Author's Chapter Notes:
at the bottom...oh, and the epilogue to Silently Broken was just posted

As it would turn out, he didn't have to wait long for Buffy to come to see him again; only about three days. Which still felt like an eternity to him—giving him plenty of time to second guess himself—but in the end, he was still going to do it.

And it wasn't only because she was currently sitting in one of the oversized chairs by the magazines, holding her daughter close to her and obviously trying to hold back tears.

His break didn't start for another fourteen minutes, but at the moment he didn't rightly care.

She didn't even wait for him to ask what was wrong after he sat in the chair across from her and pulled it closer to her, "I'm a big screw up, Will. Just a…a….a big freakin' failure."

"Not that I agree with you," he returned, reaching over to take Isabelle from her, bouncing the cooing baby on his knee, "but what makes you say that?"

"Riley is getting married," she whined. "Well not right away, but he's engaged!"

His first response would have been, 'That fucking git's engaged again?' But he wasn't too sure it would be appreciated at the moment.

"That doesn't make you a failure, love. Just makes—whoever the girl is--not too bright." That got the intended smile out of her, though it wasn't as bright as he would have liked.

"What's so wrong with me that he couldn't marry me but he can marry her? Am I just that screwed up? I know having a baby at my age isn't necessarily the top thing guys are looking for, but…is anyone ever going to love me?"

It would be so easy, oh it would be so easy to tell her he already did. But he had to remember what Cordelia said. He figured girls knew about things like this better than he ever could.

"Buffy, what I'm about to say will probably sound like I'm changing the topic, but I'm not, so can you just hear me out?"

In the last thirty seconds the conversation had taken a much more serious turn than she could have anticipated, but with the nervous, really almost scared, look he had on his face, there was nothing she could do but agree.

"Of course I will."

"I'd say we're friends," he started nervously. "I know we don't see each other except for when you come here, but…It's been a year Buffy." He tried changing tactics. "It's been a year…I know what Riley and you had, your side of it at least, I know how it ended. I know how he's been treating you, I know how your parents are treating you. I know how hard school is, how much time you spend taking care of Isabelle. And Buffy…

“Dammit Buffy, if every time you tell me something that someone's done to you I don't think of a way I could make it better if you'd just let me in."

She wasn't sure she understood him, it sure seemed like he was telling her that he couldn't help her, that she was making him feel bad, because she didn't give him enough of herself.

"I can't," she said tearfully.

Before she had a chance to elaborate, he tried to explain how he saw things. "I want to be there for you, love. I want to be there when you feel like shit, I want to be there when Isabelle needs looking after, I want to be there when you need someone to hold you. I want to show you how fun things can be, that you're worth so much more than all of these wankers have made you think.

“I know you don't think you have much to offer anyone, but you do. God, you do.

“I'm not going to stop being your friend; I'm still going to listen to you like I do now, no matter what. But I just…I want to add something to that." He tried using Cordelia's language.

Except she heard it as her not being enough for him.

"I can't," was all she said as she took Isabelle from him and stood up.


It had been two months. Two fucking months. Sixty days. Eighty six thousand four hundred minutes since he'd seen Buffy last.

He could have gone to the college to find her, probably could have looked her up in the phonebook, but he kept hoping she'd forgive him—or whatever it was that needed to be done—on her own.

But that hope was growing slim now.

"You do realize you can't be Oscar the Grouch forever, don't you?" When Melanie's only answer was a withering look she decided to give up, but not before throwing in her parting shot. "You're trying to prove to her you won't leave right? Then what exactly is it you're doing?"

"She left me," he snapped.

"You let her," she said simply before walking off to work somewhere that wasn't near him.

And just like that he realized she was right. Here he'd been trying to argue with her that he'd never leave her and then, when she'd gotten scared, he'd let her go. He knew there was a fine line between smothering her and letting her know he wasn't going anywhere.

Apparently he'd been so scared of falling onto the first side that he'd completely given up on even trying for the second.

He needed to go find her if he was ever going to convince her. He could do that, he could find her and explain things again, prove to her he meant it.

He could do it.

TBC......and please review :)

So I know I said that this was a four chapter fic, but I wrote it long enough ago that I apparently forgot that it was a four part fic but that parts two and three were short and to be posted together as a chapter.....sorry about that.

Part IV, the final part and final chapter, will be posted a week from Saturday (it would be Saturday, my usual posting day, but I'm going to be out of town).

Thank you to those that reviewed the first chapter and I hope you enjoyed this part as well.....

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