As It Should Have Been by Lilachigh
I loathe and detest As You Were in Season 6. There are so many things that are wrong with the plot line and the characterisations. So I’ve altered the ending to make a little more sense.
Riley has arrived back in Sunnydale with his smarmy wife. His hatred of Spike is only too obvious, the grenades have been thrown, the crypt destroyed…but
The porch seemed an oasis of calm after the noise in the kitchen. When Buffy and Riley returned from destroying the demon eggs, a party atmosphere had broken out, old enmities and grudges seemingly forgotten.
Sam seemed to be getting on so well with everyone. Buffy almost admired her. Riley’s wife knew exactly how to behave – deferential to Willow, joking with Dawn, flirting in a very non-threatening way with Xander, discussing wedding arrangements with Anya.
“Sam’s having fun,” Buffy said now to Riley who’d followed her out of the house and was standing, hands in pockets, watching her, his expression hard to read.
“Fun’s important in our line of work, Buffy. We don’t often get the chance to relax, but when we do, oh boy, do we take it!”
Fun, she remembered fun. Well, she thought she did. Didn’t that have something to do with laughing and joking and hanging out with your friends?
“The ’copter will be arriving soon.”
“Nothing new there, then,” she said, trying to sound cheerful. “Jeez, do you guys ever come and go in something as boring as a car?”
Riley smiled but didn’t reply. She sighed. Perhaps it was against some secret army code to let her know their travel arrangements.
“What are you going to do about Hostile 17?” he said at last.
“Do? About Spike?” She didn’t want to think about the vampire. The noise of the exploding grenades was still clear in her mind. Even clearer was the knowledge that having the chip in his brain hadn’t turned him into a good man; it had just made him incapable of hurting humans.
But there were other ways to kill people apart from biting them. Selling demon eggs was just one. Goodness knows what other schemes Spike had been involved in while they’d been – oh god, the hands that had touched her had been touching –
No, she wouldn’t go there! Wouldn’t feel betrayed. Why should she? Spike wasn’t at fault. She was. He was an evil thing who did evil things and she was using him for her own advantage.
“I’m sleeping with Spike,” she said slowly now, staring into her ex-lover’s eyes, daring him to look at her with pity.
Riley laughed, bitterly. “Yes, I gathered that from the collection of your underwear he had in various drawers. Sick bastard! Well, his little love nest is ruined now, that’s for sure.”
Buffy turned away, trying to hide the colour that flooded up into her face. They’d had no choice but to destroy the demons but she still felt a pang of regret that all Spike’s possessions, all he owned in the world, were gone – his books, his clothes, even the portfolio of sketches he’d drawn of her that he didn’t know she’d seen. The loss of her underwear seemed small in comparison!
From indoors came the sound of Xander laughing loudly and she turned to go in, to join in the fun, to be a normal girl again, when a cold little thought wriggled its way into her brain.
How would Riley have known Spike had her underwear in his crypt? He’d burst in while they were naked upstairs, then in the chaos downstairs he certainly hadn’t had time to look for –
She turned back to Riley who was checking his watch. “I’d better round up my wife. We don’t want to be – What?” He’d seen her expression.
“How did you know Spike collected my underwear?”
“Well – god Buffy, it was obvious, wasn’t it? Sort of perverted sicko thing he would do. Anyway, you’re free of him now.”
“You were in his crypt earlier, weren’t you?” she said, her brain suddenly ticking over faster. “He never had anything to do with the Suvolte demon, did he? You brought the eggs with you and planted them there for me to find.”
“Oh come on, Buffy,” Riley blustered. “How could I have got into the crypt without Spike knowing?”
“Tunnels. You knew the tunnels under Sunnydale as well as anyone when you were linked with Adam. You hid in them. You waited until he was busy with me upstairs, came through the tunnels, planted the eggs, then burst in on us.”
“Buffy – listen – ”
“There never was a Doctor selling eggs to foreign powers, was there?” She could feel the anger growing inside her and as she stepped slowly towards him, he backed away, his face pale. “It flashed through my mind when you told me that it was a really weird name for Spike to use as it was the Doctor who cut Dawn on top of Glory’s tower, the Doctor who helped kill me. But you wouldn’t have known that, would you? You’d long gone. So why did you do it?”
Riley stuck out his jaw and looked pugnacious. “I did it for you, Buffy. For your sake. He’s a vampire.”
“And perhaps you just wanted to make doubly sure I realised how superior your new life is to mine.”
“You deserve better than Spike.”
“Perhaps I do,” she said sadly, “but that’s for me to decide, not any one else.”
And with one swing, she punched him full on the nose, turned on her heel and went back into the house. She knew if she’d stayed, she would have hit him again, marked him, smashed the bland good-looking face that she’d once thought she loved.
In the noisy goodbyes, no one noticed that she and Riley didn’t speak. She watched dispassionately as the army helicopter lifted Mr and Mrs Finn away from Sunnydale for ever.
“What a bitch!” Willow said with a grin.
Buffy nodded in agreement but wondered what Willow would say if she told her that was exactly what she, Buffy, was – a first class bitch. She was using Spike. She wanted him, needed him, but there was no mistaking the fact that the very first time she’d been called on to trust him, she had let him down.
Oh it was easy to say Riley had lied to her, that she’d been deceived, but this time she wasn’t fooling herself. She felt cold shudders run over her body. Spike could have died. Riley could have killed him without turning a hair and she’d have stood there watching, virtuous, Slayer-like – and wrong.
Long after everyone had left or gone to sleep, Buffy sat by her window, gazing out at the night. For once there was no faint smell of cigarette smoke coming from the yard, no creak of a leather coat or scuff of heavy boots on the trellis.
She stared up at the stars and thought of Riley and Sam busy killing demons in Nepal. They all deserved each other.
And what did she deserve? As the sun rose, she changed out of the clothes that smelt of death and destruction and went to find the man she’d wronged. If they stayed together, it would end in tragedy, of that she was certain.
“I can’t love him – he has no soul,” she muttered to herself as she approached the crypt and the fork in her life path. The fact that she never once thought, “I don’t love him,” wouldn’t occur to her until it was far too late.
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