Into Pitch

So will I turn her virtue into pitch, / And out of her own goodness make the net / That shall enmesh them all (Othello, II.3:332-4).


Since Buffy's death, Anya hung fresh garlic from the ceiling of their apartment every week. She pestered Willow and Tara to ward the Magic Box properly and regularly so Xander would be safe there, too. She studied OSHA regulations, and every time she visited a site, she inspected it, looking for code infractions. And she always, always made sure that he had a backup stake when he went on evening patrol.

All the care she was taking might keep him from dying. But it was making her lose him another way. There was no provision she could make against that.


It was Giles who sent him the news. Riley wasn't sure why; Buffy must've told him everything.

But maybe that was why. To make him feel like shit. For not being able to figure out a way to keep up with Buffy, except feeding himself to vampire whores. For knowing how wrong it was, and not being able to stop. For having to leave Sunnydale to end it, then sliding back in. So that Buffy had to die alone, while he sat useless in Belize.

If so, it'd worked.

But still, Riley thought, today he wouldn't visit the brothel. Maybe.


They'd always told her she was dangerous. You'll hurt everybody around you, just you wait--unless you do what daddy says. Tara had never been able to feel it in herself, but she still believed. If you couldn't believe your daddy, who could you believe?

Lately, just a bit, she'd started to think: Willow. Willow who told her she could never hurt anyone, no matter what her daddy said.

Then Buffy had died and proved Willow wrong. She had hurt everyone. It was all her fault. She wasn't really sure how, but she knew it was so. Tara had faith.


Quentin Travers sat in his office. The last Slayer's death had left a question on which the future of the Council depended. The answer should come that day.

They knew who the next Slayer would be, and the situation was promising. Cecil was a true devotee of their traditions, and Ndobe a most...tractable girl. It had been a dark period for the Council, but things would be much more satisfactory in future.

That is, if Buffy Summers could call a successor besides the increasingly problematic Faith. If not...

But it wouldn't come to that. Quentin sat still and waited.


"B's dead?" Faith looked at Xander with wide eyes.


"How...how'd it happen?"

What was he going to say? He knew that Faith had blamed them for wanting her to be like Buffy. She had tried and tried, but it was too much for her, and it had landed her there. So he could tell her, "Oh, yeah, your role model just sacrificed her life to save the universe." It was something Faith could never, ever live up to.

But she might try. At least the sacrificing part.

"It was an accident, Faith. A stupid accident."

Better this way.


Willow wanted justice.

Her power had gotten justice for Tara. Taken mind for mind, strength for strength, from Glory. Made the hellgod pay the debt she owed. Made her lover whole again. It was the old way, the true way.

But now her best friend was dead, and there was no one from whom her magic could wrest reparation.

No one evil. But not no one, exactly. Buffy had died for one reason and one reason only. She looked up from the book of resurrection spells at the slim, long-haired girl reading nearby and considered. A life for a life?


There is a bottle of whiskey in his kitchen he does not open up.

There is a phone number scribbled on a cocktail napkin he does not dial.

There is a house he does not allow to grow cluttered.

There are faces in his living room he does not turn from.

There are vampires he does not let walk away.

There is an apocalypse he does not allow to come to pass.

There is a resurrection spell he never even opens the book to look at.

There is a question he never asks himself: can a virtue be a negative?

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