Disclaimer: Joss Whedon, etc. own everything.  I own nothing.

Summary:  Post "The Gift"  Dawn died instead of Buffy, so Buffy leaves town with Spike, following through on her statement about quitting if Dawn died.  Her POV while on the road.

The Aftermath

By

Anessa Ramsey

            I don't know when I realized it. I was standing on the tower, doing everything I could to get to Dawn before the portal was opened, but I was too late.  Glory had injured me too badly to move quickly enough and Spike was tossed off the tower like a sack of potatoes.  Glory had won. 

            Honestly, I don't think I ever truly thought I could beat her.  But I knew I had to try.  That was my job.  I was the Slayer.  But at that moment, all the parts of me that the Slayer inhabited shut down and I was just a sister.  I watched in horror as Spike fell to the ground, his black duster billowing out, not making a sound.  He landed with a sickening thud that let me know that he had broken several bones.  I looked back up at Dawn, tied to the tower, blood running down her legs, the portal open beneath them.  Glory was laughing as she cut Dawn's bonds right before she jumped into the portal, whisking away back to her own dimension, leaving ours to become as hellish as the one she ruled. 

            I was halfway up the steps when I saw Dawn look at me, tears sparkling in her eyes.  I could see that she was sorry it had happened, but there was nothing that could be done.  It was then that I saw him.  The whole time I'd been fighting Glory, I hadn't been paying attention to anything else.  I was now. 

            Xander was up there, speaking to Dawn.  I don't know how or when he got up there, but I didn't care.  He'd help Dawn.  I thought he was trying to calm her down, maybe he was.  I don't know.  But one minute he was talking to her, the next he shoved her into the portal, her dress billowing out, her long, dark hair streaming around her face.  She screamed.  Or maybe I did.  I can't be sure.  What I am sure of is that she was dead and one of my best friends had killed her.  The portal closed and she was gone. 

            The irony of it still amazes me sometimes.  She was the one to leave this world, but when she did, I died as well.  I'm still dead.  One month later and I'm still dead inside.  I may as well be buried in a grave.  But I'm not.  I'm in Seattle, working in a coffee shop until I have enough money to move on.  He is with me, holed up at our motel room until nightfall when he'll go to his bouncer gig at a club downtown.  He's as dead as I am, both physically and emotionally. 

            I never thought I'd have any sort of relationship with him, but I do.  It's strange how the worst circumstances can bring people together, even if it is just for comfort.  I know that it's as bad for him as it is for me.  She was his family, even if it wasn't by blood.

            One day, I know it will end.  I'll wake up and no longer grieve.  I won't stop missing Dawn, but I'll go on with my life.  I'll probably even go back to Sunnydale and take up slaying again.  But now is not the time, nor will it come anytime soon.  For now, I'm just a girl, on the run from a life that destroyed me.