Disclaimer: If you don't know who owns this stuff by now, then you can just believe that I do, and then buy a bridge from me. And some ocean front property in Arizona. And if that didn't give it away... I don't own a thing in this story, except the plot, and some characters later on. Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy, and all those others, own Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, and Angel.
Distribution: This site, and anyone else who wants it. Let me know first though, please. I like to visit my babies sometimes ;)
Author's Other Note: I have to say this... it's been bugging me, so I'm telling you all right now. I wrote most of this during the summer between season 5 and 6. I had some exact ideas about some things that I wanted to happen, and then they happened in season 6, but I didn't take them from the show. I already had them written way before they happened on the actual show. That happens to me a lot in life. I think of something, write it down, and then I'll see it elsewhere... then I feel like I stole it, but I didn't. Why yes, I *am* insecure, why do you ask?
Rating: I'm going to go with R.
The Old Switcheroo
Willow coughed lightly as a gust of wind picked up the dust floating to the ground and blew it in her face. She stuck her stake inside the waistband of her jeans and sighed heavily as a strand of her long blonde hair settled itself directly in front of her eyes. For the tenth time that night, she unwrapped the hair tie from her ponytail and tucked the stray strand back in place before securing the tie once more.
"I'm cutting it, I don't care whether Buffy likes it or not. Long hair and slaying do not go hand in hand," she mumbled.
She had no idea how Buffy managed it. Slaying always looked so easy and effortless when Buffy was doing the slaying. On Willow, it looked... well, awkward.
In the week since their run-in with the demon, since Willow and Buffy had switched bodies, Willow had taken to secretly patrolling. Giles and Buffy would probably have a fit if they found out, but she had no intention of telling them. They didn't think she was skilled enough to take on the evil nasties that frequented the cemeteries at night, but she was. Most of the time. Admittedly, she could use a little training, but when wearing Buffy's body, she felt like she could take on the world. She just hoped that wouldn't happen any time soon.
Gathering her bag of weapons, she turned around and headed out of the cemetery. Halfway there, she felt a vampire coming near and dropped her bag quietly to the ground. Her hand snaked down and wrapped around the stake in her waistband. Swinging around, with the stake at the ready, she faced the threat that was now directly behind her.
"Spike," she gasped out. She'd almost staked Spike. Oops. Bad Willow. Spike, who had no idea she was Willow. And who Buffy didn't want to know that they'd switched bodies. Willow rolled her eyes, remembering Buffy's argument against telling Spike. Like he would actually hurt us, Willow thought. He has a chip, and he's in love with Buffy... and he's making me feel like I haven't a stitch of clothing on with those eyes. Wow.
"Buffy," he acknowledged, still looking at her with those piercing blue eyes of his. His duster swirled around his legs, his hand rubbed absently at his abdomen, and a cigarette dangled from his lips.
Spike was gorgeous personified, not that she would admit it to anyone ever, still... again, wow. Wait, act like Buffy, be disgusted. That would never happen, but she could pretend. She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at him. "What do you want?" she asked. She groaned inwardly at the brief flicker of hurt in his eyes.
He crossed his arms over his chest in imitation of her stance, and smirked in amusement. "You mean besides--"
"I mean besides," she said quickly.
He stared at her long and hard, tossed his cigarette to the ground and stomped it out. "Well I'll be damned... Willow."
Buffy was here? Meaning her? Meaning uh-oh. She glanced around them, squinting into the darkness. "Where's Willow? 'Cause, I told her not to walk around alone at night, and--"
"Not out there. Right here. I know it's you." His eyes, piercing and appreciative just moments before, were now angry. "I can just imagine that conversation. 'Let's not tell Spike 'cause, gosh, he'll do something evil and naughty.'"
Willow nodded sadly. "Pretty close," she admitted. "Though, I don't see what the big deal is. It's not like you'd hurt her even if you could."
"At times like these, I think I just might. If I could," he added quickly. "You don't have any overwhelming urges to dust me, do you?"
She shrugged. "Nope. Just an overwhelming urge to eat." No, that wasn't quite right. She thought for a second, trying to identify the feeling that had been pushing itself to the forefront since she'd dusted her first vampire tonight. Six vamps later, she had this need for... something. Food might help, she thought, but that didn't sound right. "Food, or something," she added.
Spike's lips twitched slightly. "Ever the word smith, Red. I was just on my way to get something to eat. Don't suppose you'd like to donate a little of that Slayer's blood running through your veins?"
She rolled her eyes at him. "I don't suppose."
He shrugged. "It was worth a try. So... what happened? Another one of your spell's gone wonky?"
Willow huffed angrily. "No, it was not a spell of mine gone wrong. Why is it that as soon as something goes wrong, everyone asks me if I did a spell? Like I'm to blame for everything," she grumbled. She had issues. She knew this.
Spike nodded in understanding, looking away for a second before returning his gaze to her. "Know what you mean." He tensed suddenly, looking away again. "Company." His hand slid inside his duster pocket, disappearing for a second, before reappearing with a stake. Instead of standing with her against the intruder, Spike stepped back a few feet and leaned against a tree, crossing his arms over his chest, the stake dangling between his fingers.
She felt the vampire now, as well. She had mistaken it for Spike's presence. She couldn't mistake it now. The constant tingling sensation that ran throughout her whole body was intensifying. The vampire was behind her, approaching quickly. Spike, though tensed and at the ready, seemed content to watch her in action. No, not her. Buffy. She had to remember that. But it felt good to be looked at like Spike was looking at her. Like she was the most beautiful girl in the world. Oh, bad, Willow. Tara looks at you like that... or she used to, before this whole invasion of the body snatchers thing happened.
Sighing heavily, she turned around, waiting. The vamp walked unsteadily forward, looking extremely confused. As she neared, Willow got a good look at her and gasped. The vamp had to be eighty if she was a day. She looked like a grandmother. Probably was. She had short, curly white hair, a purple flower print house dress on, and a string of those thick pearls old ladies seemed to like so much.
"Who would turn someone her age?" Willow hissed to Spike. "That's just cruel."
Spike came up next to her. "Someone who needed her knowledge, or a family member. Happens more than you'd think. Usually when someone this old is turned, it's for what they know. And then you have an old vamp wandering around. A lot of times vampires her age miss their life and the people in it. Sometimes they turn their spouse for company. Only thing is, mental capacity is non-returnable."
Willow watched in horror as the vamped out old lady squinted at them. A sickly smile creased her fanged mouth just before she launched herself at Willow. Willow dodged to the side a split second before the old lady would have hit her. She spun around and shoved her stake into the woman's heart, and the vamp went boom. She accepted Spike's helping hand and dusted herself off. Her stake went back into her waistband.
"Not bad," he told her.
She grinned, blowing a newly fallen lock of hair out of her face. "Thanks." She glared at the offending blonde hair and took out the hair tie. "Damn it!" She was about to braid her hair, but stopped, looking thoughtfully at Spike. "What do you think? Shoulder length?"
Spike shook his head in confusion. "Huh?"
She made a cutting motion with her fingers. "I'm gonna cut it... um, as soon as I work up the nerve." She sighed sadly. "Who am I kidding? I'll never cut it, Buffy would kill me."
Spike snorted with laughter. "I'd cut it for you just to see the look on her face."
"I know you would," Willow agreed with a nod. "Not gonna happen though. We'll find the reversal spell and I'll have my nice short hair back." She smiled happily, picking up her bag once more. "That's it for tonight. See ya, Spike. Oh, don't tell Buffy or any of the others that you know... 'kay? Please? Uh, Spike? Hello?"
Spike looked deep in thought, staring ahead into the darkness. Willow nudged his arm, and he snapped out of it. "Huh?"
She laughed lightly. "You've been saying that a lot lately, Brainiac."
He ignored her jibe. "What kind of demon was it?"
"Big, ugly, ora--"
"Orange horns, and green skin," he finished with an explosive sigh. "Kratham. Just... tell me you didn't kill it, the one that did this." He gestured to her.
A sinking feeling started deep in the pit of her stomach. She knew where he was going with his questions. She just... knew. Oh God, please don't let me be stuck in Buffy's body. Please let there be a way to reverse it. I don't want to be the Slayer forever.
"Killed it dead," she whispered, starting to shake. "There's a way to reverse this, right? I mean, there has to be a way."
Spike turned serious eyes to her. "'fraid not, Red."
Willow blinked at him. "But, see there has to be a way. I can't be Buffy for the rest of my life." She was getting hysterical, her voice rising with every word, probably attracting every vampire in town, but she didn't care. "I have-- and Tara. 'Cause, Tara is already freaking out. And Buffy. Oh, God, Buffy. She has to be me forever." Willow, ever the optimist, straightened her shoulders and shook off the panic. "No, wait. There has to be a way. A spell. I'll just do a spell." She nodded decisively, and took off running toward the Magic Box.
Spike grabbed her arm just outside the cemetery and stopped her headlong flight into the street. "Hold on--"
Willow shook off his restraining hand, forgetting her slayer strength, and ended up elbowing him in the stomach. He fell to the sidewalk with a grunt. "I'm sorry. I forgot about... ugh." She sat down beside him, slumping to the ground.
Spike patted her knee. "S'alright, love, no damage done." His hand remained on her knee a little longer than needed, and Willow shot him a pointed look. He chuckled nervously. "Right." Standing up, he offered her a hand.
She took it, letting go as soon as she was relatively steady on her feet. "Thanks." She pointed down the street. "I need to go, Buffy's probably wondering where I am."
"Staying at the slayer's house?" he asked.
"Looking like her, staying at her house, pretty much being her," Willow muttered as she started off down the street.
The next day, Willow strode into the Magic Box to tell them the information she'd gotten from Spike. Well, she didn't so much stride, as she walked. No, slunk would fit. She slunk through the door, hoping the bell wouldn't go off. It did. Three faces turned toward her. Her two best friends and Buffy's watcher were seated at the round table in the middle of the store. Anya was behind the counter showing Dawn how to ring up sales.
"Sis, long time no see," Dawn called cheerfully, earning an eye roll from Buffy. Willow smiled as best she could, but it ended up as a miserable uplifting of lips.
"Hey, guys," she called out to the room in general, dropping into a seat next to Buffy.
Xander smiled widely, but refrained from voicing his greeting. Willow smiled back. Buffy, in her red-headed body, looked down at her from her seat on top of the table.
The whole room, having heard this a few times during the week, groaned collectively.
"Hey." Willow sat up a little straighter, fiddling with a large leather bound book in front of her. "I, uh, found out the name of the demon," she told them.
Giles' head shot up, interest clearly written on his face. "Good morning, Buff- uh, Willow. Didn't hear you come in." He did the glasses manuever, pulling them off of his face and rubbing the bridge of his nose. "Did you say you found it?"
Buffy nudged Willow's leg with her own. "Spill, chica. Not that this isn't fun, but I'm rather anxious to be in my own body again."
Willow understood exactly how Buffy felt, which is why her eyes teared up. "It's a Kratham demon." She had no idea whether any of them had heard of it, but she was hoping Giles had. She thought maybe the news would come easier from him. Or she was just a coward.
"Dear God," Giles whispered, dropping his glasses to the floor.
Definitely a coward.
The whole room erupted into movement and questions at Giles' exclamation. Buffy was on her feet in a second, demanding answers from Giles. Xander, noticing Willow's mood, slung an arm around her shoulders. Dawn looked from Willow to Buffy, then back to her. Willow smiled reassuringly, only it came out sickly.
"Calm down," Giles told them all, looking quickly around the store. Only one customer besides them was there. Giles walked over to the man and talked to him quietly for a second, before seeing him to the door and locking it behind him. Giles leaned against it for a few moments, then turned back to the questioning looks of his charges.
"The spell cannot be reversed," he told them, apparently deciding to just dive right in there. "Buffy killed the demon that cast the spell, and he or she is the only one who would be able to reverse it."
Willow sank even further into her chair. Ever since Spike's pronouncement last night, she'd run the gamut of emotions. Denial, panic, fear, desperation, they'd all been there. And then she'd looked through every book she could find, trying to find something, anything on the elusive Kratham demons. The internet had come next. But she found nothing, and had held out hope that maybe, just maybe Spike had been wrong, and Giles would be able to fix things.
Now she knew. He couldn't. She was stuck being Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.
"You know, instead of constantly lamenting your situation, why don't you look on the bright side? I mean, sure, you can't hurt people anymore... well, you could I suppose, but it would probably hurt you more than it would them. And, sure, you feel helpless now, but--"
"Red..." Spike interrupted, then, when she didn't seem to hear him, louder, "Red!" Finally she turned toward him questioningly. "I wasn't lamenting, I was... commenting on my non-biting condition, and the lack of concern and help coming from a certain group of people who promised to help me."
Willow snorted rudely. "Sounds like whining to me." She tossed him a baleful look. "At least you still have your own body."
Spike rolled his eyes. "Now who's whining?" He lit a cigarette and exhaled a plume of smoke into the night air. "Seems to me you should take your own advice. Besides, your situation isn't all that bad, you've got super powers. And I could think of worse bodies to be in."
"Just because you'd do just about anything to get inside this body," Willow sneered, "doesn't mean I would."
"That was downright spiteful, pet," Spike said, glaring at her. "And keep it down, I don't need everyone in this blasted town knowing."
Willow looked around them at the empty cemetery. "Everyone who? There's no one around."
Spike gestured to her. "How about that vamp you're straddling, and not staking? Pummeling the enemy is all well and good. A bit of violence? Always. But you've been beating on this guy for, like, ten minutes. He's gonna heal before you get around to dusting him."
Willow sighed and yanked her stake out of her sleeve, staking the unconscious vampire beneath her. She sat on the ground, feeling empty, once again left wanting something, and not having any idea what it was. She needed to ask Buffy about it. "Anyone ever tell you you're a master exaggerator?"
Spike smirked down at her. "Anyone ever tell you that a good slay should be followed by a good lay?"
Willow glared at him. "Spike, you're being uncommonly rude lately. If this is the way you talk to Buffy, it's no wonder she doesn't like you." Where had that come from? Her moods, of late, were leaning toward angry and rude as hell, a fact that the others, especially Tara, didn't like. Spike seemed to be getting the brunt of it though, since he had taken to patrolling with her this past week.
Spike flicked his cigarette to the ground and stalked toward her, yanking her to her feet. "You've been rather belligerent yourself, Red. You need to get over it already. So you're the slayer now, big deal. You'll live."
Willow's eyes blazed up at him. "No," she said, "I won't. Ever seen an old slayer, Spike?" He started to answer, but she didn't give him a chance. "No, you haven't, because there is no such thing. I've basically been handed a death sentence, and I'm not handling it well, ok? I know that. I'm trying to deal with it, to get over it. But it's not that easy."
Spike shrugged, unconcerned. "What did you think hanging with the slayer would do? Give you a nice, long life? Husband, kids, white picket fence?" He snorted rudely. "Not bloody likely. You probably wouldn't have lived past your twenty sixth."
Willow sat down on a headstone, her hands in her lap. The anger she'd felt only moments ago fading to frustration. She knew she was being a witch, and not of the spell kind, but she couldn't seem to help it. Maybe it was a part of the slayer package... to rail against the injustice of it all. Lord knows Buffy had done it enough times. But Buffy always stood up to each challenge, and therein lay the root of Willow's anger. She was afraid that she wouldn't be able to step up to the challenges, when they came. That she'd fail everyone and the world would end. So she was lashing out.
She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Have you ever wanted something so badly, something so close to you that you could reach out and touch it, but not have it?"
Spike gave her a scathing look.
"Sorry. I didn't mean-- forget it. What I'm saying is, I want to be Willow again, you know, unassuming, mousy little Willow. Not gorgeous, petite, blonde Buffy. I don't do well with attention. I'm better at handling it now then I was back in high school, but still, I'd prefer to remain out of the limelight thank you very much. Not to mention all the vampires and demons now gunning for me." She took a deep breath, sighing out her frustrations. "Buffy is an awesome person. And now she's reduced to being me. She's gotta be freaking worse than I am."
Buffy, curled up on the couch, a bowl of popcorn beside her, stared enraptured at the T.V. Dawn flopped down next to her, nearly spilling the popcorn. She groaned when she saw what Buffy was watching.
"Again? I mean, seriously, how many times can a person reasonably watch Ghost without going nuts? 'Cause I'm planning on doing that, you know."
Buffy shoved a strand of short red hair out of her eyes and shushed Dawn. A tissue, clenched tightly in Buffy's small hand, wiped at wet eyes. "This is my favorite part. Poor Molly."
Dawn rolled her eyes at the obvious pity party hostess. He's gone, and he's not coming back, Dawn wanted to tell Buffy, but she couldn't. Angel was Buffy's soul mate, but he was also a vampire with a curse that had a happiness clause. And Buffy was what made him happiest... so, no togetherness for those two.
Riley, on the other hand, was someone Buffy could have... and had managed to chase away. Or neglect away. Dawn shook her head. Whatever.
And now, Spike. She smiled to herself. That man was gorgeous with a capital G. Vampire or not, soulless or not, Spike had the goods, and Dawn secretly thought Buffy blind not to notice. Or pretend not to notice. Buffy would never, ever even think about considering dating Spike.
Dawn's smile slipped. Poor Spike. He loved Buffy so much, had been tortured for hours for her. Helped her save the world. Tried to save Dawn from being shish-kabobbed by Glory... even if he did ultimately fail. It wasn't his fault. Nobody had seen Doc coming into play that night. Never expected it. And Buffy had died because of that failure.
She shuddered lightly, sitting back against the couch and snuggling up next to her sister. Buffy didn't look at her, her attention stayed focused on the T.V. as she smoothed Dawn's hair back. Dawn sighed softly. Buffy didn't need to look at Dawn to know when she was needed. She just knew.
Spike watched Buffy's body. Not in a stalker way tonight. Nope. This time he was watching Willow walk in front of him. She was moving with all the enthusiasm of an inmate headed to the electric chair. She was depressed.
What else was new?
She was also angry and afraid. No one else seemed to notice. They were too busy trying to find a way to reverse the spell. Both Willow and Buffy were nearing the breaking point, he knew, and he wasn't sure he wanted to be around when they finally blew. He was afraid. Buffy had all this magickal energy flowing through her and no outlet since she didn't know how to practice. Willow had the slayer strength, and again, no outlet because she hadn't been trained.
While he couldn't help Buffy with her problem, though he wished like hell he could, he was able to help Willow. He could train her to fight. Teach her some moves. Maybe cop a cheap feel or two. A twinge of guilt fluttered through him, but he shrugged it off.
He was a vampire. A demon. What else was he supposed to do?
So, here he was, watching Buffy's butt sway in front of him as they headed to the next cemetery on their nightly patrol. Nightly patrols that no one knew they took. Spike wasn't an idiot, he knew Willow hadn't told the others that she was patrolling with him after the gang's earlier sweeps. The gang believed, rightly so, that she wasn't ready to be out on her own. She agreed, but also had a nagging sense of guilt, and killing vampires and demons was a great way to alleviate that guilt.
Spike had no clue why she felt guilty about the situation. Not like she did anything. It just happened. No one was to blame. Though he was rather amazed that Buffy hadn't found some way to pin it on him. She liked to do that. Blame the soulless demon for everything that went wrong. Not this time though. In fact, he suspected she was avoiding running into him at all cost because she was at a disadvantage.
He was rather nervous being around her as well. She had a hell of a temper and newly acquired magical powers that she didn't know how to control. So he was content to stay away from her, for now. Besides, it wasn't like he wasn't seeing her every night. Her body anyway.
"Spike?" Willow called, stopping but not turning around.
"What?" He walked slowly, catching up to her, wondering if there was a vampire or demon nearby.
She turned amused eyes to him. "Are you done watching my butt?"
Spike pursed his lips in thought, then nodded. "Yeah, I think so."
Willow rolled her eyes and shoved him away. "You're incorrigible." She went through the gates of the Shady Pines cemetery, tossing a stake in the air and catching it.
Spike followed her with a chuckle. "Guess I was wrong," he called out, watching her jean-clad butt again.
Willow turned around, walking backwards. "So, I guess it wasn't love after all."
Spike frowned. "What are you talking about?"
She seemed to be in a better mood than she'd been in earlier. Spike hopped up on a headstone, then jumped on top of a crypt entrance, surveying the area. Satisfied that there were no evil things lurking about--besides him--he sat down, hanging his legs over the edge.
"I'm talking about you. And Buffy. I thought you really were in love with her, but since you're spending all your time hanging around with me, meaning Buffy's body, and not her, with her mind, then it was lust. Not love." She stepped up on the headstone beside the crypt and held her hand out to him.
"Or," he said, pulling her up, "I'm avoiding being turned into a frog by Buffy and her new powers."
Willow settled down next to him, shuddering slightly. "Frogs," she said in disgust. "If she turns you into a frog, you're on your own." She swung her legs back and forth, looking younger than Buffy's twenty years.
Spike laughed at the look of utter revulsion on her face. "You face vampires and demons nightly... and you're afraid of frogs?"
"Not afraid of them, per se... that's spiders. Spiders I'm afraid of. Frogs I'm just... icked by."
Spike grinned. "You're just a big ole girly girl."
She brandished her stake, holding it against his chest. "Hey. I could kill you right here. Right now. And no one would ever know." She stopped, her brow furrowed. "Actually, that's kinda scary."
"You're telling me," he agreed. Staring down at the stake still poised against his undead heart, he raised an eyebrow at her. "Could you remove the pointy piece of death, please?"
Willow set the stake beside her, then froze.
"Buffy?" The voice was soft, but incredulous. "Spike?" The voice was no longer soft. It was angry.
Spike smirked at Angel, giving a mock bow. "Your royal poofiness."
A snort of laughter from beside him gave him a tiny thrill. The voice was Buffy, but the unrestrained laughter was all Willow. Plus, Angel looked all hurt and stuff.
Willow got herself under control quickly and stood up. "Angel. Hi." She jumped down, right in front of him, and hugged him. Angel's arms wrapped around her tightly, holding her to him as Spike jumped down beside them. He could see how uncomfortable Angel was making Willow, so he took pity on her.
"Might wanna let go of... Buffy. She's not yours anymore, mate."
Angel ignored Spike, pulling Willow away slightly to look into her face. "Are you all right? Cordy had a vision. You and Willow are in danger."
Willow pulled away from Angel, far away. She ended up standing a good three feet away from him. "I'm fine... all things considered. What's the danger?"
Poor Angel looked all hurt again. Spike nearly snorted with laughter. Apparently Willow had no intention of telling Angel who she really was. Could be fun then.
Angel's eyes flickered to Spike's. Seeing the amusement there, he attempted to drag Willow away. She shook her head, refusing to go. "What's the danger, Angel?"
Angel shoved his hands in his duster and sighed. "I'm not sure. Cordy said there was a..." he paused, laughing, "a green-eyed monster stalking people here."
Willow and Spike both stared at Angel in shock. Spike stepped in front of Willow, who was too stunned to notice. "Angelus," she whispered.
Spike wasted no time talking about it. He punched Angel in the face and delighted in watching him sail backwards to land on his ass. He stood looking down at Angelus. "So someone else brings you happiness now, huh?"
Angel stood up with a snarl. "Ok, this is getting really old. Every time I come back here, people accuse me of being evil. I... am not evil. I went through some changes--"
"Puberty?" Spike sneered.
"I came to grips with things. I'm still Angel." He turned soulful, pleading eyes on Willow. "It's me, Buffy."
Willow relaxed, but kept staring at him. She seemed to be looking for something, and Spike realized she was was waiting for Angel to figure out she wasn't Buffy. He leaned against the crypt, waiting for the fireworks to go off.
Willow stalked forward, staring Angel in the eye. "Angel?"
Angel looked down at her in confusion. "Buffy?" Suddenly his eyes windened. "Willow?"
Willow grinned at him. "Yep." She playfully swatted at his arm. "Took you long enough. Spike noticed almost immediately."
Angel grabbed her arm, pulling her along with him. This time, she went. "Why are you hanging around with Spike? He's evil." He suddenly looked unsure. "Isn't he?"
Willow shrugged. "We're not sure anymore. He has the implant, can't hurt or kill humans now. Seems to have tamed him somewhat."
"I heard that," Spike yelled to her, not at all pleased.
Willow grinned. "Good," she yelled back. "My devious plan has succeeded." She turned back to Angel, who was watching her in amusement. "He's been helping us since... wow, just after you moved to L.A., after that whole Gem of Amarra thing. It's been a long time. I'm surprised no one told you. Like, maybe Drusilla?"
"I haven't seen Drusilla in months. She and Darla took off."
"Darla? Who-- oh, right. Your sire. Isn't she dead?"
"She was. A law firm in L.A. brought her back to life. She was human, until one of the lawyers found Drusilla and had her turn Darla."
Willow shook her head in confusion. Why would a law firm want Darla brought back to life? But that didn't matter at the moment. "So, uh, this threat? Any clues what it might be?"
Angel smiled a bit. "None." His smile faded, and his eyes flickered to Spike before returning to her. "Is Buffy all right? I mean, how's she handling... this?" He gestured at Buffy's body, and Willow felt a small amount of irritation. Everyone was so worried about how Buffy was handling the switch, including her, that they never gave a thought to how she felt.
"She's ok. Not peachy keen, but... dealing."
Spike, tired of waiting, joined them. "And don't you go traipsing over there getting her all riled up either. She's got Will's magic, and no outlet. Best to stay away from her."
Willow rolled her eyes. "The only green-eyed monster I see is the one between you two. I swear, you're like five year old siblings." Both of them turned incredulous looks her way, and she laughed. "See?"
"Willow," Angel warned, watching Spike closely.
"What?" she asked, laughing. "Him?" She elbowed Spike in the stomach and giggled when he reached for her with a low growl. "He can't hurt me. Besides, he doesn't want to, not as long as I'm--" she stopped, seeing the panicked look in Spike's eyes. "Um, you know, human. 'Cause of the pain from the implant." It was lame, and she could see that Angel didn't buy it for a second, but it was all she could think of on such short notice. It probably wasn't a good idea to tell Angel that Spike was in love with the love of Angel's life, and that he wouldn't hurt Willow because she was wearing Buffy's body.
"Yeah," Spike agreed. "Humans. Can't touch 'em. See?" He pulled on the long braid hanging down her back. Willow gasped in pain while Spike grabbed his head. "Can't hurt 'em," he ground out.
Angel finally nodded, his expression serious. "So... you're living off of animal blood?"
Angel's lips twitched slightly, and Willow had a sneaking suspicion that he was laughing at Spike. Having been the butt of too many jokes in her life, Willow couldn't stand it when she saw it happening to someone else. Especially about something they couldn't help, something that wasn't their fault.
Spike was glaring at Angel, barely holding himself in check. "That's right, I'm brown bagging it now." He got right in Angel's face. "You got something to say?"
Angel shook his head, grinning. "Nah, I'm sure you've heard every joke there is by now, courtesy of Xander. Not to mention the ones you heap on me every time I see you. Suffice it to say that this is a more fitting punishment than I could ever give you." He turned to Willow, the smile gone, replaced by anger. "And you all just let him hang around, doing God knows what? He tried to kill you."
Willow glared at Angel, not believing what she was hearing. Did Angel actually think he could come here and tell them what they should or shouldn't let Spike do?
She yanked Angel away from Spike, and pushed him away. When he attempted to grab Spike, she slapped his hand away. "He tried to kill me? What did you do, Angel? You terrorized your girlfriend, killed Giles' girlfriend, and stole Spike's! Not to mention everything else you put the rest of us through, and all the people you killed." She got in his face much like Spike had done, and hissed, "Buffy felt every single death you caused. She *still* blames herself." Ignoring the pain and guilt on the older vampire's face, Willow continued. "And yet we managed to forgive you. Spike hasn't hurt any of us in two years, and not all of that is because he can't--"
"That's going a bit far," Spike interrupted. "I'd hurt Xander in a heartbeat--"
Willow tossed him an exasperated look. "I'm trying to help you here, so shut up." Turning back to Angel, who looked rather like his usual broody-self, Willow's eyes softened. "I didn't mean to... well, yes I did. But, Angel, you haven't been here. You don't know what's happened. Spike saved the world with us. A couple of times. Sometimes a bit reluctantly, but he did it. And I trust him as much as I trust you."
Spike snorted from beside her. "Guess she doesn't trust you much, Peaches. Bummer, that." He grinned at Angel's glaring look tossed his way.
Willow turned to Spike. "At the risk of being repetive, Spike..." she elbowed him again, "shut up. I trust Angel a lot."
Spike tossed her a surprised look.
Willow turned back to Angel, who was watching Spike with something akin to wonder. She grinned. "I know. It totally flips me out too, but it's how things are now."
"And Buffy--" Angel began.
"Trusts him. So kiss and make up." Both Spike and Angel glared at her, and Willow couldn't help it, she started laughing. They both looked so disgusted. "It's not like you haven't done it before." At their even more incredulous looks, she frowned. "I thought--"
"You thought wrong," Angel practically yelled.
Spike shuddered. "Bloody hell, woman, keep your fantasies to yourself." He managed to look repulsed and mocking at the same time.
"You wish you made appearances in my fantasies, Blondie" she shot back.
"Don't have to wish," Spike retorted, "I know I do." He winked at her.
"I can't believe this is happening," Angel hissed. "Willow, you're flirting with Spike."
"We're not flirting, we're bantering," she explained. "Besides, I have a girlfriend... or, had one anyway," she finished sadly.
Angel's eyes widened. "You have a girlfriend?"
"Had," she corrected.
"You had a girlfriend? Boy am I more out of the loop than I thought."
Willow frowned at him. "You mean Cordelia didn't tell you?"
"Cordelia?" Angel practically shouted. "You and Cordelia--"
Willow rolled her eyes. "No, not me and Cordelia. I meant because I told her when I talked to her about Harmony--"
"You and Harmony?" Poor Angel's voice was rising with each word he said.
Willow made a yuck face. "God, no. Harmony's just icky. She terrorized me and Xander all throughout high school. I would never... with Harmony. Harmony and Spike--"
"Harmony and Spike?" Angel asked, sounding a little more calm.
Spike slid his arm around her waist, and she nearly jumped out of her skin at his touch. She'd never been touched so intimately by the vampire before. It felt kind of... good. Tingly. Until his words registered.
"Oh, come on, sweetie. Are you ashamed of our threesomes? You know Harm's gonna be upset to hear you--"
Willow slapped her hand over Spike's mouth and shoved his arm away. There was such unrestrained laughter in his eyes that she had to fight hard not to giggle. Seeing Angel spluttering a few feet away made it impossible, and she burst into laughter, dropping her hand from Spike's mouth. His laughter joined hers and they both turned to look at Angel, looking for all the world like children.
Author's Note: I have a question. Up in the beginning, I mentioned all my many fanfics going on, none are finished, many are long, and involved... if you want, I can start posting them all, incomplete, and update them when I get around to it. How do you feel about me doing that? Should I post them, or not post them 'til their done? Could be a loooooong time before they're done though, so... is a little at a time better than waiting? Or not?