A/N - I am so sorry I have not updated this in ages. I hit a bit of a wall with the story. I just hope I have not lost anyone who was reading. On the plus side, I have already written most of the next chapter so I will update again soon. Enjoy!
"Please tell me I did not get tackled to the ground by Peroxide Boy". Leaning up and shuffling back, Xander raised a hand to his head.
Standing up from their chairs, Willow, Dawn and Giles moved around the table to walk toward the couch. They all needed a break from the books and a stretch of their legs.
Stifling a laugh Dawn looked at the others,
"Should we tell him?"
Nodding Willow turned her attention to Xander,
"Oh yeah", she said, sobering slightly at the thought she then grimaced,
"You can tell him though".
At this, both girls turned to Giles and awaited his answer to Xander's question.
"Children... they never do anything themselves", he grumbled, rolling his eyes at their lack of input.
They all knew Xander's response to the tale that had left them laughing would be anything but that. Unfortunately, for him due to Anya's lack of presence he did not even have her to boost his ego.
As they waited for the confrontation, which was without doubt inevitable, Dawn leaned into Willow to whisper,
"Is it me... or do a lot of us end up waking up on this couch".
Smiling Willow patted her shoulder,
"You should feel lucky... you have yet to experience that".
Shaking her head Dawn turned to face the Witch,
"Apart from last summer... remember".
"Oh... yeah... but we aren't allowed to discuss that so..."
Before either girl could continue Giles, spoke effectively blocking their trip down memory lane.
"In answer to your question Xander... yes you were".
Groaning Xander flopped back down and accidentally caught his head on the arm of the couch. Wincing he raised his hand again to rub the sore spot on his head.
"Great... as if the lack of eye didn't do enough to emasculate me", he sighed.
Turning Giles headed back to table, "I think you do that on your own... don't you."
Laughing Dawn and Willow followed the Watcher as their friend sat up sharply ready to defend his honour. Seeing no one was around, he spoke to himself,
"We really need to find Anya - she makes me feel all manly".
Before the others could be seated, a knock echoed signalling visitors. Looking at his watch Giles frowned.
"It's a bit late for visitors", looking to Dawn he signalled upstairs. "Get Buffy".
Nodding hesitantly she recoiled at the though of interrupting the pair who had yet to show themselves.
Luckily, enough Spike had heard the knock and was busily waking Buffy so they could investigate.
Stroking her cheek with the back of his hand he watched as her eyes blinked rapidly. The harsh light hurt and she needed to adjust. Regaining some control over the rapid, blinking Buffy sighed as she took in Spike's appearance.
"Why are you up... and half dressed?"
Nodding towards the door Spike answered her while using their clasped hands to draw her out of bed.
"Heard a knock downstairs".
"So, one of the others will get it".
"It's past midnight".
Hearing the reason Buffy let go of Spike and rushed to get dressed. Throwing on her jeans and boots she rushed out of the room before Spike could halt her exit. As he went to run after he stopped hearing a scream and a muttered curse.
Waiting he watched as Buffy hastily returned slightly red faced and picked up her shirt.
Narrowing his eyes at the prospect of the men downstairs seeing his girlfriend less then clothed, Spike addressed her attire.
"How far did you get?"
Shrugging, Buffy pulled her head through the top,
"Not to far, although I think Dawn maybe scarred for life."
Chuckling Spike put an arm around her shoulders and drew her out of the room.
"Don't worry Love... she told me she needed help in Anatomy class".
Before she could retaliate, they had made it downstairs and to the group huddled by the door holding an array of weapons.
Handing Spike a sword Buffy moved towards the handle aware that her sister was trying very hard not to look at her.
Turning to her friends Buffy placed her hand on the door handle as another knock echoed around the quietened room.
"Okay", she whispered, "on three I'll open the door and... well you get the idea"
Seeing a collected group of nods, she began the countdown.
Swinging the door opened she stumbled as a figure fell backwards and landed with a thud on the carpet. Looking up Anya rolled her eyes at the actions of the group,
"For the love of... I come all the way back here; escaping by myself mind you and this is how I get welcomed."
Reaching down to help Anya stand Buffy lifted her up. Swaying unsteadily Anya felt the air pushed out of her as Xander rushed forward and embraced her. Letting the feel of his secure arms around her soak in for a while, she began to relax. Remembering her friend she pulled away, turned and ran back outside to Tara.
Hearing a moan escape the still unconscious witch, Anya looked up at the shocked group.
"Help her, she collapsed a while ago... she's exhausted".
At Anya's mention of their fallen comrade, the group drew themselves out of their shock. Putting a hand to her mouth Willow gulped back a sob that was threatening to overcome her. Running to aid Anya, Spike gently lifted Tara into his arms and walked back into the house followed by the others. Walking over to the unoccupied couch, he placed her down. As Willow knelt beside Tara, she stroked a hand down the girl's hair and listened heart-brokenly as she heard her name muttered.
Looking to the others, Willow indicated the couch.
"What do we do?"
Stepping forward to draw everyone's attention Buffy glared at the sight of her injured friend. Playing with the sword she was holding she indicated the scene in front of her. Smiling slightly she never noticed the others step back as she answered the red-heads question.
"We get even".
A/N - Please review if you a moment.