TITLE: The Downfall of Angels
EMAIL: seraphcelene@yahoo.com
SPOILERS: Season 6, Seeing Red
ARCHIVING: Essential-Imperfect, Buffy Fan Fiction Archive and Near Her Always. All others please ask.
SUMMARY: As she watches and falls to catch, her heart shatters into glass-sharp fragments that lacerate on the inside.
FEEDBACK: Is like air and highly addictive. In other words, yes please!
THANKS: Kaz and Kassie for the beta.
DISCLAIMER: Buffy, the Vampire Slayer and all related characters belong to Joss Whedon, Sandollar, UPN, et al. I'm just taking them out for a little exercise.

"There are moments in your life that make you;
that set the course of who you're gonna be.
Sometimes, they're little subtle moments.
Sometimes, they're not."
- Whistler, Becoming I

The Downfall of Angels

Willow can only catch her as she falls. She staggers forward, arms outstretched. Forever she will remember the heavy slide of her lover falling. She will remember pulling the limp body into the cradle of her lap, the weight a familiar and lovely thing settled against her knees -- a sensation, once so precious, now stained bitter.

As she watches and falls to catch, her heart shatters into glass-sharp fragments that lacerate on the inside. Denial and shock are the only pieces that still fit. Vaguely, she feels the stickiness of blood lacing her arms and throat imprinting 'once was' and 'could have been' on her porcelain skin. The details of Tara's life decorate her in a pattern of scarlet.

Her soft, ruby mouth curls into words she can't quite hear,pleas that fall and splinter on the floor in a river of nonsense words indecipherable except for grief. "Baby," she cries and the sound is all wrong. Her voice doesn't sound like that, cracked and harsh with the sound of her breaking heart, too high to carry the strength of witchcraft.

Willow's heart thunders for release and there isn't oxygen enough to breathe.

"Tara . . ." Her lover's name is a question too painful to ask. Lost chances whisper in her ears, fighting for the right to be heard against the roaring of panic and disbelief. There are too many things to say and no time to say them.

In the distance she hears whimpering, weak and soft.

All the while she clings. Her hands cradle the throat draped in gold, gently rolling the body to see blue eyes staring sightlessly, soullessly before sinking closed and swallowing the light.

In Willow's eyes the fragments of her shattered heart rise and sparkle like diamonds. Just that morning there had been stars, but now only the pain of tomorrows lost. And as her precious lies dying in her fragile arms, Willow retreats. She gathers up the pieces of herself and withdraws from the sharp edges of the world, layering everything in dark. But in the blackness Vengeance lights a candle to lead the way. Dark to Dark. Life for Life Lost. A path to follow now that heart and reason is gone.

She will remember these things like a dream. The memory will be a pin prick to draw her blood, soft around the edges, but dagger sharp at the heart.

Forever she will remember how a bullet can shatter glass and that there are spells to end the world. She will remember red and black and for a reason she can't quite fathom, the pop of a champagne cork. Locked away in the treasure box of her memories she will leave the silky taste of the last kiss and the sensation of gentle fingers smoothing her brow. These are the things that will haunt her when the night is at its darkest. Forever Willow will recall that this was her moment; her passion . . . her becoming.