The next night on patrol, Buffy and Spike went on patrol alone, despite the tension

The next night on patrol, Buffy and Spike went on patrol alone, despite the tension. Buffy had been miserable all day, wondering what she had done to ruin things so badly with Spike. She had gone to work, and done her job, but she couldn't get her mind off of the blonde vampire living in her basement.

At home, she had cleaned the kitchen, and talked to the girls a little bit. They had asked her if they could go out with her but she told them no. She wanted to go alone. Well alone with Spike. But she didn't know if he would go with her and she didn't know how to ask him.

As she had been getting to leave, Spike had waited for her at the door, but he wouldn't look at her. She had swallowed her tears and left with him. But it didn't stop there. Repeatedly she had opened her mouth to talk to him, but then closed it. She didn't know what to say. He wouldn't even walk near her. Why did he even come with her? Her anger was getting the best of her as she growled and punched him in the mouth.

The forced surprised Spike so he fell to the ground. He recovered quickly and stood. "What the hell was that for?" He flared.

Tears welled in Buffy's eyes again before she punched him in the face again. She hadn't hit him in a really long time, but she was so angry at him. She was wanted to patch things up and he hadn't given her that. He didn't even care about how hurt she was about what he had said to her. Buffy's fist shot out and got his nose. "I hate you," she growled. She told him she wanted to be with him, she wanted to work out their issues and he had said that he didn't love her. That was what every woman wanted to hear from a man.

Spike's foot shot out and he took her legs out from under her. "No you don't but I can handle it," he said, throwing her away form him.

"Why?" Buffy flared, tears streaming down her face. She pushed herself to her feet intent on getting answers from him. She ignored the tingles on her neck as she took a step toward him.

"Bec…." He was cut off as a huge demon tackled Buffy. "Buffy!" He screamed.

Buffy lay stunned on the ground Spike fought the demon. She held her ribs where the demon had kicked and her breathing was heavy. She was so caught up in her argument with Spike that she wasn't paying attention. She almost wanted to just lay here and die. It would better then dealing with what she was feeling.

Spike snapped the demons neck and ran to Buffy. "Pet, you okay?" He asked, kneeling beside her.

"Go away," Buffy whispered. In truth, she was probably fine, just a bruise probably. But she didn't want his help. She wanted him to leave her alone.

He frowned and scooped her up. "I gotta get you home," he said, cradling her. "You can't stay out here. You're in no condition to go patrolling tonight."

She slumped against him and cried. "Please put me down," she begged him. She could walk by herself and she did not want his help.

He kissed her forehead and walked toward the house. "Buffy, I'm so sorry, Luv."

She struggled slightly in his arms most of the way home, but she gave up knowing he wouldn't put her down. She sniffled now and then as silent tears rolled down her cheeks. She hated feeling this weak. Spike took her upstairs, without a word to anyone that may have been awake in her living room. The usual candidates that would keep Spike from touching her must have been asleep. He laid her in bed and she hastily got out of bed. She stood in front of him and slapped him.

Spike rubbed his cheek. "Would you stop hitting me?" He asked, softly. "It's not getting us anywhere."

"Why are you being like this?" She asked, wiping her tears. Why didn't he want to be with her? Had she messed it up that badly? "Why Spike?"

Spike sighed and went toward the door. "Go to sleep, Slayer," he said.

She shoved him into the door. "Would you stop?" She growled. "I want to talk to you. You owe me that." She felt she deserved an answer as to why he didn't want to be with her. She deserved to know what she had done.

Then someone knocked on the door and Buffy could have reined hell for whoever disturbed them. "Buffy?" Came Dawn's voice through her door.

"Yeah?" Buffy asked, still looking at Spike.

"You might wanna come downstairs," Dawn said. "It's really important. I wouldn't interrupt you guys if it wasn't."

Buffy sighed and went toward the door. "Spike, please don't leave. I want to talk to you," she said, going downstairs. However she wished she had stayed in her room. Angel was standing in the living room. Buffy halted at the foot of the stairs as Spike and Dawn came down behind her. This was not happening. She heard Spike growl as he stalked towards the kitchen. Buffy looked at him then back at Angel. "Hold on," she said, and ran after the blonde vampire. "Spike!"

Spike paused in the middle of the yard. "You need to go back inside and see the poof," he said.

"Forget him," she said, closing the door after she came out on the porch. She almost felt sick to her stomach as the butterflies multiplied. She went toward him and looked at him. "Look me in the eyes and tell me you don't love me. Tell me that you feel nothing for me and I'll leave you alone. But this is not about Angel. This is about me and you. This is what's important right now."

Spike's eyes pierced hers as he looked for the truth. Her breath hitched in her chest as he thought about everything she had said. She didn't know what else she could do to prove to him that she was serious. She had just walked away from Angel for him. She couldn't say that about anyone else in her life. "Buffy," he said, softly. "I'm just not sure."

"Why?" She whispered, reaching out to grab his hands. "Spike, I'm not demanding anything from you. And I'll do anything to make you trust me again. I promise." If he wasn't ready for a relationship, she wouldn't push him, and she couldn't blame him. But she wanted them to be friends. She wanted them to trust each other again. She opened her mouth again but Spike pressed his lips against hers. She released a sound of surprised before she kissed him back. Her knees went weak and she snaked her arms around his neck to hold herself up. She groaned in pleasure as he pulled her flush up against his body and she tangled her fingers in his hair.

Angel came out on the back porch and his jaw fell to the floor. "Buffy?"

Buffy ignored him as she hugged Spike closer to her. She did have to pull away to breathe and she rested her forehead against his. "I'm guessing this means you love me," she said in a light tone.

"Yes," he agreed. "More than anything in this world."

A smile broke out on her face and she was about to lean up to kiss him when Angel's voice rang though the front yard.

"Buffy, what are you doing?" Angel asked.

She turned and looked at him. "I'm sorry Angel." She felt a little bad that she had been some what rude to him but she wasn't going to let anything ruin what she was trying to work on with Spike. Not even Angel could mess that up for her. She was more then annoyed when Angel manhandled her away from Spike saying they had to talk. She snatched her wrist free. "I'm not a little kid. I don't need you to pull me on a leash." He still hadn't gotten over that, and it was pissing her off.

"Buffy, I came here with good news, but I think we've run into a road block," he said.

"Spike is not a road block," Buffy growled. "He's part of my life." She paused glancing at Spike as he took a step toward her. "What's the good news?" She smiled at Spike a little, not wanting him to feel like anything was different. Angel would say whatever he couldn't say over the phone and he would leave. That's what he did. She knew that, and this time she wanted him to speed the process up.

"Give me your hand," Angel said.

Buffy looked skeptical but gave him her hand. "Why?" Her initial instinct was to pull away. Angel did have that power over her to make her do whatever he said. And right now she really wanted to go inside. She sighed as he put her hand on his chest and she focused on the thumping beneath her hand before she snatched it away. "Oh my god. You're human," she whispered. Her eyes snapped to Spike as his head lowered in rejection. She walked away from both of them needing some space to process what she had just found out. She looked over at Angel then at Spike who lifted his gaze and she knew she couldn't hurt him again. She sighed and walked toward Angel to give him a hug. "I'm glad."

Angel wrapped his arms around her and smiled. "Finally, we get to be together," he whispered.

Buffy frowned and pulled away. "No, we can't. You and I had our chances. Too many chances," she whimpered, backing away. "I'm not going through that again. She backed away from him and went towards Spike to grab his hand. She squeezed his hand in reassurance. She smiled as his arm went around her shoulders and she leaned into him. "Let's go inside." She slid her own arm around his waist and led him toward the porch. "Sorry Angel. There's nothing for you here." She didn't look back as she took Spike inside and locked the door behind them. "You okay?"

Spike nodded. "Yeah," he said, softly. "I just thought…"

"You thought I'd just welcome him with open arms?" She offered. She couldn't blame him for thinking that. She had done it every other time. "Well, I know it's going to take some time to get used to things," she whispered. "But I'm willing to work on it." She sighed and rubbed her face. "I'm going to bed. You're welcome to join me, if you want, but if you'd rather not, that's good too. But I'll leave the door open in case you change your mind." She smiled up at him as she kissed him gently before heading upstairs. He had to set the pace. They had to play by his rules, and she was okay with that. She left her door open like she had said, and she felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

She changed into something comfortable to sleep in and just as she was about to climb into bed, Spike was standing in her doorway. She had to admit as much as she hoped that he would join her, she didn't think he was ready. "Spike," she said, in a soft but surprised voice.

He fidgeted like he was just as nervous as she was. "Were you serious?" He asked, still standing in her doorway. Like he wasn't allowed to enter without permission.

Her brows drew together as she debated with what he was talking about. "If you're talking about joining me in my bed, then yes, I was serious," she said. "In fact I've been pretty serious about everything I've said tonight. You know… except for saying that I hate you. Because I don't."

"I know," he said, coming into her room and closing the door behind her. "I just had to make sure."

"I'm not here to play games with you," she said, softly. She grabbed his hands and gently pulled him toward her bed. She maneuvered onto the bed, and got to her knees as she ran her hands up his chest. "I'm serious about us, Spike." She leaned up to kiss him softly. "That's why I left the choice up to you."

He cradled her cheeks in his hands as he kissed her softly. "Just don't want anything to get messed up this time," he said, stroking her cheeks.

"We're just going to sleep," she said, shifting on the bed to pull the comforter back. "Nothing wrong with that right?" She smiled up at him as she slid under the comforter, leaving him room to slide in next to her. This was new territory for both of them. He had never been in her bed, not with her, not consciously, and she had never invited him. It was a big step and she was more then happy to have him next to her.

He hesitated for a moment before climbing in the vacant space she had made for him. He reached over to turn the light off before settling down against the pillows.

Buffy spread the blankets out over both of them before laying her head on his chest. "Good night Spike," she whispered. "I'm glad you decided to come up."

Spike kissed her hair. "I am too," he said. "I love you Buffy." He settled his arms around her in a protective embrace as his allowed his eyes to fall closed.

She lay in his arms for a little with almost a goofy smile on her face. She knew he loved her. Maybe she could love him too. But she felt that she had definitely proved to him that she cared for him and she would do anything to make this work. She yawned slightly as her own eyes began to fall closed. If only the First would get out of their lives, then everything would be perfect. She couldn't bear the thought of someone or something coming between them. Not when things were getting good. She pushed those thoughts from her mind as she slipped into a deep sleep.