Willow sat on the floor with her back against the bed and stared down at the Pez dispenser in her hand.
"Pez Witch," she whispered, her voice cracking. "What happened? How did things go so south so fast? Why did I do it?"
She bent her head forward and the tears poured down her face. God – that scene – it was so – so terrible. Xander lying bleeding on the bed. Her lips on his lips. Cordy and Oz bursting through the door to rescue them.
That look in their eyes.
Willow clutched the Pez witch harder as the sobs wracked her body. She'd never realized just how much hurt could take up residence in one body, in one heart.
She looked over at the bag by the door. If only she'd had everything she'd needed to do that spell for Spike! Then he wouldn't have left them! And then – and then there wouldn't have been any lip smacking – and no storming rescue and then no – no Cordy kabob!
And life would have gone back to normal.
Or at least as normal as life ever was in Sunnydale.
Maybe she could fix things.
Willow scrambled to her knees and reached for the brown Magic Shop bag. She turned it over and a feather and some dried lavender fell to the floor. She was missing the items she needed, and she'd have to find them, somehow, somewhere. But it was possible. Wasn't it? She couldn't reverse time and get a do over. But she could try the love spell and maybe put everyone back to where they belonged – back on the love and joy train. Where they wanted to be.
Now that they all knew where they wanted to be.
Willow pushed open the door to the factory and grimaced. It smelled musty and unused. Mind
you, the last time she'd been there it hadn't been any better. Spike hadn't had enough time to settle back into Sunnydale and Martha Stewart the abandoned factory into his home sweet home again.
Willow carefully made her way down the stairs, past the hole in the floor that Cordy had fallen through. Willow couldn't look. She'd collapse under the weight of guilt and not be able to do the spell if she saw where Cordy had been impaled; if she saw any of her blood.
"It's my fault," she murmured as she got to the warehouse floor, "Welcome to my own private guiltapalooza." She set the bag on the table. She dusted off her hands and set about unpacking her things. It had been a not so simple matter of breaking into the abandoned Magic Shop and taking what she needed. Willow had left some money on the counter. She knew that not paying for the items would have made her feel terrible. Salt on the wounds and all that. Not to mention she worried that stealing the magical items would impact the spell.
She lit the piece of charcoal and laid it in the small caldron. She began crumbling the herbs and singed the tip of the canary feather. When the tip began to smoke, she waved it over the flames, sending the smoke spiraling towards the four directions.
"Love is light, Love is sun, and Love is in the blood. Let love's bonds be renewed. Let love's knowledge fly true. Let hearts be mended and all love be recommended for love's hearts' desire is true. Send my wish to the heavens and let all lovers be reassembled. "
Willow closed her eyes and pictured Oz.
"Let Oz know my love is true."
She pictured Xander and Cordy.
"Let Xander and Cordy's love be reconnected."
Feeling full of benevolent hope, she pictured Buffy's sad face as she'd talked to her of the pain of love and betrayal.
"And let Buffy find her true love."
She opened her eyes and stared down at the green flames. Then she bent over and blew it out, sending her spell up into the universe and to the Powers that Be.
She waited to feel something. To know somehow that it had worked. But she felt nothing other than the pain that had settled in that spot beneath her breast bone and in her joints. Her shoulders fell. Maybe it hadn't worked.
There was only one way to tell.
She gathered her things and hurried from the factory.
"Regrets….I've had a few. But then again…Too few to mention!!!" Spike screamed the words at the top of his lungs as he roared past the California state line and into New Mexico. "Dru baby! I'm coming for you love! And we're going to work this out! We'll be together forever. I can promise you that. Spike is back baby. I'm back!" He morphed into his game face and howled. He stared out the window of his car and grinned. "I'm coming baby. You just wait and see!"
He never saw what hit him. It came from nowhere and it slammed between his shoulder blades, and pitched him forward over the steering wheel.
"What the hell?" he yelled as his head hit the wheel and he fought to regain control of the car. It spun off the road, the tires hitting the soft sandy side and spinning, before finally settling in. The engine sputtered to a stop.
Spike clutched his head. He felt…off.
"Bloody hell," he muttered. He reached for one of the bottles on the floor. Maybe he was sobering up and this was the result. "Damn it," he said as he took a deep drink from the bottle of tequila. He twisted and looked behind him in the back seat. There was nothing there. He rubbed the back of his head and stretched his shoulders. What the hell had that been? What had hit him?
And why… why did he suddenly feel so different?
He closed his eyes and tried to picture her. Dru. The love of his life. His baby with her dolls and her velvets and her stars and her madness. His gothic queen. His eternal love.
Why couldn't he picture her?
He slammed his fists against the steering wheel, honking the horn.
"Dru?" he whispered, fear causing his voice to crack. "Baby?"
He closed his eyes and tried again.
Instead, he saw a young woman with blond hair that swung freely just above her shoulders. Her green eyes sparkled and her lips parted in a girlish smile of delight. Her entire face glowed in happiness, but Spike saw the hidden sadness just there beneath the joyful façade.
"Buffy…" he whispered. And as he whispered her name his body, his heart, his mind was flooded with emotions. Anger, rage, pain, fear, joy, happiness…and love.
Buffy…he needed to get to her. He needed to get to her and tell her – tell her the truth.
And he needed to save her from that poof Angel!
Spike turned the key, praying under his breath for the engine to kick in and start.
"Come on! Come on…." He coaxed. The engine roared to life and he grinned a wild, reckless grin as he pulled the car back onto the road and turned it around, back towards California. Back towards Sunnydale.
"Slayer! I'm coming for you pet! And we're going to work this out! We'll be together forever, love. I can promise you that. Spike is coming back baby. I'm coming back!"
Buffy glanced up from the papers strewn across her bed and stared at her mother.
Buffy gestured to the college pamphlets and applications. "Just trying to make heads or tails…or elbows and knees of this stuff."
"Do you want me to go over them with you?"
Buffy shook her head. She glanced at the clock and noted the time. "I'll probably head to bed in a bit anyway."
Joyce frowned in concern. "No patrolling tonight?"
"No, Faith is taking care of it."
Joyce looked at her daughter closely. "Are you feeling well honey?"
Buffy sighed. Figures her mother would notice. "I'm feeling a bit off mom, no biggie. Probably a cold or something."
"Do you want me to get you something?" Joyce asked as she stepped into the room. She reached out and checked her daughter's forehead. "You don't have a fever."
Buffy shook her head and pulled away from her mother's hand. "No, I'm just feeling tired is all."
How could she explain the lethargy that had taken over her body the moment she'd walked away from Angel? Every time she closed her eyes, she saw it again.
"We're not friends. We never were. I can fool Giles, I can fool my friends. But I can't fool myself.
Or Spike for some reason. What I want from you, I can never have. You don't need me to take care of
you anymore, so I' m going to go."
"I don't accept that."
"You have to."
"There has to be some way for us to continue seeing each other."
"There is. Tell me you don't love me."
And he hadn't been able to look at her and tell her he didn't love her.
She knew Spike had been right. She and Angel would never be able to be friends. How had he put it? "You'll be in love until it kills you both. You'll fight, you'll shag and you'll hate each other until you quiver. But you'll never be friends. Love isn't brains, children. It's blood. Blood screaming inside you to work its will."
So how could she tell her mother about the pain that worked its way through her every hour and every day that she wasn't with him?
"Buffy…." She looked up at the strange tone in her mother's voice.
"Do you want to talk about – about the other night?"
Buffy pretended ignorance. "What night?"
"The night – the night Angel was here," Joyce looked uncomfortable. "Buffy, why didn't you tell me he – he was back?"
Buffy shrugged and looked away. "It was no big mom. He's back, I helped him get well, and now we're friends. We don't – we aren't seeing each other. Much."
It was as if a shot of electricity had zinged her, shooting across her nerve endings and causing each piece of hair on her body to rise. She wondered where he was.
"What about him?" Buffy stared down at her hands, trying to control her breathing.
"I didn't know he was back either. You need to tell me these things Buffy. And why you were acting like he was suddenly dangerous, when I know he isn't."
Buffy's gaze shot up to meet her mother's. "How do you know that?" she asked, breathlessly.
Joyce smiled and tilted her head. "Buffy, Spike is – Spike is not very bright."
"That doesn't mean he's harmless mom. He's a demon," she whispered, her voice cracking on the last word.
Joyce looked at her oddly. "Buffy, I know he's a demon, and I've seen his – how do you put it – his game face? But there is something different about Spike."
"I know," Buffy said, looking down at her hands. My God, what was she thinking?
That fight she'd had with the Kailiff demon last night hadn't seemed all that different from any other fight she'd ever fought. Although…there had been that moment when it had seemed like he'd come and hit her hard from behind. She hadn't felt right since then. She'd thought that her slayer healing powers would simply heal and the headache would go away. But that sense of offness had just persisted…and grown stronger. Couple it with the latent loneliness and sadness she was already feeling, and it was clear, Buffy wasn't having a fantastic day.
She'd just assumed the longing and sadness had to do with Angel.
But increasingly, as the day had gone by she'd thought less and less of Angel and more and more of Spike. And now her mother's words had solidified the sensation.
She - was it possible – that she missed him?
"Let me go and get you something to drink and then I think you should go to bed Buffy." Joyce gestured to the college applications. "These will all be here in the morning."
Buffy sighed and stared out the window. She wondered where he'd gone. He'd left right after their fight the other night, heading for Mexico and his beloved Drusilla. Buffy's heart clenched.
How in the world was she going to live without him? How could she survive now that he'd walked away from her?
Buffy stopped in her tracks and turned, waiting for Willow to catch up. "Hey Will," she said. She tried to sound peppy. She even smiled and flicked her hair. But she couldn't' quite cut it.
Willow looked worried. "You look tired Buff, long night patrolling?"
They continued walking down the corridor towards the library. "I didn't patrol last night."
Willow's nervousness increased. "You didn't … patrol?" her voice rose higher with every word and her eyes shifted from Buffy to the floor and back.
Buffy shrugged. "No, I wasn't feeling right."
"Are you sick? You got the flu or something?"
"Or something," Buffy said glumly. "I seem to have lost my get up and go. Seems it got up and left for Vegas." She pushed at the library door. "Don't tell Giles."
Willow shook her head anxiously. "I won't." They stepped into the library. "Buffy?"
She turned, her green eyes sad. "Yeah Will?"
"Have you – um – have you seen Angel lately?"
Buffy glanced over to make sure Giles couldn't hear them. She shook her head. "No. Will, I let him go. I can't be with him."
Willow clasped her hands. "Buffy! Are you sure? "
Buffy looked away. Why was Willow asking her about Angel anyway? She was so over him. In a big way. "Yeah, I'm sure."
She turned and tossed her bag onto the counter.
He popped his head out of his office. "Yes Buffy?"
"I'm here for my training."
He looked at his watch. "We had a session booked?"
She peeled her coat off. "Yeah. I need to hurt something."
Giles looked worried. Buffy tried to smile.
"Don't worry Giles, I'll try to go easy on you."
Willow glanced from one to the other, her worry increasing. Things didn't seem right.
First, this morning she'd bumped into Oz when he'd finally gone to his locker. She'd only been staking it out for days. Waiting for him. And then, after the spell, she'd wanted to see if it had worked. And apparently, it hadn't. He'd looked so sad when she'd finally cornered him.
"Just leave me be," he'd said quietly.
Definitely not a guy who'd been rebitten by the love bug.
And now here was Buffy, looking all sad and broken.
The door crashed open and Xander strode through. He spotted Willow and stopped in his tracks.
"Will – you gotta help me!" he said desperately.
"Xander? What is it?"
"She won't talk to me! She won't even look at me! And it's - it's awful, everyone is treating her like she's some sort of leper. I can't take it! She can't take it! We got to fix it. Make it right." He slammed his right fist into his left palm.
"Xander…" she whispered.
He caught the distress in her voice and looked at her, really looked at her. "Will…." He said, his voice deepening with foreboding. "What did you do?"
"Just a little spell," she replied, trying to smile and failing miserably.
Xander leaned down and stared at her. "Will. What sort of spell?"
She closed her eyes and turned away from him, hurrying through the door. She didn't want Giles or Buffy to overhear her.
"I just wanted to fix things!" she explained, twisting her hands. "I thought – if only I could fix things, make them better. I knew I couldn't go back and do it over…"
Xander threw his hands up in the air. "Why not Will? This is the hellmouth! If you could do a spell, surely you could turn back time! Will – what were you thinking?"
"I wasn't!" she cried out. "I can't think. All I can do is hurt! I hurt him Xander! I broke his heart! And it's killing me so I had to do something to make it better for him, for us, for Buffy!"
"What does Buffy have to do with this? And us? Me??" he sounded like he was verging on panic.
"It was a love spell. I just wanted us all to be back with the people we loved. Me and Oz, you and Cordy and then for good measure I threw Buffy and Angel in the mix."
Xander looked like he was chocking. "What?"
Willow's distress was palpable. "But it didn't work! Oz only looks at me with those sad, broken puppy dog eyes – no pun intended – and Cordy isn't talking to you and Buffy, well, she seems to be over Angel. It didn't work!"
"Well, thank our lucky charms for that last bit! Will – you can't play with that stuff! Especially not when you're feeling the way you are. And me – don't involve me in your spells! Remember Will – spells – especially love spells – and the world goes all Shinning on me."
Willow looked sick. "I know! I know! I promise I won't do it again. But it didn't work!"
He nodded, looking at once disappointed and relieved. "Good. That's good." But he didn't sound convinced.
They both looked back at the library doors.
"It's good it didn't work," Willow whispered. "Right?"
"Have you thought more about college Buffy?" Giles asked as he fended off another punch.
She shook her head. "What is it with everyone? Are you all in such a hurry to get rid of me? God – you get some high marks on a test and people are kicking you to the street! Sick of me much?"
Giles paused and stared down at her. "Buffy, you know it isn't that. But there are opportunities that you can take advantage of."
"Because of Faith," she said, punching hard.
He took the blow and grunted. "Having Faith here does lessen your burden. Gives you the opportunity to do things that you hadn't thought possible."
What was the point, she wanted to ask him. Her heart clenched. What was the point of anything when at the end of the night, when dawn shone, she was alone?
She turned away from Giles and threw the gloves to the floor.
She bent over, stretching. She stood up, but didn't face him.
"Buffy, are you ok? You don't seem yourself." He pulled out his glasses and began cleaning them. "Is it Angel?"
She turned and looked at him. "Why does everyone assume that there is something wrong with me and that something is Angel? Aren't I allowed to have issues? Worries?"
Giles tilted his head and looked at her. "No, as the slayer you aren't. You need to be above all that."
"Above all human emotion?"
Giles nodded. "Yes Buffy."
She shook her head. "I don' know if I'll ever be able to rise above all that." She pressed her hand to her chest. "I have a heart and I feel things – all sorts of things – that I wish I wouldn't. But they get in the way."
"Your feelings for Angel," Giles stated, his eyes narrowing slightly.
"Angel, Spike, anyone!"
"Spike?!" Giles asked in shock.
Buffy paused in her stretching and glanced away from him. "Sorry – don't know what I was saying."
Oh God, she thought to herself.
What was happening? Why did the mere mention of his name cause her to shiver? Those eyes that sliced through her, right to her heart, saw through all her pretenses.
"Thank goodness," Giles said, turning away and putting the weapons away. "For a moment there, I was worried."
She forced a smile. "No worries! You are worry less. A worry free zone!" She was overdoing it and promptly decided it was time to leave. "I'm going to head out early to patrol."
Giles glanced out the window. Daylight was fading. "Would you like me to come with you?"
She shook her head. "So not necessary!"
He smiled. "Well, check-in in the morning and provide me with an update."
Buffy headed out of the school and hurried towards the cemetery. She had excess energy and was hoping to find some demons to destroy.
As she stepped into the cemetery, she came to a complete stop. Her breath caught.
Parked beneath a tree, in lengthening shadows, was an old black Cadillac. Its windows were blacked out and there were several dents and scratches.
Buffy knew that car and her heart began to pound.
What was it doing here? It should be halfway to Mexico and Drusilla by now.
Before she even knew what she was doing, she was running towards the car. She skidded in the gravel as she approached and banged on the window.
"Spike? Spike? Are you in there?"
She heard some scrambling and then the window was rolled down.
Blue eyes peered up at her. "Buffy?"
"What are you doing back here?"
He held up his hands, staying back in the shadows. "Now Buffy – let me explain!"
"Open the door you idiot!"
"Buffy – let's not act too quickly. Think about this!" He
glanced down to her hands. "Are you armed?"
She groaned in frustration and threw Mr. Pointy to the ground. "Not anymore."
"Alright – if you promise not to hurt me…"
"I won't hurt you," she said impatiently. "Let me in."
He leaned over and unlocked the door and opened it.
"Now don't be hast-"
Buffy grabbed his face and turned it towards her. She searched his face.
"What have you done to me?"
He froze, staring at her in amazement.
"What the bloody hell?"
His skin was cold and firm beneath her hands. Like Angel's. Only smoother and more pale. Her golden fingers gleamed against the alabaster of his skin. His eyes were wide and he stared at her in shock, searching her face for answers.
"What did I do?" he asked.
She nodded. She never wanted to stop touching him.
And she had enough presence of mind to know that it was all very odd.
"Yes, what did you do to me?"
"Nothing! I swear!" He threw his hands up in the air. "Scouts honour and all that!"
"You were never a scout!"
He grinned. "No, but I ate one once. They were out camping you see and Dru and I…"
"There – Dru – why aren't you in Mexico with her?"
He shook his head. "I told you pet, she dumped me for a Chaos demon! Antlers and
Buffy closed her eyes and found herself leaning towards him. He smelled of leather and
cigarettes and tequila. It was intoxicating. She stroked his cheek, pulling him to her and she rested her forehead against his. She could feel the heat of his breath against her cheek. She wanted to chuckle. Apparently old habits like breathing died hard.
"But the last I heard, you were headed back. Remember? In the magic shop? All that garbage about being the man you were. The man she loved. You said something bout finding her, tying her up and torturing her until she loved you again. "
Spike stared at her and then reached out and caressed her cheek. God, she was gorgeous. So soft and warm. So alive.
"Half way there I realized I was wrong. Dru isn't the woman for me. If she was, she'd never have fallen for that wanker of a demon. There is only one woman for me and that's you Buffy."
She shook her head. "What is this?"
She knew in her mind that it was wrong. But God, her body and her mind were singing out of tune. And this new tune had everything to do with getting down and dirty. What would Spike look like naked? All gleaming, hard muscle. Lean and long. Strong. Being with Spike wouldn't be anything like being with Angel. There would be nothing soft and romantic about it.
"I don't know what it is pet," he said softly, running his hand over her hair, staring at her in amazement. "All I do know is that I had to get back to you or die trying."
"Melodramorama!" she chuckled. "But this can't be happening. You're a vampire, I'm a Slayer. This is so Romeo and Juliet."
He shook his head. "You were with Angel."
"He has a soul," she explained, staring down at their entwined hands. She had crawled into his lap. She needed to be touching him and there was a whole lot of touching going on at the moment.
"And I don't," Spike stated. She looked up at him, into his hard gaze. "But I have a heart Buffy. I have a heart and blood and I know what it is to love. I adored Dru. No one can ever say that I don't feel."
"You're evil," she countered.
Spike grinned. "I can't argue with that, although I will point out that there are varying degrees of evil. I was never a match for Angelus in his prime."
"William the bloody," she murmured, staring down at his hands.
"Yeah….Scourge of Europe, thanks to the careful tutelage of my grand sire."
"How can I want you this much?" she asked, her voice cracking. "I know it's wrong. I know I shouldn't want you, care about you. But I can't seem to help myself. I want…"
"I want to kiss you, touch you, see you naked from head to toe, pet," he said with a slow smile.
"Doesn't it bother you?
"The fact that you are the slayer?"
"To my mind, I'm thinking that there might be something better than fighting and killing a slayer."
It should have bothered her. It wasn't a romantic statement. There was nothing loving about it.
But man it was hot.
"I'd prefer less of the killing and fighting and more of that other stuff going on," she murmured.
"If that's a wish then I'm a demon settin' out to fulfill it," he replied.
He pulled her close and covered her lips in his. He devoured her mouth, sucking the life from her as if her mouth was a vein and its life's blood was pulsing from it through him. She was a living fire in his arms, burning him, consuming him. Dru had been right, Spike thought, there had been more to that truce he'd struck with Buffy than just a need to kill Angelus. The slayer had been in his blood even then.
And now he'd have her.
It should make him want to puke, right, being this close to the slayer, to his nemesis. Instead he wanted to make her scream in pleasure, not pain, writhe in bliss and not in agony.
There was something dark in her, Buffy thought to herself as she stroked her hands down his lean, hard back. There was something wrong with her that she wanted him this badly.
"Get your hands off of her!"
The hand reached through the car window and grabbed Spike by the hair.
"Owww!!! Bleeding hell! Get your soddin' hands off of me you git!"
Buffy gasped and looked up. "Angel! Leave him alone!"
Angel froze and stared into the car. He couldn't believe what he was seeing.
"Buffy? What are you doing?"
She looked down. Her legs were wrapped tightly around Spike's hips and her shirt was half undone. What was she doing? Seemed pretty obvious to her!
Looking up at Angel, she tried to remember what it had been like being with him. And she knew, logically, that she had loved him and that when she'd been with him it had been beautiful and special. And then it had gone all wrong. He'd gone evil with a capital E and proceeded to kill a dozen people including Jenny Calendar.
And then there was the bit about torturing Giles…..
Buffy knew that she'd loved him. But in that given moment, surrounded with the scent of Spike's leather coat and cigarettes, she couldn't for the life of her remember that love.
He stepped back from the car, looking wounded.
"I don't – Buffy – I don't understand."
"Back off Peaches – she's with me now!" Spike said with a sneer. "Look who's all cool now yeah?"
"Spike," Buffy admonished. Even as she did it, she caught his gaze and was lost in their ocean blue depths.
She dragged her gaze away from Spike's mouth and met Angel's eyes.
Did he always have to look so tortured? Angel threw his hands up in the air. "Whatever! You do what you need to do to get me out of
your system. Apparently what I couldn't give you, you're willing to get from just anyone."
That hurt, Buffy thought. And it took the edge off.
She watched him stalk away and then she turned back to Spike.
"What are we doing?" she asked softly.
He shook his head, looking nervous all of a sudden.
Peaches was right. There was something downright odd about all of this.
Spike was just damned if he knew what it was.
But then again, he was damned anyway. Why not enjoy what had, quite literally, fallen into his lap.
Besides, he really wanted it.
He loved her.
Spike loved the slayer.
"I love you Buffy," he said. He was shocked that he didn't choke on the words.
"I – I love you too," she whispered back. Forgetting Angel, forgetting the world outside the car. She wasn't the slayer and he wasn't a vampire. They were just two people in love. When dawn came, she wouldn't be alone. She'd be in his embrace. And it would all feel normal.
She sank back into his arms. Oh God, they were in trouble.
Angel turned from the bar and glanced behind him.
She tried to smile. She clenched her hands together and shifted from foot to foot. "How are you?"
She paled. "Angelus bad? Cause if you are…then…then…"
Angel held up a hand. "No – not Angelus bad. Mind you – I was feeling pretty damned evil about 15 minutes ago."
"Really?" she asked, her voice echoing with disappointment. "Anything – anything we need to know about? Should I call Buffy?"
He shot her a hard glance. "No! No Buffy!" He handed her a soda and glanced at the stage where Oz was playing the guitar and looking morose. Angel knew exactly how he felt.
"Have you seen Buffy?" Willow asked. It definitely didn't look like her spell had worked. Angel was the furthest thing from Latin lover as he could possibly get! All dark and brooding without the romantic Heathcliff thing happening.
"Seen Buffy?" he asked, as if taking to himself. "I more than saw her! So did Spike! That peroxided idiot!"
"Spike?" Willow asked, her voice high pitched and cracking. The last time she'd seen Spike he'd bashed Xander over the head and kidnapped her! He wasn't her favorite vampire. Not that she had a favorite vampire….but if she did…it definitely wouldn't be Spike.
Or Angel's alter ego for that matter!
"Yes! Spike is back in town and apparently Buffy has taken a liking to him. Dumps me and hooks up with Captain Peroxide within mere days! I thought what we had meant something!"
Oh God, Willow thought.
"Oh God, oh God, oh God…." she muttered.
Angel paused long enough in his brooding to notice her meltdown.
"Willow? Are you ok?"
She shook her head. "No….no….I'm so not ok. I'm more than not ok. I'm ok-less."
"Willow?" Xander asked, coming up behind her.
She turned and looked at him. He gave Angel a cold once over and then promptly tried to ignore him. "What's wrong?"
"The spell worked," she whispered.
Xander looked both hopeful and appalled. He glanced around . "Is Cordy here? Does she want me back?"
Willow frantically shook her head. "No! Xander, something went wrong. The spell worked, but on the wrong person!"
Angel grabbed her arm and she flinched.
"Hands off!" Xander warned.
Angel dropped his hold. "Willow, what are you talking about?"
She quickly brought him up to speed on the spell.
"And you included Buffy in this?"
Willow nodded abruptly. She smiled crookedly. "She'd been talking about you, and about how things couldn't work out and she was so broken hearted! I wanted her to be happy again! So – so – I –"
"Spill it Will!" Xander said in exasperation.
"And I said that I wished that Buffy could find her true love!"
Angel stared at her. It didn't make sense.
"Spike is Buffy's true love?" he asked in disbelief.
Willow shook her head frantically. "No! That's impossible! The spell misfired!"
"And hit Spike?" Xander said. "Like how unlikely is that?"
Angel shook his head. "If that's the case Willow, you have to cancel the spell. Buffy and Spike are – let's say – celebrating their new found love."
Xander covered his eyes and groaned. "Urghghghg….God! Can't that girl hook up with a living man? What's with her and the dark side anyway?"
"Oh my God!" Willow gasped. "Xander – go to my house and get the brown bag of stuff on my bed. Angel – where are they?"
"The cemetery. Where else?" he said grumpily.
"It just keeps getting better and better!" Xander muttered. "Welcome to dating on the hell mouth!"
"Go!" Willow yelled and she headed for the cemetery and its lovers lane.
"Everyone wants me to be something," Buffy explained softly. Her hand rested on Spike's naked chest. They lay in the back seat of his car, holding each other and touching. She'd long ago divested him of his shirt. She couldn't take her eyes off the long, lean expanse of muscle and pale skin. "Giles wants me to be a slayer, mom wants me to a college student, Faith wants me to be her partner in arms, and Angel…."
"Screw them all pet," Spike said, pressing his lips against her forehead and stroking her hair back. "What do you want to be?"
She shook her head, resting her head on his shoulder. "That's the thing! I don't know! I'm only 17, how the hell am I supposed to know what or who I want to be!"
"You can't," he stated. "Buffy, some people go their entire lives never knowing what they want to be, what their purpose is. And some people, they just don't have a purpose, their only reason to live is to simply live. But you have a destiny."
"A destiny I didn't ask for," she murmured.
"None of us do pet," he said. "I didn't ask Drusilla to sire me. He didn't ask Darla to sire him. We don't choose our destinies. Our destinies choose us. And it's up to us to live up to them."
She grinned up at him. "You don't come across as the sharpest stake."
He smiled back, leaning down to kiss her. "But I have my moments love."
Their lips met in a hot kiss.
Buffy started with a gasp and sat up.
"Now what!?" Spike cursed. Then he saw the witch. "If it isn't Glenda. What do you want Red?"
"It's a spell!" Willow yelled. She opened the car door and gestured to the back seat, their entwined bodies, Spike's chest. Her gaze lingered on his bare chest for a moment, and then she pulled her eyes away. "This isn't real – you two aren't all lovey dovey kissy blissy! It's a spell."
Buffy clutched at Spike's chest. "Willow – what are you talking about? This is real! I feel – these feelings we feel are real."
"No! Buffy! Get out of the car!" Willow said, stomping her foot. "Now!"
Buffy rolled her eyes. "I've got to go talk to her. She needs talking down off her proverbial witch's soapbox."
"Mmm…" he groaned, pulling her close for one last kiss. "Ok, but don't be long." He glared up
at Willow. "Red, this isn't making me happy you know."
She waved his concern away. "Oh shut up!"
He raised his eyebrows and chuckled. "Ohhh…the witch's got something brewing in her pot."
Willow turned to Buffy and grabbed her hands. "Buffy – I did a spell – a love spell. I wanted to get Oz back and Cordy and the spell went wrong and you and Spike got all smoochy and back seat car-y."
Buffy stared at her. "You did a love spell for Oz and Cordy?"
Willow shook her head. "Not to put them together – but to get Oz back with me and Cordy back with Xander." Tears sparkled in her eyes. "I just wanted him to talk to me again!"
"But what does this have to do with Spike and I?"
"I added you to the love spell and asked that you find you true love."
Buffy laughed. "And you think that found me Spike?"
"Will – why wouldn't the love spell have given me back Angel?" Buffy whispered.
Willow shook her head. "I don't know!"
"Because he's not your true love," Spike said dryly. He had crawled from the car and leaned against it. He lit a cigarette. "Apparently I was wrong when I said that you and Peaches could never be friends because you loved each other too much. The witch here goes and tosses in a love spell and the Powers the Be put you and me together. Strange sense of humor that is."
"Spike," Buffy warned.
He smiled up at her through a veil of smoke. "Yes love?"
She couldn't help it, she melted a bit at that smile, at the endearment. "Let Willow explain."
He shrugged. "At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, who is your true love? You don't
need a spell for that do you?"
"Do you?" Willow asked him.
"You were on your way to Mexico to kidnap Dru and torture her until she loved you again and now, all of a sudden, the slayer is your heart's desire?"
"The Powers that Be Red, you don't question their methods."
"Or their madness," Buffy replied dryly.
Spike reached out and took her hand. "Pet, let the witch do her business. We know the truth of the matter."
Buffy was suddenly not so sure. But she couldn't help herself. She slid over to his side and into the crook of his arm. "Alrighty."
Will glanced around and then sighed in relief when she saw Xander running towards them. "Xander is bringing my stuff."
Spike rolled his eyes. "Great, the pup is in on it too."
"Will – here!" Xander tossed her the bag and eyed Spike angrily. "You – just stay away from me!"
Spike morphed into his game face and grimaced. "For now! But I can't guarantee anything boy."
Buffy slapped him. "Spike, enough."
"Alright love," he said, reaching down and kissing her softly.
"Urghhh!" Xander groaned. "Will – do something! Quick!"
"I'm trying! I'm trying!" She shouted. She hurried to the car and dumped the stuff onto the hood.
"Hey – watch my car!" Spike called out and Buffy restrained him.
Willow lit the charcoal and rubbed the herbs together, dropping them onto the flames. She took the feather and stirred up the smoke.
"Cupid's arrow that I did let fly; in error was I. Set your sights on what was previously light and set it all back to rights." Willow leaned over and blew out the flame.
The smoke hung in the air above them, glowing. Then it split into two and fell over Buffy and Spike like sparkling snow.
"Owwww!" Spike yelled and bent over clutching his head. "My head!!!"
Buffy clutched at her chest. "Oofff!"
Xander and Willow stared at the couple as they fell apart.
Spike straightened and stared at Buffy in horror.
"What the bleeding hell did you do to me?"
"What did I do to you? Oh my God, I think I'm going to be sick!" Buffy said, turning from him and covering her mouth. She wiped it with the back of her hand. "Oh my God!"
Spike threw the cigarette to the ground and strode towards Willow. "Red! You have pissed me off one time too many! What were you doing?"
She held up her hands to ward him off. "I'm sorry!" she cried, tears trickling down her face. "I just wanted Oz to notice me!"
"Oh, he noticed you Red! When you were shagging the boy here, dog boy noticed you all right. Only you were gnawing on a bone that wasn't his you see?"
Spike turned and looked at Xander. "You don't say a word! This is as much your fault as it is hers. If the two of you had been able to keep your bleeding hands to yourselves there wouldn't have been any love spell gone wrong and I wouldn't have been exchanging spit with the slayer. What is it with the two of you anyway? How long have you known each other? Since the fifth grade? And you suddenly decide that you can't live without the other? Now – when you both have people who – despite everything – love you for who you are?" At this point – he turned to Buffy. "It's not the first time I say this, but it seems that you weren't the only one who needed to hear it." He looked back at Xander and Willow. "I might be love's bitch," he stated, hitting himself in the chest. "But at least I am man enough to admit to it. You two wankers are sad and pathetic and that's the god forsaken truth."
They stared at him in shocked silence.
Buffy sighed. "Again, he's right. Surprisingly, it's not the first time."
"You got it Slayer. How did you put it earlier? I'm not the sharpest stake? But what does that matter? This one here – " he pointed to Willow. "Has more brains than the whole lot of you and it hasn't helped her. Probably won't ever."
He turned and walked around the car.
Buffy felt a surprisingly pang of sadness. Regardless of the spell, the last hour she'd spent with him had been incredible. He'd listened to her, he'd been attentive, and with him she'd been able to just be herself.
"Spike," she called out.
He paused by the open door and looked down at her. "Yeah slayer?"
She looked at him, really looked at him. "For listening."
He grinned. "Going all soft on me now are you slayer? Are my kisses that good?"
She stared at him, hard. "Hardly. Now get the hell out of Sunnydale and don't come back."
He grinned and got into the car and slammed the door. "See you around pet!" He started the engine and stuck his head out. "And Red – stay away from the magic. Don't mess with it – it'll be the death of you!" With a squeal of tires and a scream of Sid Vicious, Spike was gone.
Buffy turned and looked at Willow. The scattered remains of her magic spell were spilled at her feet. Her face was streaked with tears.
"Buffy, I'm so sorry," she sobbed.
Buffy stood before her. "Your spell had me in Spike's arms Will."
Willow buried her face in her hands.
"No," Buffy said. "Don't hide from this. Will, you need to start realizing how dangerous this magic thing can be when it's done for your own means."
"I know, I'll be careful!"
She turned and looked at Xander. "What?"
"She didn't send you to Spike, or him to you. The Powers that Be did that."
An odd look crossed her face. The thought had occurred to her and it was something she was going to have to think about.
"I know. But the spell should never have happened in the first place." She bent over and picked up Mr. Pointy from the ground where she had dropped it in her haste to be with Spike. She shuddered just thinking about it.
Then she turned, and she walked away into the dawn.