Strange Days by theslayer19
Summary: Buffy learns of the battle in Los Angeles, among other things kept secret from her. The gang must reunite and join Angel and Spike in the fight against the Senior Partners. Buffy and Spike rekindle the fire they once had, but what they don't know is that there is something or someone hidden from them that threatens to tear them apart.

Winner of Best Post-Series Finale Fic at the SunnyD Awards

Nominated at the SunnyD Awards
Love's Last Glimpse Awards
The Lost In Spike Awards!
And the Spuffy Awards!!

Categories: General Fics Characters: None
Genres: Action, Romance
Warnings: Sexual Situations, Violence
Series: None
Chapters: 21 Completed: Yes Word count: 54842 Read: 34899 Published: 05/29/2006 Updated: 05/29/2006

1. Heart of Glass by theslayer19

2. Lighting The Beacons by theslayer19

3. Awakenings by theslayer19

4. Where The Streets Have No Name by theslayer19

5. The Calm Before The Storm by theslayer19

6. Love is a Battlefield by theslayer19

7. I Forgot to Remember to Forget by theslayer19

8. Dragon? What dragon? by theslayer19

9. Just Breathe by theslayer19

10. Here Comes The Sun by theslayer19

11. All About Eve by theslayer19

12. Nothing As It Seems by theslayer19

13. A Woman Scorned by theslayer19

14. Don't Leave Me Now by theslayer19

15. Landslide by theslayer19

16. Eyes That Lie by theslayer19

17. Dreamers by theslayer19

18. Out Of Touch by theslayer19

19. Hell Revisited by theslayer19

20. ..And The Fun Just Keeps On Leaving by theslayer19

21. Where Do We Go From Here? by theslayer19

Heart of Glass by theslayer19
Author's Notes:
Disclaimer: Characters are the property of Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy. Orginal characters and plot are owned by the author.

Rome. May 19th.

The phone rang at least four times before Dawn picked it up. Buffy could hear her younger sister's muffled voice from the living room. Buffy was still in bed. It was almost 5 a.m., and she had no intention of getting up. Even though her slayer duties have pretty much ceased, she still could not escape from her usual schedule of staying up late, and waking at...whenever. After leaving Sunnydale, she and Dawn traveled a little, ending up in Italy. Although she felt like she can have a life long holiday, Buffy knew that evil doesn't sleep so neither can she. Giles told her about some girls that needed her help in Rome. Not girls, slayers. They were already pretty strong, they just needed decent combat training. She hasn't taken them out patrolling in a while. Hell, she hadn't even gone herself in like a week. There was little to no vamp action here in Rome and Buffy was enjoying every minute of it. The girls she's training were far from you're average teens. Yet you can never tell by looking at them. Most of them were barely sixteen. Buffy couldn't believe she was about that age when she started her journey. Now, here she is, not the one and only anymore, in her adorable apartment in Rome with Dawn and … Andrew. Andrew, temporarily. After his place got burned down by the Immortal's dragon minions, he moved in. He is quite the helper now.

Having him around does make it hard to date, though. Buffy did meet a guy, but after about five minutes, she was completely turned off. He called himself The Immortal. She laughed every time she called him that. Couldn't he think of a not so obvious name? He made plays for Buffy but she blew him off. There were a few nights he persuaded her to get out of the house and have a little fun, so she did. Although, she swore she'd never do it again, he couldn't keep his hands to himself. If it were up to Buffy, he'd be The Immortal walking around without arms. It occurred to her that it may even be him calling. She rarely got calls this early. Xander called a few times in the wee hours just to tell her about his Nubian Goddess he met in Africa, or some cool new food he discovered. She recalled Willow calling a few times to ask for more weapons Kennedy. Other than that, everyone knew that calling this early was only reserved for emergencies.

"Buongiorno!... uh no, this is Dawn, her sister... yea... oh... um..."

Buffy can hear the shaky tone of her sister's voice. These old buildings had a cool echoey quality to them. Her flat was stone and concrete but she would still hear through the walls. Dawn snoring sometimes, or Andrew crying out in his sleep from some dream. She found it soothing, just to know she wasn't alone yet not sharing her space with an army. After sharing her house with a billion Slayers the year before, she was content on having her two roomies.

Buffy lifted her head at the sound of her door opening. Dawn stood at the entrance with the cordless phone in hand. Her complexion was pale, which was unusual for Dawn. She had opened up here in Rome. She spent hours walking around the Villa Borghese with her new beau Antoine. She was even doing well in school, learning Italian, making friends, and it made Buffy gleam. All she ever wanted for Dawn was a normal life. After all they went through in Sunnydale, she deserved a lifetime of pure bliss. Dawn grew up. She blossomed here. It was weird seeing her usual sun kissed cheeks ashen in front of Buffy's eyes.

"Dawn... what is...?" Before Buffy could finish, Dawn was handing her the phone, motioning for her to take it.

Buffy hesitated, then grabbed it, shooting Dawn an irritated look. There was the sound of slight breathing on the other end. Then she could swear she heard the faint sounds of music. Was it Heart of Glass by Blondie?

"Hey Sunshine. Sorry to call ya this early in the A.M. an' all, but there's a bit of a prob here in the golden state of Californ I.A and I thought..."


Buffy recalled meeting Lorne when she came for one of her Angel visits. He was always very nice to her and always made her laugh She hung out with him a few times with Angel and thought he was a good member of Angel's team.

"It's me sugar beets. Listen, about why I'm calling. Seems our old pal Angel has gotten himself into quite a Vlasic... and well, I think you may want to sit. Are you sitting?"

Buffy looked down at her bed. She felt like she wasn't even laying in it, like she was floating. A wave of dizziness came over her, then the nausea. What has Angel gotten himself into now?

"Actually Lorne, I'm still in bed, what is it?" she asked anxiously.

"Right. Okay, Angel decided to take down the Legion of Doom and well, I think he's biting off more than he can chew which is saying a lot cus, have you seen those fangs of his?" Lorne giggled nervously.

"Anyway, with help from yours truly... Moi... Spike, Gunn, Wes, and a new blue member of our Justice League, we're about to start a war I don't think we can finish. Capeish?"

Buffy turned her head to Dawn with a look of shock in her eyes. Spike? What the hell was Lorne talking about? She thought he had clearly lost his mind. Maybe he was drunk, maybe he was...

"Buff? Are you there?"

Buffy choked on the words she tried to get out. "Lorne..."

Lorne's voice went from nervous to outright shaky. "Buffy, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean for all this to come out the way it did... I..."

Buffy felt hot, she threw the covers off of her and sat up in bed. She glanced back at Dawn who was standing next to her bed, obviously confused.

"Lorne, please explain this again to me. What is Angel doing and why did you say Spike was helping?"

Dawn's eyes bulged. "Spike?"

Buffy waved at her hand at Dawn to shut her up and held the phone close to her ear so she didn't miss a word.

"Okay princess, I guess I gotta be the one, although I really wish I wasn't." Lorne stammered.

"Lorne." Buffy said in a soft tone but with a hint of annoyance.

"Well here it goes," Lorne continued. "Spike came back all Aladdin like, poofing out of the amulet he wore when he... and then he was ghostly but like Casper. Anyway, someone delivered a package to Wolfram and Hart which Harmony gave to him and then, woosh, he was corporeal again! So now he's been helping us out with things, fighting the big bads, getting on Angel's nerves and well, who doesn't get on Angel's nerves these days? " Lorne cleared his throat as if to cover a nervous giggle.

Buffy didn't look up at all. She stared at the floor, listening closely, afraid she would miss a word. She felt Dawn staring at her but she just couldn't focus on anything but this conversation. She almost thought she was dreaming.

Lorne continued. "He's about to fight the big fight in L.A. Ya know, the one I'm trying to tell you about. I don't have the details on when this apocalypse is premiering, but we've got front row seats and we'd really love for you to make an appearance. With your gals, of course."

Buffy's mind reeled. Spike, the amulet, ghost, apocalypse? She jumped out of bed nearly knocking Dawn over. She walked over to the window and stared outside at the rising sun.

Lorne continued. "The sooner the better, Wonder Woman, just sayin."

"Lorne, are you telling me that Spike is alive?" Buffy asked, completely ignoring all the other details Lorne just gave her.

"Well, in a sense, I mean he is still highly allergic to the sun and all but yea, he's here in L.A., being a hero. I'm not sure how long they will last. I don't think they have much time left. This Black Thorn gang are really high profile and if ya ask me, I think we're all a bunch of crazy straws, but Angel's plan is convincing. We can't just sit around and wait. We have to do something. Well, that's Angel talk. I'd rather go to the Kitty Klub and have a fuzzy cocktail myself, but... on the level Buffy, their hero clock is ticking fast... ya know what I mean?"

Buffy understood exactly what he meant. She was going to L.A.

Lighting The Beacons by theslayer19
Giles thumbed through an old text he found in one of the libraries in London. The air was moist and cold. He couldn't sleep and morning was approaching. The small dim lamp next to his comfy chair flickered. He shook it a little to see if there was a short. It seemed fine, so he continued reading. His flat was so quiet. Not a noise to be heard. It was so relaxing, pleasing.

Why couldn't he sleep then?

At that thought, the phone rang. It seemed louder than ever, disrupting the serenity he was closing in on. He exhaled as he rose from his chair. As he neared the phone perched on the entry table, he grunted.

"Giles here," he said with a hint of annoyance, but polite as any respectable British man should be.

"Giles, It's Buffy."

Giles heard the urgency in her voice. He hated that urgency. It reminded him of... Sunnydale. "Buffy, is everything okay? Dawn?" He felt frantic. He was glad his heart was strong or else he'd probably have a heart attack.

"Yea, Dawn is fine. Giles, listen. I need to go to L.A. We all need to go to L.A. There's this big...well... smack down about to start and I need to be there, I need to help Angel and Sp...Spike."

Spike? What in the bloody hell was she rambling on about?

"Buffy," Giles said calmly, "You need to slow down. What is this refer to? I haven't heard anything from the coven," he asked, embarrassed for repeating her slang.

"It's this Black Thorn, what ever they are, and it seems bad. Angel is taking them down. Spike is there, helping him. I can explain later. First I need you to do something for me."

Giles listened intently. Black Thorn? He didn't even think they were real but he understood that when Buffy said jump, they all better ask, 'how high?' He would fight along side her to the death and she knew it. She instructed him to track down Willow and Kennedy, Xander, Faith, and if he would get the London gang together and meet her in L.A. That was a good number, he thought. He's been training these new slayers for nearly a year. He felt they were ready for their first real battle.

Returning to London, without the burden of the council down his throat made it easier to gather the girls and train them as he saw fit. Andrew would come and stay with him every now and again to help out. Andrew really wanted to learn how to be a watcher. The idea made Giles chuckle, but it was far better to put that boy to work than have him play xbox all day. The easiest way to spot the slayers was to check out the local schools and see which girls seemed 'stronger'. Of course, he felt like a weirdo hanging around schools eying young girls. Giles figured he would have to round them up quick, as to not seem like a complete pervert.

After Giles hung up the phone he opened the drawer on the table the phone rested on. He pulled out his black organizer address book. Of course Giles still used such things as this. These electronic devices were way to tricky for him. He preferred ink and paper. It made more sense to him. As he thumbed though he found Willow's number and quickly dialed. It rang twice, then he heard her familiar voice on the other end. Sleepy, but it was her.

"Hel… ola?"

Willow and Kennedy spent most of the year in Brazil. They were tracking down slayers and quite successfully. Kennedy ran her training school and it was going well while Willow kept in close communication to the coven in London by way of the internet. Their relationship grew stronger as they spent everyday together. Kennedy still brings up their last battle to the young slayers, and explains how Willow, the Goddess with the white hair performed the winning victorious spell. Willow was always humble about her magic. After her dark days, she felt it was a bad omen to gloat about her power. But that didn't mean she can't let Kennedy do it. Now, she stared at a sleeping Kennedy while she stood in the bedroom with phone in hand.

"Sure Giles, We'll be there. I...uh...Kennedy is sleeping, I'll wake her in a bit and we'll pack. Giles, how will we get all these slayers together in L.A.?"

"I will send message to all trainers. We can summon enough of them to spread the word and we have enough money left from the council's accounts to cover it."

Willow knew these girls were still wet behind the ears when it came to real fighting, but this is what they were training them for, right? Can't back down now. "Of Course Giles, consider it done. Well, I guess I'll see you back in California. Weird huh, going back there?"

"Weird, yes it is. I'm going to give Faith a call. She's the closest to L.A. so she'll be the first one there, and Willow, we need Xander."

Xander pulled the covers over his head, ignoring his cellphone ringing the Dukes Of Hazard theme song repeatedly. Finally he reached over to his night stand and flipped the phone on.

"This better be good" he joked, sleepily.

"Xander, It's Wil. Are you asleep?"

"Well, what do you think?"

He sounded annoyed, yet glad to hear Willow, his best friend. Issa stirred next to him. His newly found girlfriend. He'd been in Africa tracking down slayers. He didn't have much luck. It seems Xander just didn't have that watcher quality that Giles had. He did meet Issa though. He was walking around Watamu, where he made camp in a lovely resort courtesy of Giles' wonderful watcher connections, when he saw her. She was sitting on the beach reading a magazine. Simple, yes, but Xander couldn't keep his eyes off of her. She was tall and slim. She wore a red and yellow sarong that barely covered her radiant dark skin. She was a beauty. Of course Xander made a few lame attempts at getting her attention. It wasn't until she watched him fumble with a beach umbrella, tripping over it and bending it in half that she noticed him. He looked up at her embarrassed. She offered to share her umbrella with him, then that was how it began. They talked for hours.

He jokingly asked her, because of his track record, "Okay, just to make things clear. Are you a demon, Hell-God, insect, mummy, vampire... well I guess you couldn't be a vampire since your in the sun... unless you're a reverse vampire..."

She laughed and cut him off. "Witch."

It turned out Issa was powerful witch, studying under this coven here in Africa. He meant to ask Willow about them. He guessed now may not be the best time.

"Sorry Xan, listen I have to give you the latest. Are you ready for this?"


Faith slammed on the breaks of her Mustang as Robin's body jerked in the passenger seat. She was slightly buzzed and he couldn't believe he let her drive them home from the club in her intoxicated condition. Laughing, Faith pulled a cigarette out of her pack of Marlboro's and flicked her Zippo lighter. As she exhaled, Robin coughed and waved the smoke from his face.

"I am so going to make you give that up ya know."

Faith smirked then blew smoke in his face again. "Okay, Principal Wood. Wanna send me to detention or would ya rather spank me with a paddle?"

"Oh, don't tempt me!" He smirked.

She threw her cigarette out the car window and reached into the glove compartment. She pulled out a piece of gum and shoved into her mouth. "See, now I'll be minty fresh."

Faith pulled him close to her and pressed her lips to his, hard and passionate. She kissed him as she grabbed the back of his head. He reached behind her and slowly ran his hands under her shirt. Just as he reached the back of her bra, her phone rang.

"Damn timing" Faith turned her head to the back seat and grabbed her purse. "Where the hell is my damn...oh here it is. Yea? Who ever this is, this better be good cus I'm about to get lai..."

"My apologies Faith, I'll be brief."

"Giles? What's up? Do you know what time it is here in Cleveland?"

"Faith, listen, I don't have time for... Buffy needs you in Los Angeles. We're all going. It seems Angel has gotten himself into a bit of a mess and she needs us to..."

Faith looked at Robin. His expression changed from lust to worry as hers did. "Yea, Rupie, we'll be there. Let me guess, Since I'm the closest, I'll be the first one there, huh?"

"Yes, Faith. I'm afraid you'll have to get there as soon as you can. Let Angel and Spike know that..."

"Hold up! Spike?" Faith saw the look in Robin's eyes change. Did he really still hate the poor bastard?

"Yes, it seems he's alive and with Angel. They are in over their heads it appears. Bloody stupid if you ask me but we must go. You need to leave soon."

Faith agreed then hung up the phone. This was a real downer. She was just getting used to her time here in Ohio. Training all the newbies with help from Rhona and Vi, having great sex with Robin. Now she has to gather the troops and go to Hell A.

"Well, it could be worse. At least we're not going back to Sunnydale."

Awakenings by theslayer19

Thanks to Lorne she knew exactly where to go. It wasn't going to be easy getting everyone there but as long as Buffy got there, she can hold off the baddies until her entire army arrived. What an army it was. There were at least thirty or so slayers in London alone. Between Cleveland, Africa, and Brazil, she'd have quite the advantage.

She hoped.

Buffy couldn't believe this was happening. Spike's alive, big fight in L.A. Thoughts of the last Sunnydale battle lingered in her mind. It pained her to think of those times. Losing people she was close to was unbearable. She remembered holding Spike's hand during his last moment with her. She thought of Faith yelling for her to go, and Spike telling her the same. What if she just grabbed him and pulled him with her? These are thoughts that went through her head all the time. Thoughts of ways she could have saved Spike. She remembered what he told her right when she came back from the grave. He told her how every night he saved all different ways, in his mind.

She understood that a lot more clearly now.

After getting off the phone with Giles, Buffy dashed passed Dawn, only to be stopped suddenly in her tracks. Dawn grabbed Buffy's arm and peered hard at her.

"Buffy, I'm going, right? I mean, you have to let me."

Buffy felt really guilty for not filling Dawn in. After she hung up the phone with Lorne she immediately called Giles. Dawn, the whole time just stood there listening. What was she going to do, lead her sister into yet another dangerous fight? Then again, Dawn had really proven herself back in Sunnydale yet Buffy just couldn't feel comfortable repeatedly putting her in danger. This past year has been so perfect for Dawn. She finally had a chance at living a normal life in a normal school not of the hellmouthy variety. She met a cute guy. They seemed adorable together and now she will what, whisk her away to L.A. to fight in a battle that she wasn't even sure was about? All of this seemed to much to comprehend right now. Always having to make these life altering decisions for Dawn was tiring.

"Dawnie. I don't know what exactly this battle is about. I don't even know who these Black Thorn thingamabobs are! I can't risk..."

"No, don't even say risk! That's what we do Buffy! You can't leave me out of this, I can help! I can..." Tears ran down Dawn's face.

Buffy frowned then turned towards the window again. The sun was up and the birds were singing. Just a normal day. Was this even happening? Am I really going to leave my sister here in Rome while I fought along side Angel and... Spike? Oh God... Spike. Why didn't he tell me he was back? Was he mad at me? Why would he be mad at me? She faced Dawn again, who was giving her a confused look.

" Buffy, tell me... is Spike alive?"

I don't know, is he?

"L... Lorne said he's been in Los Angeles this whole time. I can't figure out why Spike didn't tell me he was alive."

"But Buffy, isn't Angel in that bad lawyer firm dealio? Should we even trust anyone he's associated with? Remember what Andrew said about his trip there?"

At that moment, Dawn and Buffy's eyes widened and they both raced out of Buffy's room into the living room where Andrew was sleeping. Dawn pulled the blanket off of him, to wake him. Andrew shot up, half dazed with his hair mussed up, eyes half closed. Dawn stared at him hard.

"Wha what? Are there assassin Kouhuns in here?"

Dawn rocked her head back in confusion, then she had a look of 'oh I got it.' She shook it off, then threw her hands to her hips. "Andrew. When you were in L.A. did you see anything or anyone unusual? Like say a certain platinum vampire... calls himself Spike?"

Andrew swallowed hard as his eyes widened. He knew he was in big trouble with the Summers girls now. He swore to Spike he wouldn't tell. They'll understand. Right?

"Listen. He told me that if I told you he would clobber me, or bite me or something bad like that and he used words like bloody and bugger and it sounded scary. Either way, he'd kill me." Andrew whined.

Buffy bit hard on her lower lip. She was furious. All this time this twerp knew Spike was in L.A. and he never said a thing, not even a hint. Andrew swallowed hard again when Buffy moved closer to him.

"Listen Andrew. I want to know exactly what he ASKED you NOT to tell me." She clenched his arm hard which caused Andrew to let out a whimper.

"He was embarrassed. He thought you wouldn't think of him as the great hero because he came back. I told him that it was nonsense and th-that he was like Gandalf the White...and... him burning up is just like fighting the Balrog and..." Andrew gave a sheepish smile in hopes they understood the comparison.

Buffy let go of his arm and looked down at the floor. She couldn't blame Andrew. She was sure Spike scared him into lying to her. But why? Why go to the extreme as to threaten Andrew to keep his 'back to life' premier a secret?

Andrew continued, "And when he and Angel were here I just had to, ya know, get rid of them or else the Immortal would have killed me too."

Buffy turned to Dawn who looked just as confused as she felt.

They were here?

"Wait, when were they here?" Buffy was even more angry now.

Andrew looked over at Dawn who tapped her fingers to her hips waiting for the answer. "Well, a few weeks ago..."

Buffy grabbed his arm again. Andrew let out an "OWIEE!" as she tightened her grip.

"Andrew spill it!"

He looked like he was about to vomit. Sweat began to bead on his forehead. She let go of his arm. He quickly rubbed it, trying to soothe out the pain. So, he would have to tell her everything. About how Spike and Angel were here on some mission and they kept coming here looking for her, but The Immortal swore to make Andrew a corpse if he told Buffy. Andrew was forced make up some dribble about Buffy and The Immortal so that Spike and Angel would leave and not come back, thinking Buffy moved on. The Immortal was so infatuated with Buffy, but she wouldn't give him the time of day, except for the night she went dancing with him, which Andrew knew she wasn't ever going to again. The Immortal annoyed Buffy. He was a womanizing pig in her eyes. That made him fight for her affections even harder. He knew that if Angel and Spike found Buffy, it would distract her and there would no hope for him. He told all of this unbelievably to Andrew. Now Andrew was about to get his ass kicked. Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't.

Buffy and Dawn listened to Andrew's story. Buffy fumed at the thought of the Immortal doing this. She hated him even more now but she knew that this all had to wait. More important tasks were waiting. She had to get to L.A.

"Andrew, I'm going to L.A. I need you to stay here with Dawn"

Dawn shot an angry look at Buffy, then back at Andrew who looked relieved that he was still in one piece.

Andrew rose from the sofa, almost tripping over his slippers. "But Buffy, Angel and that Wolfram place, it's not good and... I don't think you should..."

Buffy ignored Andrew. "Dawn, I need you here. If anyone calls, you have to instruct them to meet me in L.A. Please understand."

Dawn rolled her eyes in a 'whatever' sort of way. "That's what cellphones are for Buffy! We can call people from the airport and we can all..."

"No!" Buffy shouted. It startled Dawn, and she moved back a bit. "Dawnie," her voice now softer, "I need you here. Please. You guys can come when I get a handle on what this battle is about, okay? Once I see what kind of fight we're in for, I'll call you. I promise!"

"Battle?" Andrew interrupted.

"Something about Black Thorn, some mega fight, I don't know all the details, but I got a call from Lorne, he needs my help."

Andrew swallowed hard. "I like Lorne. He's like a cool disco demon."

Buffy shook her head. "Okay, whatever Andrew. The both of you, keep your phones charged."

Dawn, still annoyed, looked down at her shoes and nodded apprehensively. Buffy smiled and leaned in to kiss her forehead. This was the right thing to do. Dawn needed to be safe.

Where The Streets Have No Name by theslayer19

Buffy nervously sat in the seat of a jet that had been chartered for her. With her, was Adriana, Sabrina, Patricia and Bianca. The only slayers she'd been training that she felt were strong enough. Bianca, the youngest of the group just stared out the window in awe commenting on how excited she was to be on a plane for the first time. Patricia rolled her eyes. She was the sassy one. All attitude. She reminded Buffy of Kennedy. Sabrina was the quiet one. Never really had anything to say, unless spoken to. Then there was Adriana, well, Adriana was a little sex-crazed and passionate. She always spoke of slaying as some sort of sex metaphor. Sometimes she'd say things that reminded Buffy of stuff Spike would say about fighting being like foreplay.


Now here they were, on their way to L.A. Their lives would change after this. Buffy's life would change. What was she going to say to him? 'So, I hear you've been alive all this time. How's it been?' It all sounded stupid in her head. Maybe they were already... no. Death wasn't an option.

It disturbed her a little that she had to find out about this plan through Lorne. Angel was an annoyingly secretive guy, but why would he jump into a battle he knew he'd lose? He came to help her last year, but she sent him away. Was that why he didn't call her for help? Something didn't sit right with Buffy about the fact that Spike has been with Angel all year. She and Giles both spoke with Angel since then. Why didn't he say anything? Even if Spike asked Angel to keep his miraculous return a secret, Angel wouldn't care. He has no loyalties to Spike. There was a lot about their past she didn't know, but loyalty wasn't a part of it.

The memory of Angel coming to Sunnydale last year popped into her head. She kissed him 'hello.' She tried to explain that to a jealous Spike. He understood.

He always understood.

A pain stabbed her heart. Maybe Spike didn't want to see her because of the way she treated him in the past. Buffy believed the last few months together with him was different. She thought there was a mutual respect and trust, but what if he didn't see it that way? What if he just saw her as a tease who didn't care about him? Is that why he told her that he didn't believe she loved him? Oh God! Why should he have believed it?

She never gave him any reason to believe it.

And this Black Thorn, was it part of the corporation Angel was running now? Why the hell did he make such a stupid move like that? She couldn't trust him. It was just way to weird and wait, maybe Spike is being held hostage there? No, can't be.

Her mind was on overload. She decided now would be a good time to get some rest. She advised the girls to do the same. There, with the constant noise of the flight, she drifted.

Buffy was alone. It was dark. She heard a strange sound in the distance. She walked slowly in the dark, arms outstretched in front of her. She could barely make out a light up ahead. It was faint, but she followed it anyway.

It had to lead her out of this darkness.

A sound came from the same direction as the light. A tapping. It grew louder as she got closer. Then the light grew brighter. She was in a room. Her room, her old room in Sunnydale. Buffy smiled at her stupid posters on the wall. She felt so at ease. This was her haven for so long.

There was a tapping sound still. It turned into a loud banging. Her bedroom door. She approached it, and opened it without thinking.

There stood Spike. Light shining behind him. He smiled at her. He had a twinkle in his eyes.

Were his eyes always this nice?

He lifted his hand and ran his fingers through her hair. Buffy felt a shudder, then a feeling as though she was going to fall. As she fell back, he caught her. She felt safe in his embrace. Buffy looked down and noticed that he saved her from falling into a pit of lava. When she looked back him, he was crying. Blood pouring down his face. Before she can say anything, he pulled her into the hallway.

"See luv, there much going on. Lava all around us. If your not careful, I may lose you. That can't happen again, got it?"

Buffy looked back down at the floor, but it was back to normal. Spike was gone.

"What the...?"

She walked over to the window and looked outside. She saw Dawn and Spike outside. In the sun? Spike? He looked up at her and smiled. He blew her a kiss then it seemed he was trying to tell her something. She couldn't hear him though the glass. As she opened the window, his voice was clear.

"Now arriving, buckle up."

Buffy woke to a start. The girls were all buckling up for the descend. We're here? Already? She looked at her watch. Oh God, they were here. She quickly adjusted her watch to L.A. time. 1:35 PM. She shook off the dream she had. The image of Spike crying blood made her shiver.

Faith and Robin walked through a very sunny Los Angeles. No sign of any big bad or battle anywhere. They've been here for a few hours, but nothing. The newbies were stationed at the hotel room awaiting Faith's call. As for now everything seemed, well, normal. Her cellphone rang. She looked at the display. "Buffy," she said aloud.

"Hey B, ya here yet?"

"Yea, we just landed. A car is supposed to pick us up. How are the girls, how's Robin?"

Faith smirked at Robin who was checking out some girl in a mini skirt. "The girls are cool and ya know, Robin. Wicked horny."

Robin looked at her shocked.

"Uh...Okay Faith. I won't ask. Listen, I have four girls. How many were you able to bring?"

"I have at least twenty. They're back at the hotel, awaiting our word."

"Great. I think we should all meet there. Whatever is about to go down, seems hairy and we need a plan."

Faith skipped ahead of Robin so he wouldn't hear what she was about to ask Buffy. "Hey Buffy, what's the deal with Spike. How did he survive? I mean, there was no getting out of that."

"He didn't. He did die but now he's back. Some sort of Aladdin thing … or something."

Faith turned to Robin who was window shopping. "Uh... huh? Like someone rubbed a lamp and out he came? Oh, or did someone find a genie and wish him back? Was there a magic carpet?"

"No, I mean... I don't know. It had something to do with the amulet and a package and Harmony."


"Look, we'll get the answers when we see him. For now we need to focus on getting a plan together... ok?"

"Sure thing. No problem." Faith sounded sympathetic. This must be a real slap in the face for Buffy. "Our hotel is on Grand and Figueroa. See ya there!" and she hung up.

"C'mon lover, we have a party to attend."

Buffy and the girls piled out of the car. Buffy tipped the driver and thanked him. He drove away in a rush, almost knowing what was about to happen. Good on him since Buffy still had no clue what to expect. Just then, Bianca leaped in front of Buffy almost childlike.

"So, whena are we gonna see the rest of de girls?"

Buffy thought her accent was cute. "We're here Bianca.".

Bianca looked up at the Grand hotel and almost tipped backwards. "Eccellente!"

Buffy walked ahead of them. They were so anxious. Not as anxious as Buffy, though. She wanted to find out once and for all what in the hell was going on. She was mad at Angel for not telling her anything. He's been so secretive since he joined this Wolfram and Hart crapolla. He kept Spike a secret too. Spike working with him? Spike would never join this dumb corporation. So what was he doing there? What was he thinking?

Why didn't he tell me?

The door of the suite opened. A girl about Dawn's height stood at the threshold glaring at Buffy and her girls. She wore a tight leather bustier and tight denim jeans that looked painted on her. Her hair was in a slick ponytail. She looked Irish, or maybe Scottish. She had a pale complexion with freckles everywhere. She was quite a sight. One of Faith's girls, that's for sure.

"Hi, I'm Buffy. This is Bianca, Patricia, Adriana, and Sabrina."

The girl stood there with a blank look on her face. Buffy saw Faith in the background. She waved at her. Faith motioned for her to come in. "Jenna, what's your damage? Let them in!"

"Hey, all." Buffy looked around the room, greeting them with a smile.

"Yo, B!" Faith said hugging Buffy. "I kept telling them you'd be here soon. They're all stoked to meet you, well, except for our host Jenna. She doesn't like anyone, but hey, who ever said slayers gotta be perky, right?"

She gave a light punch on Buffy's right arm. Buffy laughed as the two of them walked over to Robin. He hugged Buffy. The girls all gathered around one another, talking. They were so full of life and energy. It almost looked like a big slumber party. Buffy wished that's all that it was. Faith booked them the entire floor. Each room held at least four girls. Except for a few rooms that were only meant for two people. Obviously for her and Robin, no doubt. She was sure Giles would want his own room...wait, what was she thinking? How long did they plan to stay?

"Faith, thanks for getting all these rooms, but do you plan on all of us staying here after tonight?"

"Well, Maybe. I mean, who knows what'll happen right? Best be prepared!"

Buffy smiled. The thought of all of them being okay after this filled her heart with hope. Maybe they will all be all right. Maybe.

Rona approached Buffy with a smile. "Hi Buffy. Long time."

"Hey Rhona," Buffy smiled. "I'm so glad you all came. We need the best."

Rona smirked. "Yea, I figured that."

Buffy scanned the room for more familiar faces. She saw Vi talking to a few girls in the corner. This was promising. She knew Faith did a great job with these girls. They all seemed confident, strong, like real slayers.

"So, what do ya think B? Ya like the Cavalry?" Faith asked her.

Buffy turned to Faith. "You know Faith, I have to hand it to you. You've really done a great job. I can see it in these girls. You always had a way with..."

"Buff, I just train them, that's all. The rest is up to them. They're slayers. Like us. All we can do is show them the way, right?"

Faith had watcher issues. She lost her watcher to Kakistos, then Wesley, well, that didn't quite work out. She didn't realize how important her role was. Without Faith, these girls would just be girls... but with super powers of course.

Buffy leaned her hand on Faith's shoulder. "Yea, well, they all seem ready."

"Are you?" Faith asked. "I mean, with Spike. Are you ready to see him?"

Good question.

The Calm Before The Storm by theslayer19

A few hours passed. Buffy looked at her watch. 7:30 P.M. Where were the rest of them? Giles, Willow, Xander? The sun was setting. Buffy's stomach rumbled. She probably shouldn't have eaten all those nachos. She heard someone's cellphone ring. It was hers. She quickly picked it up.


"Hey, Buffster. It's Uncle Lorne. Just wanted to thank you. Are you here? In L.A.?"

"Yea, we're in a hotel a few blocks from Wolfram and Hart. Listen, what's the lowdown? When, where...?"

"Hold on tiger. It's all tonight. The gang is going to meet in the alley behind the big Corp. I'm leaving though, I won't be there."

"Okay. Thanks Lorne, but I need to know, who's the Black Thorn and what the hell do they have to do with Angel?"

"Look, I'd love to give you the skinny, but my chords are tired and I need to split. Angel will explain it. It's nothing you can't handle. I hope you guys... well... win." He hung up.

Buffy stood at the window. All she could think of was that damned amulet around Spike's neck. Then it dawned on her. Wolfram and Hart may have been responsible for bringing him back. Maybe it's a bad thing. Maybe that's why they're going to try to take them down? And why did Harmony receive the amulet? She needed answers.

"Angel's office, well used to be Angel's office, may I help you?"


"Yea, and..."

She could still hear that stuck up attitude Harmony had when she was still human. It's interesting how strong characteristics carry over, even after...

"Helloooo...?" Harmony sounded annoyed.

"Harmony. It's Buffy. I need information and don't even think about hanging up because I'm here in L.A. and I'll come right over there!"

"Buffy! Hi! How are you?"

Buffy was shocked at her friendliness. "I'm... okay, you?"

"Well, sorta okay. I think something bad is about to happen, but I can't put my finger on it. Maybe it has something to do with Angel. You know I work for him now. Angel. Yea, and Spike's back too. Did you know that? He's been really weird though. I can't get used to the whole soul thing. Although that didn't stop him from practically taking me right there on the desk! Oh and Fred is some Blue old one in a body suit thingy. Things are definitely weird."

"Tell me about Angel's plan!"

"Oh that. Well, him, and the rest of the wannabe good doers are going to take out the black circle and piss off the Senior Partners. I think he's just plain stupid, but he seems real intent on..."


Buffy froze. What was he going to do? Why was he forcing this battle?

Night was approaching. Faith and Robin were in one of the suites probably taking advantage of the peacefulness. Earlier, Faith, Robin and herself went over the plan with the girls. They would all be there when Angel met up with the rest of his crew. Simple. It was the best plan she ever had because it was so darn simple! They will all be there to help him, no matter how stupid his plan was. Giles should be here any minute. Xander too. Willow and Kennedy were going to just find them later in the alley. She knew they were taking the longest. Willow was great with her locator spells. She would have no trouble finding them.

Staring out the window Buffy noticed the sky getting dark. Not only from the night, but from the clouds. The moon was nowhere to be seen. This city still gleamed. It was alive but for how long? What were these Senior Partners capable of?

She heard a knock. Giles! She ran over to the door. There was Giles, and only ten maybe eleven girls? She let them inside. This isn't good. Why so few?

"Giles! I'm so glad you're here. Where are the rest of the girls?"

Giles looked around at the girls with him. "Oh, we were stopped at the start of the hallway. The rest of the girls are gathering in rooms. Seems some of them know each other."

Relieved, Buffy hugged him. Faith and Robin walked back in, looking serene. She knew why. Giles walked to greet them. Buffy thought of thought of Dawn, She promised to call her yet she can't bring her into this. She doesn't even know what this is. She picked up her cell and punched Speed Dial 1. Dawnie.


"Dawn, it's me"

"Buffy! What's going on? I have been waiting all day!"

Buffy swallowed. She hates leaving her sister out of the loop, but until she... "I'm here. In L.A. I'm sorry I didn't call earlier. I've been trying to get a handle on things." Which was the truth, in part.

"Well, guess what. Andrew and I well, we're, uh, at the airport."

Buffy's eyebrows crinkled. "What airport?"

"Buffy, please don't be mad. It's just... Andrew knew some watcher guy here and he asked him to get us a plane to California and now we're here. Aren't you the least bit glad?"

Anger swept over Buffy like a tidal wave. Then she shook her head, thinking, My God, she's just like me.

"Dawn, get to the Grand hotel on Wilshire"

Dawn clapped and yelled over to Andrew to tell the cabbie where to go. Buffy sighed. She hung up and approached Giles who was in a deep discussion with Robin and Faith.

"Seems lil' sis made her way here after all and she's with Andrew. They're on their way."

"Brat is coming! Cool," Faith interrupted. Robin smirked at her.

Buffy rubbed her hands to her jeans. She was clammy. Ew! "Yea, brat is coming," Buffy sighed.

"Is that such a good idea Buffy? We still don't have any idea what we're up against," Giles asked.

"I know Giles, I agree. She came without my knowledge. Not much we can do now, I'm not worried."

Buffy was worried. What was going to happen later? They had weapons galore. More than they can even carry. Robin brought a few cool crossbows and battle axes. Buffy had her usual swords and her beloved Scythe. Of course Giles had his stash but it was still so unclear what was really going on.

"Giles, can I talk to you, alone?" Buffy asked.

Giles looked around and glanced back at Buffy. "Of course."

They made their way to a corner of the room. Everyone was in the excitement of the night, they barely paid any attention to them at all.

"You've spoken to Angel a few times this year. He didn't mention anything about Spike?" Buffy whispered.

"No, Buffy. Not a thing. I am just as shocked as you are. What do you think happened?"

"Ugh, I have no clue. Amulet, Wolfram and Hart, it all seems... unseemly."

Buffy wondered how many people were fighting along side Angel. Lorne mentioned Wes, Gunn, Spike and a blue Fred? That couldn't be all, could it? What role did they all play in this fight? Lorne said something about everyone having a job to do. Buffy wanted answers. She turned and looked at some of the girls laughing with each other. Here they were again. Danger afoot. Yet ease crept over her. There was no way this battle will be a loss. She had an army after all. A damn good one at that. They were ready.

"Hey, B. Looks like it's starting to rain." Faith said

Love is a Battlefield by theslayer19

The rain poured down hard on them. Buffy glanced over at Faith who marched next to her. Giles had some of the girls waiting inside with Dawn and Andrew while the rest followed Buffy and Faith. Overhead Buffy could swear she saw a dragon. Impossible, she thought. The rain was going to make this fight difficult, but nothing they can't handle. Still, she had no idea what to expect. Was there one big bad, two, thousands? Were they human, demon, vampires? Buffy still had no real information about the Black Thorn. She didn't even really know much about Wolfram and Hart.

There was a loud roar just east of where they stood. A bolt of light exploded in front of them. "There you guys are," Willow cried, happily.

Buffy turned to Willow, who stood a few feet in front of Kennedy. They had a legion of girls behind them. Some were Kennedy's, some Giles, Faith's. Buffy ran to Willow and gave her a huge hug. Willow winced in pain and tapped Buffy's shoulder.

"Uh, Buff, I'm human, ya know. I can break."

Realizing she was hugging her too hard, Buffy let go and apologized. "Oh my God Wil, I'm so sorry, I'm just so happy to see you!"

Willow winked at her, then stood by her side as they marched into battle. The rain was harder now. Buffy could almost sense something in the air. Something huge. Bad. Evil. Then there it was. A wall of demons, literally taking up entire blocks. She could barely make out what kind they were, they were still too far away. Buffy knew this was bad.

Giles marched the rest of the girls out, keeping a good distance. He wanted to make sure they were spread out enough to ensure everyone's safety.

Buffy heard a voice in the distance behind her. She knew that voice. As she turned around, she could see Xander running towards her with a woman. "This must be Issa", Buffy thought. He caught up to her and hugged her , lifting her into the air. Buffy laughed.

"Aren't ya gonna introduce me?" Buffy asked.

Xander, flustered, put Buffy down and threw his arm around Issa's waist.

"Everyone, this is Issa, Issa this is, well... everyone."

Almost in unison, they yelled, "Hi Issa!" Issa gave a small bow and smiled.

Chuckling at the comedic moment, Buffy held out her hand. "Pleasure to meet you Issa." Buffy glanced at Xander.

He knew that look. "Buff, she's a really powerful witch, she'll be okay."

Giles had filled her in earlier about Xander being slayer-less. It didn't matter. They had enough and Xander brought Issa. She knew Xander never went for the normal gals, just as much as she went for the normal guys. Spike. Angel. They're out there somewhere in that craziness, fighting. She had to find them. She looked at Willow as if Willow knew what she was thinking.

"Wil, we need to locate Angel and Spike. Can you...?"

"On it!" Willow nodded.

With a quick flash, a light flew above them. It was bright and big like the size of that big ball in Times Square on New Year's Eve. They saw the ball bounce around in the air then it headed east. It went fast, then stopped, hovering over an area.

That's it, Buffy thought. There they are!

Spike grabbed the arm of a Serparvo demon and swung him into a few other ones that stood there. They fell down like bowling pins. "Too easy," Spike mumbled.

The rain was making it very slippery. Some of his punches just slipped off of the demons. No more fists, he thought. He motioned to Angel. Angel lifted a battle-ax and threw it over to Spike. He caught it and whacked a few more demons, their heads rolling to the ground.

"Too bad these guys don't dust like the rest of us, huh?" Spike joked, tripping on the severed heads.

Angel smirked, but kept his concentration on the dragon flying overhead. Behind him he can hear Gunn yelling something, but couldn't make it out. Suddenly a bright ball came towards them in the sky. It flew fast, then stopped overhead.

Spike looked up, barely able to keep his eyes open against the pounding rain. He knew that light. He knew exactly what that was. Willow. He scanned the area for her, frantically. Where was she? Was she here? Why was Red here?

Illyria stood still, staring up at the brightness, ignoring the fact that a Woruk demon came at her full speed with a very large sword. Illyria grabbed the sword without flinching just as the demon swung it at her. She broke it off then sliced the demon's head off with the broken piece of the blade. She then flung the broken blade like a Frisbee, beheading five other demons that were headed her way.

Spike chuckled at the sight, then focused again at the light. "Locator spell. Red's in town and she's looking for us," Spike shouted.

Angel nodded. He picked up his sword and ran over to Gunn who was nearly fallen over. Gunn was weakand he didn't have much fight left in him but he pushed on. Angel let him. Illyria turned her head to the side and smirked, looking past them. Angel followed her gaze and his eyes widened.

Spike neared Angel, turning his attention again on the demon brigade, and he noticed some of the demons backing away. Some even looked almost spooked. Spike smiled as he lifted his chin and stuck out his chest with pride.

"That's right, run off to mum! Spike's here and he's gonna kick your sorry little..."

"Buffy!" Angel yelled.

"Your sorry little Buf... huh?" Spike questioned Angel's sanity at this point.

"Spike, you idiot, look!"

Spike followed Angel's finger. There in the distance was a large group of people heading their way. He can see clear as day, in the lead next to Faith and Willow, was his Buffy. His slayer.

Willow and Issa threw their arms up as a wave of energy came splashing down on the demons approaching Spike and Angel. Buffy and Faith ran ahead, almost a block away from the fight. Buffy's heart froze. There was a figure in black. Platinum hair. Looking right at her. He was standing next to Angel and some blue chick. There was a guy on the ground. Gunn. He looked beaten. Buffy got closer, then turned to Faith who was grinning hard. She couldn't wait to fight. She lived for this stuff. She saw Faith's expression change as her eyes went over to Spike's direction.

"Well, here they are. Are we going to do this or what?"

Buffy smiled and ran faster.

Spike stood frozen. Buffy closed in on them. Faith who was already bagging some baddies. Buffy stopped in her tracks looking at them. She turned to the strange blue girl. Was that really Fred?

"Buff... is it...?" Spike stammered.

All the years of fighting, all the hurt they caused each other. All the cruelty and harshness they had shown one another. It all just washed away at that moment. All Buffy could see was Spike. The man who loved her. The vampire who fought for his soul, for her. The one who saved the world and is now about to die again in some stupid battle that made no sense to her.

Buffy looked at him deeply. As their eyes met, her insides felt like they were on fire. Their gaze was interrupted as Buffy grabbed Spike by the collar of his duster and pulled him down to the ground. A sharp blade came crashing above him, almost decapitating him.

Buffy leaned in and whispered in his ear, "Are you okay?"

He looked at her still in awe. Was she really here?

"Buffy?" Spike choked.

"Spike, why...?"

She could barely get the words out when Angel ran up to them and helped Buffy to her feet. Spike rose slowly.

"Why are these strong women here? Are they assisting us with our battle?" Illyria so matter-of-factly asked.

Buffy shot a look at Illyria. She looked like Fred, but spoke kind of like... Anya?

Faith slammed a demon's head into the pavement with her foot. She grabbed a blade from her pocket and bent down. "Sorry, but I can't let you do that" Then she sliced it's neck open. She sighed and headed back towards Buffy.

"Actually, we're all here to help you!" Faith said as she motioned towards the army of slayers and witches walking towards them.

Angel didn't look pleased.

Buffy turned back to Spike. He was looking at this army with the same look in his eyes. Buffy leaned in next to him. "Listen, we're not leaving," she told him. His attention was back on her. Buffy continued, "I don't understand why you never bothered to find me when you mysteriously came back to life... I mean..."

She was still upset that he kept his return a secret. Yet someone like Harmony can... oh jealousy sucks. Spike looked hurt. Was he hurt from what she said? There wasn't time. The wall of demons came full force. Buffy took at least three on at once, pushing Spike out of the way of a pointy tentacle. He bounced back up onto his feet, still looking at Buffy. A Grigora demon whacked him hard in the face. He fell back, but remained on his feet. Spike turned from Buffy and slid under the Grigora demon that was leaping over him. He sliced it's belly open. Guts pouring over him. He grunted in disgust, but thanked the rain for washing most of it away.

The rest of the girls arrived with Kennedy in lead and started in on the demons with raw aggressiveness. Kennedy lifted her ax, slammed it hard on the back of a Yoltug demon. It screamed as it turned to her. She held a defensive pose as it closed in. Then it fell at her feet, dead. Kennedy shrugged then moved on to the next one.

Angel was beating a demon's head into the pavement. He pulled out his ax and slammed it into the demon's back, making him holler then go limp. He glanced at Spike who was fighting off a big one with pointy claws. He saw one claw rip through Spike's arm. Spike roared, then took the claw and broke it off. The demon made a play with the other claw, but Spike caught it in time and broke that one off too. The demon flayed his arms around in a desperate attempt to take Spike down. Spike laughed at the sight and quickly dug his sword into the demon's head, causing it to fall on it's back, convulsing. Spike drew the sword back and wiped it on the leg of the demon. No sense making his jeans dirty.

Rona climbed over a few dead demon bodies to reach Vi who was grabbing her leg. "Vi, you okay?"

Vi picked herself up and quickly switched to fighting mode. "Fine, just a small cut." They nodded at each other and jumped back into battle.

One girl up ahead was taking on a Suvolte demon. The girl crouched under it's legs and whacked it's shin with her ax. Yellow blood squirted from the site. It bent down to attack. She slid behind it, quicker than the demon, and stabbed it's back. It turned to find her, but she was too quick for it, and jumped in front of it. She pulled up her ax and drove it into the demon's chest. Buffy noticed it was Bianca. She felt proud. Her young Bianca bagging her first demon. Patricia was close behind her. She grabbed a demon's arm and swung him into another who was trying to hit Adriana.

Adriana looked at her and mouthed "Thank you!"

Sabrina was taking on two Mandraz demons. One grabbed her arm and she fought to get free. She swung her legs up and kicked the other one coming for her in the face. It fell back and growled. Bianca ran, swinging her ax, hitting the demon's face. It fell to the ground. She swung at it again, chopping it's head off swiftly. Sabrina, now free, went after the lone Mandraz. It crouched in position to fight. She took her sword and drove it through the demon's skull. She looked back at Bianca and the two smiled at each other.

Buffy noticed that this fight was under control. Her girls were fine. Rona and Vi were slicing and dicing their way through the brigade. Angel was taking on at least five at a time. Willow and Issa were making waves of energy blasts at the demons that were further away, knocking them dead in their tracks, never even having a chance to make it Buffy and the gang. Spike was cheerfully taking down demons left and right.

She noticed that he had a large gash in his left arm. Blood came pouring out, dripping down his duster, only to be washed away by the rain. She wanted to run up to him and make sure he was okay. As she walked towards him, Illyria got to him first. She patted his wound and said something to him she couldn't make out.

Why was she looking after Spike that way?

As if Spike heard every thought in Buffy's head, he turned to her. She blushed. Did she look jealous? Could he tell? There was no time for this. They were in a battle. At that moment, she felt a hand grab her shoulder. She turned to strike.

"Woa... I just need to know if you want me to do that thingy now," Willow asked, nervously.

"Oh, sorry Wil, yea, we're going to have to get everyone to one side."

"Okay, do that now, I'll start it up."

Buffy motioned for everyone to get on the other side of Willow and Issa as they made a wall of energy separating them from the demons. These demons were stupid too, they kept walking into it as if they were forgetting it was there.

"Everyone run towards Giles!" Buffy yelled.

Giles stood down the street with Dawn, Andrew, Robin and Xander. He gave a light wave so they can spot him out. Buffy looked over at Spike and Angel. "You too, all of you. Go. Grab Gunn and run. NOW!"

Without hesitation Angel ran over to Gunn and threw him over his shoulder. Spike nodded at Buffy then ran with with Illyria.

Buffy shot a look at Faith who was grinning like a child. She ran to her and grabbed her hand. "You too skippy," Buffy smirked.

As they ran, a huge wave of energy flew over head, down the street, and wiped out all the demons on the other side of the barrier. Willow and Issa barely flinched as the burst wiped out the block. They had just enough energy to protect themselves. Anyone else in that area would be dead. Another burst came from their hands, more demons were knocked back, then burst into flames. Some even exploded. It was pretty gross, actually. Issa kept up with Willow. She was impressive.

She yelled "De-Dal!" A fireball rolled over the empty streets and incinerated everything in it's path.

It was over.

For now.

I Forgot to Remember to Forget by theslayer19

Buffy and Faith rounded everyone together. Buffy turned towards the sky. That flying thing was gone. At least they didn't have to fight it, whatever it was. Inside the hotel, the panicked concierge greeted the bunch as they all piled in, soaking wet, full of gashes and wounds. Giles made his way over to him and handed him something. Money? Buffy searched for Dawn. She found her by the elevator talking to Andrew, laughing. Buffy felt someone grab her shoulder. She turned quickly to see Spike staring down at her. Her heart thumped.

"Glad to see you too," Spike sneered.

Buffy's eyes met his. She couldn't believe he was here, fighting with them. Then a wave of anger came over her. He was here the whole time. No phone call, letter, E-mail! She backed away from him and slugged him in the face.

Spike was knocked back a few feet. Cupping his nose, he gasped. "What in the bloody hell was that for?"

Buffy felt tears well up. Oh God, please don't cry, please! "You have been here... this whole time, and not even a peep! What did you think Spike? That I wouldn't want to see you? Hear from you?"

There was silence in the lobby. All eyes were on them. Dawn pressed the elevator button repeatedly. "Open, open," she whispered.

Most of the young slayers piled into the elevator when it finally did open. Giles followed them, taking a quick glance at Angel, who was sitting on the couch watching the show.

Spike shook off the pain and closed back in on Buffy. "Give me a chance to explain, Buffy. There was hell of a lot more to my return than you may think!" he yelled back at her.

Buffy averted her eyes in the other direction. He moved closer until they were just inches apart from each other. "And I did come to Rome. You were just... busy."

Buffy turned to him. Her eyes full of pain and confusion. "You were on an assignment, Spike. With Angel. It just so happened to have been in Rome. I heard the whole story." She looked away from him again after he didn't say anything to defend himself. "Spike," she choked, "I can't understand. Why?"

She caught her words. She didn't want to be doing this in front of everyone, especially Angel. She turned to the crowd, but they were all gone. Only a few random guests were walking around, and the concierge nervously answering phone calls. Probably guests complaining about the slayerfest up stairs. She sighed.

Spike grabbed her arms, gently. He looked down at her, intensely.

"Buffy, I was confused. I had to just to figure out why I was here. I would be a selfish git to show up and make with, Hi honey, I'm home, not dead, in the flesh, yup that's me. Come on an' give ol' Spike a kiss then."

Buffy let out a small giggle but then quickly frowned. "And this evil corporation? Why were you working for them or should I ask, why were you working for Angel?" Buffy looked over at Angel.

Angel met Buffy's gaze. He rose up and approached her. "Buffy, it was a mistake, but we had good intentions. It's not what you think," Angel explained.

Buffy pulled away and stared Angel down who was now standing next to Spike. "I still want answers" Buffy walked over to the elevator and turned around to see her vampire men staring at her. "Later," she continued. "For now, I need some... rest."

Spike stood, confused. That's it? That's all she wants to say?

The door chimed and opened to a very busy floor. Girls everywhere. Some smiled at Buffy and some of the girls took no notice of her. Buffy searched for a room when she overheard one of the girls say to the other, "Isn't it cool that we have actual vampires fighting with us."

The other girl replied, "I know, right! Especially hot ones!"

"Buffy, can I have a minute?"

Buffy saw Giles standing at the doorway down the hall. He looked a mess, but still distinguished as always. Eyeglasses in place. Always in place. As she approached his room, Buffy heard the faint sounds of laughter. She peered in.

"Hey," Willow cheerfully shouted.

Willow and Kennedy shared a chair near the window. Faith and Robin leaned against the window, Xander was sitting on a love seat rubbing Issa's back as she sat on his lap. Next to them was Andrew. He smiled sheepishly, not knowing if he was still in trouble with Buffy or not, although Dawn seemed to forgive him. Dawn was sitting on the arm of the love seat munching on Twizzlers. Giles moved back into the room. Buffy loved this sight. It was like Sunnydale and their old Scooby meetings.

Andrew shifted his gaze to Dawn's Twizzlers and tried to take one out of her hand. "Hey!" Dawn shouted.

Andrew frowned, defeated. "I'm so hungry. All I ate was some crappy tuna sandwich on the plane which I had to throw out because it had celery in it. I hate celery in tuna sandwiches, now fork over some Twizzlers, Dawn!"

Dawn rolled her eyes and handed him one. He reached to grab it, she pulled it away from him then hit him on the head with it.

"Come on," he whined. Dawn gave in and gave it to him.

Kennedy and Willow looked in unison at Andrew. "Don't they have room service?" Kennedy asked.

Willow gave her a squeeze. "Awesome idea Ken! I'm so hungry I can eat a... well, not horse cus that's just gross. How about a triple layer bean dip platter with extra nachos!"

Kennedy laughed.

"Great, cus I'm wicked hungry, I'll take my own plate of nachos." Faith joined in.

Robin chuckled. "You slayers sure do eat a lot."

Dawn's eyes lit up. "And so do the sisters of slayers. Oo, oo" Flailing her hands. "We can order cheese fries and-and chocolate shakes."

"Oh, sundaes too if we're feeling adventurous. Maybe some chimichangas! Do they have chimichangas here?" Xander asked eagerly.

Giles rolled his eyes. "While I'm sure great wars were won with Mexican cuisine and ice-cream, we still have much to learn about what we're up against."

The room filled with laughter.

Issa leaned in towards Xander. "So, is this how you guys get through disasters?" she asked, smiling.

"Well, it hasn't failed us yet." Xander grabbed her tight. He looked at his friends who were all laughing and having a good time. To an outsider, they would all seem to be out of their minds. For sure.

"I don't know what more to expect from these... Senior Partners." Giles continued. "It seems they're taking a breather as I don't believe this battle is over. Angel, Spike, What do know about them?"

All eyes quickly turned to Spike and Angel who were standing at the doorway.

"They won't stop until we're all dead." Angel snapped.

Soon after, Illyria came up behind them. A look of surprise came over their faces.

Andrew stared deeply at her, head turned to the side. "Fred? Wow, love the make-over! It's kind of... hot"

Illyria glanced at Andrew, sizing him up. "You don't know what hot is, little insignificant one, in my day, your blood would boil, your eyes would melt out of your head and..."

"Great, Angel." Giles interrupted, glancing at Illyria. "Maybe you can let us know what we are in for." Giles added, ignoring Illyria and the 'dead' part of what Angel said. He took off his glasses and rubbed them with a tissue he pulled from the table next to the bed.

"Oh, you're role playing. Good on you." Andrew smiled nervously at Illyria, now wondering if maybe she wasn't even Fred at all.

"First things first. Why are you all here? I didn't tell anyone about this." Angel shot an angry look at Spike as if he was at fault for calling in the troops.

Spike shrugged his shoulders. "Don't look at me, mate. I was just as shocked as you!"

Angel sized up the rest of the group. He was angry. He watched Illyria approach Giles and crinkle her nose.

Giles moved back, seemingly annoyed she was smelling him. "Ah so this is Illyria. The one you called me about, Angel?"

"Did she just sniff Giles?" Buffy asked Angel.

Spike spoke for Angel. "It's how she greets people. Like a dog,"

Buffy let out a small giggle which put a smile on Spike's face.

Illyria quickly turned to Buffy. "I amuse you. Is that why you laugh? You find my ways funny, human?"

Buffy almost choked. She didn't mean to offend her.

"Great, is this going to turn into the Goodfellas scene? Cus your outfit says more Night Elf then it does Joe Pesci." Andrew interrupted.

Ignoring Andrew, Buffy held out her hand to Illyria. "No, Fr... I'm sorry, I've just never seen... well. Never mind. Hi, I'm Buffy."

Illyria looked down at Buffy's hand with disgust. "I know who you are. You are the one this half breed wants to mate with. I don't think you're worth..."

Before she could finish, Angel grabbed Illyria's arm and pulled her away from Buffy. He really didn't want a fight, and he was sure Buffy didn't either. Buffy turned to Spike, who was ready to defend Buffy if Illyria got out of line. She leaned into him "You have to tell me about this later," she whispered.

Buffy stepped up. "I got a call. From Lorne." She noticed the shock come over Angel. She was sure Lorne didn't mention anything about keeping that a secret. "He told me everything. He asked me to come. I couldn't back down from this. And who are the Black thorn thingys, by the way?"

Spike answered, "The Senior Partner's golden boys and um, girl. We took 'em all down. Bloody easy if you ask me."

Angel sneered at Spike then turned to Buffy. "Buffy, you have no idea what you're up against. We all got into this with the intention of not coming out! Understand?"

Willow, now noticing someone was missing, stood up. "Hey guys, where's Wesley?"

Spike and Angel's eyes met and they both looked down. Willow understood their body language. She let out a sad "Oh," and sat back down.

Illyria glanced at her and then back to Angel. "I will check on Gunn."

Giles' eyes turned to the floor. "I'm sure he fought well."

Buffy approached Angel. "Angel. I don't know what we have gotten ourselves into, sure, but have you ever known me to back down? Especially when the lives of ones I love are at stake?" Buffy cracked a nervous smile, then looked at Spike.

"Yea, Angel!" Willow interrupted. "It's us. Plus, we have like tons of new slayers. We can handle it!"

Buffy smiled at Willow's confidence.

"Like, do you think the battle of Minas Tirith would have been successful without the Army of The Dead and The Riders of Rohan?" Andrew smiled at the group. Everyone looked at him.

Xander nodded. "Good one, Pippin."

"Come on, we're going to help you, whether you like it or not," Buffy told Angel.

Angel saw how serious she was. He couldn't argue with her. He knew that. There was nothing more to say. Angel turned to Spike as he made his way to the door.

"Spike, can I talk to you for a minute? Alone?" Angel asked.

He walked out into the hallway. Spike followed. Even with the door closed, everyone in the room could hear everything.

"Look, she'll listen to you, though I hate to say it. Tell Buffy to grab her friends and leave. They're going to die. Do you want that?"

Spike scanned the hallway to see if anyone heard Angel's words. "Angel. You know I can't do that. They've made up their minds. There's nothing I can do but fight along side them. Give them a chance. They've got a lot more..."

"What? More what?" Angel shouted.

"Hope. The will to survive! Trust me Angel that helps during the fight you know. You should try it some time!" Spike shouted back.

Angel sneered. "Oh, right, like you're the poster child for survival. Didn't you burn up last year in Sunnydale?"

"You think I was on a suicide mission? You're crazy! I did it for Buffy. That's right. I did it for LOVE!" he shouted in Angel's face.

Angel raised his arm for a punch when the suite door opened abruptly. Buffy walked out between them. She tried to separate them with her hands on either side.

"Guys, can we not. I think we all need to get cleaned up and we'll regroup later, okay?"

Angel backed down. He nodded and walked back to his room. Buffy looked up at Spike who was still grinding his teeth, then she turned and proceeded down the hallway.

Buffy approached room 19. She knocked first to see if it was occupied, no response, so she used the key card Giles gave her. The door opened to a dark room. She flicked the switch on the wall and the lights came on. Buffy sighed as she entered, throwing her jacket on the chair next to the bed. Her clothes were still wet, sticking to her skin and she just wanted to peel them off. She started with her shoes, socks, then slowly unbuttoned her shirt. Looking around, she knew she should feel comfortable and safe, but she didn't. Angel made it clear to her that this job here wasn't what she thought it was and she needed to trust him. Trust. That's all Buffy seemed to do, then, as always, the rug gets pulled form under her feet. Buffy knew Angel and she had a taste of Angelus too. She was sure he wasn't Angelus now, but it all seemed too strange to her. He was a renegade, like Batman, and now he was more like a suit with people working under him. Something just didn't sit right with her. She remembered Giles telling her the history of the Wolf, Ram, and Heart. It made her shiver. She knew big corporations were pretty much evil anyway, but this confirmed that they were, in fact, truly evil.

She tried to let her mind drift as she showered. The water felt so warm on her bare skin. It felt like heaven. She was tired, dirty, and she needed some comfort time. As the water soaked her, she thought of Sunnydale. She thought of Spike.

"Where's the trinket?"

"The who-ket?"

"The pretty necklace your sweetie-bear gave you. The one with all the power. I believe it's mine now."

"How do you figure?"

"Someone with a soul but more than human? Angel meant to wear it. That means I'm the qualified party."

"It's volatile. We don't know..."

"You'll be needing someone strong to bear it, then. You plan on giving it to Andrew?"

"Angel said the amulet was meant to be worn by a champion."

Buffy handed the Amulet over to Spike.

"Been called a lot of things in my time."

A Champion. So that's it. He came back mysteriously through that amulet she gave him, and he probably didn't want to spoil his big show.

"What a wanker! Oh God, I'm talking like him now", Buffy said to herself.

He went down in a blaze of glory, and for what? To come back to his undead life in Los Angeles? It's an ego thing. Buffy hated that ego thing. And at that thought, her shower was complete. She wrapped her hair in a towel and her body in a robe.

"Nice. Free robes"

Buffy needed to check in on Dawn. She hasn't really explained anything to her since she arrived here in L.A., and she owed her little sister that much.

Dawn was dancing around to Snoop Dogg with Vi. They were giggling, singing along, messing up the lyrics. She picked up the phone.

"Hey Buff!"

Buffy sighed. "Hey Dawn. You guys sound like your having fun. I'm glad."

"Oh, we're good. We just ordered like tons of room service. I think we're going to play a dare game to see who can eat the most cannolis!"

"Great, sounds filling."

Dawn chuckled, "Yeah, we figured after tonight, we can carb it out! Hey, are you and Spike together? Is he okay? I mean, after you punched his lights out?"

Buffy felt embarrassed. She didn't mean to punch him, it was just her usual slayer defensiveness. She'd have to apologize to him for that.

"Yeah, I guess. I haven't had a chance to talk to him, really."

"Well after you do, you have to tell me everything. The battle stuff I already know, Vi told me all of it. You have to tell me about Spike. How it happened. I'm dying to know."

"Of course, I will. Now go stuff your faces."

Buffy hung up. She turned noticing Spike standing there. His hair was dripping and a curly mess. He was wearing pajama bottoms, no shirt. Buffy blushed.

"You think they'd at least give us cooler pajamas then these golf ball ones," Spike complained.

Buffy wanted to laugh, but she still had to keep her serious face on. She didn't want him to think he was off the hook. Ego, ahhhh, she had a damn annoying one too.

"Buffy?" Spike looked at her concerned.

"Spike? I think" Buffy said, staring at his pajamas.

"Can we talk?"

Buffy rose from the bed, composing herself. She did feel a bit exposed in her robe, but she stood strong as if she was wearing battle armor. That was her way of letting him know that there was nothing vulnerable about her, which was a complete lie.

"Spike, I'm tired. Maybe later?" Buffy freed her hair from the towel and ran her fingers through her wet trestles.

"Buffy, if you want to punish me for keeping my return to life a secret, I get that, but don't you want to know how it all happened, and why I chose to stay here?"

Buffy sat back on the bed and softened a little. "I'm not trying to... it's just, all weird. You were on my team. Fighting by my side, and now here you are, working with Angel in some evil corporation. So yea, I guess I do want you to explain. Shoot."

Spike neared her side of the bed and sat next to her. He placed his hand on her knee. She felt a fire in her stomach. She tried to hold her gaze to the ground, but turned and looked at him almost in a trance.

Spike couldn't believe it. She was trembling. "Look, there is a lot I want to tell you."

Buffy moved back on the bed to let Spike's hand slip off her. "From the beginning, Spike. From the moment you came back."

Spike took the hint she didn't want to be touched, so he remained at a comfortable distance from her. They sat on the bed, legs crossed, facing each other. He told her everything. From the moment he appeared in Angel's office, to being a ghost and almost thrown into hell, Lindsey, the package, Harmony, Rome, Fred, Illyria. She listened patiently. It was quite a year for him, compared to her boring life in Rome. It was sad to hear about Fred and the whole ghost thing was depressing, but he seemed so cheerful. He appeared to be the same old Spike. It was going to take her some time to get over the fact that he had been alive all of this time without her knowing. Her bond with him was unbreakable, so she thought. She understood him, she knew him well and that made it easier for her to forgive him. It still hurt, that was inevitable.

"I am insanely happy to be here with you right now," Spike said as he rose to peer out the window. Turning back to Buffy, he let a a sigh. "I should have. I know. I know I should have talked to you. I know. I know." The last part was a whisper.

"Yea, that would have been nice." Buffy responded with a smile.

During a brief intermission, she ordered steak for Spike, tea and some chicken fingers for herself. She laughed at how Spike devoured the rare steak. He was so honest sometimes. He noticed her staring at him. He took the final bite, then continued.

"Your turn," Spike said.

Buffy really didn't have much to say. She filled him on Rome, Dawn and Dawn's beau, Antoine, and Andrew. He knew most of it already.

"No, you are forgetting something."

"What? No, I'm not," Buffy argued.

Spike smiled slyly. "Oh yes you are. Something, Immortal..."

Buffy winced. She remembered what Andrew told Spike and Angel about her and that pig. Wow, he must have thought this whole time...

"Spike, I was never dating him. He threatened Andrew and well, things got blown out of proportion. I couldn't..." She stopped.

"Buffy, you spent almost a year in Rome. No men at all?"

Buffy turned her attention to the window. "A dragon", she sighed.

"You dated a dragon?", a confused Spike asked her.

Buffy pointed to the window. " No, Spike, outside. It's a dragon! I knew I saw something flying around out there when we were all fighting!"

He jumped up and ran over to the window. A look of gloom took over his face. Buffy jumped up behind him. It seemed like it was flying towards them.


Dragon? What dragon? by theslayer19

There were screams filling the hallway. Buffy and Spike ran out to see everyone running around amok. The sound of glass breaking was heard all around them accompanied by screeching sounds from outside. Buffy ran to one of the windows and noticed that there were people running from the hotel lobby and out into the streets. Away from here. That may be a wise thing.

Giles came out of his room with Dawn and Andrew. Willow, Issa, Kennedy and Xander stood down the other end of the hallway.

Xander ran up to them exhausted. "Guys... there's a dragon. A dragon. Out there! Did anyone know there was going to be a dragon? Cus I didn't!"

"Angel knew, he wanted to slay it," Spike sneered.

They all turned to Spike. He rolled his eyes. "What? It was here in the beginning, then it left, I thought it was gone!"

Faith came running out of her room, Robin close behind her. "Yo! Did you guys see that thing? It's wings are like bigger than this building! It's wicked cool! I think it's even breathing fire!" Faith yelled. She was actually excited about it.

Buffy had to think of a plan and quickly. The sun was about to rise, which meant, no vampires outside. There's always the sewers. She laughed in her head at the fact she knew all about sewers.

"Faith, take your the girls to the lobby. Use the stairs. Xander I need you and Giles to find out where the nearest sewer entrance is from here . Wil and Issa, get to high ground. Do whatever magicks you have to. Andrew, Dawn, follow Giles. Where's Angel?"

"Uh Buff, I really don't want to be separated from Issa, can't I just..," Xander protested.

"Fine Xander. Stay close to them. Robin, can you go with Giles? Where's Angel?" she asked again.

Spike turned around to see an upset Angel and Illyria holding Gunn. Gunn was pretty bloody but he was conscious and that's always a good sign.

"How ya holdin up there, Charlie Boy?" Spike asked him.

"I'm healing. Thanks to Willow," Gunn remarked.

Willow smiled. "No problem Gunn, but we all need to get out of here." She turned to Angel. "Can you manage to carry Gunn downstairs?"

"Yea." Angel said, still seeming disturbed.

"Great," Buffy said. "Let's go!"

They piled into the stairwell, running, tripping over each other. Spike stayed close behind Buffy. She looked back at him noticing they were still in their pajamas. She couldn't help but to chuckle. He saw what she was looking at and chuckled himself.

"Nothing says 'Dragon Slayer" better then Golf Ball jammies," Spike joked.

Buffy laughed louder. The echo from the stairwell was deafening. She cupped her hand over her mouth and laughed softer.

Spike smiled all the way down the steps. "I love this part. This excitement before the big fight."

"That's because you're insane, Spike" Robin joked.

The alley was still damp from the night of rain. Trash cans littered the ground. It was that moment before dawn, that twilight zone. The sun would start rising soon. She had to get Angel and Spike into the sewers. She could still hear the loud shrieks of the dragon. What was it doing? Why was it just flying around making noises?

Giles came from around the corner. He kept looking up at the sky, fearing the dragon's swoops. "The sewer entrance is right around here," Giles shouted.

Buffy nodded to Spike. Angel, Illyria and Gunn ran past them towards Giles. Faith rallied some of the girls to follow them. The rest would stay behind with her and Buffy. Buffy turned to Spike again. He was staring at the dragon.

"Spike, you need to follow them. Go!" Buffy demanded.

Spike moved in close to her. "No," Spike protested.

Buffy was shocked. What did he just say? "No? Spike, the sun's coming up!"

"Buffy, I can help. When the sun rises, I'll go into the sewers, I swear to you. But let me help the first wave."

"Spike, look at you. You're shirtless and in pajama bottoms! You don't even have shoes on!"

Spike looked down at his feet then to Buffy's. Hers were bare too. She noticed this, then rolled her eyes.

"Okay, but Spike, I swear. If you die again, I'm going to kill you!"

Spike smiled at her as she handed him one of her swords.

The girls waited for the signal. Buffy, Faith and Spike went ahead onto the street with weapons in each hand. Buffy had her trusty Scythe in one hand and an ax in the other. Robin came running after them, crossbow over his shoulder. Buffy turned to him and motioned for him to stay back . She wanted a lead on this thing before anyone else joined in.

She heard someone run along side her. Angel. God, what's with these vampires?

"Angel, What are you doing here?"

"You think I'm going to let you guys have all the fun? I claimed the dragon way before any of you did," Angel said cattily.

Buffy sighed. She didn't have time to argue. Illyria caught up to them and kept her gaze on Buffy. Buffy felt her eyes on her, but ignored it. The shrieking was getting louder, which meant the dragon was closer. Willow, Xander and Issa climbed up to the roof top. The night sky was still dark, but the hint of sunrise was there. Willow motioned for Issa to get ready. Xander was worried. Being on the roof meant being closer to the dragon. He saw the thing flying up above. It was huge. Bigger than anything he has ever seen. Even bigger than the Mayor Snake. It looked mad, hungry, and it wasn't leaving without killing someone, or all of them.

Willow and Issa would take care if that though. As they started a chant, a glowing green barrier circled them. Xander smiled. "That's my girls!"

Willow stopped. "The barrier should hold for a while. We'll be practically invisible to the dragon."

Robin neared the sewer entrance where Giles was guarding. Giles nodded at him and handed him a satchel full of arrows for his crossbow. Robin grabbed it, then made his way down the street. He waited, ready for the dragon's descent. The dragon flew down and swooped at Buffy and Spike. Buffy squatted and pulled Spike down with her. The dragon let out an awful shriek, then flew back up.

"Come on bastard. You want some of this..?" Faith instigated.

"Ya know, It probably doesn't understand you," Spike informed her.

"Yea, well, how do you say 'dead meat' in dragonese?" Faith joked.

The dragon swooped down again, this time not near them, but to where Robin stood. Faith looked in horror. Robin was alone. What the hell was he doing. She started to run towards him. He frantically began loading up his crossbow, his hands shaking as he did so. He shot an arrow at the dragon as it neared him. It just bounced off of it. Robin stood there frozen.

"Oh that worked well," he sneered.

He had to make the best at what he had, so he loaded up another arrow. As he aimed, the arrowhead lit up into a big flame. He saw Willow on the rooftop of the building across the street. He smiled a thanks to her.

"Now, that'll work" He shot the arrow at the dragon. The flame licked it's side. The dragon shrieked and drew back. It soared back up towards the sky.

Faith caught up to him. "What the hell are you doing by yourself?" Faith yelled.

Before he could answer, the dragon swooped down at them. He fired another 'flaming' arrow at it. It was doing some damage, he could tell. "Staying alive. " He told her.

Faith looked over to Spike, Angel, Illyria, and Buffy who were standing ground, watching the dragon. The rest of the girls came out to help.

The dragon decended, this time breathing fire towards Kennedy. She ducked the flames then ran in and stabbed the dragon's claw. It flinched, but it didn't seem to effect it. It lifted the wounded claw and kicked Kennedy clear across the street. She was knocked hard, but rose up ready to strike again. Vi and Rhona joined in and both grabbing the dragon's other claw. It kicked them into the building. The dragon backed off and flew back up. Kennedy limped over and joined Faith and Robin.

"Hey, B, next time it goes down, slice it's wing, if ya can!" Faith yelled out.

Buffy nodded and leaned into them. "Guys, here it comes, ready?"

Spike smiled. "Always."

Spike bent down as Buffy jumped onto his back for leverage. She jumped off and whacked the dragon's wing with her scythe. She got it! The dragon swung around and knocked Buffy into the side of the building.

Spike straightened out then looked in horror. "Buffy!" He tried to run her way, but was blocked by the dragon's tail coming in a full sweep. It knocked Spike in the opposite direction. He was slammed into a wall, then his body fell into a trash bin. Unconscious.

Angel helped Illyria onto the dragon's back. She gave it a swift jab then fell to it's feet. Faith and Robin ran closer to it, as Robin shot arrows at it. Faith threw one of her axes at it's head. It just bounced off.

"What the..?" she mumbled.

Angel watched the dragon closely. They had to duck fireballs coming from the rooftops. Good ol' Willow.

"Hey, Wil, careful with those!" Angel yelled.

The fireballs seemed to do something though. The dragon flew up, trying to spot where it came from, but couldn't find them. Then it focused it's eyes back onto the street. The dragon flew down again and knocked a few girls to the ground. They were okay, they got back up and dusted themselves off.

Illyria ran over to Buffy. She offered her hand. Buffy accepted and allowed Illyria to help her up from the wet pavement. She held her head, feeling something sticky under her fingers. Blood. She searched for Spike. Where was he? She spotted Angel, Faith, Kennedy and Robin. No Spike.

"Guys, where's.."

Faith turned to Buffy. "Buffy, watch out!"

Before Buffy could comprehend, the dragon snatched her up with it's claws. Illyria tried to catch it's toe when it flung her into the side of the building, cracking the cement. Illyria fell like a rag doll.

Buffy lost her breath. This thing clutched her tight. As it soared higher into the sky, Buffy struggled. The more she wriggled, the tighter it squeezed. "Crap." She said when she realized she dropped her scythe.

As Issa held her hand up to let loose another fireball, Willow stopped her. "Wait, it's got someone. It's to risky."

"No, Buffy!" Xander cried out.

Angel paced, eyes turned to the ground, then back to the dragon. "We have to do something. Fast," he demanded.

"Yea, got that, but what?" Faith asked him

Spike awoke in darkness. What in the bloody hell is that smell? He struggled to get to his feet. He noticed he was in a trash bin. Great! As he climbed out, he saw an empty alley. He still heard the excitement of the dragonfest, so he followed the sounds. He spotted Faith staring upwards. There it was, clutching something. Someone. Buffy! He looked frantically for his sword. He couldn't find it but he didn't care. He needed to find a way up to the roof so he could jump onto that dragon's back and somehow help Buffy. He noticed the fire escapes along a building, so immediately made his way over to it. Angel came after him, sword in each hand, offering one.

"Spike, here. Let's kill this thing!"

On that note, Spike grabbed the sword and they both climbed up the fire escape. It was still wet and slippery, but that didn't slow them down.

"Half breeds!" Illyria yelled from below.

Angel and Spike stopped and looked down. She stood there looking broken, but alive.

"What Illyria, we don't have much time," Angel asked.

She cocked her head to one side and smirked. "Don't forget the heart!" she shouted.

Spike and Angel's eyes met. "The heart," Angel whispered.

Spike understood and continued up. Once they reached the rooftop, Angel ran to the other side. He can clearly see everyone on the ground. Spike stood behind him, looking for the dragon. A loud shriek came from behind them.

There it was, holding Buffy in it's claws. Anger built inside Spike. Angel felt it, then lay his hand on Spike's shoulder. Spike turned to him, confused.

"We'll save her Spike," Angel assured him.

Spike nodded. He was unsure of Angel's intimacy. But regardless, they had a slayer to rescue.

"Hey dragon! Come on, more vittles over here..! Come on!" Spike yelled to get it's attention.

He knew it didn't understand him, but he had to think of a way to attract it. It worked. The dragon snapped it's head in their direction. It's wings spread, then flapped violently.

"Here it comes," Angel warned.

Angel and Spike got into position as the dragon approached. It hovered in between the roof they were on and Willow. It just remained there, in mid air, flapping it's wings. They weren't sure what it was doing.

Then Spike saw Willow directing her attention on the dragon, holding out her hand firmly. She must have found a way to get it to be stationary.

"Bloody brilliant," Spike said to himself. He turned to Angel. "Ready?"

Angel nodded and they both took off. They ran fast to the edge of the roof. In unison, they jumped, yelling loudly. Almost in slow motion, they slammed into the dragon, both swords plunging into the skin of it's chest. It's heart. The dragon let out a deafening roar, then it released Buffy. She fell hard onto the pavement.

Spike and Angel slammed onto the ground next to her. The three of them lay on the pavement, looking up at the dragon. The dragon made a few jerky movements, then fell limp. It came crashing down right next to them. Angel had to move Buffy out of the way to ensure it didn't land on her.

As the three of them tried gather their senses, Faith, Robin and Giles came to check on them, Dawn and Andrew behind them. The slayers all watched in amazement. That was probably the coolest thing they will ever see.

Angel rose helping up a still dazed Buffy. She thanked him, noticing him looking down past her. She followed his gaze at Spike. He was bending down towards the ground, hyperventilating.

Angel ran over to him, Buffy following. Spike could barely catch his breath. Wait...breath?

"What's wrong with him?" Buffy shouted. She looked at Angel.

Angel seemed genuinely concerned. He bent down to help Spike up. Spike turned his head towards Angel. He looked confused, sick. A single tear ran down his cheek.

The sun was slowly peaking through the horizon. Angel knew at that moment what had happened to Spike. Spike was breathing.

He was alive.

Just Breathe by theslayer19

What's happening? Why do my lungs hurt? Why is the air so cold? My skin feels hot. So hot.

The cold air is hurting my lungs. Why?

What's that sound? It's so loud.

Where am I? Who are all these people around me? Am I dead? Am I dust? What am I?

What was I?

Where's Buffy? I need Buffy.

Why can't I talk? Why does the air hurt? Is it going into my lungs? How? Why? It's stabbing me. Like razors cutting me open.

Am I dead?


Help me.

My skin is hot.

Who's hitting my chest?

Someone is grabbing me. Hands on me. Cold hands. Ice cold.

God, what's happening to me?

Spike was half dreaming. He was inside the Hellmouth. The First was torturing him. It looked like Buffy. It told him lies. Then it looked like Drusilla. It lied more. His head was under water. He couldn't drown. He could only be played with. He knew Buffy would come for him.

He drifted to another memory. Fred. She told him he was worth saving. He stood in Angel's office. He saw Wesley, Gunn, Angel, and Fred. They were staring at him.


Fred morphed into Illyria. She approached Spike, head half cocked. She sniffed him and with a face of disgust, she sneered. "You will stink like the rest of them now."

He closed his eyes. When he opened them his found himself chained in Buffy's basement. She was standing in front of him.

"I believe in you."

Spike was suddenly in the Hellmouth again. He was burning. He saw Buffy run away. She just told him she loved him.

"School's out for bloody summer."

Then darkness.

They gathered back at the hotel. It was pretty empty now. The dragon scare chased away the guests and workers. Buffy and Angel came through the lobby carrying a half conscious Spike .They laid Spike down on one of the couches near the fireplace.

Willow, Issa and Xander burst through the stairwell door. Kennedy ran to Willow and greeted her with a hug and kiss. Giles looked around to make sure everyone was accounted for then narrowed his eyes on Spike.

"Spike, can you hear me?" Buffy rested her hand on his chest. She felt a vibration under it and yanked her hand away. What was that?

"The Shanshu. He fulfilled it. He's alive Buffy," Angel said. "I think."

Buffy looked up at Angel, then back down to Spike. Alive? How? "That shu-mai thingy you used to talk about? I thought that was written for you," she reminded Angel.

"A vampire with a soul." Giles interrupted. "Could have been either of you. Why not you?" he asked Angel.

Angel didn't want to answer. But they deserved to know. "The Circle of The Black Thorn made me sign my chance away. I did it to prove to them I didn't care about it. That I was on their side." Angel was a bit embarrassed.

Buffy stared at Spike the whole time. He was coming to. She placed her hand again to his chest. There was a steady beat under it. His heart, beating. She swallowed hard. She felt a hand rest on hers. It was warm, soothing. She looked. It was Spike's.

Their eyes met and he smiled. She smiled back. "Hey," she whispered. She wasn't sure if he knew what was happening to him.

"Hey," he said back, squeezing her hand. "What's that loud thumping?"

Thumping? Oh.

"You're heart. It's... " Buffy turned to Angel. Did Angel tell Spike about this prophecy?

"So I Shanshued after all?" he asked. "No mountain dew, huh Angel?" Spike joked.

Angel smiled. "Yea, no mountain dew"

Buffy helped Spike up. He sat on the couch staring at the fire. It flickered about, mesmerizing him. Buffy watched him get lost in the scene. He appeared to be... Spike, but calmer, more serene. Buffy's own heart skipped when Spike turned his gaze to her. Their eyes met. Buffy could see the difference now. He was different. Now, not only did he have a soul, he was a living, breathing... man. She wanted to cry or laugh, or she didn't know. She wasn't sure what she was feeling.

Giles approached them, concerned. "Spike, how do you feel?" he asked.

Spike ran his hands down his torso. It was nice being under a blanket. He felt warm. He felt...

"Great, actually," Spike grinned.

Xander and Issa joined Buffy at the fireplace. "Well, Spike, at least you lost that pasty glow" Xander joked.

They chuckled. Xander continued, "So, what's the plan now. Where do we go?"

"We should stay put for now." Giles suggested. "There's no sense relocating. Not until we know what more awaits us."

Dawn joined them, holding a can of soda she purchased from the ending machine. Noticing the silence, she eyed them suspiciously. "Why is everyone so quiet? What's up?"

Spike stared again at the fire, silent. Buffy watched him, now a little worried about his calmness. Spike was never this... daydreamy.

Andrew yawned turning to Spike. "So, Spike. Now that you've shu-mai'd, does that mean you lost all your super powers?"

Giles mumbled "Shanshu"

Dawn was confused. "What? What happened?"

Robin chimed in. "Spike is human now. It's some prophecy thing. He isn't a vampire anymore."

"ummm, HU?" Dawn looked at Spike. He didn't seem any different to her.

Suddenly, Spike rose from the couch and turned to Andrew. "Ya know. I have no idea."

"Spike, why don't we test it. Hit me," Buffy demanded.

Spike looked at her like she was crazy, but then again, it made sense. She was strong enough so if he still had super powers, he wouldn't hurt her, that much.

He pulled his arm back and swung a punch. Instead of punching her, he hit Angel. Angel went flying into the other couch and fell over.

"Well, safe to say..." Buffy said

"Can someone explain to me what's going on?" Dawn pleaded.

Andrew approached her and made a gesture for her to sit down. "Sit down, my friend and I will tell you the story of the Shu... shan"

Giles was annoyed at this point. "Dawn, let me explain,"

Angel rose and rubbed his jaw, them mumbled something to himself as he walked over to the reception desk.

Buffy giggled. "He'll get over it."

"Hey, Angel!" Spike yelled. Angel made a 'hold on" gesture then turned his back to him.

Giles continued. "You see Dawn, there is an ancient prophecy called the Shanshu where it states that a 'vampire with a soul' will play a pivotal role in the apocalypse. He will be rewarded with a human life."

"So, you fulfilled this prophecy, became human, but with super strength. Kinda like us now, huh Spike." Faith said.

Andrew held up his hand as if in class. "Yes, Andrew?" Giles asked.

"Well, what do we know about this shumai.. I mean Shanshu business? Do we know for sure that Spike is okay?"

"Yea, the Samsung Prophecy should have more info. Right?" Xander asked.

"How did anyone even know about the Cashew...?" Dawn asked.

Giles, now utterly annoyed, interrupted. "Okay, now I think you lot are mispronouncing it on purpose."

Buffy's eyes widened and her stomach flipped. They had a good point. What did we know about this? She turned to Angel who was still on the phone. She watched him hangup and then turn to join them. Buffy jumped to meet him.

"Angel, what more do we know of this prophecy. Is Spike going to be..."

"He'll be fine. I think," Angel answered. " I don't think the prophecy spoke of the hereafter. It just mentioned that..."

"Angel, what of the powers I obviously still possess?" Spike interrupted.

Angel was just as confused as they were. He really didn't have the answers for them. Too bad Wesley... "I...we can investigate it, later."

Spike grumbled. "Fine. I really need to change. These pajamas are hideous!"

Buffy and Dawn giggled together. "I like them Spike! They're very... human," Dawn joked. She looked at Buffy and they both burst into laughter.

Spike growled. "Damn Summers girls!"

Spike filled the bathtub, stripped off his clothes then sat in the warm soapy water. It covered his body like a warm blanket. His head rolled back and he sighed. His skin felt so different. He was living, breathing. He can feel his pours open when the heat of the water enveloped him. His heart was the most impressive. Beating, loudly. He can feel his pulses. It had been so long since he felt it. It had been a lifetime or more since his heart beat. He read that prophecy over and over a few months back, but never really understood how it worked. It was strange that he became human just like that. One dragon down and viola, he is living and breathing. Spike was sure there was a lot more to it, but a huge part of him didn't care. Something inside his now beating heart comforted him in knowing this was his destiny. All along. This is probably why he was brought back from the amulet. That Sunnydale battle was the first trial. No. Getting his soul was his first trial. Or maybe it started even before that. Either way, this was what he was meant for. Humanity.

And her.

He zoned out until Buffy got his attention. Buffy was fumbling through the towels next to the sink. She was already bathed and in a robe. She wasn't sure how to react with Spike. She wanted to be close to him, yet she couldn't just jump back into his arms like nothing happened. The Shanshu scared her and for good reason. Nothing came that easy to anyone. Especially to any of them. Prophecies can be changed and broken as well. She is a living example of that.

"Spike," she said without looking at him, "Are you... worried about this prophecy thingy? We don't know much about it."

"I'm a bit curious. But no use fretting about it. I wanted this. I almost killed Angel for it a while back," he told her with his eyes still closed.

Buffy stopped and turned to Spike. "Huh?"

"We were set up to think that all we had to do was drink from the magical cup filled with mountain dew an' poof , we'd be all with the living again. Didn't quite work out." Spike shrugged at the memory. He and Angel fought hard that day. He knew it wasn't all about the cup or the prophecy. There was so much bad blood between them, a fight like that was bound to happen. A lot was said that day and a lot of blood was shed. Now they are better men for it. Spike lifted his arm to wash his neck but winced in pain.

"Here, let me" Buffy sat on the edge of the bath tub and gently washed Spike's neck and back. She eased carefully over his wounds, noticing him tense up when she brushed near them. As she moved down his back, she heard him breathing heavier. This caused their eyes to lock. His eyes sparkled. He was so full of life. It was strange seeing him this way. His skin even looked like it was glowing.

She released the wash cloth and ran her fingers across his shoulders. She was so anxious to feel his skin. To feel the warmth. At this point, she didn't care about anything else. Her passion for him was always strong and it guided her actions. Her fingers lingered towards his chest and as she placed her hand down she felt his heart speed up it's rhythm. A wave a heat ran through her body. Spike grabbed her hand and squeezed. Her stomach was on fire as she felt her own heart speed up.

"Buffy," Spike whispered. He leaned in to kiss her. She met him. Their lips touched gently. The heat from his mouth was exciting her to the point of no return. She let his hand run down her body to her back. His touch was amazing. She could tell he was nervous but his body told her otherwise. He grabbed hold of her arms and pulled her closer to him. She gently straddled him, now with her legs in the water. He brought his mouth to her neck and kissed it gently.

Buffy was on fire. Her body melted into his. She felt him pause. He lifted from her neck, then looked deeply into her eyes and smiled. "My heart is beating out of control," he told her.

She smiled. "Mine too."

They kissed again. Harder this time. Spike ran his hands up her thighs, moving the fabric of her wet robe aside. He slid his fingers back down and loosened the belt of her robe. He opened it a bit and stared down at her bare breasts. Spike smiled at that sight. He ran his fingers over her skin. Buffy arched her back, then grabbed him closer. The feel of his warm skin on hers sent shock waves through her body. She pulled away, helping him remove her robe.
Spike loved watching her. He felt sweat bead up on his forehead. He pulled her in close to him and kissed her hard. He untied her robe and slipped it off. His hands slid down her back to her backside. She continued to keep her lips locked to his. She moved her body in rhythm with his, causing the water to spill out the sides of the tub. He turned her face to his and kissed her passionately. His hands moving gently over her cuts, noticing she had a lot of them. He held her tight and lifted themselves out of the tub. With her legs wrapped around him, he carried her to the bed. They fell back, kissing passionately. He put his arm behind her back and rested himself between her legs pressing his body against hers. Buffy felt his warmth a lot more now without the water around them. His heat was so amazing to her. She felt his heart beating hard against her own.

Everything about this moment seemed unreal. Here she was, with Spike who, up until yesterday, she thought was dead. And now, not only is he alive, but he's human. She kissed his cheek, then lightly brushed her lips to his ear. "Spike..."

Buffy rested her head on Spike's chest as his fingers played with her hair. It seemed like the entire building was asleep. He revelled in this moment. The sun was beaming through the windows and he wanted it to shine in his face. He hadn't felt the sun since the day he wore the gem of Amara. He looked down at a sleeping Buffy. He didn't want to wake her. She slept so peacefully. This moment, he never saw coming. He thought he was going to die again, last night. Then here she comes, with her army to help them. Now he's a living breathing man. The woman of his dreams sleeping in his arms after a morning of love making.

"Amazing," he said to himself.

Buffy stirred a bit, then rolled over to her other side. Spike kissed her shoulder as he rose from the bed. He should really sleep but he couldn't. He wanted to bask in the sun. Thoughts of the nights events stayed with him. He was alive. Human, but strong.

How can this be? Who would know more about the prophecy?

He hoped Angel would have more answers for him. There was no going back to Wolfram and Hart, not that the building would still be there. He searched the room for some clothes of some sort. His duster and jeans were still laying on the floor, but they looked spent. All he found was another pair of pajamas. These would have to do until he went down to the hotel shop and snagged some normal clothes. He slid his feet into a pair of slippers next to the bed.


They felt soft and warm. He bent over and kissed Buffy on the head. She stirred and mumbled something incoherent. He smiled and walked to the door.

The hallway was empty. There was nothing but silence throughout the building. Spike made his way to the elevator. He pressed the down button and waited. The door finally chimed and opened for him. The ride down was too silent. This quiet was starting to get to him. He reached the ground level and stepped out of the elevator. He spotted the shop.

"A-Ha, clothes!" he said aloud. He picked out a pair of blue jeans and a green tee shirt that said 'I love L.A.' He smirked at the irony. He found some boxers, socks and a pair of tennis shoes. He was stripping out of his pajamas when he heard someone walking. Without thinking, a naked Spike crept through the shop. He spotted a golf club and grabbed it. The sound of footsteps grew closer. He backed up against the wall waiting, golf club over head. His heart was beating fast and hard. He thought it was so loud, this intruder must of heard it. The footsteps entered the shop and stopped. Spike jumped out and into position to strike the intruder.

"Hey. Spike! What the..," Angel growled.

Spike sighed then let down his guard. "Bloody hell Angel. Why are you sneakin' about?"

Angel eyed Spike up and down and smiled. "Shouldn't I be asking you the same thing?" Angel joked.

Spike looked down at his nakedness. He quickly made his way back over to the pile of new duds he picked out and dressed himself.

Angel, with his back turned began talking to him. "Spike. I'm glad I bumped into you. I mean, minus the naked part." Angel was hiding his laughter.

Spike was clumsily putting on his socks and shoes. He kept falling over and cursing to himself. Angel stopped and turned to Spike with a frown.

"So you and Buffy, you two are... sharing a room?" Angel accused.

Spike wasn't sure he really felt like going there with Angel right now. He was still high from his moment with Buffy. He didn't want to come down.

"Angel, back to why you're so glad to see me..."

"Okay, Spike. I wanted to find out more info on this Shanshu prophecy. There's a certain someone from Wolfram and Hart that may be useful."

"Who could possibly help from there?" Spike moved closer to Angel.

"Eve." Angel answered, sheepishly.

"Eve?" Spike asked.

Angel nodded.

"Angel wasn't she partly responsible for our opera house mountain dew excursion? What makes you think...?" Spike argued.

"She has nothing left. Lindsey is dead. Wolfram and Hart don't want her." Angel had certainty in his eyes.

"So this is who called you earlier, was it?" Spike asked.

"She's going to come meet us. Later. I wanted to make sure you'll be around to meet with her. That is unless..."

"Angel, I'll be here. I'm the one this happened to, remember?"

"It's our only hope to find out more about it, Spike." Angel defended.

Spike nodded at him to say thanks. As he exited the shop Angel followed him. "She loves you, ya know," Angel declared. Spike stood in his tracks and looked back at Angel. Angel didn't look mad, or upset.

"Spike. I, I saw you two. I know. I know Buffy. When she told me back in Sunnydale that you were in her heart, I didn't know to what extent. But seeing you two... well, now I know."

Spike was stunned. She told him that? Last year? Spike pressed his lips together and gave Angel a slight nod and smile. Then walked off.

This was definitely a day of revelations

Spike slipped out of his new duds and back into bed with Buffy. The sun can wait. He had all the sunshine he needed right next to him. After what Angel had just told him, he felt even closer to her. He was a git for saying what he said during those last moments together. Spike felt her love now. He couldn't deny that. It was interesting that she told Angel how she felt before she even told him. Spike understood now why she was so mad at him before. She probably went through this whole year thinking he never knew how she really felt about him. Spike felt like a royal screw up. When they spent that last night together back in Sunnydale, he thought he saw something in her eyes. Fear is what told him it couldn't have been love. They sat for hours and talked, laughed, held each other. Yet, he refused to believe she loved him. After that horrible day when he tried to force himself on her, he shuddered at the thought of convincing himself of her love. She rolled over and wrapped her arm around him. He caressed it gently.

"My love," he whispered, then drifted off with her

Here Comes The Sun by theslayer19

The day was in full gear. Xander and Issa made their way to the lounge for some breakfast. Willow and Kennedy were cheerfully whipping up some omelets, sandwiches, and fresh fruit salad. Andrew helped, excited about the amount of ingredients he had to work with. Dawn leaned against the kitchen counter reading off recipes. Flour was all over the place, even on Andrews face.

"Andrew, you're such a slob!' Dawn jabbed.

Andrew turned in a huff with a big mixing bowl in one hand, spoon in another. "I'll have you know, small wonder, that the way to tell a real chef is so see what a mess he makes when he's cooking,"

Dawn rolled her eyes, then stepped out of the kitchen over to the dining area next to Xander. Giles entered the room, tea in hand. He placed it down on the table as he pulled a chair out for himself. Xander and Issa were sgiggling and kissing. The sight caused Giles look away.

"Hey Giles!" Dawn saved him. "Sleep okay?"

Giles, relieved Dawn was there. "Oh, yes. very well, thank you. Have you seen Buffy?"

Dawn looked around the room. "Nope, Not yet."

Andrew came through the swinging door with a plate full of pancakes. He clutched a bottle of syrup with his spare pinky. He clumsily dropped the plate into the table and smiled.

"Oo! yummy!" Xander rubbed his hands together and licked his lips. "I don't get to eat this in Africa!"

He was the first to plunge into them, forking a few on to his plate. Issa grinned. "Leave some for the rest of us," she told him.

He grinned with his mouth full.

Giles flipped the page of the newspaper he was reading, covering his face so not to see Xander stuff his. Kennedy walked through the swinging door holding a platter of omelets and toast. Willow following her bringing sandwiches. She turned to Dawn.

"Uh, Dawnie, can you go grab the fruit inside?" Willow asked her.

Dawn pouted with a mouthful of pancake. "Fom"

Xander leaned in to Issa. "That's 'fine' in stuffed mouth language." Issa laughed then kissed him. Giles flipped the paper, once again as if annoyed.

Faith and Robin joined the group and their eyes lit up. "Wow, a feast!" Faith gleamed.

Andrew looked up with pride. "Omelets and pancakes are limited, but there's enough sandwiches and fruit to feed an army. Like us," Andrew told them.

The room filled up quickly with hungry slayers. A still weakened Gunn made his way for some nosh. He was starving. Willow turned to him to see if he was okay.

"Hey Gunn, so glad your up and about. How are you doing?" Willow asked.

Gunn winced in pain as he slowly sat in a chair, sandwich in hand. "Better. Where's Angel and Smurfette?"

Andrew looked over at Gunn and chuckled. "Smurfette, such a good name for her," Andrew joked.

"Yea, just don't call her that to her face, unless you really wish your head was on the other way," Gunn warned.

At that moment, Angel and Illyria entered. Gunn widened his eyes at Andrew as if to tell him not to say anything. Andrew understood.

"Angel, Some of the girls got up early, so I sent them on a blood run for you. There's some in the fridge." Willow said to him pointing towards the kitchen. He smiled and thanked her. As he rose from his chair, Buffy and Spike walked in. He nodded at them then went to get his breakfast.

"Oh, pancakes," Buffy said. She quickly found her way to the table and made a plate. Spike looked at all the food with enthusiasm. He couldn't wait to taste it with his newly human taste buds. Buffy made him a plate of pancakes and fruit.

Dawn watched him curiously. She wondered what it was like for him. He'd been dead for so long, living off of blood, this must be a real thrill. Then again, he did love food when he was a vampire. She never did quite get that.

"So, Spike. Is it more satisfying now that you're a human?" Dawn asked him.

Spike choked on a strawberry then realized she was talking about the food, not the activity he and Buffy had all morning. "Sure is, niblet," he replied, still eating.

Buffy smiled slyly knowing exactly what he meant.

A refreshed Angel came out of the kitchen, obviously done with his morning blood. He looked over at Buffy and Spike. This was still weird for him. Illyria watched Angel's stare.

"You want to have intercourse with her," she said to him. Those who heard her, including Buffy looked at Illyria, then to Angel in shock.

Angel felt embarrassed. "No, what?" he shockingly asked her.

Spike took another bite of a pancake and mumbled, "Chatting. That's blue's way of saying... chatting someone up" Spike informed them.

Giles let out an "ah".

Buffy looked down at her plate, shyly. Angel, still embarrassed, stepped out of the room. Buffy watched him. She squeezed Spike's knee. "I'll be right back."

Buffy followed Angel into the foyer. "Angel, you have a sec.?"

He didn't turn around. He didn't want to do this with her. He knew what she was going to say and he tried avoiding it since he saw her. Buffy walked in front of him. His gaze went from the ceiling to her. She looked so content. He frowned at the thought that she never looked so radiant.

"Angel, we should talk," she told him. "I went through a year of not knowing anything that you were up to here."

He knew part of that was Spike.

"And I came here thinking you'd be at least glad to have the help. Instead I get a cold shoulder and some blue chick sniffing me," Buffy said with a hint of anger.

"Look, I never asked you guys to come. I am grateful that we're all still alive, but Buffy. It may not have ended this way," he said sternly.

"So, you still feel the need to baby me, Angel? You still think I can't handle it?"

She was mad now. He was almost glad she was. It made it easier for him to deal with her and Spike. Spike's scent was all over her and it sickened him. "Buffy, I know what your capable of. That's not what I meant," he assured her.

She didn't buy it. She stepped closer to him. He cringed at her scent. He almost turned to walk away.

"Angel, I didn't want to argue. That's not my intent. There's more. I need to talk to you about..."

"Spike," he interrupted. He wanted to leave the building and burn up right there. Anything than to hear what was about to come out of her mouth.

"Yes," she answered. "What's our plan? We need to find out more about the shu-m... Shanshu?"

Angel sighed. "There's someone named Eve. She used to work as the liaison to the Senior Partners. She's has information about the Shanshu. Information that I haven't read. Stuff that was left out."

Buffy looked pleased. "Good, when will she be here?"

"By evening. She called earlier this morning, She had a few loose ends to tie up. Then she'll be here."

"Can we trust her Angel?"

Angel knew this answer. "No, but she has nothing to gain for lying to us. She's bringing some texts with her anyway."

Buffy smiled at him and turned to join the breakfast club. Angel felt guilty for being cold to her. He did have one thing to ask, then he didn't want to bring it up ever again.

"Buffy, wait," he called out to her. She turned and faced him.

"I know about you and Spike. I don't want the details, but I just have to know one thing."

Buffy widened her eyes awaiting his next words.

"Are you done... baking?" He felt like an idiot. She gave him that whole cookie dough speech last year and he couldn't resist. It was their code.

She smiled and walked back to the feast. She didn't answer him. Angel knew what that meant.

Some of the girls sat around the lounge. The piano was a favorite for some of them. Buffy thought she was going to scream if she heard another rendition of Heart and Soul. Giles and Robin sat across from each other at a table, Faith hanging off Robin's shoulder. Dawn and Xander were pseudo-ballroom dancing to the piano's tunes. You'd never believe they were just in a huge battle the night prior. She noticed Andrew and Spike sitting together talking on one of the sofas. Spike had a huge smile on his face. Willow sat at a table alone, typing away on her laptap. Buffy sat down next to her. It was great seeing her old friends again. She really missed them during her time in Rome. This occasion had made her realize she didn't ever want to be that far apart from them again.

"Hey Wil. Anything new on Yahoo news?" Buffy asked her. Willow shook her head.

"I was looking for more information on the Shanshu. I can't find anything new. Scrolls of Aberjian, vampire with a soul, blah blah blah, trials, blah blah, nothing about what happens afterward." Willow pouted.

"It's okay. Angel said someone's coming by later with some more info. I just hope it's happy info, not grrr info." Buffy looked back at Spike who was rising from the sofa he and Andrew shared. Willow watched Buffy's face change.

"So, Buff. You and Spike. What's up with that?" Willow asked her.

Buffy smiled at Spike, then turned to Willow. "Well, I'm not sure. I only found out yesterday that he was alive and now he is well, alive."

Spike felt her gaze and met her eyes. He smiled back at her as he made his way to the food.

"Are you... in love with him? Cus if you are that's great. I mean... I know in the past you guys were..." Willow stammered.

Spike turned their way and approached them holding a bunch of grapes, eating them off the stem. "Red," he greeted.

Buffy sighed with relief at not having to answer that.

Willow smiled at Spike. "Hey Spike. So, how ya getting used to being human. Is it weird?"

"Weird, yea. These past twenty four hours have been a head trip," he said, still munching on the grapes. "Kinda want to check out the sun. Care to join me?" he asked Buffy.

She turned to Willow. "I could use some fresh air."

"Go. Have fun. Bask for me," Willow told her.

The sun was hot and beaming. For May, it was warmer than usual. Spike held his face to the sun, absorbing it's rays.

"This feels amazing Buffy. Truly amazing," he told her.

This area was empty due to the night's events. The streets were littered with abandoned cars, bikes, etc. Spike spotted a motorcycle across the way with the keys still in the ignition. He flashed a mischievous smile at Buffy.

"Let's go for a ride. How about the beach?" Spike raced over to the bike. It was a gorgeous dark blue Harley. He couldn't resist.

Buffy looked at him, disapproving. "Spike, we don't even know who this bike belongs to. What if he's just shopping or something?" Buffy scolded, playfully.

Spike pouted. "Aw, come one. This poor bloke obviously took off leaving his nice ride here. What do ya say? Pleeeease!" he begged.

She moved closer to him and smiled. "Okay, Easy Rider. One ride, then we need to come back. I don't want to be gone that long. "

Spike grinned as he hopped on to the bike. He patted the seat in back of him. "Come on, times a wastin'."

She hopped on the back and wrapped her arms around his waist. "Shouldn't we get helmets?"

Spike turned, "We're super heroes Buffy."

He turned the key. The bike jolted to a start and made an awful rumble and they took off.

They rode through Hollywood, zooming down the Sunset Strip. The place was buzzing with activity. Buffy looked around at all the shops and restaurants. Couples sitting outside, friends enjoying drinks. It looked fun. Sometimes she'd catch people looking at them. They probably thought Spike and her were crazy riding around without helmets. Buffy prayed the cops wouldn't see them. That's all they needed. Spike drove them through West Hollywood to Beverly Hills. Mansions lined the street. It was beautiful. This was her favorite part of Sunset Boulevard. There wasn't as much traffic around here. Buffy bent her head back and closed her eyes to the sun. It felt so good to be doing this. She grabbed him tighter, hands pressing against his chest. Feeling his heartbeat sent vibrations through her.

They finally came to the end of Sunset Boulevard. The beach was ahead of them. Spike turned right. He drove until they came to a less populated area of the beach. He pulled up to the side of the road. It was a bit of a climb down to the beach, but he knew they can handle it.

Spike turned to a very cheerful Buffy. "This'll do."

Buffy grinned. She loved this area. They made their way down the cliff. The sand on the beach was getting cool. The only sound was of the waves crashing on to the sand. Buffy stopped and found a spot for them to sit.

"So," Spike started as he lowered himself to sit next to Buffy. "Let's chat." He smiled at her.

Buffy lifted her head. "I miss the gang. I miss all of us fighting together. Since the Hellmouth closed, we all went our separate ways. And you well, let's not get started on that one again."

Spike chuckled. He listened to her talk as if every word was the most important thing he had ever heard. She loved that about him. Buffy continued, "I tried to give Dawn a normal life. I don't know why I assume that would ever happen." She giggled.

"What's normal anyway to people like us? " Spike chimed in. "Before Dru came into my life, I was just a man, caring for his sickly mum, blindly pining over a woman who'd never love me back. I wrote countless amounts of poems. None of it seemed worth it."

Spike turned his gaze to the ocean. The waves were calm as the sun set upon them, catching the orange glow as it crashed. There was something about the air tonight that felt cleansed. Or maybe he just felt cleansed. "Then along came Dru. She pulled me out of mediocrity and turned me into a vampire."

Buffy watched him intensely and leaned her head into his. "Spike, You fought the demon inside. Not many vampires can say that," Buffy assured him.

"Buffy. I fell in love with a slayer. Not many vampires can say that ...well, except for Angel, but not the point. I ravaged towns and cities. I killed entire families. I..."

He paused. He knew Buffy was full aware of his evil doings but there were many things that she didn't know. Things that weren't written in the watcher's journals.

"We were animals, Buffy." He looked down again. "We lived for the kill. It's what drove us."

He tilted his head to the side and met her eyes. "Then I met you. I never could admit it at the time, Dru saw it but I didn't get it. With that bloody initiative chipping my brain, well..."

Buffy looked away. She remembered all the fights they had. All the times he tried to kill her. A chill ran down her spine.

"So, I tried to make sense of it," he continued. "I was everything you despised. I thought if I tried to... I just couldn't bare the thought of you not feeling the same. I was full on surprised when we started a sexual relationship," Spike said bluntly.

"Then you broke it off and I couldn't bare it. I attacked you. You see, I still had the demon inside, Buffy. No matter how much in love I was, it was there. After hurting you... I never looked back. I had to fix... myself."

Buffy hugged her knees in close. These memories filled her with pain. She didn't want to think of it. It was a million miles away from her.

Spike continued. "After getting my soul it made sense. Why I was the way that I was. Why you couldn't love me." He looked out into the ocean. The sun was low. It would be setting soon.

"Then you gave me a chance. You believed in me." He smiled at her. "I want you to know that with this new life I've been given, I want to truly live it. No regrets."

She turned to him and smiled back. "No regrets."

All About Eve by theslayer19

Eve walked through the streets looking around in disbelief. She thought about what happened last night, and now today it seemed like nothing ever occurred.

"Why am I doing this?" she said to herself as she held the ancient texts close to her chest.

She hated Angel for taking Lindsey away from her. She hated Wolfram and Hart for everything else. She would just give him these books then leave forever. Maui always sounded nice to her. Anywhere but here. She searched around for the hotel Angel mentioned. The streets suddenly became darker, emptier.

Must be getting close.

There across the street from where she stood was the Grand Hotel. Looking up, Eve noticed some windows broken and what looked like singed bricks.


She slowly neared the front of the building and peeked through the glass doors to see if there was anyone inside. The fact that this may be a trap entered her mind once or twice. If they could do it to Lindsey, what's to stop them from taking her out was well. Still, she had no idea what happened to him. Angel made it clear Lindsey wasn't coming back, but she never found out why. Her heart told her he was dead for sure.

Through the glass she spotted a few girls sitting on the sofas in the reception area. There was a man talking on a phone at the front desk. A guy with messy blondish hair sat on the stairs talking to a red headed girl. The sight didn't seem threatening, so she entered the building. The man at the desk hung up the phone and turned to her.

"Hello. Eve, I presume?" Giles greeted.

Giles eyed the books she was holding. Two of them, ancient indeed. She clutched them tighter to her chest, almost seeming as if she didn't want to part with them. Eve just nodded to him.

Giles extended his hands towards the books she held. "I'm Giles, may I have a look?"

Eve looked down at the books and as if coming out of a trance. "Oh, yes, sorry, here they are." she said, handing them over to Giles. She now noticed everyone staring at her.

"Where's Angel?" she asked.

Willow stood up and approached Eve and Giles. Andrew followed her. Willow smiled at Eve, although she wasn't sure why.

"He's upstairs. I think he needed some sleep. We had a hell of a night," Willow told her. Andrew squinted at Eve as if he knew more about her than she thought. Eve stared back at him, confused.

"So, does anyone want to tell him I'm here?" Eve asked.

Giles and Willow looked at one another then back to Andrew. He backed away.

"Why me? What if he's... grumpy?" Andrew protested.

Giles placed the books down on the desk and adjusted his glasses. "I'll get him. Willow, look through these texts, see if you can start translating," Giles told her.

Andrew sighed with relief then joined Willow.

Eve stood alone in the lobby. Looking around she walked to a sofa and sat. She was tired. She stayed up all night in a seedy motel on the other side of town. She obeyed Angel when he told her to leave Wolfram and Hart. She grabbed a few things and hopped in a taxi. Now here she was, back in the thick of it. Why? She still hadn't answered that one in her head.

Angel stirred in bed, dreaming. He woke to a knock on the door. Wearily rising out of bed he shouted, "Be right there!"

Giles stood outside Angel's room, waiting. He heard footsteps nearing him. Angel opened it to find Giles standing there. "Angel, sorry to wake you. It seems your guest has arrived with the texts we've been waiting for," Giles informed him.

Angel looked back at his bed then walked back to grab his shirt. He slipped it on and nodded to Giles.

"Let's go," he told him.

Angel and Giles exited the elevator to find Willow and Andrew intensely reading the texts. Angel spotted Eve sitting on the sofa near them. She turned to him and rose. Angel really didn't have much to say to her. He was grateful she brought him the information he needed, but guilt swept over him thinking about Lindsey. Had to do it, he told himself.

Eve approached him. She looked haggard. "Angel. What happened here last night?" she asked him.

Angel looked away from her. He wasn't in the mood to relive last night's events with her. "Well, big battle. Senior partners. Not much more to say."

"Angel, if this were the senior partners, we'd all be dead. This was something else," she told him.

Angel looked down at her, annoyed. "Eve, trust me, I don't want to get into this right now." He turned from her and walked towards Willow and Andrew. Giles stood over Willow reading over her shoulder. Eve followed him.

Willow had her laptop next to her, trying to translate some of the phrases. "It all seems to be the Proto-Bantu. It won't be hard to translate, but some of these words are very ambiguous. Like for one, Shanshu could mean.."

"Live or die," Angel interrupted her. Willow looked at him surprised.

"Well, yea. So you know most of it?" Willow asked him.

"Wesley translated some of it. But these texts were supposedly left out of the final cut," Angel told her. The sound of Wesley's name brought a wave of sadness through the group. Well, except for Eve. What did she care?

Willow glanced back down at the pages. "It's going to take me a while to find anything useful," she told him.

"Take your time, Wil," Angel told her, then moved towards the entrance of the hotel. The sun was down now. He sighed at the sight of the night sky approaching. Twenty-four hours ago he was in a completely different state of mind. Twenty-four hours ago he thought they were all going to die.

Buffy sat in Spike's arms in front of him, his arms and legs wrapped around her. They faced the ocean. The sky was darkening and the colors were amazing. Spike kissed the back of her head, squeezing her tightly. She held his arms tighter.

"So, what now?" she asked. The sounds of the ocean were so soothing. She could have stayed there all night with him, but she knew that they should head back soon.

Spike sighed. "Don't know, pet. Just thought we could enjoy some time away from..."

He was interrupted by the sounds of someone screaming in the distance. Buffy jerked up, hearing it too. They both jumped to their feet.

"So, you just had to ask, huh?" he joked.

Buffy smiled at him and looked at up the sky. "It wouldn't have been a Spike and Buffy date without fighting, now would it?" she teased.

He laughed as they turned towards the sounds. It was a female scream. That they knew. The beach was empty, they tried to see though the darkness. There wasn't much light to work with. The screams grew louder and more coherent. They were close.

"No, please. Stop. Let me go," the girl screamed. Five vampires closed in on her. Two of them grabbed her arms, one arm each as the others hungrily licked their lips. Buffy and Spike came up from behind.

Dumb vampires. They broke up her serenity time. Now they were going to pay.

"Okay, which one of you wants to blend with the sand first?" They looked at Buffy. Spike stood behind her, ready. Two vamps jumped her. She ducked and they knocked into Spike.

"Bloody hell!"

"Sorry," Buffy yelled, wincing.

Spike struggled with the two vamps, then grabbed each of their heads and slammed them into each other , both falling back in opposite directions. Spike brushed his hands off, ready for more. He ran over to the vamps holding the girl.

Buffy searched for a weapon. With her back turned, another vamp jumped on her back. She fell down to the ground with the vamp on top of her. She threw him off and crawled in the sand towards a piece of driftwood she found laying there. The vamp jumped in front of her and slammed it's foot into her hand. Buffy yelled out in pain, then grabbed his leg with her free hand and pulled him down. He fell to his back. Buffy bounced up and reached for the driftwood. Just before she could grab it, the vamp tripped her by grabbing her legs. She kicked him in the face. He grabbed his nose in pain.


Buffy turned to him and smirked. She looked over at Spike who was fighting off the vamps that were once holding the girl. The girl was a few feet away, watching them with wide eyes. Spike had one of the vamps in a head lock. The other one came up behind him and slammed his fists into Spike's back. Spike let go of the one vamp and fell to the ground in pain. The two vamps closed in on him. He smiled at them, which confused them. Spike bounced to his feet and brushed himself off.

"Right, time to get dirty now, boys," Spike teased. The vamps jumped at him, Spike ducked, throwing his arms above him, catching the vamps in mid air. He threw them towards the ocean. They collapsed into the sand. Spike neared them and reached down, picking them both up but he collars of their shirts.

"Time for a swim," he said.

The other two vamps came to, rose to their feet, then ran over to Spike. As Spike lifted the wet vamps to throw them into the ocean, he was slammed in the back of the head. The pain caused him to release the other vamps. Spike turned to see two fiends smiling at him. Before he could react, they both grabbed him and threw him into a breaking wave. He disappeared in to the dark water.

Buffy looked on in horror. "Spike," she shouted.

Finally able to grab the driftwood, she plunged it into the vamp she was fighting and it dusted. She ran over to the other four vamps, looking victorious for getting rid of Spike. Buffy smirked at them. She grabbed one, the closest to her, and drove the driftwood into it's chest. As it dusted, the other three came at her full force. She ducked their punches. One grabbed her and threw her to the ground. As it leaned over her, she kicked it's stomach and leaped back up to her feet. She grabbed the vamp and tossed him into the others. The impact caused them all the fall into the oncoming wave. Buffy looked behind them and smiled.

"Spike, catch!" Buffy threw him the driftwood. Spike caught it and came in close behind the clumsy vamps who were trying to keep their balance against the strong current.

"One," Spike said as he dusted one of the vamps. "Two," he said dusting the other. "And Three," dusting the final one.

Buffy smiled at him. "That's my guy," she told him as they made their way out of the ocean.

Spike smirked. "Your guy?"

"You know what I mean, don't get all... analytical about it!" Buffy said as she shook the sand out of her hair.

"Analytical? Oh big words now?" Spike teased.

"Shut up, Spike. I just saved your a..."

"Uh-hum" The girl interrupted.

Buffy quickly turned her attention onto the scared girl. "Sorry, are you okay?" Buffy asked her, shooting a look at Spike.

"I think I'm okay. But, what were those things?" the girl asked.

"Nothing to worry about. You really should be somewhere more... populated," Buffy told her.

"I came here to take pictures of the sunset. I didn't know..." She held her arms tight, shivering.

"Did you drive here?" Buffy asked.

The girl nodded.

"Okay, then I suggest you get back into your car and drive yourself home. Can you do that?" Buffy demanded.

The frightened girl shook her head 'yes' and ran up the dunes to her car.

Buffy and Spike headed back to the motorcycle. Before they hopped on, Spike leaned in to her and grabbed her waist.

"So what should my analytical mind be thinking about us?" Spike asked her.

"Why do you always do this? Can't we just... be?

Spike turned away, a little annoyed. Buffy felt bad, knowing how she always seemed to shoot him down. She wanted things to be different. He wasn't the annoying stalking vampire anymore. She had to change that way of thinking.

"Sorry Spike. I didn't mean... I don't know, okay? You were with me, then you weren't, you were a vampire, now you're not. Let's head back and we can talk later? Okay?"

Spike nodded as he pressed his lips together. He wanted to retort but kept his mouth shut. They hopped back on to the bike and sped off.

Angel paced the lobby. He wondered where Spike and Buffy were. Spike did say he'd be here. At that thought, he felt eyes on him. Eve.

"Eve, do you have anything else, cus I think we're done here. You can go," Angel told her.

Giles glanced up at Angel, shocked. "Angel, If I may, Eve worked for Wolfram and Hart, are you sure she'd be safe on her own?"

Angel frowned at Eve. He couldn't care less what happened to her. "She's a traitor, Giles. She doesn't deserve our protection," Angel snapped.

Eve eyed Angel, expressionless. " He's right. I worked against them. With Lindsey. I'll go." She turned to leave. Willow looked up from her books to Giles.

"We can't just let her... It's not our way, Giles," Willow begged.

Giles nodded and followed Eve."Eve, wait. What ever history you have with Angel, we can't allow you to be in harm's way. Stay until we know more about..."

"There's not much more to know. The Senior Partners aren't done with you all yet. It would be in my best interest to be far, far away from here. Now if you'll excuse me," Eve said.

Eve turned to leave. As she neared the glass doors, Spike and Buffy walked through. Spike smiled at Eve.

"Eve, off so soon? We didn't even get a chance to catch up," Spike teased.

Eve looked at him, strangely. She moved closer to him. He leaned his head back, not knowing what she was doing.

"Wow, Spike. This is why Angel wanted these texts so bad. You fulfilled the prophecy after all. I always knew it would have been you," she sneered. She turned back to Angel, then slipped past Spike and Buffy.

"What was that all about?" Buffy asked.

"Just some thorn in our side." Spike kept his gaze on Angel.

Buffy made her way over to Willow to try to help her with the translations. She wasn't much of a translating history buff but she wanted to feel useful. Spike strolled over to Angel and sat next to him. They were alone. The lounge was quiet. No piano, thankfully.

"Well, she brought the texts, Spike. Maybe we can get some answers for you," Angel told him.

"Thanks for doing this. You don't have to..." Spike said, feeling a hint of guilt.

"Spike. This may come as a shock to you, but I do care about what happens to you." Angel kept his gaze straight.

Spike looked at him, uneasy. "Uh, thanks?" He wasn't sure where Angel was taking this. Angel hated him. Or so he thought.

"Look, I know you and I have had our share of... pure hatred for one another, but things are different now. Although the thought of you fulfilling this prophecy and being with Buffy makes me want to rip your head off..." He smiled.

Spike chuckled and looked down at his feet. He and Angel did have a rough history. But Spike does recall times where they would just sit and talk, reflecting. There were times, a very few, when they got along like brothers.

"Do you remember the time when Old Man Geoffrey held us prisoner in his basement?" Spike asked him.

"Ha, yea, he was trying to make us join his vampire cult, as if we weren't already turned. What a tool" Angel smiled at the memory.

"And as I recall, you freed the puppies he was going to eat. You had your soul then, I didn't know it at the time so I was really confused as to why you wanted to save his puppies!" Spike laughed.

Buffy rose from the chair and approached Angel and Spike. Seeing them laughing together and getting along filled her with happiness. "Hey you two," she said

Spike and Angel looked up at her noticing the sand in her hair.

"Woa, Buffy. What happened?" Angel asked her.

"We fell into some vamp action down in Malibu. No big," she told him. "It's time for a shower, that's for sure."

Spike nodded and rose. "Yea, hear that."

Angel sat alone. He wasn't sure what was happening. Why they were all still alive, even. He heard footsteps behind him. Dawn popped out in front of him. He couldn't believe how much she'd grown, in his fake memories of her that is. She sat next to him and smiled.

"Do you think we'll find out more about that prophecy thingy?" she asked him.

"I don't know, Dawn. Maybe. Maybe not." Angel seemed far away. He remembered Wesley's remarks on the prophecy.

"Shanshu has roots in so many different languages. The most ancient source is the Proto-Bantu and they consider life and death the same thing, part of a cycle, only a thing that's not alive never dies. It's saying that you get to live until you die. It's saying , it's saying you become human."

Outside, Eve tried to find a cab. She wanted to be as far away from Angel as possible. She heard music up ahead. She hoped it was a taxi. Instead it was a old turquoise mustang convertible. She barely made out that the driver was... green? Lorne. He sped up to the hotel front and slammed the brakes. "Don't stop 'til you get enough" blasting from the speakers.

He exited the car and turned to Eve. "Well, if it isn't the love child of the Senior Partners!"

Eve rolled her eyes. Lorne shut the car door and advanced over to her. She held her ground. "No use running to the Garden of Eden, Eve. I'm sure Mommy and Daddy would like to have a word with you,"

"It's not me you should be worried about," she informed him. He turned from her to the hotel, following her gaze. "You should be worried about them." She pointed.

Lorne frowned. "Okay, run along then," Lorne turned and approached the hotel. He paused when he reached the door. Everyone inside looked over his direction.

Willow's eyes lit up. "Lorne!"

Angel and Dawn stopped talking to take a look towards the lobby. There stood Lorne. Green as ever, but an expression on his face that seemed stressed. Angel smiled and walked over to him.

"Lorne, you're here," and hugged him.

Lorne, shocked by the affection, gave in and hugged him back.

"Yea, I'm back Angelcakes. Sorry I missed out on all the blood and carnage. Red just wouldn't have gone with my shoes." Lorne chuckled. "I gotta ask though," pulling away, "Why was Eve here?"

Angel looked back outside. He saw Eve in the distance.

"She brought some ancient texts from Wolfram and Hart... about the Shanshu." Angel informed him.

"And she suddenly became trustworthy because..," Lorne asked, feeling uneasy.

"No trust involved here, Lorne. These texts were locked in a vault. Lindsey was hiding them from us. They're missing pieces to the prophecy." Angel eyed Willow.

"Oh. Okay. But why the renewed interest?" Lorne asked.

Angel looked back at him. "Spike. He's... human."

"So, he fulfilled it? Not you?"

"I..., it's a long story, we're just trying to find out more. Spike is human, but he still has super human strength," Angel said.

Lorne sighed. "We can have Spike... sing for me..."

"That may be a good idea." Angel told him.

"So you pulled it off. I mean, you guys did it. Here I thought, deadsville for sure." Lorne joked.

Angel turned to him. "And you call in the troops."

Lorne smiled, nervously. "Uh yea, well, about that..."

"It's okay, Lorne. It all worked out."

Angel and Lorne headed back to Giles and the gang. Faith and Robin had joined them, looking on at Willow. Andrew jotted down words Willow announced to him. He looked down at his pad and frowned.

"Hey guys..," Andrew said. Everyone looked at him. "Uh, this isn't good," Andrew cracked. Giles looked on, waving his hand for Andrew to continue.

"A man he will become and a life he will create. Four moons, he will die once more" Andrew stammered.

Nothing As It Seems by theslayer19

Giles removed his glasses and rubbed them with his handkerchief. He grabbed the pad out of Andrew's hand. Putting his glasses back on, he read the words. After a few seconds of silence, he spoke.

"It seems, from what we have gathered is that the vampire will die... again. But the creating life...I am not sure..," he said, handing the pad back to Andrew.

"Creating life. He's going to..." Faith was about to spell it out for him but was interrupted by Angel.

"Look, we don't know if these words even belong together. We need to read more. Get more," Angel demanded.

Lorne looked on with skepticism. "Angel's right. There must be more in there." Lorne turned and walked a few paces back.

"It's saying that he's going to impregnate someone, then die. Right?" Faith asked him.

"Well Doe Eyes, these old prophecies have like... quadruple meanings. It's like a David Lynch movie, you never know what it's about until you've watched it four hundred times and even then you are still unsure why there was a backwards talking midget and... yea Angel's right. We need more info," Lorne said with a sheepish smile.

Buffy and Spike exited the elevator. The room seemed thick with anxiety. It was way too quiet.

"Lorne!" Spike shouted.

Lorne smiled at Spike, hiding the fact that he was terrified of the translation they just all heard. "Willy the Kid! How are ya?" So, I hear ya got visited by the Blue Fairy!"

Spike noticed Lorne's expression change. "What is it Lorne?"

Lorne leaned in a whispered in Spike's ear. "You and I need a one on one later. No matter what you're about to hear, remember that," Lorne warned him.

Spike looked worried. "About to hear what?" Spike asked loudly.

The crowd looked at Spike. Giles, once again took his glasses off to rub the lenses. Andrew sat, holding his pad. He swallowed hard. Spike walked over to him, concerned.

"About to hear what?" he repeated, harder. The look on everyone's faces spelled it out for him. Whatever it was, it wasn't good.

Buffy ran to him to calm him down. She looked at Angel. He wouldn't even look at them. Her stomach turned. "Guys, what's going on? Did you find out more about the prophecy?" Buffy asked.

Andrew began to speak, but Giles stopped him. "We still have more to translate. We only have a few words here and there. We're.." Giles was about to finish when he saw Spike grab the pad out of Andrew's hand.

"Hey," Andrew protested.

Spike read the words over and over again. He looked around the room, then back down. "A man he will become, and a life he will create. Four moons, he will die once more," Spike said aloud, looking at Buffy.

Buffy listened in disbelief. She stood next to Spike, eying the writing. "What?" she questioned.

Willow watched them sympathetically. "Guys, we're not done. Don't take it for face value..." Willow informed them.

It didn't matter to Spike. He was furious. He slammed the pad down on the table causing everyone to jump. He turned to Buffy, then to Angel and stormed out of the hotel. Buffy went to follow him, but Angel grabbed her arm.

"Buffy, wait. Let me talk to him," Angel said.

Buffy looked at him confused, but she gave in. "Fine," She said.

Angel let go of her arm and turned to follow Spike. Buffy watched him leave, then turned to Willow.

"Willow, How much of this is finished?" Buffy asked.

Willow looked nervously around at the group. Was someone going to help her with this one?

"There's... some more sentences, Buffy, what we have now isn't..." Willow stumbled on her words.

"Don't... just, get some answers. Please," Buffy begged.

Giles neared her and placed his hand on her shoulder. She put her hand on his and squeezed.

Spike sat on cement stairs of a tenement building down the street. Angel sniffed him out, as vampires do. He approached what looked like a beaten Spike. Angel cringed at the sight. He started to think that maybe it should have been Buffy who came out after all.

Angel stood in front of him. Arms crossed. "Spike. This may not even mean anything. These prophecies are hard to translate sometimes," Angel assured him.

Spike looked hard Angel's eyes. "It's poetic, actually. I've taken more lives than I can even count, Angel. Why would the Powers That Be want me to get off easy. Giving me this life... it's a burden. You're right about that. This Shanshu is a bloody burden."

"Spike, I didn't mean it that way. I had no idea..."

"No, but to give someone a chance to be human again, then to take it away in one full swoop. That's punishment. To have to tell the woman that I love..." he choked.

The thought of leaving Buffy alone felt like the worst punishment of all. His stomach ached, he thought he may even vomit.

"Spike, wait until we hear more. This may be all a misunderstanding," Angel assured him. Somehow, he knew Spike didn't buy it.

"Look, Angel. I'm not a stupid git. I knew from the moment it happened that it wouldn't last. I knew there was a catch. Buffy knew it too. There is no way in hell the higher powers would grant someone like me a chance at true happiness. Not after all I've done. I deserve to rot in hell."

Spike looked down at his feet. He knew it to be true. Whether he fought for his soul, stopped the apocalypse, saved the world. None of it mattered. He was tainted.

Angel turned to leave. He turned back to Spike who was staring off in a daze. "Spike, you said it yourself. We were innocent victims once upon a time. It's not our fault what we became, who we turned into..."

He stopped. He wasn't sure Spike cared. "We're going to find out more about it. Come back inside. Buffy's worried." Angel almost cringed when he said it, but it was the truth.

Spike looked up at him, then nodded. "Be there soon," he told him.

Angel walked off. Spike sat alone for what felt like hours. He didn't have the guts to face Buffy. He couldn't hurt her again. Not after all that has happened between them. Everything he did to become a better man, was for her. His life, his undead one, was nothing without her. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he knew that he was cursed. Even with his soul and now his humanity, he knew. That night when Drusilla came to him and made him into the worst kind of abomination, it was a curse. At the time, it was an awakening. A birth to what he assumed was to his real life. But in the end, it was nothing more than a burden. He thought of the words of the prophecy.

"Life he will create," he said to himself. Then he felt a wave of heat run through his body. Oh God! He thought. Life... create.

The moon was high in the clear night sky. Buffy sat alone on a bench in the courtyard of the hotel gardens. She wondered if Spike was okay. The words of the prophecy repeating over and over in her head like a broken record. She knew what it all meant. The last few years took a toll on her. Almost losing Dawn, losing her mom, Tara, The First, Spike. Buffy hated her life, sometimes. Even though she wasn't the only chosen one anymore, her burdens were still there. Her curse. The memory of her last night in Sunnydale popped into her head. The First was in her form, trying to break her down.

"There's that word again. Alone"

Buffy shook it off. It was all just to mess with her head. Ancient prophecy. The prophecy is just that, ancient and something written thousands of years ago and translated a billion times.

Buffy heard footsteps approach her. Spike wrapped his arms around her and she cried. He looked on, surprised. Was she crying for him? He let her release her sadness. He didn't want to see her this way, it hurt him.

"Buff..." Spike choked.

"Shhh, just... don't say anything," she interrupted.

Inside, a very frantic Willow tried desperately to finish the translations. Dawn threw words at Andrew to write down. She peered up at Andrew who looked defeated.

"Andrew, why aren't you writing this stuff down?" she scolded.

He broke from his trance. "It's done. Everything you're giving me is just repeats."

Dawn looked at Willow in disbelief. Willow nodded.

"He's right. The words are just repeating, in different order."

Willow looked back down, skeptical. There was something wrong about these texts. She saw that some of the words weren't even real words. Just gibberish.

"Dawn, read out the last sentence I gave you," Willow demanded.

Dawn pulled back a sheet of her notepad and read back the words. "The sun sets drepify and the cows dance of joy?" Dawn recited.

Andrew scratched his head. "So, cows are going to dance now?" he asked.

Dawn bopped him on the head with her pencil.

"Ow!" he cried.

Willow ran over the text once more. It all just repeated weird gibberish, over and over.

"We have to tell Spike. These texts may just be nothing more than ancient nursery rhymes," Willow said.

Dawn moved closer to Willow and leaned in. "But what if it's not just nursery rhymes?" she whispered.

Eve sat in the back seat of the cab. She ordered him to take her to 315 Topanga Canyon Road. The road was empty and dark and she could barely make out the houses along the winding street. The taxi turned onto an even darker street that winded up into the mountains. They came upon a gated driveway. The voice on the speaker greeted them. Eve handed the money to the cab driver and exited the car. She approached the speaker.

"It's Eve," she said.

The cab driver opened his window. "Are you sure you don't want me to drive you to the door?" he asked her.

"I'm fine," she told him, handing him a generous tip. He thanked her then backed up and drove off. The gates slowly opened. She slipped in and walked up a path towards the house. A few lights were on that pointed at two ugly gargoyles guarding the steps going up to the front door. Eve's eyebrows raised as she ascended up the stairs. The front door opened revealing a butler.

"Mademoiselle," he said, swinging his arm for her to follow inside.

The foyer was huge with black and white tiles lining the floor. Candles burned in the corners, giving the room an eerie glow. The shadows danced on the walls, almost looking alive. To anyone else, this would scare them right out of the front door. Eve shrugged it off and followed the butler into a room full of books. A man stood with his back turned to them, staring at the fireplace.

"Monsieur Trevaud. Mademoiselle,Eve," the butler announced.

Jean Trevaud turned to face his guest. He was a handsome older man with long brown hair, tied in a ponytail that hung down his back. His eyes were crystal blue, almost transparent. He looked like someone not of this time. Someone from centuries ago. He bowed and approached Eve. He lifted her hand and kissed it. "Mademoiselle, Bonsior."

Eve jerked her hand back, eying him then the dark room they stood in. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of books. All seeming to be from ancient times to modern times. Something felt heavy. She wasn't sure if it was just the room or the man inside it.

"I trust it went well tonight? You were able to deliver the texts?" he asked her.

Eve smiled at him. "Yes. They're busy translating them as we speak. Now about our arrangement" She reminded him.

The light bounced off of his eyes as he turned to face the fire place. Then he turned his attention to the shadows. "Hear that darling. It's all going as you wanted."

Eve tried to make out who he was talking to. She didn't know anyone else was with them. Out of the shadows walked a woman in an old 19th century gown. Her long black ringlets fell over her shoulders.

She smiled at Eve and clapped. "And the spell?"

"Yes, my dear Drusilla. You will have your day. I promise," Jean said to her.

Drusilla flashed him a wicked smile which turned into a pout. "Bad bad daddy will get what he deserves." Drusilla and Jean erupted into a menacing laugh.

Eve looked on with horror

A Woman Scorned by theslayer19

The gang piled into Spike and Buffy's room. Giles stood, notepad in hand in the center of the room. He glanced at Andrew who held the two books close to his chest looking around nervously. Giles cleared his throat. "Let's start from the beginning. It states 'A man he will become' which clearly means the vampire with the soul will become human."

Giles noticed Spike was standing against the wall with his head down. He never recalled Spike seeming this distracted.

Giles continued. "A life he will create." He paused. "This may mean, Spike creating an offspring or..."

Spike shot his head up, his face hard. "We get that part, Rupert!"

Giles continued. "Four moons he will die once more, we can only assume means... death," Giles said, almost in a whisper.

Robin stood up. "Hold up. Why would Spike be granted a new beginning as a human, only to have it taken away?" he asked as he and Spike made eye contact.

Spike pressed his lips together "Because, I don't deserve it," he whispered.

Robin watched him, sympathetically. There was a moment of silence. It was broken by the door opening.

"Hey kiddies," Lorne said. "Woah, I can slice the tension in here with a Ginsu!" All eyes turned to Lorne.

Angel and Gunn stood behind him. Angel stepped in walking ahead of Lorne. Faith approached him. "Angel, what more do you remember about this?" Faith asked him.

"The vampire with a soul will play a pivotal roll in the apocalypse," Angel said, looking at Spike.

Gunn stepped in. He winced in pain as he stood next to Angel. "Hold on. I thought the Shanshu would wipe their past clean," Gunn informed him. All eyes turned on Gunn. They hadn't heard that part.

"That's one version of it," Angel told them.

He looked at Spike again, then to Willow. "Willow, what more did you guys find?"

Willow pulled out her notepad. She anxiously flipped the pages. "Well, all of the rest, after the part we all know, is just nonsense. It talks about dancing cows and words we've never heard of. I don't know how much of this we can take seriously." Willow scanned the room. She re-read some of the gibberish.

"Dancing cows play milk games with carcus fiends and foiters."

Robin squinted at her. "Foiters? Well, I know that doesn't mean anything."

"Is all of it like that? Giles asked.

Willow nodded, showing him her notes.

An anxious Lorne stepped in next to Gunn. "Although I really would love to listen to 'Nursery Rhymes' for the crazies, I need Spike to come with me." He moved closer to Spike. "What do ya say blondy bear? Can I see you alone? For a few?" Lorne asked him.

"Sure. I'm all yours."

Spike headed for the door. He touched Buffy's hand on his way out. Lorne followed him. He turned to Buffy. "I'll have him back to you in no time."

"I think that's so cool" Andrew added.

Dawn, annoyed, turned to him. "What?"

Andrew sunk down into his chair, realizing no one knew what he was talking about. "Lorne, singing for him reveals your fate... or whatever. It's cool."

Spike waited for Lorne in the hall. Lorne motioned for Spike to follow him. "This way," Lorne said. Spike followed him until they came to an empty room.

"Listen. I know all of this, well, sucks, but I may be able to help."

Spike stared at him, quiet.

"Sing for me, mockingbird."

Spike looked at him expressionless. Lorne was nervous he didn't understand. "I can tell you what I see. But you'll have to sing." Lorne reminded him.

Spike looked down and cleared his throat. "Okay, here it goes." Spike began to sing the first few lines of Yellow Submarine. Lorne stared at him with wide eyes. He looked horrified. Spike glanced back up at him, then his eyes opened wider.

"What? It's the first song I can think of!" Spike defended.

Lorne looked nervously around. "Uh, Spikey. I uh... I don't know what to say."

"Lorne. Spill it!" he demanded.

"I saw a lot, Beetlemania. I think there are some things you should know."

Spike sat on the bed, still looking down.

Lorne crouched down in front of him. "The picture was jumbled. It was like looking into a magic eightball. It kept changing. I saw... death, yes. But I saw life too. Your baby. Yours and... Buffy's."

Spike's eyes shot up at him.

"Listen, Spike. I'm not sure of this Shanshu mumbo-jumbo. If ya ask me, prophecies are as solid as J-Lo's relationships." He saw Spike crack a small smile. A very small smile.

Lorne continued. "The future kept changing. It looked like someone was controlling you like a puppet. Any idea what that could mean?" Lorne asked him.

Spike was confused. Puppet? He had no clue what that meant. "Unless it means... I'm like a puppet to the higher ups?" Spike asked.

Lorne shook his head."No. It was like, you are being manipulated somehow."

He sat next to Spike. "Look, whatever it means. I think you may have a chance. I don't think you're death is written in stone," Lorne said

"Buy you saw death. Mine, right?" Spike questioned him.

"Well, kid. I did. But my gooey insides were telling me that something wasn't right about it, not that anything would be right about... I mean, it looked like window dressing. "

"Our baby, huh?" Spike smiled.

Lorne glanced ahead. "See, here's the kicker. I saw your death, yet I saw you holding your baby. Buffy was there. You guys were... unless Buffy magically has your baby in the next two days..."

A spark of hope filled Spike's heart. What Lorne was saying was confusing. It contradicted itself, but that's what Lorne was implying. The outcome kept changing. If something or someone was pulling his strings, he'd be the first one to find out.

Before his two days were up.

His heart raced when he thought of their baby. He never dreamed, in million years. "Thanks Lorne. This was very helpful."

They walked out together back to his room. Before they reached the door Lorne grabbed Spike's shoulder.

"Listen Spike, I can't really say I've been there, cus I haven't, and I can't say that I know what you're going through cus I don't. But what I do know is that you don't give yourself enough credit," Lorne told him.

Spike smiled at him and walked through the door.

The gang remained in the room, talking over each other. As soon as they walked in, the room was silent.

"No, please. Don't stop us from your verbalfest," Lorne joked. Buffy looked up.

Spike eyed the room then Buffy. "Can I be alone with Buffy?"

Everyone piled out the door. Giles passed Spike and placed his hand on his shoulder. Spike turned to him, surprised. Giles didn't say anything. He turned and left.

Angel was left in the room. He looked over at Spike. "I want you two to know... I'll do anything to stop it. I won't let you..."

Buffy rose and neared Angel. She hugged him tight. He wrapped his arms around her. He looked down at her, then to Spike.

"Thanks Angel," Buffy told him. Angel released her, then turned to leave.

Buffy sat on the edge of the bed. Spike sat beside her. He looked ahead as he spoke.

"He saw my death."

Buffy rose and moved over to the mirror. She saw a woman, broken. Spike walked behind her and placed his arms around her. She noticed Spike's reflection as he stepped behind her. She watched him slide his hands down to her lower abdomen.

"He saw our baby, too," Spike told her, still looking at her through the mirror.

Buffy placed her hands on his. She looked back up at his face, then turned to face him. "If this is all true," she said.

He stepped back and held her hands. "What if it is. What if you're..." He looked down at her abdomen.

"I'm not sure. I don't know. I haven't thought that far ahead, Spike. I just don't want you to..." She couldn't look at him anymore. The pain in her heart was too strong. She felt bad for feeling bad for herself.

"He said it was complicated and cloudy. That someone was pulling my strings. He saw different outcomes. One, with me dead. And one with you and I and … our baby," Spike said

"So, what your telling me, is that your future in unclear? Your death isn't certain?" Buffy's eyed widened.

"Yea. That's the gist of it. Seems someone is controlling it somehow. The who or what we didn't figure out."

Buffy moved in closer to Spike. "Well, then we have a job to do."

They had two days. If the prophecy was correct.

Eve struggled in the chair against a set of glowing handcuffs bounding her to it. Drusilla walked around her, holding the poker from the fireplace. Eve kept her eyes on her a she wriggled, trying to get free.

Jean stepped in front of her, facing her. "Mademoiselle. Do not try to free yourself. My magic is too powerful. You are only going to exhaust yourself. "

Eve glared at him with venom in her eyes. " I did all of this so you could help me get off the radar!"

She grew annoyed as he ignored her, she continued anyway. "I let you in on Wolfram and Hart's agenda, Jean. I did everything you asked me to do, including giving these bogus texts to Angel and Spike." Eve struggled more in her bounds. Sweat beaded on her forehead.

"Why are you keeping me here, Jean? I can't be of any worth to you," Eve asked.

Jean lifted his head from Drusilla's neck. He smiled as he approached her. "Mon Cherie. Don't be a fool. You are worth a lot to me. I could never risk you telling Spike or Angel about me. I can't just let you walk out of here. Not now. Not with all the plans I have for Spike and his pathetic allies."

Eve cracked a sly smile. "What does Spike or any of them have to do with anything? Why do you care about the shanshu? It only applies to vampires... with souls." She looked at Drusilla. "And it went to Spike already. It's done."

Drusilla's eyes widened. "Tsk, tsk." She walked over to the fire and stared at it blankly. "Naughty Spike. His fire will burn out, and then he'll beg like a dog to be back in the dark."

"You're Spike's sire! And Angel is yours. It must kill you to know that Spike is alive now and Angel is on his side," Eve teased.

Drusilla shot an angry look at her. Jean held his hand out to Drusilla.

"Come, mon amie. Let's not listen to this sour news. Why don't you go get yourself a nice treat. I have lovely ladies in the parlor, waiting for a good bite," he told her.

Drusilla turned her gaze to Jean and growled. He lead her out. After she left, he came back in the room and stood near the fire. "Dear Eve, do not upset Drusilla. Her mind is fragile. She can not tolerate such teasing."

Eve smirked. "Is all of this for her? Is she trying to get back at Angel and Spike? Is that what this is all about? What does she have to offer you?"

Without looking at her he nodded. He slowly turned from the fire and stood in front of Eve.

"Hell hath no fury," he said, smiling. He lifted the fire iron and whacked her skull. Darkness engulfed her. Then she went limp.

Don't Leave Me Now by theslayer19

It was late. It had been an interesting and exhausting day. Mostly everyone was asleep. Everyone, except for Lorne. He sat in the lounge in front of the piano. He put his sea breeze drink on top of it, then began to play Billy Joel's "Just The Way you Are". He sang along,

"Don't go changing, to try and please me. You never let me down before

Don't imagine you're too familiar. And I don't see you anymore..."

Buffy stirred in bed. She felt Spike's arms around her as she opened her eyes. She watched his chest move as he breathed. His face was so peaceful. Her heart burned. He had fought so hard to be where he is right now, just to have it taken away. It wasn't fair and his child? Is that even an option? The thought gave her feeling of excitement and despair. They viewed the texts with skepticism, though. Why would they be hidden from Angel? It was very... hole-y.

Looking back at Spike, she brushed his cheek with her finger. She didn't want to leave his side but she couldn't sleep and she felt the need to talk to Lorne. So she rose from the bed she shared with Spike and slipped on her clothes. She knew she wouldn't be able to sit still until she had some more information.

Angel sat in the courtyard re-reading the notes on the prophecy. He held the texts, occasionally thumbing through the pages as if he missed something. He barely heard Gunn and Illyria approach him from behind.

"Angel, you okay?" Gunn asked him.

Without raising his head, Angel responded, "Yea, just going over this and I really wish Wes was here." He placed the books down on the bench and rose. "Why didn't I know about these?"

"How could you? I mean, the Powers that Be only gave you the info they wanted to give you. Why would they tell you anything more about the Shanshu?"

"Unless it was never there." Illyria said.

Both looked at her.

"Blue?" Gunn asked.

Illyria eyed Gunn then Angel. "Why are we suddenly hearing about this portion of an old ancient prophecy now? We had every book and text at our disposal in there."

Angel turned towards the lobby of the hotel. "Wes had every book and text at his disposal. The rest of us couldn't have cared less. But whatever it is, I smell something foul. Something isn't right."

Exiting the elevator Buffy spotted Lorne by the piano. He stopped playing and rose quickly after their eyes met. Buffy smiled as she neared him. He seemed tired to her, but still composed. He smelled like alcohol which made her wonder how long he had been down here drinking.

"Buf, care for a cocktail? Thanks to all that is holy for a full stocked hotel bar." Lorne joked.

Buffy smiled. "Can we talk?"

Lorne motioned for her to sit on the piano bench. He put his drink down and rubbed his knees. " Hey, I know this all must seem, other worldy, but I don't think anything has been set in stone."

Buffy glanced at her feet. She was tired, but her mind reeled. "Can you tell me everything you saw?"

"Buffy, this past year, do you know what Spike has been doing?"

Buffy swallowed. She wasn't sure if she wanted to hear the rest. She sat, silent, though awaiting his next words.

"He has been fighting with us. Helping people. Saving people. He is a hell of a guy. I think it may be of utmost importance that he sees that too. You get me?"

"You saw things when he sang. He told me most of it. What..." Buffy felt sad suddenly like she wanted to cry. She held back, knowing not to make a scene.

Lorne's sighed. "Listen, Power Girl, something is definitely weird about those texts. I don't know for sure but if you ask me, I wouldn't trust it... entirely. I think there's something behind all of this and it's toying with Spike's destiny."

"and... our baby?"

She couldn't even imagine having a child, not now. With her slaying and duties, she just couldn't see it on her schedule. It wasn't like she never wanted a family, it just didn't seem like now would be a good time to start.

"If that happens, you will welcome it, Buffy. No matter what schedule you're on." Lorne assured her.

Buffy choked, not knowing how he could have known her thoughts. "I know, it's just that... with Spike?"

Lorne smiled. "I think so. I believe what I saw was yours and his little rugrat. But Buffy, this other path, this not so happy one, you need to take them seriously because one of them is bound to happen, ya know?"

"Thanks Lorne. I just want to find out what in the hell is happening and why is it happening to Spike. He doesn't deser..."

"Deserve it. No, he deserves the happy, blissful life and I know you can help him see that." Lorne interrupted.

Buffy rose and headed toward the hotel entrance. Looking back , she smiled at Lorne, then walked outside. Angel appeared from around the corner with Gunn and Illyria. He threw the texts down hard onto the table near Lorne.

"I think we're being played." Angel said.

Spike slowly open his eyes. He sleepily turned and looked at the clock. 11 A.M. He reached to his left for Buffy, but she wasn't there. He sat up, still dazed.

"Where'd ya go, luv?"

Robin gave Faith a farewell kiss. He was taking their slayers back to Cleveland, where they were needed. Since nothing has happened in L.A. for the past twenty-four hours, they felt it was time to depart. Faith insisted on staying to help Buffy and Spike figure out the prophecy business. She hugged Robin, hard and then glanced at the elevator doors opening.

Spike exited the elevator. Robin whispered something to one of the girls and walked over to him.

"Look, you and I well... I don't need to go there. I thought I could never forgive you for taking my mother's life. I thought you were the worst monster that ever walked this earth. Soul or not."

Spike stared straight into Robin's eyes. He wasn't sure why Robin was reminding him of the monster he was, but it was making Spike furious. "Look, Wood. Memory lane is a bit crowded right now, can we take this up another time?"

Robin didn't break his gaze. "I know things are different for you now. And I just wanted to let you know that I'm hoping those texts are wrong. " Robin said. He turned and walked off.

Spike was surprised at the change in Robin Wood. He smiled and walked into the lounge, his stomach growled.

Faith followed Spike. She watched him for a few seconds and realized how sad he looked. It was a huge difference than the Spike she saw in Buffy's basement. Back in Sunny D Faith recalled him looking... happy. She remembered he and Buffy had become pretty close. Close enough for Buffy to get jealous when she caught Faith sitting on his bed, chatting him up. It was cute. Now he had a lost look to him. Ever since the words of the damn prophecy were spoken.

She approached him, slowly. He continued eating, as if he didn't hear her coming.

"Now that you have breath, best be careful the way you scoff that food down," Faith joked.

Spike looked up, chewing. He gave her a big grin.

"There's it is!" She smiled back.

He swallowed his food and took a swig from bottle of beer. "Yea, need to remember that"

Faith sat across from him and grabbed a roll off his plate. "Kinda cool having food and drink at our disposal, huh?" she asked.

Spike took another swig. " Yea. I'm thinking... why hasn't anyone come back here. No management, owners... odd ."

"Right?" Faith agreed. She took a bite of the roll and leaned back in her chair.

"Have you seen Buffy?" he asked her.

Faith looked around, confused. "She's not upstairs?"

Spike shook his head. "She wasn't in the room when I woke up. Thought you might have seen her come through here."

There was a hint of concern in his voice. He was trying to hide it. Since he's been back, he and Buffy really hadn't been apart. When he woke up alone, he just figured she'd come down here for food or coffee.

"I'm sure she's around," Faith assured him.

Spike nodded then finished his beer. He felt uneasy. But he agreed with Faith. She probably didn't go far.

Buffy walked through the L.A. streets. The day was beautiful and bright. More so than yesterday. Guilt swept over her that she left without telling Spike, but she felt like her heart was on overload. Feelings of self pity ran through her all night. She'd be selfish to share it with Spike. She couldn't tell him that she felt jinxed. That she was never meant to have a relationship that didn't end with death or abandonment. He must be so scared, the last thing he needed to hear was Buffy's self pity cries.

She came to a park and sat on a bench that over looked a small pond. The sun's reflection bounced off the water. Here was where she can clear her head. Away from everyone. Alone. She thought of yesterday, feeling Spike's heart beat for the first time. It sent chills through her. He was so different, yet still... Spike. She realized how much humanity he already had, before the Shanshu.

And then Angel. He's been really supportive. It impressed her. Everyone seemed to be blowing her away lately. Except her. She was mad at herself. She was mad at the world. She spent a good part of the night awake, harping on the way this entire world seemed to hate her. Something refused to let her be happy. And she didn't know why.

Many hours passed. Spike sat in the courtyard. He spent most of the day catching up with Dawn, hearing her stories about Antoine. He grilled her, like a protective older brother, about how well she knew her boyfriend. It was nice talking to Dawn. He missed her. She was a bright light in the darkness of the world.

"So, am I going to be the designated sitter for my future niece or nephew?" Dawn joked.

But Spike didn't laugh. Or smile.

"Dawn. We don't know... even if the words to the texts are real... we don't know..." Spike's last word cracked. He hated not knowing.

"I... I'm sorry Spike. I just thought..." Dawn tried to get him to look at her, but he just stared down at his feet.

"I know, bit. It would be somethin', wouldn't it?" he said, actually smiling at her.

Dawn smiled big. She wanted him to smile. And now he did. But she can tell he was still worried about Buffy. She'd been gone all day.

Spike got up to leave. He leaned over and kissed Dawn on the forehead. She was shocked by the intimacy, but loved it all the same.

He walked through the lobby to the exit. He searched for Buffy outside. He didn't have his tingly vampire senses anymore, so tracking her was going to be harder than he thought. He walked through the streets, eying every alley, restaurant, coffee house. No Buffy. Dark clouds began to roll in. He strolled, hands in the pockets of his jeans. As he passed by a store front, he noticed his reflection in the window. He saw himself in his green tee and jeans. He chuckled. He wished Buffy was there walking with him, holding his hand. He stopped and stared at himself. His heart broke. After tomorrow, he may never see Buffy again, or their unborn child. Fury built up in him. He cursed this sodding prophecy. He was going to find out more about this string pulling nonsense and stop it. Maybe he did have a chance. He had to believe it. Even if his heart told him he didn't deserve it.

Buffy yawned. The silence of the park had her fighting to keep her eyes open. She gazed at the ducks in the pond, swimming around, dunking their heads. She wished her life could be that simple. Swim around, dunk your head, swim around, what a life! The birds above her sang from the trees. Their sweet melodies soothed her. She'd just close her eyes for a minute. That's all. Just a...

Buffy walked through a narrow street. She carried a stake, just in case. She heard laughter. A man and woman's. She turned left and the path became darker. She held her stake tight as the laughter became louder. She turned the next corner quickly. Against a building there was a man and a woman. The man was kissing the woman, and fondling her. The woman laughed and purred with pleasure.

There was something familiar about them. They were dressed in 19th century clothing. The man had light brown wavy hair. Buffy got closer. She stepped on a twig and the sound of it seemed awfully loud. The man turned. Spike? He looked at Buffy. He had blood around his mouth, dripping down his chin. The woman emerged from his grip. It was Drusilla. She approached Buffy. Spike just stood frozen and watched her. Buffy lifted her stake to Drusilla.

"What did you do to him?" Buffy shouted.

Drusilla had a blank look on her face. So Buffy asked again.

"What did you do to him!?" Buffy shouted again.

Drusilla looked at Spike and flashed a huge grin. "He came, like a dream. The warrior. No one else noticed. But I did. He's home now," Drusllia said softly.

Buffy looked in horror. "What?" she tried to say it, but nothing came out.

Drusilla walked back and joined Spike. He laughed loudly as he watched Buffy's expression. Buffy's heart broke. She turned and ran, still hearing the horrible laughter echo through the streets. Looking up with tears in her eyes, rain drops began hitting her face. It rained harder and harder, she was lost.

Buffy awoke suddenly. She was still on the bench. It was raining. She shivered and held her arms to her chest. She thought of Spike. The dream was horrible. She looked around at her surroundings. The sky was dark.

God, how long was I asleep for? She thought. She got up and searched for the exit. The park was getting dark and the rain was relentless. She wished she'd brought a coat.

Searching for the familiar path she took when she came in, she saw a figure in the distance. She tried to make it out. Why would someone else be as stupid as she is, walking through the park in the rain? The figure came closer. She knew that green shirt.


He spotted her and walked faster towards her. Buffy stood in place. Something inside her didn't want him to get any closer. The pain in her heart was unbearable, seeing him just made it harder. How did he find her?

He ran to her, catching his breath. "Buffy. I've been looking all over for you! Why are you here... in the rain?" Spike asked her.

Buffy turned from him. She didn't respond. Spike bent his head and stared intensely in to her eyes.
"Buffy, are you okay?" The rain seemed to disappear to them. Although, it pounded down hard.

"I just wanted to be alone. I needed time." Buffy told him.

This confused Spike. Time? That was one thing they didn't have.

"Time... for what?" he asked, annoyed.

Buffy looked at him again. She had no clue why she was doing this to him. It was like she was on autopilot. She searched for the right words, but nothing seemed to make sense. She just knew that her heart couldn't take anymore... loss.

"I don't know Spike. I can't do this... anymore," she said.

Spike frowned. "What's that supposed to mean? You can't do what?" His blood was boiling.

Buffy turned. She couldn't look him in the eyes. She knew she was hurting him, and it killed her. "I need to get inside, this rain is really irritating," she said as she walked past him. He grabbed her arm. She turned to him swiftly.

"No, tell me what in the bloody hell you're talking about!" he yelled at her.

Buffy's eyes widened. He looked at her with fire in his eyes. He was still out of breath, and she was pissing him off. "Spike, let go!" she scolded.

He didn't. He squeezed tighter. She yanked herself out of his grip and shook off the pain.

"I can't do this with you anymore! It hurts too much. Everyone I love ends up leaving... or dying! I just can't..."

Buffy fought the tears back. She wanted nothing more than to be in his arms. She hated herself right now. She just told herself that she'd rather pull away from him now, than to get closer. Only to watch him die. Again.

"We never had a chance, Spike. We're not meant to..." She choked on her words and turned to walk away. After a second of hesitation, Buffy left.

Spike looked on at her in disbelief. His entire world just crumbled. What could he say to her? How could he convince her to change her mind? Spike stood there in shock. The rain poured down even harder as he watched her go. He looked around like the lost child he felt like. He wanted to run after her, but he couldn't. His world was spinning.

He turned and walked slowly, staring at the ground. He was oblivious to the rain. It could wash him away for all he cared. Buffy confused the hell out of him. He knew she didn't mean what she was saying, but he was not the one to convince her otherwise. Spike spotted the pond. The lights surrounding the path sparkled in the droplets hitting the water. He stared into it, lost in his own head. He didn't notice the demons approaching him to his right. There were three of them. Two were Friglog demons, the other one, no clue. Spike raised his head when the heard something approach. The Friglogs were big. Their arms huge and bumpy. Slime oozed from their mouths. The odd demon glared at Spike with its red eyes. Its ears were pointed, sort of like Spock. It wasn't as big the other two, but Spike stepped back after seeing its sword-like arms.

"Right," Spike said.

He jumped up and did a roundhouse kick into the red eyed demon's face. It fell back in pain. The Friglog's moved in and each grabbed one of Spike's arms. Spike struggled to free himself from their grip. The red eyed demon jumped to its feet and licked its lips. It drew its arm swords and slashed Spike's chest. Spike roared. He pushed his body against the Friglog's and lifted his feet up in the air. He gave a swift kick in the chest of the red-eyed demon. It flew back. Spike then bent down and pulled the Friglog's close to him, knocking them into each other causing them to release their grip. Spike jumped from them and turned quickly to fight. The red-eyed demon let out a sickening laugh.

"Don't fight. You can't win," It said.

Spike looked in it's direction and laughed back at it, hard. The demon grew angry and charged. Spike ducked out of the way leaving the demon to fall flat on his face. The Friglogs charged as well. Spike laughed as he jumped away from them.

"Look, I've had one hell of an evening..." Spike swung his fist and cracked the jaw of one Friglog. It fell down and held it's face.

Spike continued, "And I don't fancy being out here in the rain.." He slammed his foot into the head of the one on the ground, hearing it crack.

The other Friglog looked on in horror. Red-Eye came crashing down on Spike, toppling him to the ground. It mounted Spike and held it's sword arm up. Spike smiled at it, confusing him.

"I have a woman to get home to. So, if you'll accuse me..."

Spike slammed his knee into the demon's back. It rolled off of him in pain. Spike jumped to his feet and brushed himself off. He turned to the scared Friglog. It looked at him and ran the other way. Spike shook his head.

Red-Eye rose up and limped over to Spike. It actually tried to slash him again, but Spike caught it's arm and bent it backwards. It hollered in pain. Spike held on tight and swung the demon around and into the pond. He stood for a moment to see if it would rise up from the water, but it didn't.

Spike turned and made his way to the exit of the park, his heart racing from the excitement. His clothes were glued to him. Every inch of him was soaked. He had to back to the hotel, back to Buffy and talk this out. He knew she loved him. He knew it. He felt it. So, why was she doing this? Why did she give up?

No, she didn't.

His heart knew she didn't.

Landslide by theslayer19

Buffy ran, her heart breaking with every step for leaving him there in the rain. The look in his eyes stabbed her. Disconnecting from him was all her mind told her. She kept her eyes straight ahead so not to look back. Spike didn't come after her though. Part of her wished he had and slapped some sense into her.

The sidewalk was slippery, she tried to slow down so she wouldn't fall. Suddenly a hand came out of nowhere and stopped her. Buffy fell to the ground, cursing the wetness of the pavement. She looked up at a very handsome man dressed in a pricey suit. He smiled and gazed at Buffy with his seductive hazel eyes. A man in a tuxedo stood next to him, holding an umbrella over the both of them.

"Signora, this is not the kind of weather one takes a run in," he said to her, offering his hand to help her up.

Almost in a daze, Buffy took his hand. Realizing who it was, she pulled it back.

The Immortal.

"What are you doing here?" she asked him.

He motioned for her to join him under the umbrella. She obliged, only because she was so uncomfortably wet.

"Come, Mi Amore. Let's get you out of the rain, where do you want me to take you?" he offered.

Buffy felt col and very wet, but she was not going to accept a ride from him. No way! "Look, I'm not your… amore, whatever, and I'm okay. Why are you here?"

He flashed her a wide grin. "I am here on business. I see Wolfram and Hart is destroyed. Such a shame. What could have done such a thing?" he suspiciously asked her.

Buffy wasn't going to tell him a thing. She loathed him, even if he was a hottie in that Armani suit. "Not sure. Don't care. Gotta go. Bye!" She turned to leave.

"I would have thought that Angelus and Signore Pratt would have something to do with this. They always were good at destroying things."

Buffy stopped and turned to him. What did he know? "I Don't..."

The Immortal held up his hand to silence her. "Please Buffy, do not assume that I am an idiot. I know Angelus and William did this. It is the... what's the word, buzz around the inner circles."

He smiled at his driver and motioned for them to head back to the limo. Buffy watched, unsure if she should continue their conversation. If he knew about this, he may know more. She may be able to get answers after all.

"Okay, what do you know?" she asked him.

He stopped and turned back to her. "Well, that is something you and I can discuss in a drier surrounding. Come." He waved for her to follow him into the limo.

She hesitantly followed. She knew she'd be safe and he would be okay as long as he kept his hands to himself.

Spike ran back to the hotel. His goal was to find Buffy, find out what in the hell was wrong with her, maybe yell at her, maybe kiss her, he wasn't sure how it would end. He just knew she wasn't in her right mind.

Giles and Xander stood together, talking. They turned to soaked Spike who stood at the hotel door.

"Spike, what the...?" Xander eyed Spike up and down.

"Where's Buffy?"

Giles put a book down he was reading and approached Spike. "We haven't seen her. Spike, what's going on?" Giles asked.

Spike ignored Giles and raced to the elevator. He impatiently tapped the elevator door as it made it's way down. He held his head down. He didn't want to talk to anyone but Buffy. He hoped she was in their room.

Giles and Xander looked at each other in confusion. "What's that about?" Xander asked him.

Giles shook his head. "I have no idea."

Spike opened the door to their room. It was empty.


He peeked in the bathroom. She was gone and he suddenly felt more alone than he ever did. He removed his wet clothes and threw on a fresh shirt and blue jeans he took from the hotel shop downstairs. He glanced at himself in the mirror. It still amazed him to see his own reflection again. His hair was a mess. It dawned on him that hadn't slicked back his hair in days. Maybe Buffy liked it this way.


He neared the bed and sat, lowering his head to his hands. He was exhausted, hurt, confused, and tired. Just last night he was in her arms, kissing her. Loving her. He fell back and stared at the ceiling. Tears fell from the corners of his eyes.

"No, thanks," Buffy said, refusing a glass of champagne. The limo drove around the Hollywood Hills.

"Uh, where are we going?" she asked peering out the window.

The Immortal sat back, sipping his drink. "Ah, no where in particular, I just thought you'd enjoy a nice ride," he told her.

"Look, if this is some way to... forget it. Take me back!" Buffy demanded.

"Oh, Buffy. I am not making plays for you anymore, I know you and William are... what exactly are you two, anyway?" The Immortal teased.

Buffy sighed. How did news spread so fast? "Just tell me what the deal is with the senior partners and the Shanshu." Buffy was losing her patience. He was prolonging this and it bugged her.

"Buffy, what I know about these senior partners is that they just lost their precious Circle Of The Black Thorn. But you see, the partners will always find others to make up the Circle. There are always willing bodies. I do not believe this battle was for the loss of the members of the Circle."

Buffy frowned. " And?"

"I believe this battle was to bring forth the Shanshu Prophecy. To make one of their greatest threats or allies, human. Angelus I would have presumed. Though, it went to William. I do not know why," The Immortal informed her.

"Angelus... Angel signed it away, in his own blood. It was part of his plan to take down these Circle guys." Buffy sat back in the seat.

The Immortal leaned in closer to her. "Tell me more Buffy. How is William coping with the Shanshu?"

Buffy felt pain shoot through her. An image of her and Spike laying in bed together popped in her head, with his smile lighting up his face. She felt like crying.

"Ahh. You're eyes tell me more than your words do," he said.

Buffy looked away, feeling invaded. "Look, he's fine, it's just that..." She paused, she wasn't sure how much she should tell him. He seemed to know a lot about the prophecy so she had to convince herself to tell him everything.

"He still has his super strength. So, that's good, but there's one thing that we're all confused about..." She looked up at him. "Someone that used to work for Wolfram and Hart brought us these ancient texts that were supposedly left out of the Shanshu. It spoke of the vampire with a soul becoming human, then dying shortly after. Four nights after to be exact. Now, we're trying to find out how accurate these texts are."

The Immortal's eyes grew wide. He looked at his driver then hit the button to close the partition between them.

"Buffy," he said softly, "That is impossible. That prophecy was written eons ago, and I have seen the original. Nothing ever indicated the vampire dying after becoming human."

Buffy sat up. "Yea, the missing texts said that! It said he will become human, create life, then die." She felt her eyes becoming watery.

"No, mia bella donna. No such words have ever been written. This I know. You have been fooled."

Buffy sat in shock. "Are you sure?"

"Quite sure. I knew the authors. I tell you the truth."

Buffy felt like she was going to pass out. Eve. She did this! But why? She wanted to call Spike right then, but she didn't have her phone.

"Can I use your phone?" Buffy asked him.

He handed to her and she quickly dialed Willow's cell. There was no service. The reception gone. She looked back at The Immortal. He sat, anxious.

"What is it?" he asked.

"No service!" She handed him his phone.

"Ah, I have no use for these things. I prefer going in person. Shall we?" he asked

Bring him to the hotel? Buffy shook her head.

"I can see these texts. Maybe I can help you figure out who wrote them and who would play such a distasteful joke on William."

"Okay. Let's head back. Tell your driver to step on it!" Buffy demanded.

The driver drove hastily to the hotel. The Immortal and Buffy stepped out of the car and entered the hotel lobby. Buffy flashed a fake smile to the group.

"Guys, this is The Imm..This is Morty. He needs the texts. Giles, can you hand him one?"

Buffy glanced at The Immortal awkwardly for using that name. Giles nodded and handed him one of the books.

"Grazie," he told him and walked away reading the text. Buffy watched him closely.

"Uh, Buffy, what's going on? Who's that?" Xander asked.

"The Immortal," Dawn told him, looking at an anxious Buffy.

"Where have you been Buffy? Spike was..." Dawn glanced over at Angel walking from the elevator.

Angel noticed The Immortal immediately and froze. "What the hell are you doing here?" Angel asked him.

The Immortal looked up and grinned. "Ahh, Angelus. It has been so long. How are things. How's Connor?"

Angel was furious and now even the mere mention of Connor sent him over the edge. "Don't you ever..." He leaned in closer to him, staring him down.

Buffy ran over to them to break it up. "Hey, Angel. It's okay. I brought him here," Buffy told him.

Angel looked at Buffy in disbelief. "You brought him here? Why?" Angel barked.

"Because he can help us, he knows the Shanshu. He said these texts might be fake... actually he's sure they are."

"Buffy, he will say anything. He's not trustworthy," Angel told her.

"Oh, and Eve is?"

"Oh dear, Eve brought you these? And you all believed it? Angelus, you should know better than that." The Immortal teased.

Angel sneered at the Immortal then turned to join the rest of the group by the couches. "He's bad news." he told them.

"Who, Mr. Corleone over there in that suave Armani suit?" Gunn asked, walking from the lounge. Illyria stood next to him, staring at the man in question.

"Gunn, remember... head in the bag? The Capo di Famiglia." Angel reminded him.

Gunn sighed. "Oooh, that's the Immortal dude?"

"Yes. Buffy said he knows the Shanshu, so she thinks he can help." Angel said through his teeth.

"Guys, he's not that bad. He just... has octopus hands as Buffy put it," Dawn said.

Giles looked lost.

"He's touchy-feely Giles," Willow said.

"I see," he said looking up, still confused.

Buffy walked back to the group. "He knows a lot about the prophecy. He said that there was no mention of the vampire dying. I have to let him find out more, for Spike's sake," she told them.

Just then Andrew walked in from the courtyard with Kennedy. She was rolling her eyes from Andrew's babble about how Boba Fett escaped from the Sarlac pit just before getting digested. They joined the group. Andrew noticed The Immortal, dropped his bag of popcorn onto the floor, and swallowed hard.

"Hold the mayo, guys. Why is he here?" Andrew backed away slowly, as if he should get out of The Immortal's sight.

"He's helping us Andrew," Giles told him. Andrew bent over and waddled over to Giles.

"He doesn't help people like us Giles. He's like an 'I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine' kind of guy. He's going to want something in return and God knows what it will be! Then if you can't deliver he will burn down your casa with demon dragons!"

Giles leaned in to whisper in Andrew's ear. "There will no scratching of any kind Andrew, I assure you," he told him.

The elevator door opened and Spike strolled out, head down and hands in his jeans pockets. His eyes were bloodshot and puffy. His hair was unkempt and he looked like hell. He stopped when he noticed The Immortal standing there. The Immortal lifted his head and smiled at Spike.

"Signore Pratt, how nice to see you. But I must say, for someone who just became human, you look like hell," The Immortal said.

Spike stared at him hard then turned to Buffy who stood close to The Immortal. He noticed Angel there too, seeming displeased with the situation. Angel shook his head to Spike, as if to let him know that he felt the same.

Buffy ran to Spike. "Spike, The Immortal said the texts are fake, he's going to find out who..."

She grabbed his arm, but he pulled it back. Buffy was shocked at his behavior. He was full of rage. He looked almost crazed. "Spike?"

She tried to touch him again, but he just backed away. He looked at her in disgust. "Don't touch me," he snapped.

She was shocked. "What? Spike... didn't you hear me?" she asked him.

"I heard you. I heard you say a lot of things tonight."

Spike looked away from her. He couldn't be in the same room as them. He turned and walked out to the courtyard. Buffy watched him go.

He wanted to hit something, break something. He picked one of the lounge chairs and threw it against a wall. He shouted as the chair broke in pieces. After what Buffy said to him in the park, then seeing The Immortal, he felt like he just about had it. He would have never left her side if he knew she may die. He would have been with her, and loved her every waking moment. Now that the texts may be fake, she wants him back? Not bloody likely, he thought. He heard someone approaching. With his back turned he spoke.

"Can't a bloke destroy things by himself anymore?" Spike asked, turning to see who was there. Dawn.

"I guess, but then what fun is it if no one gets to see? Dawn joked."

Spike sighed. "What is it, Bit?"

Dawn sat on a bench near him. He looked down at her, half smiling. "Look, I'm sorry. Big sis has really got my motor running," he admitted. He sat next to her.

Dawn looked at him sympathetically. She had no idea what he was going through, but she knew he was hurt. "Spike, Buffy loves you. I had to spend this past year in Rome hearing her tell me that over and over. She missed you. The Immortal wasn't even an option. Somehow he found her here and he knows a lot about the Shanshu. He's trying to help. That's all. Buffy would never..."

"Dawn, I love Buffy with all my heart. You know that. But she broke it earlier. She told me she needed time. My dying was too much for her to handle. Too much for her."

It eased Spike to be able to be this open with Dawn. She was the closest to Buffy and he knew how much she has grown up in the past year. He was comfortable talking to Dawn. She looked at things in such a different light, sometimes it would help him see a different perceptive on things. He remembered this from the days of Sunnydale.

Dawn reached out and rubbed his back. "I'm sorry Spike. Buffy is like... never good with her emotions. She was probably freaked out. She loves you and it must have scared her to death to lose you again," Dawn assured him.

He turned to a very grown up Dawn and smiled. "I just needed to vent. I know she loves me. I know she's scared. So am I. I just thought we could, you know, be scared together." He looked back down to his feet. He heard someone else approach.


"Dawn, can I be with Spike alone?" Buffy asked.

Dawn got up and walked out, she glanced back at Spike and Buffy and left them alone.

He kept his head down. He didn't want to look at her.

"Spike, these books are fake. Someone must have put Eve up to it. He's here to figure it out. I had no other choice."

Spike looked at her. She seemed so convinced that The Immortal could help. Spike felt otherwise. He knows this guy a lot better than she does. "Buffy, I need to know right now. No matter what happens, no matter what these books say... that you're with me," he said.

Buffy moved in closer to him but he backed away. He continued, "I need to know, that even If I'm meant to die tomorrow, you won't leave my side again. I need to know..." His words broke as tears welled up in his eyes.

"Spike, please forgive me. I..."

Xander opened the doors to the courtyard, interrupting them. "Guys, you need to hear this!," Xander yelled to them.

They followed Xander back into the hotel. Everyone stood around The Immortal, except for Angel who stood back against the wall. The Immortal bowed to Spike and Buffy, taken aback by the tears in their eyes, then continued what he was saying.

"The words here, it's a spell," he said

Everyone looked at each other, confused.

"What kind of spell?" Willow asked

"A strong one, one that can only be broken by the bearer. Spike in this case. But I do not know what it is. I do know whose spell this belongs to, however."

Spike walked closer to The Immortal. "Who?" he asked him.

"This spell reeks of one Jean Trevaud. A very powerful warlock here in L.A."

Buffy looked at Spike. "Did the spell... bring Spike back to life?" Buffy asked, nervously.

"No, that was the Shanshu for sure. I don't know what the spell is, or what it is doing. But I can tell you one thing..." He paused

Buffy's eyes grew wide, silently asking him "What?"

"Where Signore Trevaud lives. Topanga Canyon." The Immortal informed her.

"Fine, then we go find out from the source." Buffy demanded.

The Immortal held his hand up. "Be warned, his spells are very powerful. Mostly psychological. He feeds on one's hopes, fears, and..." , he turned to Spike, "...doubts"

Illyria joined them eying the crowd. "I will rip out his intestines and feed them to him."

The Immortal advanced closer and held out his hand. "Illyria. I am delighted to meet your acquaintance. I have heard so much... my dear, I do not deserve to breathe the air you breathe." He bowed to her.

Illyria cracked a smile. "I like this man. May I keep him?"

Spike and Angel rolled their eyes.

"Can we use your limo?" Buffy asked him, interrupting this touching moment.

"Of course. My driver and I will stay behind, however. I do not wish to partake in such an... affair," he said.

"Fine, Angel, you drive. You know L.A. better than the rest of us."

Angel nodded. Just then Lorne came through the elevator. He looked at Angel, then back at the crowd.

"Lorne, you're coming with us," he said.

Lorne looked around nervously. "Okay, Angel wings. Where's the party?"

"Topanga Canyon," Angel said

"Allrighhhht! Topang... wait, what?" Lorne asked.

Eyes That Lie by theslayer19

They piled in to the limo. It was meant to seat ten people comfortably. They were eighteen. Angel drove as Lorne sat with him in the front. The rest of them did a lot of lap sitting to fit.

Giles brought two slayers with him, Katie and Michelle. Buffy brought her four. Faith, Willow, Kennedy, Xander, Issa, Illyria and Gunn all squeezed in for the ride.

Buffy sat on Spike's lap, staring out the window. She hit the button so it would roll down. She had to let the air in, they were all so cramped it was making it hard to breathe. Lorne looked back from the front seat and grinned at everyone.

"How about some tunes for my little sardines?" He was glad he chose the front. His long legs would have been crushed back there. He slipped one if his mixed cds. Sinatra crooned:

"And now, the end is here.

And so we face the final curtain.

My friends, I'll say it clear

I'll state my case of which I'm certain."

The group eyed each other uncomfortably. Lorne's eyes grew wide, then he gasped.

"Oops, let me find something a bit more... upbeat..," he stammered.

He inserted another CD. The beginning of Michael Jackson's 'Beat It' filled the limo. Lorne smiled sheepishly then turned his gaze ahead as the rest sang along.

"They Told Him Don't You Ever Come Around Here

Don't Wanna See Your Face, You Better Disappear

The Fire's In Their Eyes And Their Words Are Really Clear

So Beat It, Just Beat It"

Buffy shook her head. Spike tightened the grip he had on Buffy's waist and leaned in closer to her. She stared out the window, wondering what they were about to get themselves in to. She was glad Willow and Issa were there to help with the magicks. She noticed that Spike didn't flinch when The Immortal mentioned Jean Trevaud. If Spike didn't know him, why would he put a spell on him? Why Spike?

Why was any of this happening?

Angel raced around a turn, causing everyone to lean to one side, crushing one another.

"Ow, Angel, watch it!" Xander shouted.

"Sorry," Angel yelled back.

Buffy adjusted after almost falling off of Spike's lap. She caught him staring at her, she met his gaze and smiled. "You okay?" she asked him.

"Sure, just thought I'd lose you there for a minute," he told her.

"Yea, Angel's not much of a driver, although I know he claims to..."

"Not what I meant Buffy," Spike said, half smiling.

She felt a pain in her heart. She knew what he meant. "Spike..." Buffy felt like there was nothing she could say that would justify her behavior from before.

After almost a half hour of driving, they came onto a dark winding road and up ahead was a gated driveway. The road still bent as they approached the gate.

Buffy smiled watching the slayers, Willow, Kennedy and Xander sing Thriller at the tops of their lungs.

"Cause this is thriller, thriller night

And no one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike

You know it's thriller, thriller night

You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight"

The limo stopped. Angel and Lorne were the first to exit. The gate was a heavy iron. The speaker next to it buzzed, then a voice came out of it.

"May I help you?"

Angel was startled by the voice. He grabbed the speaker and crushed it in his hand.

"Okay, Bruce Banner. You wanna be a bit more... obvious?" Gunn said.

"It scared me is all," Angel pouted.

Buffy walked up to the gate with Spike and Faith, swords in hand. The rest of the gang following them, well armed.

"So, we have to figure out a way to open the gate... maybe..," Willow was interrupted by a loud crash.

"Done." Illyria said after she kicked it down effortlessly.

"Or that," Willow smiled.

Lorne was confused. "Hey, Angel-cakes. Not that I don't appreciate this bonding time and all, but why am I here again?"

Angel turned to him and slowed his pace. "This guy, Jean whatever his name is, is really big on magicks. We may need a karaoke session if things get... delusional. You know what I mean?" Angel informed him.

"Yea, got it," Lorne nervously said.

Buffy walked closer to Spike and grabbed his arm. She waited for the rest to pass and faced him.

"Spike, about before, in the park..."

"You scared me," he told her" "I see now that you have a lot of doubts." He kept his eyes on hers. He wasn't sure if he should be doing this now, but it came out anyway.

Buffy eyes watered up. "I do, Spike... have doubts. You and I have been... nothing ever seems to go the way we want it to," she told him

He broke their gaze and looked down. She was right.

She continued. "I admit that the thought of you dying... again... scared the hell out of me. I was almost wishing I'd never have come to L.A., so I wouldn't have known... and then the thought of never experiencing what you and I have shared these last few days..."

He looked back at her and smiled. "My entire world was rearranged when I saw you. Here I thought you and I would never see each other again. Buffy, I wouldn't trade these last few days for the world."

He brought her in closer to him. "Whatever happens in there, I want you to know that I have never stopped loving you."

"Spike..." Buffy paused then a wave of confidence came over her. "I... love you too," she stammered then leaned in and kissed his lips.

Spike returned her kiss then he stood frozen for a moment, realizing this was the first time he heard these words from her since Sunnydale. He smiled as he watched her join the crowd.

They reached the front of the mansion. The stone gargoyles seemed to stare at them. It was eerie. Buffy shivered when she could have sworn it's eyes followed their movement.

Angel stepped up to the front door first. He pulled out his sword and faced them all. "Okay, you guys ready?" he asked.

Angel turned and lifted his foot and kicked the door hard, causing it to fall off it's hinges. He stepped in, the others followed. The room was dark, save for a few candelabras that were lit. Buffy and Spike took the lead and followed the foyer to a room that had some light coming from it.

Lorne looked around and smirked. "Nice place. A little dusky and old worldish, with a fine detail to despair and horror."

Spike stopped, seeing a beaten Eve slumped in a chair. "Uh, Guys...,"

Angel and Buffy came to his side. Angel frowned at the sight of Eve. He knew she was involved and cursed himself for letting her bring the damned books to them. Angel moved closer to her and grabbed her hair to lift up her head. Blood covered most of her face. Her forehead had a huge lump that looked like it was turning purple. She was alive. Just unconscious. They all gathered around Angel to get a good look.

"Can we rip her apart yet?" Illyria asked.

"Do you think the french dude did this?" Xander asked.

Willow searched the books around the room. They were mostly in french. One caught her eye. It had red leather binding and black lettering. She lifted it off the bookshelf and examined it. It appeared to be ancient.

It was titled d'optique "Optical illusion?" she whispered.

Just then the room began to fill with a thick red smoke. Willow turned to the others who were nervously scanning their surroundings.

"Willow, what happened?" Buffy asked.

"Uh, this isn't good" Lorne said.

"I... I don't know. I just picked up this book... and..." Buffy was out of her sight. The red smoke was too thick. "Buffy?" Willow shouted.

Buffy held on to Spike's hand so she wouldn't lose him. She couldn't see anything now that the smoke had filled up the entire room. "Guys, we need to get out of this room. She pulled Spike down to the floor. The smoke was less down there.

"On the floor, guys. We have to crawl," Buffy shouted.

They all got on their hands and knees and crawled back towards the foyer. Unfortunately, the foyer was filling with the red smoke too. Just then, someone screamed.

"What, who was that?" Buffy asked.

"I... I think it came from down the corridor," Faith said.

Buffy could barely make out the hallway. It was dark and the smoke was becoming unbearable.

Xander began coughing. "We need to leave this area. I don't think my lungs can take it!"

Buffy looked ahead at the darkened corridor."We go that way!" she shouted.

Spike and Buffy led the way through the narrow hallway. Some old portraits were visible. Issa looked on at one and jumped when she thought that one of the faces smiled at her.

"This place reeks of dark magic. It's so heavy," Issa commented.

Willow agreed. " Yea my shoulders feel heavy, like someone is trying to pull me down."

Suddenly the candelabras flickered and went out. The hallway was completely dark now. Buffy grabbed Spike's hand harder.

"This isn't good...," Kennedy said.

Just then a strong wind blew past them, causing all of them to fall backward. Buffy lost her grip on Spike.

"Spike!" she shouted. Buffy, fighting against the wind, searched in the dark for them.

Everyone was being thrown about, slamming into walls. Spike felt himself get lifted off the ground and slam right into Faith. Xander crawled on the ground, trying to fight his way to Issa who was hanging on to a door knob so not to get blown away.

"Issa, I'm coming!" Xander shouted.

Willow tried magic to stop it, but nothing worked "Immotus!" She shouted three times, nothing happened.

Illyria grabbed Angel and pulled herself closer to him. "This is not real, it's magic." she said.

Buffy frantically felt around for Spike. "Spike? Where are you?" she yelled.

Spike tried to get his bearings. He couldn't figure out what direction her voice was coming from due to the darkness and the wind. "Buffy?"

Just then, the wind stopped. Everyone froze where they were. A loud thumping sound filled the hallway, almost like a very loud heartbeat. The hallway warped and stretched longer then the candles flickered back.

Buffy stood alone in the hallway. Everyone was gone. "Guys?"

Angel turned quickly as the candles re-lit. He stood at the doorway of a dimly lit room filled with hospital beds. He walked through, staring at the beds. He gasped. He saw Cordelia lying in one. She had an IV hooked up to her and she seemed to be sleeping. He walked closer, then noticed the bed next to her. Fred. My God! What the hell? Then the next bed, Darla. He felt his insides squirm. He looked back down at Fred. She looked so peaceful, then her eyes opened suddenly. Angel stepped back.

"You were never quick enough!" she shouted at him.

He stood, paralyzed.

Spike was alone in a room filled with pictures and books and... wait. He knew this room. This was his old bedroom back in London where he lived with his mother. That didn't make any sense. He walked over to a bookcase filled with all the literature he once had. Unbelievable. I must have passed out. This has to be a dream.

He spotted an old picture of himself in a pewter frame. He chuckled at it, seeing himself that way. He remembered everything about this room now. The crack at the bottom of the window. The hook he placed his hat and coat. The sink underneath the mirror. He could almost smell the lavender soap sitting on the porcelain.

He spotted his bed, so uncomfortably small. He approached it and opened the night stand drawer. There it was, his book of poetry. He sat on his bed and opened the book, forgetting what had just happened in the hallway. Spike chuckled when he turned to the first page.

"What a wanker I was," he said aloud.

Someone was approaching. Spike turned to the direction of the footsteps. Wearing a long green gown, hair tied up in a bun, loosely letting her curls frame her face. Cecily. Spike's eyes widened.

"Bloody hell," he whispered.

Dreamers by theslayer19

Buffy walked through the hallway, searching for her friends.

And Spike.

She checked all the doors, but they were locked. The hallway wrapped around, so she followed it. She saw a flicker of light peaking from beneath a door to one of the rooms. She neared it and turned the knob.

Candles lined the mantle ahead of her. She heard music coming from a small CD player sitting a top a vanity. The tune was haunting. She sat at the vanity and stared at herself in the mirror. She looked tired, spent. Something in the mirror's reflection moved. She turned and stood in confusion. The room had changed. She was now inside a funeral parlor.

"What the?" she said aloud.

There were voices coming from another room. She walked out into the hall. She spotted a couple, dressed in black walking her way. Buffy, glad to see someone, anyone, approached them.

They looked at her teary eyed and continued to a room full of mourners. Buffy followed them. Everyone gathered around a coffin surrounded by pictures, flowers, candles. Soft music played, sounded like Debussy's Claire De Lune. She had a strong urge to see the body. She pushed through crowd.

"Ow, watch it Buffy," a voice said.


"Dawn, what's going on?" Buffy asked.

"It's okay Buffy. You just need time," Dawn told her.

Buffy was lost. What was she talking about and why was she here? Buffy got closer to the body. She glanced at the pictures surrounding the coffin. The candlelight bounced off the glass, making it hard to focus

Then she felt her heart stop.

There, atop the coffin, the image of Spike and herself, sitting in a park. They were smiling and with a small boy, maybe around 2 years old. He had Spike's crystal blue eyes. The boy sat on Spike lap as he held him tight.

She felt dizzy. Why were these pictures here and where did they come from.

She leaned over to see the body. Her eyes widened as she saw Spike lying with his hands across his chest. She noticed he was wearing a wedding band. Why was he...? None of this made sense.

They were all just in the hallway of the mansion, how did she get here? She thought.

She turned to the crowd. People were looking at her sympathetically.

This isn't real! "Spike's not dead, he's alive! I was just with him, holding his hand. He's not..," Buffy protested.

Dawn walked up to Buffy and stroked her shoulder. No one was listening to her. This can't be... She turned back at the body.

"This isn't you, you're alive, Spike..," she said to it.

The body just lay there motionless. She saw that there was a picture under his hands. She slowly pulled it out. A wedding picture? Me and Spike? she thought. He was wearing a tux and she was dressed in a beautiful white gown. She was lost in the image for a minute. They looked so happy.

Buffy turned back to the crowd, but everyone had left. She was alone.

Her surrounding changed again.

It was night and the fog was thick. She walked in a cemetery, holding a stake. She looked at it, not knowing how she got it. She instinctively got into slayer mode, hunting the grounds for new vampires. She forgot the fact that situation made no sense at all. Her heart sped up when she saw where she was.

She was in Sunnydale.

Buffy approached a fresh grave. She stood waiting for a newly made vamp to emerge. Like always, it began to emerge from the dirt. Buffy watched him. He stood up and looked at her hungrily.

"This must be my lucky night," he said.

"Must be..," Buffy replied, then kicked him in the chest.

He flew back and crashed into a tombstone, cracking it into pieces. Buffy walked to him as he rose to fight. He ran at her. Buffy raised her fists and punched him hard in the nose. He fell back, still on his feet. She rushed him and high kicked him again. He tumbled to the ground. Buffy stood over him and smiled, just before driving her stake through his heart. Dust.

She looked around for more. She felt herself being drawn to a familiar part of the cemetery. She walked over to Spike's old crypt. Memories came flooding back. She would come here at night needing to feel his touch. He would welcome her every time. She hated the way she used him like that. Nothing ever made her feel so alive. No one ever made her feel that way. Spike opened up a part of her that no one could. She opened the door slowly. Everything was the same. Candelabras lit, his small T.V. in front of his favorite comfy chair... Buffy smiled remembering how Spike wouldn't budge when Passions was on. She walked over to he chair and felt the fabric. So many nights she spent here.

Then someone emerged from the darkness.

"Care to tell me what you're doing here, Slayer?"

Spike walked into her sight. He had on his black jeans, red shirt and duster. He seemed... different.

"Spike, what's going on? First we're in a mansion, then we're... I think we're in some sort of dream thing, like maybe when the first slayer..."

Spike walked closer to her, wearing a mischievous smile.

"Okay, Slayer. You're out of your gourd. That's okay. I don't mind fightin' crazy birds," he teased.

Buffy looked at him, confused. Why was he talking that way. He was acting like old Spike. Soulless Spike.

"Do put up a fight though, pet. I'd like a fair brawl." He said.

Buffy back away from him. This isn't Spike. It can't be, she thought. He slowly came closer, smiling.

"Spike, I don't want to fight you." She blocked his first punch.

What was he doing?

She pushed him back in anger. "Spike, no! Stop!?" Buffy yelled.

Spike cocked his head to the side. He was confused now. "You didn't come here to fight?"

Buffy let down her guard. "No! Something isn't right. We're in some sort of... I don't know. I just know that you and I... shouldn't fight."

Buffy was forgetting why she felt this way. Her mind was clouded. Her old world was slipping.

"Okay. Then why are you here?" he asked her.

Buffy didn't know why either. She just felt drawn to the crypt... and Spike.

He watched her curiously. In his mind, they are enemies. "Right, I'll just let you be crazy on your own. I'll be downstairs... if you want to fight."

He reached the hatch and lowered himself. Buffy followed him. She watched him pour himself a drink from his bar. Buffy looked around the room remembering being down here. She saw the bed.

They shared that bed.

"Look, if this is some sort of Lets Play A Joke On Spike...," he said.

She walked closer to him. He backed away, drink in hand. She noticed he was eying the stake she held. She looked at it, then laid it down on the bar counter. Spike watched in amazement. What was she doing?

"Spike, I've been down here before. You and I have... been there... together." She pointed to the bed.

Spike laughed and sipped his drink. "Now I know you've completely lost your mind," he chuckled.

"No. It's true. I remember..." She looked down at his groin. Spike followed her gaze.

"What kind of dreams have you been having about us, pet?"

He slowly waked closer to her. Buffy stood, not backing away. He took small steps, clearly expecting her to.

"Not dreams, Spike. Don't you remember?"

He shook his head then he raised his eyebrows when she sat on his bed. "Buffy. I remember you hating me. I remember you never giving me a chance to prove to you that I can be an ally."

Just then someone came down into the room.

"Spikey, I found some more... what the.." Harmony approached, holding a stuffed unicorn. She dropped it when she saw Buffy. "Oh my God. Spikey are you okay?" Harmony asked.

Spike shot her a look of annoyance, then his gaze returned to Buffy. "Just fine, Harm," he said through his teeth.

Buffy rose from the bed and eyed them nervously. "I was just leaving," she said, unsure of what was even happening.

Spike watched her go. Harmony jumped out of the way as Buffy passed her. Spike sipped his drink and set it down on the bar. Next to... her stake.

His eyes widened.

Buffy neared the entrance to the crypt. She looked back at it not understanding anything that had just took place. Spike came running after her, ignoring Harmony who was yelling from below.

"Buffy, wait. Tell me, what do you think you remember," Spike asked. He stood close to her. She let him. "Just not here, let's go somewhere else," he said.

Buffy nodded and led the way back to the cemetery.

They walked together in silence for about five minutes. Spike would look at her then back at the ground. He seemed more lost than she was. He walked ahead of her then stopped in front of her.

"Look, I have had... dreams about you and I. I don't know what they mean. You and I are supposed to be enemies and all...," he stammered.

Buffy met his gaze, still looking lost. "Dreams?" she asked him.

He looked down embarrassed. "Yea, about you and I... look, you brought this whole thing up, about my bed... and I..." Spike said, covering up his sudden shyness.

She moved in closer to him and grabbed his hand. He looked down at her in shock. She noticed he backed up a little so she let go.

"I'm... sorry," she said.

He looked down at his hand then back at her. He moved closer to her until there were just inches apart. "What's this all about, Slayer?" he whispered.

She looked up and brushed her fingers to his cheek. His eyes widened as she did so. "I don't know," she said. She moved back and turned away.

"One minute we're..." She turned back, Spike was gone. She looked around for him, but he was nowhere to be found.

Suddenly she heard someone weeping, sniffling. She turned to see where it was coming from.

She was in the school basement now. It was dark and cold. She walked slowly through the room and came to a heavy door. She opened it to find Spike curled up in the corner, crying. She immediately ran to him and bent down. She rested her hands on his knees and squeezed.

"Spike, are you okay?" she asked.

His sobs stopped and he looked up slowly at her. He was a mess. He looked like he did the last time he was out of his mind down here after getting his soul.

"Is it really you?" he asked, tears spilling down his cheeks.

Buffy's wiped his tears and rested her hand behind his head. "It's me Spike. What are you doing down here?"

Spike looked around crazily, then back at Buffy. "I'm lost. I got lost. But you came. You really came."

Buffy moved closer. She wanted to take him in her arms and hug him tight. "Of course I'd come. Why wouldn't I?" she asked.

"Because of what I did. What I am. I'm a monster. A killer. You said so... I'm a thing."

Buffy rose and backed up. She felt like she was reliving this entire scene. She has been here with him. It came back to her. After he got his soul, and he lived down here. My God, why were they back here?

She heard someone approaching. She quickly turned to a fist coming at her. She was knocked down by a demon. She bounced to her feet and kicked it's chest. It fell back against the wall and slid down to the floor. Buffy mounted it's chest and punched it's face repeatedly. Blood poured from it's nose and mouth, as she raised for another punch, the demon morphed into Spike. His face bruised and bloody. Buffy jumped back in horror.

"S'okay love, this is what we do," he choked, coughing up blood.

"Spike. I'm so sorry" She said backing up against the wall. She slid down and brought her knees to her chest. She hugged her self tight and glared at a beaten Spike.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." she repeated.

William's Room

Spike laughed. "You think I bloody care what you think Cecily? You're not even really here," Spike said.

Cecily pouted then advanced closer to him. She held out her hand and grabbed the book of poems from him.

"Hey!" he protested.

She turned her back to him and opened it. She read some of the words and laughed. "Oh, you were bloody awful, weren't you?" she teased.

He reached around and snatched the book back. She strolled to the door, turning her gaze back on him. "Don't you see, William. You were never worthy of my affections. Nor are you worthy of hers."

She held the bedroom door open. He saw an image of two people on the couch. When he looked closer, he saw it was Buffy and... Angel. She sat on his lap as they kissed passionately. Buffy, pulling on Angel's hair and moaning.

"What in the bleeding hell is that?" Spike shouted. He looked back at Cecily. She laughed loudly.

"See, that is her real destiny. You're just... convenient," Cecily teased.

A sharp pain hit him as she said those words. He remembered Buffy telling him that after their first...

No, she's wrong. Cecily is wrong.

"You have no idea what's been going on between..." He eyed Cecily strangely. She was backing up slowly as if scared, suddenly.

"No, I know quite well what you have been up to," she said, pointing behind him.

He turned to see an image of himself in Buffy's bathroom. Buffy was telling him she didn't love him.

"No!" Spike said, not wanting to see this. He knew what it was. Then he looked in horror at himself attacking Buffy. She cried and pleaded for him to stop.

"Noooo!" He turned with his hands over his face.

Cecily laughed. "Yes. That's you. This woman you claim to love... look what you did to her," Cecily told him.

Spike moved his hands away from his face and gazed into Cecily eyes. "I was soulless. I was... but now I'm..." Spike choked on his words.

Cecily moved closer to him and rested her hand on his chest. "Yes, you're human. I know. But do you really think that it matters in the end? We are judged by our actions, not who we are."

Spike shook his head in protest. He was human. He saved the world. Buffy loves him, right?

"William, you know better than anyone else that you will always be a monster. A pathetic, foolish monster."

Cecily walked over to the sink and looked into the mirror. She grabbed a razor that rested next to the soap. "You don't deserve to live. Not after all you've done." She turned and faced him. She ran to him with the razor and slashed his chest.

"Ow! What the..."

She raised her arm again and slashed his poured out from the wounds. She was trying to kill him. Spike grabbed her arm as she tried to slash him again and bent it, hearing it snap.

"What are you doing?" He threw her down to the ground. She laughed as she looked at her broken arm.

"Oh William. Must you always hurt the ones you love?" she teased. She rose again and leaped at him.

He grabbed her shoulders and held her away from him. "Never really loved you, pet." He threw her down on the bed. She looked up at him with a sly grin.

"Are you going to give it to me then? Like you did her?" she teased.

Spike turned from her in disgust and walked out the door, trying to ignore her laughter. It couldn't her.

He raced down the stairs, accidently knocking into a shelf that held some of his mother's knickknacks. He saw the old painting of his mom and dad. How happy they looked. He loved his mother's smile. It lit up a room. Pain ran through him when he thought of the last time he was here. When he had to kill her. Again. His own mother. So innocent. So sick.

"I am a monster."

Someone entered the room. He expected Cecily again. He tensed.

"Look, I'm really not in the mood..."

He turned to see a young boy staring up at him. He was dressed in dungarees and a hooded sweatshirt. Clearly of the present time. He had wavy light brown hair and blue eyes. He looked to be about 4 years old. The boy stared at Spike curiously.

"Well hello there lil' tot. I'm not really sure where we are or what..." Spike looked closer at the boys face. He seemed familiar.

"Daddy?" the boy said.

Spike stepped back. "No sorry kid. I'm not your..." He stared into his eyes. He felt such a strong connection with this lad.

"Mommy said you would be here."

Spike knelt down to be on the boys level. He looked into his eyes.

"Mommy? Sorry. I don't know what you..."

Spike was interrupted by the boy running up to him and wrapping his arms around his neck tightly.

"Hey, kid. You've got the wrong guy."

He looked behind the boy. The room disappeared. They were suddenly outside in the middle of mayhem. Buildings were on fire, people running around in chaos, and screams filled the air. He stood up, carrying the boy in his arms. "Where are we?" Spike asked.

The boy smiled at Spike. "Silly daddy," the boy said, playing with Spike's curls.

Spike walked around, still holding the boy. He noticed a frightened couple against a wall. When he approached them, they screamed.

"What?" Spike asked them.

The boy gasped as well, Spike turned to see he was scared. The woman approached Spike with her hands together as if she were praying. "Please don't do to us what you did to them," she said, pointing to the alley.

Spike saw them. Dead bodies. Men, women, children. All lying there with their throats torn out.

I did this? My God. I did this.

"Daddy, why did you kill all those people?" the boy asked.

Spike looked back at him, speechless. What was he to say? Yes little one, I killed all those people once upon a time?

He eyed the boy harder. He knew that look. He knew who he was. This was his son. His and Buffy's. He had her pout and his eyes. But why? How?

"Daddy?" The boy looked so scared. Spike felt a huge wave of sadness come over him. He let the boy down and bent down to eye level.

"I'm sorry. I can never be a father. Not after what I've done. I don't deserve you. I've taken so many lives. I'm not... worthy."

Spike had tears in his eyes. The boy glanced up in confusion.

"No. Daddy. Don't," the boy pleaded.

Spike turned from him and ran. He didn't know where to go, but he couldn't stand to see the look on the boy's face.

He came to a empty alley and crouched down, sobbing. He felt so ashamed. He could never have a decent future with this taint of the past. Spike now believed that he was never meant to have fulfilled the Shanshu. He was never meant to be given this chance. That's why he was probably going to die. It was the only way.

The only way to even it out.

He heard footsteps approaching. He wanted to ignore it. He'd seen too much. His head hurt. His heart hurt.

"Why the tears, sweet William?"

He knew that voice. He cringed. Drusilla.

He slowly looked up at her. She held out her hand to him.

"Leave me alone Dru. I have no patience for..." He stood up. "...Games. "

She swayed closer to him, humming a tune. "Oh, my William. Don't spoil the fun. It's just beginning," Drusilla purred.

Angel stepped back, unsure of his surroundings. He backed up and felt for the doorknob. It was locked. He turned and tried to smash the door down, no luck. It felt like steel. He walked towards the other side of the room. There was a small window overlooking a garden. That was his way out. He opened it and crawled out, falling into a bed of roses. He winced in pain as the thorns stuck him everywhere. He heard someone calling his name.

"Angel, over here," the voice yelled out.

He quickly turned to see Cordelia standing on a blanket, a picnic basket next to her, bottle of wine, and some glasses. He remembered this vision, or dream. She took his non-breath away. She had on a beautiful orange dress that flowed down to her feet. It blew in the wind, making her look more like an illusion.

Angel smiled and walked to her. He looked up, noticing he was in the sun. He smile grew larger as he approached her.

"Am I dead?" he asked her.

She looked like she was about to crack up. She smiled and poured him a glass of wine. "Angel, come sit with me." She lowered herself back onto the blanket.

He sat, staring at her in disbelief. "Cordy, how are you here?" He faced the bright sun.

"Not sure, Angel. I'm glad you are though." She smiled.

He touched her face. Real. His fingers brushed her lips. They felt so warm. She leaned in and kissed him.

"I've really missed you, you know," she said

"Cordy, You have no idea how much..."

Cordelia stopped him by kissing him again, this time with more passion. She pulled away and lifted her wine glass with a smile.

"Drink up," she said.

Angel, in a daze, lifted his wine glass and clanked it with hers. He brought it to his mouth and drank. The taste surprised him.

"Blood?" he asked her.

She looked in his glass to make sure. "Yea, blood. Guess you are dead, Angel. Then again, you always were." She laughed at him.

He rose and backed away. Cordelia's laughter echoed through the garden. He felt his skin began to burn under the sun.

"Oh no!" he said to himself.

He ran for cover. He spotted the window he crawled from and quickly ran towards it and jumped through.

The room was different. He walked around scanning the area. It looked really familiar. There were people all around, some with drinks in their hands. A band played near a dance floor.

The Bronze?

He walked over to the bar. The bartender saw him and smiled. "What can I get ya?" he asked Angel.

Angel was confused. How did he get here? Sunnydale was destroyed.

"Just holler when you make up your mind then," the bartender told him.

Angel just nodded at him, still in a state of confusion.

The band was loud. Angel remembered how annoying the loudness was. Angel's eyes searched the dance floor and there she was.


She stood alone. She had her arms out as if ready to embrace someone. He swallowed and walked to her. A smile came over his face as he moved closer. He stopped. Buffy was holding out her arms, but for someone else. Spike. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he slid his around her waist. Spike kissed her lips as she stroked his face. They swayed, barely moving.

Angel felt nauseated. That was supposed to be me, he thought to himself.

Horror took over him when he saw Spike vamp out and sink his teeth into Buffy's neck. Angel ran to Buffy's aide but realized she was in his arms and it was he who bit her. Angel dropped her lifeless body to the ground and backed up slowly in disbelief.

She disappeared. No blood. No Buffy.

Angel shook his head as if to try to wake up from this obvious nightmare. Happroached the front door just as Connor walked in.

"Dad, what are you doing here? Isn't this place like too young for you? Like a few hundred years too young? Connor joked.

"No, I wa... was. just leaving," Angel stuttered.

Connor looked at the dance floor. He cracked a smile. "Ah, I get it. I don't blame you," he told Angel.

Angel looked back at the dance floor and saw Buffy again "What did I expect, anyway? Why are you here?" Angel asked him.

Connor motioned for Angel to look next to him. Angel turned to see Darla standing in the corner of the club. She smiled and waved at Connor and Angel. Connor flashed a huge grin and waved back. Angel, still confused, waved back her.

"Ya feel like some family time... Dad?" Connor asked him

Angel just went along with it. He wasn't even sure why. He knew it had to be a dream of some sort.

Connor walked ahead of him. Angel tried to keep up with him, but the crowd grew bigger. Angel pushed his way through the people, losing sight of Connor.

"Connor!" Angel shouted.

He pushed his way further then finally came to an opening. He wasn't in the bronze anymore. He cringed when he saw the lettering on the wall.

Wolfram and Hart.

"Great," he said to himself.

Out Of Touch by theslayer19

Xander looked around when the light came back. He held Issa tightly. He peered over her shoulder and saw a disheveled Willow. She was rising, helping Kennedy to her feet.

"What the hell was that? Faith asked as Illyria helped her to her feet.

"Guys, where'd Buffy, Spike, and Angel go?" Xander asked.

Everyone looked behind them. They were no where to be found.

"Let's get back to the foyer. Maybe they went back there," Willow suggested.

"Yea, but why wouldn't they have told us?" Kennedy asked.

Willow looked at her. She was right. Buffy wouldn't have left them without saying anything. So, where did they go? "Let's just get back there. I'll call Giles and check if he's seen them," Willow said.

They all made there way back to the foyer. Willow tried to call Giles, but her phone didn't work. She walked around, holding it up to try to get reception.

"Damn!" Willow grunted.

"It's useless. It won't work in here," a shaky voice said.

Willow turned to see Eve looking at her. Her face was badly bruised and dried blood crusted on her forehead. She was still bound to the chair.

Willow advanced to her, fuming. "Eve, tell me what the hell is going on!"

Eve struggled in her chair. "Can you get these off of me first?"

Willow held up her hand and recited the word "Addaha!" The magic cuffs around Eve's wrists tightened. Eve moaned in pain.

"Ow, please stop!" Eve begged.

Willow walked in closer to her. "Not until you tell me what's going on," Willow demanded.

The ruckus must have drawn the attention of everyone, because they entered the library in a hurry.

"It's Jean. He's working with Drusilla. They're after Spike, and I think Angel too. I don't really know what he wants with them, but he had me deliver the fake texts...," Eve confessed. She had no loyalties to Jean, not after his double crossing.

Kennedy moved closer to Willow's side and glared at Eve hard.

"He was going to do me a favor. He obviously screwed me over. Can you please get me out of these handcuffs?" She asked Willow again.

"First, I need to know if you have any idea where Buffy, Spike and Angel are?" Willow asked her.

"I haven't seen them. Then again, I've been kind of unconscious lately."

"Fine. Then tell me what kind of spell is used in the texts," Willow said.

Eve looked nervously around at everyone. All eyes were burning into her. "I have no idea. All Jean told me was that he had plans for Spike... and his allies. Then he knocked me out. I swear I don't know any more! Please, Willow release me. I'm losing feeling in my hands!"

"Lorne moved in next to Willow. "She doesn't even have to sing and I can tell you how useless she is."

Willow stepped back. She looked pissed, yet defeated. Eve didn't know anything, so they weren't any closer to finding out what happened. Willow lifted her hand.

"Expedio!" she said.

The cuffs evaporated. Eve grabbed her wrists and soothed out the pain. She tried to get up, but became woozy.

"Thanks. Look. You guys should get out of here. Jean is pretty powerful in the Magic area," Eve said.

Kennedy stepped up. "No, we need to find this Jean guy. Where is he?"

Eve almost laughed. Was she serious? "He won't come out for you guys. He's keeping me here so you all won't know he's even here. He thought I'd tell Angel," Eve told them.

"Fine, then you can come with us and help us find them." Faith said.

"Wait, how can I help? I don't know anything about his magic, other than it's very hardcore. Guys, Lorne is right, I'm pretty useless and I'm afraid so are all of you. You can't beat him." Eve turned to Willow, "Not even you."

Kennedy walked back to the foyer and raced out the front door. She walked around the front of the mansion calling out for Buffy. No answer. She waved to Giles.

Giles came up fast with the slayers. "Kennedy, is everything okay?" he asked her.

"Have you seen Buffy? Angel? Spike?" Kennedy asked him.

"No, I haven't. They're not in there with you?"

"Nope. We lost them when we got slammed by a hurricane in the hallway. After the dust settled, they were gone."

Giles looked around the grounds, then placed his hand on her shoulder. "Kennedy, what are you talking about?"

"Giles, they disappeared, right in front of our eyes!" Kennedy shouted.

Giles quickly dialed Dawn's cell. Luckily he had reception. "Dawn, Buffy is missing. As well as Angel and Spike. I need you to find out anything you can on the magic Jean Trevaud is known to use," he told her.

He motioned for all of them to get inside the mansion. As he entered, everyone gathered around. Giles took a double take at Eve. "You have no idea where they went?" Giles asked the crowd.

"No idea Giles. This Jean guy won't even show his face, so we can't even find out what spells he's using...," Willow said.

Giles scanned the foyer, seeing all the various hallways. He tightened his grip on his battle ax. "Fine, then we find him."

Xander stepped up to Giles. "How are we supposed to find someone that doesn't want to be found? A very powerful warlock someone?, " Xander asked.

"He's not invisible, is he? We'll split up into small groups. Some take these corridors, check every room. The rest of us will search the floors, basement, everywhere else."

Kennedy held up her sword. "I'm ready. Let's find this dick!"

Giles and his two slayers headed upstairs. Xander, Issa, Lorne, and Gunn wandered down one of the hallways. Kennedy led Bianca, Adriana down another corridor. Faith took Illyria, Patricia, and Sabrina downstairs.

Willow stood with Eve. She looked at Willow and gave her a slight smile.

"So where are you going to look?" Eve asked her.

"Everywhere," Willow said as she sat down on the floor cross legged.

Eve shook her head. "You can't use your magic against his spells. He's well protected from that."

"I released you from his magic handcuffs, didn't I?" Willow retorted.

"That's different. He..."

"Shh!" Willow said and then she turned her gaze upward. "Guide me toward that which is gone... reveal to me those who are lost.."

A cloud of smoke blew over them. Eve crouched down next to Willow, looking up it. The center of the cloud cleared, leaving a ring of smoke. Inside the ring Willow saw the image of someone curled up in a corner. It looked like Buffy. Then the image changed to Angel standing near a desk, then to Spike. He seemed to be in an alley. It was too dark to make out.

"Damn, It's too dark, too blurred. I can't tell.."

Eve stood again as the circle evaporated.

"I really doubt they're that far. Jean is a master of illusions. They're probably right under our noses. But they're most likely seeing something entirely different," Eve told her.

The Grand Hotel

"Dawn, you've been searching the internet for hours! I want to check my MySpace mail," Andrew whined.

Dawn paused and shot an angry look at him. She went back to the internet.

Andrew rolled his eyes and walked away. He passed The Immortal who was leaning on the concierge counter. Andrew gulped when they made eye contact. The Immortal intimidated him. He was a very tall man, especially next to Andrew, and had such a air of confidence. Like he could snap you in half just by thinking it.

Suddenly Dawn yelled out. "Guys, what's a P.O.S. spell?"

Andrew shrugged, looking at The Immortal. "Can you use it in a sentence?" Andrew asked.

The Immortal shook his head at Andrew and went over to Dawn.

"Power of Suggestion," The Immortal told her as he looked over her shoulder. "Dawn, how did you come across this?" The Immortal asked her.

"Well, I searched and searched for info on Jean Trevaud. I didn't get anything. So, I've been IM-ing the coven in London, the one Giles and Willow know."

Dawn looked up at the Immortal and continued, "They told me a lot about the spells Jean uses, specifically one close to the words we have about four moons he will die, et cetera, et cetera. They said it's most likely a P.O.S. spell, then I lost the connection with them before I could ask them what it meant," Dawn told him.

"Of course. He's using a power of suggestion spell on Spike!" The Immortal declared.

"Uh, power of suggestion? How?" Dawn asked.

"Like, Oo, I'm hungry, now everyone will be hungry?" Andrew asked.

"No, more like Oo I'm going to die, now I'm dead..," The Immortal said in Andrew's tone of voice.

Dawn and Andrew looked at each other. Dawn reached over to her purse and searched for her phone. "I have to call them, tell them."

"Tell them what, Dawn? Even if Spike finds out what type of spell this is, it's his heart that will have to decide whether he is worthy of life or not. The spell found a weakness in him and fed off of it."

Dawn crinkled her nose. "Huh?"

"You see, P.O.S. spells merely suggests something. In this case, Spike's death. He is probably goinging through a plethora of emotions. If there are any doubts in his heart that he deserves this second chance at life, then he will die only because he believes he should. Understand?" The Immortal informed her.

Dawn flipped her phone open and dialed Buffy's cell. "Well, then we help him believe he's worthy!"

The alley

Drusilla circled around Spike, humming a haunting melody. Spike wasn't sure if he wanted to kill her or run.

"What's this all about?" Spike asked her.

She twirled in front of him, holding her hand out. "Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. You have been very bad, sweet Spike. You let the Slayer touch you, now you are nothing but flesh and bones."

Spike rolled his eyes. "Yes, Dru. I am aware of the current events. What. Do. You. Want?"

Drusilla twirled again and brushed her fingers to his lips. He stepped back, not certain what she was up to.

"You float in a pool of lies. You heart knows the truth my William. You are meant to be here, with me. Your savior." she said.

"Savior? This is getting really old. I'm going to leave now. I don't want to hear another bloody word, got it?" He turned and walked away.

Drusilla skipped and jumped in front of him. "Nowhere to go Spike," she sneered.

He looked around. The alley was gone. He was back in his old house in London.

"Oh bugger," he whispered.

Drusilla twirled around the sofa and grabbed the throw that covered it. She wrapped it around herself and shivered.

"You make it cold in here Spike," she said.

Spike paced around the room. He was sick of the mind games. Was he sleeping, or in a coma, or dead? He neared the bookshelf and gazed at the old paintings again. He noticed one of himself with is mother. He must have been at least six or seven.

So innocent.

He felt himself drifting in thoughts, memories. He remembered when he came home one day full of mud. He was 7 years old.

He made his mother a heart shaped birthday card in class. He was so proud of it. He drew flowers all over it and wrote "I Love You Mother" on the front. He held it close to his chest as he walked home from school, when a bunch of kids approached him and teased him. They pushed him around, taking the card from him. holding it above their heads. They took turns reading it aloud, laughing at him. Little William jumped to try to get it from one of the boys. He caught it, but as he grabbed it, the boy threw him in the mud, card and all. Young William cried all the way home. His mother received him with a hug, getting mud on herself. She shrugged it off and took the card. She told him she'd treasure this birthday card for the rest of her days. And she did. She kept it in her bedside drawer.

Spike wondered if he looked, would it still be there?

"What dreams to you have Spike? Do you dream of babies and daffodils?" Drusilla asked him.

She grabbed the words in the air as if they were tangible. He met her gaze, lost in it. He knew it had been so many years. He had been a vampire for so long. The woman standing next to him was responsible for that. What business did he have being alive? He realized that his life had ended that night. All of this, Buffy, getting his soul, The Shanshu, none of it should have happened. He rewrote his own destiny, and now he'll pay for it, and so will the people he loves.

He turned slowly from Drusilla. She smiled at him as if she could read his mind. He walked to the sofa and sat, head in hands. Drusilla sat next to him and wrapped her arm around his shoulders.

"Do you see it now Spike?" she asked him.

He looked up at her. He had spent an eternity with this woman. Now, he felt a million miles away from her. Yet, she had some kind of control over him. Just like she did that first night. That night she took his life. He remembered being in a daze, like being hypnotized. But even being aware of it, he couldn't break it. Without thinking, he lowered his head on to her shoulder. She ran her long fingers through his hair.

"There, there my love. I will make it all better," she told him.

Spike sat there with his eyes closed. His mind was swimming.

Wolfram and Hart

Angel strolled into his old office. Everything looked the same. Well, except that the place was empty. He sat in his chair and leaned back. He reached for the remote and turned on the TV.

An image came onto the screen. One that shocked him.


"Ey, Angel. I know this must seem extra weird to ya, but ya really have to stop feeling sorry for yerself. None of this was your fault."

Angel stared at the image in shock. He felt a pain in his non beating heart. He had let so many people die. Doyle, Fred, Cordelia, Wesley...

Doyle continued. "You took down the Black Thorn, Angel. Who walks away from that? You did it. You took it down from the inside, so why the regrets? This is what you wanted. If we blamed ourselves for every bad thing that happened then we would never truly live. We'd be too scared to do anything, fearing it may be that one decision that changed our fate."

He felt the loss. The incredible loss that seemed to swallow him whole. What was fate? What caused people to die when they do? Was that fate? He had never given up, though. He had never left anyone behind. He saved people. That's what he strives for. To save as many as he can, while he's here. Right?

"Angel, people need you to get back to the mansion. Willow is looking for you. Buffy and Spike are in trouble. They are way more far gone than you," Doyle said.

Angel said to the Doyle in the TV, "How can I help them? I destroy everything I touch."

"No, lad. You don't. Let it go. People need your help. You can get out of here."

Angel closed his eyes for a second. When he opened them, Doyle was gone. He rose out of his chair and left his office. Angel looked back one last time. This was where he did make a difference. They all took down the Black Thorn and helped Spike regain his humanity. For the first time he realized that none of this was in vain. All the death and pain.

It wasn't in vain.

He entered the elevator and rode it down. When it opened, he was back in the mansion. He looked around in confusion, then spotted Willow and Eve near the library.

"Willow!" Angel yelled.

"Angel? Where have you guys been?"

He looked around wondering what she meant by 'guys'. "I don't know. I think I was in some sort of delusion. Spike and Buffy are in trouble. This thing is powerful Willow. It warps your sense of reality. Where is everyone? "

"They all split up to find Jean. Angel, would you have any idea how to find Buffy and Spike?" Willow asked him.

"Willow, I don't know exactly what happened back there. One minute we were in the hallway, the next I was in a room. I saw things, things that couldn't possibly be there."

"Like, illusions? Or ghosts?" Willow asked.

"More like illusions. It was like, feeding off of any doubts or fears I had. Even ones I didn't even know I had. The line between what's real and what isn't was fading. It felt like it was really happening," Angel told her.

He leaned in closer to her and continued, "But there was this one thing. I saw Doyle. He spoke to me and told me to get back to you."

Willow's eyes grew wide. "So, do you think there's a way to contact Buffy and Spike?" she asked.

"I don't know, but it's worth a try," he told her. Just then Faith and the girls entered the foyer.

"No luck Wil," Faith said , realizing Angel was there, "Angel?

"Faith, we've got a bit of a problem," Willow said.

Giles and the rest of the gang walked in. Giles sighed with relief when he spotted Angel, then he frowned realizing Buffy wasn't with him.

Angel told them all about his ordeal, going over in painful detail about what he saw and how it made him feel. He left out some more intimate details, but gave them the general idea.

"So, what your saying is that this alternate reality you experienced was having you relive the past?" Giles asked.

"Yes, but it was more than that. It had me feel it all over again. The pain, confusion. It was there, real. I almost became lost in it," Angel told them. He watched Willow turn and leave.

Willow headed back to the library. She scanned the books to see if there was anything that could help. She had to figure out how to reach Buffy and Spike. She knew this warlock would make certain that none of them would find the answers, but she just had to hope that he slipped somewhere.

Nothing. All these books were useless. She tried all the spells she knew, but nothing worked. Nothing penetrated the heavy cloak this Jean had put over them. Willow turned back and headed towards the group. She looked out the window noticing the sun rise.

"How am I going to get them out of there?" Willow cried out.

Hell Revisited by theslayer19

Buffy opened her eyes. Spike was gone. The basement was gone. The air felt hot and thick. She slowly rose to her feet and with wide eyes, scanning her surroundings, she knew where she was. She was back.

The Hellmouth.

She walked slowly to the edge of the abyss. Once, there were millions of Turok-Han. Now the pit was empty. No wicked energy, no evil voices. Nothing but a vast pit of rock and dirt. Remembering that time pained her. The events that led up to the big fight down here filled her with mixed emotions. Her friends giving up on her. Spike being there for her that night. Giving her the strength to fight. Where was he? Wasn't this entire town destroyed? Why am I down here, alone?

She was alone. Isn't that the way she was meant to be. She was kidding herself if she thought her and Spike could ever have anything. Her friends were all living their own lives. They didn't need her. Being the slayer was her true identity. It ruled her every thought, her every action, her every reason to be alive.

Buffy neared the edge of the pit and stared blankly at it. Hot air blew from it in a constant flow. Nothing had meaning anymore. She could rot down here and none of it would matter. Spike may die tonight, and none of this would have mattered.

The Grand Hotel

Dawn closed her phone. "Damn, no one's answering their phones!" she cried. She looked outside. There was no way of getting a hold of them, unless...

"Hey, Andrew. You know how to drive, right?" Dawn asked him.

Andrew looked up from the laptop and squinted. "Kind of. I drove a van for a little while," he said.

"Fine, then let's go!" Dawn yelled.

Andrew looked around nervously. "Well, actually. Warren did most of the driving. I usually rode shot gun. Jonathan would always forget to yell it out," he said smiling at the memory.

"Whatever, we need to get to them, except, I have no idea where to go," Dawn said looking at The Immortal.

"Dawn, you are the definition of adorable, but I can not go with you," The Immortal told her.

Dawn neared him, glaring into his eyes. "My sister could possibly be in danger. Spike is in danger. Now I know you don't give a rat's ass what happens to him, but I do and so does Buffy. If you care so much about her, then you'll come with us," Dawn told him

He nodded at his driver. "Fine. I will have Sergio get another limo, but I will remain in the car. I am not getting involved with Jean Trevaud!"

Dawn smiled then turned to Andrew. "See, now you don't have to drive," she told him.

Spike felt himself drift as Drusilla stroked his hair. All the events of these past days were washing away. No more pain, no more guilt, just faded images of the life he could have had. His head rested on her shoulder as she sang to him.

"Be not thus dismayed, young William he said,
As he pressed the dear maid to his side,

Nor my absence don't mourn, for when I return,
I will make little Mary my bride."

He saw flashes of his time with Drusilla. All the places they traveled together, wreaking havoc. Visiting city after city, taking what they wanted, killing who they wanted. She would go through her bouts of insanity and he would take care of her. Protect her. He never felt more alive.

Funny how that works.

She was never his, though. She didn't love him. He knew that. She needed him. That was the basis of their relationship. Needing, wanting, taking. It wasn't true love, now that he understood what true love was. Sometimes he felt like they were beyond these simple human emotions. He was bound to her in some way. There were nights where he would lie next to her and she would sing to him. Like now. Her words almost put him to sleep. He felt her moving in closer to him. Her ringlets tickling his face. Spike didn't flinch when he felt her lips touching his neck. He just wanted to sleep.

"Now, sweet William, I will take you back with me. All your nightmares will disappear. No more flesh. No more ash."

Drusilla sank her fangs into his neck. Spike felt the sharp pain and opened his eyes. His heart sped up, pumping his blood harder into her mouth. He was paralyzed.

He saw it all, his life.

William the Bloody, his mom, his dad, the kids at school, his bloody awful poetry, Cecily, Angel, Darla, the boxer rebellion, Nikki Wood, Robin Wood, Joyce, Giles, Xander, Willow, Dawn.


He saw her dancing at The Bronze, where he first saw her. Drusilla knowing what his heart felt before he did, the chip, Buffy kissing him, he saw her jumping from the tower. Dawn yelling for her to stay. He remembered crying at losing her. Taking care of Dawn. Seeing her again after Willow's spell, Buffy kicking his ass, telling him he was a monster. He was...he ...

Darkness surrounded Spike. His eyes closed. He swam in the darkness.

This was darkness.

The limo sped through the winding streets. Andrew fumbled with a champagne bottle. He tried to open it, then popped the cork. It flew and hit The Immortal's head. Andrew sunk back in seat, grinning nervously.

"Bastàrd!" The Immortal yelled.

Dawn rolled her eyes and kept her gaze on the road ahead. She felt like this was the longest ride in history! They had such important information, she had to get there in time. Before Spike... She looked over at Andrew. He was pouring himself a glass of champagne. "God, Andrew, what the hell are you doing?" Dawn yelled.

"What? I just thought I'd drink some bubbly to our fantastic discovery," Andrew said. He smiled at The Immortal who just shook his head in disappointment.

Willow felt defeated. "Guys, I can't get it to work. The magic here, It... it's too strong."

"What else do we have?" Xander asked.

"Well, if Spike and Buffy are under an illusion type spell, then they have be here somewhere, right?" Faith asked.

"Yea but we searched the entire place, and came up with nada," Xander said.

"There has to be some sort of secret room or something. Mansions always have them. It sounds cliche, but they're usually behind... a bookcase." Kennedy said, drawing everyone's attention to the walls of bookcases in the library.

"Of course," Giles said.

They raced over, trying to find the secret doorway. It was like a needle in a haystack. There were tons of books, and if that was the key, they had a lot to try.

"Just tug at each book, one at a time," Kennedy instructed.

They tried desperately to find the one book that's open up to a secret room. It was going to take a while, and time was not on their side.

Lorne tugged one book but it felt stuck. Then suddenly he heard a sound like something unlatching. "Uh, guys... I think I found the Chamber Of Secrets!"

Everyone turned to him. Willow was the first to run over to where Lorne stood. She examined the book shelf, but nothing happened.

"Are you sure?" she asked him.

Just then the shelf began to slowly open. They watched as it as it moved away from the wall. It opened to a long narrow corridor. It was dimly lit, but there was enough light for them to find their way through.

"Is anyone here claustrophobic?" Lorne joked.

Giles turned to the young slayers. "Girls, you stay here with Eve. Make sure she doesn't leave," he said, narrowing his gaze into Eve.

"Okay, this is it," Faith said.

They made their was into the corridor, single file. Faith took the lead, holding a sword next to her. There seemed to be no end. It just wrapped around and went on and on.

Willow looked around nervously. "Giles, can I borrow your knife for a sec?"

He handed her a knife, looking at her curiously.

Willow made a hug slice in the wallpaper. "Just in case we're going in circles," she said.

"Ah yes, good thinking," Giles told her.

They kept on with what seemed like hours but probably just minutes. Willow had made a gash on the wall of each new hallway they entered. They never came across the gashes again, which meant they were making progress. Then the corridor widened. There were doors located on both sides, all painted red.

"Well now this is promising," Xander said, sarcastically.

Willow approached a door and turned the knob, but then stopped. "I think the real puzzle here is that only one of these doors is actually the right one. If we try any others, we may regret it."

"Great, so how do we know?" Xander asked.

Willow began to run her hands across the doors, waiting for a vibration, or a sign. She walked on the other side, feeling around. She stopped at one red door. She peered at it as if she was using some sort of x-ray vision. "This is the one," she said.

"We don't know what to expect. We may find Buffy and Spike but we also may find Jean Trevaud. So, everyone be prepared for the latter," Giles informed them.

They got in defensive mode, well except for Lorne, he stood in the back nervously tapping his fingers to his pants.

Angel looked back at him and smiled. "Don't worry Lorne, I got your back."

Lorne cracked a slight grin. "Me, worried? Nah. What could be more fun than wondering around a great warlock's Funhouse of Mystery and Illusions?"

Willow turned the knob. She swung the door open. A blast of energy came at them full force. Willow kept her gaze and proceeded after the energy weakened.

They looked ahead in shock. The room was lined with mirrors. Each mirror held an image of someone. Giles walked ahead of Willow, scanning the images on the wall. It was so strange. One mirror contained an image of a woman, hysterically crying. Another held an image of a couple having sex. Giles looked away quickly, embarrassed.

"So, what the heck?" Xander asked.

Faith was staring at the sex mirror. "Uh, not sure."

"It seems these are mirror images of people in different emotional states. But why?" Angel asked.

They made their way through the large room. Willow walked to one end, looking for another door. The reflections bouncing off each other made it hard to tell where the room began or ended.

Lorne focused on one mirror. He squinted to get a better glimpse of what was in it. He saw Buffy. She was sitting on the edge of some crater or something. His eyes widened. "Hey kids. Come take a look at this," Lorne said.

"Buffy? My God, where is she?" Angel asked.

Faith looked worried. "The Hellmouth."

Buffy sat with her legs dangling. Her mind was gone. She was forgetting everything. Spike's new humanity, Angel and the big battle in L.A., Rome. She was back in Sunnydale. The rest was all a dream. She stared down at the openness of the hellmouth. There was something red filling the hollow abyss. It was rising.


She stared at it, blankly. Hellmouths should be filled with fire and brimstone, right?

He felt a tug on his shirt. Spike opened his eyes, barely having the energy to do so. Drusilla clung to him, drinking from his neck. He was going to die. His heart's rhythm slowed down.

How long had she been drinking? Couldn't have been that long. She will turn me back into a vampire. I'll lose my soul.

He saw the trials. He did it for her. Buffy. He wanted to be, deserving...

Buffy, forgive me.

Drusilla drove her fangs harder into his artery. Spike gasped. His eyes grew heavy. His body was already weak.

Memories came flooding back to him.

He saw Buffy in her basement. He heard her words as she looked into his eyes.

"You faced the monster inside of you and you fought back. You risked everything to be a better man."

Then in the Hellmouth, wearing the amulet. Buffy holding his hand, looking at him with tears in her eyes.

"I love you"

He saw himself fighting Angel in the old opera house.

"I fought for my soul. Went through the demon trials. Almost did me in a dozen times over, but I kept fighting. 'Cause I knew it was the right thing to do. It's my destiny."

He saw himself killing the dragon with Angel.

Then in bed with Buffy as she caressed him, loving him.

He heard Lorne telling him, "I saw your baby, yours... and Buffy's"

He saw Cecily. "Do you really think that it matters in the end? We are judged by our actions, not who we are."

Then it hit him. His actions.

Spike lifted his head slowly with Drusilla still attached to his neck.

"No...," Spike whispered.

Spike grabbed Drusilla's arms and pulled her off of him. He felt weak, but his adrenaline was at full force.

"Our actions make us who we are!" he hollered.

She looked at him, confused with blood dripping down her chin. "What's the matter Spike? Don't you like my kisses?" she teased.

Spike stood, throwing her to the ground. She let out a menacing laugh and lunged at him. She grabbed him by the neck and tried to strangle him.

"It's over Dru," he told her as he grabbed her wrists pulling her off of him.

"I am a hero, you see. I fought on the side of good. I saved the world. I fought for my soul! I have been blessed with life. You are not going to take it away from me... again!"

She looked at him in horror. She lost her grasp on him. He was too strong. He then wrapped his hand around her neck. She struggled against his grip. He pulled her around him and backed her against the wall. He noticed the mantle next to him had a wooden cross hanging over it. He reached for it and pulled it off the wall.

"No! Spike," she begged.

He raised his arm glaring hard at her, teeth clenched. "These mind games will end now! I know you're not real!" he shouted.

She was helpless. "No, Spike, I'm..."

He drove the wooden cross through her heart. For a moment, she looked... angelic. Then she fell to dust. Spike watched the scene in agony. A wave of sorrow came over him. Even though he knew what he was seeing wasn't real, it felt real.


Spike turned to see his son at the doorway. He tried to shake off the illusion of dusting Drusilla. He lowered his head and noticed the dust all over his shoes.

"Sorry you had to see that lad," Spike told him.

The boys smiled at his father. "Daddy, mommy needs you. We have to go get her," he said.

"What's the matter with … mommy?" Spike asked him as he picked him up and walked him through the front door.

They were now in Sunnydale. Spike looked around remembering the familiar landmarks. They stood in front of the school.

"She's in there. In the bad place where the monsters come from," the boy told him.

"The Hellmouth," Spike whispered. He put the boy down and got on his knees, holding his hands.

"I'll get mommy, okay? Don't worry. Everything will be right as rain," Spike told him. And he meant it. He knew now what the future held. It was with Buffy and maybe, someday, this little tot here. He was meant to have been here, now. Even if the cards laid out were telling a different hand, he knew.

It's about Buffy. About his love for her. It's what drove him to be a better man. To fight the demon that Drusilla turned him into and Angelus raised. To be a better man. for her. She loves him. Buffy loves him. And now, his heart finally told him that he was...

... A better man.

His son smiled wide. He wrapped his arms around Spike's neck and squeezed. Spike hugged him back.

"I know it will be now, Daddy," the boy said. Then disappeared.

Spike's arms fell into each other. The boy was gone. Spike stood, looking ahead of him. He had to go rescue the love of his life. He walked hastily through the school. His body shivered at the bad memories this place carried. He found the basement and proceeded.

There it was.

The Seal Of Danthazar. It was open. Spike lowered himself into it. Flashes of the last time he did this ran through his head. He tried to shake it off. Their son said Buffy was here and he had to find her.

Their son.

He walked down the path. The air was hot as it whipped against his skin. Dirt flew around, masking the path ahead. He walked through it blindly then spotted sparks and cinders flying about. The scene made him nervous. It was too dangerous to be down here. Where was Buffy?

"Buffy?" he shouted.

The wind picked up throwing dirt into his face. He held his hand over his eyes.

"Buffy," he shouted again. The wind slowed down a bit, so he marched forward. He noticed larger cinders flying out of the vast pit that used to house thousands of Turok-Hans. He could swear he saw lava filling up in it.

"What in the bleedin' hell is this?" Spike said.

Dawn and Andrew reached the front door and stormed in. Eve and the slayers were startled by their entrance.

"Where is everyone?" Dawn asked.

Eve stood up. Bianca raised her ax at her. "It's okay. I'm not going to try to leave," Eve said to her. She turned to Dawn. "Everything got kind of crazy in here. All I know is that Spike and Buffy are trapped in some sort of delusional dimension and the gang all went to look for them."

Dawn's eyes widened and she turned to Andrew. "We're too late," Dawn said.

Willow neared Xander. He looked horrified. The mirror image had Buffy in it, in the Hellmouth. The Hellmouth looked alive again.

"Guys, we have to find..." Willow was interrupted by a mirror being thrown across the room. She looked to see where it came from.

A tall man stood staring at them. His eyes piercing. Jean Trevaud. "You imbeciles. Do you think you would actually find your friends in here?"

Willow stepped up. "Look, we're here to get them back. Where are they?" Willow demanded.

Jean smiled and lifted his hand. The room began to spin. Everyone was knocked about, falling into the walls. Mirrors came crashing down on them. He stood, untouched in the center of the room.

"Give up now, you fools," he said.

He lifted both arms and threw his hands forward. Suddenly they were swept up in a vortex then they landed back into the foyer of the house.

Eve and the young slayers jumped back as Willow and the rest crashed onto the floor.

"Ow!" Lorne yelped.

Jean Trevaud laughed as he walked through his bedroom. He sat in his lounge chair and peered into a crystal ball sitting on a table next to him. The images were foggy. He picked it up and shook it as if that would help clear it up, but it didn't. He cursed at it.

He suddenly felt a shudder. Something was not right. Something about this spell had gone wrong. He felt it in his bones.

Then he saw her in his mind.


Spike neared the edge. Lava was rapidly rising. The heat was unbearable. Cinders flew all around him. He had to dodge a few.

Buffy sat at the edge, ignoring the heat surrounding her.

"Buffy!" he called out to her.

She turned her head in his direction. Spike ran over to her as she rose from where she was sitting.

"Buffy, thank God I found you. You have no idea what's been happening," he told her.

She looked at him blankly. He was surprised by her non reaction. She looked back down at the lava and took a step closer to the ledge.

Spike eyed her, unsure what wrong with her. She looked like hell. Her hair was a mess and her mascara ran down her face. He moved closer to her. She turned to him and looked at him in fear. She backed up closer to the ledge.

"Buffy, what are you doing?" Spike asked.

As he closed in on her she'd just back up closer to to edge. Then she felt her foot slip from under her. Her body fell back, only to be caught in Spike's arms. He held her as she stared up at him.

"Buffy, there's lava all around us, if your not careful..."

"I may lose you..." Buffy interrupted.

He smiled. "Yea, that." He pulled her up away from the pit.

She was weak and slumped in his arms. The lava rose higher.

"Let's get out of here," he said. Spike lifted her up and carried her out of the Hellmouth.

Buffy lifted her head to look behind him. He held her head down.

"No, Buffy. Don't look back, " Spike told her.

..And The Fun Just Keeps On Leaving by theslayer19

Angel bounced to his feet. He brushed himself off and headed over to Lorne who was leaning against the stairs. "Lorne, you okay?"

"Well considering I just became really intimate with floor, yea, peachy keen." Lorne joked. They both ran over to Gunn. Angel helped him up, brushing off pieces of concrete from his shoulders.

Dawn came running in, "Oh my God, what happened to you guys?"

Faith limped over to her. " We just met our hostess with the mostess... or host with the most."

"Yea, and he bitch slapped us through a wall, see..." Xander said pointing to the missing wall, except, it was back to normal, like nothing happened. "What the...?"

Dawn stepped in front of Giles. "Giles, the spell. It's a power of suggestion spell!"

"Are you sure, Dawn?" Willow asked her.

"Yea, I was IM-ing the coven, using your sign on, sorry... but I told them who I was and they immediately helped me out. They had all this info on Jean!"

"This isn't good. Those spells are hard to break. Only the person who is under the spell can break it. But if Buffy and Spike are convinced that what they're seeing is real, there may be no coming back from it," Willow said.

"And Spike thinks he's going to die, so he most likely will and we have no idea what Buffy's going through. God this sucks," Dawn cried.

Willow wrinkled her nose. "Wait, hold on. The Power of Suggestion spell has to be the one in the books that Eve brought. It was for Spike. I think what Angel experienced was a different one. Like an alternate reality spell. One that affected Buffy as well."

"And maybe Spike is under this alternate reality one too, plus the suggestion spell," Issa added.

"All of this magic is making my head hurt," Lorne complained.

"Can Jean do that? Dawn asked

Giles laid his hand on Dawn's shoulder, looking down at her. "That's why we need to find them. Jean is very powerful. We have to figure out a way to get past him and get to Buffy and Spike."

Faith paced around the room, clutching her ax tightly. "Guys, there has to be some way, we have to find them."

Eve sat in the back of the room, eying Faith. "It's not going to be easy. You guys are pretty helpless in this house, "

Faith raised her ax. "This is all your fault. If you hadn't brought those books over, we wouldn't have to be here now. I should just kill you right here..."

Xander ran over to Faith and grabbed her ax. "Not now Faith. We need to focus on getting Spike and Buffy back."

Faith looked like she was going to explode. But she agreed and walked away from Eve who sighed with relief.

"I think some of us should go back to the hotel and contact the coven once more. Maybe they know more on how to get past Jean undetected," Giles said.

Andrew raised his hand, Giles ignored him. "Dawn, I think it's best you go back. Find out all you can, take notes," Giles told her.

Dawn agreed and quickly walked to the front door.

"Can I go with her? I can help," Andrew insisted.

"Fine, but please hurry," Giles told him, looking back over to Dawn.

Dawn and Andrew ran over to The Immortal's limo. Dawn opened the door and peered in.

He was gone. As was his driver.

"Damn it!" Dawn shouted.

Spike carried Buffy out of the school. They were still in Sunnydale. He didn't know how they were going to get out of this strange plane of existence. He released Buffy to her feet when she appeared to be okay.

She looked around in a state of confusion."Spike, why are we here?"

"Not sure, luv. This beats where I was before, though," he said looking around them.

Buffy walked to the curb and sat. The eeriness of what she had just seen still surrounded her.

Spike sat beside her. "Buffy. I think someone is playing a cruel joke on us. I saw Drusilla. A mirage Drusilla."

Buffy widened her eyes. She thought of the dream she had about Drusilla and Spike, how Drusilla turned him back in to a...

Buffy leaned in closer to Spike and wrapped her arm around him, thanking God he was here with her.

"Spike. We need to get out of here."

"How are we going to do that?"

Buffy gazed straight ahead. She had no idea how. But sitting around wasn't an option.

"Let's walk, see where our feet take us," she suggested.

Buffy and Spike strolled through downtown. The streets were empty. But everything was how it was before. All the stores still there, The Bronze. The Magic Box, yet it all felt surreal. The air was still. There was no wind. No animals. No birds. It was almost they were on a film set.

They stood outside Buffy's house. There it was. The way she remembered it. Buffy turned to Spike. He seemed anxious. She squeezed his hand and led him to the front door.

Spike stopped. "Buffy, are you sure you want to go in there. We don't know what we'll see. It may get ugly," Spike said.

Buffy looked on, as if she didn't hear him. She opened the front door and crossed the threshold, Spike apprehensively followed her.

The rooms were dark. Buffy walked into the living room, seeing all her knickknacks, pictures, television, furniture. All in place, as they were before. She turned to Spike. He seemed edgy. He glanced around the room, unsure of what to think.

"Spike, maybe we can get our minds together here. Figure out a way to get back to reality. This place is safe to us. Maybe it's where we should be right now."

He nodded as he lowered himself on to the sofa.

Buffy walked slowly around the room. This was her home. "I don't know what's happening, Spike. I saw awful things. I felt awful things."

"Buffy, it's all fake. None of it real. Reality is being tweaked. We're seeing things that aren't there," he told her.

Buffy looked around again. "Yea, like this house," she said.

Suddenly there was a deafening rumble. The house shook slightly. Buffy stood in her tracks. Spike shot up to his feet, eyes bulging.

"What the bloody hell was that?" he cried.

"Don't know. Seems to be okay now..." She was interrupted by a more violent tremor. It didn't stop. Buffy struggled to stay on her feet.

Spike hopped over the coffee table to Buffy's side. He held her tight as they lowered themselves to the ground. Spike hovered over her, holding her. The shaking grew more violent. Pieces of the house began to fall on top of them. He covered her with his body.

"Spike, what's happening?" Buffy shouted.

Spike felt heavy, big things crashing over him. He roared in pain, but kept Buffy under him.

"It's okay, it's okay, it's okay," Spike whispered.

Dawn stormed back into the house. Giles looked at her surprised.

"Dawn, what is it?" Giles asked her.

"The Immortal. He's gone, and his driver... gone. Their limo is still here, though!" Dawn told him.

"Great. I knew something was up with that dude, just like Italy, huh Angel," Gunn said turning to Angel.

Angel was gone. "Angel?" Gunn said looking around

"Angel's gone too?" Andrew cried.

Faith stepped up. "Where the hell did he go?"

Jean ran his hand across his crystal ball. He laughed at the image of Buffy and Spike. He wished Drusilla was here to see it. Where was she anyway? She couldn't still be taunting Spike. Just then, the door opened. The Immortal and his driver both stared at Jean. The Immortal clenched his teeth. "You told me you would leave Buffy out of this!" he shouted at Jean.

Jean rose to his feet. "I didn't have anything to do with it. She somehow fell under the spell too."

The Immortal stepped aside, making room for his driver to enter the room. Jean seemed a bit uncomfortable by this.

"The plan was for you to distract Spike and Angel. That's what I hired you to do. Now you screwed it up," The Immortal said.

"Don't worry, it's not finished. There's much more..."

Jean was interrupted by a strong push. The driver held his hand out, magically holding Jean against the wall. "I don't give second chances... and hidden Shanshu texts? Couldn't you think of something more clever? You should have known they would figure that out, " The Immortal scolded.

Jean gasped. He felt pressure around his throat like Vader's force grip. "Please, let me finish the spell. I'm so close...," Jean begged.

The Immortal motioned for his driver to tighten his grip on him. Jean choked from the imaginary hands around his throat.

The Immortal continued. "Luckily I showed up when I did. If I hadn't lured them here, they would have broken your stupid spell. This is why I hate magic. Too unpredictable." He turned to his driver. "No offense Sergio."

Jean lifted his hand and created a ball of energy and threw it at Sergio. He flew back and crashed against the wall. "I said... let me finish the spell!" Jean shouted.

Sergio slowly rose to his feet. He lifted both hands and slammed energy into Jean, causing him to crash through the wall into the next room. Jean tried to get back on his feet, but the impact was too hard, causing him to fall back to his knees.

"And I said, Senore Trevaud, that I don't give second chances. You had a job and you failed," The Immortal said, stepping over the rubble to the next room.

The Immortal searched the room. It was huge. There were paintings and mirrors covering the walls. Sofas and chairs scattered about. Then he could swear he heard something. It sounded like someone was whispering. The Immortal followed the sound. He lifted a candle off of a shelf to light the way.

Jean looked around anxiously. There was too much here he didn't want The Immortal to see. Jean rose to his feet, panicked. "Please, don't go any further, you'll ruin it!"

The Immortal ignored him. He neared the sounds of the whispers. At the corner of the room was Spike and Buffy. Spike had Buffy tucked under him, holding her tight.

"It's okay, It's okay...," Spike whispered.

The Immortal looked pleased at his discovery. Please to see Buffy, not Spike. "What's wrong with them?" The Immortal asked Jean.

Jean limped over to them, trying to catch his breathe from the ordeal. "They're under an illusion spell. They think they are somewhere else," Jean told him.

The Immortal walked closer to Jean and grabbed his collar. "Get her back. You can leave Spike, but I want Buffy back. Now!" The Immortal demanded.

Jean swallowed hard under The Immortal's grip. "I...I can't. Only they can..." He was cut off by The Immortal throwing him across the room. He fell, unconscious.

The Immortal looked back down at Buffy and Spike. He didn't know what to do. "Buffy, can you hear me?" She didn't look up. They were still lost in their own world.

He paced around the room. Sergio joined him. "There has to be a way to..."

"You never know when to quit, do you?" Angel stood at the doorway, holding a long sharp sword.

Sergio raised his hand to try a spell but Angel punched his face, knocking him out before he could do anything.

"Angelus, I should say the same to you. Didn't you're women come to me for things you couldn't... help them out with?" The Immortal sneered.

Angel closed in on him. "It must kill you that Buffy wants nothing to do with you," Angel said.

"Ah, it must kill you that Spike gives her everything you couldn't. How does it feel to be so incompetent... and impotent?" The Immortal spewed.

Angel moved closer to him, noticing Buffy curled up under Spike. "Is that all you got... Morty? I mean, all of this for the affections of a woman who thinks you're a step below a sewer rat?" Angel said.

The Immortal held his ground as Angel came face to face with him. He made a fist and punched Angel sending him across the room. Angel rose to his feet and ran towards the Immortal with the sword raised. Angel got a good slice in the Immortal's coat.

"Bastard!" The Immortal yelled. He threw another punch at Angel.

Angel caught his fist and pushed him back a few feet. "Give up. Go back to Italy, we don't want you here."

The Immortal moved towards Angel. He brushed himself off. "Angelus, I plan on returning to Italy... with Buffy."

He punched Angel again. Angel fell back and onto the floor. The Immortal came towards him and lifted his fist for another punch. Angel drew his sword and sliced The Immortal's leg. The Immortal winced in pain. Angel bounced back to his feet and smiled at him.

"Come on... give me all you got," Angel teased.

The Immortal reached for Angel. He grabbed him by the shirt and held him in the air. He tossed him over to Spike and Buffy. Angel leaned over Spike and tapped his shoulder. "Spike, come back to us. Spike!" Angel said to him.

Spike raised his head in a daze. His face was red and eyes bloodshot. He looked around the room, then at Angel. "Angel?"

Angel smiled to have him back to reality. But it was short lived. The Immortal sent another punch to the back of Angel's head. Angel winced in pain and stood. The Immortal now held a sword as well.

"Do you think I came unprepared?" The Immortal said.

Angel raised his sword and began dueling with him. He led The Immortal to the other side of the room. They locked swords, and Angel pushed him back against the wall. With a second to spare he looked back at Spike.

"Spike! Get Buffy out of here!" Angel instructed.

Spike still in a daze nodded at Angel. He looked at Buffy. She was covering her head, rocking. "Buffy, luv. Come back to Spike. Buffy?"

Buffy slowly lifted her head. She looked at Spike, then to Angel sword fighting with The Immortal. "Spike? Are we..."

Spike rose to his feet, helping Buffy to hers. Reality was coming back.

They were finally back.

Buffy glanced over Spike's shoulder at The Immortal. "It was him. All along," Buffy said.

"Yeah, him too I wager." Spike said as he pointed to an unconscious Jean Trevaud.

Angel looked back over at them, pissed they were still there. "Spike, Buffy! Get the hell out of here!" Angel shouted.

They knew Angel would be fine. The Immortal was strong, but Angel was stronger. He probably couldn't kill him, but he definitely could put him out of commission for a while.

Buffy and Spike looked back at him as they walked over the rubble to the next room. She walked ahead of Spike, spotting the crystal ball sitting on the small table. She lifted it and threw it against the wall, shattering it in pieces.

Angel sliced The Immortal's chest, leaving a gaping wound. The Immortal slumped back in pain. No one has ever had the balls to fight him like this. He hated Angel for humiliating him. He hated Buffy for getting away and Spike for helping.

"So, have you had enough? Cus I can keep going if ya like," Angel teased.

The Immortal was grabbing his chest, feeling the blood pour out of the gash.

Angel elbowed him to the ground. The Immortal fell to the floor. Angel lifted his boot and pounded The Immortal's head. He lay still.

"There, now it's better when you don't talk," Angel said. He raised his sword and drove it through The Immortal's arm, into the wood floor.

"Now, you can stay here and think about what you have done," Angel teased. He walked to the door and grinned. He had wanted to do this for a long time. "Man, I wish I had a camera."

Spike and Buffy walked through the endless hallways. They all looked the same, it felt like they were going in circles.

She stopped.

"What is it?" Spike asked her.

"Where the hell are we going? It all looks the same," she said.

He stepped closer to her and noticed her expression change from confusion to fear. Her eyes widened as she glanced at his neck.

"Spike, what happened?" she said, brushing her fingers across his neck.

He didn't know what she was talking about. He felt his neck.

Bite marks.

He felt his entire body heated up. His throat tightened as his he became dizzy.

"Spike, what?" Buffy asked.

"I... I think I ...killed Drusilla," he choked.

Where Do We Go From Here? by theslayer19

"What?" Buffy said wide-eyed.

Spike turned from her. He went over the entire scene in his mind. Seeing Drusilla in the alley, then in his house in London.

Her fangs in his neck.

Dear God, it was her. But how?

Buffy walked in front of him and turned, scanning his face. "Spike, did Drusilla do that to you? Did she bite you?" Buffy asked, angrily.

Spike stepped back from her. She wouldn't understand. "She came to me. Everything was an illusion. I thought she was... I didn't know!"

He couldn't get the image out of his head. Dust. She turned to dust, and it was all over his boots. His heart pained for her. He knew it shouldn't. He thought she'd eventually meet her doom one day.

But not by his hands.

He almost did her in years ago for Buffy. But he knew after trying it that it would be a lot harder to do. He spent an eternity with her. She needed him. And now she was no more. Did he send her to hell? Spike thought of all the dreadful places she may have been sent to. Her mind, so fragile. Too fragile to deal with...

"Spike!" Buffy shouted.

"I can't believe what I have done," he whispered.

Buffy's face changed to anger. They didn't have time to dwell over the death of an evil vampire. "Do you have to do this now?"

"What? Do you understand what this means? I killed her. Dusted her. I thought she wasn't real. I thought she was an illusion!"

Buffy closed in on him and looked at him hard in the eyes. "She tried to kill you. Hence the bite marks!" Buffy shouted.

Spike felt his neck again. She was right. She was going to turn him. She was going to bring him back to her. Take him away from...


No illusions there. He would have... Lorne's words came to him. His death, one outcome. His and Buffy's baby, another outcome.

Was it possible? He saw the little boy again in his mind. Maybe. Just Maybe...

"I'm sorry Buffy." Let's get out of here," Spike said looking down.

Buffy and Spike walked together through the winding hallways. They didn't say much to each other. He wanted to tell her everything, but now wasn't the time. Their goal was to get the hell out of there in one piece. They approached the foyer. Everyone was there. Dawn turned to see her sister and Spike walking towards her.

"Buffy! Spike!" Dawn cried as she ran to them. She hugged Buffy tightly, then quickly grabbed Spike for a hug. He chuckled at the overflow of affections.

"Hey there, lil' bit," Spike said.

Faith came in for a hug with Buffy. Buffy hugged her back, smiling. "Wow, here I thought you couldn't wait to get rid of me!" Buffy joked.

"Nah, and leave you in this phat mansion? I don't think so," Faith shot back, handing Buffy her scythe.

She leaned in to Spike and whispered. "I'd hug you too, but B would probably behead me for that."

Spike smiled.

"My eyes are pleased to see you," Illyria told Spike. She turned to Buffy and it appeared she even smiled. "And you too."

"Have you guys seen Angel?" Lorne asked.

"Yea, he's giving The Immortal a much earned beat down," Buffy said.

Dawn looked at Andrew then back to Buffy. "You mean, he was responsible for all of this?" Dawn asked.

"Looks like. I'll explain it all in the limo. Angel should be here soon, we'll wait for him then we go," Buffy said.

"What about Jean Trevaud?" Giles asked.

"He's kissing the tiles." Spike said.

Angel appeared in the room. His clothes ripped and covered in blood but he was standing. He didn't seem bothered by any of it. "The Immortal won't be bothering us for a while. Let's get the hell out of here."

They headed for the door. Spike stayed back as everyone left. He stood with Angel.

"Thanks, Angel. Thanks for bringing us back."

"I didn't. You did," Angel told him.

Spike looked confused.

"I'll explain it all later," Angel said.

Spike looked down at his feet.

Angel noticed there was something bothering him. "Spike, what we saw, it wasn't real."

"Angel. I saw Dru. I thought she wasn't real. But...," Spike couldn't say it.

"Right, Eve mentioned that she was involved with the spell."

"I killed her," Spike confessed.

"Are you sure it was her?" Angel asked.

"I didn't at first, but now I know. She bit me. She tried to turn me. I killed her" Spike felt the pain shoot through his heart as he said the words.

"Spike. You're here. And as much as I hate to say it, Buffy needs you. You did the right thing."

Spike nodded. He knew Angel was right. He knew Buffy was right.

It still hurt.

Jean Trevaud wearily rose to his feet. He was weak and dizzy from the impact. He looked over to see The Immortal and his driver lying unconscious. He wasn't sure what had happened? Did his Drusilla come and take care of them? No, something wasn't right. She couldn't have. He limped through the other room where his crystal ball was and gasped.

"Damn it!" he shouted.

He ran through the halls searching for Drusilla. He came upon one of the rooms with the door open. "Oh my god!" he yelled.

Their was a dust pile on the floor. A large wooden cross lying in it. He peered down at it.

Drusilla? "No!" he shouted. His rage built in him hard and fast. "Spike!" he said, teeth clenched.

He ran through the hallway and came upon a room where he kept his best spells. He opened a book called "The Book Of Enlil"

He read this aloud.

"Ssalmani-ia ana pagri tapqida duppira
Ssalmani-ia ana pagri taxira duppira
Ssalmani-ia iti pagri tushni-illa duppira"

Suddenly a large vortex opened. He read the words repeatedly and louder against the strong winds coming from the vortex.

Faith looked up at a vortex hovering over them. "What the fu..." She gasped as the suction pulled at her.

"What's happening?" Andrew shouted.

Buffy looked around and noticed Gunn was closest to Dawn. "Gunn, take Dawn to the limo, and run as fast as you can."

Dawn turned to Buffy with fear in her eyes. "But Buffy what about..."

Gunn grabbed Dawn's arm and ran them to the limo, Andrew following. Gunn hastily opened the door and piled them in, slamming the door behind them. They watched in horror as the rest of the group struggled against the mighty pull.

Kennedy struggled to pull her and Willow back, but it was no use. They both fell in to it, screaming.

Just then, the pull became stronger. Issa struggled against it. Xander pulled her towards him, but it was too powerful. She flew into it, Xander clutching her tightly.

Sergio awoke. His head was throbbing. He gasped when he spotted the Immortal lying unconscious with a sword through his arm. He quickly rose and ran to him and pulled the sword out swiftly.

The Immortal opened his eyes. It took him a minute to get his mind together.

He rose.

Just then the roof of the room was torn off. A vortex hovered over them. He looked on in horror as Sergio flew up into it and disappeared. He tried to run, only getting pulled upwards. He cursed something in Italian as the vortex ate him up.

The girls stood outside the hotel, staring at it. It was huge. It grew bigger and bigger. Before they knew it, it pulled them in, in bunches. Some of the girls tried to fight it, but it was useless. The suction was too strong.

Then all the slayers were gone.

The hotel stood empty.


Robin turned on the news. Word of mini tornados all over the world was making the headlines. He saw the locations of where they were hitting. Brazil, England, California.

His heart froze. He knew these were no tornadoes. "Crap!" he said aloud.

Vi and Rona ran in to the room. Vi looked paler than ever. "Mr. Wood, I think we may have a problem," she said.

Just then the roof was torn off.

Robin ran to them, but it was too late. They were pulled up in extreme force.

Robin watched them disappear.

Jean Trevaud laughed at his success. He was going to rid this world of them, at last. Then he noticed the spell he chose. All the color in his face disappeared. He felt a tug. He looked up. The vortex pulled at him hard. He cursed at himself.

"Not meeeee," he shouted.

Then he was pulled in, cursing the whole way.

Buffy turned to Spike. They were the only ones left standing, but barely. The pull was strong and it hurt to hold onto to anything.

"Spike, we have to go in and help them.

Spike smiled. "Of course we will."

Buffy quickly turned to the limo and spotted Dawn. She saw the look of fear on Dawn's face. She waved to her. Spike let go of Buffy and stood by her side. He wasn't going to let her go without him. They let themselves be taken in by the pull. She grabbed his hand tightly as they disappeared in to the darkness, with the scythe in her other hand.

Then they were gone.

To be continued...

The sequel is now up: Homesick

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