Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Spike/Dawn, past Spike/Buffy
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike 30in30 Day 15: Photograph, Skin, and Flowers
Warning(s): Character Death, Future Fic
Word Count: 1,361
Date Written: 16 May 2017
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
He stares at the photograph, at the smiling, happy faces reflected therein. He was there in that moment with them, but he doesn't appear in the picture. He wouldn't have even if he hadn't been the one taking it. He has hundreds upon hundreds of pictures of Buffy and Dawn both back home, and many of Joyce as well from the scrapbooking Dawn's done in the last couple of decades, but he's not in any of them. It's one of the curses of being what he is: as a Vampire, he could never truly be one of them.
And yet he was. Buffy loved him first and then Dawn. He loved them both in turn, and today he's finally buried the second one. He doesn't want to leave this spot. He doesn't want to move on. He wants to stand right until the sun rises again and bakes right through his skin. He wants to succumb and go on to be with them in the beyond.
But in the last few years, his Dawnie got religion. She made him promise her just last year something he didn't want to promise, but she wouldn't leave him alone. He'd thought he was going to lose her the night she had grasped his hand from her hospital bed and begged him to let her go in peace, saying she couldn't die happy knowing that he was going to follow her in such a cruel way. He had to go on living, she said, for her, for Buffy, for the next generations.
The children growing up deserved some one to protect them. They deserved some one to watch over them from the shadows. They deserved some one like she had had, a big brother to taunt and annoy her, a heroic monster who ripped apart anybody who dared hurt her, the man with whom she'd finally fell in love with nearly fifty years ago.
Spike's fingers curl into fists; his black nails bite into his pale palms. He shouldn't have made that promise, but he had. He would have given her everything and anything she wanted, just as he had tried to do for her sister before her. But as much as he had wanted her happiness, Dawn had wanted his as well. The promise she had made him make wasn't jut for herself.
Oh, no, it was very carefully worded, but it was really for him, for his soul for which she had pleaded with him. She wanted him to join them when his time came to leave this Earth, but not a moment too soon by his own doing. She hadn't wanted to risk him going to Hell. She had wanted to make certain he would join them when the time was right in Paradise, that he would get to spend an eternity being with her and her sister and their mother as well, along with all the other friends who have gone on ahead of them too.
It's hard to believe he's the last one. He doesn't even have to Angel to turn to this time, not for comfort or solace or even to bear his teeth at and bury their emotions underneath fist fights. For the first time in hundreds of years, Spike is truly alone. Tears burn in his eyes, but he can't give in. He made a promise, after all, and he never lied to his Nibblet.
"She wanted Mum to name me William, you know, after you," a voice says from behind him.
Spike actually almost jumps. No one's gotten the jump on him in ages, but he hadn't heard the kid coming. He looks up at him, into the green eyes that look so much like his grandfather. "Said you was a hero, a Helluva name to live up to."
"And she told me to come to you, didn't she, when she died?" Spike asks, only now putting together the last of the pieces of the puzzle Dawn had left for him.
The kid nods. "She said you were one of a kind, you name," he says, looking pass Spike at the grave nestled between the two memorials where there were no bodies left to bury. "Said you were a good Vampire before such things were common, that you were one of the first two to possess souls, but that you went out and got yours for her sister. You didn't just get cursed with it by some Gypsy."
Spike grins. He can practically hear Dawnie saying that, verbally coming to his defense until the very last. "She did, huh?"
"Yeah, she did. England must've been something back in the day, huh, back when you and Angelus, Darla and Dru roamed free and you killed people with railroad spikes?"
"You know about that, do you?"
He shrugs. "Common knowledge." Then he grins. "But she told me everything about you. Much as Grandpa didn't like you -- "
"He came around eventually."
"Took him a while." The boy nods.
"It did," Spike admits, remembering some of his heated arguments with Xander with a fond smile.
"But she always loved you. She used to pretend she was crushing on Gramps, but it was always you."
"Was it now?"
Spike slowly shakes his head as a wind whistles through the cemetery. It doesn't sound cold and lonely; instead, it sounds like it's hailing like something. A new turn is coming in the world, and he's going to see it, rather he wants to or not. He shakes his head again, gazing intently at Dawn's headstone. "What have you done to me, pet?" he whispers. So this was the kid she wanted so badly for him to protect, or was it the other way around? Did she really think William Harris could ever come close to replacing all those he'd lost, especially her? She was damn sure going to try. He had to hand it to his Nibblet: She never gave up. Over all the years they'd been together, she never once gave up on him.
"So you wanna show me some moves?"
Spike looks down at the picture he still holds. He'd been about to leave it on her grave amongst the flowers and walk out of town, but he wasn't going anywhere very fast.
"I heard there's a new nest in town. The Slayers were talking about it earlier. Said they were going to hit it in the morning when the sun comes up."
"In the morning, huh?" Spike glances up at the dark clouds above their heads.
"We got a few hours."
"Yeah." The kid -- a wet pup if Spike has ever seen one -- practically bounces up and down on the balls of his feet.
Spike's leatherclad shoulders roll in a shrug. "What the Hell?" A dangerous grin chases over his face. "I could use a little violence tonight. Lead the way, kid, and watch, but don't get in my way." Even as he says the words, he knows he'll have to save the whelp's ass, but that's what his Nibblet intended all along, isn't it? He glances back at her grave as they walk away, and he knows two things for certain: one, this is exactly what she had intended to happen -- she was never really going to leave him alone -- and two, he wasn't really alone. He's got a new, annoying sidekick rather he wants one or not. She's given him one last present in his godson.
Spike's wipes away a few tears but smiles nonetheless. Thanks, Dawnie, for always havin' my back, for always watchin' over me. Maybe he hadn't been the one to save her all those years ago; maybe she had saved him, as she's now doing. He walks away from her corpse that he knows is only that and toward a future he never wanted before, a future it looks like he's going to have rather he wants it or not and that maybe, maybe, isn't going to be all bad after all. He'll miss her like crazy. He'll miss her more than anybody else, but maybe his remaining years will pass swiftly, and more easily, after all, thanks to his Nibblet.