Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: Everything I Own

Chapter Title:


Even Angels Fall

Chapter Summary:


Buffy spends years tracking and destroying vengeance demons all around the globe. What will happen when she has a chance to take them all out in one fell swoop?


Time line:

February, 2005 - January, 2010



Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004.

Annie was born on February 14th, 1999

Spike and Buffy  were married in  February 1999

Buffy was born January 19th, 1981

William/Spike was turned by Dru in 1880; first came to Sunnydale in September of 1997


All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions and got the memories from the 'Rome' Universe in May, 2003.



Music Referenced:

Even Angels Fall - Jessica Riddle


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:


Thanks: Thanks so much to Paganbaby for her continued support and wonderful ideas. I especially needed her help with this story because of the complexity of it! {{Thanks PB!}}

Thanks also to 'u2fan2005' and 'epd4' for their suggestions, corrections, and help betaing this chapter!!

Rating / Warnings:


NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.



After summoning ten vengeance demons to the Hyperion, interrogating them, and destroying their power sources, the summoning trick stopped working for Buffy – word had spread, and none of them would answer a summons any longer if you didn’t have their talisman … and D’Hoffryn wouldn’t answer at all, so Buffy was forced to find a new strategy.


Wes liberated an ancient Tibetan concealment bracelet from the safekeeping of Wolfram & Hart for Buffy. As long as she wore it, D’Hoffryn and his minions would be unable to find her with locator spells or magicks.  Since she had summoned so many to the Hyperion, and dispatched their power sources there, he advised her to move … perhaps it would be best if she left L.A. completely, at least for a while; Buffy had no problem with that – there was nothing holding her in the City of Angels.


Since Buffy couldn’t get any of the vengeance demons to answer her summons any longer, Wes showed her how to do locator spells for them, and, after about a week, Buffy finally got the hang of channeling her power and anger into the magic and locating them.  The problem then was, would they still be there when she got to them … most of the time, they weren’t, but she was able to track enough of them down to make the treks worthwhile. She even caught one leaving Rack’s place, but with their ability to teleport, it was slow going. Luckily, they often hung around near the ‘wish zone’ for a while to admire their handiwork, and that worked in Buffy’s favor.


She’d been just about all over the globe since she undertook her new calling, Buffy, the Vengeance Demon Slayer; tracking them, catching them, destroying their power sources.  At first she still held a small glimmer of hope that one of them would be the one that had granted Hallie’s wish and the wish would be reversed when their baubles were destroyed … but it never happened. After a few months, she knew with utter certainty that she’d never get Spike back … she’d never get her family back – all she had left was vengeance. Anger and a burning need to eradicate the demons that stole her life and her family were her only friends; they kept her warm at night and they drove her ever forward, no matter how far she had to go, they kept her putting one foot in front of the other; nothing else mattered.


Riley and Giles had tracked Buffy down by following her credit card charges after Dawn got back to England. They caught up with her in Canistota, South Dakota – a small town known more for its tornadoes and wide open spaces than a need for vengeance or Slayers. The men tried to talk some sense into Buffy, get her to come back to England, to get the help she needed, but Buffy was having no part of that. Even when Riley told her he had cut off her credit card accounts and he was going to have to file for bankruptcy because of all her spending, she just blew them off. She didn’t need his money – she found that she actually needed very little for her new, solitary life as a demon hunter. What she couldn’t find on the street or bum or steal, she could work odd jobs to get – she had her anger, and that was really all she needed to get through.


For a long while, whenever Buffy would see a girl that looked like Annie or hear a child’s laugh or a baby’s cry, the memories of her own children would descend on her like a noose and tighten around her heart. Those were the hardest memories to bury; the laugh of a child was the saddest, most painful thing Buffy could hear – the smell of Johnson’s baby shampoo was enough to send her into hiding for days, a blond baby with bluer than blue eyes could make her throat tighten to the point that she thought she might actually suffocate. As time passed, Buffy built a wall around her heart … she took her memories and her love and everything good that she’d ever known and bricked it up inside that wall … leaving it there to wither and die.


She knew she had succeeded when one day, in a small town on the outskirts of Chicago, Buffy saw a mother and her three children playing in the park. Buffy paused on her journey to watch a moment as the boy threw a ball over the head of the eldest girl … the ball landed not far from where the Slayer was standing.  The girl chased after it, skipping happily towards Buffy, her long, dark, curly hair flying behind her as she moved across the green grass.  When she got to the ball, the girl looked up at the hardened Slayer and smiled – her blue eyes shone with the delight of being a child in the summer – green grass below her bare feet, blue skies above and the promise of ice cream with sprinkles on the way home.


Buffy didn’t return her smile – she didn’t waver, her heart didn’t ache. Even when Buffy heard the girl’s mother call, “Anna – time to go!” the Slayer didn’t react – she wasn’t a mother anymore, she wasn’t a wife or a friend or a lover – she was nothing but a solitary hunter.


The suburbanite from L.A., even the Slayer from Sunnydale, had vanished, replaced by a woman that could live on the streets and who could make her own way. She’d gotten street smart and hardened – stowing away on freight trains and cargo ships, hitching rides with truckers, hippies, businessmen, musicians, and even a family or two. There had been some ‘misunderstandings’ along the way … men thinking that a tumble in the back seat would be their payment for the ride, but Buffy quickly and decisively set them straight on that point.  She gave no quarter … if they didn’t want to give her a ride, that was fine – she’d just walk.


The going was slow, but Buffy had all the time in the world – she was as immortal as D’Hoffryn, and she knew one day she’d finally get her ultimate revenge. That day had come sooner than she thought – at his 2009 holiday party, in New York City, and her invite to the well-guarded, secretive affair came from an unexpected source … Rack.


Buffy would return to L.A. when she was within a few hundred miles of the City of Angels … but it wasn’t to see Wes or to regroup or relax … it was to see Rack, or more accurately, Rack’s magick.  Rack had been right, after all – what he had, his magick, she needed like a vamp needed blood.  As vehemently as she resisted giving any part of herself to anyone for any favor, large or small, she couldn’t stop herself from giving everything to Rack’s magick.


She felt like a whore, selling her Slayer power for the high that he could give, and she always hated herself afterwards, but she always came back – sooner or later, she always came back.  She tried to stay away – she’d gone over a year tracking demons in Europe without it, but as soon as her feet dropped down off the cargo ship she’d stowed away in and touched American soil – the pull was more than she could fight and she went right back to him. She would sometimes stay at his place for weeks without leaving, without coming down without even thinking of the mission. Then, eventually, the guilt and the anger with herself for doing that when she should’ve been tracking demons won out and she’d leave again … she’d track down another vengeance demon and reverse another wish. But none of the wishes that got reversed made any difference in Buffy’s life, and eventually she’d turn back to Rack’s magick to take the edge off for a little while longer.


Her life had turned into a vicious circle of hate, revenge, and magical highs … that’s all there was. She had no friends and didn’t try to make any. If someone approached her, tried to befriend her, she fled or simply ignored them – she didn’t want any friends. She didn’t want to care about anyone again, because that just meant that her heart would be broken again one day when they were snatched away from her.  She thought of Henry Hart and sometimes wondered how many other descendants she and Spike had wandering the earth, but she made no move to find them.  Even when she was in England … within a short train ride to Oxford, she made no effort to check on Dawn or Henry. She was alone, all she had to worry about was herself, and the next time she died, there would be no broken hearts left behind – no one in this world would miss Buffy Anne Summers-Weckerly, no one would know her name or cry at her graveside, and that was how she preferred it.


Buffy’s heart, along with the rest of her, had hardened over the years.  She rarely cried any more … it was a waste of energy, only on the darkest and loneliest nights did she cry for Spike and her family, usually after a particularly ‘bad dream’ of happier times. She dreamed of them often, sometimes of happy times, but many times of that last image of Spike as he burned in front of her. She wasn’t sure which was worse, they both hurt, they both fueled her hate, they both kept her focused on the mission, on her anger, and on revenge. 


Even her appearance had changed … she doubted Spike would even recognize her now; she barely recognized herself. When she’d catch her reflection in a shop window it always surprised her – it wasn’t her, but it was. Her soft, golden hair that he loved so much had grown out long and dark, she never colored it anymore, and a shower with actual shampoo was a rare luxury.  Her body held many scars from fights with demons and humans alike, but none of the scars were the ones that Spike knew and loved … those scars were from another world – another time … perhaps they were actually from a dream, maybe they never existed at all. She wasn’t really sure anymore – it seemed so long ago and far away. Maybe Giles and Riley were right – maybe she was just bug-shagging crazy.


She had been at Rack’s when he’d gotten an invitation to D’Hoffryn’s holiday party – the invitation was for ‘Rack and Guest’ …


“D’Hoffryn has a Christmas party?” Buffy asked incredulously as she read over Rack’s shoulder from where she lay on the ceiling.


“Actually, it’s a holiday party these days … people are so touchy anymore,” Rack clarified.


“He has one every year?” she asked as she floated down from the ceiling … letting her high go.


“Yeah – in one dimension or another,” Rack explained. “He comes 'round these parts every six or seven years.”


So that’s why I could never find any vengeance demons at the end of the year! They were all in some other dimension at the fucking party!  Buffy realized.


Buffy knew immediately, even through the magical fog, that that party would be her chance – she had to be that guest. Every vengeance demon in the world would be there in one place, at one time … all she had to do was get Rack to take her and then figure out how to destroy them all with one blow.  Getting Rack to agree to take her wasn’t really that hard … he loved and needed her power just as much or more than Buffy needed his magick. She’d learned how to mete it out over the years, to control how much he could take, and it took only a few days of holding back for him to be begging her … promising her anything, for his own fix.


Then came the challenge of how to take them all out at once … the key had to be with D’Hoffryn – he had the power, he gave the girls the power – if she could destroy his power source, she was sure that would destroy all of them in one fell swoop.  Barring that, plan ‘B’ involved plastic explosives and lots of it…


Buffy had learned a lot over the years about power sources, so much so that she didn’t even need the scrolls Wes had given her any longer to know, just from looking at a vengeance demon, which of their baubles was their power source.  It was how it was worn, how it was displayed, and how it was flaunted that gave them away – she only had to watch them a few minutes to hone in on it; their body could be covered in a million diamonds but Buffy would still be able to pick out the one that D’Hoffryn had given them – the one that held the magic.


In the weeks leading up to the party, Buffy stayed in L.A. making her plans, working, and forcing herself to stay away from Rack as much as possible.  She couldn’t cut him off completely or she’d lose her leverage over him, but she needed to be sharp for this one last mission, and she wouldn’t be sharp if she was high.  She took odd jobs cleaning offices, waitressing, and washing hair in a beauty salon, so she would have money to make herself presentable for the party. She needed to fit in and not look like a warrior that had just returned from the battlefield; not look like the Vengeance Demon Slayer. 


The waitressing job kept her fed … she learned early on that there were always free meals when you worked at a restaurant, be it waitressing, busing tables, or washing dishes; the job at the beauty salon got her hair washed and colored and styled … she let one of the new girls practice on styling  and coloring it … it went from brunette to platinum blonde … to pink and purple and jet black and then red – she seemed to have a different color for every day of the week; the office cleaning job gave her access to computers – at night, when there was no one around, she could clean a while, then get on the internet, looking up everything she could about the venue D’Hoffryn’s party would be held in, what was around it, where the emergency exits were, the floor plan and layout – she found out everything she could, she never knew what would be important when the time came.


Buffy bought a fairly conservative, long sleeved, little-black-dress to wear that fell just above her knees but was made out of a Lycra Spandex material so it didn’t restrict her movement. She traded in her combat boots for a pair of black heels … she hadn’t worn heels in years, so she practiced walking, running, and fighting in them for days before the party, just to make sure she could still do it. 


When it came time to leave for the party, Buffy’s hair was a movie-star red that fell in waves half-way down her back and she had long bangs that could cover her eyes if she let them fall just so. Buffy let the girl at the hair salon do her makeup; with plenty of concealer under her eyes to hide the dark circles, bright red lipstick, and coal eyeliner.  Buffy had learned a long time ago, if you want to appear inconspicuous and nonthreatening, you need to stand out … hide in plain sight, and this look definitely fit that bill.


Buffy stood in front of the mirror and wondered who it was staring back at her … she’d never met this woman before. In her eyes she saw nothing but hardened determination, she could no longer feel her heart or her soul, she sometimes wondered if they were still even there. She never laughed anymore … she never took time to enjoy a sunset or walk on the beach or dance or do any of the things she used to enjoy – it all reminded her too much of Spike and of their children and friends – of people that would never know those joys again. 


Buffy nodded resolutely at herself in the mirror. This is it … tonight it’s going to end, one way or the other, she told herself. She thought it was kind of strange that she didn’t really care which way it ended … just to have it end was all that mattered now. Buffy slipped on a pair of John Lennon sunglasses and ‘Buffy the rock star’ was ready to ‘par-tay’.


Buffy played the part of an aloof rocker well since it was pretty close to the one she’d been living as the aloof Slayer the last five years. She held loosely to Rack’s arm as he mingled and talked with the demons and humans that attended the blow-out gala event of the season, but she didn’t make idle conversation or smile or even acknowledge anyone else was there. As they walked around the large gathering, with her eyes hidden behind her sunglasses, she surveyed the room and made mental notes of where different demons were seated and where D’Hoffryn’s table was. 


When she saw Angel approaching, she held her breath. She knew from what Rack said that at least one person from W&H would be there, she hoped it wouldn’t be anyone she knew, but, of course, it had to be the one person that knew her better than anyone left on the face of the earth. Now came the real test, would he recognize her and give her away or had she changed enough to fool even him?  Rack introduced her to everyone as Avengelyne … which was all he ever called her anyway; when he introduced her to Angel, Buffy took a sip of champagne from her glass and looked away, acting bored and uninterested, and Angel just ignored her; she’d passed the test.


She’d long ago given up the idea of blowing the whole place up … it was in too close proximity to other buildings, there was too great a chance of innocent people getting hurt or killed. From Hallie’s viewpoint, they would be ‘causalities of war’, but, despite Dawn’s contention that Buffy was no better than Hallie, Buffy wasn’t ready to stoop quite that low. It was one thing to kill demons … after all, that was her calling; she’d killed one human in her life and she still felt it was justified, but she wouldn’t kill innocents, that would make her no better than Hallie. So Buffy had only one plan, and that was to identify and destroy D’Hoffryn’s power source and hope that her theory was right, that it would destroy all the power of all the vengeance demons there – if it didn’t, she was dead for sure; she’d never be able to fight them all.


Buffy steered Rack towards D’Hoffryn, not right up to him, but close enough for Buffy to watch him discretely.  He had a large red jewel around his neck, one ring on each hand, and a walking stick with a crystal at the top of it.  Buffy studied him as he talked to his guests … the perfect host, friendly, charming, gregarious – laughing and joking with demons and humans alike – it made Buffy’s stomach turn. He had no right to be happy, to be laughing and joking when everyone she loved had that right stolen from them by one of his minions.  Buffy struggled to stay in character … she wanted to launch herself at him and rip his heart out and shove it down his throat … but she knew better – she wouldn’t stand a chance with that approach – she had to stick with the plan, she had to keep her cool and be smart.


Buffy discretely rearranged the seating cards so that she and Rack were at the table next to D’Hoffryn’s and she continued to watch him through the five course meal, which she barely touched.  After the second course, when the waiter asked her if it wasn’t to her liking, she told him rudely that she wouldn’t feed that slop to her dog – the waiter didn’t ask again.


Finally, Buffy saw her chance … her stomach fluttered with butterflies as she got up and followed their host from the main room down the hall towards the restrooms.  Buffy entered the men’s room about a minute after D’Hoffryn did and locked the door behind her, he was just finishing at the urinal and Buffy wondered what color blood someone with purple pee would have.


“This is the men’s room, young lady ...” he informed her, tucking himself back into his long robe.


“No way! Are you sure? ‘Cos I was told first door on the left … this is the first door on the left, isn’t it?” Buffy asked, looking bewildered and perhaps a little tipsy.


“No, my dear, this is the first door on the right,” D’Hoffryn explained, moving away from the urinal and starting to walk past her. “The word ‘Men’ on the door might’ve been your first clue.”


“Didn’t your mother teach you to wash your hands after you pee?” Buffy asked him, her voice sober, as he came within reach of her.


“No – my mother taught me to not pee on my hands,” he retorted as he kept walking.


Buffy reached down and pulled a dagger from its scabbard which she’d strapped to her inner thigh under her dress and swung around with all her strength, catching D’Hoffryn in the back of the neck with it and slicing all the way through to his throat.  Caught off guard, D’Hoffryn fell forward onto the floor, reaching behind his neck to extricate the weapon.


“It takes more than that to kill the great D'Hoffrynis!” he exclaimed as red blood poured out of his wounds and he began to push up from the floor.


“Oh, okay … that’s no problem,” Buffy agreed amiably as she pulled the dagger out, raised it up again and stabbed it deep into the side of his neck.  Buffy sliced forward with it, opening a large hole in the front of his throat, then quickly reached into the gaping, oozing wound and pulled a large, blue crystal out.


D’Hoffryn threw her off him and she sailed across the large bathroom and hit hard against the far wall.  Buffy struggled to keep a hold of the dagger and the gem when she hit, but she held onto both as if her life depended on it … or perhaps like her family’s life did.


D’Hoffryn got to his feet and started towards her, holding one hand over his throat, growling, and spurting blood in all directions, but before he could reach her, Buffy smashed down on the gem with the handle of the dagger. The first blow put one crack in the gem and D’Hoffryn stumbled; the second blow sent fissures out in all directions and D’Hoffryn fell to the floor; the third blow exploded the gem into a million pieces – sending magic and power out like blue bolts of lightning, blowing huge holes in the walls as they traveled towards the room full of guests, who were just being served dessert.


Buffy watched from the now open-air restroom as the blue lightning bolts found their way to each vengeance demon’s power source, hitting and exploding them all, one right after another, in rapid succession.  The guests and wait staff scattered like roaches, some running from the room, others taking cover under tables, many screaming or cursing as they tried to figure out what was attacking them.  The heat from the magical explosions set off the fire alarm and the sprinklers came on, dousing everyone that remained with cold water as the sirens blared and lights flashed their warnings to exit the building.



The ‘attack’ was over nearly as quickly as it began, leaving the vengeance demons as nothing but humans … including D’Hoffryn, who had morphed back into a small man of about thirty with thin, mousy brown hair and a definite acne problem.  D’Hoffryn moaned and rolled over on his back as he held his ravaged throat with both hands, trying to staunch the bleeding. Buffy stood up and walked slowly over to him, dropping her sunglasses on the floor as she went.


He looked up at her with angry eyes. “How?” he choked out as blood flowed between his fingers.


“Do you have to ask? Seriously?” Buffy asked incredulously. “You have a tell – you rub the hollow of your throat with your index finger at least once a minute.  Really, I was thinking it would be the staff … ‘cos it’s always about the staff with you guys,” Buffy continued as she crouched down next to him and gave him a rueful smile.


“Help…me,” D’Hoffryn gasped out, reaching one bloody hand up towards her.


“I’m thinking that wouldn’t be good for morale,” Buffy sneered before standing up and walking slowly away from him, the heels of her shoes echoing eerily off the tile floor of the restroom.


Buffy walked calmly through the pandemonium of the large ballroom as the sprinklers rained down … half eaten desserts sat on abandoned tables, ex-vengeance demons were shrieking and crying and trying to figure out what had happened, humans and other demons were fleeing, the wait staff had retreated to the kitchen, some of them were peering out the small windows in the doors as they grumbled about all those tips they’d just lost… 


Buffy picked her purse and coat up from their table, and then stopped at a tray of desserts that hadn’t yet been served and lifted the lid off one. “Oh, chocolate!” she exclaimed, picking up one of the fancy desserts that featured layers of white, milk, and dark chocolate mousse with white chocolate shavings on top.


Buffy grabbed a spoon and ate as she walked. “Now this … this would be good enough for my dog,” she commented as she walked slowly to the exit and out into the cold New York winter. After five years of tracking vengeance demons all over the globe, her mission was finally complete … every last one had been neutralized or killed or both, including D’Hoffryn.


Buffy walked a while through the streets of New York City until a soft snow began to fall and the cold got to be too much.  She ducked into a small pub called O’Malley’s and the warm air inside the small bar felt like a tropical paradise compared to the frigid temperatures outside.  There weren’t very many people in the place and no one even gave her a second look, even though she was soaking wet, her clothes were pretty well covered in blood, and her teeth were on the verge of chattering.  She sat at the end of the bar, away from the other patrons, and waited for the barmaid to finish talking to one of the regulars about the fight at last night’s hockey game.


After a minute, the barmaid set a napkin down in front of Buffy and asked, “What’ll ya’ have?”


“Jack – Black … bring the bottle and two glasses,” Buffy requested, laying her last $50 on the bar.


When the bottle and shot glasses were in front of her, Buffy poured two shots and sat one of them on the bar in front of the empty stool beside her.  “To vengeance,” she toasted as she clinked her glass against the one on the bar then swallowed the amber liquid in one gulp.


The barmaid sat a cup of hot coffee down on the bar in front of Buffy. “So … it’s a celebration,” the barmaid mused. “Of what? Not freezing to death?”


“Of winning the battle but losing the war …” Buffy offered as she poured herself another drink, clinked her glass against the one on the bar and downed her second shot.


“That doesn’t sound like much to celebrate,” the barmaid pointed out, pushing the coffee cup closer to Buffy.


“Well, you take what you can get,” Buffy proclaimed, ignoring the coffee and pouring herself another shot.


“Is someone joining you?” the barmaid asked, tilting her head to the other drink on the bar.


“Only in spirit,” Buffy told her, clinking her glass once more against the one on the bar and gulping another shot down.


The barmaid took the drink off the bar and poured the whiskey into the coffee and slid it back in front of Buffy. “He’d probably prefer you not drink yourself to death, child,” the barmaid offered as she picked the bottle of whiskey up and set down behind the bar.


“Hey! That’s mine!” Buffy argued, reaching over the bar for the bottle.


“Is this really what he’d want, dear? For you to be sitting alone in a bar, soaked and frozen to the bone, drinking yourself into a stupor … or worse?” the barmaid asked her, her voice sympathetic but firm.


“Who? God? ‘Cos if you’re gonna preach to me about God, you’re wasting your breath! I’ve met God … or what passes for him around these parts, and gotta say, I wasn’t impressed,” Buffy snapped angrily.


“God does work in mysterious ways, child … but I was talking about your invisible drinking partner …” the barmaid offered, tilting her head towards the empty stool next to Buffy.


Buffy’s brows furrowed and for the first time she really looked at the woman behind the bar and snorted sarcastically. “Well, you were a ton of help before … and where have you been the last five years, Wanda?” 


Wanda smiled softly and pushed the cup of Irish coffee with one finger against Buffy’s arm where it was resting on the bar. “You didn’t follow your heart, child …” she informed her.


Buffy snorted again, pushing the coffee away. “My heart? My heart?! I don’t have a heart! It got ripped out and tossed away a long time ago … or maybe you hadn’t noticed. What are you, anyway? Some kind of Guardian Angel? ‘Cos gotta say, super job with that! I can see why you’re working here … plenty of lost souls that need angeling – but I’m not one of them. Go find fuckin’ George Bailey if you want an easy case…”

Wanda shook her head sympathetically, her eyes soft and full of concern. “You have a heart … you’ve built a wall around it and let the ice in your soul freeze everyone out. You let your hatred get in the way … take the walls down, dear, your heart will lead you home," Wanda advised her, her voice still gentle and kind.


“Swell…that’s swell. I’ll take that under advisement,” Buffy scoffed. “Can I have my bottle back now?”


Wanda sighed and shook her head slowly as she handed the bottle back to Buffy. “It’s always darkest before the dawn, child. Follow your heart and you’ll find the light again,” she advised before turning away and going to check on the other patrons.


“Yeah, and the Easter Bunny will coming hopping down the bunny trail … and Santa will fly in with Rudolph … and if I click my heels three times and say, ‘there’s no place like home,’ over and over, everything will be hunky-dory,” Buffy muttered as she poured another shot for herself and one for Spike, downing hers and setting his in front of his empty seat. “It doesn’t work, by the way … I already tried it.”




Buffy got to the sanatorium where Willow was a couple of weeks later, in early January of 2010. She didn’t go back to L.A. with Rack after the wreckage at the party, she knew he’d be totally off the deep end with what she’d done … he’d either be livid or elated – either way, she didn’t feel like dealing with him, so she hitched rides across the country from New York.  Hitching rides in winter really hadn’t been her best plan, she thought she was going to freeze to death a time or two … but, unfortunately, she didn’t.


Buffy had traded in her dress and heels long ago at a homeless shelter, opting for jeans, a couple of sweatshirts, an army coat that was three sizes too big for her, woolen socks and combat boots, and now she waited in the common area of the hospital for visiting hours to begin.  The looks she was getting from the staff made her wonder if they thought she was one of the inmates instead of one of the visitors, but she put on her ‘don’t fuck with me’ attitude and it worked, no one said a word to her.


When the clock ticked over to 10am, the waiting visitors began dispersing down the many hallways of the hospital and Buffy followed suit.  She knocked lightly before entering Willow’s room … Willow was sitting in the same place she’d been five years ago, staring blindly out the window at the snow, as if no time had passed at all.  For the first time in a long time tears threatened Buffy’s eyes and she felt some of the bricks surrounding and protecting her heart begin to crumble slightly. She’d promised Willow that she would fix things, that she would get Tara back for her, and she’d failed to keep that promise – just as she’d failed to keep her promise to Spike that she would save him and their family.  She couldn’t tell Spike that she was sorry, but she could tell Willow …


“Hey, Wills, it’s me. Sorry it’s been so long again – I thought I’d be back sooner, but you know me – so easily distracted by bright, shiny objects,” Buffy babbled as she moved around the bed and up next to her friend.


Buffy knelt down in front of her so she could meet Willow’s eyes with hers.  “I … Willow, I’m sorry … I tried so hard,” Buffy started as the tears that were threatening came to the surface and welled in her eyes. “I couldn’t get them back … I couldn’t get Tara or Spike or any of them back,” Buffy admitted sadly.


“I really, really tried,” Buffy told her. “I’m so sorry…please forgive me,” she begged her friend as she dropped her head into Willow’s lap and sobbed openly for the first time in years.


Willow moved her hand from the arm of the chair and laid it on Buffy’s head, tangling her fingers in the Slayer's long, red mane and trying to give her friend all the comfort she could manage.  When Buffy looked up, she saw tears welled in Willow’s eyes as well, and that just made Buffy cry harder. “I’m so sorry …” she repeated over and over, as she knelt in front of Willow and laid her head back down in her friend’s lap.


Buffy stayed in that position for the longest time as she cried and explained to Willow what she’d done and how she’d won the battle but still lost the war.  When Buffy had cried herself out, she finally sat back on her heels and removed D’Hoffryn’s talisman from around her neck – even though it never worked to summon him after that first time, she’d kept it and used it as a reminder of her ultimate goal of destroying every last vengeance demon. Now that she’d reached that goal, completed her mission … she didn’t need it any longer.


Buffy traded necklaces with Willow again, just as she’d done the first time she’d been here, taking the cross back that Angel had given her the very first time she’d met him and giving Willow the talisman. 


“I probably won’t be back,” Buffy admitted to Willow. “I … I don’t have anything left here, my mission is over, my family’s gone and I’m just exhausted. I love you, Wills … I love you like a sister. I’m so sorry I couldn’t fix it,” Buffy apologized again. She thought she saw a small smile cross Willow’s lips … a forgiving smile, an understanding smile, as Buffy asked her one last time to forgive her for her failure. 


Buffy kissed Willow on the forehead as she stood up and then turned and left her room without looking back. Buffy passed a nurse with a medicine cart as she left the hospital and, with practiced ease and without missing a step, Buffy palmed an entire bottle of sleeping pills when the nurse turned her head momentarily to hand a patient their medicine.


Buffy dropped her hand into her coat pocket and held tightly to the pill bottle in her palm … it would be her ticket out. Maybe it, along with everything else she’d done in the last five years, would land her in hell … maybe she’d be with Spike again, after all.




"Even Angels Fall"  - Jessica Riddle


You found hope, you found faith
Found how fast she could take it away
Found true love, Lost your heart
Now you don't know who you are

She made it easy, she made it free
Made you hurt 'til you couldn't see
Sometimes it stops; Sometimes it flows
But baby that is how love goes

You will fly and you will crawl
God knows even angels fall
No such thing as you lost it all
God knows even angels fall

It's a secret that no one tells
One day it's heaven, one day it's hell;
And it's no fairytale, take it from me
That's the way it's supposed to be

You will fly and you will crawl
God knows even angels fall
No such thing as you lost it all
God knows even angels fall

You laugh you cry no one knows why,
But oh the thrill of it all
You're on the ride; you might as well open your eyes

You will fly and you will crawl
God knows even angels fall
No such thing as you lost it all
God knows even angels fall

Even angels fall
Even angels fall


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