A Future Awry

Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or Spike or any part of what has come to be known as the Whedon-verse. Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy own it. No one said I can't play with it though.

The chapter title "Colorado Sunrise" and any included lyrics are borrowed from the song by 3Oh!3 by the same name.

This is the last chapter… it's a little short, but I like to think its short and sweet. I might consider adding a sequel if people want one – but not until I've finished my other two BtVS fics. And that might take a little while. In the meantime, I hope you've all enjoyed this story! Please let me know what you thought…

Chapter Ten: Colorado Sunrise

The sky was growing lighter. The blackness of night melted into dark blue as the stars dimmed and began to fade from the sky above the old hotel. With a view of the small town below, a single sliding door opened. White curtains blew softly inward, as a single, slim figure emerged. A pale face looked desolately up into the heavens and a single tear traced its path down a pale cheek.

The vampire tightened the hotel bathrobe she wore around her form as her ears picked up the sounds of movement in the room behind her. She didn't move her gaze from the far off point among the stars she had focused upon. The point where horizon met sky. The point that was the lightest blue. She sensed the presence of another behind her, but stayed motionless as he stepped through the doorway.

"Love," his rough voice washed over her in a tender tone, as his arms wrapped around her body and pulled her close. She could feel him bury his face in her hair, inhaling her scent as if his existence depended on it.

"I miss the sun," she whispered softly as she leaned back into the comfort of his body, the simple statement conveying so much more than the longing for daylight on her skin.

His only response was to tighten his arms around her.

They stood for a long moment as the sky continued its transformation from black to blue, the eastern horizon growing ever lighter. "How," her voice broke as she interrupted the stillness of the waning night. "How can you still want me?" The words were little more than a mournful sigh. At first, she wasn't certain he had heard her. Only the hard jerk of his jaw muscles tightening against her skin suggested otherwise.

"Why do you do this?" his voice was a frustrated hiss by her ear. "Every time…" she could hear the restrained anger in his voice, "Every time you have to face your own darkness you go and think you're the baddest thing to walk the bloody earth. You bit a human or two, so what? Any idea how many deaths I've got on my soul?" His low voice contained a trace of a growl. "No matter what you do, Summers, you will never be a monster. 'Cause if you were, there would never be a drop of hope for me."

She stared at the horizon line. "How do you keep going?" she murmured back. "Every day… for so many days. For so long." She paused, "Don't you get tired?" At that, he pulled her around to face him. She hadn't noticed it before, but he looked different from how he had in Sunnydale. Something in his eyes, or his aura, or just his presence had altered somehow. Lost some part of the spark that had made Spike Spike.

"Yes," he said finally. "If you want it," his eyes glanced behind her, the pale eastern sky reflecting in his eyes, "I'd gladly stand here with you 'til the sun comes out." His eyes fell back to hers, a haunted look in their depths, "If you wanted it, Buffy."

For an instant, she felt as if she had been propelled backwards in time. She was sitting on a couch in a house that no longer existed, those same haunted blue, blue eyes staring back at her. She longed for the peace of death. She couldn't bear the brightness, the motion, the pain of living. And those eyes could see it, could feel it, could understand it.

They understood it better now.

"Spike," she whispered, a hand lifting of its own accord, tracing the contours of his face. She watched him bury his face into her palm. They had so much pain between them. But they were here now, with his arms around her, and her hands touching his bare skin. "Will you stay with me?" Her words were soft and calm, a sudden acceptance filling her hollow soul.

His eyes flew open at that. "Until the end.," he murmured against her skin, his lips trailing kisses down her palm to her wrist, his eyes never leaving her own.

"Promise?" she breathed.

"I'll never leave your side again, Slayer," he whispered softly.

"I'm not a Slayer anymore," she said softly, a small smile on her lips as she shook her head. She pulled away from him slowly, her smile growing as she watched the seriousness of his expression. She hadn't seen this look on him anywhere near enough – too often it was all sarcasm and snark and hurt and anger. She took his hand and tugged on it lightly. "Let's go back to bed," she let the words hang in the air between them for a long moment.

His eyes lit up, the weariness fading from them as they drank in her smile and her words. He followed her back into the room without a word. She didn't look back at the slow-rising sun. The heavy day curtains were shut tightly against the morning.

Even life could be faced, so long as she knew she didn't have to do it alone.