A fan fiction story by Melpomene based on the characters and backstory of "Buffy: the Vampire Slayer" and composed without permission. No copyright infringement is intended and no monies have been earned.


What is it they call fabric that's been engineered to look old? Distressed? Who would have thought that buying brand new clothes that look old would become such a popular fashion statement?

I remember the day she bought the shirt, peering at the label, a sweetly perplexed frown creasing her mouth as she tried to decide if the 'distress' was supposed to be indicative of the wearer's emotional state. Or maybe she thought that's how the manufacturer had felt while he was aging a perfectly good piece of clothing. I don't know what she thought; I never really cared enough to ask.

I had known she was slightly baffled as she stood there among the racks full of clothes but I hadn't tried to help her sort it through then either. She went ahead and bought it, smiling cheerfully at the girl who stood behind the counter and handed her purchase to her.

Now that I think about it, there have been lots of times she was unsure of things that I thought were blindingly obvious. At least they should have been blindingly obvious to someone who hadn't spent a thousand years or more as a demon.

When I saw her today, I wondered if she had chosen to wear that shirt for that reason. She is distressed; we all are. No one can think of much else besides the fact that Glory finally managed to get her grimy little hands on Dawn.

But I notice something else as well. She's lost weight, a lot of weight considering she wasn't over-weight to begin with. That's something I should have noticed before now. I wonder how long I've not been noticing it. I see her every day, I'm in extremely close contact with her every day, and still I hadn't noticed how thin she was getting until now.

I've never seen her wear a T-shirt before. It had been something of a joke when she bought it, and I never thought she'd ever actually wear it. But there she is, staring out the window at the hazy dusk-filled evening, wearing that shirt and a pair of denim shorts, positively the most uncharacteristic clothing she could have chosen--short of a neon orange prison jumpsuit, that is. She's even got white canvas sneakers on.

I'm suddenly regretful of all the times I ignored her confusion, of all the times I walked away or just blocked out her questions. I regret that I turned my back on someone who could have been a friend, that I never once gave her a chance to be anything other than a demon in my mind's eye.

I can see that now; I can see it with painful clarity. I witnessed how gentle she was Tara after Glory stole her mind. How she tried to be supportive of Buffy and Dawn after Joyce died, even though she was confused and frightened and no one would explain it all to her. How she was willing to sacrifice her life for Xander's when Olaf was trying to force him to choose between her and me or die himself for his refusal to pick one of us. I didn't jump up and say "choose me," she did.

And so I wonder, now that we're all pondering the likelihood of any of us surviving this final battle with Glory, whether she has any regrets. Has she even been human again for long enough to have any? She seems happy enough, under the circumstances. She has Xander who has professed his undying love for her. She even has Giles as a sort of strange father figure. I'm not sure she'd claim to have any real friends, but she seems quite well adjusted without them. I don't suppose she does have anything about her life she'd rather change.

I've discovered that I have plenty of regrets, and surprisingly enough, she's one of them.

the end

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