Once More With Feeling, Non-Demon Version

Summary: Struggling with her pain of the last days in Sunnydale, Buffy sings to get it out. **Set of Songfics**

Warning: Angsty feelings.

Timeline: post-'Chosen' with specific thoughts of 'Empty Places'.

A/N: This was originally going to be a oneshot fic for the song coming in the 7th chapter, but morphed into this beast.

Thanks to my betas: zigpal and especially AshDawnSoulmates. She and I spent hours coming up with the right songs.

Disclaimer: BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission. Song sung in this chapter by Lee Greenwood.

Chapter 1: I.O.U.

Streets of LA

3 weeks after the fall of Sunnydale…

Oz's head snapped up at the familiar scent. He quickly scanned the streets for the owner and found the blonde hair waving back and forth as the person strode purposefully towards her destination. His eyebrow rose in speculation when he saw it was a Country/Western bar. That didn't seem like the Buffy Summers he knew 3 years ago.

The werewolf considered his options. When he left Sunnydale, it nearly tore him apart. He wasn't just leaving his lover, he left his family…his pack. It surprised Oz how much that hurt. Now he saw the female leader of their group alone and away from the Hellmouth.

His curiosity got the better of him and he followed her in.

If he were anyone else, what he found inside would have made him faint, cry out, or some other dramatic reaction. As it was, he just murmured, "Huh." Then he found himself a seat to watch 'Beth Osbourne' take the stage. By the crowd's reaction, she was both a regular and a popular one at that. He heard a woman at the next table warn her companion to have some tissues ready.

Beth – Buffy – cleared her throat in the mic after speaking to the accompaniment band. "This one is for Spike. I may not have been able to love him the way he wanted me to, but without him, I wouldn't be here. He was my best friend these past few weeks. So, in memory of Spike!"

You believe, that I've changed your life forever
And you're never gonna find another somebody like me.
And you wish, you had more than just a lifetime to give back all
I've given you and that's what you believe.

Oz watched as she brushed away the tears that were falling down her cheeks as she fought her way through the song. Women in the crowd were silently weeping, soaking tissue after tissue. He thought about how nice her voice was as she started the chorus.

But I owe you the sunlight in the morning
And the nights of honest lovin that time can't take away.
And I owe you more than life now, more than ever
I know that it's the sweetest debt I'll ever have to pay.

The former Sunnydale resident wondered what Spike had done to earn this kind of respect from Buffy. Last he heard, Spike was basically mooching off the kindness of the gang because of a chip in his head.

I'm amazed when you say it's me you live for
You know that when I'm holding you you're right where you belong
And my love, I can't help but smile with wonder.
When you tell me all I've done for you 'Cause I've known all

Buffy smiled softly when the people who had lighters held them up. Spike would have loved that. She poured her heart into the chorus. Her breath hitched slightly when she repeated it with even more meaning.

I know that it's the sweetest debt I'll ever have to pay.

When the final chorus faded out, the audience erupted in applause, and Oz easily joined in. In the corner of his eye, he saw two other Sunnydale survivors enter the room. They too were startled to see Buffy on stage singing, but they quietly took a seat where she couldn't see them.

Before Oz could make his way over to them, the music started for another song.

A/N: Next…'Concrete Angel' by Martina McBride.