She was seventeen. He liked to believe that it had been quick; painless but he knew. She had screamed in agony as it ripped her insides out and tore away any life left. It hadn't been a vampire like her sister always thought it would be or even a demon for that matter. It was a stupid teenager who didn't know better than to think about his actions. He was there, riding shot gun in an attempt to teach her to drive

"Come on, Spike!" She urged him, her smile brightening the car. It wasn't that late, around seven or so and the sky still held a few streaks of the summer sun. He always loved the moments between sunrise and sunset; the beginning moments between day and night. He always related them to her, just dipping towards darkness and not quite blinded by the light. Just about there and yet to far to reach.

"No highway," He said sternly, reaching over and adjusting her hands on the wheel a bit. "Two and Ten," he reminded, and she shot him another smile. The Sex Pistols were playing in the background, soft enough for her to hear him but loud enough for the necessary music needed to drive. Remembering her previous request the brunette began to pout, her lip gloss coated bottom lip stuck out slightly further as she changed lanes.

'Please, with minimarshmallows and blood on top?' He chuckled and reminded her that it was only their third time out. She sighed loudly and made her way through the light. He didn't even see the car coming at them. She did though. Her eyes had met his; coated with every fear and doubt she had ever had in her life. He had yelled hoarsely and she had whispered his name as the car spun out of control. The last thing he remembered was her screams managing to be louder than those of the metal in the car as it tore apart.

Spike inhaled sharply, his eyes again flooding with now permanent tears. He was sitting cross-legged in front of the large piece of marble. Three white lilies were in front of him. He was surprised that in all the pain he managed to remember her favorite flower. Details like that seem to slip the human mind but with the two of them it was like every conversation was imprinted into his head. At night when he was alone he would replay them. He would relive the comfortable easy moments where she had still been there and for a little while he would forget that she was gone.

"What's your favorite flower?" Her voice startled him. She hadn't talked for four days, since the night on the tower, and such a question seemed to throw him.

"Why?" He questioned back, squeezing her hand lightly. Lately it felt as though it had become another part of him…and anchor to the world.

"I was thinking…if I died what flowers would you guys put on my grave?" He brushed a piece of hair out of her face, and let out a ragged breath.

"Why so morbid thoughts?" But he already knew the answer but the way she phrased it tore his heart open.

"Because I don't know what Buffy's is. I'm her sister and I don't know her favorite flower. What if I put the wrong one? What if she gets mad at me, Spike? What if she gets lonely…thinks no one wants her…thinks we don't miss her," She was crying again and soon the river of tears had drenched her shirt. "I want lilies, white lilies like Mom had at her wedding. Could you give me that, Spike? Would you put lilies on my grave so I don't get lonely?"

"I'll put a mountain of lilies, love," He whispered and once he left the room he ran outside, slid to the ground and cried because at the moment he couldn't handle any thoughts of losing her too.

So she got her lilies. It wasn't a mountain yet, but he planted another for each year she was gone. He didn't plant them on the day she died, rather on her birthday. She always loved her birthday. Her eyes would get a special shine to them, the kind one only gets when it's a day especially dedicated to them.

"I don't like it," She muttered, pulling her hair down from the bun she had just spent ten minutes putting it in. The vampire on the bed sighed heavily, though his annoyance only masked his contentment. Watching her transform from a girl to a woman had been the greatest thing he had ever seen.

"You look beautiful," He assured her, standing up. He positioned himself behind her and tweaked one of her natural waves. "My mum's hair was this color when she was younger. The golden brown,"

"Say it again," She whispered, and he repeated his sentence in his mind.

"Gol…"

"The first part,"

"You're beautiful?"

"No one's ever really said that to me…Mom did but she had to…it's a Mom thing. Thank you,"

"You're beautiful," He said it with more confidence now and was rewarded with such a broad smile that he continued to say it every day from then on, just to see it again. And he knew it meant something because whenever someone would compliment her on her new outfit her eyes would drift to him and she would smile. He overheard her talking to Willow once and the conversation blew him. The redhead asked what she liked most about her birthday and she had simply replied that for the first time in her life she believed that she was beautiful.

She was always self-conscious and he wasn't sure if that was just a girl thing or a her-thing. He knew she was constantly overshadowed by her sister and tried to pay as much attention to her as possible but one can only do so much. She would always be better than Buffy…sweeter, kinder, gentler. Perfect. He retraced her name, and began to dig a hole. He carefully planted the fourth lily for the fourth year he had lived without her. This would be the last. He pictured her face as the dawn overcame the sky. It started as streaks at first, lines on a painter's canvas before extending to lap at his feet. He kept her face in his mind.

"Spike, do you think you could ever love someone besides Buffy?" She asked quietly. It was night and they lay out in the hammock in the backyard, wrapped comfortably in each other's arms.

"No, I don't think so," She sighed. "I know so. Love you, don't I?"

"I love you too," She whispered back, smiling into his chest as sleep slowly overcame them.

He didn't know if he would see her…had he finally done enough to guarantee heaven? But it didn't matter…because hell couldn't be half as bad as life without her.

"I love you too,"

"No one's ever really said that to me…Mom did but she had to…it's a Mom thing. Thank you,"

"I want lilies, white lilies like Mom had at her wedding. Could you give me that, Spike? Would you put lilies on my grave so I don't get lonely?"

"Pretty please, with minimarshmallows and blood on top?'

He couldn't believe it didn't hurt but maybe that was because he knew that even in death he could be with her. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, right? Even if the outcome was just dust-covered lilies on a mountain of tears, ever moment with her was completely worth it.

A/n: Sappy sadness. Answer to a challenge by Ryan (kurtcouper). Please review.