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Authors Chapter Notes:
Okay this is my first fic and my first chapter. I've been posting on another Spuffy site but figured I should spread it around to get a broader opinion on my writing. Constructive criticism is welcomed as well as any thoughts readers might have. If you spot any problems let me know.

Chapter 1

It was awkward for both of them, yet neither wanted to leave.

Spike didn’t quite know what he should do. Seconds ago he’d come here determined to kill her, regardless of the blinding headache it would cause. Shotgun in hand he found her sitting on the back steps, unarmed and unprepared. All he needed to do was aim and fire and the bitch would be gone, unable to torment him any longer.

That was before she looked up at him with tears in her eyes. She had to have noticed the shotgun but all she had done was asked him ‘What do you want now?’

At first he tried to ignore it, carry out what he came here to do, but the sight of the Slayer in tears threw him. Her voice, too, was off. Although she had spoken harshly in that ‘I don’t have time for this Spike’ tone she was so fond of, it hadn’t been her determined Slayer voice he’d heard, it was Buffy’s. A broken Buffy, tired and upset, a woman hanging on by a thread that was just about to break. All his anger and bitterness faded at the sight of the woman he knew he loved and could never have really harmed sitting in front of him.

“What’s wrong?” he heard himself say.

Buffy seemed surprised by his question before looking away.

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

She tried to hide her face from him but the tears were still there. Unsure of what he should do, but knowing he couldn’t walk away from her like this Spike sat down next to her, placing his shotgun beside him, leaving just enough space between them that she didn’t feel crowded.

Buffy didn’t seem to know what to do in this situation herself. He wasn’t going to leave now she knew, but she couldn’t go back in the house again. Not yet. She chose to just ignore him. It was nice to not be alone even though it was Spike. She didn’t want to be seen crying but he had snuck up on her and there was no hiding it from him now. Why bother telling him to leave? It never seemed to work anyway.

Spike studied her. He knew he was the last person she wanted around but she hadn’t told him to go away and despite what she felt about him, he loved her and she was upset. He couldn’t stop himself from trying to comfort her. Tentatively, he reached out a hand and patted her gently on the shoulder.

His touch shocked her and she raised her head up, refusing to look at him but stunned by his nervous attempt to comfort her. Her lip trembled and tears threatened to pour from her again at his closeness. She fought a strong urge to throw herself into his arms and burst into tears. She needed someone to tell her it would be okay. To hold her as she sobbed her heart out and keep her grounded as she fell apart at the news that her mother was sick and might actually be dying. But she was the Slayer, she needed to be strong and focus, nothing could break her down, she couldn’t afford to lose it now. And neither could Buffy. She had to hold it together for her Mom and for Dawn. They were relying on her and she wasn’t going to let them down.

Besides this was Spike. Once her mortal enemy and now a neutered vampire whose purpose lately had been to be an enormous pain in her ass, only helping out when paid to or beaten up badly enough. He was only helping her because he could hurt demons and since he couldn’t feed off of humans any more he had to take his love of violence out on something. That and he knew she might stake him if he didn’t give her reason not to. Even tonight, she had paid him for information about the slayers he’d killed. If that wasn’t a reminder that he was a brutal murderer whose only purpose in coming back to Sunnydale was to bag his third slayer she didn’t know what was. But now he was sitting beside her and offering his support, as if they were close friends. It confused her but she was too worried about her mother’s illness to care right now, so she let him comfort her.

It only lasted a few seconds before he took his hand away. He knew he’d been overstepping his boundaries and he didn’t want to push it but she had accepted what he’d offered and if he was honest with himself that scared him. The Slayer he knew wouldn’t have let him near her, harmless or not. She especially wouldn’t have wanted him to see her crying or let him touch her. The fact that she had had clued him in that something was seriously wrong in her life.

He knew she’d been worried about that vampire staking her. It was a close call and what he’d said tonight about death being her art and that she wished for it had thrown her. Still she had reminded herself pretty damn quick that he wasn’t something to fear when she’d pushed him to the ground and informed him he was beneath her. Almost instantly the Big Bad persona he had spent so many years building had dissolved and he was back to being poncy William, the bloody awful poet who’d had his heart ripped out by the woman he’d openly confessed his feelings to back when he still had a heart that beat. God he hadn’t changed at all had he?

Regardless of what she may have been feeling earlier he guessed that wasn’t what had her in such a mess now. She made no move to turn him away or go back inside, instead just sitting with him and he couldn’t help but smile slightly at being so close to her when she was so vulnerable.

He spent every night, or rather day in his case, fantasising about her, about being with her, fighting her, shagging her and sometimes just talking with her. It didn’t matter as long as he was with her. As soon as the sun set he would go out and check on her, follow her around and watch as she patrolled, sometimes stepping in pretending to be the hero, even though he knew she could take care of herself, then when she was at home he would spend hours by the tree under her window, imagining her getting dressed before bed, if she was with soldier boy he would torture himself listening to them having sex, imagining that the half-hearted cries she made were real screams for him. He looked up at the barely visible stars as he thought about how completely buggered he was. He couldn’t just be him anymore. Everything was about her.

They sat there silently for what seemed like hours before Buffy spoke. It was so soft it was barely a hoarse whisper but after so long in silence it was like a shout and he started at the sound, whipping his head around to look at her.

‘It’s my Mom. She’s sick; all those headaches she said were nothing might be something. I came home tonight to find her packing. She’s going to the hospital for tests, a cat scan; they’re going to keep her overnight.’

She said all this while still staring straight ahead. The tears had stopped and she finally felt like she could speak without starting to cry again. She wasn’t quite sure why she confided in him. Maybe because he had tried to be there for her, because he was still here, because she felt if she didn’t talk about it to someone she’d implode. She could feel his eyes on her, knew he was looking at her with his head tilted and half hidden by the collar of his coat. He said nothing, just looked at her, waiting for her to continue. She took a deep breath before speaking again.

“I don’t know what to do. There’s nothing I can do. My Mom is….she’s hurting….she’s in trouble and there isn’t anything I can do to stop it.”

Choking back a sob, she took another deep breath and raised her hands up to hold her hair back from her face, elbows on her knees, forcing back the tears that were threatening to spill over her again. She realised she was shaking from the effort, but she wouldn’t cry again, she wouldn’t.

Spike looked on as she fought for control. The news about Joyce had upset him too he realised, although he didn’t show it. He really liked the lady, liked all the Summers women actually, and not just because of Buffy. Joyce and Dawn never made him feel like a monster, not that he knew much about Dawn but Joyce had always offered him a cup of hot chocolate when he needed it and listened as he poured his heart out about Dru. No wonder Buffy was in such a state, if her Mum’s illness was serious enough to warrant a cat scan it didn’t look good. Buffy felt helpless and thanks to those Initiative wankers Spike knew all about helplessness. It wasn’t a nice feeling, especially for a master vampire like him and he couldn’t imagine it was much better for a slayer either.

He started to speak but had to clear his throat when all that came out was a hoarse whisper from spending so long in silence. He tried again.

“When…um…do you have to go?”

She sat up straight again and sighed, her voice still shaky as she answered.

“First thing in the morning. Dawn’s spending the night with her friend. I’ll collect her on the way to take her to the hospital to visit Mom.”

He nodded then thoughtfully.

“She’ll be fine Buffy, really she will. You Summers women are tough an’ I should know.”

“My Mom’s not a slayer Spike.”

“No, but she doesn’t have to be. Don’t you remember parent teacher night? When she hit me over the head with an axe an’ told me to get the hell away from you? Bloody scary she was an’ I was the Big Bad vamp without a chip in his head back then.”

Buffy couldn’t help a grin from spreading across her face at the memory and she let out a small choked laugh.

“Yeah, you were pretty scared looking all right, you were all set to bag your third slayer ‘til she showed up. Nothing fazed you about fighting me but Mom with an axe and you run off as fast as you can.”

She laughed again thinking how ridiculous it had been, she was at his mercy but faced with both of them he had decided it was better to turn tail and run. She’d never been happier to have her mother around as she was right then. It didn’t seem to matter that she was the Slayer then, she was a scared girl and her mother had saved her. She remembered Joyce’s words then. ‘No one hurts my little girl.’ God she couldn’t lose her, she wasn’t ready for that, she needed her mother.Spike was right though. Joyce was tough; she would beat this, wouldn’t she?

Spike could see her change in attitude from humour to sadness and then back to worry. He was glad he’d made her laugh, made her smile. That never happened because of him and he felt overwhelmingly happy that for just an instant he had cheered her up.

“She’s real special your Mum. The way she made me cups of hot chocolate with those little marshmallows and listened to me pour my heart out over Dru even though she’d only met me the once and it was when she found out vamps were real and you had to go fight the great poof to save the world. Lot to take in but she dealt and she accepted me even after so long. Considering the circumstances I wouldn’t have expected her to be so friendly.”

Buffy looked at him then, curiosity evident on her face.


She studied him a moment longer and he shifted uncomfortably under her gaze.

“Seriously, what?”

“Why did you sit there drinking hot chocolate and talking with my Mom? You had access to our house; she trusted you and you didn’t try to kill her. Why?”

“Was waiting for you to show up wasn’t I. Knew you’d rush right over. Needed your help getting that stuff for the spell and wasn’t going to get it if I offed your Mum was I?”

“Okay so you couldn’t kill her, doesn’t mean you had to sit there chatting like old friends. My Mom’s no agony aunt Spike. I expected you to have her tied up at least.”

“Yeah well, to be honest us havin’ a cosy chat wasn’ what I had in mind either. Jus’ was upset over Dru. I was a complete mess then Slayer you know that. Had a chat with Red about it too. Guess I felt like talkin’ to anyone who’d listen. Your mum was been all nice, soon as she asked how I’d been it all came out, next thing I know she’s offerin’ hot chocolate and consoling me. Reckon that’s why I could never hurt her. Never met a woman like her before, strong, caring, and accepting. Gotta admire that about her.”

Buffy felt tears rising again but fought them back. She realised the new swell of emotion wasn’t sadness at the thought that the woman Spike was describing might disappear from her life, rather it was that he had seen her Mom that way. Her once mortal enemy knew what kind of person Joyce was and he cared about her. Those qualities were exactly what Buffy loved about her Mom too and what she hoped to be like. The fact that her Mom could have affected an evil vampire like that was amazing, that the vampire in question was a little odd, wait, more than a little, he was seriously weird, was beside the point. Spike didn’t have a chip or a soul back then, he could have easily killed her mother whenever he felt like it but he hadn’t because he liked her.

Spike was a confusing vamp for sure, she found herself thinking. All the little habits he had and the quirks they’d discovered while holding him hostage when he first got the chip had amazed her and the gang, Giles especially. There was nothing in the Watcher’s diaries hinting that vamps watched television, ate food when they only needed blood to survive or listened to punk music when they were turned way before that sort of stuff existed. He was an anomaly and Buffy had no doubt that if he wasn’t such an annoying, evil pig, Giles would have taken the time to study him and find out all he could about vamp culture. Angel had never hinted at anything like a vamp having an interest in pop culture or doing anything besides feeding and causing havoc. Okay she really shouldn’t be comparing Spike and Angel. Angel had a soul and Spike was evil still, neutered or not.

But he was here, with her, comforting her, and cheering her up. What the hell was happening here?

“You know I had been wondering that actually.”

Buffy looked at him thoroughly confused and wondering if she had been thinking out loud.


He looked at her with his head tilted as though he was pondering something.

“That permanent invite I seem to have to your house.”

Oh, she thought. Then her eyes widened dramatically. Oh!

He hurried to reassure her, scared she was going to flip at realising her enemy was free to enter her home, rightfully so he couldn’t help admitting, although not for the reason she thought, and reach for a stake.

“Not that you have anything to worry about Slayer, I mean hello, chipped remember? Couldn’t hurt any of you if I wanted to, which I don’t of course, I mean, if we were still enemies then yeah but we’re not anymore, I mean not really you know, now I can’t fight and if I could I still wouldn’t cos I’d want a fair fight you know. More fun that way and like I said I like your mum and the kid isn’t involved really so no danger there. Just was wondering why you didn’t revoke my invitation like you did Peaches was all.”

Whew that was scary. Plus he’d probably just bolloxed up any chance of keeping his invitation now he’d reminded her of it but he hoped distracting her with why she hadn’t when he was still dangerous might gloss over that particular little detail.

Buffy listened to his rambling assurances while her mind raced. She hadn’t revoked his invitation the first time because of the truce, or not so much the truce as the deal.

“We had a deal. You help me stop Angelus then take Dru and leave Sunnydale forever. Wasn’t expecting you back. Plus I kind of skipped town after sending my boyfriend to hell and it was a while before I came back. I guess I sort of forgot about it.”

Spike had an incredulous look on his face. Okay so she had forgotten an evil and highly dangerous vamp, second worse vamp in history according to the Watcher’s diaries, Scourge of Europe and a member of the Aurelian line had access to her home. Understandable he supposed given what she had said about running away, and he had promised never to come back… Wait a minute had she actually believed him? Well of course she had promised to stake him if he did so he had no intention of going back. That had only changed after Dru dumped him, and we all know why she did that don’t we he thought. Maybe he would have come back regardless of her threat or if Dru had been with him, seeing as he was covered with her and all. Had she trusted him?

‘Oh God, why didn’t I revoke his invitation?’ was the single thought running through Buffy’s mind.

Sure there was the deal but had she really trusted him not to come back, taken him at his word. She thought she had. She had trusted Spike’s word. That made her oh so uncomfortable. More to the point why didn’t she revoke it after that? He’d left again but this time there really was no excuse, no reason to believe he wouldn’t come back. And he had. Again and again and again until he’d become a regular in her life. Not once had she ever thought to do the disinvite spell. Sure he wasn’t a threat now with the chip and all but she hated him, there was no possible reason she would want him to have access to her home. This really was too much, she couldn’t deal with this. Was it possible she’d just never considered it a problem? There was so much wrong with that thought it made her head hurt.

Spike was astounded. He’d tried to explain why she never had him disinvited and never could come up with a reasonable theory. That she had just forgotten about it was bloody amazing. He really didn’t want to ruin this any more than he probably had but he couldn’t help it.

“So is that why Angel wasn’t invited back? Cos you forgot?”

She stared at him a minute before answering slowly and carefully.

“No. I didn’t really forget. I disinvited him because he became Angelus and he would have hurt my Mom and Dawn and me too if he had half a chance. When he came back it took a long time to rebuild that trust we used to have and we weren’t seeing each other anymore so there didn’t seem to be a reason to invite him in. He never came around anymore. Then you showed up and he couldn’t get in to help Mom. I remembered I’d never invited him back but now he wasn’t Angelus I could. It would be dangerous if he couldn’t get in when my family was in trouble and I wasn’t around.”

‘For instance if a certain bleached blonde who could come and go as he pleased decided to turn up again,’ she thought wryly.

Yep major brain pain at that thought. She couldn’t understand it. To be honest now that she thought about it why hadn’t Angel asked her about Spike being inside her house? Unless he just assumed Joyce had been the one to invite him in, in which case he probably assumed Buffy had removed that invite as soon as she got back home. She groaned inwardly at the thought.

Spike took it all in and tried to process it. He understood what she meant about not letting Angel back in but would that mean that if he hadn’t shown up like he did, tall, dark and brooding might never have gotten his invite back? Now there was something to think about.

Buffy was looking increasingly troubled by the topic and he decided he had pushed his luck enough for tonight. He stood up and missed the startled expression on her face as he made to move away from her.

“Well, I…uh…had better be going. It’s really late and you need to get some sleep before you go to the hospital in the morning. Reckon you’ve got a long day ahead of you so…yeah. G’night Buffy.”

He picked up his gun and started to walk off.


Buffy was suddenly very reluctant to see him go. She thought of going back into the house alone and she knew the minute she did it would all come back. The reality of her Mom’s illness would wash over her like a bucket of icy cold water and there was no way she was getting any sleep tonight whether she needed it or not. She knew thinking about it would lead to more tears and she was done crying tonight. She needed a distraction, needed someone to be there and drive those horrible fears away until it was time to face them at the hospital.

Spike had stopped and turned around, looking at her expectantly. She stood up and felt a slight shiver run down her spine at a sudden breeze, realising it had gotten rather cold out but hadn’t noticed before with him there to shield her. And wasn’t that exactly what she was looking for now? About to ask him to do? Shield her? She looked at him gathering her courage before speaking.

“Spike, stay?” Every muscle in the bleached vampire’s body tensed. He stood stock still, gripping the gun so tightly he felt the metal begin to bend beneath his fingers. All he could do was stare at her in shock, not quite sure he’d heard her right.

Buffy held his gaze, feeling uncomfortable at his intense stare. Her head was lowered shyly but she kept her eyes focused on him as she shifted from one foot to the other, her courage slipping away with each passing second. God she wished he’d say something, move at least. Time had seemed to stop and she didn’t think it would ever start again the way he was looking at her.

Spike finally came back to his senses as he noticed her becoming more and more nervous. Why was she nervous he wondered?

Because she asked you to stay and you’ve done nothing but stare at her like an idiot, that’s why, his brain told him.

Had she really asked him to stay? It was unlikely, but…

“What?” he asked, suddenly feeling the need to wet his lips and discovering his mouth had gone dry.

“I asked if you’d stay.”

Bloody hell! He wasn’t imagining it. She really had asked him.

“You…you want me to…stay?”

She nodded and gulped a huge breath of air. Would he agree? Would he think she’d gone nuts? Would he laugh and stalk off with a cruel insult? He looked completely dumbfounded.

“Sure. Yeah I can…I can stay. You’re sure you want me to?”

She nodded again, releasing the breath she hadn’t realised she’d been holding so long.

Spike blinked in a total daze as to what was happening. He shifted about, unsure what to do with his hands and remembering he still had the gun decided to deal with that first.

“Eh right then. Right I’ll just…”

He unloaded the gun, keeping his eyes lowered the entire time, then put the shells in his pocket and hid the weapon in the bushes where it wouldn’t be found. He’d get it later when he left. When exactly was he going to leave? The sun would be up in a few hours. How long did she want him to stay?

He chanced a quick glance in her direction. She’d moved back onto the porch and hovered somewhere between the steps and the door. She looked up at him and seemed as unsure and confused as he felt. After a number of glances at him, the steps and the door, she hugged herself tightly as another gust of wind blew over them and made her decision. With a determined expression she opened the door and walked into the kitchen, turning to face him and giving him a quick nod before walking further in, leaving the door open for him to follow.

Swallowing a few times, Spike made his mind up and began to move forward. When he reached the door he stopped. This was more than he’d ever expected. Buffy had invited him in for no other reason than for his company, for someone to talk to. He felt a tremble run through him and looked over at her as she stood by the kitchen island waiting for him. He held her gaze as he took hold of the door handle, stepped inside and closed it quietly behind him.

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