Turn Me On by Passion4Spike
Summary:

Nominated in the SunnyD Awards for: Best Drama, Best Episode Re-write, Best NC-17.

A cross-over from the Unexpected Universe story 'Miles to Go'. (Spoiler Alert for that story!). For those familiar with that story, this is the promised detail of what Spike does to change things in the Giftless Universe. Begins during the fight at the tower with Glory and goes off-canon almost immediately. This story stands alone. You do not have to have read any of the Unexpected Series to enjoy this story.

A decision is made during the fight with Glory that turns the world upside down and sends Spike plummeting into a living hell. How can he carry on without his Slayer? How can he not? He'd made a promise to a lady. When a Buffy from another dimension, along with her daughter, accidentally drops into his life after ten years of living in a world of loneliness, she reminds him of everything he's lost. When she finds a way to give him a chance to go back in time and make it right, will he succeed? Will his choices, and their consequences, make his life better or simply plunge him into a different kind of hell on Earth? Will he, in the end, be able to save Buffy and the world? The Universe gives nothing for free; if things change, then what will be cost?




Categories: NC-17 Fics Characters: None
Genres: Action, Angst, Horror, Romance
Warnings: Adult Language, Character Death, Sexual Situations, Violence
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 17 Completed: Yes Word count: 103735 Read: 20870 Published: 09/27/2012 Updated: 11/16/2012

1. Prologue - Giftless by Passion4Spike

2. You Know How to Save Me by Passion4Spike

3. If I Scream, If I Cry by Passion4Spike

4. Come And Rescue Me by Passion4Spike

5. Something Tells Me by Passion4Spike

6. I've Been Feeling Real Low by Passion4Spike

7. Come and Save Me by Passion4Spike

8. Touch Me, Save My Life by Passion4Spike

9. I Need Your Love by Passion4Spike

10. My Temperature is Super High by Passion4Spike

11. My Life in the Palm of Your Hand by Passion4Spike

12. Don't Let Me Die Young by Passion4Spike

13. Doctor, Doctor, Where Ya At? by Passion4Spike

14. My Body Needs a Hero by Passion4Spike

15. I've Been Feeling Feral by Passion4Spike

16. I Need Your Love by Passion4Spike

17. I'm Too Young To Die - Epilogue by Passion4Spike

Prologue - Giftless by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
A decision is made that turns the world upside down and sends Spike plummeting into a living hell. **
SPOILER ALERT: This story is a cross-over with the 'Miles to Go' story in the Unexpected Universe Series. If you have not read that story, but intend to, then you should read it first! You do not have to read it for this spin-off to make sense. There is a *lot* more detail of what lead up to this story there, much more than is contained in the prologue here, but it's not necessary reading. If you have read that story (thank you!!), then you've read this before and this prologue will be review for you.
(Ten years ago) May 2001, Sunnydale, Glory’s tower, “Whedon-verse Dimension” (aka: Canon):

Dawn screamed above her on the rickety tower and Buffy’s head jerked up involuntarily, trying to see what was happening. The hell-god lay beaten at Buffy’s feet, now morphed into her human form of Ben. The Slayer rushed away from him, this fight was over – she had to get up the tower, up to Dawn.



For the first time in months the Slayer felt a small surge of hope burst forth in her heart. It felt like the weight of the world lifted off her shoulders in that moment. Finally they had won; they had defeated Glory, saved her sister and the world. It hadn’t been easy. In fact, it had been one of the hardest battles she’d ever waged, mentally, emotionally, and physically. But, with the help of her friends and Spike, she had finally done the impossible – defeated a god.

As she flew up the shaking tower, the biggest weight on her heart was knowing that, even though they could go home, her mom wouldn’t be there waiting. She still missed her every moment of every day, but she had Dawn and that’s what she had to concentrate on now. It’s what her mom would’ve wanted.



Giles knelt down next to the beaten and bloodied man whom he had once considered to be their … well, if not friend, then certainly not an enemy – an ally perhaps. “Can you move?” he asked sympathetically as Ben struggled to breathe through his bloodied nose and mouth.

“Need … a minute,” Ben stammered out. “She could’ve killed me.”

Giles shook his head slowly. “No, she couldn’t. Never. And, sooner or later, Glory will re-emerge and make Buffy pay for that mercy and the world with her. Buffy even knows that, and still she couldn’t take a human life. She’s a hero, you see,” Giles pointed out, smiling sadly at Ben.

“She’s not like us,” he added after a moment, but it wasn’t Giles any longer, it was Ripper. His gaze hardened and his mouth drew into a determined, grim line as he stared down at the beaten man. There was only one thing left to do, for Buffy, for Dawn, for the world.

“Us?” Ben questioned, his eyes widening with fear.


Giles reached a hand down and covered the human’s mouth and nose. The Watcher pressed down with all his strength, cutting off Ben’s oxygen supply and smothering him.




Looking down on Glory’s human vessel, a glimmer of pity rose in the Watcher, the gentler soul of Giles surfacing past the determined Ripper. Ben was a victim, controlled and suppressed by the hell-god. An innocent, just like Dawn, caught in the ruthless attempt of a power hungry bitch on her way to regain her former position and rank. Ben hadn’t chosen this fate; it was dumped on him, he’d had no choice.

Suddenly appalled with himself, Giles’ grip loosened slightly. Ben took a deep, shuddering breath and opened his eyes to look up at the Watcher, silently begging for mercy. Ben gulped hungrily at the oxygen that his body thirsted for, drinking it in like a parched desert would drink a blessed drop of rain. Giles closed his eyes, trying to get his nerve back, his determination back. He had to do this, for Buffy if for no other reason, he admonished himself.

Before he could summon his resolve again, the Watcher was thrown across the battleground. His body slammed into one of the shaky and tenuous legs of the tower that Glory’s crazy human minions had built and the whole thing swayed dangerously. Giles cried out, his voice masking the grotesque crunch of bone. The pain in his back was excruciating, but only for a moment, then it faded to nearly nothing. He tried to reach behind him as he slid down to the ground under the tower, but he couldn’t get his arm to work. Or the other arm. He tried to stand but his legs wouldn’t move either.

All he could do was look up and watch Glory pick her way deliberately through the debris towards him. She had the troll hammer gripped in her hands and a deadly, angry glint in her eyes. “You were right,” Glory informed Giles coldly. “I’m back.”



It was the last thing Giles ever heard as she slammed the hammer down on his skull. The last thought that flashed in his mind was for Buffy and Dawn, both now high up on the tower above him. He couldn’t help her now, he’d failed her; he’d failed the world.

I sincerely hope I didn’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Funny what your mind conjures when you’re dying.

A bright flash of the portal opening drew Glory’s attention upwards. For a brief moment she stared up at the gateway, her heart lifted in absolute joy – she was nearly home! Otherworldly demons were flooding through the opening, both from her dimension and others. A giant bat flew through the portal and Glory squealed like a school-girl. She hadn’t been this giddy in so long she’d nearly forgotten what it felt like. It was even better than the time she found a pair Louboutins in her size at Bergdorf Goodman for half off!

The hell-god was so enthralled that she was only briefly aware of Doc plunging from the tower. Her faithful follower landed with a grisly crunch of bones and flesh on the ground not far from where the impertinent peroxide vampire lay unconscious, but she didn’t focus on them. There was something else holding her attention now: Dawn wasn’t alone on the tower – the Slayer was there too.



Glory’s eyes widened and she let out an ear piercing scream as she saw Buffy running towards the portal. That bitch Slayer was going to screw this up for her after all!

In an instant, Glory swung the troll hammer with all her godly strength at the base of the impoverished tower. The whole structure swayed like a drunken sailor and began listing dangerously to the left. She quickly hit it again and the tower dropped several feet, buckling in the middle and bending down like a pond bird snatching a small fish from the shallows. Glory dropped the hammer onto the ground and a satisfied smile curled her red lips. No one bested her twice.

The tower dropped out from under Buffy’s feet just as she pushed off the end – or tried to push off, but her feet hit nothing but thin air. Buffy faltered and her feet shot out from under her as she leapt off the end of the demonic high-dive. With no momentum to carry her away from the tower, she fell. Her arms flailed, trying to propel her forward into the portal, but it wasn’t enough. Her shins cracked loudly against the end of the steel gangplank before she tumbled head over heels towards the concrete below, completely missing the portal. She reached out towards the steel structure, but it was too far away – there was nothing she could do to stop the inevitable.

Everything seemed to move in slow motion while she tumbled towards the earth below. That weight that had been lifted from her suddenly crashed down on her like a wave of leaden misery. She realized with complete clarity that she had failed in her mission; failed Dawn, and failed the world. Her life flashed before her eyes: her dad running beside her as she rode her bicycle for the first time with no training wheels, her mom baking cookies at Christmastime, the day her parents brought Dawn home from the hospital, the day Merrick told her she was the Chosen One, the heartbreaking move from L.A. to Sunnydale and everything since.



It all seemed to race through her mind so quickly – too quickly. It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t nearly enough. It had all been leading to this moment in time, and it all ended here, in abject failure.

When Buffy hit on the concrete below the tower, her body pancaked unto itself and bounced several feet back up into the air before settling down again with a dull thud. She could actually feel every bone in her body fold and shatter, every organ explode within her.



It isn’t the fall that’ll get you, it’s the landing.Funny what your mind conjures when you’re dying.

Death was her gift, but she was leaving this world ‘gift-less’; the Slayer had faltered, she’d ultimately failed. For the briefest moment she thought she saw Spike reach out for her, call her name, but she couldn’t really focus through the pain. Then everything faded to a dull, lifeless grey and finally darkness descended on her like the sun sinking below the horizon for the last time.

Spike crawled over to Buffy, his body mangled, bleeding and broken, even as he heard Dawn screaming above him. He looked up to see the tower whipping back and forth like a delicate reed in a savage wind. Dawn was hanging on for dear life and the portal to hell continued to expand as her blood was strewn about. Demons of every description began spewing out of the gaping maw, but he had no thoughts of them, only of Buffy and of the promise he’d made to her to protect Dawn.



He struggled to his feet, then fell back down to one knee; his leg screamed in pain like it was broken, although he wasn’t sure. He pushed the pain away. Whatever it was, it would heal – later. Now he needed to get to Dawn. He pushed himself upright and took one staggering step and then another, but it wouldn’t be enough. The whole tower creaked loudly, like millions upon millions of rusty bolts being reluctantly turned in their moorings at once, and then it just gave way, crashing down and taking Dawn with it.

Spike saw it coming right at him. He instinctively turned and dove on top of Buffy to shield her from the falling debris. Protecting Buffy was a reflex; he didn’t realize that it was already too late for that. She no longer needed him to shield her from anything.

Over the din of the steel crashing around him, he heard screams, Dawn’s screams and others. Minions and Scoobies alike were caught in the avalanche of iron and steel, as if a demonic junkyard was falling from the sky. It seemed to last an eternity as he took the brunt of the punishment on his back and legs, trying to do all he could to keep the deadly girders off the Slayer. But he had no idea how long an eternity really was. He’d lived forever, it seemed, but he couldn’t comprehend the length and depth and width of an eternity until everything went silent.

Completely still. Deathly silent. No movement. No breath. No screams. No heartbeats. There was nothing. His entire world died in that moment.

“Oh, God, Buffy,” Spike moaned as he realized there was no heartbeat, there was no breath even from her.

He’d rarely been this close to the Slayer. Except for her fist connecting with his nose, he’d only felt her touch a few precious times. That day Red’s ‘will be done’ spell went wonky came to his mind. The gentle kiss she’d given him for standing up to Glory was another moment he’d treasure until the end of time.  But now here he was, next to her at last and it was too late. It was too late to hold her, to comfort her, to help her. It was too late to keep his word. He’d failed. He’d given his word to this lady who held his heart in her hands and he’d failed.



Tears came to his eyes unbidden. He couldn’t stop the sobs which wracked his body even as the demons continued to stream in from the open portal above him. It didn’t matter – the world could finally end.

What difference did it make now? He had no one to be a hero for. Buffy and Dawn were gone.

**~**

Spike lay there with the Slayer, his Slayer, his dead Slayer. His own body was broken, bloodied, bruised and mangled, but still inexorably undead. Her body was now as cold as his, as cold as the steel girders that pressed against his back. Spike had been here a while. He didn’t really know how long and he didn’t really care; it didn't matter anymore. Nothing mattered anymore.

The sun had just colored the sky a violent crimson when the tower fell, now it was pitch black again. He could hear the cracking energy and feel the whipping wind of the portal above him, still open, still spewing demons from every dimension into this one.
 
He cursed the thick layer of debris for shielding him from the sun as it had passed across the sky. Dusting would’ve been so much easier than waking up. It would’ve been a blessing with no disguise. He didn’t think much of God, hadn’t actually talked to him in over a century. If not for taking the Dios’ name in vain, he wouldn’t have had any reason to utter His name since he’d met Dru.  He’d wondered at times if God wasn’t simply the Biggest Bad in the universe. The one that had beaten out all the other Big Bads for the job, the one with the most warped and sickly twisted sense of humor.
 
But just then, as he lay there with his crushed heart and shattered bones, he broke that long streak of silence between them. Spike prayed to the Biggest Bad for one of those demons to come by and take him out of his misery. To actually rip his unbeating heart from his ribcage rather than just having it feel like it had been. He’d never had a pain stab him so deeply before; not when Dru left him, not even the horror of his mother’s death had shredded his heart so completely as losing his Slayer.

 

Of course, that was the rub, wasn’t it? She wasn’t his Slayer at all, as much as he wished she was. He’d hoped that by standing by her, fighting at her side, by proving his loyalty and his love, that one day she would be his, but that day would never come now. He had let her down. He’d made a promise and had failed, and now it was too late for any of that. Not only was Buffy dead, but those dreams he'd harbored that one day she could see the man and not just the monster were dead, as well. Those long clung-to, and now shattered, dreams made this loss so much worse than any he’d felt before. That and one undeniable fact: this was his fault.
 
And so now he prayed for one of these demons to rip his head off, dust him. Get it over with. But God, having that twisted sense of humor, did something else instead.
 
“Buffy?” It was barely a whisper. The voice was hoarse and frightened. The call of a child lost in the dark woods, afraid to cry out too loudly lest she attract a wolf. It seemed distant, many miles away.
 
For a moment, Spike thought he’d imagined it, but then he heard it again.
 
“Dawn!?” he called back as he began pushing the heavy steel beams and debris off his back. Every bone, every muscle, every cell in his body hurt – his hair hurt, but it didn’t matter. Dawn was out there, alive.
 
“Spike?” he heard Dawn’s tentative answer. Her voice trembled. “Where’s Buffy? Is she with you?”
 
“Hush now, Niblett, quiet!” he admonished her in a low voice. He had to get to her before one of the demons heard them and came looking. It was frightening how quickly his silent prayer changed. It was a whole new game now that he realized Dawn was out there, alive, alone, and vulnerable.
 
He looked down at Buffy one more time. This brave, beautiful Slayer, always so full of fire and light now lay still and silent beneath him, all her spark was gone. Despite knowing the brilliance that was Buffy no longer lived in this body, it still pained him to leave her here alone. But he’d made a promise to look after Dawn; a promise he would keep if it killed him.
 
“I’ll be back, luv,” Spike promised softly, caressing Buffy’s cheek gently with the pad of his thumb.
 
After considerable effort, Spike freed himself of the mangled remains of Glory’s tower.  His broken leg had already started to mend – still painful, but useable. Spike didn’t mind pain. There were times when pain was the only thing he had to prove that he still existed, and in this moment it seemed a fitting punishment for his failure.
 
He scrambled over the mish-mash of girders and ladders and junk searching for Dawn, trying to catch her scent. It seemed like he looked for hours, but it was actually only a few minutes before he found her.
 
“Dawn!” Spike called in a hushed exclamation when he caught the first glimpse of her. Relief crashed over him like a tidal wave – she really was alive, not some figment of his grief-stricken mind.
 
Dawn was half-hidden under the debris but thankfully not crushed. Blood still trickled from the slashes Doc had made on her abdomen, but it had nearly stopped. Deep purple bruises and angry red cuts and scrapes covered her face and arms. Her leg was caught under one of the heavy beams, most certainly broken. But she was alive, and that was all that mattered.
 
“Where’s Buffy?” she asked again, her voice quavering, like a small, frightened child.
 
A lump formed in Spike’s throat and he felt his heart being ripped from his chest yet again. How many times could his heart be ripped out before he dusted?
 
“Dawn … I …” he finally stammered out, but it was too late – he knew she knew. There was nothing he could say that could make this any easier for either of them. There was nothing he could say to excuse his failure or ease her pain.

 

Dawn’s face fell as realization washed over her. Spike could see her crumble inside, more than crumble, shatter.
 
“No, no, no, no…” Dawn began muttering, over and over, shaking her head in disbelief. It was all she could say. It was all she could think. “No…” Her whole body trembled and shuddered uncontrollably, but no tears fell from her eyes – she was beyond tears. She stared at him, her gaze never wavering, as he freed her from the debris. She chanted her mantra the entire time he worked, “No, no, no…”
 
Despite his injuries, Spike scooped Dawn up into his arms and limped away from the battleground and out to the street. He wanted to bring the girl back to Revello Drive, back to her room, her bed, where she’d feel safe and warm. Somewhere familiar to help ease her pain.
 
The panicked residents of Sunnydale were packed in the streets – running, walking, driving, trying to get away, get out of town. Demons of every size, shape and description, from the smallest to the largest, had descended on their town and shaken them from their long-held embrace of denial. There was no denying this – hell was alive and well and living in Sunnydale … again.
 
As Spike started down the street with Dawn in his arms, horrified screams filled the air. He could hear people pleading for mercy, praying to God for help, even trying to bargain with the scourge of demons that were raining terror down on them. Down at the next intersection, he heard gunshots ring out. A group of people were barricaded behind a cluster of cars fighting off a group of very tall demons with red glowing eyes. The bullets were having little impact on the demons, however. The wounds appeared to be more of an annoyance to them than a life-threatening injury.
 
High above the mayhem, large bat-like creatures circled. They dove down and snatched up unwary humans who didn’t have the good sense to look up. The luckiest never knew what hit them. The unlucky lived long enough to feel themselves being torn apart by the flying demons’ razor-sharp talons and vampiric teeth. Their shrieks of terror and agony rained down on the town like fire and brimstone falling from the sky.
 
Spike blocked out their screams. He couldn’t stop – he couldn’t help the citizens of Sunnydale. He had one mission now: keep Dawn safe.
 
Spike was wary, keeping to the shadows with his precious cargo.  Thankfully, many of the bands of different monsters were fighting each other, fighting for dominance in this new world. Most showed no interest in him. Those that did were met with his vampire visage and assumed that the human in his arms was his kill. So far, none had challenged him for his prize – he wasn’t sure how long that would last, though.
 
Spike quickly realized that the sewers were safer. The newcomers hadn’t discovered them yet – plus there were no Happy Meals down there for them, no reason for them to even go down there. When Spike reached their ‘exit’ in front of 1630 Revello Drive, he set Dawn down on the damp floor of the tunnel.

 

Her chant of, “No, no, no,” had softened and now came out as barely a whisper, but never stopped.
 
“Just gonna take a look around, pet,” Spike assured her as he crouched next to her. “Dawn? …Niblett?” Spike sighed worriedly and waved a hand in front of her eyes. She didn’t even seem to know he was there.

 

Spike left her sitting on the tunnel floor, climbed the ladder up to the street, and lifted the manhole cover just enough to look around.
 
Most of the residents of Revello Drive had already fled. Front doors were left standing open in the owners’ haste to get away. There were no cars in the driveways or on the street here. He saw a small band of the tall, glowy-eyed demons loping down the street towards him. He held his breath as he watched, afraid to drop the manhole cover back down lest he draw their attention.
 
They stopped abruptly about two houses down from Buffy’s and started up the walkway towards the now abandoned home. A cat screeched and ran from under a thick jasmine vine that wound around the front porch of the house as the demons approached. The gangly, red-eyed demons, which Spike had mentally begun calling ‘Reds’, took off in pursuit of the frightened pet that had been left behind.
 
After they ran around the side of the house and out of sight, Spike let out a relieved breath, slid the manhole cover completely out of the way, and quickly retrieved Dawn. By the time he’d carried her through the front door and into the house, she was in a state of shock. Whether it was from the physical trauma and the blood loss she’d suffered, or from the emotional trauma of realizing Buffy was gone, he didn’t know. She just repeated, “No, no, no…” as if that was the only word she knew.
 
Spike cleaned her wounds, stopped the bleeding, bandaged her cuts, and set her leg in a splint. Dawn never screamed or moaned. She didn’t even try to move or pull away while he attended to her – even though he knew full well how badly it must’ve hurt. Only the forlorn chant of, “No, no, no…” passed her lips, her eyes staring blindly at the ceiling, but no longer seeing.

**~**

After tending to Dawn’s wounds, Spike locked the house up and hurried back through the sewers to the scene of his biggest failure. If Dawn had survived the collapse of the tower, perhaps someone else had, also. He didn’t want to leave her alone, but had little choice. He needed to know for sure – was anyone else alive?



When he got back to 'ground-zero', he was glad to see that the portal had finally closed, but the damage had been done. Thousands … maybe hundreds of thousands of demons had poured into this world from … wherever. He didn’t know where they came from. He just called them ‘Otherworld’ demons. The city of Sunnydale was under siege. Most of the demons paid him no mind; after all, he was a demon, as well. The temptation of human blood and the smell of their fear was much more alluring to the ravenous newcomers than his undead flesh. There were much tastier morsels than him still running around the streets of Sunnydale.

He searched through the debris as quickly as he could. Despite the fact that most of the demons left him alone, he did have to stop a few times and take cover as giant bats swooped at him from the sky. Apparently, they weren’t as discriminating as most of the other newcomers.



After listening for heartbeats and sniffing out Buffy’s friends like a demonic hound dog, he found that the Watcher, Red, and Demon-girl were dead, all crushed under the debris. Bloody shame, that. Of all the Scoobies, those three could’ve been the most useful in the fight that lie ahead. Harris and Glinda were the only two with heartbeats.

Even though the demons seemed to be bypassing him, Spike remained wary and cautious. He’d left Dawn home alone; he couldn’t afford to tarry or get into a fight with one of these newcomers, not now. The Otherworld demons still hadn’t figured out the underground trails called ‘sewers’ and Spike used those to transport the two other survivors back to Buffy’s house.

He didn’t do it because he really gave a piss about them – well Glinda was alright, but he definitely didn’t give a piss about Harris. He did it because that’s what Buffy would’ve done; it’s what she would want him to do. He may not have a soul, but he had a compass now … or the memory of one, anyway. His every move was predicated by ‘what would Buffy do?’ or ‘what would Buffy want me to do?’

By the time that was done, Spike was beyond exhausted, mentally and physically; his whole body hurt, bullets of pain shot up his leg with every step, his mind was numb, but his mission wasn’t complete.

Back at the tower, he worked for what seemed like hours to free Buffy’s body from the wreckage. She had fallen directly under the gangplank of the tower when she’d tried to leap into the portal, therefore her body was buried under the bulk of it. He’d crawled out from there earlier, dislodging some of the girders as he did so, but crawling out yourself and trying to pull a dead weight out were two different things entirely. He worked tirelessly, knowing that if he stopped, if he allowed himself to think or feel, he might fall into a depression so deep he’d never be able to climb out of it. Dawn was depending on him. He’d promised Buffy. He couldn’t stop now.

After a monumental struggle, Spike finally freed the Slayer from the fallen tower. He lifted her gently from the wreckage and cradled her broken body in his arms. He couldn’t stop the tears, couldn’t control the sobs, or squash the guilt that rose up within his heart. Guilt. Vampires weren’t supposed to feel guilt. That was the beauty of being a monster. And yet, he did. Every cell in his body felt the weight of his guilt for being so easily defeated by the likes of the grandfatherly Reptile Demon, Doc. Being evil means never having to say you’re sorry, but that seemed the only word he could mutter as he carried her home.

Back at the house, he laid her down in her bed, a pillow under her head, her arms folded neatly across her chest. He retrieved a wash cloth and some water and carefully cleaned the dirt and blood from her face and neck. If he stood back and concentrated, he could almost imagine that she was simply asleep. That she’d awaken at any moment and tell him to get the hell out of her room. But she didn’t and he knew she wouldn’t – not ever again.

He fell to his knees next to her bed as the horror of the day came crashing down on him, just as Glory’s tower had, and buried him. His sobs echoed throughout the silent house. Outside the world was ending. In here, it already had.



**~**

For the second time in his life, Riley Finn was a deserter. He wasn’t sure if this time really counted, since he hadn’t actually signed anything yet to ‘join up’ with Major Ellis and the army’s new demon fighting taskforce, despite taking the transport to Belize and helping in the fight to save the threatened village from the surging demons. He wasn’t sure if giving his word to the commander was enough for them to send the MPs after him or not – whatever.



He’d given Buffy an ultimatum, thrown down the gauntlet when they were both angry and frazzled. It had been an immature and stupid thing to do. He was sure if he could just get her to talk to him, get her to open up just a fraction of an inch, he could be the man she needed. He was strong, he was a fighter, he knew demons – he knew her, even if she didn’t. They just needed to take some time to work this out. They’d both made mistakes, but he was hopeful that they could put the bad behind them, start fresh, and rediscover the love they’d shared when they were first together, the love that he still felt. He’d known for some time that she wasn’t in love with him, but, he also knew that she did care about him. If she didn’t care, she wouldn’t have been so upset about… He felt shame wash over him just thinking about the vamp whorehouse. He sighed heavily and rubbed his tired eyes. He just wanted another chance to earn her love, to show her that he could be everything she needed.

Riley had been riding on overcrowded, stinking chicken-buses all the way from Belize. His back ached, his butt hurt, his eyes were bleary with exhaustion. It was taking forever to get back to Sunnydale. First of all, they didn’t actually have any official schedule for the buses, and often you didn’t know where any particular bus was going. There weren’t any brightly-lit signs on them announcing their destinations; there weren’t any signs on them at all. You had to know which bus went where or know someone who knew. He knew neither. To make matters worse, the locals along the way took great pleasure in sending the gringo in the wrong direction. After a monumental effort and test of his fortitude, he finally made it back to something that resembled civilization. He was overjoyed when he found a bus station with a posted schedule and buses that didn’t allow goats, pigs, and chickens inside. Roads that weren’t made up of nothing but deep potholes and buses with shock absorbers were a big plus, too. When he finally made it into the US, he was even happier to find people that spoke English and didn’t consider him the outsider, the gringo.

Now, as the bus he was on neared Sunnydale, it was quite evident that something was wrong. Very, very wrong. Cars were streaming out of the town like someone had yelled ‘Fire!’ in a crowded nightclub. The rules of the road were forgotten as the citizens fled for their very lives from the hell that had broken out in their sleepy little town of denial. The driver of the bus had no choice but to pull off the road as cars rushed at them; every lane on the highway was one way: OUT.

Finn got off the bus and began to jog towards town. He estimated they were perhaps three miles outside of the city limits, another mile or so to Buffy’s house … or should he go to the Magic Box? If there was a crisis, perhaps that’s where everyone would be. Riley ran against the flood of people and cars, bumping into the horrified townspeople as he forced himself upstream like a spawning salmon. Whatever had happened, it was obvious that Buffy needed his help; he needed to get to her. A worry briefly flashed through his mind that he would be too late – his impetuous and foolish decision to leave with Major Ellis may have cost him, and Buffy, everything. He pushed that thought away – she would be alright; she was the Slayer, the good guy. The good guy, he assured himself, always won.

As Finn got closer to town, he was met with more resistance than simply innocents fleeing for their lives; he found what they were fleeing from. Demons. Flying demons, leaping demons, tall demons, short demons, large and small demons. Demons the likes of which he’d never seen before in all his years working with the Initiative or in his studies with Professor Walsh. One thing all the demons had in common was ferocious hunger, however. No one was safe. Men, women, children, even dogs and cats and squirrels, were being attacked without prejudice, killed, and eaten. There were horrifying screams and anguished prayers lifting up to heaven. There were rivers of blood in the streets flowing down to hell. Fires raged in homes and cars, glass shattered, alarms sounded in a cacophony of ridiculous futility, as if the demons cared if the police were summoned. It was nothing short of bedlam. He wanted to help them … save them, but he couldn’t save them all; he couldn’t help them and get to Buffy as well.

Finn forged ahead, fighting off demons that thought he would make an easy meal. One fist to the face or … whatever seemed to be a face, was usually enough to deter them. There were plenty of easy pickings, why worry with one that could fight? He tried to help people if he could, kicking or pulling demons off them as he passed, but he dare not pause too long lest he become an easy target himself.

Then there it was: Revello Drive. He’d check here first, then try the Magic Box. Only a block away from her house … he was nearly there. His lungs and legs ached from the exertion of the run, the horrors of what he’d seen, and the adrenaline coursing through him, but it was only a short ways now. He jumped over corpses in the street and sidewalk, and dodged cars that were left idling, their drivers having been ripped from behind the wheel. He gave a wide berth to downed power lines that danced and arced with electricity in the street as he made his way to 1630. He’d no sooner made it to Buffy’s front walk than something tackled him and knocked him to the ground.

His lungs, already aching, exploded in pain as the air that was in them was forced out. Finn struggled to get free from whatever it was that had him pinned down. All of his training seemed to leave him for a moment, panic driving it from his brain, as he flailed ineffectually against a larger and stronger opponent. Finally gaining control of himself, he forced his mind to focus and hit up at the strange demon that was atop him. Its eyes glowed an angry red, as if it had a red-hot fire burning in its large orbs. Its head was unusually large and oblong and it seemed to have the strength of ten men as it held him down. Finn’s punch landed soundly in the middle of the demon’s bright red mouth, but it had little effect other than to enrage the monster further. Finn hit it again and again and again until the powerful being grabbed his hand and snapped his wrist like a twig.

Riley screamed out in agony as the monster closed in for the kill, dropping its bright red mouth and grotesquely long fangs to the side of the soldier’s neck and puncturing the large artery that throbbed there. The blood, powered by his racing heart, gushed from the gaping wound and the monster sucked against his hot, salty skin with wild abandon.

Finn tried once more to push the demon off with his good hand, but his head was already starting to spin, his limbs were losing their strength. He began to feel like he was floating, swirling and twisting in space – it was euphoric. He fought the feeling, trying again to get free, but he felt a shroud descending over him; he was at death’s doorstep. Then suddenly, the weight atop him was gone, the long fangs ripped from his neck violently. He was only vaguely aware of the tearing of his flesh and the pain it brought as his world spun. Bright lights flashed in slower and slower bursts behind his closed lids, keeping time with his fading heartbeat. He struggled to open his eyes … they seemed to be fused shut.

He heard growling … fighting – someone was fighting. He didn’t know who or what. Buffy, he thought. “Buffy…” he called out weakly, reaching a hand towards the sounds. He finally forced his eyes open. Blinked. Blinked again. It wasn’t Buffy. He shook his head, tried to clear it. Still not Buffy. He rolled over and dragged himself towards the porch. It took every ounce of energy he had to haul his body up the stairs, his broken wrist hanging uselessly as he pulled with his elbow on that arm.

“Buffy …” he called again. He thought that he was screaming her name, but it was barely a whisper.

The spinning in his head began to slow. He first thought that was good, but then realized, no … that was bad. His blood continued to flow from the gaping wound in his neck; he could taste it in his mouth, hot and coppery, and feel the warmth running down his arm and chest. He worried that he’d left his duffel on the bus; it had his ID in it … how would they know where to send his body? Funny the things you think about when you’re dying.

He reached the front door and lifted his good arm. Banged on it one time; it was all he could manage. “Buffy …”

**~**

Spike’s sobs had faded, his tears had dried. He had no more … not one drop. All he had now was the guilt. He had to take care of Dawn, watch over her, protect her. He’d made a promise to a lady.

He could hear the massacre outside the walls of the house. There was a time he would’ve joined in, reveled in the mayhem and destruction. That time had passed. He had a compass now. She lay cold and still in the bed above him, but she was still his guiding light; she would forever be.

He stood up stiffly and stretched his exhausted limbs. Everything hurt from his toes to the very tips of his poncy, peroxided curls which had long ago escaped their gel prison. He cursed as he put pressure on his leg and took a stumbling step forward. Suddenly he heard a loud crash outside the house and the power went off – someone took out a power pole with their car. He sighed heavily and headed for the stairs; he’d find some candles, check on Dawn and see what he could do to help Glinda and Harris. Perhaps they’d be awake by now.



Just as he made it downstairs, a loud crash came from the kitchen. He started that way, pausing only momentarily to grab a dagger from the weapons chest in the living room. In the kitchen he found what had to be the most grotesque demon Spike had ever laid eyes on, and that was saying a lot. Part zombie, part snot demon, and part Edward Scissorhands, the creature stood barely five feet tall, but was covered in an oozing green slime that smelled of putrid, dead flesh. The slime dripped off in some places and fell off in chunks in others, but was quickly replaced with new snotty, smelly slime. Its eyes were milky white, as if blind, but it certainly wasn’t that, because it turned and looked directly at Spike when he came into the room. It had two long arms which sported four long, razor-sharp metallic claws on the ends of slender, but slimy, green fingers. When it opened its mouth, rows upon rows of narrow, sharp, black teeth framed a long, yellow tongue which darted out like a snake’s. The stench from its breath was that of a dead skunk that had been baking in the summer heat for two or three days.

Spike took a step back and quickly stopped breathing, wishing he’d brought something longer than a dagger with him – a sword would be handy just now. The creature studied Spike, tilting its bald, glistening head from one side to the other, sizing him up. Before Spike could decide just where to attack it, the monster let out a high-pitched war cry and charged.

Spike was knocked back, out of the kitchen and into the dining room as the small but powerful demon pinned him to the ground. The dagger went flying from his hand, skittering across the floor and only stopping when it came to rest against the weapons chest in the living room. Spike tried to push the thing off, but his hands just slid over its slippery flesh. When he tried to grab it, pull on it, pieces of warm gooey flesh, which felt something like cooked okra, gumbo, just came off in his hand.

“Bloody hell…” Spike groaned in disgust as he punched the creature in the teeth. The monster’s head snapped back momentarily, but before Spike could pull his fist away to strike again, the creature had swallowed his hand up to the wrist and was biting down.

Spike felt all those sharp teeth embed into the flesh and bone of his wrist and he screamed out in pain. He tried to pull his hand away, but the teeth were closed down on his arm securely. If he pulled his arm away, he was quite sure it would be without his hand. Bugger!

Spike reached up over his head with his free hand to try and find the dagger, but it was out of reach. He began pushing himself with his legs. The slime demon stayed atop him as he inched across the floor, towards the living room and the weapon. Even as he propelled them both slowly towards the living room, the creature started chewing on his hand, as if were a tough piece of gristle it was trying to gnaw off the bone.

Spike screamed again and punched the thing in the middle of its body, hoping that would make it expel his hand. The thing grunted, but didn’t release Spike’s limb. Instead, black, inky slime started pouring out of the demon’s body and a new odor was added to the mix … one that could only be described as ‘sewer plant’.

Spike made the mistake of starting to breathe again after he screamed out in pain, but quickly stopped when the smell of untreated waste filled his nostrils. “If I bloody live, I won’t be able to smell anything for a soddin’ month after this,” Spike muttered to himself as he continued to push with his legs and slide closer to the weapons chest.

The demon didn’t seem concerned that his meal was still moving, perhaps that was how it always dined. It began slicing bits of flesh off Spike’s arm with the razors on its fingers and sucking them into its mouth, never releasing Spike’s hand. Spike grimaced and clenched his jaw tightly, but resisted the urge to yell out. He sooo didn’t want to take in another breath and smell the putrid thing, but the pain in his arm where the demon was feeding off him was excruciating.

Spike finally reached the dagger where it lay on the floor and brought it around in a wide arc, stabbing it into one of the creature’s milky white eyes. That finally got the flesh-eating monster’s attention. Spike’s hand, bloody and gnawed upon, was finally expelled from the demon’s mouth as it screamed out in pain. Spike pulled the dagger out of one eyeball and quickly slammed it into the other before the monster could retaliate.  The creature emitted bursts of new smells, seemingly at random. The aroma of wet dog was followed by a strong sulfur odor, then the sweet smell of jasmine. The olfactory assault continued with dead, decomposing fish which was followed by something that smelled amazingly like Chanel No. 5.

As the creature grasped at the dagger, still protruding from its eye socket, Spike rolled them over and jumped up, leaving the smelly, slimy monster writhing on the floor in pain. He quickly opened the weapons chest again and retrieved a thin-bladed, double-edged sword and brought it down across the monster’s neck, severing its head. The whole demon seemed to lose its cohesion then and melted into nothing more than a large puddle of green goo on the living room floor.

“That’s gonna leave a stain,” Spike muttered as he dared to take another breath. To his relief, the smell of death for the slimy demon was something that resembled the smell of a Christmas tree.

“I just killed the soddin’ Pine-Sol demon,” Spike mumbled as he dropped down onto the couch and clutched his ravaged hand to his chest.

Spike could hear the battles continuing outside the house. It was only a matter of time before more demons made their way in here. Then what? How was he supposed to fight them all? As he was pondering his predicament, he heard fierce growling outside the window and turned to look out. In the front yard was a tall, lithe humanoid fighting what appeared to be an overgrown bat. It was difficult to say who was winning, not that Spike cared. As long as they were fighting each other, they weren’t attacking him.

Then there was a bang on the front door and he thought he heard someone call Buffy’s name. His brows furrowed in confusion. Could one of the others at the tower have been alive and he’d missed them?



He jumped up, sword in hand and pulled open the door. To his utter shock he found a nearly-dead Riley Finn lying prone and bleeding on the front porch. The soldier was quite literally covered in blood with a large, jagged wound on his neck. He’d been bitten by a vampire. Not a normal vampire, Spike realized, but something much larger, judging by the size of the bite.

“Help…” he heard Riley mutter as he reached one hand out towards Spike’s booted foot.

Spike smirked. He wondered if his chip would go off if he just accidentally dropped the sword he was holding down into the back of the enormous hall monitor.

“Buffy … sorry… love you…” Finn moaned as he tried to pull himself into the house.

Spike faltered and tears that he thought were long dry pooled behind his eyes again. Buffy … would just the mention of her name always bring tears to his eyes? Would that feeling of guilt ever leave him? He doubted it.

As Spike stood there in the open doorway, a dying Riley Finn trying to pull himself in, the tall, thin demon that had been fighting the bat suddenly leapt over the porch railing and landed atop the fallen soldier.

Spike jerked back in surprise as the monster hissed at him, red eyes glowing brightly as it started to pick up its prize: Riley Finn.

In a split second Spike made a decision. What would Buffy do? He stepped forward and swung the sword with all his strength at the demon’s neck, severing it cleanly. The Otherworld vampire burst into a smattering of red, glittering dust which settled down atop Riley’s unmoving body.

Spike dragged the soldier in and slammed the door closed. Finn’s heart was barely beating, perhaps only three or four beats a minute now … there was scant little blood left for it to pump. Spike looked up at the ceiling as he drew in a deep breath and then closed his eyes trying to gather his courage. He hadn’t done this, not once since … his mother. Spike blew out the pine fresh air from his lungs and looked back down at Finn with trepidation. He lifted his bloody, ravaged arm to the soldier’s lips and forced him to swallow the demon blood; Spike’s demon blood. He needed help defending Dawn and the others. Now he had it: Finn, the vampire.
 
End Notes:
To the Unexpected Series readers: Sorry for the re-run here. I originally wasn't going to put this in here, but thought it would give new readers an idea of what Spike was faced with. From here on out, everything will be new and will be strictly following Giftless!Spike to see what he did to reset the world and save Unexpected!Buffy (and his Buffy?? Maybe.)

As we go forward, there will be several episode re-writes from Season 5. In places where I don't think much changed or that I didn't find particularly interesting, you'll find I've summarized or skimmed over things just so I'm not repeating canon and hopefully not boring you. If ever I skim over anything and confuse you, feel free to ask questions! I do reply to reviews and I can't know what I'm doing wrong if you don't tell me! :)
You Know How to Save Me by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Ten years of battling demons. Ten years of protecting Dawn. Ten years of doing what he thought Buffy would want him to do. Ten years of regrets. Ten years living in hell. Ten years that have been leading up to this one moment: one moment that could change everything. Now it's all up to Spike. It's his last chance to save the Slayer, and the world.
**
Thanks to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Note:

If you’d like to know more about what happened to Spike, Vampire-Finn, Xander, Tara, and Dawn in the post-apocalyptic Sunnydale, the detail of it is in the Unexpected Universe story: 'Miles to Go' (here on this site). This story, 'Turn Me On', will concentrate on what Spike does to fix what happened that day at Glory’s tower by going back in time and giving his past-self advice; it doesn’t cover what happened in the intervening years except in summary. The summary doesn’t really do the angst of it justice, but is included here for those who haven’t followed the Unexpected Series.

Ten Years Later. May 2011, Gift-less Universe, Sunnydale:

In everyone’s life there are moments that we can look back on and clearly see as turning points in our lives. For better or for worse, there are decision points that are plainly visible as we survey our past. They are often only tiny pinpricks, like pebbles barely breaking the surface of the water in the long river of our lives, but they stand out like diamonds scattered in a field of coal. These moments define us. These are moments when everything changed.



Spike had spent many long, lonely years examining those points in time. Hindsight, of course, is 20/20. With a decade to examine the decisions he’d made leading up to the apocalypse to end all apocalypses, his hindsight was about as good as anyone could hope for. Looking back, he could clearly see the choices he’d made, actions he’d taken or didn’t take, that ended up costing Buffy her life and leaving a shell-shocked Dawn for him to watch over and protect.

As far as he knew, he’d cost the entire population of the earth their lives. He couldn’t travel out of Sunnydale with Dawn’s mental state so precarious, therefore he had no way to know how far the Otherworldly demons had spread. They’d certainly taken over Sunnydale, and he was certain they hadn’t stopped there. The demons had flooded in through Glory’s portal for hours that horrible night and into the next day. Untold dimensions collided as the fabric between them was ripped open. Demons of every size and shape had poured through it into Sunnydale until the portal finally collapsed upon itself and closed. Glory had escaped through the portal, presumably she’d gone back to her hell dimension, and Buffy had been killed, unable to stop it. But, as noble as it would’ve been to say he wanted to save the world, the truth of it was: it was Buffy he longed to save.

More recent events haunted him as well, including the sudden appearance of a Slayer, of Buffy, in the hell he’d been living in. She shone like a beacon, as if sent by the cruel jokester: God himself. But this Slayer wasn’t his. She belonged in another world with another Spike. His few allies had died getting her out of their hell and back to her home, her idyllic life, with her Spike. Oz, Harris, Glinda – they'd been killed defending the portal that would lead her home. But, despite the cost, they’d succeeded, she'd gotten through – the sacrifice had been worth it.
 
His childe, the vamp that had been his right-hand and so much more over the last ten years, Finn, was gone as well. But Finn’s demise had been for a whole different reason – one Spike didn’t even want to think about lest it cloud his heart again with the guilt of that day. Dawn was gone as well; another guilt-ridden heartbreak Spike had to push from his mind and memory if he had any chance of succeeding in the mission before him now.

The mission he faced now was saving this Buffy that wasn’t his – again. After getting her safely away, the barmy bint-Slayer had come back. Not on purpose, apparently, but at the hand of someone he’d once considered among his allies: Warren Mears. The geek had followed the Slayer through the portal his allies had died opening for her. Once there, with delusions of grandeur dancing in his psychotic head, the geek had ambushed her and sent her back here. It was Buffy that had discovered the power of the red, glittering, Otherworldly vampire dust mixed with holy water. It would take you back in time – sort of. It wasn’t the most reliable travel agent for the task, but any port in a storm. Desperate times call for desperate measures and whatnot.



Now, as Spike swallowed the deadly potion of holy water, Otherwordly vampire dust, and Slayer blood, he knew that his whole life had been leading to this moment. This was another pinprick in time, shining out above the vast darkness of his life; a moment that could change everything. It was also his last chance. He would make his past-self hear him by using the deadly, time-travel concoction he’d just ingested, or he would dust trying. One way or another, everything would change – his nightmare would end.

He’d already tried this once. He’d been hurtled through his life, skipping from one past event to another at an alarming speed. The events were in no particular order; he had no control over what past events he would visit or how long he could stay. He’d gathered every ounce of energy he’d had and screamed at his past-self, trying to get him to hear his advice, but it hadn’t worked – nothing had changed. On that first attempt he’d only inhaled the pungent scent of the potion – this time he’d swallowed it. He’d gathered as much as he could hold in his hand and stuffed the deadly, red, gelatinous goo into his mouth and swallowed.



Even now, as he began to be hurtled through time, the holy water in the mix was burning him from the inside out. He could feel the white-hot embers of the faith that had created it scalding his throat and stomach. It was spreading out quickly; it would consume him in a matter of minutes … perhaps less.

Just as had happened before, Spike began to relive his life, hurtling head-long from one moment to the next. He could see everything from his own eyes, he could hear everything that he and everyone else said, he could feel the emotions each event triggered, but he had no control over himself. He was a ghost within his own mind, with no control over his actions or words. Unable to actually change anything as it happened in front of him, he literally relived the past as the potion rocketed him through time and space. But he had to find a way to get a message to himself. He had to change what he’d done; he had to fix it. She believed in him – she told him so. He had to do it for Buffy. He had to find a way to save her.

Spike’s emotions were slammed back and forth like a small boat in a raging sea. He was flung through time, reliving good times and bad, heartache and joy, triumph and defeat, pain and pleasure. One moment he would be up on top of a high, shining mountain and the next plummeted down to the bottom of the deepest, darkest, coldest sea. It was enough to spin his head and crush his heart, but he was ready this time – he knew this would happen. He just had to hold on until he hit upon something that …

“And we just keep coming. But you can kill a hundred, a thousand, a thousand thousand and the enemies of Hell besides, and all we need is for one of us – just one – sooner or later to have the thing we're all hoping for,” he heard himself saying. He could see Buffy glaring at him as he spoke, standing next to the pool table in the Bronze.



This would work! This was only a short time before the fight with Glory. If he could just get himself to listen! “Kill Doc!” Spike screamed at his past-self from inside his own mind. “He’s a Reptilian demon! Cut ‘is soddin’ head off!”

Nothing seemed to change.

“One... good... day,” he heard himself saying to Buffy.

“Bugger!” he cursed. “Kill Doc!” he tried again. Still, past-Spike didn’t seem to hear.

“Hey! You asked and I'm tellin'. The problem with you, Summers, is you've gotten so good, you're starting to think you're immortal.”

Spike closed his eyes and concentrated, trying a new tack, “Kill Ben! He’s a doc at the hospital. Kill! Ben!” he screamed at himself at the top of his lungs.

Nothing happened. Nothing changed. The conversation carried on as if he hadn’t spoken.

“So that's it? Lesson over?” Buffy asked him, incredulous.



“Not even close. Come on.”

Spike could see and feel himself reaching down for the pool cue on the table and he sighed in exasperation.

“Forget the soddin’ cue and listen, you great prat,” he moaned to himself, his voice a frustrated, growling whisper.

Suddenly the hand – his hand, that had been reaching for the cue hesitated and, as if by magic, didn’t pick it up. Instead, he felt himself striding away empty-handed, towards the back door of the Bronze. His vision blurred, it felt like he was looking at a movie that had been shot by someone with an unsteady hand. The effect was slightly dizzying and disorienting. Things had changed. His old memory of walking out with the pool cue was superimposed over top of the new past. It was like seeing double, only the two images were slightly different.



“Bloody hell,” he moaned, finally realizing that he needed to whisper, not yell.

He knew he should be concentrating on telling himself how to defeat Glory, but he couldn’t stop himself from relaying the advice he’d been given on how to reach Buffy’s heart – with a bit of his own advice added in.

The advice he’d been given had come from an unexpected source: Buffy herself. Not his Buffy, of course, she was long dead, but the Buffy that had been accidentally dropped into his nightmarish world – twice. Buffy had told him the story of her life with him and their children and all their friends. It sounded like something from a dream or a fairy tale, and it had made his heart ache with jealousy and bleed with self pity. Why had he been left alone in the dark when this other Spike had been cast into the light? It fueled his determination to fix things. He would do anything for even a sliver of a chance that he could actually save Buffy’s life and win her heart. 
 
The hope that there was a chance of gaining her love seemed to overwhelm him – he wanted that so desperately. He quickly began whispering to himself, “Make her accept ‘er demon. Show ‘er how alike you are. Show ‘er how to live with the darkness. Whatever ya do, don’t soddin’ kiss her! Let her come t’ you. Don’t be afraid to show ‘er William’s heart. Kill Ben. Doc’s a …”

Suddenly Spike’s vision through his past eyes got even more blurred and everything jumped jerkily up and down and from side to side. Images appeared atop images, each slightly different than the original memory he had. Without warning, lights began to swirl in front of his eyes, faster and faster they went until he couldn’t look any longer for fear of retching.



He could feel the swath of fire from the holy water engulf him. He could actually feel his body begin to decay. It felt like it was taking a long time, but he knew how fast a vampire dusted, so his perception must be wrong. He could feel all his muscle, organs, sinew, bone, and blood start to rot and then contract, as it dried. His skin felt too tight and stiff, like beef jerky. He couldn’t move any longer. His muscles had atrophied, contracted, and begun to pull away from the bone. His whole body was going through a century of rot and decay in a fraction of a second, and he could feel every excruciating moment of it. He wanted to scream, but he had no ability to do so: his vocal cords had shriveled and his lungs were nothing more than a parched desert.

His last thought before his dust went back to the earth was of Buffy. He had changed things, he knew, but had it been enough?

**~**
 
Six Months before the battle with Glory, November, 2000:

Buffy followed Spike out of the Bronze and into the deserted back alley. Why did she always seem to be in dark alleys with evil, disgusting creatures? All she wanted to know is how he’d killed two Slayers. What had they done wrong – it was a simple enough question. All he wanted to do was talk about ‘one good day’ and boast about how he got off on killing them instead of just answering her.

“C’mon, Spike, enough stalling,” she ordered. “You’re not getting overtime pay by dragging this out. Just tell me what I want to know.”

Spike felt a dizzying, whirling sensation hit him as he walked, like someone had dropped some LSD into his beer. He blinked his eyes and shook his head slightly to clear it. He didn't need the Slayer thinking he couldn't hold his liquor – she might not ever buy him any more. The feeling cleared almost as quickly as it had come on him. It was like a fog had lifted, and many things suddenly seemed much more clear to him. He smirked and turned around abruptly, stopping directly in Buffy’s path. He was suddenly acutely aware of what he needed to say to her; what he needed to do, what she needed to see. Buffy nearly walked into his chest before she came to a halt in front of him.

“You’re just like me,” Spike murmured, leaning forward so his mouth was near her ear.



“I’m nothing like you,” Buffy growled, pushing him back to arm’s length.

He stepped back, not resisting her, but didn't stumble. He raised a hand and placed the tips of his fingers over her heart, as if he were going to pluck it out. “There’s a demon inside you, I can feel it.”

Buffy started slightly in surprise at his words. A demon inside? She shook her head in denial. “I’m not a demon! I have a soul,” she objected, slapping his hand away roughly.

“Soul’s are overrated. Ted Bundy had a soul. Hitler had a soul. Attila the Hun had a soul,” Spike pointed out, dropping his hand down to his side, but not moving away from her. “You’re more like me than you want to admit. You feel that thrill in the pit of your stomach when you hunt, when you kill. Turns you on, it does … feeds the demon.”

“I don’t hunt! I … patrol. I don’t kill, I … I … Slay,” Buffy spat back at him. Her words came out harsh and confident, but in truth she had been hunting. Ever since the First Slayer had visited her dreams and tried to kill her, Giles, Willow, and Xander she’d felt ... different: predatory, feral. If she were perfectly honest with herself, she might even say she felt demonic – but she wasn’t that honest with herself.

“You say potato,” Spike pointed out with a nonchalant shrug. “You might be able t’ fool your little Slayerettes, your Watcher … even yourself, but you can’t deny what you feel, Slayer – not t’ me. I know Slayers and I know you. I know your true nature. I’ve seen it, smelled it, felt it all over you too many times. You cream your knickers every time you hit me. Your body tingles and throbs when you dust a vamp. ‘Ave you ever shagged one ‘fore you dusted ‘im? Ever thought about it? Dreamt about it? All that power … all that lust just goin’ t’ waste. Could ‘ave it thrustin’ into ya, givin’ ya what you need, quenchin’ that undyin’ thirst.”

“Could you get any more nauseating?! If you could bottle that slime you spew you could sell it as ipecac. Get out of my face!” she demanded, shoving him hard with both hands on his shoulders.

Spike took a step back when she pushed him, but his intense blue eyes stayed focused on her.



“I’m not a skank ho’ like Dru or Harmony. That talk might get them all hot and bothered, but it just repulses me! You make me sick!

“How'd you kill them?” she demanded, trying to get back to the point, her hands planted angrily on her hips.

“Ah, well … a bit like this ...” Spike demonstrated by throwing a series of punches at her, one coming right after the next in rapid succession. Buffy didn’t flinch, but simply deflected or ducked them easily.

“That didn't hurt you?” she asked suspiciously when he’d finally stopped.

”I knew I couldn't touch you. If there's no intent to hurt you, then that chip they shoved up my brain never activates.

“You want to know how I beat 'em? Then ya need to ask the right question. The question isn't, ‘How'd I win?’ The question is, ‘Why'd they lose?’”

“What’s the difference?”

“There's a big difference, luv,” Spike assured her, his voice smooth and velvety in the still, quiet alley.

“How'd you kill them, Spike?” she demanded again, crossing her arms over her chest and tapping one foot on the pavement impatiently.



Spike glared at her for a long moment. “You're not ready to know,” he informed her, turning to go.

“I'm ready,” Buffy insisted, grabbing his arm and pulling him back around to face her.

Spike narrowed his eyes and studied her for several long moments. What could he tell her that would make her understand? All Slayers had a wish for the fight to end. Sooner or later, they gave up, let death take them, but why? A sudden epiphany came over him; it rang in his mind, clear as a carillon. Of course! Why hadn’t he realized that before?

“Right, then. You think you’re ready, ‘ere it is: every Slayer has a death wish – even you, Summers. Slayers like t’ deny the darkness; deny their true nature. Got a demon locked inside, they do. It’s where your power, your drive, your instincts come from. Ya keep it wrapped up it in soulful, righteous indignation and one day it gutters an’ burns out … jus’ gives up the fight.

“The only reason you've lasted as long as you ‘ave is you got ties to the world... your mum, your brat kid sister, the Scoobies. They all hold you ‘ere, but you're just putting off the inevitable. Sooner or later, you're gonna want it – you’re gonna wanna give up. And the second – the second – that happens...” Spike clapped his hands together sharply, barely an inch in front of her face. “You know I'll be there. I'll slip in... have myself a real good day.”

“Get out of my sight Spike. Now,” Buffy demanded coldly.

Spike took one predatory step forward until he was only inches away from her. “I can show ya how t’ stop it. I can show you how to give the demon its due – keep it fightin’ for ya,” he murmured to her.

Buffy’s mind whirled. Why did he keep saying that? She did not have a demon inside. It was impossible! She was not a monster! She was not like him in any way!

“Go. Away,” she demanded, her voice strained, as she took a step back away from him.

Spike stepped forward with her. “Put your hands on my tight, hot, little body and make me.”

Buffy took another step back, Spike followed. Buffy continued to back up and he matched her, step for step in a measured, hushed waltz. Tension made the air so thick Buffy was having a hard time breathing. Raspy, shallow intakes of the heavy air were the best she could manage as she backed slowly away from him. She didn’t want to hear any more. Didn’t want to know what he was telling her … but she needed to know. To survive, she needed to know what he knew. And she needed to survive, for her sister and her mom. But he must be wrong! Certainly he was wrong!

“I can touch your demon. I can give it something to live for,” Spike purred as they both moved as one across the alley. “Not just your drive to fight that it controls, Slayer … touches all your drives, it does. When’s the last time you screwed all night long? When’s the last time that deep, dark hunger inside you was satisfied? When’s the last time you came so hard the whole bloody planet shook? Have you ever screamed from pleasure so long and so loud that you couldn’t talk afterwards? Ever forgotten your bloody name? Anyone ever made your legs turn t’ jelly, your blood boil, and your body quiver for hours? Ever not been able t’ walk the next day? Anyone ever sent that soul o’ yours t’ heaven? Sent that demon o’ yours blazin’ in the rapturous fires o’ hell?”



“You’re disgusting,” she rasped out, her chest heaving as her back hit the wall, forcing her to stop.

Spike smiled at her lecherously. “Yeah, reckon that’s true. And, if you’d ever admit the truth of it, so … are … you.” Spike stood in front of her and braced his hands against the wall at her back, trapping her between his arms without touching her. He stood so close that less than an inch separated their lips as he spoke. His voice came out as a low, dangerous rumble in the dark. He was so close Buffy could actually feel his words, rough and raw, against her skin. “I know you want it, Slayer. I can feel it. I can practically taste it. You know you wanna dance.”

“You think we’re dancing!?” Buffy asked incredulously, her voice barely more than a whisper.



“That’s all we’ve ever done, luv.”

Buffy swallowed hard, her heart racing in her chest. “Say that’s true … say I do want to,” she replied breathlessly. “It would never be you, Spike.”

Spike smirked and leaned in so his mouth was near her ear. “I’m all you’ve got.”

Spike pulled back and captured her gaze with his smoldering, azure eyes. “White Bread has no bloody idea how t’ touch what’s inside you, Slayer. And Peaches … well … that’s a bit of a sticky wicket, innit? But me …” Spike ran his tongue slowly across his upper teeth and let his eyes wander down her body in a smoldering leer. He pulled one hand away from the wall and mimed running a finger gently over the curve of her neck, never touching her. Even without any physical contact, he could feel her sweet Slayer blood thrumming just beneath her heated skin. He could almost feel his own heart pounding in his chest as her heart’s irregular, staccato rhythm reverberated through the tension-filled air, pounding against him like ripples in pond.

Spike began to lean down; his lips burned with the desire to kiss her, to taste her, but suddenly, inexorably, he stopped. He immediately knew, just as well as he knew his own name, that kissing her now would be the wrong thing to do. He fought with himself to regain control of his emotions. She was so close; close enough to kiss, close enough to touch – but now he realized: she had to want it. She had to open the door and invite him in. Anything less would be a disastrous mistake.

His words came out more breathlessly as he continued speaking. He was still close enough that their lips would touch if either of them shifted even the slightest bit. “Can’t hurt you, can I? … Well, not if ya don’t wanna be hurt. Ain’t gonna go on a killin’ spree afterwards, am I? I could do things to you that Solidier-boy’s never imagined in his wildest dreams. I can do things that’d make a sailor blush … and have more than once. I can take everythin’ you have to give – no holding back – not like that enormous git that shares your bed. ‘Ave you ever really fucked him, Buffy? I mean fucked, with a capital ‘F’? Ever really let loose? I reckon you don’t even know how t’ let go … t’ just be. Too afraid o’ hurting the boy, you are.

“I know what lives inside you, even if you don’t, Slayer. Let me show you – let me give the darkness inside you something t’ live for, Buffy.”

Buffy clenched her jaw and swallowed again. Her heart felt like it was going to break her ribs and pound right out of her chest. What was it about Spike that always seemed to worm under her skin in the most disgusting and infuriating way possible? “I’m. No. Monster,” she gasped out determinedly.

“No,” Spike agreed, still close enough to kiss her. “But, you’ve got a demon inside you, just like I do. It’s where your power comes from, and if ya keep denyin’ it, one day it’ll kill you, just like all the others before. Vampires don’t kill Slayers … Slayers kill themselves.

“Here endeth the lesson,” he announced with a note of finality as he plucked the money away that was folded up in her clenched fist.

Spike pushed off the wall and stepped back away from her. Buffy could feel a physical pull, as if some part of her were tethered to him. She fought to remain against the wall, unmoving, as he turned and started to stalk away, his duster billowing around his legs. “Don’t tell me you can’t feel it, Slayer,” he called over his shoulder, pausing and turning his head to look back at her. “I can take you places you’ve never dreamed of. All ya gotta do is open your eyes – quit denyin’ what’s inside you.”



Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes and she closed them quickly so he wouldn’t see. “I’m not … a monster,” she ground out between clenched teeth. “I’m not like you.”

Spike nodded and pursed his lips. “Right,” was all he said before turning and striding out of the alley, leaving her alone in the dark.

Buffy stood there, her arms wrapped around her torso, for a long time just trying to breathe. His words echoed through her mind, There’s a demon inside you, I can feel it. A demon inside … a demon inside. I suppose you're telling me you don't get off on it? Your body tingles and throbs when you dust a vamp … can’t deny it t’ me.

“I’m not a monster. I’m not a monster,” Buffy repeated to herself as she stood alone in the dark alley. “I’m not like him. I’m not.”

You can’t deny what you feel, Slayer – not t’ me. I know you.

“No, Spike, you don’t. You don’t know me. You don’t know anything! I’m not like you,” Buffy argued with the voices in her head. “I’m not a monster.”

**~**

Spike went around the corner of the building and stopped in the unlit side-street. He leaned against the wall heavily and closed his eyes. Why did he have to go all Maytag Man and start agitating the Slayer every time he got within sight of her? Why couldn’t he just … play nice? You are such an enormous git! he admonished himself silently as he rubber-necked his head back around the corner to check on her. His heart sank when he realized that she was crying – and it was because of him. How could she not know her power was demonic? Did she think she was a soddin’ angel or the fist of God or something? He shook his head and sighed as he leaned back on the wall, out of sight, and fumbled for a cigarette. He had an overwhelming urge to go back and wrap her in his arms and just hold her, comfort her, but for the same reason as he knew he shouldn’t kiss her before, he knew she would never allow that, either.

Spike stiffened and stood perfectly still in the dark when he heard her footsteps approaching. He watched from the shadows as she passed by, heading for home. He’d follow her, he decided, just to make sure she got home all right. A weepy Slayer wasn’t a sharp Slayer; she might need his help.

**~**

Spike stood under the oak tree in the front yard and finally lit that cigarette. The Slayer had gotten in alright, but he was in no mood to go back to the crypt – Harmony would be there. After a few minutes, he heard the backdoor open and close, so he walked around the house to investigate. Buffy was sitting on the back steps, her head in her hands. She looked up as he approached and he could see more tears staining her face. Was she still that upset about what he’d told her?



She didn’t say anything as he approached, which Spike took as an invitation. “Buffy … I,” he started.

“Don’t. Just … don’t,” she stopped him as she looked off into the distance, her eyes unfocused.

Spike tilted his head and considered her a moment before sitting down on the step next to her. “What is it?” he asked softly. “Wanna talk about it?”

Buffy frowned deeply and shook her head, never looking at him.

“Is there something I can do?” he asked gently.

Buffy shook her head again.

“Should I … go then?” he asked uncertainly, looking off into the distance as well.

Buffy hesitated, then shook her head again. It felt like a thousand thoughts and worries were swirling around in her mind: her mom’s mysterious illness and the upcoming medical tests, Dawn’s Keyness, Glory’s apparent invincibility, averting apocalypse nine-hundred and seventy two.

On top of that, now she had to worry about what exactly was inside her. Not that she hadn’t thought about this before. Between Faith and the First Slayer and Dracula, she’d questioned what she was made of, and what it meant to her as a person, more than once. She didn’t know what made her a Slayer. She didn’t know where her power came from. And, worst of all, she didn’t know if what Spike contended was true, that her power – her demonic power – would burn out and just give up one day. What if it made her give up while fighting Glory? What if Buffy faltered and lost not only her own life, but Dawn’s? What if she couldn’t avert this latest apocalypse? What if Spike was right?

Buffy felt like the weight of the world was atop her – again. And she was so very tired of carrying it … so very tired.

She felt Spike’s hand touch her back tentatively. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath as she tried to still her whirling thoughts. Why did the touch of her mortal enemy seem to give her more comfort and strength than the touch of her boyfriend, who actually cared about her? Could Spike be right – was it because she was just like him? Was she actually a demon with a fancy Slayer wrapping on the outside? Was she a monster?



Buffy leaned sideways, against Spike’s chest, and he wrapped his arm over her shoulders gently, almost shyly.

“It’s Mom…” she began, needing to tell someone. She just had to get one thing off her shoulders. If she got one weight off, maybe she could keep going.

**~**

{{  Click here to hear Turn Me On, David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj  on YouTube  }}


Doctor, doctor, need you bad, hold me babe
Doctor, doctor, where ya at? Give me something
I need your love, I need your love, I need your loving
You got that kind of medicine that keeps me coming
My body needs a hero, come and save me
Something tells me you know how to save me
I've been feeling feral, oh I need you
Come and rescue me

Make me come alive, come on and turn me on
Touch me, save my life, come on and turn me on
I'm too young to die, come on and turn me on
Turn me on, turn me on, turn me on, turn me on (2X

Oh you make it make it right
my temperature is super high If I scream if I cry,
It's only cause I feel alive
My body needs a hero, come and save me
Make me come alive, come on and turn me on
Touch me, save my life, come on and turn me on
I'm too young to die, come on and turn me on
Turn me on, turn me on, turn me on, turn me on (2X)
Something tells me you know how to save me

You’ve got my life in the palm of your hand (palm of your hand)
Come and save me now I know you can (I know you can)
D-d-d-d-Don't let me die young
I just want you to father my young
I just want you to be my doctor
We we can get it crackin', chiropractor
I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I I-I-I-I-I know you can save me and make me feel alive

I've been feeling real low oh I need you to come and rescue me

Make me come alive, come on and turn me on
Touch me, save my life, come on and turn me on
I'm too young to die, come on and turn me on
Turn me on, turn me on, turn me on, turn me on
End Notes:
I haven't written Buffy and Spike from canon since ... forever ago! So, please be kind, but I would love to know what you think. I hope they are close enough to be believable with Spike having a bit more insight to guide him. Unlike my other stories, there will not be a different song for each chapter. There is just one song for the story and the names of the chapters will be taken from the lyrics of this one song.

Next we are going to zip though the following Season 5 episodes: Shadow – Listening to Fear – Into the Woods – Triangle – Checkpoint – Blood Ties – Crush

Wow - that will be a wild ride. Hang on!
If I Scream, If I Cry by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Not wanting to believe Spike’s contention that she has a demon inside, Buffy turns to Giles for answers. When Riley leaves, Buffy blames Spike. When Dawn discovers she’s the Key, Buffy again blames Spike. After incurring the Slayer’s wrath and scorn for several weeks, what will happen when Dru reappears to re-unite her ‘family’?
**
Thanks to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
NOTE:
Episodes Covered in this chapter:

Shadow – Listening to Fear – Into the Woods – Triangle – Checkpoint – Blood Ties – Crush

I won't be going over most of the stuff that happened, just things that I think have changed, so here's a quick reminder of key things that happened in these episodes:

Joyce went into the hospital to have a CT scan and her tumor is diagnosed. While awaiting surgery, Buffy brings her home and they are followed from the hospital, then attacked at home, by the Queller demon (aka: snot monster). Glory conjures the snake demon to find the Key; Buffy kills it before it can return to Glory. Spike discovers Riley’s secret and takes Buffy to the vamp whorehouse. Riley leaves Sunnydale. Willow and Anya accidentally conjure Olaf the Troll who goes on a rampage, eventually ending at the Bronze. The Council comes to town with information about Glory, but insists that Buffy pass a series of tests before they will hand the information over. Buffy meets and fights the Knights of Byzantium and realizes she is the one with the power, not the Council. Dawn, with Spike’s help, breaks into the Magic Box and discovers she is the Key. She sets all her dairies on fire and runs away. They find her at the hospital with Glory; they fight and Willow teleports Glory away. Drusilla comes back to town to put her family back together.

**~**

The next day at the Magic Box:

“Giles, can I talk to you … in private?” Buffy asked quietly, casting a furtive glance at Anya, who was behind the counter.



“Certainly,” he replied, waving an arm at the training room.

Buffy led the way and Giles closed the door behind himself after following her in. “Are you alright? I hear … well … How’s Joyce?” Giles stammered.

Buffy sat down on the couch and sighed heavily. “I don’t know. We won’t know anything until tomorrow probably.”

“And, how did your meeting go with Spike?” Giles continued.

Buffy rolled her eyes dismissively. “Oh … you know Spike. If he got any more full of shit, his eyes would turn brown.

“I want to ask you something,” Buffy continued as Giles sat down next to her.

“Of course, Buffy – anything.”

“What am I?” she asked without further preamble.

Giles raised his brows. “Pardon?”



“What am I? What am I made out of? Where did I come from? Where does my power come from?” Buffy elaborated, speaking quickly – trying to get the words out before she changed her mind. Did she really want to know?

“I … well … you’re the Slayer,” Giles offered lamely.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Well, duh! I know that. What makes me the Slayer? Where does my power come from?”

“I … well … you’re Called and it’s endowed by … the Powers That Be, I suppose,” he guessed.



“You suppose? Is that like saying ‘I don’t know’ in Watcher-talk? The Council’s been watching Slayers for how long and there’s no little recipe card that tells how one’s made? You know, a pinch of sugar and a smidge of spice, a pound of snails and puppy dog tails, a still-beating demon heart,” Buffy asked incredulously.

“Well … errrr,” Giles stammered. “Perhaps there is, it’s simply never been shared with me. A still-beating demon heart?” Giles questioned, looking at her with concern.

Buffy shook her head and waved her hand dismissively. “Never mind. I asked you about this before … you remember, after Drac came calling, and … well ... I ...ummm ... think I really need you to find out now.”

“Yes … well … certainly, I will make it a priority. Perhaps I can call in some personal favors at the Council,” Giles agreed. “Buffy, what’s got you wondering about this again?”

“Oh … well, I just didn’t want you getting in the habit of letting things slide,” Buffy hedged. “That’s a slippery slope, Giles,” she scolded. “First it’s one small research project, then, the next thing you know, you’re tossing all your books out in the street and setting them on fire. I’d just hate to see you go all ‘Fahrenheit 451’ on me. I mean … you may actually have to get a TV if that happened, and then where would we be? It may look like fun from the top, but those slippery slopes lead to nothing but badness,” Buffy warned.



Giles raised his brows at her skeptically. “Buffy, you know you can’t put any stock in what a vampire says … even Dracula,” Giles assured her.

Buffy pursed her lips and furrowed her brow as she shook her head in agreement. “Oh, yeah – I totally know that. I just … wondered, you know … idle curiosity and … I wouldn’t know what to do without the smell of musty books in here.”

**~**

A Week Later (after Listening to Fear):

Giles came out of his office as soon as he saw Buffy enter the Magic Box. “Buffy! Are you alright? Joyce? Dawn?”

Buffy nodded tiredly. “Yeah, we slayed the snot monster from outer space. You wouldn’t think snot monsters would be so hard to kill, would you? For once Spike lurking outside my house actually paid off.”

“Spike helped you slay it?” Giles questioned, cocking a suspicious brow.

“Yeah – he heard it from outside and just came barging in. Of course, then Riley and all his commando buddies came barging in. It was a barge-fest. I’m surprised no little tugboats showed up. I don’t know why we even have locks on the doors,” Buffy sighed.

“And Joyce’s surgery is tomorrow?” Giles asked, concerned.

“Yeah, tomorrow morning. I have to get back home soon – I don’t want to leave her alone too long. My annoying guard-dog, Spike, can’t lurk in the daytime,” Buffy half-teased. “So, you have … something?” she asked, lowering her voice.

“Indeed,” Giles affirmed, waving a hand and inviting her into his office.

Buffy went in and sat down in one of the chairs and Giles followed, closing the door before taking his place behind the desk. He pulled some papers out of a folder and looked at them for a few moments, a rather dour expression on his face.

“What’s the up, Giles?” Buffy asked, leaning forward to look at the papers. Even though they were upside-down, she was pretty sure they weren’t written in English. She’d gotten fairly good at reading papers upside down during high school.



Giles took a deep breath and looked up at her. “I received these facsimiles this morning from a friend at the Council. The original book has apparently been lost somewhere along the way, but they had copies of it in their archives,” he explained. “It tells the story of the First Slayer and her … creation.”

Buffy waited for him to continue, but he didn’t say any more. “And … I’m guessing no puppy-dog tails,” she quipped dryly.

Giles gave her an indulgent smile. “No, I’m afraid not,” he agreed. “It’s written in ancient Sumerian, I’ve … taken the opportunity to translate the pertinent section.” Giles hesitated a moment, then handed Buffy a paper with his hand-written translation. Buffy took it and steeled herself. From Giles’ expression, there was probably no sugar or spice in the recipe, either.

~~
First, there was the Earth.
Then, there came the demons.
After demons, there came men.
Men found a girl.
Men took the girl to fight the demons.
Men chained her to the Earth.
Men endowed her with the power of the darkness.
She is the Slayer. She alone stands against the demons.

~~

Tears stung Buffy’s eyes as she read one line over and over: power of the darkness … power of the darkness.  She blinked them back frantically, then finally nodded, folded the paper up, and stuffed it into her pocket. “Ok, well ... thanks,” she offered hastily as she stood up.



“Buffy,” Giles stopped her, standing up himself. “There’s something else I found in the Watcher's diaries. A quest.”

“A quest? Like Monty Python … finding a grail or something?”

“Not a grail, and I'm fairly certain there will be no killer bunnies, but perhaps more answers. It would take a day, perhaps two,” Giles continued. “There’s a sacred place in the desert, not far from here.”

Buffy nodded. “Ok … well, I can’t leave Mom now – maybe later, when she’s better.”

Giles nodded. “This doesn’t mean anything. You are not a demon – you aren’t … There’s nothing wrong with you,” he tried to assure her.

Buffy nodded again and gave him a wan smile. “Yeah. I really need to get home,” she offered, turning and opening the door. “Thanks for getting this for me,” she called back as she strode out of his office.

Giles sighed as he watched her go out the back, through the training room. Perhaps he should’ve simply told her he couldn’t find anything … but didn’t she have the right to know?

**~**

Outside, Buffy pulled the door closed and leaned against the wall at the back of the shop. She closed her eyes as she continued to fight a losing battle with her tears. She was a demon. She tried to wrap her head around this unequivocal, sudden revelation. Or was it really sudden? She’d spent so much time over the last few years trying to convince herself that she could be normal, trying to prove that she was ‘just a girl’, that she’d failed to even notice the reason she had to work so hard at normalcy. She wasn’t normal. She was a demon. How had Spike put it? A demon ‘wrapped in righteous indignation’. If life was a box of chocolates, then she was that horrible one with grape jelly inside that no one wanted. She looked perfectly fine on the outside, but inside she was ... just wrong.


“Buffy?” a deep voice pulled her from her thoughts. She jumped slightly and her eyes flew open to find Spike smoking a cigarette as he sat on a pile of packing crates in the shade on the other side of the alleyway. “You alright?” he asked as he dropped the butt, stood up, and began moving towards her slowly.



Buffy sniffed back her tears and lifted her chin, pulling her ‘righteous indignation’ cloak back around her soundly. “Fine,” she lied casually as she pushed off the wall. She pulled the folded paper Giles had given her from her pocket and slapped it against his chest as she passed. “If you ever get tired of your career as a lurker, you could have a promising future as a Watcher. You wouldn’t even need any books.”

Spike clutched at the paper, grabbing it before it fell away, as he turned and watched her storm off into the sunlight. With a furrowed brow, he opened the note and read it. He looked up at her rapidly-retreating back and smirked a bit. She had been listening to him that night, after all.  “I’d ave to shove a cob up my arse ‘fore I’d qualify for that job, luv,” he called after her.

“Let me know if you need any help with that. It’d make a nice side-job for Mr. Pointy,” she called back, still walking away.



Spike followed her as far as he could – to the edge of the shade. “Did you just make a joke, Slayer?” Spike asked, shocked.

“Nope – just embracing the dark side, like you suggested. I hear they have cookies,” she called back.

Spike’s smirk returned. “May the Force be with you.”

**~**

A Few Days Later (Into the Woods):

Buffy ran faster than she’d ever run in her entire life. Her world was imploding; Riley was leaving in less than five minutes, and he would probably never come back. What had she been thinking, letting him go? How long had she expected to keep him at arm’s length and not expect him to turn away from her? How long could she keep her heart cocooned safely within herself and not expect everyone to leave? But what if he’d seen what was really in there? What if he took a bite of the piece of chocolate-Buffy and spit it out as soon as he found the grotesque jelly within? Not even she looked that deeply – she really didn’t want to know what was in there.

Spike had been right: she was made from darkness; she was a demon. What if that was all she saw when she looked inside: darkness? What if she was physically incapable of actually loving anyone? Spike’s words from the alley had been haunting her, filling her dreams with dark fantasies that mingled death and ecstasy until they felt synonymous. No matter how many vamps she dusted, no matter how many demons she slayed, the dreams wouldn’t stop. How could she show her true heart to Riley, or even her friends, when it was full of such lurid shadows?

“Riley!!!” she screamed, coming up to the landing pad as the copter lifted away from the ground. The wind lashed around her from the powerful blades, sending dirt and debris blasting painfully against her face. Her hair whipped in a frenzy of gold around her head as she screamed his name at the top of her lungs, but he never looked back.

Buffy fell to her knees as the helicopter raced away; the wind lessened and finally died. “Riley! I’m sorry,” she cried to the empty night, burying her face in her hands as sobs wracked her body. “God, I’m sorry… what is wrong with me!?”

“Told ya before, pet. You belong in the dark, with me,” a voice came from the woods beside her. Buffy looked up as Spike stepped out of the canopy of trees and into the moonlight. He dropped a cigarette butt and crushed it under his boot before hooking his thumbs over his belt-buckle and staring at her. “He’d never be what ya needed,” Spike informed her. “Good riddance, if ya ask me.”



“YOU!” Buffy growled, jumping up to her feet. “This is your fault! Spinning my head with all that talk about a demon inside me! Then you had to take me to that … that … place! That … vamp whorehouse! You son-of-a-bitch! This is your fault!” she accused again, stalking towards Spike.

Spike shook his head and held his hands up in surrender. “You needed t’ know the truth of it. All I did was open your eyes to the truth of ‘im … and of you, Slayer. Makin’ a fool o’ you, he was, gettin’ his jollies with them vamps.”

“You’re a goddamned ass, Spike! What did you think, you’d tell me I was some kind of demon, get rid of Riley, and I’d fall into your bed!? You’re a conniving little weasel!” Buffy screamed as she moved swiftly towards him.



“Can’t deny that, pet, but everythin’ I said was true. It was for your own good,” Spike asserted, standing his ground.

When Buffy got within reach of him, she slammed her fist into his jaw, making him stumble backwards out of the clearing and into the trees. She stalked after him and hit him again, and again; a right, a left, another right. “I hate you! You’re a monster! An evil, sadistic, murdering piece of shit! I should’ve dusted you years ago!”

“That’s it, Slayer – let it out. Give it t’ ole Spike,” he invited, stumbling back further into the woods with each punch she delivered.

“Shut up! Just shut up!” she screamed at him, pounding him until he stumbled and fell onto his back. “I hate you!” she repeated as she dropped down atop him and continued to pummel his face with her fists. “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”

Spike didn’t defend himself, didn’t even try to get away; he simply lay there, his hands up near his head in surrender, and let her take every ounce of anger, pain, and frustration out on him. Blood spurted from his nose and mouth, his ears rang with each blow she delivered, and his eyes were quickly swelling closed with bruises.

“I’m nothing like you!” she contended as she began shaking him violently by the shoulders.

“No, pet … you’re worse,” he muttered through his split and swollen lip as she banged his head down against the hard ground at his back.



Buffy suddenly stopped and looked down at him through her angry tears, her chest heaving with exertion and overwhelming emotions. His face was a mask of blood and bruises, and yet the little she could see of his irises were just as intensely blue and bright as ever. Even in the dark under the canopy of trees, they seemed to shine up at her. He hadn’t even changed into the demon under her assault.

“Don’t say that,” she rasped out angrily.

“I know I’m a monster; I admit it … accept it. You got a demon inside. It’s covered up good and proper – even fools the chip, but it’s there. I know it. You know it. But ya won’t admit it. That makes you worse,” Spike continued.

Buffy screwed her face up in anguish as her tears came harder. She pounded her fists against his chest in frustration, but there was no power behind the blows. “No! I don’t want to be a demon! I don’t … I’m not evil! God, Spike … please tell me how to get rid of it.”

With great effort, Spike pushed up to sitting beneath her and pulled her into a hug. Buffy didn’t pull away, but melted, emotionally exhausted and physically spent, sobbing against his chest. Spike tucked her head under his chin and held her there on the ground as she cried. He wished he could take her pain away. He longed to be the man she turned to for help, for comfort and support – he longed to be her hero. At that moment he resolved himself to be just that. No matter what it took, he wouldn’t let her down. For the first time in a very long time, he felt William stirring somewhere deep inside him and, for the first time in over a century, Spike didn’t beat the little ponce back into submission.

Finally, when her sobs had waned and faded into deep, shuddering breaths, he said, “Can’t get rid of it, luv. All I can do is show ya’ how to live with it, if you’ll let me.”

Buffy shook her head against him as she snaked one hand between them and wiped at her eyes. “I don’t want to live with it,” she murmured so softly he might not’ve heard her if not for his vampire senses.

Spike pushed her back, holding her upper arms, and looked into her eyes, his jaw set in fierce determination. “You haveta’ live with it,” he insisted firmly, holding her gaze with his. “Your mum needs you. Your sis needs you. Your friends need you,” he admonished her. “The bloody world needs you, Slayer.” He wanted desperately to say that he needed her, but knew that would only send her scurrying away from him. If he could only get her to see for herself: see how alike they really were, see that he could be more than just a monster.



Buffy’s chin quivered as tears leaked from her eyes again. “I don’t know if I can.”

“Then let me help you,” Spike offered gently, wiping a tear away with the pad of his thumb.

Buffy shook her head and gave him a suspicious, half-smile, “By turning my legs to jelly and making my body quiver for hours?” she asked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.

Spike shrugged. “If that’s what it takes, then … I’d be willin’ to sacrifice m’self … for the greater good. Puppies and Christmas and whatall.”

Buffy rolled her eyes, but a small smile quirked the corners of her mouth as she wiped her tears away again. “I’m sorry.”

“For what?” Spike wondered, confusion furrowing his brow.



Buffy snorted out a disdainful laugh. “Your face. I’m sorry … I … I know it wasn’t your fault. You didn’t make me what I am. You didn’t drive Riley away. I did.”

Spike shrugged. “No worries, pet. Anytime ya wanna hold me down and have your way with me, just feel free.”

Buffy rolled her eyes again and stood up, offering him a hand up too. Spike took it and got up to his feet, wobbling slightly. “C’mon, I’ll walk you home,” Buffy offered as she helped steady him.

“Now, don’t get t’ thinking I’m easy. A bloke’s got t’ have standards: dinner, drinks, a movie, flowers … maybe a nice box o’ chocolates. A bit o’ wooing goes a long way. I’m a romantic at heart. I been hurt, ya know. Don’t expect me t’ just jump into somethin’ with ya, Slayer.”

Buffy nodded solemnly. “I’ll keep that in mind … a romantic, evil vampire. Just my luck.”

**~**

Next Day:



Spike moaned as he rolled over in bed. Everything hurt. He tried to open his eyes, but the blood had dried and glued his eyelids closed. He pried them open with his fingers and sat up gingerly. He could still smell Buffy’s tears on his fingers and t-shirt and he inhaled deeply, relishing the scent of her. He was sorry it was tears, but the memory of her letting him comfort her warmed his unbeating heart. He looked over at the other side of the bed; Harmony was still asleep. He sighed, got up slowly, and headed for the small shower in the corner of the basement of his crypt. The water was cold, but that was just as well.

Showered and dressed, Spike headed upstairs to get a pint and watch some telly until sunset. Closing the trapdoor behind him, he turned and stopped short at the sight that greeted him. Atop the sarcophagus in the center of the room sat a bouquet of black calla lilies in a tall, crystal vase. Spike looked around suspiciously, but didn’t see, smell, or sense anyone else in the crypt. He moved forward slowly, not sure what to expect – perhaps they would explode when he got near them or spray holy water or something. He got right up to them and nothing happened. He looked around again – looked up overhead for a Wile E. Coyote anvil or a Carrie-style bucket of something (probably not blood, ‘cos … duh! Vampire!) suspended above him, but saw nothing. He quickly plucked the card from them and stepped back with it. He pulled the small card out of the miniature envelope and looked at it. It was Buffy’s handwriting – he’d seen it before when he’d been in her house.



Spike,
I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken it out on you. It wasn’t your fault.
-Buffy


Spike read it again, just in case his eyes were deceiving him. It didn’t change. He walked back over to the flowers and looked at them more closely – they were fine. They were just … flowers. Black calla lilies. No booby-traps or bombs or exploding holy water. He lifted the card to his nose and inhaled: Buffy had definitely written it. He felt a wave of euphoria sweep through him. The Slayer had apologized to him! It seemed unbelievable, unfathomable. He looked at the card again; read it over and over. Then, with a sick feeling in his stomach, it dawned on him: she hadn’t done it for him – she’d done it to make herself feel better. She had done it to prove that she wasn’t a monster; that she wasn’t an evil demon – she was human. But still, it was something she wouldn’t have even thought to do not so long ago.

“Spikey!” Harmony exclaimed excitedly as she bounced up through the trapdoor. “You remembered!” she gushed, picking up the flowers and twirling around in circle with them. “Oh, I should’ve known my little Blondie Bear wouldn’t forget our anniversary!”

Spike hurriedly shoved the card into his pocket. “Right – course not. How could I forget?” he asked unenthusiastically. Worst day o’ my bloody life.

“Someone’s gonna get a nice, big reward for this,” Harmony purred, sidling up against him and wrapping one arm around his neck.

“Not now, Harm,” Spike growled, pushing her away. “Not in the mood. M’ bloody bones hurt,” he excused, moving over to the fridge to get a pint of blood.



Harmony frowned. “The Slayer beat you up again, huh?”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Yeah.”

“We really need to find a way to kill her. With your brains and my good looks and sparkling personality, we should be able to do something to get rid of her!” she insisted.

“Yeah … maybe you could Mary Kay ‘er t’ death,” Spike suggested tersely.

Harmony frowned, her brow furrowed in thought. “She really could use a better skin care routine. Did you see her the other night? Her T-zone was way oily … and her cheeks were like sandpaper. She has no idea how to moisturize.”

“I’m sure that’s ‘er number one worry,” Spike replied sarcastically as he poured some blood into a mug.

“Well, it should be!” Harmony insisted. “I mean, you’d think she’d want to look good now, while she’s alive! Who wants people saying, ‘Oh, she looks so good! Death really agrees with her,’ when you’re, like … totally dead and pasty in your casket!”

“Yeah, that’d be a bloody pisser alright.”

**~**

A Few Days Later (Blood Ties):

Dawn climbed down from her second-story window, forcing herself to go slowly and quietly, despite her anger and agitation with all the so-called adults inside the house. She wasn’t a baby. She could tell something was up with them; everyone was acting hinky around her. Fine – if they wouldn’t tell her what was up, she’d just find out on her own. She dropped down off the trellis and turned around only to find Spike standing there. She let out a small chirp of surprise, then turned her fright into indignation.

“Geez! Lurk much?” she asked, folding her arms over her chest.

“I wasn't lurking. I was standing about. It's a whole different vibe.”

“What is that?” she asked, eyeing a box he had tucked under his arm suspiciously. “Are you giving Buffy a birthday present? Oh my God. Weird. And chocolates? Lame. You know she'd never touch anything from you.”



“Says you!” Spike scoffed. “Buffy and I have … come to a bit of an understandin’ of late. She bought me drinks and dinner at the Bronze a few weeks back, offered t’ shove a stake up m’ arse just the other day … sent me flowers, too.”

Dawn laughed. “The stake, I believe, but you’re delusional about the flowers – unless they were those joke flowers that spray water and she filled them with holy water. Is that what they were?”

“Noooo,” Spike growled.

“Were you even invited to the party?” Dawn questioned, cocking a brow at him.

“Don’ need an invite after the first time,” Spike retorted sharply, either missing or ignoring her point. “Shouldn't you be tucked away in your beddy-bye? All warm and safe where nothing can eat you?” he asked menacingly.

Dawn giggled. “Is that supposed to scare me?”

Spike sighed dejectedly. “Little tremble wouldn't hurt.”

“Sorry, it's just ... come on. I'm badder than you.”

“Are not!” Spike retorted, insulted.

“Am too. You're standing in the bushes hugging a box of chocolates, and I'm…“

“What?” Spike prodded. “Sneaking out to braid hair and watch Teletubbies with your mates?”

“No. I'm breaking into the magic shop ... to steal things,” she boasted.

**~**

The Next Morning:

Spike sat on the sarcophagus in the center of his crypt painting his nails when the door burst open and Buffy stormed in.

“Morning, sunshine. If you've come around for eggs or sausage, I'm fresh out.”

Buffy grabbed the stone lid of the crypt beneath him and, with one furious yank, pulled it out from under him. Spike tumbled backwards into the tomb, landing atop the dearly deceased.



“Hey, careful! These are wet!” he objected, standing back up to face her and waving his nails in the air.

“How could you let her find out like that? From books and papers? Do you hate me that much?” Buffy demanded, her voice trembling with anger and hurt.

“OI! I was just along for the ride. Not like I knew the Niblett was the mystical glowy Key thingy. Didn’t get the soddin’ memo, did I?! Nobody keeps me in the bloody loop, do they?” Spike retorted, his own ire rising.

“You could have stopped her,” Buffy contended.

“News flash, blondie...” Spike growled, heaving the lid of the crypt up and away. “If kid sis wants to grab a midnight stroll, she'll find a way sooner or later. I just thought she'd be safer with Big Bad looking over her shoulder. If I had known there was a big secret lurkin’ about, I would’ve handled it differently, wouldn’t I?”

Buffy glared at him in silence for several moments, her arms folded over her chest. “She shouldn't have found out like that,” she choked out, trying to keep her emotions contained.

“Ya got no argument from me, ‘ave you? But you didn't think you could keep the truth from her forever, did you?



“You need t’ make up your mind, Slayer. Am I on the team or not? Ya come t’ me when you want somethin’ … when you need a special talent only ole Spike has.” Spike raised his voice in a girly-falsetto, mimicking Buffy, “Oh, Spike – tell me how you killed the Slayers. Oh, Spike, can you track this demon for me? Oh, Spike do you speak Fyarl? Oh Spike, can you watch over my mum and the platelet? You’re the only one strong enough to protect them.”

Returning to his normal, agitated baritone, he continued, “But the rest o’ the time, ya just leave me ‘ere alone in the bloody dark.”

Spike stepped out of the tomb and stalked over to where she still stood, arms folded over her chest in angry indignation. “You come t’ me and ask me t’ tell you the secret t’ stayin’ alive – I do. Ya ask me t’ help you get rid o’ the darkness inside you – I got no way t’ do that Buffy, but I can show ya how to live with it … but you never …” Spike’s voice trailed off and he ran a hand through his hair. “I won’t force my help on ya, Slayer – but ya gotta know that I know where you live.”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Everyone knows where I live, Spike – I’m in the phone book.”

Spike shook his head and stepped up even closer to her until she was within arm’s length. “Not what I’m talkin’ about, Luke.”



Buffy took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Just like that night in the alley, the air had suddenly gotten heavy and thick with tension. It made it hard to breathe and her heart began thrumming faster in her chest. She felt an inexorable pull towards him; was it her demon seeking out company of its own kind, or was it something else?

Everything in her life was going to shit and she felt powerless to stop it. She felt like the Dutch boy trying to plug the hole in the dike with his finger … only there seemed to be more holes than Buffy had fingers. She needed help. She hated feeling like she needed help.

“Buffy,” Spike began, his voice low and calm. “Let me in. Let me help you,” he offered, as if reading her mind.

Buffy opened her eyes. His face was only a few inches away and her eyes met his across the short distance. “I don’t know what you expect from me,” she admitted quietly, shifting uncomfortably under his unwavering gaze.



Spike took another step forward and leaned in until his mouth was near her ear. When he spoke his voice was a low, rumbling whisper that sent a shiver down Buffy’s spine. “Don’t expect nothing from you, pet. Just let me in. I can help you tap that power … keep it fightin’ for ya,” he promised.

Buffy closed her eyes again and tried to get her racing heart to calm. All the dreams she’d been having of death and fighting mixed with ecstasy flooded her mind and body in that moment. Her skin tingled and her body pulsed with desire. She could again feel that physical pull between them, as if something inside her was reaching out and trying to touch something inside Spike. Was that her demon trying to touch his? Is that what this feeling was?

“Don’t tell me you don’t want it, Slayer,” Spike continued in a low, growling rumble that seemed to come from somewhere deep within him. “I can feel it … can’t you? Your body knows, even if your mind won’t admit it. Ya trust your instincts with everythin’ else, why not this?”

Buffy steeled herself. This was crazy … absolutely insane. She’d come over here to tell him what an ass he was to have helped Dawn, and now she was standing here trembling with desire just from the sound of his voice. She finally opened her eyes and took a small step back so she could see his face. “I’m not sleeping with you, Spike,” Buffy asserted, meeting his eyes.

Spike cocked a brow at her and ran a finger gently down her arm. Against her will, an army of chill bumps rose up and raced down her skin, following the path of his finger. “Never said anything ‘bout sleeping, Slayer,” he agreed in a velvety, sensuous tone.

Another shiver ran down her spine and settled as a pulsing tingle below her navel. “Not … doing anything else, either,” she asserted weakly, knocking his hand away and rubbing the goose-flesh off her arms with her hands.

“I’m not some kind of … wild animal,” Buffy offered, looking past him, unable to meet his eyes as she said it. She wasn’t sure if she was trying to convince herself or him.



“No,” Spike agreed, still standing directly in front of her, close enough to touch. “You’re a caged animal,” he continued in a silky baritone that seemed to penetrate her resolve and thrust doubt into her heart. “I can show you how to let it run free. You can drop the reins; let the dark beast run wild with me like you never could with anyone else,” Spike continued, lifting his hand to her arm again.

Sparks seemed to jump from his fingertips when he touched her skin. Sparks that ignited a flaming, dark desire in her that she’d only felt before in dreams. Buffy’s chest heaved with labored breath and she felt something inside her straining, as if pulling against chains that held it in check. Men chained her to the Earth.

She didn’t move, didn’t speak and, except for his fingers, which still caressed her upper arm like a warm, ghostly flame, neither did Spike. She could feel the darkness within her taking strength from Spike’s words and touch. What would happen if it broke free? Would she ever be able to control it? Would she become like him? Would she be a monster?

“Please … stop,” Buffy gasped out between labored breaths brought on by fear and passion and a deep, internal battle of wills.

Spike bit his bottom lip and nodded. He pulled his hand away and took a step back from her. Buffy immediately felt an empty chill wash over her, as if a part of her had been taken away with him. A shiver wracked her whole body and she fought to keep her teeth from chattering together. She longed to pull him back; something deep inside her screamed in fury and frustration. She couldn’t look at him; if she did, she would surely lose. She looked at the floor, instead.

“You’re putting me in a thrall,” she accused, her voice a raspy whisper. With great difficulty, she backed up another step.



Spike shook his head. “No,” he said simply.

She finally lifted her eyes to his. “Then what is it?” she asked, her voice still low and gravely.

“We’re …” Spike actually started to say they were soul mates, but stopped himself – how ridiculous was that? Soulless vampire, remember? “We’re cut from the same cloth, Slayer.”

“I’ve never seen a piece of calico try to reattach itself back onto the bolt of fabric it was cut from,” she contended.

Spike cocked his scarred brow and gave her a saucy smile. “Did you have the desire t’ attach yourself t’ me?”

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Buffy scoffed, her face tingeing pink as she realized her mistake. “I just meant … that … never mind,” she stammered, backing up another step from him and waving a hand dismissively.

“So, you want to be in the loop … be a Scoobie?” Buffy asked, jumping back several subjects to safer ground.

Spike blinked, trying to follow that sharp turn. After a moment he realized what she was talking about. “PFFFT!” he scoffed. “A Scoobie? Not on your bloody life! Just need t’ be kept in the bloody loop, is all. Can’t very well help if I don’t know what’s going on, can I?

“I can help fight that Glory bird and whatever other beasties ya got hangin’ about. Got nothing better to do, anyway. Lurking don’t take all my time,” he offered, hooking his thumbs over his belt buckle and splaying his fingers out below it. “But I got t’ know the bloody score, don’t I?”

“So … you want to help. And how much would this help cost me?” Buffy asked suspiciously, trying to keep her eyes from settling on his hands and fingers and ... other things that resided below his belt.

Spike shrugged. “Wouldn’t say no to a carton o’ cigarettes ... a case or two o’ whiskey,” Spike suggested.

“That stuff’ll kill you,” Buffy stated disapprovingly.



Spike furrowed his brow and tilted his head as he studied her features a moment. “Is that another joke, Slayer? Bloody hell, better be careful, they’ll be takin’ your United Federation of Bitches card away from ya’ if you keep that up.”

Buffy sighed and turned to go. “I’m the President – they can’t kick me out that easily,” she called back over her shoulder as she headed out of the crypt.

**~**

A few days later… (Crush)

“Bleedin' crime, is what it is. Jackin' up the bar price to pay for fixin' up this sinkhole. Not my fault insurance doesn't cover act of troll,” Spike complained, sitting down in the seat next to Buffy. Buffy turned her eyes away from the dance floor where Anya, Xander, Willow, and Tara were dancing and scanned the damaged area behind Spike where Olaf the Troll had taken down the whole second story balcony at the Bronze a few days ago.



“I guess there are no special riders you can buy to cover living on a Hellmouth,” Buffy agreed, meeting Spike’s gaze. “Meant to thank you for your help with Olaf … and finding Dawn and … that fight with Glory at the hospital,” she continued. “Of course, you mostly just slept through the fight with Glory. It really would be more help to me if you didn’t get knocked out in the first five seconds of a fight.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “I’ll try t’ keep that in mind in the future.

“So, how’d the pow-wow with the Council of Wankers go, then?” Spike wondered.

“I … passed their test,” Buffy hedged. In fact, she’d realized that they needed her more than she needed them, and she’d made that painfully clear to them. “They reinstated Giles, gave us their research on Glory, and left.”

“Reckon I helped with that too, then,” Spike fished. “Poured on the charm and whatnot for that Watcher-bird that came t’ talk to me. Talked you up good and proper, I did.”

“Yeah, I should send you a box of chocolates or something, but I don’t know what kind your little skank-ho’ likes,” Buffy replied coldly, looking away from him as if distracted.

Spike furrowed his brow. “What are you on about, Slayer?”



“Oh, look! There’s Ben … from the hospital. I have to go,” she offered frostily, standing up and walking away from Spike without another word.

Spike scowled as he watched her walk over to a nice looking brunette who was sitting on a couch not far away. Spike rolled his eyes as she gave Ben her most dazzling, Colgate smile and sat down next to him. Something inside Spike lurched and his demon nearly rose right there in the middle of the Bronze. He had to use every ounce of restraint he had to keep that from happening. As he watched Buffy talking to Ben, he felt a hatred in the pit of his stomach the likes of which he’d rarely felt before. The loathing was akin to what he’d felt towards Angelus when he’d discovered him … with Dru the first time all those many years ago. He tried to look away from the pair, but it was like trying to tell a cat to stop looking at a mouse. Spike wanted to kill Ben – more than that, he felt an overwhelming need to.

“Hey! Evil Dead! You’re in my seat!” Xander informed Spike, hitting him on one shoulder and finally pulling the vamp out of his predatory trance.

“Sod off, Harris. Ain’t got your bloody name on it,” he retorted, still looking at Buffy and Ben. “Waitin’ on the Slayer – need t’ talk to ‘er.”



Xander followed Spike’s gaze and snorted a laugh. “You’ll be waiting a while from the looks of it. Why don’t you just shove off, I’ll give her your regrets,” Xander offered sarcastically.

Spike couldn’t actually argue with the git. Buffy and Ben were laughing and talking animatedly; it looked like they would be there a while. Spike couldn’t explain the deep-seated hatred that had sprung up within him like a bolt of lightning from the blue. Was it simple jealousy? He thought he and Buffy were getting on pretty well … until now. He’d helped her and her cronies with a few nasties the last few days. He helped with Olaf the Troll, helped her track Dawn down when the girl had run off one night, even helped fight that Glory chit – admittedly he hadn’t been much help with that last one, but he had tried.



Spike scowled again and stood up abruptly, nearly knocking his beer over as he did so. He grabbed it at the last second and stalked away from the group of Buffy’s friends that had returned from the dance floor. With one last look back at Buffy, who was still fully engrossed with the brunette doctor, he headed out of the club in a foul mood.

**~**

“Harmony!” Spike bellowed as he entered his crypt a little while later. “Where the bloody hell are you, you barmy…”

“Spikey!” Harmony greeted him brightly as she came out of the trapdoor from below. “I thought you’d never get home!”

“You been talkin’ to the bloody Slayer?” Spike demanded. “I told you t’ leave ‘er to me!”

Harmony stopped and looked at him a moment, then lifted her chin defiantly. “I can talk to whoever I want. You aren’t the boss of me, Mr. Hitler!” she asserted, folding her arms over her chest.

Spike strode forward and grabbed her upper arms and shook her angrily. “What the bloody hell did you say t’ ‘er!?”



“Stop it! You’re hurting me!” Harmony whined as she tried to pull away from him. “Stop! Alright! I’ll tell you if you stop!”

Spike stopped shaking her, but didn’t release the hold he had on her arms. “Talk,” he demanded in a low growl.

“Well, I was minding my own business, you know, just getting a Mexican to eat … ‘cos, you know, I was craving something a little spicy,” Harmony began. “I’d been on a French kick, but I put on a couple of pounds – all those rich sauces, I guess, so I decided to...”

“Harm,” Spike snarled. “Find a point in this bloody century. What did ya say to the Slayer?”

“Oh. Right.” Harmony rolled her eyes to the ceiling. “So, I was just minding my own business behind the Taco Emporium the other night, having a little snack, when who shows up but the damn Slayer! She is so rude. I mean, you’d think her mom would’ve taught her some manners by now. You don’t come to a picnic without bringing a covered dish.”

“Harmony. You have ten seconds t’ tell me what you said t’ the bloody Slayer, or you’ll be fittin’ in a soddin’ covered dish,” Spike warned.



Harmony huffed out an exasperated breath. “I’m getting to that!” she defended petulantly. “So … I had to drop my meal and I turned to face her, to fight, ya know. But, then I remembered you said that you’d take care of it, so I was just gonna leave, but she saw the flower I had pinned to my sweater. That black calla lily really looked awesome with my red sweater … you can’t go wrong with black and red really.”

“Haaarm…”

“Right – so, she goes, ‘Where’d you get that flower?’ and I was like, ‘My boyfriend gave it to me for our anniversary,’ and she was like, ‘Spike gave it to you?’ and I was like, ‘That’s right, ho’ – he gave me a whole bouquet of them,’ and she was like …”

“You barmy bitch,” Spike growled at her. “Can’t do one little thing I say, can ya? Leave the bloody Slayer t’ me … but nooo, ya gotta go talkin’ to ‘er! Get the bloody hell outta my crypt!”



“What?” Harmony exclaimed in shock. “Just because I talked to the Slayer?”

“No, because you’re a bloody moron who I can’t stand t’ look at one more minute! Get out and don’t come back!” Spike screamed at her, shoving her towards the door.

“But … Spike,” Harmony begged.

“OUT!” Spike bellowed, taking a long, menacing stride towards her and bringing up his demon.

“Fine! I don’t need you anyway! You’re … mean and … and a freak! I’m gonna tell everybody you’re a Slayer-loving freak!” Harmony shot back. “I saw that shrine to her you have downstairs! You’re sick and twisted and …"



“GET THE FUCK OUT!” Spike roared at her.

“I wouldn’t stay now if you begged me! You can kiss this ass goodbye!” she screamed back at him as she turned and stormed out of the crypt.

“Good riddance!” Spike called after her, slamming the door behind her furiously.

Spike grabbed a bottle of whiskey from the counter and sank down into his armchair. Just when he thought he’d had some kind of rapport going with the Slayer, Harmony had to go and bollix it up. He pulled the small card from the flowers Buffy had sent him out of his pocket. He’d been carrying it for days, but he could still get the scent of her from it. He inhaled deeply and ran his fingers over the letters longingly. He’d just have to start over … try again.

“What the bloody hell is wrong with you, Slayer?” he asked his empty crypt in frustration and jealousy. Hadn’t he shown Buffy that the demon inside her could never be satisfied by a mortal man? Why would she be fawning over that git Ben when she had t’ know it’d never work? Why couldn’t she see how perfect he, Spike, would be for her – how perfect they’d be for each other? He knew she could feel it, just like he could. What the bloody hell did he have to do to convince her that he was what she needed at her side?



Spike leaned his head back against the chair and closed his eyes. His heart ached to tell her how he felt, how much he loved her. He knew he couldn’t though – not yet. That voice that had rung in his head a few weeks ago, his own voice, was still just as clear as it had been that night in the alley: she had to want it; she had to come to him; she had to invite him in. He snorted derisively as he wondered if that would ever happen. Why was he torturing himself like this? He should move on – put ‘er and her little band of misfits outta his mind. There were plenty o’ fish in the bloody sea – why did he have t’ pick the most crazed, insane bitches he could find t’ fall in love with?

Spike took another deep swallow from the bottle of whiskey when he heard the door to his crypt open behind him.

“Harm … I mean it. I’m in no bloody mood you barmy…” he began angrily as he stood up and spun around. Spike stopped in mid-sentence. He stood gape-mouthed, staring at the person in the doorway. The bottle of whiskey slipped from his hand and shattered on the floor at his feet, bringing him out of his reverie. “Drusilla!”

Dru smiled sweetly and seemed to float like a graceful apparition into his crypt. “Look who's come to make everything right again, pretty Spike.”



“Dru! What … are you doing ‘ere?” he stammered in shock. “You gotta leave – the Slayer’ll dust ya if she catches you round these parts,” he warned.

Dru clicked her tongue disdainfully. “I’ve come to help you finish what you promised me, my sweet, evil Spike. Don’t you remember? Promised to kill the Slayer for your princess, you did … chop her into messes. I’ve come back to make everything right, like lollipops at the circus … then we can be a family again.”

Spike swallowed hard. “Dru … I can’t,” he began to explain about the chip when he was interrupted by a small moan coming from behind Dru. “What the bloody hell?” he asked, stepping to the side to see.

Dru smiled sweetly and yanked a girl up by the hair from where she lay, barely conscious, on the floor behind the dark vamp. “Found 'er just outside, I did. Lovely green light, like Leprechauns' gold. She’s the key to our destiny, my William,” Drusilla purred, running a long, red nail across the girl’s throat. “Miss Edith whispered it to me.”

Spike’s eyes grew wide and he froze, as if rooted in place. “Dawn!”

**~**
End Notes:
I know we skimmed through a lot of episodes here really quickly, but things will slow down now. We'll continue with 'Crush' in the next chapter. I hope it wasn't too fast, but I didn't want to rehash canon. And, by the way, Buffy DID ask Giles to find out more about the source of her power and her Slayer-ness right after Dracula tried to tell her about her darkness - he never followed up on that in canon. Bad Giles!
**
What will Spike do now? Will his frustration with Buffy leave Dawn in grave peril? What will Buffy do when she finds out Dawn's missing – again? Will Buffy ever fully accept that there's a demon inside her? Will she ever trust Spike?
Come And Rescue Me by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Dru’s back and she has Dawn. What will Spike do now? Will Buffy believe that Spike had nothing to do with her sister's capture?
**
Thanks to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episode Covered: Crush (picks up immediately after the end of the last chapter.)

**~**



“No worries, my sweet Spike,” Dru purred as she held Dawn’s back against her front with supernatural strength. “Your princess knows all about the naughty soldier boys. I don't believe in science. All those bits and molecules no one's ever seen. I trust eyes and heart alone. And do you know what mine is singing out right now?”

Spike gulped nervously as he watched Dru’s finger toying with Dawn’s bare neck. Dawn’s eyes were drooped and her breathing was labored. He wasn’t sure if Dru had put her in a thrall or had hit her over the head, but either way, the girl was helpless as a kitten – a semi-conscious kitten.

Drusilla kept talking, seemingly unaware of Spike’s concern and discomfort. “You're a killer. Born to slash ... and bash ... and... oh, bleed like beautiful poetry. No little tinker-toy could ever stop you from flowing.

“Don’t you want to be a family again, my Spike?” his sire asked when he simply stared at her. “You’ll be a king. William the Bloody, slayer of three Slayers … no demon would dare challenge you, and with me by your side…”

Dru was still talking, but Spike had stopped listening. “Three Slayers?” he blurted out finally, interrupting her.

Dru’s eyes flashed wide with glee and she giggled like a school-girl, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “The Slayer will be here soon to collect her key, my Spike. So simple it’ll be … you need do nothing more than distract her. I know how distracting you can be…” Dru purred, leering at him. “While you’re toying with her, I’ll finish her. Chop! Chop! Pretty messes of red ribbons all over the floor! It’ll be like Christmas! Red from the Slayer and green from her little key splashed all over the walls! Then our destiny awaits, my love – just like Miss Edith whispered to me.”

Spike’s stomach lurched and his throat went dry. He needed to try and get Dawn away from Dru before his lovely dark plum got bored with the game and ended her. He had just started to step forward towards Dru when the door to his crypt burst open again.



“Spike! Have you seen Dawn?” Buffy began talking before she’d even gotten inside.

Spike’s eyes went wide as they flicked between Buffy and Dru. Dru had scurried back behind the door, into the shadows, dragging Dawn with her. He knew Dru would need her hands free to carry out her plan of chopping Buffy into messes – which meant Dawn’s time was short. He could see a victorious smile curl Dru’s lips as she raised her hand to finish Dawn with a slash of her long, razor-like, fingernail across the girl’s throat. In that split second, Buffy had moved between him and Dru as she stormed into the crypt, as she always did, like she owned the bloody place.

Spike’s demon rose without conscious thought and he barreled towards Dru with a deafening roar of anger and fear. An involuntary shriek of surprise escaped Buffy’s throat as Spike came at her, all fists and fangs, a dangerous growl emanating from his throat. On reflex, she reached for her stake to defend herself and had pulled it out of the back of her jeans just as Spike reached her.



Spike saw the stake aimed directly at his heart and he turned his body at the last possible second and hit Buffy with his shoulder, like a linebacker bowling down a running back. In a flash of pain, the stake embedded into the flesh of his bicep as he slammed into the Slayer and the chip fired in his brain, blinding him with lightning-bolts of pain. His roar of anger turned to a scream of agony in that instant. He clutched his head with the hand of his uninjured arm, but somehow managed to stay on his feet. Buffy tumbled to the floor, losing her grip on the stake, which was now slippery with blood. Spike bounced off her, spinning around once from the impact, before lunging blindly at the shadows behind the door.

He hit Dru and Dawn about waist level and both brunettes buckled in the middle. Dru’s hand, which she had been bringing down in a wide, arcing slash, missed Dawn’s neck and instead raked painfully over the girl’s chest and shoulder. Spike smelled the blood immediately and roared again, sounding like a lion intent on protecting his pride.

Still half-blind from the chip, Spike yanked Dawn away from Dru with a violent jerk, and shoved the semi-conscious, bleeding girl towards Buffy. He half-expected the chip to fire again when he did that, but thankfully, it didn’t.

Buffy was just getting back to her feet, demanding to know what was going on, when Dawn hit her like a human cannonball. “Dawn!” Buffy screamed in surprise, her eyes wide with confusion, fear, and adrenaline. Buffy wrapped her arms around her sister and stumbled backwards, trying to catch her balance. Unable to compensate for the extra weight of her sister, and the power with which she’d been hit, Buffy tumbled to the ground again, shielding Dawn from the fall as best she could.

Without any conscious thought, his base, primal, demonic instincts in full control, Spike scrambled atop Dru. Without a moment’s hesitation, he wrenched Buffy’s stake from the muscle of his bicep. The grotesque squelching sound it made was only partially obscured by the curse that exploded from his lips as he pulled it free. In one fluid motion, he raised it above his head and plunged it into the vamp that had threatened his two Summers girls. For a split second, Dru’s eyes went wide with fear, then seemed to, for perhaps the first time in over a century, become clear and coherent. “Oh, William! Not our destiny – yours alone,” she rasped out before exploding into a cloud of dust.

Spike’s chest heaved with fear, pain, and exertion as he looked down at the pile of dust that was all that remained of his sire. The woman he’d loved for more than a century, the woman he had believed was his destiny, the woman that had made him what he was, was gone. He felt tears well in his eyes as a distant memory flooded over him. The memory of another woman whom he’d loved and also staked flashed over him: his mother. Spike’s head bent forward, he sat back on his heels, and his upper body crumpled down atop the dust almost as if he were doing a child’s pose in yoga. Sobs wracked his frame and tears flooded down his face unchecked as anguish overtook him.

“Spike?” Buffy questioned tentatively as she approached him cautiously. "My God, Spike ... are you ... what ..." she stammered in confusion.



Spike stiffened and clenched his jaw against the raw emotions that were flooding through him, but he didn’t trust himself to speak.

Buffy reined in her emotions and went into full Slayer mode – all business. “Spike … Dawn’s hurt. I have to take her home. Are you … ok?” Buffy asked, kneeling down next to him and laying a hand on his back.

Spike nodded, never looking up at her. “Niblett gonna be alright?” he rasped out finally, his voice cracking despite his best effort to hold his anguish in check.

“Yeah – I think so; she’s mostly just scared. Look, I’m gonna take her home and I’ll be back, ok?” Buffy offered. "Will you be ok until I get back?"

Spike shook his head vehemently, still facing the floor. “I'm fine. Stay with ‘er,” he insisted.

“Spike … I …” Buffy looked at Dawn, who was curled up on the floor trembling with fright. She had a long gash along her chest and shoulder that was bleeding and painful. Buffy shook her head and finally just said, “Ok,” as she stood up and went back over to help her sister.

At home, Buffy got the story of what had happened from her sister. Dawn said she’d been on the way to Spike’s crypt ‘to hang out’ when she’d almost literally run into Dru in the cemetery. Dru had done something to her that made her feel sleepy and woozy. She could hear and see what was going on, but couldn’t manage to do anything about it.

When Buffy came back to Spike’s about an hour later, the crypt was dark. She fumbled around and lit a couple of candles, enough to see by, and found that Spike was still on the floor in the corner behind the door. He’d fallen over onto his side and was curled in a fetal position, still clutching Buffy’s stake in his hand. His arm had stopped bleeding, but the wound was jagged and caked with dark blood and vampire dust.



“Spike,” Buffy said gently, kneeling down next to him and laying a hand on his arm. “C’mon, Spike – let’s get you cleaned up, ok?” she cajoled, shaking him slightly.

When he didn’t answer or move, Buffy sighed and sat down Indian-style next to him. His back was to her and she really couldn’t see much of him, other than the dried blood on his arm. “Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.

He didn’t move or answer.

“Dawn told me what happened. I know it was all Dru,” she offered.

Still no reply.

“I can imagine what you’re feeling. I mean … I know she left you and all, but … you were together a long time. I know when Angel … changed, I had a chance to dust him once and … I couldn’t do it. Then … when I had to kill him to close Acathla's vortex …” Buffy stopped and swallowed hard. Angel probably wasn’t the best subject in the world to talk about just now, she realized. “Anyway … thank you.”

“Dusted two people I’ve loved now,” Spike whispered, his voice cracking with deep, aching emotion.

Buffy’s brows lifted in surprise. “Two?”

Spike nodded slowly and went silent. Buffy waited; she didn't push him. The silence in the crypt drew out for a long while before Spike spoke again.

"Dru and … me mum. Long time ago it was. Still hurts though,” he offered solemnly, still not moving.

“Your mom? She was … she got turned?” Buffy asked, aghast.

“Yeah … I turned ‘er,” Spike admitted dully. “Prat I was, thought I could save ‘er, yeah? Sick, she was; dying.”



“Oh, Spike, that’s…” Buffy let her voice trail off. She couldn’t think of an adjective to describe it. She knew Angel had killed his whole family, but to turn your mother because she was dying? To actually try to restore her to ‘health’, to save her, by turning her? That seemed incongruous with what most vampires would’ve done. There was a kind of twisted compassion to it; vampires didn’t have compassion, twisted or otherwise.

She thought about her own mom and a ray of understanding beamed into her heart. What he’d done suddenly seemed a little less twisted. What would she do to cure her mom? What wouldn’t she do? Still, she wasn’t a vampire – vampires didn’t think that way … did they?

“What happened?” Buffy asked finally, unable to finish her previous sentence. Her brows furrowed with concern as she waited for an answer.

Spike’s head shook slowly against the cold floor of the crypt, stirring up small motes of vampire dust.

“It’s ok … you don’t have to,” Buffy offered, laying a hand on his arm.

“Thought she’d be like me, I did. Didn’t know I was …” Spike stopped and shook his head, leaving the thought unfinished. “Ended up just turning ‘er into a monster. She was a good lady … lot like Joyce: strong and fair, always had a kind word, my mum. Didn’t deserve that, she didn’t.”

Buffy brushed a tear away as she took in his story. “You … you haven’t really always been bad like you told me, have you? You tried to save your mom … you loved her.”

Spike sniffed and rubbed at his eyes with dirt-caked hands before pushing up stiffly and turning so he was facing Buffy. He leaned his back against the wall, wincing in pain when he moved his left arm where the stake had ripped his flesh. “No,” he admitted shamefully. “Was a right git as a human; bit of a git as a vampire, too. Reckon William the Bloody showed ‘em though; got my revenge in the end, didn’t I?”

“You could’ve gotten revenge tonight, too,” Buffy pointed out. “Why did you protect us?”

Spike blinked at her. Tears were still gathered in his eyes and they glimmered in the low flickering light of the candles. “What else would I have done?”



Buffy looked at him like he was insane. “You could’ve helped Dru; maybe actually gotten rid of me for good. I wasn’t ready for an attack – she could’ve easily killed me if you’d just followed her plan,” she explained. “I didn’t know Dru was even there.”

Spike furrowed his brow and shook his head. “Do you think I could a’ done that to you? To the Niblett?”

Buffy rolled one shoulder in a shrug. “You’re still a vampire – chip or no,” she pointed out.

“Buffy, you haven’t heard a bloody word I been sayin’ to you these last weeks, ‘ave you? Didn’t I say I’d help you? Fight with ya? Didn’t I show ya I was serious? Didn’t you believe me?” Spike asked. He was torn between being angry at her and hurt by her distrust.

Buffy nodded. “Yeah, Spike, I heard you and I … believed you … but … this …” she waved her hand at the dust on the floor, “…was Dru.”

Tears gathered in Spike’s eyes again and he clenched his jaw, trying to push them back. “I. Know. That,” he ground out before closing his eyes and taking a deep, shuddering breath.



Buffy waited for him to compose himself again. She watched him, but didn’t prod or hurry him as she waited. The emotional pain he was in was evident. The love he felt for Dru was also written all over his features. Souls are overrated, he’d asserted that night in the alley, but her experience with the soulless Angelus seemed to refute that theory. But, here was a soulless vampire who had chosen to protect not only Dawn, but Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, at extreme personal sacrifice. Here was a soulless vampire that had tried to save his own mother from certain death by endowing her with the power of the demon. Was Spike the exception that proved the rule? Buffy’s face was a study in confusion when Spike finally opened his eyes again and began to speak.

“I told you I’d fight with ya, Slayer,” Spike began in a slow, deliberate tone. “That doesn’t mean sometimes, it doesn’t mean depending on who you’re fightin’, it doesn’t mean when I feel like it – it means I’ll fight with ya all the time, no matter what.

“I know you think I’m a monster and … I am – can’t deny it, can I?” he continued. “But … I …” Spike’s throat seemed to close up for a moment. He swallowed hard and what came out wasn’t what he had planned on saying. “I care about the Niblett and Joyce; wouldn’t want t’ see them hurt.”

Buffy nodded slowly, considering his words for a long moment. Finally, she said, “Dawn thinks … there’s more than that. More than you liking her and Mom. More than hot chocolate with little marshmallows. Is that true?”

Spike swallowed again. A moment ago he’d been ready to tell the Slayer that he loved her – it had been on the tip of his tongue – but a little voice in the back of his mind reminded him of the ‘let her come to you’ rule that he had set a few weeks ago. Now she was asking pointblank. Spike’s eyes wandered around the crypt, as if he’d find the answer lurking in the candlelight … and he did. “Well, if ya must know, the whiskey and fags ya got me don’t hurt,” he told her, a small smile curling one corner of his mouth.

Buffy rolled her eyes but nodded. “Well, I’d say you earned them tonight,” she replied, letting him off the hook.

“Do you want me to help you get that cleaned up and bandaged?” she asked, eyeing his arm.

Spike wanted to say yes, just to keep her near that much longer. It was more than his desire to be near her that pressed him to say 'yes'; despite telling her not to come back earlier, he really didn't want to be alone just now. But, to clean up they’d have to go down into the lower chamber, and he thought that might not be such a good idea with his 'Buffy shrine' lurking in the corner down there.

“No, I got it,” he declined reluctantly. “Just a scratch, it is. You stab like a bloody girl,” he chided her as he handed the stake back to her.

Buffy took it with two fingers. It was soaked in blood and caked in vampire dust. She made an ‘ewwww’ face and tossed it back into the corner of the crypt. “You can keep it; I have more,” she told him. “And, for the record, you tackle like Pee-wee Herman,” she retorted as she stood up.



“Pfffft!” Spike snorted as he took her proffered hand and she helped him stand up. “Seems t’ me you were the one flailing around on your arse like a fish outta water.”

“I just thought that was what you wanted. I thought you were making a pass at me,” Buffy asserted.

Spike cocked a brow at her. “Trust me, when I make a pass at you, you’ll bloody well know it, Slayer.”

Buffy gave him a sideways glance as she pulled the door to his crypt open. “Well that’s good. I’d really hate to miss it ‘cos I thought you were just trying to save my life or something silly like that.”

Spike bit his bottom lip and tried hard to remember why he wasn’t making a pass at her. She was close enough to touch. He’d just saved her life, after all – and her sister’s – now might be the perfect…



Spike’s brain froze. All the blood drained from it and settled somewhere south of his belt. Buffy’s lips touched his so gently that it would’ve felt like angel wings brushing against his skin except that it set his whole body on fire. Spike stayed frozen to the spot as Buffy pulled back from the soft, chaste kiss. She laid her small, warm hand on his cheek for a moment and whispered, “Thank you,” before turning and heading out into the night.



Spike blinked and swallowed, finally able to break free of the thrall she’d unexpectedly dropped over him with that kiss. You git! he chided himself as he closed the door to his crypt. She’d kissed him and he hadn’t even returned it – just stood there, hypnotized like a bloody virgin on prom night. He shook his head, touching a finger to his lips in disbelief. As the reality finally sank in, his chest swelled with exaltation – it felt like those angel wings were inside him, lifting his aching heart to heaven.

**~**

After leaving Spike’s crypt, Buffy took the long way home. She somehow seemed to think better when she was walking. To say that her black and white view of Spike had faded entirely into grey over the last few weeks, starting with his lessons about Slayers and their inner demons, would be an understatement. She’d never felt more confused about a person than she did about Spike at this moment.



He was a mass-murdering, soulless vampire who had been muzzled by the Initiative. He’d somehow managed to adapt and worm his way into her life. He’d tried to kill all of them more than once, and the feeling of mutual disdain and loathing for Spike was fairly well-distributed amongst her friends. It was a feeling she’d supported quite vehemently up until recently. But something had changed; Spike had changed. In her eyes he’d swung from raven blackness, passed through grey, and tonight had landed quite clearly in the white-hat category. He had actually dusted Dru to save her and Dawn. How absolutely insane was that?

As Buffy walked through one familiar granite garden after another, she tried to wrap her mind around the concept that Spike was firmly on her side; it wasn’t a ploy or a scheme – he was on her side. To top it off, he’d shared something personal with her that was obviously still a raw, painful memory. He’d actually bared his … well, not is soul, of course, since he didn’t have one, but maybe his heart to her.

She thought back to Angel and how hard it had been for her to drag anything personal out of him. He never wanted her to know anything about his past, about things he’d done as Angelus. He was always trying to shield her from the reality of him and treating her like she was a child, like he knew best. Isn’t that why he left? Because he knew what was best for her? Spike didn’t hide what he was. The good, the bad, and the fangy were all on display for anyone who wanted to look. Buffy suddenly felt a kind of warm appreciation for Spike’s ‘what you see is what you get’ personality.

Buffy thought of the conversation she’d had with Dawn that morning during the ride to school. Buffy had been trying to discourage Dawn from going over to Spike’s crypt so much. He was a vampire, after all – Buffy didn’t think it was healthy for her to hang out there with him …

~~

“Why doesn't that register with you? Crypt plus vampire equals bad,” Buffy had insisted.

“’Cause it’s just Spike!”

“Hanging out with Spike is not cool, Dawn, okay? It’s dangerous … a-and plus, you are only fourteen years old. You should be hanging out with kids your own age. Spike’s old enough to be your … grand-cestor … your long dead grand-cestor,” Buffy pointed out.

“It's just, he's got cool hair, and he wears cool leather coats and has the greatest stories,” Dawn sighed, dreamily.

“You have a crush on him!” Buffy realized.

“No I don't!” Dawn insisted. “I like him – he doesn't treat me like an alien. Mom likes him too.”

“Mom doesn’t visit his crypt,” Buffy pointed out.

“I like hanging out with him is all. And even if I did have a crush, he wouldn't notice in a million years. Not with you around,” Dawn revealed dejectedly.

“What does that mean?”

“Spike's totally into you. Oh, come on. You didn't notice? Buffy, Spike is completely in love with you,” Dawn informed her sister with an eye roll.

“What? He said that?” Buffy exclaimed, not sure whether to be horrified or flattered.



“He doesn’t have to say it. I’m not a kid – I have eyes,” Dawn retorted sharply.

“I have eyes too, and I’ve never seen any sign on his forehead that says ‘I heart Buffy’.”

“Yeah, well, you aren’t the most observant person in the world, are you? I mean … look at what happened with Riley,” Dawn replied harshly.

Buffy frowned as she pulled up in front of the school, not really having any retort to that. Dawn bounded out of the Jeep with a triumphant smirk. It wasn’t often she could actually get the last word in an argument with Buffy.

~~

Buffy sighed and dropped down onto a raised sarcophagus, rubbing tiredly at her eyes. Could that be true? What Spike had done tonight seemed to go beyond just a fondness for her mom and Dawn, and a desire to not see either of them hurt. She’d given him a chance to say it though, and he hadn’t – not even a hint of it. In fact, he’d suddenly leapt, further and faster than a long-legged spring frog, back to safer subjects like whiskey and cigarettes.

She sighed again and shook her head as she looked around at all the familiar headstones. She was possibly the only person in the world that could recite short epitaphs in her sleep. From the mundane and ordinary to the humorous to the just plain crazy, she knew them all.

Here lies an atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.
She drank good ale, good punch and wine, and lived to the age of 99.
I told you I was sick!
Here lies Ezekiel Aikle, Age 102. Only the good die young.
We all must die, there is no doubt. Your glass is running – mine is out.


“Spike probably knows them, too,” she muttered to herself, finding some strange comfort in the knowledge that at least she wasn’t the one and only freak in the world.

Buffy shook off her wandering thoughts and tried to refocus on what it was she was trying to sort out: Spike. She took a deep breath and huffed it out loudly. His odd behavior and self-sacrifice weren’t actually the most disturbing things about Spike. The most disturbing thing about Spike was his ability to read her like a ‘Dick and Jane’ book. See Buffy. See Buffy’s demon. See Buffy’s demon run all her boyfriends off.

That uncanny ability to see inside her wasn’t actually anything new. He’d done it more than once, and it wasn’t just her that he could read. He had some innate ability to look inside people and see their true hearts. It was creepy and more than a little bit disturbing.

She’d been able to ignore it in the past, writing it off to luck or … well, maybe vampire senses or something, but that changed in the alley behind the Bronze. He had not only read her, he had reached in with his words and unlocked a hidden door that even she didn’t know existed. She’d fought to close it and lock it back up. She could usually keep it contained, keep the darkness confined, when she was awake, but the thoughts and feelings in there had been flooding into her dreams. The erotic dreams that combined sex and violence both frightened her and aroused her at the same time.

Spike’s words from the alley seemed to haunt her: “‘Ave you ever really fucked him, Buffy? I mean fucked, with a capital ‘F’? Ever really let loose? I reckon you don’t even know how t’ let go … t’ just be.”

She shuddered as she remembered the dangerous, low rumble of his voice when he’d asked her that. Just the memory of it started her body tingling again. She hadn’t answered him, but she knew the answer as well as he did: no. No, she had never fucked anyone like that. Even when she and Riley were under the spell of the haunted frat house and had had sex for hours, she still maintained that sliver of control, knowing if she really let loose, she could seriously hurt him … or worse. She’d never shown Riley her true power; not when they were sparring or training, or during sex. She'd always held back – she'd held back everything. She’d gotten so good at holding back that it became second nature to keep her true-self hidden, physically and emotionally.
 
And with Angel … well, she had been seventeen and it was her first time. There were a thousand things going on: he had been getting ready to leave for God knew how long, maybe forever, Spike and Dru had raised The Judge, ‘who could not be killed by any weapon forged’, yada, yada. She wasn’t thinking about letting loose that night; she was just … well … trying not to suck at it. She was trying to remember everything about Angel in case that was the only night she ever got to spend with him. As it turned out, it had been, but not for the reasons she’d thought.



As Buffy sat in the dark silence of the cemetery atop the cold, hard stone, she had to wonder what it would be like to be with someone that she could really lose herself with. That someone could never be Angel, she told herself, and, with a sudden shocked epiphany, she realized that … she didn’t want it to be Angel.
 
It wasn’t Angel’s voice she heard in her head that sent shivers down her spine and blood thrumming in her veins – it was Spike’s. It wasn’t Angel’s face she saw in her jumbled, erotic dreams – it was Spike’s. It wasn’t Angel’s hands she longed to feel on her body – it was Spike’s. It wasn’t even Angel she wanted covering her back in the upcoming fight with Glory – it was Spike.

“Oh my God,” she murmured, her eyes flashing as wide as saucers, shining white in the dark of the moonless night that surrounded her.

She suddenly had an image flash in her brain of a harried seamstress cutting out a large swath of bright, multi-colored, leopard-print fabric in the shape of an asexual gingerbread person. The old woman then took the fabric-person and peeled the front and back of it apart, as if peeling the backing off a sticker.  When she had two nearly identical fabric-people, she tossed the brightly-colored, front half at a man that looked an awful lot like Spike, but who had longish, light brown hair and no scar over his left eye: pre-vampire William. It seemed to be consumed by the man’s body, the bright colors fading into him until they could no longer be seen. At the same time, the seamstress tossed the muted, pastel-toned back-half at Buffy and the same thing happened: it was completely absorbed into her.



“Here you go, kiddies,” the old, warty seamstress called, sounding remarkably like the Wicked Witch of the West. “You each get half – cut from the same cloth, you are,” she informed them as she rubbed her hands together eagerly and began to laugh like a maniac. Muwhahaha…

“You are losing your mind,” Buffy admonished herself, standing up and starting for home. “You’re just … over-tired. Things will look differently in the morning.”

**~**
End Notes:
I suppose I could have made the whole situation with Dru much longer and full of terror and angst, but oddly, my muse was more interested in simply allowing Spike's true heart to shine there so Buffy could see it. I hope it wasn't disappointing to anyone!

Next: Will a dream help Buffy clear her muddled thoughts and feelings about Spike, or simply make things more confusing? And what will happen when Xander, and her other friends, get wind of Buffy's new, less-hate-filled attitude toward her mortal enemy?
Something Tells Me by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Can a dream help clear Buffy’s muddled thoughts, or will it only make things more confusing? What happens when her friends witness her new, less hateful attitude towards Spike?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading. Also to To Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Late that night into the next day:

Buffy was falling through the air at an astonishing speed. A bright light flashed all around her and the wind whipped around her prone body, lashing at her like a tornado. She seemed to be suspended in the wind and light, as if gripped in a thick, gelatinous net. She hung there, unmoving, for what was at once a fraction of a second and a lifetime. She could see her life flashing before her eyes. Memories of her mother and father, of Dawn, of her life in L.A., her friends in Sunnydale, of Giles and Merrick, Angel and Riley, and even Spike all flowed through her like faded snapshots in a long-forgotten photo album.



And then they were gone. The light was gone. The wind, which had been swirling from all directions, was now brisk against her face as she fell again. She could see the earth below rising up to meet her and she tried to scream, but nothing would come out. She closed her eyes, unable to watch as she plummeted face-first to certain death. Somehow, deep inside, she knew Dawn was safe and that gave her a moment of peace before …

“I gotcha, luv.”

Buffy blinked her eyes open and looked around. Spike had her in his arms, cradling her like a child, with one hand under her knees and the other around her back.

“You … got … how?” she stammered looking up at the now black sky above her that she’d just fallen through.

“Reckon your mum would be in a right state if I just let ya smash on the ground now, wouldn’t she?” Spike asked. “Love the lady, but I wouldn’t want t’ be on ‘er bad side. Even Big Bad has ‘is limits.”



“But … Dawn,” Buffy protested, looking around to try and see her sister. She didn’t see anything; they seemed to be surrounded by nothing – darkness as far as the eye could see.

“No worries,” Spike assured her, as he sat Buffy down on her feet and pulled a large, old-style, pewter skeleton key from his pocket and handed it to her.



Buffy closed her eyes and sighed in relief as she clutched it to her chest. “Oh, thank God!”

“Right, just be off then,” Spike told her, backing up a step.

“Wait! Where are you going?” Buffy exclaimed, laying a hand on his arm to stop him.

“Your mates will be along ‘ere in a bit. I best be off ‘fore they get ‘ere,” Spike explained, giving her the saddest, most forlorn smile Buffy thought she’d ever seen.

“But – you saved me – you can stay. You’re a Scoobie now … and I … well … I mean …” Buffy stammered, still clutching the key in her hand tightly.

For a second, Spike looked hopeful as she tried to get the right words to form on her lips, but, in the end, he just nodded and took another step back, pulling free of her hand on his arm.  “No worries, pet. One day the words’ll come, yeah?” he offered in a strained, resigned voice.

“Spike…” Buffy started but he suddenly began to burn, seemingly from the inside out. Within just a moment he was engulfed in bright, red heat and began to disintegrate right before her wide, shocked eyes.



“I love you!” she screamed, reaching for him, but just that fast, he was gone. She pulled her hand back and found a small, tattered piece of brightly colored, leopard print fabric in it, barely large enough to cover her palm.

She blinked at it, holding her hand out flat with the ragged piece of fabric atop it, trying to understand. Suddenly, the fabric swirled off her hand, floated up, and pressed against her chest. It felt warm against her skin and she got an indescribable feeling of wholeness as it sank into her own body. She watched with wide eyes as she saw it reattach itself to the muted pastels of the back-side of the fabric that was within her, leaving a vibrant patch of color over her heart.



In that instant, Buffy understood. She understood Spike; she understood why he was so different from other vampires. He still had a small, tattered piece of his soul down deep inside him somewhere. The demon hadn’t taken it all. A small part of William still lived inside Spike, inside the demon.

**~**



Buffy woke up in a cold sweat, her heart pounding against her ribs like a bass drum and her chest heaving with labored breaths. “Oh God,” she muttered, dropping her face into her hands as tears welled in her eyes. She shook her head as she held it in her hands, unwilling to face a day that was beginning just as she’d ended the night before – a muddled mess of emotions and confusion.

**~**

Spike finished dismantling the Buffy shrine about mid-afternoon. He’d slept late … well, not late for a vampire, but later than he’d been sleeping. He would’ve slept even longer, but he got worried that Buffy might take it upon herself to come and check on him, and that little montage of stolen goods in the corner suddenly seemed to scream ‘stalker’ to him rather than ‘undying love’. Plus, he didn’t really need the shrine anymore; he’d gotten a kiss from the Slayer – no wonky spell-gone-wrong required. He’d just had to dust the woman that he’d considered his destiny for over a century … but, hey – when it comes to love, you don’t count the cost. He packed up all the things he’d stolen from Buffy into one box, resolved to surreptitiously return them to her house as soon as the opportunity presented itself. Other things, like the drawings he’d done and the mannequin, he packed up in a trunk and shoved under the bed, out of sight.

When he finally dragged himself upstairs, he was greeted with a sarcophagus piled high with goodies. He felt like a kid on Christmas morning as he went through the boxes one by one. There was the requisite and expected cigarettes and whiskey. There was also another bouquet of flowers: red roses this time, a dozen of them, long-stemmed and fragrant.   There was a box of Swiss Miss hot chocolate mix with mini-marshmallows, and a rather wilted-looking flowering onion from the Bronze. The onion had obviously been there for a while, probably since lunchtime, but it still tasted good. His small fridge had been stocked with imported beer and a couple of quarts of blood. Of course, the import was from Germany, not England, and the blood was pig’s, not O-Neg from Willy’s, but, points to the Slayer for effort.



The things he prized the most, though, were more personal. There was a hand-written card from Joyce, thanking him profusely for helping Buffy and saving Dawn, a very obviously homemade Red Velvet cake from Dawn, over which she’d drizzled pig’s blood in his honor. It actually tasted pretty good. Best of all, though, was a note from the Slayer, that read:

William,

I’m not going to say thank you again, since I think Mom already did a fairly thorough job of that, and, plus, how could I compete with Dawn’s blood-soaked Red Velvet cake? Yum.

My friends tell me that frat-house keggers are the perfect cure for forgetting that a hell-god is trying to kill you, steal your sister, and end the world. I would, therefore, also assume it may help with the ‘I just staked my sire’ syndrome I imagine would be common for someone in your unique position. So, if you feel like drowning your sorrows with me, using someone else’s beer for a change, I’ll meet you at the party (directions attached) tonight around nine.

Dawn has, of course, spread the tale of her capture and your heroic rescue far and wide – over hill and dale … or, at least, among the Scoobies. Don’t be surprised if someone asks for your autograph … or doesn’t actually try to stake you or even beat you up tonight. I know it’ll be hard to handle, but I have faith in you.

See you later,

-Buffy

ps: Do you dance?


Spike smirked. “Why Slayer, are you askin’ me out on a date?” he muttered to the paper, quite pleased with himself.

pps: This is not a date. It’s just free beer. I never knew pet vampires were so expensive. I hope you don’t need shots and tags, ‘cos, really – I’m broke.

Spike laughed. “Three jokes in as many weeks? My, my, my – you are definitely gonna lose your union card, Slayer.”

**~**

Spike showed up at the party fashionably late. He hadn’t actually meant to be late, but he had gotten Buffy’s note so late in the day that it had taken him that long to get ready. He didn’t have any clean clothes and his hair needed a touch-up, he was out of hair gel … it was a nightmare. He tried to still the butterflies that were buzzing like bees in his stomach as he walked into the crowded frat house and looked around, searching for Buffy’s golden hair through the throng. He found her as his eyes scanned the snack table. The butterflies inside him started stinging when he realized she was talking to that git from the hospital again!



“Bloody hell,” he moaned, clenching his jaw in frustration. Maybe that pet vampire remark wasn’t a joke, after all. From where he was standing, it looked like her Bitches’ Union status was still firmly in place. He turned on his heel and started to leave, clenching and unclenching his fists in anger, but then he spun back around. “Bugger that! Free bloody country, innit?” he muttered to himself as he made his way through the gyrating horde of young people towards the snack table, his anger rising higher with every step.

Buffy had her back to him as she spoke to Ben. Spike could’ve probably heard what they were saying if he’d just concentrated and blocked out the music and other voices, but he really didn’t want to know; his heart already hurt enough. On top of that, that undeniable desire to kill the git had returned, and he was using all his energy just trying to keep his demon down.

He’d gotten within about four feet of her when Buffy suddenly spun around and looked behind her. Spike stopped and regarded her with narrowed, angry eyes, but she didn’t seem to notice. A bright smile washed over her face as she took a step towards him. “Spike! You made it! I was starting to think you weren’t coming!” she said brightly, reaching a hand out.



She grabbed one of his hands and pulled him forward before Spike could say anything. “You remember Ben, right? He’s a doctor at the hospital,” she reminded him, leading Spike up to the brunette, still holding one of Spike’s hands in hers.

“Yeah, I remember,” Spike muttered sourly.

“Ben, this is my … This is Spike,” Buffy stuttered out.

Spike cocked a brow at her. What had she been about to say? This is my ‘pet vampire’?

“Hey,” Ben greeted Spike, trying to hide a look of disappointment. “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise, I’m sure,” Spike replied dryly, not extending his hand. Well, to be fair, Buffy still had a hold of it, and Spike would be damned if he was gonna pull away from her to shake this git’s hand.

“Great party, huh?” Ben asked, looking around.

Spike looked around too, wondering just where that free beer was – he could reeeally use one right about now. “Well, reckon it could be better, everyone’s still dressed and vertical,” Spike observed dryly.

Ben laughed and nodded. “Night’s still young – there’s still plenty of opportunity for drunken wantonness,” he pointed out.

Spike nodded, unconsciously squeezing Buffy's hand tightly as he tried to keep his hatred from boiling over. Buffy gave him a strange look and squeezed back until Spike's fingers popped and he realized what he was doing. He relaxed his grip immediately, but didn't let go.

“Speaking o’ which, could ya point out the bar?” Spike asked the berk. “Reckon Buffy could use a bit of a push towards the dark side.”

Ben pointed to a corner of the room and Spike nodded. Spike looked over at Buffy and asked, “Shall we commence with the drownin’ then?”

“Drown away,” Buffy agreed. “See you later, Ben,” she called as Spike turned and began to lead her away.

“Later,” Ben called back with a note of resignation.

“Soooo,” Buffy began as they moved through the crowd towards the bar. “What was with the Iron Man act?" she asked, wriggling her fingers in his hand.

"Sorry, pet. Had a ... cramp," Spike excused.

Buffy looked at him suspiciously, clearly not buying it. "Did I detect a note of jealousy in your voice back there?”

“Pfffft!” Spike snorted. “Jealous o’ that prat? P-lease! Like t’ see him knock the Slayer down, take a stake to the arm, save the girl, and dust ‘is ex.”

“Oh, well, as long as you’re just comparing the size of your balls and not the length of your dicks, I guess it’s ok, then,” Buffy replied sarcastically.



Spike ran his tongue over his teeth slowly, then assured her, “I’d win on either count, pet.”

Buffy rolled her eyes as if disgusted, but that now familiar tingling sensation began to congregate below her belt again. She remembered sitting on his lap during Willow’s ‘my will be done’ spell and she knew that he was not just blowing smoke about that.

“So,” she asked, changing the subject as he handed her a beer and took one for himself. “Do you dance?”

Spike made a pained expression as techno music blared from the speakers. “Not t’ this rot,” he contended.

“Ok, what then? I’ll have the DJ play something,” Buffy suggested. “Who do you like?”

“Doubt they’d have anything,” Spike hedged.

“Ok, then I’ll pick something,” Buffy asserted, finally releasing the hold of Spike’s hand. “Wait here.” Within a second she’d been swallowed up by the crowd. Spike sighed and took a long drink of his beer; he had a feeling he was gonna need it.

Buffy got back just as Spike was downing the last of his second beer. She set her half-empty cup down, took his hand, and began leading him to the dance floor. Her song would be on next, the DJ had promised her.

“Slow down, Slayer … ya know, it’s been a while since I danced,” Spike objected as he followed her.

“I hear it’s a lot like riding a bike,” Buffy offered dismissively.
 
Spike prayed that she hadn’t picked some disco song. You could not look cool dancing to Saturday Night Fever. They found an empty space on the dance floor just as the music changed. Buffy smiled and turned to face him. “Do you want to lead, or shall I?” she asked with a teasing smirk.



Spike pursed his lips and rolled his eyes. “Be a cold bloody day in hell when I let you lead me in a dance,” he retorted. Spike was pleased to hear that she’d picked a slow song. In fact, as she melted against him and they began to move as one in a graceful synergy that belied the fact that they had never actually danced before, he was very glad that she’d suggested it. Very, very glad.

Spike curled their joined hands up against his chest and laid his other hand gently in the curve at the small of her back. Buffy settled her head on his shoulder, her other hand resting on his hip, as they began to sway to the slow beat of the song she’d chosen. Spike was afraid that he’d wake up at any moment and find this whole thing had been a dream. Perhaps he’d been knocked out, probably by the Slayer, and this was all a product of his overactive, libido-driven, imagination. Well, if it was a hallucination, then he was going to enjoy it; he was going to try and memorize everything about it. Every tingle where her warm, soft body was touching his, every waft of sweet scent from her hair, every sigh, every breath, every time her hip moved just so and pressed against him, every word of the music.

He listened to the words a moment and nearly stopped dancing, certain that it was, indeed, a dream.

{{  Click here to hear Hero by Enrique Iglesias (Bonus: Spuffy video) on YouTube  }}

♫Would you dance if I asked you to dance?
Would you run and never look back?
Would you cry if you saw me crying?
Would you save my soul tonight?♫


When he faltered, Buffy looked up at him, pulling back slightly, and he felt immediately sorry for the loss.

“You okay?” she asked with concern. “Did I hurt your arm?”

Spike shook his head. His voice cracked slightly as he answered, “Fine.” He pressed his hand a bit harder into the small of her back, encouraging her back into place, and she obliged. It was amazing how much different her body felt like this than when she was pummeling him. All soft, feminine curves pressed invitingly against the hard lines of his own body. He could feel her heartbeat and could almost imagine his own heart beating along with it.

♫Would you tremble if I touched your lips?
Would you laugh, oh please tell me this
Now would you die for the one you love?
Hold me in your arms tonight?♫


Spike closed his eyes and imagined kissing her. Would she tremble? Would her knees go weak? He was sure his would. He remembered her sweet, honeyed lips against his last night and a thrill ran down his spine. If only he’d been expecting it, he would’ve returned it, would’ve tasted her more deeply.

♫I can be you hero baby
I can kiss away the pain
I will stand by you forever
You can take my breath away♫


“I will, ya know,” Spike whispered to her, his voice deep with barely-concealed emotions. “Stand by you forever.”

Buffy looked up into his eyes. “Spike, I…” she began, but stopped. Her emotions, her thoughts, were all over the place. Something inside her wanted to dance with him forever, but another part of her kept screaming that ‘this was Spike! Spike! Who you loathe with every fiber of your being. Remember Spike?’ it asked her, ‘You know, the vampire that’s tried to kill you for the last four years?’

Buffy bit her lip and tried to still the warring voices in her head. She tried to listen to her instincts, but even they were at odds, some telling her to run away and others telling her to never leave. She finally forced herself to focus on why she’d invited him here, and all the voices calmed: he’d dusted Dru to save her and Dawn. If he would do that, then he would do anything; that was fairly incontrovertible.

“I believe you,” Buffy said at last, laying her head back on his shoulder.

♫Would you swear that you'll always be mine?
Would you lie, would you run away
Am I in too deep?
Have I lost my mind?
I don't care, you're here tonight♫


I believe you, her words echoed in Spike’s mind. The words flowed down into his unbeating heart like sweet nectar from a beautiful flower, where they joined with the kiss from the previous night and fanned the flames of his love.

♫You can take my breath away
I can be your hero♫


“I can be your hero, Buffy … if you’ll let me,” he whispered, burying his face in her silky tresses, his lips pressed against the side of her head. Buffy didn’t reply; he didn’t know if she’d heard him or not. He didn’t have the courage to say it again.

Buffy had heard him but her throat had tightened up too much for her to speak. She clenched her eyes closed and the dream she’d had of him catching her and saving the Key washed over her like a waterfall. Most times her dreams were just dreams, but that one had felt very real, especially the part of him burning up from the inside out, and served to churn and blend her conflicting emotions into such a muddled mess that she could no longer distinguish one from another. She sighed and leaned against him a bit harder. The one thing she knew for sure was that it felt good to be dancing with him. She clung to that one thought, like a life preserver in a sea of confusion, as they swayed to the music.

**~**

“That’s just wrong,” Xander moaned as he watched Buffy dancing with Spike.



“Looks like they’re doing it right to me,” Anya replied, also watching the blondes on the dance floor.

“I think they look good together,” Tara remarked. “They fit, ya know?”

“No! No fitting! They totally don’t fit! They are the epitome of unfitness,” Xander argued vehemently.

“I think Tara’s right,” Anya contradicted her boyfriend. “Look at the way their hips move together perfectly and she fits against him … they totally match. They’re like Legos.”

“It’s really sweet the way he keeps his hand on the small of her back,” Tara continued. “I really thought Spike would’ve … well, you know," Tara ducked her head and blushed as she finished "… had it lower.”

“This is not happening,” Xander growled in frustration.

“What’s not happening?” Willow asked as she walked up to the group and handed Tara a fresh drink.

“Spike and Buffy! Just look at the way he has his hands all over her! Look at the way he’s pressing against her! It’s obscene! It’s disgusting!” Xander explained passionately.

Willow rolled her eyes. “You heard what Dawn said – Spike saved her … and Buffy. He staked Dru. I hate to, you know, jump to any conclusions, but it sounds kinda like he’s … changed.” Willow cringed slightly at the death-ray glare Xander shot her.



“Leopards do not change their stripes,” Xander insisted.

“Spots, dear,” Anya corrected him. “Leopards have spots, tigers have stripes. Unless it’s a Leopardiantiam demon, then it kinda has blotches of scales with…”

“Whatever!” Xander interrupted her. “Evil dead things do not suddenly become fine, upstanding citizens. He’s a vampire! It’s some kind of trick – a new scheme! Why am I the only one that can see that?” Xander wondered, looking at the women around him.

“Well, I agree that we need to keep an eye on him, but …” Willow shrugged. “It looks like Buffy’s doing a pretty good job of that to me. She’s got a very close eye on him.”

“I think people can change,” Tara offered. “I mean … everyone deserves a chance to change, don’t they?”

“He is not a people! He’s a demon,” Xander reminded them again.

“Is that how you really feel?” Anya asked, looking angry and hurt. “Once a demon, always a demon? No second chances?”

Xander gawped at her a moment. “I didn’t mean you!” he insisted. “Just … it’s Spike!”

“And Buffy’s a big girl,” Willow argued. “I’m pretty sure she can take care of herself against a neutered vampire.”

“In a fight, yeah! But look at her!” Xander insisted, waving a hand towards the pair. “She’s getting all goo-goo over him! And listen to this song he picked! ‘I can be your hero!?’ Seriously?? Who does he think he is, Spiderman?”

“He would look good in those tights,” Anya offered with an appreciative leer in Spike’s direction.

“Oh brother,” Xander groaned. “I’m putting an end to this right now.”

“I don’t think …” Willow started, but Xander was already stalking across the floor towards Spike and Buffy.

He came up behind Spike and tapped him on the shoulder. “Hey, Evil Dead, my turn,” he demanded just as the song Buffy had picked ended and another one, with a slightly faster beat, started.



Spike turned around and looked at Xander for a moment. “Alright, but I’m telling ya, I lead.” Spike smirked as he took one of Xander’s hands in his and cradled it against his chest, then placed his other hand at the brunette’s back and yanked Xander’s body against his. Xander shrieked in surprise and pulled away with all his strength.

“What the hell are you doing, you freak?” he demanded as Spike released him.

Spike shrugged as Buffy stepped forward and stood next to him, both of them facing Xander. “Thought ya wanted t’ dance.” Spike sighed, as if resigned. “Ok, you can lead, but just this once,” he acquiesced, moving towards Xander again.

Xander held up a warning finger and backed up. “Stay away from me!”

Spike stopped and shrugged. “You’re really taking the whole ‘playing hard to get’ thing a bit far, Harris.”

“You’re a psycho!” Xander shot back.

“I’m not the one that asked you t’ dance, Special Ed,” Spike pointed out.

“I didn’t ask you to dance! I was cutting in!”

“Oh, well … didn’t sound like that t’ me. Ya didn’t say, ‘can I cut in’, did ya? If you need some dance floor etiquette lessons, I reckon I could spare a bit o’ time tomorrow. Just stop by the crypt … no charge for you, big boy,” Spike taunted, giving Xander his best smoldering, ‘come hither’ look.

Xander paled, then looked at Buffy, who had a bemused expression on her face. “I hope you know what you’re doing with this … thing!” he snarled at her.

The half-smile on her lips faded into a thin, angry line. “Xander, this man saved Dawn’s life and mine yesterday when he didn’t have to. That’s earned him respect in my book. He’s gonna be helping us with Glory, which, I might remind you, we desperately need, so I suggest you get an attitude adjustment and put your petty jealousies away.”



“Jealous!? Of that?” he snapped, pointing at Spike. “You think that’s what this is?” Xander retorted incredulously.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Buffy replied, folding her arms over her chest.  “And it really doesn’t suit you.”

“Fine,” Xander ground out between clenched teeth. “But I sure as hell hope you know what you’re doing, because I don’t get it at all.”

“Trust me, Xander. Spike’s changed.”

“Leopards don’t change their … spots,” he spit out.



Buffy’s dream of the multi-colored, leopard-print-fabric soul washed through her mind and she smiled. “No they don’t,” she agreed.

Xander shook his head and walked away, completely confounded.

**~**

As the party wound down, Buffy said goodnight to Willow and Tara, and headed outside with Spike. Xander and Anya had left earlier, Xander complaining that he couldn’t bear to watch Buffy dancing with the Evil Dead another moment.

Spike had never been on a ‘not-a-date’ before; truth be told, he hadn’t been on a date – not as the word was defined these days. He wasn’t really sure what to expect next. He knew what he’d love to have happen, but that voice in his brain, which was small and distant, but as insistent as a bee buzzing around his head, kept telling him to wait, let her come to you. The pair walked down the steps of the frat-house together, turned on the sidewalk and headed back towards their side of town. It had been warm earlier, but now the night had cooled down considerably, and Spike saw Buffy wrap her arms around herself and shiver slightly to ward off the chill. Risking looking like the git he was, he slipped out of his duster and draped it over her shoulders as they walked.

Buffy started, momentarily surprised, but then clutched it around her and snaked her arms into the sleeves. “Thanks,” she muttered, giving him a smile that warmed him more than the duster ever could.

He shrugged nonchalantly. “Looks better on you.”



Buffy raised her brows and gave him a wry smile. “I really doubt that,” she told him in a teasing tone.

Spike bit his bottom lip to keep from saying that the only way it could look better on him would be for him to be flat on his back atop it, with her on top of him. The night had been so perfect – even Harris hadn’t ruined it – in fact, the prat had made it better. Buffy had come to Spike’s defense – stood up to Special Ed. Spike had nearly toppled over in shock and awe when she did that. He didn’t want to ruin it now by saying something wholly inappropriate.

“What? No remark like … uhhhh … ‘You’d look better out of it’, or ‘You’d look better lying on the ground on top of it’?” Buffy asked, with a teasing glance at him.

Spike opened his mouth in surprise, but recovered quickly. “Slayer, I’m shocked! Never occurred t’ me. You, on the other hand, got a dirty mind,” he accused.

Buffy rolled her eyes but smiled. “Yeah … I’m starting to get that,” she agreed, the teasing tone fading.

Spike pursed his lips a moment, slowing a bit and sliding in behind her to allow a woman walking the other way on the sidewalk to pass. When he caught back up to her side he asked, “Is that bad?”

Buffy shrugged. “Jury’s still out.”



When they reached the front of Buffy’s house, she stopped and turned to face him. “Well … this is me,” Buffy said lamely, looking at the house instead of at Spike. “I … had a good time,” she offered shyly. Buffy mentally rolled her eyes. She felt like she was thirteen and on her first date. Her stomach was flopping back and forth like a fish out of water and the cool air had suddenly become too warm.

“So did I,” Spike replied as Buffy shrugged out of his duster. He took it from her and slid it back on. Butterflies tumbled around in his stomach like a Russian gymnast on speed and he cleared his throat. “Right then,” he said uncomfortably. “Reckon I’ll see ya…”

Just as she’d done the night before, Buffy had taken him by surprise by lifting up onto her toes and kissing him. This time, though, Spike was a little more prepared and he immediately wrapped his arms around her body, pulled her against him, and returned it. She tasted like heaven: beer, Chex Mix, cheese and Triscuits, and a hint of chocolate … Where the hell had she found chocolate? he wondered. All those tastes mixed with the indescribable flavor of ‘Buffy’: tart and sweet, spicy and salty, warm and, above all, passionate. Her lips were soft and pliant under his and they parted when he darted his tongue against them, needing to taste more of her. A low moan purred from her throat and Spike thought the buttons on his jeans would pop at any moment – he wanted her so badly. More than he could ever remember wanting anyone before.



Then, too quickly, she pulled away. He felt a palpable sense of loss when the contact was broken.

She stood unmoving, breathless and gasping slightly, her face flushed and, even in the cool night air, a sheen of perspiration had blossomed on her forehead. After a moment to catch her breath, she gasped out, “Ummm … right … tomorrow then … maybe … patrol.” Then she nearly sprinted down the walk, up the stairs, and into the house. Spike thought he saw her knees wobbling as she retreated into the house.

Spike smiled, biting down on his bottom lip with his teeth. “That was more like it, then,” he smirked to himself, still looking at the closed door through which she’d just fled. He turned and started for his crypt, adjusting himself to lessen the strain on the buttons of his jeans, still smirking. As he walked, he wondered how hard it would be to install a water heater in his crypt. He was starting to think he might not need those cold showers very much longer.
End Notes:
Next:  In the aftermath of Buffy’s 'not-a-date' and Joyce’s date, the Summers’ household is feeling happier than it has in a long time – but the rug is about to be pulled out from under all their feet.

I'd love to hear from you! Don't be shy!
I've Been Feeling Real Low by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
The gang reads about a guy named Warren Mears and puts him together with the strange girl that had been asking for him the previous night. In the aftermath of Buffy’s non-date and Joyce’s date, the Summers’ household is feeling happier than it has in a long time – but the rug is about to be pulled out from under all their feet. Can Spike help Buffy deal with the loss of her mother? Will Angel toss a wrench into the works?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading & reviewing, and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episodes covered: I Was Made to Love You – The Body – Forever

The next day:

Buffy woke feeling happier than she had in a long time. She actually had had a good time with Spike the previous night. She wasn’t sure what she had expected out of him, but what she got was a charming guy with a sharp wit and an easy laugh who was … a gentleman. He wasn’t even going to kiss her goodnight! She smiled to herself, remembering the night: they’d danced, they’d talked, they’d drunk beer and ate snacks, and they’d forgotten about hell-gods and dead exes for a while.

After dressing, she brushed her hair and headed downstairs to have breakfast with her mom and Dawn. Then she was going to the Magic Box for a Glory research 'party' with Willow and Tara, and maybe a training session with Giles after that. She thought about stopping by Spike’s crypt and asking him if he wanted to spar with her. She wondered if he could do that without the chip firing. As long as he didn’t intend to hurt her, it seemed like he should be able to.



When Buffy got downstairs, her mom was humming happily as she cooked pancakes for Dawn. Joyce’s date with Brian the previous night had gone well too. Not that Buffy’s night with Spike was a date … no, it was definitely not a date. It was a non-date, but it had been the best non-date she’d had in a long time. Even Dawn seemed to be in a decent mood this morning – mark that down on the calendar!

After breakfast, the three Summers women headed out of the house together; Joyce took Dawn to school and then headed for work, while Buffy headed, on foot, towards downtown. Buffy decided it was too early to go by Spike’s crypt and ask him if he wanted to spar later – he was probably still asleep – so she just went straight to the Magic Box. She found Willow and Tara already there. There was a pile of books on the table in front of them, but they seemed to be more engrossed in the morning paper than Glory research.



“What’s up guys?” Buffy asked, plopping down in an empty chair at the table.

“Did you talk to that girl last night who was looking for Warren?” Willow asked, looking up from the paper.

“Yeah – she was … strange. We just told her we didn’t know any Warren,” Buffy replied, reaching for a cinnamon-sugar donut.

“I know – we told her the same thing – but check this out!” Willow continued as she turned her eyes back to the paper and began reading aloud. “‘Sunnydale native and Dutton Tech College student, Warren Mears, twenty-three, was arrested last night after a neighbor of the Sunnydale Crematorium reported suspicious behavior and called the police. Mr. Mears was reportedly seen attempting to dispose of two bodies. By the time the police arrived, witnesses reported that one body had already been incinerated – although that could not be verified. One body, Mr. Mears’ girlfriend of six months, Katrina Silber, also twenty-three and also a student at Dutton Tech College, was reportedly found at the scene.

“‘The Sunnydale chief of police released a statement indicating that Mr. Mears seems mentally unstable. ‘Mr. Mears has made a statement indicating that a robot killed his girlfriend and that he, Mr. Mears, was simply disposing of both the robot and the body.’ According to another department spokesman, there is nothing to substantiate such a claim. Mr. Mears claimed that the first thing placed in the incinerator was the robot, however witnesses claim it appeared to be the body of a dark-haired woman.’”

Willow stopped reading and looked up at Buffy. “That girl looking for him definitely seemed like a robot, didn’t you think? And she had dark hair. He could be telling the truth.”

Buffy shrugged. “I don’t know, she seemed kinda ex-demony to me – you know all stiff and literal.”

“I heard that!” Anya called from behind the cash register. “And I’ll have you know, I am not stiff – I’m quite flexible, actually. Xander really likes Cosmo’s Lusty Leg Lift, where you’re both standing and the woman puts one leg up on the man’s shoulder and ….”

“Thank you for that visual, Anya,” Buffy interrupted her, rolling her eyes.

“W-w-w-ait,” Tara interjected, looking at Anya. “You have o-o-one leg on the ground and one leg … on his s-s-shoulder? Straight up on his shoulder? L-l-like you’re doing a split, only vertically?”



Anya nodded eagerly. “One bit of advice: be careful not to do it in the bathroom on a wet floor, ‘cos … well, when your bottom leg slips and you both fall in the bathroom, there’s not a lot of soft things to bang your head on.”

Tara grimaced. “That sounds like a lot of w-w-work to me,” she groaned, looking at Willow. Willow rolled her eyes and nodded.

“What’s the most exotic place you’ve had sex and the most difficult position you’ve ever tried, Buffy?” Anya asked, walking over to the table where the three women were sitting. “I bet with your strength and flexibility, you could really…”

“May I interject a request, Buffy?” Giles called loudly from his office. “Please do not answer that question.”

Buffy shrugged and gave Anya a ‘sorry I can’t answer your very personal and inappropriate question’ look.



“Spoiled sport,” Anya muttered towards Giles as she headed for a customer that had just come in.

Buffy was actually quite happy that Giles had put a stop to that conversation. She would’ve had to make something up since the most exotic place she’d had sex was a dorm room, which edged out her own bedroom only because there were more people in the surrounding rooms in the frat-house than at home, and the most exotic position had been cowgirl, which barely edged out the only other position she’d ever experienced: missionary. My God, I’m such an utter dweeb!

“So, Buffy – do you think we should, you know … do something?” Willow asked, interrupting her thoughts.

Buffy stared at her a moment blankly. “Willow … I don’t think … I mean – you’re with Tara,” she stammered out.

Willow rolled her eyes. “I meant about this Warren guy and that robot from last night?” Willow reminded her, jiggling the paper slightly.

“Oh, right.” Buffy shrugged one shoulder, trying to keep the embarrassment out of her voice. “I think we have enough problems of our own. What are we gonna do, anyway? Tell the police we saw a girl that talked like a robot looking for someone named Warren? They’ll lock us all up in the loony-bin … which, granted, could make a nice change of pace, but ...” She shrugged again.

Willow shrugged too and closed the paper. “Ok – on to more fun things – hell-gods and Keys.”

“Yippee-ki-yay,” Buffy muttered with mock enthusiasm.

**~**

Buffy headed home after having lunch with Willow and Tara at the Espresso Pump. They really hadn’t found anything new on Glory or how to defeat her. Joyce was still only working half-days, so Buffy figured she’d go home and offer to pick Dawn up from school. At least she could keep an eye on Dawn and get her home that way, rather than have her sister wandering around cemeteries and hanging out with vampires when she should be doing her homework. Although the episode with Dru had put more of a scare into Dawn that Buffy could’ve in a thousand years, she still didn’t trust that Dawn wouldn’t go to Spike’s to hang out if given half a chance.



When Buffy opened the front door, she was greeted by two large bouquets of flowers on the foyer table. She pulled the card from the first one. It read, ‘Thank you for a lovely evening. See you soon? –Brian.’ Buffy smiled – it was about time her mom found a really nice guy; she so deserved it after all she’d been through.

Buffy pulled the card from the second bouquet of flowers. They were a mixture of red roses and black calla lilies and she knew immediately who they were from. “Spike,” she murmured, opening the card. ‘Buffy, Since last night was not a date, these are not flowers, but I hope you fancy them anyway. Hope we can have another not-date soon. –William.’

Buffy smiled, pulled one of the roses out of the vase, and brought it to her nose. It smelled wonderfully sweet, and her heart started a giddy, fluttering cadence in her chest. She couldn’t remember being quite this happy in a really, really long time.

“Mom!?” she called up the stairs, still holding the rose. “Hey, fellow-flower-gettin' lady. Want me to pick Dawn up from school?”



Buffy turned and finally saw her mom lying on the couch. “Mom? Whatcha doin’?” she asked brightly.

“Mom?” she called again, her voice growing concerned.

“Mom?”

“Mommy?”

**~**

Buffy’s world crumbled.
 
The next hours were a blur. As she lay in bed that night, she could only vaguely remember small snatches of the day. Her mom’s skirt had ridden up – need to pull it down. Call 911. Give CPR. She’s cold. Call Giles. Don’t move the body. Tell Dawn. Talk to the doctor at the hospital. The vampire in the morgue. Save Dawn. Go home.



Home. Home. She was home but … it didn’t feel like home anymore. Mom is gone. Mom is gone. Mom is gone. No matter how many times Buffy repeated it, she couldn’t get it to make sense. It was like a dream – a horrible, horrible nightmare. That had to be what this was: a nightmare. If she could just wake up, everything would be alright.

“Buffy?”

Buffy jumped at the sound and sat up in her bed. “Spike,” she rasped, sniffing back her tears. Buffy threw back her covers and jumped out of bed, her black and white, cow-print pajamas rustling with the sudden movement. Before Spike could say anything further, she was in his arms, sobbing against his chest. “She’s gone, Spike … Mom’s gone.”

“I know, pet. Glinda jus’ told me. Saw your gang out on patrol … would’a been ‘ere sooner if I’d a’ known,” he told her, wrapping his arms around her and rubbing a hand soothingly up and down her back.

Buffy shook her head against his chest. “I’m sorry … I should’ve … told … I just … can’t think,” she stuttered out between wheezing gasps of breath.

“No worries, pet. I’m ‘ere now, yeah? How’s the Niblett?”

Buffy took a deep breath, trying to calm down. “Asleep. The doctors … gave us … some pills,” she replied between deep gasps of air.

“You should have one too, luv,” he suggested gently.

“I did … two. They don’t do anything,” she admitted. “Spike, what am I gonna do? Dawn – how am I supposed to raise Dawn? I’m not a mother! I’m not even a grownup! I screw up everything I touch! I can’t even take care of me, let alone Dawn! Mom did everything! I don’t know … anything,” Buffy blurted out, her voice seemingly near the breaking point.



“Don’t need t’ know anything t’night, pet. Best t’ get some rest now. Everything’ll work out,” Spike assured her, guiding her back towards the bed.

“My heart hurts so much. It just … God, Spike … oh, God, it hurts,” Buffy sobbed as she let him lay her back down in her bed.
 
Spike pulled her covers back over her, then bent down and dropped a soft kiss on her tear-stained cheek. “I know, pet. I wish I could take it away from ya, Buffy. I’d take it if I could,” he told her, tears glistening in his own eyes. “Get some rest now, yeah?”

Spike started to back up, but she reached a hand out and stopped him. “Please don’t leave me. Could you … I just …I feel so alone … could you just … stay?” she asked timidly, sliding over in the bed to make a place for him. "I ... it's silly ... but ... could you just hold me?"

Spike nodded solemnly, unable to actually form words past the lump in his throat, took his duster off and draped it over a chair, then climbed into the bed next to her. Buffy curled up against him and Spike smoothed her hair gently. It seemed the only sounds in the whole house were her strangled sobs and gasps for breath and his reassuring words that it would be alright. Spike stroked her hair and back gently until her sobs eased and her breathing finally calmed to a steady rhythm, then he just watched her sleep – all night long.



Spike would’ve given anything in the world to take her pain away. As he held her, her warm, salty tears soaking into his shirt, he wished for some way to ease her broken heart. He knew too well what she was feeling; he knew how painful it was, but he had no answers for her. In over a century he’d spent walking the earth he had seen the world change from horses and wood and coal to steam and oil and electricity. He’d seen paper and ink replaced with computers and cell phones. He’d seen men go to the moon. He’d seen the length of women’s skirts go from the top of their shoes to the bottom of their asses. Everything got faster, better, stronger, smaller. But, of all the things the human race had done, all the advancements they’d made, they had never found a new cure for a broken heart.  Time was the only healer.

**~**

The next morning, Buffy woke alone in her bed. For the briefest of moments she thought it had all been a dream, but then she realized with a sudden stabbing pain in her heart that it was all too real. On the bed next to her was a note. She rubbed her swollen and bleary eyes and picked it up. It was from Spike, written in an elegant, Victorian hand …

~~

Buffy,

It pains me more than I can say to leave your side, but I reckon your mates will be by soon.  I didn’t figure you needed a row today, which would undoubtedly break out if they found me here.

I’ll come back tonight.

With deepest regrets,

William


~~

Buffy sighed and rubbed at her tired eyes. She didn’t think she’d be able to sleep at all last night and now she wished for nothing more than to curl back up in Spike’s arms and sleep forever. She sighed again as she looked at his note and once more asked herself what the hell she was doing? Spike was right, if her friends had come in and found him in her bed, they would’ve freaked out – Xander would’ve staked him on the spot. She had tried to explain to them that Spike had changed. She used the staking of Dru as proof, but would they ever accept that? And what if they wouldn’t? Would she have to choose between her friends and Spike? She couldn’t explain how he made her feel even to herself, let alone to her friends. But she couldn’t imagine what she would’ve done last night if he hadn’t been there. Would she have taken more and more of those pills until … Buffy shuddered.

Yesterday Buffy had been on top of the world; she’d felt more happy and hopeful than she had in a long while. Then the bottom fell out of her life … again. Her mother was gone. Gone. Forever gone. Was this her punishment for allowing Spike to worm his way into her heart even a little? Was this the PTB’s way of slapping her hand when they caught it reaching for the dark side’s evil cookie jar?

Buffy sank back down onto her bed and pulled the covers over her head as the tears began anew. Her heart hurt, her head ached, her world was fractured, she felt utterly alone and lost. She just wanted to pretend none of it was real. Could she just stay under the covers and pretend?

**~**

That Night:

Buffy wasn’t sure how she’d done it, but she’d finally gathered up her tears and hurt and shoved them back into that lock-box within her. She’d made it through another day. There seemed to be a hundred things to be done, a million decisions to be made, and she made them. She tackled each one right after the other, as if the rug hadn’t just been yanked out from under her world; as if her heart weren’t lying in broken, jagged pieces at the bottom of her soul. Just like she’d done when she sent Angel to hell, she brought the Slayer forward and let Buffy languish in the shadows. Buffy’s heart was weak and fragile; the Slayer’s was strong and hard.

She’d gotten everything done she could do for now. The funeral was tomorrow. Her friends had just left and Dawn had retreated to her room. Buffy dropped down onto the couch in the living room as exhaustion began to set in. The more exhausted she was, the harder it was to keep the Slayer façade in place. She was glad to be alone; finally, thankfully alone so she didn’t have to keep the ‘I’m fine’ glamour going another second.

As she sat there in the silence, the reality of the situation began to descend on her again like a heavy shroud. She suddenly felt overwhelmed and so very alone. She wrapped her arms around herself and bent forward, laying her torso on her thighs, trying to get the hurt to stop. Her mind began to whirl, a thousand thoughts bombarded her at once: How was she going to raise Dawn on her own? How was she going to make a living and pay the bills? How was she going to tell Giles that, as soon as they got rid of Glory and knew Dawn was safe, that she was done with Slaying? She couldn’t do it anymore; Dawn was depending on her, and she couldn’t take those risks anymore.

As all the worries ran around and around in her mind like the horses on a carousel, she heard Xander’s angry voice from outside, “You have got to be kidding!”



Then Spike’s equally-angry voice, “Got nothin’ to do with Buffy! I liked Joyce, understand, monkey boy?”

“Guys! Not here!” Willow’s voice interjected worriedly.

Buffy jumped up, flung the front door open, and was down the front walk before another word could be spoken.

“What’s going on?” Buffy asked, stepping between Spike and Xander.

“He thinks he’s gonna take advantage of your vulnerable state, win more points by bringing you second-rate flowers,” Xander snarled, pointing at Spike.

Spike pursed his lips and glared at Xander, then extended the flowers to Buffy. “They’re for the funeral – they’re for Joyce,” he explained. “I … it’s in the afternoon, so I can’t...” he shrugged and let his voice trail off.



Buffy swallowed and took the bouquet of wildflowers from his hand. “Mom loved wildflowers,” she told him, giving him a sad smile. “Thank you.”

“Buffy! You aren’t seriously buying this, are you? He probably stole those off some poor woman’s grave! He just wants…” Xander began.

Buffy whirled on him with a murderous glare and Xander blanched. “Go ahead, tell me what he wants, Xander!” she demanded when he stopped.

Xander took a deep breath and said more calmly, “He just wants to get into your bed.”

“Really?’ Buffy queried incredulously, her brows shooting up and nearly touching her hairline. “Well, if you’re so interested, then you should know he didn’t have to bring these to do that – he was in my bed all night last night.”



Xander inhaled sharply and began to cough violently. “What!?” he finally managed to choke out.

“Get over it, Xander,” Buffy spat at him, grabbing Spike’s hand and leading him past her two gape-mouthed friends and into the house.

Spike looked back over his shoulder and smirked at Xander as he followed Buffy up the stairs and into the house. He had the desperate urge to shoot the little sod a raspberry and sing ‘Na-na-na-na-na-naaa,’, but restrained himself in deference to Joyce.

**~**

Next Day:

Buffy couldn’t actually remember the funeral at all. Her veneer was wearing thin and it was taking all she could do to keep her emotions hidden beneath it. She couldn’t bring herself to leave her mother’s grave, so she just stood there alone long after everyone else had gone. It felt like if she actually walked away and left her mother there, that would make it all real – it would make it true, seal it. If she walked away, there would be no turning back.



She didn’t know how long she’d been there, hours perhaps. It had grown dark and the air chilled, but still she stood, unwilling to admit that this was real. Her mother was under the ground and she was not coming back – and it was Buffy’s fault. If she had only started CPR sooner, or called 911 faster, or skipped lunch and come home earlier. If she had only been a better Slayer, a better daughter, a better person, the PTB wouldn’t have struck her mother down as punishment. One way or another, it was her fault, she felt in her soul. She hadn’t even told her mother she loved her that morning before they all left the house. Why hadn’t she told her that? Was she incapable of saying those words to anyone? Even her own mother?

And, even knowing all that, she had invited Spike into her house again last night. She’d collapsed against him in sobs the moment the door had closed, unable to hold the false front she’d displayed to her friends one second longer. What did that say about her? She could only show her true-self to a monster? What did that mean? But, somehow, being near him helped still her confused thoughts, calm her jangled nerves, and settle her worries, for a little while at least. He’d helped her to the couch and settled down on it with her, and they’d stayed there all night. He just let her be. He didn’t judge and he didn’t mock her; he just let her cry and rant and wallow in self-pity, and finally, when she was utterly spent, he let her sleep in his arms.

Just like the night before, he'd been gone again in the morning – like a ghost ... or a vampire. He'd left another heartfelt note about not wanting to cause any trouble with her friends. Buffy at once appreciated the thought and missed the gentle support and reassurance he'd given her. It seemed more than a little ironic that the one person she could drop her 'Slayer-face' around and just be the frightened, heartbroken girl that she was, was her mortal enemy.

As Buffy stood at her mother’s graveside, a strong, cool hand slipped into hers. She closed her fingers around it and took a deep, calming breath, as if drawing strength from him.



“I'm sorry I couldn't come sooner.”

“I know,” Buffy replied. “I’m sorry I couldn’t have had the funeral at night – they wouldn’t do it.”

“No worries, pet. I’m ‘ere now, yeah?” Spike assured her, squeezing her hand gently.

Buffy nodded jerkily. “I’m so scared. I’m afraid to leave … I … if I leave, it’ll be real and then … what? What do I do tomorrow? Mom was the strong one – I’m just …” Buffy shook her head dejectedly.

“You’re strong too, Buffy,” Spike assured her.



Buffy finally looked at him and tears welled in her eyes again. “No, the Slayer’s strong – Buffy’s … Buffy’s … just a girl. A frightened little girl who wants her mommy to come back, kiss my boo-boo, and make it all better.”

Spike nodded and looked back at the grave. “Reckon ya never get over that, luv. I’ve seen a bloody century and I still wish my mum would come back and just hold me sometimes. Give me that smile she had and tell me it’ll all be alright. But, that’s life, innit? It’s all in it. You’ve got your friends and your Watcher, reckon they’ll help ya.”

Buffy bit her bottom lip and nodded again. “And you?” she asked softly.

“You know you have me, luv. I’ll stand ‘ere for-bloody-ever if that’s what ya want t’ do. I’d walk to the ends of the world for you, Buffy.”

“Spike, do you … I mean … ummm … what Dawn said …” Buffy stopped and took a deep breath. “Are you in love with me?” she asked hesitantly.



Spike bit his bottom lip a moment before meeting her eyes again. “Do ya want me to be?”

“Spike … I …” Buffy’s voice cracked and she wiped at her tear-streaked face again, trying to gather her thoughts before continuing. “I don’t know … I’ve seen a whole different side of you and … I … I don’t know what I feel. I … like you,” she offered lamely. “I feel like I … need you, but I don’t …” Buffy stopped and took a deep breath.

Spike didn’t move, didn’t breathe or even blink. Fear of what she was about to say gripped his heart. Was she going to tell him she’d never love him and he should move on? That’s what it felt like she was about to say.

“I don’t know if I even know how to love anymore, Spike. It’s not fair to you,” she finally said through her tears. “I feel like all I’m doing is taking from you and … not giving anything. I feel like I’m using you.”

Spike shook his head. “You treat me like a man, Buffy and that’s … that’s all I could ‘ope for. I know you’ll never love me – I’m a monster and … you shouldn’t. I’d be lyin’ if I said I didn’t … dream of having more with you, but …” Spike swallowed and let his voice trail off. He looked out across the cemetery, his heart sinking low in his chest.

“Spike, I trust you. I trust you with my life – with Dawn’s life and I … need you. Last night you made me feel … this is so stupid – please don’t be insulted, but you made me feel safe,” Buffy told him. “I just don’t think I know how to love anyone. It’s not you – it’s me.”



Spike snorted a harsh laugh. “Ya get that outta Cosmo, then?” he asked, giving her a sideways glance.

Buffy laughed slightly, suddenly realizing how trite that had sounded. Finally, she shook her head and gave him a small smile. “If I can figure out how to love, then I promise that you’ll be the first to know.”

“Buffy, all ya gotta do is …” Spike stopped and shook his head, apparently deciding to not finish.

“What? Tell me, Spike. What do I do?”

He looked at her resolutely. “Trust yourself. Stop pushing the demon back, Buffy. It’s not a matter of the Slayer or the girl – you are the Slayer and you are the girl; you are darkness and you are light. Ya just gotta let the both of ‘em out. You’ll never find your true heart if you keep part of it hidden from the world – hidden from yourself,” he advised.

“I don’t know how,” Buffy admitted in a small voice.



“Let me show you,” Spike offered earnestly.

Buffy shook her head. “I think I need to find it for myself.”

Spike nodded and squeezed her hand again reassuringly. “You’re a stubborn bint, aren’t ya?”

Buffy gave a halfhearted smile. “So I’ve been told.”

“You’ll let me know when ya find your true heart, though, yeah?”

“You’ll be the first.”



The pair turned and looked at the grave again, standing in silence a long time, before Spike said, “Ya do know Angel’s lurking about, don’t ya?”

Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yeah … it must be an Aurelius thing, you’re all great at lurking. I think he’s behind that tree over there,” she said, motioning slightly with her head.

Spike snorted, clearly offended. "I don't lurk. I ... prowl. It's entirely different. Prowlin' is sexy and dangerous ... lurking is just dull and broody."

Buffy rolled her eyes again. "If you say so."

“Want me t’ run him off for ya?” Spike offered with a smirk. “Got a stake in m’ pocket.”

Buffy snorted. “And I thought you were just happy to see me,” she joked.

“You cannot possibly mistake m’ excitement over seeing you with a short, thin bit o’ soft wood,” he teased back.

Buffy’s face flushed slightly in the dark. He was right, a stake couldn’t hold a candle to his ‘excitement’. “Oh, silly me. I should’ve realized it was a stake when it was in your right pocket,” she ribbed back.

Spike cocked a brow at her. “What does that mean, Slayer?”



Buffy looked down at the front of his jeans, then back up to his eyes. “You dress left,” she stated unequivocally. 

“I do what?”

Buffy raised her brows and tilted her head to the bulge in his jeans. “Dress. Left.”



Spike looked aghast. “You dirty girl. I feel so … used. No one appreciates me for m’ mind. Bloody sexist, is what it is. I’ve a mind t’ report this to the EEOC – sexual harassment in the workplace.”

Buffy gave him a serious look. “Oh, you’re gonna report me for sexual harassment, huh? What will be the complaint, not enough?”

“Spot on. See, you aren’t as dim as you look at first glance.”

Buffy looked past Spike, tracking a figure moving through the woods with her eyes. “Angel’s leaving.”

“Yeah, shame that,” Spike sighed. “I was just gettin’ warmed up.”

“I should’ve talked to him,” Buffy said guiltily, still following Angel’s retreating form with her eyes.

“Right – like he talked to you before spiriting off to L.A. and leaving you alone? Like he talked to you before helpin’ that other Slayer-bird? Like he talked to you about that buggering Chumash vengeance spirit? Sod him,” Spike argued bitterly.

Buffy screwed her face up a moment, her bottom lip sticking out in a dangerous pout as she considered Spike. “Those are actually valid points,” she said at last.

“Told ya – no one appreciates m’ brilliant mind.”

**~**

Spike and Buffy eventually wandered away from the graveside and sat down against a tree a few yards away. Spike sat with his back against the tree and Buffy sat next to him, leaning against his shoulder and chest. Spike wrapped an arm over her shoulders and they sat in a comfortable silence for a long while, just taking solace in each other’s company. The cemetery was quiet but for the sounds of night birds calling to each other, crickets chirping their familiar chorus, and an occasional frog croaking from the stream that ran through the nearby woods. It felt both strange and comforting to Buffy to be sitting here with Spike. She tried to find something witty or funny or even interesting to say to keep her mind off the reality of her life, but couldn’t think of a single thing. Finally, she said, “Tell me about your family … your mom and dad. Did you have any … brothers or sisters?”



Spike pursed his lips and looked off into the distance a good while. He’d been such a git that night when he’d dusted Dru – he should’ve never told Buffy about his mum. Spike took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Only child, I was,” he began. “Didn’t know my father t’ speak of. Was only about five when he died. Went off to war and never come back, he did. So – it was just me and my mum then. A fine lady, she was. Very proper. Very kind. Reckon I was a bit of a disappointment to ‘er, but she’d never say that, o’ course.”

“Why would you think that?” Buffy asked, sitting back to look at him.

Spike shrugged. “Reckon she thought I’d be like my pop. A man’s man, he was. Died in battle and whatnot – all very heroic, yeah?”

“But … you’re heroic,” Buffy argued. “You saved Dawn and … maybe even me from Dru, and … you’ve helped us fight all sorts of things,” she pointed out.

Spike snorted. “Yeah well, a bit late that is, innit? Like a bloody century.”

Buffy screwed up her mouth in a bit of a pout and shrugged. “Still …” she offered lamely, settling back against him. “It could be worse – you could’ve been a Slayer. Talk about disappointing your mom.” Buffy shook her head sadly against his chest. “My mom would’ve traded me in for a nice, sane daughter any day of the week. God, the hell I put her through! I was a horrible daughter and … now I’m gonna be a horrible ‘legal guardian’ for Dawn. I have no idea how to be the … adult. I only figured out that they changed garbage pick-up to Tuesdays and Fridays after I realized we missed it yesterday!”

Spike shrugged. “But ya figured it out, yeah? That’s what’s important, innit?”

“Giles told me they changed it two years ago!” Buffy explained, rolling her eyes.

Spike sighed. “Buffy, first off – your mum loved you. She was proud o’ you – of what you do, of you being the Slayer. Not saying she didn’t worry, but she was bloody proud of you and she loved you with all 'er heart. She wouldn’t have traded you for all the sanity in the bloody world. Second: raising Dawn ain’t about getting the soddin’ garbage to the curb on the right bloody morning,” Spike admonished her. “It’s about your heart and just giving her love – it’s about being her sister, not a ruddy ‘legal guardian’.”

Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes and she squeezed them tightly closed. Her chin quivered and her hands trembled. Her whole body seemed to shiver with fear. She’d never felt more afraid of anything before. “I told you before … I don’t think I know how to love … anyone,” Buffy whispered so low that the distant call of an exuberant mockingbird nearly drowned it out.

“That’s bollocks,” Spike asserted, pushing her back so he could look at her. Buffy kept her eyes closed, unable to meet his gaze. “Your love is … blinding. It radiates off you when you’re with your friends, your Watcher … your sister. It shines like the bloody sun, Slayer! I gotta stand back just t’ keep from gettin’ dusted.”



Buffy rolled her eyes behind her lids and the tears she’d been keeping captive leaked from the corners of her eyes. “There’s a demon inside me … I’m made from darkness,” Buffy pointed out solemnly, finally opening her eyes and looking at Spike.



Spike nodded. “Doesn’t mean you can’t love, Slayer. Just makes your love all the more …” Spike paused a moment to try and find the perfect word. “…effulgent.”

Buffy looked at him blankly.

“Uhhh … incandescent?” he tried.

She scrunched up her nose.  “I’m a … light bulb?”

Spike rolled his eyes and shook his head. “Resplendent? Luminous?” he tried.

She made a face that told him she thought he was speaking Chinese.

“Right then,” he sighed and raked a hand through his hair. “Your love is like a big disco-ball … all glitter and sparkles. You do know what a disco-ball is, yeah?”



Buffy rolled her eyes again but finally nodded. “It doesn’t feel like a disco-ball,” she said after a few moments. “It feels more like a black hole.”

Spike pulled her back against him and she settled against his chest again. “That’s ‘cos you’re looking at it from the inside. Ever see the inside of a disco-ball, pet?”

Buffy laughed lightly. “No, and neither have you.”

“When you’ve lived as long as I have, you’ve seen the inside of nearabouts everything,” Spike claimed. “Take it from me, Slayer, you are a disco-ball: dark on the inside, but on the outside your love’s like a beacon in a storm.” Especially to me, Spike added to himself.

Buffy nodded against his chest, thankful for his encouragement, but deep down she remained unconvinced.

**~**
End Notes:
Next:  Buffy goes into the desert on the Quest with Giles. What will the guide tell her about her inner demon? Glory goes on the offensive while Buffy's gone, searching in earnest for her Key. Who will she find?
Come and Save Me by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Buffy goes into the desert on the Quest with Giles. What will the guide tell her about her inner demon? How will Buffy interpret it?  Glory goes on the offensive and places one of Buffy's friends in danger.
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
The night of Joyce's Funeral:

Glory’s trusted minion, Jinx, crept unseen away from the cemetery and headed back to report his findings to her most magnificent and benevolent Glorificus. It was clear who the Key was. The peroxided man had been at the Slayer’s side now for three nights in a row. Obviously the Slayer was protecting him above all others. Her Most Glamorous Yet Tasteful One will be most pleased.

**~**

A couple of days after the funeral:



“So, how long ya reckon big sis’ll be gone, then?” Spike asked Dawn as he fiddled with the TV in his crypt trying to find something for them to watch.

Dawn shrugged as Spike finally settled on a re-run of ‘Star Trek’ – the original one with Spock and Captain Kirk. “Giles didn’t know for sure. He thought they might be back by tonight, or tomorrow at the latest.”

“And just where is it she’s run off to exactly?” Spike wondered, grabbing a beer from the fridge for himself and a Coke for Dawn.

Dawn rolled her eyes and sat down on the floor in front of the TV, taking the Coke from Spike’s hand as he dropped down into the easy chair near her. “To find John Cleese and live out ‘The Quest for the Holy Grail’ or something. I don’t know exactly. It was all pretty mysterious. She just said that it was something she really needed to do.”

Spike quirked a brow at her. “Reckon she knows the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?”



Dawn laughed. “I doubt she knows what a swallow is.”

Spike smirked, his mind going somewhere far away from Monty Python or birds, but didn’t comment on that further. “So,” he asked after a moment, his voice growing somber, “the resurrection spell didn’t work then?”

Dawn frowned and shook her head. “I’m sorry I got you hurt for nothing,” she offered. “I swear I didn’t tell Buffy who helped me.”

“I knew you wouldn’t, pet. Trust you, I do. And no worries – been hurt worse, I have … mostly by your sister. Sorry it didn’t work, though; Joyce was a good lady.”

Dawn nodded and sighed. “I’m sorry too,” she admitted mournfully. “So,” Dawn began changing the subject, “how did you talk Buffy into letting you babysit while she’s gone?”

Spike shrugged. “Told ya before, me and the Slayer have been … getting on better of late.”



“Plus she thinks you’re the only one of her friends that has any chance in a fight with Glory, huh?” Dawn posited sagely.

Spike rolled his eyes. “Coulda been a factor, yeah,” he agreed.

“I still don’t get why we couldn’t have stayed at our house. We have cable,” Dawn complained.

“’Cos that Glory chit knows where you live,” Spike explained. “She don’t know me.”

Dawn sighed again and took a drink of her Coke. “Where am I gonna sleep if Buffy isn’t back tonight? This floor isn’t the … softest.”

“Got a bed downstairs you can ‘ave,” Spike offered.

Dawn’s eyes went wide. “You never told me you had a downstairs! Can I see?”

“Yeah, alright,” Spike agreed, standing up. He headed over to the trap door and opened it for her, then followed Dawn down the ladder into the basement bedroom.

“This is soo cool!!” Dawn exclaimed as she looked around.

“Yeah?” Spike asked hopefully, looking around also. He had tidied up, even washed the sheets and dusted a bit, when Buffy had asked him if Dawn could stay with him for a while. She’d been a bit secretive about where she was going, simply saying that it had to do with learning to live with the demon inside her.



“Oh, totally!” Dawn gushed. “The floor’s so … soft. How many rugs do you have down here?”

Spike shrugged. “A few … Top ones are the nicest; the others are just for padding and kinda like insulation. Keeps a bit of the damp out.”

“The coffins sticking out of the walls are very … avant-garde,” Dawn continued.

Avant-garde?” Spike questioned, quirking a brow. “Where the bloody hell did ya learn that, Niblett?”

Dawn shrugged one shoulder. “Art class. It means …”

“I know what the bloody hell it means. Never thought of myself as avant-garde,” Spike asserted. “Just … opportunistic.”

Dawn shrugged. “Well, I think it’s cool.”

**~**

Dawn and Spike spent the day watching TV, playing cards, and talking. She got Spike to tell her more ghost stories and he got her to tell her stories about Buffy. That evening, he ordered in pizza for dinner with the money Buffy had given him, and Dawn did a little homework by candlelight, then went downstairs to bed. Spike pulled a heavy urn over the trapdoor to make it less noticeable, just in case, and he slept on the sarcophagus in the center of the room upstairs. Sometime during the night, Spike was awoken by a noise outside the crypt. He jumped up and started for the door, but it opened before he could get there. Xander stalked in, completely ignored Spike’s expression of incredulity, and headed for the fridge. Xander casually helped himself to one of the German beers that Buffy had given Spike and looked around, as if just seeing the crypt for the first time.

“Where’s Dawn?” Xander asked after he’d perused the crypt with his eyes.

“Safe and sound,” Spike retorted, crossing his arms angrily.

“Where?” Xander persisted.

“Where gits like you won’t bother ‘er in the middle of the soddin’ night,” Spike shot back. “What d’ you want … other than to steal my bloody beer?” Spike snarled at him, wondering if the chip would fire if he knocked the beer out of the younger man’s hand. “Or are ya here for your dance floor etiquette lesson?”

“I’m here to tell you something,” Xander replied, deliberately taking a long, slow drink of the beer.

“Oh … I’m all a-twitter,” Spike mocked scathingly.

Xander set the beer down on a table and shoved Spike back against a pillar – hard. His face was a study in rage as he kept Spike pinned against the stone. “I’m on to you. You may have everyone else fooled, but I know what you’re up to,” Xander growled at Spike. “Buffy’s gone through some stuff lately that... well, it's affected her, and you're taking advantage.”



“She's upset about her mum. And if she turns to me for comfort – for a strong shoulder t’ cry on, well, I'm not gonna deny it to her. I'm not a monster.”

“Yes! You are a monster! Vampires are monsters! They make monster movies about them!” Xander asserted sagely.

“Well, yeah, you got me there, monkey boy,” Spike agreed sarcastically, shrugging.

“Whatever scheme you have brewing in that little pea brain of yours you need to just forget, Spike,” Xander told him in a deadly calm voice. “The others might not see it until it’s too late, but I know you, and I’ll do whatever it takes to protect Buffy. Now if that means killing you, then, well, that's just a bonus.”

“Ooooo … the big manly-man’s gonna stake the helpless vampire. I’m shakin’ in m’ boots,” Spike taunted.

Before Xander could retort, the door to the crypt opened again and several of Glory’s minions streamed in. The two men barely noticed, so engrossed were they in staring each other down, until one of the warty demons spoke: “Gentlemen! I'm so sorry to intrude, but I wondered if I might beg a moment of your time.”

“Friends of yours?” Spike asked Xander, giving the minion that had spoken a nonchalant glance.

Before Xander could answer, one of the minions punched the younger man hard in the jaw. Xander fell in an unconscious heap on the floor at Spike’s feet.

“Guess not,” Spike smirked as he swung at the one nearest him, but several more minions were converging on him quickly. He fought and struggled against them, but there were too many.

“Tie his hands! Glory will want him restrained. Careful with him. She will want her Key intact,” Jinx ordered.

“Key?  You think I’m the soddin’...” A gag shoved into Spike’s mouth cut off his protest as they dragged him out of the crypt, leaving Xander sleeping soundly on the floor.



**~**

Buffy sat on a boulder in the middle of the desert and felt herself dozing off. This Quest of Giles’ left a lot to desired so far. Maybe he hadn’t done the dance right or shaken his magical gourd properly. Suddenly she jerked awake. A giant bonfire burned in front of her and something was moving, smooth and cat-like, on the other side of it.



“I know you, you're the first Slayer,” Buffy realized, sitting up straighter as she eyed the other woman near the fire.

“This is a form. I am the Guide,” the primal Slayer purred back as she prowled gracefully around the raging fire.

“I have a few questions. About being the Slayer. What am I made of? What about the darkness in me? What about love?”

“You think you're losing your ability to love,” the guide stated.

“I didn't say that,” Buffy asserted, before sighing, “Yeah.”

“You're afraid that being the Slayer means losing your humanity.”

“Does it?” Buffy asked. “I’m … having these dreams and … uhhhh … there’s this vampire…” she stammered out.



The guide gave Buffy a knowing look. “Our power comes from the darkness, but this does not mean you cannot love. You love with the power of the Slayer. You love with your entire heart and soul. It’s brighter and hotter than the fire, blinding, all encompassing. That is why you pull away from it.”

“Blinding,” Buffy repeated slowly. “That’s what Spike said,” she murmured, more to herself than the Guide. Then, focusing her attention back on the first Slayer she asked, “But … what about the darkness? What about … Spike? He says…”

“He says he can show you how to keep your demon battling. He does not lie. You are not the first to find comfort in the dark, but you must not let it consume you. You are not wholly darkness, nor are you wholly light.”

“What … what does that mean? I can’t ever …” Buffy bit her lip and blinked back tears of frustration. “I can’t ever give in to my … ummmm …” Buffy cleared her throat uncomfortably. “I can’t ever be … me?”

“Others have done so and have been engulfed by the darkness of the demon. To fulfill his promise, your vampire must be willing to step into the light with you. Without that concession, he will simply pull you into the darkness. Your humanity will be forever lost,” the guide advised.

“What do you mean by ‘into the light’? Not the sunlight, right? ‘Cos, dusty Spike would be of the bad. You mean … light as in ‘good’, right?” Buffy asked hopefully. “Because Spike’s been…”

“Just as each human soul has a soulmate, each demon has a match – another half to which it is drawn,” the guide interrupted her. “The men took the power, the spirit, from the demon, divided it, and placed half inside the Slayer. Just as Zeus spilt the humans to reduce their power, men split the demons. Only the demon’s mate, its other half, would hold enough power to pull a vampire into the light. But, be warned, the opposite is also true: your other half could just as easily pull you into the ebony depths of evil.”

“Uhhhh … ok,” Buffy stammered, looking a little confused. “How … do I know …”

“Your demon will be drawn to its match, like a magnet to steel.”

Buffy frowned again. “This demon, does it look like multi-colored leopard print fabric by any chance? Because I kinda thought that was a bit of Spike’s soul, but I guess…”

“The demon is darkness … you must simply look into your true heart to see.”

“Ya know, I’ve been trying to look but all I get is lots of fog and static … and leopard print fabric,” Buffy asserted.



“You have been looking with your mind,” the guide purred in a silky voice. “You must look with your soul. You are full of love. Let your love guide you to your gift.”

“My gift? What gift?”

“Death is your gift,” the guide continued in a slow, even tone.

“Death? Like … undead death? … Spike is my gift? Or something else? Someone else’s death?” Buffy asked, still confused. “I’m not really thinking that death is much of a gift. My mom just died and, gotta say – death is not high on my Christmas list to Santa. Oh! Unless it's Glory's death! Is that it? My love will help me kill Glory?”

“Your question has been answered,” the guide stated, finality in her tone, and she was suddenly gone.

“Great,” Buffy moaned, rubbing her eyes tiredly and feeling just as confused as before she came. "More riddles."

**~**

Xander moaned, wishing the infernal banging that seemed to be rattling his brain would stop. BAM! BAM! BAM!

He rolled over onto his back. The banging got louder and now seemed to be physically lifting him up off the floor. BAM! BAM! BAM!

The giant urn next to him wobbled and teetered dangerously, threatening to tumble over atop him. “Spike! Spike! Are you alright?? Let me out!” Dawn yelled from somewhere under Xander.

Xander rubbed his jaw, then shook his head, trying to clear it and get the floor to stop moving. “Spike!” Dawn’s voice called again as the floor jumped up a couple of inches before slamming back down. Xander finally realized that it wasn’t his woozy head imagining the floor was moving – it was actually moving. He rolled to one side and stood up gingerly. The floor rose up higher and the urn tumbled backwards. Then the trapdoor was flung open and Dawn emerged from beneath the floor of the crypt.

“Xander!” Dawn exclaimed when she made it up the ladder. “What happened? Where’s Spike!? I heard voices!”

“The guys that work for Glory, didn’t Buffy say they're kind of like hobbits with leprosy?” Xander asked her, still rubbing his jaw.

“Yeah – they’re like all warty,” Dawn agreed.

“Well a whole flock of hobbits just grabbed Spike. I think they're taking him to Glory,” Xander explained.

“Oh my God! That’s what I heard! They think he’s the Key!” Dawn realized, the disjointed words that she’d heard through the door finally making sense. “We need to get him back!”

Xander snorted harshly. “Noooo,” he drawled slowly. “What we need to do is get you somewhere safe that Spike doesn’t know about.”



“What? What are you talking about?” Dawn asked, on the verge of panic.

“Spike is evil. Spike knows you’re the Key. Spike saves himself and turns you over to Glory. It’s simple math, Dawn,” Xander asserted as he grabbed her arm and began to lead her out of the crypt.

“Spike would never do that!” Dawn argued. “He saved me from Dru! He wouldn’t give me to Glory.”

“Dawn, it’s really time you grew up and stopped looking at Spike through rose-colored glasses,” Xander advised her. “He’s an opportunist. He saved you from Dru to get into your sister’s bed. And, apparently, he’s succeeded. But Buffy will see him for what he truly is now. Mark my words: he’ll turn you over to the hell-god faster than you can say ‘Captain Peroxide’. Now – c’mon, we need to get you somewhere safe.”

Dawn huffed but went with Xander, not because she thought Spike would turn her over to Glory, but because she was frightened and didn’t want to stay in the crypt without Spike there. “We need to get him back,” she continued to insist. “Glory might … hurt him.” She actually thought that Glory might dust him, but she couldn’t bring herself to say the words.

“Oh, well … that would be a shame,” Xander snarled sarcastically as they headed out of the cemetery and back towards Xander and Anya’s apartment.

“You’ll see,” Dawn muttered angrily. “Spike would never do anything to hurt me or Buffy.”

Xander blew out a derisive snort and shook his head. “Yeah … we’ll see.”

**~**

Back at the apartment, Xander called Willow and Tara. Before long the two witches had shown up and they were all discussing what to do next. “We need to rescue Spike!” Dawn insisted for the hundredth time to the group.

“Dawnie,” Willow began in a patient tone. “We really need to get you somewhere safe – then worry about … what to do about Spike.”



Dawn huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. “You think he’s gonna give me up too!” she accused, glaring at Willow.

“Well … he … it is Spike,” Willow stammered.

“You people do not get it at all!” Dawn ranted, pacing back and forth like a caged animal. “Spike would not tell! He’d … he’d dust before he gave me up! We have to get him back before …” Dawn’s voice broke and she closed her eyes, trying to keep her fear for Spike’s welfare from overtaking her.

“Ok … ok – we’ll … ummm …” Willow began, looking at Tara for help.

“We’ll do a locater s-s-spell,” Tara offered brightly. “We’ll find Spike then …”



“We’ll rescue him,” Willow assured Dawn in a tone that was a bit too bright.

Anya huffed. “How are we supposed to take on a god? Really? Willow’s barely gotten over the last fight with her. We need the Slayer,” Anya insisted. “And a nuclear bomb or two.”

“We’ll find a way,” Xander ground out through clenched teeth at his girlfriend. “But, in the meantime,” Xander continued, looking at Dawn, “we need to get you somewhere safe.”

“Xander’s r-r-right, Dawnie,” Tara agreed. “What about my dorm room? I don’t think Glory could possibly know about that.”

Xander snapped his fingers and pointed at Tara. “Perfect!”

**~**

At Tara’s dorm room, the two witches gathered ingredients for a locator spell to find Spike. “Oh shoot, I forgot!” Willow exclaimed as she spread a map on a table. “We need something of Spike’s to make this work.” She sighed. “Someone will have to go back to his crypt…” she began, turning to face the waiting group.

Dawn took a tentative step forward towards Willow and began to pull a dog-tag type ball chain out from under her shirt. “Will this work?” she asked pulling it off over her head and holding it out to Willow. On the chain was a heavy silver ring – a skull ring. “It’s the ring Spike gave Buffy that time … you know … when that spell went wonky. Buffy threw it away … I …” Dawn cleared her throat uncomfortably. “Well … it’s silver, right? I thought … I could … pawn it or something.”



“That was over a year ago,” Xander pointed out testily as Willow took the ring from Dawn’s hand.

Dawn shrugged. “Turns out minors can’t pawn stuff,” she defended.

“So you’ve been wearing it ever since?” Xander continued, looking affronted.

Dawn shrugged again, but didn’t answer him. Instead she looked at Willow. “Will it work?”

Willow nodded and set the ring down in the center of the map. “Yeah, I think so – I mean … it should, although technically he gave it to Buffy. But it was done under, well kinda … duress. I guess if it goes flying off the map towards the desert, we’ll know.”

The two witches each took a handful of colorful, glittering sand, recited the spell, and blew their sparkling sand over the map. The ring began to vibrate and move jerkily over the surface of the map, as if searching for something. To Dawn it looked kind of like the pointer on a Ouija board as it searched for the right letter – only this was for real, there were no fingers guiding it. Finally, after about a minute, the ring settled near a park at the edge of town and stopped vibrating. Everyone leaned in and looked closely.

“It’s one of those big mansions on the north side of the park,” Willow observed.

“Yeah, but which one? That ring is covering like a whole block,” Xander pointed out.

Willow shrugged. “I guess we’ll just have to knock on some doors – if one’s answered by a hobbit with leprosy, then we know we found the right one.”

Xander rolled his eyes. “Swell. I was kinda hoping for more of a surprise attack. I really doubt they'll just invite us in and let us sta..." Xander faltered under Dawn's gimlet glare, which rivaled the Slayer's at her most deadly. "Errr ... save Spike.”

Willow shrugged. “Yeah well, if you want to go back to Spike’s crypt and get me a hair or something like that, then…”

Xander held up his hands. “That’s close enough,” he declined.

“Tara, can you stay here with Dawn?” Willow asked her girlfriend.

Tara nodded. “S-s-sure. We’ll be fine.”

“Ok – let’s go to Buffy’s and get some weapons,” Xander suggested as Willow, Anya, and he headed for the door.

“Be careful,” Tara called after them as they left.

**~**

At Buffy’s house, Xander began pulling out weapons from the chest and handing them to Willow and Anya.



“Do you have an actual plan?” Willow asked as she took a crossbow from his hand.

“Find Spike and keep him from talking, whatever it takes,” he stated as he picked up a stake and shoved it meaningfully into his pocket before retrieving an axe.

Willow grimaced. “I don’t think Buffy would approve of staking Spike,” she offered meekly.

“Yeah, well, Buffy’s not here, is she?” Xander shot back.

“I think the more important questions is: what do we do about Glory?” Anya pointed out as she took a stake from Xander’s hand.

“We’re just gonna have to try and avoid her – just try to get to Spike and shut him up, then run like hell,” Xander advised.

“Whoa! Group hang time?” a new voice called brightly from the foyer.

“Buffy!” three voices exclaimed at once, relief washing over them.

Picking up on their worried vibes, she asked, “What's wrong? Is Dawn okay?”



“Dawn's fine,” Willow assured her. “She’s with Tara at Tara’s dorm.”

“But Glory has Spike,” Xander added quickly.

“What?!” Buffy exclaimed in horror. She felt her chest tighten and her heart clench in fear.

She’d been pondering what the guide had said the whole way home. She still wasn’t sure what most of it meant exactly – what it meant about Spike and her. She really thought she’d have more time to figure it all out, but if Glory dusted Spike … She refused to finish that thought. “We have to get him.”

“Exactly! We have to shut him up before he goes blabbing about the Key,” Xander agreed. “Whatever it takes,” he added, handing Buffy a stake.

Buffy looked at Xander for a moment before the full meaning of his words dawned on her. “Noooo … we are not staking him, we are rescuing him,” she clarified.



Xander sighed and rolled his eyes. “What is it with you women and the Evil Dead? Why am I the only one that remembers what Spike’s done and what he’s capable of? I get that Spike’s strong and mysterious and sorta compact but well muscled, but…”

All three women gave Xander a funny, questioning look.

“Xander, I didn’t know you felt that way about Spike,” Anya said after a moment. “If I had known, we could’ve invited him to…” she shrugged a shoulder and raised her brows suggestively, “… you know. Being a vampire, I'm sure he's well beyond the sexual stigmas this society favors of 'gay' and 'straight'. He'd certainly have the stamina for the both of us. A three-way with Spike would be...”

“Three-what!? No! No three! No Spike!!” Xander objected vehemently to her suggestion, shuddering at the image. “I’m just saying that I see how he could fool those of you who … might find him … physically attractive.”

“I don’t know – sounds like that includes you, Xander,” Buffy pointed out, cocking a brow at him.

“Plus, hey – gay now,” Willow offered, raising her hand. “No physical attraction here, and I kinda think Dawn was right – I don’t think he’d do anything to hurt her. Although …” Willow sighed, conflicted. It was Spike after all.

“He wouldn’t,” Buffy assured everyone as she grabbed a crossbow for herself. “We are rescuing Spike. Anyone not down with that plan doesn’t need to come,” she stated unequivocally, glaring at Xander with the same ferocity that Dawn had used earlier.

Xander rolled his eyes and sighed, but finally nodded. "Fine."

“Do we know where we are rescuing him?” Buffy asked, looking from Xander to Willow.

Willow nodded. “More or less … within a block.”

Buffy nodded as she headed for the kitchen; she was back in just a moment tucking two sliver packages into her coat. “Space Blankets,” she answered their unasked question. “Dawn bought them for Spike – for getting around in the day. She forgot to take them with her yesterday. We’ll need them to get him out of there. No sense saving him from Glory just to have him get all dusty in the sun.”



Xander rolled his eyes while Willow muttered, “Cool.”

“Did anyone call Giles? We’re gonna need all the help we can get,” Buffy asked.

They all shook their heads and Buffy headed for the phone.

**~**

The group walked slowly down the sidewalk in front of the large mansions that lined the north side of the park. Buffy would stop in front of each house and try to sense demons inside, hopeful that they could take Glory and her minions by surprise rather than ringing the bell and announcing themselves.
 
She was starting to think her Slayer senses were on the fritz after making it halfway down the block with no tinges or tingles. But, at the very next house she got something – the hair on the back of her neck stood up and a shiver ran down her spine. She held her hand out to stop everyone in front of a large white, three-story house. The house was set high up on a hill overlooking the park. That, combined with the medieval-esque architecture that included large, circular towers on either side, made it look more like a castle than a house. Buffy closed her eyes and concentrated on the sensation. The Guide’s words came back to her as she tried to clear her mind of worry and just feel. ‘Just as each human soul has a soulmate, each demon has a match – another half to which it is drawn.’



The shiver that had slithered down her spine seemed to have settled firmly in her chest. She felt like she was being pulled toward the house by a string attached to her heart … or her ribcage … maybe her lungs, she couldn’t be sure which. “This is it,” she announced confidently as she opened her eyes and surveyed the house.

“Are you certain?” Giles asked, readying his crossbow.

“Completely,” Buffy confirmed, looking at her friends. “We are here to rescue Spike. You guys keep clear of Glory, leave her to me. While I distract her, you guys get Spike out,” she commanded in a voice that allowed no room for argument. She handed one Space Blanket to Anya and the other to Willow. “If we get separated, then you get him out and back to my house. If I get delayed, I’ll meet you back there as soon as I can. Got it?”

Her friends all nodded, even Xander.

“Ok, let’s go.”

**~**



Spike fought to remain conscious as he dropped through the emergency door on the top of the elevator and thudded down into the empty lift. His only thought was that he had to get out before the hell-bitch dusted him. He could take all the pain she wanted to dish out – he’d had plenty of practice with that over the years he’d spent with Angelus, Darla, and Dru – but he couldn’t keep his promise to Buffy if he were dusted. He wouldn’t be able to stand beside her; he wouldn’t be able to fight anything as a big pile o’ dust.

The elevator lurched to a stop and the doors slid slowly open on the ground floor. Spike struggled to his feet and had just begun to move out of the lift when one of Glory’s warty minions stepped in front of the doors.

Bloody hell. Spike squared his shoulders and clenched his jaw against the pain, which radiated from every cell in his body – better to put every ounce of strength he had left into a fight with a minion than be taken back to Glory.



“Spike!” he heard Buffy’s voice call from somewhere behind his adversary. For a moment he thought he’d imagined it, then she was there, slamming the minion square in the jaw with a round-house kick and dropping the hobbit like a sack of potatoes.

“Stay there!” she ordered as she knocked another warty hobbit away. Spike sighed as relief washed over him. The final bit of adrenaline he’d been running on waned and faded in that instant. He stumbled back against the wall of the lift and sank down onto his ass, unable to find the strength to even remain standing another second.

“Didn’t tell … didn’t say nothing,” he croaked out, unsure if he’d spoken loud enough for Buffy to hear.

“Just stay there,” Buffy called to him as she moved from his rapidly-dwindling field of vision. “I’ll be back.”

Spike grunted out a painful laugh. “I’ll be baack,” he groaned out in his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. It was the last thing he remembered before the world went black.

**~**

“But how do you know?!” a voice exclaimed much too loudly and much too near Spike’s pounding head. It seemed to cut directly into his brain like a screeching band saw. He lifted his arms and covered his ears with his hands, trying to block it out and keep his head from exploding.

“Because he told me,” another voice insisted, just as loudly. It was Buffy’s voice, Spike realized. He tried to open his eyes, but they wouldn’t cooperate. He finally managed to get one open by manually forcing it with his fingers.

He was in Buffy’s house, in the living room, apparently lying on the couch. The room was full of people: Buffy, Xander, Giles, Willow, Anya. Buffy and Xander seemed to be doing all the talking … or screaming.

“Oh, and now we’re taking Spike’s word for things?” Xander shot back. “You’re willing to bet Dawn’s life on the word of a monster?!”

“Yes, I am,” Buffy snarled back, her voice low and dangerous. Spike wasn’t sure he’d ever heard Buffy quite so angry – even at him.



He blinked the one eye he had propped open to get it to focus. He found that Buffy and Xander were standing toe to toe right next to him, glaring at each other. “It’s my call, Xander. I’m the Slayer, I’m her sister, and I trust Spike.”

“You’re delusional!” Xander shot back. “What will it take to convince you? Dawn dying? Hell on earth? C’mon Buffy, get a grip on your hormones! Spike’s a monster! He’ll say anything!”

“My hormones are none of your concern and have nothing to do with this!” Buffy shot back. “Spike wouldn’t do anything to hurt Dawn. Period.”

“Buffy, if I may…” Giles tried to intervene.

“Oh, are you gonna talk about my hormones too?” she spat, glaring at her Watcher.

“Errr … no. I simply thought I should point out that Spike has been known to … say things that weren’t strictly accurate in the past,” Giles offered, trying to be diplomatic.

“He has had a lot of practice at lying,” Anya agreed matter-of-factly with the two men.

Buffy shot her a glare, then turned her eyes to Willow. Willow looked away, unable to meet Buffy’s eyes. “You too, Wills?”

Willow shrugged and gave Buffy a sympathetic look. “It’s just … well … I know you think he’s changed … and … I want to believe him … but…” she stammered, glancing away again.

Buffy stood and glared at all her friends for several long moments, her arms folded angrily over her chest. No one said anything, and the tension between them grew faster than kudzu in Georgia.

Finally, in a voice so calm and cool that it seemed to lower the temperature in the room by ten degrees, Buffy spoke, “I need Spike to help protect Dawn. He’s the only one, other than Willow and me, who stands any chance against her. I believe him when he says he didn’t tell Glory who the Key is. You guys can either accept that I know what I’m doing or not. If not – you can go, the door’s open. If you stay, then you stay with the understanding that I’m the Slayer and the monks gave Dawn to me to protect – not you. I will use every means available to do that – including Spike.”



“Buffy … when did it become ‘I’? We’ve always been a team,” Willow asked with a tinge of hurt in her voice.

“It became ‘I’ when you guys decided that I’m ‘delusional’ and controlled by my ‘hormones’. Spike stays. Anyone that has a problem with that can go,” Buffy replied, her voice still deadly calm.

The others shifted uncomfortably in their stances, but no one left.

“Fine,” Buffy said at last. “Willow, can you go to Tara’s and tell Dawn that Spike’s alright?”

Willow nodded. “Do you want us to keep her there tonight … you know … just … in case Glory comes here looking for … Spike?”

Buffy glared at her a moment but then nodded. “Yeah, that might be a good idea. I’ll come get her in the morning and take her to school.”

“What do you want the rest of us to do?” Xander asked, the tone of anger gone from his voice, replaced with grudging resignation.

Buffy sighed heavily as several ideas popped into her mind, none of them very nice. Finally she just said, “Go home and get some rest. Glory’s getting impatient now – that must mean something, like time is getting short. We need to find something we can use against her. She has to have an Achilles heel – we need to find it, hit the books some more.”

The others nodded and filed out the front door, leaving Buffy and Spike alone.

“Thanks,” Spike mumbled feebly from the couch.

Buffy turned to him, unaware that he was awake, and knelt down. “God, Spike … are you ok?”



“Right as rain,” he lied, coughing up some blood as he spoke. “How do I look?”

Buffy snorted slightly. “You’re covered in sexy wounds … I can barely contain my hormones.”

Spike nodded and settled back against the pillow under his head and let his eye fall closed again. “‘Give us a minute, luv. Got some bones need mending then we'll see 'bout your hormones.”

“When you were with Glory, did you see or hear anything that could help us?” Buffy asked him, changing to a serious tone.

“Gets riled up easy, she does. Told ‘er you were gonna kick her skanky, lopsided ass back to whatever place would take a cheap, whorish, fashion-victim ex-god like her, and she bloody lost it,” Spike told Buffy proudly.

Even with his injuries, Buffy could hear the snarky swagger in his voice – a tone she was well familiar with because of all the times he'd used it on her – which she knew was how he'd delivered that news to Glory. “You didn’t!” Buffy laughed. “No wonder she beat the hell out of you!”

“Can’t beat the hell outta ole Spike, luv. Goes all the way through, it does.”

Buffy laughed again and shook her head, rubbing her tired and worried eyes with one hand.

“Think you’re right though,” Spike continued in a weaker voice. “She’s losin’ her patience. I reckon she’s gonna be looking double-hard for the Key after this.”



Buffy took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “So far, she's just been ... dancing. I don’t know how long we can avoid a real confrontation. When that happens, we're not all gonna make it. You know that.”

“Yeah. Hey, I always knew I'd go down fighting,” Spike agreed, coughing up more blood from his ravaged lungs.

Buffy bit her bottom lip as that fear of losing him before she had a chance to figure out what the Guide meant surfaced again. “You’re the strongest of all of us, Spike. No matter what happens to me, I'm counting on you to protect Dawn.”

'Til the end of the world, luv,” Spike assured Buffy, reaching a hand up to touch a teardrop that had slipped from her eye. He hadn’t seen it – he just knew it was there somehow.

Buffy nodded and sniffed, then took Spike’s hand in hers and dropped a soft kiss on his palm. “I’ll get some water and bandages and get you cleaned up,” she offered, getting back to business and standing up.

Spike grabbed her hand before she could move away. He forced one eye open again with nothing more than willpower. “Thank you for believing in me,” he said, his throat tight with emotion.

Buffy nodded, but couldn’t speak – her own throat had closed up completely. She leaned down and touched a soft kiss on his lips before turning away to go retrieve the bandages.



**~**
End Notes:
Sorry there wasn't more Spike in this chapter, but I thought Spike's behavior with Glory would've been basically the same here as in canon. I didn't see the need to simply rehash it, despite the classic, snarky dialogue and his bravery. The main change, of course, is Buffy's willingness to believe him at his word and trust him – even if her friends don't. Just where will that trust lead? We'll find out next...

Next:  Will Buffy be able to lead Spike further into the light as the Guide advised she needed to, or will Spike pull her into the darkness, with him?
Touch Me, Save My Life by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Buffy endeavors to lead Spike into the ‘light’, but will he be the one to show her the way instead?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading (and extra thanks for reviewing!!) and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episode Covered: Between Intervention and Tough Love

**~**

A few hours after rescuing Spike from Glory:

Spike’s eyes fluttered open and he tried to figure out where he was. It was dark; only a small sliver of light cut the blackness above him, although he couldn’t immediately suss out the source of it. He was laying on something soft and there was something warm pressed against his side. He tried to focus, but his eyes fell closed again.



Spike wasn’t sure how long he’d been asleep. He remembered Buffy kissing him so softly that her lips felt like a warm breeze fluttering against his mouth. Then he remembered her coming back with the bandages, and her warm hands on his skin, gentle and caring, followed by cool water as she washed the blood off and bandaged his wounds. After that he felt like he had floated away in a sea of darkness. He couldn’t get his mind to focus or keep his one semi-working eye open any longer. He remembered her soft words in his ear telling him to rest, to sleep, and he gave up trying to fight the fatigue and pain and just let himself do as she said.

Spike tried again, forcing his eyes open and willing them to focus. He was in a bed, he realized … his bed in the crypt? No. Buffy’s bed. He blinked his eyes and looked around. Something dark and heavy was draped over the window, blocking out most of the light. It was sunny outside. He wondered again how long he’d slept – one night or more? The warmth next to him, he realized with genuine surprise, was Buffy. She was curled against him but not so tightly that she would press against his mangled ribs. One small hand rested against his shoulder, her head was on the pillow next to his, her face was very close.

Spike turned his head on the pillow and watched her sleep. Her chest rose and fell in an easy rhythm of gentle breath and her face was a study in calm. All the stress and worry that creased her features when she was awake was gone. It struck him how young she looked. Too young to be going through everything that life had piled atop her.

Spike gingerly turned onto his side, suppressing a moan of pain when he did so, to look directly into her face. Buffy shifted slightly, but didn’t awaken when he moved. He raised a hand and stroked her hair gently, taking great care not to wake her. Emotions welled up inside him, threatening to burst his chest. He wanted to do nothing more than protect her, to wrap her in his arms and keep her safe forever. He wanted to keep the worry and stress away from her, to keep all the dangers in the world away from her. He wanted to hear her laugh, wanted to see her happy, and he wanted more than anything to be a man worthy of her.

“I love you, Buffy,” he whispered to her sleeping form. Despite the rule he'd set for himself to let her come to him, he was unable to stop the words as they slipped from his lips, seemingly of their own free will.
 
Buffy’s eyes fluttered open and met his across the short distance that separated their faces. She looked at him quizzically. Spike wasn’t sure if she’d heard his words or not. Part of him hoped not; the other part hoped she had. He dared not say it again.

Buffy raised a hand to his cheek, carefully avoiding the gash there, then slid it back behind his neck as she moved her lips to his. Her lips touched his softly, afraid of causing him discomfort, but Spike pressed his mouth to hers urgently. Pain shot out from his split and bruised lip, but he pushed it aside as unimportant. All he could feel was Buffy’s warm, soft mouth against his. Her tongue darted out and pressed between his lips. Spike welcomed her into him, wrapping his tongue around hers in a silent dance as he pulled her body closer to his.



When her chest pressed against his, he was unable to stop the gasp of pain. Buffy pulled back immediately, sorrow and concern now showing in her eyes where a moment before there had been only desire.

“Sorry, pet,” Spike whispered, trying to get the stabbing sensation to stop shooting out from the hole that Glory had dug into his sternum. “Reckon your trip to the dark side’ll have to wait a bit.”

“Shhhhh…” Buffy whispered, laying a finger softly on his lips. “Then let me bring you into the light,” she offered, pressing him gently by one shoulder so he rolled onto his back.

Spike looked at her, unsure what she was talking about, but didn’t move. He watched her toss the covers off them and begin to pull her shirt off.

He grabbed her wrist, stopping her. “You don’t have to do this,” he contended. “I’ll still protect Dawn with my life, no matter what.”



“I know that. That’s not why I’m doing it,” Buffy assured him. “Come into the light with me, Spike.”

Spike furrowed his brows, still not understanding her, but released the hold he had on her wrist. Buffy continued her motion and pulled her shirt off. She had nothing on beneath it and Spike’s unneeded breath caught in his throat. He reached a hand out and touched her breast, ghosting his cool fingers over her hot flesh. Her nipples hardened into tight buttons under his touch and he longed to kiss them, but couldn’t sit up without more stabbing pains shooting through him. So he settled for using his long, lithe fingers to tease them, running them ‘round and ‘round first one soft pink areola then the other.

Buffy gasped and closed her eyes a moment as goose-flesh appeared on her skin. The little tingling bumps followed Spike’s touch, then spread out to cover her entire body. Her pussy throbbed in need and her whole body prickled in glorious anticipation. An involuntary shiver ran through her and her teeth actually clattered together a few times before she could pull her lips between them to stop the chattering.

“So beautiful you are, Buffy,” Spike murmured, his eyes unable to move from her firm, round breasts and hard nipples as he teased and fondled them gently. "More beautiful than I ever imagined."

Buffy took a deep breath and grudgingly slid away, out of his reach. At the end of the bed she stood up and slid her shorts off, dropping them to the floor as Spike watched her, enthralled. Her body was more magnificent than Spike had imagined in his wildest dreams. Golden-tan skin covered toned muscles and soft curves. Her flat stomach gave way to a small triangle of neatly trimmed dark curls and, even from this distance, he could smell the sweet aroma of her desire.
 
He watched as she climbed back onto the bed, crawling on hands and knees above him until she reached his belt. She sat back on her heels and began to unfasten it. Her movements were slow and deliberate as she let his belt fall open and then unbuttoned his jeans. When her hand brushed against his erection, he gasped and his eyes fluttered closed involuntarily. How long had he dreamed of this moment? He fought to keep control of himself – he didn’t need to do something very git-ish and ruin this before it even got started.

He felt her move off the bed again and realized that she needed him to lift his hips so she could tug his pants off. He did so and she pulled on the legs of his jeans, sliding them down and finally off his body.

Buffy bit her bottom lip as she took in Spike’s naked body. Except for the wounds Glory had inflicted upon him, his skin was smooth and creamy white. The lines of his body were sharp, angular, and hard, just like those of his face. His muscles were strong and well defined, but not overbearing. He had the body of a runner or a swimmer, not of a hard-core bodybuilder – slim but powerful.

 

His chest was smooth and sculpted, giving the impression that he was a finely-made, marble statue come to life. His firm pectoral muscles called to her, making her palms itch to touch them. His arms reflected the strength that Buffy knew he possessed. The hard ball of deltoid muscle gave way to equally impressive biceps, which contracted into impressive mounds of solid flesh when he moved. Rounding out his Greek-god-like upper-arms, his triceps undulated gracefully as he shifted ever so slightly on the bed. She knew how good those arms felt wrapped around her, even through his duster. She couldn’t wait to have them holding her like this: au naturel.

Her eyes drifted down to his hands. Yes, she’d seen them many times. She’d been hit by those rock-hard fists more than once, and had seen them wreak havoc on all manner of baddie, but they looked different to her now.

His fingers were long and graceful, and for some reason she thought they should belong to a dancer … or maybe a musician. His pinky, she noticed for the first time, seemed extraordinarily long, nearly as long as his ring finger. What an odd thing to notice. Silver rings glinted from more than one of his fingers. They seemed an odd contrast to the chipped, dull, black polish on his chewed-to-the-quick nails. She imagined those hands on her body, touching her skin, caressing her heated flesh. A shiver ran down her spine at the thought.



Her eyes glided back to his torso where the classic V-shape of his upper-body gave way to a slim, flat stomach. His abdomen was adorned with a chiseled six-pack of muscles, and Buffy could only imagine how good they would feel pressed against her – hard and powerful.

Between his hipbones was another ‘V’ which, although smaller, mimicked that of his torso. It seemed to add a sort of masculine symmetry to his body. Beneath his bellybutton there was a thin line of dark hair which tickled down the middle of that second ‘V’. The wispy, dark trail led her eye to a larger patch of dark curls that surrounded his cock. 
 
Buffy’s chest heaved with desire as she took in his hardness, which stood proud against the tight, flat muscles of his stomach. It was as she’d imagined, and as Spike had claimed – no soft, wooden stake could hold a candle to it. Dark visions of what that body, what that cock, could do to her swam through her mind. In that moment she wanted nothing more than to have Spike show her the darkness – let her touch it, let her run free inside it.

She took several deep breaths and reminded herself that now wasn’t the time for that. Now was the time to be gentle and caring and pray to God that he could, as the Guide had told her he must, join her in the light. Spike had done many things recently that told her that he could, but would he want to? Would it be enough for him?

Buffy swallowed hard and started back up the bed, crawling on all fours over his prone body. She dropped kisses along his legs as she went, warm and wet against his cool, soft skin. Spike’s muscles jerked and trembled under her lips. A thrill tingled up his spine as she worked her way higher. Her long hair draped over her shoulder like a silken veil and caressed his skin as she moved. Her golden tresses felt like a million magical rays of sunlight warming him as she wandered slowly up his body, and again Spike had to fight to maintain control of himself.

A guttural moan escaped Spike’s lips as she moved up. Then her lips were dropping their soft caress onto his hipbone and her hair was raking over his cock. His hips jerked up of their own accord and he couldn’t stop himself from reaching for her and dragging her lips up to his. Buffy fought to keep her body from resting atop his bruised and battered torso, supporting herself on her arms and knees as Spike pulled her forward. Then his lips were on hers, soft and demanding at once. His tongue delved into her mouth, tasting her, twirling around hers, devouring her.

“Need you, Buffy,” Spike moaned against her lips as he continued kissing her fervently.
 
“God, Spike … I need you too,” Buffy murmured back to him.

Spike released her lips and carefully slid down in the bed, pulling her up at the same time until her head was against the headboard and her breasts were above his mouth. He pulled her down to him, capturing one hard nipple with his lips and swirling his tongue around it as he fondled her other firm tit with those magical fingers.

Buffy’s back arched and she tossed her head back in bliss as he kissed and suckled her sensitive skin. His teeth raked across her nipples, nibbling on first one hard nubbin, then the other.



“Oh God, Spike,” Buffy moaned as her body shuddered in delight under his touch. She could imagine him biting her harder … imagine the demon’s fangs pricking her skin, drawing blood. She trembled with desire as the darkness within her fought to escape the prison it had been in for so long.

“Cum for me, Buffy,” Spike purred against her heated skin as his hand found her wet folds and a long, slender finger ghosted over her clit.

A scream escaped her throat – she didn’t even try to stop it, she no longer cared who heard. Dawn was at school and the nosy neighbors could just draw their own conclusions. It wasn’t as if they hadn’t heard all sorts of strange noises coming from her house before.

A small wave of bliss rolled over her as Spike’s lips and teeth made love to her breasts and his hand teased her slick, wet pussy.

“Yes, Slayer … scream for me,” Spike growled against her hot skin as Buffy panted and shuddered above him. Another wave of bliss broke over her as he pressed his finger into her throbbing hole, teasing her clit with his thumb. Buffy obliged him willingly with another sharp gasp and a short but deafening scream of pleasure.

Buffy couldn’t wait any longer; she not only wanted him, she needed him inside her. She couldn’t remember ever needing anyone so desperately – not even Angel. She wanted to scream as Spike had promised her – until she couldn’t talk. She wanted her legs to turn to jelly and her body to quiver and she wanted him inside her … now.

Buffy pushed up, sitting back until her hips hovered over Spike’s. She had wanted this first time to be special; she’d wanted it to be full of the ‘light’ that the Guide talked about. She wasn’t sure what that meant, perhaps something sweet, but most likely that meant something dull and boring. At the moment, though, all thought of ‘bringing Spike into the light’ vanished from her mind; all she wanted was him inside her. All she wanted was to feel him thrusting into her; all she wanted to do was let the darkness out.

Her eyes met his across the short distance and even in the dim light that came in around the blanket she’d put up over her window she could see the blue of his eyes. His hands were on her thighs, caressing her gently; his eyes were full of desire, but it wasn’t dark and feral – which is how she felt – it was … light and loving. How ironic would it be if it were Spike that kept her in the light instead of the other way around?
 
That’s exactly how she felt in that moment, and she suddenly understood what the Guide was talking about. The darkness was feral and instinctive – it took what it wanted; the darkness was the demon, the savage animal within. The light was caring and loving – it sought to give what the other person desired; it was the soul, the human, the heart.

Spike reached between them and guided his cock across her clit, down her slick folds to her throbbing slit. He didn’t lift his hips up, didn’t thrust up into her, even though she would’ve welcomed that, he simply waited – waited for her.

Buffy kept her eyes locked on his and lowered herself down onto his hard, long rod as slowly as she could, taking him into her bit by naughty bit. His cock pressed into her tight, wet channel, stretching her, filling her as she impaled herself on him. Their moans mingled together and filled the room with lustful desire as she engulfed his cool hardness in her soft heat. Their eyes never wavered, staying locked on the other – blue on green – until their hips met. Even then, neither of them moved; they simply stared at each other as if something deep inside them was connecting them with their eyes, just as their bodies were now connected in the most intimate way.

Buffy’s labored breathing was the only sound in the room. Her chest heaved with desire … and something more. Something that came from the connection of their eyes. That pull … the pull of her demon, the pull of her heart, the pull of her … soul.
 
Just as each human soul has a soulmate, each demon has a match – another half to which is it drawn. The men took the power from the demon, divided it, and placed half inside the Slayer. Just as Zeus spilt the humans to reduce their power, men split the demons.

“Oh my God,” Buffy panted as so many disjointed emotions, words, and thoughts clicked into place suddenly. He wasn’t just the match for her demon, he was her soulmate. At that moment she knew with certainty that she had interpreted that whole ‘leopard print fabric’ dream correctly – their souls were cut from the same cloth … and Spike still had some of William’s soul within him. She not only knew it with her mind now, she felt it with her heart. Just like her, he wasn’t wholly darkness nor wholly light.

That was how he could make her feel like he was the one showing her the light, instead of the other way around. Just like her, there was a soul and a demon residing inside him. His was perhaps the inverse of her, with more demon than soul, but it was there, nonetheless. They were like those black and white cookies at the bakery. Yin and Yang. Darkness and light. Perfect compliments. Each other's match.



Spike smirked up at her. “Haven’t even got to the best part and you’re already callin’ to God? Can’t wait t’ see whose name you take in vain later, Slayer.”

Buffy smiled down at him. Her heart felt like a giant shroud had been lifted off it. She felt almost literally weightless, as if she could fly on the wings of … love. She had been right to trust Spike. And the Guide had been right about her – she was full of love. It burned inside her brighter than the sun; it was blinding, just like Spike had said, but for once Buffy didn’t pull away from it. She didn’t have to hide any part of it from him. She didn’t have to keep her dark side chained up, or keep her love hidden from him. He would embrace the darkness just as well as the light. She could be free with him.

“Let’s find out,” she encouraged him as she began to move her hips against his and he matched her slow rhythm with an easy rise of his hips against her.

“Oh, Slayer …” Spike moaned when she began moving. “So bloody hot you are, Buffy … so tight, so sexy.”

“Oh, God, Spike … you feel so good. Need you, Spike … I … love you,” she panted out.



Spike stopped moving, his half-lidded eyes flying wide as he looked up at her, afraid that he’d heard her wrong … or maybe she’d just said it because … well, it was the thing to say.

Buffy stopped moving too. She leaned forward, careful not to hurt him, and touched her lips with his. “I love you, William,” she repeated, her lips brushing against his, her breath warm against his lips.

“Oh, Buffy,” he moaned, pulling her body down against his, regardless of the pain, and capturing her lips with his. “I love you so much, pet,” he gasped out against her skin. “Dreamed of this … dreamed of you so many times.”

Buffy pulled back slightly to look into his eyes. “I hope I can live up to dream-Buffy,” she half-teased.

“You already have, luv,” he assured her. “Surpassed ‘er, pet … you are so beautiful, so bloody cute trying to be gentle and not hurt me.”

“I’ll never hurt you Spike,” Buffy promised solemnly, her green eyes solemn, serious – her meaning clear.



Spike bit his bottom lip and nodded. “I’ll never hurt you, pet … unless you want me to,” he teased, trying to keep his emotions from glistening in his eyes and making him look like a ponce.

Buffy smiled. “Sounds like we’re a perfect match, then.”

Spike pulled her lips back to his and poured every ounce of love and passion he had stored up for her into the kiss. He wished he could flip her over and make love to her properly. He wanted to do everything with her that he’d dreamed of doing for so long. He wanted to give her everything she needed, everything she deserved, but there was no way his battered and bruised body would allow it – not today, anyway.

Buffy pulled back from the kiss, panting desperately for air, and began moving against him again. Their eyes stayed locked on each other as their bodies danced, moving to a rhythm only they could hear. Soft moans and whispers filled the room as the lovers discovered the blissful pleasures of each other.

Their cadence escalated as their desires intensified into urgent needs within them. Spike’s hands gripped Buffy’s hips as he thrust up into her burning desire, pulling her down on him harder with every stroke. Buffy steadied herself with her hands on the headboard, afraid to press her palms against Spike’s chest or stomach, as she slammed down on him.

“Don’t hold back, Buffy … you won’t hurt me,” Spike encouraged her as he thrust up into her harder and faster as his need for her soared higher and higher.

Spike released one of his hands from her hip and slipped it between them, and the next time Buffy came down on him a thousand flaming sparks shot out of her core as his finger crashed against her clit.

“Oh, Spike! Yes! God, baby … yes!” Buffy exclaimed as she felt herself losing control like she had never done before. Her sugar walls tightened and pulsed around his length, and Spike winced as he thrust up into her harder and deeper. Pain radiated out from the wounds on his stomach and chest, but he didn’t care – he wanted only to hear her cry out, to scream, to cum like she’d never cum before. He wanted her juices covering him, her body spent, her soul in heaven and her demon flying through the fires of hell. He wanted to show her what it could be: blissful nirvana.

“Cum for me Buffy … let go! Just be,” he encouraged as he drove into her feverishly, using the pain as fuel for his lust. Buffy took every ounce of his power and gave it back with just as much passionate intensity.

Buffy’s mind blanked; she could only feel. Feel Spike’s body under her. Feel his hard, demanding cock thrusting into her. Feel his fingers sending fire-bolts out from her clit. Feel his words roll over her like warm, thick honey. Feel the tidal wave of pleasure building higher and higher inside her core, and for once she didn’t stop it. She didn’t push it back, didn’t try to control it or dampen it, didn’t pull away from it. There was nothing but Spike and the orgasmic bliss he was giving her. She let it come, let it build into an emotion so powerful that it consumed her completely when it burst forth.



She heard someone screaming and felt the waves of rapture crash over her like a tidal wave over a small island, consuming her utterly and completely. Her body shuddered and convulsed atop Spike as her soul seemed to fly out of her physical body and up past the moon and sun towards heaven. Then flames were licking at the darkness within, burning her with an ecstasy so hot and bright that she felt like she was dancing on the surface of the sun.

And then Spike was there with her in the flames, twirling her around as they burned with sweet, blissful passion. And they danced. They danced as the flames licked at their bodies. They danced to her rapturous scream. They danced to his growling roar. They danced like neither had ever danced before.

It was a dance that was born of something more than sex, more even than love. It was the dance of two halves of one whole finding their match again after too long apart. Spike pulled her to him through the blazing heat and kissed her deeply. And as they kissed, they were suddenly dancing through heaven – the Milky Way at their feet. Where flames had licked at their bodies a moment before, a cool, refreshing breeze now blew. It was completely different but no less blissful, no less engulfing than the flames. They waltzed across the stars like angels, floating on divine zephyrs, moving as one being, as if their souls had joined in that moment.

Finally, the cool breeze waned and the fires ebbed into nothing more than glowing embers. As the taut muscles of their climaxing bodies began to relax, the lovers floated away from the searing inferno of their bliss and back to earth.



Spike’s lips were cool and demanding against hers, his arms wrapped around her back, holding her body down atop his. The screaming had stopped and Buffy realized that it was she who had been screaming. She pulled her lips back from Spike’s, gasping for breath, and rested her forehead against his. Her chest heaved with exertion and her body still quivered and trembled from the orgasm. Spike was still inside her and her pussy still clenched at his cock, unwilling to release him even as their combined juices slid down over him and pooled on the sheets beneath.

Buffy finally pulled back to look into Spike’s eyes. They were smoldering as he searched her face, and she knew that if she were to see her own eyes, they would look the same. “Were you … there with … me?” Buffy asked between gulps of air. “In the flames … and the stars?”

“I was,” Spike replied, sounding as awestruck as Buffy felt. “What does it mean?”

Buffy let herself get lost in the wonderment that shone in his eyes for a moment and hoped that hers looked the same way to him. “I think it means that …” Buffy bit her bottom lip and a small smile lit up her face. “I think it means that I was wrong that night in the alley – I do want to dance … and I want to dance with you.”

“I could dance with you forever, luv,” Spike whispered, touching his fingertips to her cheek gently.

Buffy nodded and blinked back her emotions. “I really do love you.”

Spike’s heart soared even higher. Every ache, every injury, every stabbing, throbbing pain vanished in that moment. “I love you too, Buffy.” 
End Notes:
Next:  The 'morning after' ... will there be regrets?
I Need Your Love by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
The ‘night after’. Will doubts seep into Buffy’s mind about loving Spike after the sun goes down? Will she regret what they did that afternoon?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and reviewing! I really love hearing what you like (or don't like!). Don't be shy! Thanks also to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episode covered: Still in between Intervention and Tough Love

**~**

Later that night:

Spike woke from a peaceful, dreamless sleep feeling renewed and rejuvenated. Buffy’s words to him, ‘I love you, William, I really love you,’ filled his heart with a joy he’d rarely felt in his century-plus on this earth. He’d loved Dru with all his heart, and he knew she cared for him in her way, but she’d never been one to declare her love, and she’d never cared if she hurt him emotionally. In fact, she seemed to take a bit of pleasure in taunting him. Dru never seemed to understand the concepts of fidelity and loyalty to the one you loved. But, no matter how often she cheated on him, he always took her back when she returned to his side.

‘I’ll never hurt you,’ Buffy had assured him. Something deep down inside Spike grasped at that promise like a drowning man reaching for a life preserver. He clung to those words, feeling fairly certain that she meant them. The look she’d had in her eyes when she said it told him as much as her words had. He didn’t think Buffy would ever treat him like Dru had; she would never tear his heart out and toss it aside like so much garbage… right?

He looked at the digital clock by the bed and tried to work out where Buffy was. It was after eight – a look at the lack of light seeping in around the blanketed window told him it was night. He remembered Buffy saying something about picking up Dawn from school … but had than been today or yesterday? How long had he slept? Had Buffy gone on patrol or was she simply downstairs getting dinner for Dawn?

With great effort, he pushed himself up to a sitting position and leaned against the headboard. His chest still hurt like a mother where Glory had dug into his body – the rest of him wasn’t much better. His skin was a canvas of barely-healed cuts and dark, swollen bruises. His muscles were stiff from the punishment he’d taken, and it hurt to move everything except perhaps his toes. His toes seemed functional. It was a start.

He began looking over the edge of the bed for his jeans when a knock came on the door. “Spike? Are you up?” Dawn’s voice called through the closed door.

“Uhhhh … Yeah, pet – just give us a minute,” he called back, searching frantically for a sheet or blanket – they’d apparently all gotten knocked on the floor, out of easy reach.

“I’ve got you some dinner,” she called back and he saw the doorknob turning.

“Bloody hell,” he moaned, grabbing a pillow and laying it over his hips quickly.

“We got pizza,” Dawn continued blithely as she swung the door open. “Buffy wasn’t sure what you liked, but I told her hot and spicy stuff, so we got you the Spicy Sicilian. It’s got pepperoni, ground beef, Italian sausage, onions, and a ton of fresh Jalapeño peppers. Is that…” Dawn stopped talking when the door swung open and her eyes swept over him.


“Oh my God! I’m … so …” She was gonna say ‘sorry’, but the word slipped her mind. In fact, all words slipped her mind. Here was Spike, naked in Buffy’s bed. Naked. Completely naked – wearing nothing but a ... pillow?



“Sounds brilliant,” Spike filled into the silence. “Be a pet and hand me the sheet then,” he requested, unruffled. “Reckon it’s on the floor down t’ the foot o’ the bed.”

Dawn didn’t move. Didn’t appear to have heard him.

“Niblett? … Sheet?” he repeated.

Dawn jumped, as if someone pinched her, nearly spilling the mug of blood that was on the tray next to his pizza. “Right … sheet,” she stammered as she tried to figure out what to do with the tray in her hands.

She started to set it on top of the pillow covering his hips, but stopped, mortified. Then she turned to put it on the dresser, but there was no room there. She turned back around, trying to keep her eyes off Spike’s battered and bruised, but absolutely beautifully bare, smooth, hard, glorious body. She swallowed nervously, trying to drag her eyes away, but failing miserably. Stupid eyes.



Finally, when she came within reach, Spike grabbed the tray from her hands and set it on the bed next to him. Dawn once again forgot what it was he wanted her to get. It was something important ... or was it? Maybe not so much. Naked Spike. Wow ... how do you get abs like that? Was there any hair on his body at all? Her eyes drifted down to the pillow, wishing for a sudden burst of x-ray vision, you know, just to check for ... body hair. She flushed bright red and finally forced her eyes to the floor, at least momentarily.

“Sheet, pet,” Spike repeated when she just stood there, her eyes flicking from his body, then embarrassedly to the floor, then back again.

“Huh? Oh! Right!” She jerked back to herself, picked up both the sheet and blanket from the floor, and reluctantly pulled them both up over his legs and up his body. Spike took it from her hands and tucked it around his waist, completely covering the sides of his bare legs and hips, which could’ve been seen past the pillow if viewed from the doorway.

“Ta ever so,” Spike offered as if she’d just told him the time and not seen 94.5% of his bare body. He picked up the tray and put it on top of the pillow, which thankfully still rested under the covers and atop his groin.

Dawn smiled at him nervously and licked her dry lips. “H-how are you feeling?” she asked, only stammering slightly, as she backed up and leaned on the wall at the foot of the bed so she could look straight at him as he ate.

“Brilliant,” he lied.

At Dawn’s doubtful look he added, “No worries, Platelet. This’ll all heal. Nothing t’ get in a dither over. Seen worse, I have.”



Dawn nodded, unconvinced, but forged on to something different. “How’s the pizza? Buffy was gonna cook, but I told her you were in no condition to eat her cooking. I mean … your outsides are already beaten up, you didn’t need your insides torn up too.”

Spike chuckled, picked up the pizza, and took a bite. He nodded his approval as he chewed, then washed it down with some blood.

“Well, at least she knows how t’ order pizza, yeah?” he observed after he swallowed.

Dawn rolled her eyes. “I ordered the pizza. The only thing Buffy really knows how to make is cereal, and even that can get dicey sometimes, what with the confusing expiration dates on the milk cartons. She’s totally useless in the kitchen.”

“Well, I reckon big sis has other talents. Can’t be good at everything, yeah?”

Dawn snorted and rolled her eyes. She just started to contradict that when Buffy appeared in the doorway.

“Dawn! I told you I’d bring his food up later!” Buffy scolded. “He’s supposed to be resting! Did she wake you up?” Buffy asked, looking worriedly at Spike.



“Noooo!” Dawn whined, answering the question for Spike. “He was already awake!” she protested huffily. “You just didn’t want me to bring it up ‘cos you wanted to take all the credit for getting that spicy pizza for him!” she accused.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Dawn – I’m perfectly happy to give you credit for getting that gross pizza, believe me!” Buffy defended, looking at her sister. “You don’t have to eat if you don’t like it,” she advised Spike. “We have … normal pizza too.”

Spike started to say that he did like it, but was cut off by Dawn. “He happens to like it – he told me so! Look – he’s eating it!” she pointed out, waving a hand at Spike and the half-eaten slice of pizza.

Spike started to agree, to say that he did actually like it, but was cut off by Buffy. “Did you ever think he was just eating it to be nice to you – he might not like it at all!” Buffy argued. “You’re standing over him like a vulture, what’s he supposed to do?”

Spike opened his mouth again to say, no … he really did like it, but was stopped by Dawn. “Oh please! Give me a break! You’re just jealous that you didn’t think of getting that for him,” Dawn accused. “I also added a dash of Tabasco to the blood,” she claimed.

Spike started to say that he noticed that too, and it had a nice kick, but was interrupted by Buffy. “Oh, c’mon, Dawn! The day I’m jealous of you is the day the devil will need ice skates.”



“OI!” Spike yelled, stopping Dawn’s retort just as she’d open her mouth. “The pizza is brilliant, the blood’s got pizzazz, and I was already awake.”

Buffy sighed. “You don’t have to take her side just because she’s the youngest, ya know.”

“He’s not taking my side because I’m the youngest! He’s taking my side ‘cos were actually friends and I’ve actually taken time to learn what he likes!” Dawn insisted.

“Noooo,” Spike piped up, before Buffy could retort. “I’m not taking any sides – I’m not that bloody daft. Just saying, the food’s good. Could probably do with a spot o’ quiet t’ eat by, though … better for the digestion.”

“See, now you’ve got him pissed off,” Dawn accused.



I got him pissed off!?” Buffy shot back as she and Dawn headed for the door.

“That’s right! We were just having a friendly conversation and you had to come butt in like a jealous biatch…”

“Hey!” Buffy objected as the bedroom door closed behind them. “I don’t want to hear language like…”

Spike stopped listening as their voices faded down the stairs. He took a breath and let it out slowly. What the bloody hell was he gettin’ himself into here? He’d never really been around both Buffy and Dawn together much – mostly it was just one or the other. He shrugged and took another bite of the spicy pizza thinking that you couldn’t have everything. Good food, a soft, warm bed, and a heavenly body to share it with … reckon he could put up with a spot of bickering and out-of-date milk from time to time.

**~**

Spike had set the tray with the empty dishes on the floor and lay back down after he ate, waiting for Buffy to come back in. It was after eleven when he heard the door open and close quietly. He didn’t open his eyes, but could smell the fresh scent of soap and some kind of fruity shampoo – mango perhaps or papaya; he always got those two confused. In either case, she definitely smelled good enough to eat.

He suppressed a grin as she tiptoed quietly to the bed and got in, trying not to disturb him. Buffy slid over and had just curled up against his side, when he spoke. “You smell good enough t’ eat, pet,” he murmured against the top of her head, which she’d rested on his shoulder.

Buffy jumped back. “Shit!” she hissed, keeping her voice low. “You scared me!”

“Vampire, remember? It’s kinda my raison d’être: Scare the girls and make ‘em cry or whatnot.”

“I thought that was Georgie Porgie,” Buffy corrected. “And it’s ‘kiss the girls and make them cry.’”

“Bugger. Don’t reckon I’m doing it right, then. Let me give it another go,” Spike teased as he leaned down and touched his lips to hers.

Buffy’s hands found his cheeks and held him captive as he kissed her. She moaned in approval, only releasing him and pulling back when she began to feel her lungs burning for oxygen.



“Well, that’s a pisser, innit?” Spike asked with a smirk. “Apparently, I got no bloody idea how t’ snog properly. Not a single bloody tear.”

Buffy chuckled softly. “Guess you’re just gonna have to keep practicing,” she suggested with a coy grin.

“Mmmm … now that sounds like a bloody solid plan to me,” he agreed, leaning in and kissing her again.

When the kiss broke, Buffy cuddled up against his body again, resting her head on his shoulder as he snaked his arm around her. She started to lay one of her legs over his, but stopped, afraid of hurting him.

“It’s alright, pet,” he told her when he felt her hesitate and pull back. “Love feeling your body against mine.”

Buffy smiled and snuggled closer. She draped one leg over his and one arm across his hard, flat stomach, avoiding the worst of the bruises there. “How are you feeling – really?”

Spike took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Lots better thanks t’ you and little sis. The pizza and the blood really did a world o’ good – and they tasted brilliant.

“I won’t be running marathon t’night, but … I reckon I’m a bit more mobile than I was this afternoon,” he hinted.

Buffy nodded against his shoulder. “Spike … I … ummm … I think that we should just … you know, sleep tonight. As in … well … sleep. I mean – Dawn’s right next door and … I seem to not be very stealthy at the … ummm … good parts and … that’s not really something I … well … she’s young and … maybe later I can get Willow to do a muffling spell on the room, but…”

Spike laid a finger over her stammering lips. “No worries, pet.”

“I just don’t want you to think I don’t want to … you know … ‘cos … well,” Buffy cleared her throat nervously. “I mean ... this afternoon was … wow. It’s just…”

“I got it, Slayer. No worries,” Spike interrupted her, squeezing her closer against him. “I’ll limit ravaging you to school hours … and sleepovers. The bit does go on sleepovers, yeah?”

Buffy laughed and nodded. “Yeah, sometimes. Thanks for … understanding.”

Spike shrugged his shoulder under her head.

“Can I … make a confession?” Buffy asked after a few moments of comfortable silence.

“Does it involve whipped cream, handcuffs, and crotch-less leather pants?”

Buffy laughed and swatted lightly at his stomach. “Noooo.”



“Ahhh, well then, I reckon you’d be safe. Father Spike, at your service.”

“Dawn was right tonight – earlier. I was … jealous of her. She knew … what you liked. She knew what to get on the pizza and she thought of the hot sauce for the blood and … I don’t know any of that stuff,” she whined.

“Doesn’t that seem … somehow wrong?” Buffy asked as she rose up onto one elbow and looked down at him. “I mean … I love you but … I don’t know what you’d like on your pizza. Am I …” she stopped and sighed, shaking her head. “Shouldn’t I know that? I mean … if I really love you, shouldn’t I at least know what kind of pizza you eat?”

Spike pulled her back down against his body and she settled back into position as she had been before. “Hearts don’t care about bloody pizza toppings, Buffy. Hearts only care about what they want … what they feel. They aren’t logical; they aren’t pragmatic or sensible or even practical.

“You’re letting your mind try and control your heart, pet, and I can tell ya from experience, that don’t ever end well,” Spike advised.

Buffy sighed but didn’t say anything as she tried to process this advice. Her whole life she had operated under the theory that you should get to know someone … really know everything about them, or at least what they like on their pizza, before you fall in love. Wasn’t that how it was supposed to work? Of course, maybe that only worked for normal people; maybe Slayers were different. With her track record, it wasn’t hard to believe that she’d been going about it all wrong.

After a few moments of silence, Spike asked, “What did your true heart say about the enormous hall monitor when you first met him? Do ya even know?”

Buffy chewed on her lip. Yes, she knew. She’d told Willow about it at the time and … Willow had pointed out the fly in her logic ointment. Logic. She’d let her mind decide. Riley was safe and reliable and a logical choice for her – but there was no raging fire, no desperate, burning desire.



Buffy cleared her throat. “Yeah … I … that is to say, my heart felt like …” Buffy stopped, not really sure how to explain what she felt. It sounded a bit twisted, even to her.

“What? Tell me, Buffy. True confessions … Father Spike, remember?”

Buffy sighed heavily.  “I don’t know. I just felt like … true love needs some pain to fan the flames. Like that’s where the fire would come from. That real love and passion go hand in hand with pain and fighting … it seems – stupid … demented.”

“No – not stupid. It’s the demon inside, Buffy. Can’t you see now? Can’t you see where that feelin’ comes from? Oh, Slayer, when I’m better, I promise you … everything your heart’s craving – pain and fire and passion, I swear I’ll show you how to touch it,” Spike vowed. “Can’t you see? It’s not about bloody pizza; it’s about intangibles – it’s about that place inside that you’ve never shared with your little Scooby mates. You can share it with me, Buffy. I understand you – they can’t, not completely, not like I can.”

Buffy blinked back a wave of emotion that swept over her suddenly. It did make sense now that she looked at it with the knowledge that she was made from darkness. She needed violence and pain; she took strength from them. But still, her mind protested, shouldn’t you know something more about him? Shouldn’t there be something tangible, rather than only relying on intangibles?

Buffy's heart and mind began waging a battle of their own within her. It was crazy to love Spike – the downside was limitless. Not only was he a vampire, he didn't even have an official soul. Hadn't she gone down this road before? Been there, done that, got the corpses to prove it? But there was something inside her – the demon or the darkness or something – that simply refused to accept that this was wrong. Or maybe it was the wrongness that it found so right. She felt like she was banging her head on a wall – or something even harder: her darkest, deepest heart. After several minutes of silent parrying strikes and counter-strikes back and forth between heart and mind, a brilliantly simple, yet diabolical solution came to her.

“What’s your favorite color?” Buffy asked from left field, propping herself up on one elbow and turning to look at him.



Spike furrowed his brow a moment, taken by surprise, then answered, “Green – the exact shade of your eyes. What’s yours?”

Buffy’s lower lip jutted out in a dangerous pout. “No fair! You took my answer!”

“Your favorite color is the color o’ your own eyes?” Spike asked, cocking a brow at her. "That's a bit egotistical, even for a Slayer."

Buffy rolled said eyes to the ceiling. “No, of course not … it’s blue – the exact shade of your eyes, silly.”

Spike grinned and bit his bottom lip. “Yeah?” he asked, sounding more like a schoolboy with a crush than a century-old vampire.

“Yeah,” Buffy assured him, holding his gaze and reaching one hand out to gently touch his bruised face.

After a few moments … or it could’ve been a few months, Buffy wasn’t sure, she shook herself out of the trance his eyes had put her in and continued her interrogation. “Favorite fruit?”

“Well, that’s a harder choice, innit? I’d have t’ put Freddie Mercury at the top o’ that list. Elton John’s bloody talented but not much of a looker … and Prince, can’t leave him out,” Spike began.



“Spike!” Buffy chastised. “Politically incorrect much? Fruit! Like the kind you eat!”

“Well … reckon those would still qualify, luv,” he smirked.

“You are sooo bad,” she moaned. “You know what I meant.”

Spike laughed and nodded. “Right then, favorite fruit. Whatever tropical concoction you wash your hair in, that’s my favorite.”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “You don’t even know what it is,” she pointed out.

“Right – well, you tell me, and that’ll be it. What about you, then?”



Buffy furrowed her brow. “That’s actually a hard decision. I guess … banana. They taste good, they’re versatile, portable, you don’t have to wash them or cook them before you eat them, no refrigeration required, they go great on ice cream, and are awesome dipped in chocolate.”

“And they’re very phallic. Could use one as a dildo in a pinch.”

“Oh, is everything about sex with you?” Buffy asked in mock agitation.

“Uhhh ... not really a fair question, Slayer,” he objected. "Hard t' think o' anything else with the most beautiful woman in the bloody world layin' next to me – warm and naked." Spike took her hand and laid it atop the blanket over his groin, pressing down lightly on the hard bulge beneath. Apparently another part of his anatomy other than his toes was still very much in working order.

Buffy flushed, her cheeks coloring crimson. "Oh, God! I didn't think! I'm ... sorry! I should ..." she began to pull away and get up, but Spike held firm to her small hand, tugging her back.

"You should stay ... please," Spike pleaded very quietly, his voice a deep rumble in the quiet room. "If ya run away every time I get a boner around you, you'll be running forever, luv. Can't help m'self - you're just so bloody ... " Spike's voice trailed off, lost in thought.

"Pretty? Charming? Adorable? Cute? Cuddly? Enticing? ... Fetching?" Buffy provided, grinning hopefully. "Strong enough to break your bones if you don't pick one soon?”

Spike laughed lightly, pulled her hand to his lips, and began dropping gentle kisses on each of her fingertips. "All that and more, luv. A bloody goddess."

A silly grin spread across Buffy's lips and mischief twinkled in her eyes.

“I didn't mean to ... distract you like that,” she purred, laying back down and snuggling against him in a very distracting manner.

“Only nine more hours before school starts,” she informed him before continuing as if her diabolical interrogation hadn't been interrupted, “Favorite Mouseketeer?”

“Christina Aguilera. Yours?”



"Really?" she asked with surprise, looking up at him. "I would've thought you would've gone old-school with Annette..."

"Pffft!" Spike snorted. "'Ave you seen Christina Aguilera? C'mon ... turnabout: yours?"

“Justin Timberlake."



Spike cocked a speculative brow at her.

"Have you seen Justin Timberlake?" Buffy countered with a smirk.

"Favorite Fairy Tale?”

**~**
End Notes:
So, what IS Spike's favorite fairy tale? C'mon ... Snow White? Cinderella? Lil Red Riding Hood? The Three Billy Goats Gruff? heehee! What do you think??

Next:  Dawn goes to school – FINALLY!

My Temperature is Super High by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Alone at last! The day promises plenty of passion, but will Buffy's lack of experience and confidence have her pulling back from Spike?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episodes: Still Between Intervention and Tough Love

**~**

The Next Morning...

Buffy jumped awake when she heard Dawn’s alarm going off the next morning. She crawled out of bed, still groggy, and began to pull her pajamas on.



Spike rolled over and watched her with interest, more than a little longing, and a bit of confusion. “Correct me if I’m wrong: aren’t you supposed t’ put those on when you come to bed … not when you get up?”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Dawn thinks I’m sleeping on the couch,” she admitted. “She doesn’t know about … us yet. I need to get down there before she figures it out and starts with the third degree.”

“Shouldn’t I be the one on the couch, pet? This is your bed, after all.”

“No, it’s alright. I have to get up anyway to take her to school. I don’t want her walking. I have to go though – she’ll be out of her room in about twenty seconds,” Buffy observed knowingly as she grabbed some clothes and hurried to the door. She opened it, flashed him a quick smile, closed it silently, and was gone.

Spike tried to go back to sleep, but missed Buffy’s body against his already – he just couldn’t get comfortable without her there. He sighed and looked at the clock, wondering just what time school actually started.

**~**

Buffy sighed as she crawled back into bed next to Spike after taking Dawn to school. He had finally fallen back asleep waiting for her and was sprawled kittywampus across most of the bed on his stomach. The sheet was tangled around one leg from ankle to thigh. It then disappeared between his legs, traveling under his body and emerging near his lower back. It continued wrapping around him like a snake, hiding about half of this bum. It looked like he’d been wrestling with it – and lost.



Buffy lay on her side, resting her head in one hand, her elbow bent, and began tracing designs on his back with her fingertips. She circled his dragon wings … Dawn would’ve called them chicken wings; Willow would’ve called them his scapulas. Buffy thought of the sharp protrusions as dragon wings on Spike; he was certainly no chicken. He was like a giant, fire-breathing dragon: deadly and dangerous, fierce and protective of the people he cared about.

She smiled at the thought of Spike as a fire-breathing dragon, letting her fingers trail idly over the hills and valleys of muscle on his back. She explored the bumps along his spine and the strong strap of muscle along each side of his backbone. Her fingers lingered over his Dimples of Venus, which were playing peek-a-boo with the tangled sheet, then tickled back up his spine to his shoulders. His traps were rigid and felt tight to Buffy’s touch, so she began to massage them with a firm grip; first one, then the other.

Spike moaned in pleasure and shifted slightly so she could reach the furthest one more easily. “One arm broken, luv?” he asked pleasantly after about a minute.

“No… I’m leaning on one hand,” she disclosed.

“Feels bloody wonderful,” he sighed in delight. “Two hands’d feel like I’d died and gone t’ heaven.”

Buffy smirked and shifted positions. She lifted one leg over his body and straddled his hips as she sat up with her knees on either side of him, freeing both hands. Spike released a deep, throaty moan when she squeezed the tight muscles running from his neck to his shoulders with both hands in a death grip. It would’ve been debilitating if she’d done that to a normal person – a Slayer’s version of a Vulcan nerve pinch – but to Spike it felt absolutely blissful.

“You’re bloody hired,” Spike breathed as she continued the procedure all the way from his neck to the top of his shoulders and back again.

“What’s it pay?” Buffy asked teasingly.

Spike’s whole body seemed to vibrate under her as he rumbled a throaty moan. “Name your price, Slayer.”



Buffy smiled devilishly, although it was lost on Spike since he was lying on his stomach with his eyes closed. Her face flushed pink and the room suddenly felt too warm. She started to verbalize what she was thinking, but then thought better of it and bit her lip, stopping herself.

Spike furrowed his brow as the silence dragged on. “What happened?” he asked at last, still savoring the fantastic massage she was giving him. “Cat got your tongue?”

Buffy licked her lips. “No. Just … thinking,” she stammered back as she slid her hands down his arms and gave them the same treatment she’d been lavishing on his shoulders. His strong muscles relaxed, dissolving into a bowl full of jelly under her ministrations. Spike gave her another moan of approval as she kneaded his deltoids and triceps, and even reached around and sunk her fingers into his biceps.

“Gotta warn ya, Slayer – my resources are limited, so if you’re thinking o’ the Taj Mahal … well … keep thinking, pet. Ya got a choice o’ fingers, hands, tongue, lips, teeth, and dick … or, with time, could do all of the above. What’s your pleasure?”

Buffy squirmed a bit atop his ass and cleared her throat. The flush of heat had returned to her cheeks and they deepened to the color of grenadine.

When she still never answered, Spike, somewhat reluctantly, and very carefully, turned beneath her so he could look up into her face – see her eyes, try to suss out what the problem was. The sheet tightened its grip on his body when he shifted, corseting his hips and groin tightly.





“What’d I do, offend your prim and proper Slayer sensibilities, then?” he asked when he saw her embarrassed expression.

“No … it’s not you … it’s just … me,” she stuttered, laying her palms flat against his hard stomach. Her fingers began idly tracing the six-pack there, as if they had a mind of their own.

“Still in the confessional, pet. C’mon now – I told you my favorite bloody fairy tale, there’s nothin’ you can say that could possibly be more embarrassing than that,” Spike contended.

Buffy rolled her eyes to the ceiling, but her fingers never stilled on his abs. Buffy took a deep breath and looked back into his eyes. “Ok, well … here’s the thing … I uhhh …" She cleared her throat nervously and blurted out, "How do you feel about cunnilingus?”

Spike’s brows went up but he suppressed a chortle of laughter, catching it in his throat and choking slightly to cover it. “Never met the bloke, m’self, but…”

“Never mind,” Buffy whined, disentangling herself from the sheet, which had somehow wound around her legs too, and flopping down onto the bed next to him. “Sorry I mentioned it.”

“No, pet, I’m sorry,” he apologized immediately, realizing that it had probably taken all her Slayer power to ask him that. “It’s just … you’re so bloody cute usin’ them big university words and all. Don’t reckon I even know how to spell that one … but I can answer your question like this…” he offered as he began to sit up. When he lifted and twisted his upper torso though, pain shot through his sternum. He grimaced and had to drop back down to his back to get it to stop.

“Oh, Spike! Are you alright?” Buffy asked with concern as she sat up and laid a hand comfortingly over the deep, and still apparently painful, wound on his chest.

“Be … fine,” he ground out as he gasped for unneeded air. After a couple of minutes, the pain subsided and Spike pulled her nearer. “Sorry, luv – you’ll have t’ do some of the work. Sit on my face and tell me ya love me,” he prodded with a smirk.

“No … really – it’s no big…” Buffy stammered.

“Buffy,” Spike chastised, drawing her name out like he was talking to a stubborn child. “I’m sorry. Ya gotta lighten up, pet. Can’t go scampering for cover every time I ask you to sit on my face … or is it the ‘I love you’ part that’s got ya back-peddling?”

“Don’t be like that,” Buffy moaned, sorry she’d ever said anything. She should’ve just asked for a kiss or something safe like that. “You know I love you – I mean, who wouldn’t love a guy whose favorite fairy tale is…”

“OI! You promised you’d never repeat that – ever,” he interrupted curtly.

Buffy smiled at him innocently. “Oh … you meant never … as in never, ever?”

“Never. Ever. On penalty of a slow and painful death,” Spike confirmed.

Buffy laughed and pulled her fingers across her lips in a zipping motion.

“Now … ya gonna give me a taste or you gonna keep that sweet pussy to yourself all day?” Spike asked, reaching a hand out towards her.

Buffy hesitated again, but after a moment her curiosity won out over her embarrassment and she asked, “Where do you want me?”

“Here,” Spike motioned vaguely around his head a moment before realizing she was gonna need more direction than that. “How about you sit facin’ my … feet? Put your knees here on either side of my body,” he instructed guiding her into position. “Then just … sit back and down … and, if you get the urge to do something with your hands or mouth – like unwrap that soddin’ binding around my hips and give us a kiss – feel free.”

“Oh no,” Buffy blurted out. “I’m not … any good at … that.”

Spike furrowed his brow. “Have you ever ‘Lorena Bobbitted’ anyone?”

“No, of course not,” she retorted, rolling her eyes.

“Then let me be the judge, yeah? Anyway, ya know what they say, ‘practice makes perfect’,” Spike quipped wolfishly.

Buffy laughed nervously as she pressed her ass back, readjusting her position a time or two at Spike’s urging. “Now … relax,” he instructed, smacking a hand on her rump lightly.

“Not gonna bite you … much,” he assured her just before he pressed his tongue between her folds and touched the hard tip to her clit.

Buffy’s body jerked as fire roared through her body and her back arched, pressing her tits hard against Spike’s abdomen. Spike opened up the petals of her flower with his fingers and flicked his tongue against her little bundle of nerves several times in rapid succession. Buffy moaned her approval as Spike circled her clit slowly with his tongue then wrapped his lips around it and emitted a deep, basso growl, vibrating her sensitive flesh.

Buffy’s body exploded just that quickly. A cascade of bliss engulfed her and a shriek of pleasure tore from her throat, filling the room. Spike moved his mouth and drove his tongue into her cum-filled channel as it convulsed and shuddered around him, the rumbling growl never fading. Buffy soared as wave after wave of pleasure washed over her, engulfing her in bright flames of bliss. Spike never let up, taking her higher and higher on wave after glorious wave of rapture the likes of which she'd never felt before.

Her nervousness and embarrassment were gone in that instant – in fact, all rational thought seemed to have abandoned her. There was only that feeling. That’s all that mattered in that instant; it was, in fact, all that existed in the world right then. There were no hell-gods, no Hellmouths, no demons, no dangers – in fact, there was nothing else but her and Spike. And, anytime a thought of something else began to creep back into her consciousness, Spike banished it from her mind with his lips, tongue, teeth and hands … and low, rumbling moans and growls of passionate delight.

Truth be told, the only thing that managed to penetrate Spike’s charms, and pierce Buffy’s mind, was the feeling that she was drowning. She couldn’t breathe. There didn’t seem to be any air left in the room, in the house … perhaps in the whole world. She gasped desperately for oxygen, but every time she drew some in, it was expelled from her lungs just as quickly in a glorious scream, which seemed impossible to stop. If she didn’t scream, she would explode into a million pieces of euphoria, which filled her to overflowing and was threatening to rip her apart at the seams. But if she didn’t get some oxygen into her body soon, she’d certainly die, drowning in bliss. It was a win-win either way: death by orgasm.

Spike could hear Buffy’s heart skittering uncontrollably in her chest, hear her raspy gasps of air, feel her chest heave desperately above him as he lapped at her chalice greedily. She was delicious; heavenly. Her sweet cum poured down on him, her body quivering and shuddering uncontrollably, the velvet-clad, iron walls of her channel undulating wildly around his tongue, barely relaxing a moment before grasping and fluttering over and over again. He fingered her clit and the sensitive skin around her ass as he fucked her with his tongue. His theory that he could touch her deepest desires, sate her demon's every need, was confirmed time and again as he consumed her in the flames of bliss. She was an animal, relentless, like nothing he’d ever known before. Wild and wanton and filled with dark lust, but at the same time she shone and glittered with bright goodness, like the Northern Star. She was a heavenly body filled with feral, untamed passion. She was everything he'd ever dreamed of and more.

Spike slowed his ministrations, easing Buffy back down away from the lustful flames. He half-expected her to object at any moment, but she didn’t. She had no breath to object at that moment. She was flying in the heavens and floating through a river of fire and it was wicked.

Buffy’s body was still caught in the throes of passion when her screams subsided and the gasps of air finally began to penetrate her lungs and send oxygen to her brain again. Her inhibitions had been squelched, for the moment at least, and what her barely-functioning brain wanted more than anything was to give Spike what he’d just given her. Without a thought, and with the same feral desire that Spike had just been admiring, she ripped at the sheet covering his bulging groin. Spike lifted his hips off the bed to help as she clawed and yanked, finally freeing his cock from the fabric trapping him. She squealed in victory and dropped her lips to his raging erection, swallowing his shaft as deeply and quickly as she could.

Spike gasped, unprepared for the power and ferocity of it. He thought he felt his eyeballs sink deeper into their sockets when she sucked down. She was going to extract his eyeballs out through his dick! It was fucking brilliant!

“Fuck! Bloody hell, Buffy!” he exclaimed in surprised delight.

She quickly released the suction when he cursed and lifted off him. She’d actually hurt Riley the one time when she’d tried this before, thus the lack of confidence and practice. She was suddenly afraid that she’d done the same to Spike.

“Christ woman … don’t stop! Don’t fucking stop!” Spike urged her frantically, bucking his hips up adamantly, his cock searching for that warm heaven it had been in just a moment before.

Encouraged, Buffy began again, sucking down on him hard as she pumped her head up and down in fast, hard strokes. Spike’s hips jerked up into her hot, wet mouth, slamming the head of his cock against the back of her throat. Buffy gagged and pulled back as tears welled momentarily in her eyes.

“Fuck! Sorry, pet! Can’t … bloody … stop,” Spike gasped out before burying his tongue in her pussy again.

Buffy grasped the base of Spike’s cock in one iron fist and dropped her mouth back down over the bulging head. His hips bucked again when she sucked down on him, but her hand stopped him from gagging her that time. She twirled her tongue around the spongy, mushroom head and, for the first time, actually tasted and felt his pre-cum on her tongue. She faltered and pulled back, her inhibitions once again surfacing and warring with the lust within her.

Spike stopped too, afraid that he’d somehow hurt her or gagged her again. “You ok, pet?” he asked, genuinely concerned. “Did I hurt you?”

“No … I …” Buffy’s brain tried to figure out what to say – something that wouldn’t make her sound like she’d just escaped from a nunnery. She could find nothing that would work, so she just said it. “I just … ummm … you aren’t gonna cum in my mouth … are you? ‘Cos I’m just not sure … I mean ... I've never ... and well ... ummm .... well, it just seems ... a little squick-worthy.”

Spike pulled his upper lip between his teeth and bit down to stop the laugh that had bubbled up from his throat. After a moment trying to remove the amusement from his voice, he assured her, “No, pet. If you don’t want … that.”

Buffy seemed relieved and visibly relaxed.

“But, just t’ be safe,” Spike continued. “When I tell you, press down here with three fingers,” he advised, guiding her hand to his taint, halfway between his ass and scrotum. “Not too hard, don’t want to … burst anything.”

Buffy pressed down, lightly at first, then slowly increased the pressure until Spike stopped her. “Yeah – that’s it.”

“And that … stops it?” Buffy asked, slightly skeptical.

“Yeah,” Spike assured her. “I don’t usually have a problem holdin’ back, but you … you undo me, pet. You’re a bloody animal.”

Buffy flushed. She wished she could see his eyes to see if he was teasing her, but she could only see his legs and feet. “I didn’t think I was … very good at … this,” she admitted.

Spike snorted. “Not sure how ya came to that daft notion, pet. You’re bloody brilliant. Never known anyone like you, Buffy,” he told her, his voice serious and sounding more than a little awestruck.

Buffy was suddenly glad he couldn’t see her face, because she was sure it was splotchy with heat and beet-red. Buffy bit back a grin and leaned back down to touch her tongue to his cum-slit, tasting the shiny pearl of pre-cum that had reappeared there.

She wasn’t sure what she expected it to taste like – something squicky was her assumption – but it was sort of coppery and metallic … like blood, and salty and spicy, like the pizza he’d had the night before. She wrapped her lips back around the engorged heard of his shaft and Spike moaned his approval as she resumed her ‘practice session’.

Spike’s hips once again took on a life of their own as she flicked her tongue up and down his hard length, top, bottom, and sides – exploring and testing his response to each touch. She circled the hard edge where the head flared out above the shaft and sucked down on the taut band on the underside with her lips. Spike’s moans, hisses, and growls intensified as she teased her tongue, lips, and teeth over and around him. One of her hands found his balls and was fondling them lightly while the other hand kneaded his thigh, like a cat, sometimes digging her nails into his flesh as she did so.

Spike buried his mouth against her wet pussy again and tried to focus on giving her pleasure, rather than the need that she was building inside him. He raked his tongue over her slit roughly and Buffy moaned around his cock, her lips and tongue vibrating against him. He reached a hand between them and began fondling her tit as he sucked down on her clit and nibbled on the hard, eager pebble with his teeth.

Buffy’s shriek of pleasure was muffled as she swallowed down on his rod again, sucking hard. Spike again had the thought that she could suck his eyeballs out as easily as a Cajun could suck the brains out of a crawfish. The thought drove him wild with lust. His concentration vanished, his brain fizzled, and all he could feel was her hot mouth on him, slamming down around his cock, sucking him into her deeper and harder with each stroke.

It hit him like a freight train barreling out of control down the tracks – utterly unstoppable. “Fuck! Buffy! Now!” he gasped out, as she banged down on him faster and wilder as her own passion built.

What he was saying barely registered in time for her to react. Not taking the time to remove her mouth from his shaft, she dropped her hand from his balls down to his taint. She pressed down as he had shown her, with three fingers – not too hard. Spike groaned against her soft flesh as if caught in the clutches of the Grim Reaper himself, and his body writhed under her. It was more frustrating than actually painful, but it was painfully frustrating as all that built-up energy and desire was held back.

A warm glow of intimate, unerring trust bloomed inside Buffy in that instant, growing from a bud to a beautiful, fragrant rose in the blink of an eye. It wasn't like she hadn't trusted Spike before – of course she had or he wouldn't be here – but this was somehow different. It seemed strange to say that she could have a deeper level of faith in Spike – she already trusted him with her life and Dawn's – but it was true. She could trust him, she realized, with her most embarrassing secrets; he wouldn't hold them against her or taunt her with them. Her lack of sexual experience – or maybe it was more a lack of experimentation – was painfully obvious, especially compared to Spike's century on this earth. But he'd only offered praise and support – he'd been nothing if not patient; he hadn't pushed or degraded her for her naïveté. As odd as it sounded, for Buffy trusting someone with her life seemed to pale in comparison to trusting them with her secrets – Slayers and secrets had been BFFs since time immemorial – but in that moment of restraint, Spike had shown that he could be entrusted with both.

Mixed in with the sweet perfume of trust was something else: respect. She had a growing respect for that small, tattered bit of William’s soul, which could undoubtedly wield a great deal of power over the demon if given a chance to be heard. A while back, Spike had said something to her and Angel: he’d claimed proudly that he was ‘Love’s Bitch’. It occurred to Buffy that as went Spike's heart, so went William's soul. If he was pouring his love over a ruthless vampire like Dru, then his soul would’ve been unheralded – its wishes unheard. But, if he found himself filled with love for someone with a soul, someone with a conscience, and a mission to do good, then that little scrap of soul would be able to climb out of the dark, dust itself off, and hold court over the demon. 
 
As soon as Buffy felt his discomfort wane, she released her hold on him and disentangled her legs from his arms. Careful not to push against his injured sternum, she turned around and straddled him again, this time with her hips resting on his.

“Are you alright?” she asked, caught somewhere between sorry she’d made him do that and amazed that he’d allowed it. His demon hadn't even surfaced once that whole time.

His erection had waned a bit with the aborted liftoff, and was now pinned between their bodies. The slick heat of her heavenly flower pressed down on his length, and renewed energy surged up and jump-started his need in an instant.

“I’ll do,” Spike assured her, panting slightly with unneeded breath as he wriggled his hips under her, settling his hardening cock between her damp folds as she sat atop his hips.

“I … that was really … nice of you,” she stammered, embarrassed that she wasn't experienced or confident enough to really be the sexy animal he'd claimed she was. “Thanks.”

“Don’t go spreading that ugly rumor around, Slayer … I would have to find a way t’ kill you,” Spike warned, smirking.

Buffy laughed lightly and bent forward to drop a kiss on his lips. A new flavor mixed with the spicy tang of ‘Spike,’ and Buffy realized it was her own essence she tasted. Her juices covered his lips and face, and she was at once turned on by it and guilt-ridden for not returning the favor properly. She resolved to do better in the future; to not act like a squeamish girl on her first date, even though in some ways she definitely felt like she was.



Spike pulled her body down against his roughly. Even though pain shot out from his ribs when he did it, it still felt wonderful. He deepened the kiss and Buffy could taste herself in his mouth and on his tongue, not just on his lips. Her body tingled with renewed desire as she swirled her tongue around his and devoured his cum-slick lips with hers. She invaded his mouth with her tongue just as he had invaded her channel: passionately and full of primal desire.

Buffy could feel his erection growing even harder beneath her hips and she began to move, sliding her hot flesh back and forth over his shaft, building the need in both of them back to a fever pitch.

Buffy sat back and lifted her hips up to free his erection from the sweet prison of her pussy-lips. Spike reached between them and guided it along her slit. She moaned when his glans pressed over her clit, then gasped, her eyes fluttering closed, when Spike lifted his hips and pressed into her.

Buffy sank down on him, savoring the feeling of being filled and stretched by his hardness. Although different, the euphoria of the first moments of penetration was just as overwhelming as soaring through the heavens on the wings of an all-out, scream-from-the-rooftops orgasm.

It was that moment of connection, that moment of sharing yourself with someone else, of letting down the walls and allowing them in – not just physically, but emotionally, as well. For some people, like Faith, for example, sex was just sex – just physical. But for Buffy it had always been more, and the emotions that welled inside her only made the physical pleasure that much stronger. She couldn’t help but think the same was true for Spike. He claimed to be ‘Love’s Bitch’, not ‘Sex’s Bitch’, after all.

Spike’s moan mirrored Buffy’s as she pushed down and engulfed him. Blissful electricity danced over him, emanating from the head of his cock, surging through his groin, and tingling up and down his spine. The hair on Spike’s head actually prickled with the current running through him, and his body shuddered in pleasure as her quim closed around his hard length.

Buffy’s sugar walls undulated and molded around him like a tight, velvet glove, increasing the sparkage that flowed between them. The staccato rhythm of her heart thudded in his ears, and he could feel her racing pulse in her femoral artery beating like a drum against his groin. She took shallow, reedy breaths that made his own chest heave with unneeded, but excruciatingly sweet, hot air.

Buffy opened her eyes and looked down to find Spike watching her through a veil of thick lashes. His blue eyes sparkled with joy and love, and those same emotions were mirrored in hers. They stayed there, unmoving, gazing into each other’s souls, lost in the bliss of the connection, for what seemed a lifetime.



Finally, Buffy leaned forward and whispered against his ear, “I love you, William.” She hoped that little tattered scrap of soul heard her.

“I love you, Buffy,” Spike replied hoarsely, his voice cracking slightly with emotion. She couldn't be sure, but his accent sounded ... different, softer maybe.

Spike trailed his fingertips gently down her arms from her shoulders as she sat back and began to move atop him. Chill-bumps followed the track of his touch, down her arms, then skipping over to her hips and thighs and back up her torso. His hands cupped her swaying breasts, his thumbs finding her hard, rosy nipples and brushing over them gently as she rolled her hips in a slow, sensuous motion.

Spike picked up her rhythm and moved against her, increasing the friction of their bodies as he swirled his hips opposite hers. When his pubic bone found her clit, Buffy moaned again and her pace increased, desperate to rise back into the flames of heaven.

Spike’s touch became harder, more demanding on her breasts, groping and pinching, pulling and rolling her nipples between his long fingers. Buffy’s hips jerked and began to slam down on his harder and faster. Although still pleasing to the senses, Spike could no longer call it sensuous, but powerfully passionate. He did his best to match her, to thrust up as she came down, but his bruised and battered body objected to the pace. He moaned in pain, hoping it sounded like pleasure.

“Be still. Let me … just … let me do this,” Buffy instructed breathlessly.

Spike obeyed, losing himself in her power, in her desire, in her strength. He reached between them and curled one knuckle at the base of his cock. The next time she came down, her clit exploded with rapture when it hit the hard protrusion. She shrieked in pleasure and redoubled her efforts as she felt those waves growing higher and higher again – lifting her into the white-hot flames.

Buffy’s pussy walls tightened around his length almost painfully and words of praise exploded out of Spike’s mouth, fast and furious. “Bloody hell, Buffy! Fuck, woman! Yes! Give it to me, Buffy … give it all! That! Do that again! Yes, woman! So good, you are! Fuck me, Slayer … so bloody hot. So wet … so goddamned beautiful.”



“Spike!” Buffy exclaimed as she felt the waves turn into flames and begin to engulf her in their power. “Cumming! Oh God … Spike, yes! Yes! Yesssssss!” she screamed just before her body began to convulse in pleasure. Her hips still thrashed against him as her pussy pulsed and milked his cock, begging it to expand with cum and explode into her.

Her words were all the invitation Spike needed to let go. In fact, they had managed to undo him without actually allowing him to consciously release his will. The electricity that had tingled his skin before returned, now white-hot and jolting, as his cum surged into her. His body convulsed in overwhelming pleasure as flames licked his skin, and his soul soared into the heavens with her.  
 
Even as they danced on the surface of the sun, her scream of bliss and his roar of release could still be heard from the earth below. The sounds were disparate and yet seemed to harmonize into a passionate, blissful chorus that could only be fully appreciated by the souls that created it. It was a song of connection – of finding the missing piece that made the puzzle of life complete.

Buffy tried not to, but couldn’t stop herself from collapsing atop Spike as her soul slammed back into her body and all the tension was released. Her muscles had been turned to rubber and refused to function even one second more. Spike didn’t care or even notice the pain of her crumpling atop him at that moment. He wrapped his arms around her and held her there, squeezing her tight and wishing this moment would go on forever. It was more than he deserved, to have her love. It was more, really, than he’d ever hoped for to be this close to her … this close to her heart.

The woman in his arms was a glorious concoction of contradictions: at once a woman and a girl, a sexy tart and an easily embarrassed lady, a supernatural nymphomaniac and shy, gentle lover.

Buffy was a tangle of good and evil. It was as if someone had taken two skeins of fine, delicate thread, one black and one white, and tossed them into a room full of over-excited kittens. The resulting snarl of jumbled, intertwined knots was impossible to disentangle – they were inexorably and forever linked together. Over time, the black and white began to fade into each other and in places became gray – indistinguishable, no longer good or evil, but something in between. Spike looked forward to exploring that mass of contradictions … to untangling the secrets of Buffy. He hoped it would take him a long, long, long time to sort out.

End Notes:
Next:  Glory turns up the heat and Buffy makes a new plan: run away. While holed up in the desert, surrounded by the Knights of Byzantium, Spike takes matters into his own hands. How will that work out for him? Uht-oh ... I think we may be getting close to that angst that was in the warnings...
My Life in the Palm of Your Hand by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Buffy has to be the ‘stompy-foot’. Glory attacks Tara and steals her mind. Buffy makes a new plan: run away. While holed up in the desert, surrounded by the Knights of Byzantium, Spike takes matters into his own hands. How will that work out for him? Beware: here comes the angst listed in the story's warnings.
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and reviewing and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episodes: Tough Love - Spiral

**~**

A few days later...

“I think you should have Spike come back over,” Dawn advised Buffy dourly as they came in the house after school. “You were in a lot better mood when he was staying here.”



Buffy flushed slightly. “He … might come back later, but he was feeling better and he needed to go back to his crypt for a while,” Buffy explained. “When he’s here you’re … distracted and … well, so am I, and plus, he’s a worse disciplinarian than I am. Regardless of my mood, you need to get your homework done every single day. We need to buckle up … or buckle down or something with a buckle and try to get back to … a reliable schedule and a normal life,” Buffy asserted with her best grown-up voice.

Dawn snorted derisively as she set her books down on the dining room table. “Who are you kidding? I’ll never have a normal life – and neither will you! You’re a Vampire Slayer in love with a vampire and I’m a magical, mystical Key! Here’s a math quiz: just how does that add up to ‘normal’?”

“I … I never said I was in love with Spike!” Buffy argued.

Dawn rolled her eyes. “I told you before, I’m not blind. And, for the record, I’m not deaf either,” Dawn advised Buffy huffily.

“What does that mean?”

“You aren’t exactly stealthy with the … sleeping arrangements,” Dawn pointed out. “Just because one of you sneaks downstairs to the couch every morning when my alarm goes off, doesn’t mean I don’t know where you’ve both been all night.”

Buffy shook her head and balled her hands into fists. “What I … feel for Spike and the sleeping arrangements are sooo not the point. The point is: you need to study. You need to bring your grades back up. You need to stop skipping class and stop lying to me.”

Dawn sighed heavily. “Why? I’m not even real. Who cares if the Key gets an education anyway?”

“You are real. This is very real,” Buffy admonished her.

“Yeah? Those monks put grades K through eight in my head, can't we just wait and see if they drop nine in there too?” Dawn asked incredulously.

“Damn it, Dawn! This is serious!” Buffy exclaimed in exasperation.



“Why? Why should I care about any of this?” Dawn demanded, waving her hand at her books.

“Because they'll take you away! They’ll decide I’m not a fit guardian and they’ll send you … away,” Buffy shrieked. Her worst fears were coming true. She was failing Dawn. She was failing as the adult. She was failing as the Slayer and the big sister.

Spike had tried to help Buffy with Dawn, but all Dawn had to do was pout and whine a bit, or drop a tear or two, and Spike would just crumble like an over-baked cookie. Instead of coming home from training or researching or patrolling to find Dawn’s homework done, Buffy would find the two of them eating popcorn and watching old movies instead. Buffy could not fail in this. She had to be the stompy-foot, regardless of how uncomfortable it was for her or how much Dawn resented it.

“What do you mean take me away? Away where?” Dawn asked, suddenly frightened rather than angry.

Buffy sighed. “I don’t know. Maybe to Dad or … foster care. I was afraid to ask. That’s what your principal wanted to talk to me about this afternoon.”



“I won’t go,” Dawn argued, her stubborn anger returning. “I’ll … I’ll go live in Spike’s crypt and …”

“Daawwn,” Buffy droned. “Please, I’m begging you – just work with me. You have so much going for you. Don’t throw it away. Please,” Buffy pleaded with her. “Mom would want you to … do well, to be happy, to chase your dreams. I know your dreams don’t involve hiding in a graveyard for the rest of your life.”

“They do if Spike’s there,” Dawn retorted haughtily.

Buffy rolled her eyes and sighed. “Yeah, well … he won’t be there. He’ll probably be here, so, back to Plan A: Study. Go to school. Do your homework. Get good grades.”

“You do love him, don’t you?” Dawn asked with a slightly accusatory tone.

“Fine. Yes … I do,” Buffy admitted.

“Did you tell him yet?” Dawn wondered, sure that Buffy hadn’t.

“Actually … yes, I did.”

Dawn’s brows shot up nearly to her hairline. “Huh!” she exclaimed in amazement. “You know, if you break his heart and run him off, I’ll beat you up.”

Buffy laughed and nodded. “If I break his heart and run him off, then I would deserve to get beat up.”

Just then, the phone rang. “Homework,” Buffy ordered, pointing to Dawn’s book-bag as she headed for the phone in the kitchen.

Dawn saluted her and began pulling books out, but before she could even get started on anything, Buffy was back. “Never mind that – leave it. Let’s go!” Buffy ordered, her voice a mixture of panic and fear.

“What! What is it?” Dawn asked, following Buffy towards the door.

“Glory – she thinks Tara’s the Key now.”

“Oh, God,” Dawn moaned, remembering how badly Spike had been beaten when Glory thought he was the Key.

“I’m taking you to Spike’s – then I’ll … I’ll try to stop her,” Buffy offered, trying to sound assuring.

“I can get to Spike’s on my own – you should go find Tara,” Dawn argued.

“NO, you can’t!” Buffy screamed at her as they started out the front door. “I’m not leaving you alone.”

**~**



“Nothing to be worried about, kiddo. No one's gonna hurt you,” Spike assured Dawn later. At Buffy’s request, which was given more as an order than a request, but … whatever, Spike had brought Dawn down into the caverns under Sunnydale, hopefully safe from the prying eyes of Glory’s minions and from Glory herself.

“Oh yeah. Same no one who did that to you?” she asked incredulously.

“What, these?” Spike questioned, waving a hand dismissively. “Just a few bruises. Nothing to write home about.... hey, chin up, Platelet. And don't get scared... Maybe Glory doesn't want to kill you, maybe it's something...”

“Worse?”

“Hey, now...” Spike began comfortingly.



“You wanna know what I'm scared of, Spike? Me. Right now Glory thinks Tara's the Key. But I'm the Key, Spike. I am. And anything that happens to Tara is 'cause of me. Your bruises, your limp, that's all me too. I'm like a lightning rod for pain and hurt and everyone around me suffers and dies. I must be something so horrible, to cause so much pain and evil,” Dawn ranted angrily.

“Rot!” Spike objected.

“What do you know?” Dawn demanded.

“I'm a vampire. I know a little something about evil. You're not evil,” he assured her.

Dawn snorted. “You’re a vampire in love with the Slayer. How evil could you be?”

Spike pursed his lips. “Evil enough t’ put up with your sister, I am. Ranks pretty high on the evil scale, I reckon.”

Dawn rolled her eyes, but a small smile quirked the corners of her mouth.

“Dawn, you’re not evil,” Spike continued in a serious tone. He stepped in front of her, put both hands on her shoulders, and looked her in the eye. “You’ve been dealt a rotten hand, I’ll give ya that, but your sister loves you more than anything in the world. She’d do anything for ya, and so would I.”

“That’s just it,” Dawn murmured in a low voice. “Everyone has to … do things for me and … everyone’s getting hurt, because of me! I just wish it would … stop.”



“Big sis’ll find a way to stop this Glory chit – it’s what hero-types like her do,” he admonished her. “It’ll work out, you’ll see. We’ll find a way t’ fix it, I promise – and I always keep my promises.”

Dawn snorted her disagreement. “According to Dru, you promised to ‘chop the Slayer into messes,’” Dawn pointed out. “Just haven’t gotten around to that yet, huh? Or are you still waiting for your order of Ginsu knives to come in the mail? Maybe you should get a PO Box; I don’t think the mailman delivers to the cemetery.”

Spike rolled his eyes. “Yeah, well, some promises are easier to keep than others, pet. I reckon defeating a hell-god’ll be a might bit easier than chopping the Slayer into messes, yeah?”

Dawn rolled her eyes and sighed.

“It’ll be alright, pet,” he assured her again, his voice conveying more confidence than he actually felt.

Dawn closed her eyes and nodded. Spike pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her in a hug. “I’m so scared,” she admitted, tears choking her words.

“I know, Niblett. Trust me, everything’ll be alright,” he assured her, dropping a kiss on top of her head as she cried against him. “Me and your sis’ll make sure of it. I bloody well promise.”

**~**

A day or so later in the RV heading out of town:



“So, we reckon you’re sulking back ‘ere,” Spike announced as he entered the room at the back of the RV that Buffy had commandeered for herself. “We drew straws to see who’d come check on ya. I lost … but I cheated.”

“I’m not sulking,” Buffy defended, then furrowed her brow. “You cheated to … lose?” she asked with disbelief.

“Brilliant, yeah?” Spike asked, perfectly pleased with his diabolical plan to be alone with Buffy.
 
“I think you’ve missed the whole point of cheating, Spike,” Buffy pointed out. “You’re supposed to cheat in order to win.”

Spike shrugged. “Depends on your definition of ‘winning’, I reckon.”

He stepped in and slid the door closed behind himself. “Stewing then?” he asked, getting back to the original topic.

“Noooo,” Buffy drawled out. “I’m … mulling,” she asserted dourly.

“Mulling is it?” Spike questioned sitting down next to her on the bed. “Mulling over how we could put this lumpy, yet uncomfortable mattress with a view to better use?” Spike wondered, cocking a brow at her suggestively.



Buffy rolled her eyes. “I know this will come as a shock and a huge blow to your ego, but no. Actually, I was mulling over the lameness that is me. It’s a fun time. Mulled lameness all around … way better than cider.”

“Oh, a pity party is it? Got hats and streamers, then?” Spike mocked, looking around the small area as if checking for party decorations.

“Was there anything you actually wanted?” Buffy asked him tersely.

“Yeah, there was. You might be used t’ people who love you givin’ you space and lettin’ you wallow in pity, but those days are past, Slayer. I’m not gonna let you shut me out,” Spike asserted, turning to sit sideways on the bed so he was facing her.

“I wasn’t trying to shut you out,” she argued.

“Oh … that’s why you came back ‘ere alone and shut the door. You can see how that would give a bloke the wrong impression, yeah?” Spike pointed out.

Buffy sighed. “I just needed some … time to … think,” she offered.



“Right. Then you won’t mind sharing those thoughts, will ya?” Spike challenged.

Buffy sighed again more heavily. “Fine,” she agreed after a few moments of silence. “I’m the Slayer. That means I should be chasing the bad guys, not running away like a giant scaredy cat. Christ, what kind of superhero runs away?”

“Ones that live t’ fight another day,” Spike offered reassuringly. “‘He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day,’” he quoted.

“Don’t tell me … one of those old Greek guys … ummm … Demosthenes, right?” Buffy guessed, rubbing at her tired eyes.

“Uhhh … well, actually, that was Yosemite Sam,” Spike admitted sheepishly. “Cleaned it up a bit, I did. His version had somethin’ about a yeller bellied something-or-other.”



Buffy looked at him in disbelief. He’d been going for a smile out of her; he didn’t get it. What he’d done instead, apparently, was trod on Buffy’s last nerve. “Oh, that’s great! Why don’t we take some advice from Elmer Fudd next and be ‘vewy, vewy quiet,” Buffy shot back. “Maybe the mean ole wabbit from hell won’t hear us.”

“Well, reckon it couldn’t bloody hurt, could it?” Spike threw back at her. “Seems t’ me like you’ve been back here practicing that since we left Sunnyhell.”

“Yeah, and maybe I’d like to go back to practicing that – alone,” she growled back at him.

“Fine!” Spike snarled, standing up.

“Fine!” Buffy tossed back just as vehemently.

Spike slid the door open harder than he needed to. It banged against its doorstop and slid back halfway closed. He slapped a hand against it, opening it, then changed his mind and slammed it closed again. “No,” he stated flatly, turning back around to face her.

“No?” she repeated, her voice dripping with incredulity.

“No!” he said again. “I’m not leaving. You’re gonna talk to me, we’re gonna make a bloody plan, and we’re gonna save Dawn and the rest of the berks in this traveling freak-show,” he asserted.



“Spike! This is the plan! I got it from Monty Python: Run away! ‘Run away’ is the plan,” Buffy retorted, standing up to face him. They were nearly nose-to-nose in the cramped space.

“You scoffed at my advice from Yosemite Sam, but you got your plan from Monty Python?” he questioned disparagingly.

“Yeah … well … so what if I did?” Buffy snapped back, her hands planted firmly on her hips.

Spike glared at her angrily. “Then I reckon you owe me an apology, Slayer.”

“Owe you…” Buffy began, her voice rising in indignation, but she was cut off when Spike’s lips crashed against hers.



It only took her a moment to react, wrapping her arms around his neck as he encircled her waist and pulled her body against his. Their lips melted against each other, hungry and demanding. Their tongues fought for dominance as each one tried to control the kiss. Spike jerked away slightly when Buffy’s teeth gnashed and she bit down on his bottom lip, drawing blood, but he quickly recovered.

In the next moment, his lips slammed against hers again in a futile attempt to devour her. Suddenly Spike’s jeans seemed to be about four sizes too small; the buttons threatened to burst as all the blood drained from his brain and settled below his belt. For a moment they both forgot about running and hell-gods and Keys. Buffy could feel the darkness in her rise up with lustful yearning and she wanted nothing more than to shove Spike down on the lumpy mattress and ravage him, the rest of the world be damned.

He’d promised to let her touch the darkness, to give her a place to allow it to run free, but he’d been so debilitated by Glory’s interrogation of him that Buffy had held back. Even though he told her to let go, she was afraid of hurting him more. So, during the days he’d spent at her house recuperating, she’d kept her darkness in check – perhaps not as much as she would’ve with someone like Riley, but it had not been set completely free either. Even so, during those days they’d made love many times, and he’d touched that dark place within her that no one else ever had. She’d dipped her toe in the bottomless pool of feral lust, and it made her yearn to dive in head-first and drown in it.

Just when Spike had begun feeling better and had literally gotten back on his feet, Glory had attacked Tara and … everything went to shit. Buffy hadn’t had a moment alone with him since. She dared not leave Dawn alone or with anyone that didn’t have supernatural strength. She couldn’t even allow her to go school or anywhere else that Glory might find her. It was clear that Glory was getting impatient and was going to start picking off Buffy’s friends and family one by one until the hell-god found her Key.



After the attack on Tara, and Willow’s retaliatory strike against Glory, Buffy came up with her brilliant ‘run away’ plan. She’d sent Spike in search of transportation that would allow them to all stick together … strength in numbers and all that. While they waited for Spike to show up, they’d taken refuge in Tara’s dorm room, but that had turned out to be a bad idea. Glory had found them and, at the same time, the hell-god had learned who the Key was. Glory had her full wrath and attention centered on Dawn now and there was nothing Buffy could do to stop her. And so here they were, fleeing like scared mice from a demonic hellcat.

Buffy’s hand went to the front of Spike’s jeans and he gasped against her lips when she pressed her palm against his erection. Spike lifted her up, his hands under the curve of her ass, and deposited her unceremoniously onto the thin, uncomfortable mattress. He fell atop her as he did so, never breaking the kiss, and she began fumbling for his belt.

Just then, the sound of glass shattering and the ‘whoosh’ of something flying past Spike’s head made him look up. He pulled some of the blinds down and gazed out the back window. “Bugger!”



Buffy sat up, pushing him off her, and looked as well, pulling even more of the blinds open. “Shit!” she exclaimed as they both scrambled to their feet.

“Why do I think we haven’t just stumbled into a bloody Renaissance fair?” Spike wondered, fastening his belt back as he watched the horsemen that were chasing and gaining on them. Another arrow zoomed by him and embedded into the wall by his left shoulder – a little too close for comfort.

“Any more sage advice from Yosemite Sam?” Buffy asked Spike sarcastically, flinging the sliding door open.

“Reckon you just show ‘em you’re the rootinest, tootinest, bob-tailed wildcat in the west, pet,” he advised in his best Yosemite Sam impersonation – which wasn't going to win him any acting awards.

Buffy stopped a second and looked back at him. “Wildcat?” she asked softly so none of the others could hear, a small, saucy smile playing on her lips.



Spike drew a finger over the gash in his lip and held it up to her, showing her the blood she’d drawn. “Rottinest, tootinest,” he assured her with a smirk.

**~**

Later that night, in the abandoned gas station in the desert:



Spike watched from a distance as Buffy greeted and thanked Ben for coming to their aid. That burning urge to kill the git surged inside him again and Spike had to physically leave the room, afraid that he’d lose control and rip the wanker’s head off. He knew it was irrational. Buffy was with him, Spike, in every way now. She only called the doctor because Giles was gravely injured and needed help. There was no reason for this overwhelming feeling of anger and hatred – but there it was, refusing to subside.

“Sorry, I didn't know who else to call,” Buffy apologized to the brunette as he made his way into the abandoned gas station where they’d taken refuge from the sun, which had been parboiling Spike. Of course, that had been hours ago, after the Knights of Byzantium had succeeded in impaling Giles on a javelin and flipping the RV. Now it was dark and safe for Spike, but they were surrounded by the Knights who demanded that the Key be destroyed. Willow had put up a magical protection barrier, but there was no guarantee how long that would last. The Knights had agreed to allow a doctor in to help Giles, who was gravely injured.

“It's okay. I mean yeah, not how I pictured seeing you again, but ah, I'll take what I can get,” Ben replied sheepishly.

Spike rolled his eyes and slipped into the mechanic’s bay where their prisoner, General Gregor, was being held. He pulled a cigarette out, hoping for a little relief from his anxiety, but his hands were cut too badly from that idiotic stunt with sword earlier in the RV to light it. To Spike’s shock, Xander came over, took the lighter from his hands, and clicked it for Spike. Spike hesitated for a moment, not sure if Xander was going to use it to set him on fire, but finally leaned in and accepted the light, inhaling the nicotine deeply. He hoped it would calm the murderous rage that stormed within him for the doc – it didn’t really seem to help.



“Ta ever so,” Spike drawled, taking the lighter back from Xander and shoving it down into the pocket of his jeans.

Xander shrugged. “Did I mention today how much I don't like you?”

“You mighta let it slip in... once or twice,” Spike admitted. “Not sure what more I can do t’ convince you that I’m on your bloody side in this.”

“Actually, I think you’re on Buffy’s side – not mine,” Xander pointed out. “But, since I’m on her side too … I guess that makes you on my side by default.”

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Spike summarized.

“You watch ‘Invader Zim’? Didn’t know you could get Nickelodeon in your crypt.”



Spike cocked a brow at him. “It’s a proverb, you dolt, not from a soddin’ kid’s show,” Spike explained, rolling his eyes. "You really don't get out much, do ya, Special Ed?"

“Whatever,” Xander muttered. “So … Buffy doesn’t seem to have a real plan.”

Spike nodded and took another drag of his cigarette. “I reckon her plan got a bit … sideswiped by that Renaissance Fair. We need to get the bloody hell outta here. Won’t be long ‘fore they kick the bloody doors in.”

“Not like we got much of a choice,” Xander pointed out.

“We make a break for it! Use General Armor-all as shield, get to the doc's car and...”

“Great plan, Spike, and while all the hacking and slashing is going on, what are you gonna be doing, huh? Throwing migraines at them?” Xander scoffed.



“Look, we stay here, we all die! At least some of us might get away.  You and Demon-girl can distract ‘em while me and Red get Buffy and Dawn outta here. Once we’re gone, it’s doubtful King Arthur will hurt you lot.”

“Oh, right! You’re out of your mind if you think I’m gonna let you go off with Buffy and leave the rest of us here!” Xander shot back scathingly.

“Fine – you go, I’ll stay ‘ere!” Spike offered.

“I’m not leaving Anya … and I know Willow would never leave Tara,” Xander continued to object.

“You don’t bloody get it, Harris. If we all stay, we’re all gonna die!” Spike growled at him.

“No!” Buffy objected, walking into the room. “We're all gonna make it. I'm not losing anyone,” she asserted, looking pointedly at Spike.



“Buffy, please, luv, listen to reason,” he begged, stepping forward towards her. “You and Dawn can make it out. The rest of us don’t matter.”

“Hey, Evil Dead! Speak for yourself! You might not matter, but the rest of us kinda like our skin in one piece, not slashed into ribbons and poked full of holes,” Xander objected from behind Spike.

Buffy looked at Spike resolutely. “Xander’s half-right. Everyone matters. And everyone will make it.”

Spike held her gaze for several long moments, partly in defiance and partly in awe – a mixture of wonderment and dread, then nodded and looked away.

“Go … see if anyone needs anything,” Buffy directed Spike and Xander, inclining her head back towards the other room.

Spike looked between her and their captive, General Gregor, his brows furrowed. “You sure, pet?”



Buffy nodded. “Time to see just what I’m made of,” she assured him. “Go on …” she urged again, casting a glance at the door.

Spike nodded again, turned and followed Xander out of the room, leaving Buffy alone with their prisoner.

**~**



Spike stood not too far from the door of the mechanic’s bay, close enough to listen to Buffy and Gregor talking…

“What do you know of the Beast?” the General asked Buffy.

“Strong. Fast. Hell-god,” Buffy replied matter-of-factly.

“From a dimension of unspeakable torment,” Gregor added.

“A demon dimension, I know. She ruled with two other hell-gods, right?” Buffy offered.

“Along with the beast, they were a triumvirate of suffering and despair, ruling with equal vengeance. But the Beast's power grew beyond even what they could conceive. As did her lust for pain and misery. They looked upon her, what she had become, and trembled,” the General supplied.

“A god afraid?” Buffy asked disbelievingly.

“Such was her power. They feared she would attempt to seize their dimension for herself, and decided to strike first. A battle erupted. In the end they stood victorious over the Beast. She was cast out, banished to this lower plane of existence. Forced to live and eventually die, trapped within the body of mortal. A newborn male, created as her prison. That is the beast's only weakness,” Gregor divulged.

“Kill the man, and the god dies,” Buffy concluded.

Gregor nodded. “Unfortunately, the identity of the human vessel has never been discovered,” the General agreed.

Spike furrowed his brow and looked around; something in his gut twisted uncomfortably. His eyes settled on the doc who was tending to Giles. Ben was rummaging round in his doctor's bag, looking for something, oblivious to Spike's steely gaze. The impulse to kill the brunette raged in Spike’s chest and roiled in his stomach. The urge to kill Ben was stronger, more insistent, than anything he'd ever felt before, even at his most evil. He could hear a voice in his head urging him to do just that. Kill Ben, he’s ... Then he heard Dawn’s forlorn voice coming from the room with Buffy, asking Gregor about the Key – about her. The fear and frailty in her voice cut Spike's heart and he had to force himself to walk away – walk away from the Niblett’s utter desperation.



Spike tried to calm himself down by looking out one of the windows and trying to focus on their predicament. They were surrounded. Mutt and Jeff, the two clerics, were working on bringing Red’s magical barrier down. Heaven only knew how long before they succeeded. When that happened, they were done for – the Knights would overrun them. Spike sighed and rubbed his eyes, unable to come up with any plan to get them out of this mess. If Buffy would only listen to him: take the doc’s car and run while Spike and the others created a diversion. That was the problem with heroes: they always want to save everyone. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices. Buffy said it to him before: they weren’t all gonna make it. Why couldn’t she see that now was the time to make that call? The only thing that mattered was that she and Dawn got away. He’d be no help fighting the Knights, but Red would … even Harris could do more than Spike against them. Buffy should take those two and Dawn and go.



Spike sighed and shook his head. Buffy was not gonna do that, he knew it. Spike turned back around and his eyes were once again drawn to the brunette doctor. Ben was working on Giles again, giving him a pain killer or something. Spike thought he’d gotten his murderous rage towards the man under control, but the minute he looked at the young doctor, it rose back to boil again in an instant. He clenched his jaw and tried to push it down, but it was not budging. The anger seethed inside him, boiling up from an unknown source deep inside. It was unrelenting and he had to fight just to keep his demon down – the longer he looked at Ben, the harder that normally routine task became. He watched as Dawn came out of the other room where she’d been talking to Buffy and Gregor, and walked up to Ben and Giles. Seeing Ben that close to Dawn made every shred of restraint Spike had left evaporate instantly. Spike could feel his demon rise and didn't even try to stop it. Every cell in his body was intent on a mission. Protect Dawn. Kill Ben.

Spike roared and hurled himself across the space towards the doctor. Ben and Dawn, who were standing side-by-side, both shrieked in surprise. Tara, who Willow was trying to get to eat, screamed and thrashed, frightened by the sudden movement and noise. Xander and Anya looked around to see what was happening. They were all too far away to stop Spike or help Ben. Spike let his demonic instincts take over; he done this hundreds … thousands of times. Kill. Devour. Destroy.

Spike had barely touched Ben when the chip fired. He screamed out and clutched at his head, but pressed on. When his fangs sank into Ben’s neck, the chip sent white-hot bolts of excruciating pain out from the center of his brain. His screams of agony were muffled by his mouth against the doctor’s flesh. He bit down harder and the bolts of anguish became constant, debilitating streams of electrical current. His whole body began to convulse. His legs began to quiver with the pain and his arms and hands trembled violently.

Then someone was yanking on his arm and screeching his name in a high-pitched yowl which was much too close to his ear. The sound sliced into his pain-ravaged brain and Spike struck out at it to get the sound to stop. He hit Dawn with a powerful blow, backhanding her across the face and sending her flying across the room.  She landed with a deafening thud against the farthest wall and slumped to the floor.

He heard more people screaming his name and Buffy’s, but he couldn’t focus on them. The chip had sent a new, even more violent, wave of white-hot bolts of agony out when he’d hit Dawn. Nausea washed over him, his whole body quaked in torturous anguish, but still he persisted in his attack on Ben. He could taste blood and he suddenly realized that it wasn’t human, or not 100% human. There was something more to it; something sour and astringent, something demonic.

He’d no sooner realized this and started to wonder why his chip was firing, when someone else was screaming at him to stop. He had no energy to resist as he felt himself being flung back away from Ben. He couldn’t see anything but blinding bursts of brilliant light exploding in front of his eyes like supernovas. He could no longer make out any individual voice in the chorus of panicked screams; his brain was being bombarded with too many signals of pain to be able to process them. Then he heard Buffy’s anguished and angry voice cursing and calling his name. It was the last thing he remembered before his head seemed to split in two and everything went dark.

**~**

“Spike! Wake up!” someone was demanding of him. He felt cool water being splashed on his face and felt someone shaking him. Every movement made his head pound like a jackhammer. He put a hand up to stop them – or he thought he did, but neither the shaking nor the yelling stopped. He finally managed to force his eyes open just a crack and saw Buffy in front of him – she was the one shaking and demanding he wake up.



“Stop,” he rasped out – he’d meant it to be a demand, but it was more of a plea.

To his utter relief, she heard him and stopped. He had no idea how long he’d been out – it could’ve been a year for all he knew. As he slowly looked around, it was clear that it had been only a few minutes at most. Xander was standing behind Buffy, a stake in his hand, looking at him with absolute hatred. Off to one side of the room, Willow was trying to help Dawn sit up, and on the other side of the room, Anya was trying to staunch Ben’s bleeding.

“Spike,” Buffy began more softly. “What the hell happened? What … why did you attack Ben?”

Spike shook his head. He really didn’t know why – not for certain. “Not human…” he managed to croak out through the pain.

“He’s lost it!” Xander accused, pointing the stake menacingly at Spike. “See? I told you! We can’t trust him! Of course you’re not human! Once an evil vampire, always an evil vampire.”

“Shut up, Xander,” Buffy growled up at him as she knelt in front of Spike. “Spike – why? What happened?”



Spike shook his head again. “Protect … you and … Dawn,” he tried to explain.

“Oh, well good job with that!” Xander exclaimed. “You broke Dawn’s jaw! You could’ve killed her!”

Buffy clenched her teeth together and looked at Dawn. She didn’t think her sister's jaw was actually broken, but one side of Dawn’s face was swelling and turning black-and-blue very quickly.

“From Ben?” Buffy asked, confused. She looked around at Ben, who now had a hand clamped over the bite on his neck and appeared to be pretty much frightened to death. She looked back at Spike. “What did Ben do? Did he hurt Dawn?”

Spike shook his head slowly. He tried to speak, but nothing came out but a small grunt.

“Then … what … what is it?” she asked, perplexed. Then something dawned on her and a hot, angry fire bloomed in her gut. “You can’t possibly still be jealous of him … can you? Seriously, Spike? Is that what this is?”

Spike began to shake his head in vehement denial, but the jackhammer pounding against his skull multiplied into a full-fledged choir of construction equipment in his head, all with their own, unique tone and cadence, and all much too enthusiastic.

“This is just the thing I’ve been trying to warn you about, Buffy! You can’t trust Spike! He just went Rambo on Ben for no good reason and Dawn got caught in the cross-fire! Who knows what he’ll do next!” Xander continued to rant.



Buffy sighed, trying to ignore Xander. “Spike … why? Because I called him to help us? Giles needed help. I didn’t know who else to call.”

“Don’t trust…demon,” Spike ground out through the pain.

“Well, that’s the most sensible thing you’ve said yet, Captain Peroxide! We shouldn’t trust the demon!” Xander continued to rage from behind Buffy. "Wow! What a concept!"

“You don’t trust him or you don’t trust me?” Buffy demanded, as the anger and frustration of the entire day, the entire month, grew. “Christ, Spike. Don’t you think we have enough going on without you going all Othello on me?! I sooo don’t need this crap from you!”

“Didn’t…” Spike continued to object, but the pain, which wasn’t just in his head but radiating down his spine and into his limbs and torso, kept him from finishing. He took deep breaths and closed his eyes again, leaning back against a wall and trying to get the pain to stop so he could explain.

“You’re supposed to be helping me protect Dawn and instead I come out to find you backhanding her across the face and sending her flying through the air! I really don’t need this! I can’t fight Glory, these Round Table guys, and you too! I need your help! Not … not …” Buffy’s voice cracked and her throat closed up with painful emotions.



Buffy stared him, furious and fearful, as all her friends watched her. She closed her eyes and tried to swallow back the tears and hurt. How could she have been so wrong about Spike? She thought … she thought he was her perfect match, but was this how it would be? She couldn’t talk to another guy without Spike going ballistic with jealousy? How could he love her if he didn’t trust her? Didn’t that go hand in hand? Did he not believe her when she told him that she loved him? God, she soooo didn’t need this right now. If one more thing got piled on top of her she felt like she would simply crumble into dust beneath the weight of it.

She was used to carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, but she’d let herself think that now she might actually have someone to help her shoulder the burden and he was … what? A jealous psychopath? One of those people who see illicit affairs and lies with every innocent encounter? How could she be soooo fucking bad at relationships? How could she have misjudged him so badly? Was Xander right? Had she been delusional and a slave to her hormones?

Dawn was crying and moaning in pain as Willow tried to help her and check her all over for injuries. Buffy was supposed to be keeping Dawn safe. She’d trusted Spike to help her and instead he’d attacked Dawn. Buffy felt like she was barely hanging on by a thread, and it was unraveling at an alarming rate.

Willow touched Dawn’s jaw, trying to see if it was, in fact, broken and Dawn shrieked in pain. At that moment, the frazzled thread of sanity inside Buffy snapped. All the fear, anger, and frustration she’d been living with for months came pouring out and landed squarely atop Spike.



Considering how furious she was, her voice was surprisingly even, deadly calm, when she spoke again. “I trusted you, and this is how you repay me. I can’t believe how stupid I was or how goddamned selfish you are. I fucking hate you,” she choked out. She fought hard to keep the hurt and barely repressed tears out of her tone. “If we get out of this, I never want to see you again. Don’t even think about coming in my house ever again, in fact, if you want to keep walking around undusty, you need to leave Sunnydale – permanently,” she growled, trying to keep her voice from cracking.

Buffy blinked back her emotions and clenched her jaw, swallowing hard, as she stood up, leaving Spike sprawled on the floor where she’d thrown him off Ben. She was sure he’d heard her; he’d winced at the words as if she’d slapped him. Her heart felt like a lead weight had been tossed into it. How could she have been so stupid to trust another vampire? How had she allowed herself to actually let herself fall in love so completely?

Buffy turned around to find Ben staring at her with wide eyes. His shirt was stained with blood which had dripped down from Spike’s bite. It had been surprisingly deep, all things considered. Buffy didn’t think the chip would’ve let Spike go that far. That was just another worry to add to her pile: was Spike’s chip malfunctioning? Would she be forced to dust him? She couldn’t bring herself to consider it in that moment, it was too much.

“You have to let me out!” Ben exclaimed suddenly, absolutely terror washing over his face.

“Ben, it’s alright – he won’t…” Buffy began to assure him.

“No! You don’t understand! You have to let me out now!” he insisted, running towards the door.

Spike forced his eyes open, trying again to explain his actions to Buffy; he needed to make her understand about Ben’s blood. Spike began to struggle up to his feet as Ben shrieked and demanded to be let out.

“Ok … alright,” Buffy agreed, trying to calm the doctor. “Spike! Sit back down!” she ordered, thinking that Spike’s movement was what was freaking Ben out. “Wills, open a door,” Buffy continued when suddenly, unbelievably, Glory appeared in front of them.

“Well, whaddaya know? Little Ben finally did something right,” Glory purred in delight.



Spike’s legs gave way and fell back onto his ass, his back against the wall. He watched in helpless horror as Glory easily smacked Buffy away, taking Willow down as well, then grabbed Dawn and fled. Buffy ran after her, screaming her sister’s name into the dark, desert night. By the time Spike got up and stumbled outside on shaky legs, Glory and Dawn were gone and the entire Renaissance Fair had been slaughtered. Spike dropped to his knees, unable to stand up even one second longer as the residual pain that still radiated out from the chip made him weak and disoriented.



He had failed. He’d promised to keep Dawn safe and he’d failed – he’d done worse than fail, he’d actually hurt her himself. Buffy hated him and she should. He wasn’t a man and couldn’t even be a proper monster. He was useless. He was nothing. He had gone into the Initiative as Cujo and come out as a lapdog. Worse: he’d come out as a stuffed Snoopy-dog. Even lapdogs could still bite.

Spike fell to his side in the now cooled desert sand and held his throbbing head in his hands. Tears leaked from his eyes, but he didn’t care who saw. He was a git. A stuffed, Snoopy-dog git. He closed his eyes against the pain that still roared inside his mind and body, unable to move and praying for unconsciousness. Buffy held his life in the palm of her hand; he hoped she would just leave him there in the desert to dust. It would be a fitting end to his pathetic life.

**~**
End Notes:
I know the convo in the cave between Spike and Dawn didn't change a whole lot from canon, but it was one of the only times in the whole show I actually liked Dawn and felt sorry for her, so I couldn't resist including it.

Next:  The return to Sunnydale and the search for Dawn and Glory. When Buffy's mind gets caught in a loop of guilt, will the Scoobies make the decision on their own to leave Spike in the desert to dust?
Don't Let Me Die Young by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Despite Spike’s wish, the Scoobies don’t leave Spike in the desert to dust. Can he redeem himself or will he dust trying?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episodes: Spiral – Weight of the World – The Gift

**~**

Moments later...



Buffy collapsed to her knees in the sand, her eyes open, swimming with tears, but unseeing; her expression blank. Dawn was gone. She’d failed. It was over. She’d killed her sister. She’d ended the world.

“Buffy!” Willow exclaimed, running over to her. “C’mon! We have to go! We have to get Dawn!”

But Buffy didn’t hear her. Didn’t see her. Didn’t even feel her friend shaking her shoulders in earnest.

“Buffy! Buffy! Buffy you have to get up, we need you! Buffy, please! Buffy!” Willow pleaded with her.

As Willow was trying to get Buffy to come around, Xander walked over and started kicking Spike’s prone body in anger and frustration. “This is your fault! If you hadn’t gone and gotten yourself all screwed up by attacking Ben, you could’ve helped fight Glory!”

Spike’s brain exploded when Xander kicked his spine and sent new pain signals back up into Spike’s cerebral cortex. All the synapses in his brain had been overtaxed by the chip firing, and the new stimuli set them blazing with a fire hotter than the sun. Spike screamed out for a moment, clutching his head tightly, then fell still and silent as his brain defended itself the only way it could: by shutting down.

“Xander! Stop!” Willow cried, jumping up from Buffy and running over to Xander and Spike. But Xander didn’t stop; he continued kicking Spike’s back furiously, relentlessly.

“Damn it! Separate!” Willow commanded, extending her hand towards Xander. Xander stumbled back away from Spike and fell onto his ass on the ground. “Now stop it!” Willow ordered, glaring at the brunette. “Buffy's out. Spike’s out. Glory has Dawn. Sometime real soon she's gonna use Dawn to tear down the barriers between every dimension there is, so if you want to take out your frustrations on Spike, you do it after the world ends. 'Kay?” Willow demanded authoritatively.  



Xander nodded grudgingly, more than a little shocked at the power with with Willow had flung him across the ground, and stood up as Anya, helping Giles, and Tara made it outside to them.

“Alright,” Willow continued in her no-nonsense tone. “First, we head back to Sunnydale in Ben’s car. Xander'll take Giles to a hospital and Spike back to his crypt. Do anything stupid to him like you were just doing here, and I will get very cranky,” she warned Xander. “If Spike recovers enough to fight, we’ll need him. Anya's looking after Tara. Everyone clear?”

Anya raised her hand hesitantly.

“Anya?”

“What will you be doing?”

“I’ll be helping Buffy,” Willow replied flatly. “We’ll all meet at the Magic Box as soon as we can and we’ll come up with a new plan to find Glory and save Dawn.”



Everyone nodded.

“Ok, get Spike and Buffy and let’s go,” she ordered no one in particular as she headed for Ben’s car.

“Uhhhh …” Xander interrupted tentatively. “Ben’s gone and we don’t have any keys.”

“I don’t need keys,” Willow announced, as she touched her hand to the hood and commanded, “Discharge and bring life.” The engine of the car turned over and hummed easily.

“Handy,” Xander admitted. “But what about Ben? He must’ve run off into the desert or something. Are we just gonna leave him?”

Willow looked around at all the dead and dying Knights for a moment. “We don’t have time to waste. We’ll leave our supplies here for him. If he’s still alive, hopefully he’ll come back looking for his car. If the world doesn’t end, someone can come back for him then.”

Xander nodded, further amazed at Willow’s logical level-headedness, then he picked Buffy up and carried her to the car.

**~**

Back in Sunnydale Willow explores Buffy’s mind:

“I can't keep following you around like this, Buffy. We have to go. You have to talk to me!” Willow pleaded with her as they walked down the upstairs hallway in Buffy’s house. Buffy opened one of the bedroom doors and stepped inside; Willow followed her.



“Buffy, what…” she began, but stopped short just inside the door. Kendra, the Vampire Slayer, and Jenny Calendar were sitting on the floor like limp ragdolls. The teacher’s head was turned nearly around backwards on her neck and Kendra was covered in blood from a long gash across her neck.

Buffy looked at Willow, her arms folded across her chest. “Death is my gift,” she supplied calmly.

“Buffy … this … wasn’t your fault,” Willow assured her, pulling her eyes away from the two dead women.

“Really?” Buffy asked incredulously.

“No!” Willow admonished her. “It was Angelus … and Dru.”

“And just who do you think turned Angelus loose on my friends? I’ll give you three guesses and two of them don’t count,” Buffy replied sardonically.

“Buffy – we’ve been over this before! You couldn’t have known what would happen,” Willow continued.

“Sure. Right,” Buffy agreed sarcastically. “When Buffy, the Vampire Slayer makes a mistake, people die,” she asserted as she turned and headed back out into the hall.

She opened the next door and entered it.

Willow followed, and inside that room she found Joyce Summers’ grave. “Buffy … you can’t think this was your fault!”

“Death is my gift,” Buffy repeated.

“I keep hearing that, but I don’t understand what that means,” Willow told her sadly.

“It’s not really that complicated,” Buffy asserted as she walked past Willow and back out into the hallway. She stopped, opened the next door, and stepped inside. Willow followed right behind her.



Spike was lying on a raised sarcophagus in the center of the room, his eyes closed. His arms were crossed over his chest, as if ready for burial. He was dressed just the way he'd been when he'd first come to Sunnydale, black tee, black jeans, black boots, and ruby-red overshirt. “It's what I do. C'mon, you've known me for how long? It's what I'm here for. It's all I am,” Buffy explained casually as she pulled a stake from her pocket and slammed it down into Spike’s chest.

Spike’s eyes flew open and he gasped in pain and shock, then disintegrated into dust.

Willow gasped too, looking at Buffy with wide, surprised eyes.

“Eventually, I’ll kill everyone around me,” Buffy asserted matter-of-factly. “Including you. It's just what Slayers do – it's what I do.”

Buffy walked out of that room, back into the hallway, then through the last door. Inside that room, Dawn was sleeping in her bed. Buffy sat down next to her and pulled a pillow over Dawn’s face. Without a thought, she pressed down, smothering her sister.



“Buffy, no! Stop!” Willow screamed at her.

“What? I keep telling you, Will. I figured it out. Death is my gift,” Buffy explained calmly as Dawn went limp under the pillow.

“This never happened!” Willow argued. “You didn’t kill any of these people! You certainly didn’t kill Dawn … or Spike for that matter. We need your help to get your sister back. You’ve gotta snap out of this. Death is not your gift! I don’t know what that means, but this is not what you were put here for.”

“Really? Pretty sure it was. I’m a demon … it’s what demons do, Will,” Buffy explained casually. “You know that.”

“Buffy … no,” Willow assured her. “You aren’t a demon.”

“Yes, I am. Spike showed me … the Guide told me – even Giles knows. I’m made from darkness. I just suck the life out of everything around me. It’s what I was made for,” Buffy explained again.

“Didn’t you see Spike attack Ben and Dawn? I gave him my love and it just … it turned him back into a monster. He loved me and that was fine as long as I ignored him, but when I returned it…” Buffy stopped and sighed woefully. “I’m made of darkness. I’m a giant black-hole that swallows up everything good and light – it kills everyone around me. Since Spike’s already dead, it did the next best thing – it sucked his soul out and turned him back over to the demon.

“Why put off the inevitable? I might as well just kill everyone and get it over with. It’s what’s gonna happen anyway,” Buffy asserted.

"Buffy …” Willow started in a soft, cajoling voice. “That’s such a bunch of hooey!” she continued angrily.

Buffy blinked and looked at her friend in shock, dropping the pillow away from Dawn’s face.



“You’re full of … shit,” Willow reiterated daringly, throwing caution to the wind. “Yeah, ok, when you make a mistake maybe people die, but that doesn’t make it your fault! No one can be perfect. We do the best we can and that’s all we can do. How many people have you saved? I bet if you ask them, they’d say you were a hero – an angel, not a demon. But do you ever ask them? No – you never even think about all those people who are still walking around living their lives; you only think about the ones you lost. Well, here’s a news flash:  everyone has failures in life and in love. Everyone loses people they’ve loved. People change. People die. People leave. It’s not just you! Get over yourself already!” the witch advised reproachfully.

“Dawn is not dead, and neither is Spike!” Willow continued. “I don’t know why Spike attacked …” Willow stopped talking, a sudden epiphany lighting up in her brain. “Ben is Glory! Glory is Ben! Ben’s the human vessel! Spike … knew!” Willow exclaimed, her eyes wide with sudden understanding. “Spike didn’t just go off the deep end! He … he was trying to protect Dawn, just like he said! Ben is Glory!” the Willow repeated, her eyes wide with sudden understanding.



“Ben is Glory?” Buffy questioned, her brows furrowed. Then she, too, got a look of understanding on her face. “And Glory is Ben. Kill Ben, kill Glory,” she realized, her eyes wide, mimicking Willow’s.

“Buffy! Don’t you see?” Willow asked in a pleading voice. “You didn’t suck Spike’s … uhhhh … did you say soul?” Willow asked, suddenly confused again.

Buffy closed her eyes and nodded, then slowly looked back up at Willow. “Spike has – I don’t know how, but I’m sure of it – he has a part of William’s soul still in there. I thought … I thought I’d … stolen it or killed it or something. I thought he’d … turned into a monster. I thought …” Buffy closed her eyes and covered her face with her hands. “Oh, God, what have I done?”

“It’s not too late, Buffy. Dawn isn’t dead. Spike isn’t dead ... or not any deader than always. But Dawn certainly will be if you don’t snap out of this, and now!” Willow admonished her.

Buffy looked up at Willow and in that second the weight of guilt that had been keeping her locked in her own mind lifted. Back in the darkened room where she and Willow sat facing each other, Buffy collapsed into sobs, allowing her emotions to flow out and release the strangle-hold they had on her psyche. Willow sighed in relief as she moved forward and hugged her friend. Buffy was back; it would be alright.

Meanwhile, at Spike’s crypt:

Spike moaned as the blackness that had engulfed him began to clear. He fought to remember where he was and what had happened, but his brain was still cloaked in a dark mist of pain. He blinked his eyes open slowly, afraid he’d find light on the other side of his eyelids that would pierce his eyeballs like skewers. But there was no light – everything was dark. He blinked a few more times and then squinted into the darkness – it was his crypt. He was lying atop the sarcophagus in the center of the room. He tried to remember how he’d gotten here, but couldn’t. He tried to find a point of reference and work forward, trying to remember what had happened. Then it came back to him. Ben. Glory. Dawn. Buffy. Buffy’s words rang in his ears and it felt like a stake to his heart. “I can’t believe how goddamned selfish you are. I fucking hate you! If we get out of this, I never want to see you again.”

He closed his eyes and massaged his throbbing temples. At least the pain had subsided enough for his limbs to begin working again, but it didn’t help the ache in his chest. Spike pressed his palms against his eyes. Tears leaked from beneath his closed lids as the rest of the events of the night flooded back into his ravaged mind. Ben is Glory. Glory is Ben. Glory took Dawn. He’d failed spectacularly. He’d not only failed to keep Dawn safe, he’d actually hurt her. On top of that, he’d managed to show Buffy, and the rest of her troupe, what a pathetic excuse for a vampire he actually was.



“Bloody hell,” he muttered, pushing up to sitting on the stone lid. His head whirled with pain, fear, and anger. His only consolation was that he had been right about Ben. He should’ve killed Ben when he’d had the chance. Just more proof of his impotence.

Spike slid to the edge of the tomb he was atop and lowered his feet to the floor. The world tilted a moment, but then stilled as he held to the stone lid for support. He’d promised Dawn that nothing would happen to her, and as long as he was still walking this earth, he would fight to keep that promise. Since he and his crypt were still here, he had to assume that the world hadn’t ended yet and Dawn was still alive.

Spike rummaged around in his weapons chest and pulled out a few implements of destruction that he thought might come in handy. Armed to the teeth, figuratively and literally, he stumbled out of the crypt and into the night.

**~**

Buffy and Willow streaked into Spike’s crypt, breathless and panicked, but Spike wasn't there. Buffy checked downstairs, but it too was empty.

“Where is he? I thought Xander was supposed to leave him here,” Buffy demanded of Willow, a tinge of panic in her voice.

Willow shook her head. “I’m sure Xander did – look, there’s fresh blood on the sarcophagus,” Willow pointed out.

“Oh, God,” Buffy moaned. “He’s going after Glory on his own! Let’s go!”

“Buffy, wait! Where are you going?” Willow asked, grabbing her arm.



“To Glory’s apartment. We have to find him – he can’t … she’ll kill him,” Buffy explained quickly, her panic rising.

“Buffy, she’ll kill you too. We need a better plan than just run in all pell-mell and … get dead,” Willow admonished her.

“But … Dawn … Spike …” Buffy stammered, looking conflicted.

“Buffy, it won’t help anyone for us to just hurtle ourselves into something with no plan. Everyone should be back at the Magic Box by now. We need to go back there and put our heads together before we rush in blind,” Willow reasoned.

Buffy sighed heavily and rubbed her tired eyes. “I hate it when reason and logic win out over irrational pummeling.” Buffy blew out a resigned breath and the two women headed for the door.

“Pell-mell?” Buffy questioned, cocking a brow at Willow as she pulled the door closed behind them.

Willow shrugged. “How often do you get to use ‘pell-mell’ in an actual conversation? I’ve been waiting for this chance for ages!”

Buffy laughed lightly. “I’m glad I could make your life complete.”

“Yeah, with the world ending and all, I thought I better get in as many vocabulary words as I could before, you know … the universe is cast into perdition,” Willow grinned.

**~**



No one was home when Spike arrived at Glory’s mansion. He took his time looking around. He found Ben’s room, including what appeared to be all his meager possessions, but all of Glory’s things were gone. As Spike was leaving what was obviously Glory’s bedroom, he stopped in a side-room … a lounge or dressing room, perhaps? Whatever it was called, there was a very familiar scent to it: Dawn. Dawn had definitely been here, and not long ago. If Glory and her entourage of warty minions hadn’t taken a car, he might be able to track where they’d gone with their precious Key.

The minions had a very distinctive aroma. It was along the lines of a very mangy, wet dog. Glory also had a strong scent, which, if he wasn’t mistaken, was a designer perfume by Ralph Lauren called ‘Notorious’. Not that Spike was an expert in designer fragrances, but the empty bottle of the stuff that had been left on the dresser was a pretty big clue. And then there was Dawn. Fearful, tearful Dawn. He’d try to follow Dawn; if that didn’t work, he’d follow Glory and, as a last resort, if he lost the hell-god’s trail, he’d follow the minions’.

He took a flask out of his pocket, poured the last third of a giant bottle of aspirin into his mouth, and washed them down with bourbon. Maybe if he took enough of the infernal pills the throbbing in his brain would subside a little. It hadn’t worked with the first two-thirds of the bottle, but maybe three times would be the charm.

**~**

Spike crept down Main Street, keeping to the shadows as he followed Dawn’s scent. He’d lost and regained both the minions’ and Glory’s scent over the many blocks from Glory’s mansion to downtown, but he had never lost Dawn’s. He’d been to the warehouse, but Dawn was gone, as was Glory and most of her minions. The hobbits that remained were working with the brain-drained humans, building some sort of structure in the parking lot. So engrossed were they in their work, they didn’t even notice him. He’d picked up Dawn’s scent again on the other side of the building, heading towards the center of town. Glory, as such, wasn’t with her, he knew that for certain – but Ben, still smelling quite bloody, was.



Spike kept to the shadows, trying to see without being seen. Surprise would be his best weapon. If he could just get Dawn away from Ben/Glory, send her scampering to big sis, and delay the hell-god long enough for Dawn to get away, that would be all that mattered. If he got lucky, he could kill Ben and end this whole thing right now. It would probably end him too. He was pretty sure his brain wouldn’t take much more electroshock therapy without permanent damage, but that didn’t matter anymore. I never want to see you again, Buffy had told him, so what difference would it make if he dusted or became a blithering idiot? His life had ended on the dirty floor of that gas station in the desert – the fact that he was still walking around was just a technicality.

Just as Spike slid around the corner of the Sun Cinema, he saw them: Dawn and Ben … and three of Glory’s minions. Ben was pulling Dawn by the arm, handing her back over to the minions. And this is the berk Buffy thought he was jealous of? Pfffft. That’ll be the bloody day. Spike watched, staying hidden in an alleyway beside one of the many downtown businesses, weighing his options. As he watched, Ben began walking ahead of the minions. He was still pulling Dawn along by one arm while the three warty-toads followed behind, apparently ready to catch Dawn if she got away from Ben. They were going to pass right by Spike’s hiding place. Perfect.



Spike ducked back out of sight, flattening himself against the building and becoming as unobtrusive as he could, while he waited. As Ben and Dawn passed, he could see Dawn was still pulling against the brunette, flailing her free arm, screaming, and looking around for someone to help her. There were a few other people on the street, but no one seemed to even notice or hear her. Perhaps it was part of the spell that kept people from noticing that Ben was Glory – or maybe they just didn’t want to get involved.

In an instant of wild terror, as she looked around for someone to help her, her eyes met Spike’s. She began to cry out – to call his name – but Spike quickly brought a finger up to his lips, admonishing her to be quiet. Her eyes were wide with fright and hope as she pulled harder against her captor, but physically bit back her primal urge to call Spike’s name. She craned her neck to keep her eyes on the vamp as they moved past, and he shook his head adamantly. Dawn swallowed hard and forced her gaze away from him; it was possibly the hardest thing she'd ever done in her whole life. As they moved by, Dawn continued trying to pull free from Ben, but hope swelled in her heart: Spike had come for her, Buffy must be nearby also.



As soon as the three hobbits passed, Spike crept out of his hiding place and fell in step behind them. As soon as he was close enough, he yanked the minion bringing up the rear away in one deft move that broke his neck instantly. Spike silently tossed the body behind some garbage cans that were lined up along the sidewalk, out of sight. The other two guards didn’t even realize their comrade was gone. Spike took the minion’s place behind and in between the other two. After only a few paces, he grabbed both of the warty elves by the back of their robes, jerked each of them backwards and up off their feet, and slammed their heads together with bone-crunching power. They dropped to the sidewalk in an unconscious heap, their skulls cracked and bleeding.

He knew there was no way that Ben hadn’t heard that commotion, but Spike was ready for him. Without missing a step, Spike pulled his pump shotgun out from under his duster and raised the weapon just as Ben spun around. Dawn was hauled around with him in a wide arc; she stumbled at the change in direction, but continued to pull back against Ben. Spike judged her to be at least three, maybe four feet away from her captor – the length of her arm and the length of his. At this range the shotgun blast shouldn’t spread far enough to hit her, but just to make sure Spike lunged forward with it as if it were a sword, in an effort to bury the muzzle in Ben’s gut.



He’d no sooner gotten the gun raised and aimed at Ben than the chip began to fire wildly. Spike screamed out in agony as he flung himself and the barrel of the gun forward. His eyes closed involuntarily from the pain that rocketed out in all directions and began to ricochet through his whole body. All Spike’s muscles began to twitch and tremble from the shocks, and he felt himself start to fall. He couldn’t see, but he could hear Dawn screaming – he knew she was out of harm’s way. He fired the gun.

The kick of the weapon, which would normally not be an issue for him, literally ripped the gun from his hands in his weakened state. He heard Dawn screeching in terror, he heard the gun clatter to the concrete sidewalk, and he heard the unmistakable sound of the double-aught buckshot tearing into flesh.

“Spike!” Dawn screamed as he collapsed in pain on the sidewalk, clutching his head frantically.

He felt Dawn next to him, her hands on his arm, trying to drag him back to his feet. “Oh my God! Spike! Run! Get up!! Run!” she screamed at him as she tugged at his arm. “Spike! Glory’s coming! Run!”

Spike’s pain-clouded mind took a fraction of a second to process her frantic plea. Glory. Not Ben … Glory. With considerable effort, he forced his eyes open as he scrambled back to his feet. The streetlights seemed too bright and cut into his eyeballs like scalpels, but he refused to close them. Before he could get his bearings and locate Glory, the sound of the shotgun firing blasted double-aught pain into his brain through his eardrums. He ducked and clamped his hands over his ears, as he tried to scan the street and sidewalk for the hell-god through the haze of pain.

The few bystanders that had been in the street finally took note of them. Apparently the gunshots were more than even the residents of Sunnydale could ignore, and the sound sent them screaming and running for cover now. The added noise from the people fleeing made it hard to hear where Glory was, and his eyes, although open, had bright bursts of white stars exploding across his field of vision, making it almost impossible to see anything. Suddenly Dawn was tugging at his arm again and he stumbled back with her fear and adrenaline-enhanced strength.

“Run!” she admonished him, but he pulled out of her grasp.

“NO! YOU run! Get to the shop! Get to big sis!” he commanded as he yanked the shotgun out of her hand and pumped another shell into the chamber. “GO!” he screamed at her as he finally blinked enough of the blinding spots out of his eyes to see. Glory was indeed closing on them. Spike unloaded another round of buckshot into her abdomen. It sent her stumbling backwards a few steps and ripped more holes in her dress, but no blood appeared on the shredded fabric – not a single, solitary drop.

“SPIKE!” Dawn screamed again from behind him.

Spike spun around to face her, his demon rising in anger and frustration. “GET THE BLOODY FUCK OUTTA HERE! GO!” he roared at her, pushing her with one hand before spinning back around to face … Ben.



Spike slid the pump, ejecting the spent shell and loading a new round into the barrel, and began to take aim. He stopped breathing and clenched his jaw, bracing himself for the pain that would be coming from the chip. This was it – he could kill the bastard now. Spike raised the gun to his shoulder, but, before he could fire, Glory was there; not there where Ben had been a few feet away, but right there, on him.

She yanked the gun out of his hand and bent the barrel into a passable imitation of a pretzel. “That wasn’t very nice,” she informed Spike coolly. “And you ruined my ceremonial frock. What are my subjects going to think when I return in this?” she asked, waving a hand at her ravaged clothing.

Glory backhanded Spike, sending him flying across the street and crashing into a brick wall on the other side. He hit with a sickening thud and a crunching of bones, and slid down the wall ten feet to the sidewalk below. The stars bursting in front of his eyes returned with a vengeance, morphing into blinding supernovas fueled by the agony of multiple broken and cracked bones that littered his body.



“And on top of everything else, I’ve lost my pretty little Key,” she pouted, suddenly standing over him as if she’d simply materialized out of thin air.

Glory raised a foot, preparing to bring it down on Spike’s skull and squash him like a bug when suddenly Ben was there. His foot came down on Spike’s head, but compared to everything else that Spike was feeling, it barely made an impression. In desperation, Spike grabbed Ben’s foot and twisted with every ounce of strength he had left. The chip fired again, sending burst after burst of debilitating lightning out in all directions inside Spike’s brain.

Spike screamed out in pain; so did Ben. Ben tumbled to the ground next to Spike, clutching his broken ankle while Spike clutched his head.

Then Glory was there, even angrier than she’d been before. “You broke Ben’s fragile, human bones!” she accused Spike bitterly before kicking Spike in the stomach from her position on the ground next to him.

Spike ‘oomphed’ and crashed against the brick wall behind him once again. Glory kicked him in the stomach again and he felt like one more kick would embed him permanently into the façade. He could hear her getting to her feet. He had to stop her – he had to delay her long enough for Dawn to get to Buffy and them to get away. How far was it to the Magic Box from here? Not far, he assured himself. Could she have gotten there by now? Could she and Buffy have escaped yet? His mind was awash with pain, making it impossible for him to judge how long it had been since Dawn had run – a minute? Two? Ten? He didn’t know.



“As fun as this has been, I really don’t have time to play with you,” Glory announced. “Time to get my Key back. She couldn’t have scampered off very far.”

Spike roared in pain and determination and freed himself from the wall by pushing and rolling away from it and back onto the sidewalk. Bricks and mortar rained down into the void he’d just vacated. The wall teetered – the foundation in that nearly six foot length of the wall had been decimated. Spike could only see vague shapes and colors now and the ringing in his ears was making hearing anything difficult, but he could still smell the hell-god well enough.

He lunged at her ankles and yanked hard. In his weakened state he doubted it would have any effect on the fallen god at all, but it was his only chance. To Spike’s utter amazement, Glory stumbled and fell. Spike reacted immediately and dove on top of her. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her body to his with every ounce of power and determination he had left, and began to roll back towards the weakened brick wall. To his shock, she didn’t pull away or simply drive her elbow through his torso. He had no idea why, but wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

Suddenly, Spike’s chip began firing again, faster and stronger than Spike had ever felt it. There weren’t words to describe the pain that engulfed him. A hundred million yellowjackets buzzed inside him, each with white-hot, electric stingers full of fiery poison. They coursed through him, out of his brain, down his spine, and into every nerve ending in his body, ravaging him with unbearable agony. He convulsed and screamed as the chip fired its excruciating warnings, but Spike held on to the person in his arms with every drop of love and devotion that he’d ever felt for Buffy, Dawn, and Joyce.

 

The time he’d spent with Joyce in her kitchen, when she’d made him cocoa with little marshmallows after Dru left him, danced across his mind. The blood-soaked Red Velvet cake that Dawn had made him after he’d saved her from Dru followed quickly in his mind’s eye. Then the first time Buffy had kissed him, really kissed him with no help from any spell, flooded his mind through the pain. He remembered the song from the first dance he’d danced with Buffy and how wonderful she’d felt in his arms. Then the first time Buffy’d made love with him after Glory had tortured him in her effort to find the Key. Buffy had been so tender and loving, it hardly seemed possible that she was the same woman who had kicked his ass so many times. All those memories, all those feelings, fueled his resolve and overpowered the agony of the stinging wasps. Save Dawn. Save Buffy. Keep promise, were his only thoughts as his back hit the unstable brick wall.

He felt the wall shudder and tremble behind him. He felt the man in his arms struggling to get away, and Spike tightened his grip on him until he felt bones crunch. Spike felt his own body jerk and twitch as the wasps, hot and electric, stung him over and over again from the inside out. He felt Buffy’s lips against his, soft and warm. He felt three stories of red brick and mortar, tons of debris, crash down on him. He felt the man stop struggling. He felt Ben’s heart stop beating. He felt darkness engulf him as the chip redoubled its punishment.

Spike surrendered to the black oblivion that unconsciousness offered as the wall of debris continued tumbling down atop him. He could just see the sky lightening above him as the sun made its unending journey around the earth. If his luck held out, it would be high enough to dust him there on the sidewalk within minutes. Buffy appeared in his mind’s eye. She was laughing and dancing in a field of wild-flowers, her golden hair shining in the sun. She looked like an angel. Her eyes gleamed with happiness and a joy he’d rarely seen in them. Spike sighed one last time before the darkness claimed him, secure in the knowledge that he had kept his promise. Buffy and Dawn were safe. His job was done.

**~**

Dawn flinched when Spike screamed at her, “GET THE BLOODY FUCK OUTTA HERE! GO!”



Her eyes flicked from Spike’s distraught and determined face to Glory’s, who was closing on them quickly with a murderous gleam in her eye. Dawn didn’t want to leave Spike there alone, but she was terrified, beyond terrified, petrified. All she wanted to do was get away from the hell-god. Spike spun away from Dawn, turning back to face Glory. The moment she lost sight of his angry, yellow eyes, Dawn bolted.

She ran a short distance down the street behind him as fast as she could, then ducked down a side-alley and out of sight of Glory. She’d never been so frightened or run so fast in all her life. Her lungs burned, her legs ached, and she had to hold her hand against the stitch in her side to keep from keeling over. She hurtled down the alley, turned at the next street, and then turned again. She chanced a quick glance back as she turned the last corner and barreled towards the backdoor of the Magic Box. No one was following her, but she hadn’t heard the gun go off again since she’d run. Worry for Spike blossomed in her as she flung herself at the backdoor of the shop and crashed into the training room, screaming for help with what little breath she had left.



“Buffy! Help! Buffy!” she shrieked as she stumbled into the shop itself, utterly exhausted and filled with panic and dread. Suddenly Buffy was there, along with all the others. Everyone was talking and asking questions at once as they helped Dawn to one of the chairs. The exhausted girl collapsed down into it just before her legs gave out. Dawn grabbed Buffy’s shirt and pulled her close. Her chest was heaving and her entire body was trembling with exhaustion and fear, but she finally managed to gasp out, “Spike! Glory … has Spike! He … saved me!”

“How? Where!?” Buffy demanded in alarm.

“Near … the … Sun … Cinema,” Dawn panted out between deep breaths. “Hurry!” she admonished her.

Buffy looked at Xander and Anya. “You two take Dawn and get her out of here. Drive as far and as fast as you can – don't stop for anything! NOW!” she commanded. Xander nodded resolutely and grabbed Dawn’s arm, hauling her to her feet. Dawn’s legs felt like they’d turned to Jell-O; she wavered and nearly fell. Xander caught her around the waist and ushered her towards the front door of the shop with Anya right on their heels.

“Will – you ready?” Buffy asked anxiously.



Willow nodded, already moving, and pulled Tara to her feet. “Let’s go.”

Not worried about being followed, Buffy, Willow, Tara, and Giles took a more direct route to the section of Main Street near the movie theatre than Dawn had taken. Giles was having a hard time keeping up due to the injury he’d sustained from the javelin that one of the Knights had impaled him on in the RV the previous day, but Buffy couldn’t wait for him. Buffy, along with Willow, were both dragging Tara along quickly. Buffy longed to go faster, which she could’ve done without the extra burden, but she knew how important it was for Willow to get close to Glory, and Buffy was determined to help her.

Buffy and Willow watched in horror as they ran up the street, now close enough to see the battle between the god and the vampire. Glory was kicking Spike viciously  in the mid-section and actually embedding his entire body into the brick wall at his back. “I need to get close … really close,” Willow reminded Buffy in a hoarse whisper as they came up behind Glory unnoticed. Luckily for them, Glory’s full wrath and attention was on Spike – not so lucky for Spike.

Buffy nodded to Willow as they slowed then crept up behind Glory. They’d gotten within arm’s reach of the hell-god just as Glory turned around, presumably preparing to abandon her game with Spike in order to track down her Key. Buffy had never seen Willow more determined or brave – and that was saying a lot. In the split-second before Glory could react to their presence, Willow attacked. Using the spells she’d been researching since the attack on Tara, she called on all the magical forces at her disposal, fueled them with undying love, and reversed the brain-drain that Glory had performed on her girlfriend. It was over in a just an instant, although it felt like a lifetime. Bright lights flashed, and Tara’s essence, the energy that made Tara Tara, suddenly flowed out of the hell-god and back to its rightful owner.

  

As soon as the life-force had been returned to Tara and Willow broke the spell, all three of the women collapsed onto the sidewalk. In that same instant, Spike dove atop Glory and wrapped his arms around her. Willow and Tara began crawling away as Buffy shoved the Dagon Sphere, the magical globe that is said to ‘repel that which cannot be named’, down the front of Glory’s shirt. Glory screeched in pain, clawing at the glowing orb, seemingly unaware, or unconcerned, that Spike had ‘captured’ her. Buffy watched as Spike began rolling away, heading back towards the weakened brick wall with Glory. She looked up, assessing the situation in a fraction of a second; then her eyes flicked to Willow and Tara. They weren’t far enough away! If that wall fell, it would crush them.

Buffy reacted on instinct alone, lurching forward and grabbing Willow and Tara each under an arm and hauling them away from the wall towards the street. By now Giles had arrived and he gave assistance, pulling Tara up to her feet as Buffy helped Willow. In the center of the street, they all turned around just in time to see the wall tumble down atop Spike and Ben. The air was suddenly filled with thick, white dust as the wall crumbled and crashed down, covering the sidewalk, and a good portion of the street, with bricks and mortar ... and wood. The sound was deafening as the old bricks of the solidly built wall hit the sidewalk below in an avalanche of cement and red clay. The side wall of the ‘G-strings and F-holes’ music store had been completely obliterated. Where only a moment before there had been a solid barrier, there was now a void large enough to sail the QE2 through.

Buffy shrieked in alarm and horror as Willow and Tara clung to each other and simply stared at the devastation, utterly gobsmacked. Giles muttered, “Dear Lord,” as the thunderous sound of the destruction filled the empty street, reverberated off the surrounding buildings, and echoed back onto itself. After a few moments, everything went utterly and completely still. The air seemed to fill with an ominous foreboding as the dust began to settle lightly to the ground, covering everything and everyone in a fine layer of white.



The four people in the street looked like ethereal ghosts standing stock-still and wide-eyed, as if waiting for the two souls below the rubble to rise and join them. Nothing moved … seemingly in the entire world. Buffy’s hands were clamped over her mouth in shocked disbelief. If not for her heart thundering in her ears she might’ve thought she’d gone deaf – there was absolutely no sound. Not a bird sang, not a horn honked, not a dog barked. Not even the ever-present sound of the traffic on the distant highway could be heard over the deafening silence that chilled the air.

Buffy’s last words to Spike out in the desert brandished themselves like hot pokers inside her heart as she stared at the giant pile of rubble. He had known. He had known that Ben was Glory. He had been trying to save them and she’d dissed him. Worse, she told him that she hated him, that she never wanted to see him again.

The four stared at the pile of debris in shocked silence. Among the bricks and mortar were a hundred ... a thousand jagged wooden stakes. What had been the interior wall of the shop – narrow strips of wood lath covered with plaster – had collapsed along with everything else. The old wooden strips had been broken, ripped from their moorings, and now stuck out of the pile of detritus like the ends of arrows – as if the mound were a great beast that had been brought down by an arrow-happy tribe of American Indians.

Buffy's vision blurred as hot tears welled in her eyes and she imagined what just one of those innocent pieces of wood could do to him – and there were so very, very many of them. "Death is my gift ... God, Spike..."
End Notes:
Ok, anyone that knows guns knows that the shotgun Spike has in the photo is a double-barreled shotgun, not a pump-action riot gun. What can I say? My Spike has more sense than to use a gun with only two shots against a hell-god, okay?

My biggest regret with the way this played out is I was unable to use the classic line, 'Are you all very stoned?' That was a real shame, but just couldn't fit it in anywhere. :(

Next:  Has saving Buffy wrought a different death-toll from the fates? The Universe gives nothing for free...or does it?
Doctor, Doctor, Where Ya At? by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Glory has been defeated, but at what cost?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episode: The Gift and the days following

Moments later...




Buffy simply stood there and stared, frozen in place with fear and shock, unable to move or even breathe. It felt like she stood there, unmoving, for a very long time – an eternity perhaps. In reality she’d only hesitated a few seconds before she screamed Spike’s name and hurtled herself at the pile of debris.

She began digging frantically, tossing bricks away with supernatural speed and power. Her fingers began to bleed, her nails were ripped and broken past the quick, but still she continued to dig wildly. Then Willow and Giles were there helping her; even Tara, still weak and a bit wobbly, came up to try and help. They all flung bricks and bits of wood away, manually moving the tons of rubble from the sidewalk and out into the street.
 
After what seemed hours, Buffy finally caught sight of him. “Spike!” she screamed, reaching down to touch his bloodied, bruised, and broken face. “God, Spike! I’m so sorry!” she cried as she continued pulling the debris off him. “Jesus, please be alright … I’m so sorry. I was so stupid. Spike, please,” she continued to beg as her ravaged hands worked to free him.

Tears rolled from her eyes, leaving dirty tracks of guilt on Buffy’s cheeks as she dug. After what seemed another eternity, they finally got enough of the weight off him for her to see his whole body. He was laying on his side, his arms still clenched around Ben's lifeless form. Blood was soaked into the dust that covered him – almost every square inch of his clothing seemed to be coated in red grit. Buffy's heart stopped when she saw the thing she feared the most: one of those jagged pieces of lath protruding from Spike's ribcage, just under his left armpit.

"STOP! Stop moving!" she screamed at her friends, spreading her arms out to still their movements. "Giles! Isn't that near his heart?" Buffy demanded, pulling her Watcher over to her so he could see the protrusion.

Giles frowned down at the vampire and the stake-like wood that stuck out from between two ribs. He rubbed at the bridge of his nose, lifting his glasses up slightly, but not removing them.

"Giles ...tell me. Can I take it out without dusting him? I should be able to, right? Just pull it out, right?" Buffy half-pleaded, half-demanded of her Watcher.

"Indeed, do be careful to pull at the exact trajectory it went in to avoid ... errr .. further injury," Giles offered tentatively. "Don't wriggle it about in there," he advised.

"I hadn't planned on doing the hokey-pokey with it," Buffy grumbled back at him, eyeing the wood, sizing it up like she would a demon before an attack.

"It appears to have come in from this angle," Giles observed, showing Buffy how it was angled slightly back toward Spike's head. "Pull it out the same way – and be quick about it, before he wakes up and begins moving about."

"Thanks for that extra pressure," Buffy whispered, swallowing hard. She was good at jabbing bits of wood into vampires, she'd never really worried about how she pulled them out before.

"You can do it, Buffy," Willow assured her, giving her friend a supportive smile.

Buffy nodded and swallowed again, even though her mouth was dry. She maneuvered so she could pull the stake out at the correct trajectory, then took a deep breath and held it. She reached her right hand out and slowly, gently wrapped her fingers around the length of wood, careful to not put any downward or sideways pressure on it as she did so. She closed her eyes, unable to watch. For reasons unknown – some superstition or childhood habit – she mentally counted, One ... two ... three!

On 'three' she yanked the wood out. She could feel it grate and tug against Spike's ribs and she imagined a million splinters embedding into the bones as she pulled it out. She fell backwards with the bloody length of wood and let out a painful grunt when she landed awkwardly on her left wrist. Her heart refused to beat. She was afraid to open her eyes – afraid to look, but in the next instant she heard Spike's moan of pain. Relief flooded her. Her eyes flew open and her heart lurched and charged forward at a gallop in her chest, like a racehorse leaving the gates.

"Spike!" she called again, dropping the bloody wood and scrambling forward again. She grabbed Spike under the armpits and carefully extracted him from the last of the rubble, leaving Ben behind. When his legs came free, she fell backwards onto her ass in the center of the music shop and Spike’s lifeless body landed on top of her.

Buffy wrapped her arms around him and lowered her face to his as she rocked him gently, soothingly, like a mother would rock a frightened child. “I’m so sorry. Spike … please, please be alright,” she continued to murmur to him as more hot tears streamed down her face. How could she have thought he’d attacked Ben out of jealousy? How could she have been so hurtful, so cruel to him? She’d been on the verge, quite literally, of a mental breakdown in the desert, been under enormous strain, but she knew that was no excuse.



Spike’s body was broken, literally. Buffy doubted there was one bone in his body that hadn’t been at least cracked. His hips and legs lay at an odd, unnatural angle to his torso, as if his pelvis had been shattered and twisted out of place. One foot was turned sharply inward, the other straight out; one knee seemed to be bent backwards, like a flamingo’s, and both bones in each forearm jutted out of his skin in jagged, bloody protrusions. His face was unrecognizable; nothing more than a grotesquely swollen mat of blue-black bruises and bright red, bloody cuts and abrasions. And, as if that weren't enough, Spike's body began to convulse spasmodically in the throes of the chip. The chip's trigger had apparently been thrown when she moved him, and it bombarded his concussed, battered brain with an unrelenting wave of agony, overburdening the delicate workings of his mind.

Buffy tried to stop it by gently caressing his blood-and-dust-caked forehead, but it did little good, the spasms continued. Distraught, Buffy shook her head in shame and continued to rock him there on the floor like a child, unable to say anything other than, “I’m sorry … Spike please forgive me. I’m so sorry…” over and over again.

Spike, however, did not – could not – hear her.

**~**

Sometime after the defeat of Glory:

Spike was fairly certain he wasn’t dead-dead, but the constant pain burning through his body made him he wish he was. He couldn’t open his eyes, couldn’t really even maintain consciousness for very long at a time, and he couldn’t move. Even if pain wasn’t radiating out from every bone in his body, making him fear the slightest twitch, he seemed to be utterly immobilized … paralyzed.



On top of that, it felt like John Bonham and his drum set had taken up residence inside his skull. The pounding was constant and unending, although not really rhythmic enough to be entertaining. Even though the pain wasn’t the all-encompassing, debilitating, white-hot agony it had been, it was enough to keep him from even attempting to move his head or make the slightest sound. He had tried to open his eyes once, but they seemed to be sewn, or more likely, swollen, shut.

From the snatches of conversations he had heard during his moments of lucidity, he gathered that he was, once again, at Buffy’s house. Based on the sounds and smells around him, he was able to deduce that he was in the dining room, although it definitely felt like he was lying on a bed, not the table or the floor. He had no idea how long he’d been here or how long Buffy would allow him to stay. What he did know was that Dawn was safe.

She’d come and sat with him more than once – or he thought it was more than once. Perhaps he’d simply lapsed back into unconsciousness and it only seemed like she’d been there several times. She’d talked to him, but the words were disjointed and made little sense. That didn’t matter. The only thing that mattered was he knew he had saved her. He’d kept his promise.

He’d heard Buffy talking to him too, but couldn’t keep his mind focused enough, even when he wasn’t fading in and out of blackness, to hear more than a few words: Idiot … Sorry … Stupid vampire … Should kill … Stubborn … He couldn’t take much comfort from her words; she was obviously still brassed off with him, but he took heart knowing that she, too, was alright. Glory had not hurt her. Glory had not ended the world. His sacrifice had been worth it.

**~**

Spike jerked awake at an unfamiliar sound. He’d been in the middle of the dream that had become his constant companion since the fight with Glory. In it he had failed: Buffy had died, Dawn had died – in fact, it seemed that all the Scoobies had died. Glory had won.

In his dream he was on the ground beneath a several-stories-tall tower made of metal – the one he'd seen at the warehouse when he'd been tracking Dawn. Dawn was atop it, screaming at the top of her lungs. He couldn’t get to her; he was broken and bloodied on the concrete below it, unable to move. Then suddenly he saw Buffy racing up the tower, and hope surged in Spike that everything would be fine. His heart soared as he watched her fly up towards Dawn; everything would be alright, after all.



But, as the dream continued, that hope was squashed in an instant.

A bright flash of light above him signaled the opening of Glory’s portal. Dawn’s blood, he realized, had been spilled. He tried again to struggle to his feet, but he seemed to be weighted down – he couldn’t move. He looked up and saw Buffy reach the top of the tower and hope again surged in him, soaring on angel’s wings.

But once again it was cruelly yanked away.

On the ground below Buffy and Dawn, Glory swung the troll hammer with all her godly strength at the base of the rickety tower. The whole structure swayed like a drunken sailor and began listing dangerously to the left. The hell-god quickly hit it again and the tower dropped several feet, buckling in the middle and bending down like a pond-bird snatching a small fish from the shallows. Glory dropped the hammer onto the ground and a satisfied smile curled her red lips as she surveyed her handiwork.

Spike watched, horrorstruck, as the tower dropped out from under Dawn and Buffy. He somehow realized that Buffy was trying to jump off the tower into the portal, but she faltered. When the tower buckled, her feet shot out from under her as she leapt off the end of the demonic high-dive. With no momentum to carry her away from the tower, she fell gracelessly. Her shins cracked loudly against the end of the steel gangplank before she tumbled head over heels towards the concrete below, completely missing the portal. Her arms flailed and windmilled uselessly, as she tried to propel herself forward into the portal, but it wasn’t enough. She reached out towards the steel structure, but it was too far away – there was nothing she could do to stop the inevitable.
 
Spike could do nothing but watch Buffy fall through the air, her speed increasing steadily with nothing to slow her down. He watched in absolute horror, unable to do anything to stop what was happening. When Buffy hit on the concrete below the tower, her body pancaked unto itself and bounced several feet back up into the air before settling down again with a dull thud. Spike could actually hear every bone in her body fold and shatter, every organ explode within her.



Fueled by terror, Spike crawled over to Buffy, his own body mangled, bleeding and broken. “Oh, God, Buffy,” Spike moaned as he realized there was no heartbeat, there was no breath from the Slayer.

It was at that moment that he normally awoke, and today had been no different. If he’d actually had a heartbeat, he was certain that it would’ve beaten a hole in his ribs and exploded out of his chest. He could always feel his tears as they leaked from under his swollen lids, but he couldn’t raise his hands to his face to wipe them away. They ran in cool rivers down the side of his head, pooling in his ears and then dripping to the pillow beneath his head. Spike wasn’t sure if it was the death of Buffy, his broken promises, or the surges of hope, followed by utter defeat, that made the nightmare so frightening and heartbreaking … or all three.

The strange sound that had awoken him sounded again and he realized it was the doorbell. He didn’t think he’d ever heard anyone ring the doorbell at Buffy’s house before and it made him concentrate hard to hear who it was.

“I got it!” Dawn called from somewhere above, and he could hear her feet pound quickly down the stairs. Then there was one of those moments when the pounding in his head drowned everything out – he couldn’t hear her ask who it was or hear the door open.

The next thing he heard was Dawn exclaiming, “Oh my God!” Then more pounding drums in his ears. Then excited, or perhaps panicked, screaming, “Buffy! Buffy!”



Spike’s adrenaline surged. It sounded like something was wrong. He needed to get up – he needed to help. He couldn’t move. Nothing would move, not his arms or legs, he couldn’t even wiggle his toes or fingers. He swallowed the fear and concentrated on listening again. He could hear Buffy’s footsteps coming from the kitchen; they passed right by him and into the living room, then to the foyer.

Then his stomach lurched as he heard Buffy exclaim, not with fear, anger, or resentment, but with a tone of utter relief and joy, “Riley!”  

He let the drumming in his brain take over again. He couldn’t bear to hear anymore.

**~**

A few weeks ago…

For the second time in his life, Riley Finn was a deserter. He wasn’t sure if this time really counted, since he hadn’t actually signed anything yet to ‘join up’ with Major Ellis and the army’s new demon fighting taskforce, despite taking the transport to Belize. He wasn’t sure if giving his word to the commander was enough for them to send the MPs after him or not – whatever.

He’d given Buffy an ultimatum, thrown down the gauntlet when they were both angry and frazzled. It had been an immature and stupid thing to do. He was sure if he could just get her to talk to him, get her to open up just a fraction of an inch, he could be the man she needed. He was strong, he was a fighter, he knew demons – he knew her, even if she didn’t. They just needed to take some time to work this out. They’d both made mistakes, but he was hopeful that they could put the bad behind them, start fresh, and rediscover the love they’d shared when they were first together, the love that he still felt. He’d known for some time that she wasn’t in love with him, but, he also knew that she did care about him. If she didn’t care, she wouldn’t have been so upset about… He felt shame wash over him just thinking about the vamp whorehouse. He sighed heavily and rubbed his tired eyes. He just wanted another chance to earn her love, to show her that he could be everything she needed.

Riley had been riding on overcrowded, stinking chicken-buses all the way from Belize. His back ached, his butt hurt, his eyes were bleary with exhaustion. It was taking forever to get back to Sunnydale. First of all, they didn’t actually have any official schedule for the buses, and often you didn’t know where any particular bus was going. There weren’t any brightly-lit signs on them announcing their destinations; there weren’t any signs on them at all. You had to know which bus went where or know someone who knew. He knew neither. To make matters worse, the locals along the way took great pleasure in sending the gringo in the wrong direction. After a monumental effort and test of his fortitude, he finally made it back to something that resembled civilization. He was overjoyed when he found a bus station with a posted schedule and buses that didn’t allow goats, pigs, and chickens inside. Roads that weren’t made up of nothing but deep potholes and buses with shock absorbers were a big plus, too. When he finally made it into the US, he was even happier to find people that spoke English and didn’t consider him the outsider, the gringo.

Now, as the bus he was on passed the ‘Welcome to Sunnydale’ sign, nervous butterflies bloomed in his stomach. Would she be glad to see him? Would she welcome him back or scream at him to get out of her house, out of her town? He had the birthday card he had wanted to send her tucked into the bag at his feet. He’d been nowhere near a post office back in January – what must she have thought of him, not to even send her a card?

He sighed and looked around at his fellow travelers as the bus pulled into the terminal and came to a halt. If he looked as unkempt and rumpled, and smelled as rank, as they did, then he was sure she’d toss him out without a thought. Riley gathered his duffel bag and followed the others off the bus and into the warm spring air, deciding as he did so that a shower and a shave, and perhaps even a short nap on an actual bed, along with a real meal would do him good before he faced the Slayer and begged her to give him – to give them, another chance. As he headed off to find a motel, he allowed hope to surge within him that Buffy would indeed forgive him.

**~**



Spike walked into the Bronze. There seemed to be a party going on – more so than normal. He skirted around the gleeful young people, keeping to the edge of the dance floor, and headed to the bar. As he approached the bar he saw her and he stopped dead in his tracks: Buffy. There was no mistaking the long, luxurious shampoo-commercial hair that hung down her back. She hadn’t seen him. He could still leave – get out of here with some shred of dignity.

“Bugger that,” he muttered as he squared his shoulders and walked determinedly up to the bar, parking himself right next to her as he waited for the bartender to take his order.

She hadn’t noticed him, or she was ignoring him – he wasn’t sure which. Only when he spoke, ordering a beer, did she turn to look at him. She looked wonderful. Spike’s throat closed for a moment as their eyes met across the short distance. All the old feelings came flooding back to him and he held her gaze, unconsciously willing them to resurface in her as well.

“Spike!” she crooned happily, smiling wide. “How’ve you been?”



“Brilliant,” Spike lied, taking the proffered beer from the bartender and laying some bills on the bar. “You?”

Buffy seemed to glow in the dim light of the bar; her smile actually grew wider and brighter. “Look!” she exclaimed, holding out her left hand to him. “I’m engaged!”

Spike choked on his beer. He turned away from her, spitting and coughing the liquid out as he tried to clear it from his throat and lungs. “You’re what?” he finally managed, looking back at her left hand, which she still held out.

“Engaged!” Buffy repeated gleefully.

Spike looked at her hand. There was a skull ring on her left ring finger. His skull ring. “That’s … mine!” he accused, pointing at it.



Buffy pulled her hand away. “Nuh-uh,” she argued. “You gave it to me. I threw it away. Dawn found it, so it’s actually hers. Dawn gave it to Riley to give to me – kinda like a family heirloom.”

Spike gawped at her, eyes wide with horror. “You’re marryin’ the enormous hall monitor … with my soddin’ ring?”

Buffy smiled again and admired the ring on her finger. “Yep. I’m thinking maybe a Guy Fawkes Day wedding … you know, with fireworks and a big bonfire,” she gushed. “We’re still trying to find the perfect venue … I was thinking either the beach or the cemetery. Oh! Maybe we could use your crypt for the reception!” she suggested, flashing him her best Colgate smile.

Spike looked at her with righteous indignation. “Have you lost your soddin’ mind, Slayer?” he asked her scathingly. “Did you not hear a bloody word I said about that demon inside you needin’ more than that git could give you? Bloody hell, woman! How’s he gonna keep you alive? How are you ever gonna … be free?”



“Oh, I heard you! We’ve got that all worked out,” she assured Spike with a confident nod.

Spike furrowed his brow and looked at her with confusion. “What does that mean?” he asked as she turned away from him and touched the shoulder of the man sitting at the bar on the other side of her. Only then did he realize the man there was Riley Finn. He watched as Finn turned and looked at Buffy, and then past her at Spike.

“Bugger…” Spike murmured in shock as Riley’s red, demonic eyes locked on his.



“See!?” Buffy beamed. “He’s a demon now, so it’s perfect! He totally understands my dark side,” she divulged, grinning slyly. “Spike, I appreciate all you did – showing me the demon inside and all that stuff with Glory and saving Dawn. It was really nice of you to do, but you know I could never really love you … right?”

“B-b-but … Buffy … I … what …” Spike stammered in disbelief.

“I’m sorry, Spike,” Buffy offered tenderly, her smile fading.

“Buffy … I love you! You said you loved me! How can you … how could you … with him!?” he stuttered, his voice cracking with pain and disgust. “After what he did!”



“Spike,” Buffy cajoled, as if talking to a dimwitted dog. “You always knew I could never really love you. I mean, c’mon. When I thought you had a bit of William in there, yeah – but you proved how wrong I was about that when you hurt Dawn, didn’t you?”

“B-b-but … I thought maybe … one day you could forgive me. That was ... an accident! I helped you! I fought for you. I saved Dawn … for you! I … sacrificed myself for you, Buffy,” Spike pleaded with her. “You said you loved me once – you can love me again!”

“Spike … you knew when I said it that it was the man, William, I was talking to, not the monster. But now I know how wrong I was. You aren’t William, you’re Spike,” Buffy explained to him. “You aren’t a man, you’re a monster.

“But, don’t worry,” she continued, brightening. “You’re totally invited to the wedding. I asked Angel to give me away, but I want you to be a bridesmaid with Giles and Xander. Willow’s gonna be best man, since … well, you know, she kinda set Riley and me up back in college,” Buffy yammered on giddily.



“Oh, you’ll look so good in the robin’s egg blue I’ve picked for the dresses … it’ll really bring out your eyes! And they’re strapless – your shoulders, back, and arms will look great in it!  Very sexy.

“What dress size are you? About … ummm …” Buffy looked him up and down. “… an eight … or ten? Anyway, you’ll have to come to the dress shop to be fitted … Oh! And shoes! Let’s see … about size nine … or nine and a half? You can walk in pumps, can’t you?”

Buffy stopped talking as Riley wrapped his arms around her from behind, bared long, sharp fangs that rivaled Spike’s, and sunk them into her neck. Buffy moaned and tilted her head to the side as her eyes fluttered closed in ecstasy.

**~**

Spike screamed, waking up as he jerked away from the horror of the dream. For the first time in what seemed a very long time, his eyes actually opened. Buffy was standing over him, a worried expression on her face.



“Spike! Are you … Don’t try to talk – just nod, ok. Can you hear me? Do you know where you are? Do you know me?” she asked, firing the questions off without giving him a chance to answer any of them.

Spike looked around the room, moving only his eyes, which were pretty much the only things that would move. Dawn was standing at the foot of his bed, also looking worried. The left side of her face was still swollen and bruised from where he’d hit her during the attack on Ben. Pain stabbed at Spike’s heart; he’d never meant to hurt her. Never. No wonder Buffy hated him. It was just like she said in the dream: he wasn’t a man, he was a monster. She shouldn’t love him.

Spike blinked back his emotions and took a deep breath as he looked around the room. He had been right; he was in the dining room of Buffy’s house. He was in a hospital-style bed that had been set up where the table used to be. He looked down at his body – every one of his limbs was in a cast of some type. He tried to move his toes – they wouldn’t do anything. He tried to wriggle his fingers – nothing. He closed his eyes and sighed heavily. This was worse than when Buffy had dropped that soddin’ organ on him – he was completely paralyzed.

As he tried to come to grips with everything, including the dream about Buffy marrying the prat soldier-boy, and his physical state, he noticed with relief that the banging in his head had stopped. He concentrated and realized he could actually hear everything clearly now. Keeping his eyes closed, he listened and heard more people in the kitchen; some voices he didn’t recognize but one he most definitely did: Riley Finn. His stomach, apparently unaffected by the paralysis, roiled and lurched. It was only a daft dream, he assured himself. Buffy is not marrying the giant git.

Which is why she sounded so very happy and relieved to see him when he showed up ringing her bloody doorbell,
he added to himself sourly.

“Spike,” Buffy said again, drawing him out of his musings. He felt her hand touch his cheek and he opened his eyes. “Do you know where you are?” she asked again.



Spike met her gaze and nodded slightly – actually surprised that he could nod – then waited for the pain to return to his head, but it didn’t.

Buffy smiled down on him reassuringly, nodding along with him. “And you remember who I am?”

Spike began to speak, but only a muffled sound came out. Buffy slid her hand to his lips. “Don’t try to talk. Your jaw was broken and it’s wired in place,” she explained.

“Just nod – do you remember me?”

Spike nodded again.

Buffy seemed relieved and gave him another smile. “Do you remember what happened? The fight with Glory near the movie theater?”

Spike nodded again, then shook his head.

Buffy looked confused a moment, then nodded herself. “Sort of – you sort of remember it?”

He nodded.

“Ok, that’s ok,” she assured him. Buffy held up three fingers in front of his face. “How many fingers am I holding up?” she asked. “Just nod the number.”

“Seventeen,” he managed to rasp out through clenched teeth, using just his lips and tongue to form the words.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Well, I guess your smart ass was unaffected by a building falling on you,” she joked, but Spike didn’t notice the pun. His full attention was on her fingers – or more accurately, a ring on her left ring finger – a skull ring. The very skull ring he’d just been dreaming about. The very one that he’d given her as an ‘engagement’ ring when they’d been under Willow’s love spell.

What the bloody hell? But before Spike could even try to ask her about it, they were interrupted by a deep voice from the door that led to the kitchen, “Buffy, can I talk to you a minute?”



Spike jerked his eyes in that direction. Riley Finn was standing there, hands on hips, his full attention on Buffy. Finn never looked at Spike at all, but Spike could see his eyes. He was happy to see they weren’t a demonic shade of red, at least.

Buffy patted a hand down on Spike’s shoulder comfortingly. “Be right back,” she murmured to him as she got up and followed Finn into the other room. Spike’s stomach, which had started to relax just a bit before Finn appeared, turned upside-down inside him.

Spike looked at Dawn and silently beckoned her to take the seat near his head that Buffy had just vacated. “You’re supposed to be resting,” Dawn told him as she sat down near the head of the bed.

“Finn,” he ground out through his wired jaw.

“Oh yeah! Cool huh? He just showed up a couple of days ago. Wow – you have no idea how happy Buffy was to see him! I don’t think I’ve ever seen her more over-the-moon happy,” Dawn gushed.



Spike immediately decided he didn’t want to ask why Buffy was wearing that ring. He wondered if the bridesmaids’ dresses would be robin’s egg blue. He wondered if he could walk in pumps.

“Dawn? Don’t you have homework you’re supposed to be doing?” Buffy’s voice floated in from the other room.

Dawn rolled her eyes. “You’d think me not ending the world would earn me a break,” she groused lightly. Dawn bent down and kissed Spike’s cheek.

“Thank you,” she said softly, her voice choked with emotion. “Thank you for not letting me end the world.”

Spike nodded and clamped his eyes closed as tears welled in them. It appeared to be the only thing he was able to do – cry. And he called Finn a git.

Spike tried to listen to what Riley and Buffy were talking about, but they, along with the other people he’d heard talking earlier, had apparently gone out the back door – he couldn’t hear anything. His chest tightened with jealousy and anger and frustration.

Part of him wanted to go out there and confront her; wanted to find out what exactly was going on. Why the hell was Finn back? What did he want? Was Buffy really back with the berk? Hadn’t he, Spike, shown her that he would keep his promises? Hadn’t he proven his love for her time and again?

Another part of him didn’t want to know anything. It didn’t want to know that by hurting Dawn, accidental as it may have been, he’d shown Buffy that he couldn’t control his demon and had driven her away. He didn’t want to know that she loved William, but not Spike. He didn’t want to hear her say that as soon as he was well enough, that he’d have to leave Sunnydale and never see her again. He didn’t want to know that he had simply been the rebound guy. He didn’t want to know that now that Finn was back, she’d dropped her pet vampire like a hot, demonic potato.

Spike had been ready and willing to die to keep his promises and save Dawn. Now, as he lay alone, unable to move, barely able to speak, he wished with all his heart that he had died in the fight with Glory. At least he would’ve gone out knowing that he’d done the right thing. He could’ve died clinging to the illusion that Buffy would’ve grieved for him and forever considered him to be her hero. That would’ve been so much better than the harsh reality that stabbed like icicles into his heart, leaving him cold and hollow inside, and unable to do anything but weep.
End Notes:
Next:  Why is Buffy wearing that skull ring? Can Spike walk in pumps? Can Giles and Xander, for that matter? Seriously, Buffy has some 'splaining to do.
My Body Needs a Hero by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Spike's body is healing, but what about his heart?
**
Thanks always to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episode: The weeks after The Gift

**~**

Spike lost track of time. Days and nights had no meaning. Minutes and hours seemed to go on forever, except when Buffy was sitting next to him; those moments flew by in a blink of an eye. Although his head wasn’t hurting any longer, he still felt disoriented and foggy, and he thought he slept a lot, although he wasn’t really sure. There was no clock he could see; he could only go by the lights to know if it was day or night, but he couldn’t tell what day it was. He might be going to sleep one day and waking up the next, or even several days later – he had no way to know.

He still couldn’t move, couldn’t even wriggle a toe, even though he tried to constantly. He’d gotten a bit better at talking when he was awake enough to concentrate, but no one would really tell him anything other than to ‘not worry’ and ‘everything will be ok’ and ‘you’ll be better soon’. Someone had brought a small TV in, but he slept so much of the time that it did little good – he'd start trying to watch something, close this eyes a moment, then wake up and discover something else on. The only things he could really count on for entertainment were the strange and frightening dreams about being a bridesmaid at Buffy’s wedding to Finn – or the ones of her falling from the tower and dying – they were both equally disturbing.

He also didn’t know how they could possibly know that he’d be ‘better soon’. It had taken weeks to get the use of his legs back when his back had been broken, and he hadn’t been anywhere near this injured. How long was Buffy going to let a dead man lay in her dining room before she kicked him out to the curb?

Spike was jerked out of a dream by a sound he didn’t recognize just as he’d been getting fitted for a strapless, robin’s egg blue bridesmaid dress. As he looked around, a man he didn’t know came in from the kitchen pushing a large piece of equipment. Spike watched as the man started setting it up near Spike’s bed.

“Oh, you’re awake,” Buffy observed as she came in the room. “We’re gonna check your bones and see how you’re doing,” she explained. “This is a portable x-ray machine and this is Jeff, Tara’s third cousin, once removed… or something.”

Jeff gave Spike a nod, then went back to working on getting the machine set up.

“Doc?” Spike asked through his clenched teeth.

“Uhhh … well …” Buffy stammered. “Not … exactly. More of an … assistant … a veterinary assistant,” she said sheepishly. “But … he’s very good and the machine is just like they use for people only … well … maybe a little older. But … it’ll work fine,” she assured Spike quickly.



“Bloody hell,” Spike murmured, rolling his eyes. What did he expect, being a pet vampire and all?

“Don’t be like that,” Buffy admonished him. “Jeff went to a lot of trouble to borrow the equipment and get it here.”

Spike rolled his eyes again, but didn’t say anything more.

Jeff, the vet assistant, took x-rays of Spike’s legs, his pelvis, his arms, his ribs, and his jaw. It took for-bloody-ever and Spike fell asleep more than once during the process, only to be awoken when the less-than-gentle Jeff moved one of his limbs to slide a film under. If Spike could’ve talked without so much effort, he would’ve asked why he didn’t rate a lead-shield apron over his dangly-bits like Jeff was wearing … but it was too much effort.

The next time Spike woke up, Jeff was rolling the machine back out of the dining room towards the kitchen and the back door.

Buffy came back in after helping Jeff get it loaded back into his van and sat down next to Spike. “We should know something maybe tonight. He has to take them back and develop them, then I’ll go get them and we can see how things are going.” She was trying to sound cheerful, but it was too saccharine to be comforting.

Spike just nodded. He already knew how things were going: piss-poor. He couldn’t move anything but his head. What difference did it make if his bones mended; he couldn’t soddin’ move them anyway.

“Oh … you’re out of blood,” Buffy noticed, looking at the empty bag hanging like an IV drip next to his bed. No one had known if administering the blood in a vein would’ve done Spike any good, so they’d attached it to a feeding tube which, after a few failed attempts, they’d finally managed to snake down his throat and into his stomach.  “I’ll get a new bag.”

Spike tried to reach out and stop her from leaving, but couldn’t. “Buffy,” he ground out through his wired jaw.

Buffy stopped and looked down at him, her brows raised in question.

“Thanks, luv.”



Buffy touched a hand to his face and nodded before hurrying off to the kitchen to retrieve another bag of blood from the refrigerator. When she came back a minute later to attach it to the feeding tube, Spike was already asleep again.

Buffy dropped down heavily into the chair next to him and took hold of his hand. She laid her head down, pressed her cheek against his palm, and began to cry. She tried to never let him see her cry, but she allowed herself some small comfort when he was asleep. Luckily, she didn't have to hold the cheerful facade for very long at a time, the morphine that they’d mixed into the blood kept him asleep, and out of pain, most of the time.

“I’m so sorry, Spike.”

**~**

“I told you it would work,” Buffy told Giles sometime later as they stood in the kitchen, holding the developed x-rays up to the light. “I knew Slayer blood would heal him faster.”



Giles took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “And I never doubted you, Buffy – I simply said that it was dangerous. You’ve given him too much, too quickly. Even a Slayer must have time to replenish and heal. In addition…” Giles paused, took off his glasses, and massaged the bridge of his nose.

“In addition, Spike might attack me when he’s better because he’ll be craving Slayer blood,” Buffy finished, having heard this speech several times before. “Well, guess what? I don’t think he will.”

“It will be quite difficult for him when you stop … donating,  and you must stop – you are already quite weak. He will be like an addict trying to get clean. He will certainly crave human blood … he may crave Slayer blood in particular. He may not be able to stop himself,” Giles tried to explain.

Buffy drew in a deep breath and huffed it out loudly. “Let me worry about that, ok?”

“You know my feelings on everything you’ve done, Buffy,” Giles finished gravely.

“You don’t approve,” Buffy supplied tersely.



“No,” Giles admitted. “But I trust you. I simply hope you’ve considered all the consequences.”

“I have,” Buffy assured Giles. Giles didn’t look entirely convinced.

**~**

“Spike? Can you hear me?” Buffy asked, leaning in close to his ear in the early evening of the following day.

Spike stirred, blinking awake. He’d just been going down the aisle in his robin’s egg blue bridesmaid dress. Buffy had been right; everyone said the color really complimented his eyes – made the blue even bluer. Blue ... funny word, that. Could conjure the warmth of a summer's day, blue sky above, or the freezing depths of a glacier, blue ice – freezing, forlorn.

“Hey,” she cooed softly. “How are you feeling?”

“’Kay,” he replied through his wired jaw, letting his wandering thoughts fade into the misty oblivion of his brain.

“Nothing’s … hurting?” she prodded.

Spike shook his head. It wasn’t that unusual for nothing to be hurting. Once he found out that he’d been loaded up with morphine, he knew why nothing was hurting. Good stuff, that.

“Great,” she beamed, flashing blindingly-white teeth, and Spike had to remind himself that she was not really beaming at him. “You’ve been off the morphine now for twenty-four hours. I think it’d be out of your system by now, don’t you?”



Spike took that in and realization hit him that the reason she was beaming was that he was getting better, and that meant she could kick him out soon.

“Dunno,” came out as a muffled reply from somewhere in his heart, hoping to stall the inevitable.

“Well, the x-rays looked good. Everything looks healed up,” Buffy informed him brightly. “Even your bruises are gone.

“I think we should try and get you up and see how you do,” she continued, looking overly pleased in Spike’s estimation.

“Can’t move,” he reminded her with a bit of a growl, as he tried yet again to wiggle a toe or finger.

“I know. Willow’s here, she’ll release you now,” Buffy told him, looking up and nodding at Willow, who was standing at the end of the bed. “Then we’ll get the casts off and unwire your jaw.”

“Release me?” Spike snarled. He wanted to scream it at the top of his lungs, but couldn’t get that much air out through his wired jaw. Why the bloody hell hadn’t she told him he was under some kind of spell? Why had she let him think he’d been paralyzed?



Buffy looked dumbstruck. “I told you … when we first did it. I told you we had to immobilize you so the bones would heal right.”

Spike clenched his eyes closed in utter frustration and sucked in an angry gasp of air.

“Oh, God, Spike,” Buffy moaned. “I thought … you seemed to understand. You said to go ahead … you … seemed … lucid and … I’m so sorry! You must’ve thought … no! You’re not paralyzed. Your spine is fine. It’s just your bones were all crushed and broken and everything was torn up.

“God, Spike, I’m sorry!” Buffy repeated, laying a hand on his shoulder.



Spike finally nodded, accepting her apology, but couldn’t open his eyes. He couldn’t look at her. He knew what was coming next. He wasn’t paralyzed, his bones were healed, his bruises faded. They were going to take the casts off and drop him back at his crypt. They might give him a few days to get back on his feet, then she’d come around and tell him he needed to get going – get out of Sunnydale.

Spike opened his eyes and looked at her. The bitch even had the audacity to look genuinely sorry.

“Go on, then,” he ground out, looking at Willow.

Willow nodded, closed her eyes a moment in concentration, and simply commanded, “Release!” In that instant Spike felt all his limbs suddenly come to life again. He could not only wiggle his toes and fingers, but raise his arms and move his legs. They were still all in casts, so he couldn’t move much, but they moved. And they didn’t hurt.

Buffy and Willow began working on cutting the casts off his legs and arms. Spike lay still as they worked, not wanting them to slip with that gizmo they were using to cut the plaster and accidentally cut anything vital – like him. But, as he lay there, he fumed. She couldn’t have thought to mention that little tidbit about the spell again over the last days? Couldn’t be bothered – too busy shagging White Bread, no doubt. Speaking of which, Spike hadn’t seen, smelled, or heard the enormous git in a while. Maybe he’d run off again. Serve the barmy bitch right; agreeing to marry the sod with Spike’s skull ring. The bloody nerve.

“Finn?” Spike asked the two women, who were now working on removing the cast from his left arm. He wished they’d take the sodding wire out of his jaw so he could talk properly.

“He said he’d help if we needed him, but … I think we’re doing alright,” Buffy assured Spike.

Spike groaned. That meant he must still be lurking around here somewhere – he hadn't scampered off again.

Plaster dust filled the air as the small Dremmel tool with the round blade cut through the last of Spike’s casts and it fell away. Spike began bending and flexing his arms and legs. The muscles were stiff and his joints popped when he moved, but everything seemed to be working.

“Ok, you’re going to have to sit up for us to get this wire off your jaw,” Buffy told him. “You might get dizzy with the change in elevation, so we’ll just help you sit up slowly.”

Feeling completely obstinate, Spike didn’t wait for Buffy and Willow to help him, but simply pulled himself into a sitting position using the rails on each side of the hospital bed. That had been a mistake. He realized it almost immediately, but refused to let Buffy see him falter. His head spun and his stomach churned from the sudden movement. He closed his eyes and tried to act like everything was fine, willing the room to stop spinning.

“Oorrrr, you could do that,” Buffy groaned sarcastically. “Are you alright?”



“Brilliant,” Spike lied through his still-clenched teeth. He didn’t dare open his eyes, and had to swallow back whatever it was in his stomach that was staging a violent revolt.

“Ok, this is probably gonna feel like you’re retching, but it’s just the feeding tube. I’m gonna pull it out now,” Willow told him as she began pulling the tube out of his nose.

Spike did, indeed, feel like he would toss his cookies all over them, but by sheer determination and willpower, somehow held the sour bile down. He felt much better when he felt the tube clear the back of his throat and fall out of his nose. Although his brain was still whirling a bit, it seemed to have slowed to an unhurried waltz rather than a blitzing Tilt-a-Whirl.

“Ok, this might hurt a little. Tell me if it does and I’ll stop,” Buffy instructed.

Spike nodded slightly but would be damned if he’d acknowledge that anything she did could hurt him.

Spike felt a tugging on his cheek, which did hurt a bit, then heard a popping sound. Suddenly the pressure that had been holding his jaw in place was released. He lifted a hand and rubbed it, working his jaw up and down and from side to side gingerly. It felt fine – a little stiff, like his other joints and limbs, but there was no pain.

Spike opened his eyes and was happy to find that his head seemed to have gotten used to the upright position. Feeling more confident, he lifted up one of the railings on the bed, releasing whatever contraption was holding it in place, and then let it fall down out of the way.

“Right then, reckon I’ll be off,” he told the two women gruffly, swinging his bare legs over the side of the bed.



“Spike, you need to take it slow,” Buffy admonished him, coming over to help him stand up.

Spike ignored her, slid his bare feet to the floor, and hoisted himself to standing. He swayed a little, took two steps towards the wall, and braced himself against it as he tried to make it look like that was what he’d intended to do.

When Buffy tried to help him, he pushed her away. “Don’t need your bloody help,” he growled at her, squaring his shoulders doggedly.

Buffy stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched him. “Spike, what’s wrong with you?” she asked in frustration.

“This, for bloody starters,” he growled, grabbing her left hand and pulling the skull ring from her finger roughly. “This is mine,” he informed her tersely, jamming it back onto his index finger. It only went down to his knuckle. She’d wrapped the shaft with white medical adhesive tape to make it fit her, which made it too small for Spike’s finger.



Buffy looked at him in shock. “Oookay,” she drawled, letting the word linger on her tongue as she tried to figure out why he was so angry.

“And I won’t be a bloody bridesmaid, Slayer. Sod that! You can marry the git and toss your life away if ya want, but I won’t be a party to it!” he growled at her before turning and stalking out through the living room to the front door. He flung it open and slammed it closed behind himself with a loud clatter as he stormed out.

Buffy stood there in shock, completely confused. She looked at Willow. “What just happened?” she asked her friend blankly.



Willow shrugged, her eyes wide with surprise, and shook her head.

A few seconds later, the door opened again and Spike strode angrily back into the dining room where the two women were still standing just as he'd left them, as if shell-shocked.

“Don’t reckon you ‘ave my clothes, do ya?” he asked sheepishly, waving a hand down at his nearly naked form, clothed only in a too-tight pair of pink satin jogging shorts.

His reappearance shook Buffy from her shocked stupor. “Spike, what the hell is wrong with you?” she demanded, moving forward towards him.



“Not a blasted thing that gettin’ away from the likes of a bitch like you wouldn’t cure,” he informed her tersely.

“What the hell did I do?” she wondered angrily.

“Ah, well – let’s start with not finding time t’ tell a bloke he ain’t paralyzed. Then, I reckon we could go to welcomin’ White Bread back to your bosom like the big soddin’ hero when all he did was run off like a whipped kitten when the going really got tough. Then we could jump to you marrying the git with my soddin’ ring and thinking I’d be your bloody bridesmaid!”

“What?!” both Buffy and Willow exclaimed in unison.

“Spike, I’m not marrying anyone – least of all Riley,” Buffy argued. “And ... and there was no bosom welcoming! Even if I was getting married, I’d never ask you to be my bridesmaid! Shit, bridesmaids are supposed to be short and ugly, to make the bride look better. Why do you think bridesmaid’s dresses are so awful? You’d totally be too pretty to be a bridesmaid – you’d make me look bad,” she asserted. “And third … I’m sorry about the spell and you thinking you were paralyzed. I honestly thought you knew … I … I … really am sorry about that.”

Spike goggled at her a moment, speechless. “But … I heard you when the git arrived … and even the Niblett said, you were overjoyed … no, what was it? ‘Over-the-bloody-moon happy’ to see him,” he asserted.



Buffy sighed and dropped her arms to her sides. “I was overjoyed to see him, but not for the reason you think.”

“I think this is my cue to exit stage left,” Willow interjected nervously, handing Spike his jeans and a t-shirt and heading for the door. “I’ll leave you guys alone to work this out. Just call when you want me to bring Dawn home – even if it’s tomorrow … or whenever.

“You’ll be … okay, right?” Willow asked Buffy worriedly, sounding a bit unsure, as she looked warily between the two blondes.

Buffy looked momentarily away from Spike and nodded at her friend reassuringly. “Fine.”

Spike took his clothes from Willow absently as she passed, still looking at Buffy. “What then? What was so soddin’ joyous about the git comin’ back?” he asked, confused.

As Buffy answered, he began pulling his jeans on, not even bothering to take off the pink shorts. Where the hell had those come from? He decided he didn't want to know.



“Your chip. Your chip was firing even when you weren’t doing anything, and … it … well … it,” Buffy stopped talking and began pacing in the tight area beside the bed before beginning again. “If you hadn’t been chipped, you probably would’ve been able to kill Ben out there in the desert. Glory would’ve never shown up, Dawn would’ve never been taken … and you never would’ve been crushed under that building.

“Not all bad guys are demons – and apparently even those that are can fool the chip with strong enough or ancient enough mojo – like Slayers and hell-gods,” she continued. “Even if the chip hadn’t been firing willy-nilly …” Her voice trailed off and she sighed. She stood still, her back to Spike, as she looked at the back wall of the dining room as if searching for the right words there. After a moment, she turned around and resumed her pacing before continuing again. “Even if it had been working ok, having it leaves you vulnerable to humans … anyone could dust you.”

Buffy stopped her pacing only an arm’s length away from him. She reached out and took one of his hands in hers, her eyes on his. “I needed Riley to remove your chip. That’s why I was so glad to see him.”

Spike stared at her for several long moments. “The soldier … removed the chip?" he asked tentatively, before agitation again overtook him. "You let that dolt root around in my soddin' brain?!” he demanded angrily.

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Not him personally; Riley got the army doctor-guys to do it.”

Spike's bravado faded again, his voice softened. “You’re not marryin’ the git? Not … back with him? He’s not waitin’ here somewhere, ready to stake me?”



Buffy shook her head. “No. No. And definitely no. He’s staying at a hotel by the bus station. He’s leaving for Iowa in …” Buffy looked at her watch. “He’s already left.”

“A-a-and … you’re sayin’ I got no chip?” Spike asked again.

Buffy shook her head. She held her hand up where Spike had ripped the skull ring off her finger. It was bleeding and slightly bruised.

Spike stared at it. He’d done that and the chip hadn’t fired. He’d hurt her and … nothing.

“Bloody hell, Slayer – put it back!” he demanded, his eyes wide with fear.



“What?!” Buffy exclaimed, not believing her own ears.

“You’ve gone off your gourd! Put it back!” Spike demanded, grabbing her by the shoulders adamantly.

“Spike, why!? I thought you’d be … happy. You’re free! You can…”

“Kill you! Kill Dawn! Kill … anyone!” he supplied with wide eyes. “Put. It. Back!”

Buffy gawped at him, still not believing the words she was hearing. Silence hung in the air between them for several moments before she simply said, “No.”

Spike’s brows shot up. “No? NO?!” he raved incredulously. ‘Ave you gone sack o’ hammers, Slayer?”

Buffy looked at him uncomprehendingly for a moment, her lips pursed in thought. “If that’s the same as ‘box of rocks’, then, no, I haven’t.”

“What the bloody hell then? Didn’t want to dust a helpless vamp, that it? I won’t fight ya, Slayer – here!” he offered, ripping his shirt back off. “Go on then, do it!”

“You want me to do it?” Buffy asked, anger tingeing her voice. “You want me to do what I’ve wanted to do to your stubborn ass for a while now?”

“That’s right! Put me outta my bloody misery,” Spike challenged, thrusting his chest towards her, daring her to stake him. “Give it to me good and proper, Slayer.”



“Fine,” Buffy snarled as she pulled Mr. Pointy out from its ever-present place at her back. Buffy cocked her arm back with the stake fisted in her hand, ready to strike as she moved forward towards him, a deadly, fevered gleam in her eyes.
End Notes:
Next:  Oh no! Just what is Buffy gonna give him? Will it be 'good and proper'? Let's hope not!
I've Been Feeling Feral by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Just what is Buffy going to give Spike, 'good and proper'? Ok, I know, not a big mystery but still ... :)
**
Thanks always to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Spike didn’t move, didn’t even flinch as she swung her arm forward in a powerful arc. But, instead of hitting him with the point of the stake, she struck his sternum with the top of her fist where it was curled around the wood, and drove him backwards. He stumbled and nearly fell before catching his balance against the wall behind him.

“You stupid vampire,” she growled as she advanced on him, dropping the stake from her hand as she went.

Before he could react, she grabbed his face with her hands and pulled his lips down to hers in a frantic kiss. Just like the first time she’d kissed him in the crypt after he’d dusted Dru, Spike was caught completely off-guard and just stood there for a moment, gobsmacked.



Her lips were hot and wet against his and her tongue pushed through into his mouth, demanding and lustful. Spike’s brain fizzled and sputtered. He tried to remember what it was they’d been arguing about, but he couldn’t. All he could feel was her body pressing against him and her mouth hungry and insistent on his.

His arms went around her, pulling her up to her toes and practically smashing her body against his. Buffy grunted out a breath of air when Spike turned them around and slammed her against the wall, never breaking the kiss. Spike’s tongue danced and curled around hers, just as frenzied and needful as Buffy’s.

The Slayer's hands fell from Spike’s face to his strong, bare shoulders and then down his hard torso. She found the button on his jeans and ripped it off, then pulled the zipper down in a rush of desire. Her hand was met with silky fabric that was now stretched to its breaking point. She growled in frustration against his lips and ripped with her hand, shredding the over-taxed fabric in one swift motion. Spike’s erection jumped free of the painful confines of the too-small shorts, and he moaned in relief.

Spike reached under her ass and picked her up. Buffy wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his hips, her mouth still hot, wet, and demanding against his. He turned them back around and carried her to the small bed where he’d spent the last – he didn’t really know how long – days? Weeks?

When he dropped her down on it, their lips finally separated. Buffy gasped for air even as she began stripping her shirt and bra off. Spike fumbled with the button on her jeans, his hands shaking slightly. He gave up trying to undo it and just ripped, popping the button and pulling all the teeth out of the zipper below it in one motion. Buffy squealed in surprise, but quickly began pushing them down as Spike tugged in a hungered frenzy to get her out of them.

As soon as one leg was free, Buffy yanked him forward, capturing his body with her legs and pulling him into her. Spike stumbled slightly, his own jeans still wrapped around both feet, but grabbed her hips to steady himself. Spike growled at her attempt to control him and pushed her legs up and out, nearly folding her in half as he leaned over her, his cock pressed against her slick, hot folds.



“I could hurt you,” he warned, his voice a low rumble against her ear.

“Yes,” Buffy breathed, her chest heaving with excitement and needful desire.

“What do you want from me, Slayer?” he asked, his body pressed down against hers, his hands controlling her legs, his cock hard against her mound, but not inside her warm, velvety sheath.

“The darkness … the light,” Buffy gasped out, tears welling in her eyes from the emotions building inside her. “Everything.”

“What does that mean?” he demanded, his voice vibrating against her skin like thunder.

“I want you. I want your love. I want your strength. I want … you beside me. I want … everything.”

“I’m a demon,” he reminded her. “I’ll always be a demon.”

“I want the demon too,” Buffy admitted, looking him in the eye. “Show me the demon, Spike.”



“The demon could kill you,” he warned, shifting into his vampire visage.

Buffy nodded. “It won’t.”

Spike looked into her eyes. He wanted to make sure she saw, really saw, the demon that was about to ravage her. Is that what she really wanted?

“What do you want from the demon?” he asked her, lowering his face so his mouth was near her neck, his voice still a growling rumble.

“The darkness.”

“What do you want from the demon this minute?” he demanded.

“Make love…”

“NO!” Spike interrupted her with an angry shout. “What do you want from the demon?”

Buffy swallowed. “Have sex…”

“NO!” he insisted again. “What do you want from the demon?”

Buffy’s chest heaved and she gasped for air. Her eyes clenched closed as if she didn’t want to see herself saying it. “Fuck me … make me burn.”

Spike nodded and pulled back to look at her. “Now, look at me and say it, Slayer.”

Buffy opened her eyes and looked into the eyes of Spike’s demon. She held his gaze for several long moments, looking deeper and longer than she’d ever allowed herself to look at a vampire before. And then, she saw it. It was only a flicker, but it was there just under the surface. It wasn’t just the man, it wasn’t just William that loved her, it was the demon too – she was sure of it.

Buffy swallowed again and ran a hand over the ridges of Spike’s brow, then traced the scar over his left eye gently with her fingertip. He could let her touch her own darkness, and oh how she longed for that, but he also had the light in him, the light of love, just as she’d known the first time they’d been together.

“Tell me, Slayer. Tell me what you want from me right now,” Spike prodded her.

What Buffy wanted right now was exactly what she’d told him before. She took a deep breath and said, “I want to drown in the darkness, Spike. I want you to fuck me … take me there.”



“Say it again.”

“Fuck me.”

“Again,” Spike demanded, his voice growing more feral, little more than a husky growl.

“Fuck me.”

“Again!” Spike exclaimed again, as he pulled back and began lining his hips up, nudging his hard shaft against her throbbing, wet channel.

“Fuck me!” Buffy demanded, lifting her hips up to him.

Buffy screamed out when Spike drove into her, slamming his cock into her hard and fast, filling her, stretching her. Her back arched up off the bed and a blissful dark mist flowed out from her core and wrapped around her entire body. Then he was thrusting into her harder and faster than she thought possible, crashing his pubic bone against her clit, grinding down on her with every savage, furious stroke.

The bed creaked and strained under the assault. Buffy heard someone shrieking with every pump of Spike’s hips and demanding that he fuck her harder. Who was that talking? It was her, she realized, momentarily horrified. But then she realized this was it … this is what she’d wanted, what she’d longed for. Someone that could allow her to be as dark as she wanted … or needed, to be.

“Don’t stop, Slayer … don’t hold back, let it go, tell me what you want,” Spike demanded of her as he pounded into her tight heat.

“Fuck me, Spike … Harder! God … yes! More! Give me more! Fuck, yes! Spike, yes! Yes!” she shrieked at him, clutching his ass and lifting her hips up to meet his.

Buffy’s nails dug into the globes of Spike’s ass, spurring him on, as if he were a racehorse and she his rider … his master. He redoubled his efforts, pressing her legs up and out even further. He slammed into her like a jackhammer, harder and faster with demonic, savage lust.

Waves of euphoria washed over Buffy, each one building on the last, growing higher and higher with each hard, demanding word that fell from her lips. Each of her commands for ‘more’, ‘harder’, ‘faster’ drove Spike wild with lust. His own demands joined hers, dripping like thick, dark molasses from his tongue and engulfing her. “Take it, Slayer!” he growled. “I can feel you … I can feel you cum. Feel what a demon can do to you. Do you feel it, Slayer?”

“Yes!” Buffy shrieked, her back arching as the waves of euphoria kept sweeping over her, one right on the heels of the last, never letting her fall back from the crest of the bliss.

“You want more?”

“Yes!”

“It’s yours … it’s all yours. How many times can you cum, Slayer?” Spike’s voice rumbled next to her ear.

Buffy shuddered under him as each wave of hot bliss rolled out from her core and crashed down on her. She’d never felt anything like it before. She was immersed in a giant, dark ocean of pleasure that she hoped was bottomless – endless. “More!”

“Tell me what you want!” Spike demanded.

“This?” Spike asked as he released his left hand from holding her right leg up and snaked it between them. He groped her tit hard, then pulled on her nipple, twisting the hard nub between his fingers.

Buffy wailed another ear-piercing scream and her sugar walls tightened and undulated around his cock even harder, pulling him deeper and deeper into her with every stroke.

“Yes!” she screamed as the pain and pleasure combined into something she’d never felt before. It was so much more than pleasure or pain – it burned and touched the deepest, darkest part of her. “More!” she demanded of him, now clutching wildly at his back and arms, digging deep, bloody gouges in his flesh.

“I’m gonna fuck you until you can’t walk, Slayer,” Spike thundered. “Make you scream until you can’t talk. Gonna make you cum harder than you’ve ever bloody dreamed,” he promised. “Gonna hurt you soooo good.”

Spike suddenly stopped pumping into her – completely stopped. Her anger and frustration was palpable. Just as she began to protest and demand he get back to what he’d been doing, he flipped her over on the bed, lifted her ass up so she was on her knees and elbows, and slammed his cock back into her slick hole.

Buffy’s back arched and her head flew back in renewed pleasure. Spike’s hands snaked around her and seemed to be everywhere at once. He was pinching and prodding her soft flesh one moment, then lavishing her with feather-soft caresses the next. His cock was pumping into her, but more slowly now, as he re-built the flames within her.

His mouth touched her back, raining kisses down on her heated flesh one moment and nibbling sharply with his human teeth the next. When his mouth came down, she never knew what to expect – pain or pleasure. The touches of his hands were also a mystery – they could be hard and demanding or soft and giving.

“Touch yourself, Buffy … show me what you want,” Spike commanded.

At first, Buffy didn’t understand. He was touching every inch of her it seemed. When she hesitated, he said, “Touch your pussy, Slayer … you aren’t done cumming. Finger yourself … show me, Buffy.”

Buffy shifted and brought her arm back down her body. She was at once mortified and turned on by his demand. Her chest heaved as all the sensations he was pouring over her jelled into something she’d never felt before. As if his cock fucking her with its rock-hardness wasn’t enough, he was, at the same time, making love to her skin. The trillions of excited nerve endings that covered her body tingled and tensed every time he touched her with his mouth and hands, never knowing what he would do next. Would it be pain or pleasure when he touched her? She wanted both … she wanted both at the same time. It was the most amazing thing she’d ever felt.

“Don’t think, Slayer – just feel. Do what you feel,” he admonished her, his voice less of a growl now and more like thick, sweet honey pouring over her.



Buffy’s upper body collapsed down onto her chest and shoulders, and she slid her arm back under her. Her hand reached between her legs and she fondled her clit as Spike thrust into her. She alternated between soft, teasing brushes of her fingernails and hard, demanding jolts with her fingertips as the waves of euphoric bliss built higher and higher again.

Buffy’s slit was slick and wet, and her fingers were covered in her juices instantly. She reached farther and felt Spike’s cock sliding in and out of her. She let her fingers linger there, gliding over his hard shaft as he pulled out and pushed back in. She closed her eyes, and a vision of his cock pumping into her flashed across her mind. Spike kept the steady rhythm going, pulling nearly out before pressing in again, and the mental picture made her pussy throb faster, every fine hair on her body prickle to attention, and her skin tingle with pleasure.

Buffy reached further and grasped his balls in her hand. Spike gasped as she raked her nails over them, giving him a taste of the pain/pleasure conundrum that he’d been lavishing on her. She felt his balls tighten under the pressure of her grasp and the motion of Spike’s hips became rough and jerky, as if he no longer had full control of them.

A deep moan rolled out of his throat as she fondled him, following his example – softly one moment and harder the next. Pain and pleasure.

“God, Buffy … gonna … oh fuck …” he moaned as he began slamming into her in earnest, unable to stop the cum boiling up from where she was mauling him.

One of Spike’s hands pressed between the arm she had reaching back through her legs and her body, and he found her clit with his fingers. There was no more gentle teasing; he slammed against it with his finger, sending bolts of electricity rocketing down her legs and up her spine. Buffy’s body jerked at the new sensation, and her hand tightened around his balls while her pussy trembled in ecstasy around his cock.

A thousand jolts of pleasure poured endlessly out from his fingers, pulsed through her clit, and completely engulfed her.  The waves of bliss turned into hot molten lava washing over her, raising her up higher and higher. Spike’s hard, cool body against her back only seemed to add to the yin and yang of the moment. His hard, flat muscles against her soft curves; his cool skin against her overheated flesh; his low, deep rumbling moan against her high-pitched scream of pleasure. The only thing that wasn’t in opposition was what they both wanted to reach: deep, dark, bottomless nirvana.

Spike pounded into her harder and faster now, trying to hold his own explosion back, but knowing it was a lost cause. He wanted to feel her cum with him – hard. He wanted her to scream until she couldn’t talk. Fuck until she couldn’t walk; tremble with bliss under him. He wanted her to feel the pleasure of the pain. He wanted her to drown in the utter uninhibited darkness of the demon for hours. But she’d undone him.

Her body burned under him, threatening to dust him, as Spike lost control – of everything. His demon rose with no protest from the man and he lunged forward, her screams of bliss urging him on. His fangs sunk into the curve between her shoulder and her neck as his cum exploded in a blissful eruption, filling her with his essence even as he was filled with the fire of her blood.

Buffy’s scream intensified, tinged with pain, when Spike’s fangs pierced her skin. The initial pain gave way to indescribable pleasure, mirroring everything Spike had been doing to her body. She felt like she was being pulled in two directions at once. One part of her wanted to fight, to run, to get away; another part of her wanted to embrace the pain and fall headlong into the bottomless pool of dark pleasure. She struggled between the two, her body quivering and tensing beneath Spike, then she let go, allowed herself to just feel, and she fell.

She fell into the darkness. She felt Spike’s fangs invading her flesh just as his cock invaded her pussy and it felt … electric. She swirled around in the pool of bliss. It was at once hot and cold, shallow and deep, rough with crashing waves and smooth as glass. She dove down, swimming deeper and deeper into the heavenly pool of darkness. It flowed over her body like fiery, silken ice; embracing her with ecstasy, enfolding her, as if she were being held in the arms of a fallen angel – hellish and yet heavenly, all at once. She let it wash over her, hold her within its dark tendrils of flame, and engulf her body and mind with ebony black bliss. She felt the darkness seep into her very soul and her demon shuddered and gasped with the strength and beauty of it – he had done it. Spike had touched that deep, dark power inside her and left it sated ... and wanting more at the same time.

And then, suddenly, it was … gone. The feeling was ripped away from her in an instant. She felt herself whirling back up from the deepest depths of pleasure, and was left aching and hungering for it to return.

Buffy opened her eyes and looked around. She was alone. She shook her head and tried to clear her scrambled thoughts and emotions. “Spike?” she called tentatively as she carefully turned over and slid her feet to the floor. Her legs wobbled and trembled as she tried to stand. She leaned on the mattress as she looked around the room for him, but he wasn’t there.

“Spike?” she called again as she pushed up and grabbed the wall for support. She made her way on trembling legs to the entrance that passed through the dining room, linking the living room and the kitchen. She looked both directions, but still didn’t see him.

“Ok … I am not losing my mind,” Buffy assured herself. Her clothes were on the floor and so were Spike’s. When had he gotten out of his jeans? When had her slacks come all the way off? She didn’t know, but there they were. And the shredded pink shorts were there, too. Buffy picked up her t-shirt and pulled it on before beginning her search for proof of her non-insanity, as if the spunk dripping down her thighs was not proof enough.

Buffy went into the kitchen, then into the living room – still nothing. “Ok, Spike – this is starting to be very not funny,” she called to the seemingly empty house.



She went back into the kitchen and started to look outside, but the back door was locked. Then she finally noticed the door to the basement was ajar.

“Spike?” she called, stepping onto the stairs leading down into the basement. She flicked the light on and made her way down. “Spike? Are you down here? What’s going on?”

Buffy got to the bottom of the stairs and looked around. She found him huddled against the wall near the washer and dryer, trying to make himself as small as possible.

“Spike! What happened? Are you alright?” she asked with concern as she moved over to him.

“No! Get away, Slayer! Don’t! Don’t touch me!” he exclaimed, covering his head with his arms and trying to scoot away from her when she approached.



“Spike! What is it? What’s wrong?” she demanded when he reached the corner and couldn’t move any further.

“Put it back, Buffy … gotta put it back,” he moaned, never looking up at her.

“What are you talking about?”

“The chip! Put it back! I … I … couldn’t stop. I … bit you!” he exclaimed, finally looking up at her with wide, frightened eyes.

Buffy laid a hand on her neck and it came back with a small amount of blood. “Spike, it’s barely bleeding. You didn’t hurt me … well … it hurt at first, but then …”

“That’s just it, innit? Hurts at first, then … it doesn’t. I could kill you and you’d just … let me. You’d welcome it and I …” Spike swallowed and dropped his face down onto his knees and covered his head with his arms and hands to hide his shame.

“Spike,” Buffy began softly, laying a hand on his arm as she knelt down next to him. “You didn’t hurt me. You … you did what you said you could do. You let me touch it … let my demon touch the darkness. My God … it was … I’ve never felt anything like it. You were right about it … about me, all along.”



Spike shook his head against his knees. “Put it back. Couldn’t … couldn’t stand it if I hurt ya, Buffy. Really … hurt you.”

“I know that. Don’t you think I know that? I trust you, Spike. I trust that you know just how far…”

“NO!” he exclaimed, looking up at her with wild eyes. “Don’t trust me! I’m a monster! You … you taste too good. I’ll … the demon’ll … kill you, Buffy.”

Buffy shook her head slowly. “No, it won’t. You want to know why it won’t? Because we’re cut from the same cloth, you and me,” she told him. “Your demon and my demon … they’re two halves of the same whole. Same as our souls.”

Spike looked at her, unblinking, for a long time. “You’ve gone mad,” he informed her in a calm, matter-of-fact voice.

Buffy laughed lightly and shook her head again. “No, I haven’t. There’s a little bit of William’s soul in there,” she assured him, reaching out and touching his chest near his un-beating heart. “Can’t you feel it? I bet you can. You’ve pushed it back down for years … many, many years – you couldn’t show it to Dru. You had to be hard; you had to be Spike. But you can show it to me – you can show me William. I bet, if you were really truthful with yourself, you know it’s there.

“You told me I had a demon inside and I didn’t want to believe you – but you were right. Now, I’m telling you that you have a bit of William’s soul inside you and you don’t want to believe me – but I’m right,” Buffy explained, pulling her hand back from his chest and touching his face.

Spike swallowed hard as he stared into her eyes. “How do you know? Are you willin’ to bet your life on it? Dawn’s life? What if it’s not enough?”

“Spike, I’ve seen you change. I’ve seen you go from a killing machine to a … hero, a champion. I watched you dust Dru to save me and Dawn. I watched you take on a hell-god for us … and win. Do you really have to ask that? I believe in you, Spike.”



“It was the chip…” he argued.

“No, it wasn’t the damn chip. The chip started it; it got you close enough to me so that you could see inside – it got you close enough to fall in love, but it’s not the chip that keeps you from killing.

“If you wanted to kill us, you would’ve found a way – just like you did with Ben. You could’ve set a bomb in the Magic Box and blown us all up or hired those Taraka guys to take us out – but you haven’t done any of that,” Buffy pointed out.

“No, what keeps you from killing is you, Spike. You don’t need the chip now, all you need is your heart … and William’s soul,” she assured him, rolling one shoulder in a small shrug. “All you have to do is be you – be love’s bitch. Can’t you see it? Can’t you see how loving me has brought your tattered soul out of the dungeon and into the light?”

When Spike didn’t reply, Buffy forged on. “You just said it yourself, Spike. You couldn’t stand it if you hurt me … did you not hear your own words? And look at you … cowering down here, trying to get away because you were afraid of hurting me.

“You dared me to look at the darkness. I know it took a while, but I have … I’ve jumped right into the deep end. All my friends pretty much think I’ve lost my mind – but I don’t care, I know I’m right. Now I dare you, Spike. I dare you to look at the light. Look at the light inside you … look at that little tattered bit of soul in there and embrace it, let it out – trust it. Trust me,” Buffy admonished him gently.

She caressed his face with her thumb as her palm embraced his cheek. A tear leaked from his eye and smeared on his skin beneath her warmth.



“Are you sure?” he asked, his voice shaky and uncertain, his blue eyes searching hers for some kind of proof. What he saw was undeniable confidence in her eyes – unyielding belief. Belief in him. Belief that he could be the man that she wanted, that she needed. It was as close to proof as he was going to get.

Buffy gave him a soft smile and nodded, then dropped a gentle kiss on his lips in assurance. “I love you, Spike – all of you: the demon, the man, the dark, and the light.”

Spike let out a deep breath of air, allowing himself to relax slightly. “I love you so much, Buffy. I’d never … never …”



Buffy touched a finger to his lips, stopping him. “I know,” she assured him.

“I do have a bone to pick with you, though,” Buffy continued, moving her hand and resting it on his bare shoulder.

Spike furrowed his brow and tilted his head. “The bite? It shouldn’t scar…” he began.

Buffy shook her head. “No, not the bite. You didn’t keep your promise.”

“My promise?”



Buffy nodded solemnly. “You promised I wouldn’t be able to walk or talk, and I can still do both, buster. You owe me … big time.”

Spike smirked at her and a tide of relief washed over him. His heart was flooded with a remarkable feeling of sangfroid, utter calmness and surety. He didn’t know what it was – perhaps the way her eyes sparkled with mischief or the small quirk of a smile on her lips – but he was suddenly filled with the certainty that what Buffy had said about his soul was true. It was like he could feel it inside, glowing like a beacon in the dark, showing him that he was on the right path.

“Right. Reckon I better get on that, then,” he agreed in a serious tone as he started to stand up.  “Wouldn’t want t’ let m' soul get tarnished by shirking my responsibilities.”

Buffy started to stand up at the same time, but before she could say anything more or take a step, Spike had hoisted her up over his shoulder in a fireman’s carry.

Buffy shrieked in surprise as he draped her over his shoulder and started for the stairs. “Unhand me, you fiend!” she demanded in mock agitation, banging her fists lightly, and quite futilely, against his back.

“Let it never be said ole Spike don’t keep ‘is promises,” Spike informed her seriously. “How much time ‘ave we go ‘fore the bit gets home?”

“She’s with Willow and Tara – she can spend the night,” Buffy supplied, grinning.

“Well then, that’ll make a good start, yeah?”

Buffy’s laughter floated through the house as Spike carried her past their discarded clothes in the dining room and up the stairs to her room. He thought he’d never heard a more beautiful sound – a chorus of angels couldn’t have sounded any sweeter. It felt like a ray of bright, golden sun shining into his heart. The joy of it warmed him from the inside out, melting all his remaining fears and insecurities. Every drop of trepidation within him evaporated like the sunrise clearing the mist off a cool, mountain lake, leaving nothing but clear, blue skies.
End Notes:
Next:  Spike and Buffy spend more time reconnecting. For those of you who thought there would be more talking in this chapter, there will be more in the next. Only two more chapters to go ...
I Need Your Love by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Buffy and Spike reconnect...
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. Thanks also to Magnus for 'Sun and Shadow'. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
A throaty, sensuous growl rolled from Spike’s lips as he dropped a giggling Buffy onto her bed. His eyes sparkled as he took her in: she was an angel – with a sly, devilish grin on her face. Buffy pulled her shirt off over her head and flung it on the floor, then she pushed up on the bed until her head hit the pillows.



Spike’s eyes roamed over her golden skin, caressing her body with his gaze. Her hair shimmered in the moonlight that shone in through the window. It glimmered and moved like finely-spun gold. He remembered how it felt on his skin: soft and silky. It had glided over his body like a sinuous, flowing river of sensuality. His cock jumped at the memory of it, and goose-flesh erupted on his skin, as if he were feeling it all over again right that moment.

Buffy’s green eyes looked up at him, questioning but patient. She didn’t flinch away from him when their eyes met, but held his gaze with her penetrating green eyes. He felt like he could dive into their emerald depths and drown in them forever. There was something there now that hadn’t been there before – a soft confidence. Not Slayer confidence, she’d had that since the first time he’d laid eyes on her, but a woman’s confidence. Anyone else looking at her might not’ve even noticed, but Spike did. Perhaps the small change was from the realization that what he’d told her was true: he could touch her demon like no one else could. Or, perhaps, it was because she’d finally completely accepted the truth of her own creation. Whatever the reason, it suited her.

Her lips were full and rosy, swollen from their lustful kisses. They were still curved into a small smile now as she waited for him to come to her. He remembered the taste of her and licked his own lips at the memory.



Buffy was like no one he’d ever tasted before. Just like her own nature, she was a conundrum that he was still trying to suss out. She was a smorgasbord of flavors and textures: sweet and spicy, soft and crunchy, salty and overly-sweet. She was a light and airy mousse and a heavy brick of sharp cheddar cheese. She was as hot and scalding as fire-whiskey and as cool and refreshing as fresh lemonade on a hot summer’s day. He knew it would take years for him to taste all the flavors of Buffy, and he longed to sample every single one.

Buffy’s body was golden brown from the California sun and, just like the rest of her, contained contrasts. Her skin was soft and smooth, her curves supple. Her breasts begged to be touched, to be kissed – round and full with dusty pink areolas and nipples that hardened into pebbles with a touch. Her stomach was flat and hard. Her slim waist widened into inviting, luscious hips. Her protruding hipbones framed a soft mound of curls and a quim so heavenly that the mere thought of it made him believe there was a God. Her legs were strong and toned – not overly long, but lithe and graceful, like a dancer’s or a gymnast’s. He knew they could wrap around him like a vise and hold him prisoner – he longed for them to do just that.

“You are so beautiful, Buffy,” he murmured to her as he leaned over the short footboard on the bed and caressed her legs with his hands. “God, what you do to me…” he murmured as he lifted one leg up and began kissing and licking the length of it, from her ankle, past her knee, and to her inner thigh.

Buffy moaned at his touch, her eyes fluttering closed. His lips kissed a line of fire up her leg and she shivered as her whole body tingled in anticipation of him being inside her again. Her hips rose up off the bed as she felt the mattress between her legs dip down with his weight. “God, Spike … feels so good,” she moaned, her hands fisting the sheets beneath her.

“Touch yourself, Buffy,” Spike requested again, as he’d done earlier.



Buffy opened her eyes and met his. The confidence that had been there seemed to have waned, and she again looked slightly unsure and embarrassed. Buffy suddenly felt like a virgin again – shy and uncertain.

Spike leaned forward over her body until his mouth was near her ear. “Show me what you do when you’re alone, Buffy,” he whispered to her. “You’re so bloody sexy … teach me … show me.”

Buffy took a deep breath and slowly uncurled her fists from the sheets. Spike pulled away, sat back on his heels between her outstretched legs, and watched her. Buffy closed her eyes and began using just the tips of her fingers to swirl soft circles on the flat of her stomach. Then she traced the circles up higher, around the sides of her breasts, then in an arc, circling her nipples gently.

Spike watched her, enthralled. He watched her fingers moving over her heated skin; watched her face relax and forget that he was even there. She raked her nails over her nipples and they hardened instantly. Spike bit his bottom lip, willing himself to not bend forward and suck those tits into his mouth and break the spell.

Buffy’s hands moved lower, back over her stomach, still making slow, gentle swirling patterns on her skin with her fingertips. Buffy bent her knees and opened herself up to him. Despite not needing breath, Spike’s chest heaved with excitement along with Buffy’s as her fingers delved into her mound.

Buffy’s hips bucked up and a low moan escaped her lips as she teased her clit – circling it, then ghosting a finger over top of the hard nub. She spread her outer lips open with the fingers of one hand as she teased the bundle of nerves, bringing herself to the very edge of orgasm.

Spike could stand it no longer. He slid his index finger into her slick, throbbing hole. Buffy’s eyes flew open and met his as her breathing became more and more erratic. His eyes smoldered in the dim light of the moon, and she thought for a moment she might actually burst into flames from the heat he was exuding from them.

The skull ring tugged momentarily on her tender opening. Buffy gasped at the sensation before it slid inside her.

“Don’t stop. Relax … just feel, Buffy,” Spike encouraged her when her hand went still, his voice deep with desire.

Buffy swallowed hard and forced herself to relax. Spike slid another finger into her tight pussy and began a slow rhythm as her fingers went back to her clit and took up where she’d left off. The skull ring stretched and tugged at her opening every time Spike pulled his fingers out and pushed back in. It didn’t actually hurt, but was a new sensation that she found excited her even more. Spike began pumping into her faster and Buffy’s fingers on her clit changed from soft and teasing to more demanding as she reached the precipice of bliss yet again. She lifted one leg, bending her knee and opening herself to him even more. Her other leg was pinned down – she didn’t have the focus to even worry about it – maybe Spike was leaning on it or something.



Spike felt her pussy tremble and tighten around his fingers, and he pounded into her harder, the ring catching and tugging at her opening with every stroke. Buffy’s back bowed up off the mattress, her face contorted in pleasure as she fell over the edge. Just at that moment, Spike’s other hand touched one of her breasts. He squeezed tight, then rolled her hard nipple between his fingers, and Buffy screamed with pleasure as her body convulsed in ecstasy.

Spike thought he might cum just watching her and hearing her scream. He continued his assault on her pussy and tit as she continued to shudder beneath him. He slammed into her one last time and he was sure his fingers would be crushed with the power of her orgasm. Her cum gushed onto his digits, covering him with her bliss.

Her hand had gone still on her clit, no longer controlled with any conscious thought, because all conscious thought had left the building.  Spike dipped his head between her legs and captured the hard nubbin between his lips, sucking down hard. Buffy’s scream, which had begun to fade a second before, intensified as she bucked against his mouth and hand. Spike swirled his tongue over the bundle of nerves and Buffy jerked wildly under him. If not for vampire strength, and the fact that she had his fingers in a vise, she might’ve bucked him right off the bed.

As Buffy’s orgasm began to fade and her grip on Spike’s fingers loosened, Spike pulled out of her slowly – enjoying her sweet rapture. The sweet scent of her climax hit him full-force as Spike's fingers drew out of her, and he was overcome with a frantic, undeniable need. He shifted between her legs, pressed both legs up and out, and dropped his mouth back down to her cum-soaked pussy. Buffy’s hips twitched up against him as his tongue delved into her sweet heat. Her hands went to her breasts and began pulling and twisting as Spike had been doing a moment before.

Buffy called out, encouraging him with a litany of, “Spike! Yes, yes, yes, fuck yes!” as he ravaged her with his devilishly talented tongue. Spike licked up her slit, touching the tip of his tongue to her clit, then back down to her hole. He thrust into her, deep and hard, then back out over her sensitive flesh to suck down on her clit again. Buffy's body writhed beneath him, and her hissed litany of 'yes, Spike, yes...' drove him on, taking her higher, pressing her closer and closer to the ledge.

Buffy shrieked in pleasure as Spike drove her over the edge of bliss yet again and began demanding Spike take her deeper into the depths of that bottomless pool of dark ecstasy. Hot, black, liquid flames licked her body and soul with endless waves of pleasure. Sparks of utter joy erupted in her core and cascaded out, covering her with a glittering blanket of pure freedom. She was flying and falling, dipping and soaring, drowning in the thrill of letting go – truly letting go – as she’d never done with anyone else.

And then the sensations bombarding her body changed. She felt Spike’s weight atop her, his cock pressing into her, and she plummeted deeper and deeper into the dark abyss. She wrapped around him with arms and legs. Her heels dug into the back of his thighs as she urged him on: deeper, harder, faster. Her hands found the hard muscles of his arms and back, which strained and bulged with effort as she demanded that he fuck her, and he willingly obliged.



Spike pounded into her as her words and screams, moans and hisses flowed over him, urging him to give her everything. Her pussy was tight and hot around his cool hardness, almost painfully so – but it was the most blissful pain he’d ever felt. Her body was supple and demanding under him. Her half-lidded eyes, heaving chest, and thundering pulse made him want melt into her, fuse with her. He wanted to literally give her his entire body, mind, heart, and, strange it may seem, soul … give her everything.

Spike fought against his body – against the man and the demon – as Buffy writhed and moaned and screamed and demanded that he not stop. The demon yearned to sink his fangs into her neck. The heavenly aroma of blood from where he’d bit her earlier wafted up into his nostrils as he drove into her, fueling the demon's lust. The man ached just as savagely as the demon, longed for the heavenly release of cum boiling up from his balls and surging into her.

Spike fought both of these desires as he slammed his hips down against hers violently, crashing his pubic bone against her clit, and thrusting his cock deep into her core time and time again. He was losing both battles – he could feel control slipping through his fingers like grains of sand.

When Buffy screamed at him to, “Cum with me, baby! Spike … cum with me!” he was undone. The few grains of control he had left blew away in the wind and he didn’t even try to gather them back up. His hips jerked against her in short, fast strokes as he let go and did what he’d been advising her to do: don’t think, just feel.



His mind flooded with endorphins as he relinquished control to his body. The short strokes gave way to a renewed desire to be buried in her and he drove hard, slamming against her viciously. The euphoric release burst from his loins and his throat at the same time. A leonine roar accompanied the surge of his cum into Buffy’s hot channel. The house was filled with the sounds of screams, growls, roars, and gasps as the two preternatural beings completely let go.

Suddenly, Spike was there with her in the dark depths of the flames. The bliss painted their bodies with fierce, unrelenting heat – but it didn’t burn. It danced across their skin like silken fire as they twirled together in the undulating mass of euphoria. Their hearts and souls touched and joined, then spun away, only to be hurtled back together a moment later as another wave of orgasmic bliss engulfed them.

**~**

Buffy’s eyes fluttered open, her chest heaved with exertion, and all she could manage were short gasps of the warm, thick air. Spike lay atop her, no longer supporting his weight on his arms at all. She longed to take deeper gulps of air, but at the same time didn’t want him to move. She clasped her hands around his back, hooked her feet together around his ass, and held him to her tightly.

She moaned as he began kissing and licking her neck. It felt heavenly. She closed her eyes again, ready to get lost in the sensation, when he stopped and pulled back.

Buffy opened her eyes and looked at him – he looked like he’d just seen a ghost. “W…wh…” Buffy cleared her throat and tried again. She couldn’t get anything to come out. She swallowed, coughed a little, and tried again.

“What?” came out as a raspy whisper.

He focused his eyes on hers. “The blood,” he said with disbelief. “Your blood. You … that bag … the feeding tube. You gave me your blood.”

Buffy gave him a small smile and nodded, afraid to try and talk again.

“Are you bloody daft?”



She wasn’t expecting that reaction at all and she bristled, her hackles rising. “No,” she rasped back at him, trying to sound indignant. “You needed it,” she managed in a hoarse whisper.

“Buffy! Do you have any idea how dangerous that was? Is still?”

“Yeah. Giles warned me,” Buffy admitted, still whispering.

“No bloody wonder I couldn’t stop … before. I … you smell and taste like food! I could’ve killed you!” Spike exclaimed, looking down at her with near-panic in his eyes.

“And yet, you didn’t,” she replied more strongly as her voice came back a bit more.

Spike stared at her with wide eyes, utterly speechless for perhaps the first time in a century.

“I told you before: I trust you,” Buffy assured him, lifting her lips up and touching them to his gently.

“How long? How much did ya give me?” he asked her, still looking shocked.

Buffy shrugged her head slightly. “I gave you what you needed to get well,” she hedged.

“Slayer,” Spike drawled impatiently. “How much?”

Buffy rolled her eyes. “Four pints … over ten days. Dawn wanted to give some too – but I wouldn’t let her.”

“Bloody hell…” he murmured, shaking his head slightly. How had he stopped himself before? He shouldn’t have been able to stop until the food was … drained.

“Spike,” Buffy croaked, making him focus back onto her eyes. “I trust you. You gave everything to save Dawn … to save me. It was the least I could do … the very least. I love you.”



Spike blinked back his emotions and dropped his mouth to hers. His lips nibbled hers gently, sucking and caressing them in a slow, sensuous kiss. He didn’t think, in an entire century on this earth, that anyone had ever done anything remotely that idiotic and utterly selfless for him before.

“I love you, Buffy – even if you are a daft bint.”

Buffy smiled up at him. “Daft but sexy, right?”

Spike’s azure eyes sparkled with emotions ranging from love to awe to amazement to lust. He raked his tongue across his teeth before he breathed, “Bloody sexy.”



“And … still talking,” she croaked hoarsely. “And walking,” she claimed, demonstrating by tightening her legs painfully around his hips.

“Well, can’t ‘ave that, can we?” he purred, a sly grin curling the corners of his mouth.

Spike rolled onto his side off her, their bodies separating with wet, sucking sound caused by the sheen of perspiration that covered Buffy’s over-heated skin. Buffy watched as Spike trailed his fingers down between her breasts, across her belly, around her navel, and down to her mound. He dipped two fingers between her folds and pulled them back, glistening with their combined juices. He raised them to his nose and inhaled deeply, then sucked them into his mouth with a low moan.

Buffy’s eyes went wide as she watched him suck his fingers clean.

Spike opened his eyes as he pulled his fingers back out of his mouth, taking in her expression. “Ambrosia,” he claimed. “Nectar of the gods.”



He dipped his fingers back between her dripping folds and lifted them to her lips. Buffy hesitated a moment before taking a tentative lick with the tip of her tongue.

Ambrosia was kind of like a creamy fruit salad with coconut and marshmallows … wasn’t it? And any nectar of the gods should taste like chocolate as far as she was concerned. This tasted like neither. She took another small taste, closed her eyes to concentrate, and let it swirl around on her tongue. Salty, musky, a little coppery, and a hint of … citrus? It was strange. The coppery blood taste she could understand, but citrus?

She didn’t know what she had expected it to taste like. It seemed like it had been years since she tasted her own essence on Spike’s lips. It had turned her on and made her self-conscious at the same time, which wasn’t a good recipe for remembering what it was like. In the days they’d spent together before executing her brilliant ‘run away’ plan, Spike had never cum in her mouth. He’d always warn her and she would pull away. She’d been too embarrassed, after making him go through that three-finger stoppage, to suggest that she might be ok with it.

“You been drinking lots of OJ, yeah … ‘cos of the blood you been givin’ up for me?” Spike asked her, as if reading her mind.

Buffy opened her eyes and looked at him. “Yeah…” she admitted.

Spike shrugged. “You taste like what you eat, pet… or, at least some of it.”

“Soooo, if I feed you a whole bunch of chocolate…” she began, a cunning grin spreading over her lips.

Spike smirked. “Just call me Willy Wonka,” he answered, wagging his brows suggestively.



“That’s my kinda factory,” she teased, biting her bottom lip wickedly.

Buffy put her hand on Spike’s and pulled his fingers into her mouth as he’d done. She swirled her tongue around them, between them, sucking down on them hard. Spike’s cock jumped at the sight of her lips devouring his digits, the feel of her hot tongue swirling around and around them. Buffy noticed the movement against her leg and her heartrate jumped. Her eyes met his and she smiled slyly around his fingers. She pulled his clean digits from her lips with a ‘pop’, her eyes locked on his.

“Your turn,” Buffy announced, as she pressed against his shoulder and knocked him onto his back. Buffy sat up and clambered down the mattress. She spread his legs and climbed between them, sitting back on her heels facing him, mimicking what he’d done earlier.

“Show me … show me what you do when you’re alone,” she murmured, raking her eyes over his body.

Spike pursed his lips into a smirk. “Ya got a stake?” he asked her, looking around at the dresser.

Buffy gasped. “What the hell do you want a stake for? Please don’t tell me you …” she shuddered, unable to finish the thought.

Spike laughed and raked his tongue over his teeth. “No … but if you ever get in the mood t’ shove somethin’ up my arse … I wouldn’t object,” he offered. “Just not a stake,” he added quickly. “And a little lube would be appreciated.”



“You’re … serious,” Buffy realized with wide eyes.

Spike shrugged. “Welcome to the dark side, pet.”

“B-but … ok, not a stake, but like what?” Buffy asked innocently.

Spike smirked. “A finger … a vibrator … a vibrating finger,” he suggested, wagging his brows. “Got a vibrator?”

Buffy shifted uncomfortably. “No … I tried those little … supposedly discreet ones. I kinda broke two and … I got scared I’d get electrocuted or something equally embarrassing.”

“Right,” Spike agreed, flexing the fingers that she’d nearly crushed. “Well, reckon we can find something more heavy-duty for ya later.

“Now … where’s Mr. Pointy?” he asked, getting back to the original request.

Buffy looked at him, still a bit suspicious, but slid off the bed and grabbed a stake from a drawer in her dresser. “Do you need any holy water to go with it? A cross maybe?”

“Just the stake,” he replied. “Maybe later on we can play with the other torture devices.”

“Ooo-kay,” she agreed hesitantly, coming back to the end of the bed. “Now what?”

“Get back where you were and hold the stake up like you’re about t’ dust me,” he instructed.



Buffy did so, still looking at him like he’d lost his ever-loving mind. Spike took a deep breath and let it out slowly. His eyes fluttered closed and he began to speak with a deep timbre to his voice.

“You come to my crypt … royally brassed off over something or another that I’ve done. Come t’ stake me, you have,” he began as his hands traveled down his hard torso seductively. “Oh, Slayer … you’re so bloody hot when you’re mad,” he moaned.

“You start tellin’ me how you’re gonna do it this time. Gonna do me good,” Spike continued. His hips writhed up off the mattress as his hand wrapped around his cock.

“I dare you to … do it Slayer – get it over with!” he exclaimed, finally looking up at Buffy as she sat over him with the stake raised. “You come close, ready to strike and … I kiss you.” Spike moaned again as he stroked his cock slowly, his grip firm.

“Oh, Slayer … you taste so bloody good,” he moaned, increasing the pace as his hand slid up and down his shaft. “You look at me, shocked, for a long moment … you raise the stake to strike again.” Spike groaned as he jerked himself harder and harder, looking up at Buffy, who was still holding the stake up over her right shoulder.

This was sounding a bit familiar to Buffy. Had she unwittingly played out one of his fantasies downstairs when she'd held the stake on him? That was ... unsettling and also really ... hot.

“Then you drop the stake and begin ripping m’ clothes off,” Spike continued dreamily. “Then you …”

On cue, Buffy dropped the stake on the floor with a clatter and leaned forward. “Then I drop down onto my knees in front of you and …” She touched her tongue to the pearl of pre-cum on his slit and Spike’s hips jerked up uncontrollably.

“Yeah … that’ll do,” he agreed, releasing the grip he had on his shaft as her lips slid over the mushroom head. “Oh fuck, Slayer … God, that feels so … bloody … good,” he gasped out.

Buffy twirled her tongue round and round the tip of his cock, her lips closed tightly around the helmet. She grasped the shaft with her hand and began to stroke him with the same firm grip he’d been using. His cock tasted just like his fingers did – just like she did. He tasted of their mingled cum – of ambrosia. She moaned around his shaft, vibrating her lips and tongue against his sensitive skin.

“Bloody hell, woman! What you do to me!” Spike exclaimed, tangling his hands in her golden tresses as he looked down his body and watched her. “You’re so beautiful, Buffy … so passionate … so good,” he murmured to her as she began moving her mouth up and down in opposition to her hand, taking his shaft deeper and deeper into her mouth with each stroke.

Buffy lifted her mouth off him and looked up to meet his eyes. “Tell me what feels good,” she whispered as she trailed her tongue down the underside of his cock, drawing hot, wet circles all along his length.

“That … for … one,” Spike assured her, gasping.

Buffy swirled her tongue around his balls and Spike’s hips jerked up against her. “Suck …them … gaahhh…” Spike began as Buffy sucked one, then the other of his balls into her mouth and swirled her tongue against them, warm and wet.

Her hand went back to his cock and began stroking again as she explored, nibbling, kissing, licking, and sucking on his balls and taint. Her voyage of discovery showed her what made his hips jerk wildly, what made him moan, and what made him curse in pleasure. Her confidence redoubled as he declared her a goddess and a she-devil while she worked her magic on him. And she felt like a goddess – every swirl of her tongue, every nibble of her teeth, every rake of her nails, every suck, every kiss seemed to pull him further and further under her control. It was intoxicating and exciting.

This time there was no hesitancy at all to her movements, no trepidation or worry that he might explode into her mouth. She wanted it – she wanted to give him everything he’d given her. She wanted to taste him, feel his desire surging into her, and swallow it down greedily.

She could feel her own desire building up higher and higher along with his. Could she actually cum by making him cum? Was that even possible? She wanted to find out.

Riley had rarely talked during sex, he never played games, and she was quite sure he wouldn’t allow anything up his ass, other than the cob that the army, or someone in his childhood, had apparently shoved up there.  Buffy found herself turned on by the idea of Spike actually inviting her to do that. A thrill went down her spine as she imagined pleasuring him with a vibrator, and she found that she had jumped past the embarrassment and long-standing, society-imposed taboos, and landed with both feet firmly on the dark side.

Emboldened by Spike’s nearly constant praise and moans of pleasure, and by her own building desire, Buffy used her hands and lips and tongue to tease and please Spike. She nipped sharply at the soft, creamy skin of his thighs one moment and lavished his cock with her tongue the next. Spike jerked and writhed under her, begging for more.

Without warning, Buffy dropped her hot, wet mouth down over his cock hard and fast. She sucked in, hollowing her cheeks, and squeezed her lips together hard.

Spike screamed out in painful pleasure. It sounded like something between the cry of a hyena and a wolf, and it pierced Buffy’s last remaining worry of hurting him, popping the thought like a pin would pop a balloon.

She began pumping her mouth up and down harder and faster as one hand fondled his balls and the other teased the short curls at the base of his rod. Her tongue swirled and lapped at his hardness with each stroke, sending waves of pleasure coursing through him. Once in a while, her fingers would tangle in his shorthairs and tug on them painfully. Spike would yowl and jerk harder, slamming his hips up against her desperately.

Buffy felt his balls tense beneath her palm and, although she’d been ready to surprise him by not pulling away this time, a wickedly evil plan bloomed in her mind. She pressed three fingers against his taint, as she’d done that one time before, slowed her movements, and released the suction she had built around his rod.

“Bloody hell! … Let me cum, woman!” Spike demanded of her, trying to remove her fingers from his taint.

Buffy pushed back, wiping the wet smear of saliva and pre-cum from her mouth, and smirked at him. “Make me,” she challenged, grinning at him evilly. “Make me let you cum in my mouth.”

She wrenched her hand free of his and, satisfied that the moment had passed for Spike – at least for now – and jumped up off the bed. She picked up the stake from the floor and skittered away from Spike’s outstretched arms, towards the door.

“The Slayer comes in from a long, lonely night of patrolling,” she began in a storybook voice, opening and closing the bedroom door for effect.  “She doesn’t see the evil vampire lurking in the shadows of her room as she undresses and gets ready for bed,” Buffy continued, laying the stake down and pretending to get undressed.

Spike smirked and rolled off the bed. He backed up into one of the darker corners of her room as she stopped in front of the mirror and brushed her mussed hair a moment.

“She can’t see the evil fiend in the mirror as she brushes her hair, has no idea he’s there,” Buffy continued with an innocent sigh. “And then …” she began, letting her voice trail off as she climbed into bed.



“And then the sexy vampire watches, waiting for her to fall asleep. She’s out like a light when her head hits the pillow,” Spike filled in.

Buffy smiled and feigned sleep as soon as her head hit the pillow, adding a loud snore for good measure.

“So exhausted, she is, that she doesn’t realize the sexy vamp’s got her hands and feet tied to the bed ‘fore it’s too late,” Spike continued the story as he looked in the dresser and closet for something to tie her up with.

Not finding any ropes or handcuffs, he settled for four pairs of underwear. He looped the lacy fabric around the uprights on the head and foot of the bed and then around her ankles and wrists, spread-eagling her on the bed.

Buffy pulled on them and found she could escape pretty easily, but flashed her eyes open as if panicked. “Oh! You evil vampire! What have you done? I’m helpless, trapped, and alone! What are your evil, perverted plans?”

Spike chuckled as he studied her, laid out before him like a buffet just waiting to be devoured. “Reckon we’ll start with a little torture, pet,” he replied saucily as he went back to the closet and pulled a pink feather boa off a hook on the door.



Buffy choked back a laugh. He was gonna torture her with a boa? How? By prancing around with it like young, and much better looking, Boy George? She bit her bottom lip … that actually would be something she’d pay money to see.

Spike stood by the bed and let the boa hang down from his hand. Beginning with her neck, he let the end of it trail slowly over her skin. Buffy giggled and squirmed, careful to not actually pull out of her bindings, ‘cos what fun would that be? From her neck he let it swing back and forth across her underarms for a few moments before trailing the feathers down her sides. Buffy sucked in her stomach, trying to pull her skin away from Spike’s torture device, as she squealed in delighted protest. Her squeaky cries only made Spike redouble his efforts, swirling the feathers lightly over her stomach as she pushed down into the mattress as hard as she could.

“Stop! Please stop!” she demanded through her laughter.

Spike pulled the torture device away momentarily. “Ready to suck me off, then?” he asked seductively.

“No! Never!” Buffy asserted, feigning shock and outrage.

“Then I’m not ready to stop,” he told her with a smirk as he trailed the feathers over her breasts.

Buffy writhed as the softness caressed her. Goose-flesh appeared on her body and her nipples hardened in an instant. She moaned as Spike continued his torture, trailing the feathers around and around her breasts, then over her stomach, down one leg, and back up the other.

“Ready t’ give in to me?” he asked again as he continued the slow circuit over her body.

“No … never…” she moaned, unconvincingly.

“Ahhh … a tough one, you are,” Spike observed wryly. “Right then, reckon we’ll just have to turn up the heat.”



“Don’t try to move or get away or I’ll have to punish you … severely,” Spike warned before he turned abruptly and left the room. Buffy stared after him, wondering where the heck he was going.

When he came back he had a glass of ice water and a cup of hot cocoa. Buffy was actually happy to see that, thinking he’d brought the water for her – and he had … sort of.

Setting the steaming cocoa down, Spike dipped his fingers in the water and then held them over her body. Freezing water dripped onto her heated skin. She jumped and writhed as the cold water hit her and ran in freezing rivulets down her body.

“This is turning up the heat?!” she asked incredulously. “You need remedial English, you evil fiend!”

Spike just smirked as he picked one of the ice cubes out of the glass and began drawing a freezing line of chill-bumps down her throat and across her collarbone. Buffy wriggled and squirmed under his hand as he kept going, circling first one nipple, then the other with the rapidly melting ice.

“Now for the heat…” he murmured before taking a long drink of the hot cocoa and swirling it around in his mouth. He swallowed the warm liquid, and then dropped his lips to her breast and sucked down. His now warm tongue swirled over her erect nipple and he nibbled on it lightly with his teeth.

Buffy moaned and her back arched up off the bed as he alternated between freezing her and heating her up. Everywhere he touched the ice cube down, he came behind it with his warm lips and tongue. Her body would shrink away from the cold, then rise up against his warm mouth. He worked his way down her body from her throat, to her breasts, her navel, one hipbone and then the other, her inner thighs.

“Last chance, pet,” Spike warned as he spread her pussy lips open and held the ice cube up menacingly.

“Oh no … no, no, no … you wouldn’t!” she shrieked at him, her eyes wide, her trepidation unfeigned.

“Wouldn’t I?” he purred silkily.

Spike lowered the ice cube to her mound of curls. Buffy’s heart raced – it was one thing to have ice on her skin, even on her nipples, but there? She could pull free and stop him, and part of her seriously considered it, but hadn’t she started this little tableau? She could, of course, just stop him by giving in to him – which she knew she’d do sooner or later anyway, but being coerced into it seemed somehow more dangerous and added another level of thrill to it.

“You can stop me…” he reminded her as he slid the ice cube down from her curls toward her slit. “Suck me off.”

“No,” Buffy breathed, lifting her head up and watching him. He looked like he was having entirely too much fun. The gleam of absolute evil glee in his eyes was, well … it was intoxicating really.

Buffy screamed and thrashed on the bed when he touched her sensitive bundle of nerves with the ice.

“Had enough?” he wondered idly.

“No!”

Spike grinned, took another drink of the cocoa and dropped his mouth to her pussy. Buffy’s body exploded like molten lava from a volcano when his hot tongue pressed down against her clit, then she rocketed back to Antarctica when the ice cube replaced his tongue. Back and forth he went – freezing and heating her most sensitive spot over and over again as she writhed and shrieked in pain and pleasure.

Then he just stopped.

Buffy’s eyes flashed open in surprise. “No! Don’t stop!” she demanded, suddenly missing the unbelievable highs and lows of the roller coaster he had taken her on.

Spike smirked and held up the glass of ice water. “Only one cube left…” he observed. “You want it?”

“Yes!” Buffy breathed.

“Gotta earn it,” he advised as he fished the last piece out of the glass. “You ready to earn your torture, then?”



Buffy nodded her head vigorously.

“Better make it good, Slayer or that cube’ll melt and there won’t be another…” Spike warned.

“I swear … let me up! I’ll … do it,” Buffy pleaded.

“Won’t try t’ run off?”

Buffy shook her head again.

Spike untied her hands and feet and Buffy jerked him down onto the bed. She had her lips around his cock, sucking down hard and fast, before Spike even stopped bouncing from the impact with the mattress.

A growling, deep, nearly sub-sonic chuckle escaped his lips before he started purring her praises. “Bloody fuck, Buffy! Feels so good … fuck! Suck me, baby! Suck that cock … oh God! So bloody hot, you are!”

Buffy groped his balls and thighs as she bobbed her head up and down on his rod wildly. Her tongue licked and swirled from side to side as she went, and she let Spike thrust up into her, swallowing the mushroom head until it hit the back of her throat.

She moaned and mewled around his length as she sucked him off savagely, willing him to cum quickly, before the ice melted. Spike’s hips bucked up into her, but he held back, relishing the feral way she was devouring him too much to end it quickly. Buffy redoubled her efforts, adding some pain back into the mix, tangling her fingers in his short curls and tugging.

She felt her own desire build as she sucked feverishly up and down his rod. Her pussy tingled and throbbed in jealousy of her mouth as she pounded down on him over and over – harder and harder with each stroke.

Spike growled and groaned in a mixture of pain and pleasure as she ravaged him as he’d never been before. Suddenly, the hand she had been fondling his balls with slid lower and Buffy unexpectedly jammed one finger, wet with saliva but otherwise un-lubricated, into Spike’s ass.

“FUCK!” Spike exclaimed in shocked surprise, his eyes flashing open wide. His hands tangled in her long tresses, pulling her hair painfully, and his cum exploded from his balls, filling her mouth and throat with a torrent of thick jizz.

Buffy pulled back slightly, trying not to choke, as she swallowed down everything he had to give her. Volley after volley of his cum surged into her hot mouth and Buffy swallowed it down greedily, still sucking down on him hard, milking every drop from him. Spike finally came back to himself enough to release his hold of her hair as she cleaned his cock of his spendings with her lips and tongue.

Licking her lips and wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, Buffy sat back. She slowly removed her finger from his bum and Spike moaned in pleasure at the sensation.

Buffy eyed him gleefully and demanded that he, “Pay up.”

“Cheeky wench, you are,” Spike groaned. “Give us a minute, luv,” he requested – his body felt like it had just dissolved into the mattress. He suddenly knew what a melted candle felt like because his whole body felt exactly that way: a formless glob of completely spent energy.

“No! No minute! The ice is melting!” she exclaimed, near panic. “Oooooo, I should’ve known I couldn’t trust an evil fiend of a vampire to keep their end of the bargain,” she growled at him.



“There is more bloody ice in the fridge, luv,” he pointed out. He wondered momentarily if Willow’s paralyzing spell had come back, his limbs seemed suddenly leaden, unable to move.

Buffy harrumphed, her bottom lip sticking out in a deadly pout. “That’s cheating,” she insisted, eyeing the rapidly melting bit of ice in the glass.



“Yeah, well, evil, remember? Cheating’s a way of life,” Spike informed her, his words slurring slightly with exhaustion.

Buffy scowled at him and got up. “When I get back with more ice and cocoa, you better be ready or you’re gonna get a surprise of your own … and you won’t like it,” she threatened. “I thought you had all that vampire stamina and supernatural … testosterone and all that.”

“I think you just drained all my bloody testosterone, pet,” he reminded her groggily. “Can’t a bloke have a minute to just … bask in the golden glow of your love?”

“Bask in the golden glow …” Buffy repeated as she started to laugh. “What is this, a Danielle Steele novel?" she asked sarcastically. "Yeah, ok … bask all you want. As long as you’re done by the time I get back,” she allowed as she headed out of the room and padded downstairs.

“Bloody romantic that is, Slayer,” Spike called after her, sounding offended.

When Buffy returned, Spike wasn’t in the bed. She stopped just inside the door and a feeling of déjà vu came over her. Surely he hadn’t scampered off and gone into hiding again, had he?

Before she could turn around, Spike’s arms wrapped around her from behind. A relieved smile quirked Buffy’s lips and she leaned back into him.



Spike dropped his mouth to her shoulder, and Buffy tilted her head to the side, letting her hair fall away from her neck. His lips were tender against her skin, kissing and licking a line of fire up past the curve of her neck to behind her ear. She moaned and leaned back against him harder, wriggling her ass against his crotch.

“Spike …” she began tentatively. “If you … I mean … as long as you can … stop … then I wouldn’t … ummmm … object,” she stammered as his mouth found the wound on her neck where he’d bitten her earlier.

“God, I love you, Buffy,” he murmured against her hot skin.

Buffy turned around slowly, still holding the hot cocoa and cold glass of ice in her hands. Her eyes met his and held his gaze. “I love you too, Spike. I trust you … and … I …”

Spike nodded. “Give me a bit o’ time – just t’ get used to the … to everything. I’d never want t’ hurt you and … I never want to see you … truly afraid o' me.”

Buffy bit her lip and nodded. The two puncture wounds on her neck tingled where his lips had passed over them, as if begging him to open them again – invade her with his fangs. “I get it … but I wanted you to know, if you ever … wanted to do that again, I would …” Buffy swallowed hard before finishing, “… welcome it.”

Spike smiled, stopping just short of a smirk, and ran a finger over the wound. “You have no idea what you do to me, woman. No bloody idea how much I love you. Sometimes I think it’s more than my heart can bear. Then, just when I think I couldn’t love you more, you find a way to …” his voice trailed off, his eyes still locked onto hers.



Buffy gave him a soft smile and joy glinted in her eyes. Her heart soared; she thought she could actually feel her feet leave the ground for a moment.

She’d known she was doing the right thing when she’d had Riley get the army to remove Spike’s chip – but her friends weren’t so sure. She had to tell Xander to get out of her house and not come back until he accepted her decision and opened his eyes to the fact that Spike had changed. Giles had lectured her and warned against it, but hadn’t tried to stop her, not that he really could have. Her Watcher had ultimately left it up to her, despite continued daily warnings. Willow had looked worried, but had given Buffy her support. All her friends' doubts had nagged at the back of Buffy’s mind, undermining her instinct and her confidence. But Spike’s behavior earlier, and his insistence now that they wait before trying that again, silenced that little nagging doubt once and for all.

Spike cleared his throat and took the glass and mug from Buffy’s hands, pulling her from her musings. “Well, reckon that’s enough basking, then,” he began, obviously changing the subject, as he sat the two containers down on the dresser. “Believe I owe you a spot of …” he continued, but was cut off by Buffy’s lips touching his.

Spike pulled her to him, deepening the kiss in a flurry of emotion and passion. Their bodies dissolved against each other, as if they were two pieces of a puzzle, made to fit each other perfectly. Their lips and tongues melted into a dance of giving and taking, demanding and yielding, offering and accepting.



Gasping for breath, Buffy pulled back from the kiss, leaning her forehead against his. “I love you, Spike. I love you so much it … frightens me. It’s more than … anything I’ve ever... I’m … I know what you mean now, about being love’s bitch.” Buffy stopped and pulled back to look into his eyes. “Sometimes I think it’s more than I can bear too. Maybe we could … bear it together?”

Spike gave her a soft smile. “Sounds brilliant, pet. Reckon two … demon-types like us should be able to shoulder a bit of love, yeah?”

“I was thinking we were more like two … hero-types,” she admitted.

Spike’s brows went up. “Yeah?”



“Yeah … I told you before: you’re a champion, Spike, a hero, Dawn’s hero … my hero.”

Spike bit his bottom lip – awestruck. Yes, she’d said that earlier, but he hadn’t let those words penetrate; hadn’t allowed himself to really believe that part. Champion. Hero. He’d been called a lot of things in his life, but never that. His chest heaved with unneeded breath as his heart – and soul – soared.

“And you, my dear, are the sexiest wildcat of a demon I’ve ever had the pleasure t’ meet,” he replied after a moment, giving her a sexy smirk.

“Yeah?” she asked, smiling slyly.

Spike nodded, then swept her up into his arms, with one arm under her knees and one around her back. Buffy shrieked in surprise, but wrapped her arms around his neck.

“And what do hero-types do to sexy demons?” she wondered as he stepped towards the bed with her.

“They torture them mercilessly,” Spike purred, dropping her onto the bed.

Buffy grinned devilishly as she looked up at him. “Ooooo … sounds wicked.”

**~**

“’Ello, Red? It’s Spike,” Spike said tentatively into the phone the next morning.



“Spike! Is … something wrong? Is Buffy ok?” Willow replied worriedly.

“No worries, she’s just uhhhh … well, she can’t come t’ the phone just now, and she wanted me t’ call and ask if we could pick the Niblett up tonight after dark,” Spike told her, feeling strangely … domestic.

“Ummm … yeah, ok,” Willow stammered. “But … can I talk to Buffy?”

“She’s … a bit under the weather,” Spike tried to explain. “Wobbly on her feet and … seems to have a spot of laryngitis.”

There was silence on the line. A very long silence.

“Red?” Spike spoke after a few moments, thinking the call had disconnected.

“Yeah, I’m here,” Willow replied. “Spike … I … ummm … I really need to talk to Buffy. It’s not … personal, but …”

Spike sighed. “Right. I got no chip so the Slayer might be beaten and bloodied, lyin’ dead, half-buried in a ditch somewhere – that it?”

Another silent moment passed. “Well … a ditch hadn’t really entered my mind,” she admitted. "Thanks for that visual."

Spike huffed out a breath as he headed upstairs with the wireless phone. “Well, I’m telling ya, she can’t bloody talk. What can I do t’ convince you she’s fine?”

Willow thought for a moment, then asked. “Can she write? Ask her what the end-of-the-world vocabulary word was…”

Spike put his hand over the receiver as he entered Buffy’s room. “Sorry, pet – she won’t take my word for it. Wants ya to tell me the end-of-the-world vocabulary word … whatever the bloody hell that means.”

Buffy pulled herself to sitting in the bed and fumbled for a pen and paper on the nightstand. She wrote ‘PELL-MELL’ in large scrawling letters on the paper and held it up to him.



Spike furrowed his brow, but read what Buffy wrote, speaking into the receiver. “Pall Mall … the street or the smokes?” he wondered.

Buffy waved her hand and shook her head vigorously, pointing at the paper again. “Scratch that,” Spike corrected. “Pell-mell.”

He heard a sigh of relief from Willow. “Ok … oh … I’m so sorry she’s sick! Tell her to stay in bed and gets lots of fluids. Dawn’s fine – if she needs to stay another night, it’s ok.”

Spike smirked. “Right, I’ll tell ‘er – stay in bed and get lots o’ fluids. No worries – I’ll take care o’ that.”

Spike was still smirking when he said goodbye to Willow, assuring her that Buffy would probably recover by later that night, and hit the ‘end’ button on the phone.

“Well, you ‘eard the doctor …” he grinned at Buffy as he climbed back in the bed next to her.

“You’re so bad,” Buffy mouthed – her voice nothing more than a mousey-squeak.

“And you love it,” he accused, sitting back against the headboard and pulling her to him. Buffy ducked under his arm and leaned her head on his shoulder, unable to stop the silly school-girl grin from emerging.



“Yes, I do,” she agreed – her words coming out as barely more than warm air rather than actual sounds from her over-taxed vocal chords.

They sat in a comfortable silence for a while before Spike held up his left hand and the skull ring that was just above the middle digit on his index finger. “I dreamt that you were marryin’ White Bread with my soddin’ ring,” he admitted to her. “Why were you wearin’ it again? I haven’t seen it in ages. Didn’t know you even still had it.”

Buffy reached out and touched it and smiled. “Felt … connected; me to you,” she explained as simply as she could in a low voice that broke and squeaked as she spoke.

Spike blinked back his emotions and pulled the ring off his finger. “I promise to stand by you forever, Buffy. We’ll always be connected … same cloth and whatnot.” He slid the ring back on the finger she’d had it on earlier – her left ring finger; the same finger he’d put it on once before, when they had been under Willow’s spell.

Buffy nodded and closed her fist around it. It was foolish, she knew, but something about it just made her feel closer to him somehow, even when she wasn’t with him.

Buffy pulled a ring off her right middle finger. It was a birthstone ring that Dawn had given her a couple of years ago … or … at least that was what she remembered. She was sure Dawn wouldn’t mind, since Dawn had given Buffy the skull ring back as they both sat by Spike’s bedside after the fight with Glory.



She held the ring out to Spike. “My promise,” she croaked out.

Spike’s eyes met hers as he took the delicate ring from her hand. He slid it onto his pinky – the only finger it would slide past his knuckle on. It wasn’t anything too fancy or expensive, but it meant the world to him.

Buffy laughed at the sight of it on his finger. The small, delicate ring looked so … not-Spike-like, but it seemed to make the connection between them complete. They made the perfect pair, her with the bulky skull ring and he with the delicate garnet … yin and yang, darkness and light, sun and shadow, perfect complements and polar opposites: the Slayer and the vampire.



The sound of Buffy’s squeaky laughter flooded Spike’s heart with joy and warmed him like sunshine on a cool, spring day. Could she be right? Could there be light inside him, just as there was darkness inside her? Could they manage to live in two worlds at once – each showing the other the wonders of the other side? Could an angel and a devil fill the empty void that dwelled within the other? Could they be each other’s hero? If the dark side had warm, gooey cookies, did the side of light have nice, cold milk to go with them?

A throaty, contagious laugh rolled from Spike’s lips and reverberated through the room as their eyes met. Her green pools of emerald sparkled with joy and love – love for him. He bit his bottom lip as he realized, yes – they could live in two worlds at once. They could make it – together.

The End.
End Notes:
There is actually one more chapter: the epilogue.
I'm Too Young To Die - Epilogue by Passion4Spike
Author's Notes:
Trying to save Buffy and the world, Spike risks his life in the Hellmouth fighting The First Evil. Can the darkness and the light meld into gray and find a way to save each other?
**
Thanks to YOU for reading and extra special thanks to everyone that's left feedback. I really love hearing from you; it is chocolate for my soul and fodder for my muse!! Also to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and final review. All mistakes are mine because I simply cannot stop fiddling right up to the last moment.
Episode: Chosen

**~**

“Buffy! Whatever this amulet thing does, I think it’s starting!” Spike yelled at her across the Hellmouth.

Buffy couldn’t hear him; she was fighting, along with Faith and all the newly empowered Slayers, against the Turok-Han who were climbing up the wall of the abyss, threatening to overtake them.

“Buffy!” Spike screamed at her as a powerful, bright light shot out of the amulet and up through the ceiling of the Hellmouth, all the way through the basement and Principal Wood’s office. The light rose up to the sky, bringing cleansing power straight from heaven into the Hellmouth. The power flowed down from above, through Spike and the amulet, sending rays of light out across the Hellmouth and dusting the Turok-Han that the Slayers had been fighting.

The ground began to shake and shudder under their feet. Dirt and rocks from the walls of the cavern began falling around them; the Hellmouth was going to collapse. “GET OUT!” Faith yelled to the other Slayers as she began running towards the stairs and the gateway out.

“Spike!” Buffy screamed, running to him when she finally saw him bathed in the brilliant light.



“I can feel it, Buffy,” he said as their eyes met.

“What?”

“My soul. It’s really there – just like you said. It kind of stings,” he told her. His voice was surprisingly calm despite the white-hot power flowing through him.

It had taken some doing to talk Buffy into letting him, rather than the Magnificent Poof, wear the gaudy necklace. In the end, her own words, her own contention that he did have a soul, perhaps small and tattered, but there nonetheless, were her undoing. The necklace, Angel had told them, needed a champion, someone more than human, but with a soul, to wear it. Buffy could not dispute that Spike met all those qualifications. That didn’t make her happy about it. They didn’t know what it would do; it could be dangerous. Letting the First’s minions escape the Hellmouth and overrun the earth could be pretty dangerous too, Spike had pointed out.

“Let Angel wear it,” Buffy had pleaded with Spike.

“This is our town, Buffy – not his. I’ve been here beside you, fighting the fight, all this time. Don’t bench me now, Slayer – not when the whole bloody game is on the line,” Spike had argued.

Buffy had reluctantly given in, but her worst fears were coming true. The brilliant shafts of light were dusting the Turok-Han as if the hand of God was being channeled through Spike. And if that was the case, how long before it dusted him, too?

“Go on, then,” Spike urged her, willing her to leave the crumbling cavern.

“No! No, you’ve done enough! You could still . . .” Buffy started.



“No!” Spike interrupted her. “You’ve beaten them back. It’s for me to do the cleanup,” he said as the other Slayers rushed past them – running up the stairs and out of the collapsing cavern.

“Buffy! Come on!” Faith yelled at her from the stairs as more debris rained down from the walls and ceiling that made up the gateway to hell.

“Gotta move, lamb. I think it’s fair to say, school’s out for the bloody summer,” Spike quipped darkly, smirking.

“Spike! I need you! Please!” Buffy cried, imploring him to stop, to come with her. The Hellmouth was collapsing faster now, threatening to bury them both. They had to get out – both of them – now!

“I mean it! I gotta do this!” Spike insisted, raising his hands as if to push her back.

Buffy reached her left hand for Spike’s outstretched right and their fingers inter-laced, just as they’d done a thousand times before. Suddenly their clasped hands were engulfed in flames.



How many times had their souls danced together in the flames of heaven over the years since Glory’s defeat? He’d done everything that he’d promised – he’d given her demon a reason to live, a reason to keep fighting. He’d been her partner in all things, her best friend, her confidant, her lover. He’d shown her what love could be; he’d shown her how to live with the darkness and she’d shown him how to live with the light. He’d been the man that she knew she could count on to never, ever leave her. He was her equal, her demon’s perfect match, her soul mate. And now he was breaking his promise to stand by her forever – he was leaving.

“Spike … no … no, you can’t,” Buffy implored him with tears in her eyes. “Please come with me. Stop …”

“I love you, Buffy,” Spike told her softly, his eyes locked with hers. “This is for you. Go dance under the sun in a field of wildflowers … live your life under the blue sky, pet. You can do it – you know how now. Laugh and love in the daylight, Buffy. You deserve to live in the light.”



A giant chunk of rock, along with an avalanche of dirt, fell dangerously close to them. Buffy didn’t seem to notice. She could only see Spike. See his eyes. Then her life without him flashed across her mind. Tears fell in heartbroken rivers down her cheeks as Spike released her hand and pushed her back.

“Now go!” he implored her as more and more of the cavern collapsed around them.

“NO!” Buffy screamed at Spike, her voice shaking with terror at the prospect of a life in the sun without him at her side.



Before Spike could insist again, Buffy reached out for the burning amulet that hung around his neck with her right hand. Her palm was pierced with an icy saber of light as she did so. It felt like an icicle had been stabbed clear through flesh, sinew, and bone, and her blood ran cold … more than cold, frigid, freezing. Ice crystals formed around the wound and the skin around it began to blacken and die, as if from frostbite.

Buffy screamed in agony as her fingers closed painfully around the amulet, blackening and freezing in place as the necrosis spread. Spike tried to push her away, but where the amulet was freezing Buffy, it had begun to burn him and his effort to stop her, to make her leave, was ineffective.

Buffy yanked down on the amulet with as much power as she could muster, trying to remove it, get it off Spike, but the heavy chain and her weakened grip thwarted her. Buffy screamed in pain and frustration and fear as the dead, black flesh of the frostbite spread up her arm.

She reached her left hand out and closed it over her useless right and the amulet. More ice crystals formed, and the skin of her palm and fingers of her left hand turned black and agonizingly painful in an instant.
 
Where Buffy was being frozen by the power of the amulet, Spike was beginning to burn. Starting from the center of his chest, agonizing flames began to spread over him. He was aware that Buffy was still there, but the excruciating pain that was now filling his body with smoldering anguish made it impossible for him to do anything about it.



Using both hands and all her strength and weight, she jerked down on the necklace, but still the heavy chain would not give. In her desperation, all she’d managed to do was pull Spike off balance.

He fell forward towards her as the ground shook and the giant cavern crumbled around them. They both tumbled down onto the dust and debris littered floor. Spike landed atop Buffy as rocks rained down around them and atop them, threatening to completely bury them at any moment. Their bodies were crushed together under the onslaught of the earthquake, both aware that the other was there, but unable to do anything to stop what was happening.

Fire and ice met. Darkness and light met. Black and white, demon and angel, good and evil met.

Buffy and Spike were both suddenly spiraling through icy flames which at once burned and froze them. They clung to each other, one burning, the other freezing, as they fell down, down, down through blinding, unending darkness.

Buffy could feel something tugging at her as they fell. Not at her arms or legs or really any part of her physical body, but at her soul. She could see the colorful leopard print fabric unraveling behind her, shredding and reforming into something new. She looked at Spike and even his small, tattered soul was being unraveled and pulled out of him as nothing but individual threads.



“No, no, no…” Buffy muttered as she watched in horror. The threads now trailing out behind them where changing colors, and the pattern that had been woven into the fabric was fading and morphing into something completely different.

Spike saw it too, and he tried to reach out to grab the delicate strings of their souls, to stop the power of the amulet from … how did Angel put it? Cleansing them with scrubbing bubbles? But they slipped through his fingers like the wind. They seemed solid and real, but they where nothing but wisps of smoke and spirit – intangible, untouchable.
 
“Buffy … Buffy, what … what’s happening?” he asked her, his eyes wide with fear and confusion. They were still falling; falling through utter darkness, their shredded souls flapping behind them like tattered flags in a hurricane.

Buffy shook her head as tears welled in her eyes. “They’re … I think they’re taking … they’re taking our … souls and changing them … oh God, Spike. I can’t lose you, I can’t! I don’t want to live in the light. I want to live in the dark with you … or die with you – but they’re taking it away – they’re taking our souls and … I don’t know what will happen if ...” Buffy’s voice broke off with a choked sob.

She did know. She did know what would happen if they took their souls and changed them. That feeling would be gone – that feeling of wholeness, of completeness, would be gone. Whether they lived or died, and she wasn’t actually sure just then if they were alive or dead, their love would be shredded, pulled apart, quite literally, it appeared, by the seams.

Spike held her against him tighter and she buried her tears against his burnt chest as they continued to fall through the frigid flames. Spike wanted something to hit, someone to fight – but there was nothing there. This was to be their reward for saving the world? To be separated for all eternity.

“Buffy, listen to me,” Spike admonished her, lifting her chin so she was looking into his eyes. “I don’t care what they do to our souls, or where they send us, I will always love you and I will find you. I’ll never stop looking for you. Never.”



“Oh, Spike … I love you so much,” Buffy gasped out between ragged breaths. “I’ll love you forever … I swear it.

“God, please no…” she begged, looking back at the threads, which had morphed into solid colors and were now re-weaving themselves. Spike’s was pure black. Buffy’s was pure white. There was no pattern. There were no shades of gray. They were not from the same cloth – they were blank slates on the opposite ends of the spectrum.

“NOOOOOOOOO!” Buffy threw her head back and shrieked at the icy flames that surrounded them. “I will not leave him! I will not forget! I will not go back to black and white!”

Buffy looked back at Spike. Tears leaked from his eyes as the new fabric of their souls began to flow back into them, now rewoven. “I love you, Spike,” she whispered to him through her own tears. She took his burnt face in her frozen, blackened hands and pulled his lips to hers.

His flesh was hot, burnt, and it warmed her frozen mouth. She could feel the ice crystals melting away from her lips. The agony of the frozen crystals lessened, then disappeared. Spike too, could feel the change. Her frozen skin cooled his burns like a soothing balm, healing them, vanquishing the pain.

I will not forget, I will not forget, I will love him forever, forever, forever,Buffy chanted to herself as they deepened the kiss. The chilling flames licked at their bodies, but no longer burned or chilled them. It was like falling through tepid water – neither hot nor cold. The water looked like flames, but it simply flowed over their skin harmlessly.

Buffy could feel the coldness and pain retreat from her face, from her neck, her shoulders. They continued to kiss each other with passion borne of desperate fear; kiss each other as if it were the last time, because it very well may be. As they fell through oblivion, pressed together, silently pledging their devotion to the other, the burns on Spike’s face, neck, shoulders, and chest healed, replaced by the soft, creamy skin that he’d had before entering the Hellmouth.

“I love you. I’ll love you forever,” he murmured against her mouth before capturing her lips again with his and letting every drop of passion and adoration he had for her flow out of him and into her, willing her body to heal, willing her to be alright. He would give anything and everything he had to keep her safe, and he poured everything he had within him into the kiss – into her.

Buffy could feel the new, bright-white soul invading her, and she fought it as she continued her internal chant of devotion and love. She welcomed Spike’s tongue into her mouth, swirling hers around his and holding fiercely to the hard-earned knowledge that life is not black and white. It would be easier if it was; living in shades of gray is fraught with danger and confusion, but it was the only way to live. There was only one absolute in her life: Spike. She loved him wholly, absolutely, unendingly.

Spike growled against her lips as his new soul, made entirely of blackness, filled him. He too, fought against it, remembering Buffy’s lesson to him – he was made not just of darkness, but of light. He was not a slave to his demon, he was love’s bitch, and Buffy’s love had allowed the light within him to shine again. She’d allowed him to be a man again – a strong man, a good man, her man. He refused to give that back now. He would not allow himself to become a monster. He refused with all his heart to let go of her now. He’d come too far; they had come too far. He would not forget her. He would not stop loving her – ever.

They clung to each other, still falling through the unending fire. They poured every ounce of themselves into the fight against the ‘cleansing’ of their hearts and souls that the amulet’s power had wrought on them. The heat of the vampire healed the frozen, gangrenous flesh of the Slayer, and the chill of the Slayer healed the burnt flesh of the vampire as they tumbled together through the unending, dark flames.

Then, slowly, the fresh, new souls that were wafting into them like mist began to change. The bright white began to spot and tear, leaving gaps and stains on the pristine, clean fabric. The raven black began to fade as if it had been left in the sun too long, and holes burnt into it through which glowed gray and white flickers of light.

As they fell through the raven blackness, Buffy and Spike suddenly began being slammed back and forth violently. They held to each other even harder as their bodies were shaken and thrown against unseen walls, which were as hard and solid as granite. As they were tossed around like rag dolls, they each tried to shield the other from the brunt of the blows, turning over and around to take the punishment themselves. They fought against each other, still falling ever further through the strangely silky, but un-burning fire, both trying to protect their partner.

Buffy caught a glimpse of the misty fabric souls that were still trying to embed themselves into the warriors. They were both faded to gray now and tattered from the impacts against the walls. They were stained with blood, and spots of color had appeared where the champions’ tears had fallen into the mist. It wasn’t the old leopard print that Buffy had dreamed of so long ago, but still the two now looked remarkably similar, nearly identical to each other, especially considering that they had started as polar opposites.

A swell of overwhelming relief and joy washed over her just before she and Spike both crashed hard against a solid, unyielding floor. Whatever realm they’d been falling through had apparently not been unending after all. They both hit with tremendous force, and the misty souls that had been trailing out behind them crashed down atop them, suddenly feeling quite solid.

They screamed out in pain as the whole world – or wherever they were – shook and shuddered beneath them. Spike had landed atop her and he could feel more things falling onto them from above. He steeled himself, trying to keep the pressure off Buffy, trying to keep her safe from whatever new onslaught was coming. The deafening sound of a Mount Olympus-sized rock-slide resounded through the darkness, then suddenly stopped. Everything went still and frighteningly silent.

“Spike…” Buffy rasped out. “Spike, are you … ok?”

“Yeah … reckon … so,” he gasped back, using all his remaining strength to press up off her and support whatever was atop both of them so it would not crush her.

Suddenly the weight above him became less. Something moved and they could hear scraping sounds, and the weight lessened further. Spike pushed up, but still couldn’t free them from the crush. As he did that he felt the weight lift a little more and heard what sounded like rocks shifting and rolling, like a small avalanche.

In just a few more moments, Spike was able to push up and shrug off whatever was atop them. It was utterly and completely dark. Spike looked around, but even his vampire senses couldn’t see anything, but he could smell something: a demon.

“Can you stand?” he asked Buffy quietly as he reached down to find her hands and help her to her feet.

Buffy’s hand wavered in the air a moment, searching, then met his and he hauled her up, even before she answered him. If he had to, he could carry her – he just wasn’t sure where to go. “I’m ok,” she assured him as she found her footing.

Spike heard a sharp snap off to their right and then the sound of something liquid being shaken up. Suddenly a green glow appeared where the sound had been, and a chemical green glow-stick illuminated the face of what appeared to be a human, but Spike’s nose said it wasn’t.



“Who the bloody hell are you and where are we?” Spike demanded, stepping in front of Buffy and placing himself between the stranger and the Slayer.

“Whistler,” the man replied genially as he popped another two glow-sticks and shook them up. He tossed one over towards Buffy and Spike so they could see around them and another a few feet away. “And you never really went anywhere – you’re in the Hellmouth. You got sucked into the amulet for a while, but …”



“Whistler!” Buffy growled, stepping forward and picking her way through the rocks and fallen debris. “What the hell was all that?” she asked accusingly, waving her hand back at the place she and Spike had apparently been the whole time.

Whistler shrugged one shoulder and casually pushed off the boulder he’d been leaning on. “That was Wolfram & Hart’s idea of a good bubble bath. Of course, it was meant for Angel – not you. I guess they didn’t know there were two vampires with souls around … even if yours is a little … undersized,” he said, regarding Spike.

“OI!” Spike objected. “Nothing ‘bout me is bloody undersized,” he growled at the other man as he stepped forward with Buffy, hands planted angrily on his hips. “And who the bloody hell are you, anyway?”



“He’s a minion of the PTB,” Buffy offered, glaring at Whistler with her arms crossed.

“’Minion’ is such an outdated and derogatory term. We prefer ‘messenger’ now … it’s more politically correct,” the smaller demon related, his voice still amiable.

“So, just what was that supposed to do to Angel?” Buffy wondered, her voice still angry.

“Cleanse him of the gypsy’s curse … remove his soul,” Whistler informed them matter-of-factly.

“And Wolfram & Hart gave him that amulet?” Buffy asked, incredulously.

“Wellll, technically the Senior Partners gave it to him – that’s a fine distinction though. I guess they thought Angelus at the helm of the company would’ve been more in line with company objectives than having Angel,” Whistler explained.

“But, we aren’t cursed! Why did it try to take our souls and … redo them?” Buffy wondered.



Whistler shrugged again. “Actually, you are cursed … sort of,” he told Buffy. “The Shadowmen’s magic put the darkness and power into you against your will. To the amulet, it’s the same as Angel’s curse. Magic done to someone against their will is, technically, a curse.”

“B-but … it attacked Spike too!” she pointed out.

“It probably got confused with two of you in there at once. I don’t think it was created with the idea that more than one person would be caught up in it at a time. It tried to separate the two halves of both of you, cleanse them of the curse, sort them out, and put them back,” Whistler theorized. “That’s just a guess though – it’s not our magic, so I don’t know.”

“What would’ve happened if Spike had gone through that alone?” Buffy wondered.

“Since Spike isn’t cursed – he’s just a plain ole vampire…” Whistler started.

“OI! Not just a plain ole vampire, mate,” Spike snarled at the demon. “Got a bit o’ soul in here," he contended, thumping his fist against his chest. "Bloody thing proved it.”

Whistler shrugged nonchalantly. “No offense,” he offered. “Anyway, if Spike went through it alone, I doubt anything would’ve happened other than a really good scrubbing. It probably would’ve just kept trying to find a curse and cleanse him. It may have held him inside it until … well, someone found the amulet and magicked him out. But, since you went through it with him and brought your Slayer curse along, its job was complete and it spit you both back out – cleansed.”

Spike pulled the amulet off over his head and dropped it on the ground. He stomped down on it and crunched the large jewel with the heel of his boot. It shattered into dust.



“But … it didn’t cleanse anything. It … we …” Buffy looked at Spike. “I don’t really feel any different, do you? You aren’t all … Angelus or anything … right?”

Spike cocked a skeptical brow at her. “I’m not a bloody poof that needs a soddin’ curse t’ keep a bit o’ my soul, am I? Still got it … still kinda stings though,” he admitted, rubbing his chest with one hand.

“Well, that’s true,” Whistler agreed. “Which is what brings me here today,” he continued, pulling a scroll of parchment from thin air. “The Powers have sent me here to offer you the Shanshu for your heroism here fighting against the First Evil.”

“What the bloody hell is that?”

“Put simply, you’ve earned the reward of being made into a real boy. You’ll be alive again – heartbeat, warmth, sunlight … hell, you can go to church if you want and swim in the holy water. You could have kids – whatever. You’d be alive,” Whistler explained, holding the parchment out towards Spike.

Spike took it and looked at it, scanning it quickly. There was a place for him to sign at the bottom, accepting it.



“One-time offer,” Whistler continued. “Which expires in,” he made a point of looking at a non-existent watch. “Five minutes.”

Spike looked back up at him angrily. “Five minutes!? Bloody Powers got a goddamned warped sense o’ humor.”

Spike looked back down and began to actually read the contract, but stopped when he got about halfway through. “I’ll be a real boy … get my whole soul back, sunlight and whatnot, but I won’t have … I’ll just be … human.”

“That’s what being a ‘real boy’ means,” Whistler agreed. “You won’t be a demon. You won’t be a superhero. You won’t have demon strength; you’ll be human: normal, mortal … a man.”

Spike looked at Buffy, who was looking concerned and conflicted. “What do you think, luv?”

Buffy shook her head. “I … I don’t know. You … you deserve to … you so deserve it, Spike. To walk in the sun and … live in the light. You could … have kids and … you’d be such a great father. You could have the life back that Dru stole. You should … you should do it,” she advised, nodding decisively, but there was hesitancy to her voice.

“Ta ever so,” Spike nodded, as if agreeing, but handed the paper back to Whistler. “Think I’ll just make do with what I got.”

“Spike! No! Don’t throw that away! It’s … you can’t tell me you don’t want it,” Buffy admonished him, grabbing the paper before Whistler could get it.



Spike turned to face her, his expression solemn. “What I want is to be with you. Told ya before, Slayer, a human can’t give you what you need. You’d be holding back, havin’ to protect me – afraid I’d be hurt or killed … afraid you’d hurt me. I’d lose the true you in that moment, and sooner or later, your demon would give up and I’d lose you completely.

“I love you, Buffy. I want to be the man you need … but more importantly, I want to be everything you need. I don’t want to be some git staying ‘ome and washing the blood out of your skirts while you save the world. I want to be at your side – and I will, forever.”



Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes and her chin quivered with emotion. “But … Spike. This is …”

“Nothing without you,” he finished her sentence as he plucked the paper out of her hand. Then, he had a new thought. He turned back to Whistler and asked, “What about the Slayer? Can she have one o’ these Shanshu-bugaboos too?”

Whistler hesitated a moment, looking perplexed.

Buffy looked confused too. She laid her hand on Spike’s arm. “What … you mean? I won’t be a Slayer anymore?”

Spike dropped his eyes to hers. “Isn’t it what you’ve always wanted, luv? A normal life? There’s a bloody army o’ Slayers now … you can … walk away. We can walk away. We’ve done our part … we could … go live on an island somewhere ... Bora Bora or Timbuk-bloody-tu … have a normal life, a family.”

Tears welled in Buffy’s eyes as the possibilities ran through her mind. A normal life. It was what she’d always dreamed of, almost since the moment she’d been Called: to just be normal again. She'd shed an ocean of tears wishing and praying to just be normal again.

They both turned and looked at Whistler with questioning eyes.

After a few more seconds of silence, he finally nodded. “You can both have it … or both decline. It’s your choice. You have three minutes left to decide.”

Buffy’s heart leapt in her chest – they could actually walk away from this life. They could be a normal couple living in a normal town, living a normal life. They could get married and have kids. They could go to soccer games and PTA meetings and to the beach and the amusement park. They could argue like normal people, with just words, not fists, they could … they could …

They couldn’t fight the forces of evil that they both knew existed in the world. They couldn’t protect anyone – including any children they had. They would just be people; people with the knowledge that evil exists but without any means to fight it. Would they be able to live that way? Without the constant danger? Without the adrenaline rush of out-witting death time and time again? Would their passion wane and fade if the dark power was taken away from them? Buffy absently touched the scar on her neck, Spike's bite, which stood out bright white against her tan skin. If she did that, she’d never again feel that dark lust that his fangs piercing her flesh provoked in her … and oh how she’d miss that.

But wasn’t this what she’d longed for? It seemed like the normal life she’d had as a child belonged to someone else … like it was a dream – someone else’s dream. She felt like she’d been trying to get back to that for an eternity. Back to sanity; back to normalcy. And hadn’t she just said that Spike deserved that? Didn’t he deserve to walk in the sun? Didn’t he deserve to have a family? To have children? To have all those things that Dru stole from him? Hadn’t they both paid their dues, suffered enough for the world? Wasn’t it time for a little payback … a reward?



“It’s up to you, Buffy,” Spike whispered. “I’ll love you and follow you to the ends of the earth, no matter what. I want what you want …”

“Forever love’s bitch?” Buffy asked, giving him a loving, teary smile.

Spike nodded and returned her smile. “Always and forever, pet.”



Buffy’s smile widened. “Me too.”

Buffy turned and looked at Whistler. She took a deep breath and made her decision…

**~**

The End.

**~**

{{  Click here to hear Turn Me On, David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj on YouTube  }}

Doctor, doctor, need you bad, hold me babe
Doctor, doctor, where ya at? Give me something
I need your love, I need your love, I need your loving
You got that kind of medicine that keeps me coming
My body needs a hero, come and save me
Something tells me you know how to save me
I've been feeling feral, oh I need you
Come and rescue me

Make me come alive, come on and turn me on
Touch me, save my life, come on and turn me on
I'm too young to die, come on and turn me on
Turn me on, turn me on, turn me on, turn me on (2X

Oh you make it make it right
my temperature is super high If I scream if I cry,
It's only cause I feel alive
My body needs a hero, come and save me
Make me come alive, come on and turn me on
Touch me, save my life, come on and turn me on
I'm too young to die, come on and turn me on
Turn me on, turn me on, turn me on, turn me on (2X)
Something tells me you know how to save me

You’ve got my life in the palm of your hand (palm of your hand)
Come and save me now I know you can (I know you can)
D-d-d-d-Don't let me die young
I just want you to father my young
I just want you to be my doctor
We we can get it crackin', chiropractor
I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I I-I-I-I-I know you can save me and make me feel alive

I've been feeling real low oh I need you to come and rescue me

Make me come alive, come on and turn me on
Touch me, save my life, come on and turn me on
I'm too young to die, come on and turn me on
Turn me on, turn me on, turn me on, turn me on

End Notes:
What did Buffy decide? What would you decide to do? To take normalcy, settle down and have a family with Spike, or keep fighting evil with him? I leave the decision to you. Thanks so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it! Let me know if you did (or didn't)!
**
To Unexpected readers: I hope to have a new, short (under 10 chapter) mini-season ready to start posting in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that. It will be a lead-in to the next 'full' season of angst and heartbreak. :)
This story archived at http://spikeluver.com/SpuffyRealm/viewstory.php?sid=37229