One Simple Reason

by Saber ShadowKitten
My Childe 25

Nine months, twelve days, five hours and twenty-two minutes. That's how long my Childe has been gone from me. And I've missed him almost every minute of that time.

I spoke with Rupert the other day. I call about once a week now, as opposed to the twice a day like I used to do when I first sent Spike away. Rupert says my beautiful boy is doing well. He's feeding regularly and is sleeping entirely through the day without waking from nightmares. He goes out with the others and can now take a shower alone, as long as the bathroom door is partially open. He's even helping them, researching and sparring with Buffy, just like I'd hoped he would.

To put it simply, he's healing.

Rupert tells me that Spike has a crush on Willow. According to him, my sweet Childe lights up whenever she comes into the room and acts a lot cheerier. I gather from my conversations with Rupert that Spike and Willow talk for hours about nothing in particular. I'm glad, because my beautiful Will needs someone to engage his mind with, and Willow is smart enough to be that person. My boy's as sharp as a whip and more intelligent than anyone ever bothers to find out. Then again, demons aren't known for having panel discussions.

I sigh, turn on my side and look at the framed photograph that holds a place of honor on my night-stand beside my bed. Buffy and Spike, sitting side-by-side on Rupert's stairs, smile back at me. The two that I love more than anything in this universe are right here in front of me, but so very unreachable.

I miss them.

I miss Buffy's pout and her upturned nose. I miss her botching foreign-sounding words and watching her fight. I miss her smile and her sunshine hair. I miss the feeling of holding her tiny but powerful body in my arms, hearing her heart beating with love just for me.

I miss my Childe for similar, but different reasons. I miss the way his so very blue eyes sparkle when he's happy. I miss him cursing for no reason. I miss the way he leaves his clothes and towels on the floor no matter how many times I tell him not to. I miss sitting beside him as we watch television. I miss the way he needed me.

He could come back. All I have to do is say the word, and my sweet boy would be on his way home to me. The Initiative problem is no more. A little smoke and mirrors and some help from an old friend named Houdini, and the Initiative thinks both of us are dust.

I'm not going to tell my Childe to come home, though. As much as I want him to, he's healing just fine where he is. In fact, he's possibly healing faster. I may have started him down the path, but he's walking it on his own now, growing stronger and more self-confident every day.

That doesn't mean I'm going to be happy about it. But where is it written than I'm allowed happiness? Last time I checked, that emotion would make me disappear and free my demon... who would go kill everyone in Sunnydale to bring Spike back home with him. My demon's a bit on the possessive side.

I, on the other hand, am a schmuck.

Nine months, twelve days, five hours and twenty-three minutes. That's how long it's been since I realized that my relationship with Spike had reached yet another turning point. The turning point where he goes on without me and I watch from a distance as he succeeds and fails all on his own. The turning point where I realized that as long as my Childe continues to live, even when I'm by myself, I will never be truly alone.

I started off wondering why I cared so much when I'd read the false news of Spike's death; now I can't imagine not caring about him. And I know why, too. It all boils down to one simple reason -- he's my Will. My beautiful boy. My one-time lover and companion. My student and my best friend.

He's my Childe.

And I wouldn't want it any other way.