Hey all! Thanks so much for your comments and feedback! I'm so gald you've liked this up until now and I really hope you'll continue to! Guess you're reviews'll tell me that! ;)

Spuffygirl, hey! Glad you like it and the updates are on me. ;) Thank you!

Haley, girl! Hey! On P2: Oh, well, having been watching fav scenes out of S5 for the past few days I believe the word we all unite in calling Buffy by is B-I-T-C-H! God, that girl gets on my NERVES sometimes! Anyways, the answers only a few clicks away... ;) Really glad you're liking this, my friend! On P3: Ohhhh, I'm glad to have you guessing and wondering and hoping and thinking! ;) And no, I suppose it hardly does count... Heeeere's the last part, girl! Thanks so so much for reviewing both c's, as always!

Wendy, hey. Well, I'm glad you're enjoying it and here is that last part with a lotta answers. ;) Thanks for the feedback!

A.M.L, Annie.
***
The Bronze was packed due to the live performance of a new group calling themselves "Delayance".

The crowd swayed to the music, arms reached up as young men and women cramped the dance floor in front of the small stage. Buffy rested her head onto Spike's chest and he held her to him as they finished their dance.

They had arrived an hour earlier.

Willow had, once the two decided to show their faces downstairs a good while into the afternoon, told them of her troubles with the spell and Buffy had happily dismissed it as something that surely would work out and had then told Spike that she itched for a getaway and that she suggested he treated her to an evening out of the house. He had agreed, however slightly hesitantly as Willow had given him a meaningful look to remember what she had told him.

When Buffy was changing Willow had pulled Spike into the kitchen and given him the load down of the situation. How she had spent most of the day searching the Net and calling the few people she knew could know anything about the spellbook. Coming up empty handed save one clue which had just been brought to her attention ten minutes earlier by a lucky coincidence as she scanned what seemed like an unrelated site on the Net.

She was going to spend her evening tracking that lead and hopefully she would have the way to lift the spell completed before dawn the following morning.

"Let's just hope nothing happens before then," she had added and he had frowned questioningly.

"What could happen?" he wondered and she had relented to answer as Buffy walked down the stairs, but he had seen the close way the Wicca eyed the Slayer and it had unsettled him in a very disturbing way.

He was, however, soon to find out just what Willow had been referring to.

The song came to an end and Buffy sighed contentedly as they released their hold on each other, then slid one hand into one of his as they turned and walked through the club and up to the bar.

"A lotta people tonight," Spike said and she nodded, jumping up to sit on one of the barstools before ordering a glass of white wine and then turning to him with a small smile as she watched him for a few moments. "What?" he asked, having a seat as well, and she shook her head a little.

"Just that I'm with the hottest guy in here," she answered, leaning closer to him and he smiled as she ran her lips over his cheek before adding: "I'm just enjoying the view."

"Flattery 'll get you far," he assured and she smirked, pulling away to give him a soft kiss.

"I'll remember that," she said, voice low and her eyes growing dangerous as she licked her lips and he drew a shaky breath.

"I hope you will," he grumbled as she turned and took the glass the bartender had just put before her.

Bringing it to her lips she sipped it, turning to him again and her eyes suddenly grew slightly before she put the glass down and said a simple:

"Excuse me."

He cocked an eyebrow, but nodded. Not reacting until he watched her take a mere five steps away from him and then knock a brunette on the shoulder. The girl turned around and Spike strained to hear what was said over the loud music:

"Sorry, but what the hell do you think you're doing?" Buffy opened with.

Charming.

"Excuse me?" the young girl, now turned to face the Slayer, asked - surprised.

"Oh, you think I didn't see what you did, you little skank?" Buffy shot, voice growing so cold it almost cut Spike's ears and he quickly got off the stool to approach the two.

"Hey, I don't know what the hell your problem is," the girl retorted, "but I haven't done anything."

"You just eye-balled my man! You think that's nothing, you ho?!" Buffy exclaimed, growing furious just as Spike placed a hand on her shoulder.

"Buffy," he tried, but she turned to him with a shake of the head, though her eyes were calm as they met his - a trace of warmth in them as she looked at him.

"Not now, honey," she simply replied, turning to the girl who had crossed her arms over her chest with a disbelieving expression growing onto her features.

"You calling me a 'ho', you crazy bitch?" the girl demanded, putting her chin forward challenging and Buffy's eyebrows rose.

"You have no idea who you're talking to so I'm gonna let you off the hook for that nick, there," she stated coolly. "But yeah, I'm calling you a ho," she then added and the girl's eyes filled with anger.

"Look, I didn't 'eye-ball' any part of your man," the girl replied, turning her eyes on Spike and then letting them slide over him before she added: "Though if I had I sure as hell wouldn't be apologizing for it."

Buffy bit her jaws together and then she reached out a hand, grabbing a hold on the girl's as she said:

"To teach you propor manners: you shake hands to say 'good-BYE'," and at the last word she squeezed the girl's hand hard.

The brunette's eyes grew as pain began to course up her arm.

"Buffy!" Spike exclaimed as he could hear the bones shifting and Buffy let the girl's hand go with a dark look at the latter before almost hissing:

"Next time I'll teach you how to say good-night in so many different ways you'll forget to thank me once I'm done."

The girl, holding her damaged hand with the other, turned and practically ran from the crazed blonde and Spike stared after her before he turned to Buffy.

"What the bleeding hell are you doing?!" he blurted and she raised an eyebrow, her face the picture of devotion as she stepped up to him and slid her hands up his chest.

"Just protecting my territory, lover," she answered seductively.

He grabbed her wrists and forced her arms down as he took a step away from her, shaking his head.

"That isn't you, you never use your strength like that," he protested and she smiled suddenly.

"I can't see why your so upset," she replied. "It doesn't matter, it was self-defense."

He frowned at that.

"Are you even listening to yourself?" he asked and she giggled.

"I wish I could avoid it, honey, but it's kinda hard," she answered him teasingly and he was about to retort when she grabbed his hand, suddenly serious as she nodded towards the back door of the club. "Vamp," she stated and he turned to see the shadow that slipped outside. "He's got someone with him," she added and Spike nodded as they moved toward the exit.

Stepping into the alley Buffy's eyes fell on the large vamp who had a girl pressed up against a wall. He seemed to have just vamped out as he was lowering his mouth to the girl's neck, who in turn seemed completely out of; dazed with a few too many drinks.

"And she's just a baby," Buffy grumbled, bringing out her stake and Spike raised his eyebrows.

"She doesn't look that young to me," he replied and the Slayer shook her head.

"Not the woman, the night. She's already drunk out of her mind and it's not even nine o'clock. It's really sad," she stated and he shook his head at her before she moved forward, launching her attack on the vamp, which growled as she spun it around and away from its highly anticipated dinner. "One would think," she now said as she kicked out her foot and sent it flying, "that just ONE of you would learn that the Bronze NEVER is a good place to scope for food," she continued, facing it as it stood and ducking to avert the punch it threw before placing a left-hook in its stomach. "But I guess you pea-sized brain morons only have blood on you mind," she finished, straightening her back as she added: "How am I doing so far?"

There was no answer from where she had expected it and she frowned slightly before partially turning around to look over her shoulder. The alley behind her was empty and her heart began to race in her chest as she turned fully around, her eyes taking in as much of the alley as they could at once.

"Spike?" she asked.

Still no answer and she frowned.

"Spike?!" she yelled.

"Do you mind if I take off?" the vamp asked and she turned back to it with an impatient scowl.

"Do YOU mind, I've got something a bit more important on my hands here?" she snapped and it shook its head as it scrambled away from her, taking off down the alley.

"What are you doing?!" Spike's voice called out as he came jogging towards her from the opposite part from where the vamp had just disappeared and Buffy spun around, her face showing just how relieved she was before she threw the stake to the ground and ran up to meet him.

"You scared me!" she nearly exclaimed, throwing her arms around his neck and hugging him tight. "I thought something had happened to you, pulling a vanishing act like that!" she added.

"There was another vamp," he mumbled distractedly, frowning as he hugged her back before he shook his head, making her release his hold on her and taking a step back. "You just let that vamp run off," he said now and she raised her eyebrows. "You had a clean shot, I saw you," he added and she smiled, seemingly not very bothered by the fact of a fiend slipping through her grip.

"One of a thousand won't make a difference, I'll get him next time," she replied and Spike stared at her. "I got distracted!" she then defended before turning to the passed out girl lying at the base of the brick wall she had been three seconds from being killed against.

"Let's get her inside, see if anyone knows her," Buffy sighed, walking up to the girl and propping her up against the wall.

The Slayer then grabbed one of the stranger's arms and pulled it over her own shoulders to support the former as she herself got to her feet, pulling the other with her.

"You gonna help me or just stand there?" she then asked Spike.

"No, I'll help," he answered, coming up to her. "Not that you need it," he added and she smiled a little.

"Just thought it could be something we could do together," she replied and now he smiled as well.

"You have a pretty weird veiw of romance," he stated wryly as they walked up to the back door and she huffed.

"Tell me about it," she sighed.

***

"I dunno what the bleeding hell to do," he grumbled, resting his forehead in his hands as Willow put a mug filled with newly heated blood before him.

"From what you tell me this is getting into that serious stage I was kinda praying it wouldn't even get close to," she said and he nodded, looking up at her as he put his hands around the mug.

"It's scary, Willow. It's like it's turning into..." he trailed off.

"An obsession?" Willow wondered silently and he nodded again. "As can any love, I guess," she stated, "if it's pushed far enough or if it's inside a head not all well. Buffy's head is well, I suppose, it's just her heart that's not doing good right now. I'm two steps away from having the answer, though," she added encouragingly. "Think you can handle her 'til then?"

Spike smiled a little at that.

"It's not her that's scaring me, it's the situation," he answered and now Willow nodded. "She didn't even flinch over the vamp she let go," he murmured. "That's not the Buffy I know."

"That's not the SLAYER you know," Willow corrected. "Right now, though, her Slayer side is obviously suppressed."

"It's not the Buffy I know either," he replied stubbornly. "She wouldn't just let innocents die."

"She didn't, did she?" Willow asked.

"No, she didn't. She merely bloody massacred a young woman's hand out of some jealous fit or something," he grumbled solemnly and Willow grew serious.

"Right," she sighed.

"What's up with the gloom in the room?" Buffy asked, entering the kitchen.

She had taken a shower and smelled sweetly of vanilla and eucalyptus.

Spike stared at her, taken by her innocent beauty and feeling his love for her swell within him. The thought of losing what they had - how fickle and loose-based as it was - made him feel the need to cry. He got off the stool he had been seated on, turned and walked up to the kitchen door without another word. Buffy watched him go, quizzical, and then she slowly followed.

He had taken a seat on one of the lawn furniture chairs and he didn't look up when she came out to join him. She stopped before him, dressed in a baggy white sweater and black sweat pants and her hair still wet. He kept his eyes on his hands and then closed them when she sunk down on her knees to make him look at her.

"Spike?" she asked softly, wrapping her hands carefully around his.

At the touch he suddenly sobbed and Buffy felt a ripping need to cry with him at the sound of it.

He moved himself forward slightly, taking his hands from hers to wrap his arms around her and she put her own around his neck as he pulled her to him in a hard embrace. Burying his face in the soft and wet curls of her hair he began to cry for real and she frowned.

"Oh, baby," she said soothingly, stroking his back with one hand as the other was placed behind his head. "Honey, don't cry," she added, not sure how to comfort him since she didn't know what had brought this emotion into play in the first place.

"I don't wanna have to let you go," he got out inbetween sobs and she shook her head.

"You won't have to let me go," she assured, pulling back to make him meet her gaze. Looking deep into his eyes she moved her right arm to let her hand brush away his tears. "Because I won't ever let YOU go," she added and he sniffled.

"I love you," he said and she nodded. "I love you," he repeated as she wrapped her arms around him again and he once more held her tight, still not able to stop crying; savoring her scent, her embrace, as he wept with his forehead on her shoulder.

A sudden feeling began to emerge within him and then it blew everything else away until he was left with the nakedness of it and it didn't matter how much it scratched him to have it inside - it was there to stay. And it told him that this wasn't right. He couldn't do this.

Pulling away from her as he got to his feet he drew one hand over his face to get rid of the tears and then an unnecissary breath to steady himself as he said:

"I'm sorry... We just can't keep doing this right now. It's getting completely outta hand, love. When the spell is lifted, then maybe..."

"The spell, the spell, the spell," she whined, still on her knees on the ground as she looked up at him. "Don't you see that it doesn't matter?!"

"But it DOES!" he exclaimed. "You're different, Buffy."

She smiled.

"Of course I'm different," she replied, rising to her feet. "I can finally see what I've wanted for so long, what's made me feel ill with longing 'cause I was too blind to recognize it for what it was. For who you are," she added and he took a step back as she took one forward.

"Stop," he said and she shook her head, though her smile faded slightly.

"I can't ever stop loving you," she stated and he turned, heading back toward the kitchen door. "Don't walk away from me!" she called after him and he could hear the growing anger in her voice. "We're not done here!"

"We'll finish this once the spell is lifted," he replied and she let hear a growl of sudden impatience which had him twirl around to face her.

She came storming after him now, approaching him as she said:

"I'm so sick of worrying what'll happen when the spell IS lifted." Stopping before him her eyes grew pleading as she seemed to calm slightly, adding: "What if something horrible happens to me? What if I choose to forget, or push all of it away again?"

He clenched his fists together, not answering her since the fear within him was beginning to claw again. The thought was simply too much of a torture to him, he couldn't stand it.

She pushed past him and inside. He stood still for a few moments and then the upset yell of Willow made him turn and run into the house, in the Slayer's tracks. Entering the dining room he saw Buffy chasing Willow - who was clutching the spellbook against her bossom protectively - around the table.

A rather comical sight, had you not known the seriousness behind it.

"Give it to me!" Buffy demanded, practically shouting and Willow shook her head, quickly moving around the table with her eyes on the Slayer as the latter tried to advance on her friend, but failing. "Wills, GIVE it to me!"

"No!" the Wicca shouted back. "No frickin' way!"

"Buffy!" Spike exclaimed, the force of his voice making both of the young women stop and turn their heads to him. "Look at what you're doing," he now said, eyes in Buffy's. "This isn't you. Deep down you know I'm right."

Buffy swallowed, looking at him and then at Willow, then back at him and her eyes softened.

"I only wanna be with you, Spike," she said and he closed his eyes. "I wanted to make sure that we'll always..."

"Just stop it!" he interrupted, voice traced with something resembling despair and then he tore from the doorway and ran into the hall.

"Spike!" Buffy called, following him as he quickly took the stairs to the second floor. "Spike, listen to me, please!"

"I can't listen anymore, Slayer," he replied, stopping at the top and turning to her as she reached him. "I can't do this. It's wounding me from the inside to have you and still not have you. Don't you understand?" he asked, grabbing her upper arms and looking into her eyes as he added: "The only thing this is causing me is pain!"

He let her go and started down the hallway.

Buffy stared after him, feeling as though he had just ripped her heart out of her chest. Tears filled her eyes from the hurt as well as the rising, inexplicable rage with him. How could he do that? How could he say that after all the things she had told him?!

"You can't just shut me out!" she called after him, then got moving as she heard the door of her room close harshly. "I need you so much it makes me ache inside for you whenever you're not near me," she said, stopping by the door and putting a hand on it, leaning her forehead against it as she lowered her voice to a normal tone, continuing: "You can't turn away from that, Spike. I know you. You love me, hon. And you crave my love just as much as I do yours. You won't be able to stay away... Can't you see that were meant to be together? ...Spike?"

She reached her hand down to the knob and twisted it. It was locked.

"Let me in," she pleaded. "Spike, let me in. Let me in!" she exclaimed, banging with her left fist harshly one time.

Pausing for a second she then took a step back and kicked out one leg.

The door flew open and she stepped into the doorway as he faced her, his expression rather shocked.

"Buffy," he said, holding his hands out with their palms to her. "Stop this, it's bloody madness."

"Why won't you let me love you?" she asked, tears suddenly rising in her eyes and he swallowed as he recognized those words.

He had once asked her that very same thing.

"It's not that," he answered her silently, her tears spilling over and he wanted to walk up to her and hold her, make her feel reassured. "It's not that I won't let you. It's that I can't. It's wrong, Buffy."

She frowned.

"How can it be wrong?" she asked, voice trembling. "Don't you believe me?"

"Yes," he answered. "I believe you, and I can't tell you how high I get just on that fact. But this situation isn't..."

"What 'situation'?" she interrupted, shaking her head a little.

Downstairs Willow's eyes grew as she grabbed a pencil and began to write down what she had just stumbled across. She rose and ran into the kitchen, grabbing the kettle with hot water she had prepared - for the cup of tea she had been craving - and pouring some of it into a bowl which she retrieved. Then she also got a red candle from the supply in one of the cupboards.

Returning to the table in the dining room she struck a match from the box lying there and lit the candle.

"I love you!" Buffy said, taking a step forward and holding her hands out pleadingly to him. "Just hold me, Spike. Just hold me and tell me that you love me too, I need you to say it."

"I'm breaking into peices, Buffy," he murmured. "And you don't need me to say it, you know how I feel."

"I still wanna hear it," she stated, tears still forming in her eyes and he blinked as he felt a set of fresh ones rise in his own.

Willow brought her hands down around the candle and closed her eyes, starting to whisper the chant before moving her right hand to the bowl of water and dipping her fingers in it. Bringing her fingertips over the flame she let a few droplets fall into it and a thin line of smoke rose into the air. Willow continued the chant.

"Buffy," Spike mumbled and she shook her head.

"Tell me you love me," she said. "Tell me I'm all you need. Because I love you. I love you so much, Spike, and you're absolutely everything that I'LL ever need! I have to hear you say those words, right now. This CAN'T be all pain," she sobbed, moving her hands to cover her face and sinking to her knees.

"Buffy," he repeated, voice soft. "Our love isn't all pain... Just this," he added and she looked up at him, eyes glistening with the moistness making layers upon them. "This here - this isn't the whole truth," he continued gently. "And once Willow makes it go away you'll realize that too."

She sniffled, shaking her head slowly.

"No, I'll never realize it," she withheld.

Willow mumbled the last sentence in that moment, finishing with the Slayer's and the Vamp's names before opening her eyes and blowing out the candle as she whispered the word "freed".

Spike watched the play of emotions that drew over the Slayer's face as her eyes slowly grew. She looked overcome with that realization she had just so bluntly stated would never come to her at all. Then it slowly grew into shock as her eyes still rested in his. Then a subtle pain slid into her eyes before she bent her head and her shoulders shook as she began to cry.

He didn't dare touch her. Standing frozen on the spot he watched her as his heart was tearing into two peices in his chest.

It was over.

***

Buffy sat curled up on the couch. She looked haggard as she answered Willow's continuing questions. "Do you feel nauseous?" the Wicca inquired. "Any tremblings, sweats, irregular heart beats... panic attacks?" she added and Buffy looked up to meet the former's gaze where she sat before her on the edge of the coffeetable.

Spike was standing in the doorway, his presence seemed enormous in the room and Buffy was almost painfully aware of him no matter what she tried. She had barely looked at him for the past half hour, afraid that she once more simply would burst into tears. She felt turned inside out and upside down, literally, and her head was a jumble of thoughts and memories and things she had spoken and felt during the last day and a half.

"No," she now answered Willows questions. "No nausea, tremblings, sweats or irregular heart beats," she then elaborated before adding: "Though the panic attacks seem to occur every few minutes..." glancing his way she met his eyes and saw the pain fluttering across his features at her words.

She regretted them immediately. She hadn't meant it like that. It was the confusion that was making her feel like she needed to crawl out of her own skin for a day or so to gather herself, and her mind.

"What kinda spell WAS this," the Slayer now added, eyes back on Willow. "So many possible side affects sound more than a little dangerous," she added and the latter smirked.

"Sorry again and again and again," the redhead replied. "But now, at least," she added hesitantly, looking over her shoulder to Spike before turning her head back to Buffy, "it's broken."

Buffy nodded slowly.

"Yeah," she mumbled, once more daring to look his way and this time he wasn't meeting her gaze as he stared into the floor.

"I'm gonna head up," he murmured, turning and walking up to the stairs before pausing. "Or I guess I should sleep down here," he added, turning back around and Buffy looked up, resting her eyes in his and then shaking her head a little.

"No, you need a good night's sleep," she said. "I'll sleep in Willow's room for tonight, it's okay."

He held her gaze for a long moment, then gave a little nod. Once more turning he ascended the stairs quickly. Buffy watched him go. The feelings he stirred up inside of her frightened her more now than they ever had before, and she just couldn't decide what to do with them.

Willow reached out a hand and let it slip gently over her friend's hair.

Buffy closed her eyes.

"I feel so..." she started, trailing off and trying to hold back the tears rising. "I don't know what to do."

"I think it's out of your hands now, Buffy," Willow replied softly. "You just have to let it run its course."

"Who died and crowned you Queen Gal-With-All-The-Answers?" Buffy wondered with a hint of wryness in her voice which encouraged Willow to think that the repercussions of the spell would not be severe, if there were any.

"It grows on you," she then replied and Buffy smiled.

"I wanna go to bed and just sleep a few hours away," the Slayer sighed, getting to her feet and Willow did as well, nodding.

"Sounds like a plan. I'll stay down here and greet the return of the adolescents - as Spike would've phrased it," she said and she could see Buffy pause at the mention of his name before she smiled a little.

"I'll see you up there. Or tomorrow," she said, hugging the Wicca who returned the embrace and then watched the Slayer walk in the Vamp's footsteps to the stairs, proceeding up them.

Three hours later Buffy listened to the deep breathing of Willow as the latter slept beside her. The Slayerettes had all returned safely. The house had gone quiet about an hour and a half ago and at that time Willow was already sleeping.

Buffy could not sleep. No matter what she tried she simply couldn't.

After another half hour she slid out of bed and walked quietly up to the door. Opening it up she peeked out into the hall. It was empty. Stepping into it and closing the door behind her she took the few steps up to her own bedroom door and paused, her heart beginning to race in her chest. Her hand was shaking as she placed it on the knob and she drew a breath before twisting it and pushing the door open.

She stopped in the doorway as his eyes rested in hers.

"I can't sleep," she finally whispered, trying to keep herself calm as she watched him where he lay on the bed.

The soft light of the moon painted the room gray and blue and his eyes seemed to glisten in the dimness. It made her heart beat even harder as he seemed to be able to read her thoughts... if not every last nerve of hers that was on edge.

"Me neither," he now replied to her statement. "Obviously enough," he then grumbled, but she couldn't smile since she was too nervous about what she was doing.

She didn't know exactly what that was, only that she couldn't lay in that other room for one second longer.

"I like your hair like that," she suddenly said and he cocked an eyebrow, quizzically. "You know, a bit more curly...not so...slimmed back," she added, uncertainty in her voice.

"What?" he finally asked and she sighed before saying:

"Well, you told me flattery'd get me far, remember?" she asked. "Just wanted to...ease the tension."

"Did it work?"

"No," she answered, meeting his gaze before he let his drift out of hers and she felt the insecurity wash over her again.

"Can I come in?" she finally asked and now his eyes were back in hers as one of the corners of his mouth rose ever so slightly.

"I'm the guest here," he answered and she swallowed before stepping into the room and closing the door behind her.

Her palms were sweaty and she stroked them against the legs of her pajama bottoms before she hesitantly took a step forward. He pulled himself up into a seated positon, eyes not leaving hers.

She approached the bed slowly, walking around to the side that he wasn't on and sat down almost carefully. Her back was to him as she looked out the window in the wall she was facing.

"Everything that happened... it's kinda like a dream now, isn't it? Blurred and you only remember bits and peices?" she asked silently and he observed her back, not answering. "I don't..." she started, trailing off.

"Don't know what to say?" he wondered, voice so gentle it made her close her eyes at the sound of it.

"No," she mumbled, confirming his question.

"Don't say anything," he murmured. "You really don't need to."

They grew silent at that; the stillness slowly filling the room and the space between them. Finally she moved, lying down beside him, though not in the near vicinity of him. Placing her head on the free pillow she looked up into her ceiling.

"I'm completely miserable," he said silently.

She didn't look at him, merely blinked, drawing a shaky breath before nodding slowly.

"So am I," she confessed just as quietly.

He sighed, sinking down to stretch out and lie down next to her.

"Why?" he asked.

She hesitated, then answered:

"'Cause I'm a liar."

He turned his head to her now, and she could sense the questioning gaze he was giving her.

"Why?" he demanded.

"I remember all of it... And it's so clear its like I'm reliving it over and over and I... I can't make it stop," she answered, practically whispering.

"Do you want it to?" he asked and this time there was no response.

The moment stretched to a minute as he observed her, then he repeated the question and she finally turned her head to look into his eyes.

"I don't know," she answered. "It's all so overwhelming," she added, turning over on her side to more easily face him, keeping her eyes in his. "It's all so... sudden."

"Is it?" he wondered and she almost blushed at the proding manner of his gaze as he eyed her. "Sorry," he backed off, releasing her as he looked away and she felt a small twitch around her heart at the loss of contact.

"Spike..."

"Buffy, please," he interrupted, turning his head away and taking over her fondness for the ceiling as he looked up at it.

She watched him for nearly three minutes; studying his profile, his jawline, the bridge of his nose and the subtle lines on his face. Her eyes wandering casually over his bare chest and suddenly her mind was flushed with the memories of their wild escapades the night prior and she bit her lower lip, closing her eyes and turning over on her back again.

She had always wanted him. It wasn't the issue now. The issue was...

God, she whined in her head.

Taking a steadying breath she opened her eyes again.

"Can I sleep in her tonight?" she asked, adding hurriedly: "Just sleep."

He smirked suddenly, then it faded and he nodded slowly.

"'Course, Slayer," he answered. "Do you want that side of the bed, or should we switch?"

"No, no... You take that side," she mumbled, glancing over at him before moving so that she could get under the covers.

Pulling them up she lay down and he followed her lead and got the covers on him as well. Resting his head on the pillow he closed his eyes.

"Night," he said and she turned her head to him, noticing that he seemed to be set on sleeping she replied:

"Good night."

She eyed him for a few moments, then closed her eyes as well.

Slowly the fact of how they both were so aware of the other that the emotion seemed to move through the air grew on them and the tension built until Spike couldn't stay quiet anymore, he had to break it.

"You asleep?" he therefore asked.

Silence for a short while and then a simple:

"Nope."

"Oh... 'cause I thought you might've been," he mumbled.

"No," she sighed. "No sleep here."

Silence once more. Spike shut his eyes tight and tried to focus on anything but the fact of her being in the same room. Which of course made him think of nothing BUT the fact of her being in the same room.

Buffy opened her eyes and turned her head to him again. Her heart was beginning to beat harder once more as she observed him thoughtfully.

Then, not sure of what the hell she was doing, she slowly slid herself over to him. He snapped his eyes open and turned his head to her as she moved closer, her body gliding up to place itself alongside his right side and her right arm put itself on his chest as she carefully placed her head on his shoulder just below his collarbone. His right arm slid up around her back, his hand on her waist as he gently pulled her a little closer.

She closed her eyes; beginning to grow all the more wiser at the feel of him near. A peice of this diffuse puzzle was slowly, but surely, clicking into place and she nestled her face into the crook of his neck as she pressed herself to him.

He moved, rolling over slightly on his side to be able to put his left arm around her as well and she moved both her arms, wrapping them around his neck and they seemed to almost cling to the other for a little while, holding each other tight. Then they both slowly relaxed and Buffy said:

"I'm scared."

Spike smiled a little, his healing heart feeling as though it was about to start beating.

"You shouldn't be," he reassured.

"No?" she asked, pulling her head back and he looked down, into her face and met her gaze.

"No," he confirmed.

She observed him intently for a long while, resting her eyes in his.

"Kiss me?" she then whispered and he smiled again before moving his head forward and placing a soft kiss on her lips.

They pulled apart and she smiled tentatively as well, one of her hands moving and her fingers lightly brushing over his lips before it slid down to his chest and he rolled over on his back, holding her to him as she placed her head on his shoulder.

"Say it once, Buffy," he mumbled and she smiled wider before growing serious and he could feel how her heart began to pace faster in her chest.

Then she softly obeyed him.

"I love you."