Disclaimer: I don't own the characters in this story, they are owned by the people who created them. I just like to play with them.

Buffy wasn't really surprised when she opened her door to see Spike standing on the other side. As soon as they heard about the battle in LA and Andrew spilled his secret she knew if Spike made it he would come see her. She was surprised it had taken him so long to show up though, the fight had been over for six months now. But she didn't know what she wanted. Did she love Spike? She wasn't sure, she needed time, time to figure out her life, time to grow into who she was supposed to be. "I figured it would be you. Glad to see you made it Spike."

"Can I come in?"

"I really can't do this now. Listen I know this isn't what you want to hear but I'm going to tell you what I told Angel back in Sunnydale just before the battle with the First."

"Yeah don't bother, already heard the cookie dough speech from Peaches. He made sure to tell me that you saw the two of you together in the future when you were done baking. I got the message, got it a year ago in fact. Right after I popped out of that amulet and started my bloody Casper impersonation. Just came to tell you that I survived." With that Spike turned on his heel and walked away.

"Buffy! Why did you send him away?" Dawn asked from the other room.

"Because I need time, Dawn. Angel gets it but Spike doesn't. All he does is push me and I need time to figure it out." Buffy replied.

"Angel doesn't push because he is sure you'll pick him." "Just how long is he supposed to wait Buffy, a month, six, a year, ten years? Exactly how long should Spike put his life on hold waiting for you to decide who you love?" Dawn ran out of the apartment to follow after Spike.

She caught up to him on the street. "Spike wait up."

"You should head back in Dawn don't want your sis getting mad at you."

"Where are you going? Will I see you again?" Dawn asked.

"I don't think so Dawn. I don't know where I'm going just yet. Probably back to the states. Angel gave me the hotel and some dosh. Figure I'll start up that agency he had before, helping the helpless. Gunn had a friend who ran a homeless shelter for teens, figured I could offer her some of the spare rooms if she needs it. Do some good for a change."

"But what about Buffy? You're just going to leave?"

"Yeah, yeah I am. I can't keep doing this. Living my life waiting for her to make a choice, decide what she wants. I need my own life, away from her. I started to have that in LA, it's time I made my own choices, what I need and want. I figure were even ya' know? I hurt her and gave my life for her. I came here told her I was still around and that's it. That's all I owe her. Gotta make my own way now Dawn." Spike leaned over and kissed her forehead in goodbye and got in to the cab and drove away.

Dawn climbed back up the stairs deep in thought. She missed the relationship she had with Spike when Buffy was dead. That whole year after she had come back everyone was messed up. Then the bathroom incident happened and Dawn hated Spike after that. It wasn't until after Sunnydale that Buffy told Dawn the truth. Dawn mourned her friend even more knowing that they never made up and one of his last memories of her was telling him she would set him on fire. Now it seems like her and Spike were even farther apart then ever and Buffy was pushing him away even more.

"Did you talk to Spike?" Buffy asked as soon as Dawn came back in.

"Yeah, I caught him before he left."

"Are you going to see him again?" She asked

"He left Buffy."

"Yeah but its Spike he never goes far." Buffy said with a rueful chuckle.

"No Buffy he left, as in left the country. He went back to LA. You wanted time well you got it. All the time in the world, he won't be back." "You know what I'm glad he left. You, you think this is some kind of game! You keep him dangling hoping for something with you and you love it! It's like you know he won't stop loving you so you can do what ever you want to him and he's just supposed to take it. God Buffy! How could you do that?" Dawn was yelling at her sister as she went into her room and started packing.

"Where do you think you're going?" Buffy demanded.

"Out of here. I don't want to be around you right now."

"Oh no you don't, you aren't going anywhere."

"I'm 18 and I can go where I please. So don't try and stop me." Dawn replied as she grabbed the suitcase and walked out the door.

Dawn didn't know how she managed it but she arrived at the airport before Spike left. "Spike! Spike wait up!"

"Dawn, what are you doing here? Where's big sis?" Spike caught her in his arms.

"Still at the apartment I guess. I'm coming with you."

"Dawn your sister is going to dust me if you come with me." Spike tried to usher her out the door of the airport.

"Spike I'm 18 and have my passport with me plus money for a ticket. Either I get on the same plane as you or I book my own ticket and follow. So which is it?" Dawn asked with her don't mess with me look on her face.

With a sigh Spike turned to the counter where he was boarding the jet Angel managed to keep after they took down Wolfram and Hart and added Dawn to the passenger list. It was during a card game on the 14 hour flight that Dawn learned about Spike's big news.

During the flight they ran into some turbulence and the cards fell off the table onto the floor as they went to pick them up, Dawn noticed that Spike's hands were warm.

"Spike your hands their warm." Dawn said in confusion

"Yeah, seems there was some kinda prophesy that a vamp with a soul that helped in an apocalypse and would turn human as a reward. Peaches thought it was his, but it turns out since there were two of us it kind of went to both of us. I'm still a vamp, still drink blood, but I have a body temp now and I can go out in the sun without burning up." "Don't know what else I can do yet but I'm still as strong as I was although I take a little longer to heal then before but not much." "That's why I figured I could start that agency up again. I can still fight plus I can go out in the daytime."

'OMG Spike that's great. Why didn't you tell Buffy?" she asked.

"Didn't seem important, plus she really didn't give me a chance to say much anyway." "Listen it doesn't matter. I got what I came for. There's nothing there for me Dawn, your sister and I are over. I went to see her to find out if there was a chance and there isn't. I met a girl a few months back. I was taking a walk on the beach and we started talking, been hanging out a lot. I just needed to find out if I should let go of Buffy or not. But I realized that I couldn't wait for her to decide cause that's all I've ever done. She always made the rules, Dawn and I went along. I'll always love your sis, but I can't live my life being in love with someone who isn't in love with me. Spent too long like that, first with Cecily, then Dru and now Buffy. Me and Amber well I like her and she likes me. Don't know if it's going anywhere but I'm going to give it a shot a real shot."

"Tell me all about her!" Dawn asked with a smile.

As they approached LA Spike told Dawn she could stay at the hotel as long as she liked and she should consider it her home for as long as she wanted.

Dawn and Amber hit it off from the start. Amber was a seer who knew what Spike was and knew what he had done. The two didn't keep secrets from one another and had a good relationship. Amber was a kind woman with a great sense of humor. Dawn was accepted to UCLA and helped at the agency along with Angel's son Connor and Lorne who had worked with Angel before.

Before anyone realized an entire year had gone by. The business was doing well, Connor had gotten his P.I. license so they could take on normal paying jobs and that left them free to take care of the supernatural stuff without worrying about money. One day Dawn came downstairs to see a very nervous Spike pacing the lobby muttering to himself. "Spike what's up is something wrong?"

"No, not wrong. Just nervous is all." Spike replied absently

"Nervous why is something up?"

Just them Amber came down the steps and Spike looked at her and took a deep breath. "Amber can I talk with you for a minute?"

The two went into the office and a few minutes later Dawn could hear Amber squealing, she came rushing out of the room straight to Dawn. "Were getting married!"

Things became hectic after that, with school and planning the wedding and running the business but they managed to keep it under control. They decided to get married in six months at the hotel in a ceremony for just friends and family. A few weeks before the wedding Spike and Amber came downstairs with an announcement.

"We wanted to let you all know that we have some news. I'm pregnant. I'm due in August."

No one noticed in the excitement that Buffy had arrived just as Amber made her announcement. As the group calmed down Dawn was the first to notice Buffy standing by the door with two suitcases on either side of her.

"Buffy what are you doing here? Why didn't you call and let us know you were coming. Someone would have picked you up at the airport." Dawn said as she went over to her sister.

"It was a surprise." Looking straight at Spike she said "Surprise I'm cookies."

"Oh, Buffy." Dawn looked at her with a sad look on her face. "We need to talk. Can one of you guys put her stuff in a room? We're going to go get some coffee and have a chat okay?" Dawn led a resisting Buffy out of the hotel.

"Dawn, what's going on? I need to talk to Spike."

"Buffy things have changed. You really should have called before you came all this way. I could have saved you a trip."

"Dawn what is going on? I want to know right now." Buffy demanded.

"Spike and Amber are getting married in two weeks and they just found out she is pregnant." Dawn gave Buffy the news.

"Dawn Spike is a vamp, he can't get married and he can't have kids. I don't know what kind of crap lies he has been feeding you but were going back there right now and straighten this out. I knew he couldn't be trusted." Buffy turned and started walking back towards the hotel.

"Why did you come here? If you know he can't be trusted why come? I mean really, last we heard you and Angel were living together. So why are you here? Spike moved on Buffy. He is getting married and that is his baby. He and Angel split some prophesy after the fight with the senior partners. He can go out in the sun has a body temp and everything. He still needs to drink blood but not as much as he used too. They are happy together, they met a few weeks after the battle. But they were just friends, they didn't start dating until after he came back from seeing you in Italy that last time. And before you say anything she knows everything and she loves him. I won't let you mess this up for him. I told you Buffy you couldn't keep him waiting." Dawn explained to a shocked Buffy.

"But he was supposed to always love me, not fall for someone else." Buffy whispered.

"Buffy do you hear yourself, how selfish you sound? He was supposed to go his whole life without anyone loving him but he was supposed to keep loving you? Even after you moved on, had other lovers, other boyfriends?"

"I don't know if I can go in there. I think I should leave."

"You have to get your stuff at least. Just go in they are really nice people Buffy."

"But it's awkward, Dawn."

"Buffy it'll be fine, trust me." Dawn pushed Buffy thru the front door.

"Hi, I'm Amber, I have heard so much about you! Come on in, you must be tired from your flight. Let me show you to your room you can freshen up or take a nap, dinner isn't for another few hours." "I know you probably need to talk to Spike so I can get him now or do you want to wait?"

"Um, now would be good I guess." Was Buffy's uncertain reply, Amber gave her a smile and a nod and went to get Spike.

Buffy sat on the bed trying to figure out how it went so wrong. Spike was getting married and had a baby on the way. This could have been her life but she waited too long, pushed him away. She wasted her time on the fantasy that was her and Angel. And wow that really didn't work out, he took over her life, made decisions behind her back all for her own good. He ran her life so much that she didn't have a say in anything. She wondered if he was always like that and she just didn't want to notice.

The knock at her door a few minutes later startled her out of her memories. "Come in."

"Hi."

"I'm too late aren't I?" Buffy looked up with tears in her eyes.

"Hey don't cry. You know I can't stand to see you cry." Spike walked over and wiped the tears from her face. Buffy leaned forward and kissed him.

Spike pulled back sharply from her "Um Buffy, I don't want to hurt you but we can't do that. I don't want you like that anymore. I love Amber, I'm in love with Amber. I made my peace with us a long time ago. I'm happy and getting married and I'm going to be a dad. We have a good life here and I won't risk it for anything or anyone, I'm sorry. I don't know what you were expecting or looking for when you came here but all I can offer, all I feel for you is friendship."

"You can stay as long as you like, everyone should be arriving in a few days anyway for the wedding so there will plenty of other people here."

"Everyone who?"

"Willow, Xander, Giles and Andrew. Some of the baby slayers, Faith and Wood." "The wedding will be in the lobby and the reception is in the ballroom. So everyone is staying here for the wedding. Makes it easier for the last minute fittings and all that."

"Why are they coming to your wedding? They aren't your friends." Buffy asked angrily.

"We've kept in touch for a while now. They're coming because we invited them." Spike responded with a touch of heat in his voice, he was starting to get angry, she was right back to treating him like he was an outsider again, like he didn't matter to anyone. Well he did matter he mattered to Amber and their baby and the friends he had made without her and he wasn't going back down that road again. "We've worked on some stuff together, helped each other out on occasion. You're the one who lost touch with them Buffy not me."

"Listen I have things to do, I'll see ya later." With that Spike left the room.

A little while later Buffy left her room and wandered around the hotel. She walked up to the doors of the ballroom and watched as Spike and Amber danced around the room to a song playing on the stereo. They were talking and laughing and Spike was giving Amber a look. A look Buffy used to see directed her way. She realized that this was what she had thrown away. That look of devotion, love, awe and respect. She had it for so many years and she never appreciated it, never realized just how rare it was to have someone look at you like that. How wonderful that look could make you feel and she gave it up. Waiting for something better to come along, waiting to see if anything better would come along. Waiting to see if she should settle for Spike when it was anything but settling to have someone look at you like that. Just as the music stopped Spike dropped to his knees and started talking to Amber's stomach, talking to his baby, Amber starting laughing and dragged Spike up to kiss him. Buffy turned and walked away.