Disclaimer: These are not my characters and this is not my world.

A/N: Written for the Halloween 2016 challenge at Fag Ends for the prompt "Future Tense."

Spike knows Slayers.

Knows their scent, knows the way they make the demons all jumpy and revved up. Knows them when he sees them. He knows the way they move, different for each one but still guided by the ghosts of the Slayers before them. Slayers he'd known, Slayers he'd fought against, Slayers he'd fought with. Slayers he'd seen die and Slayers who'd lived and passed long before he did the same.

This Slayer he seeks out.

Last time he did that, it'd changed his life.

"Jesu," says the Slayer, after he demonstrates shifting faces for her. She stares at him wide-eyed. "You're Spike."

It's been centuries since he's seen a Slayer, since there's been a Slayer, and here she is. Slim and muscular and blue-haired. There's a blaster holstered at her hip and she's got the scythe in a loose grip. Good, she's good. Even a little starstruck, she doesn't let her guard down around a lurk like him.

"You been dreaming about me?" he asks.

"No," she says. She makes a face at the thought. "I read about you in some of the Watcher books. You look like your picture. Besides the hair."

He runs a hand through his hair before he can stop himself, then scowls at her for making him self-conscious like that. He's only just met her and there she is, trying to trick him into obsessing over his damn hair like he's Angel.

"I met Buffy Summers once," she says.


A lot of his thoughts about Buffy in specific occur when he or Angel abruptly remember their pissing match and square off their memories. Angel'd had her first and Spike'd had her at the end. Angel knows the first thing she said to him but Spike remembers what colour her eyes were. (He's written a lot of poems about that, though, and now Angel remembers too but Spike remembered on his own.)

Buffy had changed both of them, though. Irrevocably changed them. Saved them or inspired them to save themselves, either way.

Spike's not sure what to do with this bit. He looks her over again. "What, in a dream?"

"I don't get the dreams," says the Slayer. "She came here. We met. Fought some baddies. Then I thought she was gonna kill me."

"But she didn't."


Spike nods. "Yeah. She did that to me a number of times."

"She's the one who changed everything." The Slayer's voice is matter-of-fact here, looking at this fact the way everyone looks at history. There used to be magic, there used to be Slayers. There used to be portals and wooden stakes and cemeteries.

There used to be a woman with style and friends, who fought to the end, who knew she could do better than some old men in a cave.

Buffy'd been the end of something old.

Now he's standing in front of the beginning of something new.

If this one will have him, he's got a lot to teach her.

"Yeah," Spike says. "That she did."