Chapter 1: A New Beginning
For a few seconds this morning, I thought I was in heaven. I came out of a deep sleep to find myself entangled with her. Her head was on my chest, her legs entwined with mine. She looked at peace, her face so young and carefree. I felt my heart swell with happiness at finding myself with her, remembering the night just past, and the times we made love.
With that memory comes the rest. The events of earlier. The pain of knowing Dawn was gone. The tears start to form again, and another memory comes to the surface. I think it was a dream. At least, I’m sure it never actually happened. Dawn was talking to me. Her words are still clear, the tone of her voice still sharp in my head.
“You’ve succeeded in the first part of your task, Spike. She said you had to keep me safe, and you did. The key neutralised the energy from the orb, or at least enough of it to give us some breathing space. But, there’s more you need to do. The hardest of those things is to forgive yourself. Others you’ll find easier. Love her. Keep her safe. Allow her to love you. You need to be together. Only when you are truly together can you be happy, and only then can you fulfil your ultimate destiny.”
Her face changed then, and she started to laugh. “Now I’ve said what I had to, I can get rid of the stuffy style. I love you, Spike. It won’t be long until we’re together again, just do as you’re told for once.”
At that point, my dream Dawn jumped at me, putting her arms around my neck, and I swung her around, feeling her joy, but she faded then, and the dream was over.
I’ve never been much of a one for mystical purposes and all that, but I believe she’s happy. I believe I’ll see her again. I don’t know when, or how, but I believe it. And that takes the edge off the pain.
Buffy stirs in my arms, and her eyes flutter open. I stroke some hair off her face, watching her, wondering if she’s going to tell me to go.
“Morning, Pet,” I whisper. I’m in awe of the fact that she spent the night in my arms, the pleasure of having her here rivalling the pleasure of what came before sleep. Her face lights up when she sees me, and I stifle a sob. As quickly as her face showed happiness, it’s gone, and her eyes have taken on that look of utter loss that was in them at the shop yesterday.
“She’s really gone, isn’t she?” she asks, already knowing the answer.
I nod, not wanting to trust my voice.
“I dreamed about her. She told me to love you, that we could only be happy together. She said I had to forgive myself.”
“Sounds like the Bit was busy last night. Had the same dream, near enough.”
“She seemed happy.” Her voice had a far away quality, as if she was remembering her own time in heaven.
“She said it wouldn’t be long,” she adds.
We lie together in silence for a while. My mind returns to last night. I’m not too clear on what happened after Dawn was gone. I remember holding Buffy as if my life depended on it, and she was clinging to me as if the same was true of her. I remember the Watcher’s voice, telling us to get up, and we were led to a car. I couldn’t tell you the first thing about the car, don’t know whether it was mine, his, or Xander’s. Then we were here, Buffy’s house, and we were led upstairs. I seem to remember trying to leave her here, in her room, but she wouldn’t let go, and I don’t think I fought too hard. She’s my weakness. She made me forget my resolve, and I took advantage of her grief. As I think these thoughts, I almost hear Dawn again, the words aren’t clear, but the meaning is. Forgive yourself.
I have no memory of getting undressed, none of her undressing, but I know we spent the night here, in her bed, making love, initially in desperation, trying to forget what had happened. But, some time during the night, things changed. From utter loss, I started to feel joy at being with her. I felt joined to her as I have never felt before. Before last night, sex between us was something somehow disjointed from the rest of my existence. It was a short time of pleasure which never really seemed to be part of my life. Last night, I gave her myself, all of me, and I felt she gave me everything in return.
I’ve loved her for a long time, but I never knew it could be like this.
I woke a few moments ago, and felt a happiness like I’ve never known before. It lasted until I remembered that my sister was gone. But, even then, the happiness wasn’t gone, it was just tempered somehow, not so much lessened, as put into perspective. I remember my dream, and I believe she’s happy. Like I was happy in heaven. And, I can’t begrudge her that.
We spoke for a few moments, comparing dreams. We had the same one, and I think it was Dawn talking to us, trying to stop us from mucking up our chance of happiness.
I think about her childhood, and I realise something’s missing. I remember things, her coming home from the hospital, a new baby, her first day at school, but it’s as if someone told me a story, not like I was actually there. I continue rifling through my memories, getting the same feeling right up until one day when she suddenly appeared in my life. For the first time, I can pinpoint the moment when I first had a sister. It seems strange.
I jump out of bed, surprising Spike with the suddenness of my movement. He looks hurt for a moment, no doubt remembering all the times I’d run out on him after sex, and I pause, kissing his cheek, and tell him, “I’ll be back in a moment, I’ve just got to check something.”
I pull a wrap around myself, and go out into the hallway. I open Dawn’s room, and it’s gone. Everything that made it Dawn’s room has gone. It’s full of boxes, things we don’t use, probably will never use. I
I didn’t hear him approach, but Spike’s behind me, putting his arms around my waist, nuzzling my neck with his lips, as we look at the evidence that Dawn was never real.
I hear footsteps, and Spike moves around behind me, and I realise he didn’t stop to make himself decent before leaving the bedroom. Giles reaches the top of the stairs, his face reddening a little as he takes in the two of us, Spike hiding behind me.
“I thought I’d have a shower before I go home,” he mutters, going into my old room. “There’s coffee downstairs if you want some,” he adds, opening the bedroom door.
“She’s gone,” I tell him, nodding behind me to the room that was hers.
“I know,” he answers. “I was going to sleep in there last night, but …. I hope it was ok for me to stay. I didn’t feel like leaving you. You were both, well, I wasn’t sure you should be left.”
“It’s fine, Giles,” I tell him.
“How are you?” he asks, keeping his eyes on my face, as if desperately trying not to see Spike’s arms around me, his naked upper half probably much in evidence.
“Better than I thought possible,” I answer truthfully, and he nods, going into the room and leaving us there.
I feel, rather than hear, the laughter building in the body behind me, the vibration starting low in his stomach, and rising slowly until I hear it explode from his lips. I can’t stop myself, I join him, and before I know it, I’m giggling along with him, the sight of Giles’ embarrassment making me helpless. Spike effortlessly lifts me before I crumple completely, and takes me back to my room. Our room. He places me on the bed before collapsing beside me.
A vague feeling of guilt passes through me, and I wonder how I can laugh when Dawn’s gone, but no sooner does the thought come to me, than I hear her voice telling me I should just enjoy whatever happiness I can. She knows the life of the Slayer is full of loss, and she’s saying to just get on with it. I know that I’m going to be looking for her, expecting to see her, complaining about her when I can’t find the TV remote. I’m going to miss her, but, I’m going to do my best to live my life until she returns, in whatever form that takes.
The laughter goes on for some time, only to be replaced with passion, as I am silenced with a kiss. Some time later, I’m aware of the front door closing, and I know Giles has gone.