Title: In The Know

Author: A.J. Hofacre

Email: acer922_104@yahoo.com

Subject: Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Rating: PG-13 [for the language. If it was for something else, you'd know.]

Summary: Dawn's being a good little sis and doing her duty: snooping.

Pairing: Some B/S

Spoilers: "Wrecked" with some "Smashed" thrown in for good measure.

Disclaimers: Sadly, I don't own Spike, or Buffy and Dawn for that matter. All BtVS characters belong to Joss Whedon, UPN, ME, etc, etc. You know the drill. Maybe someday I can have Spike, but not now. Boo. On with the fic.

Author's Note: One other thing: the comments made about Willow and other characters are my own feelings. Willow, at the moment, has completely scared the bleeding hell out of me and I want nothing to do with her anymore. Forgive me. Magic worries me.

**==========================**

Okay, you can't blame me for doing it. I'm a younger sibling. It's, like, an unwritten, unspoken rule between younger siblings that they have to snoop! Buffy's diary is LOADED with all kinds of juicy stuff, although I have to admit that her life during her first three apocalypses were a lot more interesting, save for last year's Glo - never mind.

And besides, I haven't been nosey for a while. Not since the whole musical demon thing that Xander summoned. Grrr.

As quietly as I possibly could, I walked down the hall from my room, being careful not to make any boogedy noises that'd wake Willow or send Buffy on Slayer-watch mode if she was home. I pass by Mom's old bedroom - Willow's room - and scowl as I peek in and see her shivering. She's having magic withdrawal. And I'm still psycho-pissed about the stunt she pulled on Tuesday. She nearly killed me!

Bypassing the room [and, wishing more than ever that either Mom was back, or Tara and Spike were there], I turn when I get to Buffy's door, peeking around the corner. Oh, YES! She's still on patrol! Hurrying, I run to her bed and thrust my uninjured arm under the mattress, wincing when my fractured arm hits the frame of the bed. Patting around, I feel for the compact little diary she always writes in. My hand slides over something smooth. wait, that's a crucifix. Why does Buffy have a crucifix under her mattress? Ew, come to think of it, why does her room smell like garlic? Well, whatever.

I finally find the diary. It amazes me that my sister always comes up with new hiding places for the little thing [which I always manage to find], but she's never thought to get a lock and key for it. I mean, she knows I read it. Sigh. Settling myself on the floor, I open the diary to the second to last entry, from last week. Nothing new, nothing interesting. same old, same old, Buffy walks me to school, Buffy gets breakfast, Buffy walks to the Magic Box, researches Frosty the Snow Monster [the thing they think froze that poor old man at the museum]. Skip to later that night. Buffy patrols, meets up with Spike, yells at Spike, slays demons with Spike, goes home after kicking Spike's ass.

WHY does she have to treat Spike so bad? He's so cool, such a great guy. It doesn't matter that he's a vampire, Spike was there for me whenever I needed him. ALWAYS there for me.

Sigh. Flip the page, Dawnie.

First thing I read at the top of the next page? "Dawnie, I know you're reading this. Put it down and go back to sleep before I get back from patrol. NOW."

Told ya she knows I read this thing.

Of course I don't put it down. I keep on reading. It's from Tuesday night. Oooh, maybe this will explain where Buffy was all night on Monday. I'll get to snooping.

"I'm blind. I can't believe I didn't see this before. Willow nearly killed Dawn tonight. I really thought my best friend was more responsible than to think it was OKAY for her to take my younger sister to a magical warlock type person that gave her a witch's version of cocaine."

Oh. THAT'S what was wrong with her. I thought she was just being 'Unreasonable Willow' for the day. Argh. As if. I'm not blind either. Willow looked like she was off her rocker. She's been using her magic too much, and it's a wonder that Tara didn't leave her earlier.

"I had a talk with Wills tonight. She apologized over and over again for Dawn [who, by the way, gave her the Almighty Slap of Disgust. Good girl. She's been hanging around me and Spike too much.]" I beamed in pride. Oh, yeah. I'm good. "Anyway. I haven't told anyone this, but I'm actually thinking of asking Willow to leave. She was out of control tonight, I'm telling you. She really, really scared me, and I've never been so disgusted with her in my life."

Neither have I.

"Her way of explaining things to me included reminding me of how nerdy and shy she was back in high school before she got into the magic. Personally, I liked that Willow better. I mean, she dabbled a little in the witchcraft, but it was better then compared to now when she uses the damn stuff every fucking chance she gets."

Wow. Buffy cusses. And I totally agree. even though I really, technically wasn't around during Buffy's high school years. Yet another argh to add to my 'Why me?' list. But that Willow was definitely less dangerous, and a lot better. She's scaring me too.

"It's no doubt she loves using magic, and it's gonna be hard for her, but she's agreed to quit with the hocus pocus. But the talk we had hit a little too close to home. I guess that's why I'm sitting here with a crucifix hugged to my chest and garlic all over my windows. Childish and immature, I know. it probably won't keep Spike out anyway. He'd growl at me for putting garlic in my room, saying that it 'bloody well stinks' [which it does, I'll admit.] and then he'd grab my hand and gently lead the cross away from him and onto the bedstand.

It serves me right. I started all this crap. The night that stupid musical demon came and tried to kidnap Dawn to make her his queen. ugh. I kissed Spike that night. I can't blame anything on him, because I started it. Then, when Wills did that goddamn spell, and all of us forgot who the hell we were. I was at the Bronze that night. Spike came up next to me and gave me that damn look with his eyes, all hopeful-like, and comforting and. loving. I have no choice but to admit that now, because I can see it, every time he stares at me. Spike loves me. I did it again that night. I wouldn't look at him, and I kept looking away from him until I was sure he'd left. And then I felt bad. So I went after him to apologize. and we ended up kissing again. ARGH."

YES! YES, YES, and YES! Buffy kissed Spike, TWICE and she admits that he loves her, now! Before, when Spike told her he loved her, she kept trying to push it off to the back of her mind, ignoring it and calling it obsession. But then he did what he did for us. after the BuffyBot stunt, when Glory captured him. She accepted it, now! Ever since I discovered that Spike was in love with my sister, I was a little jealous cuz of the crush I had on him. But I got over it, and now, all I wanted was for Buffy to really *see* Spike, and love him back. Maybe this was the first step towards that.

"Things went too far last night. Spike can hit me now. He says he didn't have anything done to his chip, and truthfully, I believe him. I don't know why, but I do. Spike can hurt me now. Which would actually be a lot easier on me now when I train, since Giles. is gone. Spike and I can fight now. REALLY fight. Believe it or not, I missed that.

Sorry, train de-railed. [I lost my train of thought.] Anyway, Spike said that I came back wrong. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I hit him. And he hit me back. Repeatedly. Sigh."

So. I'm guessing this is a good thing that they can fight, right?

"Wrong? I came back WRONG? How could he say that? And if he's right, then what the hell did I come back is, if I'm not completely human? UGH, what is it about being a Slayer that will never allow me to ever be even remotely normal after I come back from DEATH?

We were fighting in the alley behind the Magic Box, and we fell through the door to the abandoned building next to it. The whole time we were in there, we fought. We threw each other all over the rooms, punching, hitting, and kicking. Spike started to say something to me after I shoved him hard against the wall, but he never finished.

Because I kissed him again.

But it didn't stop. He lifted me up and we kept slamming each other into the walls, only this time we were.. 'dancing,' as he likes to oh-so- eloquently puts it.

I woke up this morning in the old building. It had completely caved in over night. Spike and I were on the floor, I guess we'd fallen through the first floor or something. Spike and I. we were. well, we'd. had sex."

Oh my god. Buffy and Spike had sex! Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!

"About six different times."

Oh my GOD.

"Yeah. I had sex with Spike. six times. And I.I'm not gonna deny it. It was good. Actually, better than good. It was amazing."

I squealed out loud. This was great! I hoped this meant what I thought it meant.

"It was a mistake."

I groaned. DAMN YOU, Buffy!

"How many different times does this have to happen? How many times do I have to throw myself into these things until I understand that it would never work? Didn't I learn my lesson after Angel? I fell in love with a vampire cursed with a soul. I slept with said vampire, and he lost his soul. After that, he tried to kill me and my friends, while mucking around with Spike's whore of an ex-girlfriend, Dru, and all the while, planning to create a literal hell on Earth. And I had to send him to hell.

My first love.

No. NO, I am NOT gonna do this again. I am NOT letting myself fall for another vampire, let alone one WITHOUT a soul that has an amazing capacity for love, despite the fact that he shouldn't KNOW how to love at all. Oh, and can we say 'argh?'

He was with Dru for his entire 124 years when I met him. And he's 128 years old now. At least I think he is. Does that show a loyalty factor in a guy, or what?

I can't do this. To myself, to him. I just can't do this. Angel. I loved him, and he turned on me. And then he came back, and left me again, even when I pleaded with him not to. The same with Riley. I didn't want him to leave, but he did. For God's sake, all I do is ASK Spike to leave, but he won't. He's so stubborn. but he's so loyal. Maybe things would be different if I.

No. NO. It would never work. The only reason I keep Spike around is because it's good to have someone with as much strength as me that can beat up the baddies. Plus, Dawn adores him. She'd never forgive me if I let Mr. Pointy get up close and personal with the Bleached Wonder. That, and. well, I guess I'd kind of miss him if I actually had the nerve to dust him. And it wouldn't have been fair if I'd staked him directly after her got the chip installed. He wouldn't have really been able to defend himself.

He was obnoxious when we woke up, though. I'm allowed to have some hate feelings for him right now! He had my panties in his back pocket and THEN he actually had the nerve to ask me if I wanted them back! So I. punched him. Again.

Spike is a vampire. I am a vampire SLAYER. This goes against all the rules of everything supernatural-ly and. and. stuff.

I will NEVER let Spike touch me again.

If only it were as simple as I wish it could be.

Dawnie. I know you didn't put this away. It's okay. At least you know. Yeah. At least now you know the truth about what happened. Go to bed, now. Love you."

I sighed. Of course she'd try to push off whatever this thing was that she had with Spike. It had to be a relationship. Wasn't the saying something like, one kiss could always be a mistake, but a second kiss meant you were in it for the long haul? According to what I'd just read, Buffy had had more than her fair share of kisses with Spike. They had a relationship, but she wanted to keep denying it, as usual. There was something huge between them. I was sure of it.

I slid the diary back under Buffy's mattress and climbed to my feet. At least I knew why she had that stupid garlic around now. She was trying to keep Spike from appearing at her window. And it might've worked, if this was a child's vampire story. The smell of the gunk alone might keep him away, just for the sake of keeping his smelling senses intact, but otherwise, Buffy was kidding herself.

I sighed and went to the window. What I just could not GET was why Buffy had to keep comparing Spike to every other guy that's left her. Parker was a jerk in the first place, all he was, was a pump-and-dumper. Angel thought he was doing the best thing for her by leaving her to have a normal life. Hello, she's a Slayer. Her best friend and her best friend's ex-girlfriend are witches. A vampire without a soul is trying to court her. Her ex- Watcher is a former Ripper. Her best guy friend is engaged to an ex-demon. And her younger sister isn't really her sister but some sort of mystical beam of green energy stuck in the body of a fifteen year old girl. NOT really very normal.

Oh, and then there was Riley. Riley Finn, special agent of the Initiative. Army Boy, or as Spike calls him, Captain Cardboard. He was so. BLAH. So normal. Too normal. At one point, I sort of liked him, yeah. Until he went and left Buffy. And plus, there was the whole hating Spike factor. I love Spike [as a brother type figure. Don't worry.] Therefore, any guy who dislikes Spike after everything he's done to prove himself, deserves a slap in the face by me, Dawnie Summers. So there.

When I looked out the window, it only figured that I should see the two people who always put aside everything else to be there for me, standing out there, under Buffy's tree. As quietly as I could, I opened the window so I could hear what they were saying.

"Spike, DON'T. don't do this to me. Not now. I can't handle this, I have so many things on my mind, and YOU, however, are NOT one of them. Back OFF," Buffy said, glaring at him. Spike didn't back down, and instead cocked his head to the right, staring at my sister.

"Why do ya hafta do that? Why'd ya always hafta push people away? And don't bloody come back with something like, 'You're don't count as people' or anything, Slayer! I'm bloody well more human than any of the ponces in this fucking world. I'm the only one of your mates that knows what the hell you go through, because *I* went through it. Get it through your bloody head!" Buffy glared at him and came back with a swing to his nose. Spike jumped back, just short of getting his nose broken for the eighteenth time in six months.

"Why do you ALWAYS have to go for my fucking nose?" he roared. "Would you take a minute and just fucking listen to me, Summers? I'm not asking you for a fight to the death, I'm not asking for you to shag me again! All I'm asking is for you to just bloody well LISTEN to me!" Buffy scowled and closed her eyes tightly, shaking her head.

"You know what.. No, FINE. Go ahead and talk. And then, if you don't leave me alone afterwards, I will NOT hesitate to stake you through the heart." Totally an empty threat. Buffy looked too tired to actually fulfill that promise. Spike calmed down and took a deep, unneeded breath, offering her his hand. Buffy shrugged away from it and leaned against the tree.

"So talk," she muttered. Spike looked at her hard, and I could see that he was trying as hard as he could to keep himself from grabbing her in his arms.

"Buffy. I know you believe that Tuesday night was a. a mistake -"

"It WAS," she interrupted, only to receive a threatening growl and a flash of Demon Face from Spike.

"Do shut UP, woman! Anymore interruptions and I'll be forced to tape your damn mouth shut and tie you to the fucking tree!" Buffy started to open her mouth, then sighed and shook her head, giving up.

"Go ahead." Spike stared at her longingly.

"Buffy. that night was the best thing that ever could've happened to me. You know I love you. You've got a bloody wildcard on me. You can use it whenever you want; you know I'd do anything for you and the bit. That night. you made me feel like you needed me, and I know I'm gonna sound like my poof of a grandsire when I say this, but that meant more to me than you could even begin to imagine.

"When we. when we lost you this summer. I was lost, Buffy. The only thing that kept me goin' was the promise I made to you about the Nibblet. You ask your sister, ask Red, and Harris and Demon Girl, looking after Dawn and fightin' the demons for you. it was all that was keepin' me from staking myself. And when you came back, an' you started turning to ME instead of your mates. You made me feel important. like you needed me. Just like I need you. You and Dawn. you two are my only reason for living. uh, unliving." Spike sighed and I smiled to myself at his admission. The only reason he was keeping himself around was because of us. his Summers girls. Even Buffy looked like she was letting her guard slip. Spike continued quietly, not looking at her. Instead, he lit a cigarette and stared at the burning tip in the night before lifting it up and taking a puff.

"I didn't intend for anything to go that far, Buffy. I was happy just kissing you. I would've been happy if you'd of just let me hug you or somethin'. I wouldn't of done anything you didn't want to do. But the second you. yeah. Well. I lost control. I couldn't help it. I love you, and the thought that you felt even the smallest of the same toward me made me so fucking happy. God, I really *am* turning into the poof, now." He turned away, giving a dry laugh and rubbed the bridge of his nose, the cigarette dangling between his lips.

"Anyway. that's all I gotta say. Now, if you wanna kick the shit out of me, go right ahead, Slayer. Not like it'd matter anyway." Buffy stayed silent, staring at him, and shook her head.

"I hate you. Do you know that?" Spike swallowed hard, his face taking on a look of pain.

"With every fiber in this soddin' body of mine."

Things were quiet for a while after that. My heart was aching. I was just dying for Buffy to do the smart thing and to say that she cared about him, but she just stood there, staring at her shoes and not saying anything. I looked toward Spike, and my eyes widened hopefully when I saw that he was staring at her intently. Walk over to her, PLEASE! I thought, crossing my fingers.

Sure enough, Spike's combat boot covered feet began moving him towards my sister and soon they were nose-to-nose, Spike's hand cupping Buffy's chin and lifting it up to his face. I could see him debating himself, swallowing hard, his lips hovering over Buffy's, before he finally gave in and kissed her. I had to clap my hand over my mouth to keep from squealing out loud. I had to do it again when I saw Buffy wrap her arms around Spike and kiss him back. They were kissing! YES! Buffy gave in to him! About fucking time, I thought with a smirk, allowing myself to get in that little cuss.

They kept it up for about five minutes, Spike pressing Buffy as gently as possible against the tree trunk, until HE pulled away. That's right, HE pulled away from the kiss, not Buffy. And he did the absolute SWEETEST thing afterwards. He just stood there, hugging her close to him, one of his hands just lightly stroking her cheek. He was looking at her with what I can only describe as absolute adoration. He worshipped Buffy. She was his everything. I could see it in everything he did around her.

My heart dropped when I saw Buffy turn her head away and begin to cry. Buffy. crying. She hadn't cried in so long. Not since the night I'd tried to bring Mom back. I looked at Spike. He was staring at her with this look of absolute dejection on his face.

Sometimes I forget that Spike's a vampire. He acts more human than most humans do. He has more feelings than a vampire should have. I could swear right then that I heard his unbeating heart break.

"Buffy?" he whispered tentatively, biting his lower lip. Buffy pushed away from him, still crying.

"Don't do this to me, Spike. I-I can't do this again. I can't get involved w-with a vampire again. I can't let this happen, I can't let you touch or kiss me ever again. It's wrong, and it's. I never should've let it happen in the first place. Please just go, Spike." Spike stared at her, pleading with her. From where I was, I could see his blue eyes begging her.

"Buffy, PLEASE. just give me a chance. That's all I want from you. Just a chance." Buffy shook her head and Spike walked over to her again, wrapping her up and kissing her desperately, as if knowing it would be his only real chance to ever be near her again. He pulled away and touched her face again, gulping roughly. "Please," he murmured. Buffy only started crying again.

"Spike, leave me alone," she sobbed, turning and running into the house. I managed to catch one last glimpse of Spike's shattered face before closing the window and running to my bedroom. I jumped onto my bed and curled up with a pillow, waiting until I heard Buffy's door slam shut. I sat up, shaking. I reached up to rub my cheek, realizing it was wet, and that I'd started crying. Getting up, I sidled over to my window, peeking out into the backyard. Sure enough, Spike was still on the other side of the yard, staring at the spot where Buffy had been standing, with a look of utter despondency on his face.

"Spike!" I hissed, as quietly as I could, knowing he could hear me. He looked up sharply at my window, before he saw my head sticking out. He walked across the yard until he was under my window, then looked around, trying to figure out how he could come up and meet me. Finally, he grabbed a hold of the shingles on the house and hoisted himself up, leaping onto the roof outside. He stumbled over and sat down on my windowsill, looking in at me fondly. He gave me a tiny smile.

"I'm guessing you heard us, eh, 'Bit?" he asked softly. His voice was rough and choked; his accent was coming out more drawled and pained. I nodded slowly and leaned out the window to hug him tightly.

"I'm so sorry, Spike," I said softly. I couldn't help myself, really; I started to cry. Spike's arms immediately went around me and he hugged me as tightly as he could without suffocating me, letting me bury my face in his shirt and cry. He gently stroked my hair.

"Shh, bit. it's all right. Don't cry for me." I tried to stop. I really did. I sniffled softly and hugged him as hard as I could.

"I just.. I wanted you to know, Spike, that I know she's denying it. I know she cares about you. she's just scared. And I just want you to know that. even if she won't say it. I want you to know that I love you. You're the greatest, and you're my best friend, and I love you," I said softly, staring at him. Spike looked touched, and he even flashed me a bit of a genuine smile. Leaning down he kissed my forehead.

"Love you, too, sweet bit. Go on to sleep now, luv. Big sis and Red might have a fit if you can't wake up tomorrow for lack of sleep." I nodded slowly, and he kissed my forehead again.

"G'night, pet," he said before jumping down off the roof and into the yard. A second later and he disappeared.

I walked back to my bed and climbed under the covers. Like Buffy said.

"At least you know."