Title: Standing On Your Own

Author: Hope

Rating: PG-13

Summary: When a demon kills everyone the slayer loves, she falls deep into depression: No will to live, no will to fight. Because her heart is no longer in slaying, the PTB send back a certain blonde vampire to help get her back on track.....

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"I wish we could stay here…" Dawn wrapped her arms around her legs, shivering against the cool night air. Rocking back slightly, she stared up at the stars above them. She didn't think she had ever seen the sky so clear. Sighing, she leaned back onto her elbows, the rough shingles of the house's roof scratching against her skin. Her and Spike had climbed up here from the balcony, not because they wanted to be alone, but because they were both bored out of their minds. It had been almost two weeks since either of them had seen a wink of television and Giles' house didn't have much of anything to keep them occupied.

"You know we can't do that." Spike muttered as he pulled a cigarette from his pocket. "Your sis has a job to do back home." He heard Dawn sigh audibly and looked down at her.

"But that's all that's there. Buffy's job. Everything else is gone…. Plus Faith's there now, the Hellmouth doesn't need two slayers." She said glumly, not looking at him. "If we stay here we can do whatever we want. No one knows us, we could start fresh, be a family…" She finally turned to face him as she spoke the last part, her eyes full of longing, pain. "No one would tell us it was wrong, no one would try to take it away."

"We can be a family back in Sunnyhell, too." He said knowingly, ruffling her hair fondly. She pulled away.

Not the reaction he had been expecting.

"There's too many memories there. I don't want to remember, it hurts…." She said sharply, turning her gaze to the shingles. "I want to forget."

"But if we don't remember them, who will?" Spike asked softly, exhaling a trail of smoke from his mouth.

"They have family. Their parents, their friends." She replied stubbornly.

"Yes, the Whelp's parents will remember the bumbling kid who lived in their basement and Red's parents will remember their shy, book smart daughter. Katherine will remember Giles as the childhood friend who grew up and left her alone on London and D'Hoffryn will remember Anya as his best vengence demon gone soft. Tara's family will remember her as…."

"What are you talking about, Spike?!" Dawn demanded, turning to him with angry, tearful eyes. How could he be talking so openly about her dead friends?

"Their families didn't know them, Nibblet. They didn't know Xander as the comic relief in a dire situation, Willow as a powerful witch capable of powers we could only imagine, Anya as the compassionate girl with a really strange fear of bunnies, Tara as the kind soul who always knew how to make someone feel better, Giles as the Watcher who raised and loved the best slayer the world has known….."

"Mom as the woman who loved me even though I wasn't really her daughter…" Dawn added tearfully, understanding. No one had known who they really were, that they were the silent force that made sure there was a sun to wake up to in the morning, the people that stopped the monster under the bed from eating your feet when you got up. No one knew they had saved the world. "But it hurts so much…." She mumbled, tears sliding down her face.

"I know, Bit.." Spike replied softly, flicking the remainder of his cigarette over the edge of the roof. "It's hard, it's painful, but it goes away. No, I take that back, it'll never go away, it'll always be inside you and it'll always hurt like a bitch." She turned to face him, her eyes wide in shock. He was supposed to be making her feel better, not telling her she'd always be in pain. "But," he said, looking down at her and raising an eyebrow. "it won't hurt as much as if you let yourself forget them. You'll regret it. Everything you do, everything you see, just reminders of them. It'll haunt you, eat you from the inside." He looked down at his hands where his fingers were entwined together. "I know. When your sis died, I wanted forget her. I thought maybe it wouldn't hurt as much as knowing she wasn't there."

"But you were with me all the time, I reminded you of her…" Dawn chimed grimly. He nodded.

"I dreamt of her every night. Something inside of me wouldn't let me forget. I needed that small piece of her to get me through the day, to keep me from up and leaving Sunnyhell for good. To keep me from leaving you…"

"I'm sorry…" Dawn muttered, feeling guilty. She made him remember, she caused him the pain he felt.

"Don't be. Just being me would have reminded me of her and it would have hurt more knowing I tried to forget that." He swallowed to lump in his throat and looked up at the pale moon. " When you lot died, Buffy tried to forget you. She stayed out of your room, out of Willow's room, away from the shop, away from everything Giles left her…"

"But she went to your crypt." Dawn said flatly, looking up at him almost angrily. Why had her sister wanted to forget her but not Spike?

He smirked and shook his head. "She thought she had to protect you, that it was her job to keep you safe. She thought she had failed you, she thought you didn't know she cared. She wanted to forget that, the pain from when you were alive and after you died. But me, I was her way of forgetting. She came to me whenever you guys fought, when she had a bad day. I guess maybe she thought that whatever remained of me could dull the pain some too, but my guess is it only made her realize what she was trying to forget."

They both sat silent for a few moments, thinking about what he had just said. Dawn's tears slowly came to a halt, only to be replaced by small sniffles.

"Spike?" She asked quietly, looking up at him.

"Yeah Pet?"

Sniffling once more, she sat up and reached her hand into one of the inside pockets of her coat. She pulled out a small leather bound book and handed it to the vampire. "Here, I want you to keep it."

"Your journal?" He asked, raising an eyebrow.

She nodded. "Yeah, there's only a few pages left in it now, but it has everything from the few months before I, well, died." She shrugged. "I haven't written in it since I got back, I never liked jumping between dates with those things. And four months is a big jump. There's a lot of stuff about the scoobies in there, what they said, how they acted. I have more at home too, I guess. I want you to keep them."

"Why?"

She turned to look at him, sadness evident on her face. "Those words tell who they really were, they tell about the people only we got the priveledge to know. You'll….you'll liver longer than me or Buffy. I want you to make sure they stay intact, that people know who they were. I don't want them to be gone when we die."

"Dawn, I…"

"Please, Spike, please. You said I can't forget and I won't. But what about when I'm gone? When Buffy's gone? Who's going to be here to remember?"

Sighing, he nodded. "Alright, Bit, I promise. But you have to do something for me first." She raised her eyebrows in question. "Finish it. Tell the ending to their story." He stated simply, handing the book back to her. She searched his eyes for a few minutes before nodding and taking it back, a sad smile on her face.

"Thank you."

"No problem, pet. Now come on, let's get back inside 'fore you get sick."

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Pulling the key from the door, Buffy pushed it closed with her foot and headed towards the living room.

She had been talking with Katherine and the Council's new board of directors about how she felt the Council could be improved and boy did she have a lot of suggestions, one being that they not be stuck up dickwads who thought they knew what was in the best interest of a slayer. She had her special 'slayer instincts' and she intended to follow them, Council approval or not.

She had also had to make arrangements for their flight home. Katherine had offered to have them flown home tomorrow night, but Buffy had declined, knowing Dawn could do with some quality family time away from home. Tomorrow night would be devoted soley to spending time with the girl.

And Spike.

Hanging her coat over a chair, she walked into the living room, noting the eary glow the remaining embers from the fireplace cast over the room. Despite the gloominess, she couldn't help but smile. Dawn was curled up on the couch, her head resting lightly on Spike's shoulder as they both slept. Buffy glanced around the room and grabbed a discarded blanket from a nearby armchair. She threw it lightly over the sleeping pair and smiled fondly. Leaning down, she placed a small kiss on Dawn's forehead, still almost unbelieving that the girl was alive. Her eyes then floated to Spike, who despite the fact that he could pass for a corpse, looked completely at peace when he slept. Trailing her fingers gently down the side of the vampire's face, she turned to leave. She felt his cool hand wrap around hers before she could pull it away. She turned to find him grinning at her.

"Where's mine?" He asked, pulling her down into his lap.

"Your what?" She replied, a small smile playing on her lips.

"Oh come off it, the Nibblet gets a kiss and I don't?"

"Spike, I…" She halted for a moment, thinking. Dawn was the only one here and she wasn't going to protest about her kissing him, and there was no one else to complain. But right now, she could care less. She didn't care who knew anymore, he deserved at least that after all he had done for her. He deserved her honesty. She smiled slightly as she leaned up and placed a gentle kiss on his cold lips. He looked shocked as she pulled away. "What's wrong?" She asked softly.

"Well, for one, I wasn't really 'spectin to get a kiss, and two…." She silenced him with another kiss.

"I don't care anymore, Spike." She said firmly before laying her head against his chest. "I don't…."

He smiled lightly, brushing his hand through her hair. "I love you, Buffy."

She smiled into his chest and snuggled closer to him, closing her eyes sleepily. "Love you too…."

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I lied, one more chapter, please review!!