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Chapter Notes: This is the first part of this story. There are two alternative sequels, let me know if I should post the,!
I don't own any of the characters.
Thanks to my beta, Nichole for her help.
They always leave
Buffy quietly closed the front door behind her, not wanting to wake the other residents of the house. It was after three in the morning, and everyone should be asleep. She made her way into the kitchen, and was surprised when she was Tara sitting at the kitchen island, eating ice cream.
“Hi sweetie.” Tara whispered, offering Buffy a small smile. “Where’ve you been?” Buffy sat down next to Tara and took the spoon the other girl offered her.
“I’ve been down at the police station for the last five hours trying to explain what I was doing at the scene of a bank robbery. What are you doing up?” Buffy sighed and took a spoonful of the Rocky Road ice cream.
“Couldn’t sleep. They got the trio?” Tara asked and took back the spoon. Buffy nodded.
“Yeah. I managed to take Warren’s superpowers, something about the orbs of... I don’t know. Then he tried to pull a Rocket Man, but it didn’t really work out.” Buffy smiled a little at the memory. “He flew straight into the balcony he was standing under, and was knocked out. The police got them all for bank robbery and assault, so we won’t have to worry about them for a while.”
“But there’s something else bothering you.” Tara stated, handing the spoon back to Buffy, who nodded. “Willow said you seemed upset before, and Xander was really angry. What happened?”
Buffy hesitated for a moment. Should she tell Tara? Would she understand? Did she herself understand?
“Spike came over. He... I guess he wanted to apologize or something, about the thing... with Anya.”
“Isn’t that good?” Tara asked, frowning.
“It would have been. I... I wouldn’t let him, didn’t accept it. I told him that what he was feeling wasn’t real, that it was just lust and desire and that it couldn’t last. I brought him right to the edge and then I gave him that one, final push.” Buffy huffed. “I’m surprised it didn’t happen ages ago. The way I’ve treated him these past couple of months...”
“What happened?” Tara asked, not sure she wanted the answer.
“He... he tried to... but I stopped him, he didn’t...” Buffy took a deep breath before she continued in a voice Tara could barely hear. “He tried to rape me.”
“Oh, sweetie, I’m sorry. Are you OK?” Tara put and arm around Buffy’s shoulders.
“I’m fine. I mean physically. Emotionally, I don’t know.” Buffy sniffled and dried a tear that had escaped and was trailing down her cheek.
“It must be hard to think about it, that he could do something like that...” Buffy cut Tara off.
“No. It wasn’t his fault. I... I pushed him, I shouldn’t have... I mean, I’m not saying it’s OK, but...”
“You forgive him.” Tara said and Buffy nodded.
“Almost before it happened. I’m mad at myself for not seeing how close to the edge he was, because of me... and now I’m afraid I’ve lost him for good.” Buffy buried her face in Tara’s shoulder, and Tara ran a comforting hand down her back.
“Shh. It’s OK, it will be OK.” She tried to soothe.
“No, it’s not OK. How could I do that to him? All he ever did was love me, take care of me and the people I loved, and this is how I repay him? I couldn’t even tell him that I...” Buffy cut herself off, realizing what she had been about to say.
“You love him?” It was more a statement than a question, and Buffy slowly nodded her head.
“I didn’t even realize... but I do.” She gave Tara a pleading look. “What am I going to do?”
“You need to talk to him.” Tara said.
“Right. I’ll go talk to him right now.” Buffy got up and headed for the back door.
“Buffy?” Tara called after her, and she turned in the doorway. “Are you OK? I mean, apart from this whole Spike and the nerds thing, are you OK?”
“Why?” Buffy asked, a confused look on her face.
“It’s nothing.” Tara shrugged. “I’ve just been picking up some weird vibes from your aura lately. Like you’re off balance, or something.”
“No, I’m fine.” Buffy shook her head. “Been a bit tired lately, but with all the excitement around the wedding that wasn’t and the trio of evil nerds, it’s to be expected, right?” Tara nodded, and Buffy left the house again, closing the door behind her.
“Right...” Tara said to the empty room.
Buffy knew the way to Spike’s crypt by heart, and let her mind wander as she walked. Did she really love him? Yes, a voice deep inside her said, and she knew it was right. She did, and she had for a while. She had just been too scared to admit it to herself, scared that if she did, he would leave like everyone she loved seemed to eventually do.
Buffy tried to reason with herself. This was Spike she was talking about, he wouldn’t leave. He had stayed when she was dead, because she had asked him to take care of Dawn. He wouldn’t leave. She repeated those words in her mind while she walked through the cemetery. When she came to the crypt, she knocked. No answer.
Buffy opened the door, thinking that maybe he was asleep. She peeked in and saw that the TV was on, so she took a step inside.
“Spike?” She was welcomed by a shriek and flying popcorn, then someone cautiously looked over the back of the armchair. “Clem?” Buffy stared. “What are you doing here?”
“Oh, it’s you.” Clem said relieved. “You startled me a little there. Hi!”
“Hi.” Buffy took a few more steps into the crypt. “What are you doing here? Where’s Spike?”
“He asked me to watch his place for a while, said he was going out of town.” Clem kept an eye on the TV, where a black and white western was on.
“Out of town?” Buffy asked, fear creeping up on her. “What do you mean ‘out of town’?”
“He didn’t tell you?” Buffy shook her head and Clem explained. “I came by a couple of hours ago, and Spike was really out of it. I thought you guys had a fight or something. Anyway, he asked me to stay here for a while, he didn’t want someone to move in while he was gone. He really didn’t tell you?”
“No.” Buffy shook her head. “Did he say where he was going? Or when he’d be back?” Clem gave her a sympathetic look and shook his head.
“No, just that he would be gone a while.”
“Oh... OK.” Buffy turned and left the crypt. She walked through the dark cemetery, then through the streets of Sunnydale and didn’t stop until she was at home, safe inside her room. That was when the tears came. He left. Just like they all did.