Humanitis


by Saber ShadowKitten
PG-13 Version




Part Seven




Buffy slowly walked back to the library from making a quick patrol around the school. In her hands she held two sodas and some munchies as a peace offering. She hadn't seen hide nor hair of Spike since he'd gone up into the stacks over two hours before. She knew he was still there because when she concentrated, she could sense his presence, much in the same way she sensed where her former Watcher was when she hit him with a dodge ball blindfolded.

When she pushed through the doors, two new things struck her immediately. First, Oz-wolf was lying quietly on the floor of the cage, head resting on his paws. The second was the sounds of guitar music emanating from the stacks. Buffy looked over at the table and saw that Oz's guitar was missing. Then she heard his voice, low and soothing as he began to sing.

"If I could reach the stars, pull one down for you. Shine it on my heart, so you could see the truth. That this love I have inside is everything you need. But for now I find, only in my dreams I could change the world. I would be the sunlight in your universe. You would think my love for you was something good, baby if I could change the world."

Angel had told Buffy that he had found Spike the night before playing the piano in the auditorium. *Now, he's playing the guitar,* she thought as she made her way up the steps. *And he's good, too.*

"If I could be king even for a day, I'd make you as my queen, I'd have it no other way. Then our love would rule in this kingdom we had made. Til then I'll be a fool wishing for the day that I could change the world. You would be my sunlight in this universe. You would think my love for you was something good, baby if I could change the world."

Buffy saw him sitting there, fingers moving gracefully up and down the fret board, playing the instrumental part of the song. He was watching his hand as he played, the guitar balancing on one knee as he perched on the edge of the chair.

"If I could change the world, you would be the sunlight in my universe. You would think my love for you was something good, baby if I could change the world. Baby, if I could change the world. Baby, if I could," his voice softened with the last phrase as the song came to a close. "Change the world."

She waited silently as the last strum faded, then made some noise as she joined him. "Hi," Buffy greeted quietly. She held up the snacks. "I come in peace?"

One side of Spike's mouth went up as he accepted the soda and bag of chips from her. "Thanks," he replied.

Buffy nodded and sat down on the floor in front of him. "You're quite the multi-talented bleached blond. Play the guitar, play the piano, quote French poetry," she listed. "Any more hidden talents I should be amazed about?"

"I know how to set the clock on a VCR," he answered, opening the chips and eating one.

"I'm impressed. Not many men know how to even turn it on," Buffy said. "By the way, you sing really good."

"Want to start a band?" Spike asked. "You can play the triangle."

"Drums," she corrected with a grin. "And you can sing."

"That I can do, pet," he replied. "That's about all I can bloody do."

"Don't go Dawson on me, Spike," Buffy said. "Why don't you play something else. It calmed Oz down to the point that he's actually quiet."

"What do you want to hear? I can do a mean Slash impersonation," he said, this time giving her a small grin.

"Who were you just playing?"

"Clapton," he replied.

"Play something else by him," she instructed.

"Ok, luv," Spike said. "I think you'd know this one." He slowly began to strum. "Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven? I must be strong and carry on ‘cause I know I just don't belong here in heaven."

He looked down at her sitting on the floor Indian style, every bit the woman he'd fallen for, and the meaning of the song changed for him. "Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven? Would you help me stand if I saw you in heaven? I'll find my way through night and day ‘cause I know I just can't stay here in heaven."

She was his heaven. And it hurt to be this close to her and not have her realize that. "Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees. Time can break the heart, have you beggin' please, beggin' please."

Buffy closed her eyes as the instrumental part washed over her, flooding her emotions. He sang as though each word were coming from his soul. The soul he supposedly didn't have. "Beyond the door there's peace, I'm sure. And I know there'll be no more tears in heaven."

Spike smiled slightly when he saw her close her eyes. He was glad he could make her happy like he obviously was doing because he knew he would never belong in her life, just like in the song. "Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven? Would you be the same if I saw you in heaven? I must be strong and carry on ‘cause I know I don't belong here in heaven."

Tears were running down Buffy's cheeks when he finished. She wiped at them with her hand, chuckling slightly. "That was...yeah."

"Buffy?"

Spike and Buffy both turned towards the voice that was calling from the main part of the library. "Coming!" Buffy called back. She stood and looked down at him. "I..." She didn't know what to say, so she leaned down and kissed his cheek before walking away.

Spike felt that heart swelling thing again and he took a deep breath and sighed. Leaning over the guitar, he began to finger the strings randomly, making up his own soft, sad song to go with his mood. At the rate he was going, he'd have Angel beat by a mile for the biggest brooder in Sunnydale.

He saw Buffy return out of the corner of his eye and looked up. "Feel like going home? Angel's here and he said he'd watch Oz," she asked.

Standing, he handed her the guitar and picked up his chips and soda. "Lead the way, luv."


*****


"Spike?" Buffy started tentatively as they walked back to her house. "I'm sorry this is so hard on you."

"Don't worry about it, pet," Spike said. "It's not your problem."

"But I feel like it's my fault," she said. "And on top of all the human stuff, you had to come to your mortal enemy for help."

"I did once before," he shrugged.

"I still feel bad."

"Slayer, it can in no conceivable way be your fault," Spike told her. "No one can control who they fall in love with, it doesn't work that way. And if it's Drusilla that did this to me, I'm to blame for loving her at one time."

"So, what can I do to help you then?" Buffy asked. "And I still can't believe that I'm offering to you, of all people, my help."

Spike chuckled. "You've done enough, luv," he replied. "I'll be heading back to LA tomorrow until I hear some news. Then if it isn't Drusilla, well...I don't know. Maybe I'll join the mob or something."

They reached the back door with a smattering of laughter and Buffy followed Spike inside. "Hi mom," Buffy said to Joyce who was seated at the counter.

"Hello, you two," Joyce greeted in return. "Are you home for the night, Buffy?"

"No, I have to get back to the library," she answered, then turned to Spike. "Go ahead and take my bed. I'll be back around two because Angel promised he'd wolf-sit until Giles got there at five, which will leave him a half an hour to get back to the mansion."

"If you're sure," Spike said. "I don't mind the floor."

"Waste not, want some," Buffy replied, then frowned. "Or is it wait not, want more? Or maybe it's want not, waste some."

"Buffy?"

"Yeah?"

"I'll take the bed," he told her with a smile.

"Ok, good," she said. "I guess I'll see you later then. Night, mom."

"Goodnight, Buffy. Be careful," Joyce replied as her daughter went out the door. She looked over at Spike, taking in his somewhat haggard appearance and bloodshot eyes. "I saved some dinner for you," she said, standing and walking to the refrigerator.

"You didn't have to do that," Spike told her, wearily sitting down on a stool. He leaned his head in one hand, resting his elbow on the counter.

"I made it anyway," Joyce said, sticking the plate in the microwave. "Of course, no one came home for dinner, but at least Buffy called this time." The timer went off and she took the food out, setting it before him. "Here you go."

"Thanks," he replied, picking up a fork and pushing the food around the plate. "I'll be out of your hair tomorrow."

"Are you going home?"

"Yeah," Spike answered. "There's nothing that can really be done here in Sunnyhell. Plus the Slayer undoubtably wants me out of her life."

"That's not true," Joyce said. "She was worried about you earlier when you weren't in the library after school."

"Yeah right," he mumbled, taking a bite of the food. He then pressed the palm of his hand against one eye. "Bloody hell. Can I have one of those aspirins?"

"Of course you may," she replied. As she was about to open the bottle, she paused. "You know, I just thought of something. Do you even have any food at your house? Or things like aspirin, or bandaids?"

"No, why would I?"

"True," she said, opening the bottle and getting out a spoon and the jelly. "I can give you some food to go and all you'll have to do is microwave it. You do have a microwave, don't you?"

"It came with the house," Spike answered, taking the proffered spoon and swallowing the aspirin/jelly mix. "I think there might be food still lying around. I never bothered to clean it out, seeing as I don't use the kitchen."

"Here," Joyce said, putting a pad of paper and pencil next to him. "Write down your phone number and address, and I'll give you our number here and mine at work. That way, you can call if you have any questions, and I can send you care packages."

Spike looked at her dumbfounded. "Why are you being so nice to me? I tried to kill your daughter on numerous occasions and her friends."

"Call it maternal instinct," Joyce replied.

"But you're not my mum. In fact, I'm older than you by centuries," he said.

"How old were you when you...became a vampire. Is that the right way to say it?" she asked.

"It'll do," he shrugged. "And I have no idea how old I was. I do remember seeing the turn of the century, so I'm at least over two hundred."

"Well, you look to be in your young twenties, maybe even eighteen or nineteen," Joyce said. "By default, that makes me feel older. Besides, Buffy no longer lets me mother her enough, so I have spare."

"And you'd waste it on me?"

"I don't think of it as a waste," she corrected. "Everyone needs a mother now and then."

Spike studied her a moment. "Where were you when I was a lad?" He picked up the pencil and began writing, then tapped the pill bottle which was sitting on the table with it. "Can you show me how to open this?"

"Of course," Joyce replied. "It's a child proof cap, which means children can open it, but the adults can't." She gave him a smile, then showed him the writing on the cap. "You push down and turn at the same time...."


*****


"Spike's going home tomorrow," Buffy told Angel while they were sat together at the table in the library.

"You sound disappointed," Angel said.

"No, just a little worried," she replied. "You missed the fireworks earlier. He really hates being human again."

"So, even though he's leaving, I take it he's not giving up on finding out what happened," Angel asked.

"He thinks it was Drusilla," she said. "I guess he sent someone down to wherever the loony is to find out for sure. Until then, he'll just have to not let it destroy him."

"I don't understand."

"He said that becoming human again was one of the two things that could destroy him,"Buffy replied. "And before you ask, I have no clue what the other thing is. All I know is that he absolutely, completely, entirely, undoubtably hates being human."

Angel chuckled. "I guess it would be awkward."

"Do you remember what a yawn feels like? Or a headache?" Buffy asked. "Think about it. Human bodies do and feel things, emotions cause physical responses, we have to train it and learn what certain things mean. And that's normally done by the time you're three. Which means that Spike is basically a very tall toddler."

"Since when did you become such a font of knowledge," Angel teased.

"Ha ha," she replied. "I was reading some child care books earlier to try to find out how...er, never mind."

"What?"

"It's kinda personal," Buffy said. At the arch of his eyebrow, she hastily added, "Not for me personal, for Spike. I'm not having any children. I'm child free. Let's change the subject."


*****


Buffy crept quietly into her bedroom after changing into her pajamas a little after two that morning and looked down at the sleeping man in her bed, this time curled up on his other side. She wondered when he went to the store because all he was wearing was a pair of sweat shorts and was looking decidedly yummy in them. Her lips slowly went up in a devilish smile and she lay down next to him, propping her head on her fist. She reached out with her other hand and began rubbing his shoulder. "Spike," she called quietly. He stirred a little, but did not respond. "Spike."

Spike's eyes barely opened and he saw Buffy next to him on the bed. "Back already, pet," he mumbled sleepily, his dream world running over to the real world again. He reached out his own hand instinctively and slid it under her nightshirt, then began to lightly rub her abdomen. "What did the doctor say?"

*Mmm, that feels good,* she thought as his warm fingers brushed over her skin. "About what?" she asked, debating on whether to stop him or not.

"What do you think, luv?" Spike said. Before Buffy knew it, he had slid his hand down the front of her shorts. "It's not going to hurt the baby, is it?"

"Ba-," she gasped. "-by?" She knew she had to stop him, was being exceedingly unfaithful to a man that she couldn't touch or couldn't touch her. She moaned, from pleasure, that thought and her predicament. All she wanted to do was see what else was in Spike's dreams, not feel them.

"I want you so badly," he whispered in a dream-filled voice. He opened his eyes a little and saw Buffy biting her lip, her eyes tightly closed. Soon they were wrapped together intimately, Spike behind her, spooning her with his warmth.

"Oh, Buffy," Spike breathed in her ear, his own dream world firmly enmeshed with the real one. He pushed his chest closer to her silk covered back, his mouth moving over the side of her neck behind her ear with little kisses and licks. "I adore you."

She was gone. Completely gone. She heard him let out a soft swear, then thrust up against her as they both went over into ecstacy. He moved his hand so his arm was wrapped around her and he held her close.

Buffy felt like she was floating, like her limbs had decided to detach from her body and drift away. Her mind was running a million miles per hour, but not settling on one thing long enough for her to comprehend what she was thinking. All she could do was lay there entwined intimately with Spike.

"I love you, sweetheart," he murmured, slipping back into sleep.

Buffy's eyes were wide as his breathing became even, what just occurred finally sinking into her brain. "Oh god," she said quietly, extracting herself from him and getting out of the bed. She pulled her shorts up and made her way to the bathroom to clean up.

Turning on the light, her reflection caught her eye. Her face was flushed and her chest was rising and falling with each semi-quick breath. She put her hands to her cheeks and groaned. "I cannot believe that just happened." She looked at herself in the eyes. "I cannot believe that just happened and I enjoyed it. A lot."

She shook her head and sighed. She quickly went to the bathroom, then cleaned herself up from the aftermath of the lovemaking. And she knew on Spike's side it was definitely making love. Her head suddenly shot up and she looked at herself in the mirror as some of his sleep induced words penetrated her mind. "Baby?"



Part Eight




Buffy returned to the bedroom, took one look at Spike and freaked. She rushed over to the closet, blindly grabbing a shoe and shoving her foot into it. As she reached for another, she noted that the elastic of the shorts had at least ridden back up over him, then she made a strangled noise about the fact that she was looking in that area and yanked a coat off a hanger. She was halfway out the window when she remembered why she had gone to wake Spike up in the first place.

Avoiding looking at that one particular area, she grabbed his shoulder and began shaking him. "Spike, wake up," she said somewhat loudly.

"Stop your bloody shaking," Spike responding, coming awake. "I'm up." He turned his head and looked up at her. "What?"

"Bathroom. Go. You," she managed to get out before his oh-so-blue eyes affected her. She turned and practically threw herself out the window.

Spike frowned confusion at Buffy's actions as he sat up, his sleep filled brain still not functioning completely. He had been in the middle of one of his favorite dream-lines, where Buffy was pregnant with his child even though that was an impossibility. And as usual, it had become erotic. His frown deepened as he looked down at his lap and realized something was up, or more specifically not up. He patted the bed around him, searching but not finding the wet spot and wondered what was going on. He always woke up with a hard on or cum stained sheets when he dreamt like that.

*Maybe it's one of those human guy things,* he thought as got up and headed for the bathroom. When he returned, he looked at the open window, puzzled. Then he shrugged, settled himself on the floor and went back to sleep.


*****


Angel's head shot up from the book he was reading when Buffy burst through the library doors. "Buffy?" he said, rising to his feet at her appearance. She had two different shoes on and her long, pink coat was buttoned lopsided, her legs bare as if she dressed in a hurry. "What's wrong?"

Buffy launched herself at him, wrapping her legs around his waist and grabbing the back of his head. She attacked his mouth with her own, forcing her tongue between his lips to taste him. She felt him stiffen under her and not just his cock, but still she continued.

Angel pried her arms from around his neck and managed to stop the kiss, boldly putting her back on her own two feet. He took several steps back from her, panting from the arousing assault. "Buffy, you know we can't do that," he said, forcing his hormones under control.

She stared at him wide eyed at the feelings, or rather lack of them, running through her body. She had felt nothing but a faint ‘this is nice' reaction to the powerful kiss. "Oh god," she gasped, covering her mouth with her hand, the realization that Spike's fingertips dancing along her abdomen in a non-sexual way had evoked more feelings than the kiss. "I...I..."

Angel watched as she turned and bolted out the door, confusion written plainly on his face. He looked over at Oz-wolf who was staring up at him curiously. "What the hell was that about?"


*****


"Willow," Buffy called through the closed French doors of her best friend's bedroom as she rapped on the glass. "Willow."

A very sleepy Willow opened the door to see a panicked looking Buffy standing there. "Buffy, what's wrong?" she asked, stepping back to allow her friend to enter.

"I had sex with Spike and I liked it and then I went and kissed Angel and didn't feel anything," Buffy told her quickly, tears in her eyes.

"What?!" Willow asked, eyes widening. "You had sex with Spike?"

Buffy nodded, sinking down at the end of the bed. "I didn't mean to, it's not like I initiated it or anything. But, Willow, it felt so good and then I kissed Angel and didn't feel anything!"

"Buffy, take a deep breath and start from the beginning," the red head instructed, sitting next to her on the bed.

"Ok," Buffy replied, doing as told. "Remember how I told you yesterday Spike talked in his sleep?"

"Bubble bath and loving you," Willow said.

"Right. Well, when I got home, I thought I'd see what else he was dreaming about," she said. "I got on the bed next to him and did the same thing as I did last night and he started talking to me again."

"What did he say?"

"He asked me if the doctor said it was ok, then started rubbing my belly," Buffy answered. "Then he put his hand down my shorts and started...you know."

Willow's eyes widened again. "He did?"

Buffy nodded. "Then he asked if it was safe because of the baby and then he told me he wanted me and I came."

"Baby?" Willow asked. "As in, your baby?"

"I don't know," she replied.

"What happened next?"

"He turned me on my side and well..."

"Oh!" Willow gasped.

"And while he was... he told me he adored me, and we both came and then he said he loved me and fell back to sleep," Buffy finished. "Oh god, Willow. What am I going to do? It felt so wonderful, like I was dancing on a cloud. He was so tender and gentle, it's obvious he's totally in love with me."

"And then you went and kissed Angel?" Willow asked.

"And there was nothing," Buffy said morosely. "I love Angel so much and I felt nothing!"

"Oh boy," the red head replied.

"You can say that again," Buffy said, falling backwards on Willow's bed.

"Oh boy."

Buffy giggled, making Willow do the same. "What am I going to do, Will?"

"You told me on the phone earlier that Spike's going home later today, right?"

"Right."

"Then you do nothing," Willow told her. "You could be mistaking good sex for feelings. Once he's gone, wait a few days, then try kissing Angel again."

Buffy looked over at Willow. "When did you get to be so smart?"

"The same day your lover kidnaped me and Xander," she replied.

Buffy groaned. "Don't call him my lover, please?"

Willow gave her a devilish smile. "So, tell me the details? Is he big?"

"Willow!"



Part Nine




Spike kicked the door closed behind him, then wandered into the kitchen with the two paper bags he held in his arms. Setting them down on the table, he shed his duster then looked curiously around the room. "Well, mate, looks like you get to learn your way around a kitchen," he said to himself as he started to open cabinets.

He hadn't realized humans kept the amount of food he found in the cabinets and fridge. He went back over to the bags on the table and pulled out the two notes he'd found that morning in the Summers' kitchen, along with the grocery bags of tupperware containers.

The first note was a brief one from Joyce, telling him to call if he had any questions whatsoever. The second note was longer and he smoothed it out on the table along with the small box that had been with it.

Spike~
Had to skip out early, so I didn't wake you. Couple things - to get through the night, don't drink anything for at least an hour before bed and use the bathroom just before going to sleep; don't invite anyone into your house; and be careful if you go out at night. There are all sorts of evil nasties out there and you probably know a few by name.
Good luck,
Buffy
PS In the box is a little something for protection.

Spike opened the box for the second time that day and took out the small, plain, gold cross necklace. He unhooked the clasp and put it on, tucking it under his shirt. He was still amazed when it didn't burn him and even more so that the Slayer was concerned for his safety.

Standing, he picked the note up and put it and the phone numbers on the refrigerator using the magnets the family who had owned the house had used. Taking a step back, he surveyed the letter magnets that had been put together one drunken night months ago and hadn't been changed. He reached out and straightened the ‘f' and the ‘v' in the words ‘I love Buffy,' then returned to unpacking the food that Joyce had sent with him from the bags.


*****


"I wonder how Spike is," Buffy said as she did pushups on the front lawn of the school. She was still undergoing Wesley's physical fitness testing with Faith and finally admitted to herself that she did want to do better than the other Slayer.

"Did you know that you've asked that question everyday for the past two weeks?" Willow said, flipping through her history textbook. "That would suggest that you're having serious thoughts about a certain blond vampire-no-more."

"Am not," Buffy replied.

"And what was your dream about last night?" Willow asked with a pointed look.

Buffy looked up at the red head. "Well maybe I've been thinking about him. But just a little. I'm just worried about how he's doing."

"And if he's still dreaming about you," she added. Buffy scowled at her. "Why don't you call him?"

"No!" Buffy said forcefully, rolling onto her back to do some sit-ups. Willow arched her brow. "We're mortal enemies, I can't just call and ask what's what?"

"I think you passed that mortal enemy stage when you had sex with him, Buffy," Willow pointed out. "Especially ‘cuz you liked it."

"Will-"

"And it gave you that ooey gooey tingly feeling in your toes," she went on without pause. "That slowly goes up your legs and makes you all goofy, like Angel use to make you feel."

"Thank you for pointing that out, Will," Buffy said sarcastically, sitting up. "I so wanted to be reminded that my smoochies with Angel are less..."

"Ooey gooey?" Willow supplied helpfully.

"What ever happened to the time when the boys we thought about were basketball or football players, not creatures of the night or former ones?"

"Or werewolves," Willow added with a grin.

"Or werewolves," Buffy repeated. She picked at the grass and sighed.

"Cheer up, Buffy. Maybe he'll call."

"And the reason would be...?"

"Um, he loves you so much he can't live another day without you?" Willow said. Buffy gave her a look. "Or maybe he wants to know how to make borscht."

"Borscht?"

Willow shrugged. "It could happen."


*****


Spike stared at the microwave as the object inside started to spark. He yanked open the door and grabbed the Spaghettio's can, burning his fingers. "Ow!" he shouted as he dropped the hot metal, orange sauce and round noodles splattering everywhere.

He swung around to grab the paper towels and ended up smashing his elbow on the corner of the refrigerator handle. Unbelievable pain shot up and down his arm, bringing tears to his eyes. "Bloody fucking hell," he ground out between clenched teeth, holding his elbow.

The past two weeks had not gone well for Spike. He hurt himself more times than he could count, from stubbing his toe to paper cuts to static electric shocks, each sending pain which he had never felt before running through him. He'd taken more aspirin than recommended on the bottle and was lucky he didn't overdose. He also had to change the bed nine out of fourteen days, much to his anger. He really hated being human.

The pain started to recede and he took a deep, calming breath. Stepping over the mess, he picked up the phone and dialed the number he was exceedingly familiar with.

"Summers Gallery."

"Hello, Joyce," Spike said into the phone, rubbing his elbow. "How goes the world of art?"

"Hello, Spike," Joyce replied over the line, a smile in her voice as she said the second half to how they started all their conversations. "A little surreal with a bunch of still life thrown in." Spike had called her at work practically every day for a variety of reasons, usually to do with food. He had made her promise not to tell Buffy that he called, telling her that he felt like enough of an idiot without needing her daughter to know that fact. "What's on the menu for today?"

Spike looked down at the can on the floor. "It was Spaghettio's," he replied.

"Did you remember to take it out of the can?"

"Hell," he swore softly, slumping back against the wall. "I forgot again. Maybe I should hire a bloody cook."

"Not to worry, I whipped up a large dinner last night and I planned on sending you a care package," Joyce told him. "Complete with microwaving instructions."

"What would I ever do without you?" Spike said.

"Probably starve," she replied.

He chuckled and was about to say something else when he heard knocking on the front door. "Excuse me a moment, Joyce, there's someone at the door." He put down the phone on the kitchen table, glancing at the clock to see that it was well past sunset. Putting on his ‘I'm still a big bad vampire' face, he opened the door. He recognized the minions that had gone to Brazil for him. "Hello, mates."

"Spike," one of the vampires said. "We, uh...have that information for you."

"Well, spit it out," Spike said, leaning against the open door, careful not to step past the invisible barrier. The vampires shifted nervously on their feet, looking at one another. Finally, one of them spoke.

"Drusilla is dead," the vampire told him quickly, holding a sealed envelope out towards the blond. "We found this at her lair. It's addressed to you."

Spike reached his hand out and took the letter from the vampire, his expression unchanging. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," he answered.

Spike nodded and stepped back, clutching the envelope in his hand, his eyes tracing the dark letters on it. "Thanks," he said quietly before closing the door on them.

Suddenly, his heart felt like someone reached into his chest and was crushing it. His throat tightened and a large lump formed in it. He slowly walked back into the kitchen and picked up the phone. "I'm back," he said, swallowing heavily.

"Who was it?" Joyce asked.

"Dru-," he got out before his throat closed up. His entire chest now felt as though someone were sitting on it as his eyes began to fill with water.

"Spike?"

Spike sucked air in through his mouth, making a high pitched squeak as his lower lip began to tremble uncontrollable. The muscles in his stomach started to quiver and he squeezed his eyes shut, his head lowering. He held the phone tightly in one hand, the letter in the other as the tears started to flow.

"Spike, dear, what's wrong?" Joyce asked concerned as she heard what sounded like him crying. "Did something happen to Drusilla?"

With the sound of her name, the dam broke. Spike started to cry deep, wracking sobs preventing him from breathing. His Princess, his Black Queen, his Ripe Wicked Plum was gone. His entire body was tense and trembling as grief overtook him.

"I'll be there as soon as I can," Joyce said.

"No," Spike got out, sucking in sharp breaths of air. "Don't."

"But-"

"No," he repeated a little more firmly. He looked up at the ceiling as he calmed.

"If you're sure," Joyce said.

"I-I'll call you later," he said, then hung up the phone. On automation, he walked to the bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed. After a few moments, he wiped his eyes with the back of his hand, then shakily opened the envelope.

To My Spike~
The bad man made me see inside you and tell him what was the very worst thing he could do to you. I was able to tell him a fib. I told him that you could never survive as a mortal again. I hope you are not unhappy with me. I know he will make you human and you will hate it, but he will not kill the Slayer you love. Now I have to go so I can hide this before he comes back. The stars tell me that I did good. I love you, my Spike. Take care of her like you took care of me. If you see Daddy, tell him I was a good girl. And tell Miss Edith I will miss her.
Am I still your Princess?

"Yeah, baby, you are," Spike whispered as he finished the letter. He curled up on the bed, clutching the paper to his chest as the tears began to fall again.



Continued 1