Summary: Continued on sometime after 'Bring on the Night'. Buffy reaches Spike and takes him home to heal. Together, along with the Scoobies, they fight The First as the army they intend to be.

A/N: Oh just something I started writing after watching BOTN after dreaming about Buffy. Egads. I hate long, dragged out things. Now, I swear, I don't have ESP, I'm not clairvoyant, and I'm not telepathic (pathetic, yes, sometimes.) I was writing this before I read certain spoils for the upcoming epi's so yes once again I have to say MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR UPCOMING EPISODES So there, I've told ya'. Please read and let me know what you think. I'll absolutely adore you. Oh, oh, and also, of course, this is once again another fluff-n-spuff story cause I love 'em so. At times a little angsty, a little adventure thrown in, a little humor at given times and I'm starting to make this seem like a story, ya know cause I hate long, dragged out things. Go, go read!!

Disclaimer: None of the BTVS characters belong to me but to the creator Joss Whedon and his Mutant Enemy partners. Curses!


Spike hung suspended by chains clasped around his wrists. His limp and unconscious body badly bruised, cut and beaten. Buffy clenched and unclenched her hands as a wave of nausea flowed through her and a feeling of deep seeded hatred boiled in the pit of her very soul for the thing responsible for all of this. She was trying so desperately hard to keep the waterworks from beginning to flow, biting back a sob. She didn't want the others thinking she'd gone soft over the vampire now hanging helplessly in front of them even though she knew it was too late for her to realize that.

The two remaining potentials, Giles and Xander were there for back up as the three girls and the other new potentials stayed at home to continue research on the First and its lackeys. Buffy walked gingerly up to her former enemy, her former lover, her current dilemma and stared at him intently. The things he must have had to endure. But he was still amongst the living...well as living goes for a vampire. She observed the markings on his chest, the bruises on almost every part of his flesh that was showing, the swollen eye, the cuts on his face, the mussed hair. For some reason she was drawn to the messy hair; gave her some kind of comfort. Maybe because it made him look so much more human and she had always liked his hair in its natural array.

"Spike," she tried to speak, but his name came out barely a whisper. She called him louder.

"Spike." He moaned and rolled his head around trying fiercely to open his eyes or at least the one good eye. "Spike, please wake up."

His unswollen eye slowly opened and he stared at her for quite sometime in somewhat disbelief. He looked almost annoyed and looked away.

"Spike, come on. Snap out of it, ok?"

He turned his head back to her. "You're not...real. You're not Buffy. You're that...thing. Leave me the bloody hell alone. I said I was through with you. Can't do anything more to me, I'm not going back to that life. She doesn't want me to and I don't want to."

"Spike." He stared daggers at her. She lifted her hand and cupped the side of his face. "Spike, it's really me."

He released the air he had been unconscientiously holding in his lungs, shut his eyes tight and leaned into her delicate but deadly hand. A smile played at the corners of his mouth.

"Buffy, I knew you would come. I believed you would. Never stopped." His voice a harsh whisper, held so much emotion just then.

"Let's go home." She jerked at the chain and it fell out of the cavern ceiling, pebbles crumbling and falling around the two of them. His knees gave way almost instantly as she quickly slid her arm around his waist to support him.

"Lean on me, let me get the cuffs off your wrists." Spike did as he was told as she pulled the shackles apart and freed him completely.

"Can you walk on your own?"

"I think." But as he took a shaky first step his legs gave way and he began to fall. Buffy grabbed at him again placing her arm around his waist and pulling his arm around her shoulder.

"Alright, maybe not then." Xander followed Buffy's actions and placed himself on the other side of the vampire, heaving his tired and badly beaten body up. Spike looked up in amazement at the person he always called whelp.

"Thanks, mate," he croaked out. Xander nodded and smiled slightly.

Spike noticed the others standing before him, clearly in protective mode as they stood watch over all possible entries and exits, waiting for any creatures to come and fight.

"Who's the party for?" Spike asked.

Buffy chuckled. "Let's get you home, then I will explain things in more detail. It's daytime out, so we have to go through some underground passages. I had to bring my posse, my gang for back up." She laughed softly again.

They eventually made it back to the same manhole they came in with no incidents or attacks. 'Too good to be true', thought Buffy dismissively. One of the girls pulled a blanket out of her backpack she had carried with her and tossed it to Buffy. Even though the car was parked in a well shaded area, it would be a short jaunt from the manhole to the vehicle in direct sunlight.

She sent Xander on up the ladder first, threw the blanket over Spike's head and trailing him, helped him make his way up and out. Xander did his best to block the rays and the 3 of them hustled to his car as the others brought up the rear. Xander and Buffy sandwiched Spike in the back as Giles drove and the girls rode shotgun. Buffy looked over the still blanket covered Spike noticing the only thing that he had on were his pants. 'He's going to need some new clothes', was the only thought she would allow her brain to comprehend at that moment. The ride home was made in silence.

Minutes later, the car was pulling up into the Summers' driveway in front of the house. Dawn burst through the front door and ran towards the car carrying an extra blanket in each hand. A look of worry was etched plainly on her face. She had been utterly incapable of doing anything while everyone was away to find and rescue Spike for fear that no one would return and she would have to endure pain and loss once again.

"We're home," Buffy announced. She gently shook him out of his drowsy state as she gingerly crawled over him to climb out the other door. Xander and Dawn held the blankets over Buffy almost like a canopy while she maneuvered Spike around and out of the vehicle. They shielded her and Spike both as they slowly made their way to and inside the Summers' home. Once inside, Spike's body gave out and Xander had to rush to the other side of him to hoist him up. They literally dragged him up the flight of stairs and into Buffy's room, gently laying him down on her bed. He grimaced and groaned.

"Buffy?" he hoarsely said. "Can I have some water?"

"Sure," she replied looking him over sadly.

Xander straightened up and touched her arm. "I'll get it, Buff." She smiled her appreciation to his offer.

Spike was still and quiet as Buffy sat on the edge of the bed, her eyes roving over the badly beaten body of the vampire she once had called her enemy. So much had changed over the years. Who would have ever thought she would befriend another one, become intimate with him, care about him? Not her, not the slayer. Her job was to stake these blood sucking creatures of the night, but she knew her world wasn't so black and white anymore. A lot of growing up, a lot of death, and many battles later had changed everything within her and around her. She had a different aspect about life. Live it to the fullest; take all that you can get out of it. Death was an inevitable force that plagued her daily. If she lived it everyday, she would become bitter and hollow. Wasn't going to play that game, not anymore. Dawn walked through the door carrying the glass of water.

"Here's his water. Xander is heating up some blood for Spike. He'll bring it up when it's ready." She handed the glass to Buffy.

"Thank you, Dawn. I'm not sure if he's up to drinking any blood right at the moment, but I guess it won't hurt to try." She slid her arm under Spike's head and softly spoke to him. He tried to open his eyes but managed only the one halfway. Slowly he began to drink the water, then quickened the pace, chugging it down so fast some of it spilled over the sides of the glass. Dawn ran out to grab a towel and came back in just before Xander's return. He handed the warmed mug of blood to Buffy as she leaned in closer to Spike to get his attention.

"Spike, do you think you can get some pig's blood in you? You need to build your strength back up so you can heal faster."

"Don't want any. Seen too much. Never, no more. Won't drink anymore." He grimaced as he turned his head away. Xander looked at her in surprise as they stared at one another, she thinking, 'Great, a vampire who doesn't want to drink blood. What else can happen?'

"That's ridiculous. You have to. It's the only way for you to live. I don't think they make an alternative."

"M'not really hungry," he mumbled.

"Spike, please try to at least get something down," Buffy pleaded.

He turned his head back and looked at her, a look of pain etched on his face.

"Ok," he whispered. "I'll try...for you."

"That's better. Dawn, I need you to fill a big bowl with hot water and bring it to me along with some towels and a wash cloth. Xander?" He looked up at her. "Could you find some clothes for Spike, anything, t-shirts, jeans, sweats. Just something to replace what is left on him."

"Can do. I'll find something." Both of them left the room leaving Buffy alone to tend to the injured Spike. She turned back to him and found him staring up at her. She smiled reassuringly while sliding her arm back under his head.

"Now you can drink with at least some privacy. We'll start off slow." She tilted the cup up to his lips and at the first taste, he grimaced as it flowed over his lips and hit the back of his mouth. Gagging, he coughed and sputtered causing it to dribble down his chin and onto his chest.

"Sorry, reflex action," he muttered as Buffy wiped up the remnants now running down his neck.

"It's ok. My fault. Could have been a reason why Dawn brought up a straw in the first place." She stuck the straw in the mug and attempted to try again. If he could get even a little bit in his system, it would help some.

"Let's try this again," she explained, and lifted his head up one more time. He grimaced and gagged again but forced it down, biting back the urge to throw it back up, the coppery taste and smell hitting his senses full on. It had been a while since he had fed, and his mind tried so desperately to block out all images of his killing spree before he was taken and brutally tortured.

Buffy noticed a tear slipping out of the corner of his tightly closed eyes but he eventually finished the whole mug down. She set the mug to the side, reached over and gently wiped the tear with her thumb.

"Much better now?" She rubbed his tummy, causing him to look at her with his familiar head cock and smirk, his eyes shining with unshed tears. She smiled at him sweetly.

"Better now," he said with a hitch in his voice.

Dawn returned with the water and towels and set them on the floor next to the bed.

"Please close the door on your way out, Dawnie. Xander's supposed to be bringing some clothes. I will need some whenever he gets back. Ok?"

"Ok, will do." She looked at her older sister expectantly before turning to leave.


"So, it's...uh, bath time. Need to get cleaned up; don't want any festering pustules and oozing wounds, do we? If we can stave off any infections, the quicker they will heal. You ok with this? I mean, I'm no nurse but I know a thing or two about cleaning up and doctoring owies. Means I'm gonna have to remove the pants." Her eyes traveled down to the filthy and torn jeans he was wearing.

"S'ok. M'not modest, you should know that. You've seen me without attire before," he mumbled, smirking again. Buffy smiled. There was the Spike she knew.

"True, but I have extra towels for covering up. When you've healed enough to get around, you can use the shower." She began to poke and prod gently around his ribs. He hissed a little.

"Uh-huh, just as I suspected. Some broken ones there. I can wrap them and that will help quicken the mending. Here we go."

Buffy picked up the washcloth, dipped it into the hot water and wrung out the excess liquid. She began with washing his face, her intentions being to work her way from head to toe. She could feel him relax right away and soon she believed he had even fallen asleep accompanied with a slight snore, which was a little funny since he rarely did the breathing thing when he slept. She was so engrossed in her duty, she didn't even hear the click of the door as Xander walked in quietly. He stood watching her ministrations before clearing his throat and making her jump slightly.

"Sorry. I got some clothes and Dawn said to bring them on up. I'll set them on the chair over here. Anything I can do? Anything need to be done?"

"Thanks, Xan, you've done enough for now. Really appreciate it."

"Kay," he smiled at her before turning to leave.

Spike raised his head up off the pillow with a groan. "Harris?" Buffy jumped again thinking that he had been asleep. Xander turned slightly in the doorway and looked at the vampire.

"Thanks, mate, again," he barely voiced.

Xander nodded before continuing on his way out, shutting the door behind him.


A/N Please, please tell me what you think. Like it or hate it, don't care. Want to know if I should continue on. Like I said, this all came about from a dream I had after the last episode so I do have more to the story. REVIEW, pretty please!!