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And Rome Was Filled With Snakes

The world is going to end in an alley in Los Angeles tonight.

It would be nice if she could care, but she can’t. She knows that, long ago, an eternity ago, she cared deeply for people she had never even met. She put herself in harm’s way over and over again to save an oblivious world; learned magic to be a warrior for what was good and right. But she’s not that girl anymore, though she’s the only one who knows it. She feels like a snake, like the demon snake the Mayor turned into, having shed her humanity like a skin, feeling so free and new without it.

Maybe she is a demon now: a demon who doesn’t cry when she remembers Tara’s voice, the softness of her skin, or the taste of her when she came; who doesn’t worry about Buffy or miss shared secrets over pints of Ben and Jerry’s; who doesn’t long to reconnect with Xander, regret not seeing the one person who used to know her better than anyone, or tear up anymore at the sight of a yellow crayon. A demon who whispers hollow words of love to a girl whose only sentimental value lies in a pierced tongue that makes Willow scream out in empty ecstasy that means nothing before it’s even finished wracking her body and an ego that amounts to endless gullibility as she takes in every honeyed, worthless sentence spoken by the girl she thinks she knows well enough to love. A demon who let an innocent woman’s soul be hollowed out of her piece by piece, condemning the poor creature to unimaginable agony before an ultimate descent into terrifying oblivion, because she couldn’t be bothered to stop it.

The world is going to end in an alley in Los Angeles tonight.

She knows she could help, should help, but really what would be the point? She might not have an interest in creating an apocalypse herself, but frankly, if someone else wants to, who is she to tell them they shouldn’t? The truest ecstasy she’s ever known is in this - this inertia. She might not be suicidal, but she doesn’t see any point in clinging to life either. Perhaps she shouldn’t project her own unconcern onto the rest of the world, but if they care, then that’s their problem, not hers. Not anymore. Never again.

She looks like Willow and she talks a good enough game to fool the experts, but, as she once told Dawn, Willow doesn’t live here anymore. She sometimes wonders how it’s possible that no one noticed that Willow has left the building, but, once again, not her problem. People believe what they want to believe and honestly, she thinks the whole gullible lot would be better off dead anyway.

The world is going to end in an alley in Los Angeles tonight.

Willow grabs her jacket and takes Kennedy - poor, doomed, foolish Kennedy - by the hand, heading out to enjoy the pulsing Rio nightlife. They’ll be dancing when it happens.

The End
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