Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story, I'm just borrowing them, so please don't sue me. :)

Author's note: This piece is kind of dark, but that's the way I wanted it. This is just a remote possibility of how Buffy might cope with the loss of her mother.

~Decent of Darkness~

It had been two weeks since her mother had died. Two weeks since her entire world had fallen apart. She sat alone in the empty house. The lights were off and she had several candles burning. She stared into space as the tears rolled down her face.

It had all happened so quickly. Everyone thought she was going to be alright. The tumor was gone. That was what the doctors had said. But what nobody had anticipated was an aneurysm. Most likely a complication from the brain surgery that she faced mere weeks ago. Things like this weren't supposed to happen. But it did happen. One minute she was there and the next minute she was just gone.

There were no good-byes, no last words. Nothing. Buffy had so much to say to her and she never had the chance. Life was fleeting like that. She dealt with death everyday, but never had it hit her like this. She had been upset when Jenny had died, and devastated when she had had to kill Angel, but that pain was nothing like what she felt now. This was her mother, her family, the one thing in her life she could always count on, and now she was gone.

She wiped a tear from her eye and hugged her arms to her chest. She heard the knock at the door, but tried to ignore it. She didn't want to see anyone. Dawn was with their father. He was just as upset as they all were, but Buffy had chosen to stay here, alone. She hadn't wanted to see any of her friends. It was better this way. She needed this time to think and reflect by herself.

The knock became more persistent. She figured she better answer or they might never go away. Absently, she called out "Come in."

The door gently started to open, but she didn't look up to see who it was. She figured it must be Willow or maybe Giles. She had told them she didn't want to be bothered, but leave it to them to worry about her.

"Buffy?" The voice called out to her.

Spike walked tentatively into the darkened room. He knew she would probably throw him through the window, but he had been worried about her ever since he had heard the news about Joyce.

She looked up at him standing in the doorway. "You. What are you doing here?" She said aggravated by his intrusion.

He walked towards her, the candles illuminating his face.

"You said I could come in." He said knowing he was probably the last person she wanted to see. "Are you okay?" He asked nervously.

"No." She answered flatly.

"Right. Well, I knew you wouldn't be. You shouldn't be alone, you know? Where are your friends?" He asked.

"I told them I wanted to be alone. I can't face them right now."

He walked over to her and knelt down next to her on the floor. He reached out and touched her shoulder. He expected her to recoil, but instead she only looked up at him with tear stained cheeks and puffy eyes.

"I'm really sorry, Buffy." He said softly. "I know that you probably don't believe me, but I am."

"I know. Everyone is sorry. It doesn't help." She said a little too harshly.

"I'm just trying to be nice. I-I worry about you." He said softly. It wasn't long ago he was wishing that she would hurt like she had hurt him with her rejection. But this wasn't what he had in mind. Right now all he wanted was to stop her suffering.

"I don't need you to worry about me. I can take care of myself, Spike. I don't need you." She said angrily.

"Fine. You don't need me, but you need someone. You want to shut yourself off from everyone that cares about you, be my guest." He said getting mad at her. "You think you always have to be the strong one, don't you? You're allowed to break down once in awhile, you know?"

She just looked at him. He was right, and she knew it.

"Is that why you're here? To see me break down? You wanna' watch me cry my eyes out and curse the world? Just go! You don't really care about me." She said raising her voice to him.

Spike made no move to leave and for once she didn't force it. She just let out a defeated sigh. He sat down beside her on the floor and looked her straight in the eye.

"You think I don't care? You're wrong. And I'm not here to watch you suffer. I just wanted to help you."

She looked at him with a lost expression. She was tired of fighting with him. Tired of the game, or the dance as he called it. He was always able to get to her. What he said was true. She did shut people out when the going got tough. And things didn't get much tougher than this. But they were about to get tougher.

She just shook her head sadly. "You can't help me. Nobody can."

He was at a loss for words and so he just said nothing. They sat there in silence for a long time. He wished he could say or do something to make her feel better. He had never seen her like this and he didn't like it. It was upsetting to see the light go out of her eyes.

That was what he loved most about her; her light. Maybe because that part of her was the total opposite of his darkness. He was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. But now that light was gone and he wondered if she would ever get it back.

"I just can't believe she's gone." She finally said breaking the silence.

"I know. It was so sudden."

"I never even got to say goodbye." She said sadly. She wasn't sure why she was even talking to him. She should have thrown him out the minute he walked through the door, but she didn't. She knew she needed him here. He was the only one to help her right now.

They just looked at each other for a moment until Buffy finally looked away. She knew that Spike had feelings for her. Feelings that she wasn't comfortable with before, but tonight, she was actually grateful to have someone there who loved her, and didn't expect anything in return.

She had been more than cruel to him. But at the time, she felt he deserved it. Tonight, none of that seemed to matter anymore. She didn't have the energy to keep up the charade. She didn't hate him. In fact, she hated herself more for not hating him. She turned and looked at him again. He had genuine sadness in his eyes.

"You know, she always liked you." She said her voice absent of emotion.

"She did?" He asked.

Buffy nodded her head. "My mother didn't have the greatest taste in men, that's for sure, but yes, she liked you."

Spike ignored her insult. "Well, I always liked her too. She reminded me of my own mum, sometimes."

"You remember your mother?" She asked incredulously.

"Yeah, of course I do."

"Oh, I just thought maybe you wouldn't. It was so long ago." She said wondering if he had killed his mother when he became a vampire. She decided she'd rather not know.

"Yeah, it was. But you never forget your mum." He said softly. "Just like you'll never forget Joyce."

"No, I'll never forget. Ever."

Spike eyed her curiously. He still didn't understand why she was sitting here alone in the dark, instead of being with her friends. He wondered even more why she had even allowed him to be here at all. He wondered why Angel wasn't here right now.

"So, does he know?" Spike asked her cautiously.

"Who?" She asked, not knowing who he meant at first. Then it dawned on her. "Oh, Angel. Yeah, Willow called him. He wanted to come right away, but I told her I didn't want to see him."

"Why not?" He asked not fully understanding.

"Because. It's just too hard. I still love him and seeing him is always painful. I have enough to deal with right now, I can't deal with that part of my life right now."

"But wouldn't you feel better having his shoulder to cry on?"

"Yeah, I would, but then all sorts of other feelings would come rushing back and then reality would set in that we still can't be together. It's better this way. You wouldn't understand."

He watched the way her face fell when she spoke of him. Truth is he did understand. He knew what it was like to love someone and know that you could never be with them. He knew he shouldn't say this, but he couldn't help himself.

"I do understand. That's how I feel around you every time I see you. I-I still love you, Buffy." He said softly.

"Stop saying that." She said in a barely audible voice.

She knew how he felt and she still couldn't believe it. She had denied having any feelings for him at all, but she knew that wasn't entirely true. She did feel something. It certainly wasn't love or anything remotely like that, but it was something. Right now she didn't care about any of that. She needed him for here for a reason. She needed something that only he could offer her. She never thought it would come to this.

"But, I do love you, Buffy. Why won't you believe me?" He pleaded with her.

"Just stop. I know how you feel, Spike. I know." She said with her voice trembling.

All of her emotions came rushing at her all at once. Loneliness and despair. She couldn't shake the feeling that everyone she loved would leave her at one time or another. She figured that being around her was like poison to those she cared about. She cried so hard that she felt as if she were dying too, and maybe that was what she wanted.

Spike was unsure what to do. He wasn't comfortable seeing her like this. All of this emotion frightened him. He cautiously moved towards her and attempted to reach out and touch her to comfort her, but before he could get over there she flung herself into his arms and held him tight.

He was stunned that she had reached out to him like this, but he went with it. He held her tightly and let her cry. He inhaled deeply, the scent of her hair and relished every moment that she allowed him to be near her.

The sound of her sobs had drowned out the sound of the car that had pulled up out front. The man got out and walked slowly up to the door. He was unsure why he had come here when it was clear she didn't want his presence complicating things. He struggled with the decision for two weeks and when her friend had called him pleading with him to come, he had finally relented. Willow had said that Buffy needed him now more than ever. She was drowning in sorrow and his heart wrenched for her.

As he approached the front door, he didn't make a sound. No one noticed his dark, shadowy figure as it ascended the front steps. He was just about to knock when he heard the crying from the open window, and curiously stepped over to peer in.

The room was dark except for the candlelight. The curtains were open slightly, enough to see in. He watched as Buffy threw herself into Spike's arms.

His heart leapt into his throat. If it had been beating before it surely would have stopped at that moment. His first instinct was to burst through the door and break Spike's neck, but he restrained himself.

When Willow had called him, she had mentioned that Buffy had been upset before about Spike. He wanted to know details, and was amused when he found out that Spike had been de-fanged, or so to speak. He was also disturbed by the revelation that Spike thought he was in love with Buffy. It was almost laughable, but Angel never would have guessed that Buffy may return any of that affection. The scene before him told a different tale.

"Everyone I love leaves me. I can't do this anymore, I can't be alone." Buffy sobbed into Spike's jacket.

He wasn't sure what to say or do. He stroked her hair and told her softly, "You're not alone. You have lots of people who love you...You have me."

"I can't do this anymore to my friends. I just can't." She sobbed then looked up into his eyes desperately. "You won't leave me, will you?"

She was shocked by her own words, but at that moment she had to say them. She had only recently told him to get lost, and here she was pleading with him never to leave her. Her mind was so confused and jumbled. Right now, all she knew is that she needed him. Somehow and someway she needed him.

He was really taken aback at this plea from her. He had always told himself that deep down she cared about him, but he never really believed it. Her actions of late certainly made it quite clear that he was garbage in her eyes. He wasn't sure what had changed. Maybe the death of her mother had opened her eyes. He didn't know.

"I'm not going anywhere, Luv. You know I'm not easy to get rid of. You've tried a million times and I'm still here." He said trying to lighten her mood a bit.

She smiled a little through her tears. "You are kind of annoying like that, aren't you?"

"Yes. The only way I'm going anywhere is if you finally cave in and stake me yourself." He said with a smirk.

She looked up at him then, her smile faded and she turned serious again.

"I won't." She said to him.

Angel watched and listened from the window. His heart was breaking. Spike was in there, where he should be, comforting Buffy. That was his job, not Spike's. What had happened? When did it come to this? He struggled with the decision to make his presence known, or to simply turn and walk away.

Buffy looked at Spike through her tears and touched his face.

"I need you right now. I know I said that I hated you and I would never need you, but I do. If you really think you love me, promise me you'll stand by me." She pleaded desperately.

"I'll always stand by you, you know that. I've changed, you'll see." He responded questioning her with his eyes.

"Good, because I don't want to be alone. I thought I did, but I don't." She managed through her tears as she continued to stare at him with glassy eyes.

Spike looked at her tear stained face and wondered what was happening to his beautiful Buffy? She had always been so strong and so determined. It wasn't like her at all to be so desperate, and the fact that she was turning to him for comfort was even more out of character. Sure, the death of a loved one made you do things you wouldn't normally do, but this was almost as if she was giving up.

She continued to hold Spike tight. No matter how many times she insisted that he was evil and dangerous, she just couldn't see that tonight. Or maybe she just tried not to see it. Tonight he was just a person, not a vampire or a creature or a thing. Tonight he was just a person and he loved her. He loved her and said he would never leave her.

She looked up at him again and took his face in her hands. Spike jumped slightly at the feel of her warm hands on his cold face. He looked at her quizzically. She leaned over and gently placed her warm lips on his. He drew in a deep unneeded breath. He couldn't believe this was happening. This was the moment he had been waiting for. He didn't know why it was happening now, but he wasn't prepared to question it, not now anyway.

Angel reeled back in horror. Spike was not worthy of Buffy's affection or trust. How she could let him into her life like this was unthinkable. He was quickly losing his resistance to break through the door and kill Spike right then, but that was the last thing that Buffy needed.

She apparently needed Spike. She hadn't even wanted to see him, but he came anyway. He figured she would feel differently if she saw him. He knew she was going through hell and wanted to be there for her. But he could see that he wasn't needed. He turned to go when he knocked over a plant that was on the front step.

"What was that?" Spike said pulling out of their kiss.

"I don't know." Buffy said, getting up.

Spike motioned for her to stay where she was and he went to open the door.

He saw the plant lying over, and looked up just in time to see the black convertible screeching away into the night.

"Who was it?" Buffy asked coming up behind him.

Spike shook his head in confusion, wondering if he should even tell her who it was. "Angel." He said quietly.

"Angel? Are you sure?" She asked tentatively. A look of shock and panic on her face.

"I'd recognize that convertible anywhere, plus the moonlight shining on that hair gelled helmet was a dead giveaway." Spike added sarcastically.

Buffy shot him a dirty look but ignored his remark. "But why did he run away?"

"My guess is he didn't much like what he saw when he got here."

"Oh my God... Angel..." She said sadly, realizing the scene that Angel must have witnessed. She felt a sudden wave of nausea overwhelm her.

Spike watched her. He could see how disturbed she was by this turn of events..

Buffy looked up at Spike. She was still reeling from the fact that Angel was here, then she realized that she was becoming more upset by the fact that he had simply run away. Her expression had turned from sadness to anger. "I told him not to come. He never listens to me. He comes all this way just to leave without saying anything. I can't believe he didn't burst in here and kick your ass."

"Hey now. I'll have you know that I would be the one kicking ass." Spike said, his pride wounded.

"Oh please! I can kick your ass. Angel would rip you to shreds." She said taunting him.

"Oh yeah? Well the last time I saw him he was begging me for mercy and..." He started, then realized he better shut up. "Never mind. Not really what you want to hear right now."

She gave him a nasty look and shook her head in disgust.

"I just can't believe he came here." She said her voice full of confusion.

"I can. I mean, come on. He still loves you. If it were me, I would have done the same thing. The only thing that I don't understand is what took him so long."

Buffy looked at him and then looked away. He was right. Of course Angel would come. She wanted so badly to have seen him, and hold him and have him tell her everything would be okay. But she knew it wouldn't be like that, it couldn't be. He was part of her past. A past that she was going to have to let go of.

Buffy walked back over to where she had been sitting before and sat back down. Spike walked over and joined her again. They both sat in silence. Buffy kept thinking about Angel and what he must have thought if he saw her kissing Spike. He must have been horrified. She still wasn't entirely sure why she had done it, only that she wanted to, needed to, actually.

Spike looked around nervously. He was a bit angry that Angel had shown up and ruined whatever it was that was happening with him and Buffy.

"Maybe I should go now." He said to her.

She didn't look up at him and only nodded her head. She was still lost in thought. "Maybe you should."

Spike was hurt by this. Whatever it was that was happening with Buffy was over now. Ruined by that stupid poof Angel. He didn't even have the sense to come sooner. He couldn't really love her if he waited so long and then he just ran away.

"I know you're wishing it was him that was here. You're wishing I never came here tonight, so he wouldn't have seen what he did and he'd be the one here with you right now."

"That's not what I'm thinking. I'm just wishing that he hadn't come at all. It's going to make what I have to do so much harder." She said to him sadly.

He looked at her not comprehending what she meant.

"What do you have to do?"

"I don't want to talk anymore. If you're not going to go, then just stay and don't talk. I don't want you to talk anymore." She said despairingly.

He nodded his head and sat down beside her again. Something was happening to her, and he didn't know what. She was treating him differently, that was for sure, but there was something else. Her eyes were dark and lifeless. Something inside her had died along with her mother. He only hoped that it wasn't too late to get it back.

Angel had sped away from her house quickly. He just had to get out of there before he went and did something that he might regret. He didn't know what was going on or when Spike had taken his place in Buffy's life. The thought of it made him rage inside. He pressed the gas pedal to the floor and sped towards Willow's place.

He pulled up in front of Willow and Tara's place and got out. He walked up and knocked softly on their door.

Willow heard the knock and got up out of bed. She stumbled to the door.

"Who is it?" She asked sleepily.

"It's Angel."

She opened the door quickly. "Angel. Come in."

Tara sat up in bed clutching the covers to her body protectively.

"Tara, it's okay. It's Angel." Willow said.

Tara breathed a sigh of relief. At this late hour she almost wondered for a moment if there were more bad news coming their way.

"Sorry, it's so late, but I just got into town." Angel said.

"It's okay. Here, sit down." Willow told him, motioning to a chair.

"Thanks." He said sitting down.

Tara got up and put on her bathrobe and went to sit next to Willow.

"Hi. Um, I'm Tara. Willow's, uh, girlfriend." She said nervously extending her hand.

"I'm sorry! Major bad on my part. I forgot you guys haven't met before. With all that's happened..." Willow said sadness overcoming her again.

"It's okay. Nice to meet you Tara." Angel said.

Tara just nodded her head sadly and put her arm around Willow.

"So, um, have you seen Buffy yet?" Willow asked him.

"She doesn't need me here." He said sadly trying to contain his inner rage. "That's what I wanted to tell you. I'm not sticking around, but I wanted to let you know that I did come after you asked me to."

"But why? Sh-she does need you. I mean, she may have said she didn't but this is a major deal. I'm sure she'd want to see you." Willow said not understanding.

"Look, trust me. She doesn't need me anymore. I saw her tonight, through the window..." He said a little too loudly, the hurt and anger surfacing again.

"Through the window? You didn't even go in? She's been shutting all of us out and she shouldn't be alone, Angel." Willow said to him, not getting why he would come all this way only to leave without seeing her.

"She wasn't alone, Willow. That's what I'm trying to say." He said as he stood up and started pacing nervously.

"She wasn't? But who?" She asked.

"Spike. He was there. I watched them." He said seething again.

"Spike?" Willow asked starting to worry about Buffy's safety. Spike wasn't invited into Buffy's house anymore and Willow knew she would never let him in herself. "But Buffy hates Spike. Angel, are you sure she was okay?"

"No, Willow, she wasn't okay. But it had nothing to do with him. And I don't think she hates him anymore." Angel said disconcerted about the whole situation.

"You must have misunderstood. I-I mean, he probably just stopped by to see if she was okay. You know he sorta' has a thing for her. But it's always been completely one sided." Willow said nervously, not really wanting to rehash Spike's Buffy obsession.

"Willow, I heard them talking. I saw what was happening. There were candles, and she was clutching onto him begging him not leave her."

"What? But...But you must have heard wrong." She said, trying to find an explanation. This did not sound like Buffy at all. She was horrified at Spike's affection. She'd never do something like this.

"She kissed him." He said raising his voice.

Willow didn't know what to say. She had no explanation for that one.

"Oh." Was all she could manage.

"I know. I can't believe it myself. I wanted so badly to just burst in there and break his face." He said with anger.

"I'm surprised you didn't." Willow said. Still trying to absorb all this information.

"I wanted to, believe me." Angel said as he sat down again and held his head in his hands. "But that wouldn't have helped. This isn't about what I want, or need. This is about Buffy and what she needs right now. I don't know why she's with him tonight, but she is. I just have to face the fact that I've been replaced."

"Spike could never replace you, Angel. Not in Buffy's heart. I know she still loves you." Willow said trying to comfort him.

"Face it, Willow. I can't ever give her what she needs. We all know that."

"And he can?"

"I don't know. Maybe I don't know what she needs. Maybe I never did."

"I'm sorry." Willow said, not knowing what else to say. She was just as surprised as he was about this.

"Just tell Buffy that I'm sorry about her mother and if she ever needs anything, she knows where she can find me." He said getting up to go.

"Are you sure you don't want to wait and see her? Maybe she can explain."

"No. I don't need her to explain. I don't want to know. I should have never come. Just tell her I'm sorry." He said as he walked out the door.

Willow watched him go. She felt badly for him. He had been so hurt and angry by this. Tara came up behind her girlfriend and put her arms around her. Willow just turned and hugged her tight.


The next morning the sun rose behind a blanket of clouds. A storm had settled in, and it was raining furiously.

Buffy was startled awake by a sudden clap of thunder. She sat up and realized that she was still on the living room carpet. Her eyes were swollen from crying and her back ached from sleeping on the hard ground.

She turned and noticed that she was not alone. Spike had fallen asleep beside her and was still sleeping now. Buffy smiled slightly at the sight of the sleeping vampire. He looked so peaceful. Seeing him like that, it was easy to forget what he was.

She put her hand on his arm and gently tried to get him to wake up.

"What? What is it?" He said jumping up from his awkward position on the floor. He quickly noticed his surroundings and remembered where he was.

"Wake up." She said loudly.

"You scared the bloody hell out of me, Slayer. I forgot where I was." He told her. "What time is it?"

"It's about ten."

"I'm sorry. I guess I should have left last night. I didn't mean to fall asleep." He said wondering if she would throw him out now. Things always looked different in the light of day. Now that she had slept, maybe she wouldn't be so welcoming of his comfort.

"It's okay." She said softly.

Just then, there was a knock on the door. They looked at each other, then Buffy got up to answer it. She pulled the door open and saw Willow standing outside drenched from the rain. She held a Styrofoam cup in her hand and a small paper bag.

"Willow. Um, what are you doing here?" Buffy said somewhat uneasily.

"I just brought you some coffee and something to eat." She said shaking off the rain as she walked inside. "I think the doughnuts got a little soggy though." She said with an awkward smile.

"Thanks." Buffy said flatly.

" I thought maybe you would be hungry and I thought that maybe you wanted some company." Willow said with a smile then she noticed that Spike was still sitting on the living room floor. Her face fell. "Oh, you already have company."

"Yeah, um, this isn't a good time." Buffy said to her friend.

Willow looked extremely hurt by Buffy's statement.

"Buffy, what is he doing here? Is he bothering you?" Willow asked with genuine concern.

Spike noticed the discomfort of the red-head and stood up.

"Look, maybe I should go now." He said.

"Yes, you should." Willow said bluntly to him.

"No, you don't have to go." Buffy said turning to him, then she looked at her friend. "I'm sorry, Will, but things are just kind of weird right now. I'll talk to you later. Thanks for the coffee and stuff." She said apprehensively.

"What? Buffy..." Willow pleaded with her. Her eyes full of disappointment and despair.

"I'm sorry, but I just need to be alone right now." Buffy her face expressionless.

"But... But he's here. That's not alone. Why are you shutting me out? I'm your best friend." Willow said with tears in her eyes.

"I'll talk to you later." Buffy said ushering her to the door.

"I'm worried about you." Willow said sadly.

"I'll be fine." Buffy said with a forced smile. "Just please go now."

Willow turned and walked out the door back into the pouring rain. She didn't even bother to run this time. She let the rain beat down on her as she walked slowly. Something was terribly wrong with Buffy and she was scared for her.

She knew that her mother's death had hit her extremely hard, but this was not like her at all. She was shutting everyone out. Everyone except Spike. This was not a good thing, she thought. Her tears mixed with the rain as she made her way home.

Spike stood and watched Buffy's every move. She gazed out the window watching her friend disappear into the rain. She sighed and wiped away the tear that had begun to roll down her face. She sat down on the couch and hugged her arms to her chest.

He moved over towards her, still not understanding what was happening with her or with them. She had made her friend leave and she allowed him to remain. He was the one person in her life that she had always pushed away, and now she was doing a complete about face.

"Why did you do that?" He questioned her.

"I had to. It has to be this way." She said softly and without emotion in her voice.

"Has to be what way? What is happening to you?" He asked genuinely concerned.

"Why do you care? You're still here. Isn't this what you wanted? You and me together?" She said with an irritated laugh.

"Sure, Luv. Of course I want us together. That's all I want, but up until last night you would have rather killed yourself or me, than let me into your life." He said shaking his head. The demon in him told him not to question her motives, but the human side of him that had become more apparent in the last few months screamed out that something was completely amiss.

"Things change." She said shrugging her shoulders.

He sat down beside her and looked at her expressionless face.

She looked up at him her eyes full of despair. He reached over and touched her face. She took his hand and held it. They sat like that for a moment until she silently got up and walked towards the back of the house. He questioned her with his eyes, but she didn't look at him.

She walked out the back door and into the rain. She stood in her backyard and let the rain beat down over her body that was so fragile with grief. She let the rain cleanse her mind and her spirit. She knew that the only way she could let them go was to lose a part of herself, but she was ready.

Spike had followed her and watched as she stood out in the rain. He watched as she fell to her knees and looked up at the sky. She looked as if she were dying and little did he know that part of her was dead already. He ran outside and lifted her up.

"What are you doing, Buffy?" He asked full of uneasiness as he held onto her arms.

She looked into his eyes. He couldn't tell if she was crying or not because the rain was beating down so hard.

"I have to let them go. I can't protect them anymore. I can't do it. All my life I have protected people and look where it got me." She said almost maniacally. "I couldn't even save her! Some kind of hero I am!" She said collapsing into his arms.

"Buffy, there wasn't anything you could have done. What happened to your mother had nothing to do with you. You couldn't have protected her" He shouted over the sound of the rain pouring down.

"I know that, but I can protect them, Spike. I can protect my friends and the only way I can do that is to cut them loose. They can't be a part of this anymore. If anything ever happened to them because of me, I couldn't handle it. Losing my mom was a huge wake up call. From now on, it's just me Spike. Just me." She said desperately, the rain pouring off her face. She looked deep into his eyes. "And you..." She added softly touching his rain soaked face.

He gazed at her with a bewildered expression. She was giving up and letting go of the one thing that had always separated her from the other slayers. He touched her face gently.

"Buffy, you don't mean that, do you? You're not really letting them go, are you?" He asked her.

"Yes, it's the only way to protect them. I am destined to go before my time, and they're not. I won't bring them with me. I won't. But I don't want to be alone, Spike. Say you'll stay with me." She implored him desperately.

He didn't know what to say, he had never seen her like this and he didn't like it. He said the only thing that he could think of.

"Of course I'll stay with you." He told her.

She closed her eyes and leaned up to kiss him. Her mouth assaulted his with a fierce hunger. She was kissing him with a desperation that even she didn't know she had. The rain poured down on them as they stood in her backyard. Their clothes were soaked and dirty from the mud that had been splashing around them.

"Make this go away, Spike." She cried into his ear. "Make the hurt stop. I want to feel anything but this emptiness."

She began to tear at his clothes and he stood there lost in the moment of passion. He knew that she was in terrible shape and would never be doing this if she was in her right mind. Part of him wanted to stop her and tell her how wrong this was, but mostly he just wanted her. He pushed the doubts out of his mind and continued kissing her with all the passion he had been bottling up for months now.

They fell to the ground and landed in a puddle. She was on top of him and sat up and tore open his shirt. His face contorted with pleasure at her touch and the fierceness of her passion. She kissed him voraciously and he returned her desire. He sat up and grabbed her tight to him and flipped her over onto the hard wet ground. He opened her shirt revealing her rain soaked bra. He caressed her roughly and she moaned.

He kissed her again then picked her up in his arms and carried her into the house. They collapsed onto kitchen floor and she cried out. He wasn't sure if it was in pain or pleasure. He let go of her and scrambled to his feet. He looked down at her, suddenly realizing the magnitude of what was happening..

"Are you okay?" He asked concerned that he was hurting her.

She looked up at him and he saw immense fury and fire in her eyes. She jumped to her feet and quickly shoved him backward into the wall. He winced at the pain.

"No, Spike, I'm not okay. I'll never be okay. Help me forget." She said venomously as she began kissing him again. Her kisses were filled with desperation and rage. He was almost embarrassed by how excited he was at her actions, when he knew that she would most certainly regret them.

She swung him around and he hit the counter. She never stopped kissing him. He grabbed her hair and pulled her head back. She moaned as he began kissing her neck roughly. The urge to sink his teeth in was still there, much to his dismay, but he restrained himself. He had no choice, really. He wanted to experience all of her.

They ended up on the floor again and the rest of their clothes ended up strewn around the kitchen. They made love quickly and roughly on the hard linoleum. It certainly was not the romantic scene that she was used to or the one he had planned for them in his head for months. But it happened anyway.

When it was over, she lay there staring at the ceiling. The emptiness returned to her body with a vengeance. A single tear formed in the corner of her eye. Spike looked over at her and touched her face. She recoiled and turned away from him roughly.

He then realized that he had probably sealed his own death warrant by giving into his own passion to satisfy her desperation. He sat up and gathered their clothes. He threw her clothes on top of her.

"Here. Get dressed." He said brutally to her. He was hurt that she had pulled away from him after what they had just shared.

She said nothing to him but sat up and put her clothes on. They were muddy and wet and felt cold on her already cool skin. She stood silently and stared out the window.

He watched her intently. His anger turning once again to concern. "Look Buffy, I'm sorry." He told her knowing that the regret she must be feeling now was overwhelming her.

"Sorry for what?" She asked calmly, turning to him. Her eyes were glazed over. "We both got what we wanted, didn't we?"

"Buffy..." He started not sure what to make of that statement.

"Isn't this what you wanted? You said you wanted me, well now you got me. And with you, just for an instant, I was able to forget everything. Most importantly you helped me forget who I was." She said bitterly.

She then pushed past him and went upstairs. He stood there for a moment trying to take in everything that had happened. He heard the shower go on and he sat down on the steps and buried his face in hands.

It was clear to him now that the Buffy he knew, the Buffy he fell in love with, was gone. This new Buffy was bitter and angry. The light that she carried with her had gone out. It was replaced by darkness and hatred. He realized now that she was out to destroy herself and was using him as the perfect way to achieve that goal.

Buffy stood in the shower and let the scalding water burn over her body. The tears had stopped coming. Her soul was numbed by now. She knew she could stand here forever and never be clean. She had given herself to the one person that she despised. He had told her once that she had a death wish and he was right. She did, at least now.

He also said that when she was ready, he'd be there. Well, he was there alright. She lost the last bit of herself that was recognizable the moment she gave herself to him. She doubted that she would ever get it back, and right now that was just what she wanted. She wanted to shed her old skin and start anew.

The new Buffy didn't care about anything. It was easier that way. If you didn't care, no one could touch you. The pain in her heart would be gone because there wouldn't be anything left to care about.

She stood in the shower for what seemed like an hour until the water turned cold. She switched off the faucet and stepped out of the shower. She dried herself off and put on her bathrobe. She took a deep breath and headed down the stairs.

She cautiously looked around the living room and saw that it was empty.

"Spike?" She called out into the empty room.

She received no response. She headed for the kitchen. She saw that the chairs were tipped over and pots and pans were strewn on the floor. Remnants of their moment of passion. But the room was empty. He had gone.

She slumped down onto the hard floor once again and cried. He had gone and left her. He had promised to never leave and he had walked away. She sensed that he didn't just step out for a moment, and he'd be back. She knew that he was gone for good. The air around her had become thick and heavy and she felt as though she couldn't breathe.

She picked up a glass that lay on the floor beside her and threw it against the wall. It shattered into a million pieces and she watched the shards of glass rain down onto the floor. She hugged her knees tight to her chest and wept.

He walked swiftly down the rain soaked street. He was already wet so he didn't even notice the raindrops that slapped him across the face. He had to get away from there, from that house, and away from her. He didn't know what to do. Should he go to her friends and tell them what had happened? No, they would probably find a way to blame him somehow, he thought.

He knew he shouldn't have left her, but it was almost as if he didn't know her anymore. He had wished for her destruction countless times, but as he watched it unfold before him, he couldn't help but want to turn away from it. He didn't want to be the source of that destruction. Not anymore.


She walked determinedly through the damp cemetery. The rain had stopped for now and day had slipped into night. The moon was peeking out from behind a blanket of clouds.

Her emotions were running into overdrive. The pain of what she had done still all too fresh in her weary mind. After all that had happened, he had the nerve to walk away from her. He had promised to stay by her and he had lied. But he was a cold blooded killer, so why should she expect anything more than what she got? But, it wasn't enough.

She burst through his door and saw him sitting there alone in his chair smoking a cigarette. He turned his head sharply at the sound of her rude entrance.

"Oh, bloody hell!" He muttered under his breath. "What the hell do you want now?"

She grabbed him up out of the chair and hurled him across the musty room until he collided with the stone wall. The cigarette he had been smoking now lay burning a hole into his favorite chair.

"Ow! What the hell was that for?" He shouted at her.

She held him pinned to the wall. "Why did you leave?" She hissed at him with fire burning in her eyes.

"What? Was I supposed to stay? You seemed pretty repulsed by what happened, I figured that was my cue to get the hell out." He said, returning her evil glare.

"You said you would stay by me. Didn't you mean that?" She asked while still holding him firmly against the wall.

"Look, Buffy, I don't know what hell is going on with you, but I don't like it." He said angrily.

"What? You don't like the change? I thought you'd be happy with something a little darker, more dangerous... more like you." She said sarcastically, dripping with venom.

Her words made him furious. He grabbed her arms and threw her down on the ground. She let out a sharp cry of surprise at the force he used. He glared down at her.

"You think that I want you to be like me, Buffy? I never thought you were that stupid. The reason why I wanted you is because you're not like me. You're everything that is good, and I'm not. I wanted your light to brighten my dark world. This isn't how it was supposed to be." He said somewhat sadly.

She looked up at him with tears in her eyes that she quickly wiped away. She stood to face him.

"And just how was it supposed to be, Spike?" She asked. "I gave myself to you and you walked away. What is it that you want from me?"

He started pacing around her. "You just don't get it yet, do you?" He said.

"Get what?" She snapped back at him.

"I love you, Buffy. I wanted you to love me. We were supposed to be happy. God, I only wanted to be happy for once in my miserable life! And I wanted to make you happy. You're trying to make this into something evil and that wasn't what this was supposed to be about. I wanted to love you, not destroy you. If you want to destroy yourself, do it without me." He said angrily.

She only looked at him with a blank expression.

"So what, you don't want to come along for the ride?" She said flatly.

"Find someone else. I'm not interested." He said bitterly.

She only stared at him. Her eyes appeared angry and lifeless. He returned her stare. She said nothing and turned on her heel and walked out the door.

He sat down went to his chair and found that it was still smoldering from the cigarette. He stomped it out with his foot and sat down. He didn't know what to do. Buffy was losing control and he couldn't stop it. He reasoned that he should be thrilled by her change and embrace the fact that she was willing to shut everyone in her life out except him, but something inside him had changed. He didn't know what he wanted anymore but it wasn't this.

Buffy ran swiftly through the cemetery. She wasn't sure why she was running, but she couldn't stop. She nearly tripped over a fallen headstone but quickly regained her footing. Things were never going to be the same for her.

Spike had all but dismissed her, and she still couldn't believe that. She had firmly believed that he was entirely evil, incapable of real human emotion. But the stark truth was that he was more capable than she was at this point to feel anything.

Her life was like a bad movie. Monsters and death. Somewhere down the line she had grown weary and the loss of her mother completely shattered her perception of herself and her destiny. She recalled the conversation she and Spike had shared months before outside the Bronze.

"Every Slayer has a death wish, even you...All we need is just one good day...When your ready, I'll be there..."

And then her reply to him, "Say I do want it, it would never be you, Spike, it would never be you..."

She turned and saw the vampire descending upon her. She wasn't quick enough and he flipped her over onto the ground. She struggled against him and managed to get herself up and kick him in the head. He reeled back and hit a tree. She went to kick him again, but this time he caught her foot and pushed her down.

She reached into her jacket to fetch her stake and quickly realized that she was without one. Her expression turned from determination to dismay.

"A Slayer must always reach for her weapon, I've already got mine..." She heard Spike's voice dancing around in her head.

The vampire bit down savagely and began to drain the life force from her weary body. She was too stunned to struggle and gave little resistance as he finished her off.

"One good day...It would never be you, Spike...."

And it wasn't. Spike sat alone in his crypt completely unaware that Buffy, his Slayer, was gone. He lit another cigarette and stared off into space.