Buffy was lying on her stomach on her beach towel to get a good tan. Spike laid on his towel next to her. He was feeling restless.

“Pet, I think I’m goin' to give surfing a go. Want to come?” He touched her slippery back lightly.

Buffy kept her eyes closed. “Nah, I’m not done tanning. You sure you want to surf? You don’t have a lot of surfing experience.”

“I’ve surfed before. The waves on this beach are good for intermediate surfers, nothin’ too big. I just want to be able to say I surfed while in Hawaii.” Spike leaned down and kissed the side of her face.

“Don’t stay out too long. We have to get back to the resort for the luau tonight.”

“That big pillock better keep his mitts off you this time,” Spike growled. “I’ll kick him square in the goonies... then run like hell.”

Buffy giggled. “That’s my fearless, brave knight.”

“Be back in a bit, got to rent a board.”

“Be careful, baby.”

“I will. Love you.” He gave her a last peck on the lips.

Buffy smiled. “Love you, too.”

Buffy snorted herself awake. She blinked and sat up on the towel. How long had she been asleep? Some of the people surrounding her towel were different than the last time she’d looked. Buffy took her wristwatch out of her beach bag and checked the time. It was two hours since she’d dozed off. She looked around for Spike. It didn’t appear that he’d been back yet.

Buffy shielded her eyes and scanned the horizon. He must still be out there surfing. She got up and walked down to the waterline, looking from left to right. There were a lot of people on the beach today, but Spike was always easy to pick out of a crowd. She still didn’t see him anywhere. Buffy bit her lip. Concern filled her mind completely. What if something happened to him out there? What if he got attacked by a shark or hit his head or... Buffy shook her head. Thinking like that wasn’t productive. Spike was probably just further down the beach. Going back to her towel and waiting for him to come back was the smart thing to do, not let her imagination and their talk of curses yesterday drive her crazy.

Buffy went to her towel and sat down. She anxiously watched the ocean for a few minutes before taking a fashion magazine out of her bag and flipping through it to get her mind off of terrifying scenarios.

A half hour later, Spike still hadn’t come back. He knew that she wanted to go back to the resort to get ready for dinner... he couldn’t still possibly be surfing, he’d be exhausted by now. Buffy shot off the towel towards the lifeguard station.

A tanned, muscular man sat on the elevated platform, surrounded by doting, giggling girls.

“Excuse me,” Buffy said. “Um, my husband went out surfing two and a half hours ago and hasn’t come back yet. I’m getting really worried about him.”

The lifeguard gave her a put-upon expression. “Give him a little more time, he’ll show up.”

“No, I’ve already waited long enough. Have you seen him? He’s about 5’10”, with bleached blond hair, a slim, muscular build. He was wearing black speedos...”

The man thought about it. “Yeah, I think I remember seeing him a while ago. He went out on a blue board. He’s probably just down the beach a ways.”

“Please, I’m starting to go nuts. He said he wouldn’t stay out long. Can’t you... do something to find him?”

He sighed. “Yeah, okay. I’ll radio the other lifeguards and ask if he’s around.”

“Thanks.” Buffy smiled weakly at the fawning women.

He radioed his fellow lifeguards. Buffy heard him give Spike’s description, then heard the negative responses. No one had seen him since he went in the water. Panic -- heart squeezing, burning, hysterical panic -- bubbled up in her. She fought not to cry and to hold onto her composure.

“Sorry,” the lifeguard said, becoming concerned himself. “You heard, no one’s seen him. Tell you what, I’ll contact the Coast Guard and ask them to patrol around the area he was last seen. He might have gone out too far, that happens sometimes.”

“O-okay...” Buffy rubbed her arms.

Some of the bimbos tried comforting her, giving her awkward pats on the back, and saying, 'Aww!'. But Buffy was too upset to notice.

It was full dark. Buffy stood with the lifeguard (whose name was Jake) and a few members of the Coast Guard. She was numb with fright. Spike never returned, and the searchers came up with nothing. No surfboard, no Spike. It was like he had vanished into thin air.

The nicest of the Coast Guard men was Captain Sparrow. He appeared to be in his late 30s, with brown hair and kind, soft brown eyes. Buffy could tell that he really cared about her and finding Spike. That was something of a comfort. He looked young to have achieved the high rank, Buffy hoped that meant he was good at his job and could help find her husband.

“Why don’t you go back to your hotel, Mrs. Giles,” the Captain said gently. “We’ll call you if we find him.”

“No. I’m not leaving this beach without my husband.” Buffy swore to herself she wouldn’t.

“It’s 10 o’clock. We’re not likely to spot anything at night. We’ll keep searching, though. Please go get some rest.”

Buffy was exhausted. The emotional toll of the last few hours left her feeling limp and lifeless. Tears sprang up in her eyes.

“I didn’t want to leave without finding him...”

“I know.” He patted her on the arm. “He’ll understand. I’ll have one of my men take you back to your hotel.”

Buffy let herself be led away, somehow she was able to keep her knees from giving out.

Buffy laid on the bed of their suite staring at the telephone, willing it to ring with good news. She’d scoffed at Spike’s suggestion of a curse -- she wasn’t laughing about it anymore. What if she never saw him again? How could she go on? How could she live without him? Her puffy, red eyes filled with tears again.

The phone rang.

Buffy leapt on it. “Hello?!”

“Buffy, honey, it’s Mom,” Joyce’s cheerful voice came from the receiver. “I hope I’m not interrupting anything...” she said jokingly.

Buffy was silent. She’d so been hoping that it was the call she’d been waiting for.

“Honey? Are you there?” Concern creeped into Joyce’s voice.

“Mom...” Buffy’s throat was dry and raw.

“What’s wrong? What happened?”

“Spike... he’s missing.”

“What? Missing? What do you mean?”

“He’s missing. He went out this afternoon on a surfboard, and he never came back.”

“Oh... Oh God...” Joyce put her hand over her mouth.

Giles, who was sitting in bed next to her, frowned and asked her what was wrong.

Buffy heard them whispering on the other end of the phone. Giles came on.

“Buffy, what’s this about William?”

“He--He’s missing. The Coast Guard is out looking for him... I’m waiting for them to call...”

Giles ran a hand through his hair. “We’ll be there by morning.”

“No, don’t come. They’ll find him... it’ll be okay,” Buffy said.

“I have to do something. I can’t just sit on my arse and wait to hear --“

“That’s what I’ve been doing all night!” Buffy’s frayed nerves snapped. “I’m scared! I’m scared to death, Giles! And I can’t do anything but wait! I shouldn’t have let him go alone... I should have gone with him. He asked me to go and I said no...” Buffy sobbed loudly.

“It’s not your fault, Buffy.” Giles choked on the lump in his throat. “ Please don’t blame yourself... no matter what happens.”

Joyce came back on the phone. “Sweetie, let me and Rupert come there. I don’t want you going through this alone.”

Giles was trying hard not to start weeping. He couldn't lose William. He'd lost his wife, he'd almost lost William for good last year. He didn't know what he'd do if his son was really gone this time. What sort of dark cloud was hanging over that boy!? Did he have to have some kind of near-tragic accident every bloody year!? Giles tried not letting Joyce see how close he was to a meltdown, he put his face in his hands, turning away from her.

Buffy sniffled and rubbed her temple. “No... not yet. Things could still be alright.”

“Buffy...” Joyce didn’t want her daughter to be alone, especially if the news wasn’t good. She reached out and stroked Giles' back gently, seeing how scared and upset he was.

“No, Mom. I’ll let you know if I need you here.”

Buffy felt that if she had them come, it would be admitting how dire the situation was. She had to hold onto hope (however dim it became) that Spike would walk into their suite, safe and sound.

“Alright... I want to be there with you, but I won’t come if you don’t want me to,” Joyce said resignedly.

“I don’t want to tie up the phone, Mom. They might be trying to call.” Buffy sounded as drained and miserable as she felt.

“Okay... please call us as soon as you hear anything. Or if you just need to talk.”

“I will. Bye.” Buffy hung up without waiting for Joyce’s response.

She sank slowly back down onto the bed, her eyes never leaving the phone.

“Please ring, please ring...” Buffy whispered.

Back in Sunnydale, Joyce took Rupert in her arms, whispering and cooing to him that it would be alright... somehow it would be alright. She stroked his hair, fingering his soft, half-curls. Rupert let go of his usually firm hold on his emotions, and permitted himself to cry in Joyce's embrace. He cried and clung to her, trying to take the comfort and strength that she offered.

Buffy’s eyes snapped open at the ringing of the telephone. She’d dozed off. Morning light flooded the room from the patio doors. She snatched the phone from the cradle.


“Mrs. Giles?”

“Y-Yes.” Her heart constricted. What if they were going to tell her they found him dead?

“This is Captain Sparrow. I wanted to let you know that we started a full-out search at first light. We’ll do everything we can to locate your husband.”

“You...haven’t found him yet?”

“No, I’m sorry.”

“Captain, what are his chances...of being alive? Please tell me the truth.”

He was quiet for a moment. “There’s still a very good chance of finding him alive and well.”

“But?” Buffy asked.

“The waves were rougher than usual yesterday. He might have been carried out farther than he’d intended.”

“Could he have been attacked by sharks?”

“Mrs. Giles, please try not to panic. I know you must be going through hell, but don’t give up hope.”

“I’m trying,” Buffy’s voice cracked.

“The best thing for you to do is to stay put and wait. We’ll call you as soon as we hear anything.”

“Alright... I'll stay here... for now.”

The previous day, Spike‘s POV...

After some serious surfing, Spike laid on his board on his stomach and rested in the water. He just meant to close his eyes for a second, but the strenuous activity (combined with the spirited lovemaking all morning with Buffy) had tired him out more than he realized. He fell asleep on the surfboard to the gentle rocking of the waves.

The lifeguard would’ve noticed if he hadn’t been holding court with the bimbos gathered around his platform.

Spike drifted further and further out from the shore. The waves carried him out of sight of the beach and away from land.

When he woke up from a rough wave slapping him in the face, he spluttered and coughed out water. He sat up on the board and looked around. It took a few beats for him to understand what must have happened.

“Bloody fucking hell! Where’s the bloody beach?”

Spike turned around, hoping to see the shore behind him. There was nothing but water as far as the eye could see surrounding him.

“Shit! Which way?” Spike tried to decide what his best bet was.

He looked up to see a gull flying overhead. He remembered hearing somewhere that they only go out to sea to die. If he followed the bird, he might be able to get back to land. He thought about Buffy; she’d be insane with worry if she discovered he wasn’t where he was supposed to be. Spike laid back down on the board and started paddling with his hands in the direction the gull had flown. With any luck he could get back to the beach and Buffy before she realized anything was amiss.

“Stupid, bloody... I just had to go fucking surfing. I couldn’t just lie next to Buffy and get a tan. Cursed... I swear it’s a bloody curse,” Spike muttered.

It was over 24 hours since Spike went missing.

Buffy’s fingernails were chewed down to stubs. Captain Sparrow had called again at 6 o’clock to tell her they hadn’t found anything yet. She called back home and told them the non-news. Poor Giles sounded as frantic as she did.

She couldn’t take much more of this. She knew he was out there somewhere, he had to be alright. Buffy wouldn’t give up on him. After his car accident, she had kept the faith until he came back to her. This time would be no different. But at least back then she’d been able to hold his hand and see his face.

“Please, Spike.” Buffy hugged her knees to her chest. “Please be alive. I can’t live without you. Please...”

Spike cursed the seagull for the hundredth time as he paddled in the dark. He’d followed the bird quite a distance -- before it spiraled down into the water, dead. It had been going out to sea to die, and so it appeared was he.

Spike had no idea how far he’d gone out, or which direction to turn. But he kept paddling anyway. He’d been gone a full day now. The thoughts of what Buffy must be going through drove him to push beyond his limits. He had to get back to her. She’d kick his ass for worrying her, but it’d be alright if he could just make it back to her. He’d gladly take her ass whuppin’.

He was sunburnt all over and hurting. His arms felt like wet noodles and hurt like a bitch. The night was pitch black, he couldn’t see anything. The worst part of all was the enormous thirst. Spike had never been thirstier in his life; he’d kill for one drop of water. Parched didn’t begin to describe it.

As if in answer to his silent prayer, a droplet of water splattered on his back. A light rain started. He stopped paddling and tilted his head back, opening his mouth wide to capture the water on his tongue.

“Thank God!” Spike rasped, drinking down what fell in his mouth.

Then the rain became heavier, the waves rougher. Spike held onto the sides of the board to avoid spilling off.

“Fuck! Bloody terrific!”

He held on for dear life as the waves tossed him around like a cork. It was becoming clearer that he could very well die out here... and soon. Either he’d drown in the suddenly rough seas, die of exposure or get mistaken for a baby seal by a hungry shark. He felt so weak and exhausted, he didn’t know how long his strength would hold out. Spike laid on the board and wrapped his arms and legs around it.

‘If I make it out of this, I’m never leaving the bloody house again!’

An especially large wave crashed over him, flipping the board and him over. Spike held on and tried not to panic. If he panicked, he was done for. He was able to right the surfboard again, rapidly using up his reserves of strength. If the storm went on any longer or got worse, he wouldn’t be able to stay afloat. They say that drowning is one of the worst ways possible to die... The panic as your lungs fill with water, not able to draw in a breath, knowing that you were lost... it was terrifying.

What he wouldn’t give to be back at the resort with Buffy right now. He’d sell his soul to Satan himself for another chance.

By noon the next day, Buffy was through waiting around. Spike had been gone for almost 78 hours, three days since she’d last seen the love of her life.

She called Captain Sparrow on the phone.

“I want to come along on the search mission.”

“Mrs. Giles, it really is better if --“

“I know you’re doing your best. I appreciate everything you’re doing to find him. But I CAN’T -- I WON’T -- sit here anymore. I have to be proactive... Please.”

“Alright. If you need to, you’re welcome to come along. We’re taking a helicopter out again in the morning. Would you like to go up?”

“Yes. I’ll be there.”

“We’re taking off at first light."

Another day went by with no sign of Spike.

Buffy shut out and ignored all of the pitying glances she got from the search team when they thought she wasn't looking. She shut out the whispers she heard when they thought she wasn't around. Whispers of 'dead' and 'drowned' and 'eaten'. They'd spoken in hushed voices about the rough storm the day after Spike disappeared -- how he most likely hadn't survived it, if he'd even still been alive when it hit. She'd find her man; she knew it. And he'd be alive.

The helicopter was in the air for hours. Nothing. No Spike.

Giles and Joyce were becoming more insistent about coming to Maui. Everyone back home was scared and frantic, too. Buffy was getting too distraught to handle it by herself. She was determined and driven to find him, but it was hard to not let the despair and dread prevail.

Spike stirred, spitting out a mouthful of white sand. He coughed weakly and tried to get all of the grains out of his mouth.

He raised his head and looked around him. He was on a beach, half in and half out of the water. It was nighttime. He'd washed ashore... but where? There were trees silhouetted in the distance, large rocks dotted the beach he was lying on. From the light that the moon and stars provided he could see the beach stretch to the left and right.

Unable to support his head anymore, he let it drop back onto the sand.

'Either I'm still alive or the afterlife is much different than I'd expected...'

His body definitely hurt enough, so he had to be alive. Pain like this reminded you of it. So thirsty. The last thing he remembered was floating in the water after the storm passed. He vaguely recalled paddling more and wishing for a plane or rescue boat to find him. He didn't dare pray for water again, not after the last time. His prayer had been answered -- in abundance. But not in the way he'd wanted it. Next time, he'd be more specific.

Spike tried getting up. He crawled forward, advancing a few inches before giving up. Lying in the sand was about all Spike could muster. He reasoned that a nap was what he needed. A long nap and to soak in a bathtub of cool water. Surely, someone would find him. Nobody seemed to be about at the moment. Perhaps when the surfers showed up at dawn, they'd help him.

Spike groaned and rolled onto his back. He hissed in pain when his sunburn touched the sand.

'Bloody hell. How many times am I going to get fucked up in one lifetime?'

His bleary eyes fixed on the bright stars in the sky. Drowsiness kept forcing his eyes to close. He didn't seem to be in any immediate danger. Spike let his eyes fall closed.

Buffy was lying in bed clutching a pillow to her body and weeping again. She wondered if people could run out of tears eventually. She froze when the phone rang on the nightstand. The longer Spike was missing the more afraid she was to answer the phone. She still believed he was alive, but just under the surface was the intense fear that he wasn't... That they'd be calling to tell her that they found his corpse floating in the water. Or found parts of him...

Buffy dug her fingernails into her palm to disrupt the disturbing, distressing thoughts then quickly answered the telephone.


"Mrs. Giles," Captain Sparrow sounded joyful, "I have terrific news for you. We've located your husband, he's alive."

Buffy was in shock. Was she dreaming? "Are you sure?! Is he with you right now?!"

"I'm sure. And, no, he's not with me. He was found on Molokai, believe it or not."

"Molokai? Is he alright?"

"He's in rough shape from being out on the ocean the whole time, but he'll live."

Buffy cried, this time in happiness. "Oh, thank you! Thank you so much!"

"You’re welcome. But we didn't find him. A few local surfers spotted him on the beach at daybreak. They took him in and got him to a hospital. We've had people watching for him since he disappeared, so they reported it to us and now I'm reporting it to you. I can't tell you how gratified I am that it ended this way."

"Oh, me too! I have to get to him right away! How do I get there fast?"

"Why don't you come to the helipad. We'll fly you over, it'll take about 25 minutes in all."

"I'll be right there! Goodbye!" Buffy hung up and bounded off the bed. She skidded to a stop. "Giles! I have to call Giles!"

She raced back to the phone and called her mother's house (Giles was always there these days). She placed a short, but jubilant call, telling her mother what had happened. Joyce understood that Buffy couldn't wait to be on her way to Spike's side, and promised to fill Giles in on everything as soon as he got out of the... shower. Buffy didn't even let that mental picture bother her -- she was in far too good a mood.

She laughed with joy as she shoved her feet into a pair of sandals. Spike was alive. He was alive and he'd be alright. He was all alone in a strange hospital, he needed her. Buffy didn't give any thought to grooming or changing her clothes (she was wearing a pair of baggy shorts and one of Spike's black t-shirts). All that mattered was getting out the door, on that helicopter and to her man on Molokai.

Molokai was the fifth largest island, only thirty-eight miles long and ten miles wide. On the helicopter, Captain Sparrow told Buffy that it was the purest Hawaiian experience left in the islands. They call it 'The Friendly Island' because of the aloha spirit that thrives in its people. It was the most remote of the islands. The beaches were pristine and uncrowded, there were no skyscrapers or even traffic lights.

She thought that she wouldn't mind spending time here under different circumstances. It looked spectacular from the air.

The second the helicopter landed, Buffy gave Captain Sparrow a kiss on the cheek and a smile, then sprinted out to the car that was waiting to take her to the hospital.

The Captain smiled after her, his brown eyes shining. It was good to see the young bride smiling.

Buffy skidded to a stop in front of the room they told her Spike was assigned to. She smoothed down her wild hair, took a deep breath, and opened the door.

There was a woman standing near the bed with her back to Buffy.

"Anything else I can do, Spike?"

Buffy fought back tears at the sound of Spike's voice, she didn't know if she'd ever hear him again a few hours ago. His voice was raspy and rough, "No, Honey, I'm good. You've done so much for me already."

'Honey? Did he call that woman 'Honey'?'

Buffy walked into the room. "Spike," she whispered.

The woman turned around and stepped away from the bed. Spike was lying there. A smile spread across his face when he saw Buffy.

"Pet... God, it's good to see you!"

Buffy went to him, her eyes filling with tears. His skin was reddened, his lips dry and cracked. There were bandages wrapped all the way down his arms. An IV was attached to him.

"I was so worried about you!"

"I seem to be doing that to you a lot lately." Spike smiled.

"You're not allowed to leave ever again. And no surfing -- ever!" Her hands hovered over him without touching. "I want to hug and kiss you so bad."

"I think there's a spot on my forehead that wouldn't be wracked with agony if you kissed me there." Spike tried to lighten the mood. "It'll be worth it even if it does hurt. I thought about you a lot when I was out on the water... I need to feel your beautiful lips on me." His eyes got watery.

Buffy bent forward and softly kissed his forehead.

"I know I look terrible, and I don't feel too swift, but they said I'll be alright with some rest."

Buffy had forgotten about the woman for a minute. She turned to her.

"Buffy, you remember Lani? We met her at the nude beach."

"Yeah. What a coincidence that you happen to be here," Buffy said.

"I'm here visiting my family. I was going surfing with some friends when we came across Spike on the beach. The poor thing."

"Oh... well, thank you, Lani. Thanks for helping him," Buffy said with gratitude.

"I was happy to." Lani walked back to Spike and smiled down at him. "I'll leave you in Buffy's capable hands. Take care, Spike."

She touched his hand.

"You too, thanks, Honey," Spike smiled at her.

With a nod at Buffy, Lani left the room.

"Umm... Spike? Why did you call her Honey... twice?"

"That's her nickname. Her whole family was fussin' over me earlier. They all called her Honey."

"I'm not going to go all ape-shit jealous. Don't worry." Buffy touched his hand lightly.

"That's good. How's that curse theory soundin' now? It gets more plausible all the time, doesn't it?" Spike chuckled.

"I did think about that. Maybe we could find a local priest to... de-curse you or get rid of the bad mojo you picked up somehow."

"Not a bad idea. There's a few kahunas on the island, maybe tomorrow..." He sighed. "Curses. I actually believe someone cursed me. I've gone bug-shagging crazy, haven't I?"

"No, you haven't. I'm... just so relieved, Spike. You were gone so long."

"You haven't remarried yet, have you?" He smirked the best he could with his lips hurting the way they did.

"Stop trying to be funny." Buffy smiled. "Don't do it for my benefit. You had to be scared, too."

Spike swallowed, his smile fading a bit. "Yeah... I was. I can't describe it. It was worse than the car accident. I had a lot more time to contemplate my fate. Or what I thought was my fate... Are you okay, pet?"

"I'm okay now. I feel guilty even thinking how hard the last few days were on me, considering what you've been through."

"I know if it were you that'd been missing... I would've been losin' my mind." Spike turned his hand over to hold hers loosely.

"I was kinda... It was terrible. What was it like for you? Do you want to tell me about it?"

"No... not yet. It's still too... I can't."

"That's okay, baby." Buffy stroked his hair. "You can tell me about it when you're ready. No rush. I'm just... chuffed to bits that I'm with you again," she said with a smile.

"I love you." Spike squeezed her hand.

"Love you, too." Buffy wanted to kiss his lips, but settled for giving him another peck on the forehead. "You poor baby... your beautiful face is all burned."

"I must look like a monstrosity. Women and children will run and hide when they see me."

"No. You're the most beautiful thing I've ever seen," Buffy said, gently stroking his fingers. "There's no permanent damage. You're just badly sunburned and dehydrated."

"Our honeymoon's just about over, isn't it?" Spike asked sadly. "My streak of bad luck ruined everything."

"You didn't ruin anything. There were some curse-free moments here and there. It hasn't been all bad."

"Just mostly," Spike joked feebly.

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