Like Unmarked Graves

By D.M. Evans

Disclaimer – All the players are owned by Joss et al. I own nothing except the idea for this story and am glad for the opportunity to share it.

Distribution – www.fanfiction.net, slayerfanfic, if interested please ask!

Everything was wrong. Willow didn't know how else to put it. Xander and Anya had gone wrong at the altar. She and Tara had gone astray. Giles leaving, horribly wrong. But the worst wrong was Spike and Buffy.

Its reality destroyed almost everything Willow believed in. Twisted, creepy, a perversion of love and intimacy. She was never supposed to know about it but now she did and all parts of her screamed to help ease Buffy's pain that flowed from this liaison like pus from a wound. Willow figured she owed it to Buffy.

Buffy had saved her countless times. It was her fault Buffy had been ripped from Heaven and no matter how many times she tried to comfort herself with thoughts of how she'd done it believing it was the right thing to do, there was no balm for that pain. She could barely look Buffy in the eye any more. Too much anguish shone from them. Willow could see the humiliation and pain in the way Buffy carried herself, in her voice, her eyes. What was worse now that Buffy had broken it off with Spike she seemed even more depressed like a creature in torment wanting to be put out of her misery.

She and Buffy had lost last night in a tear-stained talk about her and Spike, about Tara, about Xander and Anya, about Dawn, about the past in general. Impossible as it seemed, they decided they had been happier in high school than they were now. No one deserved this much unhappiness. Willow, as hard as it was to do so, suggested that maybe Buffy should try to get back with Spike if she needed someone to ease her pain. Maybe it was her own heart talking, projecting herself and Tara onto Buffy and Spike. She deserved happiness; they all did.

Buffy rebuffed the idea bitterly. A chip wasn't a soul; it was a prison for a killer. No matter what Spike had done to help them, he was still evil deep to the empty place where his soul should be. Willow knew then, thinking on that lack, how she could help.

Now where could she get an orb of Thesulah?

* * *

Willow watched Buffy's wan face as she picked at dinner, not really eating it. The house felt like a whisper, secretive, quiet, lonely. Dawn was out spending the night with her friend, Lisa. They had a project due in biology tomorrow and Willow counted that as a blessing. As Buffy gathered her weaponry for the night's patrol, Willow embraced her tightly.

"It'll be all right, Buffy. You'll see," she promised.

Buffy didn't hug back. She dropped her head back, staring at the ceiling. "I don't know if I'll ever feel all right again, Will. I feel like I'm adrift on a sea of broken dreams."

Willow strengthened her embrace. "I'm your lifeline, Buffy, just like you've been mine."

Buffy hugged her this time, the blunt end of a stake digging into Willow's shoulder blade. "Thanks, Will."

Willow watched Buffy drag out the door. She locked it and went to her room. She took out the orb of Thesulah and the transliteration annals for the ritual of the undead. She had all the herbs ready to go. She had told Xander she was going to the college to work on a project just in case he wanted to talk like he so often did now that it had failed with Anya. Willow didn't like lying to her oldest friend but she knew he'd try to stop her. She was supposed to be sworn off magic and even if she weren't she could only imagine what he would think of her plan. He nearly went nuts when she gave Angel back his soul. She knew he'd be no more understanding of her attempts to restore Spike's.

As Willow headed into the basement so not to stink up the house with the herbs, she wished Tara could be with her for this, if for moral support if nothing else. But she couldn't depend on Tara for that no matter how much she still loved her. Tara wouldn't want her trying such a powerful and risky spell. She had promised no more magic and Tara still didn't trust her to keep to that and here she was considering major mojo. Willow had kept that promise even though it had nearly cost lives. This spell wasn't life or death so maybe she shouldn't try it. She wanted her friends approval, needed it. Maybe Buffy would get over Spike.

Willow gazed into the orb. Maybe this was wrong. Tara said she couldn't control herself and there was some truth to that. If she went ahead with the ritual, there would be no hiding she had broken her promise. Would Tara ever be able to forgive her? Willow gnawed her lip thinking on Tara's sweet, plain face. She could just picture the disappointment there but surely Tara would understand why she wanted to help Spike. Or would she?

Would anyone understand why she wanted to do this for Spike? Willow wasn't sure why she wanted to give Buffy a more acceptable undead lover rather than allow her to heal and find a mortal one. She feared Buffy would never find a mortal who could understand this life, that wouldn't be afraid of Buffy or like Riley, feel he couldn't compete with her. For all his monstrous past, Spike could understand and accept Buffy for who and what she was, so as odd as it may be, with Angel out of reach for whatever reason Willow didn't pretend to understand, Spike might be an acceptable substitute. Buffy obviously felt something for him. Willow wanted to believe it was love because to believe otherwise would mean her friend was debasing herself for no reason.

They had all accepted Angel because of his soul. It didn't seem wrong to be with him because of it. Willow knew that just because someone had a soul, it didn't mean they were a good person. There were probably more evil people with souls than there were demons. But she remembered what Buffy had told her about Spike's past. In his mortal life he had been a poet, not a good one, but from what little they knew he had been a gentle man. She couldn't see him having an evil soul. If she returned the poet soul back to Spike, things would be better. Good things would come of this. Buffy would have someone less monstrous. She wouldn't feel the agony she was in now. Tara would certainly forgive Willow this once she saw that this bit of magic was for the greater good.

With a deep breath, Willow started her spell.

* * *

Buffy sat by her mother's grave, staring up at the moon. Her heart just wasn't into patrolling tonight. Willow had been acting oddly throughout dinner but she didn't want to think about it. She didn't want to think about Dawn and her problems or Xander's mistakes or Giles abandoning her or her mother lying under the grass. She just wanted to be empty of everything tonight.

Feeling something on her shoulder, Buffy moved her hand up to grasp what she thought was a lover's hand. The word 'Angel' died on her lips. It had merely been the wind. Buffy could have sworn it was Angel at her side, ready to hold her like he had the entire night after they buried Joyce. They hadn't said much; they didn't have to. Just being together, touching gently was all either needed. Words were dangerous and unnecessary. They didn't need them. They could sense each other. What they had went beyond words, beyond sight and touch. They just knew each other down to the ground like she had a piece of his wayward soul and vice versa. She loved him and nothing had been right since he left. Riley hadn't laced up her shattered heart. Spike only shattered it further.

The fact that she instinctively thought it was Angel behind her, even though he was in L.A. instead of Spike, who was right in town, proved Spike couldn't fix what was wrong with her. He was part of the wrongness. Tara had asked her did she love him. It was so hard to answer. Before her death, Spike's love had sickened her. She wasn't any more comfortable with it now. She couldn't even comprehend why she couldn't get near him without it ending in a frenzied, mindless ballet of bodies that left her horrified and nauseated afterwards.

No, it wasn't love. People in love didn't abuse each other. They didn't beat each other bloody and rip each other to the ground emotionally and mentally. Worse, she was every bit as abusive as Spike, more so even. What was wrong with her? It was a madness, a desperate attempt to make herself feel again, an addiction that was going to kill them all if she wasn't careful.

Buffy didn't know if it was her death and rebirth that was to blame or if it was merely the final blow. She had been off kilter since graduation day. Angel deserted her. She couldn't connect with all her heart since Angel still had some of it. Riley deserted her. Giles, gone and the one man she wanted gone was stalking her.

And he was in the cemetery now. She didn't know it the way she knew when Angel was nearby. There was no connection between her and Spike. She couldn't sense his presence like she could Angel. She could only smell him, cigarette smoke in the wind. She waited motionless, letting him make the first move. Mostly she was hoping he'd just go away even though she knew he wouldn't. She expected something smarmy to come out of his mouth but it didn't. He just sat down and brushed off the cut grass that clung to Joyce's slick stone. Buffy believed his continued affection for her mother was real but it didn't matter, not any more.

"What are you doing here, Spike?" Buffy barely managed to keep the snarl out of her voice. "I don't want to see you."

"And I don't want to fight with you." There was a touch of defeat in his voice.

"Then go."

Spike snorted. "It's not that easy, Buffy."

"Don't tell me it's because we have something. What we have is…"

"Wrong." Spike lit up another cigarette. "You think I don't know that? I've been saying that since I first fell in love with you."

"We're not in love. We're….I don't know what we are. Sick maybe. I didn't know I could hurt this much." Buffy hugged her knees to her chest.

Spike slowly let out a stream of smoke. "It hurts me too, knowing I'm causing this pain, knowing how much of myself I gave up to be with you."

Buffy stared at him. Was it the truth or just a line, one more thing to take advantage of her? It felt like truth and that scared her more. "I feel like I'm an unmarked grave, Spike, forgotten by everyone. No one knows me any more. I don't even know myself."

"I wish I could make it better. I honestly do." He winged away the cigarette in a red glittery arc.

"What frightens me, Spike, is that I believe you. Please, could you just go. I want to be alone and talk to mom." She reached unconsciously to twist a lock of pale hair around her fists like she did so often to comfort herself only to remember she had butchered it in an attempt to be the 'new and improved Buffy.' It hadn't worked. She was still hurting, lost Buffy with ugly hair.

Spike opened his mouth to protest then snapped it shut, getting to his feet. "If you need to talk, I'm willing to listen."

"Spike, if we could just talk it would be all right but we can't. We…" Buffy trailed off, holding up her hands.

Spike nodded and turned to go. He staggered then went to his knees, crying out in pain. He fell prostrate on the grass, twitching.

"Spike," Buffy whispered scrambling over to him. "Spike, what' s wrong?"

He flopped onto his back, trembling. A low heart-rending moan tore out of his throat. Buffy touched his cold cheek, afraid not so much for him but for anyone who might be in range. Something that took a demon down so fast and easy was something to be feared. She helped him to sit up. His head lolled against her shoulder.

"Where…what am I doing here?" he asked then he covered his mouth but the screams still escaped.

"Spike, what is it?" Buffy felt him trembling against her. He was afraid but what could make a vampire afraid outside of the Slayer herself?

"Red…what did she do to me?" Spike staggered up and took a few drunken steps before going back to his knees. "What have I done? Oh god, what have I done?" After that plaintive plea, he curled up into the fetal position, keening. Tears streamed down his hollow cheeks like spring run -off down a mountain.

Buffy couldn't get any sense out of him but managed to coax him back onto his feet. She pulled him along back to Revello Drive, low animal groans and nonsensical babble pouring out of him. She dragged him downstairs, pausing as the smell of burnt herbs assaulted her nose. She let Spike crumble on the floor. He twisted back up into a ball. Buffy stood on the steps and screamed Willow's name.

Willow came flying down the stairs, dressed for bed but with a happy expectant look on her face. She beamed at Buffy then her smile melted seeing the haunted expression on Buffy's face. Mechanically she craned her head to look past Buffy to Spike rocking in his tight ball, cries still escaping past the limbs he had buried his face in. Willow's jaw dropped and she sagged onto the steps.

"You know what's happening, don't you?" Buffy's eyes held a knife's edge that Willow flinched away from. "He said you did something to him before he broke down into this."

"Buffy, I…I was only trying to help. What's wrong with him? It wasn't supposed to be like this." Willow stared uncomprehendingly at Spike.

"Will, what did you do?" Buffy's voice shook. She felt more afraid than she could remember.

"I thought…if he were like Angel, it would be all right. You could be with someone who loved you. I didn't want to see you hurting any more, Buffy," Willow said, tears leaking out of the corners of her eyes.

"Like Angel…you gave Spike back his soul?" Buffy nearly toppled off the stairs. She slowly swiveled and sat down.

"I thought you'd be happy like you were with Angel. You and Spike…it was wrong the way it was. You said so yourself. But if he had a soul, too, it would be like it used to be with Angel. I just wanted to make your pain go away, Buffy. What's wrong with him? It wasn't like this with Angel," Willow sobbed, burying her face in her shaking hands.

"What have I done? He asked that. He's having to face all the terrible things he's done. Willow, you have no idea how much pain Angel is in every day. His soul is his curse and even he is barely strong enough to try and make amends. Spike…I think this shattered him," Buffy whispered as Spike's rocking diminished. He slowly went limp, his wet eyes staring at nothing.

"I didn't mean for that to happen. I thought I was doing the right thing," Willow whimpered. She hadn't even considered what this would put Spike through. Why couldn't she ever see all sides of a problem? Instead of helping, she had made things worse.

Buffy's look softened. "I know."

She got to her feet and moved past Willow going upstairs. She returned with a blanket and pillow. Maybe the dead didn't need it but both Spike and Angel liked their comfort. She eased the pillow under Spike's head, straightened his limbs and covered him up. He remained unresponsive. Buffy wondered if Willow had forgotten the living hell Angel had gone through until he met her or maybe Willow never really knew about that. She had kept much of Angel to herself, her own little secret, her prize. She knew Willow hadn't meant to hurt Spike but it didn't make this right. As she stared down at him, Buffy realized there were hundreds of his victims who would disagree with that including two Slayers who were probably rejoicing at this if they could see it from beyond.

* * *

Spike skirted the pre-dawn light trickling past the curtains and moved down the hall with the quiet of a predator; that's what he was after all and he couldn't bear it. The chip had been an un-life altering invasion of his body. The return of his soul redefined the words 'living hell'. Spike didn't know how long he had lain in the basement trying to break through the wail inside his head, the cacophony of screams that accompanied the parade of faces of his victims. It had been a long time judging by the hunger pangs stabbing him. How could he ever eat again? He had been on pig's blood for two years now but that couldn't wash away the century of gluttony before it.

As he eased open the first door he came to Spike felt something wet hitting his hand. His misery so overwhelmed him, so buried him under the pain, he hadn't realized tears were flooding down his face. He didn't wipe them away as he stepped into Willow's room. She looked lost in the big bed without Tara. The sheets tangled around her and her nightgown was bunched up around her waist, a picture of agonized sleep. Spike understood that all too well.

The times he tormented Willow echoed through his head. What he put her through when he tried to make her give him a spell to win back Dru and when he tried to kill her after he escaped the Initiative. Her fear had made him hot and satisfied any number of his hungers. What she had done to him was les than he deserved. He reached down and stroked a lock of her stunning red hair. He had never missed how lovely she was.

"I forgive you for this, Red," he whispered and walked out of the room carrying his sins against her deep inside his stilled heart.

Dawn looked more peaceful in sleep. Spike watched her a while, just trying to absorb her clean innocence. There wasn't enough to sponge away his blackness. Dawn was his one saving grace. She was the only one he hadn't hurt. He would have given his life for her. How did a monster like him ever come to care for her like he did? He loved her like a sister, had defended her as such, and the emotion had sneaked up on him. She was a bright light in his unending night.

"Good-bye Dawnie."

Spike headed for Buffy's room but someone's alarm clock went off. Spike hurried back to the basement as the house came to life. Life had nothing to do with him. He curled back up where they had bedded him down and faked the catatonia he had so recently shed.

If the girls knew he had come back to himself they'd want to help him adjust. They would want him to live and he had cheated the grave for a century now. It was time to rest in peace and with the soul trapped inside him he would never know peace again if he continued to walk the earth. How Angel had withstood this torment for a hundred years Spike couldn't fathom. Well, Angelus had always taunted Spike, saying he was weaker than him, a beta to Angelus' alpha. Half of what Spike had done had been to prove Angelus wrong. Sadly, he wasn't. Spike was weaker. He didn't have what it took to survive this. He didn't deserve to survive it.

He heard someone coming down the stairs to check on him. Buffy's hands tenderly tucked the blankets back around him. She hesitated for a moment and Spike wondered if there was something different on his face, if she sensed he was no longer just staring into infinity. One of her calloused fingers toyed with his pale curls then trailed down his cheek. There was such sadness behind her eyes and Spike knew it wasn't all for him. She had looked haunted since her rebirth.

He had been desperate to ease that pain but he didn't know how. He had never known. He had gone from a repressed, sheltered Victorian to a creature, hungry and lustful, evil straight through. Even his love, something he hadn't truly learned to do until after he was dead, was perverted by his demonic nature no matter how honestly he felt it.

It seemed to take all of Buffy's energy to make it back up the stairs. He knew the only thing that would help her lay her burden down was for her to die again and that was the one thing he couldn't help her do.

Spike fought to erase the image of her troubled face from his mind. He didn't want his last hours tarnished by thinking of her sadness but he had so few happy pictures of Buffy in his mind. He had spent most of his time causing her pain. How low she had fallen emotionally was evidenced by the fact she had let something like him soil her. He should have stayed with Dru. They deserved each other. And he had loved her but even with her his love had been a cruel, dangerous thing.

Once the house was quiet and empty, Spike went back upstairs. He raided Willow's room and came up with one note tablet. He searched Dawn's room and found another one and some stationary. As he was leaving he saw some of Dawn's artwork on her dresser. He had encouraged her when he learned of her talent. It put him in mind of Angelus, how the vampire had wiled away the daylight hours drawing Dru and Darla and him, and oddly it made him feel safe, warm, at home somehow. Dawn had sketched one of him at ease on the couch, cigarette dangling from his long fingers. He had probably been watching 'Passions' when she had done it. It was a good likeness. Spike scrawled 'thank you for being a bright light in my life' in the margin of the picture and put it back on the dresser.

He took the tablet and stationary downstairs. He sat on the couch after picking up the mobile phone and the yellow pages. He remembered Red saying Angel's investigative agency was listed. He dialed the number. A perky voice said 'Hello, Angel Investigation, we help the helpless.'

Spike remembered the girl of the perky voice all too well, pretty and too aware of it. "Could I speak to Angel?"

"Sorry, he's indisposed at the moment. But I'm his partner and I can help you."

No one can help me, Spike thought. "Just tell Angel thanks for all he taught me." Spike hung up, hearing her asking who was this. He picked up the stationary and began to write.

'Rupert, I know I never showed it but I've always respected you and the danger you presented to my kind…'

When Spike finished the letter, he took up the notebooks and started documenting every horror he had commented over the decades. When he was done with that he composed something for Buffy. Maybe he always had been an awful poet but that didn't mean in these last hours he shouldn't at least try. The words dripped painfully like blood onto the page. That done, he realized it was nearly time for them to arrive home for the evening. He barely had time to write a farewell letter to them all. When he had it done, Spike took everything downstairs. He put the letters in his jacket pocket and put the jacket over the tablets. He headed off into the falling night.

Spike meandered through Sunnydale for a while realizing that no one here would care when he was gone, outside of the Scoobies. Would they even care? Would they join in the rejoicing at the passing of yet another monster? Dru would care. He was sure of that. Spike headed into the cemetery and lay down on the soft grass next to Joyce's gave. A fat full moon crept up the sky, casting soft light around like flower petals on the wind. He and Dru had spent countless hours staring at the moon, snuggled together. They might have been perverse evil creatures but they had loved deeply and, at times, tenderly. Nothing good had come of their love but at least he had known what it felt like. He felt it for Buffy, too, but it hadn't been the same as with Dru. With Buffy it came out as pain, as struggle, as moments of madness like an all-consuming fire. His newfound soul would never let him know love again. He was undeserving of it. He glanced up at Joyce's headstone.

"It's time to go. I think you understand that, Joyce."

Spike fingered the stake he had taken from Buffy's cache, working up the nerve to use it. Would it hurt? It had hurt when he died the first time. He remembered the pain, the fear. He hadn't lied to Buffy about the terror of clawing his way out of the grave. He still had nightmares to this day about that.

What would become of him now? Would his long-departed soul be tainted now because of what the demon had done? Did his soul deserve punishment for things that it had no hand in? Where had it been until Willow dragged it back and stuffed it inside him where it had no place? Unlike Buffy he couldn't remember heaven or hell. He had never heard Angel speak of it either. Maybe he should have waited to talk to Angel. Would his grandsire try to talk him into becoming like he was or would Angel counsel him to end it? Angel might feel compelled to help Spike decided and it wasn't what he wanted. He was like a terminal patient not wanting to wait for a slow painful end. It was time to take matters into his own hands.

His finger pricked itself on the point of the stake. Spike sucked the red pearls that formed there. It would be his last taste of blood. God, he was so afraid. He didn't want to die alone but no one deserved to watch him die either. Spike thought he heard something. He settled back into the grass and waited but he didn't know what for.

* * *

Buffy headed downstairs to check on Spike. Three days had gone by with him catatonic. Willow wasn't much better off, sitting upstairs isolated from everyone partly because of her own will and partly because no one really knew what to say. At least she was home. The first night Willow had stayed somewhere at the college, hiding from them, from herself. Dawn blamed her for what happened to Spike. Xander was furious she had even tried. Tara simply cried. Buffy felt a little guilty. This was her fault in many ways. Willow was just trying to help her. She had called Giles and told him about it. His suggestion was to put Spike out of his misery if he didn't come out of it soon. Buffy hadn't wanted to hear that as much as it made sense.

Of course sense was something she didn't equate with her dealings with Spike. She knew she should have killed him years ago, the first time he broke his promise about coming back to Sunnydale. As if to prove she couldn't deal with him sensible, she let her eyes rake over him on his makeshift bed. Buffy froze on the stairs. Spike was gone.

Buffy ran back upstairs to the living room where Xander was trying to cheer up Dawn. Willow just sat curled up in a chair listening, pain etched into her pale face. Outside it was bright from a full moon and a cloudless sky.

"Spike's gone," she said. All eyes swiveled towards her. "He must have gone out through the basement. I'm going to look for him."

"I'm coming with you. This is my fault," Willow said, dragging to her feet, all the fight gone out of her.

Buffy nodded.

"I'm coming, too," Dawn said.

"No, Dawn I don't want you out there. We have no idea what Spike's state of mind is. He could be dangerous," Buffy said, sternly.

"He can't hurt us, remember? And he's my friend. I'll only go out on my own if you don't let me come." Dawn thrust out her chin.

"Fine. I'm too tired to argue." Buffy shook her head. "Come with us."

"I'll lend a hand," Xander said. "Should we split up?"

Buffy shook her head. "It's not like we have cell phones to contact each other if we find him."

They searched together, looking first in Spike's crypt then at the Bronze. They checked Willie's and finally they headed for the cemeteries. They found Spike sitting next to Joyce's grave. He had left his jacket in Buffy's basement and his hair hadn't been given its usual gel treatment. Golden curls spilled over his forehead. He looked different, vulnerable and no less insane.

"Spike, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked softly.

"Saying goodbye." The soft words barely carried to them.

"Goodbye? What do you mean?" Buffy asked, her body tensing as if for a fight.

Spike raised his hand. He held one of Buffy's stakes. "I can't do this. I can't live with it."

"Spike, you don't want to do this," Buffy said.

"Please Spike, put that down," Dawn sobbed, flooding her face. "I can't lose anyone else!"

"I had hoped you'd just find my letter and not come looking for me." Tears started to trickle down his face. "Tell Angel I'm sorry for tormenting him about being…like this. I couldn't know." He broke off, reaching instinctively for his cigarettes and found nothing. It was a wasted effort at any rate as his fingers convulsed on the wood of the stake. "I can't make their voices stop. I'm not alone even in my own head now. Tell Angel…Dru that I'm gone."

Before Buffy could move, Spike buried the stake in his own chest. For a brief moment before he went to dust, a look of joy and relief cut across his thin face. Dawn sobbed loudly and Willow moaned. Buffy looked back at them and saw a look of sorrow even on Xander's face. Spike at least had deserved a better death than this. Buffy took a few steps towards her mother's grave. Spike's dust danced over the stone on the wind and then the last traces of him were gone. The hole in Buffy's heart started bleeding anew.

* * *

"Where are you going?" Willow asked.

Buffy folded Spike's jacket over her arm. In it she found his cigarettes and his farewell letters, the one for Giles alone and the one for her. She couldn't bring herself to read it. She had made it as far as 'Don't bloody waste your time mourning me,' before she quit reading. She walked past Willow. "Dawn will be staying at Lisa's for a few days. I should be back soon."

Willow caught hold of Buffy's arm, grateful her friend didn't pull away. "I'm so sorry Buffy. I tried to make things right."

"I know, Will. And I forgive you but I just need to be alone for a little while. I'll be back in a day or two. Don't mail off those notebooks to Giles until I get back. I have to read them."

Willow gulped, rubbing at her eyes. "I won't."

Buffy nodded, not sure why she wanted to read them. She had read Spike's letter to Giles. She knew he wanted those notebooks to go into the Watchers' files and he didn't want her to read them. Buffy couldn't honor that final wish. She had to know. She knew Spike had been a monster but some how he had gotten inside of her. They had shared something, not love; she didn't know what to call it but she had to know everything he had ever done. It might make it harder to live with herself but she had to know.

Buffy walked outside and laid Spike's jacket in his Desoto. She knew trying to drive this thing to L.A. was the craziest thing she'd done in a long time. She wasn't a good driver and this car didn't have power steering and wasn't an automatic. Still, she'd manage somehow.

She slid behind the steering wheel and lurched the car out onto the street. She only hoped she didn't blow the car up before she hit L. A. She needed to see Angel. She was going to tell him Spike's last words. She was going to tell him everything. It would be hard and ugly but maybe once it was done she could finally begin to heal. She even took with her something Spike had meant for her eyes only. She hadn't even told her friends she found it with the farewell letter but she would show it to Angel. Maybe it would help to understand that Spike hadn't just been taking advantage of her mental state, that he had felt something for her. Or maybe it would make Angel hate her and Spike all the more. Either way, deep down she knew she had to share it with someone. She never had had a memory for poetry, at least not in class, but this stayed with her.

The hour of phantoms

Wearing shadows like armor

You pierce the night

Making it yours

Just as you did me

Not a moment's peace

Since your light shone into my dark corners

Warming me for the first time since I died.

I'm unworthy of your touch

The words that spill from my mouth

Paint the wrong picture, off color, iniquitous

Showing lust and not what I hold close to my heart

The memory of your hidden tenderness

Will be the only thing I take with me

I know you never loved me

But please remember me

Buffy didn't know if it was good poetry or not, only that it touched her. Maybe going to L.A. wouldn't help her make sense of this but she had to believe it would. With the grinding of gears she drove on, thinking she never would forget.