a/n this chapter is shorter than I planned but no matter what I did with it this just seemed like the place to cut it off. So I did. Not sure when the next chapter will be up... yeah I know I suck at the up dating thing... Sorry bout that...

Chapter 32

"Spike, hurry. We have no idea when they're coming." Buffy snapped as the vampire slowly and methodically packed his things. Now that they knew the watchers were on their way all the plans the Scoobies laid suddenly felt ill conceived and rushed. They would fail, the watchers would see right though the gang and do something. Buffy honestly wasn't sure what they could do but they already tried to kill her twice so she didn't put much past them at all.

"Calm down slayer. We have time, we have a plan." Spike said as he continued to place things in his duffles'. He had a surprisingly large amount of things at the Summers' home.

"I just don't know how good of a plan it is." Buffy confessed, "What if they see through the glamour, what if they find out about Dawn."

"Well we could just kill them." Spike flippantly offered.

Buffy could think of no response other than to glare at the souled vampire. As appealing as the idea sounded it probably wouldn't go well to kill a large group of old British men. That sort of thing is hard to cover up.

"I'm just joking love." Spike chuckled as he emptied another drawer.

"I know, I'm just a bit stressed right now."

"I might have noticed that." Came the sarcastic reply.

"Ugh. I just want this to be over. I keep thinking as soon as this is over I can get everything back on track. I can meet someone nice, unconnected to all of this. Maybe try things with Ben again. Find something a tiny bit normal." Buffy wasn't sure where that particular confession came from but it was true. She kept thinking that maybe this time, maybe after this big bad she could find a bit of normalcy in her life.

"You don't want that. Like I said you need a little bad in your man, in your life. It balances you out." Spike said calmly not even bothering to pause in his packing.

"No I don't. How do you know what I need." Buffy demanded.

"Because slayer I know you. How many times has it been now?" Spike asked finally pausing to look at her.

"I don't know what you mean." Buffy said although she thought she had an idea.

"How many times slayer? How many times have you woken me up when the dreams get a bit too nasty, when you need a fight, need to feel the blood lust to cope with it? Hmm how many times now? See we've been dancing too long slayer. We're in each other's blood now. And for things like us, creatures like us, it's all about the blood. So we'll play nice with the council for Dawn's sake, for humanities sake, not that I quite give a flying flip about the general humanity. But once they leave, once they take their pompous arse's back across the Atlantic you and me, we're finishing this dance. I've played to nice for too long. We're finishing this." With each word Spike stepped a bit closer to her. With each advance she countered with a step back until her back bumped against the dresser.

Blood calls to blood.

"We can't. It's playing with fire." Buffy said. Only to herself would she admit to the thrill his words sent down her spine. Oh hell that thrill happened rather frequently but she didn't need to admit that yet. Or at all. Ever. So what if things had become a bit more heated between the pair since he kissed her that one night. That didn't mean she was all ready to jump into the sack with him, or talk about it even.

"Everything burns in the end love we play with fire everyday. Might as well enjoy the heat." Spike said leaning in close until his face was an inch from hers. This position wasn't new to them. Half of their midnight "dances" ended this way. Other moments to, relaxing in the living room with Dawn or in the kitchen or passing in the hall during the morning things would be normal when suddenly they'd be too close, inches away from each other. One would always break the contact, move away or suddenly remember some small task that just couldn't wait any longer.

Reaching behind her Spike grabbed the bags he'd packed in one hand, hefting them over his shoulder. Together they walked into the baby room where Dawn had begun to fuss. The moment between them was over. It's how they worked, brief moments of intense honesty only to be covered once again when it came to close to breaking through to the rest of their lives. They couldn't put it off much longer though.

Buffy quickly scooped the baby into her arms cradling Dawn close. With out speaking the pair walked to the front door.

"It'll only a be a few days." Buffy said. Both knew how difficult it was for Spike to leave Dawn. It didn't matter he trusted Buffy to watch him better than anyone else- himself possibly included- nothing made leaving his daughter easier.

"I'll patrol by here tonight." Spike said.

"I'm not going out tonight. I'm not leaving Mom and Dawn unprotected like that. Not until we know what the council knows." Buffy replied almost insulted he thought she would.

"I know pet. I'm not either. I'll patrol the area tonight." He dropped his duffel's with a resounding thud. He turned to reach for Dawn. Holding her close he quickly planted a kiss on her forehead.

"You'll do fine. You'll figure out the council. Like you said it's only for a few days." He told Buffy as he handed Dawn back. Buffy nodded again without saying anything, a worried expression still playing on her face. Spike pulled her into a hug, the two didn't often share tender moments. They were more of a fight, insult and goad each other senseless kind of team but sometimes you really do just need a hug.

"Well I'm off to redecorate my crypt. Kinda miss the place in fact. Very comfortable as far as crypts go." Spike said putting on his best big bad face, minus the fangs.

"You have enough blood?" Buffy asked.

"Yep, good to go. Even got the mini fridge running last night after I did my patrol." The pair started splitting patrols after Dawn was born. Mostly to give each other a break and the stress relief killing some bad demons and vampires brought. That said something about the stress of parenting when finding and killing monsters was stress relief.

"Ok. Mom's coming tomorrow morning, I didn't want her moving at night you know. Not now." Buffy started to babble, not sure why she seemed to be stalling the goodbye's.

"I know pet. I was there, remember." Spike said.

"Well… yes. Well in that case. I'll see you soon. Tomorrow that is, at the Magic Box. Before they come. "

"I'll be there luv."

Neither quite knew what to do at this point. Neither of them were exceptionally comfortable with goodbyes, temporary or otherwise. They shared an awkward one-armed hug and Spike kissed Buffy and Dawn's foreheads. The two girls stood on the porch as Spike walked down the walkway, his bags slung over his shoulder.