Chapter Nineteen – Aftermath
Buffy sniffed back the remainder of tears as Dean walked her out of the mansion. As she followed him along the road leading back into town, she stole a glance over at Dean, who was examining his wounds. He caught her staring.
Buffy shook her head, “Nothing….I uh….I felt like we – really bonded.”
“Well don’t make a habit out of it….I can only take so many concussions.”
Buffy spotted the large slice in his arm.
“Should we swing by the hospital and get you checked out?”
“It’s not that bad.”
Buffy abruptly halted. Her face went white with dread.” I don’t know if I can go back…my mom…”
“You have to face her again at some point,” he said.
She shook her head. “I don’t know if I can – not right now. Are you guys staying in town awhile?”
“No. We’re going to head out early tomorrow morning.”
She started walking again as her mind was assaulted with memories of Angel. When they reached the foot of the walkway leading to her house, Buffy drew out a breath.
Joyce shot up when she heard the door open. Mother and daughter eyed each other for a long moment.
Buffy said nothing. She climbed the stairs to her room and shut the door. Joyce sighed and turned to Dean, looking him over.
“Oh Dean, you’re bleeding!”
She took his arm and examined it.
“No, no. Sit down and let me get this cleaned up, it could get infected.”
Dean relented as a wave of exhaustion swept over him. He collapsed on the couch as Sam crossed in from the kitchen. Dean eyed his brother’s relaxed manner as well as the sandwich he was carrying on a plate.
“Dean, you’re okay.”
Joyce cleaned Dean’s knife wound and dressed it with a bandage. She tended to the other cuts on his face. She searched for something to say but wanted to remain calm.
“Your father…is he okay?”
“He called me from the hospital….he’s going to be fine...he’ll be here as soon as he can.”
“Oh, good. I’m – anxious to talk to him.”
Joyce went upstairs and left the boys alone. Buffy shuffled out of her room and overheard her mother talking on the phone. Her voice grew increasingly agitated. Buffy crept down the hall and paused next to the door of her mother’s room.
“Mr. Snyder?.....what?...on what grounds can you expel her?”
Buffy snuck back into her room and quietly closed the door.
Dean leaned his head back against the couch and shut his eyes. Every muscle in his body ached and all he wanted was to sleep for the next two days. He was about to drift off when Sam decided to pester him back into a conversation.
“So Buffy – killed Angel….”
Dean sighed, “Man, you’re full of genius deductions tonight.”
“That couldn’t have been easy for her….especially if….Dean, did Angel seem different to you?”
His eyes snapped open as he lifted his head, “Compared to what? A non-demon psychopath?”
“I meant, at any point did he act like – Buffy’s Angel?”
Dean scoffed, “I was kind of busy trying not to get my head cut off…what are you driving at?”
Sam shook his head, “Nothing.”
“Good….now be quiet.”
Dean closed his eyes and tried to let his mind drift off to sleep. A knock at the door pulled him back into the waking world.
Joyce padded down the stairs and answered the door.
“John….my god….are you okay?”
Dean opened his eyes to see his dad shuffling into the living room, his arm in a sling. John Winchester anxiously swept his eyes over his boys and let out a sigh of relief.
“John, if you would, I need to speak with you outside.”
The two adults swiftly exited the living room. After ten minutes, Sam and Dean heard their heated voices. Fifteen minutes later, John emerged from the kitchen.
“Boys, we need to be packed up and ready to leave early in the morning.”
Joyce appeared in the doorway of the kitchen. Her face was riddled with frustration.
“You can stay here tonight….but tomorrow…”
John nodded as Joyce disappeared upstairs. John folded himself into an armchair.
“What’s going on Dad?” Sam asked.
John sighed, “Joyce is – having some difficulty right now and I’m afraid I’ve only added to her distress. She’d like us to be out of here before she wakes up tomorrow.”
“Wow, you had a fight?”
“She’s overwhelmed with finding out about Buffy and learning that we all knew and didn’t tell her. She just needs time.”
“Did you tell her about us?”
“No. She’s had enough to deal with. Now, let’s get some sleep. I’d like to be on the road before sunrise.”
As the night wound down, Sam, John and Dean settled into the living room. Dean slowly climbed the stairs, soreness gripping his bones. When he came out of the bathroom, Buffy was exiting her room. She paused outside the door and waited for him.
“You’re really leaving tomorrow?”
“Yeah, we can’t exactly stay here forever. Plus, it looks like we’ve outstayed our welcome.”
“Will you….stay with me?”
“Uh…I’m really exhausted….and we’re leaving pretty early tomorrow.”
Buffy shifted her feet and moped, “I’m not asking you to spend the night with me….I thought we really came out of this as better friends now….all I want is for my friend to hang out with me for awhile….please? Just until I fall asleep?”
She saw the solid reluctance on his face.
“I’m not going to pull anything.”
“So you say,” he said skeptically, “But I know you.”
Buffy blew out a breath, “Then you should know after tonight, all I want to do is crawl into a hole and die.”
Dean sighed, “You better fall asleep fast.”
Buffy padded back into her room, turned the light out and crawled under the covers. She saw him lean against her dresser.
“You don’t have to stand there…you can…lie with me.”
He shook his head, “I could but I won’t.”
“Dean,” she snapped, “Why are you making this about you? You don’t know what I’m going through and if you knew, you probably wouldn’t even care….you probably don’t even know how to care…”
He sighed again, “You stay way over there and keep your hands where I can see them.”
He crossed over to the bed and stretched back over the comforter. He rested his head on a pillow and tried to stay awake but the comfortable mattress against his sore back quickly lulled him to sleep.
“I killed Angel,” Buffy replied softly.
“I was there,” he said, slightly annoyed.
Dean opened his eyes. He turned his head to see the mournful look in her eyes.
“The spell…..it worked…..Angel was cured…..and he had no idea what had happened….but the portal was open…..so I….I had to….I had to kill him.”
Her lips trembled as tears formed in the corner of her eyes.
“Do you even know what that feels like? Can you even imagine having to kill someone you love?”
After a long moment, he said, “No…..I had no idea….”
“You’re the only one I’ve told….and I don’t feel like telling anyone else right now.”
She rolled over on her side, her back facing him.
“You can go now….I’m probably not going to sleep for awhile…or at all.”
She heard him breath in and out.
“I’ll stay…if you want.”
She turned over to face him and saw the compassion reflecting from his eyes.
“Thanks,” she whispered.