A/N: I'm on a Spuffy kick; I know, I know... XD This is the first fic in which I've tried to use almost entirely dialogue to narrate a story. Constructive criticism is welcome!
DISCLAIMER: Joss Whedon owns Buffy and its characters, not me.



"...Spike, c'mon, wake up, I have to ask you something."

More silence.

Whack. "Spike!"

"OW! . . . What?! What is it? . . . Oh. Bloody hell, Slayer. Tryin' to scare me half to death?"

"You're already way past half-dead. Don't think it would do much for ya."

"Very nice with the sarcasm. Not to mention now my arm is hurtin' like a bugger, and---"

"Focus, Spike. I woke you up in the middle of the day for a reason. Tomorrow is Dawn's sixteenth birthday, and I'm stuck."

"She's your sister, not mine. Why you askin' me?"

"I've been training with the Potentials lately; you've been spending more time with her than I have. I wish it didn't have to be that way, but it is. What should I do? Does she want a party? Most people have skipped town, what with the impending apocalypse and all; it's not as if she can invite any friends over..."

"Think about this for a sec, Slayer. There's a bloody entourage of girls her age all here in the house already. You have your party invites."

"I just . . . Ugh. This was so much easier when she was younger. A stuffed animal or two would have made her ecstatic."

"Yeah, you could go that route, but I'm not sure if Dawn's still makin' with the fluffy teddies much anymore . . . "

"Ha-ha. I can pretty much get her anything she wants, from anywhere in Sunnydale . . . like I said, no one's around anymore to manage the stores."

Pause. "True . . ."

"You're being all hesitant. What is it?"

"M'not bein' hesitant . . . You're really asking my opinion?"

Sigh. "No, Spike. I came down here to the basement to talk to you about the weather."

"Again with the sarcasm. I just . . . didn't think you'd ask me, is all. I expect you have better things to do with your time, other people to talk to . . . you know; the end of the world coming up and everything."

"Says the vamp who lounges around in my basement all day except to watch reruns of Passions."

"Hey! I resent that."

"So? Why the hesitant-ness? Do you have an idea of what she'd like? . . . What do you usually talk about with her?"

Pause. "Erm, well . . . you, mostly."

". . . And the creepy factor just increased by about ten."

"You know what I mean. Mostly, she talks about you 'cause she admires you. Y'know. Big Sis savin' the world all the time. She wishes she spent more time with you."

". . . Really?"

"Yeah. I don't think you need to go lookin' far and wide for a present. Maybe you already have it.

"Translation, please."

"Do you have anything, y'know, that you're willing to pass on, or something?"

Contemplative quiet, for a beat, and then: "Yeah. Actually, I think I do."

"Well then, there you go. S'that simple."

"You think she'd want it? An old hand-me-down?"

"What is it?"

"A necklace. A silver necklace with a heart pendant. Mom gave it to me when I turned sixteen."

"Go for it. I'm sure she'd like it."

"Are you just saying that to be nice?"

Eyeroll. "You're talkin' to the Big Bad here. Trust me. She'll like it. Especially because it's sort of a piece of you, I guess. A connection. If you ask me, I think that's all she wants."

Yet another pause. "Thanks, Spike."

"Uh-huh. I'm goin' back to sleep. Gotta work to be so unbelievably attractive, you know."

"Oh, please. I think I just barfed a little."

"Sleeping. Can't. Hear. You."

"Okay, okay. I'm leaving."

Footsteps, getting farther and farther away.

Then silence.

". . . Spike?"

"Yeah, Buffy?"

"This is gonna sound so stupid, but . . . I'm glad you're here. Looking out for Dawn. Looking out for me." A deep breath. "So . . . thank you."

"Uh . . . yeah . . . you're, uh, you're welcome. I owe you, I guess, for, you know . . . taking me in, since I really had nowhere else, and, uh, I probably could never say no to you anyway and---"

A kiss on the cheek, cutting him off in mid-speech.

"See you later, Spike."

It's times like these where he shows, in his own twisted way, that he cares.

And it's times like these where she realizes, in her own twisted way, that she loves him.