Summary: A war-worn and grieving Buffy is sent back into her sixteen-year-old body. She knows what's to come over the next seven years, but can she prevent the tragedies of last time?

Rating: T

Warnings: Most stuff that appears in the show, nothing really extra. (The rape attempt is not included in this fic.)

Ships: Spike/Buffy, Giles/Joyce, plus most canon ships as the timeline progresses

Canon: Series 1-7, very little AtS. The characters appear – that's about it.

Author's notes: This is the last new Buffy fic I'm starting for a while, so make the most of it. WBttH will be a very long fic, as it spans all seven series. Plus an epilogue, of course :)
Thanks to Dawn for beta-reading. First chapter coming very soon!

Welcome Back to the Hellmouth

by Alexannah

Can we bring yesterday back around
'Cause I know how I feel about you now
I was dumb, I was wrong, I let you down
But I know how I feel about you now
Not a day passed me by, not a day passed me by
When I don't think about you
And there's no moving on, 'cause I know you're the one
And I can't be without you
- Sugababes

Prologue: The First Goodbye

Cleveland, 2003

Gentle rain trickled down the back of Buffy's neck, and she drew her coat tightly around her. It was nearly midnight. The moon was full, casting sinister shadows around the cemetery. Buffy stopped at a large tombstone in the centre, sat cross-legged in the middle and emptied her bag.

She lit a circle of white candles around her with difficulty as the rain kept extinguishing them, and used the one in front of her to light a sage stick. Willow had offered to help her with the ritual, but this was something she had to do herself.

"Spike," she spoke to the empty night, "I … It's me. Buffy." She swallowed. "I hope you can hear me. I'm not really sure where – where you are. All things considered." Buffy hiccoughed. "Sorry – I want to say so much, I just d-don't know how to do it." She took a deep breath. "I guess … I'm sorry. For everything. I don't think I ever really took the chance to say it – I've been a complete bitch to you, and when I look back I'm so ashamed of it. I can't believe you could still love me after everything I said to you." She smiled slightly, although her cheeks were no longer only wet from the rain. "Wherever you are now, I really hope you can forgive me."

Buffy paused. "When we parted, I told you I loved you, and you didn't believe me. I should have seen that coming. Know, wherever you are now, that I meant every word. I fought my feelings for so long … I wish I hadn't. If I could rewrite it all …" She wiped her eyes on her sleeve. "But I can't.

"There's so much more I want to say. I miss you so much. More than I ever could have predicted." Buffy looked up towards the sky and closed her eyes, just letting the rain run down her face and mingle with the tears. "I love you. I always will. You were the one, Spike. After all you've been through, I hope now your soul finds peace."

The tears were now flowing thick and fast, but Buffy ignored them and pulled out a memorial bundle Willow had helped her make; various leaves and lavender flowers, tied up in a cloth Spike's favourite colour – black. She used his cigarette lighter – the only part of him she had left – to set light to it.

For a moment she just watched it burn. A sudden gush of wind extinguished the candles, and Buffy looked up, frowning, as the area around her suddenly glowed with light. Before she had a chance to react, she felt a strange sensation, like being sucked down a plughole, and the world around her disappeared.

TBC …