Disclaimer: I own NOTHING of the BTVS universe! Everything belongs to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Thank you, Joss, for a brilliant show!

Distribution: Ask and ye shall recieve!

Spoilers: Post-"Chosen."

Summary: Buffy's thoughts after the series finale concerning Spike. B/S implied & Shipper friendly, as always. Buffy & Spike forever!!! *evil laugh*

Cigarettes and Leather

So the amulet was meant for a Champion. My champion. Not meant for Angel, but for my real Champion. Spike. So many thoughts run through my head at seeing the wide expanse of nothingness that used to be Sunnydale, that used to be home, just some giant crater...created by my Champion. My Spike.

I should have hugged him again.

I should have drank in his scent: cigarettes and leather.

I should have kissed him with every last ounce of passion I had left in me.

I should have dragged him from that damned school, kicking and screaming if it came down to it.

I should have ripped that amulet from his throat and ground it underneath the heel of my boot.

I know I couldn't have done any of those things - he wouldn't have let me. He was set on finishing out what he had started, just as intent as I am on finding a way to bring him back.

I walk to the edge of the crater, formerly known as Sunnydale, California, USA, and fall to my knees. I'm no longer the only Slayer...not just a responsibility Faith and I share in secret any longer. The powers of the Slayer are in every potential Slayer on Earth, in every girl from the smallest child to the oldest of women. They are awakening. I place my hand palm down in the dirt and trace my fingers through the desert sand, leaving a trail of four lines in their wake. I retract all but my index finger, and trail that digit around in the sand over those four lines, spelling out my Champion's name. Spike.

Faith hovers over my right shoulder, no doubt watching me worriedly. Just as if in response to my silent assumptions, she places a hand on my shoulder. "B?"

I shrug her hand away and wince as the wound in my stomach stretches. "I'm fine," I grasp some of that same sand in my hand and hold it tightly. A tear falls from my eye as I look down at my clenched fist. I turn my palm out over the former hellmouth and release the dust. I watch as it flies with the breeze down into the crater...ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Spike is gone. I hang my head and Faith falls on her knees beside me. Her hand falls on my shoulder again, but I don't brush her away. Faith doesn't know how to comfort me, but I'm actually thankful. A reassuring hand is all I...

Oh, God. I remember...I remember back when Mom was sick...Spike...he came to kill me. Cocked his shotgun right in front of my to get my attention. Then he asked me what was wrong...and ended up comforting me with a pat on the back and silence instead. What I wouldn't give to have him here right now. Spike. My champion. My martyr.

I cast my eyes over the crater once more before pushing myself to my feet with a wince. Spike did this for the world...Nothing I do will cause me to forget that. Nothing I do will allow me to forget him. William the Bloody....Spike....Childe of Angelus....Unholy lover of Drusilla....Lover of mine. Love of mine.

I did mean it when I told him I loved him...and I know I should have kissed him...but I had to drink in his very visage. I knew...somehow...that I would never see him again. And I was right.

Today was the end of Spike, Slayer of Slayers...and the end of me. It really will be a long time until I learn to love again...because I think my heart turned to ashes beside the vampire I love...and will always love...that gave his unlife to save me...to save us all. I will never forget that.

"I love you, Spike...I mean it," I whisper to the Sunnydale Abyss. Faith shoots me a curious glance, and I shrug it off. As I turn to go check on the others - the Potentials, Willow, Xander, Wood - I catch a familiar scent on the wind.

Cigarettes and leather.

I whirl around to find nothing but desert sand and broken blacktop at my back. If it wasn't for the voice that followed, would have brushed it off as wishful thinking, but Faith hears it too, and her eyebrows knit together as the two of us exchange glances. I know that I'm not going insane.

"It's finished, Buffy. I'll see you around, Pet...and I will ALWAYS love you."

The voice was gone with the wind, and that scent lingered around me until we rode on into L.A.

Cigarettes and leather.