Willow

What an interesting dream I had last night. Where Buffy was alive, and there were Hellions everywhere, and Spike was – oh my god what if it wasn't a dream?

I dash out of bed and scramble to Buffy's room, throwing back the door without worrying that she might be in a moment of wanting the door closed. No Buffy. The sheets are messy though. But that could have been from Buffybot.

Not giving up on the dream quite yet, and not getting my hopes up either, I take the stairs two at a time to search for Buffy. When I find her, she's sitting on the couch, leaning against the arm rest and looking into the distance. I wonder how long she's been sitting there, probably a long time since she's still in yesterday's clothes.

Yesterday had been kinda not fun for everybody. When Spike left just before the sun came up, Buffy's blank state intensified. She didn't talk to anyone, and she just sat there staring. We even had to remind her to eat and breath and stuff. Though, not really the breathing part, she did that much on her own.

"Buffy, do you want some breakfast?" I ask in a squeaky voice, still rough with sleep but also hopeful. Maybe today would be better, maybe she'll actually want to eat today. "I can make waffles." I give her a small smile, adding to my hopefulness.

"No, I'm good." She doesn't look at me. I want to ask how bad hell was, maybe if I knew a little bit about it I could help her. But Dawn won't let us ask. She doesn't want Buffy to freak out.

"Ok well, what do ya want to do today?" I put on the biggest smile I can put together and bounce slightly on my heels. "We could watch a movie, or we could shop – oh there's this new store at the-"

"No thanks Willow," Buffy brushes me off quickly, and my heart stings just a little. "I think I'm just gonna take a walk. Need some fresh air in my recently buried head." Her attempt at funny makes my heart squeeze. I mouth an ok to her and pull her into a hug that she doesn't return.

Spike

Why couldn't it have been me? Me to feel all the pain? Why couldn't she just kept living her life, happy as any girl should be, normal, slayery and all that whatnot. Or why couldn't they have just let her rest? I would have let her rest. 'Course I would have. And now there's not a bloody thing I can do about it!

In my anger I throw a good punch at the wall, and I feel the hard cold stone shred the knuckles in my hand."Dammit!" I pull it back, examining the bleeding wounds, and choke out a sob. I laugh though instead, no tears for me. I'd done enough of that the night she'd come back. I'm supposed to be evil, evil just doesn't do the whole weeping poof bit.

I hear a creaking sound upstairs, footsteps by the likes of it. I hear a faint pulse, good and strong. Must be the slayer. Making my way quickly up the ladder, I see her before she knows I'm there. Buffy's got her back to me, looking around at how different the place looks. For a second I regret changing everything – even more to confuse her – but maybe this time 'round she can see how near human I am.

I slowly walk up behind her, surprised when she doesn't turn around and stake me right there. "Buffy?" I say softly, watching her turn slowly to look at me. She glances down at my hand, and then back up to my face.

"Your hand is hurt." She looks grimly back down to the blood stained skin coating my broken knuckles.

"Same to you." I point out tonelessly. She nods her head and looks to the floor. When she doesn't move, or answer, or anything really, I take my try at lightening the mood. "You can sit if you'd like, got some new furniture, you should see the downstairs too, really quite posh." I gesture at the ladder with my good hand, but let it go when she sits down in a leather chair a few feet to my left. I sit across from her, getting a little bothered by the accusing stare she keeps sending me. "I do remember what I said. The promise, to protect her. If I'd done that… Even if I hadn't made it you wouldn't have had to jump." I feel a lump growing in my throat and I swallow hard. She keeps staring at me with those wide, disturbed eyes. For just a second I think she never did go to hell like the others had said. "I want you to know I did save you." She blinks and looks down, maybe holding back a cry of her own? "Not when it counted, of course. But after that. Every night after that. I'd see it all again, do something different. Faster… Or, or.. More clever. You know? Dozens of times, many different ways." She folds her hands in her lap and stares down at them, face flushing of all it's colour. "Every night I save you." She's staring at me now, a perfect reflection of me. Guess she's not here for my head after all.

"Spike I-" She doesn't finish the thought. Instead she just looks at me.

Biting her lip against the sting in her eyes, she crawls from her chair to my lap without hesitating, and wraps her arms around my neck, pressing her cheek to my shoulder and sniffling. "Sh love, you don't have to say anything." I soothe her, stroking her hair and rubbing small circles on her back.

"I don't want to feel like this, like nothing." She's sobbing now, and I can't think of one damned thing to say to make it better.

Instead I just hold her. Poor little lost girl.

It came as a pleasant shock when she ran her fingers across my cheek bone, pulling my face down to hers as she went and kissing me. It lasted barely a second but it was something. And I know she felt it.

Buffy

I can feel him… Actually feel him. Ten minutes later, still staring at him – those amazing electric blue sparkling eyes – I can still feel his touch. It's like our lips never parted, I can still feel him kissing me. Every inch of me is tingling, maybe my body's in shock. Not used to feeling anymore. But Spike… He can make me feel. He is making me feel. What does that mean?

He stares at me with questioning eyes, though he looks down right miserable – probably thanks to me – he somehow manages to look absolutely ecstatic all at the same time. Is that even possible? Well hey, I'm alive. How is that possible? Vampires are real. I'm the slayer. My whole world is impossible. So maybe…

Oh my god. Oh my god am I in love with Spike? No, no I couldn't be, of course not.

"Willow called Giles," I say lamely. When in doubt, say something dumb.

"Yeah?" He looks genuinely interested, even though he is very lucid about hating the man.

"He's taking the next flight back."

"Well that's good then right slayer?" He smiles, eyes drifting towards my lips. I know he's afraid to kiss me – how obvious is it that he wants to – I know I would be. I sigh and lean towards him, kissing him gently again and then resting on him like I had before.

"Spike I'm so glad you're here." I feel my breathing hitch when I realize just how true this statement is. "You're the only one I can stand right now." The corners of my mouth turn up slightly, amused, but the feeling still shocks me. Spike catches it to, and a grin of his own appears over his mouth.

"Is that so?" He chuckles and pulls my mouth back to his, smiling against my kiss. Maybe kissing him had been a mistake, he's probably going to get all cocky now.

But much to my surprise, Spike stays just as calm and comforting as he had since I got back. And I can't possibly imagine just how grateful I am for that – grateful for him.

"Will you…"I suddenly feel shy, though I don't remember ever feeling even the slightest bit shy around him.

"I'll do anything." He pressed, curiosity biting at him.

"Will you stay with me again tonight?" My unexpected request makes his eyes go wide, but he looks uncharacteristically pleased.

"Need someone to keep the nasties away love?" He jokes, pulling me against him.

"Actually yeah…" I bite my lip again, a little too hard this time. "I've been having nightmares." Not the usual slayer sense nightmares, oh no, these ones make me want to take a knife and end everything. Just last night I woke up inside a coffin, underground again, locked in, unable to move, or breathe, or escape… I woke up screaming and almost killed Dawn when she shook me out of the nightmare. In my dreamy state I had thought she was trying to push me back into the coffin, and I nearly gave her a concussion trying to pry her away from me. But then I'd sort of made it up to her. I asked her to lay with me, holding her in a sisterly embrace just like she'd wanted. After she fell asleep though, I was still to afraid to follow suit, and had gone down to the living room.

"I'll do my best." He tucked my head beneath his chin, and held me there, stroking my hair again.

Is this how it's going to be with Spike from now on? Nice and cuddly, like a teddy bear with fangs? Well why not? If I'm going to be stuck here for a while, I'd might as well take slight pleasure in it. I shook my head at the thought of actually ever being happy again. But Spike had other plans for my thoughts.

"How long's it been since you've eaten?" He asked nonchalantly.

"Uhm, I don't know." I reply suddenly counting back in my head to the peanut butter sandwich yesterday afternoon. "It's been a while." I finally answered.

"Right, well, time to get you something then yeah? Can't have any girl of mine wasting away." He took my hand and pulled me along to the door of the crypt.

When he opens the door I nearly leapout of my skin. "Spike you can't go out there!" I yank him back terrified.

He chuckles and kissing my forehead. "S'night time pet. Been here for hours already." He steps back and waits for me to rejoin him. "Come on now, let's take you home. I s'pose Dawn and the wiccas'll already be asleep. So long as they didn't wait up for you." He winks down at me, for some reason making me blush.