Soul Searching by Weeza


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Chapter Notes: Disclaimer: None of these characters are mine. They all belong to the brilliant mind of Joss Whedon.

Side Note: I originally wrote this story during the summer between seasons 6 & 7 . It includes a lot of things that I would have liked to have seen happen on the show. I thought I would post it here to see what you all thought of it. I hope you like it. This story is heavily edited from it's original form because it was my first story and I felt I had to fix a lot of common writer's mistakes.
Coming home from a long uneventful night of patrolling, Buffy looked around at her empty and painfully quiet house. Dawn was sleeping over at a friend's house and she couldn't help but wish that she were there to keep her company. She just didn't feel like being alone tonight but couldn't call Willow because she was in England with Giles trying to make amends with herself for her fall off the black magic wagon. Giles was trying to help her get through this. She needed to come to terms with what she'd done. After the death of Tara, she killed Warren in a grief stricken rage and tried to hurt every person she cared about. It was going to take a long time until she would be able to forgive herself.

Buffy decided to take advantage of the alone time instead of wallowing in it. She drew herself a bath and soaked into the warm bubbles. She considered calling Xander later but she was too afraid that their conversation would travel to the subject of Spike. Trying to relax in her tub, Spike thoughts kept invading her mind. It had been 4 months with absolutely no word from him. She couldn't help but wonder where he was and what he was doing at that very moment.

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"Are you all right? Do you need me to get you some help?" A slender young girl, obviously not even old enough to drive, crouched down by a weeping Spike who settled into a dark corner in the alley behind the Bronze.

"No thanks, luv. I think I'll be all right." He stood up and wiped the tears from his face and the girl watched him as he slowly walked away with his shoulders slouched forward and his head facing down toward the ground.

Spike had another one of his reminders from the past. He had spent all this time trying to deal with it all before he even considered coming back to Sunnydale. The nightmares were horrible and his memories were scattered. He didn't remember everything all at once after his soul was returned to him. Instead, the memories came one at a time and out of nowhere. It usually resulted in huddling himself in the corner of wherever he was when the memories came back and crying painful tears in front of complete strangers. He never knew when it was coming, so for 4 months he's had to deal with the stares, pointing, and whispering of all who were there to witness his breakdowns.

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Wraping herself in a towel, Buffy strolled into her room, fairly relaxed from her bath. Opening her closet, she searched for a pair of comfortable silk pink pajamas that she had purchased a few weeks ago but hadn't worn yet. She was hoping she would lose herself in their comfort and get the good nights sleep that she'd been missing out on. Worried and stressed over Willow, sleeping hadn't come easy to her in about a month, her nights spent thinking of ways she could help her friend through this after she returned from England. She tried to think of something she could say to her that would make things better but she always came up with nothing. Continuing her search for the pajamas, she tried to clear her mind. Suddenly, she smelled the distinct scent of cigarette smoke and alcohol that usually went hand in hand with Spike. Thinking that he had to have been near, she turned around expecting to see him, but saw nothing but an empty room.

"Spike?" She called out to him only half expecting an answer, but she got none.

Then she saw it, hanging in the back of her closet. His leather duster. She had hung it up there after he left, but forgot about its presence. Hardly ever seeing him when he wasn't wearing it, she couldn't believe that he had gone anywhere without it. She had always planned on giving it back to him when he returned but after 4 months she wasn't really sure if she'd ever see him again. Reaching out and touching the soft leather of his duster, she pulled it off the hanger and brought it up to her face, breathing in and surrounding herself with his scent. It almost felt like he was right there with her. She stopped her pajama search, dropped her towel and wrapped his duster around her body, once again breathing in his scent, never realizing how much she missed him until now.

She realized that she wasn't angry anymore. After he tried to force himself on her, she was so disgusted with him that she considered burning the leather after he had left, but she could never bring herself to actually do it. She's had a long time to think about things and she finally realized how much she had hurt him. They both did some unspeakable and unforgivable things. Neither of them were completely at fault. Feeling tears well up in her eyes, she lay on her bed curled up inside his duster and for the first time she drifted off into a full night of dreamless uninterrupted sleep.

Buffy woke up with a start. She quickly sat up and looked around, smelling Spike's familiar scent of cigarettes, alcohol, blood and that musky smell she could never quite place. Looking down, she realized she was wearing his duster and slowly began to come to her senses. She remembered putting it on the night before and the comfort and feeling of peace that came with feeling so close to him.

"Buffy?" Dawn stood in Buffy's bedroom doorway glaring at her. "What are you doing and why are you wearing Spike's duster?"

"Oh. Dawn I...I guess I just felt a little down last night and put it on. I guess I'm kind of missing him." Buffy frowned then looked up at a confused and slightly angry Dawn.

"You miss him? After what he did to you?"

"Dawn, It's complicated." Buffy explained.

"God! I wish everyone would stop telling me that! I'm not stupid Buffy! I understand what's going on. I just don't understand how you could be missing someone who tried to rape you!"

"Dawn, it's not that simple. Besides, I'm the one who should be mad here."

"Then why aren't you Buffy? Why are you suddenly acting like he did nothing wrong?"

"Because I screwed up too!" Buffy exclaimed in a shaky voice. "You don't know the whole story Dawn! What he did was stupid and desperate but I wasn't treating him all that well either. I just never realized how badly until now."

"I know I don't know everything that happened between you two but when I stop and think about what he tried to do to you, it just makes me sick." She walked over to Buffy's bed and sat beside her. "I guess I just thought too much of him. I was so completely convinced that he'd changed and then Xander told me what he had done and it broke my heart. I couldn't even imagine that he would do something like that. I guess it kind of destroyed my faith in him and now I'm not even sure if I'd want to see him if he ever decided to come back."

"I get that. I do." Buffy sighed. "But I'm not sure you even have to worry about that anyway. It's been so long since he's left and I haven't heard one crumb of information about what happened to him. I'm starting to think he may never be coming back."

"So, when is Willow coming back?" Dawn asked, trying to change the subject.

"I talked to Giles last week. According to him, she should be back any day now."

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Willow walked through a nearby Sunnydale park not exactly sure where she should go. She knew that Buffy would welcome her but she was afraid. She had begun to forgive herself for her actions but she still wasn't sure how her friends would react. Part of her knew that she would be forgiven but another part of her thought she didn't deserve to be.

Trying to decide what her next move should be, she sat down on a park bench. She jumped when hearing a nearby scream and tried to figure out where it was coming from. She could tell that it was close. Staying perfectly quiet, she stood still, waiting for more sounds that would clue her in. She started to hear whimpers and moans and slowly followed the cries. There was some movement in a dark corner surrounded by trees. Caustiously stepping closer, she saw someone's head peaking out from the shadows. The moonlight shined on the unmistakable peroxide blond hair and she immediately realized who it was that was crouched, shaken and curled up into a ball on the ground.

"Spike?"

To Be Continued....


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