Disclaimer: The characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. No profit is gained from my writerly endeavors and no copyright infringement is intended.
Today she chooses something different. Today she wears a cross.
She hasn’t needed the crutch for years, hasn’t missed the cool press of metal against her collarbone in the moist dusk of Sunnydale’s cemeteries. That was a different her – the before her. It’s so hard to remember what it felt like to be that girl, to want those things.
She is reminded as she rifles through her desk, looking to dispose of any magical trinkets that could tempt Willow in her slide toward rock bottom.
Stuffed at the back of a drawer, her fingers hit the sharp angles, dip into the perpendicular lines. They feel familiar, those lines. She’d fondled and clutched them in class when doodles couldn’t keep her attention, watched them cause smoke to curl from a vampire’s throat as it lay prone on a pool table, seen them burn… burn Angel’s chest, a tattoo of red framed by his white collar.
Laid flat in her palm, she holds it in front of her, waiting for her own burn, for her flesh to bubble. Came back wrong, he said. How wrong? The silver chain trembles where it dangles from her hand. She closes her eyes when her chin trembles, too.
Moving toward her dresser, she holds the crucifix up and brings it against her neck. The points brush her pulse, now rapid and thready to keep time with her welling tears. Angel’s bite tingles, itchy pinpricks spreading out down the sinews of her throat, across her shoulders, down her chest. She clamps her hand over her mouth. She can’t imagine how he would look at her if he saw what she’s become.
Once the chain is clasped around her neck, she stares into the mirror looking for an explanation, an answer to how this all happened. The cross makes her remember – remember what she can’t be. Ever.
Picking up her coat, she heads for the door. There’s only one place to go to be the person she’s become, the person she hates and wants to tear off like an accessory.