Disclaimer: The characters are not mine, but the story is.

Comments? Send em' in: sunflour_mom@hotmail.com

Author's notes: This story I know has been done a million times before, but not by me. :) This story actually came to me in a dream last night and I had to write it down to get it out of my head. I hope someone enjoys it.

Last Chance

He got the call late that night. It was almost time. He had been keeping tabs on her almost all her life. That life was soon to be over. The inevitable moment had arrived. No one thought it would happen like this, but death had a funny way of surprising us.

Angel put the phone down and turned to his companion.

"It's almost time. If we want to go, we need to go now." He sad sadly.

"Are you sure we want to do this, mate?" Spike asked him.

"We have to. We can't just let her go without saying good-bye."

"You think she even remembers us?" Spike asked.

"Do you think she would ever forget?" Angel replied.

"No. At least I know she wouldn't forget you." He said sadly.

"Let's go. We have a long drive." Angel said gathering his things.

Spike picked up his coat and headed for the door. Thoughts of her filled his mind. He could still remember the way she looked, the way she laughed, the way she fought like no other before or after her. She had stolen his heart long ago and he had never gotten over her.

He had loved her more than anything, yet he had never managed to capture her heart. As an opponent, he never could beat her, and as a lover, he never could possess her. She haunted him still, more than thirty years since they last met.

Buffy lay in her bed. She was at home surrounded by the things she loved. She knew she was running out of time and wanted to be near her things. Dying in a hospital had never even occurred to her. She always assumed she would leave this world in the throes of a battle between good and evil. But no, after all the things she had seen and done in her life, the big bad she was facing wasn't a demon or a vampire. It was cancer.

Cancer. She couldn't even believe it. She had lived for sixty years and fought numerous foes, and half the time she wasn't even scared. But the fear that was struck in her heart when the doctors said one little word, cancer, her whole life turned upside down. Even her super healing slayer powers couldn't help her now.

She had given up slaying many years ago. She occasionally went out in search of vampires, even as recently as two years ago, but it had been a long time since she was the Slayer. There had been twenty others who were called after her. Ever since that little mishap when she died for a few minutes, the slayers kept coming.

Faith had died long ago. She had finally gotten her life together, but was overconfident. She died soon after Buffy left Sunnydale for good. That seemed a lifetime ago.

She had hated leaving that place. It was so full of memories, but heartaches too. She had grown up there. Well, not really, but that was the place where she became an adult. It was home to her, yet she had never been back.

Her mother had died soon after Buffy graduated college. The brain tumor had come back and this time there was nothing they could do. Her 'sister', Dawn had disappeared as quickly as she had appeared. Buffy really didn't remember her. After Glory was defeated Dawn ceased to exist. All the memories that were implanted were quickly erased. Buffy still remembered that she was real, at least for a time, but that was all it was, a vague recollection.

Buffy settled back into her bed. She began to think about all the people from her past and what they meant to her. She wanted to die thinking about the way things were in the good old days.

Xander, she thought fondly. She wondered what he was doing now. She had talked to him a few years ago. He was living in Milwaukee. He had left the Scooby Gang first. One night, he had gotten in the middle of a particularly strong battle with a demon. He nearly died. Buffy felt responsible for not protecting him enough. He spent the next six months in a wheelchair recovering.

Once he could walk again, he decided to take a job in Wisconsin. Anya and he got married. They had three children, all girls. Anya died on her thirty-fifth birthday. She had the cancer too. Xander had said she was ready to go. She had technically lived for over a thousand years, even if her mortal life proved to be painfully short.

Ready to go. That phrase struck Buffy now. Was she ready to go yet? Something seemed so unfinished still. She wasn't sure what, but she felt the need to hold out a little longer. She pushed the thoughts out of her mind and focused her attention to the memories of her other best friend, Willow.

Willow was someone Buffy still had contact with. She talked to her only yesterday. Just to say goodbye, really. Willow didn't even know she was sick, but Buffy wanted it that way. She didn't want to burden anyone with her illness.

Willow had moved to England a few months after graduation. Tara had died earlier that year, a victim of an evil vampire. Buffy had taken care of him, but not in time. Buffy had never gotten over the guilt. First Xander was nearly killed, and then Tara was gone. She never took her friends patrolling again.

Willow was devastated after Tara's death. It was then that she had decided to move to England to start a new life. She became a professor at Oxford. She taught ancient history. She was happy. She even met someone new, a man. They were married and they were still together after thirty years. They had no children, but they had many cats in their thirty years. Willow was a powerful witch now and also taught classes on the craft to eager pupils in her spare time. Buffy smiled at how well her friend had done for herself.

And then there was Giles. How could she forget him? He was one of the most important people in her life. She felt in her heart that he was still alive. He would be in his eighties now, but she imagined him still going strong. He had moved back to England when Buffy left town and she had heard that he had gotten married finally. She heard from him for awhile, but they had lost touch over the years. She missed him, but he had gotten a new life, just like everyone else. Sunnydale was only a distant memory.

Buffy moved on too. After she left Sunnydale, she gave up slaying full time and became a writer. She wrote stories about her life and experiences, but billed them as fiction because no one would ever believe they were truth. She had been married three times, all of them lasting no longer than three years. Finally she gave up on love when she realized that the third time wasn't the charm. She never could bring herself to give her heart to anyone. There was only one person who could fill that dark, lonely place. She thought of Angel more and more every day, especially now that her days were numbered. She had never loved anyone else. Well almost. There was one other, but she figured he was dead long ago.

Spike entered her mind now. Beautiful, evil Spike. Their love was turbulent and filled with passion. She had discovered her love for him by accident. She wasn't looking, but there he was. She remembered their first encounter. They were fighting, as usual. He made her so angry. In the heat of their argument, he silenced her with a kiss. A kiss so passionate that she could still feel the burn on her lips if she tried hard enough. They fell into bed and into each other's lives.

Their affair lasted for only a few months, but it was the wildest time of her life. She loved him with a passion that she had never felt before or since. She only wished that she could have told him that. The night he admitted to her that he loved her eternally was the night she told him that he meant nothing to her. He was only a good time, a distraction from the pain of her life. His devotion scared her. Her feelings for him scared her even more. At the time she thought it was easier to deny it.

She never saw him again. He walked out of her life for good that night, and he never looked back. She always assumed he had died by now. He was reckless and at the time he was still defenseless. She regretted never telling him how she really felt.

She closed her eyes and let the tears squeeze out from beneath her lids. So many memories, so much pain. She drifted off to sleep.

"This is the place." Angel said quietly as the car pulled up in front of the old house.

"You should go in first. I'm sure it's you she wants to see." Spike said.

"We'll both go. Come on. Don't let this opportunity pass you by. We both love her." Angel said to him.

They had long since formed a partnership together. Neither of them would have thought it possible to put all the bad feelings aside. When Spike showed up at Angel's doorstep, he was almost killed right then and there. But Angel took him in and it was almost like old times, except instead of killing, they were both working towards good now. They both shared two common bonds. One, they were two vampires who no longer took human life, and two, they both were madly in love with the same woman. A woman neither man could ever have.

They walked up to door and a nurse came to greet them. Angel had always known where Buffy was and what she was doing. He had friends all over the place. He never stopped watching her, or loving her. The nurse let them in. She was the one who had called them. Angel contacted her when he found out the condition Buffy was in. He wanted her to have the best care possible.

They walked slowly over to the room. Angel went to open it and Spike motioned for him to go ahead.

"You need to be alone. I'll wait here." Spike told him.

Angel opened the door and stepped inside. He could see her small figure lying there under the covers. Her hair was still blonde but had a lot of gray running through it. She was still just as beautiful as he remembered. Time may have added lines to her face but her beauty was still with her. He went to her and touched her small hand.

She opened her eyes and gazed up at him. "Angel?" She whispered.

"It's me. I'm here, Buffy." He said tears coming to his eyes.

"I can't believe you're here." She said happily as she tried to sit up.

He helped her sit and took her in his arms. He held her tight, not wanting to ever let go.

"You look just like I remember you." She smiled.

"And you look beautiful still." He whispered to her.

"Oh, stop! I'm a mess. I'm all old and wrinkly. Time didn't stand still for me, Angel." She said embarrassed by her elderly appearance.

"It did in my heart. God, Buffy, I love you so much, still." Angel told her.

"Oh, Angel, and I love you. I always have, never stopped." She said sadly as the tears sprang to her dying eyes once more.

They held each other for a long time. He kissed her lips softly and looked at her. He traced the lines on her face that had become weary with age and disease.

"How did you know I was here? That I was...like this?" She asked.

"I've always been with you Buffy. You just couldn't see me. I never lost sight of you, even if my eyes haven't seen you in years. I had to come. I couldn't let you go without telling you that I still love you." Angel said full of emotion and pain.

"Angel, I've always been with you too and I always will be. Right here." She said putting her hand over his heart. "I will never leave you even after I'm gone." She said crying.

They held each other tight and when he pulled away he told her, "Buffy, I'm not the only one who came to see you." He said softly. "There's someone else."

She wiped the tears off her face and looked at him somewhat confused. She wasn't sure who else there would be. "Who?" She asked.

Angel got up and went to the door. He opened it slowly and motioned for Spike to come in. He reluctantly rose from the chair he was seated in. He walked slowly into the room.

Buffy's eyes rose to meet the visitor at her door. Her breath caught when she saw him. "Spike?" She gasped.

"It's me, Slayer." He said calmly. He was half expecting her to jump from her sickbed and punch him, just like old times. But she only began to cry again.

Spike turned to Angel. "This was a bad idea. She's crying. She doesn't want to see me."

"No, Spike, wait." She finally managed. "Angel, can I see Spike alone for a few minutes?"

Angel silently turned and walked out the door. Spike just stood there staring at her. He couldn't believe how much she had changed, but he could still see the outline of the young vibrant girl she once was.

"Come here." She said to him softly.

He walked over to her bed and sat down on the edge. "Buffy..." He began.

"You're still alive." She blurted out with shock.

'Well, yeah. I stopped going after slayers. It tends to keep one a bit safer." He chuckled.

"I thought I'd never see you again." She said in disbelief.

"Well, I never thought I'd see you either. You weren't supposed to live this long, Luv. Didn't anyone ever tell you that?" He said trying to lighten the mood.

"I know, that's what they keep telling me." She smiled.

"Look, I know that I'm probably the last person you want to see right now..." He started after an awkward silence.

"No. That's not true. Spike, there's something I have to tell you."

"What's that?" He asked.

"I lied to you. All those years ago, I lied." She said sadly.

"About what?"

"I loved you, Spike. I was crazy about you. I lied because I was scared. I never thought that you would leave. I never thought that moment would be the last time I saw you." She began to cry again.

"You loved me?" He asked amazed. "All this time, and you loved me?"

"I did. Our relationship was scary. It was fun, it was passionate. We were a formidable team. When those vamps saw us coming, they ran. It was great." She smiled to herself. "I knew that our feelings were insane, but I also knew that they were very real. That's why I lied. I just couldn't admit it to you. But you have to know now, that I loved you. You had my heart, and part of it still belongs to you." She said taking his hand.

He pulled her close to him. "Oh Buffy, I never loved another. Not after you. Not ever."

She held on tight to him. All those words that should have been said a million years ago, she finally got a chance to say them. He finally released his hold on her, and she looked at him.

"So, Spike, do you still have that chip in your head? Because if not, I could still kick your ass." She teased. "It may take me a bit longer, but I can take you." She laughed.

"In your dreams, Slayer." He laughed with her. "Truth is, it's still there, I guess anyway. I haven't tested it out in a long time."

"What? You haven't tried to hurt anyone? I'm shocked." She said with a laugh.

"Well, after more than forty years, you sort of stop trying, you know? Besides, me and Angel, we are saving the world now. Redeeming ourselves, and all that good stuff." He smiled.

"I wondered about that. I have to say I was pretty shocked to see you here with him. What happened there?" She asked.

"Well, after I left Sunnydale, I thought, where the hell am I gonna go? I can't go back to my old life. Who would understand what it's like to be a vampire who doesn't kill? Then it dawned on me. Our boy Angel." He retold the story.

"Wow. You and Angel, together again." She said wistfully.

"It wasn't like I welcomed you with open arms, or anything." Angel said as he entered the room again.

"No. That you didn't. Took a little convincing." Spike said looking at his friend.

Angel walked over to the bed. "Do you want us to leave now, Buffy?" He asked concerned for her.

"No. Please. Stay. I want both of you here." She said softly. She was getting tired. "I want both of you here for this."

"Buffy, don't talk like that." Angel said, knowing she meant that she would die soon.

"No, Angel. We all know it's going to happen. I'm ready now. I wasn't before, but I am now." She said smiling at the two men. "Angel," She said as she took his hand, "You are the love of my life. You invaded my heart, my soul. We were soul mates. I will always love you with everything I have."

Spike shifted nervously. He felt out of place until she took his hand too.

"And you, Spike. I loved you too. Our love was filled with passion. No one ever made feel as desired or alive as you did. Even though it was for a short time, I never forgot. I don't think anyone understood me as well as you did." She said softly as she nestled back into her bed.

She held both their hands tightly. She was surrounded by love. She had lost all regret for what might have been with both of them. They were here now, and that was all that mattered.

"Stay with me, both of you. I always thought I'd die alone, but now I don't want to be alone. Stay." She said, her voice weakening.

So both men sat beside her bed, on opposite sides, each holding her frail hand. They sat that way for hours until they felt her hands grow limp and cold. She had a faint smile on her lips. Both turned to each other and saw that they each had tears streaming down their face.

She had gone and left them, for good this time. The Slayer was dead. The woman that haunted them both since they day they met her. The woman who would haunt them for eternity. The woman that both had loved so fiercely yet neither man could possess.

"Goodbye." They both said together, as they let go of her hands and left the room.

Buffy watched them go from above. She smiled. She would always be with them. Always in their hearts and always watching out for them from the beyond. She was at peace now. She was ready. Her business on this earth was done. She blew them each a kiss as she headed toward the light in front of her.

"Goodbye." She said softly as she allowed the warm light to engulf her.