Author's Notes:

Thank you all so much for your amazing reviews and encouragement. You guys are so awesome! See they help too, because I'm already done with Chapter five.

Oh and I should probably mention the chicken does take an hour at this resturant. I looked up the menu and it says it right on it. It's a brick oven roasted whole chicken.

Special thanks to Spikelissa for her beta job.


Chapter 5

Spike and Buffy were seated on the second floor at the Zuni Café, and all Buffy could do was look around in wonder. The elegance of the dishes that she could spot on the other tables was something she hadn't been expecting. It had been years since she had dined at a place like this and back then she had been much too young to appreciate such an extravagant place.

Buffy's eyes finally locked on Spike's, and she couldn't help the blush that rose to her cheeks. He hadn't stopped staring at her like that, since she had stepped out of the bathroom. Even in the car ride on the way over she would catch him staring out of the corner of his eye.

Buffy smiled inwardly as a strange thought occurred to her. She had barely thought of Angel since arriving at the hotel. However, the strange part about it was the fact the pain she'd felt several hours ago was now almost nonexistent. Spike had done that. Her mortal enemy had not only saved her life today, but he had taken the past three years of her life and everything she was trained to believe, and thrown it out the preverbal window with one small act of kindness.

She wasn't going to lie to herself. Today, when she had stepped into her Watchers apartment, she had wanted to die. She had wanted peace. Everything that had been building since she was called came crashing down in the form of her ex-lover, and she just wanted all the pain to stop.

It was with the realization that Angel had never loved her, that she had also realized she would never be happy. Her time on this earth would be short and unfulfilling. She would never find true love, and she would die all alone.

It was with those thoughts that she had headed to Giles' home. Figuring it would best if he was the one to find her body, better than her mother, at least. She also remembered Spike being there and thought it would be rather just letting him watch her do to herself what he never could. Plus she wouldn't actually be dying alone. He would be there, and that had somehow eased her fear.

Buffy didn't remember much after that and the next thing she knew her mortal enemy was holding her as hot water rained down on her head. It was then that she realized Spike had saved her life, and she still couldn't help wondering why. There was more to it than his explanation, but she knew if she pushed him, he would never tell her.

Their waiter cut into her musing, and Buffy blinked coming back to herself. Her blush intensified when she realized she had been staring at him the whole time.

"What can I start you off with?" The waiter asked politely.

Spike smiled at the adorable pink that spread across Buffy's cheeks and wondered what exactly she had been thinking about. Spike cleared his throat before looking up at the waiter. "I think we would like to try the zucchini flowers and a bottle of house red."

The waiter nodded, "Very good, sir."

Buffy opened her menu hiding her eyes from Spike. She read some of the items, feeling stupid when she didn't understand what everything was. She couldn't help feeling like a little girl again. She cleared her throat and bit her lip, before saying, "I'm really not sure what half of this stuff is." Buffy pouted finally meeting Spike's eyes again. "And what the hell is squab anyway?"

Spike grinned. She was too adorable for words, "Its pigeon, luv."

Buffy grimaced. "Ew, those are like the rats of the bird world."

Spike laughed shaking his head. "It's considered a delicacy in most French restaurants."

Buffy pouted again, though her eyes were dancing. "Yah, well so is a snail. You don't see me eating those, do you?"

Spike's grin widened, and he nodded his head. "Point taken, do you want me to order for you?"

Buffy looked at him surprised, before she shrugged. "Just don't order the squab, okay. Uh, you know, anything else that I'll think is gross."

He was just about to comment on how their definition of gross would be somewhat different, when the waiter arrived with the wine. He uncorked the bottle and poured both of them a glass. "Are you ready to order sir?"

Spike nodded taking a sip of his wine. "We'll have the Zuni Caesar and the chicken for two."

"Very good sir and I imagine you'd like to split the Caesar." At Spike's nod, he continued. "Fantastic selection sir, the chicken should take about an hour to cook. Will that be all right with you?"

Spike looked back at Buffy, who shrugged and nodded. "That should be fine."

"Wonderful," The waiter said enthusiastically. "I'll be back with your appetizer shortly." He picked up both menus and headed back the way he came.

Buffy watched Spike curiously wondering if now would be a good time to ask what had been on her mind, since she had met Lenard. Deciding it was as good a time as any, she took a leap of faith and asked. "So, why does Lenard owe you so much?"

Spike lips quirked into a half smile. "Was wondering when you were going to ask."

Buffy smiled. "What can I say, I'm curious."

Spike nodded taking another sip of wine and refilling his glass. "Dru and I were staying here in April of 1906." At Buffy's blank stare, he continued, "During the earthquake, pet."

Buffy's eyes widened slightly, "Oh."

"It happened early, just as the sun was coming up. Anyway, we were okay at first. The building hadn't taken much damage except the entrance had been blocked off, but everyone figured they could wait it out until the debris was cleared away. We couldn't leave anyway because the sun was up, and I really didn't feel like traipsing through the sewers listening to Dru whine about the smell."

Spike sighed before he closed his eyes as the memory came flooding into his vision. "It wasn't until around noon that I awoke to the smell of smoke. It was faint, and I didn't think much of it. The Hotel was supposed to be fireproof in any case, so I really wasn't all that worried and went back to sleep. I woke up again around one to the sounds of shouting and the overwhelming scent of fear. My room was filling with smoke fast, and I did the only thing I could. I ran half naked to Dru's room, so we could get the hell out of there."

Buffy blinked a few times at this information, but didn't comment. Why Spike and Dru weren't sharing a room was something she would ask another time. For some reason she was relieved by that information. However, hearing the dark vampiress's name was making her twitchy and uncomfortable for reasons she really wasn't ready to analyze yet.

Spike rolled his eyes. "She thought it was some big game and was dancing around her room like the lunatic she was. I grabbed her and drug her into the hallway heading for the stairs. I ran into Lenard halfway down. He was crying. His wife and new-born daughter were trapped on the floor below, and he couldn't get to them. He begged me to help him. He was a good friend, and he had been helping me through a rough patch, so I couldn't really deny him anything. Dru of course, didn't want me to go, but I wasn't about to watch Lenard lose his family. So I did the only thing I could. I handed her off to him telling him to get to the basement, and I would meet them there. I got to the room just in time and got them out. Other people saw me helping them, and I suppose because I seemed like I knew where I was going, they followed." Spike shrugged turning away embarrassed. "And the rest is history."

Buffy looked at Spike in wonder. "How many people did you save that day Spike?"

He shrugged. "Not sure, wasn't really counting."

"Spike…" Buffy whispered. "Please tell me."

It was, the please, that did it, and he knew he would never be able to deny her anything. He shrugged as if it didn't mean much. "Over a hundred, I suppose. In a situation like that you sort of forget what side you're on and everyone becomes equal."

Buffy gasped her hand going to her heart, her eyes widening in awe.

Spike, in that moment realized how much it did mean, and he wouldn't trade the reverence in her eyes for anything in the world. It was then that the appetizer arrived.


Giles slammed the phone down, picked it up, and then slammed it down again. "Bloody pillock!"

"What happened?" Willow asked tentatively.

Giles ripped his glasses off shaking his head. He was fuming. He ignored Willow's question and marched into the bathroom. He flipped on the light and looked around at the carnage. There were shards of mirror and plaster in the sink. The faucet for the bath tub was bent and sideways. The chain's Spike had been wearing were snapped and at the bottom of the tub. Giles stepped further in, and then something caught his eye, he bent down inspecting it. A long jagged piece of glass was lying broken between the sink and toilet. He stared at it for a long while his heart clenching as his eyes spotted the small bloody hand print that wrapped around the base.

"Willow, would you please come here for a moment?" He stood up stepping back.

Willow stepped in the bathroom looking around. She was surprised to find the bathroom destroyed. Xander followed, standing just outside the door. He had been silent, since he found out about Buffy's reckless decision. He whistled as he took in the bathroom. "Man, looks like Buffy and Spike got into some fight."

"Yes," Giles said nodding. "That's what I thought too."

Willow looked around at the mess scanning everything. "I don't get it, why would she take him with her if they were fighting?"

"Precisely," Giles said. "As much as she has made poor decisions in the past, I don't see her making them with anyone other than Angel. Look at the snapped chains, why didn't Spike try to break them sooner? And look at the hole through the plaster inside the medicine cabinet. He didn't do that. She did. Plus, look at this, the tub and the tile are wet. Are you going to tell me that sometime in the middle of the fight, they decided to take a shower?"

"Maybe they broke a pipe." Xander suggested.

Giles shook his head. "I don't think so." He walked over turning on the faucet and looked back at the boy. "They would have had to shut the water off if that were the case.

He sighed, looking back at Willow. "You said yourself that Spike seemed unable to harm you, and we saw how hungry he was when he came to us for help. Why, in God's name, would that suddenly change? We live in Sunnydale. The problems here don't mysteriously fix themselves without an explanation or our intervention."

"I-I don't know." Willow said becoming more confused by the minute. "Giles, what happened in L.A.?"

He shook his head. "One more thing, look between the toilet and the sink. What do you see?"

Both Xander and Willow peered at the shard of glass. Xander thinking it was just a makeshift weapon shrugged and stepped back, but it was Willow, who gasped as the pieces began to click into place. "Oh god Giles, she wouldn't."

"What if I told you Angel had been human for a day and decided to reverse it when he realized he wasn't strong enough to protect Buffy? He did it, as he does most things, without her knowledge and when he told her what was happening, she had begged to remember." Giles sighed polishing his glasses. "I suppose because Angel was granted his request it was only fair the Oracles let Buffy keep her memories as well."

Willow's eyes filled with tears, and she shook her head. Xander had a stunned look on his face before it gave way to hatred and fury when he finally realized what had happened here. "That stupid fucking piece of shit," He snarled, heading straight for Giles' weapon's chest.

"Xand, what are you doing?" Willow asked running after him.

"What does it look like? I'm gonna find a way down to L.A, so I can stake his sorry ass." He growled digging through the chest. He grabbed a crossbow and a pack of bolts as well as some stakes.

"Xander, calm down, we…we don't know what's going on. Jumping to conclusions isn't going to help anyone." Willow said gently.

He spun on his heals looking at Willow like she was crazy. "What do you mean, jumping to conclusions? We both jumped. I saw you, and even Giles jumped. So, I'm gonna go do what I should have done a long time ago."

Xander ran his hand through his hair. "Isn't it enough that every single time Buffy starts to feel happy or even get over him, he has to show up and drag her back down into misery."

He sighed. "She's our best friend Will, and you can honestly stand there and tell me that's fair? That it's okay for him to ruin her life. Well, I'm not waiting around until one day we show up and find an actual body lifeless on the floor. We were lucky this time. I honestly can't believe I'm saying this, but thank god Spike was here. I refuse to wait until something like this happens again."

"I agree," Giles solemnly replied. Before Xander could even reply he continued on, "Except…" Giles paused to grab the tranquilizer gun and darts he'd kept for Oz. "We're not going to kill him. We'll bring him back here and let him come to the same conclusion we have." He loaded the gun looking at Willow. "Then we will wait for Buffy to return. She can make the decision on her own about what's to be done with Angel."

Willow looked at both men swallowing hard. Giles had a steely glint in his eye that she would only ever attribute to his Ripper days, and Xander just looked pissed. "And what do we do with him while we wait?"

Giles grinned evilly cocking the gun and looking at it a long moment. "I'm sure we'll think of something. After all, fair is fair."

Willow wasn't quite sure she knew what that meant, and she was almost afraid to find out.


Buffy was laughing so hard her stomach hurt. She was also able to admit she was more than a little drunk. "You didn't?"

"I swear to you pet, I did." Spike said, laughing just as hard. "The bloody bitch was in my way, and I wasn't about to let her lock me out."

"Darla must have been furious. Oh god..." Buffy sucked in a breath trying to regain some composure, but broke into another fit of giggles. "I can just see her face!"

Spike was giggling that cute giggle that he had. "So like I was saying, I kicked her off the rungs and into the sludge just as the sun was coming up. She must have smelt like shit for a week after that. Not even a Fungus Demon would touch her."

"Oh god, I would have loved to see that!" Buffy said, bursting into all out laughter again.

"Here's your bill sir, and the extra bottle of house wine you asked for." The waiter said, smiling at the happy couple. They had been the most pleasant customers he had had all night.

"Thanks mate." Spike said looking at the tab and quickly sliding the dosh into the fold. He gave the waiter a large tip then handed the bill back. Grabbing the bottle he stood holding his hand out to help Buffy up. "You ready to go luv."

"Yep," She said popping the p. "Where to next?"

Spike grinned. "It's a surprise."

Buffy smiled brightly linking her arm with his. "I think I'm starting to love your surprises."


They were parked on the beach, the waves crashing loudly along the shore. It was a beautiful night. Buffy looked at the stars smiling at the beauty and taking a long deep breath of sea air. God, this place was really different from Sunnydale, so peaceful.

She felt the cool sand between her toes, and walked around to the front of the Desoto where Spike was leaning against the hood. He handed her the bottle of wine, and she took a large swallow. "It's so beautiful here."

He stared at her for a long moment before nodding, "Bloody gorgeous."

Buffy's heart leapt at the look he was giving her, but she didn't comment. A blush rose to her cheeks and sure turned back watching the ocean waves. "You know what we need?"

Spike smiled taking another drink of the wine. "What's that?"

She smiled slightly. "Music, you know something that we can dance to."

Spike almost spat the wine out at her response, but quickly covered his reaction with a devilish grin. "I… well…I think I might have something. Let me go see."

Spike pulled out his CD case and began flipping through it when he spotted what he was looking for. He had nicked the thing for Dru down in Brazil the same night that he had caught her with a Chaos Demon, but had never given it to her. It didn't really bother him that it had been for her, because when he had done it, it had only been to get her stop constantly listening to Madonna.

He stuck the CD in the player and skipped the first song. He recognized the next immediately and grinned. He rolled down both windows and stepped out of his car smiling.

Buffy giggled. "My mom loves Stevie Nicks."

"Always liked your mom, the woman has excellent taste." Spike said holding out his hand.

Buffy grinned taking his hand and moving in closer. "I never said I didn't like her."

Spike smiled slightly rocking with her to the music. "Yeah, well you're not so bad yourself Slayer."

Buffy slowly brought both arms up around his neck so their bodies were flush against each other as they moved slowly to the music. "Well," Buffy said as her eye lashes fluttered, and she held back an unladylike yawn. "I'm learning that neither are you."

He wrapped his arms tighter around her closing his eyes. He didn't think anything could feel so good. Buffy laid her head on his chest snuggling closely rubbing her cheek along his shirt. She was strangely comforted by the lack of a heartbeat. Her last coherent thought was how she wished he had been the one the Powers had sent to her. She never realized she had said it out loud.

Spike froze at the words, feeling her body go limp against his. He looked down into the peaceful sleeping face of the Slayer. He smiled lovingly kissing her forehead. "So do I, luv. So do I. Sweet dreams, Buffy."