'Til the End of the World
One Year Later.
The night had been a quiet one. Only three vamps, all fledgling, had crossed her path. It had been like this for the last several weeks and she had found that the nights had been an empty basket with rampant thoughts her only companion. It had been almost three weeks since she had found out about Dawn's sticky finger habit and grounded her. The younger teen still had two more weeks of punishment to go before she was allowed back on patrol though she still trained with Buffy. It hadn't been easy for Buffy either because, as much as she didn't want to admit it, Dawn was getting to be very good. That and the fact that she was Buffy's best patrol partner since--him--didn't lessen the loneliness she had felt for the last few weeks. The walking hormone, as Buffy liked to call her sister, was a very reliable companion and her art for sarcastic remarks were only surpassed by the once king of sarcasm.
"Spike," the name rolled off her tongue effortlessly as she trudged her way to the familiar spot in the trees. Has it really been one year? She asked herself, as the marker became visible under the glint of moonlight that glistened off the marble and stone memorial. One year since the man she loved had given his life to save the world. Even after a year, she had had a hard time forgetting. Forgetting the pain of losing him. Forgetting the fact that she hadn't even had a chance to tell him. Forgetting that she would never see him, touch him or hear him again. Dawn had helped her through it tremendously, and yet, there were still times when the pain was unbearable. Sometimes she wished she could have died with him…
She coughed purposely, to avoid the inevitable flow of tears. Damn, and I haven't even talked to him yet, she thought. It had been almost two weeks since her last visit and she had finally gotten time to pay her usually weekly respects to the reminder of the Scoobies lone casualty in the war with Glory.
"Hey, Spike," she said as she sat cross-legged in front of the tombstone. "Sorry it took me so long to get back here but what with school and training Dawn and patrolling…" she laughed nervously. "Well, you get the picture. Anyway," she looked to the dirt, carving lines in the ground with her stake, "how have you been? Ha, silly question, huh? Well, I'm doing okay. You know me, rollin' with the punches, so to speak. It's been really slow here lately. Yeah, you heard me--big and scary Sunny D is quieter than the proverbial graveyard. But that just gives me even more time to do the school thing--I've got a 3.2 average for the year and finals are coming up in about two weeks, so I'm just warning you now that it might be another two weeks before I get to talk to you. Dawn should be off her punishment by then, the little bint." Buffy couldn't help but laugh at her choice of words. She often found herself slipping into British colloquialisms that had refused to be purged from her system.
"I guess cutting sarcasm wasn't the only thing she learned from hanging out at your crypt, Mr. Big Bad. She was quite the five-finger discount shopper. She's been on punishment for three weeks now. No television, no patrolling, no going out. Nothing but school and homework." She paused slightly before continuing, "And training. I don't want her to fall behind when she's finally off punishment. She thinks that this is hurting only her, but it's not. I miss her out patrolling with me. She's a great patrolling partner. It's not that the rest of the gang is chopped liver, but…I don't know, Spike. They don't know me as well as you did or as well as Dawn does…at least when I'm out on the prowl. I guess all that time at your crypt must have given her some weird of Buffy insight or something. Speaking of which, we finally got rid of those S'dua thingies the other night and now this other floppy eared demon is taking up residence. His name is Clem and I ran into him after you…left. He's really a nice guy. I guess you two were like demon buddies or something because he was all broken up about you; muttered something about you owing him three tabbies. Took me awhile to figure out that he was talkin' about kittens. Man, you demons sure do have some weird habits. I'm glad I never caught you with any or I would have had to kick your ass, you know that, don't you? Oh," she said and sat up excitedly, "you won't believe what happened last week. It was totally gross. Okay, see, there was this purple slime thing…"
"Oh my God," Buffy said as she glanced at her watch, "I can't believe I've been here this long. I gotta go. Got a stupid nine am tomorrow." She stood and swept the dirt off of her jeans. "European Literature from 1850-1900. That's the only thing giving me trouble, you know. Man, if you were here, you'd be able to…" she paused in mid-sentence and just stared at the carved letters on the gravestone. Even after all this time, she still had trouble believing that he was actually gone and wasn't coming back. She stared at the words she had memorized long ago, the same words he had spoken to Dawn on that tower were etched below his name. He had said much more, but the few that were inscribed into the marble were a beacon, not only for Buffy, but also for them all. Though it had been too late, they all realized that day how much he really meant to them. And just like their memory of him, these words would last forever, in their hearts, in their minds, in their souls.
Buffy bent down and, with slightly trembling fingers, she traced the smooth lines of the writing. It had been designed as close to Spike's handwriting as possible after the journals they had found in his crypt. She closed her eyes, reciting the words silently as unrestrained tears slid down her cheeks.
"I know, William" she said after she was finished and planted a chaste kiss on the stone before standing. "I know," she repeated before walking away, the familiar black duster billowing in the wind.
Ama me fideliter! Fidem meam noto: De corde totaliter Et ex mente tota, Sum presentialiter Absens in remota
Love me faithfully!
See how I am faithful:
With all my heart
And all my soul
I am with you
Though I am far away.
Forever in our hearts, forever in our prayers, forever in our minds…
"I existed from all eternity and, behold, I am here; and I shall exist till the end of time, for my being has no end."
***The Latin quote and its subsequent translation is from Carmina Burana, "Omnia Sol Temperat"
***The final caption is taken from Kahlil Gibran's 'Anthem of Humanity'.
***Reviews are welcome.