"Why are you giving me gifts then, if you're not my friend?" she called to his retreating back. He did this a little too often, disappeared in a billow of velvet or leather depending on what he was wearing that day.
"Because you need help."
"I need help?" she could not help but ask, her voice laced with scorn.
His simple answer only served to irritate Buffy more, what was it with this guy? "I'm not the one who is a Slayer groupie, following me around, making with the cryptic talk."
"But it wouldn't be any fun if I talked more specifically, Buffy."
"You know my name?"
"Sure," he said with a shrug. She watched as he toyed with his hands, his large fingertips on one hand touching the tips of the other hand. He was strong, she could tell that even at night. It was not He-man strength, but he was still strong.
"And how is it exactly you know my name? You know what I am?"
"I was sent to help you."
"By giving me half assed clues and handing out crosses without explanations?"
"Are you saying the cross won't come in handy?"
"Well, yeah," she said defiantly.
"Then what explanation do you need? You fight vampires, crosses help repel them, wear it and it might save your life one of these days. It might give you that one extra moment you need to win."
"Are you saying I'm going to die?"
"All slayers die."
"Doom and gloom much? No wonder you don't know what a friend is."
"I never said I didn't."
"You were thinking real hard on it when I asked you earlier."
"Maybe we just define friendship differently."
"Or maybe no one likes you because you are just too upbeat for them to handle."
He smirked at that; it was the closest to a smile she had seen on him. She could tell he would have a nice smile and wondered briefly what it would take to make him smile. She wondered how miserable his life could be that he never smiled. And then she wondered what type of life he had that he had the time to follow her around.
"I don't spend too much time around people."
"No? Really? You could have fooled me, you're all social grace and ease even around just me."
He scowled at that, and Buffy felt a moment of fear as his eyes seemed to penetrate her. A trick of light made his eyes appear to change somewhat. It had to be a trick of the light, because they were normal again in a matter of seconds. Her heart was pounding and she was suddenly feeling uneasy around this guy. He was looking at her strangely. "What?" she finally asked.
"You're bleeding," he said simply.
"Huh?" she asked glancing at her hand. She had been clutching the silver cross so tightly that the edges had imbedded themselves into her skin, causing her to bleed. "How did you know?"
He closed the distance between them, it looked as though it took him a great deal of effort for some reason. He pointed at the droplets of blood that were along the side of her hand, tracing over them with his fingertip almost reverently. "Oh," she said. His touch was hesitant and gentle, for a minute Buffy thought he might kiss her. But then he stepped away as soon as the contact was broken almost as if he had burnt himself.
"You'll be fine," he said gruffly, too gruffly. What was his deal?
"Sure," she said with a shrug.
"Stop questioning everything, Buffy, and just accept my help, whatever form it comes in."
She tilted her head, pushed some hair out of her face to look at him. She did not want to trust him, did not want to need his help. "Have other slayers gotten a fairy godfather or am I special?"
He just smirked that tell nothing smirk and began to backstep, putting more distance between them. "Wear the cross."
Just like that he was gone, disappearing into the night as suddenly and creepily as he had come onto the scene. "Wear the cross he says," she muttered under her breath, her hands instinctively working the clasp on the back of the heavy silver chain the cross was on. She fastened it around her neck and let it fall into place. It felt good on her, like it belonged to her, so she did what he suggested she should do, wore the cross.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com