Title: Sweet Pain

Author: Hope

Rating: R

Disclaimer: They're Joss', not mine.

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Buffy's eyelids fluttered open slowly, giving her eyes time to adjust. She was curled up at one end of the couch and Spike was snoozing at the other with Taco curled up on his chest. Doesn't like kittens my ass Dawn was alseep in a chair on the other end of the room, Martini and Daiquiri asleep in her lap. The slayer stood, walking over to shut the TV off. She double checked to make sure the blinds were shut before heading upstairs to take a shower.

*****

"Dawnie? Dawn." Buffy brushed her sister's hair from her face, causing her to stir. "Hey, I'm going to work, k?" Dawn nodded sleepily, rolling back over and pulling her blanket around her. Buffy sighed and turned to leave. Her eyes fell to Spike, who was still asleep on her couch. He looked so.....dead, for lack of a better word. Picking up a blanket from the side of the couch, she covered the vampire, smirking at the angry glare Taco gave her for waking him. She patted the kitten on the head before disapearing out the door.

*****

"Here kitty, kitty, kitty..." Dawn summoned the kittens into the kitchen, setting a large bowl of food on the floor. They scarfed at it hungrily, purring. Now for her breakfast. She sorted through the fridge, looking for the carton of eggs. She pulled three out, along with some milk and cheese. Scrambled eggs, the easiest breakfast in the world. She set the stuff on the counter, pondering whether or not Spike would want some. He was probably hungry, but eggs? She headed back to the fridge, searching for the few packets of blood that were kept there 'only for *extreme* emergencies' as Buffy put it. Why else would she keep blood in the house for him? Dawn smirked, grabbing three more eggs.

"Spike?" The girl called, walking back into the living room. He was still curled up on the couch, sleeping soundly. "Oh William." She chimed in a sing-song voice, grinning.

"Let an old man sleep....." The vampire whined, pulling his pillow over his head.

"You're so not an old man."

He rolled over, raising an eyebrow at the girl, "I'm well over one-hundred years old, Bit." He rolled onto his back, folding his hands behind his head.

"Fine. You're old, now what do you want for breakfast, scrambled eggs or...this." She held the bag of blood up, scrunching her nose.

"I'll go with 'this'" He piped, holding his arm out for the packet. She handed it to him, catching a quick glance at his arm. She grabbed his wrist, trying to examine it in the dim light.

"Spike, what's th..."

"S'nothin, Bit. How bout some of them eggs, too?" He replied quickly, pulling his arm from the girl and standing. She searched his features skeptically before nodding, leading him back into the kitchen. What was his problem? She shrugged it off and began mixing the ingredients for their breakfast in a bowl.

"Spike?" Dawn asked the vampire, who was sitting on the counter next to the stove.

"Yeah pet?"

"Are you and Buffy, you know, dating?" She looked at him hopefully, pouring the gooey mixture into a pan.

"Wish I knew pet, I really do."

Dawn gave him a strange look before returning her attention to the pan, pushing the eggs around with her spatula. "So, you might not be dating, but you've had sex?"

"Nibblet!!"

"What? I don't live in a box, you know. Xander's probably the only one out of the group who doesn't know."

"Really?" He asked curiously.

"Oh yeah. It'stotally obvious, Xander just sort of floats through life beleving whatever makes him happy, and you don't happen to be one of those 'happy' things." She scraped the eggs onto two seperate plates, handing one to Spike. "I think he's the only one who would actually care, too."

"What makes you say that?" He asked, hopping down and sitting at the island in the center of the kitchen. She took a seat next to him, picking at her food.

"Well, Anya used to be a demon so she knows where you're coming from on the whole 'being able to love' basis, Willow will accept anything if it makes Buffy happy, and Tara's known for awhile."

"Wait, Pixie knew?" He asked, mixing some of the blood in with the eggs. Dawn made a face.

"Yeah, Buffy told her awhile ago."

He shook his head in disbelief, "She actually told someone?" Dawn nodded, finishing off her breakfast. He looked at her thoughtfully before continuing, "What about you?"

She stood, taking her plate to the sink. "What do you mean?"

"What do you think?" He asked seriously, standing and throwing his plate into the sink as well.

Dawn sighed, scooping up Taco, who was pawing at her foot. She smiled at the vampire, "Let's just say I actually felt like I had a family last night..." He smiled, pulling the girl into a hug.

"Thanks Bit..."

She nodded, pulling away. "What are friends for?"

Spike looked thoughtfully around the room, "Um, this?" He grabbed her glass of water from the counter, soaking her from head to toe. She screached in surprise, Taco leaping form her arms in fury.

"Spike!! I'm goin to kill you!!" She grabbed the hose from the sink, aiming for him as he cirlced around to the other end of the kitchen. She pulled the trigger, sending a shower of water everywhere. He laughed, leaping over the island and pulling her away from the hose by her waist, getting soaked in the process. She giggled, trying to get back to her weapon. She pulled at his arms, struggling to get free.

"S'matter?" The vampire asked, concerned when the girl gave up the fight. He felt her fingers running down his arm. Shit. He pulled back, wincing at the hurt look she gave him.

"That's my name. You have my name on your arm...." She shook her head, tears filling her eyes. "Did you do that?"

"Yeah..." He mumbled quietly, looking down.

"What the hell is your problem?!" He didn't speak, he just focused his vision on the floor. He looked up when he felt Dawn's hand on his arm, beckoning him to look up. He looked into her symapthetic face, unsure what to say. "Look." she said quietly, rolling her sleeve up. She motioned to a thick pink scar running up her inner arm, smiling grimmly. "I did that last year around Buffy's birthday, right around the time when me and you found out I was the key. It was sort of a test, I guess, to see if I would bleed like everyone else. I used this big dagger I found in Buffy's room. Everyone freaked out, especially mom." Her voice wavered slightly when she mentioned her mother, but she swallowed down her tears and continued. "I thought about doing it again, but I didn't. You know why?" He still didn't speak, no taking his eyes off of her. "Because of mom. She said that no matter what I was, who I was, she loved me. She didn't care that I was different..." Her voice shook, hot tears running down her face.

"I'm sorry Bit..." He said softy, pulling her back into his arms. He ran his hand over her hair as she cried softly.

She sniffled into his shirt, memories of her mother flooding her mind. "Spike?" She managed after a few momenrs, her voice still shaky.

"Yeah pet?"

"I love you."

"Love you too, Nibblet." He answered quietly, tears brimming in his eyes. He swallowed hard, "And Bit?"

"Yeah?"

"Don't let me hear you swearing again." She smirked through her tears.

*****

"Dawn?" Buffy knocked lightly on the girl's bedroom door, peering in. She saw her sister sitting against the head board of her bed, scratching Martini's head absently. "What's with the gloominess?" She asked, sitting on the edge of her bed. Dawn looked up at her with red eyes.

"How could you be so mean?"

"Mean? I thought asking how my sister was doing was a good thing..." Buffy pouted.

"That's not what I'm talking about, Buffy. I'm talking about Spike." The teen answered coldly, letting the kitten hop down to the floor.

Buffy shook her head, reaching to brush her hand down the side of her face. "Dawnie, you know I.." Dawn pulled away, glaring at her sister.

"Do you know that he thinks I'm the only person that cares about him? That he refuses to leave Sunnydale because he promised to protect me?"

"Dawnie, he's a vampire. He's different, he...."

"What about me? I'm different, does that mean I should be alone?" She asked defensively.

"He's not alone, Dawn." Buffy coaxed soothingly. "He's always around, even when we don't want him around."

"That's the problem!! No one wants him around, no one cares. He's an outcast even when he is around...." The girls eyes watered up again. "He *is* alone Buffy, and you don't care, do you?"

"Dawn, I'm sorry..." She tried to put her hand on her sister's shoulder, but she stood from the bed quickly.

"It's not me you owe the appology to, Buffy. Tell him." She shot the last part out coldly, grinding her teeth. "Go tell him you love him or tell him you hate him. Tell him *something*. Stop playing games." Her words were harsh and she glared at the blonde. Buffy clenched her jaw, standing. She gave her sister one final look before rushing down the stairs and out the front door.

*****

Buffy didn't bother to kncock as she walked into his crypt, looking around in the darkness. Her heart sank when she saw the candlelight from downstairs, her mind drifting to when she had found him the other night. He wouldn't e doing it again, would he? She walked hesitantly to the ladder, unsure whether or not she wanted to go down. Swallowing her fears, she climbed slowly down. "Spike?" He was sitting on his bed, his back to her. He gave her a quick glance over his shoulder but quickly returned his gaze to something in his hands.

Shit.

Buffy walked slowly around, afraid of what he was doing. Her eyes dropped to his hands, where he was flipping the blade she had taken from him between his fingers. He swallowed, looking at her. Extending the blade toward her, he spoke softly, "Keep it." She took the cool metal in her hands, shifting it in her fingers. She sighed, shoving it in her coat pocket and taking a seat next to him.

"I'm glad you didn't do anything." She said softy, fiddling her fingers.

"Yeah, I guess the Nibblet talked some sense into me...."

"You really told her that? That you didn't think anyone cared?" Buffy asked, looking up at him.

He smiled grimmly. "Guess I did. She's my one person...."

Buffy looked down, debating what to say. After a few moments, she grabbed his cool hand in hers, entwining their fingers. Looking up into his startled eyes, she spoke. "Can I be Two?" She gave his hand a quick squeeze when he didn't respond, pulling him into a hug. She felt him wrap his arms around her waist, resting his chin on her shoulder. She sighed, running her fingers over the base of his neck, "I didn't mean it."

"Mean what?" He asked quietly, not moving from her warm embrace.

"You're not my best friend." She said flatly, feeling him shift uncomfortably. Smiling slightly, she whispered in his ear. "You're a little bit more...." He pulled away, looking into her eyes nervously. She smiled warmly, running her hand through his hair. "I love you." She wrapped her arms back around him when he diidn't speak, running her fingers through his hair. "I care." Her voice was soft, almost unaudible.

He clenched his eyes shut, burrying his face in her neck. "I love you too, Slayer." His voice was shaky and quiet. She could feel his tears running down her warm flesh, making her shudder. She pulled back, resting her forehead against his and looking into his teary eyes.

"Don't ever leave me, okay?" She cooed gently, brushing his jaw line with her thumb.

"Never." He replied, giving her a soft kiss on the forehead and pulling her back into his arms. "Never....."

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Hot damn, I'm done..... Poo, I was having fun too. But wait, I didn't do a sappy Spike-Buffy kissing scene!! Gahh!! Oh wells, this was cuter. Anyways, please review and let me know what you think :)