When You Wish...
A/N: This fic includes Insightful!Andrew, Depressed!Buffy, and -------!Spike. So… Pie…
It's very quiet. And very dark. There is an absence of anything or anybody. Except for him. He was floating and doesn't know which is up or down. He didn't know where he was or how much time has passed from when he left wherever it was he came from. He didn't know who he was either. It didn't really seem to matter because he didn't feel anything anymore. Nothing seemed to matter. If it had mattered, it was gone now. So he floated. Everything had fallen away. His flesh, his muscles, his bone; everything turned to dust and he was here, floating. Nothing mattered anymore except-
Buffy Summers sat bolt upright in her bed. Sweat poured down her face but she felt somehow cold. Next to her, Dawn seemed not to have noticed. The teenager was fast asleep, drooling slightly. Buffy looked around at the remainder of the Potentials-no, they were Slayers now. Andrew was curled up in the corner in a large armchair, a blanket wrapped around him and his thumb stubbornly in his mouth. Buffy carefully climbed out of bed. She walked over to the small blonde man and cocked her head, in sleep he looked like a little boy. He is a little boy. She thought to herself. He'll always be fourteen. She reached over and tucked the blanket around him a little more securely. His face was covered in scratches and bruises, Andrew had been certain her would die in the battle and had valiantly faced death like a man. The villain had received his redemption…
Snuggled together in a sleeping bag, Willow and Kennedy were snoozing deeply. Buffy felt a pang of loss as she looked at the happy couple. Her eyes fell on Xander; a pale and scratched face, one eye covered by a black patch. Poor Xander. He's lost so much… Giles slept fitfully in another corner of the room; an old, leather-bound book lying open on his stomach. In sleep, Buffy could see just how tired Giles really was. She reached quietly over and removed his glasses, folding them and the book on the table next to him. She looked over the few remaining girls and nodded; satisfied that everything was well with her mish-mashed family. Buffy pulled on her coat over her new pyjamas and walked outside into the chilly air of the desert. Her knees ached with cold and overuse. They'd made it to Nevada before having to stop for medical treatment. Robin was in a hospital bed twenty or thirty miles from the little motel where they were staying. Faith had overcome her hatred of hospitals to stay with the former Principal.
She looked out at the calmness of the desert, her mind unwittingly drifting back to the events of less than twenty-four hours ago.
"I love you."
"No you don't. But thanks for saying so." he said as he smiled. "Go."
As she looked at their joined hands, engulfed in flames, she realized she really did. He'd never believe her, of course, but she did.
"Go on, Slayer. I want to see how it ends…"
She slowly let go of his hand and ran up the stairs, not looking back. Her mind screamed at her that this was wrong. This was wrong! Don't leave him like that! Don't leave him! She continued her full throttle run out of the basement, out of harms way. She was leaving Spike to clean up the mess, again. The tears were flowing freely as the basement behind her crumbled into a black abyss. She ran through the hallways, passing the bodies of Bringers and Uber-vamps. Past the body of Anya. Out into the glaring sunlight. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her, over the roofs of buildings. The school-bus drove on a parallel to her; she leapt off the building and hit the roof of the bus hard. Her broken nailed fingers scrabbled for a good hold as Principal Wood floored it out of Sunnydale. Buffy hazarded a glance back and saw the whole of Sunnydale being swallowed up. Buffy pressed her bruised and cut face against the warm roof of the bus, crying with joy for having gotten out of there alive, regret for making thousands of people lose their homes and belongings, glee for having freed the power of the Slayer to all the Potentials all over the world, and sorrow… for the loss of Spike.
"I love you Spike."
Buffy found herself crying again. The loss was more than she could bear. The Slayer fell into a weather worn wicker loveseat and let herself sag against it. The door to the motel room creaked slightly and someone stepped outside, shutting it gently behind them. She looked up, expecting it to be Giles or Xander or Willow.
"Uhm. Hey, Buffy." He said awkwardly. "Uhm, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to uhm, bother you. I just uh, heard you. And-"
"It's ok. I'm sorry I woke you."
"Ah. That's ok. I had to pee anyway." he smiled a half smile. "Hey uhm, Buffy?"
"I uh know I'm not one of the gang, but could I uh, hang with you here? Just for a little while?"
Buffy only nodded. Andrew sat down next to her on the loveseat, trying to make himself as small as possible by hunching his body inward. He was wearing the blanket he had been sleeping under around his shoulders. Andrew shyly wrapped half of it around Buffy. She looked up in surprise but took it gratefully. It was warm from his body-heat.
"Yes Andrew." she said, affecting an annoyed voice.
"You don't have to be alone with this. I-I know I'm not your friend b-but-"
"Andrew you have more than proven yourself. You were terrified of being hurt and yet you stayed. You fought."
"I kinda got knocked out when the second Uber-Vamp whacked me." he said pessimistically.
Buffy couldn't help but laugh. It was a sad, choked laugh; but a laugh nonetheless. She looked up at Andrew, eyes full of tears and she was surprised to see that his were also shiny with water.
"I'm still not ready for him to be gone, Andrew." she whispered.
Andrew put an awkward arm around her shoulders and drew her in close.
"I know. I may be stupid and clumsy, but I know."
"I want him to be here. I want him to be here now. He can't be gone? Can he Andrew?"
The blonde boy didn't answer, only squeezed her arm reassuringly.
"Oh God." she whispered, realization sinking in. "He's really gone? Isn't he?"
Those three compassionate syllables were the straw that broke the camel's back. The flood of tears and sobs that she had been holding back all day finally broke through the dam wall.
"No. Nonono! Spike! Oh god don't be gone! Please! I'm not ready for you to be gone." she wailed.
She had been certain this would be enough to send little Andrew scurrying, but he stayed firm, holding her as she cried. Buffy felt like her whole body was going to come apart from the force of her sorrow.
"This can't be! He can't just be gone! I want him oh god I want him! Please Spike! Come back!"
She whispered those words over and over as her sobs decreased in intensity.
"Come back. Come back. Come back." she pleaded with him.
Andrew rubbed the Slayer's back. Even though she was blessed with all these powers. Even though she had been the Chosen One for so long, she was still just a woman. Still just a woman who had lost someone. She was strong. She'd always been strong. Though the deaths of her family and friends. Through apocalypses and demons. Enemies she thought were impossible to kill. She'd remained strong throughout everything but now… She was free. She wasn't the only one. She could rest… She could mourn…
Andrew, the most unlikely source of comfort, had been there for her. Like Spike had been. The gamer-boy looked at her, both of them with bed-head and in their pyjamas. Buffy eased herself off of his lap and back into a sitting position.
"You're gay, aren't you." Buffy stated very suddenly and very bluntly.
"I buh what! I-I-I what where!"
"You're changing the subject. You're trying to get away from your feelings! I remember high-school Physch class!"
"So what if I am!"
"Nothing." she said softly, leaning her head against his shoulder.
The small man sighed deeply.
"Girls." he said in a very put upon voice.
"Hey." Buffy said. "Those girls just saved your ass today."
He nodded, Buffy prodded him to stop him moving.
"I'm not ready, Andrew… I'm still not ready for him to be gone… I wish he'd come back."
He was being called. By whom, it wasn't quite clear. All he knew was that he wanted to go toward the voice. He wanted to be with the owner of the voice. He wanted… Buffy. He began striving to get toward the voice.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" a huge booming voice echoed in his head.
"YOU CANNOT LEAVE. YOU MUST STAY HERE, YOU ARE NO LONGER OF THAT WORLD."
Bloody watch me leave arsewipe!
Closer and closer he was coming. A ripping, tearing sensation; unbearable pain. Home. He had to get home. And he had to get home whole.
Buffy awoke the next morning to find herself back in her own bed. Dawn was still sleeping next to her. She smelled of teenager; fruity deodorant and passion-fruit scented shampoo. Dawn opened her eyes slowly to see her big sister staring at her.
"Morning Buff." she yawned.
Buffy wrinkled her nose as a lethal attack of morning breath wafted over to her.
"Get with the teeth brushage Dawny." she said, by way of a good morning greeting.
Dawn smacked her lips and rolled over to go back to sleep. Buffy gave her a shove and pushed her out of bed, Dawn yelped as she sailed over the side of the bed.
Pain. That's the first thing was heat. On his belly and chest and legs. He opened his eyes and found himself staring at hot black pavement. He heaved himself to his feet and stood wobbily on two bare feet. He looked down to find himself quite naked. Well. This isn't good. He thought to himself. The man looked at his surroundings. He appeared to be in the middle of a desert highway. Someone would come along at some point. The question was, did he want to be found like this?
He picked a direction and started walking. The hot pavement burned at his feet but he didn't notice. He felt curiously numb. He had one thought in his newly blank mind. I have to find her. Whoever she is. Wherever she is. He walked quickly, his strides long. He had to find her. He had to!
Buffy sat alone in the motel room. Everyone had gone to the strip-mall for 'supplies', I.E. clothing; leaving Buffy alone with her thoughts. They had even taken Andrew along, insisting that he needed clothes too.
"Spike… I still feel you. Here in my heart. You're in my heart. Remember? Remember?"
She curled her tired and aching body around a pillow. She was just so tired. So incredibly tired… Buffy hauled herself off of the bed to take advantage of the lack of people in the room. She could take a nice hot bath and wouldn't be disturbed. The Slayer took a fluffy white towel and bathrobe into the small bathroom and filled the tub with hot water. Scalding water seeped into her healing cuts and eased the soreness of her muscles and bones. She looked down at her naked body, bruises of varying shapes and colours were scattered over her from top to bottom. If Spike were there… he'd kiss them all and tell her it'd make them better.
She closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the tub. Nothing mattered right now… A Bringer could come in her and stab her to death and she'd do nothing to stop it. They'd find her in a few hours time… her life's blood filling the bathtub and mixing with the water. They'd find her lukewarm and all pruney from being in the bath so long. Or, conversely; bloated and discoloured. Nothing mattered…
At some point, a man walking naked on the side of the road is noticed. Luckily it had been by a man driving cross-country by himself and not by a family of four with two girls. The driver, who called himself Pete, quickly pulled over to see if the stranger on the side of the road needed help.
"Sir? Are you alright!"
The stranger with blond hair looked up at Pete.
"I've got to find her." he said plainly. "She's calling for me. I've got to find her."
"Ok buddy. We'll find her. Let's get you into some clothes first, huh?"
"Gotta find her. She's hurting. I need-"
Pete pulled the strange man behind his car and began rummaging in the trunk. Pete handed him a pair of well worn jeans and a t-shirt. The blond man put them on without thinking about it.
"What's your name Buddy?"
The blonde man stared at him.
"I-I don't… I don't know. I know I have a name… I just…"
Pete stared at his odd companion, who scrubbed a hand over his face.
"I can't remember." he said, frustrated. "I just know I've got to find the girl."
"Why don't you come with me, pal? I can take you as far as you want to go."
The man shook his head.
"No. No, I gotta stay on this road. Gotta keep walking. She's somewhere near."
"Well here-" Pete said. "take these shoes, and some socks. You're gonna get injured walking barefoot like that."
Buffy got out of the bathtub, dried off, and dressed without any Bringers coming in and trying to kill her. Secretly, she was disappointed. Very disappointed. She returned to her former position, arms and legs wrapped firmly around the flattened hotel pillow.
"Come back. Come back. Come backcomeback." she whispered. "I need you."
He was still walking along the same highway. It was getting dark, but he kept walking. He was feeling a mounting sense of panic. His stomach felt empty, though not only from hunger. He needed to find her. He had to! Out of nowhere, a car came up on his side, wildly careening out of control. The blonde man had to leap out of the way to avoid being hit. He crashed through an old wooden fence and lay there for a moment, winded. The man shifted, something sharp was poking him in the back. He reached behind him and pulled it out.
It was a sharp piece of broken fence. It looked like a stake-
All at once everything flooded back to him. All his memories, all his thoughts, everything he had experienced. He let out a tortured cry as everything seemed to be trying to get into his head at once. He was Spike. He had been a vampire for over a hundred years. His sire had been Drusilla. He had killed hundreds of people and enjoyed it. He had killed two slayers and fallen in love with a third. He had gotten his soul back and then- he had died for her. For her and all the Slayers. The pain of the chip that the Army had implanted into his brain was nothing compared to the agony of a hundred odd years of memory.
"BUFFY!" he screamed in agony.
She had accepted that he was gone. Almost. But now all she felt was emptiness. She dreamt of him at night, thought of him during the day… She wished they'd been given another chance to make it work. But wishing never got you anywhere? Did it?
"Buff? Buffy? How ya doin'?" Dawn asked in her typical Dawny way.
"I'm fine, Dawny." she said emotionlessly.
"Look, Buff… You've been so down since… well… the whole Hellmouth thing."
"I think," Buffy murmured. "I've earned the right to be a little broody right now."
Dawn bit her lip and turned away.
"Just don't forget. There are other people hurting too."
Buffy pretended not to hear her, allowing herself to fall deeper into her intense grief.
Spike, for he now knew vaguely who he was, walked in bright sunshine. His pace was once again fast. He needed to get to wherever he was going. The heat of the pavement seared through the heavy soles of the black work boots he had been given. Is this my reward? He thought to himself. I fight to get back my soul, I help save the world and I'm stuck walking on a desert highway with half a mind?
He had to succeed. He just had to. In the distance he could see a mid-sized low-to-the-ground building. Maybe he could find out more there. Maybe Buffy had come this way. He was fuzzy on a lot of details, but he knew he loved Buffy and he knew he had to get to her. His memories and thoughts were trying to organize themselves inside his head. A hundred years of memories all vying for attention. Every expierience he'd had involving Buffy automatically pushed themselves to the front of the proverbial line. Buffy…
Buffy is all that matters.
Buffy stood outside the hotel, the darkness was comforting. A cool darkness. Like lying in the basement with Spike's arms around her. She stared out at the road, waiting for cars to come by. Maybe she could throw herself under one… After all, she wasn't the 'Chosen One' anymore.
She stared and stared, the emptiness was all consuming. Finally, someone shook her violently.
"Hi. What're you doing?" Willow asked sharply.
"What-what do you mean?"
"You're killing yourself. And you're scaring the girls."
"Maybe I don't care anymore. Maybe I don't care about the girls."
Willow looked shocked.
"How can you say that-"
"I'm not the only one anymore. I'm not their mother. They can do what they want now. They don't need me. I don't want-"
Buffy shot Willow a dirty look.
"Don't go there, Will."
"He's dead, Buffy. He's gone. You need to accept that."
"I HAVE!" Buffy cried out. "I have, Willow! Ok. I've accepted it over and over again but it just doesn't make it any easier. I want him back."
"Buffy, you can't keep doing this to yourself."
Buffy looked out past Willow, into the darkness. Into the shadows.
"This is how I deal now, Will. I'm sorry if it scares the girls, but I've been the Slayer for so long… I just want to be a normal woman for a while. Let me grieve in my own way."
"Buffy. This isn't healthy-"
"Oh my god." Buffy breathed, bringing her hands to her mouth.
"What? What 'oh my god'."
"Oh my god." she said. "Buffy wait-"
Buffy had already left at a full run. An all to familiar figure had just entered the gravel parking lot of the motel.
He saw her and that was it. He was home. Where she was, was home. Spike stood and stared at her, she stared back at him. Her eyes were wide with disbelief and shock.
"You called." he murmured. "You called for me, and I came."
Buffy suddenly collapsed onto the gravel. This was too much. Losing her home, losing him… and now-
"Are you real?"
He nodded slowly.
"I think so. Have a poke to be certain. I'm not actually certain I'm here. I'm still a bit confused. I think I feel real."
Buffy lay a hand on his chest, over his heart, then leapt back in shock.
"I know." he said, his voice choked. "Scared me too at first."
Buffy began to cry again.
"God, I wished you'd come back. And now you're here…" she trailed off.
"I heard you…" he said suddenly.
Buffy looked up, startled.
"What- what do you mean."
"Wherever I was when I was… dead. I heard you. I heard you calling me."
"Spike, that's impossible-"
Spike gave her an incredulous look.
"Buffy, you've lived on the Hellmouth for how many years? And been a Slayer for how long? Anything is possible."
"It's not probable."
"Does it really matter?" Spike asked seriously.
"Not really. I'm glad you're with me. I'm more than glad."
The former Chosen One took hold of the former vampire's hand and squeezed it tightly. It was nice. They had both been in positions where they couldn't be allowed to live normally. But now…
"I would have been here sooner, but I got a bit amnesic when I got out of… wherever I was. I wandered around the highway naked for a while…"
Buffy laughed, a laugh choked by tears. She seized hold of him suddenly, forcing him to focus solely on her (as if he'd been doing anything but taking in her every feature.)
"Spike. When we were fighting at the Hellmouth-"
"It's alright Buffy. If I had to do it again, I would. If it would save you-"
"No that's not what I meant. When I said…" God this was hard. "When I said I loved you. I meant it."
And this time, without another word, he believed her.
I wrote this coz I suddenly had a manic desire to rent the BTVS final season. Which I watched all the way through. And then I remembered the finale. I remembered that I cried when it was first aired. And I remembered my obsession with Spuffy. And then this fic was wrought. And now, noble reader, I would hank you to leave a review for my hard work.