Word Count: 902
Spoilers: Becoming Part 2.
Summary: Buffy can't stay in Sunnydale, not after everything that's just happened; she'd rather be anywhere else.
Written For: Challenge 303: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge 3: Anywhere But Here.
Disclaimer: I don’t own BtVS, or the characters; they belong to the great Joss Whedon.
The portal was closed and the world saved; Buffy had done what was expected of her, but at what price? In the last moments of their sword battle Angel had been himself again. Willow must have tried the spell again and it had worked; that was the only explanation that made any kind of sense, but it had been too late. Angelus had already completed the ceremony that would awaken Acathla and suck everyone and everything down into Hell, and Buffy? She’d had no choice but to drive her sword through Angel’s heart, shattering her own in the process. There had been no other way to stop what Angelus had started.
‘I should have been faster, gotten there sooner,’ she berated herself. ‘If I hadn’t delayed, trying to give Willow the time she needed…’ Grief warred with shame; she was the Slayer and she’d been too slow because a small part of her had still been reluctant to do what needed to be done. She’d been hoping she wouldn’t have to, hoping Angel’s soul would be restored in time, but then Willow had been injured and the plan had fallen apart.
Guiltily she found herself wishing that Willow had remained unconscious a little while longer, or that the spell would have failed. How much easier would it have been if it had still been Angelus in those last moments instead of the man, the vampire with a human soul, she loved with all her heart? How much easier to end the existence of a sadistic monster who’d been responsible for centuries of untold suffering and death rather than the man who’d spent so many years trying to atone for all of the sins committed by the demon that had taken up residence in his body?
Killing Angelus would have been a relief, a weight of responsibility taken off her shoulders. It was her fault he’d become a monster again so it was only right that she should be the one to end his reign of terror. But killing Angel, seeing him so confused and lost, and then betraying him that way, driving her blade home when he had no clue what was happening… That was a weight on her heart she didn’t think she could bear. If this was what it meant to be the Slayer then she was done; let someone else take up the burden. Kendra’s death would activate the next Slayer, the eternal fight against evil would continue unabated, but Buffy herself was no longer required.
She needed to get away, to be somewhere, anywhere, other than Sunnydale. There was too much here weighing her down, too much to remind her of what she’d lost. Everything around her brought back memories and regrets, feelings of guilt and loss, and then there was the bitter fight with her mom… Had that really only been last night? It seemed like an eternity ago.
God, she couldn’t face her friends and tell them what she’d done, and she definitely couldn’t face her mother… But then, her mom had told her if she walked out of the house not to bother coming back, and so she wouldn’t, she’d only stop by just long enough to pack a few things and then she’d be gone, out of her Mother’s hair for good. She wondered if the police were still looking for her; if so they weren’t going to find her.
‘I’m leaving, not running away,’ she told herself firmly as she threw everything she might need into a big, battered old carryall. ‘I’m just doing as I’m told, maybe for the first time in forever.’
Everyone would be better off without her anyway; she’d dragged them all into danger far too many times. Her friends, the people she cared about most in the world, they all got hurt because of her. Well not anymore. The only decision she needed to make was where she should go, and even that wasn’t much of a decision. The best place to lose herself would be L.A., familiar enough that she could find her way around and blend in, but far enough from Sunnydale that she wasn’t likely to run into anyone she knew. Well, her dad maybe but he travelled a lot for work. She’d just stay away from anyplace he might go.
It wasn’t difficult to get a one-way bus ticket, and nobody asked her any awkward questions as she boarded the bus and settled into a seat. It was time for her to make her own way in the world, and she wasn’t going to look back; that way lay too many things she didn’t want to think about.
All the things she’d done, they couldn’t be undone. She couldn’t bring Angel back, or Ms Calendar, and she couldn’t erase the fight with her mom, she could only move on and try to start over somewhere else. She’d done it before. She just wished she could leave the pain and sadness behind instead of carrying them with her like a leaden weight on her soul. Some things couldn’t be escaped.
Heart aching but refusing to cry in front of a bunch of strangers, she stared sightlessly through the side window of the bus as she let it carry her far away to some place where maybe someday she’d be able to start piecing together the fragments of her broken heart and learn to live again.