He really had a feeling holding him back, making him not want to go to the place he'd left behind a year before. Another voice told him to go, kiss her, love her, and feel her. All he did know was that he had three- week furlough from the mission in Belize; Graham said Riley was too tense and needed to let off some steam. Riley had decided to go to Iowa for this time, but the only cheapest way there was through California, Sunnydale, California. He had thought of every excuse about not going through there. Every single one. But it wasn't evitable; he was broke, low pay, he had to take a trip through Sunnydale, risk the possibility of seeing her.

He was driving down Main Street, going past The Sunnydale Sun Movie Theater. He went past The Espresso Pump, past The Bronze. The Bronze, where he had spent many a night, shaking, shimmying, dancing, and loving, with her....

No, he shook his head, don't think about it, just don't. But, he couldn't stop the images, her, her tear-stained face, her hair, her petite body, her skin.... images of her couldn't escape him; they were just there, a mental picture. They were permanent. All of a sudden as he drove, he saw a small petite woman, blonde, short hair. She was walking to The Magic Box down the street. That could be none other than her, Buffy. She turned his way, noticing the humongous HumV, but not the driver, not him. Her face bore large worry lines. Her eyes told of her sorrow and pain. It was Buffy, he just needed to know why she was so, so sad. Screw the disappearing act, screw it. He still loved her. He rolled down one of the windows.

"Little lady, what's wrong?" he asked, his voice choking.

"Mister, if you're trying to pull something, just forget, 'kay? I'm not that kind of girl." She didn't know the voice; it came to her, when she saw his face. When she saw it her eyes brimmed back her tears.


"Why are you here, I thought, I thought you were in Belize, doing the military thing." The night came back to her, her running after the helicopter, yelling, rather screaming his name.

"Furlough, on my way to Iowa."

"Iowa, you'll be doing the farmy thing for how long?" She asked in a very normal tone.

"Two weeks or so. I'm sorry, for just showing up like this."

"No prob." She looked at his face, sincere and caring.

"What's up with you, you wear worry lines that should belong to a woman ten years older than you, and you didn't have those a year ago."

"Well, that was before my mother died and I had to fight a hell god. Plus, being in a coffin for four months doesn't help the skin." She cried, he opened the door for her. She got in and he gave her a large hug.

"You died?"

"Darn tootin'."


"Yea, leaping off a tower to stop Hell from reigning on Earth doesn't rate high in my book either."

"How'd you come back?"

"Call it my friends ripped me out of Heaven. I had to dig out of my grave. Very traumatic. "

"I'll bet." He drove her to the store.

"I love you." She mumbled under her breath very quietly. He heard.


"Oh nothing..." She shrugged it off.

"Really, saying you love me is nothing? Because I thought it meant something. But if you don't...."

"Riley, I do, and I have, loved you, missed you. By God I've missed you. I wish I had gotten there sooner, if only I had run a little faster..."

"Faster? Running?"

"Riley, I ran after your helicopter, I ran yelling your name, I was too late."

"I didn't hear you, the chopper blades were too loud."

"I should've thrown a pebble or something. Dammit! I'm such a fool." She put her face in her hands.

"No." He said, "You're not."