Daydreams and Demons

A Buffy the Vampire Slayer story by Merrie

Disclaimer: If they were mine, you think I would have seen my name in the credits, wouldn't you? Alas, I looked and they weren't there. Sigh..

Summary: Spike is poisoned by a demon out for revenge. Can he convince Buffy to help him before it's too late?

Characters: Spike, Buffy, Willow, Xander, Dawn and Maximillian Dominus a little OFC I have created. Also starring Raoul, the polite vampire leader.

Author's Note: Oh wow, I'm soooo sorry this didn't get posted sooner. I started a new Pirates of the Caribbean fic and this one got pushed to the side. Anyway, enough excuses, on with the story!

Rating: This story is rated PG-13 for violence and language.

Chapter Ten

"You know, I know it's hard for you to face what you almost did to Buffy, Spike, but this would have been a lot easier if you had just let us taken you into the bathroom." Dawn said, wiping at the blood on Spike's chin with a damp washcloth. Spike had refused to even set foot in the bathroom, even with Dawn and Willow's coaxing, and was now sitting on the foot of Dawn's bed as she gently cleaned his face.

He didn't seem to respond to her annoyed statement, but Dawn took hope in catching the frightened glance he cast towards the direction the room in question. It wasn't much, merely a quick movement of his bright blue eyes, but at least it was a reaction. 'At least he's back to human face again.' Dawn thought briefly while staring at the smooth planes of his face. She didn't really mind his vampiric face, well maybe a little but not really, but seeing him in for such a long time kind of got to her. It forced her to remember what he was; what he always had been. A killer. A vampire. No matter how much she tried to imagine him as the older brother she had never had she couldn't fully forget what Spike was. What he had been for over she was born, created, whatever.

Trying to dispel such thoughts away, she turned to Willow and asked, "You think they're ok down there, Willow?" She hadn't heard a noise from downstairs in quite a while, and was beginning to worry. For a brief moment she considered that Willow had pretty much asked her the same question earlier and that she had been assured that everything would be alright. But that was then, and this was now. On the Hellmouth a situation could turn from bad to worse to end of the world in a matter of seconds. She had seen it happen more than once. Heck, a lot more than once.

Willow seemed to understand this and didn't make any comments about Dawn needing reassured this time instead of being the one reassuring. That was just how things had to work. Sometimes you had to be strong, and sometimes you had to let someone else be the strong one for a change in order to stay sane and happy in the life that had been chosen for you. Sometimes Buffy seemed to forget the second part. She constantly thought she had to be the strong one, the one on which everyone leaned. That was one of the reasons Willow hadn't been completely surprised to find out that she and Spike were sleeping together after they had brought her back to life. She may not have loved him, but she had found someone strong to lean on, if only for a little while. And now, he needed her to be the strong one. Willow only hoped Buffy was up to it.

"I'm sure everything's fine. And vampires, remember? They can't come into the house without an invitation. And there's no way Buffy would let any vampires in this house." Dawn raised an eyebrow in Spike's direction. "Except for Spike, of course." The eyebrow didn't drop. "And Angel too. But those are extenuating circumstances." Dawn snorted and rolled her eyes.

"Be nice, 'Bit." Spike mumbled softly without looking up at her.

"Spike?! You talked! You called me 'Bit!" A huge grin flooded her face and she quickly reached over to hug the vampire, nearly knocking over the bowl of bloodied water at her feet. Dawn's grin at Spike's apparent return to the world around him faded however as she felt the cold body of her friend and protector stiffen in her arms. "Spike? What is it? What's wrong? Please tell me. I want to help you."

"You can't help me, 'Bit." Spike said softy. "No one can." His voice was cut off by a series of hacking coughs leaving the vampire gasping for unneeded breath. Dawn's eyes widened in fear and she let out a gasp as she noticed a thin trail of blood creep out of a corner of Spike's mouth. From what she knew about medical conditions and illness, not a whole lot, that was not a good sign. She turned to Willow and saw the same reaction pass across her face as well. They needed to find out whatever was wrong with Spike and fix it..soon.

***

Max had to admit to himself, what the Slayer and her cohorts did for a living definitely had its perks. In all his time on this planet he had never felt so alive. The brief fight with the demon had left him feeling reenergized and invigorated. It made him want to spread his wings and take on the world. Of course, if he spread his wings here and now those same cohorts would know him for what he was and he would loose his chance to deal with the vampire. No, it was best to wait. There would be plenty of time for celebration later.

***

Xander and Buffy exchanged a worried glance as they heard a horrible hacking cough travel down the hall to where they were coming up the stairs. Buffy took the lead and raced up the stairs into her bedroom, where she found Dawn holding Spike's shoulder and begging him to stop coughing.

"Please Spike, you're scaring me! You're scaring Nibblet!" She pleaded with him, tears beginning to run down her face. Hadn't she just been smiling a moment earlier?

Spike looked as if he would give his newly acquired soul up in a non- beat of his heart just to get her to stop crying. Unfortunately, the demon who had given it to him didn't seem to want it back, and Spike doubted very much that even he could heal him right now. It felt as if his insides were being pulled loose from their paces within him with every hacking cough. He could feel his bodies' precious blood coating his lips and chin, in a somewhat morbid reverse order than blood usually passed his lips, and he knew that he was in trouble. Falling backwards on Dawn's bed, the strength needed to sit up straight failing him, he immediately turned over on his side and drew his knees up to his chin in a fetal position.

Buffy couldn't help but stare in morbid curiosity at the sight in front of her. No matter how much her mind was screaming for her to look away from this monstrosity in front of her, her eyes were fixed on Spike's trembling form on the bed. Her body moving of its own accord before she couldn't even think about it, she found herself at Spike's side, reaching out a hand to lie on his trembling shoulder. She sighed in relief when Spike's gaze met her own. He didn't look good, but at least he was somewhat coherent. And she couldn't help but feel relieved as his wretched coughing seemed to finally have ceased. "Spike? Are you here? Are you here with us?" Buffy asked him gently.

After a long period of silence, Buffy began to fear that he wasn't so coherent after all. She was about to say something further when Spike finally spoke. "I'm here, love. For now, at least." A collective sigh of relief seemed to pass through the room and Spike started, seeming to just now notice them. "I take it, we won?" Spike asked slowly, slightly inclining his head to look meet her gaze again.

Buffy smiled. "As if there were any doubt." She joked lightly. "It wasn't that hard, actually. I even negotiated with the group of vampires outside and let them go. Can you believe that?"

At that, Spike attempted to sit up straight on the bed before collapsing back with a groan. "That's not wise, pet. Vampires don't negotiate unless you've got something they want and are more than willing to kill for to get."

"Oh I don't know. Raoul wasn't that bad." Buffy said absently.

"Raoul?" Spike asked incredulously. "His name's Raoul? You talked to him long enough to find out his name?" At Buffy's nod, Spike grumbled. "What kind of name is Raoul, anyway. Sounds like a pansy name to me."

Buffy laughed aloud to hear Spike's grumbling. Even if he didn't look any better, jealousy was certainly a good sign that he was slowly coming back to himself. "And like Spike's a real name?" She raised an eyebrow in his direction.

"Spike's a perfectly good name, I'll have you know. And even if it wasn't, s'not my real name anyway." Spike mumbled.

"Oh of course, *William* is so much better." Buffy drawled sarcastically.

"What's wrong with William? My mother gave me that name." Spike countered.

"Oh your mother. She's a genius." At that, Buffy burst out laughing, remembering her own reaction at having Spike say that to her.

"You don't even know my mother." Spike grumbled under his breath. He was happy to hear her laugh though, even if it was at his expense. She had laughed far too seldom the past year. "Mother would punish, if she knew. Mother would...no, mother can't because mother's dead. William was a naughty boy..William killed mother."

While Buffy wanted nothing more to try and bring him back from whatever hell he had once again fallen into, she couldn't help but be fascinated by the change in appearance before her. Gone was the cocky Spike she had known and detested over the years and in it's place was a new Spike, no William, that she found she detested even more even if it was for very different reasons. "No, Spike," she stressed his name, "you can't go away just like that. You need to stay here with us. I know it's hard, but you have too."

After a long moment, there was no answer, only a series of now muted self-recriminations before Spike finally turned to her. "I..I don't know how you do it, love." Buffy breathed a sigh of relief to hear the pet name again.

"Don't know how I do what, Spike?" She asked him gently.

"Don't know how you're able to bring me back so easily. 've been fightin' this for so long now on my own, and it's taken me a long time to do what you just did in less than a minute."

"Oh. Well, I guess I'm just special then. Or used to dealing with slightly insane vampires."

"No, you are special. You always have been. I always thought so even when I.." He cast his eyes away from her face and down to the floor. "Even when I was trying to kill you. I knew you were special then. I knew you would be a force to be reckoned with, and I was right. You are."

Forgetting that she was surrounded by her friends and family that were listening raptly to her and Spike's each and every word, Buffy forgot herself and caressed a cheek softly. "You're special too, Spike. More so than I ever imagined."

"Because I went and got a bleedin' soul." Spike mumbled, assured that that could be the only reason she would think him special now. "I did it for you, you know."

"I know." Buffy said quietly. Before she could say anything else, however a gentle but insisting knock sounded at the door. Buffy's entire demeanour changed at seeing the other people in the room when she turned toward the door. She had truly forgotten that they were there.

Willow opened the door to find Max standing there with a coffee mug in hand. She blushed prettily and smiled at him. Max smiled back and then turned to address the room at large. "Um, I don't mean to interrupt, but I wasn't doing anything else downstairs so I thought I'd bring Spike up some blood. He seems to be a nice enough guy, even if he is a vampire, and he seems to be going through something pretty nasty, so I thought I'd try and help." Max quickly explained after receiving a number of confused looks as to why he was there.

"Thanks," Spike mumbled without looking at him. Willow moved to take the cup from him and walked it over to where Spike lay on the bed. Once she saw that he wasn't reaching out to take it, she handed it to Buffy. Buffy took it with a nod of thanks in both Willow's and Max's direction, then turned her attention back to Spike.

"I don't want it." He grumbled. "Can't rightly sit up ta take it properly, either, and I don't want you feeding me like an infant."

"Spike, please. You need this. You need blood in order to get healthy again. I don't know what's wrong with you, but I haven't seen anything happen to a vampire that couldn't be fixed with a lot of fresh blood. Now granted, this isn't exactly fresh, but at least it's warm." She again nodded her thanks to Max who bowed his head slightly as if to say it wasn't any trouble. "Please drink it, for me? I can't stand to see you like this."

Spike was about to protest again when she had pulled out the big guns. 'For me.' She says. Now that's just playing dirty. She knows full well that I'd do anything for her if she only asked. Bleedin' woman. "Fine." He acquiesced with a grumble. He managed to prop himself against the pile of pillows at the head of Dawn's bed without her help though, and he couldn't help but feel a surge of pride rush through him at the accomplishment. He hated showing weakness in front of others, especially enemies. And while he had to admit that he hadn't really considered the Scoobies his enemies for quite some time, old habits died hard. Buffy pressed the edge of the mug to Spike's lips after he had gotten comfortable, and he drank the entire mug of blood without taking a breath. Not that he needed to, of course, it was merely a figure of speech. This seemed to satisfy Buffy, and she took the mug away from his lips with a smile. He knew that smile must have been at least somewhat forced because he knew how he must have looked. His tongue darted out slowly between bloodied lips, to taste even more of his own blood coating his chin. He reached up a hand and tried to wipe as much of it away as he could. Buffy saw what he was doing and reached over to the forgotten bowl of bloodied water and took out the wash cloth that soaked in it. Ringing it out so it wouldn't drip red water droplets on her sister's bed, Buffy moved it to Spike's chin and wiped all remaining traces of the blood away. Green eyes met blue, and an unbelievable tension developed almost immediately at being so close with the other. Buffy didn't want break the heavy silence that had spread throughout the room easily even considering the large number of people surrounding the small bed but felt she had to or she might have done something she regretted. 'Like kiss him and never let him go again.' A rather loud voice suggested to her. In shock, she backed away from him so quickly that he in turn jerked backward at the suddenness of it and hit his head on the wall he was currently leaning on. "Oh, bloody hell." He groaned, putting a hand up to his now throbbing head. "As if a bloke didn't have enough---" Spike wasn't able to finish his sentence as his eyes rolled deep back into his head and he began convulsing violently.

TBC

A/N: Sorry to end this chapter there, but looking back on it, I realized that this chapter was mostly filler with no real action whatsoever that was horribly difficult to write anyway. This being the case, I've decided to save the real drama until next chapter. I know, you hate me right? But I promise, you won't have to wait nearly as long as you had to for this one. Thank you for your continued support, and please post your reviews!!