Nightswimming


By Collie




/Nightswimming deserves a quiet night/

The water is cold when I slip in, but I don't really notice. It registers 
on my skin, but it's unimportant. Just another factor to filter in and out.

The past week has brought on more questions than I have answers. More 
pain than I have remedying. More confusion than I can circumspect. More
grief 
than I have tears.

Have you ever cried so much that you've dried up inside? Have you ever 
shed all of your tears for something so completely, that you had no tears 
left to shed for a pain that was greater than before?

I have.

When Buffy told me that mommy - our mother - was dead, I didn't cry. I 
couldn't cry. I just sort of.. broke down inside. Hollow and cold. I wrapped

trembling arms around myself - a form I knew was not truly real. I knew she 
wasn't really my mother, and for that reason - for that very reason - I 
couldn't cry. All my tears were lost for myself.

/The photograph on the dashboard
Taken years ago
Turned around backwards 
So the windshield shows
Every streetlight reveals 
The picture in reverse
Still, it's so much clearer/

I think.. I am a terrible person. Then I think.. I'm not even really a 
person. 

Should I really have these feelings? Are they real? Am I allowed? Could I 
stop them if I tried? Do the others look at me strangely when I cry, 
because.. they know I'm not real? Does some tiny part of them twist inside 
with resentment when I am comforted in lieu of Buffy, because she is the 
reality and I am merely a forged memory?

Am I real enough to count?

Sometimes - most times - I don't think so. No. Not anymore.

I loved my mother. I still do. I love Buffy. I love my daddy. I love all 
of them.. Willow, Xander, Tara, Anya, Giles.. Spike.

I think.. right now.. I love Spike most of all. He understands. Even if 
he denies it and pushes me away, I know he understands. He's been there. The

forgotten child. Cast aside in favor of another. Frowned upon for acting 
rashly. Chastened for being stupid and wrong and impetuous and.. all of it.

He tells me stories, and he thinks I only listen to them for the 
scare-factor. Sure, that's fun enough.. but what he doesn't realize is how 
much of himself he puts into his words. And not just Spike bravado.. his 
*real true* self. The old poet. William.

He lights up when he weaves his words. It makes him happy. It makes me 
happy. I like talking to Spike because, I feel we have one very important 
thing in common -

We both walk in this reality, yet we aren't really a part of it. 

We exist here, only because another allows it. We are anomalies. We are 
judged purely because of what we are, not really who we are. He is a
vampire. 
I am this.. key. We have these unshakable titles, and that's who we are.
It's 
not right, but ignorance is bliss.

Spike is the only one I can really relate to, and he's the one that truly 
broke my heart.

/I forgot my shirt at the water's edge
The moon is low tonight
Nightswimming deserves a quiet night/

Bloody hell. What does she think she's doin'? She'll catch her death, and 
then the Slayer will have yet *another* bloomin' thing to slam my nose into 
the stucco for. How the hell did she find out about this place, anyway? Chit

shouldn't be out in these woods at all alone, let alone this late at night.

I wasn't lyin' when I said there were lots of big nasties just waitin' to 
get a taste of her. Good thing I came along, 'eh?

Not that I care what happens to her. On a personal level, that is. She's 
just some kid.. who happens to be fundamental to all of existence as we know

it, but that's bloody beside the point. Not like I haven't had my hand in
one 
or three Armageddon's in my time, so why's this time so bleedin' special?

Christ on a cross, Will. You're arguing with yourself. You can't keep 
secrets from *me*.

You like her. She's.. calming. She doesn't judge. She.. seems to 
understand. She doesn't grind your bloody nose into the wall like some bint 
to a dog whose done his business on the new white carpet, 'eh?

She's the better part of the Slayer; the part that's accessible to you, 
at least.

And sod it all if she's not real.

/They cannot see me naked
These things they go away
Replaced by everyday/

She scares me sometimes. I catch her lookin' at me and I *know* - I just 
bloody well know that she sees right through me. It's damned disconcerting, 
I'll tell you that. This little 14-year-old bird staring at me like she's
the 
know-it-all bloody Dhali Llama. Then I get all flustered and blotchy and I 
can't very well yell at her, because then she'd go away.. and then I'd be 
alone again.

It's like I said to the Slayer, all those years ago.. We like to talk 
big; vampires do.

Yeah, I talk a big talk, I walk a big walk - doesn't mean I don't get 
lonely. If anyone - vampires know loneliness.

I ache it, I cry it, I am loneliness sodding personified. 

But I know I'll always be lonely. Comes with the territory.

'Welcome to Club Immortality. You've won the door-prize! An eternity of 
detachment and loneliness! Please see someone who gives a rat's ass for more

information.'

So.. I guess maybe I'll just sit here and keep an eye out for her, you 
know? Just to.. make sure. 

To make sure she's okay.

/Nightswimming
Remembering that night/

I have.. this theory. I've never told anyone about it. Not Buffy.. not 
even Spike.

Glory needs the key for whatever evil she's planning, right? And.. the 
key is me.. so, what if I were suddenly.. gone? What would happen? Would she

just leave, and would everyone be safe? From what I can gather, I'm pretty 
much unique. If I wasn't, Glory wouldn't be so hell-bent on finding me. 

No pun intended.

To be completely honest with myself, which I am.. I'm not necessary 
anymore. A point to fact - everything would be much better *without* me. 
Buffy would be getting the attention she deserves as the true flesh and
blood 
daughter, and Glory would leave. They'd all be safe and everything would be 
truly *right*.

I'm wrong here. I'm rippling things. Just like the water. 

Even if I stay perfectly still, the water still ripples. My slightest 
breath causes a movement, and that disturbs everything. Now, if I were to 
remove myself from the lake, the water would be still. 

I don't like to cause eddys.

So I say my goodbyes as the water covers my head.

/And what if there were two 
Side by side in orbit
Around the fairest sun?
Nightswimming/

Bloody stars. They mock me, you know. They hum and twinkle and sing to 
me. They remind me of Dru. One star for a life. No wonder she spoke to them.

I've heard that every soul has a star. Does that mean I have one? Does 
that mean that, when a human dies, they never get to see their star? Bloody 
shame if you ask me. 

Speaking of -

Cor, where'd she get off to, now?

Tread closer, but make no sound.

The water is quiet, but she's still here. She's not gone away - I can 
still smell her. I can still smell -

No.

Tiny hand, floating to the surface. Water rippling ever so slightly at 
it's broken exterior. Rebelling at the intrusion.

But I knew that this would be the last time Dawn ever caused a ripple 
here.

Oh, God. 

Damn it all to hell, but she looks like she's asleep. Peaceful and quiet. 
Just like I remember her. Hair drifting about small shoulders like seaweed. 
Floating silently on her back, moonlight gleaming on her naked skin. 

It seemed a sin to look. It seemed a sin to look away.

I watched her for a long time. I watched as her skin turned pearlescent 
and her lips, toes, and fingertips turned blue. Fingertips that curled
around 
an unseen root or branch. I'm sure that's how she anchored herself to the 
bottom of this damnable lake.

Closer.

The water lapped at the edge of my boots, but she simply floated in the 
middle of the lake, like fucking Viviane, Lady of the bloody Lake.

A king I am not.

But lonely.. once again.

/You - I thought I knew you
You - I cannot judge
You - I thought you knew me
This one laughing quietly underneath my breath
Nightswimming/

I know that I am unnecessary, perhaps as much as Dawn thought herself. 
But whereas Dawn made a rash assumption, I have concrete knowledge. I have 
the years to back it up. She's had.. days.

But I don't blame her. I'm actually fairly surprised she held on as long 
as she did. I can't even begin to fathom being in her shoes.

Oh well. This is all past now. No reason to dwell on things that won't 
make a difference once the sun rises. No reason to go on pretending the 
loneliness doesn't hurt. It does. So badly. So very badly.

Too bad my only refuge is lying dead in the middle of a lake.

Good one, God.

So, I'll just wait. I can wait. I've waited 130 years.. I can wait a few 
more hours.

Maybe there is a Heaven. I know there's a Hell. Who knows were I'll end 
up? Hopefully.. just hopefully.. I won't feel lonely anymore.

Hopefully.. I just won't feel.

/Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
Deserves a quiet night.. /





1