The characters belong to Joss Whedon and Company.

The song "Wonderful Tonight" belongs to Eric Clapton.


The radio was playing softly in the kitchen of the farmhouse. The couple inside were slowdancing around the kitchen table. He held her close and she giggled as his hand creeped up her sweater and tickled the small of her back. "Ready for bed?" He asked her as he dipped her and she giggled again.

The couple outside stopped outside the kitchen door. His sensitive hearing picked up the familiar laugh of someone dear to him. He frowned as he heard a mans laugh join with hers. He rebuked himself, he'd left her ten years ago had he expected her to stay alone? The woman with him touched his shoulder, "She's not alone, should we knock anyway?"

He thought for a moment, "Yes. Buffy's quick on her feet, she can cover if she has too."

Faith smiled, "Yeah, B was always good at covering up." She said it without malice.

Angel raised his hand to knock on the door. He rapped loudly three times.

"Bloody hell, who could be here at this hour?" Spike showing irritation at the interruption.

"I don't know. I'll get it." Buffy told him as he let go of her and she walked to the door.

Buffy Summers, former slayer had no idea when she went to answer the door that her whole world was about to be turned upside down.


Three years before

Angel had informed Giles of a plan by the council to put a new Slayer in place whether the old one died or not. Neither of the present Slayer's played by the rules and neither would the Council. Men were dispatched to kill Buffy. Giles did what he thought best he put Buffy in a safe house with a new identity. The only contact with her came through him. She called when necessary and mail went through Giles to her friends and family. Once during the last three years she had snuck home for a brief visit. Her mother and her friends felt bad that she was forced to lead such an isolated life and worried about her constantly.

Giles didn't worry though. A month after Buffy had gone into exile, Spike had mysteriously dissappeared. He felt like he knew where the vampire had gone, not sure how he had found her but he was sure that Spike was with Buffy. He had never confirmed it with Buffy and she had never offered the information - maybe it was better that way.


Present day

Buffy opened the door and stood wide eyed and silent. Her past had just showed up on her doorstep. No one spoke for a moment until Spike appeared at the door in unison he and Angel spoke the same angry words, "What the hell are you doing here?"

Faith then spoke up. "B.....uh....can we come in?"

Buffy seemed to regain her composure as the two vampires continued to stare each other down. "How did you find me? And yes come in."

The four of them stood in Buffy's kitchen as Faith began to explain, "Giles sent us to you. He didn't have time to call you and he was afraid to. The Council couldn't find you and they still want dead Slayer so they sent someone to the prison, they botched the job, Angel broke me out and Giles sent us here." Faith took a deep breath and sat down at the table.

"Let's all sit down." Buffy said as Spike took the chair beside her. Angel sitting on Faiths side of the table.

"OKay, that answers part of my question. But why does Giles want you here?" Spike asked placing a possesive hand over Buffy's. She squirmed a bit at the display unsure of how she felt about Angel being here.

"He wants us to stay here a week and then he will contact us with a new place for Faith like he set up here for Buffy." Angel explained as he tried to keep from staring at Spikes hand on Buffys. "Now, why are you here, Spike? Giles didnt' mention you in the deal."

"That's because Giles doesn't know for sure that Spike is here. He has never asked and I have never told. But I know he suspects. He is just too much of a gentleman to ask who I share my house with." Buffy sighed.

"And bed and bath." Spike added with a smirk.

Buffy glared at him and removed her hand from his embrace. He looked troubled.

"Well, B your taste in men hasn't changed still attracted to those that don't breathe." Faith grinned at her.

"Faith." Angel growled under his breath. "Buffy do you mind if we stay?"

She looked into the dark depths of his eyes and she knew she couldn't refuse. Faith for a week would not be easy but she couldn't refuse Giles or Angel.

"Yes, you can stay." She said the words softly avoiding looking at Spike.

"We have three bedrooms, um...of course you may only need one of them?" She asked uncomfortably.

"No, B. Separate rooms for us. We' re just friends." Faith clarified for her but Buffy thought she saw something in the dark haired girls eyes.

"Yes, separate rooms." Angel agreed and he smiled as he saw the relief in Buffy's eyes.

"We only have one bath so it's a first come first serve thing." She explained as she stood. "I'll go make the rooms up. If you're hungry just help yourself to whatever you would like." She took a deep breath and walked down the hallway to the bedrooms.

Spike followed her down the hallway, "Why are you letting them stay? Giles should have sent them to someone else."

"Who, Spike? Who else could he trust? And do you want to be the one to tell them they can't stay?" She looked him in the eye.

"Well of course not, it's not my place. You just share your house with me, I have no say." He told her as he helped her pull spare blankets from the closet not even attempting to hide the bitterness in his tone.

Buffy lay the spare blanket on the end of the bed and turned down the sheets and spread. She looked at Spike and shook her head, "Of course you have a say."

"That's not how it sounded to me." He told her as he followed her into the other room. "Do you really think they'll stay in separate rooms?" He asked her waggling an eyebrow.

"Of course they will." Buffy spit the words out at him. Spike tried to hide his worry as he put a hand on her arm, "Of course. I'm sorry." He said softly.

"No, I'm sorry. This is just so sudden." Buffy sighed and leaned against his hard chest. He rubbed circles on her back. "I know baby. But it will be okay." And he hoped that he was telling the truth.


"Can you believe it? Buffy with frickin' William the Bloody?" Faith asked Angel as she bit into her sandwich.

"Actually no, Faith. I don't believe it. I don't think they are as happy as they let on. They can't be. He's taken advantage of Buffy's situation and wormed his way in. I'm sure of it." Angel told her thoughtfully. That could be the only explanation.

"When you're done eating I'll show you your rooms." Buffy said as cheerfully as she could muster. Spike stood beside her his arm around her waist possesively.

Angel noticed Spike's stance. Is he trying to convince me or himself?

"I'm ready. We've been on the road without much rest. It will feel good to be in a bed and feel safe." Faith said as she put her plate in the sink.

"It would probably all do us some good to get a goodnight's rest." Angel spoke.

"That's where we were heading when we were interrupted." Spike told Angel with a smirk.

This is not going to be easy, Buffy thought as she showed her guests to their rooms. Spike never let go of her hand as they said their goodnights and she could have sworn he grinned at Angel as they went to their bedroom.


Buffy sighed as she changed into her nightshirt. Spike watched her carefully, he was afraid. Angel being in the house was not a good thing he could see trouble ahead. There was no way Angel was going to ruin what he had with Buffy - no way.

She picked the hairbrush up from the dresser and absently began to brush her hair. Ten years, it had been ten years since Angel had left her and run to LA. When he had walked through the door tonight she had wanted to just hug him tight and tell him how much she missed him.

Spike walked up behind her and took the brush from her hand, gently he began to brush the long blond curls. She smiled at him in the mirror, with no reflection it appeared that her hair was being brushed by invisible hands. "What are you thinking about?" He asked as he finished the last stroke and lie the brush down.

"Nothing." She lied to him and then she felt guilty. Spike did not deserve lies. He had been there for her when she needed him most. She had been here all alone for a month, desolate without anyone around to talk to and share with. Then one evening he had shown up, suitcase in hand. He'd moved into one of the guest rooms. Within six weeks he was making weekly visits to her room, it had just happened and they were both happy, within three months he had moved into their room. He didn't make demands or even try to define the relationship, he just loved her plain and simple. And she loved him back. But letting herself love anyone was hard for Buffy, too much pain in her past and a good deal of that pain now lay in the bed two doors down.

Spike turned down the bed and crawled under the covers. He turned on his side towards her side of the bed and propped on his elbow patted her pillow. "Come on to bed, luv."

She crawled into bed hesitantly, she wasn't sure what she was feeling. Tears began to run down her cheeks. Spike pulled her close to him her head resting on his chest. He kissed the top of her head, "Let it out, baby. Just let it out."

She sobbed on his chest while he ran one hand through her hair. Several minutes later she sniffled, "I'm sorry. I'm not sure why I did that."

"It's okay, this is going to be hard on everybody. But it will be okay." He whispered the comforting words again hoping that they rang true. She soon fell asleep in his arms and he smiled as she snuggeled closer to him.


Faith woke up shivering and drenched with sweat. Another nightmare more violent then the last. The Council hitman became more inventive with torture in each dream. She lay shaking in the bed for several moments before taking her pillow and creeping into Angel's room. She lay the pillow on the floor beside his bed and fell into a troubled sleep. Angel had watched her with one eye cracked, she often did this and he never questioned, he was just glad she got some sleep. She would never tell him about the dreams, but he knew they must be horrific. When he was sure she was asleep he removed the blanket from the foot of the bed and draped it across her.

He lay back in the bed arms under his head trying not to think about what was going on in the room two doors down. He had wanted to confront Buffy, ask her how she let this thing happen with Spike. Ask her if she had lost her mind completely. He sighed as he thought about what he really wanted to do -pull her in his arms and claim her as his own. He closed his eyes and finally fell asleep.


Buffy woke to find herself spooned against Spike his strong arms wrapped around her. She smiled as she stretched and he instinctively held her a little tighter. Then she remembered her houseguests and the smile dissappeared. She climbed from the bed waking Spike in the process. He grinned lazily at her holding out one hand, "Come back to bed, pet."

"I really should get some breakfast going." She smiled at him.

"You can do that in a few minutes." He smiled at her and winked. She couldn't resist as she climbed back into the bed and straddled him peppering kisses all over his face. He rolled them and was soon returning the favor trailing kisses from her face to her collarbone. They came together in perfect rhthym, Buffy closed her eyes and sighed, when she opened them her heart froze - the blond above her was replaced by a dark haired Angel. She closed her eyes again and when she opened them Spike was looking at her worriedly. "Are you okay, pet?" He asked as he cuddled her next to him and kissed her nose.

"I'm fine. I love you." She said a little too quickly for Spike's taste.

"I love you too." He told her as he watched her leave to make breakfast. His heart felt heavy for some reason.


"Do you need some help with that?" Faith asked as she entered the kitchen, "Sure smells good in here. I didn't know you could cook , B."

"No, I'm okay. And you haven't tasted the food yet." Buffy grinned as she went to open the oven and take out the biscuits. "Shoot!" She yelled as her hand hit the hot oven door.

"Let me see that." Angel said as he entered the room. He took her burned hand in his own and examined it. "We'll run some cold water on it."

Buffy stared at him wordlessly as he gently placed her hand under the cold water holding it there with his own.

Faith watched with a bit of sorrow in her eyes. Spike picked that moment to enter the kitchen. He surveyed Faith watching Angel watchng Buffy and shook his head walking towards the sink he asked, "What happened?" He asked as he took Buffy's hand from Angel and looked at it himself.

"I burned it. Angel was just running some cold water on it." Buffy said stiffly.

"I know what Angel was doing." Spike said pointedly. "I'll go get some ointment for it."

He left the room. Angel followed him.

Faith looked at Buffy. "Can I be the one to hold the ruler when they start measuring?" She joked hoping to hide her true feelings.

Buffy rolled her eyes at the dark haired girl. "Faith, let's just eat breakfast."

"You don't think we should go after them?" Faith asked she filled her plate.

"No, they have to work this out for themselves." Buffy told her as she fixed her own plate.

"B, this is good you can cook." Faith said surprised.

"Thanks." Buffy smiled back at her.

"Of course, I've been eating prison food so I may not be a good judge." Faith smiled at her again.

Buffy laughed out loud then. Faith joined in. When they had calmed Faith looked at Buffy "You know he still loves you?" She asked seriously.

Buffy shook her head , "I know."

Faith nodded. Then Buffy spoke again, "You know you love him, don't you?"

Faith had the faintest glimmer of tears in her eyes, "Yeah, I guess I kinda do."

Both sat at the table quietly not knowing what to say next.


"I can find the ointment by myself." Spike grouched at Angel as the older vamp followed him down the hallway. "I live here, I know where everything is kept from potholders to her tampons."

Angel had to smile at the last remark. "Spike you sound worried. Are you afraid your little game is up? She's gonna find you out?"

"And what exactly is it that she's gonna find out?" Spike demanded as he opened the cabinet and pulled out the burn ointment.

"I'm not sure yet, but this situation has to be to your advantage or you wouldn't be here. How long have you been here?" Angel asked curiously.

"Three years." Spike said with a wide grin.

"You've been here the whole time with her?" Angel felt as if someone had kicked him.

"Well all but one month."

"What are you up to, Spike? I swear if you hurt her." Angel started but was interrupted by Spike.

"Me, hurt her? You have the balls to think I would hurt her, after what you've put her through?" Spike asked shaking his head in disbelief.

"I never meant to hurt her. Things happened that were out of my, out of our control." Angel explained.

"I'll never hurt her. And I can tell you this if you manage to upset her or cause her any pain on this little vacation - you will live to regret it." Spike stormed out of the bathroom.

Angel followed behind wondering just exactly how they were going to survive the next week.

Spike walked in to the quiet kitchen. He could tell he had walked in on something the tension was thick in the room. He took Buffy's hand and began to apply the ointment. "No, wait till I'm done in the shower." She shook her head at him "then we only have to apply it once." She stood up and put her plate in the sink.
"Faith, you can have the shower next. If that's okay." Buffy asked as walked out of the room.

"Sure you cooked, you get to shower first." Faith replied quietly as she stood up from the table.

Spike followed Buffy into the bathroom. "What's going on with you two?" He asked as she turned on the water.

"Nothing, Spike." She told him as she began to undress.

"Please don't lie to me." He said softly.

The softness of his voice made her guilt rise. She hugged him to her, "I'm sorry. Everything is wrong between Faith and I - we have quite a past you know. I'm never sure how to take her." Buffy explained her head resting on his chest.

"She seems to have changed, pet. I think she deserves a chance. Angel seems to agree." Spike told her as he patted her bare back.

"Angel, well he seems to be a bit blind where Faith is concerned. He always has tried to give her the benefit of doubt no matter what she's done."

Spike could here the underlying bitterness in her voice and it frightened him anymore. He was insecure about Buffy's feelings since Angel had arrived. "So are you worried that he cares for her?" He asked hesitantly.

"No, who he cares about is his business. I just .....I don't want to see him hurt." Buffy told Spike as she pulled away from him. "We're friends."

"Really? Shouldn't friends have spoken more over the last ten years? And by the way he doesn't want to see you hurt either. He warned me."

Buffy was shocked by the harshness in his voice. If anyone had asked even one minute before Angel had walked into that door last night, who she loved? The answer would have been Spike without a thought, and she knew she still loved him, but she was so confused now. Faith - Faith loved Angel. She couldn't fathom that, and she wasn't sure she wanted to know how Angel felt about Faith. She knew he would always love her, but things change she knew that better then anyone.

"He warned you about me?" Suddenly she was angry. How dare Angel come into her life after ten years and warn Spike like that. Her emotions were all over the place. She was scared.

Spike nodded. She could see how upset he was. She had to make this right, "You don't have to worry Spike. Come on, lets save water, come shower with me." She held out her small hand to him as he quickly undressed. He knew this was a peace offering and he knew they would have to talk later but for now it was what he needed.

They stood under the hot water together. Spike washing Buffy's hair for her and then holding her tightly against him. She turned to him, "We can...if you want to."

He knew what she meant but he shook his head no, "Right now, all I want to do is hold you." So he held her wishing that that the warm water could was away all of his fears.

After a few more minutes. Buffy turned off the water. "We better let someone else have a turn." She told him as they got out and began to dry off. Buffy dressed quickly leaving Spike in the bedroom.

She went to find Faith and Angel in the living room. "Faith, it's your turn."

"Okay, thanks." Faith told her as she reluctantly left the Buffy and Angel alone in the room.

"Wow, it's the first time we've been alone since you got here." Buffy smiled at him and sighed.

"Yeah. You look amazing, you don't look any older and you just get more beautiful." Angel told her as he stood and twisted a golden curl between his fingers.

Buffy blushed. "You look good too. And I do look older, but it was sweet lie."

Spike stopped just outside the living room. He knew he shouldn't eavesdrop, but something made him listen anyway.

"So, are you going to tell me about Spike?" Angel asked as he dropped the curl.

"What is it you want to know?" She asked him as she sat down on the couch.

"How did you end up in this mess with him? Buffy, you can't trust him, you know that." Angel told her sitting down next to her.

"I really don't think it's your business, Angel. I believe you left me and that doesn't entitle you to answers anymore." She said calmly.

"Buffy, you know why I left. We don't need to go over that all over again. I just want to know how he convinced you." Angel persisted.

"What about you and Faith? What exactly is there? I know she has feelings for you." Buffy changed the subject.

Spike stood listening at the door, he wished that she would just tell the wanker that she loved Spike and send him on his way. Why didn't she even defend their relationship at all?

"I think alot of Faith. She needs someone to guide her and stand beside her. I think she is infactuated with me because I've helped her. But you have to know I will never love another woman the way I loved you." Angel leaned forward towards Buffy.

Buffy closed her eyes and Spike coughed loudly as he came into the room. Buffy stood guiltily. "Spike."

"Yeah, that's me, Spike. So Peaches, whats the plan for today?" Spike glared at Angel. Besides trying to take the woman I love away from me? He thought as he sat down.

Faith soon joined them. "Yeah, Angel what are we going to do today?"

Buffy piped up, "I've got to go check the kittens." She left out the front door.

Faith followed her, "Kittens?" She asked walking alongside Buffy.

"Yes. Their in the barn. We had a cat start hanging around a few weeks ago and Spike started feeding her. She had four kittens a few days ago." Buffy explained as she opened the barn door.

She walked to the corner of the barn and retrieved a jug of water and some cat food. She filled two tiny bowls and then showed Faith the kittens. "They are so tiny and helpless." Faith whispered as she watched the babies nursing.

"Aren't they sweet?" Buffy replied. "And she is such a good mommy." She said as she patted the mother's head.

"What's her name?"

"Cat." Buffy laughed.

"Cat?" Faith asked raising her eyebrown.

"That's what Spike calls her." Buffy told her as she stood.

"You love Spike, don't you?"

"Yeah, I do." Buffy smiled.

"And you love Angel?" Faith asked with a small frown.

Buffy sighed, "Yes, I do."

"Must be hard loving two men. But could you do me a favor, B?" Faith's voice took a serious tone.

"A favor?"

"Yeah, if you don't want him back, don't play around with him and hurt him. Please." Faith asked simply.

"I don't want to hurt him, Faith. And nothing has really changed for us. We can't be together now anymore then we could then. It's just that all of these feelings emerged when I saw him last night." Buffy bit her bottom lip."You really do love him don't you?"

"I guess I do. I know he doesn't feel the same, but I still don't want him hurt. Do ya understand?"

Buffy let out a short laugh, "It's funny but I do understand, Faith. I'm just not sure what's going on."


"I guess, we could do some researching on the computer about the Council try to decide what they might try next." Angel replied to Spike's question.

"Okay. Faith has changed hasn't she?" Spike suddenly asked.

"I think so." Angel replied, "Why?"

"I just don't want her trying to hurt Buffy. She's done it before."

"I'm more worried about you hurting her." Angel said matter of factly.

"I've already told you. I won't hurt her. I love her, Angel. And she knows that and I guess she's the only one who counts. The computer is in here." He motioned for Angel to follow him to a small room off of the kitchen.


"So what is Spike like? I mean....." Faith asked with a grin.

"Faith, I'm not going to tell you what Spike is like in bed." Buffy shook her head.

"Well, tell me this then, did you and Xander finally ever do it?"

"No! I have never had sex with Xander."

Spike heard them laughing before they came into the house. He called to them, "We're in here."

Buffy and Faith entered the room a little breathless from laughing.

"What were you to talking about?" Spike asked suspicioulsy.

"Nothing." They said in unison.

Angel grinned at the two women. He was glad to see them trying to get along. "We're researching the council, making some contacts."

After several hours of research. Buffy and Faith excused themselves to find some supper. Spike took he and Angel's supper into the computer room.

"So, is there anywhere to go out around here?" Faith asked as she washed up her dish.

"One little club in town. Maybe we should get out of the house tonight." Buffy said thoughtfully.


Buffy and Faith presented their idea to the men. "I'm not sure it's a good idea for us to go out. It will just draw attention to us." Angel shook his head.

"Silly, it draws more attention if we stay holed up here. I say we go out." Spike said as he put his arms around Buffy's waist. She tensed slightly as she watched Angels gaze upon her.

"Come on, Angel. Let 's go." Faith pleaded.

"I don't think it's a good idea. But okay - we'll go." He finally gave in.

"Good! Let's go get ready." Buffy smiled as the others followed her to their rooms. Buffy picked out a pair of black leather pants and a matching halter. She put her hair up and sat down to pull on her boots. Spike watched her with interest, he loved watching her get ready to go out. "How do I look?" She asked with a smile.

"Edible." He grinned at her licking his lips. "Maybe we should skip the club?"

She laughed "You can taste later."

"Promise?" He asked.

" I promise." She kissed his cheek.

Faith looked herself over in the mirror one more time. She was wearing tight jeans with a halter and her leather jacket. She had fixed her hair and colored her lips very red. She knocked on Angel's door almost shyly. "How do I look?" She asked when he called her in.

"You look great." He told her with a smile. He offered her his arm, "Shall we go find Buffy and Spike?"

She smiled as she took his arm and they met Buffy and Spike in the livingroom. Buffy noticed Angel and Faith arm in arm. She took Spike's hand in hers and he gave it a gentle squeeze. "Let's go." Spike said as he led them to the car.


The small club was crowded as the foursome walked in. The barteneder recognized Buffy and Spike, "Hey, Will. Hey Annie!" He called as they walked by the bar. "Hey, James." Spike called out as they found a table.

"Will? Annie?" Angel asked a grin on his face.

Spike and Buffy grinned. The band began to play and Spike asked Buffy to dance. Angel followed suite asking Faith the two couples danced several dances, before Angel cut in and asked Spike to switch partners. He frowned slightly but then gave Buffy's hand to Angel and he took Faith's hand in his. As if on cue the band started playing a slow song, an oldie. Angel pulled Buffy close to him and they swayed to the music.

"Slow dancin', swaying to the music..
. Slow dancin' just me and my girl.....

Slow dancin' swaying to the music,
no one else in the whole wide world.
Just you girl........."

And as Faith and Spike watched Angel and Buffy dance the lyrics seemed true. It looked as if they had forgotten that anyone else was in the room. Buffy's eyes were closed as she leaned against Angel. His arms wrapped possesively around her. Faith led Spike back to the table he could see her contained anger in her eyes and he understood it. The Bartender walked by and stopped "Will, I can't believe you are letting Annie dance with that guy like that. Everyone else in the club is too scared to even ask her when you two are here." Spike just gave him a grin and shrugged his shoulders.

"I can't believe you're just sitting her and letting them do that either." Faith mumbled.

"Their just dancing, Faith." Spike said curtly.

"More like making love without actual sex right their on the dance floor. But I guess they aren't allowed to have the sex part are they?" Faith said bitterly. " I asked her not to hurt him."

"It's just a dance, Faith. And he doesn't appear to be in any pain from where I'm sitting." Spike told her as he waved down the waitress. "Bottle of Jack please."

"Two glasses." Faith added as the waitress walked away.


The song ended and Buffy pulled away, "I guess we should join Spike and Faith."

Angel shook his head, "One more dance. Please?"

"Okay." She agreed easily.

The band began to play again, another slow oldie. Angel decided the band was on his side.

"I've been waiting for a girl like you
to come into my life.

I've been waiting for someone who
could make feel alive..."

Before they knew if a half dozen more songs played. Buffy knew she should go back to the table but she couldn't bear to leave the dance floor and Angel.

"Buffy, I have to say it. I love you." Angel whispered into her hair as the music finished.

She smiled sadly "I know." Then she took his hand and led him back to the table.


Spike had already had several shots before Buffy made it back to the table. Spike pulled her on to his lap roughly. She turned to look at him and noticed the whiskey bottle. "How much have you had?"

"He's been sharing, B." Faith smiled as she downed another shot.

"Not enough, I haven't had enough." Spike told her as he poured himself another drink.

Buffy moved off of his lap and into the chair next to him. "What's wrong, pet?" He asked speech beginning to slur.

"I think I prefer the chair." She said coldly.

"I think it's more a matter of prefering somebody else's lap to mine." Spike said snidely.

"Spike, please. Let's not do this." Buffy pleaded.

"Do what? It's the truth. He walked in the door and three years were forgotten. I've always been second to him this is no different."

"Let's go home. I'll drive." Buffy said standing up.

"We want to stay and watch you two dance some more." Faith said sarcastically.

"Let's go Faith." Angel told her as he took her by the arm.

"Why? Because you said so?" Faith stood and stared straight into Angel's eyes.

"Because we don't need to cause a scene here."

"Fine." Faith told him as they followed Spike and Buffy back to the car.


The ride home was silent. Once in the house Buffy helped Spike to their room as Angel helped Faith to hers.

"Angel. I'm sorry." Faith said softly as a tear ran down her cheek. "I shouldn't have said anything."

"It's okay, Faith. I was wrong - a little part of me wanted to make Spike jealous. I'm not sure what's going on with me, I see Buffy and I go a little crazy." Angel turned the bed down for her. As he left he said a soft goodnight and kissed her cheek.

Faith undressed and climbed into the bed her hand brushing across the cheek where his lips had been. She closed her eyes and sighed trying to will away the inevitable nightmares. She'd made a mess tonight and was thankful he had forgiven her.


Buffy helped Spike undress and tucked him into the bed without saying a word. She silently changed and climbed in beside him. She supposed she deserved part of this anger, but she really had not intentionally meant to hurt him, but dancing with Angel had just felt so natural. She sighed as Spike reached for her and pulled her to him. "I love you, Buffy." He murmured.

She didn't answer she was still angry and the guilt she felt wasn't helping her mood. "Buffy?" He asked groggily lifting his head from the pillow.

"What?" She answered sharply.

"I love you." He repeated.

"But you don't trust me." She threw the words and even as she said them she wasn't sure that Spike should trust her, she didn't know if she trusted herself at this point.

"I don't trust him." Spike said softly.


Angel lay in the bed going over the nights events in his head. He had screwed up big time. He was acting like a lovesick teenager. But seeing her again and had brought all of those old feelings back, was there anyway they could be together? Once Buffy had told him that she wanted her future with him no matter what. Did she still feel that way?


Spike stared at Buffy as she slept next to him. During the night she had pulled away from him and rolled to her side of the bed. He couldn't remember the last time he had not awakened with her up against him. He began to think - last time was when she made that stupid trip home. He had been scared senseless the whole three days she was gone and she wouldn't hear of him going with her. She finally forgiven him the morning that she left and they had spent that entire morning making love.

He absolutely could not lose her. He knew that he should be noble about the situation and hand her over to the man she loved. But damn it, he couldn't do it. He needed her as much as he needed blood, if he was being selfish then so be it. He would fight for her it might be a losing battle but he wasn't going to lay down and watch Angel walk off with her.

Spike moved closer and placed a tenative kiss on her shoulder. She turned to him. "Good morning." He said a little too brightly.

"Morning." She mumbled as she got out of the bed. "You feel okay?" She asked pulling on her robe.

"A little headache." He answered.

"No small wonder." She told him as she started to leave the room.

Spike collapsed back on the bed. He began to form a battle plan.


Buffy walked into the bathroom and began to brush her hair. Angel peeked in "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure." She smiled at him as she brushed her hair.

"Later, I need to talk to you alone, Please?"

"Okay, tonight you can go with me to check the kittens. Will that be okay?"

"That's fine." He smiled as he left the bathroom.

Buffy showered and went to dress. Spike was still in the bed. "Are you going to sleep in today?" She asked as she pulled on socks and sneakers.

"Yeah a little while." He nodded at her, "Buffy, what can I do? How do I make it better?" He asked and he knew how desperate he sounded.

Buffy winced at his words, she didn't have an answer for him. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek. "Don't worry."

He watched her leave the room and swore to himself that he would not lose her.


Buffy's thoughts were on Spike as she walked into the kltchen. She remembered the night almost three years ago when he had showed up on her doorstep. A small bag in his hand. She had opened the door and he had simply said "I'm here."

A week later, he had kissed her soundly on the lips and told her he loved her. Leaving her sitting on the couch alone as he went to bed the next night they made love for the first time, she had never imagined him being so tender. But he gave himself to her completely and seemed to understand better then anyone else. Well almost anyone else. She sighed out loud as she entered the kitchen.

"Wow!" Buffy exclaimed as Faith put pancakes on a plate for her.

"Hope you like them." Faith said as she sat down at the table.

"There good." Buffy told her as she took a bite.

"B. We have to talk. I asked you not to hurt him." Faith said softly.

"I haven't hurt him Faith." Buffy said defensively.

"But you will, or you'll hurt Spike or both of them. Is it fun having that much power over them? What's it like just stomping on hearts right and left? Being that selfish? I am so glad that I'm not you." Faith spoke the angry words before she could stop herself. She really didnt' want a showdown with Buffy.

"Me? I'm the selfish one." Buffy spoke calmly, "Faith you are the expert on selfish. And as I recall you didn't have a problem being "me" when you took my body, when you tried to take my mother, my friends. You slept with Riley and tried to kill Angel!"

"You won't ever let me live that down will you B? Riley, another man who was totally in love with you. Did you know that I wanted to shock him show him things that I knew you never would? But he was so damn tender and understanding, that I let him take me slow and gentle. He even told me he loved *you* when he was done. Hell, Buffy do you know he was the only man that ever "made love" to me and it was only because he thought I was you." Faith's voice raised slightly.

"What do you want me to do Faith? Do you want me to tell you that I'm sorry that the only time you were made love to was with my boyfriend? I'm can't do that. You tried to steal my life. And I only wanted to be your friend." Bufy's voice had now risen to match Faith's.

Angel and Spike both heard the loud voices and went for the kitchen. Spike stopped Angel from going in, "Let them work it. I think they need to." Angel frowned but agreed to stay out of it. They both listened in the hallway.

"No, Buffy. I don't expect any kind of apology from you. It's not that, it's just that you dont' realize how lucky you are! I never had anything - no mother's love, no friends, and no man who actually loved me. You've had three men who worship you!"

"And it's my fault that your life wasn't wonderful? Faith, I really am sorry you had a rough childhood but there were other ways to deal with it then the choices you made. When you came to Sunnydale, after the shock wore off I thought it was great another person just like me, someone to share things with that only we could understand. But no - you couldn't accept that! I was willing to stand by you even after everything happened but you didn't turn to me, you turned to the Mayor!" Buffy shook her head angrily.

"I never had anyone to turn to Buffy. I didn't want to be your pity case. I didn't want to be 'poor little Faith' Good little Buffy will take care of her. I was never good enough, I could never be you. And now watching you string along Spike and Angel,l gotta say it again - I'm glad I'm not like you."

Angel and Spike stood outside the kitchen wincing at the words and the harshness in Faith's voice.

Buffy's fist connected with Faith's face before Faith realized what happened. Blood streamed from under her eye as she took her best shot splitting Buffy's lip wide open.

"Still think we shouldn't interfere?" Angel asked Spike as they rushed into the kitchen.

"Break it up!" Spike yelled as he separated the two women.

"Angel, take Faith. I'll take Buffy." Spike led Buffy down the hall to their room as Angel took Faith to his room.

"Nice punch." Spike remarked as he brought a washcloth in from the bathroom and began to dab at Buffy's bloody lip.

"Hers or mine?" Buffy asked seriously.

"I would say that both of you are still in good form. Buffy. Baby, you have a lot of things to think about. I love you and I'm not letting you go without a fight." His voice was almost timid as he spoke.

"Who said I was going......." Buffy started but Spike put his hand up to stop her.

"Buffy don't, don't try to explain anything right now. You do what you have to do, but let me know - because I am going to do my damndest to make sure you choose me." Spike stood up, "Now lets go and see if we can all act like adults the rest of the day."


His look silenced her. "Come on."

She followed him into the living room.


"Faith, you really don't know when to keep your mouth shut do you?" Angel asked her as he cleaned the cut up under her eye.

"She threw the first punch." Faith said defensively.

"I know, but you were pretty hard on her." Angel put a small bandage on the cut.

"What is it about her? Does every man that meets her fall in love with her?"

"No, not every man. But I will always love her, Faith. It's not as easy for Buffy as it looks." He explained in a soft voice.

"She loves Spike you know." Faith replied watching his face to gauge his reaction.

"I know. I also know she still loves me and I also know the situation is impossible. We just have to survive the next few days and things will be back to normal." He told her with more assurance then he actually felt.


"A truce." Spike said to the occupants of the living room as he set up the trivial pursuit board.

"We're gonna play a board game?" Faith asked with a smirk.

"Yes, we are. It will keep us all civil." Angel agreed taking his place at the table.

"Too bad they don't have a black pie for you, Peaches." Spike smiled at Angel, "Fit your broodiness, but here is a lovely pink one for you."

Buffy glared at Spike. Angel didn't blink an eye as he shoved the green pie towards Spike. "And the green pie is for you and your jealous nature."

Buffy then glared at Angel. Faith was beginning to find the whole mess amusing.

The game went well. It came down to Spike and Angel at the end. They were both good at the history questions. Buffy and Faith even enjoyed the comptetion. It was declared a tie as no one could seem to land in the center and they both answered their questions correctly.


A quick dinner was fixed with Faith volunteering to wash the dishes.

"I'll go check the kittens." Buffy said as she grabbed a light jacket.

"I'll go with you." Angel told her as he followed her.

Faith glanced at Spike and arched her eyebrow. "Guess, I'll dry." He said and picked up the dishtowel.

He flinched when the door closed behind Buffy and Angel. "You know what their probably gonna do in that barn?" She asked shaking her head.

"Feed the cat?" Spike asked as he picked up a wet plate.

"Ever heard of a roll in the hay?" She said smartly.

"They can't Faith, pesky happiness curse."

"Okay, so they can't actually do anything, but still. Isn't this driving you nuts?"

"I'm not going to hand her over to him, it that's what your thinking. I trust Buffy, she'll make the right decision." Spike sighed was he trying to convince Faith or himself.


Angel followed Buffy to the barn and watched as she fed the cat and played with the kittens. "Buffy, we have to talk."

"I know we do. Things are kind of confusing aren't they?" She sat down on a bale of hay, Angel sat down beside her.

"Yes they are. I want to be completely honest with you." He told her looking deeply into her eyes. "But first......" And he leaned down and brushed his lips against hers.

In the instant his lips touched hers ten years melted away. She leaned into him deepening the kiss. His hands entwined in her silky hair as she wrapped her arms around his neck. After a few moments she pulled away to catch her breath. "That was...."

"Fantastic." He finished for her.

"Yeah." She agreed.

"I've been wanting to do that since I stepped through your kitchen door." Angel grinned at her.

"Me too. But...I know there is a but coming." She smiled a bittersweet smile at him.

"But.....I need to apologize to you. I didn't mean to come in and confuse your life. But when I saw you and then last night after we danced all I wanted to do was take you and runaway just the two of us. I wanted to make it work this time."

Buffy looked surprised, "You did? For a moment last night, I might have done it."

"You would have?" He laughed softly, "But."

"But it wouldn't have worked, would it? I mean how long before we slipped up, before we let things happen. It's not fair Angel." She let out a small sob as the tears rolled down her face.

He caught a single tear with his finger wiping it away. "No it's not fair. It never has been with us. You do know that no matter what I will always love you." He told her as he pressed his forehead to hers.

"I know and I'll always love you." Buffy tried to smile at him. "We both just got caught up in seeing each other again."

"So, we have to settle for friendship." He sighed.

"I think so." She agreed taking his hands in hers and giving them a squeeze.


Faith finished rinsing the last dish. "They've been out there awhile."

"Yeah, they have." Spike told her as went to the door.

"I really shouldn't have jumped Buffy earlier. I didn't think about how hard this must be for her. I"m sure it's gonna be okay, Spike." Faith told him as she dried her hands.

"I'm going to go check on them."


He walked quietly to the barn and peeked inside. He wanted to scream at the sight of them sitting so close her hands on his, foreheads pressed together and for the second time he eavesdropped on the woman he loved.

"As your friend, I can still be concerned about your relationship with Spike." Angel took a deep breath.

"Yes, you can. But you don't need to be." Buffy replied.

Why shouldn't he be concerned? Spike wasn't sure he wanted to know the answer did she not care enough for him to cause concern? He listened more closely.

"Well, I am." Angel released one hand and pushed a stray hair from her eyes. "Do you love him? I have to hear you say it?"

Spike waited anxiously for the answer his world revolved around that answer.

Without hesitation in a soft clear voice came her answer, "Yes, I love him."

A regretful look flashed on Angel's face and then he continued, "If I had never come you wouldn't have ever been confused, would you? He has made you happy?"

"Yes, he makes me happy. It's not that I've forgotten you, Angel. It's just that I've actually been with Spike longer then I've ever been with another man. And I trust him with my life." She explained her voiced strained with emotion.

Spike turned and walked away from the barn. He didn't need to hear anything else. She loved him and she trusted him and that's all he needed to know.

"Then I'm glad for you. It's not how I wanted things to turn out. But I want you happy." Angel told her as he kissed her forehead.

"I know everything is backwards and upside down to how we wanted it to be. But I think somehow we've found the place we are supposed to be. Spike needs me Angel, he'd never admit it out loud, but he does. And Faith, Faith needs someone like you, to help her stay on the straight and narrow.

"I'm not ever going to love anyone like you again, Buffy. So don't expect..."

"Angel, I'm not saying you and Faith should plunge into a relationship. I am saying that you shouldn't be afraid to let her care for you though. I know you have that stupid curse to worry about. But don't let that stop you from caring or allowing yourself to be cared for." Buffy ran a hand through his hair, "Okay?"

He nodded, "I do care for Faith. And to be honest Buffy, the curse isn't really a problem, then only person who could ever give me that moment of true complete happiness was you. I may love another woman someday, maybe even Faith, but my happiness came from you, only you." He hugged her close to him once more.

"Promise you'll talk to Faith so she knows where she stands?"

"I will. We better get back or Spike will come out here with a stake." Angel laughed.

Buffy rolled her eyes at him "Don't stay away so long, next time. Friends keep in touch."

"I won't." He promised as they walked back to the house.


Spike walked into the kitchen with a warm smile on his face. Faith looked up from the table, surprise on her face. "What happened?"

"I peeked in the barn they were sitting very cozily, hand in hand." Spike told her with a small smile.

"You didn't kill them both did you?" Faith asked with a panicked look on her face.

"I couldn't if I wanted to, but no I didn't even let them know I was there."

"So you aren't going to fight?" She asked curiosly.

"I don't have too. I listened to them, Faith. They know it won't work. And I heard Buffy tell him that she loves me and trusts me. I told you she would do the right thing." Spike sat down across from her.

"Faith, I don't know what your future holds with Angel. He will probably brood forever over Buffy, but he can be a good friend and he'll stand beside you so don't give up on him." Spike patted her hand.

"I guess I should just take what comes and see what happens." Faith smiled.


The phone rang as Buffy and Angel entered the kitchen. Spike answered it, "Hello. Giles, yes here he is." He handed the phone to Angel and went to stand by Buffy, took her hand in his and smiled at her. She smiled back wondering what was up with him.

"That's great. We'll leave right away. Okay." Angel began scribbling on the notepad next to the phone. "Yes, we'll call when we get there. Thank you, Giles."

Angel hung up the phone and turned to Faith. "Giles has us set up. We need to leave tonight. Let's go pack."

Faith turned to Buffy and Spike, "I need to say thanks for putting up with me. I'm sorry for hitting you, B."

"It's okay, Faith. I'm sorry I hit you too. Be well, okay?" Buffy smiled as Faith left the room.

"I don't know where to start, Spike." Buffy told him as he pulled her close to him.

"No need." He murmured into her hair. "I will say I'll be happy to have our house back though."

She giggled softly, "Me too."


"You all ready to go?" Angel stuck his head in Faith's room.

"Yeah. Thanks Angel for everything." She smiled at him as she picked up her bag.

"No problem. But Faith the sleeping on my floor thing if you want to do that it's okay. But I really think it's time to talk about those nightmares if you share them with somebody it might help." Angel put his hand on her shoulder.

"Okay." She said softly, "We'll need something to talk about in the car anyway."

"Deal." Angel told her as the went to the kitchen to say goodbye.

Buffy and Spike separated when they entered the room. Angel hugged Buffy and whispered in her ear "If you ever need me."

"I know." She whispered back.

"Peaches, don't come back anytime soon." Spike grinned at Angel as he shook his hand.

"Take care of her." Angel told him as he took the luggage to the car.

"B. I'm not sure what to say." Faith looked for the right words.

"Take care of yourself and him too." Buffy told her as she gave her a brief hug.

"I will." She said and then she was gone.


"Spike, I know you said there was no need. But I feel like I should explain." Buffy put her arms around his waist and lay her head on his chest.

"You don't have too." He told holding her tightly against him.

"I realize it will take us a little while to get back where we were before Angel and Faith showed up."

"Not really." Spike grinned as he pulled away from her and turned on the radio.

Soft music began to play,

"And then she asks me , do you feel alright?
And I say yes, I feel wonderful tonight.

I wonderful because I see the love light in your eyes
and the wonder of it all is that you just don't realize

How much I love you"

He smiled at her as he took her hand and they began to dance around the kitchen. "Now I believe this is where we were before we were so rudely interrupted. Are you ready for bed, love?"

Buffy answered him with a deep kiss.

The End