A/N: Yes, it's me. Choco Taco. The lunatic who brought you "What REALLY Happened," my signature Pirates of the Caribbean Parody. Well, I'm back! After months of absence, I have developed a new love: Buffy the Vampire slayer. So here comes my first serious fic in a very long time. It takes place after the end of season six, and it's basically just an alternate season seven. It's rated PG-13 for dark themes, language, violence, and possible snogging. Hehehe. So anyway, please read and review!

Willow drew a ragged breath, rolling over and letting the blanket slip from her face. The sunlight burning through the blinds greeted her harshly as she let her brain slowly take in her surroundings. She saw once again the dishes of untouched and unwanted food brought in by concerned loved ones and left to rot and go stale on the already cluttered nightstand. Her tangled, matted hair fell across her forehead and brushed uncomfortably on the side of her jaw. She wasn't sure how long she had been in that bed. The days all seemed to mash in a flurry of pain and self-loathing. It was all her fault. Everything. Tara was dead. Warren's blood was on her hands. She knew there was nothing she could do to fix what she had done, and she couldn't bear that. Her whole life had been spent finding an easy way to solve her problems. And now here she was. Alone, heartbroken, and not to mention having a lot of numbness in the lower half of her body. She had been wallowing in self pity in that bad for days, eating nothing, drinking occasionally, and moving as little as possible. She hated herself. She hated the place she had put herself in. She saw now that everything, all the pain over the years, was all because of herself. Oz, Tara, Buffy, Xander, Giles, Dawn… she ended up hurting everyone she loved. And she couldn't stand living with that.

Willow rolled over onto her other side, facing the door. She guessed it had been about a week since the last time she ate, and in her brief moment of awareness it suddenly it occurred to her that she was starving. Heaving a sigh of defeat, she readied herself to finally get up. She sat up slowly, her back in serious pain, and planted her feet on the floor. Eventually, despite the lack of feeling in her legs, she was able to gradually stand up. She took small, careful steps onto the landing.

She was nearly to the stairs when something silver glinted at her from the carpet and stole her attention. She looked down, and there on the floor was one of Tara's most prized possessions: a silver chain with a matching silver four-leaf clover charm on it for good luck. Willow had given it to her for her last birthday. She could see clearly in her mind, Tara's smiling face as Willow presented it to her, Tara holding it up in admiration… suddenly, Willow felt a huge force hit her as she noticed the blood on the side of the charm and realized that Tara had been wearing it when she died. Willow sat down on the floor, tearing streaming down her face once more. She gently picked up the necklace from its resting place, cradling it in her hands, and pressing it to here heart. She leaned against the banister of the stairs for support, sobbing uncontrollably. This lasted for about twenty minutes, and it only then stopped because she had run out of tears. Setting her mind on actually making it to the kitchen, she brought the charm to her lips and kissed it lightly before putting it around her own neck. She stood up quickly. Much too quickly. She found her vision obstructed by a black fog, threatening to close in on her completely. Her head began to spin, her body weak from lack of nourishment, her legs finally giving way. She let her knees collapse beneath her, and she felt herself falling, tumbling for what seemed like in eternity. The sudden wind was whipping around her, but she couldn't hear it. All she heard was a series of dull thuds as she felt something crash into her face, shoulders, knees, and shins.

And then there was nothing.

He had heard everything. He didn't know how, but Giles had managed to find him. He realized what he was allowing to happen in his absence, and he was ashamed beyond words. If only he hadn't been so selfish and left, none of this would have happened. He knew what he had to do. He had to help. He had to go back and right his wrongs. So he had taken a red-eye flight as soon as he could to get back to Sunnydale. It was time for his return.

He pulled up in front of Buffy's house and thought he was going to throw up.

He knew he still loved her. He knew he always would. She was his first and only love, and in a way it was like she had been with him all along. But he was terrified of what would happen when he saw her again. Would she still love him? Probably not. Would she be glad to see him? He didn't know. Would she even speak to him? He wasn't sure. But he knew that anything that would happen between the two of them would have to start with him having the nerve to walk through that door. He disembarked from his car and walked nervously down the pathway to the front door. After much mental deliberation, he finally ran the doorbell. Nothing happened.

After about a minute of silence, he knocked. Still nothing. His curiosity overcoming his fear, he place one sweaty hand on the door knob and opened the door.

Before his very eyes was his worst fear on returning. The she was, Willow, the woman he had loved since the moment he first laid eyes on her in that Eskimo suit, lifeless on the stairs. She was twisted and sprawled at the bottom of the staircase, her head resting on the floor while he her feet were three steps up. She was bruised and beaten badly, and there was a bleeding gash above her right eyebrow. He found himself filled with such horror that his mind could hardly process what he was seeing. Only two words managed to break the confusion:

"Save her."

He sprinted across the room and knelt by Willow, pulling the rest of her body gently down the steps so that she was lying evenly on the floor. He lifted her head and sat down by her, resting her head in his lap. He pushed her hair off of her face and ripped off his sleeve, pressing it against her gash as a makeshift bandage.

He feared for the worst. She was limp in his arms. Now more than ever he wished he had never left. Seeing what his true love had been reduced to made him hate himself. He put his other hand against her left cheek, gently tracing the contours of her skin that he knew so well. He brushed his thumb across her lips, which he had been longing to taste again for three long, lonely years. In response to his touch on her face, suddenly she stirred. He thought his heart was going to leap out of his chest. Her eyes slowly began to open.

His face gradually came into focus. It took her a while to realize who it was. Masses of half-formed words chased each other through her very tired brain. She was completely drained, and she couldn't think straight. Finally, something clicked slightly behind her eyes. She turned her head slightly as she felt the familiar hand on her face.


A/N: Well, the first chapter's always a little boring, so give it some time. Please review!