<center><h1>

Spike in the City of Angels, Episode One: A Soul </h1><br><h5><a href="mailto:johncope@globalnet.co.uk">by John Cope</a></h5></center><BR><P><BR><P><BR><P>



Part Twenty-five

Buffy threw her head back as she came again, her engorged clit expertly manipulated by Spike's skilled tongue and teeth, and as she did so a light flashed in her eyes and even though the blond vampire had sent her away almost beyond all reason she knew something was totally wrong.

Before Spike could start her off again, Buffy pulled back away from him a little, the action served to open her thighs even wider, Spike took advantage immediately and slipped two fingers inside, swiftly they began to work in and out of her slick, dripping core. Buffy moaned with the pleasure even as she looked around her confusion written all over her sweat covered face.

*O..k, I'm underground, where? I'm naked, I'm having sex with Spike, that is of the oh so good.* Her lover began to circle his thumb on her ultra sensitive nubbin. *God!! I don't know what the fuck's happened, to me, and........ohhhhh, I don't care.*

Her body was slick with sweat, her every nerve was aflame with passion, as the orgasm hit her she nearly passed out.

Collapsing forward she pressed her stomach into Spike's face and then weakly eased herself back down his body. "Hey, not like I have any objection to finding myself like this with you but how did I, did we, get here?"

"Buffy!" Spike looked into her eyes and saw a different light there. "Kitten you've come back to me!"

"Huh!" Why was Spike grinning at her like that? Then she saw the bite. "Did we slay, did you......tell me I didn't do that. Spike what the......"

"Look luv there's no point beatin' about the bush." Spike held her firmly, not wanting her to do anything silly. "The demon we was hunting took your soul, made you a full blown vampiress. You wanted to go out hunting I came up with a better way to pass the time till Willow could get you your soul back."

He saw the shock in her face, he saw her mouth form into a pout and then dismay. "Willow....knows...Willow knows that we're, that you and I have....."

"Only that we're doin' it now luv, but Angelus knows it to....." Then he saw the look and held her arms with all his strength. "Would you rather I'd let you find Willow first, kill her, kill and turn them bloody all, did you want to rule the night Slayer, did you?"

"Bastard!" Tears began to mingle with the sweat that ran down her face. "You've always wanted to do this, to get back at him, to break his heart for what he did to you and....."

Pressing both his hands into her damp hair Spike pulled her close and kissed her on the lips stilling her words. "I did it cause I love you kitten and I didn't want to see you destroyed. Soon you're gonna remember something you did, something bad. But I gotta go slay, you get dressed luv, if Angelus doesn't kill me I'll send him to get you later."

"What did I do?" Spike got out of the bed, Buffy was to shocked to stop him. "What did I do Spike? Fuck you tell me!"

Spike picked up his pants and slipped them on, he threw on his duster and left the room.

Buffy stayed kneeling on the bed, her face in her hands the palms of which were wet with tears. "Oh god what did I do?"

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As soon as Spike walked into the throne room, Browne met him with a grin and a skillfully thrown MP5. "Take it the jobs done then, good work mate, if they make's shaggin' an Olympic sport then your a dead cert for the...."

"Can it," Spike snarled as he locked and loaded. "That was about stoppin' that poor girl from losing her mind, not sex, and if Angelus is pissed enough, I might die for it."

"Don't think so mate." Browne held up two loaded Uzis. "I might 'ave somethin' to say if 'e cuts up rough."

"Kill him and Buffy would kill you," Spike pulled the cellphone from his pocket. "This isn't your affair, keep out of it."

He pressed redial, and waited for a reply.

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Seven cross bows and a longbow were ready, the vampires had thinned, making there way off towards wherever their cars were parked. Nearly thirty remained though leaning on the door of the garage. Pissed.

Willow felt her cellphone vibrate in her jacket pocket and hastily retrieved it. "Hi, it work?"

"Yeah Red, everything's good," Spike lied. "She's gonna be to stressed to help though, the vamps, they still out there?"

"In front of the door, there are still too many of them Spike." She looked at Xander, T guy nodded. "Cross bows arn't gonna get it done, and your guns won't work if you can't see them."

Spike looked at his T vamp, the vetala just switched his weapons to full automatic. "Pet that was then, and we're about to change the rules, get ready."

He tossed the phone down and shouldered his piece. "Do it!"

The weapons roared, lines of holes tore across the timbers of the door.

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Oz's eyes widened, he turned to the half demon beside him. "That supposed to happen?"

Doyle watched the vampires roll around, white smoke pouring from their bodies. "No boyo, not if you play fair."

Vamps began to run clear, the ones not fatally hit that is. "Kill em all!" Xander screamed as his first bolt took a vampire who was running towards him straight through the heart. Five other bolts sped out behind his

A group of three ran east heading for the deeper forests to try to find some was clear. Despite the risk Oz lit his arrowhead, drew back and loosed. The flaming shaft arched through the air and buried itself in the lead vampires head, instantly aflame, agonized beyond belief by the pain it grabbed hold of its two comrades and all three went up together.

Karen aimed carefully at a vampire that was firing a rifle at the building, unaware of what was going on behind it. Her cross bow jerked as she pulled the trigger, the bolt smashed the vampires left shoulder blade making it howl in agony. And it began to turn.

"Oh shit!"

Bracing the cross bow she pulled back the string, then notched another bolt. The vampire had turned and was struggling to take a left handed aim, then he vanished in a cloud of dust.

"Yes!" Karen felt like standing up and screaming, but didn't instead she just reloaded and looked round for more vamps to kill. Her first slay, Giles would be proud.

Working like a machine Angel loaded and fired his cross bow with methodical precision, blood ran down his face, tears flowed still. His demon roared in his head, he wanted his revenge.

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Already dressing when she heard the gunfire Buffy pulled on her top and ran, not caring about bare feet.

Entering the throne room she saw her boys taking cover waiting for the erratic return fire to cease, Cordelia was pressed in between them so they could protect her with their bodies.

Buffy tripped and fell headlong over a blanket wrapped shape. She looked back at it, at the combat boots emerging from one end, and forgot about the battle, and forgot about Spike, Angel and everything else. She stood there stunned as a single tear began to run down her right cheek even as her lips formed one word. "No!"

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"Enough," Giles looked around and then stood up. "Battle's over, we won, everyone alright."

"Yes!" Angel growled and throwing down his crossbow ran forward.

"Stop him!" Willow shouted, not wanting to see Buffy, or for that matter Spike, hurt. "Xander!"

"Who me?" the teen was stunned. "Hey if he kills Junior its just one more dead vamp," but the resolve face changed his mind. "Ok!"

Doyle was already running though, he hadn't had much of a chance to get to know Angel, but he didn't want him hurting either of his vampire helpers. "Big man, don't fuckin' do it."

Angel went through the door like it was made out of tinder.

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"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it......it...it just......oh god I'm sorry."

************************************************************************************************************************************************

As Spike stood up to face his Sire, he let the gun drop from his hand. "Look mate it was....."

The fist was hard driven and it took Spike straight on the jaw, knocked from his feet he hit the ground hard. Angel drove his boot into the prone vampires guts and reached for a stake.

The pistol barrel was hard and cold, and pressed against Angels neck. "NO!"

For a second everything went still, and the borrowed blood stopped rushing through Angel's ears, and he paused and heard the strange keening noise that was filling the room. Forgetting Browne, forgetting Spike, he turned and saw his Buffy, on her knees, her face pressed to a cold corpse on the floor, a corpse lying on an open blanket. Then he realized the crys of grief were coming from his girl. "What the....."

"Go hold her, Angelus." Browne spoke gently and lowered his gun. "Go take her away from the man she killed."



Part Twenty-six



"Buffy, please Buffy, let go of him," Angel gently took Buffy in his arms and tried to lift her clear of the body she was pressed to, the guy was stiff and cold and very dead. Angel looked away from the torn open side of the Marine's throat and at Buffy, and at her arms and shoulders, at the bruises left there by fingers, and talons. Some by her enemies in battle and some by his childe during sex, it made him sick, but he held her all the same.

"Buffy, he's gone!"

"No!" She moaned the word. "He doesn't have to be, I can make him come back, Angel it would be so easy, I just gotta cut my...."

"You wanna turn him, make him your minion, god Buffy," Angel pressed his face into his girl's sweat damp hair. "What are you saying, don't you remember who you are? Let go of him."

Buffy fought as Angel tried to pull her clear. "Nooooo, all Willow has to do is cast the spell.....please Angel, his names on his tags, we can get his soul, please!"

"And when he finds out what happened, when he hates you for what you did, for taking away the sun, his family, his life from him?" Dry sobs were beginning to shake the vampiress. "When he attacks you, will you stake him? Or let him stake you? Kill you?"

"I.......should.........die!" The words came flooding back to Buffy now, spoken in an accent from far away. She let go though and turning buried her face in Angel's chest.

"Never say that, never!" Angel rocked her gently. "You're the only hope the world has. You're all the hope I have."

*************************************************************************************************************************

Three demons stood and watched the tableau in silence, one was holding his gut and his jaw, the other still had a pistol in his hand just in case. Doyle just wished he had a drink.

"Jesus, but it's a terrible thing to see." Doyle tore his gaze away, and saw Cordelia huddled against the wall still curled almost into a ball. "Damn me for ah eijit I clean forgot about you my darlin', gentlemen excuse me whilst I go rescue my secretary."

Browne began to growl faintly, till Spike's hand came to rest on his arm. "Let him take her out of here mate."

He was right, the vetala turned his back. Let the girl get clear of all this death, he didn't want her getting the smell of it in her nostrils, like those girls he sometimes ploughed round the back of the Palomino. *God help me.*

"Cordie, come on girl, look up for me." Cordelia took her hands from her face and as she gazed up into Doyle's gentle green eyes a little of the terror left her soul. "That's right my lovelie, I came for you didn't I, and sober."

"Doyle," Cordie let herself get lifted up, her arms went round the half demons neck, even as he slipped one arm under her legs and the other round her shoulders. Lifting her up he gently carried her to the door.

"Come on me darlin' let me take you back out to your friends."

"Stronger than he looked," Browne murmured as he watched his rivals back. "Good job 'e's such a piss-'ead, now son 'ow are you, didn't no one ever tell you to roll with a punch, you got any loose teeth."

Spike ran a finger round his mouth, "A couple, and I think the bugger might have left me with internal bleedin' in me bloody guts."

"Morph then, that'll fix ya gob up," Browne took his comrade by the arm. "An then we'll go and see if the kids thought to bring any blood with em."

He looked back at the Slayer weeping her heart out in Angels arm's. "An I fink I need to speak to me old mate Rupert, I fink we need Willow, but I ain't gonna be the one that tell's 'er what 'appened 'ear tonight."

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Cordelia was being hugged by Willow whilst Karen hovered round making reassuring noises, Oz, Xander and Giles were retrieving weapons, theirs and their enemies. Doyle was away from the others tilting a hip flask to his lips.

Quickly but gently Browne walked Spike out to a tree stump and sat him down, then with a smile delved into a box some kind soul had put out on the ground. "Blood, ah the subtle flavour of pig claret, ow I've missed ya."

"HEY!" Xander shouted up the slope. "That's for Buffy you greedy old hog!"

"She won't be 'ungry," he dropped the unopened bag into Spike's hand. "Which of you boy's as the rake?"

"Rake?" Oz looked round at the piles of ash. "Oh right."

"Chop chop lads, we got a war to finance." Browne smiled as the teens walked off to the van, they were learning. "Giles, can I talk to you?"

"What?" It was coolly put, Giles still wasn't convinced of Browne or Spikes's loyalty, though he suspected that in the blond's case love was a more apt choice of term, to the Slayer. "I can't think of anything you and I need to discuss, so if you don't mind I think I'll go and talk to my Slayer."

With a sigh Browne spoke to Giles back as the Watcher walked away. "She killed a man whilst she was soul less, they fed 'im to her and she wolfed 'im down."

"Good god.....but......why didn't you and..?"

"Small matter of chains an' guns, rather cramped even my style, but once we was free," Browne kicked at the grass and looked away from Giles appalled gaze, for once there was no sneer, no gloating look of pride on the vetala's face. "She needs Willow, she needs you, Angel won't be enough."

Rupert wanted to run into the tunnels. *How must she be feeling, how must she be suffering.* But he didn't let the emotion show to Browne. "Yes.....yes, you're quite right, I'll get Willow and we'll go and help her......thank you for telling me this, it's most kind."

Browne stood there puzzled as Giles hastened away, then shrugged and went to help the teens get the loot.

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"It just happened Angel, I just didn't see anything wrong with it, I was hungry he was there. Then I wanted the rest of you, but that demon was threatening my people and he'd dared to have his filthy zombies put their hands on me, so I killed them all, stopped the world from being destroyed again. But even that good doesn't overturn what I've done, I'm unclean, I'm a demoness, how can I look Mom in the eye after this, I'm totally bad."

Buffy looked up wildly at her lover. "We should go away and hide, keep away from people from everybody, that way I can't get tempted again, please Angel lets go now."

"The Hellmouth, it has to be guarded," Angel saw the look of madness in his lovers eyes and began to fear he might lose her. "You're the only Slayer we've got Buffy, please think about all the people you've saved."

"I AM!" She screamed. "I'M THINKING ABOUT WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO THEM THE NEXT TIME I GET HUNGRY!"

Then gentle fingers laid upon the top of Buffy's head. "You wouldn't feed on them Buffy, not with your soul, I swear it to you by the goddess that'll I'll never let you lose it again."

Willow knelt behind her two friends and put her arms round them, looking at a relieved Angel she whispered. "You'll be ok Buffy, let me take you home."



Part Twenty-seven



The demon possessed remains of Jason Kent broke through the coffin lid, and began to dig their way up through the soil of Sunnydale Cemetery, heading for the surface, and supper.

See's was pacing back and forward on the path in front of the grave, it was a cold night and he had to keep moving to stop his knee's from locking. A crossbow was discreetly held across his chest, a bolt already loaded.

"Come on kid, I don't have all night." See's looked at the tombstone, 1981-1999, no life at all, but still not the youngest vampire he'd ever taken down that had been occupying the body of a twelve year old, and the parents were probably still looking for their lost child. The deed had nearly broken his heart. "Least your folks have a grave son, a place where they can grieve."

He looked around cautiously, there were people moving around out there in the graveyard, a curious fact in a town with Sunnydale's rep. He just hoped none on them came near him.

Then he heard the scratching and turned as dirt grimed talons emerged from the ground.

See's took aim, and waited.

Gradually Jason worked his way clear of the clinging earth, he was waist deep when he looked up and saw the old man, then the tip of the crossbow bolt broke on the tombstone behind him as he crumbled into dust.

"To old to slay, that'll never happen," See's immediately began to collapse his crossbow, removing the bolts that were all that held the state of the art weapon together, then he paused. "But maybe I'm too old to fill in graves, damnit."

The hole was prominent, and any passing grieving relative would be bound to scream and instigate a search for their tragically buried alive boy, now wandering in a state of amnesiatic shock. See's shook his head. "Old man your imagination keeps on getting vivider."

"Should have brought a spade." he sighed as he struggled to get down to fill the hole in.

*************************************************************************************************************************

Jonathan couldn't believe it, here he was out vampire hunting, and with Kyle DuFours.

It was an unlikely teaming, and entirely unintentional, both the guys had headed for the cemetery to destroy the same vampire. Meeting by the gate, both carrying stakes, they'd shrugged and walked on together.

"Fell on a barb wire fence," Kyle snorted as the headed for the spot were Jonathan had seen his fellow Chess and Science clubber buried that morning. "They expect anyone to fuckin believe that anymore?"

"Grown ups do," Jonathan had a cross, a bottle of holy water and a stake, but he sure was glad he'd met Kyle, who other than a remark about him having. "Finally grown a pair," was behaving like a decent human being. "You sure Buffy isn't gonna mind?"

"Told you duffus she's outta town, her and the whole crew." Kyle wished he'd persuaded Tor or Devon to come out, someone he could rely on implicitly, still seeing someone he knew well might distract the vampire, give him a chance to stake it while it bite Jonathan . "So it's down to the second team."

"I worry about her," Jonathan nearly fell over a low headstone, fortunately Kyle didn't see. "You notice how pale she's gone, and those glasses she has to wear in sunlight, I really......"

"Think your wearing to much obsession for dorks, the girl still rocks, the vamp's still piss and run when they see her." Kyle caught sight of a man with long gray hair kneeling by a graveside. "Whadda we have here?"

When the teens got closer they could see that the old guy, some kinda Indian by the look of him, was filling in a grave, their vampires grave. "You boys know where I can get a shovel?" He asked turning to look at them like he had heard them a mile away.

"A shovel!" Kyle pitched his stake point first into the ground. "Do I come to your town, kill your vamps and ask for a shovel, no I fucking don't, I turned down a hot date to be here old man and......"

"Now he can go find the girl after all," Jonathan interrupted. "I'll go break into the gardeners shed for you sir and fill James' grave in."

"Thanks," ignoring Kyle, See's got up without assistance and picked up his bag. "I'll see you boys around sometime."

"Ok, get the shovel," Kyle watched the old man walking away. "Damned town, there's just getting to be to much competition round here, maybe I'll try LA. Here the vamps there are still thick on the ground and frisky."

"And fatal." Jonathan left it at that, Kyle was voted the guy most likely to be imprisoned in his year, but Buffy was the girl, which in his opinion showed what regard you should have for public opinion. He didn't want to see Kyle dead.

**************************************************************************************************************************

The hospital corridor was empty, See's followed the written instructions carefully and arrived straight at Faith's door, to find the blind down.

He pondered waiting, maybe there was some medical care going on, but then again maybe not. Being old had it's advantages, he'd just apologize to the nurse, say he was confused. The Lakota turned the handle of the door and stepped inside.

The dark haired girl he took to be Faith lay on the bed silent and still except for the imperceptible breathing, a man with thin greying hair was standing at her bedside tapping a syringe.

He looked up startled, and in a flustered English accented voice said. "Excuse me sir, but I'm in the middle of a procedure here, could you kindly come back later?"

See's mind went back, a long way, to the retreat, to a visit may years ago, and he smiled, his old face taking on new wrinkles at the action. "So tell me Carmichael, when did you become a murderer of the helpless?"

"Oh my god!" the Englishman changed his grip on the syringe so he was holding it like a dagger. "See's the Fox, what are you doing here?"

"Protecting a defenseless girl." See's eased his hand towards the back of his coat. "One you've come here to kill."

"I assure you I've not, all this will do is stop her heart, it isn't a poison, it won't stop the medical staff from reviving her." George Carmichael prepared to plunge the needle home. "She only needs to be dead for seconds, we know that now."

A bowie knife emerged from the sheath down the back of the old mans pants. "So do it, then I'll kill you, and you'll be dead forever."

"You wouldn't." Carmichael's face belied the words, he looked like he thought See's would. "You're a Watcher man, my god since that hooligan Summers broke away we have no Slayer, this girl was a bloody traitor she deserves to die, but you'd defend her, the desert must have sent you mad."

"You have no Slayer, that's good!" See's raised the knife. "Have you no thought of progress, of trying another path, with technology today you could make weapons that would wipe out all the vampires in a year, yet instead you send girls like her out to fight them with a piece of wood, and who cares if they die there will always be another. And if you get a lucky one, a survivor, we all know what happens to her."

"What is it about this country?" Carmichael spat his face reddening as anger replaced the fear. "You've become just as morally weak as that so called Watcher who lives here, well I'm not."

Raising the syringe high Carmichael prepared to drive it down into Faith's chest.

See's threw the knife.

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Later, after he had dragged the body into a storage cupboard the shaken retired Watcher sat beside Faith's bed.

"Their reach is long, or it can be. I think my time of rest may be over, but I will not regret the blow." He took the Slayers hand in his. "Don't disappoint me when you come back Faith, as I know you will. I would hate to think I killed a man to save a servant of evil."

Brushing a strand of hair back into place, he kissed the girls forehead and quietly left the room. He would go back to the store, write a note for Giles then go home, to a place where he could see his enemies coming.

Faith just slept on.



Part Twenty-eight



Angel lay looking up at the ceiling of the unfamiliar room he was 'sleeping' in, and thought about Spike, and revenge. The revenge he couldn't take because of the girl who slept in his arms.

She was sedated but still Buffy made occasional low moaning sounds as her dreams tore at her. How could he attack Spike as if what the blond had done was wrong without making her feel an even worse guilt? So far he hadn't even mentioned the sex to her, her guilt over the killing was bad enough.

Though it tore at him, Angel had to admit that maybe his childe had been right. How might Buffy of reacted if she had killed one of her friends, by falling on a stake and ending her own life? If she had gone outside and found their madgick users before her soul was restored she would have had the potential to rule the vampire world, would he have had the strength to stake her? He doubted it, instead he would have had to watch it all, still in love with her whatever she did, until his soul died.

He knew he wouldn't sleep, just brood as he so often did, over this bitter pill he had no choice but to swallow. And he loved her, still.

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Spike lay on his uninjured side, the damage Angel's boot had done was healing but there was still an ache, but he didn't really notice it, all he could think about was Buffy naked and again in his arms.

A conscience, it was a curious thing for a vampire to obtain, yet he had, and that attribute was the only explanation he could think of to answer a question that had been puzzling him all night.

*Why didn't I make off with Buffy while I had the chance?* It occurred to him that he hadn't even considered the option, hadn't even contemplated the fact it was there.

It would have been easy, find a way out of the tunnels and take down the Slayerettes, then ambush Willow and Giles as soon as they showed with the orb. Rule the world of the undead as the Vampire Queen's Consort. What were a few mortals lives in exchange for that?

But of course they were his friends.

Ok he wouldn't miss the whelp, and as it was Buffy's intention to turn her friends killing him would have meant being stuck with the annoying sod for eternity, whereas on current form he'd be gone within ten years anyway.

Cordelia, even as a vampiress she'd have to be kept in shoes, and her tastes would probably be even more expensive.

Willow, he liked her, she didn't even get annoyed when he called her Red. He realized that in both her and Oz's case he would probably be sad when they died. *A vampire grieving for a mortal, what the fuck's happening in my head?*

Giles, they were a class apart, that probably explained the feeling of grudging respect he had for the bloke, still it would have been nice to have an educated minion around again, he missed Dalton particularly when he compared to that neanderthal he was stuck with at the moment.

Buffy, with her soul she was beautiful both inside and out, without.....?

He had loved a vampiress before, but he knew now that the only reason that she had stayed with him was because of instability, she had needed to be looked after and he had wanted to do it. Sometimes he wondered if he still did, want his Drusilla back, but then his thoughts would always go back to the Slayer, the girl who had won his heart, and maybe didn't want it.

Exhausted Spike drifted into sleep, the past was the past, he had joined the good guys team, there was no way back now.

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Willow was in the on suite bathroom of her and Oz's room, she had been amazed to find it, but had been told that this was one of the hideouts they had for when they had company come to visit. The wolf and wicca had one of the double rooms with she hoped reasonably thick walls.

Though she had Buffy weighing on her mind the hacker knew her friend was sound asleep and had Angel watching over her, and she had been good, no sex before during or after the fight, now she wanted smoochies.

A nice none see through bra and silky french knickers, nothing to daring but her sole wardrobe for the coming evening. *Well very early morning,* she thought. *Perhaps I'm getting the post slayage horn.*

Adjusting her lipstick Willow blushed as she remembered the see through items she'd tried on the day she bought her underwear, not this year, maybe next. Maybe they wouldn't be Oz's kinda deal anyway, and it wasn't like she was evil Willow either, who hadn't worn any, at all. She'd checked.

*Make up good, face and hair good, body.....Oz has no objections, so nor do I, ok.* Willow thought hard about non blushing and turning headed through the door into the bedroom.

Oz was lying there, covered only by the duvet, it covered him only from the waist down, Willow kept her cool, didn't redden at the sight, though a smile broke over her face as she saw the love in her boyfriends eyes. "Hi, here I am."

"I see," Oz looked at the red head and had to think hard before he could get his next words out, she was so beautiful she took his breath away. "Am I out of step with the undressing?"

"You're naked...." Willow confidently walked over to the bed. "I have no problem with you naked, it's just well, sometimes it can be fun for guys to take stuff off, unless you'd rather I just...?"

Oz pulled the side of the duvet up and Willow slipped into the bed. "I think I can handle it."

They kissed softly at first but then with a mounting passion, Oz gently caressed Willows shoulders and back as she pressed against his chest her fingers gently trailing down across his torso until they circled his shaft and began to tease it gently.

Without any fumbling or hesitation Oz unfastened the catch on Willow's bra, he eased the shoulder straps down her arms causing her breasts to spill out in front of him, as he went to kiss them he whispered. "You're right Will, this is fun..."

Willow gasped at the sensation, and drew her lovers hands south to the waistline of her knickers. "Good, and it's just about to get better. You know how you took charge in the woods tonight Oz."

He looked up from his ministrations. "Yeah."

Willow kissed him and continued. "Dominate me Oz, just a little...."

The Wolfboy laughed, then did as he was told.

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Karen drove Giles back to Sunnydale, he was worried about his Slayer but he couldn't leave the Hellmouth on it's own, unprotected save for one old man, so they headed back. Willow would care for Buffy tonight and the kids would bring her home in the morning, Angel would follow at dusk the day after.

They got back to the store in good time, Giles let himself in and went straight to his desk, a note was there stapled to an envelope. "Vampire slain, too old?" Giles laughed, he had not had any doubt that See's could take out a mere fledgling. "I wonder what's in the letter."

"Can you read it tomorrow, it's kinda late." Behind Giles back Karen began to unzip her jacket, and then unbutton her blouse.

"Or early, dependant on your perspective." Giles suddenly remembered his car keys. "I'll lock up if you like but......" Giles turned and his jaw dropped. "Karen!"

"That's me," The bra was black silk, she hadn't pulled her blouse right open, just enough to show of the deep cleavage the lingerie granted her. "Desk draw keys over here, you wanna come look."

"It is late," Giles took his glasses of and carefully set them on the desk. "Perhaps we're both too tired to drive, we could....." He took two tentative steps forward.

"Use that bed you have upstairs for when you research all night." Karen walked forward and they met in a passionate embrace, their kiss was fierce at first, then gentler.

"I hope that key isn't digging into you," Giles hands slowly glided down Karens shoulders till they finally rested in the small of her back, her hips pressed forward against his.

"Something is, but not a key," she kissed him on the chin. "That was in my pocket all the time, you can still search me though, all over."

"I rather think I shall." Laughing, hand in hand, they went upstairs, Giles still would have his cares and worries tomorrow, but the rest of tonight was his and Karen's alone.



Part Twenty-Nine



Walking up the stairs to his bedroom Angel's heart was heavy with dread, dread at the state he might find Buffy in, dread of the pain seeing her cry caused him, and most of all fear of rejection. He had a small box in his trouser pocket, it had been there all week, ever since he had bought it from Sunnydale's most exclusive Jewelers, but he hadn't yet found the courage to ask Buffy to wear it, he didn't know if he ever would.

The door was open, he walked in and saw her, on her knees by the side of the bed, head resting on one of the posts. Still as death.

Buffy stared into space, her mind focused inward, on the memory of the face of the man she had killed, the man who haunted her every night, and who probably would forever.

She knew a name now, PFC Craig Flesch, from Orange County of all places, his funeral had therefore made the papers. She had seen his face again, there in black and white in dress uniform, without the fear, without the pain. But that wasn't how he looked at night.

He would appear from the shadows, face smeared in cam cream, a sneer on his lips. With a rifle in his hand, with the bayonet fixed, he would drive her on through a hellish warzone. It was always the same, a heavy pack cutting into her shoulders, a rifle pulling at her hands, running past the bodies one after another of her friends, "YOU DON'T QUIT, YOU DON'T RUN, YOU FIGHT!" he screamed.

The Slayer had come to view it was her punishment, she would go on forever now, immortal she would battle to the last. And it scared her, she wished she could still grow old and die, now only battle or suicide gave her a way out. But which would it be?

She was kneeling by the bed, her sweats were crumpled and in need of a wash, her hair was lank, she wore no make up, she had gone through college for the past two weeks in a daze, only Willow's help had stopped her getting failing grades.

Her Mom didn't know what to make of it, Buffy still hadn't found the courage to tell her what she had done. Keeping it from her Mom, that just made it worse. Joyce knew something was wrong, the concern on her face tore Buffy apart, and she dare not ease it.

She pressed her face against the bed post, closed her eyes and tried to make it go away, and she saw the rain drenched woods and knew that it was all still there, this nightmare her imagination had conjured, or maybe her demoness, trying to drive its imprisoner insane.

The hand that gently stroked her hair startled her. "No, I'm not gonna......oh it's you."

"Yeah, it's me." Angel knelt behind her, pain filled him at the look of fear on her face. He knew she would have crawled further away from him if he hadn't of took her in his arms. "Stay with me."

*Guilty.* She hadn't screwed Spike just because she was a demoness, she'd done it cause she loved him. Even with her soul back part of her wanted to be with him, and it wasn't fair to Angel.

"I'm sorry, I don't feel right, I don't feel clean, leave me alone." she tried to fight him but couldn't. "Please Angel, please leave me alone!"

"Buffy," Angel kissed her, it was like kissing a corpse, there was no reaction, no passion. "You have to deal with this Buff, you have to deal and move on."

"I killed a man......" She closed her eyes and saw the face again. "That isn't something that just heals, he's gone, and that's forever, don't tell me to deal...."

"I killed my family, I killed my friends and eventually I got myself back on track and started doing good." Angel held Buffy by the arms and looked her straight in the eye, his mouth twisted in anger and despair. "Then I lost my soul again, I killed Jenny and a lot of other people, I threatened my friends, I tortured Giles and I hurt you every way I could, but I came back from that. Don't put yourself into that hell Buffy, come back to me."

"I'm......not......clean." She tried to pull her arms clear and found herself suddenly lifted up and thrown over Angel's shoulder.

"Well we can do something about that." He went through the door and out into the corridor.

Hanging there, with a view of nothing but Angel's butt Buffy struggled to get free, and a crack like a pistol shot sounded as the palm of Angels right hand connected with one of her buttocks. "Ow, you big bully, that hurt."

"Remember that talk we had about Willy, you try to get free again you get a repeat." Angel kicked open a door and carried her into the bathroom, threw open the shower door, turned it on and then dropped her inside.

"Ohhhh!" She cried as the warm water soaked her, she stood there to shocked to speak, then Angel started stripping. "No fair, your clothes don't get wet?"

"I haven't seen you here in anything but those for two weeks, they need a wash." Angel stepped into the shower, naked, aroused. "Buffy, let me help you get clean."

The warmth of the water contrasted with the coldness of the vampire's skin as Buffy tentatively placed the palm of her hand over Angel's still heart. A shy half smile flickered then blossomed.

"I guess I can try," and her hands went to help his with the clothes, and there was soap, and water, and sex, and fun, and Buffy began to deal.

The next night they went out and danced so dirty that the owner of the Bronze nearly got thrown out of his own club, but Buffy still remembered.

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It was an expensive house in Malibu, and it was burning. The last name on Sol's list was being ticked off.

The collection they had tortured the guy into revealing was extensive, the names he had screamed very interesting indeed. Two sickened vampires had piled the stuff around the child pornographers body and gone for the gasoline.

He'd begged, then offered them money, so they'd set the fire a little away from him, so he'd be able to watch it as it drew near him.

"You certain that gasmask will stop him copping it easy from smoke inhalation?" Spike saw part of the roof cave in and smiled. "Doesn't really matter now though."

Browne inhaled deeply on a cigar he'd stolen from the blokes desk, he'd had to blind the bugger in one eye with the lit end before he'd squealed the location of his stash, and once alight it had been a pity to waste it. "Smoke rises, 'e was on the ground, 'e died 'ard, Cordie gets 'er chance, everyone's a winner, cept for that nonce."

The two vampires set off for their car. "Sorry it didn't work out for you mate, in many ways she's a nice girl."

"She says we can be friends." Browne shrugged, and hands in pockets kicked morosely at a stone. "I fink she likes me, but she don't want everyone finkin' she's out with 'er sugar daddy."

"Your takin' it well," Spike patted his partner in unlife gently on the shoulder. "You 'aven't even mentioned turnin' her."

"Advantage I 'ave is this mate," Browne brightened. "I'm immortal, she's not, yet. One day I'll look like just the right age to be 'er beau, I'll watch 'er back till then, and scare the shit out of any bloke who looks at 'er twice, be 'er big brother."

"We'll son, if Giles can pull," both vamps silently pictured Karen Kochanski, and sighed. "Then there is hope for us all."

Laugher filled the night air, the two vamps headed back to LA LA land, and a bar, they had sorrows to drown, but not big ones, everything comes to he who waits, and immortals are good at waiting.

The End..........for now.

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