Disclaimer: The story is mine, but I don't own any of the characters. I just use them for my amusement and yours, hopefully.

Any comments can be sent to: sunflour_mom@hotmail.com Be nice! I'm new at this.

For Her Love...

Buffy walked through the cemetery slowly. She was alone tonight. The others had asked if she wanted them to join her, but she was more in the mood to be alone. There was so much going on in her head right now, that she just needed some time to be alone and think.

Her mom was getting better, which was a good thing. The doctor's said they were able to remove the tumor cleanly and that her prognosis was good. This was a definite plus, but she was still worried about her. There was also all this stuff going on with Dawn. Buffy wondered how long she was going to be able to protect her. It was a lot of responsibility to take on, but it was her job to save the world, wasn't it? So what's one more person.

And then there was Riley. What was she going to do about him? Buffy was slowly realizing that he just didn't fit into her life anymore. Or her heart, she thought. Maybe he never really did. It was just that she wanted some normalcy in her life. He seemed perfectly normal and wholesome. But he never really was 'normal'. That whole Initiative thing was far from normal. But now he was out of that and he was more like your typical All-American guy. Boring, she thought. She was beginning to think that normal just wasn't for her.

She heard a noise behind her. She swung around, stake in hand, ready to fight. The vampire was already waiting. He grabbed her wrist with such force; the stake flew out of her hand. She was so lost in thought that she didn't even see him coming. She knew that this was not going to be good.

She kicked him hard in the stomach and he went to the ground. He rolled back up to a standing position and countered with his own kick to her stomach, she gasped, but managed to grab his leg and throw him backward. He was stunned for a moment and she scrambled to reach her stake lying on the ground. He lunged toward her, knocking her over. The stake was still lying on the ground.

"I don't see why everyone is so scared of you, little girl." The vampire hissed, "You're not so tough."

"Well, were just getting started." Buffy said, as she kicked his legs out from under him.

She ran for the stake, but he grabbed her legs and pulled her down. They struggled on the ground for a bit.

Buffy wondered what was wrong with her. She knew she could take this guy. She had dealt with a lot worse. She was aware that she hadn't done a lot of training but she shouldn't be this rusty. 'Snap out of it!' She told herself.

The vampire was on top of her now and she brought her knee up to his groin, hard. It didn't phase him. He pinned her arms down and she struggled but couldn't loosen his grip. He smiled at her.

"Wow, I've never tasted Slayer before, but I hear it's pretty good." He laughed as he bent down to bite her.

She couldn't believe this was happening. As a Slayer, she knew that she had to die somehow, but she always imagined it would be some great fierce battle, with a huge unstoppable demon or something. She never wanted to die just because she was unprepared. She was beginning to realize it wasn't a good idea to have come alone tonight.

Just as the vampire was getting ready to sink his teeth in, he exploded into dust. Buffy's eyes were closed, her teeth clenched, waiting for the pain. Nothing happened. She felt the dust blow over her face. She opened her eyes to see Spike standing there with her stake in his hand.

"Looks like you needed a little help, Slayer." He said. "Not your best performance, I must say."

She stood up and brushed the ashes from her clothes. "What are you doing here? Following me?" She was annoyed.

"Hey, if it hadn't of been for me, you would have been someone's tasty midnight snack." Spike said sarcastically. " A simple 'thank you' would be nice."

"I could have handled it." She said defensively.

"Yeah, you were handling it, alright. So what was your secret plan? You were going bounce right back into action after he drained you?" Spike smiled.

"Just go away." Buffy said.

Spike was annoying her. He was good at that. Mostly she was irritated because he was right. She was not at her best, that was for sure. He actually saved my life. Why, she wasn't sure.

"Fine! Sorry that I bothered to help you." Spike shouted. "I should have just let you die."

"Why didn't you?" She had to know.

"I don't know. I guess I would just miss all of your abuse." He said.

He would miss her. He didn't know why had been so obsessed with her lately. She was the bloody Slayer. He knew he shouldn't be fantasizing about her, unless it was about killing her. Lately, though, all his fantasies were about ripping her clothes off and making mad, passionate love to her. He knew he was a stupid fool.

Buffy thought for a moment. She didn't know what to say. She was just tired. She didn't feel like arguing with him tonight. Especially because he was right. She should be thanking him, much as it pained her to do so.

"Whatever, Spike. Thank you." She said. "Happy, now?"

"Yes, your welcome. Just don't expect me to do it again." He said.

Spike looked at her and was struck by her beauty. None of the other Slayers had been like her. She looked so innocent. But she was far from it. This little lady was a killer. People like him ran screaming from the likes of her. That fact turned him on even more.

"What's wrong with you tonight, anyway?" Spike asked. " That stupid vamp was nothing special. I've seen you take out guys like that without even breaking a sweat. You fought like crap out there."

"Thanks for pointing that out. You sure know how to make a girl feel better." Buffy said sarcastically. " I really don't feel like talking about this, especially with you."

"It's not like I care or anything. I just wondered." He said defensively, then, "It's not your mum is it?"

"No. Well, not entirely." Buffy said unsure if she should go on. " I mean, the doctor's say she will be okay, but it's not a done deal yet."

"Oh. Well, I'm glad that she's doing better." Spike said, unsure of what to say next. "So that's not all that is bothering you, is it?"

He wasn't sure why he wanted to know or why he even bothered to ask. He was falling for her and he hated himself for it. At some point, all his hatred for her had turned to lust He actually cared what happened to her. He didn't want her to get killed by some two-bit creature of the night, just because she was distracted.

"No, that's not it. It's a lot of things." Buffy started, "A lot of things you don't need to know."

Buffy wasn't sure where all this concern was coming from. She didn't really think he cared about her. She realized that he actually saved her life tonight and lately he had been acting strange, almost love-struck, around her. He had even been there the night she found out about her mom having to go into the hospital. He had listened to her then. She almost felt like he was a friend.

"Okay, I'm not going to force it out of you." Spike said in an irritated voice. "I just thought maybe you needed someone to talk to."

"What are we girlfriends now, Spike?" Buffy asked. She couldn't believe he expected her to confide in him. "We could go to my house and do each other's nails, and talk about boys if you want."

She was just being mean. She knew it. But it was so easy to do with him. They had always fought. His sudden concern and nice-ness was just disturbing to her.

"No need to be a bitch, Slayer." Spike spat out.

Buffy was making Spike crazy. He was trying to be nice to her and she wasn't taking him seriously. He was longing for the times when all he wanted to do was hit her. He thought that was a lot easier to deal with than these feelings.

"Look, I'm sorry, Spike." Buffy felt bad. "I just don't understand what is going on with you. Since when do you care about what is going in my life?"

"I don't care!" Spike yelled, trying to convince himself that he didn't. He started pacing and running his fingers through his hair. He was tired of playing this game with her. Finally he just spit it out. "Oh, hell! I do care! I care about you, Slayer. Happy now? Is that what you wanted to hear?"

Buffy was taken aback. "Actually, no, that isn't what I wanted to hear." She just didn't know what to say. She wasn't sure she has heard him right. "Y-You care about me?" She stammered.

"Yes. I don't know why I should, though." He said. "I mean, here I am saving your life and trying to be nice to you and you-you-...." Spike was angry, more with himself than her. He was fully aware that he shouldn't be feeling this way, much less admitting it to her.

She didn't let him finish. "I already said I was sorry about that." She said. "Look, I just don't know what to do with this information. I'm not sure if I should be happy because you don't hate me anymore, or run screaming the other direction for the same reason."

"Look, it's not that big of a deal, okay?" Spike tried to make light of it. He knew this was a mistake. "I just don't want you getting killed, that's all. Unless it's by me." He added with an awkward smile.

Buffy smiled. She was relieved to see that Spike was still in there somewhere. She didn't really know what to say or do now. This little conversation was getting really uncomfortable. This new side of him was a little unnerving, but she kind of liked it, in spite of herself.

"So you want to me to tell you all my troubles, or what?" She decided, if he wants to know, then she might as well tell him. She really did need to talk to someone. She wondered if talking to him might give her a new perspective.

"Go ahead, I'm listening." He said.

"Why don't we sit down? This might take awhile." She motioned to a bench that sat amidst the headstones.

They sat down together and she proceeded to tell him the whole story. She talked about her mom and her fears about what she would do if she lost her. She told him a little about Dawn, but not everything. He couldn't know who she really was, but Buffy told him of the constant need to keep her safe. Tears were in her eyes at one point.

"Sometimes all this is just too much for me to handle, you know?" Buffy told him. "I'm always supposed to be the strong one. The one who saves the day. But sometimes I just want to be me, Buffy. Whoever that is." She said in a far away voice. Spike touched her cheek to wipe away a tear that had begun to roll down. She looked up at him, almost frightened by his tenderness.

"It'll be okay. You are strong. You'll get through it." He said softly. He put his arm around her and to both of their surprise, she let him.

Neither of them knew they were being watched. In the shadows, behind a large grave marker, stood Riley. He was watching their every move, listening to their every word.

He had gone looking for Buffy, just to make sure she was okay. She had been so distant and troubled lately. He worried she might get into trouble. She was so stubborn. She insisted on patrolling alone tonight, even though anyone could see that she was in no shape to be out here alone. Riley always thought he could protect her.

He had walked up, just as Spike and Buffy were sitting down. At first he wanted to run right up and punch Spike's lights out. But he decided to hang back and watch instead. Spike had been letting him think that he and Buffy had something going on, but Riley wasn't convinced. His insecurities told him it was true, but he never fully believed it.

She was sitting there, pouring her heart out to Spike. He was a soul-less, blood-sucking vampire. Riley didn't care if he was helpless now. He knew that the chip didn't make him human. He couldn't understand why Buffy would talk to Spike and not him. She was always shutting him out. She wouldn't even cry in front of him.

He watched as Spike touched Buffy's cheek. Riley could feel the anger boiling inside of him. He realized that all of it was true. Buffy did have some sort of fascination with vampires. He couldn't figure out how a girl who was supposed to protect the world from bloodsuckers, would fall in love with them, not once, but twice now.

Spike's arm was around Buffy now. Riley seethed with hatred. He knew it should have been him there, comforting her, listening to her fears. He was a human being, flesh and blood. He wanted to offer her a real life. But it was becoming clearer that she wasn't interested in that. He had seen what a vampire's life was like and he wasn't sure he understood what the attraction was.

Riley had been dabbling in the darker side of life lately. He wasn't sure what he was doing anymore. Part of him just wanted to see what it was like to spend time with vampires, the way Buffy did. The other part of him wanted to be like them, so that Buffy would find him more dangerous and interesting. He remembered the first time he had an encounter with a pretty lady vamp. That night he was so depressed, he thought about just ending it all. When he left that bar with her, he had fully intended to cross over, become one of them. He just couldn't do it, so he stopped it.

Riley had been back several times now. He would get willing she-vamps to taste him, but each time, he couldn't go through with it. Something always stopped him. Maybe it was his conscience or reason. Maybe it was a love of life. A real life, not a blood-sucking unlife. He wasn't sure. But now maybe there wasn't a life for him anymore, at least not a life with Buffy in it. He started to walk away when he heard his name come up in their conversation.

"Riley is also stressing me out." Buffy said to Spike.

His arm was still around her and neither was making a move to change that. "What? Superman isn't so super after all?" Spike asked.

Buffy laughed. "He isn't Superman, that's for sure." For some reason talking with Spike actually felt comfortable, almost normal, as if they had been pals all along. "Riley is just...Well, he's...." Buffy started.

"He's a big, fat bore." Said Spike.

"No! He's just... Well, overbearing." Buffy thought outloud. "He is just always there, in my face. I feel like he is smothering me."

Riley couldn't believe she had said that. He wasn't trying to smother her; he was only trying to love her. Why couldn't she see that?

"Well, I never liked him, that's for sure." Spike admitted. " You can do better than him."

"Can I? I mean, I don't have the greatest history of relationships." She said.

"So, you are settling for someone you don't really want just because you think you can't do better?" Spike asked. " That's crazy. You are young, there are plenty of other people out there."

"Actually, I am pretty old. Well, for a Slayer anyway. Remember, my life is short. I don't have an eternity like you do."

"You don't need an eternity." Spike said to her. " You just need to find the right one to love... Do you love him?" He asked.

Buffy thought about this for a moment. She looked at Spike and shook her head. " No, I don't love him. I wanted to, but I don't." She had never admitted that to herself, and she couldn't believe she was admitting it now, to Spike, of all people.

Riley heard her words and his head fell down in despair. He knew that he had lost her, or maybe yet, he never really had her. He knew he wasn't her type. He was alive, although he didn't feel that way now. His mind was racing with all these thoughts. First she loved Angel, and now she was with Spike. He wondered if he were more like them, if she would want him.

"You don't love him?" Spike asked.

He knew that her admission didn't mean that she wanted to be with him, but somehow he couldn't help but be filled with some kind of hope.

"No. I really wanted to love him. He was everything I thought was good for me, but..." Buffy said unsure.

"But he's not what you want." Spike finished for her.

"No. He isn't."

"What do you want?" Spike said moving even closer to her. His hand was at her cheek again, touching it softly. His arm was still around her, and he pulled her to him. She didn't pull away.

Buffy looked up at him. Her eyes were questioning his motives. She wasn't sure who this person was that was sitting in front of her. He looked like Spike, but he certainly didn't act like him. She couldn't figure out why she was so drawn to him. She always thought she hated him, but now, tonight, this was something else. This wasn't hate and it wasn't anger. She didn't know what these feelings were.

"I don't know what I want." She said softly, looking into his eyes. She had never really noticed how handsome he was. She realized it was probably because she was too busy trying to kill him.

He just looked at her, studying her features. She was incredibly beautiful. Her eyes were so wide and innocent, but behind them lurked something dangerous, he knew that. He liked that. Her lips were full, her skin soft and warm. He leaned in close to her face. She smelled so sweet. Finally he touched his lips to hers. She tasted so good. He kissed her softly. She kissed him back.

Buffy didn't know what she was doing. She knew that kissing him was so totally wrong and weird, but it somehow seemed right, for now. She let it happen. Maybe she was just too tired to stop him. Maybe she didn't want to stop him.

Riley watched in horror. They were kissing, and she just admitted she didn't love him. She wanted him. That creature. He didn't understand how this could be happening. He had seen enough. He turned and ran away, every fiber of his being was being torn to shreds inside. The pain, the anger, all of it, eating away at him. He loved her so much and she would never want him. At least not the way he was now. He was tired of being poor, stupid, boring Riley. He knew that things were going to change. Nothing could ever be the same again.

"I won't be ignored anymore," Riley muttered under his breath as he ran into the night.

Spike pulled away from Buffy. He couldn't believe that he had actually kissed her and she allowed it. He half expected a stake through his heart, but she made no move. He looked at her. Her mouth was still open slightly and her eyes were still closed. She slowly opened them and looked at him. Neither of them knew what to say next.

"Feel better?" Spike asked.

She looked at him, still confused by what just happened. "Um, yeah, much better. Um, I really should get going now." Buffy said nervously. "I need to check in on my mom and make sure she is alright." She just needed to leave. This night was taking a scary turn.

"R-Right." Spike stammered. "You should leave. Your mum needs you." He got up to walk away. He turned back to her. "I'll see you around." He smiled.

"See you around." Buffy said to him. She watched him walk away. For a few minutes, she couldn't move. Her legs felt like Jell-O.

She had no idea what had just happened. The whole evening was beyond bizarre. First she almost became a vampire treat then she ended up being saved and kissed by Spike. The worst of it was she sort of liked it. His kiss was so soft, tender. She knew that they had kissed before, but they were both under a spell at the time. She never actually allowed herself to think about the way it felt to kiss him. It wasn't at all what she expected. Everything about Spike has always been about pain and killing, but not tonight. That kiss was not painful and she didn't hate it. She was beginning to wonder who she was anymore.

She got up slowly and began to make her way home. She shook her head, "Great, now I have one more problem to obsess over!" She said to herself as she walked.

Spike was lying on his bed trying to sleep. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw Buffy. He replayed the events of the evening in his head over and over. He knew he must be losing his mind. He had been thinking about her for several months now, but those were just silly fantasies. He never imagined that anything real might ever come of it. He recalled their kiss. Her lips were so soft. Not hard and cold like Dru or Harmony. There was something special about her and he knew it. He suspected that he always knew it. Even when he was trying to hunt and kill her, it was different than it was with the others. Part of him just wanted to hurt her just so he could hear her screaming his name. She was too beautiful to be destroyed by him or anybody.

He knew there was no future in this silly fantasy. He had nothing to offer her. He may be out of commission right now, but he was still a vampire. He was dead. There was no changing that. She needed to be around life. Her duty involved too much death already. Being with him, he knew, would only make things hard for her. That was assuming she really wanted him at all.

Spike realized that for the first time since he had become a vampire, he was actually longing to be human again. The way his life was now, he didn't fit in anywhere. He was unable to kill humans and had taken to hunting his own kind just for the thrill of it. That certainly didn't make him popular with his fellow vamps. But then, he wasn't human either. He was just stuck somewhere in between. He wondered that if things were different, and he was human again, if Buffy would want him. He knew it wasn't possible, but sometimes he just wondered what it would be like to be alive again. He knew he'd never find out.

Buffy tossed and turned all night. She just couldn't sleep. Her encounter with Spike was still weighing on her mind among the many other things. She felt so confused. She had opened herself up to him. She wasn't sure why. She had friends she could have talked to. She had Riley. But she knew she obviously couldn't talk to him about the way she was feeling about their relationship. Actually, she needed to talk to him, but she didn't know what to say. She didn't want to hurt him, but she knew she needed to let him go. She hoped that he would be okay and realize that it just wasn't meant to be. She decided that soon she would tell him they needed to talk. It wasn't going to be easy, but it had to be done.

With that decision made, she started to drift to sleep. He dreams were of Spike and their unexpected kiss in that graveyard. A faint smile crept onto her sleeping face.

Riley was full of despair. He didn't even remember how he got to the bar. Tonight was the night everything was going to change. He saw a beautiful vamp sitting alone at a table. He went up to her and they talked. He told her he was ready to see the world with new eyes. She knew what he meant. They ended up leaving together. Now, here he was. He couldn't pretend to himself that he didn't know what he was doing, because he did. Tonight he was going to die. He didn't care. He was ready. He was already dead inside. He felt that this would make things right. Buffy would be able to love the new Riley.

Riley sat back as the vampire bit down on his neck. He didn't flinch. He had been through it before. He actually enjoyed the pain of her bite. He felt himself weakening from loss of blood. This was when he usually made them stop with a quick stake to the heart, but not this time. The vampire pulled away and looked into Riley's dying eyes.

"You want this? You want to be like me?" She asked.

"More... than... anything." Riley managed.

'I did this for you, Buffy' Riley thought to himself as the last drop of himself that was human drained away.

Buffy had tried calling Riley several times, but he was never there. She was actually starting to worry a bit. It had been several days since she had seen him. Several days since that night at the cemetery with Spike. She hadn't seen him either. She wasn't sure she wanted to. That whole situation was just too complicated. She had been spending most of her time with her mom and Dawn. Just trying to get things back to normal. Her mom was doing well and was home now. She was still really weak, but in good spirits.

Willow had come by a few times to see how things were. Buffy was happy to see her, but she was distant. She knew she shouldn't be pushing her friends away, but some things she just needed to work out herself. Willow had asked if anything was bothering her, but she told her things were fine. Willow just assumed that she was worried about her mom. Buffy couldn't bring herself to admit to Willow what had happened with Spike. Or that she was going to break it off with Riley. She wasn't ready to talk yet.

Buffy checked on her mom once more before she decided to go out. She wanted to take a walk and clear her head. She knew what she really wanted was to see Spike. That night and their kiss still haunted her.

She walked through the park. She was aware of what was around her this time. She wasn't going to let another vampire catch her off guard. She saw Spike in the distance sitting alone on a bench. Her breath caught in her throat. He looked up and saw her. Their eyes met, but he just turned away. She went over to him.

"What are you doing out here?" She asked.

"What's it look like I'm doing?" Spike said. He was being cold to her. He didn't want to remember the other night.

"Want some company?" Buffy asked.

He just shrugged his shoulders and motioned for her to sit down.

She sat down beside him and neither of them spoke. The silence was deafening. Finally Spike asked, "So do you want to talk again, or what?"

Buffy was a little taken aback at how indifferent he was to her being there. She wasn't sure what she was expecting but it wasn't this.

"Do you want me to leave or something?" Buffy said in an irritated voice.

"I don't care. You can go if you want." He was trying so hard to piss her off so she would leave. He didn't want her to be there. When she was around, he tended to lose his mind. It was easier just to pretend that nothing had changed between them. He didn't want to wish for something that he knew he couldn't have, like a future with her.

"Fine. If you want me to go, I'll go." Buffy said, as she got up. "I was stupid to even think I wanted to talk to you."

"So, you did want to talk? What have your friends disowned you, or something?" Spike prodded her. "No one else to listen to you whine but me?"

Buffy felt tears spring to her eyes. His words stung her. She was angry with him, and herself. She actually trusted him and began to think of him as a friend. More than a friend.

She punched him square in the face. "You are a bastard." She screamed. She turned to leave.

He grabbed her arm and swung her around. "That hurt!" Spike shouted.

"Good! I'm glad!" She shouted. "I want you to hurt. I can't believe I actually thought you cared." Tears were running down her face now. She couldn't stop them.

Spike's gut was wrenching. He didn't want her to cry. He wasn't very good at pretending. He couldn't understand how she had turned him into this. He was supposed to be evil and uncaring. But not anymore, not when it came to her. He loosened his grip on her arm and lowered his head.

"I do care." He said softly. "I do care! That it why you need to go! Can't you see that you are making me crazy?" He was shouting now.

"Me, making you crazy?" She cried. "First you tell me you care and then you kiss me, and now, you want me to leave you alone. I don't understand."

"I don't understand it either." He started. "I am not supposed to care about you, or want you, but I do. But what's the use? Nothing can ever happen between us."

Buffy wasn't sure what to say next. She wanted to tell him that he was wrong, that there was a chance for them to be together, but part of her knew he was right. They could never be together and she shouldn't even be thinking about it.

"What exactly do you want to happen?" She asked.

"I don't know. All I know is that I want to be with you. I want to hold you and feel your skin. I want to smell you and taste you. Being with you makes me feel...makes me feel alive again." Spike said softly. He was baring his heart to her, he knew it was wrong, but he was tired of fighting it. Being with her made him crazy, but the idea of being without her, made him crazier.

Buffy just looked at him, confused. At some point, they had crossed the line. When she looked at him before, she saw her enemy. Now she saw a man, a man that she wanted to be with. She didn't know where these feelings were coming from. Maybe they had always been there, lurking underneath the surface. She had always heard that there was a thin line between love and hate, and now she understood why. It was totally irrational but her heart was aching. Aching for him.

He grabbed her arms again and pulled her close. He kissed her. She wrapped her arms around his neck. Their kiss was full of passion and urgency. They both knew that it was wrong, forbidden even. They wanted to cling to the dream just a little while longer.

They finally broke away from each other. Buffy stood there breathless, just looking at him.

"That was beautiful." Riley spoke. He had been standing behind a tree watching them kiss.

"Oh my God! Riley!" Buffy exclaimed. She was shocked to see him there.

Spike just stood in silence. He knew there was going to be trouble, he could feel it.

"That little display of affection was really touching, Buffy." Riley said sarcastically.

"R-Riley, I'm sorry. This wasn't planned. You have to let me explain." She pleaded.

"There's nothing to explain, really. You like vampires. That's pretty clear."

"No. You don't understand." Buffy protested.

"Well, let's see." Riley said. "There was Angel. He was the great love of your life, wasn't he? I certainly couldn't compete with him. Now you've moved on to Spike. There's no accounting for taste, I guess."

"Guess not, huh? I mean she was with you too, wasn't she?" Spike laughed. He was enjoying watching Riley suffer. He had always hated him.

"Shut up, Spike!" Buffy yelled. "You're not helping!"

"You never loved me, did you Buffy? I wasn't cool enough, at least I wasn't dead enough." Riley said to her. "You have a twisted fascination with vampires. You know you are supposed to kill them, yet you can't help but want to sleep with them too."

Buffy was at a loss for words. She had never seen Riley so hurt and angry. She could see why he would think that she had a thing for vampires, but it wasn't true. She wasn't deliberately falling for them, it just happened.

" You are wrong, Riley. Please, can't we go somewhere alone and talk?" Buffy pleaded.

"Yeah, um... this is between you two. I'm leaving." Spike said. He just wanted to get the hell out of there. This little show was getting old real fast.

"YOU aren't going anywhere!" Riley shouted. "You are the reason why this happened!" Riley lunged forward and tackled Spike. They fell to the ground. Riley started pummeling Spike with his fists. Spike didn't fight back, because he knew he couldn't because of that damn chip.

Buffy screamed, "Stop it Riley! It's not his fault!" She tried to pull Riley off of Spike but he backhanded her and she flew backwards.

She was stunned. Riley had hit her. She scrambled to her feet and with all her strength she kicked Riley in the stomach. He went flying. Spike was dazed from the beating but managed to stand. Buffy went to him.

"Are you okay?" She asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine." Spike managed.

Riley began to stand up. He was furious now. He felt his face changing. His new demon features were coming out. Now Buffy would see what he had become. He would see what he had done for her.

He lunged at Spike again, knocking Buffy off her feet once again. He began punching Spike again, hard and furious. Spike had closed his eyes, trying to will this humiliation to be over with. Back in the day, he could have eaten a chump like Riley for breakfast.

Buffy managed to pull Riley off Spike once again. He looked at her, and she saw his face for the first time. She reeled back in horror.

"Oh my God! Riley! What the hell have you done?" She was in total disbelief.

Spike opened his eyes not sure what she was talking about. He looked and saw the face of a demon where Riley used to be.

"I did it for you, Buffy. See, now I am everything you always wanted." Riley said to her.

"You think I wanted this?" She said pointing to his now unrecognizable face.

"You do want this. I was never good enough for you. There was always something missing, wasn't there?" He said. "I was boring, wasn't I? No danger, no mystery, no element of forbidden desire? Well, things have changed."

Buffy couldn't believe that this was real. Riley was a vampire now and in his warped mind he actually thought she would be happy about this. He just expected her to run into his arms. He didn't understand that she just didn't love him, alive or dead.

"Things have definitely changed, my friend." Spike said as he got to his feet. "You see, now I can kick your ass!" Spike punched Riley across the face. He tried to counter it but Spike grabbed his arm and twisted it. Riley cried out in pain. Spike kicked him to the ground.

"I've been wanting to do this since I first laid eyes on you." Spike said as he kicked Riley in the back.

Buffy was in shock. She couldn't move. She didn't know what to do. Her whole world was turned upside down. She screamed, "Stop it! Both of you! Just stop!"

They both turned and looked at her. Both sported their demon faces. She shook her head. She couldn't believe this was her life.

Riley was in bad shape. Spike had done a good job beating the crap out of him. "Buffy," Riley started, " just tell me that you love me now. I did this for you." He sounded so lost.

"You made a mistake, Riley. I can't believe you actually thought that doing this would make me happy." Buffy had tears in her eyes. She didn't love him, but she did care. They were together for a long time; she hated to see what he had become. And the fact that he said he did it for her made her heart ache even more.

Riley walked over to her. His features were back to normal now. She instinctively reached for one of her stakes that she had in her jacket. She clutched it tight.

"You're not happy?" Riley said to her. "I died for you, and you're still not happy?" He shouted. "It's because of him, isn't it?" He said pointing at Spike. "Do you love him?"

"Riley..." Buffy didn't know if what she felt was love or not. She knew that Spike made her feel like no one else ever had. But it wasn't because he was a vampire; it was in spite of it.

Riley grabbed the stake from her hand and rushed over to Spike. Spike was caught off guard and tumbled to the ground Buffy screamed, "No! Don't do it!" She was terrified. Terrified of losing Spike, terrified of what Riley had become.

She ran over and hit Riley over the head. He rolled off of Spike and got up. He charged at Buffy this time. His vampire face was contorted in anger. He slammed her up against a tree and punched her across the face.

The realization that the Riley she knew was gone forever, was just beginning to sink in. She kneed him in groin and he cried out. She kicked him to the ground. Spike then grabbed him and elbowed him in the face. Riley grabbed his arm and twisted him around. He slammed his fist into Spike's face and he fell backwards to the ground. Riley still had the stake in his hand. He poised the stake over Spike's chest.

"Say good-bye to your little friend, Buffy." Riley hissed.

Buffy ran over to them, "No! Riley, don't do it!"

"Buffy, don't you see? If he's gone, there's nothing stopping us from being together." Riley tried to reason with her.

"Nothing except I don't love you! Especially not now. I don't even know you anymore!" Buffy screamed at him.

Riley wasn't sure if he even cared anymore. His demon had overtaken him. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. "You never knew me, Buffy. You never bothered to find out" Riley knew he wasn't going to let her win. If he couldn't have her, he didn't want anyone else having her either. "When I'm done with Spikey here, you'll be next!" He shouted at her.

Riley raised the stake again. Spike was pinned beneath him and couldn't move. Buffy reached into her coat and brought out another stake. She plunged it deep into Riley's back, clear to his heart, just as he was bringing the stake down to Spike's chest. Spike flinched as he felt the sharp point pierce his skin. At the same time he felt the ashes explode everywhere. Except they weren't his.

He looked up at Buffy. She stood there with the stake in her hand. The stake Riley had was lying on the ground. He was dust before the stake had reached Spike's heart.

Buffy was in shock. She had just killed Riley, except he wasn't really Riley anymore. She knew that, but everything just happened so fast that she didn't have time to absorb it all.

"You saved me, Buffy." Spike said disbelieving.

"I owed you one, remember?" Buffy said softly.

Spike looked at her not believing what had just happened. She had killed her boyfriend to save him. She was so strong. How a girl could have gone through so much and still kept her sanity astonished him.

Buffy fell to her knees and began to sob. The full reality of the situation had just hit her. This was the second time she had had to kill a boyfriend because her love made them lose their souls and their minds.

Spike reached for her and took her in his arms. He held her as she cried. He knew there was nothing to say that would make her feel better.

"I can't believe this happened." She sobbed.

"Love does strange things to a man." Spike replied.

"But how could he have done that, and try to say he did it for me? Is there something about me that turns men into homicidal maniacs?"

"No. Riley was just weak and stupid. It wasn't your fault." Spike tried to comfort her. "You have the opposite effect on me." He said quietly.

"I do?" Buffy asked.

"Yes. Riley was a bloody fool. He had no idea what he was getting into. There he was wishing he was dead to get your affections, and here I was wishing I was alive for the same reason." Spike told her.

"You were?" Buffy asked.

"Yeah, I told you love does strange things to a man."

Buffy just looked at him and smiled through her tears. She wasn't sure how she was going to get through this, but she knew that Spike was going to be there for her. She had no idea if they had any type of future or not, but right now she didn't care. All that she saw now was a man that she wanted to be with. Maybe it wouldn't last, but for now it was all she had.

Spike helped Buffy up. "Do you want to go now?" He asked her.

"Yeah, I guess we should. I am going to have to do a lot of explaining." Buffy wasn't sure what to tell the others.

Spike put his arm around her and they walked together. Buffy looked at him and asked, "So, how do I know you're not going to turn all bad on me too?"

He looked at her and laughed. "I'm already bad, baby. That's why you love me."

She looked at him and smiled. "I guess you're right."

Spike looked at her and realized that she just had this power over men. She didn't even know it. She made them lose themselves. She made them crazy. They all went crazy for her love. But for him it was a good kind of crazy.

They continued walking along into the night. Back to an uncertain future. Back to a place where they knew they didn't belong, but neither was thinking about that now. They had each other and that was all that mattered.