"Xander," Anya said, exasperated. "Will you put the doll away already."
Xander adjusted Annie, the half-human shaped CPR doll, on the couch beside him and put his
arm around "her" shoulders. "Jealous?" he said. Anya gave him a look, to which he grinned
"I'm surprised the doll didn't explode when Spike lit up," Buffy said. She looked between
Xander and Oz. "There is probably enough alcohol fumes in her to equal a grenade-type boom."
Spike shifted his feet, which were propped on top of the coffee table. He was still seated on the
couch, Angel on one side of him, Cordelia on the other. Buffy had taken his place on the floor
and was laying on her stomach, her chin propped up by her palm. The other two couples
returned to the same places n the second couch after the "refresher course" had ended.
"Time for another question," Willow said.
The men exchanged looks, and Angel stood and headed for the bar. He returned a moment later
with four beers and passed them out before retaking his seat. Not a single one of them said a
"Why do I get the feeling this isn't going to be a fun question?" Buffy commented.
"Who do you trust least in this room and why?" Willow read.
"Am I psychic or what?" Buffy said unhappily. She stood and moved to the bar.
"Get me something, Buffy," Cordelia requested.
"Anyone else?" Buffy asked, retrieving two long-necks that Xander had brought.
"I'll take a beer," Anya said.
"Nothing for me," Willow replied. She picked up her pen and began writing in the binder, as
Buffy returned. "Remember, if you don't want to answer, say so."
"I have no trouble answering," Xander said. He pointed at Angel. "Everyone knows I trust
Deadboy as far as I can throw him."
"Don't forget to say why," Willow said in a stage whisper.
"Why? Because the guy is your friend one minute then bam!" Xander said loudly. "He's trying
to kill you."
"That only happened once, Xander," Buffy said.
Xander shook his head. "Three times. And two of them he had his soul."
"When was this?" Angel asked, his brow furrowed as he tried to remember.
"You were going to feed me to Spike," Xander replied, holding up a finger. He lifted a second.
"And the night we found out Faith was batting for the other team."
Spike turned his head and looked up at Angel. "You tried to feed that git to me? Were you
trying to kill me, too?"
Anya giggled and earned a glare from Xander. "What? It's funny."
"What about you, missy?" Xander asked her. "Who do you trust least here?"
"Oz," Anya answered without hesitation.
Oz arched his brow in surprise. "Ok."
"Why don't you trust my boyfriend?" Willow said, glaring daggers at the former demoness.
"Because he is male and is the one capable of causing the most hurt," Anya replied. She
gestured to Angel and Spike. "Angel won't let himself get too close to anyone, Spike is a pure
demon, so he cares for nothing but himself, and Xander knows he'd better not do anything
wrong. You love Oz completely and he would cause the most devastation if he turns on you."
"Oh," Willow said. "I guess then my not trusting you the most because I believe that if you get
your powers back, you'll turn us into chopped liver bits seems kinda...petty."
"But it isn't unfounded," Anya told her with a small, wicked smile.
"Hey! I think I was insulted!" Spike suddenly exclaimed. The others stared at him a second,
then started to laugh. He frowned and scrunched down further into the couch, muttering insults
about everyone to himself.
"How about you, Oz?" Anya said. "Who do you trust least?"
"Xander," Oz replied. "Sorry, man, but you have the power to hurt my Willow the most."
"No offense taken," Xander told him. He raised his beer to his lips and drank steadily.
"Well, I don't trust Willow," Cordelia stated. "And not just because she's a skinny little, goody-two-shoes and a boyfriend-stealing tramp, who still has the fashion sense of a water-buffalo."
"Why don't you tell us what your really think, Cordy," Xander said.
"Well, she's a pretty powerful witch," Cordelia said. "She could turn us all into something really
gross. She could not tell us something important from her research because she's PMSing and
get us all killed. And she's got the whole 'I'm a helpless girly, come save me' thing going for
her, which sucks for the rest of us who'd like to be rescued, too."
"Um, it was a rhetorical question," Xander whispered loudly.
"Don't worry, Lia," Angel said, looking at the brunette over the top of Spike's head. "I'll rescue
you when the time comes."
"You're going to need the rescuing if you call me 'Lia' again," Cordelia told him. He gave her a
half-grin and she narrowed her eyes. "I'm not kidding."
"I don't trust Angelus," Spike announced with a firm nod of his head.
When he didn't continued, Angel said, "Care to tell me why?"
"Because you-" Spike sat up slightly, turned and put his finger on the center of Angel's chest
above his heart. "-continuously tear out my heart and smash it into the floor beneath your
bloody boot heel, you friggin' pillock."
"Bitter much?" Cordelia commented.
"Like you can talk," Buffy pointed out.
"Defending your new boy toy, Buffy?" Cordelia said.
Angel lifted Spike's hand from his chest and kissed the tip of his childe's finger. "I'm sorry," he
said softly. Spike ground his teeth together and nodded, accepting the apology.
"Eat me, Cordelia," Buffy spat.
"And catch some disease? No thanks," Cordelia said cruelly.
"This coming from the backseat whore?" Buffy retorted.
"Ok, guys," Xander said. "Moving on now."
"I don't trust Cordelia," Buffy said, still glaring at the brunette. Cordelia snorted.
"Buffy, just because you're not happy with her-" Willow began.
"I don't trust her with Angel," Buffy interrupted. She stood and walked over to the bar, putting
her beer down on the counter.
Both Spike and Angel's eyes shot to Buffy at her statement. They watched as she poured a shot
of Goldschlagger and quickly downed it. She then met Angel's questioning brown gaze. "She
could make you happy, too. Hell, she already is."
"Slayer, you're jealous," Spike said, felling jealous himself. She still wanted his sire, which
meant she'd never turn her attention on him.
Well, that put him in his place. Spike pursed his lips and stood. He walked over to the stairs and
took a seat on the third step, tilted his beer to his lips and drank half of it. Then he pressed the
sweating bottle to his forehead and closed his eyes.
An uncomfortable silence filled the room, punctuated only by the shot glass being set down on
the bar three times. Willow's quiet voice split the air like a knife. "Angel? You're the only one
"I trust all of you," Angel said, his voice quiet, as well. "It's myself I trust the least." He gave
everyone a wry smile. "And I'm going to exercise my right to not say anything more."
They took another break, a longer one this time. The alcohol began to flow freely, the ladies
quickly catching up to the men in terms of intoxication. They came and went out of the
basement with their drinks, taking the time to unwind after the last question.
Spike was sitting sideways on the stairs going up to his bedroom. He was smoking a cigarette,
using an empty amber beer bottle to collect the ashes. He could hear Xander and Anya talking
softly in the small sitting area, but he ignored them.
"Hi." Spike turned his head and saw Buffy standing outside the door to the stairs. "Mind if I
sit?" she asked.
He gestured for her to go ahead and she sat down a step below him, her back against the opposite
wall so she could face him. She took a sip of the beer she had in her hand, then let the bottle
dangle loosely from her fingers.
"It's pretty funny," she said without preamble. She gave him a half-smile. "Not a single person
said they trusted you the least. Dumb, huh?"
"Incredibly," Spike agreed with a small snort of derision. "It will make the time when I kill all of
you that much sweeter."
"Just promise to off me first," Buffy said. She paused, then added, "And if you can do it while
we're having sex, that would be nice."
Spike froze with the cigarette halfway to his lips and stared at her in shock. He didn't snap out of
it until she giggled softly. He blinked rapidly and took a long drag. "I'll, er, keep that in mind,"
he told her.
"Would you like to kill me now?"
The cigarette fell from his hand to his lap and he jumped with a very unmanly squeak. She
started laughing, as he grabbed the cigarette and dropped it into the empty bottle. He glared at
her. "It's not funny."
"It is from this side," she said, still laughing.
Spike ran his hand through his hair. "Cor, if you weren't laughing, I'd swear you were hitting on
"This is hitting on you," Buffy said, socking him lightly on the leg. "I was trying to get you to
screw me silly."
"Oh," Spike said, dumbfounded. The alcohol in his brain was delaying his reaction to what she
had spelled out to him. It was also making his tongue loose. "That's what I gave you the
soddin' key for."
Buffy pulled a string that was around her neck and he watched as a silver key slowly appeared
from between her breasts. "You mean this key?"
Spike's eyes were still glued to the creamy skin exposed above her shirt. "Uh-huh," he mumbled
"So, this key not only unlocks your front door, it unlocks your jeans?" she asked.
"Uh-huh," he agreed. Then his mind caught up with what she was inferring and his eyes shot to
hers. "You want to shag with me?"
Spike narrowed his eyes at her. "I bet you just want to do it because of Cordelia and the poof."
"At least you're honest," he said. He stood. "It's wrong that you only want to use me...," he
trailed off, then shrugged. "Who am I kidding? I could care less. C'mon, Slayer, let's get
Buffy grinned up at him and stood. He led her up the stairs to his room and turned on a free-standing lamp around the corner on the others side of an old desk with a laptop sitting on it. A
soft, pinkish glow illuminated the king-sized bed set in the corner on the far left wall of the large
bedroom, with a night-stand on either side. A low dresser ran along the same wall as the bed,
then two chests of drawers lined the connecting wall.
A single door sat in the right corner of the wall that ran from the stairwell and, when Buffy went
through it, she found herself in the biggest bathroom she'd ever seen. It had a sunken whirlpool
tub, huge shower stall, dual sinks, a separate water closet, and a door that led into a walk-in closet
that was bigger than her bedroom at her home.
She returned to the bedroom and set her drink down on the waist-high dresser. "Nice," she
"Nicer," Spike stated, half-a-beat before he grabbed her and smashed his lips to hers.
Much, much later he collapsed upon her, unconsciously nuzzling her neck, breathing heavily despite his lack of
needing the oxygen. His tongue darted out to lick her salty skin. He was content to stay right
where he was for a very long time.
"One word of advice, my boy, lose the socks."
Spike froze and he felt Buffy tense up under him. "Shit," he cursed, a feeling of dread
descending over him.
"Spike, go get cleaned up," Angel ordered.
Spike raised his head and gazed down at Buffy. The emotions in her eyes were inscrutable, and
he didn't know if he should listen to his sire or not.
"Now, Spike," Angel said sternly.
"Go," Buffy whispered to him. She lifted her head and pressed a soft kiss on his lips. Then she
smiled at him in reassurance.
Spike moved off of her, turned and glared at Angel. The dark-haired vampire was leaning against
a dresser, his arms folded across his chest. His face revealed nothing.
Bending, Spike snatched his jeans off the floor, then headed for the bathroom. Once there,
however, he did not close the door completely. He waited and listened, prepared to act if need
He peered through the crack in the door, wondering what was going on. Angel turned his head and his brown eyes pierced Spike's blue ones. The blond vampire quickly
back-peddled and shut the door. "Bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger, bugger," he muttered to
himself, as he moved to wash up; for he had a bad feeling that was exactly what was going to
happen to him.
However, he didn't know that while he was in the bathroom, Buffy and Angel were talking about
"I'm sorry, Angel," Buffy said, holding the shirt he'd given her in front of her body. "It's just-"
"It's ok, Buffy," Angel told her. "As much as I'd love to be the one pounding you into that
mattress until you pass out from the pleasure, I can't. Sex does not equate with happiness except
when it's me with you. You have this way of making me feel...human." He gave her a small
smile. "You have a way of making me forget."
"Then why did you...," she trailed off and blushed heavily.
"I was hungry," he replied with a shrug. At her look, he chuckled. "Sorry. Couldn't resist. The
joke or your sweet honey mixed with Spike's saltiness."
"I think Cordelia corrupted you," Buffy muttered.
"Absolutely," Angel agreed. "Plus, I'm a wee bit on the snookered side."
"So, uh, what are you going to do about Spike?" she asked tentatively. Angel grinned wolfishly.
Buffy shook her head. "Never mind, I don't want to know."
"Just be careful with him, Buffy," Angel told her seriously. "Spike has a big heart, despite his
being a vampire. You could easily hurt him."
Buffy stared at him in amazement. "Wow. And here I thought you were warning me to be
careful so that I don't get hurt."
Angel reached out and caressed her cheek. "I know that you can take care of yourself. Him, not
a chance. Since he's gone good, he's let down his defenses and turned back into the big old
softie he was when I first turned him. It took me almost ten years to make him into a proper 'bad
guy' and he still followed me around like a puppy with big, adoring, blue eyes. Then Drusilla
joined us, he fell hard for her and followed her around like a puppy."
Angel stepped back from her and gave her a tender smile. "You'd better clean up. Willow wants
to start again, much to my obvious excitement," he said sarcastically. He headed for the
stairwell, then paused. "And next time, make sure you close the door first when there are others
in the house...unless you want to have an audience, that is."
Buffy was beet red when she knocked on the bathroom door. Spike opened it, clad in his jeans
and socks, and she gave him a half-smile. "I need to get cleaned up," she told him.
Spike nodded and stepped back from the door, allowing her to pass. "Why don't you hop in the
shower, luv?" he suggested, opening a cabinet and taking out a dark green towel. His gaze
dropped down to her backside and his lips curled up when he saw her tattoo.
Buffy looked over her shoulder and caught him. "Stop looking at my butt," she mock scolded.
"But it's so bloody adorable," he said, reaching out to smack her lightly. "Especially the tat."
She shook her head and walked over to the shower to turn it on, dropping her shirt on the sink as
she walked past it. She stopped with her hand on the hot water faucet, turned and looked at him.
Her eyes widened. "Oh my god, you have one, too!"
"Have one what?" Spike asked, confused. His lack of grasping her meaning wasn't helped with
the fact that he was horny again, she was facing him and she was quite naked.
She walked back over to him and he gulped. When her fingers brushed his abdomen, his body
quivered, as if he'd gotten an electrical shock. His gaze dropped down to her fingers and he saw
that they were running along his tattoo. "Oh. Er, right. That," he said, now uncomfortable for a
totally different reason.
Buffy lifted his left arm up and followed the tattoo around his body. "What in the world
possessed you to get something so...cute?"
"Shut up," Spike growled, dropping his arm.
Buffy grinned at him and meandered back to the shower. She paused and
looked back at him, still sitting on the floor. "Are you coming?"
"Again?" Spike gasped mocking. He stood and removed his jeans and socks.
"Funny," Buffy said, deadpan. "You're a regular riot."
He followed her into the shower and turned on the water. When he faced her, she looked at his
tattoo with a smirk on her lips. "Will you quit that?!" he growled at her.
"But it's so...so...flowery," Buffy said with a giggle. "Ooh, how scary."
"I was bloody plastered, alright?" Spike snapped. "And if you hadn't made me watch that
"You liked it," Buffy pointed out, soaping herself up under one of the multiple sprays. "You
"Want me to ask Willow?"
"No," Spike said, pouting. He turned away from her and washed himself off.
"I like the dragonfly on the back," Buffy said. "It's a nice touch."
"Sod off," he told her. "You're just making fun."