Disclaimer: Economic crisis might have its upside. Maybe Joss will be desperately in need of money…yeah, not mine.

It was the midnights that got to her. The days weren't so bad: going to the beach, getting coffee, hanging with Willow and Xander. The evenings weren't so terrible either, what with slaying and movie nights and the Bronze. But she couldn't handle it when she woke up in the middle of the night and expected to be in his arms again. And then the reality crashed down on her, crushing her, pinning her, making her breathless and unable to sleep. So she had been up at three when he had called. She had picked up on the first ring and had known it was him from the electric butterflies crawling up her spine. He didn't respond to her greeting, literally didn't even breathe. For a full minute they sat there, tenuously connected across the telephone line until she couldn't take it anymore. She threw the phone out the window and screamed into her pillow, conscious even in her anger and unhappiness that making noise would wake her mother. She would come rushing in and ask questions and give hugs and looks of pity and be the mommy. But when left, her face would be relieved and satisfied. Everyone was like that: Will and Xander, Giles, Mom. When she laughed and smiled and danced, they snuck peeks at each other and congratulated themselves. See, their looks said, she's getting better. She doesn't need him. All he did was hurt her. They were wrong. They assumed she could get over him. First love; everyone has one and then it just gets eclipsed or forgotten. She's a teenager, she's flighty. She'll move on. She wouldn't. For the rest of her life she would love him. He was so much a part of her that sometimes as she patched herself up alone now, no cool hands to wrap bandages she expected the blood drip-dripping on the floor to form a smoke Angel. She felt him so deeply in every one the tiny, biology class parts of herself that she didn't know how there was not a giant tear down her chest like if someone had severed her from her conjoined twin.

For the first couple of days after he left, she had taken to shocking herself on purpose. Nothing serious, just a little electricity so that as it ran down her spine she could kid herself that he was there. Once that stopped working she had lain in bed for a day and then had gotten up to slay. After all, demons didn't stop because her heart was broken.

She sat with Oz a lot. He didn't feel the need to fill the silences with chatter like everyone else did and she didn't need to pretend with him. She couldn't have if she had wanted to because he could still smell the melancholy on her even as she smiled with them. What was with demons and smelling?

They all said the first week was the worst. The druggies and alcoholics said that when you quit cold-turkey, the withdrawals were always the worst during the first seven days. The sun was peeping over the horizon marking the eighth day. Maybe now it would get better. Maybe now the gnawing ache inside would stop before it consumed her. Maybe now the nightmare would end. It was so ironic. The one person who might have been able to help her, to make her feel better about this was the reason for her grief. Why did she still want him, she wondered bitterly. He had left her. He had torn out her heart and ripped it to shreds and then had stomped those shreds into dust. And now here he was, calling her in the middle of the night. What gave him the right?! It was as if he was torturing her. He had probably never intended to talk to her. He had probably been planning on hanging up after the first ring. He had probably thought she would be asleep. God, she wished she could sleep. She wished she could hate him. But as it slowly killed her, she would love him.

The sun was nearly up. Soon her family and friends would come see her and it would be another day of pain and hell and pretending to be happy and get over him. So she cut the suffering out of her body, locking her heart up into that weatherproof box that let her breathe from one minute to the next, and maybe for ten seconds forget that he wasn't going to crawl through her window that night. So she jumped out that window into the daylight and for one cruel moment remembered how he could never come out here with her. And then she shut the thought down hard, shoving it into her box, and started to walk. She had promised Willow a day of shopping and she would hate to let her best friend down.

A/N: Written a long time ago, during a (still going on) angsty phase. Inspired by the song Seven Days of Lonely by I-Nine. Go iTunes free downloads!