Chapter 3: It's Over
Disclaimer: BtVS and AtS characters belong to Joss Whedon / Mutant Enemy. I claim no rights to any copyrighted material. Please do not copy or take this story without my permission.
A/N: In response to a TtH forum challenge, Buffy And Doyle by TimeShifter.
When he got the frantic call, it wasn't Buffy's voice he heard. Despite that, he listened to what she said and his heart lurched when the voice of Faith told him of how the Dark Slayer woke up and somehow switched their bodies. Buffy had just escaped the Council's retrieval team who were went to bring Faith back to England for reconditioning or elimination – whichever took care of the problem. She said she'd call him back if she couldn't convince anyone else of her identity. She just had to tell him herself in case she didn't survive the Council or Faith.
A nerve-wracking day later, she called back in tears. They managed to switch the bodies back, but it wasn't all good news. Not only had Faith escaped town, she had used Buffy's body to have sex with Riley. And he couldn't even tell there was something wrong. He and Buffy hadn't slept together since Walsh's death and he thought that Faith's waking up was when she would chose to start again? Not to mention, he blew off Buffy's concerns about how dangerous Faith was – despite being in a coma for eight months.
The next day, Doyle told the AI team that Faith woke up and a little of what she had done in Sunnydale before making her escape, leaving out the part about Riley. When they asked how he knew, he told them that Buffy called to warn them since she didn't know if Faith would go after Angel as well. It was the truth, just not the whole truth.
Buffy caught up with them after Faith had tortured Wesley and Angel decided to help the Dark Slayer. When he stood between Buffy and Faith to protect the latter, Doyle had enough. Even after hearing everything Faith had done, he still was going to side with her over his supposed soulmate. He was more concerned about Faith's feelings than Buffy's and Doyle could guess why. The vampire was jealous of Riley. Well, so was Doyle, but that didn't mean he would do something like this.
Oh, he didn't doubt that Angel really wanted to help Faith redeem herself, and maybe she could be. But it shouldn't be at the expense of Buffy. Angel would justify it as Buffy being the stronger of the two and needing to help the weaker Slayer. But who knows how many more times she had in her before the continuing hits finally caused her to crack.
Doyle silently slipped out to visit the Oracles to make his request. When he came back, they were still in a stand-off. Doyle asked Faith if she was serious about wanting to make amends, surprising everyone. The hurt in Buffy's eyes caused him pain, but when Faith nodded, he went over to her and placed his hand over her eyes and murmured something.
Then he stepped back and moved to Buffy's side, giving her a warm smile.
"What did you do?" Angel demanded.
"I gave her a chance to make a difference with her life," Doyle shot back with disdain evident in his voice.
Faith looked confused and asked, "What do you mean?"
Ignoring her, Doyle explained to his former Champion, "She will be your seer from now on, Angel."
Buffy grabbed his arm and turned him towards her. "Why?"
Doyle looked into her eyes as he replied, hoping she would see all of his reason, not just what he said, "Because no matter his desire to help Faith with her redemption, it shouldn't have been at the cost of you, Buffy. So I asked the Oracles if the Powers would let me give my visions to her. With the Slayer essence in her, she'll survive where Cordelia couldn't. They left just enough of it in her to do that, but she isn't a Slayer anymore. You are the only one again."
Angel growled inwardly at the closeness of the pair. Buffy was his! She just needed to understand why he was helping Faith. She just needed to trust him. "Why are you being like this, Doyle? You don't even know Buffy!"
Doyle froze him with a glare. "And that makes it okay for you to treat her like you do? By the way, I do know her; we've kept in contact since the last time she came to town just after Thanksgiving. Now, you have your seer, I'm going to Sunnydale to help Buffy. That is if it's okay with you, Buffy?" he asked shyly.
Buffy's heart leaped with joy. It no longer mattered to her what Faith did. Even the pain of Faith using Buffy's body for a sex romp with Riley barely even mattered to her anymore. It was only her body that Faith violated, not her heart. Riley didn't have her heart since Walsh died and he doubted Buffy's innocence. From that moment on, someone new was working his way in. And now he'd be with her in person!
"It's more than okay!" she exclaimed as she threw her arms around him and squeezed him until air became an issue for him. Then she loosened her hold and gave him a sheepish grin. Forgetting who was in the room, she succumb to her own desires and kissed him firmly on the mouth.
Angel leaped across the room and tore them apart before screaming at his presumed mate, "What the hell? Buffy, what are you doing?"
She just rolled her eyes at him and spoke like she would to a child – which he was doing a great impression of, "I'm kissing someone who I'm attracted to. I would have thought that was obvious."
"But the last time you--" he started to remind her of the day they spent together, only to realize she didn't remember it.
Buffy's eyes narrowed as she figured out what he was going to say. "The last time what? The last time I was in town, Angel?" she spat venomously. "You mean the day we spent making love and planning our future? Only for you to decide to play hero and throw it all away without talking to me first?"
Angel glared at Doyle, assuming that he had told Buffy what happened. She would have no part of that though.
"I remembered on my own, Angel!" she yelled, moving to Doyle's side again.
"But they said--" the vampire stammered.
She shrugged carelessly. "Guess they lied. Or maybe they just wanted me to see that you would always make these kinds of decision for me. It wasn't just your choice to make, Angel! Not when you claimed to be doing it for me!"
Not ready to admit defeat, Angel turned on Doyle. "How could you do this to me? You know how much I care for her!" he demanded.
Doyle snorted, no longer worried about choosing between them. "I know how much you claim to care for her. Not the same thing, boyo. If you truly cared about her, you would see that she's not a little girl to protect by choosing things for her. She's a woman fully capable of being part of the decision. And if she wants me, I am more than happy to be her partner."
With that, the new couple swept their way past the shocked group and started back to Sunnydale where the Scooby Gang would trade an Initiative commando for an ex-seer. The only drawback that any of them saw to the trade was…well, they couldn't really see one.
Doyle helped pull the team back together so that when Spike tried his manipulations, they pretended to go along with it and then laughed later that night when they met for the regular, private meeting they held every couple nights. Adam never stood a chance with them working together as a solid unit. Neither did the Initiative.
A/N: Well, that's it. It may not have been as 'shippy as TimeShifter wanted/expected, but it's the start of a new romance for Buffy.