"Alright, Buffy, spill," Cordelia said, leaning against the double sink. Buffy was sitting on the edge of the large, Jacuzzi bath and Faith hopped up to sit next to the cheerleader.
"Yeah, B, talk," Faith said. "Is he as tasty looking without his clothes on? We only got a preview the other day."
"Guys," Buffy blushed again.
"What I want to know is when did you get married?" Cordelia said. "And, more important, why?"
"It was kind of an accident," Buffy explained, not looking at the two girls. "We went out shopping and saw some of Virginia's goons. Since we're suppose to be dead, we ducked into the first place we came to and it ended up being a wedding chapel type thingy."
"So, you decided to get hitched?" Faith asked.
"No, like I said, that just sort of happened," Buffy replied. "We weren't really listening to Mr. Thompson. We were too busy looking over our shoulders at the vamps outside, hoping they wouldn't see us. Before we knew it, we were married."
"Well, if you didn't have sex, you can get an annulment," Cordelia told her. When Buffy didn't reply, she eyed the Slayer. "I take it that's null and void."
"Back to my all important question," Faith said, smiling widely at the blond. "Is he any good? Does he give you that stomach churning, toes tingling feeling?"
"Throw in mind-blowing," Buffy replied, a small smile playing on her lips. "With a dash of fireworks on the side."
"You go girl!" Faith said.
"What about you and Xander?" Buffy asked the other Slayer.
"Oh, yeah," Faith replied. "All of the above. His virginity has been shucked like an ear of corn."
Buffy snickered. "About time. I swear, he had to be the world's oldest male virgin," she said. "Did you tell him you loved him?"
"In so many words," Faith said, smiling happily.
"Not that I really care," Cordelia said, then smiled. "But I'm glad he's finally found someone."
"Thanks, C," Faith responded.
"Well, Buffy," Cordelia said, turning the subject back to her marital status. "If you need a good divorce lawyer, let me know. Daddy knows some who will get you half of everything he has."
Buffy looked startled. "A divorce?"
"Unless you want to stay married..." Cordelia trailed off.
"You're in love with him," Faith said to Buffy, noticing the pained look in her eyes at the mention of a divorce.
"No. I'm not," Buffy said defensively. "I can't be. Not with Spike. He's a vampire. Without a soul. He kills people. I'm a Slayer. I'm not suppose to love him, I'm suppose to kill him."
"But what about the fireworks? The mind-blowing sex?" Faith said.
"Good sex does not equal love," Buffy replied, sadly. "Besides, he's still mourning for Drusilla. He probably is pretending I'm her."
"Does he call out your name when he orgasms or hers?" Cordelia asked.
"Um...mine," she said. "But that doesn't mean anything."
"Yes, it does," Cordelia said. "It means when he's with you, he's with you, not thinking about the loony."
Buffy sighed. "Can we not talk about this any more?"
"You know what?" Faith said. "I'm gonna go out there and ask him point blank what he feels for you."
Buffy stood and tried to stop her, but the other Slayer was already out the door, heading for the living room. "Faith, don't!"
Faith ignored her. "Spike, is it all humping or something more?"
Spike looked up from the television he and Xander had turned on so as not to kill each other. "What?"
"Faith..." Buffy begged, running into the room with Cordelia close behind.
"Is it just sex or not?" Faith demanded.
"He told me he's only screwing her until he decides to kill her," Xander said, glaring at the vampire seated in the chair.
Buffy gasped, staring at Spike with pain filled eyes. She turned and ran to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
"You stupid pillock!" Spike yelled at Xander, losing control over his demon. His face vamped out and he grabbed the young man off the couch. "I'm going to rip your throat out for that!"
Faith punched Spike in the lower back, causing him to let go of Xander. He turned, snarling at the Slayer and received a punch in the jaw. He blocked her next swing, throwing his own punch at her face. Her head reeled with the blow, but she did not stagger. Dropping into a fighting stance, she lashed out with her foot, kicking him in the stomach. He stepped back, hitting the chair with the back of his legs. She sent a side kick to his face and he ducked, grabbing her leg in the process and knocking her to the ground.
Xander jumped off the couch and charged at the vampire, tackling him to ground. The chair went flying over, hitting the heavy curtains, causing them to part. Sunlight streamed in through the six inch gap, bathing the two on the floor in its bright rays. Spike let out a viscous roar as he started to burn, throwing Xander from him with all his strength. The young man flew halfway across the room, smashing into Cordelia who was watching with fascination. She went down as the vampire leapt over her, tearing into the bedroom and slamming the door shut.
Not stopping, Spike smashed into the bathroom door, knocking it from its hinges and onto a startled Buffy. He jumped in the shower stall, turning the water on full strength, letting it douse the burns. Pain radiated from his face, neck and hands where the sunlight had hit. A moan penetrated his infuriated brain, and he looked out of the open shower curtain to see Buffy laying on the ground under the heavy, wooden door.
"Buffy!" Spike exclaimed, almost slipping on the wet puddles he made rushing to her side. He quickly pushed the door off of her, examining her for injuries, finding only a gash on her head.. Her eyes fluttered open and she looked up into Spike's frightened, burned and wet vampiric features. She gasped, bringing a hand up to touch his cheek.
"You're hurt," she said, worry in her eyes.
"It's nothing," he said dismissively. "Are you ok?"
"I will be if I don't drown," she teased as the water on his wet body dripped onto her face.
He didn't smile. "Boy, tough room," she muttered, watching as his golden eyes changed to blue as the human mask dropped back into place.
"You didn't bloody believe him, did you, Slayer?" Spike asked quietly, the shower still running behind him.
"I...don't know," she replied just as softly. Her eyes filled with confusion and vulnerability. "I have no idea what you feel for me, if anything at all. For all I know, I could just be a notch on your bedpost. Or...or a substitute for Drusilla."
Spike closed his own eyes at the mention of his Black Queen. He searched for the pain that accompanied his thoughts about the female vampire, but it was overshadowed by the pain he felt caused by the young woman in front of him. "You're not a substitute for Dru, Slayer," he said as she sat up. "And you're not just a notch on my bedpost."
"Then what am I?"
He opened his eyes and stared intently into hers. "You are my wife." The emotions churning in his gaze burned Buffy with their intensity. She felt herself falling into them, her breath catching in her throat, her heart hammering in her chest. "I love you, Buffy Masterson, and I intend to never let you go."
"What do you think they're doing in there?" Faith asked, gesturing at the closed door.
"He's probably killed her," Xander said sullenly.
"We would have heard fighting if that were the case," Cordelia said. "Anyway, by his reaction to what you said, I doubt he wants to do that."
"We'll give them another minute," Faith said. "Then I'm gonna kick some serious ass."
But before the minute was up, Buffy came storming out of the bedroom and slapped Xander across the cheek.
"Hey!" Xander exclaimed. "What the hell was that for?"
"That was for burning my husband, you dickhead," Buffy said through clenched teeth. She turned on Faith. "I'm mad at you, too, but since you were protecting Xander, I'll let it slide. Tell your boyfriend he owes both of us an apology."
Faith stared defiantly at Buffy for a moment, then faced Xander. "B's right. Apologize," she told him.
Xander was about to protest, but at Buffy's furious glare and Faith's uncompromising one, he relented. "Sorry, Buffy," he mumbled, looking at the floor. "I just didn't want him to hurt you." He brought his head up and saw Spike behind the blond. "Sorry to you, too, Spike. But if you do hurt her, I will kill you."
"If I hurt her," Spike said. "You have my permission."
Buffy gave a final glare to Xander. "Good. Now that everything's settled, I'm going back to sleep. We'll meet back here tonight, as soon as you know when and where the meeting with Virginia is going to take place. Don't get followed." She turned on her heel and went back into the bedroom.
"I guess that's our cue," Cordelia said, picking up her purse.
Spike stopped her as the others headed for the door. "Tell Angelus..." he trailed off, unsure of the message he wanted to convey to his sire about Buffy.
Cordelia nodded, understanding. "I will. Take care of her. I don't want my boyfriend to have to kill his last childe."
Angel's jaw about hit the floor. "They're what?"
"Married," Cordelia repeated.
He stared at her in disbelief, then looked at Faith and Xander, who both nodded. "It's true, Deadboy," Xander said. "Buffy's gotten hitched to your demon's spawn."
"When...how..." Angel tried to get out a complete thought.
"Last night," Faith told him, then grinned. "By accident."
Cordelia covered her own smile as Xander and Angel looked at Faith in confusion. "How can you get married by accident?" Xander asked, having not heard the story.
"Ever see I Love Trouble?" Cordelia asked. He nodded. "That's how."
Xander looked at her in disbelief, then started to chuckle, turning into a side clenching laugh as he pictured their faces when the minister pronounced them husband and wife. Faith and Cordelia joined in, while Angel just shook his head in amazement.
"Did they...?" Angel started to ask, giving his girlfriend a pointed glance.
"Play the Newly Wed Game?" Faith said, catching his look. "Dollars to donuts they're at it right now. In fact, I think they've been doin' it since the fire."
Angel squeezed his eyes shut and pinched the bridge of his nose. "I'm getting a headache." He sighed and shook his head. "Did they go for the plan?"
"Yes," Cordelia answered. "We're to go back there tonight once you set up the time and place."
He nodded. "Ok. I'm going to try to get some work done. We'll leave at 9:00."
The foursome arrived at the Yorkshire at 2:30 am after making sure they were not being followed. Angel had met with one of Virginia's lackeys, who relayed the messages back and forth, deciding on a place and time to meet. Once settled, the vampire with a soul returned home, then they set off for the hotel.
"Hey, guys," Buffy said, answering the door in a much better mood. "Come on in."
Spike was sitting in front of a garbage can, whittling a stake, the burns on his face and hands already healed. On the table was a small pile of the deadly weapons. "You guys have been busy," Faith commented, picking one up and twirling it in her hand.
Buffy nodded, returning to her seat next to the blond vampire. "I take it we have liftoff?"
"Tomorrow at the old Carlisle theater on fourth street," Angel said, looking uncomfortably at the pair. "Midnight."
"Not very original," Buffy commented. She gestured to the couch. "Take a seat, guys. I don't bite."
"But Mony Mony does," Xander said, looking at Spike. Spike sent Buffy an exasperated glance, then returned to work.
"He won't, either," Buffy reassured her fried. "Well, not you, anyway." She grinned devilishly.
"Ooh, a naughty Slayer," Faith said, plopping down on the couch, dragging Xander with her. "Haven't you learned that you're not suppose to let them chew on you?"
"Spike, can I talk to you?" Angel asked. Spike raised his head to his sire, then nodded, standing. They went into the bedroom, shutting the door behind them.
Cordelia sat in an empty chair across the table from Buffy. "Angel's been a pain all afternoon," she told the blond Slayer. "I was ready to bash him over the head with my industrial size hairdryer." Buffy laughed.
"So, B, tell us," Faith said. "Have you admitted to yourself that you love Blondie?"
Buffy ducked her head, a small smile on her lips. "Maybe," she replied.
"Are you toying with Buffy?" Angel demanded as the bedroom door clicked shut behind the two vampires.
"No, you twit," Spike said, crossing his arms over his chest. The ring on his left finger caught the overhead light. "I am not."
"Then what are you doing to her?" Angel said.
"Loving her," Spike replied.
"You can't love her," Angel told him.
"And why the bloody hell not?"
"You don't have a soul," he answered.
"I loved Dru for over a century," Spike pointed out.
"That's different," Angel replied.
"How? Because she was a vampire? Because someone needed to take care of her after you left?" Spike said.
"Is that what this is? You getting back at me because I left?" Angel asked.
"No, you stupid ninny, it's not," he said, angrily. "This has nothing to do with you, or Drusilla, or any other bloody thing you can think of under that poofy hair. I love Buffy, and I'm married to her, and there's nothing you can do about it!"
Angel paused, looking at him thoughtfully. "That's the first time I've ever heard you call her by name."
"Buffy," Angel replied. "You always call her ‘Slayer' or ‘pet' or one of your other endearments."
"You're point?" Spike said.
"What name did you get married under?" he asked. "Spike?"
"No, William," Spike replied. "But what does it bloody matter? I don't even remember the ceremony, we were too busy watching our tails."
"Tell me what you do remember," Angel requested.
"Because I asked you to," he sighed. Spike glared at him. "It's important, alright?"
"The old bloke said that we were husband and wife, I sort of spaced out, the Slayer said my name, I turned to her…" Spike said, his speech slowing down as the memory surfaced. His eyes grew distant and a genuine smile crossed his lips. "And she had all these little bits of colored paper on her, in her hair. Her eyes were so wide, so damn bloody beautiful my heart pounded in my chest…."
Angel watched the play of emotions on his childe's face, saw the love and tenderness in his expression as he spoke of Buffy. *Spike really loves her,* he thought. He held out his hand, breaking into the other vampire's memories. "Congratulations. I mean it."
Spike accepted the handshake warily. "Thank you, Angelus," he said. "I think."
Angel gave him a half grin and turned, looking around the clothes strewn bedroom. "Looks like Buffy went shopping."
"You'd never believe how much that girl can bloody spend," Spike said. "And look at me. I ask you, do any other vampires dress like a Gap ad?" He gestured to his dark green khakis and untucked, button down, navy oxford. "She even had the nerve to throw out my other clothes!"
Angel laughed, the tension in the room relieved. "Cordy did the same thing to me," he said with camaraderie as they opened the door to rejoin the others. "I was lucky she let me pick out my own new stuff."
"Talking about me again, Angel?" Cordelia said.
"Always," Angel replied, smiling at her.
"Now that your guys' bonding session is over," Buffy said. "Don't you think we better get to work?"
Spike picked her up, took her seat, and pulled her on his lap, just like earlier that morning. "Anything you say, Mrs. Masterson. You wear the pants in this family. At least, until I take them off."
Buffy blushed bright red as the room filled with the laughter of friends.
Buffy and Spike left the hotel at 3:00 p.m., while the sun was still high in the sky. Luckily for the vampire, the entryway to the Yorkshire was covered, and the valet parking brought his spray- painted car to them. When they arrived at the theater, Buffy pried a door open, then Spike jumped out of the car and quickly entered the dark, old theater. The Slayer hid the car, then joined her new husband.
"Split up or stick together?" Buffy asked quietly as they made their way backstage.
"Split up," Spike answered. "I'll take the lobby, control booth and catwalks. You take backstage, the auditorium and downstairs." Buffy nodded and the two parted ways, creeping stealthily in order to slay any vamps Virginia had positioned at the theater already.
A tiring hour later, Buffy sat at the edge of the stage, bag of weapons beside her, waiting for Spike to return. She let her thoughts turn to Xander and Faith, happy that her two best friends were finally together. After the battle was over, she'd have to have a long talk with the other Slayer and squeeze out all the details.
A spotlight suddenly went on, bathing Buffy in its bright, white glow. She raised her hand over her eyes, trying to see who was in the catwalks operating it. "Gilbert and Sullivan anyone?" she called out.
"I was thinking more the lines of Gypsy Rose Lee," Spike called back to her.
"I take it we're all clear," she yelled back. "And this is going to get old, real fast."
The light shut off and she could see the vampire walking along the metal, his footsteps
silent despite his hard shoes. Soon, he joined her on the stage, sitting down and taking her hand in his.
"Have I ever told you I love the theater?" he asked, intertwining their fingers. "I used to go at least once a week in London. Sometimes I'd even bring Dalton along."
"Dalton?" Buffy questioned.
He frowned. "I don't think you met him, pet. He was a bookish vampire, short, glasses, lots of humanity in him. I guess that's why Dru gave him to the Judge as a snack."
"Oh, I saw him!" she replied, remembering back five years. "He was playing Tomb Raider, though he looks nothing like Laura Croft. Now what did he take?" She screwed up her face in concentration as Spike smothered a laugh. "A decoder ring."
"That's all I can remember," she confessed. "But I guarantee you had something to do with it."
"Who me?" he replied, acting innocent. "Why, I have always been a model citizen."
"And I'm Miss America," Buffy said sarcastically.
"Uh, luv? That would have to be Mrs. America," Spike pointed out.
Buffy shook her head and chuckled. "Ok, enough of this pathetic conversation. We have roughly two hours before the sun sets and the baddies start to arrive. We need to find a place to be. Angel said they'd be sure to meet here in the center of the stage."
"We can pop up to the side catwalks," Spike said. "And pull up the ladders behind us."
"Don't you think they'll want to use the spotlights?"
"Those are on the main catwalk, pet," he replied. "The side ones control the props and give access to the lighting grids so the bulbs can be changed."
"Wow, you really know your way around a theater," Buffy commented.
"When you've gone to the show for two hundred years, you tend to pick up a few tidbits," Spike said, smiling at her. "Come on, kitten. Let's get settled in. I can think of a few dozen ways to occupy our time until they get here."
The two hidden lovers watched as vampire after vampire entered the theater, spreading out to cover all entrances and exits. As predicted, two climbed into the main catwalks and turned on the spotlights, shining them on center stage. As the magick hour approached, they still hadn't seen Virginia. Their plan hinged on the female vamp's leadership, and hoped that with her eliminated, the others would panic and disperse. If not, they were going to have one hell of a fight on their hands.
Angel, Cordelia, Xander and Faith strolled in, each dressed in black and no doubt carrying a full arsenal on their bodies. The three friends stood back, covering the three dividers to backstage as Angel walked to the center. None of them tried to look for Buffy or Spike.
"Virginia," the soul filled vampire greeted as the blond female strode on-stage followed by four, large minions.
"Angelus," Virginia hissed. "So good of you to come to your own funeral."
"One question before we proceed to kill each other," Angel said conversationally, the cue for the team to get ready. "Why did you bother to hunt down and dust all my children? I was doing that quite well on my own."
"You destroyed Marcius! He was everything to me, my master, my lover, my sire. And you took him away, so I shall take all away from you, every vampire you sired, every lover, every ‘friend,'" she sneered with the word. "Until there is no trace of Angelus left on this earth!"
Angel cocked his head and looked at her, then shrugged. "Oh, ok," he said. "Just wondered."
His casual air infuriated Virginia, her face sliding into its natural demonic ridges, yellow eyes and fangs. "Prepare to die, Angelus!"
He sighed dramatically, then smiled. "Let's do it."
That was the signal.
Buffy and Spike let loose with their crossbow bolts, dusting two of the four vampires blocking the blond female. Angel spun on his heels and ran to stage left as planned to assist with the multitude of vamps surging onto the stage from the wings.
Virginia screamed in anger as two more well placed bolts entered her bodyguard, sending a shower of dust over her. She yelled out directions to her minions, and several surrounded her, forming a protective wall as the battle surged on near the edge of the stage.
Faith and Xander worked together against the attackers, the young man squirting holy water into vamps eyes with a gym bottle, then shoving them to the Slayer so she could stake them in between fighting. Angel and Cordelia were each holding their own, using their martial arts skills to keep back the opponents, staking them with the efficiency of years of practice.
Spike reloaded his crossbow as Buffy looked at her surroundings. Suddenly, she smiled brightly and stood, looping her own loaded bow over her shoulder. "What the bloody hell are you doing?" he said, taking aim and firing a bolt.
"What I do best," she replied. "Improvising." She grabbed a heavy rope that was attached to a pulley system for the scenery props. "I've always wanted to do this."
"Be careful," Spike said, both admiration and fear in his eyes.
"Careful is my middle name," she responded, grinning. She climbed easily to the metal handrail and balancing like a tightrope walker. "Try not to hit me."
"I won't," he said.
"I love you, William Masterson," she said to him with a wink, then launched herself off the handrail. She swung down into the group of vampires, the heavy prop rising as she fell.
Buffy landed lightly on her feet directly in front of Virginia, crossbow pointing at her heart. The female vampire looked at her, astonished. "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus," the Slayer said, finger on the trigger. "And this year he's giving you a nice, pointy stake."
The bolt flew from the bow, imbedding itself into Virginia's chest, but not deep enough to kill her. The female vampire looked shocked, staring at the Slayer gape mouthed that she had missed. But Buffy had done that on purpose. Her arms flew out, grabbing Virginia by the back of the head before any of the other vampires surrounding her could move. "This is for Spike," Buffy hissed in her ear, then shoved the wood home.
As the female collapsed into a pile of dust, Buffy grabbed the rope and began climbing with Slayer speed, the prop having reached the pulley, anchoring her. The vampire bodyguards who weren't picked off by Spike's bolts were watching her, unsure as to what to do.
"I'm not sticking around here now that the master's gone!" one exclaimed as the vampire next to him exploded into dust. He took off running in the opposite directions to the four friends who were fighting his brethren. The vamps that heard him quickly agreed, following close behind.
Buffy had reached sufficient height, wrapping the rope around her legs using a trick Giles taught her so she could load and fire the crossbow. She chuckled when she saw the fleeing vampires. "Hey, dead guys! Looks like your friends are leaving without you," she yelled to those fighting with her friends.
It was as if someone let a skunk loose in the theater. The vampires took one look at their retreating comrades, then turned and high tailed towards the exits as well. Soon, the only ones left were the friends from Sunnydale.
"Well, that was fun," Buffy said to them from her perch. "We should do that again sometime."
"I'm officially pooped," Xander said, flopping to the floor of the stage, not caring that he was laying in vampire dust. He stared up at Buffy. "You Tarzan, me Jane," he teased.
"Sorry, Xand, my loincloth is at the cleaners," she replied.
"Pet, are you going to come down from there?" Spike asked, joining them on the stage, weapons bag over his shoulder. Watching her launch herself from the catwalk into the group of vampires had reminded him of her courage, strength and quick thinking that he'd always loved, even when they had still been mortal enemies. It had also turned him on.
She grinned at him, then let go of the rope, dropping cat-like to her feet. Before she could say anything, Spike yanked her into his arms, smashing her lips with his own. He pressed his pelvis against hers, letting her feel his arousal. Buffy fingers dug into his shoulders as he continued to plunder her mouth.
"You know, that's not a bad idea," Angel murmured into Cordelia's ear, watching the couple. She turned to say something and he pulled her to him, bending his head to capture her lips.
Faith and Xander looked at the two couples making out in front of them, then at each other. "What the hell," Faith said, grabbing Xander by the shirt and hauling him to his feet. "Slaying always did make me horny."
"Have you guys got everything?" Angel asked as Buffy threw yet another bag in the already full trunk of the Blazer.
"Yeah," she answered. "There is no way I'm letting Spike take any of this in his car. There were probably dead bodies in his trunk."
"I still can't believe that you two are married," he said.
"Join the club," Buffy replied. "I think it's going to take months before the shock wears off."
"How do you think Rupert will take the news?"
"Giles? Let's see, first he'll give me his befuddled librarian look, then take off his glasses and say ‘I see' with that cute stutter of his," she said, smiling. "Then he'll wig."
Angel smiled in return, knowing she was right. She put the last bag in the trunk, then closed the back. "There, we're good to go."
"Can I ask you something?" Angel said, his face becoming serious.
"Always," she replied.
"Are you happy?" Angel asked. "With Spike, I mean." He watched as the corners of her mouth slowly tilted up, her eyes lighting at the thought of her new husband. He knew her answer even before she said it.
"Yes, I am," she responded. "If I had to relive this whole week over, I wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe I would have gotten that green, silk jacket, but other than that…"
Angel burst out laughing, then pulled her to him in a big hug.
"Hey, now, hands off of my wife," Spike said, entering the underground garage with the other three friends in tow. Buffy smiled at her husband, stepping away from Angel and into his possessive embrace.
"Get a room," Cordelia said to them, a grin belaying her sharp tone.
"I guess we'd better get going if we want to be back in Sunnydale by sunset," Buffy said, Spike's arm firmly around her waist. "I can't believe I have to go to classes tomorrow."
"Did you have to remind me?" Xander said. "I probably have a ton of work to do at the frat. If it's still standing."
The friend's hugged Cordelia and Angel, preparing to go. "Be sure to let us know your new address and phone number," Cordelia told Buffy.
"That's right," Buffy said. "Slaying must kill brains cells, too. I didn't even think about it."
"Don't worry, pet, I'll find us something," Spike told her. "If I have any money left, that is."
Laughter filled the garage as they climbed into the cars, waving good-bye to Cordelia and Angel. "Think they'll make it?" the former cheerleader asked as they shut the garage door and walked together to the elevator.
"If any one can, it's those two," Angel replied, knowing his girlfriend was referring to Buffy and Spike. "I just wish we could be there to see the expression on Giles' face when she tells him."
"You will," Cordelia replied.
Angel shot her a puzzled glance. "How?"
"Faith promised to video tape it."