A Different Life
I roll off my bed and instinctively reach for my sword before I even register the fact that I'm awake, it takes me a fraction of a second longer to identify the presence that woke me as my teacher's and to lower my blade. My life has changed a lot in this past year... since I died. Even now thinking about it sounds strange. I died and yet I'm still here, hiding from the ones I love... from the one I love.
There are callouses on my palm now. The sword feels almost as a natural extension of my arm and yet I know I am weaker than I should be. As my teacher says, my strength is and will always be in my magic, not my sword... a magic that sometimes can even allow me to identify a familiar presence. The sword is my last resort but she insisted that I learn how to use a blade if I have to. I have never killed, I don't know if I'll ever be able to deliver that final blow, but I've learned to defend myself with or without magic.
In a way it was a bizarre series of circumstances that allowed us to conceal the fact that I'm alive. If I had died anywhere but in Sunnydale it may not have been possible, not with friends who are used to having corpses walk away under their own power, but I died in Sunnydale and that made all the difference.
We are still not entirely sure of exactly what happened but it seems like my quickening had to overcome not only my injuries but also the hellmouth's mystical energy and being a new Immortal that delayed the process significantly. By the time my quickening was ready to try and kick in there was also the devastating damage inflicted on my body by the autopsy to contend with, then came the embalming process in which my blood was replaced by a number of chemicals and on top of that there's the fact that all proceedings regarding death tend to be carried out with unusual haste in Sunnydale. Even if they won't acknowledge it both morgues and funeral homes try their best to make sure that new vampires are someone else's problem by the time they rise.
I was already in my coffin by the time my body finally had a chance to heal enough to allow me to come back and I'll never forget that feeling, for months afterwards I kept all windows open regardless of the weather and even then I could hardly stand the thought of closing a door behind me. I tried to claw my way out of my grave but I died again before I could break free. At least I was fortunate enough to have someone digging to get me out... I am well aware that Buffy wasn't that lucky. The next time I woke up I found myself in a car next to a woman I had never seen before.
At first I wanted to go back, that was all I could think of but I couldn't, she made it clear that it wasn't time for me to do that just yet. She told me that there were things I had to learn if I was to survive and that there was no way I could return to Sunnydale without jeopardizing them all. Back then I thought she meant that they would be in danger should a headhunter come looking for me before I was ready to defend myself, now I'm not so sure. A few of her comments would seem to indicate that the danger was of a different and much more serious nature. She said that nothing happens without a reason, that there was a purpose to my death and then she asked me to be patient, that the time would eventually come for me to go home. I know she is waiting for something, for some kind of sign before allowing me to return to my former life.
At least I knew from the very beginning that in that regard I was unusually lucky, I knew that unlike most new Immortals I had been blessed with friends who would someday be able to understand and I knew I had time, I just prayed that they did too. Now I've gotten used to being here, seizing this opportunity to learn as much as I can --not only about combat but about magic as well-- while I wait for the day when I'll finally be allowed to go home. Somehow I know that day is almost here, as does my teacher.
And then, after waiting for more than a year, I finally hear the words I've been longing to hear, as Cassandra tells me to pack my bags, that the time has come, that Willow is waiting for me.