"Have you ever walked alone at night
Like a man against the world
No one takes your side
against the tide.."
He felt the car shift under someone's weight, and wanted
to scream. Couldn't a man even commit bloody
peace, without being....
Wait. The scent. It was so familiar.
But it couldn't be her. She didn't
even know he still existed
in any form, so there was no possible way she could be here
forgot a fragrance. Especially her's. Not after
the way it had haunted him for six long years.
"Hey, wake up!" a
chipper voice entreated.
His eyes flew open and he turned his head up to see someone
looking back at him...upside
Buffy had climbed up on the roof of the Viper and sat down with
her legs crossed, Indian style. She had her
chin propped on one
hand, and there was a happy smile on her pretty face.
She looked so beautiful that he wanted
to cry over it.
However, just in case this was nothing more than a fanciful
illusion cooked up by his own desperate
mind, he would not
invest a lot of effort in it...yet.
"Buffy," he said casually. "How've you been, love?"
He blinked hard, still lying flat on his back with his arms stretched
out. She was still there when
he opened his eyes. "You really here?"
She shrugged. "Do you see me here?"
Spike chuckled. "I see a lot of things
that don't turn out to be
what I thought."
He hadn't meant to sound bitter or sarcastic, but it must have come
that way because she frowned.
"Yeah," she said, nodding slowly. "You also miss seeing a lot of
things that are right
in front of your face."
Spike wasn't about to take that! Not from her!
"Look who the bloody hell is talking,"
he replied, sitting up and
turning to glare at her.
"When your faith is shaken, you start to break
And your heart can't find the words
upon the sand I give you
A man against the world..."
"Okay, point taken," Buffy said, holding up her hands. "I
admit I screwed up in the past...you know...about
"You and me?" Spike echoed, rolling his eyes. "There never was
a 'you and me' Buffy. There was you.
There was me. That was
Buffy got up on her knees and placed her hands on her hips. "Oh,
knock it off, Spike,"
she said firmly. "There most certainly was a
'you and me'. We had it for a little while, and we would have gotten
back again, if..."
Were those tears rising in her eyes? He hadn't seen her cry very
often. She wasn't the kind of
girl to share those things, not
The night she'd found out about her mother's brain tumor. She'd been
when he'd come to kill her, and it had taken every bit of the anger
that had been fueling his actions and tore it into
tiny scraps, little bits
of paper that got caught in a high wind.
He'd wanted so badly to hold her that night,
to try and offer some
sort of comfort. But he'd also known that she wouldn't have welcomed it,
so he'd done nothing
more than pat her back and sit beside her for
nearly two solid hours....saying nothing except "goodnight" when she'd
He'd seen tears again when she'd come after him and cut him
down from the bonds "The First" had trussed
him up in. He had stared
at her for a moment, not believing for an instant that it was she standing
before him with
a wicked looking knife in her hand. But then he'd seen
the glitter in her lovely eyes, the sadness and the unspoken apology
she'd used that knife to cut him free.
"All the people cheer 'til the end is near
And the hero takes a fall
Then they'll drag
you through the mud
You're only flesh and blood..."
But the tears he remembered most clearly, the ones he would
never forget, were the ones in her eyes when
he had ordered her
to leave him behind, knowing they'd not see each other again.
Those tears had been quite sincere.
He knew she'd have saved
him if she could have.
Well, he wasn't about to sit here and watch her cry. Not if he had
to say about it.
"Don't do that," he pleaded. "You know I can't take it when you
That got a tiny smile
from her. "Softy," she murmured.
"Watch it, missy!" he warned her.
They sat together in silence for a moment,
before Spike had to
ask. "How'd you know I was here?"
She slid down the Viper's windshield until she was seated
him. "Doesn't matter," she said, gazing out over the enormous
pit where a city used to be. "I still can't get over how
empty it is. I
thought there'd be something here, even if it was just a bunch of
broken up houses and things."
he nodded. "That's what I thought, too."
"I guess it's just been...wiped clean." Turning to him, she shook
"But by who?"
Spike shrugged. "Don't know. Hand of God, maybe?"
"Maybe." Stretching out her legs in front of
her, she leaned
back on the windshield and then looked at him, waiting for him to
do the same.
So, he did, but
he was careful not to brush against her. If this
was indeed a dream, he didn't want to jar it in any way.
was quiet, staring up at the stars. Spike followed her
gaze for a moment, then turned to look at her, needing to ask
the question he'd been tormenting himself with.
"Did you cry for me, Buffy?"
"I have walked the path from dark to light
And they've yet to come to terms
Alone I take
I'm only a man against the world..."
She met his gaze unflinchingly. "Every day," she whispered. "Until
I couldn't stand it anymore."
exactly had THAT been? he wondered. "And then you
Buffy nodded. "I stopped...everything."
that was cryptic.
"Do you know," she went on softly, "what made me cry most
sighed, looking back at the stars. "You didn't believe me."
The tears brimmed in her eyes again. "You died thinking that
didn't love you."
Yes, he remembered. All too clearly.
"But I did," she said, her voice faint. "And I
His mind had rejected her words the first time. A defense
mechanism against the pain had kicked in, because
allowed himself to believe it...he wouldn't have been able to let
her go. He would have wanted her face to be
the last thing he
saw, and it would have doomed her.
Looking at her now, though, he had to believe.
was over. The end of the world had NOT come and
gone. For the moment, they were safe.
"And love, like a distant reminder
It tugs at my shoulder and calls me home
can a single voice carry
Will I find sanctuary within your arms?"
"I didn't know you came back," she told him earnestly. "If
I had then I wouldn't have..."
have what?" he prodded.
Sitting up, she drew her knees to her chest and wrapped her
arms around them. "I would have
waited for you to come to
He definitely would have. Sooner or later, his "heroic"
gesture of letting her
go on with life...a life without him com-
plicating it...would have crumbled to pieces in his hands.
It was so simple
when you looked at it from the right
angle. He'd NEVER been able to stay away from Buffy, even
when she'd hated the
sight of him. He'd lost count of the number
of times he'd been ready to do it, and hadn't.
Of course, he'd always
believed that they were fated to be
together in some way; as bitter enemies, unwilling allies,
tentative friends, and
They'd had a weird, symbiotic relationship that neither of them
had ever been
able to shake loose of, and it had taken them
all the way to the end of the line A lifetime lived out in six short
"Someday when the answer's clearer
Someday when I even the score
You'll reach, and you'll
find me near you
Right beside you...forevermore.."
Suddenly, he wanted very badly to take her away from this
place they'd both come to for answers.
was a place of death, and they'd just been granted
new life. If they stayed here another moment, something
bad was going
to happen. It had to. His shitty luck would
make certain of it.
"You know what? Let's get the hell out of here.
in the car and drive until we find a place where we can
get it all sorted out," he suggested. "Just you and
Buffy just smiled at him, sadly. "I can't. It's too late."
What the hell? Was this some kind of cruel
decided to play on him? Confess her love, get him all
stirred up over new possibilities...then yank the rug
from under his feet?
"It's NOT too late," he insisted. "Not if you love me the
way I love you."
love you....but I can't go with you. Not this time."
She meant it. He could see the truth of it in her eyes,
it was maddening. "Then why are you here, Buffy?"
he asked angrily. "You tell me you love me...you fucking
MAKE me believe
it...and then you tell me we can't be
together? What the hell is the matter with you?"
"I didn't say that," she
replied. "I said I can't go with you.
You have to come to me. I'm waiting for you."
His head was beginning to ache
as he tried to make
heads or tails of her meaning. "I...I have to come...to you?"
"That's about it."
it's where you belong."
Feeling like his fucking head was about to explode, he
jumped down off the car and glared
at her, a look that would
have intimidated ordinary people. "You said...it's too late.
Can you for once give me a straight
answer and just tell me
Quietly, she watched him pace. "Because I didn't wait. I'm
sorry, but I didn't."
"For now, I'll walk the night alone
Like a man against the world
A brand new day will
Through the avalanche of time.."
"Spike....listen to me." She held out her hands in supplication,
her palms up.
And he saw. Saw
two thin, red lines on each of her delicate
wrists appear and disappear.
"I stopped everything," she had said.
God...no. Anything but that. Please, God...
"What have you done?" he asked, his voice rising in
volume as he stared
at her wrists. "Buffy! What the HELL have
"Come to me, Spike," she whispered, entreating him with
eyes. "Come and find me. I'll be waiting for you."
Now, the tears rose into HIS eyes. "Where?" he managed
out around the ache in his throat. "Where are you
She smiled at him, so sweetly. "Find me on the other side."
don't." He tried not to cry, but he did it
anyway. "Please, don't...I want to go with you."
"Oh, God." Her eyes
fixed on something behind him. "It's happening."
Although he was terrified to take his eyes off her, he had to
He whipped around and stared off at the horizon.
The sun was nearly up.
"Now, the road's grown long
But the spirit is strong
And the fire within still burns.."
His first sunrise in over a hundred years. How had he not
known it was upon him?
The answer was
obvious. Because of Buffy. She had distracted
Turning, he held out one hand and tried to make it
the car. "Buffy!" he cried.
Scrambling to the edge of the Viper's hood, she reached
out for him as their eyes met
and locked....and she smiled.
"Don't be afraid."
And then...it was over.
"Alone, I take my stand
I give you a man
Against the world.."