Interpretations by Suzee

1. Chapter 1 by Suzee

2. Chapter Two by Suzee

3. Chapter 3 by Suzee

4. Chapter 4 by Suzee

5. Chapter Five by Suzee

6. Chapter Six by Suzee

7. Chapter Seven by Suzee

8. Chapter Eight by Suzee

9. Chapter Nine by Suzee

10. Chapter Nine B by Suzee

11. Chapter Ten by Suzee

12. Chapter 11 by Suzee

13. Chapter 12 by Suzee

14. Chapter 13 by Suzee

15. Chaper 14 by Suzee

16. Chapter 15 by Suzee

17. Chapter 16 by Suzee

18. Chapter 17 by Suzee

19. Chapter 18 by Suzee

20. Chapter 19 by Suzee

21. Chapter 20 by Suzee

22. Chapter 21 by Suzee

23. Chapter 22 by Suzee

24. Chapter 23 by Suzee

25. Chapter 24 by Suzee

26. Chapter 25 by Suzee

27. Chapter 26 by Suzee

28. Chapter 27 by Suzee

29. Chapter 28 by Suzee

30. Chapter 29 by Suzee

31. Chapter 30 by Suzee

32. Chapter 31 by Suzee

33. Chapter 32 by Suzee

34. Chapter 33 by Suzee

35. Chapter 34 by Suzee

36. Chapter 35 by Suzee

37. Chapter 36 by Suzee

38. Chapter 37 by Suzee

39. Chapter 38 by Suzee

40. Chapter 39 by Suzee

41. Chapter 40 by Suzee

42. Chapter 41 by Suzee

43. Chapter 42 by Suzee

44. Chapter 43 by Suzee

45. Chapter 44 by Suzee

46. Chapter 45 by Suzee

47. Chapter 46 by Suzee

48. Chapter 47 by Suzee

49. Chapter 48 by Suzee

50. Chapter 49 by Suzee

51. Chapter 50 by Suzee

52. Chapter 51 by Suzee

53. Chapter 52 by Suzee

54. Chapter 53` by Suzee

55. Chapter 54 by Suzee

56. Chapter 55 & Epilogue by Suzee

Chapter 1 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
Be nice and review? It's my birthday :D

Posted Finally, an alternate endign to Bridging the Gap by Panta_rei and the ending to (I Wanna) Be There earlier :)

Summary once again courtesy of Panta_rei :)
Set in an alternate Season Five where Glory is not an issue but Dawn knows she is the key and Joyce is still getting sick.

Interpretations


The Slayer was a right bitch.

At least that was what Spike tried to convince himself of after he walked away from her house. Didn't she get what Drusilla meant to him? Couldn't she see that he was willing to kill the woman who had been his love for over a century--been his life? Couldn’t' she see he knew what he was saying?

Obviously not since for all his effort all he'd gotten was a punch to the nose and shut out of her house.

Okay, so maybe letting Dru zap her and chaining her up hadn’t exactly helped his case, but what exactly did she expect of him? He was a vampire, dammit! He was allowed to not do things completely right....The intent was still there.

He had just wanted her to see that he loved her, maybe give it some thought. He'd only asked for a bloody crumb and she couldn't even give him that. Couldn't even give him the hope that someday...the bloody bitch!

What was it with him loving women that insisted on beating him down? Needed to go find himself someone who'd want him--who wouldn't try to change him or tell him he was bloody beneath them...

But he wasn't going to do that. He loved Buffy and going off with some other bird really wasn't going to do much by way of convincing her of that.

He'd just have to go back to his Crypt--clean the sodding place up--and try to come up with a plan.


"Don't you worry my sweet, I'll make the Slayer pay. Make her pay for what she's done to you."

Could he not escape her?

"Talking to anyone in particular there?" Spike questioned the mysterious woman, "Cause if it's a ghosty, well...like to know what's floatin' round."

"Not a ghost, vampire," She spit out the last word with such pain that Spike took a closer look at the dark haired woman kneeling on the grass. "The Slayer killed my sweet love, my Reuben."

"Uh, so now you're what? Going to go down to the Slayer's house and challenge her to a fight or something?" Buffy might have been a bitch but she was his bitch and he wasn't about to let some loon try to hurt her.

"Oh no," She cooed, suddenly very proud of herself, "I'm going to do much, much better than that. No, the Slayer can get away from that; many have tried and failed in the past. This, this she won't be able to run from. She won't escape it.:

"Escape what?" Sure curiosity killed the cat but he was already dead.

"Why so interested, vampire? Why is it you care so much for what happens to the girl?"

If nothing else Spike was capable of bullshitting his way through an answer. "She's been the pain in my ass, the bloody thorn in my bloody side," he recalled his earlier words, "For too many years now for me to to have some say in her final downfall."

"What is it you propose doing then? Something must be done, I've already invoked my gods and they know of my plan to harm the Slayer. If something is not done soon, by me, she'll simply die...all alone in her bed. What would be the fun in that?"

Spike had met a witch before, albeit in the 20s, who had told him the same thing. He didn't believe her of course and killed her before she had a chance to do her spell and, well, let's just say she'd been right. She had been going to punish Reeve who had been travelling with them at the time and Spike had assumed killing her would solve the problem. Reeve had simply vanished in a poof of dust hours later, no stakes or sunlight in sight.

"Well bitch--ah, sorry witch, I think I should be able to get my little punishment for the Slayer in first. I've had to put up with the bint for years hardly fair for you to just step in one night and get all the glory."

"What would you have happen to her, William the Bloody, Slayer of Slayers?"

Spike wasn't going to ask how she knew his name--he wasn't all that certain he wanted to know. "Make her feel what I feel." It took him a surprisingly little amount of time to come up with that.

"Very well, I think I can do that." She stood up for the first time since Spike had seen her and pulled a vial of powder out of her top. Spike watched as she spread it around her, careful to stay out of reach--he didn't trust witches too much. "Mike 'os gorn, the Slayer, wra ris kinned my nave..."

Spike listened to the witch recite the curse trying hard to decipher certain words or phrases--anything that would allow him to know exactly what she was saying. But it was useless.

She'd spoken in Yurab. The one damn language he was unable to make any sense of. Now he had no idea what the witch had said. "That was just for my thing right? You'll worry about yours later? Don't want the Slayer up and dying before she suffers," He said when she'd finished.

"Don't you worry, sweet William. All that has been done for now is what you wish. My hopes will have to wait a while longer."

Assured that all of the God invoking was settled and nothing would happen to Buffy other than what that spell entailed, Spike grabbed the witch round the neck before she could protest. "Thanks, then, luv," He said as he snapped her neck. The pain was blinding in that instant when the chip registered just what it was he was doing, but he knew it would soon pass.

"Thought everyone knew by now to mess with my girl." Spike stomped the rest of the short distance to his crypt, cursing himself for not knowing Yurab, or any of it's root languages.

Now normally, Spike would have just marched over to Buffy's house, barged in and told her about the witch. But seeing as how he wasn't allowed inside, that wasn't much of an option now was it?

So instead....It was time to do a little networking.

TBC......
Chapter Two by Suzee
Author's Notes:
thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday :)
Chapter Two


It had taken a good hour, but after a short stop in his crypt to make sure Harmony hadn't set fire to the place and some trips to the various cemeteries good ole Sunnyhell had to offer, Spike had finally found a vamp to do his bidding. Good to know being William the Bloody did still hold some clout among the younger vamps.

Probably wouldn’t help that he was sending this one off on a kamikaze like mission however.

He needed someone to get word to the Slayer, though. And if he went to tell her he just knew she'd think he was just trying to worm his way back into her life. This was a real threat, though, and he needed her to know about it. So he did the best he oculd think of and sent some barely out of the ground fledgling to the Slayer's house. That way he knew that first, she'd get the message, but also that she wouldn't be in much danger of any kind.

The poor boy would deliver his message and get a nice stake to the heart for his troubles. It all worked out very nicely.

He just hoped the ponce had enough of a memory not to muck up the message.



After everything with Spike and a long night of patrolling all Buffy wanted to do was get in her bed and lie down. Well that and get some sleep; maybe a good eight or ten hours worth. But as per the usual, life didn't have it in it to be kind to the Slayer. The damn vamp apparently wasn't going for tact either as he hadn't stopped shouting, "Slayer, Slayer, come out and face your death!" since he'd arrived. If he hadn't Buffy might have feared her 'death' more than she currently was. Right now the vampire was nothing more than an annoyance; something her sacred duty called upon her to keep the town safe from.

Then she could sleep.

The night was warmer than she would expect from this time of the year--especially after the relatively cool day they'd had--so she was sleeping in only a pair of light pajama bottoms and a thin top. She pulled on a sweater, zipping it up half way before creeping quietly down the stairs; wouldn't do to be showing certain things to some vamp, now would it?

She had enough vampires claiming to be in love...or lust, whatever it was, with her; she really didn't need to add another to the list.

"There you are Slayer! Thought you were afraid to come out and face the bringer of your death!"

"Do they give you some sort of class in cheesy death threats? Because this?" She waved her hand around to indicate the vampire, "Really not scary."

Too tired to deal with anything else, Buffy lunged at the boy, knocking him to the ground with a solid kick to his chest.

Buffy could see his bravado wavering as she straddled his chest before he could react and started to bring the stake down.

“Wait! Wait, Slayer! I have something to tell you!” He tried to get as far away from her as possible, but sadly it was only a few fractions of an inch.

“Yeah?” Buffy didn’t move the stake away, holding it against his chest, not giving him any room for escape. “And why should I care what your ‘message’ is?” Buffy was tired of this. Couldn’t they just let her do her job? Nice simple: stake the vamp and go home. Why was that so hard?

“Have to tell you…tell you,” Apparently fear was causing him to stutter a bit.

“You’ve got three seconds,” Buffy warned, pushing the wood into his chest just enough to break the skin.

“A witch has cursed you!” He finally blurted out. He knew he couldn’t tell her who had told him to warn her and had had to stop himself from doing so.

“What do you mean a witch has cursed me?” Buffy stopped pressing the stake into his skin, but left it right where it was.

“He told me not to tell you more…” It was obvious he hadn’t expected to end up in this situation.

Who told you?”

“W—A friend,” he might be scared of the Slayer, but he was also scared of William the Bloody; he wasn’t going to give in that easily.

“Not good enough. Tell me what this threat is—“

“I was just told to tell you to you’ve been cursed by a witch and to watch your back.”

“Like I said, not good enough,” She plunged the stake down into his heart, her tiredness causing her to wobble ever so slightly when the form beneath her reduced to no more than dust.

She had no idea why this vampire, this fledgling vampire at that, had come to warn her of this witch’s curse. Surely he knew…okay, so maybe he didn’t know that she was going to kill him, vamps could be delusional like that; even if he didn’t know he was going to meet his dusty end, why had he warned her?

Didn’t’ evil things generally want her dead any way they could get?

All in all it didn’t quite add up. Something, something in this little equation, was not right. Buffy was not even up to figuring it all out right now, wasn’t up to trying to work it all out. Not tonight.

Tomorrow though, tomorrow she could talk to Giles about all of this. Get the gang into research mode and all of that.

Yeah, she could do that tomorrow. Tomorrow.

Tonight she was going to go back upstairs, take off the stupid sweater, lie down in her bed again, and go to sleep. She was going to avoid all thoughts of Spike and everything that had happened those few short hours ago.

Was going to ignore the tiny tingling of guilt that was currently nagging at her, the little thing that tucked away in the back of her mind, where she had put it, was trying to make itself known again. Because she was not going to feel guilty for ‘hurting’ Spike. She just wasn’t.


TBC...........





A/N:
and because I realised I hadn't said anything quite a bit after posting the first chapter: As with Silently Broken, this story will be posted on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

And I want to thank whoever nominated Silently Broken and the Forbidden Awards--I didn't recieve notification of that nomination so I still thouht I was at zero nominations with that story--so, to whoever did the nominating, Thank You so very, very much, I'm sorry if you thought I wasn't grateful (and since it had been a while since I got nominated--back for LC--it was an especially nice surprise). Alright, I'm done with the lengthy thank you now :)
Chapter 3 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
Ever want to know what Buffy thought of what happened in "Something Blue" once it got t S7? Technicalities

Next Saturday I won't be able to post--so posts will be today, Tuesday, then the following Tusday
Chapter Three

One hundred and sixty three steps.

That was how far away Spike had to be. He’d watched the entire exchange between the vamp and his Slayer from down the street, behind a tree and knew that the Slayer hadn’t sensed him because he’d been one hundred and sixty three steps away. He’d tested it once. That was exactly how far away he needed to be for her not to sense him while she was in Slayer mode. When she was out with her friends he could cut it down to one hundred fifty, hundred forty if he wanted to push it; but she was sharper in Slayer mode.

So one hundred sixty three steps away and she wouldn’t even know he had been there. Watching. Protecting.

It wasn’t that he thought for a second that the vampire he’d sent with his message would be able to hurt her; no, he knew the Slayer too well to think that. But….he wasn’t willing to take any chances when it came to her safety. He loved her too much.

He watched as she fought the boy, eventually knocking him to the ground and straddling him, a stake held to his chest. He knew he had no reason to—Spike paused in his thoughts as he saw her pause in her actions. She was talking to the vampire, the stake was still at his chest but not moving down anymore. He hoped she wasn’t faltering—he’d be hard pressed to get to her before the vamp could hurt her. He’d be there before any real damage was done, he knew…but a hit or two…that, the vamp might be able to get in.

Apparently she was just trying to get some answers because Spike could see how she was getting more and more displeased and after just a few seconds, she had staked the vampire beneath her.

Spike studied her expression as she sat on her knees for several minutes. Spike hoped the look on her face—serious, thoughtful and slightly confused—meant that she was going to talk to her Watcher about what vamp boy had told her.

He didn’t feel like having to find anyone else to ‘warn’ Buffy. If he did…well, it would only get harder over time. Sure he knew that girl was great with denial; he just hoped she wouldn’t practice it this time.

Good ole Rupes knew enough about witches—of the not so good variety—to take what Buffy had been told seriously. Many a time Spike had cursed the Watcher for his overreactions and assuming everyone and everything possibly to be evil, but for once it was finally going to work in his favor.

He hoped.

Spike turned and headed towards his own ‘home’ hoping to get some sleep soon; taking care of the Slayer was hard work.




Buffy hadn’t slept well the night before, her Slayer self trying to figure out just why a vampire would risk life and limb to warn her about some curse. She still hadn’t figured it out though and hoped that maybe Giles and Willow would have better luck.

“So, Buffy, you wanted to talk?” Willow was waiting for her at Giles’ flat.

“Yeah, it’s about this vampire I slayed last night—something he said.”

Giles came down the stairs then and Buffy joined Willow on the sofa. “What exactly is it this vampire said?” he questioned, sitting down across from the two girls. It wasn’t like his Slayer to get worried over a vampire’s words so he was interested in knowing what had been said.

“Well—oh! It wasn’t on patrol, it was after I’d gone to bed last night; he was down in my front yard yelling for me to come out—“

“Interesting,” Giles interrupted, quickly realizing he’d given voice to his thought, “Do continue on.”

“Well, I fought him—which I mean, really easy…he wasn’t old or anything…but just before I staked him he told me to wait, that he had a message for me.”

“Don’t you think,” Willow asked, “that maybe he was just trying to stop you from staking him…buy himself some time?”

“I don’t know,” Buffy said, “it was like he was scared of not telling me…like he was scared of what would happen to him if he didn’t.”

“What did he say?” Giles asked when Buffy seemed to get lost in her thoughts.

“That a witch had cursed me,” she said simply, the worry returning to her face and her thoughts.

“Is that all…do think carefully,” her Watcher instructed, “The tiniest detail could be the key to all of this.”

“Just that a witch had cursed me—and that I’d better watch my back.”

“He didn’t, perhaps, tell you the name of this witch?” he knew it was too much to hope for but figured he might as well ask.

“Just what I said, that’s all…he didn’t seem to know anything more.”

“Well it’s obvious he was sent by someone else,” Willow quickly concluded.

“It is?” Why hadn’t Buffy gotten that far?

“His fear and lack of information lead me to believe that he was nothing more than someone’s…lackey for lack of a better word.”

“But why wouldn’t they just tell me themselves? I mean if they’re goal is to protect me…”

“Perhaps they feared they would be an unwelcome source, but wanted to ensure that you were still given the information,” Giles thought quickly.

‘Great,’ Buffy thought, ‘I have someone sneaking around in the shadows to ‘protect’ me…just like Angel!’ She chose to ignore that thought and moved on to more pressing matters, “So how do we figure out what this curse is if whoever it is that knows about it doesn’t want me to know they know?”

“Willow and I will have to look into any recent demon activity, see if any of it bears the sign of a witch’s magic…look for any unusual visitors….I fear there isn’t that much we can do. You’ll just have to be on guard until we can find something.”

“Unusual visitors,” Buffy mocked, “Right! So now I get to watch out for vampires and…This thing, this curse, it can affect me during the day, can’t it?”

“I’m afraid so, yes,” Giles answered her.

“Well yay.”


TBC......


Thank you very much for the nomination at the Spark and Burn Awards for Silently Broken--the cheering up has definitely been needed :)

I hope you're enjoying this story......I'm trying to get the '113 Times' series caughtt up in time for Tuesday :) *off to take a nap to feel well enough to write ;)*
Chapter 4 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
hopefully the power will stay of for my posting this time ;)

If you want to be told when the 113 Times fics are finally updated, (it sadly may not be today) you can join my update list--Dark Seductions
Chapter Four

Buffy wasn’t sure she’d ever admit it—to anyone—but she actually wanted t go see what Spike was doing. Willow had put the best protection spell on Buffy that she could, but neither she nor Giles was sure if it would be effective if the curse was already affecting Buffy internally. Something Buffy chose not to think about. And they’d suggested—or rather, they’d ordered—that she stay away from the college for the time being; apparently being around that many people when some mysterious person had cursed you was not a good idea.

Which actually made some sense to her, but it also meant that she didn’t have anything to do. Xander was at work, Willow was at school, her mom was at work, Dawn was in school, everyone but her had something to do during the day. Hell, she wasn’t even allowed to go to the mall (for the same reason she had to avoid the college). For the next several weeks—or however long it took to figure this out she was No-Crowds Buffy.

She should be enjoying her reprieve, maybe have a relaxing bubble bath or give herself a facial, manicure, and pedicure. But she didn’t really want to. She’d done all of that yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Her freaking nails were as perfect as they were going to get by now.

She had nothing to do.

Which brought her back to wondering what Spike was doing. But she wasn’t going to see him again. Ever.

Maybe she could go try to get something to eat again.




Spike wondered how the Slayer was doing. He hadn’t heard from her, or for that matter, seen her, in nearly two weeks and he was starting to worry—alright, alright, so he was already worried, but he was starting to worry more She hadn’t even been out of her house at night for him to... observe her.. He wished he could see her just for a few minutes, if only to know she was alright.

Besides, his life was a hell of a lot more boring without Buffy Summers in it.





Finally. Finally Buffy was going on patrol again. The first few days Giles had ordered her to stay in for her own protection. After those few days his reasons had changed, but he still wasn’t letting her go. “Buffy,” he’d said, “You’re losing weight every day and you’re weak—this could be a part of the curse. You’re more susceptible to injury; I won’t have you going out just to get hurt.”

Her arguments that vampires needed slaying and demons needed killing hadn’t worked…not until tonight. Last night a gang of vampires had killed nine people out for a late night picnic. And even though Buffy thought they were the dumbest of dumb for having a midnight picnic in Sunnydale of all places, she still needed to find the vampires that had done it. Nine people in one night got even Sunnydale PD’s attention.

So, she was going on patrol again—finally. Just, you know, with Giles, Willow, Xander, and Anya along for the ride. If it didn’t kill her first this curse was going to drive her insane—the way she had to be away from everyone, but then around everyone when she patrolled. It was nuts.




Willow was worried for her friend. As she watched Buffy stake a vampire fresh out of the ground, she noticed how the Slayer’s reflexes had slowed, how the force behind her punches had lessened. Buffy looked like she hadn’t eaten anything in weeks and had been experiencing horribly severe headaches nearly ever day. Some days she’s sleep for hours during the middle of the day, her body exhausted from the sheer pain and others she’d be unable to sleep at all, something keeping her awake. She’d tried to question Buffy on it, but her friend had just snapped at her and told her it’d all be better soon and to just leave her alone.

But Willow knew if they did ad Buffy asked and ‘left her alone’ then…well, then she’d be dead in just a matter of days or weeks. Something was horribly wrong and one way or another, Willow was going to find out. The driving force in her need to find out what was wrong with Buffy was the memory of what had happened that day after Buffy had brought the curse up at Giles’.

As her stomach growled for the third time in twenty minutes, Buffy remembered that she’d forgone breakfast that morning in favor of getting to Giles’ more quickly. Which meant that it was now quarter to eleven and she had yet to have anything to eat.

“Wills? Want to stop by the Espresso pump for a muffin or something once this is all done?”

“Sure, just let me make sure I’ve done this protection spell properly and then we can go,” Willow had eaten breakfast already but was willing to have a small snack or maybe just a coffee with her friend.

It was thirty minutes later by the time they got to the Espresso Pump and got their drinks and Buffy’s blueberry muffin. As they sat down at the table, Willow was explaining to Buffy why the protection spell might not work and Buffy was trying not to let every word make her worry even more.

“So you’re saying that if this is some sort of curse to…infect my intestines or something,” Buffy couldn’t think of a better example, “Then it would already have started and the protection spell wouldn’t do anything?”

“Exactly,” Willow confirmed, “If the curse was done to affect you internally then it will have already started and the spell will do nothing because it was done after the fact. But,” she added quickly, “the way the vampire told you to watch your back makes me think that it’s not something internal.”

“Let’s hope not,” Buffy said as she picked up her muffin to take a bite. And that’s when the pain hit. A blinding, searing pain that was so severe she couldn’t tell
where it hurt, just that it did.

Apparently she let the pain show on her face as well because even as she all but threw the muffin down and clutched her head, Willow as already asking her what was wrong.

“I think,” Buffy tried to come up with a plausible answer, “I think I just didn’t get enough sleep last night.

“You sure?” Willow asked, but Buffy just nodded. Buffy didn’t eat any more of her muffin though, Willow noticed. Nor did she drink any of her coffee before Willow offered to drive her extremely sick looking friend home. She hoped this wasn’t part of the curse.




TBC.....pleave review :)
Chapter Five by Suzee
Author's Notes:
there'll be the 113 Times ficlets and hopefully more new fics as soon as I"m physically capable of getting some decent writing done--sorry it hasn't happened yet
Chapter Five


Buffy wished whatever was wrong with her was a result of that curse; at least then she’d know why it was happening.

Patrol the night before had worn her out so much that she’d barely been able to walk up the stairs to her bedroom when she got home. Even then she’d fallen asleep in her jeans and blouse and not woken up for over ten hours—and that as only because the phone rang. Some stupid telemarketer.

Her mother had a doctor’s appointment today with an oncologist. Joyce’s internist had assured them that it was just a precaution to look into all of the headaches and fatigue Joyce had been experiencing, but it still scared Buffy. This was her mother they were talking about. Buffy had hoped to accompany her mother but as the appointment time approached she felt less and less able to make the cross town car trip.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” Joyce assured her, “Sylvia can give me a ride.”




Feeling horribly useless, the Slayer rested and watched TV while her mother was gone; hoping that maybe today would be the day she’d get her energy back.

No such luck though as two and a half hours later when Joyce returned, Buffy was in much the same state.

“Would you like to help me make dinner?” it was much too early to begin dinner but Joyce wanted to do something that would give her the opportunity to speak with her eldest daughter.

“That’d be nice,” Buffy said, even though she didn’t feel fully up to it. “What’re we making?”

“How would you feel about some beef stew?” Not only did they have the ingredients but it had to cook long enough that if they made it now it’d be ready just in time for dinner.

“As long as I do the veggies and you do the meat I think it’s a great idea.”

When they’d gotten everything set out—the carrots, potatoes, meat, onions and spices—Buffy looked at the vegetables and the cutting board and hoped she’d be able to do this.

“Well the potato’s go in last so we can wait a while to do those, why don’t you work on the carrots and the onions for now?” Joyce handed her daughter a knife.

“Yeah….okay,” Buffy hated the way her voice was wavering. Thinking as hard as she could about sitting on the beach in a bikini in the summer and watching the waves Buffy brought the knife down on the first carrot—and tried to beat back the impulse to hold her head as the throbbing pain started. ‘Just think about other things,’ she ordered herself, ‘Other things.’

Two and a half carrots later when Buffy’s ears were ringing and she was fairly certain she was going to pass out, her mother stepped over to stop her now wavering daughter.

“You go sit down, honey,” Joyce tried to hide the fear in her voice, “and I’ll finish up here.”

Going back into the living room, leaning against the wall the entire time, Buffy wanted to cry—she couldn’t even chop up carrots for dinner—but it hurt so much that even the idea of crying scared her at the moment. Maybe she’d be able to get some sleep, she though as she curled up on the sofa. Yes, sleep would be good.



Joyce looked in on her daughter just under an hour later when she’d finished preparing the stew. She was getting more and more worried about Buffy by the day. At first Rupert and Buffy had been able to convince her that it was some sort of slaying thing but as she watched her daughter quite literally dwindle down to nothing, Joyce knew, Slayer related or not, something was seriously wrong. If only she could find out what.

She’d even talked to the oncologist today about Buffy symptoms but all he’d said was that she was probably just depressed and that was why she was sleeping all the time and not—Joyce thought—ever eating. When she pushed about the headaches though he’d just said that either it was a part of the depression or perhaps she’d developed migraines but until Buffy wanted to get better there wasn’t anything to be done for her; something Joyce refused to believe.

And because she didn’t believe it she’d made a little extra stew for the night. They were going to have a dinner guest.




When he awoke, Spike was surprised to find that his ‘guest’ was none other than Joyce Summers.

“Well, well, didn’t expect the Slayer’s mum. Not after…Right surprise it is.” Spike tried his best to cover himself with the sarcophaguses sheet and comforter. Wouldn’t due to insult Joyce’s delicate sensibilities, now would it?

“We need to talk…”

Spike never told anyone his real name anymore, or at least he didn’t let them use it, but he figured that tying the woman’s daughter up, professing his love, and then threatening to have her killed bought Joyce a little leeway. Besides, she was a nice lady.

“William,” he told her.

Joyce smiled slightly, the name seemed to fit him. “We need to talk, William.”

“Not here to hit me with any more axes are you?” he asked when he noticed her serious tone. After all she had every reason to wish violence upon him at the moment—he was actually surprised it had taken her this long.

“I would have come sooner but Buffy asked me not to.”

‘Ahh,’ Spike thought, ‘so that’s why.’

“What you did to Buffy that night…it was wrong William.” Joyce held up a hand to stop him when he tried to protest. “But I think you know that now. Nevertheless, if you ever try to hurt my baby girl again, I will kill you.” And she would too; somehow she’d find a way, he knew that.

“I wasn’t thinking right, Joyce,” he attempted to explain. “Dru just popped back up and it all go jumbled. I just wanted her t listen and….and I didn’t know of a better way. I didn’t think I’d be able to tell her otherwise and I needed to. ‘Sides, I’d never let Dru hurt her.”

“That’s not what I’m here to speak with you about,” Joyce interrupted his apology. “I want to know what’s wrong with my daughter.”

“Straight to the point, eh? What makes you think I know what’s wrong with Buffy? Haven’t seen the chit in weeks,” he tried to make himself sound believable.

“I know you’re aware of the curse placed on her b a witch.”

Spike knew it was useless to try and argue that fact, “Yeah, heard about it.” He hoped he sounded uninterested. “Don’t see what there is to talk about.”

“You’re going to tell me what the witch did, that’s what there is to talk about,” Joyce explained not entirely kindly.

“Look,” Spike began, “all I know is that she was cursed.” Okay so it was technically a lie but really he wasn’t entirely sure what the witch had said…not exactly at least.

“You can play dumb with the others but I know you were the one that sent the vampire to warn Buffy. That means you know more than any of us. Maybe not by much, but right now I’ll take anything.”

“How do you know I sent him?”

“No one else—outside of her family and friends—would go through so much trouble to protect her.”

“Wasn’t much trouble,” Spike tried to brush it off. “Bloke was easy to order about. Anyway, if anyone’s going to kill her—“

“Don’t try to tell me you want to be the one to kill her; we both know that’s not true. Now,” she turned for the door, “if you meant any of what you told Buffy you’ll join us for dinner tonight and help me figure out what’s wrong with my little girl.”


TBC......please review

sorry for the lack of update Saturday :( Hopefully you can forgive me
Chapter Six by Suzee
Author's Notes:
so I have this little problem where I suck....that's why this update's late today; Satuday there wasn't an update because I've got some super fun virus thing (which, come to think of it, I could blame the drugs for that on me being late) but anyway, I hardly got out of bed Saturday and just couldn't manage updating--sorry.

Hopefully you can enjoythe delayed chapter :)
Chapter Six

“Right,” Spike scoffed, “Like I’m going to spend the night with the Slayer—bloody bint hates me or have you forgotten that little fact? I’m sure she was right keen on telling you what I did. Probably came home hollerin’ about how ole Spike here fancies himself in love with her, yeah?

Well I’ll have you know I’m bloody well not. Was a temporary lapse in—“

“William,” Joyce interrupted his tirade, “I’m a mother, I can tell when someone is lying.”

“Not when I am,” he protested almost for the sake of it more than anything. “I’ve had years and years of practice and I could trick the—“

“You love my daughter,” it was said simply and without judgment—he hadn’t expected that last part.

“Yeah, alright, fine, I do. Gonna stake me now?” he finally relaxed again, sitting more comfortably.

“Were you not listening?” Joyce sounded fed up. Best not to get mum upset.

“Was your…your…not hating me that threw me for a loop, sorry.”

“You are going to join Buffy, Dawn, and myself for dinner and at the end of the night you are going to tell me what has happened to my daughter and how to fix it.”

“What if I can’t—“

“You will tell me how to fix it,” she left no room for argument. Spike was going to tell her how to make her little girl better; it was her only option at the moment so it was sure as hell going to work.

“Right, well I’ll be there soon as the sun’s down. You just make sure Buffy doesn’t stake me. Can’t very well tell you anything as a pile of dust now can I?”

“You have nothing to worry about,” Joyce assured him as she left, not telling him that she wasn’t sure Buffy was capable of slaying anything right now much less the vampire with whom she was so evenly matched.



Imagine that, the Slayer’s mum had just asked him over to dinner. Spike tried to convince himself that it would be fun, that he could pretend it was some sort of ‘meet the family’ date with Buffy, but he knew better. Buffy was not going to want him there, not one bit. Besides, he’d already ‘met the family’.

Despite any misgivings he might have about the situation, Spike was going to do his damndest to show Buffy that he could be good dinner date material. Sure he hadn’t been on a typical date in…well, ever, but that was beside the point. Just because he hadn’t done it yet didn’t mean he didn’t know how to if he wanted to. And right now, he wanted to. He couldn’t take Buffy shutting him out of her life, quite literally, forever; and he certainly couldn’t stand by while Buffy’s ‘forever’ got shorter and shorter.

It was true, what he had said about her being different because she had friends and a family behind her as well as her Watcher. She also had him, whether or not she knew it. Now the support system the Slayer had just had to figure out how they were going to help save her.

Except, Spike still had no idea what was wrong with her; hopefully dinner would provide some answers.



“Dawn!” Usually it was Buffy yelling up the stairs at her sister, but this time it was their mother—Buffy couldn’t do it as she was fast asleep on the living room sofa.

It took less than fifteen seconds for Dawn to get downstairs to her mother.

“Yes?” Ever since her mother had developed her terrible and as yet unexplainable headaches and her sister had become basically incapacitated by her own headaches, Dawn was doing her best to be as helpful as she could be. Besides, being helpful kept her busy and being busy kept her from thinking too much and thinking too much led to her being scared, so not doing it was definitely of the good. It was hard to deal with her mother and her supposedly near invincible sister…Her mom wasn’t supposed to get sick and if she did Buffy was supposed to be there to do all this stuff…And if Buffy got sick—well Buffy wasn’t supposed to get sick! They were all keeping her in the dark, too—“Dawn’s too young”, “Dawn would never understand”, “Let’s wait until we know more”; didn’t they know she had eyes, she could see something was horribly wrong with her mother and her sister.

She could see it, she just couldn’t do anything about it so to avoid thinking about it she tried to do everything Joyce needed done, the second it needed done.

“Could you set the table for me, sweetie? And put out four places, we’re going to have a guest tonight.”

Dawn hoped it wasn’t going to be Giles joining them—or Xander; all the two of them had done since Buffy had really started to get sick was try to act like nothing was wrong. Xander made completely inappropriate jokes that weren’t even funny and only made her worry more and Giles tried to explain to her and her mother how it was some sort of Slayer thing and would sort itself out in only matter of days. Except he’d been saying that for weeks now and all it did was tell Dawn that Giles, the one who was supposed to be the one that understood the Slayer side of Buffy and what could possibly happen to her, had no idea what was wrong.

And it seemed to Dawn like none of them were really making any effort in figuring out what was wrong with Buffy. Her mother’s condition was a medically identifiable one—at least that was how it seemed since she was going to doctors and having all of the tests done—but Buffy’s…What was wrong with Buffy didn’t seem to fit any illness that Dawn knew of and Buffy was refusing to go to the hospital, so they hadn’t been able to find out anything that way.

They were all trying to stop Dawn from worrying and they were all making her worry more. She was the Key, made from Buffy…what if this was somehow her fault, like they’d taken something out of Buffy to make her? Or what if this was going to happen to her some day? Or maybe…If both her mother and sister, God forbid, were to die, what would happen to her? Would she go back to not existing? Be erased from everyone’s memories? Or would she just be an orphan, left for her father to deal with?

Somehow, Dawn wasn’t able to decide which of those options would be the worse one.

Maybe it’d be someone interesting—and new—for dinner and she’d be able to finally quit thinking about things that she didn’t really want to be thinking about.



TBC..........please review


and thank you to whoever nominated Silently Broken at the Love's Last Glimpse Awards, it's very much appreciated.....especially with this whole bug thing I've got going :)
Chapter Seven by Suzee
Author's Notes:
looks like I'm late again...I really don't know what's wrong with me...sorry

Also, Tuesday's update might happen Wednesday because I'm out of town and I don't know if I'll be back Monday late or sometime on Tuesday--so, if there's no update Tuesday, it'll be up Wednesday :)
Chapter Seven

“Dawn, sweetie? Would you get the door?”

“I can do it, mom,” Buffy tried to say, but her mother stopped her.

“Dawn’s got it; you just come in here and let me know how much stew you’d like.”

Buffy hated that everyone was trying to get her to do as little as possible; but what she hated even more was that she didn’t think she was capable of doing any more. She was supposed to be the girl who could do it all and suddenly she could do next to nothing.

“Okay, mom.”

Dawn wondered if her mother didn’t want Buffy to get the door because of the energy it would take out of her or if there was some other reason—like maybe who it was. But that was silly, right? Only the Scoobies ever came to dinner, so….silly…right?

Quickening her pace, Dawn hurried to open the door as whoever it was knocked a second time.

“Spike?” Dawn’s eyes widened and she stepped outside, closing the door behind her, before Buffy or their mother could notice. “What are you doing here? You have to go—Mom has someone…You?”

“Yeah, niblet, I wasn’t exactly expecting it either, but your mum invited me over for dinner.”

“Why?” Dawn asked before she could realize she was being rude. “I mean it’s not that I don’t love that you’re here, but…Buffy.”

“I don’t think she’ll be too keen on it either, but your mum can be right scary when she works at it. Seems she figures I can figure out what’s wrong with the Slayer…or something, didn’t give me much chance for questions.”

“So you’re really here for dinner?”

“Seems like,” Spike smile at the young teen; it was nice having someone be happy to see him.

“Cool!” Dawn went back inside and was halfway to the kitchen to tell her mother Spike was here before she realized he was still standing in the doorway. “Spike?” she questioned quietly.

“I…forgot,” he said morosely.

“What are you talking about, come—“

“No!” his vehemence surprised Dawn and caused her pause.

“What? We need to go tell Mom you’re here and that doesn’t exactly work with you outside.”

“Big sis doesn’t want me inside,” he answered her gently. “She’s the one that made that decision, think it should be her decision when I come back in. Give my regrets to your mum?” he asked after a moment and started to head back down the front steps.

“Hey! Wait right there, mister! No leaving till I say so. I’m not going to get in trouble because you left. Just…wait.” Dawn quickly scurried off to the kitchen.


“Did you get the door?” Joyce asked when she saw that Dawn had com into the kitchen, alone.

“Yeah,” Dawn said slowly, avoiding telling any more just yet—she wasn’t sure exactly what she was supposed to say.

“Then where is he?”

“Outside,” Dawn answered. “He can’t come inside,” she added.

“What are you—“ Joyce started to ask, but the nervous glance Dawn shot towards her sister answered the question for her. “Go invite him in then.”

“What’s with all the pronoun-y-ness?” Buffy didn’t like having no idea what they were talking about. Nor did she like the fact that Dawn ignored her question and instead responded to what Joyce had said.

“I…he doesn’t want me to.”

“Who are you talking about?!” Buffy hated feeling left out and being inside all of the time like she had been lately was shortening her temper.

“Spike,” both her mother and sister answered at the same time.

“What about…He’s here?” At her mother’s nod, Buffy froze. “Why is he here?” It wasn’t said very nicely at all

“I invited him over to dinner, Buffy,” Joyce explained.

“Why would you—You know what, never mind. If you invited him over then why is the fang boy still outside?”

“You did the disinvite,” Dawn reminded her sister as calmly as she could.

“I know that! But apparently our mother doesn’t care about that; so why hasn’t she re-invited him?”

“Buffy—“

“Come on, if you can invite him over, surely you can invite him back in. I mean who cares what I say or the fact that we all…You agreed with me that he could be dangerous and that this was the right thing to do….What’d he say?” she asked suspiciously.

“He didn’t say anything, Buffy. I asked him over for a reason of my own—“

“That you’re not going to share?”

“That I’m not going to share,” Joyce confirmed. “I’d expected that Dawn would have invited him in already.”

“So you weren’t even going to ask—Of course you weren’t going to ask me; what am I saying? No one cares what invalid Buffy thinks.”

“Uh…Spike does,” Dawn was trying to avoid her sister’s anger by sounding as non-threatening as possible. “Not that you are an invalid or anything!” she rushed to add.

“What do you mean Spike does?”

“He says you’re the only one who can—he says if you were the one to kick him out, he didn’t say it like that but it’s the same idea, that you’re the only one who should be allowed to invite him back in.”

Buffy started to laugh at the thought that Spike would turn down any opportunity to get back into her house until she saw that her sister was deadly serious. “He really said that?”

“Yeah, he’s uhm…He was going to go home but I told him I didn’t want to get in trouble with Mom so he should be waiting at the door.”

“Goody,” Buffy picked a stake up off of the counter and headed out of the kitchen, silencing her sister’s protest with a dark look and an order to stay in the kitchen.



“I’d figured as much” said as soon as he sensed the Slayer standing in the doorway, sensing her anger as well.

“You figured what as much?” Buffy knew she’d garbled the question but she was too damn tired to care. At the moment all she wanted to do was join Spike in sitting on the front steps….they looked very inviting at the moment.

“That you’d hate Joyce’s idea.”

“And what i—Would you stand up already? Talking to you back like this is just weird.”

Dutifully Spike stood up and made his way back up the steps to stand in front of Buffy. “Wasn’t expecting the stake though,” he remarked almost casually.

“What idea of my mom’s?”

Spike realized Joyce hadn’t told her daughter why she’d asked him over so he decided to fib a little. “This diner idea obviously.”

“Yeah, well…she always did like you more.”

“Suppose she did,” Spike hated the truth of that statement. “I’ll go on home though. Guess I just forgot for a few minutes there about the,” Spike pushed his hand forward and his face crumbled as, like he’d known would happen, the invisible barrier erected by the disinvite stopped him. “Sorry about that, pet.”

Buffy had ignored the way he’d looked the night he’d first learned that she’d shut him out, her anger making it so she didn’t care, but there it was again—the same damn look. And this time it was harder to ignore.

“Spike, wait,” Buffy called to him when he was already half way down the sidewalk.

Spike stopped and turned around but didn’t make to move back towards the Summers home.

“This doesn’t mean that I’m all forgive-o girl or anything but if it’s what mom wants and she thinks it’s safe, then…”

Spike was back on the steps in a matter of seconds. “I wouldn’t ever hurt you, Buffy.”

“Yeah cos that’s why you were so ready to have Drusilla bite me,” she scoffed.

“Never intended for her too…just wanted you to think I did.”

“Still not a good ‘look I’m trustworthy’ thing.”

“I know.” Spike could see how tired just the conversation was making Buffy so he chose, for once, not to argue with her.

“Come on then; Mom’ll be mad if dinner’s cold.” He was still just standing there looking at her. “Come in, Spike,” she said softly.


TBC.........thank you for all the reviews :)
Chapter Eight by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I'm back and so is the update ;-)

Hope everyone who 'celebrates' it has a Happy Thanksgiving...and everyone else has a happy Thursday :-)
Chapter Eight


Dinner was a fairly mundane affair By the time she’d finally invited Spike inside, Buffy didn’t have enough energy left in her to argue with him any more so she let everything he said slide. Which was surprisingly, not all that hard. Either she was going crazy or Spike had actually been…nice.

He had paid a bit too much attention to her for her tastes, though. She was already incredibly self conscious—the way her headaches and nausea would hit her without warning left her feeling like a fool—and to have Spike basically studying her every move had almost been too much. If it hadn’t been for her tiredness—and the seemingly genuine concern in his eyes—she would have told him to stop it. Instead she let her mother have her nice dinner and kept quiet. But she didn’t eat much.



“So?” Buffy and Dawn were in the living room watching some TV movie Dawn claimed she just ‘had’ to see (really it was to give her sister an excuse to rest) and Spike was currently helping Joyce do the dishes.

“So, what?” Spike asked like he didn’t know what she was talking about. He knew full well what Joyce was talking about…he just didn’t know yet what his answer was going to be.

“What’s wrong with Buffy?”

“Do you think she’d be willing to go into hospital for a while? Maybe they could get her some medicine and—“

“Spike, what is wrong with my daughter?” her tone left no room for argument.

“Bloody hell! I don’t know, alright?” his angry tone was contradicted by the worry she saw on his face and the way he nervously ran his hand through hair. “I tried…I tried to figure out what it could be but I just…I don’t know.”

“But you don’t agree with Rupert that it’s something Slayer related that will heal on its own?” Joyce was sure she knew the answer—Spike was a smart man when he wanted to be—but he asked anyway.

“You ever known her to be sick this long? Or this sick…ever?”

“No.” Buffy had always been a healthy girl ad got over any illness she did get, incredibly quickly.

“And I haven’t heard of any other Slayer being this sick before, either so…I know it has something to do with that curse I just haven’t figured exactly what yet.”

“But you will?”

“I’m going to figure it out. I promise. But until then maybe…maybe she could go into hospital?”

“I…Dawn will need her,” Joyce answered cryptically and for the first time that night Spike registered just how sick Joyce herself looked—the dark circles under her eyes, the paleness of her skin, how thin she’d gotten.

“You alright?” Joyce was as much of a mother as he’d had since before he’d turned his own mother.

“We’ll see,” she said. “You just make sure Buffy’s alright and I’ll deal with the rest alright.”





All Buffy had managed to do the day before was watch an episode of ‘I Love Lucy’, eat an apple, and sleep. She felt exhausted from the moment she woke up and thought that eating something would help give her energy—and apples especially were supposed to be good for that. So, after slowly making her way downstairs, she found the bowl of apples her mother had neatly arranged on the countertop and found the best looking one.

Buffy slowly went back into the living room and all but fell onto the sofa; hardly eating or doing much of anything else for so many days was really wearing her down. She hoped she got over whatever this was soon so she could at least move around the house and eat lunch without feeling like she was going to die.

Taking as big of a bite out of the apple as she possibly could, Buffy quickly swallowed it before the nausea and absolutely intolerable headache that was sure to come could stop her. She never did know if it was just the moving (of her jaw), or the act of eating, or maybe the food but something always set off whatever was wrong in her when she ate. She had yet to figure out if the migraine or the nausea came first or if they were simply a package deal. Yeah, she thought, only this doesn’t seem to be a package I can return.

The more she ate the worse it would get, but it would also get worse over time so to eat quickly was better than to eat slowly.



Buffy’s late afternoon attempt at a nap—which was failing miserably at the moment—was interrupted by the sound of someone slamming their way into her kitchen.

Spike.

Figured it would be him. Wasn’t like her friends came by any more or anything—apparently you got sick long enough and even your best friends went on with their lives.

“Spike,” she called as best she could, knowing he’d hear her anyway, “I know you’re here. You might as well come up.” Truth be told, as horrible as she felt, some company would be nice. Even Spike’s.

“I didn’t wake you, did I?” Spike asked from her doorway when he’d made his way upstairs.

“No,” she assured him, “I couldn’t fall asleep.”

“That’s good,” he sounded relieved. “I probably should have waited till dark but by then your mum and the bit’d be back from the gallery and—“

“How do you know Dawn’s helping Mom at the gallery today?”

How to answer her question without telling her that Joyce had told him the days that Buffy would be home alone just so that someone would know… “Your mum told me the other night that she was helping out a bit.”

“Oh,” Buffy felt silly for being so suspicious of him.

And of course Spike noticed and felt like a wanker for not telling her the entire truth. “She wanted someone to know what days you’d be here by yourself…in case something happened, I guess,” he told her before he could think better of it.

Well if that didn’t make Buffy feel like she was seven-years-old…

“She’s just worried about you, pet, that’s all.”

“Yeah, I know…I just hate being…” They both knew the word she wasn’t saying was ‘helpless’.

“It’ll pass…not the hating it,” he amended, “I mean…You’ll be up kicking demon ass in no time.”

“Thanks, Spike…You going to stand in my doorway all night?”

“Didn’t want to intrude,” he admitted.

Buffy wondered something, “All this cautiousness because of what happened that night or because I’m all sick?”

“Not entirely sure.” And he wasn’t. “Sorry.”

“Why don’t you come sit down and tell me why the heck it is you risked the wonderful flammability of the sun to come over?”

Suddenly Spike was shy and wouldn’t quite meet her eyes as he pushed the chair closer to her bed and sat down; for the first time Buffy noticed that he was keeping his hands behind his back.

“What’re you hiding?” Buffy couldn’t help sounding wary.

“Oh nothing. So you feeling any better?” Spike tried to change the subject.

“Spike.”

Why did she have to have that tone? The one that made him know he was going to tell her whatever the bleedin’ hell it was she wanted to know just because she was Buffy.

“Fine,” he nearly gritted it out, “I got you something.”

“And this is a bad thing, why? It’s not something disgusting is it?”

“No, it’s not disgusting….Just…you’re going to laugh at me.”

“A present?” He nodded. “Then nope, I’ll be no laughing Buffy. Promise.”

“Yeah, sure,” he sounded extremely doubtful. Just the fact that she was smiling again—something he honestly hadn’t seen in over two and a half weeks—had him ready to deal with her laughing at him. “Alright fine. Here,” he thrust the object from behind his back at her.

Her smile fell and she lay there, propped up against her pillows, staring expressionlessly at the thing.

“Right, knew you’d hate it.” Just when Spike was about to grab it back from her, Buffy broke into a huge grin and began giggling, looking happier than she possibly ever had in his presence. Ever.

“You bought me a teddy bear!””

“Know it’s stupid,” he liked her happy but the William part of him, the part of him that was in love with her still wasn’t sure it liked her laughing.

“Hey, quit it Spike. This is good laughing…I promise. You really got me a teddy bear? And he’s so cute, too!” The sixteen inch bear was a light brown color and very fluffy, but it was the outfit that got her: the bear was wearing a red sweater, black cape, and…white bunny slippers.

“I was going for a bit of a vampire bear thing but they didn’t have that so I had to get Batman’s cape and that dodgy red sweater and put them together.”

“I like it…Where’d you get all this?”

“There’s uh…there’s this place at the mall,” she could have sworn Spike was blushing just then.

”The Build a Bear Workshop?” she tried really hard not to laugh and somehow even succeeded.

“Might’ve been,” Spike dismissed her suggestion even though it was correct.

“So I get the vampire thing, but…the bunny slippers?”

“They were cute,” he admitted very, very, very quietly, so quietly in fact that Buffy asked him to repeat it.

“They were bloody cute, alright?!”

Buffy just grinned and hugged the bear tight against her.

“Sweet dreams, Slayer.”

“You know, I’ve got to get going…” Spike started to leave but Buffy wasn’t ready for that just yet.

“Did the bear just say ‘sweet dreams, Slayer’…or rather did the bear, sounding incredibly like you, just say that?”

“Was better than ‘Bloody hell, Slayer!’ and well you’d’ve staked me for the other one.” Spike had almost made the bear say ‘I love you, Buffy’ before thinking better of it. “But I’m sure I can get the thing out and it’ll be quiet as a…quiet thing,” he assured her when she didn’t say anything.

“Spike?”

“Yeah, pet?” he asked warily.

“I love it. Thank you.”

“Well I just figured girls’re supposed to like teddy bears and all that rot and with you home sick—“ Spike tried to act like it was no big deal; he didn’t know how to handle grateful Buffy.

“Come here?”

Cautiously he stepped closer to her bed and sat down on it when she indicated for him to do so.

Sitting the bear carefully on her side, Buffy leaned forward and wrapped her arms around Spike, hugging him.

”Thank you, Spike,” she whispered. No one else had seemed to think too much about how horrible it was for her to be stuck home alone, all by herself all the while also worrying about her mother and somehow…somehow the teddy bear was making it all better. At least for right now.

“You’re welcome, pet,” he whispered back as he returned the hug.


TBC........and please review :-)





Hey, hey, hey..guess what.......come on guess.......seriously, why aren't you guessing?

I got nominated for something that actually involves voting by people (well judges are people of course, but I mean everybody people, not just judges.)

Reader's Choice Voting at Spark and Burn Awards where Silently Broken is nominated
Chapter Nine by Suzee
Author's Notes:
The Halloween and Thanksgiving '113 Times' fics are coming, I promise--who knew the holidays could get so busy....

The next chapter (or technically the second part of this one, since it's Nine B) will be posted Tuesday :-)
Chapter Nine

“So basically you’ve got nothing?”

“Well I wouldn’t exactly put it like that,” he sounded nervous she noted.

“Then how would you put it Giles?” Maybe she couldn’t beat anyone up at the moment but the Slayer could still be scary as hell if she wanted to be.

“It’s just going to require some more research.”

“Yeah, Buffy,” Willow jumped in, “I mean, we’re probably right on top of it and will have the answer in no time at all. Right Giles?”

“Yes, quite right, Willow.” He said the words but Buffy didn’t believe them because she was sure that he didn’t even believe them himself.

“Well fine,” Buffy was becoming more worried the longer it took them to come up with something but still tried to act strong—Dawn was after all sitting just a foot or two away on the sofa, “you guys just keep up the research.”

“Of course,” Giles agreed. “Shall we also continue to patrol for you?”

“Yeah,” Buffy acquiesced with a big sigh; she hated not being able to do anything. “Just keep me up to date with what’s out there?”

“Don’t worry,” this time it was Xander—who had been silent for the rest of their meeting—trying to reassure her, “we’ll keep a pie chart or something.”

Buffy wanted to point out that that didn’t even make any sense. And she wanted to tell them to stop telling her ‘don’t worry’; she was damn well going to worry no matter what they said. This wasn’t exactly a worry free situation she was in here. But again, Buffy kept silent, not wanting to burden her friends any more.

“Maybe a line graph would work better?”

“So, everyone is up to date then?” Giles stopped their potential conversation and Buffy was secretly grateful to him for it. Having the three of them there and doing all this talking was wearing her out. And not for physical reasons.

“I think so,” Buffy said. “Thank you, Giles. You guys too,” she thanked her two friends.

“Don’t worry, Buff,” there it was again, “we’re all just happy to help—Anya too. It’s too bad Riley’s not here to help…Ow!”

‘Well,’ Buffy thought, ‘at least Willow gets it.’ She wanted to remind Xander that Riley had left her and was not going to be coming back, but she didn’t even bother; nor did she bother to suggest that maybe they should ask Spike for help. Sure he’d give it if they asked but she knew they’d never actually ask—not even if she requested it. Stupid prejudices. ‘Yeah, Buffy,’ she reminded herself, ‘stupid prejudices that up until just a short time ago you shared.’

“So, I’ll see you guys again in a few days?” It was going to be at least a week, that she knew, but saying ‘a few days’ just sounded better.



Xander, Willow, and Giles had been gone for just over an hour when Dawn got home from school. “So did they have anything?” she asked as soon as she saw Buffy, her voice eager and hopeful.

“Not so much,” Buffy sadly informed her. “But don’t worry, they’re still looking.”

“You know, you tell me not to worry one more time and I might just yell at you. I might be fourteen but I’m fully capable of knowing when to worry—you saying it’s not going to stop me.”

“I know,” Buffy smiled at how like her, her sister was, “Sorry. Guess I’ve just been hearing it enough that I started saying it. Try not to worry too much though? Giles and Willow are good at the research thing, they’ll get it sooner or later.”

“I guess…Hey, where’d you get the bear from?”

Buffy had expected to have to explain the teddy bear, her now constant companion, to her friends but they either hadn’t noticed or hadn’t wanted to ask. But Dawn was giving her the chance to tell.

“Spike gave it to me.”

Dawn was surprised by how happy her sister seemed about that fact. “Really?” was all she could think to ask.

“Yeah…Just yesterday actually.”

“While I was at the gallery with Mom?”

“Yep,” Buffy was smiling, something Dawn had missed.

“Was kinda sunny then,” Dawn reminded her sister hoping that she wasn’t remembering wrong; she really didn’t want to have to deal with the repercussions of what that would mean.

“Spike’s apparently big on defying that ‘vampires plus sunlight equals fire’ thing.”

“So Spike really got you a teddy bear, huh? He didn’t steal it or anything, did he?”

“Yes he did and no, he didn’t steal it. He bought it…at the mall.”

“Spike went to the mall to buy you a bear?”

“He said he thought it would make me feel better—make it so I wouldn’t be all by myself even when I was home alone.”

Dawn had known she was right when she decided, against what everyone said, that Spike really was just a sweet guy; this just proved it.

“So what’s the deal with the…costume?”

”The red sweater and the cap—which I think he said was from a batman costume—are to make it look like a vampire. My vampire teddy bear,” she smiled.

“And the bunny slippers?” Dawn wondered.

“They’re cute.”

“Well obviously, but how do they fit with the whole vampire bear thing?”

“They don’t…Spike thought they were cute.”

”And he told you that?”

“Not very willingly,” Buffy couldn’t believe just how much Spike was surprising her; she still thought he was evil—hello, vampire without a soul—but she was starting to think that there was more to him than that. Either that or he was just doing all of this to suck up—she wanted to not believe that one…so she didn’t.

“I’m going to go start dinner,” Dawn decided after a few moments. “Do you think you’ll be eating anything?”

“I don’t know…I’d like to try but don’t go through too much just to make sure there’s some for me.”

“Okay…I’ll leave you and Dracula Bear to your resting.” Dawn headed into the kitchen to figure out what she could make for dinner. She wasn’t supposed to do it, she just figured that since Buffy couldn’t and by the time her mother got home later she’d be exhausted, that it would be easier for her to do it.

“He’s not Dracula!” Buffy called after her sister, “He’s named William!” It was then that Buffy realized she was keeping what the bear said whenever you squeezed it, a secret from everyone.



Dawn had prepared an actually very good dinner of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Buffy knew, but didn’t acknowledge that it was because she seemed to feel better when she drank things—even soup—than when she ate things (maybe it was why how they told you to drink ginger ale when you had the flu--maybe liquids were better somehow for nausea). But the grilled cheese was good for Joyce and Dawn to have as well. Dawn, despite her young age, seemed to be dealing with things better than just about anyone else—not making a big deal out of things but taking it all in and doing what needed to be done to make everyone feel as good as possible.

When she was feeling better, Buffy was going to have to thank her for that.



TBC....
Chapter Nine B by Suzee
Author's Notes:
Halloween '113 Times' fic was posted earlier: here


Thanksgiving one will be posted later and the first 'sequel' for Silently Broken will be posted in just a minute...
Chapter Nine B

“Are you girls alright for cleaning up? I think I need to head on up to bed. If you have too much homework, Dawn, just leave it and I’ll get it all in the morning.”

Buffy looked at the clock over the stove and noted the time—7:00—before answering her mother. “Don’t worry, we’ve got it under control,” she tried to look reassuring as she told her mother to go to bed, but inside Buffy was worrying more than ever. It seemed that her mother had less and less stamina with each passing day.

“Thank you and goodnight girls. Sweet dreams to the both of you.”

Dawn waited until her mother was upstairs and they’d heard her bedroom door close before turning to Buffy, “If I get the dishes done, do you think you could look over my history paper for me? I know you’re not big school girl and all,” she halted Buffy’s interruption, “but I just want someone to read over it for me to make sure it’s not horrible. Please?” she nearly begged.

Buffy looked at her sister suspiciously, Dawn had never asked her to look over a school paper before.

“I would have Mom do it, but she’s going to sleep and I don’t want to keep her up just so she can read my stupid paper. Please?” she asked again.

Buffy still thought that there was more to it than Dawn was letting on but she didn’t want her sister to go wake their mother—and she didn’t really feel up to doing the dishes anyway. “Sure, just hand it over and I’ll read it for you.”

“Yay! Thank you.” Her plan had worked; Buffy wasn’t going to try to do the dishes and was not, therefore, going to wear herself out. “Just let me go get it out of my room and I’ll be right back!”

Buffy couldn’t help but grin slightly as she watched her giggly sister bounce up the stairs. “Don’t be too loud,” she quietly reminded Dawn, not all that sure that she would even hear her. Some days she wished it were possible to send those monks a thank you note for giving her a sister; Buffy wasn’t sure how well she’d be coping if it were just her and her mother right now.



“Buffy!”

When she heard her sister’s voice—full of panic and fear—Buffy flew up the stairs with more energy than she knew she had—more than she’d had in weeks; but she was too scared to even notice or care.

She was at her mother’s door in a matter of seconds, but still, when she saw what was happening, it didn’t seem fast enough.

“Dawn, sweetie,” Buffy tired to keep her voice calm, knowing she had to be the adult one here. “Go call 911 and tell them that Mom’s having a seizure…make sure they know this is the first time, okay? Buffy moved while she talked, over to the bed until she had taken Dawn’s place and was holding their other down on the bed.

“If they say to do anything in particular, let me know. Then call Giles and tell him to what’s happening and ask him to come pick you up.”

“Why does he have to pick me up?”

“Because sweetie, they won’t let both of us go in the ambulance with her; I’m not even sure they’ll let me go and I don’t feel like I can drive us their. Can you do all that for me Dawnie?”

“I…I think so,” she replied, her voice shaky, fearful.

“And stay own there to wait for everyone—to make sure they can get in.” Buffy wondered if Dawn was even aware of the grateful look she shot her sister upon hearing that request.



Buffy tried to keep herself detached from the situation; stay in charge. It was hard, but so far she was managing. It took a great deal of effort, due to her weakened state, to hold her mother’s arms down when they started flailing in a way that made Buffy think her mother was going to hurt herself, but again, she managed.

Sunnydale didn’t have the brightest police and paramedics, but surely someone having a seizure in their own home would be something that even they would know was something that fell in their hands. Someone passed out in a cemetery or a girl with unidentifiable neck wounds, sure, they could avoid that for a while, wait until the demons were gone. But surely with this…surely they’d hurry.

She could vaguely hear Dawn on the phone, needing to focus on something other than the fact that something was very wrong with her mother. Much more wrong than she, in her ill state, had realized.

“It’s okay, mommy. Dawnie’s calling Giles and 911; you’re going to be okay. Just…just a little while then you’ll be okay…” Buffy trailed off, focusing on the place where her mother’s wall moved into the doorframe; it was something simple, something that wouldn’t…that wouldn’t require her to pay attention to the current situation.



Buffy was so focused on not focusing that it took one of the EMT’s shaking her shoulder lightly for her to know that the ambulance had arrived.

She watched in unhearing silence as the man and woman talked back and forth between each other before settling her mother onto a board complete with neck brace and restraints. If she was acknowledging how she felt—which she wasn’t—Buffy would have been frightened, seeing her mother in that position.

As they carefully, quickly carried her out of the bedroom, Buffy finally snapped out of it, at least somewhat.

“Can I…can I come?”

Without looking back, the woman answered Buffy’s question.

“You can, but your sister has to stay here.”

“That’s okay,” Buffy said numbly, “Giles is coming.”

“Alright then, hurry up.”

With a quick explanation to Dawn, along with a gentle hug and pat on the back, Buffy assured her sister that everything was going to be just fine and Giles would be there in a minute to take her to the hospital as well.

Dawn stayed inside as her mother was carried out on the stretcher and Buffy followed. Sitting slowly down on the sofa, Dawn just kept her eyes on the still open front door. She knew it was not safe to keep the door open after dark, especially given that this was Sunnydale and this was the Slayer’s house.

But she just sat and looked at it, waiting.

It was only ten minutes after Buffy and her mother had…left that Giles came through the door, an anxious, rushed look on his face.

“Where are they?” he asked, more frantic than Dawn had ever heard.

“Buffy went with Mom; they’re going to the hospital. Mom’s…They’re at the hospital.”

“Come then, we’ll go find your sister and see what we can…find out about your mother. I’m sure everything will be fine,” he added as an afterthought.

Dawn grabbed her jacket and followed him out of the house, looking to him to lock the door.

“Yes, right, the key, of course,” Giles searched his pockets for several seconds before coming up with his key ring; locating the key to the Summers’ home he locked the door and led Dawn towards his car.

She was only mildly surprised to find Willow, Xander, and Anya in the car waiting. Both Willow and Xander had looks on their faces that she knew meant that Anya had said something…Anya-like again.

If not for the fact that they were on their way to the hospital to find out about her mother who had just had a seizure, the situation would have passed for routine.





TBC.......



and since I found out that the awards site where Silently Broken is nominated not only has reader voting, but 'vote for me' buttons, I thought I'd be shameless (well for me) for a moment ;-)...

(I think voting's up till the first-ish....that's when I belive judging ends so...)


.....and you don't know how happy I am that this time it's letting me put an image in--the site refused to cooperate when I tried putting it in the Halloween fic :(
Chapter Ten by Suzee
Author's Notes:
one of the 'sequels' (this one a one shot ficlet) for Silently Broken was posted Tuesday :-) (I posted it as a chapter of SB so it's all under the same story if you're looking)

Congratulations to everyone who won at Burst into Flame Awards (and to evildeadgirl for runnng it so well)....now all you all have to do is remember to nominate whenever Round 2 starts....or nominate at Love's Last Glimpse Awards......
Chapter 10


Buffy had been restlessly pacing the emergency room waiting room when Giles, Willow, Xander, Anya, and Dawn arrived—all looking worried in their own way. Anya started to say something to Buffy, but what it was Buffy would never know because Xander clamped a hand over her mouth before she could even begin.

“Not now, Ahn,” he said, his voice softer, quieter than normal.

Buffy wondered if he saw the hurt look flash across her face before she turned away to find somewhere to sit, a muttered, “Not ever,” her only response.

“Have the doctors said anything?” Giles asked her.

“The, uh, the nurses, they said they’re getting her stabilized and once they know something they’ll come talk to me...” Buffy trailed off as one of the doctors headed towards their little group.

“Miss Summers?”

Both Dawn and Buffy looked at him.

Directing his question towards Buffy the man asked, “Could we talk for a second?”

Buffy followed the doctor—did they even let you be a doctor that young?—to a more secluded part of the room.

“Actually,” Buffy interrupted as he started, “is there somewhere we could sit? I’m feeling really,” weak, “tired.”

“Of course, I’m sorry.” He found them two chairs off to the side and began his explanation anew.

“Now I’ve spoken to your mother and she wanted to be the one to explain all of this to you but we had to give her something that’s causing her to fall asleep so she asked that I do it instead. She did not want you to worry all the way until morning.

“Were you aware of the fact that your mother has been seeing an oncologist?”

“I…I knew she was seeing the doctor recently—to be honest I’m not sure if I knew what kind. I’ve been kind of sick myself recently and I think I’ve…I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should.”

“Miss Summers—“

“Buffy,” she hated the Miss Summers thing; it made everything sound so formal and…grim.

“Buffy, if your mother didn’t want you to know what was happening just yet, your being sick or not wouldn’t have changed anything. If she wanted to keep it from you, she would.”

“But why? Why wouldn’t she want to…Why wouldn’t she tell me? Tell us?”

“Buffy, the doctor did an MRI of your mother’s brain during her last appointment. He was due to get the results from the hospital tomorrow, but we’ve pulled them from radiology. The MRI just confirms what your mother said the doctor thought.”

When he didn’t continue, just started to look sorry for her, Buffy really wanted to know what was happening.

“Normally someone with your mother’s symptoms would have seen a neurologist and they would have ordered the MRI and then a neuro-oncologist would have been brought in once we were sure whether the tumor,” he didn’t even notice Buffy’s sharp intake of breath at the word, “was benign or malignant. But it seems your mother knew of a history of cancer in the family and wanted to do everything she could as soon as she could.

“We still haven’t had the chance to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant but from the symptoms your mother has been experiencing, the neuro-oncologist believes that it is more than likely cancerous…However, due to its location, it is going to continue to cause her pain—and possibly more seizures—unless operated on.”

“My mother has a brain tumor?” Buffy finally got the words out.

“Yes. It was probably pretty large already by the time she went in.”

So if she’d just been feeling better, been more observant maybe she could have seen how poorly her mother was feeling and…Oh god, what if all of this was even before she got sick and Buffy just didn’t—

“So if we’d brought her in sooner…”

“Buffy there was no way you could have known there was reason to bring her in any earlier.”

“Is an operation the only choice?”

“It is what’s most often effective. Radiation therapy is also an option, but that would just…treat the tumor in a way, surgery would—in theory—remove the tumor.”

“And then? If they do get it out?”

“Radiation therapy would most likely follow just to be sure that nothing is there. It will also help stop the growth of any bit of the tumor we are unable to remove.”

“Do I have to…Do we have to decide now?”

“Your mother appears to also have an acute case of pneumonia, so we would like to treat that first; wait until she’s recovered before attempting the surgery. Therefore, you—or rather your mother—would have some time to decide, but the sooner the better, honestly.

“She asked me to ask you to think on the matter so as that she can talk to you about the options in the morning.”

“What are…What are the chances that the surgery will work? That the radiation will?”

“Due to the location of the tumor and its size, they are estimating about a seventy percent chance of being able to remove most if not all of the tumor. As always with brain surgery there is the possibility—“

“Don’t say it; just tell me about the radiation.”

“On its own that has a much lower chance of ‘curing’ your mother, possibly ten to fifteen percent.”

“So together it’s like 80%?”

“You could look at it that way. Really, the doctors are going to need to do another MRI and examination of your mother before they can know anything more definite. But it is definitely something you should try to think over; its better to not leave all of the decision making to the patient.”

“Yeah…I, I need to go talk to my sister,” Buffy said distractedly, already starting to get up.

“Buffy,” the doctor stopped her; “this doesn’t necessarily mean your mother is going to die.”

“Necessarily,” she mumbled to herself as she walked back to Dawn.



“Dawnie, sweetie, can you come with me for a second so I can talk to you?” All of her friends looked equally worried but her sister looked absolutely terrified and Buffy dreaded having to tell her this—especially when she wasn’t even all that sure what she was telling her.

“What is it?” Dawn started as soon as they were back where Buffy had sat with the doctor just minutes before, Buffy now sitting in his chair and Dawn in hers. “What’s wrong with Mom?”



Rupert Giles watched in silence as his Slayer grew up before his eyes. She had always had to be more of an adult that she cared for, but in that moment, as he watched her talking to her sister, he knew. Buffy was never going to be a child ever again. She was well and fully a grown woman now.

He saw the teen break into tears and grab onto her sister after several moments; saw how Buffy just held Dawn to her, rubbing circles on her back. Buffy had yet to shed a single tear and he was worried that she would be so worried about keeping it together for Dawn that she’d forget herself in the process.

He wished there was something he could do, some way he could protect her, protect them. In reality, though, this was something the two sisters needed to deal with together, it was a family matter. And no matter how much he might feel like it at times, he was not family.

He could only hope that Buffy and Dawn would allow him to be there for them as they made their way through.



Dawn was still crying, though less now, a few minutes later when she and Buffy walked back to Xander, Willow, Anya, and Giles.

Willow tried to reach an arm around Dawn in comfort, but she pulled away quickly, huddling against the other side of her chair. She didn’t want anyone trying to tell her it was all going to be okay. Not now. Not when she knew it wasn’t going to be okay for a long, long time….if it ever would.

“My—our mom, she has a brain tumor,” Buffy told the group, her voice almost emotionless now. “They’re not sure if it’s cancerous or not but they know it’s in a bad location. We have to decide if she is going to have the surgery or just try radiation, but they have to treat her pneumonia first. She wants me to…I have to think about what the doctor said so I can talk to Mom in the morning.” Buffy started to walk towards the doors leading out of the hospital.

“Buffy? Where are you going?” It was Xander asking and as she looked back at them, she knew she was going to have to stay there for a while; even though every bit of her was telling her to get out…she couldn’t think there. Not there.

But she was going to have to stay, for them. It was what she did, she was Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she protected the world and that world included her friends. And right now, she needed to protect them by acting like she was dealing, like it really would all be okay.






TBC.........please review
Chapter 11 by Suzee
Chapter 11

“You know you guys can go home,” Buffy told Anya and Xander who were both looking exhausted—and rightly, so, it was nearly two o’clock in the morning. They’d moved to the waiting area on another floor but the room was much the same—same chairs, same paint, same smell.

“No, we’re good,” Xander answered, fighting back a yawn.

“I’ll go get everyone coffee,” it was the first thing Anya had said since Xander’s earlier rebuke.

Giles and Willow both looked thankful.

“You sure I don’t need to—“ Xander started to question.

“Willow and I will go,” Anya interrupted him and again Buffy wondered if Xander noticed her hurt—this time so clearly evident in her voice.

“That sounds good,” Willow agreed and got up quickly to follow Anya who was already half way down the hall.

“Would you wish me to take her home?” Giles asked Buffy, indicating her sister who had—against her very noble efforts—fallen asleep about an hour earlier.

“No, she’ll wake up at some point and I know she wants to stay, so…”

“I understand.”

“But if you need to go, Giles, really…”

“No, no, I’m perfectly alright; I think I’ll just go for a bit of a walk around though, stretch my legs.”

Buffy smiled gently at him as he got up and headed the opposite direction of Anya and Willow.



After five minutes of silence with just Buffy and a sleeping Dawn for company, Xander was getting restless.

“You know, I think I should go make sure those two aren’t….killing each other or something. They can really get going and when Ahn’s tired, she…I should go find them.”

“Of course. They probably need help carrying all the coffee,” Buffy offered him more of a reason.

“Yeah, that too. You know, five cups, four hands…problems.”



As soon as Xander had rounded the corner at the end of the hall and she had made sure Giles was not coming back, Buffy leaned over to kiss her sister, who was sleeping in the chair next to hers, on the forehead.

“I’ll be back soon, Dawnie. I promise.”

Dawn had woken up just as Xander made up a reason to go looking for Anya and Willow, but chose to keep her eyes shut. She wasn’t quite ready to deal with everyone yet; to deal with the world at all, really.

When she heard Buffy’s promise she wasn’t worried about her sister leaving, quite the contrary, she was glad Buffy was finally able to get out. She could tell from the moment Buffy had tried to leave hours earlier that her sister needed to get out of the hospital, if only for a little while.

She made it a point to stay awake until the first person came back, so she could tell them not to go off in some frantic search for Buffy.



It took Buffy a while to realize that she was headed in the direction of Spike’s crypt, but not much longer than that to realize she was going there because she was mad at the damned vampire. More than mad really, furious might have been a better word.

And being kept cooped up in that hospital for hours on end with her feeling just under the surface, certainly hadn’t helped matters any.



When Spike’s crypt finally came into view, Buffy took the opportunity to rest back against another mausoleum to catch her breath. She was using much more energy today than she had in her and she knew she’d be paying for it tomorrow—or rather later today.

The walk from the hospital here wasn’t long and the hours of sitting had done Buffy some good, but it was still a push for her to make it. After a few minutes of resting and some deep, calming breaths, Buffy felt ready again.

Ignoring the ache that was growing in her head she headed for Spike’s crypt.



Spike wondered why he was even surprised when Buffy banged into his crypt at what had to be at least three in the morning, without knocking of course. But he was surprised. Especially given the fact that he’d hardly seen her out of bed the past several weeks.

“Something I can do for you, Slayer?” The snark returned full force when he sensed her anger.

“You’re an idiot, you know that Spike?” Buffy shut a punch at his face and he was too stunned to stop her.

Not that it mattered; the hit held barely enough power to hurt a human, let alone a vampire like himself.

“What’d I do now, luv?” he was truly curious since the last time he’d actually seen her was to give her the bear. The bear she’d seemed to like and appreciate at the time.

“You know what you did, Spike,” he hadn’t heard her spit his name out like that since…since he’d chained her up that night. This time he was able to stop her from hitting him, but he had to loosen his grip when he saw her flinch involuntarily in pain and the chip let him know that just that simple action was hurting her.

What the hell was she doing all the way out here, in the middle of the night, when she was weak enough that just him grabbing her fist mid swing literally hurt her?

“Honest, Slayer, I’ve got no clue.”

“No, you wouldn’t would you?” His statement seemed to have only fueled her anger. “God, you’re such a fucking hypocrite!”

Okay, girl was swearing now…something was up.

“Buffy?” he hoped using her name would catch her attention but apparently she was too far-gone to notice—or to care if she did.

“You act like you care, like you actually like my mother….then you say…about me and you let Dawn hang around here….And you gave me the bear….But then……Was all that just a joke, Spike? Some new way you and Dru cooked up for you to get your third Slayer?”

“What in the bleedin’ hell are you on about?” he was too confused to be properly angry at her suggestion.

“And then,” she went on like she hadn’t heard him—which maybe she hadn’t, “then you spend all this time telling me how good you are at observing people…that bit about Angel and I never being friends…you spend all this time telling me you can…sense stuff. That you can figure things out. And now I find out it’s all been a fucking lie! The whole damn thing! You…you’ve been nothing more than a lie!”

He guessed she realized she couldn’t harm him—physically—because she started to leave, started to walk back out of his crypt into the night.

“Not so fast, luv,” he made sure to only grab her arm with enough pressure to stop her exit, nothing more. “You don’t get to leave until you tell what the bloody hell you’re talking about because I haven’t got a fucking clue.”

“Fine,” she huffed, “which part do you want to know about? You being a hypocrite for acting like you cared about my mom and my sister? Or is it that you want to know why I think you’ve been lying about your oh so keen powers of observation?”

“One, I care about your mum and the bit, but I love you, Buffy. Don’t fucking interrupt me; I let you prattle on about what a wanker I supposedly am, don’t interrupt me. And I want to know why you think both of those things.”

“They have the same answer so it doesn’t really matter,” she said almost flippantly before looking him in the eye, her expression suddenly deadly serious. “You weren’t there!”

Spike tried to ignore the pain and fear he heard in her voice, ignore the fact that she now seemed almost…disappointed in him as opposed to angry. Tried to ignore all of that and find out what she was talking about, but this was Buffy….His Buffy.

He tried to hug her to him and for a moment, he thought she was going to let him but then she pulled back and glared at him. “And see, you don’t even want to know now!” She couldn’t believe him. God, he really didn’t care.

“Of course I want to know!” he didn’t mean to shout at her but she’d been yelling at him for ten minutes, it was kind of hard not to do the same. “I’m just trying to make sure you’re okay first you stupid bint.”

“Yeah, so let’s insult me know so I forget that you’re the one that’s a fucking ass!”

“Well maybe it’d help if you’d just tell me what the bleedin’ fuck it is I didn’t do already!”

“My mom had a seizure. She had a seizure because she has a brain tumor and now she’s in the hospital and I don’t know if she’s going to die! You should have known she had it, you should have told me! God you should at least have a fucking phone so I could have had Dawn call you when she called Giles and 911!

“You weren’t there! That’s what you didn’t do!”

Buffy left his crypt then but Spike just stood staring, for several minutes, at the spot where she had been standing, too shocked too know what to do.

Joyce was…And the niblet and Buffy had…

She was right, Buffy was, he was an absolute arse.

He should have known she was sick, should have sensed it somehow. After al he did—

And then…by the fact that Dawn had been the one to call the Watcher and 911 he figured that Buffy had stayed with her mother while…Buffy, his lovely Buffy who was growing weaker each day with no help from the Scoobies—or anyone—as to why, had had to stay with her mother while she had a seizure…while she sent her sister off to call for help.

Help that didn’t include him.

He should have…and how long ago had this been anyway? For all he knew it could have happened the day before or…Bloody hell, he told the girl he loved her and then left her to deal with this?

With her possibly dying mother all while she was trying to get herself well…and she had Dawn, too…Buffy was, no matter what the Watcher might try, the one who would have to hold it all together; she couldn’t let Dawn down by not taking care of their mother properly and she couldn’t let her mother down by not taking care of Dawn properly.

She had all of that on her shoulders and they were soldiers that might very well crumble under the weight if someone couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her. And soon.

He really was a right wanker for not at least checking in on them. Maybe then he would have known, maybe then…





TBC...........please review :)
Chapter 12 by Suzee
Chapter 12

She hadn’t heard the scuffle until she was right on top of it—she probably would have gone the other way if she had; and that shamed Buffy, she was the Slayer and she would have willingly left someone in danger. True there was very little chance she could do anything, but…She was the Slayer, she had to at least try. Besides, maybe it would help her clear her mind. Clear her mind of all the things she would really not be thinking at the moment….or ever.

“Picking on the elderly? That’s just sad…I mean, I’d worry you have a thing for necrophilia and you’re hoping to just scare her to death, but…vamp…you’re all kinda dead anyway.”

The vampire just looked at her. He’d heard that the Slayer was out of commission for a while—what was she doing out and about?

“Could at least try to pick on someone that will put up a fair fight…or maybe that was a fair fight for you…” Buffy took advantage of the vampire’s confusion—over what she was not entirely sure—to get the old woman to leave.

“You’re looking pretty fair there yourself,” he finally replied.

“What is that…you know what, never mind. Can I just stake you now?” Buffy had found a stick that looked strong enough and advanced on the vampire.

“Oh you’re not going to stake me little girl. I’m going to drink your blood and drag your body with me to show everyone how pathetic the Slayer’s become.”

Buffy couldn’t even come up with anything to that—it was stupid sounding and….quite possibly what was going to happen.

“Yeah, yeah, let’s just get this done with,” Buffy faked a right hook and used his movement to kick his legs out from under him. “Glad you’re seeing it my way.”

He was up before she had time to get down to stake him and seconds later Buffy was fighting the instinct to put a hand to her mouth—as if holding injuries ever really helped anyway.

She managed to hit him once in the stomach and then again just under his right eye before he struck again.

The first hit took her off guard; she hadn’t even seen it coming. She saw the second but wasn’t quick enough to stop it and could only move with it, lessening the impact.

“This is just sad, Slayer.” The vampire looked truly pleased with himself as he brought a swift kick to her stomach, then another when she nearly doubled over. “And here I thought it would be fun.”

Buffy tried to kick him, but he grabbed her leg and twisted it until she thought something was going to break or snap out of place. Seconds later, she was flat on her back in the grass, gasping for air, the sudden impact with the hard, unforgiving ground knocking the wind out of her.

She could just look up at the vampire who was smiling down at her, one leg on either side of her body. She knew she should grab his legs, knock him off balance…but she couldn’t get her mind to convince her body to do even that much.



Spike wondered if knocking off a liquor store counted the same as nicking a few things from the grocery?

Maybe, he thought as he poured his third glass of bourbon, someday he could ask the Slayer her opinion on the matter. Assuming she ever spoke to him again. She was probably off right now telling the Poof what a right fuck-up he was. Then Peaches’d probably kiss it all better and—

He did not need those thoughts in his brain. He already had enough of them—enough memories of Dru and Angelus to last more than a lifetime, he certainly didn’t need to add images of the Slayer and Peaches to the gallery.

Come to think of it, Spike was actually surprised His Holy Forehead hadn’t stopped Buffy from coming to his crypt…Maybe he’d been hoping she would stake him.

He wondered if Peaches was going to think him a nancy boy from here on out for giving the Slayer that bear. Not that it mattered really, he already hated the prat; what did it matter what he thought?

Just as long as he didn’t go rip it up or something.

Spike had put a lot of thought into that bear, dammit! He was certainly not going to stand for it getting killed just because He Who Never Smiles got a little jealous.

He didn’t think the Slayer would let him do that, but he’d never been a very good judge of her actions where the poof was involved.

Okay, so he wasn’t exactly a good judge of her actions the rest of the time ei—But he could be, when he actually put his mind to it, he could predict the Slayer’s moves better than she could and if he was right, then right now….

What the fuck was he in here feeling sorry for himself and trying to get pissed for? Buffy was out there possibly—

Spike didn’t even bother to pull his t-shirt back on or grab his duster as he ran out of his crypt. He had to find Buffy.

If she was perfectly safe and sound, well then he’d probably have to stop her from staking him, but…

It wasn’t but a few hundred feet from his crypt that he found his Slayer.

“You know mate,” he tried for casual as he saw the vampire sitting astride Buffy, “It’s not nice to take what’s already someone else’s.”

“I’m going to kill the Slayer,” the vampire didn’t take his eyes off of Buffy, “Be jealous if you want but you’re not going to—“

“That’d be where you’re wrong,” Spike was upon them in mere seconds and with one quick yank, had pulled the vampire off of Buffy, leaving him to land about ten feet behind him. “Can you get up, luv?” he asked Buffy softly, ignoring the other vampire for the moment.

“I..I think so,” she said carefully, her breathing still not even.

“Go get up against that tree there,” he pointed just two feet behind her. “Get up against it so at least you don’t have your back exposed and you’ve got some way of protecting yourself, okay?”

Buffy just pushed herself onto her elbows and nodded.

Spike had enough faith in her that he turned his attention back to the vampire that had been trying to sneak up on him.

“Now where were we?” he asked, pretending to think about it, “Right, I was explaining how it’s not nice to take something that isn’t yours.”

“It’s not yours either,” the vampire replied, having no idea who Spike was—or that he should probably be rather afraid of him.

She is mine. Anybody’s going to kill her, it’s going to be me. Not some wanker who takes advantage of her not being at top form. Really, is there even any fun in it then if she’s not fighting back?”

“What’s it matter if she’s fighting back? The point is to kill her. She’s the Slayer.”

“You are a shame to vampires everywhere,” Spike said, shaking his head in what looked like disappointment. “Everyone knows there’s no real accomplishment, no real pleasure, in a kill if they don’t fight back. Then again,” he seemed to have thought of something, “I don’t rightly feel like fighting you so I guess I’d be breaking my own rule then if I did this, huh?”

“Did what?” the vampire dumbly asked.

As a response Spike quickly punched him in the nose, kicked him in the stomach, and did a few other things Buffy couldn’t even distinguish, before somehow—again she wasn’t sure—ripping his head off.

Spike looked rather put out as he tried to brush the dust off himself. “Knew there was a reason I always stayed fully clothed for this.”

When he turned his eyes to Buffy she was surprised to see, besides the expected concern, anger in his expression.

She was pretty sure they heard his next statement all the way back at the hospital.

“What the bloody hell do you think you were doing?!”



TBC.........please review :)
Chapter 13 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry I'm a bit late...
Chapter 13


“What the bloody hell do you think you were doing?!” he asked her loudly—alright, so he yelled it at her.

“I was just…” she tried to think up something reasonable to say.

“Just what?” he asked angrily, “Trying to get yourself killed? Because I’ve gotta say, if that was the plan, then you were doing a hell of a job.”

Suddenly that funny feeling from before was back and Buffy had to blink her eyes quickly to keep them focused on Spike. She’d been walking away from Spike’s crypt, barely a few feet away really, when the feeling started: it was like her body was still in the same place but for some reason her head—or whatever tit was that kept you in your head, figuratively of course—decided to start floating up and back. She’d been knocked out before so she knew what that felt like, but this was different. It wasn’t as sudden and it waxed and waned enough that when she’d come up on the vamp she’d thought that maybe it was gone enough for her to take him.

Of course the spots she was currently seeing all over everything—spots like the ones that sometimes showed up on your picture when you got them developed; bright colors but dimmed; different shapes and sizes and colors—they couldn’t be too good either.

“I’m the Slayer,” why was it harder to say each word? “I had to do it. I think I need to lie down,” she finished quietly.

“You didn’t hit your head did you?”

“No, I did not hit my head,” might have hit everything else, but she had not hit her head.

“God, Buffy….when was the last time you ate or drank anything?”

“I uh…little bit at dinner.”

“Come on then,” he leaned down to pick her up, but she tried to stop him, asking what he was doing. “Oh shut up you stupid bint and let me do this.” This time she let him pick her up.

They were four or so feet away from his crypt when he felt her moving again. “You can’t do it, you know!”

“Do what, pet?”

“Turn me.”

Spike didn’t even answer just laughed lightly in a way that absolutely infuriated her; what was he doing acting like he was so superior to her? She was the Slayer dammit—yeah, she reminded herself, the Slayer who had to be saved by a vampire and was currently being carried back to said vampire’s crypt, by the being himself.

Spike laid her down on the sarcophagus that was currently doubling as a bed. She tried to sit up to see what he was doing, but he had two strong hands on her shoulders pushing her back down as soon as she even moved.

“No getting up.”

Now normally she’d never listen to Spike, but right now he seemed to know what he was doing while she, on the other hand, wasn’t sure she’d even be able to get up and walk out the door without passing out.

“I’m only not doing it because I can’t. Not because you said so,” she muttered needlessly.

“Wouldn’t expect any less,” he didn’t sound mad. Why didn’t he sound mad? Why did he sound…amused?

“Quit laughing at me!”

“I promise I’m not laughing at you, pet. Just love how bloody stubborn you can be; but as long as you stay put, I don’t much care why.’

She couldn’t see what he was doing, moving her head from the comfortable position it was in on the pillow didn’t seem all that important, but she could tell her was in his ‘kitchen’; and he was making a lot of noise.

“What are you doing?” she asked impatiently.

“Do you always have to know what’s going on? You’re sick, luv. Let someone else do something for you without being so suspicious.”

“But I should be extra suspicious because I’m sick; you could be trying to poison me or something.”

“Why,” he asked, sounding truly curious, “would I poison you?”

“Well obviously because….” So it didn’t actually make much sense, but she wasn’t ready to concede that yet, “because you’re evil!”

“Alright then,” he still sounded amused with her, why was that? “Just drink this though, yeah?”

“It’s red,” she said accusingly. “What is it?”

“I might be a vampire but the only evil thing about this red is red dye number 40. It’s Gatorade, pet.”

“Why do you have Gatorade?”

“Just drink it would you?”

“I don’t like that kind,” she protested.

“Yeah, well you need to drink something so right now it doesn’t matter if you like it or not. Once you’re not about to pass out, we’ll get you something you like.”

“I have to sit up to drink this,” she informed him.

“You can sit up now, pet—long as you do it slow like.”

Buffy may have rolled her eyes at him, but in truth she was touched by how much care he was taking with her.

She sat up slowly, wishing there was something for her to lean against; this sitting up on her own was harder than it should have been.

Quietly Buffy drank the drink, not even objecting when Spike sat down on the opposite end of the sarcophagus.

He waited until she’d drunk the entire bottle before talking again, “Were you trying to get yourself killed?”

“Of course not!” her voice didn’t hold as much vehemence as she would have liked though she wasn’t sure if it was due to her lack of energy or lack of….meaning it.

“Care to explain what you were doing then? You haven’t been out on patrol, least not without the Scoobies, in weeks, luv. There’s a reason for that,” he was trying not to sound angry with her but was failing fairly miserably.

“You think I don’t know that? I’m useless, I get that. But what was I supposed to do? Just listen while he killed that woman?”

“If it meant keeping yourself alive, yes!” he insisted.

“That’s not what Slayer’s do, Spike,” she reminded him.

“Screw what the bloody Slayers do; I’m talking about you Buffy. Whatever’s going on with you is not something any of the other Slayer’s had to deal with so you don’t have to follow their rules anymore. I—This world needs you too much for that.”

“Needs me for what? I can’t do anything, Spike!” the last thing she ever wanted to do was cry in front of Spike—again—but here she was doing it—again.

“You can do plenty—maybe not at the moment, but you’re sick Buffy,” he tried to assure her. “No one expects you to be doing more.”

“The whole freaking world does,” she laughed, but it was a humorless one. “Everyone in this whole damn world, whether they know it or not, is relying on me to save them and I can’t even take out one vampire attacking an old lady.”

“The Scoobies are doing that for you now; I’ll make sure I help from now on, too,” he didn’t tell her he already had been.

“You think I don’t know you already are?”

“What?!”

She looked actually pleased with his reaction, “Come on Spike. They don’t have anyone with extra strength…they’re doing the best they can, but if they were out there fighting everything there was—every single night—one or all of them would have been dead by now. I know you’ve been going out before them and getting rid of anything really nasty.”

“Yeah, well I…” he didn’t know what the point was in denying it, “The whelp’d get his head knocked off in a week if I didn’t.”

“I know—though you ever tell him that and I’ll stake you—and thank you” she finished quietly.

“Welcome, pet.” The Slayer was actually thanking him…well that was new; and strangely, it just made him worry about her more.



TBC.........please review :-)
Chaper 14 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
either today or Tuesday will be my last update until after the holidays :( We have family coming to visit (and then other supposed to be here family going away, leaving me to entertain the visiting family) so I don't think I'll be able to update again until probably just after New Year's...

I'll try to sneak in a quick Christmas 113 Times or other XMas fic update, but I'm not sure I'll be able to do that either

If I am in fact completely gone until after the new year.....have a happy and safe holiday time and enjoy whomever you spend it with :)
Chapter 14

“Walk me home?” She explained when he looked at her questioningly, “so I can get cleaned up before I go talk to Mom.”

He wasn’t ready for her to leave yet, but well, “Sure, luv.” He laid a steadying arm across her back as she stood up.

And had to make himself keep walking when, with one touch of her small hand, she stopped him from taking his hand away.

“I still feel kinda…shaky,” she explained, sounding embarrassed.

“Buffy?” he asked, still walking her out of the crypt.

“Huh?”

“You’re not weak, pet.”

Well that was unexpected; and untrue, “Yeah, I am Spike.”

“No,” he tried to think of a way to explain it to her. “If you’re holding up something real heavy, then you know you’re strong, right?”

“Yeah,” she really wished she would know where he was going with these things.

“Now it might not be easy to do it, but you’re strong so you can. But then if something starts pushing down on the thing a little bit it gets a bit heavier feeling even though it’s the same as before, right?”

“Right…”

“So you’re still just as strong because you can still do what you could before, it’s just the extra bit that’s making it kind of hard. And the more something pushes down on it, the harder it is to keep up, right?”

“Right,” she agreed again, still reluctant.

“But the thing you’ve been holding up has stayed the same the entire time so at the end there when it’s so hard to hold up, you’re still holding up the same thing that made you strong in the first place, it’s just the added pressure that messed it up, yeah?”

“I don’t—“ They were just outside his crypt and he stopped to look at her as he continued.

“If you take away that extra pressure and give yourself a bit of time to adjust and recover then you’re back to being able to hold the whole thing up just fine; but the entire time you were still holding that same thing up, right?”

How was it that she never knew where he was going until the end? He never gave her a chance to come up with a reason as to why he was wrong because she was never entirely sure just what it is he was supposed to be wrong about until the end.

And, she wondered, why was it that he was the only one who had anything to say to her that made even the slightest bit of sense?

“But if, at some point, I drop it,” she countered, “then I’ve still dropped it.”

“Won’t drop it,” he sounded so sure, “not if you get someone to help you until its back to being just what it was before.”

“Doesn’t needing help make me weak in a way?”

“Wouldn’t have expected that from a Slayer who gets so much help,” he mused. “But no, Buffy, it doesn’t; not being able to ask for help when you need it, that’s being weak.”

“Don’t have to be...”

They walked in silence until they were at her house, “Don’t leave just yet?”

“Of course,” he agreed readily. “You want to go in or keep walking?”

“Can we go sit on the back steps? I don’t think I’m ready to go back inside yet and….I don’t think I can walk anymore,” she admitted reluctantly. She probably would have pushed it if it had been Xander or even Giles walking with her; she still wanted them to see her as the Slayer and knew…

Little things like this would make her look less like the Slayer in their eyes—it was already doing so as a matter of fact—but with Spike….he just understood that it was what she needed. She was still very much the Slayer, she was just going through some stuff at the moment that meant she couldn’t do as much.

She nearly yelped in surprise as Spike picked her up as soon as she’d provided her answer.

“I didn’t mean I couldn’t walk anymore at all, I just meant—“

“Know what you meant, but it’s not like it’ll hurt matters any.”

Buffy wasn’t sure why she didn’t care, even though she knew he was probably doing it at least partially for selfish reasons. She didn’t know why she didn’t care, but she did know it felt good to be off her feet again.

They sat on her back steps and she remembered the last time they’d done this.

“I don’t think if anything happens to my Mom that I’m going to be able to sit on these steps again.”

“Yeah, you will, pet. Not saying anything’s happening to Mum but if…you will.”

“Your mother was alive when you…right?”

“When Dru turned me? Yeah, but she’d been sick for a long while.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s alright, pet. Should have learned to deal with it better though.”

“I’m sure you dealt with it just fine, Spike;” he sure knew how to help her.

“No I didn’t. Turning her wasn’t dealing with it fine.”

“You….?” So she would never have guessed that one.

“Yeah. I thought…I thought it would make her better, you know? End all the pain she was in. Didn’t quite work out so well, though.”

Buffy could tell that whatever happened still bothered him to this day. Not sure if she should ask anymore she just moved a bit closer to him and leaned her head against his shoulder. He really was still William always had been. She hadn’t understood how that could be given how different Angel and Angelus were, but…

“You’re still him, aren’t you?”

“That nancy boy, William?” he knew instinctively what she was talking about. “Hardly!”

“Yeah you are. You’re Spike too, but…You still loved your mother enough to not want her to suffer and…How’d it happen?”

“My mother or William?” he wasn’t ready to answer one of them and still wasn’t sure yet which it was.

“You keeping a bit of William?”

“I just did. First thing I was supposed to do—Angelus’ orders—was kill all my family. It was only my mum, mind you, but I told him she wad dead. Which worked out real well when a week later I brought her in all vamped.”

“Why only you?” she asked and he knew it wasn’t anything against him, she was merely wondering why Angelus hadn’t been capable of acting civil—or at least not torturous—without his soul.

“Haven’t ever figured that one out. Sometimes I’ve hated it…knowing I loved Dru with a demon’s heart and a human’s when she only had the demon in her to love me back…Not really a conscience or anything, but I never could…Never could do some things. Grateful for that now, though.”

“Really?”

“Be a hell of a lot harder to get you to see I can be good if I had as much on my plate as say…Angelus.”

“Right,” she said disbelievingly, “so which part didn’t you do? The murdering? The torturing? The raping?”

“Only did a bit of the second one and I’ve only ever had sex with three women.””

Not sure how they got n this topic, she continued anyway, “Spike, it’s easy to not count rape as sex—if you want to.”

“Buffy,” he said sincerely, pushing her to sit up so he could see her face while he talked to her, “I said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m love’s bitch. I never did get off on stuff like that—guess it’s that William bit of me, but….I messed around enough when Angelus or Darla was in the room to keep them placated, but I never actually…Dru, Darla—one time, and Harmony are the only ones.”

“Really?” strangely, unexpectedly she found herself believing him.

“I loved Dru so anything else didn’t exactly appeal to me. She’d want other girls sometimes, but I never would—Think that’s part of why she loved her ‘daddy’. He did a right good job of messing her up that way. She was going to become a nun, you know?”

“Really?” Buffy knew she was asking that a lot, but she couldn’t come up with anything better as she tried to picture the vampire she knew as Drusilla as a nun.

“Course that as before Angelus broke her, but…I think she’s still trying to prove to him that she’s a good girl. Maybe some remote, tiny part of her mind thinks if she can just do that, that it’ll all be okay again….I don’t know, maybe I’m putting too much reason in something that’s completely without reason but…I can’t think that…I like to think that she’s still her somewhere under all that; that she’s not just going to be singing to her birdies and lost to the world entirely some day.”

Buffy rested her head against his shoulder before asking her next question, not wanting to see his face when he did answer, “You really love her don’t you?”

“I was with her, sexually with her, for over a century so it’s not exactly...but…sometimes it’s more like…like a big sister or mother, I guess. I want to take care of her, keep her safe, make her better, and…I want to be good enough for her, do whatever I need to do to please her.”

“That’s not really an answer…just something to make me worry you’ll go kill people next time she’s in town.”

“I loved Dru as best I knew how for over one hundred years but she never loved me back the same way so that made it easier to let go. Falling in love with you helped too,” he hoped she didn’t hit him for that one. “Now I can see that what she wants from me and what you want from me…I can’t do both and…I messed up last time. It was the easy way out and so I took it. But now I know it’s not what I want.”

“Spike you can’t just go from being what she wants to what you think I want—at some point in there you have to be you.” Why was she giving motivational speeches to a vampire?

“Can’t that be it?”

“Relationships are the way they are because each person is just that, their own person. If one person is just doing what the other person wants all the time….eventually they begin to resent them.”

“I’d never, ever resent you.”

“I’m not saying we’d have a relationship,” she countered. “But Spike…I think that from when you weren’t trying to get Dru back, when you….when you let yourself feel and do what you wanted…I think you really do know who you are, you just have to…be him.”

Spike thought about that for several moments.

“Alright, so you’re right. Now, tell me about your mum and what’s got you out on a kamikaze mission and then I’ll be me.”

The last bit worried to her as to what exactly it was he was talking about but she needed to tell someone her feelings about her mother and…and Spike was the only one she felt could take it and give her real answers, not ‘make Buffy feel better’ answers.

“Okay…”



TBC.........please review


and if you want a Christmas fic to read now, you should go read Brat's 'Taming of a Scrooge'...it's 6 chapters--complete and everything :)
Chapter 15 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I'm so, so, so sorry that I haven't updated in so long...It was only ast week that everything from the holidays finally got back to normal with everyone in their correct homes ;) Then on Monday we got a puppy (we'd thought it was going to be later) so between watcfhing to make sure she doesn't eat electrical cords and making sure she doesn't drive my bigger dog to bite her at all I haven't had time to update (or write sadly ).....

Chapter 15

“Okay, I’ll do the best I can. I don’t know all of it yet because I still haven’t talked to her, but…She’s been not feeling so well over the past few weeks and I guess it was worse than I thought. She saw a doctor and I thought it was just a general doctor visit you know? But apparently it was an oncologist or something.

“I guess we would have found out today or tomorrow anyway because that’s when her MRI results were coming back…

“She wasn’t feeling too well tonight—and I was too wrapped up in feeling bad that I didn’t see it—“

“Buffy, quit it. There wasn’t anything for you to do. Just….just tell me what happened.”

“Dawn made us grilled cheese and tomato soup and I ate a little bit of it, you know, and Mom did too, then…She told us she wasn’t feeling very well and was just going to be so could we clean up the kitchen. We said of course, but Spike…it was only seven so…we were worried but I mean what do you do…we couldn’t call a doctor or anything, it was just our mother not feeling well and going to bed early.

“Dawn went upstairs to…She went in Mom’s room I guess,” Spike noticed the way she seemed to be jumping around in time but decided as long as he could follow it was okay. “She found Mom and…I ran up there because Dawnie just sounded so scared…and she’s been being careful not to make me do too much so…she wouldn’t have yelled for me if it wasn’t necessary…

“She was having a seizure—not Dawn, Mom,” Buffy needlessly clarified and Spike could smell her tears even if his coat prevented him from feeling them. “I didn’t want Dawnie in there because…she didn’t need to…she shouldn’t have had to see that and I wanted…I wanted her away as soon as possible so I…I told her I’d stay with Mom and asked her to call 911 and then Giles.

“It was hard Spike….and not just because I’m not st—not just because stuff’s harder for me now, but…I’m okay when it’s happening to someone else. When I don’t know who…when it’s someone else’s mother I can deal with it….I can…but it was my mom, Spike…Nothing’s supposed to happen to her. It’s just not!” Spike hugged her closer against him and she continued, “But I made sure to hold her so she wouldn’t hit anything or hurt herself and I…I just looked at it…just looked and…waited. As long as I wasn’t there…in my mind, then it could be okay…So I just waited for them. It was bad to leave her, I know, but I just couldn’t…

“They got here a little while later; I don’t really know how long. And did some stuff—I really don’t remember….I asked, I think, if I could go with them and I…I didn’t want Dawn to have to stay by herself, but…I told her to wait for Giles and I went with them…They did all of this stuff to her, Spike….they had to check all these things and then they gave her this shot of something and…I’m supposed to be able to protect everyone Spike and I couldn’t help her.

“Then they took her into…they took her and I waited for Dawn and everybody to get there….Then the doctor…he came to tell me what was wrong. He said Mom wanted him to tell me because they’d given her a medicine that was making her sleepy but she wanted me to know so we could talk in the morning. He told me what was wrong and gave me stuff about it and...

“I told Dawnie what he told me; or at least I tried to. I think I might have forgotten some stuff or said some of it wrong, but I tried…

“I wanted to leave, but…they told me I had to stay there. I didn’t want them to…I waited until we were up on another floor, the floor her room is on, and when they all went to do something and Dawn was asleep, I left. I just couldn’t think in there. I was supposed to decide all of this stuff about…that could affect if my mom lives or…and I couldn’t do it in there.”

“Buffy, sweetheart, what did the doctor say?”

“Oh,” she blushed, “I guess I didn’t actually say all that did I?” He waited as she took a few deep breaths before starting, “They said that she has a tumor in her brain, but they’re not sure if it’s cancerous or not. But it doesn’t really matter, I guess, because of where it is. They have to get rid of it either way and that’s part of what I have, I think, to help her decide. They can either do a surgery, that’s more likely to get rid of it, but also kind of dangerous or they can do….radiation which might not work as well. And, uh, if they do the surgery, then they might have to do the radiation too.

“And none of it’s guaranteed even then,” she said sadly. “I forget all the percents he told me, but, Spike…there’s a chance my mom could die.”

“Shh, don’t think like that, kitten. Did they say when they would do the surgery if that’s what you all decide?”

“They have to get rid of her pneumonia before they can because it would add…it’d be extra dangerous somehow if they didn’t but after that…they want to do it as soon as possible.”

“Did they have the MRI’s to show you?” he sounded serious, but still compassionate and Buffy wondered briefly why he was the one taking the most action in this. It wasn’t because he cared for her mother any less, he knew that….Actually maybe it was because he cared more.

“They, uhm…I don’t remember if they said they had them back or they were going to get them back soon. Why?”

“Because, luv, you can get copies of them and, whatever the doctors there say about what to do, you can get some doctors in…Los Angeles maybe, to look at them, too.”

“Why?” she was too tired to be thinking clearly.

“Sometimes, luv, doctors have different opinions on what has to be done and with something this serious, it’d be good to get a second opinion. You might even be able to get them to send it to LA for you.”

”They wouldn’t be mad?”

“Most docs know you’re going to do it anyway. ‘Sides, pet, they don’t want your mum to die any more than you do. If it turns out they’re wrong, I’m sure they’d rather know now rather than after.”

“Yeah that…that makes sense. I’ll ask them when I go back…Do I have to know the doctor’s name?”

“Don’t have to, but you could always have Peaches cal one up, I’m sure he knows someone.”

“I don’t…I’ll have to go find the number for his hotel.”

“He’s not here?”

“No,” Buffy said slowly, “Why would he be?”

“Never mind,” Spike chose to drop the subject rather than bring up the fact that she still loved the poof. “I think I might know a bloke who could get them looked at for you. He’s a friend of that doc that tried to get my chip out. But a white hat and all that rot.”

“Would you come to the hospital with me?”

“What?” that was unexpected.

“I…I don’t know if I can remember all of this and…I don’t want Mom to get hurt because I forget something.”

“You figure a way to keep me from burning up and I’ll go.”

“Thank you.”

“Course pet.”

They sat for several more minutes before he asked what he’d been wondering since she came into his crypt.

“What’s got you so scared?”

“I just told you my mom has a—“

“It’s something other than that. Every time you bring up leaving Dawn alone—See you’re doing it even now. You tense up every time you talk about her being alone. And…if it was just your Mum the Scoobies’d be enough for you…but you had to come yell at me. You only really yell at me like that, if I haven’t done something, if something’s really got you.”

Buffy thought for a moment about denying everything, but knew in the end it would be pointless so…really, what was the point?

“My mom went to a doctor because mystical stuff doesn’t happen to her, you know? I get sick and everyone’s researching it…I still haven’t seen a doctor Spike and its been weeks of me not getting better. What if the same thing’s wrong with me and…and I’m waiting too long to find out,” Spike had to strain to hear her by the end.

“Buffy, luv. What’s wrong with your mum is not wrong with you.”

“But how could you know? You didn’t know that it was wrong with her so how do you know it’s not what’s wrong with me?”

“I’ve got a theory, pet.”



TBC.....


and thank you for the nominations for Silently Broken at the Lost in Spike Awards--and for the best author nominations :-D
Chapter 16 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I know, I know, I"m going to lose everybody and be stuck posting fics that absolutely no one reads if I don't quit screwing up posting...but I really do have a good reason for not posting. Yesterday, besides posting a Spuffy wallpaper on livejournal, I was miserably sick and slept all day..

But you get the update todayy....


And an extra big thank you to everyone who hasn't quit reading this fic just because I haven't been updating nearly as much :)
Chapter 16

“You have a theory? What do you mean a theory?”

“Now don’t go killing me for this. I’ve been a bit thick and just really thought of it…I mean I wondered before but I didn’t know it was getting to you so…Okay so I did know how sick it was making you, I was just trying to figure it out before I told you.”

“Told me what?”

“What are the chances I can tell you after we go talk with your mum?”

“Why?”

“Because I think it might not be good for us both to have one more thing on our minds when we talk to her.”

“You’re just trying to get out of telling me.”

“No, I’m not. I was…I wasn’t going to tell you tonight with all you had going on but you had to know that the same thing wasn’t happening to you, so…”

“You’re not going to tell me.”

“I promise I am. I already feel like a right wanker for keeping it to myself for so long but…with the way Watcher boy and Red have been doing research and getting nowhere…I thought they’d either decide I was full of it and then you’d never consider it or….or they’d go sniffing around and get close to figuring it out and it’d turn out there was some demon needed to fix everything and they’d either tip him off, run him off, or kill him and then…I just thought I could handle it better on my own.”

“Spike, you do remember how well your plans usually go, don’t you?”

“Oi! I’ll have you know I tried to warn you right off the bat but you just dismissed it. Not exactly crazy for me to think you’d do the same again.”

“What do you—You mean that vamp that was all warning boy? You sent him?”

“I thought that just maybe if it was…I knew you’d think I was just trying for attention and you couldn’t stand me at that point so I thought that way might work.”

“I knew it was you! Fine, so you can tell me later. But…” now she was back to the blushing, “I have to change before I can go back to the hospital and…I don’t think I can go inside just yet. Maybe you could get the phone and call Willow to come get me some clothes?” she suggested sheepishly.

“Or I could get you the phone, you could call the hospital and tell them about your friend with the sun problem coming to see your mother with you, and I could go get you the clothes.”

“Why would I let you go through my clothes?” she tried to look stern.

“I won’t do anything bad, won’t even go snooping through your lacy bits if you don’t want. Just a nice shirt, sweater, and some pants.”

“You’re not exactly good with the matching. Anyway, how do I know you won’t go looking through my underwear?”

“Because I just said I wouldn’t and if ever there’s been a day I wouldn’t lie to you, it’s today.”

“Yeah, okay, fine. I’d tell you where the phone—or for that matter my clothes—are but you already know I’m sure.”

“If it’d make you feel better you could tell me anyway.”

“No, it’s alright, just bring me the cordless and then get me some clothes.”

“Aye aye,” he mock saluted with his sarcastic response.

“Just shut up and get the phone,” the words could have been harsh, but she kept her tone light.

Grabbing the spare key from over the door—and pointedly ignoring Buffy’s response to him immediately knowing where it was—Spike made his way into the kitchen. The phone wasn’t far away and it took him just a few seconds to get back outside and hand her the phone.

“What color bra you have on, luv?” he asked when he was almost back inside again and Buffy resisted the urge—the strong urge—to throw the phone at his head.

“What do you need to know for?”

“Not getting you one of those pretty white shirts you have if it’s black or some such.”

Surprised that he even had the thought, but not sure she was at a point of telling Spike what color her bra was, she answered vaguely, “Or some such.”

“I might need more specifics…wouldn’t want something not to match after all.”

“It’s red; now go get me some clothes before I realize what an insane idea it was to agree to this.”

Buffy made a display of not looking at Spike as she answered, turning around and looking at the phone as if preparing to call the hospital.



As he climbed the back steps, Spike couldn’t help himself from wondering if the Slayer’s knickers were red, too. And was it a bright red or a darker red…blood red even. Was it cotton and simple or maybe it had a bit of lace; or was it satiny smooth, something that would glide against—or maybe it was one of those purely lacey numbers, the ones that—

He really need to stop that line of thought. It wasn’t like he hadn’t imagined the Slayer in just her unmentionables before, but…now he knew for a fact that at least the top half was some color of red and….bloody hell, wasn’t his fault he couldn’t stop wondering just what exactly it looked like. It was entirely her fault he decided. Yes, her fault. Because, obviously, if she wasn’t so damn sexy and enchanting and enthralling and enticing and that other ‘e’ word he was not going to use, then he wouldn’t be having any of these thoughts.

But he’d been the one to ask, so this time, it was his fault. Fuck.


True to his word, Spike tried to find the Slayer the best clothes he could. Forgoing the jeans and stretchy pants he knew she sometimes trained in, he instead went for the drawstring ones he’d seen her wear around a few times. She might not have known it, but he was capable of thinking of things like the fact that while she’d been sick she’d lost quite a bit of weight and the others would have been too big on her. And that would have only embarrassed her in ways he hoped never to do.

He looked in her closet and drawers and finally found the smallest looking dark colored shirt he could; it turned out to be a light gray tank. Then he found the gray zip up sweater he’d seen her in more than once and carried his collection back down to the backyard after making one more stop.


Buffy looked up from as Spike came back outside and helped up a finger as she quickly finished her phone call, “Yes, thank you. We’ll be there soon.”

She’d half expected Spike to come out with some pair of leather pants, backless shirt, and no sweater. But he’d done as he said he would, he’d gotten her black pants and a gray shirt and sweatshirt.

“Thanks,” she said as she took the clothes from him. Then she noticed something sticking out of his duster pocket; it was her hairbrush, the one she kept with hair ties wrapped around the handle.

“Thought you might want to…Not that you need to,” he rushed to add, “Look bloody gorgeous I just thought you might…”

“No,” she assured him, it’d be nice to get my hair looking at least relatively tame—dirt and tree bark? Not so good for the hair.” Buffy went to set the clothes down so she could brush her hair, but Spike took them back from her.

Smiling at him gratefully, Buffy took the hairbrush out of his pocket before sitting back down and setting to work on her hair.

After brushing the knots out for about thirty seconds her movements started to slow and Spike made a choice, reaching up he grabbed the brush out her hands.

With the clothes sitting across his lap, he indicated for her to sit on the step in front of him, sighing when he saw she wasn’t going to comply.

“I can do things for myself you know,” she made a grab for the brush. “I’m not completely helpless.”

“Didn’t say you were, but taking your mum to the hospital, learning all that, and not getting any sleep can run you down. Just let me do it.”

Buffy knew that, for whatever reason, if he’d used her being sick as the reason that she wouldn’t have let him; but the reasons he gave made it sound as if she was just anybody, just another girl who wasn’t sick, and that she could agree with. She had a feeling he knew it too.

Moving down onto the step below, she sat between his legs, making sure no part of her touched any part of him. She probably wouldn’t ever tell him—at least not right now—but him brushing her hair felt really good; it was relaxing. And it felt nice to have someone else doing something for her and knowing that it was because they wanted to, not because they thought her incapable. Sure that might have been part of the reason, but she knew that any other day, if she had asked Spike to do the exact same thing, he would—and that made it alright.

She hadn’t put a lot of thought into why she’d gone to see Spike in the first place. It wasn’t that she was truly mad at him—okay, so maybe a little—but some part of her needed him to know what had happened. Needed to see how he’d help; because he would, help that is. He always did---at least lately. Now that she thought about it, of everyone, he and Dawn were the two who were taking the best care of her. Dawn was making sure to make dinner and act like nothing was wrong even while her mother and sister were in failing health and Spike…he’d been taking care of her friends for weeks now. And he’d let her know, with the bear, that he really was worried about her.

She knew her friends were worried about her, but sometimes—God help her—she wondered if they took this as just some weird Slayer thing that would sort itself out in time and everything would be fine again, no need to really worry.

Apparently if anything good was going to come out of the horribleness that had been her life lately, it was learning that Spike really did care about her—and her family. That…

Spike loved her. Maybe it was the fact that she had been thinking a lot about death lately, but suddenly it didn’t seem all that important anymore to live your life according to what other people felt was right, what they thought you should do.

If she…if she even gave Spike that ‘crumb’ he’d asked for, everyone would tell her she was crazy; they’d remind her how Spike was an evil vampire intent on destroying the world. Except, he wasn’t; even when he’d been at his evilest, Spike hadn’t wanted to destroy the world—he rather liked it.

They’d probably call Angel too, have him come tell her how she didn’t really know Spike and was making a monumental mistake and he’d left for her to have a normal life, why wasn’t she doing that?

“How long do you think it will take them to call Angel?” she asked as he finished brushing her hair and gave her a tie to do as she liked.

“What do you mean?” he leaned back slightly so he could see her better.

“Well I mean, I’m taking you to help me figure all this stuff with Mom out…how long do you think it will take one of them to call Angel and tell him you’ve done something evil? Because you do know they won’t think I decided it on my own, don’t you?”

“If we’re talking about the whelp…depends on how long it takes him to decide who he hates more: me or Peaches. Red might last a while longer, then again she cares about you a lot…Watcher’ll probably try everything in his Watcher bag of tricks first.”

“And Dawn?”

”Don’t think she ever will,” Spike answered carefully, not sure how much Buffy knew about his ‘friendship’ with her little sister.

“She did always hate him,” Buffy said and Spike tried not to let it bother him. “But she likes you,” Buffy added and just like that he was feeling better.

“If he does come though, think you could keep him from ripping up that bear?” He had no idea why, but the image was still bothering him.

“You think I’d let him kill Peter? And besides I don’t plan on him coming anyway.”

“Peter?” Spike asked quizzically.

“Yep,” Buffy turned so that she was kneeling on he step and facing Spike, “I was going to call him little Spike,” she whispered, “but Dawn looked at me all funny when I did and so…She wanted him to be Dracula bear, but I went with Peter instead.”

“Any reason?” he asked, still thrilled that something he’d done was capable of making her smile, even now.

“The bunny slippers. Peter Rabbit.”

“Works as well as anything else.”

“But that’s only as far as everyone else knows—he’s my Little Spike Bear really.”

Buffy turned back around before he had a chance to say anything and he missed the smile that she sported because of the shocked look he’d given her.

“So, how am I going to actually do this clothes changing?”

“Could do it somewhere in the hospital, I’m sure they have a place,” he kept his first suggestion to himself because she—

‘”Or your crypt maybe?” –was going to say it for him.

“I’ll stay outside even,” he agreed.

“What are we waiting for then? We’ve got a hospital to get to.”

Spike knew she was trying extra hard to sound upbeat, but at least she was trying—and not trying to get herself killed by some vampire. He handed her the clothes, then got up, set the hairbrush just inside the door, and locked it before coming back to her. Not giving her the choice, he hooked one arm under her knees and kept the other at her back, picking her up.

“You can’t keep carrying me everywhere,” she reprimanded him.

“Course I can. We both know that walking’s a stupid waste of energy; if you’ve got somebody willing to carry you why not take advantage of it?” Spike still was wondering just what had changed that she was so much more receptive to him now, but thought that questioning it might just cause it to end so he kept his mouth shut and just headed towards his crypt, the Slayer in his arms.



TBC.........please review


(if you want to leave your email in your reveiw or email it to me at suzeefic@gmail.com--or you could leave it on that LJ link too I guess--I'll try to either add you to my update list or just email you when I do update)
Chapter 17 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
Sorry! I forgot on Saturday--okay, so it was less 'forgot' and more 'had no time at all', but still....

To whomever asked why Buffy didn't change in her house--I think it was Kim--that goes back to Chapter 15 and how she said she wasn't ready to go back inside her house just yet :-)

For those of you who know that I'm the one who has been *supposed to be* updating Brat's site, I wanted to let you know that all her current WIPs are, at the moment, up to date there (htp://www.freewebs.com/myheartisyours)
Chapter 17


True to his word Spike had stayed outside his crypt while Buffy got dressed and she was pleasantly surprised to find that he’d chosen a shirt and pants that still fit her relatively well and a zipper sweatshirt that was big enough to be warm and comfy but small enough to still look nice.

Then, and she figured she probably should have guessed it, he’d carried her until they were about a hundred feet away from the hospital. Apparently Spike made her unsure of a lot of things because she wasn’t sure how it was he made it not feel like he was taking pity on her when he did it. If Xander or…she guess Giles, had tried the same thing—beside the fact that they wouldn’t have been able to actually do it—she wouldn’t have let them. With them it would have been because they thought she couldn’t walk there herself, wasn’t capable. With Spike, he knew she was fully capable, he just also knew it was hard and figured she had enough other things to spend the little energy she had on.

He just made it different. He made a lot of stuff different; some of which she wasn’t ready to look at just yet.

“Buffy! We thought you weren’t coming back!” that was Willow and Buffy could see Dawn rolling her eyes behind her.

“I told you she’d be back. Do you guys even know how to listen to me?”

“Dawnie, we know a little more than you do sometimes and—“ Willow was interrupted by Spike who beat Buffy to it by only milliseconds.

“And sometimes Niblet knows more than you do about some things; like her sister for instance.”

“What’s he doing here?” Xander and Anya had apparently been off to get some more coffee and were just returning.

“Buffy brought him,” Anya answered, beyond tired of Xander at that point.

“No she didn’t. She came back and h…followed her or something! He’s just trying to—“

“Shut up Xander Harris,” Anya said, louder this time, “and stop being so stupid; and don’t be mean to Buffy while her mother’s in the hospital.”

“Ahn, what are you talking about? I’m not being mean to Buffy. It’s mean to Buffy to insinuate that—“

“Surprised you know the word, mate,” Spike couldn’t help himself and made a mental note to thank the Whelp’s girl—or at least she was now—at some point.

“I brought Spike,” Buffy said simply, not stopping Anya or Spike which surprised the rest of the people in the room—minus Dawn, of course. “He’s here because I asked him to be; now if you don’t mind, we’re going to speak to my mother. Dawnie? Do you want to come for a bit now or after we talk to her?”

“Why’s Deadboy get to go?” Xander sounded every bit the whiny child he was at the moment.

“Xander,” Buffy said and everyone thought she was going to give one of her usual answers, which generally agreed with Xander’s point of view, “shut up about Spike already or go home. I have too much going on to deal with your shit. Anya,” she looked to one of the only people who wasn’t completely shocked by her statement, “you’re welcome to stay either way.”

“Can I go later? I don’t want to see her and then get in a bad mood because of Xander.”

“Sure, sweetie, though if he’s too much—you just tell him to go home, okay? Don’t worry about what I’ll think or anything; I trust you on this one. Anya, you can tell him, too. You two can’t,” she surprised Willow and Giles; but she was too tired and too stressed to worry about what was expected of her.

“Buffy, really, is this a wise choice? Perhaps I should—“

“Perhaps you should let the girl make her own decisions,” Spike let some of his anger at the man show. “You’ve left her on her own enough recently that I don’t think it’s quite your place to tell her what to do now. This is a family thing—she and the Bit are the ones who have the say here.”

“I have not left her—“

“Giles, just save it okay? This isn’t a conversation we need to have…at least not now. Spike’s right, this is a family thing. You all are my friends, my really close friends, but with stuff like this, it’s just me and Dawn. Okay?”

“Then what’s up with Peroxide over there?”

“It’s up to us,” Dawn echoed, “and we say he’s helping, so he is.”

“Xander Harris, may I speak with you for a moment?”

“Not now Ahn,” he dismissed her, still looking at Spike.

“Fine, but I’m still saying it. Get over it. You don’t have Buffy; you never will. She is not your girlfriend, nor is she your sister or daughter or anything else that allows you even half a decision in who she is or is not allowed to spend time with or be with—“

Be with?!

“—She is old enough to make her own choices and right now I agree very much with her taking Spike with her. He is very knowledgeable and cares very much for Buffy’s family. I think he will be able to help her much more than you or he,” she pointed at Giles, “would be able to.”

“But we know—“

Anya interrupted Giles, apparently tired of being told to keep her mouth shut, “You know her the way you want to. Spike knows her, even the bad stuff because she hasn’t had reason before to keep any of that from him. And he and Dawn have a better relationship than either of you have with her. I may not always know what’s appropriate at what times, but I do know it’s not appropriate to bring your stupid jealous insecurities out when Buffy is making decisions like these.”

“Thanks, luv,” Spike got his thanks in before anyone could counter what she said. Buffy and Dawn smiled gratefully at her as well.

“Anya, maybe you shouldn’t—“

Buffy surprised even herself when she interrupted Willow, “One more word and the only people allowed to stay and/or see my mother are Dawn, Anya, Spike, and myself. I don’t care which of you three it is, any of you say anything and you all have to leave.” They looked properly reprimanded and Buffy started to walk with Spike to the nurses that she hoped could tell them where her mother’s room was. “Oh,” she added quickly, “and if any of you call Angel—just don’t even think about it. Maybe you’ve missed it but I’ve been a bit of sick lately and two jealous, overprotective….stupid men is enough for me.”

Spike tried very hard to hide the smile those words and the looks on the Whelp and Watcher Boy’s faces brought, really he did. Wasn’t his fault it didn’t work. Things like that were just too bloody hard to fight and it wasn’t like he even had any incentive to anyway.

He was still grinning as the nurses let them down the hallway and though it was highly inappropriate given the situation, he felt like singing or skipping or something equally as poncey-ish when Buffy grabbed his hand for support. Instead, he just squeezed her hand lightly and shot her what he hoped was a reassuring look.



TBC.......


and I really will try to update on time (Saturday or next Tuesday)...crazy puppythat takes up my time ;-)
Chapter 18 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
thank you to everyone still reading (and reviewing) :)
Chapter 18

The nurses stopped once they’d reached the appropriate door and it was then up to Buffy when she went in. They had assured her that all of the windows’ blinds and curtains were tightly shut so that when the sun came up in a little over an hour—due to Spike’s ‘condition’ they had allowed them extra early visiting hours after approving it with Joyce who, oddly, had been already awake—the room would remain sunlight free.

Not letting go of Spike’s hand and not thinking about why it felt so reassuring, Buffy took several deep breaths before starting to go into the room—and stopping.

“What if I can’t do it?” she whispered to Spike after she’d pulled him several feet down the hall, away from her mother’s door.

“Do what, pet?”

“I’m supposed to help her decide on how to treat this and I…she’s my mom Spike; I don’t know if I can do this,” Buffy looked younger then than she had even that first time he’d seen her.

“Don’t worry, alright? You’re a lot smarter than you think and you can handle a hell of a lot more than you give yourself credit for; and I’m going to be in there helping and your mum’s going to know this is hard for you. She’s not going to be expecting some magic answer from you Buffy. She just wants to include you in this.”

“Yeah…yeah, that makes sense.” Buffy took another deep breath before she started walking back towards her mother’s room, this time making it inside.

“Hi sweetie, hello Spike,” her mother said as soon as they entered and Buffy was afraid, due to her mother’s lack of surprise at seeing Spike, that she had overheard their conversation. “I didn’t expect you to be here quite so soon,” she admitted as she looked at Spike, then slowly at Buffy who immediately dropped Spike’s hand.

“Mom, I—“

“Buffy?” her mother said lightly.

“Yes?”

“Why do you think that with me of all people you need to act like you can’t stand William?”

”It’s not that I,” Buffy was stunned for a moment, unsure what to say. “Because I don’t know what I’m doing right now so I’m doing what I think everyone expects me to do,” she admitted quietly, tears forming in her eyes.

“Buffy? Do you remember me inviting William to dinner? Remember how I told you how thoughtful the present was?” Spike looked embarrassed at that and it didn’t go unnoticed by Joyce. “No why would you think that I would find anything wrong with…with whatever it is you have him here as?”

“Because I just got yelled at by Willow and Giles and Xander and…I don’t know.”

“Rupert did—Oh he had better not come see me any time soon!”

“Don’t worry Joyce, I think he was just looking out for—“

“No,” Buffy interrupted him, “he was being an ass.”

Both Spike and her mother smiled at that before her mother gave the necessary rebuke of, “Language, Buffy.” But then she added, “Even if it is true,” and it took the seriousness out of her statement and lightened the mood of the entire room.

“So, are we here to talk about all that medical mumbo jumbo or is this just a for fun visit?” Given that it was only five thirty in the morning Buffy figured her mother knew the answer to that, but she answered anyway.

“Well I do want to know how you’re doing. But also about all that medical mumbo jumbo,” she copied her mother.

“And I assume the same goes for you?” she asked Spike.

“Yeah…and I’m sorry I wasn’t there before to help with—“

“Nonsense,” Joyce interrupted, “none of us knew there was anything to help.”

“Still should have been there,” Buffy swore she heard Spike muttering.

“She didn’t get too hurt did she?” Both Spike and Buffy looked at her in confusion when Joyce asked the question. “Oh, you may not know it but I know my daughter and with everything that happened yesterday and everything that doctor surely laid on you, I know that—sick or not—you went out to beat something up.”

“She just came and yelled at me a bit,” Spike replied, again faster than Buffy. “Might've hit me a time or two, but nothing bad. Kept her all safe anyway.”

“Alright so she did that….and then what? Buffy I know you think I’m your mother so I can’t be as smart as I seem to be, but…Just tell me already; I know either Spike should have some more bruises—even with as sick as you’ve been—or you’re not telling me the truth. And the fact that you’ve changed clothes makes me think you didn’t want me to see the dirt on what you were wearing yesterday. And your hair’s more brushed than it’s been in weeks so obviously Spike wasn’t too injured to help you with your hair.”

“What is it with you and the freakish observation? Are you sure you’re my mother? Because she spent a couple of years not knowing I was the Slayer…”

“Not admitting to knowing,” she amended. “Now I’ve embraced it so I’ve developed very keen observation skills. That and your hair really is more brushed than it’s been in a long while so I know someone helped you and…” she looked at Spike in a way that meant she knew what she was talking about.

“Fine, so I yelled at Spike—“

“For?” her mother asked.

“Do I ever really have a reason?”

“To you? Yes.”

“I’m going to pretend you didn’t just imply what you did because you’re in the hospital and everything,” Buffy lightly glared at her mother, still standing next to Spike between the bed and the door. “I yelled at him for not having a phone so I could tell him when…and for not having figured out what was wrong with you.”

“Buffy, vampires aren’t like bomb sniffing dogs, there’s no way he could have known I had a brain tumor.”

“I should have known though,” Spike said. “Should have seen it somehow.”

“Buffy please tell me that you don’t both think that.”

“Yeah, we sort of switched views on that one. I get how I was being stupid now and….well Spike hasn’t caught on just yet.”

“We’ll worry about that later; just tell me what happened next so I can stop worrying about you and we can have this stupid talk already.”

“Then I left his crypt and ran into a vampire attacking an old lady. I decided that I was the Slayer so it didn’t matter if I could fight him or not, I had to try. Basically he almost killed me, was going to—but Spike killed him.”

“Thank you,” Joyce thanked him before Buffy could continue.

“Shouldn’t have let her leave like that in the first place.”

“You two are a perfect match—always blaming yourselves for far more than you should. But continue on,” she urged Buffy.

“So I was going to pass out because well I was here all night, walked to the cemetery, yelled at Spike, tried to beat him up, then fought that vampire…so Spike got me back to his crypt and made me drink some Gatorade—which I still don’t know why you had that,” she looked at him briefly. “Then he walked me home.”

“It’s like pulling teeth,” Joyce bemoaned.

“We talked about some personal stuff for a bit,” Spike explained. “Then I got her to explain to me what had happened last night and what the doctor told her.”

Joyce didn’t question what personal things they had talked about, figuring Buffy had done barely any of that lately and talking about personal things of any kind could only be good. It was Spike, too, so she guessed he wouldn’t have had a discussion with Buffy if it was going to be in any way detrimental t her—not now.

“And he knows all this other stuff,” Buffy explained. “Stuff I’d never have thought of and…it’s kind of hard for me to always take in everything they’re saying so…I asked him to come. If that’s not okay with you—“

“It’s perfectly fine, Buffy. I think it’s a good idea.”

“Right then,” Spike wasn’t used to this much acceptance, “let’s get down to business then.”




TBC........
Chapter 19 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I know you're probably all wanting another fic from me by now--it has been a while--but I just haven't been able to get past the first few chapters of anything.....

I am working on getting over that whole 'not writing' thing because, to be honest, I'm not all that fond of it....The reviews from here are helping though--it's nice to know someone will probably read it once I do finish whatever *it* is


Also, Brat's site is up-to-date with this archive......and it has a new review feature so if you all want to go tell her how fabulous her stories are (even the ones you've read already), then: http://www.freewebs.com/myheartisyours ....and she has a link to her other new place in the last chapter of Love Stinks :)
Chapter 19

“Did Buffy tell you about the pneumonia and then the options I have?”

“She did, though she doesn’t remember the percents and all. Isn’t that right, luv?”

“Yeah,” Buffy admitted. “Sorry,” she said to her mother, “it was just a lot to take in and…I kind of forgot the numbers.”

“That’s alright. I think that we need to not focus too much on numbers anyway,” Joyce explained. “I think we should just go with what’s more likely to work—as long as the percentages aren’t something like 54% and 58% then I don’t think we need to bother with them.”

“That makes sense,” Buffy agreed.

“Have you seen the MRI’s?” Spike asked.

“They showed them to me briefly, but I really don’t think I understood what they were saying; whether it was from the shock of the news or their explanation I don’t know.”

“Would it be alright if I asked someone to come explain it again? I was thinking that, while we’re all thinking about the matter, we could hear what they think.”

“That’s…I’ll ask the nurse.”

“Then you said something about L.A.,” Buffy prompted him.

“Yeah, then I was thinking, once we know what they think, we could get a second opinion from someone else—maybe someone in L.A.”

“Do you have an idea of who or should I try to find someone?”

“The doctor who tried to take his chip out before?” Buffy told her mother, “He has some friend that Spike thinks could look at it—and know what they were talking about.”

“That sounds very good. I’ll ask the nurse now in case it’s going to take a while. Then I can ask the doctor as soon as possible if it’s possible for him to send them to this doctor. I’ll probably need the name and address—or at least his phone number, to give the doctor.”

“Of course. I’ll leave you and Buffy to talk—I’ll go find a phone somewhere.”

“Or there’s a phone right here,” Joyce pointed out.

“I wouldn’t want to intr—“

“Would you just hush and use the phone already. You two standing over there makes me feel like this is something….it just feels so formal. Come sit with me Buffy.”

Spike took the phone from the table on the same side of the bed as they were while Buffy walked around the bed to sit in the provided chair.

“Is it really okay?” Buffy asked and Joyce knew she meant Spike. “I just thought…I feel like I need someone else hearing everything, too…and I didn’t think Giles was right and I wasn’t sure who was and then…he wouldn’t ever let them hurt you,” Buffy assured her mother. “Neither would I.”

“I know that sweetheart—and William would do this even if he didn’t like me, just to make you happy so I know he has two reasons to make sure things go well.”

“I’m sorry I didn’t go with you to the doctor or insist that you go earlier.”

“Sweetheart, none of this is your fault. It’s no one’s fault; it’s just something that’s happened. I’d love to have someone to blame, myself, but the fact is…it just happened.”

“I wish there was something to blame too,” Buffy agreed. “Then I could go kill it,” she half joked.

“Guess you’ll just have to stick with helping me.”

“I can do that.”

“How’s Dawn doing?”

“About ready to kill Willow and Xander…and Giles. Apparently she knew why I was leaving too and told them I’d be back but they didn’t believe her. Then they’ve all been idiots about Spike being here. But I think she’s still doing well; she’s trying to be really strong since I’m sick and you’re sick too…I think I’ll see if I can have Spike talk to her. I’d ask Anya, but well…she’s Anya, I’m not all that sure what she’d say. She’d have good intentions but I’m not sure how it’d come out.”

“Anya?”

“Yeah, she’s the only other one backing me up in all this. I think she finally got tired of Xander telling her to be quiet.”

“Good for her then. You make sure that if something happens between those two that she doesn’t lose you too. I think…She’s a good girl….a bit strange at times, sure,” Joyce said thoughtfully, “but she’s a good person, Buffy. And if she’s standing with you in this—I think you’re going to need to keep her close no matter what.”

“I’ll try to make sure of that…Dawn, I’m sure, will too. Oh and I told them if they call Angel—“

“Why on Earth would you want him here?” her mother sounded completely dumbfounded and almost outraged.

“I told them to not even think about it. I don’t want him here.”

“Good, neither do I.” Joyce didn’t add that she was especially angry with the vampire for having not even called to check on her daughter the entire time she’d been sick. She was sure that some way or another he knew, but still, he hadn’t called. “I don’t think Dawn would like it either.”

“And I’d probably end up trying to kill him,” Spike said as he hung up the phone; also not adding that he was angry with the poof for not checking in on the girl. He may have hated that Angelus had her love or…he still should have checked on her. “I ever say thank you for not liking him? That night we were having cocoa and you let me in but didn’t want him there…that meant a lot to me.”

“Spike,” Buffy interrupted, “remember those ‘I’m gonna bite her’ moves you did?”

“Well yeah, had to make you think I was evil, didn’t I? If you thought I’d just been there having a cuppa with your mum because Dru’d left me…you’d never have cared if I had your friends or not; you’d know I was just a whimpering fool.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” Joyce disagreed. “Being with someone for that long, any sort of break-up is always hard.”

“And you’re always trying to convince me you’re evil,” Buffy couldn’t help but grin at his outraged look.

His outraged look that finally faded into a more sheepish one, “Never been too good at that, have I?”

“Having hot chocolate with my mom after your girlfriend dumped you? Hanging out with my little sister? Yeah, didn’t work too well. Though the tying me up and saying you’d let Dru kill me was a good attempt.”

“Yeah but I let you out when she—“

“I said attempt didn’t I? If I’d broken out first and gone after Dru, would you have done the same thing?”

“Untied her so she could fight back you mean?”

“Yeah,” Buffy wasn’t sure this was a conversation they should be having just then, but you couldn’t always control what came up when.

“Probably think about it, but no, I probably wouldn’t have. Out of the three of you,” Spike couldn’t help but roll his eyes as he thought of Harmony’s entrance, “I couldn’t let anything happen to you.”

Buffy and her mother came to the same realization at the same time.

“You really would have staked Dru for me?”

“You loved Drusilla for more than one hundred years; you kidnapped Willow to get her back even after she’d left you….and you would have, wouldn’t you?”

Spike wasn’t sure he liked feeling ganged up on, even in this way. “I’ve told you—or at least you,” he looked at Buffy, “I love you, Buffy. This isn’t a temporary thing I’m going to get over or forget about. And it’s not something where if you won’t have me then I’ll settle for Dru…you’re all I want.”

Buffy remembered their conversation at the house and realized she only had one question, “Why Harmony?”

“How do you mean?”

“You told me how you’d never cheat on Dru and how when you were with her you didn’t want anyone but her…you seem to have been kind of picky….so why her?”

“Can I get away with just saying it was a subconscious thing?”

“Yeah because one possibility that brings up is one I don’t ever want to hear voiced,” Buffy cringed at the idea of being anything like Harmony.

“Spike?” Joyce brought herself into the conversation. “Could I speak with you privately for a minute?”

Spike looked at Buffy and she nodded before getting up and letting them she’d be just in the hall, but ‘not listening.” And she really was going to try hard not to listen; she knew that if they’d been anywhere else she’d have been sent farther away then out of the room—she could at least give her mother as much privacy as possible.

Anxiously she waited to be asked back in, all the while wondering just what they were talking about.
Chapter 20 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I really am working on getting some sort of a new story (even if it is just the XMas 113 Times thing I still don't have done) finished and posted for you :)
Chapter 20


Spike waited until Buffy had been out the door for several seconds before turning his full attention on Joyce.

“I’m sure this won’t be the last talk I’ll have with you. But I need to say something while I’m sure I still can. When Buffy told me what you’d done that night, I’ll admit that I was very turned off by your actions….they were incredibly misguided. But I do see now how…Buffy can be very stubborn and in a way I can see how forcing her to be there and trying to show her—through Dru—what you would do for her….how you could think that was the only way. And perhaps it was. No, it didn’t work the way you wanted, but it got to her. If you’d mentioned it off hand I’m sure she would have come up with a way to forget it, but….Whether she’ll ever admit it or not, the way you did things—she couldn’t say, even to herself, that you didn’t mean it.”

“She doesn’t believe me,” he lamented.

“I’m sure that she didn’t; and I doubt it had very much at all to do with you.” When he looked hurt by that, she continued, “Spike, Buffy’s father left us and…he left left; then I dated Ted who had this plan of getting rid of her or something and I believed him over her; Angel loved her, got her to love him as much as she possibly could at that age, with her whole heart, then he left; and Riley…he’s left her as well. All of the men in her life have, at least at some point, said one thing and done another—they’ve all turned their backs on her at some point. Rupert , she feels, did so when he did not tell he of the Council’s plans that time and Xander…I’m not sure if it’s because she would not go out with him or if it had something to do with Angel, but…I think him being that doubtful of such a huge decision in her life…I think she saw that as him letting her down.

“She really has no reason to have believed you.”

“I wouldn’t lie about something like that. I won’t lie to her.”

“I think with Buffy…I think that it doesn’t take words…I don’t think it takes actions either; I think it takes both. I think if you want her to believe you—which she might very well already—you need to prove it to her through word and deed.”

“Why are you helping me?” Not that he didn’t like Joyce but…

“I like you Spike, ax incident aside, I’ve seen what a good man you can be. I think that already you love my daughter more than Angel or Riley ever did—I think your actions of the last 6 hours prove that. They both…She’s a strong woman, physically and mentally…Neither of them was okay with that; not really. They both wanted to be her knight in shining armor and the truth is…Buffy doesn’t need a knight to slayer her dragons, she needs someone who will stand at her back and fight the dragon with her.

“I think the fact that her friends are all still alive—despite your dislike for most of them—proves you know how to do that. You can let yourself get in your own way sometimes, William. You do things, at times, without really thinking everything through and…I think as long a you stand with her and do your best to stay conscious of the effects of your actions…I’m going to have to buy some more marshmallows and cocoa—though for rather different reasons.”

“Joyce, I promise, no matter what happens between Buffy and myself, I will always do my best to protect her, Dawn, and you.”

“Then I’d say you have three reasons not two.”

“What?”

“Buffy and I have decided that you’re the right person to be helping her with this because you won’t let them do anything to me because you like me and you love her….I’d have to add in there that you care a great deal for my other daughter as well.”

Spike knew he couldn’t blush, he was a vampire, their blood just didn’t circulate that way, but he knew he would be doing so if it were possible.




“This right here is where the tumor is located,” the doctor pointed to one of the images. “And this over here,” he pointed to another page, “is the tumor itself. To remove the tumor through surgery,” he pointed at the firs picture again, “we would have to enter the skull here and then move to right,” back to the second, “here to remove it. Ordinarily we would try radiation first to shrink the size of the tumor before surgery but the tumor is pushing on your brain here,” this time he pointed on the second picture and then to a spot on Joyce’s scalp. “That’s what’s causing your headaches, but it’s also causing pressure to build and that can be very dangerous if not relieved as soon as possible.”

“How long will the pneumonia treatment take?” Spike asked.

“With everything we have her on, probably five days. We would rather not have to wait those five days, but if we operate on the brain now with the infection in your body, several possibly severe reactions are possible.”

“Is there…is there someway to lessen the pressure until you do do the surgery?” Buffy asked as Joyce just sat, taking it all in.

“We can insert a shunt that would drain some of the fluid, but as with the surgery, her pneumonia makes it riskier than normal.”

“Is it riskier to do the shunt while I’m still sick?” Joyce finally asked, “Or to wait the five days without doing it?”

“What I personally would suggest is that we attempt to wait the five days, but carefully monitor the amount of pressure it is putting on your brain and if it for some reason increases sharply, then seriously contemplate the shunt.”

“Are you the only doctor here who has been consulted on Mrs. Summers; case?” Spike asked seriously and Buffy was surprised and how serious and business like he could be when the need arose.

“Two other neurosurgeons have been consulted, but not another neuro-oncologist,” he answered. “I’m the only one on staff here and the call I put into the doctor you mentioned in Los Angeles has not been returned yet, but we have sent them copies of the blood test results and the MRI. I understand that he will be calling here, to this room, first to speak with you about his feelings. And is then going to speak with me—so that it truly is a second opinion and not just a compromise between what he thinks and what I think.”

“Do these things usually take a certain amount of time?”

“Given the scenario and that we sent everything so early, a call this afternoon or tonight would not be unexpected.”

“Thank you, doctor,” Joyce said.

“You’re welcome, Mrs. Summers, Mr. Pratt, Mrs. Pratt.” Buffy was too busy wondering over the fact that the doctor had thought Spike was her husband to think to ask the next question.

“Is there anything she should do or we should do for her in the meantime?”

“Just rest and minimal movement; nothing too excitable.”

Which meant visits from Rupes, the whelp, and Red were out of the question. Good.

The doctor left the room and the three of them were left in silence until Buffy spoke up, saying he last thing either of them thought she’d say, “I look old enough to be married?”

TBC....
Chapter 21 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I know, I really should have another story to be posting by now--and I would like to as well........but this flu thing is just pure evil
Chapter 21


“That’s your question?!” Spike could not help but ask.

“What? It is a logical question. I thought I looked kind of young, but…hmmm.”

“You’re really not going to say—“

“Spike,” Joyce interrupted, deciding maybe it would be better not to bring her daughter’s attention to the fact that she had not vehemently denied being Spike’s wife.

“What?” he couldn’t stop from shifting his eyes almost constantly back to Buffy, expecting the realization and her resulting explosion to come any moment.

“Leave it,” she said simply.

“What?”

“Buffy, sweetie, don’t worry. You don’t look old enough to be married; it was just a natural assumption on his part, it had nothing to do with how old you look.”

“You sure?”

“Positive,” Joyce looked to Spike for support.

“Yeah, luv, you hardly look legal…but not in the I’m attracted to underage girls sense,” he amended quickly. “That’s Angelus’ thing,” he mumbled quietly but loud enough that they could have both easily heard him.

“Alright if I exit the Twilight Zone and go get the Bit? She’ll be ‘bout ready to kill the boy by now I’d reckon.”

“That would be wonderful of you Spike, thank you.”

“But don’t stay out there with them. I’m not going to explain to the doctors why you’re getting sudden, mysterious, overly painful headaches.”

“Yeah, they’ll think something’s in the water,” he was still trying to figure out what the hell was in the water that had stopped there from being any major outbursts from Buffy in the last five minutes.

He was twenty feet down the hallway when he rushed back. “Buffy, pet? Can I talk to you out here for a moment?”

“Yeah, sure,” she said, looking at him strangely, but still walking out into the hallway.

“Alright, let me have it.”

“What?” Maybe it was her being sick or all the happenings of the last twelve hours but she had no idea what the hell he was talking about.

“I was just…” now he felt really stupid. “The doc said nothing too excitable for your mum so I thought if you needed to yell at me or something…”

“Nope…can’t think of anything.”

“Well,” he said lamely fumbling for what to say, “Okay then. I’ll go get the Bit, I guess.”

“What was that about?” Joyce asked when Buffy came back.

“He wanted me to yell at him or something,” Buffy looked puzzled.

“How do you mean?”

“He was sure there was something I wanted to yell at him about but wasn’t because the doctor said to keep things calm for you.”

“Buffy, when you go home later, I think you need to have a talk with William.”

“A talk with Spike? About what?”

“Your feelings for him,” her mother answered simply.

“What?” Buffy tried to keep her voice down, but she couldn’t stop the surprise. “What are you talking about.”

“Buffy, do you know why he thought you were going to yell at him?”

“For the thing about Angel?”

“Sweetheart,” Joyce marveled at how oblivious her daughter could be to some things, “do you remember how Willow did the spell last year and you and Spike got engaged?”

“Yeah…I decided not to have her do that forgetting spell; even though all of that was majorly weird.”

“And why was it weird, honey?”

“Because I was getting married to—I didn’t say anything about the doctor thinking I was married to Spike did I?” she honestly hadn’t noticed her slip.

“No, you didn’t; and ever since that spell last year, you’ve gotten upset the few times Dawn’s made jokes about it….and now,” her mother just looked at her and Buffy knew what she meant.

“And now I’m acting like it’s no big deal….Yeah, that would uh….Can’t I just yell at him and have him think it was just temporary memory loss or something?”

“Would that really be that much easier than having an actual conversation with him?”

“Yes,” Buffy said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“Well how then are you going to explain not being upset about what he said about Angel?”

“That’s actually kind of part of why I didn’t get mad about the first thing…Angel hasn’t even called, you know? And…I mean I know we’re not dating anymore and haven’t been for a while, but I thought…and even Willow and Xander…they’ve all kind of forgotten about me. But Spike…he was thinking enough to go to the mall and make that damn bear and then bring it over…and he….he actually came up with a reason for why I’m not weak right now that I actually…it actually makes sense. Everyone else…they’re just kind of acting like, “Oh, Buffy’s the Slayer, she’ll get over it’ and I think…sometimes I think that when I’m the Slayer that it’s fun for them but when I’m just me and have just…life going on, that it’s not really that interesting for them. Like maybe they’re here for the drama….and that sounds horrible, doesn’t it?”

“Buffy, I hadn’t wanted to say anything, but…your friends have been around a remarkably little amount since you’ve gotten sick and I’m not even sure just how much—or at least how hard—they’re trying to figure this out. But Spike…Even when you shut him out Buffy he still cared….and I have a feeling he’s been around more than I know about,” Joyce trailed off.

“He uhm….at night sometimes he—“

“Is this something your mother wants to hear?”

“You know the tree across from my window? Not the one under it but the other one?”

“Yes.”

“Sometimes at night, he just….him watching me at night should be creepy I know, but…I know he’s making sure nothing tries to attack us and…”

“He’s making sure you’re safe.”

“Yeah,” Buffy started to say more but Dawn came in the room then and she knew Spike could only be a few seconds behind.

Except that he wasn’t.

“Where’d Spike go?”

“God, he’s such an idiot,” Dawn sighed like only a girl her age could do and rolled her eyes. Marching back over to the door she stuck her arm out the door and pulled a very reluctant Spike in by the arm.

“I told you, Bit. Letting you girls have some time to yourselves.”

“Which is a nice gesture, Spike,” Joyce agreed, “but I think we’d all rather you came back inside.”

Spike still looked slightly uncomfortable, but stayed in the room. Only he walked to stand in the far corner. Dawn started to get from her place at the foot of the bed to get him, but Joyce stopped her when she noticed Buffy doing the same.


“Come on,” Buffy grabbed for his hand, but he did his best to evade her grasp. Soon though all that resulted in was her standing very close to him and holding his hand. “What’s going on?” The concern in her eyes was something new for him.

“We had a nice couple of hours and you think you like having me round but…I don’t want you to look back on this in however long and regret not telling me to get lost,” he admitted, figuring he really had nothing to lose.

“What are you talking about?”

“Buffy, until just a few hours ago, you couldn’t stand me; why do you think you suddenly want me here? It’s just because a lot’s happened and you think—“

“And I think nothing,” she kept her voice quiet, “Spike, how many times have I told you to quit standing outside my window every night?” She waited a second for the answer she knew wasn’t coming. “And how long did it take me to give you the bear back?”

“It’s easy to like a bear, pet. ‘s like liking a puppy; doesn’t mean you have to like who gave it to you.”

“Spike if Xander or….or Angel had given me that teddy bear—not that either of them ever would have thought of that…Spike I love that bear because you cared enough to…you have to like make those bears and then pick out their clothes—and their slippers,” she grinned. “And you recorded the thing too…That wasn’t a split second decision. I’ve been sleeping with that bear every night Spike. And part of it’s because it’s you that gave him to me. I don’t have all the time to explain it now, but…can’t you just trust that Dawn and I…we want you here. So does my mom. Please.”

It was the ‘please’ that did him in. He didn’t think he was ever going to hear her say it like that.

“Thank you,” she said when she realized he was giving in. Keeping a hold of his hand she walked back over to the bed. Dawn was now sitting in the chair so Buffy sat on the end of the bed, Spike standing behind her.

“So who wants to hear what Anya said to Xander when he said that maybe he should call Angel?”





TBC..............



oh, and a big thank you to Cordykitten for adding me as one of her favorite authors--and to anyone else who has that I didn't say anything to :)
Chapter 22 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
depending on what happens with this thing sometimes refered to as my life, I'll either be possibly updating this next Saturday and the one after or definitely not doing so.......sorry, I know I didn't post last week either (but I did try, the site was all wonky)
So, Happy 10th Anniversary to Buffy (the first ep first aired March 10, 1997)....





Chapter 22

“So who wants to hear what Anya said to Xander when he said that maybe he should call Angel?”

Spike was actually rather interested in the answer, but it appeared Joyce had other things on her mind. Which he figured, was only logical.

“Dawn, there are a few things I want to talk to you about with all of us here.”

“Sure,” Dawn tried to keep her voice strong but Spike could hear the fear, reaching over he squeezed her shoulder lightly before letting go. She really was incredibly brave; he’d thought so before but never had he been such a witness to it.

“Buffy, William and I have spoken with the doctor again about the MRI, my test results and everything he wants to do. We have another doctor in Los Angeles looking at things as well to see if he agrees. Once we hear back from him we’ll make the final decision, but…Dawnie, honey, how much of this do you want to know?”

“I…I don’t think I can really, uh, help decide all the major stuff because I don’t get all of it, but…I’d like to know what the doctors are going to do and everything.”

“Okay, sweetie. Right now, it’s looking like, in about five days—or as soon as this pneumonia clears up—I’m going to have the surgery. Unless the other doctor disagrees for whatever reason. It’s supposed to work much better than just the radiation. And I’ll probably do the radiation afterwards, but more than likely I’ll be able to come home and do that as an outpatient.”

Spike noticed the way Dawn’s heart rate increased when her mother said ‘supposedly’. “These are good doc’s, Bit. They know what they’re doing. With stuff like this nothing’s ever going to be definite, but they’re taking good care of your mum and she and your big sis are making good decisions.”

All three smiled thankfully at him, each for her own reason.

“Actually that was another thing I wanted to talk to you girls about. Dawn, I know I can’t put all of this on you…and Buffy, sweetheart,” she took several deep breaths before continuing, “there’s no telling really just how long this is going to take….and I hate to say it, but…you’re sick, honey and…I don’t want to leave it all to you when you’re going to have yourself to worry about as well. When I have that surgery--if I have it, that is, there are always chances with surgery and this is brain surgery. Believe me I wouldn’t be worrying you girls with this if I didn’t think it was important…I’m going to assign a medical proxy—someone that’s designated to make medical decisions for me if I’m, for whatever reason, unable to.”

“Do you just like pick them?” Dawn asked. “Or is it like…do they assign someone or something?”

“No, baby. I decide who it is and…the hospital has the form and I sign it along with the person I want to be my proxy and then two witnesses need to sign it as well to ensure that no one’s making me sign it.”

“But if you’re not going to have us do it,” Buffy said, “…..please tell me it’s not going to be Dad because—“

“No, it’s not going to be your father; even if I could find him.”

“Then who? Aunt Margaret’s all the way in Connecticut and we haven’t seen her in like 10 years.”

Buffy thought of someone else then, “Not Giles, please, mom. I know you think he’s done such a good job of protecting me over the years, but he’s always such a fuddy duddy about the rules, I think he’d do whatever the doctors told him.”

“What about you Spike?” Joyce asked in amusement, “Anyone in particular you don’t want it to be?”

“Long as it’s not anybody out there,” he pointed in the general direction of the waiting room area, “--’Cept maybe Demon Girl—or the Poof I’m alright with whoever. You’re a smart lady, figure you know who to pick.”

“Yeah,” Buffy and Dawn both agreed quickly.

“Good, so you’ll all be alright with me choosing Spike?”



“I still think maybe we should call him. I mean Buffy usually does listen to him and he knows more about Spike than the rest of us do.” Willow spoke for the first time since Spike had come to get Dawn.

“And you call her your best friend! Really! I think I’m actually rather glad you’re not my friend, Willow Rosenberg; who knows who you’d call whenever I did something you didn’t like…It’s really a wonder Buffy’s put up with you this long. I wonder if she knows you speak like this behind her back.

“Don’t talk to Willow like that,” Xander objected and that was it for Anya.

“That’s it. I don’t care how many orgasms you are capable of giving me Xander Harris—I’ve heard it’s really not that many compared to other men actually—I’m done with you. You and Willow and Giles can do whatever you want to your ‘best friend’. Just don’t feel bad when you end up hurting her.

“I know she told me to make you leave, but I’m not guessing I’ll be able to do that very well. You all can be very stubborn—and not in the way that won Napoleon his wars, now he knew how to be stubborn. You can be just stupidly stubborn. I am going to say good-bye to Buffy, Spike, Dawn, and Mrs. Summers and then I will leave. Hopefully you three don’t screw her life up too much, I don’t care what you do to your own.”



“What?!”

“So you don’t like the idea, Buffy?” Joyce asked, wondering if her daughter noticed how Spike had tensed up as soon as she asked.

“I just…with…and…he’s not a person.” Spike pulled away when Buffy said that and she shot her arm out to grab him, pulling him back. “That’s not…Don’t you two know by now that I suck at saying things?” Her mother smiled, but Spike still felt tense. Turning her back on her mother, hoping she’d understand, Buffy looked up at Spike. “People have birth certificates with birth years that don’t start ‘18’—maybe a few people do, people have passport numbers, visas, drivers’ licenses, they have things that prove they are who they say they are. They have things that can prove to lawyers and doctors and all those people that they are who they say they are. You…technically you’ve been dead for a hundred and twenty years. That’s all I mean…I don’t mean,” it felt weird to be having something that felt like such a private conversation with her mother and sister right there. But if she meant it, what did she care if they heard it, “You are a man William, I know that, that’s not what I’m saying. What I’m saying is you can’t….legally prove it.” She waited for a second, wondering if he’d respond. “Can you?”

Spike was getting tired of her doing so many damn things that made him want to kiss her when they were in the room with her mother and sister. He’d never been one for waiting…at least not successfully waiting.

“We’ll be right back,” he told Joyce and Dawn before pulling Buffy off the bed and into the hallway with him.

“What are you—“

“That marriage thing, the shit about Angel—you’ve had plenty of chances to jump all over me this morning.”

“I was going to talk—“

“Right, later, yeah, well I was all good with that, figured it was what you were going to do. Then you had to go and say the bit about the bear and then—either you tell me not to right the fuck now or I’m going to kiss you because if there’s one thing I’m worse at than planning things, it’s being patient.”

Buffy’s eyes grew wide as he spoke. Truth be told she hadn’t really felt, lately, that she was really anything to look at anymore. She’d figured that Spike…she wasn’t saying his feelings for her had changed but she…

“You still want to?”

“What are you talking about?”

“It’s just….I look…” she trailed off, not sure what exactly to say.

Yeah, he should answer her; yeah, she hadn’t said yes, but….Had he mentioned he had no patience?

Buffy remembered what it had felt like to kiss Spike from Willow’s spell, but…there had been something artificial to those kisses. Great as they were, it wasn’t completely them…this, however, this wasn’t anything but them. Their lips; their tongues; their hands.

Buffy honestly hadn’t felt this good since she’d gotten this sick; she was pretty sure she hadn’t felt this good ever, but her mind wasn’t exactly working at full capacity at the moment. She heard Spike mumble something against her lips before he wrapped his arms around her back. Her hands, in turn, moved from holding his face, to cross behind his neck, pulling her closer against him.

“What’d you say?” she asked a few seconds later when the kiss ended, their arms still around each other.

“Said ‘bloody hair tie’. Love your hair, pet…wish it hadn’t been all pulled back like that is all.”

“I thought you said I had stupid hair.”

“Well if you’ll remember, I also said I never liked you very much anyway so that right there should tell you how truthful I was being that night. Hadn’t planned on you catching me.”

“Spike….” He knew it was coming…didn’t make it suck any less, though. “I don’t know…right now….it’s just,” she wondered if he had any idea what she was trying to say because she sure as hell wasn’t sure.

“Got it. Can’t happen again, forgetting all about it,” he sounded angry, disappointed and she hated that.

“That’s not—“

“Hey, it’s alright. I pushed you, yeah. Don’t think twice about it.”

Buffy was about ready to smack him when Anya interrupted, “Uh, Buffy? Spike?”

“Oh hi, Anya,” Buffy tried not to be hurt as Spike went back into her mother’s room without so much a glance at her.

“Are you okay, Buffy?” Who said she didn’t know how to say the right things sometimes.

“Not so much. I…I’m pretty sure Spike’s back to hating me now. “

“Well that’s because he thinks you regret kissing him. That’s easy to fix. Just tell him you don’t. You don’t do you? Because really I’d imagine…he’s a good guy Buffy and he really does love you.”

“I know,” Buffy slid down the wall and Anya looked at her for just a second before sitting next to her. “It’s just…there’s so much going on right now…stuff with my mom, stuff with me…those three idiots,” she pointed down the hallway. “Plus, whenever Angel shows up there’ll be that and….”

“And what?”

“I’ve screwed up every other relationship I’ve ever had and…I know how to deal with him when it’s just him being really nice to me and being there when I need someone, you know?”

“But he still loves you then.”

“Yeah, but…but I didn’t feel before like there was pressure on me…There’s so much going on and…when I get too stressed or scared or whatever…I’d screw it up and then he would hate me. Like forever hate me.”

“I don’t think he could do that.”

“I can be a bitch.”

“Well, yes. But so can every woman. And if he doesn’t know that about you by now, well then he’s not very bright now is he?

“What do you want from him Buffy?”

“I want him to never leave?”

“That’s a question? Shouldn’t you know what you want?”

“If you’d asked me a few months ago I would have said I wanted Spike to never come back and…it’s fast and I….and there’s so much going on…”

“Buffy what do you really want from him?”

“I want it to be how it was before five minutes ago…at least now, you know? Later I can…I know that if I…if I start something with him now…I’ll mess it up, I know I will and then….then it’ll be messed up and that will be that…if I wait…at least then there’s more of a chance of it working.”

“Not if he doesn’t know that you feel that way.”

“Yeah, I know, but…sometimes it’s hard to talk to him….which s stupid because sometimes he’s the easiest person in the world for me to talk to but when…when it’s about the two of us it’s like I get stupid.”

“Maybe you could write it out?”

“Yeah…I’ll try…I’ll try something. I have to. Hey, Anya?” Buffy dried her tears and tried to look less worried. “If someone doesn’t have legal papers—like a passport and birth certificate and all that?”

“Yes?”

“Would you know how to get them if someone gave you the information?”

“I think so, yes. Why?”

“See, my mom wants Spike to be her medical proxy but I’m not sure how much identification he has…and I don’t want that to be what messes things up.”

“Let’s go see what if anything he has and then I’ll know what I’d need to get and how hard it’ll be.”

“Thanks…Oh, Anya? What were you coming to tell us?”

“I’ve broken up with Xander. I would very much like never to see any of them again but would like to continue being your friend. And Spike and Dawn’s. I know I’m not the most conventional—“

“That’s be really nice, Anya.” Buffy had figured that her relationship with Xander wasn’t going to last the week. “Sorry this whole thing happened for you guys to break up.”

“Oh it would have happened anyway. He’s always telling me to stop talking and I find that very rude of him. And he can be very inappropriate in always choosing Willow over me. Oh, I think Willow is going to call Angel.”

”What?!”

“She says you listen to him and then they said how he knows more about Spike than you do, so…yes, I believe one of them is going to call today.”

“Thanks for the warning.”

Anya smiled, finally someone was appreciative of her actions, it felt nice.



TBC.....


and I have no idea why almost half of this got cut off before......sorry :(
Chapter 23 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
finally I can update again! (and I still am trying to finish a new fic for you...I seem perfectly able to start them but not so able to continue/finish them)
Chapter 23

“So you think you can get it? He might not need it, but…?”

“Yes, the fact that he already has a driver’s license—which is a very good one may I say—will make it easier to get the rest. I will get him at least two more things, whichever two are the easiest. It’s actually very good that he has your address on that license because I can send him a piece of mail there and that will help as well.” Yeah, Buffy was going to have to find out at some point why, on a driver’s license he’d ‘gotten’ a year ago, he gave her home address as his.

“I’ll try to have it in the next three days, a week at the most.”

“Thank you,” Buffy said sincerely. “Oh and will you be one of the witnesses for this thing? I think it has to be people over eighteen.”

“Of course.”

Joyce called one of the nurses to ask for the form. Just a few minutes later the nurse was in the room and Buffy was sure if it weren’t for the fact that he had agreed to do this for her mother, Spike would have left already. He was that angry with her. And rightfully so, she figured.

The nurse was about to take the form away to file when Buffy thought of something, “Can you only—are these things permanent?”

”What? Don’t want me responsible for your mum for too long?”

Buffy ignored him and looked to the nurse, “I mean can you only do these when you’re already in the hospital and know you’ll need one or can you like do one….preemptively?”

“Oooh, big words for the Slayer,’ Spike muttered. Again, Buffy ignored him.

“No you can do them whenever as long as they have the two witnesses and your signature as well as that of your proxy. Are you going to need another form?”

Looking at Spike and then Anya she wondered, “I’m not sure; can I come ask you if I do?”

“I’ll just be at the nurses’ station.”

“Listen,” Spike said after the nurse had left, “I’d really love to stay Joyce, but—“

“You know,” Buffy interrupted, “I think maybe I should do one of those things. ”Everyone other than Anya started at her, some rather strangely, waiting for an explanation. “Well it’s just we haven’t figured out this thing I’ve got yet and well…if I do ever pass out or end up in the hospital and stuff, wouldn’t it be better to already have the thing done?”

“You’re not going to need to be in the hospital,” Spike said gruffly

“Good, so you won’t object to signing it.”

“Right, so who’s it gonna be, Anyanka there or your mum?”

“You,” Buffy answered simply.

“Funny, Slayer. Joyce I’m afraid I’m gonna have to leave—least for a bit and—“

“I’m not kidding, Spike.”

“Well,” he said, his tone much harsher than it had been with her mother, “still don’t care. I’m not doing it. See you later Niblet.” He waved as he strode out the door.

“Buffy,” her mother started.

“Yeah, I know. You guys just stay here and—we’ll be right back.”

“Spike!” So yelling down the hallway of a hospital sure got you some nasty looks from the nurses.

“Save it Slayer,” she heard before he started for the stairs, undoubtedly headed for the basement.

“Spike,” she said her tone clear but not loud, “You know I can’t chase you down those stairs. Now would you let me talk to you?”

Spike looked for a second like he was considering it, but then just opened the door and went into the stairwell.

Rushing back to the room as best she could, Buffy knew what she had to do, “So which one of you two,” she asked Anya and Dawn, “wants to go make him come back up here or at least stop him until I can manage to get down there somehow?”

Dawn was off like a shot; barely taking time to listen to Buffy telling her Spike was going down the stairs at the end of the hall.

Buffy was left with Anya and her mother looking at her expectantly. “Really take that Slayer speed thing for granted,” she said lamely.

“Buffy?” there were times, like this one, when Buffy thought if someone gave her mother a ‘Choose Your Favorite Child’ questionnaire and included Spike as one of the choices, that he’d beat her.

“Why does everyone always think I’ve done something wrong?”

“Well you did make him think—“ Anya started.

“Hey! He ties me up and almost lets his ex kill me and it’s all ‘Buffy give him a chance’ I just don’t get the chance to explain one stupid thing and I’m the bad guy?”

“Buffy you know he wouldn’t have let Drusilla—“

“But he made me think he would!”

“And you made him think you regret kissing him,” Anya pointed out and for a second Buffy regretted inviting her in the room.

“You what?” her mother asked.

“God why does everyone—he said I was doing all this stuff that made him want to kiss me and if I didn’t tell him not to…and I was just so surprised that…that he’d still find me attractive when I look like this,” Buffy waved a hand at herself, “that I asked him that and…and didn’t exactly stop him….or you know anything else that would have indicated I didn’t want him to kiss me.”

“So why does he think you wish it hadn’t happened?”

“Because I started to try to tell him…”

“Tell him what, Buffy?”

“That’s just it! I don’t know what I was saying. I…I didn’t know how to say it then and so he got all gun jumpy and decided I meant it could ever happen again and that it was a mistake and blah blah blah.”

“And what were you really trying to tell him?”

“That I shouldn’t have kissed him then because…because he loves me and I don’t know what the hell I’m doing right now…I’m scared to death about you; I can’t walk down the stairs without feeling like I’m going to pass out; the three people I thought would always have my best interests at heart are out there planning how to get Angel here to ‘straighten me out’; then there’s going to be Angel to deal with whenever he comes and….”

“It’s too much to add something to?” her mother guessed while at the same time, someone else in the doorway, someone she hadn’t noticed, asked something else.

“And you don’t want to deal with telling me to get lost when the Poof shows up; just better all around if I’m not there at all, right?”

Well at least he came back? Trying to remind herself that his coming back was a good thing, Buffy answered both of them.

“Yeah,” she glared, positively glared at Spike when he looked satisfied before looking like she’d kicked him, “Mom’s right,” she finished. “I don’t know what’s going on with anything right now, I’m dealing with all of this stuff that I’ve never dealt with before and this time I don’t have my friends behind me. And I just thought that if I had—“

“Captain Forehead with you, you could manage, right?”

“Would someone please tell Spike to get the fuck over this jealousy thing he has with Angel so that he can let me finish saying that I thought as long as I had him there I could do it but I’m not ready to start anything with him now because I can’t add that…I just need him there for me the way he has been the past couple of weeks—the past couple of hours.” Buffy was far too irritated to care about using such language in front of her mother.

“So you just want me around a little bit?”

“Anya,” Buffy pleased, “can you please try?”

“For someone so old you can be very dense,” she said evenly. “Buffy is trying to tell you that you were very helpful to her tonight and your support was very important as was your friendship over the last few weeks while everyone else forgot about her. She wants that to continue but because she knows you’re in love with her and that would put a great deal of pressure on her when you two start a sexual relationship, she would very much like that to wait until things have settled down. So that she doesn’t have to worry about messing it up. So you don’t cause her even more worry, Spike,” Anya threw in the last statement hoping that maybe that would get him.

“Yeah, whatever,” he started to say but Anya decided to continue.

“And she would have told you this sooner, before you had kissed her but she was very surprised that you found her desirable even though she has been ill for quite some time and that slowed her reaction and she was unable to tell you in time.”

Buffy looked incredibly thankful for Anya at that point.

Spike started to respond again, but this time, picking up on his still negative tone, Dawn interrupted him, “Fine, don’t listen to them. I have to talk to you.” Not waiting for an answer from anyone, Dawn pulled Spike into the hallway.

“Just let me go, Dawn,” he was tired of everyone holding up his departure. He needed to get back to his crypt and get drunk enough to forget that he’d been foolish enough to kiss Buffy.

“No,” she paused a few seconds before asking him seriously, “Are you just stupid?”

“What?”

“You want to go get drunk so you can forget you kissed Buffy.” He didn’t even bother to be surprised that she knew he’d been thinking of doing just that. “You know what that sounds like to me? That sounds like you are the one regretting it And I’m not going to have someone hurting my sister like that. So either go in there and tell her you don’t love her and you’re sorry for taking so much time and effort to make us all think you cared—“

“I never said I don’t love her,” he looked downright angry, his eyes flickering with gold, but Dawn wasn’t phased.

“Fine, then go tell her that you understand that she has a lot of trouble starting relationships when she’s on equal footing with the guy and her life is going smoothly so you understand why it’s too much for her right now when you’re already in love with her and our mother is possibly dying, Buffy’s lost her best friends and the guy who’s been like her father for five years, and you’re sorry for putting her in the position to have to choose between having only me around caring about her or having you with the added pressure of trying to figure out what she needs to do to keep you happy.”

“What are you talking about what she needs to do? She doesn’t need to do anything—well other than what she did a few minutes ago…”

“Angel left her because he said he knew better than her what she needed; Riley left because she didn’t love him the way he loved her….take the part where Angel’s a vampire and the two of you have a lot of connections and add Riley loving her more than she could love him and what’s that get you?”

“A fucked up summary of your sister’s love life?”

“Or what she’s scared will happen with you.”

“What are you talking about? I’d never leave her.”

“You’re telling me all this time and my mom hasn’t told you that you’re going to have to prove that to her?”

Spike remembered Joyce’s earlier words and his eyes lost some of their ire.

“Angel was never her friend—you said so yourself. Riley wasn’t really either because the entire time he was trying to figure out how to date her.”

“And that’s different from me how?”

“Because he had a reasonable belief that everything he was doing was going to work. You didn’t. You watched out for her, you saved those idiots out there, you made sure I was okay, you got her the bear, you’re trying to figure out what’s wrong with her….and you’re not doing that because you think she’s suddenly going to wake up and ask you on a dinner date, you’ve been doing it because regardless of how she feels about you, ever, You. Love. Her.”

“But now—“

“Now you need to take…you told her to give you a crumb, right? That that was all you needed?”

Spike was surprised that Buffy had told her that, surprised she’d even been listening to him that much, but he nodded anyway.

“So why can’t you take that kiss as that? As her saying that once everything is normal—or as normal as our life ever is, that then there can be something? Why can’t you see her caring about you enough to try to keep you around as her friend for a long time as opposed to her boyfriend then nothing for a short time….why can’t you see that as a good thing? Are you just that selfish?”

“I didn’t think it’d be this hard,” he admitted.

“To know what it’s like and have to pretend you don’t?”

“Yeah.” The girl really was remarkably insightful for someone her age.

“Then don’t pretend.”

“What?”

“She’s not saying you have to act like this one never happened, that you have to forget about it. She’s just saying it can’t happen again for a while. She tried to do that proxy thing to show you she trusts you and you turned her down…She’s doing everything she can to show you that she’s doing her best to make it worth it in the end…and you just keep shooting her down.

“Spike, Buffy’s good with denial. She’s also way too familiar with guys hurting her. If you do this shit for too long…she’s going to shut down on you. It’s not going to matter—no screw that, it is going to matter, everything you’ve done for her last night and this morning…it’s going to matter by making it hurt that much more and making her close up that much more. You’ve got more of her than they ever did and all that means is you could lose more of her than they ever did.”

“They make you Buddha’s kid or something?”

“No, I have my own theory on whose kid I am, but that’s beside the point. Would you just go talk to my sister already and tell her you’re sorry for having been an ass?”

“Yeah—but you ever talk like that again and I’m going to be telling your mum.”

“Tattle tale!” she stuck her tongue out at him and he couldn’t help but laugh.

“You sure I didn’t bollocks it up too much?”

“Not yet.”

“Gee, thanks,” ignoring her enormous grin, he let her go in the room, asking Buffy—he figured—to join him in the hall.



TBC........
Chapter 24 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
the last chapter didn't seem to go over so well...hopefully you like this one better :)
Chapter 24

“You know if I had it in me, I’d hit you right now,” Buffy said to him as she came towards him.

“And I’d deserve it. You can him me now if you want,” he offered contritely.

“Nah, I’ve got to cut back on it anyway.”

“On what?”

“Hitting you.”

“What on Earth for?”

“It’s not exactly nice. Besides after….today, well I don’t exactly like the idea of hurting you.”

Well that was a bloody surprise there. “Thanks. And, uh, sorry for being a prick.”

“So was it Anya’s little clinical break down; me actually telling you how I feel for once…..or my sister?”

“Well, uh, you and Anyanka got it in my head, but uh…the Bit cleared it all up.”

“Not sure if I should be thankful I have such a great sister or insulted that you believe her over me.”

“We just have a more truthful history ‘s all.”

“Yeah,” she sounded sad and he could have kicked himself for saying something stupid again.

“Come on, luv, you know I’m an inconsiderate wanker.”

“Except that you’re not. You just say stupid stuff sometimes—except that one was true.”

“Yeah, your mum told me to watch that—saying stuff without thinking. And it’s not true, not really.”

“Yes it is. We don’t exactly have the best past and you and Dawn are like best friends, yours would be the more truthful relationship.”

“Different kind of truthful is all.”

“You’re always nicer to me than you should be.”

“Not to change the subject, pet; but are you going to need to go home anytime soon? For a nap I mean? I don’t want you up too much just because you don’t know how to say you need to go home.”

“Do I look bad or something?”

“Nah, pet, I can just see that you’re getting a little paler and just moving a bit slower—don’t look quite as steady I guess,” he explained.

“Do you think…would I be able to get Anya to stay with Dawn for a little while? Until I can come back?”

“Probably.”

“And can I tell them not to let Giles, Willow, or Xander see her?”

“Don’t know—but I bet the two of us—you being her daughter, me being her proxy and all.”

“You seem way too happy about that.”

“Just been a long time since someone actually trusted me to take care of them.”

“I trust you to take care of me.”

“That one’s just harder for me to believe.”

“You at least starting to believe it more?”

“Definitely,” and he really was.

“Good because I was going to have to get really annoyed with you if not; and I’m too tired to do that.”

“Wouldn’t want that. Want me to go talk to the nurses and you can talk to them?” he asked, looking at her mother’s room.

“Yes please; if it doesn’t work, just come get me and we can work on them.”

Spike loved that no matter how sick she was, no matter how tired, she was still ready to be his big, tough Slayer.




“It’s all my fault!”

“What?” Buffy asked, trying to wake herself up. Spike had, quite literally, taken her home about three or four hours ago and up until just then she had been sleeping. His bursting into her room with that proclamation wasn’t exactly expected. “What are you talking about, Spike?”

“Remember I told you I had a theory about why you were sick?”

“Yeah,” she said slowly, “you were going to explain it to me after I woke up.”

“Oh right, sorry,” he seemed to realize he’s just woken her—finally. “You, uh, go back to sleep and I’ll tell you later.”

“Not so fast mister. Now you’ve got to tell me; you’ve gotten me curious and everything.”

“You remember how that vamp came to warn you about a curse being put on you?”

“The one Mom’s sure you sent.”

“Yeah, that one; I did actually send him though so now he can just be ‘the one you sent’.”

“Alright, yes I remember the vampire you sent to warn me.” Spike was being strange even for him and it had her worried.

“See, there was this witch and you’d killed the vampire that had been her ‘mate’ of sorts and so she was off to kill you for that. But I convinced her that I’d been trying to kill you long enough that if you were going to die, that I should have some fun first. I…She’d already called up her ‘spirits’ or what all so I knew some sort of curse, spell, whatever had to be done or else…Anyway, I asked her to uh, do my thing and then she could kill you.”

“What did you ask her to do, Spike?”

“I killed her right after, promise. And uh, see this is where I think it’s my fault. I asked her to make you feel what I feel.” Before she could even say a word he was defending himself, “It was right after you’d shut me out Slayer and I was…I was…so it wasn’t so much mad as….”

“I hurt you so you wanted to hurt me; makes sense.”

”That’s just the thing, though. I…I wanted you to feel how it feels to love someone and have them not love you back…I figured that….I thought that after a while you’d see you did—or at least could—love me and then I wouldn’t feel like it was unrequited and wouldn’t be so sodding miserable and so then you wouldn’t be either…”

”You figured in the end, it’d fix itself by us being in love with each other?”

“Sounded a lot better when I thought of it,” he admitted. “And you have to remember that I only had a few seconds to think of what to say.”

“Okay….but I’m not seeing what’s your fault then.”

“Your friends!”

“My friends?” she asked, really not understanding what he was talking about.

“Yeah, them not being here…I think it’s…I think it’s because of the curse. I think it’s making them not…”

“Not care about me?”

“Well…yeah.”

”But following your logic, wouldn’t I then be missing them a lot? Wouldn’t I care that they were gone?”

“Don’t you?” he asked slowly, feeling he’d lost control of this conversation.

“Yeah I miss them but not in the way that I wish they’d come back anytime soon…I miss them but I’m kind of pissed at them, too so—“

“I was pissed off at you sometimes,” he supplied.

“Spike,” she said softly, “much as you want to fix this…I don’t think that’s what it is.”

“Say you’re right,” Spike wasn’t ready to give in just yet—it had taken him a long time to come to this decision. “Maybe it’s what’s making you not hate me! Ever think of that? Maybe you’re only feeling the good ‘love’ part of what I feel?” He so wanted to have the answer, she could tell.

“Spike,” she asked, already settling herself back against the pillows, “do you love me?”

“What are you…Have you not been paying attention? Always knew you could be a bit daft, but really, Slayer—“

“Spike? Not to sound like a bitch, which I’m sure this will, but…I don’t love you.” She ignored his calling her daft—for now.

“I don’t expect you to. This is all something new for you; I never thought you would—Oh,” he finished softly.

“Yeah…so see, I don’t think it’s that either. I’m sorry.”

“I just…never mind, you get back to sleep, pet; sorry for waking you.”

“Spike?”

“Yeah?”

“Don’t be sorry for trying to figure this all out. That on its own was more than my friends’ have come up with to date.”

“But I should…I was there,” he explained. “I should know what she said—what it means and how to fix it.”

“Why don’t you know what she said?” Buffy wondered.

“It was some language I don’t know—I tried to use the ones I do know to see if I could guess the meaning of it, so…She could have said anything--”

“Spike? We’ll figure it out, okay? Now, why don’t you get some rest, too? You’ve been doing more than I have for just as long—I know you’re not sick and all, but…just rest a little before we go back?”

“You want me to go back with you?”

“Of course I do; now will you please get some rest?”

“Yeah” he agreed, not ready to give up his ‘researching’—even if it only consisted of doing as much thinking as he could, “I’ll just go have a lie down on the sofa, yeah?”

Buffy felt a small urge to ask him to stay with her, but then she remembered; they were going to stay just friends until all this was over and done with…staying in her bed might be pushing that.

But, she thought as he left the room, maybe it wouldn’t. Maybe she could ask Anya or someone what they thought?

With that decided and knowing that Spike was downstairs trying—despite what they might have agreed to—to figure everything out, Buffy closed her eyes again and fell asleep within minutes.





TBC........
Chapter 25 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I promise, promise, promise I'm working on finishing a new fic to post for you...


Thank you everyone for all the reviews :)
Chapter 25


The next three days were fairly simple—Buffy would wake up, make sure Dawn got off to school, then after she was dressed she—or usually she and Spike—would go to the hospital for a few hours before coming home so she could rest. Then after Dawn was home, Spike would help her with her homework, one of them—which usually ended up being Dawn and Spike strangely enough—made dinner, and after dinner they’d go with Dawn to see Joyce.

It has also been three days of Spike noticing how little Buffy ate unless Dawn was around. He’d come by in time for breakfast and been surprised when Buffy told Dawn not to worry, she’d be eating hers in a little while. He knew for a fact that she wasn’t going to be doing any such thing.

“Buffy?” he asked when he knew she had no way of getting away from him and thus avoiding the question.

“Yes?” she wondered, her chin resting on his shoulder as he carried her piggy back through the sewers toward the hospital. She hadn’t told him yet, but smelling him made it a lot easier not to smell the sewage—which wasn’t so good for the whole nausea bit.

“Why aren’t you eating?”

“What? I eat….sometimes,” she finished lamely.

“Pet, you’re not eating breakfast. I’ve been letting you off lunch because hospital food isn’t the most nutritious and I thought you’d been eating breakfast. You can’t eat nothing until dinner, pet. Especially not with how little you eat then and how sick you’ve been,” he tried to keep his voice calm, but he really was worried about her and sometimes that made him sound harsher than he intended.

“You’re not my mother, Spike,” Buffy haughtily informed him, not happy to have been caught in her lie.

“No, pet, I’m not. I have a feeling she’d be a bit less nice about it. Why aren’t you eating, luv? Are you trying to…” he couldn’t find a way to even ask it.

“No, I’m not trying to kill myself or something. God! Why does everyone think I’m doing this for the fun of it?”

“I didn’t say that, pet. I just…I just don’t understand.’

“So why couldn’t you just ask?”

“I did,’ he reminded her gently.

“Yeah and then you suggested I was trying to starve myself, kind of takes away from the asking.”

“I’m sorry—you know how bad I am about saying stupid shit. I’m just worried, luv.”

“Yeah, well I’m worried, too. But if I get these horrible headaches more the more I eat-and then I start feeling like I’m going to throw up because my damn head hurts so much…as long as I drink stuff like evil Gatorade a lot during the day, I’m okay.”

“Evil Gatorade?”

”It tastes like it,” she defended herself.

“Buffy, you’re not okay, you realize that right? We need to figure out something so you can eat more—you need food pet.”

“Could always be a vampire, then I wouldn’t,” she mused.

“Would you quit saying that!?”

Buffy hadn’t expected him to get so mad at her. “I was just kidding, Spike. Just meant that all this eating and sleeping and everything wouldn’t be such an issue then.”

“Yeah, ;cept you’d be dead,” he said coldly. “And it’s not exactly something to joke about when you’ve already gotten yourself nearly killed once already. If you’re thinking I’m going to do something you can just forget it.”

“Spike—“

“Just save it, alright? I’m only not leaving you here because…well I can’t,” and he meant due to that conscience she was always trying to say he didn’t have. “We’ll go see your mum then I’ll take you home and I’ll be back round if the Bit needs it.”

Some days she wished she weren’t so good at making Spike mad. He was always saying how he said the stupid stuff…she was pretty sure she had him beat there.



“Buffy?” her mother asked, trying not to sound amused. “Why is Spike sitting in the corner? And why is he…sulking?”

“I’m not sulking,” he muttered grumpily.

Buffy answered her question anyway, “Because I don’t eat enough.” She heard the ‘huhmph’ he gave to that answer. “That,” Buffy finally admitted, “and he’s decided I’m trying to get myself turned.”

“Into what?” Joyce asked, the answer not even occurring to her.

”A bleedin’ vampire!” Obviously Spike was over the sulking bit. He never had been too good at staying quiet—he was more a yell at you when he was mad kind of guy than a silent treatment one. In fact, she wasn’t sure he could stay silent any longer than ten seconds. Even walking to the hospital while he was ‘not talking to her’ and then at the hospital while he was ‘not sulking’ he’d been muttering things at her every few seconds.

“Buffy is that true?” her mother asked, her voice neutral.

“What is wrong with you bloody women?! Do you not see how this is a bad thing?”

“No,” Buffy assured her. “He’s just taking two things I said way far apart—I don’t even remember the first one to tell the truth—and deciding I want him to turn me or something.”

“You’re forgetting the bit where you almost let the vampire who said he wanted to drain you, kill you,” Spike all but stomped back to the chair he’d pulled across the room. “Probably wouldn’t be me anyway. Probably ask the poof or something.”

“William, why are you so worried about her?” Joyce asked and both Buffy and Spike looked at her oddly. “You know her well enough to know that’s not what she wants. You also know that the fight that night was just her making a mistake. Chance is these things she said were just…things she said without thinking about them.”

So someone other than Buffy herself saw that she did that. That was nice to know.

“I’m not…It’s nothing; I’m being a wanker, sorry. You’ll excuse me while I…take a walk?”

“As long as no sunlight’s involved, sure.”

Spike only gave Buffy a dirty look before laving the room.

“I think I broke Spike,” Buffy mumbled just after he left.

“While I’ll admit he’s acting a bit strangely today I highly doubt it’s your fault, sweetheart.”

“He’s at the house almost all the time. He comes here with me, then usually he…well he does something while I take a nap or just rest, then he helps Dawn with her homework and dinner, an then he’s back here with us again at night…He’s only going home for like an hour total during the day and then at night. And I’m not really sure,” Joyce noticed how worried her daughter sounded, “that he’s getting any sleep at all.”

“Why would you think that, sweetie?”

“Because from eight thirty in the morning until nine o’clock at night I know he’s not asleep and…I’m pretty sure that from nine until the sun comes up he’s not either.”

“He’s back to the tree thing?”

“Yeah….Which would be fine except….he needs to sleep at some point.”

“Have you told him that you’re worried?”

“I’ve tried to get him to rest when I do…but he’s always downstairs or at his crypt doing something—and the one time I went to his crypt, besides being mad at me for walking that far, he was looking through a bunch of books.”

“So I can figure out what the bloody hell I’ve done to you.”

“Do you have a habit of just popping up in doorways and conversations or is it something to do with us?” Buffy asked, looking up to see Spike still in the doorway.

“I’m moving in with you,” he stated without preamble leaving Buffy stunned and Joyce only slightly surprised.



TBC......
Chapter 26 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I'm late again aren't I? Sorry....I've been trying to figure out php/cgi stuff and I got distracted

and no, I still don't have a new story for you yet but the good news is that I keep starting things so, once I actually finish some, you'll have a lot to read :)
Chapter 26

“What?” Buffy asked after a few moments.

“Actually, I’d rather William tell me why it is he thinks he’s done something to you, first.”

“Oh yeah,” Buffy said, “I forgot we hadn’t told you that. I think he’s never going to find anything because it’s not--“

“It is my fault, Slayer,” he interrupted, coming further into the room. “I told the witch—because she had to do some sort of spell or bad stuff was going to happen—I told her to make Buffy feel what I feel.”

“And how is that affecting Buffy?”

“I thought I’d shown him that it’s not…but he’s convinced that because he doesn’t know the exact words that she used that he’s missing something.”

“I have to be!”

“Spike,” Joyce said soothingly.

“Why can’t you see?” he asked and Buffy didn’t know what to do when she saw he nearly had tears in his eyes. “It has to be my fault; if it’s my fault I can go fix it, go kill it…or you can kill me. If it’s my fault then it’s not…”

“Then it’s not something we’ll never find an answer to?” Joyce guessed, voicing her own fear as well.

“Yeah,” Spike agreed, trying to get his voice even again. “Even when Dru—I’ve always been able to figure out how…I should know! I should have some idea!”

“No one else does either,” Buffy reminded him, truly stunned that he cared this much.

”But that’s why I should,” he disagreed. “They don’t know and…someone has to be the one to know and Rupert and Willow aren’t exactly…They should have the whole bloody Council working on this….they should…I almost called Angelus the other day to get him to look into it….You save the world time after time and they can’t even manage two people trying to…”

Buffy had never heard him call that many people by their names at one time. Like ever.

“Maybe they’re looking more than we know,” Buffy had had to convince herself of that very fact already.

“I just don’t see how they…You weren’t even talking to me and I was trying to figure it out, I just don’t understand how….”

“How what?” Joyce asked.

“How people who’ve claimed to love her….who’ve…five years, Buffy. Five bloody years and they can’t even manage five weeks…five people! How can they not—“

“Buffy do you think I could speak with William for just a moment?”

“Sure…I’ll go get something to drink.” Yeah, something to drink and a way to come to terms with everything that had been said in the last ten minutes



She was looking at him expectantly and Spike knew he’d have to tell her. Maybe it would be better to finally say it to someone.

“I just can’t understand how they can love her and not be absolutely terrified,” this time there were tears in his eyes.

“Neither do I,” Joyce agreed sadly. “Neither do I. For years I’ve trusted Rupert to take care of her, believed that her friends would do anything for her…I don’t know if it’s some sort of fear or denial or—I don’t really care. All I know is that this is when my little girl needs them the most and they’ve been to our house once, once to tell her that they’d yet to find anything out.

If this was something that was going to end the world, they’d be there day and night pouring over the books—looking at anything and everything.”

“Be the end of my world,” Spike mumbled and Joyce smiled at him weakly.

“Probably everyone else’s too…I fear….they think it is the three of them that has kept this town safe the past few weeks; they think they can do it.”

“I’ve been patrolling for her some.”

“I know you have and…and I have a good feeling that without you, just about every demon anywhere would know that the Slayer’s been out of it. This town would be run over within a week…

I don’t know if they’re just truly that insensitive or if they think she’s going to cure herself, but…I think perhaps you and Buffy need to have a talk with them—perhaps including Anya as well.”

“You know I’m going to want to kill them, right?”

“I wouldn’t expect any less; just don’t.”

“Won’t touch a hair on their heads,” he agreed.

“So what is this about you moving into my home?”

Spike was just sure he was in for it now, but she didn’t sound upset with him—or she was hiding it very well.

“I…I should have spoken to you about it first, but…I think they need someone there to…look out for them. Buffy’s trying too much so that Dawn will think she’s okay and the Bit’s trying to take care of the both of them—think she’s forgetting she’s the kid sis, shouldn’t have to be doing all she is.”

“And you moving in will help? When she saw his worried look, Joyce took pity n him, “Relax William, I know I will I just wanted to be sure you did as well. I’ve been worried about the two of them since I’ve been here…I know it’s only a few days, but…too much has been falling on Dawn and I’m sure Buffy’s…she’s going to make herself sicker just so that Dawn won’t worry—even though she already is.”

“Exactly.”

“So you’ll be moving in?”

“Think I should ask Buffy first.”

“Hey look, I can do this door popping up thing too.”

She looked so pleased with herself—so happy—when he turned around that Spike couldn’t help but smile himself and unbeknownst to him, that made Buffy happy as well—she didn’t like being the reason he was so mad and then so upset—at least not anymore.

“So you can, luv. Is it as fun as you thought?”

“Would have been better if it’d been while you were talking about something juicy,” she kidded. “But you weretalking about me so I guess it’s kind of fun.

So what’d you talk about?”

“Wouldn’t telling you defeat the whole purpose of having you not here?” her mother wondered.

”Okay, maybe,” she agreed. “So what did you talk about that I get to know about?”

“’Bout me moving in long as you agree to it,” Spike started.

“So he says, I say your opinion on the matter doesn’t really, well, matter. It’s what’s going to happen whether you like it or not.”

“Gee thanks, Mom. But don’t worry Spike, I wasn’t going to try to stop you anyway. Well actually I just have one condition.”

“Buffy—“ her mother warned.

“Hey! Give me some credit here, it’s one you’ll agree with.”

“Fine.”

“You can Patrol early, but you have to start getting some sleep.”

“But, pet, I have to—“

“She’s right on this one,” Joyce agreed. “You need sleep…or you’re going to be of no good to anyone—especially yourself. Everyone needs sleep, Spike.”

“I’ve been doing alright,” he protested.

“No you haven’t,” Joyce said. “You’re getting more upset, more worried—and more so than you would if you were well rested. And I don’t want you out there fighting alone when you’re tired.”

“Yeah,” Buffy agreed, “Patrolling when you’re tired is bad too.” She looked far too happy, in Spike’s opinion, that she and her mother were ganging up on him.

“Yeah, alright, fine. Means you have to agree to the second thing though,” he told Buffy.

“Second thing?”

“That we were talking about,” Joyce clarified.

“What is it?” she was just a little—okay more than a little—worried about what her mother and Spike were going to make her do.

“You have to have a good old fashion Scooby meeting—well ‘cept I get to go this time. And Anyanka’s gonna be there too.”

“I’ve told you I don’t want to be around those three right now,” gone was her happy mood.

“Buffy,” her mother wanted to be the one to explain it—she had after all decided it, “I think you and Spike—with Anya and Dawn there for support if nothing else—need tell them what Spike told you. There’s the possibility that they’ve already found something that they didn’t realize was important. I also think it would be beneficial to you—as well as Spike—if you found out just what it was they had ‘researched’ so far, so that you don’t necessarily cover the same ground—“

“—I’ll still probably look at it,” Spike interrupted carefully, “Not sure I trust them to have done it…least not well enough.”

“Just call it a fact finding mission. Then you don’t have to talk to them again until you want to—except, if you do it before the surgery, do ask that they don’t visit me. Seeing Rupert at the moment might just give me a heart attack or something equally as undesirable.”

“They’re all going to be mad, you know?”

“Do you care at the moment?”

“Little bit,” she admitted. “Wish I didn’t but still….but I also—it’s bad, I know but in a way I also want them to be mad.”

“Why don’t you two go and start moving Spike’s things?” Joyce suggested, knowing it had been an emotional morning for them all.

“But we—“

“I’ll be alright Buffy.”

“Come on, luv. Let’s let your mum get some rest.”

“Yeah, okay,” Buffy said, missing he smile of thanks Buffy gave her mother. “You know Dawn is going to love this.”



TBC........




Thanks for all the reviews........oh, and congratulations to everyone who won at the Lost in Spike Awards :)
Chapter 27 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry it's a little later in the day that usual :)
Chapter 27


“This is so cool!” Dawn was literally bouncing and Spike wondered just how much sugar that school allowed her to have

“So you’re okay with it?” Buffy asked the completely unnecessary question.

“It’s going to be so great!”

“Still going to do your work and get to bed on time, Bit,” Spike didn’t want her thinking this would be some party.

“I know,” she agreed, still smiling ear to ear. “Thank you,” she whispered quietly in Spike’s ear as she hugged him and he realized she really did need this.

“We’re going to have a Scooby meeting,” Buffy had decided to get the badness out of the way quickly and was doing the same with telling Dawn about it.

“Why?” Spike could tell she was trying not to still smile even as she angrily asked her question.

“I don’t want them here anymore than you do, Dawnie—“

“Then why are they going to be here?”

“We just need to see if they’ve found out anything and tell them everything we know in case something they’ve read becomes important once you add our stuff in.”

“I’m not talking to them.”

“You don’t have to,” Buffy assured her, “You don’t even have to stay if you don’t want.”

“No, I’m letting them know they screwed up—even if it’s just looking all grrr at them.”

“I bet you can get Demon girl to help you with that one,” Spike offered.

“Anya’s coming?”

“Well I’m asking her too—as soon as I find her phone number,” Buffy trailed off trying to remember just how she was going to get in touch with Anya.

“Actually,” Dawn admitted sheepishly, “ANYA!” Dawn pulled some little silver thing out of her pocket as she yelled—and they meant yelled—Anya’s name.

Moments later Anya, still her human looking self, was standing in front of them. “Hello,” she said perkily.

“Hi,” Dawn replied then added, “Buffy has to ask you something.”

“Thank you for the explanation of your call,” Anya said politely. “Oh and I see Spike is here. Very good, Buffy.”

Buffy blushed slightly, wanting to at least kick Spike for the way he laughed at her before taking Dawn upstairs to start her homework. She then proceeded to tell Anya both that Spike was moving in and about the plan for the night.

“While I do not wish t see Xander again so soon, I think I will come because then you will have more people.”

“We’re okay with not a lot of people,” Buffy assured her.

“No, no,” Anya shook her head, “I mean that then there will be three of them and four of us. You will have more people on your side.”

“Huh,” Buffy said thoughtfully, “I hadn’t thought of that.”

“In situations such as this, numbers can be a very important thing. It is a subconscious thing that tells your adversary that you are indeed the one that is right, simply because more people agree with you.”

“The majority isn’t always right, though,” Buffy said.

“It’s just a way human’s brain’s work—they see more as better. It will be a good thing for me to stay, yes. What time should I come back?”

“Well, you’re welcome to stay if you want, but uh, I told them to be here at six—“

“Which means that Rupert at least will arrive at, at least ten to.”

“What?”

“Showing up early when the meeting is on the other side’s territory gives you back a bit of the power by catching them off guard.”

“Did you like plan wars or something?” Buffy couldn’t help but wonder.

“I have done a lot in 1200 years.”

“I will be here at five thirty if that is alright?” Buffy assured her that it was. “Good, now, make sure you are all ready and waiting by five forty five; it will throw him off guard when you are not indeed surprised by his early appearance.”

“Okay,” Buffy said slowly, “I guess I’ll see you later?”

“Yes, by five thirty, no later.” And in another few moments she was gone.



“Is there like some secret Code of Warfare book that no one told me about?”

“What?” Dawn asked while Spike just looked at her quizzically.

“Well, Anya’s going to come—and partially because it being four against three will help our case. She’s also going to come by five thirty to make sure we’re ready by five forty five—“

“I thought the meeting was at six.”

“Yeah, but she says since the meeting’s on our ‘territory’ that Giles will probably show up early to try and throw us off balance.”

“Hadn’t thought of that, but it makes sense. Guess I was just underestimating the Watcher.”

“You knew all this?”

“When you have to have a meeting with your ‘enemy’ and you have to go to their place to do it, you never show up on time if you’ve got any sense about you.”

“Okay,” Buffy said, “from now on you and Anya get to decide all the tactical stuff.”

“It’s nothing bad that you didn’t know—Anyanka and I’ve just had different experiences than you, pet.”

“But if Giles knows it then he probably told me at some point and that just means I was a dolt and forgot.”

“No it means you have too much going on at the moment to make yourself think of your Watcher as your enemy. Perfectly understandable.”

“Maybe,” Spike was always trying to make her sound smarter. “You and Anya are still in charge though.”

“You guys should go rest up,” Dawn said, elaborating when they looked at her oddly, “What is it with people not listening to me? This is a big stupid thing and you,” she pointed at Spike, “are going to have to use a lot of energy not to hit anybody. And you,” she looked at Buffy, “this is going to be hard—the more you rest the less they have on you.”

“When’d your sister get so smart, luv?”

“I have absolutely no idea.”

“Hey! I’ve been smart…you just haven’t noticed.”

“Okay, I’ll go rest—but you two better make sure I’m awake by five, okay?”

“Promise,” Dawn assured her, leaning over to set one of her alarms to five pm.

When Buffy had closed the door to her room, Spike turned to Dawn.

“Thanks for that, pet. Don’t know if she’d have done it otherwise and it really is a probably good idea—not sure she realizes how hard it’s going to be to be against the people that’ve been the ones backing her up over past five or so years.”

“Which is why I was also serious about you resting too—the harder it is for you, the more she gets upset; the harder it will be for you to keep your little nonviolence pledge.”

“But I don’t want to,” he…whined.

“Yeah and you’re not twelve or anything. Seriously, just go do it. It’s like an hour and fifteen minutes. I bet you could even do it in Buffy’s room,” she suggested.

Spike smirked at the thought—and the possibilities it provided—before remembering just who it was making the suggestion. “Quit thinking like that.”

“What? Like you’re going to have sex with my sister at some point?”

“Yes!” he cried nearly jumping off the bed and away from her. “It’s…it’s….Just don’t do it.”

“Why? You don’t think it’ll happen?” she asked nonchalantly.

“Doesn’t matter what I think,” he said evasively—not even allowing himself to think about it. “You just stop thinking it….’s creepy.”

“You’ve been a vampire for more than a hundred years and that’s what you find creepy?”

“Yes!” he insisted.

“Fine. Still not going to shut up about you and Buffy having sex until you at least go in there and sit in the freaking chair or something; we all know you want to.”

“You can’t tell me what to do. I’m the Big Bad and you’re just—“

“I wonder if you’ll still have sex in her room with Mom home or if you’ll go to your crypt…but that doesn’t have a bed really so you’d have to—“

“Alright, alright! I’m doing—just shut your trap already.”

Spike practically ran to Buffy’s door, knocking on it quickly, only entering when he heard her invitation.

“Spike?”

“Yeah, uh,” he began nervously….”Can I sit over there?” he pointed to the first chair he saw.

“Well yeah, but why?”

“Bit’s little rest order.”

“And you’re going to rest by sitting in my room in that chair?”

“Yeah,” he answered quickly.

“Spike what’s going on?”

“Bit wouldn’t shut it about us having sex—and where and the lack of beds and your mum being home and us—She made me come in here,” he looked incredibly uncomfortable.

“So Dawn creeped you out by talking about us having sex until you came in here?”

“’s not right for her to be thinking about all of that,” he insisted.

“Just one question.”

“Sure.”

”Was it that it was Dawn saying it or was it….what she was saying?” Buffy hoped to God she didn’t sound as anxious as she felt.

“What?” he still seemed a little frazzled from his talk with her sister.

“Which part creeped you out?”

“You’re honestly asking me that question?” he asked when he realized, finally, what she meant.

“Well you could—“

“Pet, quit playing dumb.”

“I just wanted to…I would like it if you stayed in here, you know? But since I said no more kissing and stuff it’s up to you—completely.”

“Told you, chair looks right comfy.”

Deciding to let it slide this time Buffy just smiled at him softly before lying back down and pulling the covers up around her, the bear from Spike wrapped in her arms.

Spike noticed the bear but didn’t know what to say to the fact so he just kept quiet as Buffy gently drifted off to sleep.




TBC......


Thank you for all of the reviews :) and in case I didn't say so already, congratulations to everyone who won at Lost in Spike Awards and good luck to anyone nominated in the new round :-)
Chapter 28 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I know you're sick of hearing me say it, but...I am working on some new fics (two for Spuffy Haven's 'Art Before Fic' Challenge and then some others as well)...I'm really sorry it's been so long without a new story :(
Chapter 28

“Don’t do that to him!” Buffy had pulled Dawn aside once she, Spike, and Anya were sure everything was ready for their ‘meeting’.

“Do what?” Dawn asked with faux innocence.

“You know what! Seriously Dawn if you remind him too many times that I’m…he’s going to realize it’s not worth sticking around and—I can’t take him leaving right now okay?”

All traces of humor left the younger Summers’ face, “You honestly think that?”

“I know it. He’s helping so much with Mom and he’s making sure I don’t do too much and with you—“

“I meant about him leaving, Buffy.”

“He’s going to remember at some point that before this week I’d hardly admit to not hating him. I…I know it’s kind of a quick change from how I was but…I’ve just realized that past couple of days that it’s really not worth screwing around and not doing what you want just because someone else says it’s wrong…but there’s a lot of…he has a lot of reason to leave already, don’t remind him of another one.”

Without any more than a weak smile, Dawn walked around Buffy to leave and Buffy was ready to get on her for just leaving until she saw the reason for her sister’s departure.

“Do you hear like everything?”

“Gotta go with the Niblet on this one,” he ignored her question. “Do you really think all that Buffy?”

“Well…yeah.”

“Buffy I’ll admit that this has been a fast turnaround for you—“

“Spike, I…my mom might die and who knows what’s wrong with me and I just….I realized…I realized that living my life just so that Giles, Willow, and Xander would be happy with me…that kinda sucks. Because well…they don’t have the same views on stuff as me and they….well they….”

“They’re not you, luv.”

“Yeah…so living my life how they’d live it…after they got so disappointed in me with Angel and that crashed and burned I thought maybe, you now, that they could see things better than I could.”

“If what they saw was Captain Cardboard we’re going to have to get them some glasses, pet.”

“I can’t promise I’m not going to screw up and do something the way I would have before, but…it’ll just be a reactionary thing so…can you please try to put up with me for at least a little while? I’ve had a lot of time to think—stuck at home and all—so I’m sure about this and all but….I haven’t had a lot of practice, so…”

“You seem to keep forgetting that ‘I’m not going anywhere’ bit of the deal. Wouldn’t even if you started dating the whelp….Okay,” he said after a second, “so I might leave for a day or two to recover my sanity, but then I’d be back.”

Wishing that she didn’t know that kissing him would actually be bad, Buffy settled for hugging him. She’d expected it to be just a quick hug of thanks, but soon he’d wrapped his arms around her and was holding her to him.

“You do know I’d never—like ever—really date him, don’t you?”

“Pretty sure.”

“Pretty sure?” she asked incredulously. “I’m going to have to take that as an insult.” She smiled against his shirt, “And here I was, all ready to thank you for not having gotten sick of me yet.”

He pulled back from her, keeping his hands on her upper arms—which he noticed sadly, were thinner and less muscular than before. “I love you Buffy,” he said, enunciating and separating each word, saying it with as much feeling as he could. “That means all of you. Not just when you make sense or have it all together, but when you have no idea what the hell you’re doing, too; when it’s all gone to Hell and you don’t know how you’re going to get out of it. All the time. There’s nothing—aside from running off with the poof maybe—that would ever make me love you any less than I do right now.”

“But I haven’t given you any reason to.”

“You’ve given me plenty; but if you want to think like you haven’t, well then just think of how great it’ll be when you do.”

“So I hear that you’re a bad poet, but…there’s no way on Earth that that’s possible.”

“Oh believe me,” he laughed darkly, “it’s incredibly possible.”

“Write me a poem sometime to prove it then?”

“We’ll see. Now let’s get back before Anyanka gives the Bit any more to tell me about sex,” he glared at Buffy s she left the room laughing. “It’s not bloody funny.”



“We just thought that you should know that in case in made anything you’d come across in your research make sense,” Buffy said twenty minutes into the doomed meeting having just explained, with Spike, what had transpired that night with the witch.

“So we are just supposed to believe Spike? Believe that he didn’t ask her to do something to you, something that is making you sick?”

“I told you,” Spike tersely answered Giles, “I don’t know exactly what she said.”

“Oh, so you might be killing Buffy, but you’re not sure. I feel so much better now,” Willow said.

“Gee thanks for having decided I’m a goner already,” Buffy said sarcastically but Spike and Dawn could tell that it really hurt her.

“Well, Buffy, it’s not exactly like you’re getting any better—“ Xander tried to explain.

“Yeah because you lot won’t do a sodding thing to help!”

“We have done as much as is possible,” Giles replied.

“Yeah? So you read every book you’ve got at home and everywhere else? You talked to the Council to get them to work on it? You had Red look into Internet stuff? You called hospitals and spoke with neurologists, cardiologists, infectious disease docs, and internists? You put everything else aside to find out what’s happening to her? You had Anyanka and I ask around with the demons that we knew it’d stay safe with? You’ve done all that? Really?” Spike actually had asked Anya just a few minutes before the meeting if she would mind asking Halfrek and De’Hofryn and anyone else if they knew anything about the witch.

“We can’t possibly be expected to entirely put our lives aside to—“

“Yeah, that’s what we figured,” Dawn spoke up for the first time and her tone let them all know how disappointed she was. “See, you can’t set your life aside for a few weeks to figure out what’s wrong with my sister even though she’s put her life aside whenever you’ve asked for the last five years just to save your sorry asses.”

“She is the Slayer,” Giles began.

“Right,” Anya interrupted, “and even if you don’t care at all about Buffy—which has me very disappointed because she is a very wonderful person—you should be trying to save your Slayer.

She’s already died so you’ve already gotten your new Slayer; if she dies again, you’re stuck with Faith. How do you think you’re going to keep the Hellmouth, the world for that matter, safe without Buffy?”

“We’ve been doing very well for the past several weeks,” Giles really was irritating Anya tonight.

“You really are a stupid man Rupert for being as educated as you claim to be. You all honestly believe that it’s been the three of you—and me before—taking care of things every night?”

“We’ve been out there killing the vamps, Ahn. And Will knows the spells to do for the demons.”

“I’m ashamed to say I dated you for so long Xander Harris.”

“What are you insinuating Anya?” Willow asked; she never had liked her.

“Okay, who wants to tell them?”

“I think Spike should get to,” Dawn spoke up and Buffy quickly agreed.

“Yeah?” Spike asked, “Alright then. You’re not dead because I’ve been taking care of the vamps that can fight worth a damn and the ones—demons too—that I know could get word out that the Slayer’s been out of commission for a bit.”

“You expect us to believe that?” Giles scoffed.

“Rupert, how many demons have you heard about knowing about what’s happened to Buffy?” Anya asked.

“We told you,” Willow objected, “we’re taking care of it.”

“Yeah, you know, I’d say that I’d stop for a week to prove it to you, but then everyone, everywhere would find out about Buffy and much as I don’t care what happens to you all, I’m going to protect them,” he indicated the girls on his side of the room.

“Oh please!” Xander rolled his eyes, “Anya’s going to go tell everyone up in wherever the Hell she’s from and you’re probably just biding your time until you can turn her somehow.”

“Okay, last point of the night,” Buffy said quickly, “then you three are out of here and not coming back—oh and you can’t visit my mother either.”

“Buffy I don’t think you are in a position to make choices like that for Joyce,” Giles tried.

“Maybe, maybe not, but she told me to tell you. And while she’s in surgery and until she’s fully awake and everything again, Spike’s in a place to tell you that.”

“Spike can’t tell us any—“

“He’s her medical proxy so I wouldn’t try anything at the hospital,” Dawn said.

“Has your mother gone insane? He’s doing something to you Buffy and now he’s after your mother—“

“Shut up Giles,” Dawn said and Giles actually did so when he saw Buffy wasn’t going to say anything to her about it.

“Last point is that Spike’s moving in here so don’t go to his crypt to try anything.”

“Oh, Buffy, please! Dawn, surely you can make your sister see reason. I can understand how her mental capacity,” Giles didn’t notice Buffy holding Spike’s arm to keep him in his chair, “has been diminished and your mother’s as well; and Anya…she’s both a demon and out for revenge, so…But surely you can make her see reason.”

“I’ve got it Spike,” Dawn stopped him from answering, wanting to do this one herself.

“You know, I still thought….I was still going to be willing to forgive you for being such horrible friends to my sister if she wanted me to, but now…I don’t care what the hell you three have to say from now on. Giles’ you’re supposed to be her Watcher—she’s the Slayer and you’re supposed to take care of her, but who’s been the one here making sure she’s okay, who’s the one making sure she eats some and gets enough sleep? I was…and now Spike is. Not you, but Spike. Spike who is supposed to be evil and incapable of loving someone loves my sister more than the three of you combined.”

“Dawn—“

“Fine, even saying you don’t think he loves her; why weren’t you here Giles? You weren’t here for Buffy and none of you thought about me!” her voice broke a little, “Spike knew I couldn’t—I couldn’t keep being the one doing it all-and neither could Buffy. We needed someone and you weren’t here. At all; ever. The three of you have…I don’t know what’s happened to you and from this point on I don’t care.

“I’ll be perfectly happy if I never see any one of you ever again.”

She started to leave the room, but Spike stood up and followed her before anyone could say anything. “You got this covered, luv? Think I need to check on Niblet.”

Buffy knew he was leaving for more reasons than that, “Yeah, Anya and I’ve got it. They’re just about to leave anyway.”

“Until I say otherwise, don’t talk to or attempt to see me, my sister, my mother, or Spike. And if Anya wants you to leave her alone, you’d better do that too because despite what you all have decided, I am not going to die and if you do any of those things, I’ll kick your ass as soon as I’m able.

“Now leave please.”

“And yes, leave me alone, too, please,” Anya said politely.

“I guess this is goodbye then,” Willow said sadly.

“I guess so,” Buffy didn’t get up, allowing them to see themselves out.



TBC......


Huge amounts of 'thank you's to everyone who is still reading this fic..or to those who aren't that will still read my new fics when they show up finally ;)
Chapter 29 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
Dear Saturdays,

Quit being so dang busy, please.

Thank you,
Suzee

;)
Chapter 29

“Wait up,” Spike called softly after Dawn before she could make it to the kitchen.

“I’m not going back in there,” she argued angrily. “In fact I’m never talking to any of them again. I don’t care what any of you say,” she said stubbornly.

“You really think I’m here to tell you to go talk to the whelp?”

“Then why are you here?” she asked.

“Figured you might need…I don’t know. Wanted to say, though, that I’m sorry I wasn’t here sooner.”

”What do you mean?” she was trying to act mature and not cry.

“I should’ve been here for you and your mum and sis a lot sooner. Sorry it took me so long. You shouldn’t have been left alone with all that for so long.”

It was Dawn so of course his reaction was gentler than it would have been with anyone else, but Spike still surprised himself with how well he dealt with it when Dawn practically threw herself at him, her arms wrapping around him as she cried.

“Shh,” he murmured, “Don’t worry pet. Nothing to worry about now, yeah? Don’t have to do anything but be you; let Spike take care of the rest.”

“Are you going to leave once you get Buffy better?”

”What?” he wasn’t sure which surprised him more, her thinking he was going to leave or that she was so sure it was going to be him to heal her sister.

“Are you only staying until she gets better? Until someone else can take care o me again?”

“I’m always going o be here to take care of you, pet. Always.”




“Were they ever my friends?” Buffy asked quietly. The notion truly paining her.

“I think they were, Buffy,” Anya said. “I think that maybe in the beginning it was that you were Buffy and you happened to be the Slayer and—“

“Then I became the Slayer who just happened to be named Buffy?”

“I wish I could tell you that I didn’t believe that, but…I think Willow’s getting more interested in magic and so that makes her…I think that she sees people, at least that have something to do with the supernatural, as what they are ahead of who they are…does that make sense? I don’t think she ever saw me as anything other than a former vengeance demon…”

“Like it’s her new thing so everything’s centered around it right now?”

“People can be stupid when they’re young,” Anya explained and Buffy was reminded that of the four people in the house right now, she was the youngest by at least one hundred years.

“Is it pathetic that the only people who can still see me as a person aren’t technically ‘people’—at least not according to some people, not mean I mean, but some people…I mean you were a vengeance demon, Spike’s a vampire, and Dawn’s this mystical ball of energy.”

“Or perhaps when it all comes down to it, people that haven’t…who don’t have a personal connection to the otherworldly stuff…sure Willow can do magic, but she’s not a full blown witch and…”

“And I’m never really going to be a normal girl,” Buffy laughed, but it soon turned to tears.

“Maybe we just know more of what it’s like,” Anya suggested. “I know it’s not great, but…you do have me and Dawn—and Spike of course.”

“That is great because…I’ve been seeing…Giles and Xander can be so judgmental…I don’t know if it’s because of Angel or what but…I just always thought that Willow…”

“I think Xander tainted her. I believe she’s been his friend so long she doesn’t know how to choose anyone over him even when deep down she knows he’s wrong.”

“I guess everyone…or almost everyone, grows apart from their high school friends—especially when their lives are becoming so different….I guess it’s just hard to have it be so sudden and so…”

”With them deciding you’re dying?”

“Yeah, that. I’d have thought…Even now if some demon had to be killed in order to save one of their lives—even if I had to find out which one…I’d still do it because of the last five years.”

“For as much as you deal with death, Buffy,” Anya said very thoughtfully, “and maybe because of it, I think you know a lot more about life than most people.

“Not to sound like a bitch, but, you’re a lot smarter than I ever gave you credit for being.”

“That doesn’t make you sound like a bitch, Buffy. Willow and Xander just acted like I was a sex obsessed, immune to tact, not especially bright person—or in Willow’s case, demon. They were your friends so at first you took their opinions as what was true.”

“But I shouldn’t have taken so long—“

“I noticed that you would look oddly at Xander whenever he would tell me to shut up. You were just figuring out what to do. That you’ve done it at all is enough.”

“I think you and Spike are way too forgiving.”

“Or maybe we’ve just been around long enough to know that it’s not worth it to stay angry with people for what they didn’t do or because they didn’t do it sooner; that it makes your life much more worthwhile and enjoyable to take everything you can get when you know it’s offered sincerely.

“I’m never helping Dawn with her homework again.”



It was several moments later when Dawn seemed to think of something, “You’ll take care of me because you knew I couldn’t do all this.”

“It’s too much for any one person let alone a teenage girl to handle on her own.”

“And Giles said…I have to ask him something before he leaves. Come with me?”

No way was he leaving Dawn alone with the bastard ever again, let alone right now. “Let’s go, ‘fore he leaves and all.” He followed her silently as she all but raced down the hall and out the front door. He had enough thought to pull it shut behind him, not wanting Buffy to hear whatever it was Dawn and Rupert were going to have to say to each other.

Girl’d heard enough to last a lifetime already.


Giles was getting into his car when a teary eyed Dawn, with Spike right behind her appeared on the porch calling his name. For a moment he thought that she was going to forgive him…

“If you’re so sure that both my mother and sister have ‘diminished mental capacities’ then why did you leave me here by myself to ‘take care’ of them?”

Realizing her had no good answer, Giles simply finished getting into his car and drove away.

“Yeah, that’s what I thought,” she said sadly, turning back around to face Spike, sighing in relief when he wrapped an arm around her and hugged her to him. Reaching for the door he suggested to Dawn that they go inside and see how Buffy was doing.

“Yeah, that sounds good,” she said quietly and Spike had a feeling he was going to have two sad girls on his hands for a while.


“You had so better help me with my homework! These two suck when it comes to history; they’re always telling me how ‘it didn’t happen like that’ or ‘he was a right wanker’. Seriously, if I followed what they said,” Dawn continued and Buffy realize she hadn’t known Anya had been helping her sister already; she knew Spike had, but not Anya… “If you follow their version, Lincoln was a vampire who went around lamenting the failure of civil rights and Napoleon, well Anya never shuts up about him.”

“Lincoln is a vampire, least he was!” “Napoleon was a very interesting man,” Spike and Anya refuted at the same time.

And Buffy realized that just maybe everything would be okay.




TBC........please, please, please review? I do love them so :) and yay for the nominations this story got this past week :-D (I might just have to actually finish a new story for you now, huh?)


and if you didn't know--which I don't think most of you would--that Lincoln thing Spike said has to do with: http://ciley.livejournal.com/181234.html ...a very interesting little ficlet if I do say so myself....which I do :P
Chapter 30 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
oh how I need to finish a new fic...I did start posting 'Tired of Being Gone (Home)', a short story, however :) I hope you enjoy it
Chapter 30

“Spike?”

The night before, too tired to decide everything, Dawn and Buffy had slept in her room while Spike had taken Dawn’s bed—the two girls refusing to let him sleep on the sofa. Of course he’d gone on for about five minutes on how he was the Big Bad, Master Vampire, he did not sleep with stuffed animals; but in the end Dawn had moved most of them to the floor and everyone had gone to bed amicably.

Now it was morning and Spike had just seen Dawn off to school—having made her a breakfast of pancakes and sausage after they decided jointly not to wake Buffy.

Except now, it appeared she was awake.

“Ready to go, luv?” he was cleaning the pans and didn’t turn to look at her, assuming she’d gotten dressed and wanted to go see her mother.

“Spike?” she said again and this time something in her voice caused him to look at her.

“Buffy?! What’s wrong, baby?” Not even bothering to use a towel, Spike wiped his soapy hands on his jeans as he rushed over to the stairs and Buffy.

“I don’t feel so good,” she said weakly, leaning against the wall.

“Come on, we’re getting you upstairs,” Spike picked her up gently and carefully carried her back up the stairs to her room. Spike set her carefully on the bed before kneeling in front of her and looking at her critically. “I don’t think you can go see your mum right now, luv.”

“I think maybe I did too much yesterday…it hurts Spike,” she admitted begrudgingly.

“When was the last time you ate something, pet?” With all the goings on the night before he hadn’t paid as much attention to what she was eating.

“I think, uh…I don’t remember if I had anything yesterday, but I know we had dinner the other night.”

“Yeah and you just dug in then,” he muttered.

“It makes me feel bad,” she reminded him.

“I know, pet,” Spike knew Buffy was doing badly but it was hard to see something this extreme. It made sense though, she had hardly eaten in the past few days, there was all of the stress of her mother’s impending surgery, and then…well there had been the night before, not exactly stress free. “Let’s get you in your pajamas, yeah? You need rest more than anything.”

“Yeah, I know,” it was her easy agreement that let Spike know just how badly she felt.

“Shouldn’t have let you have that meeting last night. Should have given it a few days.”

“I just…I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. It was just talking, you know? But it…it’s like it was more than a whole patrol.”

“Took more out of you,” he expanded. “You…you basically lost three of the most important people in your life all in one night, kitten. And not exactly in a nice way either. Makes sense you’re feeling run down.”

“But I can go tomorrow right?” As of the night before her mother’s surgery was scheduled for the morning after. “I don’t want to miss her surgery; I need to…”

Spike knew the thing that none of them were talking about, the fact that they all wanted to talk to Joyce before her surgery because they all had that tiny fear in them….deep down….that she wouldn’t make it through.

“Yeah, Buffy, you will. You rest up today, all day, and tomorrow we’ll get you there. I’ll get Anyanka to go to the grocery and get some stuff for you; some drinks…whatever they say will be good for you.”

“You…will you get my pajamas for me? My head feels kind of…like it did that night at the cemetery all…floaty.”

“You just stay right there; which ones do you want?” he asked as he opened the drawer. “These okay?” he held up a pair that looked soft.

“Yeah….uh, I know I said….maybe I should just stay dressed,” she said awkwardly

“I’ll leave if you want, luv.”

“No, it’s actually—never mind.”

“Buffy do you want me to help you?”

“I just feel kind of shaky, but I…I said…”

“I know what you said,” he figured she was talking about what she’d said at the hospital after their kiss. “Here, scoot up here,” he kneeled back in front of her, unbuttoning her pajama top as she moved up. “You going to want a tank with these, luv?”

“Could I?”

“Of course; any one in particular?”

“Any is good.”

He set the pajamas on the bed next to her and got up to get the tank top.

“I’m going to ignore you knowing where my clothes are,” she joked.

“Just a good memory from last time I got you some stuff. Here, now, let me get that off.” He leaned down and placed the tank on top of the pajamas before reaching for the bottom of her loose fitting t-shirt.

Logically Buffy knew Spike was taking her shirt off so there should be some sort of…embarrassment or something there, but really she was just so tired that she was only thankful for his help.

“You going to want to…uh,” he asked not sure if she was going to hit him for it, “you want to leave that on?”

“No, but I can put that on first.”

Secretly he was thankful for that and he pulled the tank on her and then did as she asked with unhooking her bra after she tried, but was too shaky to do it quickly.

“Thanks.”

He pulled the long sleeved pajama top up her arms before standing her up and changing her jersey pants for her pajama pants. “Now you just try to sleep, okay? I’ll try to get a hold of Anya then I’ll come see how you’re doing if you want?”

“That would be nice. And Spike?” she said when he’d folded her clothes up and set them on her chair and was heading out of her room.

“Hmm?”

“Could you maybe call my mom and tell her.”

“Sure,” he agreed.

“Spike?” she asked several seconds after he’d already left the room.

“What, kitten?” he asked, leaning back into the room.

“Thank you.”

He smiled at her, trying not to show his worry and then left to make his calls.

Spike asked Anya to go to the grocery store and, if necessary, the pharmacy to get any drinks that would help Buffy—drinks didn’t seem to make her feel as nauseous or make her head hurt as much. He was still trying to figure out which was coming first and how everything connected.

Then after a good fifteen minutes of figuring out what to say, he finally called Joyce to tell her that he and Buffy wouldn’t be in that morning but that Dawn would be there in the afternoon but he wasn’t sure if he would or not.

He could tell Joyce was worried and he wanted to tell her there was nothing to worry about, but he didn’t think he would be a very good liar at the moment, especially not to her.

“Spike?” she asked at the end of their call, surprising him.

“Yes?”

”Thank you for being there to take care of my daughter. I know if she was there on her own that she’d…just thank you.”

“Wouldn’t be anywhere else.”

“I know.”


When he went upstairs to check on Buffy he decided Dawn was obviously gong to have something to surprise him with when she got home because Buffy asked him to stay with her, to lay next too her in her bed. It was obviously Surprise Spike Day for the Summers women.

He just lay there, watching her fall asleep and hoped that everything turned out alright for them all. He would be there for the Niblet even if…but he wasn’t even going to think like that. He had calls in to doctors—most of whom said to check her into the hospital and he and Anya had been looking around the demon circles for information on the witch.

He was doing everything he could; hopefully it would be enough.




TBC......
Chapter 31 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I'll post the second chapter of 'Tired of Being Gone (Home)' in just a minute :)
Chapter 31


Buffy awoke several hours later she guessed it must have been at least lunch time by then, surprised to find Spike still asleep across the bed from her and a tray of various drinks sitting on her dresser. Hoping not to wake Spike, she carefully got up and grabbed one of the bottles off the tray before making her way back onto the bed.

Yawning deeply, Buffy settled herself against the pillows she’d propped against the headboard and opened the bottle; it seemed Anya—or Spike possibly—had thought of that and had already opened it for her, closing it loosely.

It wasn’t the best tasting thing in the world—really it wasn’t—but after having demon goo/blood/she-wasn’t-even-thinking-about-it in her mouth at various points over the years, it wasn’t the worst either. Not by any means.

She kept bear Spike propped in her lap as she slowly drank the bottle’s entire contents. Capping it back up, just in case anything could leak out, she set it on the floor, not realizing how dizzy it would maker her.


Spike worried that if he let Buffy know he was awake that he’d have to leave, something he very much did not want to do, but he almost gave himself away when she leaned down with the bottle. He was about to reach out and grab her when she sat back up, looking slightly dizzy, but otherwise alright.

Quickly shutting his eyes before she could notice, he went back to pretending to be asleep.


Glad that Spike was still asleep—Buffy didn’t want to have to worry about asking him to stay or not—she laid back down and tried to get some more sleep.



Spike hadn’t told her to do it, but Anya stayed downstairs and waited for Dawn to return home from school, letting the two of them stay upstairs ‘sleeping’. She’d known Spike wasn’t asleep when she brought the drinks in—he’d thanked her after all—and she wasn’t completely sure he’d been asleep at all the entire day; he seemed too worried about Buffy.

Seeing that it would be several more hours before Dawn got home, Anya decided to make herself useful. She looked through the mail that had been piled on the small bureau and separated out the bills, deciding to offer her assistance in keeping track of them, later. Then she went about dusting and organizing the few things that needed it; maybe later, when Buffy was awake, she could vacuum. And Xander Harris said she wasn’t very useful around the house!

She was just finishing looking through the cupboards and making a shopping list when she heard Dawn coming in the front door.

“No yelling!” she ordered as loud as she dared as she rushed to the front of the house.

“What’s wrong?” Dawn asked, concern immediately overtaking her. “Where/s Spike? Where’s Buffy?”

“Shh,” Anya insisted.

“Where are they?” Dawn asked anxiously but kept her voice to just above a whisper.

“They’re sleeping,” Anya explained. “Buffy wasn’t feeling so well so she and Spike decided she should stay home today to be all rested up for tomorrow,” Anya explained diplomatically—and Xander said she couldn’t be considerate and tactful, either!

“Oh…Does that mean I’m not going either?” she asked after a few seconds.

“I will take you.”

“Really?”

“Well yes. Did you not think I was going to? We will leave Spike and Buffy a note and go now so we are back before its dark; then they won’t worry.”

Anya was very matter of fact about it, but Dawn could tell she was still worried that she would refuse to go with her.

“Okay,” she agreed easily. “Want me to write it?”

“I will; so that they know you have not lied and gone on your own.”

“Anya?”

“Yes?”

“You don’t have to worry so much, you know. Honestly after hanging out with Spike so much—and being a teenager in public school—there’s not all that much you say that’s really surprising or anything…it’s just that it was about Xander that made it all ‘eww!’.”

“Well I am done with Xander Harris now so that won’t be happening again. Thank you—I don’t like being told so often what not to say when Xander is constantly saying things of very little intelligence and no one stops him.”

“That is true. Thanks for helping out so much, Anya. You could have left and…thanks.”

“Spike and Buffy are very kind and you are very interesting as well, I find it enjoyable to stay. I’ll go write that note now.”



It was late at night when Buffy woke up again and, knowing she needed to do it, she got up to get the entire tray of drinks; she was doing to drink as much as she possibly could in hopes that it would help her feel well the following morning.

She thought briefly that she should worry about Dawn since it didn’t seem much like Spike had moved the entire day, but before the worry had time to fully develop she saw a note sitting on the tray.

She sat down cross-legged on the bed before settling the tray down on the bed in front of her and picking up the note. It was from Anya, explaining that, not wanting to wake them, she had taken Dawn to the hospital that afternoon for a few hours and then ordered a pizza before helping her with her homework and—after they’d both eaten—getting her to bed.

Buffy wondered idly how it was that someone who had spent twelve hundred years exacting vengeance on people on behalf of the scorned, someone who had only been human for a few short years, was so much more compassionate than the people she’d called friends for the last five years.

Sometimes the world just didn’t make sense. She had discovered with Angel, then with Spike and finally Anya that there wasn’t good and evil, black and white but instead black and white with shades of grey in between; now she was starting to wonder if there was even black and white at all or if it was all grey. It certainly seemed like everyone was unpredictable and anyone could go from good to bad or bad to good—so didn’t that mean they were never entirely one or the other? And why did she always have to have deep thoughts when she was tired and should have been asleep?

“What time is it, pet?” Buffy was startled by Spike’s question; she hadn’t noticed him waking.

“Uh, little after eleven,” she answered, still fairly deep in her thoughts.

“What’s got you thinking so hard?”

She didn’t even think to question how he knew to ask, “Just thinking about good and evil.”

“That so?” he asked uncertainly.

“Well I was just…The Council tries to tell you that it’s all black and white—demons evil, humans good. But…then Angel showed me,” she tried to ignore the way he growled slightly at the name, “that there’s gray in between, too.”

“So what is it you’re thinking about, then?”

“Well…I can get that there’s grey—like Angel wasn’t entirely good because he was a vampire but he wasn’t entirely evil because he had a soul.”

“Yeah,” Spike agreed reluctantly.

“But then I was thinking about you and Anya—and Giles, Willow, and Xander…and I just…Willow never did a wrong thing in her life until she was in high school, you know? And you don’t have a soul and Anya became human again, so….if people can go so far from one end to the other all on their own…Is there even black and white at all or is it all just grey?”

“So you’re not still seeing me as evil, then?” he knew it wasn’t the proper response but it was all he could focus on.

“I know I was harping on the whole ‘soulless’ thing, but….I’m starting to see just how much bad people can still do when they do have them and….Angel’s not here.”

“That’s just because he’s a half-wit, luv…I’ll do my best though.”

“No that’s not how I—You don’t have a soul; Angel does, Giles does…You’re the one here taking care of me and Dawn and even if I wanted to…I can’t even pretend to make into something entirely selfish. I’m not making sense am I?”

“No, you are….in a way. You just wonder if I can go from so evil to being domestic guy, if that says anything about good and evil…because I’m not being entirely selfish for once.”

She detected the sense of bitterness in his voice even though he tried to hide it, “Spike, I really shouldn’t be thinking about all of this when I’m so tired because I never manage to think through it all the way and…….It’s just stuff that’s got me thinking, not any decisions I’ve made.”

He wondered if she realized that actually made him worry more.

“Why don’t you work on drinking some of that; I’m going to go get myself something to drink before heading off for the night,” he hoped some time alone would help him clear his mind and allow him to convince himself that she really had just been thinking out loud and it didn’t mean anything about how she saw him—or Angelus.

“You’re not coming back?” Right, the Bit hadn’t done anything to surprise him yet so Buffy was pulling double duty.

“I’m not going back to the crypt, luv, don’t worry—“

“I meant back here,” she amended quietly.

“You want me to—“ he pulled himself together, “Long as you want me to I will.”

Buffy just smiled before asking him to make sure that Dawn was actually in her room; he finally realized he hadn’t gotten up to check on Dawn at all.

“Anya came over and—here,” she handed him the note when she guessed the reason for his worried expression.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes,” he assured her, placing the note on the dresser and checking Dawn’s room before heading to the kitchen.



Buffy was just coming out of the bathroom when he came back up the stairs nearly thirty minutes later—it had taken him longer than he’d planned to get thoughts of Buffy thinking he wa doing this for any selfish reason out of his head.

“You alright, pet?” she looked paler than she had when he’d left her.

“Uh huh,” she agreed weakly. “Just no more drinking for Buffy tonight is all.”

“Sorry I pushed, pet.”

“Hey, no apologizing, I’m the one who drank too much stuff. I’ll be alright if I can just sleep through til morning, I’m sure.”

“Come on then, let’s get you settled.”

When he started to tuck the covers around her, all while still standing beside the bed, Buffy questioned him, “Where are you sleeping?”

“Thought with you feeling a bit woozy and all I’d sleep on the floor.”

“Oh.”

“Buffy, if you want me to do something, you’re going to have to start just asking me instead of asking me everything I’m not doing until I realize what it is you want.”

“But you might…You might not want to,” she admitted.

“How ‘bout you try me?”

“Will you sleep in the bed?” she was looking at the bedspread as she asked.

“’Course, luv.” He’d already taken his boots off earlier in the day and knew that the jeans weren’t an pption, but questioned Buffy on the shirt, slightly surprised when she quietly agreed.

He lay down facing her, close but not quite close enough to touch.

“I’m going to feel better tomorrow, right?”

“Sure you are,” he hoped he was telling her the truth.

“Is it okay if I sleep that way?” Buffy looked over her shoulder and waited until he agreed before turning over.

With her facing away from him, Spike finally allowed himself the smile he’d been hoding back over the fact that she was in fact cuddled up to the bear he’d given her—as she had been all day.

“Sweet dreams, Slayer,” he whisperd in her ear several minutes later when he was sure she was close to sleep. He was settling back against the pillow when he felt her turning back over and he froze, thinking he’d blown it. But to his complete and utter surprise—it was the day for it after all—she just snuggled herself closer to him, the bear still in her arms between them.

He waited unti he was sure she was asleep before lightly wrapping an arm around her and utterint the phrase he’d first wanted the bear to say. “I love you, Buffy.”




TBC........pretty please review?
Chapter 32 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
update of 'Tired of Being Gone (Home)' coming in a few minutes. Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend if you'e somewhere that celebrates it....enjoy it even if you're not ;-)
Chapter 32


“Spike?” Anya asked the following morning when she came by around eight.

“Yeah?” he was still making Dawn, who was staying home from school for her mother’s surgery, breakfast and fixing Buffy something to drink; she was still upstairs getting dressed.

“May I speak with you for a moment?”

“Sure; watch the pan, Bit?” After dawn agreed to watch the pan of eggs and keep things from burning, Spike followed Anya to the living room.

“What is it?”

“Yesterday Mrs. Summers asked me to tell you that she wanted to talk to you alone for a few minutes before the surgery so…maybe you should leave a little earlier than you had planned?”

Spike was curious as to what Joyce could have to tell him but readily agreed with Anya.

“What’d you say to some eggs?”



“Are you ever going to let me walk?” Buffy tried to sound annoyed but really Spike’s way of transporting her—carrying her to the car that Anya used to drive them to the hospital, even though it almost burned him both getting her in and out, and then carrying her on his back through the hospital.

“You said it was embarrassing,” he reminded her.

“It is!”

“Yeah and Niblet and I agreed that this way isn’t.”

“It doesn’t count if you two decide it—it’s me being embarrassed.”

“it’s either this or I’m getting you a wheelchair, pet. Your choice.”

“You’re so mean,” she grumbled, but stopped her protests.



“Buffy? Dawn? Would it be alright with you girls if I spoke to Spike alone for a moment?”

“We’ll just go find Anya—make sure she’s not fooling around with some doctor or something.”

“Dawn!”

“What?” she asked her sister, “It’s incredibly possible—you remember how much she brought up doctors being wealthy and how much money she would have if she married one just one the drive over.”

“Fine, fine; let’s go find her.”

“Don’t let her walk round too much,” Spike warned Dawn and Spike just rolled her eyes at the both of them as she left the room.



“Anyanka said you wanted to tell me something?” Spike prompted after closing the door as Joyce had instructed.

“William, I know how much you care for both o my girls and you’re very much like a son to me so I know this might be hard, but…You are my medical proxy and I feel I need to tell you my wishes before…before the surgery.”

She was right about one thing so far, this was hard for him to hear—but she had asked it of him and he wouldn’t let her down.

“I’m listening,” he assured her as he sat on the chair Buffy had earlier pulled to the side of the bed.



“How long did the doctors say the surgery was going to take?” Dawn asked.

“They’re not sure, sweetie. We just need to be patient, okay?” Buffy was sitting with her sister, and Spike in the waiting room where the doctors would come to tell them of the progress and results of the surgery. Anya was off looking for the anesthesiologist she had spotted earlier, having found out that they made quite a bit of money as well.

Buffy was pretty sure that Anya was simply giving them time as a ‘family’, merely using the ‘man hunt’ as an excuse.

“It’ll be alright, Niblet,” Spike was highly surprised that Dawn and Buffy had been able to convince the hospital that his ‘sun allergy’ was enough of a problem that they’d taped black plastic over the high windows that lined the room. Then again, they were his girls, they could be right convincing when they wanted to be.

“I just…”

“What movies do you think Mom will want to watch when she gets home? While she’s resting?”

”Maybe we could make a list so we’re sure to get them rented,” Spike suggested, going along with what he assumed was Buffy’s distraction tactic.

“I’ll go ask the nurse for some paper and a pen.” Spike watched her go, waiting until she was out of earshot before turning to look at Buffy who had been sitting two chairs over, Dawn between them.

“You alright, luv? Feeling okay? Don’t need anything to drink or what not?”

Buffy smiled at the concern in his voice, wondering how it was that such a short time ago she’d been so intent on convincing herself there was no way he cared for her at all. “No, I’m good. Worried, I mean because….well, yeah…but I’m okay.”

Dawn was back then and with a last smile at Buffy, Spike set to work helping her think of movies—keeping the tone light by suggesting some action movie every once in a while.

“Ooh,” Buffy suggested, “Let’s rent Dracula!”

“Not after the blighter refuses to pay what he owes me!”

“You so are not owed money by Dracula!” Dawn stared at him.

“Bloody right I am!” Spike proceeded to go on a rant of how Dracula was a wanker for refusing to pay him even after such a long period of time—something about, “If the bloke’s all legendary and shite, got a book and everything…should be able to settle his debts.”



“Mr. Pratt?”

All three looked up when a doctor, in full operating garb, came into the room and addressed Spike—as Mr. Pratt, something both Dawn and Buffy were still getting used to.

“Is everything alright?” Spike asked, trying to keep his voice calm and worry free for the sake of Dawn and Buffy.

“Might I speak with you for a minute?”

There wasn’t any way Spike could go into any of the rooms off of the one they were in—sunlight was streaming into all of them, the only dark space being the hallway, “Sure,” he agreed doing his best to lead the doctor to the hallway.

A door, with only a small window on the top, closed behind them and soon Buffy watched them talk, not able to hear anything; Dawn continued making her movie list.

After a few minutes of the doctor’s speaking, Buffy watched as Spike sighted deeply before running a hand through his hair and looking down at the ground for several seconds. When he looked up and gave the doctor his answer he looked very weary and waited a few moments after the doctor had gone back into the operating area before coming back into the room with them.

“Everything alright?” Buffy asked him softly as he sat down next to her instead of in the seat next to Dawn he had been in.

“Yeah, everything’s fine, luv,” he answered but to Buffy he sounded subdued and or the rest of the surgery he remained on edge.





TBC...................please review?
Chapter 33 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
Congratulations to everyone who won at LLGA :) and thank you to the person who added me as their favorite author, I believe it was pixiecorn but if someone else was the latest...well then I'm sorry for getting things mixed up :) ...more at the end of the chapter
Chapter 33


”I’m listening,” Spike sat down in the chair next to Joyce’s hospital bed.

“I want…I know that Dawn and Buffy will have their own feelings on the matter, but I am after all their mother and…I chose you to make decisions in my place for a reason; I sincerely believe that you will do as I ask.”

“Of course,” he hoped that whatever she was going to ask him wouldn’t cause too much trouble between himself and Buffy.

“The doctors have explained to me, several times, te details of what they are going to have to do….or what they hope to do. The thing is, there is obviously the chance that it will be harder to remove than expected. Whatever they—if they ask you, I want you to tell them that getting the tumor out is the number one priority. No mater what.”

“I don’t know if I can—“

“You have to, Spike. Nothing good is going to come of having this tumor in my brain. If they don’t remove it….I will more than likely die if it remains….Whatever happens from the surgery, it can’t be worse than—Getting the tumor out, no matter the risk, is what needs to be done, William.”

Despite the garbled way she explained it, Spike understood what she meant If they didn’t get the tumor out then there would still be the pressure on her brain and if that didn’t kill her or something almost as horrible, the radiation would be the only option left and that had little to no chance of succeeding outside of the surgery.

Even if removing the tumor posted some sort of risk to Joyce, it would be worth it, in her view, if it meant they got it out.

“Alright, I’ll make sure that I…anything—okay.”

“Thank you, Spike.”




*(*(*()*)*)*




“Mr. Pratt, there has been a slight complication in the surgery and as Mrs. Summers proxy, it is left to you to decide our course of action. We can suggest what, medically, is best but ultimately it comes down to her wishes.”

The doctor went on to explain the risks of removing the tumor and the possible damage that could be done to Joyce’s brain and how that would affect her and what the other options for her were if Spike chose to have tem not do the surgery.

He’d listened very carefully, Spike had, and he knew that now was when the real test came—could he do as Joyce had asked even with all of those possible effects. He sighed as he thought it over for a moment. He knew what his decision was, even if he wasn’t sure he could voice it.

Running a shaky hand through his bleached hair, he looked down at the floor, gathering all of his strength and hoping to God that he was doing the right thing as eh looked up and answered the doctor.

“Do whatever you have to do to get the tumor out.” He stayed there for several more minutes, even after the doctor had left, just trying to get himself…settled enough to go back to Dawn and Buffy. His mind might have been reeling with all of the possible consequences of what he’d just done, but they most certainly didn’t need to know that.

Joyce had asked him to do this for her and he had, there was nothing to feel guilty about. Guilt, worry, fear, anxiety, who could really tell the difference? He sure as hell couldn’t right now.

But he’d done what he’d done and there was no going back now; now the important thing was to be there for Buffy and the Bit.




“Mrs. Summers is in recovery right now, she’s still waking up from the anesthesia—it may take a few hours for her to fully wake up. We were able to remove almost all of the tumor and things look good—of course we’ll have to wait and see, but that’s how it looks right now.”

They all three watched the doctor walk away, Spike glad that the doctor hadn’t brought up the earlier complication.

“So, that’s good right?” Dawn asked. “I mean, he said it went well and stuff, right?’

“Yes, honey, it’s god. Hey, how about we get you home for some rest until tomorrow then you can see Mom?”

“Can’t I see her today?”

Buffy saw that her sister wouldn’t be giving in anytime soon and truthfully, she didn’t have the energy for an argument; she’d suggested the trip home almost more for her own benefit than Dawn’s.

“Sure; we’ll just wait until the doctors say it’s alright.”

“Buffy, pet, you can—“ Spike started.

“No, I’m going to stay here with Dawn,” she interrupted, knowing what he was going to say. He gave her an unhappy look but didn’t say anymore.

“Right then, we’ll just go wait and you two can try to get some sleep,” he said pointedly.

“Thank you, Spike,” Buffy said.


*(*(*()*)*)*



“I can’t believe they’re letting you come home today!” It had been just five days—this morning the sixth—since Joyce’s surgery and the hospital was allowing her to go home. To Joyce it seemed like an eternity she’d been in the hospital while in fact it was less than two weeks.

“Dawn, try not to yell so much, Mom’s still tired and tired plus yelling equals bad.”

“Oh yeah…sorry,” she apologized meekly.

“Don’t worry honey, you’re excited, it makes sense. How did you girls get here?” It was only ten in the morning so Joyce was guessing Spike hadn’t brought them—she didn’t think he would expect her to walk home through the tunnels at the moment.

“Anya drove us. God, you’d think we were like four the way Spike won’t let us go anywhere by ourselves,” Dawn grumbled.

Joyce noticed how Buffy didn’t say anything, but also didn’t look nearly as annoyed as Dawn did.

“That’s good then; should we get going?” she was eager to get home; something about hospitals just got to her, no matter why she was there, how nice the doctors and nurses were, or how long the stay—she just didn’t like it.

They signed all of the proper papers, got the appointment time for Joyce’s first radiation therapy treatment, and wheeled Joyce downstairs to where Anya was waiting with Joyce’s car.

“I’m very pleased they are letting you come home. Spike has not been very happy with—“

“Yeah, isn’t it great?” Buffy interrupted, figuring—correctly—that Anya had been going to say something about Spike not liking how often she was out and about.

“Though he might have to find a new place to sleep, Buffy; now that your mother will be home and all.”

“Oh, was he sleeping in my room?”

Buffy could have killed Anya at that moment—was actually thinking of several possibilities.

“No, he’s been sleeping in Buffy’s room. They’re not having sex, don’t worry, but mothers generally don’t like that sort of thing.”

“I figured William would be looking after you; he has been very concernted.”

“Yeah, concerned,” Buffy rolled her eyes, “That’s one way to put it.” She was still putting up a great amount of protest in public—hey, she was working on it—but she really didn’t think she’d still be able to stand (literally) if it hadn’t been for all the care Spike had given her. He truly had been her saving grace.

“He would be a wonderful boyfriend,” Anya remarked casually. “Xander never would have taken care of me like Spike is taking care of you; he is a very considerate man.”

“Yes, he is,” Buffy’s mother agreed. “And I have no problem with wherever he is staying; nothing has to change just because I am coming home.”

“Is this the ‘Get Buffy to Date Spike Club’?” Buffy asked them, looking at all three females skeptically.

“Well you really should,” Dawn agreed.

“Yeah, okay, can we maybe not plan out my lo—dating life here? We should probably get going or the hospital’ll come up with a reason to keep one of us here; they’re evil like that.”

They carefully got Joyce into the car, Buffy and Dawn making a bigger fuss over the action than Joyce thought necessary, before Anya drove the four of them to the Summers’ residence.



“Oh it feels good to be home,” Joyce sighed as soon as she walked in her front door. In less than a few weeks she’d really developed an urge to return home. As soon as possible. Hospitals seemed to have a way of reminding you that you were sick that got you a little depressed, or at least they did her.

“And it feels good to have you home,” Buffy echoed and hugged her mother lightly.

“Now where is Spike? I need to thank him for looking after my girls for me.”

“I bet if you ask it loud enough—and say that I’m going to go look, that he’ll be here in five seconds because God forbid Buffy do anything,” Buffy grumbled as she started to walk up the stairs.

“Actually it was more like three,” Dawn corrected as Spike came strolling quickly in from the kitchen.

“Told you,” Buffy muttered.

“Why don’t we all go sit in the living room?” Spike suggested. “Unless anyone,” Buffy rolled her eyes at him but he just went on, “needs to go rest for a little while.”

“Are you okay for it, Mom?” Buffy asked.

“Sure, sweetheart. It’ll be nice to find out what all has happened since I’ve gone into the hospital, it sure seems like you all have had some eventful lives.”

Buffy sat in the middle of the sofa, Dawn next to her and she and Anya in chairs while Spike sat on the other side of Buffy. Joyce noticed that after fifteen or so minutes of Dawn and Anya telling everyone what had happened in the hospital waiting room when Joyce had first gone into the hospital, Buffy moved subtly to rest against Spike’s side. Joyce wondered how long it was going to take for her daughter to admit to the feelings that she was sure everyone else already knew were there.

By the end of their two-hour chat, Joyce was entirely caught up: highly disappointed in—if not slightly angry with—Rupert, Xander, and Willow, surprised by Anya, proud of her daughters and Spike; and Buffy’s head was on Spike’s shoulder, his arm lightly around her waist. All very interesting.


TBC….




more author's note...I'm writing some fics for the 'Art Before Fic' Challenge at Spuffy_Haven (on Livejournal)...once I decide just how much I want to break my 'finish writing fics before posting them' rule, I'll start posting here as well.......And no I have no idea if that had a point other than to let those of you who see the fics on LJ know when they'll be here
Chapter 34 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I'm sorry for being so behind!!
Chapter 34

Four Days Later

Dawn came home to a confusing site, her sister sitting on the sofa, elbows on her knees, head in her hands.

“Buffy?” she asked quietly, cautiously. “What’s wrong?” She sounded scared now.

“It’s about Mom—“ Buffy started to explain, but Dawn was already running up the stairs, leaving Buffy still downstairs on the sofa.



“Easy there, Niblet,” Spike had been waiting—as soon as he’d heard Dawn come in he had gone to wait for her by Joyce’s door, he had a feeling his wait wasn’t going to be long; he was right.

“No…I need to…Mom…I…Spike,” Dawn let Spike hold her against him as she started crying.

“Come on, Dawn,” he said quietly, holding her up when she tried to fall down to the floor. “Let’s go listen to what big sis has to say, yeah? Bet it’s not as bad as you think.”

“But how can it—“

“You trust me, right?”

“Of—of course.”

“Then let’s go. Think you gave your sis a big scare the way you raced up here.”

“I didn’t mean to—I just…I wanted to know,” she trailed off not sure how to say what she wanted to say.

“Let’s just go hear what she has to say.”

“Yeah, okay,” Dawn agreed, but Spike still kept his arm firmly around his shoulders, not wanting to underestimate her—she was Buffy’s sister after all, it’s not like her ducking away from his would be an unheard of idea. Much to Spike’s relief, Dawn easily let him lead her downstairs.



“You’re back,” Buffy said needlessly. She was still sitting on the sofa; still worried.

“Yeah…sorry about running off like that,” Dawn apologized. “I was just—I got scared.”

“That—I probably could have said things better.”

“Maybe, maybe not. But I’m going to listen this time.”

Buffy took a deep sigh as Dawn sat down and Spike leaned against the wall. “Okay, so it’s about Mom but it’s not what you think—at least I really don’t think it is. Because, you know, if it is then you—“

“Buffy,” Spike interrupted lightly.

“Yeah, sorry. Mom’s still here, but…she’s kind of in a coma.”


*(*(*)*)*


”You ready to get up, luv?” Spike had gotten Dawn off to school already and was now back to see if Buffy and her mother were up yet.

“Yeah, I guess—thanks for getting Dawn ready, sorry I didn’t help.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it. Think the bit likes it anyway. Hey, why don’t you stay here and I’ll get you some tea?”

“Okay—but,” she added, “I’m coming downstairs later.”

“Fair enough. Want me to see if your mum’s awake?”

“Just let her sleep; I think she needs the rest.”



“I’ve got your—Buffy?” Spike was only a little surprised to find that Buffy had fallen back asleep in the ten or so minutes he’d been downstairs. He knew he’d taken a long time…apparently too long. Spike sat the tea down a few inches back on her table, hoping she would wake up soon enough to drink it while it was warm.

Spike gave her a quick, light kiss on the forehead before going back downstairs.



“Spike!” If Buffy thought she had run up the stairs quickly that day when Dawn yelled for her, well...She was just glad that she wasn’t going to have to chase Spike any time soon.

“Buffy? Are you okay? Is everything all right? You’re not hurt are you?!” All three questions were out of his mouth in less than ten seconds, not even a hint of a pause anywhere.

“No—I…my mom,” she didn’t elaborate so Spike of course asked he what she meant. “I had…it was a Slayer dream but it was about my mom. She—I would have gone in there myself, but…I feel like I can’t walk for some reason...I think it’s just—I’m scared to go in there. Will you—can you take me?”

Any other time Spike’s mind would have latched on to that last bit for later…use, but right now all he could do was focus on Buffy.

“Yeah, pet. Want me to just help or…?”

“I think if I can just lean on you, I think…I think I’d be okay then.”

“Alright, luv. Let’s go then.” Spike helped her up and after a minute or so—a silent minute—they were across the hall at her mother’s door.

“I should open it,” Buffy said as he hand froze on the doorknob. “I know I should.”

“Do you want me to do it? Are you sure you want to do this, pet?”

“I know I have to…I just don’t know if I want to.” Buffy took a deep breath and visibly steeled herself before turning the knob and lightly pushing the door open.



*(*(*)*)*


“What do you mean ‘kind of’ in a coma? She’s either in one or she’s not; and if she is, why’s she still here?”

“She is in a coma,” Buffy started to explain, rushing on when she saw the tears forming in her sister’s eyes. “But it’s not a regular coma…” Okay, so maybe she didn’t know how to explain it just yet, she was working on it.

“How is it not a regular one? Is it worse?” Dawn asked fearfully.

“No, it’s uh, it’s mystical—magical whatever.”

Dawn interrupted before Buffy could continue, “But shouldn’t we still take her to the hospital? I mean they can monitor all that stuff.”

“Well, for one, I think some of the things that will happen would leave us with some explaining to do. And how exactly were we going to get her there? Really, Dawnie I think it’s best for her to stay here.”

“And I can hear her heart,” Spike jumped in, “I’ll know if something goes wrong.”

“How do you know it’s magical?”

“I had a Slayer dream—“

“About mom?”

“Yeah—“

“Are you sure you’re not just…I don’t know losing it or something?” Dawn asked, not even thinking through what she was asking.

“Big sis is perfectly sane,” Spike answered for Buffy. “She knows what she’s talking about, alright? Your mum’s in a mystical come and she’s going to stay here unless something changes—which it won’t.”

“So we’re just going on your Slayer dream for all of this?” Dawn wasn’t quite done yet.

“And me,” Spike added. “I’ve got a…feeling—“

“Oh great, we’re basing my mother’s health on her dream and your feeling. That’s just fan-fucking-tastic!”

“Dawn!”

“What? You have some magical sickness going on, Mom gets a brain tumor and has surgery, Mom’s now in a magical coma, and I have to watch my language? Well excuse me but I think I should get a little bit of room here. It’s not exactly like saying my life’s screwed up is going to do it, but saying ‘my life’s—‘”

“We get the point,” Spike cut in again. “Buffy’s not asking you to be perfect; she’s just being your big sister, yeah? And your mum’s going to be fine and we’re going to figure this thing with Buffy out and then she will be too.”

“You just keep telling yourself that; and forgive me while I don’t agree—I find it a little hard to get around if I’m pretending to be blind!”

“Dawn—“ Buffy again tried to speak to her sister.

“You know what, just don’t. I’m going to go upst—No, I’m going to Janice’s; I’ll be back for dinner.” Dawn didn’t wait for an answer before walking out the front door, slamming it behind her.

“So that went well.”




TBC……..
Chapter 35 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry it's a few hours late...and Chapter 34 was posted last Sunday in case you didn't see :)
Chapter 35

Spike hadn’t said anything since Dawn had left, hadn’t even moved from where he was—and Buffy was starting to worry.

“Are you okay?” Buffy asked him quietly, not wanting to startle him too much.

Spike looked started, but not too much so. “Fine, pet. Sorry, was just thinking about something. You doing okay? She’s just worried you know; doesn’t mean most of it.”

“Yeah she does. I’m the Slayer and that’s what’s gotten me and Mom in our oh so wonderful positions. Makes sense for her to be mad at me. To doubt me.”

“Pet, if you weren’t the Slayer, she wouldn’t be. Wouldn’t be anything at all, so I don’t exactly think that’s what she really wants.”

“She can still hate it.”

“Yeah, but—people aren’t always too smart when they’re in pain, luv. Makes you…act differently a lot of the time. Try not to take it to heart.”

“I don’t see me succeeding any time soon, but yeah, I’ll try.”

“Good. You want to watch a movie or something?” he effectively changed the subject and appeased some of his worrying self.

“Sure—you can pick though, I’m not feeling incredibly choosey right now.”

Spike chose a movie at random, one of the ones he knew Buffy liked and sat on the sofa, on the opposite end from Buffy. He put a pillow in his lap several minutes into the movie when he saw her trying to find a comfortable way to rest her head. He patted it and was surprised when Buffy readily laid her head on it; he knew she was just tired, but the amount of change in her feelings for—or at least actions towards—him still surprised him every time.

As they watched the movie, Buffy nearly asleep, Spike knew that contrary to what he had told Buffy, he was going to be thinking about what Dawn had said for a long time to come; probably even longer than Buffy thought about it.

Was he really blind? Was he really not seeing what was right in front of him?


*(*(*)*)*


Dawn did not in fact go to her friend Janice’s house. She knew it was stupid, knew Spike would kill her if he found out. But she just needed to be away from people right now. Everyone at school had somehow found out about her mother and had been asking all day long for several days now, about the surgery and how she was doing. Then her friends that knew Buffy was sick wanted to know about that.

And now there was one more thing to add to it all. Her mother was in a ‘magical’ come. Well didn’t that just beat all?

It wasn’t like that was something she could go cry about to her friends. Either your mother was in a coma—and in the hospital or she wasn’t. There wasn’t an in between. At least not where everyone else in the fucking world was concerned but when it came to her…well of course this had to be different too. Because God forbid her mother just get sick, have a surgery, get better, come home, and that’s that. Noooo! Her mother had to get sick, have the surgery, get better, come home, and fall into a damn magical coma.

A magical coma that Buffy’d had a dream about and one Spike had a ‘feeling’ about to boot.

She didn’t know much about this Key business still—things had sort of gone a little crazy before she could properly find out—but she did know what it meant: She could wish all she wanted that Buffy wasn’t the Slayer but if Buffy actually weren’t the Slayer, well then, no more her. She existed solely because her sister was the Slayer. The why and the how were still fuzzy but she thought she had the ‘what’ down pretty well.

The only thing she wished was that one of those books would tell her who else she had been made from. If they’d made her from Buffy and just Buffy then shouldn’t’ she be a mini-Buffy? She looked too different than her sister to be made from only her. With the way all this stuff went though, she’d probably never find out.



She’d been in Spike’s crypt for over an hour—she’d gone there directly after leaving her house—but she was still thinking about things.

Was it better to have all of the bad things compressed like this? Or would she rather have them spread out? Was it better to have your mother die and then your sister die—or the reverse or was it better to put a few months in between? Wasn’t it better to have your mother around when you were wondering what the hell was killing your sister? Wasn’t it better to have your sister there when your mother was going through having a brain tumor and everything that followed? And wasn’t Buffy there for her? Didn’t it count? True, Buffy hadn’t been there as much as Dawn had wanted her to be, but she’d gone to the hospital all but that once and been there for the surgery—shouldn’t that be good enough? And, God, did she have an answer to anything?

Well there was, she realized, the fact that Spike had gone wonderfully blind in the past few days.

Sure he was still all about Buffy—Dawn didn’t think that would ever change—and he still was insanely worried about her, but…But Dawn didn’t think he was really seeing the whole thing at the moment. He was so intent on making sure Buffy was okay right then that Dawn didn’t think he saw just how poorly her sister was doing. She didn’t walk anywhere now without Spike helping her or carrying her; she was managing to eat maybe one little thing a day; and if she lost any more weight or got any paler, they could use her at Halloween for a ghost or skeleton—or both.

Whether or not her mother needed to be in the hospital, she didn’t really know; Buffy’s dreams were there for a reason after all. But she did know, had known for a while actually, that her sister did need to be in the hospital.

Dawn decided she would give him until the end of the week to decide it on his own, then she was going to make Spike take Buffy to the hospital; or she’d be calling 911 herself.


*(*(*)*)*


“Mother?”

“Well, not quite, but yes.”

“You’re—you’ve been—you’re dead…Am I dead, too?”

“No sweetheart, you are not. And yes, you’re quite right that I am; but I am here to guide you to where they need you, to help you find your way.”

“My way to where?”

“You’ll see.”


TBC……..



*hugs* and well wishes and good thoughts to everyone in the UK, as well...
Chapter 36 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
The thunderstorms were nice enough to stop for a few minutes so I could update...There really will be more of So Cold it was Summer as well as some other fics soon...I just haven't had any time to write (or the ability I guess....)

I did however make some icons and wallpapers if you'd like to look at those ;) Some JM and SMG and Spuffy wallpapers..and SPN stuff and Doctor Who...little bits of everything :)
Chapter 36

There was one full day of normalness—or as normal as their life was lately. Dawn had made it home that night that she’d run off, just as the sun was setting. She had taken the last two minutes of her walk to brace herself for the lecturing, yelling, grounding, etc. that she was sure was coming; but it didn’t come, none of it. She found Spike in the kitchen making spaghetti sauce and boiling the noodles, Buffy sitting in a chair, her feet propped on another; her sister looked tired.

“Hey, bit. You going to want any bread? Wasn’t going to make any till I knew since well...” Why would he have made garlic bread when he was a vampire and he knew Buffy wouldn’t be eating it?

“Wha—No, no bread; just the spaghetti is good.” She stood there in the doorway, her backpack still hanging limply in her hand, waiting for the yelling to commence.

“Good, good. Set the table?”

Where was the yelling? Why weren’t they telling her she was grounded? Did they know she hadn’t gone to Janice’s?

“I didn’t go to Janice’s,” she blurted out.

“Where did you go?” Buffy asked and it wasn’t accusing, it wasn’t angry, it was just a question.

“I went to Spike’s crypt, to think,” she answered carefully.

“Okay then. The table?” Spike asked again. Dawn just stood there for several seconds, looking at the two of them dumbly. “The table?” he prompted.

“Would you just yell at me already? I don’t like all this…waiting,” she snapped.

“We’re not going to yell at you,” Spike answered.

“Yeah,” Buffy agreed, “We know you needed some time and you got home before dark and were somewhere relatively safe. Not saying I want you hanging out alone in a cemetery again any time soon, but I’m not mad at you.”

“Right,” Dawn drawled. “So you’re just going to be like quietly disappointed or something? Or feel sorry for me and look at me like ‘poor, pathetic Dawn’?”

“Told you, pet, we’re not angry. Not disappointed, don’t feel sorry for you either—well not anymore than you have to expect. You’re home safe and we know it was a one time deal, so no worries.”

“Really?”

“’Long as you set the table some time tonight: yeah.”

‘The table, right, sorry; I can do that.” Dawn hurried to set the table, leaving a place for her sister even though she didn’t think she would be eating much if she even ate anything at all.

“Thanks,” Buffy said and Dawn could only assume she meant the table.


*(*(*)*)*


So yeah, stuff was normal that night and the next day, except that their mom wasn’t around. Buffy went in a once to see and talk to her mother, but Dawn was still refusing to go in the room, unsure whether it was something she was ready for or not.

Dawn should have known it wasn’t going to last though.


*(*(*)*)*


“I need to get back to my girls; I can’t leave them.”

“Don’t you worry, dear; that William is going to take right good care of those two girls.”

“Mother, I—I’m not ready to leave them, to be here.”

“It’s not your choice, darling. This is where you’re meant to be; it is what They have decided.”

“But why—why are you here? If I’m not…if I’m not dead, why must I stay here? And why did They choose you?”

“This is a reward for you, darling. They believed it would be easier for you to make the journey if someone you loved was the one to guide you.”

“But you can’t tell me where it is we’re going?”

“No, Joyce, dear, I can’t.”

“Can you tell me who they are?”

“The ones who control it all,” her mother answered simply.


*(*(*)*)*


“Don’t you need to be getting to bed soon?” Spike had finished cleaning the kitchen, turning out the lights, and locking the doors; he expected to find Dawn asleep already but she still had her light on and was sitting on her bed reading something, a notebook at her side.

“I have to finish this stupid assignment,” she grumbled looking up from the thick book only briefly.

“What is it?” he leaned against the doorframe, waiting for an answer.

“Just this dumb thing about religious beliefs in the late nineteenth century; I don’t see why I need to know this. It’s all basically just saying everyone was prudes.”

“Yeah? The book talking about England or here?” he asked curiously.

“Both—my assignment for tonight’s on England though.”

“And asking me was, what, not logical? Are primary sources better than some textbook? You do remember I was live then, right?”

“Spike—of course I remember, but…You don’t always tell things exactly as they are—or were—you kind of…exaggerate stuff a lot. You’d probably tell me that everyone was out having sex in the alleys and no one thought anything of it.”

“I can be truthful when the need calls for it—and I feel like it; and if you’re reading about ‘prudes’, well then there’s no one better than me to give you the information on that.”

“Yeah,” Dawn said slowly, “like I’m supposed to believe that one. You’d probably just be telling me the opposite of whatever you did.”

“Hate to break it to you—and if you ever tell anyone, I will kill you—but I was just about the epitome of what you’re reading about.”

“Yeah right,” Dawn didn’t even look up at him after he answered her.

“I’m serious!” Spike insisted.

“Sure you are; now can I get back to my work?”

“You’re really not going to believe me?” he asked incredulously.

“You’re serious?” Dawn asked unbelievingly after staring at him for several seconds.

“Not something I like to—or ever do—admit to, but yeah.”

“Then get your butt over here and help me!”

”You Summers women are bossy chits, you know that?”

“Well duh; it’s why you love us.” Dawn was looking at her book so she didn’t see the look that passed over Spike’s face.

So the Bit really did get it, huh? Not that it was why he had done it, but Buffy and Dawn both feeling better towards him was definitely a plus to having moved in. A big plus.

He’d trade it in a second, still, to make Joyce and Buffy better.

“So what’s this assignment exactly?”


*(*(*)*)*


Buffy was really starting to wonder if Spike was going to find somewhere—like maybe the sofa or something—else to sleep. She had expected him to be in her room nearly half an hour before and still he wasn’t there. Maybe if she listened hard enough she could hear if he was somewhere doing something…

So he was helping Dawn with her homework? She knew it had really only been a matter of days, but…the night she’d gone to find Spike in the cemetery seemed like months ago; and the night he’d told her seemed to have been years ago. So much had changed since then…included how she felt about some things, about some people.

He really did take care of Dawn.

Buffy hugged her bear tighter, smiling when the recording of Spike’s voice broke the silence, wishing her sweet dreams. She really wished Spike would be there already.



TBC….



and thank you to the two people who just started reading this....it's great to know new people are still starting reading my stuff :D (and I really do promise I'll get some more fic for you soon....summer just seems to be insanely crazy so far)
Chapter 37 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry about the delayed update...I was in bed (literally) sick all day Saturday and then yeserday I couldn't seem to get the thunderstorms to stop when I was able to try to update :(
Chapter 37

“You’re still awake, pet?” Spike had briefly contemplated sleeping downstairs somewhere just so that he wouldn’t wake Buffy with his late entrance; but he had decided he would have worried about her too much to get even the tiniest hint of sleep. Apparently, though, waking her was not something he needed to fear.

“Yep; well kind of. As awake as I ever am lately.”

“Bit and I didn’t keep you up, did we?”

“No. But thank you for helping her with that; it was very informative.”

“So you heard it, huh?” he asked nervously looking around the room, but not at her.

“Not nearly as much as I would like to have—mostly just you convincing Dawn to let you help.”

“Not as much…You saying you want to know about that stuff?” he came into the room, shutting the door behind him and moved towards the bed.

“Well not in the same sense as Dawn. But yeah, I want to know. Unlike certain other vampires whose names shall not be mentioned,” Buffy had a feeling Spike still wouldn’t do well with Angel’s name being said, “I think I’d actually like to know about your life before you were a vampire.”

“Who says I remember any of it? Most vampires forget about their lives if at all possible—part of becoming a demon and all.”

“Well I guess you could have been telling Dawn stuff you’ve learned or vaguely remember, but, Spike?”

“What?”

“Since when are you ‘most vampires’?”

Spike couldn’t think of what to say; couldn’t think of much of anything at all, really. He’d been trying to get Buffy to see how he was different, sure, but to have her say it so simply…He didn’t know what to do.

“Are you ever going to sleep tonight? I mean if you want to just stand there, that’s fine and all, but you’re going to have to let me know. If you are going to just stand there, then I’m going to go to sleep, alright?”

“No, I’m going to sleep,” he finally said. “Just was thinking.” He sat in the chair by her bed and took off his boots before grabbing the t-shirt and pajama pants he’d bought just for sleeping at Buffy’s. Jeans weren’t all that comfortable for sleeping in and he didn’t think his normal sleep attire, or lack thereof, would be received too well. “I’ll be just a minute,” he left for the bathroom.

“I keep telling you I won’t peak,” she muttered, thinking he didn’t hear her.

‘Maybe you won’t peak, luv, but I’m not all that sure I can take you being in the room.’ Spike changed quickly, not wanting to keep Buffy awake longer than possible.




“You can’t sleep, pet?” He’d shut off the light and gone to bed over half an hour ago and even then Buffy had looked about ready to fall asleep. Yet she was still awake.

“You’re not asleep either.”

“Not the point; you feeling alright?” he turned over to look at her. (He’d been sleeping with his back to her after Buffy told him that it unnerved her to feel his eyes on her when she was trying to fall asleep.)

“Mhmm,” she answered even though she felt far from alright. “Promise not to get mad?” she asked suddenly-or at least it seemed sudden to him, she’d been working up to it all night.

“Yeah sure, but what about?”

Buffy smiled at his lack of hesitation. She moved closer to him, ignoring his look of anxiety, before answering, “This.” To say Spike was surprised when she kissed him, well it would have been one of the bigger understatements in history.

“What’re you doing?” he asked for some reason when, just a few seconds later, she pulled away from him.

“Thought it was kind of obvious.”

“Well yeah, that—Why?” he changed his question.

“Can’t I just want to?”

“Buffy you know—“

“Yeah, I know you do…and I’m not saying that I—Can’t it just be what it is?” she was still unnervingly close.

“Sure, soon as I know what it is.”

“I don’t—I just thought—“ she started to pull back, to turn away from him.

“Hey, I’m not—You know me, I always ask too many questions.” This time he kissed her; and it had so much relief flooding her senses that she finally let go of her anxiety; this was going to work.

But then she couldn’t hold back a slight wince in pain when Spike rolled them over and rested his lower body on hers. Stuff like that was supposed to feel good, not hurt, dammit! He started to stop them again but Buffy forced herself to relax again and wound her fingers in Spike’s hair to keep him right where she wanted him.

Spike wasn’t sure this was a good idea—well he really, really wanted it to be, but he wasn’t sure it actually was. He wasn’t sure Buffy was up to it; and the small wince that came from him putting the slightest hint of his weight on her, only confirmed his suspicions. Hell if he didn’t want this to go on for forever and a day, but he knew it couldn’t. Yes, he knew Buffy might have changed her mind in the morning and now might be his only chance ever to do this…but he couldn’t do it if it was going to be detrimental to her.

“Think it’s about time we get some sleep, luv,’ this time he was able to successfully move his mouth far enough off hers to speak.

“But—“ this wasn’t what he was supposed to do.

“Shh, we’ve got all the time in the world; but right now y—we need the rest.” He hated the way she was looking at him, but he knew it was what he had to do.

“You—It’s how I look isn’t it?” she asked, the slightest hint of tears evident in her eyes even in the dark.

“What?! No, it’s not that at all. Not at all,” he repeated. “We really do need to—“

“You mean I need to get some rest,” she tried not to sound angry but she knew it hadn’t worked.

“Yes, Buffy, that’s what I mean. But it’s not like this our only chance. Now come here,” Spike rolled onto his back next to her and opened his arms to her. He waited for several seconds, as she seemed to think about it before moving into his embrace. He was careful to keep both the arm that was behind her neck and holding her upper arm and the one crossed over his body, holding her own hand, as weightless and light as possible.

Buffy watched as Spike finally shut his eyes, probably hoping to prompt her into dong the same and continued to watch him for several more minutes before she too feel asleep; but not before one thought went through her mind, ‘And if it is our only chance?’



TBC...........
Chapter 38 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
okay, so I know some of you are getting fed up with me and have decided this is taking too long, but...well the story's written and I'm sorry that my taking too long to post the chapter's is making you think that actual telling of the story is too spaced out...


I'm not doing any internety stuff (besides obviously this update) or writing until I finish reading the Harry Potter books--4 days ago I had the last 3 to read, now I just have all but 98 pages of the last two, so it shouldn't be too long--but there really are going to be new stories...I'm just having a tough time getting them written is all....

Try not to all give up on me?
Chapter 38

Spike had woken before Buffy every other day, but apparently she’d beaten him today because…well because her hands were currently working their way inside his pants.

Not even opening his eyes, he grabbed her wrists, still careful not to hurt her but with enough force to stop her, before they could reach their destination.

Only then did he open his eyes; something he was still wondering if he should have done.

“Where’re your pajamas, kitten?” Buffy lay, naked, just inches away from him. He tried oh so hard not to look; and almost succeeded.

“Back there,” she cocked her head slightly to the side over her shoulder and he figured she must have meant the floor beside the bed.

“And why are they not on you?” Why again, he asked himself, was he both stopping her from touching him and trying to get her clothed? Wasn’t this a dream come true? Yea, if he thought she actually was doing this because it was something she truly wanted to do. But he didn’t, not really.

“God I must really suck at this if you have to keep asking me all these questions,” this time she didn’t sound upset or angry, just determined.

“I’m just—“ he didn’t know what he was ‘just’…doing, thinking, saying or otherwise, he had no idea.

“You know you want me,” Buffy had leaned to whisper it in his ear and Spike froze as he felt her breasts just barely brushing against his clothed chest.

“Of course, I do; you know I do. But this isn’t the time for it, pet. Why are you so intent on all of this happening right now?”

“So I’m not allowed to want you right now? I have to wait until you say it’s okay?”

“No I’m not—“ he started, not wanting to upset her, but then changed his mind. “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.”

“You are such an—Oh! I get it; let’s make Buffy and then she’ll quit trying to fuck me. Good plan there, Spikey—except it’s not going to work.”

“Bloody hell, I can’t take this!” Before she could do any more—and she was definitely trying to do more—Spike jumped up out of the bed. “What are you doing Buffy?” he nearly snapped at her.

“Why are you so convinced I can’t just want this?” she asked, her voice weaker now.

“Why? Because this isn’t you. You deny things for as long as possible, this is too sudden for you.”

“How do you know it hasn’t been building over the past weeks?”

“Has it?”

“Yes.”

“And it led to this?”

“Well—sort of,” she admitted in a small voice.

“Won’t you just tell me what’s going on, luv?”

“What if I don’t want to?”

“Buffy,” he moved back to sit on the bed, but only after pulling the sheets and blanket up around her, “please just tell me what this is all about.” She just looked at him looking undecided. “Please?”

“You’re—you’ll make me go,” she gave as an answer.

“Make you go where?”

“The hospital.”

“And why would I do that?” Spike asked, having a feeling he was not going to like her answer.

“Because of my reasoning,” still she avoided answering.

“Which is?” he pushed.

“Well see, it’s…well, uhm…Can you just let me say all of my reason before you say anything?”

“Usually that means I’m not going to like it.” She just waited for him to answer. “Yeah, I’ll wait.”

“Good. Now how to say this,” she thought for a moment then. “That night that I shut you out of the house I kind of felt bad about it and then everything happened and all I really had was time to think about stuff, you know? So I’m spending all of this time thinking and I realize…I missed you; I, of course, wouldn’t admit to it, but I did. And then you had to go and buy me that bear and then everything that night my mom went into the hospital…and then you moving in here. Everything since then, too.

“I don’t really know what exactly it is I feel for you, Spike. But I do know it’s more than I ever would have thought a few weeks ago,” she could tell he wanted to say something then. “And no, it’s not just due to the circumstances—well in a way it is. I can avoid things for a long time when I’m doing enough things, when I’m busy enough…but if all I’m doing is resting and thinking, well…well then I have to actual face facts—about some things at least. So yeah, I don’t know what it is I feel for you; but I know it’s something and you…you love me so…I wanted us to have…before….before,” she didn’t look like she was going to continue, but finally she did. “Before I die,” she said, her voice barely a whisper.

“Oh ho ho! Oh, you’d better not be thinking for even a second that I—you are off--,” Spike looked incredibly angry with her, something Buffy hadn’t expected. Spike turned his back to her, resting his forehead against the door and taking several deep breaths before standing back up. Buffy jumped when he banged his fist on the closed door—hard but not hard enough to cause damage. “Dammit Buffy, you can’t be—Why are you even thinking like that? What do you think it’s going to accomplish? What good do you think thinking all that bollocks is going to do you?”

“I’m not saying it’s going to do me any good,” she jumped in. “But it’s…I know how I feel Spike—physically at least—and I know this isn’t getting better. C’mon, even Dawn’s seen it; that’s why she—“

“Why she said I was blind, yeah I know,” he sighed, running a hand through his already messy hair. “I’ve just—I’ve let you down, haven’t I?”

“God, no; why would you think that Spike?”

“You and the Bit’ve both seen it; I was just deluding myself and look where it got you. You really do need to go to—“

“I don’t want to go to the hospital,” Buffy insisted.

“Well I don’t rightly care any more now do I? I’m supposed to be taking care of you and I’ve been falling down on the job. Not anymore though; figure out what it is you want to wear and whatever you’ll want Dawn or me to bring over later and then we’re going. I’ll go get Dawn up.”

“Spike,” she wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to say, but knew it was important nonetheless.

“You can tell me later,” he assured her.

“I really wish I could tell you now.”

“Don’t worry about it—we’ve got all the time in the world,” he left before she could refute the last part of his statement.

Buffy thought for a second about being angry with Spike—not only had he stopped her from having sex with him, rejected her really, but he’d also just told her what to do, not giving her a choice in the matter. She shouldn’t have a choice in the matter though, should she? So far they’d seemingly left it up to her and that hadn’t gotten her anywhere, at least not anywhere good.

Maybe she actually needed to thank Spike. Maybe.



TBC……..
Chapter 39 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I'm still not reading emails or reivews due to my little attempt at reading the HP books....but beause I have some fics due Tuesday, I am trying to write some so.....if I can get my brain to cooperate, there should be some more fic soon (it might not be much just yet,, but at some point there will be more fic from me, fory ou to read....just thought I'd let you know ;) )
Chapter 39

“I’m sorry.” Yeah, Buffy thought to herself, good job there because saying you’re sorry is so the same thing as thanking someone. Exact same. Only not.

“You’ve got nothing to be sorry for.”

“I…I thought you wanted me so…I took adv—I’m just sorry; I shouldn’t have done all of that.”

“You shouldn’t have done it because of why or because of what?”

“What?” Either she was loosing her mind too or that just plain hadn’t made sense.

Spike understood that she was asking a question, not answering his. “Should you not have done it because of your reasons why or are you saying you shouldn’t have done it because of what it was you did? Why or what.”

“You ask—Because of…probably a bit of both; I assumed some stuff I shouldn’t have assumed and I’m sorry.”

Buffy apologizing was something he hadn’t ever expected to hear; and here she’d said it three times already and he was about to tell her she needn’t have said it at all.

“Buffy, luv, you didn’t assume a single thing—“

“I assumed that you wanted me and that if I—“

Spike sat on the bed facing her, his mission of making sure Buffy changed and retrieving his own clothes, completely forgotten. “You listen to me: you did not assume a single thing. When it’s something you know, it’s not assuming, it’s…well it’s knowing it.

“I do want you, am going to want you through that very last second before I’m d-dust. I don’t just want you, though; I want you, I desire you, I love you. If I only waned you, only wanted to shag you a time or two that’s what we’d be doing right about now. But because—even if it means you going back to hating me, this is something I have to do. I couldn’t love you and not do what’s best for you.”

“So you do still want me?” she asked, sounding like she didn’t want to ask it, but felt compelled to anyway.

With one leg bent and the other hanging off the bed didn’t put him in the best position for this—but he figured any muscular discomfort would be worth it.

“Like I said, I am going to want you up to and through the very last second of my existence.” She hadn’t expected the kiss, not after everything he’d said and stopped her from doing earlier. But then, she mused, a kiss was a bit different than her snaking her hands down his pants. “You realize,” e said when he pulled back several seconds later-too soon for her tastes, “that I’m going to be following you around after this; going to have to stake me to get rid of me.”

“Spike, you wouldn’t go away before; why would I think you’d start now?”

“Yeah, yeah; now get dressed and all that, Bit’s about bouncing off the walls out there. Apparently we took a bit to long to come to this hospital conclusion, for her tastes anyway.” Buffy watched him leave without another word before jumping in surprise when he popped back in just a second later. “You need me to get anything for you?”

“Uhm, maybe just my black pants, some t-shirt, and that gray zip-up sweatshirt?”

“Sure thing,” he quickly retrieved said items and gave them to her before once again leaving the room—this time assuring her he wouldn’t be back—so she knew that she could change and would also have a few minutes to herself.



“Come in,” Buffy called, wiping ineffectively yet briskly at the tears making their way down her face and neck. The knock was more than likely Spike coming to get her.

“What’s wrong?” She should have known that Spike would be at her side, looking fearful and concerned, in just seconds. Of course he would, he was Spike.

“I’m fine,” she assured him, drying the last of her tears.

“Buffy—“

“No, really, I’m alright. Let’s just go, okay?” Buffy wasn’t going to tell anyone that she had just broken down because going to the hospital truly terrified her. It wasn’t so much the physical hospital building or the doctors or equipment that was the problem—though she wasn’t too fond of all that either—rather it was what it meant. Going to the hospital, being checked into the hospital meant that she was well and truly sick. This wasn’t some fluke thing that she’d be over in a day or two, it was something that was honestly trying its damndest to kill her. To actually kill her. As in dead. And not the drown for a second and then come back kind of dead either, the real kind. The permanent kind.

It also meant leaving the comfort of her cozy bedroom; as a matter of fact Spike was currently carrying her out of the room and she couldn’t help but wonder, as she took one quick look behind her, if this was going to be the last time she saw her bedroom.

“Wait!” she said so suddenly that Spike almost tripped over his feet he stopped so quickly.

“What’s the matter?”

“Can we get my bear?” she asked, sorry that she’d scared him—again.

“Of course we can,” he agreed, a smiling lighting up his face, both because nothing was wrong and because she actually did like his present.

“Thank you.” This time when they were back in her room, Buffy made it a point to look around the entire room. “And, Spike? I know Dawn’s probably going nuts and all—but can I just say goodbye to my mom?”

“Sure. You want me to give you a few minutes alone with her?”

“Could you?”

“Course; it’ll give me the chance to convince Dawn to get the car ready and to wait for you.” Spike carried her into her mother’s room and carefully sat her on the side of the bed, letting her know he would be back in several minutes.

Buffy kept her bear hugged against her chest and waited until she heard Spike descend the stairs before turning to speak to her currently comatose mother.





“Where’s Buffy?” Dawn asked Spike, very accusingly, when she saw him come down the stairs alone, her sister nowhere in sight.

“She’s having a talk with your—“ Spike saw the way Dawn’s face was beginning to fill with hope and quickly corrected himself, “she’s talking to your mum for a few minutes.”

“Oh,” she said dejectedly, “so we’re not going yet?”

“Not just yet. I’m assuming you haven’t been able to get demon girl down here?”

“Either she’s not hearing me or she’s ignoring me—either way it looks like it’ll just be the three of us.”

“We’ll do alright. I’m going to need you to make sure all the junk’s out of the car and I’m going to need you to be in charge of the doors. I’m going to have to put Buffy in, then run around and get it—so it’s all gotta be quick.”

“I could probably help Buffy out there, couldn’t I?”

Spike thought back to the last time he’d helped Buffy walk just across the hall and just how much he had been supporting her weight; this would involve helping her walk all the way out of the house, down the steps, down the sidewalk, and into the car.

“I think we’d better play it safe and have me carry her out,” Spike did his best not to worry Dawn.

“I’ll just go get the car ready. Can you keep trying for Anya? I’d feel better about leaving Mom here if I knew for sure someone was going to be checking on her.” Dawn didn’t wait for an answer before quickly heading outside, hoping maybe the heat would somehow help quell the tears that were rapidly forming. Her mother was in a coma and her sister was going into the hospital and had to be carried to the car—her sister who had been a superhero basically couldn’t even walk with help now. At least not her help.

She knew it would just anger Spike—he wouldn’t even harbor the notion of a possibility of it happening…but maybe she could ask Buffy. Just what was going to happen to her if her mother and sister did in fact both die—or for that matter if Buffy died and their mother stayed in her coma?

Dawn focused her attention on the mess that was left in Spike’s car, attempting to put questions that she had no answers to, out of her mind.


TBC.....please review?
Chapter 40 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
so, life still won't settle down and let me write much--but I'm getting a little bit done so some day you'll get new stories from me ;-) (Also, still not reading emails/reviews because other books are distracting me and I haven't finished the HP stuff yet-which was my basis for when to read again--so if you emailled me....I'll read it soon, really...I just have not yet)
Chapter 40


“I know when people are in ac—normal comas that the doctors always tell you to try to talk to them; the doctors say they can hear you. I don’t know if you can hear me right now or not—I don’t even know if I’m supposed to be hoping you’ll wake up right now or if I’m supposed to know that they’ll send you all back and stuff when it’s time.

“I guess there’s a lot I don’t know right now…like how I’m going to do this, going into the hospital I mean. I know—in that part of me that I try really, really hard to ignore most of the time—that I have to go. I know I’m not getting better, know that I need whatever a hospital can do for me, but…I’m scared, Mom…really, really scared. At least when I was here I could pretend for Dawn that I was feeling better or that I knew it was all going to be okay—with you, with me, with everything really.

“When I could stay here, I could pretend. But now…now I have to go into the hospital and I don’t know what to do anymore—without you around to help—to let Dawn know it’s all going to be okay…Because I have to hope that it is, you know…even if it’s not.

“I probably shouldn’t say this because it’s probably some sort of bad luck to think things much less say them, but…I love you so much, Mom, really I do…and if…if something happens to me—or I guess doesn’t happen the way things are going—or to you before…if I don’t get to see you again I just want you to know that I love you more than I would ever be able to figure out how to say. I’m sorry for all the stress and everything that me being the Slayer put you through; I’m sorry for all the times I was hard to deal with, all the times I was trouble; and I’m sorry, most of all, that I might not have done enough before so that you…so that you’d already know all of this,” Buffy ignored the tears sliding down her face as she leaned down to place a kiss to her mother’s cheek before hugging her as best she could given their positions. “I’ll take care of Dawn if—I just want you to know that I’ll take care of Dawn no matter what,” she added quietly before sitting up and waiting for Spike to come back.



“Ever thought of getting a mobile phone, pet? All this yelling at the ceiling and talisman rubbing is getting kind of old.”

“For your information, Spike,” Anya began haughtily, “cellular phones do not work in Arashmahar and even if they did, I would not lower myself to something so…human.”

“Forgetting you are human?” He sincerely hoped she hadn’t gone and made herself a demon again; her kind of demon meant killing people for sure and he didn’t want to have another thing to deal with.

“I like to forget,” she admitted quietly and Spike saw that there was more to all of it than just owning a phone so he could get in touch with her more easily.

“Soon as all this business with the Slayer and Joyce is done with and everyone’s home and healthy again, you can go back up to wherever-mahar and forget all about your little stint as a human. Long as you don’t start killing people again that is.”

“Arashmahar,” she corrected him. “And it is Xander, Willow, and Rupert that I wish to forget my relationship with—not everyone else. Besides, the only normal run of the mill human in this house is Joyce—and once she comes back from wherever she is, I’m not sure even that will be true anymore.

“Now,” her voice changed quickly back from friendly to business-like, “why is it you summoned me?”

“Wouldn’t exactly call it summoning—but we were wondering if you could check on Joyce ever little bit. We’re taking Buffy to the hospital so Dawn and I’ll be there for a good little bit and I don’t think Niblet’d deal to well with it if her mum was here all alone,” he explained.

“Do you just think I have no life?”

“Anya,” he began, using the most placating tone he could muster, “would you please cancel—or postpone—whatever direly important appointments or activities you have scheduled to check on the Slayer’s mum for me today?”

“I think I can rearrange things enough—you go on with Buffy and Dawn and I will be back shortly,” again, she was gone in a poof of smoke. She really was a strange bird.





This time, when he went upstairs for Buffy, Spike knocked on the door, politely making sure his entrance would be welcome.

“Come in,” she called quietly.

“You ready to go, pet? I could give you a few more minutes if--” he trailed off slowly.

“No, I’m—Let’s go,” Buffy couldn’t quite bring herself to say she was ‘ready’; especially because she most certainly was not. “How’s Dawn doing? She okay with leaving Mom here? I was thinking I could call--”

“Already got it taken care of, luv. Anya’s going to be coming in just a bit—going to watch after your mum.”

“Oh. Thanks for getting that dealt with—figuring it out and all.”

“Bit helped a lot—girl’s good with the yelling; surprised you didn’t hear her.”

“I think I’ve learned to tune it out when it’s not actually anything dire.”

“So that’s what you do,” Spike said thoughtfully. “Might have to work on that one myself.”

“It’s honed skill, buddy.”

“I’m sure it is. Now, enough with the trying to distract me; let’s go.” As Spike picked Buffy up and carried her out of the room, he sent a silent prayer up for Joyce—his second prayer of the day and on of less than a handful made over the last one hundred plus years. He knew he wasn’t anyone God or whoever was controlling all of this needed to be listening to, but maybe, just maybe, it would be the subject of his prayers—Buffy and Joyce—that would get the attention.

Maybe who or whatever was up there would see that two women who were able to get a vampire to love them enough to be praying for them—and to mean it as well…Maybe they’d see that Buffy and Joyce were two women that they definitely needed to let stick around for a good time to come. He knew he sure as hell needed them to. And Dawn needed it, too.

Actually, the whole world needed it, they just didn’t know it the way he and his Niblet did.

“Alright, Bit, you got the doors all set?” he waited for Dawn’s confirmation that the car doors were In fact open as he’d requested. “Guess we’re off then.”


TBC…..(Next week's update might be a bit late if I'm not back in town quite yet...)
Chapter 41 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
so uhm, that little trip of mine? sort of went and got extended a week without much warning....sorry! I tried finding internet for an update last week but it just wasn't going to happen, but luckily I got home last night so you do get one today--sorry about the missed one :)
Chapter 41

Spike really was about ready to kill the bloody doctors already. They’d checked Buffy in over two hours ago and—after a rather loud ‘conversation’ on how if they knew what was wrong with Buffy then they wouldn’t very well be bringing her to the hospital, now would they?—Buffy was just now getting checked over by a nurse. But what had him so rip roaring mad and ready to say fuck the chip and snap someone’s neck was the way they all acted like this was somehow his or Buffy—or both’s—fault.

They had deduced that, wonder of all wonders, Buffy was undernourished so they’d given her several IVs—one to give her an IV of sodium chloride to help replenish her electrolytes and hopefully increase her declining blood pressure—and thus increase her energy—by increasing her blood volume.

Once the nurse had checked all of her vital signs and recorded them they were going to take her to radiology to get some sort of, he assumed, special feeding tube that was somehow guided by x-ray. He didn’t completely understand it, but he was going to be with her when they did it so he knew nothing would happen to her; he simply wouldn’t allow it.

Spike had gotten the assumption from both the doctors and the nurses—in the way that they looked at Buffy, the disdainful looks they gave him, and their falsely optimistic tones, the one he recognized as how people said things when they didn’t believe what they were saying but felt they had to say it, that they all figured Buffy to be dying. He wanted to shout at them that if they had all decided that already then how in the bleedin’ hell did they expect to get her well?

He knew a lot about death—killing people for one hundred and twenty years would do that for you—and he knew that as soon as you gave into it you were as good as dead. Sure you could still die even if you fought it until the bitter end, but if you did fight…well at least then you had a chance. When you just gave in you gave up all of your chances. It was true for the person in danger of dying and, at least to him, it was the same for the people in charge of making sure someone didn’t die—namely the hospital’s doctors and nurses; Buffy’s doctors and nurses.

If he’d thought there was anywhere better to take her, anywhere where she would have been under better care, they would already be out of there. But as much as he wished it, he couldn’t think of anywhere.

Apparently they were stuck with the place.




They’d been able to get Dawn to stay in the room while Buffy—along with Spike—was taken down to radiology and, not entirely surprisingly, she was sound asleep when they returned to the room. Spike knew she had to be utterly exhausted after the goings on of the past few weeks and now that Buffy was in the hospital—‘safe’ in Dawn’s mind—she could finally relax some. He could only hope—God how he wished there were something more he could do but sadly hope was all he had—that this was going to be enough; that it was going to keep her safe. And alive.

Buffy’s throat was numb still from where they had numbed both her throat and nose for inserting the tube but she’d thought before the procedure to ask for something and the nurse was off getting it now.

“Are you sure?” Spike asked for what had to be the twentieth time in the last five minutes.

Buffy could only nod and glare at him—angry that she couldn’t even nod emphatically. She couldn’t even fucking nod emphatically for God’s sake and he was still asking her if she was sure.

“Alright, alright,” he held his hands up in surrender, “I believe you—and I’ll shut up about it now.” Spike quietly went to go check on Dawn, making sure she looked at least somewhat comfortable in the chair and wasn’t going to fall out of it or somehow hurt herself.

Buffy wondered when it was that she’d come to understand Spike and his actions so well; she knew he was walking over Dawn—across the room from her—to give himself some time to make sure he was calm.

Then she wondered if she’d really understood him and his actions all along. It wasn’t exactly like he was ever all that cryptic anyway; either he was evil and out to kill you and you knew it or—for various reasons—he needed help or was willing to help and you knew that as well. And when he was doing one he was most certainly not doing the other—oddly enough, Spike had always been easy for her to read. Interesting.

“Here you are Ms. Summers,” the nurse returned to the room, a piece of paper in her hand. “Shall I go get someone else or is your sister going to be witness?”

“I think we should get someone else—Dawn’s not even legal anyway and that might bring up problems later. It’s not too much trouble is it?” It still felt funny to Buffy to be talking with the tube going down her throat, but she figured she’d have to do it sometime.

“Not at all; Rose is just next door, I’ll go get her.”

“You’re sure you’re—“

“Spike, I’m sure,” Buffy assured him—again.

“Fine, fine. Should I take kid sis over there home after?”

“Either way is fine with me—I’m thinking she should just stay home tomorrow and rest; she’s been through a hell of a lot today.”

‘Yeah,’ Spike thought, ‘we’ve all been through a bloody hell of a lot today.’

“I’ll take her back once she wakes up or once it gets dark—going to come back though, you know,” he pointed out.

“Spike,” Buffy tried, “you have to get some sleep, too.”

“That isn’t going to happen with me at home and you here—and what’s so bloody funny?” he wondered suddenly after seeing her smile.

“Who said anything was funny?” she evaded his question.

“Got a mighty big grin on your face there for nothing to be funny.”

“I promise, nothing is funny at all. You do know, though,” she said trying to change the subject, “that they have ‘visiting hours’ and all—they might not let you back.”

“I flash a little fang and they will,” he said stubbornly.

“Maybe,” she replied slowly, “but you are not going to do that; figure it out or don’t but no vampy face-ness.”

“Can’t tell me what to do,” Spike muttered.

“No,” Buffy agreed, “I really can’t. I’m just asking you to please not do it—it’s going to be kind of hard if you’re banned from the hospital. Or staked.”

“Go and bring logic into it why don’t you,” he grumbled, but tried to straighten up and look serious when the two nurses came into the room.

“Everything alright?” the one he assumed was Rose asked.

Spike had to literally bite his tongue from not so nicely pointing out that if everything were alright, Buffy wouldn’t be in the hospital hooked up to IVs and with a feeding tube down her throat.

“Perfect,” he finally answered when Buffy started to look at him strangely.

“Great. Now, I’ve been told that this was done for your mother just recently so I’m sure you understand what you’re doing but,” the woman stopped suddenly.

“Yes?” Buffy prompted.

”I feel I should warn you against having the same person act as both your mother’s medical proxy and yours.”

“Well your warning is noted, but I’m not going to choose anyone else; it’s going to be Sp—William.”

“Very well, if you’re sure.”

“Positive.” Buffy took the piece of the paper from the nurse, read over it just to make sure it was the right thing and she knew all of what she was agreeing to and signed it before handing it to Spike to do the same. Once the two nurses had signed that they had in fact witnessed the signing, it was taken to be copied—so that Buffy could keep a copy—and filed.

“Thank you, Spike,” Buffy said once the two nurses had left.

“Thank you, luv. Hey,” he had noticed how tired she seemed to be getting and how her voice had grown softer the longer she talked, “I think I’ll take the Bit home now; get her off to bed and all that rot.”

“Guess it’s later than I thought, huh?” Buffy had just noticed that the sun was already setting.

“Guess so; you could probably do with some rest too. Been a busy day and all.”

“Yeah…who would have thought just getting into the hospital would be so tiring,” she tried to joke but her tiredness came through—strongly.

“You get some sleep and I’ll try to be back later, yeah?”

“Okay. Let Dawn know I said good night?”

“Of course.” Without giving it a single thought, Spike leaned down to kiss Buffy on the forehead before walking across the room t carefully pick up Dawn, carrying her as gently as possible out of the room after giving Buffy one last smile as a goodbye.

Buffy watched the doorway for several moments, marveling over how…essential Spike was to her life right now; and how quickly that had become so true. She hoped it didn’t change when her health changed for the better. She’d miss him, she realized.

The nurse’s reemergence into the room startled Buffy and the woman apologized before handing her the copy of the proxy form. “I was going to give it to Mr. Pratt but I saw him leave before I got a chance to stop him. He will be back later won’t he?”

If Buffy didn’t know any better she’d swear the nurse had a crush on Spike. Well, as long as she didn’t do anything about it…

“Yes, I’m sure he will be,” Buffy assured her and watched in amusement as the woman left with a nearly giddy smile on her face.



Buffy settled back into the bed and tried to rest—knowing one way or another Spike was going to be back sooner or later. Hopefully it would be it sooner; and hopefully it wouldn’t involve her having to explain how the nurse calling him a monster was obviously clearly mistaken and perhaps she had been on shift too long.

Because that? Would really ruin her good mood. And yes, she was in a good mood.

Spike had called her house home.


TBC……


(and I really will have new fics some day...yu know some day after I have the ability to have more than two minutes a day where I'm able to try to write them ;) Just try not giving up on the idea just yet)
Chapter 42 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry this one's a bit late today...
Chapter 42

“Promise not to yell?”

“I highly doubt I’m going to yell at you, luv.”

“I kind of want to tell Giles and Willow and Xander that I’m in the—“

“Are you insane?!”

“Well, I tried,” Buffy mused, more to herself than to Spike.

“Have you completely forgotten how absolutely deplorable their actions were the last time they were in this hospital? How horrible they were to you and the Bit and Anyanka?”

“Spike, I’m not saying I’m going to forgive them just like that; Hell, I’m probably not going to forgive them at all.”

“Then why tell them? You know they’ll show up,” he interrupted.

“Yeah, I know they will, but—“ ‘Now,’ Buffy thought, ‘how to say this without pissing Spike off more.’ “Spike, the doctors don’t know what’s wrong wi—‘

“It’s only been two days, Buffy! You have to gi—“

“Yeah, I know, I have to give them time. But the fact is—They fucked up, I know that. I just…if anything does happen to me,” she held up her hand to stop his protest, “I don’t want them regretting their actions for the rest of their lives.”

“Would serve them right,” he argued. “And what’s to say they even realize they’re wrong? Or that they will?”

“Maybe they will—and maybe they won’t But the fact is, I’ll feel better if I’ve at least given them the chance. You don’t have to agree with me on this, Spike, but do it for me anyway. Please?”

“Couldn’t you get…someone I don’t like so much to ask me this stuff? Then I could at least pretend to say no.”

“So you’ll do it?”

“Hold up there, Slayer—I am not going to call up those wankers. That’s gotta be somebody else’s job.”

“Fine, if I ask a nurse to call Giles, will you at least be here when they come? I’ll get Anya and Dawn to search them for stakes if you want,” she gave him what she hoped was an endearing look.

“Might be a good idea—not sure that three against almost one is much of a fair fight.”

“Hey! ‘Almost one’? What’s that about now?”

“Not very well three against one if the one can’t exactly fight back, now is it?”

“You could so kick their asses without that stupid chip in your head,” Buffy protested with something so close to pride in her voice that Spike could hardly help but laugh.

“Since when is the chip stupid, pet?” he managed to ask.

“Since my friends are fucking morons and they want to stake you and I can’t stop them.”

“Oh,” Spike mentally kicked himself for even daring to hope she’d meant something else.

“And since I’ve finally realized that you wouldn’t kill anyone anyway.”

His standard objection was on the tip of his tongue before he decided that posturing in front of Buffy—especially when she had really just told him she trusted him—was not only pointless but also rather stupid.

“Thank you, Buffy,” he said, hoping he was properly conveying his gratitude.


“Is my mom doing any different?” Buffy asked after several seconds when the way Spike was looking at her had her growing uncomfortable.

“Nothing I can tell; still seems to be doing fine. Dawn still won’t see her though—guess it’s easier for her that way.”

“Well I guess this is one of those cases where no news is god news. Right?” she asked after a moment’s pause.

“Right, luv. Listen, Anyanka brought this up last night and…does your mum have a will? Apparently there was some note in her room to the both of us, asking us to read her will if anything ever happened where she was incapacitated—which I think the current situation qualifies as.”

“If she did, her lawyer would probably have it—I can’t remember his name, but I know it’s the same guy the gallery uses so I guess you could ask them.”

“I’ll give them a call when I get back to the house. I’ll get going now, see how the Bit’s doing—see if she wants to come by. I’ll make the bloody calls as well. Ring Rupes and tell him the what’s what and then find that lawyer bloke and see if I can get him to come by tomorrow.”

“Thank you, Spike—and thank you for staying around to take care of Dawn still.”

“Course I’ll take care of her; told you and your mum I would. ‘Sides, girl’s not too bad.”

“Just don’t be telling her any more of those William the Bloody stories, okay?”

“Go and ruin all my fun why don’t you.”



*(*(*()*)*



“Is Buffy insane? Her brain’s going, isn’t it?” Dawn asked worriedly once Spike had finished explaining why he was asking her for Giles’ phone number—sure it had taken him five days to finally do it, but now he had. “She’s dying isn’t she?”

Spike would have laughed at her seriousness if she weren’t so…well, serious.

“No, your sister isn’t going insane—not dying either.”

“Then why’s she doing it?”

Yeah, why is she doing it, Spike? he wondered. Trying to get himself to come up with a reason that didn’t involve Buffy’s own fear of her dying, Spike tried to buy himself time.

“You don’t really think she’s going insane do you? You know they’re helping her in the hospital; they’ve got her on IVs and—“

“Spike?” Dawn cut him off, “Why’s she want you to call them?”

“She’s fine if they regret not coming to see her but she’s not going to let herself regret not giving them the chance,” he finally said, still not quite answering the original question of Dawn’s.

“Fine—but if they try to stake you I’m not ever, ever going to talk to them again—like ever,” she said ‘ever’ the way only a teenage girl could. Dawn went to the kitchen and came back a few seconds later, dialing numbers on the cordless phone.

“Giles?” Spike was stunned when Dawn refused his attempts to take the phone from her, instead choosing to have the conversation herself. “Yeah, yeah just let me say this—Buffy’s in the hospital and for some totally insane reason she wants you to know so you and Willow and Xander can come visit her once. You can only come if you promise not to be a jackass again and if you promise not to stake Spike.” Spike watched as she seemed to listen to the old man for a minute before continuing, “Yes, Spike is going to be there—either be nice to him or stay the hell out of our lives! No I will not watch my language,” she said haughtily. “Not around you at least—I wouldn’t even be talking to you if Buffy hadn’t asked Spike to call you—no,” she objected to whatever Giles had said, “I’m calling because I don’t want you yelling at Spike anymore. So, either come or don’t—I don’t particularly care.”

Dawn stood after she’d clicked the phone off and waited for Spike to get on her.

Spike stood and watched Dawn as she hung up the phone and then looked at him as if waiting for something.

“You’re seriously not going to yell at me?”

“Talk like that to anyone else and yeah, I will—but Rupes deserves it; besides, it’s better than anything I would have said.”

“Spike?” Dawn questioned, her voice quieter and calmer.

“Yes?”

“Is Buffy really going to be okay? I mean…really? Please don’t lie.”

Spike knew Dawn wasn’t stupid, her sister had been in the hospital for a week now and while she was stable and didn’t seem to be deteriorating any, she also didn’t seem to be doing particularly better either.

“You know for yourself that she’s not losing any ground, pet. They’re doing their best to figure out what is wrong, too—they’re going to figure it out, Dawn.”

“But it’s just…and my mom,” Dawn trailed off, not explaining herself.

“I know, pet, I know. Don’t you worry though, okay? I’m going to take care of you—I promised them and I’m promising you, alright? I’m doing all I can to make sure they’re both okay—you know I’d never give up on Buffy or your mum. You just keep thinking positive, yeah?”

“Thank you, Spike.”

“Don’t worry about it. Now, did that lawyer call back yet?”

“Yeah, he called this afternoon,” Dawn said and went on to fill Spike in on what the lawyer had told her.


TBC……
Chapter 43 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry it's a few minute's late...hope everyone in the US is enjoying the holiday weekend :) and everyone else is just enjoying the weekend
Chapter 43


“My God, you’re dying.”

Spike had never wanted to throttle someone as much as he wanted to throttle Rupert Giles at that moment.

“Gee,” Buffy said, “thanks for the optimism.”

“But Buffy,” Willow began, “your voice is all weak and…and you have these big dark circles under your eyes and…you’re so skinny!”

While Spike wasn’t sure that ‘skinny’ was quite the appropriate word, he did have to agree with Red’s assessment; though he and Dawn had gotten used to hearing Buffy speak so softly, it was true that her voice was weaker—and of course she looked horrendously tired, she was.

“And you what?” Spike wondered, “Thought she was in the hospital just for shits and giggles? Thought you knew the girl well enough to know how she feels about hospitals.”

“I also thought I knew my Slayer well enough to know that she wouldn’t be foolish enough to allow William the Bloody into her life in such a way.”

“’Cause that was just plain classy, Rupes; classy,” Spike muttered, not really caring who heard him.

“You know,” Dawn said, speaking up for the first time during their visit, “I think you guys have been here long enough; you’ve seen Buffy and that was really the point after all. You could probably leave now.”

“I agree,” Anya said quickly. “You have seen Buffy—you should go home now and reflect.”

“Reflect on what?” Xander asked.

“Xander Harris I am finished giving you answers to obvious things.”

“I believe it is rather up to Buffy to tell us to leave,” Giles said rather icily.

“Actually,” Buffy said, surprising the man who was staring at her so expectantly as well as the two people who had accompanied him there, “if Dawn doesn’t want you here, I think—“

“Ms. Summers? Mr. Pratt?” a man questioned from the doorway. “I don’t mean to interrupt,” he apologized quickly.

“You’re not really interrupting anything,” Buffy assured him.

“Who are you?” Xander asked, this time doing his own job of forgetting about tact.

“I am Reginald Kayne, Mrs. Summers’ attorney,” he formally introduced himself to the assembled group.

“I didn’t have our appointment time wrong, did I?” Spike wondered. “I thought it wasn’t until two.”

“No, no, you had it correct. A client of mine had his surgery time changed and needed me earlier than expected so everything has been bumped up if possible—I tried calling you at home to inform you but no one was there.”

“Listen here sir,” Giles began, “I don’t know what this ‘man’ has told you but if you’re here to discuss anything about Joyce Summers you should really speak with Buffy and myself.”

“And you are?”

“Rupert Giles.”

“Well, Mr. Giles, Mrs. Summers herself asked that I discuss this with Ms. Summers and Mr. Pratt; you are welcome to listen in as she did not stipulate anything against that, but that is all.”

“I am going to find out what you did,” he threatened Spike in what he assumed was a terrifying manner. “I will find out and I will make you regret it. You are going to be sorry.”

“Whatever you say Watcher boy. Excuse him Mr. Kayne, he’s just having a hard time with the situation.”

“It’s quite alright,” the attorney assured him, “I deal with it quite often. I do hope it’s not a problem, my coming early.”

“Not at all; you were going to tell us what my mother has written in her will?” Buffy prompted.

“Yes, yes. I’m only sorry your mother isn’t well enough to join us today.”

“Where is your mother? Does she even know you’re doing this? That Spike is involved?”

“No Giles,” Buffy answered sarcastically, “we got her lawyer to do this without any say so from her; we thought doing it behind her back would be more fun. And not that it’s actually any of your information, but she’s at home.”

“Is she not well?”

“Did you miss the whole ‘brain tumor’ thing?” Dawn snapped.

“I had assumed that the hospital would not have sent her home if she were not—“

“You know what you do when you assume, don’t you Rupes? They let her home because she’s better--it’s not just ‘snap’ you’re well again; it takes time.”

“Well, I as—know that once she has come back to her senses she will surely not allow this…creature such free access to your lives. Clearly you are not functioning at full capacity, Buffy—surely you must see that—“

“Quit telling my sister she’s stupid. And quit calling Spike a creature. Either shut up or go home,” Dawn ordered, not caring if her words were going to get her in trouble.

“If we could,” the lawyer jumped in when everyone was silent for several seconds—not only because he was in fact under a time constraint, but also Mr. Pratt had impressed him as a very caring person.

“Yes, yes, of course,” Giles agreed. “Let’s hear this—perhaps it will get Buffy to see reason.”

Buffy, Spike, Dawn, Anya, Xander, and Willow had to bite their tongues from saying anything in reply—the last two for an entirely different reason than the others, though.

“May I?” Mr. Kayne set his folder on the table next to Buffy’s bed before looking at the files still in his hands. “As to her share in the ownership of the gallery, upon incident of Mrs. Summers’ death or incapacitation, it will go to the eldest of her daughters to either be retained or sold for the purchase price plus five percent for every year the establishment made money.

“Now, as for the custody of her youngest daughter Dawn: She now has sole custody of the child and receives both alimony and child support from her ex-husband. Upon her death, the child support will be doubled and the alimony continued, both until Dawn’s twenty-first birthday. Custody of Dawn as well as payment of the monies will go jointly to Buffy Summers and William Pratt—“

“Bloody hell!”

“Seriously?”

“Cool!”

“What?!”

“Buggering—“ Came from Giles, Buffy, Dawn, Willow, and Spike respectively, a loud laugh all that Xander managed—while Anya just looked to be taking it all in and considering everything.

“I take it that was unexpected,” the attorney joked.

“Alright, where’s her real lawyer?” Willow asked, looking at the man dubiously.

“Yes, I dare say, I rather agree.”

“I assure you both, I am in fact Mrs. Summers’ attorney. Both hers and the gallery’s.”

“Very good Spike,” Giles congratulated Spike on what he refused to believe was anything other than an elaborate hoax. “Please, sir, do continue on,” he waved his hand somewhat dismissively at Mr. Kayne.

“As I was saying, Mr. Pratt and Ms. Buffy Summers will be granted joint custody of the child. Should either of them die before the child’s eighteenth birthday,” he paused for a second, “full custody will go to the other.”

“Spike, if you’re going to try to trick us—don’t go so far. No way are any of us going to believe Mrs. Summers would give you full custody of Dawn,” Xander chided, his earlier mirth now gone and replaced with anger.

“I told you, you gits, I didn’t have anything to do with this. It’s Joyce’s will—it’s what she wants.”

“I assure you that prior to his call earlier this week I had never spoken to or seen Mr. Pratt. And I am most definitely a real lawyer,” he pulled out his Bar Association card. “This is Joyce Summers living will.”

Giles had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach that the man was in fact telling the truth. The truth that didn’t involve Joyce giving him custody of Dawn—at all.

“Has she changed it recently?”

“A little over a month ago I believe,” he said and then found the exact date for them.

When Giles realized that was before Joyce had gone into the hospital but after Buffy had gotten sick, he only had one more questioned. “Did she change anything as to Dawn’s custody if she died?”

“She added Mr. Pratt—it seems with her daughter’s illness she wanted to cover all bases and make sure that if for whatever reason it was decided Buffy was not able to take care of the child on her own, that not just anyone would share in the care.”

So, it had never been him. Rupert wondered if he would have been better off never knowing that.

“I guess we had better hear the rest,” he admitted solemnly.

Ordinarily Buffy would have felt sorry for Giles—she knew what he had just realized; but at the moment she couldn’t imagine him ever having any sort of custody of Dawn. She was, actually, afraid to think of what he would do if he did.

“Ownership of the home at 1630 Revello Drive Sunnydale, California will also transfer to Buffy Summers and William Pratt, the mortgage to be paid off either by one or the both of them or by Mrs. Summers’ stock portfolio.”

“That’s a very wise choice your mother made,” Anya told Buffy. “Stocks are often good for long term investment—and for paying things due over long periods of time.”

“There are just a few more things. Just a few small personal possessions, the distribution of which Mrs. Summers would like to determine. She asks that—would you like me to read all of this or would you like to read over it at your own leisure? It’s really just a long list of little things and who she’d like to see them go to.”

“I think we can look at that later—the rest is a lot for us to think about anyway.”

“Yes, I would guess it must be. Is there anything I can answer for you? Anything you need clarified?”

After a quick look at Buffy, Dawn, and Anya, Spike answered, “I think we’re good for now; thank you for taking the time to come by.”

“Of course; if there are any problems or anything you think of, just give me a call and I’ll do my best to help.”

“Thank you,” Buffy offered another thank you as he left the room.



“Tell me truly,” Giles requested, “was that your mother’s lawyer?”

“Yes,” Buffy answered as calmly as she could. “Neither Spike nor I had any say in my mother’s will either; this was the first time we heard any of it.”

“Very well. And you have no problem with any of it, it would seem.”

“No, I really don’t,” Buffy answered.

“And you, Dawn?”

“Are you kidding? I think it’s great.”

“Spike?”

“Yes?” Spike was not going to make this easy on Rupert Giles.

“How do you feel about everything?”

“Bit overwhelmed, actually,” he admitted. “But there’s no part of it I object to.”

“Well…I guess there’s no point in me staying here any longer then. It’s clear I’m not going to get through to any of you any time soon.”

“I go where G-Man goes today, it seems,” Xander said resignedly.

“Buffy,” Willow sounded sad, “are you…can’t you—I’m sorry.” She walked out the door without a backwards glance.

“I hope you don’t experience too much pain,” Giles added before walking out with Xander just a few seconds later.

The room was silent for over a minute until Anya broke the uncomfortable silence. “Do you know what stocks your mother owns? I’m interested in investing myself.”


TBC….
Chapter 44 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
sorry that I'm late (again!) but I had puppy watching duty this morning and as it was pouring rain I couldn't leave her outside for a few minutes to sneak up here and upate...sorry!
Chapter 44

Buffy finally convinced Spike to go home around nine thirty that night. He’d been reluctant to go but Buffy finally convinced him that all she was going to do was go to sleep and it was past visiting hours anyway. So now he was gone.

And she was very far from asleep. She’d lied when she told Spike she was going to go to sleep, that she was already half way there. Truth be told she wasn’t sure she’d been much farther from asleep in the last several weeks. There was much too much on her mind.

Her mother had planned—even while she thought she was dying—to give custody of Dawn as well as the house to her and Spike. It was nothing short of amazing to Buffy. Not only that her mother trusted Spike that much—really after the past few weeks it wasn’t hard to see he would do a great job—but that she trusted her as well. She knew that in many ways she was not one of the more mature people in the world, but…

She was going to have to thank her mother…if she ever saw her again.

And besides the absolute stupidity that her friends had displayed earlier, that was what was taking up most of her thoughts. She did her best to appear tough and in control for Spike and Dawn’s benefit but really…she was scared. She’d only been alone for about an hour so far and already she was feeling incredibly lonely again. Lately it seemed that whenever she was by herself, she worried she wasn’t ever going to see anyone again.

Buffy was absolutely terrified that she was dying. And she didn’t have anyone to tell.



“You have an alarm set, pet?”

“What? Why?” Dawn asked in confusion.

“I’m going to the hospital—not all that sure I’ll be here in time to make sure you’re up.”

“Why?” she asked, her voice suddenly full of worry. “Did they call? Is something wrong with Buffy? What happened? Is she going to be okay?” her voice was frantic now.

“Shh, hey now, nothing’s wrong. I just have something I need to talk to your sister about,” he tried to assure her that nothing was wrong.

“You don’t…you don’t want to have anything in Mom’s will changed, do you?” she still sounded worried, but less so; Spike figured that had to be at least a somewhat good thing.

“No nothing ‘bout that. Just something I realized. Something between us. Nothing for you to worry about at all, I promise.”

“Alright—but if you’re lying, I’ll…do something to you!” she threatened in her scariest tone.

“I don’t doubt that you will. I also don’t think you actually think I’d lie to you. So really, Bit, just get yourself some sleep and make sure whether I’m here or not that you get yourself up in time for school.”

“I know the drill—I’ve done it before. Give Buffy a hug for me if she’s awake?”

“Sure thing,” he started to walk down the stairs, pausing just a few steps down when Dawn stuck her head out of her room to ask him a question.

“Is Mom doing okay?”

“Yeah, pet, she is. You can go talk to her if you want; sit with her.”

“Maybe…maybe tomorrow,” she said quietly. “It’s just…maybe tomorrow.”

“Alright; ‘sides, you need to get to bed now anyway,” he told her, hoping to not make her feel guilty about not wanting to see Joyce.

“I will. Just have to get my homework together and brush my teeth then I’m good. Do you have a key to lock up or do you need me to do it?”

“I’ve got all the doors locked,” Spike told her, pleased that she’d thought of such a thing. “Just going to lock the front door behind me—got Buffy’s key.”

“Okay; I’ll see you in the morning, Spike. Good night.”

“Night Dawn.”



“Spike?”

“You’re not asleep,” he said, stating the obvious.

“Would you rather I be?” she asked him.

“It’s not that,” he assured her, “I just thought that you would be—when I left, you said…”

“Yeah, so I kind of lied about that,” she admitted.

“Shouldn’t lie to me, Buffy. What’s wrong?” he asked with a great deal of concern.

“Nothing’s wrong—not really; and I didn’t exactly lie. I will be going to sleep soon…just haven’t yet.”

“Buffy, you just said you lied” he reminded her. “Why is it you can’t sleep?”

“I’ve just been thinking about a lot of stuff—my brain won’t shut up.”

“You really do need to get some sleep, though, kitten. I’m sure your brain will still have things to say in the morning.”

“You make it sound so easy; it’s hard t sleep in the hospital, Spike.”

“Scoot over, yeah?”

“What?”

“I’m not very well going to fit in that little spot right there,” he pointed to the two inch space on her side, “now am I?”

“You mean you’re staying?”

“Didn’t think I just popped over for a chat, did you?”

“Well—I don’t know what I thought, really.”

“Turns out I did some thinking of my own,” he explained. “I haven’t been doing enough for you Buffy. I’ve been spending too much time convincing everyone how fine you’re going to be…I haven’t really asked you how you are doing. I haven’t talked to you about all of this other than to assure you I’m going to figure it out. I still am going to figure it out, but, in the meantime, you shouldn’t have to go through all of this alone, Buffy.”

“You’ve been doing a lot, Spike.”

“Not enough though if you’ve got so much on your mind it’s keeping you up at night. Now,” he settled himself next to her on the hospital bed, “why don’t you tell me what’s on that mind of yours; what you’ve been thinking about.”

“You’re back,” one of the nurses interrupted as she came back into the room before Buffy had a chance to say anything.

“Well,” Spike tried to figure out how he was going to get around this—he hadn’t thought through this part yet.

“I’m required to tell you visiting hours are over—they begin again tomorrow morning, but of course you already know that. You know, perhaps you’d like,” she said as she came over and wrote down Buffy’s blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature, “to get a coffee around eight thirty tomorrow.”

“Wha—“

“I’ll see you in the morning, Ms. Summers,” she smiled, pulling the door nearly closed behind her.

“What was she talking about, luv?” Spike asked, truly confused.

“The doctor comes about eight thirty—I guess maybe that was her way of telling you how you could stay and not get caught? Maybe…I’m not really sure.”

“Well, I’m going to stick around till they throw me out. But I’ll probably have to go for a bit in the morning anyway—make sure the Bit gets off to school all right.”

“But if you get in trouble they might not let you—“

“Shh, you don’t worry about that now. Nothing’s going to keep me out of this hospital, luv. Nobody’s going to stop me from seeing you. Now—why don’t you tell me what it is you’ve been thinking about?”

“But what if you—“

“Don’t worry about that, it’s all going to be fine. All you need to worry about is telling me everything you need to get out. Think you can do that?”

“Spike—“

“Whatever it is, I can handle it; whatever it is, you just tell me.”

There was silence for over a minute and he was beginning to think she was not in fact going to say anything. “I’m scared Spike,” she finally admitted and began to unload all of her worries and fears relieved to finally have someone else to tell them to.


TBC…….


I am definitely working on getting you some new fics , btw....whether you believe me or not, I am....I promise :)
Chapter 45 by Suzee
Chapter 45

Willow had called him earlier that morning to ask if he had heard anything yet; if there was any progress. He informed her that he had in fact been able to reach someone by phone the night before and everything was now underway—planned to happen as soon as was possible.

Pouring himself a third glass of scotch, Rupert Giles sat on his sofa and waited anxiously for his guest to arrive. Even as little as a few months prior, he would have sworn that he would never, under any circumstances, be anticipating their arrival—at his home—with such…optimism.

This was their last hope; but it was going to work.




Dawn was off to school; Buffy was asleep; Joyce was…well how she was; all Spike needed to do now was figure out what his next move was. How did he go about saving the girl while still being there all of the time? He couldn’t leave Buffy and Dawn—he’d promised as much more than once—but he also was starting to see that the answers might not lie in Sunnydale.

For all he knew, Buffy’s cure was to be found in sap of some tree in Maine or England…or Russia; it could be absolutely anywhere. Anywhere in the world and for the foreseeable future he had to stay in Sunnydale.

Somehow, he had to get someone to do some of the footwork for him.

Now, if he could only think of someone who would be wiling to do it for him.




Spike had confided in her the night before that he was still looking for a cure for her—or a treatment at the very least—but he had yet to find anything. Of course, he’d only admitted so after quite a bit of coaxing, pleading, and pouting. Buffy could see just how bothered he was by his inability to ‘fix’ her; and in a way, it endeared him to her.

She wanted to tell him not to worry, not to be so stressed about it all, but she couldn’t make herself say it. She couldn’t say it because of just how much she didn’t believe it…she wanted someone worried; she needed someone to be stressing out about the situation. She just wished that someone didn’t have to be Spike.

Then again, who exactly would it be if not for Spike? The only ones she had left in her corner were Dawn and Spike—her mother would be if only she were awake and not in that damned coma; and Anya might have been, but Buffy wasn’t sure. So, it was really between Spike and her sister…

While she didn’t want Spike to be going through it, she wanted even less for Dawn to have to go through it. Her sister was already going through enough without adding ‘saving Buffy’ to the list.

Hopefully Spike would come through for her…for them.





Joyce wondered just how long she had been gone. How long she’d been in this dream like state. For quite a while she had thought it was all just a very elaborate dream—after all time did have a habit of moving especially fast in one’s dreams. Now, though, she was almost definite that this was more than just a simple dream.

“I must leave you now, darling. But you are in good hands and some day I will see you again,” the voice of her mother—her long dead mother—broke Joyce out of her thoughts.

“But where—there’s no one here.” She hadn’t expected their journey to be over already; she had expected that when it was, they would be in the presence of…well something.

Right now there was nothing but white around them.

“They’ll be here soon, Joyce. They’re not for me to see, though. This is for you and so I must go. I love you darling—always remember that. Give my love to your girls as well,” with a quick kiss to her daughter’s forehead, Joyce’s mother was gone. Just like that.

Before she had the time to think about her mother’s departure, another figure was suddenly standing in front of her. Apparently, the whole ‘suddenly’ thing was a big deal up here—wherever here was exactly.

“I hope the visit with your mother was enjoyable.” The woman looked just how Joyce would have imagined, had she in fact taken the time to imagine her; with brilliant blue eyes, honey blonde hair, a flowing white dress, lightly tanned skin, and a trim figure, she looked every bit the angel Joyce was starting to think she was.

“More than a little bit unexpected, but yes, it was incredibly enjoyable. I have missed her very much these past few years. I can’t help but wonder why though.”

“Why your mother was sent as your guide?”

“Well…yes,” she answered simply, hoping she wasn’t about to be told that it hadn’t truly been her mother merely something under the guise of her mother.

“We felt that taking you away from your daughters at a time like this deserved an…we thought we ought to do something in reciprocation. Understand that we would have waited until your daughter was well again but such time could not…This had to be done now.”

“Do you...do you know that Buffy’s going to get well again?”

That is not something under our control. We are rarely allowed to intervene and even less so when magic is—“ the woman cut herself off, looking as if she’d let something slip.

“When magic is what?” Joyce prodded, looking for any information that would help get Buffy well again.

“We are very, very rarely allowed to interfere when magic or anything mystic is involved. The Slayer is a mystical creature by the nature of her being and as such, magical occurrences are a part of her life and not up to us to fix.”

“Not up to you to fix?! You obviously know that Buffy is the Slayer—I think you are a part of all of that…How can it not be up to you to fix it? If it weren’t for you she’d be just a regular girl! That this is even happening to her is all your doing.”

“I am simply a messenger sent her to tell you what is happening and what is not going to happen; it does not matter if I agree with our policies or not. I am not the one who decides the rules, I simply inform others of them.”

“Well, if you just brought me here to tell me you can’t heal Buffy, may I go now? I’ve gotten the message so I don’t see what else—“

“That was not the message,” the blonde haired woman informed her gently. “That was merely a side note, something to help you understand just why I pushed so hard for this to be allowed. We were unable to provide help for the Slayer, so we are going to do what we feel is the next best thing.”

“The next best thing?”

“You have been mother to both the Slayer and the Key for a great number of years now. You, just a human, have taken precious care of two of our most important beings. We—I in particular—felt that it was more than time that we repaid you somehow.”

“What do you mean?”

“In return for all the care and love you have given the Slayer and the Key—your daughters, we are going to care for you. A repayment of sorts, really. We are going to heal you, Joyce.”




The sun had finally set, the orange finally fading into a deep purple. It never got any darker than that, not in the city. It wasn’t like when you got out from the bright lights and could finally see what a true night sky looked like—black as ebony and littered with thousands upon thousands of tiny stars as far as the eye could see. It was beautiful when you took the time to look at it.

Sadly, he hadn’t taken that time in many, many years. He wondered how many of life’s little joys he let slip through his fingers.

He knew of one thing he had let slip through his fingers. One someone to be more precise.

It was time to finally get a grip on things.

With one last look at the brightly lit sky outside his hotel, Angel got into his car and started the drive towards Sunnydale.



TBC……
Chapter 46 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
any emails or update notices or whatever that are supposed to be sent out are going to be sent out later because I'm getting over a really horrible migraine and am just managing to do this--so if you feel like telling people i updated...then thank you
Chapter 46

Rupert Giles was well and thoroughly drunk…sloshed….pissed….whatever you wanted to call it, it was what he was by the time Angel arrived at ten forty seven. He knew the forty seven because he had been staring at the clock since nine thirty nine wondering if this was the right thing to do. His stupid drunk mind felt like reminding him of all the times he’d promised to take care of Buffy to keep her best interests in mind—and apparently that was not how his drunk brain saw what he was doing.

His drunk brain, he decided, was stupid and vampire loving—evidence enough that it was stupid. And who really cared if he used being stupid as a reason for being stupid. It was all the scotch’s fault damnit! He couldn’t be expected to be scholarly when he’d had…a lot of scotch. And good scotch at that.

Now Angel was here though and he had to figure out how to be…not drunk.

Right.

He could do that.

Just as soon as he managed to get up off the sofa and answer the door.





”What do you mean ‘heal’ me?”

“While your surgery—to remove the tumor—was successful there is still a small piece left and it is going to grow again.”

“How do you know?”

“We just do, Joyce. It’s going to be worse this time around, its location will make surgery next to impossible and if they do succeed in surgery, then something like a blood clot or aneurism will happen.”

“Why are you being so morbid? There is always the possibility that I—“

“No, Joyce, that is the heart of the problem right there; there is no possibility. This has all been decided, fated if you will.”

“So this is just some sort of warning? Let me know I’m going to die?”

“Correction, I we had left you on Earth and under the care of the doctors there you would die; we’ve brought you here to change that. As a repayment for caring for the Slayer and the Key.’

“But you just said that it was fated,” Joyce wasn’t sure just what exactly was going on.

“It is fated, true. But we are the ones that decide fate, we make it so we can unmake or change it. We are going to change it for you—or rather, I am.”

“Why couldn’t you have changed it and left me on Earth?” It sounded strange to be talking about Earth as if it were some place else—which, she figured, it was at the moment.

“The process has already begun.” The blonde rolled her eyes, “They took a little too long in agreeing to my plan. You have to be incapacitated for everything to work—we can’t very well change what’s happening in your brain with you up and about now can we?”

“Well, I’d suppose so,” in a way it did make sense.

“And I brought you here because…well I thought it might get a bit boring just dreaming day after day; and this way you know what is happening. And why.”

“What am I supposed to do here day after day though?”

“Don’t you worry, honey. Time here moves very differently than it does in your world; much, much faster. It’s only been a short time to you, but to everyone on Earth, it’s been quite a few days.”

“So basically, I stay here while you magically heal my brain because I’ve loved my daughters and when I go back, though it will only have been a few hours here, it will have been weeks there?”

“I knew you’d get it.”





Angel could hear Giles muttering to himself and after several minutes of knocking at the door he began to think that the man was not going to let him in. When it was coming up on five minutes and he could tell that Giles was in the room on the other side of the door, Angel decided to take advantage of the invitation he had been granted the year before and reached for the doorknob.

Twisting the knob, Angel carefully opened the door, making sure he wasn’t about to walk into a trap. It wasn’t a trap he found, just a drunk man.

“Hello, Giles

“Good,, good, you’re here. Now you can help us save Buffy.”

“Are you…well enough to explain thing tonight? You wouldn’t say what it was on the phone—just that Buffy needed my help. Where is she, by the way?”

“She’s in the hospital,” Giles said, sitting back down on the sofa he’d only moments ago managed to get up from.

“I’m not too late am I?” Angel asked already fearing the worst.

“No, you see…Buffy being in the hospital is why she needs your help.”

“Perhaps we could have Willow come explain things.”

”That is not necessary; I may be right pissed at the moment, but I still know what I’m talking about,” Giles explained tersely. “Buffy has been ill for quite some time. We felt that it was something Slayer related and would cure itself so when we couldn’t find any prophecy that related, we took it as just her being sick. But she has yet to get well. Over a week ago now she finally was checked into the hospital and they are fixing things,” he said, truly believing his last statement.

“I don’t understand—what do you need my help with then.”

“Spike is the one who checked her into the hospital. Spike has been living in her home for quite some time now. Spike somehow convinced Joyce to give him basically everything in the event that both she and Buffy should die. Joyce is still recovering from her brain surgery and…You need to get her to see that somehow Spike is clouding her judgment and that following him like she is, is not the right course of action.”

“Her mother had brain surgery?”

“Yes, it seems she had a bit of a brain tumor. We’ve only seen Buffy once since Joyce was admitted to the hospital; Anya and Xander had a falling out and for some reason Buffy sided with that…demon.” Apparently he forgot whose company he was in.

“You don’t do dull, do you?”

“Oh how I wish we did. Now, are you ready to go to the hospital? You would have to drive, but…”

“You want me to go now?”

“Yes! The sooner the better; if Spike is doing something to her, we need him away from her as soon as possible.”

“I’ll go,” Angel agreed. “But I’ll go alone—you stay here.”

Giles started to voice his objection but then he remembered his trouble just a few minutes before with standing. “Very well, but let us know how it goes.”

Angel didn’t say anything as he headed back out the door, to focused on trying to figure out just what the idiot had done now to have Buffy’s watcher calling him for help.

One thing he knew for sure was that if Spike was hurting Buffy he’d kill the bastard.





Buffy hated that Spike wasn’t able to be there yet that night—she hated being alone in the hospital, especially at night, and she missed his company. She understood his reasons though. He was letting Dawn have a few friends over for a girls movie night. They were only going to stay until eleven or so, not sleep over, but she knew Dawn would love it just the same. Hopefully it would allow her sister just a few hours away from the incredible stress she’d been put under lately.

She wasn’t sure just how well Spike was going to do with a roomful of teenage girls, but he’d promised not to scare any of them and he had been the one to come up with the idea in the first place so she hoped he’d do alright.

Which was all great…except it meant she had to wait.

Ten fifty eight, now, he’d be there any minute.



TBC…….
Chapter 47 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I was apparently so into figuring out how to fit all of my books onto shelves (we moved from somewhere with a fantastic library to one with a really not so good one so I've amassed a *lot* of books over the last few years) that I forgot what day it was....but now that my computer's actually on and I've gotten Word and IE open, you get your update....



and because I'm in a fantastically aweome mood because I'm feeling really well and this story got nominated at Spark & Burn for Best Plot, Best Angst and Best Romance; Learning Curve for Best Fantasy and Best Original Character (oh how I still love Sam); and All the Fun (of the Fair) for Best Comedy/Fluff and Best Buffy Characterization...and I got nominated for Best Author....and it was All the Fun's first nominations! because of all of that, I'm going to post another chapter of this story in about five minutes :)
Chapter 47

Buffy breathed a sigh of relief when the door to her room slid open at three minutes after eleven, ready to tell Spike how glad she was that he was there.

Only it wasn’t Spike.

“What are you doing here Angel?” she hoped he wasn’t there because of why she thought he was.

“Where’s Spike?”

“I asked first.”

“Where’s Spike?” Angel watched as Buffy sat, arms crossed, a stubborn expression on her face and knew she wouldn’t answer until she got her own answer. “Giles called me; he and your friends are worried about you, Buffy.”

“Yeah? Well, they’ve got a funny way of showing it.”

“Buffy, where’s Spike? Have you—“

”I haven’t told him to go away, no. He’s going to be here in a few minutes; he had something to do tonight.”

“And you don’t care? Buffy, for all you know, Dru could be back in town and they could be out there killing right now.”

Buffy just rolled her eyes at that.

“Angel, either accept the fact that Spike’s in my life or go home. I’m not up to dealing with anyone’s bullshit right now.”

Angel saw that he wasn’t going to get through to Buffy that way and decided to try a different tactic.

“Can you tell me what’s going on? What’s happened?”

“Let’s see…Mom was sick, I got sick, Mom had a seizure, Mom had a brain tumor, I got sicker, Mom had surgery, Mom went home, I got sicker, I came here. That pretty much sums it up.”

“Why isn’t your mother here right now?”

“I don’t feel like answering that—“

“Spike could have—“

“Spike didn’t touch my mother; and for you to be ragging on the one guy—hell, the one person aside from my family—who’s been here for me…well it’s pretty hypocritical if you think about. it.”

“All you had to do was call and I would have been here weeks ago.”

“No, you would have told me something about work and then not come until I was undoubtedly dying. You’re here now because Giles told you could play the hero. You always did like that, didn’t you? Does it help your soul or do you just like patting yourself on the back?”

“Buffy,” Angel didn’t know what to say; it was obvious to him that Spike had somehow gotten to her. Sure she might have been right that he wouldn’t have been able to come right away-he had a life after all—but she didn’t have to make it all sound so…callous. “Is there anything I can do?” he finally asked.

“Oh look, you do have a brain. No, Angel, I’m fine. You can go back and tell Giles whatever you want, I don’t much care at this point.”

“Buffy, you can’t just give up,” Angel pleaded. “You have to remember how much you have to live for.”

“Can you save me the inspirational speech please? I’m not giving up, I’m just in a bad mood right now.”

“Well that’s to be expected—“

“No, I’m not always in a bad mood. I’m upset about the fact that the last thing I actually asked my friends to do was not call you and they obviously did. And I can’t believe that you all have such little faith in me to think that you have to come and ‘save’ me Spike and his evil mind control—or whatever you think it is. I am capable of thinking for myself Angel. Spike’s been here for a couple of years now, I know how to handle him.”

“Surely, then, you see that he’s just trying to get something out of you.”

“Angel, if Spike were trying to get something out of me, would he have stopped me from having sex with him because he knew it was more a case of me being scared of dying than me wanting to then?” She wasn’t sure how to be subtle with him and figured that her last question might finally get through to him.

“Buffy…What’re you saying…you can’t be…”

“Saying I tried to have sex with Spike? Yeah, I am. I know that for whatever reason, you don’t like Spike, but…I need you to believe me on this one and not Giles. I know what I feel and I know…he’s doing this because he loves me Angel. He’s taking care of Dawn because he wants to…this isn’t some scheme of his. The only ‘plan’ he has right now, is to stop me from dying.”

“Are you really dying?” his voice was quiet and Buffy thought that she might have finally gotten through to him.

“It would seem like it, wouldn’t it?”

“But can’t they—I mean…What is it?”

“That’s the thing; no one really knows. The guys kind of gave up on research after like a week and Spike’s been doing his best, but…I think it’s just me, not something mystical or magical or evil or anything like that.”

“How long do you…Never mind.”

Buffy was surprised at the difference in Angel and Spike, how easily Angel seemed to accept her dying.

“I don’t think like that,” she replied, being as courteous as possible.

”Of course. Can I stay for just a few minutes? In case I don’t—“

‘In case I don’t get to see you again,’ Buffy finished for him silently.

“Sure,” Buffy agreed, indicating for him to sit in the chair by her bed.




“You wouldn’t believe how much of a bloody mess popcorn ca—What’s tall-dark-and-dreary doing here?” When he saw Angel, Spike stopped just inside Buffy’s door, his body suddenly full of tension.

“You expect me to be jumping for joy?” Angel asked. “Have you looked at Buffy lately?”

He was closer to Buffy, but Spike wondered if Angel noticed—as he did—the way Buffy flinched slightly at Angel’s statement.

“Been looking at her lots,” he threw just enough suggestion into the statement to turn Buffy’s mood around. “Still want to know what you’re doing here?” he asked, lounging against the doorframe. He knew his relaxed demeanor would piss Angel off more than just about anything else he could do or say. Angel hated his cockiness.

“Giles called me; I came to make sure Buffy was alright..”

“So ol’ Rupes finally gave in and called the knight in not so shiny armor?”

“You knew he would call?” Buffy asked.

“You’ve got more faith in Watcher Boy than I do, luv; knew it was only a matter of time. So, how long you sticking round for, Angelus?”

“He was actually leaving now,” Buffy answered for him. “The nurse will be round in just a few minutes and you’ll both get thrown out if there’re two of you here.”

“So I have to leave?” Angel asked incredulously.

“Well,” Buffy explained as if he were stupid, “if you don’t then Spike has to—like I said if both of—“

“Why can’t Spike leave?” he interrupted.

“Because Spike’s staying?”

“Buffy, it’s after eleven, how much longer do you expect him to stay? He’ll be here tomorrow—I have to get back to work.”

“I expect him to be able to stay until eight, now seriously, leave. The nurse always gets here at eleven twenty—it’s two minutes until then.”

“I can’t believe you’re choosing Spike over me,” he said even as he got up and resignedly headed towards the door.

“I am, aren’t I?” Buffy’s question caused him to pause for several seconds. “Hunh.”

Angel left before she had a chance to say anything more, brushing past Spike roughly.

“He’s always been real big with the big, broody exits. Real drama queen that one.”

“You think he could have at least said goodbye.”

“Not as dramatic,” Spike explained.

“I guess,” she said sadly.

“Hey, none of that. All those high pitched squeals have damaged my brain, I don’t know how many more things I’m going to be able to say to make you blush.” He never would have thought that basically babysitting five teenaged girls for several hours would be so tough—especially that Trina bird…if she’d come on to him one more time he was going to have to make a fool of himself and ask Dawn to save him.

“Can we just go to sleep actually? I was already really tired and then Angel wore me out ev—What?”

“Angel wore you out? Care to phrase that another way?”

“You’re spending too much time with Dawn—arguing with Angel made me even more tired. Can we please just go to sleep?” she asked, stifling a big yawn towards the end.

“Soon as they get all their info. Speaking of info, did I tell you I’ve got Willy and Clem on the look out for anything that might be related to what’s happening to you? Turns out you keep the bar fights down by getting rid of the real bad nasties so Willy’s ready and willing to help.”

“What about able?”

“That one’s still being decided. But I’ve got them looking and I’ve been making a list of everyone I’ve met that can do spells or curses—or that I knew could and trying to come up with something that way.

“Remind me to talk to less people from now on…bloody long list,” he muttered.

“Thank you, Spike.”

“Haven’t done anything, pet,” he said regretfully.

“But you’re trying,” Buffy surprised Spike by pulling his face down to hers for a quick but deep kiss. “Thank you.”


TBC…..
Chapter 48 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
**READ CHAPTER 47** sorry for the caps, but I just posted it a few minutes ago and I don't want anyone to miss it since you might not be expecting me to post two chapters in one day...I know I wouldn't be ;)
Did you read Chapter 47? It was posted today, too...

Chapter 48

Spike wasn’t sure what it was that woke him up—he’d been peacefully asleep next to Buffy and then he was awake, with no idea as to why. Then, a few seconds later, when he heard two nurses—one male and one female—talking by the door he knew what had woken him. He was about to turn round and ask them to keep it down so that they wouldn’t wake Buffy when a part of their conversation caught his attention.

“It’s sad, really. I thought by now they’d be out of the denial phase of things,” the male nurse said.

“I know; it’s obvious they love her very much, but it’s…tragic really that they can’t see what has to be done.”

What the hell were they talking about?

“Tell me about it. The poor girl’s dying and all she has to do to get well again is eat—and they can’t see it. She’s never going to get healthy if she doesn’t have support.”

“It always is sad when it’s something so simple keeping someone sick—something that no one seems to understand.”

They started to leave the room then—he could hear their feet on the tiled floor.

“If only she’d eat,” the first nurse mused sadly before leaving.

Who the bloody hell were they to say what Buffy needed to do—they didn’t know how hard she was trying. Spike was ready to throttle the both of them, his violent, homicidal thoughts so vivid that before he knew it the chip was shooting off, sending electrical impulses and pain through his head.

God, he wished he could make those poncy soldier boys feel what—

He wished that he could make them feel what he felt. He wanted Captain Cardboard and his soldier boys to feel the pain he felt whenever the chip fired. The pain that shot through his brain whenever he tried to feed.

“Buffy!” Spike sat up quickly, trying to wake Buffy with just his voice for several moments before lightly shaking her by the shoulder. “Buffy, wake up!”

“What…what is it?” she asked groggily, looking up at Spike in sleepy confusion.

“What happens when you eat, pet?” he asked, his voice still rushed, but also calmer.

“Spike, why—Come on, you know what happens. Why do you think I’m here?” Buffy tried not to sound angry, but Spike asking her that question after all this time just rubbed her the wrong way.

“What I mean, luv, is does the pain and nausea start before you eat or is it an effect of eating?”

“What?”

“Does it start right away or is it something that develops after you’ve been eating for a bit?”

“I’m…I’m not really sure anymore, but…I think it’s right away; I’m not sure though.”

“Buffy? Do you remember what I told you about the witch?”

“Spike, do we have to do all of this right now?” she asked with a yawn.

“I think I’ve figured it all out!” he exclaimed.

“What do you mean ‘figured it out’?” she asked, trying not to get her hopes up.

“Remember how I said I asked the witch to make you feel what I feel?”

“Yes,” she answered slowly.

“Well just now some nurses were saying you should just eat and I got really angry and—well the chip went off. Then I thought about how much I wish those prats at the Initiative could know what it feels like to get your brain zapped…Buffy, the chip is designed to stop me from killing, from feeding.” Buffy just looked at him, not saying anything. “Buffy, don’t you see—“

“It was what you told the witch. I haven’t been able to eat because every time I try to eat, I feel like…like I have a chip in my head.”

“Exactly,” he answered, his voice more somber now as it began to sink in just how much his fault this all was.

“But you can…you can have bagged blood. I can’t have any food—can hardly drink anything.”

“You’re doing alright with the feeding tube bit though,” he reminded her.

“Do you really think…?”

“It makes sense.”

“Then why was I basically dying when I supposedly felt the same things as you and you’re fine?”

“I had blood—different kind mind you, but still blood—you were trying to get by on what you weren’t supposed to be having. If I’d tried to keep feeding on people, I’d of been dust long ago.”

Buffy just lay in the bed, in silence, for several minutes before once again focusing her attention on Spike.

“Go get Dawn and you two go to Giles’ and tell him we need to find Riley. I know it’s the middle of the night, but the sooner the better. And you do have to take Dawn—don’t just tell me you will and then go by yourself.”

“Why’s she need to be there, pet?”

“They won’t stake you if she’s there—or they won’t succeed. Can’t say they won’t try.”

“Would be the quickest solution.”

“Doesn’t matter. Get to Giles’ and tell him we have to find Riley.”

“Captain Cardboard isn’t going to tell you how to make the chip stop working, Slayer.”

“No, but he will know who can take it out. He might hate you but I doubt he’ll let me die just to prove it.”

“Poofter did love you,” Spike agreed. “You don’t have to have them take the chip out, though. I’m sure they can turn it off or something till you can figure another way out of this.”

“Spike? If the chip comes out, who are you going to kill?”

“What?! You know I wouldn’t do that, Buffy. I’ve told you: I love you and I’m not going to let you down.”

“See?”

“See what?”

“The only difference that chip is making for you—or me or anyone else—is that it’s making me sense. It’s not what’s keeping you from killing people, not anymore.”

Spike knew if he tried to say anything just then it’d make him sound like an absolute nancy boy so he just kept his mouth shut on that topic.

“So, I’ll go get the Bit and head off to Watcher boy’s? You going to be alright by yourself?”

“The sooner you go the sooner I’ll be alright,” she told him before stopping. “That really didn’t come out right.”

“Know what you meant,” he assured her, already half way to the door. “Buffy?” he stopped walking but didn’t turn to face her.

“Yes?”

“I know…I know this is all my fault and…God, luv, I’m so sorry. I’ll leave once this is done with if you want—no hard feelings or anything, least on my part. I’m just…I’m sorry.”

His declaration, on top of everything else she’d just discovered—including the possible cure for her—had her to stunned to say anything at first and by the time she’d pulled herself together, he was already gone.

“Please don’t leave,” she whispered as she settled back into the bed and tried to get back to sleep, knowing if she stayed awake she would just dwell on things that did not need to be dwelt on.

Sleep, though, proved to be very elusive that night and the sun was already tinged pink by the time she finally fell back asleep.


TBC……



I'm an idiot! The 'I'm in a good mood' thing from the last chapter's author's note? I didn't put in that I won and award for Silently Broken!!! It's the first award I've won for a fic, too! I was runner up for Best Spuffy at the Big Bad Awards....so yep, that's also part of the me in a good mood thing....
Chapter 49 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
at the bottom
Chapter 49

Niblet was a lot tougher than Spike had previously given her credit for; he was seriously starting to think that she’d gotten some of Buffy’s Slayerness. Dawn had, after all, been made from her. She’d been right scary that night when, after they’d explained things to Rupes—which in itself had taken a great deal of convincing given both the late hour and just who he was—the Watcher had immediately gone for the nearest wooden object. Which just so happened to be the leg of a chair.

Dawn had jumped between them then, stopping Rupes from causing the vampire any bodily harm. Then the girl had proceeded to explain to the man why he needed to just stop acting so damn stubborn and do this for her sister. She—and he had asked her about this later and found out she’d made it up on the spot—pointed out that if Buffy was feeling what Spike felt, then killing him might somehow in turn kill Buffy.

Giles hadn’t been sure he agreed with Dawn’s reasoning, but he also didn’t disagree with it enough to try and disprove it.

So now, two and a half days later, Red, the Whelp, the Watcher, and Dawn were researching together—Anyanka deciding to do her own research far away from her ex—while he and Buffy thought things through at the hospital. Over the last two days, the pair of them had made just over forty phone calls trying to find Riley. Then last night, Buffy had remembered a card Riley had given her before he had left—a card with an emergency contact number on it.

Not caring to ever get in touch with him again after the way he had left her, she of course had no idea what she’d done with the card, only knowing that she had in fact, kept it. So, Spike had spent the previous night scouring through her bedroom in hopes of finding the small business card.

It had taken him until nine o’clock that morning—just three hours previous—to find it hidden away inside of one of Buffy’s Shakespeare books from high school, Hamlet to be exact.

Now, here they were, Buffy staring at the card and Spike hoping that this would pan out for them.

Finally, twenty minutes later, Buffy was ready to call; Spike dialed the number and handed her the phone.

“Donovan’s Flowers, how may we help you?”

“Dono—Oh! Is this one of those secret undercover, pretend we’re a flower shop when we’re really an undercover government operation? Or…are you actually just a florist?”

“Did you need something from us today, ma’am?” The way the woman asked the question, Buffy couldn’t tell if it was a hint that she was on the right track with the secret-ops suspicion or if the woman was merely trying to placate the crazy lady she was sure she was talking to.

“Sorry, no, just looking for Riley Finn. If he does come by there, though,” she threw in, “could you tell him Buffy Summers needs him and it’s an emergency?”

“Have a good day, ma’am,” the woman said tersely before hanging up the phone.

“So we just wait?” Spike wondered aloud.

“I guess so—if he hasn’t called back by tomorrow night, we’ll move onto Plan B,” she stated firmly.

”Plan B?”

“Give me until tomorrow night and I’ll have one.”




“Remind me again why we are unleashing a dangerous monster upon the public.”

“Yeah, what G-Man said.”

“Half of me wishes Buffy were here because she’s way better with the quippy than I am,” Dawn told them, sounding completely frustrated, “but the other half of me is glad she doesn’t have to see you three being such morons.”

“Hey now, Dawnster, just something inquiring minds want to know,” Xander defended himself.

“How about: ‘so my sister doesn’t die’? Does that work for you?”

“Of course we don’t want anything to happen to Buffy, Dawnie,” Willow promised. “We’re just worried about taking Spike’s chip out…what about when he goes back to killing people?”

“’When,’ Red? I don’t even warrant an ‘if’ after all I’ve done?”

“Your memory seems to be…failing you. Have you forgotten all of the decades you spent killing people? A few weeks does not forgive that.”

“Never said it did, Rupes. Just saying I’m not going back to it. Few weeks can mean a lot—oh! I get it.”

“Get what?” Giles did not like the self satisfied smirk on Spike’s face.

“You want a few weeks not to be an indicator of anything for me because then it’s not for you lot either. But if I can prove myself over just a matter of weeks, what’s that say about you three and what you’ve done to the Slayer. Am I right?”

“That is nonsense, Spike.’

“Yeah,” Willow agreed, “Buffy knows we were acting with her best interests at heart.”

“And Anyanka’s?”

”What’s Anya have to do with anything?” Xander asked.

“Seems you’re the ones with the failing memories; how you treated Demon Girl’s got a lot to do with things.”

“And anyway,” Dawn jumped in, “you couldn’t have been acting ‘with her best interests at heart’ because maybe it’s just me being younger, but I don’t exactly how Buffy being dead would have been in her best interests.”

“I don’t think you understand—“

“Oh save it, Giles. I understand perfectly but right now’s not the time to be arguing. We’re going in here to find information on Spike’s chip so we can find someone to take it out, right?”

“While I am quite against it, yes that is what we are doing.”

“Then how about we all shut up and do that? Buffy’s not here to say not to so none of your arguing’s going to get any of us anywhere. Buffy wants us to find information on Spike’s chip so we can get it out and that’s what we’re going to do. Got it?”

“Dawnie, we—“

“Got it?” Dawn asked again, this time her voice holding a more commanding edge.

“It’s not like we’ll find anything anyway, so yeah, we got it,” Xander replied.

“You all done yapping? Right then, let’s get going.” Spike slung an arm around Dawn’s shoulders in a silent show, he hoped, of gratitude.



TBC……….

I forgot to thank whoever added me as their favorite author--so, thank you to everyone who has :D


a/n: I *should* be able to update next week (but it'll be on the 12th if I do)--but after that...I'm not sure about the 20th and the 27th because I'll be in London for my birthday! (hey, be happy for me?) I will try to get the chapters in my email though in case I can swing getting somewhere with internet or sending them to someone to update for me (Panta_rei who normally does my holiday updating for me, is going to be in London with me, so she can't do it)

But I will be somewhat back for the 3rd and will do my darndest (if that's how you spell it) to get you an update then....either that or you get four when I get home on the 9th (at least I think it's the 9th I get home...)

Anyhow, updates might be a bit off...I hope theyre not, but they might be.

Oh, also, it's my puppy's birthday today, so Happy Birthday to my puppy :-D
Chapter 50 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I so had better be doing this right....though I'm probably screwing things up because I'm looking at the actual computer as little as possible because genius me hsa finally actually gotten home...but my eye's screwed up now, so...(and I don't really know how but it should be alright)



Anyhow, I'm finally back so you finally get an update...
Chapter 50

“Oh,” Xander went for mock sadness and ended up just sounding snide, “Would you look at that? The lights are out; guess we have to go.”

“You really are daft, Harris if you thought they’d pay the electric bill just in case someone decided to break in.”

“I would like to get this done with as quickly as possible. If we could begin our—What was that?” Giles had just heard a strange sound seemingly above them.

“Seems we’re not the only ones who thought breaking in’d be fun,” Spike answered.

“You never were very clever were you, Spike?” Much as he knew it was a good thing, Spike really did not want that person to be there just then.

“Actually Soldier Boy, think the problem was me being too clever. Good to see you still come running when the Slayer’s in danger though.”

“It would seem that you weren’t able to protect her yourself,” Riley said, never knowing just how deeply that cut Spike—not only could he not save Buffy, it was his fault the whole thing was even happening.

The lights—apparently someone had been paying the bill—flicked on loudly and for the first time everyone other than Spike knew just how many people were in the room—the four who had come with him, GI Jerk, and a handful of other commandos.

“Now, what was it Buffy needed help with that required you coming here?”

“She needs Spike’s chip out,” Dawn answered, figuring simple and to the point was the way to do it.

“And why would we remove Hostile 17’s ‘chip’?”

“So Buffy doesn’t die.” Again, simple and to the point.

“What’s happened to Buffy?” Suddenly Riley lost his rigid soldier boy façade, looking very worried.

“She’s been cursed and—well, to cut a long story very short, she’s feeling what Spike feels with the chip, every time she eats. For her not to die, his chip needs to be removed,” Giles explained.

“She feels the pain of his chip whenever she eats?”

“Like she’s got one of her own,” Spike agreed.

“Then I have a very simple solution,” Riley said calmly. “Did any of you bring any stakes with you?”

“Can we stop this ‘Let’s Stake Spike’ train, please? If Buffy’s feeling what Spike feels—or however exactly it’s working—we don’t know that staking Spike won’t kill Buffy; not for sure.”

Riley didn’t say anything but he didn’t say anything more about staking Spike so everyone figured that message had been received.

“How do I know this is really what Buffy wants? She’s not here with you,” he said it like they needed to be reminded

“Yeah, they don’t exactly let you out of the hospital for field trips." Spike wondered why she’d always dated such sods. Not that he was biased or anything.

“She’s in the hospital?”

“What part of ‘dying’ did you miss?” Dawn wondered.

“Give me a few minutes to find the paperwork and for Doctor Coraid to arrange things with the hospital and we’ll go. I will of course need to verify things with Buffy before the actual procedure takes place, however.”

“I would expect nothing less. Thank you Riley,” Giles replied.

Spike decided to save his thank you until his head, minus one bit of metal, had been sewn back together.

“Well that was easy,” Xander remarked several seconds after all the Initiative men had left the vicinity.

Spike resisted the strong urge to throttle him and wondered if the Slayer’d let him get in one good punch once this chip was out.

Just one…





For being Mr. Be-All-You-Can-Be, Finn sure didn’t deal well with hospitals. Spike and Giles both had been worried more than once that he was going to pass out.

Now, though, they had made it to Buffy’s room and Spike’s main concern was how she would react to seeing her former boyfriend again. He was only glad there was no one besides Angelus and Finn to contend with.

“Buffy?” Apparently Cardboard wasn’t real big on understanding tonight.

“Hi Riley.”

“My God, are you alright? What did this to you? What kind of demon was it?” Just like Riley to jump to conclusions.

“I’m not as bad as I could be—not dead after all—but not exactly alright either. It wasn’t a demon that did this; I was actually cursed by a witch.”

“Willow did this?”

“What?” Buffy asked, unable to keep the disbelief out of her tone. “No, it wasn’t Willow. I staked a vampire and the witch that was his girlfriend or whatever wanted to kill me.”

“Then why do you think this is related to Spike’s chip?”

“She wanted to kill me, but,” Buffy continued, “Spike stopped her and had her do something else instead—“

“I knew he was a part of this! Buffy, we can lock him up; keep him alive but away from everyone; from everything.”

“That’s okay, Riley, you don’t need to do that. Some sort of curse had to be done so Spike asked her to do something that should have been relatively harmless—and that was after I’d actually given him a pretty good reason to want me dead. This isn’t Spike’s fault, Riley.”

“Is so,” Spike muttered but Buffy ignored him.

“Spike’s the reason why I’m not dead right now—for several different reasons actually.”

“So you really do want his chip to be removed?” Riley asked as if hearing the truth in it for the first time.

“Yes please,” Buffy said primly.

“If that’s what you really want,” he sighed. “We should be back in about half an hour.”

“You’re doing it right now?” Dawn, the only other one in the room, asked.

“We may not need a sterile operating room because it is a demon, but we will still need the same medical supplies. This is the only place to find such supplies; and doing it here is easier than finding somewhere else.”

“How exactly are you going to convince the hospital that the guy they’re operating on is dead is no big deal?”

“They do autopsies every day, don’t they?” Dawn questioned.

“You are not doing Spike’s surgery in the morgue, Riley.”

“Wasn’t planning to,” he said, though he did look sorry he hadn’t had that plan. “Everything will be done in a regular operating room but with no hospital personnel present. The Initiative is a part of the United States government, secret or not, and has the ability to request such things.”

“I think I’ll marvel over the scariness that is the government’s power after you do the operation on my boyfriend’s head.”

Spike had no idea if she’d said the boyfriend word without thinking or if it was her way of telling Riley what was between the two of them. Either way he certainly was not going to ask and risk having her take it back. Nope, not bloody likely.

“Fine,” Riley huffed; apparently, the boyfriend thing had gotten to him, too. “We’ll be back soon. I hope you start feeling well right away.”

“Thanks, Riley. Can I talk to Spike alone for just a minute before you go?”

“Might as well,” Riley said in a voice full of resignation.

Dawn fled the room after Riley when she received a sharp look from Buffy.

“Not changing your mind are you, pet?” Spike moved across the room to sit next to her on the bed.

“What? About the chip? Of course not. I just…before you go…Tell me you love me.”

“I love you, Buffy, you know I do,” Spike took a chance and kissed her then. “Love you even if you want them to keep this chip in my head; be bloody furious with you for you not getting well, but I’d still love you.”

“I know…and I…I can’t…Right now, I—but there…I—“

Spike held a finger to her lips, “Shh,” he said softly. “It’s alright, we’ve got lots of time, yeah? No rush.”

“Just make sure they don’t kill you.” And after one last kiss he was out the door, leaving Buffy to sit and wait.

And worry.



TBC…..
Chapter 51 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I know i'm a week late.....last weekend my computer decided it didn't feel like connecting to the internet and the last 10 days have just been horrible for me health-wise and so I haven't gotten the update up for you--I'm sorry :(
Chapter 51

“I’m going to make this as painful as fucking possible,” Riley hissed at Spike as he led him into the designated operating room. “I won’t kill you for Buffy’s sake, but I am going to be sure you leave here in a great deal of pain.”

“Always did have a bit of an inferiority complex; never did like me having what you didn’t.”

“You’ve never had something I wanted, vampire.”

“Have Buffy,” he said simply. “You thought I did then and I do now, must be fun for you.”

“Shut up, Spike.”

“Make me,” he knew it was a dangerous statement to make, but even if the ponce hit him now, Spike would be able to hit him back in just a matter of minutes. He figured he’d be able to get by on one punch if he came back with evidence he’d received one of his own.

Spike took the hit straight on, his cheek and around his eye already throbbing just seconds later. Harder Soldier Boy hit him, harder he could hit Soldier Boy. Simple matter of reasoning.

‘Sides, they were about to cut upon his skull, what was Iowa’s fist compared to that?

“Thank you,” Spike said very simply, not a hint of sarcasm anywhere to be found. Riley just looked at him in extreme confusion. “Mind getting a move on? I’ve a got a girl to get back to if you don’t mind.”

Oh how Riley wanted to hit him again. But he knew that no matter how much he might want to wait hours just to keep Spike anxious, he needed to get this done as quickly as possible; for Buffy’s sake.

If it were just Spike he would wait for—actually, he wouldn’t be doing this at all if it were only for Spike. If this were all for Spike, have staked the undead menace ages ago. For Buffy, though, he would do anything—including dechipping Spike. Maybe then she would see what Spike was really like and she would finally realize that someone like him—who loved her—was worth more than a try. Maybe





Spike was settled face down on the operating table, had been for about twenty minutes, and he was very busy wishing that he had something to distract him. Anesthesia. A bottle of Jack. Buffy. A naked Buffy. A fucking sledgehammer to the head.

Anything.

Sure having his brain cut open with him just lying there aware of every sound, ever burst of pain, wasn’t going to kill, but it didn’t mean it didn’t still hurt like a mother. His only solace was imaging the hit he was going to deliver to Riley’s nose—or maybe his eye—and the pain that that would not bring him. And that he was going to see Buffy again. Again and for a very long time to come.

His girl was going to be okay; and as long as that held true he could put up with anything.

Even Soldier boy and the mad scientist up there cutting into his skull with what he thought to be rather blunt instruments.



Riley was this close to jabbing the knife they’d used on Spike’s head straight into the vampire’s back. He was sure that by now, with the torture—and that’s what it was, torture—they were inflicting on the vampire that he would have been howling in pain by now. He should have known better.

This was Spike; Spike who was never going to let Riley one up him. As long as he knew any sign of discomfort, distress or God forbid, pain would bring the soldier pleasure, Spike was not going to make a sound.

God how Riley hated him.

If only he could think of a way to explain a metal object protruding from Spike’s shoulder to Buffy…




Buffy was starting to go get anxious; Riley and Spike had been gone for over forty minutes now and the longer they were gone the more she worried about what they would do to each other. She trusted Spike not to do anything too stupid, knowing he wouldn’t want to let her down like that—but she didn’t know how the situation would be changed by Riley’s presence.

And she wasn’t sure just how much she trusted Riley.

Funny how that was the way things are, logically it should have been the reverse given that Riley had been her boyfriend and Spike was her formal mortal enemy.

Oh how things changed.



The last stitch was now in Spike’s head and Spike still hadn’t made a single indication that he was in pain. It was seriously pissing Riley off.

“All done yet?” Spike wondered, trying to keep the pain from showing in his voice.

“As soon as you even bite someone I’m going to kill you,” Riley assured him. “I don’t even care if they die-or if they’re even hurt at all—I will get rid of you, vampire.”

“Good for you—now, if you don’t mind, I’ve got one last thing to do then I’m off to see my girl.”

Riley literally ached to correct him, to tell him that Buffy was not his girl…but the fact was that she did seem to be.

“I swear that if you hurt her—“

“Believe I’ve got it, Box Boy—now, mind if I get up?”

Riley again was at a loss for a viable objection so he merely stood back as Spike rose from the operating table, wobbling only for a matter of seconds when he finally made it to his feet.

“You know, I think I should try this new thing out. Or lack of thing, I guess I should say.” Riley didn’t even have time to figure out what Spike was talking about before Spike had decked him and was striding out of the room.



“Buffy!” Riley came storming into the hospital room just seconds after Spike had entered, “You have to stake him!”

Buffy ignored Spike’s indignant snort and calmly asked Riley why.

“He’s only had the chip out for a few seconds and he’s already hit me! He’s violent, Buffy! He’s dangerous!”

“He just hit you? Just now?”

Riley just motioned dramatically at the quickly forming bruise along his cheekbone.

Not giving Buffy the chance to ask any other questions—or Riley to say anything more, Spike jumped in front of Buffy, much the way Riley had, and motioned in an even more exaggerated manner at the bruise on his own face.

”But Buffy,” he whined, “he hit me first!”

“That’s not—It doesn’t—He’s jus—“ Riley sputtered, trying to find an explanation, once again unable to find the words.

“Spike,” Buffy said slowly and for once in the last hour, Riley was pleased, sure he had finally won something.

“Oh come on, kitten. You know he was asking for it. ‘Sides, he did hit me first.”

“You made me,” Riley countered, sounding very petulant.

“Spike,” Buffy said again slowly, a warning in her voice.

“You know I’m not going to do it again. He really was asking for it and I’ve been waiting to do it for years—you really can’t stake me for a one time thing. Can you?” he asked, finally sounding worried.

“Of course she can—you’re a dangerous animal and you’ve just proven it.”

“Buffy?” Spike asked quietly.

“No, Spike, I won’t. As long as you promise me you’re not going to go back to biting people, I—“

“Are you crazy, Buffy? How can you take him at his word? He’s not even a man; he’s a—“

“Don’t even start with me, Riley. Spike is more of a man than you or any of the other males in my life have proven to be. He’s been here; can you say that?”

“You know why I had to leave, Buffy. I would have been back if you’d just asked, me. You know that.”

“First of all, I didn’t want you back anyway Riley—you left me, why would I want you here when you didn’t want to be? And no, I didn’t actually know that.”

“Buffy.” Riley didn’t think he’d ever been at a loss for words more than he had been that night.

“Relationships end, Riley. People break up. It happens. What we had is over and done with, nothing’s going to change that. You don’t have to like Spike; I don’t expect you to. But you can’t kill him, you can’t kidnap him; just leave him alone. Move on, Riley. What we had is over and done with,” she repeated. “This is my life—you don’t have to be happy with it; I am and that’s all that matters.”



TBC……..
Chapter 52 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
insomnia and migraines are oh so fun...especially when they make me nto fall asleep till 7 am and wake up at 1:30 and forget until just now that I was supposed to have updated at 1.....sorry :(
Chapter 52

Spike was glad when Riley left without a word after Buffy’s little proclamation. Buffy’s proclamation that had left him speechless, too—though in a different way entirely.

He made Buffy happy.

He, Spike, formerly very evil vampire, made Buffy the Vampire Slayer happy. Well if that wasn’t just neat.

“Did you really have to hit him?”

“What’d you think?”

“What do I think? I think you goaded him into hitting you first—when you still had the chip in—so you could hit him back when it was out.”

“Knew you were clever. Can you really blame me though? He was asking for it,” Spike insisted again.

“Did you hit him? Please tell me you hit him?” Buffy was surprised Dawn had taken that long to come into the room.

“Niblet…I think I need to talk to your sister for a bit—“

“But you hit him right? Pleas tell me you hit him!”

“Dawn—“

“You’re no fun,” Dawn pouted at him, but still left the room.

“Well we know how Dawn feels about it,” Buffy joked.

“But not how you do,” Spike sounded worried and serious.

“You really think I’m going to stake you now?”

“Not really sure to tell the truth.”

“After everything you’ve done for me these…well past few months really, you honestly think I’m going to stake you just for hitting Riley once?”

“Could think like he does, that this just proves what I’m going to do in the future.”

“Does it?”

“Does it what? Prove I’m a violent, homicidal monster?”

“Wouldn’t necessarily phrase it like that, but yeah.”

“No, it doesn’t. Can’t promise I won’t hit Soldier Boy again—maybe the Whelp and Watcher Boy a time to two, too….but that’s it. Going to leave everybody else alone.”

“Then we’re fine.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that.”

“You trust me that easily?”

”You’ve earned it, Spike,” she told him truthfully.

What was it with the girl tonight? For what had to be the thirtieth time that day, Spike had no idea what to say. And he always had something to say.

“Now can I come in?” Dawn stuck her head through the doorway just seconds later, saving Spike from having to face the awkwardness of having nothing adequate to say to Buffy.

“Good a time as any,” Spike told her.

“You hit him, right?” was her first question. “Please tell me you hit him.”

“Since when do you hate Riley so much?” Buffy wondered.

“Come on, Buffy; I never liked him.”

“Maybe—but you weren’t so gung ho with the hating either.”

“Fine. Maybe I just happen to like Spike more now.”

“Flip side of ‘my enemies’ enemies are my friends’, huh?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, but uhm…I think so. You did though, right?”

“He hit me first,” Spike said defensively.

“But you did, right?”

“Yeah,” he admitted, “I did.”

“Cool. So,” she effortlessly moved on to a new subject, “you’re going to start feeling better now?”

“That’s the plan.”




And a good plan it was; five short days later, the doctors agreed to release Buffy. None of them, much as they tried, could explain her sudden and remarkable recovery. She had gained a good amount of weight—something Buffy never thought she would have been so happy about—and was getting stronger again. She had a long way to go, but she’d finally started the trip. All in all it was pretty amazing.

“You’re really coming home,” Dawn said for what had to be the twentieth time in the last fifteen minutes.

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were actually happy about it,” Buffy joked.

“Right,” Dawn rolled her eyes, “I’m so happy that you’re coming home so I can listen to you and Spike have loud, obnoxious sex all the time. Right.”

Buffy blushed and started to chastise her sister when Spike came into the room, causing her blush to deepen.

“See,” Dawn said.

“Shut up,” Buffy hissed.

“What are you two on about?”

“Buffy doesn’t want me talking about you tw—“

”Nothing,” Buffy said, clamping her hand over her sister’s mouth, thankful that Dawn was sitting on the bed. “So, how long till I can go?”

“Doc’s just signing the papers now.”

“How exactly are we doing the going home thing? You can’t exactly walk out in the sun and I’m not sure they’ll let you take me out through the sewers…”

“Anyanka’s going to do the driving; I’ll meet you back at the house to get my car.”

“Dawnie? Can I talk to Spike for just a minute?”

“Sure—but no mon—“ Dawn stopped when Buffy glared at her. “Fine, fine,” she defended herself, “but you know I’m right.”

“What’s the Bit talking about?” Spike asked when it was just he and Buffy in the room.

“Nothing; she’s just trying to remind me how annoying she can be.”

“She’s just excited,” Spike started to reason.

“Are you leaving?” Buffy blurted out.

“What?” Buffy could tell the question had truly surprised him.

“You said you’d meet us at the house to get your car. Are you leaving?”

“Figured with you feeling better again, you’d like the time to yourself.”

“Yeah,” Buffy replied, “okay.’

“I’ll go check on the papers?”

“Thank you.”



Spike was half way down the hallway before he stopped and turned on his heel, marching back to Buffy’s room.

“I don’t care if I’m bloody crowding you,” he said without preamble. “I’m not leaving you. Might not exactly be right next to you twenty-four seven, but I am going to be there. And there’s nothing you can say or do to change my mind.”

He left the room again then, not giving her the opportunity to reply.

“Okay,” Buffy drawled, not caring that she was talking to herself.

Well at least Spike wasn’t going to up and leave her now.



Buffy didn’t see Spike again until she was back in her house; he was sitting on the sofa waiting for them when she, Dawn, and Anya came inside.

“Good to be home?” he questioned.

“I think so. Kind of weird, but good, yeah.”

“That’s good,” Spike said and Buffy wondered when their conversations had become this—stilted and awkward.

“We’ll go make sure your room is ready,” Anya offered and grabbed Dawn, dragging her up the stairs by the arm before she could protest.

“There’s a cot down in the basement,” Spike told her. “Figured it’d be as good of a place as any for me.”

“To sleep you mean?”

“Yeah. Brought my stuff down there just before you got back. Nice and dark, I like it.”

“So you’re staying in the basement now?”

“Thought the Bit might still need someone else around for a bit; till your mum’s all healed up and all. Won’t be in your way or anything, though. Just here to help.”

“So I guess…I’ll see you later?” Buffy didn’t know how to respond in the face of Spike’s dismissal.

“Just be downstairs; you going to do dinner or you sill want me to?”

“I’ll uh…could you? I tend to not be so good with the food making; and I’m kind of tired.”

“I’ll get on it in a bit. Go get my stuff set now then be up to make it.”

Buffy watched Spike go downstairs, still wondering what she’d done to make things so oddly uncomfortable between the two of them.


TBC…..




we're almost at the end so thanks for sticking with me :)
Chapter 53` by Suzee
Author's Notes:
I haven't really been meaning not to update--there's just been a heaping ton of....stuff dumped on my life lately and then my computer plug got fried so with end of term projects and finals to prepare for, our house had just one ac plug for two computer....I got second priority ;) I'm here now though...in between dsl steaing thunderstorms
Chapter 53

“I thought Spike had his chip removed five days ago.”

“He did,” Dawn was confused as to why Anya was asking.

“Then you must not have to be very smart to attend medical school—or nursing school, I’m not sure which.”

“What do you mean?”

“One of her doctors—or maybe he was a nurse, I didn’t really ask that,” Anya got a look on her face that let Dawn know that she more than likely did not want to know what it was Anya had in fact done and asked. “Anyway,” she got back on subject, “he said that she’d made a remarkable recovery over the last ten days—or maybe he said nine. Nine or ten; but definitely not five.

But if Spike only had his chip out five days ago then he must not be able to count. Oh well, he has other attributes that I’m sure more than make up for an inability to count. Did you know that it is very easy to get your hand inside tho—“

Dawn did not hear the rest of what Anya said given that she currently had her fingers stuck in her ears and was humming very loudly.

“See if I give you advice when you’re trying to find someone as sexually capable as your sister’s boyfriend,” Anya huffed before leaving the room to see if there was anything else interesting happening in the house.




“Young people are very sexually unaware.”

“What?” Buffy’s thoughts on Spike were interrupted by Anya’s proclamation

“Your sister,” Anya explained. “She acts as if she doesn’t even know what sex is.”

“And that’s the way I’d like it to stay thank you very much!”

“Surely with having Spike you understand just how powerful an orgasm can be. Why would you deprive her of that knowledge?”

”Anya,” Buffy said patiently, “let’s save the sex ed for Dawn for a little while, okay?”

“It is rather unfair that someone as uninterested in sex as you are has someone like Spike.”

“What are you saying?”

“You’ve kissed him. And he wears all those tight pants—they’re very illustrative, especially when he is around you.”

”Anya,” Buffy tried to sound outraged.

“Oh please, take that body he has, add in the skill I’m sure he has in kissing and how well he fights and…if it were anyone other than you I would have slept with him already. Many, many times. Many places, too,” she added after a moment’s thought. “I bet that it would very pleasurable to receive orgasms from him somewhere other than a bedroom. Perhaps that little section of the balcony at the Bronze.

I could wear that skirt I bought last year—the brown one: and those jeans unbutton very well I would imagine. The railing would—“

“Anya! Can we please not talk about where you would have sex with Spike?”

“I’ve told you that I won’t do it as long as you two are interested in each other.”

“I know, but…Is Dawn upstairs?”

“She’s in your room. Maybe Spike would be interested in hearing my ideas.”

Buffy opened her mouth to object but realized she didn’t know what to say that Anya would actually listen to so she just closed it again and went for the stairs. “Thanks for driving me home, Anya.”

“Yes of course,” she replied, but Buffy could tell her mind was elsewhere; and just like Dawn, she didn’t really want to hear about just where that else was.

But in Buffy’s case, it was because she didn’t need to know—she was already there.



“Hey, Buffy?”

“Yes?” Buffy stopped short on her way to her room when she heard Dawn’s question.

“Spike just got his chip out five days ago right?”

“Yeah; why?”

“Well..do you think that maybe…that maybe you getting better wasn’t actually dependent on his chip coming out?”

“Why would you ask that?” Buffy was truly curious.

“Well it’s just…She wanted to kill you herself right—the witch I mean?”

“That’s what Spike said.”

“And I’d guess if she was that made, that she would want it to be really painful, right?”

“I would guess so.”

“Then why would she let Spike’s thing kill you?”

“Well…”

“She wouldn’t right? I mean…”

“What are you saying, Dawn?”

“I think she meant Spike’s thing to be temporary; just a punishment but not the punishment. I think she meant…maybe his thing was supposed to wear off—or end, whatever, once you two figured it out. You did seem to get better once you and Spike figured it all out. Didn’t you?”




He was about to do exactly the same thing he had done just several hours before. Ordinarily he would have waited a while longer simply to save face, to keep his pride. But…just this once he both could and had to forget how he normally did things and do what was right.

No matter how it made him look.

He was scared to death of Buffy pushing him away so he kept trying to distance himself from the situation and consequently her; he was doing just what he had promised her he wouldn’t do.

If he could…No, it was time to talk to Buffy and find out what it was she wanted out of things. If she wanted him back in his crypt, seeing her only for the occasional patrol, he could do that. If she wanted him to stick around, in the basement until she or her mum was alright taking care of things, he could do that. If she wanted…if she wanted more than that, well then he could do that, too.

He changed his clothes—putting back on the pajamas that he’d gotten in order to stay with Buffy in her room and headed for the basement stairs.




“Dawn? I already figured all of that out.”

“What? Yeah, right.”

“Really, I did,” Buffy promised.

“Then wh—Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why didn’t you say anything? Why’d you…Why did you tell us all that Spike had to get his chip out? Was this some sort of plan you two came up with?”

“I don’t think Spike has it figured out yet actually. I just…yeah.”

“Why?” Dawn asked again.

“I…If anything’s ever going to really develop between me and Spike, well…I want him to know that I trust him as him, not just because of that chip.” Experiencing the pain Spike experienced had, despite what she would have thought, given her a greater understanding of the man. “And he’s proven to me over the last few months that I really can do that and….he could get it out this way. If I just said, it was because I wanted it to happen, not only would Giles and Willow and Xander not have agreed to help, but I never would have been able to get Riley to do it. It wouldn’t have happened. I wanted Spike’s chip out and this was the way to do it.

Besides it might have had something to do with me getting better. You never know.”

“So you did the whole thing with us finding Riley and all that, to get Spike’s chip out?”

“Don’t tell?” It was a half question, half request.

“Think you’re on your own for dinner, Bit. Anyanka might still be around, but otherwise: good luck.”

“What?” Dawn looked at Spike who had just barged into the room, as if he was completely insane.

Then he wrapped his arms around Buffy’s waist and pulled hr against his body and Dawn though she had an idea what was going on.

“You’re—“ she started to say but Spike was already pushing her out the door, never loosening his hold on Buffy. “Eww!” Dawn hurried down the stairs, muttering all the way about how disgusting her sister and Spike were.



Buffy turned, finally, to look at Spike and knew she likely would not be leaving her room anytime soon



TBC…..
Chapter 54 by Suzee
Author's Notes:
just Chapter 55 and the Epilogue left....at least of this story, not sure about everything else ;)
Chapter 54

“What?”

Spike just kept looking at her in that way that not only caused her breath to catch but also kept her from being able to focus well enough to figure out just what it was he was thinking.

“What?” she asked again, more anxiously this time; being this close to him with him looking at her like that was unnerving to say the least.

“Really?”

“Really what?”

“You know what I’m talking about.”

And, though she hadn’t realized it until just then, she did. His chip. Or rather, her decision regarding said object.

“Uhm,” she said, not sure how to answer him.

“’Uhm’? That’s the best you can do? Least tell me if you meant what you said to Niblet.”

“But…I…I wasn’t going to tell you yet.”

“Right—well that’s good and all, but the thing is, luv, I heard it. So now there’s not really much choice, is there?”

“I…Not really, no. And it’s not that I didn’t want to tell you; I just wasn’t sure how to.”

“I’m thinking however you say it will be right.”

“Right,” Buffy laughed. “Guess you haven’t been paying that much attention then. But I’ll give it a try anyway: I didn’t think that you getting your chip out was the only way to—for lack of a better word--cure me. But I knew we wouldn’t ever be able to have a…real relationship if still had the chip. Either I’d spend who knows how long falling back on my denial thing of ‘he’s only doing it because he has to…not because he wants to’ or you’d think I only trusted you because you couldn’t hurt people—not because you wouldn’t.

So, yeah, for a number of reasons, you not having your chip would actually be in both of our best interests. Lying about it was the only way to do it. Giles never would have helped find Riley otherwise; nor would Riley have done it.

I’m not one hundred percent sure you would have either.”

“I…”

“You?” Buffy prompted teasingly.

Still not sure what to say to her—not sure how to react to the news she’d just delivered, Spike decided that kissing her would perhaps be an appropriate response. Sure as hell felt appropriate to him.

“I love you, Buffy,” he whispered after breaking the kiss to lean his forehead against hers, his gaze heated as it centered on her.

“Don’t leave,” she requested just as quietly tightening her arms around his neck.

“Never…I never said I was going to,” he didn’t know why she feared his leaving.

“You sounded like you might be. And then with the whole ‘I’ll be in the basement except for making dinner’ thing…I just…I wasn’t sure.”

“No worrying then, huh? I’ll be wherever you want me.”

”Wherever?” Buffy asked coyly.

”And whenever,” he confirmed.

After several seconds of Spike smiling at her, really smiling, Buffy’s good mood seemed to crack and her expression darkened.

“What is it?”

“What if I screw it up?” she wondered.

“Screw what up, kitten?”

“This,” she elaborated, hiding her head against his chest now. “Us. What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if it was my fault with Angel and Riley? With Giles and Willow and Xander? What if there’s something wrong with me and that’s why so much has fallen apart?”

“If anything’s wrong with anyone, it’s with them, luv. They’re the one’s who’ve screwed up; not you. And even if you were to do something to screw this up…well, it wouldn’t work. I’m not giving up on you—not ever and certainly not as easily as they all did.”

“How can you love me? I was only ever horrible to you? How can you love me when I was like that to you and everyone that I tried so hard with…they all left me.”

“Love’s a funny thing, innit?”

“That’s your answer? Seriously?”

“Would love really be as great as it is if it were explainable?”

Buffy hadn’t ever thought of that. Maybe that was why things with Riley hadn’t ever worked out—she’d been so able to explain why they should.

“Since when are you so smart?”

“Always have been, didn’t you know? Just good at hiding it.”

“I’ll say,” Buffy joked, immediately regretting it when he started tickling her, his hold on her waist leaving her no room for escape.

“I do love you, Buffy,” he promised. “And I’m not going to leave you. Ever. I’m going to stay right where you want me—as long as that’s somewhere close to you. Otherwise I’m going to be here anyway.”

There was something Buffy needed to tell him while she knew she needed to tell him—before she convinced herself it was not necessary. “I know,” she began, “that I’m probably technically better enough to…I do want to be with you, Spike, I do. I just…I want the first time that we….I want to be feeling really like myself again before we…”

“If you’re not talking ‘bout us shagging you’d best tell me now ‘cause I can tell you, that’s where my brain’s gone.” Buffy decided then that she most definitely liked seeing Happy Spike. While just as sexy as, well, Sexy Spike, Happy Spike was also freaking adorable. Something she would never tell him, of course. At least not using those words.

“Yeah?”

“Oh yeah,” he confirmed, his smirk doing nothing to strengthen her resolve to wait.

“Then, is your brain having fun?”

“Like you wouldn’t believe.”

“Then I guess I’ll have to hurry up and get better so the rest of you can join in the fun,” Buffy mused.

“Guess we will be joining the Bit for dinner then.”

“What?”

“Need to get your strength built back up, don’t we? Eating will definitely help that.” Without giving her the chance to answer, Spike backed slightly away from her and bent to hook an arm behind her legs, lifting her up, “Let’s go, then.”

“Spike!”

“What? ‘s not like I can trust you to keep your hands off my hot little body—drastic measures are called for here, pet.”

“You know,” she pointed out as he opened the bedroom door and carried her into the hall, “I’m not sick now; you can quit this carrying me everywhere deal.”

“Who said it had anything to do with you being sick?”

“You’re a s—“

“Am I going to have to institute a ‘no boys in your room’ policy again, Buffy? Though I guess Spike wouldn’t much count as a ‘boy’.”

“Mom?”

“Joyce?”

“You two sound surprised to see me.”



TBC…..



I hope you all had happy holidays :)
Chapter 55 & Epilogue by Suzee
Author's Notes:
so I don't know much...apparently Chapter 55 and the epilogue are both short so they're posted together, so.....the story's done?




In other news, I have a website

It has Spuffy, other BtVS, SPN and some other fics

Also this fic, Learning Curve, All the Fun (of the Fair) and myself are nominated at Spark & Burn Awards


(and I'm really sorry about the huge break in posting, I've been pretty sick for a while and...sorry)

I hope I'll have another story to post here (as well as finish Cold as Summer sometime... email me if you want (suzeefic@gmail.com)
Chapter 55

“Of course we sound surprised to see you!” Buffy exclaimed. “Or are you forgetting—you do know…what do you remember?” Buffy wondered if perhaps her mother did not in fact know she had been in a coma.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart, I know I’ve been in some sort of a coma for quite a while now. It was all explained to me.”

“Explained to you?” Buffy started feeling funny talking to her mother about something so serious while Spike was holding her.

“Why don’t we all go downstairs and eat and I’ll explain it to both of you? How’s that sound?”

Joyce smiled at her daughter and William before heading down the stairs. Looked like she had ‘come back’ just in time to see the fun



Once all of the hugging and Dawn’s squeeing was over and done with, Joyce, Spike, Buffy, and Dawn sat down to the table, ready to eat and talk; Anya had left just a little while after Dawn came downstairs.

“So,” Spike began when no one else said anything.

“Yes, so,” Joyce replied.

“You know you were in a coma?” Dawn asked.

“Yes; it was all explained to me—“

“By who?” Dawn interrupted.

“It was explained to me,” Joyce went on, “that I was being taken care of—my tumor, which was apparently coming back, being healed—because I was your mother,” she looked at her two daughters. “Because I was taking such good care of the Slayer and the Key.”

“So, it’s…because of us?” Dawn asked.

Spike noticed that Buffy was sitting there quietly, not saying or doing anything, and quietly scooted his chair closer to her, reaching over to rub light circles on his back.

“That I’m still doing well? Yes, that is most assuredly because of the two of you.”

“What,” Buffy finally spoke up, “about the rest of it?”

“What do you mean, sweetheart?”

“The…the cancer, was that because of us, too?”

“Why would you think that, honey?” Joyce asked.

Spike just looked at Buffy, concern evident on his face.

“If…if they could heal it magically…then it had to be caused magically too, didn’t it?”

“No, Buffy…sweetheart, no. It wasn’t you at all; not at all baby. The tumor…it just happened, honey. It just happened,” Joyce repeated. “It had nothing to do with anything; the only thing that is because of you girls is that I’m here and not dead—that’s the only thing. And that’s not exactly something little, either.”

“You’re…you’re really okay now?”

“Yes, baby, I’m okay now.”

Spike didn’t think Joyce or Dawn were expecting Buffy to break into tears then, but it was, oddly enough, not surprising to him. Scooting close enough that he was nearly sitting in her char, Spike hugged Buffy comfortingly while his hand continued rubbing light circles on her back.

“Everyone’s going to be alright now, luv,” he promised her soothingly. “It’s all going to be okay.”




Epilogue

It had been six months since that day that Buffy was currently referring to, at least mentally, as the turning point; her mother was healthy again, she was healthy again, she and Spike were dating. Things were great.

She was still only talking to Willow, Giles, and Xander maybe once a week or so—usually less with Giles and Xander because they still thought she was insane for being with Spike—but other than that things were great. It was hard making new friends when you couldn’t tell them the real reason your—extremely sexy—boyfriend couldn’t be outside during the day and didn’t have a reflection. It was hard but not impossible.

She had considered living in the dorms, but when Spike pointed out the limited time that would leave them for certain ‘activities’ she had decided that maybe living off campus would be a better idea. Having grown tired of Dawn’s complaining and ‘Ewww! Get a room’s, they had easily decided that her mother’s was not the place for her either. What Buffy had not known though, was that Spike had been finding somewhere for them to live together.

In less than a year, she’d gone from truly wanting Spike dead and gone, to being in love with him and living with him. Only problem there was that he didn’t know about one of those latter facts. It was stupid and immature—and completely unjustified—but Buffy still hadn’t said the words to him yet. She was scared, plain and simple. Not because of Spike or anything to do with him…no, she was scared because of her. She was still scared she was going to screw things up.

But then he’d had to go and do what he’d done yesterday and she knew she had to tell him. She had to tell him because just yesterday, Spike had bought her—or actually them a puppy.

Of course, given that it was Spike he had gotten them a big, scary dog. Well, a dog that had the capacity to be big and scary; right now the tiny German Shepherd was just adorable. With its huge paws and gigantic floppy ears, she couldn’t imagine anyone ever being scared of Tila—she’d stupidly told Spike he could name the puppy and for whatever reason, possibly just to show her it was a bad idea, he’d named her Tequila.

So now, Buffy and Tequila—who would be known as Tila thank you very much—were waiting for Spike to come home so Buffy could put her little plan into motion. The apartment (she hadn’t let him buy a house even though he sure had seemed to want to) was illuminated by, and she had counted, one hundred and fifty six candles, dinner had been delivered, and Tila was confined to the kitchen to keep her safe from all of the candles.

All that was missing now was Spike.

Buffy had just finished checking over the table for the seventh time when she heard the door being unlocked. As she turned to face the door, watching as Spike walked into their apartment, a sense of peace washed over her. Maybe tonight she could finally show him just how thankful she was for everything he’d done for her over the past several months; how grateful she was for him.

She knew it sounded corny, but Spike had not only saved her life, he’d made it an enjoyable life to lead. Even with as hard as it had been to get where she was right then, she wouldn’t change a second of it if it meant the outcome would be even the slightest bit different.

She was happy and loved; there was nothing more she could ask for.


THE END


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