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12/02/2019 03:17 PM 

dead girl walking. (starter reply to @versifier)



dead girl walking - nine days after the master's death.

“You tried. It was noble of you. You heard the prophecy that I was about to break free and you came to stop me. But, prophecies are tricky creatures. They don't tell you everything. You're the one that sets me free. If you hadn't come, I couldn't go. Think about that...”

Buffy could still hear his voice echoing within her mind, she could still feel her life leaving her; her heart slowing down, thumping loudly in her ears, her vision going blurry and then everything going black. He wouldn't leave her thoughts, she couldn't shake his presence away from her soul. He had infiltrated her body, took over her like a creeping disease. The scar he had left behind upon her neck burned and throbbed in pain. Although he was nothing but dusted bones, buried six feet deep beneath hollow ground, his touch was as real as ever. The Master plagued her dreams - her nightmares, her every waking moment. She couldn't close her eyes for a single second without seeing him. She couldn't fight the monsters without fearing that she would face that cold hard grip of death pulling at her soul once again. Buffy tossed and turned, pale and sweaty upon her bed every single night, and although she was surrounded by people that she considered friends, she felt so alone; so very alone with this horrible feeling that ate at her mind.

They wouldn't get it. She knew that they wouldn't get it. They would try to, they would pretend to understand, but in the end; Buffy knew they'd just become tired of dealing with her emotions - they'd become upset with her. It was usually how it went. Get over it Buffy; you died, but you're alive now, and that's all that truly matters. It's not such a big deal. You have to be strong Buffy, you have to be strong for all of us. We need you. We need you to get back up on your feet and save the world, even if your life was on the line. Don't be so selfish, Buffy, isolating yourself from us like that. Xander saved you - what more do you want, Buffy? Swallow your tears, lock your emotions in a box and go on living.

But, why her? Why did she have to be the Chosen One? Why did she have to be the one to give her life for others? She never asked for any of this. She never asked to be anyone's super hero - to have to have the entire weight of the world upon her shoulders. She was just a baby; and here she was having to deal with more than she could ever handle. Buffy didn't want to die, and it sucked to have to deal with constantly having that fear at the back of her mind; eating her alive - whispering to her that at any given moment she could face it once again and never come back - would she live to see sixteen? Eighteen? Twenty-one? She could feel herself slowly descending, spiraling downwards as the days trickled by. Buffy didn't want to deal with any of this - and she didn't have to if she didn't want to. They needed her, she didn't need them. She could run away and never come back.

What a selfish and self-centered thought to have, Buffy.

You're such a bitch.

it's all going down hill from here - on the tenth day, things got worse.

“Every Slayer has a deathwish.”

Buffy tossed and turned upon her bed - another night, another nightmare stealing away the chances of her ever having a peaceful sleep. Would she ever escape the monsters? Not even in her dreams. Death followed her everywhere, nipping at her heels, always there, close behind... reminding her. Reminding her that she would never escape it, no matter how far or how fast she'd attempt to run and distance herself from it. However, tonight - death had a new face. It wasn't The Master who wrapped his bony fingers around her throat, it wasn't his claws that dug themselves painfully into her delicate flesh, and it wasn't his voice who whispered promises of her demise into her ears. It was a new face, a new voice - low and accented. Sinister and almost seductive in nature; it almost made her want to die. Something about its presence caused her to shudder beneath the demon's touch, to fear him even deeper than she had feared The Master. The dread ran almost as deep as it did when Lothos had began to invade her dreams for the first time. Before she knew that such a terror even existed.

Who was he? Where did he come from? Buffy jolted up upon her bed, sucking in a sharp breath; horror written clearly upon her visage, sweat adorning her hairline and dripping from the tip of her nose.

"I really should start to consider never sleeping again..." She breathlessly uttered to herself.

Buffy didn't want to talk to Giles about it, and it's not like Angel was around for her to even think about mentioning it to him. However, she still wouldn't. They were all worried enough about her since The Master. They all thought she was this fragile little thing. She didn't want anyone's pity. She didn't want to talk about her nightmares anymore. Maybe if she ignored them, they would go away? If she gave them no mind, they would fade into the abyss and they would leave her alone.

But, she was wrong. So very wrong. It wouldn't be the last time Buffy felt this new presence. No amount of ignoring it changed that.

Every single night since then, he came - every night he got closer and closer, until Buffy could feel him all around her. His closeness made her entire body feel like a migraine. It ached and it burned. She didn't want him to touch her. She didn't want to feel him. However, she held no control over the prophetic dreams that came with her powers or what happened in them. The Master had faded away into the background, and in his place laid this new boogeyman. She could feel his warm breath against her throat; his body crushing her beneath his weight, and she couldn't push him off. Buffy was paralyzed, unable to move, unable to breathe - there was no use in fighting, there was no use in trying. All she could do was cry, beg, plead for her life to be spared. But, there was no mercy that he was willing to give.

A sinister laughter filled her mind.

A blur of platinum blonde, a shadow to her view.

“Death is on your heels, baby.”

He was so close to her now; hovering above her - pinning her down. Within a span of two weeks, he had reached her, he had breached her mind and violated her thoughts, he had taken over; held her hostage inside of her own head. Her heart was drumming so loudly within her chest that she was sure it would beat right through. His lips brushed against her throat causing goosebumps - then he bit her; that familiar feeling of sharp teeth ripping through flesh, of her blood being pulled through her veins... of her life escaping her body with every second and she couldn't make it stop. Buffy could feel herself dying again. She was fading. She was losing, she was...

Buffy screamed and the ground quaked.

Then loud whispers filled her mind --

Autumn carries death upon its breeze; cherry scented blood seeps into the earth and the golden petals of daffodils will cover your body...



Buffy awoke screaming, her eyes shooting open; her body springing up from her mattress. She gasped and wildly searched the darkness of her room. Was she alone? Was something in there with her? Watching her? Her body was shivering, her skin was damp with sweat - her hair stuck to her forehead and her heart was beating rapidly within her ribcage. She licked her dry lips and her hand immediately reached for her neck, although she still felt the throbbing heat and pain of teeth puncturing her skin; there was nothing there. No blood, no holes.

Buffy felt sick to her stomach, her insides felt like rubber and her head was pounding. Quickly, she jumped out of her bed, running towards the bathroom and locking the door behind. Her insides felt like they were colliding with one another, and as soon as she lifted the toilet seat, she hunched over and vomited into the bowl. She collapsed onto the floor by the toilet and heaved a couple of more times, before resting her head against the toilet seat. Her eyes closed and she groaned - her head was spinning with the words that were still fresh inside her mind. That voice. The warning...

Autumn carries death upon its breeze; cherry scented blood seeps into the earth and the golden petals of daffodils will cover your body...

But, what did it mean? And who was this new invader? Couldn't she ever catch a break? Of course she couldn't. She was the Slayer - this was her life now.

Buffy furrowed her brows and finally found the strength to push herself up off the floor; flushing the toilet and turning to stare at herself in the mirror. She looked a mess, felt a mess... she was a mess. She wasn't even over The Master yet... wasn't even fully over the fact that she had died, that he had managed to kill her, before she could even defeat him, before she could even say she had been a Slayer for more than three months... and now here she was - getting prophetic dreams about another potential enemy. One that she couldn't even fight off. One that caused her to weaken beneath his touch, to feel helpless... to fall victim to his bite. How was she going to be ready to face such a threat so soon again? Buffy was terrified. This is all this Slayer gig had been since the very first time Merrick had found her. This was all she was pushed to do since day one - go headfirst and unready to face these powerful demons. Defeating an ancient Slayer killer like Lothos made a name for her - gave her an ego boost that led her to her own demise when she recklessly decided to face The Master one on one.

But then, Xander had found her; pulled her away from death's grip just in time and then The Master fell beneath her just as Lothos did. Yet, this time her ego was shaken. The Master came too close, and the scar he had left behind upon the side of her throat would always be a reminder of that.

Now, she had to be more careful than ever. Lothos, The Master - such powerful beings, defeated by such a newbie Slayer. She surely had a target on her back now; who would be the one to lop off her pretty little head and truly end her? So as terrified as she was about everything at the moment, as scared as she was to step out every night and hunt - she couldn't let any of them see her crumble, see her break beneath the pressure.  Not the monsters, not her friends. She couldn't. Buffy didn't want to die again, not ever. Not like that.

A knock came at the bathroom door, "Buffy! Are you alright?" Asked her mother from the other side. "I heard you screaming..."

Buffy was knocked out of her thoughts and she responded. "Yes! Yes... I'm alright, mom. Just a nightmare."

"Are you sure?" Her mother asked again.

"Promise!" Said Buffy, trying her best to sound normal, so that her mother wouldn't worry.

"Okay... well, I've got to wake up for work soon... I'm going back to bed. I love you."

"I love you too, mom... goodnight."

Buffy stared at herself in the mirror again, turning the faucet on and splashing some cold water onto her face.

Get a grip, Buffy. Get a grip.

sunnydale high library - friday after school.

"I didn't want to say anything before, but I figured I should, being that I literally haven't been able to sleep right for the last two weeks. Must be something important..." Buffy shrugged her shoulders, kicking her legs up onto the library table. She hated being in there - it brought back memories of that night with The Master, but she kept those thoughts to herself.

"Yeah, Buff, you're not looking too good." Xander spoke.

Buffy glared at him, "Gee, thanks for telling me, I haven't noticed." She responded sarcastically, cutting her eyes and frowning.

"Oh, Buffy... Xander didn't mean it. He's just... a stupid boy, who says stupid things." Willow also shot a glare at Xander.

Xander raised his hands up in defense. "Yes, very stupid boy, who constantly says stupid things. In fact, saying stupid things is an aesthetic of mine. Xander - the stupid things sayer. That's who I am." He nodded his head and flashed Buffy a goofy little grin.

Willow nodded her head in agreement, "See? Buffy you look... fine. Nothing a little make-up can't fix, right? Isn't that what you always tell me? Make-up can fix everything? And it's true! You can't even see the weird zit I have on my chin because I put some concealer on it." Willow smiled proudly. She had been taking make-up tips from Buffy since they've become friends, and she hoped that this would at least cheer Buffy up a little bit.

Buffy rolled her eyes at Xander, and flashed Willow a small smile. "I didn't even know you had a zit on your chin, Willow." She complimented her friend's skills, but none of this changed the fact that she still felt like total crud. Buffy appreciated that her friends were lying to her in attempts to make her feel better, but she knew that she wasn't looking her best at all. Xander was right. The dark circles around her eyes, her hair up in a messy bun. The mediocre outfit she threw onto herself today - ew, grey sweatpants and a hoodie. Her nail polish was even chipped and she couldn't even find the energy inside of herself to care about any of it. Clearly, she wasn't herself. Clearly, she was stressed out - depressed.

"I'm afraid Buffy's got a lot more to worry about than covering anything up with make-up, Willow." Came Giles' voice as he emerged from his back office and joined them. "Buffy, legs off the table, thank you."

Buffy narrowed her eyes at her Watcher and rudely gave her eyes a roll before huffing and putting her legs down as he asked. She folded her arms against her chest like a brat child.

Giles spoke again, fixing his glasses. "Not only has she been having these prophetic dreams warning her of a new threat to come, but The Night of Saint Vigeous is just a few days away and-"

Buffy stared up at Giles with a perplexed look upon her face. "The Night of St. Veggie-us? What the hell is that?" She interrupted. "Do I have to worry about some vegetable demon attacking us? I can't do this anymore, Giles. If I have to get stressed about being turned into a carrot or being attacked by one, on top of possibly becoming some new big bad's Slayer blood shake, I'm quitting."

Giles stared at her for a few seconds, his brows furrowed. My goodness, he needed patience with this girl. He shook his head. "No vegetable demon, I assure you. The Night of Saint Vigeous, Buffy..." He corrected her, "Or otherwise known as The Feast of Saint Vigeous, is held every year on October fourth - it is a night where a vampire's power reaches its peak. Which means, you must be prepared, Buffy. What was it that the warning was? Autumn carries death upon its breeze?" Giles asked.

Buffy nodded.

"This new threat might come along with The Feast. It might use this opportunity to confront you at its full power."

"I'm almost surprised your gloom and doom stalker vampire boyfriend hasn't popped up with the good news." Quipped Xander sarcastically, accidentally sounding a lot more bitter than he had intended to sound. It was just so annoying, how Buffy looked at Angel with those googly eyes - if only she would look at him that way. Maybe he had to gel his hair up, be broody and instead of making her laugh with his jokes, he could make her wig out with monthly updates on potential end of the world scenarios.

"Not my boyfriend." Buffy quipped back, yet her cheeks blushed at the thought of it.

Xander scoffed.

"Besides, I haven't even seen him since..." Her gaze lowered.

"Let's focus on the more important task at hand, children. This mysterious specter that has been terrorizing Buffy in her dreams. Really, Buffy. I don't understand why you chose not to speak of these dreams to me a lot sooner. We must train as quickly as possible. You shouldn't be caught unprepared or-"

Buffy interrupted. "Or I might die again? I could get killed? Is that what could happen to me, Giles?" Her tone was full of anger, venom. Buffy stood up from her seat then. "What if I said I don't want to be prepared? That I didn't want to train? What difference would it make, huh? Would it matter if I was prepared? If I knew what I was going to do at every turn?" Her eyes were watering now, her voice choking up.

"Buffy..." Willow spoke.

"We're just trying to help." Xander said right after.

"I don't want help. No one can help me." Buffy spoke. "None of this matters. I could train until I turn blue, and none of it would matter in the end. I've seen them all die, Giles. I've felt them, all of them. They were all better than me. All those that existed before I did - and none. of. that. mattered. They all still died. I don't want to waste my life... or time. If I could die at any second, I want to have fun. I want to live it." She made her way towards Giles as she spoke; standing before him, a defiant look within her blue orbs.

"Buffy, training would slim your chances of such things. It matters, you mustn't become reckless just because of what you faced with The Master." He spoke and Buffy scoffed.

"But, there's no guarantee. No promise that I'd win my fights. Giles, The Master killed me, I tasted death and... that fear burning inside my chest... that fear has made me feel more alive than ever. There's so much that I want to do..." Buffy shook her head. "I'm sorry, it's Friday, and I'm gonna do what every other normal teenage girl will be doing tonight - going out. I defeated Lothos and I defeated The Master - I'll defeat whatever this is too. I promise you that." She turned her head to look over at Xander and Willow. "The Bronze, at eight. You guys can meet me there, or not, your choice." Buffy shrugged, and began to walk out of the library.

"Buffy, that sort of attitude is not going to get you very far!" Giles warned, grabbing her by the arm and stopping her in her tracks.

Buffy didn't want to hear it, and when she made up her mind - it was very hard to control her and make her change it. Buffy frowned and snatched her arm away from him with all her might, and Giles lost his grip. "Don't try to stop me again, Giles." Buffy's words held a tone of warning within them, and Giles didn't wish to push his luck with her. He wasn't too keen on getting punched in the face by an angry Slayer at the moment.

Buffy walked off again, this time - no one dared to stop her. It wasn't fair that even after the  traumatic events of The Master, that she had to sit here and stress about training for her next big fight. Screw that. Buffy wanted to go out, she wanted to party. Especially if being the Slayer meant that she could lose it all at any moment. She earned it, hasn't she? She earned the time off. That's what she really needed - not training. Buffy wasn't a f.ucking robot.

"Go with her. Watch that she doesn't do anything stupid..." Giles said.

Xander and Willow nodded in unison.

"Aye-aye, cap!" Xander saluted.

"We'll take care of her, promise." Said Willow.

the bronze that night.

I'm scared, yeah, it's an addiction,
I scream the whispers in my brain,
I drain the secrets from my veins,
They sleep, but I bring the pain,


Why is everything wrong right now?
Why is everything  falling down?


I feel so alive right now, ohh,
I feel like a god right now...


The woman on stage sang into the mic - dancing people surrounded Buffy. The music flowed through her body and took over her mind (the lyrics oddly spoke to her), she swayed left and right, hips rolling to the beat of the music; she looked completely different from how she looked earlier at the library. Her make-up and hair were done, her nails were neatly polished pink and her outfit consisted of a black mini-skirt, a fuzzy pink crop-top, and her favorite designer Chanel black chunky heeled ankle-boots. She was good at cleaning up fast. She was even better at hiding the storm that was brewing within.

Willow sang along to the lyrics and danced with her. Xander was surely somewhere trying to make some smooth moves on some pretty girl, as usual. Buffy was glad that they had decided to come.

Yet, something felt off; she had been feeling it for a while now. Buffy attempted to ignore the feeling, to focus on having her fun; but she felt it in her gut - that odd ache in her lower abdomen. That cramping feeling that Merrick had taught her to control. Buffy knew her period wasn't happening any time soon - the app on her phone said she had at least another three weeks or so before she had to worry about it again. This uneasy feeling was creeping over her, as if she was being watched, hunted. Buffy stopped dancing and hunched over, grabbing her abdomen and wincing at the sudden sharp pain. Willow immediately ceased dancing as well.

"Are you okay, Buffy?" She asked, worry in her tone.

"Yeah... I just. I think I pulled a muscle dancing too hard." Buffy lied. "I think... I should just sit down for a little bit."

"Okay, come on!" Willow grabbed her hand and guided her out of the crowd of people, finding them a place to sit.

Buffy took a seat on the couch that Willow had guided her to and smiled at her, trying her best to mask her discomfort. She still felt eyes on her, and her own gaze darted about the club in attempts to possibly find whatever thing might've been watching her - or maybe she was paranoid and nothing was there? Was her mind playing tricks on her? Was she going insane?

"Buffy, are you sure you're alright?" Willow asked again, brows furrowed.

Buffy nodded. "Yeah, promise. I mean... I'd be better if I had some Jack and Coke in me..." She joked, and Willow laughed.

"I can't get you Jack and Coke, but I can get us some hella good tasting Roy Rogers'!" She smiled.

Buffy smiled back, "That really does sound hella good, Willow."

"Cool! Two Roy Rogers comin' right up! You stay here, I'll be right back." Willow got up and disappeared into the crowd again, making her way towards the bar.

Once Buffy was left alone, her eyes began to wander again. That's when she spotted him. Lanky, tall, and awkward looking - pallid skin, sexy brunette in his arms. She was way out of his league, but she was clearly drunk and so very easily falling for that nifty vampire glamour that could make any loser seduce the girl of their dreams. That was it, Buffy thought. That's who had probably been watching her all this time, that's who she had felt. Her crampy vampire radar wasn't a frequent thing anymore, but in the mental state that she was currently in - she was guessing that her entire body was going topsy-turvy.

Buffy reached into her mini pink Gucci shoulder bag and wrapped her fingers around her stake. She wasn't thinking about getting into a fight tonight, but a girl could never leave her home unprepared - especially if said girl happened to be The Slayer. Buffy watched as the vampire and the brunette walked out of The Bronze, and she got up from her seat and followed after. She'd just dust him, save the girl, and come back in. He was clearly just some run of the mill vampire, how hard could it be?

There was no one when Buffy stepped out. There was no odd noises, just the sound of muffled music that could be heard behind her, but Buffy listened carefully, doing her best to isolate each and every sound in her surroundings. She scanned the place around her, every dark corner that she could see from where she stood; there was no way that they could've gotten very far in such a short time. She was right on their heels. Buffy carefully walked further away from The Bronze, finally fishing her stake out of her bag and holding it tightly within her grip, ready to attack if she had to. Then she heard it, a muffled yelp from the dark and damp alleyway to her right. It was quick, but Buffy had caught it, and she followed the noise as fast as her feet could take her in platform boots.

The sight she was met with didn't come as a surprise to her at all; the gangly loser vampire had lured his victim to a lonely dark place and made his attack. Buffy scoffed audibly and shook her head as she walked towards the scene. "You vampires are all the same, can't even take a girl to a nice place..." She spoke, and the vampire immediately shifted its focus onto her; ripping his teeth from its victim's neck and hissing at Buffy like some sort of angry cat.

"Sluts that let a guy bite on the first date don't deserve it." The vampire spat with a sly grin on his face, tossing the girl's body to the floor like a piece of trash.

Buffy furrowed her brows when she finally caught a good glimpse of who the vampire was. She knew him. She went to school with him. "Kevin? Kevin Thornberg?" She asked, tilting her head to the right. Then she rose her brows. "Of course, the only chance you'd ever have with a girl is under alcohol and supernatural influence. No surprise there. Tsk, it's not very safe to drink and suck."

"Buffy Summers?" He recognized her too. "Oh, I'm gonna have fun making you scream!" He responded, finally making his move and lunging himself at her.

Buffy was quick on her feet and stepped out of his way, spinning her body to stand behind him and lifting her left leg to dig her boot into the middle of his back; kicking him with all her strength.

"You wouldn't know how to make me scream, even if I told you all the right spots." Buffy retorted.

Kevin stumbled forward and growled, turning to lunge at her again. This time, he managed to catch her - sending a punch to the side of her face. Buffy grunted and stumbled backwards, yet the grip on her stake never loosened. Kevin chuckled at his success, throwing another blow at Buffy while she was disoriented by the first one. This time, his punch was to her stomach, causing her to yelp - knocking the air out of her.

Adrenaline was rushing through Buffy's body - flashbacks of that night with The Master played in her brain, visions of her latest nightmares blurred her sight. Buffy fell to her knees and Kevin sent a kick to her face. She gasped and cried out in pain. Buffy fell backwards and laid flat on her back, the stake was no longer in her hand; she had lost it when he had punched her in the stomach earlier. What was wrong with her? She had to get up. She had to fight back.

“Every Slayer has a deathwish. Even you.”

Her captor's voice filled her head again, and a rush ran through her body.

Kevin launched himself onto her and Buffy's leg lifted, bending at the knee against her chest; catching his body against her boot, pressing into his stomach and kicking him up and over into the air, away from her.

Swiftly, Buffy curved her back up from the pavement and swung her legs forward, pushing herself up off from the floor and right back onto her feet. "Sorry, I like to be on top." She quipped, and the vampire hissed angrily at her.

He went for the attack again, but this time Buffy was ready with this new energy that overtook her. Her fist cocked back and flew forward, colliding with his jaw at full force. He grunted and growled, and attempted to grab her at her. Teeth gnashing and looking for any flesh to cling onto. Buffy shoved him against the brick wall behind him and brought her knee up to crash against his abdomen; another few punches to the face, a leg sweep and a quick grab for her stake sealed his fate - on his back, turned to ashes upon the damp alleyway pavement.

Buffy took in a deep breath and adjusted herself once it was over, brushing away a bit of dirt, ashes, and blood that had gotten onto her fluffy pink shirt. She complained to herself, about how blood was so hard to get out of clothes, and crinkled her nose at the sore feeling that it was giving her. He hadn't managed to break her nose (Buffy would know, she had dealt with a broken nose before), but he he had hit her hard enough to make it bleed and surely bruise a bit by tomorrow; good thing her Slayer abilities allowed her to heal quickly so she wouldn't have to worry about it for too long. Buffy sniffled and wiped the blood away on the back of her hand; finally turning her attention to the girl Kevin had attacked earlier. She was starting to stir and groan, which meant Kevin hadn't killed her and Buffy came in just in time to save her life.

"Hey! I'm so totally glad to see that you're alright." She said, extending a helping hand to the brunette.

However, the girl looked up at her confused and gave her a dirty look. "Huh? What? What are you talking about?"

She ignored Buffy's hand and pushed herself up on her own, dusting her black mini dress off. She winced at the odd pain at her throat, and she lifted her hand to touch it. "Ugh, ew." She groaned, disgusted at the sight of blood on her fingers. Buffy dug into her purse and offered her a napkin. The girl took it and wiped at her wound. "Where's Kevin? That little creep bit me. I'm gonna punch his lights out when I find him."

"Would you believe me if I told you he was a vampire and I killed him to save you?" Buffy asked, her brows raised and an awkward grin appeared upon her face.

The girl stared at her like she was stupid.

"Yeah, I wouldn't either..." Buffy concluded with a sigh; shifting her eyes.

"Hey, aren't you that Muffy girl?" The girl asked.

"Buffy..." Buffy corrected her.

"Whatever. Cordelia's told me about you. I didn't believe her when she said you were crazy, but wow, she was right. You really are a freak. I bet you and Kevin planned this. It's not a funny joke, you know. Vampires, yeah right."

Buffy's blood was boiling at this point. Was this real life? Did this girl truly have the audacity to come at her in this way right now? To accuse her of being in cahoots with such a weirdo like Kevin? Her hands were fists, pressed so hard that she had snapped her wooden stake in two (good thing she always carried a spare). She had just risked her life saving this girl, and for what? To get called crazy? A freak? Her jaw clenched. She wanted to punch her square in the face. Maybe she should've let Kevin eat her.

Oh, but Buffy, those thoughts were wrong. That's not who you are.

"Anyways, I think I've had enough of this freakshow. I'm going back inside. By the way, your nose is totally bleeding onto your shirt."

Buffy furrowed her brows and looked down at her shirt, new droplets of fresh blood stained the pink material. Buffy sniffled again and decided to look inside of her bag for more tissue for herself this time to wipe her blood away. Her gaze shifted to watch her ungrateful rescuee walk away and disappear around the corner on her way to The Bronze again.

"You're welcome!" Buffy yelled, "Bitch..." She grumbled under her breath. Then her phone vibrated.

[Text from Willow]
"Where r u?"


[Response]
"Sorry, I didn't feel too good and decided to head home. Hope ur not mad."

Buffy was clearly lying to her friends again, but she had decided that she didn't want to go back into The Bronze. She wasn't even cute anymore. She was hurt, her clothes were ruined and agitation was flowing through her veins. She needed to let it out and dancing at The Bronze wasn't going to be enough - especially if she couldn't even find some cute college guy to buy her some drinks (she should really consider getting her hands on a fake ID some time). Buffy knew very well that this was what she had been doing ever since her close brush with death at the hands of The Master - she had been avoiding her friends, isolating herself from everyone, keeping secrets, lying. But, this was her way of coping. Being alone was how she could attempt to figure out her emotions. Alone was how she always felt - in the shadows. This was the path of The Slayer; as Merrick had told her before. She didn't want to believe him at first, and she was determined to prove him wrong, but right about now she was beginning to feel it. The darkness that consumed her.

[Text from Willow]
"Oh... no. That's fine. Let me know when you get home."

Buffy read the text, sighed and didn't respond. She knew that she didn't plan on going home any time soon. If she couldn't sleep without nightmares, then what was the point? Buffy tossed her phone into her bag and walked out of the alley, standing in front of the entrance to The Bronze for a few seconds; feeling bad for lying to Willow, thinking that she should just walk in and explain everything to her, but she didn't want to. Surely, that girl had found Cordelia and her group of bimbos and Buffy would just walk in to being ridiculed by them - by the very girl that she had saved from dying  just a while back. She was afraid that she'd lose it and hurt somebody. Buffy shook her head and scoffed, deciding that she'd continue to walk. She didn't need any of that crap right now.

"Hey! Where's the Buffster?" Asked Xander.

"She didn't feel good... so she went home." Willow responded sadly, frowning.

"Oh... I see. So in that case, she wouldn't mind if I had her Roy Rogers?" He tried to joke, grabbing the second drink that Willow had placed upon the table in his hand - chuckling.

Willow didn't seem to be amused much. "No, I guess not..." She sighed.

Xander thinned his lips and furrowed his brows. "Hey, Willow... Buffy's The Slayer. She'll be alright. At least she'll be safe at home."

"Yeah. I just think... there's something she's not telling us. So much for keeping an eye on her." Willow spoke again.

"I learned that Buffy's gonna do what Buffy wants to do, and she's been through some sh.it, you know. She just needs space, right? Girls like space when they're all freaking out. That's what I've learned about girls from dating advice Metube videos. That I totally only watch 'cause they pop up on my recommended and I can't pass up a good laugh about such ridiculous content for a video, hahaha...." Xander laughed nervously, shifting his eyes. "Point is, I'm sure she'll come around, Will. Buffy could get through anything. I'm sure she'll be okay."

"I guess you're right... I just worry." Willow sighed. "I kinda want to go home too, Xander. I'm no longer in a very party mood."

Xander almost opened his mouth to protest; something about there being a girl at the bar that he thought was very cute and something about hitting on her, but he saw just how glum his redhead bestie was and instead, he nodded his head in understanding, placing a hand upon her shoulder and squeezing softly, pulling her close. "Come on then, I'll walk you home."

"Thanks, Xander." Willow smiled softly.

"Yeah, what are friends for?" He smiled back.

♱♱♱


Buffy wrapped her arms around her body as she walked down the dark streets of Sunnydale; keeping her eyes and ears open for anything that seemed like trouble. Buffy was looking for trouble, anything she could unload her anger onto, anything that she could burn this rush on - the destination in mind was the cemetery, but if something came along on her way there, she wouldn't deny it her rage.

Buffy was being reckless again; letting her emotions take the wheel.

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