Forever and Always by TammyDevil666
Chapter #1 - Forever and Always
Title: Forever and Always
Author: TammyDevil666
Summary: Buffy slips into depression after Spike's sacrifice, the fact he was back and never told her just pushes her even more over the edge. When Spike realizes the mistake he made by staying away, he's willing to do whatever he can to save her.
Rating: PG-13
Feedback: Any comments would be appreciated.
Disclaimer: None of the characters belong to me.

"She's what?"

Angel rubbed his temples. "Buffy's in a mental institution, apparently she's been there for weeks."

Spike stood up in a rage. "How the bloody hell did we not know about that? Who told you?"

"After she beat up the last guy I had tailing her, I sent someone else. I was worried about her being with the Immortal, I just wanted to keep tabs on her to make sure she was okay. He lost track of her for a while, but just notified me that she's been sent away to some institution, in Los Angeles."

"Wait, she's been here for weeks in some loony bin and we're just now finding out about it? What about Dawn, or Red? Someone should have called us, I'm assuming the git told them I was back."

"In case you've forgotten, they don't trust me anymore. If they knew you were here, they would have no reason to trust you, either."

Spike sat back down, running his fingers through his hair in agitation. "Where is it? I have to see her."

"They're only letting family see her, right now that's just Dawn and Giles, who apparently told them that he was her uncle."

"How did this happen? Why would they send her to that place?"

Angel dreaded the next part, but knew he couldn't keep anything from Spike. "Buffy tried to kill herself."

* * * * *

"Come on, just have a little, you need to eat something. I know it's not the best jello in the world, but it's better than nothing."

Buffy turned away. "I'm not hungry."

Dawn let out a sigh. "If you don't start to show signs of improvement, they'll never let you out of here."

The blonde gave a humorless laugh. "And then what? I go back to slaying, risking my life every night for nothing? Dealing with all these young girls who blame me for ruining their lives? I'm just done, everyone would be better off without me."

"What about me?" Dawn claimed, tears in her eyes. "Did you even think about me when you tried to end your life, again? I barely survived the last time."

"You're not a kid anymore, you would have been fine."

She swiped at her eyes angrily. "That's so not the point. I know you slipped into depression after Sunnydale, we all did. Xander hardly makes it out of bed most days, but this isn't the way to deal with it. Finding out Spike was back..."

"He's not back," Buffy practically growled. "He decided to stay away from me. He realized he was better off, just like everyone else. I don't care anymore, about anything."

For the first time, Dawn was relieved Buffy was in this place, that way she wouldn't be able to hurt herself again. This was not her sister, Dawn didn't know who she was right now.

* * * * *

Spike gazed out the window as Angel made some phone calls, not knowing what else to do. He had to see her, but he didn't think his presence would help any.

"You know, the security really sucks in this place. I just walked right in and no one tried to stop me."

He turned at the familiar voice, smiling at his Nibblet, although she had really grown since the last time he saw her.

"It's been a while. I should probably yell at you for keeping your return a secret from us, but I like to think I've matured somewhat."

Spike knew she should be mad, but he was just too glad to see her to care. He gave her a hug, catching the girl off guard. "I've missed you, bit."

Dawn pulled out of the embrace, gracing him with a small smile. "Missed you, too, I just wish this little reunion was under better circumstances. I'm guessing you know about Buffy."

He nodded, leading her out of Angel's office when it appeared the great ponce was too fixated on his phone conversation to give them much thought. "What happened to her?"

She didn't know where to start. "To make a long story short, Buffy's been falling apart ever since what happened in Sunnydale, she didn't take your death well. She's hardly focused on anything since then, Willow convinced her to give dating a try. Buffy was in no place for that, but took a chance on the Immortal, an overgrown pretty boy. He's not even a vampire, but he apparently doesn't age. Anyway, she went out with him once and decided he was all wrong for her, she just seemed to fall even more into depression after that. I'm assuming that's when you saw her dancing with him in Rome, Andrew finally told us about that, but it was all an act. I know it may not have looked like it at the time, but she was miserable. We never even really lived in Rome, we were only there on vacation, that was actually Andrew's apartment we were staying at. We've been here for months now."

Spike silently cursed himself for not talking to Buffy when he had the chance, he let his petty jealousy get in the way instead. "Why did no one tell me she was here? Angel's lackey has been following her, how did he never know?"

Dawn crossed her arms over her chest. "He's been following a decoy, we needed the bad guys to think Buffy was still around. He must have realized the truth because I spotted him being a creeper one night outside our apartment, I told him about what happened to Buffy because I wanted it to get back to you. And hey, that whole telling thing works both ways. We never even knew you were back until Andrew spilled the beans. Do you know what that did to her? She was so convinced that you stayed away because you wanted nothing to do with her anymore, that you were happy to be free of her. The only thing that kept her with us was your sacrifice, she used to always say how amazing you were. My Spike saved the world, he's a true hero, but when she found out you've been back this whole time and never said anything, she just shut down even more. She wouldn't talk to anyone, if I didn't find her when I did, there's no telling what would have happened. Xander's been seeing a therapist since Anya died, unlike Buffy who refused any kind of therapy. His shrink put him on anti-depressants, Buffy found the bottle and took the whole thing. It was almost completely full. We think it was the fact that she's the slayer that saved her life, I guess she has a higher tolerance for pills, but I was terrified when I found her lying on the floor unconscious. She downed the whole bottle with alcohol."

Spike felt ten times worse with every word she uttered, he even felt bad for the whelp, knowing about Anya's death from the boy. "So, Harris lives with you?"

Dawn nodded. "He only moved in briefly, I guess he needed a change from Detroit. That's where he's been spending most of his time. Willow's off in Germany somewhere with Kennedy, while Faith and Robin are living it up in New York. Giles is running the new Council in London, but it's more of a training school now for new slayers. He was here when Buffy was admitted, but duty called and he had to go back. They haven't really seen eye to eye much lately, Giles yelled at her that it was time to let you go and move on, but she wasn't having it. Buffy said Faith was the main slayer now and she was officially retired, that we didn't need her anymore. But that's not true, we do need her, I need her. I tried to make Buffy see that. She wouldn't listen to me, but she might listen to you."

"I don't know, love, it sounds like seeing me would only make things worse," Spike replied.

Dawn shook her head. "It can't get any worse. She needs to know that you still care, it might be the only thing that will reach her. I mean, you do still care, don't you? She wasn't right about why you stayed away, was she?"

"Of course not, I still love her just as much as I always did, both of you. I don't even know why I stayed away, it seems so bloody stupid now. If I only would have come to her the second I was able to, none of this would have happened. I can't apologize enough for that."

"I'm fine, Spike, we didn't leave things on good terms between us. I don't blame you for not telling me you were back. I'll never regret not making things right with you before we went down that cave, but I forgave you a long time ago. I'm not the one you need to be apologizing to."

Spike knew she was right, he just hoped Buffy would listen.

* * * * *

Dawn got Spike in to see Buffy by saying he was her fiancé, he didn't think that was a good idea, but it seemed to do the trick. When he reached her room, she was sitting on a chair watching the rain outside the window, the sudden downpour came out of nowhere. He moved closer to her, not knowing what to say. "Hello, cutie," was the first thing that came to mind. She didn't turn around and he was starting to wonder if she even heard him, but he didn't have to wonder for long when she finally spoke.

"You're not real."

That was the last thing he expected to hear, sitting down in the empty chair next to her. "It's really me, Buffy." He reached out to touch her so she could feel how real he was, but she pulled away at first contact.

"No touching, they have me on medication that makes me see you, but when we touch, you go away again. I don't want to make you go away."

His heart broke at her words, the tears in her eyes were nearly his undoing. He touched her arm, not letting her back away this time. "See, I'm right here, we're touching and I'm not going anywhere. Oh, love, I'm so sorry. I thought you were happy. I thought I was doing the right thing by staying away, but I was wrong. I should have come to you the second I was corporeal again, I was a wanker to put it simply. I was just too bloody scared of rejection, that I could never top a grand exit like that. I was worried that if I came back, my sacrifice wouldn't have meant anything. I also didn't think you meant what you said in the hellmouth, but I should have known you did. You don't use those words lightly. I think a part of me did believe you, I just needed to get you out of there in one piece." Spike had tears of his own when she finally looked at him, taking in an unneeded breath as she traced his jaw.

"You're really here," she claimed in awe.

He grasped her hand in his, giving it a light squeeze. "I'm here and I'm not going anywhere, not without you." Spike wrapped his arms around her when the floodgates opened and the tears burst forth with a vengeance, rubbing soothing circles on her back. "I'm right here, sweetheart. I'll never leave you again."


"I promise, wild horses couldn't drag me away. I love you, forever and always. Never doubt that."

Buffy wiped her eyes. "I love you, too, please believe me."

He smiled. "I believe you, how could I not?" He kissed her lips sweetly, tasting the salt of her tears. It had been way too long.

"Take me home."

Spike didn't know if she meant his place or hers, but it didn't matter as long as they were together. He would take her anywhere her heart desired. If he had his way, she wouldn't spend one more second in that prison. He was leaving Wolfram and Hart behind, maybe they could find a place that was both of theirs. No one would stop them from being together now. "Come on, love, let's blow this popsicle stand." She giggled and the sound was music to Spike's ears, he imagined that she hadn't had much to laugh about lately. That was all going to change. He had to sign some papers and with Dawn's help, was able to get her discharged from the hospital. He just had to promise the doctor that he would keep a close eye on her until she showed more signs of improvement, but that was something Spike would have no problem agreeing to.

Dawn teared up when Buffy gave her a hug, apologizing for worrying her.

"Things are going to be better now, Dawny, I promise."

That was all she hoped for.

The rain stopped as they all piled into Angel's car that Spike decided to 'borrow' as they soon drove away.

Spike smiled when Buffy rested her head against his shoulder. He finally had his girls back, nothing would ever tear them apart again.