Spike watched Drusilla cling to Angelus' arm as they sauntered away from their dangling victim, her body hung from her wrists. She had lost consciousness and they had grown bored waiting for her to awaken. Spike looked at the hilt of the dagger dripping her blood onto the floor, wasting the perfection of it on the ground. He didn't look at either of them directly afraid the loathing he felt would show in his gaze. Drusilla cooed at Angelus and flitted about him in an inebriated fashion before she glanced his way.

"Shall we bring our Spikey back a puppy, Daddy?" She pressed her pale hands against the black silk shirt covering her sire's chest and leaned her body flush against his.

"If it amuses you, but we shouldn't encourage this malingering. He needs to figure out how to hunt on wheels." Angelus sneered at him. "After all, we are demons. We fend for ourselves or serve as minions."

Drusilla's giggle dashed his last hopes. He had spent over a century catering to her every whim, caring for her despite and sometimes because of her madness, but he had never held even the tiniest piece of her heart. He slumped in his chair and stared at the blood upon the floor. Time ceased as he heard them leave him again, the door slamming in their wake.

Spike watched the puddle start to congeal and felt the rage boil within him. There was life for him on that floor and he was going to get it. He rolled his chair to the edge of the steps and looked at the puddle two measly steps away. He pushed the wheels forward and toppled his chair. The pain ripped through him as he flopped out of the chair onto the floor. It was glorious.

He wiggled free of the wreckage and dragged himself across the floor toward his goal. Tonight he would be healed or he would die with the dawn. It was melodramatic, but he was a creature of high drama. He lived for the fight, the passion, the victory. Each inch he crawled was a battle in itself. His useless legs trailing behind him, he clawed at the floor toward the wonderful blood.

Spike reached the darkening pool and rested beside it for a moment letting the thrill of victory sustain him. His prize lay before him and he pressed up and took the first taste. The rush of the blood, her blood, poured through him and he felt his toes curl for the first time in long months. He lapped at the puddle like a dog, each stroke of his tongue capturing life and restoring him. Soon the floor was clean and he flopped back and stared up at her shocked to meet her steady emerald gaze.

"Was there enough to heal you?" Her rasping voice was shocking in the silence. He watched her regarding him and felt sorrow fill him.

"I think I can stand, but I won't be back to normal for some time." He answered her honestly, never breaking the connection of their eyes.

"Please kill me. Take it all. Don't let him turn me. There's nothing left for me, of me." Her eyes broke from his and she looked at the dagger protruding from her body. "If I'm dead he'll move on, go back to Europe or something. The others will be safe. Giles will protect them."

He watched one lone tear trickle down her face and fall. He caught it and brought it to his lips without thinking. The flavor, so different from her blood, burst through him, and suddenly he could feel everything. His body electrified with life, he sprang up. Spinning about with the joy of returned movement, he laughed and listened to the sound reverberate around him. He stopped looking out into the darkness, feeling the pull of it.

He turned his back on it, the magic of the night could wait. He looked at her hanging in defeat and something twisted inside him. He looked at his hated chair and made a decision. He stalked across the room and stood before her. She raised her head and their eyes locked again.

"Do whatever you want. I don't care. Just make sure there's nothing left to turn. Please." She croaked out.

Spike reached out and ran his fingers gently along her battered face. She was so beautiful even now. He wanted to watch her fight again, wanted her bouncing and kicking as she massacred the language and punned with him. He stepped closer to her and held her up taking her weight off of her wrists. She slumped against him, spilling more of her precious tears onto his shoulder.

He closed his eyes and slid his hand down along her body. Her muscles twitched, but she never struggled against him. He stroked her naked body softly. His cool fingers traced lazy patterns on her skin as he tried to prepare her.

"This is going to hurt, Buffy. I'm sorry. I wish I could do it another way." He whispered into to her ear as his hand clasped the hilt of the dagger and he ripped it from her body. The warm gush of her blood over his hand bringing both pleasure and pain, he tossed the knife across the floor and slid down her body to gulp at the blood until the flow ebbed and he licked the wound to seal it as best he could.

Her blood flowed through him, and he used the extra strength to snap the manacles from her wrists. He cradled her body in his arms and looked at her bruises and cuts. She opened her eyes and looked up at him with such sadness. Something within him howled low and long and he pressed his lips together to keep from making the noise himself.

"You're beautiful again." She mumbled and smiled. "Promise you won't let him hurt you for this. Run from him. Some slayer will get him, eventually." She rasped these words out and tilted her head to the side offering her neck.

Spike stood transfixed watching her weak pulse. He had cursed her for months, blaming her for his injury, but she had done more to heal him than his family. Even now, as he stood with her life in his hands, she offered her throat and worried about his future. He carried her toward his toppled chair, thinking about his existence. Over a century spent in joyful evil, killing her kind in battle. She was the best slayer he had ever faced. Angelus had captured her through trickery and sedation. She had no final battle, no great showdown. He found it repugnant as he found what had been done to her.

"You're not going to die today, Buffy. I'll get us both to safety. We can figure it out from there." He felt her start to sob again, felt the flood of tears soaking his shirt, her precious tears, more healing than her blood. He knew she was crying for the death that wasn't coming and he ignored it. "You'll go in battle or old age, but you saved me and offered your life to make me stronger. It is more than any other has ever done. So, I won't kill you. I'll make you stronger."