Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc. etc.

Rating: PG

Summary: Spike thinks about love as he watches his girl sleep…

Spoilers: Takes place post-­"Chosen"

Author's Note: This is a little drabble taking place after my fic Daylight. You don't have to read that one to know what's going on here, just know that in it, Spike gets the Shanshu after the end of the "Not Fade Away" and ends up with Buffy.

As She Lays Sleeping

By: Addie Logan

I spent most of my existence searching for love. Desperate for it, really. I wanted to experience what I failed to force into words. Wanted to feel it, to have more than a taste.

I thought I had it once. For over a century, I made myself believe I knew real love. Killed for it. Died for it. Convinced myself I'd found my destiny, even when I could look into her eyes and see that what I felt wasn't there looking back at me.

I've done horrible things in the name of love. Turned my mother into a monster. Murdered and tortured countless innocents just to see my lady smile. Tried to hurt the woman I swore had my heart...

Though I've done good things for love, too. Saved the world. Won back my soul. Sought penance for sins I can't bring myself to name.

Searched over a hundred years for love, and seen all sides of it. The dark, the light—the in between. Wrote poems to its muse and bathed in the blood it wrought. Felt it tainted, felt it true.

But I never knew how deep it could go until there was her.

What I felt the first time I held her and could hear her heart beating with mine was like nothing I've ever felt before. I could feel peace and fear mixing inside me, coming together in a love so strong it made me ache. And I knew in a moment was it was to love with every piece of your heart and soul.

And as I watch her sleeping now, I feel it all again. She's so soft, so pure, that I'm ashamed of the monster I was. I know what I would have done to someone like her once upon a time... But there's a strange sense of gratitude there, too, knowing that without that long journey through the darkness, I never would've come to this light.

I once yearned for something "effulgent." Looking at her, I know I've found it.

Even if the Powers that Be felt that I was worthy enough to be granted new life, I'm not sure I deserve what I've been given now—this perfect love I feel for her, all the joy I can experience just by looking at her face.

I run my hand against her cheek, calloused against soft perfection. She needs me in a way no one else ever has before. She needs me to fight for her, to keep her safe. And I will. If it takes the last breath from my body, I will.

I've died for love twice. For her, I'd gladly do it again. Her life means more to me than mine ever could.

She makes a noise, a tiny sigh, and I smile. She's beautiful. Flawless in my eyes, every bit of her as it should be. I reach out for her hand, and even in sleep she holds on to me, grasping tight. The warmth that fills me is near-overwhelming, my chest aching with the strain to hold it all.

I do understand love now in a way I never could before. It's not meant to burn, to consume until there's nothing left. It's meant to make you whole. It doesn't tear you apart. It makes the pieces fit.

She makes it all click. Gives me purpose like I never had before. She's the center of my world.

And she's not even a month old.

"She's beautiful, isn't she?"

I look up, smiling at the woman lying across from me, our infant daughter between us. "Yeah, she is."

Buffy leans over and kisses me softly. My golden goddess...the woman who brought this precious treasure into my world. She pulls away with a smile, her head going back down to the pillow as her eyes close. I reach for her hand and link my fingers with hers, our arms draped over the child we created.

I press a soft kiss against the baby's forehead before I settle back down myself. Her innocence reminds me of the sins I have behind me, and I wonder if I'll ever be able to tell her where I've been and what I've done. And if I ever find the way to tell her, will she be able to accept who her father used to be? Will she see me for who I am, not who I was?

But that's a thought for later. Only one thing matters now, little girl.

Your daddy loves you. And he always will.

"I want to hold you
Protect you from all the things I've already endured.
And I want to show you
Show you all the things this life has in store for you.
I'll always love you,
The way that a father should love his daughter...

So I wanted to say this
'Cause I wouldn't know where to begin
To explain to you what I have been through
To explain to you where your daddy has been."
—"Zoe Jane," Staind

This is a depature from the sort of fics I usually write--short and first person POV--and I'm really not sure about it. So please, let me know what you thought. I'd really, really appreciate some feedback on this one...