Summary: Buffy returns to her home after leaving Spike at the church. Post 'Beneath You'. Spuffy oneshot.

Disclaimer: Neither Buffy nor Spike are mine. That's sad. But logical, seeing as they belong to Mutant Enemy. And to each other.

Setting: After 7.02 'Beneath You'

Rating: T

A/N: This scene kind of came to me today, so I wrote it down. Originally, it was supposed to have Willow, Anya and Giles in it, too, but then I realized none of them would have been able to be there, seeing as Willow and Giles are in England at that time and Xander and Anya are on really bad terms. So it's just him and Dawn.

I hope it's realistic enough, but I can certainly imagine this happening. I always thought it was a shame we never got to see Buffy really upset after leaving Spike at the church. She quietly defends him afterwards, but she doesn't seem to really get the 'I got a soul for you' part, so I wanted to show that.

Thank you for reading! Please review! :)


Ensouled

When she finally made it home after leaving Spike at the church, it was after midnight. Still, her remaining friends and family were up and waiting for her at 1630 Revello Drive. Xander and even Dawn rushed to greet her when she entered the house. Apparently, he had all been so worried about her that making her kid sister go to bed hadn't been open for discussion.

Buffy didn't know whether to be glad she wouldn't have to be alone with her thoughts for a few more moments or upset. Truth to be told, she didn't think she could be around others right now. Spike's words and actions were too fresh in her memory. On the other hand, talking about it might help. And it as pretty much inevitable to have this conversation sooner rather than later.

But where was her best friend when she needed her? Right. In England.

"Oh, Buffy! You're home! We were worried about you!", said Dawn, immediately hugging her.

"What were you thinking running after Spike like that? You know he's dangerous, even with that chip. Did you stake him? He didn't hurt you, did he? What happened?"

She silenced Xander's tirade with a motion of her hand, also gently pushing Dawn away.

"He isn't anymore. Spike. He's not dangerous anymore."

"Because you staked him good, right? Not going to bother us anymore, right? Buffy?"

She walked into the living room and sat down on the couch, burying her head in her hands. Had her voice always sounded this tired? Had she ever felt more exhausted? Her head was spinning, but she couldn't say whether it was from the chaos or the emptiness inside it.

"He's not dangerous, Xander. He's not. He couldn't be if he wanted to. Which he doesn't."

She heard them come to stand before her. Her eyes felt bloodshot and her soul was aching.

Soul.

"Yeah, the chip, we know. But come on, is he finally dust now or not? You know he deserves it, after what he did to you."

Leave it to Xander to not get that this was a difficult topic for her. As much as she loved her friend, he was so clueless sometimes… Especially about Spike.

"He's fine. Or… probably not. No, he's not. I didn't stake him, but he's…"

She raised her head to meet their inquiring gazes.

"He got a soul. He went out to get a soul, that's why he was gone."

Dawn slumped down onto the couch beside her, staring off into nothingness. It reminded Buffy of the fact that Dawn had once really liked Spike. That it must have been difficult to start hating him again, after he had even risked his life to save hers. They had been so genuinely fond of each other. What had happened to that?

Buffy had.

Xander started laughing. As if this was some joke. Part of her wanted so bad to laugh along with him. Laugh it off. Because it really was silly, wasn't it? But Spike's soul was the least funny thing she had ever heard of. When no one joined in Xander's amusement, his voice turned to incredulity.

"You don't honestly believe that, do you? I mean, that would be crazy! He's just messing with your head, Buff, you need to know that."

She just shook her head.

"You didn't see him. No one's that good an actor. Especially not Spike."

"Buffy, come on! He-…"

She shot off from the couch and all but shouted:

"When I left him, he was hugging a cross! A freaking cross that made his skin sizzle and he didn't care! He was just draped over it like it was nothing compared to the way he felt inside, with tears running down his face that had absolutely nothing to do with the burning!"

Shock was visible on Xander's face that was probably more about the fact that she was yelling at him because of Spike than about what she had just told him. Buffy almost felt bad about it. If there was anything left in her, she would. Instead, she simply calmed down and the exhaustion crept back into her bones, her skin, her everything.

"Trust me when I tell you. He has a soul now."

"But that's impossible. How would he get a soul? Why would he get a soul?"

"I don't know about the how. I left before he could tell me. I don't think that he was going to tell me, anyway. He wasn't exactly in a condition to be rational. As for the 'why'… I think he got a soul because he didn't ever want to be capable of hurting me again. He said something like that. He got a soul so that I could love him."

Unexpectedly, her eyes filled with tears. It had been a shock to hear him say the words, but they really hadn't sunk in until now.

"Spike… got a soul… so that I… could love him."

Sensing her distress, Dawn reached out for her, but Buffy quickly got up. Dawns comfort couldn't help her right now.

"I need to be alone now. Okay? I just need to be alone now…"

With that, she determinedly went up the stairs, biting back the tears threatening to spill over and finally sagged down on her bed. Mercifully, neither followed her.

Spike had gotten a soul to make it possible for her to love him.

That incredible idiot. Hadn't he seen what had happened to Angel? Sure, just get a soul so that Buffy loves me. Not that big a deal. Everything for Buffy. She might love me when I have a soul.

But isn't that what she had always said? That she couldn't love him because he had no soul? Because having no soul made him evil and wrong and less than human?

She had never thought about whether things would be different for her if he did have a soul. She had never even considered something so insane. Something so completely… Spike. She probably should have known.

The truth was… While she had been aware of hurting him before, she had never truly believed in his love for her. He hadn't been human enough for her to believe him capable of love.

Now she knew. But she didn't know what she felt for him other than sorrow and pity. So for tonight, just for tonight, she would cry herself to sleep and hope to wake with more answers.