By Your Side by pixiecorn


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Chapter Notes: A fic that I wrote years ago, but recently went through and touched up. Only two chapters in total.
And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
-Tenth Anvenue North


There was nothing that could stop the utter emptiness that she felt. It surrounded her in a cloud of darkness, leaving her hollow to the core. At first it only consumed her during sleeping hours, plaguing her dreams with nothing but nightmares and terrors. Now though, in her waking hours it left her void of all emotion. A constant dull ache, an ever persistent reminder that she had survived and he had not.

There was a part of herself that had been torn away when he had been taken from her, never to be found again.

It hurt to breathe.

She was angry at the world. Angry at herself. How was a person supposed to go on after being torn apart, split down the middle and left broken and empty?

She feared for his soul. Lost forever in darkness or light she did not know, but knew for certain that it was in a place that she would never be able to reach. Never again would she hear his voice in teasing or joy, mocking her or laughing with her. His voice would never again be heard by her ears, what once had been a saving grace to any terrible day.

Tears slipped freely down her cheeks as the pain of her loss consumed her.

“Buffy…”

She stood still, arms dangling listlessly from her sides as her tears fell. Leaving this spot made it harder, made the hurt ache even further. She couldn't go home and be surrounded by his things, constant reminders that he was never again going to walk through the front door and pick them up.

He was gone and she wasn't ready to face what that really meant.

“It's getting really dark, pet.”

Buffy was a shadow of her former self, looking nothing like the girl he had come to know and love over the last few years. It was evident that she had been crying non-stop since the ceremony four weeks ago. Her eyes were swollen red and puffy and her skin pale. Although she wore an oversized football jersey that looked a lot like her brothers, it did little to hide her body and he could see she was gaunt and very thin. Joyce had been right to send him, the poor girl hadn't eaten in weeks. Her once shining shampoo commercial blonde hair was tied back into a messy bun, not caring for all the stray oily hairs that clung to the sides of her face, a sure indicator that she hadn't brushed it in a while.

Spike let out a sigh and stepped closer. She looked so tiny standing alone in the dark, fragile and broken.

“Your mom called me again, luv.” He slipped his hand into hers, just like he had the day her brother had been lowered into the ground and spoke softly. “You can't keep running off in the middle of the nigh' like this.”

“He's gone…”

Hearing her tear filled voice had his stomach turning in knots; his heart breaking, knowing all too well the pain and suffering that loss brought.

“I know, luv.” He gave her hand a gentle squeeze and followed her unwavering gaze to the tombstone she was staring at blankly.

Liam Angel Summers

Beloved Son, Brother & Friend

1984-2009

“Who gets to decide?” Buffy couldn't rein in the tears that slipped down her cheeks or the small hiccup of a sob that she let out.

Spike didn't know how to respond, lost for words and not holding the answers to the questions she sought.

“Who makes the decision of who stays and who goes? He was young and he was happy.” Her shoulders were shaking with the force of her tears. “Why didn't they take me instead?”

Buffy dropped to her knees, her hand slipping from his as she fell. Her shaky fingers reached forward to trace the delicate lettering of his name that her mother had picked out.

“It should have been me.”

“Buffy, no.” Spike knelt down beside her, reaching for her hand.

“Is there something wrong with me?”

“Luv?”

“That I should w-want it to be me in there instead of him?" She still hadn't looked at him once, her hand stopping on the word brother. "I was supposed to pick Mom up at the gallery that night. It should have been me."

“You can't keep doing this to yourself, pet.” Spike gathered her into his arms as she openly cried, her sobs echoing into the empty graveyard.

It was the third night that week that Joyce had called him to help find Buffy. The third night that he had found her standing in front of her brother's eternal resting place, staring blankly at his tombstone, unmoving. He wasn't surprised that Joyce had turned to him for help; after all he was her deceased son's best friend. Spike had spent enough time at the Summers' residence over the last few years that he had practically been adopted in as family.

For as long as he could remember he had spent every other afternoon with Angel at his house, whether it was to train for their soccer matches after school or to just hang out watching movies and reading comics. They were inseparable and the closest of friends. Over the years Spike had grown quite attached to if not completely besotted with Angels sister, Buffy. Not that she ever knew of his affections towards her of course.

Angel, his fellow team-mate and best friend had died in a terrible car accident a little over a month ago, leaving his nineteen year old sister and devoted mother behind. Buffy had been absolutely devastated and crushed by the incident. She had completely withdrawn into herself and now spent days on end not leaving the house at all.

His visits had become less frequent over the past weeks; the Summers' weren't the only ones who had lost someone close to them and he too had buried himself in his pain. For a while numbness was all he felt, a brief solace and escape offered to him by the amber liquid out of a bottle. Joyce still rang him often, making sure that he was doing ok and to give him updates on Buffy and her ever-decreasing status of well-being. After every phone call, his heart seemed to sink just that little bit further.

“C'mon luv, le's get you home.” Every so slowly he slipped a hand around her waist, helping her to her feet.

His shirt was wet where the tears she had shed soaked through as she clung to him, sobbing her heart out. A sound that pained him to hear as her shoulders shook with the force. She didn't utter a word as he led her from the graveyard or spare a backward glance to the tombstone that she had spent hours tracing.

She was a ghost of her former self. A young girl who was lost too deep within her grief and despair to notice anything else around her.

Forcing back the tears that threatened to fall Spike sucked in a deep breath and sent a look heavenward, vowing to bring an end to the pain and suffering that had been surrounding them all for weeks. Long ago he made a promise to his best friend that he would always be there for him and his family if ever called upon. He had been called upon so often in this last week, taking on others pain with his own and feared that it too would soon overwhelm him to the point of no return.

This needed to stop.
Chapter Endnotes: Only one more chapter to go


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