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Palpatine
10/18/17 09:43 pm
Granted, and thank you, Pari, for pointing that out to me, so that I could write to the author and address the issue personally. I'm most grateful.
Pari
10/07/17 01:42 am
@Palpatine authors are in charge of the banners they add to their stories, so you will need to contact them personally to let them know their banner pic is not showing.
Pari
10/07/17 01:41 am
@kelticmoon, I added some back but they are not updated, meaning things you find on the default skin may not be on the other skins :)
kelticmoon
10/05/17 10:47 pm
Where are the other skins that use to be here?
Palpatine
10/05/17 03:52 pm
Some of the pictures seem to be having real trouble being looked at, they keep on saying "enable third party hosting", a real problem it seems.
Pari
09/25/17 10:11 pm
Hey nmcil we got this strightened via email, thanks for the donation. Thanks to all who donated as we are now paid up through/to Jan 2019!
nmcil
09/21/17 03:08 am
How can we contribute using PayPal?
nmcil
09/21/17 03:05 am
What happen to the PayPal donation. I USE PayPal.
squawks
05/18/17 09:16 am
pj! I remember wishing one of your stories would be finished seriously about a decade ago. Amazing. I just tried an old password I used to use and amazingly got in too. Memories!
pj
03/20/17 06:20 am
10 yrs later, i finally rem my username and password. Pari, you rock. Hope you are well.

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Authors Chapter Notes:
Thanks to my betas for all their help! :) Hope you enjoy!


Chapter 1

It was late. “Way too late,” Buffy muttered to herself as she finally pulled warm sheets around her body. Settling herself deep within her bed, she turned her head to glare at the clock. 4:00 a.m.

Buffy let an exasperated sigh slip from her lips. Looking back now she didn’t know why she thought things would change because they really hadn’t, not really. She was still under pressure, working constantly, up into the wee hours of the morning, making plans and fighting evil, so why had she expected a change when the Sunnydale Hellmouth crumbled before her eyes?

Maybe because she had lost so much in the process…maybe because the battle with The First seemed like the end to end all…maybe because her town had been torn to shreds leaving nothing but rumble…She wasn’t too sure but this was definitely not what she had expected.

Everything had happened so fast. There were places to go and people to see and everyone was scrambling to get things in order. They had had a little down time of course, a few weeks of peace and relaxation, but there were things to do, things that couldn’t wait.

Slayers had to be gathered, taught and trained. There were thousands of them scattered across the globe and they had to have a system set and in place to get them all dealt with. It was a long grueling process, full of paper work and long nights but they did it.

Giles had set up a home base in Ireland, heading the whole operation in secret. Apparently Giles was a lot more connected than any of them knew.

Willow and Kennedy had another one set up in Brazil. They also dealt with the magic contacts, and recruiting covens to help locate slayers.

Xander was set up in New Zealand with Vi and a couple other more experienced Slayers. He had grown up considerably and really taken charge at his position. Buffy was proud of him.

Faith and Robin had staked a claim at the Cleveland Hellmouth, which according to Faith was definitely lacking in the action compared to Sunnydale.

That left Buffy; She and Dawn had a nice place in Rome. The ‘council’ Giles had set up was somehow bringing in a large amount of revenue; enough so that Buffy didn’t have to sling burgers of the Rome variety and Dawn could go to a prestigious prep school. Andrew lived across the hall, acting as a sort of quasi- watcher to the Rome base. He’d changed a lot too.

And that there seemed to be the thing that was driving Buffy crazy as of late; everyone was changing before her eyes yet she stayed the same. Her life, although it had switched locations, was the just as it had been before. Fighting evil, never stopping, always working. There was always a struggle for her, and yes she had always dealt with that. She was dealing with it now, it was just that now… Now she was alone. Figuratively she had always been isolated from those around her, but being literally separated was something different entirely. Her friends were spread across the world. Dawn was caught up in her life, like every teenage girl should be and she was just left with nothing to hold on to.

Night after night she would stare up at her ceiling wishing she had someone to hold on to, to ground her, to make the troubles of each day seem like nothing when she was in his arms. She would silently plead with The Powers That Be each night, for someone. She would tell herself anyone would do; that just to meet some nice Roman man would be fine and dandy, but her lies could only last so long.

It had been months, six to be exact, and secretly she was still grieving; crying tears for him and whispering to him even when she knew he couldn’t hear. But there was always doubt, so she whispered anyway. Buffy would whisper her love for him, her sorrow for him, and plead for him to come back to her. She would tell him that she should have stayed with him in his final moments, or ripped the amulet off his chest, grabbed his hand and ran. There were so many options she could see now looking back, and she had taken the easy one.

She had left him to dust. She had left him with her words of devotion that he didn’t believe, and she had spilt. Now she was the one left. Buffy was left with her regret and her secret grief that no one knew she held in her heart.

Buffy’s head swung from the ceiling to the clock again. 5:00 a.m. “Pull it together, Buffy,” she spat scolding herself and wiping the remains of tears off her face. She knew she had to move on and push forward because as much as she wanted it, he wasn’t coming back.

With a weary but determined sigh, Buffy snuggled herself back into her bed this time dead set on the result of sleep, but when her eyes closed, just like every night before, his face was there. Either with a passion-filled devoted look, or with a smirk and a gleam of lust in his blue eyes; it didn’t matter. It was him. The one thing she would never have.




He was being a bloody idiot that he was sure of. He could sit for hours thinking about ways he could swoop in, all heroic-like and steal her away. Bust through the doorway, back from the grave, or rumble to be correct, and tell her…well he wasn’t exactly sure what he’d say, something romantic he’d imagine. Then everything would right again. He wouldn’t be up every night, drunk off his ass, because he didn’t have the courage to buy a plane ticket, or even pick up the bloody phone. He just felt like it would be demeaned some how, like his sacrifice, going out in a blaze of glory, wouldn’t hold much weight if he came back six months later.

But it wasn’t about his ‘champion’ reputation. He could give a piss about that. It was the way she saw him. It was the tears barely in her eyes and the words that left her lips that kept him from running to her.

Now it seemed selfish, not wanting her to think any less of him. He just felt like after years of being beat down and told he was a monster, he wanted her to have a memory of him, one that wasn’t tainted with violence or disgust or even lust for that matter. He wanted something pure for her to remember him by, and he wouldn’t ruin that now, just because he couldn’t stand to live without her.

So that was why he was sitting on a shaky barstool in a rundown part of L.A. slinging back shots and wallowing in his own sorrows. He just didn’t have the courage.

Usually, when there wasn’t some big crisis over at Hell Incorporated, he would be at his place doing nothing but watching the telly and tossing empty bottle after empty bottle of beer into the trash, but yesterday Andrew had shown up at the offices. The girl who had just broken out of the crazy bin that they had thought to be possessed, was none other than a rogue slayer he had been sent to collect.

Andrew was shocked to see his fallen comrade up walking and talking like Spike hadn’t crumbled to dust six months before. And although he would never admit it, Spike was happily surprised to see Andrew as well. Annoying as the little bugger could be, it didn’t change the fact he had been part of the team, part of her team.

And in that laid the reason Spike was piss poor drunk in some shabby bar in the bad part of town. Along with Andrew had come the memories. It wasn’t as if he was trying to force them from his skull, just that they had been repressed because if he thought on it too long he would surely be across the pond within the day, and that just wasn’t an option.

Andrew had of course asked about Buffy. Should he the one to deliver the news? Did she already know? They definitely would have had a conference call if she did, that Andrew was sure of. Spike told him she didn’t and that she wasn’t going to, and although Andrew was clearly upset with the response, the matter was dropped.

The slayer had been brought in eventually, after a not so little run in with Spike. Being kidnapped, drugged and having his hands cut from his body was definitely not his idea of a party. However he had been rescued, his digits iced and reattached and now he was flexing his newly sewn on joints tossing back shots. As the alcohol worked through his system, and memories of times with Buffy weaved through his skull, the thought of seeing her again, holding her…it didn’t seem all that wrong anymore.

He knew he was drunk and he knew he shouldn’t do what he was about to do, but the thought of just hearing her voice again made every inch of him hum. It could have been the whiskey. It probably was the whiskey, but right then he just couldn’t seem to care.


Chapter End Notes:
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