A/N: Sorry if this is kinda sad. I think I'm making this into a series of one-shots of the time Spike and Dawn spent together when Buffy was gone, so I'm hoping to have this gradually become a little less depressing and a little more hopeful for the both of them. Got the title for this chapter from the Yellowcard song Shadows and Regrets - mostly because of the name, not really the song so much.
A knock on his crypt door brought Spike out of his dreams. They were the same ones he'd been having for weeks . . . ever since Buffy leapt off of that bloody tower. Waking up was painful; it was a reminder of how badly he had failed. If only he had moved quicker and killed that stupid old git. If only he could have saved Dawn and prevented Buffy from having to. The knocking on his door became persistent when he tried to ignore it, and finally, after grumbling about not being able to get a decent bit of kip, he got up from where he'd fallen asleep in his chair and stomped over to open his door. If it was Clem he'd probably rip that stupid git's head off. While he was nice as can be, he had horrible timing and seemed to always find Spike in a bad mood. Spike was surprised to say the least when he yanked open his door and a very fragile looking Dawn stood outside, a DVD player and movies clutched in her hands. Her eyes were puffy from recent crying, and she looked as though she'd burst into tears at any moment. Hoping to prevent that, because he'd dealt with enough Summers tears, he opened the door and allowed her inside.
"What's wrong bit? I hope you told somebody you were coming here; your friends still hate me . . ." he trailed off, realizing they weren't the only ones. For the first time since becoming a vampire, he hated himself. He'd been angry at himself sure, but hated? Nope, not until the past few weeks. Dawn's broken look was quickly replaced with anger; something Spike was now realizing was the way she preferred to grieve.
"They're not my friends. They're Buffy's friends. None of them care about me. I'm just Buffy's annoying kid sister who killed her," she held up a hand before Spike could argue with that, and then she continued after she'd closed the crypt door behind her. Spike gently took the DVD player from her and worked to connect it to his TV. "You know it's my fault. They do at least. I see the looks they shoot me when they think I won't notice. Anger, dislike, maybe even a bit of fear, because who knows, if I can contribute to my sister's death, then I guess I can probably go evil at any second," she sighed and then walked over to sink down into the cushion on Spike's chair. She didn't know why he was the first person she wanted to go to, but he was. It might have to do with him being the only one who tried to save her sister. That earned him her respect and friendship if he wanted it. Actually, it didn't matter if he did, because he was the only one that was able to make her feel better, so she'd be around him for selfish purposes. Dawn felt tears stinging in her eyes and she blinked rapidly, thankful that Spike was facing the other way while he hooked up the DVD player. Her relief was short lived though because Spike shot up and whirled towards her, eyes blazing. He knelt down by her, taking one of her hands in his cold ones and looking her in the eye.
"Don't you ever think this was your fault Nibblet, because it's not. Buffy loved you enough to save you; you can't just throw away what she did for you. Who cares what her wanker friends say? It's not your fault. If anything it's mine . . . if I'd been able to make it up there sooner . . ." he trailed off, unable to speak through the now present lump in his throat. Dawn's tears spilled over and ran down her cheeks; she was amazed at what Spike had said. She always knew he was smarter than he led everyone to believe, but she didn't know to what extent. He saw things in a different way than everybody else. The Scoobies had been blaming everyone for Buffy's death, but Spike was here saying it was nobody's fault and if it was it was his.
"S-Spike, it's not your fault either, you were the only one who ran all the way up and tried to save me so Buffy wouldn't have to. You've got the injuries to prove it," she told him, a light smile on her lips as she placed her other hand lightly on his cheek, where there was still a faint line from where he'd cut it. That was the only injury still visible besides the faded marks on his arms from landing on the concrete so far down from the top of the tower. Spike looked up from where he'd lowered his gaze when he'd stopped talking and she could see the faint glimmer of tears in his eyes, but she decided to ignore it, not wanting to ruin the moment they were having. He patted her hand he held in his before releasing it and mumbling about trying to figure out the bloody technology now-a-days. Dawn laughed at him and told him he was worse than Giles, which caused him to good-naturedly growl at her before turning around to try and hook up the DVD player. Dawn busied herself picking out the first movie, it was one of Buffy's favorites, but she wasn't going to tell Spike that until it was over.
With an impatient huff, Dawn pushed Spike out of the way and finished connecting the wires to the right places. Spike was busy looking on the back of the DVD case, trying to figure out what in the world made Dawn decide upon one of those cheesy kung-Fu movies.
"You know, I could've gotten that," he commented as Dawn snatched the movie away from him and stuck it into the player. She rolled her eyes at him and grabbed the remote that came with the DVD player.
"Yeah sure, maybe in your lifetime, not mine," she said with a grin. Spike jokingly frowned at her, having to make it obvious he was trying to cheer her up. When she couldn't decide if it was ok for her to take the chair, Spike gestured for her to sit in it, and then he sat down on the floor with his back against it.
At first, Spike tried to watch the movie without grumbling about it or making comments, but after an exaggerated and lame fight on screen, he started complaining. Dawn couldn't suppress the giggle as Spike got all offended by how horrible the movie was, but as the movie wore on, she remembered when Buffy had made her watch it and they'd both done the same thing. By the time the movie was over, she was sobbing. She was so sick of crying, but it seemed that everything reminded her of her now dead sister.
Spike's shoulders tensed when he heard her start crying. Typical – one of the Summers girls starts crying and he clams up and doesn't know what to do. He turned himself around and patted her knee, mumbling the usual comforting words. This apparently wasn't enough though, because Dawn ended up sliding out of the chair and next to him. She turned her face into his leather covered side and bawled her eyes out. It was such a broken sound. This girl had been through hell and back, and while she was still coping, it certainly left a mark. Spike knew for certain that she'd never get over this. She'd have a few good days, maybe even a few good weeks, but somehow, something would remind her of big sis and she'd fall apart again. He didn't realize it, but a few stray tears leaked out of his eyes. Finally Dawn's sniffles stopped and she peeked up at Spike, red rimmed eyes still spilling tears, but she wasn't making any more painful sobbing noises that tore at Spike. For a soulless vampire, he sure felt miserable.
"You really loved her didn't you?" Dawn couldn't help but ask. It blurted out before she could stop it, and she almost regretted it when she saw the flicker of pain that went through Spike's eyes. Now that she was paying attention, she could see that his eyes were a peek inside at what he was feeling. Spike had really expressive eyes. He stealthily wiped the few stray tears away in his eyes, and when Dawn shot him a funny look he blamed it on dust. She knew better, but said nothing.
"Yeah. I really did, Nibblet. Now she'll never know it, but not like she'd have believed it anyways," he sighed and ran a hand through his stiff hair, releasing a few stray curls. It was weird for Dawn to see him look so vulnerable; he'd never be this open with Willow, Xander, and everybody else - well maybe Tara because Tara was really nice and good with helping people feel better. As if the thought of Tara summoned her, there was a knock on the crypt door, followed by her hesitant voice asking Spike if he'd seen Dawn. Spike scrubbed quickly at his eyes and cleared his throat as he walked to answer the door.
"Spike! Thank God, have you seen Dawnie? We're really worried. Xander was going to come look for her, but I figured that would have been a bad idea, huh?" She asked him with a knowing smile. He couldn't help but smirk back at Glenda. She wasn't wrong. Dawn scrambled to her feet, figuring she was going to get yelled at, and hurried up to grab the coat she'd thrown haphazardly on the floor. She scurried beside Spike and was surprised when Tara enveloped her in a nice, safe hug. She smelled like spices and . . . cookies? Dawn lifted her head off of Tara and glanced at her questioningly.
"Did you make cookies?" Tara laughed and nodded. Suddenly feeling a bit better, Dawn quickly hugged Spike and then ran off. Before Tara followed, she stared at Spike until he fidgeted under her unwavering gaze. Finally she smiled softly at him.
"Thank you for trying to take care of her. She doesn't seem to want anything to do with any of us," She trailed off.
"Don't think it's you Glenda, I think it might have something to do with all the other Scoobies. Lil bit seems to think you guys blame her for everything." The conversation would have continued if Dawn hadn't grabbed Tara and told her to hurry up so she could have her cookies. "Bye Spike! I'll come by to get the DVD player tomorrow – is that ok?" He nodded and shut the door. Once they were gone, he grabbed a bottle of booze and resumed what he'd been doing before Dawn showed up.
The next morning Spike startled awake when he heard his crypt door shut. Someone had been snooping. He sniffed the air and picked up hints of bubble gum and vanilla smell. Dawn. She must've come back for the DVD player. Either the girl had some major stealth skills, or he'd been really drunk before he passed out. He couldn't remember. As he held his aching head, he almost tripped over something that had been set next to his chair. Curious he bent over and picked up the plate of cookies that had been covered in clear wrap and had a note attached to it. He was puzzled, but opened up the note and couldn't hold back his laughter at what was written there, but as he continued reading, the smile on his face turned to a serious look. Shaking his head, he tucked the note into his pocket and opened up the cookies and started munching on them, a small, hopeful smile on his face. He stuck his free hand in his pocket and touched the paper – feeling like it was one of the best things he'd seen all week – well besides the cookies, because face it – Glenda was a damn good cook.
Oh my god you sleep like the dead! Seriously! I tripped over your huge boots and knocked stuff over and you didn't even budge! Anyways . . . thanks for last night. You didn't have to cheer me up, but you did. I wish Buffy would have seen you and would have loved you, but I bet if she saw you now she would. Just – please don't leave me like everybody else does, I don't know what I'd do if I lost you too. From this point on you are stuck with me mister!
~ xoxo Dawn