Thank you so much for sticking with the story. I love to read your reviews so please write them; they are so encouraging and inspiring.

This chapter is set during the season 7 episode 'Potential'. It's really short again but I promise that the finale will be worth it, so please bear with me!

Chapter 5: Despairing

Spike ached everywhere, so much so that he could hardly walk and had been confined to the bed for the last three days. Although he'd been prescribed bed rest, it wasn't what he had wanted. He didn't want to dwell on what the First had said to him, had done to him.

In the end, Buffy had to organise a rota to keep an eye on him and ensure that he remained in bed.

Still he couldn't see a point. He had tried to tell Buffy about the First, what it could do, that they couldn't stop it getting inside your head.

Finally he had been given permission to get up. The vampire had spent the morning clearing space in the basement so that he could move his few possessions from his crypt once night had fallen.

He was down to the last box of Buffy's things which had remained packed up in cardboard boxes. He was moving it upstairs and dumping it underneath her bed along with the other five or six for her to sort out when she had time.

The box was heavy and filled to the brim, so much so that Spike was scared the items at the top would fall out.

As Spike mounted the stairs, he couldn't see where to place his feet and consequently missed the first step.

Spike's arms went out to save himself, sending the container went flying and the contents spilled out, tumbling down the stairs.

Groaning, the vampire got up and brushed down his coat and trousers.

"Are you alright?" Willow called down the stairs. "Need any help?"

"I'm fine, thanks, Red," he called back

"Don't be too long," she warned him. "Buffy should be back with the girls soon and she wants you to talk to them about vampire stuff."

He began to pick up the bits and bobs which had scattered across the floor. It was clothes mostly as well as a few pieces of jewellery and some make-up which the slayer obviously didn't have time for anymore.

Finally, after about ten minutes, Spike had picked everything up, refolded it and placed it tidily back in the box. Before heading up the stairs, he scanned the floor a last time to make sure he hadn't missed anything.

He had.

In the corner of his eye, Spike glimpsed something shining by the bed.

Putting the box on the floor, he crossed the room and bent over to pick it up.

"No," Spike breathed as he neared the object. "It can't be."

But it was.

He bent down and picked up his old ring which hadn't seen in years.

He hadn't seen it since he gave it to Buffy during their short-lived engagement. Why was it down here? Why had she kept it? Spike had always assumed that she would have thrown it away.

"Spike!" Willow called down the stairs again. "The potentials are back. Buffy wants you to hurry up."

"Give me a minute, Red."

There was a pause. "She says she wants you up here now. I can get the last box if you want."

"Alright," Spike sighed, climbing up the stairs.

Spike walked into the living room. He huffed at the sight of all the eager potential slayers waiting for him and slipped the ring back onto his finger, into its rightful place.