...like the maidenhead on a ship from hell
by Kate Bolin

Halfway through the end of the world, Willow stopped it because she was bored.

Wait, let me repeat that. She stopped the end of the world because she was bored. Not because it was the right thing to do, not because she realized the error of her ways, and not even because she realized that, hey, if the world ends, she ends along with it -- no. Willow goes and finds Proserpexa, the demon she raised, and just stops her with a wave of her hand. Just like that -- boom -- no more end of the world. Just a lot of confused people, a hell of a lot of property damage, and one very scary girl.

And what do you do with someone who can stop the end of the world with a wave of her hand?


She pulled Buffy out of Heaven, you know. Back when she thought she was doing good. Found an obscure spell, found all the necessary things, sat in front of her grave, and pulled her from Heaven.

Once you've done that, it isn't particularly difficult to pull someone from any higher dimension.


I thought I was doing good, y'know? Helped Angel with the mission, took on the visions (not that I had much of a choice, but it sounds better, doesn't it?), kept the visions even when a tall hunk of Pylean goodness offered to take them from me, became part demon in order to keep them, and when Skip told me it was time to move on up, I agreed, because I thought that it was what I needed to do. Cordelia Chase, skank turned saint, hairbrained turned heroic.

Do you know what it's like to be yanked from another dimension? Well, Buffy did, but aside from her. Physically, psychically, spiritually pulled down into the world again.

It hurts. I thought the visions were bad. I thought that one time Lilah was making this psychic guy give me visions with a side of actual mutilation was the worst it got.

I was wrong. Because getting pulled out of your destined dimension? Much more painful. It's like being burned alive, flayed alive, any number of cruel things people can do, and it's all together and it hurts.

And that's not the worst part. The worst part is the feeling inside, when your soul, your spirit, your whatever -- when it realizes that you've been taken away, and that there's no going back.

That thick ache.

I screamed on my way down. I screamed and fought and cried and did everything I thought I could do.

But it wasn't enough against her.


She first told me she wanted someone around who remembered her when she was nothing.

She then said she killed everyone else who would have remembered.

I had thought that being the last person alive in your circle of friends would be a terrible feeling. But it's nothing compared to being the last person in an entire town. In an entire group of people who might have seen a shy little redhead with bad hair and worse outfits.

I actually don't know what's worse -- the guilt that you're the last one left, or the relief that you aren't dead yet.


She likes to change me. Trashy little glamours she recites like they were nursery rhymes, shaping me into whatever she wants. One day I'm myself when I was 16, and she tells me to grovel in front of her like the fallen princess she wants me to be. Another day she turns me into Buffy, and she picks a fight with me so that she can prove she's stronger than a Slayer. Faith, Dawn, Giles, Harmony, Xander (and that hurts, knowing that she listened to his plea for sanity and then struck him down like so much nothing), even Angel, who she raised up from the bottom of the ocean and then just left him in the sunlight.

Do you know what happens when you put a vampire in a confined space in the sunlight?

He keeps burning. There's no explosion into dust, there's no death, there's no end. There's just burning.

She liked it.

Opening that coffin was the hardest thing I had to do. And it wasn't just because she beat the hell out of me later.


Sometimes she changes me into her girlfriend. And on those nights, she cries herself to sleep in my arms.


I tried to take advantage of that once. You would have to, if the world was as fucked up as it was and you knew there was even a remote chance you could save it. It's what heroes do, right?

She killed me.

No two ways about it. She dressed me as Tara and curled up in bed next to me, and was about to drift off to sleep when I started talking to her about all the damage she had caused.

"Is this how you want to remember me?" I asked her, my voice soft and soothing and so unlike my own that I thought I had a chance.

She looked up at me, her eyes hard, and then she slit my throat.


She brought me back me one week later.


Sometimes I think I'm her nostalgia trip. Sometimes I think I'm the object of her revenge. Sometimes I think she's forgotten she even has me.

That's when I try to stop her.

I still know people in this world -- lawyers, mainly. Even Willow couldn't go up against Wolfram & Hart. And as much as it sucks, I've been talking to Lilah.

She doesn't think she can do much, and she's probably right, because, hello, Wolfram & Hart. If they had wanted to stop this, they could have. But she has a few ideas.

She found Connor. He can't kill her, of course, because I don't think anyone can, but there are prophecies, and possibilities, and we think that...

Well, it's kinda hard to explain.

There's this higher being. That wants to come into the world. Not the way I did, screaming and burning and pained, but through another way.

The human way.


I hate mystical pregnancies, you know. They always lead to trouble. Lilah and Connor smile when I say that, but I know it's true. Mystical pregnancies are trouble.

But this could be the right kind of trouble.


I introduced Willow to Connor last week.

She liked him. Thankfully. I think it's because he's pretty in this femme-y sort of way.

My calendar has days circled in red. And, if we're lucky...

If we're really lucky...

I can end this all.