Sundowning - Hot Off The Presses



I push the doors at the front entrance of the Hyperion Arms wide open giving us all the time we need to stride across the threshold.
"Can I say it? I'm going to say it." I ask myself.
"Say what?" Wesley replies.
I turn to the group, my friends, my fam..no, let's not get hokey. My friends, fling my arms wide open and say..
"There's no place like-"
"Hello peaches."
I let my arms fall to my sides and hang my head. "I don't suppose that portal is still open?" I ask no one in particular.
I spin around to address my dear, dear Childe. He's lying on the floor with his boots resting on my sofa.
"Spike." I say, smiling a bit. "I can't say how good it is to see you again."
He stands up slowly, he looks a little ...off. His usual sneer isn't present. He looks actually serious.
"I mean I really can't say it." I continue speaking. Spike's stopped just out of arms reach. "Because it's not goo-"
"Buffy's dead." He calmly interrupts me.
Little bit of trivia. Angelus never hesitated. Ever.
Shift..demon.
Hello, my name is Angelus and I'll be gutting you like a fish!
My initial charge carries us both through an inconveniently placed wall. They sure don't make them like they used too do they?
Spike has shifted over as well, he grabs the lapels of my jacket and tries to flip me over but I retain my grip on him as well so we end up doing a double flip. When that ride is over I'm straddling him. I pull back a fist and let it fly. I don't think I'm saying anything legible with every punch just probably guttural snarling. The..demon has full control now and I'm not even bothering to try and rein it in. In that other world me and demon had a little heart to heart but this is different. In this case it's not trying to egg me on, to be more violent and destructive..I'm trying to get _it_ to be more violent and destructive.
Role reversal is so much fun eh?
From a distance I watch as my fists, crash into my childe's face. He doesn't look so good, but I think there's a bit left. Let's see if I can crush that too hm? Why, I think he's trying to say something.
What Spike? What was that? I can't hear you, speak a little louder, come on.
Talk to me Spike, let's hear your boasting now. Three slayers? Yay you. Here have a congratulatory death! Hey, catching my fist? That's just not gentlemanly.
Nice toss. I really liked that table and I don't appreciate being sent flying across the room to land on it. Splinters in the butt cheeks are nobodys friend.
Oh...oh...oh...you're talking to me? I see your lips flapping Spikey, I see that jaw moving up and down, and that fleshy, fleshy tongue sliding around between your teeth. Mmm..decisions, decisions.
The lips? I'll rip them apart, the tongue would look good nailed to the ceiling and the jaw..I think I'll keep the jaw. For posterity you understand. It'll look good on my desk. Before that though, I remember my Bible lessons, Samson killed a some Philistine with the jaw of an ass. Let's see if I can recreate history by beating you to death with your own. That'll be fun.
No, not your own ass bleach-boy, your own jaw.
I leap into across the space between us. Death from above!!
We meet in midair and crash to the ground. Funny, it looked so easy in 'The Matrix'. Hollywood, always exaggerating...tsk.
He throws a punch, my turn to catch. it, okay..now..twist it behind his back, got his shoulder. Chicken wing time. Slam him into a wall.
I bring my mouth up next to his ear, or by his throat. Takes me a few seconds to remember how to speak.
"One chance." I hiss. "Tell me you're lying."
"Jesus, I wish I soddin' well was!" He gasps out. I yank his arm higher.
"You..are an idiot childe of mine." I snarl. "You kill the girl I love and come to tell me? What..is this some really exotic and painful attempt at suicide?"
"Wasn't me." He snarls back.
"Sure." I growl. "You just happened to be passing by."
"No, I was helping her you daft sod!"
I bounce his head off the wall.
"That was for blasphemy." I say horsely.
"Blasphemy? Oh right..Ye See Before Me The Light Of Buffy. Get a bleeding grip ya wanker."
"Okay." I grip the hair on the back of his head and bounce him off the wall again.
"That was for fun." I shout in his ear.
"And a jolly good time we're having." I hear his voice slur. I think I'm finally starting to hurt him. I want to do it some more.
"Angel, what..what's going on?" Good ol' Cordy, real quick on the uptake she is. In all honesty she has been getting better though.
It's at this point I do something incredibly stupid.
I look over my shoulder at the others, who still haven't moved from the entrance. For a crack team of monster hunters they sure aren't reacting fast tonight.
"Stay out of thi-" I start to say when Spike's elbow, somehow he worked his arm free, smashes into the soft part of my neck, right where it and the shoulder meet. Dead on target too, the resulting shock just sends me crashing to the floor as my whole body goes numb.
"You stupid, bleeding wanker!" Spike shouts and lets me have it with a vicious kick to the ribs.
"I come up here.." Kick. "Simply because I was the only one..." Another kick. I think one rib finally gave. "Who seemed to be capable of a coherent thought!"
"I'll be nice. I thought to myself." Spike shouts, with yet another kick, the good news it's not too the ribs, the bad news is it hits my kidneys. Ah..screw em' they don't get much use anyway.
"Let Angel know so he can go be with hit little hottentot friends." Spike's still shouting, correction, shouting and kicking, the latest one to my head. Course the demon aspect runs away now, no good lil' so & so.
"Back! Get back!" Another voice ..I think it's Wesley but I can't be sure ..there's a few bells tolling behind my eyes.
I shake my head a few times which allows pain to bend my brain into a few new and exciting shapes but I manage to clear my vision enough to see my three friends advancing to Spike with crosses out, Gunn is already fondling a stake.
"I'm backing, I'm backing. Sheesh." Spike holds up his hands in surrender. He too has taken a more human appearance.
Which means the actual damage I've done is more apparent. He looks like a wreck, no I mean it, bleeding from his mouth, nose, even one ear appears to have suffered a ruptured something or other.
Good.
"You alright Angel?" Gunn asks.
I roll that question around for a moment. Spike said Buffy was dead. Spike said Buffy was..dead?
No. She's ..done that already. He..has to be lying. He..has too.
"No." I push myself to my feet. Room wobbles a bit but I remain standing. "No, I'm not okay."
"Hey. Excuse me, a bit of attention here? Angel, could you...maybe call off the spaz patrol here?" The others are still advancing on Spike and he's rapidly running out of room to maneuver. "In case you didn't notice people, I was acting is self defense."
"Nobody cares vampire." Gunn replies. He's moving in for the kill, I know that look.
"Back off guys." I mumble.
"What?" They all say in chorus.
"I said back off." I rub my face a few times. Oh man I hurt. "We dust him we can't get any info."
Grumbling they comply.
I wave in the direction of the sofa, inviting Spike to have a seat.
"Ass on the leather, feet on the floor." I grumble.
"Ah, and I thought you were beating up on me for the news I bring, not because of my lack of manners." Spike says.
"Change of mind guys." I say. "Dust him."
"Alright, Alright!" Spike says. "I'm sorry. I..look..it's been kind of rough."
"And we all know what a kind sensitive soul you are." Cordy sneers. "Why don't you just go back to your little Crypt and quit..." Her voice fades away.
"Cordy?" I ask. Her eyes have gotten really wide and she begins to lose her balance and stumbles about, hands outstretched looking for support. Wesley reaches her before she collapses.
"Oh God." She mutters through clenched teeth. "This one is gonna really hurt."
Then her back arches with such force that she practically flies out of Wesely's grip, her scream bouncing around the room.
"Nn..nn..nn...no!" Cory is gasping now. Seeing something none of us can. Even Spike remains silent.
"Gods..Buffy...I...no...Dawn...don't..."
She spasms again with a fresh scream of agony and finally collapses, a loose bundle of disjointed limbs.
"Oh God, Oh God, Oh God." Cordy sobs. "She's dead Angel. Buffy's dead..I saw it. We should have been there..we ..could have..Oh God..Buffy..."
Anything else she has to say is lost when her cries overwhelm her ability to speak. Or maybe it's the blood rushing to my head and roaring through my ears. I..just don't know.
"This already happened mate." Spike says quietly. "Nothing you can do now."
"But..but I don't understand." Wesley sputters. "Why are the visions happening now? They've always been prophetic in origin, not of things that happened in the past."
"Dunno." Spike shrugs. "I'm not part of this crowd remember?"
My mouth moves of it's own violation, a possible answer..a hypothesis..who knows. My mind and heart are numb though. Just my mouth seems capable of action.
"Best guess Wes." I say. Say..right, I'm stumbling over the words. "While we were somewhere else her visions 'backlogged' and she's going through a period of 'catching up'
"Then..." Wesley voice dies away, Cordelia's muffled sobs now, once again, being the only thing left to be heard.
"Spike was telling the truth." I say. "Twice over."
"Yes." Spike says. "Stunning isn't it? I feel all fuzzy."
I don't even bother to glare. I..feel funny. Like someone has knocked the wind from my lungs..but they haven't had any to get knocked. For centuries..it's odd.
Like I can't breath, and I can't but..but now I mind that I can't breathe.
Spike voice is quiet, almost respectful when he next speaks. His words even more so. "For what it's worth...Angel.. I'm sorry."
"Wesley, take care of Cordelia." I gasp out. He nods. "Spike, my office. I want to hear everything."
He casually reaches into his jacket pocket, pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up. "Good idea." He says exhaling a billow of smoke. "There's more and it's..." He glances around the room. "Somewhat private."
Now I know this is going to be big, Spike never cared a wit for anyone else's privacy. Except maybe Dru's, and that was only so far as making sure no one touched 'Miss Edith'.
We walk together toward the door of my office, Wesley has lifted Cordy on the sofa and is trying, somehow, to comfort her. The last thing I hear before the door slams shut is Gunn.
"Who's Buffy?"


I lean against the closed door, forehead resting on the wood. I imagine it being cool because, being room temperature, I don't exactly pick up on the sweeping differences in hot and cold.
"There's some blood in the fridge." I say. "Bottle of bourbon, third drawer from the left. Get them." I say.
"Pig?" Spike asks.
"No." I shake my head. "Cow."
"You're such a class act peaches." He grunts. I hear him moving across the room but I'm not really paying attention to that. I'm more focused on not putting my head through this door, not tear the walls around, not letting the... the...
Fuck this shit. Two minutes later the red haze has cleared away a bit.
Whoa.
Spike stands unharmed in the middle of the room, one hand holding a bag of blood and the bottle of bourbon. The other, two large mugs. Other than that, there isn't much left in the room intact.
My desk has been caved in, the files scattered about the room, the mini fridge that sat behind it is now embedded in the plaster of the far wall...four feet off the ground.
I'm still clutching the remains of my favorite lamp in my left hand, the shards of ceramic embedded in the flesh of my palm.
The tap, tap, tap of blood dripping off my fingers. I'm a professional detective, I pick up on these details.
"My." Spike says slowly. "It does me good to watch a master of self control such as yourself in action."
He looks around the room a bit before turning his gaze back on me.
"Really." He says. He holds up the blood. "Drink?"
"Angel!" Someone is pounding on the door. Sounds like Gunn. "You alright in there?"
"I'm fine." I say loudly.
"He slipped an' fell on his fanny." Spike adds.
"You sure?" Gunn calls from the other side of the door. A loose piece of plaster breaks free from a new hole in the ceiling and shatters on the floor.
"Yeah." I say. I hear Gunn's footsteps retreating.
I'm so tired all of a sudden. It takes a lot of effort just to remain upright, and I shuffle across the room, reaching for the bottle.
"Just gimmie the bourbon." I groan. "Hell with the cow crap."
Spike yanks the bottle out my reach though.
"I am, in all honesty," He says. "I'm the last person not to be advocating a good bout with the bottle, drunkenness is such a turn on an' all."
"Sppiikkee" I growl and lunge. He spins out the way effortlessly.
"On this one occasion though, as we already have pain, rage and ... a certain lack of temper in the mix, I advise against adding alcohol."
I lunge again and he steps to the left.
"Though..." He scans the remains of my office again. "It may be a moot point."
"SPIKE!" I shout. "Bottle..NOW!"
And he's in my face.
"Do you THINK I'm joking Angel?" He thunders. His demons has slipped free again, so has mine it seems. Ridges to ridges we stand...
"Do you actually think I want to be here?" He asks again. Not shouting now. Quietly he speaks. Quietly and slowly. In it's own way it's far louder than any bellow.
"I'm seriously not kidding here, you will not be getting drunk now." He continues speaking.
"You're always kidding Spike." I growl back. "You're never 'serious'. Everything's a big joke to you."
"Not this Sire." He says clearly. "Never about this."
Sire? He called me Sire? Spike never called me sire.
"You..." I stutter.
Spike interrupts me. "Yeah I know, I called you sire. Don't get used to it."
My legs give and I fall back into, what should been a chair, as the chair is now in pieces all over the room I miss and land on the floor. It'll do.
"Gimmie the cow." I mutter.
"I'll take one too." He says and pours dinner.


Half an hour later, and I'm not feeling any better. Oh, yes, truly as if I would. Half an hour, half a week, half a century, I won't ever feel 'better'. I believe that. It's the only thing that makes sense.
We drank all the blood in silence and I set my, now empty mug aside.
"Talk." I say.
"Just a mo'." Spike says. "Having no place to throw the garbage away," He gestures with the blood bag. "As the garbage can was sent through a plate glass window not long ago I better drain the bag, don't want to stain the carpeting. It's the only intact thing left in the room!" He pauses. "For the moment."
With that said he tilts his head back and sucks the last remaining pools of blood from the bag.
"Good cow." He mumbles wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
"Yeah." I agree aimlessly. Not caring.
"Right then." He settles himself more comfortably on the...floor. "Buffy's dead."
I feel the surge of rage and my fists tighten, crushing an idle piece of plaster that happened to get in the way.
"So..I've..been..told." I get out between clenched teeth.
"She and Willow were lovers." Spike says.
...
...
Huh..wha...whe?
"I'm not kidding." Spike says slowly. "Sire."
"But..but..what?" I stutter. "Since when?"
Spike reaches for his own glass and wipes away the remaining blood with his finger which he then licks clean.
"Bout a year." He says. "After Willow was raped."
Nothing.
Void.
Space.
Oh, hell with this poetry crap. My stomach just dropped to my shoes and the blood in my belly is fighting it's way back up, probably trying to get back to the cow it came from.
I clamber onto my knees, bent over, feel ... gonna...
"So much for the carpet." Spike observes.
I cough a few times, spitting the last few reminents from my mouth.
"Got any rags?" Spike asks.
"Center drawer..in..the...the..desk." I manage.
Spike is silent for a few minutes.
"What desk Peaches?"
I hit him.
His head rocks back and I leap on top of him, my one hand is gripping the his neck, with the palm of my other I'm pushing his chin farther and farther back.
"WWHHHHYHYYYYYY!?" I scream. "WWHHHYYYYY!? WHY DIDN'T SHE TELL ME!"
Over and over again. Just why. With every scream his head bends back just a little bit father. His hands fumble about, I ignore his flailing. What can he do?
He grabs the crotch of my jeans. Squeezes. Hard.
Oh. He can do that.
Of course I fall over. Who wouldn't?
"You LEFT!" He hollars at me, while backing away out of arms reach. I've gone fetal.
"You up and left you total sod! Just gone and done, poof, the Amazing disappearing Angel! From my understanding it was agreed upon. Some..separate lives crap! Moving on, all the really great dialogue from 'Passions' only in this case live and realtime!"
I gurgle in response.
"So they hooked up? So what! It's not like you drove her into that. It just happened!" He's still shouting.
"Cheap...cheap..shot." I gasp.
"Oh I'm _so_ sorry for wanting to preserve my vertebrae! Just because you've already broken everything around doesn't give you permission to try and break me!"
"Lost...lost..my temper."
"Oh wow, ya think?" He snarls.
"You've..you have been around them too long." I manage a twisted smile. "You're beginning to talk like them."
He just snorts, bends over and grabs one of the few seat cushions to escape my venting. This he tosses on the remains of supper.
"They were in love." He says quietly. "Don't ask me anything about how, or why. I honestly found the entire thing somewhat preturbing."
"Because they were both women?" I ask. The pain, physical pain at least, is lessening. Darn, there goes a pretty good distraction to what really is hurting too.
Spike gives a disdainful snort, lighting up another cigarette. "Course not. Does it you?"
I shake my head. "Then why?"
"Oh please, it's practically my role in life to play 'all disapproving' of anything good. I feel it's my 'duty' as a bad guy."
"But you were helping the good guys." I point out. "Reminded you of Dru didn't it."
He shakes his head. "Not so sport. Just me, being me I guess. But make no mistake," and he jabs the cigarette in my direction for emphasis. "What they had was the real deal.It's gone now and it's fucking tearing them all apart. Everything is falling apart back home. Just going right to hell. The whole 'Things fall apart, the center cannot hold' type stuff."
"Yeats." I recognize the quote.
"In this case the 'Center' threw herself into a fifty food wide ball of lightning."
"What?" I ask.
"Sit back Peaches. This is going to take a while." Spike says with a sigh.


Two hours later. I haven't moved from my seat on the floor. Twice over now someone came to check up, to bang on the door and demand to know how we were. I sent them away, not really recognizing I was doing it at the time.
Spike grinds his latest cigarette into the carpeting.
"So she jumped into this vortex thingie, that was all the worlds that ever were bleeding together. It vanished, took her with it. The end." And he slaps his hands together. Loud enough to make me jump.
"Now what?" I ask.
He pulls himself to his feet. "You know what's great about being a vampire?" He asks ignoring my own question. "You can sit absolutely still and never get cramped muscles or have your extremities fall asleep. I mean, I really hated that tingly feeling back when I was among the living."
He walks across the ruins of my life, sorry, my office to the door.
"Funeral is tomorrow." He says without turning around. "You and your 'posse' are invited of course. Though I recommend you skip the actual service, what with it being in the day, tanning is not among our many skills."
"I'll..I'll bear that in mind." I say.
"I'm taking the bourbon." He says snatching the bottle off a nearby shelf.
"Still don't think I should drink?" I ask.
"Not at all." He looks over his shoulder at me with a raised eyebrow. "I just know I want too." And he's out the door and gone.


Sunnydale cemetery. One of many. I feel like an intruder, who knows, maybe I am. Buffy's grave... it's right over there. 'Bout twenty feet yonder. Even in this black, moonless night I can make it out. Smell it too. The few flowers left behind, the fresh turned earth. Even the clean, sterile odor of a new gravestone. Nothing's clean about this though. Absolute zero.
I smell something else though. I smell her..no not Buffy. Willow.
She's kneeling in front of the grave. Been there for hours, just kneeling. She doesn't say anything, doesn't do anything. She's just there, like another fresh grave.
Only she has the option of moving.
I'm getting impatient. I ... it's not fair of me I realize that. And I'm not upset in any way with what she and Buffy had..have..no. Had. It's not my business, so much so that I will not, even if I'm tempted, to begrudge Buffy for not telling me. Separate lives she said and...damn me..I agreed.
I..I don't know what to do, or think, or feel. Jealous? Outraged? Betrayed? I have no rights to these but they're there anyway. Curling around my guts. On the plus side..I'll really sharpen up these brooding skills people keep commenting on.
And Buffy would ask me, with one eyebrow raised, light sarcastic humor alight in her eyes, 'This is good how?'
Vampires..I suppose we can cry. Though I've never heard of us doing so. Maybe I could, though I've forgotten how, I think.
"Do you remember.." Willow! I strain my ears to listen. I shouldn't. I should leave, should let her..them..have their moments. I'm intruding after all. Of course I don't move.
"Do you remember about three weeks ago?" Willow asks Buffy's headstone.
"I do. I'll never forget it. I'll never forget any of it, and..I know you won't forget it, you were there after all. I just never got to tell you what that moment meant to me, what I should have told you."
I really ought to leave.
"The last months have been so hard." She continues. Her voice is steady, strong, no wavering, no sounds like someone about to break down and cry..and in that way it strikes me as wrong.
"Glory, Dawn, your mother. Sorry, sorry..shouldn't have brought that up. How is she by the way? Have you found her? Was she there waiting? Are you waiting for me now? Will you? I would. Yes, I think you will too. Wait I mean..but ...still babbling. See? I'm babbling. That's a good sign. I think so. You would too I bet. Babbling aside though..do you remember?
We..we were in bed together..."
I _really_ ought to leave, this is getting way to personal. I move to do so but her next words freeze me in place.
"Just..holding each other. You were so quiet, so sad. We all had been. Holding each other, that's all it seemed we had left. I remember that night. It was...so warm in your arms. Even with everything outside being cold, it was still warm. Did you feel warm with me? I hope so. Remember? I.. I asked you to tell me a story. You gave me such a weird look, I mean, me? Asking you to tell a story? But the words just slipped out, there was no thinking behind them I just..wanted to hear your voice maybe..or something. I asked you to tell me a story and you gave me that weird look, it made me smile, but you told me a story. I remember it."
I listen, I can't help myself but my ..I burn to hear the story, a story Buffy told the person she loved, that was once me but she told me no stories. I should have asked..so now I listen to a story from Buffy, even if it is one person removed.
"Once upon a time, you told me," Willow says. "Once upon a time there was a girl. She was on a train. In her left hand she held Water, and in her right hand she held Fire. Beside her, by the open window sat her lover. Her lover was staring out the window but there was nothing to see, the scenery being all black outside but her lover was watching it all rush past anyway.
The track was long, and it just kept going and going though neither the girl or her lover knew exactly where it was going. All they knew, all the girl knew at least, was that they were on the train and they had to stay on it. She also knew her lover would ride with her, no matter where that track might lead, no matter what the Fire or the Water might do."
I feel a sinking sensation in my gut. You don't have to be a psyche major to pick up on THAT imagery. I listen as Willow continues Buffy's story to Buffy, that Buffy once told her.
"The girl, she had been told that Fire and Water she held, they were her strengths and her burden. That they were all she had to fulfill her duty, something only she could do. But she was tired, the Girl. She was really tired and...she realized something.
At that instant, on the train, with it's long, long track and black scenery. She learned. She learned that she had been lied to. And she changed her mind.
'I don't need Heaven' She said and took off the Water, throwing it out the window past the startled face of her lover.
'And I don't need Hell.' And flung the Fire past her lovers face as well, out the window into the black.
'All I need,' She said taking her lover's hand. 'Is you.' And she leaned in to show her lover what was really worth fighting for.
'That may be so.' Said the man in black now standing beside her seat, he had not been there before but she always knew he would be.
'But we all have Heaven and Hell. Why should you be any different? Tickets please?' And he held out his hand. She saw that she once again held the Fire and the Water. The End."
Oh sweet bleeding Jesus!
"You remember how scared I was Buffy?" Willow continues. "I know you didn't mean to but you scared me awfully. You saw how much you scared me though and you pulled me closer and kissed away my fears. The story was scary but what you said afterwards, that's what I'll always remember and cherish. You said, 'I don't need Heaven, Willow, and I don't need Hell either. All I need is you.' And you kissed me again.
'But what about the man in black?' I asked. 'What if he comes back?' And you just gave that little laugh of yours, held me tight and...and you whispered, 'I'll kick his butt Willow. I'll kick his pyschobabble butt.' Then we fell asleep. It was such a good sleep too. No one had ever said anything so wonderful to me before, you had never said anything so beautiful to me."
She pauses.
"What about you Angel? Did she ever say anything so beautiful to you?"
Shit.
I step out of the shadows reluctantly and make my way over to where she's still kneeling on the ground.
"Knew I was there the entire time?" I ask.
"You didn't answer the question." She says. She stares up at me, there's no trace of hostility or offense at my eavesdropping.
Just an open, honest, curious face. Yet..it's not her, not the Willow I know. I can't put my finger on it but there's something less about the whole.
"No." I say. "No, she never said anything like that too me."
"Guess I'm the lucky one." She says.
"You are."
"Yes."
We don't say anything for a while, just look at the grave. The marker that tells us, reminds us with all the permanency of stone, just what we're staring at and what we've lost.
"She loved you." Willow finally says.
"Once." I say.
"Still." She replies.
"Willow..." I begin.
"I mean it." She insists.
"I believe you, it's just that this is beginning to sound like a really bad movie." I say and run my fingers through my hair.
"Maybe the movies aren't bad." She says. "Maybe it's life that's really bad."
"Amen."
A few more minutes of silence.
"Spike filled in all the details?" She finally asks.
"Yes." I reply.
"I asked him too." She explains. "Just in case you were wondering."
"Oh." I race to think of something to add. "Didn't want to think I was prying." I settle for trying not to wince as I say it.
"You had been out of the loop."
"Yeah." I nod. "Though I do have some stories of my own."
"That's nice." Willow says. She pauses for a few seconds. "I have to go."
"No, no it's okay." I object. "I'll leave."
"It's alright." Willow says. And she smiles. Which just makes the warning buzz reach a higher crescendo in my head. Buffy died less than three days ago. She shouldn't even be able to talk much less smile. Something is very, very wrong here.
"It's my turn to watch over Dawn." She explains.
"Watch over Dawn?"
"She has lost her family Angel." Willow chastises me slightly with her tone. "So the rest of the gang are taking turns watching over her. Just being with her, taking care of her. We take care of our own. G'night."
She stands up, brushes some dust off her lap and turns to walk away.
"Willow." I say.
She half turns around.
"Yeah?"
"And you?" I ask. "Who's taking care of you?"
She smiles and even though it's a perfectly normal smile that I've seen her wearing a hundred, hundred times before, it makes the pigs blood from my last dinner run cold. I don't like cow anymore.
"Buffy of course. Who else?" She answers.
"Course." I say.
"I'll leave the two of you alone now. Was good seeing you again Angel. Stop by the house?"
"Sure thing." I say awkwardly.
I watch Willow leave until she's out of sight and then turn back to the headstone. Just the two of us. Me, the vampire, her the Slayer. The dead Slayer as the grave screams a reminder to me.
"Uh...hi."


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