Story Title: Spirit Indestructible


Season 5. Begins with ‘Spiral’ in the abandoned gas station, and goes far off-canon almost immediately.

When Dawn makes the ultimate sacrifice to save her sister, friends, and the world, Buffy’s mind snaps. When Buffy's friends give up hope of her ever recovering, and become afraid that she’ll turn violent and uncontrollable, they call in the Council to help. Fearing what the Council will do, Spike, forgotten and ignored by her friends, steps in. Will he be able to reach the Slayer when no one else could? Will he be able to keep her out of the hands of the Council and away from her ‘helpful’ friends? How much heartbreak, guilt, and failure can one girl stand before her indestructible spirit finally resigns the fight and gives up hope?




45. Pavement Cracks


Music Referenced:

Pavement Cracks, Annie Lennox

Nelly Furtado - Spirit Indestructible


Some Screencaps courtesy of Broken Innocence (others from ScreenCap Paradise which is, sadly, no more). and also from


Thanks to YOU for reading and especially to those of you who take the time to email me feedback! Love hearing from everyone! Thanks also to Paganbaby for taking time out of her hectic life to beta this for me! Her suggestions ROCK!  All mistakes are mine because I can't stop fiddling right up to the last moment.

Rating / Warnings:

Rating: 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.


That night …


Buffy dropped the bloody washcloth back into the basin of water. It was useless. She felt like she was doing nothing more helpful than rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  She collapsed down into a chair beside the bed where Spike lay, her chest sinking down onto her knees, and began to sob.


She’d been trying to clean Spike’s wounds for hours it seemed, but she had no idea how to get his rib bones set back in place and get the ripped and torn skin and muscle closed over them. She’d done her best on his fingers and toes. She’d packed all the round holes in his thighs and buttocks with gauze, and gotten them to stop bleeding at least, she’d put splints on his broken legs and arms … but his ribs … how was she supposed to fix those? They were horrifically splintered and some pieces of them were missing. Should she just … press them back into place as best she could, splinters and all? Or should she try to cut them and even them up first? Then … what? Wrap him up in duct tape until they healed? Would they heal? Ever? Even knowing what he’d come back from before, way back when – a broken spine – it seemed impossible that he could recover from this.


Buffy wiped her eyes and took a deep breath, steeling herself. She couldn’t give up … she had to do something. She reached over and picked up the sippy-cup of blood she’d warmed up and lifted it to Spike’s bruised, swollen, raw lips. She slid the little sippy part of the cup between his lips and tilted it up, letting the blood trickle into his mouth.


She cursed and pulled the cup of pig’s blood away when he started to choke and cough and expel all the life-giving liquid from his mouth. She quickly picked up the washcloth and began cleaning the blood from his face and neck.  Buffy couldn’t tell how much he might’ve actually swallowed. This was the fourth time she’d tried to get him to eat, each ending the same way, with most of the blood being spilled. How could he even begin to heal if she couldn’t get the blood down him?


She needed help. She needed Joan. Joan would know what to do. Buffy’s tears began again in earnest, sobs wracking her body. Joan wouldn’t be able to help her ever again. Buffy looked down at her husband as her tears streamed down her cheeks, and wondered if he’d ever be able to help her again, either.  He was so very broken. If she didn’t know it was him, she would never recognize him, he was so disfigured; bruised and beaten, burnt and cut … completely shattered.


She could not remember ever feeling so utterly alone. The Slayer was finally fulfilling her destiny … she was standing alone. She snorted scathingly at the thought. How fitting, since it was her inability to do her job as the Slayer that left Angel walking around this world like a time-bomb, just waiting for something to set him off, remove his curse, and turn him back into Angelus.


Buffy dropped back down into the chair she’d pulled up next to the bed as her dejection grew into despondency, and her feeling of uselessness grew into hopelessness. Her tears continued as the trio of guilt, inadequacy, and heartache all gathered forces, threatening to overwhelm her. The faces of everyone she’d lost floated across her vision like ghosts, starting with her mom, then Dawn, Joan, India … even Tara haunted her. If she’d only been stronger, if only she’d been able to defeat Glory, most of those people would be alive today.


Even if she couldn’t have defeated the hell-god, if she’d just been able to hold it together after Dawn’s sacrifice, at least Joan, India, and Tara would’ve made it. And Spike … God, Spike. After all he’d done for her, she’d let him down too. She knew better than to let him go see Dru on his own. She fucking knew better!


Buffy held her head in her hands and sobbed, shaking her head in defeat, in misery. She felt that shroud of guilt returning, the one that had swallowed her alive after Dawn’s death, and her guilt-ridden heart lurched in her chest with fear.


“No … no, no, no …” she rasped out through her tears, desperately trying to fight it back. She couldn’t let it win … not now! Not when everyone she had left was depending on her.


She tried to pull the vision of Spike’s eyes into the fore of her mind to fight the guilt back, as she’d learned to do before, but it was useless. All she could see was Spike’s beaten, bruised, and bloodied face. His eyes blackened and swollen shut.


“No, no, no …” she continued to chant as the she felt the gates in her mind beginning to close, cutting her off from her sanity.


“No, please … no…” Buffy begged as she pressed the heels of her hands against her eyes, trying to stop the deluge of guilt that was about to drown her. Her breathing became labored as she fought desperately against her own demons, her own mind, her own feelings of inadequacy and guilt.


Suddenly from across the hall a small, but strong voice called, “Dada! Wawa!”


Buffy let out a scream borne of frustration and physical pain as her heart wrenched and twisted in her chest. Dada would not be able to get Will a glass of water for a long, long time … maybe never again.


Buffy’s entire body began to tremble with the physical and mental effort to hold onto her sanity. Sweat beaded up all over her body and her hands clenched into tight fists as she struggled against the tide that wanted nothing more than to swallow her, to take her away from this misery, to set her free from the pain and torment, to clear her mind and ease her heart.


“Slayer … be the Slayer … be the Slayer … strong … you’re strong … Mom said … Slayer …” Buffy chanted to herself, her voice breaking and catching on its way through her tears. But the gates kept closing … she could feel it, almost see it in her mind’s eye, shutting her off from everyone that needed her.


“Dada! Wawa!” Will called again, even louder.


With Will’s cry, new images flashed through Buffy’s mind. Images of Spike with the babies, of the first terrifying time he held them in the hospital, of the unconditional love that shone from his eyes for them, of him playing with them, watching TV with them, rocking them to sleep, singing them lullabies…


Suddenly, her chant changed. “Mother, wife … mother, wife … be … a mother … be … a wife … mother … mother … Mom … Mommy … oh, God … Will … Jade … Mom … be a mom …”


Buffy felt her body begin to relax, her breathing settling back into deep sighs rather than the rapid, gasping breaths of exertion, and she felt the gates open back up … the shroud of bloody-guilt retreat back into the shadows of her mind.


Buffy took several deep, long breaths as she sniffed back her tears and wiped her face with trembling fingers, calming herself. Her stomach was in knots, her heart was shredded, her limbs quivered as if she’d just run a marathon … but she was still here. Still here, engulfed in misery. This is where she had to stay. This is where she was needed.


Buffy took one more deep breath and called back, “I’m coming, baby,” as she pushed herself to her feet, her limbs heavy with fatigue and misery.


She wondered when it was she’d last slept, but couldn’t remember. It wouldn’t be anytime soon, that much was certain. Her mom’s words came back to her, ‘One step at a time.’


Buffy took a step … and another … and another. She plodded downstairs on heavy legs to get Will a sippy-cup of water.  Joan insisted on only bottled, filtered water for the babies and had even tested several brands herself to determine the purest, healthiest one to use.


As Buffy entered the kitchen, she saw the box of Cheerios still sitting on the table from that morning and her stomach rumbled and growled. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d eaten, either. She grabbed the box and dug her hand down inside, stuffing her mouth full of dry cereal as she went over to the cabinet to get a cup. 


Still crunching on the cereal, she opened the refrigerator to get a bottle of water only to find there was none in there. Buffy set the cereal down and went to the walk-in pantry … but there was none there, either. Then she saw the long-forgotten grocery list hanging near the door with ‘water’ as the very first item listed.


“Shit! Shit, shit, shit!” she cursed, going back to the pantry to check again. She dug behind canned goods, paper products and dry goods, sliding all the neatly stacked, alphabetized items this way and that, but there was no water.


Buffy felt her hot tears sting her eyes again. She couldn’t even get her child a glass of fucking water! How hard could this be? One glass of water for a thirsty kid, and she couldn’t do it!


“What the hell good are you? You’re a failure! You’re no good at being the Slayer, no good at being a wife, no good at being a mother! What the hell good are you!?” Buffy screamed at herself as she began to fling things off the shelves in the pantry.


Cans and boxes smashed against the wall, rolling and tumbling out onto the kitchen floor. Paper towels and Chinet plates sailed through the air, bouncing off the furthest wall of the kitchen. She raged against all the innocent groceries, smashing them, hurtling them across the room, slamming them down onto the floor. Cans ruptured, jars shattered, boxes were torn open; soon the whole kitchen was covered in sauces and soups, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta and cereals, cookies and crackers, with a snowy dusting of sugar, salt, and flour over it all.


When nothing remained in the pantry, Buffy sank down onto the floor, into the mess of tomato sauce and chicken noodle soup and canned peaches mixed with macaroni and cranberry sauce. Her chest heaved with exertion and rage, her breath coming in fits and gasps. With her head in her hands, she began to sob again. One bottle of water was all she wanted. One. Was that too much to ask? One measly bottle of water for her son. It seemed such a simple thing. Why did everything have to be such a struggle? Why was life so fucking hard??


Her sobs intensified as images of the people she loved danced through her mind; people who would never get the chance to ask that question again. So many … so many people dead. It wasn’t fair. It wasn’t right.


“I can’t do this … I can’t … God, Joan … no … no … don’t make me do this alone … Joan, please!” Buffy cried to the empty room. “Spike … How do I fix Spike? Please someone help me … please …” she pleaded.


Suddenly, the whole shelving unit in the pantry shuddered and collapsed with a deafening crash, weakened by the Slayer’s assault. Buffy’s head jerked up at the sound and she watched as one bottle of water dropped down with the highest shelf and rolled out the pantry door, coming to a stop against her foot.


Buffy stared at it in disbelief for several heartbeats before she began to laugh maniacally through her tears. Buffy laughed and cried, unable to do anything else for several minutes, consumed by grief and perhaps on the verge of madness. She knew she’d lost her mind … there was no other explanation, but at least she was still sane enough to recognize that she was Looney-Tunes. That had to count for something, right?


She pushed herself up to her feet and walked gingerly across the slick floor and over to the sink to wash all the goop off the bottle. She grabbed the sippy cup and headed back upstairs with her hard-earned prize, sniffing back her tears. She wondered if every victory from now on would require that much effort or make that much of a mess. She sincerely hoped not.




Buffy was roused from her unintended nap when Spike moaned in pain. She jerked her head up from the bed beside him where she had rested it for just a moment … about twenty minutes ago. She was sitting in the chair next to the bed and had just leaned forward to rest for a minute, taking a break from trying to get some blood down him.


“It’s okay, baby,” Buffy cajoled, laying a gentle hand on his burned and bruised shoulder. “You’re safe now … we’re home.”


She couldn’t tell if he heard her or not, but he seemed to relax again after a few moments, though he never fully woke up.  She sighed and dipped the eyedropper into the mug of what had once been warm pig’s blood. She pulled the blood into the dropper, and gingerly slid the glass tube between Spike’s lips as far as she dared. Buffy squeezed a little blood into his mouth slowly, watching his throat and waiting to see his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed it, before releasing a bit more onto his tongue. He was so weak, his reserves so depleted, that his demon didn’t even rise for the taste of blood.


It was taking forever to get the barest amount down his throat and into his system, but if she tried putting any more down him at a time, he simply coughed most of it out rather than swallowing it. Based on the clock on the table next to their bed, she’d been at this for about four hours and hadn’t even gotten one mug of blood down him. The Slayer yawned widely, her eyes blurry and blood-shot with exhaustion. She couldn’t stop her body from leaning forward again and resting her head down on the bed for just one … more … minute.




Buffy woke with a start, unsure where she was or what the sound was that had startled her. She blinked and looked around, trying to get her bearings, then everything came crashing back down on her. She’d fallen asleep sitting in the chair next to Spike. The sound that had awoken her was her children across the hall crying. She looked at the clock, it was after nine in the morning; she’d slept for nearly three hours.


“Shit…” she muttered, rubbing the sleep from her weary eyes and pushing herself to her feet. Her whole body ached, her back cracked and popped as she straightened it. Every muscle she had was stiff and sore, still utterly exhausted. They all protested when she forced them to shift, threatening to cramp painfully if she asked too much of them.


She looked down at her husband as she tried to stretch her body and make her muscles move again. If anything, he looked even worse than he had when she’d carried him out of the bottling plant. She’d never seen Spike so thin and gaunt. Even after the Initiative had first chipped him and he’d been starving, he hadn’t looked this emaciated. If she didn’t find a way to make him eat more, and soon, he’d be nothing but skin and bones … bruised skin and broken bones.


Buffy picked up the mug of blood she’d been feeding him, now coagulated and smelling rancid. It was only half-gone. She’d gotten less than eight ounces of blood into him since he’d been home. Although he’d only gone without blood for about three days now, the torture he’d endured, the physical trauma, had drained all his reserves and sent his body into a downward spiral as it tried to heal all the wounds.


Spike moaned again and reached for his shattered ribs. Buffy grabbed his forearm before he could bring it down on the horrific injuries, which would only cause him more pain. She had packed the wounds with gauze and wrapped his whole torso with Ace bandages last night, but his bones still protruded from his skin, splintered and broken. How she was going to be able to set them and hold them in place until they healed, she had no idea.


A shrill shriek from her daughter brought Buffy out of her morose appraisal of her husband. She took a deep breath and laid Spike’s swollen, blackened and broken hand back down on the bed and headed across the hall to start the day.




“But you like Big Bird…” Buffy cajoled Jade, trying to wrangle the wriggling toddler into the shirt.


“NO! ME!” the girl insisted, seemingly able to move her arms, hands, and head in ways even a circus contortionist couldn’t to avoid putting the shirt on.


Buffy stopped and pressed her fingertips to her forehead, letting her eyes fall closed. “Fine … you … get what you want …” she agreed with a weary sigh, releasing Jade and stepping back. The girl toddled on shaky legs to her dresser with Buffy following behind. Buffy opened the drawer and Jade began digging into the shirts that had been precisely folded and aligned by color by Aunt Joan. Finally, the girl pulled out a fuchsia-pink shirt and began her own attempt to put it on.


“I don’t think that really goes with mustard yellow …” Buffy commented, looking at the skirt Jade was already wearing. The exhausted mother shook her head and sighed, reaching down to help her daughter get the garment on.


“ME!” Jade insisted again, pulling away from her mother as she struggled to determine what appendage went into what opening of the shirt.


Buffy sighed and rolled her eyes, pulling her hands away from her independent girl. “Fine … but I’m telling ya now, your head isn’t gonna work in that arm hole…”


In the next moment, Buffy was hit in the back of the head with something. “Owww!” She ducked and spun around to find Will had removed all his clothes, including his shoes, and it was one of his shoes that had been flung across the room and hit Buffy.


“William Wesley Pratt!” Buffy scolded, scooping the shoe up from the floor and striding toward her son. “Put those clothes back on right now, young man!”


Will laughed and clapped his hands, his long chestnut curls dancing around his face as he tossed his other shoe across the room toward Jade.


“William!” Buffy screeched, her brain on the verge of exploding. “Stop throwing things! That’s not nice and … anyway, we need to get dressed now, not undressed!”


Buffy began jerking Will’s arms back through the holes of the shirt roughly, yanking it back over his head and down his torso. “I really don’t need this out of you two today …” she growled, as the children heaped straws onto the Slayer’s already broken back.


“I’ve got a lot to do today. I don’t have time for this out of you two, I swear to God. Why can’t you just behave for once?!” Buffy ranted, as she began jerking Will’s underpants back up his little legs with more force than she realized.


“Nooo! Owwww!” Will screamed as he began to cry, trying to pull away from his mother’s angry hands.


Buffy froze, her breath catching in her throat and her whole body folding in on itself. “Oh, God … Will … I’m sorry, baby… Mommy’s sorry …” she cajoled as she dropped down onto her butt on the floor and pulled her son to her in a gentle embrace.


“I’m sorry … I’m sorry. Mommy’s sorry … I didn’t mean it. Baby, shhhhh … it’s okay. I’m sorry …” Buffy whispered as her own tears returned with a vengeance.  The Slayer rocked her normally happy son in her arms, burying her face in his soft curls as she shushed him and continued to apologize.


Jade, now dressed in her fuchsia-pink shirt, backwards, but with all her limbs in the right holes, came over and patted a hand down on Buffy’s head. “O-ta, Mommy, Aa-Ja tish booboo … alllll better.”


Buffy looked up at the earnest face of her daughter and her tears turned into sobs which shook her whole body. “Aunt Joan can’t … kiss the booboo … Aunt Joan can’t … make it all better …” she told Jade, pulling her into her lap as well.


“Oh, God …” Buffy sobbed, rocking her babies in her lap on the floor of the nursery. “Aunt Joan can’t fix it anymore … what are we gonna do?”




After finally pulling herself back together and getting Will dressed again, this time more calmly and gently, the trio made their way down the stairs to the kitchen for breakfast.


Holding their hands, Buffy stopped the toddlers from walking into the national disaster that was their kitchen.


“Uh-oh …” Will murmured, his tone serious and concerned as he took in the utter destruction that met them. “Boo-boo.”


Buffy took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “That’s the understatement of the year,” she told her son as she pulled them back from the doorway of the food-strewn kitchen. “How about we have breakfast out today?” she asked them with mock-brightness, grabbing her purse and guiding them to the front door.


“Pancakes … and real maple syrup…” she added temptingly. “Yum!”


Will and Jade bounced on their little feet and ‘squeeed’, only Buffy’s hold on their hands keeping them from tumbling down as they lost their balance.


“And, while we’re out, I can get more groceries … since we have, like, none,” she added with a sigh.


Buffy looked back up the stairs, worry about Spike creasing her brow. There was no one she could call to come stay with him. Buffy chewed her lip, looking from the mess in the kitchen to the now-excited toddlers, and back up the stairs. She had to get more groceries; they had, literally, nothing. Well … whatever was in the fridge, she hadn’t managed to destroy that last night.


Buffy scooped the babies up, one under each arm, and jogged up the stairs, afraid to leave them alone for even a moment lest they wander into the kitchen. The twins laughed as she jostled them like sacks of potatoes under each arm on her way up the stairs and into the master bedroom where Spike lay. Buffy knelt next to the bed, setting the babies down on their feet, but keeping a hold on them both.


“Spike? Baby? I don’t know if you can hear me … but … I’ve got to go out for a little while. I won’t be long, I promise. I’ll be back soon, baby. Just … please … just don’t move, okay?”


Buffy watched his face for any sign that he’d heard her, but there was no way to read the swollen and blackened flesh that had once been his beautiful face.


She blinked back tears as she leaned forward and pressed a gentle kiss to his cheek. “I love you, Spike. I’m … sorry. I’m so sorry… I’ll be back really soon.”




“No, sweetie,” Buffy cajoled, catching her daughter’s hand in hers when Jade reached over to the grocery shelf as Buffy pushed the cart down the aisle.  Jade shrieked an eardrum-popping wail as she tried to pull her hand from her mother’s grasp.


“ME!” she insisted, trying to reach with her other hand toward the canned goods on the shelf.


“But we don’t need any anchovies,” Buffy pointed out as she pushed the heavy, over-stuffed cart with one hand, keeping hold of Jade’s hand with her other.


“You can get the next thing … I think it’s …” Buffy looked down at her list, still pushing the cart forward, searching for what might be in the next aisle from her list. Joan always made her lists in the order things were arranged by the grocery-store gods … Buffy wasn’t quite that organized.


In the next moment, the world came tumbling down. The attack was unexpected and nearly devastating, with the twins directly in the line of fire. Buffy lunged forward at the last moment, pulling the twins to her and shielding them from the avalanche that threatened to pummel them.


It really didn’t seem possible for anything to be louder than the sound of Angel’s old warehouse exploding, but when the pyramid of canned vegetables crashed to the floor of the grocery store, Buffy was pretty sure that was the loudest thing she’d ever heard. And, to top it off, it seemed to go on forever as can after can plummeted from its perfectly-placed spot. Hundreds of cans tumbled down, topsy-turvy all around her, before rolling away from the scene of the crime.


Cans fell into Buffy’s over-full basket, crushing eggs and yogurt containers and flattening the loaves of seven-grain bread. Cans bounced off her arms, shoulders, and the back of her head as she shielded the twins from the avalanche. They bounced off the cart and dropped painfully onto her toes, they even broke the glass jar of pickles in the cart, sending pickles and juice mixing with the broken eggs and yogurt and oozing down onto the floor below.


Finally, the last can stopped rolling across the floor, coming to rest against a display of Cap’n Crunch cereal. For the next eternity, the only sound that could be heard in the whole store was the Muzak playing from the speakers. No one in the whole store moved or spoke, not even Jade and Will made a sound. No cash registers ‘binged’, no wobbly carts ‘ka-thunked’ over the floor, no children begged for their favorite candy bar.


Buffy finally released her shield of the shocked-into-silence twins and stood up, looking around at the destruction. She began to get angry, furious, in fact, that anyone would be so stupid to have such a dangerous obstacle out in the middle of the aisle where anyone could run into it.


However, it only took her another moment to realize it wasn’t in the middle of the aisle. In fact, there had been a bright yellow rope-barrier around it, intended to keep people back. A sign, now half-buried in canned goods, announced they were celebrating, ‘National Canned Vegetable Month’.


Buffy’s face flushed as she realized she’d plowed right past the end of the aisle out into the open display area near the front of the store, through the rope barrier, and into the giant pyramid of carefully placed, colorful cans. She’d been the stupid one … again.


In the next moment, Will and Jade both began to wail. Apparently, that was the signal for the rest of the store to come to life. People, employees and customers alike, gathered around ground zero as Buffy began frantically checking the twins for injuries.


People came running from every corner of the store, curious to see what had happened, and everyone seemed to be talking at once. 


“Are you alright!?” …  “What happened?” … “Is she drunk?” … “On drugs, probably.” … “And with two little babies, such a shame.” … “Look at how that child is dressed: shirt on backwards, and my, my … pink and mustard yellow with lime green socks? Tsk.” … “How could she not see that? Jeb spent two days stacking them cans juuust right.” … “Was a beautiful display, alright.” …“It’s the drugs, I tell ya.” … “Maybe she’s crazy. Lot’s a’ crazy people around these days. The hospitals just let ‘em out willy-nilly.” … “I still say it’s drugs. Young people these days…” … “Should have those babies taken away from her. She’s a menace.”


Assured that both Jade and Will were uninjured, Buffy felt hot tears sting her eyes as her embarrassment grew. Apparently every clerk, manager, and customer in the store had gathered around her and her debacle. They discussed her mental state as if she couldn’t hear them, as if she didn’t exist, her feelings didn’t matter, what she’d lost didn’t matter.


Buffy’s chest tightened and her stomach turned as she was suddenly mobbed by the people and drowning in their hurtful words. She wanted nothing more than to sink into a hole in the ground at that moment, disappear. Overcome by embarrassment and anguish, her heart in her throat, Buffy quickly gathered up the crying babies from the child-seat in the cart and began to press through the throng of people.


Hot tears stung her bright-red face as she elbowed her way toward the doors, kicking cans out of her way as she went. The people parted for her, afraid to confront the drug-crazed, drunk, lunatic as she scarpered from the store and away from their judgmental eyes, which seemed to burn holes of disdain in her back as she passed.


Outside, she hurried to the DeSoto and quickly strapped the babies into their seats in the back, trying her best to soothe their tears and fear with gentle touches. A few manager-types followed her, but kept a safe distance. Some seemingly concerned, others angry – probably those were the ones that had spent hours arranging the pyramid – but she couldn’t even look up at them. Buffy had no idea what to say and had no voice to say it at any rate; she just wanted away from there. She jumped into the old car, bounced over a cement parking bumper, and left the managers, clerks, and customers that had come out of the store staring after her, still discussing the crazy woman that had brought down the pyramid.


A couple of miles down the road, Buffy pulled off into the parking lot of an old, now-defunct burger joint. So far, she’d managed to keep her tears under control enough to see to drive, but as soon as she stopped they burst from her eyes in a flood of embarrassment, guilt, and anguish.


Was there anything she could do right? ANYTHING? Buffy dropped her head against the steering wheel and did the only thing she was sure she knew how to do: sob uncontrollably.


“Mommy boo-boo,” Will announced from the back seat, holding up his right hand. Buffy spun in the seat and looked at his fragile little fingers.


“Oh, baby …” she cried, leaning over the seat and kissing his tiny, bruised digits where a can must’ve smashed against them. She checked to make sure they weren’t broken – they weren’t – kissing each finger in turn. ”I’m so sorry … so sorry.”


Maybe those people were right. Maybe she was just too crazy, too damaged. Maybe she didn’t deserve to have these precious little lives entrusted to her. Everyone she’d loved was either dead or mortally injured … everyone except the babies. How long would it be before her incompetence came crashing down on them; it nearly had, quite literally, only a few minutes ago.


Buffy held Will’s little hand in both of hers and showered it with tears and kisses, but her kisses, apparently unlike Aunt Joan’s, didn’t fix the boo-boo.


Nothing, it seemed, was within her power to fix.




Pavement Cracks, Annie Lennox



The city streets are wet again with rain
But I'm walkin' just the same
Skies turn to the usual grey
When you turn to face the day
And love don't show up in the pavement cracks
All my water colors fade to black
I'm goin' nowhere and I'm ten steps back
All my dreams have fallen flat

(Love don't show in the pavement cracks
There will be no turning back)

Time and space will pass us by and by
When we don't see eye to eye
I would have done anything
For happiness to bring ...
But it don't show up in the pavement cracks
I can't even cover up my tracks
I'm goin' nowhere and I'm light years back
Ooh I wish you well

How come
Every day
I'm still waiting for the change?
How come
I still say
Give me strength to live?

Where is my comfort zone?
A simple place to call my own
'Cause everything I wanna be
Comes crashing down on me
And it don't show up in the pavement cracks
I can't even recognize my tracks
You and I can't turn the whole thing back
Ooh I wish you well



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