Title: Cherish

Rating: G

Author: Annie aka mjaw

Setting: SeasonSeven of BtVS, sometime before the episode "Touched".

Pairings: this is a Buffy/Spike fic and the other pairings are irrelevant to the plot.

A/N: I found this saved on my computer and had completely forgotten about it. Dusted it off and wanted to share it. Am so very curious about what you might think. There will be no more chapters to this. Hope you'll like it, in some way or other...

WARNING! Character death!!!



By Annie





Her palms were sweaty.

She was trembling.

Her heart was reduced to a dull beat somewhere beneath her skin.

Her hands shook as she tried to wipe them off against her jeans.

And all she could think was that it had to be a nightmare. It couldn't be true. She couldn't have been gone for less than a moment and have her whole world change on her before she got back. This could not be happening.

Dawn was pale, her eyes red around the edges from crying. She directed them lazily into her sister's as the latter slowly approached the door by which the younger was standing.

Willow was a gray shadow somewhere to the Slayer's left... Buffy could feel her friend's worry as though it was silk fluttering about her face and she blinked almost carefully before she came to a stop before the door, leading into her bedroom.

"We didn't know where to..." Willow began, but Buffy shook her head that there was no need for explanations.

The choice had been the only one to make.

Where to put the body, a voice whispered in her head and she drew an unsteady breath. Where the body should be put. We didn't know where we should dispose of the remains. We had no clue whether we should leave the body as it was or move it. We didn't know where to put the body.

The choice. The right choice. It had been made.

Her room.

"There was no time..." Giles' voice sounded from behind her, the rest of what he was trying to tell her drifted off as though it was smoke rising from a burned down candle.

A spell had been cast. They had told her this earlier... Something about dark magick. Very dark. It had changed... him.

He that was no more.

Had changed him to the form in which he had been one-hundred-and-twenty- three years earlier.


And then it had killed him. With precision, through agony, by way of his heart and soul it had pulled every last smidgeon of life force out of him and it had left behind

the body

a shell of someone who had been the strongest being she had ever encountered.

The thought was scratching for her acknowledgement - he was gone. But she was numb, she couldn't feel anything. The shock was too grand and its fingers still slid over her eyes and mind soothingly.

"Buffy," Xander's voice now broke through and she blinked again, reaching out her hand and placing it on the knob of the door. "You don't have to do this now," he then mumbled.

"Yes," she disagreed, not looking at him as she added: "I do."

The knob was cold. It weighed heavily in her hand though it was connected with the wood before her. She could almost taste the metal of it, the color of it danced before her gaze... How strange it was, the details becoming the only link to keeping her standing.

Just like with mom...

Her mind letting the rest of that sentence go as though it was fire eager to burn her. It couldn't be real. Relating it to reality seemed foolish.

Her palm fitted the knob into it as her fingers grasped it in a tight hold and then turned it carefully. She let it go as she pushed the door open and she nearly closed her eyes, but forced herself to keep them open; the door moving to her right as it kept sliding. It revealed the foot of her bed; and slowly, but surely, the outline of someone lying on it was a fact.

She was grinding her teeth.

Dawn's hand placed itself on her shoulder and Buffy took a step forward. Then another and before she knew it she was in the middle of her room, staring at the face of someone who would never rest his blues on her again. Who would never smile tentatively as she granted him a crumb of kindness. Who would never cry for or laugh with her again... Who would never show her his love ever again.

The tears built powerfully and she bit her jaws together before blinking.

Taking the paces left she stood by the side of the bed and looked down at him.

He looked so peaceful. As though he was merely asleep.

A sob rose uncontrollably from her throat and the tears spilled over, trailing compassionately down her cheeks as though they could somehow ease the pain by bearing witness to it.

She rested her eyes on him for nearly a minute and then she gently bent forward before closing her eyes and gracing his forehead with a tender kiss.

Words pushed to be said; sentences created by these tumbling emotions gathering within her into a knot that she feared would never come to disperse. It would be there eternally. A tight fist beating her up for not realizing, for refusing herself the luxury of dwelling in his arms or taking hold of the truths he kept speaking to her. That mindless, shattering fear which had always overshadowed his every chance at ever reaching her.

She could not love him, for he was nothing good.

Her throat was constricting from her hushed sobs as she gently rested her forehead to his.

Confessions were too late now. And so the words were swallowed, though they kept ringing in her head in persistence, not apt to let themselves be quieted that easily. Not this time.

Then something else slithered in to join them, proceeding straight down her neck and to the centre of her chest where it settled itself with a clarity which had her slowly straighten her back, one hand's fingers brushing against his cheek before she took her gaze from his face and turned them in Willow's.

The Slayer's voice was tainted by only a slight quiver as she finally spoke.

"Who... did this?" she demanded, and Willow's eyes grew just a tad wider at the white rage on the other's features. "Who?!" the former repeated.

"Buffy, you don't want to go there," Willow replied hesitantly, her words making the blonde move up to the doorway and continue through it with a hard look at anyone who even attempted to stop her. "He's dangerous," the Wicca added. "You can't take him on by yourself."

"Try me!" she shot. "Give me his name."



It was all about revenge.

The need for it was clawing her up, bleeding cuts were aching on her back and in her hands and across her forehead from where the hunger for it reigned uncontrollably. She was seeing red, the world colored in a dripping, endless stream of what her life had brought her to.

Another death.

She slowed down her pace as she entered the known domains of who she was after. She knew it would be quick as she spotted the first two guards and was able to instantly label them as fledglings. Soon enough she overpowered them with well-aimed kicks and even more to-the- point staking and then she entered the building hosting the killer.

She harbored no fear of the magick which she could feel surrounding her. The wrath she was under was much too strong for her to be able to pick up on anything else. Her mind focused on one image, and one image only - snapping the neck of whatever was guilty of the deed. Guilty of robbing her of a presence upon which she hadn't even fully comprehended herself how she had come to depend.

She staked a third vampire and then the fourth and fifth that soon followed. Kicking down a door at the top of a set of stairs she ducked as a sixth fiend attacked. It was dust before its second blow could even be considered and as she looked up she met the red eyes of a demon.

She didn't recognize it; she didn't care.

She registered the faint smile of recognition on its mouth for her purpose there, and the almost thrilled observing of her it undertook, and how it waited for her next move, and this was all she needed.

She threw her stake down and pulled out a sharp knife, taking the steps dividing them before she even fully realized it, her hand grasping its throat and pushing it back against the wall behind it as she put the knife up.

"Tell me why," she hissed.

The demon merely smiled wider and her grip tightened.

"Tell me why!" she repeated.

"He did me a disfavor once," the demon slowly replied, its voice strained beneath her clasping fingers; then it added: "I wanted to repay it."

"Since you saw to it so that he couldn't pay you back this time around," she growled, drawing her hand back, "I'll have to do the honors," she finished, sinking the blade of the knife through the side of its throat and having the tip penetrate the opposite before she let its body slip to the floor.

She took a step back, feeling the hatred cautiously retract as she stared at the corpse.

It was done.

Left was only the aching of building grief as she turned and tentatively began to make her way back home.


She didn't notice the glances the others turned her way as she entered the house; or the worried once they exchanged as she merely continued up the stairs.

The shock was once again sheltering her from actual practicality. Telling her that when she entered her room he'd be smirking at her, he'd be smiling tryingly, he'd reach out a hand to run it through her locks and she would be able to bury her face against his shoulder and cry with relief over all of it being nothing but a foolish trick played upon her by someone who wanted to harm her in the worst way possible...

He would be there, un-alive and well. And he would offer some stupid yet well-chosen remark and against her better judgment she would find herself laughing... In his arms. Vulnerable and open and looking into his eyes with the emotions not running riot inside anymore, but finally making sense to her.

It would be scary, at first. But she would at last be able to let him hold her. Yes, she would let him. And...

She came to a stop before her door, feeling how the tremble was once again taking over her limbs.

There was no reason to be worried.

...They didn't know where to put the body...

He wasn't in there.

...They didn't know how to dispose of the remains...

He wasn't even there.

...But there had been only one choice to make, the right choice...

"My room," she whispered, her mind clouded as she reached out her hand and once more turned the knob, pushing the door open as she took a step forward.

"I was beginning to bloody worry, Slayer."

But no.

And her hand left the knob as she clenched her jaws together. Taking the paces left on legs she could barely feel she hesitated for but a moment before sinking down to sit on the edge of the bed. Leaning forward slightly she eyed his face in a silence which grew with a scent of her pain and she was almost surprised by it as the shock rippled and gave way for it. For the knowledge that this was everything that was left now.


For what?

It wouldn't bring him back. Nothing ever would.

And he had died in torture, and she hadn't been there.

Why? Why?! Why couldn't she at least have been granted that? To have him see, to have him feel how much she cared for him. Had cared...

"Spike," she said gently, the tears rising at the sound of her own voice chasing away the ever present stillness and she had no strength left to even try and brush them away.

Somewhere was a part expecting him to stir. To open his eyes and look at her, if so only this one final time.

No movement.

Only from the Slayer as she bent her head and let the understanding take her over, let the anguish wash away all else and feeling close to grateful for it. She didn't want the memories haunting her anymore. All the times of harshness and hatred and violence and - almost worse - all the times of uncertain gentleness, of stumbling help and comfort, of friendly banter and uncanny insight, of shadowed care and love... of the possibility of something.

How she had broken it down, rationalized it and been ashamed of herself. How she had hated him even more for it. For that small sliver of a possibility.

And now...

Too late.

For anything.

She hadn't realized that she had her forehead against his chest, but as she opened her eyes she saw that she had created a dark stain in the fabric of the T he was wearing. She moved her head to look up at him and suddenly smiled a little.

Perhaps he was happy. Wherever he was. Perhaps he was safe and warm and happy. At peace. As she had been.

Then that thought flew from her and the selfishness of sorrow took over as she felt how much she would miss him.

God, how she would miss him.

She pulled herself up a little further, enabling her to place her face above his and she moved one hand to let her fingertips trace his brow and jaw line, stopping by his mouth and she closed her eyes as she brought the tip of her nose to grace the side of his carefully.

"I'm sorry," she mumbled, "that I never got to tell you..."

Then she let her lips softly touch his.

Her heart was breaking, but it was of little consequence. She doubted the feeling would ever fully let go, knowing what she had lost.

It almost seemed fair. A heart for a heart.

Yes, she would embrace it, hold it close and cherish it.

His love.