Chapters 7, 8, and 9

Best Part of Breaking Up


Chapter 7:

Spike woke up the next morning and forgot where he was. The place didn't seem familiar and he was sleeping on a couch. He got up and walked around. Only when he saw the pictures of Buffy hanging on the wall did he remember the events that took place last night. They had kissed. It was a great kiss; the best Spike had ever been a part of. He remembered how she pretended that it didn't happen and how she ran off to her room instantly after giving Spike some blankets. The more Spike thought about it, the more he realized that he was probably in an emotional state last night and it got the best of him.

He went back to the couch and neatly folded the blankets. He wasn't sure if he should wake Buffy up. They did have an appointment today to go over the witnesses. He had been prepping Willow and Dawn on what to say. He had asked Buffy to get together some more witnesses and she was supposed to have the list today. He would be able to start with Willow, but he would need more then one witness. Spike decided that he would wait for Buffy to wake up. He just hoped it would be soon.


Buffy had woken up from the sound of footsteps on the hard wood floors. She was scared for awhile until she realized that it must be Dawn or... Spike. He had spent the night there and she was sure that he was still here because she had checked on him. Okay so that was a little desperate, but she knew that he wasn't in any shape to be going out and driving.

Not with what he had on his mind. Not just the Angel thing, but the fact that they had kissed. If he felt half as overwhelmed as she had he wouldn't be able to walk. Buffy hadn't realized how she would react to kissing him. He was such a good kisser, but how was she supposed to know that.

Buffy got out of her bed and went to grab her robe. He was probably waiting for her to wake up. They had an appointment to go over some of the witnesses for the case. Buffy had racked her brain to think about some witnesses. She thought that there was Oz who had kicked Riley's ass one time when he came home too drunk. There was Amy who was a wife of one of Riley's friends.

She had been on Buffy's side from the beginning and would be willing to help her. There was also Harmony, a co-worker who had seen some of Riley's violent behavior. One day she had went to work with a black eye. She hadn't been able to fool to many people by saying she fell. Harmony knew she was lying and when Riley came to pick Buffy up Harmony yelled at him. It was then that Riley hit her. Harmony had pressed charges, but it was only a misdemeanor. There had to be more people than that. Buffy was still thinking about more people when she heard giggling coming from the living room.

Buffy put on her robe and walked apprehensively to the living room. There she saw Spike and Dawn talking and laughing. Dawn had just told a good joke and Spike was telling her that it was a good one. Buffy stood in the hallway and listened to their conversation.

"So, Dawn, you know that I won't use you in the courtroom if I don't have to right?"

"Yes, I know. I think that if I have to I will, but it will be hard."

"Well of course it will be. Anyone who talks in front of a judge has a hard time at first. It's even more painful if you have to talk against your dad."

"I want him to still love me even if I do say that he hurt mommy."

"I'm sure he will. He will be proud that you told the truth. He will realize that he is lying and that that is bad."

"Yeah I hope so."

"You know what I think I'll make us some breakfast. Do you have any pancake mix?"

"No, my mom is an okay cook, but not very good. Auntie Willow said that her and cooking are unmixy things."

"Well, then do you have an eggs and flour?" Spike said as he tried to keep him from laughing. "

I'm not sure. Why don't you come and check."

"That sounds like a plan." Spike and Dawn got up to go to the kitchen and Buffy came into the living room.

Buffy picked up the blankets and put them into the linen closet. Then she made her way to the kitchen. She could hear more laughter and she saw Spike and Dawn cracking eggs into a bowl.

"Hey what are you guys doing?" Buffy asked and then yawned.

"Spike said that he is going to make pancakes."

"Don't you need mix to make pancakes?"

"No I'm British. We make our pancakes without an already made mix. Although it takes longer."

"I guess we'll just have to wait then. Are you planning on making any side dishes with those pancakes?"

"Some eggs and maybe some fried ham."

"What about bacon?" Dawn asked.

"Bacon on a British breakfast? Highly unlikely. I was going to ask you if you had any bread?"

"Bread is in the bread box on top of the fridge."

"Great do you have any green peppers?"


Spike spent almost an hour in the kitchen making breakfast. Dawn had stayed to help, but Buffy went to her room and started to get ready for the day. When she came out, Spike had breakfast made and on plates. Dawn was dressed and was already eating.

"Wow, it looks good."

"That is because it is good." Dawn said with a mouth full of pancake.

"Well, I'll be the judge of that." Buffy sat down and grabbed a fork. She took a piece of the pancake and put it in her mouth. It was so good! She made an mmm sound and started eating more.

"See I told you it was good mom."

"It is really good. Where did you learn how to cook like that?"

"Something I picked up when I was little. My grandfather was a cook. He tried to teach Anya, but she never did that whole woman in the kitchen routine. Angel thought he was too manly to learn how to cook. That left me. He practically forced me to learn. I'm actually happy he did. Some times it comes in handy."

"Well tell him that he did a good job. This is really yummy."

"Well I can't really tell him. He died a while back." They all eat the rest of their food in silence.

When all three were finished they made their way to Spike's office. Buffy's mind was filled with thoughts of Spike. He could cook, he was good with kids, and he was good looking. What a perfect package that wasn't for her. Stop Buffy. Tormenting yourself like this will only make you more upset.

Just think about the case. Buffy was lagging behind while Dawn and Spike were up ahead talking about something, but she couldn't hear what. They looked so happy together. It was weird how Dawn just accepted people right away. Or maybe it was that he was a really good guy and Dawn could see that. He talked to her like she was a person and not a little kid even though she was only six. They all reached Spike's office and Spike told Dawn to go to the daycare center. Dawn really liked it there so she obeyed. Spike and Buffy stepped into Spike's office.

Spike wasn't sure about what she was thinking about. She had that look on her face that said she was thinking about something. He wasn't sure what. Probably thinking about more names to add to the witness list.

"So, have you thought of anymore names?"

"Three. I'm sure that there are more, it's just that I want to be sure these are people who will give really proof."

"Can I hear the names you have so far?"

"Sure. There is Daniel Oz... I'm not really sure how to say his last name because everyone just calls him Oz. Pretty lame I know, but that is what everyone calls him. There's Amy Melloando. She is married to one of Riley's friends, but I know she will help. Her and her husband witnessed a fight between Riley and I he hit me. Then there is Harmony Kendall. She is a co-worker and she saw me come in with bruise and black eyes. One time Riley even hit her when she tried to stand up for me."

Spike listened to Buffy's witnesses. They all seemed very valid, but she needed one witness that would put things over the top.

"Do you have a witness who saw Riley beat you for the first time?" he knew that the answer to that question was most likely no, but they needed a witness to put this case over the top.

"Not the first time. He only slapped me the first time. I think there was someone the second time he hit me. It seems like a long time ago. I think Dawn was about three." Buffy racked her brain to remember who it was. Then it hit her. It was one of her best friends Andrew. He had seen Riley hit her and lost it. He urged Buffy to leave him, but Buffy acted stubbornly. Andrew had moved to LA shortly after telling her to leave Riley.

"There is one person. He lives in LA. I haven't spoken to him in three years. He saw Riley hit me and told me to leave him, but I didn't listen."

"Do you think you could contact him?"

"If I tried I'm sure I could. He's a doctor now. We were friends when we here in high school and we went to pre-med school together."

"Okay well Buffy we have to get the rest of your witnesses here and it would be good to do that today."

"I'll call them and see if they can come." Buffy went over to Spike's phone.

Spike had been thinking that Buffy would say her mom, but she never mentioned anything about her mom. Spike figured either her mom denied it or she never saw it happen. He hoped that the witnesses they had would keep Dawn off the witness stand. He hoped that this guy could be the deal breaker, but he knew that Dawn was the deal breaker. He watched as Buffy called the witnesses.

He also knew that he would have to put her on the witness stand too. He hadn't wanted too, but she was second in line to Dawn for being the deal breaker. If Andrew didn't do it, Buffy would have to, and if Buffy didn't do it Dawn would have to. Buffy spent a good fifteen minutes on the phone. When she finished Spike looked up from his papers and waited for her to talk.

"They will be here in a little while."

Buffy had called Willow and Oz first. She knew they would be the ones to say yes right away. Then she called Amy. Amy was very happy to oblige, but she had to drop her kids of at a baby-sitter. Then she called Harmony. Harmony was a little resistant, but she soon gave in.

"So, what do we do till then?"

"I go over with you something that is bugging me."

"Buffy was afraid what that might be, but she asked nonetheless, "What might that be."

"Well I know you said that your mom was on Riley's side, but did she ever see Riley beat you?"

"No I don't think so. She always said that I was lying and that Riley was a good man. I don't think she would be on his side if she knew."

"Good. I have to ask you if you are ready for what this trial will be like."

"Of course. I'm ready for anything."

"It's just that, I know Dru. She will do anything to win. That means she will try and tear your witnesses to shreds and eat them as a snack. If that happens then we will have to use the big guns."

"What are those?"

"You and Dawn."

"Will it come to that?"

"Maybe. If this Andrew guy doesn't show up or do well then we will have to use you."

"Why me?"

"Dramatic effect. If you don't convince the judge then we'll have to use Dawn. I don't want to, but she is our fall back witness. Our secret weapon. If we have to use her we will."

"I understand."

"I hope you do. This will be very draining, but we'll have to do it."


Willow and Oz arrived in front of the law firm ten minutes after Buffy called. They were both willing to do anything for their friend so they entered the building. They found Spike's office and went in.

"Hey Buff."

"Hey Willow, Oz. This is Will. He's the lawyer." Buffy said this to Oz because she knew Willow already knew who Spike was.

"Hey man." Oz said. Spike looked at the man. He was only and inch or two taller than both girls. He had red hair like Willow and he seemed to be the quiet type.

"Hello. I think that we should get started right away. Now, Willow, I have already been going over things with you. I need to know that you are going to be able to handle the tactics of the other lawyer, so here it goes. How long have you known Ms. Summers?" Willow thought it was an odd question to ask, but answered it anyway.

"Um well I guess since we were three or four."

"So she is like a sister to you."


"Have you ever lied for her?"


"Would you mind telling the court what you lied about?"

"Well little stuff like when she broke her mom's favorite vase. I said it was me."

"So how do I know your not lying for her right now?"

"Because this is a bigger deal then the vase."

"But you said it yourself you have lied for her."

"Yes for little things."

"But it means that you've lied for her, so how can I trust that you aren't lying now?"

Willow wanted to get angry, but she knew that this was a game. A game she was losing and couldn't afford to lose.

"See, it will be difficult. I don't even know if that is how Dru will do it. She might be more vicious. Be prepared for anything. Don't lose your temper."

"Oz," Spike addressed the man who was sitting quietly. Spike got up and grabbed his notebook and then sat down again.

"Can you tell me the kind of abuse you witnessed?"

"Sure, one time Riley came home drunk and I was over at Buffy's helping her put together Dawn's swing set. Anyway he came home and started yelling at her. Then he hit her. That was when I stepped in and stopped him."

"How did you do that?"

"I threw him in his den and locked the door. I told Buffy to come over to Willow and my house. She did and she brought Dawn."

"Any other time?"

"There was one time when we were having a barbeque and Buffy was making everything because Riley had left. He was supposed to help, but he went out with his friends instead. Again he came home drunk and started yelling at Buffy. He tried to slap her, but Willow and I got her out of there before he could."

Spike looked at his notebook. He wondered if maybe Riley had a drinking problem.

"Does Riley drink a lot?"

"Yes very much so. I think the guy turned into and alcoholic. He always had a bit of a temper. The first time I met him he yelled at me for doing something that he thought I wasn't supposed to," Oz said.

"Okay then I think that we have enough here. Now I'm going to do the same thing that I did to Willow so be prepared." Oz shook his head.

"Why were you alone at Buffy's house that night?"

"I was helping her with Dawn's swing set. Riley said he would set it up, but never got around to it."

"Why wasn't Willow there?"

"She was working."

"Have you ever had an affair, Mr. Osbourne?"


"So you've never thought of Ms. Summers that way."


"And you've never done anything to come on to Ms. Summers?"


"Tell me what it was that Mr. Finn got mad at you for doing."

"I was buying Buffy and Willow a drink."

"Why couldn't Ms. Summers buy her own drink?"

"Because I offered to pay. It was the gentlemen thing to do."

"So you bought both Willow and Buffy drinks?"


"Well Mr. Osbourne tell me something. Have you ever dated Ms. Summers?" Oz seemed to go pale. He had never dated Buffy, but they had gone on one date.

"I went on a date with her. Just once."

"So, why are we supposed to believe that you two weren't having an affair?"

"Because I love my wife."

"Right. You dated your wife's best friend and you say you love her."

"Buffy set us up. She and I didn't click and she thought Willow and I would be better together."

"Or that was just a cover."

Oz held his head. It was all very frustrating and he knew that he couldn't lose his temper. It was just a game.

"I think that that is enough. I just hope that you see what the other lawyer might do. There are a million ways this can go. Just be prepared." Two women were standing at the door. One was a blonde and the other a brunette.

"Hi I'm Amy." The brunette said.

"I'm Harmony." Said the blonde.


Spike had been talking to all five of the people in the room for a good two hours. He had prepped them a few times and collected statements from each person. He knew the evidence against Riley was good, but the problem was that these were all testimony from some other people. He would need more. Just a little more. Nothing too big. He glanced over at Buffy a few times to see that distressed look on her face. She was tired. Too tired to even be thinking about this right now.

"I think that we should call it a day. Everyone seems to know what to do and say. Tomorrow we start and I think we will start with Willow. She is the one who witnessed most of the abuse and I think she is one of the strongest. Her statements are very accurate according to the hospital bills." Everyone understood and then they started to shuffle out of the office. Buffy stayed behind.

"Do you think that all of this enough to win?" Her voice sounded very small.

"Yeah of course. I'm going to need you to get in touch with that Andrew guy. I need to turn in the witness list tomorrow."

"Are you going to put me and Dawn on it?"

"You yes, Dawn I have to think about."

"Okay, I think I'll catch a ride with Willow."

"I think that that would be good because I have to go over all this material. I'll see you tomorrow."

"Okay now let me switch into my friend outfit." Buffy did a twirl and then stopped facing Spike again.

"Call me when you find out the news about your brother. If it's bad then don't drive okay. Call me and I'll come and drive you home."

"Okay." Buffy satisfied with what she heard, left.


Spike had been waiting for the call all day. Angel was supposed to call him with the new. It was about five-thirty p.m. and still no call. Spike was beginning to wonder if Angel forgot or not. Just then the phone rang.

"Will Flannery's office?"

"Will it's me Angel." "Hey Angel so what's the news."

"The doctor said that the results came back." He was stalling Spike knew it. He could sense that Angel didn't want to tell him.


"And it turns out that I have kidney failure. It was caused by the neglect of my insulin shots. I guess I should have been more... attentive."

"Angel are you at home?"


"Then stay there I'm coming over."

Chapter 8:

Spike knew that he promised Buffy he wouldn't drive, but he had to see Angel. He had to sure make he was all right. He knew that he was driving like a maniac, but it didn't matter. He made it to Angel's in record time. He jumped out of the car and rang the doorbell. Cordy answered. She had a somber look on her face.

"Hey Spike, what are you doing here?"

"I came here to see him, Cordy."

"Oh he told you?"

"Called me just now with the news." Spike thought that it was better to lie then tell her he had known before her. She seemed ready to break down at any moment and Spike knew that she would just use that information to get angry. It would help relieve some pain.

"Oh okay. He's upstairs. I think he said something about only letting you see him right now. I'm not sure." She moved and Spike flew up the stairs to his brother's bedroom.

Spike opened the door and looked in. Angel was lying on the bed under the covers. He seemed to be sleeping. Spike went over to him and sat on the bed. Angel started to move and then woke up.

"Hey I really didn't expect you to come so fast."

"My big brother just told me that he had a disease. You think I would wait for an invite?"

"Should have known you would over react."

"Yeah well you know me. The big over-reactor. So this kidney failure is genetic?"

"Yeah that's what the doctor said. I would have to check and see whose side it was on, but right now I'm tired."

"You going to be okay?" It was a stupid question, but Spike needed to hear Angel say that everything was all right.

"I think I'll be okay tonight. They said that everyone should be checked to see if they match for a kidney transplant."

"You know I'll be the first one in line."

"Yeah I figured as much."

Angel looked up a little and saw Spike staring at him. He knew Spike was never the strong one. He fell apart too easily. Angel also knew that he could be strong if he wanted to be. He played it off like he didn't know what he was doing, but he was always the one who knew exactly what he was doing. Anya had been the one who always played it by ear. She had barely declared a major in her junior year of college. Before that she kept changing it all the time.

Angel had always said that he wanted to be a police officer like his dad, but he was never really sure. He went through the training, but never really decided that it was what he wanted to do. Spike had known from the start. He wanted to be a great lawyer and own his own practice. Before he realized his love for law he wanted to a have a job where he could argue for a living. He hadn't known what that was, but he knew he loved to argue and make grand speeches. He had a way with words. Angel had wanted him to be an accomplished writer. Spike was the down to earth one no matter what their father said.

"Will, I need to know that you can deal with this."

"Of course I can."

"You were never the strong one and that was my fault. I never let you be the strong on. You didn't have to be. Now you have to be able to sit there in a chair next to my hospital bed and watch me get sick. I want to know that you will be able to do that because I don't know if I can get through this without my little brother there to crack jokes and be Willish."

Spike wanted to say that he would always be there for Angel. He wanted to switch places with him and be the one who had a disease. Angel had things to live for. Spike only had a crummy job and a crummy life. The only thing that was worth being around he couldn't have. It wasn't fair.

"I'll be there for as long as you need me. I'll be the one to crack the first joke about how you look like shit laying in a hospital bed."

"Good because I can't do this without having a sense of humor. That would be like trying to swim when you don't know how to."

Spike saw the fatigue on his brother's face. He knew Angel was tired.

"Hey, dad, why don't you take a nap? You are already starting to look a little shitty." Angel laughed a little. He tried to make himself comfortable on the bed, but he was too exhausted to move. Spike saw Angel's dilemma with movement and went over to him and helped him roll over on his back.

"Are you going home tonight?" Angel asked.

"No, I think I'll stay in your guest room."

"Don't you have a case to prepare for?"

"Yes, but I'm all prepared. Beside I really don't want to go home to an empty house." Angel was already sleeping when Spike finished his sentence. He decided that it would be better for him to just go. He walked outside to be greeted with a melancholy Cordy.

"Is he okay?"

"Yeah he's just sleeping."

"I wonder how could this happen?"

"Genetics I guess. I'm not really sure myself."

"I heard that you want to sleep in the guest room. It's all made up and everything."

"Thanks Cordy. I don't know what else to do. I think I should do something big, but for now this is all I can do."

"It's good enough Spike. Good night."

"Good night." Spike retreated to the guestroom and tried to fall asleep. He had a long day ahead of him. For now he needed to sleep and think only of his brother. The other stuff would come later.


Buffy had just gotten off the phone with Andrew and looked up at the clock. It was close to eleven. Spike hadn't called and that worried her. There were two options to that scenario. One Angel was fine and there was nothing to worry about or two, Spike was driving like a maniac and he was going to get himself killed. She didn't really think she liked the second option, but it seemed like the most logical reason. With Angel's history anyway. Buffy wanted to call Spike, but she was still reeling on the conversation she had with Andrew.

Buffy had decided not to wait on calling Andrew and found his number as soon as she got home. She waited only until Dawn was asleep and then called him. He answered his phone after two rings.

"Hello Dr. Schafer how may I help you?" he answered the phone so professionally.

"Andrew, it's me, Buffy."

"Oh my god, Buffy how are you? It's so nice to hear from you again. I was afraid you would never talk to me again."

"I'm fine, Andy, but I'm getting a divorce."

"Well I hate it that I'm overjoyed with the prospect of you finally realizing that Riley isn't any good for you."

"No it's okay. I know that he is an asshole. Now I need your help."

"Anything you name it and I'll do it."

"I need you to come to Sunnydale and testify to the fact that Riley hit me."

"You mean that piece of shit is denying it?"

"Yes." Buffy hated the tone is Andrew's voice. He had always been a little too overprotective of her, but that was a fact she couldn't help. It had a little to do with the fact that their parent's had gotten married.

There was a slight pause and then Andrew talked, "I don't know if I'll be able to make it over there until Wednesday. I will try for earlier."

"I'm sure Will will be able to wait until the last possible moment."

"How will Willow do that?"

"Oh, Will is the name of the lawyer."

"On a first name basis with your lawyer." It was a comment more then a question

"Lots of people call their lawyers by their first names."

"Yeah but none of them are shy Buffy Summers."

"I got less shy over the years."

"Buffy that's not it. I know you almost as well as Willow does. I lived with you for Christ sakes." "How do you know anything about how I think?"

"You said his name and then made a little sigh before continuing." Crap did I do that. I could never keep much from Andrew why try now.

"Well if you must know I feel a little attracted to him."

"Just a little?"

"No, he's the perfect guy. God he's smart, funny, good looking, he's good with kids and very family oriented and he can cook."

"How do you know he can cook?"

"We're supposed to just be friends so as a friend I let him sleep over yesterday night. He was a little pained because his brother might die."


"Goodness I shouldn't even be thinking about him what with all that is going on. I can't stop though. Right now I'm worried because he wasn't called me about his brother. How pathetic!"

Andrew had to handle the situation with care. Buffy was ranting and when she ranted there was barely anyone who could get through to her.

"Buff, I think that maybe you should consider the fact that you really like this guy. He seems nice enough. How long have you and Riley been separated?"

"A year."

"Well then that is a lot of time with only you and Dawn. You should test the waters. See if he really wants only to be your friend. Imagine what can happen after the trial."

"I know, but I don't think that I should start dating this early. I think I should just give up this crazy idea."

"You don't have to give up anything you don't want to."

"He probably doesn't want someone with baggage."

"Buffy don't sound so defeated."

Buffy had to get off this subject. It was making her very uncomfortable.

"So what's new with you?" Andrew went silent for a couple of minutes and then realized that he wasn't going to get anything from Buffy.

"I'm good. My practice is doing well. I think that things are always busy."

"It must be great to help people."

"With the sniffles and coughing? It isn't what I wanted it to be. I'm not helping people in an emergency."

"But it's still help."

"Yeah, that's what Warren says."

"Who's Warren?" Andrew paused for a minute and then went on.

"Warren is my boyfriend." Buffy was a little shocked, but not too much. She always thought that Andrew was a little gay.

"So, you decided to come out of the closet?"

"How did you know I was gay?"

"I could just tell. You had that one friend who was totally gay and I figured either you were very cooperative or gay. You've never been cooperative so I figured gay was the right word for it."

"Well it's nice of you to tell me know. It would have saved me a couple years of weird explanations."

"So, is he a nice guy?"

"Warren is a very nice guy."


"But he is barely coming out of the closet and he isn't telling anyone."

"And that's a problem because..."

"He tries to hide the fact that he's gay. He tries to hide our relationship. It's just so frustrating."

"I guess that would be frustrating."

"It's like he doesn't think that I'm good enough for him. He hides me from his fire fighter friends. I know that I should be patient and all, but I just think that six months is enough to realize that you're not getting any gayer. Any less gay either for that matter."

"Well maybe he just thinks that he needs more time and you'll be there because you love him."

"I do love him and of course I'll be there for as long as it takes, but it isn't less frustrating. I mean he knows that he loves me and that I love him, but he just can't admit it to everyone else. His family knows, but his friends don't. It's like there is a whole part of his life I can't be a part of."

Buffy thought about what Andrew had just said. It hit her a little to close to home. She liked Spike and somewhere deep down she knew that he liked her, but there were too many restrictions to their attraction.

"Well Andrew, I think that maybe you should talk to him about this. He probably just thinks that it's okay. He doesn't know the rules in the gay handbook. Think about how you were when you were first coming out. It had to be difficult."

"I went a different way then him. I told some of my friends before I told my family."

"Does your dad know?"

"Yes, I told him a couple of Thanksgivings ago. I think he might have told your mom, but I guess not because then you would know for sure."

"Well, my mom and I aren't talking of late."

"She doesn't think that you should get a divorce."

"Precisely. She just doesn't get it that Riley is a bad guy. She has only seen one side of him."

"Well he only showed her one side. I think that maybe it's for the best that you get a divorce. Look Buffy I have to go. Bye."

"Bye." The conversation with Andrew had Buffy thinking. She had to talk to Spike and see if he was okay. She had his cell phone memorized. She dialed it quickly.

Spike had been asleep for a while now. He had left his cell phone on by accident and when it went off he jumped up two feet. He looked groggily at the number and saw that it was Buffy's.

"Hello," he said rather sleepily.

"Spike did I wake you?"

"Yeah, but its okay. It's not like I was enjoying the sleep." It was true. Spike's sleep was plagued with awful dreams of Angel lying dead in a hospital bed.

"You never about Angel and I was worried that you were dead or something." She was worried about him. He forgot to call her. It had been an exhausting day and he just wanted to try and sleep.

"Sorry I forgot. Angel called and told me that he had the disease and I just went over to his house as soon as I could."

"Oh that's too bad about Angel. I'm sorry that I'm bugging you over something as trivial as not calling."

"No it's good that you called. I needed to hear someone's voice that didn't' belong to kids or Cordy."

"How is she?"

"She isn't breaking down yet. She is trying to keep it together. The kids don't really know yet. She and I tried to tell them about it, but they weren't listening. I'm pretty sure that Connor didn't get it, but Maddy might have understood. She walked away all sad like."

"I was wondering if you would be up to getting some coffee."

Spike thought about the idea of coffee. It was almost eleven-thirty and he wondered what place would be open at this. He thought that maybe Buffy knew where there was a place to get a good coffee in this town.

"Well, where is there a good place to get a coffee in this town?"

"Well I think that there is a diner near the hospital."

"Do you know where all the good eating spots are in Sunnydale?"

"Most of them. I'm a woman on the go."

"Okay woman on the go I'll pick you up in a few minutes. Sound good?"

"Sounds great."


"He just looked so weak. I wanted to cry out loud, but I couldn't. Not while he was the one going through all this shit. God, I hate this. He actually said that I could be strong if I wanted to! Who does he think I am?!" Buffy and Spike had been sitting in the diner for a half-hour now. Buffy was listening to Spike rant about how the world was so shitty.

He looked so cute when he ranted, Buffy thought.

"I mean I know that you say that I'm strong enough to do this, but I never really had to do that kind of thing."

"Spike, you did that kind of thing all the time."


"You helped people when you were an A.D.A. You helped the people put away the people that hurt their loved ones. You are very strong in the courtroom."

"Yeah in the courtroom I'm strong. What are they going to do move the hospital in a courtroom? Or Angel's house for that matter."

"Spike, you are strong no matter were you are. Sooner or later the strong side will come out and you'll rise to the occasion."

Spike sighed. He knew that he was ranting, but she didn't seem to mind. Sort of a level head to his big one in the sky.

"Look I know that I'm ranting, but I don't really ever get in a good rant."

"Well that's what friends are for. We are here to listen to the other ones rant. Now calm down and think about what Angel would want you to do."

"What do you mean?"

"Would Angel want you to sit here and rant or would he want you to just sit down and have a cup of Joe with your friend."

"He would want the latter."

"So, seeing as Angel would want the latter that is exactly what we should do. So did you ever find out what Giles wanted to talk about?"

"No, we got out of there pretty quickly and he hasn't called to say anything. I think it might be about my father. He was away on business when... the incident happened."

"So that's what you're calling it. The incident."

"It wasn't that big of a deal." His father's words still rang in his head loudly, but he figured that it was better to ignore then. "What kind of nasty things did you say to him?"

Spike sighed and tried to think of what to say.

"I'm pretty sure that I called him a piece of shit more than once. He was trying to scold his twenty-eight year old son on life. He was trying to play dad after all these years of playing the funny critic. He wanted to talk about my behavior and how I needed to stop acting so irresponsibly. I tried to stop hearing all the bad things he said to me through the years and just except the scolding like a little boy, but I realized that I wasn't a little boy. I knew that that time in my life was over and he was just comparing everything to those shitty years. He will never stop doing that until I'm old and gray."

"So, he was trying to scold you on something you did? What was it?"

"I was drinking again a few months ago. Wes and Angel had to get me out of a bar a couple times. They asked Xander to help them but he refused. Xander ended up telling my dad and that was how he found out. Also I was acting kind of stupid to my boss and he was threatening to fire me. My boss and my dad are chums from a long time back."

Buffy thought about everything Spike was saying. It was years of ridicule and embarrassment. He couldn't live up to his father's expectations and he wouldn't allow himself to set any of his own. Spike was good at what he did was what Buffy had learned from word of mouth and from personal experience.

"Spike I think you did the right thing by telling your dad where to go, but maybe you should have said it in more eloquent words."

"Shit, Fuck, and asswhole were the only words that were going through my mind. He makes me feel like an immature little kid."

"Well parents can do that."

"Does your mom make you feel like that?"

"Yes more then anyone I know. Sometimes it scares me."

"I don't know why he has so much control. He was never there. It let anyone have control of my life."

"Well my mom was there and she was tons of control over my life. I barely shook it off when I filed for divorce."

"How do I shake it off? I can yell and scream, but he still holds it. I don't know why."

"Because you want him to. You want someone to have control over your life because you don't think you do. Every time someone doesn't want to take control of your life you turn into a wreck."

"Hey I thought you were supposed to be on my side."

"I'm on your side, but it is true."

"Not really. Angel always had control over my life, but I was still acting like a stupid punk."

"That was because Angel got older and didn't have as much time for you anymore."

"Okay so I need someone other than myself to be in control. I really hate that, but it's who I am."

"Well you don't really want to be like that, but it's not your fault."

"Yeah I guess you're right." Spike looked down at his watch and saw that it was over twelve-thirty.

"Holy Shit, I have to get back to Angel's. It is really late and I still have a few things to prepare for."

"Oh I should tell you that I called Andrew and he said that he would definitely testify against Riley. He just can't come until this Wednesday."

"Great that helps things a lot. I really need to get going though."

"Okay let's go."

Spike stopped in front of Buffy's house. They had talked about a lot of things while they were in the car. Every time they saw each other it was easier to talk openly.

"Well, this is my stop."

"Yeah." Buffy could see the look on Spike's face and wondered why it was there. She decided that if he wanted her to know he would tell her. Buffy made a move to the door and Spike stopped her.

"Buffy about last night. You know the fact that we kissed. I was wondering what that was about and where it might lead to."

Buffy had feared that he would ask her this. How could she give him an answer when she didn't know for sure her own self?

"Well, it was a nice kiss."

"Yeah it sure was."

"But I don't know where I want it to lead. It just seems that, I don't know my life isn't really ready for any relationship. I have Dawn right know to think about." It wasn't what she wanted to say. She wanted to say that it could lead somewhere good. In fact she wanted to kiss him right there and then.

Spike felt like a deflated balloon. He really wanted Buffy to say that it would lead to many countless days and nights of being able to look at her whenever he wanted. He knew better than to hope for too much, but he thought it wouldn't be too much.

"Oh yeah. Of course. It's just that well it was a good kiss and I didn't want you to think that I wanted us to move to another level of our friendship. I really enjoy being on my own right now. Like I said I'm trying to find a way for me to control my life."

"Right, so I'll see you later?"

"In a couple of hours. Do you need a ride?" Buffy wanted to cry and scream at him for not wanting her. She wanted to tell him where he could put his ride and where he could go. That would be stupid.

You're the one who said that you didn't want anything. This is your fault. He might've wanted to be something more before you opened your stupid mouth and told him that you didn't want to be anything more.

Buffy went from hating Spike to hating herself in her mind over and over again. Spike wondered what she was thinking. He really needed to leave and get to Angel's. He too was upset that he told Buffy that he didn't want a relationship, but the more he thought about it the more he realized he was sparing her some hard times. He would always be at Angel's bedside for the next couple of months, maybe years. He couldn't let someone go through that too.

"Uh, Buffy, I know that these nice silent sitting marathons are great, but I really need to get back to Angel's house. I know I sound like he is about to explode at any moment, but I really think that my being there will help him."

"Right okay I'm going." Buffy practically ran out of the car. She hoped that Spike wouldn't see how angry she was, but he did. Spike wondered why Buffy was angry, but put the thought aside as he started his car and headed to Angel's.

Chapter 9:

Spike had a hectic morning. He was woken up early by the sound of screaming. It was just Connor and Maddy playing, but it had freaked Spike out. When he got to Angel's house he hadn't slept well. He had had nightmares about Angel dying. He blamed it on the caffeine that he had had earlier. Plus the company didn't help. Before getting to her house things had been great. They had been friends without the awkwardness. Spike had beaten himself up about the whole thing.

He arrived at Angel's house and witnessed something that he wished he hadn't. Angel had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Cordy had come back into the room to find him on the floor and unconscious. Apparently he had tried to get up and didn't have enough energy to walk. He had fallen and hit his head. It was a very traumatizing experience. Cordy was very frantic and Maddy didn't know how to act.

Spike felt sorry for his young niece and nephew. Connor was too young to understand what had happened, but Maddy was a very bright little girl and understood perfectly what was happening to her father. He was dying.

Spike had helped Cordy get them ready this morning by cooking and washing the dishes. He still wasn't sure what he should do. He felt out of place in the house trying to be Angel. The shoes were too big to fill and Spike felt that they would devour him. When Cordy came back from putting the kids on the bus to school she came inside the house and sat down at the dining table.

There was a moment of silence before Cordy finally said, "It just doesn't seem real. I couldn't quiet grasp my mind around it. He was fine and then he started getting tired and sick all the time. I didn't think it was anything. Maybe the flu. When I saw him on the ground last night I panicked. I ran to room and saw that you weren't there and then I just started to panic. I waited like ten minutes before I called the police."

"It's a normal reaction. You weren't sure what was going on. Your state of mind was all jacked up. I probably would have done the same thing."

"No, Spike you would have done something different. You don't have to patronize me."

"I'm not. I would have freaked out worse. I would never be able to handle something like that."

"Spike you are stronger then you give yourself credit for. I've seen you in the courtroom."

"Yeah I'm strong in the courtroom, but in life, well let's just say that if I could hide under a blanket and never come out that would be just fine for me."

Cordy thought about that. Spike was the type to not want to go on with life, but chalk that up to his father's bad behavior. Nathan was a good man, but he was a lousy father.

"Spike, I know that you think that you are incapable of leading a normal good life, but that is so not true. You are one of the most grounded people I know. Don't let the years of your father's ridicule get to you." Cordy looked at her watch and said, "Look, I have to go to work right now. I'm taking a short day and going to the hospital. I just have to do some last minute touches on the magazine. Can I count on you being there later?"

"Yeah I'll be there as soon as I can. I have that case today, but as soon as it's over I'll be there."

"Oh the case. That's Buffy's case right." There was a tone in Cordy's voice that was annoying. She knew what case it was and she knew that Spike and Buffy were friends, but she knew there was more.

"Yes Cordelia." Spike was annoyed with her. She was fishing for some information.

"Are you annoyed for some reason? You called me by my whole name. Usually it's Cordy." Cordy was playing innocent.

"Let's skip the round the bend bullshit. You think that I have a thing for my client."

"Well, it's a little evident. I really think you and her make a good couple. She's really nice and sweet. Better than that monster girl you brought here."

"Dru wasn't a monster."

"She cheated on you and treated you like your father. Monster I think so."

"Look, Buffy is married, for one, and she is client. It isn't good to mix that kinda stuff. Besides I'm trying to do that whole 'getting to know me better' shit that people keep shoving down my throat."

"I think you know yourself fine. Its time you started to date and maybe get married."

"God is getting married everything to you people?"

"I'm just saying."

"Look I have to go now. I have to go to court and try to win a case. I'll see you later. Tell Angel that I'll be there later and that I love him." Spike got up and hugged Cordy. He left after that.

Cordy watched him leave. He was in denial about his feelings for Buffy. Cordy knew that he liked her, but that things weren't going because he was stubborn. She wished that she could smack sense into him, but knew she couldn't. She sighed and then left too.


Buffy was waiting for Spike. She had put Dawn on the bus and told her to go to Janice's house after school. Janice was one of Dawn's friends. Buffy had arranged it with Janice's mom to let Dawn stay there today. Buffy wasn't sure how long this thing would run. Buffy was a little nervous about the whole thing. She knew that Willow was the one who was testifying today, but everything needed to be perfect.

For some reason Spike had a fear that all the witnesses would not be enough. That they might have to use her and Dawn as witnesses. Buffy wasn't nervous for herself, but more for Dawn. Her daughter should have never been put through this. It was wrong.

Buffy remembered the first time Riley hit Dawn. It was the first and last. Buffy had filed for divorce soon after that. She would put herself through that, but not Dawn. Riley was evil for doing something like that. He could disrespect Buffy, but it stopped when he hit Dawn. She needed it so that Dawn never had to be a part of that again. She just hoped she had enough ammo to get the job done.

Buffy was shaken out of her trance when she heard Spike's car honk. She rushed downstairs and into Spike's car. She was silent once in the car. She still held some bad feelings about what had happened with her and Spike last night. She looked at him and he looked worn down.

"Hey you look like shit." Spike was startled by her comment.

"Why thank you. I don't think I'm told I look like shit enough."

"I only said it because I was wondering why."

"Long night of not sleeping."

"Are you ready for today?"

"Yeah I can go on two hours of sleep."

"I hope that isn't because of me."

"No, Angel had to go to the hospital last night. It was a whole thing and I couldn't sleep. Nothing too major. He was probably going to go to the hospital soon anyway. I swear I'll be fine. I do the best on empty. I don't know why though." They rode the rest of the way in total silence. They were back to the whole awkward stage.

It was so much easier before I kissed him, Buffy thought. I ruined a perfectly good friendship.

When they got to the courthouse they met up with Willow. She was there with Oz. Buffy guessed he was there for moral support.

"So, let's get this thing done with. I think that if we wait any longer my stomach will explode from the butterflies."

"Well we have to wait for Riley and his lawyer to show up. They have to be there while I'm questioning you. Just breathe and everything should be fine. I promise if you stick to yes or no as answers to questions things should go smoothly. Now let's head in there and get ready. Oz if you're coming then you have to sit in the row right behind us."

"Okay I think I could do that."

Oz seemed nervous also. The fact was that he was. He was nervous for both Buffy and Willow. They all made their way into the courtroom and Spike directed Oz and Willow where to sit. He and Buffy sat in the plaintiff section. They waited for what seemed like an eternity before Riley and a very stern looking woman walked in. They sat at the defendant part of the courtroom.

The lawyer put her stuff down on the table and walked over to Spike and Buffy.

"We could still settle this, Spike. He is willing to go for weekends, but not supervised. That is a big sacrifice."

"Yeah a big sacrifice for someone who beats their kid."

"You have to prove that first. If you can't then it goes to half-custody. Do you really think your client wants that?"

"I know what my client wants. I will be able to prove this case and there won't be anything you can do 'bout it."

"I haven't lost yet."

"I seem to remember you losing to a very clever A.D.A once. Dru I'm the only one you've ever lost to and you really think that history doesn't repeat itself. Well I'll just have to give you a lesson on just how badly what goes around really comes around." Dru looked at Spike. He hadn't changed much. He was still intimidating as hell in the courtroom.

"Well we'll see."

"Yeah I guess we really will see."

Spike wondered where that had come from. He had just talked back to someone. He wasn't that type. He never talked back to anyone, except in the courtroom. Only that wasn't all day and night. It was just when he was in the courtroom.

That was why Dru cheated on him and it was why his father nit picked at his life. Spike looked up to see that the judge was on his way into the courtroom and he instructed everyone to stand. They did as they were told and sat when the judge sat.

"So, I see that everyone has everything in order. That was very quick, Counselor."

"I had prepared for this before hand."

"Well done. It makes this much easier. All right lets get this thing rolling. Counselor?"

"Yes, I would like to call my first witness. Mrs. Willow Osbourne"

Willow got up and went to the witness stand. The bailiff then swore her in.

"Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?"

"I do." Willow sat down and Spike got up and started to walk around. He was thinking about what question to ask first.

"Mrs. Osbourne can you tell me exactly what kind of acts of abuse you witnessed while the defendant and the plaintiff were together?"

"Yes, there was one time when Riley had come home from work and was a little drunk. Anyway he came home and I was over at Buffy's house just visiting. He got mad at her because dinner wasn't ready and he started to yell at her. He called her some really terrible names."

"Can you tell me exactly what names?"

"He called her a stupid whore who was only good for sex and keeping his house clean. He also called her a dirty bitch who couldn't do anything right."

"Was that the first time you witnessed any signs of abuse?"


"Can you tell me if you ever saw Mr. Finn beat Ms. Summers?"


"Can you explain to me what happened?"

"Okay well my husband and I were over at Buffy's for dinner. Riley came in from the living room and started yelling about Dawn being too messy. Buffy told him that she would pick it up later and that she had company right now. Then Riley slapped her across her face."

"What was Ms. Summer's reaction?"

"She was really shocked that he did that."

"What did Mr. Finn do after that?"

"He told her that he was sorry and that he had just lost his temper."

"Did you ask Ms. Summers if he had ever done anything like that?"

"Yes and she said that he only slapped her a few times before that."

"Did you ever witness any other acts of abuse?"


"How many would you say?"

"Just a few like maybe two or three."

"Did you ever see Mr. Finn hit his daughter?"


"Can you tell what happened then?"

"Dawn had just come home from school and Buffy and I were in the house waiting for her. Riley had the day off so he was there. Dawn got home and started playing with her toys and Riley got upset. He yelled at her and then he started to slap her face. Buffy intervened and the she was punched on the nose."

"I have no further questions."

Judge Stevens looked at Dru and she stood up.

"Mrs. Osbourne did you really see the Mr. Finn hit Dawn?"


"But you said he started to hit Dawn. Did he actually hit her?"

"Yes. He hit her once and then tried to continue hitting her."

"Okay that was just to clear up a few things. How long have you known Mrs. Summers for?" There it was. The question that would kill Willow. Spike had to try and stop it.

"Objection, relevance?"

"Miss Collins does this question have a point?"

"Yes it helps build a foundation on which I plan to bring in the witnesses character."

"Alright all let it pass, but get to the point. Answer the question Mrs. Osbourne"

"Since we were about three."

"Have you ever lied for her?"


"So you expect the courtroom to believe that you aren't lying now?"

"Objection Mrs. Osbourne isn't an expert. The defense is asking the witness's opinion and leading."

"Sustained. Ask another question."

"So, you've lied for Ms. Summers?"

"Objection that's the same question. The witness was already answered it."


"What have you lied for her about?"

"Small stuff like when she broke her mom's favorite vase and I told her mom it was me."

"Do you try to get her out of trouble often?"

"When we were smaller."

"Not anymore?"

"Every once in awhile, but I don't lie. I write her a check."

"Is this one of those times where you bail her out?"

"No. I wouldn't lie about something that big."

"But you have lied for her?"


"No further questions." Shit. She took a different route then I thought she would, Spike thought. He looked down at Buffy and saw the fear ion her eyes. It was going to be some week.

"Mr. Flannery do you have your next witness prepared?"

"I would like to ask for a recess until tomorrow at the same time. I have to prepare the last four witnesses some more before I feel comfortable moving on. Does that please the court?"

"Most certainly. A recess is granted until tomorrow morning." They judge hit his gavel and then returned to his chambers.

"So where is the lesson I'm suppose to learn?" Dru asked in an overly cocky voice.

"I don't know why don't why don't you look for it up your client's ass."

"Always the sour loser."

"No you've got that backwards, doll. I never lost, you did. Shit I gained more than I earned so you know what I'm just going to chalk this one up to my lack of sleep last night and you can go do whatever the hell you want." Willow, Oz, and Buffy listened to the conversation between the two lawyers. Buffy never heard Spike talk like that. She had heard that he was confident in the courtroom, but she never knew he could be brutal.

"Look, I think that I should be leaving now. Don't want to be around you and your defendant to long. Might catch something like the loser disease. I heard it's deadly." Spike started to walk out of the courtroom with the three people behind him. He heard Dru saw, "The offer still stands."

"Stick that offer up your ass." Spike said as he exited the courtroom.


Buffy was sitting in Spike's car staring out of the window. He hadn't talked since leaving the courtroom. Buffy had said bye to Willow and Oz and went to Spike's car. He was quiet after that. They were pulling up to Buffy's apartment building and Spike stopped the car.

"So, do you always get that scary in the courtroom?"


"The whole bad guy routine. It was pretty convincing. I can see why you win all the time."

"Yeah well it only comes out every once in awhile." Spike kept his eyes on the rode while he talked. There was something bothering him and Buffy could tell.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. Things just aren't going the right way is all. They'll clear up sooner or later."

"What kind of things?"

"The case. Dru is very competitive lawyer. She likes to win. I'm pretty sure I can beat her tactics. The judge was to believe that all the witnesses couldn't just all be lying."

"That isn't it. It maybe part of the story, but it isn't all she wrote. Is it Angel?"

Spike finally looked at her. His eyes conveyed surprise and truthfulness. Buffy didn't need him to tell her that Angel was on his mind. She could see it as plain as something staring her in the face.

"Yeah. I'm just a little freaked. All this doesn't seem real. Cordy was freaking out this morning saying that she should have done things better last night. I tried to calm her down, but she ended up telling me that I was a good guy who would have done things totally different. I wondered how that had happened. One moment I was comforting her and the next she was comforting me."

"Cordy seems like the mothering type. You probably made her feel better by being the scared one."

"Yeah, but did I really? I can never know for sure. I have to face everyone today. They'll be at the hospital and they will want me to be the strong one. Ahn will definitely freak. I don't know if I'm strong enough."

Buffy looked at Spike. Just about an hour ago he was the most confident person she had ever met and now he wasn't. He was second guessing himself and putting himself down.

"Look, if it will help I can do the whole friend is there for you thing. Dawn is spending the night at Janice's so I can do just about whatever I feel like tonight, I really think that you shouldn't be alone. You don't sound like a very stable person."

"I'm not going off the deep end. I think that I can go on my own."

"Are you going to make me follow you? I don't think that would be pretty."

"Buffy, I'm fine really. I just... I can do this if I set my mind to it."

"Remember the whole thing that I'm just as stubborn as you. Unless you forgot that let me refresh your memory. I'm going with you to the hospital and that's final. You'll have to drag me out of this car and that would take time away from you seeing your brother." Spike saw that he would lose in this battle. Buffy was just as stubborn as he was.

"Alright." He turned and made his way to the hospital.


Spike hated the smell of hospitals. They reminded him of bad things. Things he would rather forget. He was sitting in one of the chairs that faced Angel's bed. Angel was talking to Cordy and Buffy. He seemed okay, but Spike knew better then to trust appearances. They were just too damn deceiving.

He could pretend that Angel wasn't sick and that he was fine, but that was just pretend. Spike would know better in the end. He just wanted to switch places with Angel. It would be easier that way. No one would be devastated if he was sick. They would be sad of course, but not devastated. It would make things easier. That way everyone would be happier.

Buffy didn't feel out of place here. This was where she worked and what she did. Cordy and Angel were two really nice people that had showed her courtesy the first time that they met. Buffy was listening to Angel and fixing his I.V. at the same time.

"Buffy you don't have to do that. They have nurses to fix those things," Angel said. He admired this young woman who was only here because a friend needed her. She wasn't dating his brother, but she was being a good friend.

"It's running dry and I think that it might stuck. It's dripping a little slow." Buffy said. Buffy looked over the doctor's notes and then fixed the I.V. accordingly.

"There that should be better. They don't want to give you too much fluid, but the nurse didn't set it right."

"Thanks, now back to you. How are you feeling in here?" Cordy asked. She looked at her husband with concern.

"Everything is fine. I'm fine. They gave me some drugs that worked wonders."

"Really, well did they say when you can come back home?"

"They said that I should stay in the hospital for awhile. Just a couple of days."

"Well its just precaution. He didn't have anything seriously wrong with him, but his disease prevents them from letting him go. They want to monitor you to see if you need dialysis," Buffy said.

"You know what maybe we should talk about more pleasant things like Cordy how was your day?" Spike said. He had had enough of the medical mumbo jumbo. All three people looked at him with shock.

"You know what Spike is right. My day was fine. The magazine came out today. Everything was right on schedule."

"Really what was this issue about?"

Buffy took Spike's lead. She knew that it would make it easier on everyone involved for things to stop focusing on Angel's sickness.

"Well just the usual women's magazine. There was this really interesting article on a study performed by Stanford University."

"What was the study?" Angel asked. It was easier to pretend that things were normal.

"Something about the way men and women think. It was interesting to see how these men had to try and think like women. The conclusion was that men have a one track mind."

"You need a study to tell you that?" Buffy said. Cordy laughed.

"Well better a one track mind that remembers every detail to something then a mutli-tasker who remembers too much. Sometimes Cordy talks about the magazine while making dinner."

"That isn't true."

"Of course it is." the three people started to laugh. Good they were laughing and not thinking about bad things. That was better then before.

Just then Anya and Xander walked into the room. Anya ran over to Angel and hugged him tightly.

"Are you going to be okay? I came as soon as I could. Is everything alright?"

"Anya, calm down."

"Are you okay?"

"Of course he's not okay." Everyone looked at Spike. They seemed to be shocked at his outburst.

"He missed a whole day of work and everyone knows how super detective loves his job."

"No I think that I needed a vacation."

"Ah, so you're faking it. I knew it. You don't look nearly shitty enough." Angel laughed. He knew Spike would make him laugh.

"Spike that isn't funny. He is really sick," Anya said.

"Ahn, I don't think you going over the deep end is going to help things. We are trying to keep things light and humorous. We don't want Angel to die of suffocation. He's already sick and he doesn't need to be reminded of it. Let's just pretend that he is fine and that he is really faking it."

"Why cause its easier for you?" Anya had never spoken to her brother so harshly.

"No, Ahn, because I asked him to. I don't want to be reminded that I'm sick. I have doctors for that. You guys are supposed to make me forget that. Please just try to do this for me." Anya looked at her two brothers. They had already planned this out without her. She wanted to be mad at them, but in a way she knew that it was the right thing to do. Getting irrational and upset wouldn't help.

"I think I can do that. Well where can we sit?"

"Over there are two chairs. Are mom and dad coming?"


Xander followed his wife and grabbed the chairs. He had been staring at the blonde in the far corner of the room who had been talking to Cordy. She was woman who came into his office a couple weeks ago and he had passed her case to Spike. He wondered why she was there. He knew she was a nurse and could be doing her nursely duties. It would just have been a coincidence. That thought was quickly thrown away when Spike asked everyone if they wanted something to drink and he asked her too.

"Sure I'll take a diet coke."

"Always with the diet coke. How about you Cordy?"

"I'll take some water."


"No I think if I have something in my hand I'll spill it."


"What are you getting?"


"I'll take some coffee."

"Cream and sugar?"

"Yes two creams and sugars."

"Alright I'll be right back." Xander saw Spike leave and had a questioning look on his face. He wanted to ask him if what exactly he was doing.

"So, what was everyone talking about before Xander and I got here?"

"Nothing much. We were just asking Cordy about the magazine," Angel said.

"Yeah I was just telling Angel and Buffy about this new study. It was a really interesting article." Cordy was talking about Angel and the woman standing next to her. She talked about her like she was a friend. Anya hadn't even asked any questions about her.

"Oh hey Buffy." Anya said. She hadn't noticed the blonde and now that she did she greeted her.

"Hey Anya."

"Xander this is Buffy. She is one of Spike's friends."

"I know we've already met."

"I talked to Xander about my case and he recommended that Spike take it."

"Oh right. I forgot that you were going through a divorce."

They had already met? How could that be possible? Anya never said anything. I wonder what is going on. Xander thought. Everyone was very nice and kind to her.

"Ahn, I'll be right back. I have to go to the restroom." Xander got up and left. He had to go to the source of the problem.

Xander walked down two halls before he got to Spike. He saw him filling up cups with coffee. He had two diet cokes in one hand and water was placed on the table.

"Here why don't you let me help you? I thought that maybe it would be too much to carry," Xander said.

"Thanks. I don't know what I was thinking. I volunteered to take everyone's order. I must really have wanted to get out of the room."

"Yeah well no one can blame you. I know you are close to Angel and I respect that. I think it's really decent of you." Spike wasn't sure what Xander was getting at. He usually wasn't this friendly.

"So I see that you brought your client here."

"Who, Buffy. Yeah."

"Spike I don't want to be the one to tell you but no one else is telling you. You shouldn't be dating your clients."

"I'm not. Buffy and I are just friends. We've known each other for a little while now and we are just friends. Nothing more. I don't want it and she doesn't want it."


"Yes and your shock amuses me."

"Its just you don't really have a good track record for just being friends with girls."

"What about Fred and Cordy?"

"They are married to people you love. They don't count."

"I was friends with them before that."

"Yes, but Fred was like a sister and you and Cordy always argued. Besides you were the one who set them up with their current husbands."

Spike thought about that. He had never thought about Fred in an icky way. She was like a sister to him. He had thought Cordy was pretty, but she was never girlfriend status for him. She wasn't his type.

"Name me a girl who was my friend then my girl friend."

"There was that Cecily chic. That Faith girl. Oh yeah the big one Dru. She was just a friend before you two moved in together and bought a dog. Face it Spike you have the natural ability to make friends who are girls, but then they turn into girlfriends."

"Well Buffy and I have made it clear that we don't want that. We are just friends. I'm not ready for a girlfriend right now. Things have just started to go my way."

"Working at my law firm is going your way?"

"It's a step. A step that I'm taking to get my life back. I never really had my life and I would like to get it back. Woman just make that harder."

"Sometimes they make it easier."

"Not everyone can have a great catch as you. You are the luckiest man alive to have my sister you know that right?"

"Yes I know. Why don't you just tattoo it to my head?" Xander was actually getting along with Spike. Xander didn't like Spike because of the comment he made about family law lawyers being weak. He was drunk at the time, but Xander just used that as another excuse. Now he was standing here and having a normal conversation with his brother-in-law.

"Look Spike I don't want you to think that I'm judging your life and decisions. If you want to go after her after the trial by all means do it. It would make as an interesting story for the grandkids. Just don't do it right now. It can compromise the case and all that good shit."

"I know that business with pleasure is an unmixy thing. I'm not totally daft. I can figure that out. I don't want to go after Buffy after the trial."

"You don't sound too convinced. I think that you do like her. You just don't know it yet." Xander walked off with the water and his coffee in his hands.

Spike thought about what Xander had just said. He had told Spike it was okay to like Buffy, but be patient and wait. Spike put the idea in the back of his mind and headed for the Angel's hospital room. When he got there he spotted his parents. His mother looked like she had been crying and his father had that same look on his face he had had when Angel got sick the first time. Sadness with a mixture of disappointment. Spike wondered if he was always disappointed or if he just had that look.

"Will where did you go off to?"

"I went to get stuff to drink." He handed Buffy and Cordy their drinks.

"Oh." His mother said as she sat in a chair close to Angel's bed.

"Mum are you gonna be alright? You don't look so good." Angel said.

"Of course she doesn't. Her son as sick."

"Dad, I'm fine. The disease isn't that far-gone yet. It can still be treated."

"That doesn't matter Liam. Things are very bad. You have a disease and that always takes away joy." Spike hated it. His father was talking to Angel like he had done something wrong. Like he wanted to get sick and make his family worry.

"Dad, I think you're over-reacting a little. Angel can't control what happened to him, but he isn't going to die. He is receiving good medical treatment and he will do fine."

Nathan looked at Spike. He started at him with total disgust.

"It would have been better if this happened to you. You have no life and no family. No one to give a damn." Spike was caught a little of guard. He hadn't expected his dad to blow up on him.

"Now dad displacement isn't going to help at all. We have focus on Angel's problems."

"This is your fault. Why couldn't you be sick? You don't have anything to live for. The gods are taking the wrong son. They need to take you. People would be sad, but not totally ruined. Angel being sick will ruin this family, but we would go on if you died!"

Everyone looked at the old man with shock. Spike stood there and felt like a little boy. That was exactly what he was thinking, but he never really thought it was true. His father saying it was verbal conformation that it was true.

"You know what dad?" Everyone thought that they would have a remake of their first fight. They didn't know what to expect. Buffy looked at Spike and realized what he was going to say and couldn't let him say it.

"Spike why don't we go and get something from the cafeteria?" Buffy said as she rushed over to Spike's side. Spike looked down at her and understood what she was doing. Unfortunately his father didn't.

"Let him finish. I want to hear the stupid comeback he had." Buffy started at the old man with hate in her eyes as Spike started to speak.

"I was just going to say maybe you're right. I don't have anybody. Don't you think I've wished a thousand times that it was me instead of him? He is the strong one, the better one. Don't you think that I wish that there was some way to make him better and me sick? I would gladly give up everything to make him better." Spike was crying by this time and shaking. He was trying to keep from doing that for Angel's sake, but it just happened.

"So, dad because fate didn't make it like that you are stuck with the stupid, dumb, retarded son who will fail at life. I'm sorry if that doesn't fit with your plans, but hey I'd rather be dead myself if he dies so there you have it. I don't want to live as much as you don't want me to. All I can do is sit back and watch my older brother die and I'd rather be in his place. Now there is only one problem and that is actually changing it."

Everyone was silent. They didn't know what to say. Spike stood there crying and shaking staring at his dad. Nathan finally got the courage to speak.

"Well only if we could change it."

Spike looked at his dad and then stormed out of the room. Everyone looked at the spot where he had stood. Buffy was furious at him. She wasn't the first one to speak though.

"What an evil prick you are. Here I am sick and dying and you take it out on him. All he ever did was try to take care of me and you have the nerve to yell at him. I've never seen Will cry. Not even when grandfather died. You did that to him. I want you out of here. Out!" Angel was screaming. He was shaking from anger and had to keep himself from crying. Cordy went over to him and tried to comfort him.

"It's the truth Liam."

"The only truth here is that you are a piece of crap that doesn't deserve a son like Spike." Buffy said as she left the room and tried to find Spike.

Spike had gone out to his car. He didn't leave and stood there not knowing what to do. He took out a cigarette and lit it. Lighting the cigarette was a little difficult because his hands were shaking. He had stopped crying by that time. He was thinking about what his father had said. That it was too bad that they couldn't change the person. Spike knew that his father disliked him, but he never thought that he wished him dead.

Spike had never wished that his father would die. Spike looked up and conveyed his surroundings. He should be in that hospital room comforting his brother, but he was in the parking lot. He knew that he should leave, but something was telling him to wait. Something was saying that he forgot something. Just then he remembered what. He had forgotten to get Buffy. He had left her in the hospital. Spike was about to go back and get her and saw that she was already there.

"Thought that I better hurry up before my ride left."

Buffy took in his appearance. He was no longer crying, but he was still shaking. He was smoking a cigarette that seemed half way down already.

"Yeah I thought I forgot something so I waited."

"Well now there is no more waiting."

"Yeah we should go." Spike made his way to the front seat of the car.

"No you don't. You honestly think that I would allow you to drive in the present state of mind. I don't think so buddy. I want to walk away from this hospital in one piece." Buffy walked over to Spike and took his car keys.

"Do you know how to drive?"

"Yes I know how to drive. Now get in the car." Spike obliged and then they were off.


Buffy drove to Spike's house in total silence only asking him how to get there. When Buffy got to Spike's loft she got out and walked with him to the door in complete silence. She opened the door and started to make him a cup of coffee before finally talking to him.

"Now, you look less stable then before. Are you going to be okay?"

"No, my dad's right. Who cares about me? Angel is the better one." Buffy put down his cup of coffee. It was black just the way he liked it. He took the cup and then took a long sip from it.

"Spike people care about you. Your family and friends care about you."

"Yeah, but Angel is the better one. He is the strongest and the most powerful. He is just the best. I can't top that. I don't want to. No one can take his place."

"Of course you don't want his place. You are Spike. You are in your place. You shouldn't want to take his place. He is your big brother and you love him. Your father is just an asshole."

"Who cares? Tell me who wants me alive more then they want Angel alive."

"Do you honestly think they could make that choice?"

"Yes they would want him alive. I would want him alive."

"Spike I would want you alive." Spike looked up into Buffy's eyes. Her eyes were like emeralds shining through to him.

"But if you knew Angel then you would want him alive."

"Well I know you. If you asked me right now which people I would want to stay alive you would be on the list. Of course a lot of people would be on the list, but that's not the point. You have people that care about you and they don't care about one person more then you. Wes cares about you and would want you alive. And Giles, and Anya, and Fred. You have lots of people that care about you."

"Wes didn't care last time."


"I was about eighteen. I had just turned eighteen and my dad was giving me shit about the colleges I got into. It was a really bad time for me. My grandfather died a couple years before then and that was when I started acting rebellious. I didn't make Ivy League, but I did pretty well. Everything was piling up at the time. I was going to AA meetings and all that, but they weren't fulfilling."

Spike stopped. He seemed lost in thought about something.

"Anyway, I was just going through the motions of things. I was trying to keep up appearances. I was dating a girl named Faith the time before when I was a little wild. She left town, but then she came back and tried to get me to go partying. One day I finally cracked and I went. I started drinking a lot. Even Faith was a little worried. I drank myself silly and then got alcohol poisoning that was so severe that I was actually dead for a minute or two. I've never really lived that down. The thing is. I wanted to die. I really did. I didn't think that there was anything to live for. When I told Wes it was the first time he was ever gotten upset at me. He kept asking me why I would think that there was no one there for me when there was. He couldn't understand. His life was too perfect that he couldn't understand."

Buffy looked at Spike. He seemed so small admitting this huge dark secret that he only told Wes.

"Spike you aren't that person who did those things. You wanted to die then, but you don't want to die now."

"I never really got over it."

"But you've learned to deal with it. Spike I know that that pain never really goes away, but you can control it. Why don't you go to bed? You seem tried and you really should get some sleep."

"Yeah." Spike headed towards his bedroom and Buffy followed him. He took of his shoes and jacket and then lay on the bed. Buffy stood there and watched him. He had curled up in the fetal position and instantly fallen asleep. Buffy didn't know what possessed her to lay behind him, but she soon found that she was. She put her arms around his stomach and fell asleep herself.

Chapters 10, 11, and 12

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