Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Disclaimer: Joss owns all the characters.
Spoilers: Post "Chosen"
Summary: It is twelve years in the future. Buffy and Spike are together.
Thanks to my beta Alison

Her skin. Spike had always loved her skin. It felt so smooth, like expensive silk or melted chocolate. And it tasted like heaven. It tasted like Buffy. He loved the warmth of it against his cool mouth when it passed over the soft surface. How she shivered under his lips when he reached especially sensitive areas on her smooth curves. How goose bumps formed when he blew small puffs of air against her ear. Her body was like a landscape, one that he never grew tired of exploring. It felt so good when she was close, when she snuggled up against him. Feeling her being at peace, leaning back against him. Feeling her relax when he slid his arms around her waist.

He let his hand move over the curve of her hip, and kissed her softly on the back of her neck. She sighed a little in response. He slid his lips down to her bare shoulders and kissed her once more. "I love you Buffy," he said against her soft skin. His fingers trailed slowly up her thin arm, making her shudder when he lightly grazed the ticklish areas on the inside of her wrist and upper arm. He planted a kiss on her shoulder blade as he splayed his hand over her side. Her heard her whisper his name almost inaudibly.

Twelve years. It felt both like an eternity and the briefest moment in time. Twelve years since she had kissed him that night in Los Angeles. That night when she finally had finished sorting her life and her new identity out. When she finally understood that she had filed him under "love". Her lips tasted of fearful tears that night. He had watched her struggle with her feelings for weeks before she came looking for him that night in the park. Before she kissed him under the big oak tree in the rain. Before she told him she would never let go. Their relationship became a brand new incarnation of Buffy and Spike, a synergy sprung out of the closeness of two people who had seen each other from every angle. And since that day they had been beautiful poetry together. Their love was a piece of art. Intense and breathtaking.

His hand continued over the curve of her breast, causing her to moan. "I love you Spike," she whispered and arched against his touch, her shallow breaths fluttering through the room. "I know, pet," he exhaled against her skin. He looked up over the plains of her body. The hills and valleys of Buffy were painted with stunning highlights from the candles on the night stand. Yes, she was beautiful. Even though she wasn't seventeen any more she still had the body of a goddess. But that wasn't why he loved her. In the beginning he had been amazed by the lethal gorgeous beauty he had watched that night at the Bronze, but with time he had fallen in love with her soul. With those parts of her that most people never looked closely enough to see. It was the downside of being pretty. Or for that matter with being a mythical killing machine. People tended to think that what you see is what you get. But Buffy was so much more than that. Nobody knew that better than him.

The palm of his hand caressed her flat belly, bringing out a few pleased sighs from his lover. "You're lovely," he mumbled as he brushed his cheek against her back. He let his tongue travel along her spine, causing her to gasp briefly. He felt her push back against his mouth. His hand passed along the side of her torso, feeling the relief of her all-too pronounced ribs under his fingers. His hand slid down to the small of her back and his fingertips moved in soft patterns against her skin, as if he were writing her unspoken sonnets in an unknown alphabet. As his mouth replaced the touch of his fingers, his hands graced her rear, traveling down the back of her thigh. "Spike," she breathed once more. His lips explored her lower back for a minute before he slid up behind her again, pulling her tight against him, entwining her tired limbs with his. They fit together perfectly, he thought as he closed his eyes and leaned his cheek against the space between her shoulder blades. She tangled her fingers with his.

They made a stunning couple; nobody, even Angel, could deny that. Together they were enigmatic, they were the perfect contrasts. They were the same and yet nothing alike. When they fought side by side and when they loved, nothing was half-hearted and pale. The younger slayers always looked at them in awe. They were the union of the legendary slayer and the ensouled vampire, and their history and relationship always seemed to the SITs as a tear-jerking story from a romance novel. But to Buffy and Spike it was more real and honest than anything they ever had experienced. And it made them feel more alive than they had thought possible.

He reached up and pulled away a few strands of blond hair that tickled his nose. He was happy for her sake about the fact that she hadn't dropped too much hair this last week. She always got upset by the sight of loose hair on her pillow. He had told her a million times that he didn't care, but she had a hard time getting used to the idea that she wasn't going to be "goldilocks" any more. With age her looks hadn't been such a overly central item as it had been in her youth, but her hair had always been important to her. She loved the feeling of when he ran his hands through it, how he tangled his fingers in it and pulled her closer when they kissed. But most of all it had been a part of her identity that she had a hard time letting go of.

He heard her whimper quietly, suddenly breathing a bit more strained. A pang of anxiety rushed through his gut. "Buffy?" he said. "How's it goin', love?" He reached out and stroked her pale cheek with the back of his hand.

He heard her take a few shaky breaths. "Not so good," she responded, knowing that she was stating the obvious. "But... you're here." The last word trailed away.

He buried his face against her back. "Do you want some medicine?"

"No. Please, don't. Just..." her voice failed her again. "Just be here with me. Just..."

He closed his eyes tightly, holding her against him in a firm embrace. "I'm here, love. Where else would I be?" He let go of his grip a little bit, and planted small, slow kisses on the back of her neck. He let go of her hand and lifted his fingers to stroke her face. He touched her lips with shaking fingers, caressed her jaw line with his thumb. "There's no one like you," he whispered.

It had all happened so fast. She hadn't been feeling well. And when they sat there with the doctor, listening to the test results, they had been given a swift and brutal verdict. Leukemia was the name of the Big Bad Evil that was hurting her from the inside. It wasn't an enemy he could kill, not one he could slice and dice with an ax, or dust with a sharp stake. He was helpless. It became clear quite fast that the condition was a serious one. Even with those nifty slayer healing powers, the illness was progressing fast. A few weeks ago, what they had known in their guts was spoken out by a the doctor. It was the end of her road. She was a fighter, but a couple of weeks ago something had turned. She had asked Spike to take her home. She had stopped taking all those medicines that made her ill. From that moment she lost herself in him.

He savored the feeling of her body against his. He let her fingers trail over the front of her torso, as if he was mapping out a topographical image of her body. He wanted to remember. Her muscles moved a little under his touch. Her strained breaths echoed through the room. He wanted to be strong for her, but his tears wouldn't obey his commands. They started seeping out from the corners of his pain-filled eyes, wetting her naked skin. A few trails of tears made their way over the slight curve of her spine, disappearing beneath their bodies. He closed his eyes again. Her heartbeats weren't strong, but he felt like they reverberated through his body. Her breaths were irregular now. He started breathing too, imitating the pace of her rising and falling chest. His body mimicked the tiny shifts in her muscles. "I love you," he repeated, murmuring against the salty damp skin of her back. Her chest made small movements under his embracing arm. It rose and sank.

And then there was silence.

And his world stopped. In an instant everything inside of him was darkness. His body started shaking with heavy sobs, and he burrowed his face against the skin of the lifeless body that moments ago had housed his lover, his best friend, his entire world. "I love you, Buffy," he whispered once more, feeling everything that was bright and warm slip away from his soul. "I always will", he said quietly, with his lips to her warm skin. And then the only thing existing in his universe was the sound of his crying.


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