They were all comforting Xander, telling him how bad it was about Anya. No one dared mention Tara around Willow and if they did they gave her apologizing looks. Like how could they hurt her, her memory? Yet with Spike, so the vampire was dead, gave his life for the world, who cared…
A mild curiosity, what saved them, and that’s all she got.
She couldn’t break down, let them down. Spike wouldn’t have wanted her to.
But she wished she could, wished she could just break out crying, look for a shoulder to lean on, to think…. And the one man that used to be there for her, almost unnoticeable so, was gone…
Dawn gave her odd looks, wandering gazes… as if she wasn’t sure how to approach her.
Buffy didn’t even dare ask her how she felt about Spike’s death. Too scared to break the illusion that at least one person might have cared like she did. Sometimes she wondered if Dawn knew how much Spike had cared for her. If it even mattered.
Even Spike hadn’t believed her when she finally told him. He’d thought that she’d just been trying to make him feel better, to grant a dying man’s last wish. A man’s wish… And all she could think of was regret that she hadn’t told him sooner, regret of all the time she’d wasted.
To die like that, to believe yourself unloved and yet hold so much love for the world, for everyone, even those that didn’t give a damn.
Her hands went in her pocket, a last batch of Marlboro that she’d grabbed from him earlier that week, another comfort taken away… A dark skull ring in the depth of her hreastpocket. No one knew she’d kept it, or how long…
She’d brushed her teeth, over and over, trying to get Angel’s taste from her lips, to think only of Spike and forget that last escape to the past, to an easier time.
They said she seemed refreshed though, that she looked well slept for the first time in years.
They thought it was because her burden had lightened. That now, now she no longer had to be the strong one, the chosen one, she could finally sleep… They were half-right.
She could smell them when she slept, smell him, and hear his voice whispering in her ear. It was OK to cry there, to hold on to him. She could look in his eyes and fall in his gaze. She went to sleep earlier, woke up later, just to prolong that feeling of having him, there at least where she couldn’t have him otherwise.
He could love her there, and she him.
In her dreams she could pull him to her, tell him all the things she'd forgotten to say, tell him how he mattered, what an amazing thing he'd done for her.
She'd looked it up in the day, wondering if it had ever happened before, if a vampire had ever chosen to want his soul back before.... The answer was never.
Up till Spike, Angel had been the only souled vampire ever known in existence, and he'd been cursed to get it. His only choice, the one not to try and loose it.
Spike, her Spike, her special Spike; seemingly forgotten by all but her.
So in the night she kissed him, in the night she lay in his arms, just cuddling till the morning came and dreams slipped out of her grip with the break of dawn.
And so what if her pillow looked better every day; what if she barely got out of her bed to eat? What if… And her finger touched the flame, silencing it forever, finding his lips in the dark.
"I love you"
and in her dreams he believed her.