Story Title: Miracle Worker


A short, four chapter spuffy Halloween ficlett with some drama, lots of smutty goodness, and a bit of romance, but no real angst.

What if Halloween in Season 6 came after Spike and Buffy had been shagging for a while? Takes place sometime after ‘Dead Things’ but before ‘As You Were’.  Halloween, and Spike’s offer of a bit of the ‘rough and tumble’, has been rescheduled to a time when Buffy would accept that invitation.

While Dawn went on a covert 'double date' with Janice and the two vampires, Justin and Zack, Buffy and Spike had some rough and tumble plans of their own.  Where might this night lead when things get complicated and Buffy’s secret slips out?

The first chapter of this story will sound familiar to regular Unexpected ‘Verse readers, but the chapters that follow are all new.






Music Referenced:

Dirty Little Secret by The All-American Rejects


Miracle Worker, by Superheavy


ScreenCaps courtesy of ScreenCap Paradise:



Thanks to Anona for her grammatical and punctuation corrections and commentary that always makes me smile, and to Paganbaby for her invaluable input and ideas!

Rating / Warnings:

NC17. Content is only suitable for mature adults. Contains explicit language, sex, adult themes, and other adult situations that some people may find objectionable. If you are under the age of 17 or find any of these themes objectionable – GO AWAY.


Moments later…


When Buffy’s heart-rate slowed and her breathing evened out, Spike thought she might’ve fallen asleep. He took the rare opportunity to study her face in the soft, golden candlelight without her punching him in the nose and running off, as was her habit. He lifted his face and gazed down on her, gently brushing some stray locks away from her eyes with his fingers. His ‘Goldilocks’ had cut off her long mane of sunshine, but she remained just as resplendent, just as beautiful to him as ever. His blue eyes shone with love and reverence as he smiled down at her serene features … and it turned out to be the absolute worst thing he could've done. Like some kind of early warning system – which the military really should to look into employing – Buffy’s verdant eyes blinked open and she caught him looking at her.


Buffy turned away, her face hardening into a mask of disgust, and unceremoniously pushed him off her. Spike sighed as he landed on his back on the bed next to her. He closed his eyes, and listened to her get up and begin retrieving her clothes and hurriedly pulling them back on. He knew there was no sense saying anything to her. The night was done – she was leaving. At least she hadn’t kicked him in the head or punched him in the nose – yet. Buffy left without another word, taking the candle with her and leaving Spike, as usual, alone in the dark.


He sighed when he heard the front door close and hauled himself up. He gathered his own clothes from the floor and pulled them back on before following her out into the cool, wet night. It had stopped raining and the only lightning to be seen was in the far distant southern sky. It wasn’t that late and, despite it being Halloween – the one night vampires stay in – he didn’t feel like being alone, so he turned and headed toward Willy’s Place.


Taking a shortcut through the park, he heard voices – kids playing juvenile Halloween pranks, no doubt. He kept walking, head down, mind on his Slayer … or not his Slayer … the Slayer. So lost was he in his thoughts that he didn’t even notice the group of vampires, or the teenage girl running from them, until she nearly bowled him over in the dark.


“Bloody hell!” he exclaimed, catching his balance on her shoulders and steadying her at the same time. “Why don’t ya watch where you’re …” he began to chastise tersely when he realized who it was. “Niblett?! What the bloody hell are ya…”


“Spike! Oh, thank God! Help! Vampires!” Dawn squealed as fright and relief warred in her shrill voice, her eyes wide with fear.


Before Spike knew what had happened, he and Dawn were surrounded by a group of at least fifteen vamps.


“Bloody plonkers these days, got no respect for the soddin’ rules,” Spike grumbled as he felt in his duster pockets for weapons. He was dismayed to find he didn’t have any weapons at all, not even a stake – he hadn’t expected any actual demons to be out and about this night. D’oh! How many Halloweens would it take for him to remember: this was Sunnydale – things were different here.


He realized quickly there was no way he could take all of them and keep Dawn safe too. As the vampires closed the circle around them, Spike grabbed Dawn and pulled her back against his front hard. With one hand splayed against her abdomen he growled a warning to the other vampires. “Mine!” he snarled at them, his demon rising automatically.


Dawn’s heart felt like it was going to hammer right through her ribs and out of her chest. She turned frightened, confused blue eyes up to Spike’s feral golden ones.


“Trust me,” he growled against her neck as he lowered his mouth against her skin.


Dawn stiffened and her eyes clamped tightly closed of their own accord, but she nodded almost imperceptibly.


“Hey! What’s your malfunction, man?” Justin demanded, stepping out of the wide ring of vamps and up nearer Spike and his captive.


“It's Halloween, you nit! We take the night off. Those are the rules!” Spike spat back at the youngster, still holding Dawn against him, but pressing his demon down.

“Me and mine don't follow no stinkin' rules! We're rebels!” Justin proclaimed, garnering a murmur of agreement from the other vamps, who took a step forward, closing the circle around Spike and Dawn.

“No. I'm a rebel. You're an idiot. Give the lot of us a bad name, you do,” Spike growled back. “Back the bloody hell off! This morsel belongs t’ me – claimed she is,” Spike asserted again.


“I don’t see any claim marks! What makes her yours? I saw her first – tasted her first … she’s mine,” Justin insisted angrily.


“Like hell,” Spike retorted. “This one, and ‘er sister, the Slayer, have been mine for years, you prat. Who the bloody hell do ya think you’re dealing with here, whelp?”


The other vampires abruptly stopped their slow advance. A murmur ran through the group, and Spike heard his name whispered through their ranks, despite not actually introducing himself. Spike pulled out the only ‘weapon’ he had – one he’d carried around with him since the very first time Buffy had shagged him.


He held up a small wisp of lace and fabric, and twirled it in the air around his finger, sending the scent of Slayer out over the crowd. They all snorted and growled, but took a step back from him with more whispers and frightened glances.


The rumors were true: Spike had tamed the Slayer – he owned her. If that rumor was true, perhaps the others were also: Spike was insane – like, Michael Myers insane – only worse: he killed demons. For fun. According to those who would know, Spike would dust you if you just looked at him sideways.


“I heard that he took out that whole nest of soldiers that used to live under the campus, all by himself,” one young woman with long black hair whispered to her neighbor, a balding, overweight man in his thirties.


“I heard he saved the Slayer from Adam! Adam beat her up really good, I hear. She only lived because Spike shielded her when Adam started shooting with that Gatling gun. Spike took the bullets himself! Then, even shot up and bleeding, he tore that freak’s guts out with his bare hands,” the balding man murmured back.


“He killed all those prisoners they had down there, too – dusted every last vamp, decapitated every demon,” another vamp added. “It was a massacre!”


“Then he carried the Slayer all the way to the hospital!” another woman piped up. “She’s been his ever since, from what I’ve heard.”


Spike smirked as he watched the circle of vamps take a few more steps back. Rumors were beautiful things, if he did say so himself.


Justin was the only one to not back down. He looked at Dawn with new comprehension. “Your sister is the Slayer?” he asked, incredulity battling with awe in his tone.


Dawn nodded an autonomic reply. Her eyes were open again, watching Spike twirl one of Buffy’s lace thongs on his finger.


“No wonder you tasted so …”


“OI! Finish that sentence and die,” Spike warned. “If ya back off now you’ll live t’ fight another day,” he advised. “This little bit is mine.”


Justin eyed him angrily and looked around for help, but the other vampires had begun to disperse, leaving him basically alone. Justin held his hands out to the side and took a step back. “Don’t want any trouble with you, man,” he told Spike.


“Not as daft as ya look,” Spike snarled back as he stuffed the undies back in his pocket, grabbed Dawn’s hand, and begin to pull her away.


They hadn’t gone three steps before Justin tackled Dawn from behind, yanking her hand free of Spike’s. The two youngsters flailed around on the ground only a moment before Justin pinned her down and his fangs found her tender, virgin neck. He’d just pricked her skin when he was suddenly flying through the air from a savage kick to his ribs, delivered by a furious Spike.


Dawn screamed, holding a hand over the small pin-pricks, and scrambled behind Spike as he stalked over to the boy. Justin was more resilient than Spike had estimated, and apparently a few fries short of a Happy Meal, because he was back on his feet and charging Spike, taking the elder vamp by surprise. Spike growled when Justin tackled him around the midsection and drove Spike onto his back on the hard ground. Justin’s fangs lashed at Spike, his fists flailing wildly as he attacked the master vamp with crazed abandon. More than one fist connected with Spike’s face before Spike could kick the youngster over his head and off. In a moment, both vamps were on their feet, circling each other warily. Justin stole a glance at Dawn, trying to judge if he could get to her and drain her before Spike could stop him – but there was no way. He could get to her, but he didn’t want to rush the draining … or the turning.


In that second of distraction, Spike pounced. By the time Justin knew Spike had moved, the boy’s head was being wrenched off his shoulders by main force. Dust showered down onto the damp ground as Justin disintegrated before Dawn’s wide, frightened eyes.


Spike stalked away from the pile of dust, slapping his hands together to remove the gritty residue from them, and over to Dawn, who seemed to be frozen in place. “Let me see,” he demanded, pulling her hand away from her neck. He sighed in relief, but his voice was terse and still angry when he spoke. “You’ll live. Let’s go.”


He pulled Dawn to her feet and began leading her out of the park. Finally coming to her senses, Dawn told Spike that Janice was in the park with her. After a bit of searching, Spike found Janice and sent her scurrying her home, basically unharmed. That done, he dragged Dawn all the way back to Revello, despite her objections and begging him to not tell Buffy. With her still pleading for mercy, Spike stormed through the front door of the Summers’ house, pulling Dawn by the hand. He swung the girl inside in front of him. The move wasn’t anywhere near what he could’ve done if he’d intended to hurt her; it simply made her stumble into the foyer – a grand entrance. She grabbed the banister to keep from falling, and began looking around wildly to see who might’ve witnessed her unceremonious homecoming. Unfortunately, the answer was: nearly everyone.


Inside, the pair was met with stunned looks and gasps from the small group of friends that were still there celebrating Xander and Anya’s engagement. Xander and Willow jumped up immediately and went to Dawn, while Giles, Tara, and Anya reacted a bit more slowly and followed a step or two behind. A moment later, Buffy appeared at the top of the stairs, now dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. She’d come back in from ‘patrol’ through her bedroom window, leaving her ripped Halloween costume safely hidden away in her room.


“What the hell is going on?” Xander demanded, glaring at Spike as he helped to steady Dawn.


“Caught her out in the woods with a bloody vamp!” Spike explained, looking up at Buffy, not Xander.


“What? Dawn!? I thought you were going over to Janice’s!” Buffy exclaimed, jogging down the stairs quickly.


“I was … I did! We just … went for a walk and …” Dawn stammered.


“Bollocks!” Spike growled. “Tell the bloody truth!”


“I am!” Dawn insisted, stamping a foot down angrily. “We went for a walk in the park and … we met her friends, Zack and Justin, and … went for a ride,” Dawn stammered.


“You went for a ride with strange boys!?” Buffy exclaimed angrily.


“Not boys, vamps,” Spike clarified.


Vampire boys!?” Buffy shrieked at her sister.


“And she let one taste ‘er …” Spike elaborated.


“I didn’t let him … he bit me!” Dawn argued.


“Before that – he said he’d tasted you; said you were his,” Spike continued angrily.


“He just kissed me!” Dawn defended angrily. “It was … nice.”


“You let a vamp kiss you?” Buffy exclaimed in horror.


“Oh, like you never…” Dawn shot back, rolling her eyes.


“The wanker tried to bite ‘er … I … discouraged ‘im from that course o’ action,” Spike added.


“Bite?!” Buffy repeated, suddenly more concerned than angry. “Are you alright?” Buffy asked, reaching out to check her sister for wounds.


“She’s fine – just a little prick,” Spike assured Buffy, cocking a brow at her to empathize his double-entendre.


Assured that Dawn was alright, Buffy suddenly became angry again. “How could you be so stupid? Have I not taught you anything?!?” she demanded of her sister. “Honestly, Dawn! Kissing vampires? What were you thinking?”


“Oh, like you’re so pure!” Dawn defended haughtily, crossing her arms over her chest. “Maybe you’d like to tell us how Spike got a pair of your underwear … used underwear – with your scent on them.”


“What … I … huh?” Buffy stammered, taken off-guard. She looked between Spike and Dawn, confused.


Spike clenched his jaw until the muscles twitched and rolled his eyes. “Bloody hell…” he muttered, unconsciously stuffing his hand down into the duster pocket where the offending article of clothing resided.


“Spike has a pair of your undies,” Dawn explained, glaring at her sister, using the old adage about a good offense being the best defense.  “And he used them to prove that you and I belong to him. That’s how we got away from that bunch of vamps in the park … mostly. He had to fight Justin, but the rest ran away when he twirled your thong around on his finger. So, where, oh where, would he have gotten them?” Dawn asked again, sing-songing the last part.


Spike’s eyes met Buffy’s for the briefest of moments. Absolute panic flashed across her features, and he could hear her heart skip a beat or three. Spike’s own heart sank – he’d let her down – given away her secret. Then a white-hot anger burned in him – why should he care? She didn’t really care about him, did she? She used him for what she wanted and ran off – virtue fluttering. She’d toss him under the bus in a heartbeat, why should he go out of his way to keep her dirty little secret?


Spike sighed and clenched his jaw tighter. Who was he kidding? He couldn’t let her down, no matter what.  “No big mystery, is there? Just grabbed ‘em from the laundry. Stole ‘em, didn’t I?” Spike ground out in answer to Dawn’s accusatory question.


Buffy flashed him a small look of gratitude, then her brows furrowed as she picked up on a different part of the story. “Belong to …” she stammered, her eyes growing wide.


“Give them up, fang-boy,” Xander demanded, interrupting her, and moving menacingly towards the blond vamp, hand extended, palm up.


“Sod off, Harris,” Spike growled back at him. “Right sure your fat ass wouldn’t fit in ‘em, so it’s none o’ your concern, is it?”


Xander began to level a retort, but Buffy interrupted him. “I don’t belong to you!” she snarled at Spike, anger suddenly replacing the gratitude.


Spike cocked a brow at her. “I’m bloody well aware o’ that, Slayer. Had to say something t’ get the Niblett outta there, didn’t I? Too many for me to take on my own and protect ‘er too. Best thing was for them t’ think … you Summers women were … mine. Protected by … William the Bloody.”


“Oh, that’s rich,” Xander growled at him. “You just can’t let it go, can you, Spike? Don’t you get it? Buffy doesn’t want you! She wouldn’t touch you with a ten-foot pole! Why don’t you just get over it and move on? Or better yet, move out! As in: ‘out of town’. We don’t need you around here and Buffy damn sure doesn’t want you.”


“That what you want, luv? Want me t’ shove off … move out, leave ya be?” Spike challenged, meeting Buffy’s gaze. For once he couldn’t read her. Emotions ranging from panic, to anger, to fear and sadness flickered through her green eyes and over her features, none staying long enough for Spike to get a feel for what she was thinking.


“Xander, m-m-maybe you shouldn’t …” Tara began, reaching out for his arm.


“What!?” Xander continued angrily, shaking the witch off. “Obviously Buffy telling him that she doesn’t want anything to do with him hasn’t made an impression – maybe if it comes from someone willing to stake him it’ll sink into his thick, bleached brain.”


“Mind your manners, Harris. Ya really don’t want t’ piss me off,” Spike snarled back at him.


“Oh, what are you gonna do? Chastise me to death? You’re a pathetic excuse for a monster and a …” Xander shot back.


“Xander … please …” Buffy interrupted him, moving forward a step towards him.


“Fought with you lot the whole summer Buffy was gone, I did. Protected the Niblett – protected your sorry arse, Cap'n Bligh, and this is the thanks I get,” Spike spat back at the younger man, stepping forward menacingly.


“Spike … please,” Buffy continued, stepping between the two posturing men as testosterone-laced anger filled the air between them. “Both of you: please stop.”


Spike pursed his lips and stopped moving forward at her request, but he never took his angry gaze off Xander. Xander was slower to react, moving another step before Buffy physically stopped him with the palm of her hand on his chest.


“Buffy, he’s never gonna stop. Now the whole town thinks you and he are … an item or something. They think he owns you – that he’s claimed you. How sick and twisted is that?” Xander continued ranting.


Buffy turned and glared at Xander. “It sounds like he did what he had to do to save Dawn. Maybe that should be the most important thing instead of what a herd of vamps … clutch of vamps? Gaggle?” Buffy shook her head, losing her train of thought.


“Pack,” Spike offered.


“Right,” she nodded, getting her wandering train back on track. “Maybe Dawn’s safety should take a front seat to what a pack of vamps thinks about my … virtue or … whatever.”  She gave Xander her best glare, wishing with all her heart he would just drop it.


“I hate to admit this, but perhaps Buffy is correct,” Giles admitted, speaking for the first time. “And what of Janice – she was also at the park?”


“Got ‘er out. She should be safe at home by now,” Spike answered Giles, never taking his eyes off Xander.


“I’ll … call and make sure,” Tara offered, moving away and out of the foyer.


“I can’t believe you’re standing here defending him,” Xander continued, returning Buffy’s glare. “He’s got your underwear! God knows what disgusting things he’s been doing…”


“Xander! Shut. Up!” Buffy ordered angrily. Tears stung Buffy’s eyes and she blinked them back before Xander could see. “It doesn’t matter where he got them. Just, shut up about it!”


“No! I’m not gonna let him get away with spreading vicious, nasty rumors about you and having people think you’re some kind of … skank ho’ that would sleep with a filthy monster like him!” Xander argued.


“Oi!” Spike snarled. “Why don’t you shut your gob before…”


“What?!” Xander interrupted him. “You gonna shut it for me? Like you even could, Chip-boy! You’re about as scary as the Easter Bunny!”


“Hey!” Anya objected. “Have you ever met the actual Easter Bunny?!? You wouldn’t be saying that if you saw the weapons he carried in that wicker basket. All those pastel colors and eggs are just a ruse. I once saw him take the head off a…”


“Shut up, Anya,” Xander retorted, not looking at her.


“Don’t tell me to shut up, Xander Harris!”


“Why don’t you try somethin’ and we’ll see whose gob gets shut first!” Spike tossed back at Xander, ignoring Anya.


In a moment the room had erupted into chaos, with everyone talking and yelling at once, and Spike and Xander jostling each other with Buffy standing between them.


“STOP IT! EVERYONE JUST STOP!” Buffy screamed at the top of her lungs, pushing Xander and Spike apart with brute force.


Everyone stopped talking, stopped moving, and even stopped breathing for a moment after her outburst.  After a moment, Giles suggested, “Spike, perhaps you should go.”


Spike looked at Buffy. “That what you want, pet? Me t’ go?”


Buffy met his gaze, and she could feel the eyes of all her friends on her. There was more meaning in his words that what they conveyed on the surface. She could see it in his eyes – those eyes that she couldn’t bring herself to look into when they were …


She swallowed hard and those damn tears began to blur her vision again. “I … I just … want everyone to … get along,” she managed at last, her voice low and shaky.


“Pffft!” Xander snorted, still angry. “Like anyone could get along with the evil dead here. Take, take, take – that’s all he’s good for…”


“Goddamnit, Xander!” Buffy snarled, rounding on him. “He saved Dawn tonight, sounds like he saved all you guys a few times while I was gone – what the fuck more do you want from him?”


“Those underwear, for starters,” Xander shot back. “And then Willow can do a disinvite spell so he can’t steal any more of them.”


Spike huffed out a breath. “Forget it, luv. Don’t need t’ worry ‘bout ole Spike sticking his nose in ‘round ‘ere anymore. Bloody ungrateful wankers,” Spike growled from behind her, his voice resigned.


Buffy turned around and Spike pressed the lace thong into her palm before spinning on his heel and disappearing out the still-open front door. “Spike! Don’t …” she called after him, taking a step forward.


“Good riddance!” Xander cheered from behind Buffy. “Maybe that air-head Harmony will take you back. God knows she has no self-respect or scruples! That’s the only kind of woman that would touch you: a pathetic loser with no brain cells!”


Something deep inside Buffy which had been pushed to the breaking point snapped in that moment. It felt like a damn breaking. The weight and constant onslaught of Xander’s words were like a flash flood, making it impossible for her to contain her rage another moment longer.


Spike growled and spun back around at Xander's taunts, but Buffy was faster. She slammed Xander against the wall next to the stairs, putting a Xander-sized crack in the drywall. “Is that what you think? Is that what I am? A pathetic, skank-ho, loser with no self-respect, scruples, or brain cells!?” she demanded of him, losing the battle with her tears and her anger at the same moment.


“I … What?” Xander stammered, trying to get his head to stop spinning from the blow against the wall.


“Spike didn’t steal these from my house,” Buffy continued, waving the lace thong in the air, fury and pain flooding out of her with every word. “I left them in his crypt! I must’ve … forgotten them … after we … I … Oh, God…”


“Actually, those were from the house we destroyed down by the Bronze, luv,” Spike corrected her.


“W-w-what?” Xander stuttered again, his brown eyes wide with confused horror.


All her friends were looking at her now with wide, surprised eyes. Well, all except Tara, who already knew, and Dawn who apparently had suspected.  Buffy could feel their disapproval flooding over her, threatening to drown her. She looked around and her gaze locked with Spike’s.  His blue eyes were so full of concern and worry and … affection.  He’d given her so much – he’d given her a life back. Willow and her other friends may have reanimated her, but it was Spike that actually gave her her life back. He’d kept all his promises to her – he’d protected Dawn, he was still protecting Dawn. He’d fought along-side her friends and tried to protect Sunnydale while she was dead. He’d tried to keep her secret by offering an excuse for the underwear that would bring all her friends’ disapproval down on him alone. And now he was offering to go – to leave her alone, and not subject her to her friends’ disapproval. But according to Xander all Spike did was ‘take, take, take’… Yeah, right.


“Spike and I are … well … I’ve been having a hard time since I … came back and he’s been helping me. We’re … ummm … spending time together … and shit …” she cursed, trying to find the courage and the words in her jumbled brain. “I’ve been … ummm … well, we’re … you know … ummm … sleeping together and … and … I need him here … with me,” Buffy stammered out finally, never taking her eyes off Spike’s.


His gaze softened even more, the tilt of his head telling her how much that admission meant to him. He stepped forward in the stunned silence and wrapped her into a hug and, for the first time, Buffy accepted it. He ran a hand over her short hair and down her back, soothing her as she cried against him, all the while glaring at Xander over the top of her head, daring the young man to say anything.


Xander, true to form, took the challenge. “Buffy, have you lost your mind?”


Buffy pulled away from Spike with a growl and spun to face Xander. “Yes! Yes! I’ve lost my mind! I think I might’ve left it in heaven! You know, that nice, peaceful place I was before you guys all decided you needed me back here!”


Willow visibly cringed; Xander bit his lip and looked at the floor, unable to meet Buffy’s gaze. She’d told them this before during the crazy, bare-your-soul singing and dancing spell that Mr. Sweet had spun on them, but it was still a sore spot – or perhaps more like a raw, oozing, gaping wound. Apart from that admission, Buffy hadn’t really talked to anyone other than Spike about exactly what that had meant to her and her … recovery from death.


“You guys yanked me out of the most beautiful, peaceful place I’ve ever …” Buffy voice broke and she had to close her eyes and take in a few deep breaths to calm down. Spike laid a comforting hand on her shoulder and she blew her breath out slowly, then opened her eyes.


She continued in a calm voice, addressing Xander, but speaking to them all. “When I got back here, everything was just … dull and gray. I felt like I’d been pulled out of heaven and tossed into hell. I … couldn’t feel anything. But none of you wanted to hear that – you just wanted to hear that I was fine, that everything was fine. You just wanted me to grovel at your feet and lavish my gratitude on you. Well, newsflash: I wasn’t fine … I’m not fine. But I’m better – thanks to Spike.


“He’s helped me … feel again. He’s the only one that didn’t stand around insisting that I be fine! He’s the only one of you that didn’t … conspire to bring me back.” At that, Giles cleared his throat, and Dawn raised her hand. “Along with Giles and Dawn…” Buffy amended quickly, before getting back to her rant. “He’s the only one that found that slender thread of emotion that got left behind. He found it and started tugging on it and … he’s helped me find what I was missing – what you people left behind when you brought my body and mind back. He listened without judging me; he’s been there when no one else was – understood when no one else could.”


There were a few moments of uncomfortable, stunned silence before Dawn said brightly, “Well, I think it’s awesome! It’s about time, too! You guys are sooo perfect for each other. You’ve always bickered like an old married couple, anyway – you might as well get the perks to go with it.”


Buffy huffed out a tired laugh and shook her head. “Thanks, but you’re still in trouble. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about kissing vamps in the park.”


Dawn rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest belligerently.


“Buffy … I swear I didn’t know. You know I wouldn’t have…” Willow started, tears staining her face.


“I know, Wills. I know you thought you were helping me,” Buffy acknowledged sadly, drawing her best girlfriend into a hug.


“I still don’t understand how you could turn to him …” Xander began, spitting the last word out as he glared at Spike.  Buffy and Willow released their hug and stared at him, shocked that he could still be so bitter. “He doesn’t even have a soul!” Xander reminded her.


Buffy’s mouth hardened into a thin line. “And yet he’s the one that could see how much I was hurting and made some effort to help me. Maybe that should tell you something about yourself, Xander Harris.”


Xander blanched, staring at her like she’d physically slapped him. “B-but … it’s Spike!” he objected lamely.


Anya poked her fiancé in the ribs, hard. “Get over it, Xander,” she advised him harshly. “You aren’t Buffy’s keeper – it’s not any of your business.”


“But I’m her friend!” Xander argued. “And I don’t want to see her hurt…”


“I think it’s too late for that,” Anya pointed out. “And we’re the ones who hurt her. If Spike helps her, then you should be happy. You should probably thank him for helping your friend.  That is customary, I believe, in polite, civilized society.”


Spike smirked. “Don’t ‘ave to actually say it; could just buy me a pint at the Bronze, Special Ed.”


“That’ll be the day,” Xander grumbled under his breath.


“I think I’ll take my fiancé home now, before he sticks his foot any further into his big mouth. And he says I should watch what I say,” Anya offered, grabbing Xander’s arm and dragging him out, keeping him as far away from Spike as possible.


“I should go too,” Tara excused, giving Buffy a hug. “Are you sure you’re ok?” the witch whispered into the Slayer’s ear so no one else could hear. 


Buffy nodded and returned her hug. “Thanks.”


Tara gave her a crooked smile, and ducked her head shyly before heading out behind Xander and Anya.


Giles cleared his throat. “May I have a private word, Spike? In the kitchen?”


Buffy grabbed Spike’s hand. “Whatever you have to say, you can say in front of me,” she asserted.


Giles cast an uncomfortable glance at Dawn. Willow took the hint, grabbed the younger Summers’ arm, and began leading her up the stairs. “C’mon, Dawnie – tell me about this vamp. Was he cute?”


When they were out of sight, Buffy turned her eyes back to her Watcher. “Don’t lecture me, Giles. I’m not sixteen anymore and … it didn’t do any good even when I was.”


“I hadn’t intended on lecturing you, Buffy. You’re quite old enough to know the risks you’re taking. I’m not certain Spike is quite so well-informed, however,” Giles offered in a deadly calm voice, turning his eyes to the blond vamp.


“Just say what’s on your mind, Watcher,” Spike prompted impatiently.


“Yes, well, as you know, Buffy has many friends who are all quite adept at handling stakes and such …”


“And if I hurt ‘er, you’ll stake me good and proper,” Spike finished for Giles sardonically. “Sing me a new one, Watcher – that one’s getting old.”


“Actually, what I was going to say is if you hurt her, I doubt that any of her friends would have the opportunity to display our skills, as it would likely be the Slayer herself who would stake you ‘good and proper’, as you say,” Giles corrected, giving Spike a wintry smile.


Spike pursed his lips and nodded. “If I hurt ‘er, then I deserve t’ be staked good and proper.”


“Indeed,” Giles agreed. He cleared his throat again. “Well, I would retire to my room, but I believe we’re standing in it,” he offered, waving a hand at the couch.


“It’s ok … I’ll … be back in a few minutes,” Buffy said tentatively as she pulled on Spike’s hand and started for the still-open front door. “I’m just gonna walk Spike home.”


The pair walked in silence all the way to Spike’s crypt, but she didn’t pull her hand out of his. Spike really didn’t know what she had in mind now. Obviously, she wanted to say something to him, but whatever it was, it was taking her some time to compose it. He wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.


Buffy stopped at the door to his crypt and turned to face him. Spike studied her face, her eyes, for some sign of what she was about to say. Surely she wouldn’t send him packing now, after admitting to her friends what was going on … would she? What if she realized she didn’t need him anymore? Now that the full truth was out in the open, why would she need her secret-keeper? Spike bit his bottom lip to keep from blurting out something poncy and stupid as he waited for her to say something.


Finally, she took a deep breath and began. “Spike, I know I haven’t been … well … anything to you,” she started.


“That’s not true, Buffy. You’re … you’re bloody everythin’ to me,” he corrected.


“No – that’s not what I mean. I mean I haven’t been …” She sighed and started again, “I’ve just been using you and it hasn’t been fair and … I’m sorry. You’ve been the one giving and all I’ve been doing is taking.”


“Don’t mind the takin’, Slayer,” Spike assured her. “Take me anytime ya want,” he offered, giving her a smoldering leer.


Buffy rolled her eyes but snorted a soft laugh. “I’m not saying this right,” she admitted. Tears stung her eyes again and she blinked to hold them back. “I’m not any good at this … I’m not … really good at … relationships.”


“Do we have a relationship, Slayer?” Spike wondered, tilting his head to study her and immediately wishing he’d kept his big mouth shut.


“No … see – I don’t know what we have, but I’m pretty sure it’s not a relationship. It’s … just … this,” she offered vaguely, waving her free hand in the air.


“Right …” Spike agreed tentatively, still not sure where she was going. “And this thing we got, it’s …” he let his voice trail off in a question.


“It’s … not enough. I’m sorry, William – I’m really … sorry,” Buffy apologized, looking down at the ground, unable to meet those intense blue eyes another moment.


Spike nodded and released her hand. “Right – not enough,” he repeated numbly. “Can’t have a proper relationship with a soulless monster … I get it,” he said morosely, as he pushed the door to his crypt open. “Hope you find what you’re lookin’ for, Buffy. Let me know when ya do – wouldn’t want t’ miss the bloody parade.”


“What? No! Spike, wait!” she objected as he stepped past her into the crypt and started to shut the door in her face. She pushed the door open again, making Spike stumble back a step from it.


“You’re such a dope sometimes!” she exclaimed, waving her arms out angrily. “It isn’t enough because it’s only been one-sided! That’s not a relationship – that’s a … ummm … well, I don’t exactly have an example of something that is one-sided, but that’s what we have.”


Spike furrowed his brow. “A Möbius strip,” he offered.




“A Möbius strip is one-sided,” he clarified. It's also unending, ironic that, he added to himself.


“Oh – ok …” Buffy agreed. “So, we’ve had a Möbius strip … not a relationship. Hey – that rhymes!” she grinned at her own impromptu poem, trying to disperse some of her nervousness.


Spike cocked a brow at her. “Reckon you’ll be published any day with prose like that, pet.”


Buffy shook her head and waved a dismissive hand in the air. “The point is … I think I want a relationship. A two-sided one that involves things like me … giving and maybe … listening and … even … possibly … caring.”


Spike’s brows shot up, nearly touching his hair line. “You do?”


Buffy bit her bottom lip and nodded tentatively. “When you … When you offered to leave tonight I just … I suddenly realized that I didn’t want that. I didn’t want you to go and it was more than, well … physical. I realized that I’d miss you. I’d miss your annoying barbs and cocky attitude and stupid jokes and suggestive comments and … just you. I’d miss you.”


“Yeah?” Spike asked, awestruck. The tilt of his head reminded Buffy of the RCA dog.


“Yeah,” Buffy admitted softly, reaching a hand out to touch his bruised face gently. Spike leaned into her small, warm hand and closed his eyes. He was afraid this was a dream and he’d wake up any moment. He didn’t want it to end – ever.


“Spike, I’m warning you: I’m not good at this. I’m bitchy and selfish and … well, just a royal pain in the ass, I guess. So, I’m not making any promises about any of that changing, but, if you’re willing to overlook those minor character flaws, then …”


Spike opened his eyes and smirked at her. “I reckon I could make some allowances for ya, pet,” he agreed. “But you gotta give me somethin’ in return.”


“Okaay,” Buffy drawled out suspiciously. “Like what?”


“Make love with me,” he replied, his voice a deep rumble of emotion.


“Spike, we just …”


“No – we’ve never, pet. Make. Love. Not ‘ave sex,” he clarified adamantly. “Sex with you is bloody brilliant … don’t wanna lose that, but I want t’ make love with you too.”


Buffy’s skin flushed slightly but she nodded her understanding. “Okay … when?”


Spike bit his bottom lip a moment, then said, “Tomorrow night – here. Eight?”


Buffy nodded again. “Okay, I’ll … see you then.”


“I … uhhh … I’ll be here,” Spike stammered. He started to say ‘I love you,’ but decided at the last moment not to push her. She’d come so far so quickly; he didn’t want to drive a stake through the glimmer of hope she'd given him.


Buffy gave him a tremulous smile and lifted up onto her toes to touch her lips to his. It was a soft, gentle kiss that belied the passion and power that he knew lurked beneath. It was a kiss like she’d only given him once before: after he'd been tortured and nearly killed by Glory. The gesture weakened his knees with its tenderness, his throat tightened with emotion, and his unbeating heart jumped in his chest.


“Tomorrow,” she whispered to him before turning and heading out into the night.




Dirty Little Secret, by The All-American Rejects



Let me know that I've done wrong,
When I've known this all along,
I go around a time or two,
Just to waste my time with you.

Tell me all that you've thrown away,
Find out games you don't wanna play,
You are the only one that needs to know--

I'll keep you my dirty little secret,
(Dirty little secret)
Don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret,
(Just another regret, hope that you can keep it)
My dirty little secret,
Who has to know?

When we live such fragile lives,
It's the best way we survive,
I go around a time or two,
Just to waste my time with you,

Tell me all that you've thrown away,
find out games you don't wanna play,
you are the only one that needs to know---

I'll keep you my dirty little secret,
(Dirty little secret)
Don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret,
(Just another regret, hope that you can keep it)
My dirty little secret.

Who has to know?
The way she feels inside (inside!)
Those thoughts I can't deny (can't deny!)
These sleeping dogs won't lie (won't lie!)
And all I've tried to hide
It's eating me apart
Trace this life back!

I'll keep you my dirty little secret,
(Dirty little secret)
Don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret.
(Just another regret)

I'll keep you my dirty little secret,
Don't tell anyone or you'll be just another regret,
(Just another regret, hope that you can keep it)
My dirty little secret,
Dirty little secret,
Dirty little secret.

Who has to know?
Who has to know?



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