In My Bathroom

In My Bathroom


Chapter 16:

No one was quite sure how long they sat there after the explanation that was given to the initiative. The initiative guys seemed a little stunned by the explanation, which was acceptable because everyone had talked at once. It had only taken twenty minutes to explain everything in detail and the doctors were upstairs working on Spike and Lorne was filling them in on a few things.

Dawn had come home and was in the kitchen along with Angel and Gunn. Everyone was silent. No one was sure of what to say. Each person had some ill feelings towards the initiative. All in all it hadn't bee a good start.

Maddy looked over at the clock on the wall. Buffy was due back any minute now. She should be relieved that the initiative was here. Spike could get fixed up and they could resume their perfect lovey dovey relationship. They seemed to be the only ones. Xander and Anya seemed to not be getting back together and not even trying to make an effort. Everyone knew that Gunn and Fred's relationship was shot to hell over some incident that was foreign to the Sunnydale lot.

The two other British men in the house were so not going to get any. Wes seemed to be hung up on someone. It appeared to be Fred, but others had their suspicions that it was someone else. Giles, was well, Giles. There were some major sparks between Angel and Cordy, but no one was making a move. Then the whole Dawn, Connor, and Maddy triangle was just too hard to contemplate. So everyone was quite.

Too quite. The eerie silence could get to anyone. It was starting to get to everyone. Some of the people that sat in the living room were awaiting the news about Spike. It seemed like it was talking forever when they had only been up there for about fifteen minutes. It was so quite that they could hear the ticking of the clock. Why did it have to tick so loud? No one really knew they answer.

They were all lost in their own thoughts. And that's how Buffy found them. She walked in ready to complain about her awful day at work, but all she heard was silence where there should have been loud noise. She walked into the living room to find everyone in deep thought and three guys she didn't know and one she knew to all too well.

"Hey Riley." Buffy said as pleasantly as she could manage.

The last time she had seen him he was married and she was at a low point in her life. It wasn't because she was with Spike, but because she didn't know what was going on in her head.

"Buffy you're home." Riley said as if he was a person who belonged in her house.

"You're here early." Buffy said.

"Yeah I know. We didn't mean to be so early. The doctors are upstairs with Spike and that Lorne guy." Riley said.

"That's good. Have they given any information yet?" Buffy asked while she took at seat next to Xander.

He took her hand in his to try and comfort her. Although he thought Buffy could do much better then Spike, he realized that Spike was an okay guy and he made Buffy happy.

"No not yet. They're just checking him out and going through all the possibilities." Riley said.

"So you guys are just waiting?" Buffy said.

"Yes, and make a mental note that I hate waiting. It's too anticlimactic. Not to say that Spike's chip is unimportant, but it's way too much build up for his chip." Anya said.

"Way to be supportive there Anya." Maddy said.

"Yes well I just think that it's way too much stress." Anya said.

"Part of the human package. Stress and all that. You should know though." Maddy said.

"Well not really. Being a vengeance demon keeps me from having too much insight on human ways."

"So you don't know how to act like a human?" Connor asked.

He thought that she was doing just fine, but he himself had just got back from a hell dimension and was dealing with being civilized.

"No I have some experience, but I became a vengeance demon again and I'm supposed to be with the smiting cheating men, but for some reason I keep getting dragged back in here. I think I'm just going to tell D'Hoffran that I don't want the job." Anya said.

"How is D'Hoffran. Is he still worried about that new girl, what was her name, Shelly?" Maddy said flippantly.

"How do you know D'Hoffran?" Anya asked and everyone came in a little closer to hear the answer.

"Oh well he came and tried to recruit me after I sought vengeance on this guy. Talked a bit. The coven is really big on keeping their demon contacts updated." Maddy said and it was the truth. D'Hoffran had asked her to join him, but she turned him down knowing she still had a propose.

"Oh that makes sense. What did you do to the guy?" Anya asked.

"Well see he was all magical as well so the vengeance didn't take. I was going to make it so he could never. . . " Maddy looked around the room to see that all the guys seemed uncomfortable.

"Why don't we compare notes later? The guys seem a little stricken." Maddy said.

"Oh I guess they do. I never noticed that." Anya said.

"So where's Sam?" Buffy whispered to Riley.

"She's upstairs with the doctors. So how are things with you?" Riley asked.

"Better much better. Now we just have to fix this chip thing and take down Willow and I'll be fine." Buffy said.

"What's up with Willow?"

"She went to the dark side. Just a little thing, but we're on it."

"I had to beg these guys to come. They think that it's odd that the slayer associated her self with demons, but I set them straight."

"Oh well I guess it's a little weird, but all of them are good demons."

"Yeah I noticed. So how goes things with you and Spike? I assume you care about him since you called us." Buffy held in an irritated groan. It was bad enough that she had to deal with one ex now there were two to deal with.

"Spike and I have decided to see each other."

"Well what would you call what you were doing before?"

"Having great sex. This is different. He has his soul now."

"Okay didn't need to know about the sex thing, but are you sure. . ."

"That I should be getting into a relationship with someone like him. Look this is my life and I'll do what a damn please."

"Okay I know that I gave up all rights when I left and got married. I was just trying to look out for you."

"I don't need you to look out for me, but thanks for the thought." Buffy said as she turned around to try and engage in conversation.

Buffy wondered why it was that old boyfriends thought that they knew what was best for you. It was one of those things that Buffy would never figure out. They left you, but they thought that they knew what was best. In Riley's case he had been right to leave. She never really loved him. She had been going through the motions because she was with him. And Angel, though he hadn't been right to leave her, was better off and so was she. She had found someone who was. . . better.

Okay so better wasn't the right word, but it made sense. Spike wasn't exactly the most conventional boyfriend, but he worked for her. She didn't need a normal guy. Spike had always been there for her. He had gone out and got a soul for her damn it. He had seen her in the good and the bad and yet he still stuck around. He really loved her. Although she couldn't say the words yet she knew that she cared for him deeply.

"Miss Summers we have some news." Buffy looked up to see a man in a doctor's coat standing in front of her. Everyone in the room stiffened considerably.

"Well what's the news?"

"It seems that host. Spike's chip is causing some severe brain damage and is majorly defective."

"What does that mean." Buffy said grabbing Xander's hand.

It was killing Xander to see her like this. He could see how much this was killing her. He knew just by her face that she really cared about Spike. Maybe even love him. Even though that should kill him he found himself okay with it.

"Well his chip will kill him if it stays in his head as is. We could either insert another chip or we could take it out completely. It's up to you."

Suddenly Buffy felt like all eyes were on her. It was almost an easy decision, but she wanted to please everyone. Why she didn't know. This was between her and Spike and no one else. So Buffy knew right then what decision she had to make.


The eerie silence didn't seem right for the Summers house. Sure there people in the house. A lot of people were in her house at this very moment. It just felt like there weren't any when Buffy could hear herself think. The surgery was taking a long time. Longer then she really cared for. Was it so hard to remove a chip from someone's head? Or at least talk to the worried people about the progress.

Buffy had waited with her friends in the living room for what seemed like hours before she couldn't take it anymore. Mostly everyone was okay with her decision although Buffy didn't really care what they thought at this moment.

Like she had thought before, it was a matter between her and Spike. She knew that she had made the right decision. It was the looks of dread on their faces that had Buffy a little uneasy.

What was their reason for looking so sad? The doctor had gave news that the damage caused to Spike's brain might give him a slight case of amnesia or, quiet possibly, make him a vegetable in the human sense of the word.

There was a chance that he would never be the same. Not that they weren't already chancing that with the soul, but now there had to be the stupid chip in his head screwing things up worse.

So Buffy retreated to her back porch. She liked to think of it as the place were she first met the really Spike. It was that time she had talked with him when she found out that her mother was sick. It was her first glimpse into the more William version of Spike.

It had been the place where they would just sit and talk when she first came back. It was like their special place. It was where she spent many nights while he was gone. And now she was sitting here waiting for any news that the doctors might have on him.

Feelings were never Buffy's strong suit. Neither was opening up. She liked to stay calmed up and not admit things to anyone. And that little personality trait might just make things a whole lot worse. She never told Spike exactly how she felt about him, which was okay because they were taking it slow. Now she was regretting it. She didn't love him; she wasn't even sure what love was at this point in her life.

She had always thought that she loved Riley and Angel, but that turned out to be wrong at least in Riley's case. She cared a lot about Spike though. It was something she realized two months ago on the night he left. Everything changed that night. He had been so caring and attentive.

Something that Buffy had refused to see all that time, but now was staring her straight in the face. So yes she cared a lot about him, but he didn't know that. He knew that she had feelings, but he didn't know to what extent. So here she sat. Wallowing in her own self-loathing, which wasn't anything new for Buffy.

"Buffy?" a voice from behind Buffy asked.

Buffy turned around to see Sam, Riley's wife.

"Hey." Buffy said.

"They're done. They said that it went pretty successfully, but they aren't sure if he. has any brain damage." Sam said fidgeting a little.

Riley had told her that Buffy was involved with the vampire after their last visit. Sam had found it a little disgusting at first. After meeting Glen she understood that not all demons were bad and looked at it through Buffy's perspective. Then there was the fact that he loved her enough to go out and get his soul. He seemed like a good guy.

"Is he awake?" Buffy whispered almost inaudibly.

"No, not yet. Your friend, Maddy I think her name was, and that big green demon guy are in with him right now. They're performing some magic spells on him right now to try and wake him up."


"Are you going to go see him?"

"Yeah I should huh?" Buffy said as she got up and walked over to the door. She opened the door and walked inside. The house was still quiet. Sam followed close behind her.

Buffy walked up the stairs and into her room. He was still lying on the bed, on his side. His head was bandaged up. Maddy stood next to him and Lorne was on the other side.

"Did you get him to wake up?" Buffy asked.

"We're just starting the spell. Shouldn't be long now, sweetness." Lorne said.

"Yeah quick brush of the hand and then presto Spike's awake." Maddy said lighting a few candles.

"Okay. Do you know if he's okay?"

"He seems fine. From the read that I'm getting off of him he would appear normal. The soul's a little shiny though, so I'm having trouble seeing past it." Lorne said.

"I did a quick magically exam on his head and everything would appear normal. Like I said little disorientation for awhile, but nothing serious." Maddy said opening a book and searching for the right spell.

"Okay just an easy little healing spell. Should go okay." Maddy said taking a deep breath.

"It is an easy spell. Just focus." Lorne said.

"I'm focused." Maddy said.

"Okay just concentrate." Lorne said taking Maddy's hand.

"We call upon the goddess to give us the power to heal. Use our strength to heal the wounded in the protected circle. Guide him through his mind." Maddy said.

All of a sudden there was a low rumble in the room and the lights went off. The only light that could be seen was two thin lines of white light that were coming out of Lorne and Maddy. It lasted for about a minute before it stopped and Maddy and Lorne dropped to the ground and the lights turned back on.

Buffy looked at Maddy and Lorne. They appeared to have been knocked out. She looked over at Spike. His eyes were fluttering open and he started to cough. Buffy ran over to him.

"Hey are you okay?" Buffy asked when she made it to him.

"My head." Spike said raising his hand to reach his head.

"Don't touch your head."


"Because they just took out the chip."

"What? How long was I out for?"

"Three days."

"Three days. Bloody hell, no wonder I feel so sore. Did you say they took out the chip?"

"Yeah I had them take it out."

"You mean no more chip?"

"Yup. There was a decision on whether to take it out completely or to put in a new one. I figured with the fight that we're about to face it would be better to take the chip out completely."

"So I can hit anyone I want again?"

"Don't go getting any ideas."

"I know. Pullin' for the good guys now."

"Is there anything you want? Some blood maybe."

"No I think I jus' want to sit up."

"You can't do that. The surgery that was performed on you requires full bed rest." Sam said.

"Great more time on this bloody bed." "You have to do what the doctors say Spike. So how are you feeling?"

"A little dizzy. Nothing to bad."

Just then Spike heard the low sound of groaning coming from the ground.

"Whas' that?"

"I think its Maddy and Lorne. They kinda got knocked out when they did the spell to heal you."

"Oh this is worse then a hangover or that time Wolfram and Hart did that brain sucking thing." Lorne said.

"Yeah didn't expect it to be so powerful. It was a really big blast." Maddy said.

"Neither did I. Maybe the goddess took a little too much." Lorne said.

"No Spike seems to be in ship shape so that's the good thing." Maddy said attempting to get up, but then falling right back down.

"I guess gravity is telling me to stay put." Maddy said.

"You guys okay? Is there anything that I can do?" Buffy said in a worried voice.

These two people, well one person one demon, had given Spike much needed strength and she would do anything to repay them.

"You could make the room stop spinning." Maddy said.

"You are feeling that to?" Lorne said.

"Yeah, it's really dizzy. Like thing are. . ."

"Floating around and you're stayin' put." Spike finished.

"Yeah." Lorne and Maddy answered in unison.

"Can you get up?" Buffy asked.

"Not right now. Think that we should just stay put. Actually a little tired." Maddy said.

"Yeah I hear that sweetness." Lorne said as he started to drift off to sleep. Maddy did so as well.

"Well I guess they needed to rest." Buffy said to Spike.

"Yeah they prolly havta regenerate."

"It's good to see you awake." Buffy said placing a hand on Spike's cheek.

"Well I don't think that it will remain that way for that much longer. Starting to feel the unpleasant side effects of the spell. It really is very draining."

"Get some rest. We'll be able to catch up in the morning."

"Yeah you're prolly right." Spike said closing his eyes and falling right to sleep like Maddy and Lorne had done. Buffy kissed his forehead and got up. Sam was still standing in the doorway looking at Buffy expectantly.

"Xander and all the other people informed us to what was going on." She said simply.

"It doesn't seem real." Buffy said messing with the hem of her shirt. She was still in her Doublemeat Place uniform because she wasn't able to get into her room to change.

"Riley and I want to know if there is anything we can do to help." Sam said.

"No, not really. We don't need any more help. We've got everything we need right here." Buffy said.

"We'd like to help anyway. I know that this is a little out of our scope of things, but we can help. We heard that Willow was raising some pretty powerful demons and taking them under her control. We can help take them out."

"We have pretty skilled demon fighters here. This is too far out of your range." Buffy said pushing past Sam and trying to walk into the hallway. She ran into Riley on her way there.

"Look Buffy we have orders to stay here in Sunnydale." Riley said.

"Well you can stay, but you're not getting in the way." Buffy said.

"Buffy you need all the help that you can get. We're here to help. We have information regarding a spell that can strip Willow's powers." Riley said.

"We know about that spell Riley."

"Then why haven't you done it?" Riley asked with an incredulous tone in his voice.

"Because it kills her."


"So? We can't kill Willow."

"Why not? She's killed people Buffy. She needs to be put down before she kills anyone else. Or worse she starts an apocalypse."

"We have information that says she can be taken done without killing her. There's a prophecy that says it can be done."

"Buffy she's too far gone. If we don't take her done right now she might end the world."

"I've avoid more apocalypses then I can count Riley. I know what I'm doing. I won't let you kill Willow."

"We have no choice." "This isn't your fight. Take your wannabe demon fighters and get out of here. This is my town."

"Buffy if you don't kill Willow then there won't be any hope for the rest of us. You have to make this decision."

"I'm telling you that there is a way to save Willow and the world. Now I want you and your sorry excuse for demon hunters to get out of my house. You did your job. You fixed your little 'hostile 17' as you call him now get out. Leave the demon fighting to the professionals."

"I'm not going to back down from this Buffy."

"If you hurt Willow I swear I'll hurt you. That goes for any other member of your team that wants to get trigger happy on me and mine."

"That was an accident."

"Accident my ass. You initiative guys are all the same. Demons bad, people good. Just get out of here." Buffy said going back into her room and closing the door.

Riley looked over at Sam and saw that his wife had a disappointed look on her face.


"She's right you know. The Initiative does see all demons as bad. I thought that we were pass that now."

"Willow isn't a demon."

"Which makes this all worse. You want to kill a human being."

"Look she isn't a human anymore. She isn't the same Willow that wanted to get Buffy and me together. She's lost it."

"This chip thing was supposed to be the end of it. We were supposed to retire and go back to Ohio to raise our family. What about our baby. I'm pregnant Riley and we were supposed to be getting out."

"I can't leave it like this."

"Well I can. I'm sorry, but I can't stay here. I'm going home."

"What are you talking about? You have to stay here."

"No I don't. This is my last assignment and it's finished. I'm out. When you decide to come home I'll be waiting. Just don't get yourself killed and don't take to long." Sam said as she walked by Riley.

She kissed him on the cheek and then left. Riley watched as the only good thing in his life walked away. He couldn't let this one go though. He sighed put his head down dejectedly. It was time to gather his troops and get out of Buffy's house before she blew a gasket. He just hoped that by staying he was really helping her and not ruining his life

Chapter 17:

Giles looked around at the wary group of people. They had all went to bed very late and woken up fairly early. It was a good thing that Fred had gone out and stocked up on coffee. Right now there were currently four people congregating around the coffeepot and four people staring blankly into their coffee cups around the island.

Lorne, Maddy, Buffy and the now de-chipped Spike had not come out of Buffy's room since last night. Sam had stormed out of the place and soon after Riley and his troops filed out as well. None of them had said anything about how Spike was doing so the group waited. Eventually at two- thirty in the morning some of them passed out. It was currently seven in the morning. So that was the explanation for the caffeine IV's. The only sound was the ticking sound coming from the coffeepot.

Faith, Wesley, Gunn and Fred were the four that surrounded the machine like it was a temple. Anya, Xander, Cordelia and Connor were the four people around the island looking at their drinks. Anya, Xander and Cordy had coffee and Connor had a can of soda. Dawn had gone off to school and Angel was downstairs sleeping.

"So what do you think is going to happen next? Do we get an explanation as to why those commandos left in such a hurry?" Anya said being the first one to break the silence that had surrounded the group.

"I don't know. Buffy hasn't come down. It's been a draining few days. She's very tried. Last time I checked she was still asleep." Giles said taking a sip of his coffee.

"Everyone who knows anything about the initiative is in a deep slumber right now." Xander said.

"Well I guess we just sit here and wait. I don't know of anything else to do." Cordy said.

"Yes well when the sleeping beauties wake up we'll drill them." Gunn said.

"Yeah just a matter of time." Fred said.


Lorne woke with a piercing pain in his head.

"Sweet Jesus, Joseph and Mary. I fill like someone's playing Babaloo on my head." Lorne ground as he tried to get himself off of the floor. He heard a low groan come from the other side of the bed.

"Oh. . . I don't remember drinking last night." Came the voice from the other side of the bed.

"Maddy is that you?" Lorne asked.

"Yeah more or less. How's your head?"

"The newest site for drilling."

"Yeah I know what you mean. Can you get up?"

"I've been trying without too much success. What the heck kind of spell was that?" Lorne asked with suspicion.

"Sorry about that. It's a pretty hard hitting spell I found in. . ."

"Pylea? Yeah I recognized the power in it and the language. Is there something you're not telling us sweetheart?"

"No I told you that I made a visit there. Found out some stuff." Maddy said trying to avoid the subject.

"Now see I'm not exactly believing that. I think that there is a bit of demon in you." Lorne said.

"Why would you say that?" Maddy said trying to find out just how much Lorne knew.

"Because that spell is specifically designed for Pylea tribe demons only. You need two in order to do it."

"Crap, okay so I have a bit of demon in me."

"Well that doesn't make a difference to me."

"Good now it's everyone else that I'm worried about. Where's Buffy and Spike?" Maddy said making another attempt to get up, but not succeeding.

"I think they're on the bed. Is he ready to get up?" Lorne asked not really sure how long the spell took to work.

"Yeah I think so. Our combined energies are enough to make him a little extra sensory though."

"Should we wake them?"

"Why not."

"Don't bother I'm awake." Came a voice from on top of the bed.

"Buffy?" Maddy asked. She was a little afraid that Buffy heard the conversation that she had with Lorne.

"Yeah, but shh, Spike needs his rest." Buffy said slowly getting out of their bed and avoiding stepping on Lorne.

"Well if you don't mind sweetness could you help us get up and somewhere nice and comfy. Maybe the couch in the living room." Lorne said.

"Yeah okay. Should I just pick you up?"

"Whatever is easiest for you." Lorne said.

"Okay." Buffy said picking up Lorne.

"Do you need help with getting yourself downstairs, Maddy?"

"Why do you ask?" Maddy asked.

"Well maybe you could do that float-y thing." Buffy said.

"I think that I should stay lax with the magic."

"Okay I'll be right back." Buffy said walking out of the room with Lorne over her shoulder. Maddy lay there for a few seconds before Buffy came back and picked her up.

"Oh this feels weird." Maddy commented.

"Yeah well be on the other end of picking up the people." There was a comfortable silence and then Buffy spoke up.

"Don't worry your secret's safe with me."

"What?" Maddy asked.

"Don't play dumb and innocent with me. I heard you talking to Lorne and Spike insinuated that you were different. Look it doesn't make a difference to me if you're part demon or whatnot. Girl dating a vampire here. I can see why you don't want it on the group share time though. Although I don't think that many of them will care much that you're a demon considering that most of them are demons."

"Yeah well most people freak out over it." Maddy said. Buffy made it down the stairs and to the couch without saying anything more. The group had already settled in the living room.

"So what's the deal with the commandos?" Xander asked.

"I told them to take a hike." Buffy said plainly.

"Do we get the details?" Cordy asked.

"Just know that they're probably not gone." Buffy said not wanting to talk much about her big blow up with Riley.

"You mean those wannabe demon hunters are actually gonna stick around and try to help?" Faith asked in incredulous tone.

"Yeah Riley was even trying to tell me my job." Buffy said voicing a little angry that she still held from the night before.

"Well doesn't the government think that they run everything nowadays. So what they're just going to stick around and try and not get killed." Gunn said.

"Great it's enough I have to worry about the group now I have to worry about other people trying to get killed. Stupid demon hating freaks who want nothing more then to be a pain in my ass." Buffy said.

"Right cause you have the whole now killing people thing." Faith said.

"It's a little more extensive then that. Our scared duty is to protect the innocent no matter how uninnocent they are." Buffy said.

"Yeah well hopefully they don't get in the way." Angel said.

"Yeah I could do without the gunshots for awhile. I mean is that so hard to ask for? Just a little time off from the chaos." Lorne said.

"Could we maybe you know relax tonight." Fred said.

"Yeah maybe we can you know rent some movies and eat some popcorn. It is Saturday night." Gunn said.

"Or we could go out and kill a few vampires." Connor said. Everyone looked at him with curious glances.

"What?" Connor said.

"Okay your idea of fun scares me." Maddy said.

"We could go to the Bronze." Cordelia said.

"The what?" Fred asked.

"The Bronze. It's like the only club here in small Sunnydale. God it's been years since I've been there." Cordy said.

"Yeah that sounds like fun. Get some frosty nectar and some well earned dancing might be cool." Buffy said.

"Yeah it's been awhile since we've Bronzed it. We take the L.A gang and they'll have a blast." Xander said.

"Okay it's agreed then. Bronze it is."


Spike was awake. He could here everything that was going on in the living room. It sounded like they were taking the night off. That was great, but days of usually equaled even more badness. There was something else that he was picking up. Thoughts, feelings, it was something he didn't expect.

Spike pushed himself up and looked around. He was in his and Buffy's room. It wasn't weird to call it his room anymore. His clothes and stuff were scattered around the room and so were various magical items. Buffy's smell lingered around with the rotten smell of eggs that was no doubt from some sort of spell.

It was easy to pick himself up and walking around the room. With each step his strength came back to him. It was like every step rejuvenated him, but with each step the thoughts and feelings came in double time. He could almost here them clearly now. He decided, against the better judgement and the pounding in his head to go downstairs and see what was going on. He slowly made his way down the stairs and to the living room.

"So anyone miss me?" Spike asked. The room turned to him and Dawn ran over and hugged him.

"Oi! Be careful now. Still not up to my full strength." Spike said when Dawn squeezed him a little too tight.

"Oh sorry, just so happy that you're okay. Now if we could just get these Initiative guys to go away." Dawn said taking Spike's hand and leading him to a chair.

"Are you sure you're okay to be walking around like this?" Buffy asked.

"Actually I seem to be gettin' better with each step I take. It's weird though 'm pickin' up all these weird vibes. Must be a weird side affect of whatever spell you guys did." Spike said.

"Well that's odd. What kind of weird vibes." Giles asked.

"Jus' like feelin's an' somethin' different." Spike said.

"Oh well that's to be expected you're picking up on some of my powers and some of Lorne's powers. The spell took more then just our physical strength. It also took the strength from our powers. Me being somewhat of an empath and Lorne's power to sense things about the future." Maddy said.

"So what Spike has free reign on those powers." Angel said.

"Little bit, but he won't be draining them from us. They'll be all his own for a little while until he is fully capable of doing things without our strength." Maddy said.

"We should teach him how to get a range on them though. Maybe he should stay home tonight and then we can help him out. Too many loud noises and such could blow his brain to little bits." Lorne said.

"No you guys shouldn't stay home 'cause of me. 'Sides I think it might be good ta get out." Spike said.

"No if they say you should stay in then you should stay in." Buffy said.

"Lorne's power to see into the future could totally paralyze you especially with the soul." Maddy said.

"Yeah, sweetness, and we're on the Hellmouth. People are most likely to have futures of death by someone's dinner." Lorne said.

"'M fine. I can take care 'f myself. My strength is gaining." Spike said.

"Yeah, but we don't know to wait extent yet. It might be wise to sit this one out." Dawn said.

"Not you too bit." Spike said.

"I'm just thinking about what's best." Dawn said.

"Whas' best is for everyone to let off a little steam." Spike said.

"Yeah, but at what price. I'm the first to hate you Spike, but your pride is getting in the way of your judgment. Just sit this one out. We'll all go out and let of some steam if it makes you feel better." Xander said.

"Yes Spike you obviously play a pivotal role in this thing and we don't need you to going out and hurting yourself just because you feel like you should be strong for everyone." Giles said.

"Is this like some sort of intervention. Shouldn't there be posters with quotes on them." Spike said sarcastically.

"All their saying is give staying home a chance. Maybe catch a movie and learn what this transfer of powers means. It could mean a lot of things and we need to learn what that means." Cordy said.

"The first part of recovery is admitting you have a problem. There that sound intervention-y enough for you." Anya said.

"Thanks Anyanaka." Spike said.

"Anytime." Anya said looking rather pleased with herself.

"The mystical energy you're gaining right now could make your head explode." Maddy said.

"Yeah and I don't think Buffy fancies picking Spike brain out of the carpet for all eternity." Angel said.

"Whas' it to you." Spike asked. Angel sighed heavily.

"Look it may seem like I don't care, but you know about the bond. I can't very well just sit back and let you die no matter how much it would bring me a happy." Angel said.

"That bond was gone a long time ago. Master vamp now." Spike said.

"Spike you know it's still there. I had to do everything in my power not to kill those Initiative guys when I found out they put that stupid chip in your head." Angel said.

"Yeah and that had nothing to do with the fact that one of them was with Buffy."

"I found out about the chip long before Buffy was with Riley. Look it really doesn't matter now does it? I'll kick your ass if you try and get out of this house." Angel said.

"Can't. The spell remember. 'Sides you couldn't do it anymore even if you wanted to." Spike said challengingly.

"Is that a challenge, William." Angel said in a dangerously low voice.

"No it's a promise. What wif' the soul and all you 'aven't s'actly tapped into your vampire powers lately. You couldn't do it anymore." Spike said.

"Really, Willie. You should have a little faith in your grandsire." Angel said.

"Right 'cause you had lots of faith in me. Look 'm goin' ta get some blood and then we can finish this lil' talk." Spike said.

Angel looked at Spike as he got up to walk away. He was to the dining room entrance when Angel growled, "Sit."

Spike sat with his back turned to the group on the floor.

"On the couch." Angel said a little irritated. Spike got up and sat on the couch.

"Wha'. . . what the bloody hell did you jus' do ta me." Spike said.

"Lost my touch huh. Now you listen to me William. You're going to go upstairs, take a nap and then you're going to let Lorne and Maddy help with getting used to this new power struggle you have. You're not going to go with us to the Bronze got that." Angel said.

Confusion went over Spike's face for a few minutes before saying, "Yes, grandsire." Spike had a look of disgust and guilt on his face.

"Good now go upstairs." Angel said. Spike got up and went upstairs. And soon as he was out of sight Angel plopped down on the seat that Spike had been occupying.

"Oh god that was hard." Angel said.

"What the hell did you do to him?" Buffy asked a little upset.

"Basic control thing sires have over their childes to keep them under control." Angel said breathing heavily.

"Fascinating. I thought that only worked on fledgings." Wes asked.

"It usually does for sires. The head of the 'family' has the control over all the childer. When the Master died Darla was imbued with the powers. When Darla died I got the power. I was always able to have control over Spike and Dru, well Spike mostly. He sort of looked up to me back then." Angel said.

"Wow that's. . . well that's terrible for Spike. He just had his mind explored into without his consent." Maddy said.

"Well he did issue the challenge." Angel said.

"You could have done something a little simple at first maybe he would have you know listened knowing that he didn't have any power over it." Dawn said.

"No Dawn this is Spike we're talking about. He's going to be mad as hell sure, but this is for the best. If Angel would have giving him a chance to listen then Spike would have still done everything against it." Buffy said.

"You know he's going to be very upset with you Buffy." Xander said.

"Yeah well I have ways of making him forget about it." Buffy said.

"Okay eww, but anyway let's do some quick research and then we can get ready to go out. I mean it's already two in the afternoon." Cordy said.

"Okay to the Bat cave." Xander said. The group looked at him strangely.

"That'll never be a good phrase will it."


Angel sat by Spike's bedside. The group was right about one thing. Spike would be very angry with him for invading his mind like that. He'd also feel guilty. He'd feel guilty for disobeying Angel's orders and that would piss Spike off even more. Angel watched as Spike slowly opened his eyes and looked around.

"Hey." Angel said for lack of a better word.

"Oh 's you. What jus' come back for another round of make Spike your willin' slave." Spike said.

"Spike." Angel said with a little irritation. Spike shut his mouth and looked at Angel with guilty eyes.

"Please don't look at me that way." Angel said.

"It's not my choice. I'd look at you wif' hate right now if I could. You know the consequences of the bond." Spike said.

"Yeah I know. I hated to do it, but it was the only way to keep you safe. You weren't listening." Angel said.

"Oh so let's jus' use the Big man mojo to keep Spike in line." Spike said.

"Yeah I know, but I had to do it." Angel said.

"Yeah sure." Spike said.

"You know I sometimes look back on the days when we were sort of friends. When I would do anything to keep you and Dru safe. I might have been a vicious killer, but you two were my family. You were like my children. Dru couldn't be a good sire and I knew that. I should have forbid her from doing that from the beginning, but I never thought she would. When I found out she did I wanted to yell at her and possibly stake you to keep you from having to go through all of that. It's hard to become a true vampire without a good sire. Then I saw the potential in you. At the time I thought it was only for killing, but then I realized that you were just. . . unique." Angel said.

Spike was staring at him like any wide-eyed child would. Angel forgot just how much Spike had looked up to him back in those days. How much innocence he still held in the beginning even after he killed at least a dozen people. The same wide blue eyes were always gleaming with wonder, but as the years went by the wonder faded and all that was left was cold hard eyes.

"You know I did the best I could with what I had. Sure I was evil and the things I taught you were evil, but they were real. I made your potential grow as far as I could take it. I know you killed that Slayer to impress Dru, but I was proud when you did it. I felt that it wasn't only for Dru. Great listen to me. Talking about how proud I was of you when we were demons. We're different now aren't we?" Angel said. Spike nodded readily.

"I think that the hardest thing for me to do was abandon you and Dru when I got my soul. You two didn't need me but I know that no good sire would abandon their childes. You can imagine how hard it was for me when you and Dru came to Sunnydale. I was in love with Buffy and didn't want her to get hurt, but then I loved you two as well. It's been awhile since I've said that."

"The Angelus now, well since he's repressed, he's a total maniac. I know I wasn't like that before. Sure I was still somewhat of a jackass, but I didn't treat you like total crap. Every once in awhile, yeah, but I did try to protect. Believe me when I said that I wanted to kill every one of those Initiative bastards. A proper sire would have. A proper sire would have made them pay and then protected you and given you human blood. I'm not a proper sire anymore."

Angel looked down at his hands. "What I vaguely remember about being Angelus when you were here in Sunnydale was bad. I knew you loved Dru and that you had hoped that after I left things between you and Dru would have been good. Vampires have that inane ability to love lots of people. Dru was like that, but you weren't. Always so faithful to Dru unless she allowed you not to be. I admired your heart after I had time to think about it. I hated it as Angelus. It made you weak, but now I see that it's great. It was always part of your potential." Angel looked at Spike.

He had been quiet through his whole talk.

"I guess that isn't what you wanted." Angel said watching Spike nod his head silently.

"Okay, Spike you're forgiven." Angel said. Spike let out a very audible sigh.

"You know I should kill you for that. Makin' me 'ear your whole sob story." Spike said with a grin on his face.

It was the first time Spike had grinned at Angel in awhile.

"William what am I going to do with you. You go out and get your soul and don't even tell me. That's the kind of pain I can't shield you from." Angel said.

"Hey now, 'm a grown vampire now. Jus' 'cause you 'ave that special elder vamp power doesn't mean I need you ta 'elp me out." Spike said.

"Always the stubborn one." Angel said shaking his head.

"Where's Buffy?" Spike asked.

"Wow that wasn't as fast as I thought it would be. She's downstairs waiting for me to tell her you're okay. She's going out after many people told her to do so." Angel said.

"Thas' good. She needs to get out an' let off some steam." Spike said.

"See no awkward silences. We can talk about Buffy without wanting to rip each others heads off." Angel said.

"When did you get so mature. Last I heard you were tellin' Buffy that thins' would never be good between me an' her." Spike said.

"I really don't think I did that for her. I don't love her anymore you know. Haven't for awhile. I guess it was just easier to say I was brooding over her then trying to get on with me unlife."

"So why the anger?" Spike said.

"Spike I can't honestly say. Don't ask me why. To protect her to protect you. It's all very blurry." Angel said.

"Well aren't you jus' the over busy granddad. Don't let it bother you too much." Spike said.

"I'm trying not to. I think I'm in love with Cordelia anyway." Angel said.

"With the Prom Queen huh. Thas' new. She does seem like your type." Spike said.

"Thanks for your approval. So you feeling any better?" Angel asked.

"If I say yes will you let me go out wif' all the other lil' boys and girls?" Spike asked.

"No, but I think that maybe we should lie for Buffy's sake."

"Fine I feel awful. Happy?"


"So you know whas' goin' ta happen ta me?"

"Maddy and Lorne explained it as best as they could. Apparently you have their powers until you're strong enough to do without them. You pull the strength from their powers to regenerate and then they go away." Angel said.

"Any idea how long that'll take?" Spike said.

"Depends on the weakness of the person. Could be a couple of days could be a couple of weeks. There's no way to tell for sure." Angel said.

"So how long will it take to get these powers under control?"

"Lorne seems to think it won't take that long if you listen, but I told him that there was no way you were going to do that. You get frustrated too easily. It takes a certain amount of patience."

"Great take me out 'f this fight even longer." Spike said.

"You're a little too gun happy. Calm down a bit. You get back from winning your soul and you're all ready to fight. I thought William was a bit more timid and shy then this." Angel said.

"Tryin' ta be useful. 'Sides 'aven't s'actly seen how skittish William is in battle."

"Well with the Initiative still here maybe we should keep it low key." Angel said.

"The Initiative is still 'ere." Spike asked with an incredulous tone in his voice.

"Yeah I guess Riley got a call from his advisors telling him he had to stay in Sunnydale and bring down the threat. Buffy wasn't really forthcoming with the information." Angel said.

"Stupid wankers. Thinkin' they can take down Willow. Lil' witch is mighty strong. 'S all Captain Cardboard's fault. Wife my ass." Spike said.

"Well supposedly his wife just left in a hurry and took off. Lover's spat I guess." Angel said.

"Serves the bloody idiot right. Innit he a lil' too old ta be playin' hero." Spike said.

"Yeah and a bit dumb. He thinks that he's doing good, but what the government did was inhumane."

"Stupid git."

"Got that right." Angel said.

"We just got along on somethin' didn't we?" Spike asked.

"Yeah it would appear so."

"Well innit that somethin'. Maybe we can be civilized to each other." Spike said.

"Perhaps. It's been awhile though." Angel said.

"Yeah let's not make a habit of it though." Spike said.

"Got that right. I'll just go downstairs and tell the guys they can head out now." Angel said.

"What time is it?"

"Little past seven why?"

"Oh I'm a lil' hungry. Can you bring up some blood?" Spike asked.

"Sure, I'll be right back." Angel said exiting the room.

He bumped right into Buffy as soon as he turned around from closing the door. They looked at each other for a moment before Buffy opened her mouth.

"You didn't kill him did you?" Buffy asked with a skeptical look on her face.

"No. I was just coming down to tell you to go ahead to the Bronze already." Angel said.

"And what just leave you here alone with him. I don't think so Angel." Buffy said.

"Buffy did you forget that I can't hurt him. The spell remember. We all saw what it did to Connor. I really don't feel like getting thrown against a wall anytime soon. I couldn't kill him right now even if I wanted to. He's still my grandchilde you know."

"Yeah and how far does that go?"

"It goes pretty damn far. Now listen Spike's not going to be able to get any better if he thinks he's infringing on everyone's time out. If you want him to get better you'll go out and have a good time." Angel said.

"How am I supposed to have a good time when I'm spending every minute worrying about him?" Buffy asked.

"There's a little thing called alcohol that goes right through people making them loosen up." Angel said.

Buffy looked at him to see if was serious. He was.

"When did we change so much?" Buffy asked quietly.

"I changed a while back. I don't know what it is. We just grew apart Buffy. We decided to become different people then who we were then. People change you know. All that time in L.A around different people then my son, it's changed me."

"So I guess we aren't destined to be together forever. God how silly was I back then. First guy I loved and he was 'the one'." Buffy said laughing at herself.

"Teenage thought. I wanted it to be that way too. You made me feel like more then a vampire, but I knew it wouldn't last. You had to have time to explore things. I was a two hundred plus year old vamp and you were a seventeen-year-old girl. You weren't grown yet." Angel said.

"I guess every teenager goes through that. My experience was just a little different from the norm." Buffy said.

"So you're going out right?" Angel said.

"Yeah I guess. Don't try any mystical mind mojo on me." Buffy said.

"Wouldn't work. Only works on the vampires in your line. You're not a vampire and you're not in my line." Angel said.

"Yeah sure whatever. I'm going to pretend you didn't go all vamp knowledge on me and go out and have somewhat of a good time." Buffy said.

"Tell Lorne and Maddy to go too." Angel said.

"Well Lorne said that since the Bronze isn't a demon joint that he wasn't going to go, but I somehow talked Maddy into going." Buffy said.

"So who's not going except Lorne." Angel asked. Buffy flashed him a smile.

"It's just Lorne." Buffy said.

"What? You mean Wes and Giles are going too. And Connor." Angel said.

"Yup. See I talked Giles into going because of beer. Wes was goaded into coming by Cordelia and Connor, well Connor heard that Dawn was going and decided to tag along." Buffy said.

"Is this going to be a problem. I mean if my son and your sister. . . you know." Angel said.

"Hook up. Spike might not like it, but I don't think it will be. I think it's cute. Cordy thinks it's cute too. I'm okay with it if you are." Buffy said.

"Yeah I'm good. My son's better at the dating thing then I am, but I'm okay with him maybe dating Dawn. He's really confused about everything you know." Angel said.

"He's eighteen. Of course he's confused. Well I guess we're off then. Give Spike a kiss for me will you." Buffy said teasingly.

"Yeah right that'll happen when hell freezes over and little pigs learn how to fly." Angel said.

"Oh look out the window is that a flying pig?"

Chapter 18:

The music in the Bronze pounded loudly in her ears. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Even Buffy, who had sworn to it that she wouldn't be able to have a good time, was dancing around freely. Maddy stood at the bar focusing on the drink in her hand. Not what she wanted, but it would definitely do. Bad habits were bad.

"Hey why aren't you out there frolicking with everyone else." Maddy looked up to see Connor standing next to her.

"You do know that you used the word frolicking right?" Maddy asked.

"Yeah, I'm aware of that. Still doesn't explain why you're all alone. You don't seem to be having a good time." Connor said taking the seat next to her.

"This from the guy who thinks killing demons is a good time." Maddy said taking a swig at her Coke.

"Yeah I may not know fun personally, but what they seem to be having looks like fun. Again I'm no expert." Connor said.

"Yeah well maybe I don't feel all that sociable. There a law against that."

"No, of course not. It's just. . . it's a little dark over here isn't it."

Maddy looked around the bar. The fact that it was the basis of it's appeal.

"Not much for the bright lights."

"Yeah they are really bright. It was pretty dark in that hell dimension. I guess the lights get to me as little too."

"So we're two people stuck in the dark when we should be in the light. Interesting."

"Well I guess it is." A comfortable silence fell over them.

"I don't know what to say next." Connor said.

"Well at least you're honest about it."

"Seriously. Okay so I haven't exactly had an experience with girls at all and I'm slightly puzzled by it all."

"Confusion is good sometimes."

"Yeah and sometimes it leads to me doing something really stupid."

"We learn from our mistakes."

Connor looked at her.

"Is that all the infinite wisdom you have to impart?"

"Sorry fresh out of good wholesome wisdom. Try again later."

"Well do you have. . . any of those like, like feelings for me?"

Maddy could have laughed at his helplessness. It was so weird that he was asking relationship advice from her. If only he knew, but then again not many people did know.

"Connor your cool and everything, but I just got out of a pretty strenuous break-up so I'm not really going for a new guy. You don't think of me that way right?" Maddy asked looking at him curiously.

"Well you're pretty or at least when you try."

"Thanks I'll take that as a weird compliment."

"Sorry I'm not good with words. You have a natural beauty that you hide under layers of bulky clothes or black make-up. You like fighting demons and sure that whole magic thing throws me, but you're strong. I feel comfortable around you, but. . ."

Connor's eyes went over to the group they were supposed to be with and to the dancing form of Dawn.

"When you're around her your palms get sweaty and in a good way." Maddy said.

"I guess. Not sure what the good kind of sweaty is. I just know that my mouth dries up when I talk to her and yet it flows freely when I'm around you. Shouldn't it be the other way around if I like her?"

"You really do have a lot to learn. It's okay though. Some guys have lived on this dimension their whole life and are just as confused as you. You should talk with her. Could be just a physical thing. I don't think we have anything here other then friendship."

"Oh good so now I'll I have to do is get the courage to talk with Dawn. Should be fun."

"Well I think she likes you. You know if that helps."

"Little bit yeah. Okay well wish me luck."

"Good luck. Break a leg."

"Why would you want me to break a leg?"

"It's an expression. I have a lot to teach you. After this girl thing it's time for a makeover and some lesson in good music."

"Should I be afraid?"

"Only a little."


Buffy walked back to the table. The LA gang seemed to be having a great time. Giles was sitting in his seat drinking his third maybe fourth beer of the night. The rest of the gang was out on the dance floor shaking their groove things.

"Hey Giles." Buffy said bouncily.

"Oh hello." Giles said after gulping down the beer that was in his mouth.

"You know even Wesley put his stodgy English-ness on the shelf and look at the wonders it's doing him." Buffy said.

"Oh right. Well I feel rather old here."

"Oh too bad Angel and Spike couldn't come. Maybe then you wouldn't feel as old." Buffy turned around to see Cordy, Dawn and Anya standing behind her.

"Well technically I'm older then Giles. Eleven-hundred year old vengeance demon here." Anya said.

"Well that's the problem. I'm not older then you or Spike or Angel and yet I look it. Still makes me the old one." Giles said a little frustrated.

"Cheer up Giles. You have a cool car." Dawn said.

"Yeah that is if Willow doesn't suck it into a hell dimension." Anya said.

"Anya this is a stress release. Please no talk about work." Buffy said.

"I hear you on that one. Wes was already getting all Watcher-y and saying we had better not stay out too late so he could research. Research is supposed to be the last thing on his mind and yet he keeps making hints about it. Gets annoying." Cordy said grabbing pina colada and taking a long sip.

"Where Connor?" Dawn asked as offhandedly as possible.

"Oh would you look at that. Someone's smitten." Cordy said.

"Am not." Dawn said defensively.

"Sure you are Dawn. You have it bad for Angel's son. He's good looking enough. Sort of scrawny, but whatever floats your boat." Anya said.

"Oh look he's over there. With. . . Maddy." Buffy said. The three girls turned in the direction of Maddy and Connor who were sitting at the bar talking avidly.

"See he's with Maddy or at least it looks like he's with her. No chance and that's okay." Dawn said a little sullenly.

Giles snorted.

"What?" the four girls said still watching as Connor and Maddy laughed about something.

"Well Maddy isn't really inclined to date anyone as of late." Giles said.

"English, British man." Cordy said.

"She's sort of in a relationship." Giles said.

"Sort of. How can you sort of be in a relationship?" Dawn asked.

"Well she was married, but I think she's getting an annulment or a divorce. The coven didn't offer many details." Giles said.

"She's married." The four women said at the same time.

"She's only like two years older then Dawn. How is that possible?" Buffy asked.

"Her parents are dead and the coven has rights over her. They allowed her to get married and technically she is eighteen. Old enough to get married." Giles said.

"Well everyone's just getting married." Anya said.

"I think you let out too much bitterness there Anya." Buffy said.

"Good. Bitterness is good for the soul." Anya said.

"This is certainly interesting information." Cordy said.

"Well it doesn't change the fact that Connor might like her more." Dawn said.

"Well maybe you can ask him. He's coming this way."


"Will you please try to concentrate." Lorne said huffily.

Angel sat in one of the chairs in the living just watching, as Lorne was ready to tear out his horns. Lorne was normally a calm collective easygoing guy. Even when Angel was destroying his club he was cool. An hour or so with Spike and he was ready to commit homicide on a certain bleached blonde vampire.

"'M tryin', but this is bloody hard." Spike complained as he closed his eyes again trying to focus on the feelings in the room.

"Anything?" Lorne asked after a few minutes. Spike shook his head and Lorne let out an exaggerated sigh.

"Well what do you expect when you're bugging me every five minutes." Spike said.

"Okay let's just try to calm down." Lorne said to himself more then to Spike.

"The empathy isn't exactly my forte. That's Maddy's area. Why don't we try the reading destiny thing? Angel could you sing something for me." Angel opened his mouth to say something but Spike spoke before him.

"No, no. Why can't you jus' sing somethin'." Spike said with a pleading tone in his voice that Lorne could laugh at.

"No it doesn't work on me so it wouldn't help." Lorne said.

"Great this is bloody great." Spike said.

"Hey I'm not that bad of a singer." Angel said feeling the need to say something in defense of himself.

"It's not just the singin'. Hell I really don't care if you sing off key. Lots of people do that. We had a bloody musical 'ere. 'S the Manilow songs. Oh Mandy and all that rot." Spike said.

"Oh yes and the Sex Pistols are so much better. I'll have you know that Manilow is a very talented singer and lots of people love him."

"Yeah poofters.

"Spike." Angel said in that low growling voice he used. "

"Hey kids lets not get all testy. Let's just listen to Angel sing a horrible rendition of Mandy and get it over with." Lorne said.

"Oh, a'right." Spike said.

"Yeah sure." Angel said.

"Okay sing."

Angel started to sing. At first Spike was so occupied on how sucky his Sire's voice sounded compared to his own. Sure Spike wouldn't tout his own horn, but he did have a nice enough voice. Then Spike remembered he was actually supposed to be doing something and he tried concentrating.

Then he sensed it. It was funny how instead of seeing what was going to happen he sensed it. It wasn't like that witch show on TV with those three sisters where that one got the premonitions and actually saw the future. It was like a feeling that something specific was going to happen. And this something was bad.

The Initiative was going to attack them. Him, Angel and Lorne would be taken to a lab and experimented on. In fact they were on their way here right this very second and there was a van parked right outside watching them. Sure they'd put up hell of a fight, but it appeared that Lorne would get hit first, with one of those tazer guns the Initiative was so fond of and Angel would get distracted.

Meanwhile Spike would be fighting them the best he could, but sooner or later one would catch him. They'd use Lorne and Spike to get Angel to surrender without much of a fight. Then that'd be it. With them gone things would get only get worse after that.

Angel stopped singing after he saw the worried look on Spike's face.

"What's wrong." Angel asked.

"You felt it to?" Lorne asked Spike.

"Yeah it was pretty bad. I think we should get out of 'ere."

"Where though? I think they might even have this place bugged." Lorne said.

"I don't know. We have to move though. We'll take Angel's car and go somewhere." Spike said.

"Hey someone want to fill me in on what just happened." Angel asked.

"It would seem that we're going to have company real soon. Company of the government kind and jus' think Roswell." Spike said.

"Oh this all just keeps getting better and better." Angel said.

"Well thas' the general idea of an apocalypse." Spike said.

"So where are we going and how are we getting there. More importantly why are we sitting around to talk? We should get a move on it." Lorne said.

"Okay we take Angel's car to go to my old crypt. It should be safe there." Spike said.

"Alright then let's go." Angel said.

"Yeah let's get a move on."


"So what's a pretty girl like you doing here all alone." Maddy turned around. She would have screamed, if she were scared. There was nothing to be afraid of.

"Brian why are you here." Maddy said giving him a glare.

"Just thought I'd drop by and give my best girl a ring. Well not a ring considering I came here. Maybe just a quick chat." Brian said.

"Please leave."

"No, see I can't do that. Why do you fight for that side." Brian asked.

"Because it's the right thing to do."

"Right thing to do. The right thing is us Mad. Remember us."

"Yeah I remember how you flipped out and left me when you found out I was part demon. That doesn't exactly scream right."

"Yeah well how would you react. You find out the love of your life is a demon. Something you've vowed to spend your life fighting. Sorry if I over reacted a tad."

"Brian can you just leave. I don't want to have to refrain from kicking your ass." Maddy said.

"You think you can take me let's go. I'm ready for a fight."

"Not here in a club crowded with people. It would draw too much attention. Maybe later."

"And you were the one arguing about bad rain checks."

"Well excuse me for not wanting to draw attention. Big fight going on here, Brian. I don't need to go to jail for disorderly conduct in a public place."

"You could just magick yourself out."

"That's not what magicks for."

"Geez could you sound more like a spokesperson for good. It's really annoying."

"Wouldn't have to if you would just realize the error of your ways and stop this stupid path to self-destruction."

"You know, Mad, I just don't get it. With the kind of power you have riding on your side. The kind of power you have at your fingertips I can't help but wonder why in the hell you haven't done anything to take out the 'Dark Mistress'. It would be so simple for you to just best her with magick." Brian said sliding into the seat Connor had been sitting in. "I have my reasons." Maddy said looking straight ahead at the bar and taking a sip from her drink.

"What these good doers you've surrounded yourself with. They're only there so you could feel better about yourself. Poor Madison. Her husband left her 'cause she was part demon. Seeking redemption in all the wrong places. It's weird. I used to be the calm reserved one and you were the wild one. Now it seems the positions flipped. You still haven't answered the question."

"Maybe that's because I watch too many bond movies. So just drop it. You're not going to recruit me into your band of evil. Does the 'Dark Mistress' even know you're here?" Maddy asked.

"No. She knows you're powerful, but she decided that she doesn't want to recruit you. Too hard to change good doers."

"So why are you here?"

"To see what kind of plan you have up your sleeve. I know you, Mad. You would have already ran in their guns blazing and dragged me out of there kicking and screaming and possibly unconscious. So what's the deal? Does it have anything to do with this prophecy?"

Maddy looked over at Brian in alarm.

"Who did you. . ." "Maddy you weren't the only one who got and A in prophecy remembrance class. I know it well. Have you told them what it in tails?" Brian said pointing his thumb at the group. Maddy looked over at them. They were all having such a good time.

"No I haven't."

"They'll figure it out sooner or later. So am I the wind? You going to risk me for the good of mankind."

"I don't know. If faced with that option. . ." Maddy looked over into his eyes.

These were the eyes of the only person she had ever truly loved in her lifetime. The only person she had ever given a damn about. They were cold and cruel now, but they used to shine with light. There had to still be a part of him in there.

"I don't know. I haven't quiet figured that out yet. Guess I'll just have to see how it plays out like the rest of them."

"She's trying to figure it out too you know. She probably will. Give it time and one of the seers will see something."

"You aren't as power hungry as you were before. Something happen while you were away." Brian looked away for a second.

"I miss you. I guess I always will. What's the sense of being on top if you have no one to share it with? Then again you don't want that kind of power. I thought I'd check one last time. I guess after this we're enemies. Doesn't seem really."

"We came this far. I guess the parting of ways is turning out to be something very. . . easy."

"Yeah easy." Brian said standing up from his seat.

"I guess it's only fair that I do this one last thing for you." Brian said pulling Maddy out of her chair and hugging her close to him. He let his hand rest on her back and she saw it.

Brian had a way of showing people the future with the simplest touch. Right now the future she saw wasn't exactly all that great. The world had a general dark feel to it. Screams and shouts could be heard from all directions. People were running away from something. All Maddy could see was a general big black cloud hiding whomever or whatever it was causing this mass destruction.

Everything seemed to be burning. Going into further detail were the cemeteries. Overrun with vamps. It seemed the sun no longer shone and it was free range for vamps and demons. The graves of the group stood with big tombstones. Even Willow was dead and buried. Standing in front of one of the many graves was a figure in a heavy black cloak. There was Maddy's grave.

Maddy was shook out of her trance and gave a loud gasp as if she had been buried in that grave and was getting out.

"I'm sorry for having to show you that. I had to. That's what'll happen if you don't try to stop this thing. They'll die." Brian said craning his head in the direction of the group.

"You'll die. I can't let that happen. I still love you. So if this prophecy means you have to kill me then you have to do it."

"I don't know if I can."

"You have to God damn it. Promise me you will." Maddy could feel tears forming in her eyes and she started to shake her head.

"Promise me damn it." Brian yelled shaking her slightly. The tears fell.

"Promise me."


Connor walked over to Dawn. He wasn't exactly sure what he was going to say exactly, but he thought it would be along the lines of 'Do you want to dance' although Connor had no idea of how to dance. The girls, Cordy, Buffy and that Anya lady were giggling and pointing to him. Connor took a deep breath and took the final steps over to Dawn.

"Hey Dawn."

"Hey Connor." Dawn said hoping her voice didn't sound too squeaky.

"So you wanna dance?" Connor said mustering up his courage and giving her his best hopeful eyes.

"Sure why not." Dawn said gleefully dragging him over to the dance floor passing the rest of the group whom were coming back from the dance floor.

"Ah young love. Isn't it cute." Xander said.

"Kind of sickening when you think about it." Faith said.

"Well good for them. At least they're trying to start something. Connor's been a closed shell these last few months. It's time he open up." Fred said cheerfully.

"I think someone needs to stop drinking." Buffy said.

"No Fred's always like that. Sans alcohol." Cordy said.

"Shouldn't we be doing tactics instead of this partying. An apocalypse is upon us." Wes said.

"When isn't there an apocalypse upon us. Everyday there's some sort of evil trying to kill us. Why not party just a little." Gunn said.

"I know that the partying is overdue. Been locked up a bit too long. Bronze hasn't changed much though." Faith said.

"Well when you live in a one Starbucks town like Sunnydale, change isn't really a friend." Xander said.

"Yeah, but you'd think there'd be some." Cordy said.

"No none whatsoever. This place is still them same as it was when we were back in high school." Buffy said.

"Well that's certainly cheap of them." Faith said.

"Well if you want to save money why would you give it a new look. This place rakes in the customers without even having to try. It doesn't have to look nice." Anya said.

"Nice capitalistic views there, Ahn." Xander said.

"Well I think it's nice. No demons so it's a plus from Caritas. That place just gave me the hibbie jibbes what with all those demons. I mean sure Lorne had that nice demon sanctuary going on, but still." Fred said.

"Yeah this place is definitely a good dive. I mean sure this whole town is pretty much lackluster, but it has its moments." Gunn said.

"Yes, I guess it does. I'm just worried that while we're out blowing off steam something big will happen." Wes said.

"Geez, Wesley bring it down a notch. Nothing bad is going to happen." Faith said.

"Something's wrong." Buffy said in a quiet almost eerily calm voice.

"Great now you've got Buffy all worked up." Xander said.

"No something is seriously wrong at the house. I feel it. I don't know why I just do. Angel and Lorne and Spike are in trouble." Buffy said.

"Buffy I think you're just projecting from leaving Spike at home alone with Angel and Lorne. I'm sure they're fine." Giles said.

"No I can feel something wrong. An attack of some sort is going to take place on the house. I feel Spike's fear." Buffy said.

"Okay what in the heck is going on." Cordy said.

"I think she's finally cracked." Anya said.

"Wouldn't be the first time." Faith said.

"Could it be that maybe Lorne and Maddy's spell didn't work properly. That Maybe Buffy is know experiencing some of the powers Lorne and Maddy were talking about." Wes said.

"It's very possible. We'd have to check and see. I don't think there is any other explanation for it." Giles said.

"Unless she's crazy and this is one of her crazy rantings." Anya said.

"Anya I highly doubt that." Xander said.

"Whatever look we just need to get home." Buffy said.

"Good idea let's just get Maddy and the love birds and we'll be fine." Gunn said.

"Where is Witchy Chick?" Faith asked.

"Over by the bar." Cordy said. The group looked over at the bar.

"Who's that with her?" Fred asked.

"Oh my God."


A nice slow song began to play when Connor and Dawn stepped onto the dance floor. Hesitantly, Connor wrapped his arms around Dawn's waist. The moved in a slow rhythm with the music swaying back and forth occasionally twirling around.

"So how goes things with you." Connor asked letting the silence get to him.

"Things are good. A little scared about this whole Willow thing, but other then that I'm doing good."

"Yeah I guess you would be after all Willow is your friend. I don't think your sister would let anything get to you."

"Oh I know. She died for me after all. It's just the pre-apocalypse jitters I guess. Those don't go away no matter how many apocalypses you fight."

"This'll be my first actually. Lived in a hell dimension so everyday was like its own mini-apocalypse, but other then that." Connor said letting his voice trail off.

"You don't like to talk about it." Dawn said.

"No I'm okay with talking about it, but I just, it's one of those horrible experience that travel with you no matter how much you try to get rid of them."

"Yeah I get that. I mean the whole thing about me being the key gave me some insight to the whole thing."

"You being the what?" Connor asked.

"Oh well see I'm not really real. Technically I'm only supposed to be like two. I was this big ball of mystical energy that was compacted into this conveniently human package." Dawn said with her voice getting a little downcast.

"If it helps I'm only supposed to be like two myself." Connor said.

"Well that works out nicely then." Dawn said smiling up at him.

"Yeah I guess it does. We're two people that aren't supposed to exist and yet here we are. I guess it's kind of neat." Connor said.

"So you and Maddy." Dawn said letting her voice trail off.

"I don't have that good of knowledge on relationships. See being in a hell dimension made it so that there were no girls. Maddy and me are nothing more then friends. That's all she wants and now that I see it clearly I know that's all I want.�

"Well that works out nicely for me doesn't it."

"Yeah I guess that works out nicely for the both of us." Connor said swirling around.

He looked deep into Dawn's inviting blue eyes. She really was a very kind loving person. He could tell all that from her eyes.

"So all this apocalypse talk is kind of crappy you know. It puts a dent into any date plans we might concoct. So how about we wait until after this apocalypse to actually go on a real date. Buffy and Spike's date ended up in Willow finding them and trying to kill Spike." Dawn said.

"Yeah I guess I can wait. We can do other things like you know talk when we have free time."

"Yeah just as long as we don't have to go demon hunting together." Dawn said giggling.

Connor smiled kindly at her. Dawn made a mental not that he never seemed to laugh and that it was her new mission to try and make him laugh.

Connor let his eyes wonder from Dawn's face to the people around him. He let his gaze linger over all sorts of things and finally landing on the bar where Maddy was sitting. Only Maddy wasn't alone. A guy was with her.

He was at least nine inches taller then her with striking features and unruly brown hair. He was holding her by the shoulders shaking her slightly saying something loudly to her as she silently cried. Her body was shaking and her head was shaking no. A frown crossed Connor's features.

"What's wrong?" Dawn asked in a slightly worried voice.

"That guy over there. Do you know him? The one with Maddy." Connor asked.

Dawn turned around to look at the guy.

"No I don't. He doesn't look like he's being friendly." Dawn said.

"We better go see what's going on." Connor said taking Dawn's hand and dragging her to the bar.

"I don't know if I can promise you that." Maddy said her voice thick with emotion.

"You have to. Listen to me if you act weak then that world that I showed you. Everything in it could happen. I can't lose you even if I don't have you anymore." Brian said his voice thick with desperation.

"It might not happen like that. If you change now things could be fine." Maddy said hopefully. "I can't."

"Why the hell not?"

"Because I can't. I can't tell you why I just can't. You have to promise that if it does get to that that you will do what I asked you to do." Brian said. Maddy looked at him her eyes filled with tears.

"Okay." She said in a small voice.

Brian brought a hand up to brush off her tears.

"That's my girl. Here you go." Brian said. Another picture floated in Maddy's mind.

This one was of Angel, Lorne and Spike being attacked by men in black clothing. They were dressed like the commando guys that had come to take out Spike's chip. Angel, Lorne and Spike were running away from them in what looked like Buffy's backyard. The vision stopped and Maddy looked up at Brian.

"Where are they going?" Maddy asked.

"I don't know. You'll figure it out soon enough." Brian said about ready to lean in to kiss Maddy's forehead when Connor and Dawn came up to them.

"Hey is this guy bothering you, Maddy." Connor asked in a very protective voice.

"No, its okay, Connor." Maddy said not taking her eyes off of Brian. There was something that he wasn't telling her.

"Are you sure cause he looked like he was getting grabby to me." Dawn said.

"I better go before the whole group gets here. I don't think I'm wanted." Brian said.

"Yeah sure, go." Maddy said finally wiping away most of the tears with a little magically assistance.

"Maddy remember what you said." Brian said.

"I keep my promises, Brian."

"And that's why you're better then me." Were Brian's parting words as he snapped his fingers and disappeared.

"Should he have been using magic in such a public place?" Dawn asked.

"It's okay. To everyone who isn't supernatural it looked like he just walked away." Maddy said. Just then the group made there way over to Maddy, Connor and Dawn.

"Was that who I think it was? Why didn't you kick his ass?" Buffy demanding leaving everyone else in the dark behind her.

"He was here to give me some interesting information." Maddy said.

"Interesting information or not isn't he a bad guy." Buffy said.

"Yeah I guess he is. He just was relaying a message. Next time I see him we'll be fighting on different sides."

"Weren't you already fighting on different sides?"

"No we were fighting each other."

"Okay for everyone else who isn't Buffy and Maddy can I just say we are totally in the dark." Xander said.

"Don't worry about it Xand. We have to go see if Spike is okay." Buffy said.

"He's being attacked by those initiative guys." Maddy said.

"How did you. . . never mind. Let's just go."

"They're on the run you know. We'll have to go to the house first. Then we have to figure out why Buffy has the power of empathy." Wes said.

"You do?" Maddy asked.

"Yeah I guess I do. Botched spell?" Buffy asked.

"No I think that this might be a whole vampire mate type thing. The spell worked just fine as far as I can tell." Maddy said.

"Great so I'm just feeling Spike's feelings just because."


"Well let's just hope he doesn't feel anything to icky."

Chapters 19, 20 and 21

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