Disclaimer: I only "own" the idea for this fanfiction, the rest to Joss Whedon and the other creators and such for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Summary: Spike returns to Sunnydale with his newly attained soul. What will Buffy say when she sees him? What will the others have to say about his and Buffy's relationship, and that little happening before his leave? Spuffy. Season 7 apocalypse: The First Evil. But this time, things go a little differently.

Read and Review please.

Chapter One

"Can we rest now Buffy? Can we rest?" Spike lies himself across the crucifix in the church, ignoring the burning in his flesh and the smoke wafting off of him as the Holy Ghost tries to shove him away. He doesn't want me; I know it, not good enough, evil.

. "Your soul…" Buffy stares at him in horror, he'd gone to get his soul. For her. Because of what he'd done to her?

. Spike whimpers and slides to the floor, still resting against the thick glass of the cross. He ignores the pain, knowing that he deserves it, deserves it more than anyone – anything – else in the world. Or any other for that matter. All those people he killed. And worse. The girl he hurt. I hurt the girl… DON'T hurt the girl. He whimpers again, and for the first time feels the scorched skin on his chest, arms, and face. Tears stain his cheeks, but disappear with the heat from the burns, leaving little trace.

. Eyes blurring with tears, Buffy finds that the site of the big bad – William the Bloody – crumpled on the floor like a broken man brings never felt pain up from inside of her. She rushed beside him, kneeling down and pulling him by the shoulders away form the symbol of his once religion. The god no longer saw him as his child, he knew that. Knew that he was worthless to even the almighty leader. Not that he'd been very religious for the past century. But with his soul newly intact, it just seems fit that he would torture himself more.

. "Spike stop, you're hurting yourself, stop." She manages to pull his limp body away, resting him against her. His head lolls to the side as he lets out a sob. Buffy pulls him into a more erect position, so that his back is again her and he is able to sit up. She pulls his head against her shoulder and he lets himself rest there. There were so many questions bubbling up to burst inside of her, why would you do this, why would you hide from me, but she holds her tongue. She's afraid of what he might do, afraid that he might try to end himself, after all the pain and guilt and… He turns his face into the crease where her neck meets her shoulder, and for a second she's nervous about what he's doing, though he only sniffles slightly and closes his eyes, tears soaking her skin.

. Soon though, Buffy finds that she can't hold back her own tears any more, and chokes back a sob as she clutches his tighter. "You shouldn't have left Spike," she cries, momentarily forgetting the reason he'd left in the first place.

. Flashbacks of that rueful night fill Spike's mind with painful memories. "Spike stop! Spike!" Buffy is screaming at him, tears streaking her face and the most terrified expression he'd ever witnessed on her face. At the time though, he didn't realize her fear, didn't notice her pain as he tried to force her to love him. He has her pinned to the floor in her bathroom, bathrobe barely hanging on as he tries to pry it from her. "Don't touch me!" He rips himself out of her arms, disgusted with himself, and bolts to the other side of the church. He puts an arm over his eyes, hiding from her. "I'm evil," he sobs.

. "I forgive you…" She finds herself whispering, barely audible to her own ears, but most clear to his demonic enhanced ones. He drops to the floor again, crying to the ceiling.

. "Don't." he says, "I don't deserve it. Never deserved you." He looks at her, big blue eyes conceded to his inner torment. She just stares at him, unable to find words, and completely and utterly shocked with herself.

. I forgive him, she thinks to herself. For everything… Startled with the sudden burst of emotion, she pulls her eyes up from where they've drifted to the floor and begs him silently. "Don't leave again." She asks in a small voice.

. "Please," he whispers, eyes closing. "Buffy I'm begging you." She doesn't understand what he's saying, not that she really had since his incredible return. Before she realizes what she's doing though, she finds her arms wrapping around him again, sitting on her knees in front of him. He lets his head find her shoulder again as he wraps his arms around her and shakes with a self-loathing weep. She strokes his hair, holding painfully tight, holding him like he was the only thing keeping her alive. And isn't it true though? When she'd first been brought back, he was the only one she could stand to be around. And he'd saved her time and time again, let her cry in his arms, let her use him. God, she understood his actions, as criminal as they were. She understood. Perhaps now they were even. All those times he'd tried to kill her versus what she'd put him through in the last year. Seeing him withered into a broken man, she could really see just how much damage she'd done. Yes, now we're even.

. She closed her eyes and leaned her head against his, feeling him for the first time a too long. He only holds her tighter.

XXXXXXXXXX

"She's been gone since last night," Xander made his point to the others, sitting in the living room as they ate their breakfast in front of the television. "Maybe she's hurt, that was a pretty nasty looking worm demon thing." No one pays his any attention as they watch a rerun of an old cartoon. "Seriously, she could be laying in an alley somewhere, waiting for us to rescue her."

. "Xander," Willow says through a mouthful of cereal. "Buffy's the slayer, she can handle one measly little demon. Besides, Spike was with her." She put another spoonful in her mouth, eyes not once leaving the animated mouse chasing the animated cat with an animated mallet.

. "And that's exactly my point." He says, with just as much point as the last time. "He cannot be trusted with her. He-" He's interrupted when the door opens, and everyone turns to see Buffy and Spike slam the front door shut. Spike is waving off the smoke that's collected from his already burnt self. "Oh, so I see Mr. Attempted Rape has decided to join us today." His expression shoots daggers at Spike, and then to Buffy in turn. Now what exactly is going on?

. "That's it," Spike yanks the door open, waiting for his sunny death to finally come.

. "Spike!" Buffy pulls him back aghast, and closes the door firmly. "Close the drapes guys." She says to the staring group collected in the living room before turning back to the wreck of a vampire before her. He is looking away, afraid to look at her. Flashbacks overcome him again, making him seethe in anger. Buffy cries out in pain as Spike knocks her over, her head slamming against the hard porcelain of the bathtub, and then making an unhealthy sounding CRACK against the floor. He's on top of her in seconds, pinning her wrists down. "Spike please, stop it!" She moans through the pain at the back of her head. She takes his arm, encouraging strokes against the burnt skin with the tips of her fingers and smiles reassuringly at him. He doesn't see though, he's seeing red against the far wall. Not daring to allow himself a glance at something so righteous and holy and pure. "Spike," She whispers, pulling him closer to her so that she can put her arm around him. She guides him into the living room and sits him down in the chair he'd once claimed for his own.

. "Alright Buffy what's going on? Are we letting a rapist join the gang now? Because I guess the whole murderer of a thousand people and two slayers just wasn't enough before." Xander looks at his friend disapprovingly.

. Buffy sits on the arm of Spike's chair, and strokes his hair to soothe his writhing. He tries again to bolt for the door, but she pulls him back to her effortlessly. "Xander, no more about Spike." She says, watching the vampire carefully. Xander is fuming, eyes squinted at her. "Willow, would you mind picking up some blood from the butcher?" She asks her friend in as sweet a voice as she can stir up.

. "He tried to rape you?" Willow bellows, finally noticing the non-joke part of the whole non-joke.

. Hearing the conversation for the first time – being too distracted by the animated dog who'd joined the fray to notice before – everyone turns their attention to Spike, wide eyed and furious. "He didn't." Dawn says in a voice that begs Spike to challenge her.

. Worried now, Buffy wraps a protective arm around Spike's throat, nearly choking him in her efforts to keep him seated. "We can talk later. Willow, I want you to pick up blood please, Xander I want you to shut the hell up before I make you." She looks around, waiting for any one to protest. Soon after, Willow marches out of the house with Xander hot on her tail.

. Spike can't pry his eyes off the death stare Dawn is giving him. Somehow, it hurts more than what the others had said. At that moment, he wishes that someone will just end it all – or better yet let him end it himself.

. Finally finding his head, he moans and turns his face to hide against the slayer. She resumes running her fingers through his gelled back would be curls. "I'm sorry," he whispers again her, trying to find her with his fingers, to take her hand. She grants him that and slides her free hand through his, letting him twine their fingers anxiously.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Yeah Giles, she was totally snuggly with him." Willow says into the receiver of the phone at the Magic Box. "I mean, I've seen her be nice to Spike, but this was way intense."

. "But him on speaker!" Xander's voice begs, and Giles can picture the way he's bouncing with his hands together for the zillionth time since she's picked up the phone.

. Willow brushes him off annoyed. "Yeah, Xander said he raped her." She listens to the angry gasp on the other end.

. "He didn't rape her, she stopped him! He attempted to rape her! But him on speaker!" Xander audibly bounced again in his aggravation.

. "Willow, you're sure? I mean, I know Spike has done many terrible things, but I can't see him hurting Buffy like that." Giles listens even more intently now, hanging on every detail.

. "Yeah Giles, things are really hectic around here." A surge of desperate missing of the watcher floods her, pinging at her heart. "Maybe you should come back, I mean," she stutters unintelligibly for a few seconds and then, "we all really miss you Giles."

. "Yes, yes perhaps my leaving was a bad idea." Giles says mostly to himself, but still loud enough for her. "I don't suppose a visit would do too much damage on my part." He decides.

. "Oh Giles! Why can't you just come back to stay? We'd love to have you back, and you can even stay with me and Buffy and Dawn! It'll be great!" She squeals in hopeful excitement.

. "I'll think about it Willow, but I can't promise anything yet. Just let me get set myself in order here, and I'll be on a flight down there as soon as possible." He tells his beloved red haired friend, who is almost as close to a daughter to him as his slayer.

. "Ok Giles!" Willow squeals again, hurting his ears this time, and Giles chuckles at the new series of complaints coming from Xander.

. "Well then, I'll talk to you tomorrow. Good bye Willow, and – Xander." He hands up the phone and leans back in his chair, hand rubbing his forehead. So he's hurt my slayer…

XXXXXXXXXX

"Buffy!" Dawn whined at her big sister, full of remorse. "I can't believe you even told Tara and not me! I'm your sister! And you know I would have been so ok with it!" She shook her head sadly.

. "I know Dawnie, I'm sorry. I was stupid, I should have told you." Buffy looks apologetically at teenager in front of her, and briefly remembers what it was like to have been that age.

. "But he, you know… Tried to rape you…" Dawn looks less happy now, remembering the real reason that Spike had come back. Though the news about her sister's "relationship" with Spike had excited her beyond her wildest imagination, the thought of her friend trying to – not that he hadn't succeeded – hurt her big sis is gnawing angrily at her. She wants to hit him. No, she wants to do more than that. She wants to hurt him. But Buffy had explained the situation to her, about his soul, and how he'd tried to kill himself only a few hours prior, et cetra et cetra, blah blah blah, Buffy could be a real hard head sometimes. But that's what love does to people. Dawn thought, nearly squealing in her excitement.

. "Anyways, I'm going to go check on Spike." Buffy gets up to go to the stairs, but Dawn jumps up – excitement renewed.

. "Wait Buffy, IDEA!" She exclaims. "Tonight, me, you, Spike, popcorn, movie, pizza!" She practically screams out her list of what would be a fun night, and gets six times more excited when Buffy smiles and nods approval.

. Before she goes upstairs though, she looks at Dawn and says, "Pick a movie then, nothing to chick flicky though, I'm not in the mood for a star crossed lover's romance." She shakes her head and takes the stairs slowly, heading up to where she'd hidden her vampire away in her room. When she gets to the door, her hand hesitates on the door knob. Will he even be in there? He seemed so eager for the sun before… With dread filling her, she flings the door open and steps into the room that has minimal traces of light. And there he was, the bleach blonde lay on her bed, facing the far wall and one hand beneath the pillow. He flinches when she enters, but other than that remains still.

. Buffy sits down on the bed beside Spike, and holds his shoulder for balance while she bends down to kiss him gently on the cheek. His face contorts with pain and more tears leak from his eyes. After a brief moment of him wincing against her touch, she sighs and lays her head on his shoulder. What, is she going to have another round at me? Make me suffer? Wouldn't doubt it. Stupid chit, stupid soul, stupid… She kisses him again, on the shoulder now, and then goes back to resting against him. His jaw sets as he realizes that she might not be kissing him because of what they had – or might possibly still have – but rather because she feels sorry for him. But he doesn't need pity. He sits up with a growl and shakes her off, stalking to the other side of the room. When he turns to look at her, he sees the hurt look in her eyes, and the slight tremble of her lip and breaks yet again.

. "Baby I'm sorry." He whispers, quiet enough that she'd barely heard him, and slips onto the bed beside her. "I can't – I can't just…" He shakes his head; half wishing the words could just appear in front of her that way rather than him trying to actually form words. "I'm in love with you." His electric blue eyes bore into hers, burning the patterns of his face into her vision. "I can't just…" Again, he is lost for words. He rolls his eyes to the ceiling, feeling the sting of tears again, and curses.

. "Don't worry." She pulls his face back to look at her, and presses her lips against his; slowly and carefully, as gently as she can manage so that he can barely feel her at all. He lets her stay there for a second, neither of them moving, unwilling to break the much neglected contact. "Stay with me." She meant it as never leave again, but Spike didn't have a clue as to what she'd meant by it. Instead of trying to figure it out though, he just stares at her, rememorizing her face. "Dawn wants to have a movie night." Buffy blurts so spontaneously that Spike's old mischievous grin creeps back to his face for a moment.

. "Yeah? Well, s'long as it's not one of those chick flicky stare crossed lover's romances." His lips twitch as another smile appears, and he lets her kiss him again, more fully this time.