Banner art: okdeanna
Pairing: Buffy/Spike, with appearances from some of the gang from both AtS and BtVS
Word Count: 1240
Summary: Six months after the battle of the Hellmouth, Buffy brings her team to Wolfram & Hart on a legal matter and finds that she’s been kept out of the loop in some important ways.
A/N: Some dialog in this chapter was lifted from the AtS episode, Destiny. All the standard disclaimers apply.
Chapter One on DW / Chapter One on LJ
Chapter Two: Are we there yet?
Buffy sat silent and ramrod straight in the back seat. Light occasionally flashed across her face as they passed gas stations and quickie marts, but once they entered the desert, she was thoroughly cloaked in darkness. Willow had learned to live with silence, mostly, and didn’t try to fill it up. Xander seemed focused on driving, but Willow knew his thoughts were miles and months away. He was in the past, with a lover who wasn’t coming back as a ghost or anything else. She was right there with him.
They finally pulled up to the ruins of the old opera house, incongruously crumbling into the sand. They parked next to two very shiny sports cars. Buffy was out the door and running before Xander shut off the engine.
“How much of this do you want to see?” he asked Willow.
“It’s probably better if she doesn’t have an audience. It’s going to be hard enough.”
“I can think of harder things.”
“Xander, all three of them have come back from the dead at least twice. In some ways, we’re the lucky ones.”
“Yeah? What ways are those?” His head fell back and he regarded the roof liner of the rental car. She tried to think of an answer, but it wouldn’t come.
“C’mon, it’s a beautiful night. Let’s go look at the stars. There could be meteor showers. Maybe our luck will change.”
“Sure. But no wishing.”
Buffy wished she had a flashlight. She wanted to move fast, to get there before it was too late, but she was inching along, one hand on the wall, tripping over debris.
“This is stupid.”
She reached into her pocket and pulled out her lighter. Spike’s lighter. Until today, she had thought it was all that was left of him, and kept it with her. When she felt his loss most keenly, she held it, feeling its weight and being comforted by its slick coolness and the way her touch warmed it. In the blackest nights, she even cried over it. She hadn’t had much practice with its more useful attributes, though, so now she fumbled to light it. Finally lit, the faint light it gave was just enough to illuminate the more major obstacles strewn before her. She set out with a more determined stride.
The tilted hallway led to a balcony. As she entered from the back, she heard the fight. Heard the accusations.
“…all the dirty little things I’ve done! Drusilla sired me but you... you made me a monster.”
She sped to the front of the balcony, just in time to see Spike drive a stake into Angel’s shoulder. Angel screamed. Buffy looked around wildly for a way down to the stage, heart hammering in her chest. She knew she could call out, give fair warning, but hearing his voice seemed to have stolen her own.
“Probably should've dusted you. But honestly, I don't want to hear her bitch about it,” said Spike.
Spike strolled over to the ugly goblet sitting in a spotlight on top of a pedestal. Buffy tucked the lighter back into her pocket, and shimmied over the rail. She lowered herself until she was hanging from her fingertips and dropped lightly into the aisle below.
She spun just as Angel asked, “Do you even really want it? Or is it that you just want to take something away from me?”
Spike shrugged. “Bit of both.”
He raised the cup to his lips, focused completely on Angel. Buffy vaulted onto the stage and slapped the cup away. Acid green liquid arced through the air, and the cup landed with a clatter that seemed to echo for long minutes in the silence that followed.
Buffy stared at Spike, chest heaving. Spike blinked, his empty hand still raised. He looked from her to Angel and back again. He licked his lips.
“Well. Here we all are again,” said Spike.
So that was the way he wanted to play it. Fine. She jammed one fist onto her cocked hip. Somehow, she found her voice.
“You know, I was just kidding when I said you guys should wrestle it out.”
“Well, this wasn’t about you, Princess,” said Spike, eyes flashing. “Much.”
She turned and stalked over to Angel. She bent and yanked the stake out of his shoulder, none too gently. He writhed on the floor, holding in a manly scream.
“Sorry,” she said automatically. He shook his head and gave her a weak smile through the grimace of pain. She straightened and looked down at him.
“I cannot believe you didn’t call me! What is it with you and phones?” He eyed the stake she still held. She rolled her eyes and dropped it.
“I knew you had a lot on your plate, Buffy,” he said weakly. “Getting your organization set up is a big job. I didn’t want to disturb you unless it was important.”
“Important! This is my team we’re talking about, Angel. Nothing is more important than that. I lost my key guy, and you knew…you knew what that did to me.”
“You didn’t say anything…”
“Because I couldn’t talk! God. Even Kennedy could see I was in shock. Do you even know me anymore?” Angel struggled to sit up.
“What are you doing here, Slayer?” interrupted Spike. “Thought you were tripping the light fantastic in Europe.” She turned back to him.
“The wha? No, I came to LA on Slayer business and that Gunn guy told us about the ghostliness, and some fat lady, and I’m still a little con-“
“No. Why here?” He pointed at the stage beneath his feet.
She glared at him. “Friends don’t let friends drink the perpetual torment, Spike.”
“I see. That what we are, then? Friends?”
She stared at him for a long moment. “How can you even ask that? Of course we’re friends! We’re more than friends! I told you that I…” Buffy paused, and seemed to deflate. “Don’t you think we’re friends?”
Spike heard the tremor in her voice, and it eased him out of his battle-high in a way the sight of her hadn’t. Some of the things she’d said started to sink into a brain set on combat. Perhaps this wasn’t the time to fight. He struggled to shift gears. What had she asked again? Right. Friends.
“Yeah. That’s us. BFFs. Just what I always wanted,” he said.
Buffy’s expression wavered between relief and annoyance. He’d seen that look before. Angel coughed. Spike sighed.
“Alright. C’mon grandpa, time to stop malingering.” He walked over to where Angel had collapsed onto the floorboards again and held out a hand. “Upsie daisy.” He hauled Angel to his feet. “We’ve got to get back to the batcave and see if the labcoats can figure out who’s yanking our chain.”
“What do you mean?” asked Buffy and Angel together.
Once Angel was standing unaided, Spike walked over to pick up the goblet where it lay in the shadows. He ran a finger around the inside of the bowl and touched it to the tip of his tongue. Buffy and Angel both started toward him.
“Yep. Mountain Dew. Good joke,” he said. At their incredulous looks, he shrugged. “Smelled it before. It seems like a lot of trouble to break down the walls of reality for a prank, though. Somebody must really want to annoy you,” he said to Angel. “Besides me, I mean.”
Continued in Chapter Three: We’ve got to talk...
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