Buffy and Fiends are not mine, they belong to Joss Whedon and Crew. I'm just playing in their sandbox for a while. I'll put everything back when I'm done, I promise.

This story is the answer to a question I've been asking myself: What happens *after* Buffy kills Angelus? What's the aftermath?

Rated R for violence -- a little more than we would see on the show, IMHO.


_Death Walking_

by Lex



The scream that erupted from Buffy's throat as she dropped to her knees in the fine ash surrounding her was like nothing Giles had ever heard before, or, God willing, would ever hear again.

It was the sound of ultimate agony, of a pain so soul deep that one could never recover. And as he watched his protege wallowing on her knees in the dust that had been her lover, her *love*, he knew that she never would. Angel's death at her hands, no matter how well deserved, was the end of the Buffy.

Giles walked over to her, heart breaking for her as he watched her sobbing, fighting for breath. For no matter what Angelus had done to him personally, Buffy had loved Angel with every bit of her heart and soul, and because of his love for her, Giles ached as well.

He crouched down, touching her arm. "Buffy, come on, we have to go. We need to go home. Come now." Buffy raised her head, looking at Giles over her shoulder. He gasped as he caught the first sight of her face. Buffy's beautiful face was streaked with blood and ash, but it was the look in her eyes that made his blood run cold. Or rather the non-look, because her eyes, usually filled with a myriad of emotion, were empty. Dead. Unfeeling. Tears streamed down her face, mixing with the bloody dust smearing her cheeks, but he saw no sorrow, or horror, or even anguish. Just a vast nothingness that consumed her.

She offered no arguments as Giles scooped her up in his arms and carried her out of there. On the way home, he kept sneaking little glances down at her face, trying to see if the life was coming back into them. Nothing. Not even the barest hint of a spark shone in those dead eyes.


Striding through his door, he was assaulted by memories of the night Jenny had been killed. Clutching Buffy to him, he traced the path he had followed that night, up the stairs to his bed. Giles laid the insensate Slayer down on the bed, unconcerned about the dirt that covered her. The bed linens could be washed, but Buffy's soul...that was a different matter altogether.

"Buffy," he touched her cheek gently, "Buffy, can you hear me? Please say something. I'm...I'm, well, I'm scared. You need to say something, anything. Please?" Giles was nearly to the point of begging when he heard her whisper something. He leaned in closer so he could hear. "What?"

"Damned...we are all damned but are too stupid to see..."

"Who is damned, Buffy? Why are they damned?" Giles was getting nervous. She was sounding increasingly out of touch with sanity.

Suddenly, Buffy's hand shot out and gripped Giles' shirtfront. "We are, Giles. We are the damned. We're damned for loving. I'm damned for loving a devil...and you're damned for loving me.

He froze, petrified by her words. "Buffy," he began in a tone better suited for talking the gun out of a madman's hands, "I...I..I'm afraid I don't understand."

She closed her eyes. "Don't worry, Giles. I'll protect you. I'll keep you safe, I'll keep you all safe. I promise.

"Buffy!" he shook her roughly, fearing that some internal injury was causing her incoherency. She was unconscious. //Well, maybe it would be best for her to sleep. Rest up.//

Giles leaned down, brushed a kiss across her forehead and walked from the room, intending to sleep on the couch.


A scant few hours later, Giles was awakened by the sound of the stairs creaking in time to Buffy's footsteps. He stood up, walking over to her.

"Buffy, what is going on?" Giles asked as he watched her suit up for battle. She was lacing up an intricate harness for holding stakes strapped to her person when he stepped forward and grasped her hand. "Whatever you are up to is madness. Nothing will bring him back. Nothing, not even a vampire holocaust."

Giles was momentarily stunned that he had brought up the topic. But nothing could have stunned him more than Buffy's reaction. She snarled as she forced his arm behind his back. "You're right, Giles. Angel's dead, by my hand. It's long past time that the rest of the demons joined him in hell. They're all dead already -- I'm just going to make sure they all finally lie down and stay that way."

//She has lost her mind.// The thought flitted through Giles' brain as he saw the hate, the anguish, and the despair tear through her. //She's going to kill them all, and die herself in the process.//

Buffy read the dawning knowledge in her Watcher's face. "That's right, Giles. I'm going to go out with a bang. A big bang. And then I'll finally get to join Angel and we'll be together in hell, Angel and me and the Master and Darla and Luke and Catherine the Great and Ted and Lothos..."

Giles listened in amazement as Buffy rattled off a list of all those that had met the Final Death at her hands. That's what she had become, he realized. Death walking. And there was nothing to be done to bring her back from the edge.

She released his arm, shoving him away from her. "Go back to England, Giles. Take Xander and Willow with you, because there won't be much left to Sunnydale when I'm through."

"Buffy, what on earth are you planning to do?" Giles demanded.

For a second, her face softened with the love she felt for him. Then she had an image of Jenny Calender lying dead before him, and her face hardened again. "I'm going to kill them all," she answered simply. "Come tomorrow morning, there will not be a demon left standing." With that, she grabbed a crossbow, and left the house, door slamming shut behind her.

Giles stood there in the middle of his living room, staring after her.

And then he cried, knowing that he would never see Buffy alive again.




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