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I Knew

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Dear Angel

Does this surprise you? You must have known that I thought about this on a regular basis – even more so since you left. Sorry, that sounds a bit ‘school yard’ and that isn’t why I am writing. It isn’t my intention to cause you pain.

Who’d of thought that I would ever be this organised? I had help; but I guess you worked that much out for yourself – especially when Whistler turned up, handed you a carved wooden box and told you that you needed to come to Sunnydale.

I hope that the others are being kind to you. I imagine that Riley is glaring at you from across the room. Xander is being caustic and Spike; well Spike is just being Spike. I know that Willow and Tara will accept you. I hope that Mom, Dad, and Giles do too. Now isn’t the time for accusation or recrimination. I need you to work together.

When you received this you will have found other letters in the box with it. If you haven’t already done so then please give them out. You may be wondering why I have entrusted these tasks to you. The answer? Because it was always you. I can imagine your lips twisting into that familiar half smile of yours as you read that. Good. There have been too many times when I have caused you pain and what I request of you is going to cause you more. You deserve every drop of happiness that you can get Beloved. The other reason is because I know that you are strong enough to see that everything I ask is carried out exactly. Strength of heart and strength of love. I know you never stopped loving me just as I never stopped loving you.

Right. I suppose that I should get down to business before my crying renders writing an impossible task.

The Service:

I want it to be as close to sunset as is safe for you and Spike. And I want to be cremated. Does that shock you? I want there to be no way that I can ever rise or have my remains defiled by something, demonic or otherwise.

I don’t care about the coffin, what’s the point if it is only going to go up in smoke? I do care about what I wear though. Black leather pants, a white spaghetti strapped top and your jacket. Do you know that even now your scent still lingers on it. Riley could never understand why I was so protective of it and I could never bring myself to explain it to him. Do you seriously think he would understand?

Back to the matter in hand. I want to be wearing my silver cross and my wedding ring: the Claddagh – which is to be placed where it belongs, on the ring finger of my left hand. I am proud to be your wife – even if it is unofficial. You didn’t know that I knew of the Claddagh’s significance did you? What? Did you seriously think that you could keep something that important a secret from me? The Slayer? Research is my middle name!

I don’t want any hymns or prayers or stuff like that. I want the service to be a celebration of my life not some maudlin memorial of all the bad that has gone on. I want the atmosphere to be upbeat. Ask Cordy to organise the wake – if there’s one thing Queen C excels at it’s partying. Just make sure she knows that it has to be HAPPY!

I do want you all to say something. Make it fun. Find a memory that makes you smile and tell everyone about that. My funeral is no place for some long rambling eulogy. And will you read one of those poems – you know, like the ones that were in the book you gave me for my eighteenth birthday – one full of cool words like thee and thou and art?

As to the music, I want you all to go through my CDs and find some suitable tracks. If there’s one ‘The Lord is My Shepherd’ or similar I will be back to haunt you guys...that’s a promise!

I only have two specific requests as far as my belongings are concerned. Giles is to have my Slayer diaries and you are to have my personal ones...oh, and I want you to have Mr. Gordo too. You two got on so well together! Other than that you can all select items that you want and the rest can be disposed of in whatever manner you all agree on.

The Interment

Ok, now we get to the yucky bit. NO ONE is going to do the freaky bit and keep my ashes in a vase on their mantle. I want my ashes to be interred and I want a nice little stone tablet to mark the spot. No long mention of being a heroine or a protector or even dates, just my name. Which reminds me, I guess I’m not Buffy Summers anymore – I’m Mrs. Buffy Summers~? What is your surname? I’d like to be hyphenated! Seriously, I want to use my married name, it’s really important to me.

Angel, I am so sorry that we never got the chance to be together again. I am sorry for all the hurtful things that I said to you that time I came to LA and found you with Faith (there is also a letter for her which I know you will be able to pass on). I lied. Riley was rebound guy. I do care for him and I do love him, I’m just not in love with him. I am in love with you. Never has there been a time when I haven’t been. It was just that fate wasn’t kind to us. The demon brought us together and the demon kept us apart. I wanted nothing more than to be with you 24/7 but it just wasn’t to be.

You told me everything you wanted for me – I want that for you too. I don’t want you to spend the rest of your time on this planet alone and mourning for me. Don’t go back to being ‘brood-boy’. When I last visited you in LA I could see how much you have progressed and Cordy tells me that you have come on leaps and bounds since then. Keep it up. Keep living in the real world. Have fun, interact with people, get out and have a good time. Promise me that you will keep on ‘living’.

Fuck it! I never wanted to die. I wanted to settle down with you and do what normal people do, in-between the staking, decapitating, and eviscerating. I know that things would have been difficult for us but I honestly believe we would have worked it out. Instead of which I am dead and you are undertaking the task of arranging my funeral. Whichever demon took me down should be very afraid right about now. By my reckoning there are twelve extremely angry people in this room just dying to kick some demon butt.

I miss you so much. I wish that I could hold you one more time and tell you just how much I love you. Instead I am asking you to do probably the hardest thing you’ll ever have to. Forgive me.

I have to stop now as I can hardly see. This is the hardest letter I have ever had to write...

Until we meet again Beloved

Forever With Me

Buffy

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I always thought I’d know, that I’d feel it. That one moment I would be doing something and the next I would be suffering from gut wrenching, soul destroying, heart shattering agony. But I was wrong. There was nothing. And somehow that makes it even worse.

I was cooking breakfast for Wesley and Cordelia when Whistler turned up. Even though the grief was plainly written all over his face my soul stubbornly refused to believe it. He placed a carved wooden box into my hands and told me that I was needed in Sunnydale.

I’ve probably read your letter a hundred times now and I still don’t think it has really sunk in. Even as I sit here, surrounded by your family and friends and shaking like the proverbial leaf, I don’t think I’ve truly accepted that you’ve gone. I keep expecting you to bounce into the room and suggest that we all hit the Bronze.

I don’t know how I am going to do this. How am I going to get them to work with me when some of them want nothing less than my death?

I miss you. I can still feel your delicate form encircled by my arms, your breath upon my neck and your heart beating against my chest. I miss your warmth, your smile, your love, I miss everything about you. How am I going to carry on?

You were right, I did smile when I read the part where you said it was always me. It was always you too, I’m glad you realized that. If there was ever a time you thought otherwise then forgive me.

God I’m so sorry I let you down. I failed you and now you’re dead. Too busy staying away for your own good to realize that what you really needed was me watching your back.

Riley is glaring at me. From his look, I can tell that he would like nothing better than to slam a stake into my undead heart. Try it little boy. Where were his manly shows of strength when you were getting your head caved in by a Tracheous demon? I bet he screamed and ran in the opposite direction. Yeah, you just try it on with me and see what damage a really pissed off demon can do.

Angelus is devastated. I can feel his misery coursing through me like an electric current. It is hard to tell where his pain ends and mine begins. Both of us loved you with a passion. Both of us wanted you. You were our mate. And now you’re gone.

I hate it that you had the time to sit and plan your funeral. You were only twenty. At twenty you should have been worrying about clothes, hair, and make-up. Instead you were sitting in your room writing farewell letters to your nearest and dearest. That is not the life I wanted for you.

You were precious, a striking butterfly with sequined wings that shimmered in the breeze. You shouldn’t have known about demons and darkness, only light and joy. You were a ray of sun that should have shone forever, a moonbeam that cut a swathe through the night. You brought peace and happiness to everyone you met.

I must stop talking about you in the past tense. I hate myself for doing it. You are not gone. You are not gone. You are not gone.

How am I going to do this Buffy?

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Dear Giles

Oh God. How do I begin to say goodbye to someone I love as much as my own flesh and blood – maybe more so? How do I put into words just how much you mean to me?

You are my guide, my conscience, and my confidant. You give me strength and wisdom. Without your support I would never have made it this far.

Please don’t blame yourself. We all knew that one day my luck would run out – one of the drawbacks of being the Slayer. Put aside your grief and your anger and move on. If being the Chosen One has taught me anything it’s that life is too short. One of the first conversations I had with Willow was about seizing the day – Carpe Diem. Take that as your motto and live it. Help the others do the same. Promise me this.

We had our moments didn’t we? I remember the first time we met. You put that book in front of me (Vampyr wasn’t it?) and I almost ran the four-second mile. After my experiences with Merrick, the last thing I wanted was another stuffy, tweed suited know it all telling me what to do. I’m so glad we managed to resolve our differences. If we hadn’t I would have missed out on knowing you. And not knowing you would have meant missing out on a very precious relationship. I would have been far less a person without you in my life.

I had so much I wanted to say to you, but now it comes down to it I just can’t seem to find the words. Everything I think of seems pretty shallow.

You had an amazing impact Giles, not only on me but on Xander, Cordelia, Willow, Tara, Spike, Amy, Anya, Oz, and Angel too. You gave up so much for us, for me. Thank you for being our guardian and our mentor.

I have one last thing to ask of you. Please help Angel. I have entrusted him with the task of carrying out my last wishes, including organizing my funeral. Help him. Lend him your strength. He will need an ally.

I’m crying too much to continue. Please just know that I love you.

Thank you for everything... Dad.

Love always

Buffy

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I’m holding something more precious than any book in my library. I cradle it tenderly; tears streaming silently down my face.

She called me Dad. That one word has both warmed and shattered my already dying heart.

I loved her so much, I still do. I can’t believe that she has gone. Quentin Travers was right when he said I had a father’s love for her. She was the daughter I never had.

The ‘Ripper’ in me wants to go out, find that Tracheous demon, and do it some serious harm. The only thing stopping me is her. If anything happened to me then I’m pretty sure the first thing I would experience in the afterlife would be a lecture on stupidity from her, probably with Jenny backing her up.

I look around at the others in the room. Willow clutches her letter but doesn’t read it whilst Tara tries to comfort her. Xander stares blankly whilst Anya soothingly rubs his back. Joyce and Mr. Summers just look destroyed. Riley looks ready to explode with anger. Spike is uncharacteristically silent, whilst Wesley and Cordelia hover close to Angel.

Angel. If anyone in this room deserves my sympathy right now then it is him. No one knew Buffy like he did – not even her parents. I can’t even begin to imagine the torment he is going through. His face is a blank mask but his body shudders under the stain of pent up emotion. Christ this must be so hard for him. I do not envy him the tasks he has to undertake but I will support him all I can, even if she hadn’t asked.

She brought out the best in me; she did that in everyone, even her arch nemesis Spike. She lost her life defending a world where 99% of the population neither know nor care what goes bump in the night. She carried her burden unfailingly. She was an inspiration.

She was the most precious thing in the world to me. She was my daughter.

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Dear Spike

Christ, now there’s something I never thought I’d find myself doing – calling you dear!

You’ve been a thorn in my side for as long as I can remember – a cute thorn - but a thorn no less. And yet, you’ve been something else too. Despite many false starts, we have become friends. Given it’s a peculiar friendship, but it’s also one I wouldn’t be without.

We’ve beaten the living shit out of each other a few times now haven’t we? It was fun, not the occasion when you had Angel and were using him to restore Drusilla, but some of the others.

Remember when we teamed up to defeat Angelus? Dog racing and Manchester United??? You certainly have hidden depths! I never took you for the sentimental sort.

Don’t feel too bad that it wasn’t you that finished me off, you can’t kill EVERY Slayer. If you want to take your pent up aggression out on something then go and raise bloody hell against the bastard that finally ended my reign.

I need to ask you to do a couple of things for me. Please work with the others to fulfill my last wishes, support them, and aid them. And please be there for Angel. This is going to be so hard on him. I need you to be his support, his backbone, and his shoulder to cry on.

Spike, I know this may be hard for you to comprehend but I love you. You are the wayward elder brother I never had, always getting into trouble, seeming not to care, but having a (reasonably!) good heart underneath.

I’m going to miss you Bro.

Hugs

Buffy

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Damn the little bint! Why did she have to go and get herself killed? Who am I going to spar with now? She was an irritating little thing but she was MY irritating little thing.

Peaches looks like he’s gonna go postal any second. Fishboy is glaring at him. That kid must have a death wish, Angel could rip him apart without breaking a sweat, and I would gladly help him. I never liked the jumped up little git anyway.

Red and her girlfriend are silent but their grief is evident, as is that of Xander and the nymphomaniac ex-demon he’s hooked up with. The Watcher is doing a pretty convincing impression of Niagara Falls, not even the Slayer’s folks can compete with him! Then we have the rogue demon hunter and the actress – hmmm, not sure about them.

Damn damn damn damn! Why am I letting her get to me like this? I’m Spike, William the Bloody. I don’t care if a Slayer dies; in fact I would go as far as to say that it’s a bloody good thing. But not when it’s her. Dru was right, I am soft! Shit, I haven’t got a soul and I’m nearly as wet as the bloody poof over there.

But she did that to people. She got under your skin like a deadly virus and by the time you realized it, it was too late. After everything I did to her, attempting to kill her when her dumb friend thought he’d made a deal with me, selling her and her friends out to Adam, I played both sides and screwed everyone – all that mattered was number one, me – and still she called me friend. Because of that I’ll do what she asked.

And because in my own way I loved her too, she was my sister.

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Dear Riley

I guess you’re hurting right now. There are so many things I should have said to you and never did, one of them was goodbye.

Now I’ve gone and added more pain, but if I’m going to be as honest with you as I am with all the others then I’m afraid there has got to be a little pain along the way.

I should never have got involved with you; I’m not free to make the kind of commitment you want. For one thing, I am in love with someone else, mind, body, and soul, and for the other, I am married to him.

Please don’t think that you mean nothing to me, I do care, and I do love you, I’m just not in love with you and that’s why I should have said goodbye. I should have set you free to find the one, your soulmate.

Don’t fight Angel on my funeral arrangements, don’t fight Angel on anything. He is the one who holds my heart and he is following my instructions in everything he does. He has a hard enough task ahead of him; please don’t make it any harder.

You lost so much because of me and I guess that right now you are feeling extremely cheated. If I could turn back time, I would, if I could not get involved with you then I wouldn’t. But it’s too late for ifs.

Feel free to walk away from this if that is what you want. I won’t blame you if you do. I guess you think that I’ve betrayed you, and maybe I have, but I can’t do anything about that now except say sorry, which I know won’t be enough.

Somewhere out there Riley is the woman you want and that I can never be. The woman who is in awe of you, a frail little thing that needs protecting, and cherishing.

Remember the good times we had and then let it go. You have so much life left to live, don’t waste it hating me.

Goodbye

Buffy

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I hate her, God how I hate her. After everything I have done for her, gave up for her, and she repays me like this.

Look at him, sitting there all smug and self-righteous. I’d like to knock his stupid head right off his shoulders.

How could she do this? I gave up my entire life for her and she tells me that not only does she not love me, but that she is in love and married, to a hostile no less. Bitch! She played me for a fool and I won’t forget that.

I want to punch someone right now, maybe that damn Watcher of hers, he must have known what was going on. She’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer not Buffy the Vampire Layer! Slut. I wonder if she fucked Hostile 17 too. Seems that screwing the undead was the only thing that did it for her.

Trying to make it all right with pretty words in a letter, trying to excuse herself. Oh yeah, I’ll forget about you, don’t you worry yourself on that score. The scales have come off my eyes and I can see you and your friends for what you really are, a bunch of pathetic no hopers who have demons for friends. It won’t take me long to get you out of my head. I’m going to find someone who deserves me, because you never did.

I hate you bitch and I’m glad you’re dead.

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Dear Mom & Dad

This must be so hard for you, even more so for you Dad because you didn’t know who I was. I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you – it was safer for you not to know.

I can imagine you are both filled with grief and rage, wanting to lash out at anyone and everyone you see as being responsible for your daughter’s death.

Don’t.

The people in this room have supported me, guided me, protected me, and loved me. You may scoff at the protection part because, as you are reading this I am quite obviously dead, but don’t. You have no idea what these people have been through for me. I had a sacred duty; they did it out of love and friendship. We have seen things that defy description; we have saved the world more times than I can count. If you want to do anything then give them your thanks, because without them your daughter would have died a long long time ago.

I have entrusted the carrying out of my final wishes to Angel. You know why Mom and I hope you will explain to Dad. Don’t fight Angel or try to overrule him, everything he does is what I have requested of him. Support him and know that he does it out of his love for me.

I may not always have shown it but I do love you guys. Dad, you haven’t always been there and we don’t have an easy relationship but I do love you. I know this is hard for you to understand but try to. Your little girl grew up.

I can’t put my feelings in to words; my emotions are too haywire right now, please just know that I love you both so very very much.

I miss you Mommy and Daddy

Much love

Your daughter Buffy

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HANK

This is more than I can take in. My baby girl had a life that I knew nothing about, a life full of danger, and demons, and darkness. More than that, she was the wife and lover of a vampire, one of the creatures she was supposed to kill.

My Buffy the Slayer? And everyone knew except for me. How could her mother have allowed this?

I have read her letter over and over again, listened to the explanations and still I find it hard to believe. Right now I am sitting in a room with two vampires, an ex revenge demon, two witches, a Watcher, a seer, and two demon hunters. The only normal ones in the room are Joyce, and the one they call Xander.

My little girl is dead. She died battling some evil that up until now I thought only existed in fairy tales and over active imaginations. Why didn’t these people protect her? The older guy, her Watcher or something, why didn’t he do something? How could he let my angel die?

All the times I let her down, like her eighteenth birthday when I should have taken her ice-skating. How many I love yous never said? How many missed opportunities never to be reclaimed?

How could I not have known what was going on in her life? Why didn’t anyone think to tell me? I feel like I failed her. Maybe I could have helped her. Maybe she wouldn’t be dead.

JOYCE

I knew that this would happen one day but I shoved it to the back of my mind. Who wants to dwell on the fact that one day their daughter is going to die a horrible and probably extremely painful death?

I shouldn’t have been surprised that she turned to Angel, even when she was with Riley I knew that her heart was somewhere else with someone else, but I was. I didn’t think that they were still in contact, goes to show I was wrong.

I look at him now and I see nothing of the evil monster that tormented us years ago, all there is now is a broken, grieving man. I took him away from her and a little piece of her died, never knowing that those very same actions would finish the job years later. It looks as though I destroyed him too.

I loved her and I thought I knew what was best for her, now I know that I knew nothing. I wanted to protect her, to make her stay my little girl forever, to keep her safe. All I did was the complete opposite. I should never have interfered.

It’s hard on her father. He didn’t understand why we had to come here. When he walked through the door and saw a room full of people he didn’t know he balked. I gently guided him to a seat, introduced everyone, and then let Giles do the explanations. He didn’t react as I thought he would, instead he sat calmly and took everything in.

I miss her. On more than one occasion I have found myself wandering into her room to tell her something only to remember that she’s not there, which is silly as she hasn’t lived at home since she started college.

It’s the silly things I miss the most, arguing over clothing at the mall, eating popcorn whilst crying over a weepy movie. Her smile, her laugh, the sound of her voice.

I’m so sorry Baby.

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Dear Faith

Surprise! I bet I’m the last person you expected to get a letter from. Didn’t think that I knew that you and Angel were still in contact? Actually, I’m glad. If he can help you find out who you want to be then good.

Do you expect me to hate you? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t in the beginning, but now I don’t. You haven’t had it easy.

I apologize for going postal when I found you at Angel’s that time. I guess it was obvious to you that I was still in love with him, even if I couldn’t admit it to myself. I’ve always had a problem as far as you and him are concerned. In the words of Queen C – insecure much!

I never got the chance to thank you for what you did for Angel, giving yourself up to the Police; that was an extremely brave and selfless thing to do. I don’t know if I could be that strong.

I hope jail isn’t too hard for you and I hope that you are getting the help that you want and need. I’m sorry that I never got the chance to visit and say this personally, I would like to have had the chance to talk face to face, but the Hellmouth wasn’t obliging.

I can’t say that the time we spent in each other’s bodies was enjoyable but it did give me an insight into how it must be to be you. Again, I don’t know if I could be that strong.

In many ways, I admire you. Yes, you did read that right! Right now, I am living a life that brings me absolutely no pleasure; in fact, it makes me downright miserable. So what do I do? Nothing. I just carry on with the charade day after day, too scared to take the chance. I think you know what I am talking about. Angel.

Can you ever forgive me for all the horrible things I’ve said and done to you? When it comes down to it, you are my sister. Neither of us chose this calling – we just do the best we can with the hand that fate dealt us.

Oh well, my time here is over and now another must face the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. Another one of the sisterhood has been called, another Slayer.

I wish you nothing but the best of everything Faith, I hope you find whatever it is you’re looking for, I hope you find peace.

Love

Buffy

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I used to be insensitive to other people’s feelings. As long as I was alright then nothing else mattered. But being in here and meeting with Angel has changed all that. That’s why I knew something was wrong the moment I saw him.

He didn’t say a word. He didn’t need to. Vampires might not age physically but he had, that’s the only way to describe it. His whole posture was one of defeat. He sat, took a letter from his coat pocket, and then held it out to me in a trembling hand. I took it and tried to ask him what was wrong, but he just dismissed me and walked away.

When I got back to my cell, I looked at the letter still clutched in my hand. As soon as I saw your writing on the envelope, I knew.

I read the letter with disbelief. By the end of it tears poured silently down my face. You were dead.

I always thought that I would be the first to go. I was the rogue Slayer, the one with no Watcher or support network. You were the shining example of everything a Slayer could and should be. You shouldn’t have been the one to die.

I can’t believe that you asked for my forgiveness, if anyone needs forgiveness it’s me. I wronged you and your friends so many times. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve jerked around with your life. I also can’t believe that you gave me your thanks and wished me peace. If only I was more like you.

Jeez, the others must be destroyed; you meant everything to them. Giles thought of you as a daughter, I can’t begin to imagine the pain he must be feeling. But it is Angel that worries me the most, you say that you were still in love with him – it was obvious to me that he was, and still is in love with you. Christ knows how he is going to make it through without you.

How can you envy me? I’m not strong. If I were strong, I would never have done half the things that I have. I always envied you, with your loving home, your close circle of friends, and yes, I envied you Angel. The love you two guys shared was something most of us never experience and damn it I wanted to. But not now. Now I wish more than anything that you two could be together and be happy.

I’m sorry I never got to tell you all of this Buffy, I’m sorry that I never got to tell you how much I loved you, sister.

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Dear Willow

I’m sorry. Sorry for growing apart from you, sorry for not being there when you needed me, sorry for not taking an interest in your life, sorry for not being the friend you always were to me.

You mean so much to me, you do know that don’t you? Maybe you don’t, because I sure as hell didn’t show it recently did I? Too wrapped up in trying to be the perfect and normal person everyone expected me to be.

You were always there for me. Maybe sometimes I didn’t appreciate your advice or want to hear it, but that’s what being a best friend is all about. Time and time again you put yourself at risk when you didn’t have to, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you too for accepting Angel. You were one of the few who never saw him and Angelus as the same, despite what his alter ego put you through. I wish you hadn’t encouraged me to go with Riley but I know you only had my best interests at heart.

I’m so glad I met you Will, you have been an inspiration to me. A true, loyal and loving friend. We had so much fun together, so many good times. You were part of my grounding, my reasoning and my conscience. I hope that, whatever path you chose to follow, you find peace and contentment at the end of it. If I wasn’t accepting of Tara then I apologise for that too. Since you met her you seem happy, and that is all I have ever wanted for you. Oh no, now I’m going all Giles on you!

Damn! How do you say goodbye to someone who has been part of your life for so long? Goodbyes have never been my strong point have they? I always managed to muck them up. Maybe I should try for a ‘see you around ‘instead.

I love you Will and I’m going to miss you so much – you and Xander are my bestest buds! The Scooby Gang. Wow, were we a team or what!

Carpe Diem

Buffy

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Tara is holding me and whispering soothing words of nonsense but still I can’t stop crying. I hate it that she died feeling that she had let me down, feeling that she had to apologise.

I owe her so much. When we first met I was a scared child, she helped me find myself and grow. Without her I would never have known Oz, or Tara, or that I had the ability to do spells. She changed my life.

More than that, she changed me, made me believe in myself, stand up for myself. I can never thank her enough for that.

I see now that I was wrong to push her into a relationship with Riley, I was just trying to do the right thing, I wanted her to have someone. I should have realised; the only person she wanted was Angel.

Poor Angel. I want to hold and comfort him, but I have a feeling that no one could reach him right now.

God Buffy, how am I going to go on without you? If it weren’t for you I would still be that nervy young girl being bullied by the Cordettes.

Thank you for everything you taught me. How not to be afraid, how to stand up and fight for what is important, for what I believe. I only hope that now you’re gone I’ll have the strength to carry on fighting, learning, and believing.

I hope you’re happy now Buffy, I hope you’re at peace.

I love you.

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Dear Xander

Well, this is not going to be easy. There’s a lot of ‘stuff’ between us that has never been discussed and do you know what, it’s not going to be discussed now either. What’s done is done. We can’t go back, we can’t change it, so what’s the point in re-hashing old ground.

No, the painful part is going to be the admitting that I haven’t exactly been a friend lately. I got so wrapped up in trying to lead this ‘normal’ life that everyone raved about that I actually forgot that I already had one – with you, Will, and the others.

I’ve been a bitch. There you are, I’ve finally admitted it. I haven’t been there for you and that’s something I’m so not proud of. Can you forgive me?

I hope you and Anya work out. Sure, she takes a bit of getting used to – especially her need to inform everybody about your sex life (when do you guys get time to eat and sleep?) – but she seems to make you happy.

These letters are getting harder and harder to write. The more I put my feelings down on paper, the more I realize what I am losing, what I have lost.

I’m glad you found out that I was the Slayer. I couldn’t have done half of what I have without you. Thank you.

I have one favor to ask of you; don’t fight Angel. I know your feelings towards him but I’m asking you to put them to one side and help him through this. Be there for him; support him, because this is doubly hard on him.

I’m sorry for all the times I let you down. Your are the bestest Xander shaped friend a Slayer could have.

I love you so much.

The Buffster

Chapter Text

She’s gone. I can’t really bring myself to believe, and I certainly can’t say the words out loud.

Angel’s destroyed. I never thought I would find myself pitying him but I do. I also envy him because to carry the burden he is takes some doing. I wish I had that strength.

Buffy’s friendship is something I wouldn’t trade for all the world. In the beginning I wanted more, and I always resented the fact that as far as other men were concerned she had Angel induced blindness, but in time I realized that having Buffy as a friend was worth so much more.

She wasn’t a bitch; she could never be a bitch. Agreed, she was not a person you wanted to cross – her wrath would make grown men quake in fear – but not a bitch. If I’m honest I think we pushed her into hanging with Riley and the Initiative. If I could go back I would change all of that.

She’s gone. Who am I going to swap puns with? Who am I going to annoy with my Deadboy and Fishboy jokes? Who am I going to fight with over doughnuts?

Buffy’s gone. I never got to say sorry. I never got to say goodbye. I never got to tell her I loved her.

I want her back.

Chapter Text

Dear Cordy & Wesley (The LA contingent!)

First off I owe you both a huge apology. When you were in Sunnydale I didn’t exactly make your lives easy and then I came to LA and started throwing my weight around there too. Thank you for not holding it against me.

I also owe you a huge thank you. When Angel left Sunnydale he thought that he could withdraw from the world; you two have proved him wrong. You’re his family.

Cordy – thank you also for keeping me informed on how Angel was doing. I am so glad he has you there to look after him, to ground him. Don’t let this stop him from attaining his Shanshu; don’t let Brood-boy resurface. I hope that Queen C will come out to play and keep him firmly in reality.

I never told you how sorry I was about Doyle; I know he meant a lot to you, I could tell from the way you talked about him before his death. He loved you Cordy and he knew that you loved him. You’ll meet again; hold onto that thought.

Wes – I was such a bitch to you when you were my Watcher, I didn’t like you because you weren’t Giles. That was unfair; I should have given you a chance. Cordy tells me that you are an asset to Angel Investigations; I’m glad you’ve found your niche.

Help Cordy look after Angel, it’s going to be a long and hard job. Please don’t let him give up on his redemption, on himself. Keep being there for him. Make him talk about his feelings, not bottle them up.

Take care of yourselves; watch each other’s backs and keep safe.

I’m going to miss you.

Buffy

Chapter Text

Cordy

This is going to kill him. It doesn’t matter how much she wants him to continue, he is never going to get over this. Before my eyes he is retreating into himself and I don’t think there is anything I or the others will be able to do to stop him.

He never stopped loving her and he never will. For all his bravado about wanting her to have a normal life, I know the thing he really wanted was to be wrapped safely in her tender embrace. That was what kept him going, the goal that made him fight, he wanted to gain his Shanshu and then reclaim her, but that’s not going to happen now. He’s lost the only thing that meant anything to him, his reason for living. It’s just a matter of time.

Buffy, I know what you asked of me, and I really wish I could, but I can’t and I think in your heart you knew that when you wrote the letter. Without you Angel has no motivation.

Wesley

She touched all of us. I don’t think she knew just what an effect she had on all our lives. She was this ball of effervescent energy, so alive. Each one of us is a better person for knowing her.

The silence in this room is deafening, even the crying has become silent, which is extremely disconcerting. Since we arrived and Angel handed out the letters not one word has been spoken.

I think Angel is beyond help. He’s built this high, impenetrable wall around himself and no one is going to get through. Without her he is destroyed.

The world is a poorer place without you in it Buffy Summers.

Chapter Text

I had to get out of there; all those looks of pity, the sympathy was suffocating. And that boy, Riley, I wanted to rip his head off and play with his innards. He should have been there. He was supposed to love her. The big, fearless demon hunter! Why wasn’t he protecting her?

I’ve ended up at the apartment, a place that holds memories of both pleasure and pain. Although we only shared this bed once, her presence lingers still. I can smell her intoxicating scent; feel her warm fingers as they trace their way over my cool flesh. I can taste her honey sweet kisses; her hot lips desperately seeking mine, her tongue plundering my mouth.

God, that night was the best of my entire existence. She was so wet and welcoming. Sliding into her was like coming home. She was perfection.

Blood tears trace their way to freedom. A tender caress wipes them away.

“Don’t cry Baby.”

I freeze, a sob caught in my throat. She cannot be here.

“Buffy?” Her name leaves my lips in a hushed whisper.

“Don’t cry Baby.”

I feel a delicate kiss being placed on my forehead, my face being caressed as if by butterfly wings. I am insane, I must be insane, that is the only explanation I can come up with. My grief has made me delusional. She cannot be here. My love is dead.

“Buffy?” Once again I speak her name.

“Hush, rest now.”

I dare not open my eyes as a hand strokes the hair soothingly from my fevered brow, for I know that if I do the illusion will be shattered. If this is insanity then I want to be insane. If this is insanity then I welcome it with open arms like a long lost relative. If being insane means that my beloved is not laying in the morgue then I will accept insanity in a heartbeat.

I swallow hard as the hand moves from my face and traces a sensuous path down my body. It stops at my boxer shorts and then delicately slips inside, lovingly stroking my dark curls. It slips lower still and I draw an unneeded breath as it finds its target. I need this. I don’t want it to stop; I never want it to stop.

I feel my shorts being tugged down and her weight upon my legs, her hot lithe body pressing down on mine; and then her mouth is upon me. Oh Gods!

Her moist mouth embraces my sex as she lavishes me with her love. I buck my hips towards her and am rewarded by her taking me deeper into her throat. I am mad; I cannot be sane. My adored is dead and yet she is here, in my bed, deep-throating me.

I want to reach out and hold her, I want to suck on her, lick her, I want to plunge deep inside her, filling her completely. I want to fuck her until we both come, screaming the other’s name in ecstasy.

I feel her hand massage my balls as her sucking becomes more intense. All rational thought leaves my mind as I reach the point of no return. I explode into her mouth, chanting her name over and over. Buffy, Buffy, Buffy…

It breaks my heart to see him like this. I never meant to touch him, to make him aware of my presence, but I can’t stand to see him lying there, falling apart.

He is a shadow of the strong and proud man that I know, the man who holds my heart in the palm of his hand. And my death has done this to him. It is at that moment that I know that I must comfort him. It may make things harder, but the lure is too strong to ignore, I have to go to him.

As soon as I touch his cool flesh I feel it, the need burning deep inside my soul. Before I can rationalize myself out of it, I am working my way down his muscular body and engulfing him with my mouth. I have to do this, not only for him, I need to do this for me too.

As he explodes in elation he chants my name. A tear falls from my eyes, followed by another and another. I take him into my arms as he comes back down to earth.

I stay with him, holding and caressing him until he falls into a fitful sleep. I know that this is just the beginning…

Chapter Text

I can’t believe I am doing this, following the bloody poof to make sure that he doesn’t do something stupid like top himself. Grr, William the Bloody reduced to being Soul Boy’s watchdog. How the mighty have fallen.

He’s so wrapped up in his guilt that a posse of vamps could be following him and he wouldn’t notice. Luckily enough it is only me that lurks in the shadows watching his every move. I don’t think he’d fight too hard anyhow. He wants to be with Slutty.

His apartment! Well, I didn’t think he’d ever want to come back here, not after her 17th birthday and the whole Angelus fiasco; then again, maybe this is where he feels closest to her.

I slip into a doorway and watch him enter. I will stay here as long as I can, covering his ass. The things I do for that little bint! Just as long as no one ever finds out, after all, I have a reputation to protect.

Chapter Text

Joyce put the coffee on the table in front of me and wearily ran her fingers through her hair.

“Go on.”

She looked at me confused. “Go on what?”

“Explain to me. Make me understand just what the hell was going on in my little girl’s life and why I didn’t know about it.”

“Not now Hank it’s..”

“Yes NOW! Damn you Joyce. All this time you have been keeping secrets from me; secrets that concerned my daughter, secrets that ended up getting her killed. I want to know everything!”

She let out a sigh and sank into a chair opposite mine. “What do you want to know?”

“For a start you can tell me about this Angel character. I get that he is a vampire, what I don’t get is how you allowed her to become involved with him, let alone sleep with and marry him.”

“They were..are soul mates. She met him when he started appearing and helping her. She didn’t know he was a vampire at first, she thought that he was just this cute older guy. But then they fell in love, she kissed him and he went game face…”

“What?”

“He showed his true face, fangs etc. She screamed and he ran. They tried to stay apart but couldn’t. On her 17th birthday, after he gave her a Claddagh ring which in Ireland is an unofficial wedding ring, they consummated their relationship and he lost his soul..”

“He WHAT?”

“Are you going to let me explain or are you just going to keep interrupting?”

“Sorry.”

“Angel was once known as Angelus, the Scourge of Europe. He was one of the most feared vampires ever to walk the earth. One day he fed on a gypsy girl and her family cursed him by giving him back his soul. When a vampire is made the soul leaves the body so they feel no guilt or remorse, give one back his soul and you get…”

“Major guilt.”

Joyce glared at me.

“Sorry again. Continue.”

“The abridged version is that Angel was cursed. If he achieved a moment of true happiness he lost his soul. Being with Buffy that night gave him that and he became Angelus again. He reverted to his old ways, the most spectacular of which was trying to suck the whole of earth into Hell. Buffy went to distract him from doing so whilst Willow tried to recurse him with his soul. She was successful but it was too late, the portal was open and the only way to close it was with his blood..”

“Buffy had to send him to Hell. That was when she ran away right?”

“Yes. Anyhow, nobody is really sure how, but he came back from Hell and they tried to resume their relationship with a ‘non-pelvic’ clause as the kids call it. They were managing ok until I told him to leave.”

“You told him to leave? Why?”

“I thought that he was wrong for her, that she needed something, someone else. It turned out I was wrong. He left and she fell apart. She saw other guys but she never really loved them; her heart always belonged to Angel.”

“They really loved each other didn’t they?”

“Yes. You can tell that he still does. Her death has totally destroyed him. It is going to be so hard for him over the next few days.”

It was then that she broke down. Great heaving sobs escaped and she slumped forward, her head resting on the table. I rushed round to comfort her.

“It’s my fault. If I hadn’t told him to leave he would have been here backing her up. Instead she was out with that moronic soldier boy and she didn’t stand a chance. Why did I interfere? Oh God Buffy I am so so sorry.”

I held her and I rocked her, what more could I do? There were loads of questions left unanswered, things left unsaid, but they could wait for another time.

“I’m sure she has forgiven you. I’m sure he will too.”

“I wouldn’t if I was them.”

There was no answer to that.

Chapter Text

Willow wanted to stay with me; she was worried that I might do something stupid. I thanked her for her concern, promised her that her fears were unfounded and then sent her on her way. I needed time alone, time with my thoughts.

This is the second time I will bury someone I love. It isn’t any easier this time round; if anything it is harder. I have so many happy memories of her; it’s just at the moment all I can think of is sadness.

I was Watcher to the strongest, longest-lived Slayer on record. That means nothing. The important thing is that we were a family. We looked out for each other, supported each other and loved each other.

When I first met her I was horrified. She was rude, obstreperous, and down right difficult. She had no concept of the words ‘secret identity’, and she did everything in her own inimitable style. But then I got to know her and I warmed to her. There was something about her that you just couldn’t pin down. She was unique.

I’ve never married, maybe I never will, but if I have children I would want them to be like her. Full of life, effervescent and gutsy, with a sense of humor and an amazing capacity for compassion, forgiveness, and understanding.

She inspired every single one of the group. Sure we argued, what family doesn’t; but she made them all look inside themselves and find that little bit extra they never knew they had.

I don’t know what I am going to do now. I can’t see myself just sitting back and watching the world go by; I’ve seen too much and the others still need me; just as I need them. Can we continue the fight now that she has gone? I don’t know that either.

All I do know is that my world is going to be a sadder place without her in it.

Chapter Text

I had to go and see her. Until I saw her I wouldn’t believe she was dead; not after what I had just experienced. Her being in my apartment had changed everything. If she was dead then how could she have done to me the things she did?

Quietly I forced the door and slipped inside. Giles had said that she was in the Chapel of Rest; following the signs I made my way towards it.

Reaching the door I stopped. If I had a heartbeat it would be racing. Taking a deep breath I forced myself to calm down and, steadying myself, I took the final step…

Gods she is beautiful, laying there looking peaceful. If I didn’t know better I would swear she was asleep. I moved forward and stretched out a shaky hand; her skin was as cold as mine. Her hair was down and it surrounded her face like a gossamer halo, she looked ethereal, like a faerie.

I clasped her tiny hand to my cheek and wept yet more blood tears. This was so damn unfair. She hadn’t had any life and yet I’d been forced to walk the earth for over 240 years. It should have been me that died; it should have been me.

I tenderly caressed her skin, tracing the outline of her rosebud lips, willing her to open her eyes and look at me. I wanted to hear her voice, see her smile. Damn it, I wanted her alive!

I realized that there was someone behind me; without letting go of her hand I turned and looked over my shoulder.

“What do you want Spike?”

“She made me promise to look after you, not that she needed to, I’d’ve done it anyway.”

“Why?” I turned back to her and continued caressing her face.

“Because of who she was, who you are, and what you both mean to me.”

“I don’t understand. If this is some kind of game..”

“It’s no game. Bloody Hell Peaches, don’t make me say it!”

“Say what?” I was confused, I didn’t want him here, all I wanted was to be with Buffy.

“I love you both. There, I’ve said it! Happy? Now I really have blown my badass reputation. But that doesn’t matter; what does is that it is nearly dawn and I need to get you back to the apartment. If anything happens to you she’ll come back and bloody haunt me, I’m sure of that.”

“You were right, it doesn’t matter Spike, nothing matters any more. She’s gone. I can’t go on without her. Let the sun rise, I’ll welcome the relief. She’s gone.”

He took her hand from mine and gently laid it back on her chest. “I know she has mate.” I felt his hand on my shoulder.

Then it all went black.

Chapter Text

Christ he weighed a ton! I hoisted him onto my shoulder and prayed that I had hit him hard enough. I did not want to be in striking range when he came round and discovered that I had spoiled his grand exit.

Manhandling him into the De Soto was almost comical, and I was sure I heard the little bint giggling.

“I’m doing this for you Betty so you can just shut the hell up!”

Slamming the door, I clambered in, gunned the engine and screeched off in the direction of his apartment…

My head hurt. One minute I was saying goodbye to Buffy and the next my head hurt and I was in my apar…

“SPIKE!”

“I’m right here and I’m not deaf Peaches.”

I slumped back onto the bed.

“Why did you do it Spike? I don’t want to carry on without her.”

He cautiously approached. If my heart wasn’t shattered into a thousand painful splinters I might have found the sight of the Big Bad being cowed funny. As it was, I was past caring.

“I did it for her. We promised her; I promised her. She asked us to take care of things, to take care of one another. We owe her that.”

“I’m tired Spike, I can’t do this anymore.”

“Yes you can. We’re all here for you mate, strange as that may seem. We’re going to give Buffy the send off to end all send offs.”

Just when I thought I couldn’t cry any more the tears came again. Great, heaving sobs wracked my body. I felt arms go round me and then a hand stroking my hair. Some part of my sub-conscious realized that it was Spike but I didn’t care. I needed to be held, I needed the comfort.

“What am I going to do without her Spike?”

He continued holding me. “I don’t know Angel, I really don’t know.”

Chapter Text

The arrangements were coming along. Surprisingly no one challenged anything that Angel suggested, probably because the only person who would have was long gone on the first flight back to Iowa.

The cremation was arranged for the coming Friday at midnight, with a wake at the Bronze afterwards. I had done what she asked and made it upbeat; in fact we had all called in every favor we were ever owed to get things to come together. Angel was following Buffy’s instructions to the letter and her interment was to be on the Sunday.

I was worried about Angel though, he wasn’t sleeping, wasn’t feeding, and by God had he aged. That was the really scary thing; he was fading away before my eyes. I tried to tempt him, bringing him mugs of warm blood, but they always grew cold and congealed and I ended up throwing them away. Spike tried talking to him, as did Giles, but he just brushed them off and carried on working on his eulogy. If he had the strength to stand up and give it, it would be a miracle.

I glanced over at him; his head resting in his hands, blood tears dripping slowly onto the paper on the desk in front of him. My heart went out to him. How much longer could he go on like this? Something had to give, and I feared it was going to sooner rather than later.

Chapter Text

Since that night in the apartment I hadn’t felt or heard her. Was she angry at me for wanting to be with her? Was she punishing me for not being as strong as she thought?

I missed her. I had plenty of first hand experience of death, my family, my friends, even my own, but this was different. This was like plunging my fist into my chest and ripping out my undead heart. Something was missing and I was never going to get it back.

There was so much I wanted to say about her, so much I wanted to tell the world, and yet everything I wrote seemed like a poor facsimile compared to the real thing. Nothing I could write or say would ever do her justice. How do you describe a rainbow to a blind man, or birdsong to a deaf child? How do you describe someone as wonderful as Buffy and not tarnish her in some way?

Everyone is fussing round me, telling me that I should eat and sleep. What’s the point? I have no purpose any more. Once I have fulfilled Buffy’s wishes I am just going to go. I don’t want my Shanshu; I don’t want anything except for eternal rest, be that in heaven or in hell. I don’t care what is waiting for me on the other side, I have been to hell, and not even the cruelest of tortures ever came close to this. Until now I never knew pain.

Chapter Text

It was time.

I had sat and half listened to everyone else as they reminisced about her, sharing humorous anecdotes, shedding a tear. Now it was my turn to tell them what Buffy Summers meant to me.

I gripped the lectern and looked out at the assembled crowd, but I didn’t see them. Swallowing hard I began.

"Buffy Summers was my life, the reason for my existence. When she walked into a room everything else faded into insignificance, ceased to exist. There was only her.

She had strength, and not just physical, strength of compassion, strength of character, strength of love. She looked for the good in everyone, which more often than not meant she was disappointed, but it never stopped her looking.

She was beautiful from the inside out. Her heart shone like a beacon, enticing others to follow. She was a passionate and fiery woman, no cause was too small for her. She wanted to save the world, and she did. She despaired for every soul that slipped through her fingers, cursing herself for not getting there in time, for failing in some way.

Buffy was my sunlight, the blood in my veins, the breath in my lungs and the beating of my heart. She gave me everything I could never have, everything I never thought I deserved. She loved me unconditionally, no sacrifice was too great, it didn’t matter what the cost was to her. My contentment was all that mattered.

But I left her, convinced myself that I wasn’t what she wanted and needed, not listening to her protests. I walked away and I let her die…"

My voice began to crack, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end. Closing my eyes, I reached into myself and sort out what little strength I had left. I was going to do this. I was going to do this for Buffy…

"Buffy, you are my love, my soul mate. In over 200 years I have still only loved one person, and that is still you. I’m sorry I walked away, I’m sorry I asked the Oracles to turn me back, I’m sorry for every time I ripped out your heart and trampled on it. You are my lover and my wife, without you I am nothing.

I know what you asked of me, what you made the others promise. I’m sorry Baby but I’m going to let you down again. I don’t have your strength, your courage. If it was you up here I’m sure you would find the strength to carry on. I can’t. Whatever is waiting for me on the other side I welcome it and go to it gladly. A world without out you is not a world I want to be in.

Forgive me Beloved for I have failed you again; I love you so very very much."

It was then that my legs gave out, sending me crashing to the floor.

Chapter Text

I rushed forward but I was too late to catch him. A horrified Chinese whisper echoed round the crematorium, but I shut it out, my Sire was hurt and he needed me.

“Shall I call for an ambulance?”

I dismissed the voice. Cordy was on her knees, cradling his head in her lap.

“I think I should call an ambulance.”

I shifted into game face and growled, “He’s a bloody vampire mate! He’s been dead for over 200 years. I think the ambulance would be a little pointless don’t you?”

The anonymous Samaritan backed away, muttering apologies under his breath.

“Spike; we need to get him back to the apartment. He has to feed.” Cordy was distraught.

I reached up and gently wiped a tear from her cheek with my thumb. “I know Pet. We’ll take care of him. Giles, Xander, Wesley, Hank; I need you to help me get him to the De Soto.”

They didn’t need asking a second time. Each of them stepped up and carefully supported a section of Angel’s lifeless body. Cordelia went in front, clearing a path to the door. When we got to the car she slid over to the far side of the rear seat and helped us guide him in, again cradling his head.

“We’re going back to the apartment, meet us there. The mourners are just going to have to take care of themselves…”

He turned his head away and mumbled almost incoherently, “Don’t want it.”

“Angel, please, you have to feed. Please drink something, please.”

Willow tried again with the feeder cup, but he just moved his head further away. She looked up at Giles; tears streaming down her face.

“He won’t feed Giles. He won’t feed. We’ve just lost Buffy, we can’t lose Angel too,”

Giles wrapped his arms round her and held her close as she sobbed into his jacket.

“Hush now. If he won’t feed then we’ll just have to get blood into him another way…”

Chapter Text

“No, no, NO. Don’t do this. I don’t want this. No NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”

Spike crawled onto Angel’s bed and knelt on one arm, Hank held the other, whilst Xander held his legs. I assisted the doctor.

“I’m not happy about this Mr. Giles..”

“I’m not paying you to be happy about it. Sedate him, put the tube into his stomach, take your money and then forget that you were ever here.” I hissed through gritted teeth. Ripper was dangerously close to the surface.

The doctor turned back to Angel, who was still thrashing about wildly on the bed. Cordy had her head buried in Wesley’s shoulder while Joyce, Anya, Willow and Tara stood by looking horrified.

“Let me go. I don’t want this. I don’t want this. No, no, no, no, I DON’T want this…LET ME GO!”

Spike grasped Angel’s head firmly between his hands and forced the distraught vampire to look at him.

“Listen to me Angel; you are going to let us do this. If you won’t feed then you give us no option. Buffy wanted you to carry on without her, to attain your Shanshu and I am damned if I am going to give the little madam cause to come back and spook me for the rest of my unnatural life! Now, we can do this one of two ways; which it is is up to you. Play nicely or don’t, the tube is going in.”

The struggles lessened but didn’t cease completely. Warily, the doctor approached with a syringe full of clear liquid.

“I’m not sure about this..this is a large dose, it could kill..”

“Oh bloody hell, what is wrong with you people??? He’s DEAD already…he’s a bloody vampire. Just get fucking on with it will you, before ‘I’ kill YOU…”

I replaced the empty blood bag and check Angel’s restraints. I knew that we would have to bring him out of it soon if he was to be in any fit state to attend the interment; he’d been sedated and force-fed for over 24 hours.

“How is he?”

I looked over to the doorway where Xander was standing.

“As good as can be expected. I shall wake him up in a couple of hours.”

“He’s not going to make it is he, without her I mean?”

I looked sadly back down at the broken man chained to the bed.

“No Xander, I don’t think he is.”

Chapter Text

“Angel.”

“Go away.” I mumbled, almost incoherently.

“An-gel.” A delicate giggle echoed round the room. “An-gel.”

“Leave me alone.”

“You said some beautiful things about me; but I’m angry with you.”

“Buffy?”

“Of course it’s me silly! Who else would it be?”

“It can’t be, you’re..”

“Dead? Well duh! I know that.”

“What do you want?”

“That’s a nice welcome! If you’re going to be Mr. Grumpy then I’ll just go and leave you to sulk in peace.”

“No, don’t!” I blurted out, rather too quickly, “I mean; I’d like you to stay.”

I felt the bed dip and then the heady aroma of vanilla invaded my senses.

“Well open your eyes and look at me then.”

“You won’t disappear?” My voice wavered with emotion.

“Nope, don’t think so…”

“What do you think he’s smiling at?” Wesley asked distractedly. The sight of the previously distraught vampire with a surreal half smile was almost disturbing.

“I honestly don’t know,” Giles responded, “but it’s the most peaceful he’s been in days, so I’ll leave him a while longer…”

I lay there, drinking in her beauty. She looked as she had the first day I had met her all those years ago.

“You’re staring!” She teased lightly.

“How can you be so carefree about this?” Her attitude puzzled me.

She moved closer and cupped my cheek in her hand, “Because I can’t change it. I’m dead and there’s nothing else to say about it. It’s not so bad when you get used to it; in fact the only bad part is being away from all of you.”

“Then..”

She pressed a finger against my lips. “Hush. You have so much to live for. Look at all the people around you who love you and need you, all the helpless who have nowhere else to turn. It’s not your time my Love. Stop being so silly and open yourself up to everyone.”

“I can’t do it Buffy, I’m not strong enough. The only reason I ever did anything was you.”

“So carry on for me. Fight in my memory. You can’t give in Angel; the world needs you.”

Chapter Text

l stood in front of the mirror, staring at the nothing that stared back at me, and absently fiddled with my tie.

“Here, let me help you with that.” Cordelia broke into my reverie as she hopped up onto the dresser and proceeded to straighten the aforementioned neckwear.

“There, that’s much better.”

“How do I look?”

“Angel, you look fine.” She ran her hand comfortingly up and down my arm.

“Honestly?” I became preoccupied by something on the floor.

She took both my hands in hers. “Look at me Angel.”

Nothing.

“Angel.” She lifted my chin and made me look her straight in the face. “You can do this, we’re all going to be there with you. I know it doesn’t seem like it now, but it will get easier. You’ll never forget, but the pain will fade, believe me I know.”

“Thanks for being here Cordy.”

“Where else would I be but with my big brother? Now, Spike is waiting for us in the car, and we all know how cranky he gets if he’s kept waiting.” She held out her hand. “Shall we go?”

I accepted the offered hand and let her lead me from the bedroom. She was right; I could do this.

Chapter Text

Vampires aren’t supposed to feel temperature but I could; standing by that open grave I was chilled to the bone. Soon my Beloved, my Buffy was going to be encased in that bitter, dank earth.

“I’m not really in there you know.”

I felt two slender arms go round my waist and a head nestle against my back.

“It’s only my ashes; my spirit and soul live on here.” Her hand slipped through my shirt and touched the flesh over my long dead heart.

“I can’t do this Beloved, I can’t let you go.”

“You don’t have to, let me go that is. This isn’t forever. When it is your time we will be together again.”

I closed my eyes and took a deep unneeded breath, inhaling her very essence. Her hand continued to stroke my skin.

“I still love you.”

“I know you do and I never stopped loving you; I never will. We are destined to be together. Please believe that.”

I relaxed into her embrace, relishing her touch. Everything around me had faded away, only she and I existed.

“Angel. Promise me you won’t do anything stupid.”

“I can’t.”

Chapter Text

I glanced over at Angel and noticed that he appeared to be having a conversation with someone, which was worrying as he was standing by himself. Blood tears poured down his cheeks, his whole mien was that of someone losing their grip on reality.

“I thought he was getting better.” Willow whispered through gritted teeth.

I shook my head, “It just looked that way; it was what he wanted us to think.”

“Who’s he talking to Cordy?” The sight of Angel disturbed Xander. He may not have always liked the guy but he sure as hell didn’t wish this on him.

“I don’t know. I don’t think he knows.” I wanted to look away but couldn’t.

“I overheard him talking to Buffy the other night.” Willow replied, forcing herself to avert her eyes.

“He can’t accept that she’s gone.”

“He has to or else he’s never going to move forward.” Xander looked back at the apparently unbalanced vampire.

“I don’t think he’s bothered about that Xander.” I said sadly, “I don’t think he cares much about anything anymore.”

Chapter Text

I knew who Peaches was talking to; I could sense her. Everyone else thought that he was crazy, but I knew that she came to visit him. I didn’t think it was doing him any good, but he was so far gone it couldn’t do him any harm either.

It hurt to see my Sire destroyed like this; which might sound funny considering the amount of times I tried to kill him, but I never wanted him to go through this hell. Buffy had been his life; I had never seen him like this, not even over Dru or Darla. That little Slayer had made a home for herself in his undead heart, and he welcomed her.

However many times I told him that everything was going to be alright, that things would get better, that he would attain his Shanshu, I knew I was lying. It was only a matter of time before he gave us all the slip and did what he had been planning since Whistler had first shown up with the letters. I knew that, the rest of them here knew that; even the little bint knew that I was sure of it; why else did she keep coming back to him?

Taking another look at him, as he appeared to relax back into someone’s arms I sighed.

“Good luck Slayer, coz if you can’t talk him round none of us will.”

Chapter Text

“…In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our sister Buffy Anne Summers; and we commit her body to the ground; earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless her and keep her, the Lord make His face to shine upon her and be gracious unto her and give her peace. Amen.”

As I heard those words I realized that I was once again alone; I could no longer feel Buffy’s reassuring touch. I also realized that everyone was looking at me expectantly. Suddenly the single rose in my hand felt as heavy as a crossbow. I made my way forward, and stumbled.

Spike was at my side in an instant, his strong hand steadying me whilst I regained my balance. Using him as a prop, I cautiously continued forward until I reached the edge of the small hole.

Spike released me and took a couple of steps back; for that I was grateful, I wanted to say goodbye in private. I looked down and saw the tiny ebony box, it’s brass plate in total contrast to the darkness of the wood. I lost the energy to stand, and fell to my knees, the rose still clasped in my hand, clutching it so tightly the thorns drew blood that trickled across my palm and down my wrist.

I heard Willow gasp and Spike say a strong ‘no’. Again I silently thanked him, he seemed to be the only one who really understood.

Tentatively I reached forward and caressed the box; finding it hard to believe that something so little could contain all that was left of Buffy. When she had been alive, her presence could fill a room, her size belying the strength she possessed. This was all wrong; it shouldn’t have ended like this.

“I’m sorry I failed you Beloved. I’m sorry that I wasn’t here to protect you. I’m sorry that you had to die because of my foolish sense of righteousness. If there was any justice in the world then I would be lying here not you.”

I tenderly lay the rose on top of the cask and then threw in a handful of earth.

“Farewell my Love. Until we meet again.”

Chapter Text

Everyone began to drift away from the graveside and yet he didn’t move. The gravedigger filled in the hole, and still he didn’t move. He just knelt there; his head bent forward, his chin touching his chest.

“Someone ought to do something.”

“Leave it with me.” I knew that he didn’t want to be around her friends right now.

“Are you sure Spike?”

“Yeah, go back to the house, I’ll look after Peaches.”

By now he was all alone, the gravedigger having finished his work and left. Cautiously I approached him. It was then that I smelt the burning flesh.

As I got closer I could see that he was pouring holy water on the Slayer’s grave only, because of the state he was in, more of it was falling on his hand than the earth. I knocked the bottle from him.

“Bloody hell Peaches; what are you trying to do to yourself?”

“She’s gone Spike. This is all that’s left.”

“And what? You thought you’d have a little undead barbecue in her memory?” I ripped off the bottom of my shirt and wrapped it round his raw and oozing hand.

“Why did she leave me?”

“As I remember it mate, you left her.”

“But I left her so that she could live. But she didn’t. I turned back time so that she wouldn’t die. But she did. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this.”

I had no idea what the hell he was going on about, and right now really wasn’t the time to discuss it. He was a sitting target for every demon and vampire in Sunnydale, and me being with him made me one too.

“We have to go Angel.”

“No, you have to go; I want to stay here.” Dragging himself away from me he curled himself into the fetal position atop her grave. Wisps of smoke began to rise.

“This is getting old very quickly mate.” I muttered under my breath. “Now what am I going to do?”

“Would this be of any help?”

I looked up to see Giles holding a syringe.

“Sedative?”

He nodded in the affirmative. “Enough to knock him out until we can get him back inside. Want me to do the honors?”

“I think I should. He may have lost his marbles but he could still knock you into the middle of next week without breaking a sweat, so to speak.”

“Right.” He handed me the syringe and I did what I had to do.

Chapter Text

My hand itched. I tried to raise my other arm so that I could scratch it and found I couldn’t. Resistance. I tried to move again, still nothing. Opening my eyes I took in the chains that bound me to my bed…

A roar ripped through the apartment. Followed by a furious yell.

“Peaches is awake.”

Joyce looked at me with a worried stare.

“Don’t worry Pet, he isn’t going anywhere. Those chains are magically reinforced…”

“SPIKE! SPIKE! GET YOUR BLOODY ASS IN HERE NOW AND UNDO THESE CHAINS!”

“No can do I’m afraid mate.” He leant against the door frame, dragging on a cigarette.

My voice became low and charged with venom; “You can’t follow me forever.”

“Can’t I? And why exactly is that?”

“Because as soon as I get free from here I’m going to stake you!”

“Well, that really encourages my evil old heart to help you.”

“I don’t want your help. I want to be with Buffy…”

He broke down before my eyes. One minute I was sure Angelus was back and the next he was the same destroyed vampire he’d been since he’d first heard of her death.

“Buffy’s gone Angel.”

“No, no she hasn’t. She was here; she was at the cemetery; she hasn’t gone. What about Willow, or Tara, can’t they bring her back?”

I sat next to him on the bed and placed my hand on his arm. “Why would you want them too?”

“Because I need her.”

“What about what she needs?”

He looked at me, his cheeks stained with blood from the rivers of tears that were pouring down his face.

“She needs me.”

“Does she? Tell me honestly Angel; why does she need you?”

“She needs me.”

“The way I see it mate, she has what she needs; peace. She’s been fighting vampires, demons and other evil since she was fifteen years old. She had to give up everything most normal kids her age have to fight bastards like me. Now she can rest. Don’t you want her to be at peace?”

I looked at him for a response but he had gone, retreated into himself. He just mumbled the same thing over and over.

“She needs me. She needs me. She needs me. She needs me.”

Chapter Text

“He’s gone again.”

“What? What do you mean?” Cordelia nearly leapt out of her seat.

“Relax cutie, I mean he’s gone back to cloud bloody cuckoo land or wherever it is that he and blondie meet up.”

“Spike; you don’t seriously believe that…”

“That the Slayer is still around? I know she is. She was getting all touchy-feely with him at the cemetery tonight.”

“Buffy’s dead Spike.”

“Well…duh! Do you seriously think that something as insignificant as one of them shuffling off their mortal or undead coil could split them up? She’s been around for days on and off. Little cow was giggling like a loon the other day when I was trying to get him in the car.”

“If what you say is true, how come we haven’t seen or felt her?”

“Well Watcher, if you were to take your head out of your ass and look around you you’d see a lot of things.” I scoffed.

“We’re not the Sunnydale police.” Xander quipped.

“I don’t mean vampires and stuff like that; I mean the Slayer. She’s been waltzing around Sunnydale like lady bloody muck since she died and not one of you have realized.”

“I’m glad Joyce and Hank aren’t around to hear this. Are you sure Spike?”

“And the fate of the world rests with you lot! For a group who’ve seen what you have you still bloody amaze me with your denial.”

“I said I heard him talking to her,” Willow whispered.

“Even when she’s dead she has to destroy him.” Cordelia was icy with rage.

“Whoa there; he was coming unstuffed long before she put in an appearance. I think the only reason she’s here now is to try and stop him from testing vampire sunscreen.”

“Do you think she can stop him?” This came from Xander.

“Honestly?” I shook my head, “Not a bloody chance.”

Chapter Text

“He’s not listening to me.”

“You have to make him Buffy; he has to realize that it isn’t his time.”

I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed deeply.

“Don’t you think I know that? What more can I do? If anything, my presence is making things worse.”

“You didn’t have to sle...”

I glared at Janna.

“Carry on like that and I’ll punch you into the next dimension.”

It was Kendra that interrupted.

“It does not matter if Buffy did wrong; what matters is that she cannot reach Angel.”

“I didn’t do wrong! Damn it, I needed him as much as he needed me.”

“Well Doll, that may be the case, but I don’t think it helped him.”

“Oh great! Now I get relationship advice from an alcoholic half demon. Isn’t there a bar or something you should be haunting?” I turned my back on Doyle.

Janna crouched down next to me and put her hand on my arm.

“We all know you miss him Buffy, and it’s obvious how much you love one another, but you know you have to do this. There are some big battles coming up and he is needed.”

“He’s facing his biggest battle now; holding on to his sanity.” Doyle added

“ENOUGH! I feel like I’m taking part in a supernatural episode of Jerry Springer! I get the point ok, Angel has to live and it’s down to me to convince him. Jeez, I though being dead was supposed to end stress not add to it.”

“You will get your rest when you have completed your task Warrior.”

I looked up and came face to face with one of the female Oracles.

“Tonight Buffy, this is your spiritual afterlife! Does anyone else want to crash the party? How about everyone I failed to save? All the vamps and demons I slayed? The Powers themselves? Give me a break guys! Do you have any idea how hard this is? I didn’t know he would act like this ok. I asked the others to keep an eye on him and I thought that would be enough. We haven’t seen each other for months; I didn’t know it would hit him so hard. I didn’t know, I didn’t know, I didn’t know.” Tears cascaded down my face as I hugged myself tightly.

Kendra was by me in an instant, taking up position on the opposite side to Janna. She put her arm round me while Janna stroked my hair.

“No Buffy, I don’t think for one second any of us can imagine how hard this is on you and Angel; very few people ever find the kind of love that you two share. But we are here for you and we will do all that we can to help you through this.”

“She’s right Darlin’, the only thing we can’t do is do it for you.” Doyle was kneeling in front of me.

I looked at them all and swallowed hard.

“What if I fail?”

None of them answered.

Chapter Text

I awoke to find Cordelia standing over me holding a beaker of blood.

“Hi.”

“Hi. How are you feeling?”

“Better. Is that for me?”

She looked surprised.

“You want it?”

“Yes, I’m hungry. Any chance of unchaining me so that I can drink it?”

“Well, umm..ah..”

“I’m not going to hurt anyone Cordy; I just want to drink my blood.”

“Ok then.”

She reached into the bedside cabinet, took out a key and began to undo the locks. I sat up and rubbed my wrists.

“Thanks for that, I was beginning to lose feeling in my arms.” I held out my hand expectantly and she passed me the blood. Taking a long swig, I rested back against the headboard and studied her.

“What? What are you looking at?”

“Just you. I’ve been thinking; we should go back to LA. I’ve been neglecting Angel Investigations. It’s about time we went back and started helping the hopeless again. What do you say?”

She looked at me like I had grown three heads.

“Now you’re staring at me. Was it something I said?”

“Are you sure? I mean, are you really up to it? You want..”

“I want to go home and start working again. There’s nothing here in Sunnydale for me now.”

She leant forward and took my hand in hers.

“It’s what you really want?”

“It’s what I really want. We can leave tonight.”

The next thing I knew was that she had me in a bear hug. I put down the blood and reciprocated it with the same intensity.

“I thought I was going to lose you too.”

“Hush, I’m not going anywhere.”

Chapter Text

“He said what?”

I took a sip of my coffee and stared at Wesley over the rim of the cup.

“He said that he wanted to go back to LA and start helping the helpless again. That there was nothing left for him in Sunnydale.”

“And didn’t you think his change of behavior rather strange? Only twenty-four hours ago he was on another planet and talking to Buffy; now he’s Mr. Rational and he wants to go back to work.”

“I don’t claim to be a psychologist! Maybe he’s coming through the other side. Maybe he had a visit from the Oracles or the PTB’s. All I know is that he’s back and he wants to go…Hi Angel.”

He slid into the booth beside Wesley.

“Cordy, Wes. So, anything new?”

“Cordelia and I were just making arrangements for our return to LA.”

“The car’s still here, I thought we could drive back in a couple of hours.”

“Uh, we still have some loose ends to tie up here Angel. People to say goodbye to, things like that. Could we make it tomorrow?” Wesley seemed nervous but Angel didn’t notice, I however did and glared at him.

“Sure, whatever. I’m going to patrol. See you guys back at the apartment?”

“Sure…”

…”WHAT???” Giles’ teacup hit the table and shattered.

“Don’t stake the messenger mate. I just came to tell you what I saw, Peaches strolling around Restfield.” I put my feet up on his table and lit a cigarette.

“How did he seem?”

“Fine. Which is weird in itself considering he was as nutty as a fruitcake yesterday.”

“Did he go near Buffy’s grave?"

“Nope, didn’t go ne..”

A hammering on the door interrupted me. Giles got up to answer it and was greeted by a very agitated Wesley.

“Giles, I need to speak to you.”

“If it’s about Peaches he knows.”

“You know? That he’s going back to LA tomorrow to work?”

“Bloody hell, he’s what?” Now it was my turn to get agitated.

“Going back to LA. He wanted to go tonight but I convinced him that I needed time to tie up some loose ends.”

“How was he?”

“Calm, in control, too much so in fact. Cordelia seems convinced he is ok but I cannot help thinking that this is more than a little strange. What do you two think?”

“More than a little strange??? I think he’s bloody unhinged!”

“Thank you Spike; although I have to agree his behavior is cause for concern.”

“I’m going back out there to watch him. You guys…well, research or something.” I pulled on my duster and headed for the door. As it shut behind me I sighed, ‘Oh Peaches, what are you up to now?’

Chapter Text

The cool breeze caressed me as I strolled through the cemetery. In under 24 hours I would be back in LA, away from all the prying eyes. I knew that everyone meant well, that they were trying to be compassionate and understanding, but they were suffocating me. I needed to have some time alone and LA was the best place for me to find it. Everyone here knew all the hiding places.

“So Peaches, what are you up to?”

I turned to find Spike leaning against a tombstone, his arms crossed and a pensive look on his face.

“I’m just patrolling and taking in the night air. Yourself?”

“Me? Well I’m just wondering how my Sire made the return trip from La La Land so quickly.”

Turning away from him and beginning to walk away I answered, “I don’t know what you mean Spike.”

He appeared in front of me, blocking my path.

“I mean that not twelve hours ago you were delusional and distraught; now you’re walking around as if nothing has happened. You do recall the events of the past few days don’t you? I mean, you haven’t gone and got amnesia or something?”

“Buffy’s gone, I’m still here, life goes on.”

I couldn’t believe what I had just heard had come out of my Sire’s mouth. In one sentence he had dismissed the death of the only woman he had loved. The English stiffs were right, something was definitely wrong here.

“Um, Angel mate, not wanting to state the blatantly obvious here but, this is Buffy we’re talking about. Remember, the love of your life.”

“I know who she was Spike. She’s gone and I haven’t. End of story. I have a business in LA that isn’t going to run itself so I am going back. You’re welcome to visit any time.”

I fought against the overwhelming urge to smash his head into the nearest mausoleum. What the hell was going on here? Angel was acting as if Buffy was just a casual acquaintance. Was this some kind of new defense? All I did know was that it wasn’t healthy and I was worried.

“I’ll come back with you; help you out.”

Was that a flash of panic I saw cross his face? Whatever it was, it showed that he wasn’t comfortable with the idea of me tagging along, and only served to confirm my suspicions that the bastard was up to something. Damn I was getting sentimental in my old age!

“There’s no nee..”

“I know, but I’d like to spend some time with my Sire. It’s not a problem is it?”

“No, it’s not.” he replied. His face told me otherwise.

Chapter Text

My office was dark, just how I liked it. Beethoven played softly in the background. Everything fully complimenting my mood.

I had been back at work for three weeks, saving souls, defeating evil, earning my redemption. Cordelia was mothering me, and I knew she was still in contact with everyone from Sunnydale. Wesley was trying to take on more and more of the workload, and Spike was aiding him. They thought they were helping me.

I still saw her, felt her, sensed her, smelt her and tasted her. Every second of every minute of ever hour of every day. But I didn’t say, I didn’t tell and I didn’t show it. Instead I battled everyone else’s demons but my own.

Tonight they had finally left me alone. Maybe after three weeks they finally believed me when I said that I was fine and life went on.

I opened my desk and looked at the letters that lay there. Would they have the same effect that hers did? One for everyone I held dear, everyone I called friend.

The clock was ticking, counting down to zero, it was just a matter of time, it was always just a matter of time.

And tonight time finally ran out.

Chapter Text

I put my purse down on my desk and went to start the coffee.

“Hello? Angel? Do you want coffee?”

Silence greeted me. I moved to his office and noted that it was dark except for the muted pool of light cast by his desk lamp. I knocked.

“Angel?”

Still nothing. I opened the door and stepped inside, it was deserted. Switching on the main light I noted a bundle of envelopes tied with a blood red ribbon sitting on his blotter.

As I stepped round the desk I brushed against the chair, causing something to clatter to the floor. Bending down to retrieve whatever it was, I noticed a sheen of dust that covered the floor and chair, just as my hand grasped the fallen object, a stake.

“Noooooooooo.”

…”Cordelia?”

“She’s probably at the bloody mall mate. Oh Queen C where are you???”

“I’ll ask Angel if he’s seen her. Ange..” The word froze in my throat. “Spike, get in here now!”

“What?”

I shakily pointed to the corner of the room where Cordelia sat huddled on the floor, her knees bent, arms wrapped around them, a stake in her hand, staring blankly ahead with tears pouring down her face. I went to her.

“Cordelia?”

She didn’t respond.

“The bastard only went and topped himself.”

“Spike?”

“The floor and chair, they’re covered in dust. He made us believe he was alright so we would leave him alone and then he went and bloody staked himself.”

“Letters.” Cordelia’s voice was so faint I almost missed it.

“Letters?”

“On his desk. He left us letters. Letters for all of us, just like Buffy.”

Chapter Text

I put my bag down and looked around the room; it was basic, but that was all I needed, a place to sleep, to hide.

Moving to the bed, I sat and ran my fingers through my hair. I felt disgusted with myself, disgusted that I had hurt those who had done nothing but love and care for me, who had called me friend. They deserved more than this, and yet I wasn’t strong enough to give them anything more.

I couldn’t do it any more, couldn’t see their faces. The compassion and understanding weighed heavier than any millstone.

Folding my hands behind my head, I lay back and closed my eyes. Today was the first day of the rest..

“Angel.”

I froze.

“Open your eyes Angel. I’m really here.”

Tentatively I opened my eyelids and focused in the direction of her voice, and there she was, sitting on the edge of the bed, looking as beautiful as ever.

“How? What? When? Why?”

She laughed, like crystal water over a fall, like bird song. Leaning forward, she cupped my cheek.

“It’s called redemption Angel, and we both got ours.”

“I…I don’t understand?”

“I gave up my life fighting evil, and you found the strength not to give up yours. We are each other’s reward.”

“But…I saw you, you were dead.”

“Prefer me that way?”

I grasped the hand that tenderly held my cheek, “No,” kissing its palm I sobbed, “I can’t believe you’re here.”

“I am, but I’m not human. Until you attain your Shanshu I remain immortal. On that day we both become mortal and we live out the rest of our lives together, until then, we fight as one.”

“Is this real?”

“As real as our love.”

At her words I drew away from her.

“What is it Angel?”

“I can’t love you; the curse..”

“Is a done deal. The curse no long exists.”

I looked at her in disbelief.

“What? You think they’d reunite us and not ‘reunite’ us? No one is that stupid Angel.”

I threw my arms around her and pulled her close to me, devouring every nuance of her, her scent, her taste, her shape. It had been so long.

“What about the others?”

“We’re dead Angel. Other warriors will be sent to the Hellmouth if they are needed. They have grieved for us and now they are moving on with their lives, just as we are moving on with ours. It wouldn’t be fair to stir it all up again.”

I lay back and pulled her with me.

“I do love you Buffy Anne Summers.”

Smiling, she moved her lips towards mine, “Then it’s lucky I love you too.”

…He slept soundly beside me, his arms cradling me in a lovers embrace. Tears streamed silently down my face, for what we had been through, for what we had suffered, for what we had made others suffer, and for our reunion.

“Thank you.” I whispered softly as I closed my eyes and snuggled closer to my love, to my beloved Angel, to my redemption.