Title: The Letter (1/1)

Author: Sandy S.

Rating: PG

Spoilers: Through "Touched," Season 7.

Summary: Set after "Touched." What did Buffy write to Spike?

A/N: I suck at little ficlets based on what happened on the show, but I thought I'd try my hand at it. . .

The Letter

The bed is still warm where she slept, but the air surrounding the sheets is cooling, and that sensation laving gently over my skin awakens me. Normally, I wouldn't wake simply on temperature alone, but Buffy was with me tonight. . . trusting me. . . willingly letting me touch her again. Any change would rouse me.

Sitting up, a sheet of paper tumbles forward, covered in her delicate handwriting.

Her handwriting conveys so much. . . it's small and precise, indicating that she has control over her environment. But the flow. . . the way the letters are shaped gives off an aura of vulnerability.

I haven't seen a lot of Buffy's handwriting, so I don't know if the way this is written is simply a product of the way she was feeling last night or the way she always has been.

The surface stuff is easier to accept before diving deeper. . .

. . . into the meanings behind the letters written on the page.

Her scent lingers in the air like a heavy perfume that invades and overwhelms all my senses.

Maybe she's still here. . .

"Buffy?" I breathe quietly over the stillness of the room.

My ears prick for the slightest of sounds, but all I hear is the slight breeze playing in the tree branches outside the window.

I sigh back against the cushions on the bed and peer at the letter again.

My stomach turns with trepidation about what I might read, but I launch into the paragraphs anyway. I want to hold onto the moment as long as possible before I leave this house and search once again for her.

Sometimes I feel like I'm always searching for her. . . trying to understand her. . . her motivations, her thoughts, her feelings. And I wonder if I'll ever truly find her. . .

. . . or if I've found her already.

I draw in a deep breath. I'm avoiding this letter. . . what it says.

I try to imagine the worst thing she could have written, and I realize it would be nothing she hadn't said to me already.

Then, I comprehend that after last night, I don't want it to be the same as what she's said before.

Something hits home suddenly.

Sorrow overwhelms me, and tears flood my eyes. I blink them back and away.

There's no time. There's never any time. There never will be any time.

I love Buffy and because she's the slayer, she doesn't have time to love in return. . . not in the way I want her to.

Why is it that I know this, and even though I say I give up, I never actually do?

Because I believe.

I believe in love. . . I believe in Buffy.

And I don't give up on those I love.

I work up courage. . . courage to keep going and to never stop living and loving. ..

. . . courage to read this letter.

Determined, I focus on the paper in my shaking hand.

Skimming quickly over the details about Caleb and her determination and plan to discover what lay in the vineyards based on what I told her about what was on the wall in the mission, I focus on what she says about *us*.

The most interesting tidbits come near the end of the letter. She's put them there, probably hoping I read about Caleb and her reckless decision to take him on again and take off after her. . . which I'm tempted to do.

But, I perceive her essence, and she's only just left. I still have time to catch up to her, and I will.

Now. . .

. . . the end.

The last three paragraphs. . .

"I don't often say thank you to my friends. . . to the people I care about. But now I feel it's appropriate to give thanks to you. . . and for you. There's a million things I could thank you for. . . for always being there. . . for backing me up in countless apocalypses. . . for taking care of me and putting up with me when I was so horrible to you after I came back. . . .

But most of all, I want to thank you for seeing me. . . for the words you said earlier this evening. Thank you for accepting me no matter what state I'm in. I guess you could say that's true love. . . unconditional, and not many people can say they've ever had someone to love them that way. I wish I had time to explore it further with you, but right now, I don't. I wish with my whole heart that I did. Emotion isn't easy for me like I said earlier; I've had to push it aside to survive. . . to keep going. And I envy your ability to use your emotion in that way. . . to survive. Maybe someday, you could teach me.

Your belief in me even when I didn't believe in myself has saved me countless times. And your belief in me and your actions in response to believing in me taught me to believe in you. Don't ever forget that. . . what you taught me. Don't ever give up on yourself. And please, please, don't ever give up on me.

Buffy."

Heart aching at the weight of her words, I carefully fold the letter to save and push the paper deep in my pocket so I won't lose it.

With a lump in my throat, I take off after the woman I believe in. . . the woman I love.

The end.