This could be considered a sequal to Damned. Or it could just be a oneshot. Depends on what you want, I guess.

Doesn't matter the season, really. Probably 6. Just a little fic on what would happen after Dawn was caught with everything bad.


She doesn't say anything when he enters the room. But, to be fair, she hasn't really talked in a while. She just lies on the couch and stares at the ceiling. She doesn't eat. Doesn't drink. She takes a shower everyday. And she sleeps, but only for a few hours at a time.

He thinks it's his own punishment for her doing this.

"I got you some food," he states as he sits the greasy, brown bag on the counter.

She doesn't say anything, but looks his way.

An improvement.

"I know you're hungry, love. I can hear your stomach from here," he drawls with a gentle voice. Sometimes he wonders if he was just too gentle and nice and that she needed shock therapy.

Then he gets a sharp pain in his head and remembers that's not the best way.

"Come on, Niblet. Please, just do something for me and eat this."

She slowly gets off the couch and walks over to him. Her movements are slow and painful. He can hear her bones rubbing together and the heavy breaths she takes in. He wants to just go over and carry her, but he knows she would shut down and freeze. Her body makes it to the counter and she has to sit down.

"I got you what you like. A ceaser salad with grilled chicken. I got myself some fries, but if you want some, you can have them." He smiles at her and she gives a small smile back.

"Thanks," her raspy voice answers. He was sure that when she finally talked, dust and moths would come out of her throat.

She takes a couple of bites of the salad and then pushes it away. It hits her stomach hard and she gives a little grunt. Her face goes blank as if she's thinking. He stops his eating and waits.

"When am I going to leave, Spike?" she asks, turning her gaze downward.

"When you get better, baby. Buffy told me to keep you-" he starts, but she interrupts her.

"Until what? I am better! I haven't done anything bad to myself in weeks. I've been here for months it seems. And I just don't understand why I'm here," she cries, her vocal cords getting used to talking.

He takes her hands in his and watches helplessly as a couple of tears slide down her pale face. She hasn't said this much since she first got here-three months ago.

"Dawn, it's not that you haven't done anything bad, it's that you don't know how to take care of yourself. Buffy thought it would be better if you stayed here until you learned that. This shouldn't be a punishment, love. You just have to learn to put yourself first."

He walks over to her and gives her a hug. And for the first time, she returns it. Her hands are clawing at his back and her face is embedded into his chest. He lovingly rubs her back and tries to ignore how prominent her spinal cord bones are.

"We're going to get you better, pet. I promised you," he starts pulling away and making her look into his eyes. "But you're going to have to help too. I can't do this if you don't want to get better."

She nods. Her face blanks over as if she's thinking again, but it washes off. And she walks back to the couch and lies down again.

He wishes that she would improve. It was so hard for him to watch her wasting away every day. He did all of this for her. He bought a nice apartment that she could stay at, spent all of his time with her. But it didn't matter. She didn't understand what she was doing to herself. Her brain didn't recognize that it wasn't right for her to live the way she did. Drugs and sex and booze and self-mutilation. It was like she didn't have a conscience. But she would sacrifice herself for a stranger, so he knew it wasn't true. She just didn't have a conscience for herself.

It was like her life didn't matter.

He watched her as she drenched herself in silence; putting herself in a misery induced catatonic state.

He would be her bloody conscience, if that's what it took. He loved the girl too much to give up on her now. Like everyone else did. He had forever to teach her, so it wasn't like time was the matter.

"Thanks Spike," she whispers, bringing herself out of her zombie-like mode. She gives him a quick smile, then turns to stare at the ceiling once again.

"No problem, platelet," he says while smiling. "No problem at all."