Title: A New Beginning (Part 1 of ?)

Rating: PG (for mild descriptions of pain and minimal English curse words. Basically, if you can watch the show, you can read the story.)

Ship: B/S of course! What else?

Disclaimers: Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the sole property of Joss Whedon, ME, etc. I never have and never will own the characters. I know, it's sad isn't it. :'( I'm just borrowing the characters to tell a story.

Special thanks: To my wonderful beta Wynn. Her wonderful advice is always well appreciated. And her speedy beta-ing is greatly appreciated as well. I'd almost be afraid to post my stories without her help.

Spoilers: The idea for this story is based on a tvguide.com blurb, or preview, for the next new episode of Buffy, showing on Feb. 4. Basically, I read the blurb, and used one of their ideas to base this story on. Since I hate reading spoilers, that's as far as they go in this story. The rest is just my ideas about what I think could happen (or more precisely, should happen. ;) ). If you don't like to read the blurbs, don't read the story or the summary that comes next (until after the episode of course. ;) ). You've been warned. :)

Summary: Takes place the night that episode 7-12, "Potential", ended. According to tvguide.com, "…Spike is beset by unexplained headaches…". That idea is the basis for this story. As I said above, that is as spoilery as it gets. All other details are my own wishful thinking. Just a friendly warning: I'm a sucker for "Spike in pain" fics because I love to see Buffy comforting him. Just thought I should warn you ahead of time.

Feedback: PLEASE!!! I absolutely LOVE reviews! :) They're the spice of life! :D

AN: This story came to me when I had 45 minutes to kill after a science midterm. As soon as I got home, it blossomed into a very detailed outline. Now it's becoming a story. This is just the prologue. Kind of like the teaser of a Buffy episode. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know what you think of it, and I'll continue, whether you like it or not. I have the whole story set out, I just have to write it. It should be about 8 chapters long. I hope to have it finished before the next new episode of Buffy airs. I can't promise anything, but I'll try. Okay, enough from me. Read and enjoy! And review of course. :)

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A New Beginning

Prologue

It was dark. Pitch black darkness surrounded her, enveloped her. It was quiet. You could hear a pin drop in the dead silence. It was a lonely, desolate place. And it was cold. Terribly cold. The kind of cold the seeps into your bones, filling you up inside until there's nothing left except that cold, and that dark, and a feeling of utter loneliness.

Buffy blinked. Maybe she only had her eyes closed, and if she opened them she could see again. But nothing happened. The darkness was still there, a vast expanse of nothing. Now she shivered. She couldn't sense anyone near her. She was alone.

All of a sudden, an earth-shattering scream rent the air, breaking the silence into a thousand tiny pieces. Buffy jumped, shocked to hear noise for the first time. The sound ended just as quickly as it had started. After a few seconds, she could hear a faint noise. It sounded like someone…whimpering…in pain. Buffy began to move in the direction of the quiet sound.

Though she couldn't see where she was going, she knew she was headed in the right direction because the sound was getting louder. And as she got closer, she began to make out words interspersed between the whimpers.

"Oh God."

"It hurts."

"I can't take it."

To Buffy's horror, the sounds were getting more desperate, more pain filled, and the horrible screaming had begun again. Then she heard:


"Bloody hell! Somebody help me! Buffy!"

She knew that voice. She knew it all too well. Spike.

When he started crying, she began to run. The darkness was endless, and Buffy was afraid that she'd never reach him. She was having trouble running. Her feet barely ever left the ground. She used all her strength, but she wasn't getting far fast. She was running in slow motion. She'd never get to him.

Just when Buffy felt that all hope was lost, she reached him. The darkness dissipated enough so that she could see him. He was in what looked to her to be a hospital room. He was in a normal white hospital gown. He was sitting on the floor of the room, clutching his head and screaming in pain. She called out to him.

"Spike."

He turned to her and he stopped screaming.

"Buffy?"

She smiled at him and he smiled back. All of a sudden, he started to scream again louder than before. If that was even possible.

"SPIKE!"

"OH…GOD!!" he yelled.

"Spike!" Buffy tried to move toward him, but she was stopped by some kind of forcefield. No, not a forcefield. A glass window. Buffy began to pound on it, trying desperately to get in to him. But the glass wouldn't break. It didn't even crack, even with the slayer strength that she was applying. She was powerless to help him.

"Spike," Buffy whispered, tears forming in her eyes. He turned toward her again. He stopped screaming, though Buffy could see that he was still in pain. Using what looked to be all the strength he had left, Spike pushed himself off the floor and to his feet. He began to walk over to her, hissing in pain as whatever was ailing him hit again.

Buffy placed her hand up against the glass as he did the same, putting his hand right over hers. So close, and yet so far. As blood began to pour from his nose, and soon his ears as well, Buffy choked back a sob. Spike smiled at her, and she could barely hear him when he said, "I love you."

Before she could take her next breath, Spike's face contorted in pain and let out his loudest scream yet. His hand moved away and joined his other on his head as the pain continued to push blood out of his nose and ears.

The tears flowed down Buffy's face, silent sobs wracking her body. She watched as Spike turned around once more, fighting the pain, and placing his hand over hers as the screaming stopped - forever.

Spike's body began to shimmer. The shimmer traveled up his body, taking him with it. Buffy watched helplessly as Spike's body fell into ash at her feet.

"N-"

"NO!!!"

Buffy shot up in bed screaming, her breathing labored. She looked around her to find that she was in her room. A dream. It had all been a dream. No, not a dream. A nightmare.

The door shot open and Spike dashed inside, running to her bed and sitting down next to her. He looked at her with worry and concern etched on his face. He put his hand on her arm as he asked, "Are you all right, Buffy? What happened?"

Buffy turned toward him, still panting. It took a few seconds before she could really recognize him. When she did, she smiled, tear tracks shining on her face. She reached out her and touched his face, almost to reassure herself that he was still here. She stroked his face, whispering his name.

Spike looked even more worried. He reached his own hand up to cover hers, gently stroking it back. "What's wrong, luv? Are you okay?"

All of a sudden, Buffy became aware of what she was doing. She gently pulled her hand out of his and placed it in her lap. She relished doing it, not wanting to let go of him for fear that he would disappear like he had before, but she never liked her feelings to show. Especially to him. She looked down at her hand as she answered. "I'm fine. I just had a nightmare."

"One of those prophetic slayer kinds?"

Buffy considered it for a moment, but the thought of it scared her, and she stated loudly, as though to convince herself, "No!" Off of his questioning look, she continued, "At least, I hope not."

"Do you want me to get you anything, pet?"

"No. I'm okay. Really," she stated, wanting to reassure not just him, but herself as well.

"You sure? You don't want some water or anything?"

Buffy considered it for a second before answering him. "Actually, water sounds good." Buffy really needed to have some time to think to herself alone - to try and figure out just what the dream meant - because she had a very bad feeling that it was indeed one of those "prophetic slayer kinds."

"Okay, I'll go get you some," he said. He reached his hand to hers and gave it a quick squeeze, trying to give her strength. Letting her know that he was there for her if she needed him. Little did he know how much she really did.

He got up and headed for the door. But before he left, he paused, hand on the knob. He knew there was more to what had happened that she was letting on. He turned his head around. "Are you sure you're okay?" he asked.

She smiled at him, trying hard to hold back the tears that she could feel coming. "I'm fine," she said, putting as much joy into the declaration as she could.

Spike smiled back, a smile filled with relief, a hint of doubt, and, as always, love. "Good," he whispered, just loud enough for her to hear. He turned around and left the room, closing the door behind him. Buffy turned her head from the door and back toward her lap. "I'm just fine," she whispered, a tear falling down her face – the first of many to follow in the days to come.

TBC

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And that's only the beginning. Make sure to review! ;)