Slayers don’t suffer with claustrophobia. They live with impending death. However, tonight Buffy wasn’t coping.
She needed to get away from the house, but the silence of Sunnydale was, in itself, deafening. So she sat on the front porch and let herself find the peace that she had been looking for, over the last few weeks.
The house was full, in stark contrast to the emptiness of the town. Both were heading towards “tomorrow”. What that day would bring was only something that could be guessed upon at this time. So, she sat and let her body relax and let her mind find peace, and therefore the strength that Giles had been trying to get her to achieve over the last few years.
She was facing the biggest challenge of her life – not that fighting the first evil wouldn’t be a contest, but for tonight that coming battle paled into insignificance to the conversation that she knew she wanted to have with one of the members of her extended household.
At long last she felt ready to face her nemesis.
Could a vampire become hypnotised? What a question to wonder at. However, the more Spike looked at the amulet in his hand, the less he wanted to think about the coming battle.
Mainly he was amazed and incredibly proud that Buffy had called him a Champion, and had given him the jewellery to wear. But he also wondered what power it really contained. As he was always saying, “magic has its consequences”.
So all in all he felt happier to just sit at rest. He had achieved real peace with his soul over the last few days, helped by Buffy’s acceptance of his presence, but also in being able to put his Mum’s death behind him. After over 100 years he realised that he was at peace with himself and if he were to die in the coming conflict, he knew that he had achieved a personal reconciliation which could never be taken from him.
She quietly walked down the steps to the basement, so that she didn’t lose her own determination.
The peace that he was experiencing was further increased with the realisation that she had come to spend some of her precious time with him again. He had no allusions that she would stay, as tonight may be the last day of the world; Spike knew that she would be spending time with her sister and the Scoobies. So he was thankful for these few crumbs that she was handing him.
As he stood up at her approach he thought that she looked nervous. He tried to decide whether to tease her out of her melancholy or if he should try to give her some positive advice. As he was still trying to work out what to say to her, she cleared her throat and muttered something.
“What was that, Pet?” Spike had been so lost in his own thoughts that even his sensitive ears had failed to make sense of her opening words.
“Ermmm. Sorry. I had this speech all worked out. Now I am here my brain seems to have gone to mush.” Buffy eventually spoke in a clear tone.
“Let’s get comfy and then we can have that chat.” Spike didn’t lose eye contact as he walked back to sit on the edge of his cot. Slowly she followed him to sit next to him. As she sat down she turned slightly, so that she was still facing him and then, much to his shock, she leant forwards and took his nearest hand in one of hers.
“Do you remember the Thanksgiving Meal that I made a couple of years ago?” Buffy’s opening question seemed to bring Spike back from the amazing place that he had drifted to when she had taken his hand in hers.
“Yes, no one bled near enough to allow me to eat them. Or was it the Indian attack that you are remembering?” Buffy so wanted to correct him in his terminology of their attackers, but as she didn’t want to get side-tracked she let it go.
“No. What I was thinking of was the actual reason I wanted to do Thanksgiving. I wanted to show Mom that even though she was away I didn’t miss her at all. I was all grown-up. Poor Giles having to host my plans. However in the muddle of panic shopping, cooking and fighting I realised that I was still with family. Giles had been my Dad when Dad was missing. Xander & Willow were my brother & sister.”
“True, Pet. True friends are family, special to you. There in times of need.”
“So … “ Again Buffy seemed lost for words. She had always said that Buffy & words were non-mixy, but she knew she needed the words now. “My family are all here tonight. That same family as well as my sister and sister-slayer, and we have a big day coming.” As Buffy started to stammer and ramble Spike guessed that his few moments were going to be up soon, and wondered if there was any legitimate reason he could use to delay that departure.
“So, Thanksgiving is just a date on a calendar, isn’t it?” Buffy continued to ramble. “Whatever tomorrow brings I have lots to be thankful for now. However there is one very special person I haven’t mentioned (*Oh no, not Peaches* thought Spike), and that is you.”
“What?” Spike finally interrupted.
“Yes, Spike. You are someone I am so thankful for. You have been there for me, especially over the last 3 years. You have taken my abuse, my insults, even my fists. Yet here you still are. You have even gotten your soul. I need to say thank you.”
“No Spike, I know what you are going to say. That one moment in time was the result of weeks of my abusing you. I forgave you at the time, and again I never told you that. If I hadn’t forgiven you, do you think I would have brought Dawn to you for you to keep her safe? You have forgiven me for so much, and you continue to forgive me. So …”
“Buffy – “
“No Spike, let me finish. I want you to do one more thing for me. It should be easy as you have already done so much. Can you please forgive yourself?”
Silence surrounded them, but it was a silence that they were able to absorb as peace.
Despite what their history and what they guessed their future held; years of history washed over them both, leaving them cleansed, leaving them both at peace.
At last Buffy straightened up again, and Spike accepted her movement knowing that whatever the coming battle brought he would fight to protect her, as he had for years. But with that acceptance, he also knew that her family and friends needed to now spend time with her as well. But, she didn’t stand up. Instead she took the arm closest to her and wrapped it around her shoulders … and relaxed back onto him, slightly turning into him in a memory of how they had rested in that stranger’s bed.
Buffy’s breathing began to even out and Spike was sure she was drifting asleep. However he was proved wrong; as she mumbled quietly, not wanting to shatter the peace, but thankful for his vampire hearing.
“Spike, thank you for everything.”
Peace settled deeper around them.
“Spike” she continued, quieter than ever, “I love you”
“I know Pet, but thanks for saying it.”
What more could that final night hold for them both???
Fade to black ……