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Her hair fluttered in the breeze of her own making, her speed clearing away the cobwebs in her mind, banishing all thoughts and feelings not connected to that very moment. Faster. Faster. Faster. There. Her legs tensed and released, launching her into the air, and for a moment, she was flying, free from the horrible confines of the Earth. Soaring towards the heavens, and if she could only keep on going, break through the barrier….

Gravity leapt at her, grabbing her in its vicious jaws and pulling her towards the ground. Maybe if I hit the ice just right, Buffy thought dreamily, this nightmare will finally be over. There was only so much that slayer healing could do. A broken neck and off she would go, back where she belonged.

Strong arms caught her, setting her down on her skates as she was twirled around. Two full spins to gain momentum, and then she was set free, gliding across the ice of the rink. And again, she was flying, but with her feet firmly on the ground. Or, well, on the blades of her skates. Was this what it was like? Was this what living had been like? It was so hard to remember.

Remember…. She remembered another time at this rink. Another night when she’d snuck in with a different vampire. Her thoughts strayed to her recent disappointing meeting with Angel. She’d expected to feel something. Anything. But there had been… nothing. They’d just sat there awkwardly, staring at each other. A man who was dead on the outside and a girl who was dead on the inside. Who should have just been dead.

Spike circled around her, coming in close enough to take her hand and pull her close for just a moment. He smiled at her, eyes so bright and alive for a dead man. He always had been a lively one, always moving. Weird how he was the only one who would let her be still. Still and quiet when she needed it. Loud and obnoxious when she needed that instead. All the whiskey and the demon bar had been kind of ick, looking back on it, but she’d actually felt alive for it.

And she felt alive now, as she flew across the ice.

Spike started to pull away, but she grabbed his hands, forcing her mouth into a small smile – such a foreign feeling expression, though it seemed easier with him sometimes, since he didn’t expect or demand it – at his quizzical head tilt. She spun, holding him at arm’s length as they moved along the ice. Then she let him go, both of them sailing off like shooting stars across the frozen sky.

Shooting stars eventually fell. Like she had fallen. Like Spike had, so long ago. Everything fell. Everything died and decayed and fell to dust. And then you rose, to be enveloped in peace before your friends stole you away, sending you plummeting to the ground. To a hell of harshness and pain and….

Buffy took a deep breath and slowly let it out. She’d fall back into the dull despair soon enough, the walking death that had become her life, but for now…. For now, she would fly.

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