The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game


by Saber ShadowKitten


Everyday brings change and love puts on a new face.
Sudden things rearrange, and this whole world seems like a new place.

Secretly I've been tailing you, like a fox that preys on a rabbit.
Had to get you and so I knew, I have to learn your ways and habits.
You were the catch that I was after.
I looked up and I was in your arms and I knew that I was captured.

What's this whole world coming to?
Things just ain't the same,
Every time the Hunter gets captured by the game.

I had laid such a tender trap hoping you might fall into it.
But love hit me with a sudden slap, one kiss and then I knew it.
My plans didn't work out like I thought.
Cause I had laid my trap for you, but it seems that I got caught.

What's this whole world coming to?
Things just ain't the same,
Every time the Hunter gets captured by the game.

-Massive Attack with Tracey Thorn from the Batman Forever Soundtrack



Prologue




April 1999

"Well, well, well. What have we here?" the peroxide blond vampire asked himself. He surveyed the scene before him with a trained, predator's eye.

*****

Buffy whipped her head around in time to see vamp number four lunge towards her knees. She quickly leapt into the air, somersaulting over the vamp. Pulling out another stake, she taunted the vampires around her.

"And you call that style? Pul-leez. Versace could fight better than you," she said, plunging her stake into number four's undead heart while snapping her leg back to kick another vamp in the face.

*****

"I guess she did kill Angelus, after all," Spike said to himself. Then he smiled. "It's up to me then to rid the world of the Slayer once and for all."



Part One



June 2000

Buffy let herself into her apartment in Los Angeles. She had been here for over two years now, ever since she left Sunnydale. Giles had stayed at the library in the high school to be closer to the Hellmouth, but kept in contact with her through e-mail, telephone calls and multiple visits.

Willow, Oz, Xander and Cordelia all went there separate ways after high school, pursuing their own dreams. Buffy heard from them every once in awhile, but it wasn't the same.

Throwing her keys into the basket by the door, she dumped her bag of slaying stuff onto the floor and got something to drink. Plopping onto the couch, she grabbed the remote and turned on the television. Landing on her favorite British comedy, Monty Python, she watched until she fell asleep.

*****

Spike added another entry into his computerized notebook.

June 22, 2000

The Slayer patrolled in Chinatown. Sets of 2 and 3. Newbies staked easily. One of the later vamps was older, approximately 50+. Slayer dispatched the younger vamps before moving onto the older one. He distracted her through conversation as they fought, enabling him to land several bone-crushing punches. Slayer continues to lead off with a spinning back kick.

Spike hit save with his mouse, then logged off the computer. He had been watching the Slayer for a year now, studying her moves, looking for strengths and weaknesses.

Spike was usually the sort to go after what he wanted instead of planning, but this time he decided planning was necessary. Plus, it gave him something to do since Drucilla had left.

*Dru,* Spike thought with a sigh. *Sometimes I miss you, luv.* Drucilla had left him shortly after their escape from Sunnyhell. She blamed Spike for Angel being in hell. Last he heard, Drucilla was back in Europe, living in an old convent with several new minions.

Spike's thoughts shifted back to the Slayer. He admired her, which wasn't all that strange. He admired anyone who had strength, ability and intelligence. *She isn't bad to look at either, mate,* he thought.

*****

"Bloody hell!" Spike yelled as the vampire in front of him got in a good punch. Tonight had not been a good night for Spike.

Spike had left his house at nine, hurrying to make sure he was able to follow the Slayer after she got off of work. He was almost there when he ran into some other vampires. A lot of other vampires.

Spike tried to go around the group unnoticed. He wasn't in the mood for a fight, not that he couldn't hold his own. But, that was not to be.

"Looky here," one of the vampires said. He was wearing a loud shirt and plaid pants. His face was covered in tattoos. "It's the Slayer's Watcher."

"What?" Spike said, turning to the speaker. "I'm what?"

"We've seen you hanging around, watching the Slayer," another vamp said. He was equally covered in tattoos. "Not doing anything to help your fellow 'man.'"

Spike shook his head. "Idiots. I've been studying the Slayer's moves to find out her strengths and weaknesses to fight her, you wankers."

"Hey, who you calling a wanker?" Vamp number one asked. He grabbed Spike by his leather duster.

Spike reacted immediately, ramming his palm into the vamp's nose, sending the bone up into his brain.

The vampire dropped Spike and grabbed his injury. "Get him!" he yelled.

Spike turned to find himself surrounded on all sides by tattoo covered vampires. He lashed his foot out, kicking one in the chest, sending him flying. Landing a punch on another's face, he broke out of the circle, and took off running down the block.

*****

Buffy stepped out of the restaurant, stretching her arms and rubbing her lower back. *Another day, another dollar,* she thought as she adjusted her bag. She was pondering where to patrol when her slayersense picked up vampire activity. She moved onto the sidewalk in time to see someone run by her. She was about to follow when she was knocked down by ten tattooed vampires.

"Hey!" she yelled, jumping to her feet in pursuit. Buffy rounded the corner to see all ten vamps beating up on someone. She leapt into the fray, staking two vamps before they noticed she was there.

"It's the Slayer!" a flannel wearing vamp yelled, taking a swing at Buffy.

"I swear, there has to be a sign on my back that says 'Hi, I'm the Slayer,'" Buffy quipped as she swung at flannel boy.

The fight escalated. Swinging and kicking, Buffy managed to overcome the vampires, staking all but two, who decided to run off into the night rather than be dusted.

Brushing off her clothing, Buffy turned to see a figure lying on the ground unmoving. She hurried over to him, fearing the worst.

"Hey, Mister? Are you ok?" Buffy asked as she knelt down. She turned the person over. "Oh, my god! Spike!"

Buffy was torn between staking her former enemy and caring for him. *Well, he did help me with Angelus,* she thought to herself as she surveyed his wounds. Spike was bleeding profusely from his neck and the cut over his eye. Buffy thought several bones were broken as well.

"Spike, wake up," Buffy said, shaking him gently. He didn't stir. She sat on her heels for a moment. She reached down and pulled out a small pocket knife out of her jacket. "I can't believe I'm going to do this," she said as she slit her wrist. She brought it to Spike's mouth, causing him to suck reflexively.

"Whoa, there nelly. Not too much," Buffy said, removing her wrist. She wrapped a strip of gauze she kept in her slaying bag around it. She then put her arm under Spike's neck and knees, preparing to pick him up.

Spike swam back from the darkness to feel something under his neck and knees. He opened his eyes.

"Bloody hell!" he said, his voice laced with pain.

"Spike!" Buffy gasped, jumping. The movement caused Spike to moan in pain.

"What're you doing?" Spike said, moving a hand to his head.

"Well, I wasn't just going to leave you here for those jerks to come finish you off," she replied. "That's my job."

Spike removed his hand from over his face and looked into her eyes. His undead heart skipped a beat.



Part Two


"C'mon, let's get you up," Buffy said, aiding the injured vampire to his feet.

Spike stood unsteadily, leaning heavily against her. "Thanks, Slayer," he said as they started to walk down the street.

"Where do you live?" Buffy asked.

"Why? So you can come back and stake me during the day? I think not."

"No, idiot. I wanted to help you home, that's all. I figure I owed you one for helping me with Angelus."

Spike grimaced at the mentioned of his sire's name. "I take it you sent him to hell?"

Buffy's step faltered. "Um...yeah. You can kinda say that."

"Kinda? You either did or you didn't, Slayer."

"Look, I don't want to talk about it. Let's just concentrate on getting you home, ok?" she snapped.

The rest of the trip was spent in silence, Buffy supporting a weak Spike the entire way. Arriving at his house, he unlocked the door and let her help him inside.

"Wow, Spike. Nice digs," Buffy commented, looking around the entryway. The house was a split level ranch home. Off the entryway, Buffy could see into a living room/dining room combo, a library and another doorway, which she assumed led into the kitchen. A set of stairs led up next to the library.

"Ok, where to?" she asked, removing Spike's duster and setting it on a hallway table.

Spike sighed. "You might as well take me up to my room," he said, gesturing to the stairs.

Buffy nodded and practically carried him up the stairs. There were three bedrooms and a bathroom visible. Spike motioned to the one at the end of the hall.

Spike's bedroom was done in dark blues and greens, with antique furniture. The king size bed was set in the middle of the room, a small nightstand next to it. A chest of drawers sat next to the closet. A comfortable looking chair and hassock sat in the corner with a pile of books on a side table. A reading lamp was placed behind it.

Buffy carefully helped Spike onto the bed and began to remove his shoes.

"Slayer?" Spike asked. "You gonna undress me now?"

Buffy blushed. "Uh...no. I just thought I'd take off your shoes. You can do the rest."

As she spoke, Spike noticed the white bandage around her wrist. He reached out and grabbed her arm, bringing the bandage closer. "What happened?"

Buffy yanked her arm back. "N-nothing. A little accident, that's all," she stammered.

Spike raised an eyebrow at her.

"I...uh...I'm going to get a washcloth," Buffy said and practically ran out of the room.

Spike sighed again and winced as his broken bones rubbed together. Sitting up, he removed his T-shirt and inspected the damage. Bruises and gashes covered his torso, especially around his ribs.

"Spike!" Buffy exclaimed from the doorway.

Spike looked up curiously to she Buffy trying to avert her eyes. He grinned. "What's wrong, Slayer? Too much for you?"

"Yeah, right. I've seen better," Buffy retorted, walking over to him. "Here, hold still and I'll get the blood off your face, seeing as you can't look at yourself in a mirror," she said with a smirk.

Spike leaned back carefully after propping some pillows behind him. As Buffy leaned close, he smelled her - a combination of sweat, perfume and femininity. It was a delicious combination. Watching her face as she worked, he noticed once again how beautiful she was. *Wait a minute! This is the Slayer!* he thought, trying to distract himself. But he couldn't, not with Buffy this close.

"There, all clean," Buffy said. She unconsciously began to bathe his wounds on his arms and finally torso.

Spike inhaled sharply, which was difficult for a vampire to do, at her touch. "Slayer," he growled.

Buffy looked up at him. "What?"

"Nothing," he said with gritted teeth. He really didn't want her to stop.

"Well, you'll live," Buffy said as she gave him one last swipe with the washrag, which was now covered in blood. "Too bad." She gave him a wicked grin.

Spike scowled back at her and she laughed.

"I need to get going. Consider us even," Buffy said as she moved towards the door to the bedroom.

"Wait," Spike said, surprising both Buffy and himself. "I...uh...you never did tell me what happened with Angelus."

Buffy frowned at him and he noticed the pain in her eyes. "He's gone, that's all that you need to know."

"Oh, come on, Slayer. Gimme the details. The last thing I saw, Angelus had you pinned to the wall with a sword."

Buffy literally growled at him, walked over and slapped him across the face.

"Ow! What the bloody hell was that for?" Spike asked.

"You want to know what happened? Fine. Just as I was about to kill him, his soul came back. But it was too late. I ran my sword through him and sent him to hell."

Spike saw the pain in her eyes and his soul-less heart went out to her. "Oh, Slayer, I'm so sorry."

Buffy said nothing as she got up and left.



Part Three



It took Spike several days to get back into the swing of things. He was disgusted with himself over the occurrence with the Slayer. He sat in the library in front of the computer, reviewing his notes. *I really need to finish her off,* he thought, scrolling down. *She's ruining my reputation.*

Several hours later, Spike grinned evilly, a plan forming in his mind.

*****

Spike was in his element. His senses were at their peak. Everything was sharper, clearer than ever. He had fed early in the night, the fear of his victims increasing the adrenaline in his system. *I am the Hunter. And you, Slayer, are my game.*

*****

The note was delivered to Buffy at work. After getting permission to take a five minute break, she stepped into the bathroom and shut the door, opening the letter.

Buffy-

I did not want to startle you at work, but I wanted to see you again, to apologize for all the pain I caused you and your friends. Giles told me where you were after I swore him to secrecy. I told him I would seek you out when I was ready. If you are ready, please meet me at 2982 Grammercy Ln. The door will be open.

Angel

Buffy's eyes started to water as she read the note. "Angel?" she whispered. Her heart thudded in her chest.

*****

Cutting work early, Buffy headed to the address on the paper. Wary that it was a trap, she kept her eyes peeled the entire way. She even scoped out the building, moving along the perimeter and noting the exits before entering.

"Angel?" she called out, extending her slayersense. She felt nothing. "Angel? Are you here?"

*****

Spike had seen Buffy enter the building. His trap was set. Now all he had to do was finish it.

*****

Buffy moved about the dark room carefully. Her eyes had adjusted to the dim light coming from outside and she could make out boxes and crates. Along one wall she found a cot and blanket. She sat down on it, running her hand along the indentation where a head had lain.

Suddenly, she looked up, her slayersense picking up the signature of a vampire nearby. "Angel?" she called out quietly. She saw someone move in the shadows. "Angel, is that you?"

"Yes," a quiet voice replied. The figure stepped forward, but stayed in the shadows, obscuring her view.

Buffy immediately stood and launched herself at him. "Angel! I thought I'd never see you again! How did you get out of hell? Was it Giles? Why didn't he tell me?" Buffy said, holding him close.

Spike stood there and grinned. *This is working great!* he thought. He wrapped his arms around the Slayer and pulled her closer.

Then, she kissed him.

It wasn't a gentle kiss, either. It was a knock down, full out, deep, passionate kiss. Spike's undead heart started to pound in his chest as he unconsciously pulled Buffy even closer, his hands entangling themselves in her hair. He moaned deep in his throat.

Suddenly, his thoughts came forth. *This is the Slayer, mate,* he said to himself. *And here you're kissing her as if you need her to live.* He groaned this time at the feel of her body pressed up against his.

Suddenly, he broke of the kiss, turning away. *I can't do this,* he thought to himself. *I can't hurt her this way.*

"Angel? What's wrong?"

"I...uh...have to go," Spike said in his best Angel imitation. Then he ran out the door and into the night.

Buffy stood there, confused. Then the tears overcame her. She fell onto the floor, sobbing.



Part Four




Spike slammed the door to his house, almost causing it to come off its hinges.

"BLOODY HELL!" he yelled as he stormed into the living room. He picked up the nearest object and threw it against the wall with a resounding crash. He sank into the chair at the computer and stared morosely at the blank screen.

His mind was in turmoil. He didn't understand his feelings. One minute he loathed the Slayer, the next he wanted to take her to the nearest bed and make love to her all night. He groaned at the thought of a naked Slayer writhing in pleasure under him.

Standing quickly, he grabbed a full bottle of scotch and a glass from the bar and proceeded to get completely drunk.

*****

The next morning, Spike awoke in the chair with a hangover and a new plan. Moving carefully to the computer, he sent a quick e-mail to the one person who could help him - the Slayer's Watcher.

*****

Spike entered the library cautiously. He saw Giles standing over by the table, cross in one hand, stake in the other. "Glad to see I'm so welcome," Spike quipped.

"Yes...um...w-well, it's not often that a vampire of your...er, reputation asks for help," Giles replied.

"Well, it's not that often a vampire asks a Watcher for help, either," Spike replied. He walked over to the table and set an accordion file down. "I'm going to cut to the chase, Watcher. Is there any possible way to get Angel out of hell?"

Giles stared, wide-eyed at Spike. "What?"

"Are you bloody deaf?"

"N-no. I just wanted to be sure I heard you correctly," Giles replied. He took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "May I ask why?"

"Buffy wants him back."

Giles gave Spike a sharp glare. "How do you know?"

Spike sighed. "Just trust me on this. She wants him back."

"Well, I'm afraid I cannot grant your request," Giles said, replacing his glasses.

"Why the bloody hell not!" Spike yelled.

"Because Angel is already out of hell."

Spike took a step back and fell into the seat behind him. His mouth hung open in shock.

"Now, I will ask you again. How do you know that Buffy wants Angel back?" Giles said with a firm voice.

Spike looked at him with dazed eyes. His mind was still processing the news. *If Angel was out of hell, why hadn't he contacted Buffy?* he thought.

"Spike?"

"Huh? Oh, right. How did I know. Well, have a seat, Watcher, I have a little story to tell you," Spike said.

*****

"...so I had laid my trap, but it seems that I was the one who got caught," Spike concluded. He leaned back into his chair, hands folded, and looked thoughtfully at the Watcher.

Giles pondered all that Spike had told him, coupled with the detailed notes that he had pursued from Spike's accordion folder. *Poor Spike,* he thought. *What the hell am I saying. Poor Spike. This is William the Bloody in question here.*

"So what do I do now?" Spike asked.

Giles looked up at him. "Well, I guess you could do one of two things. Either find Angel or help Buffy."

"Help Buffy? How?"

"By aiding her in her patrols. With or without her knowing, that would be up to you, of course," Giles replied.

"Do you know where Angel is?"

"I have some idea."

"Well, why don't you get in contact with him and tell him to get his arse down to LA and see Buffy."

"Angel did say that he would go to her in his own time."

"I don't bloody care!" Spike yelled, jumping to his feet, his face reverting to its demon image. "Of all the arrogant, insolent, horrible things he could do! Doesn't he know that Buffy still blames herself for sending him to hell? Doesn't he know that she misses him completely? Doesn't he know that he is ignoring the best thing that could ever happen to him?"

Giles watched Spike's pacing. "You really do love her, don't you?"

Spike stopped moving and looked at the Watcher. He sighed, letting his face regain its human mask. "Yes, I do."

Giles thought for a moment, then nodded. "Ok. I'll try to get in touch with Angel. You just aid Buffy. Deal?"

"Deal."



Part Five




"Ok, Spike. What's the deal?" Buffy asked, confronting the vampire in question.

"Deal, Slayer?" Spike said, moving towards her. "What do you mean?"

"Don't give me that innocent look. You know perfectly well what I'm talking about. Why have you been following me? Most of all, why have you been helping me?"

"Er...helping you?"

"Yes, helping me. You've been doing it for over six months now!"

"I...er...that is..." Spike stammered.

Buffy folded her arms across her chest and tapped her foot in irritation.

*She's beautiful when she's pissed off,* Spike thought.

"I'm waiting."

Spike smiled and shrugged helplessly.

Buffy shrieked in annoyance and grabbed his ear, giving it a hard twist.

"Ow! Alright, alright, alright. I'vebeenfollowingyouforalongtimeandwasgoingtokillyouthenIfellinlove
withyouandGilestoldmetoassistyouwithyourpatrolsandthatiswhatIhavebeen
doingeversince," Spike said in one long run-on sentence.

"WHAT?! Let me see if I get this straight. You are in love with me?"

Spike actually blushed and nodded.

"And Giles knows about this?"

Spike nodded again.

Buffy looked at Spike's red face and started to chuckle. Then she started to laugh. Hard.

"Oh, this is too rich. You, in love with me," she said between laughs.

Spike growled at her. "It's not exactly funny."

"Yes it is! I mean, c'mon. How can a girl have two vampires in love with her in one lifetime?"

"This is your second life, remember. You died once, according to Giles."

Buffy sobered slightly at the thought. "Oh, yeah. I forgot about that."

"Are you done laughing at me now?" Spike asked with a petulant whine.

That caused Buffy to start laughing all over again.

*****

Not one to reject a helping hand, Buffy told Spike that if he was going to help her, he might as well do it at her side.

Several more months passed. Buffy and Spike met every night after Buffy got off of work and they went on patrol. Sometimes they went as far as Beverly Hills, but mostly they stayed within the inner city.

They also started another ritual. Every night after patrolling, Spike and Buffy would return to Spike's house and watch the Monty Python that was recorded and talk about everything from Spike's past to current fashion to the philosophical.

And every night they were together, Buffy became a little closer to returning Spike's affection.

*****

It was during one of their philosophical talks that Spike received the phone call.

"'Scuse me a moment, Slayer," Spike said, as he went to answer the phone. Buffy waived him away with her spoon full of ice cream.

"'Allo?"

"Hello? Spike?"

"Speaking."

"This is Giles. I have some news a...about Angel."

Spike felt his face pale and he turned away from the Slayer. "Tell me," he said in a quiet voice.

"I managed to finally get hold of him. He said that he was ready to meet with Buffy."

"Did you mention me at all?"

"No. I kept your name out of it. However, I would like to request a f-favor from you."

"What?"

"Given your obvious affection towards Buffy, would you prepare her for Angel's arrival? He and I shall be driving down tomorrow night."

Spike sighed and ran a hand wearily through his hair. "Ok, mate. Why don't we meet here, at my place?"

"If you think that is wise..."

"I don't care. At least this way she's in a private, neutral environment."

Spike hung up after promising to e-mail Giles directions later. He turned back to Buffy.

"Who was it?" she asked from the floor, remote in one hand, ice cream in the other.

"Um...that was Giles," Spike said. He sat down next to her.

"Giles? What did he want?"

"Well, he wanted to let me know that he was going to be coming down here tomorrow," he said.

"Really? But why would he be calling you and not me?"

"He won't be alone."

Buffy turned off the television. "Who's coming with him?"

"Angel," Spike said softly.

Buffy turned to him with wide eyes. She dropped the remote and the ice cream onto the floor. "A-Angel?"

Spike nodded.

Tears filled Buffy's eyes. "Are you s-sure?"

Spike nodded again, pulling her into an embrace. Buffy started to cry against his chest. "There, there. Let it all out. We need you to be beautiful for tomorrow. Can't have your eyes all red and puffy," he said, stroking her hair.

Buffy hiccuped and smiled through her tears at his comment. She moved away, wiping her face with her sleeve. "Thanks." She smiled at him.

Spike smiled back, his heart breaking at the thought of Angel's return. He leaned over and brushed a kiss against her forehead before standing up. "C'mon, let's get you home."



Part Six




Buffy paced nervously in Spike’s study. Back and forth and back and forth.

"Luv? You’re wearing a hole in my carpet," Spike said from the chair where he was seated. He was pretending to read a book, but inside was as nervous as Buffy.

"Sorry," Buffy said, but she continued to pace. "What time are they suppose to be here again?"

"Giles said 10:00. It’s only 9:45 now," Spike said, looking at his Lost Boys watch. It was a gag gift from Buffy. "And seeing as he couldn’t leave until after the sun went down, and with possible traffic and all…"

"I know, I know. This is just so…so…"

"Nerve wracking? Scary? Infuriating?" Spike said.

"Annoying." Buffy finished. "I mean, there I was, getting my life back together, healing, moving on, possibly heading into another relationship, then he shows up and now I’m all confused." She plopped down onto the footstool in front of Spike. "Argh!"

"What do you mean ‘possibly heading into another relationship?’" Spike asked curiously.

"Well…um…I…er…thought I was developing feelings for someone, but now that Angel has appeared…"

"So you’re going to chuck it all to go back to ‘your Angel’?" Spike said mockingly.

"Yes. No. I don’t know!" Buffy said, jumping up and pacing again. "I mean, I thought all those feelings were behind me, but Angel and I ended on bad terms. Scratch that. I sent him to hell. What could be a worse relationship ender than that?"

"True. But at least he didn’t break your heart and leave you because he wanted to, like Dru," Spike said. *And like you’re going to do.*

"You loved Drucilla?"

"In my own way, yes. We’d been together for over a century. When Angelus," he spat the name. "Returned, it was almost as if I never existed. Then after we were alone again, she left."

Buffy stopped pacing and rest her hand on his knee. "I’m sorry Spike."

Spike shrugged. "’S ok. I’ve been without her for long enough now to realize that she was gone to me the moment Angelus returned and I would never get her back. I ‘got my life back together, healed, possibly headed into another relationship…’" he concluded with a grin.

Buffy smacked him. "Oh, you!"

The doorbell rang.

Buffy jumped at the sound, turning towards the door.

"Do you want me to get it?" Spike asked, standing.

Buffy nodded, but followed closely behind Spike as he went to open the door. Spike looked back at her, then reached out and squeezed her hand. He made to let go, but she shook her head no and kept his hand in a death grip.

"Hello, Giles, Angel," Spike said upon opening the door to the two figures on the porch.

"Spike!" Angel gasped. He moved in front of Giles. "What are you doing here? Where’s Buffy?"

"Easy, mate, she’s right here. C’mon in, join the party," he said sarcastically, moving away so his guests could enter. Buffy still held his hand.

Angel entered warily, keeping one eye on Spike and allowing the other eye to take in Buffy. *She’s so beautiful,* he thought.

"Hello, Spike," Giles said, entering behind Angel. "How are things?"

"Pretty good until yesterday," Spike said. "I printed out my notes this morning for you to look at."

"Very good. Why don’t we give these two time alone, then," Giles said, turning towards the study.

Spike looked at Buffy. "Buffy?" he asked, using her name for the first time.

Buffy tore her gaze from Angel to look at Spike. She saw the concern and love in his eyes. She squeezed his hand and nodded.

"Ok. I’ll be in the study with Giles if you need me," he said quietly. He looked up and glared at Angel before going into the study and closing the door.

"So," Buffy said, twisting her hands.

"What’s with Spike?" Angel asked quietly, nodding his head towards the closed study door.

"Spike? Oh, he’s a…friend," she said, walking into the living room.

"Friend? That I find hard to believe."

Buffy suddenly turned on him. "Where do you get off?! I haven’t seen you in over three years and you're giving me advice on who my friends are?"

"Buffy, calm down."

"I will NOT calm down. How dare you! How dare you come back into my life after all this time! I was finally moving on! I felt horrible at what I had done to you! I was suicidal! But Giles and the gang convinced me that it wasn’t my fault, that you would have wanted me to do what I did to you!"

"I did," Angel said.

"WHAT?!"

"You should have killed me when Angelus was first set free. But I was glad that in the end I got to kiss you one last time as Angel. I was so proud of you. You defeated Angelus and closed Acathala."

Buffy stood there, tears starting to run down her face.

"Come here," Angel said, opening his arms. Buffy ran into his embrace.

"I’m so sorry I had to send you to hell," she said into his shirt.

"Shh. It’s ok," he said.

*****

"When do you think we can go out there?" an anxious Spike asked Giles.

"I have a feeling they’ll come and get us when they are ready," Giles replied, feeling bad for the vampire.

*****

Buffy and Angel sat on the couch for several hours, just talking. Talking about Buffy’s life since that fateful day, about what it was like for Angel in hell and how it was since he returned.

"I have a question for you," Buffy said. "Did you meet me at a warehouse on Grammercy?"

"No. This is the first time I’ve seen you."

"Oh. But I thought…" Buffy said. She closed her eyes and tried to remember that night. She could have sworn it was Angel, but now, seeing him beside her… "Oh, my god!" she said suddenly, her hands rushing to her face.

"What is it? What’s wrong?"

"It was Spike! Of all the….ooh! That…that…jerk!"

"What are you talking about?" Angel asked.

But Buffy ignored him. "He set me up. I bet he was going to kill me that night. But wait. Why didn’t he? He had the chance. I remember throwing my arms around him and kissing him thinking it was Angel…"

She smacked her head with her palm. Angel sat there not quite following her train of thought. "And I bet that’s when he started to follow me. God, how could I have been so stupid! He’s been setting me up this whole time. I’m going to kill him! I’m going to kill him right now!"

Buffy stomped out of the living room and flung open the study door. "SPIKE!" she yelled.

Spike jumped, clearly startled, and looked at Buffy’s furious face. "What is it, Buffy?" he said, moving closer.

"YOU DID IT! YOU WERE THE ONE PRETENDING TO BE ANGEL IN THAT WAREHOUSE!"

Spike blanched as Buffy launched herself at him, knocking him to the floor. He tried to protect himself, but to no avail. Buffy continuously rained punches on his inert form.

"YOU BASTARD! I TRUSTED YOU! I THOUGHT YOU WERE MY FRIEND! I THOUGHT YOU LOVED ME!"

"Buffy," Spike tried to say between blows.

"JACKASS! BASTARD! BLOODSUCKING FIEND!"

"I do l-love you," Spike managed to get out quietly, his voice cracking, bloody tears rolling down his face. "I went there that night to kill you and in-instead I fell in love with you."

Buffy stopped punching him and looked at his battered, tear-streaked face.

"Then why? Why didn’t you tell me?" she asked.

"Be-because you would have hated me," he whispered. "I-I’m so sorry."

Buffy climbed off Spike and turned to Giles. "Did you know about this?"

"I had some knowledge, yes, from Spike’s notes," Giles replied, holding up some papers. "But, since he wasn’t going to harm you, I figured it was up to him whether he told you or-or not."

Buffy nodded, a sad look on her face, and turned to Angel, who was standing in the doorway. "Angel? Can you take me home?"

"Sure, Buffy," Angel said.



Part Seven




Spike walked along the street, hands in his pockets, shoulders slumped, head down. He hadn’t fed properly in days and the hunger was gnawing at his gut. But he didn’t care. Nothing really mattered anymore.

He continued to patrol, without Buffy, but the fun was gone. He enjoyed being part of an equal team, the banter. He especially missed not having someone to talk to, either while waiting or after patrolling.

Since Spike wasn’t watching where he was going, he was in trouble before he knew it.

"Hey, Moe! Isn’t that the punk who got Billy and them dusted?" a voice said from Spike’s left.

"That’s him, alright. The Slayer’s Watcher. I’d recognize that Billy Idol wanna be anywhere," another voice responded from Spike’s right.

Spike looked up and saw that he was surrounded. Two of the vampires were the same ones that ran from Buffy that night long ago.

"Get him!" The vampires attacked. Spike fought as hard as he could, trading blows and kicks, but there were just too many of them. He went down as one of the stronger vampires broke both his knees. Everything was going dark.

*****

"Angel, those vamps are beating someone up! Hurry!" Buffy yelled, charging into the fracas. Angel ran behind her, stake in hand.

Buffy and Angel staked four of the ten vampires before they knew what hit them. They divided the remaining six between them and were able to kill them quickly.

"Thanks, Angel," Buffy said as she ran over and knelt beside the victim. She turned him over.

"Spike!" she gasped. He was beaten even more severely than the first time. She shook the unconscious vampire, her heart pounding in her chest. "Oh, no. C’mon Spike, wake up."

"Buffy, don’t you think we should stake him?" Angel asked, looking down at his fallen childe.

"WHAT?!" Buffy screamed at Angel. "You have got to be kidding! Spike is…was…is my friend and I could never do that to him!"

She grabbed a stake off the ground and slit her wrist, once again bringing it to Spike’s mouth. "Drink, Spike. That’s it. Please drink."

Buffy held her breath as she waited for Spike to respond. Finally, she felt the sucking sensation on her wrist as he fed. She reached over and ran her hand over the side of his face. "Come back to me, Spike."

Angel stood watching as Spike drank from his former lover. He felt the anger building up inside of him at the tenderness Buffy was showing Spike.

"Buffy," Angel said through gritted teeth. "What are you doing? He tried to kill you."

Buffy looked up at Angel. "So did you."

The color left Angel’s face at her words. He turned on his heel and left.

Buffy sighed and looked down at Spike, who was still drinking from her wrist. She started to feel faint. "All right, Spike. That’s enough."

As she did on that fateful night so long ago, she bandaged her arm, and went to pick Spike up. This time, he remained unconscious as she hailed a taxi and brought him home.

*****

Spike awoke to find himself lying in bed. But it wasn’t his bed. He winced at the pain in his head and started to bring his arm up, but found that it was confined. Looking to his left, he saw his arm was pinned by a sleeping Buffy.

"Buffy?" he whispered in confusion.

She stirred, blinking sleepily, and looked up at him. "Hi," she said softly.

"Hi," Spike said back. "What…"

"Shh. Just hold me."

Spike nodded and gathered Buffy into his arms, reveling in her softness and warmth. He inhaled and sighed deeply, content for the first time in weeks.

Buffy lay there in Spike’s arms, silent tears running down her face. Spike had been unconscious for almost a week. She thought he would never wake up.

"Buffy?" Spike said. "Where’s Angel?"

"He left," was all she said.

Spike pondered this statement for a moment. "Are you ok with that?"

Buffy sighed and nodded. "Yeah. He isn’t the same. I’m not the same. I also talked to Giles about why, after all this time, Angel got in touch with me."

Spike stiffened under her.

Buffy laughed quietly and ran her fingers across his bare chest. "That was the nicest, sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me."

Buffy looked up and saw the longing and the love in his face. She smiled sweetly and leaned up and kissed him.

If Spike could breathe, his breath would had caught in his throat. Her lips were soft as they gently pressed against his.

He moaned in his throat and deepened the kiss, pulling her on top of him.

Buffy broke the kiss several minutes later. She smiled down at his passion filled face. "Spike, I love you."

Spike’s eyes grew wide when he heard her. "You…you what?"

She smacked him playfully. "I love you, you idiot!"

Spike’s face lit up with joy. He pulled her down and kissed her soundly.



Epilogue




Buffy looked at the person to her left and smiled. She reached over and adjusted his tie. "Relax, Giles. You’re more nervous than I am."

"I apologize, Buffy. But, I never thought that I’d find myself in this position," Giles replied, chin to the ceiling as Buffy fiddled. When she finished, Giles looked down at his charge. "You look radiant, you know."

Buffy blushed. "Thanks. Willow and I looked all over the city for this outfit." She smoothed her hand over the material. Suddenly, she looked up and toward the doors in front of her.

"That’s our cue," Giles said, and offered Buffy his arm. "Are you ready?"

Buffy took a deep breath and smiled.




"…Dear friends, we are gathered here today to witness the marriage of Buffy Summers and William…."



The End

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