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Dec 14, 2022
Hi there,

I saw this discussion in the Sunnydale Cemetary and would love to resurrect it, at least in spirit.

In the season five episode, "Intervention," Buffy is on a quest to find the Slayer's relationship to love. In pertinent part:
FIRST SLAYER/Sineya: You think you're losing your ability to love [. . .] that being the Slayer means losing your humanity. [. . .] You are full of love. You love with all of your soul. It's brighter than the fire—blinding. That's why you pull away from it. [You will only lose love if you reject love.] Love is pain, and the Slayer forges strength from pain. Love — give — forgive. Risk the pain. It is your nature. Love will bring you to your gift.
BUFFY: I'm getting a gift? Or, or do you mean that, that I have a gift to give to someone else?​
FIRST SLAYER: Death is your gift.​
BUFFY: Death ...​
FIRST SLAYER: Is your gift.​
BUFFY: Okay, no. Death is not a gift. My mother just died. I know this. If I have to kill demons because it makes the world a better place, then I kill demons, but it's not a gift to anybody.​
FIRST SLAYER: Your question has been answered.​

See Transcript. In breaking this down, I think the "gift" is the will to keep fightingthe instinct to protect.
  • "Death" -- comes with a fear of loss (Buffy fights on to protect the people she loves). Buffy is in mourning after losing Joyce, but Dawn keeps her moving.
    • "Love is pain, and the Slayer forges strength from pain . . . . Risk the pain . . . . Death is your gift."
      • We risk pain every day, loving others, knowing that their physical presence in our lives will one day be altered by physical death.
    • Buffy has a tendency to run away. See "Anne" (Season 3, Episode 1). Still, with growth, understanding what loss means, and taking responsibility for others (as an Adult), Buffy does not run.
      • Buffy has Dawn to care for, she loves the Scoobies/Giles, but their relationship is interdependent. Dawn is dependent on Buffy; Buffy appreciates this.
Regarding "the will to keep fighting," Spike says in "Fool For Love" (Season 5, Episode 7):
Every day you wake up, it's the same bloody question . . . "Is today the day I die?" Death is on your heels . . . it's gonna catch you. And part of you wants it, not only to stop the fear and uncertainty but because you're just a little bit in love with it.​
Death is your art [as a Slayer]. You make it with your hands, day after day . . . Part of you is desperate to know, "What's it like?", "Where does it lead you?" . . . Every Slayer has a death wish—even you.

See Fool For Love. As a Slayer, Buffy knows the pain and burden will stop with one moment of surrender. Spike continues, "The only reason you've lasted as long as you have is you've got ties to the world." He names Joyce, the Scoobies, and Dawn (this is before it was widely known Dawn was the Key). He says, "They all tie you here, but you're just putting off the inevitable." See Fool For Love. In "Blood Ties," Buffy tells Dawn, "You're my sister . . . . Look, it's blood. It's Summers blood. It's just like mine. It doesn't matter where you came from, or, or how you got here. You are my sister. There's no way you could annoy me so much if you weren't." See Blood Ties.

Buffy's gift is that she loves, even clouded with fear. It is because of love that she has that fear. This interaction with the first Slayer (Sineya) operates like a bookend from Buffy's conversation in season four. Sineya, previously told Buffy, "No friends. Just kill! We are alone!" as Slayers. See Restless. I think Sineya has changed her mind about Buffy's methods -- seeing where it has taken her. Buffy is fighting a God, not just the lower beings; I think Sineya considers this as a cosmic unfolding -- she is the Slayer capable of this; the Key was sent to Buffy; Buffy was the Slayer at the time of Glory's active scheming. Sineya believes everything happens for a reason (even if she disagrees).

"Death is your gift" suggests the dichotomy of being alive; death comes for us all, which gives life meaning. In "The Gift," Buffy sacrifices herself for the world and, more importantly, Dawn. It is love for Dawn and for protecting innocents that Buffy can prevent Glory's plan. The fear of those lives being lost senselessly—the fear of death—sends Buffy into action. Whether it is the shared blood between the sisters (as it is alluded to) that closes the portal or the weight of Buffy's sacrifice, I think both can be true. But I believe Sineya's "Death is your gift" was not meant to be a prophecy; it does not [only] mean that Buffy can die for Dawn.
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