One Wild Ride


by John Cope
Buffy/Dusk Til Dawn/Wild Bunch Crossover



Chapter 9.2 - Aftermath



Spike watched Buffy in the roadside phone booth. She looked like she was getting a really good telling off, probably deserved with how scared Joyce must be by now. If he'd known about the second plan, Buffy would have rung her from the payphone at the club, he would have made sure of it.

*I knew Joyce was a tough cookie, but this takes the biscuit, she was gonna take Pike on herself.* Spike decided to note that one down for later. *Don't know about having her for a Mother-in- Law though, always assuming everything goes as I intend.*

He looked at his watch, hoping that his two favorite girls wouldn't take to long about their conversation, he didn't fancy having to run for the door of the stairwell leading to Angel's old place. He wound the window down a little. Buffy had left the phone booth door open and he caught one side of the conversation as a result.

"Mom please, I said I was sorry, ok it's just we had so much to do and I was totally out of things."

"Ok, so just 25 minutes to go was cutting it real fine, but I rang didn't I? Yeah alright, I'm sorry about my tone. I'm sorry about what I put you through and I'm sorry I had to fight for my life and I'm sorry people died tonight."

"Yeah, Wesley and Faith. No Mom, everybody else is ok. Giles took a hit and so did Amy but they're not badly hurt. Spike and Angel got a little shot up but they're vampires."

*Cheer's Luv,* Spike scowled, *Bullets still bloody hurt me, you know."

"Me, well yes but just a scratch down my leg," Buffy twisted round sharply, nearly pulling the phone off the booth wall. "Reckless! Mom, I try to be careful, but when people are shooting at you, stuff happens."

"No I can't. I'm sorry, cause I have to make sure Spike gets home. Ok."

"Oh curious how that's alright...what do you mean he'll keep me out of trouble? He's a vampire, he's not exactly a respectable character."

Spike wound the window back up, it was getting positively insulting.

"Well don't do anything I wouldn't," Joyce added. "And please get home as soon as you can despite the scare you've given me, I can't wait to hug you."

"Me too, Mom, goodnight," Buffy hung up, *Don't do anything I wouldn't do? What does she think I'm gonna do?* Shaking her head, Buffy ran back to the car. *It's not like I'd jump into bed with a....ok, it's not like I'd do that again.*

Getting back in the car Buffy noted a smirking vampire, "What?" she asked simply.

"Get a nasty telling off did you Slayer? Bet you wish you'd been a bit more thoughtful, now don't you?" Spike barely suppressed a laugh at the girl's face.

"Screw you Spike," Buffy put the car in drive and ideally noted the vamp was still holding the belt. "And Willy, you can forget that. There's no way I'm gonna crash this car, I wouldn't give you the pleasure."

"We'll see Pet, We'll see."


*****


As the Cop cars began arriving, followed by the first fire truck, Xander and Amy rapidly retreated through the woods, heading down to Sunnydale beach. A few yards from the woodland's edge, Xander found the ideal spot to stash the crossbow. He took the bolts with him just in case some kid found the weapon.

"Well didn't you want to spend Saturday at the beach?" Xander asked the blond witch.

"Not this early," she shivered a little, "It's getting kinda cold, don't you think?"

"Here," Xander took of his jacket and gave it to the girl, she was only wearing a tee and a thin sweater . "I'm sorry about your face, we'll go back into town and get a doctor to look at it."

"Isn't that kinda dangerous?" Amy had been going to ask Willow to look at the wound in the morning, but Xander's suggestion seemed so much better. "Won't they be able to tell it's a bullet fragment?"

"We say that it was an accident with a lathe my Uncle has, we wore goggle's but no face mask's and a piece of something flew off." Xander shrugged. "I think they'd buy that, don't you?"

"My Dad is likely to not like you when he hears about this," Amy smiled though cause that didn't matter right now. "It's a pity we don't have our suits, though I guess it's too cold to swim."

"We could skinny dip," Xander noticed the girl blush even in the dark. "Trouble is there's some nasty critters in the waters off Sunnydale," he held out a hand to the girl. "Come on, let's walk in what's left of the moonlight instead."

Amy took the hand then pausing bent down and right-handed pulled off her shoes and together the two friends set off along the shore.

"I'm sorry about Faith, you were right to stop Spike turning her."

"Yeah well, Buffy's right - the dead should be left to lie and can you picture that girl with a demon in her?" Xander shuddered at the thought. "I don't like the idea of Buffy with Dead Boy Jr. either, even if he saved her life, it was only for some reason of his own, you can bet."

Amy personally felt very grateful to Spike, even though he scared her far more that Angel ever had, for he had let her see the truth about the character of the boy whose hand she held. He wasn't just wisecracks and snack food, he had faced Spike without any fear.

"I think Buffy proved tonight she can look after herself, don't you?" Amy stopped walking and turned Xander to face her. "Will you kiss me?"

"Sure," Xander didn't see any reason not to, not even the loud screaming from the obsessive section of his brain that was saying *Hey man you could be breaking the news about Wesley to Cordie right now?* The kiss they shared was sweet and long as if neither of them wanted it to ever end.

"Come on, Amy," Xander said when he paused for breath. "Let me take you home."


*****


Willow and Angel were sat in Oz's van in the school parking lot looking towards the door's that would lead inevitably to the library and Cordelia. They were alone now. Giles had driven himself home and Kate had taken Seth back to one of his numerous address's, Harmony had, followed discreetly by Willow, walked, or rather ran, the two hundred yards from the van to her house without screaming "Vampires." Willow had decided that would do for now.

"Are you going to tell her about Wesley or should I?" Willow asked looking across at the vampire. "We aren't really friend's anymore, not that is like we ever were, over the Xander thing."

"But I'm a vampire," Angel shrugged. "I'm one of the creature's that took Wesley's life!"

"Yes, but only in a distantly related kind of way." Willow was not about to let the vamp off that easy. "Also she kinda had a yen for you, not like I'm saying she still does but you'd be an acceptable shoulder for her to cry on."

"We tell her together," the cheerleader clinging to him was the last thing Angel needed, ok she was beautiful, but not Buffy. "Deal."

"Deal." the hacker gave in, *Ok its my day to be counselor Willow, perhaps I should major in Psychology.*

"Another thing Willow," he looked at the girl not sure how she'd react. "The bullets, I need them out."

"Whooh there Angel, you want me to cut you open?" Willow was aghast, "I'm no surgeon, will the bullet's do you any harm if they stay in, and what about bleeding you went real pale after you got shot today?"

"First, you're real gifted in anatomy, second you just need to use a probe I can guide your progress, third I got two bags of blood here, I just have to drink those after you've finished." Angel smiled at her. "Finally, I have to pass through a lot of metal detectors in LA and unexplainable metal detection causes intimate searches, the bullet wounds will heal without scarring, so I can't even claim I got shot in a robbery or something."

Utterly defeated the Witch just said, "Oh."

"Let's get the shotgun's in the cage," Angel looked behind them. "I think we can probably get away with the crossbows if anyone looks in here but the guns need to be hidden."

"Ok," a stunned Willow got out of the van and went round the back of the vehicle. *Oh Goddess! Open vamp surgery , I'm so not ready for this.*


*****


Giles sat, pen in hand, Watcher's journal in front of him, trying to make some sense of the nights events. He already had a rough draft of his report to the Watcher's Council on his desk, included in it was Buffy's warning to 'Stay out of my town,' which he hoped they'd pay attention to.

"Oh sod it," Giles suddenly said, *I'll go back to the School and try to catch Willow, perhaps she can show me how to e-mail again and I'll do it that way.*

His arm hurt besides that and the witch was the only Slayerette he'd trust near it with a set of tweezer's. Grimacing slightly, Rupert headed back to his Citrogen.


******



Willow suppressed an "EEEK," as she walked into the Library and found herself looking straight down the loaded Crossbow that Cordelia had aimed at the door's. "Hey Cordie, it's just us, you know - the good guy's."

It felt strange to Willow to be arriving back in the Library carrying two shotguns. Angel looked even worse with two more weapons slung over his shoulder's beside the ones in his hands.

"Where are the others, has anything happened to Xan...to Wesley?" Cordie looked at them fearfully. "Also, though I don't really like her, I'd hate to have to go to Buffy's funeral cause like Mrs S. has always been so friendly to me and all and Giles, where's Giles?" She crumbled a little as she took in their expressions, "Please tell me the others aren't all gone."

Willow lightly touched the wire of the cage, Oz sniffed the air and his ears pricked up in recognition of the redhead, she left it up to Angel to speak first. "Cordie, please sit down, we have some bad new's."

After watching her put the crossbow down from nerveless fingers, Willow walked over and sat beside the brunette, taking her hand she said softly, "Cordie, two people died and...and Wesley was one of them."

"Oh god," Cordie went pale,*Not again, please no!* her mind raced she looked at the witch she didn't look to upset so obviously. "Xander isn't the other one is he, or Buffy is it Seth or somebody who...."

"Sure Cordie we're lucky it's not one of our friends," Willow snapped, then went red with embarrassment as Cordie flinched and took her hand back. "I'm sorry that was way harsh."

"It was," Cordie stood up sharply wanting to leave but Angel stepped in her way. "What do you want Dead Boy?"

Stunned that she would be so hard as to use Xander's hated nickname for him, Angel almost let her go, but didn't. "Cordie I'm sorry about Wesley, but you're in no state to drive. You should stay here till you get over the shock. It's Faith who died, but you'll be pleased to know Harmony's alive."

"Harmony?" Cordelia looked at him blankly for a second, then nodded. "Oh right, is she ok?"

"She was raped," Willow didn't see any point in being gentle. Cordelia hadn't even flinched at the new's of Faith's death.

"No," Cordelia looked at Willow in disbelief, "I'm gonna have to go see her tomorrow, try to help her. Is Xander ok? He didn't get hurt did he?"

"No, Xander didn't get hurt," Willow was glad Cordie had shown interest in helping the girl even though she had fallen out with her so much over Cordie's dating Xander. "He stayed at the Roadhouse with Amy."

As soon as she said the words, Willow knew she had made a mistake as she looked at Cordelia's face and saw the tears start.

"You mean even though he knew I'd be upset about Wesley, he didn't come back with you?" Cordelia was stunned, she had thought that Xander would have wanted to comfort her she shook her head disbelieving and then pressed her face to Angel's chest. "Not again, Daryl and Kevin and now Wesley, why does this always happen to me?"

An evil little voice in Willow's mind coughed out the reply,*Karma!* but she suppressed it. "It's just the kind of thing that happens on the Hellmouth, Cordelia. You're not cursed, I promise you."

All the same Willow couldn't help but look at a now sleeping Oz-Wolf and feel a swell of gratitude to the Goddess and the Fates for deciding to have Pike arrive during a full moon. Oz might have been standing in the way of one of the bullets Pike fired through the ceiling, instead of which he was here and safe.

Angel had an attractive brunette pressed to his chest, the smell of her perfumed hair in his nose, he had been near death and had a profoundly disturbing experience of a Buffy-Spike kind that day, the last thing he therefore needed was the erection that began to stir. "Cordie please."

Cordelia just decided to hug him tighter, one of her hands went up to his left shoulder and then pulled sharply away. "Angel why does your shirt feel like that?"

"I was wounded."

"Ew," Cordelia pulled away sharply and looked at her hand, flecks of dried blood had adhered to it, then she looked up and saw the rip in the front of the material for the first time and realized what she'd almost pressed her face to. *My face, I'm blubbing here and my mascara will run and I could have vamp DNA all up one side of it.*

"Thanks for not mentioning this sooner," Cordelia picked up her bag, "I'm going to the restroom to freshen up but I will come back here later and there's absolutely no need for a suicide watch."

Willow shook her head as she watched the brunette leave, "She took that well, notice how she seemed more upset Xander didn't show than that Wesley was dead."

"Probably more pissed that she couldn't reject him again that missing the chance to cry on his shoulder," Angel was damned relieved that she'd let go of him when she did. "I doubt she still loves him after what he...." Angel realized who he was talking to.

"Did to her," Willow got up to go get the equipment she'd need to remove the bullets from Angel. "If you couldn't hear the way she asked about him and what it said then maybe two hundred year's of dating has taught you even less than I thought."


******


Spike walked slowly round the DeSoto wearing a marked scowl, they'd parked near the Bronze a stones throw from Angel's old basement, Buffy was set on a nearby bench watching him a broad grin on her face.

"So Mr. Vampire do ya give up?" She laughed as his scowl worsened. "The only time ever you're gonna have a chance to whup my ass and you miss out, it's just a pity I didn't think to make a side bet."

"Well baby you didn't," Spike threw the belt back into the car and slammed the door. "Your driving's ok, for a girl, but you go way to fast."

"Don't change the subject." Buffy stood up and crossing her arms below her chest walked towards the vampire with a subtle hip sway, "I think you should bend over and take it like a vamp, it's only fair, I wouldn't have welched."

"It ain't welching if you don't bet," Spike was resolute he was a Master Vampire, plus he liked to be able to sit in comfort. "We better get in Kitten, dawn's gonna be here soon."

"Your not playing fair." Buffy set off for the door to Angel's old place Spike walking behind her staring at her bottom and regretting what might have been. The cooler containing the blood he'd retrieved from the refrigerator was weighing him down and the Slayer certainly wasn't going to help carry it. "Bloody slow down, can't you Pet?"

"I'm not your Pet, you Luv or your Kitten," Buffy continued to walk briskly. "You're one lucky vamp to still be....unliving so don't push your luck".

*That sounded a lot like a threat to me, and after all I've done for her to.* Sulking, Spike trailed behind, beginning to think that perhaps being a permanent fixture in an eighteen year old girl's life might not be such a good thing.

Clattering down the stairs Buffy came to the door glad Spike was behind her, all the memories were here from the time when she just knew Angel and when even game faced he had been her boyfriend not Angelus. Fumbling out the key Buffy unlocked the door, swearing to herself even as she did so that she wasn't going to cry.

Spike from the top of the stairs watched her hesitate then enter, *Look at her son, think what happened in there, I know what I want, I want to be with her, but not here, it wouldn't be right.*

Resolute the vampire followed the Slayer, pleased to see she hadn't slammed the door in his face. He pushed it open a little further and maneuvering the cooler followed her into the room.


******


Giles had driven somewhat painfully back to the High School and now he walked its familiar corridors, wishing profoundly that he had taken the sensible option of going to the hospital.

*Still to late now. Wesley will be in the mortuary and since we left ID on him identified, another shot Englishman turns up and 'Hey Presto' the Sunnydale police have a prime suspect.*

He hoped that Willow would still be in the library, he wanted her to look at what he now feared might be a fairly nasty injury. Of course the fact he'd let a Slayer bandage it was his own fault entirely, the dressing was far to tight.

He took the long way round from the parking lot however, conscious that the School security guards had the night off and wanting to check for vampires or vandals, the latter more likely after the mass dusting at the roadhouse.

Passing the Principle's office, he was startled to see a thin line of light beneath the door. "4.20 am who could possibly still be here?"

His hand went to the door handle and he turned it and found the door wasn't locked. "Perhaps she just left the light on."

Expecting to find the room empty, Giles walked in.


******


Spike had expected to find Angel's old apartment in a mess, it not having been lived in for so long, but though it was rather sparsely furnished, it was surprisingly clean.

Seeing him looking round Buffy explained, "I didn't have a lot to do other than worry yesterday afternoon, so I came here and gave the place a quick clean."

"Oh Kitt...Buffy I don't know what to say." All along she'd trusted him, he was quite amazed he'd had doubts about himself but she never had. "Thank you, Slayer."

"That's ok," Buffy was glad he was pleased but, 'Ground Rule's,' had to maintained. "Please don't ever expect it to happen again."

"Don't fret Pet," Spike put the cooler down next to the refrigerator and opened it up to take a look inside,*Oh look she stocked it with goodies,* there was milk some Coke and somebody must have bought some beer's. "I can do my own cleaning, how much do I own you for this stuff?"

"There's no charge," Buffy smiled at him. "What with you saving me and all, it's the least I can do."

"No please, Slayer, I insist," Spike took a wad of cash from his coat pocket. "Whilst everyone was busy cleaning up, I half inched the contents of the till, someone had to think about it."

"Half inched!"

"Half inched, pinched, stole," Spike shook his head. "Never mind, let me settle up with you."

Buffy shook her head, *Jeez, at least Angel speaks English*, "Look fifteen bucks should cover thin's, and don't you have a lot of money there, bearing in mind that Harmony is gonna need care which we will have to pay for, don't you think that possibly Trick should cover it?"

*Damn,* said the part of Spike's brain that wasn't determined to get into Buffy's cool book,(and her pants), but since Spike was immune to taxation and a substantial property owner in the seedier parts of East London he didn't hesitate. "You're right of course, here you are."

Slightly stunned, Buffy took about a thousand bucks into her hot little palm, reflected briefly on shoe buying opportunities then recalled the money was intended for a good cause. Stun turned to startled as Spike handed over a couple of credit car's. "Trick's plastic Luv. I know you can get stuff on the Internet with them, perhaps you and the other kid's should get yourself a few treats at his expense. I expect he had a good credit limit."

*Now this is going beyond weird.* Hesitantly Buffy took the proffered plastic. "Spike are you sure your ok, your in a totally generous mode which I might assume to be untypical of vampire's." Noting a hurt expression appear on his face, she quickly added, "Not that we won't take you up on your offer, just don't mention it to Giles huh? I'm not sure about the ethics of vampire loot. We'll get him a book or two and say we won some money."

"I've always considered vampire loot as fair game, Kitten," Spike went back to putting his blood bags in the fridge, then realized what he'd just called her. "Sorry Buffy."

The Slayer just smiled at him and walking over reached her right hand up and gently traced the scar on his left eyebrow, "If I'm a Kitten, I guess that must make you a nasty old Tom Cat, how would you like to be that from now on, William?"

"Well, if you consider what nasty old Tom Cats get to do to lithe young Kittens," he gently caught the girls hand as she tried to withdraw it and forgetting his earlier reservations drew her palm to his lips and pressed then to her flesh.

The cold kiss sent what felt like an electric shock up Buffy's arm and straight to her brain and points south. Acting on pure instinct ,Buffy brought her left hand up and drew Spike's head down towards her and, standing up on tip toe, captured his lips with hers.

For a second their tongues clashed before Spike conceded and let her hot little tongue enter his mouth. It felt sensational better even than the last time in his car, those kiss's had been bittersweet death facing both of them but here they were alive and free yet still the Slayer kissed him. He felt Buffy's tongue withdraw and followed through past her lips even as his left hand dropped to her waist and pulled her tight against his body.

Buffy sucked on Spike's cold tongue even as she felt his erection press against her stomach, *Ok on the one hand he taste's just as good as Angel, but on the other...*, She broke clear very reluctantly. "Spike please, I don't think we should do this."

"Oh plea...ok baby if that's what you want," Spike had been about to beg but didn't. "Your right Kitten, we don't know each other that well yet and maybe this isn't the best of places for you."

"That's so understanding of you," Buffy almost grabbed the vampire again, she ran the palms of her hands down the front of his duster and found the hole made when the bullet struck him. "I forgot your hurt."

"It's ok Pet, I'm healing fast enough," Spike felt so good post kissage that he was feeling no pain from his injuries, just discomfort in the trouser area, which he intended to relieve as soon as she cleared the building.

"I better check it out anyway," Buffy looked him in the eye permitting no opposition. "Spike take of your coat and your shirts."

When he made no effort to comply Buffy leaned in closer, "Come on Tom Cat strip, you're not afraid are you?"

Spike hastily stripped.


******


Giles stood startled by the sight before him. There was Karen soundly sleeping, her head resting on her desk in front of her computer, the 'Dread Machine', was whirring gently away to itself even as the Principle dozed.

*Good grief she must have been here for hours.* Very quietly the Watcher walked round intending to gently waken Karen but stopped dead when he saw the computer screen.

"The Slayer, fact or fiction." He adjusted his glasses not sure if he wasn't in some kind of shock, "Good lord, that's all supposed to be secret, damned Internet!"

"Wha..how...oh," Karen woke up, realized where she was and attempted to straighten up and added. "Ow, that is one hell of a fucking crick," before realizing that she wasn't alone. She turned sharply despite the pain her hand grabbing for the crucifix she'd virtually been sleeping on.

"Oh Giles it's only you," she said relieved as she recognized the Englishman. "What time is it?" she glanced at the computer and rapidly began to log off. "What the hell must I be doing to the Schools Internet bills, oh and Rupert is Buffy Summers the Slayer?"

Denials would get him nowhere so looking at the ceiling and trying to repress a sigh Giles answered, "Yes she is though don't believe most of what you read on the net."

Glad he couldn't see her face, Karen let a grin have free rein. Some of the stuff about relationships between Watcher's and their ward's had been eyebrow raising to say the least, but she hadn't seen Giles in that kind of situation for a second. "I guessed as much from reading it, I'm curious about the other kids though. Shouldn't you guy's be traveling and operating alone rather than just being in one place with a whole gang around you?"

"Buffy's not a typical Chosen One, she's a supremely gifted Slayer but she needs people around her. Having the team she does makes her far more powerful and explains how she's lived to eighteen a very old age for a Slayer." Giles babbled on wondering what on earth there was that was secret in the world anymore. "Now please tell me, have you seen Buffy named anywhere as being the Slayer?"

"No, but there's a broad consensus of opinion that the Slayer operates in Southern California near El Boca Del Infierno," Karen looked at him a little harshly. "Thanks for mentioning that to me, and pray tell where exactly is the mouth of Hell?"

"Under the library," Giles was thinking about other things as usual. *So if the vampires know she's here, will that discourage or encourage them? I suppose that they more or less already know anyway.*

Suddenly he saw fingers waving in front of his nose, "Earth to Rupert, I asked how did it go tonight."

"We slew, the vast majority of Sunnydale's vampires are dead, the roadhouse is no more." Giles's face clouded a little, "But we did lose two people ourselves, and Seth, Amy, Spike and Angel were wounded."

*And you just mentioned two vampires to a person who doesn't know about the ones who are on our side.* Giles brain sent him loud and clear. "Oh god Rupert, it wasn't any of the kids was it?" Karen looked at him horrified.

"No they're alright, Amy was just scratched," Giles felt very relieved that his indiscretion had gone unnoticed.

"And you're ok?" Karen didn't know who the people were who'd been wounded she assumed from the name's she'd heard that the Slayer must have quite a team working for her.


"My arm got peppered by bullet shrapnel, but aside from that..." "You mean you've stood there wounded all this time?!" Karen began to unbutton the coat Giles had thrown on over his ruined shirt in a manner that brooked no opposition. "Let me see."

"Now hold on a second," Giles began only to be confronted with a very stern look from her brown eyes that confirmed to him who the Principal of Sunnydale High School was.

"This is not the usual modus operandi of a hero," she began not sure where she would finish. "Here you are wounded with an attractive gir...woman offering to tend to your wound's and mop your fevered brow," one hand flew up to his forehead. "Ok your brow isn't fevered but if it were I'd be there. Anyway Mr Snooty what do you do, you reject my help out of hand, I really begin to wonder why I sat here all night worrying about you or why I care that your alive and not dead."

*Mr Snooty, my my, didn't Jenny used to call me Mr Snobby?* he came back out of the revere to find the torrent of words had ceased and Karen was looking at him. *And she's as beautiful too, Jenny would have liked her but if Jenny were alive I wouldn't be stood here.* He smiled and replied, "I'm sorry Karen, of course you can help."

"Cool, you take of your coat, I did the whole first aid course when I became a teacher, just in case." She looked at the arm bandaged from elbow to shoulder. "Rupert, who did this to you?" the limb was swelling below the bandage. "Whoever it was doesn't know the first thing about not restricting circulation."

"Buffy did it," he contemplated pain as Karen began to unwind the long length of bandage but none came at first her touch seemed so gentle. "Wow, there's enough here to do Tutenkamun. Do I need to tie you to the chair with this or do you promise not to run?"

"I promise," Giles watched her go into the corridor heading for the nurses office. "Oh god, I think I should run."


******


Willow had very little difficulty getting the first bullet out, it was lodged just below the skin of Angel's left shoulder. A simple small cut with a scalpel blade and Willow was easily able to flick the projectile clear and then crudely seal the wound with a couple of stitches.

"The Internet's all very well, but there's only so much you can learn from it, practical experience is another thing entirely," the redhead was unhappy with her stitching, but still the speed at which vampire's healed meant that the wound wouldn't even be marked by a scar in a week or so. Now she held up a bullet probe. "You sure you don't use your lungs?"

"Yes," Angel nodded his head. "Go on Willow get it done."

*Oh!* Willow placed her rubber gloved hand on Angels bare chest and then as gently as she could forced the probe in through the bullet wound which had already started to heal a little blood dripped down his pale skin. "I told you all this protective gear was a waste of time, a vampires blood pressures too low for blood to really spurt."

Through gritted teeth Angel responded. "Better safe that sorry."

Willow was wearing gloves a face mask and protective glasses, just in case. "Ok, nobody wants an accidental turning," she drove the probe in deeper and Angel flinched and pulled back as pain lanced through him. "Angel how close to it am I, are you sure this is necessary?"

"It's got to come out," Angel slipped into his game face to be better able to deal with the pain.

"Angel? is that still you?" Willow asked him fearfully, remembering Angelus. "I hope you're still there and that you haven't, you know."

"I'm still Angel," the vampire tried to smile showing rather more teeth than Willow liked to see.

*Goddess please send me some help just about now,* then Willow heard the door opening. *Fast service...oh.*

Cordelia walked through the door and saw a half naked Angel sat in a chair facing away from her with Willow crouching in front of him and looking round the vampire startled. "Hi guys, if your busy and you'd rather I left, Willow just say so."

"Cordie, just the person," Willow grinned ignoring the implication. "Come and hold Angel's shoulder's whilst I operate."

"You want me to what?" Cordie looked down at the expensive red silk blouse she was wearing. "Do you know how much this cost?"

"Take it off then," Willow worked with the probe again and felt it scrape on the bullet. "There it is," she reached for the forceps, then suddenly looked up again as Cordie's painted nail's gripped the vampires shoulders.

"CORDELIA!" The brunette had taken the blouse off and was displaying a very complimentary black silk wonder bra to the world.

"I'm helping you," Cordie looked at Willow's shocked face. "What? It's not like I'm naked, is it."

Angel began to turn round only for Cordie to forcefully push his head back. "Hey vampire, eyes front, this isn't a free show."

"Ok Cordie, take a firm grip," silently praying Willow got ready to go in there after the bullet.


Continued

1