Disclaimer: I own nothing, I merely borrow.
Summary: Set after Intervention. Angel Investigations receives a visitor.
Buffy looked around confused. This was the right place. Angel was supposed to be here. Not knowing what to do she sat down to wait.
"You owe me more clothes" Cordelia told Angel as preceded him into the hotel, trying ineffectually to wipe away the goo that covered her.
"I'm covered in it too Cor," the vampire growled indicating his own leather jacket. "And I don't know why you're complaining. It's not like we're expecting... Buffy."
"God I hope not. We're just getting over the whole Darla obsession. If there's one thing we don't need it's..." Cordelia realised a little too late what Angel meant, spinning around to find her old friend staring at her. "Buffy. It's wonderful to see you."
Buffy blinked and ran her eyes over Angel and Cordelia before smiling. And it wasn't just any smile. It wasn't a regular Buffy half smile, the one she used when she was being polite. It wasn't the one Cordelia had seen her use when she was with Angel before, or the one she used when she was with her friends. Those smiles made Buffy beautiful. This smile made Buffy a goddess. It was wide and bright, filling her entire face. She literally lit up from inside and for a moment it shocked Angel and Cordelia.
"Cordelia! How are you?"
The young brunette frowned and turned her head to glance back at Angel, who was also frowning, his gaze fixed on his former girlfriend. "I'm fine," Cordy answered with a smile of her own, the one she always reserved for Buffy. The one that made the young blonde feel about two inches tall. It wasn't that Cordy was being mean, not anymore anyway. It was just second nature. A defence mechanism. "How are you?" she asked, the smile becoming more genuine as she relaxed.
If it was possible Buffy's smile got even bigger. "I am very well. Thank you for asking."
"Ok," Cordelia drawled at Buff'y's chirpy answer. "What's going on?"
"I don't understand what you mean," Buffy stated her smile fixed in place. "But thank you for asking."
Cordelia spun around to face Angel. "She's flipped," she mouthed at him before excusing herself to go and get cleaned up.
"Buffy?" Angel asked stepping closer. "Are you sure you're ok?"
"I'm fine," Buffy nodded and she stepped closer to him, reaching up to give him a quick peck on the cheek. They stood in silence for a few moments while Buffy thought about what to say. "How is your hair?"
Angel blinked, opened his mouth to speak to speak; then found he couldn't say a word and closed it again. She continued to stare up at him, waiting for an answer. Her smile had been turned down a couple of volts, but was still firmly in place. "My hair?" Angel croaked eventually. Buffy nodded. "It's fine."
"What's fine?" Cordelia asked as she re-entered the lobby, washed and changed and feeling much more prepared to face Buffy.
"My hair," Angel told her, staring across at her with pleading eyes. He didn't have a clue what was going on. Cordelia moved to stand next to him and murmured, "She asked about your hair?" He nodded. Cordelia frowned again. "Are we sure that's Buffy?"
"Of course it is. Look at her."
"Um, speaking as someone who has seen enough demon possessions to last her a lifetime.."
"If she was possessed by a demon, would she be standing there smiling at us?"
"That's the oddest part. Buffy never smiles. And her mom just died a few weeks back. Shouldn't she be.? Oh," Cordelia said realising, "she'd hysterical. I'll fix it." Cordelia marched straight up to Buffy and before Angel could stop her, slapped her hard across the face. Automatically Buffy's hand came up and slapped the brunette back, sending her flying half way across the room. Angel ran to help Cordy up. "Now do you believe she'd possessed?"
"Are you ok?"
Angel turned back to Buffy. "Who are you?"
"Buffy would never do that."
"She slapped me," Buffy stated calmly. "I am sorry if I hurt you Cordelia but you did hit me."
Cordy raised her eyebrows. "Possessed, possessed, possessed," she sang out softly as Wesley and Gunn entered the lobby from the garden.
"Buffy!" Wesley exclaimed with a smile, making his way over to his former charge. "How are you?"
Buffy blinked blankly at him. "I don't know who you are," she told him with a confused pout, "but I'm feeling very well."
Angel threw up his hands in defeat. "She's possessed."
"Are you sure?" Wesley asked his eyes still locked with Buffy's as she smiled at him.
Gunn cleared his throat. "Is no one going to introduce me?"
Angel gestured between Gunn and Buffy. "Gunn this is Buffy, Buffy this is Gunn. He works here."
"How do you do?" she greeted beaming at him and Wesley's eyes widened.
"Possessed yes. But by what?"
"That's what we have to find out," Angel told them before moving to stand in front of Buffy again. "We're going to help you ok?" He turned back to the others. "Start looking."
Gunn looked sceptical. "Are you sure she's possessed? I mean her mom just. well maybe she's just a little out of it. Does everything have to be about demons?"
Wesley nodded and even Cordelia gave a weak smile. "She has been through a lot lately. Maybe it just pushed her over the edge."
Angel turned back, gazing hopefully into his former lover's eyes. "Buffy?" He stopped and glanced back at he others, who all made encouraging signals. "Why don't we sit down?" He led Buffy to the couch and sat down with her. Cordelia sat on her other side while Wesley perched behind Angel on the arm of the sofa. Gunn jumped up to sit on the reception desk.
"Ok," Angel began gently, "What's been going on in Sunnydale recently?" Buffy thought for a moment and then her face fell and her eyes filled with tears. Angel, Cordelia and Wesley all stared at her. "It's ok," Angel soothed, putting his arm around her. "Tell us what happened."
Buffy began to sob and Cordelia rubbed her friend's back as Angel held her tightly to his chest. Eventually the tears subsided and she sniffled a little as she started to speak. "Glory hurt Spike," was all she could manage before tears started again.
Cordelia and Angel looked at each other. The young woman's face held a thoughtful expression. "Did she say Glory hurt Spike?"
"That's what I heard," Gunn told her. "Who's Spike?"
Cordy ignored him. "Does she mean our Spike?" she asked Angel, "Or more accurately, your Spike?"
"Drusilla's Spike?" Wesley asked and Cordy nodded. "Oh God."
"Buffy?" Angel asked trying to be gently though his mind was spinning with confusion, "Is Spike in Sunnydale?" Buffy nodded against his chest. "Has he hurt you?"
The Slayer looked up in shock. "Hurt me? Spike would never hurt me. He loves me."
The room was silent. Even Gunn knew it was time to shut up, though he desperately wanted to know who Spike was and why Angel looked ready to have an apoplexy.
"What?" Angel growled and Buffy's pout grew as she looked at him.
"Spike loves me. He would never hurt me. Even if he could. Unless I asked him too of course. When I ask him to he."
Angel roared with anger and Cordelia, Wesley and Gunn winced away from him. Buffy however continued to stare at him strangely. "I'm going to have to kill my Childe," Angel growled eventually before finding himself flat on his back with one very pissed off Slayer pressing a stake to his chest. "Try it," she told him menacingly. "If you lay one hand on him I will dust you. Understand?"
"So," Cordelia said brightly, standing up and moving towards the office. "How many of us vote for possession now?"
Anya rubbed her arms as she stood shivering outside the hotel. "Xander," she hissed as her boyfriend pressed himself closer to the main door. "Xander it' s freezing. Can we go home now?"
"In a minute An," Xander muttered vaguely, his attention firmly fixed on what was happening inside.
"It's going to take hours to get home as it is. You said all we had to do was drop the Buffybot off and then we could go. Now we're standing here. Freezing."
"Yeah," was Xander's only reply.
The former vengeance demon grimaced and kicked Xander on the shin. "Whose idea was this anyway?" she whispered fiercely as her boyfriend rubbed his leg.
"Look An, if you don't want to hear Deadboy's reaction when Robo-Buffy tells him she's in love with Junior, that's fine, but don't spoil it for the rest of us. Embrace the Angel baiting now, and I'll make it up to you later."
Cordelia heard giggling at the other end of the line. "Are you sure you're telling me everything Willow?"
The redhead covered the mouthpiece as she tried to control her laughter. Tara and Dawn who were sitting either side of her in the Magic Box weren't helping as they giggled. Willow stood up and moved away from them forcing herself to stop laughing. "Of course I am Cor. Buffy was fine when she left for L.A. Something must have happened to her on the way." This time she was unable to contain herself as Giles snorted with laughter behind the counter.
"You're laughing Willow. What is going on?"
Willow gave up and passed the phone to Dawn who was reaching for it eagerly. "Cor?"
"Hi Dawnie. Are you ok?"
Dawn immediately sobered, knowing full well what Cordelia was referring to. "I'm. surviving." She said at length and paused before remembering what was happening in LA. "How's Buffy?"
"Not well. Has she been ok recently? I mean how was she when she left Sunnydale?"
Dawn smirked. "Pretty good. What's wrong?"
Cordelia sighed. "She's just been acting a little funny that's all."
"Did she ask Angel how is hair was?" She practically heard Cordelia frown down the phone.
"Actually she did."
"Has she mentioned.?" Dawn trailed off, knowing full well that she had.
"Spike? Yeah she mentioned him. They seem pretty tight. She said he's in love with her."
"Uh-huh," Dawn agreed excitedly.
"Is there any chance she'll say it back? 'Cause if there is I want to be at minimum safe distance, 'cause Angel will explode."
"Oh, I doubt that'd happen," Dawn said innocently.
"Ok," Cordelia sighed. "So there's nothing more you can tell me?"
"Nope," Dawn smiled into the phone. "Everything was fine when she left."
"Alright. Bye then Dawn. Say bye to the others for me too."
"Both Dawn and Willow said she was fine when she left, but I think they were lying," Cordelia announced as they left the office.
"Willow's my best friend," Buffy piped up from her seat on the sofa. "She's gay." Everyone looked at her.
Wesley was the first to speak, completely ignoring Buffy's comments. "Why do you think they were lying?"
"They were giggling like it's all some big joke. So Buffy, you can quit the dumb blonde routine now ok."
"I am not dumb," Buffy cried indignantly. "Spike said so."
Cordelia rolled her eyes. "Oh then of course it has to be true. Did I tell you about the time he tried to kill me?"
"Ok. The time he tried to kill Angel. But I was here too. He could have killed me."
"He's evil," Buffy purred, gazing off into the distance with a small smile and Cordelia was torn between throwing up and bursting into a fit of laughter.
"Then why haven't you killed him?" Wesley asked, hearing Angel begin to grind his teeth dangerously.
"I know I should kill him. But I can't resist the sinister attraction of his hard and muscular body."
This time Cordelia did laugh. She took in Angel's warning look and Buffy confused gaze but she couldn't help herself. Buffy, perfect little Buffy was sitting right next to her former boyfriend, telling everyone how she couldn't resist Spike, Angel's Grandchilde. Wesley looked at her sternly before the humour of the situation overcame him too and he started to laugh.
"Oh Buffy," Cordelia choked out eventually, "If this is a joke, and I have to tell you, I really hope it's not; if this is a joke thank you for sharing it with us."
"It's not a joke," Buffy said shaking her head. "I love him and he loves me. But Glory hurt him and now he loves the other Buffy."
Everyone stopped. "What other Buffy?" Angel asked, barely keeping control on his temper.
Buffy paused. "The other, not so pleasant Buffy. Spike loves her. So I had to come here."
"Uh-oh," Xander said, straightening up and backing away from the door.
"What?" Anya said as she remained where she was. "This is just getting interesting."
Xander shook his head. "Time to go An." He forcefully started to drag her towards the car. Xander sighed as he slid in behind the wheel and slammed the door. "Buffy is going to kill us."
"Home sweet home," Buffy said, elbowing the door open deftly while maintaining a gentle hold on her companion's arm. She managed to flick the living room lights on and guided her guest to the couch, where he struggled out of his coat and then collapsed, rather gratefully. She looked around, not quite sure what to do.
"Do you want something? To eat I mean? There's blood if you'd like. Or I can get some bandages. Would bandages help? You're probably uncomfortable aren't you? I'll take your boots o."
"Buffy," Spike stopped her in her tracks and she looked at him properly for the first time that night. The swelling on his face hadn't abated and the cuts were still as deep and angry looking as they had been yesterday, despite his vampire healing capabilities. Knowing that he had withstood all of that for her and for Dawn did something to her insides she didn't want to dwell on.
"You don't have to do anything luv," he told her gently. "You've already done more than enough."
Buffy shook her head slightly but didn't answer. "I'll get you some blood."
Spike let his head fall back against the arm of the sofa and closed his eyes. Since when did Buffy keep blood in the house? He didn't linger too long on the thought that she had bought it especially for him. Nor did he stop to wonder when she had uttered the magic phrase to allow him back into her house. Thinking would only lead to more hurt of one form or another.
He knew that the only reason he was lying there now and not as a big pile of dust somewhere was that Glory had gotten to him before Buffy did. His entire body flinched at the thought of the robot. "Idiot," he cursed himself as he briefly allowed himself the luxury of remembering the Slayer's soft lips on his in that gentle kiss. Not passion. Not love. Just a thank you. And Spike wouldn't have traded it for anything. How could he ever have imagined that anything else could even compare with the real thing?
"Who's an idiot?" Buffy asked as she re-entered the living room carrying a tray with three mugs and a small box on it. She set it down on the coffee table and then moved quickly to remove Spike's boots.
"I am," the vampire muttered and frowned at her when she started to laugh quietly.
"I could have told you that, idiot." She sat on the edge on the couch, careful not to hurt Spike's legs and then gestured to the mugs. "Blood for you, coffee for me and hot chocolate because I know you like it. Dawn ate all the marshmallows though. Sorry." Ignoring the slightly startled, slightly awed look on his face, Buffy picked up the box and started to rummage through it. She emerged finally with a tube of antiseptic cream and some bandages.
Buffy was immediately concerned. "Are you ok?"
"It hurts when I laugh."
"Then don't laugh."
Spike smirked at her. "I couldn't help it love. I don't know what good you think some cream and a few bandages are going to do, but let me assure you, the benefit isn't enough to outweigh the enormous effort it's going to take just to wrap the bleedin' things around me."
"Are you sure?" Buffy asked, biting on her lower lip as she looked down at her supplies. "You don't even want me to rub some cream on you?"
Spike looked at her sharply to see whether or not she was mocking him, but she was still frowning at her portable first aid kit. Not even in his genuinely regretful and apologetic state could Spike deny the delicious Buffy thoughts his mind conjured at her words.
"What are you doing?" Cordelia asked as Angel strode towards Wesley's office.
"I'm going to get to the bottom of this once and for all," the vampire growled and Cordy rolled her eyes as she followed him. "What?"
"Hey, I want to know what's going on too."
Wesley and Gunn turned back to Buffy, who sat silently on the couch, ankles crossed, hands folded in her lap. She continued to smile serenely at them and Wesley was growing uncomfortable. "Uh, Buffy," he began hesitantly as a thought occurred to him. "How did you get here?"
"Xander brought me. He's my friend. And a carpenter."
Cordelia's face appeared in the office door. "Xander?"
Cordy disappeared again and sounds of a muffled argument drifted from the office.
"How can there be two Buffys?" Gunn asked finally, needing some questions to be answered. Wesley shrugged and looked at the Slayer.
"Anya said Spike made me," Buffy explained helpfully. "Xander cut her off when she started to explain why, but I think it has something to do with checkers."
Wesley closed his eyes, hoping to block out some of the disturbing thoughts that had assailed him as to why Spike would have made. "Made?" he practically shouted incredulously. "What do you mean made?"
Buffy was beginning to regret offering to help tend to Spike's wounds. She should have realised a little sooner that in order to rub cream on the cuts and bruises Glory had inflicted upon him, he would have to remove his shirt and then she would actually have to touch his chest, his back, his arms and his face.
She jumped slightly as Spike flinched and she took her hand away, moving her head a little closer to see what had caused him to. Bile rose in her throat as she saw the deep hole in his chest. It looked as though someone had pushed their finger through his skin to reach his inside. She looked up at him and saw him watching her.
She glanced back down at the wound and slowly lowered her lips to it, pressing a light kiss to the hurt. Raising her head she moved closer to him, her face hovering slightly over his. "Don't," he whispered and Buffy smiled wryly.
"I never thought I'd hear you say that."
"Yeah, I'm full of surprises. But I don't want pity. You're only doing this because."
"Because I feel sorry for you?" Buffy finished, her voice still low. "I don' t feel sorry for you." Spike winced. "I'm proud of you. I'm amazed by you. But I don't feel sorry you."
Spike's eyes widened. "Really?"
"Most of all, I'm happy that I finally have an excuse to do this." She leaned in to kiss him again and Spike sighed happily, closing his eyes.
Then the phone rang.
"Look, Angel stay calm," Cordelia stressed as Angel paced the short length of the desk, listening to the phone ring. "I'm sure Buffy can explain everyth."
"Hello, Buffy Summers."
"Oh God," Angel heard a muttered exclamation in the background, followed by Buffy's frantic "Shhh."
"Who was that?" Angel asked, unwillingly to believe it could actually be Spike.
"Who was what?" Cordelia hissed at Angel, irritated at being left out of the loop.
"Is that Cordy?" Buffy began, "Can I."
"Buffy," Angel interrupted. "Is Spike there? With you?"
Wesley, Gunn and 'Buffy' chatted in the lobby, the clock on Wesley's desk ticked away thirty seconds, Cordelia fidgeted expectantly.
"Buffy?" Angel prompted, trying his best to control his temper.
"Yes," Buffy stated finally. "Spike is here. With me. In my house. On the couch. Half naked." Spike chuckled in the background and Buffy mumbled something to the blonde vampire that Angel couldn't catch. "Look," she continued eventually, "I don't see that it's any of your business anyway. Now why did you call?"
"Well, while you're playing happy families with my Grandchilde, you're also sitting in the lobby of my hotel."
"Oh no," Buffy sighed and asked wearily, "How did she get out?"
"She said Xander brought her," Cordelia called out, grabbing Angel's arm so that she could hear what was being said.
"Buffy, what is going on?" Angel growled down the phone at his former lover. "Some. thing, is sitting out there, asking me how my hair is and saying that she loves Spike."
"Loves Spike huh?" Buffy sounded amused. "Disgusting."
"It's a robot Angel. A robot version of me. At this moment it's supposed to be at the Magic Box. I guess the guys thought it would be funny if." Buffy snorted with laughter and Angel sighed. "Look, just put her, it on a bus home and she'll be fine. And I promise to make Xander call and apologise for freaking you out like that," she assured him once she'd managed to stop laughing.
Cordelia said a quick thank you and then moved away from Angel to let him finish.
"Buffy, you are Spike. you're not. are you?"
"The Buffybot," Buffy corrected.
"The Buffybot," Angel repeated, "she said that Spike is in love with you. Is that.?"
"Angel I assure you Spike and I feel exactly the same way about each other. We always have."
"Thank God," Angel murmured. "Well, I'll send her back as soon as possible. And I'll see you."
"Sometime," Buffy finished, saving him from having to make any commitments.
"Yeah. Goodbye Buffy."
"'Spike and I feel exactly the same way about each other,'?" Spike quoted her words back to her as she turned around. "'We always have?'"
"Well, yeah," Buffy told him, kneeling down next to the couch so that she was directly facing him again. "First we hated each other, then we suffered one another and now."
"Now." Buffy lowered her head again and finished the kiss they had started earlier.
"Mmm," Spike sighed as she pulled back and smiled at him. "I like now."