Two days. Spike had been gone for two days now. That was the same length of time it’d been since Dawn had spoken to Buffy. Aside from screaming at her when she found out that Buffy’d not only driven Spike away, but that she’d *hurt* him. As for Buffy, this particular ‘escape’ wasn’t turning out the way she wanted it. Dawn was ignoring her, which hurt. Hurt even more because she knew she deserved it.
Giles had been catching glimpses of a pack of Dire Wolves that had been following them, but didn’t say anything. He’d seen the leader. Buffy had told him that Spike had promised to be with them when it was time for them to go, and Giles was glad to see that he seemed to be keeping his end of the agreement.
That afternoon, Buffy’d broken down, confessing not only everything that Spike’d done for her, and everything that they’d done together (the abridged version, since Dawn was present), but also that she loved him, and was terrified that she’d lost him now.
Dawn hadn’t been able to handle Buffy’s emotional breakdown, and had begun speaking to her again. Everyone had cuddled around the distraught Slayer. Even Xander, who still had a marked dislike of their vampire companion, but was also appalled at what Buffy’d done. Hating Spike was one thing. Using his caring for her for her own selfish needs was another thing entirely. Xander’d decided that when Spike came back.. if he came back.. he owed him a massive apology.
That night, not too far from the main group’s camp, Spike laid with his wolf pack. His family, now. He rested next to Beauty, with little Will (which was what he’d christened the male pup) on his back, much like Dawn had done not too long before. His Nibblet. He missed her. Missed all of them, really. But he couldn’t go back, could he? After what Buffy’d done. He’d asked her if she trusted him once, and her response had been ‘sometimes’. She hadn’t known how much hope that’d given him. He’d deluded himself into thinking that, if he just kept being with her, kept the relationship on her terms, that she’d eventually fall in love with him. Stupid, pathetic William. Why didn’t he just sit down and write her some ‘bloody awful’ poetry, huh? He sighed, shifting between his canine companions.
Truth was, he *had* written her poetry. Several times. Had a little notebook full of the stuff. He’d been saving it for when.. when she loved him back. Another pathetic waste of time. She’d never love him. It made him very glad that wolves were incapable of crying. He whimpered softly, and Beauty nuzzled him gently.
Beauty was confused. She had her mate back. Her mate that she’d forced the pack to leave their hunting grounds to find. But he wasn’t the same. He smelled of Smilodon, and Mammoth. Of Dinofelis, Hyena, and Rhino. And he was sad. Beauty was just a wolf, without the benefits of a human (or vampire) intelligence to guide her, but she still was intelligent enough to know that something was very wrong with her mate. But her loyalty was to him, and she would help him through it. No matter what it was.
The sleeping pile that night was centered around Buffy, who was still upset from her afternoon breakdown. Around midnight, when everyone was sound asleep, Dawn got up slowly. Extracting herself from the pile of slumbering mammals, and walking to yet another cliff that was nearby. She sat there, staring up at the stars. The constellations were the same as in her time, and it was comforting in an odd way. Just seeing something that wasn’t so radically different from the ‘norm’.
She was depressed, though. She missed Spike. Missed her unofficial big brother. She’d thought that things were finally looking up, and her stupid sister had to go and screw it all up again. Dawn sighed, resting her head on her too big forepaws. It wasn’t Buffy’s fault, really. Not all of it, anyway. She was having a hard year, after coming back from the dead and all. Having to leave heaven. To leave.. mom. Dawn swallowed. She didn’t think that she would have been able to do that. To be pulled away from mom again, and have to come back.. here. Well, not *here*, but back to that world. A world that hadn’t even noticed that she was missing.
Dawn sat up, and considered the stars again. A song floated through her mind, and she wasn’t surprised to find that she could actually hear the music as well. A day or so earlier, they’d all discovered that they could project sounds that they had memorized telepathically. The song she was ‘playing’ now was from a very old Sesame Street movie. Follow That Bird, if she was remembering right. She let the music drift for awhile, before finally beginning to sing, unaware that the others were awake and listening.
“One little star,
All alone in the sky.
Do you ever get lonely,
As the twilight drifts by?”
The instrumental bridge played, and the other mammals sat up to listen. Dawn began again.
“One little star,
In the darkening blue.
Do you long for another,
Just the way that I do?”
Not too far away, Spike had also heard the music, and although Dawn couldn’t seem to remember the bridge, he did. Thanks to Dru’s cartoon and kiddie movie collection. He made a slight change to the lyrics, and sang quietly..
“Night begins to fill,
Darkness ends the day,
The people that I love are far away…”
Dawn continued from there, unaware that Spike was still singing also.
“One little star,
Reaching out through the night,
Do you shine on my someone?
Are we sharing your light?
Oh, one little star,
Shine on us both,
The entire group joined in for the finale.
“Oh, one little star…
Shine on us all,
Tonight….” Dawn let the music fade out.
As she made her way back to the group, everyone made a point of pretending to be asleep. The little Smilodon resituated herself atop Giles’ furry back, and sighed, quietly looking up at the sky one last time. “Good night, Spike,” she whispered.
A silver and white wolf, not too far away, was looking up at the same stars, and whispered softly, “Good night, Bit.”