: And the end!
Not sure what's going up next. Could be "Riley Finn Does Hate the Doctor", or "the Facksisil of Balime".--000--
"Okay," said Buffy, entering her dorm room that afternoon. Willow had been doing a wonderful job of making sure the Doctor stayed put, and Buffy had been standing right outside the door, just in case.
But she was ready now.
"Here's the thing," she said, standing in front of the door. "There's been way too many people blaming each other for way too many things that aren't their faults." She looked over at Willow. "You keep blaming yourself for werewolf jerks who sleep around with other werewolf jerks." She looked at the Doctor. "You blame yourself for… okay, basically everything evil that's out there from the Daleks on up."
responsible for the creation of the Daleks," the Doctor argued.
"So," said Buffy, ignoring him, "I've created this!" She turned the paper in her hand around — a large number of papers, all taped together to form a long banner, which had the title "Blame Sheet" scrawled across the top in a red felt tip marker.
Beneath the title, horizontally across the top, were a list of names, written in the same red marker.
"Blame sheet?" asked Willow.
"The Blame Sheet!" said Buffy. "We're going to just scramble it up, and assign blame to whoever and whatever we feel like."
The Doctor quirked an eyebrow at her.
Buffy pointed the capped end of the felt-tipped marker at him. "You. Shut up."
Buffy launched herself at the floor, and uncapped the marker. "Okay," she said. "First. Werewolf boyfriends that can't keep it together." She looked over at the Doctor. "You want to take that one?"
"Buffy," said Willow, "I don't—"
"No!" said Buffy, as she wrote 'stupid werewolf boyfriends' under the 'Doctor' heading. "You're not allowed to blame yourself for Oz anymore, Will. That's not your fault. It's the Doctor's fault."
"You haven't been talking to Queen Victoria, have you?" asked the Doctor.
"I'm going to ignore that," said Buffy. "Next. Time War. I'll take that one."
She started writing Time War under her own name.
"Actually," said the Doctor, "if you want to get technical about it, the entire war could have been averted if I'd—"
"No!" Buffy cut in. "You're not allowed to do that, anymore. Because it's my fault, now. Not yours."
"Despite the fact that this was in a timeline where you never existed," said the Doctor, "involving two groups of people you never met?"
"Yes," said Buffy. She gave them both a look that challenged them to disagree, but they both seemed a little too taken aback to argue with her. Good. "Okay. I'm also going to go ahead and take Daleks and… Will, what was that other thing he mentioned to you, yesterday?"
"Cybermen," said Willow.
"Yeah. Cybermen," said Buffy, writing. "My fault. Completely."
"Buffy, how is any of this supposed to help?" asked Willow. "I mean, your little sheet thingy may say that I'm not to blame for Oz leaving me, but that doesn't mean it's true. I know in my heart—"
"Yeah," said Buffy. "And now you know in your heart that you're responsible for…" She realized there wasn't anything written down under Willow's name, yet. "Oh! I know. You can be responsible for Rose being stuck in another universe."
"Who's Rose?" asked Willow.
Buffy began writing 'Rose' beneath Willow's name. "Someone who's stuck in another universe."
Willow nodded, slowly. "And that's my fault, why?"
"For exactly the same reason that Oz leaving is your fault," said Buffy. "Because it isn't. You guys are both blaming yourselves for stuff that isn't your fault, so now, I'm assigning you blame for stuff that is equally not your fault. If you want, I could take Rose, you could take the Time War."
"No, I'll stick to Rose," said Willow. She hesitated. "Was she good looking?"
Buffy glanced over at the Doctor. "According to him, she's the most beautiful woman this side of the Milky-Way."
Willow thought about this. "Yeah, I'll definitely stick to Rose," she decided.
"Technically," the Doctor said, "Rose is only in the other universe because I—"
"Because Willow did it," Buffy cut in. "And don't be all like, 'she wasn't even there when that whole thing happened!' Because that doesn't matter. From now on, it's Willow's fault. Not yours. You're
the one responsible for stupid werewolf boyfriends." She tapped the end of the marker against the paper. "What else?"
"Parker?" asked Willow.
"Oh, Parker's Captain Jack's fault," said Buffy. "I got that one down already."
"Faith," said the Doctor.
"I can have Faith," said Willow.
"I'll take it," said the Doctor. "Best friend turning evil and trying to kill everyone. I know a bit about that."
Willow pouted. "Okay," she said. "But only if I can have your home planet being destroyed."
Willow pulled the marker out of Buffy's hand, and started writing on the list. Buffy looked up at the Doctor, and he gave her a little wink. She thought she could see the beginnings of his old self coming back, the beginnings of his normal, cheerful self returning.
She had never, ever felt so relieved in her life.
"I'll take those 38,000 deaths, then," said Buffy, reaching for the marker from Willow.
The Doctor caught her hand. "Don't."
"I know," said the Doctor. "But not you. Anyone else. But not you."
"Oh, let's give them to Xander," said Willow, her eyes twinkling, as she wrote it down. "And he can have stupid vampire boyfriends who lose their souls, too."
Buffy looked back at the Doctor, as he released her hand. At the relief in his face, at that familiar spark in his eyes, that familiar boyish grin that was now dancing across his lips again. And Buffy knew that she was going to have to let him leave. That she couldn't keep him here with her forever, couldn't toss his TARDIS key down a bottomless pit and make sure he never left her.
Sometimes she really wished she was just a little more evil.--000--
Buffy wasn't sure exactly when everything had clicked for her. When it had all come together. When she'd realized that this last incident, this last moment with the Doctor, had been the one puzzle piece she was missing for her own future. But it was shortly after the Blame Sheet that she'd worked it out.
This was why.
Why he came to visit her, over and over again, even though, every time he saw her, he seemed to get a little sadder. Why he kept going out of order, why he kept lying to her about it. Why he'd asked her to come with him, and never return. Why he wanted her to take revenge. She didn't understand where 38,000 came in, or who this 'she' person was that had tried to convince the Doctor that everything in the universe was his fault. But Buffy knew what had convinced him that everything really was.
Someone had died. Someone he was close to. Someone female.
Buffy went to the university campus bookstore. She knew what she had to do. Because the Doctor would never come back to Sunnydale, after she was gone. He'd be off, saving the world, and the only other Slayer would be Faith. Buffy needed some way to protect her friends. She needed some way to make sure that they knew how to avoid all the dangers that lay in their future.
She bought a bright red notebook.