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A/N: A fill for the Fag Ends Halloween Challenge prompt "Lightning Rod."


I'm like a lightning rod for pain and hurt and everyone around me suffers and dies.

"Hey," says Spike. Says Spike with the limp he kind of keeps trying to hide and says Spike with his racoon eyes, swollen and bruised and purpled still. "They'll be fine."

Dawn draws her legs up to her chest and scoots her butt back until she can rest her feet on top of the boulder with the rest of her body. "You don't know that."

"Yeah, well, bitch's up for a fight, going against big sis and her littlest witch friend."

"She beat you."

"And notice how I'm smart enough not to go up against the two of them at once? Especially not after pissing them off. Wouldn't have touched a hair on Red's girl's head if she'd known what's good for her."

"Yeah," says Dawn, even though she's not completely sure it is a yeah.

Willow's an awesome witch and all, even if she can't poof Glory out of existence or something, but gods are kinda worshipped and feared for a reason, and Willow isn't a god. Just a really upset woman in love.

"Willow loves Tara," Dawn says.

"Did notice that, yeah."

"Like, really, really loves her."

Spike squints at her with his battered, discoloured eyes like he's trying to sort out exactly what's going on inside her brain. "Plenty of people love you just as much, Bit."

"I don't think Buffy knew, though."

Spike tilts his head a little. "Heard that before, actually."

"I think she's just not very good at noticing things like that. Love, you know?"

Spike makes a little noise, some weird mix between pain and annoyance and agreement and possibly some amusement. He shifts around on the rock beside her, like he's trying to get comfortable, and sighs. "Yeah," he says. "I know."