Buffy
the vampire slayer

A SHOULDER TO CRY ON
by
Joseph B


Disclaimer: Joss is the mastermind behind all things Buffy. 20th Century Fox just rides on his coattails (and I do realize I have a problem with the Fox).

Author's notes: I really don't think of this as a story but as a "what if" scene. Shortly after watching "Wild At Heart" my friend Kristen and I had a discussion about the show and the promo of "The Initiative." From that conversation we wrote two short stories. Kristen wrote the very funny "Helping Hands" and this in my story.


* * * * * *

Buffy woke at the sound of her door closing. Her Psyche book was open and laying across her stomach. She was still wearing the clothes she had worn to class today, and the sun had been out when she must have fallen asleep. Now it was night and the room was dark, but she could still see her best friend as she walked across the room.

"Willow," she said, rubbing her eyes. Setting her book aside she sat up on her bed swinging her feet to the floor. "Where have you been? You weren't in class today."

"Sorry," Willow said, as she walked over to her side of their dorm room and sat down on the far side of her bed, her back to Buffy.

"I was worried," Buffy said. "Xander called earlier. He told me you stopped by for a little while. He was worried about you, too."

"I just needed some time to myself."

"He said you were crying, but you wouldn't tell him why," Buffy said, gently.

Willow didn't say anything. Just sat there. Now Buffy was becoming even more concerned. She reached over to the lamp on her nightstand.

Willow must have heard her move because she said, "No. Don't turn it on."

Buffy left it off. She didn't say anything for a moment and neither did Willow. In between classes, Buffy had searched the campus for her, but she had been no where to be found. She had met up with Xander a couple of times who was also searching. He told her he had called Willow's house a few times during the day but her mother informed him Willow hadn't been by for several days.

Buffy had felt guilty when she let Xander talk her into returning to her dorm after her last class. He had noticed how tired she looked. It had been a surprisingly active patrol last night, being jumped by two vampires, then spending almost the rest of the night tracking a third that had witnessed her slaying skills. And there was that discussion she had to lead for Professor Walsh she needed to prepare for.

"Is this about Oz?" she finally asked.

It had only been a couple of days since Oz had left. Willow had cried almost the whole day when she told Buffy about it, then she seemed to return to her regular routine. Even this morning, she got ready and went off to class like any normal day. She had to leave without Buffy who had overslept. She got dressed as fast as she could and tried to catch up with her but had been unable to find her.

It wasn't any cause for concern at the time. Later she had discovered that Willow had not shown up for her first class, but then she got the message from Xander telling her that Willow had stopped by so that explained why. Buffy's concern really grew when Willow didn't attend any of her other classes as well and she hadn't returned to their room.

"Willow, please say something," Buffy said.

Buffy stood and hurried around the bed to sit down next to her. Willow had her hands on her thighs with her head bent forward, her short red hair hiding her face from Buffy.

"I know you're hurting," Buffy said, putting a hand on her shoulder. "I know what the pain feels like. Please don't shut us out. Let us help you."

She brushed Willow's hair back and was surprised to see she wasn't crying. Her face had a calm disposition as she stared at the wall.

"Willow?"

"I almost didn't notice what a lovely morning it was today," Willow said, not looking at Buffy. Buffy didn't know how to respond to that so she said nothing. "After I saw Xander I just took a walk around campus."

"But Xander and I looked everywhere. We couldn't find you," Buffy said.

Willow continued as if Buffy hadn't spoken. "You know there's this really nice spot located on the far west side of the campus. Very quiet. Lots of trees . . . And plenty of shade."

"Sounds nice," Buffy offered.

Willow finally looked at her and there was a small smile on her face. "It was. The sun wouldn't have even shined on the area until noon. The breeze felt wonderful. The perfect place to brood." She gave her a knowing look. "Something I haven't had too much practice with."

"I wish I could have been there with you," Buffy told her.

"So did I, at first."

Buffy frowned as the words sank in. Before she could say anything, Willow said, "They really should have a sign posted there for the manhole that's hidden next to the bushes."

"A manhole?" Buffy repeated.

"No telling what can crawl out of there and sneak up on an unsuspecting student."

Buffy was suddenly filled with dread. "Willow, did something hap--"

She was cut off when Willow swung her arm up in a backhand that caught Buffy in the face. The power behind the blow slammed her down across the bed and bright spots decorated her vision. Before she could recover Willow grabbed the front of her shirt and pulled her up with strength she shouldn't have and swung her into the wall. Buffy's back slammed against it and she sank to the floor.

"Willow. . ." Buffy gasped with the pain. She tried to raise her head, but her body just wasn't working at the moment.

Then Willow took a step across Buffy's legs so that she was standing directly over the blonde. The redhead reached down and grabbed her shirt again, easily pulling her to her feet, and slammed her against the wall. She let her go and Buffy managed to stay on her feet. Her eyes were wide as she gaped at her best friend and tears started to fill them.

Willow tilted her head as she saw this. "Don't cry, Buffy. The pain is gone now. You should be happy for me."

"No," Buffy choked. "Oh, God, please."

"You should have heard me scream," Willow said, pleasantly. "It was the sweetest sound."

The tears were now flowing down Buffy's cheeks. "No! You're not Willow!" Her voice was a hoarse whisper.

"Okay," the vampire said, cheerfully. "If it makes you feel better. But she cried out for you. As this body was being drained, she screamed your name, Oz's name, and Xander's. As if one of you would suddenly appear to save her. And yet, she knew it was hopeless, knew she was about to die."

Buffy let out a tortured sob and closed her eyes.

"Ohh!" Willow said, with mock sympathy. "But that wasn't even the worse part. She knew she would rise as a vampire and more than anything she was afraid she would kill her best friends. You . . . and Xander."

Buffy's eyes popped open. "Xander! You didn't--"

"Wouldn't you like to know," she sneered, with a smile.

"Damn you!" Buffy reached her hands toward the creature that had been her friend, but she wasn't sure if she was going to attack her or not. But Willow reacted instantly, catching Buffy's wrists and pinning them against the wall, her body suddenly pressed against hers. Willow green eyes just a few inches from Buffy's green eyes.

"Now how would my twin say it?" Willow asked. "Oh, yeah. 'This world is no fun.' But I got to disagree with her. This world is gonna be a lot of fun now." She leaned in closer and touched the tip of her nose to Buffy's. Buffy turned her head to the side, choking back another sob.

"Even better," Willow whispered into Buffy's ear. "With you and Xander with me, we'll have a lot of fun. . . . . with each other."

She opened her mouth and ran her tongue along the side of Buffy's cheek. This sent Buffy in motion. With a burst of strength, Buffy pushed Willow away from her and the vampire flew over the bed landing hard on the floor. Buffy just leaned against the wall, in shock. Then she brought a hand to her face and wiped her cheek where Willow had licked her.

Willow's head appeared from the other side of the bed as she sat up, her eyes glowing yellow in the dark, her vampire features distorting her friend's face. Buffy looked down and saw Willow's trunk next to her feet and knelt down to open it as the vampire stood up. Inside was Willow's spell casting materials but she also had slaying equipment as well.

Buffy pulled out a stake and rose to her feet as Willow charged her, growling. Buffy deflected a punch and blocked another, then countered with a punch of her own, that snapped Willow's head back. Now Buffy grabbed her by the shirt and swung her around, slamming her into the dresser. She held Willow with one hand and reeled back her stake hand, ready to plunge it into the creature's heart.

Willow's vamp face suddenly faded. "Buffy!" she cried, in a very Willow-like voice.

This succeeded in making Buffy hesitate and her hand froze. This was Willow, she thought, even though everything she knew as the Slayer was telling her that this was a demon in her best friend's body. Torn, new tears started falling.

Willow smiled at this. "You can't do it. You can't kill me, can you?" She chuckled. "You had the same problem with Angel." She winced as Buffy's hand tightened its hold on her. "Oooo. I touched a sore spot, didn't I?"

"We can use the restoration spell," Buffy said, suddenly. "We can curse you the way we did Angel. We can give you back your soul!"

Willow's smile faded and hope flowed through Buffy. The demon would know what Willow knew, if the curse frightened it then there must be a way to use the spell on Willow. But then the vampire's face broke into a grin.

"Silly rabbit," she said. Her hand lashed out and knocked the stake from Buffy's hand. "Trix are for Angel." Taking her off guard, she grabbed Buffy's shirt and headbutted her in the face, then brought a knee up into her middle. Willow pulled her in and side-stepped, running the blonde into the dresser.

Buffy fell to the floor, stunned. Willow used her foot to push the Slayer onto her back and stepped over her again, this time sitting across Buffy's waist. Buffy tried to move, struggle to throw her off, but Willow grabbed her by the hair and slammed the back of her head against the hard wooden drawer. This really dazed Buffy and she fought to stay awake.

Leaning in close, Willow said, "Even if there was a way to redesign the spell for me, who would you get to do it? Huh? Who would perform the spell?" Then she gasped as if she had a great idea. "I know! We can get Willow to work it! That's-- Oh, wait. I'm Willow, and I'm kinda busy right now."

Buffy's eyes were closed but tears continued to flow from them. She was whispering, "I'm sorry, Willow. I'm so sorry."

"Hey!" Willow slapped her. "I'm talking to you!" When she didn't open her eyes, Willow slapped her again, harder. Reluctantly, Buffy opened her eyes and looked at the creature. "That's better. From now on, you're gonna be a nice little Buffy. No more of this Slayer nonsense. I mean, what good has it ever brought you, huh?"

Willow studied Buffy's face for a couple of seconds. "You lose all your friends in LA and you move here when you're kicked out of school. You hardly find any new friends here, and those who do become your friends . . . well, they leave much to be desired." She tilted her head, sympathetically, seeing Buffy's defeated expression. "Don't worry, I can make all the pain go away, just like Willow's pain went away. You won't feel anything but joy from now on."

She turned Buffy's head to the side exposing the bite scar Angel had left on the right side of her neck, and the blonde offered no resistance. Willow leaned in, vamping out again. She opened her mouth to reveal her fangs when Buffy's hand shot up and clamped around her neck, making her gag.

"Sorry, I already have dinner plans." Buffy's eyes were filled with rage and she yanked the vampire forward, smashing Willow's head against the dresser drawers as hard as she could. Then she shoved her off and the creature tumbled back.

Buffy sat up and clenched her teeth as pain shot through her head, but she forced herself to move. Willow was on her knees several feet away, then swung her head around to glare at the Slayer, growling. Buffy scanned the floor quickly but didn't see her stake anywhere. And then Willow was charging her.

Buffy stood leading with an uppercut that stopped Willow in her tracks and made her stumble a couple of steps back. She followed through with a side kick that sent the redhead onto Buffy's bed. Buffy needed to end this quickly. If she didn't she would not be able to do it at all. Don't think, she told herself, just do it.

She spotted the stake just under the corner of Willow's bed and snatched it up. She rushed forward and brought the sharp point down at Willow's chest. At the last instant, the vampire twisted herself away and fell off the bed just before the stake dug deep into the mattress. She was getting back to her feet as Buffy yanked the stake out again, and the Slayer kicked out catching her in the stomach sending her against the nightstand, knocking over the lamp.

As she regained her balance, Buffy charged again, but Willow managed to catch Buffy's wrist as she struck with the stake again. Before she could react, Willow sank her fangs into her arm and Buffy cried out in pain. She punched the vamp in the face with her free hand and her fangs were ripped from her arm leaving two jagged wounds, bleeding freely. She backed away clutching her arm and saw Willow straighten.

"Oh, god," Willow gasped. "Your blood! This is what Angel felt when he fed off you? I'm surprised he was able to stop himself from draining you completely." She licked the blood off her lips and gazed at Buffy hungrily.

Amid the physical and emotional pain she was feeling, Buffy also felt sick. She couldn't let this monster continue in her best friend's body. With a mixture of pain and rage, she cried out as she charged the vampire. But her Slayer blood, even such a small amount, must have given Willow a slight boost, for it seemed like she was suddenly moving faster than she had been just a moment ago. Willow easily dodged Buffy's attack and snagged two handfuls of her shirt. Buffy felt her feet leave the floor as Willow swung her around and flung her towards the window above Buffy's bed.

Crashing through the glass and frame, Buffy sailed out into the night air and fell through the thin branches of the trees below their second floor dorm room, but they did little to slow her fall and she hit the ground hard.

The wind had been knocked out of her so forcibly that she was unable to breathe for several seconds. Finally, she gasped loudly and opened her eyes. She was lying on her back looking up at the night sky through the ruffled branches she fell through.

Slowly, she turned onto her side and gasped again as pain shot through her leg. She didn't think she had broken it but she couldn't move it without intense pain. She might have bruised her hip, or pulled something, she was just unable to sit up, but propped herself up on her arms.

Something landed next to her on the grass and she saw a pair of feet right in front of her. She raised her eyes and saw Willow smiling down at her, yellow eyes gleaming in delight. Not surprisingly, Buffy realized, she had lost her stake during the fall.

"Why don't you come a little closer?" Buffy hissed, angrily through her pain.

"It will be my pleasure." She took a step forward.

"Buffy!"

They both turned to the sound of the voice and saw Xander at the corner of the building.

"Xander!" Buffy shouted.

"Willow!" He started running towards them. A coed couple rounded the corner as well, right behind him, who must have also heard the shattering glass and fall.

Willow looked down at Buffy with disappointment. "Pooh! Looks like we'll have to do this later."

The vampire turned and fled into the wooded area, disappearing among the trees.

"Willow!" Xander shouted after her, but didn't follow. He dropped to his knees when he reached Buffy. "Buffy, are you all right?"

Tears started flowing again. "No." She looked at him. "No, I'm not all right!"

Xander had a shocked expression on his face. "Willow. She was a . . ."

"Yes," Buffy managed to choke out. Then she broke down and threw her arms around him. He returned her embrace tightly.

"Are you all right?" the girl asked as the couple reached them.

Xander looked over his shoulder at them. "Call an ambulance. Hurry!"

"Right." The couple hurried off the way they came.

Xander pulled away from Buffy a little and saw the wounds in her arm. "Can you walk?"

She shook her head. "I don't think so." She held onto him as he lifted her into his arms. "We have to call Giles. Tell him what's happened to Willow."

"We'll call Giles," Xander assured her. "Right now we need to take care of you."

"Willow," Buffy sobbed.

"I know," he said, soothingly.

"She's a--" She stopped when she suddenly realized that Xander was taking her into the trees where Willow had run off. "Xander! Where are you going? We can't go after her now!"

Xander smiled at her. "Don't worry, she's not going to be hard to find." He nodded up ahead. "See?"

Buffy looked and saw Willow stepping out from behind a tree in front of them. Then Xander dropped her and she fell to the ground landing mostly on her injured leg, and she couldn't resist crying out. She looked up at him.

"Xander?" she said, voice full of dread.

At this point she wasn't shocked to see his face morph into its vampire visage, but she felt what little remained of her heart shatter completely.

She had nothing left and didn't make a sound when her two best friends were upon her, growling.

*****

Buffy bolted up in bed and found herself in her dorm room once again. Her psyche book lying open across her stomach, and her room looked exactly the way it did in her dream.

"Oh, god," she whispered.

That had been some nightmare, she thought. Most likely brought on by her concern for Willow. But Xander had been in the dream as well. She was reaching for the phone to call him when the door opened. Even in the dark she instantly recognized Willow.

Buffy quickly switched on her lamp and filled the room with light. "Willow!"

Willow started at the urgency in her voice. "Hey, Buffy."

"Thank god." Buffy tossed her book aside and hurried to her best friend throwing her arms tightly around her. "I was so worried! I thought something had happened to you!"

Willow's voice sounded a little confused. "I'm sorry?"

"Please don't just disappear like that again," Buffy pleaded. "I was scared to death! And Xander! He was also worried about you. Let's call him, but he's probably still out looking for you. We'll probably have to go find him. Let him know you're all right."

"Okay," Willow said. She was stroking Buffy's hair. "I'm sorry I made you guys worry. I just needed some time to myself."

Buffy felt Willow's lips brush against the scar on her neck and felt a tingling sensation shoot through her body.

"Will--?" In that instant, before she felt the fangs plunge into her neck, Buffy's mind clicked to many things. Willow's skin felt cool to the touch, the redhead was holding her very tightly, and . . . she could not hear Willow's heart beating.

Her scream caught in her throat and she tried to free herself, but Willow was using her slight height advantage to lean Buffy back, off balance, and tightened her grip. Hungrily taking her blood as quickly as she could. Buffy could already feel her body start to weaken from the rapid loss of blood and the feeding noise Willow was making as she swallowed filled her ears.

"No," she choked out and she could taste blood in the back of her mouth.

Gathering her strength, she managed to straighten and pushed herself forward, slamming Willow against the door as hard as she could. But the vampire her friend had become didn't release its hold, nor did she stop her feeding. In fact, Willow took the opportunity to wrap her legs around Buffy's waist.

As she stumbled back, trying to keep her balance on her weakening legs, she started to pound a fist into Willow's side, connecting solidly with her ribs. But the vampire was either too caught up in the feeding frenzy to notice or Buffy just didn't have enough strength to do any damage.

Finally, her legs gave out and she fell to the floor on her back, Willow, never letting up, on top of her. The only things she was becoming aware of were the sound of her heart beat starting to slow down and the wet, stickiness around Willow's mouth on her neck. She could hardly feel her own body anymore. No longer felt any pain from the teeth buried in her neck.

She was so caught up with the relief of finding out she had wakened from a nightmare that she hadn't thought it might have been a warning to her. It had been so long since the last time she had such a dream that it never occurred to her it might come true.

But it had been too late to save Willow. Now she couldn't even save herself.

I usually have a little more warning than this, guys, she thought bitterly to whoever the Powers That Be were.

And if this much of her dream was true, then Willow had probably already gotten to Xander. She didn't know when she had started crying, but she suddenly became aware of the tears coursing down the sides of her face.

Just when if felt like darkness was about to claim her, Willow finally pulled away and sat up across Buffy's waist. There was a look of ecstasy on her face which became more disturbing when her vamp features faded to her human face. Now she was seeing her Willow looking down at her with such rapture, her blood on her lips. No, she told herself, closing her eyes, it wasn't Willow. It was a demon. Willow is not doing this to her, she repeated to herself like a mantra.

Buffy felt a hand caress her cheek but didn't open her eyes.

"Don't cry, Buffy," Willow said. "You're not gonna stay dead. I wouldn't think of letting you die. Or is that: I wouldn't think of dying without *you*? Or Xander."

A new wave of sobs racked her body as she was powerless to stop her nightmare from being played out.

There was a knock on the door.

"Buffy?" she heard Xander's voice through the door and her eyes popped opened. "Hey, Buff. You in there?"

He was still human! she thought. She wasn't sure how but she knew it was true.

"Xander!" she tried to shout, not sure if to warn him away or for him to try to save her. But her voice was hardly a whisper and Willow smiled down at her.

The vampire held a finger to her bloodied lips and made a soft shushing sound. "Just a minute," she called over her shoulder to the door.

"Willow!" Xander responded. "Hey, where have you been? Open up."

"I'm changing," she said.

"Is Buffy in there?"

"Yeah. She's asleep, so keep it down."

"Okay," Xander said, in a lower voice.

Willow smiled down at Buffy again.

"No. Please don't," Buffy pleaded.

"Would you like to change Xander, Buffy?" Willow whispered. "I'll let you. That way we can all be a part of each other. A triumvirate."

"Xander!" she tried to shout again, but still had no volume. "Get away!"

Willow tilted her head. "I guess I'll have to let you sleep on it." She vamped out again and brought her own wrist up and sank her fangs into it. "Trust me, you'll feel much better when you wake up."

Buffy tried to turn her head away, as Willow lowered her bloodied wrist toward her mouth, but Willow grabbed her chin with her other hand and forced her mouth open. She pressed the wound over her mouth and there was nothing Buffy could do to prevent the blood from flowing down her throat.

After what felt like eternity, Willow pulled her wrist away and Buffy gagged and coughed.

"There, that wasn't so bad, now was it?" Willow said, pleasantly.

Buffy stopped choking on the blood and her body was suddenly very heavy. And she was finding it hard to breathe. Her heart was pounding in her ears and this time it was beating even slower.

She was dying. But not to remain dead. She was terrified of what the demon that will inhabit her body will do, with all her thoughts, memories, and desires. Flashes of images assaulted her cruelly, not sure if they were portents of the future or just her fears taking form. She saw herself feeding off Xander and making him feed off her just short of death. She saw herself doing this to Giles and her mother. Oh, god, Mom, she thought. She also saw herself going to LA in search of Angel. Hopefully, he would be able to kill her.

"Coming, Xander," Willow said as she stood up and headed over to the door.

Just before darkness finally claimed her, she saw Willow open the door, staying hidden behind it. The first thing Xander saw was Buffy lying on the floor. He must have shouted her name as he rushed inside, but she could no longer hear anything but the last beat of her heart.

Her last image was of Willow slamming the door shut and jumping on Xander.

******

End of "A Shoulder To Cry On"

******

AFTERWORD

Okay, now that depressed me!!!!

I usually wouldn't do an "Afterword" for such a short story, but I just needed to express a few thoughts about it. This started out as being just a dream Buffy was having and she would wake up and everything would be fine. But once I got to that point in the story, the ending just didn't feel right for me. So I set about the task of killing the entire cast of the show --I had to write this kind of story sometime, I guess.

And I also wanted to explore what Willow would be like as a vampire. We already know what Vamp Willow from the Wishverse is like --with the assumption that she would have been sixteen years old when she was turned, after the Master's Harvest. But how would *our* Willow, eighteen years old, sexually experienced, and more mature Willow, would act as a vampire? Basically she wouldn't talk as slowly as the other Willow and speak in catch phrases. Not that I don't like Vamp Willow, she just isn't in this story. I will write for Vamp Willow, that's just another story.

And this will probably be the last story I post for this year. So a happy New Year to everyone! And I've started my next "major" project so it will take three to five months before I finish it. That seems to be the timeframe it takes for me to write stories such as, "A Tale of Slayers" and "No Time Like the Present." I always shoot for a three month deadline but that's never happened. Here's hoping though. And not to worry --I'm not really giving anything away by saying-- the good guys will win in this story. Can't guarantee it won't be as depressing.

Peace.

Joseph B

PS: I want to thank everyone for there reviews on my stories, whether you posted them are e-mailed me, it really means a lot to me.