I know it's been done, but I had to do my own version of this. A continuation of the ending of Fool For Love. I think it's just a little too fluffy to actually have been in the show, but that's why it's fan fiction.

Buffy had come out to the back porch to be alone.

Alone. In the sense of the word that meant solitude. By oneself. With no others. No one to see her weakness. Because she was a Slayer. She was not supposed to have weakness. Weakness was the downfall of a Slayer.

Spike had insisted it wasn't weakness. It was just that the Slayer had a death wish, didn't have a will to live.

Spike didn't know what he was talking about. He couldn't have. She didn't have a death wish. That vampire hadn't staked her with her own stake because she had a death wish. She was pretty happy with being alive, thank you very much. She was just sloppy. She had shown weakness. And the vampire had caught it.

So, no more weaknesses in front of other people. Or vampires. Especially vampires. Vampires would expose the weakness and get in and "have their good day," as Spike would say. And she couldn't show weakness in front of people because she was supposed to be the Slayer. The rock. The foundation. The leader. If she showed that she was scared or upset or depressed, then the rest of them wouldn't even know what to do.

It was like the feeling one got when one's mom was scared or upset. She's supposed to be the one comforting you. She's supposed to be the one that will tell you it will all be okay. She's the one who's supposed to take care of you, like if you're sick. If one's mom got sick, then you didn't know what to do. It was just wrong and scary.

The tears came harder. Her mom was sick. And she had no idea what to do. She was scared. Terrified. And that's why she was sitting on the back porch by herself, alone, and now she'd come full circle with her thoughts.

The click of a gun rang through her ears. The sound it made when someone was preparing to fire. And it seemed pretty close. She looked up.


She should have known he wouldn't leave her alone. This was Spike, after all. She should have known he would interrupt her solitary moment of weakness.

"What do you want now?" She wanted to wince when her voice broke, but she stopped herself. Best not to show any more weakness than he'd already seen.

A dozen emotions flitted across his face in about a second, and the gun in his hand lowered a bit. "What's wrong?" It was almost a demand. Like he needed to know what's wrong so he could go off and either fix it or make fun of her for it- and knowing Spike, it was probably the latter.

"I don't want to talk about it." Crisis averted; she just wouldn't tell him.

He lowered the gun completely, letting it hang at his side. He seemed to have forgotten about it. "Is there anything I can do?"

She might have shaken her head mutely. Maybe just a little. She was too stunned to respond with words. She had been wrong- he had wanted to fix it. Or so it appeared.

She expected he would leave her alone then, go back to his crypt or wherever- but he surprised her again, taking a seat next to her on the porch and setting the gun aside. He hesitated for a moment, then gently placed his hand on her back in what she realized he was trying to convey as a soothing gesture.

Some part of her brain told her that something wasn't quite right. A vampire had a gun. Said vampire was trying to comfort her. Said vampire was Spike. All three of those things just didn't seem to compute with her brain. Spike had a gun and was trying to comfort her. The only parts of that sentence that should exist in the same breath as each other were 'Spike' and 'her.' And even that was pushing it.

His hand left her back, and she had to take a shaky breath to try to keep her composure. For whatever reason, she felt just a little better when it was there, so having it leave was hard. She exhaled, and noticed after the fact that Spike had done so also, at the same time as her. She wondered for a second- she had thought vampires didn't need to breathe- but then let it go. Spike was always doing weird things like that.

It wasn't until she was sure she had more control over her voice that she spoke again. "Why do you have a gun?"

He frowned, looked over at it, then looked back at her. "I… I can't remember." He sounded slightly confused. "I think I might have been going to try to shoot you."

She blinked. "Oh." Spike was going to try to shoot her. Shouldn't this be something to get upset about? Angry, perhaps? Offended that he would try something so mundane to end her life? She thought they had decided that if he was going to kill her, it would be in one of their fights. A fight to the death. That's the way they were. No weapons but a stake in her hand and his game face. She wouldn't try to kill him by shooting him with a crossbow, or attempting to use a flamethrower, or by throwing him outside during the day. That's not how they did things.

But they couldn't have a fight like that since he had a chip in his head. So that meant they both stayed alive. She had thought they had both known that, yet here he was with a gun.

"Both knew what, luv?"

Damn. Brain. Mouth. Filter between. She had to look into it. "It doesn't matter." A pause. "That guns weren't how we did things."

"Oh. Right." He shifted uncomfortably. "I know. I do know. If we're going to go out, it's going to be in one of our fights. No weapons and the like."

"I get a stake."

"You do not."

"Then you don't get to use your game face. No staking, no draining."

"That's not bloody fair."

"It's perfectly fair. Your game face is a weapon. You said so yourself."

He sighed. "Forget it, luv. We can't fight now anyway. I only have a gun because I was bein' stupid, like usual."

She nodded. The silence made her remember the reason she was out here, and she was nearly overcome by tears all over again. No, no, no, she told herself. No crying in front of Spike. Big no-no. She put her face in her lap in order to hide the tears that refused to stay in her eyes.

And then there it was, that soothing hand on her back again, carefully coaxing her closer to him. She gave in and scooted just a few inches nearer to him, near enough that she could move her forehead over onto his black-clad thigh. His thumb began to stroke her right shoulder blade, and her entire body quivered from the trouble she was going through to repress her tears.

"It's okay." His voice came as a quiet murmur after several seconds of silence. "You don't have to be strong for me, luv. Let it all out."

She could feel her resolve weakening, but she still attempted to restrain herself. This was Spike. The vampire. The chipped and totally unable to hurt her vampire, but still a vampire.

"Repressing yourself like that can't be good for you, luv. Come on. It's okay. I won't bite. Pun intended."

She let out a single laugh then, and that was it for her walls. Her body shuddered with the force of the sobs leaving her body, and she brought her arms over and folded them under her head, on Spike's lap. His hand avidly rubbed her back now, and she could hear him whispering meaningless words of comfort under his breath.

When she had calmed down, she lifted her head from his lap and wiped her face irritably and refused to meet his gaze when she next spoke to him. "Sorry."

He shook his head and caught a stray tear off her cheek. "It's okay, luv. You're human. Humans have emotions. And sometimes they just need to let them out."

She shook her head. "Not me. I'm supposed to be the leader. The Slayer. The one who keeps her cool no matter the circumstance."

"But, see, that's the thing, luv." He left his hand on her cheek, and she let him. "You're also a scared nineteen-year-old girl. Underneath that hard exterior of a Slayer, you're also a person. Her name is Buffy. And that's one of the things I… admire about you."

She met his eyes then. "That I'm a person?"

"Exactly. You've got family and friends. You care about them. You love them. You let emotions guide you through life. And that's a good thing. You cut off emotion, you run out of purpose. And that leads you right along to that death wish Slayers have. That's why you're unique. You don't have that death wish because you haven't cut yourself off. You're a passionate girl underneath the Slayer. That's why I admire you."

She looked down at her lap when his hand fell away from her cheek. They were facing each other on the porch, their knees brushing. "It's hard," she said. "They all want me to be the Slayer. They want me to be super-gal. I'm the one that saves the day. If I go and break down crying, it scares them. They don't know what to do."

"Well, that's why I'm here, luv. You don't have to be afraid to show weakness around me. Doesn't matter anyway, does it?"

She frowned, confused. "Huh?"

He looked away. "It shouldn't matter what I think of you and your weakness. I'm beneath you."

Her heart clenched. "Spike-"

"I'm not fishin- for an apology. I just want you to know it's okay to be whatever you want around me."

She crossed her arms. "I don't care if you're fishing for one. I'm sorry. It was harsh of me."

"Didn't mean it wasn't true."

"It doesn't matter." She closed her eyes. "Mom's sick. She's going in for a CAT scan tomorrow."

He didn't respond. He didn't even move. He wasn't even breathing. And he liked breathing. She hesitantly opened one eye to see what was he was doing.

His eyes were wide, and when they made eye contact, he jerked out of his frozen state. "Oh, luv." He was all pain and sympathy. "I'm sorry."

"I thought it might have been supernatural, at first." Great, now she was babbling. "All the headaches and stuff. So I tried to do a spell to see what was going on, if any spells had recently been performed- nothing had been done to Mom. It's physical. Normal. God, Spike, it's normal. We can't get rid of it with a counter spell. It wouldn't work. I can't fight it. There's nothing I can do. Nothing you can do, or anyone can do. Except maybe the doctors, but they're hardly ever helpful."

"Damn those doctors." His voice was weak.

"I don't know what to do, Spike. Mom's supposed to take care of us when we're sick. She's not supposed to get sick. Not like this. Not so seriously. What if it's bad? What if it's even worse than we thought? What if-"

"Shh." He pressed a finger to her lips. "You Summers women are strong. You'll make it through this."

She could only nod, before being overcome with the urge to put her head on his shoulder. She didn't know why, but the urge was there, and it was a distinct Buffy urge. No Slayerness involved. That much was obvious. The weird thing was that her initial Slayer reaction wasn't there, which was to flinch away from the idea. Well, fine then, she said to herself. No Slayer to stop me, so here I go. She put her head down on his shoulder and was almost overwhelmed by the scent of leather.

She closed her eyes when his arm fell across her shoulders. It struck her how comfortable this position was, and how easy it would be to fall asleep. And the more she thought about sleeping, the more tired she became. His unnecessary breathing was calm and relaxed, keeping an easy rhythm.

"That's right, luv." His voice sounded far away, and she felt a light pressure on the top of her head, like he might have kissed her there. She knew she should probably feel outraged at that, but she couldn't bring herself to care. It felt too comforting. "Just keep calm."

Right. If she kept calm for any longer- "I'm going to fall asleep." Her voice sounded hazy even to her own ears.

"You should get up to bed, then, luv."

"I don't know if I can stand up."

"Right then." He leaned over her and put his other arm under her legs before standing up slowly. She shifted in his arms. Her head was still against his shoulder, and she kept her eyes closed as he entered her house - she was glad in that moment that she never bothered to get rid of his invite - and made her way through her kitchen and living room and up the stairs. He opened the door to her room, and for one second it struck her odd that he knew exactly where her room was, but she disregarded the fact when he lay her gently on her bed.

He kissed her forehead before backing away. "Things will look better in the morning, luv."

She nodded in halfhearted agreement. "They always do." She paused. "You don't have to leave. You can sleep on the couch. Say goodbye to Mom before she goes."

He smiled at her. "Good night, Buffy." He left the room, and she fell to sleep quickly.

She dreamt of leather.

Yeah, angst, angst, angst, Spike, comfort, Spike, angst, comfort, comfort, comfort, angst, angst, comfort, fluff, fluff, fluff. That the past 2000 words in a nutshell. Review if you will. This is a one-shot, will not be continued.