Xander burst through the door of Spike's crypt in a panic. "SPIKE!"

The watchful vampire stepped back as the door crashed open. The book he held in his hand fell to the floor. "Harris, what the bloody hell are you doing here?" "Some of us are a little bit busy and don't have time to be concerned with whatever's got your knickers in a twist. . . Xander was the last person he expected to see at his crypt, which meant something happened that he wasn't going to like. "Is it Dawn or Buffy?"

"They're in the hospital," Xander said, as he met Spike's eyes.

"Why?" Spike asked, jumping up and grabbing his coat. Both of his girls were in trouble? One, he could deal with, but two? Both of them needed him. Dawn had only been to the hospital once, right after her sister died and Spike did not like the visit they had had there. However, he had never known Buffy to be sick enough to go to the hospital. As far as he knew, Buffy didn't get sick.

"Angelus…he…raped them." Xander remarked sadly with a hint of anger but he couldn't say anything else as Spike took off into the night. He sighed in frustration and took off after the vampire as fast as he could. He caught up to Spike right outside the cemetery as Spike was unlocking the door to the Desoto. "We found Buffy at the mansion and Dawn in an alley. Dawn was screaming for you."

The blonde vampire turned to look at Xander with golden eyes. "Why are you not out looking for Tall, Dark and Forehead? That's where I'd be," he growled, his voice dangerously low.

"Buffy and Dawn asked me to get you," Xander said, getting in the car, not waiting for an invitation. "So just drive and don't ask questions."

Spike had never taken orders in his life, with the possible exception of his slayer, so the car ride was filled with nothing but questions.

At the hospital, Willow and Giles were with Buffy in her room. Spike ran into Buffy's room first, his heart pulling him toward her. He left the whelp in the car, not bothering to wait for the boy when he came looking for his girls. He was speechless as he stared at Buffy's broken body. There were tubes and wires everywhere, and a machine was beeping. He knew very little about hospital machines but he knew that Buffy was hurt, badly. The scent of her blood wafted in the air, faint, but it was still there.

Willow noticed Spike and went over to him. "They were both awake and they asked for you. But now they are heavily sedated on painkillers." Willow glanced at her comatose friend. "I'll give you guys some time," she said, leaving with a protesting Giles.

Spike crossed the room and sat next to Buffy in the chair that Willow had vacated, his vampire hearing ignoring the rant that Rupert was having about him being alone with Buffy. "Pet? You need to wake up. The Whelp came to get me. Should have known something was wrong. Hadn't heard from you for some time, thought I did something to upset you. Should have felt that something wasn't right. He said Dawn asked for me. Red said you wanted me here too. Well, here I am," he whispered, his voice catching. He picked up her hand and held it to his lips. A few tears slid out of his eyes, unsure of her condition. Her heart seemed to be okay but it wasn't normal. The fear of losing her was catching up to him quickly but he couldn't push it away as he had been able to in the past.

Something must have registered because Spike felt Buffy squeeze his hand. "Pet?"

Buffy grimaced as she was engulfed in pain. "Spike," she whimpered, clutching his hand as much as she could in her weak state. Her eyes fluttered open and they were filled with tears and pain.

"Shhh… I know. You're gonna be okay," he breathed, kissing her hand. He was relieved she at least squeezed his hand even though she was weak.

Buffy tried to get up but Spike carefully pressed her back into the lumpy hospital bed. He was trying so hard not to hurt her or piss her off but with Buffy he never could tell. "You aren't going anywhere."

"Dawn, he . . . he has her. I need to go find her." Buffy whimpered fearfully, as she struggled against him weakly. Why wouldn't he let her go? Doesn't he love Dawn too? He should be out looking for her not here trying to be a hero. "Let me go, Spike. I have to find Dawn. He's going to hurt her."

"No, she's here," Spike said, soothingly. "Harris said you both were here."

"Is . . . she okay?" Buffy asked, not sure if she wanted an answer.

"I don't know. I just got here," Spike said, regretfully. "I don't know where she is exactly but I'm sure she's close by."

"Go see her. Lemme talk to everyone else and send them home. Then I'll tell you what happened," she said.

"Don't you think you should rest?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Don't you think you should do as I say and not argue with me?" Buffy retorted.

Spike sighed and kissed her forehead. "I'll get your mates and then I will be back to make sure that you are resting. You're in no position to be giving me orders, Slayer."

Buffy looked up at him with a vulnerable gaze. She wanted to go home. She hated hospitals, but Spike didn't know that and she had no intentions of telling him. He squeezed her hand before leaving. It wasn't long before her friends were piled into her room. Anya had joined the group and Buffy wasn't about to wait for Spike to tell her about Dawn.

"Has anyone seen Dawn?" Buffy asked, worriedly. "Is she okay? Is she hurt badly?"

"I was with her," Tara said, shyly. "She's doing as good as can be expecting. Her room is next door to yours."

"But she's okay?" Buffy questioned, looking at the blonde witch.

Tara sighed and ducked her gaze as Willow squeezed her hand. "She's hurt Buffy," she whispered. "I'm not going to lie. She's hurt, but she'll heal. Physically. Emotionally, you're in for a ride with her."

"What does that mean?" Buffy asked, tiredly.

Willow looked at her girlfriend then at her best friend. "Buffy, I'm sure it's nothing to worry about. She'll be okay. She's a Summers."

Buffy sighed in defeat. She was very tired but she doubted she would get any sleep in this place. The goodbyes between her and her friends fell upon unheard ears. Buffy just nodded and words fell out of her mouth without her even thinking. She was grateful when they finally left but she felt the absence in her room immediately.

Dawn looked worse than Buffy. Her face was a mass of bruises of all kinds of colors. His demon growled deep within him at the smell of her blood. She was bleeding from somewhere but it didn't seem to be a cause for concern. Her arm was in a cast which he assumed meant that Angelus broke her arm. Angelus liked to torture his victims, especially young girls. He knew Dawn would be no exception. He sat next to her and picked up her left hand, gently, being careful not to hurt her worse. This visit to the hospital was much worse then when Buffy died. He hoped it would be his last visit where it concerned his girls.

"Nibblet? I'm here. Should have been there before. Should have known something was wrong. Come on. Open your eyes and let me know you're okay." Spike put her hand to his forehead and sighed. He had cried enough when he saw Buffy; tears weren't going to change the reality of the situation.

Dawn squeezed his hand and if he had been human, the strength of her grip would've broken his hand, painkillers or not.

"Nibblet?" Spike asked, hopefully.

Dawn opened her eyes and they filled with tears. "Spike?" She rasped with a dry throat.

"Shhh. I'm right here and I'm not leaving." Spike brushed a lock of her hair back.

Dawn flinched at his touch, and he pulled away quickly.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he whispered. His heart broke at the thought that she thought he would hurt her. He never had in the past, but Angelus had his ways. Spike couldn't wait to get his hands on his sire but he pushed that thought to the side for the time being.

Dawn knew that but it didn't really matter to her. "I know and I'm sorry," she said sadly. "Can you just sit with me and not touch me?"

"Yeah," Spike said softly as he slowly sat next to her on the bed so that he didn't scare her. He didn't touch her but he didn't want to be away from her. "Buffy is uh…she's in the room next to you."

"Is she okay?" She asked.

"Yeah. I won't let anyone hurt you. Never again," Spike vowed. "But you should get some sleep."

Dawn snorted bitterly. "I should," she muttered. "Doesn't mean I will. But you'll stay with me, right?" She bit her lip nervously, afraid that he would say no, so that he could be with Buffy. Buffy was always strong and didn't have to act like a baby every time things got bad.

Spike nodded and got up to move the non-cushy chair over next to her bed. "Yes," he said. "I'm going to stay."

Dawn relaxed slightly as he laid his head on the mattress. She couldn't deal with his touch right now, but she did need him close to her. "Just . . . please don't touch me right now," she pleaded.

Spike nodded and looked up at her. "I won't," he promised. He wanted to hold her but he knew even if she let him touch her, he couldn't do that. He at least wanted to hold her hand or do something to help her forget what Angelus did to her. He wondered how long it would be, before he was allowed to comfort her again. "I'll make sure no one else does, either."

After a while, Spike's fatigue caught up with him and he dozed. His senses were still alert and he was between Dawn and the door. So if anyone tried to come in, they would wake him in the process. Dawn, however, couldn't sleep. She couldn't get Angel and the pain that he caused her out of her mind. Her first time was supposed to be beautiful and gentle with someone she loved, not with some monster who just wanted to hurt her. She shuddered in her hospital bed and tried to sleep, but it was a long time before she was able to close her eyes without seeing his face.

Spike woke after what felt like minutes, and Dawn was still sleeping. There was a little bit of sun streaming under the heavy drapes, causing Spike to curse himself for not paying attention as closely as he should have. He looked down at her, taking her face and trying to see how bad she was hurt. The bruises on her face had faded a little bit but she didn't have the slayer healing abilities that Buffy had, it would take some time. He rubbed his face, and got up to stretch his legs. His emotions were conflicting with each other. The concern for his girls was very strong and out weighing his urge to go and kill Angelus. He didn't think Buffy would be able to stop him, no matter what Angel meant to her.

The doctor came in shortly after but he had the decency to be quiet enough not to wake the sleeping girl. "You must be Spike," he said, softly, as Spike stood in front of Dawn protectively. "The older man that was here with Buffy Summers said that someone named Spike might be around. You fit the description that he gave me."

"Yeah, I am," Spike muttered, crossing his arms. "I don't like her and her sister being left alone."

"Well, that's why I suggested I move in here," Buffy announced softly, as she was wheeled in to Dawn's room. Her bed was put right next to Dawn's. Her face looked better; her slayer healing had taken care of the purple bruises over night. The smell of her blood didn't hit Spike like it did the night before, only Dawn's blood met his nose.

"How are you feeling?" He asked worriedly as he went over to her. At least he was allowed to be near her without her flinching away. He slowly reached out to touch her hand and didn't get much of a reaction but no reaction was better then a bad reaction.

"I'm okay. I'm better now that I'm with Dawn," she said, reaching out to touch Spike's cheek. She looked at the doctor with a raised eyebrow. "Can we have some time alone?"

The doctor went over to Dawn and gave her another sedative. "I think you and Dawn should rest," he said, softly. "Without visitors. Dawn will be asleep for a few more hours but you should sleep as well."

Buffy sighed and bit her lip. "Trust me," she said, looking back at the doctor. "Spike won't prevent us from getting sleep. I promise."

The doctor sighed. "I'll back in a little bit to talk to you and your sister," he said, putting her chart on the door. "Try not to let your blood pressure rise. I want you as calm as possible. Same with Dawn."

"They'll be fine," Spike finally growled as he got annoyed. "Tell me what happened?" Spike asked, as the doctor left.

Buffy sighed and wrung her hands nervously. She was hoping to avoid this conversation for a little bit longer, but now that Spike had brought it up, she knew he wouldn't let it go. "Angelus… he kidnapped me and Dawn. I remember waking up… I was chained to the bed and I think Dawn was in the bed next to me. We…were blindfolded but he was doing something to her. She was crying and screaming in pain. I couldn't break my chains. I just couldn't get to her. I don't know what he did to me, but had I been myself I would have been able to break them easily. But I couldn't. I was just helpless." Buffy spat out the last word and clenched her jaw at the memory of being so powerless, a new feeling for the Slayer. "I think she passed out after a couple hours," she whispered.

"I sensed him coming over to me. I braced myself. He slammed in to me and he… went further than I thought possible. When I struggled, I just made it worse." Tears flowed down her face as she remembered Angelus laughing at her. She had just left Spike's crypt and she was covered in his scent. Angelus had called her a whore and a lot of other things that Buffy had tried to tune out. She thought he'd never let her go. "I promised myself I wouldn't scream, but he…he bit me. I lost so much blood."

Buffy paused to collect herself and wiped her tears. She looked over at her sister and kept her voice low and very calm. "He fed from me a lot, so I was delirious. When I woke from passing out, we were chained from the ceiling. He was… he was doing something to her again. It seemed like he was doing it to torture me because he knew I was helpless. He was doing it for hours and she screamed herself hoarse. She screamed so loud that I felt the walls rattle. After a while he stopped, let me loose, but I couldn't do anything but fall to the floor and he took Dawn," she whimpered, as she finished.

"He dumped her in an alley. I'll kill him," Spike said, looking at Dawn, with a clenched jaw. His sucked his cheeks in as he unconsciously growled, but Buffy's voice made him calm down.

"Spike," Buffy whispered, pleadingly. She had to admit that she felt a little better that she told him. He always knew what to do but this had to be tearing him apart inside. She tugged on his sleeve to try to get him to lay with her and to get his attention off of Dawn. There was nothing they could do for her at the moment but let her sleep. No reason for Spike to be upsetting himself more then he already was.

Spike climbed in bed with her and she curled up against him. "She looks bad," she sniffled.

Then Angel came in the door.

Moving at inhuman speed, Spike had him up against the wall in the hall. "Don't EVER come near my girls again or I'll kill you," he growled, in a deadly voice. "I should kill you right now."

"Get out of my way, boy. I got my soul back," Angel said. "I need to talk to Buffy."

"You're not going anywhere near them. Look at what you did to them! To Dawn! Do you know how old she is?" Spike snarled, angrily thrusting him up against the wall again. He really didn't think Buffy would let him kill Angel in front of her, not without having a go at him first.

"Angel, I don't want to see you right now," Buffy said desperately from her hospital bed.

"We have to talk," Angel said, struggling against Spike. "It was my fault and I'm sorry. It was a spell gone wrong. It wasn't supposed to get out of control like this. We need Angelus for something and he escaped. But I didn't think he would even think about you or Dawn."

"I don't care," Buffy said, closing her eyes. Her head throbbed as a headache began to develop. "I don't want to talk about this now. Spike, you can let him go, for now. Please."

Spike released Angel roughly when he heard the plea in her voice. "She doesn't need you," he said, going back into the room.

Angel sighed; he had never seen Spike that angry. He wasn't going to fight with him at the hospital but he would be back. He left in his usual broody manner and headed to a hotel. He had to figure out what happened while he was Angelus. His memories of what had happened were very vague. He had to make Buffy understand what happened. What was Spike doing there anyways? The last he knew, Spike and Buffy were enemies, or at least hating each other. Of course last time he saw Spike, his childe was having him tortured. Buffy choosing Spike over him was not something he wanted to get used to, regardless of his tension with Buffy. He would talk to Buffy when his pig-headed childe wasn't around. He needed to call Cordelia and check on Connor. He didn't think he would be going back to L.A. for a few days and he didn't need a search team coming to look for him.

Dawn stirred shortly after Angel left and her eyes fluttered open. "Buffy?" she rasped, seeing her sister next to her.

"Dawn," Buffy whispered, trying to get up.

Dawn tried to get up as well but she was in too much pain.

Spike went over to Dawn slowly in case she was still frightened and wanted space, his anger for Angel having dissipated when Dawn woke up. "Nibblet, you okay?"

"I want to go home," Dawn whimpered.

"I know you do, but I don't think the doctor's gunna let you."

"Nice to see you're both awake," the doctor said as he came in. "Dawn's painkillers were supposed to have worn off right about now. Someone alerted me of a commotion as well. Is everything alright?"

"Things are okay now," Buffy sighed, her head still throbbing. "Doctor, we want to go home."

"Dawn needs to get more rest before we can release her," the doctor said. "Neither of you have been here very long. You should stay for at least one more day. Dawn hasn't healed enough to be moved but I'm curious as to why you have healed as much as you have."

"I heal fast," Buffy said, simply with a tone that said not to argue.

"I'll rest better at home," Dawn said. "I'm more comfortable there and if there are any complications Buffy or Spike will bring me back."

That night, Spike carried Dawn into the house. Buffy and Dawn had argued with the doctor for close to half an hour before the doctor let them leave. Buffy limped to the kitchen after telling them she was calling her friends to let them know she was okay and that Dawn and her needed one night alone. Spike looked at Buffy closely. He didn't want Harris or the Watcher giving her a hard time about him staying here, but he took Dawn upstairs, despite her protests that she could walk.

"Spike," she whimpered, when he laid her in bed. "I don't want to be left alone. He might come back."

Spike toed off his boots and draped his coat over Dawn. "He won't hurt you, I swear. Buffy said Red did the de-invite spell. He can't get in." he said softly. "But I'll stay with you."

Dawn smiled when he pulled 'his' sleeping bag out of her closet. He had used it all the time over the summer and she had kept it even after Buffy came back. He laid it out on the floor next to her bed and she threw him a pillow. "Goodnight, Spike," she whispered, her eyes falling closed.

"Goodnight, Platelet," Spike mumbled lovingly, listening to her heartbeat and Buffy's as he thought of the million and one things he was going to do Angel, soul or no soul.

Buffy managed to convince her friends to leave her be for at least a day, and she quietly maneuvered her self upstairs. Her inner thighs were still tender but other then that, she was healing physically with few other problems. She stopped at Dawn's room and peeked in the open door. She smiled when she saw them asleep in her room. She carefully made her way over and kissed Dawn's forehead, then looked down at Spike on the floor. She knew he wasn't asleep but she would allow him to keep up his act. She smiled before going to her room to get some sleep.

In the morning, Spike was on his knees with his chin resting on Dawn's bed, thinking about everything that had happened. Dawn had whimpered a lot in her sleep but there wasn't much Spike could do but whisper to her and rub one single finger over the back of her hand. He had given up on sleeping and had been in the same position for the past several hours.

When she finally woke up, she mumbled his name.

"Morning, Nibblet," he said, smiling a little bit. "Feeling better?"

"A little. I want to take a shower today, though," she said, carefully pushing herself up and out of bed.

Spike steadied her and made sure she could walk on her own. "I'm gunna check on Buffy, you okay?" Spike asked, not caring about touching her at the moment.

She looked at his hand on her elbow for a long moment but she didn't flinch, causing Spike to smile to himself. "I'm fine," she said, looking at him before going to the shower.

Spike knocked on Buffy's door. "Pet?"

"Hmmm?" Buffy mumbled as she swam back from unconsciousness.

Spike walked over and sat on the edge of her bed. "How are you feeling?" he asked.

"Fine," she said, managing a small smile as she sat up. "How's Dawn?"

"Stronger. She went to take a shower," he said, raising an eyebrow. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"Yes, I'm fine," Buffy said. "I promise. A shower sounds like a good idea." She looked at him for a long time with a look that Spike couldn't read, making him worry slightly. "Thank you."

"For what?" Spike asked softly.

"Pretty much everything. You make me happy," Buffy said, running her hands over his face. "And I know you wanted to make sure Angel fit in an ashtray, but it means a lot that you didn't."

"Um . . . yeah. About him. What are you going to do?" Spike asked, a growl rumbling deep in his chest. "You can't just excuse what he did to you and to Dawn. It was wrong and he is not going to get away with this."

"I don't know. Honestly, I don't think I could face him," she whispered, leaning against his side. "I know it wasn't him but Angelus is still a part of him. I do want answers, though. Who performed that spell and what caused it to get out of control? Then I think I'm going to beat the crap out of him to make myself feel better."

"I can kick his ass first," Spike said, stroking her hair. "Soften him up. Then you can have your go."

Buffy couldn't help but laugh but she sobered quickly. "It just scares me," she whispered. "He raped me and he raped Dawn. I can deal. It's what I do. Deal with pain.. Between being ripped out of heaven and now this? Should be one big party around here with the dealing of stuff. But what about Dawn? She isn't going to let it go or deal with it like I'm going to"

"I have to sit here and watch you and Dawn suffer and I can't do anything about it. Dealing with rape isn't part of your job description. Neither of you should have ever gone through that," Spike said with frustration, leaning his head against hers gently. "But I'm sure that she'll be okay. She's tough. You know she is. She's going to be upset and scared for a while, but I'll be here. We just can't push her to be okay. She's going to be unpredictable, especially when it comes to Peaches. And if she needs it, we'll get her a counselor."

"You are doing something about it. Being here," Buffy said gently. "That's all we need right now."

"But Dawn comes first. You know that, right?" Spike asked, hopefully. He had been so focused on Buffy these past few months that he hadn't taken care of Dawn. He wasn't going to break another promise to either of his girls. Never again.

"Spike, I like having you around and I like that you take care of Dawn. And I want you around," she whispered. "I want us to go back to the way we used to be. As friends."

"That sounds like a good idea," Spike agreed, a smile touching the corners of his mouth.

Buffy picked her head up to look at him. "You are a part of my life and a part of Dawn's. Can you stay with us? I mean, I don't really feel like being alone and I don't think Dawn wants to, either. I wouldn't know what to do if she woke up from a nightmare or something. I wouldn't know what to do if she had one. Mom always used to take care of that stuff and then you did when I was gone and last night."

Spike raised an eyebrow at her words. "I can stay," he said. "You rest for now. I'm going to go and call your friends. Let them know you're okay, but I won't leave if you need me."

Buffy nodded and smiled a bit when he pulled the covers back over. "Thank you, Spike," she whispered, her eyes falling closed. Spike had been her closest friend when she came back from heaven and she had come so close to ruining that. She hoped she would be able to fix it and try to repair their friendship. If they happened to share something more, then so be it. But she would cross that bridge when she came to it.

Spike smiled and kissed her forehead. "You're welcome, Pet," he said gently as he went toward the door. "I love you."

Buffy smiled in her sleep at his words as he went downstairs to make his phone calls. Things were bad right now, but he promised himself he would make things right. Even if he had to kill the poofter himself. Angel was going to pay for what he did, whether or not Buffy changed her mind and fell for Angel's pity act.