Disclaimers;
I created Sandra Ogawa and Denise Parkinson, and thus own them. All others are the children of the creative(and slightly warped) mind of Joss Whedon.

Archives;
Just get the name right, and e-mail me.

Feedback;
Like I need to ask! Jim_D_Means@prodigy.net

Spoilers;
General fourth season, but my own continuity diverges right after "Hush". This story takes place a year and a half after my first story "The Dying of the Light".

Author's note;
This story is told from the POV of Willow.

Summary;
One year ago, Buffy sacrificed her life to close the Hellmouth once and for all. Now, a new slayer has arrived, a new evil is awake and Willow and the rest of the Scoobs have one opportunity to rescue Buffy from Hell.


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SOMEWHERE I HAVE NEVER TRAVELLED
Written by Kirayoshi

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SOMEWHERE I HAVE NEVER TRAVELLED
Written by Kirayoshi

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Chapter 1
Willow, Weep For Me

somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence;
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me this the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

--E. E. Cummings



Neitzche once wrote that when you gaze into an abyss, the abyss gazes back into you. While I'm not one to take advise from someone who inspired Adolf Hitler, I can say that he was right on the money with that observation. I have stared into my own abyss many times. Hell, my hometown was built on an abyss. And only now can I tell others about it. And I have to tell the world. It needs to know the truth about her. About Buffy.

Yeah, I remember when it all started. When we fought the greatest battle of our lives, against the monster Adam. The battle that had cost the world its protector, its Slayer.

The one whom I loved more than anyone else in the world, Buffy Summers.

It was over a year ago, and only now do I have the courage to write about her. Who she was, what it was like to lose her, and what I had to go through to find her again.

Before I get bogged down in angsty thoughts, let me just say that my story does have an upbeat ending. Well not really an ending, per se, since it's not over yet, and I hope it won't be for a long time. I went through Hell, both literally and figuratively, to get to where I am right now, I'm not going to lose what I have now.

Geez, even when I write I babble.

I guess that the reason I'm telling you that there is a happy ending is because I don't want to lose your interest right away. This is an important story I'm writing, even if it will never see publication in my lifetime. It's about the most important person, IMHO("in my humble opinion" for those who don't know cyberspeak), of the twentieth century. Her name is Buffy Summers, and you who are reading this story owe her your life. She has literally saved you, not to mention the rest of humanity, from the most terrible evils imaginable. And in the immortal words of Han Solo, "I can imagine quite a bit!"

Reading that last paragraph, it looks like I'm overstating Buffy's life just a tad. I'm not. Buffy Summers has quite literally saved the world at least six times that I know of. If you're alive today, it's because she has busted her butt to protect the world from the things that go 'bump' in the night.

And I of all people can say that. My name is Willow Rosenberg, and I've been there beside Buffy from shortly after Day One. She's been my friend, my confidante, my sparring partner, my college roommate, and finally my lover.

How does Giles put it? "In every generation there is the Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer." That was Buffy's destiny; the Slayer. Yes, virtually every myth, every creature of your nightmares, they all exist, or existed at one time. And my hometown of Sunnydale was Ground Zero for these beasties. Sunnydale was built over a Hellmouth, a portal to Hell which brought forth all manner of nasties. Really bad zoning, right? Apparently these vampires and other demons existed for as long as humanity, if not longer. And as long as humanity existed, a select handful of young women have had the capability to fight off the forces of Hell. And Buffy, I figure, was the best.

How do I know this? Personal experience. I've seen her execute moves that would make Michele Yeoh envious, turning whole platoons of vamps into piles of ash with a well placed spike or a volley of crossbow bolts. I could tell you stories about the Master, Angelus, Mayor Wilkins and the Ascension, Belial and Adam, that would freeze your blood. No one had ever faced evils like them before. But Buffy did. She not only faced them, but at the end, she was the only one who walked away from any of them.

Except Adam. She didn't walk away from that one. But that's getting ahead of myself.

Goddess, it seems like a lifetime ago. Cordelia and her follower Harmony had been giving me grief about my wardrobe again("the softer side of Sears", my pagan ass!), when a blond woman about my height shows up and tells Cordy and Harmony off! Then she asks me for some help with her homework. That was how I met Buffy. That was about six years ago. The day that my world, or at least my understand of the world, changed forever.

Soon, I found myself hip-deep in horror-movie extras, watching this same blond girl make like the Terminator, dusting them right and left. Not long after that, I, along with my childhood friend Xander, my werewolf boyfriend Oz, and Xander's girlfriend Cordelia (yes, the same Cordy, go figure), fought the good fight alongside her. I saw and learned so much then; I met the cursed Angel, Buffy's first love, a vampire with a soul. I faced down the demonic Anya, the rogue slayer Faith, and my own vampiric double. I learned from Giles' girlfriend, Jenny Calendar(may God give her peace) about my own innate talent for magic, and began the long journey to becoming a true witch. All because a woman named Buffy Summers became my best friend.

Things changed again when we attended college together. Xander didn't have the grades to make it into college then, so he drifted from job to job. Oz and I had drifted apart, he met up with a female werewolf, and even after she died, he decided to leave me. Losing him devastated me briefly, but Buffy was always there. Always ready to give me a shoulder to cry on, even when I was giving off weapons-grade bitchiness. She loved me like no one else, and before long I realized that I loved her. We just were so used to being best friends that it hadn't occurred to us that we were more. But we were. It was during the Belial fiasco that we were able to confide our love for each other, and once the Belial threat was eliminated, Buffy and I began our real relationship. She and I made love for the first time that night, reveling in the new sensations, new pleasures, new emotions we were no longer ashamed to show. We were thick as thieves since then. Inseparable. We made plans during spring quarter to pool our resources to rent an apartment together. To live together.

As usual, however, the Hellmouth had other ideas.

When did it start to go downhill? When Buffy started to investigate the Initiative, a shadow-ops organization that apparently was funded by the government to fight supernatural evils, kind of a vampire X-Files? When Maggie Walsh, the Initiative's senior commander, set up Buffy to be taken by an army of zombies? When her creation Adam, a cross between a demon and Locutus of Borg, broke free and killed her, then started recruiting all the vampires and demons in Sunnydale to help him destroy humanity?

I think that the blackness really started when Oz returned. He claimed that he had gained control of his werewolf side, and he wanted me back. By this time, Buffy and I were apartment hunting together, so I told him that what we had was long gone, and that I loved Buffy. He smiled, said simply that he understood, wished the two of us luck, and left. I remember Buffy looking at Oz as he left, and the expression on her face was one of supreme doubt. I've seen that look before, when what she called her spider-sense started going off. Something was wrong with Oz.

Then came that one day. One very bad day.

Buffy had gotten a hot tip from a mysterious demon named Whistler that Adam was planning something big at the rim of the Hellmouth, just outside of Sunnydale. Naturally the Scooby Gang was with her when she investigated, and Oz was with us. For a little while, it was just like old times; Xander, Oz, Buffy and me. Along with Tara, a good friend of mine, who had helped me gain control and confidence in my wiccan powers. Tara and I had just discovered a spell that would allow us to seal the Hellmouth forever, so Buffy's plan was to push Cyber-creep into the Hellmouth and close it behind him.

Adam, apart from looking like he was cobbled together from a morgue's spare parts, possessed a computer-like mind, complete with a disc-drive on his chest. He absorbed information by downloading discs. I had used my computer hacking skills to encode a special computer virus onto a disc, which Buffy would plant into Adam's drive. The virus would then play havoc with his memory, his motor skills, you name it, giving Buffy the opportunity to send him through the Hellmouth.

Sure enough, there was the Frankenstein monster's uglier brother using some kind of spell to drain off power from the Hellmouth, power that would make him invincible. We tried to stop him, but an army of demons stood between us and Adam. We had tough going at first, but we managed to thin out the demon horde(we of course meaning Buffy mainly, but the rest of us got our licks in). Finally Buffy confronted Adam, and they traded blows.

Adam fought savagely, intent on the kill, while Buffy took a defensive stance, pacing herself, waiting for Adam to do something stupid. He obliged us by letting his anger get the better of him. He lunged repeatedly at Buffy, telegraphing his attacks enough for Buffy to evade them. Finally, she had enough of this dodge-and-duck game, so she dove low toward Adam, who tried to block her path. She got under him, then with lightning speed she body-checked him with her right shoulder. As he tumbled to the ground, she whipped out the virus disc, and popped it into his drive.

The effect was not unlike microwaving a tin can. He spasmed and jerked around, trying to stand, but Buffy kept kicking him, each blow sending him backward, toward the Hellmouth aperture he had erected. I clearly remember seeing her smile and hearing her quip, "Tell the Master Buffy says 'hi'," before delivering the final blow, the one that sent Adam back to Hell.

Once Adam was swallowed by the Hellmouth, Tara and I recited the spell. The spell was working, the aperture was collapsing, and the Hellmouth was closing, when it happened.

Oz, who had been fighting off demons with Xander, suddenly assumed a transitional form, between human and wolf, and jumped Buffy. "You shouldn't have taken what wasn't yours, Buff," he growled. "Don't worry, little girl, I'll take good care of Willow!"

I stood there, thunderstruck, disbelieving what I was seeing. Oz, the sweetest, kindest, most gentle man I had ever known, had gone all Hannibal Lechter on the woman I loved. "Oz!" I pleaded with him. "What are you doing?" "Adam and I cut a deal, Wills," he snarled evilly at me, grabbing Buffy by the throat. "I betray Buffy, he'd give you to me as a gift. It seems that Adam lost, so Plan B. You're mine, Willow, and this dyke whore won't take you away from me!"

Xander charged at Oz, but the werewolf brushed him aside easily, clawing him hard on the side. Xander landed on the ground with all the grace of a wounded hippopotamus, rolling in pain. Seeing Buffy struggling against Oz's grip, Xander wounded by Oz, and the look of madness in his eyes, finally triggered me to act. With a scream of rage, I ran at Oz, intent on clawing his eyes out. His laughter was like the baying of a mad dog at the moon. He knocked me aside with his free arm, and as I landed on my butt, he lifted Buffy off the ground and hurled her into the closing Hellmouth. I ran to the aperture, desperate to grab Buffy, to somehow pull her out, but the aperture closed behind her. And Oz just stood there, proud of his betrayal.

He turned toward me, and grinned wickedly, his teeth sharp and glistening with his saliva. "You belong to me, Willow," he barked, stalking closer to me. His eyes glowed with unearthly power, with lust, with evil. The Oz I knew and once loved didn't live in that beast anymore. Laying on the ground where I had landed, I grasped around me, looking for a weapon, anything to put down this mad dog. There was nothing, not even a small stake. I tried to crawl away from him, but he pinned me with his knees, and began to leer at me. In terror, I held on to the only thing I had left of Buffy, my half of the Mizpah coin we shared, the piece of silver jewelry that signified our bond, our love for each other. The bond that had been severed by Oz's treachery.

A piece of silver.

I yanked it off of my neck, and used the edge of the coin to slash at Oz's face. He reeled in pain, jumping back away from me. "You slut!" he screamed, "I'll kill you for that!"

"You already killed me!" I shouted, wielding the coin like a knife in front of me. "You took Buffy away from me! The Oz I knew wouldn't do that!"

"The Oz you know is dead," he growled, charging at me again.

"Well, why don't you join him?" I cried, throwing myself into a flying tackle. I pounded him back, into the ground, then before he had the time to get back up, I dug into his neck with the coin. I slashed deeply, hitting the carotid artery, and his lifeblood gushed out like a torrent. Within seconds, he had died.

I was only vaguely aware of events after that. I knew that Tara was tending to Xander's wounds, while Giles had pulled me away from the werewolf's corpse. They had taken me back to Giles' house, tended to my scratches and tried to feed me. I remembered to bathe, to clean myself, to pee when I had to, that was it. For two days, I existed in a hazy half-life state. Finally, the enormity of what had happened hit me; Oz, the first person I truly loved, had betrayed us, only to die at my hands.

And Buffy Summers, the one I loved more than anyone else, was gone forever.

I was aware of Giles holding me as I cried. His support, his caring, were the only things keeping me from falling into the abyss. Xander had been standing there beside him, offering what little support he could, as was Tara. I just wept bitterly, not knowing what would happen tomorrow, and not wanting to know. Sure, we had saved the world, once again, allowed humanity to sleep peacefully as another demonic threat was eliminated.

None of it mattered.

All I knew was that I had lost the love of my life. I had lost Buffy.

To my knowledge, no one attended the burial of Daniel 'Oz' Ozbourne. I had visited his grave once, since then, to spit on it.

Buffy's parents were together for her memorial service. It was the first time that I had met her father. He wouldn't even look at me. I don't know if he simply disapproved of Buffy and I being lovers, or whether he blamed me for her death. He didn't need to, I was blaming myself for it plenty. I don't think that Joyce had said ten words to the man during the whole time he was here.

Giles delivered a eulogy for the fallen Slayer, and I could see the tear tracks on his face. He hadn't been this distraught since Angelus killed his girlfriend Jenny. When I took the podium to speak of my beloved, I recited a poem, 'Funeral Blues', by W. H. Auden, with some slight pronoun changes for gender;

"Turn off the clocks and disconnect the phone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone.
Silence the piano with a muffled drum;
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let airplanes circle mournfully overhead,
Scribbling in the sky the message, "She is dead".
Put crepe ribbons on the white necks of the public doves.
Tell the policeman to wear black cotton gloves.

She was my north, my south, my east, my west,
My working week, and my Sunday rest.
My noon, and my evening, my talk and my song.
I thought that love would last forever. I was wrong.

The stars are not needed, shut off every one.
Put away the moon and dismantle the sun.
Tear down the ocean and sweep away the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good."

Joyce Summers led me off the podium as I wept again. She invited me to stay with her if I needed to, but I declined. I just wanted to be alone, and I couldn't take her sympathy, not when it was my fault that she had lost her daughter.

I had convinced Buffy that Oz was okay, that he was still one of us. I had no idea that he would turn against us, that he would sell us out to claim me. He was obsessed with me, and had used our old relationship to get close enough to Buffy to stab her in the back. I may as well have taken a gun to her temple and pulled the trigger. I was as responsible for Buffy's death as anyone. And all I could do was blame myself.

I had continued to blame myself for months after that, making myself more miserable with each passing day. Eventually the numbness wore off, and I had managed to go on with some semblance of a life. I returned to college, continuing my criminology major, but I dropped the wicca practice. I had given up on the idea of using my witchcraft to help others, I knew that I was no good at it. All the magic in the world couldn't save Buffy, could it?

It wasn't until nearly a year after Buffy's final battle that my battle had really begun. And what I thought was the end, was just the beginning.