"So, Wills, are you gonna ask Angel?" Buffy said as the two girls sat down in the cafeteria with their lunches.
"I don’t know, Buffy. I don’t think he’d want to go to that sort of thing," Willow answered, opening her milk. "Besides, he’s really a little too old to be going to the Senior Prom."
"And he’s not too old to be screwing a 17 year old silly?" Buffy asked. Willow blushed the color of her hair. "Just ask him."
"But then who would go with you…oh, I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right," Willow said.
"That’s ok," Buffy said. "I don’t know if I’m going or not. My track record with proms so far has been…deadly."
Willow frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Freshman year, I burned down the gym. Sophomore year, I died. Last year, I…left," she replied.
"Yeah, but what could happen this year?" Willow asked. "And I just jinxed us, didn’t I."
"A little," Buffy said.
"Then I take it back," Willow said. "Horrible things are going to happen. Like…like Carrie… a-a-and Prom II. Stay far away." Buffy laughed.
"And what are we so jolly about, missy?" Xander asked, sliding into a chair next to the blond Slayer. "Did Snyder’s head explode?"
"I wish," Buffy replied, grinning.
"We were talking about all the terrible things that are going to happen at the prom," Willow told him. "Real bad things."
Xander gave her a puzzled look. "O-k. Did I miss something in Prophecies 101?"
"No, Xand," Buffy said. "We’re anti-jinxing the dance."
"Ah, good plan," Xander said, nodding his head. "I vote for killer bees."
"That reminds me," Willow said to her best friend. "How did you do on your History test?"
"Killer ‘D’s," Xander replied. "But I got the extra credit question right."
"I tell him to take pride in little achievements," Cordelia said, coming up to the table to join them. "That way he doesn’t feel like such a loser."
"Thank you, Dear Abby," Xander said sarcastically. He turned back to Willow. "Tell Jingle Head if he wants to come tux hunting with me, I’m going on Wednesday."
"But I haven’t even asked him!" Willow exclaimed, eliciting looks from the other tables. "And what if he says no! He’s been out of school for such a long time, what if doesn’t want to hang around a bunch of high school seniors!"
Harmony and her gaggle of friends walked by at that moment. "Of course he wouldn’t want to go with you, Willow," she said condescendingly. "Unless he was blind. And deaf. And was forced at knife point."
"Oh, Harmony, the gas station just called," Cordelia said sweetly. "It’s time to refill your head with air." Harmony rolled her eyes, then walked away, her lemmings following on her heels. The three friends looked at Cordelia with amazement. "Hey, only I’m allowed to pick on Willow."
"Same old Cordy," Xander said, putting his arm around her shoulder.
"So…I was…um, wondering," Willow stammered. "If you would go to…uh, the prom with me?" She looked up and met nervous eyes. "Damn, that won’t work." Sighing, Willow turned away from her reflection in the mirror and looked around her room. The prom was the coming Saturday night at the fanciest reception hall in Sunnydale and she still hadn’t asked Angel. Not that she didn’t want to, but she was afraid he’d say no. Or worse, laugh at her.
At least she didn’t have to worry about finding a dress. With a grin, she opened her closet and stood in front of her full length mirror. She scrunched up her face at the outfit she was wearing, then made a gesture, mumbling a few words under her breath. In an instant, she was wearing a full length, evening gown. Her hair was pulled back in a twist and jewelry adorned her throat and ears. "Cinderella much?" she asked her reflection.
She shook her head once, and the dress disappeared, leaving her back as she started. She repeated the magick and her body was encased in another dress, this one short, tight and backless. She raised an eyebrow wickedly, filing this outfit in the back of her mind for future use on Angel, then shook her head. For the third time she used her powers, then breathed in sharply at her appearance. This was the dress she wanted.
It was long, clingy, with a slit that went up the front to her thigh. The material was a deep navy and when she moved, she could see hints of gold woven into it, making it shimmer. The dress was sleeveless, coming up in a mock turtleneck both front and back, accentuating her small breasts. There were no seems or zippers since it was made from magick. On her feet were matching heels. Her only jewelry was a pair of simple diamond studs in her ears.
"Wow, Will, you look…" Xander’s voice startled her from the doorway to her room. "Exquisite."
She blushed, then shook her head again, returning to her normal clothes. "Thanks, Xander."
"It still amazes me when you do that," he said, entering the room and flopping onto her bed.
"Use your witchy powers," he replied. "I take it the dress means you’ve asked Deadboy?"
"Um…not yet," she said. Xander rolled his eyes at her. "I’m going to…tonight…I mean, later tonight. At the, um, Bronze."
"If you don’t do it, Cordy will," Xander warned. "She wants to show up her former clones, using you as the guinea pig."
"That takes the pressure off," she mumbled, making her best friend smile.
"Don’t worry, Wills. He’ll say yes," he comforted. "You have him wrapped around your little finger. Heck, you can make him embarrass himself in front of us by purring like a big, fat cat."
She smiled brightly, her eyes alight with devilish glee and the thought of her boyfriend after lovemaking. "I know."
"Hi!" Willow greeted, her face lighting up as Angel appeared across the table from her.
He leaned over and gave her a kiss before sitting.
"Hi, back," Angel said, then looked around. "Where’s everyone else?"
"Cordy and Xander aren’t here yet," Willow told him. "And Buffy went out back to take care of business." Angel nodded. "So, what did you do all day?"
"Took a walk - outside. Read a book - outside. Watched kids play in the park - outside," he replied with a large smile.
"Anything else?" He leaned over and whispered in her ear. Willow blushed bright red. "General!"
He shrugged. "I wasn’t about to get out of the sun. Plus, I’m a vampire, I have no morals."
"Liar," Willow replied.
"True," he said. "But it still didn’t stop me."
"Hey, Angel," Buffy greeted, joining them at the table.
"Any problems?" Angel asked.
"Nope. Just your typical night at the office," she replied. "So, Wills, did you ask him?"
"Ask me what?" Angel said.
Buffy smiled innocently. "I’m going to get a drink," she said, standing. After she left, Angel raised a brow at Willow.
"I…uh, that is, will you…um," Willow stammered. She took a deep breath and let the words rush out. "Do you want to go to the prom with me next Saturday night?" When he didn’t answer, she gathered her courage and looked up. Angel had a half smirk on his face. *Oh, no. Please don’t laugh at me,* she thought.
"I haven’t been asked to a dance before," he finally said, an amused expression on his face. "I kind of like it."
"Does that mean you’ll go?" she asked with trepidation.
"Of course I’ll go, Red," Angel replied, taking her hand. "I’d go anywhere with you."
"Aww, isn’t that cute," Xander said, overhearing the vampire’s statement as he and Cordelia came up to the table. Cordelia smacked him, but he ignored her. "You coming tux shopping with me on Wednesday?"
"This prom…it’s formal?" Angel asked.
"Of course," Cordelia said, giving him a strange look. "It’s the senior prom."
"And that’s something every 242 year old should know off the top of his head," Xander chided her. "That and the particulars of the War of 1812. It said so in my history book."
"Isn’t that the book you’re using to prop up your desk?" Cordelia asked sweetly.
"Hey, guys," Buffy said, rejoining the table. "What’d I miss?"
"She finally asked him," Cordelia told the Slayer. "Now you’re the only one without a date."
"Say that a little louder, Cordy," Xander said. "I don’t think they heard you in Brazil."
"Don’t worry about it, Xander," Buffy said. "I’m flying solo this year. That way I’ll be able to leave easily if duty calls."
"Speaking of duty," Angel said, gesturing with his head towards the door.
"Let me guess? Fang central, ten o’clock," Buffy replied. She sighed dramatically. "A Slayer’s work is never done."
"I’ll come with you," Angel told her, rising. He kissed Willow on the cheek. "Be right back."
"Is it me, or did his skin look darker than his usual ghastly pale?" Cordelia asked, watching the former couple leave the Bronze.
"I doubt it, Cordy," Xander said. "Not unless he took up sunbathing, in which case he’d be a whole heck of a lot smaller."
"He was out in the sun today," Willow said. They shot her a ‘yeah right’ look. "I made him sun-proofed."
"You’re kidding, right?" Xander asked. "You’re not kidding. I don’t know whether to be happy for him or terrified."
"Terrified, why?" Willow replied.
"Terrified that if he went back to his evil ways, we’d never be safe," he said.
"Xander, he can’t lose his soul again," Willow told him sharply. "I’ve anchored it to him for keeps and cast a backup spell, sort of like a snooze alarm."
"So, if he lost his soul, it would automatically come back to him in nine minutes?" Cordelia asked. "Why is it nine minutes, anyway? Why not eight? Or ten?"
"That’s my Cordy," Xander said, putting his arm around her shoulder. "Always thinking of the important stuff."
"Oh, hey, that reminds me," Cordelia said. "There’s a big after-prom party at the beach which everyone is invited to attend. Even you guys."
"That sounds like so much fun," Xander said sarcastically. "We can give the vampires free drinks from our imbibed systems with their meals."
"’Imbibed systems’?" Willow said. "Xander, have you been studying?"
"Now, why would I do something as dumb as that?" Xander replied with a boyish grin before standing. "Come on, Cordy. They’re playing our song." Willow smiled after the couple as they went onto the dance floor.
"Oh, look, if it isn’t Little Miss Nerd," Harmony said, coming up to the table with her clique in tow. "Sitting all by her little lonesome. What’s the matter? Still can’t get a date?"
"I’ll have you know I do have a date," Willow replied boldly.
"Probably with the whole freak squad," one of the friends said. They laughed.
"I’m sorry, but if you or that psycho-ho have dates with anyone resembling a human male, I’ll wear last year’s dress to the prom," Harmony said, then walked away, her group following. Willow watched after her for a moment, slightly upset, but used to the insults. Before she could get too morose, Angel and Buffy returned.
"I don’t know how I let Cordy talk me into these things," Xander said, coming out of the fitting room in classic tuxedo pants and white dress shirt. "Why can’t we just go to the prom dressed in normal clothes, not like penguins?"
"Because you’re in love, and you’ll do anything she says," Angel replied from his position on the tailor’s stand. He had taken Xander to the exclusive men’s shop after calling around to find most of the tuxedo stores had rented all their wares this close to the prom. It’s not like he didn’t have the money, and with the teen dating Cordelia, he’d have many more opportunities to wear it.
"May I take this time and say it’s not fair that you look so much better than I do in this getup?" Xander complained, eyeing the vampire. "Just be glad I don’t hate you anymore, or I’d have to kill you."
Angel arched an eyebrow at him. "You and what army?"
"Don’t forget what I got Buffy for her seventeenth birthday," Xander replied. "I know how to get more." A pained expression crossed Angel’s face and Xander quickly apologized. "Hey, man, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to remind you…"
"It’s ok, Xander," Angel interrupted. "It happened and there’s nothing I can do to change that fact."
"Boy, Willow did work her magick on you," Xander said. "You didn’t get all broody and guilt-ridden like you use to do."
Angel flashed him a quick smile as the tailor finished pinning him. He stepped down and Xander took his place. "Nothing like the love of a good woman to cure your ails," he replied.
He quickly changed back into his street clothes, then rejoined Xander in the main room, the bells he always wore around his neck jingling slightly. The tailor looked up when he heard them, but did not say anything. After all, this shop catered to the upper, upper class.
"Hey, I wanted to ask you how it felt to be out and about during the day," Xander said, then looked down at the tailor. "Now that your back on normal hours since your night job ended."
"Wonderful," Angel replied, smirking at the boy’s cover story. "I’d forgotten how beautiful everything looked in the sun. Remind me to tell Buffy she lied."
"She said she didn’t look good in direct light," he answered. "Buffy is nothing but a big liar."
Xander chuckled. "Now where have I heard that before?"
"Come on, Giles, please?" Buffy said, batting her eyes.
"Buffy, I hardly think it-it would be a-a-appropriate," Giles told her.
"It’s one dance," Buffy replied. "One measly dance with your Slayer. Please?"
Giles sighed heavily, removing his glasses to rub wearily at the bridge of his nose. "Very well. One dance. But only one."
Buffy smiled brightly, her heart pounding in her chest. Maybe now he’d look at her differently, get out of his ‘you’re too young and I’m too old’ phase. "Thanks! You won’t regret it." She bounced out of his office to go to class.
"Somehow I doubt that very much," he whispered, then shook his head and went back to his research.
"Well? What did he say?" Willow asked excitedly.
"He said yes!" Buffy exclaimed, grinning like an idiot.
"I still don’t see how you can have a thing for Giles," Cordelia said. The three girls were in Willow’s bedroom, the cheerleader experimenting with makeup on them. "He’s Giles. Mr. I’m-so-stuffy-I-could-be-a-couch."
"Maybe it’s a Slayer/Watcher thing," Willow said. "I bet there were lots of love affairs in the past. We could always swipe the Watcher Diaries again and look."
"Since when did you turn into such a thief?" Buffy asked the red head. Willow grinned unabashedly. "Never mind, I think I know."
"Getting laid by a hunk like Angel does that to a person," Cordelia said, causing Buffy to laugh and Willow to blush. "Have we decided to ride all together to the prom or not? Daddy got a limo for me."
"I have to do a quick patrol before I can go, so count me out," Buffy said.
"Sure, that’d be fun," Willow replied. "The General’s making dinner at his apartment, so pick us up there."
"Angel can cook?" Buffy asked. "Since when?"
"Since I spend half my time over there," Willow said. "He said he didn’t want me wasting away to nothing, so he learned. I didn’t know he knew such interesting swear words."
Angel rang the bell, nervously putting his hand in the pocket of his tux, then taking it out. He held a wrist corsage in the other one. It was to be the first time he met Willow’s parents, them having been gone the weekend before and this week passing by so rapidly. He quickly reviewed the past he made up for himself, then promptly forgot it all as Mr. Rosenberg opened the door.
"You must be Angel," he said, standing back to let the vampire enter.
"Hello, Mr. Rosenberg," Angel said, shaking the man’s hand in a firm, but not crushing grip.
"What kind of a name is Angel? Kind of girlish, wouldn’t you say?" Mr. Rosenberg said as his wife entered the room.
"Ira, hush," Mrs. Rosenberg said, extending her hand. "It’s a pleasure to meet you, Angel."
"Thank you, ma’am," Angel replied, then addressed Mr. Rosenberg’s comment. "Angel is short for Angelus, sir."
"Humph," Mr. Rosenberg said, eyeing him. "Don’t you think you’re a little too old to be going to a high school dance?"
*If you only knew,* he thought before answering. "I look older than I am," he lied. "I’m only nineteen, sir."
"Are you in college?"
"Daddy, are you pestering Angel?" Willow asked, coming into the living room where they stood.
"Willow, you look…," Angel said, his mouth hanging open at the beauty in front of him. "You look…"
Willow smiled shyly and blushed. "Thank you," she said. "You look great, too."
"This is for you," he said, pulling out the corsage with shaky hands and sliding it on her wrist.
"It’s beautiful," Willow replied.
"Smile for the camera, you two," Mrs. Rosenberg said. Angel blanched slightly, raising his head quickly to see her holding a small video camera.
"I told her I’d rather be video taped than take pictures," Willow whispered, giving him a wink. Angel’s lips quirked as he suppressed his chuckle. "Ok, mom, that’s enough. We have to get going so we have time to eat before Xander and Cordy pick us up."
Mrs. Rosenberg smiled and handed her the camera. "Here you go, sweetie. Have fun."
Angel shook Mr. Rosenberg’s hand again. "It was nice meeting you sir, ma’am."
"Have her home no later than noon tomorrow," Mr. Rosenberg instructed.
"Ira," Mrs. Rosenberg warned, then turned to the couple. "Say hello to Xander for us."
Willow nodded and took Angel’s hand, pulling him out the front door with her. She breathed a sigh of relief, then chuckled at his expression. "It’s over, General. You can relax now."
He grinned at her sheepishly as they began the walk to his apartment. "I haven’t met anyone’s parents like that in a long, long time."
Willow held up the video camera, taping the arguing couple in the seat opposite her and Angel. She had extra batteries and small cassettes hidden in her purse because she wanted to capture one of the last vestiges of high school. Dinner had been wonderful and romantic, conversation light and happy before they were picked up by the limousine.
"And just how are we suppose to do that, Cordy?" Xander asked sarcastically. "Deadboy is not going to show up in the picture."
"Can’t Willow just cast a spell or something?" Cordelia said, her long, dark green dress accentuating her beauty queen figure. She looked at the red head with the video camera. "I can get us all into the yearbook, then."
"I’m surprised you actually want to be associated with us in such a public and permanent way," Xander said.
"Things change," she answered, giving him a small smile. Angel could hear Xander’s heart start to pound as he leaned over and gave his girlfriend a tender, loving kiss. He squeezed Willow’s free hand, glad that she was getting this side of the couple on tape to remember them after they had long been gone.
The limo pulled up to the banquet hall, and the two couples went into the gaily decorated place. The prom was already in full swing, students and their dates dancing to the music from the disc jockey. Even a few chaperones were dancing. They saw Buffy waving to them from a table.
"Hi, guys!" she said as they joined her. "You look great!"
"So do you, Buffy," Willow told her best friend, who was dressed in a light blue, short dress, with low neckline and criss-cross straps. "How was patrol?"
"Dead, if you pardon the pun," Buffy replied. "Which is a good thing, seeing as I didn’t get dirty for once."
"Have you seen Giles yet?"
"Yeah, he’s here, looking all yummy in a tux," she answered. "I think he’s guarding the punch bowl."
"I still want to get that picture," Cordelia said. Buffy looked at her questioningly.
"She wants the Scooby Gang, including Giles, to be immortalized in the yearbook," Xander told her.
"Cordelia?" Buffy replied, astonished.
"I know, wiggy isn’t it?" Xander said.
"Maybe I’m just ready to admit you losers are my friends," Cordelia said huffily. "But now I’m not so sure."
Buffy smiled at her. "We’re just joshing, Cordy. Why don’t I go find Giles and meet you over by the photographer."
Cordelia beamed, much to the surprise of the others. "Really? Ok, meet you there. Come on, Xander." She pulled Xander off to wait in line for the group picture.
Buffy shook her head at the retreating figures. "I can’t believe how much she’s changed."
"Love makes you do the wacky," Willow replied, repeating what she told Buffy what seemed like a long time ago. "Come on, General. I need to cast a spell on you so you’ll show up in the picture."
Twenty minutes later, the ‘Library Club’ became an official entry into the 1999 Sunnydale High School Yearbook. Angel included.
As the night wore on, Willow alternated between taping and dancing with her friends. She allowed the others to use the camera as well, enabling her to be in the memory video. Right now, she was taping Buffy and Giles in their ‘one dance.’ She smiled, then said a few quiet words, and the Slayer was bathed in a soft glow. She could see the expression change on Giles’ face as he let go of his tightly controlled emotions and smiled down at her, his eyes full of love. The song ended, and the Watcher stepped back, raising Buffy’s hand to his lips and placing a kiss on it. Buffy floated on cloud nine back to the table.
"Did you see that, Willow?" she asked. "I’m going to go talk to him.
"Go for it, Buffy," Willow replied with a secretive smile. She watched as Buffy walked away towards the punch bowl where Giles had repositioned himself.
"Looks like you couldn’t get a date after all," Harmony interrupted her musings, cronies flocking around the red head with their dates. "Tell me, did the guy you asked laugh in your face or yak on your shoes?"
"Neither," Willow replied, a naughty gleam in her eyes. Her confidence was overflowing this night, with her powers bubbling under the surface and her love at the dance with her. "I’m here with my lover."
The girls tittered as Harmony snorted unladylike. "That is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard," she said. "Allow me to offer my condolences to you."
Willow saw Angel approaching from behind them, and her smile grew wicked. "Why don’t you ask him? He’s right behind you."
The sheep turned as one and Willow could see the girls’ mouths drop open and the guys stiffen in male envy and jealousy. Angel didn’t even notice their stares as he rounded the table and offered Willow his hand. "Dance?"
"I’d love to, lover," Willow replied, earning an arched eyebrow at her terms. She imperceptibly nodded her head towards Harmony and Angel’s grin widened, knowing what she was doing.
"Now, Red, you shouldn’t remind me that I’m your lover in public," he playfully admonished. "It makes me want to ravish you right on the table."
She tilted her head and smiled seductively at him. "That’s fine by me." She ran her hands up his chest, sliding onto his shoulders. Angel gave her a small growl, then grabbed her hips, pulling her flush against him and captured her lips in a passionate kiss. He dimly heard their spectator’s gasps, then their footsteps as they hurried away.
Willow broke the kiss and smiled mischievously up at him. "Think that put them in their place?"
"I have no doubt in my mind," Angel replied, tapping her lightly on the nose. "Come on, let’s dance."
He led her onto the floor and took her in his arms, swaying slowly to the music. When he looked down into her smiling face, he felt like he was in heaven, he felt like he could take on the world, he felt at peace, he felt…
"Mind if I cut in?"
…like ripping the head off a certain blond vampire standing directly behind Willow.
Willow gasped as she felt a hand pull her away from Angel. Before she could do anything, Spike grabbed his hands and forcefully waltzed away with his astonished sire. She blinked rapidly as Spike and Angel began a heated discussion while dancing together, then began to giggle. She turned, running back to the table for the video camera.
"Willow, what’s the big hurry?" Buffy asked as she walked up to the table.
"Spike…Angel…," she sputtered, quickly checking to make sure she had enough tape.
"Spike! Where?" Buffy exclaimed. Willow grabbed her hand and pulled the Slayer as she ran to where the vampires were still dancing. Buffy stopped suddenly, her eyes wide as Willow began to tape the spectacle. The students around them were watching with interest as Angel went practically nose to nose with the blond, his lips moving in what had to be a threat.
Buffy started to giggle, then all out laugh, causing their heads to turn and see themselves being taped. Spike and Angel exchanged glances, then stepped away from each other as if they’d been burned. Willow shut off the camera and grinned widely at her boyfriend. "Xander and Cordy are going to love this," she told him as they approached.
"Spike, I never knew," Buffy said between giggles.
"Shut up, Slayer," Spike growled as the music changed into another slow song. Masculinity on the line, he grabbed her roughly against him and began to dance as Angel led Willow away.
"What are you doing?" Buffy said, trying to move her arms down to retrieve the hidden stake.
"Dancing, pet," Spike answered, giving her a cheeky grin. "I heard you didn’t have a date, so I thought I’d drop by."
"How did you know I didn’t have a date? Didn’t you leave the country as promised?" Buffy said.
"I did. Went all the way to Brazil," Spike replied, not noticing her shocked expression as she remembered the conversation Monday night at the Bronze. "I got invited to join some hunter team out to capture the red headed witch and thought I’d come back to tell you."
"Why? I thought you’d enjoy one of my friend’s being killed," Buffy asked, snapping out of her shock.
"Yeah, well, let’s just say I owe you one, and I don’t like being in anybody’s debt," he replied. "That and the fact that I had to come back anyway and get Dru’s bloody doll."
Buffy laughed. "Are we having a moment?"
"Cor, I hope not," Spike said. "My reputation’s in enough of a bloody shambles as it is because of you."
"If it’ll make you feel any better, you can stick around and I’ll be happy beat you up tomorrow night," Buffy suggested.
"What was that all about?" Willow asked as Angel led her back to the table.
"Seems the hunt may be on again," he said, his expression grim. "They’ll be set to go at to end of the summer if Spike is right." Willow swore using some of the words she learned from his cooking experience and he laughed, relieving his anxiety. "Nothing is going to happen tonight, so lets try to enjoy ourselves, ok?"
"Ok," she said sadly. Angel saw her troubled eyes and lowered his head to kiss her tenderly, pulling her small frame to his larger one. He could feel the tension seep out of her body as the kiss continued.
"Get a room, you two," Cordelia said, breaking them apart. "We’re going to head off for the beach now. Coming?"
"We will as soon as we grab Buffy away from Spike," Angel said darkly, glaring in the direction of the Slayer and his childe. Xander and Cordelia whipped their heads around to stare as Willow started to laugh. She pressed record on the video camera and began to tape Buffy dancing with her mortal enemy. It was almost as good as getting Angel and Spike together.
Willow continued to tape as Spike noticed the friends glares and pointed it out to Buffy. They conversed briefly, then both walked over to join them. Before they could get there, Harmony and her gaggle came into view and must have said something insulting because the red head saw the Slayer’s eyes flare and her lips compress in a thin line. She watched as Spike laid a hand on her shoulder and whisper something in her ear. Buffy smiled suddenly and spun around, grabbing the lapels of Spike’s leather duster and pulling him down into a very deep kiss.
Angel began to sputter next to her, she could feel anger radiating off of him and put a hand on his arm. "Buffy’s fine. I have a feeling Harmony said something really nasty and she’s getting them back."
"By playing tonsil hockey with Spike?" Xander said, both fascinated and disgusted by what he was seeing.
"At least she picked a hottie to prove a point," Cordelia said. Willow nodded as their respective boyfriends looked at them incredulously. When they turned back, Buffy was now leading a stunned looking vampire towards them.
"That ought to put that bimbo in her place," Buffy said with a large grin. "Spike here’s gonna hang with us ‘til morning so I can keep an eye on him and have fun."
"Um, Buffy?" Xander said. "You do remember that fang-boy has tried to kill us on multiple occasions?"
"We have a kinda extended truce going," she replied, nodding to the vampire in question. "Well, at least until tomorrow night. Then I can go back to kicking his undead ass."
"I’d like to see you try, luv," Spike said, snapping out of his daze with a cocky grin. "Damn, Angelus, you didn’t tell me she was such a bloody good kisser!" Buffy blushed and socked him on the arm.
Angel growled low in his throat at his childe, but Willow silenced him with a squeeze of her hand. She hadn’t stopped the recorder when they came up, so she got the whole conversation on tape. It was going to be a very fun video to watch. And possibly use as blackmail.
"Now, everyone take turns keeping an eye on Spike. If he tries to eat anyone, slap him upside the head," Buffy said to her friends as they walked on the beach to join the after-prom party.
"Watch it, Slayer, or I’ll call off the truce," Spike growled at her. She laughed at him.
"I don’t see why he had to come along," Angel complained to Willow as they trailed behind them. Cordelia and Xander were in the lead of their small group.
"Because Buffy doesn’t want him to go out and kill people while she’s trying to have fun," Willow explained, using her ‘I’m talking to a two year old’ voice.
"Yeah, but he could have said no," Angel huffed, his face pulled in a frown.
"I think he’s got a crush on her," Willow said. Angel stopped walking abruptly and stared at her as if she’d grown a second head. "What?"
"Take that back! That’s…that’s…," he stammered, searching for the proper word to convey his disgust. He found it. "Eew!"
Willow covered her mouth with her hand, giggling at his use of Cordelia slang. "Just think, Angel. What if they became friends? That wouldn’t be so bad in a I have a demon as a friend kind of way."
"Talk about your unholy allies," Angel muttered.
Willow shook her head, taking his larger hand in her small one and leading him to the party. Xander and Angel had both shed their tuxedo jackets in the warm California air, but carried them with in case their respective girlfriends got cold. Music was blaring from a large stereo speaker set up in the back of someone’s pickup truck, and semi-drunk revelers danced around a large bonfire built on the sand.
"Any one up for a drink?" Willow asked, shocking the others, except for Spike who gave her a grin.
"Sorry, Wills, I have to be alert," Buffy said.
"What’s a lert?" Xander asked playfully. She rolled her eyes.
"That’s ok, Buffy, I have an instant sobriety spell if you need it," Willow told her. "For any of you…well, I’m not sure it would work on vampires, though, but it might. I could try it…"
"Red, you’re babbling," Angel said.
"Sorry," she said, her lips quirking in a small grin. "So, name your poison?"
"I don’t think…" Angel didn’t get to finished because a bottle of Vampire’s Delight appeared in his hands out of no where. Having Willow come into her powers was going to take quite a bit of getting used to. "Red…"
"Oh, don’t be such a poop," Willow chided, eliciting laughs from the rest of the circle. She looked over at Spike, gave him a cheeky grin, then moved her hands and lips. Another bottle of the blood-alcohol mix appeared, this time in his hands.
"Bloody hell!" Spike swore in surprise, almost dropping it. He narrowed his eyes at her, then read the label. "’Vampire’s Delight’?"
"Trust me, Spike," Angel said. "It packs one hell of a wallop."
Willow used her magick one more time to conjure some Tequila and shot glasses, complete with a little tray on which they sat on the sand. She knelt, not caring her dress was getting sandy, and poured a shot. She brought it to her lips, threw her head back and swallowed the foul tasting liquor.
"Red!" Angel said. "Are you turning into a lush on me?"
"Only bringing back fond memories, General," she replied, pouring shots for the others and a second for herself. She raised the glass. "To the Scooby Gang."
"Oh, what the hell," Buffy said. "To the Scooby Gang." She downed her shot, Xander echoing her.
"I am not repeating that toast, Willow," Cordelia said. "But I will drink the shot." She tossed hers down.
Angel groaned and closed his eyes, then gave up fighting against himself and the pull of Willow’s ‘special blend.’ He yanked the cork out savagely and brought the full bottle to his lips, letting the blood and alcohol explode in his mouth in vivid flavors.
As Willow poured the next round, Spike watched his sire guzzle about half the bottle in his hands. "Must be good," he said to himself, uncorking his own bottle. He took a tentative sip and was shocked by the potency of it, the exquisite taste, the lingering effects as the liquid ran down his throat. "Cor, Willow, this is bloody delicious." He started to drink as his sire had just done.
"Geez, Will," Buffy said after drinking her second shot. "Now I’m going to have to keep my eye on a drunk Spike." She turned to the blond vampire. "You don’t do anything weird when you’re drunk, do you?"
"He sings," Angel said before Spike could speak up. "Rather badly."
"I do not," Spike glared at him. "You’re just jealous."
"Of what? You?" Angel snorted. "Puh-leez."
"Willow, how strong a batch did you make for those two?" Xander asked as she poured a third shot for her friends.
"Triple potency," Willow said, giggling mischievously. "They use to drink together, and from what the General has told me, they get pretty…raunchy."
"Ooh, wah, ooh."
"Do you really want to hear?"
"Ooh, wah, ooh."
"Let me nibble on your ear."
"That’s not how it goes, you dead piece of dead stuff" Xander slurred at Angel. The six of them were laying near the water, far enough away for the tide not wet their bare feet, staring up at the cloudless night sky. The four humans had drunk the entire bottle of tequila, and the two vampires each finished two of their own mixtures. Before she’d gotten too tipsy, Willow cast a protective spell around them, as well as a low range ‘radar detector’ for any unwanted elements at the party.
"I think I know the words to the Beatles," Angel frowned at him.
"I think it’s ‘lemme pinch ‘er on ‘er rear,’ mate," Spike chimed in, his own accent thicker.
"Give her another glass of beer?" Buffy added her two cents worth.
"Cordy, please don’t hit that deer," Xander joined in the fun.
"Watch it! Or my makeup will smear," Cordelia said, a proud smile on her face for coming up with that one.
"Ooh, good one," Buffy said. "What about you Wills?"
"Um…Can you screw her into tears?" Willow said.
"Willow!" Four out of five voices exclaimed. Spike just snickered.
"Was that not good? ‘Cuz I can think of another…at least I think I can think of another," Willow rambled on, then frowned as she lost her train of thought.
"I think someone has had too much to drink," Angel sing songed. He laughed when his polite, shy, little Willow gave him the finger.
"Does anyone know what time it is?" Buffy asked.
"Ti-ime," Spike sang. Angel joined in singing the oldie. "Does anybody really care? About ti-ime…"
"Talk about your old farts," Xander mumbled, making Cordelia laugh.
"Boxers or briefs!" Buffy suddenly shouted out.
"My sex kitten is a boxers guy," Willow answered for Angel, crawling over to him and laying boldly across his chest. The vampire sputtered incoherently, his cheeks blushing from the blood-alcohol mixture.
"Xander?" Buffy asked.
"Tidy whities or flying free?" she said. "Or are you a boxers man, too?"
"Boxers," Xander answered with a single nod of his head. The world went spinning.
"I’m not about to bloody tell you what kind of knickers I wear!" the blond vampire declared enough that those still sober at the main party turned their way.
Buffy propped herself up to look over at him glaring at her. She gave him a lewd wink. "Am I going to have to find out myself?"
"Buffy! What about Giles?" Willow exclaimed.
"He’s no fun. Won’t give me any smoochies," Buffy complained, still eyeing the vampire like he was a piece of chocolate. "’Sides, I just want to know boxers or briefs." She began to crawl over towards him.
"Oh, no you don’t," Spike said, pushing himself clumsily to his feet. He staggered towards the water in a half-jog, Buffy close on his heels. He hit the invisible protection barrier and fell to the wet sand, leading to the Slayer tripping over his inert form.
"Don’t float away!" Xander yelled down to them.
"Red, I think you’d better do something before Buffy…"
"Never mind," Angel finished. Willow giggled on his chest.
"Oh my god, you guys, the sun will be coming up soon," Cordelia announced, looking at her slim, diamond watch. "Doesn’t Angel have to get inside?"
"Wills sun-proofed him, remember, Cordy?" Xander said. Buffy sloshed back up the beach and plopped down in between the two couples, large grin on her face.
"Well, Buffy?" Willow asked devilishly.
If it was possible, her smile grew even larger. "Now I know why his nickname’s Spike."
Laughter rang up from the Scooby Gang as the night began to fade into day.
"Willow, as much as I hate to say this," Angel began seriously. "If we don’t get Spike inside, he’s dust."
Willow pushed herself up on him, then smiled. "I guess the party’s over."
"For now," Angel replied. She giggled and sat up, then cast the sober spell over the group. The feeling of lightheadedness and giddiness dissolved, but not the happiness over the fun night.
"Come on, Spike," they heard Buffy say, offering a hand to the vampire who still lay in the wet sand. "I want to be the one who turns you to dust." Whatever he replied made the Slayer laugh loudly.
"I can’t believe I’ve had a jolly old time with the Slayer and her chums," Spike grumbled as he and Buffy rejoined the group.
"Face it, Spike, you’re nothing but a big softie," Buffy teased. He growled at her, then began to walk towards his car. "I’ll see you tonight!" she yelled after him. He waved his hand in acknowledgement and was gone.
"Do you really want to fight him, Buffy?" Willow asked her blond friend.
"Sure, I could use a good workout," Buffy replied. "But I doubt he’ll show up. He has a skanky ho to get back to in Brazil."
"You mean, someone did hear that you needed a date all the way in Brazil?" Xander asked.
"Shut up, Xander."
Angel sat behind Willow, wrapping his arms protectively around her as the five friends waited for the sun to come of the horizon. The false dawn was creating a symphony of colors over the dark, inky Pacific ocean, bathing the remaining seniors at the beach in a soft, earthy glow.
It had only been a week since Willow had created the ring he wore on his right hand, the ring that allowed him to see the day for the first time in over two centuries. And everyday that week he’d gone outside, rain or shine, to just be a part of the day.
"Oh, good, I haven’t missed it," they heard a familiar male voice say from behind them.
"Giles!" Buffy exclaimed, her face lighting up in surprise and pleasure. "Hi!"
He walked over to her, no longer dressed in his own tuxedo, but his normal tweed and sat in the sand. "Hello," he replied, a small smile across his lips. The other two couples were not surprised when he covered Buffy’s hand with his own, nor did they wonder why he had joined them, they were just happy he did.
"Here it comes," Xander said softly, his arm snug around Cordelia, her head leaning on his shoulder.
The horizon first lit up in bright, orange colors, the rays bursting out of the ocean. The top crescent of the life giving sun peeked over the horizon, as if it were tentative, wary, shy. Then, with a flash of confidence, it leapt into the sky, the orange of pre-dawn fading into the yellow-white of day.
Angel had to blink the tears out of his eyes at the wondrous sight, his undead heart expanding in his chest, threatening to burst. Willow lifted her head to him and smiled, a smile which he returned ten fold, hugging her tightly against his chest as joy, contentment and happiness settled into his bruised soul.
The six friends, brought together by darkness, now sat bathed in light.
"Pass the syrup, please. The blueberry."
"So, what are your plans for today, Giles?"
"Willow, do you know if we have a test in Chemistry on Tuesday?"
"I’ll bring it to you later, after I get some sleep."
"Xander! That’s enough syrup!"
"I suspect that I’ll be at the library, working."
"Yes, we do. Chapter 28 and 29."
"Are you still taping us, Red?"
"I should be there around five or so. Gotta train so I can pummel a certain blond boy."
"Do you have any idea how hard I have to work to get the syrup just right?"
"Yup. We can watch it later tonight."
"Ugh, I need to fix my makeup."
"’Blond boy’? Who a-are you referring to?"
"General, are you happy you came with me?"
"You look beautiful as always, Cordy."
"I wouldn’t have missed it for the world."
"Spike. Oh, and he’s definitely not a natural blond."