Who Wants to Live Forever
There's no time for us
There's no place for us
What is this thing that builds our dreams, yet
slips away from us
Who wants to live forever?
Who wants to live forever?
There was only one passenger in first class on this hop, so the flight attendant could take his time hovering over him. And it was his pleasure to do so. The man was gorgeous. Sable haired with gentle, deep brown eyes. Broad shoulders nicely filling out the jacket of a well-tailored suit.
"Sir, would you like me to hang up your jacket?"
Alexander Harris looked up from his laptop at his admirer. He knew when he was being flirted with. A year ago, he would have initially been offended. Outraged even. Then after the third or fourth scotch he would have been giving out the name of his hotel and his room number. Or just putting another sticker on his mile high card.
"Yeah. Thanks." Xander shrugged out of the jacket and handed it over, carefully not touching more than necessary. He avoided the young man's gaze. He'd noticed him as soon as he entered the first class compartment. Blue impish eyes. Highlighted blonde hair. A saucy manner. Recipe for Xander Harris disaster. Yep, a year ago he would have been drinking as quickly as possible to find the place in his mind where he could follow this attraction without remorse.
But a year ago Xander Harris had everyone, including himself, convinced that he was a practicing heterosexual in a monogamous relationship. If drunken forays into dark and dimly remembered beds occasionally surfaced in his waking mind, he deftly filed them in the same 'not acceptable' drawer that any former resident of Sunnydale had at their disposal. A year ago, Xander Harris sober would have punched any asshole in the nose who said he was queer. A year ago, Xander had thought he was about to be married to a terrific woman and had no idea he had contracted HIV. Until she tested positive with the virus.
So that was then. This was now. A short hop from San Francisco to LA. A trip he made so frequently for business it was like taking the train. Then a long limo ride up the coast to Sunnydale. Or maybe he'd rent a car. Take the coast highway. Or call an old friend.
His pager went off and he reached for the pills in his briefcase. "Greg!" he waved over the attendant. "Some water?" Greg twinkled and served him. Much flourishing of napkin. An accidental arm bump. More twinkling. Excessive hovering, just a little too close. Enough already. Xander sighed and noisily dumped the meds out onto his tray. Greg raised an eyebrow. Xander looked the attendant square in those clear blue eyes. "Have to watch myself," he said meaningfully, "seem to catch everything going around." Greg looked suddenly wary and uncertain. He backed away a bit, a little of the swagger missing.
Xander took his pills and punched through the pages on his laptop. He switched suddenly to a desktop folder named "The Dead" and pulled up a scanned image of an invitation.
On its face were two simple gold circles, overlapping. Inside was a bit of verse:
Without this,there is no reason.
With this,I need no more reason.
Each moment a seed pearl,
perfection of eternity,
Till time's needle strings,
end to end all the days of forever,
I find I hold now in my hand.
Beneath the neat printing, was a large scrawl,
I know the only way to reach you is by email, so that is how you're getting your invitation. If you don't come to my wedding I will have a curse put on you.
PS You know I can do it."
He studied the invitation for a minute. A nighttime ceremony. Dawn wanted all her friends to be able to attend. Slowly he shut the laptop and gazed out the window. Only forty minutes into the trip and already the plane was beginning its descent. He felt it in his head every time. A kind of sucking, sinking feeling as if the entire southern coast of California were a giant Dr. Who phone box. A time machine to the past. The post-med's nausea combined with the dread in his stomach, and he looked around for the now conspicuously absent flight attendant. He thought he might be sick. He hadn't been back to Sunnydale in almost five years.
Dawn threw a huge mass of tulle on the sofa in a snit.
"Geez, I can't even tell if it's right side up! What is the point of a veil anyway? He's seen my face. God he's seen everything. I should just run down the aisle naked and throw myself on him. Or not. Screw this. We should just forget the whole thing, stupidest idea I ever had!" She stomped up and down, yanking at the long tight sleeves on her silk dress. "Oh crud, the stupid buttons are crooked and I can't button them with these stupid nails. Spike!"
"Here Dawn, here." Spike emerged from the hallway and attempted to still the white satin dervish. "Stop movin'!" He threw up his hands laughing. Dawn's frothy wedding gown reminded him of an extravagant confection from a Paris bakery. He didn't know where to grab. "Can't button a moving target, bit," he laughed. Dawn exerted extreme willpower and stilled in front of Spike. She held one shaking arm out and stared at him with huge blue eyes. "I can't do this, Spike."
Spike studiously worked the buttons without looking at her. "Sure, Dawn. You wanna call the whole thing off just say the word. I'll just go downstairs and chase those wankers away. Red'll be disappointed, though. She got those great robes just to officiate at this." He paused and dared a glance up at her with bright eyes, continuing softly, "Far as I'm concerned you can stay here forever..." Dawn's eyes immediately filled with tears.
"Just you 'n me. You can raise your cats and the neighbors can gossip about old lady Summers and her sexy boy toy." He was carefully studying her sleeve again. "Or you and the wanker could settle here. Sunnydale's always needed its own stock exchange. I could be your houseboy." Suddenly Spike had an armful of Dawn and satin and lace.
"Dawn you crunch like Rice Krispies," he laughed into the mass of whiteness.
"If you make my mascara run, I will so stake you."
"Well warn me first, wanna get out of this rental tux beforehand or you'll lose your deposit."
Dawn pushed him away, attempting to dab at wet eyes with only her fingertips. "Get me a tissue?"
Dawn stared after him, her eyes full of concern. Spike would always think of her as a little girl, Buffy's baby sister. He would always be the older man in her life, well one of the older men in her life. But to a casual observer, he was the same age as her. Her girlfriends, the human ones, were always drooling over him and suggesting that her boyfriend should be jealous. Actually he had been, at first, but Bill had a few interesting skeletons in his family's closet as well, and he soon understood that Spike was a phenomena outside the box.
Dawn fell onto the sofa with a great sigh of fluffed cloth. Willow would still be here; her work with the Council and the new Slayer would keep her near Spike for quite some time. But Spike's emotional connection to the world of the living had been Buffy. And since Buffy's death, Dawn. She reached out to an end table and touched one of the many framed photographs there. Buffy glared into the camera, covered with some noxiously colored goo. The flash reflected off the stuff where it dripped from her hair. That had been about a year before her death. Even then, though, there had been warning signs. The darkness under her eyes. Her extreme pallor. Twenty-four years of carrying so much power and so much responsibility in such a small body, had just burned her up. The stupid car accident that finally took her, and Dawn still firmly believed it had just been a car accident and nothing supernatural, had just been the final slam of the door. Buffy had been dying for years. It had only been obvious in retrospect.
And Spike had imploded. She couldn't think how long it had taken for anyone to even get into his crypt. He had been in there with the door jammed somehow, starving to un-death, for months before Xander had gotten a bunch of guys from his construction crew to tunnel in. And then for many months after that only Xander could enter the crypt. How Xander had managed to finally extract Spike from his darkness, literally and figuratively, Dawn had no clue. When he began coming around again, subdued and hideously thin, she had felt that the two men were becoming friends. As if the structure of the group that had broken apart with Buffy's death, was slowly reforming. Then Xander had suddenly left. And Spike went into shock. He had attached himself to Dawn like never before. Speechless, and often unseen, he nevertheless shadowed her every move. She had become so accustomed to his presence she sometimes wondered if even Bill would notice the absence of Spike when they moved to New York. As if the vampire's essence were somehow part of her. And in a way, Spike was her little capsule of Buffy essence. Not because of his relationship with her sister. In truth, that had devolved into a platonic, if intense, friendship, as Buffy slowly became more and more fragile. It was the demon, because she knew that part of her sister had been demonic, that felt like Buffy to her. She would miss that dimension. She knew that the human in her, more than Buffy's history, was what drew Spike to her. The immortal had made a connection with the mortal plane for the first time in over one hundred years. She was one of the few remaining contact points he had with that connection. She worried what would happen to him without it.
Spike strode back in and tossed them in Dawn's lap. He twirled around and paced, his hand in his pocket fingering the Zippo he still carried though he had stopped smoking. He pulled the lighter out, flipped it in his hand, flicked it on, flicked it closed. "Watcher's here," he announced abruptly. He stopped short, dropped the lighter back in his pocket, and stood before her, folding his arms in front of him. There was accusation in his eyes. Dawn stared at him in surprise. It was not uncommon for Giles to drop in, and Spike must have expected him at her wedding. But Spike looked like he had been unexpectedly ambushed.
"He brought the whelp," he said flatly.
"The whe...? Xander!" Dawn squealed and jumped up. "Xander's here?"
Dawn ran from the room in great rustle of silk. She didn't notice Spike flopping onto the sofa and burying his head in his hands.
"Fucking hell, where's an apocalypse when you need one?" he muttered.
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