Disclaimer: I am playing with Joss' characters.

Feedback is more the welcome!

She tiptoes into her room quietly, taking care not to walk over that creaky board in the floor. Since he returned from the hospital, he's been here in her room. She knows that she shouldn't be lying awake thinking of him in her bed, on her sheets but she has.

It seems like he is physically fine at this point. Well, except for the eye thing. Eventually the doctors will give him a glass eye but for now, he is wearing a patch. Maybe he can get a bionic eye like on the Six Million Dollar Man? Man, she's been watching way too much television since this whole thing started. She shakes her head to clear all the tangents racing around her brain. Her journey wasn't a long one and she is there now at her bed.

He used to seem so big to her. Invincible in a different way than Buffy. More dependable too. There was a time not too long ago where she would have said Spike. That Spike was her Champion. The flashy, romantic hero but lately flash was just that - flash. The stability that this man offers guides her like a beacon.

The past few months have aged her beyond her years. She has faced so much loss and disappointment. Send out the invitations to the pity party for ol' Dawnie for sure. She feels past that now - stronger, more resolved - sure of herself in a new way.

With this new confidence, she drives forward to perch lightly on the side of the bed and reaches out gingerly to take his hand.

"Xander, wake him. It's me."

Xander fights his way up through layers of drug-induced sleep to reply. "Dawnie, what's up?" He starts to rise sleepily.

She places a hand on his chest to keep him in place. "No, no. It's nothing like that. Stay. It's just me, I'll go." She says as she prepares to get up as she loses her confidence.

He catches her hand in his. "No stay. Do you want to talk?"

She shakes her head. "I just, I just felt.like I wanted to be here.with you. Do you mind?"

Something passes between them as they look into each other's eyes. No running down the beach romantic-music type thing, no melodramatic confessional, no teenage crush - this is infinitely more real. There is no need for words. It is understood that by this one act of comfort something will shift into a new place. This change has been coming, the latest set of events have only hastened this conclusion.

He utters only one word, "Stay" and slides over pulling back the covers to make room for her.