Title: Patchwork

Author: Constance Truggle

Fandom: Buffy/DOOM

Rating: FR7

Pairing: Buffy/John Grimm (Reaper)

Summary: Buffy thinks back on the beginning of their relationship. A bit introspective.

Disclaimer: Don't own Buffy or DOOM.

Word Count: 485

Author's Note: A bit of backstory for my fic Reaper of the Heart. Standalone, so you don't need to know what's going on there. Which is good since the next chapter for it is kicking my ass currently. As usual, this one is for hellbells. She's wonderful when it comes to encouraging me on that fic.

He took her to a dinky little hole in the wall place that was so far out in the boonies, it may as well have been on Mars. They didn't know who walked into their place, and they didn't care. Buffy had been in places like this before. Kind of shabby and worn, but the food was always good and the atmosphere was relaxed. The same could be said for this place, this Maria's that John had brought her to. And he was definitely John tonight. Just like she was Buffy, not Slayer. So the atmosphere was fabulous and the food was fantastic beyond even her expectations. But what made it a perfect meal was the company.

She didn't recall what she ate that night. She couldn't remember what they talked about. She knew he was wearing a pewter grey shirt with black slacks and – incongruously – black shit-kickers. She knew that they walked down by the river after eating, leaving his car in the lot. They held hands and they talked softly. She supposed they talked about whatever any new couple talks about. Themselves, each other, their likes and dislikes and how they have so much in common. Their dissimilarities will wait until another day, another time. Maybe even another walk. But those were for the future. This first date, this first intimate walk was for hopes and futures full of bright skies and green grass and colorful flowers and birds chirping in the trees.

They'd held hands, walking close enough for their bodies to brush against each other every other step. The sound of the river rushing past, muted and soft as it was, was branded into her memory. She couldn't think of Reaper without thinking of that first night. Cicadas making their own special music to accompany them. She'd known even then that he was special, too. That he would be able to lift her up to heights unimaginable or break her down so low that she'd be looking the devil in the eye. She had hoped for the former. It had killed her when she fell to the latter.

Faith had put her back together again. Faith had held her at night when she cried, when she pulled out the folded and re-folded note John had left for her when he left her. At least she got that much, she thought, but it wasn't enough. He'd left her a letter that told her goodbye, but never touched on why. Why did he go? Why did he leave her? Why wasn't she enough anymore? Why did he destroy her? Why didn't he take her with him?

When they saw him again, nearly two centuries later, Faith would once again be there to pick her up and put her pieces back together. Buffy resembled nothing more than a patchwork quilt these days. Thank God her Faith was so good at fixing her.