It was early the following morning when Buffy left Angel's room. They had gone in there to ensure they could talk without interruption. It had been since her mother's funeral that they had talked so candidly, intimately. She realized now how much she had missed it. Buffy must have drifted off at some point and woke just before five o'clock realizing she had to go home. She had class and could not go wearing the same thing she had worn the day before. She had not planned on spending the night so preparing for that had not entered her mind when leaving her house yesterday morning.
She took a pen and a piece of paper from a notebook in her book bag and sat at the kitchen to write Angel a note. He looked so peaceful so Buffy had been as quiet as she could be leaving his bedroom not wanting to wake him.
"He's going to be mad if you just run off."
"I'm not running off. I'm leaving a note," she said, gesturing with her pen to the piece of paper she had written the note on.
"You left me a note once."
"I remember," she said, folding the piece of paper and writing his name on it. Spike had been there for her when no one else seemed to be. She would never forget that. "What are you doing living here?"
"Is it uncomfortable for you, Luv? I'd like to apologize but considering you didn't seem to have a problem spending the night with Peaches with me right down the hall I don't think I need to."
Buffy had not anticipated running into Spike. She and Angel had heard them come in, but they had been in Angel's room so she had not had to see him again. Seeing him the first time was hard enough. She had never felt more put on the spot. If she was overeager to see Spike, Angel was going to get mad. If she ignored him, Spike would think that their last few months together had been fake. Buffy may not be in love with Spike, but she had meant it when she told him she loved him. Her heart would always belong to Angel, which was something she could not help. Spike had read the warning label that came with a relationship with Buffy.
"As if that matters, Buffy," Spike said.
"What is it with you two lecturing me? The last I saw and heard you and Angel couldn't stand each other but you live together now?"
"Well, nowhere else to go really."
"Giles isn't exactly keen on the idea of my helping the new slayers and I have to do something or I'll go nuts again."
"But we deprogrammed the trigger."
"Sure, but that doesn't mean it couldn't happen again, a new trigger, Buffy. I've thought about finding my own place, but Illyria is comfortable here with both of us. So I stay. It's not fondness for Angel, it's just that I don't have anywhere else to go. We get along all right, except for when it comes to you."
"I don't have to come back here."
He snorted. "And knowing he's at your place shagging you all night and day will make it hurt so much less."
"I'm sorry," she said softly, her eyes downcast.
"No you're not, Slayer. I know you're not lying, but you're not truly sorry either."
"I had no intention of this happening. I really didn't, Spike. I came back to LA to go to school and create a life where I'm most comfortable. I spent the first fifteen years of my life here."
"I'll give you that at least. I'm just tired of being everyone's consolation prize, Buffy."
Buffy wondered if she would ever learn all there was to know about Spike or Angel. She doubted it. You live hundreds of years and there are bound to be things that even if Buffy wanted to know they would have forgotten. There was nothing more to say between them. She was not sure they could be friends now, if they were ever truly friends at all. She liked to think so but she knew there was no going back once she had made a choice between the two vampires. Had she gone off and chosen someone totally different maybe a friendship could have been maintained.
She placed the note on the refrigerator, guiltily glancing at the unwashed dishes from the omelet Angel had tried to make her the night before. She did not have time to stay and clean up after their mess.
He snorted as his eyes seemed to follow her path around the kitchen. "Yeah, so little happened between you two that a perfectly good omelet got burnt to cinders."
"I have to go," she whispered as she picked up her book bag and slung it over her shoulder.
"We had a good night last night, a vamp nest taken out thanks to Illyria and me," he said when she had gotten to the front door.
She had figured they were done talking, which was why she had turned her back on him. "What?" she asked. She turned to face him again, staring at him incredulously. He had not just said what she thought he did.
"Our patrol last night."
"Okay," she asked, thoroughly confused.
"Well, I thought maybe you might like to know."
"I'm done being the slayer, Spike."
"You'll never be done being the slayer, Buffy. You can create hundreds of thousands of them, you could have one in every town and city in every state and country of the world and it'd still be in your blood."
"It may be in my blood, but it doesn't control me, Spike."
He shrugged as he leaned against the doorway leading from the kitchen to the living room. "Your loss. I figured with you and your vampire honey back together you might rethink that attitude. He does fight the good fight, Buffy. Do you really think he's going to let you not be the slayer? You're a powerful ally, one I'd want to use if I had the ability to convince you to come out of retirement."
"I can help him without slaying, Spike."
"Surely you'll need to slay to let out your aggressions if you're going the celibacy route, Slayer."
"I have more ways than slaying to work those things out."
"Yeah, well, I'm not your punching bag anymore and I didn't realize you had more choices in your repertoire."
"I'm so not getting into this, Spike. I have class and work later so I'd like to get a nap in before I have to start my day," she said and turned to leave again.
"Yes," she said, her hand on the doorknob. "I work. I live on my own. I am self-sufficient Buffy. I know it's a foreign concept to you but I'm in a good place, Spike."
"And you think getting involved again with the love of your life is going to keep you in that good place?"
"I won't know until I try, Spike. I've gone the normal route, I've tried everything I could to move on and stop loving him but nothing worked. I don't know what's going to happen, neither does he. We may not get back together at all."
"Your scent tells a different story."
She closed her eyes, hating that aspect of the vampire thing. Of course she smelled like Angel. They had not had sex but they had not spent the entire evening and most of the night just talking either. She had forgotten what kissing, just kissing could be like. She felt like a girl again, as if she had gotten a part of her innocence and youth back that had been ripped from her the day Merrick came into her life.
"Good bye, Spike," she said with finality as she opened the door, closing it once she had walked out.
She walked from the house knowing Spike could not follow her because it was close to sunrise. She turned her head in the other direction when a car drove by and honked at her. "Men are such jerks," she said. It did not matter if they were vampires or humans.
She did not like admitting to anyone, including herself, that she missed slaying. She missed Sunnydale, she missed her friends and her life there. But in truth, when it got down to it, she missed performing her duties. There was no going back to Sunnydale, it was gone so there was little sense dwelling on that. She kept in contact with her friends. She had moved on with her life in a positive direction. The only thing that she had not moved forward with was her slaying. Instead she had tried to deny she was the slayer.
It did not matter to her how many others there were, in her mind, like Angel and Spike, she considered herself to be the slayer until she died. The slayer line rested with Faith until they did the big mojo and yet she still considered herself the slayer. For over seven years it had been her life. There were memories she laughed about, cried about and some that she was indifferent about. But they all were grounded on her being the slayer.
"Damn it," she hissed through clenched teeth. "I can't think like this." She walked the rest of the way home going over the different epochs they were studying in Anthropology class, determined to put thoughts of slaying out of her mind.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com