AN: Keep in mind, there is no 'Ghost Spike' in
this story. He rematerialized in the Los Angeles
"Nobody gets too much heaven no more
It's much harder to come by
Nobody gets too much love anymore
It's as high as a mountain
And harder to climb..."
The first thing he saw was the sky.
Light blue. Fluffy white clouds. A picture perfect, Kodak
of a sky.
Unfortunately, it only took a flash of memory to destroy
the lovely scene. It all came rushing in at once,
rolled over and jumped to his feet, railing at whatever
fate was once again pushing his buttons.
he bellowed, clenching his fists and screaming
into the nothingness. "Stop bloody well doing that! You got
how fucking PAINFUL that is?"
Christ! Was THIS going to be his destiny? Was he actually
going to spend eternity
going up in a ball of flame, only
to find himself back where he'd started, alive again...in a
the Almighty had a nasty sense of humor,
and thought it would be big kicks to let him die and come
back...die and come
back...die and come back...like a
Well, that was just fine with him. He could take it, if he had
There was nothing anyone could throw at him that he
couldn't stand up to...as long as there were no more dreams
THAT was just too damn much, too damn painful.
"Oh, you and me girl
We've got a lot of love in store
And it flows through you
it flows through me
And I love you so much more
than my life...."
Slumping back against the tree he'd been lying
under, he took a moment to actually look around.
this a meadow? Why the hell was he in a
It was a nice enough looking place, although he knew
last long here. The shade of the tree was
cool and comforting, but how long could he sit there?
Sooner or later, it
would be gone and the sun that looked
so friendly and playful would put an end to him...again.
He let his head drop
back against the bark of the tree,
and closed his eyes.
The sooner, the better. He didn't want to be anywhere
was pretty and cheerful. He didn't deserve it. He wanted
hell fire and brimstone, pain and endless torment. He
to be shackled to a cliff in the Caucasus mountains
and have his flesh torn into by Zeus's eagle, day after day,
the rest of.....
"I can tell what you're thinking just by the expression on
His eyes flew open
in alarm. The one thing he'd wanted
to avoid was back to torture him.
"I'm up here."
Spike tipped his head
back and looked up. Ten feet or so
from the ground there was a nice, sturdy looking branch,
and perched on that branch,
her bare legs swinging, wearing
a white dress and grinning like the most carefree child in
all the universe was....
thought you'd NEVER get here!"
With the nimble grace he'd always admired in her,
even when he'd admired nothing
else, she pushed off
the branch of the tree and dropped lightly to her feet,
then knelt beside him.
to avoid a long period of confusion," she said,
"let me explain. We're both dead. Permanently. No one
we left behind
is going to mount some kind of misguided
rescue attempt to break us out of here."
"You're dead?" he asked, wanting
to be clear in spite of
the painful memory currently skating on the edge of his
"As a doornail."
up a little straighter, Spike slowly raised one
hand and poked her shoulder.
She was solid, flesh and blood.
don't feel dead."
Buffy smiled, and the sight of it made him want to
sigh. He'd almost forgotten the way her eyes
when she really smiled; not the little half smiles she'd
used as a shield against her well meaning friends,
the broad, unguarded grin that he'd only seen a handful
"That's the best part of all. Once you're
DON'T feel dead," she explained. "You feel free."
"All right, but....why are YOU dead?"
know why I'm dead, Spike."
Oh, yes, there it was. The painful memory he
could no longer ignore.
her hands, he turned them palms up,
examining the thin scars that lay across her
"It didn't hurt,"
she assured him.
His thoughts must have shown on his face.
"Didn't hurt YOU, maybe. What about the people you
behind? Your friends and your sister...don't tell me
it didn't hurt THEM."
She took in a deep breath and nodded.
"It did at first,"
she said. "But they're all right now. They...they under-
stood that my time with them was over, and
they let me
He swallowed a painful lump in his throat. "Buffy..."
"I couldn't stay there anymore," she
simply. "I thought you were dead...so I followed
"I can see beyond forever
Everything we are will never die..."
He needed another reason to hate himself like a
hole in the head.
"It's MY fault, then."
halfway expected her to give him the old "You
mustn't blame yourself" speech, attempting to soothe
his guilt, but Buffy
was nothing if not unpredictable,
and she rarely did what was expected.
"Yeah, it kind of is," she agreed. "Would
it have killed
you to pick up a phone and let me know you were
back? Couldn't you have...."
Now, THIS was the
Buffy he knew. The one who said
precisely what was on her mind.
"...sent me a letter? A postcard...Candygram...smoke
No matter how bloody irritating it was.
"You know what?" he said, cutting her off. "Did it
occur to you that I didn't WANT you to know
I was back? That maybe I was getting along quite
nicely without having
you harping at me day and
night? That I'd finally managed to cut myself loose
of YOU and your little band of merry
He wasn't sure what kind of reaction he'd been trying to
get...hurt or anger...but whichever it was,
he didn't get it.
"Yeah, right," she scoffed. "That's why you were about to
flambe yourself on the hood of Angel's
car, cuz you were
having such a good time without me."
Well, she had him there. Still....
"For your information,
slayer, I was...resting. I knew
when the sun was due. Vampire, remember?"
Her smile became downright cheeky. "For
who always claimed to be the embodiment of evil
and vice, you never could lie very well. That was
Never in the entire history of the human race,
since thenucleus of what was man slithered out
the primordial stew pot, had there ever been such
an aggravating, obnoxious, exasperating, provoking
of female life form, as this one sitting
beside him now.
But...if she was telling it straight...things were finally
"Love is such a beautiful thing
Oh, you make my world
A summer day
Are you just a
To fade away..."
"Okay...so we're both dead?"
"For real? I mean...totally dead? Not coming back
vamps or ghosts or zombies...THAT kind of dead?"
Buffy showed him her teasing smile. "We're not only
we're really most sincerely dead."
Oh, great....Wizard of Oz quotes. It brought back
memories of them sitting around
graveyards waiting for
new vamps to pop out of the ground, playing 'Name
That Tune' to kill the time.
HE could play the game as well as she could.
"Morally, ethically...?" he queried.
"Undeniably and reliably DEAD!" they finished together,
a few moments of companionable silence, he
glanced around and said, "So, where are we?"
"Nobody gets too much heaven no more
It's much harder to come by
I'm waiting in line
gets too much love anymore
It's as high as a mountain
And harder to climb.."
"You get three guesses, and the first two don't count."
He gave her a look.
"Oh, come on...where
do you think we are?"
Leaning back against the tree, he folded his arms across
his chest. "Well, it looks like Paradise,"
he admitted. "But
it can't be, now can it?"
"Spike?" Throwing one leg over his
ones, she sat down on them and pulled his arms
away from his chest. "The reason it looks like
is because it IS Paradise."
He allowed her to take his hands and hold them, but he
couldn't keep back a look of
skepticism. "All right, but
what am I doing here?" he asked. "I don't belong up here.
You know it as well as I do.
I belong someplace with a
fiery furnace...and little devils shoving pitchforks in
uncomfortable places. I'm supposed
to get eternal
"You sound like you want it," she observed.
Their fingers automatically laced
together in a firm clasp,
an echo of their final touch on Earth.
"Not a matter of wanting it," he replied, squeezing
fingers. "It's what I deserve."
She shrugged. "Someone thinks differently."
she said reasonably. "Yeah, you did a lot of
bad stuff...no one's arguing that. But...in the end...you
You sacrificed yourself to save
the entire world. That means something up here."
Up here. He was actually starting
to believe it. Some-
how, he'd ended up....up here.
"You know, it's not a bad place to be," she said, tilting
head to one side and peeking through her bangs.
"And the old rules don't apply here."
"The 'old' rules?"
She turned and gestured skyward. "See that sun?
It won't harm you. Nothing up here does harm. It's all warm,
safe. And it's anything you want it to be."
"You want the ocean? You can have it. The mountains?
You can have that, too. Anything and anywhere. That's
what it's all about. It's our little corner of Heaven. Yours
"You and me, girl
Got a highway to the sky
We can turn away
From the night and day
the tears we had to cry
You're my life...."
This was definitely too good to be true. He didn't
have this kind of luck. Surely something was going
to come along any minute now and blast it all to hell.
"Buffy...you don't understand, luv. I..."
She still looked friendly, but her voice had
definitely taken on that "I've had enough of this crap"
tone he remembered.
"Face it. You're stuck here
with me. Hey!" she added brightly, "maybe THAT'S
your eternal punishment!"
hold back the spurt of laughter that
statement caused. If this was punishment, he was
ready to take it like a man.
the conversation in an entirely new direction,
his eyes moved over her body. "I like your dress."
She stood up
and moved a few feet away. "Watch this,"
she said, then went up on her toes and spun in a circle.
The white silk fabric
of her skirt flared out around her as
she turned like a doll on a music box.
"Very pretty," he noted, admiring
her bare legs and
small feet with their pink polished toenails.
Buffy stopped and swayed dizzily. "I always wanted
wear dresses like this," she informed him, falling into
his quickly raised arms, "but I never knew when I was
end up in a fight."
"I see your point. Listen, about that sun?"
"Yeah?" she grinned.
"You sure about
what you said before? I can...you
know...go out in it?"
He was aching to try it. How many years
been since the sun was a benevolent source of
warmth and light for him, not something to be
"Come on." Buffy stood up, pulling him with her.
She stepped to the outer rim of the shade the tree
giving off, tugging on his hand. "Just put your
hand in it and see."
Keeping his fingers entwined with hers, he
out slowly, staring like an amazed child at his
unharmed flesh. "This is..."
She coaxed him a little
further out, then moved
around behind him and slipped his coat down his
arms and off.
He stood in the warm
wash of sunshine, his face
lifted to the sky and his eyes closed, letting it soak
into his skin.
him from behind, laying her cheek
against his back and wrapping her arms around
him. "Feels good, doesn't it?" she
It did feel good, good in a way that he'd not known in
almost one hundred and twenty four years, not
that few minutes he'd had when he'd found the Gem of
Amara. He hadn't realized...until just this moment...how
much he'd missed it.
And the longer he stood there absorbing the light
and the heat, the more he became convinced
through some quirk of fate, he'd actually found
He had the sun, and he had Buffy. What else
it possibly be?
"I can see a new tomorrow
Everything we are will never die
Love is such a beautiful thing..."
Her voice was small and soft, and a bit hesitant, and
he was sure he'd never heard her
speak his name quite
that way before.
"Do you love me?"
He smiled. "I love you. You know
"Remember when I came to you and told you what
to do? What I said to you?"
"You told me to come and
She placed a kiss in the middle of his back. "I
knew what you were going to do...and I came to
you not to do it." There was a pause. "But...I
couldn't go through with it. I wanted you here with
me. That's why
I didn't try and stop you."
He remembered, remembered it clearly. The way
she had distracted him.
I could have just watched," she said. "But I
wanted you to know that I was waiting for you."
**Come and find me.
I'll be waiting for you. Find me on
the other side...**
"I know it was selfish." Splayed fingers spanned his
cage. "Don't be mad," she added in a whisper.
After an amused pause, he turned to face her. "Do I
head tilted back. "No. But you also haven't
kissed me yet."
It was another new experience, kissing Buffy while
poured over them. Her lips were as warm
and soft as he'd ever felt them, and he'd have been
content to stay right
there and kiss her for hours.
But when the kiss changed from tenderness to
passion, he began to want more. His
lips on hers
became insistent and urgent as his hands slipped
down to cup her bottom and lift her against him with
a firm pressure.
She pulled back first. "Do you want to come
and see where I live?"
He smiled, looking
into her eyes with serious
"You got a bed?"
"Lead the way."
"When you are to me
The light above
Made for all to see
This precious love..."
reunion stories need a big ol' slam-bang love
scene, don't they?)