TITLE: Tabula Mortis

AUTHOR: Shadowlass

EMAIL: shadowlass2000@yahoo.com

SUMMARY: Even with the most painful events, records must be kept. Veers from canon after "First Date."

RATING: PG

NOTE: Written in response to wiseacress's suggestion to write creepy fanfic for Halloween.

DISCLAIMER: Joss owns all.

Spike

I don't want to talk about it. Ask one of the others.

***

Xander

It was—Jesus. Gimme a minute.

Okay.

The first time was Jonathan, and the second was Spike. The third time was me. I don't know why we assumed there wouldn't be others. Gotta get that seal open, right?

With so many people in the house it was hard to keep track of everyone. Like getting lost in a crowd. I guess that made it easy for him. We weren't worried about him anyway. He was just a lost puppy. He was happy to have a home.

***

Willow

We didn't realize they were missing until dinner. We're all busy, we all have so much to do.

But I could have done more. I should have put a protection spell on her, but I was trying to cut back on the unnecessary magic.

Don't. Don't look at me like that. If you thought I should have used a spell, you would have told me to. I was not—I thought she was safe. We all did.

***

Amanda

He could have fit right in. I bet nobody looked twice at him.

You know, it could have been me. He just found her first. It would have been easy to make her come with him. All he would've had to do was say they had something to show her.

***

Spike

Not her! Let her rest, ask one of the others.

Yeah, sure you know how to "go about" things. Doing a great job so far. That's what you tell yourself, isn't it? Give some glorious speech and then you're off to hell and gone and leave Buffy to pick up the pieces. Make your big-headed pronouncements, and then leave her to do the heavy lifting. Well, piss off. You weren't here to help her. You weren't here to help either of them.

***

Xander

He was kneeling there, crying, next to the seal. Not touching it. Spike grabbed him and shouted, then threw him right into the wall. There was a big crack. I thought it was his neck, but when Wood and I went back later to get rid of his body, there was all this blood on the back of his head, so maybe his skull was crushed. Maybe it was the skull and the neck both. That would be fine with me.

No, it didn't open. Or if it did it had closed itself back up by the time we got there. When we got there it was just the two of them.

***

Willow

She kept saying, I was right there. I was upstairs and I didn't even know.

***

Wood

It was right beneath my office. It was ten feet below me.

I didn't hear a thing.

***

Spike

Her shoe was the first thing I saw. She just got the pair last week—ballerina flats, she called them. Pink. She could borrow her sister's clothes, although the skirts are way too short on her because she's taller. But she's got—she had—feet like a German shepherd, so she couldn't borrow her sister's shoes.

Anyway, I saw it on the edge of the seal. It had fallen off when she'd collapsed. It was the only thing of hers that wasn't covered with blood.

Buffy made this sound that wasn't human and ran to her, and then I noticed him, the motherfucker, sitting right next to her, holding a knife and rocking back and forth. Like he needed comfort. He needed comfort, while she lay there growing cold. I gave him all the comfort he's going to get.

That's all the comfort any of us are going to get out of this.

No, I said leave her be, you don't need to ask her anything. You've heard all of it, Rupert. Now shut your fucking notebook and get out.

The End