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Against Their Monsters

Title: Against Their Monsters
Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Spike, Dawn, mentioned/implied Spike/Buffy
Rating: PG/K+
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike: Spike's Wet Weekend
Warning(s): None
Word Count: 1,953
Date Written: 16 April, 2016
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.

She wakes to a silent house. Her bed feels enormous, but she knows it's really not. Her feet can dangle off of its end if she's not all the way up against her headboard. But tonight, everything feels big, and she feels far smaller than she actually is, small and insignificant.

Perhaps she is. She was supposed to be a key, after all. She's not even a real girl. "Hmph," she snorts with self-derision. She's a bona fide, real, live Pinocchio come to life, and she's alone with no one to direct or cut her strings. Her mother's gone. Her sister's gone. And they were never even really her family. She doesn't have a family.

She does, however, have people who like to pretend to be her family, people who never leave her alone. She listens more intently, but there's no sounds happening in the house. Even Tara and Willow's kitty isn't making any noise. The house is still, like a coffin, like a grave.

She shivers and rolls to her feet. She grabs her robe and heads out the door, eager to find some one, any one, with whom to share the night. She doesn't like to be alone any longer. There's too much time to think when she's alone, and her thoughts are far too loud by herself. She checks one room at a time as she passes through the house that used to be her home but now feels so hollow.

Can a key even have a home? she wonders. She supposes it must for it does fit into something, but these nights, she feels like she doesn't fit into anything at all. These nights, she feels alone even when she isn't, and tonight, she really is alone.

Her heart is hammering by the time she reaches the kitchen. Her stomach rumbles, but she's not hungry. Keys don't get hungry, she reminds herself, but as she pads through the kitchen, a shadow jumps. She gasps and runs to the light switch. Flipping it on, she's glad she didn't scream when she sees the cat, but she's still alone.

Where is everybody? What's happening about which they didn't tell her? Are they in danger? Her heart beats louder, pounding a frantic rhythm. Did her sister die for nothing? She yanks the door open and is about to pound out into the night when she catches sight of a flicker. It's just a small, bright red dot in the near distance, but she knows what it means: She's not alone.

It's only as this knowledge sinks into her that Dawn realizes it's raining. The wind is blowing the water in on her, but she won't shut the door. Shutting the door would mean she'd be alone again, and she doesn't want to be alone ever again. She's still too much alone now. She starts to step out into the night but stops when a voice growls at her, "Don't come out in this, Nibblet. You'll get sick."

"So?" Her chin juts out in defiance. "You're out in it."

"Vampires don't get sick."

She wraps her arms around her thin frame, now shivering from the cold. She knows he's right, but she doesn't want to be alone. Besides, even if the rain won't make him sick, it's pouring. He doesn't need to be out in it! "Come inside," she calls.

"In a minute."

"No. Now!"

"You're a pushy bit, aren't ya?" Spike growls.

She pauses and then says, "Bring your cigarette in."

He turns, trench coat flapping, and looks at her. She can't see his face in the darkness, but she can feel his eyes boring in on her tender flesh. She shakes her head. Spike will never hurt her, not now.

She's surprised when she sees the light of the cigarette move as he tosses it to the ground. It's extinguished a second later by his boot, and she hears movement as he starts to stride toward her. "I was going to let you finish your smoke in here."

He steps into the light, and his dark blue eyes look as sorrowful as she feels. "Your mother and sister never liked for me to smoke indoors, pet."

His words bring a smile to her lips. Even after their deaths, he's still respecting their wishes, and she will, too. She's not a key, she tells herself again. She's more than just imagination made real, more than a portal to another doorway. She is her mother's daughter and the Slayer's sister. She'll respect both their memories and not tarnish or diminish herself not because she's worth it but because they wouldn't want her to.

"I don't like the way you look tonight."

"Well, excuuuse me!" Dawn exclaims, heat flushing into her face as she steps hurriedly inside. "I wasn't aware I was trying to win a beauty contest."

"Not that," Spike says quickly but with a sigh that makes him sound tired. She didn't think Vampires got tired. She looks back at him.

He's still standing in the rain, not yet having come into the house. He's completely soaked from head to foot, and rain is just pouring down his face. He blinks at her through the rapid drops of water. Dawn's heart clenches, and she reaches for him. "Come inside," she repeats, this time more softly.

He obliges, sliding in beside her and shutting the door behind them. She doesn't miss the fact that he locks three locks as if that can keep the monsters at bay. Nothing keeps the monsters at bay in their world, but he's trying to protect her. He's trying to protect her, and right now, she's much more concerned about him.

She grabs his hand; he doesn't try to move any further. He looks at her instead, as solemn and grave but not quite as sad as the night after they buried her sister. "Stop thinking of yourself as a key," he tells her.

Her head draws back in surprise, but her hand doesn't let go. "How did you -- "

He smiles, but there's no humor in his smile, only more sadness. "I know the look, pet. You're beating yourself up again. It's not your fault."

It's no one's fault, but they all feel a certain amount of guilt. They try to help each other day by day, but nothing can assuage what they're feeling, nothing but the impossible: the return of her sister. She knows others have come back from the grave, but as Spike said before when they lost her mother, they always come back wrong. They have to let Buffy go, but yet, they can't. None of their lives are complete without her. They're all hurting, Dawn realizes, staring up into Spike's haunted eyes. They all feel alone, but in reality, they're not. They've got each other, and Buffy would want them all to be there for one another. It's what her mother would want, too.

"It's not yours, either," she whispers, and he looks away, unable to meet her gaze now. Yet, right before he turns his blonde head, she catches sight of something she knows she's not supposed to see and knows why he was out in the rain again. He's been crying, and the moisture hides his tears. Her own eyes well up, and she rubs at them with the back of the hand he just released.

"I woke up alone," she whispers. "Everybody was gone."

Quickly, he turns back to face her. "I'll never leave you, Nibblet," he vows. He made promises to both Buffy and Joyce, and he's going to keep them. He promised Joyce he'd protect her girls, and he did for Buffy until he was no longer able to stop the inevitable. A Slayer's death is always inevitable, no matter how much it hurts, but Dawn's isn't. He'll protect her until she finally does go from this life, but by that time, he vows, she'll be old, wrinkled, and gray. "You're not alone. I won't let it happen."

"Well, it did happen," she says, shivering at the memory. She reaches out again and grabs his hand before he can snake it away. "I'm lonely, Spike. Come to bed with me?"

"Dawn!" he hisses, fangs flashing, in surprise.

"Not like that," she assures him, blushing. "Just . . . Just sit with me while I sleep or . . . or . . . "

"What?" he prods.

Still, she hesitates. Is it too much to ask? For a normal man, it would be. She'd never dream of asking Xander or Giles, but with Spike, things are somehow different. Willow's done it for her since they lost Buffy and Willow's turned on by girls, so maybe it isn't too much to ask?

"What, pet? I'll do anything for you. You know that." Or, at least, she should by now.

"Hold me?" She doesn't realize she's trembling until he wraps his arms around her and holds her still against his solid chest. Her tears wet his black shirt, but she makes no mention of the tears that wet her long, brown hair.

They stand together like that for a long time before he finally whispers, "Lead the way."

She does without hesitation. He's the first man she's taken into her room; they both know he won't be the last. He also isn't like any of the men who will follow. He's far better than them all, and she trusts him more than any of the others who will come.

He slides out of his trench coat as they enter her room, lays it on the bed, and then sits beside it. She nestles in beside him, her head on his shoulder. He moves only once, to wrap her small body in his coat. It's thick, warm, and smells like him, but it's only when he wraps his arms back around her that Dawn finally feels safe again, safe and sleepy.

She starts to doze back off almost immediately but not before she makes a silent promise to them both. They will never be alone. She'll help him do more than just find his soul as he already did. If Angel can become human, so, too, can he. She'll help him find his humanity, and one night, they'll fall together. When they awaken from that battle, they'll be with her sister again and her mother. She smiles a little smile. Her family will be together again, but until then, she'll protect Spike. She'll never be half the fighter he is, she knows, but she'll protect him from the darkness and the monsters in their own hearts. She'll protect him, and together, they'll survive until they're back with her sister again.

Spike feels Dawn nod off and silently kisses the top of the child's head. Looking around in the darkness, he smirks at his own self. This is the only time he's been in the bed with a beautiful girl and not wanted to do things to her, but he's doing the most important thing ever now. He's keeping his word to Buffy. He's keeping his word to the woman he loves, and although he couldn't stop or save her, he will save her sister. He'll make her come to realize she's not only a key and she is important to them all in her own right, and he will, he vows again, protect her until her dying breath many, many years from now.

Spike looks up in the darkness, wondering if Buffy can see him now and hoping she does so that she'll know how much he loves her and that her sister is safe. Then, with Dawn's breath beside him lulling him into solace, he finally lets his own eyes drift closed, and he stays there, sleeping soundly, his cheek against her head, for hours.

The End


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 17th, 2016 10:44 pm (UTC)
Lovely. Perfect. My fave friendship because it taught a monster to be a man. :D
May. 3rd, 2016 07:15 pm (UTC)
Well put. :) Glad you enjoyed!
May. 11th, 2016 02:50 am (UTC)
*sniffles* Beautiful
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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