Whispers in the dark.

Chapter one.

Unlikely hero.

The same pattern had been going on for the past four weeks now. Spike would wait for Angelus and Drusilla to leave for the evening before he too, would leave, still letting the other two souless vampires believe he was wheelchair bound.

It was the way he wanted to keep it.

He was excited about seeing her, which, was absurd in itself. He knew it was wrong feeling the way he did towards her, the Slayer and he was determined to hide these affections from everyone. It had all started when he had gone to Buffy and asked for the truce.

They had returned to the Summers house to work on a counter plan so they could to put a stop to Angelus and Drusilla's plans, whatever that might be. Spike didn't know much, he didn't ask too many questions if he could help it, he didn't want to raise any suspicion. But, despite that, he knew something was coming, something big and if they didn't find away to stop it now, it would end badly for everyone. After all, he enjoyed his happy meals on legs.

Buffy had her conditions, of course. No one was ever to find out that they were meeting, not her mother, not her friends, not even Giles. She had stressed that keeping her family and friend's safe was top priority; them knowing would make things worse, not to mention harder. It was also vital that Angelus and Drusilla knew nothing, any suspicion could blow everything.

So, they only ever met under the cover of darkness, behind closed doors or at her house. Buffy took particular care to make sure her mother was out on these occasions. She had also made a deal with Spike that he wasn't to feed on humans while they co-existed like they were. Truce or not, she wouldn't sit back and let him snack on the Sunnydale population. Spike reluctantly agreed, only feeding on animal blood. Every disgusting mouthful he took he had to remind himself that this was what he needed to save himself. At the start, he believed he was doing it to save his beloved Drusilla but he didn't believe that anymore.

Spike's feelings for Buffy had been changing for a while now; truth was he had always admired her power, strength and most of all, her determination. After spending all that time with her, it was becoming something more. He was in love with her, although he would never admit it, not even to himself. Denial is a strong emotion. Sure, he still loved Drusilla but it was painfully clear that now that Angelus was back in the picture, things were over between them. She openly flaunted that "Daddy" was her world and therefore, left no time for him. It had stung at first, bad, but the more time he spent with Buffy, the easier it was for him to accept.

He had been spending more and more time with Buffy lately and she always seemed to have a mug of warm blood waiting for him. He would tell her about Angelus and Drusilla's current activities and sometimes they would talk strategies. But sometimes they would just…talk. Talk about the pain this situation had caused them both, losing the people they loved the most and sometimes they would simply just talk about their day enjoying each other's company.

As Spike got out of his car and walked towards Buffy's house, he smiled at the memories.

Walking into her house via the back door, he didn't bother to knock anymore. Spike knew her mother would be at work for hours to come. On the nights it was arranged for him to come over, Buffy would make it clear to her friends she wanted time alone, so there was no chance of being caught.

Closing the back door quietly behind him, Spike took two steps into the kitchen before he abruptly stopped, his senses going into over drive. 'Angelus', his mind screamed. His scent was everywhere, fresh. Spike heard a movement upstairs followed by a strangled sob. Angelus was still in the house.

Careful not to make any noise, Spike quickly moved up the stairs, hearing another sob tearing though Buffy's small frame. The sound, he realized, was coming from the bathroom, the door, wide open. He rushed to the door and the sight in front of him stopped him dead in his tracks.

There was Angelus, back to the door and grinning smugly down at Buffy, tugging his pants back on. Buffy was on the bathroom floor, bruised and broken, her grey bathrobe torn open and she was lying in a pool of her own blood. Spike's stomach twisted, his heart aching at the realization of what had happened moments before.

"So that's everything," Angelus snarled, bringing Spike out of his thoughts. "No weapons, no friends, no hope…. take all that away and what do you have?" he shifted into game face and Buffy cowered lower to the floor. She was truly a broken woman and Spike knew exactly what Angelus was intending to do and there was no way Spike was going to allow that to happen. She meant too much.

"Me!" Spike answered stepping swiftly behind Angelus. By the time Angelus had turned around to react to Spike's presence, Spike had the older vampire in his grasp, one hand on the back of his pants, the other on his bare shoulder and tossed him swiftly out the open bathroom window. The sound of breaking wood and glass shattering filled the room and Spike hoped a wooden splinter would put an end to his grandsire's miserable existence.

Spike took two steps forward, just in time to watch Angelus land shoulder first on the front lawn. Angelus quickly scrambled to his feet, glaring back up at the window Spike had thrown him though. He let out a small growl, which Spike returned, louder and more dominant. The message was clear. Come near her again and you're as good as dead. Angelus crouched and hissed before turning and fleeing. Off to tell Drusilla no doubt.

When Spike heard Buffy whimper his name however, he quickly snapped his attention back to her. The physical damage Angelus had done was a lot worse than he thought. He knew she needed to be looked at by a doctor and that he had to get her to a hospital, now.

"Oh my god," he whispered. It seemed the longer he looked, the worse her injuries seemed to become. "You're going to be okay luv," he reassured her, kneeling down beside her. She didn't try to move away, just stared up at him, mouth hanging open, and her green eyes full of terror. But, she wasn't scared of him.

"I'm just going to close you robe, okay?" Buffy didn't move and as gently as he could, he squatted beside her before proceeding to cover her badly bruised body with her robe.

"You're going to be okay," he murmured again.

"No I'm not." Buffy's eyes started to glisten with tears. "Nothing will be okay again." Sobs then took a hold of her small, fragile frame, her body violently shaking with the force of her tears.

"Luv, I have to get you to a hospital," he pushed with more urgency.

"No, no hospitals!" Buffy screamed, pulling herself into a tight ball, the fear clear in her voice. Spike could feel his own fear creeping in, but he knew he had to be strong for her, his beautiful slayer.

"I know you don't want to go luv. But there's a lot of damage here; real doctors need to look at you okay?" He paused and looked deep into her eyes. "Please," he whispered, his own tears were close, imagining the pain she could be in. Eventually he saw her nod and he breathed a sigh of relief.

"I'm just going to pick you up, so I can carry you down to the car, can I do that?" Buffy nodded her head and Spike didn't hesitate to pick her up, cradling her to his chest. "We can get you some help, someone to make this pain go away," he murmured as he rushed down the stairs and out the back. He didn't think she was listening to him; she was sobbing again, her tears soaking though his shirt.

He could feel some of her blood soaking though her robe and onto his arms and his rage boiled as he raced out to his car. He was thankful he had decided to drive tonight, rather than come on foot like he usually did. He knew the quickest route to his car was out the back and over the fence. Without so much as moving her an inch, Spike opened the back door and sprung over the back fence to the side of his car. Spike gently placed Buffy into to the front seat of his Desoto before quickly darting around to the driver's side and sliding behind the wheel. He quickly glanced over at Buffy and noticed she had lost consciousness. He rammed the key into the ignition and floored the accelerator, determined that he would reach the hospital in record time.