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Learning to Live

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This story is No. 3 in the series "Breaking the Fall". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: There are moments when the lines shift and everything changes. Those moments can define or destroy you. Third story in the Breaking the Fall Series.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anime > BleachjezaeiriFR181851,7455144073,96229 Oct 0919 Apr 12No

Abundant Skies

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Bleach. Each belong to their respective owners and I make no profit from this. Please don't sue, you will get nothing.

A/N: Well I'd planned on waiting for this a bit but my muse has it's own ideas. Well that and I just kinda ended up being blown away by the response to the first two stories. I am very grateful and humbled. I'm happy to say that I've got most of the Soul Society Arc outlined in detail. Just a warning though. Don't expect me to be doing the Bount filler arc. I hated it and I refuse to do it. I might do one of the others but it's still up to debate.

Also mucho thanks to Nightwolf as usual because without her I'd have never had done this. To my great friends at Paradise Lost who put up with my insanity and make me laugh. And to DeepRed who never fails to provide me with amazing art.

And on we go.













The wind picked up, the smells of LA dirty and almost corroded. No wonder demons loved the city so much, it smelled like they should have belonged there. Or maybe it was the other way around, they were there and because of that the city smelled the way it did. The answer didn't matter though, one way or another the city smelled wrong and the demons were never going to completely go away.

Just like the hollows would never completely go away. Though to be fair she hadn't seen a hollow since the day Willow had brought her back from the dead. That thought brought her to another one. To the fact that once again she was on the roof of the Hyperion watching the sun set while everyone else was below.

Everyone else. Not friends, almost not family. Some things she wasn't prepared to forgive. And some things had become broken the day Willow had brought someone else back from the dead.

They hadn't understood from the moment they'd seen her. And they'd understood even less as time went on. Why she wouldn't react half the time when they called her Buffy. Why she spent so many hours on the roof. Why her clothes had gotten simpler with more black and white and green theme. Why she stopped drinking coffee and drank green tea. Why she got quieter. Why she called Giles back only weeks after he'd left because she'd seen Willow sliding down into the abyss. Why she'd so coldly caught Warren, Andrew and Johnathan and turned them over to the authorities. Why she'd been so willing to put Willow down after her once friend had lost it after Warren had broken out of jail and tried to kill her but had gotten Tara instead. Why she'd been willing to let Giles take Willow away because the first attempt at help had failed so miserably. Why she'd kept Spike as her closest friend right up until the very end. Why she'd been so hard on the potentials. Why she'd led them against the First the way she did.

They just hadn't understood. None of them. Except for Spike. Because he'd been the only one she'd told the truth to. Been the only one she'd trusted not to judge her for what time had made her into. She'd trusted him and he'd earned it back a million times over when he'd disappeared and come back with his sanity gone and a soul in it's place.

They still didn't understand. And she'd decided that they never would. They, all of the survivors, had been licking their wounds and getting things sorted out for the last few weeks in LA Trying to come up with a course of action now that there were hundreds of slayers and they had all of the Council's resources at hand. She wondered if they'd even noticed that she hadn't been participating in any of it.

She wasn't even sure if she cared if they had or not.

She'd had other things to think about. Lots of things. She was alive, human and no longer the slayer. But she wasn't a shinigami any more either. Her powers had disappeared when she'd been brought back and aside from keeping a bit of her endurance and healing nothing of her old 'life' had remained. Nothing but memories.

And in a few days nothing of the life she was waiting to end would remain but memories either. She'd already made her choice on that front. She'd made it the day Sunnydale had fallen. In the moments after Dawn had asked her what they were going to do she put her hand in her pocket and felt the slip of paper Spike had given her before the battle had begun.

It was almost funny. He'd known how things would be before she had. It was another testament to the fact that somewhere along the line Spike had stopped being an enemy and become her best friend. And he'd known, truly known, what she would do and he'd given her the greatest gift ever.

He'd given her a way out.

That slip of paper had held two things. A name for a man in New York that could provide her with all the paperwork and anything else she needed to just disappear and the bank account number and pass word for Spike's own private stash of cash. Lots of cash. The vampire who'd stolen cable and lived in a crypt had millions hidden away. Who'd have ever thought? Millions on top of seven years of Council back pay.

She'd already handled most of the arrangements. The ID's, the transfer of money, the new bank accounts, all of it. She'd already set it all up. She was just waiting for the last of what she needed to just walk away to show up and then she'd be gone.

She was going, going, almost gone.

There was the sound of the roof access door opening behind her but she didn't turn from her spot near the ledge of the roof. She didn't need to turn to know who it was, her senses were still well above human even if she wasn't a shinigami any more.

“Buffy.” Dawn put a hand on her shoulder, almost tentative.

She let out a sigh. “I'll be back down later Dawnie.” how many times had Dawn tried to get her to come in from her various rooftop perches? A hundred? Probably more.

“That's not it.” Dawn sounded hesitant, sad, unsure. Normal for one so young. “I'm sorry.”

That got her attention. She turned her head and met Dawn's blue gaze in the fading light. She didn't say anything though and Dawn seemed to gather herself up. “I'm sorry I picked everyone else's side Buffy. I'm-I'm so so sorry.” she seemed to crumple in on herself, a house of cards folding. “I was just so scared.”

Those words. In two years she'd never once heard those words out of any of them. Any of those she'd once held closest to her heart. Sometimes sorry wasn't enough for some things. But for her, for Dawn, for a betrayal by a scared teenager it was enough. She didn't say anything, just reached out and pulled Dawn to her. Some things could never be forgiven.

But some things for some people could be. She felt the tears begin to soak her shirt as Dawn cried into it but ignored them as she stroked her baby sister's hair. Her baby sister. Her only blood. Her only family left.

She'd been planning on walking away but now she knew she couldn't. Not alone at least. She'd never be able to live with herself if something happened to Dawn. She'd never be able to live with herself if she dishonored the memories of both of her mothers by leaving her sister alone.

She kept stroking Dawn's hair as she stared out into the sunset. Her plan was going to have to change some.



*



She was up on the roof again, enjoying the relative quiet compared to the chaos that was running rampant in a hotel full of teenage girls. She hadn't been back at the hotel long, less than a hour. Just enough time to drop all of the stuff she'd bought earlier in the day off at her room and then head up to the roof. She'd picked up everything that was needed during the bright day. And she'd already made arrangements for herself and Dawn to just disappear.

At seven the next morning Buffy and Dawn Summers would check in for a flight to Rome, Italy. At nine in the morning Amaya and Kimiko Mimasaka would be board a flight to Tokyo.

She heard the sound of the roof access door open and close followed by the sounds of a lighter and the inhale of smoke. Ahh Faith. She didn't bother to look back, Faith had found her way up to the roof more than once over the last few weeks.

“So when are you leaving?” she glanced over at Faith sharply, wondering when the other slayer had figured it out. No one else had. Faith exhaled a plume of smoke and glanced over with a small smirk that had nothing behind it really. “You've been gone for a while now B. I've just been waiting for when you decided to make your body go too.”

She looked back out over the city, somehow not too surprised that Faith out of everyone had figured it out when no one else seemed to have a clue. “Soon enough.”

Faith took another drag and exhaled. “Good for you.”

She raised an eyebrow at that. “You don't mind?”

A shake of the head. “Nah. You've done your time. Now it's my turn to have to deal with it.”

“You don't have to.”

Faith shrugged. “But I need to B.”

She didn't have a response for that. Not really. So she just let it go. That both just stood there, watching the sun set on another day until the sky had grown dark, neither one saying a word. It was her last night in a city that she didn't feel comfortable in. In a life that didn't fit any more. A last sunset.

The sunrise would bring something different.

She turned, headed for the door and then stopped with her hand on the handle. She made a choice. “Mimasaka Amaya.” she glanced over to where Faith had turned to look at her. “When you've done your time.” Faith gave her a small nod, understanding in shadowed brown eyes.

She headed through the door. She needed to get what little she owned packed up while everyone was busy with dinner so they wouldn't notice her.



*



It was late, or early depending on how you looked at it. Five in the morning actually, that time that sat between the barriers of night and day. Buffy was tossing her new small toiletries bag into the small suitcase she'd bought while Dawn gathered up the last of her own belongings.

“You're really not going to tell me where we're going?” Dawn zipped up her own small suitcase. They hadn't had the time to buy a lot of clothing and she hadn't been inclined to go shopping crazy only to have to haul it around the world.

“Nope.” she closed her own bag and grabbed the messenger bag she was using instead of a purse for the trip. “This is a fresh start Dawnie. No more slayer stuff. No more scoobies. No more any of it. We're starting over.”

Dawn put the strap of her laptop case over her shoulder, a slightly unhappy expression on her face. “That's it? Just leave everyone behind? No goodbyes. No telling them where we're going.”

She gave a nod as she picked up the small suitcase in one hand “That's right. A fresh start. I'm not the slayer any more.” she wasn't. She hadn't been The Slayer since the Master had killed her. And most definitely not any more. There were probably hundreds of other slayers out there and it wasn't her job any more. It wasn't her duty. She had her life back and she had Dawn to take care of. And she couldn't, they couldn't, be away from the slayer stuff if they stayed in contact with their old life.

“They'll never forgive you for this.” it was said low, very low as Dawn picked up her own small suitcase.

“I don't expect them to.” she didn't. And she didn't care if they never did or not. She'd spent the last two years trying to tote their line. To be who they wanted her to be. To be Buffy Summers, slayer and savior. She was done.

Buffy Summers had died.

She was Mimasaka Amaya and she was going to live by her own rules and expectations now.



*



She hated LAX. Really and truly hated it. She especially hated the fact that she was going to have to check in twice with two different airlines for two different flights just to make sure Willow couldn't track her the mundane way. She'd already covered the mystical way by having Spike's contact get her a grand total of five shielding amulets. She had thought she'd only need one but she knew her damage rate on things. Backups were the friend.

And they came in handy since she'd decided to bring Dawn along. The amulets worked wonders. Shielding from mystical and non mystical tracking. She and Dawn wouldn't show up on any camera feeds either if Willow tried it. She glanced over at Dawn and then down the long line of duty free shops and food places. “Dawnie, why don't you go get us something for breakfast.”

“Ok. You want coffee this time?”

She thought about it. She hadn't slept the night before but it was a twelve hour flight to Tokyo. She could grab a nap there and a caffeinated slayer trapped on an international flight just seemed like a bad idea on principle. “Green tea please.”

“Gotcha.” Dawn started on her way down the line of shops leaving Buffy to check in for the flight to Rome she'd paid for but that they weren't going to use. Thankfully the airport had the electronic check in that saved her from needing to deal with a person or take more than a couple of minutes and soon she was making her way down to find Dawn before they did the second check in.

“Over here!” Dawn waved her coffee cup filled hand and Buffy headed for her sister, weaving in and out of the crowds that were going about their business.

Half an hour later they were both checked in for their business class non stop flight to Tokyo, the two of them heading for the gate with their paper cups in one hand. “Why are we going to Japan? You don't speak Japanese, I don't speak Japanese. So why?”

She glanced over at Dawn and smiled. “I've spent weeks watching the sun set Dawnie, it's time to watch the sun rise.”

She wanted the see the sun rise. Over a new day. Over a new life. She wanted to look out and maybe not feel like everything she'd ever been was gone. Japan might not be Soul Society but it was a close as she was going to get.


*



*Reviews are greatly appreciated and are what pushes me to write when I just want to give up and go hide in a corner.
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