So there I was, chatting with a great bunch of people over at the Stage It show page for Ghost of the Robot when it happened - Isis_Nocturne asked me to write her a Spuffy story. Now, I've never written from a prompt before… ideas just barge their way into my brain and stomp around until I've written them, so this was a bit of a novel experience.

She asked for a sweet bit of Spuffy lovin' in any season, additional characters optional, but she'd like to see Dawn or Joyce. For the purposes of this story the comics never happened, and if I did hurt/comfort then Spike should be the one receiving comfort. Ideas started pinging around my brain almost immediately and this story is what I came up with.

She asked for a one-shot… bwahaha! Me and short stories… that's a hoot. I did try to curb the length, and it is technically a one-shot, but yeah… this is me we're talking about. It comes in at 5046 words, which is a record for me, but it's still a pretty long one-shot.

Here's the link to the Ghost of the Robot show so you can buy a ticket and come chat with us!

The link won't post on this site, so go to www dot Stageit dot com backslash ghost_of_the_robot

So anyway, here's the story and I hope you like it!



Never and Always

Dawn picked her way slowly through the piles of rubble and dismembered demon parts with a scowl on her face. "How does it work that I get the 'look for survivors' detail? I'm not a slayer, so what does she expect me to do if I find something that's not dead?"

Vi bumped her shoulder good-naturedly. "That's why I'm here, Dawn. You use that charm to find them and I'll use these…" she hefted her sword with one hand and tightened her grip on her stake with the other, "…to kill them."

Dawn nodded distractedly as the charm in her hand started pulsing a sickly green. She stopped her forward motion and turned in a slow circle until the green started pulsing faster. "Over there." She pointed to a large pile of dead demons and demon parts near the back of an alley. "There's something demonic over there that's not completely dead and I sure hope it's at the top of the pile and not the bottom, because… eww."

Vi stepped in front of Dawn. "Stay behind me."

Dawn rolled her eyes. "Duh." Even though she'd been training with the slayers, and was a fairly dab hand with a sword, she knew she wasn't strong enough or fast enough to take on a demon that would probably be all the more vicious and dangerous because it was hurt. And if she let herself get killed, Buffy would never let her hear the end of it. She'd get Willow to magic her into Dawn's afterlife just so she could bitch.

Dawn crept along the blood and gore spattered alley behind Vi, casting nervous glances at the pulsing that was getting stronger as they neared the pile of dead demons. "Be careful, Vi, whatever it is, it's old… and strong."

Vi nodded and slowly moved around a lump of green, scaly something that looked vaguely like a rhinoceros, dropping into a fighting stance as her eye caught on something near the wall of the building. Dawn pocketed the charm and took a firm grip on her sword with both hands, blinking in confusion when Vi suddenly dropped her sword and darted forward.

Dawn bolted around the rhino demon, her own sword clattering to the pavement beside Vi's as the 'demonic something' they'd been stalking came into view. She stepped forward on wobbly legs and knelt down beside the blood soaked figure that was slumped against the wall, reaching out carefully to touch his bloody cheek. "Spike?"

He blinked blearily up at her, his forehead creasing as he looked at her concerned face. He drew in a shallow breath that looked extremely painful then barely whispered, "Niblet?" He swiveled his head slowly toward Vi, the confusion on his face slowly melting into recognition as he winced from another indrawn breath. His voice was barely audible as he said, "You're one of those baby slayers I helped to train back in Sunnydale, yeah?"

Vi smiled. "Yeah. You hurt my arm."

"Sorry 'bout that."

Vi shrugged. "No problem. I'm gonna go get some help." She stood and started around the pile, bending to pick up the swords then turning and laying Dawn's on the ground near Spike's feet. "Be back in a little while… don't go anywhere."

Spike chuckled quietly. "Don't think that'll be an issue, pet. Not quite feelin' up to a scarper at the moment."

Dawn, meanwhile, had been staring at the blond vampire in shock. Suddenly she shook herself and slammed her balled up fist into his shoulder… not too hard, but hard enough to get his attention. "You're not dead!"

Spike looked up at her with his trademark smirk firmly in place, but it faltered a bit when he breathed in enough to say, "Well… technically…"

Dawn punched him again, lighter than the last time. "You know what I mean! You're here! How are you here? When? What? Spike!"

Spike tried to raise a placating hand, but it didn't seem like his limbs were cooperating with him and he let it drop back to the pavement. "Calm down, Platelet. 'S a long story… one I'd rather not delve into just now if that's all right. Got to find Angel, and Gunn, and Illyria…"

Dawn sat back on her feet, crossing her arms over her chest. "Angel's fine… kinda banged up and singed from what he says was a dragon… but he's fine. Gunn is on his way to a hospital, and nobody has seen Illyria. Willow's gonna look into it, but she thinks Illyria did something to kill most of the demons then suck the rest of them into a portal just before we showed up." Dawn nodded over her shoulder at the putrid pile. "How'd you end up all the way over here? We found Angel and Gunn nearly half a mile away."

Spike shrugged then winced, taking a few seconds to fight back the pain before he spoke, "Got myself surrounded and they just kept pushin' me along, playin' with me 'til I ended up cornered. Havin' this buildin' at my back gave me the edge I needed and I was able to mow through 'em, but not before that one…" he nodded toward a demon with wicked claws that was splayed out over the pile, "…managed to slice and dice me."

Dawn suddenly noticed how his left arm was wrapped across his stomach and she reached down, lifting it gently away. His t-shirt was shredded from throat to belly button and was soaked with blood. "Jesus, Spike."

"I'll be fine, Niblet. Just need some blood and rest."

Dawn's pocket started chirping and she fished out her cell phone, wincing when she saw the caller ID. She looked up at Spike with wide eyes as she flipped the phone open and put it to her ear. "Hey."

"No, Vi's not crazy, he's really here. I'm looking right at him."

"He's pretty messed up, but he'll survive."

"Right. We'll be here."

She closed her phone and slipped it back into her pocket. "Uh… that was Buffy."

Spike smirked slightly. "I gathered."

"Yeah. Anyway, she said she had something to do and then she'll be here. You are in so much trouble, you know that, right? She sounded really pissed, like she's gonna kick your ass then let you heal and kick it again pissed."

Spike nodded, wearing a look of sad resignation. "It's no more than I deserve, I expect. Knew I should've told her I was back. How long 'fore she gets here?"

"She said about ten minutes, maybe less."

Spike sighed and nodded toward the back of the alley, "Right. Best get your sword and move over there, Bit. Don't want you gettin' in the way of her fists when they start flyin'."

"You're just gonna let her whale on you?"

"Not like I have a choice, do I? I'm in no shape to defend myself, and she's never been big on the whole talkin' 'fore she pummels thing, so all's I can do is let her vent and hope she leaves my brains unscrambled enough to explain."

"Screw that." Dawn stood and scooped her sword off the ground, placing herself between Spike and where Buffy would appear from behind the pile. "I know you two had a beat each other bloody relationship back in Sunnydale, but as long as I'm here, that's not gonna happen again. It's not good… for either of you."

Spike managed to get out, "Bit," just as they heard Buffy enter the alley at a near dead run.

She rounded the pile and skidded to a halt, looking curiously at her sister standing there gripping a sword. "Uh… Dawn?"

"I'm not gonna let you do it, Buffy. He's already hurt and I'm not gonna let you hurt him some more."

"What? Hurt him? What are you talking about? Why would I hurt him?"

"You're pissed off at him for something… probably for not letting us know he was back… I'm pissed about that, too, but I'm not gonna let you beat an explanation out of him. Both of you need to just sit down and use your words like the adults you're supposed to be."

Buffy smiled and shook her head. "I'm not pissed at Spike… well, not enough to want to hit him or anything." She leaned around Dawn and threw Spike a glare. "But we will be having a discussion later… using words and everything… on how to use a freaking telephone to let people know you're back after you die closing a Hellmouth, won't we, Spikey?"

Spike gulped and nodded and Buffy's glare turned into a smile before she once again focused on her sister. "I'm pissed at Angel because he didn't bother to tell me that Spike was back, not to mention out here somewhere, probably hurt and needing help. You know what he said to me when Vi told me where you were and who you were with?"

Dawn nodded with a chuckle. "Hmmm… think I can figure this one out… Did it go something like, 'I didn't tell you about Spike for your own good?'" Dawn smirked. "So how much worse is Angel hurt now?"

Buffy laughed. "Not much. Think I broke his nose, but that's about it. I yelled at him a lot then punched him once and here I am. Vi and a few of the slayers should be right behind me. They were trying to find a stretcher." She raised her eyebrows at the sword in Dawn's hand. "So… are you gonna let me go to my vampire?"

Dawn lowered the sword and stepped to the side. "He's all yours, Buffy. I'll go meet Vi." She flashed Spike a mischievous grin then started out of the alley, calling over her shoulder, "Wait until you get him back to your room before you strip him, though, will you? And I'll ask Willow about a soundproofing spell so the rest of us won't have to hear you two going at it like bunnies on crack."

Buffy yelped, "Dawnie!" then giggled as Dawn's laughter drifted back down the alley. She turned to see Spike staring at her in wonder and she moved slowly toward him. "Hey there. Long time, no see." She knelt down next to him and he leaned away from her just slightly, bringing a frown to her face. "I'm not going to hit you or anything, Spike. Not that mad at you, remember? Yeah, we have a few things to talk about, but they're just talky things…not hitty things."

He tried on a weak smile. "I'm sorry, Buffy. If you'll let me explain…"

She placed her finger lightly on his lips. "Shhh. We'll talk, I promise, and you can tell me everything you've been up to since you got back… when was that anyway?"

Spike's eyes closed and his shoulders slumped just a little bit more. "You're not gonna like my answer, Slayer."

"Tell me anyway."

Spike steeled himself and whispered, "Just over a year ago," then he sat quietly, waiting for the explosion. After a torturous few minutes, he cautiously cracked one eye and peeked at Buffy. She was smiling at him, but it was a sad and melancholy smile. "Slayer? You all right?"

She shook herself and turned up the brightness of her smile. "Who, me? Yeah, I'm peachy. A year, huh? One whole year where you couldn't find one little telephone? Anywhere? Gas stations have them, bars have them, you can even buy throw away cell phones now, you know."

Spike grimaced. "If you'd let me explain…"

Her finger was on his lips again. "I'm sorry, Spike. Yes, I'll let you explain, but we can do that later, when you're not sitting in an alley half deader and drenched in your own blood." She got to her feet and moved around the pile so she could see the street. "They're almost here."

She walked back over to Spike and helped him turn so that he could lie flat on his back on the blood-covered pavement, taking care not to mention the pain filled groans and near whines he was emitting. Vi and Dawn appeared from behind the pile followed by two other slayers carrying a battered stretcher. They laid the stretcher on the ground next to the vampire then the four supernaturally strong women gently lifted him and settled him securely. Dawn held his hand tightly in hers as Buffy took one end of the stretcher and Vi the other. They picked their way carefully out of the alley then broke into a light jog so Dawn could keep up as they made their way quickly to Angel's hotel.



Spike floated, memories flashing across his mind as he relived the battle in the alley. A searing pain had sent him to his knees and it had only been a lucky strike with a spine he'd torn off another demon that had finally ended the fight. He'd collapsed against the wall, trying to keep his innards on the inside where they belonged as he'd listened for sounds of Angel's part of the battle. He'd heard something roaring, then a loud thunderclap, then nothing. He'd called out as loudly as he could for as long as he could, but he'd been fading fast, finally succumbing to the darkness as his borrowed blood poured out of him.

The darkness slowly melted into bright sunlight, and Spike was suddenly sure this was a dream because, for one, he wasn't on fire, and for two, Buffy was there. She was kneeling beside him lightly touching him as she smiled and talked and he relaxed, content to stay in the dream just as long as he could, but her voice was changing. It wasn't warm and pleasant anymore, now it was concerned and a bit frustrated… and it wasn't coming from the Buffy kneeling next to him. That Buffy started to fade, shimmering out of existence as the other Buffy's voice kept talking, and in the dream, Spike called out, "No… Buffy, don't go… please…"

"C'mon, Spike, please wake up. It's been six days, and trying to get blood into you while you're unconscious is the kind of fun that's really not. Besides, Angel is this close to kicking us all out of here and I know you want to torment him before we all leave, so you need to wake up now."

Spike cracked an eye then quickly closed it against the brightness of the room. He felt Buffy's hand settle lightly on his as she spoke, "Dawnie, will you turn off the overhead lights, please?" She squeezed his hand lightly. "Okay, Spike, you can open your eyes now."

He did, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the soft light of the bedside lamp. He looked around, vaguely recognizing a couple of the slayers standing just inside the door of the room. He smiled at Dawn, who was standing next to them, then lifted his eyes to Buffy's. "You're here."

She smiled and it took his unneeded breath away as she said, "And so are you. For the past year, apparently." He opened his mouth and Buffy's finger settled on his lips as she looked toward the doorway. "Why don't all of you go out for pizza or shopping? Or go find Angel and annoy him or something, but please go. I need to have a talk with Spike."

Dawn stepped quickly to the bed and bent down to squeeze Spike in a quick hug. "Glad you're back, Spike. I missed you." She straightened up and smiled down at him. "We'll talk after she's done with you and good luck." She winked. "Hope you're healed enough."

Buffy smacked Dawn's leg playfully. "He doesn't need luck, Dawnie, but you should get out of here before you do."

Dawn laughed as she stepped toward the door. "I'm going, I'm going. I'll clear this floor for you and keep everybody occupied for… will three hours be long enough for your… talk?"

Buffy glanced at Spike, smiling at the not quite believing this was happening look on his face, then she nodded at her sister. "That should be fine. We'll try to keep it down."

Dawn snorted, "Yeah, right. See you guys later," then she disappeared into the hallway, pulling the door closed behind her.

Buffy looked down at Spike, tightening her grip on his hand. "Alone at last. I think this is the first time I've been by myself in here. Dawn's been here… and Andrew, I'm sorry about that… and there's always been at least one other Slayer…"

Spike broke in, his voice carrying just an edge of anger, "Why? You're not worried that I'll hurt someone, are you? Still got the soul, pet. Still workin' the White Hat gig. Got myself sliced to ribbons tryin' to save the bleedin' world… again."

"I know that, and no, I'm not worried that you'll hurt someone." She motioned toward a small table next to the bed that Spike hadn't noticed. It was covered in various blood related medical supplies like needles and IV tubing and there was an IV stand on the floor next to it. His attention was drawn back to Buffy when she reached across him and tapped the inside of his right elbow. There was a healing mark showing where an IV line had been placed recently. "The girls were donating their blood to you."

His eyes widened as he looked at her wrist… more specifically, at the recent cut on her wrist… and his fang marks bracketing the cut on her wrist. He reached for her hand and brought her wrist to his mouth, laying a gentle kiss to the broken skin. "Oh, pet. What did you do?"

She cupped his cheek in her palm. "I fed you, and before you get all weird about it and start freaking out, I wanted to and you didn't hurt me. Even unconscious you've got amazing control over your demon."

"But you let me bite you. Why?" He nodded toward the IV stand. "You could've just fed me that way, like the others did. And remind me to thank them for that, although I don't know why they would do it."

"They did it because you're a hero, Spike. You're one of us, and when one of us is hurt, the rest of us do whatever we can to make them better. But that's not why I did it. Or why I fed you from my wrist. I did it because I love you," she held up her wrist, "and I did this because I didn't want to be just another dose of slayer dripping into your veins. I wanted you to taste me, to taste the truth of how I feel about you. I want you to believe me."

"Buffy, I… I need to explain why I didn't… before you… so you'll be able to make an informed decision about your feelings for me." He pulled in a deep breath, closing his eyes for a second before opening them and fixing his intense gaze on Buffy. "I wanted to contact you when I got back… my first thought was to get in touch, but…"

Her finger landed lightly on his lips again, silencing him. "I heard the whole story from Angel, how you didn't think you could top saving the world and you didn't want me to think any less of you for not staying dead after you went out in a blaze of glory. Remember when I called you a dope? Right after I got my scythe?" Spike nodded warily. "Yeah… well, you're still a dope."

"I am?"

"Oh yeah. Not-dopey Spike wouldn't have listened to Angel telling him that I was better off without him. Not-dopey Spike would have punched Angel in the nose then been on the first plane to England."

"I thought you were in Rome…"

"No, that was a decoy, and Angel told me about that, too."

"So you were never… uh… dating… the Immortal?" His voice dropped to a low rumble as he snarled, "Poncy wanker."

Buffy gripped his hand tightly, reaching out with the other one for his chin to gently tilt his face up to hers. "No, Spike. I wasn't dating the Immortal or anyone else. There's been nobody since you."

"But… I thought… Andrew said you'd moved on."

"And I've had a discussion with Andrew about interfering with my life. Believe me, he won't do it again, unless he suddenly decides he wants to die in agonizing pain. And I haven't moved on… at all." Buffy shifted her legs up onto the bed and crossed them, pulling Spike's left hand to rest in her lap, surrounded by her clasped hands. "Remember when I came back? That time I came to visit you in your crypt and you told me how you'd saved me?" Spike nodded, his eyes glued to her hands holding his. "You said you'd saved me every night for 147 nights, and well… I've had a lot longer to figure out ways to save you, and I did… there were so many different times that you left the school with me, but saving you isn't all I did, Spike. I went back over our entire relationship and there were a lot of times where changing one little thing could have made things turn out so much better. So, that's what I did…"

Spike twined his fingers with Buffy's and asked quietly, "What things?"

"Way too many to name right now, so to keep it simple, if I hurt you or pushed you away or denied your feelings, well, let's just say I did the complete opposite in my mind… and things turned out differently… better. I've had a lot of time to figure myself out and figure out just how I feel about you."

"And how is that?"

"I told you I loved you in the Hellmouth and you didn't believe me and I don't think you believed me when I told you a few minutes ago, so I'm going to say it again and I want you to look into my eyes… see the truth." She waited until he'd dragged his gaze up to hers then she said with as much steel in her voice as she could muster, "I love you, Spike, all of you, vampire and man. I'm in love with you and I don't feel complete unless you're with me. Is that plain enough for you? Do you believe me this time?"

Spike searched her eyes, getting lost in their depths as her love for him shone like a beacon. He blinked and swallowed down a sudden lump that had appeared in his throat. "I believe you, Buffy."

She smiled beatifically, nearly restarting his dead heart, then leaned down and gently brushed her lips across his. She pressed her cheek to his and whispered into his ear, "Do you still love me?"

His free hand came up and gently cradled the back of her head as he whispered back, "Of course I do, Buffy. Could never stop lovin' you, you know that."

Buffy sat up, still smiling that smile, and glanced at the clock on the nightstand. "We've still got two and a half hours, so guess what I'm gonna do now?"

The lusty glint in her eye would have had Spike's pulse racing if he'd had one, and he smirked. "Am I healed enough for whatever you've got planned, pet?"

Buffy laid her hand on his blanket covered chest. "Oh yeah. You're back to Greek God status… I checked… and in case you were wondering, yeah, you're naked under there." Buffy slid her hand down towards Spike's belly, smiling when something twitched a little further south. "And now I'm gonna do what I've been wanting to do for a long time, what I've imagined doing to you for months."

Spike croaked out, "And what's that, luv?"

Her hand moved just a little further and Spike shivered as her nails scratched across the fabric covering his belly button. "I want you to know that my love is more than just words, Spike, so I'm going to make love to you, show you how I feel."

Spike's eyes widened and he breathed in deeply in preparation to speak, but his voice seemed to have suddenly deserted him so he mouthed, "Make love?"

Buffy got to her knees beside him on the bed then leaned down and placed hot, wet kisses from his collarbone to his ear, whispering before tracing the shell with her tongue, "Yes. You're gonna lie here and let me worship your body the way I never let you worship mine."

Spike groaned as her lips moved down his neck again, nipping lightly as she tugged the blanket down. When they closed around a nipple, he gasped loudly, his back arching off the bed. Buffy smiled against his skin then gave his nipple a lick and stood up, whipping the blanket off with one sharp tug. It floated to the floor in the corner of the room as she started to lift her shirt. "I think I'm a little too clothed for this plan. Let me fix that."

Spike watched with wide eyes and a rapidly hardening cock as her body was revealed to him piece by delicious piece. By the time she was bare, his cock was standing proudly from its nest of honey blond curls and his chest was rising and falling quickly as he panted. She placed her knee on the bed then swung her leg over, straddling his thighs as she reached for his hands, placing them on the pillow above his head. "Keep those there."

He curled his hands into fists, clenching the pillow tightly in his fingers as she leaned down, her belly rubbing against him while her mouth once again latched onto a nipple. She took her time, kissing and licking and nipping nearly every square inch of his chest and stomach before she moved north, capturing his lips in a kiss that left them both panting for air.

She started back down his chest, her hands ghosting up and down his arms and sides as she moved, and he wanted desperately to touch her, wanted to feel her silky skin under his fingertips, but every time his fist loosened and he raised a hand, Buffy would stop her ministrations and look up at him, waggling her finger. "Nope. Put it back."

He'd groan and mumble, "Buffy, please," but she'd shake her head and wait until his hand was back in position before she'd continue.

She scooted down his legs as her mouth moved toward his groin and the moan that was torn from his throat when her tongue licked him from root to tip rattled the cheap motel painting that was hanging on the wall above the bed. She took him into her mouth, pressing down on his hip with one hand to keep him still as she held him in the perfect position for licking and sucking with the other.

His eyes had long since rolled back in his head and his vocalizations had been reduced to throaty growls and raspy moans by the time she let him go with a small pop. He'd been close… so close… and he whimpered as she sat up, one hand still stroking him slowly. Buffy licked her lips as she scooted forward. "I know you think I'm beautiful… you told me that all the time, but I never told you that you're the sexiest, hottest, most beautiful man I've ever seen. You're perfect, from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. And to top that off, you've got the biggest heart of anybody I know. I love you, Spike. I love you."

She lifted up and positioned him at her entrance then slowly sank down, taking him to the hilt. She sat, her hands lying on his chest as she stared down at his face. "And that look… the one you have right now, like you've just hit the biggest jackpot on the planet, I want to put that look on your face as much as I can for the rest of my life."

She slid her hands up his arms then gently worked his fists loose from the now shredded pillow case, bringing them down to settle on her hips. She braced her hands on his chest then squeezed him with her inner muscles as she lifted slowly off him and his hands tightened on her hips as he pulled her back down.

Spike sat up, wrapping his arms tightly around Buffy as he caught her lips in a scorching kiss before pressing his forehead to hers. They set a languid pace, bodies rocking together as their gazes remained locked, and when they finally reached the crescendo the pleasure washed over them in soul shaking waves, unlike anything either one had ever experienced.

They collapsed to the bed, Spike still buried deep with Buffy sprawled across his chest, then lay there, breathing in sync as they both came down from their euphoric high. Buffy shifted slightly and Spike tensed, unconsciously preparing himself for her flight, but she only lifted up far enough to cup his face in her hands and whisper against his lips, "I'm not going anywhere, Spike. You're mine, I'm yours, and I'll never leave you."

Spike's arms tightened around her and he asked quietly, "Never?"


Buffy climbed off the bed and fetched the blanket from the corner then covered Spike and crawled in beside him, snuggling up close to his side. She laid her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arm over his chest. "I'm yours, Spike, and I always will be. I promise."

Spike wrapped his arms around her, pulling her just as tightly as he could to his side then he dropped a kiss on the top of her head. "Always… I like the sound of that, pet, I really do."

They lay there quietly, their breathing slowing down with Spike's eventually stopping altogether as they both succumbed to sleep.

And that's how Dawn found them when she finally ventured back to their room… wrapped in each other's arms wearing contented smiles as they slept.