"Angel, why don't you get some books to take home with you," Buffy told her love. "I need to talk to Giles and Willow a minute."
"Ok," Angel said. He went up the stairs and into the stacks, looking at the titles.
"Thank you," Buffy told the two. "For this."
"You're welcome, Buffy," Giles said. Willow echoed him.
"I...uh...wanted to tell you something else," Buffy said. "About Angel. He definitely does not know he's a blood-sucker."
"Pardon?" Giles asked, confused.
"A vampire. He tried to go out in the sun today to come here," Buffy said. "He thinks the blood I leave for him is juice."
"Oh! And he didn't hiss or back away from the cross I was holding when he got here," Willow added. "He actually came closer."
"That's odd," Giles said. "Does he revert to his demonic features when feeding?"
"No, actually. No fangs at all. He just drinks the blood down like it was, well, juice," Buffy answered.
"Maybe he's not a vampire anymore," Willow suggested.
"Ya think?" Buffy said, looking towards the stacks.
"Well, we could test that theory," Giles said. "Holy water or touching him with a-a-a cross."
Buffy sighed. "I hate to hurt him more."
"We really should find out," Giles told her. "For his sake as well as our own."
"Too bad we just can't hypnotize him and see if he remembers," Buffy said. Her eyes widened at the thought. "Wait! Why can't we? Hypnotize him, that is."
"Buffy, I do not think that would be wise," Giles stammered. "Delving into one's subconscious is-is-is dangerous and could have numerous side effects."
"Can you do it?" she asked her Watcher. Willow looked at him enthusiastically.
"Yes, I suppose," Giles answered. "But he would have to be willing to be put in-in-in a hypnotic trance..."
"Great! I'll go ask him," Buffy said, sprinting up the stairs. She came back a few moments later with Angel in tow. "He said he'll do it."
"Are you certain?" Giles asked the vampire.
"Maybe it will help m-me re-remem-member," Angel replied.
"Very well," Giles sighed.
"Angel, you are in a safe place," Giles told the vampire who had just fallen into a hypnotic state. "Nothing can harm you there, no matter how horrible it is. If you understand, say yes."
"Yes," Angel answered, eyes slightly glazed over.
"What is your name?" Giles asked.
"Your birth name," Giles clarified.
"Angelus," he answered.
"And where were you born?"
"How old are you?"
"Two hundred forty three," Angel answered without hesitation.
"Do you know what you are?" Giles asked.
Angel didn't answer. He looked slightly puzzled.
"Are you a vampire?" Giles restated the question.
"Yes," Angel answered.
"Ask him if he remembers being Angelus," Buffy whispered to the librarian. She and Willow were seated at the table next to Giles, who was in turn across from Angel.
"Do you remember wanting to hurt Buffy," Giles asked.
"Yes, Buffy. Do you remember wanting to hurt her?"
"I could never hurt Buffy," Angel said clearly.
"Do you remember being in Hell?"
Both Buffy and Willow looked startled at Giles' question. "Giles, don't you think..."
Giles held up is hand as Angel started to answer.
"Close your eyes," Angel said softly. "She had to do it. She had no choice."
Tears began to fall down Buffy's cheeks at his words. Those tears of sadness turned to tears of horror as Angel continued speaking.
"The light was so bright. It was blinding. They took me and stripped me to nothing, then chained me to a post. I tried not to cry out as the first blow from the barbed whip struck my back. By the time they finished, I had passed out. My back was on fire and I could feel the blood running out of me. They forced me to feed and I healed, then they started again.
"When the devil got bored, he had me unchained. Then I was running. Running for my life. Running for my friends lives. Running for Buffy's life. Over glass and rocks I ran, trying to reach her before she hit the ground, dead. Over and over again I ran, and each time I was too late. Too late to save her. I'm sorry, Buffy. I'm sorry."
Tears were falling down Angel's face, but he did not come out of his trance. Giles was about to bring him around when he continued.
The three listeners didn't hear or see Xander enter the library, returning for his books. He stood near the doorway, listening.
"I could no longer run, the bottom of my feet were torn away. The devil smiled as I screamed. He had his minions grab me and hold me flat on a table. Pinning my arms straight out, the devil stood behind me with a large blade. He inserted it beneath my skull and slit my back, down to the base of my spine. Cackling with glee, he pulled me open. I could feel his claws go into my body as he crushed my spine.
"They held the wound closed and fed me. My skin healed over, but my spine was still crushed. I lay on the table, half bent over when the devil returned. I could feel him behind my, his breath hot on my neck. That's when I felt the pain of his penetration. He ripped into me, pumping viscously as I screamed again, unable to move. I could see others standing in a line, their cocks glistening in the bright light, waiting for their turn.
"On and on they went, for what seemed like forever until I sank into unconsciousness. When I woke, I found Buffy standing there. She laughed at me, pitied me, called me a monster again and again. There was hate in her eyes as she looked down on me. The last thing she told me was that she never loved a monster like me, no one could."
Willow had moved while Angel spoke. She climbed onto Giles' lap like a child, hugging him tightly. Giles held onto Willow, trying to bring some comfort to both hacker and himself. Buffy cried silently at the pain she had caused him. Xander spun and ran back out into the hall, only to be violently sick in a garbage can.
"I saw Buffy leave me, never turning back once. After that, nothing. Oblivion, sweet oblivion," Angel finished quietly.
Giles cleared his throat, removing his glasses with his free hand and wiping at his eyes. Willow sniffed and tried not to cry into his shirt. "Angel," he said. "When I snap my fingers you will awaken refreshed and with no recollection of-of what you have told us. If you understand, say yes."
"Yes," Angel said.
Giles looked over at Buffy's tear stained face. She nodded and he snapped his fingers.
Angel blinked rapidly, trying to clear his vision. He looked around and saw Buffy, Giles and Willow in various stages of grief. "Wh-what?"
Buffy stood and hurried over to him. "Nothing," she whispered, kissing him on the lips softly. "C'mon, let's go home."
"O-ok," Angel said, allowing himself to be guided by Buffy. He took the books he had picked out, smiled briefly at the other two in the room, and left with the Slayer. Giles and Willow sat together, comforting each other as friends well into the night.
Buffy and Angel arrived at his apartment in record time. She led him inside, locking the door behind them and took his books. She set them on the table, then pulled him into her arms, kissing him deeply and passionately.
Angel responded eagerly. He was not sure why Buffy was kissing him with such fervor, but did nothing to stop her.
Breathing heavily, Buffy broke the kiss and whispered to him. "Make love to me."
Angel looked at her with surprise. "Are you s-sure?"
"I need you, Angel," Buffy said, cupping his face in her hands. "And I want to show you how much I love you, how I could never despise you or think you’re a monster."
"Wh-what?" Angel asked, confused.
"Don't worry about it," Buffy told him. "Just love me."
She took his hands, then led him over to the bed. Slowly, she removed her black camisole and matching skirt, along with her shoes. Buffy stood before Angel proudly in wisps of lace. Angel swallowed heavily, taking in the beauty before him. He removed his own shirt and shoes, then pushed his shaking hands into Buffy's hair as he bent and kissed her.
Buffy leaned into his cold body, wrapping her arms around his waist. She winced slightly when she felt the puckered scars, but Angel did not notice. He began to kiss along Buffy's jaw, then down her neck and onto her shoulder, sliding his hands down her arms slowly. Buffy shivered, even though the apartment was hot. Angel unhooked her bra and let it fall from her arms onto the floor.
He continued to kiss down the center of Buffy's body. Kneeling slowly in front of her, Angel removed her panties, running his cold fingers along the backs of her legs. He nuzzled her damp curls, inhaling the scent of pure womanhood.
Buffy arched with a moan as Angel flicked his tongue over her arousal. He continued to delve into her, licking and sucking until she trembled. Standing, he pushed Buffy onto the bed and quickly shed his pants. He joined her, pushing her legs apart with his knees.
Positioning himself to enter her, Angel kissed Buffy. He let the love he felt for her, even though he did not know why, flow between them as he slowly penetrated her. It felt like fire engulfing his hard shaft and Angel groaned with the sensation. He began to move, wrapping his arms under Buffy's back and holding her flush against him.
When release came, the two lovers fell together, each calling the other's name. Angel held Buffy close, not wanting to ever let her go. He could feel her body shaking underneath him and Angel moved his head back to look into his love's face. "What's wrong?"
"I love you," Buffy told him, tears falling freely from her eyes. "I love you so much."
"I love you, too," Angel told her, kissing the trails of wetness. "I don't know why, but I do. With all my soul."
Buffy squeezed her eyes shut at his words, pulling him closer. *He couldn't have realized he said soul instead of heart,* she thought as Angel settled back into her arms. She stroked the back of his head as he drifted off into sleep, thinking about all he had said while hypnotized. *I will make sure that he knows he is loved no matter what,* she swore to herself. *Even if I have to live forever to do so.*
That night, Angel dreamed.
He woke to find Buffy missing from his bed. Looking around with worry, he sat up. She moved out from the bathroom, staring at him, buttoning a grey shirt. He watched as she picked up a chain hanging on a statue and put it over her head.
"Buffy," Angel said. "Where did you go?"
"Been around," Buffy answered.
"I was freaking out. You just disappeared," Angel said, watching her carefully.
"What? I took off."
"But you didn’t say anything. You just left."
"Yeah. Like I really wanted to stick around after that," Buffy said cruelly.
"What?" Angel asked, confused.
"You got a lot to learn. Although I guess you proved that last night," Buffy told him.
"What are you saying?"
"Let’s not make an issue out of it, ok? In fact, let’s not talk about it at all. It happened," Buffy said. She turned to the door.
"I…I don’t understand. Was it m-me? Was I not good?" Angel asked meekly.
"You were great, really," Buffy laughed snidely. "I thought you were a pro."
"How can you say this to me?"
"Lighten up. It was a good time. It doesn’t mean like we have to make a big deal."
"It is a big deal!"
"It’s what?" Buffy asked. "Bells ringing, fireworks, a dulcet choir of pretty little birdies?" She laughed at him. "Come on, Angel. It’s not like I’ve never been there before." She stared at him, a tear streaked mess on the bed. "I should’ve known you wouldn’t be able to handle it."
"Buffy!" Angel cried, sitting up abruptly. He looked around wildly, trying to get his bearings.
"I'm right here," Buffy said sleepily from next to him on the bed. Angel pulled her into his arms, holding her as if his life depended on it. "Hey, what's wrong?" she asked, as he rocked her in his arms.
"I h-had a hor-horrible nightmare," Angel told her, his voice choked with tears. "You-you were s-s-so cold t-to me. Said you-you-you wouldn't have b-b-bothered if you knew I-I would b-be so easy."
Buffy's eyes widened in horror. That was what Angelus had said to her after their one night together which released his soul.
"Shh. I'm right here," she comforted him, even though her mind was reeling. "I'm not leaving you." Angel cried for a long time before he fell back to sleep.
Extracting herself carefully from his arms, Buffy threw on Angel's discarded shirt and picked up the phone. She quickly dialed home. "Mom? Yeah, I know it's late. I won't be home tonight....No, I'm ok. I'll tell you about it tomorrow after school. Bye."
Buffy hung up the phone then went to the bathroom. She cleaned herself up somewhat, then joined Angel, falling into a dreamless sleep.
"Hey, Giles, " Buffy said upon entering the library. She was dressed in the same skirt she wore the night before, but was wearing one of Angel's white shirts over it.
"Buffy," Giles greeted, cup of tea in hand. "How are you? How is Angel?"
"He had a dream last night," Buffy told her Watcher. "The dream was actually a memory. But the roles were reversed."
"I-I don't quite follow," Giles said.
"He dreamt of our night together when we...you know," Buffy said. "Only I was the one who turned Norman Bates on him."
"It may be a-a-a residual effect of the, uh, hypnosis," Giles told her. He removed his glasses and set the tea on the counter to clean them. "In, uh, Hell, you w-were the one who left him."
"So, you think he's gonna remember more, only with me as the baddie?"
"It is possible," Giles answered. The bell rang, halting any further conversation. Buffy waved and left the library, heading for her first class. She slid into the seat next to Willow. Xander and Cordelia sat side by side behind them.
As class got underway, Xander passed a note to Buffy.
I am so sorry. Angelus should have been the one to pay, not Angel. I may not like him, but he didn't deserve, by any means, to go through the hell he did. Please show this to Willow, too.
Buffy turned in her seat and grasped Xander's hand. She passed the note to Willow, then turned back to the lecture.
Willow quickly read the note, then smiled at Xander, tears in her eyes. Cordelia reached over and took Xander's left hand, squeezing gently in support.
The Slayerettes survived another tragedy.
Buffy filled her mom in on what had happened with Angel, leaving out the more personal details. When she finished, she stumbled upstairs to take a shower, then threw herself onto her bed and cried quietly until she fell asleep.
"Buffy, phone!" Joyce's call woke her daughter up. Buffy turned over and looked at the clock. It was 6:30 p.m.
"I got it," Buffy yelled back. She picked up the receiver on her nightstand. "You got me."
"If that were true, luv, then I wouldn't be calling you," a familiar, cocky, British voice said on the other end of the line.
"Spike," Buffy groaned. "How did you get my number?"
"I have all my enemies phone numbers, pet," Spike told her. "That way, I can call and taunt them unmercifully."
"Cute," Buffy said sarcastically. "Now, what do you want?"
Buffy rolled her eyes at his hesitation. "Spit it out, Blondie."
"You haven't run into Dru, have you?"
Buffy sat up. "Why?"
"She's run off," Spike confessed. "One night, she started mumbling about that bloody rock and she was gone."
"Great. Just great," Buffy said into the phone. "So you think she's coming here?"
"That'd be my bet," Spike answered.
Buffy groaned again and fell back onto the pillows. "I swear, I should have staked you both when I had the chance."
"Now, now, pet," Spike said. "None of that. We made a deal."
"You weren't suppose to come back!"
"It's not my fault!" Spike yelled. "I left the country, just like we agreed."
"Only you're skanky ho didn't stay gone," Buffy complained.
"Watch it, luv," Spike said with a low voice. "Or I might take offence."
"Oh, brother," Buffy replied, rolling her eyes. She sighed. "What do you want me to do?"
"I'll be in Sunnyhell in a few hours. If you see her, please try not to stake her."
"Please," Buffy said. "We're being a polite vampire. In that case, I won't slay her unless I absolutely have no choice."
"Deal," Spike responded. "Oh, one more thing. She may be coming to free Angelus."
"Angel? But he's back...ugh. I can't believe I just told you that."
"Oh, lovely," Spike said. "Wait. You said Angel, not Angelus."
"Yeah. He got his soul back," Buffy told him. "A non-refundable one."
"Good," Spike commented. "I liked the lap dog better than the bloody demon. Anyway, don't let him dust my Dru, either."
"Don't worry," Buffy replied. "Angel's not quite the same as he use to be."
"What do you mean?"
Buffy sighed again. *In for a penny...* "He doesn't remember...anything. Not me, not you, not even the fact that he's of the un-living."
Spike laughed long and hard. "Oh, that's too precious," he finally said. "I'd better go before you tell me he's gone to wearing frilly skirts."
"Good-bye, Spike," Buffy said as the vampire disconnected. She put down the receiver then pulled a pillow over her head and screamed.
"Hey, guys," Buffy said, entering the library that night with Angel in tow. Willow, Oz, Xander, Cordelia and Giles were all present, looking in various books. Well, at least Giles was, the rest were goofing off, as usual.
"Hey, Buffy, Angel," Xander said, going over to the duo. He embraced Buffy tightly. "I'm sorry," he whispered in her ear.
A low growling noise filled the library.
The group looked at Angel as one. The vampire looked decidedly embarrassed. Laughing, Buffy took his hand and pulled him to an empty chair. She pushed him down, then perched herself on his lap.
Xander returned to his own seat next to Cordelia. "Sorry, man," he told Angel. "I'm not after your woman. I have a hellion of my own."
"Hey!" Cordelia said, smacking him on the arm. Everyone laughed, a cohesive team once more.
"By the way, Will," Buffy said, leaning closer to her best friend seated behind the computer. "No happiness clause."
"You mean..." Willow's eyes widened and she covered her mouth at Buffy's nod so as not to squeal in delight.
Angel looked back and fourth between the two girls and they talked, wondering what they meant. He looked over at the others in the room, pretending to work. "Can I h-help?"
Xander, Oz and Giles all looked at the vampire. Giles was the first to speak. "Of-of course," the librarian said. "If you can remove the, uh, growth from your lap."
The others chuckled as Buffy's head shot up. "The tweed man makes a joke," Xander said. "We're proud of you."
Giles smiled, turning away from Buffy's glare.
Buffy gave in and kissed Angel before sliding off his lap. She went over to the weapons locker to gather some stakes. "Oh, hey, before I forget," she said, tucking the wood into various places on her body. "Spike may be dropping by for a visit."
Six pairs of disbelieving eyes and one curious set stared at her. "Wh-what?" Giles asked, breaking into the surprised silence.
"Spike. He called me. On the phone," Buffy replied. "I know, I know, it's way wiggy. But we had a deal the night I fought Ang...at the mansion. He'd help in exchange for free passage out of town with Drusilla."
"Why is he coming back, then?" Willow asked.
"His loony tunes girlfriend flew the coop," Buffy answered. "Spike thinks she's gonna come here."
"Well, we-we must prepare then," Giles said, closing the large tome in his hand.
"Chill, Giles," Buffy stopped him. "We're not gonna do anything. Spike's only coming to get Dru, then he's outta here. I promised I wouldn't dust either of them unless I absolutely had no choice."
"I can not abide your making deals with-with vampires of their caliber," Giles scolded his Slayer. "And to do it twice is-is-is inconceivable!"
"'I do not think that word means what you think it means,'" three voices said simultaneously. Oz, Willow and Xander looked at one another, then burst out laughing.
"I can not believe I hang around with you losers," Cordelia commented, flipping pages in a fashion magazine.
Giles shook his head and went back to his books. Angel just looked puzzled.
"On that note, I'm gonna do a quick sweep," Buffy said. She kissed Angel on the cheek. "You guys stay here. I don't want you wandering around with Drusilla on the loose."
"Is-is she an an-animal?" Angel asked, confused as to whom Buffy was talking about.
"The worst kind, sweetie," Buffy said, patting his arm. "A woman." The others chuckled as she turned to go. "Keep an eye on forgetful here, will ya?"
"Bye, Buffy," the gang called with sing-song voices. Buffy shook her head and went out into the night.
Angel looked thoughtfully at the room full of people who Buffy told him were his friends. He had, for some strange reason, growled at Xander. He didn't even know he could growl.
Willow reached over and touched his hand. "You ok?"
Angel turned and smiled at her. "Yeah. It-it's just I-I didn't know I had s-so many f-friends," he said.
"They kinda sneak up on you like that," Oz told him. "One minute, you're walking along wondering who the cute girl with the red hair is the next, pow, you're a member of the Scooby Gang."
"'Sc-Scooby Gang'?" Angel asked.
"Pop culture for $500, Alex," Xander said. "Oh, yeah, I forgot. You don't own a TV. Ok, the Scooby Gang is like this..."
"Xander, your lips are flapping and it's messing up my hair," Cordelia said.
"Too late," Xander said without breaking stride. Cordelia screeched and put a hand to her head, then ran out of the library. Giles smothered his laughter while the others, minus Angel, just let it go. "As I was saying, the Scooby Gang was part of a cartoon show. They solved mysteries about supernatural occurrences, like we do."
"The myth-mythol-ology club? Like Buffy told m-me about?" Angel asked.
"Exactamundo," Oz cut in. He'd been briefed by Willow about the story Buffy had given their forgetful friend. "And we're sort-of all characters represented in the show."
Giles shook his head and picked up another book. *The conversations these children get into,* he thought.
"Right," Xander continued. "Willow is Velma, Cordelia is Daphne, Oz is Scrapy by default since he was the last to join, I'm Shaggy and Giles is Fred. Oh, and Buffy's Scooby."
Angel arched his dark eyebrow, not understanding at all. "Who am I th-then?"
"Hmm. That's a toughie," Xander said. He looked at Willow and Oz. Willow shrugged and went back to typing.
"Oh, he can be Scooby-Dum," Oz said, thinking of the hapless cousin of the detective dog. Willow started to snicker and Giles had to stifle his laughter as well. "Although, I don't think we should tell Buffy that."
Cordelia came back from the bathroom at that moment, picture perfect as usual. "I did not have a single hair out of place, Xander Harris!"
Xander made a scared face and bolted for the stairs to the stacks. Cordelia chased right after him. "Get back here, you spineless twit"
"Why is she yell-yelling at him?" Angel asked, listening to the argument flowing down from the stacks.
"Just listen, man," Oz told him. Soon, silence took over. Oz smiled at Angel's puzzled expression. "They're on phase two."
Oz gave him a look that all males, no matter what creature they were, could understand. Angel's eyes widened and he quickly looked down at the book Giles had given him. "Oh."
A slightly mussed Xander and a still perfect Cordelia rejoined the group a short time later. Xander could swear that Angel was blushing when the vamp glanced at him. "I'm going for some munchies. Orders anyone?"
"I'll go with you," Oz said, leaving his place by Willow's side. The two boys left the library chatting about the benefits of Twinkies.
"Giles, can you leave?" Cordelia said abruptly. Giles shot her a puzzled glare. "Girl talk."
"Right," Giles said, moving quickly to the shelter of his office. In his haste to get away, he forgot about the only other male in the room.
Cordelia, however, did not. "Angel," she said, smiling like the predator she was.
Angel looked back up from the book he was dutifully scanning for prophecies. "Y-yes?"
"I always wanted to know," she began. "Why Buffy?"
"Cordy!" Willow squawked.
"C'mon, Willow. Don't tell me you haven't wondered yourself," the cheerleader said. "Is it some sort of Romeo and Juliet complex you got going?"
Angel frowned, not sure as to what Cordelia was getting at. "Why Buffy wh-what?"
"Why Buffy everything," Cordelia explained. "Out of all the girls in Sunnydale, why did you choose the one who draws gross things to her like flypaper?"
Willow buried her head in her hands with a groan.
Angel stared at the girl, formulating his thoughts. When he spoke, however, he said the first thing that came to mine. "She's the reason I became someone."
"Confusing much?" Cordelia said.
"She's asking you to elaborate," Willow told the vampire.
"I...I don't think I c-can," Angel said. He looked sadly down at his hands. "I don't re-remem-remember."
Willow put her hand on Angel's sweater-covered arm. "It's ok, Angel," she comforted.
He looked up at the redhead, tears in his eyes. "Why c-can't I re-remember?"
Xander and Oz returned at that moment, loaded down with food and soda. "Hey, who pooped on our party?" Xander asked, noting the somber mood.
"Ask your girlfriend," Willow said snidely.
"Woah. Hostility. Not a good thing," Oz said, moving to Willow. "Causes pre-mature aging in monkeys - the ones without the pants."
Willow couldn't help but smile at her boyfriend as Xander chided Cordelia. Angel continued to look down at his hands as the two couples talked in their own way. He wished a certain blond was there.
"'Allo, people," Spike said, coming through the doors of the library. "How's tricks?"
Angel looked up at the newcomer. The first thought that came to mind was: *This is not the blond I meant.*
The others gasped and pulled crosses and stakes out of various pockets. Angel watched as both Xander and Oz put their respective girlfriends behind them.
"What, no hugs?" Spike asked, holding his arms out wide. "I'm hurt."
Giles came to stand in his office door, crossbow in hand. "What are you doing here?"
"What, the Slayer didn't tell you?" Spike said, sticking his hands back in his pockets. He was not there for a fight.
"She told us, fang boy," Xander said. "But we figured you'd be dust before you hit the doors."
"I'm touched," Spike said sarcastically. He looked around for the woman of the hour. "Where is she anyway?"
"Probably out vacuuming up your girlfriend," Xander told the peroxide blond vamp.
Spike ignored his threats and hopped up onto the counter. "I can wait," he said, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it. He smirked at the 'smoking kills' poster next to him. "So, what's been going on in this bloody hellhole since I've been gone?"
The group stared at him as if he grew a second head. Spike rolled his eyes, then spotted his former sire sitting at the table watching him. "Angel! You old fart, how are you?"
Angel was surprised the younger looking man knew his name. He squinted his eyes and peered at him. "D-do I know you-you?"
"I-I sh-should h-hope s-so," Spike snickered, dragging out an over the top stutter to mock the older vampire. "It's me, Spike! William the bloody. Can't believe that you'd forget a guy like me."
Angel looked at the others for assistance, but they just stared at the blond.
"Come on, mate," Spike said, inhaling on his cigarette. "You bloody made me. Oh, that's right. You don't remember." He drew out the words in a sing song fashion. "Buffy told me you were a bit daft in the head."
"Ah, the dead one speak!" Spike gestured wildly with his arms. "Come, see the amazing Angel. The vampire who's off his bloody rocker."
"Spike, Spike, Spike," Buffy said, entering the library. "Are you teasing my boyfriend?"
The vampire smiled genuinely at the Slayer. "I can't help it, it's just too bloody good of an opportunity to pass up."
Angel stood when Buffy came into the room and walked quickly over to her. "Buffy?"
She smiled lovingly up at him, then turned her attention back to Spike. "I haven't seen your wacked girlfriend," she told him. "A beat up a few of your dead relatives and gave them the message that if they saw her to send her this way."
"You told Drusilla to-to come here?!" Giles practically shouted. "Buffy, that is-is-is..."
"C'mon, spit it out, Watcher," Spike said, looking over his shoulder at the tweed clad man. "You can do it."
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Let's go, Spike. We can wait for your ho outside. I'll even beat you up free of charge while we wait."
"Yeah, I can see that happening," Spike said, sliding off the counter. He looked Angel over from head to toe, then chuckled. "I'd leave your main squeeze here, luv. I don't think he's up for seeing what you do for kicks."
"Guys," Buffy turned to address the nervous Slayerettes. "I'm going to go wash Spike's mouth out with my fist. We'll be out front if you need us." She stood on tiptoe and kissed Angel on the lips. "I'll be right back," she whispered. Turning on her boot-clad heel, she gestured to the door. "Shall we?"
"After you, ducks," Spike said, bowing slightly. Buffy practically bounced out the door, followed quickly by the blond vampire.
Angel frowned at the swinging doors then turned to the group. "Who was th-that?"
The Slayerettes, however, were gathering their weapons to take the party on the road. "Xander, keep an eye on Angel," Giles instructed. "I don't think Buffy wants him running headlong into danger."
"Got it, G-man," Xander said, pocketing some holy water and his stake. "C'mon, Deadboy. Let's get front seats for the show."
"Did you remember the popcorn?" Oz asked Willow as they gathered their own equipment.
"Drat," Willow said. "I forgot. Maybe next time."
"What about me?" Cordelia whined. "Why do I have to go watch Buffy pummel Spike?"
"You are more than welcome to stay here with me, Cordelia," Giles told the brunette.
"Thanks, I think," Cordelia said, not sure whether to be relieved or upset.
Willow, Oz, Xander and Angel wandered to the main doors of the school, in no hurry what so ever. Angel listened as the three placed bets, on what he had no clue.
"Shiny nickel says Buffy makes a Billy Idol remark," Xander said, twirling the stake in his hand.
"My bets on 'your roots are showing,'" Oz said. "Which they were. In a major way."
"Um...make my day?" Willow suggested. The two teens shot her a puzzled look. "Ok. How about 'the punk phase is dead and buried?'"
"Good one," Oz said, squeezing Willow's hand. "Does she ever say anything about his accent?"
"Actually, it's kinda sexy," Willow said. "In a non-good-guy sort of way. Never mind."
"Are we suppose to stay inside, or can we take a seat on the steps?" Xander asked as they reached the front doors.
"She probably wanted us to stay inside," Oz said. "We can always compromise. Lean up against the open doors."
"Sounds like a plan," Xander said, pushing open the door and sliding to the ground. "Have a seat, Angel. The shows just starting."
Angel sat next to Xander as Willow and Oz did the same across from him. The three all were watching intently at the empty sidewalk in front of the school. "Wh-what are we looking f-for?"
"Just watch," Xander instructed. "But whatever happens, stay put. Buffy will kill me if I let you get hurt."
"I think I hear them," Willow said, excitedly. The hacker was not to be disappointed.
"You don't bite me, I won't turn you into an airborne allergen," Buffy's voice rang loud and clear from out of sight.
"You're on," Spike answered. And the fight began.
Spike was the first one to roll into sight of the spectators sitting in the doors. He gracefully stood and waited for Buffy's next attack. He didn't have to wait long.
Buffy came flying into view with a flip over his head, landing on her toes behind him. She threw back her arm from the elbow, whacking Spike in the back of the head. Spike spun and caught the Slayer across the neck, but she grabbed his arm and hoisted him over her shoulder. He landed on his feet.
Angel watched with panicked eyes as his love fought with the blond from the library. Buffy landed two hooks across Spike's jaw, which he returned in favor. They began punching and blocking in earnest as the comments the three Slayerettes bet on started to fly.
"Is that all you got?" Buffy taunted, lashing out with her foot. "Your ability must coincide with your bleached head. When the roots start showin', the skill gets goin.'"
"That's one for me," Oz said, leering at Xander.
"Very funny, pet," Spike said, catching the Slayer's next kick and twisting. She flipped over and caught his jaw with her other foot while regaining her balance. "At least I'm not shagging the reject from Hell."
Buffy ducked under Spike's kick, but was cracked across the cheek by his fist. "Ha, ha."
"I think that's bloody hilarious. Angelus, the scourge of the vampire community, kicked out of Hell," Spike laughed. Buffy caught his next fist and twisted, throwing him over her shoulder again. He rolled to his feet. "Aww. Too close to home?"
"Like you can talk," Buffy said as she kicked low. "You're 'shagging' someone who has lengthy conversations with her dolls." Spike did a spinning back kick and the Slayer went flying to the ground, but she didn't break her concentration. "And runs away from you when she hears her 'daddy' is home." Arching her back, Buffy pushed off with her hands and flipped to her feet.
The three Slayerettes were so intent on the fight they didn't notice Angel start to growl.
"Oh, piss off," Spike said as he ducked under her swing.
"Tisk, tisk, tisk," Buffy chided as they continued to block each other's punches. "Billy Idol's losing his cool."
Xander smirked at Oz, then continued watching the entertainment.
Spike glared at the Slayer, then faked a punch. She went to avoid it and the vampire landed a solid kick to her stomach, sending her flying back. Buffy landed on her back heavily, the wind knocked out of her. Knowing she would get up any second, Spike kept his distance, waiting for the attack to come.
He didn't realize that it would be coming from the front doors of the school.
Angel launched himself out of the door at full speed when he saw Buffy fall to the ground and not get up immediately. The growl that had been building echoed in the night sky as Angel tackled the other vampire. They rolled together across the sidewalk like cartoon characters.
"Angel!" Xander shouted from the door. He jumped to his feet and started down the stairs. Willow and Oz stood as well, but kept their places in the doorway.
Angel didn't hear the shout as he drew his fist back and slammed it into the blond. Again and again he pummeled the vampire, pinning him to the ground with his weight. Unknowingly, his game face had slid into place.
Spike tried to protect himself from Angel's wrath, but he couldn't break through to his sire. Finally, he swallowed his pride and called for the Slayer. "Buffy, get your overgrown St. Bernard off me!"
Buffy had risen to her feet as Xander called Angel's name. She shook off the blow and noticed that her boyfriend was beating the crap out of Spike. Chuckling, she jogged over to the duo as Spike shouted out for her. Carefully, as to not scare him, Buffy grabbed Angel's arm as it came back for another swing. "Angel. That's enough."
Angel's yellow eyes flashed up at Buffy. Buffy gasped, not realizing he had slipped into game face. "Buffy?" Angel said, his ridges and fangs fading.
"Yeah. It's me," Buffy said. "You can get off him now."
"B-but he hurt y-you," Angel told her. He looked back down at Spike laying beneath him and growled, fangs evident once more.
"Pet, I don't think he knows he's doing that," Spike said, gesturing to his face. Blood poured from his lip and cheek. "He's gone into protective mode."
"Angel, stop," Buffy commanded in a soft tone. Angel brought his gaze back to her, his features melting into human once more. "He didn't hurt me. We were playing."
"Play-playing?" Angel said allowing Buffy to bring him to his feet.
"Yes, playing," Buffy said. "See, I'm not hurt at all."
"Yeah, but I am," Spike grumbled from the ground. He wiped his lip on the sleeve of his leather duster. "I knew there was a reason I left Sunnyhell Farm."
Xander approached the threesome, a worried expression on his face. "You're not going to hurt me, are you Buff? Angel kind of surprised us all, even dog-breath."
"Nah, it's cool," Buffy told Xander. "But I think this is enough stimulation for one night." She turned to Spike and offered him a hand up. "C'mon, I'll clean you up inside."
Spike glared at her. "I don't need to be bloody babied."
Buffy just rolled her eyes. "Fine, stand out here. Let all the vamps that come by see that you got beat up. Show them the master vampire you really are."
"I don't know why I put up with this rot," Spike mumbled to himself. Buffy laughed at him, but he followed the little group back to the library anyway.
"Maybe we should go check out the mansion," Buffy said, trailing behind the others with Spike. "That’s were Acathala’s final resting place was."
"Tried there on my way in," Spike told her. "Place looked as bad as when we left."
"Yeah, well, Giles made the statue go bye-bye," Buffy said as they went through the library doors. "So if Dru is looking for it…"
Buffy and Spike ran smack into the backs of those they were following. Startled, they could only look at each other with raised eyebrows.
"Spi-ike," Drusilla’s voice came from the other side of the small group of people. "You’ve been helpin’ the Slayer again. An’ I don’t like it."
"Aw, Princess," Spike said, stepping around the Slayerettes. "You got it all wrong. I was lookin’ for you. Figure I’d kill you a Slayer as a gift."
Drusilla stood with five other vampires spread out over the library. The door to the office looked as though it had been hit many times, but not enough to break it open. Buffy prayed that Cordelia and Giles where safe inside.
"I see you got me a better present," Drusilla said, walking closer to the group. She passed Spike to stand directly in front of Angel, who was looking at her with curiosity and confusion. "You got me my Angel."
"That I did, pet. That I did," Spike said, saving his own skin. "Deals off, Slayer. Anything goes." He gestured to the waiting vampires. "Kill them."
The vampires attacked. Buffy jumped in front of everyone, kicking Spike in the chest sending him flying over the check out counter. Another vampire grabbed her by the arm and swung her into the same counter. Buffy hit it, but held onto the countertop in order to swing both her legs straight up behind her and capture the vampire’s head between her feet. She twisted and the vampire plus the Slayer fell to the ground.
Oz pushed Willow back through the library doors before he was tackled by a flying male vampire. They both hit the floor hard, Oz on the bottom, and the vampire tried to go in for the kill. Oz squirmed under him, trying to work the stake out of his flannel pocket.
Xander grabbed the nearest female vampire and brought her head down into his knee with a resounding crack. The female staggered back a few steps and Xander went after her, stake in hand. She lashed out with her right leg, catching Xander in a snap kick to his crotch. In pain, Xander bent to cup himself and the vampire grabbed his head with her hands and slammed him into the wall.
Noticing the battle taking place in the library, Giles opened the office door. He took aim and let a crossbow bolt fly, dusting one of the vampires advancing to hinder the Slayer. He quickly reloaded as the other unoccupied male vampire headed towards the open door.
Drusilla stood amidst the fray, staring Angel in the eyes. "Be in me," she told him. "Be in my eyes."
Willow pushed back through the door and jumped on the vampire trying to bite her boyfriend. She thrust a cross on his cheek and held on as he screamed and stood, bucking like a bronco.
Xander, both heads ringing, used the female’s grip on his skull to bring them both crashing to the floor. He rolled to his left, away from the vampire, and got to his knees, searching his pocket for the vial of holy water hidden within.
Spike just stayed where he landed, not very interested in duking it out with the Slayer or her friends. As soon as he could, he’d grab Drusilla and bolt.
"Let’s see what we can find," Drusilla said, touching Angel’s head with her hand. Her eyes rolled in her head.
Cordelia threw a small bottle of holy water out the door of the office at the charging vampire. It exploded on him, and he threw up his arms trying to brush the burning away.
Oz stood and extracted the errant stake and thrust it at the thrashing vampire with Willow on his back. The point went in, and he exploded into dust. Willow fell to the floor, face first. She stopped herself in time with her hands and knees. Oz hurried to her side.
Buffy brought her fists down together on the vamp’s face, clenched together. The vamp’s nose, cheeks and forehead concaved at the force of her blow. No longer able to scream, blood bubbled from the vampire’s lips. The Slayer whipped out a stake, slid her right leg out to the side so she was in a crouch and dusted him.
The unearthly wail that rose from the center of the room made everyone freeze, vampires and humans alike. Angel fell to his knees, clutching his head in his hands, and leaned forward until his face was almost touching the floor.
Spike stood up and surveyed the mess in the room. He saw his sire and then Drusilla with a smug smile on her face. "Ut-oh," he said to himself.
The silence after was deafening. Buffy did not move from her position, as her love slowly brought his head up to look at her.
"Hello, lover," he whispered.
That voice, that evil smirk, those cold eyes, Buffy’s mind tried to shut down but it could not. "Oh, god," she whispered. Angelus.
Battle immediately continued at the sound of Angelus’ voice. The female vampire on Xander charged him, knocking him back against the wall. The air rushed out of the teen and the vampire moved in for the kill. She was suddenly a poof of dust as Oz shoved another stake through her back. "Thanks," Xander said, sagging.
Spike jumped up onto the counter, then down behind Drusilla.
Giles let go with another bolt, which imbedded itself in the smoking vampire’s shoulder. The vamp hissed and tried to wrench it out, but Cordelia ran out and thrust a stake into his chest. Dust flew around her as she turned and bolted back into the relative safety of the office.
The only vampires left were Drusilla, Spike…and Angelus.
Buffy and the vampire had not moved from their positions on the floor, staring each other down, one the hunter the other the prey. The Slayer realized that this was it. Her Angel was once again no more. She closed her eyes as the pain washed over her, then opened them to see Spike standing above Angelus, stake in hand. There eyes met and Buffy nodded imperceptibly.
Spike brought the wooden stake he was holding down into his sire’s back with all the force he could muster. Drusilla screamed, her hands flying to the sides of her head. Giles and Cordelia ran out of the office and slid to a halt as slow motion seemed to descend upon the room.
Buffy watched as her love’s eyes widened in surprise and pain, then his hand reached out for her. "Buffy…"
Buffy didn’t move. She could only stare as his body slowly collapsed into ashes, a dirty pile on the floor. Her lips began to tremble as she pressed them together. A sob escaped her throat and she looked up at the ceiling, trying desperately not to let the tears fall.
"No! You did this! You killed my Angel!" Drusilla threw herself at Spike. The two vampires tumbled to the floor, Drusilla clawing and screaming and Spike not doing anything to defend himself.
The others slowly crept around the vampires, the Slayer and her dead love and out the library doors.
Buffy lay as a small heap on the bed in Angel’s apartment staring off into space. She still couldn’t believe that he was gone…again. Just when she thought she was over sending him to Hell he reappeared, only to be gone before she had the chance to really love him.
Spike had finally managed to leave with the insane female vampire in tow. He had bent down to the Slayer as she crouched, still unmoving in the library and told her how sorry he was. He meant every word.
Her friends had tried to talk to her, but Buffy moved as if she was dead. Willow had told her mother what happened and Joyce called Buffy out of school sick. Principal Snyder was not thrilled.
Another wave of pain washed over her, and Buffy began to cry again. She curled tightly into a ball, holding the pillow that just the night before Angel had lain with her, had loved her. She inhaled the scent that was uniquely his and sobbed into the night.
Angel opened his eyes. He was prone upon the cold floor of the old mansion. Blinking several times, he moved his head slowly, taking in his surroundings. Pain shot though his body. With a stifled cry, Angel froze, praying that it would stop.
Gritting his teeth, he pushed himself onto his knees. He shivered as the wind howled through the broken windows. Off to the left next to the fireplace he saw a room. Crawling slowly, he found a large bedchamber. He pulled himself onto the bed and under the covers, letting the pain send him into blissful unconsciousness.
Angel woke to find his surroundings the same. Hunger infused his body as he lay still, waiting for his mind to begin functioning. When it did, he had two distinct thoughts: *Where am I?*