Author's Chapter Notes:
I own nothing but my own imagination. All characters were envisioned by the ME team of Joss Whedon and, sadly, he has the rights to them. If anyone wants to link or post this story it is okay with me….just let me know where so I can come visit (wish I could visit Spike but there’s that little issue of him being fictional and all, damn!).

A/N this is meant to segue into Gone where Buffy pockets the lighter when she find it the next day. Figured it could explain her light heartedness of that episode, her sudden joy at being alive since Wrecked had been so dark before.
A Little Bit Of Heaven

Spike cranked up the CD player and lit another ciggy as he pulled up in front of 1630 Revello. The Desoto still purred with the power only the older behemoth American cars had truly perfected. It made him feel like an invincible force to be encased in tons of solidly built steel and leather.

The wild feeling of freedom he’d been enjoying on the bike he had liberated from the big bad wanna’ be demon had a beauty of its own. He knew that Buffy would never let Dawn fly through Sunnydale on the back of the bike even if the bits arm wasn’t in a sling, so the Desoto it was, then.

Dawnie had tried all week to get one of the scoobies to take her to the mall to do her Christmas shopping, but everyone was so self absorbed or strung out that they kept putting her off. Geech, she couldn’t do ALL of her shopping at the Magic Box!

Finally, remembering how close she had been to Spike before Buffy came back from the dead, she had lain in wait at his crypt and wheedled him into promising her the ride to the mall.

Spike hadn’t been around as much since the night he’d saved Buffy from burning up while dancing to the tune of Xander’s demon. Dawn wasn’t sure just why, but Buffy acted half mad at him all the time lately.

She was really afraid that it was because Buffy had looked forward to burning up, dying again, and Spike had stopped her! Buffy had come back wrong, and angry too.

Well, Dawn couldn’t fault her big sister too much for that, she HAD been in heaven and all. Still, it wasn’t like Buffy being back was HER fault, or Spike’s either. They were the only two, besides Giles, that had no idea of Willow’s plan to do that dumb spell or whatever it was.

Dawn wondered which one of the witches had gone after the Gorah demon egg that the spell to return the dead had required to work right. No one talked about what or how they had done any of it.

They hadn’t had Spike to fight off the three headed beastie like she had when she tried to bring her mom back. Spike had gotten a large chunk bitten into for his efforts. Dawn couldn’t imagine Xander braving such a beast and not getting seriously killed.

Maybe they had used a different spell, or tried it without the egg and that was why Buffy was so … different.

She missed Spike! It would be great to go shopping with him. She might even pick up a few pointers in successful shoplifting by watching him when he didn’t notice. Her Christmas presents could be a WHOLE lot better if she could get them without having to rely on the small allowance her dad sent to her when he remembered to send it.

"Bit’s worse than big sis at getting’ what she wants from the big bad", he muttered to himself. Finally he smiled and shook his head, realizing just how whipped the Summer’s women had him. "From scourge of Europe to chauffeuring pouty teens with only a few words and a pair of moist, large eyes pointed my way. Bleedin’ pathetic is what I am!"

He flicked the rest of his cigarette to the street and headed up the walk to the house. Didn’t want Buffy to use the dangers of second hand smoke to stop this outing. It had taken Dawn the better part of this week to convince her to let Spike take her to begin with.

He hadn’t really celebrated Christmas in, well, let’s just say a long, long time. Christmas usually had meant easy pickings of lunch on the hoof because of all the distractions around the shoppers. Hunting was quite easy, and you could even hide some screams by making sure some off key carolers were nearby while you ate.

The closest to celebrating it in a traditional way were the few times he had picked up a new dollie for Dru to add to her collection. Well, that and some silk fabric to make blindfolds for the dolls and use for other kinds of play.

Now Spike was, well he supposed the best word was … involved, with the slayer. Actually HE had been involved heart and soul, if he’d had one, for a couple of years at least. According to Dru, it had started even longer ago, almost from the start, from seeing her dancing at the Bronze years ago.

Now she had joined the dance, even if she didn’t admit it to herself or anyone else. They were lovers and love, real love, would have to follow in time. She wasn’t made to give herself like that without her heart getting in the mix too. He would only have to remain patient … not his strong suit … and all his dreams could come true.

She’d been a right bitch after they had wakened after that first, well, first few, times. She had been the one to unzip him and lower herself on his too willing cock.

When she had first gone for the zipper, Spike had worried that she was planning to remove his dangley bits as part of the fight they were having at the time. He was stunned to feel her close over him in the warmest and tightest embrace he had ever had. If he hadn’t already been in love with her, that would have shoved him off the edge.

That night had been one of passion unlike any he had ever imagined, and he had imagined quite a lot! They had finally passed out from exhaustion in the rubble of the house that had collapsed around them. But, sunlight always brought death to a vampire, and with the sun came Buffy’s guilt and shame and inner bitch. She had verbally staked him good and proper and it hadn’t really stopped since.

Well, she felt passion of many kinds for him, that was sure. She also couldn’t keep away either, having visited him for sexual release again, then coming to him to help find Dawn when the witch had gone off the deep end of the empty pool of magics.

Oh yeah, Buffy wanted him, and needed him too. It was only a matter of time until she’d see it for what it was, HIM for who HE was, and all his Christmas wishes would be granted.

Maybe it wasn’t that she came back wrong, just that she’d come back at all. Spike knew that he would never be in the kind of place that Buffy had described to him as having been her home that she had been pulled from by the scoobies. But, he knew that if he’d ever been in such a place, he’d be a right crank too at coming back here.

She was facing so much for one so young. She was an instant mum to a teenage hormone bomb in the making, and all the responsibilities of motherhood that went with it was on her shoulders. She was having real financial problems and her friends weren’t so much as conjuring up a quick pizza, let alone putting a fix whammy on cracking copper pipes!

The best they had been able to do to help had been to give her a discount on repairs and a financial assessment that had left her even more depressed than before.

Her useless dad had done nothing to help his offspring except send as little as he could get away with in paying support for Dawn. Giles had simply turned tail and headed back to Merry Ole’ as quick as if one of Anya’s bunnies was after him. Buffy was saddled with all the cares of the world AND the "calling" to fight to the death to protect that world. She was being crushed under the weight of it all.

He watched as she seemed to get smaller and smaller under the load of it. He would have gladly staked himself if it would bring so much as a smile to her life again.

As it was, he was not able to figure out how he could possibly give her what she needed, wanted, so very badly. She wanted heaven, and rest. The only way he could give her what she wanted was one he would never do.

Strange how the very thing he had threatened her with upon their first meeting was the one thing she really DID want from him now. She knew the bloody chip didn’t work on her. Yet, time and again she chose words guaranteed to inflame anger in him, to hurt him. She’d be a right bitch, use him, abuse him, then go to sleep next to him without any concern that he’d kill her in retaliation. Well, it wasn’t going to happen and he wasn’t going to let any one else take her life before her time. Not on his watch, he’d failed her for the last time at that tower.

Still she needed something to ease her life if only for a bit. He was doing anything and everything she seemed to need from him, and he would do it till he was dust. She owned him heart, mind and soulless self in total and always would.

Maybe he’d pick up some lovely treat for his slayer while they were out shopping. A wee bit of the kind of thing she used to enjoy before her whole life collapsed like that house had the other night. It was Christmas soon, after all, and no one could fault him giving a gift.

Yeah, he’d look about while shopping with the bit. Maybe the nibblet would even have a suggestion for a favorite store or somesuch to nick something nice later. Hell, he’d even pay if he had to.

He’d never cared about money before, nicking whatever he needed. Now he wished he had the acquisitive nature that Angel had so that he could shoulder some of Buffy’s money woes at least. He didn’t even know those "handyman" skills that would come be of use like that whelp Xander. HE wouldn’t charge her for repairs, even at a discount, either!

He’d have to give some though for how he could help her long term later. Right now, he had a shop mad teen to see to and a Christmas present to buy.

The Sunnydale mall was the same as nearly every other mall in America. The same stores sporting the same merchandise, offering the same sights and sounds as the next one. Spike would have been bored to tears if it wasn’t for the gleam of excitement in Dawn’s eyes.

He was starting to see crowds as just people instead of meals he was not able to hunt or have. They all had that holiday glow about them, but none more so than Dawn.

Spike felt bad that he had not insisted on visiting Dawn in spite of Buffy’s order that he, "stay the hell away from my private life and my house if you want ANY chance of sex with me again". She was so afraid that someone, one of the witches most likely, would catch on and the dirty secret would be out.

Dawn needed more attention than anyone was giving her, she was hungry for it. Spike recognized the signs, he had found such neediness to make for easy prey back in the day. That was another issue he’s need to work on later. For now, he’d get some of those funny looking ice cream dots for his girl and watch her glow some more.

Dawn had suggested a couple of stores that Buffy had shopped in when Joyce was still alive. Spike found himself perking up at the wares at Victoria’s Secret as soon as they entered. He knew, almost to a pair, how many whispy bits of lace and satin Buffy owned. He’d helped himself to more than one in the past year and had ripped more than a couple this year. "Yeah", he thought, "this is just the kind of store to find a little something to give my little slayer elf". Then he smiled.

Spike looked at the mirrored rooms filled with pink and red patterned carpet and walls bright enough to make a bloke dizzy. His eyes went to the piles of lacy thongs and the mannequins dressed, or rather undressed, in little nothings that had to be uncomfortable to wear, he thought.

There were entire sections where the back of the thongs were rhinestones or feathers. Things never intended to be worn under anything. Actually, the last time he’d seen some of these styles, the woman wearing them was lap dancing while her sisters did pole dances for cash.

He wasn’t too sure where to look first and was fairly sure he should be covering Dawn’s eyes at the same time.

He decided to steer Dawn to the "beauty" section with nice, safe, fragrances and slip back to the little nothings by himself. He could just picture Buffy wearing some of the things he’d seen before getting Dawn out of there. Well, he pictured her wearing them for a few moments, followed by him adding them to his collection of Buffywear trophies.

All was progressing well. Dawn was lost in the different colognes and makeup and Spike was fondling silk, lace and satin without having to worry about being arrested for lewd behavior.

He had finally selected a sexy little nightie that he thought might be a perfect gift for Buffy when he saw the embroidery on the bottom of the outfit and frowned. "Angel …… what the bleedin’ hell…..", he said in wonder.

The sign above the area of the store was labeled "The Angel Collection" and the clothes all proudly sported the word "Angel" on them somewhere. "I’ll be double damned if any of MY women wear anything with that ponce’s name anywhere near it! And Buffy is not part of his bloody collection either", he said in a snit. No, this store did not have a thing he wanted on HIS girl.

Dawn came up behind him at that point and said, "good choice, Buffy’ll love that". "Not a way in the world, Niblett. Gonna have to look for something that really belongs on her, and that’s not here", he replied. Dawn looked puzzled, but could tell something had spoiled Spike’s holiday cheer.

Spike was still pouting while Dawn ate her second hot pretzel and nattered on about the things she had picked out for the scoobies. She didn’t show him the purse size sprays of "Very Sexy" that she had slipped up her sleeve to use as stocking stuffers for Willow and Buffy.

She wasn’t going to actually spend her money on a gift for Willow this year after the broken collarbone, but a gift she didn’t have to pay for was something else. Spike might appreciate a ten fingered discount, but he would know that Buffy would hate it and make her take them back.

She decided to try to get him back into the holiday spirit by teasing him out of the black mood that had descended upon him in the store. Maybe he was just upset because Buffy didn’t have sense enough to return his love and all those sexy things made him realize her stupid big sister didn’t want him, she thought.

"You know, Buffy has really changed since Willow brought her back. She isn’t really close to anyone, not even me", she said to the glum vampire. "I don’t think you need to give up, Spike. I mean, she’s not interested in anyone, it’s not just rejecting you, you know", she continued. "She doesn’t even notice boys at all, so there’s no competition for you. She’s even been nice to you a few times since she came back", she encouraged him.

"Maybe in heaven that part of her got switched off for a while or something. It’s just that now she’s having to be all’grown up Buffy’ and she was never too happy about not getting to be ‘plain teenage Buffy’ to begin with. Half the time I’m mad at her for being such bitch and other times I feel bad that I can’t give her heaven back……except, you know, that would mean she’d be gone and I don’t want that.", she finished quietly.

Spike looked at Dawn as if she had just said something brilliant, and smiled in a way she had never seen the vampire smile. He reached over, taking Dawn’s face in his hands and kissed her quickly. "Thanks, bit, you just helped me figure out the perfect gift for big sis. It’ll take a bit of doin’ and I’ll need to dig around a bit to finance it….could use a spot of help too", he spoke rapidly.

Dawn was still reeling at the kiss and caught up around the ‘help too’ part of his chatter.
"Um, help? What kind of help do you need and is it legal? I mean, I’ll be glad to help, you know, even if it isn’t completely legal", she promised.

"Oh, it’s legal. I just don’t know what Buffy will accept from me. I think she needs to think it’s coming from someone else. I’ll have to play the grumpy vampire too to make her buy it.

"Okay, what store next?, Dawn asked.

"No, no store for this, platelet, got a bit of arrangin’ to do to have this all come off right", he replied.

The rest of the evening was filled with Dawn shopping and Spike nearly bouncing in anticipation for whatever he was planning for Buffy. Dawn wished, not for the first time, that she was the one to have the love of a guy like Spike who was willing to put it all on the line for love. "I wouldn’t even be a bitch to him or hit him either", she thought. "Besides, Buffy was just my age when she was hanging all over Angel and he was a lot older than her, lots older than Spike is to me", she concluded.

Spike went through the box of trinkets he had saved from the trove he had uncovered when he found the Gem of Amarra years before. He had been so interested in that one gem that he hadn’t taken as much as he should have. Still, there were a couple of pieces that he could pawn to get the funding he needed for his plan.

He thought that he might take a couple of the larger pieces to L.A. one day and set up a small trust account for Buffy and Dawn. He’d have to make sure Buffy never found out it was from him…..maybe make it look like something Joyce had set aside. He knew she was having lots of money worries and it would help her a lot to have a little something. Perhaps he could think of another way to add to the amount too and take all that burden from her in time.

Spike was smiling at the thought of being Buffy’s knight in black armor when he handed the pieces over to the pawn broker for some Christmas cash. His good mood worked in the favor of the broker since Spike didn’t anger at the haggling that was done to try to give as little money as possible for the rings.

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