This is dedicated to two of my best supporters, elisi and red_satin_doll; also to a character I only realised I really liked after he was gone. It's also dedicated to all the veterans who have served and sacrificed so people like me have the freedom to say we will not kill.
I owe them my gratitude for that freedom.
TITLE: Comforting Contemplations
CHARACTERS: Buffy Summers; Riley Finn; Joyce Summers; Spike; Dawn Summers; Lisa;
SUMMARY: This is set in the 22'verse; it's an anniversary, but not a significant one. Buffy is coming to a crossroads in her life; all her partners have partners; families; lives outside the war they are constantly fighting, and she is missing them, but is she as alone as she thinks; or as lonely as she believes?
Riley started to apologise, but she cut him off; she knew the game. Besides she was a soldier too, and all her lovers were in danger all the time as well.
She wasn't married to any of them, of course; nor did she have any children.
Which she did...
“Sorry mom, “ she whispered, or thought she had. He asked her to speak louder; jungles not being as quiet as they were in the movies.
Buffy grinned; glad that he couldn't see how tired she was. “Forget about it, Finn; go get her, “ adding, with a twinkle in her voice, matching that in her eyes, “If she hasn't escaped and tied them all up by herself by the time you get there.”
He would never know her pain at hearing his laugh from nearly a thousand kilometres away; she could hear the Huey coming to collect him too.
“You know it, Buff.”
And he was gone.
And she was going to be alone on her birthday. Her head leant to one side as she regarded her mom's picture; the only one she had of the four of them together. Snorting, she wondered once again why she kept it; wasn't as if it was the real thing, Dawnie had found it on the internet on a relative's social pages.
She knew why of course. It was also the only picture of their father that their mom kept, because it was taken on the last holiday they had together before Dawnie started growing up; like dying a little when you watched you kids start going away to school, Mom had told her once.
Buffy picked the picture up and walked over to the drinks cabinet, took a Guatemalan beer that Riley had presented her with the previous year. Staring at the people in the frame; contemplating the possible messages in the fact that it was the last one, she wondered if she could ever be as strong as her Mom had been.
She didn't have to stay; more than enough talent to take over, but she knew she wouldn't. She knew she wasn't her Mom; never could be that strong.
Smiling melancholically to herself, she turned out the light and put some music on; some vinyl that had been a present of Giles', he not being able to make her birthday either. She sipped her beer, sighed and rested the picture on her chest; falling asleep in the comfy chair.
Joyce watched her from where her presence stood by the fireside.
'You're as strong as stone, Buffy; with a heart big enough to protect a whole world. You're more than I - we could ever have hoped for, with the patience of a glacier. You're not alone; never alone.'
Joyce accepted the hand offered her by a platinum blonde deceased undead, who also offered her a ghostly mug of hot chocolate; with little marshmallows, and stayed watching Buffy as she slept; only leaving once he'd kissed her forehead.
Buffy stirred; waking enough to place the beer safely, then went back to sleep, feeling oddly comforted that she wouldn't be alone forever.
Which was where Dawn and Lisa; their three children asleep in their arms found her when they arrived, unannounced just as dawn was creeping over the horizon.
Happy birthday could wait until morning.
Goddess watch over us all,