~*~Alright, I know, I know… It's been forever since I've updated. Not intentional, just haven't had the chance with school and all… Don't know how well this fits together, 'cause I wrote the first three paragraphs like a week and a half ago, and so I kinda lost that train of thought, but it's still gonna end up in the same place… For the most part… Hope ya like it. Review if ya get the chance, and thanks again to those of you who have already reviewed…~*~

Chapter 4

There she was, nestled innocently in his arms as she continued to contemplate a way to let it all out to him, her fingers still playing distractedly over the soft leather material of his coat. Sighing heavily against his chest, she snuggled closer and glanced up at him. She almost giggled happily at the sight before her. Those beautiful blue eyes were boring into her again… Curious, wondering… When he saw the smile spread across her face, he returned the gesture, his lips curling up into a soft, contented smile. His eyes were full of love as he tried to gently coax the story out of with the slow, smooth patterns he was drawing on her back with his cool fingertips. She knew what he was doing. He was trying to relax her. To comfort her to the point of assurance. To let her know that she could let it all out when she was with him… That it didn't matter what the others would think of her when they found out, be it about him, or the fact that she truly did have weaknesses.

For a moment, he wondered if anyone else had ever gotten to see this side of the incredible woman in his arms. Could this be something that was reserved solely for him? Something that no one else would ever be allowed to witness? Something deep down told him that that was, in fact, the case. There was something between them… Something neither of them could deny any longer. Outside, on the porch, she had shared something with him… Something so very intimate. There had been no words, because there had been no need. All she had needed from him then was silent comfort. A shoulder to cry on… Someone to hold her. Someone who wouldn't insist that everything was okay. Someone who wouldn't tell her that she had to be strong. This wasn't a time that required her strength. He didn't know exactly what was going on, but he knew damn well that it had nothing to do with the slaying, and that meant that she shouldn't need to pretend that she was okay with whatever it was.

She didn't understand that yet… She hadn't separated the Slayer from Buffy. The Slayer was strength. Buffy was emotion. A huge difference. One she needed to realize before she drove herself insane by never letting another take charge… By never letting herself be taken care of. But right now, she was opening up. She was letting her guard down, and she was allowing herself to be cared for… By him. If only she would tell him what was wrong… She would, he knew. He just needed to be patient. To wait until she was ready. And he would. He would wait forever and a day for the chance to be the one she let in. And somehow, he knew he would be. This was something no other had ever had. Not Riley… Hell, not even Angel. Angel had been her first love, he knew, but that didn't matter. Who had gotten into her heart first wasn't relevant… It was who got there last. And he knew he could be that one. And he would be…

Sighing heavily against his chest, she decided it was now or never… If she was going to tell him, she was going to do it now, and that was that. The best way? Say it straight… Don't beat around the edges, just let him in… And that, she intended to do. Yes, he was a vampire. Yes, he was her former mortal enemy. And yes… He was the one who was there. The one she needed… So again, she brought her eyes to meet his, and now, they were all seriousness. No more games. Just honesty… Truth. 'The truth will set you free.' she told herself as she prepared for what she was about to do.

"It's mom." she barely whispered, the sound almost inaudible, even in the silence of the house.

"What? What's wrong? Did something happen to Joyce?" He tried to mask the sudden fear that he felt, he really did… It didn't work. The concerned stutter that had invaded his voice was evident, he knew. What could he say? He'd always liked Joyce… Hell, he'd never even considered killing her. Not even when he could have. That said something. Even Buffy hadn't been held that high in regard before he got the chip. Sure, he probably never would've killed her, but the thought had been there… Though, he suspected that it was actually nothing more than the fact that he was supposed to want her dead rather than any actual urge to put her in the ground. But Joyce had never even gotten a thought in that respect… She'd always been nice to him. Treated him like he was a person, rather than an evil, soulless vampire. That had always flattered him…

Besides his own liking for her, Spike didn't even want to consider what it would do to Buffy if anything ever happened to her. It would rip her apart, and he damn well knew it. Wasn't her life hard enough as it was? Now something was wrong with Joyce? Could her life get any more difficult? It wasn't fair… But then, what in this life is?

Buffy nodded dumbly as moisture again began to scatter her eyes, threatening to leak onto her already tear streaked face. Again, she had to stop and think about her reply. It wasn't exactly an easy question. Fact was, they didn't know if anything was wrong. It could still be nothing… And it could still be something. Probably was something if they were taking her in to run more tests. And if it was nothing, then why had she passed out in the middle of the kitchen the other day? That didn't point to nothing. Nothing didn't make you collapse in the middle of kitchen while making breakfast… That wasn't nothing, and Buffy didn't care how negative her thoughts were. How else was she supposed to feel?

Still, a light smile touched her lips as she recognized the concern that he was so desperately trying to hide from her. She knew he wasn't doing it because he wasn't supposed to care… It was his way of staying strong for her, even though, for a moment, she wished he wouldn't attempt to hide his concern. It was nice to know that someone else cared… Someone who wasn't exactly a member of the group, but more a friend of her mother's. Not so much all the time, but sometimes. When the two of them were around one another. She knew that if she were to pick Spike over Riley, Joyce would probably praise her for it. Not that her mother didn't like Riley… She did. Just not as much as she liked Spike…

Well, that was probably a good thing 'cause Buffy liked Spike, too… Buffy liked Spike a lot. As in a lot, a lot. And she planned to act on it as soon as she had poured her heart out to him. He'd accept her, right? Of course he would… How could he not feel the same way when he was holding her like this? When he was making her feel more loved and needed than she had ever felt with anyone in her entire life? They could be good for one another… They would be good for one another…

~*~Okay, I know it's not up to standards, at least not in my eyes… Originally, I did this 'cause "Seeing Red" pissed me off and I felt the need to rewrite history. Now, though, I'm kinda likin' the way it's turnin' out with Spike gettin' his soul back and all, so my need to recreate what happened is kinda deteriorating. Don't worry, though, if ya like it, 'cause I don't plan on stopping… Oh, and by the way, if anybody wants to e-mail me, feel free… I need some Buffy lovin' friends… LOL… But if ya do, ya might wanna use brock3005@aol.com, 'cause I don't check my yahoo e-mail as much as I should. Alright, I'm done babbling now…~*~