Summary: This is a sequel to my story A Creature I Don't Know which can be found here: s/8467907/1/A-Creature-I-Dont-Know

A/N: I strongly recommend a good understanding of season 5 to follow this: The Weight of the World especially for this update.

Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, 20th Century Fox, UPN and WB Television Networks own the television shows, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Angel". Dark Horse and IDW own the Comics. No copyright infringement is intended, no money is being earned by myself. The title of each chapter, and the story as a whole, come from K's Choice songs/Album titles. (Given that I had soundtrack for the first I thought I should have one for the second).

Thank you all for your kind words and support for my last story. I hope you enjoy my continuation of it. I would love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts. Many thanks.

16. Virgin State Of Mind

The television was on but she wasn't watching it. She was too transfixed by the sudden appearance of her new guest. She didn't know where the babysitter was, maybe she'd let the visitor in, maybe she was in the kitchen, maybe she was using the phone to call her boyfriend. That's what the babysitter spent most of her time doing. That and telling her off.

She looked back at the visitor and smiled at her. She looked just how she remembered. She hadn't changed at all.

"Hi, Willow." She smiled at her, before going back to playing with her doll's hair.

"Hello, Buffy." Willow eventually managed to reply.

She was looking down at her confused. Buffy didn't know why. Maybe she wasn't expecting all this. Buffy hadn't either. All she knew is that Mommy and Daddy were at the hospital and that she'd be getting a new baby brother or sister. That's why she had the doll. It was a present from Grandma.

"What are you doing here? Did the baby sitter let you in?"

"Actually, I'm, um - looking for you."

Buffy didn't know why she was looking for her. She'd been here all along. Where else would she be?

"Do you like dolls?" She asked Willow, not knowing what else to say.

She starts braiding her doll's hair.

"Buffy," Willow crouched down besides her, "what are you doing here?"

"I like it here."

"But, you know," Willow faltered, "we need you. You have to come out."


"To be with your friends."

Mommy had told her that she couldn't go to her friend's though. Jaime was having her birthday party today. She was taking the class ice skating. Buffy loved ice skating, but Mommy had said she couldn't go. Daddy had said it was a big day. An important day, he then asked her if she knew what 'important' meant.

"It's a big day for me." Buffy told her.

Willow opened her mouth to respond, but no words came out. Buffy heard the door open and went running.

"Mommy! Daddy!" She grabbed her father and hugged him tightly around his leg.

She turned round to see Willow simply staring at her, still holding the doll she'd handed her. Willow didn't understand. It was a big day and that's why she couldn't go ice skating.

"You're back, you're back!" She turned back to her parents and smiled.

"Hi, Buffy." Her mother smiled down at her, holding a bundle of blankets tight to her chest.

"How's my girl?" Her father asked her as he unwrapped her arms from his legs and bent down to greet her properly.

"Ready to meet your new baby sister?" Her mother asked, bending down so Buffy could see the baby properly. But Buffy didn't want to. Buffy didn't want a baby sister. She didn't want a big day. She wanted to go ice skating.

"Oh c'mon now, Buffy..." Her father pulled her close and tried once again to get her to engage with the baby, "she's

nothing to be afraid of."

"Who's afraid?" Buffy sulked.

"Don't you want to be the big sister?" Her mother asked, once again offering Buffy the chance to look at the small child properly.

"No, I wanna be the baby."


"You're gonna pay more attention to her and forget all about me." She took a quick peak at the baby wrapped in blankets before turning to Willow. "Doesn't she look funny? Like a wrinkly

old grandpa." She took another look at her sister and bent down close to really examine her. "Mom, she smells. I know! You could still take her back! Take her back, please?"

"Here." Her mother passed her her sister. "Like this." She showed her how to hold her safely. "Support the head. There you go. We're calling her Dawn."

Buffy looked down at the small face, the small nose and the wrinkles her face made as a giant yawn escaped from such a small face. She held the baby closer to her and held her so much more gently than any of her dolls. Even more gently than her new doll.

"I..." She looked up at her parents, "I could be the one to look after her sometimes, if you need a helper. Mom?" She questioned, when she received no response from either one of them. "Can I take care of her?"

"Yes, Buffy." Her mother smiled down at her, "You can take care of her."

She knew Willow was watching her. But that didn't matter. All that matter was the baby. Her sister. Dawn.

She knew Willow was still watching her. Just as she was watching Dawn and Faith out of the corner of her eye. The girls were comparing their homework again. Dawn was fresh faced from school. Faith was battered and bruised from the fight with Glory. It was taking longer and longer for Faith's wounds to heal.

She let Willow watch her. Just as she knew Faith was letting herself be watched. Buffy simply placed the book back on the shelf

She walked passed Willow and into the desert. She knew Willow was behind her, watching her, following her. Just as Willow always was. Just as Willow always had since their first meeting at school. Willow would always follow her.

She stood and watched the First Slayer, her shadow flickering, dancing, as the light of the flames played with it. The Slayer was talking to her. Willow was babbling behind her. None of it mattered though. All that mattered was that death was her gift. Death would always be her gift.

She stood back at the bookshelf and simply held the book as she contemplated it all. Maybe Willow would understand now.

She looked down. She heard Dawn and Faith comparing their homework behind her. She felt Willow's eyes searching her. Maybe she would understand now.

She looked back up to the task in hand and slid the book onto the shelf. Willow probably had no more of an idea than she did.

She walked passed her once more and headed along the corridor of her house. Her mother's home. Her home now.

"Where you going?" Willow called after her, still following, as Buffy stood in the doorway of her mother's bedroom. She daren't cross the threshold and once Willow caught up she wouldn't want to either.

"I can't keep following you around like this, Buffy. We have to go." Her voice was that of petition. Her voice was that of desperation now. "You have to talk to..." She trailed off as she followed Buffy into her mother's room. She trailed off when she saw the fresh grave. " I'm sorry."

"Don't be, Will. Death is my gift." She told her as she lead her friend back out of the room.

"Yeah, I keep hearing that, but I'm not sure what it means."

Buffy shrugged, "It's really not that complicated."

"Not to you, maybe..." Willow trailed off once more as she followed Buffy into Dawn's room.

Buffy sat besides her crying sister, she comforted her for a moment before reaching behind her and pulling a pillow from beneath her head.

"It's just what I do." Buffy's tone was calm as she placed the pillow on her sister's face. "C'mon, you've known me, what, how long? This is all I'm here for. It's what I am." She pushed Dawn down, completely smothering the girl. Dawn struggled, but Buffy was stronger. She would win and she would die.

"Buffy, stop." She didn't know why Willow protested. She would win and she would die. "No, God, no. Stop!"

"What?" Dawn's struggles ceased and she fell limp beneath her. Beneath the weight of the world. "I keep telling you. I figured it out. This is my gift."

Buffy continued to press the pillow down on Dawn's dead face, she continued to watch Willow's blank expression until she was suddenly holding her new doll looking up at her.

"Hi, Willow." She smiled at her. "What are you doing here?"

"Actually, I'm, um - looking for you." She watched Willow look around the living room. "Here. Again."

"Do you like dolls?" Buffy asked her attending to her new doll's hair. This new baby was a gift from Grandma to go along with Mommy and Daddy's new baby. She didn't want Mommy and Daddy to have a new baby though, she'd give back her new doll if it meant Mommy and Daddy would do the same.

She starts braiding her doll's hair.

"No." Willow sighed, still surveying her surroundings. "And I think we already deja'd this vu."

"You talk funny." Buffy giggled her reply.

"Yes, as you'll tell me again when we're

older, and in chem class. Buffy," she crouched down before for her, "what are we doing here?"

Buffy could only shrug. "Don't you like it here?"

"We don't have time." Willow opened her mouth to say more, but no words came out. Buffy heard the door open and went running.

"Mommy! Daddy!" She grabbed her father and hugged him tightly around his leg.

"We're home." Her father smiled, hugging his eldest back.

"We're calling her Dawn."

She stood back at the bookshelf and simply held the book as she contemplated it all. Maybe Willow would understand now.

"I... I could be the one to look after her sometimes, if you need a helper." She stated as she took the baby, her sister, Dawn, from her mother. "Mom? Can I take care of her?"

"Yes, Buffy." Her mommy smiled back her reply. "You can take care of her."

"Buffy," Willow was following her again. Willow was always following her. Willow would always follow her. "Will you just stop a second and listen to me?"

Buffy could tell that Willow was starting to panic. She could hear it in her voice, she could feel it in her presence.

"You have to stop doing this."

"Doing what?"

"Killing Dawn."


Willow ran around her, getting in front of her, blocking her path. Getting in the way. Buffy was wrong. She was no closer to understanding, she was simply standing in the way.

"Because it never happened. You never killed your sister!"

"Will," Buffy smiled kindly at her, "I did this."

"In your imagination! None of this is real, you're stuck in some kind of loop."

"I don't know what you're talking about. Excuse me?"

Willow continued to block her path. She didn't understand. When Angel turned it was her duty to kill him. When Faith betrayed the burden fell upon her shoulders once more. It was on her. It was always on her. She had had no choice but to kill her boyfriend to save the world. She had no choice but to kill her girlfriend to stave off the apocalypse. She had no choice but to kill Dawn.

"Why are you doing this?!" Willow asked her again after she stepped aside. "No. Buffy. Leave Dawn alone. What is this?"

"My gift." Buffy reminded her as she comforted her crying sister. "This is what I do."

"But I'm not talking about this, I'm talking about this." Buffy had been in Dawn's room, on Dawn's bed with a pillow to place across her head, but Willow has somehow managed to change that.

Buffy stood besides her friend as they watched her place and replace the book on the shelf. Buffy looked past her shoulder and saw Dawn and Faith at the table behind her. She looked back to herself and watched as she placed and replaced the book on the shelf.

"Right here, it happened." Willow pointed for Buffy to watch herself, her other self, constantly place and replace the book on the self at the Magic Box. "I know it's something small, but it's something. What?"

"Don't go there, Will." Buffy warned her, stealing a glance at Dawn and Faith once more. Dawn was fresh faced from school, Faith was battered and bruised from a fight with Glory.

"I'm not!" Willow said simply. "You're the one who keeps dragging me back here. And you wouldn't be doing that if you weren't trying to show me something."

"Do I?"

"Buffy, c'mon. It's your brain. Just tell me." Willow left Buffy's side and moved closer to herself, her other self, the other Buffy. "What happened here?"

"This was when I quit, Will." Buffy told her, still placing and replacing the book.

"You did?"

"Just for a second." She nodded.

"I remember I was in the magic shop." Her other self continued for her. "Reading."

"I put a book back for Giles."

"Nothing special about it. And then," both of her selves looked back towards Faith studying with Dawn at the table. Both of her selves look to the battered and beaten body of her girlfriend. " hit me."

"What hit you?" Willow asked her, she asked them.

"I can't beat Glory." Buffy said simply.

"Glory's going to win." Her other self clarified.

"You can't know that." Willow tried to plead with her, with them.

"I didn't just know it-"

"-I felt it. Glory will beat me."

"And in that second of knowing it, Will-"

"-I wanted it to happen."

"Why?" Willow interrupted them.

"I wanted it over. This is all - all of it - it's too much for me."

"I just wanted it over."

"If Glory wins, then Dawn dies."

"I would grieve and people would feel sorry for me. But it would all be over. And I imagined what a relief that would be."

She and Willow watched as her other self resumed placing and replacing the book on the shelf.

"I killed Dawn." She told her.

"Is that what you think?" Willow questioned.

"My thinking it made it happen." Buffy paused, holding the book tight in her hand. "Some part of me wanted it. So, in the moment Glory took Dawn-"

"-I know I could have done something better. And I didn't. I was off by some fraction of a second."

"And this is why-"

"-I killed my sister."

She and Willow watched as her other self resumed placing and replacing the book on the shelf.

"I think Spike was right, back at the gas station. Snap out of it!"

"What?" Both she and herself asked Willow in unison.

"I'm sorry. But all this - it has a name. It's called guilt. It's a feeling, and it's important, but it's not more than that, Buffy. Buffys. You've carried the weight of the world on your shoulders since high school. I know you didn't ask for this. But you do it. Every day, and so you wanted out for one second, so what?" Willow shrugged.

"I got Dawn killed..."

"Hello!" Willow pointed at Dawn and Faith sat at the table doing their homework. "Your sister - not dead yet! But she will be if you stay locked inside here and never come back to us."

"I don't think I can."

"Okay," Willow sighed as if she was talking to the child version of herself once again, "unlike Glory, the Slayer is also human. You get to be. You feel everything you're doing and I admit, I have no idea how hard that must be - but you have to do it."

"And what if I can't?"

"Faith will take your place."

Buffy laughed sadly, "Look at her, she's still in school, still a child herself. She's dying every time she goes out to fight Glory. She died that night I killed her and she's never been the same."

"Then," Willow shrugged, "I guess you're right. And you did kill your sister."

She watched as Willow walked away.

"Wait." She called out after her, "Where are you going?"

Willow stopped at the Magic Box door, "Where you're needed." She said said simply before holding out her hand. "Are you coming?"

Buffy looked to herself at the bookshelf. She looked to the two girls at the table, one she had killed before and the other she feared would die. Faith looked up at her, and she smiled. She was very much alive.

Buffy looked across at Willow and found herself sat on Xander's bed with Willow on a chair opposite. She looked around the room, listened to the sounds coming from the other side of the door and realised that Willow had pulled her out of herself.

Tears ran down her face and Willow moved to hold her as they did.

After a couple of phone calls and updates, Willow led Buffy across town and back to the others.

"You're back." Giles smiled at her as she walked through his shop door. She noticed the colour that had been missing from his cheeks the last time she'd seen him.

"We missed you." Faith told her, walking across and taking her in her arms. "I missed you." She whispered in her ear.

Buffy wasn't used to such a show of affection from Faith, especially not in front of any others. The most she'd ever received before were crude jokes or discreetly held hand.

Buffy let herself be held by the younger girl. She felt her touch, smelt her hair and relaxed wholly into her embrace. She was alive. She had died at Buffy's hand and yet she walked, talked, breathed and lived.

"Hear you found the ritual text." Buffy smiled at the others, once she and Faith had released each other.

"Something like that, ye-"

"Did you know Ben is Glory?" Xander interrupted Giles.

"Total waste of a muffin basket." Faith complained.

"So I'm told." Buffy squeezed her hand tighter, before turning to Giles. "What do we know?"

She let go of Faith's hand and approached the man. He was hesitating. She'd known him long enough to be able to tell that the only news he had was not to be welcomed.

"Well, according to these scrolls, there is a way to stop Glory." He removed his glasses and started to clean the lenses. "I'm afraid it..." He returned his glasses to his face, before running a hand through his hair. "Buffy, I've read these very carefully. There's not much margin for error. Do you understand what I'm saying?"

"Might help if you actually said it."

"Glory plans to open a dimensional portal by way of ritual blood letting."

"Dawn's blood?"

"Yes." He nodded. "Once the blood is shed at a certain time and place, the fabric separating all realities will be ripped apart. Dimensions will pour into one another with no barriers to stop them. Reality as we know it will be destroyed, and chaos will reign on Earth.

"So how do we stop it?" No one else was speaking, it was as if it was just her and Giles in the shop, in the world. Her hands were tight across her chest, as he continued to speak, continue to admit his betrayal. Only there were no needles this time, there were no instructions from England, it was only him and her now. "The portal will only close once the blood is stopped. And the only way for that to happen is... Buffy - the only way is to kill Dawn."

Thank you, Circus