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Hi, practicing again.
I thought it would be funny to reuse Victor Hugo's chapter titles. This is set during Bargaining, so... nope, not funny. More like point-of-viewy and character-study-ish, with lots of angsty puns and no action.
I have a nagging feeling that a few thoughts in there are something I've read in fic. So if you see me rehashing you, oops, please take it as a compliment that your fic is in my headcanon.
Feedback is like pancakes (only better, because I wouldn't actually eat pancakes... but I would eat feedback).

Words: 500
Rating: T
Warning: the reason for the rating is a v. fuzzy, brief reference to the tower scene in Bargaining pt. 2 -- so, suicidal ideation?
Setting: Bargaining
Characters: Scooby ensemble


The erstwhile Watcher takes a robot’s advice: his task is finished, so why’s he still here? Imparting wisdom is tempting as always, but that’s not who he is anymore. There’s just one cause for research left: it’s still to be discovered what he’s good for now.

The ex-monster imparts wisdom: stay the **** away from the windows. Mayhem will always be tempting, but it’s not who he is anymore. He will keep a promise instead, even when no-one else thinks it’s needed. Breaking it once was painful enough. Besides, what else is he good for now?

The former best friend reminds herself that she can do it. She must believe in herself. Buffy is counting on her! What kind of friend would she be if she didn’t help? And nobody else is allowed to die, either. She watches over them from above, standing among stone angels, and slips a guardian voice into their heads. Intrusive? They’ll thank her when they’re not vamp food. She’s done playing the good girl for other people.

People, formerly friends of Buffy, half-arches missing the keystone, teeter looking for something to support. They save one another’s lives a lot. And every night they’re saved by the undead, who is apparently good now. (Is that a thing, like when Willow was gay-now?) Nobody really asks what he’s doing that for. Not much else makes sense lately, so it makes sense that Spike wouldn’t make sense, you know? Only pancakes and sandwiches are reliable; they’re nice no matter what. And, thank Willow, the bot is good for another day of patching, duct-taping and plain old pretending the empty space away.

Dawn, no longer a mystical key and actually never a baby thank-you-very-much, lets Spike babysit and protect her. It seems it’s good for him. And, well, it’s cool to have the ultimate badass friend who would totally keep looking out for her even if the end of the world came and went and everything was burning and demons were running free in the streets… breathe, Dawn. It isn’t going to happen, because Glory’s gone and her hells are locked away. Buffy’s friends are being nice. They let her choose pancake shapes, and they help her get to school in the town where everything’s, strictly speaking, within walking distance. It’s not what she’d like to choose, and it isn’t what she most needs help with — that would be the gaping Buffy-hole, which the bot marks like a bright patch of flowers on a grave. But if it helps them to think they’re making a difference… it’s the least she can do.

The deceased drifts, dreamlike, and would waft away on the breeze like the last time, but her sister needs her. When there’s no time to think, saving lives is what she’s good at. It’s something she can hold onto. People will need her, and, little by little, she’ll let them. She won’t always be able to keep the promises they hear in her silence. But that’s life.

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