Title:Deep and Shining
Author: seraC
Email: seraphcelene@yahoo.com
Spoilers: none
Archiving: Essential-Imperfect. All others, please ask.
Summary: Catching the rhythm of your breathing and living for a few exquisite moments.
Notes: Set post-Chosen. At some other time, in some other place. Any alternative universe you want, but know that somehow, some way, these two found each other and it really is love.
Feedback: Is like air and highly addictive. In other words - yes, please.
Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and all related characters belong to Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, Warner Brothers Company, UPN, et al. I'm just taking them out for a little exercise.
Thanks: Moonwhip. A real life superstar.
Dedication: Diva Stardust, this one's all yours. I swore to myself I was going to give happily ever after a try and, I think, it worked. Mostly.

"What a happy and holy fashion it is
that those who love one another should
rest on the same pillow." -- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Deep and Shining

Dawn leans against the headboard, a pillow tucked behind her back and a book lying forgotten on her lap. She put out the bedside light an hour ago, but the book still rests on her knees, moonlight gleaming across the white pages.

Not that she notices.

What she does notice is that Spike has finally begun to go gray. Not much. Just a few strands of silver threading through the warm sunshine of his hair. Barely noticable really, except that Dawn likes to watch him while he sleeps.

Spike stopped bleaching his hair after the End of Days. There wasn't any point. He survived and the people he most wanted to impress hadn't. Except there was Dawn, and she told him that she could do without the smell of peroxide on her pillowcases. In fact, she prefers his hair in its natural state, thick, curling, and deceptively soft.

Besides, she thinks the silver adds character. It reminds her of other people and other times. Good times, and the rememberance of loss makes their togetherness that much more precious.

Spike still hasn't noticed the change. After a century without a reflection he never regained the urge to stare into a mirror. Said it was startling to see a face staring at him and know that it was supposed to be his. She worries that if she should mention the gray, he'll start to worry about dying. He's been there before, it's nothing new, but still, he's only just gotten used to the rhythmic beating in his chest.

So, Dawn hasn't told him that silm gray hairs have begun to tangle through his curls. Instead she strokes his hair and kisses his forehead. He always looks up at her, slightly surprised by her affection, and smiles. The smile softens the edge of his jaw and the fine lines around his eyes crinkle. She can imagine what he'd say if she told him: one hand self-counciously smoothing the unruly locks, "Well, I guess I'm a real boy after all."

Spike shifts slightly in his sleep, curling closer, and Dawn gently raises the sheet, her hand lingering at his shoulder.

She thought he'd be a sprawler.

The way he sat, legs spread wide, slouched down low, had given no indication of otherwise. But he isn't. He doesn't fling his arms in abandoned sleep, kicking the covers to the floor or hogging them, tangled around his legs. No. Rather, Spike is a cuddler and that surpised her.

She never would have imagined.

He likes to sleep with his body curled around hers, one hand tucked over her heart. He doesn't move much during the night, shifting only to accomodate her restless wriggling. Dawn sleeps like a newborn, her mother always said. And not in the peaceful "you look so sweet" way that people like to imagine, but the way she imagined Spike would. Busily shifting, twisted up, arms thrown wide. So, it was a surprise to find that he liked to cuddle. To find herself gathered up in his arms, tucked in neat and cradled close.

Not that she minds.

Waking every morning to find herself caught in a tangle of arms and legs is reassuring. She likes it. She likes him, them. Together.

Dawn finally closes the book on her lap before placing it on the nightstand beside the bed. Scooting down, she folds one arm beneath her head and slips the other over Spike. He sighs deeply and pulls her deeper into the cradle of his body, gently brushing his lips over her hair. Dawn hugs him closer, tucks her head into the curve of his neck and settles in to sleep.