|Story Title:||I Run to You|
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.
Everyone’s trying to get Spike to see Buffy’s point of view and forgive her, but Spike’s holding onto his pride.
Heartfelt thanks to my "ET" and wonderful Beta,
her wonderful suggestions, much needed corrections and always
Love Hurts, by Nazareth
Aesop’s Fable courtesy of:
ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:
|Rating / Warnings:||
NC17. This chapter is full of angst - again!
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.
Mid-Afternoon, Thursday, July 29th, 2004:
Buffy dragged herself out of Xander and Anya’s house after Tara left. She wanted nothing more than to crawl into a hole and die – or at least hide for a long, long while, but she needed to check on Angel and bring him some blood. She’d already come this far and lost everything else, she needed to see this through now – get Angel well enough to go back to L.A. and his friends there.
Buffy knocked on his door in the basement of the school and it opened almost immediately.
“Buffy! I was so worried about you! You’ve been gone so long. I finished all the books and you still weren’t here,” Angel rambled nervously as he opened the door wider and let her enter. “God! Your face! Are you ok?”
“Yeah – I’m ok. Sorry … I got … tied up,” Buffy told him as she handed him the human blood from Willy’s.
Angel took it from her, shifted involuntarily into game face, and drank hungrily, but wasn’t wild with it like he had been at first. Buffy sat down wearily on his makeshift bed on the floor and watched him as he opened each of the three containers in turn and downed them all. When Angel finished, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and picked up the book on demons, vampires, and zombies and sat down next to her.
“I’ve been reading this … well, a few times,” Angel started, still in game face, opening the book to the section on vampires. “Am I a … vampire?” he asked tentatively, looking up from the book to meet her eyes as he ran a finger across his fangs.
Buffy sighed. “Yeah, you’re a vampire with a soul,” Buffy confirmed for him. “You were turned in 1753 by Darla. Do you remember Darla?”
Angel frowned slightly as his human face slid back into place and crinkled his brow in thought. “Brunette, kind of peculiar?” he asked finally.
“No … that’s Dru – you turned her, you were her sire. Darla’s blonde.”
“Oh, yeah – she walked with me a while. She said I had to find my own way home…” Angel confirmed.
“But you don’t remember her from … before? Before just recently?”
Angel shook his head. “Am I … bad?” he asked, looking back at the book. “It says vampires are evil. That they kill people and drink their blood, don’t have a reflection or a heartbeat, and … can’t go in the sun. I looked in the mirror and I can’t see myself … but I was in the sun, so maybe I’m not a vampire, after all,” he said hopefully.
“You are a vampire… you were bad for a while, but you were cursed with a soul and, well – you reformed … mostly,” Buffy explained to him. “You can go in the sun because of the ring,” Buffy continued, touching his hand where the Gem of Amarra was. “It protects you.”
“You say I was turned in 1753 … what year is it now?”
“2004? That means I’m … I’m,” Angel closed his eyes and did the math in his head … he was born in 1727, that he remembered, and now it’s 2004. Angel opened his eyes wide with surprise. “I’m 277 years old!? That would make my sister … 270!”
Angel stopped and considered this a moment. “My sister’s not … she’s not waiting for me, is she?”
Buffy gave him a sad look and shook her head slowly.
“Is anyone waiting for me?” he asked softly, looking back down at the book.
“You have friends that care for you in Los Angeles … they’re waiting for you,” Buffy told him. “I was hoping you’d remember them before I took you back there …”
“Are you my friend, too?” Angel asked her, looking back up from the book with that innocent, childlike look that stabbed at Buffy’s already battered and bruised heart.
Buffy shrugged. “We … we were friends for a while – we haven’t been close lately, though …”
“Are you a vampire, too?”
“No … I’m a Vampire Slayer,” Buffy told him, taking the book from his hands and flipping a few pages to the part on Slayers.
“Oh…” Angel muttered, re-reading the passage about Slayers for the fifth time.
“But you didn’t slay me … ‘cause we were friends?” he asked as he read.
“Your soul … makes you different than most other vampires. You helped me and we became … friends and … I didn’t slay you,” Buffy explained. No, I just dropped you to the bottom of the ocean and turned you into a walking skeleton that’s lost his memory…
“Oh … were we … good friends?” Angel asked, looking back up at her.
Buffy closed her eyes, sighed, and nodded as the memory of just how close of 'friends' they had been at one time flashed through her mind. It seemed like another lifetime ago from where she was now.
“Oh … I’m sorry I don’t remember.”
“It’s ok, Liam … One good thing about being a vampire is you can heal quickly – your memory will come back,” Buffy assured him – how long it would take for that to happen she had no idea - she really wasn't 100% sure it would at all.
Buffy looked at her watch – it was nearly time to pick Annie up from pre-school. Buffy stood up and Angel followed suit.
“Stay here – I’ll come back later and we’ll go to the library and get more books. We can’t now because school’s still in – there are too many people around, ok?” Buffy told him as she moved towards the door.
Angel nodded slowly, sat back down and started reading the book on vampires again.
When Buffy got to Annie’s school, she saw Spike dashing from his car across the parking lot to the building. She wanted so badly to go to him … to talk to him, to help him. An overwhelming feeling of guilt for not only lying to him, but not letting him have the Gem of Amarra started in Buffy’s gut and seemed to spread like a cancer across her whole body as she watched from one end of the parking lot for him to come back out with Annie.
After several minutes, Annie came out and Buffy watched her look both ways then cross the lot to the car before Spike sprinted, his duster over his head shielding him from the sun, from the building and jumped into the car behind her.
Buffy closed her eyes and swallowed back her tears and her guilt. When she opened them, they were pulling out of the parking lot. Buffy started walking in the same direction – back towards the mansion.
Buffy entered the garden doors of the mansion and found the great room to be in the same state of disarray as it had been the previous night. She suddenly felt the need to fix it … this was something she could fix. She began setting the bookcases back up and putting them back in their places, moving the torn and tattered books out of the way for the time being.
“Leave it,” Spike’s voice came from above her as he started down the stairs, but Buffy kept working at her task.
When Spike reached the bottom of the stairs, he walked over to where she was and grabbed her wrist, stopping her. “I said, ‘leave it’, Slayer.”
“Spike … let me help – I can help …” Buffy said, her voice bordering on begging.
“Leave. It,” Spike repeated slowly through clenched teeth.
Buffy closed her eyes and nodded slowly, pulling her arm out of his grasp. “Can I see Annie?”
Before Spike could answer, Annie started down the stairs and saw Buffy. “MAMA!” she cried as she started running down the stairs. “I knew it wasn’t true!” she exclaimed as she threw herself at Buffy.
Buffy grabbed her in midair and swung her around before pulling her daughter against her chest in a strong hug. Spike backed up a few steps away from them and waited to see what lies Buffy was going to tell their daughter.
“I knew it wasn’t true!” Annie exclaimed again. “I knew you’d come back –I knew you would! Papa said you ran away 'cause you didn’t love him anymore, but I knew that was wrong!”
Tears stung Buffy’s eyes as she carried her daughter over to the couch and sat down with her.
“Annie, honey … I messed up really bad,” Buffy started and Annie sat back on Buffy’s lap and looked at her.
“What do you mean?” Annie asked her with concern.
“I told a lie … well, lots of lies, because lies are like potato chips – you can never stop with one. Once you tell one, more always follow …” Buffy told her daughter sadly. “It was wrong of me to lie – I did it for all the right reasons, I thought – but it was still wrong.”
“But you’re sorry, right?” Annie asked her.
“Yes, Sweet Girl, I’m very sorry.”
“Then say, ‘I apologize’ and Papa will say, ‘I accept your apology’ and you shake hands and it will be ok. That’s what we do in Mrs. Johnston’s class when someone messes up,” Annie advised her.
Buffy smiled sadly at her daughter. “That’s a very smart thing to do … and I did do that, but … well, sometimes an apology just isn’t enough.”
“Why not?” Annie asked, her brow furrowed in confusion.
Buffy shrugged. “Sometimes the thing you did cuts too deep for the apology to heal it …”
“Papa said you didn’t love him anymore …” Annie said sadly.
“That’s not true … I love him very much – I love you very much, I just …” Buffy took a deep breath and blinked back her tears. “I hurt him by lying and I’m sorry, but it’s too deep.”
Tears started running down Annie’s face as Buffy blinked her own back. “Where will you go?” Annie asked her softly.
Buffy shrugged. “I…I don’t know – but I won’t be far and if you need me, I’ll be right here. I’ll be here for you always – I’d do anything for you, Annie … anything.”
“Then don’t go …”
Buffy smiled sadly as she lost the battle with her own tears and they spilled from her eyes. “I wish I didn’t have to … but I made my bed, so now I have to lie in it.”
“Why?” Annie asked, her voice quivering with her tears.
Buffy pulled her back into a hug. “Because that’s just how life is, sweetie. You have to live with the decisions you make. There are no ‘do overs’ in real life.”
“But you still love us …” Annie pointed out.
“Yes … but sometimes love isn’t enough,” Buffy advised her sadly.
“I don’t understand …” Annie cried against Buffy’s shoulder.
Buffy didn’t know what to say to that – she didn’t completely understand herself. Wasn’t love supposed to overcome anything? Isn’t that what all the songs said … ‘Love will keep us together’? Apparently, the Captain and Tennille were wrong.
Buffy swallowed her tears and gave her daughter a kiss on the forehead as she released her from the hug. “Now … you mind Papa and Willow and Tara, ok? And you have my cell phone number – you call me anytime – if you need anything, ok?”
Annie nodded slowly. “Will you take me to school?”
Buffy looked back at Spike and he shook his head ‘no’.
Buffy sighed. “No … but I’ll see you lots, ok? I promise.”
“Mama, please don’t go,” Annie pled with her as tears flowed like rivers down her face and she wrapped her arms around Buffy’s neck, holding onto her mother fiercely.
Buffy wrapped her arms back around her and rocked her back and forth on her lap. She remembered how hurt and guilt-ridden she felt when her own parents separated and eventually divorced – and she wasn’t five years old. Buffy swore when that happened that she’d never put her children through that – but apparently that was a lie, too … because here she was putting her daughter through it.
Spike walked up and pulled Annie off Buffy and Annie wrapped herself around him as she continued to cry uncontrollably. Spike soothed her with soft words and touches as he fought his own emotions back. Buffy could say all the right things to their daughter, but her actions, her lies, had cut him deeper than her words could reach now.
When Annie was out of her arms, Buffy’s chest collapsed down against her legs as she hugged her empty arms around her own torso, trying to stop the pain that radiated out from her chest and stabbed at every nerve ending in her body.
“You should go …” Spike told her, his voice deep with emotion as he continued to try and calm Annie down.
“Can I … can I see the babies?” Buffy asked through her tears as she raised her eyes up to meet his. His eyes glistened with unshed tears … they were still the most beautiful blue she’d ever seen. So expressive; Spike’s eyes were the window to his soul – you could read all his emotions in his eyes. But now Buffy only saw hurt and pain and anger in them and she knew that she was the cause of it, and that only made her heart ache more.
“They’re nappin’,” he informed her.
“I won’t wake them,” Buffy assured him, her eyes locked on his, waiting for him to give her some glimmer of hope that his love was still there.
Spike rolled his eyes to the ceiling before closing them and nodding. The love that Buffy had hoped to see in them never surfaced; just the pain that she’d caused and then resignation.
“Thank you …” Buffy muttered as she stood up and headed for the stairs and Spike headed towards the basement door with Annie.
Buffy fought hard to stop sobbing before she got to the nursery, but it was a losing battle. She stroked her babies’ soft, golden hair as the tears flowed. How was she going to keep going without being here with them every day? What kind of life will it be – living somewhere else, being all alone, seeing your babies only at agreed to times … missing all the special moments – their first words, their first step, their first Christmas … first tooth … first everything …
“Spike should’ve just let me go …” Buffy muttered to herself as she thought of the times when she was in the coma after having the twins when she wanted to give up, but Spike wouldn’t let her. He was there always urging her forward … bring her back to the light and out of the darkness. “He should’ve left me in the darkness…”
Down in the ‘Bat Cave’ Spike sat down on the couch with Annie. Her tears had slowed down, but her body still shuddered with each breath as she started to hyperventilate.
“It’s ok, Niblett … you’re gonna make yourself sick. Shhhhh….” Spike murmured to her as he patted her back and tried to get her to calm down.
“Papa …” Annie started, talking between deep, shuddering breaths. “Can’t you … forgive … Mama? She said … she’s…sorry.”
Spike sighed heavily. “Some things just can’t be forgiven that easily, Niblett. Your mum’s right – they cut too deep for the apology to reach …”
“But … but … she still … loves us,” Annie pointed out, still trying to catch her breath.
“I heard ‘er … but love is more than sayin’ the words, pet. Your actions have to back up the words … hers didn’t. Talk is cheap …”
“Please…please let her come home …” Annie begged him, her glistening, blue eyes locked on his.
Spike shook his head sadly. “Sorry, Niblett … I can’t do it this time.”
“You promised you’d never leave us … you promised,” Annie reminded him.
“And I ain’t the one leavin’ … I ain’t the one telling lies or breaking m’ promises. Life lesson number two, Niblett … Life ain’t fair,” Spike informed her in a tone that told her the conversation was over.
Buffy pulled herself away from the babies and went into what used to be her and Spike’s room. She pulled an overnight bag out of the bottom of the closet and began tossing some clothes into it. She smiled sadly as she packed the bag with some bare necessities – it was the same bag she’d used when she left her mom’s house and came here for the first time. It seemed like a lifetime ago … had it only been a little over six years?
She remembered how everyone had warned her about Spike – warned her about getting involved with another vamp. She remembered how angry Xander was when the Scoobies burst in on them after she’d sent Angel to hell and how Giles had warned Spike that if he hurt her, he’d be wishing for the end of the world. Turns out, they should’ve been warning Spike to steer clear of her, not the other way around.
Buffy looked around the room one last time before she left and saw Spike’s journal on his night stand. She sat her bag down and went over to it, picked it up and flipped it open to a blank page several pages after his last entry, careful to not read any of his entries in the process. She picked up a pen and wrote:
My Dearest Spike,
I know my words now have no meaning for you … but I just have to tell you one last time how sorry I am that I lied to you. I still feel in my heart that helping Angel will save Annie’s and JJ’s lives one day, so I won’t apologize for doing that, but I know I was wrong to not tell you. I felt cornered and I acted like the Slayer, not like a wife, not like a partner, and for that I am truly, deeply sorry.
I wish with all my heart you could find it within yourself to forgive me – but I understand if you can’t. I won’t interfere with your life, but I’ll miss you every minute of every day for the rest of mine.
My soul feels empty without you – my heart has been plunged into a cold, dark chasm – void of light and sound, and I doubt that it will ever find its way out. You were the sunshine that warmed my heart – you were the sweet wine that filled my soul with joy.
I love you – I always will. I hope you can find someone to share your life that deserves you … someone to be your equal and give you everything that you desire.
Be well, be happy, be loved,
Buffy laid the journal back down where she got it, picked up her bag and took a deep breath before leaving the room she had shared with him for the last six years. Buffy looked back one last time as she stepped into the hallway and slowly closed the door behind her.
When the door closed, the feeling of being completely alone washed over her again as it had done the previous night when she slumped exhausted against the door of the Magic Box. It was as if that one gesture of closing the door to their room was more than that – it was like closing the door on their life – on their love, on hope.
Buffy held onto the handle of the door as if it were a lifeline - the only thing keeping her from floating off into deep space, never to be heard from or seen again.
Spike had finally gotten Annie calmed down and convinced her to play one of her video games while he went to check on the babies and see what Buffy was doing. When he started up the stairs, he saw her standing against their bedroom door, the overnight bag that she’d come here with in her hand. It seemed poetic that she chose to use the same bag on her way out of his life that she’d used when she entered it.
He remembered that first day like it was yesterday … when she came back and wanted “lessons” from Big Bad on how to be “slutty.” “Slutty the Vampire Layer” she’d called herself. His life had been a never ending E-ticket rollercoaster ride ever since; curving first one way, then the other; dipping and climbing and spinning, soaring to heaven and free falling into hell – and he wouldn’t have missed one minute of it for anything in the world. But the ride was over … the park was closed, her love was gone; no matter how much he wished it wasn’t.
Her lies about helping Angel were more than his heart and pride could stand. He’d always been love’s bitch, but he honestly thought that with Buffy he’d finally found someone who wouldn’t take advantage of that, who loved him as much as he loved her, and cared enough to treat him with respect. Unlike Dru, who used that character flaw to her full advantage, Buffy had made him believe that he had value … that he was worthy of being the king to her queen, not just a court jester – but obviously, he was mistaken.
He had no choice now but to pick up the broken pieces of his pride and his heart and keep moving, lest the quicksand at his feet suck him under. Spike swallowed the lump in his throat and continued up the stairs to where she was standing – seeing her standing there, so close and yet so far away, made the pain in his chest deepen. It hurt too much to see her, to be this near to her without being able to touch her. Love hurts – and losing Buffy’s love hurt him more than anything he’d ever felt before.
Buffy jumped when Spike spoke. “You probably should stay away a while, Slayer,” he told her – his voice even, as if he’d just told her it was raining outside. “You got the Niblett all upset … she needs some time to adjust.”
Buffy looked at him – he’d stopped about five feet away from her, like a stranger not wanting to intrude on her personal space. Buffy nodded slowly, not trusting her voice, and forced herself to release her hold on the doorknob at her back. She waited a moment to see if she would actually float away and be sucked into the atmosphere, but nothing happened, so she started walking towards the stairs – past Spike.
Spike backed up to the side of the hallway to give her a wide berth and tears stung her eyes again as she made her way down the stairs and out of the house. When she got up to the street, she had no idea where to go from there. She looked up and down Crawford Street, as if she’d never seen it before, then just dropped her bag and sat down on the curb as the sobs that she’d been holding back overcame her. She bent forward and covered her head with her hands and just cried.
Spike wasn’t going to forgive her … he was treating her like a stranger. She remembered reading once that hatred is not the opposite of love … in fact, the opposite of love is apathy … and that’s exactly what Spike showed for her now – complete indifference.
“What story do ya want t’night, Niblett?” Spike asked Annie as he tucked her in that night.
“Tell me about the first time you saw Mama …”
Spike pursed his lips together and stared at his daughter a long moment before saying, “That story’s been taken off the shelf … I know, how ‘bout ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’?”
Before Annie could protest, Spike started in on the old Aesop’s fable …
“There once was a shepherd boy who was bored as he sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. To amuse himself he took a great breath and sang out, ‘Wolf! Wolf! The Wolf is chasing the sheep!’
“The villagers came running up the hill to help the boy drive the wolf away. But when they arrived at the top of the hill, they found no wolf. The boy laughed at the sight of their angry faces.
“‘Don't cry wolf, shepherd boy,’ said the villagers, ‘when there's no bloody wolf!’
“Later, the boy sang out again, ‘Wolf! Wolf! The wolf is chasing the sheep!’ To his naughty delight, he watched the villagers run up the hill to help him drive the wolf away.
“When the villagers saw no wolf they sternly said, ‘Save your frightened song for when there is really something wrong! Don't cry wolf when there is NO wolf!’
“But the git just grinned and watched them go grumbling down the hill once more.
“Later, he saw a REAL wolf prowling about the flock. Alarmed, he leaped to his feet and sang out as loudly as he could, ‘Wolf! Wolf!’
“But the villagers thought he was trying to fool them again, and so they didn't come.
“At sunset, everyone wondered why the shepherd boy hadn't returned to the village with their sheep. When they went up the hill to find the boy, they found him weeping.
“‘There really was a wolf here! The flock has scattered! I cried out, ‘Wolf!’ Why didn't you come?’
“An old man told the boy, ‘Nobody believes a liar...even when he’s tellin’ the truth!’” Spike finished up.
“So … the moral of the story is…?” Spike asked Annie.
“Don’t tell lies … or take your sheep up the hill near the wolf,” Annie provided.
“Bright girl, you are,” Spike told her as he started to drop a kiss on her forehead.
“Have you ever told a lie, Papa?” Annie asked him before he reached her forehead and he sat back up.
“Well, I suppose everyone tells a lie now and then … but not about important things and not to people you love,” he told her.
Willow and Tara happened to be walking by Annie’s room and heard the end of the conversation. Willow couldn’t resist chiming in.
From what Tara told her, Buffy felt terrible about what she’d done – and as far as Willow was concerned, Spike was partly to blame. He’d backed her into a corner and forced her hand. Willow knew Buffy was no saint … but neither was Spike.
Willow cleared her throat and stepped inside the door of Annie’s room. “What about Hallie?” she asked, looking at Spike.
Spike turned his head to look at her. Willow was standing with her arms crossed and Tara was standing behind her, just outside the door in the hall, both were looking at him expectantly.
“What about Hallie?” Spike asked her.
“Well – you knew her from before, but somehow forgot to mention that for about a month there …” Willow offered.
“That’s not a lie …” Spike defended.
“A lie of omission is still a lie,” Willow argued. “You might’ve saved everyone a lot of pain and trouble if you’d just told Buffy that you didn’t want her here and why. But you chose to remain surprisingly un-Spike-like and keep quiet.”
Spike narrowed his eyes and glared at Willow, but she remained undeterred.
“And then there was that time you told Buffy you were going to kil…uhhh … kiss her on Saturday – but you showed up at Parent-Teacher night on Thursday, instead …”
“That don’t count! I didn’t have a soul then!” Spike contended, standing up to face Willow, his hands going to his hips.
“Oh, that keeps you from knowing what a lie is? I don’t think so…” Willow asserted with a shake of her head.
“Still wasn’t a lie,” Spike protested. “I just got bored – showed up fashionably early.”
“And didn’t you go behind her back and extort money and this house from Angel before you got married?” Tara asked from behind Willow.
“I did that for her! For her and the Niblett …” Spike argued, waving his arm towards Annie, who was watching and listening intently to the conversation. “And it wasn’t bloody extortion …”
“Oh, so good intentions do count for something, then … the end justifies the means,” Tara interrupted him, a small, triumphant smile playing on her lips.
“Bloody hell…” Spike moaned and rolled his eyes. He flung his arms out to the side in surrender. “Fine! Fine! Yes, I’ve told lies … but …”
Willow held up her hand. “No buts… If there’s a zero tolerance on telling lies, then I think you just flunked,” she informed him as she turned around and she and Tara headed down the hall to their room.
Spike stood next to Annie’s bed, fuming with anger. How dare they compare what he’d done … those small indiscretions – nothing more than little white lies, to what Buffy had done to him!
“Papa?” Annie asked, pulling Spike from his thoughts of kicking two interfering witches out in the street.
Spike took a deep breath to try and calm down and looked down at his daughter. “Yeah?”
“Can you tell me the story of the first time you saw Mama now?”
Spike sighed deeply, closed his eyes, and nodded in resignation … this was going to be harder than he’d ever imagined.
Buffy didn’t know how long she’d sat on the curb on Crawford Street … time seem to speed up and slow down at will lately. When she looked up, the sun was setting ... it was getting dark out. She stood up stiffly and picked her bag up from the sidewalk as her eyes turned back and looked at the mansion – what had been her home for the last six years. The light was on in Annie’s room – she knew that Spike was in there telling her a story, tucking her in, giving her a kiss goodnight, and tears stung her eyes again.
“Get over it, Slayer…” she admonished herself quietly as she turned away and started walking towards the high school. She could feel her heart tell her feet to turn around – to run back, to fall on her knees and beg Spike to forgive her, but her mind knew it would do no good and forced her feet to keep walking away.
Those shared moments with their children … the bedtime stories and butterfly kisses were in the past. All she could do now was her mission – and that was to get Angel better and back to L.A. – her daughter’s and JJ’s lives would depend on it one day.
Love Hurts - Nazareth
Love hurts, love scars, love
wounds and marks
I know it isn't true, I know it isn't true.
Feedback: Email me feedback, I'd love to hear from you! passionate@passion4 spike.com
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