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Be One Traveler

Title: Be One Traveler
Author: Moriwen1
Setting: Buffy season 5, episode 10, "Into the Woods"
Prompt: If only Buffy had got across town in time to catch Riley's helicopter . . .
Rating: PG
Word Count: 908

Nothing that isn't mine, is mine.

Be One Traveler

She runs. She's never run faster in her life. Slayer, hero, supergirl, lived and died and lived again, saved the world more times than she can count, but she's never run like this before, until the burn in her lungs spreads upwards into her chest and downwards into her stomach and her legs are so tired they don't even hurt anymore, just shake until she trips over her own feet, and she picks herself up and keeps running, throwing herself forwards and somehow her feet keep up. But she has to make it, she can't screw this up, this is it, this is her one chance at happiness, and the trees are a blur as she leaps into the clearing and screams--


". . . Riley!"

". . . Riley!"


She cries on Riley's shoulder, later. "I'm so sorry," she whispers, and "I love you," again and again. He holds her tight and says "it's all right" and "I love you too" every time. His arms are strong and safe around her, and right now, this is what she needs.


She cries on Spike's shoulder, later. They don't say anything, either of them, for a long time; he's stiff under her touch, whether with fear or anger or sympathy she can't say, and eventually he reaches up, hesitant, and touches her hair. She almost shrinks away, but his fingers are so gentle, and right now, this is what she needs.


It's almost a cliche, when Riley proposes. He does it all exactly right, there's a romantic dinner (by candlelight, no less) and an extravagant profession of love ("this is forever, Buffy, I want us to be forever") and she thinks of Angel and then, briefly, of another vampire, and she wants to tell him what "forever" really means, but then he sinks down on one knee and asks her to marry him. The ring is a glinting solitaire diamond in a black velvet box, more than either of them can afford, and she says yes, and doesn't understand why she's terrified as the words pass her lips.


She lifts up the vampire and throws him, spinning, onto Spike's stake, and with a cry he dissolves into a cloud of dust. "Damn, love, that was beautiful," Spike exclaims, and then, in that way he has where his mouth just won't stop saying things, "Marry me?"

She blinks. "Did you just ask me to marry you?"

He nods, fumbles through his pocket, and pulls out a grubby ring that probably came out of a vending machine for two quarters. "It's fake," he explains helpfully, "but I can break into a store for a new one, if you want."

If you'd asked her, she couldn't have told you why she said yes, or why it made her so happy to say it.


They have a white wedding, in June. She winces a little at the vows -- why should she obey him, or he protect her? -- but Riley smiles at her, and she repeats the words after the priest, and it's done.


The first two times, they don't even get through the vows before demons attack. When they have to reschedule their third try at a wedding because the apocalypse is due that day, they give up and get married at the courthouse. Spike grins like an idiot the whole time.


She stops slaying, after a while. Riley never asks her to, but she knows it'll make him happy, and there's all those new slayers running around, and they're trying for a baby, and --

It's just better this way.


She'll slay till the day she dies. And when that day comes, she hopes it's in the line of duty, with Spike by her side.


They have a boy, and two years later a little girl, and then they're done, so Riley goes and gets things fixed. The kids don't even know what a demon is until they're old enough to know about Santa Claus, and it all sort of gets rolled into one big talk, Santa and vampires and how babies are made. (Buffy really hopes they don't get those topics mixed up.) Riley Jr. plays "soldier" and "vampire slayer" and "superhero" interchangeably, and his dad takes him out slaying sometimes.

Joy plays house.


They fight about children, sometimes. They can't have any, of course, but adoption is a thing, so they argue and sometimes throw punches, and switch sides in the argument a lot. She suspects that Spike actually wants children more than she does, but he can't justify bringing a child into their lives the way they live, so when she suggests it he refuses.

It all becomes a moot point when he brings home a young woman with Down's syndrome who's been vamped (not by him, thank god). She's not even a child, let alone theirs, but they love her just the same.


They grow old together. They're happy.


They're happy, though only one of them grows old.


It's dark when Buffy stirs and wakes. She's bone tired but her heart is racing and her breaths are quick and sharp.

Her husband opens his eyes, and murmurs a sleepy question, asking her what's the matter.

Buffy rolls over and snuggles closer to him. "You won't believe the dream I had."

He won't.


( 30 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 2nd, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
What a marvelous twining of opposites! And a brilliantly ambiguous ending. (I know whose voice I heard at the last. :-)

Aaaa! Boy, it took awhile for that shoe to drop. Just recognized the title. Frost! Of course it was.

Edited at 2013-05-02 03:15 am (UTC)
May. 3rd, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) And the Frost reference got through, yay! I thought "road less traveled" would be too obvious, so I'm glad this worked.
May. 2nd, 2013 02:09 am (UTC)
And then Bobby Ewing steps out of the shower.

This was fantastic. I love the either/or-ness of it and you handled it all perfectly. Brava!

May. 3rd, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
You're too nice. :)
May. 2nd, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Love this. What's his names poem has never been better refernced I think. :D
May. 3rd, 2013 02:43 pm (UTC)
Now that's flattery. :) Thank you.
May. 2nd, 2013 06:44 am (UTC)
Ahhh, this is great! I really like what you've done with the prompt. It's sad how Buffy shuts down her instincts towards girl-power-if-not-feminism, but I can see her doing it if she's convinced that's how she'll find happiness. :(
May. 3rd, 2013 02:57 pm (UTC)
This comment makes me so happy, because that's exactly what I was going for here. I don't think Riley has a problem with feminism, but (IMO) girl-power makes him really uncomfortable. Like, if little Joy wanted to go kill demons instead of playing house, he wouldn't stop her, but he's not going to encourage her either.
May. 2nd, 2013 07:06 am (UTC)
Excellent! Thanks.
May. 3rd, 2013 02:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
May. 2nd, 2013 07:49 am (UTC)
I love the concept/format and the ending! I don't know about Buffy quitting Slaying for Riley (like, I can see her quitting for normality since there are already the other Slayers, but not Riley specifically), but this part was just wonderfully spot on: They have a white wedding, in June. She winces a little at the vows -- why should she obey him, or he protect her? -- but Riley smiles at her, and she repeats the words after the priest, and it's done. And I have to just laud the ending again, because it is just that good.
May. 3rd, 2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
If it helps, in my mind she's not so much quitting slaying for Riley as that Riley symbolizes Being Normal to her, and not slaying is part and parcel of that. (Riley, IMO, doesn't really care, except that he kind of likes being able to feel protective of her.)
May. 2nd, 2013 10:26 am (UTC)
I love it! Nice play between the opposite prospectives in life. In the end we guess who is the husband. I feel kind of sad for the Riley's prospective. (Because she seems to shut down her instict) but I like that the Spike's prospective is angsty too, in its own way. Really, beautiful fic.
May. 3rd, 2013 03:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) I'm glad that the angst on the Spike side came through--I wanted either Buffy to be able to be horrified by dreaming about the other one.
May. 2nd, 2013 11:05 am (UTC)
Beautifully done. Great concept perfectly executed.
May. 3rd, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :)
May. 2nd, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, that is a good twist!
May. 3rd, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :)
May. 2nd, 2013 02:59 pm (UTC)
Both roads not taken, but beautifully-done - I know which I would choose for her!
May. 3rd, 2013 03:03 pm (UTC)
Ha! Don't we all. :)
May. 2nd, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Nice parallels. Good and complex. Naturally, I hope the hubby at the end is undead! :P
May. 3rd, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
Oh yes. :)
May. 2nd, 2013 04:17 pm (UTC)
Beautiful. I loved the two sides of her life. And how the conventional one was so not the right fit! ;-)
May. 3rd, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Buffy doesn't do well with "conventional," does she, no matter how much she wants to.
May. 2nd, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC)
I love this. I like that neither side is perfect, but one is obviously a better choice for Buffy. =)
May. 3rd, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you. :) That was exactly the effect I was going for, so I'm glad it worked for you.
May. 2nd, 2013 09:26 pm (UTC)
Amazing. I love the contrast and the whole structure.
May. 3rd, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
May. 2nd, 2013 09:31 pm (UTC)
"Buffy really hopes they don't get those topics mixed up."

This made me crack up. Because they so would.

Very nicely done with the compare/contrast.
May. 3rd, 2013 03:05 pm (UTC)
I think Buffy might get two of those mixed up herself, a bit...
Thank you! :)
( 30 comments — Leave a comment )


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