Bits and Pieces

Finally, at the end of everything, she cried.

She sobbed and wailed and rocked until the salt water of her tears dissolved her into a million bits and pieces. Her misery poured out until in her mind's eye the sky went dark and the earth stopped shaking and the world ceased its relentless spinning and the stars lost all their silver brightness. After an age of becoming stone, she let her hard heart melt and shatter and blow away.

At long last, after so long of standing tall, she mourned. She wept for those who died, for those she could not save. She shed a tear for those she killed. Just one, because she didn't have any more to spare. She moaned in pain for those she'd pushed away, for those she'd love—those she still loved—that might never come back to her after the way she had shoved them aside.

At the end of everything she'd ever known, Buffy Summers fell and crumbled and felt herself tear into countless tiny little pieces because she had nothing left to hold her together.

As her soul crashed down into black loneliness, she grasped desperately to shreds of love, of memory, of some small assurance that once she had been whole and good and happy. Faintly she remembered that once, in another lifetime, there had always been someone left after the fall to sweep the pieces of her heart back up and glue them back together again.

She thought of Xander, of his smile and his two laughing eyes and his quiet, unexpected words of wisdom that always used to come just when she needed them most. And then she thought of Anya standing alone at the altar and Caleb's maniac grin and blood running from an empty eye socket and knew that he wouldn't come.

Willow came to mind next, with her natural magic and big brain and her even bigger heart. She thought of sleepovers and long talks and unconditional understanding. But then Tara's grave and Willow's black or white hair and hollow green eyes reminded her that her best friend had her own tears to shed. She wouldn't come either.

Reluctantly, inevitably, she thought of Giles. Giles, who had been there more than anyone, who had carried more of her weight and fought more of her battles and maybe even had more of her trust than anyone else ever had. For just a moment she wondered if he would come just like he had all the other times, all the other times in her life when she needed him the most and he materialized to save the day. But then she remembered harsh words and slamming doors and something breaking inside his eyes and inside her heart and knew that whatever trust they'd ever had was gone. Giles wouldn't come because she'd told him not to.

And Buffy wept because this time, this time was one too many and no one was here with her in the blackness.

But footsteps echoed in her ears and soft voices pounded in her head and finally, there at the end of everything she knew and the start of something else entirely, she felt three people close in around her and she realized that she had cried for long enough.

Because they shouldn't have come at all, but they did anyway.

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Author's Note: Well, there we go. All four angst vignettes are now complete! Hopefully, you found Buffy's point of view interesting. I tried to end this one, at least, with a little bit of hope. Drop a line and tell me what you thought of this; I'm not at all sure it came out the way I meant it to. Cheers.

For the perspectives of the other three Scoobies, read the other stories in this quartet of angst vignettes: Enforced Solitude (Willow), Light at the End of the Tunnel (Xander), and Shades of Gray (Giles).