Title: Chills up my Spine

Series: Third in the "After the Fall" series.

Author: Diva Stardust

Pairing: Dawn/Spike

Rating: R

Summary: Dawn's feelings for Spike grow into more than just a crush.

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

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

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Spikeyvamp for the beta!

~*~*~*~*~

She was always waiting for his next touch.

In the evening, before bed, she would wait for him. Spike never had to knock because she never kept her door closed. Dawn liked that he could slip behind her so quietly; not making a sound and she would only know he was there from his touch.

She'd be at her desk doing homework when she'd feel his hand on her shoulder. There was always a pause before he would speak. She used that time to relish the contact. To close her eyes and hope for more. Sometimes he would stroke her hair; running the back of his hand down it or threading a few of his fingers down selected locks. He never touched her hair the same way twice. She could feel that.

Then there would be words.

"How's the work coming?"

"Need any help, Sweet Bit?"

"Buffy's in one of her bleeding moods tonight, Bit. Is carrying on about lights out in a few, best listen to her. Don't want her to stake us both in our sleep, do we now?"

Dawn mostly concentrated on his hand on her. The way the hand on her shoulder was tight and secure without being suppressive or controlling. The way his hand was so light in her hair; moving around the strands like it was slowly flying.

There would always be a hug in the morning and at night but she was always the one who reached for him first. It didn't used to be like that. But now he acted like her hugs burned him, like if he held her too tightly he'd crumble into dust.

She's not sure when the change happened. When she started craving his touch. She just knew that one day when Spike left her room, she made a noise. His hands were gone and she wanted them back.

~*~*~*~*~

There are certain things Dawn does at night.

Sometimes she would sleep in her own bed straight through the night. That didn't happen as much anymore.

Sometimes she crept downstairs to the basement and read a book in the corner of Spike's room. That happened more often.

Sometimes she would lie in her bed and touch her scars. Remembering the day Spike's lips were on them that past summer and wondering if they would ever be there again. She would think about the way his lips felt against her skin. Cool and soft, light and airy. Then she would slip her hand into her panties.

So many things to think about when she was touching herself. About that day. She thought about that day a lot. Nothing made her as wet than thinking about looking down at Spike while he kissed her stomach. She liked to think about things that never happened too. About things that would never happen. About Spike coming into her room and seeing her touch herself surrounded by her stuffed animals. Just sitting on her bed and watching her; watching her fingers slide in and out of her cunt while he knocked the dolls off the bed, making room for himself. He'd watch her come while telling her how much he loved her. How he wanted her and no one else. Then he'd kiss her before crawling in beside her and holding her while whispering things to her all through the night.

She kept her door unlocked just in case. He never walked through it, though.

~*~*~*~*~

That night Dawn wasn't content with sitting in the corner of his room, reading. She liked being down there to be near him in private. No Buffy, or Willow, or anyone else to disrupt their time together. But sometimes just being near him wasn't enough and tonight was one of those nights.

She walked quietly over to his bed. She wasn't sure whether she wanted him to wake up or not. He looked so peaceful while he was sleeping. Peaceful and dead, since no sounds came from his mouth. Sheets were loosely draped over him as she sat on the edge of his bed, watching him.

She liked looking at him alone like this when she could wonder what was happening to her; when she started needing him so bad. She used to have a crush on him so she knew what that felt like. It didn't feel like this. It scared her, these feelings she had for him. It scared her how she could get jealous about little things.

Like Buffy. She would come home from school and see them together, talking and feel something inside her tighten up. Jealousy. And she hated it. She also hated that she could tell Spike everything except this. Could tell him about the nightmares she had about the tower, about all her hopes and dreams but not about how she wanted to kiss him. He was her best friend except for when it came to telling him about the feelings she had for him.

She knew she couldn't tell him. She was too afraid of what would happen.

That he would laugh.

That he would say she was too young even though she was eighteen.

That he would laugh, say she was too young, and was nothing compared to Buffy, anyway. Would never compare to Buffy. She was the Slayer, she was the world's protector, and she was just an ancient key that didn't unlock anything anymore. Just Buffy's sister.

She couldn't stand it if she found out that's all she was to him. Just Buffy's sister. Some days she'd remember when he used to be so painfully in love with her. Totally and completely in love. So many days, hours, minutes, seconds that he'd been utterly devoted to her.

It was during those days that Dawn felt it was useless.

But there'd be other times when she thought ... that Spike felt the same way she did. The way she would sometimes catch him looking at her; the way his hand would linger against hers. The way he said her name.

He sometimes said her name differently now. The words were still the same. Dawn, Sweet Bit, and Bit ... those were his usual names for her but occasionally the words came out sounding different when they left his mouth.

Something new layered on top of the protective, sweet tone they had always had. Something that melted her. It felt like he was saying her name like a prayer nowadays, like something he shouldn't even be allowed to say. Sometimes hushed and in a honeyed tone; sometimes rich and soothing. The sound always lush and vibrant. But maybe the way he said her name hadn't changed; maybe she just heard it differently now. She wasn't sure.

Sitting by the edge of his bed, she whispered his name. She just wanted to know if it would come out sounding differently from her mouth too. It came out like a squeak, though. He didn't wake up.

Her hands couldn't keep still. She found herself pulling back the sheets just an inch. The inches soon added up until the sheets were piled by his feet. He was wearing black jeans and nothing else. His hair rumpled from the pillow as she reached out a shaky hand to touch his face.

Her fingers caressed his cheek lightly. So very lightly that at first she wasn't touching anything. Her fingertips drifted across the planes of his cheekbones as he slept. Dawn was holding her breath almost the entire time.

She sat by him closer so she could have her entire hand across his cheek. He made a little happy noise and she jumped, taking her hand away quickly. She wondered how much of her warmth he had absorbed.

When he didn't wake up she moved her hand across his chest; feeling the tight muscles there, one trembling finger grazing past a hardened nipple. His skin was smooth, flawless, and she wanted nothing more than to take off all her clothes and feel how her skin felt against his. To touch his body so thoroughly that she would know all the places by heart; all his little secret spots that would cause him to shudder in pleasure.

Her hand traveled down his stomach where she moved it back and forth gently. Her nails occasionally scraping against his skin as her hand moved up and down. He was making more sounds now. There was a soft smile on his face that hadn't been there before. Little noises and tiny gasps were coming from his mouth as she ran her hand all the way from his stomach up to his chest again.

"Dawn ..." he murmured in his sleep. The word sounded like sex. Slightly raspy and covered in a moan. She'd never heard him say her name like that before.

She quickly took her hand away, threw the sheets back over his body and ran upstairs.

~*~*~*~*~

One night Dawn woke Spike up sometime between midnight and daybreak.

"Take me somewhere," she whispered, already fully clothed. She looked down at him with pleading eyes.

"Where do you want to go?"

"Anywhere."

He grumbled but eventually gave in. It was the weekend and she already had all her homework and all her research for the latest creature of the week done.

He tried to give her that old helmet she had worn the night Buffy came back but she refused. Every time they rode together he would ask her to wear it even though she refused each time. She wasn't going to wear something that reminded him of her at that age. Didn't want him to think about her like that; didn't want to be that girl that needed protecting.

"Fine," he sighed when she refused the helmet. "Just hold on tight, then. Don't let go."

That was the idea.

Being on the back of his bike with him was the best feeling in the world. She was able to hold onto him as tight as she wanted without him being able to run away. Couldn't look awkward like he sometimes did and make excuses while untangling himself from her embrace.

She imagined that this was what sex felt like. Holding onto him as tight as possible, melding her body into his while something powerful and hard throbbed between her legs. Feeling it everywhere. The heat from the bike ran up through her thighs all the way to the tips of her fingers. She tried to give him some of this heat back by putting her hands around his waist, her fingertips meeting up around his stomach, clenching around the cotton of his shirt.

She pressed her breasts against the leather of his coat, rested her head against him and sighed into the wind. Then she tried to listen for any sounds his body made. Dawn wanted to see if she could hear his heart beating again if she pressed closely enough against him. She moved her fingers slightly against his waist and felt the tiny ways he trembled. I made him tremble, she thought, I did that.

He took her to a place where you could stand and look at the whole city. Funny how Sunnydale looked so normal from a distance. Everything peaceful and quiet.

Dawn had started smoking. She only did it when they were alone somewhere together at night. Those were the only times she would ask and he never protested because he knew she wasn't going to start smoking regularly. She only smoked when they were underneath a bed of stars.

They stood together, overlooking the city and then she turned to him. Didn't even have to say anything and he handed her a cigarette. She didn't crave the nicotine. She craved the sparks she got from it.

She held it in her mouth while he lit it for her. And that's the thrill she loved most of all. The moment where the flame from his lighter would illuminate his face and she could see his eyes looking at her in the dark. She wondered if he always looked at her in the dark like that. When no one could see.

The flame was always gone too quickly for her. She wanted to see him look at her like that all the time.

~*~*~*~*~

Groping in the back seat of a car was awkward. Especially awkward when the person you were groping and kissing wasn't the one you wanted to be with.

They were parked where everyone went to make out. Dawn could see other couples doing the same thing through her window but there was a difference. They looked like they were having fun.

Mark was a nice enough boy but he was boring. Dull. Lacked fire and passion. Didn't have anything in common with her. Had probably never read a book in his life. But she'd been out on a few dates with him that autumn because he'd told her he liked her and that'd seemed like enough at the time.

His hands were clumsy against her body and she longed for Spike's hands. The way his fingers could gracefully touch the nape of her neck. She loved how those same hands could break a demon's neck with the same sort of effortless skill.

This wasn't working. His hands were up her shirt but she wasn't turned on at all. He kept talking to her but none of the words sounded right. None of it did anything for her.

"Call me your Sweet Bit," she whispered frantically in his ear.

"What?" Mark pulled back, confused.

"Just do it," she hissed, her eyes steely and determined.

"Sure. Whatever does it for you, babe."

When she heard Spike's endearment for her leave Mark's lips over and over again she closed her eyes and tried to pretend it was him. She imagined Spike's hands against her breasts, caressing them. Mark's hands fumbled with her zipper and fumbled even more when they were in her panties. She tried to picture Spike's hands in her mind and imagine what they would feel like there.

"Keep saying it," she ordered, her voice sounding desperate.

It still wasn't working. His voice sounded nothing like Spike's. It didn't have that deep, rough, gravelly timbre that Spike's voice could take on. He never took on that tone much with her but she had it memorized from the few times she had heard it. Those times when a few words would slip past his lips that sounded low and dark, sensual. He'd look scared when that would happen and get away from her quickly, mumbling an excuse of some kind.

No, this definitely wasn't working. It was wrong for Mark to be calling her his Sweet Bit. She wasn't his.

Finally she shoved him off her. "Take me home," she grumbled.

He protested at first but relented when she fixed him her trademark glare with her arms across her chest.

Spike was sitting in the living room watching television when she got home. He would always wait up for her when she had a date but was never overbearing about it. Never acted like an overprotective brother. Just acted like a friend.

He looked up when he saw her come through the door. "Date go well?" he asked.

She flung her purse on the coffee table and sat down beside him. "Eh. Mark's majorly lacking in the brains department. And in a few other places too."

He snorted. "I could've told you that, love. Knew he was a stupid git the first time I met him."

He stared straight ahead at the screen, his jaw clenched up tight. "So ... you won't be going out with him again, I take it?"

"Nope. What's the point? I can see Mark acting like an idiot all day long at school. Don't really need to see him doing it at night too."

He looked relieved and they talked for a few more minutes before she stood up.

"I guess I better go to bed. Don't tell Buffy I was out past curfew, okay?"

"Wouldn't dream of it," he said, standing up as well.

She was excited and surprised to see him reach for her first tonight.

He hugged her goodnight and she held him as tight as she could. She hadn't touched him since their good morning hug and she'd needed this. She ran her hands up and down his back as he stroked her hair. He smelled good as she buried her head against his body. They were so close that everything felt like friction. Everything sparked. She felt a moan coming on and she bit her lip so hard to cover it that she could feel a drop of blood begin to well up. Luckily he didn't seem to be able to smell it.

He pushed back some of her hair, making his lips as close as possible to her ear. "Good night, Sweet Bit," he whispered.

She felt a noise escape her mouth then as her knees went weak but she covered it by saying good night as well. She let her hands travel upwards to the back of his head for a moment, quickly getting to feel his hair before they unraveled themselves from each other and headed to their separate bedrooms.