I Quit

Author: Jill

Disclaimer: Hysterical laughter – who wants them anyway these days? I'm not making any money off this.

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: B/A, and the other canon pairings at that time

Distribution: my site (http://www.never-ending-love.de), Land of Denial, if you have any of my stories, take it; anybody else tell me where it goes

Spoilers: Everything up to “The Gift” and “There’s No Place Like …” is fair game.

Timeline:  set after “The Gift” and at the end of “There’s No Place Like…”

Summary: What if Dawn died instead of Buffy? What if the Slayer made true of her promise to Giles?

Feedback: oh yes, please – this goes without saying – pretty please?

Dedication: For all the great Babblers. What would my battered B/A-heart do without you?

 Note: This is kind of an instant story that came into my mind when watching “The Gift” today. I thought what if Buffy made true of her promise to Giles? And voilá here it is.

 Note 2: This story was written out of a momentary mood, it’s maybe not very good, it’s not beta-ed, not even properly proofread. So sorry for any mistakes, but I’m tired tonight, and I needed to post it now.

 

I can hear their voices from the outside, tired voices, but happy, even excited. Maybe they just come back from a good night’s slaying, who knows. Maybe they averted the apocalypse. Anyways. They’re in a good mood, laughing together. Like friends. Like life.

I curl even tighter into a ball on the sofa, glad for the darkness surrounding me, not really feeling comforted by it, but feeling a lot better than I have for a long time. At least I’m not afraid anymore. But maybe that’s just because there’s nothing else left to lose.

Of course I know it’s not fair to say that. There’s still plenty to lose, there are my friends, my watcher, but somehow – tonight – after we held the memorial service, I just stopped caring. I know there are people out there not able to believe I’m reacting like this, all over some girl that wasn’t even my real sister. And maybe they are even right. The problem is, I don’t care. Dawn might not have existed in this dimension, might not have existed at all ten months ago, but to me she felt real. Like my mother. Like Dad. At least when he still behaved like my father.

Willow’s face comes to my mind, crying over Dawn’s grave, leaning onto Tara, tears streaming over the blonde’s cheeks as well. They were grieving, but they had each other. Xander’s face was frozen in stone, I’ve yet have to see him cry, but even without the tears I saw the grieve. But there was Anya, clinging to his arm, holding him, giving him strength. Giving him love.

Giles was there, too. He tried to talk to me, the way he tried over the last thee days, but I refused to listen. I just looked at him, not caring if it hurt him. I know I’m his Slayer, I know he loves me, and – of course – I love him, but it doesn’t matter. Not anymore. I have lost once too often. I’m broken, and nobody can bring that back to me. I once went out to save the world, now if the world went to Hell, I would watch it with a smile on my face.

Suddenly I can hear Angel’s voice, happy in a way I’ve never heard it before.  "Okay.  Can I say it?  I wanna say it."

I know I should be happy to hear him that way, with a smile in his voice, something I always hoped he’d find after years and years of us being together. But of course fate was against us, and so it never happened.

The next I hear is Wesley’s question. "Say what?"

The doors swing open, revealing five people, three of them well known to me, and again Angel’s voice sounds through the lobby, “There’s no place like-“

His voice dies instantly when his eyes suddenly lock with mine. “Buffy?”

I hear a question in his voice although his eyes tell me he already knows. Not about Dawn,  not that my sister died only a few days ago, but he knows. He can see. He understands. He sees my heart is broken, sees my soul weeps in a way it has never before. Not even when I had to sent him to Hell.

“What’s-?” I hear Cordy’s voice as she almost bumps into Angel, then comes around his back, seeing me. “Buffy?” She is stunned as well. Certainly she never expected me to come here. We’ve not exactly been keeping contact these past years. The other two people, an African-American, and a girl who looks as if she doesn’t belong here, don’t say anything, just look at me, trying to understand what’s going on.

But I only register this from the corner of my eye as my gaze keeps locked with Angel while he makes his way down the stairs towards me, not talking but communicating all the time. He finally reaches the sofa, slowly lowering his large frame to come to sit next to me.

For another long moment we just look at each other. Time has passed and we didn’t talk since he came to my mother’s funeral, but somehow it doesn’t seem to matter. Sitting here, right beside him, I feel as if I can breathe again. Angel never judged me, he simply held me when I cried, he listened to me, and he always, always understood. Maybe that’s the reason I came here and didn’t just run away the way I did when Acathla took Angel with him to the demon’s dimension. I had nobody to hold onto then, but there’s someone there now.

Angel.

Years and months of separation just cease to exist, suddenly not important anymore, as I realise it’s always been Angel.

“What happened?” he asks finally, his voice soft, his cold, gentle hand at the same time wrapping around my colder one.

“Dawn is dead,” I tell him, surprised how easy those words were. But I know it’s because of him, because I know he will understand.

“Oh, Buffy,” he whispers, and I can hear the tears in his throat, choking him.

And then his arms are around me, enveloping me in a circle of warmth, strength, and love, and I hear his mouth whisper words to me, words that have no meaning, make no sense, and still seem to wrap around my weeping soul. “There was this Hellgod,” I tell him, desperate of sharing this, desperate of him being with me. “She … Dawn was the key to her dimension. I … I tried to save her,” I cry, feeling tears well up in my eyes, tears I thought I didn’t have anymore, but it seems with Angel anything is possible.

“I know,” he whispers. “I know you tried your best.”

“I … I wanted to die for her. But there w-was this k-knight. I thought they were all dead, but this one was alive. He – h-he k-k-killed her.” I can’t talk anymore. There are no words left. How am I supposed to describe what happened then. How am I supposed to tell him how I felt when the dead body of my sister landed only a few feet away from me on the pavement? How can I explain that I hit Willow, trying to force her to bring Dawn back? But then I feel Angel’s arms tighten around me, and I suddenly know I don’t have to. With Angel I never have to do anything. He never expects me to be anything. Whatever happens, he will always be there. He will always understand.

We sit like this, wrapped around each other, just holding, whispering, for a long time. Somewhere in the back of my mind I hear Cordelia leaving, taking the other girl with her for the night. Then Wes and the other man say good-bye as well, and finally we are just on our own, just the two of us, still holding each other, still not able to let go.

“I wish I could’ve been there,” Angel says after a while. “We were held up in another dimension.”

The words register in my head, but for now nothing matters than his arms around me, the safety being close to him means. I never felt so safe as I did in the circle of his arms. I didn’t feel like this for a very long time. It’s the only place I want to be right now. Maybe forever.

Forever.

Yes, the word has a really nice sound.

My head still at his chest, my cheek resting over his unbeating heart, I tell him. “I quit.”

I feel him stiffen for a moment, then relax again. “Yes.” He says simply, and I can’t believe I ever let him leave me. It’s as if I’m back with a part of myself.

“I’m not going back. Ever.” 

“I know.”

He understands. The way he always has. His soul is so close to mine, he just knows. I take the first deep breath, ever since Dawn’s broken body landed beside me. “Giles tried to convince me to stay,” I tell him. “You know, telling me I’m the Slayer. Without me the world was in danger, yadda, yadda, yadda. But I couldn’t.”

 I shiver when I feel his lips touch my forehead, soft the way I remember them. “I love you, Buffy,” he says, his mouth descending to my eyes, kissing them closed, then to my mouth, kissing me properly, lovingly.

 “I know,” I reply, sighing, snuggling closer. “I love you, too.”

 This time I feel him taking a deep breath, and for a moment I wonder if he ever doubted my love for him. But I dismiss the thought. It’s not important anyway. Not anymore.

 “Can I stay? I mean, I … I could go to my father, but I …”

 I can’t finish the sentence because the same moment the phone rings, and with an apologetic look, Angel pulls away from me, walking over to the counter and picking it up. He stiffens when he listens to the caller on the other end, then turns to look at me, his eyes serious, before he slowly shakes his head. “No, Giles. I’m sorry. But I haven’t seen her. I don’t know where Buffy is. Yes … I will if … Alright. Good Night.”

 He puts the receiver down, his eyes never leaving mine, when he walks back. He’s just given me his answer. It’s all I need.

  END



           | Fiction Search | Home Page | Back |