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Brave New World by JamesMFan
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It was all she could think to say. And the look in his eyes said it all. Gone. Dead. Dawn. Giles. Both dead. Both of them.

Buffy figured her legs must have given out because suddenly she was on the floor, slumped against a wall, and she didn’t know what was happening. Her vision skewed for a moment or two and she went deaf. She literally couldn’t hear anything. It only lasted for a second but it seemed to stretch on.

Then Spike was shouting something. It might have been her name. She wasn’t sure. She blinked, staring at him but not really seeing. Nothing was making sense and her brain couldn’t understand what was going on. The things around her, the people…they were all wrong. Inherently wrong. This wasn’t where she was supposed to be. She wasn’t supposed to be in a world where her sister and Giles were dead.

They weren’t supposed to be gone.

“Buffy,” Spike murmured softly, hand on her arm.

He was crouched in front of her now. His eyes roved over her face, concerned and distressed for her. She looked at him and didn’t know if he was really Spike. He looked like him and sounded like him but he must have changed. Everything changed. Even immortal things.

She looked away from him. “How…?”

He swallowed and sat down next to her, leaning his back against the wall. “With Giles it was old age. He clung on a long time for a human. Stubborn bastard,” Spike chuckled sadly. “Dawn was taken before her time. A stupid…useless accident.”

“What happened?” Buffy asked, staring at the wall in front of her.

“She was coming home from the cinema one night, crossing the road, and a car hit her. Mustn’t have seen her. It was late and she was rushing for the last bus. It was…it was all wrong. Just wrong,” he closed his eyes and sighed. “That was seven years ago. Giles passed away three years before that.”

Buffy didn’t know how to respond to that. She had asked simply because she thought it might help her to make sense of things. But there was no sense to be made. Death was always nonsensical and in the space of a few hours she’d lost two of the most important people in her life.

Spike looked at her sideways. “I can’t pretend to know what this all feels like to you. Coming back after so long and coming back to this. It’s been seven years for me and I still think I’m going to see her stroll into the house like she owns the place. And for you it’s been no time at all since you last saw her face. I envy you that, at least. Sometimes I find it hard to remember everything I should. I think to myself…what colour were her eyes? I can’t remember.”

“Blue.” Buffy said.

A look of relief flickered across his face. “Blue.”

The Slayer and vampire sat side by side for a long while not talking. Buffy could feel his eyes on her from time to time and she thought that perhaps he had forgotten things about her too and wanted to commit them to memory. Her mind was focused completely on Dawn and Giles. She would never see them again and that left her feeling empty. She really didn’t think she would cry yet. She thought she was still in the numbness stage of grief. So it surprised her when a tear slipped down her cheek.

Buffy turned her face away and blinked rapidly to stop herself. She wasn’t ready to cry. There were things she needed to know now more than ever.

“Willow? Xander?” Her voice almost trembled.

“Willow lives in Montana with her wife, Xander’s in England. He married a Slayer, which surprised no one.” Spike smiled. “They’re both fine, Buffy.”

She nodded, taking it in. Married. Both of them married. Just like Spike. Three of her friends married and two of her loved ones dead. God, it was too much to take in. Far too much.

Buffy dropped her head into her hands and pulled her knees up against herself. She just wanted things to go back to normal. She wanted to be back in her house crowded with Potentials, Xander complaining about girls pinching his butt and Giles giving them all a lecture about vacuuming. She wanted that back so badly.

Something occurred to her suddenly. “Xander married a Slayer? Does that…is Faith…?”

“No. She’s fine. There’s sort of a long story behind that,” he said softly. “But I think we should just concentrate on getting you out of here.”

Buffy looked up at the ceiling. “I don’t have anywhere to go anymore.”

“You can stay with me.”

She laughed bitterly then and looked at him. “No, I can’t.”

“You can and you will. Chances are the Council are going to want you under some kind of supervision. Better I act as your guardian then one of their ponces,” he looked back at her and paused. “If you want. I mean, I won’t…I’ll understand if you don’t want me around. Too confusing and the like.”

The Slayer shook her head. “Being around you doesn’t confuse me, Spike. I’m used to you being around, remember? If anything I’d think it would weird you out to have me around.”

“It’s been a long time, Buffy, that’s true. But there hasn’t been a day in those thirty years that I didn’t think about…” he blinked and looked surprised. “I...I’m going to find Coleman and see what the hold up is. Be back in a bit.”

With that he stood and fled the room pretty fast. Buffy looked at the empty doorway. She thought about leaving. Just running the hell away from this place, this whole entire fucked up world. But what she had said was true. She didn’t have anywhere to go anymore and Spike had been right: there was nothing to fix here. This was how things were now.

She rested her forehead against her knees and cried. For Dawn. For Giles. And for herself.
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