Secrets and Lies
They'd considered taking Kennedy to the emergency
room, but since she came back to consciousness on the drive
back to the hotel and Gunn pointed out it likely hospitals
would be almost to capacity and blood in short supply, she
was carted upstairs to rest after being fed a concoction Lorne
said would help stimulate blood production. "I don't
think she should go out for a while," he insisted. "She
certainly shouldn't go chasing after Angelus."
Buffy agreed and Willow didn't offer any argument.
She'd been very quiet since they'd left the warehouse and
Buffy could only guess what thoughts must be going through
her head. She'd stood back while Kennedy was settled, almost
as if she was afraid to touch her. Only when Kennedy asked
for her in a sleepy voice did she leave her place against
the wall and come forward to take the girl's hand.
Buffy started to leave with Fred and Lorne,
eager for a chance to grab some sleep, but stopped at Willow's
panicked expression. Willow talked to Kennedy for a moment
longer, and then assured her she would be back in just a minute.
Pulling Buffy into the hall, the smile she'd
worn for Kennedy disappeared from Willow's face. "You
don't know how close I came to losing it. When I saw him with
his fangs in her throat, I was ready to destroy him. I didn't
care that we were trying to capture him. Buffy, it's
dangerous for me to use my powers."
Buffy didn't want to have this conversation
with Willow. She'd have to have it soon, but not now.
Now she was tired and Willow was panicking, which meant anything
Buffy might say could get derailed all too easily. "If
you hadn’t used your power, what would have happened
Willow shuddered, her arms wrapped tightly
about her chest. "I don't want to think about that. It
was just...he had her and he was going to kill her, so I was
going to kill him." She looked at Buffy with wide scared
eyes. "I almost killed Angel.
"You almost killed Angelus," Buffy
insisted. "Whatever makes him Angel is trapped somewhere.
You want to feel better about almost killing him? Help me
find that soul and put it back."
The idea seemed to appeal to Willow (and was
far more useful than endless supplies of chocolate chip cookies),
but there was still some hesitation. "But what about
the big stuff -- the make-my-eyes-go-black, throw-major-beasties-across-the-room
That was exactly the stuff Buffy needed in
the weeks ahead -- and if Willow stopped using her powers
in a panic, they were in big trouble. "We're careful,"
she said, doing her best to be reassuring. "You didn't
blow Angel up like you wanted to and we managed to stop the
Beast. Well, Angelus stopped the Beast, but he wouldn't have
gotten pissed off and stabbed him if you hadn't blown him
backwards. Look, stay with Kennedy, get some rest. We can't
move until after sunset anyway. Wind down."
She patted Willow on the shoulder and shooed
her back inside. The conversation wasn't over, merely paused
and Buffy sensed Willow knew it. Another worry to add to her
Spike was sitting on the bed when she returned
to their room, a towel draped around his middle and another
in his hands to rub his hair dry. "Girl all settled?
Sorry to slip out, but I didn't think they needed another
body in the room and I wanted to wash away the smoke smell.
Watching his movements, she realized his hands
were a bit pink, as if he'd been scalded. Moving to stand
in front of him, she slid her fingers under his chin and tilted
his head back slightly. His skin was a bit flushed from the
warmth of the shower but even so, she could see where the
sun had touched his face and neck. Gently, she ran her hand
over the damage. "I have some lotion that might help."
He smiled up at her and then turned his head
slightly to kiss her palm. "I'll be fine in a few hours,"
he assured her. "Didn't even get a good burn going."
The words didn't provide the comfort he intended
as Buffy's mind turned to all the times she'd seen him make
a smoking entrance and simply assumed he'd suffered no damage.
The reality was that every time he danced with the sun, she
faced the possibility of losing him.
"Hey, what's this?" Spike tossed
the towel he held aside and pulled her onto his lap. "I
know that look; what's making you tear up?"
She didn't say anything, just held on tight.
So much time wasted and no way to get it back. The thought
threatened to choke her and she couldn't afford to break down,
couldn't lose that much control. Not for the first time, Buffy
wished she wasn't the Slayer, that she didn't have a nameless
evil to fight or a house full of potentials looking to her
for guidance or the need to be here in Los Angeles trying
to restore the soul of her ex-lover. She wanted to take Dawn
and Spike and leave all of it behind, find a place where they
could live in peace.
But she was the Slayer. If she wasn't, Spike
would never have fallen in love with her, merely seen her
as lunch. And she wouldn't have Dawn. And she might not have
known Willow or Xander or Anya and Tara certainly wouldn't
have come to the notice of the shallow cheerleader from Hemery.
So much of her life, so much of what was dear to her was tied
up in her calling.
Spike cradled her on his lap, letting her
breathing calm and her heart slow. When she thought she could
control herself, she lifted her head from where she'd hidden
it in the crook of his neck and did her best to smile. "I
"I love you, too, but you're starting
to worry me, Buffy."
She sniffed a little, caressing his cheek.
"Just...well, I'm allowed to get sniffy sometimes, aren't
She could tell the answer didn't satisfy him,
but he didn't push, just kissed her gently. "Of course
you are. If you need to let it out, I'm here."
Sex with Spike was great, better now than
in those dark, destructive days of last year, but this was
the good part, the moments when they just sat, no words necessary.
This renewed her strength, made her feel she could go out
and deal with what the world was about to throw at her.
They sat there for some time and would have
sat longer except for the knock on the door. Reluctantly,
Buffy slid from Spike's lap, figuring she should answer since
she was the more dressed of the two. Somehow, she wasn't surprised
to see Wesley standing in the hall. "Please tell me it's
not another disaster.
Wesley offered a weak smile. "Not at
the moment. Everyone else seems to be enjoying the sunshine,
so I thought this might be a good moment for some personal
business. Actually, I was hoping to speak with Spike."
That earned him a raised eyebrow but Buffy
stood aside so he could enter. Once inside, though, words
seemed to fail him. "Should I leave you two alone?"
she asked. "I was thinking of grabbing a shower."
The sensible part of her insisted she shouldn't leave them
alone, that she couldn't fully trust any of these people,
but there was something in Wesley's manner that told her he
meant no harm.
"No," he said with a sigh. "You
should probably hear this as it may impact your plans for
this evening. When Angelus escaped, there was one other person
staying in the hotel. Her name was Lilah Morgan."
Spike frowned. "I know that name. Dru
mentioned her. Wasn't she...?"
"A member of Wolfram and Hart? Yes. One
of their senior members, in fact." He groped for a chair,
as if the weight of what he was saying was too much. "She
was one of the few survivors, if not the only survivor, of
the Beast's attack on the firm."
"What was she doing here?" Buffy
settled on the edge of the bed and Spike moved to sit next
to her, one arm slipping around her waist.
"She'd been hiding in the sewers since
the attack, afraid the Beast might be looking to finish the
job. She'd also managed to acquire a book on the trans-dimensional
black market that contained a considerable amount of information
on the Beast, information which had somehow been removed from
any volume one might find in this dimension."
If Buffy had had any doubt that what they
were facing here was apocalyptic stuff, it vanished. She didn't
even want to think about the type of power required to pull
off such a feat. "Unfortunately," Wesley continued,
"when Angelus escaped, he caught Lilah and..."
Wesley's voice trailed off, the pain in his
face betraying a connection he hadn't admitted to. "Did
he sire her or just kill her?" Spike asked.
Again that rueful smile that was beginning
to become all too familiar. "That was the difficulty.
She was dead when we found her. He'd been feeding, but there
was blood on her lips..."
"So you didn't know if she'd swallowed
any of his," Spike finished.
"And according to what I've read, Angelus
can be somewhat...promiscuous in making new vampires."
Spike didn't offer an answer to that, but
Buffy felt his grip tighten slightly at her waist and she
found herself sliding closer, wanting the comfort his nearness
provided. "The idea that Angelus might have turned her
did occur to us and I volunteered to make certain she didn't
"Where is she now?" Buffy barely
whispered the words.
"In the meat locker of the hotel kitchen.
It is functional and seemed the best place to keep her until..."
He took a deep breath. "Since the immediate problem of
perpetual night has been solved, I believe the time has come
to make a final disposition."
"And that's what you need my help for.
Why me? Why not one of your mates downstairs?" Spike
"Because..." Wesley's voice cracked
slightly and he cleared his throat before continuing. "Because
they all despised her. I'm afraid I didn't treat Lilah as
well as I should have while she was alive; the least I can
do is provide her with some respect and courtesy in death.
The others won't be willing to do that; they're all too glad
she's gone. I was thinking that, since you didn't know her,
you might be able to give me the help I need. We wouldn't
be able to do it until after dark."
After a moment's hesitation, Spike nodded.
"Just let me know when and where."
"Thank you." The words seemed heartfelt.
"I'll leave you to get some rest."
Spike was very quiet when Wesley had gone,
almost pensive. "Why don't you take a shower, pet?"
he said at last. "Wouldn't hurt to clean out those scratches
A shower that didn't have a dozen other people
waiting outside the door was a luxury Buffy hadn't known in
some time, but she didn't linger. When she emerged, Spike
had pulled on his jeans, leaning against the wall near the
windows, once again dancing with the sun as he caught glimpses
of the world passing by outside. She didn't speak but went
to him, laying one hand on his shoulder. Without looking down,
his arm snaked around her, pulling her close. "It's going
to be a long before he stops hating himself because of this,"
he said, his voice sad. "He couldn't save her and he'll
spend his nights thinking of a hundred ways he might have.
That's the worst; the 'if onlys'."
She knew he was speaking from experience,
probably remembering those days she'd been dead and buried.
One hundred and forty-seven days, he'd told her the night
she'd come back, smiling as he'd realized the one hundred
and forty-eighth day didn't count. "Do you think he loved
her?" she asked.
"Yes, though I don't think he admitted
it until she was gone. Maybe not even then."
Buffy closed her eyes. God, she knew that
feeling. Had Wesley hated himself for wanting to be with her,
wondering how he could sink so low? Even just thinking of
those feelings in another brought a bad taste to her mouth.
She felt Spike's touch on her cheek and opened
her eyes to find him staring down at her with an intensity
that was frightening. "We're not there anymore,"
he whispered, as if he knew her thoughts.
"I was, not long ago. I couldn't..."
"But not now," he insisted.
"No, not now," she admitted with
a smile and reached up to draw his head down to her.
They were supposed to resting, preparing themselves
for the fight that awaited them. At this moment, all she wanted
to do was reassure herself he was here and real and they were
together. It was everything their first tumble into her bed
hadn't been: slow and gentle with no sense of urgency. She
took time to explore, stroking her hands along the planes
of pale cool muscle as if to commit them to memory, smiling
as she discovered some new spot that brought a small noise
of pleasure. There were entire minutes where they did nothing
but kiss, arms wrapped around each other and bodies close.
There was laughter, too, when Spike's foot got caught in his
jeans as he tried to pull them off, toppling most ungracefully
back onto the bed. He glared at her, male dignity wounded
at her laughter until she distracted him.
Somewhere in the process, they slid under
the sheets, feet tangling together. She took the lead this
time, wanting to show him the depth of her feelings as he'd
always tried to show her his. There were moments when she
felt clumsy and awkward, finding it hard to resist the temptation
to just sink into his touch and let him take control, but
she'd see herself reflected in blue eyes filled with happiness
and her fears disappeared. Then she lost of track of who was
touching whom and nothing mattered except the connection between
He held onto her afterwards, cuddling her
close with one hand lazily stroking her hair. "Slow enough
for you?" he asked, a smirk decorating his face.
Buffy stretched, letting one foot trail along
his calf. "Mmmm. I think it will do...for the moment,
Spike laughed, rubbing his nose against hers
before kissing her again. "When it's all done,"
he told her, "I am going to take you away for a weekend,
just the two of us. We'll find a little place somewhere along
the coast and we'll hole up, make love the whole time. No
interruptions, no prophecies, just you and me."
"That sounds wonderful." It did,
it really did. She was going to focus on that, not think about
the possibility they might not both make it or what the First
had in store for them or how they were going find Angel's
It was that thought which brought her back
to the present and the world outside their warm cocoon. They
were under Angel's roof, in one of his beds. Buffy sat up
abruptly, sheet clutched tightly to her chest as the realization
came crashing down.
Spike sat up as well, one hand rubbing along
her back. "Buffy? What is it?"
"Where are we?" she asked, the words
coming out stiff and tight.
"We're at the Hyperion, of course, Angel's
He pulled his hand away and she felt the mattress
shift as he rolled off the bed. "Better go downstairs
and ask Fred if they have another spot where I can stretch
It was moving too fast, slipping from her
control even as she reached out to him. "Spike..."
He didn't flinch away, but he stepped back,
out of her reach. "I should have thought. Just respectful,
it is, not to shag Grandad's girl under his roof."
"Spike, stop being an idiot. I'm not
Angel's girl; I'm yours."
The words came out far harsher than she intended,
but they stopped him from pulling on his jeans. "I'm
your girl," she repeated softly.
Spike dropped to his knees next to the bed,
reaching out to take the hand he'd just pulled back from.
"Do you mean it?" he asked.
She was about to casually reply that of course
she did when she caught the disbelief in his eyes. It hurt...as
did the knowledge she'd given him plenty of reasons in the
past for that disbelief. "I mean it," she told him,
squeezing his hand. "It just hit me that I'm here with
you and it feels right. A year ago -- six months ago, less
-- I would have worried what Angel thought even when he wasn't
here. I probably wouldn't have brought you along because not
having to deal with his reaction would have been more important
than your help."
He gave her a skeptical look. "You're
telling me you're not worried what he's going to think when
we get him back together in one piece?"
Honesty time. But then, the walls were crumbling
rapidly, weren't they, all the defenses she'd built up against
him over the years turning into dust. "I'm absolutely
terrified. He's not going to like it. No, that's too mild.
He's going to disapprove and he's going to have all
sorts of reasons why it's wrong."
Buffy stretched out on her stomach across
the bed so they were face to face once more. "I'm going
to get twitchy and nervous and all the old reactions are going
to come back and please forgive me in advance if I start acting
like a bitch."
"Start?" The warmth was returning
to his eyes even as she watched his shoulders relax."
"Pig," she said fondly and kissed
him. When they parted, she took a deep breath before continuing.
"Angel's been so much a part of my life, even after he
left. He was the one I...it's a little frightening to realize
after all this time that you're the one I'm going to turn
to, not him. It just hit me like a ton of bricks, made me
realize it's really, really over with him."
Spike reached out to run his hand over her
hair, fingers twining through the strands. "If you can
deal with the fact there's still some lingering affection
on my part for Dru, I can deal with you having some for Angel.
They're part of our past, luv; there are memories and good
times associated with them...even if there's a hell of a lot
of pain and suffering as well. One thing I've learned over
the last few months is that if you try to just push memories
aside, they have a way of coming back and biting you in the
Another kiss. "Okay, 'biting you in the
ass' so not Dr. Phil."
He snorted. "Wanker. Doesn't look like
he ever has any fun. I may be a bit rough about the edges,
They got some rest. Eventually.
Continued in Chapter Thirteen