Disclaimers: Mutant Enemy and Joss Whedon own it all. I'm just doing this for fun, and hopefully entertainment
Reviews: Welcomed and appreciated
Takes place at the end of season 2, takes off from episode Becoming, Part 2 and becomes total AU. Buffy couldn't kill Angel and now has to live with the consequences of her actions. Character death
The girl sat at the window sill and looked out. Night, it was always night. The dusk would turn to night, then the night back to dusk. But no sun, ever again. No daylight. No birds singing, no children laughing, dead air. But at least there was still air. She had read that living things died without the sunlight, but no such luck for her. Not yet anyway, nothing to release her from the hell she had created. Her failure to carry out her responsibility, her calling as the slayer, had been the cause of this new world order. Her inability to kill the shell of the man she loved had been the cause. And now, it was ten weeks after her shame, ten weeks after the end, after the fall of the world they had known. Ten weeks, ten incredibly long, harrowing weeks of attempting to survive. Of trying to keep Giles and Willow, Oz and Cordy alive while embracing their hate, their disappointment as her due. And yes, even their love and understanding that she knew she didn't deserve.
When it first happened they were unable to move, the reality of this world too much to bear. Their world being inundated with the arrival of demons, of mythical creatures, of all things nightmares were made of. When at last they accepted their fate, the fate thrust on them by the slayers actions, movement seemed to be their best option.
They had decided to head East in the beginning. The further away from Sunnydale and the Hellmouth, away from the more populated areas, the safer they felt they would be. So, their quest became about scrounging for scraps in empty houses, hauling water and whatever else was necessary to get by. Nothing frivolous to slow them down. A trek that they hoped would lead to relative safety. Two weeks into their flight, Xander and Cordelia had stumbled upon what they believed to be an abandoned convenience store. Once inside however, they discovered a nest of viper demons.
"Come on babe, we'll be able to really contribute to the group. I mean, aren't you tired of all that freeze dried crap Oz brought with us? I'll be willing to wager there's a chocolate donut with my name on it." Xander grinned at his princess.
Cordelia couldn't help but giggle and roll her eyes at the boy. The man actually she thought, he had ceased to be a boy weeks ago. And it had been forever since she smiled. "Okay, but we gotta be really careful, Giles said there were rogue bands of demons everywhere."
"And I am so sure they will not be hanging out in convenience stores. I mean really Cordy, they don't carry blood or body parts." He walked straight up to the front door, Cordelia attempting to hold him back.
"Please Xander, a little caution. Remember cowardice? You did it so well back at school." She turned at a small noise and suddenly a new nightmare had begun. The front of the glass door was thrust opened and a scaly looking demon with horns and a pointed chin grabbed at Xander, trying to force him into the building while two of his cohorts appeared to assist in his efforts.
"The girl, get the girl!" The largest one hissed at his compatriots, but with the four of them struggling with Xander, they couldn't make it out of the door.
Xander, realizing his fool-hardiness a bit too late, looked over at Cordelia and screamed to her. "Run Cordelia, run! Get the hell outta here!" Instead of trying to free himself, he pushed back at the demon, falling on top of him, causing the other two to fall back into the store. Cordelia didn't know what to do so she ran, ran for all she was worth, praying she would be able to bring Buffy back before it was too late.
Stumbling back into their camp, a tearful Cordelia sobbed out her story... Once she had caught her breath, she led them in Xander's direction, Buffy and Oz had attempted a rescue only to find the torn remains of their dear friend. Buffy was bereft and wanted to end it all then and there. "If I just die now, maybe the powers will allow a better slayer to be called." She hung her head in her hands, unable to move. Almost unable to breathe.
"No new slayer will be called Buffy. Even if it were possible, not many of us are even alive let alone potential slayers. Look," Oz kneeled in front of her. "We need you so you just gotta suck it up." He got up and started back to their camp. "Coming?"
Wiping her eyes, she nodded. "Yeah." She thought Oz would speak even less under their new circumstances, but he was contributing more then ever. In his speech and in his actions, she gave him a weak nod in appreciation. "Thanks."
The guilt was almost too much for her to bear. It was all her fault, the knowledge was never far from her conscious mind. And now Xander. She couldn't look Willow or Cordelia in the eye.
"Yes Buffy, we all know how sorry you are. But there's nothing we can do about it now except to do what we have been doing. We try to survive." Giles stood before his deflated slayer, aware of her pain, her guilt, unable to console her.
Giles had his own demons to battle. He blamed Buffy for her weakness when it came to Angel, the dereliction of her duties. But he blamed himself more for allowing his young charge to become involved with a centuries old vampire, even if he did have a soul at the time. And he blamed Jenny, his dear sweet Jenny for keeping all the secrets. Yes, he admitted with shame, he deeply resented a dead woman for allowing his slayer to walk blindly into a relationship that could only ever end badly.
The night Xander died Cordelia had crawled into Giles' sleeping bag, "Please, I just need to feel safe for a little while, even if we aren't." Her wide, tear filled eyes wiped away any impropriety Giles was experiencing and he nodded his acquiescence.
"Alright my dear, but just for this evening, yes?" He whispered to the shell-shocked girl as he pulled her to his side, both falling asleep much faster then either thought they could.
The death of Xander deflated any hope the small band had held onto of finding sanctuary and it was decided to return to Sunnydale. At least they would be on home turf and Buffy felt she could better protect what was left of her 'family'. So, now here they were, back where they started, hiding in the high school library. Cordelia clinging to Giles as if he were her only hope of salvation. Giles allowing it, allowing her become a salve to his ego, allowing himself to feel as if he might be able to help at least one person in this insanity called their world. Willow, frantically researching all the resources at her disposal in hopes of finding a way out of this hell. Oz, always at her side, always entering the fray trying to help, always fighting the fear that with the constant night he might spontaneously turn into a werewolf and hurt any one of them. And then there was Buffy. Always scouting for supplies, trying to keep them safe and out of the fray. Drowning in her guilt. Ten weeks had past. Ten weeks that felt like ten lifetimes. Giles shook his head and went to her. "Are you going out again?"
Startled out of her reverie, she nodded. "Yeah, I need to find something fresh for us to eat. Fruit or something, think there's anything like that out there? Anyway, all this canned food is starting to take its' toll, I think."
"Perhaps I'll come with you." Giles walked over to the weapons cabinet.
"No!" Buffy and Cordelia spoke simultaneously.
Giving Buffy a pleading look, Cordelia grabbed Giles arm. "Please Giles. Buffy can go alone. Or not go at all. We have tons of canned stuff in the cafeteria. None of us mind it, we like it. Really." She clung to him. "I need you. We need you. We all do. Please." The fear and panic in her voice was tangible and it broke Buffy's heart.
Giles closed his eyes and sighed. "Really my dear. It's not fair that Buffy do all this on her own."
"Yes it is. She got us into this mess. She can do her part and take care of us." Turning back to the slayer. "Right?"
Jumping off the counter she had been perched on, she agreed. "Right. I work better alone. No worries, I'll only be an hour or so." She promised.
Cordelia gave the other girl a grateful look. "Thank you Buffy."
Shocked and unsure how to respond, Buffy repeated herself. "No worries." And with that, she left.