Life After Buffy

By Saber ShadowKitten
Life After Buffy 6

Then a hero comes along
with the strength to carry on
and you cast your fear aside
and you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
look inside you and be strong
and you'll finally see the truth
that a hero lies in you

Dawn paused in the kitchen doorway when she saw Spike standing at the sink. The water was running and there were cleaned dishes in the drying rack on the counter, but Spike wasn't washing the dishes at that moment. He was staring out the window above the sink, silent tears trailing down his cheeks.

"Spike?" Dawn ventured tentatively. "Are you okay?"

Spike started in surprise and his gaze whipped to where Dawn stood. "Dawn," he croaked. He wiped his face on his sleeve and cleared his throat. "How long have you been there?"

"Long enough." Dawn walked over to him. "What's wrong?" she asked worriedly. "Did something happen?"

"No. Nothing happened," Spike reassured her. He turned back to the sink and picked up a dish and the sponge. "Got some bloody soap in my eye."

"Don't lie to me, Spike," Dawn said, picking up a dish towel. "You know I hate that."

Spike sighed, shrugged, and handed her a wet dish. "Just thinking about your mum and sis," he told her quietly. "Didn't know how we'd survive life after..." He gave her a sad smile. "But we did."

"Yeah, we did." Dawn dried the plate and set it aside. She accepted another plate from Spike, dried it, and set it on top of the other. "I miss them."

"I miss them, too, pet," Spike said.

They continued to wash and dry the dinner dishes, the running water a constant background sound. The silverware clinked as Dawn put it in the drawer. The dried plates went into the cabinet.

"Do you think they're watching over us?" Dawn asked, stuffing as much of the towel into a glass as she could.

"Cor, I hope not." Spike sent her a mock-fearful look. "I don't want them to see what a horrible flop I am as your guardian."

"Wait, wait, wait, what's my line again?" Dawn put one hand on top of the other over her heart and said dramatically, "Spike, you are the bestest guardian in the whole wide world. What would I ever do without you?"

Spike flicked soap at her. "Brat."

She grinned. "Admit it: you love me."

He responded with a wink and a tender smile.

The pots were scrubbed, the dishwasher being in disrepair, and Dawn dried and put them away. She wiped the counters as Spike drained the sink.

"Did you put your laundry away?" Spike asked, neatly draping the dish towel on the sink.

"Yes," Dawn replied, checking the lock on the back door.

"Feed the fish?" he asked, moving to the kitchen doorway.

"Yes," she said, rolling her eyes.

"Homework done?"

"Yes, Dad," she said exasperatedly, kissing him on the cheek as she passed him on her way out of the kitchen.

Spike smiled to himself, took a final look around the kitchen, and shut off the light.