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The World We Made

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Six Months Later

Without the Slayer, the prey became easier and Spike was bored. He couldn't sleep at night. The bedside was often empty, and Wesley stalked the hallways. Too many minions ended with a stake in their heart.

"You should've kept Angel," Spike said. "At least, he was entertaining." He rolled over onto his stomach.

Wesley had snagged Spike's cigarettes and was currently smoking one after another.

"You know, normally, smoking increases during times of stress. We killed the Slayer. Her little friends can't do shite." Spike licked his lips. He'd thought about going out for something to eat. But he wasn't sure if it was hunger or boredom.

Wesley threw the pack at Spike. "As much fun as taunting Rupert and the rest of them has been, I think it's time to move on. And that abomination was just as boring as they were."

"Maybe we should just move on, love. Road trip with the bikes we knocked off last week."

Wesley threw the cigarette on the floor and stomped it out with his shoe. "You know, Spike, that's the best idea you've had in a long time."

*****

They built a routine after Buffy died. A routine where they never said her name, among others. They grew used to living in the Summers' house which Joyce had sold to Giles and all the house's odd creaks and ghosts.

Tara combed Cordelia's long hair in the morning and pulled it back in a big braid. She also cooked pancakes on the stove and didn't look up when Giles moved the last of Anya's boxes into the house. Cordelia only asked once where they were going to put her before Tara caught Anya and Giles kissing in the dinning room.

After breakfast, Tara brought Angel's blood down to the basement. He had asked her to do this, but they both needed it. If anything she'd learned, it was that some things were beyond anyone's control.

Angel didn't watch her like she saw him doing with other people. He stayed motionless on his bed. The chains, he insisted on keeping, just in case, hung on the wall behind him. A memento of the people he couldn't save.

Sometimes Cordelia would come down with her. Tara left them in peace. Or only Cordelia in peace, who seemed to lecture Angel on how he needed people and needed the mission. Though no one talked about how Cordelia hadn't had a vision since Buffy died.

Tara received a postcard from Willow, one morning. She'd run into Oz and had decided to stay longer. No doubt, Sunnydale caused her too much grief. That she was sure she'd run into Xander on these back roads. Xander who couldn't look at Anya, drank too much, and was almost eaten by a newly rising vampire.

Tara smiled at Giles who bent over his books and called Anya at the Magic Box to bring home mandrake root. And went to the kitchen to make them both a cup of tea.