Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and all creators of Buffy own everything; my goal is to enjoy not stealing.

IMPORTANT: When I say I'm sorry I mean it! To everyone that has read this before, I can tell you not much has changed besides I got myself a beta for this fic and all my others...that is why you haven't heard from me in awhile. To that I apologize. I will be posting more new stuff soon...this fic was only 4 chapters long when I got it beta'd so it won't take long...maybe a week? Which is also why I am sorry for Second Chances who had 16 chapters up already...

Anyway, enjoy the fic if you haven't read it or need to re-read it. I will not have anymore months gaps anymore. I am on a roll with the writing. I will warn you all ahead of time if it will be longer than a week for an update, since it is not just me, it is my betas too.

Enjoy!

Chapter 1: Home

Buffy Summers looked up into the eyes of the group of potentials who had made their way down the scaffolding. She was covered in dust and sore from head to toe, but she felt the relief and satisfaction run through her. The Ubervamp was gone, the evil that they had been afraid they would never be able to defeat was defeated, and she put the hope back into the potentials that witnessed what she had done.

"Now that was tight!" Rona smiled and the others potentials nodded in agreement.

"Yeah, another win goes to the Buffster, come on let's get home. " Xander and the rest of the group walked back, but Buffy's voice stopped them.

"You guys go on ahead; there is somewhere where I have to be." Buffy made her way in the opposite direction.

"Buffy." Willow called her causing her to slowly turn around, "I think it is best if you get cleaned up first, you're injured. He can wait a little longer."

Buffy was torn. She knew that she should go now, Spike was waiting for her and in a way she was waiting for him. The drive that helped her kill the Ubervamp was not the drive to restore the hope in the potentials, but the drive to kill the one thing that stood between her and Spike. Buffy reluctantly agreed, too tired to argue with her friend or anyone else.

Buffy was out of the house in less than fifteen minutes, bandaged up and changed. She briskly walked in the cool air, sending a slight shiver down her back. Buffy looked upon the whole in the darkness of the night. Fear filled her. What if she took too long getting here? What if they moved him?

Buffy took a deep breath and jumped into the tunnel. Getting Spike back up there was definitely going to be a challenge. She slowly made her way down to the winding caves until she came upon an opening. There she saw him in the distance. From where she was standing she could see the bruises on his exposed chest, the outline of his ribs showing her clearly hadn't eaten, and the look of sadness.

It took Buffy all of her courage not to fall to her knees. She told him that she believed in him, but how could Spike have believed her when she left him to be tortured for her…again.

Buffy slowly walked forward, gripping the knife in her hand. She was really close to him before he acknowledged her presence.

Spike scoffed, "A knife now is it?" Spike hung his head, "What'll...what'll that...you—you can't hurt me. You're—you're just a bloody figment, you are. You're just..." Spike trailed off as Buffy walked over to him and cut him loose from his bonds. Spike braced his arm on her shoulder for support and Buffy saw the ways of emotions pass through his eyes.

He smiled as he watched her, and she couldn't take her eyes of his intense blue pools. Buffy felt elated as she felt his hand rest upon her shoulder or the look he was giving her. Spike was safe now. He was safe.

"You. Oh." Spike put his arm around her shoulder as she helped his waist, supporting him. They walked…or limped out of the cave just like that. Spike though barley conscious had directed Buffy of another entrance, one that would make it easier to get him out.

The walk was quiet and most of the time Spike had finally given in to the unconsciousness, making it a little easier on Buffy to guide him home. Buffy glanced at him a few times as they walked. Her heart fell when she looked at him. He had gone through so much. Buffy was terrified, afraid of losing him again, afraid of him getting hurt again. She couldn't pin point the feeling. She knew that it wasn't love…but she knew that she cared. For now that was enough.

"GUYS! A little help here please." Buffy walked in the house supporting a vampire who had woke up not five minutes earlier.

"Buffy." Spike's word came out in a whisper.

"Shh…it's okay. I am right here Spike." Buffy looked him in the eye. "I'm not going anywhere."

The Scoobies and the potentials all rose from the living room. The potentials gasped when they saw the beaten vampire and Dawn suppressed some tears as she saw her old friend broken once again.

What shocked Buffy the most was how fast Xander came and supported Spike's other side. Buffy saw Xander nod in his direction as they helped him climb the stairs.

Vi's face was drained of color. "Is-Is he g-going to be okay Mr. Giles?"

"I am not sure. Girls stay down here. Willow. Anya. Go and get the medical supplies and bring them upstairs." Giles made his way to the stairs.

"Wait. What do I do?" Andrew looked up hopefully.

"Don't get in the way or come upstairs." Andrew sighed as the Watcher went upstairs.

"Spike. Spike." Buffy caressed his cheek trying to get him to rise, but he was out again. Buffy spoke to Xander, but her eyes remained on the vampire. "Maybe it is better that he sleeps."

"God Buffy, I haven't seen him look like this since Glory." Xander looked at his friend.

Buffy glanced over at his wounds, "This isn't good. He hasn't had any blood. His wounds are just going to bleed if we give him any, but it is the only way for him to heal."

"I'll go get some." Xander turned to leave.

"Xander?"

"Thanks."

Xander nodded and went back out the door leaving the two blondes alone together. Buffy's eyes filled with tears and didn't feel the presence of another entering the room. Buffy's voice came out a whisper. "I am so sorry. I should have gotten to you sooner. Maybe then this wouldn't have happened…oh God." Buffy grasped Spike's hand and interlocked it with her own. "You'll be okay. I promise. I'm not going to let anything else happen to you." Buffy gently pressed a chastise kiss onto his head.

Someone cleared their throat from behind her, Buffy quickly wiped away the tears as Willow and Anya came in with supplies and Xander with the blood.

"Thanks." Buffy took the mug of blood and set it on her end table then reached for a thin knife.

"BUFFY!" Xander's eyes widened.

"Look, I don't have time to argue about this okay. He needs to heal. My blood will help, plus he has been starved. I am just going to mix some in with the blood, if you have a problem you can leave." Buffy slowly sliced her palm letting some blood flow into the mug before she bandaged her hand.

Buffy turned to face her friends. "Go down and check on the potentials, make sure they are okay. I just am going to fix him up." Buffy attempted to smile, but it was weak. Her friends did as they said and one by one trailed out of the room.

Buffy carefully washed and bandaged his wounds, gently rubbing over each one as if to sooth him. Buffy hated seeing him like this. Weak and vulnerable and lately that is all she ever saw. She missed the cocky and arrogant Spike, the Spike who was confident with a swagger in his step and a smirk on his face. That was the Spike she didn't hurt. Nevertheless, as she gazed down at his sleeping form, she made a vow to herself never to intentionally hurt him again.

Somehow, she was going to make it up to him. All she needed was time, so in his case she had an eternity. Buffy got Spike to wake up and drink the blood, but he soon feel back into unconsciousness, and she re-bandaged his wounds that were now bleeding.

The rest of the time Buffy just sat and watched, watched as he took unnecessary breaths, she couldn't take her eyes off him. He seemed at peace. Buffy felt that she too was due for a little rest. Buffy cautiously crawled up on the bed and lay beside Spike careful not to disturb any of him wounds. She placed a small kiss oh his forehead and drifted off into a peaceful sleep, the first one she had since he had been taken, with her hand still intertwined with his.

Buffy felt the slight stir from the side of her and look over to see Spike's eyes slowly open. Buffy smiled as he turned to look at her, and giggle with the confused look on her face.

"Buffy?"

Buffy caressed his cheek, "Hey. You feeling any better?"

Spike nodded and then looked at their clasped hands and back at her. She watched as she saw a play of emotions go through his eyes, but noticed that he was falling back to sleep, despite his attempts to stay awake.

Buffy whispered to him as he drifted, "Go back to sleep."

Spike opened his eyes one last time, "Will you still be here when I wake up?"

Buffy snuggled closer, still conscious of the bruises and cuts. She whispered back to him even though she knew that he had succumbed to sleep.

"Always."

TBC

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