POV: Shifts Perspective
Spoiler Alert: There are tidbits from past episodes and the Spanderverse series.
Notes: Story number seventeen in the Spanderverse-universe, following “Pathways”. Everything from the television series through the defeat of Adam also occurred as depicted, in the Spanderverse.
People’s thoughts are depicted in italics. You’ll find emphasis depicted with an underline.
Also, another thank you to Twiztv(dot)com script assistance and Wikipedia for character details.
Note: The ‘Angel’ timeline might be a little fuzzy. I don’t want to drag too much of that series continuity in for this story. I will say this takes place before the events of ‘
Ch 3 – Grief after Shock
Buffy and Dawn both walked side by side down an aisle filled with gleaming boxes. Their colors ran the gamut from nearly black all the way to white and each had a different colored lining of satin. The lighting in the room was subdued and the air was cool, the atmosphere hushed. Dawn ran fingers over each gleaming surface as she passed them, while Buffy barely glanced at each coffin in turn; mostly her eyes faced straight ahead to a blank wall.
“I-I don’t know what color mom would like,” Dawn whispered. “I mean, the coffin and the liner and the flowers… why do they have to have so many choices? Isn’t this whole thing hard enough?”
“If you’d rather wait outside, I can handle this,” Buffy said flatly, with little emotion showing through. “Especially if you’re gonna start bawling again.”
Dawn shot a black look at her sister but then returned her attention to the caskets. Buffy had been snappy all morning, and yeah, they were all upset but you didn’t see Dawn being a bitch so why should Buffy get away with it?
“I just meant… didn’t her papers say anything about… details?”
“If it had, don’t you think I would have had all this picked out yet,” Buffy snapped.
“Gee, sorry! Excuse me for breathing. You know, she was my mom, too! You’re not the only once pissed off that this had to happen!”
“I know that!” Buffy took a deep cleansing breath before putting her hand on Dawn’s shoulder, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t… this isn’t anyone’s fault. I just… I don’t know what to pick. It all seems so stupid, anyway. It’s not like we’re going to see it after the funeral.”
“Yeah. You know, Buffy, mom really liked that antique desk at the gallery. We could get a cherry wood to match that.”
“I like that, Dawnie. Okay, so… the linen color… ivory?”
“Ivory’s good. What about flowers? I mean, won’t everyone else already be sending those?”
“I guess it’s just something traditional. We’re supposed to have them. I’ll talk to Giles about florists in the area and see what the prices are and then you can help me pick out something, okay?”
“Okay… Buffy? I-I cried all last night. I don’t know if I can take this,” Dawn said, choking back more tears.
“I know what you mean,” Buffy replied, her voice free of inflection again.
Giles in the meantime had entered the room, followed by the unctuous funeral director. Dawn had taken a severe disliking to him right away, but she figured it was just because he reminded her of a used car salesman.
“Have we decided, ladies?”
“I’ve picked out a headstone, like you asked Buffy,” Giles said. “But I really think that you and Dawn should have decided on that.”
“The stone doesn’t matter, Giles. None of this does, really. I just want to get it all over with.” Before anyone knew how to react to Buffy’s attitude, she pushed on. “We’re all set. We’ll take this model over here with ivory linen and, uh, we’ve decided to handle flowers later with a florist. And, uh, I’ll come up with something for her marker and get it to you before Saturday.”
She put a hand on Dawn’s back and gave her a gentle push. At the same time, she glanced over at Giles, “Let’s go. We need to call the insurance company, my extended family, my dad’s work, and Dawn is going to need lunch soon.”
Without waiting, Buffy walked out of the display room past the others, leaving a lot of frowning behind her.
The blonde witch walked into the room with a bag from the local women’s clothing shop. In her hand was also a bouquet of baby’s breath and pink carnations.
“I finally found a dress for Saturday,” she said, “but I had to get a pair of new shoes to go with it. And these…,” she handed the flowers toward
“Oh, thank you honey,” the red head smiled. “That was really sweet.”
“Well… I just wanted you to know how much you mean to me. I mean… with Joyce… I just wanted you to know.”
“I know. And I already know how much you love me. And I adore you. You know that, right? Even though, I didn’t think of flowers?”
Xander and Anya lay panting on her bed, both flush from recent sex. The blankets were in a twisted heap on the floor burying the clothes that had hastily and messily been thrown off.
“Wow,” Xan said, “what the hell was that?”
“It was fan-frickin-tastic is what that was!”
“Yeah… but… I mean; you know that this doesn’t mean….”
“I know, Xander,” Anya said, kissing him on the cheek. “But it’s nice to know that I’m still attractive.”
“More than attractive. I just don’t know what got into us. I mean, we agreed that we were just friends, now, remember?”
“It’s ‘cause of Joyce.”
“Yeah,” Anya nodded. “Because we’re seeing death up close and we need to feel alive. Sex helps us know we’re still here. It reminds us that we can still feel something except empty and sad.”
Xander looked on in surprise and maybe a little impressed. “You know… that actually makes a lot of sense. I never would have thought about it. When did you get so insightful about people?”
“I am growing, Xan. I’m becoming a fully formed human being,” Anya smiled self-pleasingly.
“Yeah, you are,” Xander readily agreed. “And you know what else? You’re still one hot chick.”
He and Anya laughed together and it felt like old and happier times for a while.
Giles rushed into the apartment door, trying to catch the ringing phone before his machine picked up. He barely knew how to use the thing, plus he thought it might be broke or something. The messages lately had always sounded like they were left by somebody at the airport with a jet passing close by.
In actuality, he just hadn’t gotten around to replacing the old cassette tape, yet.
“Hello? Hello, this….” He halted with a frown as an obviously automated voice spoke over him.
“Uh, yes, of course.”
“I’m sorry; we did not understand your response. At the tone, please reply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.”
-beep- “Yes,” Giles said forcefully into the receiver. There was a series of clicking and then silence as he waited.
“Faith. This is… this is unexpected.”
“Yeah. I’m only allowed a few minutes. Angel stopped by and told me about… tell Buffy how sorry I am. Really. But, Giles, I needed to tell you about this dream I had. I wish I had time to go through it step by step, but… look, it wasn’t just ‘a dream’. You understand?”
“Yes, go on,” Giles answered, intrigued.
“Buffy was lying on a slab in the desert, Giles. I don’t know if she was dead, but she didn’t respond when I called her name. There was another, uh, mysterious-woman there; a black woman who felt old and powerful to me. Powerful like me and Buffy… understand? She was telling Buffy that ‘death is her gift’. There wasn’t enough details for me to understand what she was getting at. Sorry; if Buffy had gotten it instead, it would have probably had more details. Look, all I know is if trouble hasn’t gotten to Sunnydale yet, it’s on its way. And then when I heard about what happened to Joyce, I knew I had to take the chance to call you.”
“Thank you, Faith, but Joyce’s death was completely natural. However, there has been trouble here that I can’t go into over the phone for obvious reasons. This other ‘mysterious woman’, how was she dressed?”
“That was really weird… it was like white gauze. Kinda like the black and white mummy movies? Like she had been wrapped in bandages, oh, and she had face paint on. White, it might have been a hand print over her face, but it was hard to tell. There was a huge bonfire between us and she acted like I wasn’t there.”
“Th-thank you, Faith. I’ll look into this; are there any more details you can recall?”
“Just that this place in the desert? I’ve never been there, but at the same time I knew it. I knew it like I’d know my cell room, Giles. Like… like part of me was coming home. Listen, the guard’s giving me the sign… I gotta hang up. Good luck.”
Faith was gone before Giles could respond. After hanging up the phone’s receiver, he rushed to the Watcher’s Guide and looked up the First Slayer. He knew the information like the back of his hand, there wasn’t much that was recorded about her after all. But he wanted to make sure none of the details of what he thought he remembered were mistaken. Faith’s Slayer-dream, if in fact it was really one, seemed to indicate that the First Slayer had a message for Buffy. Why his Slayer hadn’t been contacted herself was a mystery, but much of the supernatural had ways of working its will in roundabout ways. Plus Buffy’s preoccupation with Glory combined with her shock and grief could have made it too difficult for the daughter of Seneya to reach her directly.
Starting water boiling for tea, he sat down and reviewed all of the facts and speculation surrounding the first Slayer born and the desert in which she operated so, so long ago.
Buffy sat at the dining room table. In her hands were several different styles of announcement that could be placed in the local paper. It was another decision she needed to make. She looked around for Dawn, hoping for her input but she’d either gone upstairs, in the kitchen or maybe even across the street. She couldn’t remember if she’d heard the door after they’d gotten home. Dawn really should have told her if she was going to leave, but her sister was acting all resentful-y lately… like Buffy had asked to be put in charge of the house or something.
End Chapter 3