Title: In Alphabetical Order AKA Charles Bronson, Eat Your Heart Out
Author: Beer Good
Rating: PG13
Word Count: about 900
Fandom: "Joss Whedon's Season 8" – spoilers up until #27
Characters: Buffy, Willow, references to Buffy/Spike
Warning: Passing references to depression, suicide etc.
Summary: One day in Tibet, Willow puts two and two together. Buffy remembers putting one and one together. It adds up to about 7 billion.


Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Man, meditation was bor-

No. Pure thoughts. Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe -

"Buffy!"

Buffy almost managed to be annoyed at the interruption when the door to her room was flung open and Willow stormed inside. "Hey! What happened to knocking? I could have been doing someone... something important."

"Sorry, but this is kinda urgent. Me and Bay were watching CNN, and they had another interview with Harmony talking about how she's evil and kills people and how everyone loves her for it and how she's in favor of abolishing magic."

"And this is news how?"

"It's not. That's just it. It just struck me..." Willow gestured emphatically, eyes wide with realization. "Think about it. Everyone loves vampires even though they know they kill people, and the vampires and demons work with Twilight even though they know he wants to get rid of them, and... it's, like, through the looking glass. None of it makes any sense unless, well, everyone's goal is to commit suicide."

"I guess." Buffy nodded thoughtfully. "Except for us, of course."

"Yeah, about that. What's our current plan again?"

"Well, we teleported to Tibet since Twilight can track our magic, and now we're going to sit here meditating for a year or so unable to use our powers, hoping Twilight who's anticipated our every move so far doesn't find us when we're helpless and massacres...." Buffy paused. "You know, when you put it that way it does sound kinda... Huh. I guess it just seemed -"

"...like a good idea at the time, I know. Which is sort of my point. So I went back and checked exactly what that spell that we did, uh, did, with the scythe and the potentials and the huge Sunnydale kaboom, and it turns out I may have made, um, a... teensy weensy little bit of a mistake. Well, not a mistake really, just... you know how I overdo things sometimes?"

Buffy looked alarmed. "Willow, what did you do?"

"Don't you see? I did exactly what you told me to. I shared the essence of the Slayer with everyone. Worldwide. And so all the potentials became Slayers and got the super strength and super healing and superfreaky dreams... except everyone else who wasn't a potential got a little Slayerness as well. Not the super bits, but... um... remember what you told me that Spike told you about you?"

"I never told you – did I?" Buffy blushed. "Those handcuffs were for... actually, they weren't handcuffs at all, but -"

But Willow, deep in triumphant exposition mode, wouldn't be sidetracked. "You said he said that all Slayers have a death wish."

"Oh. Right." Buffy nodded. Then frowned. Then groaned. "Don't tell me -"

"Yup." Willow grimaced. "Since the spell, every single sentient being on the planet has a subconscious death wish."

"Huh." Buffy took this in. "Huh." She fidgeted in her seat, scratched her neck, opened her mouth, closed it, and fidgeted some more. "Huh. Well... they'll just have to get over it. I mean, I did. The first time around."

Willow looked skeptical. "After jumping off a tower, being dead for four months, being resurrected and struggling with depression until the annual apocalypse? Even if we could find a tower big enough for the whole world to jump off of, I don't really think they'd want to do that, plus we'd probably run out of deer pretty soon..."

"Deer?"

"Don't ask."

"Oh... kay. So, we have to get the whole world to stop wanting to die. What do we do?"

"Dunno. Hire Dr Phil?"

"I really don't want to get out of this by making deals with demons. No, I..." Buffy looked wistfully out the window, thinking about the steep drop 2,000 feet straight down... then shook her head and snapped out of it. "OK, this is ridiculous. There has to be some way to cheer up seven billion people... Some way I know that works..."

* * *

"Hey, look at me." He gazed up at her, his deep blue eyes seeming to look into her soul. "I'm not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it's not because I want you, or because I can't have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I've seen your kindness and your strength. I've seen the best and the worst of you and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You are a hell of a woman. You're the one..." he quickly checked her nametag, "...Alicia."

"I... I don't want to be the one," Alicia Ann Andrews sobbed.

"I don't want to be this good-looking and athletic. We all have our crosses to bear." Spike smiled reassuringly. "You get some rest now."

Alicia left the room grinning, for the first time in over a year feeling like this world was a pretty good place after all. She wasn't sure who that blond guy was, but he certainly had a way with words. She smiled at the redhead who met her in the doorway.

Inside the room, Spike groaned. "How many more of these to go?"

Willow checked her clipboard. "Uh, a few more. Keep it up, you're doing great." She went back into the waiting room, where the lines appeared to go on for miles. "Alicia Anna Andrews? Your turn."