Fic: Chasing Dreams – Sequel to The Letter

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I just posted The Letter today on seasonal Spuffy and ladycat asked for a sequel. Then Bang there it was in my head demanding to be writen right away.

So  I’ve written this in the time since I posted earlier today so it’s short and un-beta-ed but I thought someone might like it.

She still has the dreams, even now, after all these years. Still starts awake from time to time with a jerk or startled cry that disturbs Peter from his slumber. In her dreams she is always as she was then, young and strong and filled with rage and passion. Always as she was before time ravaged her beauty and dimmed the fire to barely smoking embers.

“Alright” Peter asks from the exile of his side of the bed. They rarely cuddle these days. It’s not because their love has faded, far from it, their love is perhaps stronger now than it ever was. It is no longer tarnished by the jealous folly of youth or the stresses of adulthood. But they are old now and their brittle bodies can no longer entwine comfortably with one another.

“Yeah” the fading reality of her vivid dream makes her assurance breathy and the musky scent of him still haunts her nostrils.

“One of your dreams?” he asks unnecessarily. He knows her well enough, has known her long enough to know what sandman haunts her sleep.

She grunts in soft confirmation and stares at the ceiling. Her body buzzes faintly with the long forgotten excitement of the hunt. “You have him Slayer” her dream had offered and leant back against a tomb to watch her fight and smoke his last cigarette.

The pain that hits her cheat is so sudden and so intense that it takes an endless moment for her to force out her cry of agony as her heart struggles to keep beating out the rhythm of her life

When she wakes, weak and disorientated in a hospital bed, Peter is sitting vigil at her side and Anna-Joyce is there wringing her hands in a way that is all her father. “Mom” she gasps in fear and relief when she sees her waking and she is at her side gently grasping her hand as if she fears her once invincible mother would break now if handled with anything but extreme care.

The certain recognition of her own sweet daughter makes her head spin as it jars against the vivid reality of her slumber. She’d been deeper in the dream than ever this time and she’d been almost certain it was real.

“Buffy” his voice had been so familiar, as of course it would be, he’d been the consort of her sleep for forty years.

“Hey Spike,” she answered brightly as she’d twirled her gold-not-grey hair around her finger.

“Better get moving Slayer” he’d moved in fast and trapped her against the wall, one hand running up her tanned thigh so she’d gasped with desire. Even in her dreams, even in her frail old age he still ignited and infuriated her passions. “We can’t keep meeting like this you know”

“Where’s William?” she must see her son. She can feel the end-approaching, can hear the deafening ticking of the clock; she needs to see them all before the end.

She has never felt so conflicted about death. There have been times in her life when she has feared it, loved it, wanted it even, but now she doesn’t know. Because she is so very tired, a wonderful contented tiredness of having lived a full life and she knows how perfect is the rest that awaits her. But there are still a few things she’d hoped to see; Baby Ella’s third birthday, William’s wedding perhaps when he finally settles down, Anna’s second child.

“Mom” William is as clearly hers as Ella is Peter’s with his honey hair and emerald eyes. “Mom” he kneels on the hard cold floor of the hospital room and holds her hand tightly.

She remembers when he was born, three years after Anna and completely unplanned. “William” she’s declared emphatically when they said it was a boy. And hadn’t some eyebrows risen at that? Concerned faces all around.

Not Peter so much. She’d told him when first they met about her great, unfinished, romance. Had sat one night and over a bottle of Merlot told him all about the man who had died a century past his time but still far too soon for her. She’d told him how she had loved him, how she would always love him. Would always be waiting for him. “Do you understand?” she’d asked.

He’d said yes of course though she knew he didn’t and eventually the jealousy had faded and he’d be able to say honestly that he accepted that Spike was a part of her and that being so, maybe he even loved this Spike a little too, because he loved every bit of her.

No it had been the others who’d frowned with worry at the naming. The people who’d been there when she’d returned from LA with his coat held tight against her chest and her tears dried to deserts in her eyes.

The people who knew how difficult it had been for her to let go of her grief, who’d see her go a little crazy with missing him. The ones who’d watched her often staring intently at a slender stranger for long moments before turning away with tears in her eyes and defeat in her slumped shoulder. The ones who’d been there when she’d hunted down Drusilla and demanded—without ever getting a coherent answer—that she use her sight to tell her what had become of Spike.

She still does it sometimes even now. Will still chase a flash of leather around a street corner or catch a glimpse of bright blue eyes and find herself grabbing a stranger’s arm with alarming force. “I’m so sorry” she’ll say, she’s good now at making her apologies. “I though you were someone else”

She raises her hand and brings Anna to her other side. “Promise me you’ll look after your Father” she asks them with a weak half smile that summons matching tears in the grief filled eyes. “You know what he’s like.” It has always been their joke, the three of them, how inept Daddy was about the house and she’s worried for her beloved husband left behind.

Pain blossoms violently in her chest and her eyes go wide. And that’s when she sees him, leaning against the doorframe like sex personified and watching her with weighted eyes. He smirks at her and she knows that this is not just an illusion of a broken heart. This is him this time for certain.

He tilts his head and gives her the barest hint of a smile before he turns and disappears into the corridor. She leaps from the bed as quick as a fox and with a strength she hasn’t felt for years, a giddy laugh bubble uncontrollably out of her as she gives chase because this time she is certain she’s not chasing ghosts.

The even drawn out beep of the machine sounds like a death Knell in his mind and Peter feels his frail heart crack clean in two. He doesn’t hear his eldest daughter calling uselessly for the doctor or his son crying out for his mother, all he hears is the monotone eulogy of the machine and the fading sound of her laughter

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