Author's Note: I have a handful of ficlets I've been meaning to post for quite some time. Now that Marking Time is finally finished, guess I'll start. Here's the second chapter of a two-part post-show Spuffy reunion. Hope you enjoy!

A Matter of Perspective 2/2


"Well, that was a lot harder than I thought." Fred looked around at the others. "I mean I never dreamed it would take so long to flush him out. I swear I was starting to think he'd taken the back way out of Angel's office. Except there is no back way."

"The boy's got a hard head, that's for sure," Gunn agreed. "Didn't think he'd let it get so far. And did you see her looking at us with those big, sad eyes? Made me feel like I was kicking Bambi."

"You! What about me? I'm the one that really lit into her. I felt just awful." Fred's shoulders drooped for a second, then she straightened and flashed a big smile. "But thanks for playing along everybody. At least Andrew warned us, even if he didn't give us much notice."

Harmony appeared behind her, holding a mug. "Playing along with what?" she asked brightly just as Lorne caught up with her.

"There you are, cream puff! We didn't finish our conversation! I turn my back for a second and off you go. You slippery little thing, you."

"It's okay, Lorne," Fred told him. "Mission accomplished."

"Mission? What mission?" Harmony cocked her head.

"Getting Spike back together with his woman," Gunn answered. "Using what you might call a little reverse psychology. Or…something similarly sneaky and underhanded."

"Huh?"

Fred shrugged. "We knew Buffy was on her way here, but Spike was afraid to see her because…well, there were a lot of reasons. But I knew he really wanted to, and I figured there was no way he could just stand around and let us go after her like that without doing something. And I was right! Now they're in Gunn's office, talking. At least…well…I'm sure they're talking. Or they might be doing something else."

"Please, Fred, spare us the speculation," Wesley begged.

"Yeah," Gunn agreed. "That's my office where they might not be talking!"

"But wait a minute. You mean all that stuff you said was just an act?" Harmony asked.

"Oh, not all of it," Fred assured her. "The part where we care about Spike and want what's best for him and believe that he's special and important in his own right…that's all true. It's just some of the other stuff we maybe exaggerated a little.

Harmony looked thoughtful. "So we said all those mean things about her just so Spike would get all schmoopy and protective and, like, feel sorry for her and stuff? And then they would get back together?"

Fred nodded and Harmony stamped her foot.

"That is so not fair! If I'd known that, I would've been nice to her! Why doesn't anybody tell me these things?"

Gunn raised his eyebrows. "Uh, maybe because we didn't want you messing up the plan?"

Harmony stopped. "Oh. Right. Well, okay." Then she pouted. "But it's still not fair. Why should she get him? I had him first."

Wesley sighed. "Because she's in love with him and he's in love with her and it generally works out better when there are feelings on both sides? And beyond that, are you really certain a romantic entanglement is what you want right now? Spike would have been too much of a distraction, don't you think? Extremely high maintenance. You have such a brilliant career ahead of you here, it would be a shame if you were unable to give it your undivided attention because of an ill-considered office romance."

Harmony perked up. "Brilliant career? Really?"

"Really," Wesley deadpanned.

"Gee, thanks!" She preened a little. "And you are so totally right about him. Majorly high maintenance. I don't know what I was thinking. Oooh! There's the phone. It's just ringing off the hook and nobody's answering. See? I'm totally indispensable!"

As Harmony dashed off to answer the switchboard, Wesley made his way over to Angel, who had stepped back and watched quietly during their confrontation with Buffy.

"Are you all right?" Wesley asked.

"Guess I have to be, don't I? She made her choice."

"I'm sorry. First Cordelia and now…"

Angel shrugged. "Hey, look at the bright side. At least Spike's finally out of my hair. If he wasn't moping around over Buffy, he was yammering in my face about one thing or another. A real pain in my ass."

"I'm sure you're relieved to be rid of him, then."

"Got that right." Wesley didn't respond, and Angel scowled. "You think I'm going to miss him," he accused. "Why would I miss him?"

"I would never suggest such a thing." Wesley studied him for a moment, "However, as frustrating as he can be at times and as maddening as his methods are, I do believe Spike is sincere about his determination to help. It is possible that if you asked, he might be willing to delay his departure for a time."

"And why would I do something like that?" Angel's expression was mulish.

"Why, indeed," Wesley murmured. Then he straightened, raising his voice to include the others. "I suppose I should get back to work now that things are settled. If there's any more excitement, you'll find me in my office."

Fred nodded. "Yeah, I need to get back to the lab. I've got an honest to gosh Stymphalian egg that's apparently been in cold storage for who knows how long. Can you believe it? My first mythological creature! They're kind of nasty birds, though, being all man-eating. I think we can get some really useful information from it but gotta be careful that it doesn't hatch!"

With that, Fred vanished down the hallway, Wesley disappeared into his office, and Angel threw a last look at Gunn's closed doors before striding into the elevator, no doubt heading for his penthouse suite. Then Lorne smiled and wandered away, leaving Gunn standing alone in the lobby.

"Yeah, well…and I'll just be…" He glanced around the room then over at his currently occupied office. "…here."

Some time later…

"Spike?"

"Hmm?"

"I missed you."

"Missed you, too, love. So much." He raised his head and kissed her softly. "What Fred and the others said…you know that was all rubbish, yeah? Could never stop loving you, no matter how bloody hard I tried. Not that I did, mind you. Try. But if I had, it wouldn't have worked. Just want it clear between us."

Buffy smiled, running her fingers through his mussed up hair. "Never doubted it for a second."

He pulled back, one eyebrow raised suspiciously. "Is that right? Then what was all that, with the crying and the 'he hates me' and all the rest?"

"Well, you were being all Avoidy Guy and your friends were pretty dead set on keeping us apart." She gave him a stern look. "And don't think we won't be discussing exactly what you told them about me, mister. Not to mention the whole 'keeping me in the dark for months' part. But in the meantime, we've been wasting all this time and I didn't want to waste anymore. So I just figured it was the quickest way to get through to you."

Spike stared. "Why you little minx! So it was all an act?"

Buffy sobered, biting her lip. "Not all. They kind of had me going a little bit. Just at first. And the part there at the end? That was all true. Kind of had a meltdown after it hit home you were really gone. Or so I thought. What you got out there was the not-so-instant replay. But then they tried to make me believe you gave up on us…that you stopped loving me and moved on. That's when I knew they were lying."

"Yeah? How so?"

Buffy took his face in both hands. "You're Spike. You never stop. You never give up."

Then twining her arms around his neck and shoulders, she touched her lips to his.

"And for the rest of my life, you'll never have to move on."


FINIS