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Undertow, Part Three

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Posted to the RoswellSlash mailing list November 5, 2001

Title: Undertow (3/?)
Author: trixie
Disclaimer: Joss and Jason own the BtVS and Roswell 'verses respectively.
Rating: NC 17 (warning: some "female" stuff that might squick out people)
Author's Notes: Takes place after "Flooded" without the B/A ending
Summary: The sequel to "Beholden to Yesterday" After Buffy comes back from the dead, she meets up with two faces from her past- Liz and Michael- who are in Sunnydale running from their own grief.
Need a Refresher?
Cate: Crossover, Buffy/Liz, Buffy/Angel, Liz/Michael and Michael/Maria

        The air is thick in the Magic Box. As I stock books for Giles and Anya, I try and take deep and even breaths but give up after a while. It's noisy in here, and I can hear Willow and Tara cooing softly to each other in the back room. I smile at their soft whispering. It must be nice to be in love so purely, so truly. I don't even remember what that's like. I'm not sure I ever even had it with anyone.


        My knees crack slightly as I reach down to retrieve a book of pagan spells that I dropped earlier. Its bindings are worn and slight thready bits of paper worm their way through the cover. Sighing, I stretch my aching back and watch Dawn laugh with Xander as they sit at the table doing research. Some kind of new demon in town- that Giles seems extraordinarily worried about. It's killed three people- and turned three people- that we know about already and even Willy isn't talking. I'm too tired to even want to deal with it right now.

        It's been three days since I last saw Liz and Michael. After our talk in the cemetery, I was too scared to even look for her. Scared she would start to speak about missing me and of Chinese food and candy kisses. I remember looking at her arms and seeing purplish bruises from where Michael had gripped her, and feeling my thighs tingle and my insides go heavy with some yearning I didn't care to identify. I've tried to forget our time in Roswell- tried to push it to the back of mind over these years, and now she's back and everything is crumbling.

        Climbing down the steps, I say to Giles, "I've gotta go."

        He looks concerned. "Where are you going, Buffy?"

        "Out," I answer vaguely and smile at my friends. "But I'll see you guys later."

        I can hear the protests, but the roar in my ears ever since I got back is louder, so I'm able to ignore them. Outside, the cool sun still burns and I take off my coat, wanting the feel of the rays on my shoulders. My head aches slightly and I walk down the road, taking the pack of cigarettes out of my purse and lighting one with careful hands. The smoke winds it's sinuous way down my throat and into my lungs as I breathe deeply, the throb at my breastbone easing.

        I walk to the Sunnydale Motel. I don't want to. Am I answering some sort of siren song? Sometimes I hate her and I hate Roswell and I hate the fact that I ever went there. And yes, sometimes I hate myself for killing Angel and not just sending us all to Hell- in that glowy dawn Acathla's mouth was creating. At least then I would have been able to let my last memory be Angel's eyes and his sweet kiss. Instead I watched him gasp like a fish on a hook and reach out to me and all I remember is thinking- nononono this isn't happening nononono--- not him I wouldn't do this to him—nononono---

        But it was happening and I had done it, so I ran away. That's something I never, ever do. And then I found her and I suppose there was an irrevocable split between Angel and I the day I fell for someone else. The day I found a new life after taking an old one. It wasn't the same as it was with Riley. Riley was my sunshine escape, not someone who saw me through the darkest days I'll ever know.

        The motel sign boasts "No Vacancy" in garish red letters and I step up through the doors, thinking that every small town hotel is the same.

        After asking for Liz and Michael's room number, I ascend the stairs, and my lungs, unused to smoke after so long, wheeze a little at the exertion. My stomach cramps for a moment and I stop, feeling the slight trickle of blood, wet down my thigh. Damnit. Not what I need now.

        I knock on the door and it's long minutes until I hear a semi-crash and it's opened, by Michael, shirtless and slightly sweaty in worn jeans. He looks at me closely, and mutters, "Buffy..."

        "Hey Michael," I greet him and shift uncomfortably. My underwear move with me, clinging damply to my flesh. I can smell the blood. Metallic, sharp, sweet. "Is Liz around?"

        "She's in bed," he returns, and rubs his forehead, near the hairline. "But come in. I'm sure you've seen it all before."

        I wince, walking past him and into the darkened hotel room, which is messy and smells like alcohol and sex. A figure lies on the bed, naked, shiny and asleep. It's Liz, and I breathe in, my belly tightening with a bolt of fierce desire and recognition. She stirs, her eyes opening slowly. "Buffy?" she questions. "What are you doing here?"

        "I wanted to see you," I say helplessly. "There's... there's things to say, Liz."

        "Like what?" she replies, her voice wobbling. She hasn't bothered to cover her skin and I turn away, fixing my eyes on a point near the light suspended from the ceiling.

        "I'd rather say them alone."

        Michael snorts. "Do you think I'm gonna really give a fuck?"

        "Michael—" I protest. "We used to be friends. What happened?"

        "What happened?" he repeats blankly. "What happened? The love of my fucking life died. The reason I stayed on earth is dead. The woman I—" his voice cracks and I see the bright tears in his eyes, hovering near the surface. "Maria's dead," he finishes. "Nothing else matters."

        "Except sleeping with Liz, apparently," I point out calmly, and he gazes at me with such apathy that I instinctively recoil.

        "That's nothing," he dismisses. "Liz and I understand each other, don't we?"

        She stares at him and then glances at me. "Yes," she answers. "I think we do, Michael."

        He tugs on a shirt and grabs his wallet. "I have to go get some groceries. Do whatever you want."

        The door slams behind him and I wilt. "He's angry."

        "Of course he is," Liz replies without inflection. "Maria's gone."

        "I understand," I say and I do. Of course. Angel's been gone for so many years that it's almost as if he's dead. Maybe it would be better if he still was. Immediately I feel sick at the thought, and lean on the desk holding the TV. "Liz... what are you doing in Sunnydale?"

        "Running away," she answers. "I think we already established that."

        "Were you running to me?" I ask softly, and she flinches.

        "Do you honestly think I would after how it ended?"

        "Maybe," I say honestly. "I don't know, Lizzie."

        The awareness is thick and hot between us. She squirms a little on the bed, pushing her masses of dark hair off her shoulders. I want to walk around the bed and touch the spot on her lower back that always gathers sweat. I want to kiss the hollow of her neck, where it meets her shoulder. I want to caress her lips, lick up her come, cleave her body into mine so I won't feel so empty. She's so familiar, so Liz. So of the past- the past I swore I'd forget and push away but it's not working, and oh God, oh God, what am I going to do?

        Her eyes bore into mine. "What are you doing here, Buffy?" she inquires for the second time.

        "I don't know. I guess..." I pause. "I guess I came here for you. Are you satisfied Liz? I'm not over you. I don't think I ever got over you. Happy now?"

        She laughs harshly and wraps the sheet tight around her slight body- which is even skinnier than before. I can clearly see her ribs through the thin fabric, see her breast with their tiny nipples, like roses. "Sure, I'm happy. I wish I could see you begging at my feet for what you put me through."

        "What I put *you* through?" I snap, my hands and wrists trembling. "Do you even know what I was going through that summer, Liz? Do you even care? I killed my boyfriend. My boyfriend. The love of *my* fucking life- the person I cared about the most in the world. I had to watch him die. I stuck a sword through his gut and watched him as he whispered my name. So don't even think about trying to compare what we went through! All right?" I'm shaking so hard I can feel my teeth rattling. The tears stream down my face, tiny droplets coming to rest in my palms. I squeeze them together, the salt burning my skin. "You can't know. You can't know what I was feeling- what I was going through."

        "I have a pretty good idea," she cries. "Wasn't I the one who fucked you senseless all summer? Wasn't I the one who kissed away your tears and was there for you and loved you and begged you not to leave me? Jesus, Buffy, you'd think you have a monopoly on pain..." she trails off, and stands. "I know what Hell's like. I'm in it right now. So.. so... just stop. Please. Maria's dead and I'm so tired..."

        My hands rake at my hair. "You don't think I am?"

        "I think—" she pauses and then asks quietly, "do you want something?"

        "What do you mean?"

        "A tampon or something."

        I stare at her and then inquire slowly, "How did you know? Don't answer that."

        "You don't remember?" she asks sadly. "How it was when—"

        "Stop," I warn her, my voice reedy even to my own ears. Of course I remember. I'd just lied to myself enough to believe I'd forgotten. How I'd tease her during that time, saying I could smell her and she'd blush and stammer and forget what she was telling me. But then... after a while, she got more womanly- more confident, and it was then she who would tease me. Touch me, her fingers slick and pink and murmur how slippery I was. I remember. She liked the colour pink. Pink blush and pink fingers and pink lips.

        She liked it when I had copper smears on the insides of my thighs. I used to whisper it was the animal in her. She would whisper back that I must like that. "You're the Slayer. Aren't you the animal- in all of us?"

        Icy fingers crawl up my spine. I look at her. "I remember. I don't want to, but I do."

        "Do you remember everything?" she says wearily, and touches my arm.

        It burns. "That's what makes it so hard."


        "Having you back here... Liz... it's too complicated."

        "You loved me once," she whispers soft, sliding her hand down my waist, and I shiver, trying not to arch towards her.

        "I love you now. Or at least- I love that seventeen year old I left—but—I don't know you anymore. And you don't know me. I'm not the same person I was, Lizzie. A lot has changed. People died. And Left. And I... I've done some things, had some things happen to me- that I guess have changed me forever. It can't be like Roswell."

        "Who says I want what we had in Roswell?" she counters quietly. "I've changed too. But... I still want you, Buffy."

        I shudder at her words. I can almost taste her. A bead of sweat clings to her upper lip. She's shaking. She's not Spike. She's not Riley. She's not Angel.

        That's good.

        I want to forget.

        Just for once. I want to forget that I come from dirt. That I have dreams about killing Angel every single night. That my Mom died and left me alone. That my sister is going to starve if I can't find a way to pay the bills. That Spike wants to be inside me. That I don't think I'll ever love anyone the way I loved Angel.

        That I'm a dead girl walking.

        Leaning in, I touch her lips with my mouth. She moans, slightly, and her fist locks on my hair.

        "Let's go," I whisper. "Let's go to the beach."

Continue to Part Four

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