DISCLAIMER: BTVS is the property of Mutant Enemy and Twentieth Century Fox.
SPOILERS: Up until near the end of season seven Buffy.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

By Nancy

"Why are you always defending her!?"

"I'm not."

"I'm not."

"I'm not."

The two words reverberated through Buffy's mind long after she'd left the house. Long after she'd disappeared into the night. Sitting alone, hiding in a corner of the graveyard where she knew no one would find her, all she could think about was the look on Willow's face. The look when, for the first time ever, she'd abandoned Buffy.

Rebuffed Buffy.

Sounded like some kind of workout routine.

Out of everything, out of all the accusations and distrust and pain over the years, she'd always been able to rely on Willow. Her best friend. The one who'd literally brought her back from the dead, even if she hadn't wanted it at the time. Now there was no one to back her up, no one to watch her back.

No one to care what happened to her, when Willow had always cared. Had, at one point Buffy was positive, loved her. Maybe even as much as she'd loved Tara. Not now, though. Nope. Now there was just that shell-shocked look on Willow's face as she'd said, "I'm not."

Not defending Buffy. Not sticking like glue. Not trusting. Not anything.

There should be bitterness, Buffy was pretty sure of that, but there wasn't. Just a numb kind of shock where she couldn't feel much of anything. Xander with his missing eye, his own numb shock to deal with. Dawn and her newfound certainty, her newfound righteousness that kicked Buffy the rest of the way down when she was still reeling. Giles with his sad, near-desperate eyes and pained air that said he'd rather have anything else happen.

And Willow with her simple, "I'm not."

They were all arrayed against her now. No, not true. That was craziness for real. They weren't against her, they just weren't exactly for her anymore. Maybe it was just that they didn't want her for an enemy. She snorted. All she had to do to be their enemy was nothing. Just sit back and let the end of the world come.

How bizarre that Faith, of all people, had been the one to come after her. That Faith had tried to tell Buffy that she hadn't wanted it to go down like it had. Those dark eyes had been uncomfortable and wanting at the same time. No matter what Faith said, Buffy knew that part of the other woman's problem was that she'd been called as a Slayer and then never been allowed to do her work. There'd never been two slayers at the same time before and now Buffy knew why.

More than one slayer meant that one of them had to go bad.

Well, there was one thing certain. Even if they didn't think that she was completely sane anymore, Buffy knew what she was doing. She knew that Caleb had to be stopped and that it would be her death that accomplished it. Buffy still wasn't sure how just yet, but she knew it was so. Hadn't the last apocalypse demanded her life as forfeit in return for the world's to be spared? Why would this be any different?

The main plus this time, was that she knew not to fear death. She knew that there was bliss on the other side of the veil. That if she did her duty and fought and defeated Caleb, even at the price of her life, she would be rewarded.

It wasn't that she wanted to die. No, of course not. Why would she? Just because every single person she knew and loved had kicked her to the curb. Just because her rock of Gibraltar had cracked and fallen into rubble? Why on earth would she want to die when there was so much to live for?

Right. Sarcastic much?

Buffy sighed heavily and shifted on the cold, damp ground.


Anytime now.

She was going to get up and kick Caleb's ass right through the Hellmouth. She was going to find him and beat him into a pulp and then tear apart the remains for fun. There wouldn't be anything left of him when Buffy was done.

Just as soon as she could get those two words out of her head.

Putting her head in her hands, Buffy shook with silent tears.

The End

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