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The Curse

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Suddenly, the surroundings were pushing in on her very reality, a reality that was shattered. She could feel powerful hands squeezing her insides and twisting them in circles. She felt a sudden urge to run, to escape this, but she knew there was no place that would be safe. No place was safe from the truth. The tears were coming out in sounds that were foreign to her, sounds that were completely inhuman. It was almost impossible to believe those noises were coming from inside of her, noises that forced their way from her body without her consent. Her tears were like a fountain pouring from her eyes and making their way down her neck, but she did not bother to wipe them away, mainly because she couldn't. Just standing upright was hard enough. She grasped a hold of the wall next to her and buried her face in her frail arm. She collapsed onto the floor, her legs no longer able to hold her up no matter how hard she tried. She felt a sickness that overwhelmed her, and her entire body felt like a trap that she was caught inside of. There was no escape, no life after this, she knew that. This was the end of everything.

"Dawnie, it's going to be okay." A high pitched voice echoed into her ear. She could feel smooth arms wrap around her and pull her tightly against a warm body. Her sister cradled her and tried to comfort her.

"'s...not." She spoke in between dramatic sobs. They were the kind of pathetic sobs that sounded like hiccups.

Dawn buried her face inside of Buffy now and squeezed the slayer's arm so tightly a normal person would scream. Buffy was not normal, so she bore the pain for her sister, pain was something she was used to. Buffy held onto her little sister tightly and tried to be strong for her. This hurt her too, but not nearly as bad as it did Dawn. Buffy had no idea the depth that this was going to destroy her sister, because the slayer was clueless, completely unaware. Their friendship made no sense to her, he was just a demon.

"Dawn I know this hurts now, but he's a vampire..." Buffy offered stroking her sister's hair as she spoke, "he has lived a longer life than any of us have." The excuse seemed perfectly plausible to the slayer, because death was inevitable. She knew a great deal about death.

"No, you don't understand." Dawn screamed and tore herself to her feet. "He can't die!" Her large blue eyes filled with tears as she shook her pretty head back and forth. She spun around and stormed up the stairs to her bedroom. She needed to be alone. Dawn slammed the door behind her and fell to the floor of her bedroom. She curled her body into a ball, clenching her stomach as she lay on the ground. She had never felt this way before, it was worse than when Buffy died, far worse. When Buffy died it was expected-she was the slayer-she lived and breathed death. No one expected her to live long, or even to stay dead long. There was no way to measure the pain Dawn felt now, no way to contain it. It felt like she was dying, like she should die, but she was still breathing, still crying, still alive. Everything she thought she was, no longer made sense. Everything she knew dissipated into nothingness. It was all swirling into the void of this null reality that had befallen upon her.

An hour had passed, of her lying on the floor of her bedroom, feeling the pain tear its way through her existence. She lay on her back facing the ceiling now as she tried to steady her breathing. She could feel an undeniable emptiness inside of her. Why didn't the body give up when the heart did? Why did we continue to live when our soul had so clearly died? Dawn forced herself to her feet and wiped the black makeup from her cheeks as best she could. She knew she had to pull herself together, she was not a quitter. This could not be the end, they had saved the world so many times before and this was just one person...the only person that mattered. No matter how much pain she had endured in her life, she had never given up, and on something this important she had to fight. This was vital to her existence. She clenched her doorknob and opened the door to her bedroom taking in a deep breath. She let it open a crack so she could hear if the Scoobies were still downstairs discussing their next dilemma in hopes of fixing the situation. Just another problem to solve, although the solution seemed far away from their eyes, not hers. She could hear Buffy was in her bedroom talking with Willow, so that meant no one was downstairs. She slid the door open slowly and tried to be as quiet as she could while walking down the stairs. The last thing she wanted was to have to argue with her sister about where she was going. She was an adult and didn't need to hear lectures anymore. This was her decision and it wasn't their fight. Dawn made it to the bottom of the stairs with a slight sigh of relief. She slid her small pale feet into her black sandals. It was simple getting the front door of Summers' home open quietly, she had done it many times before; when she was younger and sneaking out was required, when she was still a kid. So many things come with growing up, and Dawn had to grow up faster than most.

As she walked down the street towards the cemetery, she came to the realization that this might be the last time she made this trip. Her feet were heavy as bricks as she made each step in front of her. Maybe if she went home and ignored everything it wouldn't be real. She knew that was a ridiculous thought. She tried to push her emotions deep inside of her as best she could, so that she could make it to her destination-to her mission. The brunette stood in the middle of the cemetery, for once completely unafraid of what might be creeping in the darkness around her. She welcomed it freely if it would end this pain she felt, this agony. To her slight disappointment she made it safely to the front door of her best friend's crypt. For some reason, when she stood there staring at the door, trying to remember how to breathe, she lost the strength to lift her arms. It seemed impossible to open the door in front of her, like once she did the tiny piece of hope inside her would be ripped away, and she would actually cease to exist. Finally she pushed aside those worries and swung the door open with one last portion of strength. She looked down at her feet as she shut the door behind her, enclosing herself in this place. Maybe they could shut out the rest of the world like they always did before.

When she turned around, she saw him standing there, placing an empty liquor bottle onto a table. It was as if she had never truthfully seen him before in her entire life. This was really him now, because she realized in this moment how much he meant to her. He was her best friend, and no one could fill the place that he had made his home inside of her heart. Dawn could feel her legs weaken and her insides twisting into incurable knots. She felt herself collapse into his arms, and she could no longer hold back tears. The sight of his face made it impossible to keep her composure anymore. She felt his arms wrap around her body, her face was buried in his large chest.

"Shh." Spike pressed his lips to her head as he ran his hand through her hair affectionately. His arms wrapped tightly around her body, brought back memories of a moment so similar-a moment from their past.

"Just let it out, Nibblet," Spike spoke as he held her close, his arms protecting her, sheltering her. "I know it hurts." He held her frail body in his lap, she was just a child and she had suffered so much. Her sister was gone, and she died to save Dawn's life.

"It's my fault, Spike." She spoke around sniffles, as she tried to stifle the tears. "She would still be alive if it weren't for me. I'm just a worthless key." The tears flew freely from her now as she spoke the words she was bottling inside.

"It is not your fault, she did it because she loved you," Spike promised her, and she almost believed him. He was so easy to believe, he was her best friend. No one made sense like he did and no one cared about her like he did.

"Spike?" She looked up into his blue orbs, following the swirls of color with her own eyes. "Promise you won't go anywhere." Her voice was pleading and weak as she wrapped her tiny arms around his body.

"I promise, love." He almost allowed himself to smile at the sound of her beseeching voice. "I am immortal remember," the blonde vampire reminded her softly.

Spike held her like that for hours, until she fell asleep, drenching his black shirt in her salty tears. He wanted so badly to keep her safe, as safe as a demon could keep an angel. He had never wanted so badly to protect someone, he never felt as human as he did when he was around this girl. They spent an entire summer mourning over her sister, and trying to get back to some sense of normalcy. He took care of her that summer, watched over her when the Scoobies failed to. It was easier if they didn't have to watch after a silly little girl, after a key. They were too busy trying to save the world without their hero around-too busy trying to bring Buffy back to life. Spike was the only one who cared enough to be her guardian when all was crumbling. She steadied him, kept him holding on, because he had someone to care for, someone to look after. When the Scoobies looked at Dawn, they saw the creature that stole away their leader, their shining beacon of light. When Spike looked at her, he saw an angel, he saw his best friend. He adored her and he cherished the way she looked at him like he was a man. It was nice to feel admired, nice to feel like someone cared, even if she was just a little girl. It is funny the places we can find comfort, and they found comfort in one another-in their friendship. They filled the empty spaces that needed filling in each other. It was innocent, but it became a friendship that they both needed in their lives. They needed it to survive. To cope with the pain that life could inflict. Even after the Scoobies brought Buffy back to life, Spike and Dawn were inseparable. It was strange how they comforted one another, and just that comfort had led to a deeper connection than anyone understood.

"It's alright, love." Spike wrapped his arms around her tightly, trying to hold her onto her feet. He felt like if he didn't hold on to her, she would fall to the ground.

"How is it alright?" It seemed her tears were coming from a well that was endless. "How will it ever be alright, Spike?" Dawn shrieked, trying not to allow herself to look at his face again. "I can't live without you," she admitted, and it was the truth. Without him, life was meaningless. And although she would continue living, her soul would be dead. Without him, there was no point-one could not survive without their other half.

"Yes, you can!" Spike sounded angry now as he grasped a hold of Dawns shoulders, making her look at him. "Dawn if I know that you won't go on after..." He paused, unable to speak the words, unable to say it because he knew she couldn't hear it. "I am alright with this Dawn, but if you don't live for me, I can't be alright with it, do you understand?" His voice was demanding, he needed her to hear this, needed her to understand.

"I don't know that I can, Spike." She looked into his sapphire blue eyes, when she looked into his eyes everything else fell around her. "Everything that's happened, I couldn't have survived without you..." She bit her bottom lip to prevent it from trembling. "How am I supposed to get through this without you with me?" It was a question that made complete sense to both of them. They consoled one another through everything that brought them pain. When they needed piecing back together after they had been broken, they sought each others healing hands.

"You don't bloody well need me Dawn." Spike cupped the side of her small face gently with his large hand. "You are stronger than you realize." His thumb stroked the softness of her cheek.

"I'm strong because of you." She shut her eyes tightly and more tears slid down her cheeks. Her face was a beat red mess of black makeup and saline tears. "Why is this happening Spike?" She asked forcing her eyes open now.

"I've made a lot of mistakes in my life, pet," he replied, removing his hand from her cheek and letting it rest on her shoulder. "But being your friend was the only thing I can say I did right. Thank you for that." His voice was just above a whisper. He believed that to be true, their friendship was the best thing he had done in his un-life, maybe her purity would save him from hell. She looked like darkness, but smelled like light and sunshine. She was his little contradiction, his piece of perfection.

"I can't do this." Her eyes fluttered, her face was twisted in pain. "I can't say goodbye to you." Dawn shook her head back and forth.

"You don't have to." Spike gave her a crooked smile. "I know that no one else can remember me the way you will."

"I won't let you die." She stressed her words, it was impossible to make anyone understand. How could they understand that letting him go, letting him die, was not an option? If he died, she was certain she would die with him. She felt a desperation eating at her insides until she could barely see straight anymore.

Dawn believed in him, she would give up everything to keep him alive. She begged God to let them trade places, she would give up anything and she meant that. She would die for him to live; she had never felt the need to keep someone alive so desperately. She knew if she felt this empty just knowing she would lose him that the pain she felt when he was actually dead would be beyond anything anyone had ever felt. She was so sure of that.

"Spike, if you were in my place right now, and you could save me, would you do anything?" Dawn asked him, clenching her jaw tight. She felt an urge to swallow but her throat was too dry.

"You know that I would, pet." Spike raised one scarred eyebrow. "And I know you would do that same, but there is nothing we can do," Spike tried to convince her of what he knew to be the truth.

"You're wrong." Her voice cracked as she spoke. Dawn grabbed the back of Spikes head and pulled his lips into hers in one desperate motion. Her lips were pleading as she forced the kiss upon him. This was her only shot-her one last chance-to save them both.

"Nibblet, what are you doing?" Spike grasped her shoulders again, holding her back. His eyes were filled with confusion, as he peered down at her. He could still taste her on his lips and it made his focus weary.

"Spike, you know what I'm doing." Dawn spoke diminished now; she knew she couldn't do this. She was just a silly girl, she could never accomplish anything. She wasn't worth anything, she knew that. Still there was a voice inside of her screaming for her to succeed, to be more than the weak girl they all knew. To get what she wanted, what she needed, for once in her life. Everything inside of her was begging her to follow through, begging her to be the hero. Dawn tugged at his shirt and pressed her mouth to his once again, this time she gave it everything she had. She kissed him with a desperation that was unparalleled. She kissed him like the world depended on it, and to her it did. If she couldn't convince him that he wanted this, then she had failed again, failed at something more important than saving the world from hell. This she would truly consider as a failure.

"Dawn..." Spike's breathing was coming out in pants as their lips parted. No matter how he tried to push her away before, this kiss was nothing he had ever experienced in his many years of living. He had been with women who had plenty of experience and this was different, this was filled with a need that made it undeniably passionate. It was as if nothing before this kiss made any sense, nor did anything after, and it didn't have to. "Why..." Spike opened his eyes from the dream she had shoved him into. When he woke from the dream, suddenly he realized what she was doing. It made sense to him now as he stared at the reckless girl's desperate eyes. The hunger inside them was mixed with something deeper than desire. He knew why she came; he knew why she kissed him with such an unguarded passion.

"What's wrong?" The brunette's crystal blue eyes wandered back and forth across his face, searching for a sign. She could see he was pulling away again, but she couldn't understand why. She knew he had kissed her back. She could feel him tug at her like he needed this too-needed it almost as much as she did.

"Not like this." Spike shook his head, his eyebrows furrowed into a deep line. "I'm no fool, love, I know what this is." The blonde's voice was deep and not as tender as it usually was when he spoke to her. He hated sympathy, especially when it was coming to him in this form. Spike knew the taste of deceit well; he just never expected to taste it on her lips.

"What do you mean?" Her voice was pleading as she reached for his arm, trying to destroy the distance he had put between them.

"You can't lie to me, Nibblet." Spike was right; she never could lie to him. "So, Buffy told you how I can be saved from this curse." His voice reflected with a profound bitterness. He could tell simply by her reaction that he was right. It couldn't be so wonderful that she was here based on her own desires, he didn't deserve that. She was just here trying to do the right thing, trying to save her best friend.

"She told me you're going to walk into the sun as soon as it rises." Dawn cringed at the thought of Spike turning into dust. She could picture herself standing beside him, holding his hand as the sun scorched his skin; the heat burning her hand as she held onto him without wavering. She felt that would be their not-so-distant future if she could not convince him to save himself. "I'm not sure who cursed you, or why..." Her voice trailed off into a meek whisper as she stared down at the cold cement floor below her feet.

"Drusilla..." Spike snarled, not daring himself to look Dawn in the eyes. "She has some old friend, some demon that she is shacked up with, who grants curses," Spike explained. "There have to be certain opportunities to survive the curse, but they are always nearly impossible to get out of." He didn't wait for her to ask, he knew her well enough to know that she would want to know everything. "And you know just how I am supposed to get out of this curse don't ya, pet?" He stared at her, his eyes demanding that she tell the truth.

"Yes, I know." Dawn admitted. The last thing she wanted was for Spike to know why she really came here. Didn't want for him to think she was simply rescuing him from his dismal fate. It was much more than that, she just wanted to make him realize what this meant to her. Buffy had told her everything, told her about the curse that had been imposed on Spike. She knew that he would walk into the harsh light of the sun, the moment it rose into the sky. She knew nothing could stop him once the moment had passed, no matter how strong the forces holding him back were. Dawn also knew the details about how he could escape this fate, escape this death. He had to find a virgin sacrifice, a young innocent willing to give herself up to him. He needed to take her innocence, and her life force, her blood. A small amount of blood was enough; it was more symbolic than anything, symbolic of her giving herself to him completely and openly. The one thing Dawn did not realize was that she had to be in love with him, completely and really in love. If not, then it wouldn't work, it wouldn't change anything. He would still walk into the sun.

"Is that really why you came here?" Spike narrowed his eyes, slightly disgusted. He couldn't imagine his girl committing such an act.

"You would do far more to save my life," Dawn reminded him, her voice somber. She stepped closer again, trying to close the empty space between them. Her eyes welled up with tears, coating the blue irises with a film of water.

"It's far too much for you to give away." Spike grabbed her shoulders gently. "Pet, I have done some things I would never want you to know about. I have been a bad, bad man, and although there was a time I would take your offer gladly, being your friend has changed me. I can't take what I have not earned, what's not mine to possess. You deserve so much more, and you don't realize what you're offering, what you'd be giving up. My sins are mine to bear, and I can't ask you to bear them for me." It was obvious that Spike had made up his mind completely.

"Spike, don't you understand? Maybe this is the whole point! Maybe this is why I have waited so long." The brunette looked up at him, trying to choose her words wisely. She felt like she was in front of a jury, pleading for her life, except she was begging for his survival. "Maybe I was meant to save you. Maybe I'm not just some worthless key...maybe this is my destiny." She closed her large eyes and pursed her lips into a straight line.

"And maybe this is mine." Spike touched her face gently. He could cope with his life being over. He could confront with his fate of walking into the sun, but he could not face hurting her in any way-she was the only thing in his life he was sure about. He just wanted her to stop fighting him. Just being able to spend his last night with her was enough for him. He would not change his mind about this decision, because she did not realize what she was asking.

"Why is this such a big deal to you?" Dawn hollered, her voice was furious now. She was mad at him because she knew he would not waver. "It means nothing to me!" She cried, slapping her chest with her open hand.

"That is exactly why I won't let you give it up so easily." Spike cupped her face in both of his hands and pressed his forehead gently against hers. "It needs to mean something to you. It needs to be special, Nibblet." Spike looked into her eyes without changing his gaze.

"But if it will save your life, it would mean everything to me." As Dawn spoke, one stray tear slipped from her eye and slid onto Spikes cold hand.

"Pet, let's not spend my last night on this bloody earth arguing over this." Spike moved one hand down her face and wrapped it around the back of her neck. His thumb slid up around her ear lobe, stroking it lightly. "Can't we just enjoy our time together?" Spike asked. "That would make me happy."

"Mm hmm." She closed her eyes and another tear slid down her cheek. Spike wiped it away with his thumb that had been stroking her ear lobe. She hated that she couldn't stop crying, but thinking of losing him made it impossible to keep her emotions at bay.

"You're not going to let this go yet, are you?" Spike half-smiled at her relentlessness. He loved that she never gave up on him, and he secretly admired her for caring about him so much. She was braver than any woman he had ever known. The fact that she cared about him so much that she would sacrifice something so important was the very reason why he would never let her.

"For now, I will," she admitted. Spike reached down and covered her hand with his. He pulled her over to his couch and they sat down together on the large comfy sofa. Spike held his arm up so that she could lean her frail body against his chest. She took in a deep breath at the feel of her body resting against his. She would miss this, miss when he held her close.

"I think I saw there was a marathon of that cheesy show you used to like..." Spike picked up the controller. "What was it called? Oh yeah-Dawson's Creek." He chuckled and clicked the buttons until he came to the right channel.

"I haven't seen this since I was 15." She couldn't help but smile. It brought back so many memories. Of course, she hadn't seen the show in 3 years and she had certainly outgrown it. This was still nice. It made her think of all the times she would sit on his couch and watch their favorite shows together, taking turns. Dawn still couldn't focus on enjoying a television show when all she could think of was Spike's life ending. She had time; it was hours before sunrise, but she felt like every second counted. Like no matter how much time they had, it would never be enough. She would always want one more- one more touch, one more smile-just one more.

"I love you, pet," Spike whispered into her ear, so quietly she almost couldn't hear him. "I'm gonna miss you so much." He pressed his lips to the top of her head and breathed in the scent of her hair. Its lilac fragrance filled his nose.

"I'll never forget you, Spike." Dawn buried her face into his chest as she wrapped her arms around him. "No one will ever compare to you," she promised. And she meant it. There was no way anyone could take his place, or ever measure-up to what he meant to her. "If you could have anything right now, what would it be?" She asked him, looking up into his smoldering blue orbs. She always asked him questions like that. She got to the core of things, asking the questions no one would care to ask.

There were so many things Spike wanted at that moment, but only one thing he could think to say out loud. "One goodbye kiss." He peered down at her with a glint in his eyes. He could ask her for that-just a kiss-it was innocent. He wanted to feel her lips against his, wanted to kiss her like no one had ever kissed her before. "Only if you want to." Spike's face was calm and sure.

"Okay." Dawn nodded nervously. She wanted to give him so much more than just one kiss. If this was all he wanted, she had to stop being so selfish. She was fighting for him with everything she had, and it still wasn't enough. If this was what he wanted, how could she deny him that? Still everything inside of her was screaming to fight.

This kiss would be his last, and he would make it count. He thought about the fact that Dawn would be his last kiss, and to him, no one else could fill that role like she could. Spike leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. The sparks surged through both of them like a live wire. The intensity and passion between them was undeniable, and humanly impossible. Their lips tangled in a dance that was better than anything either of them experienced before. There was something between them that was deeper than attraction. Spike drew his mouth from hers slowly, their faces still touching as their lips parted. They both could still see the lights in the others eyes, swirling around in an inviting dance. They looked into each others eyes and saw a moment that they wished to capture and hold onto. It almost felt like this could last forever, if they never left each others gaze, and the sun would never rise. They felt like they could stop the sun, and a part of them felt like they would.

Dawn could feel the words rising from inside of her, could feel them pushing against the edge of her lips. Her breathing was impossible, the more she tried to hold her breath, the more panicked she grew. She bit her bottom lip trying to hold the words inside of her, trying to cage them. The way he looked down at her from those deep-set, smoldering blue eyes, made her thankful she was already sitting down.

"Make love to me?" Dawn's request cut the silence like a razor sharp blade. Her voice was quiet, but utterly confident and unfaltering. It was clear that there was no doubt now, and the desperation was different.

"Dawn...I..." Spike's voice sounded shaky as he stuttered over his words. Her confidence frightened him and confused him.

"No..." Dawn shook her head, looking down at her hands, which were intertwining with Spike's. "Don't make love to me because it will save your life." She locked her eyes with his now, holding onto him, pulling him back into the dream. "Make love to me because it's your last night alive. I want to know that there is nothing else you would rather be doing tonight. I want to know that you can't let go, unless were together, like this." Her eyes flickered with tears that she held inside. "I want to feel like you can't accept that we have never gone there. Make love to me Spike, because you want to, and because I need you to." There was a softness in her eyes that was impossible to understand.

Spike couldn't help but draw his eyes to her luscious ruby lips. It was hard to think about anything else but the trance she pulled him into. In the back of his mind he knew he should take a step back, but he was deep inside her spell and there was no escape. Everyone had kept her as that same innocent little girl in their minds, but she was no longer that girl. Dawn had become an alluring and complex woman. There was something about her that he could not put his finger on, although he wanted so badly to grab hold of it with both hands.

He slowly slid his hand up the length of the bare skin on her arm. She couldn't understand why just the way his hand felt against her skin left her completely unhinged. She may have been inexperienced but she knew that it was not like this for everyone, or no one would ever leave their bedrooms. For a moment she wondered if he felt that same spark when he touched her, a large part of her knew he did. His hand continued upward sliding around her shoulder, as he grasped the thin black spaghetti strap of her shirt. His eyes were intently focused on what he was doing with his hand, while Dawn was trying to keep her eyes from rolling dangerously back into her head. Spike slid his hand underneath her shirt strap, and twisted it around his fingers. He licked his lips as he pulled the strap over her shoulder and tugged it down revealing the top of her breast. He seemed to be dragging every motion out slowly and dramatically with intent. Spike tensed his jaw as he peered at her bare skin; he leaned in and pressed his cold lips against the satiny skin just above her breast. Then he lightly moved the tip of his tongue from one end of her collar bone to the other. Dawn's breath caught in her throat, as she tried to stifle a loud moan in reaction to what he was doing to her, he was truly skilled at this.

The anticipation was consuming her, the inability to tell exactly what he would do next.

Spike began tracing kisses up her neck, suckling at the skin; he could smell the warm blood rising underneath the surface. His hands drifted up either side of her arms and continued to glide around her back. Their eyes met once again with a union of blue vortexes interlocking in a trance. Every motion made her feel like she was going to burst with overwhelming intensity. He crushed her mouth with his once again, crumpling the fabric of her shirt in both of his hands at the same time. Suddenly he tore a line straight down the back of the material, and then pulled it from her body tossing it to the ground. Dawn couldn't help but gasp, she never imagined someone with the fortitude to actually destroy her clothes. He lifted her body from the couch with ease and she complied by wrapped her legs around his waist, naturally. It was all happening so fast, but she did not want to hesitate or she feared he would pull away. Dawn needed him to realize that she wanted this, so she let go of her inhibitions and gave into what her body was so clearly craving.

Spike grasped her firm butt with both hands as he carried her across the small open room to his destination, finally placing her onto the bed. He then slid his usual black t-shit over his head, revealing his incredibly chiseled form. Dawn slid her hand up the length of his solid chest, running her small fingers over what felt like an open flame. With a mix of fire and unchaste intensity she met his eyes with her own. Maybe it was the fact that this was his last night alive, or maybe it was his realization that he had always wanted her, but he was through saying 'no' to her requests. He placed both hands on either side of her on the bed, snaking his body on top of hers. Spike pulled her into him by wrapping his arm around her back and thrusting her body against his. The feel of her naked chest pushing against his was unnerving. His cold skin touching her own made her nearly lose contact with any semblance of reality. Spike began slowly fondling the button on her jeans, he slid his thumb underneath the curve of the button and with one quick motion popped it off, sending it flying over her head. It brought an anxious smile to her freshly-kissed cherry lips. Her azure eyes followed every movement that he made in complete admiration. He slid her pants down the length of her long legs, and before she knew it, they were somewhere across the dark room. Almost like the further away from her they were the less chance she had of putting them back on, besides the fact that they were recently destroyed. Her underwear were his next mission, it seemed he would not stop until she was naked, that was the general idea. He stared down at her completely naked body, and the deer-in-headlights look on her precious face and he couldn't help but grin.

"Perfect." His eyes held an unguarded smile as he looked her up and down, devouring every inch of her. Dawn ducked her head to hide her now-flushed bright pink cheeks. He had never been so generous and affectionate with a woman before. Dawn was special.

The way their lips, hands and flesh all mingled and intertwined, almost made it feel like this was happening in a completely different reality: one where Spike was not cursed, where they were both human, where they were in love. It seemed foolish, but it was actually easy to pretend when he was holding her, kissing her, making love to her. This moment was as perfect in her mind as it could possibly be, because nothing about their lives was perfect. It was evident they fit together-like every touch, every kiss, was meant to be-they made sense. This night was full of welcomed surprises, of learning about one another in ways they never imagined. Spike, who was always rough and hard with women, was as gentle as he knowingly could be with Dawn. He didn't mind her digging her nails deep into his skin, leaving bloody scratches in her wake. In actuality this would not save Spike from turning into a pile of dust, because Spike knew she was not in love him the way she needed to be, so it was not enough. Dawn was completely clueless to that minor detail, so part of her had hope, a vain hope. It didn't matter if he didn't make it through the morning, because they needed this, this proper goodbye. This finale realization, even if it was almost too late. They were best friends, and now onetime lovers. He was her first and she would be his last.

Dawn lay, nestling her face into the comforting place in the bend of his neck. The smell of her hot breath was clouding his senses and overwhelming his desire for her blood. Dawn looked up at him from her long eyelashes, and she brought her lips into a warm smile. She reached her skinny long arm up and presented her sacrificial wrist to his lips. Spike couldn't help but breathe in the delicious scent of her partially inhuman blood. He could smell the key in her blood, the burning hot ball of energy she once was, and he could smell the slayer, smell Buffy. He also smelled a mix of something else, a scent that was just Dawn. The combination made for an intoxicating bouquet that he had to fight to deny sampling. Spike turned to face her with a pained look on his menacing features.

"I want you to." She promised, pulling him in once again from her large blue orbs. She remained holding her wrist to his face reverently. This, in her mind, put the finishing touches on his survival, but it meant even more than that.

Spike looked into her demanding eyes. This was a night of firsts for them and who was he to cut it short? He had never drunk from a human for any purpose other than draining them and Dawn had never been on the reciprocating end of a blood exchange that meant something to her. They both shied away from human affection, both for such different reasons, yet not so different at all. He licked his anxious lips and then with ease his face changed, revealing his vampire form. His demon face held no torment for her, no fear; she loved his face, bumps and all. Spike pressed his eager mouth to her soft wrist, he gently sunk his fangs into her tender flesh. Dawn let out a slight whimper and buried her face into his chest. She allowed the smell of him to envelop her senses, the smell of cigarettes, liquor and his sweat and a bit of hers, all mingling together. As he sucked the blood from the surface of her newly punctured skin, Dawn felt a rush of unbelievable emotions. It surprised her how intoxicating it felt, almost like being drunk but without any of the bad feelings. Even as he was drawing the very life force from her shell, she felt euphoric and completely trusting. She tipped her head back in a wild abandon, as he continued slowly suckling at the delectable blood. She tasted better than she smelled, and like nothing he had ever imagined. Something in the taste savored of slayer and something else that he suspected was the key in her blood, but the combination surprised him. Spike almost had to struggle to pull his mouth away from her wrist. As he pulled away releasing his game face, he could feel the aftermath of her blood, it closely mimicked the feeling of being drugged. He rested back against the head board, trying to steady himself. Dawn pressed her lips against his chest affectionately and then leaned her head against her hand as she looked at him.

"Tastes like someone spiked the punch." The blonde took in one deep breath and then looked at Dawn who was half smiling.

"What do you mean?" She asked meekly, still slightly caught up in the feeling of him drinking from her.

"Your blood, Nibblet. It a drug." Spike's blue eyes widened in attempt to stay focused. It was not so strong that is was unpleasant, he quite enjoyed it.

"Really?" Dawn let a gleaming smile make its home on her angelic face. She was exceedingly pleased with herself at this moment.

"Mm hmm. I just might get addicted." He flashed her a devilish grin and licked his lips. He reached across the table and grabbed a cigarette and his lighter. Spike slid the smoke in between his lips with the hand that wasn't wrapped around Dawn. He began flicking the lighter coaxing the sparks to catch fire to the end of the cigarette. Dawn watched the flame grow brighter as he inhaled from the white stick. She paid close attention to the way his jaw tensed and his unusually high cheekbones became even more prominent as he sucked at the cigarette. She imagined there was no one else like him, in every way possible. It was more than his unnatural good looks, it was everything about him: his surprising and witty way with words, his sometimes offbeat humor, and the fact that deep inside he had a really big heart. She disregarded his natural penchant for disaster and viciousness, although a small part of her found admiration in his cruel art. She admired it in the poetic way he sought (and quite often found) vengeance.

"Wow, it's getting late." Dawn yawned loudly as she looked outside. There was a slight release of sunlight, but not enough to call it daybreak. She felt immense relief at the thought that Spike would be saved from death. To her current knowledge she had actually done it- she had succeeded for once in her life-done something right.

Spike felt otherwise as he peered at the thin essence of sunlight in the sky. It was his demise. He knew this was not enough to save him from becoming a pile of dust, but he did not know how to tell Dawn. The fact that she would have to watch him burn made his un-beating heart ache. He would be able to hear her mourn as he faced the end of his un-life. Spike was not afraid of the pain, he had suffered much worse and the sunlight was something he had an unbelievable endurance to. The thought of it being over, in all honesty, did not bring him much sorrow. He had lived more than anyone could ask for, and unlike some people, Spike had truly lived. The only thought that plagued him with an immeasurable agony, was the thought of Dawn. She would suffer because of this, and he knew that. He could barely grasp the reason why she cared so much but he knew she did. He had never been truly afraid of anything, it was almost his downfall. He jumped headfirst into anything his blood led him to. He was he was petrified, of losing her, of never seeing her face again, because they both belonged at different ends of the ending. She was an angel; she belonged in perfect happiness, in heaven. He wasn't sure anything could redeem him from the sins he had committed, from the pain he inflicted. If anyone could rescue him from his path that lay before him, it would be her in all her purity. But it was too late for that; his transgressions were already catching up to him faster than she could combat. But even to the last second; she fought for him, which gave him a sense of misguided joy.

Spike looked at her perfect features and couldn't help but smile. She brought a smile where others failed to do so. She was everything he never imagined he would want in a woman, and she was the first woman he had ever truly loved. In the past, he thought he knew what love felt like, but now he realized he was unforgivably wrong. He believed that love was sharp and gut-wrenching, made up of boiling blood and distrust. He realized now that love was pure and fulfilling, that it meant wanting the person you loved to find happiness no matter where they found it. In well over 100 years of living, he had never known what true love was, until the day he was fixed to die. Only in death do we truly learn how to live. Spike had learned that lesson once before, the day he was sired, and he truly grasped its meaning now.

He could smell the sun begin to make its journey across the horizon. There was a fear and anticipation itching inside of him. The curiosity of what it would be like, of what the sun scorching and cleansing him would bring. A part of him searched for something- maybe it was prayer-for the first time in his un-life. He thought of his only worry, Dawn, and how much he wanted her to be free from pain. He knew this day would bring her unimaginable heartache, and he feared for her. He held her tighter as he became aware of the sun rising higher. As a vampire, he had experience with knowing where the sun was at all times. When it got close to its destination, he knew to take cover, but now he would be forced to stand and face his demise head on. He snapped his eyes shut tight and breathed in the scent of her skin. He tried to memorize the way her body felt against his, the sounds she made, each little moan, and everything he felt when she smiled at him. The way she could make his breathing rapid when he no longer even needed to breathe. The way she could make him feel things in a heart that no longer beat. Just the way she made him feel alive.

"Mmm...the sun's up," Dawn yawned and stretched her body out on top of his dramatically. She had rolled herself completely on top of him now, with a vague hint of a smile in her eyes.

Spike cringed when she spoke the words, yet part of him felt at ease with her scent surrounding him completely. He knew at any moment he would not be able to control his body, or to control his movements. He would be forced to search for the light of the sun and he would be forced to say goodbye to the love of his life. Any moment, the first true happiness he had reached would be no more. But as Spike clenched onto her beautiful body, one he wished he had time to become more acquainted with, that dreaded moment never came. He waited to turn into a dancing puppet and for the taste of her salty tears, but he just lay there underneath the weight of her body. He could smell the sun in the sky, telling him it was daybreak, but he was still alive. That moment never came, nor would it ever come. Dawn wrapped her arms around his neck and peered down at him from soulful, penetrating blue eyes.

"So, where do we go from here, Spike?" she asked, her lips parting into a dazzling smile so bright that the sun bore no comparison.