It had been three months since the destruction of Sunnydale, Buffy has moved to Cleveland with Dawn and Giles. Xander has moved to Cleveland also, and has started a new construction job. Andrew had moved in with Xander as his housekeeper as he had nowhere else to go. Willow and Kennedy have moved to LA. Faith and Wood had driven off into the Sunset, quite literally, taking the old school bus with them. No one had heard from them since.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'll Never Leave You

Buffy sat alone, by the window of her apartment. She looked down onto the street, watching the "ordinary people" go about their "ordinary lives". She was not the only chosen one anymore, they were everywhere. However, she had still been unable to start living that life of a normal girl. A heavy leaden lump ached in her chest, where her heart had once been. She shook her head, desperately trying to clear the images from it, but the ghosts just wouldn't leave her be. She closed her eyes in defeat as she let the familiar images wash over her, already replayed in her head a thousand times.

"I love you,"

"No you don't, but thanks for saying it,"

His denial of her love, had troubled her for days. She believed that he had died, thinking that any woman he had loved, never loved him back. It had been a week after Spike had died, that she had finally worked it out in her head. He had believed her declaration of love; it had been his way of letting her go. She knew deep down that she would have willingly stayed with him, and seen it to the end. Dawn would have been taken care of, the hellmouth was destroyed, and she knew she should be grateful. After all, Spike had given her something, no one had, the chance of a normal life. However, what was the point of it, when the only person you wanted to spend it with was a pile of ashes at the bottom of a crater?

She sighed for what seemed like the hundredth time that day. Buffy forced herself to get out of her seat and go to the closet in the hall; she took her jacket out and slipped it on. She was meeting Dawn in half an hour at Starbucks, another attempt on her sister's part to bring her back to the land of the living. Buffy dropped her keys on the floor. She couldn't see them in the darkness of the cupboard, so she got on her hands and knees and fumbled around for them. Finally locating them in the back of the cupboard. Her hand closed on a rucksack, shoved in the far corner.

"Funny, don't remember that being there," she said

Buffy pulled it out of the cupboard, in the light she instantly recognised it as Andrews. Must have been mixed up with the few meagre belongings they had salvaged from the school bus, she thought to herself. She put it on the floor; it fell to one side, the contents spilling from it. Andrew's video camera lay there, Buffy felt the breath leave her body, as she had remembered Andrew's annoying filming sessions of herself and all the others. Maybe he'd even caught some images of Spike. Her heart raced as she fumbled through the bag, pulling the connecting cables that were still joined to it.

Buffy took the camcorder over to the TV and set it up. She turned on the camera; it still worked to her surprise. Buffy ran the tape; there was a lot of waffling on Andrew's part, which she impatiently fast-forwarded. She stopped the tape on a scene he'd filmed of them all in the kitchen having breakfast. She smiled a little smile as she listened to herself making another one of her motivational speeches. They were fighting the first evil, and she was getting her panties in a budge about Andrew filming them.

"Because it's a waste of time, Come on someone has to agree with me. Spike?"

"Long as you're not pointing that thing at me, seems like a fine way to keep the boy busy,"

Buffy's eyes filled with tears, as she looked on the face of her saviour, a face she had never thought to see again. As he stood there trying to talk with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. She had been afraid that she was starting to forget how blue his eyes were, or the shape of that sensual mouth that she knew intimately. Buffy froze the picture on his image, knelt down in front of the TV. She touched the screen lovingly, tracing the outlines of his beloved face.

Where was he now, what happened to demons after they died. His soul must have gone to heaven, but what of his demon counterpart? The part that made him Spike, did he cease to exist when his body had dissolved? Buffy pondered on this, she was snapped out of her thoughts as she heard the key turn in the lock. She quickly pulled the cables out of the TV, and shoved the camera under the coffee table. Buffy had just found Spike again, and didn't feel ready to share him with people who might not understand.

She lay down on the sofa and closed her eyes, feigning sleep. Dawn entered the apartment, fired up at her sister for missing their meeting at Starbucks. She stomped angrily into the lounge about to burst into a tirade, when she saw her sister asleep on the sofa. She closed her mouth and sighed, Buffy needed the rest, dark shadows showed under her eyes like bruises. Many a night, Dawn had heard her get up from their room and pace about in the apartment, looking for some kind of peace, but never finding it. She left Buffy to sleep, and went into the kitchen to get herself a homemade caffeine fix.

Buffy felt herself slowly drift off to sleep, against her will. Her dreams frightened her; they always took her back to Sunnydale. She slipped into a fitful sleep that her body ached for.

**Buffy's dream**

She was running through the school corridors, the building was shaking and falling apart. Buffy gripped the scythe in her hand as she negotiated the falling rubble. Tears were still streaming down her face from her emotional encounter with Spike. She ran out into the daylight, the school bus was waiting there for her, and Faith, standing on the steps of the bus.

"Come on B," she screamed.

She pulled Buffy into the bus, the doors closing behind them. Buffy then ran to the back of the bus, where her sister Dawn hugged her. The Bus sped off, and as Buffy was in her sister's arms, she looked over her shoulder, her eyes widening in horror as she saw Spike emerge from the building. His jacket over his head to protect him from the daylight. She looked into his eyes and saw his mouth silently form the words "Buffy" He held out a smoking hand to her. She screamed at Robin Wood to stop the bus, he ignored her and carried on driving. "Spike! Spike!" She screamed, as she saw the school fall into the hell mouth.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Buffy awoke to two pairs of concerned eyes. Giles and Dawn, Giles was panting slightly out of breath. He had just entered the apartment building when he had heard Buffy's screams, Dawn was wiping at a large coffee stain on her blouse.

"Give me a heart attack why don't cha?" asked Dawn.

"What happened?" asked Buffy, confused.

"You were screaming the name er. Spike," said Giles, shakily.

"Uh, bad dream," said Buffy.

"Want to talk about it?" asked Giles

"Not so much, got any more of that coffee Dawnie?" asked Buffy, looking at her sister's blouse.

"Sorry I am wearing it all," said Dawn, as she flounced off into the kitchen.

"Buffy we should talk about this, look at you, you're holding on by a thread. Your clothes are hanging off you, just because Spike died does not mean that you should get yourself a death wish too," he said, sternly.

Buffy's face whitened at his cruelty, she did something she never thought she'd do. Buffy slapped Giles across the face, and walked off in the direction of her bedroom, she almost tripped on Andrew's rucksack. Picking it up, she took it in her room and closed the door, locking it behind her.

TBC