Prompt: 566 - Unholy
Word Count: 891
Buffy stared at the body. No, not body, boy as in boy sprawled on the ground as in Owen. As in Owen who'd just seen her stake a vampire. As I Owen who brushed his pants as he rose to his feet – more worried about clean clothes than almost dying said a part of her mind – and asked, “Did you see that guy? It's like he vanished into a puff of smoke.
“Smoke? Uh, no, it's nighttime, as in it's dark. He ran off. Really. You just couldn't see 'cause it's dark.”
“Buffy.” He pointed up. “We're under a streetlight.”
“Right, which is lit because it's night and, uh …” She glanced around, hoping to find a distraction. “Hey, burgers.” She curled her arm through his. “You hungry? I'm famished.”
He pulled his arm out of hers. “Buffy, I saw you fight that guy. And then I sort of saw him vanish?”
“Hunger will do that to you. Makes you see all kinds of wacky things. Things that aren't there. We should eat.” Buffy stopped and cocked her head. Was that … growling?
As she turned, the vamp leaped over the cemetery fence. Damn, he must have been a pole vaulter to get that much height. With Owen between them, she couldn't get to the vamp before he'd grabbed Owen by the collar, raising him so high that Owen's feet dangled above the ground. “You,” the vampire snarled at Owen, “you I'll let live just long enough to see me break your pretty little …”
Who the hell was he calling little? Buffy staked him clear through the heart. Oops, and she should have made him drop Owen first. “Ow!” he said, again from the ground. Rising, he brushed at his clothes. “What is this? Dust?”
Ashes, Buffy thought. “I try not to think about it.”
As Owen glanced around, Buffy could see him putting things together. He brushed at his jacket. Dust drifted into the air. “Is this all that's left of that guy?”
Distracting him with burgers obviously wasn't going to work? What next?
“What's going on, Buffy?”
She really should have a cover story. Hey, maybe she could work on one in homeroom. That had to be way more important than meditating, right? Maybe she could even stretch it out …
“Right, well, you see, there's something you don't know about me, that nobody knows about me. Well, no, not nobody, 'cause Giles knows and Willow and Xander …”
“Buffy, just tell me.”
He took the whole Slaying unholy forces of evil talk better than she'd expected given that she'd never expected to be telling him, but then he started walking without saying a word, without even looking at her. It sort of seemed like he was leaving her, as in breaking up with her. She scrambled after him. She couldn't just leave him walking on his own. She had to make sure he got home safe, right?
When he stopped she was sort of afraid to look at him, afraid of what she'd see in his eyes, so she stared up at the cemetery gates. The name, Restfield Cemetery, arched over the gate but the words sort of swooped down at the right as if death were some kind of slippery slope or maybe it was supposed to represent a descent into death but if it were death wouldn't you want to be ascending into Heaven? Maybe the gate's designer didn't have a high opinion of people.
“So that thing.” Owen paused to glance at her. “Vampire?”
“He came out of a grave?”
“Sure.” When Owen just looked at her, Buffy added, “He was a bit dirt-covered so, yeah, he's probably just dug himself out of a grave.”
“And you were hunting vampires?”
So not the time to bring up other demons. “It's called patrolling, but yeah.”
“And how do you kill them?”
“Crosses, garlic, stake through the heart.” Probably best to skip that whole decapitation with a spoon thing. And fire. No need to mention burning down the gym. “Oh, and sunlight works too but, you know, it has to be daytime.”
“Do you do this often?”
Right, say goodbye to any future dates. “Every night.”
“That's so cool!”
“I never thought nearly getting killed would make me feel so … so alive! When can we do it again? Tomorrow?”
“Day after … or, uh, night after? Any time, I'm ready.”
“Owen, you don't seem to see how dangerous …”
“But that's what makes it so amazing! I finally understand that line by Emily Dickinson, 'Death sets a thing significant.' My life, it's like I've never lived before, like I've been empty. No, not empty, hollow. I've been hollow and now, now I'm so energized.” He took her hands in his. “We can go again tomorrow, right?”
Maybe if she lightened the tone a bit, he'd calm down? “I was kinda hoping for a normal date. You know, catch a movie?”
“But after, we could do your patrolling thing after.”
“Uh, maybe.” Home. She should get him home. In the light of day, after a good night's sleep, he'd realize how much danger he'd been in or maybe he'd just think the whole thing had been a dream. Either way, he'd give up this whole patrolling idea, right?