wasnt burning in the fire of her grace. Dru, Dru, Drusilla of the moods and the stares and the moments of dancing lightness, so thin he could see through her. So sharp he could slit his wrists on her collarbone.
When shed wanted him, it was like peaches and roses and rotting bodies in the earth, turning to loam, decay so old it was past the smell of death, was just the world in his nose, being reborn. Blood so fresh he could swear as he painted the ribbons on her skin -- sweet red on blue shadowed white down the insides of her thighs as if she could ever, ever again bleed with the moon -- that it came from her own veins. Burning the lie into him that they told about the dead, that there was no heat, that anyone whod known her fingernails against his breast could ever fear fire.
When she turned those mineshaft eyes on him and narrowed them to slits, hiding misty gray behind pinched lids, teeth bared in a pit-vipers hiss, and sent him away, it was colder than dying had been. That had just been a winter storm in his head -- like the headache hed gotten once from eating a lemon ice too quickly, gobbling down his treat before his mum had decided it wasnt a proper thing for her son to be buying from a street vendor -- then fuzzy, like falling asleep, and it was over. Dru cross with him, though, her mad, random disdain, that a bent head and a soft word couldnt placate, couldnt fix That was like staying alive, in the blizzard. Like leaning against a cold wall and freezing there, stuck to the brick or the rock or the faded wood because there was no place warm in the world, except within her regard, and the coldest place of all was where he was, just outside of it.
Inches away. If only he knew. If only he could put the words together in the right way, to unlock the puzzle of her anger. To see what had made her bite at him this time. To understand, beyond which word, which thing, which action, had set it off. down to what it was that was *wrong* with it. Hed plead with her, sometimes, Drusilla haughty as a Queen, back as erect against the vinyl of a stolen dinette set as if she were corseted and stayed on a velvet settee. Tell me. Make me understand. Explain it to me.
She never would. Only time, only the cotton batting of sleep, the whispering of random faeries in her dreams, would soften her gaze. She would wake wide-eyed, and extend her hand, the royal pardon given only on a whim, and he would take it like the pathetic little frozen fool that he was, and hed *still* never know what hed done. Not really.
He understands these questions. The ones he doesn't ask, this time. What can I say to make you stay? Why? Why are you surprised Id do something like this? Why cant you believe I wouldnt? Why deny me in front of him? Why not listen to me; I had something to tell you. Why dont you love me? Why cant you? Why are you walking away? Tell me what I can say to make it right. Make me understand. Please. Just tell me.
He doesnt ask them, this time. Not with Buffy. He knows the answer. Knows, in the desiccated ghost of a smile that he sees on her lips, as she frees herself of him. He hears it in the soft, living breath of his name, given freely to him, gracing him with the trappings of humanity as she takes away everything that matters. He knows, though he doesnt understand, when she walks out of his home, the shell of his home, up and into the light, leaving him to freeze.
If you have to ask why Im mad at you, he can hear some woman pouting on his telly, soap opera moodswing music on the background, then youll never understand.
Hell never understand, is the answer. Is the question, is the answer. Hell never understand why they cant love him, and they cant love him, because hell never understand. So why, even now, does he keep asking the bloody questions?
Tell me. Explain it to me. Make me understand.
The walls of his crypt offer no answer, not even an echo.