A/N: Once again, this wasn't beta'd, being a short and all. And, it's kind of fluffy, in which I have no idea if I succeeded or not. I'm not really a fluff gal, but hell, this was on my mind too. Should be getting back to other fics soon.

Hope someone enjoys ;)


"After the Show"

"You...you can't hurt me," Spike slurred out, staring wearily with his slightly closed good eye, at the apparition of evil that posed once again as his beloved Slayer. He mentally prepared himself for the onslaught of verbal abuse he knew was coming from the physically challenged First. He scoffed, hanging his head in defeat as he waited for un-Buffy to speak.

Only it never came.

Instead, his bonds were cut from his wrists, causing him to fall forward, his right hand landing heavily on the very much corporealized shoulder of un-Buffy. His swollen eye squinted in confusion as he finally looked at her, just as she simultaneously looked up at him.

Not un-Buffy then. Buffy, Buffy. She...

Tears were in her eyes, and what could only be described as a look of joyous relief was overt upon her face. He could hear her heart thumping in her chest, and for the second time within the past year and a half, he melted at what must have been the most wonderful sound in the whole world.

"Yeah?" His voice was soft and tremulous as he gazed at her with so much awe, even though one eye was tightly shut. Her only reply was to gently wrap an arm around his torso, being extra mindful of his bruised ribs, in order to help him walk out.

"Oh...oh," he moaned, from the pain of moving, and the relief of her actually coming for him.

She came for me...She's here. She really came for me...

"I'll always come for you," she replied softly, and Spike realized he must have been talking aloud.

"Okay," she said, with a slight frown on her face as they paused at the bottom of the ladder. "That sounded way too naughty, which I really didn't intend to do."

"Well, either way, s'true."
Buffy looked up to see a slight grin on his face.

"Shut up!" she said lightly, slapping his arm. She looked instantly remorseful at his wince.

"Oh! Sorry!. Sorry..."

"S'alright, luv. Let's just get the hell out of here."

The ride back to the Summers' residence in the back of Xander's Sedan was a quiet one. Spike rested his head in Buffy's lap in the back seat, while she ran her fingers softly through his dishevled hair all the while. Spike tried not to let the gentle motion lull him to sleep, but realized it was fruitless, for when he opened his eye again, the ride was over, and he was back on Revello.

"Spike, we're home," she whispered softly to him.

"Home?"

Buffy looked just this side of uncomfortable at his quiet query.

"Well, I mean...if you want it to be." She gave him a half smile at that. "I want you to stay here. And um, get better. Like before you were kidnapped," she rushed out quickly, seemingly unsure.

Home.

"Welcome home, English undead patient," Xander said as he opened the back door of the car, with what may have been a soft smile, but Spike was sure his less than stellar vision of what he supposed to be 15/0 was to account for it. "You are now free to leave the confines of my vehicle, and go bleed and whatnot on Buffy's couch or something."

Spike remained silent when Harris took his arm on one side, and Buffy on the other, as they walked down the walkway and up the Summers' porch steps.

"I got it from here, Xand. See you tomorrow?" Xander nodded quietly before heading back out, and Buffy and Spike continued their trek up the stairs.

Spike supposed he shouldn't have been surprised that she would take him to her room. After all, it seemed to be her new place of interrogation. Probably wanted to know what The First said, if it revealed any plans and so forth...

What did surprise him, however, was her helping him gently onto the bed. She walked to her closet where he couldn't see, but he heard the rustling of clothes briefly. And then she was back--sporting a black tank top and grey, form fitting jogging pants, and a first aid kit in her hands. She sat on the edge of the bed, quite close to his torso.

"Don't need bandages and the like. Just need time, pet."

"Well, time isn't on our side," she said flatly, putting the tin white box on her nightstand. "What you need is blood. You have to be starving. Will bought some for you." She motioned to the nightstand, where a silver thermos was waiting. "But first..."

She got up, walking around the bed, and laid down beside him on the other side. She got so close he could feel her heat down the length of the right side of his body.

It comforted him.

What disturbed him, however, was her upper arm suddenly hovering over his mouth. He turned his head, confused, and unable to look at her.

"Buffy, no."

"It's not so bad. I mean, it's not like you haven't--" she paused, briefly picturing what he assumed to be the "forbidden memory zone," to a once upon a time when she used to let him bite the flesh of her inner thigh, tasting her. Or other tastings also involving blood...

He wasn't sure which one she thought to be worse.

"It's good that you did, though. Cause if you hadn't, you may not have recognized me in that basement."

Well, that definitely put lead in his heart--bringing up the fact that he almost offed her cause he couldn't help being The First's bitch.

"You're my strongest fighter, Spike. My only warrior. I need you. Now please..."

It was definitely the "please" that did it-- it was new, and furthermore, it wasn't a demand.

A little nip couldn't hurt...

Buffy shut her eyes at the feel of his fangs sliding gently into her arm. It made her body warm and tingle all over. She squeezed her thighs together, feeling the heat of embarassment cover her face, and the heat of something else entirely slither from her gut on downard. She knew he probably smelled her arousal, but no matter what, she refused to come.

Oh, god. No, gotta not..self control and--

Shit!

Involuntarily, her hips thrust forward a bit, her knees bumping his thigh, and a sharp intake a breath as light tremors coursed through her body.

Okay, so maybe just a little.

Though she knew it was impossible for him to not have noticed her lack of self control, she was grateful he didn't mention it.

When she opened her eyes, she saw that somewhere between her closing them and her...well anyway, he had let her go, and her arm lay limply across his chest.

"Good," she said shakily, reaching across him for the thermos on the nightstand. "Now drink your pig's blood."

He rolled his eyes at her, more than likely for treating him like an infant, but sat up a bit he drank it anyway.

"Gotta take care of the general, yeah?" he asked rhetorically, looking at her as she put the thermos back. She shook her head, looking a little...sad?

No, couldn't be. Must've been disappointment.

"No. I have to take care of you, Spike. I was so scared that...that I was gonna be too late. I'm sorry it took so long for me to--to get to you," she said softly, sorrow tinging her voice.

"S'alright, luv. Had a large nasty to dispose of first. I get that." Buffy gave him a wry smile, and grabbed his hand, squeezing gently.

"I'll let you get some rest now," she said, turning away to get out of the bed.

"Don't!" he said, panicked. Silently reprimanding himself for that little display, he added softly, "Just...can you stay? Here, with me? I just...after spending a week's worth of quality time with the Buffy of my delusions and the soddin' Fake First Buffy...wanna, wanna be sure that you're really here, pet."

He swallowed, watching as she stared back him quietly, an unreadable look on her face. He turned his head away once more at her continued silence, feeling embarassed and shirty at himself for requesting such a thing. His head turned back around at the feel of her body stretching out next to his once more, her arm going across his chest, her hand gently lying on his shoulder.

"I'll stay, but only if you promise to get some rest."

Spike nodded, the corners of his mouth quirking upwards a tiny bit. He wished he could turn his body towards her, and hold her back, but his broken ribs prevented him from doing so. But as he closed his slightly unswollen eye, feeling Buffy's body relax and press against him, holding him as much as she could without causing him pain, he realized that it was more than a bit of all right.

He realized that for the moment, it was enough.