"Harder, Tim, harder, like a *dream*, oh, god, JESUS..."
And then he sits up, in a little sticky puddle of his own sweat, and he has to make sure he doesn't kick too hard and jar Sean's cot, because then he'll have to explain why, exactly, he's bathed in sweat and breathing deeply, even though it's October, not the middle of summer.
Yeah, and would Sean Murphy ever, seriously, ask why anyone was breathing deeply or covered in sweat?
Diane's face has already disappeared from his blatantly apathetic psyche, and now that he's not dreaming, Tim McManus barely even remembers why he misses her.
But Tim McManus, on this hot October night, remembers just enough to know why he misses where they met and worked, the only thing good to come out of running a playpen for psychotics. There was that sense of purpose, that sense of sweating, and that finality of sensing death. But, there were a few nice moments with Diane, before things got really crazy and before things stopped making sense. For a while, he was even getting laid on a regular basis.
Far too keyed up to lay down and drift into sleep, Tim groans quietly and shuffles into the kitchen for a glass of water, or possibly some gin. Maybe bourbon. Vodka with lemon... or just a shot--
Just a bottle, maybe, he thinks, then snorts, and Murphy doesn't wake up, Hill doesn't wake up. Prison taught them to sleep through things worse than an alcoholic, insomniac and horny in the middle of a hot night in California.
Tim goes out to the back patio as soundlessly as he can, and looks up at the sky, waiting for it to show him some answers. Something more permanent than a bottle-- and the one in his hand smells like lemon, and like gin. More like gin. His mouth is roughly the same ratio.
It's cold outside, and the stars are waiting for him to say his piece.
They tell him that it's dangerous to go outside at night, that things stalk the Watcher's condo most days. Which makes sense.
Smart, for the vampires. Fucking stupid for him.
In the morning, Giles sweeps up glass from his back patio, and sighs. Stupid kids, always drinking and then making a mess.
"And there's no sign of him?"
"Tim wouldn't have just run off."
Murphy is worried about his friend, because in places like these, you protect the few you've got.
Said frowns. "I am inclined to agree with you. Though we have had our-- differences in the past, McManus has a very high sense of duty. He would not have left without a reason."
The blond and practical Buffy answers, "Then we look. I'll check the bus station-- guys, go to the hospital. Hill, call the police station, see if they've got anyone matching his description."
Hill, never one to miss cracking a joke, says, "Never thought I'd ever call a cop up on purpose."
It's really not very funny, and no one laughs.
All the vampires-- the normal vampires-- run as far away from Sunnydale as they possibly can. Sunnyhell is the Slayer, and healing energies or not, if you survived your first night, your rebirth, and the following day... the prudent choice is to hightail it out of there so you can survive some more.
The people too; they graduate, and move away. Normal people just don't *stay* in Sunnydale, demon or human alike.
Buffy Summers is not normal.
Eying the bus driving out of the Sunnydale terminal, bound for L.A., she remembers how sometimes, she wishes she were.
"No, man. I called up everyone. Even checked in with your dude in L.A. No one's heard a word."
"Well, Spike doesn't know anything either, so Adebisi can't have him."
"Adebisi is very unlikely to let Spike see everything he is doing."
"Spike has a way of being incredibly, annoyingly, present, however. He would probably know."
"Anyone have any other suggestions?" Murphy, still the only one really worried. "We can't just sit here."
Buffy looks at Giles. Secrets pass between them, the code of the land, the glance of those that know this place, and because of it, when to give up. Lesson number one, for any place with walls and boundaries that trap you in.
"There's nothing else we can do."
It's fucking easy to should-have yourself to death. Eventually, people who decide to plant themselves and stay learn that there's a bit more to living, and a lot more to dying, than that.
R.I.P. Tim McManus, says Murphy in his head. Left me here to keep on living. You bastard.
See. You want to see Sunnydale as more Hell than Mouth. Because hell, it's simple. Hell is just that; you try and run and get away and scrape with your fingernails so hard you break them off, just to claw over the walls and get free.
But the Mouth part... this town makes love to you.
It sucks you off so hard that you're still reeling from the orgasm, years later, so much that you can't get up to run.