Chapter 1: Missing him

"Death is on your heels, baby. And sooner or later, it's gonna catch you. And part of you wants it. Not only to stop the fear and uncertainty, but because you're just a little bit in love with it."

~ Spike, Buffy, the Vampire Slayer

"I'm not supposed to love you. I'm not supposed to care. I'm not supposed to live my life wishing you were there. I'm not supposed to wonder where you are or what you do…I'm sorry. I can't help myself; I'm in love with you.

~ Unknown

Buffy lay in bed doing what she had done everyday since the Hell Mouth was closed. Crying. She lost a part of herself when Spike had turned to dust that day. She wanted to save him but he wouldn't let her, now he was gone. He was gone forever and she would never get the chance to thank him for saving her life so many times, for holding her those last few days or for changing her life. He had shown her that she was able to love again. She never loved Riley. There had been no one since Angel. She had wanted to love, but was too afraid. She had chased after Riley in pitiful attempt to make things work. Of course, she realized now, it wouldn't have worked. Riley was right to be jealous of Spike. She had loved Spike, but never realized it. It was the reason she and Riley never worked out.

It was also the reason why she wanted to die now. Dawn walked around her like she was a ghost. Dawn was afraid if she said the wrong thing, Buffy might head straight for the nearest tower. Buffy missed the chance to die heroically. If she could, she would have done so in a heartbeat. She felt so empty inside. Giles and Xander, as well as Andrew were training the Slayers. Willow had spent months working on glamour spells to make other slayers appear to be Buffy. One was in Italy, another in Egypt and one in New York. The original Buffy was in England with Dawn and Giles. Giles had opened academies all over the world. One in Italy, where Willow and Kennedy were living, another in New York where Xander had settled in with a new slayer named Cara. Dawn was at Oxford doing beautifully; she didn't really need Buffy anymore. In fact, no one really needed Buffy anymore. Knowing this made things easier for Buffy. No one expected her to come out of her room, or to help with anything. She hated visits from Willow and Xander. Luckily, in the last few months, very little of them had been made. She always had to pretend to be ok, pretend to be happy that Hellmouth was closed so she could retire. In all honesty, she had thought about getting on a plane and going to visit Faith in Ohio. Wood and Faith had taken the active Hellmouth in Ohio saying she needed the action. There was an academy there, but with New York's being bigger, Faith's was more of a holding area. Faith would have slayers come, and then transport them to New York within a few days. So Faith was, in a way was acting as a registration guide. Buffy wouldn't mind that. She knew Faith wouldn't expect her to be happy. She might even understand her pain. Buffy wiped her eyes making a decision. Tomorrow she would go see Faith and Wood in Ohio and see about settling there. She could patrol again, and she could have her own place to cry in peace at night. God she missed Spike.

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Buffy awoke and packed a few small bags. She woke up Dawn to tell her she had booked a flight in two hours to take her to Ohio. Dawn was in shock and begged her not to go, but Buffy knew Dawn would be fine. She promised she could visit on her winter break and they would spend Christmas together. Buffy just had to get away. She had to go somewhere she was needed or she was sure she would find some large building like the clock tower and jump off. She gave Dawn another hug and went off to tell Giles.

*}'--, --'--, --'--, -{*

Giles was surprisingly supportive, "I think this will be good for you Buffy. You can help slayers and help Faith patrol and get back into the swing of things. You haven't been happy in England and I think the weather here has been causing it." Buffy nodded and gave Giles a hug not wanting to tell him the reason why she had been so horribly depressed was Spike. Giles suggested, "Perhaps even L.A. would be good for you. We have talked about setting up a slayer academy there. It's a big city and easy for people from Japan to get to, as well as other countries. Plus Angel is there and perhaps you can be of some help to him." Buffy shook her head not wanting to see Angel. She had promised Angel she would tell him when she was ready to be made into cookies and she was just not with Angel and she didn't want to deal with that right now. She got a taxi to take her to the airport thinking any place is better than England.