Disclaimer: Joss is amazing, he is my hero. My stories would not be possible without him seeing as I am borrowing everything, own nothing, and have nothing to be sued for.
Timeline: During/After season 6 episode As You Were; AU after that.
Previously Posted as As You Weren't. Changed title to include more of season six.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

"I'm using you. I can't love you. I'm just ... being weak, and selfish..."Buffy moved to turn away.

A single word sliced through the all-too melodramatic silence that followed, "Rot."

"Excuse me?" Annoyed and tired from saying goodbye to two lovers today, Buffy wasn't looking for a comeback from the blonde vamp.

Spike, however, wasn't having any of it." Rot, all of it. You can't love me? You're afraid to love me. You haven't loved anyone since your precious little Angel and guess what- you got hurt. And now, you can feel it, building up inside of you. I'm a worthy opponent, an equal. You could love me. And it scares you. It scares you that you could find someone as strong as you and who would be there with you who isn't sodding Peaches."

"You think this is about Angel?" A disbelieving Buffy stared at him with wide eyes,"It's not. I would deny that a part of me will never stop loving Angel, but the rest of me moved on." She stared at him with her mouth set in a thin line of determination.

Spike however, seemed amused. "You moved on. Hmm, to who? Parker? Captain Cardboard? You can't honestly tell me that you could them when they...," He took a step toward her, "couldn't..," Another step,"..keep.." another, "up." Spike now stood right in front of her.

She stared at him, head-on, unfazed, "You honestly think I never got over him."

He gave her one of those looks that could melt her insides, "I honestly think you never tried. Or did I miss the Buffy date-a-thon?" A friendly twinkle crept into his eyes.

She wasn't taking the bait. As quickly as Spike could blink she was across the room pacing herself into a frenzy.

"Well, you know, you're right." She was good at sarcasm, really good, "I mean, after Riley left, I should have just gone out and tried to find me a man to lean on. But, oh wait, then my mother died," The evident pain crept into her voice, "Oops, guess I'll have to tell that perfect guy to move our date to the next week. But then, gosh, there's a hell-bitch trying to kill my sister and destroy the whole world in the process," following the pain, anger became the dominant emotion in her voice, "I guess saving the world again, takes the front seat to coffee, huh?" A tilt of the head completed the picture of a mightily pissed-off Buffy, "But after that was over, I should have spent the summer dating and getting back out there, except, silly me, I forgot.. I was dead."

He quickly strode into her line of pacing and put his hands on her arms, effectively stopping her. "Buffy, stop. Look at me," The look on his face was serious, and demanded her attention, even though it was barely smiling, " I love you. I've loved you for a long time. Hell, I think part of me has always loved you. To risk sounding like a cheesy pop song, I think I loved you before I even knew you existed," Buffy tried really hard not to smile, "You have a strength. It radiates off of you in waves and we unworthies bask in it. It's not the slayer thing. Who else but you could go through all that you have and still be standing? You've stopped the Master, the Mayor, a Hell-god, and hell, you even stopped me." She smirked, "I love you. I've been hurt before. I've felt like I was torn apart inside, and I can still say it and feel it and love you with everything that I am. And I do. I love everything about you with all of my heart. I'd do anything for you. I'd die for you- more."

At this Buffy pulled away and turned her back to him. Spike was afraid he'd pushed too much, taken things too far. As he reached for her she turned."

"You think you can just say that?" She was openly crying, "You think that you can do all that you've done and come back? That after everything I've put you through and you put me through that you can just stand there and say those things and I'll run into your arms and we'll just be... what? Happy?" She was ranting now, there was no denying it.

"I'm saying what I feel. And I think it's about time you did too. Life is painful. It's taking chances and doing something other than cutting yourself off and trying not to feel anything because you're afraid. So, what do you do?"

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >

Might be a one-shot. Trying to develop into an entire story. Reviews are really appreciated.
spikeluvver91