Chapter 5

Buffy continued looking into Spike's eyes. She opened her mouth as if to say something, closing it again.

"Buffy?" Spike asked gently.

Her eyes widened as if she'd suddenly became aware of who she was and where she was. Spike reached out a hand to touch her bare shoulder. Buffy reared back as if she had been burned and crawled into a dark corner of the cave.

"Don't come near me". She said shakily.

Spike got to his feet, dusting the dirt of the cave floor from his jeans.

"Don't be afraid, I want to help you". He said.

"You can't help us" she replied.

"Who? There's only you and I here," said Spike, puzzled.

A hideous laugh emanated from the darkened corner.

"That's what you think," said a deep guttural voice.

Spike paled, his already fair complexion turned paper white. "Buffy" stood up and walked out of the shadows. There was an unnatural light in her eyes. She smiled an evil smile and walked towards Spike. Her hips swayed seductively, letting her morgue sheet slip from her body. She came to stop inches from Spike, looking up into his eyes, her hands on her hips; she licked her lower lip.

"Do you want this body vampire?" She purred.

Spike could not help looking up and down her naked form.

"Is that a trick question?" He asked.

Her hand snaked around the back of his neck as she tried to pull his face down for a kiss.

Spike's inner demon wrestled with him for a second; after all he had wanted this forever since he had fallen in love with the slayer.

"No!" he ground out.

He grabbed hold of her shoulders, shaking her none too gently. Buffy's face cleared and she let out a small cry as she realised she was naked in Spike's arms, she turned and grabbed the sheet off the ground, her face burning red in the candlelight. Safely covered up, she looked at Spike, her usual annoyance pasted on her face.

"That's my girl," said Spike in his usual cocky manner.

"I am not your girl; and how did I end up naked?" she snapped.

"You mean you don't remember?" he asked.

"I feel strange," She said.

"Well that's to be expected after being dead for over a day, but I think there's more to it than that" Spike told her.

"Like what?" she asked shivering in the coolness of the cave.

"I mean the bit about you coming on to me, I know that you wouldn't normally do that to me unless I was the last "man" on earth," he said, heavy irony lacing his voice.

Buffy looked at the cave floor, remaining silent.

"Buffy what did you mean when you said I can't help you?" he asked.

"We don't want to talk about it," she said.

"Why do you keep talking in the plural sense?" he asked, puzzled.

"Haven't you figured it out yet Spike? I thought you were a master vampire" She sneered.

"No need for the insults luv" he said.

"Well if you really want to know, I think you brought back more than me, it feels a little crowded in here," she said tearfully.

Buffy's lip trembled and her eyes glazed over with unshed tears.

"I am scared Spike, what have you done to me? I can feel something so evil inside my skin, oh god why did you bring me back?"

Spike enfolded her in his arms as she wept bitterly. Had he done the wrong thing? Had he put his own grief and selfish needs before hers? Spike felt a great heaviness in his chest. He'd made such a mess of things. His only comfort was that Dawn was ignorant of his actions.

They sat on the cave floor. Buffy let her head rest on Spike's shoulder. She shivered again. Spike slipped off his leather coat and placed it over her.

"Thanks, I can't stay you know that don't you" She asked

"What do you mean?" Spike asked fearfully.

"This thing that's inside me cannot be allowed to stay in this world, it's talking in my head to me right now".

"Can't we get red to do something about that, like an exorcism or something" asked Spike grasping at straws

"No, I can feel it, it's joined to my soul, it's a part of me, we are one of the same the only way to separate us is death". She finished.

"What's to be done?" said Spike.

Buffy breathed deeply and looked up into Spike's piercing blue gaze. Understanding her silent message in them, he pulled away from her.

"No! I cannot lose you again," he said fervently.

"Spike, I know how you feel about me, I was starting to feel the same about you before my nosedive into eternity" She admitted.

Spike's eyes widened at her admission.

"Couldn't you tell, how many times did I trust you to look after Dawn and my mother when they were in danger from Glory?" she asked.

"Well.I tried not to let myself hope, thought it was because I was the only person around nearly as strong as you" He finished quietly.

"I was battling a god, I couldn't let my feelings for you get in the way of that, but time is short I think I owe you the truth". She said meaningfully.

Spike swallowed as she grabbed his hand and squeezed it gently.

"I am all ears pet," He said.

"I think my feelings towards you have been changing for a long time, ever since Willow and that damned spell, when we were engaged". Buffy said.

Spike chuckled, "Yeah I didn't mind that as much as I let on myself luv," He said.

"Riley, I think was a symptom of that; I was running scared and needed normalcy, he was a nice guy but I often to my horror, found myself thinking of you" She admitted.

"Riley knew you didn't love him like you should" said Spike.

It was Buffy's turn to look surprised

"We had quite a man to man chat about you, well as manly as Captain cardboard could be" He said smugly.

"Well anyway; the long and the short of it is, I love you Spike. I wanted to tell you the other night; you know, when you came to the house with me to get weapons for the final battle, and you started with the, 'I know you will never love me ' speech.

She glanced at Spike, to her surprise his head was bowed, instantly filled with concern; she placed a finger under his chin and lifted his face to meet hers.

Buffy kissed away the tears, she saw sliding down his cheeks. Her lips were with in a hairs breadth of his; she pressed them lightly against Spike's, kissing him gently. They parted, both slightly out of breath,

"Buffy; God how much I love you; I am not letting you go alone"

"Spike." She began.

"Sshhh pet I brought you here and its my job to take you back, where is back?" he asked.

"I think I was in um. Heaven," she admitted.

Spike smashed his hand against the wall of the cave, the shattered knuckles dripped with blood

"I am a bloody idiot," he moaned.

She cradled his injured hand in her own. Suddenly she gasped bending over with pain.

"What is it love?" he asked

"Oh God, the pain; this thing inside me, it feels like it's eating me from the inside out, I don't think we have much time before it takes me completely," she groaned.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"I think there is one place we have neglected to search," said Giles.

"Where's that?" asked Xander wearily.

"Well we haven't tried the initiative caves," said Giles.

"We will never find them there, but I suppose we have to try, at least for Dawn's sake, said Xander.

They stepped out of Giles's apartment into the brilliant sunshine of the new morning.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Spike you have to kill me, If you let this thing take me over, the damage it will do to this world will make glory's plans look like a picnic", Buffy begged him.

"You are not going alone; you are not leaving me alone in this world with out you again" He finished forcefully.

"I can't ask that of you, and what about Dawn? Who will watch out for her?" She said

"It's my fault you are like this and I have to put it right, Dawn can take care of herself, she's a bright kid Buffy; she has a whole gang of scoobies to care for her," said Spike.

"But if you die you will cease to exist; no soul remember?" She questioned

"That's not strictly true sweetheart, did peaches never tell you that when a vampire sets up camp in its human host, it retains characteristics of that person?" asked Spike

"Well. yes but I never really thought about what that means" said Buffy

"It means that it holds on to some of the essence of it's victim, that's how we vamps manage to blend in so well with the human world, it is essential to our survival".

Buffy placed a hand on Spike's chest. "You mean there is a little piece of William still in here?" She asked

"That's exactly what I am saying, he was buried under the weight of a thousand murders; loving you redeemed him/me in some way, but 'William' is where my love for you comes from," said Spike.

Buffy stared at him in wonder.

Spike continued "There is an incomplete soul wandering around in your heaven, I have had enough of this life, I have a yearning to join him,"

Buffy gazed at his determined expression.

"How are you going to do it?" She asked.

"Don't worry luv, I have thought about how we can both leave this mortal plane together," he reassured her.

They stood, their arms wrapped around each other.

Buffy whispered into his ear "I trust you Spike, just make it quick" she breathed.

They both turned at the sound of footsteps coming from the interior of the cave, the familiar voices of Xander and Giles echoed off the walls.

"Bloody hell! They've found us," swore Spike.

Buffy clasped Spike's hand. "Quickly, before they find us here" she said.

Spike lifted Buffy up into his arms, cradling her against his chest. He turned and walked towards the entrance of the cave. She finally understood how they would meet their "fate" together as Spike neared the opening. Rays of bright sunshine penetrated the weeds covering the cave mouth. Spike stepped forward.

"I love you Buffy," he said bending his head to hers in one last kiss.

"I love you too William" She sighed communicating her love to him through their kiss.

"Spike! Don't do it," shouted Giles.

Spike turned to face Giles and Xander; Giles paled, as he took in the sight of Buffy, very much alive in Spike's arms.

"Buffy!" He said.

"Don't," Buffy said as she saw Giles's eyes light up at the sight of her.

"I came back wrong Giles, I have to die again, there is a powerful demon inside me, it came back when I did," she told him.

Xander stood next to Giles softly weeping.

"I hate you Spike! This is like losing Buffy all over again". Xander spat at him

"Xander, don't cry, It's better this way; take care of Dawn for me and please don't tell her about any of this," she begged.

Giles removed a handkerchief from his pocket and took off his glasses, wiping his eyes.

"Wait!" said Giles.

Spike turned and walked towards the light. He stood at the cave entrance, in the shadows.

The last words she heard before they "stepped" out into the light was Giles's softly spoken "We love you Buffy, we will always love you".

Spike pressed forward into the brilliant sunshine, Buffy's arms tightened around his neck. Pressing closer to him, she looked into his eyes and he smiled at her. The sunlight quickly consumed their bodies as Buffy's ignited from the heat of him. The pain was fleeting as they burst into a cloud of dust in unison. Giles and Xander stood at the mouth of the cave; they were just in time to see a cloud of dust blown away on the slight breeze.

Spike carried on walking upward, Buffy still in his arms, they moved toward a light more brilliant than a thousand suns. There seemed to be people waiting behind the light. As they neared the crowd, a young man stepped forward to greet them. He had reddish brown hair, Spike let Buffy out of his arms, his eyes widening in recognition, and he left Buffy's side to walk towards the man. They stopped short of each other.

"I believe you have something of mine," said the man.

"This is you Spike? Before you were changed?" asked Buffy.

"That's right they both said in unison".

Spike "embraced" his other self and in a blinding flash, there stood only one of them.

"Buffy; I love you," he said.

She ran to him and looked up into his face. He smiled the most beautiful smile she had ever seen, she could see it was still her William, the lack of bleach blond hair was going to take some getting used to, but oh well they had eternity for that, she thought.

They linked hands "Let's go home pet" He said as they walked into the crowd.