Summary: 12 years ago, Spike and Dru somehow had Dawn. After getting a vision from the PTB, Dru runs off, abandoning them. Spike, worried about Dawn's safty and her ability to live in his world, takes her to the only person who can keep her safe. The Slayer. Now, mid season 5 in the Buffy-verse, Spike and Dawn are back in Sunnydale, and Awn has been living with Buffy for the past month. With Dawn living with Buffy, Joyce in the hospital with her illness, and Spike living in a crypt not too far away, Buffy is faced with a whole new set of troubles.

Just to let everyone know. If it seems like this fic is starting in the middle of the story…it is. Thus the big summery above. I had originally planed to start from scratch, or at least give it some type of beginning, but the Powers neglected to tell me what to say, and thus, our story begins…

"I don't know what it is Will, but I get this really weird feeling ever time I'm around her, it's like…it's hard to explain, but…it's like she's mine. Like she belongs to me…"

"Well, there is an amulet you can use, I can find it for you, but, it puts you in this kind of trance. You put it on, and it lets you see things. Auras, spells, that kind of thing."

"Ok, Will, you find the amulet, while I go and pick up Dawn from school. We'll swing by on our way back. Will that give you enough time?"

"Ya, I'll do it right now. No problem."

"Thanks Will." Buffy then turned to walk out the door.

"Oh, and Buffy!" Willow called, a causing Buffy to turn around.

"Go easy on her. She's had a really rough time of it." Buff's face softened.

"I know. I will."

"Hey Dawn!" Buffy called from the drivers seat of Joyce's SUV.

"Hey Buffy!" Dawn called happily as she walked towards the car with some of her friends.

"Guys, this is Buffy."

"The one your dad has the hots for?" One for her friends asked.

Buffy blushed deeply. "Dawn! Your father would kill you if he ever heard you saying stuff like that!" Buffy chastised.

Dawn just shrugged before saying goodbye to her friends and hopping into the front seat.

"I'm serious Dawn. Spike would probably blame me if he ever heard you saying stuff like that. Ok?"

"Ya, ok." Buffy nodded. "I wont say stuff like that in front of him." Dawn finished with a smirk.

"Why you!" Buffy twisted in her seat as her hands attacked Dawn's sides.

"Ah!" Dawn squealed. "Ok…ok…I…Ah!...I give! I give!" she managed to gasp through her giggles.

"That's better." Buffy said triumphantly, starting the car and pulling out of the school parking lot.

"Hey Buffy?"


"When did you learn to drive? Thought that you and cars were unmixy things." Buffy smiled over at her.

"Ya, I kind of never told any of the gang, but after the Band Candy incident, mom and I decided that I should get my license. Just in case."

"In case of what?" Dawn asked in all innocence. Buffy gave her a sad smile. "In case there was no one else."

"Oh" Dawn said looking down at her hands.

"Hey Dawnie?" Buffy said, trying to lighten the mood.

"Ya?" Dawn lifted her head to look at her.

"Your friends seem really nice. You know, if you ever wanted to have them over, your more than welcome."

Dawn's face lit up. "Really Buffy? You mean that?"

"Of course Dawnie. Friends and frivolous fun are the building blocks of young adult hood." Buffy smiled, and winked at her out of the corner of her eye.

"Thanks Buffy! You are like, the coolest mo-slayer ever!" Buffy smiled big. Both of them noticed Dawn's slip, but neither of them commented on it.

"Why thank you. I try." Dawn grinned back. "Oh. That reminds me, I have to pick something up at the magic box. Do you mind if we swing in there real quick?"

"Cool, can I come in?"

Buffy shrugged. "Sure, if you want to. I'm just picking something up from Willow, so we wont be long."

"That's cool."

Buffy parked the car and the two girls headed inside.

"Don't break anything." Buffy cautioned as the bell to the shop rang overhead.

Dawn rolled her eyes. "Yes mother." She had meant it to sound sarcastic, but it came out more as playful.

Buffy laughed, and brushed her hand through Dawn's hair. "Go on, I'll call when Will and I are done."

"Ok" she said, prancing off to another part of the shop.

"Hey Will?" Buffy called.

"Back here Buffy!" Will's voice floated from the training room.

"Did you find the amulet?"

"Yep, all you have to do is put it on and it will show you everything."

"This is so great Will. Thanks so much."

"Don't worry about it Buffy. You know I would do anything for Dawn. I mean, I may not love Spike, of even like Dru. But she's a good kid, you know? Despite it all."

"I know what you mean Wills. I love having her around. Especially with mom in the hospital, braking up with Riley, and everything with Spike…I'm just really glad I have her, you know? I don't know what I would do if I didn't."

"How is the Spike thing going?" Willow asked as they both sat down on a couch in the training room.

Buffy sighed and ran her fingers through her hair. "Honestly, Wills? I don't know what I'm doing any more. I mean, what is wrong with me that I have to be attracted to someone who hates me? I mean, Riley loved me and I couldn't love him. Spike hates me, and I think I'm falling for him."

Buffy didn't realize that there where tears in her eyes until she was weeping. "Why Wills! Why do I let him treat me this way, and still crave him! How can you love someone when they hate you?"

Buffy cried on Willow's lap, as she stroked she hair. "What's wrong with me Wills?"

Buffy asked in a little voice that broke Willow's heart. "Oh, Buffy. No! There's nothing wrong with you. You can't think like that. If he can't see how wonderful you are, than it's his loss."

Buffy looked up at her with red puffy eyes. "But I don't want him to lose Wills, I want him to win. First place, blue ribbon, and complimentary turtle wax."

Willow smiled at that.

"I could do a spell?" Immediately Buffy shook her head.

"No, that would be almost as bad as him hating me. To have him pretend to love me…no, I think that would be worse. At least with him hating me, I know the feelings are real. Sometimes…sometimes I think…I think maybe I should just…should just give up…I mean…I know I've done some bad things…but…I don't think I deserve this much pain."

Buffy knew that if she looked up at Willow's face, all she would see would be pity. "Don't look at me like that Wills."

Willow ducked her head to hide her eyes. "I'm sorry Buffy, I don't know what to say to make this better."

"You don't need to say anything. Just being here, and letting me talk to you without judgment is enough. I don't know what I would do without you Wills."

Willow smiled. "And you'll never have to find out."

Buff smiled, as she wiped her eyes. The two of them stood up and walked towards the door.

"Buffy." Willow placed her hand on her shoulder, to stop her from leaving the room. "I know it doesn't look like it right know. But you have to believe that someday, it will be better."

"I do Wills. But I don't know how much longer I can live with this fear."

Willow paused. "What fear? Buffy, has Spike hurt you?"

Buffy looked up sharply. "You mean physically?"

Willow nodded.

"No. No, Spike hasn't touched me since…well, since your "My Will Be Done" spell."

"Than what fear Buffy?"

Buffy looked down and wrapped her arms around her self. "I know it's stupid. I know she's not mine. But…every morning, I wake up with this aching in my chest, and I can't help but wonder if this is the day that he's going to take her from me."

"Who? Dawn? You're afraid that Spike's going to take Dawn from you?"

Wordlessly Buffy nodded. "I can't help but wonder if, one day, he's going to wake up, and realize that he doesn't trust me with his daughter. I don't know what I would do Wills. I mean, I know she isn't mine, but…she feels like she is, you know? She feels like she's my daughter. And I don't know what I would do if he ever took her away from me."

"Do you really think he would do that?"

Buffy gave Willow a pitiful look. "How long would you leave your daughter in the care of someone you hate?"

Willow nodded in understanding. "Ya, I see what you mean."

Buffy shook her head to try and clear her thoughts. "I shouldn't think this way. I have this time to spend with her. I shouldn't be wasting it." Buffy said, lifting her head and wiping her eyes again. "I'm all red and splotchy aren't I?" Buffy asked with a small smile.

Willow smiled back. "Just a little."

"K, I'm just going to make a quick stop in the washroom and clean up a little bit. I can't let Dawn see that I've been crying. Would you mind keeping her company for a sec?"

"Sure Buffy, no problem."

"Thanks Will. I'll be quick. It's spaghetti and meat ball night." Buffy grinned.

Willow smiled sadly as Buffy turned away to head to the washroom.

"Hey Buffy." Willow called after her causing her to stop and look back over her shoulder. "I know that you'll never get the chance, but…you would make a great mom."

Buffy smiled, and managed to hold back the tears in her eyes. "Thanks Wills."

Willow nodded, and they went their separate ways.

Nether of the girls noticed the shadow race away from the training room door, and into the front of the shop.

"Dawn?" she heard Willow call her name, and knew that hadn't seen her eavesdropping.

"Here!" Dawn said, walking towards the back research table.

"Dawnie, are you ok?" Willow asked rushing over to her.

Dawn reached up to touch her face and noticed the tears for the first time. "Oh ya, I'm fine, I was just going through some of the powders in the front and one of them made my eyes sting." Dawn said, thinking quickly.

Willow's shoulders sagged. "Oh, ok, oh good." Willow smiled. "So, I hear it spaghetti and meat ball night, Buffy said it's your favorite?"

"Oh ya! Buffy makes awesome spaghetti and meatballs, she even makes extra blood sauce for if Dad ever drops by. He never does, but she always says 'just in case', and makes it anyway." Dawn said, putting her head down.

Dawn had never really realized how hard Buffy tried. She suddenly felt horrible for how she had treated Buffy in the past, and, for the first time in her life, she was truly ashamed of her father's actions. No one, especially not Buffy, deserved to be treated the way they had been treating her on a daily basis. For the life of her, Dawn couldn't understand why Buffy loved her.

She didn't deserve it.

Seeing the look on Dawn's face, Willow tried to lighten the mood. "I still can't get over the fact that Buffy can cook."

Dawn took the bait, and Willow smiled further.

"What do you mean?" Dawn asked.

"Well, Buffy and the kitchen have never really gotten along. There was one time, when Joyce was away on a buying trip, and Buffy decided that she was going to make something for dinner, instead of ordering out. She figured that soup was the easiest possible thing to make, so she filled the pot up with water, and put it on the stove. All of a sudden, Buffy gets an urgent call from Giles about some new vamp nest that has to be taken care of pronto. So Buffy grabs her coat and a stake, and does some major but woppen' to that nest of vamps. She gets home about an hour later to a house full of smoke. Here she had put the pot of water on the stove and forgot to turn it off before she left the house!" Willow and Dawn were laughing so hard that neither of them noticed Buffy enter the room.

"And just what exactly is so funny?" Buffy asked with her hands on her hips.

"You burnt the water?!" Dawn managed to squeak out between her laughter.

Buffy's face turned red. "Willow! I can't believe you told her that! Oh, great, now I'm never going to hear the end of this." Buffy huffed, throwing her hands up in the air.

"How…how do you…burn water?" Dawn asked through her giggles.

Buffy raised an eyebrow, and crossed her arms. "I could let you cook dinner tonight, and let you learn for yourself."

The thought of cooking for herself, and missing out on spaghetti and meatball night sobered Dawn quickly. "No thank you. I'm sorry."

Buffy smiled at her, before turning her scowl at the witch. "And just for that, I'm not going to label the sauces tonight. If you want any, you'll just have to guess which one isn't blood." Buffy smiled smugly.

"Aww, Buffyyyy!" Willow whined.

"Night Will's."

"Night Buffy. Sweet dreams Dawnie."

"Night Willow!"