Best Part of Breaking Up

Best Part Of Breaking Up


Chapter 19:

Spike didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know why he agreed to have dinner with Dru. The only thing that he could think was that he had a total relapse in judgment and was temporarily insane. He said yes!

He said yes and then proceeded to discuss dinner reservations with someone his family had deemed the ‘skanky ho bitch from hell’. Of course he couldn’t disagree with them. She wasn’t the best person for him and he learned that the hard way, but yet here he was glutton for more punishment.

Dru suggested they go to some place in LA that he’d never heard of before. When he said he’d never heard of the restaurant she laughed, smiled that wicked grin that had made Spike fall for her in the first place and proceeded to write the directions on one of his papers concerning the case. She waved bye to him and told him to meet her at the restaurant at seven.

Spike, like the biggest retard in the world, decided that it would be a good idea to have a friendly dinner with his ex-girlfriend that cheated on him for three solid months. He lit another cigarette. He’d been smoking like a chimney since he got back to his apartment. He hadn’t been much better on the car ride to the big fancy restaurant and he certainly wasn’t getting any better as he waited outside the place hoping that it was all just a bad dream.

Well I best just get moving. It won’t be that bad. I mean it’s not like she’ going to spray me with paralyzing liquid or anything like that. Just get out of the car, walk calmly inside and wait for her to show up. If she hasn’t already that is. Spike thought to himself as he stepped out of his car and snuffed out his cigarette. It was going to be a long evening.

“Wow that’s harsh. Is Dawn okay?” Oz asked.

Buffy, Willow, Andrew and Warren had just gotten done telling him what had happened in the courtroom earlier. All four of them looked beyond a little drained and Oz could understand why.

“She’s better. We went out for some ice cream and she calmed down a bit. God, it was so hard to listen to her up there and know that I just had to sit and wait for something to happen.” Buffy said.

“Yeah, but everything is good now. Spike won the case and Riley’s going to jail pending what the judge says.” Andrew said.

“Yeah, but scars like that don’t just go away, Andy. I mean Dawn and Buffy have to live with that pain for the rest of there lives.” Willow said.

“Oh way to be support-o gal.” Buffy said sarcastically.

“Sorry, Buff, but sometimes no matter how much you want the pain to go away it’ll still be there. It’s gonna heal with time, trust me on that one. Dawn just needs a little time to realize what happened today was of the good.” Willow said.

“Yeah, poor thing she was so worn out from crying she fell asleep right away. I sure hope she’ll be okay soon.” Warren said.

“I’m sure she will be. We just have to act positive. We just have to be positive.” Andrew said.

“I can do positive. I can be positive.” Buffy said.

“Of course you can be positive. Riley’s gone and now you have your life back. You can do anything you want now.” Willow said.

“Yeah anything I want right now includes talking to my friends and eating a lot of ice cream.” Buffy said.

“Well, we’re all here, where’s the ice cream.” Oz asked.

“Oh, I thought we’d keep the ice cream for later. You know after we’ve actually eaten dinner.” Buffy said.

“The Chinese food should be here any minute. I swear they said ten minutes and that was like five minutes ago.” Andrew said.

“Okay then while we’re waiting Oz and I have an announcement to make.” Willow said standing up and facing her friends. Oz was immediately at her side and gave her hand a gentle squeeze.

“Really, what is it Wills?” Buffy asked.

“Well, we were waiting for the right time to tell all of you and I figured tonight was as good a time as any. I think we could all use some happy news.” Willow said.

“Okay Willow, get on with it.” Andrew said impatiently.

“Alright. Geez, respect the narrative flow much. Okay as I was saying I thought tonight would be the right time. Okay we’ll there’s no way to beat around the bush with this so I guess here it goes… I’m pregnant.” Willow said.

“Oh my God! That’s great. I’m so happy for you!” Buffy said as she stood up to walk over to her best friend. Buffy hugged her tightly. The guys stood up and shook hands offering congratulations to Oz.

Andrew hugged Willow after Buffy walked over to Oz to hug him. Oz was a bit surprised when Buffy hugged him, but got over the shock quickly. After the hug fest was over, Buffy pulled Willow over to sit next to her and took Willow’s hand.

“How far along are you?” Buffy asked.

“Only a few months.” Willow answered.

“That’s so great. God, I’m so happy for the two of you. You’re going to go and start your own family. Know that I’m always here to baby-sit.” Buffy said.

“Well since this is good news time. I guess me and Warren have some news of our own.”

“Um… I’m looking for Drusilla Collins. Is she here yet?” Spike asked the hostess. The blonde looked up at him, gave him a small smile and looked back down at the papers in front of her.

“Yes, Miss Collins is here. Would you like me to show you to your seat?” The hostess asked.

“Sure.” Spike said and followed as the girl took him to a very secluded part of the restaurant.

He saw Dru sitting there with her long brown hair down and wavy. She was sitting there drinking water and looking very professional in one of her power suits. Spike sat down in the chair across from her.

“Hello Dru.” He said in a tone he hoped wasn’t dry.

She put up her finger signaling she wasn’t ready to say anything and finished taking a sip of her water. She put the cup down gulped down her water and cleared her throat.

“Evening Spike. How have you been?” Dru asked in a tone that Spike thought could be sarcastic, but he couldn’t really tell. It was a loaded question. How had Spike been?

“Got a life time?” Spike asked in a somewhat joking matter.

“That bad, huh? Well I’m here to listen.” Dru said.

“Yeah you’re here to listen. That’s a load of shit.” Spike said wondering if the waitress would be there soon. He could really use a drink.

“Oh, low blow. Okay so I’m not the best person to be helping you with your problems.” Dru said. Spike snorted and began to chug his water wishing it were something else.

“Maybe because I most likely caused some of them, but I guess I just thought we could be… I don’t know… friends.” Dru said staring at Spike with those darn hopeful blue eyes.

“We can never be friends Dru. I don’t trust you.” Spike said.

“Understandable. I cheated on you and made your life miserable for those last three months. And yeah, I’m not any different now, but I am sorry that it happened that way.” Dru said.

Spike studied her expression. She had a nervous twitchy look that wasn’t exactly common on her face. She was always the cool causal powerful attorney. This was a new look on her.

“Why are we really here Dru?” Spike asked.

“Other then to celebrate your outstanding win and my horrible defeat… I don’t really know. I’m here to say I’m sorry I guess. Sorry that I caused you so much pain and sorry that I made you go against your family’s wishes. I know you care about them more then anything. I’m just… sorry.” Dru finished.

“Okay I’ll buy that for now. I still think there’s another reason.” Spike said.

“So what do you want to eat? It’s on me.” Dru said in a friendly tone.

“I don’t know. Haven’t looked at the menu yet.” Spike said picking up the menu and taking a look at it. There were only fancy food items and Spike didn’t know what to choose.

“Sorry that it’s all fancy. Only places I know here are fancy. Schmoozing with the clients.” Dru explained.

“It’s okay. I’ll have the chicken Parmesan.” Spike said.

“Sounds good. I already know what I want.” Dru said.

“Okay, now answer me this question, Dru.”

“What is it?”

“Why were you Riley’s lawyer?”

“What’s the news, Andrew? The suspense is killing me.” Willow said.

“Yes we’re all on the edge of our seats.” Buffy said. Oz nodded his head vigorously at the girl’s statements.

“Andy, I’m not exactly sure we should tell them right now. I mean it isn’t written in stone or anything.” Warren said.

“Yeah, but most likely right. Besides everyone has such good news and I want to be involved.” Andrew said.

“Okay, okay. I’ll let you tell them only because you look like a keyed up puppy right now.” Warren said. Andrew squeaked and hugged Warren close.

Warren held him close to him and even though the set in his jaw said annoyed, his eyes said ‘I can’t believe I love this dork, but I do.’

“Okay enough with the hugs. Tell us already or I will be forced to use… force.” Willow said wishing she had a better ending then that.

“Okay well after much deliberation and arguing and consideration, Warren and I have decided to move here to Sunnydale.” Andrew said in that giddy tone that just screamed happy.

“Oh… wow… that’s great, but what about your fear of small towns?” Buffy asked to Warren.

“I don’t know. I guess I’m putting it on the back shelf. I mean we both kind of need a break from big city living. I know that it’s pretty hard to relax there and Andy seems to really like it here so why the heck not.” Warren said.

“Oh, that’s so sweet.” Willow said.

“Yeah, I know. He wasn’t up for the idea at first, but eventually after seeing how much I liked it here, he decided it was a good idea. All because I wanted to.” Andrew said gazing lovingly at Warren.

“So what are you going to do with the practice? I mean it’s such a great little place to just throw away.” Buffy said.

“Great, but stressful. I mean I could be a doctor at a practice like mine, but running it is a whole different story. I’m not good with numbers and stuff like that and I always hire someone to do the books. It takes away from the reason I became a doctor.” Andrew said.

“Well I hope you guys will be very happy living down here. It’s a great little place.” Oz said.

“He speaks in full sentences with nouns and verbs and even a few adjectives. I feel honored.” Warren joked good-naturedly as he sat down on one of the chairs pulling Andrew onto his lap.

“I do that occasionally. It’s very rare.” Oz said.

“Well everyone just has great news. I get rid of Riley. Willow’s pregnant and my stepbrother is moving to Sunnydale. Life couldn’t be better.” Buffy said.

“Well I’m sure there are a few things that could be better. Like say a certain blond attorney could be sitting here with us.” Andrew probed.

“Andrew don’t…” Buffy was interrupted by the sound of the doorbell.

“Food’s here.” Oz said.

“Thanks for stating the obvious. I’ll get the food.” Buffy said standing up to avoid further questioning. At least for the few minutes it would take her to pay the deliveryman and the stalling that would be involved before entering the living room.

“Oh… that’s a story.” Dru said after the waitress had taken their orders. She was stalling and Spike could tell, but he really wanted to get down to the reason for this dinner.

“Well we’ve got all night. The Dru I knew would never set near a family court case. Was it that money?” Spike asked.

“Oddly enough, no it wasn’t the money. I… I got fired from my other job.” Dru rushed out.

“Really? That’s weird usually lawyers talk to each other when things like that happen.” Spike said.

“Yeah well I managed to keep it quiet. I pretended I was moving to my dad’s law firm because he wanted me to take over. The partners at my old law firm agreed to keep it that way.” Dru said.

“Oh well if that’s how you went about it. Why’d you get fired?” Spike asked.

“Well, you’re just full of questions.”

“Just answer them.”

“Okay no need to get testy. I was on drugs.”


“You can put your eyes back in your sockets. I was on them for awhile. Even before we were together. I just thought I was in control back then.” Dru said looking down at her breadsticks.

“How? How could I have lived with you for three months and not have known. I mean… drugs. Was that why you were always so loony?” Spike asked realizing how insensitive that sounded.

He just couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea that cool confident Dru had been on drugs and it had been before they were together.

“Those last months yeah. I was a little out of control. I tried to gain back my composure, but it was hard you know. The drugs made it easier for me to be wild and less conservative. At first it started like a once in a blue moon thing. Then it escalated into this huge thing I couldn’t control.” Dru said.

“So even before we were dating you were on drugs and you never told me? You knew that I was a recovering alcoholic and you just did drugs and didn’t even care.” Spike said accusingly.

“Okay yeah our relationship was mostly based on lies…”

“Mostly! Try it was all based on lies. You would sit there and watch as I drank and you didn’t care because hey if you were high then why not let Spike get pissed.” Spike said a little too heatedly.

“Yes, I know I was terrible and I should have never tried to be your girlfriend knowing that you had problems of your own. I just didn’t care you know. It was easier to know that there was someone just as screwed up as me out there and that’s what you were. I never expected to be with you longer then a month or two.” Dru said.

“Oh that makes me feel much better.”

“Honesty is the best policy.”

“So what is this? Some sort of twelve step program. Say your sorry to all the people you done wrong under the influence? I know all that steps, remember I took them.”

“Yes I guess you can say it’s something like that.”

“God… I need a drink.”

“So, Buff, spill. Are you going to go after Spike or what?” Andrew said not really caring that he was being so blunt.

“No, okay, I’m not going to. It’s not that time in my life. I… just look I’m not ready to date yet.” Buffy said.

“But Spike really is a great catch and I can tell he likes you.” Andrew said.

“God, Andy stop trying to run my life.”

“I’m not trying to run your life. I’m just trying to show you the great guy standing in front of you.”

“I know okay. I have eyes. I can see the great guy in front of me. I’m not stupid. It’s… just… I sort of fucked things up.” Buffy said letting out a defeated sigh.

“I’m going to guess this is a big mistake because Buffy just cursed.” Oz said.

“It is. It’s a very big mistake.” Willow said. Buffy looked up at her with an accusing glare.

“You know?” She asked in a voice barely above a whisper.

“He told me. I’m not supposed to be telling you this but he told me. He really sounded defeated. He’s not going to go after you anymore.” Willow said.

“See I told you I messed things up. God, I’m such an idiot. See what happens when Buffy gets assertive.” Buffy said.

“No I don’t see. All I know is that somehow you messed up and yeah okay understandable and forgivable, but you haven’t gotten assertive. You’ve just gotten defeated.” Andrew said.

“Oh trust me I got assertive. I got so damn assertive that I slept with him.” Buffy said. Everyone except Willow looked at her with shock.

“Yeah see, Buffy gets assertive and sleeps with a guy and fucks things up royally. How’s that for karma.” Buffy was raising her voice, but it was nowhere near yelling. She was too afraid of waking up Dawn.

“So you slept with him. Big deal. You two were practically dating as it was.” Andrew said.

“The big deal is that as a defense mechanism Buffy told Spike that it was a mistake and that it didn’t mean anything.” Willow said. Andrew let out a shocked gasp, Warren looked slightly uncomfortable and Oz looked pensive.

“No, Buffy you didn’t. How could you do that?” Andrew asked.

“Hey aren’t you on my side?” Buffy asked.

“Buffy we are, but you’ve got to realize that you and Spike are like the same when it comes to relationships. Neither of you have had a really good lasting one. He’s in a fragile state as are you and I think he really likes you and you just crushed him. He’s perfect for you.” Willow said.

“Yeah, maybe a little too perfect. What if say we get together and he you know realizes that he doesn’t want someone with so much baggage. Or even worse what if he just wants me because he’d get an already made family and wouldn’t have to work on it.” Buffy said.

“God you sound like you just don’t want to take risks. Life is about risks and I don’t think Spike is the type of guy that would do either of those things. You just have to try. I mean you’re at the beginning, how much damage can it do if you take that jump. You’ll just end up at the beginning again.” Andrew said.

“Yeah, but worse off. I can’t put myself through that again. I can’t do it. I can try, but I can’t. I don’t have anymore fight left in me.” Buffy said.

“Then I hope you’re prepared to let him go for good.” Willow said.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Buffy said lifting her head from her hands.

Willow sighed. She really shouldn’t be telling Buffy this because of the confidentiality codes it broke, but these were two people she really cared about. She couldn’t just see them throw their lives away because they were both two stubborn to deal with the budding love they had for each other.

“Okay now know that I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but you leave me no choice. Spike’s taking that job in San Francisco.” Willow said.

Buffy looked… broken. Like she just found out her puppy had died.

“Buffy you have to do something. You have to go to him and tell him not to leave.” Andrew said.

“I can’t. What does Sunnydale have to offer him? He’d be making a mistake if he were to not take the job. I can’t offer him any guarantees. At least this job can offer him stability.” Buffy said.

“But that’s what life is all about. They’re no guarantees in life. You just have to go with the flow of things.” Andrew said.

“Yeah, Buffy don’t let me have told you this information for nothing. Please, you know you want to do this. Don’t let him get away just because you’re afraid.” Willow said.

Buffy looked around at her friends who were engrossed in eating their Chinese food. Buffy was half way done with her food. She gave one last look at her friends and then she got up and ran out of her front door.

Spike was dizzy. He hadn’t drunk that much since he was … a teenager. Everything was blurry and Dru looked as though she was worried. He wasn’t listening to her. She was going on and on about how wrong it was for Spike to down the drinks like he was. Spike just didn’t care. He didn’t give her enough to time to argue with his drinking.

At this point he was drinking straight out of the bottle and seeing red. He was seeing dark red and he couldn’t believe he was giving up years of sobriety just because of her. It was because of her again and yet it wasn’t exactly Dru this time.

What had he expected? He knew their relationship was built on lies. He knew exactly what had happened during his relationship with Dru. No this was the work of another her.

“You know s’not so much the fact that you lied ‘bout your drug problem as is that fact that… that fact that you… you know… lied.” Spike’s slurred out and his brows furrowed in confusion.

“Spike, you’re drinking entirely too much. You have to stop.” Dru said.

“Why you were on drugs. Why can’t I get a little drunk?” Spike asked closing his eyes slightly. The bright lights were hurting his eyes.

“A little drunk. You’ve had ten glasses of wine.” Dru said.

“So what. Look I can do whatever I want. I’m a bloody adult aren’t I?”

“Okay that’s it we’re getting you home.”

Buffy walked over to Spike’s apartment complex. She had been thinking about everything that Willow and Andrew had said. It was true life was about taking risks and a small part of her wanted too badly. She wanted to be able to say she lived a little before she died.

She won’t to be able to say that she hadn’t said no to love. She wanted to be one of those lucky people that meets the love of his or her life and lives happily ever after. She wanted that so bad it hurt and Spike seemed like that person.

Another part of her knew that she was scared and was scared for that very reason. She didn’t want to lose again. She had lost so many times before and she just didn’t want to mess this up. Spike was a great guy and she’d be lucky if he was just her friend. She’d feel honored. He had done so much for her already.

Buffy rounded the corner of the hall that led to Spike’s town house apartment and she saw them. Spike leaning heavily on Drusilla who was trying to open Spike’s front door. From the looks of it they were trying their hardest to get inside the apartment and were even fumbling with the keys.

Buffy heard Dru let out a relieved sigh and watched as Dru and Spike disappeared inside Spike’s apartment. The door shut with a small clicking noise, but the sound rang loudly in Buffy’s ears. She felt devastated. Spike had obviously moved on passed their little thing and was back with Drusilla. Buffy wiped the lone tear that was threatening to fall down her face and stormed out of the apartment complex and into the dark night.

“Spot get off the bed.” Dru said quietly to the dog that was taking up most of the space on Spike’s bed.

The dog growled at her before it moved slightly. Dru sighed and gently placed Spike down on the bed. She took of his jacket and his shoes and was about to leave when she heard Spike’s voice.

“Hey… thanks… for driving me home. Are you gonna be okay getting back?” he asked her.

“I took my car. Should I call Angel to go get your car?” Dru said.

She heard the small sniffle at the mention of Angel’s name.

“Look I won’t tell him. I’ll send someone else to get the car if you want. He doesn’t have to get it.” Dru said.

“Wouldn’t matter if I gave a rat’s ass about him knowing or not. He couldn’t get it even if he wanted to. He’s in the hospital.” Spike replied his voice heavy with emotion.

“What happened?”

“You don’t have to pretend you care.”

“I want to so humor me.”

“Kidney failure or some rot like that. Result of him not taking his insulin on time.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. You don’t really care. Look why don’t you just go.”

“Well if you’re going to be snide about it.” Dru said trying to make her way out of Spike’s apartment.

“I’m sorry, Dru. There’s just a lot going on. Angel, my family, I’m still angry at my dad, I’m moving and I have to tell them, other things.” Spike finished.

“You’re moving?”

“Yeah in about two weeks its bye, bye Sunnydale, hello San Francisco. Giles offered to make me a partner at one of his law firms.” Spike said.

“Well that’s great for you. Really it is. It’s a nice opportunity.” Dru said.

“Yeah I know. That’s why I’m taking the job. I’m just dreading telling everyone. Xander and Angel already know. I had to tell Xander. He’s the boss. Had to give my two weeks notice and I told Angel because he deserves to know. I’m going to tell them soon.” Spike said.

“I’m sure they’ll be happy for you. I’m happy for you.” Dru said.

“Yeah thanks. You take care of yourself Dru.” Spike said realizing that this was a moment. A moment in which he was letting Dru go for good and there would finally be closure with this part of his life. It looked like Dru needed it to.

“Goodbye, William. Hope you’re life turns out to be everything you wanted it to be.” Dru said with a small smile on her face. Spike smiled back.

“Yeah, bye Dru. Hope you do everything you set out to do.” Spike said.

Dru stood there for a moment. This was what closure felt like and it was oddly empty and reassuring at the same time. Dru spared one last glance at Spike before leaving. Spike watched as she left. Spot seemed to be happier because of it and Spike couldn’t be happier. He had closure. He was free to start his new life.

And for some reason his new life didn’t seem that promising either.


Chapter 20:

Spike was dreading this conversation. He had to tell them sooner or later. They’d figure it out when he didn’t show up for some sort of family event. His empty apartment might clue them in to. He decided it was best to invite them all to a dinner. Nothing to fancy just a little something at his apartment where he made some good food and got them all buttered up before dropping the bomb on them.

Angel had been let out of the hospital the same week Spike had that dinner with Dru. It had been a week since then and Spike was feeling no less confused about his place in life. He wasn’t sure what he thought Dru would be able to give him.

In retrospect she had given him all she could give him. She had given him closure and although Spike was still searching for his own two feet it had been enough. It was nice to know that Dru wasn’t out to intentionally hurt him. She had and she seemed genuinely sorry for it, but she couldn’t change the past.

She had been just as screwed up as he had been and although that didn’t make the hurt go away it did dull it some. It was good to know that Dru felt bad about how she had treated him. It helped him realize that maybe a person just needed those experiences because they were all apart of life.

It didn’t make him any less confused though. He had gone over and over the reasons why moving right now was a bad idea. They outweighed the good reasons by a lot, but Spike didn’t care. He felt like it was something he had to do. He could pass up something like this. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. Spike kept telling himself those words hoping they would be true.

If he were going to be honest, deep down in the crevices of his mind where he hid everything he would deny until he died, Spike knew he was running. Knew he was running away from this life because it was getting too tiring. Things got old and used and had a stale feel to them and they didn’t seem to be getting any better even though he was weathering the storm with all his might.

So here he was setting his fake wood dinning table for seven seats and bringing out an extra table for the kids to eat on. He was getting ready to face his doom and he knew it. They’d yell. They’d scream and if he was lucky the girls would scratch too much and Wesley wouldn’t threaten him with bodily harm.

At least he’d have Xander and Angel on his side albeit very reluctantly. They had both made their position on Spike’s departure crystal clear, but they were going to let him make his own mistakes. Spike wasn’t sure if this whole thing was a huge gigantic mistake, but he had to do it.

Okay here goes nothing Spike thought when he heard the doorbell chime.

If he was lucky they’d all show up at the same time and he wouldn’t have to go throw Cordy, Fred, and Anya’s questioning and Wesley’s burning stares along with Angel and Xander’s knowing looks of concern. He’d just be able to sit them down, fill them full of food and then break the news to them.

Spike made a quick stop to the freezer, opened and took out a wine bottle. A minute later when he was halfway to the door he doubled back and put the wine bottle back into the freezer. He really didn’t think it would be a wise idea to get these people drunk.

Spike walked over to his front door, took a deep breath and opened it.

“Hey, all.” Spike said.

Spike opened the door to find Cordy, Angel, the kids, Anya and Xander standing in front of him. The kids said their hellos before pushing past Spike and began their search for Spot. Spike was greeted with hellos and hugs before Cordy, Angel, Anya and Xander pushed by him and into his apartment.

“So, what’s this dinner about anyway. You were all vague with the details.” Cordy said.

“I think it would be easier if I told you when Wes and Fred get here. I really don’t feel like repeating myself.” Spike said hoping they didn’t see the fidgeting in his nervous demeanor.

They obviously didn’t because Anya said, “Fair enough. So what’s on the menu?”

“Um… just cooked something simple and easy. Lasagna with French bread.” Spike said.

“Sounds better then the fast food I was going to pick up.” Cordy said.

It was easy, this part at least. He could pretend like he didn’t have anything big or life altering and just talk with his family and friends. Occasionally he would catch Xander or Angel’s eye and they would have that questioning looking. They both knew what was going on tonight, but neither was ready to pull him aside and ask. Asking made it real and Spike didn’t think either of them were ready for it to be really even

Xander who he had just started getting along with. So they settled for giving him the unnerving stares silently asking is he was actually going to tell everybody tonight. Spike just looked back at them and hoped he had conveyed enough in his eyes to tell them that yes they were right and tonight was the night he was going to tell them because Saturday which was only three days away Spike would be leaving for San Francisco in search of an apartment.

The doorbell chimed again and Spike knew exactly who it was. It was the last two people that were supposed to be here. Spike got up and opened his front door.

“Hey Spike. Hi y’all.” Fred said cheerfully. Wes merely nodded in recognition to everyone.

“Hey, glad you guys could make it. Come on in and let’s get started eating. I’m sure everyone’s pretty hungry.” Spike said as he closed the door behind Fred and Wes.

Spike quickly made his way over to the kitchen hoping to buy a little time before everyone was sitting down waiting for him to revel his news. The moment was here and now all he had to do was tell them and get it over with.

“Do you need some help?” Spike turned around to see Cordy standing there looking as though she needed something to do.

“Sure… um why don’t you take the plates out to everyone. I’ll cut up the pieces.” Spike said.

“I can definitely do that. So, do I get to know what’s up before everyone else or do I have to wait.” Cordy asked.

“You have to wait.” Spike said handing her two plates with lasagna and French bread on them.

“Fair enough, but you need to stop acting all nervous. I think it’s making everyone else nervous.” Cordy said.

She left with the two plates in her hand and came back for two more until everyone was served a nice piece of lasagna and a good portion of bread. Spike passed out cans of soda to everyone and Cordy made the kids chocolate milk. Everyone was seated and looking at Spike expectantly.

“Maybe you guys should eat first.” Spike said noticing that Connor and Maddy were already chowing down on their food.

“Oh, this isn’t good. He wants us to eat his good food so we’ll be lulled into a false sense of security and not get too mad when he tells us what’s up.” Anya said.

“No I just don’t want the food to get cold.” Spike said.

“Because yelling will be involved and you’re not sure how long it’s going to take.” Cordy said.

“Why don’t you just tell us and then we’ll eat. I don’t think any of us have much of an appetite now that this conversation has taken a more serious tone.” Wes said.

“Yeah it can’t be that bad.” Fred said.

“Poor innocent, Fred. You have no idea just how bad it could be.” Anya said with something of disdain and disappointment in her voice.

“Hey, I’m not just so stupid f… screw-up.” Spike said suddenly remembering there were kids in the room that didn’t need to hear his bad words at the moment.

“So then tell us what’s up.” Cordy said somewhat impatiently.

“Giles offered me a position as partner at his new law firm.” Spike said.

“Well, that’s not bad. I mean that’s good. It’s a step in a good direction.” Fred said.

“Wait… isn’t Giles’s new law firm in…”

“SAN FRANCISCO!” Anya said finishing Cordy’s sentence.

“Um… yeah see that’s why you all are here. Okay here goes nothing… I’m taking the job. I’m moving out there sometime this month. I’m going up there to take a look at the apartments this weekend. I already called Giles and told him I’d take the position.” Spike said.

Spike would have preferred yelling to the eerie silence that fell on the room. They all seemed either puzzled or angry and Anya seemed to be a mixture of both. Connor kept happily munching on his lasagna while Maddy looked everywhere but directly at Spike. She was peering at him through her eyelashes and Spike could feel her eyes as well as everyone else’s on him.

“How could you… why would you… why are you moving at a time like this.” Anya said being the first one to break the silence.

“It’s just something I feel like I have to do.” Spike answered truthfully.

“But what about everything that’s here. I mean not to throw Angel’s sickness in your face too much, but he is sick and he does need you.” Fred said.

“If this is what he has to do then I can’t step in the way of that.” Angel said.

“Did you know about this?” Cordy asked and that deadly accusing glare was set on Angel.

“Yes I did know about this. He came to me and told me. I think he was seeking some sort of approval and I gave it to him. He needs to find his own way and he isn’t going to be able to do that if he’s being guilted into staying here.” Angel said.

“Yeah well you may be above that, but I’m not. Spike, William, you can’t move. Not now. Not when we need you here. Please you have to reconsider. I mean what’s in San Francisco that isn’t here?” Anya said.

“What’s here that isn’t in San Francisco? I don’t know. I’m not even sure there’ll be much of a difference, but I can’t just pass this up, Ahn.” Spike said.

“The job would still be there in a few months. I’m sure Giles would hold it for you. I mean he’s that kind of guy and he loves you and I have to agree with Anya that right now isn’t the best time to be moving.” Fred said.

“Fred, can’t you just be happy for him. I mean yeah it looks and awful lot like running away, but if he has to do it then it should get done before he explodes or something.” Xander said.

Spike almost smiled at Xander’s antics. He was showing his disapproval, support and good use as comic relief all in one sentence.

“Did you know about this.” Anya said giving Xander a glare that was equally as scary as Cordelia’s.

“Well, he had to give me his two weeks notice. I am his boss.” Xander said and he was beginning to look a little flustered.

“How come you didn’t tell me!” Anya screamed. This grabbed Connor’s attention and he looked as though he was about to cry before Maddy ushered him out of the dining area. She seemed to be on top of things lately.

“Anya, I’m not allowed to tell you those things. Things between and employer and his employee have to stay private.” Xander said.

“But he’s my brother. I made you hire him.” Anya said.

“Anya, don’t get mad at Xander because he was doing his job.” Cordy said.

“Yeah.” Xander interjected but crumpled back into his seat when Anya sent him another glare.

“Get mad at Spike. He’s the one that’s leaving.” Cordy said in that frighteningly calm manner. Spike sighed.

“Ahn, she’s right. If you want to get mad at someone it’s me. I’m the one that’s decided to leave all of a sudden and out of the blue.” Spike said.

“It is all of a sudden and out of the blue. How long did it take you to think about this? A few days. I think you should go back and rethink it.” Anya said.

“Anya, maybe we should be giving Spike support rather then getting mad at him. I mean this is a great job opportunity for him. It’ll give him experience in running a law firm. It’s one step toward his dream.” Fred said and Spike could have kissed her.

He knew that she was holding in a lot of what she wanted to say to him and most of it was yells and screams. She was being supportive.

“Who gives a fuck about job opportunities? Why aren’t you more upset about this? Why are you supporting him and this decision?” Cordy said staring at Angel.

“Well I can’t very well make him stay. If he wants to go out and screw up his life I can’t do anything about it. He isn’t some little kid anymore. He’s a grown man and it’s fucking ridiculous if I try and make a grown man do something he doesn’t want to do.” Angel said angrily.

“Look this isn’t some harebrained stupid thing Spike thought up doing while he was hammered. I’m perfectly sober and this is a good decision for me.” Spike said.

“Yeah so instead of going back to the bottle you’re going to run away. Jeez I think I like you better as a drunk. At least then you stuck around.” Anya said.

“You know what Anyanaka, I’m done with this shit. This stupid shit where everyone makes me feel like I owe them a debt of gratitude. I don’t owe you a Goddamn thing. I don’t owe any of you a Goddamn thing. I’ve paid my debt, but you’re still making me feel like I owe you something. Yeah, I was a bad kid and yeah I screwed up a few times, but everyone does it. No one is so bloody perfect that they don’t mess up a few times.” Spike said.

“You’re just being a selfish bastard as usual.” Anya said not ready to give up so easily.

“No I’m not. I haven’t been selfish in a very long time, Ahn. I’ve tried to be everything you all wanted me to be, well now I’m fucking tired.” Spike wanted to scream, but he kept his voice at a relatively normal volume.

“Whatever, you just keep telling yourself that.” Anya said.

“He isn’t being selfish.” Wesley said. He had been quiet throughout the whole exchange. “If he wants to move let him bloody well move.” Wesley said getting up and walking out the front door.

“I should…” Fred started to say pointing to the front door.

“No, I’ll go. No sense in him yelling at you when he really wants to yell at me.” Spike said getting up and walking over to the front door.

Wes stood in the hallway running his fingers through his short brown hair. There was pain in those blues eyes and Spike knew he was the reason.

“Is this really what you want to do?” he asked Spike the minutes Spike closed the door.

“I don’t know. It’s a step. The truth is the only thing I know for sure is that I don’t really know anything for sure… if that made any sense whatsoever.” Spike said letting a small smile pass over his face.

“I understand. I don’t understand why you have to move in order to gain any new knowledge, but I understand why you have to do it. I also understand why you didn’t tell me first and I don’t feel upset that you told Angel and… Xander before you told me. Xander’s your boss so you were obligated and Angel’s your brother.” Wes said.

“Wesley, I would have told you, but I didn’t want to have to explain myself more then I had to. As it was I didn’t want to tell Xander really, but I had to. Two weeks notice and all that. I needed Angel… I guess I needed him to be on my side. He takes a few days to fully realize things. I guess I was counting on you just automatically being on my side. Was I wrong?” Spike asked.

“No, not wrong. I’m on your side with anything you chose to do, no matter how stupid. It’s just going to take me a little while to get used to the idea. I mean, we’ve lived in the same town since we were little.” Wes said.

“Yeah I know and you’ve been the best friend a bloke like me could ask for, but I have to do this. I’ll be over here a lot. I’m not just disappearing from the face of the Earth.” Spike said.

“I know. I guess I need a little while to get used to the idea. I guess we had better get back in there.” Wesley said.

“I’m dreading every second of it you do realize that right?” Spike said.

“Yes, but it’s just something you have to do.” Wes said shoving Spike through his front door. When they walked over to the dining area they saw something a little out of place considering what had just taken place a few minutes ago. Everyone was sitting down eating cordially, although Anya was chewing her food a little harder then she had to.

“Well this certainly isn’t what I expected.” Spike said.

“I guess you were right. We just had to eat before we started the heavy discussions.” Cordy said.

“Yeah, but I’m still angry that you’re leaving. Don’t think you were getting off easily it’s just the aroma from this lasagna was too overpowering. I couldn’t resist.” Anya said.

“Alright so you’re still angry, but you’re willing to over look that for some food.” Spike said.

“Basically. I’m hungry and I came here because of the promises of food so I’m very well going to eat said food.” Anya said.

“How’s Connor?” Spike asked.

“He was on the verge of tears, but I think Maddy calmed him down. He had some questions, but I think Maddy cleared those up to. They’re in the living room eating if that’s okay with you.” Angel said.

“Course it is. I eat there half the time anyway. Just hope Connor doesn’t drop his food and let Spot eat it again.” Spike said.

“No I think it’s safe to say Maddy will make sure he doesn’t.” Cordy said.

“Okay this is really weird. Usually when families argue there are grudges and stuff like that. You guys fight and you make up in a matter of minutes. Am I the only one sing the weird?” Xander asked.

“Xander, you’ve been in this family for how many years now and you still don’t know how things work. They get mad at each other, but make up faster then you can say meatball. They’ve always been like that.” Cordy said.

“Sorry guess I missed it considering I’m always at work when the fights happen. This is the first one I’ve seen in… well since I’ve known this family. It’s nice.” Xander said a smile on his face and Spike knew why.

“It is sort of like a Norman Rockwell painting. You know if the people in those paintings were all stuffing their faces with food.” Fred said.

“Oh, please you make us sound like a bunch of fat people. Food isn’t the only thing that makes things better for us.” Angel said.

“No, sometimes it’s candy or ice cream or chocolate. Face it Angel, you have never been known to stay mad at Anya or Spike for a long period of time and vice versa. I don’t know why Spike expected the worse.” Wesley said.

“I guess I just forgot. Our we good, Ahn?” Spike asked.

“No, no we aren’t good. Not yet anyway. I’ll need some time to adjust to the fact that you’re leaving us, but apparently I bought off with chocolate.” Anya said and everyone laughed even though they weren’t sure if they were supposed to.

“But seriously I will need some times to get used to the fact that one of my favorite brother’s is going away. I guess I just never thought what it would be like if one of you moved.” Anya said.

“You had to know it would happen sooner or later.” Angel said.

“Yeah it was either I was moving on my own accord or dad was shipping me off to a boarding school.” Spike said.

“Don’t be silly, Spike. He wouldn’t ship you off to a boarding school. Maybe to go live with great-aunt Mildred, but never boarding school. I guess I’ll just learn to deal. You’ll be over a lot right?” Anya asked.

“Yeah, I’ll be over a lot.”

“Good because I don’t think I could go with out seeing you ever once in awhile. I guess that means if you’re happy then I’m happy. Just… be happy okay.”

“I’ll try and work on it.”

Spike stood in front of Buffy’s apartment wondering what exactly he was doing there. He wasn’t sure what ground he stood on with Buffy, but he knew she meant a great deal to him. He could see himself… he could see himself with her and the picture looked really nice.

She had made it clear that she didn’t want that picture though. She wanted some other picture and Spike wasn’t sure where he was in that one. He wanted it to be somewhere close, but he doubted that it would be.

His plane was set to leave in four hours. He had just enough to time to tell Buffy whatever it was he was going to tell her and get to the airport two hours before his flight like he was instructed to. He wasn’t sure what he was going to say exactly.

He knew that they’d be able to talk openly and maybe even yell considering Dawn was out of the house. She was over at Cordy and Angel’s again. So they’d be able to talk with nothing keeping them from truly expressing their feelings through cursing and swearing.

Here goes nothing Spike thought as he knocked on the door.

After a few minutes and still no answer Spike decided that she must have been out enjoying her Dawn free time. He was about to turn around and walk away when Buffy answered the door. She had a puzzled look on her face when she saw him. She must have been getting ready for bed although Spike couldn’t imagine anyone going to bed at eight thirty on a Saturday night.

“Spike… what are you doing here?” she asked confusion seeping out of her voice.

“I… uh… can I come in?” Spike asked not really wanting to tell her his big news on her balcony.

“Um… yeah sure why not. I guess you can come in. I’m not really doing much. Dawn’s over at Maddy and Connor’s although I bet you already knew that.” Buffy said wanting to kick herself for her stupid babbling.

“Yeah I knew.” Spike said. After a minute or so Buffy stepped aside and said, “Come in Spike.”

Spike nodded his head and walked inside the apartment. He had only been inside the small space she shared with her daughter on two occasions and those two occasions were enough for it to have some painful memories.

“Sorry it’s a mess. I just… I had the guys over and I didn’t have time to clean up.” Buffy said picking up random items and placing them in a neat little pile on the couch.

“I guess I should just come right out and say it. You know that job I was talking about. The one that Giles offered me?” Spike asked. Buffy nodded.

“Well, I’ve decided to take it. I know I said I wouldn’t, but it’s a really good job and I couldn’t just pass it up.” Spike said. Buffy looked at him as though she was going to say something, but instead opted for a put upon sigh and flopped down on the couch.


“And? That’s all you have to say?” Spike said not sure why his voice had raised a bit. He wasn’t really sure what he had expected from her. They had only been friends for a little while and they had only had one night together.

“What do you want me to say Spike? I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say here. I mean you’re a friend. A really good friend, but I don’t know how I’m supposed to react here. Do you want me to ask you to not go when this is such a good thing for you?” Buffy asked and it was killing her to not just jump in his arms and beg him to say.

Seeing him with Dru had almost killed Buffy, but she had thought about it long and hard and realized that Spike was going to hurt her or she was going to hurt him worse then she already had and she wasn’t exactly ready for that.

“I don’t know. At least lie like everyone else and say that you’re happy for me.” Spike said in an exasperated tone.

“Okay, I’m happy for you. This sounds like a really great job opportunity for you. Your dreams are coming true just like you wanted them to.” Buffy said lowering her eyes to the floor.

Spike wanted to tell her that his dreams weren’t coming true if she wasn’t in them, but he stopped himself. It was obvious to him that Buffy just wasn’t interested in him that way. She would be his friend, but anything else more then that just wasn’t going to happen.

“Yeah you’re right. This is a step towards my dream. Thanks, ever so. I’ll… uh… I’ll see you around some time.” Spike said sarcastically before charging out of Buffy’s apartment.

He slammed the door and it closed with a resounding thud that shook the picture frames hanging on the wall. Buffy sat down on her couch. She looked dazed, but determined an odd combination during a time.

He’s right. This is his dream and I’m happy for him. I’m not going to break down. Buffy thought repeatedly as she tried to keep the tears at bay.

After five minutes she could no longer hold them in and she had to cry. She sat there, silent sobs racking her small frame. She wasn’t sure why she was crying exactly. Things had just been so hard lately and even though she had won her case with Riley Buffy was still dealing the aftereffects of having Dawn testify.

She cried for just about everything she could think of at the moment, but mostly she cried because she had seen it. She had seen that small glimmer of hope that Spike had when he asked her if that was all she had to say. She could see him urging her with his eyes to say that he should stay because there was something in Sunnydale that he should stay for.

Buffy wasn’t scared by many things, but the notion of actually loving someone like Spike scared her beyond the telling of it. It wasn’t because she was scared that Spike was going to turn out to be a bad guy like all the guys in her life had been.

Sure that little thing was in the back of her mind and she used that as an excuse, but really it wasn’t because of that. It was because Buffy just didn’t feel like she was good enough for Spike. He was so good and he just didn’t seem to have any flaws where Buffy had so many flaws she couldn’t count them with five hands.

Spike deserved someone who would be good enough for him and Buffy just wasn’t sure that she was it. So she hid behind her bitter woman reasoning and she didn’t tell anyone how she really felt because it would just result in words that didn’t really mean anything. She had heard them all before.

She would just play the perfect vision of a cool calm collected woman who knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to take it. Spike would go off and become a great attorney and forget all about her.

After about ten minutes of her non-stop crying Buffy heard the doorbell ring. It took her a little while to get herself composed and when she did she picked herself up off of the couch and walked over to the door. She wasn’t sure who it was. It could have been Warren and Andrew.

They had been coming by a lot lately. Willow and Oz were out of town on some sort of vacation. Buffy had a brief thought that it might be Cordelia with Dawn saying that Dawn had asked to come home early. All these thoughts ran through Buffy’s mind, but none of them were even close to the truth.

Buffy opened the door and there stood Riley looking decidedly drunk and angry about something. He had a beer bottle in one had and the other was curled tightly into a fist. He was smiling at her.

Some sort of wicked smile that looked like a cross between a smirk and a leer. He smelled bad and he looked like a homeless person. He had his arms folded across his chest and he looked somewhat pleased with himself.

“Honey I’m home.”


Chapter 21:

"Aren't you going to invite me in, maybe offer me a cup of coffee." Riley said in that voice that made Buffy cringe inwardly. He was being way to sweet and sarcastically so.

"No, but I am going to tell you to get the hell away from me before I call the cops." Buffy said choking on her words a little at the end. Her hands were shaking around the doorknob, but her eyes were set in determination.

"You know I always liked that about you, Buff. You were always so strong and independent. How much do you want to bet that I can shove this door open and throw you across the room before you even have a chance to get to that phone to call the police?" Riley said.

Buffy knew he was stronger then her physically but she was determined to not let him step on foot into her house and abuse her again.

"Riley, I'm going to ask you this nicely before I started getting really pissed off. Just leave okay. If you leave everything will be fine." Buffy said. His smile turned into a scowl and he shoved the door open.

"Fine? How can things be fine when you stole my family away from me!" he said shoving her backwards.

Buffy stumbled slightly and was absurdly glad that she had picked up most of the things off of the ground so she didn't have to trip and fall to the ground. She fell backwards onto the couch and didn't move as she saw Riley running up and down the halls.

"Where's my daughter? Where's Dawn?" He yelled at her when he came back from his search.

"She isn't here." Buffy whispered.

Riley must not have heard her because he cupped his hand to his ear and said, "What did you say? You'll have to speak louder then that."

"I said she isn't here." Buffy said louder and more forcefully.

"Well, where the hell is she?" Riley demanded loudly and it took all of Buffy's restraint to not flinch.

"You think I'm going to tell you so you can go harass more people?" Buffy said incredulously.

"I think you're going to tell me where my daughter is, yeah." Riley said.

"You're either insane or drunker then I thought you were if you think there's a chance in hell I'm going to tell you where Dawn is. You're not allowed to see her, remember." Buffy said.

"You're such a bitch! She's my daughter too you know. How do you think she's going to be if you don't let me see her? Living with a whore of a mom like you." Riley screamed as he smashed something on Buffy coffee table.

"I'm not a whore and I'm not just going to sit here in MY home at let you insult me. I'm doing playing the docile housewife that just sits down and takes it when you beat me. We're divorced and if I have anything to do with it you'll never see Dawn again. EVER!!" Buffy screamed back.

"Right that's why the first second Dawn isn't here, Mister Lawyer Man is coming straight up to your apartment. Did you pay him Buffy or did you just have give it up a few times like a good little slut?" Riley said.

Buffy wasn't sure what possessed her to do it, but she got up and slapped Riley. She slapped him so hard it made a loud smacking sound and her hand had the residual burn. He hunched over holding his hand to his cheek and began to try and rub the burn away. Buffy stood in front of him a fire a light in her eyes and in a ridged stance. Her fist were clenching and unclenching.

"Get the hell out of my house!" Buffy said through clenched teeth.

Riley laughed. He laughed that maniacal laugh that you hear villains on cartoons laugh. He straightened himself up and punched Buffy square in the jaw. The force of the blow didn't send Buffy collapsing to the ground, but it did send her stumbling backward on to the couch again.

"You think you can get the best of me. Come on now Buffy. You really think you're any match for me. If I want to see my daughter I'm gonna see my daughter and there's nothing you are that piece of shit lawyer of yours can do about." Riley said.

"I'm not going to take it lying down anymore, Riley. You can't just come into my home and think you own the place. I'm not afraid of you." Buffy said.

"It's stupid to fight me Buffy. Just let me see Dawn and I'll be on my way." Riley said.

"You think I'd let you see her when you're like this? Riley I'm trying to protect her. I'm trying to protect her from you. I'm trying to let her believe that her dad's a good person, but your making in a hell of a lot hard by acting like the stupid fuck you are." Buffy said.

Riley slowly walked over her and Buffy got the distinct impression that she was just some sort of helpless animal to Riley. That the idea that she might actually be a person never crossed Riley's mind.

"You think I'm not a good dad? You think that you're fucking mother of the year. At least when she was living with me she had a decent roof over her head. Strange men weren't coming in at all hours of the night. She sure as hell wasn't hanging around faggots like your step-brother." Riley said.

"Does it make you feel better? Does it make you feel like you're the shit just because you've got daddy's money and you pull this macho bullshit? Does it make you feel like more of a man when you call Andrew a fag and you call me a slut? Does it make you feel all manily when you beat on Dawn and me?" Buffy said.

"Hey, I never beat Dawn. I hit her once and that was it. It was your fault by the way. If you hadn't been acting like such the bitch that you are I wouldn't have been so angry." Riley said.

"Oh so now I deserve to be hit. Is that what you're saying you masochist son of a bitch!" Buffy yelled.

"Well, yeah. If you had just learned to listen to me…"

"Why should I have listened to you when you never listened to me, huh? You just expected me to bend to your will, but I'm not like that. Not any more. I'm not just going to stand here and let you destroy my daughter and me. It was okay when it was just me because I thought you would change like a dumbass, but the second you touched a hair on her head I was out of there." Buffy said.

"So, what you expect me to just sit by and watch as some other guy comes in and takes my family. How do I know that you didn't rig all of this you conniving manipulative bitch? How do I know Dawn is really safe here? How do I know that Dawn wasn't threatened into crying up on the witness stand?" Riley asked his voice a deadly calm. Buffy looked into his eyes defiantly.

"Don't get mad at me just because you hung yourself. You should've thought about Dawn's welfare before you hit her." Buffy said. Riley charged at Buffy.

He grabbed her by the hair and dragged her off of the couch. Buffy yelped in pain and felt small handfuls of her hair being pulled out of her scalp. Riley picked her up and held her shoulders in a tight grip.

"Tell me where she is!" Riley yelled in her face and Buffy coughed as the smell of alcohol hit her in the face.

"Let me go! I won't tell you where she is!" Buffy yelled right back in his face.

Riley began to harshly shake Buffy and scream at her asking where his daughter was. Buffy made a quick move and kicked him in the balls. He let go of his bone-crushing grip and doubled over in pain. Buffy began to run towards the phone in her room.

She wasn't sure why she didn't run out of her apartment. All she knew was that she was panicking and her brain was telling her to get to a phone and call the cops. When she made it to her room Buffy shut the door and locked it. She ran over to the phone and dialed 911.

"Hello, 911 emergency services how may I help you?" the nasally operator on the other line said.

"My ex-husband has come over and he's attacking me. Please you have to send someone over to my apartment and fast." Buffy pleaded to the operator.

"Okay, Miss you have to tell me your address." The operator said calmly.

"It's Shady Tree apartments on 2052 Revello Drive. Apartment number six. Please hurry." Buffy said. Just then Buffy heard a loud bang on her bedroom door.

"Buffy open this fucking door or I'm going to break it down!" Riley screamed from the other side of the door. Buffy flinched.

"Okay Miss just hold tight and hopefully we'll be there soon. I've already sent some men to your house. Everything is going to be fine." The operator said trying for a soothing manner, but Buffy was scared out of her mind. Buffy tried holding the phone still but her hands and body were shaking uncontrollable.

"That's it, I'm breaking down this door." Riley yelled.

There were three loud bangs on the door before it finally flew off of its hinges. Riley was wearing a self-satisfied smirk on his face that Buffy wanted to slap off.

"Put that Goddamn phone down." He said.

"No." Buffy said grasping onto whatever courage she had left.

Riley charged at her again only this time Buffy was ready for it and ducked out of the way. She crawled over her bed and to the other side. She watched as Riley yanked the phone right out of the wall, but it was too late.

The police were already on their way and Buffy was going to make it out of here. She kept telling herself that she was definitely going to make it out of her apartment alive. Unscathed however was a different story.

"You stupid bitch. You think calling the cops is going to make a difference. I'm still going to beat you and I'm going to be in the shadows watching you until you let me see my daughter." Riley said as he jumped over the bed and tried to grab Buffy.

Buffy ran to the door and was almost out of her room when Riley grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to him.

"Are you going to tell me where my daughter is or am I going to have to teach a lesson?" Riley asked.

Buffy looked up at him and said, "I would die before I let you hurt her again." Buffy said and she spat in his face.

Riley growled at her and violently shoved her into a wall. Buffy struggled to regain her composure, but Riley was on her again and he shoved her again into her into her dresser.

Buffy could feel the sticky blood trickling down her head as she struggled to hang onto her dresser and keep herself upright.

"You wanted to play this the hard way and now you've got the hard way. You shouldn't have left me. You shouldn't have taken my daughter away from me. Now you have to suffer the consequences." Riley said as he roughly grabbed Buffy by the arm and threw her to the floor.

"What you're not even going to beg for me to stop like you used to. Maybe you like it. Maybe you always liked it." Riley said.

"Fuck you!" Buffy spat at him. Suddenly Riley's boot connected with her ribs and Buffy yelped in pain.

"Does it hurt? I hope it does. I hope it hurts real good." Riley said as he landed kick after kick.

Buffy felt like she could breath. Riley's kicks kept landing on her ribs and she was sure that he was going to break one of them. She could feel blood running out of her nose and down her head and it also trickled at the corners of her mouth, but there was nothing she could do.

She tried to remind herself that the police were coming and soon she'd be safe and Riley would be in jail where he could never hurt her again. She could feel her eyes drooping, but she knew that if she closed them she'd go unconscious and possibly slip into a coma. She had to stay awake, but the pain was getting to be too much. The last thing she thought of before she closed her eyes was that help was on the way.

Andrew hated emergency hospitals. They were always filled with such chaos and carnage. He remembered having to work at one for his internship. He was happy to get away from it when he graduated. Sure, he got called sell out from his friends that did stay at the ER, but he just couldn't deal with it.

He loved helping people, but seeing all the heinous things that the citizens of LA could do to one another just turned him off from working ER. He knew that if he had stayed he could have made a difference where it mattered the most, but he just couldn't bring himself to do it. He'd have to have given up hope on humanity eventually and Andrew just wasn't ready for that.

Then something like this happens. Buffy may not have been Miss Mary Sue, but she wasn't a bad person. She didn't lie or cheat or steal or do anything bad like that. She was just a person that wanted nothing more then to protect and provide for her daughter. She made a mistake in picking Riley to be her husband and Andrew couldn't say he ever approved of Riley, but that didn't mean Buffy deserved to be brutalized like this for so long.

Andrew felt guilty. They all thought it was over. Not one of them expected this to happen. Andrew thought that Buffy could finally move on with her life and find someone that deserved her. He had never once thought that Riley would come back for some revenge. He had faith that Riley would go to jail for what he had done and maybe it was a little naïve of him, but he thought that Riley may just give up and let things be the way they were. Boy was he wrong.

Andrew looked over at Warren. He seemed so lost and confused, but he was trying to hide it. Andrew knew he was out of his element. If something like this had happened in LA it would only take a simple phone call by Warren to one of his cop buddies to get Riley caught and in jail, but they weren't in LA.

They were in Sunnydale and Riley was still out on the streets. The police had arrived after Riley had left to find Buffy lying on the floor of her bedroom unconscious and bleeding from several places. She was still unresponsive when they arrived at the hospital and right now she was in surgery. The doctors feared there might have been some internal bleeding which only made Andrew sob harder.

The tears had calmed at bit since the time that had passed since Andrew and Warren arrived at the hospital. Andrew's head lay on Warren's shoulder and Warren was stroking his back for comfort. Andrew could tell that that was also out of Warren's element.

No matter how manly man Warren appeared to be he still didn't keep it together as much as Andrew did. Warren was ruled by his emotions more then Andrew let himself be and maybe that was why they worked so well, but right now all Warren knew was that Andrew needed comfort and Warren was the only one that could give it to him.

Warren ventured another glance at the big clock the hospital set up in the waiting room. He had called Cordelia's cell phone fifteen minutes ago. Andrew had been very adamant about not calling Dawn that night. Warren knew that it would probably be too much for Dawn to handle so he talked Andrew into at least calling Cordelia and telling her what was going on.

They weren't home so he got Andrew to call her cell phone. The conversation was short and in the end Cordelia had talked Andrew into at least letting her and Angel come over to the hospital. At that point Andrew was so drained that he just nodded and gave a tired okay.

"This isn't right." Andrew said in a soft voice.

It was the first time he had said anything since giving Warren the details of the conversation he had had with the police. Warren pulled Andrew closer to him and wrapped his arm around him.

"I know, but it happened and we have to be strong. For Buffy and for Dawn. I think this is about all they can take right now." Warren said.

"But, why now. Why now when everything was going so perfect? Buffy won and Riley was out of their lives. Why did he have to show up and ruin everything?" Andrew asked looking up at Warren with hopeful eyes.

"Andy, I don't have all the answers to all the questions that are swirling around in that head of yours, but I can tell you this. It happened and now we have to make sure that Buffy and Dawn make it through this. Buffy is a good person and Dawn is a great kid and none of this stuff should be happening to them, but it is. We just have to make sure that it doesn't break them." Warren answered truthfully.

"There's got to be a way to know that he won't hurt them anymore. I hate just waiting around to see what the cops are doing and if they found him yet. Riley's got a lot of influence and his parents are slightly rich. What if he somehow escapes and then comes back only to hurt them even more?" Andrew asked.

"Well, I don't know about the police here, but you said that Cordelia's husband, Angel, is a detective. I think that the Sunnydale police will be able to find him. As for him not hurting them anymore… I don't see that happening." Warren said.

"Why if he goes to jail then everything will be okay." Andrew said.

"Andrew, the one thing I always liked about you was naivete. You're always so pure in what you think. Think about it, hon. Buffy and Dawn have to carry these past couple of years with them for the rest of their lives." Warren said.

"I never thought about it like that. Oh god that's terrible. What if they both just fade away? I can't let that happen." Andrew said getting a little overly worked up.

"Shh… it's not going to happen like that. We're going to be here for them. They have friends to get them through this. Soon the pain will lesson and they'll be able to go on with their lives without so much as a hitch. They just have to get over this… minor bump in the road."

"Do you think they'll be able to?"

"I think they will. Dawn's young and it won't hurt her as much. It'll fade away like a distant memory with time. Buffy… well Buffy seems like a really strong person who can make it through anything." Warren said.

"Yup, that's Buffy." Andrew said. They sat there for a few minutes thinking about nothing in particular when Andrew heard Cordelia's voice.

"Andrew? Andrew what's going on? Did they tell you anything yet?" Cordelia asked.

"Honey, maybe you should give Andrew a little space. Let him tell you what's happening on his own time." Angel said.

"Angel this is serious. Buffy is seriously hurt. I can't help it if I'm worried and concerned." Cordy said snapping at her husband.

"I didn't mean it like that." Angel murmured.

"No, it's okay. You're Buffy's friends and you have a right to ask questions. They haven't told me anything yet though. She went into surgery a little while ago. I don't think they'll be done anytime soon." Andrew said as Cordelia and Angel sat down in one of the plastic chairs.

It was silent for a few minutes before Cordelia said, "I really hate hospitals."

"Yeah I second that." Angel said.

"Would it sound unprofessional of me if I said I vote I on it?" Andrew asked. The four people shared a brief smile before the somber tone set back in.

"So… I talked to some of the guys I know down at the precinct. I put them on a full scale alter. I know it was a little selfish of me, but I guess… I guess I just had to do something. I haven't even met this Riley guy and already I want to pound his brains in." Angel said.

"You and me both. So are they going to call you when they get him?" Andrew asked.

"They should. I have one of the guys I work with, Charles Gunn, he's working on it. He's the lead detective. He's really qualified and I'm sure he'll catch Riley in no time." Angel said.

"I hope so. It freaks me out knowing that he's out there and he can do anything. Who'd you leave Dawn and the kids with?" Andrew asked.

"I asked Anya and Xander to come over. Just so it didn't seem too suspicious." Cordy said.

"Isn't that slightly unsafe. I mean what if Riley finds out where Dawn is and attacks." Warren asked.

"Don't worry. I've got someone stationed outside of my house. I wouldn't put my kids or Dawn in that kind of danger. He comes within three feet of my house and they have orders to take him down." Angel said.

"You must have a lot of power at the precinct." Warren said.

"Angel's the top detective there. He's up for the position of lieutenant this year." Cordy said. "Good so they have to go through you to do things. That's good." Warren said.

"Yeah especially for instances like this. I never thought I'd actually have to go through this, but… I guess it's handy." Angel said.

"I… I was thinking… I know that he's moving away and all, but… should we call Spike? I mean I called Willow and Oz and told them. Their trip was going to be over tomorrow anyway so I didn't feel to guilty. I'd just… I guess I don't want him to think I'm using this as an excuse to get him to stay." Andrew said.

"I told him he should just call him. If I was Spike I'd want to know." Warren said.

"Yeah I think Warren's right. Spike may be acting like a totally idiot, but I know that he cares a lot about Buffy. He'd want to know if something happened to her." Angel said.

"Yeah plus that and the fact that he might actually stay." Cordy said.

"See that's what I was afraid of. I mean I don't want to rope him into staying." Andrew said.

"Andrew, Spike doesn't get roped into anything he doesn't want to get roped into. If he stays it's because he… well I'm not sure if he loves her or not, but I think he does. He'd want to know." Angel said.

"Okay now, the hard part. Who get's to call him."

"Final boarding call for flight 164. Flight leaving from Sunnydale to San Francisco." The woman over the loud speaker said. Spike looked around. He had only been at the Sunnydale airport three times in his life.

The first time he was coming here from England. The second was to visit his grandmother in England. The third was right now. Spike liked to be able to drive to all the places he went because of his fear of airplanes.

He would have driven to San Francisco, but Giles insisted on him taking a plane. So here he was in the airport all by himself. He had told his family not to come and make a scene. He was only going to look at apartments.

Spike gathered up the small bag he had and was about to make his way over to the airplane boarding entrance when he heard his cell phone ring. He fumbled with it slightly before pulling it out of his pocket and answering it.

"Hello, Spike Flannery speaking. Who… Andrew what's… what happened… are you… you're not… is she… what do you mean you don't know anything? When did this happen? Okay I'll be over there in a minute." Spike said flipping his cell phone shut as he gripped his bag and ran out of the airport to the Sunnydale ER.

Chapters 22, 23, and 24

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