Get Some Sleep Now

Buffy sighed as she headed home. She thought it'd be slow, and thus it would be safe to patrol alone, but she'd been wrong. Her right leg hurt, her right armhurt, and she felt like she had a broken rib or two, but she couldn't be sure. She wasn't healing quite as well as she should be. She made her way to the front steps and hobbled up them. As soon as she opened the door, she could hear Andrew in the living room.

He was a pain, constantly in her face with his camera and all the videos he was making of their lives. Her life was crazy enough; she didn't want it broadcast to anyone. She wasn't fond of having him live in her house, when they were so short on space, but didn't want him running around causing more trouble for her either. She had enough on her plate already.

With the First taking over Spike's actions a few months back then almost taking him away from her forever, her emotions were in turmoil. She didn't know what to think. She didn't love Spike, but every time he looked at her she could see his love for her and it scared her. He was her friend, her best friend, maybe more, but she didn't know what else to call him. He was so special to her, and she had gone through a lot to make things work between them. Everyday was like walking on eggshells, trying to make sure that neither of them jeopardized their relationship, but neither of them was willing to take it to the next step for the same reason. She almost went crazy when he was kidnapped by the first. She thought she would never find him, and deep down she knew she couldn't do this alone.

Lately, she wanted to climb underneath a rock and hide both from the world and from herself. She didn't want to deal with these feelings she was having for Spike. She didn't love him. At least she didn't think so, and if she did, she didn't know how to tell. The way he looked at her, that hadn't changed. His eyes were soft and understanding towards her, but underneath she could still see the guilt haunting him. In turn, she felt guilty; he wasn't the only one who had messed up. She had hurt him so badly.

Now, from the sound of things, Andrew's yammering was irritating her vampire, and that just shortened her fuse even more. More than once she had seen Spike roll his eyes, when everyone was in the kitchen eating. One time, she even heard Spike tell Andrew he was going to feed the video camera to him. Andrew had been asking about her past relationships, her relationship with her sister, and Spike's past, and had interrogated her friends about their personal lives as well.

"Come on, Spike.Just give me something," Andrew whined. Whining -- that's all the boy did. He sounded like a five year old. She should start training him with the slayers. He fit right in with them, with his girlish attitude. He complained like they did, too. The first sting of pain, and Andrew would start whining again.

"No," came Spike's very annoyed voice. It sounded like he was going to eat the kid. The problem was that she would probably let him.

The couch squeaked, drawing Buffy to the doorway of the living room. When she looked in, she could see Spike lying on the sofa. Andrew stood over him. Spike looked like he was about to rip Andrew's throat out and she could have giggled, but she didn't have the strength. She couldn't blame him. She took a few limping steps into the room and crossed her arms. "Andrew, what are you doing to Spike?"she asked in a tired voice. She wanted to get off her injured leg. Or better yet, to have a hot bath.

Buffy met Spike's eyes, but quickly glanced away, not wanting the pain in hers to show. She shifted her weight to her other foot but went right back to her left one when pain shot through her injured leg. She didn't want to look at Spike, but her gaze kept flicking that way. She tried to keep her focus on Andrew, who was looking from her to Spike as if following a ping-pong match. She wanted Andrew gone. Now. She didn't want Spike to point out that she was hurt. Her prayers went unanswered.

"Bad guy get you?" he asked, rhetorically. "I should have come with you. How bad?" Spike asked. She was almost sure that he had heard her erratic heartbeat well before she had gotten to the door by the way he tilted his head and the way his eyes snapped to her before she even came into the living room. If she had been trying to sneak up on him, she would have failed miserably. She almost wished she hadn't lied and told him that she had errands to run so that she could leave before sunset, because it probably would have been better to have him along with her.

Buffy chewed her lip and shrugged a shoulder like it was nothing. She wanted to delay her response as long as she could, so she went over to the couch and eased herself down next to him. "Sore, but I'm okay," she said, and looking at Andrew, added, "Can you go away?"

Andrew pouted and opened his mouth to argue. "Spike and I are having a very serious conversation," he said. "Can't we finish?" He jumped slightly at her glare. "Come on, Buffy. We're almost done. He was just about to give me the goods."

Buffy glared at him until he turned and disappeared into the kitchen. Good thing he was scared of her. She didn't want to deal his crap.

"What happened?" Spike asked, turning toward her. "I should have gone with you."

Buffy bit her lip to keep herself from telling him everything. She didn't want to let him worry about her nightly patrols; he worried enough and she didn't want to make it worse. "Don't worry about it. I just had a rough night.Didn't think it would this bad. I'll heal," she said. "Eventually,"

"How are you going to heal when you don't eat and don't sleep?" Spike asked, with a raised eyebrow.

"My healing powers aren't working as fast as they should." Why was she telling him this stuff? She didn't want to spill her secrets; they were better kept locked away. As the slayer, she was supposed to be healing faster then she was. She didn't want him to worry about her, and she averted her eyes from his. He had to start worrying about himself. She could almost hear the lecture start about how she had to be careful and how she had to sleep more then she was.

"Maybe if you actually got some sleep, they would."

She rolled her eyes. He kept his voice calm and soothing, but he was definitely trying to lecture her. If he could chase away her nightmares, maybe she could get some sleep. She was so tired of laying awake thinking about who was going to die next. That was a lovely feeling to have when trying to go to bed. She put off going to bed as long as possible every single night, but she still had nightmares. Every night it was a different girl that she couldn't save, or sometimes her sister, or sometimes Spike. She was so tired of reliving all of the horrors night after night.

"No sleep for me," Buffy said. She tilted her head to one side as she looked at the dark television, wondering when she last turned it on. She doubted any local news would still be broadcasting. A lot of people had high-tailed it out of town. She was seriously considering running too. Every day, she desperately wanted to get away from this because she knew that she was going to lose one of the girls. Sometimes she just wanted to be alone and do what she needed to get done and not worry about anyone else. Just herself. It was easier that way. But she couldn't just abandon the people who were counting on her.

"You need sleep, Buffy," Spike said firmly. "What is wrong with you? Is it only insomnia? How long do you think you can go with no sleep without suffering any major repercussions?" He looked like he was going to shake her.

Buffy saw his fist clench but he relaxed it before caressing her cheek. He gently pulled her face around so that she had to look at him. "I can't," she whispered. She hated that he kept insisting that she sleep. She knew she needed it; she just didn't want to deal with her inability to. But she felt… warm that he was concerned. It was nice that she still had his support. She seemed to need a lot of his support, and she hated that. She was used to being by herself for most of her life, and to admit that she loved Spike, would be like saying she needed him, and she wasn't sure she wanted to admit that.

"Why?" Spike asked in a soft voice. She didn't want to answer to that question. What kind of reason could she have? She worried about everyone. She couldn't help it. It wasn't her fault that she was built to be too caring. He pressed further, "What's keeping you from resting and having a night off?" He folded his arms. "And don't give me 'the world is ending' bullshit. You know full well I would give you the night off and pick up patrols."

"Every time I close my eyes," she said, "I get flashes of dead girls and what we might be up against. I can't stand it." She hated telling him this. She already felt like a little kid, and now she was telling the grown-up she had nightmares and didn't want to go to sleep. She tried to get up, but he grabbed her uninjured shoulder and held her down.

He pushed a lock of hair behind her ear when she finally looked at him.It felt like the most natural thing in the world, and she hadn't realized how much she missed him touching her hair. She used to resent his infatuation with her hair, and she had cut it all off, but when she found out he had left town, she couldn't wait to grow it back. It was so different this time when he did it. She didn't quite want to jump his bones. Ever since she was a kid, she loved having her hair played with, whether it was her mom brushing it or her friends playing beauty parlor, she loved the attention. However, the attention Spike gave her as if she was the most precious thing in the world, scared her to death. She didn't want that kind of responsibility. He spoke calmly, "You have to sleep, love. You're going to get hurt if you don't rest." His eyes seemed to read her soul to find the answers she didn't have.

"Spike, I know you're worried about me, but I can handle it," she said, and gave him a small smile. She hoped she sounded reassuring, but she doubted herself. He never believed her when she lied. She prayed he would just give this to her, just this one time. She just did not have what he wanted. She never did these days.

"Buffy, you always say that because you don't want people to worry about you." Spike took her hand, the one that had somehow come to rest on his stomach. It felt so good to have him touch her. She could tell that he had wanted to for weeks now, but that he just wasn't sure how far he could go with her. "I know you feel that you have to be strong all the time but it's normal for people to take a break."

Before he could stop her, and before she could get any more comfortable with his touch, Buffy stood up and put the coffee table between them."I don't have time to take a break, Spike." He was making this so much harder than she wanted it to be. It was so much easier just to say good night and head to their separate rooms. It was easier to hide out in her room away from prying blue eyes.

Spike leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. "Buffy..." She could hear the frustration growing in his voice, and the last thing she wanted to do was make him mad. All she wanted to do right now was go upstairs and take a shower, not have a debate about her sleeping habits.

She turned away and started pacing jerkily, ignoring his worried sigh. "Spike, the girls need training and we don't have any time to waste," she said, feeling her soft-spoken words rasping in her throat. He had to understand the logic in what she was saying. The girls needed all the training they could get. They didn't have time to waste on just lounging about. They couldn't do that.

Spike growled. "Buffy, you are going to get yourself killed because you're too concerned about everyone else. Then what's going to happen?" he snapped. That was great. Him yelling at her was going to fix everything.

"You're not going to lose me because I'm not sleeping," Buffy said, starting to feel angry with him. "I'm not going to get hurt. I'm the Slayer, in case you missed the memo. I can handle myself. And don't yell at me." He was acting like an over-protective boyfriend, which he was not. He reminded her of Angel. Angel tried to run her life, and she didn't want anyone else doing that. But, the voice in her head told her that Spike was worried and knew what she needed without her having to ask him. Spike had wanted to get a soul, for her. But the absence of the soul wasn't the only thing missing from their relationship. The destructive, purely sexual relationship that they had been obsessed with needed to disappear, and they had both realized that much too late.

"You already did get hurt. Remember? The night you came looking for me when that nasty got me," Spike said. "I'm not going to lose you again." She could see him holding back tears but he fought to keep his emotions in check and not be a cry baby as she had asked.

Buffy groaned and walked upstairs. Spike gave a frustrated growl and started to follow her. She could feel his eyes burning into her back as he came to the stairs, but Dawn intercepted him. Thank you Dawn. She paused at the top of the stairs and listened to their conversation.

Dawn sounded defiant as she asked, "Am I going to have to knock your heads together? Everyone is so tired of the tension between you two. Stubborn much?"

Buffy rolled her eyes. She did not need her sister playing matchmaker with them. Things were bad enough between her and Spike. As silently as she could she sat on the top step of the staircase, still out of sight. She heard a creak in the banister as she listened to the purr of Spike's voice.

"That girl is going to be my dusty end. Why won't she let me help her? Why does she have to prove she's the strong one all the damn time? I'm gonna shake some sense into her."

"She won't sleep because she doesn't want to sleep alone. Are you really that dense? Can you not see how hot she is for you?" Dawn asked in an exasperated voice.

Buffy almost choked when she heard her sister say that. She was making things worse. Dawn was going to make Spike think she wanted them to start screwing like rabbits again. That would ruin everything. She silently begged her sister to shut her mouth.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Buffy could already hear the doubt in Spike's voice. He was already over careful with her, and now Dawn was giving him hope that things would work out. Well, she too thought things would work out with them, if only she could find the right words to say to him, but she hadn't yet.

Dawn's voice came again. "Spike, ihello/i? If you really are that blind, let me spell it out for you. Buffy would feel better if she didn't sleep alone. And she doesn't want to spend the night with Andrew. Are you getting my picture?"

"There is no picture. And you're off your rocker if you think your sister wants me anywhere around her," he replied. "Much less in her bed."

"I'm her sister," Dawn said."The two of you think that I don't notice. When you walk into a room, her eyes get all mushy, and she's happy and stuff when it's just the two of you patrolling. That's your one-on-one time. Go upstairs and see for yourself. Instead of ending the night in a fight, you should talk to her."

Buffy heard their creaking footsteps move into the kitchen and she silent crept to her room. No reason to stick around and listen to him head to the basement. He would never come to her room. Not without her inviting him first.

She changed her clothes and climbed into a bed that sometimes seemed too big to sleep in peacefully. She curled on her side, away from the door and closed her eyes. She wriggled in the sheets for a moment, trying to get comfortable.

A few minutes later, she heard her door creak open, and she tried to ignore it. She couldn't make out any footsteps, but she felt the dip in her bed as someone climbed in beside her. She tried not to jump when an arm came around her waist and there was a whisper in her ear. "Get some sleep, Buffy."

"Spike?" She whispered. She pushed her body up, wondering if something was wrong, but he gently pushed her back down. What in the world was he doing? After just the slightest pause, she snuggled closer to his solid body, pulling his arms tighter around herself. God who knew he felt this good? Duh, she did, she was just too damn stubborn. The tension in her body was already slipping away just from his mere presence. With a yawn she asked, "Why?"

He opened an eye and looked up at her. "Because I figured the best way to make sure you get some sleep is to stay here with you," he said. "Do you want me to leave?" He propped himself up on his elbow and gazed down into her hazel eyes. "If you'd rather lay in bed by yourself, I can find my way to the basement."

She thought about her answer for a few moments and tried to figure out what the best choice was. Should she send him back down to the basement? If one of her friends walked into her room in the morning, she would have to come up with a defense as to why Spike was in her bed, and she didn't think her brain could function that early. And she didn't want anyone else in her business. However, she knew she would regret if she asked him to leave and it would break her heart if she saw that look of rejection again in his eyes so she shook her head. "This is okay," she said, relaxing. She winced slightly as her muscles protested, but she rolled onto her side so he could fit around her once more.

In the morning, when Buffy awoke, she was still nestled in Spike's arms, who was still sound asleep. She smiled as she watched him. There had been no nightmares haunting her dreams the night before, and she felt very well rested and no longer sore. Thank god for the power of sleep. Not only that, being in Spike's arms, she felt safe and cherished, and she didn't want to trade that feeling for anything in the world. But what did that mean? Was she in love with him? How could she tell? She had only been in love once before and it didn't feel like this. Being in love with Angel didn't scare the shit out of her and make her want to run to the hills. However, what she felt with Spike made her want to run away, run from his arms and from his love because it was too real. Could she really take that step with him?

Her thoughts were interrupted when Spike made a noise next to her as his eyes flickered open. It sounded like half a purr, half a growl, and made her heart flutter. Her heart then melted when he smiled at her, with such trust and love. Even after everything she had done to him last year, all the times she had run the next morning, he still smiled and loved her with just a look. "Morning Luv."

Her own voice was still drowsy, husky. "Morning." She shifted in his arms and took in how blue his eyes were. She could see every emotion flicker across his gaze. "Do I have to get up?" She didn't want to sound mad or give him the wrong impression about how she was feeling, so she decided to drop him some hints.

He settled down with her and kissed her hair tenderly. "You sleep okay?" he whispered in her ear. He caressed her arm gently as she turned on her back. "You look beautiful when you wake up."

Buffy smiled. "Yeah, I did. I always did sleep well when I was with you. Even if I didn't always admit it." She was glad Dawn had told him something of how she felt. A few times over the summer, she had woken up, calling for Spike, and Dawn had heard. Dawn hadn't been happy about it, after finding out what Spike had done, but she never said too much. Buffy's hand automatically went to her hair and she scowled at him. "You liar, I have bed hair."

His chest vibrated with laughter. "I don't care," he said. "You still look beautiful."

Buffy heard a giggle and a squeal from the hallway, one belonging to one of the girls and one belonging to Andrew, and she almost laughed herself. God forbid she was allowed a moment's peace in her own house. She tilted her head back on his arm to look up at him. "Um, what was Andrew saying to you last night?"

Spike chuckled. "He wants to know about you and me and won't take 'no' for an answer. Why am I not killing him?"he asked. She felt bad for him. He was outnumbered by women in this house, and having a girlish young boy in the house just to keep him out of trouble, wasn't helping.

"Maybe he can be of some use at some point." She picked up her head and propped it on her elbow. "What did you tell him?" She asked. She hadn't realized that Andrew was interested in her and Spike, but she was surprised every day in her house.

"Told him I'd rip his head off if he didn't shut up."

She pushed herself up into a sitting position and she looked down at him. "Surprised you didn't eat him," she said. She combed her fingers through her tangled hair and looked at the bedspread. "He's definitely a pain in the ass and is really pushing past my limits."

"Do you think I would've hurt him?" The pain in his question stopped her short. He thought she still didn't trust him, and that crushed her. He stopped before because of the chip, but he held back now because of her; because he would never hurt her like that, and she knew it. Injuring other people would damage what he had worked so hard to rebuild since he had gotten his soul.

"Everyone in this house wants to hurt him just because he's annoying, Spike," she said, hoping to ease his discomfort, and her own. It was killing her that he thought that she hadn't changed, when in truth, she had changed more then she thought she had.

"Andrew doesn't need a documentary of our past," Spike answered sharply. He climbed out of bed. "Even if he is annoying I still wouldn't hurt him." The good mood was ruined.

She jumped. "Spike, that's not what I meant---" She wished that he wasn't so sensitive. Everything she said was being taken in totally the wrong way. It was partially her fault that she couldn't even come up with the right words to say to Spike; and after their rocky past, who could blame him for his reactions? How was she going to make this right?

"Just leave it, Buffy," Spike told her, going to the door. "You obviously don't think that anything has changed with us. You still think I'm a monster, soul or no soul. Nothing would ever be good enough for you. No matter what I do for you."

"God Spike, no," she said, in horror. "That is not true. How could you think that?" She almost couldn't believe that those words had come from her mouth, but she couldn't hide any of this anymore. When he went downstairs, somebody was going to ask him where he was, and she didn't want a confrontation; besides, all she wanted was to stay up here with him, and so she had to fix things. When he paused and looked at her, she spoke before he could say anything. "Come back to bed."

She could tell he didn't want to walk out on her, but he hesitated before sitting on her bed. "Don't fancy a stake to the heart."

Buffy pulled Spike back into the bed and hugged him. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean for you to get upset. I didn't mean to imply that you would kill someone." She kissed the side of his neck softly, but she didn't release him. "I don't think any of that. Not at all."

Spike wanted to keep himself stiff and unwilling, and she relaxed when melted and wrapped his arms around her.Things were never going to be different unless she made the first step to show him how much he meant to her.

"It's okay," he said, softly.

"I know things are complicated between us," she said. "You're so different. You're sensitive, and quite, much more different then the Spike I used to know. I feel like I have to get to know you all over again, but that's okay. I just want things to be right. I know that we're friends and that we trust each other, but I want us to be more." She might as well go all the way. She'd already made a hard step by asking him to stay with her. Unfortunately, it didn't mean that the rest would be easy. "You are my best friend Spike, and I wouldn't change that for the world. I would never want to ruin what we have."

"What does that mean?" Spike said in a rough voice. She could tell that he didn't quite believe her, and why should he? The look that he gave her was full of such hope, she couldn't do anything but be honest with herself. Maybe this really could work.

Buffy lifted her head and kissed him, startling him. "That we can try," she said against his lips. Her heart fluttered in her chest as those words left her lips. She was done hiding. She was done hurting and she was done hurting him. She took a deep breath as she continued. "Spike, I need you and I can't do this anymore. I don't want to run from it. I want us to be together."

"Are you sure? 'Cause Buffy, I love you so much that I can't have you leave me again." She could tell he was struggling for the words to tell her how scared he was. She could see the fear and almost see him saying that he just couldn't have her walk out on him. He wouldn't be able to bear it. She was giving him everything that he was craving, and it would kill him to have it ripped away. He finally gave voice to some of these fears. "You don't have to love me, but please don't hurt me again."

She could feel the tears shining in her eyes. "I'm sure. I didn't mean to hurt you, but I was so scared. I'm still scared, but it's killing me not being with you the way I want." She gave him a soft kiss again. "I'm so iso/i sorry for the way I treated you. I was so awful to you, but I want to make it up to you. Please?"

Suddenly, Spike pulled her down and kissed her. "I love you," he whispered. "I love you so much Buffy. You have no idea." She could feel his struggle not to cry, not to ruin the moment.

She happily snuggled into his embrace. "I think I kinda love you, too," she whispered, her fingers tangling into his hair. "I'm gonna prove it to you. I promise."