A/N : I originally had this idea a very long time ago, but I always seemed to come up with others that I liked better and/or seemed easier to write. Finally this story got it's turn to be written, and here it is... well, the Prologue at least. If everything goes according to plan, this story won't be hugely long, but it will be part of a trilogy. Before I get carried away with big plans, let's see what you guys think of the beginning first...

Title : Sweet Child of Mine

Rating : PG-13

Summary : AU Season 6. Dawn jumps into the portal in The Gift, and all memories of her are erased for everyone, except Buffy and Spike. Now the Slayer and the Vampire find comfort in each other, that looks like it might be something more, until a face from the past returns with a surprise.

Disclaimer : All recognisable characters from Buffy The Vampire Slayer belong to Joss Whedon, and not to me. This is partially based on a plot arc from Angel The Series, which also belongs to the mighty JW.


"Dawnie, no!" Buffy pulled her sister back by the arm when she turned to the edge of the platform, "What are you doing?"

"I have to jump, Buffy, it's the only way" the teen protested, yelling over the deafening sounds of lightening bolts cracking the earth and the hell-spawned creatures that flew from the portal that writhed halfway down the tower, "Blood starts it, and until the blood stops flowing, it'll never stop"

"Then I'll go" the Slayer said desperately, "Your blood and my blood, they're the same"

"No, they're not" Dawn shook her head, trying t make Buffy understand, "I hate it, but it's true, you're not my sister, Buffy" she cried, tears streaming down her face, "Glory told me stuff about the ritual, she knew you might sacrifice yourself for me, and the world, but it won't work. It has to be me"

"I can't just let you go like this" Buffy told her, shedding her own tears by now but barely noticing the saltwater cascading down her face and she held onto the girl she knew to be both the Key and her baby sister, "I don't care what anyone says, you are my sister and I love you"

"Then let me go" Dawn begged, "I promise, it's the best thing. I'm not afraid, Buffy, because I know this is right, it's what I'm supposed to do. You won't even remember me when I'm gone" she shook her head sadly, "The magicks work like Glory and Ben, when I'm gone the fake memories will disappear, I won't exist"

"I won't ever forget you" Buffy swore, though of course she had no control over such things and she knew it.

"Buffy! Dawn!" Spike called to them as he appeared at the top of the tower just behind them.

Though he was badly hurt, and bleeding profusely, he knew he had to do whatever he could for his two girls. The love of his unlife and the kid sister he'd come to love just as much in a different way, they meant the world to him. He'd sworn to protect them, and he would in any way he could.

"Spike!" Dawn called back tearfully as she ran at him, hugging him tight.

He hugged her back as the tower creaked and moaned, threatening to collapse beneath them.

"We've gotta get off this tower" the vampire yelled over the sound but Buffy couldn't find words to answer him with.

She just cried as Dawn let go of Spike and came over to her. The sisters hugged each other tightly for too brief a moment before Dawn looked out at the view of the sun beginning to rise.

"Get Spike out of the sun" she told Buffy, "And you, look after her, please" she said to the confused vampire who never got a chance to ask what she meant as he watched the teen run up to the edge of the platform, taking a perfect dive into the centre of the portal that hung a few feet down.

Buffy screamed and cried as she watched her sister plummet to her death. The young girl hung in the centre of the portal, first writhing as if in agony and then with a strange look of peace covering her face. A moment later the portal closed in on itself and disappeared, taking Dawnie with it.

Spike didn't have words as the Slayer bawled like a child whose world had just ended. She suddenly ran towards the end of the platform, the tower shaking violently as she did so. Spike caught her wrist pulling her back from the edge and though she struggled to get away for a few seconds, she soon gave up. She turned and went into the bleached blond's waiting arms, sobbing loudly.

Buffy had no idea that Spike had tears in his eyes too for the loss of the little girl he'd loved like a sister. She hadn't deserved what had happened to her, but she was a brave one, to make the sacrifice that she had.

Buffy woke up with a start, sitting up in her bed. She felt cold and yet she was sweating profusely, her usual nightmare having affected her as it always did. The only problem with this particular bad dream was that it was much more a memory than sub-conscious fear. Dawn had made that terrible sacrifice, just over five months ago now, and almost every night since that tragic one, Buffy had seen it all again in her nightmares.

Perhaps the worst part should have been the guilt, the terrible feeling of knowing she ought to have been the one to die. Death was her gift, so the First Slayer had said, but Dawn's death had been far from a gift for anybody. It brought pain and suffering for Buffy, but not for her friends, and there in lie the absolute worse part of the situation.

What her sister had said about remembering her, Buffy had found to be partially true. Willow, Xander, Tara, Anya, Giles, none of them even mentioned Dawnie after the battle, they had no idea who she was, acted as if she'd never existed and had no clue about the young girls sacrifice. Only Buffy remembered her. There was a connection between the two that could never be completely severed, not even by death. Every fake memory was there in Buffy's head as well as the real ones, and there was only one person she could share thoughts of Dawn with, the only other one that recalled her sister, because the magicks didn't have the same effect on the dead.

"Spike" Buffy said to herself as she swung her legs out of the bed and rapidly got dressed in the nearest clothes.

So as not to disturb Willow and Tara, who had moved in to help cover the bills and costs a couple of months ago, Buffy went over to the window, opening it silently before climbing out and down from the roof to the ground. She headed towards Spike's crypt, a place she realised she'd come to spend an awful lot of time lately. It just seemed like a perfectly reasonable and normal thing to do these days. Whenever she needed to talk about Dawn or just be with someone who understood, her only option was Spike and he didn't seem to object to her visits.

There were days and nights now when they'd talk for hours, others when they'd sit in comfortable silence, perhaps with the TV on sometimes, it was all much different to the beginning.

The first few weeks had been harder. Buffy had to hide her tears from her friends, they wouldn't understand since they had no memory at all of Dawn and it was probably best if it stayed that way. She'd visit Spike when she could, without the Scoobies knowing, and usually cry on his shoulder til she felt a little better.

Part of her had known even then how wrong it was, to allow a supposedly evil soulless creature like Spike to hold her in his arms, to comfort her, but he needed a little comfort too, she realised. He cried, she knew he did, when she wasn't there, and sometimes even when he was holding her and she couldn't see his face. He'd loved Dawn in his own way, and though she'd like to deny it, in some ways he loved her too.

Buffy reached the crypt door and opened it carefully. Gone were the days of her kicking her way in with a crash, almost scaring Spike more to death if he was asleep or concentrating on the TV. He was a target for demons after all, now he was both the Slayers fight partner and lap dog to boot.

"You're running late, pet" he told her, climbing up the ladder from the lower level, "Usually see you before now"

Buffy didn't have a smart comeback, a witty pun, not anymore. The look in her eyes told Spike his semi-joke wasn't what she wanted right now.

"Come here, pet" he urged her and she hesitated just a moment before walking over to him and falling into his waiting arms as if she might cry, but no tears came.

"I had the dream again" she said, her words muffled against his chest but with his vampire hearing he still understood what she'd said.

"Seems to pop up in my head more often than I'd like too" he admitted as he held her tight, "'S a funny thing" he smirked, "Even now sometimes I think she's here. Reckon I catch her scent or hear her voice calling me to get my ass up here and entertain her"

Buffy laughed painfully at that, her chuckle turning into a sob, and then a cough as she tried not to get too upset. She pulled away from Spike just slightly and looked up at him.

"I do it too" she admitted, "Sometimes when Will or Tara come home, I hear the door, just at the right time, when schools out..." she bit her lip and tried to force back tears, but one escaped down her cheek.

"I know it hurts, luv" Spike said gently as he reached his hand out to her face and wiped her tear away with his thumb.

She flinched away from his touch and he frowned.

"You don't" Buffy said a little too coldly, "You don't have to face the others every day, all of them carrying on like everything's a-okay" she said, turning her back on him, "but it's not, and it can't be, not ever"

"It can, pet" Spike told her, "It will, you just have to give it time" he told her, considering approaching her but deciding against it as she stood with her back to him, hugging herself.

Sometimes she still got mad at him, for reasons he couldn't really determine. It was just the grief, he told himself, trying to cope with more than a young woman her age should ever have to.

"Time" she echoed his last word, choking on a sob right after, "Do you know what today is?" she asked turning back to face Spike who nodded slowly.

He hadn't been prepared to be the first one to bring it up, just in case Buffy didn't want to talk about it, but he knew.

"She'd be fifteen today" he said softly, noting that it was past midnight and therefore now officially the Little Bit's birthday, or at least what the monk-made memories said it was.

"We always made such a big deal on her birthday" Buffy smiled slightly at the memories, "Sometimes I was jealous, with her being so much younger she got the kiddy party thing way past the time I was too old for it" she sniffed, "but there was this one year, it was just a few weeks after we moved to Sunnydale. Mom rented the carousel in the park, but Dawnie hadn't made any friends yet, so it was just us three going round and round for hours" she cried, loving the memory but hating to remember all she'd lost, "Now there's just me, and I don't have anyone to..." her sentence disappeared as tears overtook her again.

Unable to bear seeing her in such pain, Spike moved towards her and pulled her back into his arms. She didn't struggle at all, just enjoyed being held by a pair of strong arms and comforted by the one person who seemed to understand her.

To Be Continued...

A/N2 : Reviews would be great, I love to read all your opinions!