In My Bathroom

In My Bathroom

TITLE: In My Bathroom
AUTHOR: Clockstopper
PAIRING: Spike/Buffy
DISTRIBUTION: Currently playing on FanFiction. net. You want just ask! Tell me where my baby's going though.
DISCLAIMER: The Characters in this story are not mine. I wish they were, but they aren't. They belong to Joss and Co. I do own the situation I put them in though. It's MY PLOT. You think if I did own these characters I'd have signed on for the cheap free homepage? Don't sue me I have nothing of value but this, my computer and a few Buffy posters.
WARNING: Language

Chapter 22:

Angel sniffed around. He was pretty sure that he�d be able to smell the oracles if they were near, but Cordelia�s questions were disrupting his concentration.

�Angel are you sure this is the way to the caves. I mean I lived in Sunnydale my whole life and I don�t remember any caves this way. Make out points, yeah, but never any caves. Although there was that one time when there was the werewolf, which not surprisingly turned out to be Oz, and Buffy was going on and on about caves being this way��

�Cordy!� Angel snapped and was suddenly remorseful once he saw that look on Cordelia�s face. It was that hurt looked mixed with confusion and a little of pissed off just because she was Queen C.

�Sorry, it�s just I�m trying to sniff out for the oracles and your talking is ruining my concentration.� Angel muttered, but he knew she heard.

�Sorry Captain Broody. Talking just helps me take my mind off of the impending doom. You�d think that growing up in Sunnydale would already make me used to impending doom, but that�s so not the case.� Cordy said.

�Did you just call me Captain Broody?� Angel asked.

�God Angel, I just had a whole tirade and all you heard was the Captain Broody part.� Cordy said somewhat shocked.

�Um� yeah� it proves you�ve been spending entirely too much time with Spike. He uses Captain for everything.� Angel said.

Cordy stopped for a second, looked thoughtful and then shrugged.

�Yeah I guess he does. Sort of rubs off on you I guess.�

�Yeah I guess. Look the caves should be around here somewhere. I can smell the mystical convergence.�

�How can you smell a mystical convergence? Does is it smell like incense.�

�No it doesn�t smell like anything. It�s a shift in the atmosphere that�s only noticeable if you know where to smell.� Angel explained.

�Oh, I guess that makes sense. You would think what with my half demon status I�d be able to smell it as well.� Cordy said and it almost sounded like a whine.

�I�m sure you can. You just aren�t concentrating and you don�t know what to smell for.�

�Okay so what am I supposed to smell for? Some sort of stinky cheese smell.�

�I can�t really explain it. I mean it�s there, but it isn�t. It�s just something demons are born with. It just smells� off.� Angel finished lamely.

�Oh thanks for the oh so cryptic description. Okay so I�ll just try and do that mediation thing and clear my head.� Cordy said.

�I can do it on my own. It�s not that big of a deal.� Angel said as Cordy started taking deep breaths.

�I wanna help. I feel like everything�s happening so fast and I haven�t contributed that much.� Cordy said.

�You�ve contributed� it�s just things are hectic. Who knows what�s going to happen.� Angel said.

�Yeah the weight of the world rests on Xander�s shoulders. Now I�ll be the first to tell you that Xander is probably one of the nicest, sweetest guys out there, you know when he�s not cheating on me with his best friend. He�s got� spirit. He�s really into helping his friends and all, but��

�He�s not your typical save the world guy.� Angel finished for her.

�Exactly. You want to stop an apocalypse you turn to Buffy or you.� Cordy said.

�Well, this is just the way things turned out. We can�t change them. All we can do is hope that everything ends well for us.� Angel said.

�Yeah well I just wish there was something more I could do then wish. I mean I had all those cool demon powers before I became a Higher Being and now I don�t have any� or at least I don�t think I do. I haven�t really explored it.�

�You�re doing just fine. You don�t have to have powers to be useful. Just the fact that you want to help is good enough.�

�I guess� hey did you sense that?� Cordy asked looking over at Angel. Angel stiffened and frantically looked around.

�Angel what is it?� Cordy asked but Angel wasn�t listening to her. He was walking over to one place under strict concentration.

�Hey, getting weird here. Angel, come on tell me what�s going on.� Cordy said as she trailed after him. It was like watch a drug dog sniff out the cocaine hidden in a dealer�s car. Angel would sniff occasionally before heading in a new direction. He kept it up for at least ten minutes before Cordelia had the vague idea that maybe they were walking in circles.

�Hey Angel, come on you�re beginning to freak me out here. Just tell me where you�re headed.� Cordy said as Angel yet again changed direction.

�There.� Angel said coming to a stop. He was staring at the entrance to a cave. It looked for dark in the inside and Cordy wondered how they were supposed to walk through it.

�Um� Angel its pretty dark and some of us don�t have the super night vision.� Cordy said.

�Yeah I know, but that�s it. I can feel it. That�s where they are. We have to go in.� Angel said walking inside the cave.

�Angel�� Cordy called after him. It was no use. Angel was dead set on going into that cave and Cordy could either follow him inside or wait for him outside. She sighed and walked in after him.


�Think they�re tight enough.� Gunn asked sarcastically as he watched Faith tightened the rope on one of the Initiative guys even tighter then it already was.

�Hey these guys are no good. Gotta make sure they don�t get away.� Faith said with a gleeful smile on her face.

�Yes, but I don�t think Buffy meant that tight. Any tighter and you could quite possibly break one of their wrists.� Wes said.

�Nah, I know when to quit. I�ve got a few more notches before we even get into sprained territory.� Faith said.

�Still, maybe we could, you know, just leave them alone for a bit. They don�t seem to be going anywhere.� Fred said.

�Oh come on. It�s just a little� bondage. Gotta get thrills somehow. I mean she hasn�t even let us fight fledges.� Faith said.

�Is it really all that fun? Tying someone up I mean.� Connor asked.

�Depends on why you�re doing it.� Faith said wriggling her eyebrows suggestively.

Connor looked confused and Faith decided to drop the act. She kept forgetting that as good as her innuendos were, they were totally lost on Connor. It didn�t stop Fred from blushing, Wesley from coughing and Gunn looking at Faith as though she were a mix between a crazy person and his kind of woman.

�Forget it, and yes it can be. If these guys would at least give me an �ow, ow, that hurts�. It�s common courtesy guys.� Faith said looking at the four hostages.

�Ow, ow that hurts.� Jack said sarcastically.

�You know if I could I�d clock you, but I can�t so I won�t. Just remember I could make these ropes tight enough to break your wrists and then you�ll really be saying ow.� Faith said menacingly.

�Yeah, right, whatever.� Jack mumbled.

The rest of the hostages were dead silent. Greg was feeling as though he�d sunk to the lowest low. He wanted to feel bad about betraying the secrets of the Initiative, but he couldn�t. He felt bad about what must have been going through Riley and Patrick�s heads. Riley was thinking about all the things he left behind for this stupid mission.

It didn�t make sense, but he still felt a certain level of� loyalty to the Initiative and was disgusted that they would just kill him, but in a twisted way he could see their reasoning. Patrick just seemed relieved and worried at the same time. He felt safe with the Slayer guarding him, but he couldn�t believe how unspeakably evil the Initiative was being. They were ready to kill him and Riley without a second thought. Then there was the fact that he might have died� if he hadn�t told Buffy everything he knew.

�Enjoying the tie up Faith.� Dawn said as she, Xander, Anya and Giles entered the room.

�Yeah, it�s quite fun. Not better then patrol, but it�ll do. For now anyway.� Faith said.

�Well, under any other circumstances we would be out there patrolling, but I�m afraid we cannot do so. It�s a very risky subject. We could risk getting caught by Willow moments before the big plan.� Giles said.

�Yeah I get it. Bad idea to let Willow see our hand now that we have some vague idea what our hand looks like. Just restless is all.� Faith said.

�Yeah, well� it has been� overwhelming. I just wanna pass out for days on end, but I don�t think I can sleep I�m so wired up.� Xander said.

�Have you slept at all? It doesn�t look like you�ve slept. Maybe you should go home and sleep. You don�t like so well.� Anya said.

Xander gave her a small smile. She had been fussing over him ever since they told her that he was the savior. Her reaction was about the same as everyone else�s along with Xander�s oh so melodramatic question of �Am I going to die�. Of course Giles hadn�t been able to figure out the rest of the prophecy, but they had all assured him that nothing was going to happen to him.

�No, I�m fine. Couldn�t� sleep even if I wanted to what with all that�s going on.� Xander said.

�Well, if it�s any consolation I don�t think any of us can sleep.� Wes said.

�Yeah I heard that. How long do you think this thing Cordy and Angel are doing will last.� Gunn asked.

�We have no idea. Could take hours or days or quite possibly bare minutes. As far as we know from the Oracles they live on a different plane of reality.� Wes said.

�But they�ll come back right. I mean it�s not like Buffy�s little time in that Hell dimension. She said it took like a day on Earth and you�re already like a hundred down there.� Dawn said.

�No, I�m pretty sure that Angel�s said he�s been to visit the Oracles before.� Fred said.

�Yeah, but you can�t really tell on Angel. They could be keeping him in there for hours and it only be a few seconds here.� Dawn said.

�Dawn�s right. The time probably travels slower there then here. They should be back in no time.� Wes said.

�That�s if they can find the caves. I�ve been living in Sunnydale my whole life and I don�t remember caves� well other then the ones the Initiative set up. I don�t remember any natural ones though.� Xander said.

�Well, this cave probably wouldn�t be natural either.� Anya said. �But how can something just� form without us noticing?� Dawn asked.

�Well, I assume the Powers just but the cave up and you only see it if you�re really looking� or know where to look.� Wes said.

�Hey where�s Buffy and Spike. I thought Spike would be loving this torture of the �Solider Boys�?� Faith asked.

�Yeah he does seem to hate these army types. Must be that� chip? They put in his head.� Connor said.

�He�s upstairs with Buffy. They�re� discussing things.� Dawn said.

�Alright, B. I was wondering when we were going to start hearing the moaning and groaning.� Faith said.

�Well, I�d rather hope that at a time like this they wouldn�t be� doing that at a time like this.� Wesley said.

�I agree with Wesley� oh dear God I didn�t just say that� um anyway I agree. Buffy wouldn�t be acting that irresponsibly.� Giles said.

�Shelter yourself all you want. They said they wanted to��discuss� things privately upstairs. Went up there about three minutes ago.� Dawn said.

�Well they do deserve a break. I mean not that they should be doing� that, but they seem to be� stretched to the limit.� Fred said.

�I�m confused.� Connor said as he watched the conversation go back and forth between the people in the room. He didn�t understand what they were talking about. From what he gathered Buffy and Spike were upstairs discussing things and Giles and Wesley didn�t think it was a good idea.

�It�s okay Connor. I�ll explain it to you later.� Dawn said.

�Oh, but there�s nothing to explain. They said they were going to wait. You know make it special to make up for all the sex they had before when things were� just about sex.� Anya said.

�You mean those two haven�t even done it yet?� Gunn voiced what was on the minds of all the people who hadn�t been in Sunnydale for the past year.

�They look so� comfortable with each other.� Fred said.

�Oh they�ve done it. They�ve done it a lot. Apparently at his crypt, at the Bronze, at her job, in the cemetery, at the park, in the woods, in his car, against the tree in the front yard, in Buffy�s bed� yeah they�ve done it.� Dawn said.

�Whoa, go B.� Faith said enthusiastically.

�Thank you for the helpful play by play, but Anya said they didn�t do it.� Gunn said.

�They haven�t ever since Spike got back from his soul journey. Apparently they want to erase all the bad and have only good. That and Spike�s all protest-y about having sex to soon before they actually have a relationship.� Anya said.

�That guy� you�re kidding right. He�s like sex on legs. We are talking about the same vampire right. Leather coat, bleached blonde Billy Idol look. He�s the one holding out. And here I thought B was lucky.� Faith said.

�Oh he�s all �sex on legs� when he�s without the soul, but the minute Willy made his comeback appearance it was all �woe is me, Victorian propriety.� Xander said.

�How would you know Xander? You never even talk to Spike.� Dawn said weary of Xander�s comments of Spike.

�Um� we talked. Had a little conversation a while back. When we went to the� um� videostorethatonetimewhenGileswasout.� Xander said.

�Excuse me Xander I don�t think I quite heard that right. Did you say you went to the video store when you were supposed to be researching while I was gone?� Giles asked as he took of his glasses and not in the flustered librarian way, but something akin to Ripper mode.

�Um� it was Buffy�s idea� and Dawn�s too. I had nothing to do with it. We were just innocent bystanders of it all.� Xander said.

�That�s not the point Xander. The point is what did Spike say.� Dawn said.

�Um� that�s kind of� private.� Xander said.

�Oh now we must know.� Faith said.

�No, I really don�t think that would be wise. What with Spike not being chip head anymore.� Xander said.

�Oh come on. If Spike get�s all vampire like we�ll just throw Faith at him to distract him. You know so he can eat her first.� Anya said.

�Ahn, honey, we don�t want anyone to get eaten. Besides I think we should just forget about it.� Xander said.

�No, this is too juicy. We can�t just forget about it. So just spill.� Faith said.

�Guys, please. This isn�t going to help any. I mean maybe we should just drop it. There�s research we can be doing.� Fred said.

�Fred if it makes you uncomfortable or any of you guys from LA you should leave because trust me we�re going to get the truth our of Xander no matter what the cost.� Dawn said.

�Oh crap. I�m dead. I�m dead in the water. Please someone help me.� Xander pleaded to the other people in the room.

�Xander, man, I�d love to step in and help �cause you know I�ve gotten to know you some and you�re a really cool dude, but they�ve got some looks in their eyes that are scary.� Gunn said.

�Giles! Giles, come on. Tell them to research. Anything to get them off my back.� Xander pleaded with the older man.

�I�m afraid they won�t listen to me.� Giles said as he took off his glasses and began to clean them.

�Oh you coward. Okay look, Any, Dawn, Faith, I don�t want to betray Spike�s trust here. I mean we�re just starting a friendship and� okay I don�t want him to eat me.� Xander said.

�Oh, okay Xander. We�ll just drop it.� Dawn said sitting down on the couch next to a puzzled Connor.

Xander didn�t really believe that she would drop it and his suspicions were confirmed when Anya said, �How about we play a game of twenty-one questions to figure out what�s this secret?�


Meanwhile upstairs Buffy and Spike were upstairs discussing what had been going on during the past few days.

�Buffy I just don�t think you should go. And it�s not because I want to be on my own. This thing� this mission or whatever says that it�s just me and Peaches and the whelp. We can�t risk that they or whatever owns this decoder thing will even let you near this place.� Spike said and he felt as though he was fighting a loosing battle. They had been arguing over this for at least five minutes straight.

�Spike, you want me to send you and Angel and Xander alone to some mystical place we have no clue about. Excuse me if I�m a little hesitant.� Buffy said in an angry tone.

�Buffy, things between me and Angel� well the aren�t great and there sure as hell won�t be a family reunion any time soon, but they�re okay. Xander and I just play around. We aren�t going to kill each other if that�s what you�re afraid of.�

�That�s not it. I mean I know you guys will work together to save the world and I know you�ll do your best, but� there�s strength in numbers. Letting you guys go alone is like suicide.�

�Bloody hell, Buffy we�re capable of taking care of ourselves. Besides you�re needed here. If me and Angel leave it won�t seem like a big deal, but if you go it�ll tip Willow off. You�ve got to be here to hold down the fort. Look for whatever it is we�re still looking for. Maybe take the guys out on a patrol to get a lay of the land.� Spike said and Buffy knew he was right.

�Crap, why do you have to be right? God, is it so bad that I want to know that you and Xander and Angel will be safe when you�re not here. I know I�m being over� bearing or protective or something like that, but I just� I need all of you. I need to know that everyone�s going to be safe and that we�re all going to make it to this big showdown with Willow. This mission is throwing us threw a loop.� Buffy said.

�Yeah I know and everything else has been a total mind blower.� Spike said. Buffy nodded silently. She looked around her room. She couldn�t remember the last time she had been in this room. It had been only days, but it felt like years.

�I can�t lose you Spike. I can�t be like that again. I barely made it this last summer. I don�t know� I can�t understand my feelings. Before it used to be so easy, but things are twisted and I know that�s not fair to you, but I�m trying to figure out what�s going on here. I�m trying to figure out how deep my feelings go. All I know is that you�ve been gone and it was hard and now that you�re here things feel easier. I know I can do this.� Buffy said looking straight into Spike�s eyes.

Spike looked at the woman he loved for so long and knew that she was telling the truth. She was scared of actually losing him. Not Angel or Riley or whatever guy she had had in the past.

She was afraid of losing him and she said that he mattered. Sure she hadn�t said those three little words, but Spike knew she was just protecting herself like he had tried to before. Spike had tried to hide his feelings and stomp them and keep them away, but he couldn�t he knew that he loved Buffy and there was nothing that was going to change that.

�Buffy, pet, I�m going to come back to you. After everything they�ve thrown at me� a little mission to find this decoder isn�t going to get me.� Spike said.

�Yeah some part of me knows that. Yet there�s another part of me that�s saying �whoa when is it our time�. Spike I�ve been fighting so many apocalypses I�m afraid my head is going to explode. I just want this to be over with. I just want Willow to be okay and I just want to save her.� Buffy said.

�Buffy, we might be able to save her��


�Hear me out luv. This prophecy� it�s pointing us in the right direction, but it�s up to us to fulfill it. Now we may be able to fulfill the prophecy, but what happens after that� how we deal with Willow after that� that�s going to make the difference.� Spike said.

�Spike, what do you mean?� Buffy asked in a confused tone.

�Willow�s killed people, pet. She�s done some pretty bad things and she�ll have to deal with the aftereffects of that. It�s going to weigh heavy on her soul� you know that right.�

�Angel once told me, when Faith was going evil, that once you go past that point of spilling blood there�s no turning back. Some people get lost to it. You don�t think Willow�s going to be one of those people, do you?� Buffy asked.

Spike had every intent on telling Buffy that it was a possibility that Willow wouldn�t be able to recover from taking human lives. He wanted to make sure that she knew what was happening. But now as he looked down at her hopeful face he knew he couldn�t tell her.

�No, pet. You�ll be able to save her.� Spike said not knowing if it was true or not and hoping beyond hope that it was.

�Yeah, we�ll save her. We�ll make sure she�s taken care of and all that rot.� Spike said trying as much to convince Buffy as well as himself.

�See this is why I need you here. You�re always there to say just the right thing. How do you do that?� Buffy asked.

�Don�t know. I just��

Spike! Shit Spike! Shit shit shit! Okay Spike if you�re still in here� I mean if you can still hear me you need to get your ass down here right now.

Spike immediately recognized it as Xander�s voice. He wondered what was wrong with the boy. Spike hadn�t heard any screaming or anything so there couldn�t be an attack on the house. But, by the way Xander�s voice sounded it was an emergency.

What�s wrong someone come in the house? Did the Initiative boys get free? Is everyone alright?

No, no nothing like that. Look we were just talking and then all of a sudden it got to the subject of you and Buffy and if you two are up there� you know. Okay so gross don�t even want to think about that. Anyway I said you properly weren�t and now there all �what do you know?� interrogation tactics and Dawn can be really scary when she wants to know something

Okay breathe will you. There�s nothing you can tell them so just� deal with it I�m busy.

Actually that�s not entirely true is it. I know something. I�m not good at lying so just come down here and save me already. Isn�t that your job?

�Spike, what�s wrong. Spike you�ve got a spacey look.� Buffy said worriedly.

�Oh� um� it�s nothing. Just Xander. Wants to ask me something or wants me to do something.� Spike said.

�You can still hear his thoughts?� Buffy asked.

�Yeah, but I guess he�s getting better at controlling. I think I am too.� Spike said.

�Well that�s good because you�ve got all this crap going on. You still have Lorne and Maddy�s powers type thing.� Buffy asked.

�I�d suppose so. I haven�t tried it since� bloody hell that was only last night.� Spike said.

�Yeah I know the days are moving weird like that. They always do when there�s an apocalypse a comin�. Well we better get down there and see what Xander wants.� Buffy said.

�No! I mean its start of a� guy thing.� Spike said.

�A guy thing? When did you and Xander start talking about �guy things�?� Buffy asked with a questioning tone in her voice.

�Um� just now. Look I�ll tell you about it� later or some time. I just gotta go and see what he wants.�

�Spike you�re acting odd. I�m going with you. End of discussion.� Buffy said as she took his arm and dragged him downstairs.

When they reached the living room they heard a commotion of voices. They all seemed to be arguing with each other over something and Xander was crouched in the corner farthest away from everyone like he was trying to sneak off. The Initiative guys were staring blankly at the people in front of them who were arguing.

�Hey guys what�s up.� Buffy said in a cheery voice.

�Great. Xander you cheated. You used your mind power thingie to get Spike to come down here.� Dawn whined.

�Well, yeah, I�m not going to get tortured by myself. And look at how good I got at it. Didn�t say a word out loud.� Xander said.

�Well just because Spike�s here doesn�t mean we�re going to drop it. Now we can pester Spike as well.� Anya said.

�No, Ahn, I don�t think that�s a good idea. Buffy�s here and we could get in trouble.� Dawn said.

�Oh she�s not the boss of us. B, how�s the sex life?� Faith asked.

�What!?� Buffy said looking confused.

�I asked how�s your sex life. Spike there giving it to you good enough?� Faith asked.

�Oh my god! Is that what you guys are talking about down here?� Buffy asked in an incredulous voice.

�Well, yeah, nothing better to discuss. Besides I told them you two weren�t doing it.� Anya said.

�And how would you know that, Anyanaka.� Spike asked in a menacing tone.

�Oh Buffy and I were discussing it once. She said you guys were waiting for it to be all sweet and new and whatever. Personally I told her she should just jump you. She seemed to like that idea.� Anya said.

�Anya!� Buffy yelped.

�Great so now you�re discussing our private life with your friends. That makes me feel so much better� seeing as how you�re painting me as some kind of nancy boy poof.� Spike said.

�I� I mean I was talking to Anya about it, but only because we were discussing her relationship with Xander too.� Buffy said.

�Okay, whoa when did I get involved?� Xander said from his spot in the corner.

�You�ve been involved Xander, get with the program.� Dawn said.

�And you�re all just discussing this in front of strangers and my sister!?� Buffy asked still shocked that her friends were even discussing her relationship with Spike.

�Well, yeah, it�s the only interesting thing to talk about.� Faith said.

�No, nah uh, we were just minding our own business. We have no deal in this. Ya�ll are crazy if you ask me, but that�s just from a guy who doesn�t know anything�s point of view.� Gunn said.

�Yes we were trying to research.� Wes said and Fred nodded her head impassively.

�Yeah and I still don�t have any idea what�s going on. I�m just sort of sitting here.� Connor said.

�Look Buffy it�s nothing to be ashamed of. I think it�s sweet that you and Spike want to wait for the right moment and all, but come on you guys have done it like a million times.� Dawn said.

�Dawn! Great we are not discussing this. This is the end of the discussion.� Buffy said.

�But Xander knows why Spike wants to wait. Wouldn�t you like to know Buffy? I mean if he can get all angry about his reputation because you discussed things with me� it�s sanctimonious to go and do the same thing.� Anya said.

�I already know why.� Buffy said.

�Yeah, yeah the soul and his propriety and what not, but Xander made it seem like more then he was just really old. Besides, look at him. He�s fidgeting. They both are. Twitchy behavior like that means they know something we don�t know.� Faith pointed out.

Buffy looked over at Xander who was shrouded in the shadows trying desperately to escape Buffy�s eye line. Faith was right he knew something. Spike was more allusive. If Buffy didn�t know him as well as she did, she would have overlooked it as Spike just being Spike, but he was toeing the ground and wasn�t looking directly at her.

�Spike, is there something you�re not telling me?� Buffy asked.

�Um� well, maybe, but could we really do this somewhere else. You know not in front of all these� people.� Spike said.

�No, I mean you obviously think that it�s better to discuss intimate details about yourself with my friend rather then with me. So here are all my friends.� Buffy said and she looked beyond pissed.

�Look I just needed a guy�s perspective on things. Xander was the only guy here. I was going to tell you before��

�Tell me now I�m listening.� Buffy said in a challenging manner. She was daring him to say no.

�I� um��

�He�s feeling too guilty to� you know. Cause he killed those Slayers and what not.� Xander said.

�Yeah, yeah that�s it.� Spike said.

�Why would you need a guy�s perspective on that? I mean that�s more of a soul dealing thing. Why not just call and ask Angel about it. Or you know not ask a guy and talk to Buffy. I thought it would be something along the lines of you�re all impotent now with the soul.� Anya said.

�Yeah right, me impotent.� Spike said.

�Well, are you?� Buffy asked.

�What?!� Spike yelled.

�Well, what you�re saying to me is clearly not the truth. I can see that it�s not. Stop lying to me Spike.� Buffy said.

�Hey I tried. It�s all you now.� Xander said.

�I outta rip out��

�Spike I�m waiting.� Buffy said.

Spike looked around and realized he wasn�t going to get anything out of anyone. No help no nothing. They all seemed to want to know too much.

�You want to know the truth. Want me to self-deprecate myself in front of all your friends and� Riley Finn. Fine okay here you go. I�ve never had sex before. There are you happy?� Spike said. Buffy�s eyes went wide and everyone in the room went quiet.

�Wait, that can�t be. I mean the crypt and the tree and all those places� the Bronze. Spike I was there remember.� Buffy said.

�Spike don�t try and lie to us� I mean you�re over a hundred. We saw you with Dru.� Dawn said.

�Yes and that Harmony vampire.� Anya added.

�Without the soul, Spike�s had sex all he wanted� with whoever he wanted. Shoot there have been orgies for heaven�s sake. But with the soul� I was twenty-six years old waiting for the right person to come along and you know get married and all that stuff. I didn�t think I was going to be turned into a vampire. So I didn�t have sex when I was turned. That�s right folks Spikey died a virgin.� Spike said in a self-deprecating manner.

The people in the room were silent for a long time. None of them were sure how to react to the news and they weren�t sure that they had the right to hear something so personal.

�Spike, we�re� I�m sorry. I didn�t mean to force. It�s all our fault.� Dawn said.

�Yeah, sorry.� Faith and Anya muttered.

�What it�s not your fault I was the biggest loser in the world. Bloody hell, even doughnut boy over there was better then I was.� Spike said. Xander, who felt he should be angry, found himself feeling sorry for Spike.

�Look, Spike, it�s not big deal.�

�Yes it bloody well is a big deal. Look I can�t do this. I need� I need a smoke and some air. I�ll see you guys later.� Spike said and he began to walk out of the house.

�Spike! Wait don�t go. Look we�ll talk about this�� Buffy began

�There�s nothing to talk about. Not right now anyway. Just� let me clear my head a bit alright.� Spike said as he walked off leaving Buffy completely confused and the rest of the group sullen and guilty.

Chapter 23:

�This isn�t what I pictured when I said I would go with you. Jeez Angel can you stop with the hound dog routine for just a second�� Cordelia tried again, but it was pretty much useless. Angel was in some weird like trance. They had been walking through the caves for a good twenty minutes and had found nothing remotely useful. Angel was still on the trail of something though.

�Okay maybe if you could just talk to me. You know some sign you�re okay. Anything would do really. I mean this whole sniffing thing is freaking me out.� Cordy said, but again she got nothing from Angel. It was like he was being drawn by something to go further through the caves.

�Jeez it would be really helpful if I had that cool glow-y power. I can�t even see what I�m doing. I�ve tripped over three rocks and I think there�s dirt on my face� and you don�t even care. You�re walking around here like zombie vamp with your night vision and you don�t even care that�� Cordy trailed off when she felt something whipping at her skin. It was an odd feeling like there was a cold draft, but it felt� charged.

�Okay what was that? Angel listen to me I think I�m feeling something, but I don�t�� Cordy stopped when she felt the feeling again, but this time instead of brushing against her it was pulling her.

�Okay I�ve officially lost it. That�s right I�ve lost it� or I�m feeling what you�re feeling. Only it�s not as strong. Okay I really need to stop talking to myself. I�m trusting you, you know� don�t screw it up.� Cordy said looking upward like she was talking to the Powers.

She followed Angel, but only because the� whatever it was that was guiding her happened to be following Angel as well. It didn�t seem to be as strong as Angel�s though. she could still talk if she wanted to and she had the slight feeling that she could turnaround and ignore it if she wanted to.

It was odd that Angel would have the stronger link with the Powers considering she had been one and she still had the visions. Then the thought struck her that because of her Former Power status it was probably harder to manipulate her into doing what this force wanted. �Okay where did that come from? Must be this pull-y thingie.� Cordelia muttered.

She and Angel walked for at least ten more minutes before coming to a stone pillar with a bowl and other ingredients on it.

�Okay what now.� Cordelia asked. For the first time since they started their journey down the cave Angel looked over at her with clear eyes.

�You�re supposed to do the summoning spell.� Angel said.

�Oh yeah right he whole reason I�m here is to do that spell. Okay so what do I do?�

�I don�t know. Throw some stuff into the bowl and presto. Like I said you should know how to do it on instinct.� Angel said.

�Right, instinct.� Cordelia said looking down at the various herbs. She picked up one and placed a little in the bowl. Then it was as if her hands weren�t hers as she poured various things into the bowl and muttered a few incantations.

Suddenly a white door appeared out of nowhere. It was bordered with ivory and gold. It looked slightly the same as the door in L.A. only more� door like. Angel smiled when he remembered the first time he had went to visit the Oracles with Doyle during the day that wasn�t. That entrance had been under the post office and it had given Angel a little laugh.

�Do you know where we are� I mean under.� He asked Cordelia instantly realizing she�d have no idea.

�Um� no I don�t make it a habit to run around in caves on the Hellmouth.� Cordy said a little annoyed but without its usual bite.

�Hmmm, I�ll have to ask Spike. Well here goes nothing.� Angel said opening the door. The other side held a portal in various colors of blue and green. Angel stepped through it and was expelled to the other side like a bullet. He fell to the ground and took a deep unneeded breath.

�Okay� ow. Jeez how did I get roped into coming with you? I thought I was supposed to stay outside while you did your champion thing.� Angel looked up to see Cordelia sprawled out on the floor next to him.

�I don�t know what happened. Honestly. Every time I went with Doyle he had to stay on the outside.

�Well that�s because those Oracles were arrogant prigs who thought they knew everything. Well I guess they did, but come on how many times can you be cryptic before it turns really annoying. Not to mention grading and time consuming. And what I can�t want to see a familiar face.� Angel and Cordelia both looked up at the sound of a familiar Irish accented voice.

�Doyle!� Cordelia screamed.

�Yup the one and only Princess. So how�s life been treating you two since I left the mortal coil? Wait don�t answer that I actually already know the answer. I think congratulations are in order. Angel he looks nothing like you, but I can see the resemblance through the brooding.� Doyle said. Angel looked at his old friend who basically looked the same as the day he died. He had the same clothes and everything.

�How� I mean� how?� Angel said not really what to ask first.

�I honestly don�t know. One second I�m burning up and the next I�m in this calm place. Seemed like hundreds maybe thousands of years before I was pushed here and all of a sudden I know everything. I mean everything, Angel man. Didn�t get an explanation as to why I knew everything, but I just did.� Doyle said.

�So you�re the new Oracle. I thought Anya said that they�re the same person but different bodies� Cordelia said.

�Right, well I think she made a mistake. I get there knowledge and their memories for some reason. I think that�s what Anya meant. So I guess I�m the new Oracle. Haven�t gotten many visitors, but they all come here seeking my knowledge. It�s a bit funny when you think about it.� Doyle said.

�And they couldn�t set you up with better clothes. I mean if you�re all conduit to the Powers and all shouldn�t you be in� I don�t know robes of white and gauze or something.� Cordy said.

�I would have been. You don�t even want to begin to know how hard I fought to not have gauze.� Doyle said not quiet repressing a shudder.

�Why didn�t you leave? Contact us or something.� Angel said finally finding his voice.

�Oh I tried. That was the first thing I did. I couldn�t get out. Then, with my all knowing Powers, I realized I�m not supposed to leave. It�s a bummer, but I�m dead so it really doesn�t matter.� Doyle said.

�Oh.� Angel said quietly.

�It�s not big deal really. I�m like at peace with myself so I can just be here. It�s really quite fascinating.� Doyle said.

�So� you were like floating around in heaven. I know how that goes. I was bored out of my mind up there.� Cordelia said.

�Oh my heaven was different from your heaven. See you were there to work whereas I was there to be� well dead. I don�t know what made them decide that I was Oracle material, but here I am.� Doyle said.

�That�s great. So� you know everything. How do you live with knowing everything?� Cordelia said.

�I don�t, Princess I�m dead.�

�Oh you know what I mean.�

�Well it�s really easy when you don�t have anything better to do. I mean I get to sit around and look at everyone�s lives. I just sort of� know. It doesn�t overload my brain like the visions did with yours. Sorry about that by the way. I honestly didn�t know I would give them to you.� Doyle said.

�It�s okay. I mean everything happens for a reason.� Cordy said.

�Not to sound rash, but guys end of the world. Maybe we could catch up after we stop this apocalypse.� Angel said. It was slightly unnerving to see his friend standing there like he was alive. Angel wondered if he could go over and hug him� not that he would, but it was something to ponder. He looked solid.

�Right, sorry, but Angel man the world�s always ending. It�s been forever since I�ve seen you guys. Well not really forever for you, but forever for me. I�ve been dead for what� four years?� Doyle said in a voice that said he wasn�t really sure how long he�d been dead.

�Three. Four this December.� Cordy said.

�Well it seemed like a lot longer to me. But Angel is right. And there�s not much catching up to do. I already know everything about what�s happened to you guys over those last three years. All knowing remember. So okay you seek answers� well ask the questions.� Doyle said.

�You�re not going to be cryptic like all the other Oracles are you?� Angel asked.

�Well it is in the job description. I�m supposed to use the BIG voice and talk all mighty in like lyrics and whatnot, but for you, I�ll make an acceptation. The Powers won�t mind. They owe me a few thousand.�

�And I don�t have to give you a gift right. We can do this gift free, because I forgot to bring one.�

�No gift. I don�t know what I�d do with it.� Doyle said.

�Okay so questions. I guess the big one is what is this quest Spike, Xander and I have to go on.� Angel asked.

�Spike� ha, that made me laugh. You know the whole soul thing. I mean last time I saw him there were hot pokers involved. Well I guess people or vamps can change. Anyway this quest. Yeah I think I�ve heard of it. It�s just a small thing. You have to go to Kingman�s Bluff. I think it�s somewhere in Sunnydale. Anyway you go to Kingman�s Bluff and there should be a cave� I know another cave� anyway there�s a cave and you need to go into it.� Doyle said.

�What can we accept to come from this cave? Demons, wizards, witches, other divinities.� Angel said.

�Ever here of the Tribunal, Angel.� Doyle said with a smile that tells Angel he knows that Angel knows what the Tribunal is.

�Yeah, I�ve heard of them.� Angel said deciding to play along.

�Hear of them� didn�t you have to like joust with one of their servants to save that lady that one time.� Cordelia said.

�Cordy, Princess, never change.� Doyle said with tons of affection. Cordy smiled one of her bright smiles at him and looked pleased.

�As I was saying, you�ll have to deal with them. Both you and Spike will have to fight some people in order to be deemed worthy or whatever. It�s just like what happened with that lady. You fail, Xander dies and the world ends, but you know, no pressure.� Doyle said.

�So me and Spike fight these demon things and we�ll get what we�re looking for.� Angel said.

�That�s the basic rundown. Course it�s going to be hard Angel. The first time you face the Tribunal it was pretty easy all things considering. You became a champion and that was that. Spike� and I still can�t believe it no matter how many times I see it play over and over again in my head� Spike he fought for his soul thus earning him the right to be a champion and Jesus I�ve been doing this to long because I just said thus.� Doyle said.

�Well look at it this way. You sound scholarly� even if you do still look like a retard.� Cordy said smiling at Doyle.

�Right back to the hard part. You were saying it was going to be hard.� Angel said feeling a bit uneasy about all of it.

�Right, well they know you and Spike are champions and they�ll try you as such.� Doyle said.

�But didn�t they already do that. Me with the lady and Spike with his soul.� Angel asked.

�Well, with Spike they were trying to see if he was worthy enough to be a champion. If he could stand all the trials that he would be a champion. With you although you were being used as that lady�s champion it wasn�t yet set in stone that you were a champion. By defeating the Tribunal�s warrior they established that you were a champion. Now that you both are champions� the only two true champions� things�ll get a bit harder.� Doyle said and Angel saw the grimace on his face.

�Sounds dangerous.� Cordelia said.

�It is Cordy, but then again so is saving the world in the first place. You�ll do just fine I have faith that you will.� Doyle said.

�Would be kind of helpful if you could tell me for fact that I can do this.� Angel said and it was just like talking to Doyle again.

Doyle always had the ability to make Angel more talkative with his carefree take on life.

�Sorry Angel man. I wish I could, but I�m not psychic. I know how things work. I know the past all of it really. I know the present and everything that�s going on at this moment and I can offer you answers to your questions, but I can see into the future. If it�s meant to be it�ll happen.� Doyle said.

�Great confidence boost.� Angel muttered.

�Hey man if I was still alive I�d put my life in your hands and you know that. I�ve done it before. All you have to do is believe in yourself and your abilities. I know it�s been hard this last year what with the rugrat and all, but you can do it. You fight evil. It�s what you do.� Doyle said.

�Yeah Angel, you�re the Dark Avenger, remember.� Cordelia said smiling slightly. Angel smiled back at her and her smile turned into one of those famous Cordelia Chase million dollar smiles.

Angel looked at Doyle who was also smiling and he felt a strange sense of rightness. this was him and Doyle and Cordelia. They had come so far since L.A. and here they were. A champion and a former Power and an Oracle. Three extremely powerful people and Angel knew that they were going down their right paths.

�Okay so the Tribunal. Can you tell me what kind of trials Spike and I�ll have to endure?� Angel asked.

�It�s not for me to say. They�ll be trying and test you as an individual. I�m not sure if they have anything to do with strength� physical wise anyway.� Doyle said.

�Great so we�ll have to deal with mental trials. You sure you don�t know what I can expect. Not even a little.� Angel said.

�Sorry. The Tribunal�s finicky about things. They�ll change things up just to mess with you. I can tell you that you shouldn�t bring your own weapons. They won�t allow you to. They�ll see it as an attack and you�ll never be able to get what you�re looking for.� Doyle said.

�So it�s just Angel, Spike and Xander. The rest of us won�t be able to go with them.� Cordy said.

�That�s right. You�ll just have to sit and wait.� Doyle said.

�Buffy�s not going to be too happy about that. I mean she�s been so coddling over Spike it�s starting to get sickening. That and the fact that she�s gotta be in charge all the time.� Cordy said.

�It doesn�t matter. The Tribunal won�t accept her as a champion and since she won�t be accepted they won�t let her in.� Doyle said.

�So no weapons� how are we going to fight them without any weapons?� Angel asked.

�They�ll most likely give you them.� Doyle said.

�And we don�t have to present them with a gift or light a sacred fighting torch or anything.�

�Nope no gifts or sacred fighting torches. Just go in there and state your purpose.�

�And this will lead to getting whatever key we need to decode the rest of the text.� Angel said.

�Well not exactly. The Tribunal will give you another text and a shiny looking necklace thing. It�s the spell to invoke the dead that you�re looking for. The rest of the text that you have you�re already fulfilling. It says �you need to go to an Oracle and ask the questions that lie within your heart�. That�s the ancient scripture anyway.� Doyle said.

�Okay, so we do this. Thank you for the answers that I was looking for.� Angel said.

�Yeah and we�ll come visit, Doyle. Honest. After this is all over we�ll stop by and talk to you. We won�t take up too much of your time cause you know you probably have important stuff to do. But we will come and see you.� Cordelia said.

�Of course you Princess. I�m holding you to that. When you save the world come back and say hi.� Doyle said opening the portal. Cordelia gave Doyle one last smile before stepping through the portal. Angel went to go step through the portal when it closed.


�Okay now they owe me something and I�m collecting. Your head�s all jumbled man and I didn�t know that my death was going to make it so you�d lose your way.� Doyle said.

�I�ve lost my way?� Angel asked with a certain amount of confusion in his voice.

�Well, yeah, I mean not totally, but you�re getting there. This thing with Connor and Cordelia and Darla. It�s got you all jumbled up. Now I know you�ve accepted everything that�s happened to you, but you�re going to lose everything if you don�t change.� Doyle said.

�I thought you said you can�t see into the future?� Angel said.

�I can�t� not really. I�m just guessing. See Angel you�re a puppet to the Powers and they know it. I know it.� Doyle said.

�I�m not a puppet to anyone.� Angel said somewhat stubbornly.

�Yes, you are. You just don�t want to admit it. So I�m going to give you something that will give you some of your freedom back and will probably help you in this fight.� Doyle said.

�What is it?� Angel asked.

�I�m going to give you your soul permanently.� Angel stood staring blankly at Doyle for a few minutes. He didn�t know what to say to Doyle about the new turn of events. It was something he had always dreamed of having, but never really thought could come true. To have his soul with no repercussions and just to be� free to be happy and experience that happiness.

�Why? Come on Doyle I know the Powers don�t give someone something for nothing.� Angel said.

�Yeah I know, but this is. It�s truly something for nothing. I could have anything I want they said. They owe me or something because of the way I died. Anyway they said that I can choose anything I want and I chose this. No strings Angel, just pure freedom.� Doyle said.

�You�re not kidding me. You�re actually telling the truth.� Angel said.

�Angel would I lie to you. They said permanent soul with no repercussions. They�ve been watching you too Angel man. They can see a slipping pattern. That and� they�re afraid.� Doyle said.

�Afraid. What are they afraid of?�

�You basically you losing your soul. They see what�s happening with Connor and how you�re getting closer and closer to him everyday. They see that Buffy isn�t to be worried about� although they are concerned with her fascination with the undead if you know what I mean. They see a new threat though.� Doyle said.

�Another threat� another person to have perfect happiness with?�



�Come on man, we both know who I�m talking about. It�s Princess. They can tell that you love Cordelia and not just in a sister brother way. They know that you�re getting closer and closer that whole Higher Being ascension thing was to come up with a way to stop you two.�

�What?! They took Cordy away so they could come up with a way to stop us.�

�Yup, Cordy was smart though and she figured it out. They sent her down there with no memory hoping for the best. They totally wiped out the thought that she was here as a diversion. Course we had nothing to do with the Connor thing, but it turned out for the best. You and he are on good terms.� Doyle said.

Angel nodded his head curtly. He was upset that the Powers had thought it their right to meddle in things that weren�t there business.

�You have me to thank for the whole thing. You know Cordy coming back. She wanted to and they wouldn�t let her. I talked them into it after they saw she was getting powerful and would probably be able to get herself out. They took away the memory of the power too. That was her price. So they send me down here as an Oracle and I say well you owe me and they saw name it. And so I named it.� Doyle said.

�Wow you gave up your time in heaven so I can have a soul.� Angel said.

�Well it wasn�t much a sacrifice. I get to see you when I want or well when you have time and I get to save the world� again. All and all I think it�s a pretty good idea. One of my better ones.�

�Doyle� I don�t know what to say.�

�Say yes. I can�t do it without your permission. Free will and what not. It�s a big thing with them.� Doyle said looking upward.

�Yes of course are you crazy! I mean� yeah okay.� Angel said trying to act indifferent after his display of glee.

�You know now that you�re going to have a soul permanent like maybe you can do something for me.� Doyle said laughing at Angel�s change in attitude.

�Name it.�

�Well I want you all to be happy. That�s the main thing for me right now. Maybe you could tell Harry I said hi� you know if she�s still in L.A. Also I want you to� well when I met you I was on a mission. Make him more integrated into the human world. You gotta stop hiding you glee man. Bounce if you want to. This is a big deal.� Doyle said.

Angel looked as though he were thinking it over.

�Yeah okay this is so great. I can�t wait.�

�Also promise me you�ll talk to Cordy. I know you two love each other that way and I want to see you happy.� Angel looked over at Doyle and saw the strain in his eyes.

Doyle had once loved Cordelia and Angel knew he would have given everything to be with her, but he knew that he couldn�t. Doyle had said the Powers had told him he could have anything he wanted and Angel didn�t doubt that they meant anything. He could have come back, but he didn�t. He knew his place and all he wanted was for his friends to be happy.

�Doyle� I miss you. I still think about you every so often. I wish� I wish it were me instead of you.�

�Aw, man, don�t say that. I�m totally fine with my existence. I know that I wanted the girl. Coulda had her to if I was alive. We made a dinner date you know. Anyway it�s not my place anymore. I belong here and you belong with her. It takes a big man to say that. I do get it Angel. Fighting the good fight. I saw it when I died to save all of you and I still see it. It�s about choices and where you belong and this is where I belong. No regrets that was always my motto.� Doyle said.

�I will come visit. Me and Cordy both. And maybe you can meet some of the other people. They�re really good people.� Angel said.

�I look forward to meeting them. Although I might get teased on in the Oracle world. we�re not supposed to let just anybody in, but you know I like to live dangerously.� Doyle said.

�Okay we better do this. I don�t want to just leave you but��

�It�s the end of the world. I know Angel. I get it. All right this might sting a bit.� Doyle said lifting his hands in the air.

He muttered a few words in what sounded like Latin and walked closer to Angel still muttering. He place his hand on Angel�s chest and a bright light circle Angel. Doyle was right. It did sting� a lot, but it wasn�t anything searing. It took a few minutes before the light and the stinging stopped and he looked around and saw Doyle smiling at him. Angel shifted from one foot to the other and then smiled back at Doyle.

�Your Latin sure has gotten better.� Angel said teasingly.

�Angel not to sound too much like Cordy but� duh! All knowing remember.�

�How could I forget? I don�t feel any different.� Angel said.

�I don�t imagine you would. Your soul was already there. I just took the curse away, but it�s full proof. Nothing would get by my all knowing self. Well you better go. It�s been at least ten minutes here so it�s been a few seconds in the real world.� Doyle said.

�Like I said Doyle. We�ll come see you after this is done.� Angel said.

�I know, now go save the world so I can still have a job.� Doyle said. Before Angel could reply Doyle had opened the portal and had pushed him out.

Angel landed on the floor again. He never remembered the force of being pushed out being that hard.

�Jeez Angel you were gone for a couple of seconds. Did you get caught or something. I mean I was actually starting to worry.� Cordy said.

�No, I was just talking to Doyle about some stuff.� Angel said getting off the ground and brushing off some dust.

�About what. I mean what could you two possibly be discussing with out me. Were there some more things you needed to know about the Tribunal. Angel hello are you even listening to me. Don�t tell me you went all zombie again.� Cordy said.

�Cordy, I have to tell you something.� Angel said turning towards Cordy and walking over to her.

�What? Is it about what you and Doyle were talking about?� Cordy asked.

�Yeah sort of.� Angel said taking Cordy into his arms. He pressed her close to his chest and just looked into her eyes. �Angel��

�Cordy, Doyle gave me my soul� permanently.�

�What?! Angel that�s great.� Cordy said flinging her arms around Angel�s neck to hug him.

�I know it is.� Angel said into Cordy�s hair.

Cordy looked up at Angel and her eyes were filled with joy and Angel hoped that his eyes reflected the same. He dipped his head and captured her lips in a kiss. It was a sweet kiss nothing overly obscene. Just a happy to be� around kiss.

�What was that for?� Cordy said after Angel pulled away from the kiss.

�Just because I realized� or well I had a little help� anyway I realized that I have to start acting more human. I stopped after Doyle died. I mean I had tried being human with friends and doing things with Doyle like going to bars and what not, but then I died and I was trying, but it wasn�t the same. Now I think after seeing Doyle I realized that I could be� human like if I wanted to.� Angel said.

�That and you know now curse to keep you from achieving perfect happiness either.� Cordy said coyly.

�Well yeah that to. This isn�t anything right now Cordy. You and me, but I was hoping it could be a start.� Angel said letting the hopeful tone seep into his voice. Cordy looked up at him and saw genuine interest. She rested her head on Angel�s chest and sighed.

�It�s a start.�

Chapter 24:

Buffy searched everywhere she could think of, but there wasn�t a single sight of Spike. She had gone to Willie�s, she had gone to his old crypt that was now Clem�s, she had gone to the cemeteries, she had checked The Bronze. He was no where in sight� and Buffy was getting worried.

With Willow out there looking for anything that would be the weak link in their plan to bring her back into the fold, Spike wondering around the streets of Sunnydale was not a good thing. He was able to protect himself from people now this was true, but he wasn�t magically inclined and Willow�s people would definitely use magic to stop him and capture him.

Searching for Spike didn�t leave Buffy any time to think about why he had fled in the first place. Shock� it was a pretty big shock. Spike didn�t seem like the type to have been a virgin ever especially not when he died. Of course Spike had told her that he had been a hopeless romantic when he was alive. It was just so shocking, but it wasn�t the end of the world, but apparently it was to Spike.

And Buffy could see why too. Spike was the Big Bad. Blustering bravado wherever he went� other lowly demons beware. He had his image to uphold. Not only that it was kind of something you discussed alone and in the private company of your girlfriend. It wasn�t something you wanted blabbed out to a room full of practically all strangers and someone you thought of as your arch nemesis.

So Buffy could see why he was upset. It didn�t stop her from wishing that he would just come back home. It really wasn�t safe for him to be out and about. It wasn�t safe for anyone of them to be out and about during this time. So now Buffy was searching the streets of Sunnydale looking for any sign of Spike.

She hadn�t run into any of Willow�s people but she knew it wouldn�t be long before she found something supernatural. Buffy took a right turn down one of the many alleyways in Sunnydale. She heard the garbage cans rustle and took out her stake just in case it was something other than a cat.

�Bloody hell.�

Buffy let out a sigh of relief when she heard Spike�s voice. She walked over to where he was. Spike was fighting a vampire and seemed to be totally engaged in the fight. He picked up a piece of discarded wood from a crate and staked the vampire.

�Well that�s something I haven�t seen in awhile.� Buffy said. Spike turned around and rolled his eyes.

�Did I not make it clear that I wanted to be alone?� Spike said out loud. Buffy thought it was rhetorical, but answered anyway.

�I couldn�t just let you out like that. Especially now with Willow around and all.�

�Well that�s very gracious of you, but as you saw I can take care of myself. So if you could leave me alone now.� Spike said trying to push past Buffy.

�Nuh uh, Mister I don�t think so. We have to talk.� Buffy said.

�About what? How utterly pathetic I was. I don�t want to think about it.� Spike said.

�Well the least you could have done was told me. I mean this is something you discuss with your girlfriend you know.� Buffy said.

�What the fact that I didn�t get any before Drusilla? Sorry but I don�t feel like talking about it. Besides it isn�t any of your business.� Spike said.

�If it affects you then it is my business. I thought we were partners here Spike.�

�We are. I just� it�s embarrassing.� Spike said. He started to walk away.

�So that�s it. You�re just going to walk away when we are having a discussion.� Buffy said getting angry.

�Look, you know okay. You know the big secret. It�s what you wanted to know.� Spike said.

�Okay so maybe I went about it wrong, but I thought you were keeping something really important from me. I got� irrational.� Buffy said.

�I was going to tell you. It just never seemed like the right time. I mean I thought with this whole Willow thing I would have time to think about it before I had to tell you. apparently I was wrong.� Spike said.

�I�m just� I�m trying to understand why this is a big deal for you.� Buffy said.

�You were what� seventeen when you lost your virginity. I was twenty-six� and I still hadn�t lost it. It was a different time. I have a different� time stuck in my head. One that�s telling me that sex� it�s not about the you know� pleasure. I mean sex is for having kids� which I can�t ever have.� Spike said.

�You�re still Spike. I mean you act like you�re still Spike.� �I�m not really sure who I am.� Spike said.

�Oh� well then we can work on that.� Buffy said with a smile on her face. Spike couldn�t help but smile at her. He walked over to her and gather her into a hug.

�I love you.� Spike said softly placing a kiss on the top of her head.

Buffy looked up at him her eyes filled with an emotion even she couldn�t identify. She saw love in Spike�s eyes and knew he was telling her the truth. Some part of her knew that he was always telling the truth. He really did love her. And at that moment it didn�t really matter that there was a war going on around them. It didn�t matter that things were screwed up. She was here in Spike�s arms right where she wanted to be and� she loved him.

�I love you too.� She whispered back.

Spike had a confused look on his face as she uttered the words. A look that soon turned into one of awe. He moved to kiss her and Buffy meet him halfway. The kiss was soft and gentle one of exploration at this new feeling of love. They broke apart smiles on their faces.

�Well isn�t that just grand. Love it�s a great feeling isn�t it!?�

Buffy and Spike turned around to see Brian standing a few feet away a bottle of whiskey in his hand.

�What are you doing here? More recon work.� Buffy said menacing look.

�Nothing like that� I was just having a good time in that bar and they kicked me out.� Brian said pouting.

�In case you haven�t noticed, you�re the bad guy and we�re the good guys. Ergo we should be kicking your ass." Buffy said.

�Well it certainly would make this day better if you did.� Brian said.

�He�s pissed.� Spike said.

�I hadn�t noticed.� Buffy said sarcastically.

�Love really is a grand feeling. I mean really grand.� Brian said as he stumbled about. He looked as though he was going to cry.

�Should we even bother kicking his ass. I mean I know Maddy said he was going to be the key in taking down Willow or something like that, but he does seem rather pathetic.� Buffy said.

�Yeah, Maddy also mention that I�m her husband.� Brian said.

Buffy and Spike stood slightly shocked at this revelation.

�No, she just said that you were a friend.� Buffy said.

�Pfft, friend. I spent a year married to her and she goes around saying I�m just her friend. That�s terrible. And I loved her. God I loved her so much. You know that real soulmates kind of love. And then she just�� Brian started to break down and cry as he slurred his words.

�Okay this is just sad to watch.� Spike said.

�Yeah I� I almost feel sorry for him.� Buffy said.

�Well that�s pushing it, love.�

�I didn�t cheat or anything. She didn�t cheat either. Actually it still could have worked if it wasn�t for� God, you know what go ahead and kill me. Just� do it.� Brian said.

�Now why would we do that?� Buffy asked.

�Because you haven�t seen what I�ve seen. Everyone dies. I�m talking everyone. And I live. What kind of twisted shit is that?� Brian said.

�Very twisted. How do you know this?� Spike asked.

�Well, you can�t tell anyone, but� I�m a Seer.� Brian whispered then proceeded to break out in giggles.

�A Seer. Interesting. Why aren�t you on the side of good then? If you�re a Seer?� Buffy said.

�Well that�s the complicated part isn�t it. It�s why I left her. Oh sure I said it was because she was a demon, but really it was because I�m bad.� Brian said.

�Well at least we knew about the demon part.� Buffy said.

�Oh she tells you. I married her and she didn�t even tell me until it popped up. We were thinking about having kids you know that?� Brian said.

�Really don�t need to go into details about your life.� Buffy said. �

Anyway, I�m dark� or I got this curse on me. I don�t know it�s a thing from way back. Anyway I�m a Seer. I see things that can help only the bad guys and what I saw was a real dozy.� Brian said.

�And you saw everyone dead?� Spike asked.

�Exactly. Everyone. I think it was because Maddy didn�t want to kill me, but I insured that she would. I made her promise. She never breaks a promise.� Brian said.

�Well you know I can save her the pain and heartache and just off you right now.� Buffy said.

�Buffy, you can�t kill a human. If anything I should do it. I mean this is the wanker that attacked me getting off the boat.� Spike said in a menacing tone. He growled in Brian�s direction.

�Go ahead. I already lost everything that�s important to me.� Brian said in a defeated tone.

�He�s really melodramatic.� Buffy said.

�Oh like you wouldn�t be. If you had to be faced with the choices we�ve made� then maybe you�d get it.� Brian said closing his eyes.

�Well if you really had a death wish��

�You kill me and then all you know is that I�m not the �Wind�.� Brian said.

�How do you know about that?� Buffy asked.

�You think she�s really that stupid. She knows there�s a prophecy. She just doesn�t know what it�s about. Not really anyway. She doesn�t know someone is going to betray her.� Brian said.

�So if we kill you then we�re just eliminating the possibilities of who this wind is?� Buffy asked.

�Yeah, but at least I would know that it wasn�t me that was going to make everyone�s life miserable. Just one thing, if you kill me, make sure you take care of Mad. In fact don�t even tell her you killed me right now. Let the battle happen and then she can think that I died in that.� Brian said.

�Here�s a question, if you�re so Mister Love is All then why aren�t you fighting for her?� Buffy asked.

�Because I can�t. she�s better off without me. knowing that I could probably cause that much pain on her� I�d rather die then see her hurt.� Brian said.

�Coward.� Spike said.

�Yeah big time. I�m sure she still loves you. if you just gave it a chance��

�Look if you aren�t going to kill me then I might as well go find someone who will.� Brian said getting up and staggering past Buffy and Spike.

�Not so fast. You�re not sure who the �Wind� is. You have no idea?� Buffy asked grabbing his arm.

�Oh I have an idea. It�s between me and� well Amy really.� Brian said.

�Amy� as in rat Amy?� Buffy asked.

�I guess. I seem to recall the �Dark Mistress� calling her a rat before.� Brian said putting as much sarcasm on the words Dark Mistress as possible.

�That�s all you know?� Spike said as intimidating as possible.

�Yup, everything else I knew I told Maddy. I�m in the dark here.� Brian said.

�I guess that means we�re letting you go.� Buffy said releasing her hold on Brian�s arm.

�Yeah you go and do that. Just remember, if I am the �Wind�� kill me. I know Slayers have that thing about killing humans, but I really will need you to kill me.� Brian said.

�Sort of an odd thing to promise to someone.� Buffy said.

�Just say you will.�

�Without hesitation.� Buffy answered.

�Good to know. See you around.� Brian said as he staggered off into the night.

�Was that really a good idea to let him go. We could have at least tortured him a bit.� Spike said.

�I don�t think bringing him back to the house would have been a good idea. He was drunk and I think� hurting.� Buffy said.

�Yeah he did seem like a wreck.� Spike said.

�No one�s life on the Hellmouth is easy, is it?� Buffy said.

�Well I guess not.� Spike said. Buffy sighed.

Time just seemed to be moving so slow. It had only been mere minutes since she had told Spike she loved him and already everything was thrown through a loop. Work always got in the way. Destiny always got in the way.

�But in a way, I think the hard stuff makes it worth fighting. You know to get to those few good moments.� Buffy turned to Spike and smiled.


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