Title: Mending Fences

Author: Diva Stardust

Rating: PG-13

Summary: Repairing a broken friendship takes time. Post-"Him".

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Joss Whedon, Marti Noxon, Mutant Enemy, FOX, UPN, etc. I'm not making any money off this.

Distribution: Just ask first if you want to archive this somewhere, please. I will most likely say yes!

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Spikeyvamp for the beta and for making such a snazzy website!


He wouldn't even look at her.

Not that she wanted him to look at her but it was just weird. It had been like that ever since Dawn had come over looking for Xander. Spike had answered the door, said as few words as possible while letting her in, his head turned to the side while he closed the door behind her. Very strange.

"Are you sure Xander will be back soon?" Dawn asked.

"Yeah," Spike muttered, moving his hands a little bit and looking at the floor.

This wasn't working, how was he supposed to fully realize how much she hated him if he wouldn't even look at her? She fixed the worst glare she could think of and hoped he would look up and notice it. Notice how she hated him and say something about it instead of doing his creepy mime routine. Dawn turned her eyes into beady steel and her lips formed a straight line but still he didn't look up.

He didn't even look like himself. Wasn't wearing clothes she'd normally think of as Spike-wear. A brown shirt that looked like it was made of thick material hung off his body loosely. Dawn wondered why he wasn't wearing his coat. When she found out he'd been living in the school basement she'd gone to her closet where she had stored it all summer and tossed it down there, making sure it was really filthy before she left it lying there on the floor so he'd notice how much she hated him. One time, during the summer Buffy was gone, she had woken up and found Spike had draped it over her while she slept on the couch. It had felt warm and protective, safe. She wanted to show him she didn't feel that way anymore.

She sighed and relaxed her face, letting the glare drop away. It was pointless to keep doing it if he wasn't even going to look at her. Maybe the soul had broken him or something. Dawn knew he had done it for Buffy and now after that whole mess with R.J. she finally understood why.

People did really stupid things for love. Spell or no spell.

She remembered what Buffy had told her, about how no guy was worth throwing your life away over. That it wasn't worth it. Maybe the same thing applied to Spike. Maybe she should tell him that the soul was kinda a stupid idea that wasn't going to make Buffy fall in love with him and to just snap out of his Silent Bob routine and be *Spike* again. But then she remembered she hated him and said nothing.

But she still wanted to see if he could actually talk. So it wouldn't be a big deal to thank him and stuff. Wouldn't mean anything.

"Xander said you helped with the whole R.J. mess. So, thanks."

He still didn't look up. "It was nothing."

"Maybe not to you but it was to me! I almost got ran over by a train because of him! I think being smooshed to death would be a really sucky way to go."

Spike actually looked up. "I should've ... should've done something. I saw you but I don't know what happened," he paused and looked off to the side like he was thinking hard, "something distracted me."

Wow, he was talking full sentences. This was good. She decided to talk a little bit more, get him to keep looking at her, and *then* she could spring the glare on him again. "It's okay. Buffy got to me in time and you know how she is. She probably would've been pissed if anyone else would've done it. I think she's got *major* control issues about the saving."

He continued to look at her and now he looked sad. His face actually showing emotions again which she decided was another good thing. "'S not okay. Said I wasn't going to leave you to get hurt again and then I ..."

Dawn kept trying to put her glare face on but it wasn't working. He looked too sad and pathetic and suddenly she felt like she was going to throw up. He was the one that was supposed to comfort her when she was about to cry, not the other way around. Everything was all screwed up. She wanted the guy who would tease and play cards with her back. Maybe this was pod-Spike. But she kept looking at his face and knew it was the real Spike. He had that same look that he had after Buffy had died, minus the sobbing. A pained sadness covered all his features, shame and guilt written all over him.

She wanted to say a comforting word but held back. That wouldn't fit in very well with showing how much she hated him.

"Hey Dawnster, what are you doing here?"

Xander was back and she knew everything was going to be okay. They could go back home and then she wouldn't have to look at Spike anymore.

"It's movie night, remember? Buffy told me to come over and get you," she said, her voice full of fake enthusiasm.

He went to get his coat and she saw Spike looking a little bit envious out of the corner of her eye. She remembered when she used to watch movies with Spike that summer and wondered if he missed it. Deep down she knew she did even though she'd never admit it. Watching movies with Xander and Buffy was fun but it wasn't the same. She and Spike had always made fun of the same things. Xander always made fun of really obscure things she didn't get and Buffy usually just talked about how ridiculous a certain fighting move was or how stupid someone's clothes were.

Xander was already out the door but Dawn held back a little. She didn't know what possessed her to do it but he just looked so heartbroken and lost sitting there that she had to. She ran up to him and hugged him so quickly that it barely happened, her arms barely touching him while she whispered, "It'll be okay."

He made a noise of surprise but she didn't look at his face. She ran out the door, not even bothering to close it while she ran outside.

On the ride home she tried to reassure herself that she still hated him as much as ever, keeping her face blank while she stared out the window and tried to keep the tears that welled up in her eyes from falling.