Sunnydale hadn't changed..

He mused to himself three days later as he patted down the dirt on the Hellmouth's newest grave. He glanced around, hearing the sounds of the night creatures, human and otherwise. Tomorrow would be a busy night as he hunted, he was sure. But tonight.

He turned as she approached, less surprised to see her than he thought he would be. "Didn't think I'd see you around here anytime soon."

"You're not the only one." Morgan wrapped her arms around herself. "It doesn't feel normal here."

"It's the Hellmouth, not Lake Serenity." He smiled. "Why are you here?"

"Came to give a blessing, protection prayer, you know. I posted her obituary in the local paper yesterday when I got here, and I've been waiting, looking around."

"It's Sunnydale, not a vacation spot."

"There were a few places I wanted to see, never got to when I was under Mister Giles' watch."

"Yeah, can't imagine he let you run wild around here."

They stood in silence for several moments, staring down at the new grave. "Yeah, so, you gonna be here for a while?"

"A few lifetimes. I live here, now." He smiled, remembering words from a lifetime ago. "Always been here." He shook his head, coming back to the present. "Sorry."

"For what? Never mind, I'm gonna be here a few days, look around, take your advice, get to know this place."

"Before you ask, you can find me at the motel on the outside of town, until I can make other arrangements."

"Got it, so I'm going to bed, see you tomorrow."

"Night." She nodded once, and faded into the night. He watched her go, and sighed, unsure what to do. He didn't know what she wanted from him, from his memories. He shook his head, and listened for sounds of any little nasties. Finally, he smiled. Time to hunt.

The next morning dawned bright, and Spike checked the curtains on his window one last time before falling into the bed. He sighed, content, and was just about asleep when the knocking began. He sat up, swearing, and stumbled to the door. "Who's it?"

"Morgan, I need to show you something."

"Give me a minute." He unlocked the door, and backed into the shadows. "Come in."

She did, closing the door quickly behind her, not giving him a chance to even speak before she shoved a newspaper into his hand. "Look."

He frowned at the obituary pages, reading after a moment Red's. "It's nice, pet, but you told me about it, yesterday."

"You mean you didn't write it?"


She sighed, and pointed to a box of printing below the obituaries. "The poem, you didn't write it?"

Spike frowned. "No." He began to read.

Together Again

As we walked through life's light they minded the shadows.

They protected us from what we could never, might never understand.

A beautiful huntress, at first unsure, but then the leader willing to die,

The funny sincere boy that grew into the man that fought at her side.

The shy beautiful brain, who changed, whom fought against herself, and with them against the shadows.

A fallen shadow of heaven that hovered too near the light, tortured by what he could never have.

The father, the teacher, the protector, and the friend, standing by them until the end.

And over time, their numbers grew, and faded again, as time did it's dance around them.

The bitch queen, who became the kind one.

The Burning Shadow that loved Her and fought himself, that sacrificed for Her.

The light that was so young, and who fought without fear, never one of us, never one of them, but always alive, keeping us alive.

Then there were them, the shy one, the quiet one, the fighter, the ones that moved on before we even knew they were there.

More shadows came, and they fought on.

We saw them only from the corner of out eyes,

We never knew, but at the same time, we always did.

In the shadows forever themselves.

We know we live because they were just too stubborn to let us go.

Too stubborn to let go of each other.

To our heroes, together again, forever, we live on, and we remember.

When Spike was done, he was shocked he wasn't crying. "It's good," he whispered.

"You didn't write it." A slow smile spread across her face. "Wow. Be ready at sunset, okay?"

"For what?"

"You'll see, I have a feeling what I saw was just the beginning."

Before he could question her further she was gone. He looked down at the poem again and sighed, then folded it carefully and slipped it into his duffel bag before falling back onto the bed.

She was there before sunset, running in and waking him, telling him to hurry and get ready, then gone again. He took a shower, then dressed and waited until no light was left in the sky. When he opened his door she was there waiting with her car.

"Where are we going?"

"It's impossible to describe. I think they started it last night, someone must have seen you there."

"What started?"

"You'll see."

They stopped a block from the cemetery, and began towards the graves. Spike stopped, and sniffed the air, then cursed. "Fire!" He hissed, and took off running, seeing brightness flickering near the graves. He rounded the corner, slipping from his duster to use it to beat out any flames, and froze, staring.

Morgan caught up with him a moment later, breathing heavily. "See?" Seeing his shock she grinned. "There wasn't nearly this much this morning, and I've seen people coming and going all day. I heard them building it this afternoon."

Around the graves of his old friends someone had built a rod-iron fence, tall and old, and gorgeous, and above the gate was welded a frame of metal which held words he at first didn't recognize. "It's Latin," he whispered after a moment.

"'Protectors and Heroes, but firstly friends.' Rough translation of course," Morgan said, her smile only growing.

"My God," he whispered, his eyes gazing over the fence at the graves, where lay candles, flowers, pictures, notes. "Who were they?"

"I don't know. They weren't all old enough to even have known them. But there were a lot, some came in wheelchairs, and some were children. I guess I'm not the only one that ever heard stories growing up."

Spike opened the gate and too a step forward, then stopped, held back by an invisible barrier. "How--?"

"That was me. I didn't want any vampires or anything nasty getting in and vandalizing this place. You have to be human, or invited."

"Thank you."

"Of course." She hurried into the gate, and smiled at him. "Come in, William."

Spike hesitated, then nodded and entered, stopping just inside and laughing through the sudden tears that had sprung to his eyes.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah, Morgana, I'm fine." He walked to each grave, stopping for a moment, then continuing to the next. Finally he stopped, not at the most recent, but at an older one. "New headstones?"

"I don't know who did that. Aren't they beautiful?"

On each headstone was a decoration of vines and flowers, and Latin words. He looked back over each of them to connect the words into a sentence. "You are gone, but we have not forgotten. Fight on, and so will we."

"I thought no one knew."

"It's Sunndydale. First thing I learned here, nothing is what it seems." He crouched in front of the headstone, and brushed across the name on it with his fingertips gently. "They taught me that. I thought it was gonna be easy to come in here and kill her, them. This was gonna be my town." He cocked his head to the side suddenly. "They left all the girls maiden names. That's nice." He sighed and resumed his story. "It wasn't ever easy though, not from the start. I saw the fire in her eyes, and the fight in her friends. I knew they weren't going to just let me go. So I ran later, thinking I could leave them, my first true challenge, and it haunted me. Last thing I expected was for them to take me in a few years later, let me be a minor Scooby, though it was for the Bit's benefit, I know, at first."

"The chip? And falling in love? The soul?"

"In that order." He grinned at her. "Don't know how it happened, pretty sure I was obsessed with her from the beginning, bloody hell, I know I was. Didn't expect my fantasies of killing her to change into-" He stopped, grinning. "Well, it was just unexpected. But I wasn't nearly worthy of her, told me so herself, so I went searching for what he had that made her love him, the spark."

"You're the burning one the poem mentioned?"

"Yes, I guess whoever wrote only saw me then, when I was still new to it. Angel was already used to it and he could control it. It did burn me, tore me to pieces, burned them too, and then it'd get quiet and it'd all start again." He shook his head. "Not me you want to hear about though, it's them."

She said nothing, and he looked over in time to see her brush a tear away.

"Well, I'll give a quick lesson first. To let you know, your Slayer will never be her. You want her to be even half as good, you surround her with people that were as good as them."

"An ex-demon demonized again? Vampires that actually care? A best friend that tried to destroy the world?"

"Best thing you can give her. It'll teach her what's worth fighting for. Teach her it's not about the world, because she won't understand that. Teach her it's about them, the ones she cares about. Forget the world, too big a scale. Let her worry about her friends first, protect them, then someday, she can advance."

"If it doesn't drive her mad, it'll teach her the world is fucked up."

"Like she won't learn that on her own? Sorry, pet, but I lived a century before I came here, and they're the only ones I ever fought for. Slayers that don't care about the people they're saving won't care about the people they let down if they fail."

"That's the problem," he muttered. "They cared too much." He kissed his fingertips, drawing them across the headstones name once, then stood, and looked around him.

"It's just who they were. Hell, they couldn't even turn away if they wanted to, not that they ever really did, like I said, they cared too much, and damn, they drug me in too. Can't explain it better than that. It's just who they were."

"Fate's a bitch."

"Fate had nothing to do with it, no prophecy, nothing could have kept them from trying to save what they knew. Hell, they fought gods, Morgana. Fate wasn't a problem for them."

"Wow." She said when he had been silent several moments. "If that's how all the lessons go, I wish I had your passion in telling it. Probably scare her into believing."

"Believing isn't the problem, it's what comes after the believing. It's usually in the order of denial, fury, acceptance, rebellion, then ass- kicking of the bad guys."

Morgana chuckled. "Did you always talk this much?"

Spike looked back at her and smiled. "I guess I can tell you a little about them now, I know what to say. This is why they fought. Not for the glory they've gotten, but so the people that have done this would still be here. This is just a bonus of saving the world every now and then." He gestured around him, then took a step back and bowed. "To you, my friends. I'll be back."

He looked back at her, then walked out of the fence. "Hunting time, pet, sure you wanna tag-along?"

Morgan smiled at him in answer, keeping up with his long stride. "I know why they fought."

"So you've got your answers?" Spike asked as he looked around, then broke off a tree branch and broke it in two, handing her a piece. In the distance they could hear struggling and small yelps of terror.

"To some questions. But I do want to know them, to know how they lived." She followed him, to her credit, not looking afraid.

Spike frowned, wondering how he was gonna start that story, the story of their lives. As he was about to speak they turned a corner to see three vampires holding a limp girl in their arms as a boy the girls age fought at them in vain. They were playing with him. Spike sighed, and looked back at her as they started towards the vamps. "Well, love, how do I put this?" He looked back at the vampires. "They lived the same way everyone else does, they fought." The vampires saw them now, and were looking at them warily, as Spike smiled.