A/N: New story! I know this has been done before, but I like to think mine has its own little original twist. Anyhoo, hope you enjoy!

Chapter One

Spike had seen a lot in his life. Spend over a hundred years traipsing across the globe, and you rack up quite a life experience. Or he supposed it would be an un-life, for him. Regardless, he'd been through a lot. Seen a lot. Done a lot. Nothing quite compared, though, to the moment Buffy walked down those stairs, three months after they had buried her. He found himself unable to move, staring up at her with what he reckoned was the stupidest look to ever grace his features. He couldn't help it, though. He had put it into his mind that he would never see her again, and when faced with impossible he found himself moved beyond reason.

She was standing there. Solid. Radiant. Alive.

"I found her wandering outside," Dawn said from behind her, grin pulling her mouth so wide that he wondered if it hurt.

"Did you?" he said, eyes roving over Buffy's body in wonder. His gaze fell on her hands, and his stomach twisted. Buffy felt his gaze and she tucked her hands behind her.

"Let me see them," he said, reaching forward.

"They were like that when I found her," Dawn said, smile dimming for a moment. "But I found her." The smile returned to its full wattage. "She's here, Spike."

Buffy tentatively moved down the stairs, allowing him to take a gentle grasp of her hands. He studied them for a moment before saying, "You dug your way out of the ground."

Buffy's eyes widened momentarily before she stammered, "Yes-yes I did."

He led her over to the couch and sat her down. He settled beside her, and called over his shoulder for Dawn to get the first aid kit.

"How much do you remember?" he asked Buffy gently.

"I don't know," she said, avoiding his gaze. "I…I don't…"

"It's okay," he said, reaching forward and laying a hand on her arm. She jerked away, and he while something that must have been his heart ached, he let her have her distance. "What's the last thing you remember?"

"I…I don't know."

"Okay, I'll help," he said gently. "There was this god who came here to cause some trouble. Glory. She was looking for a key…" he went on explaining the past year, becoming increasingly worried by her blank gaze. Finally he stopped and said, "You don't remember any of this, do you?"

She shook her head.

He hesitated before asking, "Do you know who I am?"

When she answered her voice was like a small child's. "No. I don't remember anything. Not even who I am. I mean, I know that my name is Buffy. And that I live here. But-"

"Buffy, everyone is going to be so happy that you're back!" Dawn enthused, returning with the first aid kit.

"Everyone?" Buffy echoed.

Dawn's grin faltered again, and she looked at Spike and asked, "Still no better?"

"Just found out about the memory glitch myself, pet," Spike said, thinking that the lil bit could have at least warned him that she had no memory. He supposed she was too excited at having her sister back, though. When he thought about it, he couldn't really blame her. Memory seemed like such a small thing when compared to not being alive.

Beside him Buffy repeated her name, as if she were trying it on for size. She looked at Spike and asked, "What is your name?"

Dawn answered before he could cut in. "Spike."

"We all have such strange names," Buffy said slowly. Spike took the first aid kit from Dawn, and pulled out a few antiseptic wipes and bandages. He went to take her hand, but hesitated.

"May I?" he asked, remembering how she had pulled away from him before. She nodded, though, and he ripped open one of the antiseptic wipes and cleaned the cuts on her hands.

"Did you call the others yet?" he asked Dawn.

"No. I wanted to tell you first."

It was moments like this that reminded him how close they had grown over the summer. He dipped his head gratefully and said, "Good. I think we should wait a bit."

"We have to tell them, though."

"We will. I just think Big Sis could do without all the fanfare right now. They won't be back for a few hours probably." He glanced at Buffy and asked, "Is that okay with you, Buffy?"

She nodded a bit. "Yeah, that's fine."

Dawn had unwrapped one of the bandages for him while they talked, and he took it from her, tightly wrapping it around Buffy's hand. She winced and he apologized softly.

"Don't want you to get an infection."

"It's okay," she said.

When they were finished Buffy rose shakily from the sofa, and walked over to the fireplace. Pictures lined the mantelpiece, her own unfamiliar face smiling back at her from many. There was oen in the center of her, Dawn, and an older woman. She pointed at the picture and asked, "Is that my mother?"

Spike stood and walked to her side. He peered at the picture and smiled wistfully.

"Yeah, that's Joyce. Fine lady."

"Where is she?" He could hear the yearning in her voice, the desire for a caretaker to lean on. It broke his heart to think about it, because Joyce would have been the perfect thing for her now.

"She passed away, luv," he said. "Last year."

"Oh. What happened to her?"

"It wasn't a vamp, if that's what you're thinking," he said immediately. "If one had touched her, I would have staked it myself."

She looked at him strangely, and it occurred to him for the first time that he memory loss was absolute. That meant-

"What are you talking about?" she said, voice raising a bit. "Vampires?"

"Oh boy," Dawn breathed out. "You sure we shouldn't call the others now?"

"Definitely not," Spike said. He was about to drop some hard truth on her, and he figured the less people there, the better. He had a feeling she wouldn't take it well.

"Buffy, why don't you sit down?"

"Is this some sick joke? Buffy has no memory, so let's go and make up a bunch of stuff." Her eyes widened and she said, "Is my name even Buffy? I knew it was too ridiculous to be an actual name!"

"Your name is Buffy," Spike said slowly. "Well, technically it's Elizabeth, but even your mum didn't call you that."

"Tell me what is going on. Now."

"Then sit down."

"I don't want to sit down," she said petulantly.

"Fine," Spike sighed. He tried to think of the best way to explain a world that inherently seemed impossible. Every instinct warped the human brain into thinking the supernatural wasn't real. While he tried to think of a way to put it nicely, Dawn took matters into her own hands.

"Vampires are real," Dawn said simply. "So are most other monsters. And you are the vampire slayer, chosen to fight evil. Any questions?"

Buffy just stared at her, and then uttered a very eloquent, "Huh?"

"I think you should let me do the talking, Nibblet," Spike muttered. "Buffy-"

"You're saying that vampires are real?" Buffy said incredulously. "Look, I may not remember anything, but I'm not stupid. That's ridiculous! What, is the Boogie Man real, too?"

"Yes, actually," Spike said. "Terrible cards player."

"I don't believe you!" Buffy said stubbornly. "I don't believe you for a second!"

"Show her, Spike," Dawn said from the couch. "Show her your face."

"Your what?" Buffy spat. "I see your face. It's right there, all face-like."

He hesitated for a moment, but then slid into game-face. Her eyes widened into saucers, and before he could properly react she had pushed past him, tearing out of the house.

"Bollocks," he hissed, shaking off his vamp face, and turning back to Dawn. "I'm going after her. You stay here, you hear?"

"But-"

"Stay here!" The second time he said it there was little room for argument, and she unhappily obeyed, watching him run out of the house.


Buffy didn't believe it. She didn't believe any of it – not one kernel of what he said could be true, because monsters were not real, and even if they were she wouldn't be the one to fight them. She wasn't a fighter and stood about a foot shorter than just about everyone else.

And the Boogie Man would not play cards. Everyone knew he hid in closets or under beds. If he were real – which he wasn't.

But then she thought of Spike's face changing. Bumps raised on his cheeks and forehead. His eyes glowed yellow.

"Not real," she murmured. "It's not real. None of it is real."

She turned a corner, and stopped short when someone stepped out of the shadows. He was light skinned with a shock of black hair slicked into a Mohawk. He leered at her while he said, "What's a little thing like you doing out this late?"

She turned around quickly, her heart beating madly, but he somehow maneuvered himself directly in front of her. She blinked rapidly as her heart slammed against her chest. How had he moved that fast?

"You going somewhere?"

His face shifted into something grotesque, and she cried out in terror as he lunged toward her. Her mind went blank, but her body had other ideas. She punched him in the nose, faintly hearing something crack. He answered the hit with his fist, but she easily blocked it, knocking him off balance. She spun around and slammed her heel down on his jaw.

He fell to the ground, crawling back hurriedly back on his hands as he gasped, "You-you're the Slayer!"

He scrambled to his feet and ran in the opposite direction, disappearing into the night.

"Buffy!"

Spike was running toward her, and her entire body stiffened when she remembered how his face had changed. She stumbled backwards, and her back knocked against the wall.

"Please," she begged. "Please don't hurt me."

Spike raised his hands and told her, "Not going to hurt you, pet. I'm here to help."

"What are you? What am I?"

"That's a more complicated question than you realize," he said wryly. "But we're good. Both of us."

"But, you're face. I saw-"

"I'm on your side, pet. I know you're confused, but you can trust that. I won't hurt you."

Buffy pressed her heel against the wall and murmured, "It's all real, isn't it? Monsters? Evil things?"

"Yeah, it is."

She thought of her fight with the other vampire, and the fear in his eyes when he realized who she was. "And I fight it?"

Spike shook his head.

"You do more than that, pet. You fight it and win."

A/N: You like? If you want to see more, please review. I have the next chapter all ready to go.

ALSO - if you like historical Spuffy then check out my SunnyD Award Nominee story "A Fine Romance"! Buffy, circa 1875, asks infamous womanizer William Pratt to pretend to court her in order to catch the attention of a former lover. In classic Spuffy fashion, things do not go as planned.