A/N: This chapter took a lot longer than I was really expecting to, and it took awhile for me to realize how I wanted to end this story and take it from here to my next planned plot situation I've had planned. But after some heavy thinking I was able to figure it out. Thank you to my beta Hope for checking over this chapter.

This chapter is quite a bit longer, mainly because it wouldn't have worked if I had cut it and put the rest in a new chapter. So I hope you enjoy.

Chapter 36: Date Night

Buffy stood at the foot of the staircase, shifting her weight slightly from each foot. Fidgeting was a nervous habit of hers, something that she thought she had overcome after her performances and strict and frightening dance instructors. However, since moving into the Giles' estate and living with Spike, she had done a lot of fidgeting. Damn sexy, smoldering…whoah there Summers!

Across from her in front of the front entrance once Spike stood with his back to her talking to Gunn as he waited for her arrival. Gunn smiled over Spike's shoulder easing Buffy's butterflies. She didn't know why she was so nervous. She had been living here a couple months now, and Spike and her had been intimate since then. However, they had never gone out just the two of them without the entourage of Spike's employees. This was dinner and who knew what else. This was a date. Buffy hadn't been on a date in quite some time and Spike that was escorting her. She was about to see a whole new side of him, she knew that much and she didn't know quite what to expect.

Softly she cleared her throat, letting her presence be known. His head swooped around before he completely turned and if anything boosted her confidence it was his awed look he bestowed upon her the second he caught sight of her.

She was dressed a lot less of the club-wear than she had been put into when they had gone out before. Her dress was a red silk that was fitting in the bodice but loose from the cinched waist, and ending just at her knees. She held a gauzy black shawl over her bent elbow which would be enough to cover her shoulders should it get cooler since the dress was sleeveless with only straps that came over her shoulders to cross in the back. It was simple chic, a favorite of hers, which she dressed up more with her matching strappy stilettos that would put her just a couple inches below Spike's height. Her hair was down but with soft curls. Her make-up simple except for the Smokey eyes she had to play up the emerald color. The only piece of jewelry she had chosen was the ballet pendant Spike had given her a little after her arrival to the estate.

"Pet you look…"

She blushed, ducking her head but she kept her eyes on him, admiring his own fine dressing as well. He was in a suit, simple black with a red tie that was practically matching dead on to her dress. Unlike his normal work attire, he changed his hair, choosing to have it loose than slicked back just how she liked it. It brought a roguish edge to his tall dark and Wall Street-esque appearance. Perfectly Spike.

He came to stand before her offering her his arm that she in turn happily encased her arm in his. Gunn stood back from the door opening it. "Have a good time you love birds." He teased as he waved them off.

"You're in charge of the fort Gunn. Don't burn it down."

"I'll be sure that Faith doesn't tie up Andrew and that the married couple keep from having sex in the library again."

Buffy's eyes widened but before she had a chance to ask Spike opened the door to the limo. As she ducked in she heard the tail end of Gunn's chuckling.

"He's joking right?"

"Of course…Faith wouldn't tie up Andrew…she'd simply use him as a running target with her experiment Molotov cocktails." Spike snickered which only made Buffy roll her eyes at the idea of his eccentric employees. He settled into the seat pulling Buffy close as his arms wrapped around her, the car smoothly making an exit of the estate grounds.

"So…what's on the agenda for tonight." She asked resting her head against his shoulder, snuggling against him trying to take her mind off the disturbing images of Anya and Xander possibly getting it on everywhere in the house.

"Surprise kitten."

"I don't like surprises…unless they come in the unwrapping type."

Spike's eyebrow perked up as he looked at her. "Well then kitten I do have something you can unwrap." He smirked at her and waggled his eyebrows.


The amused look dropped from his face at her scolding. "Good job on channeling my mother, remind me to stop letting you two play together." In turn, Buffy giggled before leaning closer to place a gentle kiss to his lips. It took all of Spike's willpower to keep it PG and not ravish her before they even got to their first stop. This was going to be a proper date. He was taking his girl out and treating her to the entire fine wine and dining she could want.

Buffy slowly pulled away from him, saving Spike from having to make that tough decision of doing so. She sighed softly as she ran her thumb against his cheekbone and Spike tried to understand the look she held in her eyes. A soft smile graced her lips and she seemed to relax. Spike almost wanted to go out on a limb and say she felt content.

"How come you wanted to take me out?"

Her question caught him a little off guard and he stifled for an answer. "Why not?"

"So you're not trying to butter me up for something?" She teased. Normally her prejudice comment like that would have irritated Spike, but he knew she meant nothing by it but playful fun.

"We had a rough start, kitten." She nodded her head before going back to resting it against him. "Never really had a chance to take you out. The first big fight we really did have I was going to take you to dinner, you know?"

"Then I went and pissed you off…"

Spike shook his head, stroking the smooth silk of her hair. "Nah, we were just trying to make the other be something we wanted. It was a different time, I'd say were certainly getting along now."

She hummed her agreement and the rest of the drive was made in content silence. Spike reveled of her being wrapped up cozily next to him as she watched the scenery go by from the tinted window.

When they pulled up to their first stop, Spike got out first before offering her his hand to escort her out of the limo. She straightened up and looked around to see her surroundings. They stood before a large twelve story building in the downtown area of the city. She recognized the building before her to be the Oviatt building. It had been erected in the late 1920's and now housed the five-star restaurant, Cicada, an Italian restaurant that stuck to the early 1900's theme and had an old romantic feel to it. She had never been to the restaurant but had heard many great things about it. They weren't far from the Los Angeles Theater. She passed it every time she traveled to and from the theater.

She smiled at Spike as he gave instructions to the driver and then proceeded to lead her to the entrance door where the doorman dutifully opened it for them. Buffy was in awe at the architecture that was pretty much still intact from it's original state as she walked across the marble lobby and into another set of doors that brought her into the actual restaurant. In that moment she felt like they had stepped back into the 1930's. The restaurant itself was large. The 30-foot ceiling left the restaurant to be pretty much two stories. The first level was open and well lit but still held that very romantic feel to it. Tables that could either fit from two or larger parties were scattered across the restaurant floor and before it was a spacious dance floor followed by a low-rise stage where soft jazz music filled the restaurant by a live band.

Behind the stage were the grand staircases that lead to the second level mezzanine that banded around the whole perimeter over the first floor allowing the diners to look down onto first level.

Spike stopped them before the front desk where he whispered to the maitre d': "Reservation for two under Giles."

Silently the man looked at his booklet before smiling. "Ah yes, Mr. Giles. Right this way, we have reserved one of our best seats tonight."

Spike smirked at Buffy before he began to lead her after the maitre d'. His hand rested at her lower back gently urging her through the first floor of the restaurant.

Buffy couldn't help but notice the occasional stares and whispers between some of the people at tables as her and Spike passed them. Everyone knew who William 'Spike' Giles was, and people certainly knew who her father was as well. Now that word was completely out about both the alliance and the brewing war Buffy wasn't surprised about the whispers. She tried to not let it bother her, while Spike however seemed completely unaffected by anything.

They were lead up to the second level and to a table that was right against the edge banister and in prime view of both the stage and the bar on the second floor. After settling in, Spike ordered them their best bottle of red wine, and soon they were left alone to look over the menus.

"Red wine and me get along too well." Buffy informed him with a little smile while she looked down at the menu.

"Hmmm, then maybe I shall order two." He teased.

"You might just get lucky tonight."

Spike shook his head with a chuckle before taking her hand in his and gently caressing the back of it with his thumb.

"Kitten, with you I'm lucky innocent or not."

She rolled her eyes and before she knew it they were ordering and enjoying sips of the wine he had ordered.

"Oh my goodness, Buffy! What a surprise!"

Buffy nearly spit out the sip she had just taken when she recognized the voice and saw who had spoken come to stand before their table. Spike chuckled as her hand flew up to her closed mouth, trying to gain composure to swallow her drink.

"Oh my! Hello Corderlia."

Before Buffy stood her former classmate during their four years at Hemery High. Cordelia looked the same as she had in high school only with a slightly shorter hair cut. Though she certainly hadn't lost the taste or the money for an expensive wardrobe all around.

The brunette smiled down at Buffy before she leaned in to give her a tight but short squeeze. "This is such a surprise. I thought you were in New York still, then I read the paper less than a week ago to see you're performing here in L.A. Are you just here for the performances?" She asked Buffy.

"No…I'm living back here now, but I decided to do a performance with an old dance partner from New York."

"My how exciting." Cordelia looked between Buffy and Spike pointedly and then back to Buffy.

"Oh! Right. Cordelia this is my boyfriend...William Giles." She hesitated on whether she should refer to him as Spike or as the name his mother had placed on him at birth. Spike looked at her with an amused raised eyebrow. "And this is Cordelia Chase, she and I went to high school together."

"Ah! Did you now?" Spike's eyes glazed with amusement as he smirked at his blonde date. She blushed and avoided his intense stare.

"Yes, your Buffy here was quite the queen of the school, right along side next to me, though she was…nicer. I'm older, mature, I think I can define myself as a bitch back then and Buffy was the sweet golden girl."

Buffy rolled her eyes. "Cordy you weren't a bitch."

"Fine I was a high maintenance snob." Cordelia turned towards Spike with a snicker. "I'm quite surprised she even said the 'B' word. The Buffy in high school I knew never even said damn."

Buffy sat horrified that her Pollyanna personality in high school was being revealed. It was true though and Buffy couldn't deny it. She was the virtue of innocence and if her and Spike really got technical about it, he would still say she was. She never cursed, she got all her schoolwork done on time and was the nicest girl of the school, and had got along with everyone. Where as Cordelia was popular but exclusively hung out with the rest of the elite.

Spike chuckled his eyes creasing with sheer amusement. "Cordelia, in the words of my boyfriend, shove off." She said with laugh, clarifying she wasn't mad with Cordelia, just embarrassed.

"Honestly, luv." Spike said to Cordelia. "I'm not that surprised. Very prim and proper because of her dance studies."

"Dance, cheerleading, homecoming queen." Cordelia listed off. "As much as we got along there was always that competition to get the better. Though I'm sad to say it was probably one sided." Cordelia shrugged and pointed to her chest indicating herself. All three of them laughed. "Well I should probably leave you two to enjoy your outing. I have to meet up with a client."

The former classmate said her goodbyes, and went off towards the bar where she sat down with a man in a very expensive suit.

Buffy picked up her now filled wine glass and took a large sip while Spike looked at her with a lascivious grin. "What?" She asked.

Spike bit his lip, his smirk was still in place as he took hold of her hand across the table. "Oh just imagining you…in high school…in a cheerleader's uniform."

She rolled her eyes. "Pig."

"Oink oink, baby." He kissed the top of her hand and rubbed the back of it gently. "You called me your boyfriend." He stated with a pleased grin.

Buffy could only blush. "Well you are technically…unless…" She worried she over read their relationship. I mean she had originally been arranged to be his mistress, but she certainly felt their relationship had blossomed past that, it was never just about sex, and she was sure he cared for her beyond that like Dawn had said.

"I'm just pleased that you would actually admit it to other people."

"Spike you said it yourself, and I told you the night before…we're past that time. It was dark…" Buffy hesitated turning uneasy. "Can we not talk about those times between us." Buffy shrunk her shoulders down in unease and Spike wished there wasn't a table between them.

"Kitten you're an amazing woman, and still that golden girl, only now you're my golden girl." Table be damned, he leaned over and placed a soft kiss against her lips.

"I admit I'm liking that I'm yours."

Spike all but laughed loudly. "Knew you would." With that they met for another kiss, and around them the restaurant dissolved.

"I'm thinking I shouldn't have eaten that last piece of dessert." Buffy admitted as she and Spike stepped out of the restaurant.

She shivered, realizing she probably should have brought a coat as the night had gotten much colder and her shawl would barely bring any warmth to her now. Spike noticing her chills shrugged his jacket off after he lit his cigarette and gently placed it on her shoulders.

"Niblet was right, you're a chocolate fiend."

Buffy scoffed as she settled into his jacket, loving the smell of his cologne mixed with the scent of his cigarettes and after-shave. It was much larger on her and if she put her hands through the sleeves it would make her look like a child. "Says the man who has Tara stock his night stand with candy." Spike's head whipped towards her and she gleamed. "Mhmm, I know about that you're a sugar freak." She stuck her tongue at him.

His look turned predatory as he pulled her flush against him, his hand instantly gripping the back of her neck, gentle but firm enough where she couldn't squirm away, while his other hand snaked around her waist careful enough to not burn her with the cigarette.

"I want a different kind of sugar right now." His voice was silk and breathy against her lips before he swooped down and claimed her lips. Buffy barely had a chance to breath out an 'eep' before she was pulled even more against him. His fingers drummed slightly against her neck in tempo with her raging heartbeat and she all but moaned out loud as his tongue caressed against her lips for access.

Suddenly their spell was broken from whistling cat calls from across the street.

"Yeah buddy! Bow chicka-wow-wow."

Both Buffy and him looked across the busy street to see a group of four teenage boys, probably Dawn's age standing at the street corner waiting to cross to the opposite side. They were fist pumping the air-cheering Spike on. Buffy blushed hiding into his shirt and Spike shot them a menacing glare.

Suddenly one of the boys went silent and elbowed two of other ones around him trying to get all three to notice. He whispered something and all together the squinted their eyes at both Buffy and Spike.

"Oh shit!" One of them said loudly, "That's Spike Giles!"

Quickly they went the other way as to avoid coming up ahead the mafia king after having goaded him.

"Good job dude!" They heard one of them say sarcastically as they faded down the street.

"I didn't know!"

Spike bellowed out a laugh and Buffy couldn't help but giggle at the whole idea of the boys being scared shitless once they realized they had interrupted Spike Giles and an intimate moment with his lady friend.

"It pays to be scary in this town."

"Oh yeah the real big bad."

Spike turned and glared at her. "I can hear the sarcasm." Buffy could only start into another fit of giggles. When the limo pulled up and the drive got out to open the door for her and Spike she was finally composed enough and soon they were pulling away from the street edge of the restaurant.

"So…what now."

"Kitten you're going to get your dress wet."

"Didn't think you'd mind big bad, it would just mean something I would have to get out of the minute we got home." She dropped her heels onto the sand and started to make her way towards the water.

In an instant Spike was behind her picking her up into his arms rushed faster towards the surf, readying to heave her in the water. "In that case!"

Buffy let out a small shriek all the while laughing at Spike's antics. "Spike don't you dare!" She gripped his shoulders as he made his way closer to the water edge. "A little wet on the bottom of my dress is fine but if you make me a drowned out cat you will be surely sleeping alone mister!"

Spike laughed as he slowly eased her to her feet and right at the edge of where the tide came in and pulled back out into the ocean. Her toes sunk into the wet sand and she wiggled them entertained by the feeling.

"This is my favorite beach. I used to come here almost every day of the summer when I could." Buffy told him. "Me and Will we would just lay out on the sand all day, hit the water from time to time."

"Beach bum." Spike observed and Buffy laughed.

She shrugged "We really were. It was ridiculous. It's what I missed most when I was in New York, apart from family. If I wasn't at this beach it was Monterey." A bright smile appeared on Buffy's face and Spike was in awe by her exciement. Looking down she noticed his shoes were still on.

"Spike, take off your shoes. Rule of California beaches: they can't be enjoyed with shoes on."

"Says who?"

"Me!" She said with a jump. He groaned before relenting and kicking his shoes off and then his socks. Buffy bent over to roll up the edges of his pants to just slightly above his ankles.

"You know kitten from behind me this would look very scandalous." His hands came to caress her lower back and he bit back a groan but smiled like the devil.

"Get your mind out of the gutter." She admonished before coming to stand up fully.

"Baby, when it comes to you I take up residence as king of the gutter." Buffy instantly blushed. She wrapped her arms around his neck and standing upon her toes pressed her lips to his. They both omitted a groan and she wrapped his tie around her fist and used it to pull him closer to her. His hands roamed from her back to cup her bottom gently and like her pulled her even closer so as to grind his erection against her warm body.

She pulled away from him gasping for air. Buffy's cheeks reddened and her eyes began to get that cloudy look in the emerald depths that Spike loved to see. She tugged on the knot of his tie loosening it before dropping her hands to have her fingers trail against the route of his shirt's button path before finally stopping at the edge where the silver of his belt tied it all together.

Her eyes darted to survey around them, seeing that no one was truly on the beach and the only light source was the moon she pushed him back until he plopped down on the sand, sitting before her. Spike's gaze turned hungry as he realized what she was doing and to keep from breaking her out of her exhibitionist haze, he kept quiet and leant forward, his hands ghosting against the bare skin of her leg before him. She could feel his hands without them even being on her as they traveled up the length of her legs, under her skirt, and his fingers hooked over the band of her panties.

At his hesitation Buffy swallowed the air stuck in her throat before nodding her head giving him leeway to guide her panties down before he urged her down to straddle his lap.

Unable to resist the pull of desire they met in a fury of kisses, Buffy's hands tangled in the loose curls of his head while he made work of undoing his belt and pants. The second he was free from the confines of his zipper, Buffy's warm hand wrapped gently around his length and he all but fell back on the sand. He held her tightly, his arms locking together around her neck as she made work of already rigid hard-on. Unable to take it anymore, Spike craned his neck to be sure that Alan wasn't roaming about at the top ledge of the beach entrance before he effortlessly picked Buffy up to position her so his cock was pressing against her entrance.

She whined softly at the teasing and her free hand gripped his shoulders. For a moment their gazes locked and were lost in the depths of desire and need.

"Please…" She cried out in agony and to ease her desire, swiftly thrust up into her.

Below the moonlight, and on the sands of the beach Buffy rode them both into oblivion where their hushed moans were covered by the crashing of the waves.

They were both quiet —it was a comfortable silence -as they sat tangled together on the long bench seat of the limo. His arm that held her to him was encased gently around her shoulders and angled so that he could gently run his hands against her smooth locks. While Buffy's arms were banded around his waist just above the holster of where his gun rested.

Having just had sex on the beach where the majority of the time her knee had been pressed against the butt of the gun, Buffy could say she was a little more at ease with the fact that Spike was always carrying heat, and being so close to it physically.

She knew she still wouldn't like it being out on his nightstand while they slept but she didn't think she'd ever get used to that. It was her biggest fear that someone would use it on them while they slumbered.

Her father never kept guns on him, at least not while he was with the women of his family. But Buffy had come to the realization that she needed to stop comparing her father's way of things to that of Spike. They were both different men of different times and would always have a different way of running things and it wasn't fair to Spike.

Buffy's hair was slightly mussed up from laying against him but mainly due to the fact that it probably had sand lodged in it when Spike had flipped them to thrust into her fervently to a mind blowing end.

"Number 10." Buffy had whispered. She thought she had spoken it gently enough but Spike had heard her quite well and he perked his eyebrow up and stared down at her head curiously.

"Say again, kitten?"

Buffy giggled softly. "Number 10, on my bucket list has been crossed off."

"What was that?"

"To have sex on the beach." She said so confidently that it almost tripped Spike up.


Buffy shrugged her shoulders and looked at the window. From her position she could see enough to know that they were nearing the estate, just two more turns and they'd be home. "You enjoyed it."

"That I did."

Another silence settled over them as they turned again onto another street. Suddenly they slammed to a complete stop so hard that Buffy would have flown off the seat had Spike not had a hold on her.

They heard the screeching of tires and up ahead but couldn't see anything from due to the privacy screen. Both sat up, curious as to the commotion and Spike flipped the switch to bring the screen down.

"What is it Alan?"

Before them they could see out the windshield two large SUVs were blocking their path they had been driving at coming together at a 'v', making it impossible for the limo to drive around the blockade. What she saw made her clutch at Spike's arm.

"Sir, we have a —"

Gunshots rang out as blood sprayed across the side of the front seat of the limo. Buffy screamed as she watched Alan's body fall over to the right, away from the open driver's window where through the tinted back windows Buffy could see a figure before the door arm extended holding the gun that had just fired.

"Bloody hell!" Without a second to lose Spike whipped out his gun and jumped forward, landing on the floor of the limo and pointed up through the open privacy screen and fired twice. The gun echoed loudly in the confined space of the limo and Buffy slammed her hands to cover her ears.

"Buffy get down!" She wasted no time in scurrying from the seat to the floor next to him even though the limo was bullet proof. She craned her neck and could see that there was no longer a figure standing where it had been. Shots rained down onto the limo but all that could be heard was sharp pings of the bullets that were unable to break through.

Spike fished out his cell phone and tossed it to Buffy. "Call Gunn tell him to hurry we're not that far from the house!" He made his way to the door of the limo that was farthest from their barricade of the SUVs and slowly opened the door.

"Where are you going?" She cried out harshly, she wavered on exasperated tears.

With heavy breaths Spike checked the clip of his gun before crawling to slowly get out of the limo. "If I don't try and take out some of these wankers we'll be dead before the other's get here." Spike shoved his hand into a console near the door and pulled out another fully loaded magazine clip. "Don't go anywhere, you hear me? I'm getting us out of this." He ducked out without another word and slammed the door closed. Through the tint she could see his body pressed against the limo, crouched low as he moved to shield his feet with the rear tire.

Suddenly the sound of gunfire changed rapidly and Buffy peeked over to see six men in total standing before the limo. One was wielding an assault rifle that was currently trying to get through the front windshield.

Buffy's hands shook as she grabbed hold of Spike's cell phone and shaky hands to dial Gunn. It felt like hours were going by as she tried to listen for Gunn to answer and the gunshots. She watched as Spike finally stood quickly firing five rounds, crisp shots breaking the air.

"What up boss?"

"GUNN!" She cried out.


"You have to come. These…these men, they pulled up and oh my god they shot Alan. You need to get here…wi..with the others." Buffy sobbed out her explanation and tried to cover her ears through the deafening guns.

"Buffy where are you?"

She looked around trying to see the exact location by street sign but all she could see was Spike coming around the back of the limo as two of the guys got closer.

"We were almost about to be home-"

Groaning and gasping broke Buffy's attention and she dropped the phone as she realized it was coming from the front seat. Clambering to the open privacy window, Buffy found Alan laid across the front, blood slowly oozing from the gunshot wound on his neck.

"Oh my god!" Without thought Buffy struggled through the window and dropped down in the front seat, being careful not to land on Alan before she tried to apply pressure to his neck. "It's going to be okay Alan, just sit still. Please." Blood slipped through the cracks of her fingers, and it was warm against her palms. She tried to see through blurry eyes and the wildness of her hair if maybe there was another wound when suddenly Alan grabbed her other hand tightly and stared into her eyes.

Buffy cried as his breaths became more labored and she tried to tell him to hold on just a little more. Out of nowhere his breathing stopped, and his eyes lost a glow to them. Instead all that stood back at her was emptiness. Blood no longer flowed and she stared at her hands and then at Alan.

"God please no…"

"Well, lookie what we have here." She turned around and found a man standing at the open drivers window. She had been in such a hurry to try and save Alan that she had forgotten what Spike had told her to stay put in the back.

Buffy let out a wild shriek as the man opened the door, it was the one that she had seen holding the assault rifle. With his free hand he swiped at her leg trying to drag her out of the front of the limo. She kicked hard wishing her heels were still on when she had made contact with his arm.

"Fucking bitch!" he cursed as he howled in pain.

"SPIKE!" She screamed at the top of her lungs and suddenly the man was pointing the gun straight at her.

"Shut the fuck up!"

She saw Spike engaged in a shoot out with two other men on the passenger side of the car again as they stood behind the SUV.

"Please! No! Just leave me alone." She scrambled over Alan's now lifeless body trying to escape back into the back of the limo but the man's hold on her leg became real and he hauled her completely out of the limo. "No no no no no no!" He grabbed her around her center to keep her from getting away. She kicked and screamed, using all available and movable body parts to jab into him.

A loud boom, like that of a shot gun echoed and both Buffy and the man who had gotten a hold of her became distracted as they watched one of the attackers suddenly drop to the ground face front. Behind him Faith stood pumping a new round of the shotgun she carried before stepping over the man she had just killed as if he were simply a puddle.

All together Gunn, Xander and even Rupert Giles came from beyond the barrier of the SUV and took the men by surprise.

Spike took that moment to sneak up on the man that held Buffy, giving him a hard right hook to the back of the head, allowing Buffy to break free of his hold. The man went down to the ground and without a second thought Spike fired four rounds into the man. Two in the head with the other two directly in the chest.

Buffy all but screamed as she turned away quickly. Spike grabbed hold of her and brought her to him into a tight embrace. She cried heavily into his chest as he dropped his gun, the others having dispatched the other five of their guns by killing them, all except one. The gang surrounded him, training their guns on him and forcing him into a face down weaponless submission.

Buffy sat at the edge of the bathtub, and stared down at her hands. Alan's dried blood was staining her skin, embedded into her cuticles and had dried from dripping down the length of one of her arms. She shuddered as she thought about the image of Alan before he died, she could swear she saw the soul leave his eyes.

She buried her face in her hands and let out a new river of tears, this one more gentle, sad and grieving the death of a man that had been so kind to her in her stay at the estate. He had been a sweet man and when Xander hadn't been able to escort her like Spike had arranged, Alan was always sure to drive her any place. He didn't deserve to die, even if he was on the payroll of Spike.

Buffy tried not to think about what could have happened if Spike hadn't been able to keep them at bay as much as he could with his one gun, and by himself. What would have happened if they hadn't been ambushed close to the estate, rather at the beach or the restaurant? Would she or Spike even have been alive that moment or would they be just like Alan.

They had been lucky.

But most of all they had been caught off guard.

After having arrived back at the estate grounds Spike had set back into his grim and focused work attitude. He barked orders at Parker and Jesse the second they came up the walkway, demanding they find out who all had ambushed them and how they had possibly been able to. They had to have had a knowledge that it would have been just Spike, and that he would be out, expected home.

Faith and Gunn had stayed behind to handle the cops, and Giles had been the one to escort them back. Wesley had set about to call a few others in to aid Xander in handling Alan's body and ensuring it was cared for at the morgue and any family he might have had was notified.

When they had walked through the door, Anya and Jenny had come flying down the stairs in a bustling worry. Spike was still yelling orders at Wesley and Buffy could tell he was agitated and due to really snap. Before either women could ask a question Buffy shook her head in warning them it was best to not ask.

"Buffy! Go with them. Get yourself cleaned up." His voice was harsh and she had looked down at herself realizing for the first time the mess she was after having tried to salvage Alan's life. She tried to not let his voice affect her, and only nodded before letting his mother and Anya lead her to the elevator and up to his room.

Jenny was moving about the bathroom, gathering hand towels and rubbing alcohol while Anya had gone across the hall to her room and gathered a change of clothes.

At the sight of Buffy breaking down into tears, Jenny stood back heartbroken for the young woman.

"My dear, it's alright, you're safe now."

Buffy sniffed and followed it with a hiccup as she tried to hold back the tears. "It had all happened so fast. I should have been quicker, or applied more pressure to his neck."

"Nonsense, Buffy. You did everything you could. You guys were under fire, there really wasn't a lot that was given to you in handling the situation."

"He's so mad."

"Not at you, certainly not at you." Jenny began pouring a little rubbing alcohol onto a towel before gently rubbing it against Buffy's hands. "He's mad that it happened, and that he could have taken one of the others but didn't which put you in danger."

"I still wish I could have done more. All I could do was stay in the limo."

They both sat quietly, Jenny working on ridding the blood on Buffy's hands. They heard the door to the bedroom open and Faith's voice.

"Looks like Riley Finn's guys. One of them I think was that Graham dude."

"Did you two take care of the cops?" Spike's voice questioned. Together both Buffy and Jenny stood up and came to the doorway of the bathroom. Spike peered over at them for a moment before focusing on Faith.

"Yeah it was Sergeant Snyder working this rotation. I gave him some quiet greens and he'll circulate it through the department. It should help keep LAPD on our sides. Snyder said he'll try to hassle Finn down maybe see if he can bust some of their side businesses."

"Good, Maybe it'll help in depleting their gun supply. No cash, no guns."

Faith grinned happily. "Exactly."

"Tomorrow we'll reconvene. Tell Parker and Jesse I want a status report by tomorrow morning of what they were able to find out in how the bastards knew we'd be out with out any cover." Faith nodded her head. "Also get a hold of Ampata and her brother, see if they can get the LML street gang on board. I know they'll never side with Angelus, he's too creepy for them and Finn borderlines prejudice. They bring in a lot of the guns and we could use that right now. Tell them we'll hook them up with Jesse's contacts for their manpower."

Faith started laughing, but was thrilled with the idea. "Xander's gonna hate it if Ampata comes to the house."

"Tough shit for the whelp then."

Faith bid goodnight and walked out of the bedroom, Jenny moved to talk to Spike while Buffy continued to stand between the bedroom and bathroom weeding through her thoughts.

Finally with a decision set in place, Buffy hurried out of the bedroom, passing Anya on the way. Faith was half way down the hall when Buffy yelled to get her attention.

"What's up B?"

Buffy slowly jogged over to Faith who was standing coolly with her arms folded. She could tell the brunette was still on the high of the gunfight and she knew then that this was the best person to ask.

"I need a favor…" Faith nodded waiting for her to continue. "I want you to get me a gun, and I need you to teach me how to use it."