Wow, I know it has been a long time and I am truly sorry, the long wait for this chapter has been the fault of the fact that I have been trying to not be so obsessed with Buffy for a while. I know, its a crime, but there comes a point where you can't let one tv show rule your whole I've fallen in love with Castle. *runs for shelter*

After Buffy had finished crying, Spike lightly kissed the top of her head and made a few more shushing noises. They were still wrapped around each other on the floor where Buffy had broken down. Spike looked at the sky through the window and he could see from the blazing strokes of orange that it wasn't long until nightfall. He looked down at Buffy hovering in his hold and smiled sadly.

"Hey Buffy, are you hungry?"

Buffy had been feeling very ok in his arms and didn't want him to leave, but she really was hungry. Getting up so late had resulted in forgetting lunch. "Yeah, a little"

He smiled, he knew what she really meant. "How about I order some pizza? We could watch a movie if you like"

Buffy smiled, he knew how much she loved pizza; everyone did. "Ok, I'd like that"

Spike stood up, bringing Buffy with him before he released her from his hold. "Your clothes are in the dryer; you can change into your pyjamas and curl up on the couch while I call dinner"

"Aren't you going to change too? Into your pjs?"

"Don't have any"

Her cheeks went red.

"I'll see you in a bit"

She tried to hide her embarrassment. "Ok"

He smiled and walked into the kitchen where the phone was.

Later, they were both on the couch watching 'Loony Tunes Back In Action' as Buffy had insisted on a comedy. Spike was fine with that choice, having feared she would pick some sappy romantic thing like 'Notebook' or something, even though he didn't have any movies like that…he really didn't.

The moment Buffy laughed he was captivated. She was wearing a pair of black pyjama pants and a brown T-shirt, her hair was tied back in a loose pony-tail and she was sitting cross-legged on the couch; and she looked a little tense.

"Hey, you ok?"

"What?" Her complete attention had been focused on the movie.

"You seem rather tense"

"Yeah, my back aches a little, it's nothing really"

Spike smirked, catching her off guard. He pointed to the floor in front of him. "Come here"

"What? Why?"

He repeated the action. "Come here, I won't hurt ya"

Buffy nervously got off the couch and sat down in front of Spike.

She folded her legs up and tucked them underneath her. Spike moved his legs so that they were either side of Buffy, then he placed his hands gently on her shoulders. Digging his thumbs into her back carefully, he rubbed his fingers back and forth over her shoulder blades. He smiled when he heard her release a quiet hum of pleasure.

The movie and the half-eaten pizza in its box were completely forgotten. Buffy closed her eyes and set her mind to enjoying the feel of Spike's hands massaging her shoulders. Her sounds of contentment soon became a purring noise.

A smirk crossed Spike's lips. "So we finally find out; you don't bark, you purr"

"Shut up Spike." Buffy said drowsily, which only made him laugh.

The feeling of his hands hurt a little on her aching back but it relaxed her in such a way that she didn't care. She couldn't find a single thing about this new Spike that she didn't love. Once the fighting and desire for revenge had faded away with the time, all the good qualities they possessed were coming to the surface. She felt like she could trust him, she didn't but she felt like she could and that alone put her mind at ease.

When she had first appeared on his doorstep, she had wanted nothing more than a single night of shelter; she had expected less. But Spike had been so willing to let her in and look after her that a glimpse of hope had grown inside her. Hope for her future. Spike had all this money, maybe he could help her get a job, get her started on rebuilding her life. She didn't want to assume anything, but she had this feeling that she didn't have to worry anymore, that he would take care of her. She felt a little stupid, she had only known this new Spike for a day but the feeling was so strong that she simply knew that she was going to be alright now.

Spike on the other hand didn't have to guess or suspect, he had made a promise to her that he intended to keep. He didn't care what had happened in the past, the only thing that mattered was the future; Buffy's future. He didn't really understand why she mattered so much, he certainly wasn't the charity type. Maybe this had nothing to do with charity, maybe he just wanted her around.

When the movie ended, their attention was drawn to the time. Spike thought quickly; Buffy couldn't sleep on the floor again, as soft as it was, and the couch wasn't designed to be slept on.

"Hey Buffy, why don't you sleep in my bed tonight? I can sleep down here, sorry I don't have a guest room; I should remember to build one, got plenty of room upstairs"

"You're building this place?"

"Yeah, explains why it's so damn simple"

"I like it." She smiled.


"But wait, you're willing to give up your bed to me so you can sleep on the couch? I'm the guest, aren't I supposed to sleep here?"

"Normally, but the bed is more comfy and to be honest I spend most of my nights on this thing anyway. Plus, you can sleep in tomorrow when I go to work and I won't wake you while I'm in the kitchen"

"Fair enough I suppose"

Spike smiled. "Well, off you go, you know where the room is"

Buffy stood up carefully, trying not to throw off the relaxing feeling in her back, and headed for the stairs. Spike watched her go, admiring her grace. He should be careful, maybe he was falling for her.

'Bollocks! I'm not in love with her, I hated her, I tried to kill her. There is no way that just because I feel sorry for her and am letting her stay in my house that I should be in love with her. That's ridiculous!' But somewhere in the back of his mind he wondered how true those words really were.

- The Next Morning

Bang! Crash! "Shit!"

Buffy was very much awake, out of bed, hiding in the corner of the staircase that twisted around and trying not to be heard laughing at Spike's feeble attempt to get out of the house without a sound. He had bumped into the wall, knocked the coffee table and hit his foot on the leg of a chair in the kitchen. Buffy meanwhile had been giggling uncontrollably on the staircase, covering her hand over her mouth to muffle the noise. Spike and his British curses; she wouldn't have missed this for the world.

At last, Spike entered the hallway, sneaking quietly to the door he stopped to look up the stairs to check if Buffy was still asleep…only she wasn't.

He straightened up and frowned when he heard the incessant giggling coming from the banister. "Buffy, are you awake?"

She laughed a little louder. "It's impossible to sleep with you banging into everything that crosses your path. Good thing you don't have a cat"

"Hmm, sorry, didn't mean to wake you pet"

"Don't be, that was the funniest thing I've ever heard"

He raised one brow. "Nice to know my injured toe and bruised knee amuse you so"


"You should be, that hurt"

Buffy couldn't help but smile again. Spike was happy he had been able to make her smile and laugh, even if it was at his cost. He had rarely made her laugh, at least when it was on good terms for the both of them. But he couldn't stay here and watch her smile, the clock was ticking and he had a job to get to.

"See you later, remember not to open the door for anyone while I'm gone"

"I'm not 6 years old"

"Really? Judging by the pitch in your laugh, that's hard to believe"

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"Exactly what it sounds like"

"Well, I suppose it is better coming from me because if you sounded like a 6 year old when you laugh, that would be a problem"

"I hate you." He said in a mocking voice, with a little grin to go with it.

"Aww, I hate you too, now get to work before you get fired"

"Sleep well"

"Without you in the house, I believe I will sleep very well"

"I'm gonna get you for that, just you wait." But the grin on his face told her otherwise.

Spike opened the front door and waved goodbye before leaving. Buffy listened to the sound of his car pulling out of the driveway, and once she was sure he was gone she stood up and went back up to bed. A day of rest was just what she needed.

- Sometime Later In the Day

Buffy had been sleeping quite contently when a loud knock at the front door woke her with a start. She tried to ignore it but after the forth knock, curiosity got the better of her. Walking quietly down the stairs, Buffy wondered if maybe it was Spike; he might have forgotten his keys. There was another, rather furious knock and suddenly her mind flashed to an image of her stalker outside the door.

"Oi, Spike! Would you get this door open? My arms are killing me!" A voice shouted from the other side of the door.

Buffy sighed in relief, she would know that voice anywhere. She opened the door and saw someone carrying two large boxes; the one on top obscuring his face.

"Doyle, it's you, I haven't seen you in ages"

"And you still can't see me now, and what are you going on about? I came over just a week ago. Anyway can you help me with these boxes, I really can't see where I'm going"

Buffy took the top box and allowed Doyle to walk in and put the other box down by the staircase. He breathed out heavily and turned around to greet Spike, only to see Buffy standing there instead, putting the box she was holding on the floor and closing the door.

"Oh my god...Buffy, is that really you?"

"Hi Doyle"

"What are you-why-how come you're here? At Spike's house?"

"I'm kinda staying here for a while"

"You did hear the part where I said 'Spike's house' right? You and Spike don't mix well, you two are like graduation day. No, not 'like', you two were graduation day. That bomb or whatever..."

"Yeah I know, I was there. Well I was in a bit of a tight spot and Spike is helping me out"

"Yeah, I can see that"

Buffy frowned, so Doyle indicated to her pjs. Her arms wrapped around her chest swiftly. "Oh, no not like that, god no! Why would you-no, just no!"

"Sorry, I assumed as it's obvious that you've been sleeping in his bed"

Buffy stuttered, clearly embarrassed. "Wh-why is th-that obvious?"

"Well there's no bed made up on the couch. Whenever someone stays over they always sleep on the couch, unless you're sleeping with him like his ex was"

"Oh, well um, he slept on the couch, uh Spike did-Spike slept on the couch"

Doyle raised his eye brows. "Spike slept on that couch? He hates sleeping on couches. So tell me what makes you so special? Last I heard you were on the streets, weren't you?"

Like a lightning bolt, her head shot up. Had Spike told him? Or did the whole graduating year know? Or did the whole town know? "It was his fault, so I guess he felt guilty or something"

"Either that or he really cares about you, which I admit sounds really weird"

"What? Why would you think that?"

"After you ran off after graduation, he couldn't get you off his mind. He was always thinking about you even when he was drinking, and that came from thinking about you too much. He was wrapped up in guilt"

"He...he was drinking?" For some reason that worried her.

"Yeah, then he got his act together and bought all this"

Buffy looked down at the box she had helped Doyle with, and once again curiosity got the best of her as she kneeled down to open the box. Inside were possibly a hundred DVDs, completely random genres and the like but in bulk.

Buffy looked up at Doyle with a glare akin to that of a disappointed school teacher. "What are these? Are these Pirated? Are you selling fake DVDS?"

"What? No, they're not copied, they're all real. I work at a video store and occasionally we do a clean out of some of the double-ups that people don't watch anymore. They just take up space on the shelves and with new movies coming out every couple of months it can get really crowded on those shelves. My boss lets us keep a few...or a lot...and I bring them over to see if Spike wants any of them"

Buffy could see the truth in his words, having witnessed herself how much was thrown out in Sunnydale from stores just like the video store. She was about to offer Doyle something to drink when the front door opened with a mild bang.

"Buffy, I thought I told you not to open the door for anyone." Spike looked really pissed. He turned briefly to Doyle – "Hey man" – and then back to Buffy.

"He was carrying heavy boxes, how could he have possibly gotten inside if I hadn't helped him?"

"He could have waited in the car until I got home or he could have just left." He turned to Doyle again – "No offense intended" – and back once again to Buffy. "When you said you weren't a 6 year old I believed you, turns out that was a bad judge of character"

"It was Doyle, Spike! He isn't a threat so why leave him outside the door where he might trip and hurt himself? He couldn't see where he was going"

"How did you know it was Doyle? It could have been anyone, I do have enemies other than you"

"So now I'm your enemy?"

"That's not-you were my enemy, not anymore but you know that was not the point I was trying to make"

Doyle could see he wasn't required for this argument. "I'll just get myself a drink then, you got some beer in the fridge?"

Spike didn't turn away from Buffy this time. "Yeah, second shelf"

Doyle left the room as fast as he could.

"I heard his voice, anyway, how many of your 'other' enemies make house calls?"

"That's not the point, Buffy. High school was over a long time ago, people have changed since then. Doyle could have become an axe-wielding murderer"

Doyle re-entered the room carrying a bottle of Wild Turkey. "Always nice to know what you think of me"

"No offense"

"Oh, none taken, good taste in drink by the way"

Buffy didn't want to be arguing in front of Doyle, so she did the only thing she could think of to end it. "We'll talk later ok"

"Fine, but we will talk"

Doyle leaned back against the wall and waited for one of the house hosts to announce what was going to happen now. Buffy stood still for a moment longer before walking swiftly upstairs, deciding to go back to bed and stay out of Spike's way until they had both cooled down a bit.

Watching her walk away made him feel so guilty. He had been a little harsh, she was a grown woman with a nasty punch but he had good reason to worry about her. What if it had been that guy who was after her? He never would have forgiven himself if she had gotten hurt. He knew he was treading on thin ice here, caring about the same girl he had destroyed; he had to treat his second chance with her carefully.

She never left his thoughts as he apologised to Doyle, who oddly enough wasn't even fazed by their little outburst, and picked out a few DVDs from his collection. After Doyle had gone, Spike spent a few hours walking aimlessly around the first floor of his house. Maybe he should apologise to Buffy, explain why he was so upset. Or maybe he could make it up to her somehow; now there was an idea.

- Upstairs in Spike's Bedroom

Buffy was lying on top of the covers, she wasn't really that tired. She wondered if maybe she should go down stairs, it had been something like three hours since the argument and she really couldn't hide up here forever.

'Knock, knock', he decided not to answer. She wasn't really angry anymore, she just didn't feel like talking. She had her back to the door when she heard the door open anyway.

"Buffy? Do you mind if I come in?"

"Your house, your room; your rules"

Spike felt a pang of guilt. "Um, I was wondering if you'd like to go out tonight? You know, see a movie, go for a walk, get out of the house for a bit. You've been here all day"


He felt suddenly hopeful. "Yeah, we could get some dinner, walk around and"

Buffy hid her smile. "Ok, I'll take a shower and get dressed"

Spike however couldn't hide his smile. "Great! Towels are under the stairs. I'll get changed in the bathroom downstairs"

"There's a downstairs bathroom?"

"Yeah, it's hidden behind the staircase"

Spike exited the room, leaving Buffy with a bigger smile on her face.

Spike had put on one of his favourite black T-shirts, a blue shirt over that and his trademark leather duster to top it off. Black Doc Martins added to his beloved punk look; but tonight he had a bit of class. He was standing at the bottom of the staircase awaiting Buffy's appearance, and when she came down the stairs he was totally speechless.

A black halter dress, black heels that were good for long walks and the sleeves pushed up to her elbows. Her golden tresses were tied back and pieces of twisted hair fell down the sides, framing her beautiful face. She didn't have any make-up on except for a light touch of pink lipstick and gloss.

Spike was completely taken back; she was stunning. The dress belonged to Drusilla, his ex, but it looked so much better on Buffy than it ever had on Dru.

Finishing her grand descend down the staircase, she smiled shyly at the look of awe on Spike's face. Apparently she was the most gorgeous thing he'd ever seen. She couldn't decide whether that was a good thing or whether it was just sad.

"You, uh...ready to go?" He asked.

"Yes, lead the way"

Spike held out his arm and she happily linked hers with it. The plan was to walk to the square where everything was. A random movie would be chosen and later forgotten, dinner at the Bronze and maybe a dance or two, then to finish the night off, a walk in the cool night air on the way home.

Walking carefully down the steps outside the front door, Buffy and Spike were graced with strokes of crimson sunlight. As they strode along the path their feet were buried in golden leaves. Autumn was almost past and now every road was neatly decorated with orange leaves. A warm breeze flew through Buffy's hair, spirals of blonde hair swished about on her shoulders. Once again Spike was mesmerised. She took his breath away, he couldn't believe how long he had been immune to her spell.

Buffy knew Spike was staring at her but she pretended not to notice, if she even glanced at his face she would be caught under the power of his cerulean eyes. However, the silly grin on her lips gave her away.

"Hey pet?"

She fell for it, under the gaze of those blue eyes she shyly spoke. "Yeah?"

"Do you want to skip the movie and go straight to the Bronze?"

Her smile widened. "Ok, sounds like fun"


The idea of the night was to get out and have some fun, but in actual fact anyone could plainly see it was a date.

Lights stretched high into the darkening sky above the roof of the local club. A tall, muscular man stood guard outside the thick metal doors. Spike and Buffy walked in, arm in arm, steadily emerging with grace from the shadows into the coloured lights. There was a live band playing tonight, the theme was either 'sad and single' or 'romantic', it really depended on which way you heard the song; the music or the lyrics.

Grabbing a table in a cove, Spike pulled out a chair for Buffy. She sat down elegantly and Spike took his seat opposite hers. The Bronze wasn't the best dinner option but it was the most familiar building to the students in the town and to everyone who had graduated here. Everyone spent their teenage lives here; it was the only cool place to hang.

Spike ordered an onion flower and Buffy just asked for a glass of water. She wasn't very hungry right now; her belly was full of butterflies. She couldn't shake the feeling that tonight would end badly. Something was telling her that something was going to go wrong...really wrong.

Ok, so I decided this was the best place to end it for now, the next chapter has some fun in it but there are a few things I need to fix, I wrote this one part that is crucial to Buffy's psychological development in the story (yes, I am taking psych) but the scene just seems really stupid somehow, so bear with me while I make it worth your while.