Disclaimer: Joss is God. The characters are his. I'm merely having fun with them.
Notes: Post "Wrecked"
"Hey, if you get paint on the carpet, I'm giving you such a dead-leg," Warren threatened.
"I'm not! Besides, it's almost done."
"Cool!" Jonathan said, going over to examine Andrew's work.
"You got his fangs! How did you get his fangs? They're so tiny."
"Details." Andrew said proudly. "It's the details that make an artist."
"Yeah, painting Chewie on a motorcycle is art," Warren said, rolling his eyes.
"It's not a motorcycle, it's a hoverbike. And shut up! What do you know about art?" Andrew quipped back.
"What do I know about art? This, my friends, is art!" With a dramatic gesture Warren flipped a switch on what looked like a large metal tube about a foot in diameter. Inside it began to glow an ominous green.
"Hey! You said I could turn it on!" Jonathan exclaimed. Warren ignored him.
"Now, all's we need to do is to focus it on the Slayer," Warren said, lost in thought.
"From here? It will work from here?" Jonathan asked.
"Oh yeah, it can reach anyone in Sunnydale. I did the math."
"I always hated math," Andrew interjected and immediately regretted as Warren glared at him.
"Okay," Warren continued. "Let's find our Slayer on the scope. I need the coordinates."
"Should we really?" Jonathan blurted out. "I mean, I know she'll get in the way of the Big Plan, but doesn't this seem kinda, well...mean?"
"Look, it isn't permanent. It'll just distract her for awhile," Warren said soothingly.
"Well, YEAH! By making her go insane!" Jonathan said.
"No, you little...look it won't do any long-term damage. It will just make her problems a little more, shall we say, intense? Com'on, we agreed to this, remember?"
"Yeah, alright. As long as it isn't permanent."
"It won't be. I promise."
"Bloody hell! It's always Angel with you!" Spike yelled at Buffy, the confines of his crypt echoing the angry words all around them.
"I never even said his name!" Buffy retorted, but she knew that was only half-true. Angel was always there, in the air between them, whether she mentioned him or not.
"He left you, pet. Get over it!" Spike was pissed now. He couldn't believe that after all this time, after all Buffy had done with him that she still thought of Angel as...
"He didn't leave me for you!" Ouch, that one stung. She could see it in his face.
"He's gone just the same, pet. I'm all you've got now," Spike said through clenched teeth. Buffy looked at him with disgust. What the hell am I doing with him, she thought.
"I don't need you, Spike. I can walk away anytime I want."
Spike looked at her, seeing her tight face and angry eyes. Maybe she could, he thought. She pushed soldier-boy away. Maybe I'm next.
"Don't bother, pet. I'll save you the trouble," Spike said coolly, as he ripped open the door of his crypt and stormed out into the night.
"Here. I think she's here," Jonathan said, handing Warren a small sheet of paper with numbers on it.
"Are you sure? If the focal point is off we'll have to wait a whole week to try again," Warren said.
"Why?" Andrew asked.
"Where were you at the last meeting? Stroking your Wookie?" Warren said exasperated as Jonathan started to giggle.
"Look, this thing took me a week to charge up. It requires a lot of juice, remember?"
"Oh. Yeah. I remember," said Andrew rather lamely.
"Great," Warren said sarcastically, as Andrew punched Jonathan in the arm for saying "strok'n the Wookie" over and over again. Warren ignored them, turning his attention back to the device.
"Now, let's see what this puppy can do."
Buffy sat on the edge of Spike's bed, lost in thought. She didn't like fighting with him, at least not like this.
It's not like we're a couple, she thought. It's just sex. Sleazy, disgusting, sweaty, hot...sex.
"God, what is wrong with me," Buffy said aloud to the empty room.
As if in answer, the walls turned a bright green.
Suddenly Buffy was standing on a lovely beach. The wind was gently blowing through her long hair. Gone were her tight braids and black sweater. Now she wore a flowery dress which shimmered as if alive in the light of the setting sun.
"Okay, how did I get here?" She said, but no one answered. She saw footprints heading further down the beach and followed them. Buffy saw him, his back to her yet unmistakably it was him.
"Angel?" He turned at the call of his name, and smiled.
"Hey, Buffy. I've been looking for you."
"But, the sun? You're not all flame-y?"
"Oh, that. Kinda a long story. There was a prophecy. It came to pass. Now I'm human...again. I guess it's not that long a story."
"Is it true? You're really, alive?" Buffy said, barely able to choke back her tears.
"Yeah, it's true. Which is why I came looking for you."
"Really?" Buffy could barely contain herself. She want to dive into his arms, to cry and laugh all at once. This was her dream come true. But something held her back.
"Well, I know you've always wanted this...us, to be different. And well, I just had to thank you."
"Thank me? For what?" she said, puzzled.
"For letting me move on with my life. I couldn't have found a normal girl otherwise." Buffy's eyes widened with shock and hurt.
"You've found someone...else?" she said in a barely audible whisper.
"Yes. She's a wonderful woman. You don't know her, but she's sweet. Nice. Normal. She's not a freak of nature, which is a big plus. She can't throw me across the room or anything. Though, she does thumb wrestle pretty well..." Angel said absently.
"Oh," was all Buffy could manage. The sun had finished setting beyond the horizon. The beach was now awash with a deep blue and the air was turning cold.
"Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks."
"Not a problem," Buffy said, her eyes full of tears.
"You're not going to get all weepy are you? It lacks class."
"Angel, I...can't we talk for awhile? Isn't there something I can do to..." Buffy said desperately.
"Oh yeah, here it comes," a third voice interjected behind them. It was...
"Gee, nice to know you remember my name. I feel all warm and gooey inside now."
"Riley! When du..did you get back?" Buffy stammered.
"Obviously not soon enough. I see you still are going for the tall, dark and loathsome types."
"No, it isn't like that. Angel is human now..." Buffy trailed off.
"It's true. How ya doing?" Angel said with a smile, offering his hand which Riley shook amiably enough.
"Quite well, actually. Say, you are human! I can feel a pulse. Did you feel his pulse?" Riley asked Buffy excitedly, still shaking Angel's hand.
"No," Buffy said, still reeling from Angel's words.
"That's odd," Angel said.
"What?" Buffy said, unable to even think coherently. Things had gone six degrees south of odd.
"Where's yours?" Angel said to Riley.
Riley's smile exploded into fangs as he grabbed Angel, whipping his arm behind his back, exposing his neck.
"Riley!" Buffy exclaimed in horror.
"It's okay, Buff. These things happen. One minute you're in the jungle having wet-dreams about your honey in the middle of a bunch of sweaty, unshaven guys. Next a vampire is sucking you dry. They sure were fast little critters. Snuck in while we were sleeping. Turned all of us. Except Graham. He ate a grenade, poor bastard," Riley said, pausing to eye Angel's exposed neck.
"Man, it really is a rush. All that blood."
"Com'on, Buffy! You like your men dark and brooding, not weak and kittenish, remember? I bet Angelus remembers." With that Riley plunged his fangs into Angel's neck.
"Nooo!!!!" Buffy screamed, running forward only to find herself running headlong into her own couch.
"Ow..." She muttered as she rubbed her leg where she had hit the couch's arm.
"Angel! Riley!" Buffy called out, looking around frantically. All that she saw was the empty living room of her house.
"What the hell is going on!"
"Buffy? Is that you?" A voice called from the kitchen. A familiar voice.
"I think it's working," Warren said.
"How do you know?" asked Andrew as all three crowded around the device.
"This light is blinking," Warren said, pointing to a small red bulb.
"Cool..." Andrew and Jonathan said in awed unison.
Buffy could smell fresh baked cookies as she entered the kitchen. Chocolate chip cookies.
"Mom?" Buffy called out, nearly breathless.
Joyce was busily stacking the still hot cookies on a silver platter.
"Hi, Buffy. Want a cookie?"
Buffy just stared, shock filling her with a cold dread.
"Mom, aren't you..." Buffy couldn't finish as she began to cry.
"Oh, Buffy don't do that. They really are good cookies. Here, try one," Joyce said smiling, handing her a cookie.
"Dead?" Buffy finally managed to say.
"Yes dear, I noticed. I was the one with the fatal brain tumor," she said dryly. "But it just so happens that I got permission to see my favorite daughter again."
Buffy shook her head, attempting to absorb what she was hearing and found herself idly nibbling the cookie as she tried to clear her head.
"These are...good," Buffy mumbled.
"Thank you. You're such a sweet-heart. I know things haven't been easy for you without me," Joyce said, as Buffy's eyes filled again. "But I just wanted to tell you that we will be together again. Someday."
"Really?" Buffy couldn't contain the hope in her voice, the need.
"Well sure. Dawn made it possible, you know," Joyce said, returning to stacking the cookies on the platter.
"What do you mean?"
"Well, I wouldn't be in hell otherwise, Buffy," Joyce said a matter-of factly.
Stunned, Buffy choked on a bite of her cookie and started coughing.
"There, there dear. Do you want some milk? I bet these cookies would go great with milk." It took a moment before Buffy could speak again.
"No! Mom, no...you aren't in...I mean...you can't be in... You're in heaven, aren't you?"
"I was. Just like you. But that spell Dawn did, the one to bring me back? It put an end to that."
"How? She broke the spell! I know she did!"
"Well dear, confidentially speaking," Joyce said, leaning in close, almost whispering. "It's not like they let you back in once you leave."
Buffy felt as if someone had just punched her in the gut. She doubled over making inaudible noises. There was a distinct smell of burnt cookies now in the air. Buffy felt the room closing in and it was getting harder to breathe.
"But don't worry, dear. Now we can be together! Mind you, we'll be together in endless torment and hellfire, but we'll still be together," Joyce said smiling sweetly as Buffy collapsed onto the floor.
"You really ought to have some milk," Buffy heard her Mom say as her vision dimmed and the walls turned green.
Spike sulked outside his crypt, not wanting to enter. He was surprised that Buffy hadn't left. He had been gone for over an hour.
She's just using you, thought Spike. Only a matter of time before she gets tired of it...of you.
But Spike wasn't easily cowed. Not now. Buffy was his world. He couldn't go five minutes without thinking of her--the feel of her, that rare smile, that hungry look. It was enough to drive a vampire insane. But Angel, that ponce, would always be in his way. Angel had been her first. Worse, he had been her first vampire. Spike knew she was comparing everything he did to that nancy-boy--the vampire that had gone before.
"Bloody hell," Spike muttered.
She can sodding well come out here and kiss my ass, Spike thought, as he lit another cigarette and waited.
"Xander, help me with this zipper," Anya said, trying to reach the back of another wedding dress and failing. A rare "closed" sign hung in the Magic Box's window as Anya tried on dress after dress in front of a large mirror.
"Easy, An. Here, I'll get it," Xander said, zipping up the white wedding gown.
"You look beautiful," Xander said with feeling as Anya smiled back at him.
"I know, but does it make me look pasty? Maybe a little more blush would help." But Xander wasn't listening. He was too busy admiring his bride to be.
"Buffy, don't you think she looks beautiful?" Xander asked.
"Huh? What?" Buffy stuttered. "Why am I here?"
"To help me pick out a wedding dress. Don't you remember?" Anya said rather pointedly. "It can't all be about you," she added under her breath.
"Listen, guys?" Buffy said. "Something strange is happening to me. I don't know what's going on. Everything is so confusing..."
"Here it comes," Anya interrupted. "Can't spend a day picking out a wedding dress without listening to a certain someone, whom I won't name because that is rude--let's just call her 'Fluffy'--without Fluffy bringing her big bag of dirty problems with her wherever she goes."
"Now Anya, we're Buffy's friends and should be there for her..." Xander started.
"Yeah! What he said," Buffy exclaimed.
"...and if that means taking valuable time out of our lives to help those without one, then we're the better for it," Xander finished.
"Hey!" Buffy said, hurt.
"Well Buff, you do sorta dominate a room a lot. All the time, actually. In fact, I can't remember the last time you didn't come to us with something dire, expecting us to drop everything and do what you say."
"Yes, that's quite annoying," Anya added. "Honey, get me the scissors over there. I have a loose thread."
"Kinda in the middle of a point, darling," Xander replied, miffed.
"Well, how about you get the scissors, hand them to me, and then you won't have to finish making your lame point," Anya retorted.
"Lame!" Xander exclaimed.
"Oh, I'm sorry, was that too honest for you? You know, that thing you like about me, being HONEST? Or was that just a big lie!"
"Well, at least I didn't insist on dressing Buffy up in blood larva and burlap!" Xander shot back.
"Huh?" Buffy said confused. Then she looked down at what she was wearing. And screamed.
Spike heard Buffy's scream and bolted for the crypt. When he saw her she was alone in the middle of the room, furiously brushing herself off. Spike looked around, confused. He didn't see any nasties about.
She turned at the sound of her name and found herself back on the beach again, with Angel standing in front of her.
"You're okay!" she said running and embracing him.
"Bloody hell, Slayer! Watch the ribs," Angel gasped.
"Ooh, sorry. What happened? Where's Riley?"
"Riley?" Angel asked puzzled.
"You know, the guy that put those holes in your neck?"
"Huh? What holes? Riley's a vampire? Where is he?" Angel said looking around.
"It doesn't matter. We're together again," Buffy said, sinking into his arms.
"Yeah, alright pet," Angel said, looking confused.
"Just promise me something," Buffy asked.
"Don't leave me."
"I won't, love," Angel said and kissed her, long and deep.
"Don't leave me."
Spike held Buffy in his arms, and stroked her hair. Maybe it was too much for her, he thought. I shouldn't have left. She now had that look that Dru sometimes got, that distant look.
"I won't, love," he said, kissing her. He picked her up mid-kiss and started carrying her to his bed.
"Never leave me," Buffy said softly, almost crying.
"Never leave me, Angel."
Spike stopped, his face contorted in pain, nearly dropping her. She was crying now, against his chest.
"Never leave me, Angel."
A look of resolve crossed Spike's face.
"Don't worry, love. I'll never leave you. Ever again."
"This is so cool!" Warren exclaimed, admiring the throbbing hum of his new device.
"Yeah, cool," Jonathan echoed with less enthusiasm.
Suddenly the lights in the room began to flicker and the green glow started to sputter. Warren turned around looking for the cause just in time to see Andrew switch on a hair dryer and aim it at his model.
"Dude no!" Warren yelled. But it was too late. The lights flickered briefly and sparks began to shoot from Warren's device. A moment later the power was out and a distinct smell of burnt circuits flooded the room.
Warren took a step toward Andrew, his face filled with rage. Andrew saw the look and inched closer to the exit.
"Uh, my Wookie. It wasn't dry yet..." Andrew started to explain then bolted for the door as Warren chased after him. Jonathan could hear them outside, fighting.
"I got your Wookie right here!"
"Ow! Not the dead-leg!"
"Come here, you baby. Take it like a man!"
Buffy woke with a start. She was in Spike's bed.
Okay, she thought. That's sorta normal.
Buffy's eyes darted about the room, her cheeks flushed with fear. She turned and saw Spike sitting across from her, watching her intently.
"Where...I'm here, aren't I?"
"With me, yes," Spike said, his face an inscrutable mask.
"It must've been...a dream. Just a dream," Buffy concluded. However, the look in her eyes betrayed her.
"It's alright, Buffy," Spike said, catching that look. "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere," he added firmly.
Buffy looked at him. There was something strange about him. His face was hard yet his eyes...they were, what? Sad? No. Gentle.
Spike got up and moved to sit beside her, the seriousness still in his face and voice.
"I'm not going anywhere," Spike said again.
"Of course not. The sun's out," Buffy replied, half-joking, but he didn't laugh or even smirk a little.
"I love you, Slayer. And I'm not going anywhere," he repeated.
Buffy just looked at him. The fear within her began to recede. There was something in the way he spoke that made her feel...safe. It was a good feeling. She leaned in as he kissed her. Soon her hands were on him, gliding over his body while he explored hers--the fear from the night before now only a distant and quickly fading memory.