Title: She Rides With Him
Era/season/setting: In between seasons 5 and 6. Shortly after The Gift.
Warnings: Suicidal ideation/sorta attempt, car crash. (No depictions of character death.)
Author’s Note: My first fanfic poem. Would never have thought to do it if it weren’t for thenewbuzwuzz‘s influence and all of her wonderful work promoting BTVS poetry. And thank you so much Buzwuzz for agreeing to beta on such short notice! You are a treasure. <3
This was initially intended to be one of those “X number of times this thing didn’t actually happen and one time it did” kinda things. Except that one of the sections just kinda took over and next thing I knew it was the whole poem and way longer than I’d entended the combined 5 sections to be in the first place. Of course it was also the most angsty by far. But despite the angst, I don’t think it’s entirely grim. I hope you all like it!
Conscrit is always welcome.
She Rides With Him
She rides with him as he rushes down the nighttime highway,
the black beast of his car turned tiny by the great open desert,
a dark seed carried through the vastness,
He hears the whisper of a voice in the muted wind and turns,
half-expecting to see her there
on the other side of the broad bench seat.
But she’s too faint,
stretched too thin,
torn to mist by the hungry air.
Yet he swears she is with him as he plants his foot against the pedal.
He needs to see her more clearly, so he presses his eyes shut.
And for a moment he’s there, with her, instants before the air consumes her.
He taps her on the shoulder, shaking his head, this time he’ll take the di–-
But his thoughts are shattered,
Smashed and torn like everything else.
All around him is the rending of metal, of glass,
of years of bloodsoaked memories.
The car opens like a flower
And he is broken
twisting up with her and the wind
wrapped in arms made of air
and other insubstantial things.
is too lovely
And he is heavy.
So, so heavy
and selfish intentions.
So he falls.
Of course he does.
He rolls and
bounces across the hard ground.
Things snap inside him.
His head smacks against a half-buried rock.
And as he lies there,
he knows he’s reached his inevitable fate.
Left with useless limbs
and a mouthful of dirt,
curst for trying to enter Eden.
He sobs a tiny puddle into the desert.
Why is he still here?
Why does he have to
maybe he doesn’t.
Given a few hours, the Sun
(mercifully merciless queen of day)
will come wipe the worry from his brow,
burn the ache from his bones,
purify them with ritual flame.
Sweet, sweet sunshine.
He lets his head collapse onto the sand.
A breeze forms cool fingers,
trailing along his bloodied cheek.
He closes his eyes,
wanting to be soothed.
But the cruel wind
will not soothe for long.
It buffets and grabs at him,
yanking at his coat by the lapels.
And he hears her voice,
a little different every time,
Now he knows he’s imagining things.
The tone shifts but the words never do.
He hears them
I can’t, he replies, pleading.
Can’t you see, love?
I can’t. Can’t help anyone.
Can’t save anyone.
and as for myself…
we both know there’s nothing left to save.
But the voice will not go silent.
lost in a cacophonous roar
loud as the air rushing over his ear,
angry as the wind slapping sand into his face.
He doesn’t know what she expects him to do,
how can he stand,
let alone make the trip back to town?
But she gives him
refuses to let him rest.
And he never could bear
(wretched old thing)
upwards with geological slowness.
Bones grate against each other
like tectonic plates.
He quakes and shivers
as he snaps them back into place.
that might look a little
like his old shape
to the distant and calloused eye.
The car sits, a hundred feet away,
folded around a light pole.
And beyond it the road cuts
an agonizing line through the desert.
Back to the one person he knows hurts as much as he does.
Back to his promise.
As he travels that brutal line,
he allows himself to imagine
that Buffy walks beside him.
The wind has softened,
grown mostly silent.
But as the orange glow
of the town they once shared
blooms out of the desert air,
he thinks he hears
one last faint whisper.
Thinks he feels
the dandelion soft
brush of lips on his cheek.
His lips curve into the grim outline of a smile
as he trudges wearily back toward town.
Originally posted at https://seasonal-spuffy.livejournal.com/643865.html