Disclaimer: It's not mine… Well, the story is, but the characters aren't…

Summary: For almost two years, Buffy and Spike have been madly in love… Then, Buffy gets a call from Giles and she is forced to take Dawn and move away to London due to an increase in demon activity. Spike, now working for the Watcher's Council, has been assigned to a new Slayer and he must stay with her at all costs… Even if it means losing the woman he loves.

Spoilers: Set after "Beneath You", but it's AU after that… Not really spoilery…

Rating: R (eventually… I think… Right now, it's PG-13)

Author's Notes: I know, Buffy's completely overemotional… Yeah, I swear to you that'll be addressed eventually… Hell, a bunch of you probably already know where I'm going with this… And yes, to answer the question about Kerri, she is a new Slayer Spike's been assigned to… So sorry it took so long. I was planning on getting this chapter out like the next day, but unfortunately that just didn't happen… obviously. So sorry it took so long… And thanks so much for the reviews…

Distribution: If ya want it, take it, just give me credit… And, if ya could, let me know where it's going.

Feedback: You can send it to brock3005@aol.com or otownfan1520@yahoo.com.


Chapter 1:

Buffy lay in bed, silent tears still slipping from her swollen eyes every now and again. Spike had gone down stairs a half an hour or so ago, to make breakfast. Before he had gone, though, he'd made her promise she would come downstairs and eat something… Just like he did every time she was upset. He knew better than anyone that she tended to shy away from food when she was upset. And it worried him. When she didn't eat, she wasn't at her full strength… He hated it when she got that way. It scared him.

She knew she should probably go downstairs. She had gotten up and gotten dressed long ago, swearing to herself that she would… But she hadn't. Instead, she had curled herself back into bed; afraid to face him… But she should really go downstairs… There was no doubt in her mind that Spike was down there crying himself… He would always try to hide it from her. If he was in pain… Afraid. And she knew he was. She always knew…

They hadn't talked about it yet… She simply hadn't been ready. He wasn't about to push. Honestly, he probably hadn't been ready to discuss it either. For nearly an hour, he had simply lay beside her; holding her, promising his love again and again. His fingers had caressed her hair; his lips fluttering over her eyelids… And it had hurt all the more…

If this happened… If they were to leave, they would be leaving behind everything. There were so many memories here. Memories that they had created together, as one… In love. They had shared everything here… Their home here held so many wonderful moments. How could she just give all of it up? She couldn't… But she knew she had to.

"Buffy?" His voice was quiet; gentle. Immediately, she began wiping at the tears still in her eyes.

When he saw her there, still crying, he set the tray he had brought for her on the stand beside the bed and sat beside her. Gently pulling her hands from her face, he took her into his arms once again; holding her close as she buried her face in his neck. Sobs took her over once more and she held onto him; clinging desperately, as though he alone could make all the pain disappear… And he was trying. Really, he was. She was in so much pain. He hated having to see her this way… And knowing that he would only make it worse when she was ready to talk to him about this… It nearly ripped his heart from his chest…

He knew he couldn't go with her. Kerri needed a Watcher… One who knew what they were doing. There was no way he could leave her here with someone she'd never met. Especially when he knew there was a very slim chance that the new Watcher they sent would have any field experience whatsoever. There were very few members of the Watchers Council who had ever actually dealt with anything worse than a fledgling. And even that was usually under controlled circumstances. Kerri wouldn't make it a week with someone like that. She was only fourteen and she'd never dealt with anything like what she would undoubtedly be forced to face on the hellmouth. She'd never had to stop an apocalypse. But she would have to, with time, and there weren't many people who could help her with that.

Kerri needed him. He loved Buffy more than life itself, but he also knew she was perfectly capable of taking care of herself. For Buffy, keeping herself alive in this horrible world wouldn't be much of a problem. For Kerri, it would. And he couldn't just leave her behind, here in Sunnydale, while he ran off with his love…

By the time he had finished contemplating the situation, Spike realized that Buffy's tears had finally subsided. But she was still clutching him to her as though her life depended on it. Carefully, he drew away from her just slightly; only enough so that he could look into her eyes. Cupping her cheek tenderly, he gazed at her with all the love he felt for just a moment, before capturing her lips with his in a gentle, reassuring kiss.

"I love you…" he whispered sincerely as she rested her forehead against his, and his thumb made gentle, soothing motions on the soft skin of her cheek.

"I love you, too." she replied when she felt him brush away the few remaining tears which lingered in her eyes. After a moment, her head fell to his shoulder as she drew in a deep soothing breath and his fingers moved to sweep through her golden hair. Even with all the pain she was feeling in those moments, she took the time to savor every second he was near. She loved being close to him… In his arms; by his side. It was perfect, their love. Never again would she allow herself to take him for granted. She loved him so much… She always had. "I love you so much…" she repeated, tears welling once more.

"Shh…" he whispered as he softly pressed his lips into her hair and rocked her in his arms. "You think you're ready for something to eat?"

"I'm not really hungry." she mumbled, head still resting on his shoulder; fingers now playing distractedly over the material of his t-shirt.

"None of that, now…" His voice was almost a whisper; quiet and tranquil. "You need to eat something, Love. It'll make you feel better…" Rubbing her shoulder lightly, he pushed her up a bit as he reached over and grabbed the tray.

"Honey, I'm really not hungry… Thank you for all this… But I don't know if I could eat anything right now."

"Sweetheart, please…" His voice was pleading as he gazed at her; his eyes begging for her to listen. He hated it when she refused to eat. It wasn't good for her. Especially considering her role as Slayer. "Just a little… For me?"

After a moment of staring into those drowning blue pools, she sighed. She'd been defeated and she knew it. "Alright…" she nodded as she reached over and grabbed a piece of toast. Lying back, her head propped up on the silken pillows that graced their bed, she nibbled at the toast; her mind reeling with everything that had happened that morning.

After replacing the tray, and making himself comfortable beside her, he spooned against her back; wrapping his arms around her protectively, fingers locking at her waist. "You wanna talk about it?" he asked gently.

"Not really…" She knew he wasn't going to take no for an answer. Not this time. She could hear it in his voice… But she wished he would. She didn't wanna talk about it. In fact, all she wanted to do was completely forget that it had ever happened. Although, she knew that obviously wasn't going to work.

"Honey, you know we have to talk about this sooner or later." he coaxed, as his hand moved to lock with hers; their fingers entwining.

She sighed slightly. "I know… But I really just don't want to…" her voice was almost pleading and she snuggled back against him, taking comfort in the feel of his strong arms wrapped around her; his lean body pressed so tightly to hers. "I don't even wanna think about leaving. All I wanna do is lie here next to you and pretend like this morning is exactly the same as every other morning. Like we never got that phone call. Like we don't have a care in the world. I love you, Spike… I love you, and I love this town. And as crazy as it may sound, I don't wanna leave. I don't even wanna talk about leaving. I wanna make love to you like we do every morning… I want you to hold me and tell me you love me… And I don't even wanna think about leaving."

"I know, Pet…" His lips brushed over her neck lightly. "I know…"

"It's just… I hate to think about it." She felt him squeeze her hand reassuringly when her tears came once more, and she continued. "And with Kerri… How can we just leave her here alone? This is the hellmouth, Spike. Can she really handle it? And with a new Watcher, it'll be even harder for her. Baby, she's only fourteen. She can't do this alone. Not here… Anywhere else, maybe… But not here. Not in Sunnydale."

Kerri was an important concern for the both of them… Ever since Spike had been assigned as her Watcher. The young Slayer-in-waiting, at the time only thirteen years old, had only spent a short couple of months training with Spike and the Slayer in Sunnydale, before she had been called, on account of Faith's supposed death; though Buffy wasn't exactly sure she bought it. After that, she had remained there on the hellmouth, training with Buffy and Spike. She'd become a member of the family.

When she was only twelve years old, both her parents had been killed in a horrible car accident, and she had no other family to speak of. It was at that point that she had been taken in by the Watcher's Council, however they had not begun her training immediately… Not until a demon had murdered her Watcher, and the tiny little girl had been found a few days later huddled in the far corner of a small closet, shivering with fear, did they finally reconsider. She had been so terrified, she hadn't moved from that very spot from the moment she'd seen the large, ugly demon. After she was found and nursed back to health, they had sent her to Spike, and he and Buffy had carefully introduced her to life as a Slayer.

Now, she was one of them. And she was getting good at what she had been born to do. Unfortunately, despite the fact that she had already been a Slayer for a year or so and had been trained by the best, she was still young, and not completely capable of saving the world if the need ever arose… Which it undoubtedly would. Even over the past year when she had been working as the Slayer, the young girl had gotten very little experience when it came to fighting solo. The Slayer and her beloved vampire had both been incredibly protective of the young girl for a long time… Still were, in fact.

"Yeah…" he murmured softly against her neck. His voice had betrayed him and he knew it immediately when she turned in his arms; her eyes meeting his. She'd heard it. She knew.

"You're not coming with me, are you?" she asked quietly; her eyes searching his for reassurance that it wasn't true… That he was going with her to England… That he would never leave her side… But already, she knew better. She knew he wasn't going.

His face fell as he avoided eye contact at all costs. The pain written plainly across her beautiful features was too much for him to bear. It always had been. Especially when he was the cause for it…

Fresh tears welled as she watched him, waiting for an answer; her anger slowly becoming more and more prominent . When none came, that anger got the better of her, and she broke. Pain-filled tears flowed from the corners of her eyes, and coupled with the rage she was feeling, that pain was overwhelming. "The least you could do is give me a goddamn answer." she gritted through clenched teeth as she pulled herself from his arms and climbed from their bed; grabbing her jacket and slipping it around her shoulders before slamming the door behind her and making her way downstairs.

Spike, however, was immediately on her heels. She wasn't getting away that easily. For too long she'd spent all her time running from anything even remotely emotionally related which seemed threatening. This was definitely one of those situations… And they needed to talk about it.

"Buffy!" he called as he reached the bottom of the stairs; Buffy with her hand already on the doorknob. "Don't you dare walk out that door…"

"What the hell's the difference?!" she shot back, spinning to face him and throwing her hands in the air. "You're perfectly willing to walk out on me!"

"Who said I was walking out?!"

"Are you staying?!" she threw back, her eyes daring him to deny it.

"Buffy…" His voice was calm as he stared back at her; his eyes begging her to hear him out.

"That's what I thought…" she replied softly, turning her head and biting her lip to keep down the sob that threatened to force it's way through her lips. The tears that had just begun to subside due to her anger were back in full force and there was no way she could stop them.

"Buffy, you know a Watcher goes beyond the confines of a leather-bound book… Whoever they send won't be able to protect her. She needs at least one of us…" he explained softly, moving closer to her and brushing gently at the tears that had spilled from her eyes; that were still seeping from their prison behind her closed lids. "I can't just abandon her, Love…"

"But you can abandon me?" Her eyes were large and terrified as she stared back at the man she loved more than life itself. When she saw the hurt look that cascaded over his stunning features, she immediately regretted her words. "I'm sorry… Honey, it's just… I don't know if I remember how to live without you… And I don't think I want to remember...Ever. I love you. God, I love you so much…"

He caught her as she crumbled into his arms; tears fresh in her eyes, as well as his own. He hated seeing her like this… Hated causing her so much pain. He loved her so much… He always had and he always would… His fingers stroked through her hair gently as he held her close; letting her cry out all her pain and fear on his shoulder while he showered her face and hair with soft kisses. Finally, his lips met hers in a tender, loving kiss.

"I love you, too, baby… I love you…"