Tokens

Rating: R
Summary:Buffy’s getting married. There are lots of fics about that, but this is my take.
This is a rosebud fic, written for Blood Roses Forum’s second birthday. Rosebuds are up to 500 words long. This is more than half as much again, so I guess it’s a semi-double rosebud.

Feedback : Pretty please. Send it to Jo

 

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She’d done what he’d told her to, so long ago. She’d found someone to walk with into the light, someone who could give her a normal life. She was marrying him tomorrow. It really was the end.

So, he sat in the pre-dawn shadows of his room, turning over the tokens of the past, of a time when his dreams for her had been just that: dreams, not nightmares. Her dance card from the prom. A rose that she’d picked for him once, in jest, and which he’d carefully pressed. A photograph. A sketch of her, sleeping, that he’d done in her room when he’d been Angelus. Even the demon hadn’t parted with it. And finally, the claddagh ring. On his return from Hell, he’d woken up wild and hurting, but he’d felt that digging into his hip, like the Princess and the pea.

Only these few tokens had survived the vicissitudes of his life after her.

Today, for the last time, he would indulge himself. Never again would he allow himself to think of her like this. He would find out where this jumped-up little thief was taking her to live (not to stalk her, he told himself). No – so that he could go somewhere that was as far away from them as possible. If he didn’t do that, he knew that one day he would catch the whippersnapper somewhere dark, and drain his treacherous blood in a few hungry gulps, before claiming his own. So, this was the last time. After all, there were plenty more fish in the sea – it had only taken him, oh, two hundred and fifty years or so to find someone to really love. Two hundred and sixty, if you counted Liam’s drunken fumblings.

So, he lay on his bed, reliving every single moment of their love, from their innocent strolls, hand in hand, talking of commonplace matters, up to that wonderful, dreadful culmination. And then the day that he had given back. As he worked himself to orgasm – the first of several he would allow himself that day, and not difficult, with the memory of her touch on his skin – he made sure there was pain as well as pleasure. Just to be certain. There were tears, and he allowed them, too.

He’d been invited, which had surprised him a little, and he’d really thought that he would go. But, it turned out that it was more punishment than he could take, and he’d learned to take a lot. The ceremony had been arranged for the evening, to accommodate him, but the deepening dusk found him miles away, out in his own courtyard. He’d made a small circle of stones and kindled a fire there. One by one he placed his tokens of the past into the flames. The smoke from them was, he supposed, the smoke of burnt offerings. If he could have put his heart on, too, he would have. Last of all was the pair of claddagh rings.

He closed off everything around him as he sent a prayer to accompany his offerings.

“Let us both find peace. I’m sorry I didn’t come, Buffy. It was more than I could do.”

“I couldn’t do it, either.”

The voice behind him was as familiar as his own. He thought he was hallucinating, but he dare not move.

“Mark was just too nice a guy to get damaged goods. I couldn’t bear to screw him up the way we’ve done with each other.”

He remained silent, crouched over the dying fire, every muscle and nerve taut.

“Am I still your girl?”

Vampire-swift, he had her in his arms, but sense reasserted itself.

“The curse…”

“We’ll find a way to fix it. Together. We do much better together. And until then, we’ll have a standing bulk order for Orbs of Thesulah. Thesulae? You don’t think I let Willow leave Sunnydale without teaching me the spell, do you? We’ll have so many, they’ll be ornaments on our Christmas tree.”

“Our Christmas tree?”

“If there are vampire festivals you want presents for, put them on the calendar. I get Christmas and birthdays and anniversaries and…”

He shut her up with a kiss.

When they broke apart, she stood looking down at the cooling ashes.

“I burned mine, too, but…”

She pulled a silver cross and chain from her pocket. It gleamed in the moonlight.

“This one wouldn’t go away…”

She picked up a small stick and poked around in the little hearth. Her reward was a glitter of silver. She looked up at him, and he snatched the rings up, not caring that they were still hot enough to burn into his palm. She was branded into his soul anyway. Perhaps he was branded into hers. Clenching his fist around the rings, he moved back to her.

“These survived the fire.”

“So will we.”

THE END
August 2005

 

 


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