Title:  Seaside Rendezvous

Author: Diva Stardust

Rating: PG

Summary: Post-"Chosen". A little death could never stop Dawn and Spike from being friends.

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, UPN, FOX, Mutant Enemy, etc. I'm not making any money off of this.

Distribution: Just ask first if you want to archive this somewhere, please. I will most likely say yes!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Spikeyvamp for the beta!

~*~*~*~*~

He's still her Peter Pan even if he is dead.

"Hello, Nibblet. Fancy a swim?"

His voice is light and casual, as if him being there isn't the most unnatural thing in the world.

But Dawn's never cared much for what's supposed to be real or feel natural. Inside she's a swirling ball of emerald rays, she knows that. Doesn't matter what science or doctors tell her. She's not supposed to be here and neither is he.

And yet … here they are.

She'll always be his Wendy too. Always trying to coax her out for a bit of mischief when she should be tending to her children or talking about politics with her husband around the fireplace. She never feels middle aged when she's with him; always forgets that she even has a husband and kids when he visits her.

He carries her into the ocean with him, laughing at the way her feet kick out and her mouth squeals in protest. The moon shining down on them, their light for the evening.

She remembers the first time he came to her. Exactly one year after he died, there he was … perched on her bedroom windowsill at their new home in Cleveland. Looking like a cat that was ready to be invited in and petted his mouth crooked in such a way that you knew he ate every canary he came across. His greeting every year was always similar, although never exactly the same.

"Hello, Nibblet. Glad to see me?"

She'd rushed to him and hugged him tightly even though she thought for sure he was a ghost and her hands would go right through him. He wasn't though. Had been solid and as Spike-like as ever. She had cried and let out a string of barely coherent phrases. But Spike had understood every one. Holding her, stroking her hair, and whispering, "There there, Sweet Bit. 'S all right, didn't mean to give you a scare."

His hair is a mess of unruly curls when his head emerges from the water. He spits out of stream of water that hits her in the face, getting her back for dunking him in the first place.

She had forgiven him a long time ago. Realized she had the minute she found out he was dead. Felt horrible that whole year thinking she'd lost her chance at ever making amends with him. But then her second chance came to her that night on her windowsill and she grabbed it tightly, not letting go.

He'd filled her in on everything, trying to make everything sound perfectly natural just like he always did. He was given a gift, or curse, whichever way you wanted to look at it of getting to come back one night a year. Then it was back to the 'buggering white light and holy choir of bleeding angels' as he described it.

He had done most of the talking while she just stared at him in amazement. One thing he said she kept with her always, liked to repeat it to herself whenever she was feeling depressed or upset.

"Your Mum and Tara are proud of you, Bit. They're always watching over you. We all are."

He'd wiped away her tears and also told her the goings on with Anya and Amanda. He always laughed when he mentioned Anya's name. Seems like they were partners-in-crime, causing enough trouble and mixing things up enough there so it wouldn't get boring. Amanda had sent her some sort of message about never having to do Geometry again, and not to be afraid of death because it was a lot less scary than Mr. Tuskary had been for History.

They lie in the sand, looking up at the sky while they fill each other in on everything that's happened in the last year. The sand rubbing against their toes while a crab scuttles by.

He had gone to Buffy's room after he was done talking to her and she'd turned her music on loudly just in case. You never knew with those two. It's not like being dead ever stopped them before. A few hours later he had come back to say his goodbyes, looking at her with a mischievous glint in his eye. "Have to stop by Harris's place, give the wanker a fright he won't forget."

He visited her every year after that and even though she always looked a little bit different each time, he never seemed to notice she was growing older. She was still his Nibblet and he always had a pained look in his eyes when he had to go. He knew why the gents upstairs had told him this arrangement was a bit of a curse too. Because he wanted more than a night a year. Wanted to be with his girls every day, be a part of their lives instead of only being able to watch from above. But he made do with what he had and kissed her goodbye every year, counting the days until the next visit.

They say their goodbyes and he kisses her forehead gently. Promises to be back next year.

She'll be waiting.