Time Out

By Penmom

Author's Notes: (1) This will be it until after Christmas. (2) I've tried to may this a little longer.

Chapter Four

St. Anne's Hospice/ London

Ms. Jilly Newcastle was sitting in the front room doing the crossword. She volunteered on Tuesdays and Thursdays right like clockwork. The front door opened and as soon as she set eyes on him she knew who'd he'd come to see. It was a little game she played with herself. When someone new came in she tried to guess who they belonged to - ol' Mr. Vaughn in Suite A, Mrs. Appleton - in D or - could it be - Ms. Buffy in C. O'course it was Ms. Buffy. Another fine lookin' man, couldn't be any other patient. She must have had 'em lined up in her day, that one.

Though this one, now slammin' the door, rushin' round looking for where to go, --- and, no flowers or whatnots to be seen - he didn't hold a candle to that Mr. Harris. Now that was a gentleman a lady would be proud of! Always combed an' pressed, always bringing something or another, he was a catch. Jilly felt right sad when she spied that ring on his finger. He'd have been a prize for her Christine, that's for sure. Why one day, he even fixed the ----

"Buffy, Buffy Summers. I need to see her immediately." The man's voice broke her out of her thoughts. What a rude one, this one.

"Now just wait a wee moment, sir. Can't have you upsettin' our residents, tis' a policy."

He looks her square in the face. He don't say a word but there's somethin' 'bout his eyes…

When Jilly speaks again, she is more than helpful. This is an important visitor for Ms. Buffy. He needs to go to her now without a delay and there cannot be any interruptions. She understands.

Spike shakes his head. He must not be as far-gone as he first thought, askin' this ol' bird for directions when he can full well just follow his nose straight to Buffy. Still, this one would be causin' trouble if he didn't take care of her. Suddenly, his baser urges rear up - just kill the ol' bird and that'll take care of it. Thank God, he had a soul rattlin' in there too or she'd be dead for sure.

As is, he opts to use one of Drac's ol' tricks - not a biggie in his repertoire but whatever fits the bill...

Suite C

Oh God, he's here. He's coming.

How come she feels like this? She can't put her finger on exactly how she feels but … OK, Buff, but with a capital B this time. But it's anticipation, it's lust, it's energy, it's something a basic as air. Why is she got that oh no feeling vibe too. Hey, she's dying here, anybody remember?

For a second, she wishes that she had a bunch of sophisticated monitors all plugged up like on ER or something so some nurse could come rushing dramatically into the room. At least she'd have some verification that there was something going on physically. Alas, no go - St. Anne's was all about a peaceful - God, what word did the brochure use? - oh yeah, organic - an organic death - whatever the hell that was. It sounded good at the time, she remembers that.

But - OK, back with the Buts - acknowledging the plural here this time. But that was when she was ready, when she had convinced herself that it was all good, that she'd had a good run and it was fine to step aside.

But now --- But now --- she's bracing herself to admit it --- that she isn't ready not by a long shot. No whatever this is - this feeling, this hum --- she wants it. She wants it with all the conviction that a mature woman of thirty can want something. Whatever this is, it isn't a fairy tale and it isn't black and white. But this time she isn't going to deny it. There's no time left for denial. There's no time left at all.

She struggles to get up, to at least sit up more and look like one of those dying heroines in the movies - all pale and lovely. Unfortunately, she knows it's too late for that and anyway she just decided this wasn't a fairy tale. Her skin is dry and her hair is thin from the medication. All she can do is deliver herself up to whatever incarnation of Spike walks through that door.

The door opens so fast that it bangs into the wall. The crash reverberates through her as she takes in the sight in front of her.

It is definitely Spike come to claim her. Part of her sighs in relief. There had been a fear in the back of her head that all this --- this adrenaline rush was simply her imagination. In her mind's eye, she could visualize Spike in his professor suit coming in only after knocking. Thank God, he had not come knocking. A Spike that would knock would most likely be a Spike that would let her die. A Spike that would grieve fiercely but not have the ill manners to challenge the fates.

No, the Spike in front of her was the Spike who was a fool for love.