Disclaimer- I own nothing…not Buffy…not Spike…Nothing…but you already knew that I'm sure.

Notes- The series finale has torn me apart. It was said once that only things which never cease to hurt stay in the memory (I think it was Nietzsche). If this is true…then this one will be with me always.

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A full year has gone by since Buffy defeated the first. A year ago today, since Sunnydale was destroyed. A long, long year since the world was changed forever, a world without Spike in it.

Buffy and Dawn traveled at first, with Giles, Willow, and Xander by their side. They took home girls who were once scared, confused adolescents but were now slayers.

The first three months were especially difficult for Buffy. A night didn't go by that she didn't dream of him.

She was overcome with emotion by his selfless act. He had finally proven himself as the champion that she knew he was. Not that she needed proof- but for himself, she knew that he had been redeemed. Spike had been liberated from the ties that held him, freed from his sins, and forgiven for his past. She only hoped that he was in the heaven that she had experienced during her death. That the calm that once surrounded and embraced her was now with him.

Every night for three months he came to her in her dreams. Every night he professed a love that would surpass his extinction. She knew it was strange, but it was the only thing that got her through those first few months at all.

The traveling, the moving- it was all exhausting. Week after week of taking home lost daughters and explaining what had happened to confused parents…bringers, vampires, demons…it was all too much for them to handle.

Some were kind; some were disdainful- most had no choice but to believe after a sufficient amount of proof was provided.

Buffy and her companions provided with money and food along the way, but without a home- without any stable place to call her own- Buffy was growing weary rather quickly.

Her dreams, they were the only source of peace she had. It had gotten to the point where she longed for sleep- couldn't wait to close her eyes so that she would have that serenity at last.

It was hard on Dawn too. She needed to get back to school and have some semblance of a normal life. Not able to see herself anywhere else Buffy decided to begin searching for a home in California. Giles agreed to join her for a short time until she was settled in and Xander too said he was ready to start a new life, deciding that wherever Buffy went to- he would stay near.

After much deliberation Willow approached Buffy to tell her that she would not follow her to California. She had too many things to learn about her newly invoked powers and would travel back to the coven for advice and training. Buffy knew that she was right…that Willow needed to find the balance that she needed and said her goodbye, knowing that they would reunite again some day not too far off.

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On her dreams continued. Day after day…each one different and beautiful. Until the last one:

Buffy was wandering through a forest, lost in the maze of trees and flowers. She wasn't scared though, she knew he was watching her…knew he would show himself.

She called his name out in a whisper, "Spike? Are you there?"

"Always love, always here…watching"

"Can I see you? I need to see you"

Slowly appearing from behind a tree not far away he smiled towards her, glowing. He was radiant…more beautiful than he had ever been. "I'm here, pet. Can you feel me?" he asked reaching out to her and touching her hand.

She breathed a sigh of relief at his touch, "I feel you Spike…I need you to know something Spike." She was close to tears as she spoke, "I meant it…when I said I loved you…I meant it. I was so stupid not to say it sooner…not to tell you…but I love you."

"You mean you did love me don't you love…nothing left to love now, is there?"

"That's not true…I love you…now…always…I'll never forget…."

Suddenly the beautiful forest began to turn gray, as clouds covered the sky and strong winds began to blow. Everything was disappearing…and Spike was gone.

It was then that Buffy awoke in a panic. Her heartbeat pounding, and tears streaming from her face.

He never came to her again…not like that. She continued to dream of him- relive memories and moments from her past with him. Things she said, things they'd done together- but he never came to her in the same way after that.

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After finally finding a small home in a down called Serendipity-not far ironically from where Sunnydale had been- Buffy decided that it was time to move on with her life. She need to give Dawn a proper home, and it was time to start living that "normal" life she had always dreamed of.

Now, only a month in her new home, and a year to the day of her last great battle- her Slayer visions once again began. Something was happening- something bad…and it was drawing her to Los Angeles. She knew she needed to go.

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TBC if interest warrants it. This chapter was pretty much explainer to set up the story.