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Author's Corner

[Reviews - 7]

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Authors Chapter Notes:
Thank you sallyntmare for being so superly nice! :D You wanted to see more, so I tried this out, I hope you like it. :]

Two days. It had been two days.

God, it felt like a lifetime.

Rupert had patched his leg up, anything to keep himself busy. Anything to keep from stopping. To keep from that bottle of scotch. To keep from breaking down.

Tonight was the night. Dawn had insisted on a night-time service. To accommodate him. So that he could say his goodbye. She was trying to be strong, trying to be like the hero they had lost, trying to look after the broken man in their basement.

He’d stayed in the basement for her. Niblet needed him close, just as he needed her close.

God, it hurt so much. Not his leg. His healing had set in; the dull ache in his bones could be ignored. As for his face, Red’s girl had given him something for the pain. Some herbs and stuff. His temple was purpled, and bruises had bloomed on his pale jaw.

He didn’t care.

It was the bloody pain inside. Couldn’t they make painkillers for hurting hearts? For broken spirits? Any chance that they’d develop a bloody drug that wouldn’t make the world hurt so badly anymore? A sob crept up his throat and broke out into the dark of the basement.

He rubbed his tired eyes irritably, hating that he was crying again. He hated this snivelling, pathetic ponce that he had become. He hated the world for letting it all come to this. Those ungrateful Powers that had allowed this to happen. And, God, he hated today.

A soft knock came from the basement door upstairs. It was time.

Pulling himself from the uncomfortable cot they’d set up for him, he climbed the stairs, cursing his stiff leg. He entered the darkened kitchen. They were all there, waiting, faces solemn and pained. His Bit’s eyes were red and raw. It broke his cold heart. Another example of the injustice they had suffered.

He opened his arms and she rushed to him in a blur of long hair, and strawberry scented shampoo. He held her tight.

Gotta protect her. Gotta protect the girl.

At Rupert’s solemn nod, they made their way out of the kitchen, out of the house. Rupert’s car was waiting, so was the Whelp’s. He, Niblet, and Rupert went in one car. Red, Glinda, the demon-girl, and her boy went in the other.

Off they went.

In the backseat, she clung to him, seeking comfort in cold arms. He complied and cuddled her.

Cuddled her? He was the Big Bad, and he was cuddling . He was the Big Bad, wasn’t he? Didn’t feel very bloody bad, but it was him, right? That was who he was, not the pathetic poet that lamented and cried, hidden in the cold unmoving organ that sat in his breast.

Look what you’ve done to me, kitten. Look at what I’m left to become. What am I without you?

A memory drifted to the fore of his mind. Standing in a shop, magic paraphernalia lining the shelves around him.

“I’m nothin’ without her.”

But not that her. No, those words had been reborn in his mind. They were for another now. He hadn’t understood them fully, but he did now. This is what it felt like to be nothing. A hollowed-out empty shell of a man. No, not a man. A hollowed-out empty shell of a monster .

“But you treat me like a man.”

Those damned tears filled his eyes again. So many worthless tears, pouring from him hour after hour.
God, this was hell.

Rupert stopped the car, and paused, taking a deep breath. Automatically, Spike’s hand reached out and grasped his shoulder. A show of support, given without thought, and it surprised both men.

He withdrew his hand, and got out of the car, with Dawnie and Rupert following suit.

They walked through the open gates, into the darkened cemetery. His limp was more pronounced here. He cursed himself.

A warm hand folded into his, and he squeezed it gently.

“I’m scared.” She whispered.

“I know, Bit. I’ve got you.”

They reached the little clearing in the forested part of the graveyard, and the scent of freshly dug earth hit Spike.

It made him think of worms crawling and writhing. God, don’t put her down there with the worms. That caused him to bite his lips, keep the sobs in.

She doesn’t belong there.

The Whelp had already got there, and was standing over the pit, staring blindly. His girlfriend tucked her arm into his, and kissed his cheek in comfort. Red and her girl were holding each other as the redhead cried softly. Comfort was what they all received, but it wasn’t what they needed.

Another figure stepped out of the darkness, causing a growl to rise up in Spike’s chest.

“What the bloody hell are you doing here?” He snarled.

Dawn’s hand clasped his tighter to soothe him.

The visitor glared at Spike. “I could ask you the same question.”

Rupert rubbed his jaw wearily. “Angel, enough. Spike is one of us now. If you have a problem, you may leave. This isn’t the time or place with stupidity.”

Was it wrong that Spike felt the smallest twinge of happiness, even standing here, in the darkened cemetery, surrounded by grief.

Spike is one of us now.

There was that acceptance that he’d been waiting for all this time.

Angel narrowed his eyes at him, and moved over to the hole in the ground, drawing Spike’s attention back to it. Could they really condemn her to that cold dark pit in the ground?

Glinda started lighting candles and handing them out. It cast a warm light on the scene, and flickers of light danced on the shining mahogany box that Spike would not let himself look at.

Clearing his throat, Rupert stepped forward. “Shall I start?”

His response was a few weak nods.

“Yes. Right. You all know why we’re here. Unfortunately, we’ve reached a horrible moment in our lives when we must say goodbye to a person that we all loved very much. It is possibly the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.” He paused, swallowing his tears.

“I loved her. Buffy became a beloved daughter to me. I couldn’t have been more proud of her, and she was the most wonderful person I have ever known. And I… I will miss her dearly.” He broke off in a sob, and Dawn broke from Spike’s embrace to comfort him. Nobody could look as the man wept into the teenager’s shoulder.

Red sniffed, and stepped forward, supported by her lover’s gentle hand.

“Buffy changed my life. She was an amazing friend. So strong, and kind. And I – I loved her. I will always love her, and I miss her. It hurts so much, Buffy. I really miss you. And I’m so sorry we couldn’t stop this, that we – we couldn’t save you. G – goodbye…” She fell back into Glinda’s embrace.

“Goodbye, Buffy,” the blonde witch whispered simply.

“Oh, God. Buffy…” The Whelp began. “I never wanted to be here. To do this. You’re my hero, Buff. Heroes don’t die. Honestly, I’m still waiting for you to appear and not be dead. You’re Buffy, and I can’t imagine the world without you. Will’s right. You changed our lives, made us heroes too. I can’t thank you enough for you friendship, for being so good, and strong. I love you. Just finding it so hard to believe I have to keep living without the Buffster saving the day. I’m gonna miss you so much. God, Buffy. I – I’m really gonna miss you…” He bowed his head for a moment. “Goodbye, Buff.”

Anya took a step forward, peering into the grave. “You weren’t always nice to me. And I was jealous ‘cause I think Xander liked you more. But you saved my life a lot, and were a good person. And now you’re gone, and I feel sad inside. I don’t understand this death thing yet. But thinking of how you won’t be there anymore makes me feel horrible. So, I guess I’ll miss you, and I’m sorry you’re dead.”

Spike felt a grin tug at his lips as demon-girl nodded to herself and hugged Harris. That was the way she was, and despite the bluntness of her words, he and the Scoobies understood the sentiment. Rupert gave a weak laugh, and smiled gratefully at the ex-demon. Angel, however, didn’t understand at all.

“How can you be so rude?” He demanded, frowning at her.

The Whelp held her closer, and Anya looked up in confusion. “I don’t understand your point. I told Buffy how I feel about her death. It’s what we’re supposed to be doing, right?” She turned to face her lover. “Why does everybody get mad at me at these things?”

“Don’t mind the Evil Un-dead, Ahn. He doesn’t belong here; he doesn’t get the way we are.”

Tara reached out to the Bit. “Dawnie, you wanna say anything?”

His girl sniffed and nodded. “Buffy, you were my hero. I know everybody’s saying that, but it’s true. You were what I wanted to be like. I’m sorry I was always a pain in the butt, but I just wanted to be like you. I’m really gonna miss you, Buffy. It was so hard without Mom, and you didn’t know how we’d make it, but what am I gonna do without you? Huh? Who’s gonna look after me? Buffy, it hurts so much that you’re gone, and I hate this. It was my fault you had to go. And I’m so sorry. I love you so much Buffy. I’ll never forget how much of a hero you were. Goodbye.”

There was a silence as Dawn placed a single red rose on her sister’s coffin. Spike stared at the ground, not looking at that bloody box in the ground.

The silence continued.

“Spike, would you like to say something?” Rupert asked, polishing his glasses.

He was mute. God, why couldn’t he talk? He shook his head silently, and stared fixedly at the grass, feeling a tear trickle down his face.

A throat cleared. “Well, if he won’t, I will. He doesn’t deserve to say anything, anyway,” Angel declared. “There was no other love like mine and Buffy’s. I loved her so much, and nobody could ever love her as much as I –”

The sodding ponce was cut off as Spike punched him right into the jaw, knocking his grandsire out cold.

He took a deep unneeded breath. “That stupid bastard hasn’t got a clue,” Spike snarled, gesturing at the unconscious vampire slumped on the ground. “He can’t just swan in her an’ act like it’s okay. ‘Cause it’s bloody well not. Buffy is dead.” His voice broke. “She’s gone, an’ we’re left here wonderin’ what the bloody hell we’re gonna do next. An’ God, we miss her. It hurts so much, an’ you feel like you can’t hurt anymore, but then it gets worse. I loved her, I did. None of you might believe it, but I really do love her. An’ havin’ to do this, to bury someone who was so vibrant, so bright, isn’t fair. That we had to stand under that bleedin’ tower that day an’ see her crumpled on the ground isn’t fair. A hundred bloody years I’ve been here, an’ not once have I ever felt so scared, an’ hurt. I miss her so much. Oh, Buffy, pet. I miss you, an’ I’ll keep my promise, yeah? I’ll look after Dawnie, keep her safe, like I couldn’t that night. I’m sorry, luv. It’s my own bloody fault you’re gone. An’ I’m so sorry.”

He felt Dawn appear beside him, and she wrapped her arms around his waist. He held her close, closing his eyes in pain. In the back ground, he could hear Rupert making arrangements with Harris. He let Niblet go and headed over to them. Harris pulled two shovels out of the trunk of his car. Spike took one, and nodded at Rupert. The Watcher guided Dawn to his car, where Anya, Red, and Tara were already waiting.

As they drove away, Angel came to, and leapt to his feet. He growled at Spike, but getting no reaction from either man as they shovelled dirt into the grave, he gave up, and walked away, disappearing into the darkness.

In silence, they filled the hole in the ground, which in turn made the holes in their hearts tear wider. A time of silent labour passed. The hole was full, and smooth.
Harris wiped his forearm across his face, smudging a mixture of sweat, mud, and tears.

“Well,” he croaked. “She’s really gone.”

Spike nodded dumbly. He really didn’t trust himself to talk.

Harris put the shovels back into his car, and got in. “You need a drive? I’m going back to Buf – Dawn’s.” He tried to cover the slip, but it was already heard.

The hole inside grew bigger.

Another silent nod. Taking one last look at the stone marker in front of him, he walked to the car.

Buffy Anne Summers.
1981 – 2001
Beloved sister.
Devoted friend.
She saved the world. A lot.

He climbed into the car, and shut the door.

Anything to get rid of the smell that had wafted through the box during the brief ceremony. Anything to block out the smell of Buffy slowly decaying in a bloody box in the ground.

God. It had only been two days.

Chapter End Notes:
Thank you for reading. Reviews are incredibly appreciated.
Happy Easter.

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