CONCEPT: A set of 100-word-drabbles; set post-Chosen.
She can't help wondering if her parents took her advice to leave town.
If they didn't, they're now buried with Anya, Amanda, along with everybody else who decided to weather – or ignore - this year's destructorama.
If everything's connected, would there have been a tremor in the force? Would Willow have felt their passing? All she sensed were the Slayers, shiny pinpricks of strength, and the power of the scythe.
Maybe it's wrong and inappropriate, but it's difficult to worry about her parents, when the people she cares about most made it out alive: Xander, Buffy, Giles and Kennedy.
She still has a home to go back to, a room, books, her Sailormoon collection. Also, there's Mom, Dad, and Kevin, her stupid brother.
Grandma used to say life's a series of steps. Keep your eyes on the path and take one step at a time.
But what if it's a tumble down the rabbit hole? Her Watcher's death, leaving with Mr. Giles, Sunnydale, training, her first fight…. Never a choice. Until last night.
'Are you ready to be strong?'
She went into the Hellmouth one step at a time.
Even if she goes home, things will never be the same.
What now? Back to jail? With a few years on top? Try telling the judge that she only went AWOL to keep upstanding citizens like judges and cops safe from the monsters? Yeah, right. That'll look swell on her file.
L.A.? Maybe not. Angel's P.I. gig doesn't go with her style.
Cleveland? Boring as hell, but with the Sunnydale hellmouth all kablooey, things might get cooking.
She wonders where Wood's going. Maybe she should tag along. Okay, not right away. You never give guys ideas, right? But she could turn up later, all casual-like.
Keep him safe from the monsters.
The vampire is gone.
And so is everything else: his new house, his job, his car. Everything got sucked into that sinkhole. His school is no more, his students are either gone or dead, and he got stabbed in the gut, By rights he should mourn Amanda and the others, but all he can think about is the vampire.
Buffy is silent, but one doesn't need a degree to figure out that the creature who murdered his mother is dust.
Then where's the satisfaction, the closure? All he feels is this void. Looks like the hatred is gone as well.
Everything she owned is gone. Not like that one time when she burnt her diaries. Even then enough proof of her existence remained, clothes, jewelry, stuffed toys. Now everything is gone, swallowed by that gaping maw in the ground, chewed to bits between teeth of rubble.
But those were just things, right? You can always buy new stuff. They won, that's what counts. And that they're alive: Buffy, Xander, Willow, and Giles.
It's when she realizes that she has no photograph of her Mom, that the tears start to roll. For herself, and for the ones who didn't make it.
Buffy did it. The Ubervamps? The big bad devouring-from-beneath thing? Toast.
And Andrew's still alive. The thing is: He never made plans for after the apocalypse.
Will Buffy turn him in? It's not like they're friends. The police don't know about Jonathan, but there's the robbery and the jailbreak. He's a fugitive, like Faith. She once went to prison because she turned herself in. Is that what's expected of him? Did Mom, Dad and Tucker make it too? Will they visit him in jail?
Things would be so much simpler if he'd just died heroically. Like Spike.
Instead of Anya.
Forget about Starbucks. There's an Anya-shaped void in his life. But no grave, only a ten square mile hole where his hometown used to be. All that's left of her is an old photo in Xander's wallet.
If only he'd been at her side.
Funny how his worst-case scenarios were all about failed marriage and love turning into hate. Funny, how it never occurred to him that she might simply … die.
He'd give his right eye to get her back, because his world is hollow without her, but if she's taught him one thing, it's never to make a wish.
Clutching a measly stake, wishing she were some place else, she'd stumbled down the stairs after Amanda and Vi. Thinking they should ditch Buffy's vamp and get a fire-thrower instead. Your average street gang had more firepower than Buffy's little war party.
She'd fully expected to end as 'the black chick who bought the farm.' Cause dude, how well can you fight with a broken arm?
Now every road bump tells her she's alive. There's a hum in her body that's not from the bus's engine. Power. She can feel the fractured bone knitting.
The cast still wears Amanda's signature.
Awesome. All her life she's prepared for this, ever since her new private tutor told her about vampires, slayers, and watchers. Exercising, studying, honing her abilities, suffering sprains and aches, always pushing for that extra fraction of a second, that extra ounce of strength. Never enough. Empty.
Until that awesome moment when training and calling met. Dancing with death, leaping, kicking, and punching, undead bones crumbling under her punches.
Power. Making her whole.
And hey, when the credits start to roll she even gets the girl.
Her hand seeks Willow's, but her eyes are on the road that lies ahead.
His path is clear. There's work to be done. With a plethora of new Slayers requiring mentors to guide them, the world needs a Council of Watchers.
He'll roll up his sleeves and make it rise from the ashes, new and improved, without Cruciamentums and retrieval teams, but with Giles, Robson, the Coven, and the next generation of Watchers, sons and daughters of those murdered by Caleb's bringers. Get Wood to sign up, maybe Wyndam-Pryce
Everything will be right as rain.
Giles smiles when Xander calls him Professor Xavier.
Knowing at the first opportunity he'll drink until he drops. Alone.
The war's not over. It never is. There'll be other battles, other deaths. But this apocalypse? It's a bust.
There's a big hole in the ground, but this time she's not in it. Neither are Dawn, Willow, Xander or Giles.
They'll quip, watch movies, shop. And when the next Big Bad turns up, they'll fight him/her/it, side-by-side with Faith and the others. It's what they always do.
Spike would expect her to. What was it he said?
'If you're looking for fun, there's death, glory, sod all else.'
She remembers his laughter. What else is there to do but smile?