Los Angeles

A few hours before the final battle

Spike stood in the shade of the alley staring at the mailbox glinting in the late afternoon sun. It was only five feet away but it felt like he was attempting to traverse an ocean. And he was in a way. Letter was meant to go to Europe. To Rome. To Buffy.

To a Buffy who'd moved on to a new wanker. Spike scowled when he thought about her with the Immortal. The woman had the worst taste in men. First Angel, then Riley and now the bleeding Immortal. He paused to think about how he was included in that list of men then mentally shrugged. He figured the way he had to fight tooth and nail for the barest smidgen of attention from her, he was the exception to the 'Buffy dates idiots' rule.

He looked down at the unsealed envelope and pulled the letter out to read one last time. He suddenly wished he'd brought a pen and a sheet of paper with him, certain there were a few last minute editions he'd need to tweak. Damn. He scowled and read on.

Buffy,

I've tried so many times to think of the perfect words to say to you. To let you know I was back from the great beyond. To tell you how I felt. I can't find them. I've racked my brain till I was ready to strangle something but they're never right. There are no words to fully explain what you mean to me. Every word isn't enough. Not strong enough or powerful enough or beautiful enough. It's a new torture all its own, to be filled to the brim with so much feeling and unable to express it. So I found myself swallowing these inadequate noises. They were unworthy of you. You deserve better. Always have.

So why am I bothering you now? Way I figure it, this might be my last chance. I know you've moved on. I suppose Andrew told you about my visit to Rome. Pathetic, right? I only caught a glimpse of you, a shimmer of gold, but I could tell you were happy. Finally happy. You looked free the way you were dancing. I've always loved to watch you dance. You were never more alive than when you were dancing. I never felt more alive than when we were dancing together. Beauty in motion.

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that's best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes

Byron truly was a poncey bastard, but he had a way with words. Better poet than I could ever hope to be. That's how I see you. A creature of darkness born of fire and sunlight. Dangerous and powerful. Yet the darkness never consumes you. You rule the night. Your inner light banishes the shadows. You conquer and enslave. Makes you warm inside to be near it. And beneath that strength lies your heart. I've spent so much time trying to find myself there. Within the warmth of your heart. I think I always knew that's where I'd find home again.

Love, don't mind me. I told you once it didn't matter how I felt, that I didn't want anything from you. That's not exactly true. Hell, it's complete bollocks. I want. I want so many things from you. But I know I'll never get them. And you shouldn't give them to me. But I'd be a fool not to see you for what you are and be staggered by your light. The Slayer. Buffy. All that's best of dark and bright.

I wanted you to know how I felt. How I feel. It's a part of me, the best part. Sometimes I think it's the only good inside me – the part capable of loving you. It means I'm more than a monster. That maybe someday I'll finally be...

Bad things are coming, love. And I find myself taking a side I never thought I'd choose. But he who shall not be named needs my help. It's the right thing to do. And I think you'd be proud. So I'm going to save the world one last time.


Just thought you should know.

- Spike

Not bad. Damn, he wished he had a pen. Sighing, he refolded the letter and pushed it into the envelope, raising it to his lips and hesitating for a moment before licking it closed. He walked to the edge of the alleyway and judged the distance between the relative shade he stood in and the mailbox. He glanced down at the edge of shadow his toes were encroaching on and then out into the sunlight.

Buffy was always pushing him to be reckless, forcing him out into the deadly daylight hours to be near her. She was thousands of miles away and she still pushed him into the light. He had to mail the letter now or else he'd be out of time. He didn't expect to survive the coming battle. He knew he stood a good chance of making it out alive. Or undead to more accurate. Being a vampire had its perks, but up against these odds he read his chances as slim nonetheless.

Hell, why was he doing this? She'd moved on. Found another guy to snuggle up to in the wee hours. And it's not like he hadn't played around with other ladies since he got back. The second he'd been made corporeal again, he'd had Harmony up on one of the office desks showing her what for and how. Just because their coitus had been interruptus'd didn't mean he hadn't been moving on quite well himself.

Not that it meant anything. Was just sex. Passing the time, scratching an itch. His heart knew better. Still belonged to a blond slayer with a holier than thou attitude and wicked right cross. He sighed as memories of her flooded his mind. The way her hair bounced as she strode forward determinedly. The rare smiles he'd spied when she was with her friends and family. The even rarer smiles directed at him.

It felt like ages since he'd last seen her, but she lived on vividly in his mind. He could see her face, hear her voice, feel the softness of her skin underneath his fingertips. She was with him even when he didn't consciously think of her. She was inside him. Soul deep.

Screwing up his courage, he tossed his duster over his head and leapt towards the mailbox, tossing the letter inside and jumping back into the shadows. He panted, staring at the mailbox and resisting the urge to rip it open and steal back the letter. He'd said too much, gotten too maudlin, worn his bloody heart on his sleeve. Damn.

Ah, well. He'd probably be dust by this time tomorrow. No harm done. He turned and started walking into the shadows. There were a few hours left till he was meant to meet Angel and the others. Looking for something to pass the time, he noticed a hole-in-the-wall bar around the corner and ducked inside. Glancing at the sign upfront announcing their drink specials, he smirked.

Poetry open-mic night. Just what he needed for his last night in the world – whiskey and rhymes. Might as well let it all hang out. He'd already sent Buffy his heart to do with what she pleased. How much courage would it take to read some of his poetry in public? Best start off with the drinkin', though. He raised his hand to catch the barkeep's attention and ordered a shot of whiskey, raising the glass to cheer the man before downing it quickly.

A large thug in a biker get-up pushed into him in the crowded room, turning to glare at Spike as he passed by. Spike smiled sardonically, "Ahh. Nice crowd."

The bartender leaned in to refill Spike's glass. "It can get pretty ugly in here, I gotta warn you."

Spike grabbed the shot glass and upended it. He looked around in anticipation before turning back to the bartender. "What I'm after. Couple more shots of courage, and I may make my presence felt."

The bartender scoffed as he refilled Spike's glass again. "Your funeral."

Spike raised the glass, grinning. "Well, I never had a proper one."