Title: Lessons to Learn Chapter Thirteen: Awakening

Author: SlayrGrl55 (aka Anna)

Rating: PG-13

Pairing: B/S

Spoilers: Lessons

Feedback: feedback is my middle name…um…I mean… (my best Anya impersonation) I would love for you to give me feedback

Disclaimer: I have not miraculously been given the rights to 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' or 'Beauty and the Beast' since the last chapter… but it would be a great Christmas present :)

          Buffy held Spike's limp body close to hers. She was soaking wet from the rain, but somehow she felt warm… and dry. The cold concrete beneath her seemed to soften and the darkness that had surrounded her lightened to a pale pink, and then a dark red, and then to a more normal yellow. Sensing these changes she looked up, and noticed they were no longer on the balcony of the castle, but in Buffy's living room. Confusion crossed her features but was replaced by happiness that the nightmarish fairy tale was finally over. But upon seeing Spike still unconscious her happiness turned back to fear and sadness.

          "Spike. Spike, wake up. We're home. Oh, wake up. Please wake up." She whispered. Suddenly she heard the creak of the front door and looked up to see who it was.

          "No, Xander. She didn't run away. I'm telling you it was the wish. Go ask Anya to call Halfrek or something." Dawn pleaded.

          "Dawnie, I've been trying to reach Anya. She's not home. We're just gonna have to-" but Xander was cut short by the site of Buffy and Spike.

          Dawn rushed into her sister's arms. "Oh God, I'm so glad you're home. We were so worried. Where were you guys?"

          Buffy wiped the tears from her eyes and gave Xander a quick hug. "Guys, I'll explain later, but right now we need to help Spike."

          "What happened to him?" Dawn asked worriedly.

          "Riley beat him up." Buffy said simply.

          "Whoa. Riley? Riley's back? Wasn't he in Nepal? Were you guys in Nepal?" Xander asked as Buffy rushed past him and up the stairs. He turned to Dawn and found that she shared his confusion. Buffy returned from upstairs carrying the first aid kit and kneeled down next to Spike.

          "Xander, can you go back to your place and bring me some clothes that will fit Spike? The clothes he's wearing are ripped to shreds. Knowing enough to follow the Slayer's directions, Xander nodded and left through the front door.

          "Dawn, I need you to go get some towels from upstairs so Spike doesn't bleed over everything. Oh, and after that run to the butcher shop and get some blood. There's money in my wallet in my room. Hurry." Buffy instructed.

          Dawn ran upstairs and returned with a pocket full of money and some towels. She spread them out on the floor and they moved Spike onto them. Buffy thanked Dawn and started to undress Spike so she could tend to his wounds. She shooed Dawn away, not wanting to corrupt her and also needing blood for Spike.

          Xander passed Dawn on the drive back to the Summer's house and gave her a ride. By the time they reached home Spike's wounds were bandaged, but he was still unconscious on the floor, covered only by a towel.

          "Thanks a lot, Xand. This means a lot." Buffy said, "Now you two can go heat up the blood or Spike while I dress him." It was then that Xander noticed Spike's undressed state and hurried Dawn and himself into the kitchen. Buffy giggled and rushed to dress Spike. She called to Dawn and Xander that it was safe to come back in and she and Xander moved Spike to a more comfortable position on the couch. Dawn placed the mug of heated blood on the coffee table and sat down on the floor to wait for Spike's awakening. Xander took the chair and Buffy went upstairs to take a quick shower because she was covered in dirt and blood. However she wasn't sure how much blood was hers and how much was Spike's.

          She washed and dried quickly, put on some comfy clothes, tied her hair into a ponytail and rushed back downstairs. She found that Dawn was not sitting next to Spike, quietly talking to him. As she got closer, she heard that Dawn was telling Spike all about the days they had been gone.

          "I'm so sorry I wished that, but is nothing sacred? I mean, Halfrek wasn't even there when I said it. Is she the all-knowing vengeance demon or something? I am never going to say those words again. Ever. I promise." Dawn assured him.

          The room was quiet for a few seconds as Buffy took a seat on the opposite side of Spike.

          "S'okay Nibblet. Not really your fault." Came a delayed reply. Dawn squeaked and hugged Spike, forgetting his wounds. He hugged her back, biting back the pain. Suddenly he became worried.

          "Where's Buffy?" Dawn smiled and pointed behind him. Turning, he saw Buffy and attacked her with a hug. "Are you all right, luv? Did he hurt you?"

          Remembering her previous wounds, Buffy realized they had healed. "No. Actually I'm fine. It's you we were all worried about."

          A muffled snort came from Xander's direction but he covered it up with a fake cough. He didn't fool any of them, but they ignored it. Buffy and Spike stayed in their embrace until Spike became aware of his breathing.

          "Buffy, I'm breathing." He said in awe.

          "Well, yea. You tend to do that sometimes. Just one of your strange habits.

          "No. I'm really breathing." He said again. Confused, she put a hand to his chest and felt the rise and fall. She looked up at him, and then back at him chest.

          "No way." She took his wrist and found a pulse.

          "You have a pulse. And you're breathing. And…" she ran a hand across his cheek. "…you're warm."

          "Bloody hell." Was all he could say.

          Hours later, after the excitement of Spike's new humanity was celebrated, Xander left to go home and Buffy, Spike and Dawn were left alone.

          Buffy and Spike sat on the couch, Buffy leaning against his chest. "I don't think I'll ever get used to you having a heartbeat." She said as his chest rose and fell in back of her.

          He smiled and played with her hair.

          "Spike?" she whispered.

          "Yes, luv?"

          "Do you remember what I told you? When we were still… wherever we were? Did you hear me?" she looked up at him.

          "No. What did you say?" he hoped she said what he longed to hear, but he didn't get his hopes up.

          "I said… that I loved you." His smile grew ten times brighter upon hearing her words.

          "I love you, too, Buffy." She returned his smile and brought her lips up to meet his.

          "Aw, guys, get a room. I'm under age for this stuff." Dawn complained, but she was smiling.

          They reluctantly pulled apart and Buffy settled back into his loving embrace. "So, Dawnie, what do you want to do tonight?" She knew what she and Spike wanted to do, but that could wait. They needed to bond with Dawn.

          "Well," she said, producing a bowl of popcorn from behind her back, "I figured we could watch a movie."

          Placing the popcorn on the coffee table, she popped a tape into the VCR and sat down in front of the couch, leaning against it.

          "What are we watching, Platelet?" Spike asked.

          "I absolutely love this movie. It's so romantic. Sometimes I wish that-" Dawn's words were but short as Slayer and vampire tackled her and tickled her mercilessly. In the background, the opening credits for the Disney movie 'Beauty and the Beast' played on the television.

Author's Note: Well, that's the end. It was twelve more chapters and a few months more than I expected, but if you guys liked it then it was worth it. Thank you all so much for the reviews! So far there are 78! It's awesome! And thank you for being so patient when I took forever to post new chapters. If you post stories, then you also realize that life can get in the way of fan fiction sometimes. Anyway, thanks again. I had a great time writing this story. And (shameless self-promotion) please go read my newest poem called 'They Fall' and let me know what you think!