An Un-Fillable Hole

By Sweetprincipale

Between seasons five and six. Life is empty without one member. Willow's point of view as she considers finding a way to bring back the only one in the world who could fill the gaps left in grieving hearts.

Author's Note: For those of you who have read anything of mine, the problem I have isn't writing something long, it's learning to keep it short. I'm attempting to create my first ever under 1,000 word piece. I appreciate your support with my efforts.

Author's Second Note: Willow's perspective is the overarching one. Please be sympathetic to her point of view.

Nothing of Buffy belongs to me, except my sincere admiration. However, this story is all mine.

She looks down at the plot. It's full. Empty earth now has a tenant. Something at least, is full.

The teenager can't stop crying. None of them can stop crying.

Hell, the vampire can't stop crying, and it's been three weeks.

Three weeks to realize that they are empty without her. Completely, irrevocably empty.

The teenager cries because she has no family.

The Watcher cries because he has no purpose, no real duties, no real ties. He talks about leaving, and she knows he will only widen that hole that has opened up in all of them. He's too trapped in his own pain to see that. He thinks he'll heal, but he'll only stretch the wound.

Xander cries because he feels like he has lost his best friend. Willow doesn't count, she is permanent, and if she died, he would die. The end. No, what is harder, and emptier, is living without the third of their team. He had not realized that his life had become a triangle. No, that's not true, he had not realized that Buffy was the third part of the shape. Anya and Willow and him in the middle, that's what he'd thought. He had been wrong. It was Willow, Anya, Giles, Dawn, Tara, everyone else in the world, and then Buffy, with him in the middle. Without her on that one side, it seemed he fell into the emptiness.

Anya doesn't cry at all. She is tearless. Wordless. Worryingly quiet for someone who never shut up. She watches all of them with wide, frightened eyes in a former demon that never knew fear until she met them. Met him. Now she's terrified it'll be everything she was afraid of when the apocalypse was coming, only it'll be her own private one, a smaller scale, no less devastating. It took Buffy. Then it will take Dawn. Or Giles. And finally it will take him. The first one she loved in a millennium. The thoughts leave her silent, frozen in fear, turning into nothing as she watches and waits helplessly. Wondering. It took the strongest first. So who will be next?

It ought to be Spike. Spike because he's the only other superhuman, he's already "survived" death. But he's not healing, not eating, not moving off his little nest in the basement, not even for Dawn, who comes down there and cries on his broken ribs and he cries on her limp brown hair, and they wither away together. Dawn cries because she's lost it all. Spike is crying because he lost just one thing. But it was his everything.

No one will admit what it was. What he feels. What he might have felt all along. She was the only one who might have realized it someday. And she's gone.

Love died with her. He died for love, dies for love. He snorts through smoke and tears and admits it's his pattern. He accepts it and doesn't try to change the course. Death might come as a relief.

The hole grows into a lake of tears, and he'll be the first vampire to dust as he drowns.

Tara cries because she has guilt and a heart built for loving, for mothering, for comforting. She is undone that her mindless state set the chain in motion, set it speeding, sent this body to this hole. It eats away at her, and no one is aware enough to reassure her that it was only one factor in a thousand that led to this grave. It is eating away at her that in three weeks, no one, not one, has begun to heal, not in the least. She is sinking into nothingness, lost without anyone to help heal, and no one to heal her. No one can move on.

That's why she's back here. Looking at this hole, that creates so much emptiness, and yet is so shatteringly, heartbreakingly full.

"Buffy? It's Willow. Hi." She swallows a mouthful of saltiness, rubs it from her eyes. She stops speaking. There is no point in talking to this obscenely full ground, with the empty shell of her best friend inside it.

No point. Unless she can fill it up again.

She bends swiftly, traces the letters with a tender hand. "Don't worry. I'll get you out of there. Everything will be okay again."

She walks off with purpose. A goal, a mission, people to recruit, supplies to find, secrets to keep, and someone to save. For the first time in three weeks, she can breathe again. For the first time in three weeks, she isn't hollow inside.

The End