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Sunsets ~ Epilogue

Title: Sunsets ~ Epilogue
Summary:
An expansion on the author's note at what was the original ending of Sunsets
Rating: PG
Warning: You might want a tissue.
Disclaimer:I don’t own ‘em.  I’m just borrowing them for a while.
Note: The banner was a lovely surprise gift made by the talented xtanitx .

Sunsets ~ Epilogue

*~*

They buried Buffy the following night, at sunset, in her beloved garden behind the cottage.  She had tended it herself, finding great joy in promoting life in the light of day.  Several generations of children had dirtied their hands in the soil alongside Aunt Buffy, and she thrived on watching their faces light up in amazement when the tiny seeds they’d carefully planted grew and flourished.  She would have made a wonderful mother, had things been different.

Spike had chosen the garden for her final resting place, next to the oak tree she’d planted herself more than fifty years ago.  She had often sat out there in the mornings, enjoying the beginnings of the day with a cup of coffee and a book.  Spike used to watch her from the veranda, both wishing he could join her and thankful that he could not.  The garden, during the day, was her place and hers alone.  It seemed only fitting that he bury her there.

Sunset was Buffy’s choice.  She’d avoided the topic of her eventual death with her own particular brand of vehemence, and Spike knew that she’d hated the thought of growing old and leaving him alone.  The one and only time she’d brought it up, ten years ago on a warm summer’s night not unlike her last, she refused to meet his eyes, just stared straight ahead at the dying sun and told him what she wanted.

Because sunset is when the day and the night come together, and the two supposedly separate worlds mix, she’d said, her voice quiet yet determined.  It reminds me of us . . . I’m the day, you’re the night, but for a little while we can exist together.  I’d like it if you did it then . . . when the time comes.

A few hours after tapping down that final shovelful of dirt, Spike sat with his back against the tree, a half-empty bottle of beer in one hand, his other caressing the cool dirt over her grave with shaking fingers.  In the yard around him, the family gathered, laughing and crying and sharing stories about Buffy, and about Willow and Xander, both several years gone, and Giles, the beloved British ‘uncle’ remembered fondly by the second generation and the eldest few of the third.  Spike had mingled amongst them for a time, but before long found himself, as always, by Buffy’s side.

“It’s a beautiful night, sweetheart,” he whispered, gesturing to the nearly full moon, whose light brightened the garden in shimmering silver, highlighted with gold from the paper lanterns strung liberally from the trees.

“Sammy’s learnt to crawl, the little scamp,” he added, smiling as the infant, Dawn’s first great-grandchild, grunted with his efforts at gaining his freedom, only to be scooped up by his vigilant mother.  “Don’ worry though, love.  Naomi’s watchin’ him close as always.”  

He sighed, head falling back against the rough bark.  He’d known, of course, that choosing to make a life with Buffy would end this way, but he hadn’t been ready for it.  She was eighty-six, and he hadn’t been ready.  He doubted he ever would.

“Is this private party, or can I join you?”

Scrubbing the tears from his face with the back of his hand, Spike tipped his head up to see Dawn standing in front of him holding a small platter of finger foods. 

“Hello, Niblet,” he greeted, grinning when she scowled at the nickname, but knowing with certainty that she secretly loved it.  “Need a hand?”

Dawn scoffed, and lowered herself to the grass.  She wasn’t nearly as graceful as she’d once been, of course, but the care she’d taken in looking after herself showed as she comfortably settled in front of him, legs tucked to the side.  She set the plate between them, taking a small sandwich for herself and gesturing for Spike to do likewise.

“When it’s my time,” Dawn began, after finishing her snack, “I’d like to be next to her.”

Spike nodded, not trusting himself speak or even make eye contact.  After just losing Buffy, he didn’t want to think about the day he’d lose Dawn, too.

“You’ll be there, won’t you?” she continued, and Spike snapped his eyes to hers, sharp with scrutiny behind her glasses.  Off his look of bewilderment, Dawn reached out, patted his boot.  “I mean, we all miss her, Spike, but we’d miss you, too.  I’d hate to think you’d do something stupid like waiting out here until the sun comes up.”

Spike would be lying if he said the thought hadn’t crossed his mind.  Buffy had been his purpose, his life for so long, that suddenly facing immortality without her filled him with dread so powerful, he could almost have considered following her.  There was something poetic, he’d thought, in scattering his own ashes over her grave.  But the thought had been fleeting, and looking around him at those gathered here, those he loved, those who loved him, he’d known that ending his existence was the coward’s way out.

“Won’t do it, Dawn,” he assured her, covering her hand with his.  “Got too much else to live for.”

“Good,” she decided, with a nod of finality.  He knew she wouldn’t bring it up again; she and Buffy had been more alike than either of them ever admitted.  “’Cause you know, if you showed up in heaven so soon after she did, Buffy would totally kick your ass.”

Spike’s first thought was that he still wasn’t entirely certain that heaven was in the cards for him.  His second thought was that Dawn was absolutely right.  A vision flashed, of Buffy, her face and body alternating between the Buffy he had fallen in love with, and the one he’d held in his arms last night, her face scrunched in righteous anger as she swung an accurate and painful fist toward his nose, screaming at him for being a stupid bloody vampire.

And he laughed, and Dawn laughed with him, and for a few minutes, the world didn’t seem so bleak anymore.

Setting down his beer, Spike crawled over to wrap his arm around Dawn, who rested her head comfortably on his shoulder.  “She would, wouldn’t she?”

“Before you could say, hello, cutie.”  Dawn patted his knee, and tipped her head back toward the gathering behind them.  “Care to escort an old gal to a party?”

Spike dropped a kiss on her temple, then helped her to stand and tucked her arm through his.  “Love to, Niblet.”

*~*

Original Author's Note: This was initially included at the end of the first piece to this story, mostly because I was tired and hadn't the energy to expand it into the story.  I received a few requests for it and decided to tackle that extra scene a few days later.  This is the original author's note that inspired this second part.

The next night they buried Buffy at sunset beneath a lovely tree in her beloved garden of the cottage she shared with Spike.  Of course the two of them never had children, but had loved and doted upon Dawn’s, Willow’s, and Xander’s children, and later their grandchildren.  Willow and Xander had been gone several years, but their families remained very close to Buffy and Spike.  The whole group assembled to celebrate Buffy’s life with an enthusiastic night-time party.

Spike did not walk into the sunrise, not the next morning or any of those after.  Even with Buffy gone, he had too much to live for still, and he knew that she wouldn’t have wanted that.

If he’d shown up in heaven (which, he still wasn’t entirely certain that he would) so soon after she did, she would totally kick his ass.

The End

 



Comments

( 6 have spoken — take the speaking stick )
amyxaphania
Jun. 10th, 2009 08:58 am (UTC)
Gah! You made me cry again. Loved it, though.
abelina
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the crying, but I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for reading :D
slaymesoftly
Jun. 10th, 2009 11:25 am (UTC)
Very nice.
abelina
Jun. 12th, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
treadingthedark
Jul. 4th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
It's a good cry. Lovely. Thanks.
abelina
Jul. 5th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
( 6 have spoken — take the speaking stick )

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