Alternate Universe: Unexpected
Story Title: I Run to You
Chapter Title:

 

Alone Again, Naturally

 

Time line:

July, 2004

**

History:

Joshua "JJ" Harris was born on April 21st, 2004

The twins (Danielle, "Dani" and William, "Billy") were born on February 12th, 2004

Annie turned five on February 14th (she was born in 1999)

Spike and Buffy have been married five years in February. (seems longer, doesn't it?)

Buffy turned 23 on January 19th.

 

All the Potentials were endowed with full Slayer power in February 2003.

Buffy and Spike learned of the other dimensions in May, 2003.

Summary:

 

Buffy’s been acting odd … Spike sets out to get to the bottom of it.

 

Notes: Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta, PaganBaby, for her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always appreciated encouragement!!  

**

Music Referenced:

Alone Again, Naturally, by Gilbert O'Sullivan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rzh_rv7yI4

 

**~**

ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:

http://www.screencap-paradise.com/?cat=3

 

Rating / Warnings:

NC17.  This chapter is full of angst!

Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY. Parents, it is up to YOU to control what your children are reading.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2004:

  

“Atomic batteries to full power?” Spike asked in a deep, serious voice.

 

“Check!” Annie confirmed.

 

 “Turbines to speed?”

 

“Check!”

 

 “Retro-rockets fully charged?”

 

“Check!”

 

“To the Batcave!” Spike exclaimed, picking Annie up over his head as she spread her arms out like she was flying. The cape (made out of one of Buffy’s good guest towels) around her neck flapped behind her as Spike ran around the great room with her above his head and headed towards the door to the basement…err, the Batcave.

 

Buffy came down the stairs about halfway through their checklist and watched Spike fly their daughter through the air.

 

“Batman didn’t fly,” she pointed out as she got to the bottom of the stairs.

 

“I do!” Annie exclaimed as Spike stopped in front of Buffy. “C’mon Robin … evil awaits!” Annie urged him.

 

“Robin?” Buffy asked with a smirk. “Where are your cute, green short-shorts and tights?”

 

“Don’t give ‘er any ideas,” Spike said, rolling his eyes and starting for the stairs to the basement, Annie still ‘flying’ above his head.

 

“Glad you’re teaching her the classics, at least …” Buffy called after them. “Hey! Is that one of my good towels?”

 

**~**

 

Buffy rushed into the kitchen later that evening to find Spike and Annie snacking on Cocoa Puffs. 

 

“You’re going to ruin your dinner!” she scolded as she started pulling out fixings from the cabinets and refrigerator to make tacos with. God, I’ve turned into my mother! she thought as she remembered the numerous times her own mother said those very words to her.

 

“Thought you went to the store to get taco shells,” Spike pointed out, as she pulled a box of taco shells out of the cupboard.

 

“Uhh… yeah, I did – then I remembered that we already had some,” Buffy lied.  She’d taken blood to Angel – she hadn’t been gone long, just long enough to go by Willy’s and drop the blood off to Angel … then go with him to the library to get more books.  It took longer than she thought – it always seemed to.

 

“Soooo … when did you come to this epiphany?” Spike asked her.

 

“What epiphany?” Buffy asked as she put the hamburger on to cook.

 

“That we didn’t need the bloody taco shells.”

 

“Oh … uhhh … after I already bought them – then I had to take them back and get a refund and the refund line was really long,” Buffy told him – cringing internally at the stupidity of what she just said.

 

Spike raised his brows and looked at her. “You stood in line for a bloody hour to return a two dollar pack of taco shells? Why didn’t you just bring them home?”

 

“Well … we already had some … they’d go stale,” Buffy explained, facing the stove and rolling her eyes at her own lie.

 

“Niblett, would you go check on the little bits? I think I hear Junior cryin’,” Spike said to Annie.

 

Annie started to argue that she didn’t hear anything, but Spike’s look told her to just do as she was told, so she took a handful of Cocoa Puffs and headed upstairs.

 

Buffy had been acting strangely for a few days now – going shopping then coming home with no purchases, taking much longer than normal to take Annie to pre-school, or simply disappearing in the middle of the day with no real explanation.

 

Spike hadn’t really said anything about it because he didn't want her to think he didn't trust her – because he did. He knew that everyone needed their own space, plus he didn't know if she was planning some kind of surprise (a party or romantic getaway – his birthday was coming up next month) for the two of them – but this behavior had gone on too long … he needed some answers. 

 

“What the bloody hell is going on with you, Slayer?” Spike asked when Annie had left, moving forward and physically turning Buffy around to face him.

 

“Nothing … What’s your problem?” Buffy defended, pulling out of his grasp and turning back to face the stove.

 

“My problem is, you’re acting like a bloody space cadet on quaaludes,” Spike informed her, turning her back to face him again. “Now, what the bloody hell is going on?”

 

“I already told you! Nothing’s going on! Let go of my arm … the meat’s gonna burn.”

 

Spike released her arm and stepped back away from her, his hands going to his hips as he watched her stir the hamburger in the pan.  He wasn’t normally a suspicious or jealous man … not when it came to Buffy – he knew she loved him as much as he loved her – but something was going on with her and he couldn’t suss out what it was. It was apparent she was lying about something … what it was she was hiding from him was unclear.

 

“I’m goin’ out,” he said tersely as he turned and started out of the kitchen.

 

“Where are you going? Dinner’s almost done!” Buffy called after him.

 

“Goin’ to get some bloody taco shells …” he called back over his shoulder as he stomped through the great room towards the door.

 

“Fuck …” Buffy said under her breath as she drained the grease out of the meat and began stirring in the seasoning packet.  Tears stung her eyes as she tried to concentrate on what she was doing.  She hated lying to Spike … and now he was pissed with her and she couldn’t blame him for it – she’d be pissed, too, if he told her a cockamamie story like she’d just done.

 

Angel was getting stronger, but he still didn’t have his memory back. He only trusted her and refused to leave his little room if she wasn’t with him, which was what she wanted when she’d warned him about the ‘bad people’ seeing him, but left him even more scared of seeing other people and that much more dependent on Buffy.

 

The stress of trying to take care of Angel, keep him fed, safe, and out of trouble, coupled with having to lie to the one person in the world that she would normally turn to for help and support, the one person she’d never want to hurt, was taking its toll on her.

 

Had it only been six days since Angel showed up at the cemetery? It seemed like six months.  She checked on Angel two, sometimes three times a day and brought him blood at least once a day – human blood from Willy’s.  She could tell he was gaining weight and getting stronger from it, but didn’t know how long it would take for his mind to heal – or if it ever would.

 

She was just going to have to tell Spike the truth tonight and convince him that they needed to help Angel – there was no choice. She couldn’t keep doing this, she couldn’t keep lying to her husband; it was just too much.  Maybe if she begged and pleaded and crawled on her hands and knees Spike would give in … she’d tried everything else.

 

**~**

 

Spike plopped down heavily on a bar stool at Willy’s – his mind still racing as he tried to figure out what Buffy was hiding from him and why she was acting so squirrelly.  He tried to think of anything that would explain her strange behavior, but his mind kept coming back to the same unimaginable conclusion – she was having an affair.

 

“What’ll ya have?” Willy asked Spike as he walked up to where Spike sat at the end of the bar.

 

“Gimme some a’ the good stuff …” Spike told him absentmindedly as he continued racking his brain for another explanation. Maybe his buddy Jack Daniels could help him suss it out …

 

“Comin’ right up,” Willy replied, turning away from Spike to get his drink.

 

Spike picked up the glass that Willy sat in front of him and took a sip.  He’d been so preoccupied with his thoughts that he never even looked at it or noticed that it wasn’t Jack … in fact, it wasn’t whiskey, at all.

 

When the human blood hit Spike’s tongue, it surprised him so much that he spit blood all over the bar – except for Buffy’s, Spike hadn’t had any human blood in years.

 

“What the bloody hell is this?!” Spike demanded, pulling the glass away from his mouth and up to his nose to smell it.  “Human!?”

 

“Geez, Spike! Did ya’ have to spit that all over the bar?!” Willy scolded him as he grabbed a rag and started wiping it up.

 

Spike set the glass down and grabbed Willy by the front of his shirt. “What the bloody hell kinda trick are you pullin’ giving me that?”

 

Willy held his hands out in surrender. “Sorry Spike … when you said ‘the good stuff’ – I just assumed you meant human … that’s what the Slayer always calls it.”

 

“The Slayer?” Spike asked, shaking Willy slightly in his grasp. “What does she have to do with anythin’?”

 

“You don’t know!? God, don’t tell her I told you! She’ll kill me!” Willy whined.

 

“Not if I bloody well kill ya’ first! Now what’s the Slayer got to do with it!?”

 

“She’s been getting it all week ... said it was a secret … or a surprise – that’s it! I shouldn’t tell you ‘cause it was some kind of a surprise.”

 

Spike let Willy go with a shove.  That’s it! She’s gonna tell me what the bloody hell is going on tonight – come hell or high water! Spike thought as he stormed out of the bar and headed back for Crawford Street.

 

**~**

 

“Where’s Buffy!?” Spike demanded as he stormed through the garden doors of the mansion a little while later.

 

Tara and Willow looked up from watching the TV.  “She went out after she put Annie to bed,” Willow told him.  “On patrol, I guess.”

 

“If she’s on bloody patrol, my name’s Rumpelstiltskin,” Spike said sarcastically as he turned on his heel and headed back outside.

 

Slayer! Where are you? Spike sent out to her across their bond when he got to the street, but he got no response from Buffy.  Spike closed his eyes and concentrated on her scent … it wasn’t easy, she’d been in and out this way so many times, but he tried to pick up the most recent one and headed in that direction.

 

**~**

 

“Liam?” Buffy called softly as she knocked on his door before opening it.

 

Angel was just standing up from his makeshift bed when she entered. “You’re early … I haven’t finished all the books,” he told her, looking guilty.

 

“That’s ok – we’re gonna do something different tonight. I want you to meet Spike … you’re coming home with me,” Buffy told him as she started gathering up his few belongings.

 

“Spike?” Angel asked anxiously.

 

“My husband,” Buffy clarified for him, looking up from what she was doing. “I can’t do this anymore …”

 

“You can’t help me?” Angel asked moving towards her, worry creasing his brow.

 

“I can help you; I just can’t lie about it anymore – it’s too much and it’s … it’s wrong.”

 

Angel nodded slowly … he didn’t understand what that really meant, but she said she could still help him, so that was good.

 

“Will I be going home soon?” he asked her. “Can Spike help get me home?”

 

“I’m sure he’d like to send you somewhere …” Buffy muttered under her breath before giving Angel a small smile and saying, “Soon … yes – we’re gonna try to get you home soon. But first, you have to learn how to be around other people – I’m not the only person you can trust.”

 

Angel nodded again. He wasn’t really sure he liked the sound of that, but he did trust her … she’d show him who to trust and who not to. That would be okay.

 

Buffy looked at him … he was looking pretty disheveled again, he’d spilt blood on himself more than once since his one and only shower and was starting to smell a bit rank.  She sighed. “Let’s go get you cleaned up and get your clothes changed – get you looking presentable … then we’ll go – ok?”

 

Angel followed her out of the basement and back to the boy’s locker room.  Buffy handed him the soap and shampoo and went to locate some towels, as before. This time she didn’t need to tell him to remove his clothes before showering … at least he was capable of learning and remembering things, which was a good sign.

 

After his shower, Angel sat with a towel around his waist on the bench and Buffy combed his hair, nipping off any long pieces that she’d missed before.  When she was done she put a dab of hair gel in it and styled it. 

 

“There you go … spic and span and looking more like your old self,” Buffy told him when she was done. 

 

He was looking a lot more like his old self … his face had filled out and he didn’t have that death-bed look any longer.  He’d gained some weight; the twenty-eight waist pants she’d bought were getting a little snug on him now; she’d have to pick up some thirties the next time she was at the store.

 

“Do you think Spike will like me?” Angel asked, looking up at her – he still had that innocence in his eyes that he’d had that first night.

 

Buffy laughed lightly. “Oh … I’m sure you’ll be an unexpected surprise.”

 

“Well, isn’t this cozy?” Spike asked as he sauntered through the door, his thumbs tucked over his belt buckle.

 

“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed, whirling around to face him, a look of surprise and horror on her face.

 

“Spike – I was going to tell you – honestly. I’m sorry … you have to believe me! Spike, the dream is real – we have to help him,” Buffy rambled – her words coming out quickly as she moved away from Angel and towards her husband.

 

Spike smirked at her. He knew she was hiding something … but this was more than he’d imagined. Not only was she having an affair, she was having it with Angel of all people.

 

“Oh, I’m sure those bloody wet dreams of yours are very real, Slayer!” Spike agreed, moving further into the room towards them.

 

“Did she fuck you good an’ proper, Angelus? Do that little thing with her tongue for ya?  Tell ya she loved you when she was done?” Spike asked, looking at Angel.

 

Angel looked between Spike and Buffy … even he could feel the tension in the room rising – the anger was rolling off Spike in waves and Buffy’s heart was racing. He didn’t like this at all … that was the same man that tried to stab him before and he was looking even madder now than he had then.

 

“Spike! No! N-n-n-n-o,” Buffy stammered, still moving towards him. “It’s not like that … I just, I just helped him!”

 

“Oh, I can imagine you did, Slayer.  A good blow job and a fuck can be a big help to a bloke.”

 

“Spike, no – don’t do this. You know that’s not true.”

 

“Do I, now? You’ve been lying to me for a bloody week. You’ve gone shoppin’ and not come home with anythin’, you disappear without a word, and you’ve been gettin’ blood at Willy’s … human blood!” Spike pointed out as he began to pace back and forth, his arms flailing out away from his sides as he spoke.

 

Spike’s anger turned to hurt as he spoke and he fought back his emotions … he needed the anger to help him deal with this – the hurt would only make him look like the git that he was.  His heart was breaking – he could almost feel pieces of it calf off and sink to the bottom of his soul. Like pieces off a glacier, they slipped through his grasp and out of sight, down into a cold, dark abyss.  He had to hold onto the anger … it was the only thing he could cling to to keep from drowning. 

 

“You’ve been in my bed … laying with me, screwing me – telling me you loved me – and the whole time thinking ‘bout him!” he accused, waving his arm at Angel. 

 

“Spike’s such a bloody fool – he’ll never know the difference! He’ll never suss it out! A little puppy dog, he is – lead him around by the collar, give him a fuck now and then and he’ll follow ya anywhere …” Spike mocked.

 

Buffy shook her head as tears stung her eyes. “That’s not true …” she said softly, laying her hand on his arm.

 

Spike knocked her hand off. “Don’t touch me with your filth, Slayer. You want him? Fine! Have him!

 

“I’ll just take my bloody ring and be on m’ way … I’m sure the Powers will bless you with a new family,” Spike told her as he brushed past her and headed towards Angel.

 

Buffy grabbed his arm, spun him around, and pulled him back. “No! Please, Spike, try to understand! I don’t want Angel! I don’t love him! I did it for us … for our family – for Annie!”

 

“I’m tired of all your excuses, Slayer! Whatever suits your fancy – have a bloody dream ‘bout it and that makes everythin’ fine! Lie to your husband – that’s fine, I did it ‘cause of the dream. Screw around on the one person who’d do anything for you … that’s fine, I did it ‘cause of the dream!

 

“I suppose if one of your bloody dreams told you to kill our children – that they’re devil’s spawn, that’d make that fine, too, wouldn’t it?!” Spike accused angrily as he stood toe to toe with her.

 

Buffy shook her head slowly as tears ran down her face. “You know that’s not true …” she repeated again. 

 

Buffy felt like her heart was being ripped from her chest. Yes, Spike was right, she’d lied to him – but not for the reasons he thought. She did it for their family – for Annie and JJ and because she knew in her gut that helping Angel was what she had to do and he'd made it clear that he felt stongly otherwise. 

 

Maybe the PTB were manipulating her … maybe Spike was right about that, but what if she didn’t play their game? Whistler kept talking about “freewill” and that the Powers didn’t interfere with their choices … but hadn’t they given them Billy and Dani?  So, the PTB could and would step in and actually take over if they wanted to.  They could make sure Annie and JJ were put in that danger with just a few nudges of someone’s “freewill”. They could make sure that they died that day by not sending the vision to Cordy … they could really do anything they wanted – freewill be damned.

 

Spike pulled a stake out of the pocket of his duster and yanked his arm away from Buffy as he turned and headed towards Angel.  He was going to end this once and for all; he was going to do what he told Buffy he would do if he ever saw Angel again – send him blowing in the wind.

 

“NO!!” Buffy screamed when she saw the stake. She ran past Spike and put herself between him and Angel.

 

“This ends now, Slayer!  That bastard’s fucked me for the last time,” Spike told her, shoving her out of his way.

 

Angel’s eyes went wide when he saw Spike coming towards him; he jumped up and moved behind a bank of lockers while Spike was distracted with Buffy.  He knew he didn’t like that man …

 

Buffy’s body slammed against the lockers when Spike shoved her, but she recovered quickly and grabbed his arm and slung him backwards, away from Angel.

 

“I don’t want to fight you, Spike,” she told him, her mind clicking into Slayer mode as she stood between him and where Angel had gone behind the lockers.

 

“Then don’t …” Spike told her, as he recovered his balance and started moving again.

 

“I can’t let you hurt him,” Buffy informed Spike, blocking his path.

 

Spike stopped and looked at her. “You love him that much?”

 

Buffy shook her head. “I love our family that much.”

 

“Oh, back to this, are we?” Spike said, exasperated. “You’re about to lose your family, Slayer – it’s your choice – him or us.”

 

Buffy bit her lip to fight back her tears. “You don’t understand … it’s not that simple.”

 

“It bloody well is! HIM or US!”

 

“Spike, please try to understand!”

 

“I understand perfectly, Slayer!” Spike exclaimed nodding his head, his eyes narrow as hurt and anger collided and exploded within him like two jet airplanes in a mid-air crash. “Did you ever love me? Ever? Or was I just a convenient substitute for him?”

 

“How can you ask that?”

 

“How can I not?” Spike asked, his jaw clenched as he fought to maintain control of the hurt that was trying to overtake the anger.

 

Spike shoved the stake at Buffy and brushed past her heading back towards Angel.  Buffy hurried after him, unsure of what he was going to do now. Spike pulled Angel out from behind the lockers by the arm and reached down to his hand to remove the Gem of Amarra.

 

“NO!” Buffy exclaimed, stepping between the two vampires and pulling Angel’s hand away from Spike.

 

“No? NO!?” Spike repeated, looking at her incredulously. “That’s my bloody gem – not his – not yours – MINE!”

 

“No … you can’t have it,” Buffy told him with a firm shake of her head. “I don’t know what will happen if you take it off him …” she tried to explain.

 

“Oh, afraid he’ll lose the rest of his marbles, eh?  I’m sure his dick will still get hard for ya’, Slayer – no worries,” Spike told her, his words as sharp as a knife to her heart.

 

“You son of a bitch! I haven’t slept with him! I don’t love him – but our family needs him alive to survive! Why can’t you just fucking believe me!?” Buffy screamed at him.

 

“Maybe it has to do with all the fucking lies you’ve told me, Slayer! It’s hard to know what’s real with you! Your choice to lie or tell the truth seems to change with the direction of the bloody wind!”

 

“I wouldn’t have had to lie if you would’ve just believed me in the first place! Trusted me!” Buffy screamed back at him.

 

“I trust you about as far as I can throw you!” Spike asserted. “Oh, wait – no I don’t,” he smirked and morphed into the demon as he picked her up and tossed her over the bank of lockers and out of his way.

 

Buffy scrambled back around the lockers and barreled at Spike, tackling him around the waist just as he was about to catch Angel again, who had started moving away from the pair when the screaming started.

 

Spike kicked her up over his head and leapt back to his feet facing her, his knees bent and fists at the ready. Before she could get back up, he spun around and kicked her in the face with a roundhouse kick and knocked her back down. Blood sprayed out of her mouth when he kicked her as her teeth cut a deep gash in her cheek. 

 

Buffy wiped her mouth as she scrambled back to her feet. Spike was moving away from her, back towards Angel, and Buffy ran at him again, knocking him down onto his stomach and pinning him down on the cold, hard floor of the locker room.

 

“STOP THIS NOW!” she screamed at him.  “I don’t want to hurt you!”

 

“Too bloody late for that, Slayer!” Spike turned under her and brought his elbow back, hitting her in the face with it as he struggled to get away from her and blood started pouring out of her nose.

 

As he turned the rest of the way around to face her, Buffy slammed down on his face with her fist. Blood began to pour out of his mouth and nose – matching hers, as she continued to pummel him with her fists. 

 

Finally, Spike stopped struggling under her and his face morphed back to his human features. Buffy stopped hitting him and began to cry uncontrollably. “Spike … God, Spike … I’m sorry – I’m so sorry!” she cried when she realized how badly she’d beaten him.

 

Spike used the last of his energy to push her off him. He pulled himself up on the bench, then used the lockers to pull himself to his feet and started to slowly stagger towards the door of the locker room.

 

“Spike … please,” Buffy begged as she moved to try and help him.

 

“Don’t touch me …” his voice was low and threatening. 

 

“You made your bed … you sleep in it. Don’t come back to mine,” he told her as he reached the doorway. 

 

Buffy watched him turn the corner, leaving a bloody handprint on the doorjamb as he disappeared from view and she fell down to her knees as sobs wracked her body. She collapsed all the way down onto the cold floor and curled into a ball as tears mixed with her blood and covered her face.  She’d lost him … she’d handled everything all wrong and now she’d lost Spike.  Her heart ached as tears flowed from her eyes and her body shook – what was she going to do without him? 

 

Oh God … Spike, please … please. I love you so much, she sent through their bond, but she got no response.

 

Buffy felt a hand on her back and jerked her head up. “Spike!” she exclaimed as she turned, but it wasn’t Spike – it was Angel.

 

“Buffy … you’re hurt,” Angel said, touching his fingertips gently to her bruised and bleeding face.  

 

Buffy took a deep breath and tried to compose herself … then she realized – he called her by her name.

 

“Angel?” she asked, searching his eyes for a hint of recognition.

 

“Liam… my name’s Liam. Are you alright?” he asked gently.

 

“Oh …” Buffy closed her eyes and shook her head. That was a loaded question.

 

“C’mon … I’ll help you,” Angel told her as he helped her up off the floor and guided her to one of the sinks on the wall.

 

“Thanks …”

 

**~**

 

Spike stormed into the mansion and headed straight for Willow and Tara who were still sitting on the couch watching TV. 

 

“Spike! What happened?” Tara exclaimed when she saw him as both witches stood up and looked behind him for Buffy.

 

Spike didn’t answer. Instead, he grabbed Willow by the shoulders and shoved her up against the nearest wall. “Who knew!?” he demanded of her, shaking her violently.

 

“SPIKE!” Tara exclaimed, grabbing one of his arms and trying to pull him off her girlfriend.

 

 Spike shoved Tara away and turned his attention back to Willow. “Who bloody well knew 'bout Angel?” he demanded again.

 

“WHAT?!” Tara and Willow asked in unison as Tara moved back to where he was holding Willow.

 

“What are you talking about!? What happened!?” Tara asked as Willow struggled to get free of his hold.

 

“Let me go!” Willow demanded of him, but Spike just gripped her shoulders tighter.

 

“You’re hurting me!” Willow exclaimed as his fingers dug into her flesh.

 

“WHO THE FUCK KNEW!?” Spike demanded again, shaking Willow like a rag doll.

 

“Singulus!” Tara commanded, holding her palm up towards Spike and Spike flew back away from Willow and landed on the floor several feet away.

 

Willow bent over and started rubbing her bruised shoulders as Tara helped her back to the couch.

 

Spike jumped back up and started towards the witches again. “Don’t use that shit on me again – I’m warnin’ ya – I ain’t in the mood for your bloody hocus-pocus!”

 

“SPIKE! What the hell is going on?” Tara demanded, stepping between him and Willow.

 

“Buffy’s fucking Angel – I want to know who knew about it! You might as well tell me now, I’ll find out sooner or later – and I won’t be as nice about it later,” Spike informed her, stopping a few inches from Tara and putting his hands on his hips.

 

“We don’t know what you’re talking about, Spike. Are you sure you’re ok? Who did this to you?” Tara asked, reaching a hand out to touch his swollen, bruised, and bloodied face.

 

“Buffy – protecting her filthy lover, Angel. Back from the sea, he is – and pickin’ up right where he left off …”

 

Tara shook her head, a look of confusion on her face. “Buffy would never choose Angel over you … are you sure?  Maybe a spell …”

 

“Bollocks! There was no spell – no thrall – just Buffy being the PTB’s whore – just like always. Well, I’m done, I tell ya’! DONE! A man can only take so much and my limit has come and gone!”

 

“Spike … surely there’s some reasonable explanation,” Willow interjected, finally standing back up.

 

“Yeah – she loves the wanker – he’s their golden child, ain’t he? I’m just their dirty mistake … wasn’t ever supposed to have this soddin' soul, was I? Well, she can bloody well ‘ave him!” Spike ranted, turning his back on the witches – he needed to hit something … now!

 

Spike roared and began pulling books off the shelves in the research area and pushing bookcases over with reckless abandon and unbridled fury. He kicked and hit and slung anything he could get his hands on across the room, ripping the delicate books and scattering their pages across the floor as Willow and Tara screamed at him to stop.

 

When he got to the small bookcase that held Bert and Ernie’s aquarium, he picked it up and held it over his head … preparing to smash it on the floor.

 

“NO!!” Willow and Tara both screamed and ran towards him.

 

“Cesso!” Willow commanded and Spike froze in place, holding Annie’s pet hermit crabs above his head.

 

Tara took the aquarium from his hands and put it down on the floor a few feet away before Willow released Spike from her magic freeze. Spike’s empty hands came down towards the floor and he growled in anger when he realized that they’d used magic on him again.  He started towards Willow, game face on, when Tara stepped in front of him.

 

“You need to STOP!” Tara told him, pushing him back by the shoulders with her hands.

 

“Get bent! It’s my soddin’ house – I’ll do as I bloody well please! Get your witchy asses out if you don’t like it!”

 

“Spike! Think about what you’re doing! Stop and think!” Tara admonished him.

 

“Tired of thinkin’, Glinda … God, so tired,” Spike said, his voice cracking as he dropped to his knees in front of her and covered his face with his hands.  His anger was suddenly gone and in its place was nothing but pain – unbelievable hurt from being lied to and tossed away like so much garbage by the person he loved and trusted most in the world.

 

“Oh, Spike …” Tara said softly, going down on her knees in front of him and pulling him into a hug.

 

Tara looked up at Willow with a questioning look, but Willow just shook her head – she didn’t know what was going on, either.

 

**~**

 

Buffy washed most of the blood off her face and out of her hair, but she couldn’t stop the pain in her chest … it felt like her heart had been ripped out and stomped on by a herd of wild horses, then put back inside her.  The worst part was she knew that she probably deserved that … at least partly.  Why couldn’t Spike believe her when she told him that Angel needed help – that their daughter’s and nephew’s lives would depend on it one day?

 

Angel got dressed while Buffy cleaned up. They walked in silence through the empty school to the library, where he picked out some more books, then back to his little room. 

 

“Just stay here … I’ll be back tomorrow,” she told him solemnly as she turned to leave.

 

“Are you okay?” Angel asked her, a look of concern on his face.

 

Buffy snorted softly. “Not hardly …”

 

**~**

 

Buffy walked in the garden door of the mansion not sure what to expect … she hoped that Spike had calmed down enough to talk rationally – to hear her out – to forgive her for lying to him.  The scene she came into looked like one from those news reports showing homes that had been devastated by tornadoes in the Midwest.  There were papers and books … knickknacks and furniture strewn everywhere in the room.

 

Willow jumped up from the only piece of furniture that seemed to still be upright, the research table, when she saw Buffy – she’d just been getting ready to do a locator spell to find her. 

 

“Buffy! Thank God! What’s going on? Spike said you were with Angel – Tara and I told him that was wrong … you must be under a spell or something…right? Are you under a spell? Do I need to de-spell you?” Willow rambled as she rushed over to her friend.

 

Buffy smiled weakly at the witch. “No … there’s no spell. I’m not with Angel.”

 

“I knew it! I knew he was totally wrong!” Willow smiled, pleased with herself for knowing that Buffy would never do what Spike had suggested.

 

“I am helping Angel … well, technically, I’m helping Liam … but, whatever – po-taa-toe, pa-tah-toe,” Buffy told Willow with a sigh and Willow’s smile faded.

 

“What?” Willow asked, her brows knit in confusion. “Why? How?”

 

“It’s a truly long and cheerless story … Where’s Spike?” Buffy asked Willow.

 

“Upstairs … Tara’s bandaging his cuts.  Buffy – what’s going on?” Willow asked. “Maybe we can help …”

 

Buffy smiled at Willow again and shook her head. “Thanks, Wills, but I think I just need to talk to Spike.”

 

Willow frowned, but then nodded and went upstairs to get him as Buffy wandered through the debris field that used to be their great room and rehearsed what to say.

 

“Spike, I’m sorry …” she started, talking to the air. “Duh … of course you’re sorry. How lame is that?”

 

“Spike, believe me when I say that …” she began again. “Yeah, right – please believe me now – I was lying before, but I’m not lying now …” Buffy sighed and shook her head.

 

“Spike – think of Annie – I’m not choosing Angel’s side over yours – I’m choosing Annie’s life,” she started again.

 

“Yeah – I’d go with that one, Slayer,” Spike told her as he descended the stairs. Three butterfly bandages held a long cut on his cheekbone closed, both eyes were beginning to swell and turn purple from the beating she’d inflicted on him.

 

“Spike! God, I’m so sorry!” she cried as she moved towards him.

 

“Save it – I’ve taken worse … I’ve given worse, I’ll heal,” he told her coldly as he reached the bottom of the stairs, sidestepped her and headed towards the door.  When he got to it, he held it open and looked at her.

 

“My house now, Slayer – come again when you can’t stay so long.”

 

“Spike, please listen to me,” Buffy begged as walked towards him. “I didn’t sleep with Angel. I don’t love Angel, I don’t want Angel – I love you – I need you. Please, you’ve got to understand.”

 

“I understand perfectly. You love me – you show me your love by sneaking around behind my back, lying to me, and beating the shit out of me defending someone you claim to not love.  Does that about cover it?” he asked her, pursing his lips together and raising his brows to await her answer.

 

“Spike … I know I was wrong to lie to you – I should’ve told you right away. Angel just showed up one night when I was on patrol.  I-I-I tried to tell you, honest I did, but you wouldn’t believe me when I said that him being here is what will keep our daughter alive.  All you wanted to do is dust him… 

 

“Please don’t make me choose between you and Annie … I can’t do it, Spike, please, I’m begging you,” Buffy pleaded, dropping down to her knees in front of him.

 

“You’ve already made your choice, Slayer – you lose me and Annie. You lose us all.  Get the fuck out,” Spike demanded, his voice low and even. His heart had been crushed, but he refused to give her the satisfaction of seeing him implode ... anger was his friend - he just had to hold onto the anger.

 

“Spike, please …”

 

“Get out or I’ll toss you out.  I’m in no mood for any more of your bloody games … I told you before – lie in the bed you’ve made, don’t come crawling back here. You aren’t welcome – if I could disinvite you, I would. Hmmm … Maybe Red could do some kind of ‘disinvite the lying whore’ spell …” Spike mused, tapping a finger on his lips and looking at the ceiling as if in deep thought.

 

“I’m not a whore …” Buffy said softly, tears running down her face as she looked up at him.

 

“Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck … fucks like a duck,” Spike countered.

 

Buffy closed her eyes and tried to hold back her tears.  This was it; he really wasn’t going to forgive her. He was kicking her out of their house – he was taking her family away.

 

“I don’t have anywhere to go … I don’t have anything,” Buffy said softly.

 

“Oh … I should’ve known. The Slayer needs some money, does she? What’s the matter, your boyfriend’s not a good provider?” he asked her sarcastically, reaching in his pocket and pulling out his wallet.

 

“There ya go then,” Spike said, tossing all the cash he had down at her.  “You know, I never felt worthy of your love – always felt like I was never good enough to be your man … but I was wrong. It’s you that’s not worthy of me … you’re beneath me, Slayer.”

 

Buffy gathered up the money off the floor and stood up slowly. Spike pursed his lips and looked at her as if he hated every fiber of her being.

 

“I’m sorry,” Buffy told him softly through her tears. “I am so, so very sorry … I love you, Spike.”

 

“Blah, blah, blah …” Spike retorted, using one hand to mimic a hand puppet talking and motioning his head towards the open door.

 

Buffy nodded slowly and walked out of the mansion, out of her home … leaving the people that meant the most to her – her family, behind her.

 

When she was out of the door, Spike slammed it behind her, cracking several panes of glass in the process. Spike watched as she walked slowly up the stairs to the street. When she was out of sight, he crumpled down to the floor, leaning his back against the door she had just gone through and pulled his knees to his chest.  He buried his face against his knees and sobbed … her betrayal was more than he could stand. His heart was shattered and it felt like the sharp shards were stabbing him from the inside out. 

 

Spike had never loved anyone as deeply and truly as he loved Buffy – and he’d never been so hurt by anyone in his entire existence. Not by Dru and her many affairs … not even by Cecily and her cold rejection of William’s love.  Buffy’s lies cut him to his core – how can you love someone you can’t trust and how could he ever trust her again?

 

He didn’t know how he would make it without her … without her love and her smile – her strength and her silliness, but he’d been alone before … and her love for him was obviously, painfully gone. Without it, the rest really had little meaning.  He had their family … Annie, Dani, and Billy.  That would have to be enough – his wife, his best friend, his lover, his Slayer … the other half of his soul, was gone.

 

Spike curled up on the floor by the door and tears flowed from his eyes as he mourned what was lost.  Shattered dreams joined the pieces of his heart in the cold darkness – they were beyond his reach now …

 

**~**

 

Buffy wandered aimlessly through the dark streets of Sunnydale … Spike’s cruel words cut her – stabbing at her heart and stomach like a thousand knifes. She wanted to be mad at him for saying those things to her, but she couldn’t feel anything past the desolation and overwhelming loneliness.  In an attempt to save her child, she’d lost her family; she’d lost them all.

 

When Buffy looked up, she was in front of the Magic Box … she sat down against the front door and closed her eyes. She couldn’t remember ever feeling so tired before in her entire life and she couldn’t recall ever feeling so very alone.

 

“She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer … always alone,” Buffy whispered to herself as sobs overtook her. She slumped down onto the dirty sidewalk, wrapping her arms around her body and pulling her knees to her chest to try and stop the unbelievable pain that seemed to radiate out from her heart and fill her whole being with the weight of the world.  

 

Alone again … naturally. 

  In a little while from now
If I'm not feeling any less sour
I promise myself to treat myself
And visit a nearby tower
And climbing to the top will throw myself off
In an effort to make it clear to whoever
What it's like when you're shattered
Left standing in the lurch at a church
Where people saying: "My God, that's tough"
"She stood him up"
"No point in us remaining"
"We may as well go home"
As I did on my own
Alone again, naturally

To think that only yesterday
I was cheerful, bright and gay
Looking forward to who wouldn't do
The role I was about to play?
But as if to knock me down
Reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch
Cut me into little pieces
Leaving me to doubt
Talk about God in His mercy
Who if He really does exist
Why did He desert me?
In my hour of need
I truly am indeed
Alone again, naturally

It seems to me that there are more hearts
Broken in the world that can't be mended
Left unattended
What do we do? What do we do?


Alone again, naturally

Looking back over the years
And whatever else that appears
I remember I cried when my father died
Never wishing to hide the tears
And at sixty-five years old
My mother, God rest her soul
Couldn't understand why the only man
She had ever loved had been taken
Leaving her to start with a heart so badly broken
Despite encouragement from me
No words were ever spoken
And when she passed away
I cried and cried all day
Alone again, naturally
Alone again, naturally



 

 

 


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