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Magnitude (Dragon, PG)

Author Brutti ma buoni
Title Magnitude
Rating PG
Prompt Dragon (Sorry quinara; probably not your dream dragon)
Words 700
Setting Just after Not Fade Away

When a dragon falls to Earth, it makes an impact.

Also quite the splatter.

Buffy picked her way disgustedly over the leathery, scaly remains. This was beyond gross. This was… oh god, why was she wearing her new pumps? Salvatore would be crushed if he saw what she'd done to his leatherwork. Crushed, and severely pissed. Maybe she should just never go back to Rome. That might be safest.


His voice was behind her. She didn't turn.

"Slayer. You okay?"

She walked on, scanning the late-evening light for any telltale motion that might reveal yet another minion of evil in need of slayage. She might have been late to the party, but that didn't mean she couldn't finish off all the leftover chips and dregs of beer and this metaphor had got way out of control. Which was good, it was fine, it was what she was trying to do, with the shoe concerns and the figures of speech, because it was really, really important that she didn't think about anything important right now.

Now was not the time to make big decisions or say anything she might regret.

"Slay- Buffy. Are you going to face me?"

She groped for another distraction. Dragon claws were purple; that was a surprise. Maybe she could accessorize them with- No, tasteless. Tacky thought. Drop it. You don't wear fur, you don't drill holes in dragon claws and use them as bag charms.

"Buffy! Look at me! I'm sorry. Okay? Is that what you need to hear? I'm sorry, I'm so sorry I couldn't save them."

It wasn't your fault. She thought the important thing, but she didn't say it. I know you tried. I know you'd have saved them if you could. I'm sorry you're the last man standing. But they hadn't spoken for a year. He hadn't come to her. He'd had his own shot at destiny. And this was how it turned out. With the death of heroes and dragons. With aftermath on her shoes. With Spike behind her, and her unable to turn round.

He was moving among the wreckage, getting closer to her now that the sun had sunk below the horizon and he could walk more freely. She could hear his boots squelch in the lizard flesh.

"We buried them. You weren't there."

"I had to be here." Slayer duty, that was a reflex.

"Someone could have covered." He sounded hurt. Reasonable, too, which wasn't like Spike. Prepared to negotiate. Like he was still apologising.

She didn't answer, because it was true, but it hadn't been possible. She had to be here, where they fell. Where she came too late. Till she knew she'd done everything.

"You haven't looked at me. Can't stand the sight of me?"

She took a breath. Important things were simmering now, coming to boil. I can't face you. I don't know why you didn't look for me. I don't know why you didn't call. I'm sorry I was too late. It's just too much.

She didn't say them. She thought he heard anyway. Maybe finally understood there were wrongs on both sides, the way she saw it, and how much she didn't want to talk about them today.

He stopped trying to apologise, anyway. Kicked something in the rotten wreckage. She could hear the relief in his voice as he found another topic. "Huh. Never knew dragon claws were purple. We should keep 'em. Make a nice pendant for you. Maybe a ring…"

She couldn't hold in a bubble of giggles. Needed to share it with him, since he shared her thoughts so perfectly on this. Which was unimportant, but mattered so much just now.

Turned around, and finally looked at him.

Her shoes were wrecked. That really wasn't important.

He looked half-wrecked too. Torn up around the mouth and one ear blackened and swollen; one arm in a sling. Burns on one leg showing through the raggedy jeans.

She kissed him, carefully. Because there was no simple resolution to the past. She wanted it to be the future now.

"Okay." Meaningless word of utter importance. Okay, they'd move on. "But no more dragons."



( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 10th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh, this is excellent. Every line is strung together so well, from the thoughts on dragons to Buffy's unimportant thoughts (and the tone is so perfectly Buffy) to the specific names Spike calls her. I'm so glad the ending is hopeful. Really, really nice.
Apr. 10th, 2011 06:42 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad! Thanks for a lovely comment, especially on Buffy-voice, which I find pretty tough to capture.
Apr. 10th, 2011 06:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely!! And made all the better by the dragon. :D (You should know I'm not fussy!)
Apr. 10th, 2011 06:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm sorry about what happened to your dragon. But at least it was pivotal to the story. :p
Apr. 10th, 2011 07:25 pm (UTC)
Now i want a dragon claw bag charm
Apr. 10th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
Noooo! Buffy spurns your taste. Spike likes it. These are bad signs.
Apr. 10th, 2011 07:31 pm (UTC)
"You haven't looked at me. Can't stand the sight of me?"

She took a breath. Important things were simmering now, coming to boil. "I can't face you. I don't know why you didn't look for me. I don't know why you didn't call. I'm sorry I was too late. It's just too much."

Facing each other was too much - so they thought and talked about PURPLE DRAGON CLAWS! So careful, they could hopefully move on.

Loved it!

Apr. 10th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Aww, thanks so much! Talking is very, very important, but sometimes it may not help. Sometimes, it's all about the claws.
(no subject) - louise39 - Apr. 11th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - brutti_ma_buoni - Apr. 11th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Apr. 10th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Ah *breathes sigh of relief* I wasn't sure where you were going with this. Love it.
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:39 pm (UTC)
*g* The beauty of writing for a rough and ready short-form comm like this is that you can just write, and see where you go. I didn't know where they'd end up when I started, which is something I'd normally freak out over. But it's a lot truer to Buffy's thoughts that way, I hope.
Apr. 11th, 2011 02:58 am (UTC)
Aww, this is perfect. Great use of dragon. :D
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Dragon = accessory, icebreaker, whatever. *g*

Apr. 11th, 2011 01:16 pm (UTC)
That was lovely. So glad she was able to turn around in the end.
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I was picturing that scene from After Life, where she stands in the light and tells him the truth about Heaven. Kind of backwards here, but echoing.
Apr. 11th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
Awww, that was incredibly sweet. In a nice, bitter kind of way.
Apr. 11th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
*g* Bittersweet is the best kind. Thanks!
Apr. 11th, 2011 03:10 pm (UTC)
Sad and sweet and lovely. This line: She kissed him, carefully. Because there was no simple resolution to the past. She wanted it to be the future now is perfect. I love that it calls back S/B in Intervention and T/W in Entropy while still being completely about the moment you've created for them here.

Apr. 11th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I was thinking about Entropy, for this, though it's less sweet in tone than Tara. And who doesn't love Buffy kissing battered Spike?
Apr. 11th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)
Great Buffy voice here. You really captured her perfectly; nicely done!
Apr. 15th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
Apr. 11th, 2011 10:33 pm (UTC)
Lovely post-series reunion. It's not perfect, it's messy and real.
Apr. 15th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Perfection is overrated, imo. Life's much more interesting than that!
Apr. 12th, 2011 12:45 pm (UTC)
A lovely piece, and you've caught Buffy perfectly I think. And purple dragon claws are ..... just neat.
Apr. 15th, 2011 09:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. The claws are a big hit all round!
Apr. 14th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
*sniffle* So sad! And beautiful. *sniffle*
Great Buffy-voice.
Apr. 15th, 2011 09:01 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm glad it was enjoyable as well as sniffly.
Sep. 30th, 2013 08:05 pm (UTC)
This is gorgeous. Wonderfully written.
Sep. 30th, 2013 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )


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