Notes: I'm not sure who the song "Save the Last Dance for Me" belongs to - but I give them credit for it.
And of course these characters belong to Joss Whedon.




Two important events happened in Buffy's twenty fifth year.

First, Angel disappeared. He and Buffy had fallen into a relationship that for appearances looked like friendship. It was really far deeper then that but the impossibility of the situation kept them at arms length.

One evening while on patrol, Buffy was struck with a pain in her chest, a heaviness that made her break down and cry for no reason, as if she had lost part of herself.

Two days later Cordelia called, Angel had been missing for two days. Cordelia was frantic. Buffy was heartbroken, she thought she knew where her lost feeling had come from now. Angel must be gone.

Three months went by and there was no news of Angel. Everyone was forced to accept that he was really and truly gone. Wesley and Cordelia kept open the business helping as many people as they could.

Buffy went on with her life, but a little bit of her brightness had faded.

The second event was that Buffy was in a near fatal car wreck. She was in a coma for several days before coming out of it to the amazement of her doctors.

When she came home from the hospital she dreamed the dream the first time. In the dream she was always 17 and she wore the dress she'd slain the master in. But the dream was never scary, just confusing and oddly comforting. The same soft voice whispered in her ear "Save the last dance for me."

She could never define where the voice was coming from and she would search the room for the source. In her search she always came across someone she knew and she would share a dance with them, whether it be Xander or Giles or Riley. Sometimes her dad even made an appearance or even someone as insignificant as Scott Hope. But the voice was always in the background, "Save the last dance for me." It would repeat over and over. Buffy would wake up before the last dance was played never knowing where the voice came from.

Over the the next ten years , Buffy had three more near death experiences and each time after she was safe she would dream the dream. It always ended before the last dance.

At thirty five, Buffy was the first retired Slayer. She had ended up with an art degree and went to work with her mother at her gallery. She dated occasionally although she was never serious about another man after she and Riley had parted and when Angel dissappeared she still couldn't bear to love another. So she became a surrogate aunt to the children and eventually the grandchildren of her friends.

*********

At seventy, Buffy was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Having lost her mother, Giles and Xander to different illnesses over the years, it had come down to she and Willow being left.

Willow sighed as she fluffed Buffy's pillow one more time. A younger version of Willow, her daughter Elizabeth stood behind her mother rolling her eyes causing Buffy to grin.

"Willow, I'm fine." Buffy said weakly and she winked over Willow's shoulder at Elizabeth.

"Mother, leave Aunt Buffy alone for just a minute you've fluffed that pillow three times since we've been here." Elizabeth walked closer to the bed and kissed Buffy on the cheek, "I've got to go pick up Claire, but I'll be back tomorrow. I love you."

"I love you too, Elizabeth. Tell Claire her Great Aunt Buffy said hello." Buffy told her as she turned to leave. "You've raised a wonderful daughter, Will. I'm going to miss you and Elizabeth and Claire."

"You aren't going anywhere yet, Buffy Anne Summers." Willow told her stubbornly.

Buffy took her friends hand in hers, "Willow, I know it's going to be soon. Don't be sad, I've had a good life."

Willow squeezed Buffy's hand in hers a tear running down her cheek. "I'm going to miss you. You are my best friend."

"I know, Willow. You are my best friend too, the sister I never had."

The two talked about the past and the future for the next hour.

"I'm tired, Willow. Why don't you go on home? I"ll see you tomorrow." Buffy told her closing her eyes.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes." Buffy said tiredly. Willow patted her hand and left the room closing the door behind her.

Buffy drifted off then into a deep, comforting sleep. The dream started then, the dream she hadn't had in 35 years. It was comforting to see herself seventeen again, in the familiar dress, the bronze as it was all those years ago. She walked among her friends and class mates, and then it happened, the voice whispered in her ear "Save the last dance for me." She turned but no one was there.

She searched the crowd but could not place the voice. Xander appeared and asked her to dance. They danced two dances before Giles cut in. She danced with him and when he left her on the dance floor the voice came again a little louder now, but still softly asking "Save the last dance for me."

Buffy again walked through the crowd only to run into Riley. She danced with him and as he left her the voice was even louder, "Save the last dance for me."

This went on for another half hour with Buffy dancing with several other men from her life. The deejay finally announced that the next dance would be the last dance of the evening.

Buffy looked around the room still searching, the dream had never gone on this long before. A large hand touched her shoulder, she turned around, shock and happiness on her face.

"I've been waiting for the last dance." He said the familiarity and the love still in his voice after all of these years.

"Angel." She said simply.

He offered her his hand, "Will you dance with me?"

She smiled as she took his offered hand, his arm fit firmly around her waist and she leaned against his broad chest. They danced as if they had never been apart.

She finally spoke, "This is all a dream isn't it?"

He looked down at her smiling, "Not anymore, Buffy. This is how it's supposed to be."

*************

The nurse gently hugged Willow and whispered words of sympathy. "You can see her if you'd like to." She told Willow as she led her to Buffy's room. Elizabeth followed her mother, tears in her eyes.

The nurse spoke again, "She passed in the night. She wasn't in pain, and she even had this peaceful smile on her face, when I came in to check on her."

The nurse was right, Buffy was still and pale but she had an almost joyous smile on her face. Willow picked up her friends hand and kissed the back of it. Tears rolled down her face as she pushed the hair back from Buffy's face. "I will miss you, Buffy. I hope you are at peace and have all the happiness you didn't have in life."

Elizabeth moved to hug her mother. "I'm sure Aunt Buffy is happy now, Mom."

*********

Buffy smiled as she watched the scene in the hospital room. It was odd to see her older self lying there in the bed. It hurt a bit to see Willow and Elizabeth upset over her death. But she knew they would be okay and she did have that happiness in death that had so eluded her in life.

"It's time to go, Buffy." Angel said gently taking her hand in his.

"I know, I'm going to miss her."

"I know you will, but you'll see her again someday." He kissed the top of her head and she looked up and smiled "We have a lot of catching up to do."

"Yes, we do. But we have an eternity to do it in." He caught her lips in a gentle kiss.

I know that the music is fine, like a sparkling wine
Go and have your fun
Laugh and sing, but while we're apart
Don't give your heart to anyone
And don't forget whose taking you home
and in whose arms your gonna be.
So Darling, save the last dance for me.



The End