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"She's still sleeping. I tried to open the blinds but she hid under the blankets. I think she's really exhausted." Dawn told the group the mild version as they met for breakfast that morning.

It worried her. Buffy usually didn't sleep that long. It amazed Dawn how she would normally get up before she even did for high school and she went to bed early in comparison. Buffy had always been a night person but that was still impressive. She just chalked it up to slayer powers. Lack of sleep wouldn't get her down.

She was extra worried at the strain of profanities that her sister let loose when trying to get her to come down to have breakfast with everyone.

"I don't want any pancakes."

"Are you sure? They're chocolate chip. Your favorite-"

"I'll tell you what you can do. You can take those fucking favorite pancakes of mine, stick them all up your asses, right where the sun don't shine, like it shouldn't be doing, right now, in my room! I don't give a fucking flying damn what you do with them once they're there, as long as you close my blinds and leave me alone so I can go back to sleep!"

"Well she probably had a lot taken out of her." Xander chimed in, stuffing pancake into his mouth.

"Yes. Cross-dimensional travel always is exhausting." Anya nodded along. "When I was a vengeance demon, I had to jump across dimensions many times. I would have to wait at least a day to grant wishes in some cases."

"Well we'll let her sleep. See how she is this afternoon." Willow said, trying to hide her worry.

"Should one of us stay home with her? In case she needs us?" Tara asked while handing Willow a glass of orange juice.

"I'll do it!"

"No Dawn. You have to go to school." Willow scolded the teen before turning to Tara. "I have a test today, can you do it?"

"Oh so I have to go to school but you don't?" Dawn asked crossing her arms over her chest.

"I have an assignment to hand in." Tara said shaking her head.

"I can't miss work. Which I'm late for. Sorry guys." Xander jumped up with another bite and gave Anya a my-mouth-is-full peck before running out the door.

"Well don't look at me." Anya shook her head as she started to follow Xander's lead and head for the door. "I have the Magic Box to run. It's mine now. No matter what Giles says when he comes back. The store and the money are mine."

Anya popped out and Willow shook her head at the three left in the room. "Well shoot. We can't leave her alone. Who else is there?"

"There is Spike." Tara shrugged out.

"Yeah but the sun's out." Dawn pointed towards the open blinds in the kitchen.

"He's gotten here before with the sun."

"I don't know-" Willow started to argue but Dawn cut her off, running to the phone already.

"I'll call him." Dialing the number she knew by heart she didn't wait for them to argue and instead waited as the phone started to ring.

"What?" Spike's cranky voice snapped a greeting.

"Spike?"

"Dawn?" Obviously. She was the only one stupid enough to call him when he was sleeping. "What do you want? Do you know what time it is?"

"Yeah. Sorry. You probably just went to bed. Um. Well, we were hoping that you could come over."

"Why?" Spike's voice clearly sobered at the prospect of a Summers being in trouble. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing's wrong. We just don't want to leave Buffy by herself and none of us can stay home."

"What? Slayer can't take care of herself for a day?"

"Well she's just sleeping but we want to make sure it stays like that. We don't want anything to… well we want to make sure she's safe."

"And this was everyone's idea? Even the whelp? He think it was a good idea to leave me alone with Buffy all day?"

"She's my sister."

"So he doesn't know?"

"Well…"

"Give me a bit." He grinned at the look the twerp's face would have when he realized he was the one out of the loop, decisions he wouldn't like being made without his consent or recognition. "I'll be over."

"Thanks Spike."

"Yeah, yeah. You owe me for this Little Bit."

"I'll bring you home an onion blossom."

"See that you do."

The call ended without a bye and Dawn clicked the phone back down. "Spike's on his way." She told the other girls as she grabbed some breakfast herself, eating the only pancake Xander left behind.

"Alright." Willow nodded as she went to finish getting ready for school and Tara went to put away the rest of the batter.

"And you have to get him an onion blossom." Dawn called as Willow was leaving, a dramatic sigh being her immediate response.

"You know if he keeps eating that fried food it'll go straight to his thighs!"


When Spike entered the house everyone had left. Not a sound could be heard because no one alive resided in the house. Not anymore.

Throwing his blanket to the side, he walked up the stairs and cracked Buffy's bedroom door open. There she was, under the covers, completely out. He was a bit jealous having only gotten two hours of sleep before he was woken up. The curtains were drawn and she was in no danger of sunlight so he closed the door and went over to Dawn's. He slid against the walls of the room until he was able to quickly close the blinds. No light was getting in so he jumped to the bed and went straight back to sleep.

It was hours before he was woken by some movement at the door. His senses on alert, he peeked open an eye, an arm reaching for the lamp for use as a weapon, ready to fight, but saw Buffy standing there instead. Nope, not a demon. Well…yes a demon, just not a threat. Most likely. He kept his hand on the lamp just in case.

"I could smell you." She said simply, leaning against the door, still wearing the clothes from the night before. A moment passed before he realized her smile was genuine and he could let the lamp go.

"Go back to sleep slayer." He rolled back around and closed his eyes again willing the stubborn girl to follow his lead.

She made no move to leave as she stared at Spike's limp figure, cataloging everything she could about him in her new state. She had only a glimpse before. After waking she could hear him in the other room, her senses still coming into focus. At first she thought it was Dawn, getting the nerve to try and wake her yet again (it didn't go well for her the first time). But then she heard, or rather didn't hear, the lack of noise. There was no thump-thumping anywhere in the house. Everyone had to of left. It was then that she smelled the odd aromas of Spike. Leather, cigarette smoke, crypt must, the strange blood concoctions he drank, and even small traces of actual smoke, like he was standing next to a fire. From Dawn's pestering about the 'beautiful day' and from her moronic show of opening the blinds, Buffy could only guess what that smoke actually was from. Seemed someone went out for a daylight stroll.

Spike's smell wasn't the only thing that drew her into Dawn's room. She had initially woken because of a dream, a dream she didn't care to revisit. So she continued to stand in the doorway, lingering on thoughts that would keep her from having to go back to bed. Being stuck inside all day wasn't helping her distract herself from how tired she really was. After running around the night before and unleashing her new world on the other vampire, she really did have it taken out of her. It seemed coming back from the dead, dead, still made her dead tired after all.

After giggling to herself over how many ways she could fit 'dead' into a sentence, she decided to fetch for a conversation. Spike was still lying there, unmoving, but she knew he wasn't sleeping. She could hear his fake breathing. "What am I going to tell them?"

"Hmm?" He grunted the question in genuine lack of understand what she had just said. Enhanced sense of hearing or not, that didn't stop him from not paying attention. He was more focused on the fact that she was standing there. Looking at him. Sleeping. How was he supposed to take that?

"I'm sleeping all day. How do I explain that?"

"I don't care." Spike rolled over more, all the way on his stomach, too tired to realize Buffy was actually reaching out to him. He hadn't even considered the possibility of turning her new found dead-ness into a relationship between the two for them. Even if that relationship was just vampire mentor to vampire mentee. "Just go to bed."

"I can't." Buffy whispered back, leaning further into the doorjamb, starting to pick at chips of paint she hadn't noticed before. When she wasn't being blinded by her younger sister with the lights or the sun, she actually saw a lot of things. What she did miss seeing though, was the pure moment of worry that etched across her companion's face.

"Why the hell not?" Pulling the pillow over his head to cover his eyes he tried to seem much less concerned than he felt. Not only was it unusual for the slayer to sound so vulnerable, even if it was just for a moment, but she was a vamp now. The whole not caring thing carried over, he saw that much last night when she was talking about offing her friends. It genuinely worried him that she sounded so small. Not that he cared…too much.

"No reason." Buffy snapped, turning to leave. "Forget I said anything."

"No wait." He sighed in defeat as he tossed the pillow to his side and propped himself up to look at her, rubbing the sleep from his face with his palm. "Wait. Buffy. What? What's wrong?"

"Nothing." She shrugged with an annoyed frown on her face.

He growled low in his belly, something her human self would have missed but the deepening in her frown made him believe she heard it that time. Well so much for trying to be the nice guy. "God you're stubborn."

"Just go back to bed."

"Fine." He grabbed the pillow and shoved it back on his head, flopping back to his side, as he listened to her leave the room and she scrambled back under her covers.

So much for a conversation. It didn't even have to be nice. He always found the quickest route to pissing her off.


Sleep usually came pretty easy to Spike but it didn't seem he would get any that day. A while after they parted, a small yelp ripped him out of bed and brought him running to Buffy's room.

"Slayer?!"

She was lying in bed, nothing had changed, just her eyes moving behind their lids at a million miles a minute. Another small scream came from her lips and he ran over, shaking her violently so she would wake.

"Slayer, wake up!"

With a gasp of air Buffy opened her eyes and coughed herself awake. Slowly her dream faded away and the blonde man focused in front of her eyes as he rubbed her shoulder blades to get rid of the gagging. "Spike?"

"Yeah. Yeah it's me." He moved closer to her on the bed and moved his hand in wider circles on her back. "You okay?"

"Fine." She snapped as she fell back onto the bed and he dropped his hand away from her body. "Perfectly fine."

"Fine?" He leaned over her to get in her line of sight so she could see his incredulous look. Looking at her face, so pouty and annoyed, he couldn't help the cocky grin that fell so easily into place. "Well I reckon you had a nightmare."

"Well you reckoned wrong."

"Oh really? Is that what all the tossin' was about then?"

"Just leave Spike." She turned away from him and tried to close her eyes to sleep again. That attempt failed as soon as the dark caved over her and the dream started to reappear.

It wasn't really a nightmare. It wouldn't be considered a nightmare anyway. It was a memory more than a dream. A memory of the time she had in her little piece of heaven before she was torn down. The dream turned and that's where the twisting and tossing and screaming came from. The feeling of perfection was always closely accompanied by utter pain and torment. Blood everywhere, sounds blaring, lights blinding, and nowhere to go but to dig herself up and out. It was her coffin all over again. Just the pitch black and the scrambling to get out of it.

Instead of closing her eyes again she just stared at the opposite wall finding cracks, waiting for the other vamp to leave like she asked.

"You want to talk about it?" He tried asking nicely but was sure some annoyance made it sound fake.

He really could help if she just let him. Hugs for nightmares wasn't exactly his usual but he'd done his fair share. Not too long ago she wasn't around for Dawn re-seeing her sister's death every time she closed her eyes. Not to mention the sights he saw himself every time his mind got away from him.

"I want you to leave." She tried again as her eyes darted in and around the cracks she found. Flash after flash, blink after blink, it was all just so dark.

"Too bad. Move over." He stood and started to slide into the bed next to her. That had her flipping over in an instant, her worries of the dark engulfing her forgotten, pushing his body away from the bed.

"What? No!"

"Fine." He shrugged and fell to the floor, sprawling out with his arms under his head. She rolled to her side and stared at him with her mouth open and her face scrunched in confusion.

"What're you doing?"

"The floor's fine. No need for me to come running every time you have a little nightmare."

"Shut up." She fell back into her bed but a small smile crawled across her lips, no matter how many times she tried to bite them shut.

He smirked back from the floor closing his eyes for what felt like the hundredth time. "Go to sleep."

It came a surprise to both of them when they actually did, no more dreams or screams intervening.


"Buffy?! You up yet?!" Willow called through the house having stopped by between classes just to double check on her. "Buffy?" She walked around but didn't see her. "Spike?" No answer so she walked up the stairs. She started to get worried that maybe Spike didn't come, maybe something did happen to Buffy, but that was just her paranoid side. Then again it was Spike and he wasn't exactly the most reliable. She trusted Spike just as much as the next person but…well that wasn't saying much.

Opening the door she could see both of them fast asleep, Buffy in her bed and Spike on the floor. She rolled her eyes at his odd behavior but secretly was a bit glad he wouldn't leave her side. As messed up as he was, he did care.

Surprise came as soon as she started to leave when she felt strong hands close against her throat and slam her against the wall. She screamed on impact and blinked before Spike came into view.

"Willow? Sorry." He dropped her and she stood on her own, clawing at the tightness left on her trachea. "Thought you were-"

"No. No it's okay." She cleared her throat and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself from the sudden adrenaline rush. "At least we know you're doing your job." She chuckled but he didn't laugh. He checked on Buffy quick again before walking down the stairs ignoring Willow as she followed, her intent on grabbing something from the kitchen.

At least the witch woke him up only a few minutes into Passions. He could make it just in time having skipped what happened last episode.

"Spike!" Willow shouted from the kitchen. "If you're going to bring blood over, can you at least keep it in a separate container or something? It was touching my lettuce."

"Yeah-sure-whatever-shut-up." He turned the volume up louder and rubbed his face, double checking that all blinds in the living room were closed. He always suggested they keep a TV in the basement but they wouldn't let him. They kept arguing that he only came over to babysit Dawn when it was dark out. Still.

Willow finished making her salad and sat on the couch, near Spike's chair, still in view of the TV. "So has she woken up yet? She said anything?"

"She might have if you ask during a commercial." Spike spat back. Willow grunted and started on her salad, mumbling to herself about how touchy the vamp could be with his soap. He of course heard but ignored her.

The next commercial Willow leaned forward and muted the TV. Spike turned to her and waited for her question. He didn't care so much about lying to the humans. They lied enough to him. It was more about Buffy's safety. She had a point in that her friends wouldn't take her being a vamp well but he couldn't keep it to himself. He had to help her somehow. Timing just had to be right. At least that's what he kept telling himself the night before.

"So. How is she?" Willow asked looking up the stairs again. Buffy hadn't made a sound.

"Fine. Tired."

"Did she say anything? Eat anything? Is she hungry? Thirsty? Did she wake up yet? Has she-"

"Whoa. Slow down Red. She woke up once but went straight back to bed. She's out of it still. I'd leave her alone."

"Oh. Okay. How'd she look? When she woke up?"

"Glowing." He rolled his eyes sarcastically as he walked to the kitchen knowing they had some of that soda he liked. Willow followed and he elaborated before she could ask. "Not wonderful. Had a nightmare."

"Nightmare? Oh god I can only imagine." Willow's worries doubled in a matter of seconds. She really did need to focus more on Buffy. She should have expected the bad dreams at least. It really was selfish of her to think she would be a happy cheerio just because she was back. There had to be a lot of baggage from hell to deal with. She only wished she could have been there for her first hand instead of asking her vampire sort-of-friend-but-not-really. "Does she remember anything? About hell I mean. Is that why she had the bad dream?"

"I don't know." Spike finally found the bottle he was looking for and twisted it open, looking at the clock in the kitchen timing the commercials with these questions. He went back into the living room, just to be safe. "You'll have to ask her."

"Okay." Willow nodded, following him back into the room. "Thanks Spike."

"Whatever." He flipped the remote back into his hand and hovered his thumb over the mute button. Suddenly, as the sleep started to wear off his body, he realized just how much he wanted to say to this with. How much damage she had caused without even knowing it. The dumb bitch had no idea and here he was just promoting the idea that everything was fine and dandy with little miss vamp up the stairs. "You know what actually?" Passions could wait a moment. "I have a bone to pick with you."

"A bone?" Her eyes bugged open as she glanced at the TV and the actors started to reappear. What could be so desperate that he would ignore the commercials ending?

"Yeah." He tossed the remote to the couch and stood, stomping over and towering over the short woman. "You did this right? You brought her back. You did know, didn't you? You knew there was a chance something would go wrong! That she wouldn't come back normal! What if she didn't? What if she's not? What price did she pay? Do you even know?"

"I brought her back!" Willow yelled back, defending herself. Why was everyone so worried? She was back, she was fine, she was saved, all thanks to her! "I saved her!"

"Stop trying to play the hero. Your reasons were selfish."

"Selfish?! I did this for her!"

"Do you honestly believe that? Have you wired your mind to make that make sense?" He drilled a finger into the side of her head, all he could do with the chip in his head and the rage he was feeling. She flipped his hand away and he went back to shaking his hands in front of her face. "You don't even know what you did."

"You know what Spike? No one asked for your opinion. So you can just…you know…zip your lip." She crossed her arms and scowled at the vamp above her, trying her best not to show the slight amount of fear she felt. Of course, Spike wasn't the cause of that fear, not completely. Yes, he could be intimidating but he couldn't actually do anything about it. It was more about the fact that he was a bit right.

"Zip my lip? Listen here. I am much older than you little girl. I know a thing or two about this stuff. All magic comes with a price. I'm not about to let Buffy pay that price so whatever you did, you're going to be the one that fixes it!" Leaving all that for her to digest, he walked back over to the couch and flipped the mute off, half way into the scene where Angela's twin sister seemed to be screaming something at Tito's convict half-brother. God he would never catch up. "Now shut up. It's back on."

Willow watched him turn the TV on and heard the screaming of the people in the box. The small prickles of her magic energy started to tease her from the inside out. Least to say, she was furious. She did this miraculous thing, something no one else had the power to do, and they were just yelling at her for it. She could see it in everyone else's eyes too. They all had that worried look as Buffy seemed so distant. She was just in shock and it was not her fault! Buffy would come out of it. The least they could do would be to say thank you but instead she gets stares behind her back, questions she can't answer, and a cranky vamp laying it into her in her own home. She did not have to put up with this. The crackling grew as the power within her coursed and she moved to stand in Spike's way of the TV. A shout of protest was cut off by her, "I had my test this morning. I can skip the rest of the day. You can go home."

The deadly tone of the witch's voice actually caught his attention. He could feel the fire inside her spinning about. Usually she didn't rile up so easy. When Buffy left she was a bit on edge, definitely worthy of the title 'bitch of the year' but she was back now, as she just reminded him. It only meant that he made a point with her. "Fine." There was no point in getting into a row with her. He wanted to, desperately actually. His words were not enough to convey how much he wished to bash in that red head of hers but he just couldn't. Any fight would just end up with him sun baked. He stood up and stomped out of the room muttering as he walked past. "Keep an eye on her."


"Spike?" Buffy called out his name as she woke up, realizing he was no longer on the floor. "Spike are you still here?" There was no answer so she walked out of her room towards the stairs. Now knowing just how sensitive a vamps hearing could be she knew he would hear her if he wanted to. Unless he was wrapped up with the TV or something. "Spike?!" She yelled out but stopped when she realized that funny feeling had returned, the feeling she got when Willow was around. It was only guaranteed by the thump-thumping drawing nearer and the shriek of her voice coming closer.

"He's not here." Willow said, coming around the corner. "I am. Yay!" She reached out and touched Buffy's arm, trying to shake it a bit but all she did was glower so she took her arm back. "Are you hungry? Do you want me to make you a sandwich? You can take a shower, get some other clothes on." It was odd that Buffy was still wearing that turtle neck but it was probably due to just how exhausted she was. We've all slept in our clothes at one point or another.

"Just thirsty." A fake smile greeted Willow but she wasn't the wiser to it. They both traveled to the kitchen, Buffy making sure no sun was getting into the house at any point, and Willow started to rummage through the fridge.

"Well we have milk, orange juice, water- obviously-, cranberry juice, and ew!"

"What?"

"Spike left his blood here!" Willow reached in the fridge and pulled it out turning it in her hands so Buffy could see. The disgust on Buffy's face matched Willows but it in no way was faked. She could smell it from where she stood. Still, terrible smell or not, the sight of the blood did make her thirst, her headache returning slowly.

"Just leave it." She shook her head already thinking of when she could sneak some of that later. Spike must have gone out after she left just like he said. That would mean he'd have more so she could take that no problem. "He can get it later."

"Okay but it's going to the back of the fridge. Right next to the questionable ham. What do you want?"

"Cranberry." It was red. Like the blood. The two would match well, though it wouldn't be warm. She still had so much to ask Spike. How long to microwave a jar of blood being the main question on her mind.

"Here you go." Willow poured both of them a glass and slid Buffy's within reach. "You want to drink out back?"

"No!" She didn't mean to shout but she did so she tried another small smile and came up with the first excuse she thought of. "Sun still hurts my eyes."

"Well that's cus you slept all day silly."

"Yeah I was pretty out of it."

Usually when left with her best friend, Willow would find herself talking like crazy, no awkward pauses at all. It didn't seem to be the case now. Talking about the hell dimension would have to be properly timed and she couldn't imagine the conversation she would have in the meantime while that ball of questions lingered over them.

"Well Dawn and Tara are at school." Buffy started to tick her glass with her fingernails taking small sips before clicking away again. An afternoon of sitting around and chatting was not something she felt like doing. Especially not when the conversation was going like it was and especially not when every thump of Willow's heart reminded her more and more who her sire was, who brought her to this hell, and also made her head hurt ever so slightly more. "Anya and Xander are at work." More thumping, more anger. How the hell did Spike control himself when he had the ability to eat people? He wasn't exactly prone to anger management. "Anything you want to do before they all get home?"

"Where's Spike?"

"Um-" Willow deflated as Buffy's eyes darted across the room. She was really hoping for a little excitement for girl time between the two of them. It was nothing against Spike specifically, though she was still pissed off for what he said earlier. It was just that a part of her wanted her to ask for her, not him. "He went home when I got here."

"Will he come over with everyone else?" The Buffy's Back Brigade was bound to drive her headache into a full blown migraine, pig's blood or not.

"Well. Usually he only comes over to babysit Dawn or go patrolling with us. You want him here?"

Buffy couldn't help grinning at the frown on Willow's face. Maybe she could hit two birds with one stone. Someone understanding that could get her out of the room if she asked and a way to annoy everyone so they would leave early. "I'll just call him later."

"Yeah. Right. Okay." Why did she have to be so distant? There was just something off about her. "Buffy?"

"Yeah?"

"You're alright, right?"

"Of course. I'm fine."

"I mean…It's just that-" Spike's words kept reverberating off the walls in her mind. All magic comes with a price. He had to be wrong. There was absolutely, positively, now way to Hecate he was right…but it couldn't hurt to double check. "Well with magic sometimes there can be side effects and I want you to come to me, you know, if you feel anything. Different that is. Dizzy, upset stomach, demons sprouting from your head. You know the usual." She tried to giggle but it seemed lost on Buffy.

So now she was worried about her? Now she was worried about 'side effects'? If only looks could kill. Buffy sure was trying her damnedest as she glared at Willow from over her half empty glass. Maybe if she concentrated just hard enough she could make it so Willow just tripped. Maybe tripped back into the sink. Maybe her hand falls in the disposal. Maybe as terrible luck has it, she turns the disposal on. Maybe her deafening screams are heard by no one because Buffy runs forward and helps put her out of her agony by putting her fangs to good use. Two sharp mercy givers easily sinking into the pounding of her neck.

"Sure." Buffy answered instead. Spike said killing your sire wasn't a good idea but it sure felt like one.

"Oh!" Willow ripped her out of her continuing daydream. "I forgot to tell you! I called Giles. He should be home in a day or two?"

"That's soon." Buffy said through clamped teeth. This whole pretending to care and be human thing was not all that easy. It really would be easier just to kill them all and be done with it. But why would she let them get off that easy?

"Yeah well he wanted to see you."

"Right. No. It's good. Good."

"Yeah." Awkward pauses were becoming a normal thing. Willow would just not stand for it. "Are you sure you don't want to eat anything? You haven't eaten since…well you didn't eat yesterday."

"I'm fine."

"Okay. Just don't want a rumbly tummy."

Awkward pause, awkward pause, awkward pause.

"Also, um, Spike told me you had a nightmare." It wasn't the most tactful way for her to bring up the topic, that she did say she would leave alone till the right time, but anything was better than what they were doing. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"It was nothing." Oh she was going to get him back for that. The tattle tale. She didn't tell him about the dream, why would she want to tell anyone else?

"Well, I just mean, did you remember something? Do you remember anything? From over there I mean."

"No." The lie was so easy to say. "I don't remember anything."

"Okay well if you do and you want to talk about it, I'm here." She started to reach out to put a hand on Buffy's arm but Buffy pulled away far too soon, reaching for the cranberry juice in the fridge. "How bout I put in a movie?" Willow tried get her excited, about something, anything. "They'll be back by the end of it. I could make popcorn!"

"Sure." A movie sounded better than trying to pretend to not want to kill her. Plus, while Willow was looking for the popcorn, she managed to sneak some blood into her glass. It wasn't quite the same consistency but Willow wouldn't know.

After watching The Princess Diaries, a popular movie that apparently came out when Buffy was in the ground, she was ready to repeatedly smack her head into the wall beside her. Conversation would have been a better death. Not that smashing her head would do anything.

While Willow was watching she had been zoning in and out figuring things out in her head. Her talk with Spike the night before kept rolling over in her mind.

She didn't exactly have the urge to kill someone, unless she smelled their blood, but she also realized she wouldn't care if she did. Even looking at Willow, the person who was supposed to be her best friend, she could kill her and not care.

Running through her supposed friends in her mind she could only really think of one person she wouldn't kill and feel bad about; Dawn. She was a blood relative after all so maybe that had something to do with it. The blood relative could be debated but based on the whole dying for her thing, it seemed to hold true. Even so, if she needed to kill Dawn, she would. It would be a bit sad, maybe a bit hard but she was sure she would get over it eventually. After all Dawn was the damn key that ruined most of her life right before she died. She kind of was the cause of it all. But that wasn't in Dawn's control. And that was the heart of it.

Bringing her back from the dead and ripping her out of heaven, that was in her 'friends' control. That was their fault. She was living hell because of them. Buffy was just talking, saying the words that first came into mind, when yelling at Spike about it in his room but it was true. Betrayal was a powerful thing. Then it really sunk in. She had everything that people strive for in life; a happy, peaceful, content ending in heaven where nothing could go wrong ever again. She was safe and loved and everyone she had cared about was alright. It was her friends that put her there and then they just took it all away. They were the ones who did this to her. Everything she felt, every craving she had, every smell, all the sensitivity, all the pain, it was all their fault. They made her life hell and they didn't even care.

And Buffy wanted revenge.

Revenge, the perfect word. She knew her friends deserved something more than just by ripping all their throats out. No, this had to be planned. It wasn't just revenge on her 'friends' but also on the town itself. Hell, the entire world owed her. She'd saved it enough times.

Not anymore. No. She deserved more. The world owed her for all she gave up and all she sacrificed. As far as she was concerned, she saved the world so many times, it was hers. So she was going to claim it rightfully.

First thing was first; she needed to figure out this whole vampire thing. She hadn't planned on listening to Spike about not killing anyone because really that pig's blood was disgusting but she needed him on her side. He would be able to tell in an instant if she killed some person, especially if it was someone who lived in her own house. She needed Spike on her side, helping her to learn more and because he was a useful tool. Also because she suddenly found him very relatable. He really was the only one she could actually talk to and for some reason that made her want him around. He just wouldn't leave her mind.

Lying about, staying away from the sun, and sleeping during the day, would be easy. The lack of appetite, drinking of blood, and cross burn would be hard. She would just have to act as normal as possible until she had a plan in place. She would have to be so good, Giles wouldn't even know what was going on. That would be tricky.

The first thing she did while Willow was cleaning up the uneaten popcorn, well Buffy didn't eat any, and put the movie away was find Spike's cell and gave him a call, moving towards the dining room to keep an eye on Willow and make sure she didn't hear.

"Look here Niblet," Spike answered on the fourth ring. "Willow kicked me out when she got home. I still get my onion no arguments, you got that?"

"Spike."

"Buffy?"

"Yeah."

"What's going on now?"

"Everyone is coming over and-and the smells and the blood and… I don't know if I can handle it. Alone. I was wondering…" She waited for him to say something, anything but he just let the line lie dead for a bit. "God don't make me say it."

"What?" He was obviously amused in his tone of voice and Buffy couldn't see the way he smirked, biting his lower lip between his teeth.

"Can you come over? All these humans smooshed into a room together and I'm going to have to kill half the town before I get rid of the headache."

"Did you get the blood in the fridge?"

"Yeah I drank it. I'm alright, for now, but that wasn't exactly the headache I was talking about."

"What? Don't want to be with the cheery 'everything is love and peanuts' gang. Need me there to hold your hand?"

"Love and peanuts?" Where did he come up with this stuff? "And no. I just- I can't- I don't know what to do yet. It's not the right time. Plus Giles is coming soon. Don't want them spilling to him."

"Don't worry slayer. I'll be there." He had already been planning to stop by unannounced so this just worked out fine. "Just make sure Dawn has my onion blossom."

"Okay?" Maybe she would have to try this onion blossom as a vamp. Maybe there was a reason he was always on about it. "We should leave early too. Go patrolling or something."

"You want to go patrolling?" He leaned the phone in the crook of his shoulder as he sorted out his duster, planning to walk to her house. This was really going better than he imagined. The fact that Buffy was a soulless vampire aside, he could get used to her needing him around. The idea of patrolling with her, just the two of them, sounded perfect. "With me?"

"Well-"

In his earlier days, before the chip, he would have questioned any vamp who killed his own kind as if it was his job, like a slayer, like every demon did with him. But as she and he were in particular situations, it could be forgiven in his mind. Still didn't mean he couldn't tease her about it. "Killing your own kind?"

"You do it." Buffy was on her way up the stairs to find an outfit that would cover her chest as well as the turtleneck and still not look like grandma clothing. "Besides, need to make myself still look normal. I have all this pent up energy still. Need to get rid of it somehow."

"Well I have a way." She instantly hit her head at her wording as Spike's voice dropped to what he must have considered his 'seductive' tone. "You'd get your chance to see how soft my new bed really is."

"Oh shut up." She couldn't help giggling anyway. "Just get yourself here."

"Yeah, yeah. Will do boss."


"Buffy!" Tara was first to greet her before going off to kiss Willow after everyone had made it home from the Magic Box. Apparently it was a schedule they all kept to. Everyone would meet there, Dawn would do her homework, and then they would all go to the Summers house to get ready for patrol.

"She's awake!" Xander was next, running over to give her a hug, driving her insane. "Look at you, walking, talking, breathing." Buffy chuckled to herself. "You're the picture of fine health."

"Buffy!" Dawn came running in with another hug, driving that insane up to bat shit crazy, before they all backed off to give her some room. Not enough room to stop the thoughts of taking an axe from the cabinet and slashing all of them open in one good go.

"Hey guys." Buffy nodded at them, hoping that was something she would normally do.

"Anya has pizza-" Xander looked around for the boxes but didn't see them or her. "I better go help her."

"And I have Spike's onion flower thing." Dawn chimed in holding up a to-go box. "Where is he?"

"He's coming over soon." Buffy said with a small smile. At least Xander wasn't in the room to complain. Maybe it would have been entertaining if he was. Then she could tell him to shut up and he wouldn't be able to say anything. She could really milk the being dead thing if she really wanted to.

"I'll put it in the fridge." Willow said coming forward to grab it. "I'll put it next to his blood."

Blood? The blood that was gone because Buffy drank it? That blood? "I got it!" Buffy said, running to grab the box from Willow.

"You sure?"

"Yeah. Gonna get some more cranberry anyway. Never enough vitamins or whatever is in this stuff."

"Okay."

"Hello everyone." Anya held the door open for Xander who held three pizza boxes in his hands.

"So Wills, how's she doing?" Xander asked after setting down the boxes in the living room and double checking Buffy was out of the room and out of earshot, or so he thought.

"Fine. She's a little zoney. I think she just has a lot on her mind."

"Does she remember?" Tara asked with a hand on Willow's arm.

"No. I think she may have had a dream about it but she didn't remember anything."

"Should we ask her to patrol tonight?" Xander asked as he opened a box and stuffed a good size bit of cheese into his mouth.

"Isn't it a bit soon for that?" Tara asked as she too grabbed a slice.

"I don't know." Anya said as Xander handed her a piece. "She had no issues destroying those bikers. She may even want to fight. With all that time in a hell dimension I'm sure she'll feel right at home if she kills a few demons."

"Well we'll just have to ask her." Willow said as she shifted the boxes to get at the peperoni.

"Yeah." Xander nodded. "We can always send Spike out if not."

"Gonna let me have all the fun? How nice of you." Spike appeared in the archway, leaning against the beam and glaring at Xander.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Xander shot back.

"Well I don't know about you but I was invited."

"By who?"

"Buffy." Willow said quickly, trying to stop the fight.

"Right." He smirked at the twerp and turned to Dawn. "Now tell me you have my onion."

"It's in the fridge." Dawn said smiling at him.

"Thanks Little Bit. Want any?"

"No. I got cheese with grease thanks." Dawn help up her slice before taking a bit bite.

"Well I-"

"I wasn't talking to you whelp." Spike left the room before Xander could explain he was only saying Spike couldn't have any pizza.

"Kill me." Buffy whispered to Spike as soon as he walked in the kitchen. She had his onion blossom out on the table having microwaved it as soon as she smelled him walking in. She took a bite out of it and didn't actually think it was that bad. She also finished off the blood by way of cranberry juice again.

"Can't do that pet. You're already dead." He whispered back, leaning on the table, noticing her new outfit. The shower really cleaned her up nice and her hands looked almost all the way healed. Her cross burn would stay a bit longer because that's just how it was being a vamp but the sweater she wore covered it nicely. Looking at the place he knew it to be he couldn't help the image of her in just that skimpy little lace bra resurfacing. He'd caught her changing a couple of times when outside her house but it was nothing like her undressing in front of him. He couldn't let his thought linger too far though, he reminded himself, as he made sure his bottom half was hidden by the table. "Though I'll kill you more if you keep eating my onion blossom."

"Do they really think I can't hear them?"

"Humans. They forget others have ears. Luckily, I'm your savior."

"How's that?" He reached into his pocket and took out another jar of the horrible smelling pig's blood. "Oh god not more of that stuff."

"Give me a mug." He popped open the jar and tilted it into the empty mug, sliding it into the microwave and letting it do its job. Truthfully he could give Buffy some real, not gross human blood. Just because he couldn't drink it didn't mean she couldn't. But he remembered how it was. It was pure glory to drink it but hell and a half to go through withdrawal. She would be better not knowing.

When the timer beeped he slid the jar to the table and took out another small jar mixed with spices he found helped with the stuff. It wasn't much, just a couple of kitchen usuals but it helped.

"Thanks." Buffy took the heated mug now smelling of clove, cinnamon, ginger, and sage. Tentatively she brought it to her lips and took a small sip, a moan she did not mean to sound escaping from her lips. "Oh god."

"Better?"

"Much." Another few gulps and she couldn't stop the noises coming from her. This wasn't just something to dull the ache, it was lighting her brain on fire. Everything just felt so right as the heat of the blood reached her belly and the dizziness set in. "So much."

"Keep making noises like that. We'll give the humans something to listen to."

"Pig." Probably wasn't the right adjective she was looking for based off the noises she was making while drinking the pig's blood.

"Bitch." He smirked back, fully understanding the irony.

As she regretfully finished the glass she knew she had to face the rest of the group so she rinsed it in the sink and grabbed fresh cranberry juice to keep up the disguise. "Well let's go then."

In a matter of moments Buffy was wishing she could leave the little pizza party. Everyone joined around her in the living room, all avoiding asking her the questions that could set her on edge and instead trying to clue her in on all she missed while gone. It didn't really matter to her, though she was curious when Anya kept trying to hint at something big changing and Xander kept trying to shut her up. She was wishing for the fight to happen so she could just slip away unnoticed.

Instead she was forced to sit and listen and nod along until she couldn't stand it anymore. She found her attention being brought back over to Spike, his power coursing over the others, sitting on his own distant from the group just off to the corner, in the dark. Only Willow's power seemed on the same level as his. She was no where near his strength but the power of her witchcraft was evident over the humans surrounding her. Buffy thought she must have just been sensitive to it though, her being her sire and already knowing she was a witch and all.

Still Spike was the one she found herself looking at. Dawn was closest to him, trying to include him in the conversation he didn't want to be a part of. As the thumping noise in the room grew unbearably loud, she found it easy to stare at him and watch him watching them. His eyes were mostly darting around the room, lost in his own thoughts, but eventually he would feel the eyes on him and catch her staring, to which she would promptly look away. Why did she keep getting drawn to him?

After the fourth time he winked and stood and announced that he would be doing everyone's job and go out patrolling, inviting only Buffy along for the ride. The others started to object, something about her health, but before they could even finish a sentence she was saying bye and running out the back door.

They had walked around the main graveyard for a while, not actually running into any trouble, much to their disappointment, so Buffy took the time for the questions that popped into her mind.

"I don't feel anything." Buffy's statement kind of came out of nowhere as they had just been talking about how horrible a movie Buffy found The Princess Diaries to be but Spike could follow, mostly. "Is that normal?"

"What do you mean?"

"Physically I feel. A lot. But I don't feel anything. Other than annoyed really. I mean I feel betrayed and angry but I remember living before. There was something. Something more. Something worth living for. Well not that I'm alive now."

"Makes sense." Spike nodded with his hands balling into fists in his pockets trying not to take her 'something worth living for' as a hint at suicidal thoughts. He wasn't about to lose her again. "You had a purpose before. A fire in your heart, driving you to save everyone and everything. We just need to get that back."

Looking down Buffy turned the wooden stake over in her hands. Funny, it was always her weapon of choice. It always had the ability to kill her but it somehow seemed more of a threat. She had a short list of weaknesses before death and in her unlife that was limited even more. Still, all that power and a piece of bark was now in the top three.

"Not sure I want that exactly. Look where that got me. Saving the world killed me."

"We'll figure it out. Just promise me you won't do anything stupid. No staking yourself or running outside at noon alright?"

"I'm a demon now Spike. I'm not getting back to heaven. I don't plan on killing myself. I really will end up in hell."

"Well aren't you optimistic."

"Oh like you're the poster boy for optimism."

"Well you used to be." His voice dropped dramatically, put out at the thought of his lost Buffy. She was still there, right next to him but he had to remember she wasn't the same. She looked the same, felt the same, talked the same, laughed the same, hell she even smelled like her old self, to a point, but she wasn't the same. Even how she looked at him while the brady bunch were all yapping just made it obvious. She never used to look at him before and especially not with that sense of longing he got from her. That was how he looked at her before she died. He just thought it had to do with her being a new vamp, completely lost. He would have been lost too if it wasn't for Dru. "Optimistic, I mean."

"Sorry." Buffy pouted, a little put off that they had just been chuckling and he could so soon turn his thoughts back to how she used to be. She wasn't that girl anymore. "Being killed can really take that out of you." She stopped walking and pulled Spike to a stop, making him look over at her. "And since I'm stuck this way, I want you to teach me. Teach me vamp things."

"I would think you, being the slayer and all, would already know everything."

"Don't make me kick your ass." She held the stake threateningly in between the two of them.

"Careful slayer. Wood beats vamp every time."

"See, lesson one."

"No, lesson one is never threaten your master."

"So you're my master now huh?" Buffy outright laughed and she noticed how he chuckled too, leading the way on their walk again.

"Like I said, wood beats vamp."

"And you're the wood- oh god. Perverted much?"

"Only for you pet."

"I bet you say that to all the vamps." Without a rebuttal Buffy looked to see if Spike saw something they could hunt but he had his eyes on her, a small smile pressing on his features.

His thoughts turned around the idea that if he couldn't have his perfect human Buffy back, then maybe he could deal with this new vamp version, especially if he had the chance to be around her so much, at least until they figured something out. While she wasn't herself...she kind of was. The love he had for her was starting to blind him to her demon side and he knew it would completely if he didn't stop it right away.

"What?" Buffy asked with a laugh as Spike's smile refused to leave his face.

"Come on." He chuckled, leading another path between the stones. "Let's find you a vamp to kill. You're far too feisty with all that energy."

"I thought you liked me feisty." She called, barley having to jog to catch up to him.

"That I do love. That I do."

Fuck it. He always was love's bitch. If it blinded him, so be it.