Maybe this is Heaven

"Go on, then," he said, looking at her and communicating a million different thoughts at once. Buffy widened her eyes, realizing what he was about to do.

"No!" She cried, desperately, looking around, "No, you've done enough! You could still – "

He cut her off, mid-sentence, "No, you've beaten them back. It's for me to do the cleanup."

The entire place was coming down. The earth was shaking, the rocks were loosening, falling into the pit, and dammit, she wasn't going to let Spike stay. She couldn't. Not when there was so much left unsaid between them.

Faith called down to her, but Buffy ignored the other slayer, still staring at Spike and frantically looking for a solution.

He gave her a tender look and Buffy could feel the tears coming to her eyes. "Gotta move, lamb. I think it's fair to say, school's out for the bloody summer."

"Spike!" She moved towards him, but he cut her off with a sharp look.

"I mean it! I gotta do this."

The amulet was getting brighter and Buffy could feel her heart breaking. She reached out and grabbed his hand, entwining their fingers together. Their hands burst into flame and for a moment, Buffy winced at the pain.

Somehow, the physical pain seemed like nothing compared to the war raging inside her heart, and she kept her eyes on his.

"I love you," Buffy said. There was so much communicated with those three words. So many things she wanted to tell him, but why wasn't there enough time?

The look he gave her almost sent her to her knees. It was so intense, so emotional. She held his gaze.

He opened his mouth, "No, you don't. But thanks for saying it."

She ignored him. "I'm not leaving without you."

"Buffy, go!" He pleaded with her, trying to let go, but the entire place was crumbling down faster and faster.

She wouldn't let go of his hand and took another step closer to him. He begged her to leave with his eyes, but she remained with him. Did he really think she could just go? Just leave him there when she finally figured out her feelings for him?

Buffy reached her other hand out to him and carefully touched his face. Hot. Compared to his usually cold skin. He was burning up from the inside. She pulled his face down to hers and kissed him.

At that exact moment, he burst into flame, taking her with him.

So now she felt what it was like to be burned alive. But for some reason, she didn't care. She was where she wanted to be. With him.

His arms were now wrapped around her waist and he was holding on to her as tightly as he could. Her hands were grabbing at his neck, keeping his head close to hers.

The heat around them was intensifying and everywhere, rocks and boulders were tumbling into the deep abyss. Soon, the earth was shaking and then there was black.

………

She smiled.

Her eyes were still closed but for some odd reason, she felt like she was at peace. She imagined she was lying all alone in a green meadow with daffodils and dandelions scattered across the field. The sky was blue and the sun was high, smiling and warming her up.

Was she imagining things? She opened one eye at a time.

"Where am I?" she murmured to herself as she slowly sat up and took in her surroundings. Indeed, she was in a meadow. A meadow with rainbow colored flowers peeking up at her sporadically scattered on the ground. The grass was soft like multiple layers of blankets and the breeze was warm and soothing.

Where was Spike?

Buffy rubbed her eyes with the back of her wrists and pushed herself up to her unsteady feet.

"Oh my god…" she breathed in deeply, taking in the vastness of the lush, green grass. It seemed to extend as far as she could see and the sky meeting its horizon was a perfect shade of baby blue.

As she turned around to take in the tranquil beauty of wherever she was, she caught sight of a figure in black, huddled on the ground a few yards away.

"Spike?"

She rushed over to his body and anxiously knelt down. As soon as she saw the content expression on his face, she melted. He was fast asleep and the edges of his lips were curled up in a soft smile.

After staring at his face for a few minutes, she moved to stretch out beside him. He instinctively moved closer to her and she reveled in the thought that his body was so in tune with hers.

Her heart felt like bursting from the love she felt for him. Never before had she felt this way, so consumed, so amazed and content and … dizzy. She had always associated love with pain. Her father leaving, Angel leaving, her mother leaving… love always seemed to leave.

Yet here was Spike, looking like an angel as he snuggled against her, sighing contentedly. Spike was always there for her, always looking out for her. So many times she felt his presence as she staked a fledgling in a cemetery, felt his eyes on her back as she fought evil. She had rolled his eyes then, threatened to dust him, hurt him more times than she could count, yet he always returned.

How could she not love him? Buffy frowned as she remembered his words. "No, you don't. But thanks for saying it."

For the weeks before that moment, Buffy had been struggling with her growing affection with him. She had denied and denied that she loved him and when the feeling grew so strong that it felt like her heart would burst, she relented and tried to show him her love the best way she could. But for some reason, she was always three words shy of telling him how much she cared.

Buffy held up her hand, inspecting the glistening white scars that the supernatural burn had left on her skin.

"Buffy…"

He was sleep talking. Her face melted into a smile and she brought her hand up to his cheek and lightly caressed his razor sharp cheekbones.

"Shh, Spike," she cooed softly, "I'm right here."

"Love you…"

The way he said it so simply under his breath made Buffy's heart swell up to enormous proportions.

"I love you, too."

Suddenly, his eyes flew open and she was staring straight into his blue eyes. Spike squinted at her like she was too bright and brought his own scarred hand up to shield his light.

"Bloody…" He jumped up when he realized he was directly in the shining sun and started screaming. "No! I don't want to die! No, NO!"

Spike frantically tried to cover himself up with his leather duster and rolled up into a ball. Buffy frowned and got to her feet.

He was rocking back and forth, babbling, "You can't take me! No! Make the sun go away! Make it go!"

"Spike?" She approached him tentatively, trying to conceal an amused smile. "You're not burning up."

"Yes I am! I'm a vampire, you sod. I'm burning, I'm British toast, I'm bur-" He paused and seemed to have noticed how un-dusty he was. "I'm not burning?"

He slowly removed the black duster and looked up at the sky. The sun was right above them and his skin was perfectly intact. Not so much as a single sizzle.

"Bloody hell," Spike's voice was full of wonder as he got to his feet. He held out his hands, closed his eyes, and threw his head back, basking. "I'm … okay."

"Yeah, you are."

"Bloke can get used to this."

Buffy let him enjoy the warmth of the sun on his face for a few moments before stepping up to him, wrapping her arms around him, and hugging him tight. Spike stiffened for a second before he relaxed and returned her embrace.

"I almost lost you, you jerk," Buffy cried into his chest, tightening her hold.

"Oh, love," he rocked her, matching her squeeze. "You'll never lose me. I'll always be there for you. You know that, right?"

"No! You told me to leave. You were going to die and leave me all alone! I hate you!" She broke down in sobs, bringing them both to the ground. "I would never have been able to live with myself if you were gone, Spike. I already lost too many people… And I thought you'd always be with me. And you were about to make me go away! Well, you can't! I'm the slayer! And I don't ever, ever leave the ones I love. Never, ever do that again, Spike. Never…"

He held her as she sniffled.

"The ones you love?"

She pulled back slowly to look him in the eye. There seemed to be a gleam of uncertainty, a gleam of hope, and a gleam of disbelief.

"Don't you remember anything?"

"Um, no," he said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was too busy trying to save you and make you leave. Remember?"

"I told you that I loved you."

"You… what?"

He was being stubborn. She knew he was. Buffy scooted closer to him and cupped his face with her hands.

"I love you, Spike."

Then, she pulled him in and kissed him. The moment their lips touched, a jolt of electricity seemed to pass through them, making them one. That moment brought all the memories back to Buffy. She hadn't kissed him like this since he had run away to Africa and had almost forgotten what it felt like.

It had never been so tender, so soft. Their lips rubbed against each other's slowly, getting reacquainted, but soon, they both wanted more. She pulled away slightly only to go back for more, opening her mouth, brushing her tongue against his lips, requesting entry. His hands had snaked around her waist and were bringing her closer and closer until she was on his lap.

God, he tasted like life. How had she denied herself this for so long?

After several minutes of languid kisses and caresses, she pulled back, slightly breathless.

"You believe me now?" she searched his eyes and he smiled.

"I don't know," his lips curled up, "Maybe you should try running that by me again. Just in case." With that, his lips found hers again.

………

It was nighttime again and Spike held her close to him, spooning against her back.

The stars shone bright and she finally felt at peace.

They had no clue where they were or how they got there, but for some reason, it didn't matter. They had each other and they were in love.

Maybe it was heaven.