Youíve got an ugly smirk that I miss sometimes. I find myself wishing you well. Does that make you laugh? I was remembering something you said to me; you saw it in my eyes when I returned to Manhattan after my first journey to the West coast, you said, "She must have been prettier than the last Slayer,". Iíve never heard of a Slayer like her, in strength or beauty. She is more extraordinary than you have the ability to comprehend, but your recipe was perfect.
Skulking outside her home in LA those years ago, seeing her shut the bathroom door and stare into the mirror, the tears beginning...she was just a child, or she had been until that night. My ancient heart awakened like the pain of an injury does the morning after, with a singing bitterness, but at least it wasnít silent anymore. It was so unfair, for her to be thrown into the world that way. I know thatís what happens to Slayers; right around puberty they come into power without knowing it, the Watcher finds them, initiates them, and from then on they are no longer children, they are no longer even people. Her life ended that night. She went from lollipops to stakes in the span of an hour. Slayers become marked with an obligation, they are from that night shut out of their own world, separated, apart. They have no one to turn to for comfort. Their childhoods end traumatically, and it tears most of them apart inside; most of them live short, melodramatic lives. I watched her crying as she stared at herself in the mirror and I wept. We were both alone, completely alone. From then on, I would do anything for her; she was my unknowing companion. I knew someone who was as desolate as I was, and whom I could help. But yes, of course, she was beautiful, and she radiated that joy, that life from inside that intoxicated and terrified me. I was her slave from that moment and she wouldnít even know my name for years to come.
Buffy lowered the paper in her hands and stared out at the dark waves, edged white in the glow of the street lamps, wondering. What night? She groped for it vaguely, then the memory came through. Had he been there for her first vampire kill, had he seen her? Her heart fluttered and the tears began, tedious as that was becoming. She looked at the box. She should start calling it the "cry box". He cried because he saw me hurting and he didnít even know me, she thought, so how could he ever just walk away from me? Isnít that what love is, that immediate sympathy, that feeling of not being so alone, that connection? She curled her toes on the cement; they were becoming cold. She shifted in her plastic chair. The light from her room coming through the sliding glass door was sufficient to read by, and she was not ready to stop yet, masochistic as that was.
What a thrill it had been to see her kill that night, though. I was so worried. I am subject to the some of the same prejudices I had as a human; she was very pretty, and very tiny, and very young. I truly thought she was going to get butchered. I should have known better. She was amazing. I can compare it to human experience in this way: have you ever seen film of a tiger kitten pouncing on itís motherís tail? The kitten is tiny, with rounded ears and oversized eyes, and it is completely unselfconscious. It acts on pure instinct. It is lethal and adorable at the same time. You can see the imprint of what it will be in itís eyes; it is an exhaulted predator, a killer of immense strength and skill and beauty. That, in a nutshell, is Buffy. I was privileged to see her first kill. It compares to the privilege of observing rare animals in the wild. I will never forget it.
Many ancient shaman traditions have an interesting dichotomy: the animals regarded as healers are often the most formidable predators. Thatís why tigers are dwindling, that, and the short-sightedness of humanity...but itís true. The most ferocious hunters have the greatest healing powers.
Buffy has soft little hands with little painted nails. She can punch through a wall. She can kill demons. She can put you in paradise. Her hands touch with more tenderness than I remember my motherís caresses did, when I was a child. Her touch always made me shudder to the core, shudder with longing and gratitude like a drug addict receiving that intoxication, that release, from the drug he craves. Safety, shelter, softness and warmth, all in Buffyís hands.
The healing balm after Drucillaís. I donít blame her. Who made a monster out of her, out of a pure young girl with a spiritual gift? Who made her feel she was unclean? She was pure, Whistler....pure as Joan of Arc. Pure as the proverbial driven snow. She had enormous, startling, clear green eyes, eyes that halted men on the street, eyes that made good men follow her home. She had a heart full of love to be given, love that should have been given to a kind man, to several children, who could have received the gift from her and made the world a better place. Who knows what children of hers might have given to history, or even what she might have given the Church, as a mystic? She is only one of my walking sins, but she is the worst of them. She was a good, loving young woman with a rare talent. I dragged her through the muck of misery so many times that the clarity of her soul was dulled, like a pearl rubbed in gritty mud; she was so delicate, her nature so fragile to hold the gift she held, that redemption is forever stolen from her, the damage is too complete. Shakespeare said something so perfect about it, about a "fair maid divided from her senses" being the most tragic thing of all. For that alone I should have taken a walk at noon. To have her torture me was almost a relief, but not in a lustful sense. It lightened my soul just a tad. I owed her much more, but it took the edge off a small part of my debt. I had it coming.
Imagine that holy water is battery acid, and sunlight is uranium. Youíll have an idea of the shock and damage they can inflict on the undead. Iíve known others of my kind who were trapped in the sunlight and survived, but were driven mad by it. The shock to the system is profound, and lingers after the burns have healed. Itís a misconception that because vampires heal so completely, that they donít feel pain. Itís a gigantic lie.
Ordinarily I would have found a dark, private place and slept until I was literally starving, in order to recover. Buffy would never have allowed it. She came to my apartment every day, sometimes twice, bringing clean bandages and ointments; I was moved. I never asked her for help, but she came, eyes full of concern and affection, to check my wounds, to change my bandages, to spend time with me, and most importantly, to touch me. The bandages represented something to her, but the thing that healed was her touch, pure and simple. I soaked comfort from her like the desert soaks up the winter rain.
I was growing stronger. I had never healed this quickly from injuries, and Iíve had my share. One evening she came to see me and she was preoccupied, something about her motherís boyfriend. I didnít know what to tell her, but I let her vent for a while until she was repeating herself and I was desperate for a kiss. When the body heals, even an undead body, the first sign of returning health is desire; at least, in the folk medicine of my country it was said. I was feeling much better.
"Kiss me," I said, and she did. She leaned over me and gave me her warm mouth. For weeks she had been kissing me very gently, small, contained kisses, but she must have felt my vitality reemerging, because her mouth opened and she slid her hot little tongue along mine.
I returned her kisses without thought, holding her face in my hands, sinking my tongue into her mouth, biting her lips, stroking her lips with my tongue, mauling her mouth. Weeks of gentle nursing had sharpened my appetite; I was ravenous for her. She twisted us neatly in a half-turn on the bed, pressing my head to her chest; I was suddenly lying with my face held to her breasts, listening to the music of her heartbeat. Her fingertips lingered on my face with a melting tenderness. She was wearing some sort of silk top without a bra and her breasts were so soft under it, they moved with every motion I made. They were softer than down feathers in a pillow, softer than water, ethereally soft. I was moving my face over them with abandon, drinking in the scent and the texture of her. Her nipples rose, responding, and a thrill shot through me, I answered them. I took one between my lips and held it , a small treasure of silk-covered flesh. She gasped and her entire body arched against me. I pulled on her nipple gently, clamping the silk against it and stroking up and down; my fingers went to her other nipple and trailed over it delicately. Her heart began to sing to a faster rhythm. Her hands went up and pulled the silk downward. I hadnít been privileged to see her breasts, completely revealed, yet. She released them. I sprung up into a crouch over her and slipped my hands around them, feasting my eyes. She looked up at me, vulnerability creeping across her face.
"Buffy, do you know how beautiful you are?" my words came out in a whisper. I hadnít meant them to, but my mouth was suddenly dry. I licked my lips.
She couldnít seem to answer.
"You are the most beautiful woman Iíve ever seen," I said. Trite, maybe, but the absolute truth, and truth tends to ring through in words. I met her eyes with mine. I slipped my fingers over her breasts, I cupped them in my hands and gazed at her. I bent my head and kissed every inch of them. I wanted her to know that she was beautiful. If she had any doubts they would have to be erased. I looked into her eyes again.
"Do you know?" I asked her, my voice still husky , "Do you?"
Her breathing was ragged. She felt shy, she didnít want to answer me. I didnít want her to feel this way. I wanted her to look down at her body and revel in her own beauty, I wanted her to know what a gift she was. She felt exposed and judged. It wouldnít do. I wrapped my arms around her and held her tightly against me. She pulled away from me and sat up. I was deeply disconcerted; I had done something wrong.
She was holding her top against herself, looking away. I had to struggle to keep from panicking.
"Buffy, please, talk to me. Whatís wrong?"
"Nothing," she said in a small voice.
"I went too fast. We donít have to go so fast. We donít have to-"
"Angel-" she interrupted me, "Itís just that I know- I know theyíre not that good,"
"What?" I was appalled.
"Iím not stupid," she was looking away, "I know what the standard is and I know youíve had a lot of women-"
I seized her by the shoulders and turned her to face me.
"Tell me what the Ďstandardí is," I demanded.
She looked down.
"Iím-Iím sorry-it doesnít matter,"
"It matters," I said, "It matters more than anything how you feel. Nothing matters more!"
She was blushing deeply. Where did all this come from? Was it shame? Shame on Buffy was like graffiti on the Mona Lisa.
"Theyíre not-theyíre not very big and theyíre not-firm like theyíre supposed to be,"
I grabbed her hands and held them. I made her look me in the eye. I knew exactly what was going on, but it wouldnít be any help to say it, it wouldnít help her to put off her feelings to fear or to male arrogance. She already knew about that, and she already knew that she was beautiful, it was impossible that the boys hadnít followed her around school like wolves in heat. This wasnít about that. I made her look me in the eye.
"Will you do something with me?" I asked her.
I put my hand in hers. "Put my hand on your shoulder," I said.
She did. "Do you know what that feels like to me?" I said.
"You feel like the sun, when I was human," I said, "Iíll never see the sun like that again, but I remember it. Youíre not like other girls and youíll never be like other girls. Youíre the Slayer, for one thing. The heat coming off your skin isnít like any other sensation Iíve ever had," she was looking down again, "You have to look at me, Buffy. You have to look at me and if you think Iím lying then you have to tell me,"
She looked at me and her eyes were moist. "I know youíre not lying," she whispered.
"This is important Buffy, " I said, "Weíve got to clear this up,"
"Now, put my hand against you," I said, looking at her chest, "And donít look away from me,"
She pressed my hand to her soft breast and I sighed, shaking a little, like I always did. "Do you know what that feels like to me?" I asked her.
"Softer than clouds. Youíre so soft and warm that I want to fall into you, I want to press my face against you and never have to see anything else again,"
Her heart was moving faster, her eyes had cleared.
"You donít have to show them to me," I whispered, "Until you want to. They belong to you, but I love them so much, I wish I could show you how beautiful they are,"
She slowly and demurely lowered the silk. I was shaking. It was such an amazing sight, her big, dark eyes fixed on mine while she revealed herself, that my hardness sprung up, almost violently. I tried to calm myself. Her breasts were very slowly emerging. I gave her my hand again. She pressed it onto her breast and I moaned, I couldnít help it. I took her hand in mine, I placed it gently on her other breast.
"Look at this curve," I said, and I traced the curve of her, moving her hand with mine so she was doing the same. "Itís so round and full, perfectly round," her breathing was accelerating now, her eyes glimmered, never leaving mine. "Feel how soft you are? Youíre skin is so supple, and when you flush like this, you shimmer, I can see the blood in your skin dancing," I lifted her breast slightly in my hand and guided hers to do the same. "Feel the slight weight of that? Itís delicious to me, I love the way your breasts move, thereís nothing else like that, I think about the way you feel in my hands when Iím sleeping, when I wake up, while Iím next to you talking Iím thinking about it," her nipples were standing up almost painfully. "When I look at you," I said, my eyes locked on hers, and then I lowered them to gaze at her breasts, "When I look at you," I caught her eyes with mine again, "I want you to know what I see, I see a place where I wish I could spend eternity, I see a beautiful, soft, warm world right here. Youíre like the moon, I need to see the moon, just to know itís there, I love the shape of it and the way it looks on different nights, I love waiting for moonrise, I love the glow of it. You glow, Buffy. Not like other humans. Not like anyone else. Iíve never seen anyone like you,"
Her eyes had softened and her chest was moving unevenly.
"What do I taste like?" she whispered.
I was flooded with joy; I bent my head and pressed my lips to her collarbone.
"You taste like life,"
Her hands held my head; she guided me lower, she held her breast in her hand and guided her nipple to my mouth. I slid my tongue obligingly in a slow circle around it. I reached for her other hand and guided her fingers to the same nipple, encouraging her to stroke the same one I was licking. She gave a long gasp and a crooning sound as she joined me, caressing herself. I closed my lips over it, gave it back, traced the same caresses she was giving herself. She swayed and reached out to hold my shoulder and pulled me down with her on the bed, her hand slipped quickly up my thigh and seized my raging sex in her hand. I cried out; I hadnít expected it.
"Thereís a taste Iíve been wondering about," she said.