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Joss rules!

Nothing major really happens in this chapter but I needed it so I could set up for the next one.

That is all..

Hours, we waited. We all spent different amounts of time in different places throughout the house. Knees were constantly bouncing, hands were always wringing and I don't even think the Watcher had put his glasses on; he just polished them over and over.

I'd sit in a chair by Buffy's bed sometimes but I never stayed long, my anger always seemed to get the better of me so I left. I redressed the bandages on her knuckles; they'd gotten a little bloody with our fighting.

Anya had called from the Magic Room saying Willow was there and we told her to keep an eye on her. I gave Rupert the low down on what had happened in the kitchen but I'm not even sure if he heard me, he was staring up the stairs; his mind obviously on Buffy and whether she'd be ok. The same thought was on all our minds I'd bet.

Harris had come in and out, checking in on work and then checking in on Buffy. He had already replaced the window in the kitchen, it looked like nothing had even happened in there. Tara had convinced Dawn to go to bed once it turned ten, after we all promised that we'd wake her as soon as Buffy woke up. Her and Dawn were going to share my room and I'd stay in Bit's so it was easier for everyone.

Things were so tense that I started playing cards with myself just to pass some more time. Eventually Rupert joined and then after that Harris did; Glinda was upstairs sitting with Buffy. After a few rounds of poker I went off in search of some alcohol to bring to the table. We shared the bottle between us and soon enough the bottle was empty.

Then finally, at around twelve, our Sleeping Beauty awoke from her slumber. Glinda had come down to say that Buffy had started to stir so we all rushed up the stairs, forming half a circle around the foot of her bed.

Her eyes opened ever so slowly, clearly trying to get her bearings. Finally her eyes landed on the four of us, and she gave us a small fragile smile. Every one of us let out a long sigh of relief. Buffy tried to sit herself up but she was clearly in pain, Tara was there first helping her. She sucked in a short breath when she moved, maybe there was quite a bit of pain.

"How are you felling Buffy?" Rupert asked. She slowly pushed away her covers and looked down at her body, turning her arms this way and that and inspecting her legs. "Like I've been run over by a truck, repeatedly. Oh and then pushed off a very high cliff," she whispered, rubbing her throat, "I thought I'd be able to see marks, but there isn't any except the ones that were already there from fighting with Spike, but they're fading already. Apart from that, I'm peachy."

Buffy held out her arm and Xander walked to grab it. He and Tara pulled gently so that Buffy was standing. "Thanks," Buffy croaked, "How long was I unconscious?"
"About eight or nine hours pet." I answer. On wobbly legs she walks forward, Harris trailing her like a shadow in case she falls.

Is everyone ok? Did anyone else get hurt?" Buffy asks, coming to stand next to me.
"Nope, just you luv. Seems like you're bad luck I'd say, not sure it's safe for even me to be here." She laughs softly for a moment before turning to Tara. "You couldn't possible help me get in the shower could you? I'm pretty sure I stink but I can't seem to be able stretch my arms in any direction."
"Of course sweetie. Dawn and Spike said it's ok for me stay the night, is that alright? It's ok if you don't want me to." Glinda replies, dropping her eyes to the floor.

"You're welcome here anytime Tara." Buffy says smiling and taking Glinda's hand as they make their way to the bathroom, leaving us three guys standing awkwardly in Buffy's room. Harris calls his goodbyes to Buffy through the door and the Watcher goes back to his place to get some things, saying he'd like to stay the night to make sure Buffy is ok.

That leaves me to wake up the Nibblet. I step into her bedroom quietly and kneel next to her bed. "Rise and shine Lil' Bit." Dawn doesn't stir so I say it a little louder, but still she doesn't respond. After about ten minutes of trying to wake her Buffy creeps in, coming to sit on the bed next to Dawn.

"Don't worry about waking her, she'll be pissed at you but she won't be all moody teenager in the morning for not getting enough sleep," the Slayer whispers, tucking a lock of Dawns hair behind her ear, "Tara told me what you did today Spike, it looks like I'll be forever in your debt it seems."

"You don't owe me anything Slayer, that bint was assaulting you in our bloody home. Just doing my roommate duties, I gotta be bringing something to the mix now don't I, might as well fill the role of bodyguard seeing how much trouble you Summers women are always in." I say playfully as we leave Dawn's bedroom.

Buffy swats my shoulder but then winces. "It doesn't hurt much," she says, "you know that feeling when you've been working out hard but you don't feel it 'till the next morning when you feel tender and kind of bruised. That's what it's like." I nod as I hold her hand, keeping her steady as we go down the stairs.

Giles walks in with a few tubs of ice-cream and the Slayer hugs them to her chest, beaming, as if it's the best day of her life. She wobbles slowly to the couch as I go and fetch a couple of spoons. The two girls sit on the sofa, Rupert sits in one of the arms chairs and I sit myself down on the floor leaning against the sofa.

Buffy explain to us what had happened to make Red so angry, she says that Willow just didn't understand why Buffy wasn't grateful and she was apparently trying to press the point that without her Buffy would still be six feet under.

Then she told us what Willow had 'showed' her, and we all shuddered at once when she explained that Red had showed her where she thought Buffy had been whilst she was dead. Which meant the Slayer had endured what would have happened to her if she truly had gone to a hell dimension. When Rupert asked her if that was actually where Buffy had gone she just sort of shrugged and changed the subject.

It made me sick that the witch had done that, stupid cow. She complained about me not knowing anything. Has she even asked Buffy where she'd been? No she hadn't, daft bitch. "That witch is going sodding looney if you ask me." I declare once Buffy finishes explaining what happened to her. We all sit silently for a short spell but it doesn't last that long as Buffy digs into her ice cream while Tara puts a movie on.

The Slayer has two tubs open, alternating between the two as me and Glinda share one. Giles just keeps to himself reading a manky old book taking the occasional peek at Buffy. Halfway through the movie Tara says goodnight and shuffles off to bed.

The Watcher left pretty soon after Glinda, we sorted that Giles would take Buffy's bed while she slept in with Tara and I stayed on the sofa. I went round the living making sure all the windows were covered. I'd woken up on fire before, it wasn't an experience I wanted to endure again.

That left three empty tubs of ice-cream, one full one and the Slayer and me in the living room. She moved up on the sofa and patted the place next to her. Of course I obliged the lady; I didn't need to be asked twice.

We talked more about what had happened, Buffy asked whether Dawn had seen anything and how her friend acted when she woke up. I told her about the witch getting angry again and Buffy commented that it didn't seem to be just her that couldn't control what was happening.

"Aren't you tired? It's like three in the morning." Buffy asks, scooting a little closer to me to lean her head against my shoulder. "Well for one it's daytime for me really, plus I had my own little nap when you did Slayer, mine didn't even last an hour though."

She asks me to help her to the kitchen, wanting to check things over. I tell her about the windows and the mess so she's a little surprised when she sees that nothing is askew. Buffy asks me to remind her to ring the whelp in the morning to thank him.

Slowly we shuffle back to the sofa to watch another film and eat the remaining ice-cream. Buffy bring her knees to her chest and links her arm with mine as she puts her head back on my shoulder. She fits perfectly against me and I can't help but sigh with content.

We sit silently passing the ice-cream between us and before long it's gone. I place it on the coffee table and look round at Buffy. She's engrossed in the film but unbeknownst to her she has a small dollop of ice-cream on her chin and a smear of it next to her nose.

How it managed to get there I have no idea, why Buffy hadn't noticed was another question. I chuckled quietly to myself but she heard and glared at me. "Why are you laughing, this film is sad," she says, "and why are staring at me?" I lean back again and just shrug innocently.

Buffy clearly doesn't buy it because she sits straighter and faces me. "Are you laughing at me?" she questions. I laugh again looking back and forward between the separate spots of ice-cream and it obviously proves her theory. "Why are you laughing at me?" Buffy groans.

I pull her closer to me and wipe my finger across her face the show it to her. Buffy looks mortified and scrubs her hands down her face eliminated any trace, as she slowly turns red. Buffy scowls at me and slides to the other side of the sofa yawning hugely.

I go back to the kitchen to heat some blood and by the time I've drank it and washed the cup up I head back to the living room to see the Slayer curled up asleep. I make my way toward her and sit back down gently.

She's moaning and twitching which is unlike her. Her moaning gets louder and she starts to thrash around. I lean over to wake her when all of a sudden she sits up with a shout and lashes out causing herself to fall off the sofa. Tears are streaming from her eyes and she's shaking her head. Buffy squeezes her eyes closed momentarily then opens them to find me watching her; she crawls over to me and sits herself in my lap.

"Keep me safe." she whispers so softly. I lean down and kiss her forehead as she stares out. Eventually the Slayer falls back to sleep and it seems to be a deep one this time. I can't bear to disturb her when she looks so peaceful so I kick off my boots and settle myself down for the night absently stroking Buffy's golden hair as I follow suit and enter the world of dreams. I'll ask her what woke her in the morning.