Disclaimer: I own none of the characters depicted here

Disclaimer: I own none of the characters depicted here. I wish I did, because then I'd be rich, but I'm not, so please don't sue me. J

Author's note: This story is sort of a sequel to my story 'Get It right This Time', but not really. It would help if you read the first story, but not absolutely necessary. This story deals with the lost time between the day Spike went back and changed time, to the moment he woke up with Buffy four months later. This is what happened in between, and how they got together. Hope you all enjoy. Oh and I know it's pretty fluffy and really romantic, but hey, that's what I like, so if you don't please don't read it and then tell me how lame it is. Thanks J           

           

                                                ~Lost Time~

            Spike sat outside on Buffy's porch, smoking a cigarette. He couldn't believe how things had turned out this time. When he had acquired Wolf's services, he never envisioned  that things would evolve into this. Not that he was complaining.

            What he had expected if he had been able to prevent her death, was that his pain would go away. He had to admit that he had completely selfish reasons for wanting her back. He didn't want to bear another day without her, or to feel the guilt and hurt that came with her death. But he did it for her too. He knew that she didn't belong wherever she was. She belonged here with her friends and the people who needed her.

            But he also knew that she had probably found peace finally. Dawn had told them all that she was calm and seemed almost happy to go. That thought had made him cringe when he found out. Flashbacks of their earlier encounter when he had told her that she had a death wish, and that part of her wanted to die, had haunted him. He hoped she would never find out that he had robbed her of her peace. Only he preferred not to think of it that way. He wanted to think that he gave her something. He gave her her life back.

He took another drag on his cigarette and thought about what he had expected to happen. He thought that things would go on just as they were before. In fact, he had almost worried that after the whole thing was over, Buffy might not let him hang around as much. Seeing as how the Big Bad was defeated, there wouldn't be any reason for him to protect Dawn anymore.

            But that hadn't been the case at all, he remembered. When he woke up the other morning in her bed, he had been completely confused. He had remembered his actions, of what to him, were only moments ago, but to everyone else, it had been months. Slowly, memories had started forming and emerging in his mind.

            He thought of things that he knew had happened, but it was almost as if he hadn't really been there. He supposed it was sort of like the spell the monks had put on everyone regarding Dawn. Everyone remembered her always being there, remembered things she had done, things she had said, only it never really happened. That was the way Spike felt now.

            He knew Wolf had warned him there would be consequences, and lost time was apparently one of them. Spike supposed he could live with that. But right now, all he wanted to do was sit and think about what had happened in the last four months. He wanted to remember everything that had led him up to this point. Remember what had led him into Buffy's heart, the one place he never imagined he would find himself.

            He crushed out his cigarette and stared into the night sky, while he began to recollect what had transpired after the fight with Glory.

            Four months previously…

Spike  walked down the street quickly. He wanted to check in on Buffy and Dawn and see how they were doing after the ordeal last night. Luckily, everything had turned out okay, and Glory and her ritual were now just a bad memory.

            Spike knew that it had been different before. He remembered that he had gone back and changed things with the help of Wolf. He also knew that he could never tell anyone what had happened. From here on out, this reality was the only reality. No one would ever know there was a time that Buffy had died. And he preferred it that way. That reality wasn't a place he longed to return to.

            He approached her house anxiously. He still remembered her words to him that night, and the kiss she had given him as a thank you.

            You're not a monster… She had told him. He smiled at that thought. He only hoped that she had really meant it. He knocked on her door and waited somewhat  impatiently for her to open it.

            He saw a shadow move by the window and the door swung open quickly. It was Dawn.

            "Spike! Come in. I was just telling Buffy again how totally cool you were throwing that guy off the tower last night." Dawn said with a smile.

            "It wasn't that big of a deal." Spike said softly, thinking about how he had failed the first time, only she didn't know that.

            "Oh, it was cool. You just don't want to brag." Dawn teased him as he walked into the front room.

            "Spike? Not wanting to brag? Is this an alternate universe or something?" Buffy said as she walked into the room with a smile.

            Spike nearly choked at her statement, but tried to play it cool.

            "Buffy. So how are you doing?" He asked nervously, not really knowing if he should have come or not.

            "Things are fine, considering last night we all could have died and the world might have ended." She said with a smile. "But mostly, I'm just tired."

            "Oh, well, I guess that's understandable." He said, for lack of anything else to say.

            Buffy looked around nervously, and then looked at Dawn who was still standing in the room watching them.

            "Dawn, could you give us a few minutes. I need to talk to Spike alone." She told her.

            Dawn let out a sigh and headed up the stairs. She had been surprised when Buffy had kissed Spike last night, but she had supposed that with everyone just glad to be alive, emotions were running a little high. But she couldn't help but wonder what it meant. She wondered if Buffy was finally going to give Spike a chance.

            Spike looked at Buffy expectantly. He wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing, that she wanted to talk to him. He braced himself for the worst, that she would tell him that he was no longer needed to protect Dawn, so he may as well just get lost again. But he silently hoped that wasn't what she wanted to say.

            "Spike, I just wanted to thank you again. I know you didn't have to do what you did, but I'm just glad that you were able to stop this whole thing. I don't think we would have made it without your help." Buffy said nervously.

            Saying things like this to Spike was not something she was used to, but she knew that he deserved some credit, and she wasn't going to deny that to him.

            "Buffy, I only tried to make good on my promise, is all. I'm just glad that things turned out okay. You have no idea how horrible it could have been." He added softly.

            "Oh, I have an idea of how it would have been. For one, we'd all be dead right about now. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I appreciated your help." She told him with a small smile.

            He looked at her, still in awe of knowing she was alive again, or rather, that she had never died in the first place.

            His stare was making her uncomfortable. She shifted nervously and began pacing.

            "I also wanted to say, about that kiss…" She stammered nervously.

            "The kiss, right." He smiled.

            "Well, it didn't mean anything." She blurted out anxiously. "I mean, it did…It meant that I was thankful, but it didn't mean…Well, you know…"

            He saw how flustered she was getting and decided to put her out of her misery.

            "Buffy, relax. I know what it meant and I know it didn't mean what I wanted it to mean. You're off the hook." He told her, slightly disappointed, but not the least bit surprised.

            "Good. I'm glad that you understand. I was just really tired and relieved and not thinking clearly and…" She rambled on to him.

            "Buffy. Point taken. It meant nothing. I get it." He told her sarcastically.

            "Fine. Good."

            The both stood there in silence, trying to look everywhere but at each other. Finally Spike shattered the silence.

            "Look, I guess I'll be on my way then. I just wanted to see if everything was alright. Let me know if you need my services again. It's not like I have anything else to do, you know?" He said in a slightly irritated voice.

            Their conversation wasn't quite was he had planned or what he had hoped for. But things could have been worse.

            She watched him walk towards the door and finally she walked after him.

            "Spike." She said grabbing his arm. "It's not like that, you know? I didn't just use you for your 'services'. A lot has happened. I think of you…Well, I think of you as a friend." She added quietly, almost unsure of whether or not she should have admitted it.

            Spike smiled at her and wanted to reach out for her, but restrained himself.

            "Friends? Bet you never thought you'd ever say that to me, huh?" He laughed.

            "Never in a million years." She laughed with him. " But it's true. You were there fighting with the rest of us. Risking your life, or unlife as it may be. That means something…to me anyway. I know I've said a lot of terrible things to you. But at the time, I thought you deserved it. But now, things are different. I see that now. " She told him.

            "They are different. Very different." He said shaking his head.

            "So, are we friends?" She asked.

            He nodded his head and looked at her.

            "Friends." He said softly then smiled. " I'll see you later."

            He walked out the door and back down the street. He couldn't help but grin to himself. He never thought he would ever consider himself a friend of the Slayer, but then again, he never thought he'd fall in love with her either. Friendship was a start.

            Maybe that's all it would ever be, but for Spike it was enough. Anything is better than the way it used to be.

            Things went on that way for awhile. Spike was there when Buffy wanted someone to patrol with. And he still spent time with Dawn. She was always coming around wanting to hear stories, or just to talk. For some reason, the girl thought that he understood her better than anyone. Maybe she was right.

            Dawn never seemed to judge him and of all the people he knew, she accepted him for who and what he was without question. She was a good girl, and Spike was glad that she was spared the pain of Buffy's demise. And also that her own life had been spared.

            Things were going pretty well for Spike. Buffy's friends had warmed up to him. Not that they would actually consider him a friend the way Buffy did, but they did let him hang around. And aside from Xander, who always had some smart ass thing to say, the put downs were less and less. Spike actually began to feel like he belonged somewhere.

            That had always been a weakness of his. As a human, he had always wanted to be accepted and part of a group. When he became a vampire, that need had stayed with him. He had been on his own for far too long, and it felt good to again be part of something. Of course, he never would have dreamed that this was the group he'd want to be in, but things change.

            One evening, Buffy had come to Spike's place seeking help with a group of demons that were lurking about. They were a nasty bunch, and Buffy had tried fighting them once before, but most of them had gotten away. They had easily overpowered Xander and Anya who had been with her at the time. She realized that she needed the big guns this time, so to speak.

            "There were five of them last time. I'm not sure if they found some friends to join them or not." She told him.

            "What sort of demons?" Spike asked her.

            "I'm not sure. The big ugly kind." She said making a face.

            "Well that narrows it down." Spike said sarcastically.

            "Are you gonna help me or not?" Buffy said with irritation.

            They had been working together for just over two months now. She liked having someone else with her that was strong, and a good fighter. Someone she didn't worry about, the way she did her friends. But things were also tense for her.

            She found herself relying on him in more ways than one. She found herself talking to him about her life and the way she felt about things. She was surprised at how well he understood her, and at how much better his words of advice would make her feel.

            She knew that things were changing fast between them and it was scary for her. She didn't want to like him or enjoy his company, but it was getting harder to deny it. He was still a pain sometimes, and their relationship certainly wasn't without arguments. They bickered all the time about everything. But Buffy slowly realized that she enjoyed that aspect of their relationship.

            Spike always said exactly what was on his mind, good or bad. When she was around him, she found herself doing the same. It was a liberating feeling to be able to say to him that he was annoying her, and not worry about hurt feelings. She had never really felt that way around anyone, not even around her friends.

            "Okay, okay. I'll help you. Do you have enough weapons?" He asked her.

            "This enough?" She said, tossing him a bag full of weapony goodness.

            "This'll do." He smiled.

            They headed out the door and went to the cemetery where the demons were supposedly hiding out. When they got there, two of the demons were outside of a crypt speaking to each other in some sort of demon language.

            "There they are." Buffy whispered to Spike, as they stopped short and hid behind a large grave marker.

            "Doesn't look too bad." He whispered back.

            Just then, four more demons emerged from the crypt and joined the other two.

            "Okay, getting a little worse, but still, we can take em'." Spike said.

            "You get them, and I'll get those other ones." She said pointing as she took a sword out of the bag.

            "Let's have a little fun." Spike smiled.

            They jumped out and caught the demons off guard. Two of them went down quickly and the remaining ones were none too pleased about the unwelcome visit.

            Punches flew and swords were swinging. Two more demons went down and now only two were left. Spike was fighting one and Buffy had the other. The one Buffy was fighting lunged for her and knocked her into a tree full force.

            She dropped her sword from the force of the impact. She kicked him as hard as she could and he blocked her kick and flipped her backwards. Spike saw out of the corner of his eye that Buffy was having some trouble, but he couldn't get there in time.

            His demon yanked a marble headstone out of the ground and pounded Spike over the head with it. Spike went down. At the same time, Buffy managed to reach for her sword and with one swift move, her demon was dead. The remaining demon witnessed what had happened. He realized quickly that he was the next to die and he hastily fled the scene.

            Spike moaned and rose to his feet.

            "Bloody hell!" He said, clutching his head. "That bugger hit me with a tombstone!"

            "Great! Now he got away." Buffy said with irritation.

            "So what? Look at me! I'm gonna have one hell of a migraine." He said sarcastically.

            "You'll live." She said exasperated.

            "Nice to see you're worried about me." Spike scoffed.

            Buffy just looked at him and said nothing. She had been worried. She had seen what happened and even though she knew it wouldn't kill him, she couldn't help but cringe to know the pain he was in. She didn't know why she was acting so coldly. Her feelings were confused and she was a little scared.

            "I should have just come by myself." She said rolling her eyes and pacing around.

            "Hey, you're the one who asked me to come. What's the big deal anyway? We got most of em'. That one was so scared he ran. I don't think he'll be too eager for a rematch." Spike said leaning against a gravestone rubbing his head.

            "But we should have gotten them all. I mean, what if there are more and now he runs to tell them and we have a whole other group to deal with." She said anxiously.

            Spike just looked at her and shook his head. She was acting very strange and he had no idea what her problem was.

            "What has gotten into you? What's so special about these guys? So what if they show up again? We'll just take em' out."

            "Oh, yeah, like you did such a great job this time." She said sarcastically.

            Spike was getting irritated now. It seemed nothing he ever did was good enough for her. So, one got away. Big deal. He didn't see the problem.

            "Okay. That's enough. I don't know what the hell your bloody problem is, but I don't care. I'm sorry that one of the nasties got away. I was a little preoccupied with being unconscious on account of being brained with a headstone. Forgive me, if I'm not as perfect as you, Summers." Spike yelled at her.

            "I never said I was perfect. Look, just forget it. Go home, Spike." She said aggravated.

            "Go home? You know what? Fine. I'll go." He said turning away from her, then abruptly turning back around to face her. "You know, I'm getting really tired of this. One day, were friends. You tell me your little problems and I listen. Hell, I even try to help. The next day, you're screaming at me for something that doesn't even matter. I can't figure you out. And guess what? I'm through trying."

            "Good! I never wanted you in my life to begin with!" She shouted at him, knowing that it wasn't really true. She only wanted it to be true. This whole argument was insane and she knew it. She wasn't really mad about the stupid demon. She didn't even know why she was mad at all. She was just trying to push him away.

            Spike looked at her and his face fell. Her words cut him, and he tried desperately not to let on. He put on a brave face.

            "Fine." He said softly as he turned to go.

            He didn't know what he had done to make her mad. He knew it couldn't have been the demon getting away. That didn't make sense. Obviously, there was more to this, but he wasn't going to bother finding out. He had had enough. He started walking.

            Buffy watched him as he moved slowly away. Her heart ached because she knew she had hurt him with her words. And worst of all, they were lies. Lies to protect herself from the fear of her feelings for him.

            But she just couldn't let him leave like that. She called out to him.

            "Spike! Wait."

            He turned around and she walked towards him.

            "Look, I'm sorry. You don't have to go." She said softly.

            "You just told me to go, now you want me to stay? Can I just say how completely irritating you are?" Spike told her with an irritated smirk.

            "I know." She said softly, wishing she could say what was really on her mind.

            "So which is it? Stay or go?" He said softly moving only inches from her.

            She looked up at him nervously. They were standing too close for her comfort, yet she didn't back away.

            "I don't know." She told him, her breath quickening.

            "You're gonna need to make up your mind, cause I'm through playing, Buffy." He said backing away from her slightly. "I'm sick of never knowing where I stand with you. Every time I think we have something that resembles a relationship of sorts, you back off. Either we're friends or we're not. Either we're partners or we're not. One of these days…" He rambled on, getting more aggravated by the second.

            "Shut up, Spike." Buffy said to him quietly.

            "Excuse me?" He said sarcastically.

            "I said shut up." She told him. He heart was racing and she knew that she was either about to make a huge mistake, she was going to be happy for the first time in a long while. Either way, she wasn't going to think anymore, she was just going to do it.

            "Shut up? That's it. I'm-" He started but never had the chance to finish.

            Buffy had reached up and kissed him firmly on the mouth, silencing his tirade. At first he didn't know how to react, but it didn't take him long to return her enthusiasm.

            She had wrapped her arms around him tightly and pushed him backwards into a tree. She ran her hands through his hair as her mouth assaulted his. She kissed him with a hunger she had been denying herself for a very long time. She was surprised at her own actions, but everything had felt so right, she wasn't going to let anything stop her now.

            Finally, she pulled away from him breathlessly. He stood there with a look of total delight and bewilderment on his face. Her kiss had come out of nowhere, but was certainly a welcome surprise. This kiss was nothing like the others she had given him. Those were kisses of thanks, this was a kiss like no other he had experienced. It was like electricity surging through his body. He never wanted it to stop.

            "Buffy…" He managed to mutter.

            "Stay." She said softly.

            He looked at her quizzically.

            "What?"

            "Stay…You asked me to make up my mind, so I did. Was that decisive enough for you?" She said with a small smile.

            He looked at her and smirked.

            "Hmm. I might need a little more clarification." He told her as he pulled her into his arms again and kissed her.

            They tumbled to the ground, their lips never leaving each other. His hands roamed her body and he longed to take her right then and there. He reached under her shirt and she grabbed his hand and pushed it away.

            He broke away and questioned her with his eyes.

            "What's wrong? Don't you want this?" He asked hungrily.

            "Yes. God help me, yes I do. But not here. Not like this. I mean Spike, there are dead demons like ten feet away." She said wrinkling her nose. "Not exactly what I'd call a romantic setting."

            "Well, then. Let's get out of here." He said anxiously scrambling to his feet and pulling her up along with him.

            "Spike. What's the rush?" She asked as he pulled her along with him.

            "Rush? My god, Buffy. I've been waiting for this moment forever. It doesn't seem rushed to me. Where should we go? Your place? Is Dawn asleep?" He asked nervously.

            "Probably." She said pondering the idea, but then quickly shaking her head. "No. We can't."

            "Why not? Although I can't promise that I'll be quiet, and well, if I have my way, you won't be either." He said seductively, pulling her into another kiss.

            She pushed him away playfully.

            "Stop. Look, this doesn't have to happen tonight. I'm still a little confused. I mean, what are we doing? What am I doing? What does any of this mean? I don't want this to be just some one night thing. I don't want this to just be all about sex." She told him, still struggling with her feelings.

            He looked at her tenderly and touched her face.

            "Buffy, it's more than that. I love you. I said it before and I still mean it." He told her quietly.

            "If it isn't just about sex, then what about the robot? What was that for? Interesting conversation?" She asked him pointedly.

            Spike cringed with embarrassment at the mention of his ill conceived robot idea.

            "Let's not bring that up, shall we?" He said shaking his head.

            "Well, it's true though, isn't it?"

            "Yes, it's true. That was about sex. It was about a fantasy that I didn't think would ever come true. It was stupid and it wasn't real, just like you said. But what just happened here, with you and me, that was real. You felt it, I sure as hell felt it."

            "I know what I felt, but…" She started skeptically.

            "That's what I felt too." He told her.

            "I'm afraid." She said quietly.

            "Afraid of me?" He asked.

            "No…Well, maybe a little." She told him, looking away. " I'm not afraid of you, but I'm afraid of what I'm feeling for you… I'm afraid of myself for feeling this way. Afraid that someday things will change and that chip of yours won't be there, and then you'll turn on me…I don't want to be hurt like that…not again." She added softly as she turned to face away from him.

            "Again?" He asked her. "You mean Angel?"

            "Yes."

            "Well, Buffy, newsflash. I'm not Angel, thank God." He said sarcastically.

            She turned to face him again.

            "I know that, but still. I loved him even though I shouldn't have and look what happened."

            "Again, I'm not Angel. Whatever happened with him isn't going to happen with me. If this chip stops working or something I'm still gonna be the same as I am now. The chip isn't a soul, as you have pointed out to me on many occasions. Everything I've done, everything I feel,  is all me. I don't need a soul to tell me what to feel." He told her.

            She smiled at him.

            "See, I don't understand that either. How is it that you can love me without a soul?"

            "Do you even know what a soul is? It doesn't mean all that much, not to me anyway. Do you ever watch the news, Buffy? You see all the terrible things that people… humans, do to each other every day? They all have souls, and they're not even using them. If people with souls can be evil, than can't someone without one, be good if they want to?" He asked her.

            She stared at him, realizing that he was making some sense. It was still confusing, but maybe he was right. Maybe it didn't mean as much as she thought. With Angel it had meant everything, but maybe he was the exception and not the rule.

            "Do you believe me? Do you believe that I would never hurt you?" He asked her.

            "I want to. My head is telling me this whole thing is crazy, but my heart is saying that I should just let go and believe." She said softly.

            "Listen to your heart then." He told her.

            She laughed softly.

            "Yeah, cause that's always worked out so well for me." She said sarcastically.

            "This time will be different. I promise." He reassured her.

            "I believe you."

            He walked over to her again and put his arms around her and pulled her close. He  buried his face in her hair and reveled in the sheer scent and feel of her in his arms. He kissed her neck softly and she looked up at him.

            "Will you walk me home?" She asked.

            He smiled at her.

            "Sure."

            They walked off together, his arm around her shoulder. Buffy was still puzzled by him and her own feelings, but she was tired. Tired of fighting it and tired of worrying. She wasn't going to live forever and she figured she may as well enjoy herself.

            They got to her house and she wanted to have him come in. It was late, past two o'clock, Dawn would be asleep. But Buffy decided against it.

            "I really need to get some rest. Tonight was just a little exhausting." She said, hoping he would understand.

            "Rest. Okay." He said disappointed.

            "Spike, it'll happen. And when it does, it'll be wonderful. It just won't be tonight. I need some time to think about all this."

            "You're not gonna change your mind again and tell me to get lost?" He asked.

            "No, I promise." She smiled as she reached up to kiss him again.

            They finally parted and she sighed.

            "You're making this hard for me."

            "That's the idea." He smirked at her.

            "Goodnight. Go home. And this time I mean it." She said playfully.

            "Right. I'll be seeing you." He said as he made himself turn around and walk away. If he looked at her another minute, he'd have to kiss her again.

            She watched him walk away and shook her head.

            "I'm in big trouble." She sighed to herself.

            The next morning she woke up grumpily. She had laid awake for most of the night just thinking about everything that had happened. How was she going to tell everyone about this? Did she even really want to? Her head hurt from too much thinking.

            She got up and went downstairs. Dawn was sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal. She looked up when Buffy entered.

            "Please tell me you made coffee." She muttered sleepily.

            "Sorry. Late night?" Dawn asked.

            "Yeah, you know, the usual. Did you get the paper?" Buffy asked.

            "No. I'll get it." Dawn said putting her empty bowl in the sink.

            "That's okay, I'll get it." She said as she wandered to the front door and undid the latch.

            She opened the door and look down to see a single rose lying on the step with a note attached. She picked it up and smiled. She unfolded the note.

            It's not as pretty as you....

            She smiled and her heart started beating fast. This was so sweet. Sometimes she wondered how he could be a vampire. It just didn't fit. Nothing he had done lately made any sense, but she wasn't complaining. She clutched the rose to her chest and closed the door.

            Dawn walked in and saw the flower.

            "Hey, who's that from?" She asked.

            "No one." Buffy said absently.

            "Did you get the paper?"

            "The what?" Buffy asked, still lost in thought.

            "The paper? The thing you went out there to get. It has news and stuff in it?"

            "No, I forgot. Look I'm gonna take a shower." She said as she ran up the stairs.

            Dawn just stared after her shaking her head. She wondered where the flower came from, but it was pretty easy to guess. Dawn knew of only one person completely smitten with her sister. Spike, she smiled to herself. It had to be from Spike.

            Buffy had tried to go about her usual business all day, but her mind was too preoccupied with thoughts of last night and the gesture Spike had made with the flower. She wanted to tell someone so bad, Willow especially, but she was still unsure how they would react.

            As day slowly turned into night she sat at the magic shop with everyone discussing last nights demon encounter. Her mind wasn't really on it, and she kept watching the door expecting Spike to walk through at any minute, but he never did.

            "Buff, you okay?" Xander asked her.

            "Huh?" She replied absently.

            "Are you okay? You expecting someone?" He asked her.

            "What? No, I'm fine. I just thought Spike would be here, that's all." She said lost in thought.

            "Oh yeah. We all sure do miss the little bloodsucker when he's not around." Xander said sarcastically.

            "Shut up, Xander." Buffy snapped at him.

            "Jeez Buffy. Relax." Xander said giving her a questioning look.

            Xander didn't know what was wrong with Buffy but she was certainly preoccupied with something and obviously a little edgy.

            "Sorry Xander. Its just…Do you always have to say stuff like that? He's not so bad, not anymore." She said, feeling guilty for the way she had snapped at him.

            "Okay. Um, since when are you president of his fan club? I know you let him help us, but really."

            Willow noticed Buffy's face and decided to step in.

            "Xander, just drop it okay. Buffy, why don't you tell us more about what happened last night. Do you think that one demon will be back?" Willow interjected trying to change the subject.

            Buffy shook her head and looked away from Xander.

            "I'm not sure. He ran away like a girly man, so probably not." She said with a shrug.

            Just then the door came open and Spike walked in hurriedly.

            "Hey. I thought I'd find you here." He said to Buffy.

            She smiled at him and then quickly stopped. She didn't want everyone to notice how glad she was to see him. She tried to act cool.

            "Yeah, we're all here. Just like usual." She said nonchalantly.

            "Well, I've got word that something is going down tonight. I thought we could check it out." He told her.

            "Oh. Okay." She said, a little disappointed that he was there on business.

            "Great. We'll all go. It's been pretty boring around here today." Xander said getting up and walking towards him.

            Spike looked at him irritated.

            "I think Buffy and I can handle this one." He said to him with an insincere smile.

            "Well maybe you'll need some backup or something. That's what I'm here for. Just call me 'backup man'." Xander said with a goofy grin.

            Willow noticed the nervous looks on Buffy's and Spike's faces. She could tell that something was going on, and she could also tell that Xander and the gang were not a welcome addition to this outing.

            "Um, Xander? Seeing as how you're so good at backup, why don't you stay here with us and back us up with some of this research?" Willow said hopefully.

            "I've been doing that all day." He whined.

            "Well, practice makes perfect." Buffy said to him, eager to be alone with Spike.

            "We can handle it. But it might take awhile. So don't wait up." Spike said with a smirk.

            Buffy turned and gave him a questioning look, then she turned to everyone else.

            "Okay. Well, I'll let you know how it went later. Or tomorrow maybe." She said nervously.

            They all watched them walk out the door.

            "Why do I get the feeling I missed a memo or something?" Xander asked.

            "I think we all did." Willow said, wondering if things had changed between Spike and Buffy. Something seemed different that was for sure. Whatever it was, Buffy would tell her when she was ready.

            Buffy got outside and found Spike's car waiting.

            "You brought the car? Where exactly is this 'thing' going down?" She asked him.

            "You'll see." He said with a smile. "Get in."

            She got into the passenger side and he slipped in behind the wheel. They sat there for a moment and Spike looked around to make sure no one was watching. Satisfied, he turned to Buffy and kissed her passionately.

            She returned his kiss and they sat there for a long while before they finally parted.

            Spike smiled at her and played with her hair.

            "Did you get the flower?" He asked her.

            "I did. It was very nice." She said still breathless from their kissing.

            "Not as nice as this." He said kissing her again before she nudged him away.

            "Spike…Not that this isn't fun, but don't you think we should be going? We might miss whatever this thing is you're dragging me to." She told him.

            "Right, and we don't want to miss that." He said composing himself and putting the car in drive.

            "So are you gonna tell me what to expect? Are we talking demons, vampires? I need a little preparation." She asked him curiously.

            He only glanced at her and smirked.

            "Well, there is a vampire, that I know for sure." He said slyly.

            "Okay. Just one?"

            "Just the one. And then there's this girl. She's pretty tough though. You don't want to mess with her." He said cryptically.

            She looked at him completely lost.

            "One vampire and some tough chick? That's the big event?" She asked him.

            "Yes…" He said, glancing over at her, noticing her bewildered look. "You're not getting this yet, are you Luv?" He asked her with a laugh.

            "Um, no." She said shaking her head.

            "Buffy. Look around. What do you see? Could it be a vampire and one tough chick?" He said trying to get through to her.

            "What? You mean…You mean us?" She laughed.

            "Bingo! Sometimes you can be pretty thick, Summers." He teased her.

            "So there is nothing going down? This was all just a setup?" She asked.

            "Now you're getting it." He smiled at her.

            "No wonder you didn't want Xander tagging along." She laughed, then turned to him. "So, then where are we going?"

            "That's the surprise." He said turning onto the main highway heading towards the ocean.

            "Are we going to the beach?" She asked with a grin.

            "Maybe. Just sit back and relax. It won't be long."

            They drove for awhile before finally reaching the spot that he had planned. He parked the car near the beach and they walked down the dunes to a secluded spot. Buffy turned the corner. When she did, she saw a blanket set out with a small bouquet of flowers lying on it.

            "What's this?" She asked curiously.

            "You wanted something romantic, didn't you?"

            He reached behind some bushes and pulled out a portable radio that he had hidden. He set it down and turned it on. Then he pulled two candles out of his pocket and set them down and lit them.

            "I can't believe you did this. When did you have time?" She asked sitting down on the blanket.

            "I have my ways. So, do you like it? It's not ridiculous, is it?" He asked, suddenly nervous. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but then again, he'd never had much luck impressing women.

            "It's perfect." She said softly, wondering who he really was. This certainly wasn't the same person she had known for years. This wasn't the same Spike who she used to beat up all the time, or even the one who used to follow her around and stalk her. This was something else. Something like human. She wondered if he really realized how strange he was.

            "I wanted it to be perfect…for you. It wouldn't matter to me where we were, but I knew it mattered to you." He said softly. "Anyway, so here we are, just the two of us. No dead bodies or cemeteries this time." He smiled.

            "Well, that's always a plus." She said sarcastically with a grin.

            "I figured you'd like that." He laughed.

            They both sat there nervously, both unsure what to really say or do next. It was an awkward moment. Finally Spike decided to speak.

            "Buffy, you know, I'm not trying to pressure you or anything. And I don't want to scare you away…" He started.

            "No, really. This is great. It's really peaceful out here, you know. I like it. I should come here more. We should come here more." She added.

            He touched her hair and pulled her close. They kissed again, and she looked at him.

            "I can't believe this is happening. I never thought I'd be here, not with you, not like this." She said softly.

            "Me neither." He agreed.

            "You do realize that this is very wrong." She said only half jokingly.

            "Of course it's wrong. But that never stopped me before." He joked. "Besides, Buffy, life is too short…"

            "Not for you." She interrupted with a smile.

            "Alright, yes, not for me, but for you." He said quietly and suddenly very seriously. "Trust me when I say that every moment counts."

            He was remembering the way things were before he had gone back and changed them. She was sitting here with no idea that he had already experienced losing her. It was something he tried not to think about. He had only wanted to concentrate on the second chance that she had been given, and the second chance he'd been given. But the memories were still there.

            "I know every moment counts. I'm completely aware that any given night might be my last." She said softly. "I really thought it was all over the night we fought Glory. I think I was ready too…But I'm glad that it didn't turn out like that." She said seriously.

            "Me too." He said barely above a whisper. He almost wanted to tell her the truth, but he stopped himself, knowing it was better that she never know.

            "But, you are right. Life is too short. That's why I'm here…with you." Buffy smiled, touching his face gently.

 "Buffy, I can't promise you that I'll always do the right thing, or say the right thing. And I'm sure that someday, some way, I'll end up screwing things up or letting you down. But I want you to know…Well, that isn't my intention. I'm still learning, you know. But I will do anything I can to make you happy. I don't want you to regret anything.  I know I'm not a great person, or even a person at all, really. But one thing I know, and that's when I love someone, it's completely and forever." He said to her quietly.

            "I know." She smiled as she kissed him again.

            "And you know, it wouldn't even matter to me if you never loved me, I'd still love you." He added.

            "I know that too. You made it clear that night at my house, before the whole Glory thing. I think that was when I really saw you for the first time. I saw you for what you had become and not just what you were."

            They looked at each other for what seemed like forever, just lost in each others eyes. Both of them still startled that they had come this far. A year ago, neither of them would have thought any of this was possible. And at that point, neither would have wanted it. But now, so much had changed. Both of them had changed.

            She leaned over and kissed him gently. Soon, their kisses grew in intensity and passion. Before they knew it they were removing each others clothing feverishly. They explored each other as if it were the first time either had been with another. Buffy was in awe of how tender he was, but at the same time he drove her wild with the hunger he had for her.

            He kissed every inch of her and her entire body felt as if electric current were running through it. He kissed her neck, and she tried to stifle the moans in her throat. She wrapped her legs tightly around him and their bodies became one, like a graceful machine. The sound of the surf pounding against the rocks soon began to drown out the sounds of their coupling.

           

            Afterwards, they laid together holding each other tightly. The blanket wrapped around them to keep out the soft chill of the sea breeze. The candles had blown out long ago, and the radio continued to play quietly. Spike caressed Buffy's hair and she snuggled in closer to him.

            "Well, that was just…Wow." Buffy said dreamily.

"Wow pretty much sums it up." He whispered in her ear.

She smiled and looked up at the moon.

"I never want to leave." She murmured.

"Me neither, but when the sun comes up it won't be near as much fun, for me anyway." He teased.

"Guess not, huh?" She laughed.

He kissed her neck gently and she closed her eyes.

"I love you, Buffy." He whispered to her.

She whispered back, "I know."

Spike kissed her again softly.

"Do you love me?" He asked, knowing it was probably stupid to ask her, but he had to know. He knew he had told her that it didn't matter, but he wanted to hear her say it. He needed to hear her say it.

Buffy turned so that she was facing him and touched his face lightly. Her feelings were still so jumbled up but they were becoming clearer. What they had just shared was nothing like anything she'd experienced before. She had held back nothing, and it felt good. Being with him felt good, despite the fact that it shouldn't.

He watched her face, longing for an answer, but also fearing it. If she said no, he didn't think he could bear it.

"Spike…" She said softly, still touching his face. "I do."

He let out a small sigh of relief and kissed her gently then pulled away.

"I want to hear you say it." He told her.

She smiled at him.

"I love you." She whispered.

He took her into his arms again and kissed her softly. He was so happy at this moment. It was a moment he never dreamed would happen. A moment he knew he didn't deserve. He almost thought it wasn't real, but when he opened his eyes, she was still there.

"You're mine." He whispered into her hair.

"Forever…" She whispered back.

         Present Day…

Spike was completely lost in thought, remembering that first night that he and Buffy were together. It was something he knew he could never forget, and  yet he couldn't believe that when he had woken up the other day, he hadn't remembered. Not at first anyway.

He didn't even hear the door open behind him. Buffy came out and looked at him curiously. She touched him on the shoulder.

"Hey, what are you doing out here? You said you were going out to smoke and it's been like forty-five minutes." She asked him

Spike was jolted out of his memories and he turned to look at her.

"Sorry. Has it been that long? I was just thinking." He answered her.

She sat down next to him and put her arms around him.

"About what?" She asked curiously.

He looked at her and smiled.

"What do you think?" He asked coyly.

"Well, you better say 'me' or I might get angry." She teased him.

He looked at her seriously and kissed her gently on the forehead.

"It's always about you, Luv. Always." He told her.

She snuggled in close to him and they sat there on her porch watching the stars. Both thinking about where they had been, and how far they had come. He knew that she would never know the full extent of what he had done for her, and he didn't mind. Everything had been worth it to end up here.

His mind was now clear and the past where Buffy had left him, was fading in his memory, replaced by the events of this reality. He knew that it had really been him experiencing everything, but he still felt like he had missed something. But that was okay, they'd just make new memories.

He kissed her gently and she questioned him with her eyes. He had not seemed the same since the other morning when he woke up and didn't know where he was. She knew something strange had happened, but she didn't know what. She supposed that he'd tell her eventually if he wanted to.

"Is everything okay, Spike?" She asked concerned.

"Yeah, just making up for lost time." He said with a smile, as he pulled her close.