It took two hours for Buffy and Willow to come to. By that time everyone had cleaned up and was once again gathered around the kitchen table. When they heard the first movement in the office they filed in like a line of armed soldiers facing prisons slated for the firing squad. They were a grim silent group.
"Wha...why am I in chains?"
"What's the last thing you remember Buffy?"
"Yes, what do you remember?"
"Spike, I had a fight with Spike because he was trying to hurt Xander."
Xander's grunt of distaste brought the still chained Slayer's attention to the boy. She took in the sight of her friend standing with Spike's arms around his waist. The she realized who was standing next to them.
"I'm so happy to see you. I've missed you so much."
"Enough to put Riley Finn in the hospital?"
"I don't now what you're talking about."
But everyone had seen the flicker in her eyes. She was lying through her capped teeth, and Xander'd had enough of Buffy's bullshit to last a lifetime.
"Stow it Buff. You remember everything that happened, just like I remember what happened with the hyena. You're such a fucking waste. You could have helped so many people, done so much good, but all you wanted to do was look cute and have Angel wrapped around your Lee press ons. Well newsflash Buff, you aren't cute. You're a rude nasty little bitch. And as for Angel, well he's wrapped around something alright, but it ain't fake and it sure ain't yours. I bet Doyle could tell you all about it."
"You faggot cocksucker! Who the fuck do you think you are?"
"I'm the guy who saved your life, even though you tried to kill my lover and my friends, even though you tried to make sure I could never see my mother again, even though you're a selfish little slut."
"Xander! How could you say that to Buffy? We were trying to help you?"
"Shut up Willow!!! You fucking sleaze! Help me?! Help me, what?!! Fit into a body bag?! Will you please get your head out of Buffy's ass and take a look around? We all know what you are and what you did. You lost Will. I can't stand you and Oz..."
"Can speak for myself."
The two boys looked at each other for a minute. Finally Xander nodded and moved back to Spike. Oz stepped forward and looked at Willow for a silent moment. When he spoke his voice was quiet, but as full of rage as Xander's screams had been.
"I'm driving us back to Sunnydale. When I get there I'm going to be staying with Devon. If you come anywhere near him, or me, or anybody else I care about...I'll kill you."
"Oz, I love..."
"Shut up. You don't now what love is. You don't have a clue. We now about the spells. Xander's going to put a ward on Dev to keep him safe from you, but if I even think I smell you or your magic anywhere near him I will rip your throat out."
"Xander's going to work magic? That's a joke."
All eyes turned to Buffy again. This time it was Giles who stepped forward as Oz walked back to the group. Cordy hugged the smaller man and they stood side by side to watch what happened next.
"Actually, Xander has an exceptional talent for magic. He's a warlock. Those are rarer than even, oh I don't know, slayers. They're also infinitely more powerful. It would be in your best interests to remember that the only reason you're still alive and sane, relatively speaking, is Xander's ability to use magic."
"I'm sure you'll remind me of it when we get back home."
"Not unless you need reminding in the next 72 hours."
"I'm leaving. I'm taking Ethan and I'm going as far away from the hellmouth and you as I can get. Spike might be able to let you live after what you've done, but I'm not sure I can. For Ethan's sake I'm going to try. I just got him back after behaving like a complete ass for nearly two decades, and I'm not about to risk going to prison for murdering the likes of you."
"You and Ethan? What the hell?"
Giles smiled Ripper's smile at her and went back to Ethan. They kissed and held each other, and completely ignored both of the still chained girls on the floor. They were finished with the Slayer and her pet bitch. It was Angel who walked forward next. He knelt down and unlocked Willow and then Buffy. When Buffy moved to hug him he pulled her arms off and stepped away from her.
"You can take a cab back to your hotel until Oz comes to get you. Doyle said we should let you stay here until then, but I don't want you anywhere near my family."
"Doyle said? Your family? Who the fuck is your family?"
"You know them Slayer, my son Wil, my son-in-law Xander, my adopted brat Cordelia, and my mate Doyle. The only person who has ever made me truly happy."
"But the curse..."
"The curse had nothing to do with happiness. It was all about doing the things I'd done before the gypsies gave me a conscience. Lying to myself about loving you was one of those things. I tried to love you Buffy, but even then in my heart I knew what you were. I'm just sorry I let it go on so long before I got the hell away from you. Now, get your friend and get out of my home. And if you ever threaten any of my family or friends again, what I do to you will make what I lived through in hell look like a spa treatment."
"Your cab's waiting."
Angel turned his back on Buffy and smiled at the grinning Cordelia. His daughter and sons were smiling, and even Wil was blushing. Doyle looked like the cat that ate the canary, and Angel couldn't stop himself from kissing him.
"Does this mean I have to call you Dad?"
"Yes. Now go clean your room Xander."
For the first time in days laughter filled the old station house. There were hugs and kisses and promises of phone calls and letter. Nobody even glanced at Willow and Buffy when they left. Oz agreed that he and the Dingoes would stay with Cordy when their tour brought them to L.A. Angel promised Giles to look after Xander, and then he hugged Xander and told him how proud he was. Xander blushed under the praise of the only real father he'd ever known and told him how he felt. Giles hugged him again and then moved aside so Ethan could do the same. Jokes were made about Ethan being Xander's new stepdad and not being there to give Xander away at the wedding. Cordy cried and complained that her eyes were going to be puffy for days. But she was smiling and laughing when she said it. Finally it was time for them to go. Oz, Ethan, and Giles said one last round of good-byes. Then they piled into the van and were gone.
By the time the sun went down the station house was clean and the office was open for business. Well, it would've been if everyone hadn't been in the kitchen. Spike sat at the table complaining about the hand he'd just been dealt in yet another game of poker with Doyle. The half-demon in question was sitting across from him making jokes about how the Irish were always better at everything then the English. Xander was sitting on Spike's lap reading a book Ethan had left him about magic and sneaking kisses from his mate whenever possible. Angel and Cordelia were at the stove. Cordelia was watching with intense concentration as Angel showed her the best way to flip pancakes. It wasn't the first such evening, but it was the first one they all knew they had a place at. It wouldn't be the last.