Title: And Then It Was Goodbye Finn... AGAIN!
Author: Goldy
Disclaimer: Please, if I owned it Riley wouldn't even be an actual character. In fact, the Buffyverse as we know it would be completely different. So, I guess that means they still belong to Joss & Co.
Synopsis: Read the title and figure it out yourself.
Spoilers: 'Into the Woods,' is the only spoiler I think.
A/N: This fic was born after I saw 'Into the Woods,' again and, for not the first time, it pissed the hell out of me. For crying out loud, why did she have to run after him? Why did Xander have to be on Riley's side? Why wasn't Buffy jumping up and down from sheer happiness that she could finally get rid of him? Why didn't Riley explode into a million pieces? I'm going to fix this. And get her back with Angel while I'm at it.

Buffy stared at Xander in confusion. Her head was spinning and she was frantically trying to take in all of the information he gave her and what to do with it. The words "rebound guy," and "once in a lifetime guy" kept banging around in her head and she suddenly realized what a great big mistake she was making by letting Riley go.

"Xander?" she asked questioningly needing her best friend's help in deciding what to do.

"Run," he said simply.

Buffy gave him one last glance trying to show the unspoken 'thanks.' Then, Buffy ran. She ran as hard as she thought that she had ever run her life. Her hair was blowing behind her from the wind coming at her face, and her feet pounded along the sidewalk. Nothing dared get in her way. The slayer was on a mission.



Agent Riley Finn was about to embark on a mission of his own. The helicopter was sitting next to him with its engine up and running. In less than a minute he would leave Sunnydale and Buffy far behind. He looked down at the runway and then up at the nearest road.

Riley didn't want to go. He loved Buffy. More than he thought was possible. Everything in him said to forget about the stupid mission and go and find her. But Riley couldn't take it anymore. Like Spike had said earlier, being with Buffy and yet not... was slowly tearing him up inside.

Riley looked at the road again and wished so much that Buffy would come around that bend and fly into his arms professing over and over again how much she loved him and how she couldn't live without him. Riley sighed deeply to himself. He knew that was never going to happen. He looked at the helicopter trying to force his mind off of Buffy and onto more important things like rain forests, missionaries, and demons.

He sighed painfully again and slowly climbed into the waiting helicopter. That was, of course, the moment Buffy chose to come around the bend. Riley saw her just in time and, somewhat apprehensively, he disembarked from the small version of the airplane.

She flew right into his arms and Riley had enough sense to wonder if he was dreaming. Buffy pulled back just a little and smiled up at him, "I love," she frowned and Riley was beginning to think that he really was dreaming. "I love..."

Buffy frowned again and appeared to mull something over. "I," she said loudly and clearly as if trying out how the words sounded in her mouth. "Love." She stopped again and pulled all the away from Riley shaking her head and concentrating deeply on something.

Riley looked at her frantically searching her face trying to figure out what was going on. "You love..." he prodded daring to hope what the last word might be.

Buffy sighed and shrugged. "Well, it certainly isn't you."

Riley jumped a little in surprise. His really nice fantasy dream had just become a nightmare. "WHAT???"

Buffy shrugged again, "Xander was right. You really were rebound guy."

Riley looked at her all ready to say he loved her, too, when her words hit home. And then realized that she had just said *were*. Which, he figured, pretty much meant that they had broken up.

Buffy sighed and looked at him with what Riley might call a look of affection. It definitely wasn't love, but he thought that affection might be a good sign.

"Look, Riley, I'm sorry, but I think that things-"

'Here it comes,' Riley thought miserably, 'the next thing I'll realize is that I'm standing here naked.'

"-aren't really working out between the two of us. It wasn't really the whole vampire whore snackbar thing. Sure, that was part of it, but I think that we would have broken up anyway. This just brought it on sooner-"

'Great, now she's gonna tell me how it isn't my fault and she hopes we can still be friends.'

"It isn't you, Riley. Really, it isn't. I just don't think I could ever feel the same way about you that you feel about me. I think you're a really nice guy, Riley, and I'm truly sorry that things weren't meant to be. I hope that once we move on we'll still continue to be friends."

Buffy finished her speech and looked at him expectantly. Then, her expression turned to confusion and she backed up a few feet. Riley, looked down at himself fully expecting to see that he wasn't wearing any clothes. He frowned when he realized that he was still in possession of his shirt and pants.

"Riley... why are you pinching yourself?"

Riley looked at his left hand, which was busy squeezing the skin of his right arm. His eyes widened when he realized what he was doing. His eyes got even wider when he realized that it *hurt.*

His terrible horrible nightmare just came true.

Riley looked at Buffy again and she was tapping her foot looking at him for an answer. "I, uh, just wanted to see how long it took the skin to break..."

Buffy shook her head; "You're unbelievable! You can't even go without those whores for twenty-four hours!"

"No, it isn't like that. I swear," Riley protested weakly. But he sure as hell wasn't telling her he was pinching himself to see if he was dreaming.

"Then, what is it like Riley? You're all 'Buffy I'm not strong enough for you.' 'Buffy, you promise that you and Angel are over?' 'Buffy, how could you let Dracula bite you?' 'BUFFY, HAVING VAMPIRES FEED OFF ME MAKES ME FEEL NEDEED!!!'"

Riley drew in a sharp breath. He was suddenly very afraid of her. "Well, they did make me feel needed," he mumbled knowing that he had absolutely not argument.

Buffy groaned and rolled her eyes. "And now comes the part where you tell me I don't open up enough to you...."

"Well, you don't!" Riley exclaimed trying to make a point.

Buffy smiled a little sadly, "And Xander was right again. Well, maybe not about the once in a lifetime guy part and the part where I was making a mistake by letting you go, but about the rest he was. Yes, Riley, I didn't open up to you because I don't love you. Okay? Never have and never will."

Riley gulped fighting down the urge to cry. He suddenly wanted to leave very badly. He turned around to get into the helicopter and escape the pit of hell that he had just fallen into.

The helicopter wasn't there.

It had left without him and Riley hadn't even noticed. He gave a long-suffering sigh and wondered if the day could get any worse. No Riley didn't wonder, he *knew* that it could and would get worse.

"Left without you, huh?" Buffy said somewhat sympathetically.

Riley nodded.

Buffy gave him a quick smile and turned around heading back to the road. Riley stared at her departing back. Was she really just going to leave him there? It apparently looked like it. Not really wanting to be left behind, Riley jogged and caught up to her.

"Buffy, wait... I think that we should talk about this," he panted.

Buffy stopped abruptly. "We just did," she said sweetly wondering what it would take for him to get the hint.

"Yeah, I know, but I think that we should try and work this out. I mean, that's what you said earlier isn't it? Before it almost looked as if you were going to say 'I love you.' That's a start right? You successfully kept me from leaving, which in my opinion, counts as a reason for me to stay," Riley babbled not fully understanding what he was doing since this since this women had basically told him to get out of her life a minute before.

"I tried telling you I loved you Riley, because I realized that if you left me I would be all alone. But then, when I tried to say it, only Angel's face came to mind and I stopped so I wouldn't hurt your feelings by saying his name." Buffy replied with a fake smile and false sweetness before turning around and walking down the road.

'Right, she didn't want to hurt my feelings. Let's look at the irony in this, folks,' Riley thought. "About that alone part..."

"Not a problem," Buffy yelled without turning around.

"And, why not?" Riley snapped hotly.

"I'm going to go convince Angel to come back to me."

Riley let out a short bitter laugh, "Sure, go ahead and go back to that demon. What can I say? Some people prefer dead flesh!"

In a second Buffy had him pinned up against a nearby tree. She clenched her hand very tightly around his neck and told him in a deadly voice, "You *EVER* say something like that again I will kill you and let Spike drink your blood. Understand?"

Riley nodded weakly beginning to see stars. Buffy dropped him on the ground unceremoniously and walked away. Riley, gasping for breath, decided it would be wise not to follow her again. He watched her until she had disappeared from sight and then got up painfully wishing that the ground would open up and swallow him whole.

It was during that very thought, that a *very* hungry bear came around the corner. The bear was at least six and a half feet tall. When he saw Riley he decided that this opportunity was too good to pass up.

No one heard Riley's high-pitched screaming when the bear swallowed him whole.

The bear would wonder why he had such bad digestion later on that day.

Buffy went to LA and found Angel in the midst of firing his employees. She talked some sense into him and managed to convince him to look for a way to bind his soul. Together, they dealt with Darla and Glory without Buffy having to sacrifice herself to save the world. Once Angel turned human they led a long and happy life together.

There was only one time in Buffy's life when she thought about her ex-boyfriend. It was when she was driving along the highway and she saw a six and a half-foot bear at the side of the road. She gave a small fond smile remembering how their break up hadn't been on the best of terms. She hoped that wherever Riley was, he was happy.

With another smile, Buffy sped up, and didn't spare the bear or Riley another thought.

THE END