I love you…
He remembered his final battle. He remembered the gem glowing bright over his unbeating heart as his end grew near. He remembered why he’d done it.
His heart seemed to shatter within his chest, pain taking over every cell of his body. He’d saved her, but only to lose her. He curled his arms around himself, physically trying to hold himself together, but for what? What did he have to look forward to now? Loneliness fell over him like a shroud. His eyes were closed as the tortured sobs left his lungs. His mind flashed snapshots of his long life behind his closed lids, like a never-ending slide show. He struggled to concentrate on her images, to burn them into his memory. He needed to keep a part of her with him. But it was all in vain. She was gone.
Saint Peter had observed him since his arrival at the gate. He watched with curiosity, having never been witness to a candidate such as him, and awed by the amount of grief he was stricken with. Spike had not even looked around to establish where he was. His soul was still clinging to his earthly life, unable or unwilling to move on.
“William Pratt,” Saint Peter called out to him.
Spike heard a voice through his tortured moans. A man’s voice was calling him by his given name.
“William, can you hear me? I am Saint Peter,” wondered if he should leave his podium and go to him.
Slowly, Spike lifted his head and looked in the direction of the voice. Just in front of him was a sight he never expected to see. A grey haired man in a long, white flowing robe, and large white, feathered wings, stood next to a tall, ornate golden podium. Behind him, was a large white gate surrounded by clouds. On the gate, in Latin, was etched across a the arch: hic domus Dei est et porta coeli: et vocabitur aula Dei, meaning; this is God’s house, and this is the gate of Heaven.
Once more, he heard his name called. “William?”
Spike stood, somehow able to gain footing on what appeared to be anything but solid. Intimidated by what he was seeing, he remained silent, just taking in the sight before him. He was standing at Heaven’s gate, to be judged.
“William, if you will just step up to the podium, we can get this started.” Seeing that Spike was standing, Peter returned to his podium, and opened his large book. “Let’s see, you preferred to be called Spike in your human life. Or shall I say afterlife. I must tell you, this is a first for me. A souled vampire, twice killed, awaiting judgment.”
Spike numbly walked toward the winged man. As he walked, he noticed that his body was no longer burned. His alabaster skin had been returned to him, and he was clothed only in a flowing white linen cloth, which modestly covered his sex. Finding his words at last, he spoke. “Am I in Heaven?”
A smile spread across the angel’s face. “Not yet, dear boy, there are a few things yet to go over,” he said as he tapped his finger on the large ancient-looking book.
Still in shock, “How can it be? I’ve done terrible things. I’m evil…” Spike dropped his head into his hands, falling apart once more. “There must be a mistake.”
“He makes no mistakes, Spike. You sought to redeem yourself, which no other vampire had ever done before. Your acts of good have outweighed the bad, according to the book. But we must go down the list to make sure you understand why you were granted this meeting. Are you ready to begin?”
Spike was trembling. He had never before feared Hell, assuming he’d given up having a choice. “Yes, I am ready.”
“The first act of love and kindness was many years ago. Toward your mother, and you loved her with all your heart. Says here, that you killed her, to save her?”
Tears welled in his eyes. He knew the list had to be wrong. “Yes, it’s true. I loved her so much, I turned her into a vampire to spare her the pain of illness. Then I killed her again, to spare her from life as a demon.” He struggled to keep his composure. The sadness was overwhelming, as he remembered his deed. “I was selfish.”
St. Peter listened and pondered the statement. “According to God, you did this out of love. Both deeds were to protect another human life, and you did these without your soul. I think that’s remarkable, not selfish.” Peter picked up a large plumed pen, dripped it in ink, and placed a check by the first item.
“Now, the next item was Drusilla. He says you loved her, protected her, and cared for her, even in her diminished mental state, for almost a hundred years. Even though she’d killed you, and mistreated you all that time. Is this true?” St. Peter looked down at Spike, amazed at the last statement.
Grief and remorse shook his soul. “I’d been miserable before she came to me. Drusilla was my savior for many years. I wanted to be in the dark with her, at all costs. The terrible things we did together…I knew they were wrong, but I so wanted her to love me back, to accept me as hers. Selfish. I did it all for me.” Spike lowered his head once more, he whispered, “I’m so sorry.”
Peter picked up the pen once more, placing a check next to the second item. “Spike, that you knew these things were wrong tells me that even without your soul, you clung to your humanity. You desired love and family, and worked the only way you knew how to achieve your goal. This shows me how strong your desire to be part of the human race was. Your humility is evident now, I see it in your recollection of your sorted past.”
“But, I murdered, and… worse. I should not be forgiven.”
“God saw that you strayed, but not without outside influence. He has granted you forgiveness for your sins. There is one more item to discuss, so let's move on.”
Spike stood before Heaven's gate, not the proud, cocky vampire he was for the last hundred years, but a man. Made whole to be judged by a god he’d cast aside too long ago to remember. He knew what came next. His knees threatened to give out as he waited for Saint Peter to say her name.
“Buffy Summers, Vampire Slayer. You loved her, and died for her. There is a long list, which I will try to summarize by saying you did many acts to protect her and her friends and family,” as he flipped through numerous pages of documented events. “Here we go, the good stuff. It says that you fought to get your soul back for her, and that with your soul; you died to save her world, so that she could live. You gave your life for all of humanity so that she wouldn’t have to. Is this also true?”
“I didn’t like her friends very much, but they were part of her. They meant everything to her. Her mum and sis, well, they were just good people, so yeah, I guess I did.” Taking a deep breath, that he was sure was unnecessary, he finished his answer. “I did fight a demon for my soul, but it’s not what I was seeking. I wasn’t really even sure of what I needed, but I knew I wasn’t what she needed, what she could accept. There was a time, when I hurt her… I just knew I could never do it again.”
“So you were given your soul after completing, what it says were ‘horrific trials’. It also says that she forgave you. She grew to trust you again. Trust gained by helping her with her legacy to slay your own kind, and protect the world from evil. You helped to train new warriors to fight evil, and in the end, you died to protect them all. This final act is what got you here, standing before me. Now, do you say this is also true?”
Spike cried silently, tears disappearing into the clouds that hid his feet. “I did it for her, and no one else. She was my world, not humanity. Would have done anything she asked me. I didn’t do right for God and his creation, but for my own selfish desire to please her, protect her, have her love me back.” With that last admission, Spike fell to his knees. “I would have given her anything to have her love me back.”
Saint Peter stepped from behind his podium and walked over to the broken man, placing a hand on Spike’s bare shoulder. “In the end, did she not admit her love for you? You were granted her love because of your actions. You did more than any man ever did for love, you gave her the world.”
Spike looked up at the angel, whose hand was now extended to help him up. “You may enter now, William “Spike” Pratt. You have been judged and have been found worthy to pass through this gate.”
Spike took his hand as he was led to gate. Then he stopped.
“Wait, I know I should be thankful, but I know that all who enter are supposed to be blissfully happy to be in His kingdom. I am honored at His acceptance, but I will never be happy without her by my side. She is my everything, and of all beings, God should know that. There must be a clause of some sort, please, this isn’t what I want.” Spike was pleading with the angel not to pass through the gate.
Peter smiled at Spike. “William, there is always a clause, you just needed to tell me what you needed to make you happy.” Saint Peter spread his glorious wings and wrapped Spike in them. And with a rush of warmth, Spike was gone.
“Wake up, sleepyhead!” he heard her voice through his fogged sleep. He was back. His heart thumped heavily in his chest. My heart is beating! I’m alive! And I’m with Buffy, really together with her! He bolted up in bed, and took in his surroundings. No giant hellmouth crawling with Ubervamps, no gate hidden amongst the clouds, he was in the master bedroom in Buffy’s house on Revello Drive. It was decorated differently then than he ever remembered it being. The furniture looked like something he would have picked out, heavy Victorian, but with modern edge somehow. It was perfect.
He climbed out of bed, and he headed to the hall. As he passed the last room on the left, he looked into Dawn’s room on his way to the staircase and saw that it too was different. It was still pink, but instead of teen angst posters and an unmade bed, there was a crib. His heart raced as he walked to the child’s bed and found a baby with brown hair and eyes to match his. She looked up at him and cooed.
“Can you bring Dawn down with you? Spike, you better be up now!” Buffy was in the kitchen, judging from the sounds he heard.
“S-Sure, I got her!” He called back. Reaching into the crib the baby’s hand grabbed his arm.
“Da Da,” she giggled at herself.
A tear fell from his eye. Could this be real? Is this my child? He lifted her to his chest and she melted into him. He held her close. Yes, this was his child, Dawn.
He descended the stairs and noticed that the living room was filled with toys, not weapons; the windows weren’t boarded up from the latest demon attack. He was in a home, with his family.
Buffy stood behind the counter, her golden hair in a messy bun on top of her head as she made pancakes for her family. Seeing him, she rushed over to hug them both.
“Good Morning, family.” She kissed them both and went back to her cooking.
He spotted a highchair in the corner with toys on the tray and immediately put Dawn in it.
He couldn’t get to Buffy fast enough. Pulling her into his tight embrace, he covered her with kisses, telling her repeatedly how much he loved her.
That’s when he realized that Peter had given him everything his heart desired, words only whispered in his prayers.