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This is, again, an AU fic (though this one is all human). I'm pretty sure the next one will be in the canon timeline, but until then... I hope you all enjoy it, and don't hesitate to leave a review! They feed my muse...
“Get out of my house! Get out!”
Eight year old Buffy watched in silence from the stairs, a lone tear coursing down her pale cheek. Her mother slammed the door as the sound of her father gunning the engine on the car roared with brutal finality. Joyce Summers collapsed against the door, arms wrapped around herself as she cried; great, heaving sobs shook her willowy body so hard that her teeth rattled.
“It’s all your fault, you stupid bitch! If you weren’t so useless, Daddy would never have left!”
Her elder sister Drusilla sneered down at her from the hallway. Her beautiful, pixie-like face was made ugly by her malice, her hypnotically dark eyes narrow and seething with hatred. Charging down, she lifted a delicate hand and slapped her sister across the cheek. The ringing crack made Joyce’s head jerk up as Buffy screamed and burst into violent sobs. Her mother, however, merely sunk back down to the floor with a groan. Buffy looked up, a hand to her stinging cheek, Dru’s shrill laughter echoing in her ears.
Eight years later, Buffy jerked awake with a muted cry. She sat up, gasping for breath. Mousey brown hair that hung to just above her waist was snarled after a restless night of fidgeting. Her wide green eyes felt dry and sore; she raised a trembling hand to the cheek that still seemed to throb with the remembered pain, bringing it away in time to watch the glittering tears shatter against her fingers. Just like dreams she thought bitterly.
Despite the fact that she’d had a four year old child to raise, Joyce Summers had gone into a sharp decline soon after her husband of ten years had left her. In an attempt to numb the agony, she’d immersed herself in alcohol. Eight years on, she was a hopeless alcoholic, her mind permanently blurred by the burn of her addiction. Drusilla had become cold and unreachable when her precious Daddy abandoned them. Buffy, still a child herself, had been left to bring up Dawn as best she could.
After her father’s sudden departure, she’d learned quickly that asking either her mother or her sister for help resulted in a screaming fit or, in the case of the latter, a cruel put-down and a slap. Becoming independent so early on hadn’t prepared her for the nightmare that would be growing up and trying to guide Dawn into adulthood at the same time. Now sixteen, she was the sole shoulder on which her twelve year old sister could cry. Her father had left them with enough money that she could buy the little things Dawn required; for larger payments she usually shoved a pen into her mother’s hand and guided it to the paper, where Joyce would scribble a shaky signature.
Buffy rose at six o’clock every morning in order to prepare for the day. The bubbly, bright eight year old child was gone. Now, she was thin to the point of being emaciated, and she’d learned that questioning Drusilla or asking for her help resulted in her being the receiver of a painful beating. She kept her eyes downcast and her voice soft; maybe if she pretended to be invisible, Dru wouldn’t hurt her. The only time she felt safe enough to open up was when she was with Dawn, who she’d managed to shield from their sibling’s more vicious side. The only time the youngest Summers had been struck had been before Buffy had time to throw herself between the two.
Her alarm clock shrilled impatiently, and she hurriedly reached out a hand and slapped the ‘off’ switch. She wouldn’t want to wake Dru or Dawn. Rising with a weary groan, she braced her hand against the wall as her head span and the room blurred. She dimly remembered the last time she’d eaten a proper meal. It was days ago. Waiting for her head to clear, she breathed deeply before rushing over to the closet. Throwing on old, worn jeans and a long-sleeved top despite the fact that it was summer, she winced as it caught on the newest scab.
Looking down at her arm, she closed her eyes as the familiar rush of guilt and shame washed over her. Her forearm was littered with scars and cuts. She’d been self-harming for three years now; fortunately, the only one who had noticed was her best friend Willow. After a half hour of pleading and ordering by turns, Buffy had convinced her to keep quiet, though she could tell the redhead was worried about her. Yanking the sleeve down over where it had caught, she barely flinched as the wound was ripped open again and warm blood trickled sluggishly down her arm. After all, today was just another day in the life of Buffy Summers.
Dressed, she pulled her hair into a ponytail to keep it out of the way. Padding silently down the hall, she cringed as a floorboard creaked right outside Drusilla’s closed door. She froze, endless seconds passing by without any hint of movement from inside the room. She gave a soundless sigh of relief; she’d been lucky this time. Going downstairs as quietly as she could, she began the mindless routine she revisited every day, cooking Dru’s omelette and Dawn’s pancakes.
When the food was ready, she put it in the warm grill-oven to keep warm while she set about making Dawn’s lunch. By the time she was finished, she could hear the first signs of life from upstairs as Dru showered and Dawn dressed. Neatly setting out their breakfasts, she grabbed a glass of orange juice and a banana, settling down in the corner of the room nearest her young sister’s chair; if there was a problem, she wanted to be able to get in front of Dawn in time to protect her.
Moments later, Dru sauntered into the kitchen. Her hair was blow dried, held in a sophisticated knot at the back of her head. Her pretty face, made harder and colder by age and power over her household, was heavily made-up, her mesmerizing, darkly beautiful eyes lined with thick black strokes done by a skilled hand. Her pale skin was made whiter by the bright red lipstick she wore; Buffy shuddered at the similarity it had to blood. As usual, her sister was dressed in black, a tight dress with gauzy material to cover her arms and upper chest.
Dawn arrived shortly afterwards, the two younger Summers children tuning out their sibling’s tuneless humming. When Dru had finished eating, she shoved the chair back and rose gracefully, directing a contempt-laden stare at a silent Dawn before turning a poisonous smile of Buffy. She rose, padding warily to stand between her sisters, ready to block a move made in the young girl’s direction. Drusilla merely smiled, leaning forwards and running a sharp nail down Buffy’s cheek, the smile widening when her victim flinched.
“My Spike is coming over tomorrow. Everything will be perfect, and we shall dance with the stars together. Everything must be prefect for my prince. Do you understand?”
Buffy nodded numbly, shuddering as Dru backed away, the cruel gleam in her eyes remaining locked in her sister’s memory. The teenager had to suppress a sob of despair. Tomorrow was the first day of the Christmas holiday; if Dru’s new boy toy was coming to stay, he would probably be there for the whole month. She’d have to get up earlier in order to make sure everything was perfect for the couple; Dru would beat her senseless if there was anything wrong.
As she began mechanically clearing away the plates, she kept up the silent chant in her head. Two more years. Just two more years. Then you can get out of this hell-hole, and take Dawnie with you. Suddenly, the promise she'd made herself remember seemed cold and hollow.
This site is not affiliated with big scary corporations that could sue my pants off, I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer (though I desperately want Spike:) This site and its content is meant to entertain, not infringe:)