"Where are you lil Bit?" Spike worried as he scanned the dispersing crowd of unfamiliar faces. If he lost Dawn, Buffy would never forgive him. Spike had volunteered to chaperone Dawn to a local Ska band because neither Buffy nor any of the other Scooby's wanted to go. He figured that his helping out Buffy by relieving her of the duty would score him some 'good guy' points, and it also helped that he to liked Ska bands as well as hanging out with Dawn.

The night was still young; it was just turning 10:30. Spike was told to have Dawn back home by midnight, so he had at least an hour to find her he rationalized to himself. Most of the concert goers had funneled out leaving the stadium very barren with no Dawn in sight. 'She must be waiting for me in the parking lot,' he reasoned as he hurried outside. He cursed himself, "Why did I let her go off with her sodding friends?" It was then that He saw her leaning on the hood of an Oldsmobile, and he felt instant relief, that is until he noticed she was swaying slightly and holding a beer.

Spike filled with rage as he approached her, "What in bloody hell do you think you're doing?" he yelled.

Dawn giggled, "Hey Spikey," she slurred as she stumbled to her feet.

Spike glared at the small group of six highly intoxicated teens, "That's enough for you pet; we're leaving now," he huffed grabbing her wrist and tugging her towards his motorcycle.

In return Dawn yanked her hand away screeching haughtily, "You're not my father! How dare you! You're embarrassing me in front of my friends," she growled.

"Dawnie please, you know I'm supposed to be lookin' out for you. And how do you think big sis will react findin' out you been gettin' all pissed."

Dawn rolled her eyes, "I doubt she'd be around long enough to notice," she finished her response with a hearty gulp to which Spike grabbed the can from her crushing it and tossing it across the parking lot.

"Fine, have it your way," Spike snorted quickly picking Dawn up and slinging her across his shoulder.

Dawn gasped squealing in surprise, "Spike put me down! Put me down right now!"

Spike ignored her protests continuing to walk to his bike. Dawn flailed and kicked as she started to cry, "I can't believe you did that to me!" she wailed; "Now I'm going to be the laughing stock of the whole high school! And, it's all your fault!"

Spike sighed setting her down gently besides his bike, "Lil bit, I'm sorry I had ta do that, but I'm supposed to have you home in an hour and a half. You're not makin' me look like a very good chaperone goin'all AWOL on me. I thought I could trust you ta stay out ta trouble."

"Well, I guess you can't trust me," Dawn hissed, "Besides, the only reason you took me here was so Buffy would be like 'Oh Spike you're such a cool guy for getting Dawn out of my hair,' You don't care about me."

Spike grabbed Dawn's chin using his other hand to gently wipe away her tears, "Dawn you know that's not true. What about all that time we spent hangin' out at my crypt? I don't right think Buffy was all to keen on that I might add.

Dawn smiled, "No, I guess you're right," she then giggled softly looking Spike in the eyes, "Do you want to go chill out in your crypt then? You did say we still had an hour or so?"

Spike shook his head as he watched Dawn stagger over to the bike and straddle it, "You ain't gonna fall off are you?" Spike couldn't help a small chuckle.

"Ohhh… Spike… I think I'm gonna be sick," Dawn moaned.

"Right then," Spike jumped into action and pulled her hair out of her face as she leaned to the left spewing the contents of her stomach. "Watch the leather pet!" Spike whined as he moved his jacket out of harm's way.

"Ohhh," Dawn groaned as she laid her head on Spike's chest.

"Done now?" Spike asked as he patted her shoulder to comfort her.

Dawn nodded, "Mmhmm…" "Good. Now then, we need to sober you up. We'll get you some bread ta soak up the alcohol and lots o' water," Spike said trying to remain calm.

Spike looked at his watch 10:53, 'This could work… I hope. Buffy will stake me after this lil bit if'n it doesn't,' he thought bitterly.

"I just want to lie down," Dawn whispered almost inaudibly.

"Push up lass," Spike coaxed Dawn so that he could hold onto her as they rode off. 15 minutes later the bike rolled into the graveyard. Spike carried the semi-conscious girl into his crypt and laid her on his bed. "I'll be right back Dawnie; just stay put," he said heading for the door before pausing and doubling back for a trash can to put beside the bed, "If'n ya feel you're gonna let loose… well, you get the point."

Dawn gave him a half nod before closing her eyes.

"I've have a mind to drop the lil git off in front of her house and speed away; not my problem Buffy's lil sis is an alchey!" Spike justified to himself on the way back from the grocery store. "No, can't do that to Buffy or Dawn," he sighed as he pulled into the driveway.

Dawn was passed out and it took several minutes to raise her out of a sound sleep. 'At least she hasn't puked anymore; that is a good sign,' Spike noted as he handed Dawn a glass of water and a slice of bread. It was 11:26, and Spike knew there was no way Dawn would be sober by midnight. He started to think of an alternate method of operation. Dawn was a little more coherent now.

"Come on luv, we're gonna head you home now," Spike said helping Dawn to her feet.

"Can't I just sleep here tonight," Dawn mumbled.

"Oh right! That would go over just peachy with big sis," Spike scoffed, "No, you're goin' home, and with any luck, we can slide under the radar if'n we slide in the back."

"Do you think that'll work?" Dawn queried doubtfully.

"Well, it's worth a try. Why? You got a better suggestion?"

Dawn shook her head no.

"Buffy should be out patrolling still, so let's hurry up. We just might make it out ta this one with our skins intact," Spike stated sarcastically. It didn't take more than ten minutes to walk to Buffy's house, and Spike was glad the walk seemed to sober dawn up slightly.

Spike noted that all the lights were still out, "Good, she's not home yet," he sighed in relief. He really didn't wish to explain this little mishap to Buffy. The two crept up to the back porch and quietly entered.

Dawn tripped and started to giggle hysterically. Spike helped her to her feet hushing her, "Shh! Do you want to get caught?" he scolded angrily.

"No," she chortled gleefully.

"Then shut your sodding mouth," he whispered as he listened intently for any movements coming from upstairs and the living room. There was no sound. "Ok Dawnie, let's get you to bed," Spike grunted helping Dawn up the stairs and to her room. He laid her down," Night pet," he smiled kissing her on the forehead. "Next time ya want ta go out on a limb and drink yerself stupid, leave me out of it ok?" he chuckled.

Dawn just smiled, "Night Spike," she sighed as she rolled over on her side. 'That was definitely cuttin' it too close,' he sighed to himself wearily as he closed her bedroom door and slinked down the stairs.

Spike had no sooner reached the bottom of the stairwell when the living room was flooded in light. Buffy had just entered the front door and was hanging up her coat. "Buffy!" Spike blurted out a little startled, "Hiya luv; happy hunting?"

"Spike… Oh… Yea, I guess. We nailed two vamps at the…," Buffy stopped in mid sentence as the realization dawned across her features, "Hey, why is it so dark in here?"

"Oh yea, well ya see, I was just sayin' goodnight to Dawn, and I figured might as well turn the lights out before leavin' and all," Spike stumbled out.

Buffy gave him an odd look, "Before you got downstairs to leave? Why not just wait until you left?"

Spike thought about it momentarily before getting an offended look on his face, "Well I am a creature of the night luv, you know vampire. Hello?" It was a weak lie Spike knew, but Buffy seemed too tired to question him further. "Ya feelin' alright luv?" Spike asked concerned.

"Hmm? Oh yea, just a little tired is all. I'm going to go say goodnight to Dawn, and then I'm going to hit the sack," she yawned.

"She's already passed out," Spike interjected quickly; "You wouldn't want ta wake the poor girl would ya?"

Buffy's brow crinkled slightly as her stare turned into a glare, "You wouldn't be hiding anything from me would you Spike?" she questioned in a none too friendly tone.

"Hide anything? No! I was just tryin' to be considerate is all," Spike scowled looking hurt at Buffy's accusations.

"You were just up there!?! I doubt she'll have fallen asleep that quickly," Buffy snipped.

"She'll probably be awake if'n ya keep bloody yellin' and carryin' on like that," Spike countered sarcastically.

"Spike just… never mind," Buffy sighed agitatedly.

"Oh, I see how it is, poor Buffy's had a long night, so what better way ta let off some steam than dig your nails into ol' Spike," Spike admonished.

Buffy took in a deep breath and was about to spit back a venomous remark when she thought, 'Maybe I am being a little tough on Spike. After all, he did take Dawn out for me,' her face softened, "I'm just being snippy because I'm tired Spike. I'm sorry," Buffy admitted.

Spike nodded, "Is alright luv, I understand."

"Thanks again for taking Dawn to that concert."

"No fuss at all, I'm glad I could help you out pet," Spike replied sauntering over to Buffy with a sly grin.

"Don't even think about it," Buffy crossed her arms giving Spike a stern look.

"Course not luv," he smirked as he grabbed the doorknob, "Well, sun'll be up in a couple of hours, and I think I'll let you get some sleep," he finished as he exited.

Buffy watched him leave giving a stretch as she climbed the stairs. Buffy peeked into Dawn's room to hear a symphony of delicate snores. Buffy smiled at Dawn's sleeping form as she quietly closed the door and headed down the hallway to take a nice hot bath.

Spike chuckled to himself feeling rather clever. He had gotten away with it, and Buffy was non the wiser. 'I might as well go on ahead and head over to the Underground and get in a couple of rounds of kitten poker,' he thought as he looked at his watch and noticed it was only 12:15.

Buffy poured herself a cup of coffee and grabbed the plate of bacon and eggs she'd prepared for Dawn into the living room and set it on the table. She glanced at her watch; it was 10:30, and Dawn had still not come downstairs. Dawn had always been a morning person; she was up by 7AM most days. "Well, I guess I better go wake lazy bones up before her breakfast gets cold," Buffy said to herself as she climbed the stairs and knocked on Dawn's door. After three knocks and no answer, Buffy entered Dawn's room. Dawn laid on the bed the sheets kicked on the floor and her mouth agape. It was then that Buffy noticed that Dawn had not changed into her pajamas and was still wearing the clothes she had worn the night before.

Buffy walked over to her bedside, and the smell of alcohol was evident. Buffy saw red, all she could think was, 'Spike took Dawn out drinking! That bastard, how could he!?!' "Dawn, wake up!" Buffy growled as she shook Dawn's arm roughly.

Dawn awoke with a start, and her eyes rolled back in her head as she moaned, "Ohh, Buffy… stop… my head… it's killing me."

"You mind telling me what happened last night for starters?" Buffy fumed.

Dawn's eyes fluttered before focusing in on a very irate Buffy. 'Oh god! He told her!' she thought as her mouth opened to respond but nothing came out. "Well?" Buffy tapped her foot in anticipation, "This had better be good, cause I'm telling you from where I'm standing, you're looking at a world of grounded."

Dawn sighed, "I guess I deserve that."

"Yea, I'll say," Buffy interjected sitting on the corner of Dawn's bed.

"Listen, I know I'm not supposed to be drinking, and I'm really sorry I let you down," Dawn whispered as she looked down ashamed.

"If you're so sorry Dawn, why did you do it?" Buffy queried.

"I…I… don't know, it just seemed so right at the time," Dawn pouted.

"Did Spike get you drunk?" Buffy quipped.

"No! No, he… he, it's not his fault really."

"Not his fault?!? Dawn, you came home drunk, and the fact you were drinking at all is his fault," Buffy roared standing up as her furry grew.

"No, you don't understand! Spike didn't even know about it. I bumped into some of my friends at the concert, and Spike let me go hang out with them. I was the one who snuck out into the parking lot, and I was the one who chose to drink. Spike didn't even know I was drinking until the concert got out," Dawn lamented.

Buffy listened to Dawn her lips pursed in anger, "I know you want to stick up for Spike Dawn, and I appreciate you being adult enough to fess up for what you did, but the fact of the matter is, Spike was supposed to be your chaperone, so that something like this didn't happen. Not to mention, Spike completely omitted the fact you'd been drinking to me. He just swept it under the rug so that he didn't have to take responsibility for his lack of good chaperoning," Buffy's voice grew louder and louder as her anger mounted.

Dawn looked at Buffy surprised, "You… you mean he didn't tell you? Then I mean how?"

Buffy heaved a sigh, "Besides the fact that your room smells like a brewery? You know Dawn, I was 15 once to, and I understand peer pressure," Buffy laid a hand on her shoulder, "I worry about you Dawn. I just don't want to see you get hurt."

"I know Buffy; I really let you down huh?" Dawn mumbled.

"I'm not going to lie and say I'm not disappointed, and since this is a first offense, I'm letting you off easy with a week's grounding," Buffy stated.

"A week! But Hot Topics is having a sale next Saturday!"

"Would you rather make it two weeks?" Buffy asked lifting a brow to which Dawn scowled and replied, "No."

Buffy continued, "Good, that means no T.V., no computer, and no phone…"

Dawn interrupted, "But what am I supposed to do then?!?" Dawn squealed.

"I don't know, maybe your homework," Buffy responded.

Dawn just huffed defeated growing silent having nothing more to say that wouldn't get her grounded further.

"Now then, I think it's time a paid Spike a little visit," Buffy rasped angrily under her breath as she walked out of Dawn's bedroom.

Within ten minutes, Buffy had stormed to Spike's crypt and kicked his door open. She wasn't sure exactly what she planned to say, 'Maybe I won't say anything! Maybe I'll just commence with kicking his sorry vampire ass!' she fumed lividly her eyes spanning to and fro across the living room.

Spike was nowhere in sight meaning he was likely asleep downstairs. Buffy hurriedly descended the short flight of stairs her eyes coming to rest on Spike passed out on his bed looking rather peaceful.

Buffy strode over to his bedside leaning down and snagging his nose between her thumb and forefinger and squeezing his nose as she pulled his head about three inches off his pillow before releasing him.

Spike's eyes flared open in surprise, "What the devil!" he spat confused at first until his eyes settled on Buffy, "You sure know how raise a fellow out of a deep sleep," he grimaced rubbing his nose.

"Can it Spike; you know why I'm here," Buffy scowled.

Spike was pretty sure he knew the reason but wasn't quite ready to admit fault, "I'm sure you'll go into full detail luv," he blinked pulling himself up and leaning against the headboard.

Buffy slugged him, his face turning in the direction of her fist's impact, "You're unbelievable! You know that? I trust you to take my sister on an outing thinking you're mature enough to watch her, and what do you do? You let her go off and party with her friends!" Buffy stated in an exasperated tone as she paced back and forth.

Spike felt a twinge of guilt and then agitation, "This isn't my entire fault you know! Dawnie ain't exactly Miss innocent pet! If'n I'd known the little tot would go off gettin' all boozed up; I'd have kept her on a tighter leash," Spike scoffed crossing his arms indignity.

Buffy stopped pacing giving Spike a frustrated look, "What are you? 4? You sound like one of those little kids caught fighting who says she started it!" Buffy's brow crinkled in annoyance, "I should have known better, this isn't your fault, it's mine for letting Dawn go with you." Her statement stung Spike's pride; he loved her, and he hated that he'd disappointed her.

Buffy turned to leave not wanting to deal with Spike any longer. Spike didn't want her to leave, so he quickly wrapped his sheet around his waist and cut her off at the stairs, "Oh bullocks, Buffy please don't leave like this! I didn't mean for this to happen," he said looking into her eyes remorsefully.

Buffy looked back into his eyes reading him, "Spike, it's not a matter of you meaning for it to happen, it's the fact that it did happen. I can't trust you," she chided.

Spike clenched his jaw looking down for a moment before regaining her gaze, "You counted on me, and I let you down. I'm truly sorry Buffy, please believe me."

Buffy took in his words and gave a slight nod in acknowledgement, "I believe you Spike, but it's just not good enough," she finished trying to push past him. Spike stepped in front of her once more, "Buffy please, there must be something I can do to make it up to you. Just don't leave like this, don't leave so angry" Spike pleaded as he ran his hand up her arm resting on her shoulder.

Buffy batted his hand away, "You need to be punished is what you need," she scolded as she crossed her arms agitated.

"You want to beat hell out me luv? Then do it, if'n it'll make this whole mess go away, punch away," Spike stated seriously.

Buffy sighed and was about to say, 'what good would beating you up accomplish; you take ass whippings all the time!' As her thought settled in her mind, she smiled as another idea popped in her head that she thought might be a little more influencing, "Beat the hell out of you Spike? I think I can arrange that," she responded and grabbed his wrist pulling him over to his bed before sitting and throwing him over her knee.

When Buffy grabbed Spike's wrist, he squinted expecting to be pummeled by her fist or to be tossed across the room. Spike became confused as he was pulled over to his bed and unceremoniously draped across Buffy's lap. It wasn't until he felt Buffy pulling up the sheet he was presently wearing and the cool air hitting his bare ass that he understood what she planned to do. Spike turned his face towards her and smirked, "If'n you wanted to get that kinky luv, you should have told me earlier."

Buffy did not respond but instead gave him a disapproving look as she brought her hand down harshly on his backside. Spike grunted letting out a small gasp as flesh and flesh made contact, "If'n you're tryin to be seductive luv; you should start off a little on the lighter side and build a fellow up a bit… and not so hard!"

Buffy grew infuriated bringing her hand down much harder making Spike jump at the force of impact, "This is not one of your sick twisted sex games Spike! This is solely for punishment," she growled smacking her hand down several times in increasing speed and vigor.

Spike was having a hard time wrapping his head around what was happening to him. He had been spanked for punishment before, a long time before when he was a fledgling under Angel, but he never expected to face this type of chastisement again, especially by Buffy.

"Ok Buffy! This isn't funny, stop! Let's talk this out." Spike grimaced trying to keep his composure by not yelling out although his body involuntarily squirmed under her hand's onslaught; the last thing Spike wanted was for Buffy to see him squeal out or cry. The thought of crying over her spanking him mortified Spike.

"You're right, this isn't funny. Do you see me laughing Spike?" she emphasized with three harsh swats before continuing her speech, "well? Do you?"

Spike gulped, 'Does she really want me to respond?' he thought feeling his stomach tighten as his embarrassment grew. Buffy came down once more with five fresh stinging blows to which Spike frowned his face contorting in pain as he was barely able to hold back the yelps that wanted to escape his lips, "No…" he mumbled.

Buffy smacked down harshly four more times, "What Spike? I can't hear you!"

Spike could no longer contain himself and hollered as her hand continued to hit his already tender bottom, "No! No! It's not funny! Bloody hell! I get it! I get it!"

Buffy continued her barrage of spanks getting into a methodical rhythm as she spoke, "You get it? I don't think you do Spike, but don't worry, by the time I'm through with you, you'll be very clear of my feelings on this matter."

Buffy continued to pepper Spike's behind all the while with him yelping, bucking, kicking, squirming and pleading for her to stop, "Please Buffy! I've had enough!"

Spike wailed desperately trying to hold back the tears that started to form in his eyes and spill down his cheeks; all his pleads fell on deaf ears as Buffy was unrelenting in her purpose.

After ten more swats Buffy paused and sighed, "I can't believe I'm doing this to you Spike… If I didn't care about you, I would have just left, but I've invested too much in you to turn away now."

Her words were as painful as the spanking if not more so for Spike who now felt extremely guilty for making Buffy feel the need to punish him, "I'm so sorry Buffy…" Spike sobbed freely now.

It was Buffy's turn to feel guilty as she listened to him cry. She wanted to stop the spanking now but knew they were not finished yet; he had to understand why she was disappointed in him. She thought to herself, 'I have to finish what I've started otherwise what's the point?' "I know you are sorry Spike," Buffy said softly as she began spanking him again a little less harshly but still firmly.

Spike cried a little harder at hearing her words accompanied by more swats and the realization that the spanking wasn't over.

Buffy continued swatting as she asked, "Why am I spanking you Spike?"

Spike's throat went dry; he knew why he was over her knee but saying it aloud was proving rather difficult, "Buffy… please…," he whined.

Buffy took a deep breath and increased the strength of her swats and reiterated her question, "Why are you in this position Spike?"

Spike sobbed out, "Be…because I was … wasn't a good chaperone for Dawn…and …and you can't trust me."

Buffy felt Spike's body shudder under her as his sobs increased. Buffy stopped spanking him, "It's over Spike," she soothed touching his lower back to which he winced making tears prick in her own eyes for putting him through this,

"It's okay Spike, you're forgiven," she tried to comfort only to receive harder sobs.

Spike slid off her knees unable to make eye contact with her as he laid his head in his arms on his mattress and tried to get control of himself.

Buffy slid close to him and brushed her fingers through his hair soothingly, "I'm sorry Spike," she whispered feeling unsure that she made the right decision.

There was a moment of silence before Spike raised his tear stained face to look at her, "No luv, I'm the one who is sorry…," he said seriously before smiling slightly, "In more ways than one! Did you have to use all of your slayer strength?" he joked.

Buffy felt relieved that Spike didn't hate her, and she oddly felt more close to him then ever, "Actually I was holding back quite a bit," she chuckled as she slid back to the headboard and patted the bed next to her.

Spike looked at her in slight awe before slipping up on the bed next to her and laying his head in her lap. Buffy caressed his ear and softly combed his hair back with her fingers as he nodded off under her touch. They sat in silence no words needed to be spoken as both felt content in the stillness.