Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Hope I haven't shocked anyone there…
Summary: Seventy years after the collapse of the Hellmouth, Spike and Buffy say their final goodbyes.
Spoilers: Chosen (Also, sort of Angel Season 5, but no plot points, just general stuff.)
Author's Note: This is not a happy, fluffy fic. This is a sad fic, as in character death. If you don't like sad stories, don't read this. If you do anyway, please for the love of spicy Buffalo wings do not write me or leave a review yelling at me for the sadness factor. I know it's a bit on the depressing side—hence, this note. If you occasionally like your stories bittersweet, then read on. Otherwise, go read one of my stories with a happy ending. Or someone else's story. Either way. Just don't gripe at me.
Feedback and Archiving: I love feedback, and archiving requests give me warm tinglies. Just make sure you email me BEFORE posting my fic anywhere. I probably won't object (unless you run a website called something along the lines of "stories by stupid people dot com"), but I like to know where my stories are being posted.
Goodbye to You
By: Addie Logan
And now I think of having loved and having lost
But never know what it feels like to never love
Who can say what's better when my heart's become the cost
A mere token of a brighter jewel sent from above
Fare thee well, my bright star
The vanity of youth, the color of your eyes
And maybe if I'd fanned the blazing fire of your day-to-day
Or if I'd been older I'd been wise
—"Fare thee Well," Indigo Girls
Spike hated hospitals. They smelled like death, and not in the way he used to like. It was sterile, cold death, and it reminded him of what he'd never have. I reminded him of how he'd live forever, alone.
He didn't know why he'd even come. It had been seven decades since he'd last seen her, since they'd said their goodbyes in the mouth of Hell. He'd thought that was the end then, and maybe it should have been. But it wasn't, and here he was now, doing what he'd sworn he'd never do.
She was over eighty now he knew, but in Spike's mind she'd always be young, vibrant. Small yes, but never frail. She'd always be the Slayer—the One.
He stopped at the door, his pale hand resting against it. He almost turned around then, left before he had to face the one thing he'd always feared and had tried to pretend would never be a reality. But he had to do this.
He had to see her one last time.
Slowly, Spike pushed open the hospital room door. She was alone, and that made him ache. She was the last of her "Scooby Gang," and he knew she had never married, never started a family of her own. She was alone in the world she'd fought to save time and time again.
Her eyes were closed, he hands resting on her chest, and if it weren't for the faint sound of her heartbeat thrumming in his ears, he would've thought himself too late. He watched her for a moment, wondering what he could say. For seventy years, she'd thought he was no more than dust. He'd thought when he'd first come back that he wouldn't know what to say to her, but now? What was there left between them besides the goodbye that had already been said?
She was an old woman now. Not the vibrant sixteen-year-old who'd he'd first seen dancing. Not the fiery nineteen-year-old who'd fought him in the sunlight. Not even the desperate twenty-year-old who'd he'd brought down a house with. No, she was an ninety-two-year-old woman on her deathbed.
She was still beautiful…
Her eyes opened slowly, and Spike saw they were the same green he'd always loved. She turned to him and smiled, and he knew his love was still as strong as it had ever been.
"Spike," she said, the word soft on her lips. None of the old snarkiness that had surrounded that word before, when she'd forced it from her lips like a curse. "Spike. Somehow I knew. I knew you'd come."
He was surprised she didn't have any questions as to why he was here. He'd never let her know he'd come back after their last battle in Sunnydale, and he wondered now if maybe Andrew or Angel had told her without him knowing. "I had to say goodbye, pet," he said, fighting to keep his voice from faltering.
"Is that what this is?" She frowned a little, the lines around her mouth moving. "Yes, yes I guess that is what this is. It is our goodbye." She held out a trembling hand to him, and now Spike did think of her as frail. Her skin was thin and aged-marked, and he could see the blue veins tracing a pattern right beneath the surface. "Come and sit with me."
He did, sitting in the chair beside her bed and taking her hand. It was almost as cold as his. He stroked it with his thumb, trying to make himself believe that this was the same hand that had hit him with such force in the past. "Angel told me you were sick," Spike said lamely. He wanted something better, something poetic. The perfect thing to say and make the moment something beautiful. Nothing came.
"I haven't seen Angel in years," Buffy replied. "He stopped visiting a long time ago. He'd call, but he'd never come. I think it was…yes, it was. It was when he came and my hair was gray. He never came again."
Spike reached out and smoothed that same gray hair away from her face. He still loved her hair. It was soft, and he could smell it—the same old scent trying to push away the cloying odor of sickness and death that filled the air here. "You look beautiful," he told her. He smiled, a longing, bittersweet smile. "You glow."
Buffy smiled back. "You look the same as always. The years haven't changed you."
"No. They haven't." Spike's reply was simple, as he fought to conceal his anger. Not at her—never at her. At the world, the Powers that Be, fate—whatever it was that made him frozen in time instead of growing old beside her like he felt it should be. But it wouldn't be that way. He'd keep on living, and she'd succumb to the one thing she could never fight. Time.
"I'm not afraid to die," Buffy said. She was looking at him, but her eyes were unfocused. "I've had practice. And you know what they say, third time's the charm. I know it will be for good this time, but I'm not afraid."
Spike stroked her hand with her thumb. "You never were afraid, Buffy. You were never afraid of anything."
"I was afraid of you."
Her quiet statement surprised him. "Before the soul, you mean?"
Buffy shook her head. "Afterwards. No more excuses. No more reasons not to love. I could fall with you, and it scared me. I shouldn't have been afraid, Spike. I should've loved you, and loved you, and…" She stopped abruptly, grabbing his arm with her other hand, and suddenly he remembered how strong she could be. "I should've let you know before…before it was all over, and you were just dust."
Spike frowned. He knew then why she didn't question his arrival. She wasn't thinking of him as flesh and bone, but as a ghost from her past. He didn't tell her the truth. She didn't need to know. "It's all right pet," he said, touching her hair again. "You gave me all the love you could, and…and it was more than I could've ever dreamed to have."
"I asked the Powers to send you to me, one more time so I could tell you. I begged them not to let me go until I told you. It wasn't fair that you never got to know. I tried to tell you, but it was too late, and you didn't believe me. I waited too long. I said it too late."
Spike's unbeating heart seemed to clench in his chest. "No, you don't. But thanks for saying it." Those words echoed in his head now, and he hated himself for ever saying them. It had been too difficult for him to accept that he finally had Buffy's love when he'd thought it was the end. But the fact that he hadn't believed her had haunted her, and Spike had one more thing to add to the list of all the ways he'd caused Buffy pain. "It's okay. I know you loved me."
"Love you," Buffy corrected. "I love you, Spike."
Spike smiled through the tears that were burning in his eyes. "I love you, too."
Buffy smiled back, and for a moment she was his same Buffy. "I'm tired," she said, her eyes drifting closed again.
Spike choked back his tears. It wouldn't do to cry now, not when she needed him to be strong. "Rest, pet. You've fought so long, so hard. You deserve to sleep." And it was the truth, he knew. As much as it hurt, it was the truth. She'd given all she could—more than anyone should ever have to give.
Buffy nodded. Her eyes shut tight, and Spike knew they wouldn't open again. He sat there for a long while as her breaths became shallower and further apart, then finally stopped completely, her hand slipping from his. He watched her for a moment, the cold reality that he would never see her again one he struggled to accept, until the banshee-like wail of the heart monitor let him know that someone would be coming in soon to take care of the body, and he couldn't be there for that.
He stood, pressing his lips against her cold forehead, and wondering for a brief second if this is what she'd felt every time with him. "Good bye, my sweet Slayer," he whispered before slipping out of the hospital room unseen.
He stopped by an old tree outside the hospital, looking up through the window as the doctor and nurses came into her room, and wept.
Sorry for the depressingness there. Not really sure where that came from. Unless they're all hate-filled, reviews would be appreciated.