Willow hung up the phone and joined everyone back in the living room.
"Angel's on the way."
Giles nodded and hoped they had enough time to wait for him.
Spike ignored the conversations going on around him and continued to read up on the demon, trying to keep his emotions in control, Angel being the last person he wanted to see, but helping Buffy was more important than his petty jealousy. "We have a bigger problem. You better hope that Angel can save her."
"What did you find out?" Giles asked him.
"Nothing good, if Buffy doesn't wake up in twenty-four hours, she's never going to."
"What does that mean?" Xander wondered
Spike turned to him. "It means that she's going to die."
Dawn gasped. "No, she's not going to die. She can't die."
Spike shook his head. "I'm sorry, nibblet. I'll see if I can find anything else, but Peaches may be our only hope."
She threw her hands up in the air. "God, you know, I would expect this from them, but not you. Angel can't save her and you know it!" she yelled, taking off up the stairs.
Spike rubbed his tired eyes, figuring that he should give the teenager some alone time before he tried talking to her.
"Well, let's hope that Dawn is wrong about that. He should be arriving in less than two hours," Giles explained.
Spike needed to get away. He put the book he was reading down and headed up the stairs, going straight to Buffy's room. Once he entered, he noticed that there was no change in her condition. Spike sat down by her side, taking her clammy hand in his. "I wish I knew what was going on in that head of yours. It probably involves beating me up," he said with a chuckle, then grew more serious. "The last thing I want is Peaches anywhere near you. This is just what I need. Him coming back to wake you, then you realizing he really is your true love. I don't have a chance, do I? I guess in the end it'll all be worth it, just to see you open your eyes." He glanced up at said eyes to see that they were fluttering, but still remained closed. "It looks like you might be thinking about something good in there. I really hope it's not my dusty ending."
Little did Spike know how very wrong he was.
The sun shined above them, waves crashing in the ocean as the happy couple sat together on the beach.
"It's so beautiful here."
He held her tighter, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. "Everything is beautiful with you."
The blonde woman turned to look at him, realizing just how blue his eyes were. "I like it here, Spike. I can do whatever I want. I don't have to worry about slaying, or what my friends think. I'm free to be with you here, no consequences."
"You know you have to go back, love."
Buffy shook her head. "I don't want to. I want to stay here with you."
He smiled. "I'll still be there when you go back, nothing has to change."
She snuggled up closer to him. "Except for seeing you in the sunlight, I'll really miss that."
"Well, you shouldn't have taken my ring away."
Buffy slapped him lightly on the arm. "If you still had that ring, we might not be here today."
He shrugged, looking out at the ocean. "It's not time to leave yet."
"Good," she said, resting her head against his chest and closing her eyes. "Then we can be together for a little while longer."
Spike was brought out of slumber by a hand nudging his shoulder, not even realizing that he dozed off.
"How long was I out for?" he asked, assuming Giles was the one to wake him, but that wasn't who responded.
"I don't know. I just got here. How's she doing?"
Spike shrugged, turning away from Angel. "See for yourself. She hasn't moved, she's gotten paler than she was about an hour ago, it's not looking good."
Angel nodded and kneeled down beside her bed, staring at his former love. "I came because Willow called me, but I don't think there's anything I can do for her. I figured she wouldn't believe me unless I came in person."
"What are you on about, Peaches? You're the only one that can help her. You just have to kiss her, and warn me before you do. I would rather be out of the room."
He shook his head. "It's a bit more complicated than that."
Anything else Spike would have said was cut off by the arrival of the others.
Angel figured it was now or never. He took a deep, unneeded breath, then pressed his lips softly to Buffy's.
Spike looked away, not wanting to witness the obvious display of affection, squeezing Dawn's hand tighter in his. She was the only one keeping him sane at the moment.
Angel pulled away, waiting a minute to see that there was no change.
"What happened?" Willow wondered in confusion. "That should have worked."
Angel glanced at the concerned faces around him. "As I told you before, I won't be able to wake her."
Giles took his glasses off to clean them, placing them back on after a few seconds, but Willow spoke up again before he could.
"How come? Don't you still love her?"
Angel gave a sad smile. "I'll always love her, but she no longer loves me. If I know anything about true love, it works both ways."
No one was expecting that.
Xander broke the silence a moment later. "What are we going to do now? Buffy has less than twelve hours left."
"This is what I've been trying to say. It's Spike, he's the one that can wake her."
They all now turned their attention on Dawn, shocked by her statement, but no one more than Spike.
"Um, nibblet, I'm flattered that you think I can save her, but that's just not possible. Peaches is right, true love works both ways, and we know she doesn't love me."
Dawn wouldn't accept that. "Please, Spike, you have to at least try," she pleaded. "I know it will work, it has to. You're the only one that can do it."
Spike stared at the young girl, one that he considered to be like a sister. He was surprised that no one else objected to what she said, but all he did was nod and move over to Buffy. He copied Angel, taking an unneeded breath, and touching his lips to hers in a gentle caress. The last thing Spike wanted to do was take his lips away, but he knew it couldn't last forever. He gazed deeply at her, waiting for any kind of change, seconds ticked by and nothing happened. Spike gave up, knowing it was too good to be true. "I'm sorry," he told them. Spike moved away, stopping when the hand he was gripping twitched and gripped him back. He glanced down at her, beyond shocked when her eyes finally fluttered open and looked right into his, giving him a breathtaking smile.
"You're here," she whispered.
Spike didn't know how to respond to that, but didn't have the chance when everyone charged at Buffy, embracing her and welcoming her back.
Angel led him out of the room, noticing just how stunned he was. "I'll be heading back now, there's nothing more for me to do here. Take care of her, Spike."
He nodded, watching as Angel walked down the stairs and out the front door, still in a state of shock.
After their reunion, everyone left the room to give Buffy some space, Dawn remaining behind.
"I may just be a kid, but I know what I'm talking about every now and then. I knew Spike could save you," Dawn claimed, beaming at her sister.
Buffy returned her smile, looking up to see Spike standing in the doorway. "Hey, Dawny, could you give us a minute?"
She nodded and left the room, giving Spike a nudge on her way out.
He cautiously stepped inside, not sure how to start this particular conversation. "I'm glad that you're okay."
She held her hand out to him, sighing in relief when he took it and sat back down at her side. "Do you know what I was dreaming about?"
Spike shook his head, waiting for her to continue.
"You, Spike, it was so beautiful. We were at the beach, in the sunlight, just holding each other. I've never felt so safe in my life. I knew that I would be able to come back, that you would still be here. You're the one that never leaves."
Spike felt his eyes start to tear up, hoping that she wouldn't notice. He just pressed his lips to her knuckles. "Never leave you," he stated, bringing his eyes back up to hers. "Did they tell you about the demon?"
Buffy nodded. "True love's kiss, huh? You know, I think the demon world is really starting to lose their touch. They've ruined Sleeping Beauty for me, that used to be my favorite movie," she finished with a pout.
Spike was surprised that she was taking it so well. "Does…Does this mean you love me?" He cursed himself for stuttering, but had to know the truth.
She thought about it. "I could say no, but since you were the one to wake me, I'm guessing that would be pointless."
He lowered his gaze from hers.
Buffy caressed his cheek, forcing him to look back at her. "I love you, Spike. I don't know when it happened, but it did. Thank you for saving me."
It was official, he was an utter ponce. He couldn't stop the tears now as he wrapped his arms around her tiny frame, smothering kisses all over her face, until he finally reached her lips. "I love you so bloody much," he admitted, burying his head in her neck and leaving a few kisses there as well.
Buffy held him closer to her, kissing his forehead.
"Yes, it's about time!" Dawn exclaimed, running back into the room and joining her sister on the bed.
Spike grinned at her antics.
"I already talked to everyone else. They've decided to accept this, but it's not like they could really deny what happened. That may have been the best demon ever, and Angel was actually decent. He left quietly; I'm surprised he didn't have a bigger cow about this."
Buffy raised her eyebrows. "Angel was here?"
Dawn nodded. "Yeah, Giles had Willow call him. They actually thought he was your true love," she finished, rolling her eyes.
Buffy laughed. "Maybe when I was a teenager and didn't know any better. I mean, I'll always love him, but true love? That's a world of no. I'll have to ask Giles what the hell he was thinking. I could have been woken up sooner."
Spike glanced between the two sisters, surprised by Buffy's reaction, but not disappointed. He made room for himself next to Dawn, reaching over her to grab Buffy's hand, which he was delighted to find was back to being warm. He shut his eyes, the exhausting day finally catching up with him. Spike couldn't stop thinking about her dream. More than anything, he wanted to make it come true. He didn't know what it would take, another ring, a spell of some kind, but Spike would find a way to join his girl in the sunlight, give her everything that she deserved. With that thought in mind, he drifted off into a peaceful sleep.
Yes, I made Angel decent, I'm sure you guys weren't expecting that. I just didn't want him to cause any trouble. Well, that's all I could think of, this story just proved how out of ideas I am lately. Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed, it's always much appreciated!