Part 19. Isn't it Ironic
glared at Xander. I don't like it when people try and make me do anything.
is my family. Like Dawn's my family. Like you are."
you, Buffy." Giles said.
go there, Xander. Don't try and make me choose; you might not like the answer.
Right now I want everyone to stop shouting, and I want to talk to Giles."I glared at my Watcher, and continued, "And I want the truth - all of
rubbed the bridge of his nose. "The truth. I hope you can handle it, it's
not pretty. It's not what you want to hear. It's why I tried to spare you all
this. But, if you insist," he sighed.
shouted, "We know the truth. Spike killed my Willow. You're all just covering up for
him, like you always do!"
snorted. "Xander, stop this. If you want the truth; here it is - Willow's death's is more your
fault than it is Spike's."
lost his temper. "Yes way, as you'd put it. Spike only tried to help her
get better. He was the innocent in this. Not me, not Wesley, not even Willow - he was. You aided and
abetted her in obtaining D'Hoffryn's talisman. I know you loved her. We all
knew better, especially after the singing spell deaths, but you did it anyway.
You worked with Willow to cover up what she was up to. You could have contacted me first. You
could have asked Anya's advice over what you were sending. You didn't. It was
only by sheer luck that we managed to prevent you helping Willow from turning herself
into a vengeance demon, and so freeing herself from the bindings on her powers.
You did that. Those facts signed her death warrant."
that's not fair, Giles." Dawn interrupted. Xander had fallen silent.
simmered down. "I only wish that was the case, Dawn. Willow couldn't be put in
prison for her actions, because she couldn't be controlled there, and her
powers couldn't be removed, just bound. She'd killed for pleasure. She'd tried
to destroy the world. It was only a great deal of hard lobbying, and major
reassurances on my part, that stopped the Council from ordering her death
immediately after she arrived. I got permission to help her, the best possible
help to do it, and when Spike and Wesley arrived they tried their very best to
help each other and her."
had to interrupt. "But it didn't help Willow?"
Some people don't want help and don't respond. She didn't. I'm sorry. I didn't
want that to be your last picture of her. I wanted you to be able to remember
her as she was, before Tara's death broke her. But she tried her very best to return to
her apocalyptic ways, and what I had to do in those circumstances was very
clear. If I hadn't done it, the Council would have sent a wetworks team in, and
I couldn't face her last moments being taken by strangers. It had to be someone
who loved her."
couldn't believe it. I should have, after what he did to me on my eighteenth
birthday, but I still gasped, "You killed Willow!"
eyes bugged. Anya shook her head. Lilah smirked. Spike's eyes filled with tears
he tried hard to blink away, and Wesley just looked frozen. Xander tried to
free himself from the chair screaming, "I knew it, I knew it!"
resumed. "No, Buffy, I didn't."
exhaled in relief, Spike put his hand on Giles shoulder, and Xander subsided.
Wesley went to speak. Giles shook his head at him, put his hand on his arm, and
said, "A good man took that burden on himself to save me from having to do
it. It wasn't something either of us ever wanted to do, and I know you can't
forgive us for it, but it was inevitable from the moment she asked for the
talisman. It was quick, and she didn't suffer. That wasn't a lie."
hell broke out from Xander, screaming about liars.
we don't kill humans, it's not right! Especially not Willow. There must have been another
tried to talk. "I'm sorry, Buffy, I had to do it. There wasn't another
way. We all tried so hard, and we did try everything. I couldn't let Giles live
with that on his conscience. I owed him that. I owed you that, after my failure.
You need him. You'll never need me. I'm expendable. He isn't. It's why I did
it, before he had to. There wasn't a good choice to make, just the lessor of
many evils. I know this doesn't help."
so doesn't. So you were all in on it. Spike?"
turned to me, and shook his head very slightly. "I'm so sorry, I should
have known. I should have done more. I tried. I really did. Didn't know,
went postal at the word 'pet'.
shouted over him to Spike, asking why he'd lied to us too. Spike wiped his
eyes, and I heard him say, "Trying to do the right thing, Dawn. Trying to
give you what you both needed to sleep at night. Trying to repay the kindness I
got, that I never deserved... with a little support, not that it's worth
apologised to Giles over and over for, "Screwing everything up so
badly." Giles tried to get him to stop. Lilah laughed. Anya looked
strange, like she had when Spike came in, before she dropped the soul
all hurt so much. I shouted over the din to get heard. "Stop it. Stop
shouting everyone. I can't take it. I can't do it. I wish you'd all just stop,
and let me think, just for a few minutes."
turned veiny. Oh God, I forgot. I am so mentally challenged. How could I
forget? Ok, I know how, but... "Wish granted."
but Anya and I froze.
looked at her. "They're going to be all right? All unstucky?"
get exactly what you wished for. You get them all to stop for a while. But they
will be back to normal soon, without knowing they were stuck. Make the most of
it. And no hurting Giles. Oh, or Spike. They're my friends. I'm not stuck, and
I'll be on the sofa watching you."
looked at each of them in turn.
loved him, and he left me. I trusted him, and he betrayed me. I needed him, and
he abandoned me. I forgave him, and he does this. I don't understand. I'll
never understand, not really. But I should; it's been the story of my life. Why
should Giles be any different? I just really thought he was - shows how much I
have all these feelings for Spike. All these feelings I should have. All these
feelings I shouldn't have. It was finally getting clearer in my head, then he
goes and gets a soul. Why does he do this to me? Why can't he stay in one box?
I could deal then. It's not fair. Unsoulled vampire evil - got that; boy I got
that one clear. Soulled vampire good - but supporting my best friend's
murderer. How am I supposed to deal with that? He never stays in the right box.
Why won't he just stay in the box?
really don't want to lose them. The idea makes me feel sick. I just don't see
I've got a choice. Not after Willow. Not after the lies - even if they were for my own peace of
mind. Some peace of mind! I love Giles. I do. I haven't got a clue what I feel
about Spike right now, it moves around all the time, but I do know that I don't
want to lose him either. But I don't see a way to keep them, not after this.
They've made their position quite clear. It's all Englishmen together. Not me.
Not doing the right thing. They've made their choice. I'm just the one that'll
have to live with it.
easy. He killed my best friend. Nobody hurts my friends. He wouldn't save
Angel. He killed Willow. He was a lousy Watcher. It was his fault Faith betrayed me, and went
bad. He is so out of here.
can't kill him myself, even if part of me wants to. I don't kill humans. I
don't! Faith was a fair fight, and I didn't kill her. I'm not even sure exactly
what happened with those knights, my brain's all fuzzy there - but if I did hurt
them it was all self-defencey and stuff. But I don't kill humans, even killers.
I don't. It's wrong. That's the law's job, not the Slayer's. It's what I told Willow, and I was right.
the Council is going to protect him, and from what Giles said they can and
will, Wesley's going to get away with murder. He's already got the closest
thing I've got to a Dad supporting him, and whatever it is that Spike is to me
- I still can't work that one out - but he's got that too. So I can't kill
Wesley. We.Don't.Kill.Humans. If I killed him, I betray everything I still
believe in. I'd be lost in the darkness. I can't do that, not again. I'd never
find my way out this time.
darkest part of me, the part that loves the dance, wants his blood. It wants to
bash, and tear, and smash bones until there's nothing left. But I rejected the
dark. I rejected that part of me. I rejected it in Faith. I rejected it in
Spike. I can't go into the dark no matter what the slayer in me wants. I can't
sleep on a bed of bones. I tried that. It didn't work out too good for anyone,
let alone me.
If I don't kill him I'll lose Xander. He'll never forgive me for letting Wes
walk. But I can't kill him, and that's the only thing that could stop him from
walking right out of here. I can't do it. So I'm gonna lose Xander too, I know
that. Wesley killed the best friend I ever had, even if she did try to kill me
when she lost everything. He's taken everything and everyone I have, except
Dawn. I hate him. I wish I could kill him, but I can't. So I guess it's gonna
be the Summers girls against the world.
told me once it was my friends and family that kept me connected to life, and
kept me alive. I guess I'm gonna find out if Dawn's enough.
will never forgive me either - not for Willow's sake, and he shouldn't. I don't.
I don't think he'll be doing the expression of joy either at my whatever-he-is
draining a substantial portion of his life-blood. I'll be lucky if I don't end
up having to kill him when he comes round. God, I so don't wanna have to do
that. The only glimmer of light I can see there is what Mike said about Oz not
wanting to kill anyone, and so bringing him with. I don't want to lose Oz
again, now he's back in our lives, but I know I'm going to - one way or
I throw Giles and Spike out of my life, and Xander turns on me for not killing
Wesley, or them, I'll lose Anya too. I've not been a good enough friend to her
for her to want to stick around just for me. Not that her sleeping with Spike
helped much. But she's a demon, and the two of us as best buds would never have
worked. Sooner or later she'd have turned on me, like Spike did, and duty would
have called. At least if we're not friends I won't have to go through killing
someone I loved yet again. Been there, done that: far too many times, got the
T-shirt: it sucked.
wish Mom was here, I really do. She'd know what to do, I know she would. I'd
like nothing better right now than to curl up in her lap and just cry for
months. I don't want to deal with all this, I really don't. I can't.
know, there were exactly two other people who could have almost taken that
place. One helped cover up the murder of the other. One of them told me I could
always ask for help, that it was the adult thing to do. Who am I supposed to
ask now? Isn't it ironic, my life - the Alanis Morissette track.
not sure if Dawn will never forgive me for throwing Giles and Spike out of our
lives, or whether she'll want to hunt them down. I don't see her bouncing with
joy at Xander walking away from us in disgust at me. She'll be pissed at me if
Mike never shows his face here again, and I don't see Oz ever wanting anything
to do with me ever again - even if we do both get out of this alive.
hardest thing of all. But, for Dawn's sake I've got to do this. I can't have
her think it's ever right to kill people. I must set her the right example,
even if it kills me, and this probably will. But I have responsibilities now,
and I have to be an adult, and do the right thing - as ever. Hello to the pain,
no Dad for us; he's still missing.
gone. My remaining best friend gone. Spike gone. Anya gone. Oz gone. Angel long
gone - and now I hear he had a child, with Darla of all creatures, that he
never even told me about, let alone some thing with Cordelia - so much for
'Forever'. Guess I finally learned the truth about the reliability of soulled
vampires at last - hell of a time to do it though. Dawn and I'll just have to
be enough for each other, and hope that I can do this parenting thing by
don't think I can. But I don't have a choice. I have to.
I have to close that door though, the bitch that enjoyed trashing my life is so
statues came back to life. Time to live out the inevitable.
killed Willow," Xander shouted.
was so tactfully told us by Miss SuperSkank here. Which reminds me. I owe her
turned to the bitch that had walked into my home like she owned it, stomped
over my family, destroyed my life, and stood there smirking. I punched her in
the face. I don't kill humans, but the plastic surgery bills she'd need to fix
her broken nose made up for the tears in Dawn's eyes, and my own pain - a very,
very small part of it at least.
went over to the window and saw her car gleaming under the streetlamp. Buffy
and cars are unmixy things, but even I could recognise a car whose cost would
cover my mortgage. I had an idea: an evil idea, but a goody. I turned to Spike,
and god that hurt, but he was the only one who could do it, if I was right.
is the chip still active?" I am still the Slayer.
if he's got a soul now, I've got a long way to go before I'd trust him with a
human life, even an evil one, without the chip, after what he did. And he's
never been able to actually lie to me. After what I heard, I couldn't trust
Giles and Wesley at all. I couldn't release Xander to do it. I couldn't let him
kill them. He can hate me all he likes for that, but I won't let him have that
on his conscience.
breathed out hard, closed his eyes, and nodded. "Yes Buffy, all present,
correct, and still bloody painful."
might have smiled. It might have come out as a grimace. "Take that thing
back to her car." I went to the weapons chest, and took out the axe. I
threw it to Spike. "After you rearrange her bodywork - the auto type that
is. We're talking big bills here, major damage, but still drivey. I want that
bitch out of my town." Spike, looked back at Giles and Wesley who both
nodded to him. He gave me a small smile; not the big grin it would have been
before, but we've all changed. He took the axe, and I soon heard the satisfying
sound of metal biting into metal and glass smashing.
turned to the bitch in question; who looked a bit shocked. "Hear that.
Plain enough message for ya?"
sue! You'll be foreclosed on so fast you'll be on the streets before you can
breathe," she blustered.
think not, Miss Morgan. Stalemate. You can't take Wesley. You can't retaliate
on the car. The Council would step in to protect the Slayer, just as it will
protect Wesley and me regarding Willow. You know that. You failed. I'm sure your Senior Partners
will be most interested in your explanations for that failure to obtain
Wesley's services, and in your expenses claim. Good luck," Giles said,
while cleaning his glasses. At least some things don't change. In times of
crisis, Giles cleans his glasses. Even if just about everything in my crazy
life has changed, that fact remains a constant.
came back in, after shaking the axe free of paint fragments and broken glass
shards. I must remember to sweep there; I'd hate for anyone to get cut.
put the axe back. He gave a small smile to Dawn, and said, "Time to leave,
Lilah, while you're all nice and intact." He took her arm and almost
dragged her out the door.
returned. I heard the pained sounds of Lilah's car as it left. I took a deep
breath, swallowed hard, closed my eyes, exhaled, and turned to Giles. Time to
lose them. Time for goodbye, forever.
Spike, Wesley, I'm going to have to ask you to go. You know I can't have you
around Dawn, not after all this. I'm sorry. I know you think you're right, and
that's what you believe. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but I'm going
to have to ask you
all to leave, and not to come back."
no. There must be something. Anything! We can do this, we can work this out. I
know we can." Dawn pleaded, her eyes filled with tears.
letting them go! You can't. He killed Willlow, him and his 'mates'. You can't
do that - not after what they did to Willow. I won't let you. It's not right!" Xander
was right. He'll never accept this - or me: not after this.
face dropped. He sighed hard, nodded his head, took a deep breath, and then
locked eyes with Giles, who'd done exactly the same. They looked at each other
for what seemed like an age, when they both turned to me.
looked ten years older. Spike spoke quietly, "Whatever you want, Buffy.
For what it's worth, I'm sorry, for everything."
felt the tears come, but I had to blink them away. I always do.
started shouting again. We all needed quiet for this. So I said, "Let's
take this outside."
two Watchers, and my Spike, left my home for what will be the last time. I
followed them to the car. Dawn ran along after me screaming, "No!"
and, "You can't do this, Buffy! It's my life and my choice too." It
wasn't. It had to be mine. I was the one that had to make it, and it hurt, but
it was the only decision I could make and keep them all alive, or in one piece
turned to me with tears in his eyes. "Buffy, I'm sorry. I won't say
goodbye, just au revoir; because you can always call me if you need me, or
anything at all. Please, you know that, don't you?"
nodded. But I had to be strong. "I know. Thank you, but I won't. I can't.
I'm sorry, Giles. I have to do this. You know that."
spoke. He looked like death, but he said, "I know you don't want anything
to do with me, and I understand that. I wouldn't want anything to with me
either in your shoes, but I am sorry for your loss. I never wanted you to
suffer for my failures, and I'm so sorry you had to. Do what you want with me,
I deserve it, but I hope one day you'll be able to forgive Giles and Spike for
Buffy!" Dawn pulled on my arm. I tried to smile at her; I failed
can't. I wish I could. I have to do this. You know that." Somebody had to
be strong, and that person's usually me.
nodded. "I know. I understand. We have Willow's things. Would you give them to
her family, or take them yourself?"
nodded. Wesley went to the car and took out a big flowery bag I recognised as Willow's. He put it on the ground
next to me. I started blinking away my tears again.
had followed him, and brought back a plastic bag. He said, "I bought these
for Willow, to try and make her
feel included. She didn't want to. There's an England and a USA World Cup shirt here. She
never wore either shirt. If you, or Dawn, want them, they're yours. Or give
them to Goodwill. If you don't want something I bought for Willow, I'll understand, and
take them back with me. Whatever you want."
please, can I have them? Everyone on the girls' soccer team at High School
would be so impressed if I did. You want me to be popular and happy don't
didn't I do this as well she does? She's so much better at the manipulate-Mom
thing than I ever was. It's so not fair. I sighed hard and nodded, "Yes
Dawn, if you want the shirts, you can have them. But they're leaving now, so
say thank you and your goodbyes."
swallowed, sniffed, and took the bag. Then she threw her arms around Giles and
sobbed her goodbyes. I glared at Wesley, who stood stiffly by the car.
chewed my lip, and looked at Spike. He looked at me. He bit his lip too, and
his eyes filled. He managed to choke out, "Please be happy, Buffy. I'm
sorry. I love you. I always will, and if you ever want anything from me I'll
come running, but I'll respect your decisions. It's why I got the soul in the
first place, so I'd always do that."
eyes stung with tears. I hate him sometimes.
bit back the tears I didn't want, and said, "Goodbye, Spike. Be good, I
know you will. What will you do now?"
untangled herself from Giles, and threw herself around Spike before he could
answered instead. "He'll come home with me, as Wesley will. There's not
just evil to be fought on the Hellmouth, you know. They'll be helping me, if
that's what they want."
said, "Thank you, Giles. I'd be honoured."
managed, "Too bloody right. Thanks. Know I don't deserve it." From
the depths of Dawn's hair, he continued, "Bye, Dawn. I'll keep an eye on
Giles for you. You take care of yourself. Love you, Nibblet."
left Giles in front of me. I couldn't stop the tears by now. They poured down
my cheeks, and soaked into Giles' suit as he drew me into a long hug. I know I
shouldn't have let that happen, but I'm weak. Ask Jenny how weak I am. Sorry,
you can't anymore, which is why I was doing this. I can't afford make any more
mistakes - people die and it's my fault.
pulled back. "Buffy, there should be words. There aren't. Just know I'll
always love you, and be proud of you, and I'll be there for you if you ever
sobbed. "I know. I love you too, Giles. Thank you, for everything. I'm
sorry. I really am. But, goodbye Giles."
kissed my forehead, and said, "'Bye Buffy."
hugged for a little longer, but not long enough. It never would have been long
enough. Then we pulled apart, both sniffed and looked at each other. Then Giles
put his hand on Spike and Wesley's shoulders. They all took a deep breath, and
got in the car together.
watched the car leave with Dawn. We stayed until we couldn't see it anymore.
we went inside.
rushed upstairs to her room. Mike still sat quietly tending the unconscious Oz.
Xander seethed in his chair.
had already left.