Title: Comfortable Silence

Author: Diva Stardust

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, Mutant Enemy, Fox, UPN, etc. All your usual "I'm not making any money off of this" disclaimer stuff.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Doyle for the beta!

Summary: Dawn used to look Spike in the eye. They used to be friends. Sometimes she wishes they still were. Set after "Lies My Parents Told Me".

Feedback: Sure! Feed me like a hungry pac-man with pac-man fever!


She never looks him in the eye, not anymore.

It never used to be like this.

But ever since that night. That night when li'l sis got all dressed up in big sister's clothes, glare and attitude and all, and promised him an ashy ending; after that, she never looked Spike in the eye again.

Oh, she would talk about him. Alternate between complaining about him and defending him. Complaining about him being in their house, eating their food, sleeping in their basement. Defending him to Andrew. Defending him even though she hated him now, hated him for what he almost did to Buffy, hated him for leaving, and most of all, hated him for coming back and not caring. Not caring that she hated him. But still....she wouldn't listen to outsiders like Andrew or the potentials question him being there. Because even after all that had happened, he still belonged there more than they did. Because it hadn't always been this way.

Sometimes at night she dreams about LBBCB: Life Before Buffy Came Back. Even though at the time, those felt like the worst days of her life, she sorta misses them now. A hundred memories of Spike. Real memories. Not false ones the monks shoved in her brain for years one through fourteen. Spike sitting on the counter eating ice cream with her. Spike complaining about her taste in music. Playing cards. Watching monster movies and making fun of the lame creatures who wouldn't stand a chance on the Hellmouth. Spike talking to her and looking her in the eye. He doesn't do that anymore either.

She wonders if when she's busy not looking at him, he's busy not looking at her too.

Today she had gone downstairs to watch Spike get detriggered. She looked at the floor, at his boots, at his shirt, at the top of his head, anything except his eyes. Getting a cot thrown at her wasn't exactly making her feel any better about Spike either. She tried not to think about him again until she woke up in the middle of the night to hear Buffy and Giles arguing about him.

Her sister's voice was so soft, but she still managed to make out what she said.

"He's alive, Spike's alive. Wood failed."

Dawn didn't know what to think. After having so many melodramatic thoughts of, "I wish he had never been born", or "I wish he would turn into a slug beetle type thing", she suddenly realized she didn't want Spike dead. "And who does this Wood guy think he is anyways? I thought principals were supposed to help you with school, not plot the death of your former friend and protector turned unwilling killing machine for the First Evil!" she thought.

She had to see for herself, had to see that he was still alive, so to speak. She crept downstairs to the basement and there he was. A little beaten up but there, sitting on the floor. He looked up when he heard her coming but then looked away by the time she had reached the bottom of the stairs.

Dawn fixed her eyes on the wall over his shoulder.

She continued to shift around nervously until finally Spike said, "Out with it Bit, why you down here?"

"I heard Buffy and Giles arguing about you....."

"Yeah?" He sounded a little bitter.

"Something about Wood and how he tried to kill you, but failed."

"Yeah, he did at that."


"Why he failed or why he tried to kill me?" Spike asked.

"Why he tried to kill you."

"Because... because I did something unforgivable to someone he loved." He was looking at her now, she could feel his eyes burning into her, but still... she kept her eyes on the wall.


The silence seemed to stretch on forever.

Finally Dawn said, "I guess you deserved it then."

"Yeah, well... maybe I did... but it still wouldn't have changed what happened, would it?"

"I guess not."

She moved closer to him, sat down next to him, but stared straight ahead, this time at the stairs.

"Don't you care?"

"About what, Nibblet?"

"About me."

"I....of course...what..." She could hear him shifting a bit uncomfortably, moving his hand through his hair nervously.

"Don't you care that I hate you? Does it even matter to you? Do *I* even matter to you?"

She was crying a little now, hoping he wouldn't hear her.

"Bit...I've.....I've buggered so many things up. Thought it was best to leave you be. Let you keep on hating me. Besides, deserved it. But I never stopped caring about you, never. Only friend I ever had. Only thing I had in so long that wasn't about killing or shagging."

She felt his hand on her head then, stroking her hair lightly until she stopped crying.

They sat in comfortable silence for awhile until she said, "this doesn't...things still aren't fixed, Spike, but I want them to be. And I don't hate you."

"So you won't be setting me on fire anytime soon then?"

"Not unless you make me listen to anymore of that so-called classic rock junk of yours."

"Oi! Still mad about all those car rides listening to The Clash, are you?"

"Well, YEAH." She thought back to about a year and a half ago. "You know how embarrassing it was to drive up to Sherry's house in a car with blacked out windows while some stupid song about someone in London making a phone call blasted away? She wouldn't stop calling me Morticia for a week."

Spike laughed a little at that.

"Hey, Andrew went grocery shopping today. Wanna go raid the fridge before the potentials eat us out of house and home again?"

Spike moved to get up. "Think he got any chicken nuggets? Could go for some dipped in blood."


"Don't knock it til you tried it, Nibblet," he teased.

"Gross," she said. But she was smiling as she looked him in the eye and headed up the stairs.