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Every Little Bit Hurts by Schehrezade
Chapter Four
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Chapter 4

"What the hell is going on?" Buffy threw a folded magazine at Spike's sleeping head with a growl.

"Wot? Where...pet ...wot's got your pretty lil'knickers in a twist now?" He rolled over and reached for the paper. He scanned the headlines with a frown. Nothing there of importance unless you counted the latest Hollyweird couple of the moment splitting up. He scanned the first few pages of the gossip rag his Slayer seemed addicted to. "What am I looking for Slayer?"

Buffy grunted something that sounded like ‘page ten’ at him and then stomped off onto the veranda of their small beach house. She leaned against the railing and stared out at the sun setting over the sea. The small waves were awash with the crimson glow of the burning orb as it slowly descended beyond her eye line.

She slipped through the small gate and sank gracefully down onto the sun-warmed sand, curling her toes into the fine grains. Buffy sighed, knowing that their idyll here in the sleepy coastal town they had moved into was almost over. If that bogus 'I saw an alien in Sunnydale' article was anything to go by, then the vamp that had killed Dawnie was not dust, and that freaked her.

Buffy pressed her hand to her stomach and rode out the all so familiar pang of pain evoked by her sister's death. She frowned down at her pale slender feet. He was dust; she knew it. But someone had seen him. The description of the green eyes was too much of a coincidence. A chill of fear ran through her.

The two of them had slowly found their way to this sleepy town perched on the bay, and had used some of the money from the sale of her mom's house to buy the beach house. It was a pretty building with a veranda skirting around it on all sides and painted white with bright blue shutters. Inside there were two bedrooms and bathrooms, the other usual amenities and the added bonus of a massive living area that looked out over the ocean. Neither of them had ever thought they would make a home together, but they had. Slowly they became more than grieving friends, the barriers of vampire and slayer fell away and all that was left was Spike and Buffy.

She had left Sunnydale thinking that the vampire was dusted and that with her absence in their lives, Willow and the others would be safe, no longer pulled into the craziness. She had hoped that her friends would either stop slaying, move on with their lives or carry on, but it was down to them and not forced on them by her presence in their lives. It was their choice either way, and she had hoped that they had chosen the former. She had comforted herself with the idea that Willow and Tara had carried on studying, Xander and Anya were dating and bickering, and Giles… Giles was either back in England retired, or running the Magic Box with Anya. Her happy imaginings had helped her move on and heal. Mourn her mom and Dawnie and slowly build a new life with the peroxided menace that was now stomping out to join her on the beach.

She didn't want this. Buffy sighed. She had made a promise to herself, once she had resurfaced from the grief of Dawn's murder and her mom's death. She was done, out, finished. It had been five months since that fateful day in the morgue when Buffy's life had shattered into smithereens, and the months of grieving and slowly putting herself back together had been made easier by the presence of Spike.

Her full lips turned up at the corners at the memories of their nights and days spent together. Learning each others moods, likes and dislikes. It hadn't all been easy. It had taken some time for the ingrained knee jerk reactions of years to fade. Yes, he was a vampire. But no, she didn't have to automatically hate him because her friends and Watcher silently demanded it from her. Slowly Buffy had learned that there was more to Spike than attitude and a pair of fangs.

They had made their way slowly down the coast, travelling through LA as fast as they could, totally unwilling to risk a meeting with Angel. Neither of them could face his pithy attempts of comfort or his anger over Spike's presence in Buffy's life. Instead, they had headed south and found a place to call home. Somewhere to just stop and be Buffy -- not the Slayer, just Buffy. Somewhere to heal and recover from life's vicissitudes and trials.

All of which had been achieved with the help of the muttering vampire that was stomping on the deck behind her. She had never realised the depth of love she could feel for another being, not after her heart had been broken so many times. By her parents divorce, her father's abandonment of her, her mom and Dawnie's death, and last and defiantly least, Angel. Her full mouth made a moue of disgust at the thought of her so-called first love.

"That J-Lo's arse seems to be getting bigger every time I see a piccie of her. A bloke could park a sodding bike up there." Spike's voice pulled her from her maudlin memories of Angel.

Buffy smiled up at Spike, her hazel eyes taking in the rumpled ‘I just crawled outta bed’ curls. He looked cute and bonus for her, he was hers. She eyed his pale muscled chest as he paced back and forth and licked her lips. Then his less than gentlemanly comment registered. "Eww…Spike that is totally gross." She wrinkled her nose at him and made gagging noises.

He flopped down on the pale sand next to her and tucked his hands behind his head. Buffy watched the play of muscles under his pale skin and her mouth watered slightly. Shaking her head, she picked up the Enquirer and flipped through the pages until she got to the article she had come across by chance. A faint frown appeared between her brows as she studied the article again, trying to glean more information from the pithy words.

Spike's all too perceptive eyes were focused on her lower lip, which she was chewing to bits. He reached over with a sand covered foot and gently nudged her calf. "Oi, less with the biting, that's my job." He smirked at her as he watched her free hand unconsciously trace over the bite marks that he had placed over the two older sets, completely obliterating them.


"I know, love, but we don't know for sure that's the gospel truth. It's a gossip rag, for Christ sakes, no need get wound up about it until you have to." Spike pulled the offending article from her clutching fingers and tossed it onto the deck behind them. "Come're." He coaxed her onto his lap and wrapped his arms around her. Inhaling deeply, he soaked in her scent and nuzzled his nose into her hair.

Great big fat tears poured down her face as Buffy leant back against his chest and sighed. Snuffling loudly, she reached up and wiped her face dry on the back of her hand, the other wrapped tightly around Spike's forearm. "You'da thunk I'd cried myself out by now," she sniffled again.

Spike chuckled, the vibrations in his chest warming her heart. "One thing I've learned over the decades is that there's always enough water in a bird for one more good cry...now the snot issue I can do without." He ducked his head as Buffy reached behind her and gave him a gentle slap. "Ow, mind the noggin."

"If it's him, I want to go back and make sure he stays dusted," Buffy mumbled.

"We will. Wot I don't get is how he reformed. Never heard of a vamp coming back from hell." Spike nudged Buffy off his lap and then helped her stand, dusting off the clinging motes of sand from her legs and then offering her his arm in a curious old world way that he was prone to doing.


"It's getting harder every night. I can't keep going out there alone." Xander rocked on his heels and clutched the phone tightly in his fist. This was the one call he had hoped to avoid, but desperate times lead to desperate measures. “I need some back up. I can’t watch anyone else I care for die. You have to send some help.”

He stood with his back to the shop, acutely aware that he was being watched by the two girls he wanted to protect more than anything, Anya and Tara, they relied on him for muscle and he needed to find more. Giles had become a lost cause and so he had turned for help to the last place he had ever expected to, and the weird thing was, they had said yes.

His shoulders slumped in relief. They would send help, on the next available flight. Quietly thanking the man he had never expected to turn to for help, Xander placed the receiver back on the cradle and turned with a smile to face the two women.

"They're sending help?" Anya asked, anxiety colouring her voice. Her face was black and blue from the demon who had hit her on patrol the night, before but she held her chin up defiantly.

Xander sank down next to his girl with a sigh of relief. "Yeah, he said they'd send over some muscle and a guy to help out with the research."

"What about Buffy. Did he ask about her?" Tara 's voice was sombre and muted.

"Nope, already knew she was MIA, which is kinda wig worthy. Makes you wonder if they have spies in town." Xander toyed with Anya's fingers, his work-roughened digits spinning her engagement ring on her thin finger.

Tara 's face hardened swiftly into all too familiar lines of anger for the other two and she sat up straight in her chair, muttering an incantation under her breath. Anya eyed her warily, worried that the magic she was calling on would be a shade too dark for Tara . Xander stood and began to pace back and forth between the research table and where the phone hung on the wall.

Ever since Willow had been turned, Tara had become the magical focus of the group left defending the Hellmouth. She had gone from the shy retiring mother earth type, to the angry vengeful Wiccan who was determined to rain hell on the heads of the ones who tormented them all.

“Jeez!” Xander leapt away from the phone as the receiver emitted a dark black smoke as a small bug exploded. All over the shop were similar explosions, Tara ’s eyes beginning to turn an opaque grey as she pulled on her magical reserves to destroy any magical or mechanical methods of spying.

“Hey, my stock!” Anya exclaimed and began to rush around the shop, checking each item that had formerly carried a bug in it. She turned to Xander, “We need to get the apartment checked, you ask her.”

“I’ll come home with you and check the place out, don’t worry Anya.” Tara ’s eyes shifted back to their normal colour as she swayed slightly, trying to regain her equilibrium.

“Thanks,” Anya stared worriedly over at the once shy and retiring Wiccan who had, since the moment that they had discovered Willow ’s vamping, changed into a stronger and more assertive magic user. Grief had guided her steps down a path she and the others had never envisaged for her. She was slowly surpassing Willow in magical acumen and strength and was becoming a force to be reckoned with.

“No p…problem.” Tara picked up the next of Giles’s journals that Anya had liberated from his flat and began to read. The three of them were on a mission. One that she hoped might at least bring back part of her Willowtree. Tara sighed, praying to all the deities she knew for help. She had to find the spell. If not then -- then she would join her lover in death. It was too hard to carry on without her. Maybe their souls would find each other.

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