Rating: R - Violent imagery - non-consensual/rape – death mentioned
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the recognizable characters. I receive no profits from this. It is just for fun.
Archiving: Please ask.
Feedback: Constructive Criticism desired.
Summary: Buffy hesitates.
AN: It’ll be a while before returning to Xander’s plot line.
Buffy stumbled into the library. Her eyes were glazed and unfocussed. Her blouse looking decidedly rumpled.
“Buffy!” cried Willow in surprise, as she spotted the Slayer.
Hearing Willow’s cry, Giles rushed out of his office and paled as he saw the condition of his young charge.
He went forward and helped Willow, who had rushed to her friend, lead Buffy to their favorite research table. Willow knelt in front of the distraught blonde as she sat in a chair.
“Buffy? . . . Buffy?” said Willow, holding Buffy’s hands and trying to get some kind of response from her friend who barely seemed to even be aware of her surroundings. “Buffy what happened?”
“Wi . . .Wi..Will?” Buffy responded hesitantly, her eyes still not focusing on anything in this world.
“What happened?” asked Giles cautiously, ignoring the quick glare from Willow.
Buffy slowly turned her head to face her watcher. There was no life in her eyes. She had that thousand mile stare that only those in severe shock usually had.
“Buffy, can you tell us what happened?” Giles repeated slowly, trying to bring her back from wherever her mind had taken her to cope with whatever horrible events she had experienced. Whatever had done this to the Slayer had to be more horrible than anything he could possibly conceive, except during his ‘Ripper’ days. This did not bode well at this time.
Although her expression remained blank, Buffy began to speak.
“It . . . .,” she started then paused before trying again. “It wasn’t him.”
“It wasn’t who?” asked Giles.
“Xan . . . . .” Buffy started but broke down crying into her hands.
“Xander?” queried Willow.
Buffy’s sobs only increased at that.
Both Giles and Willow were both worried and puzzled since it was Xander that Buffy had gone out to find.
That’s when Willow noticed the wetness and blood stains on the inner thighs of Buffy’s pants. Looking a bit closer she also noticed that there appeared to be a tear in the crotch seam of those pants.
With fear gripping her heart, Willow quietly asked, “Buffy, where’s Xander?”
Though Giles hadn’t seen what she had, he could tell that Willow had an idea of what was wrong with Buffy from the way she asked her question. He also had a terrible feeling that the answer was not going to be something they really wanted to hear.
“343,” said Buffy in the same monotone voice she had been using but with less hesitation.
“343? 343 what?” asked Giles.
“Room 343,” she replied.
“That’s where they kept Herbert,” said Willow.
“Are you sure he’s still there?” asked Giles.
Buffy sobbed louder into her hands and nodded her head.
Before either Willow or Giles could make any further inquiries, Buffy wailed, “I killed Xander! Oh, God, I killed Xander! It wasn’t him but I killed him!”
Shock was too mild a word for what Willow and Giles were feeling.
Confusion would also be included in there somewhere at the supposedly contradictory statement Buffy had just made.
Buffy’s confession seemed to open the flood gate of both her tears and explanation as she sobbed out, “I . . . went to . . look for . . . in 343 . . . He was . . be. . . behind me . . . We stru. . . . struggled . . but I . . . I . . . I . . . didn’t want . . . want to hurt . . hurt him . . . forced arms behind me . . . me . . . He . . . he held me down and when . . . when . . . when he was . . . was done, he . . . he rolled off me. My arms were numb, bu . . . but I forced myself to . . . to grab a desk to hit him . . . him with to knock him out. But the floor was . . . was wet. I . . . I slipped and the desk hit . . . hit him in the . . . the head. I heard the crack. It . . . it was so loud. He just . . . just lay there then.”
“I didn’t mean it!” she wailed. “It wasn’t him and I . . . I wouldn’t hurt him for . . . for it!”
The last was said while looking into Willow’s eyes. However, shock was the only thing she found staring back at her. The forgiveness and solace she sought wasn’t there so she just hunched over, covered her face with her hands and continued to sob.
Willow was a smart person. Plus her parents were psychologists so she was able to read Buffy’s plaintive look as seeking understanding and forgiveness for killing Xander. However, her own shock at learning about Xander’s death prevented her from providing it at that time.
In fact there was a part of her that was angry that she had lost both of her best friends in part due to Buffy. Again, the greater shock of Xander’s death prevented her from giving voice to that accusation.
“Willow,” began Giles as he centered himself to deal with the crisis, “stay with Buffy. I’ll go see what needs to be done.”
Willow only nodded in response.
Buffy gave no indication that she heard him.
After Giles left, Willow and Buffy stayed as they were.
Buffy’s sobs lessened somewhat in volume but little else.
Finally Willow spoke softly, though with very little emotion, “Buffy, you need to change your clothes.”
It took a few moments for Buffy to respond.
“Before Giles gets back you need to change your clothes,” restated Willow. “You can’t afford to be linked to Xander’s death. He wouldn’t want that.”
“But . . .”
“No buts,” said Willow firmly. “You said it yourself that it wasn’t him who attacked you so therefore there was no attack. Otherwise they’ll say he was a . . . . “
“Don’t!” Buffy almost shouted lifting her head and showing her face paled in fear.
Then much softer with her face pinched in emotional pain, “Please don’t say it.”
Willow realized that Buffy was trying to cope with that aspect of the situation by completely denying what had happened to her. She also knew from Buffy’s plea that Buffy was fully aware of what she was doing. It was an old trick, that didn’t always work, especially over the long run, but as long as the ‘R’ word wasn’t said, she could pretend for now.
Willow went along since she wanted to pretend as well, though she really wanted to extend the parameters to the whole living nightmare rather than just what had happened to Buffy.
“Come on,” said Willow standing and taking Buffy’s hands in hers. “Let’s break out the emergency outfits stashed in Giles’ office and get you cleaned up. We’ll figure out what else to do when Giles gets back.”
The two young women slowly made their way to Giles’ office. Buffy still wincing in pain as she walked.