Every night he comes to her, but it is only an illusion. Or is it? Spuffy all the way.

I own nothing. It's Whedon's world I'm just writing in it.

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Buffy sat alone in the dark crypt. The space only illuminated by a few candles. This is where she came every night. She sat crossed legged on the sarcophagus, four items laid out before her, a bottle of wild turkey and a glass, a pack of marlboro's and a silver zippo. The lighter was the most significant item. The others were just things she bought, his favorites, but none he'd actually touched. But the lighter, that was the real deal.

It was just as they were leaving the house for the high school, to go into the final battle. Buffy saw the lighter on the cot in the basement. It must have fallen out of his pocket while he was sleeping. She had picked it up at the time and put it in the pocket of her own jeans. She'd thought he might want a smoke before the fight started, so she wanted to make sure he had it. Then everything got a bit crazy, what with the apocalypse averting and all she had forgotten about it, until later that night, after it was all over. She'd stuffed her hands in her pocket and felt something small and hard. She pulled it from her pocket and burst into tears. It was now her most treasured possession.

She picked up the lighter now and flipped the top open and ignited the small flame. She took one of the cigarettes from the pack an brought it to her lips. She put the fire to the tip and inhaled deeply. Even after all the times she's done this now she still coughed every time. But she did it anyway, no matter how unpleasant it might be. She needed to taste the smoke on her tongue. It tasted like his kiss. Ironic, that when she actually could kiss him, the ashtray flavor was the only thing she hated about it. Now she craved that taste. She set the smoldering fag down, lit end hanging over the edge so it wouldn't go out, and picked up the whisky. She screwed off the cap and pored a liberal amount in the tumbler across from her, then took a big swig from the bottle.

"Blah!" she shuddered as the liquid burned down her throat into her chest and beyond. Wonder what her friends would say if they knew this was how she really spent her nights. Alone in the dark and the dank. Drinking while the air filled with the scent of smoke and whisky and the leather of the replica duster she bought to complete the au de Spike. Just to feel close to him in some way. Who cares what they'd think? It doesn't really matter. That's how she saw it now. Too bad she couldn't have seen it that way before. It was worrying about what her friends might think of her that lead her to keep her relationship with Spike a secret, at least partly anyway. If she had just said 'Who cares?' then things might be different now. If only she's realised sooner. If only she'd realised a lot of things sooner. But it didn't matter now.

She closed her eyes and recalled the conversation she had with him when she came to see him in his crypt. The day after she was pulled out of heaven. She heard his voice inside her head, "I just want you to know I saved you. Not when it mattered of course, but since then, every night since."

Tears streamed down her cheeks. Now she was the one saving him every night in her dreams. She'd convince him to get out in time. Or she'd just rip that damn amulet of his neck and drag him out. And then there was the one scenario that tore her gut up every time she thought it, but still she did, what if she had just let Angel wear the amulet like he had planned to. Then he'd be dead instead of Spike. She didn't like the thought of Angel being dead, but honestly she thought if she could trade his life for Spike's, she just might do it. She just might sacrifice anything if it meant seeing him again. Holding him, breathing in his real scent, not the manufactured stench she was surrounded with now.

She wasn't surprised when she heard the familiar heavy footsteps of his boots. She'd been waiting for them. "Buffy?" the deep British accent called making her shiver with pleasure.

"Took you long enough." she replied.

"You were expecting me then?" Spike asked. Buffy smiled and looked up at him.

"Of course." Of course she had expected him. She called him here. She always called him with these objects, the whisky, the cigarettes, the lighter. She used them as a medium to call his spirit to her. It always worked, every night he came. It wasn't really him though, Buffy knew that. She new the man she saw was nothing more than a manifestation of her mind, not a ghost. But she didn't quibble on that. She took what she could get.

"I've missed you." she told him, beginning the same as she always did.

"I've missed you too, love. God you've know idea how I've missed you." The figure moved closer to the sarcophagus and to Buffy. "Taking up smoking have we, pet?"

Buffy smiled wryly at the his question. "You know it's not for me."

Spike picked up the still smoking cigarette and took a drag, "Guess you really were expecting me." He sat down across from her. "This for me too?" he asked pointing to the full glass of whisky.

"What do you think?" replied Buffy. Spike took up the glass and downed its contents.

"Ahh, that hits the spot." He set the now empty glass back down. A quiet moment stretched between them. Spike cleared his throat, thus ending it. "Well, we got a lot to talk about I wager."

"Yeah, but where to start." Buffy countered "How about with what an idiot I was for not telling you that I love you sooner. Or hell for not figuring it out myself until it was already too late. For being confused about who it was I really wanted to be with. For not being able to let go of my past with Angel." her voice became more fraught with emotion with every word purged.

"For being foolish enough to think I could never love anyone as much as I loved him. thinking that what he and I had was real and forever, when it was nothing more than a childish romance and couldn't hold a candle to what I had with you. I know all this now. Now that it's too late. So I guess what I really should be saying is I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't realize all this sooner. But I finally figured it out, that you're the one I want. Only you. It's always been you." Silence settled again as Buffy wiped her tear stained cheeks.

"You're sure of that now, though?" Spike asked after a moment. "That I'm really the one you want?" Buffy just nodded a reply. "And all I had to do was die for you to realize it, eh?" He took a beat to ponder this. "Worth it." he decided "hell if I'd known that's all it'd take for you to love me I'da done it a lot sooner." Buffy sniggered, Spike was the only one who could always get a smile out of her no matter what. "And I'd die all over again just to her you say those three words to me again."

"You didn't believe me last time." buffy reminded.

"Yeah well, as a certain bird once told me, I'm kind of a dope."

Buffy smiled, "Yes ,you are. But I love you anyway."

"I love you too, pet." Spike said.

Buffy leaned over to kiss him as she always did, even though he always dissolved into a mist of smoke before she reached his lips. She had to keep trying, hoping that one of these times she would feel the cool moist kiss she'd been longing for since Spike perished. And this time she did. Buffy gasped in surprise when her lips connected with his. She pulled back and stared at the man sitting before her mystified. His brow was furrowed in confusion. "Buffy, pet? What's wrong?" Stinging tears of joy welled in her eyes. "Y-you're real." she croaked.

Spike sniggered. "Course I'm real. What you think I was?" He has thought she was joking around, but as he scrutinized her expression further he realized what a mistake he had made. He looked at the things laid out on the sarcophagus and remembered how Buffy hadn't been surprised at his showing up. He just assumed she had some contact or something that alerted her to his presence. But now he understood what she'd really been expecting a visit from. "Oh god, Buffy." he murmured. "I had no idea..."

She was sobbing uncontrollably now. "You're real? You're really real? Oh god please tell me I'm not dreaming."

Spike scooped the girl up into his arms and began stroking her hair. "Shh, love." he soothed "You not dreaming. I'm here and I'm never leaving you again."

Buffy pulled back just enough to look at his face, she sniffed. "You promise?"

"Wild horses couldn't drag me away from you."

"If they tried they'd be dead horses."

Spike laughed out loud. Buffy joined him. After a moment they both got settled down and Buffy asked the big question. "How did this happen? How are you here?"

Spike took an unneeded breath to ready himself to for the tale. "Wait," Buffy interrupted before he could even begin. "I don't need to know. Not right now. I don't care. You're here and that's all that matters. I've wasted too much time already. I don't want to waste anymore on an explanation. Were together. And I'm finally ready. Really ready. I'm a cookie and I'm ready to be eaten. And I only want you eating me."

Spike raised an eyebrow he wasn't really sure what the slayer was on about, but he had no qualms with eating her part. In fact it'd be his pleasure. But he got the subtext she was telling him that she was his, finally and truly his. He'd been waiting so long to hear her say that. So long he thought he lost all hope it would ever happen. And now it has. Better late than never he supposed. He put his mouth to Buffy's and kissed her more fully than he ever had. He was hungry and in the mood for a cookie.

The End.