Disclaimer: I own nothing but the story, and even that can be easily stolen.
They went to each other every night. They both knew the one couldn't sleep without the other. Crawling through her window, he lay down beside her, wrapping his arms around her he held her until she fell asleep. For months, this is how it had been, starting one night when she had come running into his crypt, having just escaped from demons she couldn't handle alone.
"I-I couldn't fight them. It was just too much- I couldn't do it!" she sobbed, scared out of her mind.
" Shh, it's all right, pet." He said to her soothingly, taking her into his arms.
" Are y'out of you bloody mind, trying to patrol by yourself? Y'should always have somebody with you"
"I know." She sniffed. "But they were all busy and Buffy doesn't get back until next week."
"It's okay now. Come on, you're exhausted. Lets get y'some sleep."
He had carried her over to his bed and lay her down, making sure she was comfortable. He had always had a soft spot for her. As he turned to leave, she had grabbed hold of his arm.
"Please stay with me." She had pleaded, "Just until I fall asleep."
He had just nodded, laying down next to her. Soon, she was asleep, but he hadn't wanted to let her go. Here, with his arms wrapped around her and listening to her breathe, he was the most content that he'd ever been.
'God, she's beautiful.' He thought, looking at her sleeping face. Her thick lashes, long brown hair, her soft skin; it was all perfect, all unique.
Laying there, Spike felt something that he hadn't felt for a long time; the need to protect her, to go to sleep every night next to her, and have her be the first thing he saw when he woke, to never be away from her. He loved her.
The next might, she came, and as if in silent agreement, they lay down in bed/ He put his arms around her, and held her. This went on night after night, but tonight, he knew she wouldn't be coming. Buffy and Willow were back home.
Spike lay in bed, trying to sleep. Over the time his sleep schedule had changed so much that he actually slept through most of the night now. But not tonight, not without her next to him.
Sighing, he sat up. He knew Willow was out with the gang and wouldn't be back for a bit. If she couldn't come to him, he'd go to her, even if it was just for a few hours.
She was awake, rolling around trying to get comfortable in bed. She couldn't. She heard her window open and felt him lay down next to her. Moving closer to him, she sighed contently and drifted off to sleep.
It was almost sunrise, time for him to leave. Luckily, Willow hadn't come home last night. He hated tearing himself away from her. He wished that he could lay with her forever; but he couldn't, no matter how much he wanted to.
Slowly untangling himself from her he stood, looking at her sleeping form one last time before climbing out the window and racing against the coming sun.
She woke with the sun shining in her face, and knew that she was alone. She hadn't woken up alone for what seemed like such a ling time, and she realized that she didn't like it. She loved waking up in his arms, knowing that she was safe, content, loved. Love. It sometimes hurt how much she loved him. He was everything to her, all she needed. She had no idea how to tell him, or even if she should. It would kill her if he didn't feel the same. Having him love her back was all that she wanted.
She would go to see him. Today.
" I have no idea what I'm going to say to him." She thought. But it didn't matter. Today, she was going to go and pour her heart out to a vampire. And soar or crash, she'd at least know that she'd done it.
When she arrived at the crypt, she paused outside the door, contemplating. How did she know that this was real? Only a bit ago, she didn't even like guys. How could a person fall in love this soon?
" I can't do this." She spoke to herself, turning around to leave. Before she could even take a step, the door swiftly opened, as if by itself. Cautiously, she stepped inside to find Spike behind the door.
"I could smell ya from downstairs. Figured when y'didn't come in that you had either been attacked or forgot how t'open a door." He said, a smile on his face.
She looked down "I came to talk to you." She spoke quietly.
Spike felt the smile slip off his face. Here it came, the talk that he had been dreading. She was going to tell him how wrong this was, how she couldn't keep on doing it, that she loved Willow. She had come to break his heart.
"Well, come sit down then." He muttered, striding off to one of the two chairs in the crypt. She followed him hesitantly. He could smell the fear pouring off of her in waves. She was afraid of him now? He felt his heart crack. He felt like he was dying again.
She had no idea what she was going to say. He was fine a minute ago, but now he seemed angry. She didn't know how she was going to do this.
"Spike," she began, "I-I just want to thank you for being there for me so much. I don't know why any of this h-happened, but I'm glad that it did. Thank you." She started to fiddle with the bracelet on her wrist.
"But it has to stop. I can't just-"
Spike stood up and walked to the fridge, hoping that she didn't see the tears that were threatening to pour out of him. How could she do this? Just come in here and tear out his hear. He hoped that she would stake him in the end. At least then the pain would stop.
She stared after him, shocked that he'd just walked away. She stood up angrily, tears in her eyes.
"I can't just keep on doing this Spike! It hurts too much to be so in love with you and so close to you and know that I mean nothing more to you than a l-little sister! I can't do that!" She was crying now, but she was too angry to notice. She'd done it. She'd said it. And now she was leaving before she killed the jerk.
"And, you know, I didn't expect you to say anything, more than 'I don't want to ruin our friendship' or something stupid like that, but you could at least have the decency to not walk away!"
Spike lifted his head. What did she say? She loved him? He couldn't believe it. None of the women he had loved had ever really loved him back. He didn't know how it could've started now. He was unlovable. He turned to see her heading towards the door.
"Do y'mean it, pet? That you love me?" He called after her quietly. She stopped.
" I wouldn't say it if I didn't." she whispered.
He walked towards her and put a hand on her shoulder, turning her to face him. He cupped her face in his hands and looked into her eyes.
"I love you too." He spoke softly, as if afraid for her to hear.
"That's why I loved holdin' you at night, because when you were asleep, I could tell you."
Tara looked up at him, her vision clouded by her tears. He loved her? That was something she hadn't been expecting. She looked in his eyes, filled with love, and knew that he was telling the truth.
"I don't want to wake up alone again Spike." She said, a smile tugging at her lips. Spike answered her smile with one of his own.
"You never will, luv. For as long as y'live, you'll never wake up alone. Promise."
With that he leaned his head down until his lips met her own, and kissed her in a way she knew she'd never forget. She forgot about Willow, he forgot about Buffy, and together, like this, they were at peace.