"Maybe it's hiding over there."

Buffy sighed, sticking the point of her sword in the ground and leaning against the handle. "Xander, you've been dragging me around the woods for almost half an hour. Are you sure you saw a demon out here?"

"Yes. It was a big, nasty demon. With horns—and green scales."

Buffy cocked an eyebrow. "Earlier you said they were blue."

"Green…blue…it's hard to tell in this light."

"What were you doing out here in the woods anyway?"

"Going for a nature walk."

Buffy scrutinized Xander for a moment. He was nervous, and Buffy didn't think it had anything to do with a fear that a demon could attack them at any moment. "What's going on?"

"Nothing!"

"Why so jumpy then?"

Xander's gaze darted around, landing briefly on everything around but Buffy. "I'm not jumpy."

Buffy pulled her sword out of the ground, letting it swing at her side as she walked towards Xander, forcing him back against a tree. "Tell me what's going on."

"There's nothing going…"

"Now!"

"Giles told me to distract you!"

"Distract me? Why would…" The sword fell to the ground. "Spike."

"Buffy…"

Buffy knew she'd have time to yell at Xander later—after she was sure Spike was safe. She turned, running from the woods, ignoring Xander as he called after her.


Spike woke with the distinct feeling that something was wrong. As he saw a stake plunging towards his heart, he knew what that something was. He reached up, grabbing the stake and knocking his attacker to the ground.

Spike pumped up, looking at the man who'd just tried to dust him. "Watcher?" he asked in disbelief.

Giles didn't say anything, instead getting to his feet, pulling out a second stake, and charging at Spike. Spike fended off Giles again, this time hitting him hard enough to knock the Watcher unconscious.

Spike clutched his head, anticipating pain. It didn't come. He kicked Giles's leg. Not even a slight twinge in his head, never mind the usual blinding pain.

Before Spike had time to contemplate the meaning of this development, Buffy burst into his crypt. She ran to Spike, wrapping her arms so tightly around him that had he not been a vampire, breathing would've been an issue. "I was so worried I'd be too late, and…" Her voice trailed off with a sob.

"Shh. I'm fine, pet. Don't cry. He didn't hurt me."

Buffy loosened her grip slightly, looking up at Spike. "What did happen?"

"Your Watcher tried to stake me in my sleep." Spike stepped back, revealing the unconscious Giles. "It didn't go so well."

"Is he…"

"He's just sleeping, Buffy. When he ran at me the second time, I knocked him out." Spike met Buffy's eyes. "It was surprisingly unpainful for me."

Buffy looked down, away from Spike's intense gaze. "The chip isn't working anymore."

"This happen when you and Soldier Boy took on the Initiative?"

"Yes."

"You weren't going to tell me, were you." It wasn't a question. It was an accusation.

"I was! Maybe." Buffy sighed. "I don't know."

"But you told Giles. That's why he was here today—because you told him I could kill again."

Spike's anger was evident, and Buffy admitted to herself that he had every right to be furious. Her actions had almost gotten him killed. "I'm sorry. I didn't know Giles would try something like this. I never would've told him if I'd thought…"

"What did you think he was going to do? Throw me a 'Welcome Back to the World of Killing' party?"

"I'm sorry! I just didn't think, all right!"

"No, it's not all right! And not just because you told Giles. Because you didn't tell me. What did you think I was going to do, Buffy? Did you honestly think I'd turn my back on this—on us?"

"I…I didn't know what you'd do."

"Then you don't know how much I love you."

"I do! Spike, I do. I just wanted to be…cautious about it."

"Cautious like the way you went and sold me out to your bloody Watcher?"

"I made a mistake! And it's not like I thought you'd definitely go on a killing spree, but…"

"You thought I could."

"Spike, you're a vampire. You kill. It's your nature."

"Take your Watcher and go."

"Spike…"

Spike grabbed Buffy, pinning her up against a sarcophagus, slipping into game face. "Better run, little girl. The vampire might get hungry."

"Spike, please, don't do this."

Spike dropped her, walking away, and disappearing through a trap door on the other side of the crypt. Buffy slumped against the sarcophagus, tears falling down her cheeks. After a few moments, she heard Giles groan as he sat up, clutching his head.

"Buffy?"

Buffy turned, her eyes cold. "How dare you?"

"What I tried to do is what needs to be done. If you weren't so blinded, you'd see that…"

"No. What you tried to do is murder the man that loves me."

"Buffy, that monster…"

"If you go after him again, I'll let him kill you."

Giles's eyes widened. "Buffy, you can't be serious."

"I am. Stay away from Spike. He's my concern—not yours."

"Buffy…"

"Get out of here, Giles."

"Right."

Buffy stayed behind after Giles left, wiping at her eyes as she hoped Spike would come back. He didn't.

Finally, Buffy left the crypt.


Spike stared into his beer. He wasn't sure what number this was. The bartender had tried to cut him off earlier, but one flash of Spike's demon face had put an end to that.

"You looking for some company, handsome?"

Spike looked at the woman beside him. He could hear her blood pumping in her veins, could imagine what it would taste like filling his mouth. "She thinks I'm not good enough, so why shouldn't I do it?" Spike wondered aloud.

The woman reached down, rubbing Spike's leg. "Exactly, baby. Why shouldn't you?"

Spike picked up his beer, finishing it quickly. He looked at the woman again, giving her a slow smile. "Do you want to come with me?"

"I'd love to baby."

Spike took the hand she had placed on his thigh, leading her out of the bar and into the alley in the back. He brought her into a dark corner, then dropped her hand.

"This isn't exactly what I had in mind," the woman said, her lips curling down into a slight frown. "Why don't we…" She stopped, her words shifting to a scream as Spike's features changed.

Spike spun her around, pressing her back to his front, one hand going over her mouth to muffle her screams. "I was trying to be good for her, you know. I wanted to be a man for her. I loved her so much, but that couldn't just be enough. She couldn't just trust me, couldn't believe what I meant when I told her I loved her."

The woman trembled in Spike's arms, the scent of her fear filling the alley. Spike leaned down, his fangs brushing against her neck before he pulled back up. "I shouldn't give a bloody damn about her. She's the Slayer. I've killed two Slayers in my day. Killed 'em both before I was even a hundred. No other vampire can claim that. And that little bint, she should've been the third. I should've drunk her blood and crushed her bones. Stupid chit!

"But I loved her. I loved her, and she couldn't trust me not to kill!"

Spike leaned in again, biting the woman's soft flesh. The first rush of blood flowed into his mouth, and…

Buffy. He could see her face, could see the look of horror and disappointment that would be in her eyes if she stood in front of him now. He pushed the woman away. Looking at her as she stared up at him, her hand clasping her neck wound.

"I'm…I'm sorry…" Spike said, not sure who he was even apologizing to.

He stumbled out of the alley.


Tap.

Tap.

Tap.

Buffy woke, glancing around her dorm room, disoriented. She was alone, Willow having gone to spend the night with Tara. So where was that noise coming from?

Tap.

The window, Buffy realized. She got out of the bed, going to her window and peeking out just in time to see Spike throw another small rock, hitting the glass. She opened the window. "Spike, what are you doing?"

"I need you, Buffy!"

Buffy blushed at his loud, obviously drunk voice. Anyone awake to hear this was going to have a field day with gossip tomorrow. "Come up here and talk to me," Buffy called back down with a sigh.

Spike smiled at her, then stumbled towards the entrance to the dorm. Buffy sighed, hoping he actually managed to make it up as she shut the window. She went to the mirror, smoothing out her hair. After a few minutes, there was a knock at the door. She opened it, and Spike fell in.

"I'm so sorry, Buffy," he slurred as Buffy struggled to support a drunk, fumbling vampire. "I'm just a bad, bad man."

Buffy sighed, carrying him to her bed. She went back to the door, shutting and locking it before sitting beside Spike, running her fingers through his bleached curls. "No, you're not."

"I am. I am. I tried to feed tonight, Buffy."

Buffy's heart clung to one word. "Tried?"

Spike nodded. "Couldn't do it. You'd hate…you'd hate me forever. Couldn't…couldn't go on like that."

"I know. And I believe that you can change—that you can change for me. I…I love you, William."

Spike stared at her. "Buffy…no, you don't mean that. I was going to kill a girl tonight. I was going to kill her."

"Did you?"

"No."

"You faced the monster inside of you, and you fought back. The others may not believe you can be a better man, but I do. I do. I believe in you, Spike."

"Buffy…"

"No, just listen to me, okay? You said you loved me, and I know what that means. I did from the beginning, I was just scared. But I'm not afraid anymore. And you don't have to be either. You're not alone anymore. I'm here with you now, and no matter what we have to face in the future, we will—together."

Buffy looked down at Spike's face, realizing that he was crying. She leaned down, kissing a tear as it rolled down his cheek. She stood up, taking off his boots and then his shirt. When she reached for his belt buckle, Spike gave her a questioning look.

"Pet?"

"I want you to sleep here with me tonight. I need you holding me."

Spike nodded and let her finished undressing him. She then took off her own clothes before slipping beside him in the bed.

"I love you, Buffy," Spike said as she nestled into his arms.

Buffy placed a soft kiss on his neck. "I love you, too."


Buffy woke still in Spike's arms. He was sleeping peacefully, a small smile on his lips.

"This is perfect," Buffy thought. "This is happiness."

She kissed him gently before lying against his chest again. She knew they had a rough road ahead of them, but she still believed what she'd told him the night before. They'd make it through together.

Buffy knew Spike didn't have a soul, but she found that that bothered her less than she thought it would, now that she'd let herself accept Spike in her life. He didn't need a soul. He loved her. She loved him.

And that was enough.


And that folks, is the end. Hope you liked it! Leave a review or send me an email to let me know what you thought!

Thanks for reading!