So I had a little idea for a story, so I just ran with it. I haven't read the comics, so this is my idea of what might happen after the series ended.

Summary: Goes very AU after season 7. Spike is dead and Buffy is still grieving one year later. She has a feeling that the reason she can't get over him is because he is using her as an anchor in another dimension to keep him from being sent to hell. Willow performs a spell and can't find Spike anywhere. She comes to the realization that Spike isn't in another dimension, but rather he is still alive...working with Angel in L.A.

"I don't like walking around this old and empty house.

So hold my hand, I'll walk with you my dear."

"It's time luv…" he said, his voice heavy with sadness as he stroked her hair, his fingers getting tangled in her golden locks. She looked up at him then, her green eyes welling up with tears.

"No please…not yet," she begged. Buffy buried her face into his chest, staining his shirt with her tears. "Why do you always have to go?"

"You know why luv." He put his finger under her chin and brought her face up to meet his in a gentle kiss. It lasted only a moment before Buffy pulled away and frowned.

"You know I almost don't remember what it's like to kiss you anymore…" She pulled herself up from the ground and paced back and forth in front of him. "Even now I can barely feel it."

Spike grabbed her arm and pulled her into his lap. He didn't say a word, but instead just stared at her fingers as he laced them with his own.

"I miss this…" Her eyes closed softly as she inhaled, taking in his scent. Bourbon and smoke. It may sound awful, but to Buffy it was the most amazing smell in the world. Because it was his smell. And even though she tried to recreate it a million times it, she never seemed to get it right. All she had left was her memory of it, and even that was fading.

She felt him kiss her head softly and she pressed herself even further into him. His grip on her tightened for a split second and then she felt nothing. When she opened her eyes he was gone. Her lips quivered and her jaw clenched in a futile effort to keep herself from crying. But it was useless. Even her dreams were hell.

Buffy opened her eyes and couldn't help the sob that escaped. She put her hand over her mouth in a vain attempt to smother the noise. She thought she was done with this. Waking up on a pillow soaked with tears every morning was becoming so tiring and she wanted more than anything to be done with it. To move on. But how could she? She was faced with his presence everywhere she went. Every little thing reminded her of him. She was miserable. Shouldn't he be here with her then?

"Why are you always around when I'm miserable?" she sighed, slightly glancing over at him. He shrugged his shoulders and looked up at the sky.

"Cos' that's when you're alone I reckon…"

She would be lying to herself if she didn't admit that even then Spike didn't bug her as much as she led people to believe. He was the only person that seemed to understand her. Both parts of her. Buffy and the Slayer. They were one in the same. Xander and Willow never seemed to get that, as much as they tried. And it's not like she blamed them for that…well at least she tried. They couldn't seem to understand why Buffy could never separate herself from her slayer duties sometimes and just be a normal girl. Even her mom never fully understood…

"No, it doesn't stop. It never stops. Do-do you think I chose to be like this? Do you have any idea how lonely it is? How dangerous? I wouldloveto be upstairs watching TV or gossiping about boys or, god, even studying! But I have to save the world. Again."

But she wasn't a normal girl. That was the point. Maybe that's when Spike started to wriggle his way inside her heart. He didn't question her motives and ask her to be something she wasn't. He just sat there. He listened. And he didn't belittle her like Angel often did…he treated her as an equal. And she treated him like…

"Say it's true. Say I do want to," Buffy said, pushing him to the ground. "It wouldn't be you, Spike. It would never be you." She took the cash, ripped it in half, and tossed it at him. "You're beneath me."

Beneath him? Ugh she was such a bitch. Of all the people that she had ever met, he was the most selfless, the most caring, the most loving…he was the opposite of beneath her. And he didn't even have a soul at the didn't need the soul though, because some part of Buffy believed that it never fully went away…it was just being smothered by the demon. But even the demon couldn't keep it down forever. She only wished she would have noticed that before. Wished she would have seen his effort and how hard he tried to please her. Maybe if she had done that…things would be different. She would have gotten more time with him. Maybe then he would have believed her when she said she loved him.

"No you don't," Spike said. "But thanks for saying it."

Ring! Ring! Buffy rubbed her hands over eyes, wiping away the tears that wouldn't stop coming. She reached for her phone, and pressed Answer.

"Hello?"

"Buffy? Are you okay?" Willow asked. Buffy cleared her throat.

"Yeah, I'm fine." She said. That was a lie.

"You just sound…did you have another Sp-"

Buffy wouldn't let her finish. "I'm just still groggy. Haven't fully woken up yet."

There a moment of silence on the other end.

"Okay," Willow finally said. "Well hurry up and get dressed! Xander said he's almost done drawing out the blueprints for the new building and he wants us to come and check it out. Ya know, see if there anything we want to add? He sounds really excited about it!"

Buffy laughed. "He's not the only one who sounds excited Will."

"What? You're saying you're not happy about this? We're going to have our very own headquarters Buffy! We'll have a training gym for all the new slayers. A big one, from what I hear from Xander. You're going to have your own office as well as Giles. I'm going to have a library full of spell books and basically everything I'll ever need. It'll be like having my own little magic shop! But I won't have to pay for any of it, because it will all be mine!"

Buffy could practically hear Willow face stretching from the giant smile that she was sure was plastered on her best friend's face.

"I am happy, it's just…" Buffy paused for a moment as a shiny metal object sticking out from under her blanket caught her eye. It was Spike's lighter. The only thing of his that she kept. And she slept with it clenched up in her hand every night. She reached over and picked it up, gently caressing the smooth silver. She took a deep breath. "No you're right Will. It will be great."

"Hey Buffster!" Xander yelled, pulling her into a big hug when she arrived at his apartment. He gave her a tight squeeze, before letting go and walking, well more like skipping, over to his dining room table where a huge map of the building lay. "So you ready to see what Slayerettes Incorporated will look like?"

Buffy made a face. "Oh please tell me that's not the name!"

Willow came from the other room and smiled. "Of course not! That's just what Andrew wanted to name it, but I agree," she said walking over to Buffy and whispering, "that name could not suck more if it tried."

"Hey!" Andrew yelled. "You said you loved it!" He came out of the kitchen and over to Willow, with both hands on his hips.

"Oh well…" Willow bit her lip and looked at Xander. "I thought it had potential. Xander was the one that said it sucked."

Xander rolled his eyes and groaned.

"First you drink all of my cran-apple juice boxes and now this Xander?!" Andrew yelled. "Some friend you are…you know sometimes I just wish Spike was still around. HE would like the name…"

Buffy shut her eyes, wincing at the sound of his name, but no one seemed to notice but Willow.

"Okay listen up nerd boy," Xander began. "First off, I bought those juice boxes. Secondly, the name is just awful, and lastly, when are you gonna get over this weird man crush you have on Spike. He's dead. Get over it!"

Buffy couldn't just stand there. She would break down in tears if she tried. So she turned around and walked out the door, accidentally slamming it in the process.

Willow glared at Xander. "Are you that stupid Xand?!" she said. She snapped her fingers and disappeared into thin air.

"That's not fair! How come she gets to do all the cool stuff?" Andrew said.

"What I say?"

Buffy found a wooden bench just on the outskirts of the park across from Xander's apartment building. She sat down and ran her hands through hair, and held her head down in her lap.

"Why can't you just let me go?" A single tear slowly fell down her cheek. "Just let me go Spike?"

"Buffy?"

Buffy wiped her face and looked up to see Willow standing in front of her. Her long turquoise dress blowing in the wind, and her bright crimson hair cascading down past her shoulders. She truly embodied the light now, and Buffy could see it finally. She was so bright and cheerful…nothing about her radiated darkness or sadness or pain.

"How did you do it?" Buffy asked.

"Oh well I used to have to utter a tiny spell in Latin, but now I can just snap my fingers," she said performing the gesture, vanishing and then reappearing on the other side of the bench next to Buffy. "It's really easy actually," she said smiling. Her faced fell when she saw Buffy's expression.

"Not that Will…I meant, how did you…" She couldn't find the words, but it seemed as if Willow understood.

"I never got over her Buffy…I never will." Willow looked down at her hands and clasped them together.

"But you moved on. With Kennedy? Even though that didn't work out so well…you still moved on…how?"

"There is no how Buffy. The reason Kennedy and I didn't make it was because I wasn't over Tara…and she knew that…that's why she left…"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to-"

Willow raised her hand and rested in on Buffy's shoulders. "No no no Buffy. Don't be sorry." She took a long look at her friends face. Green eyes that were once so pure, so vibrant…now looked empty and hollow. Like no one was home. "Would it help if I said that it gets easier?" Willow said, hoping that Buffy wouldn't go into that dark place again like she did when Glory took Dawn. They couldn't lose Buffy like that again…or ever.

"If that's true…then why do I still feel this way? It's like…it's like I can't let him go…or like…" Buffy stopped talking and looked down at her hands.

"Like what Buff? Come on, tell me…" Willow said. She took her shoulders and turned her Buffy towards her. "Please?"

"I don't even know if it's possible, but I just…I feel like…like he won't let me go either…"

Willow's face scrunched up in confusion. She looked around for a moment, trying to find the words and be as sensitive as possible. "Buffy…Spike's…he's…"

"I know he's dead Will, but…what if he's still out there somewhere…what if I'm like his anchor keeping him from…I don't know, some sort of horrible hell dimension?"

"You think he's holding on to you somehow?" Willow asked.

Buffy just shrugged her shoulders and sighed. "I know it sounds stupid…"

Willow shook her head. "It's not stupid!" She jumped up to her feet and tugged on Buffy's arm. "Come with me."

Buffy didn't have time to register what was going on until Willow snapped her fingers and transported them to Willow's apartment. She let go of Buffy and began rifling through her bookshelf. Buffy placed and hand to her forehead and let out a groan. Willow turned around and scrunched up her face.

"Oh sorry Buff! I forgot how teleporting used to feel at first. You're all headachey aren't ya?" Willow said.

Buffy put her hand in the air, waving off Willow's concern. "It's not big Will. I'll be fine." She took a seat in Willow's brown leather chair and closed her eyes. "So…I'm sorry, what are we doing here?"

"Just a second…" Willow said, flipping through the pages of a dictionary sized spell book. It looked very old. The binding had almost completely worn off and was being held together by scotch tape.

"What's that?" Buffy asked.

Willow smiled from ear to ear once she found the page she was looking for. She got up and walked over to Buffy, showing her what she found.

"This is going to help us find Spike."