1 This starts a few months after 'Dead Things'. Buffy and Spike are still going at it but only Tara knows. Tara wants to help Buffy so she casts a spell but results lead to unexpected consequences for all involved.


3 Chapter One: Sick

"You look terrible," Dawn told Buffy, as she came into the kitchen. She was dressed in her Doublemeat Palace uniform, looking ready to go to work but she was pale and had dark circles under her eyes. "Vampires keep you up all night?"

"You have no idea," Buffy said, sitting down. She had gone patrolling after work and like always she had run into Spike. After slaying their quota of vamps and demons for the evening they'd gone back to his crypt where they'd, as Spike had put it, 'shagged their brains out'. She finally dragged herself home just before dawn and then collapsed into bed. Normally a few hours of sleep would be enough but this morning it wasn't. She was just as exhausted as if she hadn't slept at all plus she wasn't feeling well.

"Dawn's right," Willow said, concerned. "Are you feeling okay?"

"I'm fine," Buffy said. "I just got in really late last night." Both Dawn and Willow looked skeptical. Late hours had never bothered Buffy before. Buffy looked at her sister and friend and knew that neither of them believed her. She didn't even believe herself but there was nothing she could do. Missing work wasn't an option so it was a simple case of mind over matter, "Really, I'm fine. I'll see you guys tonight." Then she turned and hurried out the door.

At work things were no better, it was a slow morning but then in the afternoon a school bus filled with teenagers on their way to a basketball game stopped for a meal. Before Buffy realized what was happening she was caught up in filling orders and making burgers for dozens of high school students. The entire time she kept repeating under her breath, "I slay vampires in my spare time and I've died twice. I can serve a few burgers." The pep talk didn't help though. Buffy still was so tired she couldn't see straight and just the smell of the burgers was making her stomach churn. Finally one of the managers noticed her pale face.

"Buffy, go home," He snapped. "You're not helping by business by looking like you're about to be sick on people's food."

"I'm fine," Buffy insisted.

"Look," He said, changing his tone. "If you're sick then you can't work with food. So why don't you go home and get some rest."

Buffy sighed, "Fine." She turned and walked out the door, secretly relieved. She knew that if she tried to work the rest of her shift she was going to collapse. She started to walk home but then stopped. She didn't want to go home. Dawn was still in school and Willow had classes so the house would be empty and Buffy didn't want to go home to an empty house. So she headed towards a place where she knew someone would be.

Spike's crypt was dark as usual. She looked around, wondering where he was. Then she saw that the TV was on and he was watching it. He looked up when he heard her enter.

"Buffy?" Spike said, grinning. "Back for more?" He stood up and leaned down to kiss her but she pushed him away.

"Spike, please," Buffy said. "I'm not here for……" Her voice trailed off. "I just didn't want to go home to an empty house."

"Fine," Spike said. "'Fraid I don't have much for entertainment, just the telly but I've got all the blood you want."

"Ew," Buffy said. "You're disgusting."

"That's not what you said last night, luv," Spike told her.

"Can you stop, please," Buffy said, sitting down on a chair. "I'm not in the mood for this."

Spike noticed her pale face for the first time and said, concerned, "What's wrong, pet? You look as pale as I am."

"I think it's just a touch of the flu," Buffy said. "But they sent me home from work."

"Good," Spike said. "Looking at that food day in and day out would make anyone sick. So ah why are you here?"

"I didn't want to be alone," Buffy said. "I just keep thinking about how if my mom was alive and if I'd come home sick. She would have made me tea in bed and then brought me soup and we would have watched TV together."

"Sounds nice," Spike said.

"It was," Buffy said.

They were quiet for a minute and then Spike said, "Do you want to sleep here for awhile? Might as well use the bed for its original purpose."

"Sure," Buffy said. "That would be nice." She jumped down below to the lower part of Spike's crypt and crawled into bed. It was strange to be in Spike's bed just to sleep. She had only been in Spike's bed a few times, most of the time they were usually on the floor, up against the wall, and any other place they fancied. She shut her eyes, enjoying the just being able to relax and not worry about anything, if only for a little while. She soon drifted off to sleep.

Spike waited until he was sure that she was asleep and then he climbed down and joined her in bed. Being careful not to wake her he lay down next to her and pulled her into his arms. He just watched her sleep, enjoying the luxury of being able to. Usually after they'd had sex she would rush right the door. Only a few times she'd actually fallen asleep right afterwards. He reached over and brushed her hair back from her face, noticing with concern how pale she was. She was working too hard, combined with slaying and worrying about the Nibblit. He wanted to help her but she wouldn't let him. He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead and continued watching her and enjoying the time, however brief, that he was getting to spend with her.