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Title: Forever
Author: Kat Lee
Characters/Pairing: Spike/Buffy
Rating: PG-13/T
Challenge/Prompt: An old, disposable camera
Word Count: 999
Disclaimer: All characters belong to their rightful owners, not the author.

She sits out in the sun, reveling in the heat of its golden rays on her flesh and hearing the waves slapping at the cliff further below her. She sits and leafs through photographs that are like pieces of history, her history. Her fingers trace the smiling faces of her mother and sister while tears keep rising in her green eyes. She bats them down, but with each new photograph, they become fresh again.

She misses her family so much that at times the pain seems unbearable. She misses all the friends she's buried. She used to try to visit every grave every month, but she can't do that any more. She is, as usual, too busy saving the world, just as she was once too busy saving the world to spend more time with those who needed her the most.

She lingers on a picture of the three of them and wonders if she was ever really good to them. Was she the mother Dawn needed when they lost their mother? Did she really do everything for their mom she could? Could she have done more for either? Could she have done anything differently that would've truly mattered in the end?

She flips through several more pictures before she sees one that makes her smile through her tears. Both her mother and Dawn are hugging the mess out of her. They're laughing and giggling like schoolgirls, which, of course, she and Dawnie had been at the time. She loved them, Buffy knows, and she knows they knew she loved them. She did all she could for them, even if she'll one day die still wanting to have done more.

She does want to do more. She'll always want to do more. Both Giles and Willow tried to tell her that was one of her problems before they died: The world expected too much of her, and she expected even more of herself.

She flips her blonde hair over one agile shoulder, lifts her head, and sniffs the air. There's a change. Some one's coming, and she knows who. She smiles at his approach, but then a fresh sense of longing strikes her. All these pictures . . . all the pictures she already has back home, too. She's got pictures of family and friends, of relatives she barely remembers, of a father who never wanted much to do with her after she became a Slayer, of high school classmates she barely knew. She has so many pictures, and yet she has not one of the single most important man to her.

How will she remember him, she thinks, suddenly afraid, when he is gone? She'll never have any pictures of him. You can't capture the dead on a photograph. There was that video of Angel dancing that time, but somehow, she can't see Spike sitting still for any kind of camera. Maybe she should have their picture drawn before it's too late.

"See you got 'em developed, pet."

"Yeah." She doesn't add the "finally" that she thinks or the fact that the developer told her that it was a good thing she hadn't waited longer to bring in the old, disposable camera upon which she'd been sitting for well over a century. She doesn't look up at him, still doesn't want him to see her tears, but instead looks out across the ocean.

He sits beside her, wraps an arm around her shoulders, but doesn't speak. He knows she'll break the silence when she's ready and has patience with her, as he always has tried so hard to do. She leans into his touch; part of his black, leather duster falls across her back.

"Spike," she asks and has to clear her throat and wet her lips before she's able to continue, "so much has changed since I was born."

She can hear the smile in his voice. "A lot has changed in my lifetime, too, luv," he admits.

"Yeah, but I was wondering. We can walk in the daylight now. We don't have to hide from the sun. People even know we exist. Do you ever think they'll make a way our pictures can be taken?"

"I know a chap in France who'll paint us an excellent portrait, but you don't have to worry, luv." He wraps his arms more firmly around her. "I'm not going anywhere."

She looks up at him, smiles despite her tears. "You better not."

"I won't," he vows. "I'll be here with you 'til the end."

"When will that be, Spike?"

"When you let it come."

She watches his eyes; her smile slowly broadens. After all this time, he still has such complete and utter faith in her. He still thinks she owns the fate of the world, and she supposes, in a way, she still does. She can't stop mortal life from ending, but that's why he turned her. He couldn't be without her, and she can no longer bare the thought of living without him.

She leans closer. He touches her lips softly, reverently, with his own. Her mouth slips open beneath his gentle touch, welcoming him deeper, wholly, into her. She can't be without him; he can't be without her. So they won't be, she vows silently. She'll never need a picture of him, because she'll never again be without him. She might not rule the world. She might not control its destiny. But she does control her own, and her eternal life won't last a day without him. Their love will shine perhaps not forever but when it doesn't any longer, they'll also be gone. They'll be gone, and like her mother and sister before her, they'll be only memories left behind to this world that all her friends have told her doesn't deserve them any way.

Photographs slip from her fingers and float away in the wind. She lets them go. She doesn't need them. She'll always have her loved ones in her heart, and she'll always have Spike in her.

The End


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2014 09:01 pm (UTC)
Aww... This is really bittersweet; great stuff!! Thanks for posting. :)
Feb. 3rd, 2014 12:05 am (UTC)
Thank you!! Glad it hit home!
Jan. 28th, 2014 09:37 pm (UTC)
Why do you insist on killing me? This was so sad and then it was sweet but it was still sad and it was beautiful, Sweetie!
Feb. 24th, 2014 07:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :-)
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:53 am (UTC)
I loved this! Very emotional.
Feb. 9th, 2014 02:15 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Jan. 29th, 2014 09:42 am (UTC)
That was lovely. Very bittersweet.

Thanks so much for posting.
Feb. 9th, 2014 03:26 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Jan. 30th, 2014 08:24 pm (UTC)
So sweet and sad. :D
Feb. 9th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC)
Thank you for the lovely reviews!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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