Tabula Morta

Summary: Surprises and tragedy lead Buffy away from Sunnydale. WARNING: Character deaths & anti-Scooby feelings.

Warning: Character deaths. Not for Scooby fans. Serious language here. At least for me.

Timeline: Season 6 'Tabula Rasa'.

A/N: I was thinking about this episode and wondered what would happen if somebody died? Translation of title is 'Dead Slate' – as opposed to 'Blank Slate' like the original.

Thanks to my betas: AshDawnSoulmates, zigpal, and ktweaver.

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. Dialogue in main story paraphrased from .

Xander's Kitchen

TARA: (nods, not convinced) Go a week, and then we'll see.

Magic Box – training room

GILES: Buffy, I've thought this over ... and over. I believe it's the right thing to do.
BUFFY: You're wrong. (gets up and strides out. Giles just sits there.)

Magic Box

After they wake up…

Joan/BUFFY: Monsters are real. Did we know this?

Magic Box

Joan froze in terror when the vampires grabbed Randy and her maybe sister. Then the one holding Dawn decided to make a snack of her. Something inside Joan snapped, and she cried out, "Dawn!" She lunged forward, yanking him away from the young brunette. But it was too late; her sister's lifeless body fell to the ground. Driven by her anger, she instinctively snatched the closest stake and rammed it through the vampire's chest.

Before she could celebrate her 'first' kill, Joan heard Randy cry out. He was struggling with his captor, and in the midst of the struggle, Randy was staked – which surprised the group of amnesiacs. He was a vampire, too? Deciding to worry about that later, Joan staked the vampire that killed Randy as well.

When she turned to the last one, he said, "Hey there, Slayer. Boss ain't got no quarrel with you. Now that Spike is dust…" he pointed to where Randy's ashes lay, "we'll stay out of your way."

Joan moved to stake him anyway but he hit her hard enough to toss her into Willow.

Alexander moved forward to help the redhead while Rupert assisted Joan. In all the shuffling, one of them stepped on the crystal that fell out of Willow's pocket when Joan slammed into her.

Almost instantly, everyone's minds cleared. Just as quickly, they all came to the realization of why they lost their memories. If there was any doubt, the guilt on Willow's face erased it immediately.

However, it was the expression on Buffy's face that worried the others. It was positively homicidal. There was blood dripping from where her nails cut into the palms of her hands because they were so tightly clenched. And if she ground her teeth together any harder, they would crack.

'Why did the spell go so wrong?' Willow thought to herself. 'I triple-checked everything!' She started to apologize, "Buffy, I'm so-"

But the infuriated Slayer cut her off with a deadly glare, "Don't you dare finish that sentence! In fact, don't speak to me period!"

Even though Xander was unhappy with Willow, he tried to play the peacemaker for his best buds. "C'mon, Buff. You know she didn't mean for this to happen."

"This isn't like her 'My will be done spell' – which incidentally also almost got us all killed by the way. Spike and my sister died because of her!" Buffy spat out venomously. She should have guessed that he would defend the careless witch. They always stuck together. Guess she had to be here since kindergarten to get the same loyalty.

"And we're all sad about Dawn. But it's no great loss that Spike got staked," Xander replied snidely. "If it weren't for the chip, he would have kept trying to kill us."

Buffy's eyes glittered with barely controlled rage. "You so don't want to be making the argument for getting rid of dangerous allies right now, Harris."

At this point, Tara decided to weigh in, "Besides, she wasn't supposed to do any magick this week!"

Willow reached for her girlfriend, trying to placate the upset wicca. "Tara…baby, I-"

Tara surprised everyone by shouting, "No! You don't get to act like that anymore! I warned you that you were becoming too dependent on magick! You swore you weren't, but you couldn't even last 24 hours! And now it's cost us two people! It could have cost all of our lives! Just stay away from me!" she ordered, moving to stand next to Buffy – partially to show her loyalty, but also to get protection from Willow. She doubted anyone was crazy enough to approach the Slayer right now.

Having considered the options quietly since the spell reversed, Giles announced, "I see the situation has gotten totally out of hand. It's best if you come with me to England, Willow. There's a coven that can help you with your addiction."

The blonde Slayer snorted incredulously, "You're kidding, right? You're actually taking her on vacation after she got my sister killed? Not to mention the person who was helping me to adjust to living again! If it weren't for them, I would have died during Sweet's visit. Why don't you take him too?" she snarled, pointing at Xander. "Or is this only for when one of our group dies?"

Giles tried to reason with the irate woman before him, "Buffy, it's not a vacation. As you said before, Willow is dangerous right now. She needs to get control of herself before she succumbs totally to the allure of magick. The coven can help her…if she tries," he added.

"And if she doesn't?" Buffy asked, wondering what they were willing to do if necessary.

"Then they'll bind her so she can't do magick anymore. But I'm hoping she'll see reason," Giles replied, staring at the redhead, willing her to see the danger she was in if she didn't. Not only from the magick, but also her best friend. Or former best friend, based on the hatred he saw in her hardened green eyes now.

Xander decided he had enough of Buffy's self-righteous attitude and retaliated with, "I wouldn't be casting any stones, Buffy. Willow and I aren't the only ones who got people killed accidentally. Or doesn't it count when it's you? It was your fault Angelus killed and tortured so many people, and we forgave you!"

Instead of beating him to a pulp – like Giles was afraid of – Buffy just laughed. However, it was a very unpleasant sound. "You're seriously comparing my having sex with my boyfriend to you summoning a musical demon or her fucked up magick spells? I think your comparison needs a little work. Like…maybe I knew having sex was dangerous…at all. None of us could have guessed it would make Angel lose his soul. Even Ms. Calendar didn't, and it was her clan that cursed him!"

But Xander refused to back down from his position. He knew he was right. "But the fact remains, you let him kill and torture people for months."

Buffy tilted her head to the side, as if considering his words carefully. Then she gave them an awful, almost evil, smile as she came to her decision. "Well, hey! If I'm such a fuck-up as a Slayer, I guess there's no reason to stick around Sunnydale now that Dawnie's dead."

"What do you mean? You have an obligation-" Giles attempted – foolishly – to convince her to stay.

His former Slayer glared at him. "Just what it sounds like, Watcher," she responded tightly. "You want a Slayer here? Get Faith off her ass and drag her here. It's her turn anyway. I'm retired…twice!" she reminded them all.

Then she turned to look at the redhead. She refused to think or speak her name. "Don't come to my house, witch. I'll send your things here to the store. Tara, if you want, you can pack your own things. You can have the police inform me of my sister's death when you explain what happened tonight, Watcher. Just leave me out of the explanation."

With that, Buffy Summers, stormed from the Magick Box for the final time.


Tara raced to catch up to Buffy. "If it's alright with you, I'd like to go with you. I told Willow this was the last straw for us," she explained hesitantly. She really wanted this as much for Buffy's sake as for her own. Eventually, the remaining Summers woman would need somebody to lean on, and Tara hoped it could be her – to make up for bringing her back.

Sighing, Buffy thought about it for a minute. Of the people left in Sunnydale, Tara was probably the only one she could stand to be around anymore. And the witch treated her pretty crappy, too. "As long as you don't try to convince me to come back," she said, stating her only condition plainly.

The blonde wicca shook her head in promise, "No. The only reason I went along with the spell was because we thought you were in Glory's hell dimension. We should have checked." She ducked her head in shame for their failure.

Not wanting to talk about that anymore, Buffy changed the subject, "Let's just get the house packed up so we can get out of this town as fast as possible."

Thinking about the dead teenager they left behind them, Tara stuttered, "Buffy, what about Dawn?"

"I'll wait for the police to notify me, then I'll have her cremated. No point in risking anyone using her body for a spell or ritual. Guess I should do the same for my mother," Buffy commented, almost to herself. She could see both the bad guys or the witch violating her family to get her back. The Watcher could fool himself all he wanted, but the witch would always be addicted, so unless they followed through on their threat to bind her, she would always have the desire to cast.

"Alright. We'll start with Willow's things," Tara suggested. "Then after you've talked to the police, we can pack the rest of the house."

The Slayer took a deep breath, knowing she was going to surprise her last friend. "I know this is going to sound weird – especially after tonight – but could you use a little magick to speed up the packing process?" she requested. When Tara's eyes widened in shock, she quickly added, "Just this once. I only want to get out of Sunnydale ASAP. After that, we both can forget magick ever existed."

"I'm not sure. Let's see how much we get done before the police get a hold of us about Dawn," Tara answered, attempting a compromise. Buffy nodded her agreement, and they rushed back to the house to begin their monumental task.

Two days later…

For the next couple days, Tara ran interference for Buffy with the others. Even she didn't talk to them much. They were smart enough to watch Dawn's memorial from a distance. However, they were still trying to defend Willow's actions to Tara.

Well, except Anya, but she didn't try to change Tara or Buffy's plans either. Being the pragmatist she was, she accepted that Buffy wouldn't stay no matter what they said or did now. Their best hope was either to kill Faith and wait for a new Slayer, or hope that Faith really was trying to redeem herself. Quite honestly, Anya was voting for the former option.

Tara and Buffy managed to get most of the packing down without any magick. However, Tara compromised and did a 'find' spell, just to be sure they didn't leave anything behind. Turned out to be unnecessary since Buffy had already searched the house thoroughly.

As they watched the movers load the final boxes into the truck, Buffy handed the keys to the realtor. "You have my cell phone number if there's any questions," she said to the man.

He nodded. "Of course. I'm sorry for the loss of your sister," he murmured sympathetically, then walked away.

"Where to?" Tara asked, looking at her only friend in the world now.

Buffy flipped her hair out of her eyes, and walked to the driveway. "You know, I've always wanted to see the Big Apple. There's some family there that I want to meet," she commented with a sad smile.

They checked the two urns with Joyce and Dawn Summers' ashes in the back of the Jeep, then started the engine. With one last look at the house, the two blondes said goodbye to Sunnydale for good.

A/N: Whew, the anger has been somewhat purged now. Now I can focus on other stories.