Disclaimer: I own nothing…

Summary: Nothing big… Post-"Chosen"… Not exactly a happy fic… I honestly don't know how to describe it…

Rating: G

Author's Notes: Well, I was feeling a bit depressed tonight and this is what came out of it… A friend of mine; someone I've known since nursery school, died in a car accident Friday. It's been tough on everyone… Especially considering our entire senior class has just started college and we're a very close-knit class… It was really difficult to have to make the 4 hour drive back to college immediately after the calling hours, knowing that I couldn't be there for the funeral… Thank God for Erin (my roommate)… We wouldn't have made it through if we hadn't had one another… I also went out and got my first tattoo Saturday (the Angel Investigations logo), in memory of Dave...

As for background on the fic, 10:23am is exactly when I found out he hadn't made it… It was a really difficult time for me, and it's been stuck in my head since Friday, so that's where the 10:23 comes from… Funny thing is, I finished writing this at exactly 10:23 tonight…

"Faith is believing things when common sense tells you not to." - We love you, Dave. You will be missed.


10:23


10:23

His footsteps echo down the hallway. Not real. Never real… But always there.

Because no matter what she does; no matter how she tries to forget, he is still there. His death a mere statistic to those around her. Just another vampire slain. No one seems to remember that this particular vampire-- this man-- he saved the world. Sacrificed himself for those around him…

But that doesn't matter anymore… Not even to her.

Because what matters now are the little things he used to do. How he saved her. So many times he had saved her… And not just physically. She could honestly say that without him, the year they had pulled her from Heaven, she would've gone insane. Literally.

Not that it was terribly different now… All the new Slayers whispered behind her back. Said she belonged locked in an asylum somewhere far, far away from them. No one believed when she said he was alive. No one understood when she explained that he was there, in her dreams, every night…

At exactly 10:23.

Even Giles ignored her. Said it was simply wishful thinking. Told her that Spike had sacrificed himself and, in doing so, he had won his salvation. He insisted that what had happened had been prophecy. He had shown her ever book, and each and every one said the same thing…

A vampire with his soul will sacrifice himself and win his salvation.

But just what was salvation, anyway? Time and time again, Spike had told her that she was his salvation. That his only Heaven would be found in her arms. He swore that nothing could ever compare to her. Nothing could ever come close

So Giles was wrong… He had to be. Because Spike would never leave her alone. Never.

And so, as time went by, they began to avoid her. It was very rare that anyone would be seen with her. Including her sister. They said it was too painful, watching her destroy herself by holding on to a dream that would never come true…

So instead of living her life out in the sunlight, surrounded by all those who loved her, like they wanted, she locked herself away, and they pushed her away. No one would believe her, and so she simply ignored them. Cut them out of her life.

It didn't matter. They didn't matter.

Nothing mattered but him.

And so she locked herself away, to live the dream…

And every night, at exactly 10:23, he was there, beside her… Holding her… Loving her…

And every night, she was happy…