Both titles for Time Future Contained in Time Past & this one are from T.S. Eliot, so I doubly disclaim but recommend his poetry.
I disclaim. Owning this is but a dream.
Kind of old, dug it out, brushed the dust off & thought "What the hell?" Hopefully it will keep you sort of entertained.
Set season 6, although exactly when would be telling. Also known as "Chicken Soup for the Vampire's Soul".
He knows he's dreaming, but he smiles anyway.
This is the night everything changed.
It's not the one you think.
Buffy-bot is alive and so is Dawn.
He said that every night he saves her.
She only assumed when.
They're gathered in the Magic Box, another secret Scooby meeting he wasn't invited to, but he doesn't care.
He's never been a Scooby.
Not that he wants to be.
The Gang think he doesn't know, but after a century of living with a crazy woman he understands cryptic language.
Xander scowls. "Who's looking after Dawn?"
"She's at Janice's." He doesn't like the bint but it's not something he's going to argue about tonight.
He winces. "Patrolling."
Do they realise he hates the Bot so much because it represents the dirty, hateful, horrible parts of himself that no one should have to see and that, contrary to his Big Bad claims, shame him? Bot is a constant reminder of the dichotomy of his nature: he is evil that desires to be good and is caught in a grey middle.
There are no self-help books entitled 'Devil to Angel: Moral Revolution for Undead Dummies'.
On nights like this, he almost wants to call Angel…
…Right after he calls Glory for fashion advice.
A swift glance around the shop reveals what he needs.
Her Scoobies are still whispering about the Spell.
They think she fell to Hell.
He knows she flew to Heaven.
That's the trick.
If he's wrong, he'll never forgive himself.
If they're wrong, he'll never forgive himself.
He's damned either way so he damns himself.
He's never been one to leave his own destruction to others.
Dawn needs Buffy.
So does the world.
So does he.
Buffy doesn't need the world though.
He can spare her this last pain.
The urn of Osiris breaks so easily when his duster sweeps it onto the floor, accidentally of course.
He mutters "Oops!" such an un-Spike like word that they should react but don't. "Bugger. Sorry, pet."
Anya glares. "You'll have to pay for that."
As if he would not give his un-life to keep her from living this hell.
He throws money down on the counter and no one thinks to ask how he knows the exact cost.
There are tears in all their eyes now.
"Every night I save you."
He never said from whom.