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6

Six Hours Later…

Buffy bit her lip nervously as she stood outside the apartment that Dawn and Willow had given the LA team. Spike was in there, probably recuperating from what she had done to him. She winced at the familiar pang of guilt that has been stabbing at her for the past six hours. She was wrong in using that stake on Spike. She could have killed him and this time he wouldn’t have been coming back and she would have had to face Angelus alone.

Buffy touched the door and closed her eyes with a sob as she felt the tingling sensation shoot through her abdomen, telling her that a vampire was within those walls.

“Spike,” She sighed, leaning her forehead against the door.

“Why don’t you go on in and see him, sweetie. The two of you have a lot to talk about,” a warm voice spoke up from behind her.

Buffy frowned at what obviously was a demon and a loudly dressed one at that. “You must be Lorne.”

“Angel Cakes must have told you about me.”

“No, actually it was Willow. She said that you’re the most interesting demon that she had ever met.”

“Ah, she flatters me,” Lorne laughed, placing a gentle hand on Buffy’s shoulder. “Come sweetie. I’ll take you to him. Your souls are screaming out for one another. It’s becoming impossible for me to ignore it any longer,” Lorne led Buffy into the apartment.

The room was dark, with a sliver of light coming from the window. Wesley was setting down at the desk in the corner, his head in his hands. He came to attention when Buffy entered. He immediately got to his feet and blocked her from moving any further into the apartment.

“Buffy. What brings you here?” suspicion darkened his gaze, thinking that she was there to finish off the vampire within, once and for all.

“Don’t worry; I’m not here to finish the job. I just need to speak with him.”

“I’m sorry, but Spike’s resting and…”

“Let her see him Wes. She has no ill intentions. All of her anger is gone now. All I see now is hurt. Poor dear,” Lorne defended Buffy. He had to. He had felt the slayer’s grief all the way in LA and would do anything to help end it.

“I won’t be long. I just need to apologize and tell him that I’m glad that he’s not dead.”

Wesley sighed. He really did not want to trust Buffy’s temper, but then again, Lorne had vouched for her. Maybe five minutes wouldn’t hurt. “Ok. Fine. But I want all wooden objects left out here,” Wesley stepped aside. “He’s in the room on the right.”

“Thank you, Wes. I promise, I’ll behave,” Buffy headed for Spike’s room, ready to get the apology over with.

“Those two are destined for one another,” Lorne sighed, a romantic smile lighting up his eyes. He liked to see young love, especially when it was as true as the love between the slayer and the English vampire.

“You’re a matchmaker now?” Wesley frowned.

“Don’t have to be. The powers that be had tied their souls together. They have decided that Spike and Buffy were worthy of one another. The greatest slayer of all and the vampire she had chosen as her champion.”

“I can’t help but feel sorry for Angel. She was his reason for wanting the Shanshu prophecy so badly…”

“But now he wants her dead. So I really don’t feel all that bad.”

“Lorne, you know that it’s Angelus, not…”

“Keep telling yourself that, sugar,” Lorne shook his head. He had never brought into that Angel/Angelus explanation. To him, they were the same. The soul had just given him a stronger conscious.

“Lorne…”

“Wes, don’t. I know what I’m talking about and what I feel. Now, I’m tired and you know what happens when I don’t get my beauty rest,” Lorne patted his friend’s back before disappearing into his room.

Wesley watched the green demon go, thinking of how wrong Lorne was. When Angel was back to himself again…he was going to be heartbroken.

~*~

Spike was laying flat on his back, just staring up at the ceiling as he pondered his life up until now. He still could not believe that he had come to this point. He had spent a century idolizing one of the most vicious vampires in history. He even took it a step further, and killed two slayers. Now here he was, all souled up. He protected the slayer, the woman he loved from the very creature that he had worshipped a century ago. So many twists and turns…life was funny that way.

“Spike?” her voice was nervous and submissive, yet her very presence reeked of strength and bravery. He looked over at her framed in the doorway. Her hazel eyes were full of guilt, worry, and hurt.

“Buffy,” he winced in pain as he sat up. He was healing nicely, but it was taking longer to hear since she had used wood. “Come on in, Luv. I won’t bite.”

“Says who?” Buffy forced a smile, trying to lighten the situation some. Her smile faded a bit as she remembered the true purpose of her visit. “Uh…Spike…I’m here to apologize for beating you up and stabbing you with that stake. I guess everyone was right about me. I do need to go into anger management,” She smiled sheepishly.

“You had every right to be angry, Pet. You’re right. I should have made contact sooner. I just thought…I had thought that you were better off without me. I had thought that you happily living that normal life you always wanted.”

“You’ve been listening to Angel haven’t you?” Buffy finally stepped into the room and went to set by his side. “I’m going to tell you what I told him when he fed me the same line of garbage. I am a vampire slayer. I’ll never be normal. Being the slayer sets me apart from being normal.”

“Even in a world full of slayers?”

Buffy sighed in growing frustration. She felt as if history was repeating itself. Again, the vampire she cared for wanted to give her the impossible. She had to make him see her fate for what it was and accept it, as she shad done a long time ago.

“Maybe if I had gotten my powers like the others and hadn’t been the chosen one for so long…maybe if I had never stopped an apocalypse or even laid eyes on a vampire…maybe a normal life would have been possible. But I have seen and done too much. Heck, I’ve died two times and knew the peace of heaven, just to be ripped out again. I sent a whole town to the bottom of hell. A normal life is impossible for me.”

Spike looked away in embarrassment. He would have blushed if he could over his own stupidity. He was being a big Poofter. What Buffy had just told him had been the same thing he had told Angel a number of times. Too bad he was too much of a bloody moron to follow his own advice. “There’s nothing I can say but I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking, obviously.”
“Spike, you never think,” Buffy laughed. “For what it’s worth…I’m glad that you’re not dust after all. Believe it or not, I’ve missed you.”

“I’m glad that I’m not dust either, Pet,” Spike smirked, beginning to feel more relaxed. Things were beginning to feel familiar again. She was still the same Buffy he had known for all these years. Strong, beautiful, and at times vulnerable. She had not changed a bit.

Buffy sighed, thinking of how much she had missed this rapport between Spike and herself. Things seemed to be returning to normal between them, or at least as normal as they could be under the circumstances. Buffy bit her lip as she looked away from him as old feelings began to bubble to the surface. Now was not the time for such things. They had Angelus’s return to deal with. There was no time to deal with romantic feelings right now.

“So…how did it happen this time? Why did Angel lose his soul? Was it that werewolf that I heard he was seeing?”

Spike looked away from Buffy as he felt the guilt rise in his chest. How could he tell her? The reason why Angel got a happy wasn’t because of a woman…it was because of him and his selfish need for a sire. He had given Angel the happy and now it was his responsibility to get him back…or do away with him all together.

“Spike?” Buffy frowned, seeing the guilt darken his blue eyes. The reason much have been bad for the flash of emotion she had just seen. “What is it?”
Spike opened his mouth to answer, but was interrupted by the lively tone of Buffy’s cell phone.

“Buffy here,” she answered, looking away from the vampire that was causing her heart to beat a thousand miles per minute.

“Hello lover,” the seductive voice whispered, dripping with hatred and evil. “I’m back.”

Buffy swallowed down the fear that rose up. Revealing how he affected her was the worst thing she could do. Looking at Spike for added support, she slipped into slayer mode, protecting the young girl that Angelus had put through hell. “So I’ve heard, Angelus. What do you want? Another free trip to hell? Because I’d be happy to arrange that for you.”

“No sweetheart. I want your heart on a platter for me to devour it whole. But not until I get a taste of all those freshly made slayers.”

“You don’t go near them. Your beef is with me,” Buffy growled through clenched teeth.

“Ah. I see. Want me all to yourself do you?” Angelus chuckled. “Well baby that can be arranged.”

“Looking forward to it,” Buffy snorted.

Spike’s frown deepened as he listened to Buffy’s end of the conversation. Angelus was obviously p laying games with her, but it was time for those games to be put to an end. Wincing against t he pain in his abdomen, Spike got out of bed and plucked the phone from Buffy’s hand before she had a chance to protest.

“You bloody wanker! I told you to stay away from her!” Spike vamped out as his anger and hatred for his sire’s evil alter ego took over.

“Ah, I see you came rushing to the slayer’s rescue once again, Spike. How predictable. You’re even more whipped then my soul was,” Angelus laughed. “Tell me, are you enjoying my leftovers? Has all these years taught her any new tricks, because when I had her…”

“Your days are numbered, Angelus,” Spike growled, wishing that he could dust the vamp with the venom in his voice.

“I wouldn’t talk if I were you, boy. You’ve sided with the enemy. How much longer do you think you can survive when he learns of your betrayal? You’d be lucky if I got to you first. At least I’d make it less painful.”

Spike rolled his eyes. Just another attempt by Angelus to intimidate him. It was too bad that it didn’t work. It had been years since Spike had feared his sire, a feat that had disappeared a long time ago. “Bring it on Angelus. I’m waiting for you.”

“I’m not the one you’ll have to worry about Spike. But you’re going to wish I was,” Angel hung up the phone, leaving Spike in silence.

“Sodden bastard,” Spike cursed, hanging the phone up.

“Don’t let him get to you,” Buffy watched Spike sink onto the bed, his face hidden in his hands. She was confused by the pain and guilt she had glimpsed in his eyes. What was that all about?
“Spike…I don’t know how Angel had lost his soul, but I’m sure that it had nothing to do with you,” Buffy touched his arm, feeling an overwhelming need to comfort him.

Spike met her gaze, amazed by the strength of the conviction in her voice. She still believed in him…even after what he had done, she still believed him to be a good man.

“If only you knew, pet,” he held her gaze, searching for what he had seen the last day before the big battle of Sunnydale. Looking for the warmth of friendship mixed with the promise of something more.

“Spike…I…,” Buffy stammered, beginning to feel a bit flustered. His gaze was so intense…so full of want and a need to be wanted…a need that matched her own. He was everything she had ever wanted...everything she had ever needed…but obviously, that hadn’t been enough, because he had left her. Just like all the others and she wasn’t sure that she could forgive him.

Spike leaned in, wanting to kiss her so badly, wanting to fulfill the promise that her eyes held, but before his lips could even brush hers, she moved away. She stood next to the door, hurt clear in her eyes.

“But you’re still a jerk for not letting me know that you were alive.”

“Buffy,” Spike struggled to his feet, needing to make things right for her, needing to ease the hurt that he had caused so they could move past it, but she was gone by time he had gotten to the door. He was left alone to wonder if they were really meant to be, or was he once again just chasing a dream that would never happen. 9;

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