A photo and panorama of the group at Thanksgiving, tied-up Spike included.
A thousand selfies-- them laughing, kissing, generally being disgustingly in love, all taken the night of their fake engagement.
Those had been hidden 8 folders deep in her cloud storage.
A photograph of a bickering Xander and Spike, taken by Willow.
Some dark photos, a silhouette outlined in street lamps deep in the night.
He’d only called her on it once, and she’d said something about artistic vision-- and he was a vision, leaned up against a pole with a cigarette, the curls of smoke catching the light. It was the stuff tumblr aesthetic mood boards were made of.
Another thousand assorted selfies he’d taken with Dawn. Some even included her mother. Never her, though. For so long she’d been too prejudiced.
A couple shots with animal filters, taken in the Winnebago as an attempt to keep occupied. She’d finally given in to Dawn’s pleas for a shot of the three of them.
Those were the ones that had been printed and lined his crypt, edges worn and covered in fingerprints from a summer of grieving her.
Photos with silly faces, taken while drunk in his crypt.
A series of incredibly precious selfies, all clearly taken while in bed together. His eyes were adoring, and those were the moments she allowed her true feelings to fall through. They looked like a real couple.
She’d delete them from her phone, pretending to forget about her automatic backup.
In one, which made her emotions bounce from smiling to laughing to blushing back to smiling again, the pattern covering their chests is clearly an oriental rug.
A few photos of him standing by a particularly large demon kill, which he’d make her take and send to him.
The picture she forced him to take with her before Xander and Anya’s wedding. She’d refused to let him leave without a picture of them together. He’d originally thought she’d wanted one just of him, and was much more agreeable when he realized that she would be in the shot as well.
She'd tried hard not to think about what it meant, after the fact, that she’d been so preoccupied with getting one more photograph, even though she was the one to break it off.
A shot of their hands grasped together, taken one evening while he was chained in the basement.
Another series of selfies together, one per day as he healed from the torture the First inflicted. His face showed various levels of annoyance for the first two weeks, before he’d finally clued in to the real reason she was taking “progress photos” of him... with her in them.
That fourteenth photo was her favorite, she’d taken it just as he put together her true motivation, and his smile was blinding.
One of him and her sister together at the kitchen table, marshmallows stuck on their teeth.
And one final image, the most important to her of them all. The night before the final battle… the night before she lost him. As they laid curled up together on the tiny cot, she’d pressed her lips to his and clicked the shutter.
All of these shots were kept together in an album on her phone titled “My Heart.” It might have been cheesy as hell, but those photographs, his skull ring, and his lighter were all she had left of him.
Sometimes Dawn would come wake in the morning to find her asleep with her mementos, tear tracks down her face.
She attempted to be private with her grief, keeping the tears to her room and avoiding social media. The last thing she needed was word getting out in the demon world that one of the senior slayers had a deathwish.
But it had been 3 months to the day since she’d lost him, and she needed to do something. Something to make sure the world knew someone was still grieving William the Bloody. She might not have been willing to give him the respect he deserved before, but she would be damned if she kept it from him now, after everything.
So she’d posted 4 or 5 of the saved photographs to her Snapchat stories, all with different filters and captions. The last one had an LA geo-filter and the caption “Missing You.”
She didn’t even notice the fact that Angel, who rarely ever used the app, viewed her story.
It took less than 6 hours before there was a pounding at her front door.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!”
Buffy threw open the door and then froze in shock.
Standing there, right in front of her, was the man who had haunted her dreams for so long she couldn’t remember a time before it.
She clutched the doorknob, shaking her head as tears sprung to her eyes.
“Y-y-you can’t be…”
He just smiled gently.
“It’s a long story, pet. Do you want to come out to eat with me and I’ll explain?”
She ignored him, instead slowly reaching her hand out to touch his chest.
“At least the First isn’t back,” she whispered under her breath, jumping at the bark of laughter that escaped the man in front of her.
“It’s really you?” she asked, looking up into his eyes.
“S' really me.”
Tears spilled over her eyes as he nodded.
“I love you,” she said pleadingly.
The half second before his response was the longest of her life. She wasn’t sure what she’d do if he denied it again.
“I love you too, Buffy.”
He couldn’t hold back anymore. He pulled her out the door and into his arms before pressing his lips against hers. She melted into him, and he lost himself in her.
When she pulled back for breath, she grabbed his hands. “Come in, Spike.”
“Presto,” he said with a small smile, which she returned.
She pulled him into the house and over to the sofa, scooting closer to him when he left some space between them as he sat.
“How are you here? God, Spike, I’ve missed you so much. And I’m so sorry, I’ve spent the last three months regretting how I acted and I just--”
He cut her off increasing sobs with a gentle shush and a hand to her face.
“It’s been about 2 months since I poofed back. I was a ghostly sort for a while, but I got all re-corporealized last week. Was messing with the poof, stole his phone.
“I remembered how you liked that photo app, thought I might be able to see your beautiful face again at least. Angel had me convinced you were off in Rome, thriving. So when I saw the geo-filter on those photos of me… I should’ve known better than to trust him. I came straight here.”
“He… and you… But you’re here?”
He nodded. “I’m here, kitten.”
“And you won’t go sacrificing yourself for something stupid like the world again?”
He laughed at that. “No sacrificing here, love.”
She launched herself into his arms, hanging tight around his neck.
“Good. I won’t ever let you go again.”
“Sounds like a plan, Buffy.”
She nuzzled against his neck as she relaxed a little and curled herself against his side.
“Mm, love how you say my name.”
“I know. Your heart rate kicks up a notch whenever I use it. Especially when I say it like this,” he replied, leaning down to press his lips against her ear.
“Spike!” She moaned and quickly swung her leg over to straddle him.
“If my heart beat I promise it’d kick up at the sound of you moaning my name like that.”
“It’d better,” she said with a grin before bringing her lips down to his in a devouring kiss.
Somehow they’d managed to make it up the stairs, and a few hours later they lay sated and wrapped in each other’s arms.
“I want to do something,” Buffy broke the long, but comfortable, silence.
“What’s that, princess?”
He felt her face flush in satisfaction with that pet name, but to his dissatisfaction she began to pull away.
“I just need to run and grab something, I’ll be right back, babe. Promise.”
He’d do anything if she was smiling at him like that and calling him pet names. He watched appreciatively as she walked across the room, still buck naked, and trotted out the door and down the stairs.
When she returned she was carrying her phone in her hand.
“What’s that about?”
She ran the last couple of steps and bounced into bed, taking a second to get under the covers before pulling him down to lay fully on the bed instead of reclined against the headboard.
“C’mon, trust me. Lay down like this, and I’ll cuddle up like this,” she adjusted herself and then lifted her phone up and started the camera app.
“Like old times, only better. You’ll see,” she said with a smile. She was so close he could see the individual threads of hazel in her eyes.
Quickly she set up the shot and got them in frame, then faced him again.
Never one to argue, he surged forward and locked his lips against hers, drowning in passion once again even though they’d worn themselves out less than an hour before. He heard the shutter snap several times before she finally pulled away, seemingly reluctantly.
“Just give me one second before we get back to that, I want to do this.”
She looked at her phone and scrolled through the photos. She picked one where both of their eyes were open; it did a better job of showing just how in love they were. Then she opened Facebook and quickly replaced her profile photo.
When she looked back at her lover, he was staring at her with an open mouth.
“You… you just…”
“Yep!” She said brightly.
This time she cut him off.
“Knock it off, Spike. I told you I love you, and I want everyone to know. I already shared those photos of us earlier today, anyways.”
He couldn’t stop the wide grin on his face.
“I suppose I’ll have to make one of those Facebook things, won’t I?”
She smiled at him again. “Oh yeah. I want Facebook official, lots of photos and tagging each other in cute posts… I want the whole damn world to know how in love we are, even if they aren’t nearby. Besides… Angel’s on my friends list.”
She said the last part enticingly, but he shook his head.
“He never uses that account.”
“Okay, so I’ll send him a Snapchat, come on.”
She pulled him closer and opened the app.
She picked a filter with lots of hearts around the edges and turned her gaze towards him. He looked down at her as well, and she took the photo.
She clicked the screen to add text, then changed it to the pink glowing font.
‘Reunited at last.’
She changed the recipients to include Angel as well as her story, but changed her mind at the last second.
She smiled softly at him. She could read the fear in his eyes, that she might be backtracking on this.
“No, no. I just think Angel deserves something a little bit more… special,” she said mischievously.
She brought the camera back up towards them and pulled Spike down for another deep, lingering kiss. She held the camera button to record a solid ten seconds of making out.
When they finished the kiss, she looked down and added the same message, just with one extra line added on the end.