"Do you think it worked?" Anya asked Dawn. They were both seated at the table, staring at the shattered remains of the once shiny green orb. Now it was nothing but a pile of dull glass.

Dawn went to answer, but the ringing of the bell above the door caught her attention. She turned to see Spike walking in, supporting a rather beaten looking Buffy by the waist. She wasn't the only one who looked beaten though. Spike was sporting a fresh bloody nose and a light bruise on the side of his face.

Most likely from Buffy.

"My guess is yeah, it worked." Dawn stated.

"I take it you found a way to fix me, ey?" Spike questioned Anya as he helped Buffy to sit down.

"Well, I located what turned you into a dog, but Dawn's the one who figured out how to change you back." Anya pointed out.

"Nibblet?" Spike raised and eyebrow at the girl.

"See? I'm good for something around here." Dawn said proudly. Spike smiled fondly at her and ruffled her hair before turning back to Anya.

"So who did this to me?"

"I said I found 'what' did this to you, not 'who'."

"Well what was it then?" Anya motioned to the pile of broken glass by his feet.

"A broken bottle turned Spike into a puppy?" Buffy questioned.

"No, the pile of glass used to be an Orb of Fegruu, but it's no good now."

"Obviously." Spike stated, pushing at the pile of glass with the toe of his boot.

"So what are we gonna do? I mean, someone or something obviously wanted Spike out of the picture. We have to find out who." Buffy said, looking between the rooms other occupants.

"Slayer, if someone wanted me dead, wouldn't it make more sense to, you know, kill me?" Spike pointed out, smirking at her.

"Why do that when they could turn you into a dog and force you to spend the rest of your miserable life eating dog food and being held on a leash? Plus, there's that whole 'vet visit' we had planned, right Dawnie?" Buffy replied, smirking right back at him. Dawn smiled.

"Right then, off that topic. Who's hungry?" Spike said quickly, changing the subject and rubbing his hands together.

"Spike, you don't eat." Dawn pointed out.

"You've been shoving puppy chow down my face for the past three days, Bit. I could really go for a cheeseburger right now."

"Cheeseburger?" Buffy asked, arcing her eyebrows.

"What? M'not allowed to like food now? Hell, Slayer, I'd prefer a burger to blood anyday, but there's one problem."

"What's that?" Dawn asked curiously.

"It won't keep me alive." He replied knowingly. "Now get off your lazy arse and come on, I'm starving." He grabbed Dawn's coat off of the counter and tossed it to her as she stood. "You coming?"

Buffy shook her head. "Nah, I get enough burgers at work. I'll just meet you at home, okay Dawnie?"

Dawn nodded and looked at Anya. Of course the vengence demon wouldn't come, not after her little shindig with Spike, but she thought it better to be polite and ask. "How about you?"

"No thanks, I have to clean up here."

Spike shrugged and sauntered towards the door, Dawn close on his heels as she shrugged her jacket on.

"Spike?"

"Yeah pet?" Spike asked, turning back to face Buffy.

"Keep an eye on her."

"Always do."

Buffy smiled and shook her head as the two left. Even after Spike's little escapade with Anya, she still trusted him. Well, with Dawn, at least. She didn't quite trust him as much as she had before, but she knew in her heart he would keep her safe.

----------

"You sure you don't want me to give it to her, she seemed pretty mad at you earlier." Dawn said, looking skeptically at Spike.

Chuckling, he pushed the door open. "I think I'll manage. 'sides, it's late, you have school tomorrow."

"Yeah, I guess." She said, as she walked through the door. He followed behind her and closed it.

"I don't guess, I know." He stated. "Now get up there 'fore I make you."

"And how do you plan on doing that? You can't hurt me, remember?"

"I could sing."

"But you sing good." She said, her face scrunching up at the unusual threat.

"You think so?" She nodded. "Hmm, well, I guess I'd have to go with tickling you then, won't I?"

"Going." Dawn said as she turned and headed up the stairs, "Night Spike."

"Night Bit." Spike shook his head as the girl disappeared into her room.

"Sounds like she had fun." Buffy said from the couch as Spike walked into the livingroom.

"Yup. And unlike some people she doesn't pummel me when she's having a good time."

"I do not pummel you all the time."

"Most of the time. Now here, eat." He directed as he sat down, handing her a bag fro the burger joint.

"I ate earlier." She lied.

"No you didn't. I was here, remember?"

"Oh yeah. Dog."

"Yeah, dog, now eat."

She looked at him and rolled her eyes. "Fine." She shot, snatching the bag from his hand. "But don't think I'm gonna forgive you just because you brought me food." He raised his hands in mock defeat. She giggled. "I really hate you, you know that?"

----------

"Spike, this is stupid, let's just go." Buffy grabbed his arm and tried to drag him after her, but he shrugged out of her grasp. Sighing, she crossed her arms over her chest.

"Slayer, were not leaving 'til we get what we came here for." Spike retorted, scanning the cages lining the corridor.

"Spike, let me ask you something." Buffy said, stepping up alongside him as he poked his finger in at one of the caged puppies. "If you had to be a dog again, would you want to be Dawn's dog?"

His face fell and he pulled his fingers from the cage.

"That's what I thought, now come on, she doesn't need a dog." She said, grabbing the sleeve of his jacket once more.

"Maybe just a small dog. Or a lazy one, you know, one that sleeps a lot?" Spike suggested.

"No."

"Oh come on, Slayer, the girl wants a pet." He protested as she continued to lead him towards the door.

"Then we can stop at the pet store and get her a goldfish on the way home." Buffy replied.

Spike stopped. "A goldfish?"

Buffy turned to face him. "What's wrong with a goldfish?"

"Only one thing. It's a bloody goldfish."

Buffy made a face. "Okay, what about a cat? It's smaller and isn't as hard to take care of."

"Won't work."

"Why not?"

"'cause I might eat it." He said, grinning. A lady a bit further down the hall gave them a weird look before disappearing around the corner.

"Spike!" Buffy exclaimed, pulling him to the side.

"Calm down, I was kidding." He assured her, still grinning.

"Well it wasn't funny."

"Not to you."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Fine, we'll get her a cat then."

"Slayer! The girl doesn't want a bloody cat, she wants a dog."

"And how would you know?"

"I was a dog, remember? She wanted me. Plus whenever I had them poker kittens at my crypt she never asked to keep 'em."

Buffy scowled at him.

"Come on Slayer, I'll help her take care of it." He argued, trying to make her give in.

"How, you're never over."

"If you get her a dog then I'll have a reason to come over."

"And who says I want you over?" She questioned, smirking.

"Who said I was talking about you? Maybe I want to come over and see the Nibblet." He replied, grinning.

"Good, 'cause I don't want you over anyways." Buffy informed him.

"So we gonna get her a pup?" he asked, still smiling.

Buffy rolled her eyes and pushed him back towards the cages. "Fine, but nothing big, got it?"

----------

"Do we have to do this?" Spike whined, following Buffy through the glass door.

"Yes." She stated.

"But Slayer, it's just plain cruel."

"No, letting the thing have puppies and not being ablt to take care of them would be cruel." She told him. She rolled her eyes at the vampire and handed him the dog's leash before she walked up to the desk.

"Sorry mate, I tried." Spike directed at the large black dog in front of him as he sat down on one of the chairs lining one wall of the vet office. The Labrador/Rottwieler cross just sat there, looking at him with big brown eyes. William. That's what Dawn had named him. Spike had made a few other suggestions – Manson, Clyde, Lector. Dawn had liked Manson until she found out he was referring to the killer, not the singer. The other two names had been inspired by the infamous 'Bonnie and Clyde' and Hannibal the Cannibal Lector. Not prime choices for puppy names. She had settled on William, reassuring Spike it was only because he was te coolest vampire she knew, not because he reminded her of the slobbering mutt.

"Okay, we're done." Buffy informed him as she walked back over to the vampire and her sister's pet. It had been four months since they had brought the thing home, and it was roughly six months old. It hadn't been all that big when they got it from the shelter, but Spike had reassured her it wouldn't get much bigger.

She still had to fight to avoid beating the crap out of him for lying to her.

William wasn't even full grown and he was already pushing 75 pounds. The dog wagged it's tail excitedly and she scratched it's head. She pulled the leash from Spike's hand and handed it over to the vet's assitant. The woman nodded.

"You can pick him up in the morning."

Buffy smiled "Come on."

Spike stood to follow her and offered the pooch a sympathetic glance. "Poor mutt, the bugger doesn't even know that they're gonna chop his…." Buffy covered his mouth with her hand and motioned to a little girl on the other side of the room. She held a small kitten in her lap and her mother was busy reading a magazine next to her.

"Spike, stop. You're more worried about this than the dog."

"You look at things a bit differently when you've had people planning to do that to you. Then again, maybe I'd be better off staying at the vet's with the pooch…"

Buffy sighed as they began to walk down the sidewalk. The sun had set barely an hour ago and darkness had settled on the streets. "You know I wouldn't do that to you."

"Is that so?"

"I'm not that cruel."

He raised an eyebrow at her and smirked.

"Okay, so maybe I am. But if I did that then you wouldn't be of any use to me, would you?"

Once again, he didn't speak, he just knitted his brows together and smirked.

She punched him in the arm.

"You're no fun when you don't fight back."

"Bugger, you didn't need t'hit me." He whined playfully, rubbing his arm.

"Baby."

"Wentch."

"Whiner."

"Bitch."

Buffy stopped. Spike stopped. Buffy narrowed her eyes at him and smirked evilly. "I don't need to have you neutered, vamp boy." She walked towards him, backing him into a wall as he continued to grin. She poked him in the head with her finger. "You're already neutered."

"Low blow, Slayer." He said, grinning devilishly. He was backed completely against the side of a building now, Buffy mere inches in front of him. "Always going for weak spots." His grin faded and he smiled sincerely, brushing a stray piece of hair from her face. "Just another reason why I love you."

"You still love me?" she asked softly.

His face fell. "Course I do, luv. You know that."

"Yeah, I guess… it's just, after everything I said to you. Everything I did to you. After Anya…" she mumbled, looking down.

"Slayer….Buffy,I love you. I love you so much it hurts." He smiled slightly and ran his hands down her arms. "I'll always love you, no matter what happens, no matter what you do, no matter what I do, you got that?" She nodded slightly. "Come 'ere, pet." He said gently, smiling at the girl. He wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly. She reluctantly returned the hug. The two stood there for a moment, not moving.

Then Buffy started to giggle.

"You mind tellin' me what's so funny?" Spike asked, pulling away from her and giving her a coy smile.

"You called me 'pet'."

"Yeah, I call you that a lot." He said, not understanding the humor in the word.

"Nothing." She said, still smiling as she shook her head and began to walk once more. "It's just kind of ironic, that's all."

"Ironic?" he questioned, walking along side her. He gave her a skeptical look and pulled

a cigarette and his lighter from his pocket. He lit it and returned the lighter to his pocket.

"It is, considering you were my dog a few months ago." She stated.

"No, I was Dawn's dog. You wanted to get rid of me." He pointed out.

"Not anymore." He smirked as he turned to face her as they walked, blowing a thin trail of smoke from his mouth. She smiled and offered him her hand, "Come on, let's go home."

He took it gratefully and smiled. "…..I still don't think we should have the dog fixed…."