The Vulnerability of Faith


by Demona


**********

Over the course of the next 5 days everyone in my circle trained heavily and familiarized themselves with as many weapons as they could to take into the fight. I patrolled alone every night much to the dismay of everyone in the house. I didn't want to hear about it though because I had to do this. I didn't want to send anyone else out alone and the missions I went on were purely reconnaissance. One night I found one of Buffy's flunkies in the graveyard digging in a mausoleum. He was alone thankfully.

"Lookie what I found," I said after I snuck up behind him. He jumped up and whipped around and his eyes betrayed his recognition of me and then fear of me. He looked like he was about to bolt at any second. "Get what you were digging for?" I asked him as I walked closer to him, keeping myself between him and the door. "Cat got your tongue?" I asked after he didn't say anything to me.

"You will perish at the hands of Her Highness," he said as a retort to my comments.

"I'm going out on a limb and assuming you are talking about Buffy?" I asked him as I walked a step closer. I pulled a stake out from my waistband of my jeans and began flipping it around in my hands.

"You will be disciplined harshly for not calling her by her proper name."

"I seriously doubt that. So tell me, what are you digging for? What did B ask for that sent you out on the hunt?"

"I will tell you nothing," he said and set his jaw in an attempt to prove his point. I threw the stake and it embedded itself in his shoulder, just missing his heart. He looked at the stake and then realized he was alive still and looked up at me with a smirk on his face.

"You missed." He was good at stating the obvious.

"I meant to. Now…if I meant to miss your heart I think that I could hit it with this stake. What are the odds on that do you figure?" I asked him as I pulled out another stake out of my clothes. He visibly tensed and I knew that he was going to bolt. He made a dash for the door but I grabbed hold of him and threw him back into the wall of the mausoleum.

"When is she going to open the Hellmouth?" I asked him as I pulled the first stake out of his body.

"I don't know what you are talking about." I backhanded him across the face. Blood fell from his nose freely.

"Again…when is she going to open the Hellmouth?"

"Two nights from tonight. She is going to open it when the moon is just right," he muttered and I hit him again. "What was that for?" He complained and then realized he shouldn't have said that.

"Tell her I'll be waiting."

"I don't think that crossing Her Highness is a good idea for you," he started and I glared at him.

"Do you know who I am?"

"N-not exactly. A slayer though," he stuttered and I smirked.

"Let me tell you who I am so you can understand why I can address her as B. I'm Faith. The other Slayer," I said to him and total fear was evident in his eyes.

"You are Faith?" He asked me and I nodded to him. "Then you must kill me because what she will do to me when she finds out that I told you the date will be a fate far worse than death," he told me and I shook my head.

"You are on your own on this one. Tell her, deliver my message and perhaps she will spare you torture and just get angry and rip your head off. You can always hope right?" I asked him as I tossed him onto the floor. "If you don't deliver my message to her then I will do more harm to you than she could ever dream of. Go!" I yelled at him. He flew out of the mausoleum and left me alone in the dark. I walked over to the tomb he was digging in and started searching it. I found what he was presumably looking for after a few minutes of destroying the remains that were left in the tomb. I came up with an amulet with a language I was not familiar with inscribed on it. I looked at it with the flashlight I carried on me and then clicked off the flashlight abruptly and put the amulet into my pants before I spoke.

"Hello Xander," I said as I spun around to face the vampire that now blocked my exit from the mausoleum.

"Faith," he said and nodded his head in acknowledgement. "Fancy seeing you here."

"Not really. We are both here for the same thing," I told him as I leaned back again the tomb, resting my hands on either side of my hips, one ankle crossing across the other on the ground.

"You and I are not here for the same thing. I am here to kill you. I ran into that little squeal of a vampire and he told me that you interrupted his search tonight and that he confessed some valuable information to you as well. I am not here for that item he was searching for, although it is on you, I am here for you."

"You came for me? I'm flattered really Xander. But damn you should have known better than that. I didn't want you before what makes you think that I would want you now?"

"I'm different than I was back then. I'm better now."

"That my dear Xander is a matter of opinion. I think I liked the geek better. The vampire that is trying to be hard now…I'm not going for that. I like my men bad - evil, not pussy whipped by 'Her Highness'."

"Then why are you still with Angel? He has it the worst out of all of us vampires for Buffy. You know that. You can't lie to yourself or me about that. We both know the truth. She will always be better than you in his eyes. You are always second best to Buffy. She was the better Slayer, the better person, the better lover to Angel, and the first and true love of his life. You name it and she was better than you were when it came to Angel," Xander shot back as he walked down the steps and approached me.

"Touché Xander," I softly said and nodded my head slightly. He knew that he had hit a nerve with that comment. He knew the truth somehow about Angel. Perhaps it took someone who knew they were never going to get Buffy to recognize another. He kept advancing on me.

"So Faith. How is this going to play out? Shall we fight? Or you could just give me your life and spare yourself the pain you would receive if you faced Buffy," he suggested to me.

"Or I kill you," I told him as I shoved myself off the tomb and into a standing position about 4 feet from him.

"Could you really kill me? Come on Faith, its Xander!" He said to me and I smiled at him as I took a step closer.

"Xander died - you are the thing that occupies his body. You aren't worthy of disgracing the body of Xander Harris," I told him and cocked my head to the side waiting for the counter insult.

"Funny isn't it? I mean some people fall in love with the things that occupies bodies of dead people. You for one fell for Angel's demon. Buffy loved Spike's demon. It is weird how some vampires are just deemed ok while low men on the totem pole, like myself, are not ok to date yet. Give me a few hundred years too and I'll be worthy of dating, demon or not," Xander told me and I just laughed.

"Neither of us will live to see that day Xander, and you know that don't you," I told him and he smirked.

"I have immortality on my side Faith. I can hear your biological clock ticking in my ears."

"Your immortality will run out sooner rather than later Xander. I'm tired of these petty insults we are throwing at each other. How bout this…we call a truce, let each go and call it a night."

"I like the plan where I kill you," he told me and launched himself at me. I grabbed him and tossed him up onto the top of the tomb lid and went to plunge a stake into his heart but he rolled off the lid and onto the floor right before the stake splintered on the tomb lid. He jumped up on the other side of the tomb from me grinning like a maniac.

"Turned by the vampire slayer turned vampire has its benefits," he explained to me and I raised an eyebrow in question. "Oh come on Faith. You should know all about how your blood is like a powerful drug to any vampire. I see the bites on your neck. You have been letting someone feed from you. You even have the scars to prove it. You are the laugh of the vampire community. A vampire slayer with vampire hickeys all over her neck. Only letting those who she chooses to let into her bed feed from her. It was the same when Buffy changed me. I became stronger because it was her blood flowing from me. I could probably take you and your precious Angel as well," he told me with amusement in his voice.

"I doubt that," I told him and backed up into the open space of the room. He followed me into the space and the fight began again. We fought hard, I was better than him; he just liked to brag. I was about a second away from staking him when I was shot in the arm with a crossbow bolt causing me to drop my stake. I grabbed my arm with my free hand to attempt to stop the pain that had instantly made itself very present. I looked up at the current Slayer holding the crossbow in her hands with Quentin and his crew guarding the doorway. Xander looked up at me confusion evident in his eyes.

"I don't think that staking someone who is siding with Buffy and has information is a wise idea for anyone that is trying to stop her. This vampire has valuable information and we feel that he is better off alive," Quentin said to me and Xander rose to his feet behind me. Placing me in between him and the other Slayer.

"Rear exit," he quietly whispered to me and I snapped the crossbow bolt off so only the part in my arm was still attached, not the extra hanging out. We both backed up as the Watcher's Council advanced on us both.

"Faith give it up. We have you cornered. Hand over yourself and the vampire and we will offer you a nice little cell somewhere until you can come up on trial for treason," Quentin said and I heard Xander throw himself into the gate at the back of the mausoleum. It broke with his weight and strength and at the last moment he grabbed a hold of my hand and yanked me through the gate with him.

**********

I fell blindly into the dark. I had no idea where I was falling to but I landed with an unpleasant thud on the rock bottom below me. As I looked around I recognized the place fortunately. It was where Buffy and I had fought a few of Balthazar's crew over his amulet back when I had first come to Sunnydale. I looked around as I pushed myself off the ground with my uninjured arm for Xander but he was gone without a trace. I heard the Watchers yelling above me and I decided it was time to vacate the area. I exited the underground area through a manhole several hundred yards away from the mausoleum. I checked around for signs of vampires or the Council and saw neither. I drug myself out of the manhole with one arm and recovered it so they wouldn't know where I came out of and booked ass back to Giles house. I knocked out our code on the front door so they wouldn't accidentally shoot me when they opened the door to let me in.

"What happened to you?" Cordelia asked me as I walked in, shut the door, and relocked it.

"Robin happened." I stated bluntly as I walked past her and into the kitchen area. Angel caught my eye as I walked by him but he refrained himself from jumping up to help me and I was thankful for that.

"She shot you with a crossbow bolt? Doesn't she realize that you are human and one of the good guys?" Cordelia asked as she followed me into the kitchen.

"I'm not sure and I didn't really have the time to argue with her."

"Why did she shoot you in the first place?" Giles asked as he joined me in the kitchen with the medical kit. Spike hung out in the doorway, looking on silently.

"She shot me in the arm because I was about ready to stake Xander," I told them quietly.

"You had a run in with him? Why? I thought that you were supposed to go out solely on reconnaissance missions," Giles reprimanded me anger evident in his voice.

"Hey! It isn't like I went out screaming his name looking for him. I found a random vampire searching through a mausoleum and I stopped him. Found out that B is going to make her move in two nights, when the moon is right, and sent him on his way to let her know that I was going to rain on her parade. Xander intercepted the vampire on the way back to Buffy and came looking for me. He wanted to kill me… he's stronger than a new fledging should be, something about being of B's blood since she was a Slayer or something. But anyhow, I kicked his ass and as I was about to stake him I got shot in the arm. Neither Xander nor I knew that they were there. So, Quentin yells something about not killing a key element in getting to Buffy and Xander gets to his feet, whispers in my ear about a back exit to the place and as he breaks through the gate he yanks me through with him. I landed in an underground hole thing, a place I fortunately recognized, and managed to find a manhole to get out of after I escaped. I don't get it though Giles. I was ready to stake him, ready to kill him, and he helped me escape."

"Perhaps he had a moment of clarity," Spike offered and we all turned to look at him. "He just put everything into perspective. Hell if the Council was willing to shoot their own Slayer what would they do to a vampire without a soul working for a new Master vampire hell-bent on bringing Hell to Earth. You know, you just chose the lesser of two evils. Perhaps he figured if he helped you escape then you wouldn't consider turning him over to the Council. Smart boy if you ask me," Spike suggested with a casual shrug of his shoulders.

"Thanks for the insight into the vampire mind there Spike," I teased him.

"Not the vampire mind luv, any mind. Would you chose a possibly gruesome and painful death or an escape from death…? Escape is always the easiest choice," Spike told us and then exited the kitchen doorway and wandered back to wherever he was before joining our conversation.

"So anyone want to help me get this chunk of wood out of my arm please?" I asked Giles and Cordy.

"If you quit your whining perhaps," Cordy said and took my injured arm in her hands. She looked at the wound for a second and then at the other side where the head of the bolt had gone through. "We are going to have to stitch you up. This side looks bad."

"Yeah well it hurts like hell. How about you just grab it and rip it out. Giles can play doctor and stitch me up or something," I told her and they both nodded to me. She handed me a rag and I cocked an eyebrow.

"Bite into it," she suggested and I put in my mouth and nodded for her to go ahead. Just as I turned my head away from that arm she ripped the bolt through my arm and then immediately Giles applied another towel to soak up the blood. I spit the rag out of my mouth and looked over at my arm. Blood was running down my arm as Giles tried to stop the bleeding.

"Give it a couple minutes Giles. Slayer healing should kick in soon," I told him. Spike reappeared in the doorway a few seconds later.

"Peaches took a walk. I'm guessing it had something to do with the fact he could smell your blood," Spike informed me.

"Outside?" I asked, concerned instantly.

"He said he would stay close."

"He doesn't know that I had a run-in with Xander and that B could possibly be out to seek revenge on me for taking her amulet. Speaking of which, I need to talk to Methos."

"Amulet? What kind of Amulet?" Giles asked me.

"Some random amulet that B sent a vamp on a retrieval mission for. Who knows…it's not in any language I recognize. I'll have to see what Methos thinks," I told Giles. I didn't catch the hurt look on his face. Giles quickly stitched me up as soon as the bleeding slowed down.

"There Faith. That should do for now. Just be careful with it for the next 24 hours or so," Giles said and put down the needle and thread. I nodded to him.

"Thanks Giles," I returned to him and then headed out of the kitchen. I pulled off my slaying equipment vest and set it down on the back of one the dining room chairs. I walked into the living room where most of the group was sitting.

"Catch Old Man," I said as I pulled the amulet out of my pants and tossed it at Methos. "You get to see what the decoder ring has to say. Recognize the dialect?" I informed him and everyone else's attention centered on the amulet Methos now possessed. Giles and Cordy entered the living room a few moments later.

"Its not a 'decoder ring' Faith. But damn this language looks familiar," Methos told me and flipped it over. His face changed from curious to concerned instantly.

"What do you have for me Methos? You can't make a face like that and not say anything," I told him and he ignored me.

"Methos? What is it?" Mac asked him and gently nudged him with his knee.

"Oh…um…well I recognize the dialect now. It isn't a demon language like I originally thought that it would be. It is a language that has been dead for centuries, perhaps a millennium or so. It wasn't a well-used language even then, just used for religious purposes only. Where did you get this amulet Faith?" He asked me and finally looked up at me.

"Found a random vamp of B's digging through a tomb in a mausoleum in the cemetery down at the end of this street. He was supposed to get this for her but obviously I beat him to it. What exactly is it?"

"It's a very powerful piece of property. I'm going to assume you found this in Mellick's tomb. He was believed to be a vampire of sorts in his time. People saw him out in the daytime but they swore that he was possessed by a demon at night and that he exhibited vampire-like qualities. I didn't actually get a chance to meet this guy, but this is what I was told. He spent his whole entire life attempting to find a way to bring a dead vampire back to life."

"Like back to human life? A cure for vampirism?" Willow asked.

"No. A way to return a vampire that had been killed either by staking, sun, etc back into their vampire state pre-final death. People speculated about whether or not he was able to accomplish it and find the right incantation and everything that was needed to get the vampire back in completely the same form. Now I know that he did. He has the complete ritual here. Everything you need is right here," he said to us and we were all in shock.

"That little amulet? That thing is cheap. It doesn't even look like real gold or anything," Amanda commented and we all shot her a dirty look.

"Now is not a time to talk about such trivial things Amanda," Giles said as he pulled off his glasses and began cleaning them.

"So why would B want it?" I asked the obvious question. "Who is there that she would want to raise from the dead in the vampire community? Why vampires?" I kept firing questions out.

"Who isn't there that she wouldn't want? Think about it Faith if she had a whole army of vampires that had been killed in the past then she would have an immense undead army waiting to serve her every command. She would be their leader and she would have an army behind her to ensure that the Hellmouth is properly opened, whenever she plans to open it."

"Two nights from now, when the moon is right," I answered and they all raised an eyebrow or two at me. "What? I beat up the vampire that I found and he told me."

"An army of vampires would be pretty hard to beat. Considering the fact that if she brought back all of them then they would easily overpower us even if they were all shitty vamps and all fledglings when they died. But some of them were old, like the Master old." Willow said and scratched her head while deep in thought. "She is going to want this amulet back. We are going to be prepared for a pissed off Buffy to come looking for the amulet."

"Why would she send a fledging vampire out to get it when she could have gotten herself without anyone taking her down?" Oz finally asked.

"She thought it would be a simple mission," Spike said, scaring us all as he piped up from the doorway to the living room. "Faith hasn't run into any of the other vampires in Sunnydale during her patrols over the past few nights and after the destruction that she caused at the Magic Box I seriously doubt that she thought that you would come out after her again. She was sure that you wouldn't be out…and therefore allowed a fledgling to try to make his way up the ladder of hierarchy with this important mission. Why get up and get something yourself when you feel that someone else is perfectly capable of getting it for you?" Spike asked as he walked into the room and plopped down on the couch next to Dawn. She immediately slid under his arm and rested her head on his chest as one arm wrapped around his stomach. His arm wrapped protectively around her shoulder and I knew right then that Buffy wasn't the only Summers that he loved and that loved him back.

**********

"So, she is going to come for the amulet. Then we need to be prepared," Gunn said and looked around the room waiting for someone to suggest a plan or something. He wasn't usually plan guy, more like action guy.

"We need to set up a protection wall around the house then," Cassandra suggested looking around and I saw Willow, Oz and Lindsay nodding. "We'll get right on that while the rest of you decide what we need to do in case she comes before we get the wall up and secured," Cassandra said and rose to her feet from her position in one of the Lazy boys. Willow, Oz, and Lindsay followed suit and the four of them walked out of the room and towards the foyer area.

"Plan of action anyone?" Gunn asked again and Cordelia laughed a little.

"Calm down Gunn. A plan is in the works somewhere," she assured him as she went to sit in his lap on the couch next to Amanda and Kate.

"We need weapons and need to spread out around the house guarding all windows and entrances to the house in case Buffy decides to come in with force." MacLeod said and stood up. "I suggest that we stay in pairs. Guard a door and the nearby windows. Keep your eyes and ears open. Lights are to be kept to a minimum in the house so that we are able to see out as they see in. Pair up guys. Man a station. Make sure the entire house is covered," he said and everyone rose.

"Richie you are with Dawn. Take her into the basement and lock the basement door behind you. Don't come out until Mac comes to get you," I said to him and he growled.

"How come I get stuck babysitting the kid?" He yelled at me.

"Because that *kid* is important to me. You are a good fighter Richie. I trust you with her," I angrily snapped him but he was still pissed and refused to back down.

"I'll take Dawn sitting Faith. I won't let anything happen to her," Spike said and I saw pain flash across Dawn's eyes momentarily after Spike said he would watch her. She played it off well though as she rolled her eyes and punched him playfully in the arm.

"Good then, we'll go have fun in the basement with all the gym equipment and such. I'm good with Spike, Faith. Let Richie stay up here," Dawn told me and I frowned.

"You sure Spike?" I asked him.

"I'm positive luv. You go do your thing. Don't forget that Peaches is still outside. Make sure that he is in before you close down the fort," Spike said and I cocked an eyebrow at this.

"You displaying concern for your Sire…you delusional now Spike? You running a fever or something?" I playfully teased.

"Nah…I just am looking out for you."

"Looking out for me?"

"Yeah because if Buffy gets a hold of Peaches then she will surely cut off his little bits and then you will be sexually deprived for the rest of your life because he won't have anything to make love to you with," Spike reasoned with a straight face. It was Mac who started laughing first and then everyone else joined in.

"What did I miss and why do I feel like that it was about me?" Angel suddenly asked. No one had heard or felt him come back into the house. I whipped around at the sound of a voice and almost staked him. My hand and stake came to a halt on the outside of his shirt, up against his chest. He looked down at it and then looked back at me.

"Sorry…thought you were B or Xander," I told him and lowered the stake, blushing a little.

"All right Peaches is inside lets shut this place down," Spike said and headed out of the living room with Dawn tagging along behind him casting a longing glance at Richie as she disappeared out of the living room. Methos and Mac, Cordelia and Gunn, Amanda and Kate, Giles and Richie headed off to guard different areas of the house leaving Angel and I alone together to be a pair.

"What is going on? Why did everyone leave and why did the lights just go off?" Angel asked.

"Mac was that you?" I called out loudly.

"Yeah," came the Scotsman's reply.

"Ok," I called back and then let my eyes adjust to the darkness. "I got the vampire with night vision though, good deal," I said more to myself than to Angel. "We are preparing for B to attack. I stole this amulet from her that would have allowed her to bring any dead vampires back to their vampire lives. Some guy named Mellick or something like that…who knows. We are just making sure that we have everything covered in case she attacks and gets into the house before our little Wiccan group can put up a protection wall around the house," I explained to him.

"Oh I see," he told me and then I felt him step closer to me. "How is your arm? I wanted to check on you when you came in but the look that was on your face told me not to come near you."

"I'm good to go. Giles stitched me up and played doctor."

"Why did you have a crossbow bolt in your arm?"

"Robin, the newest Slayer, she shot me in the arm to prevent me from staking Xander."

"You had a run-in with Xander? Are you ok?"

"Yeah I did and yes Dad I'm fine. He came back for me when he found out that the other vampire had ratted to me about the date that B was going to open the Hellmouth, which by the way is in two nights. He claimed that he was going to kill me, but at the end of the fight he was on the pointy end of the stake not me."

"I didn't mean to offend you Faith. I know that you can take care of yourself more than well…I just worry about you. Worrying about you comes with the territory of loving you," Angel softly said to me.

"Lets not go there now. We have a mission right now and I don't want to get my emotions into this right now. I can't function straight when I have this situation between you and me on my mind."

"I didn't realize that I had suddenly become a distraction to you Faith. If you really don't want me around then I would be more than happy to switch with someone." Angel snapped at me and started to walk away when a blinding white light burst through the house and then it stopped several yards outside the house and it stayed there illuminating the yard. I looked out the window and saw a wall of light outside surrounding the house but no one or nothing was out there fortunately. Angel froze and looked at me.

"Oz?" I called out and people gathered back in the living room where Angel and I were standing.

"We did it. Now we just have to wait," Oz informed me and I just smiled and nodded in response.

"Good. Then I suggest that people go back to their positions, get something to entertain you there and we'll wait her out. She still might come before the night is through. If you want a new partner now is the time to grab them. I suggest that we take turns with 2 pairs ready to relieve a team pair after like half an hour or so. Sound good to everyone?"

"I want a new partner," Angel's voice loudly stated and I looked over at him in surprise.

"Well then find one," I snapped at him. Spike and Dawn had come back upstairs when the light had taken its run through the house and out into the yard.

"I'll take Dawn duty so Giles and Cassandra can be together," Richie said and I was shocked, but then I saw the look on Dawn's face and that secret smile that she didn't expect anyone to see. I realized then that something was going on between Richie and Dawn and I wasn't sure if I approved of the relationship or not, but if she was somewhat happy at this moment then that was all that I could ask for.

"Goodie then I get to be Faith's partner," Spike said immediately after Richie's declaration over Dawn.

"Like fucking hell you will," Angel growled and before I could even process Angel's angry voice he was vamped out and tackling Spike. He landed punch after punch to Spike's face and upper body. Spike was beating him with his arms, trying to dislodge him from atop of him but it was no use. Angel was the bigger of the two and he clearly had the physical advantage over Spike.

"Angel!" I yelled and headed over to them to get Angel off of Spike. "Get off of him Angel!" I yelled at him as I attempted to pull or push Angel off Spike's body. Angel shoved me away and continued to punch him. Spike was cussing at him the whole time.

"Everything was fine until you came along and fucked it all up. You are an insolent Childe and have absolutely no respect for your Sire!" Angel yelled at Spike and punched him once more in the face before getting off of him.

"What the bloody hell are you talking about?" Spike managed to yell back at Angel as he licked the blood off his lip.

"I know about your fucking little *visits* to LA to see her. I KNOW! I could smell you on her when she came back. I could smell your cigarettes that you supposedly quit smoking for Buffy but smoked around Faith. I smelled you on her. I'm not a fucking idiot Spike. I knew that you were coming but there was nothing that I could do about it because she denied it was ever happening and when I tried to get it out of you, you lied too! Did Buffy know that you were cheating on her with Faith?" Angel yelled back at him and then glared at me. I looked at him in complete shock. My eyes widened and suddenly everything made sense.

"Oh my god. You were cheating on my sister?" Dawn yelled at Spike and then she centered her gaze on me. She walked up to me and slapped me hard across the face and went to punch me but Richie grabbed her. "You BITCH!" She screamed at me with total contempt in her voice.

"Oh no Peaches it was never like that. You have got this whole thing backwards. I came to see Faith, yes, but I never cheated on Buffy and Faith never cheated on you. We are just friends mate, nothing more," Spike said as he managed to get himself up from the floor. Blood was trailing down his face and staining his white shirt and I was slightly worried about him at this point, but I remained still because any movement towards Spike would just cause further doubt among everyone at the house.

"Oh no? You wanna explain to me why then you would come to LA to see her and she would lie to me to my face about where she was going? You wanna explain why you lied to Buffy's face about where you were? Explain why Faith came home different than she left and why your scent was all over her!" Angel yelled at him. "I won't let you have her right in front of my face and I won't let you disgrace Buffy like that either."

"You didn't tell her that I was in LA with Faith did you?" Spike asked and turned white as a ghost, paler than he normally was.

"No, I didn't have the strength to break her heart by telling her that you were cheating on her with Faith of all people," Angel said and I saw Spike visibly relax and then he sat back down in the floor.

"Me of all people? What the fuck is that supposed to mean Angel?" I yelled at him but I didn't wait for his reply. "You have it all wrong Angel. Yes, I lied to you and would sneak out to see Spike. I won't deny that. But if I was to tell you that I was going to see Spike then you wouldn't have believed that it was a strictly platonic relationship and that there was nothing going on there. Spike called me when he had problems with Buffy and their relationship. He called because I was the only person he knew and trusted enough to give him advice when it came to B. I called him when I had problems with you because you are his Sire and he was the only vampire that knew you and that I didn't have the desire to stake. We would get together somewhere once a month and just hang out. We'd take some time to ourselves, away from our significant others and just relax. Spike and I are a lot alike Angel. We have the same taste in music; we both have a passion for violence and mayhem; we are both very temperamental, irrational, and high-strung and we have similar fighting techniques, more street than actual technique. I found a lot of myself in him and vice versa. He just helped me adjust to living with you, being with you, and I helped him with B and their relationship. You and I have been through some rough times Angel and I will admit if I hadn't been able to talk to Spike and have him explain to me where you were coming from on some situations then we might not be together today. I would never hook up with Spike, Angel. I would never cheat on you either. I love you and only you Liam," I told him and he still glared at me.

"You were gone for the whole night though. You slept over wherever you were with him. You came back with his smell all over you."

"I didn't do anything with him. We have an apartment in LA that we both go to when things get out of hand for either of us. We meet there. It isn't anything spectacular but it is something that we both decided would be a good idea to get. I won't lie and say one of us slept on the floor or couch because we both slept in the bed. He would hold me in his arms and hold me as I slept, but that was the most that ever happened between us."

"You let him see and know parts of you that you didn't or won't share with me."

"Some things you don't need to hear. You don't need to hear me bitching to you about you. I needed someone to vent some things to and he was that person. I was the same thing to him. We were just friends, very good friends, but nothing more. I don't need to defend myself to anyone. I didn't cheat on you Angel. Spike didn't cheat on B."

"You lied to me Faith. When I would ask you where you were you lied right to my face."

"I had to."

"No you didn't."

"Would you have let me go to him and spend the night if I had told you about him? Would you honestly?"

"No because you don't belong with him at all. He is a soulless vampire. He isn't worthy of you or Buffy."

"Don't pull that card Angel. I have a soul and I have killed innocent humans before. I have changed but at times I want to kill people and at times I don't regret what I did. Spike changed for the woman he loves. I did everything I did for the vampire I love. He might not technically have a soul but most of the time I believe that he has more of one than I do, or than some of the humans wandering around this world. You know that he loves her, you know that Angel," I told him anger seeping into my voice even though I tried to keep it out.

"Who else knew about this? Did you know Cordy? Gunn? Did you two lie for her? Because as I remember she always said that she was out with you two." Angel asked, staring at the two of them.

"I had more to do with it than Gunn. He just would hand the phone to me when you called Angel. She asked a favor of me and I did what I felt was the best thing at the time. I don't regret lying for her even now. I'm not sorry for lying for her Angel. I'm sorry that I had to lie to you and that you probably don't trust me right now but it had to be done. She needed to talk to him, she needed him and I knew that," Cordy said as Gunn wrapped his arms around her waist from behind.

"I lied too man. Cordy and Faith let me know one day and I understood where Faith was coming from and why she was lying. We lied to keep you from getting hurt and from thinking that she was cheating on you. We never knew that you knew," Gunn finished.

"And you…who lied for you Spike?" Dawn asked, tears rolling down her face, her voice soft and gentle.

"I did," a male voice said and I knew that Giles was going to stand up for us. I didn't think that he was the best person for Spike to go to when he needed a cover for coming to see me but he proved to be a reliable and solid cover. "I was his cover here in Sunnydale," Giles finished and everyone looked over at him in shock.

"You lied to Buffy about Spike's whereabouts?" Willow asked completely shocked.

"I was looking out for Buffy. If Spike came to me and told me that he really needed to go see Faith then I would come up with something that I needed from somewhere and he would bring it back for me after he was done with meeting with Faith. He came to me with problems that I couldn't answer. Not just female problems but Slayer problems. I couldn't answer them for him and then he moved onto Faith, which was the best and most logical choice. I didn't realize that their relationship would be so good for both of them. Faith would call me when she had problems with stuff in LA at times and again I couldn't answer any of those questions. But Spike could answer almost anything that I relayed to him. They helped each other out tremendously. I never saw it as lying to Buffy about where Spike was going because he always came back with something useful that I needed and he always came back much better for Buffy. I understood that dating a Slayer when you were a vampire was not an easy relationship. The relationship between Buffy and Angel didn't work out and I knew that a relationship between Buffy and any mortal would not work out. When she first admitted to dating Spike I was totally against it but then I saw how well it worked out and how good it was for her. I realized then that I would do everything in my power to make sure that Buffy was happy and that meant keeping her and Spike happy together," Giles admitted to the group.

"How did you know that he wasn't going to LA to cheat on Buffy?" Willow asked him, anger in her voice.

"I didn't. Well… that isn't entirely true. Faith and Spike are a lot a like. But I looked at it from an outside perspective. Spike had been with Drusilla for over a hundred years and been faithful to her the entire time. I saw that same love and devotion in Spike when he looked at Buffy. I knew that he was in it for the long haul. He had promised her he would be there to hold her when she was old and gray and carry her when she couldn't walk anymore. I knew, gut feeling perhaps, that he wasn't cheating on her when he went to LA, but getting help with the relationship and coming back to her with more love and devotion."

"You allowed this to go on? For how long?" Willow asked Giles.

"Two years," Spike softly said and then licked the blood off his lip. I finally couldn't stand the blood on his face anymore. I walked over to him, pulled his shirt over his head, and started to wipe off his face.

"Two years? You two look a little too friendly for just friends," Willow threw at us.

"Spike and I would go out to a vampire bar in Long Beach and start shit. We usually barely made it out of there alive and we would patch each other up when we got back to LA. Me cleaning him up is nothing," I told her. Cordelia walked up to me a few seconds later with a bowl of warm water and a rag. She silently helped me clean off Spike while Willow verbally attacked Giles in the background.

"Enough!" Methos finally yelled and everyone shut up. "I suggest that we get back to our original goal here which is watching the house for a possible attack from Buffy. Spike and Faith are not going to be partners. Anyone want dibs on Spike?" Methos said once everyone was quiet.

"I'll go with him. Faith can go with Gunn," Cordelia said softly and Methos nodded a grateful nod to Cordy.

"Good plan Cordy. Faith and Gunn will stay here. Angel you are with Willow. Spike and Cordelia will go to the position Cordy and Gunn were at earlier. Everyone is dismissed. This topic is hereby dropped for the night. When we are sure that Buffy is no longer a threat then perhaps the topic will be reopened, but not until then," Methos said and everyone left with their partner to their earlier designated positions.



Continued