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Part three: Moving On
Buffy's heart was thumping as they sat in the audience and watched one fool after another belt out cheesy 1980's music. Spike handed her an ‘available track list' and she shook her head. "I don't know any of this stuff. I'm a 90's girl. Spike, I'm sorry, okay? I didn't mean anything by it and I am absolutely one hundred percent over Angel."
"Prove it." He pointed up at the empty stage. "Sing to me, luv. Sing for your supper. Desert's on me if you do."
She shook her head, "No. Spike, listen to me. We're adults here and we can deal with this that way. We should go somewhere and really talk. This is pointless, I can't even begin to express how sorry I am."
"Talk to me through music. Express yourself through song." Spike was enjoying her discomfort far too much.
"Big laughs. You're a comedienne. I know you're mad and you should be but this is ridiculous, okay?"
Spike made a big show of patting her hand and said, "Well, it won't be the first ridiculous thing you've done today, will it."
"Sarcasm well noted." Buffy glanced at Willow and Oz and moaned. "Help?"
Willow shrugged apologetically. "Think of it as a learning experience."
"What have I learned?" Buffy asked.
"That's what I'm talking about. When you're done you'll know what you've learned" Spike stood up and pulled her to the stage. "And baby, don't even THINK about singing Soul Man."
Oz chuckled at that. "Soul Man, that's a good one." Willow elbowed him and he said, "What? Angel…soul man, get it?"
Willow put her hand over her eyes, not able to watch her best friend get tomatoes thrown at her. Every table had a whole basket full.
"Hi." Buffy said into the microphone. It came out as a squeak and she was absolutely sure the front row snickered. She was shaking so hard she almost dropped the microphone twice. "Uhm…I don't have any idea what to sing."
"Then get naked!" A man with a beer belly and bald head screamed.
Spike stood up and glared at the man menacingly and he shut up. Buffy glanced at the track list and said, "Well, here's a fitting song. It's actually the only song I know and only because it fits my life so well…oh God, I didn't say that…never mind."
She started to jump off the stage and Spike shook his head angrily. He pointed to himself and then the door, mouthing, "I will leave!"
Defeated, Buffy turned to the karaoke machine and punched in the numbers. As the music started she took a deep breath. < I can sing. I can sing well. God, please strike this room deaf. Better yet, kill me. > She opened her mouth and sang when she realized God was probably laughing too. Punishing her falling for a demon….twice.
I love myself
I want you to love me
When I'm feelin' down
I want you above me
I search myself
I want you to find me
I forget myself
I want you to remind me
Willlow finally looked at the stage, unable to hide her smile. She remembered when Buffy had embarrassed herself by admitting that she'd listen to this song for hours. Willow didn't even know what it meant at the time.
"Wow", Oz glanced at Willow. "She can sing!"
I don't want anybody else
When I think about you
I touch myself
I don't want anybody else
Oh no, oh no, oh no
Spike leaned forward in his chair, not believing her beautiful singing voice and not believing that she was singing, ‘I Touch Myself'. She was right, it was fitting. Too fitting and she was probably only doing it to remind him of their night so he'd soften up. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. No chance he'd be softening anywhere anytime soon.
You're the one who makes me happy honey
You're the sun who makes me shine
When you're around I'm always laughing
I want to make you mine
I close my eyes
And see you before me
Think I would die
If you were to ignore me
A fool could see
Just how much I adore you
I get down on my knees
I'd do anything for you
Buffy had her eyes closed. She was actually kind of proud of the way her voice sounded coming through the speakers loud and clear and in tune. It sounded strong. As she got to the last part of the song she opened her eyes and looked at Spike. She realized in that instant that she didn't even care that Angel had shown up. Chasing him had been foolish and she had jeopardized whatever it was she had with Spike for him. She wanted to kick her own ass.
The music ended and Buffy thanked God she wasn't covered in tomatoes. Someone even shouted, "Encore!" She bowed, put the microphone on the stand and walked to the edge of the stage to hop down.
Spike held his arms up to her and she jumped into them. He was awestruck by her, never imagining that he could be so angry one minute …only to have it dissolve without killing something in the next. He didn't let her feet touch the ground, hugging her against him so that they were nose to nose. "I don't like it, Slayer. But I forgive you."
Buffy threw her arms around him and laughed to keep from crying while the audience cheered and whistled. She had come close that time to ruining it all. They walked out holding hands, fingers twined and oblivious to Angel who had stood in the shadows to watch the whole thing.
When they arrived back at the cabin, Willow and Oz darted out to the hot tub, wanting to be alone...but telling Buffy and Spike it was so THEY could be alone. Buffy busied herself making a fire in the fireplace so her friends would be warm when they came back in. Then she walked around the room, not knowing what to do with herself. Spike sat on the sofa watching Buffy pace and smiled at her discomfort.
Buffy saw the smile and said harshly, "It's not funny."
"Did I laugh?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest.
She flopped on the sofa that faced the one he was sitting on and stared at him, crossing her arms as well. He stared back at her. Neither of them smiled at all, both looked like they hated the other. For a good three minutes they didn't move, didn't change their expression, didn't even blink. Finally Buffy said, "Stop staring at me."
"Make me." He replied.
Buffy said. "You want me to kick your ass don't you?"
Spike nodded and said, "Yeah. And I want you to come over here and say that."
"I'm not afraid to." She didn't move.
"Well here I am." He fired back.
They both jumped up at the same time, slamming together, yanking their clothes off as fast as they could. The fire was blazing and Spike pushed her down on the bear skin rug. He didn't bother with foreplay, he took her, ramming into her so hard that she cried out in pain and pleasure. Tangled limbs and twirling tongues, they came together, both shaking with relief and satisfaction.
Lying next to each other, Spike trailed his thumbnail around the tip of Buffy's breast. Both of her nipples were hard as rocks and her chest glistened with sweat. She sighed and rolled into his arms. "I really am sorry."
"It's okay." He held her, stroking one of her arms.
"It's not okay. But I bet I could make it okay."
"You can try." Spike smiled.
Buffy propped herself on one of her elbows and kissed him deeply, passionately. Her fingers traced along his stomach, twirling the hair that started just below his belly button. She broke the kiss, lowering her mouth to his nipples, gently tugging each with her blunt teeth. Her hand continued to prod lower and lower until she cupped his manhood, wrapping it tightly and pumping it until it was hard.
When she was satisfied that he was aroused, she planted another kiss on his lips and quickly trailed her tongue between his breasts, through his navel, not stopping until it brushed over the head of his cock. She stayed there for several seconds, twirling her tongue around the tip before finally enveloping it almost all the way. It brushed the back of her throat and she slipped it back out, trying to get used to giving the first blow job she had EVER given. Since it was so cold, she decided to pretend it was a popsicle and sucked it furiously.
Spike felt his eyes bulge. She was about to suck it clean off. He loved it. He had forgotten how warm a mortal's mouth was. Buffy ran her hand along his stomach and he grabbed it with both of his hands, locking their fingers together. Her other hand was wrapped around the base of his dick, squeezing gently as she pulled him into her mouth over and over and over.
He felt it start to build, felt the pressure and called out, trying to let her know so she could back away. Buffy ignored him and continued sucking, but she pulled her hand free, quickly cupping his balls. She massaged them and he came, shooting his cold ecstasy into her mouth. Spike felt her swallow, taking most of his dick with it and then she let him slip to the front of her mouth, gently nibbling the tip more.
He sat up and grabbed her under the armpits, dragging her up his body. Spike rolled them until they were facing each other, and trailed his thumb across her lips. "Baby, we should fight more often. I like making up."
"Something tells me that's not something we have to worry about." She met his gaze. "You seem to pick fights every other hour."
"Hey!" Spike cupped her chin. "I haven't picked one! They've all been your damn fault."
"My damn fault?" Buffy shoved him a little. "You're the one who has to have the last word in!"
"You're damn straight. I'm always right and you should know that by now."
"I hate you." She said.
"I hate you too."
"Can we make up now?"
Giles followed the signs that led to the Golden Eagle Lodge and arrived just after ten a.m. He was amazed at how beautiful it was. The grounds had been lavishly designed and landscaped. Cabin forty-three loomed dead ahead and Giles pulled to a stop in front of it, taking note that the blinds were tightly closed.
Willow opened the door just a crack when he knocked and said, "Oh, it's you."
"Expecting someone else?" He smiled.
She shook her head and motioned him in. Willow had been on pins and needles ever since Buffy told her about the council's plan. Oz had tried to reassure her that they'd all be okay but this time…she felt it. Something different. Someone was going to die and she was absolutely sure of that.
Giles couldn't believe how beautiful the cabin was, down to the finest details. He quickly put his stack of books on the dining table and said, "Where's Buffy?"
Willow cut her eyes down the hallway and said, "Still in bed. You want me to get her?"
Shaking his head, he replied. "No. She must be tired if she's sleeping in. I wanted to speak with you anyway. Did you bring your laptop?"
"I practically sleep with it." She smiled. "What's up?"
"Wesley has been e-mailing furiously. I brought his address with me. It's apparently a…web…mail…that you can check from any port. Is that right?" Giles held up a piece of paper.
The hacker took it and smiled. "It's a yahoo address. I'll be inside before you know it." As Willow readied her laptop, Giles explored the cabin. He admired the open beams, the chef's kitchen and the various mounted animals that adorned the walls in places. He walked slowly down the hall, peering left and right, looking for the restroom. Deciding that the first door on the right was most likely it, he turned the knob, then paused. Cocking his head to the side, he listened for several seconds. Someone was struggling with someone else. Buffy was in trouble. < The Kralonis? > Giles charged down the hallway and shoved open the bedroom door. He hit the light switch and gasped. Spike and Buffy were in the same bed. Spike and Buffy were kissing. Spike and Buffy were…naked.
Spike was on top of Buffy, inside of her, when the light switched on. Buffy pulled out of the kiss and shrieked. "Giles!"
"Ahhhhhh!" Giles screamed, slamming the door, then calling. "Sorry." He leaned against it for several seconds and then glanced up as the door directly across from him was yanked opened.
Oz stepped into the hallway, hair rumpled, butt naked, wielding a baseball bat. When he saw Giles he ducked back into the bedroom and stuck just his head out. "I just won a twenty dollar bet from Will. She said you'd faint. I knew you'd scream when you found about them."
Saying nothing, Giles walked back up the hallway and sat slowly on the sofa. Willow glanced at him with concern and brought him and iced tea, which only upset him more. He was still sitting slouched against the arm of the sofa when Buffy tapped him on the shoulder.
"Giles." She said, fully dressed in jeans and a tank top. "Giles!"
He turned a deep crimson and lowered his eyes. "Buffy, I think we need to talk."
The Slayer nodded and turned to Willow, who unplugged her laptop and took it with her into the bedroom. Buffy sat next to Giles and said, "I know I've been down this road already. I know that Spike is a vampire. I know that you have reservations and I know that I'm probably the biggest idiot alive for saying this…but I like him. He makes me happy."
"Happy?" Giles clasped his hands together to keep from shaking her. "Buffy, I'm afraid that right now, so soon after Angel, anything would make you happy. It's called rebound and.."
Buffy interrupted, "I was with him before Angel ever left."
Eyes widening, Giles stood. "Why would you do that? Just to hurt Angel?"
"No." She shrugged, hating the sting of his disappointment in her. "Angel never knew. Giles, please don't judge me for this. I can't help the way I feel."
"And how do you feel?" He shouted at her. "Loved? By a demon who is physically incapable of emotion?"
"He is physically capable of so much more than emotion." Buffy reddened, realizing how that sounded.
"It's sex, Buffy. A girl your age can become easily infatuated with someone who seems to return the interest." Giles sat next to her again. "It doesn't mean he gives a rat's ass about you."
Spike had listened from the doorway. He crossed his arms and said, "What does it mean then, mate? Tell me why the thought of something happening to her scares me. Oh...fear…that's one of those emotions you say I'm incapable of."
Buffy stood, shaking her head at Spike. "This isn't a good time."
Giles stood as well. "Oh no, it's a perfect time." He turned to face Spike. "What exactly are your intentions toward her?"
Spike smiled and looked from one to the other. "I have no cruel intentions. This isn't like that movie where sex is the big thing. I want to know her. Hear her laugh and see her smile. I intend to do just that."
"Why?" Giles's stare was so hard that Buffy was reminded that he'd once been called the Ripper. She placed herself between the two. Giles continued. "I asked you to watch her, keep an eye on her. You took advantage of the trust I placed in you."
"Giles!" Buffy shouted. "I'm the one who went to his bed! He was staying away from me. And the fact that I am oversharing personal stuff here should tell you how important this is. How important HE is."
"He feeds off of humans, Buffy. He murders the very people that you are called upon to keep safe." Giles shouted, so loud Buffy was afraid that Willow would come running.
"And the people who ‘called upon me to save' are trying to kill me so ..hello kettle…this is pot…you're black." Buffy raised her voice as well., then she started to cry. "I just want one thing in this freakin' gig to go the right way, Giles."
Spike couldn't stand to see her cry, it felt like holy water splashed his heart every single time she did. He put his hand on her shoulder and pulled her back against him. "Don't, baby. You'll make yourself sick." He held her tightly, looking over her head at Giles. "I think this can wait until after this business with YOUR council has been dealt with, yes"?
"Fine." Giles nodded and then stepped toward Buffy. "I just don't want to see you hurt again, Buffy. It kills me to see you in pain."
"That makes two of us then." Spike said. Pushing Buffy back so he could look at her. "Why don't you go back to bed. If this thing comes tonight, you'll want to be ready for it."
"I'm awake now. I guess I'll get a shower and train for a while." She faced Giles. "Are you up for sparring?"
"Oh definitely." He had quite a bit of anger at both of them to work through.
Almost an hour later, Giles and Buffy were in the backyard of the cabin throwing kicks and punches at one another. She wasn't attacking him with all her strength, she was simply working out tense muscles and a little aggression. No part of her wanted to hurt him. She completely understood that he was worried and she had been worried too at the beginning with Spike. There was no doubt anymore with her though. If he'd wanted her dead, she'd be dead.
Buffy was about to kick his feet out from under him when Willow shouted at her. She turned and Giles kicked her feet out from under her. "No fair, Giles. You caught me off guard."
"That's what demons do." He offered her a hand and pulled her to her feet. "All demons."
"Giles…" She started to reprimand him when Willow rushed to meet them. "What is it, Will?"
"Someone just paged you. I didn't recognize the number." Will handed her the pager. "It's got a 911 after it though."
"It's my dad." Buffy smiled, then frowned. "Oh, I hope nothing is wrong."
Giles furrowed his brow, hoping the same thing. Poor Hank and Joyce Summers. When Giles had been given Buffy to watch, he had been told that the reason she wasn't trained properly was that she had been given to the wrong parents…people not in the council. Joyce had been inseminated by mistake and they had lost track of where the Summers' had moved too. The poor girl who was believed to be the Slayer never had what it took and they realized their error. "Go call him, Buffy."
Buffy skipped into the house, happy to call her dad. She'd thought a lot about him since she'd been in LA. Even though she was mad at him, she missed him. "Hey dad!"
"Buffy honey!" He said happily. "I just got off the phone with your mom and she tells me you are in LA?"
"I sure am." She had the cordless phone resting on her shoulder while she got a glass of ice water.
"Why haven't you been by the house?"
Buffy paused. "You told me not to come see you, Daddy."
On the other end of the phone, Hank closed his eyes, melting at being called that, knowing that it wasn't true and wishing he could die now for what he was about to do. "I want to see you. Can you meet me later?"
"What time?" she asked. "And where?"
"There's a warehouse downtown on Porter Street. It says Binders on the front. Can you come at eight?" Hank silently begged her to say no. "I got you a graduation present."
"Ohh, present. I wouldn't miss that!" She smiled from ear to ear. "I'll be there."
When Hank hung up he turned to face Fagan. "After tonight, I want no part of this council ever again."
Fagan nodded and lowered the gun. "I'll leave you to your misery after tonight."
Tears streamed down Hank's face and he whispered, "You've built this council on lies since you took over. You told people she was a mistake but you didn't tell them that you had asked me to be a watcher and had bent the rules for me."
"You violated a trust, Hank. When I agreed to have your wife inseminated for you, you KNEW that you'd have a duty. I did it because you wanted a child so badly and I could give you that. I had to concoct a lie to save your skin. I had to pretend she was a mistake. I had to build for this day."
Hank shook his head and backed away. "Build for this day?"
"Do you think there was another option when I found out that Giles was her father? I waited, biding my time until he proved that he loved her. Now I'm taking her." Fagan laughed. "You and Wesley and so many of the councilmen believed me, believed that Buffy was a liability…she's the best Slayer who ever lived. It's the part of her that belongs to the Ripper that is getting her killed. Rest easy knowing that his legacy will not live on."
"You bastard!" Hank screamed. "I won't let you do this. You tricked us all. You can't…."
Fagan brought the handle of the gun down hard against the side of Hank's head. A satisfying crack echoed through the room and Fagan shook his head sadly. He had always been such a good friend. When Hank had found himself to be impotent, Fagan lied to the council, saying that he had traced Joyce's family tree and she was ripe for bearing a Slayer. He had doctored all of Hank's exams and forced the instructors to lie and say that he'd been through the entire battery of tests, even though he hadn't.
Something had happened though. Somehow Rupert Giles had been the sperm donor. For several years he had no clue, and then one day he had visited Hank and saw Buffy arguing with her mother, saw the fire in her eyes and tilt of her head and he saw Ripper. He saw Giles in her. He had checked it out and discovered the truth about her father. Immediately he ordered that she be called next, threatening Joyce's life if Hank didn't bow out.
Fagan looked at the man lying in the floor. He wouldn't kill him. Hank deserved to say goodbye to the Little Slayer. The Little Ripper.
"I want to go see him, Giles." Buffy said. The entire group had moved to sit around the dining room table, including Spike. "If this thing IS coming and it's as bad as you say it is…I may die. I want to see my dad before I kick the bucket, y'know?"
Spike slammed his fist on the table and glared at her. "You say it like it isn't a big deal and it is! This is serious, damn it!"
Giles stared at the vampire for several seconds, feeling shocked. He was about to agree when Willow squealed, "A-HA!!! I'm finally in! You'll never believe what his password was."
"What?" Giles asked.
"Sex." Willow laughed. "And his password reminder was, ‘My fantasy'.
The watcher shook his head. "His level of idiocy amazes me."
Everyone nodded and Buffy said, "So Giles, pit stop tonight at this warehouse? He wants to give me a graduation present. I'm thinking CAR! Since I asked for it every time I talked to him. And why else would he have it at a warehouse?"
"Oh crap!" Willow exclaimed. "They know we're in LA."
"What?" Giles jumped behind her, reading over her shoulder. "Damn! They've known since yesterday morning." He turned and looked at Buffy. "I'm afraid this means that we can expect the Kralonis much sooner than anticipated. I need to explain this demon to you. What's your biggest fear, Buffy?"
"Not getting a car from my dad tonight." She stated matter of factly. When she received glares from everyone she said, "FINE! Let me think."
"Is it the Master?" Willow offered, recalling the horror Buffy had gone through at his hands.
"The Judge?" Asked Oz. "He'd be mine."
"Buffy?" Giles prodded.
She closed her eyes and for the briefest moment, Angelus flashed through it. "I don't know. Why?"
"When this thing shows, if you have any fear inside of you for anything, that's what you'll see."
"How do I kill it?" Buffy cracked her knuckles. "I can hit it with the CAR I pick up at EIGHT."
Giles ignored her last comment and said, "Well, you'd kill it just like you'd kill whatever it takes the form of. If it's the master, you'd dust him. If it's the judge, you'd use an Uzi. But if you have fear, you'll be too paralyzed to move."
"That sucks." Buffy stood. "I'll just have to be as egotistical as Spike tonight. Nothing scares me because I'm a big bad…." She giggled as Spike stood and chased after her, laughing and telling her she'd had it for that.
Giles watched them go and prayed to God that he didn't handle the Kralonis the same way he did over twenty years ago. If he did, Buffy would die.
Fagan checked the traps inside the warehouse. If he knew Giles, he'd accompany the Slayer. The plan was to lure the Slayer to one side of the warehouse, keep her friends away, and lower the wall of Plexiglas between her and her allies. Then he'd release the Kralonis on the side she was on, and give Giles a perfect view of what was happening to his daughter.
He checked his watch and smiled. Only one hour until revenge was his. He walked to a small office and devoured a hearty dinner, the smile never leaving his lips.
"Buffy." Giles called from the doorway. It was after seven and he had decided that she should be able to see her father. The entire gang would go, all their eyes on Buffy to help take care of her just in case. He saw her sitting on the edge of the bed, watching Spike sleep. Her hand was in his and she was stroking the vampire's long fingers. "Buffy, wake him up and we'll go to the warehouse so you can see your father and then we'll go back to Sunnydale."
Buffy smiled. "Thank you, Giles. Only, we don't have to keep running. If it's here then here is where I'll fight it. I'll be okay."
Nodding Giles turned to go, then paused, looking back at Buffy. He watched as she brought Spike's hand to her mouth, kissing it gently. Spike woke up, smiled and pulled her down to kiss him. To the casual observer, they looked like any young couple in love. Giles had known Buffy for over three years and he knew she was happy. He pulled the door shut and hurried back down the hall to help Oz load the van.
Buffy packed the rest of her clothing quickly, tossing them into her suitcase absently. She slammed it shut, caught her hand and swore loudly. "Damn!"
Spike was packing the rest of his own suitcase and he stopped, hurrying around the side of the bed to look at her. "You're nervous. Slayer, you have to try to remember what your watcher said. You can't fear it. It can only kill you when you have fear."
She flexed her hand angrily and looked at the small welt it had pinched into her skin. "I'm not scared or nervous. I'm just mad that I can't seem to have one single day without something going wrong."
"I'll tell you what, baby. You hang on to that anger. Breathe it. And when...not if… you get through this night, I'll see to it that you have a day like you want." Spike had sat down on the edge of the bed, massaging her hand. Buffy smiled down at him and Spike added. "Don't you quit tonight, Buffy. Don't do it. If you can't beat it then you run, you keep running and I'll find you. We'll always stay a step ahead of it."
"Nothing's gonna happen, Spike." She pulled him toward her and held his head against her chest. "I won't give up. I never do. If it looks like I am, just remind me that I still haven't gotten you back for the tub thing."
Spike kept his head on her chest, eyes firmly closed, listening to her heart pound. He could hear her fear with every single beat of it. That scared him as well. Some things vampires just KNEW. And right now, Spike knew that the night would bring a death.
He'd felt it shadow over them for most of the afternoon, the hidden danger that your gut reacts to when your eye can't see it. He'd felt the death angel many times when he was draining victims. He even thought he had seen it once, but it hurt his eyes so much he couldn't look. Spike felt it now, and he felt like if he opened his eyes, he'd see it standing behind Buffy, getting ready to take her home.
"There it is!" Buffy hopped up and down a little in Spike's lap. They were all in the van and since it only had four bucket seats and the bed, Buffy chose his lap. "That's where Dad said to meet him."
Spike caught her around the waist before she bounced again and he was forced to shove their luggage off the bed and take her right then. "Be still, pet." He growled in a low voice.
"Sorry." She turned and smiled knowingly, whispering, "But hang onto that thought really tight. If I'm not dead or crippled later, I want …"
"Pet, I've already told you not to joke like that." He took her hand as the Oz pulled the van to the curb. "Keep your eyes and ears open and stay on guard."
"I always do." Buffy enjoyed his worry for her and she knew that she shouldn't. She liked feeling like she mattered to someone. "Let's go."
The warehouse was set between two others, smaller than both of those but still three stories. The front was brick and had pretty awnings over the first story windows, probably the offices. She walked past everyone and pulled open the door that said, "Binders. We make things stick around."
The main office had plush carpeting and a big oak desk. Buffy glanced around and called, "Dad?"
A shuffling was heard in the next room and she turned as Hank entered from the left, smiling. When he saw that she had company, his smile fell a little. "Hello, hun."
Buffy rushed across the room to give him a hug, flinging herself into his embrace. "I missed you."
"I missed you back." He smiled, ready to play their game. A game that she had started when she had learned about opposites in school.
"I missed you front." She grinned.
"I missed you up and down."
"I missed you in and out." Buffy stepped back, looking up at him.
"I missed you left to right." Hank chuckled.
"I missed you side to side." She giggled.
"You lose, Miss Summers." Hank grabbed her, tickling her. "I missed you all around."
"Why did I lose?" She shrieked as she broke free.
"Side to side is the same and left to right." He Kissed her forehead. "You have to pick your own opposites."
"What's the opposite of mad?" Buffy smiled, with an eyebrow raised.
"Glad?" Hank replied.
Buffy nodded and hugged him again. "I'm glad to see you."
"We've been rude, hon. Who are your friends?" Hank nodded at the group of people who had all broken into smiles while they played their little game.
"Oh!" Buffy turned and grabbed Willow. "*THIS* is Willow."
Hank grinned at the pretty red haired girl. "Buffy has told me so much about you. I hear you're smart, funny, can make a mean omelet and beautiful. But she didn't tell me you were this beautiful. It's nice to meet you."
"You too." Willow smiled. She blushed and introduced Oz. They shook hands and Buffy turned to Giles.
"This is Giles. He's my…er…the school librarian. We're here in town on a field trip he planned all year." Buffy smiled as the two made a little small talk, then she took Spike's hand. "And this is Spike, he's a VERY good friend of mine."
"Spike?" Hank smiled at the boy, shaking his hand and trying not to scream that he was a vampire. "That's a rather unique name."
Spike nodded and said, "I'm rather unique."
"Dad, leave him alone." Buffy grinned, remembering Hank's quizzing skills to her potential dates. "You named me ‘Buffy'…uhm..eww."
"Indeed I did. If you sat through as many reruns of Family Affair as I did while your mom was pregnant with you, you'd understand. See, there were these kids named Buffy and Jodi, who lived with their uncle…" Hank saw the look on Buffy's face and turned to look at her friends. "To make a long story short, Joyce had a C-section and was knocked out when they asked the baby's name and Buffy was the only name I could remember for a girl."
Giles chuckled and Spike said, "You know, they still show that on FX."
"Do they?" Hank asked. "Wonderful show."
Buffy rolled her eyes and cleared her throat. Hank turned and really looked at her. For the first time he noticed how mature her face had gotten. He saw her troubled eyes and tried to fathom what they had seen. Hank wanted so badly to tell her to run, to go with her and explain, but he couldn't. If he did that then they'd kill them all. He looked back at Buffy's friends and realized he couldn't take other kids from their parents. He swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat and said, "You, my greedy baby, are here for your present and you'll skip the small talk, eh?"
"You know me, dad. Bask in the glory of gifts first, talk later." She quipped. Giles had told her to make it quick. He wanted to get her on the road again, even though she had argued to fight there, he had insisted that she'd be safer on familiar ground.
Hank forced a chuckle and led them through the double doors, into the back of the warehouse. It was warmer here, hot. Spike had taken Buffy's hand again and she really noticed the coolness in such a hot room. Hank called her and she pulled away, leaving Spike feeling bare and helpless. He didn't like this at all. Something was wrong.
He paused next to Giles and whispered, "Something's in here."
Giles had paused as well, giving Buffy space to enjoy her father. He jumped when Spike spoke over his shoulder. "Something's here?"
"I can feel it." Spike stared around the darkness. "We need to get her out of here."
Giles nodded, not daring to doubt gut instinct, his own gut had been reacting since they'd gotten into town. They took steps as one, trying to make it to where Buffy was standing some thirty feet away talking to Hank. They had closed half the distance when something dropped in front of them, something clear. Giles pounded against it, realizing it was Plexiglas. "What the hell?"
Spike looked up and down the thing that blocked his path. He was about to launch himself into it when Buffy's voice crackled over a few speakers. Turning, he saw them positioned on the walls around the area that he, Giles, Willow and Oz were standing in. "It was a trap." He said simply.
Giles nodded, he too noticing the speakers. Whoever had put them up there wanted to make sure they heard what was being said. He listened.
Buffy had taken a step back and gone into her fighter's stance when the Plexiglas fell, looking around the darkness. "Get back, daddy."
"Buffy, I'm so sorry." Hank began to cry. "I'm sorry. The council…."
Buffy had her back to him and felt the hairs on her neck start to rise slowly, she turned to face him. "What did you say?"
"I had to bring you here or the council would kill your mother. They'd kill your friends. I had to do it. Oh God, baby! I'm so sorry." Hank took a step toward her but she backed away, jumping a little as a light shone down on them. "Buffy?"
"Stay away from me." She could see them then, demons lining the walls. With the light glaring, she couldn't see her friends on the other side of the Plexiglas anymore and she felt alone.
Hank took a step forward but a large, squid like demon wrapped a tentacle around him and pulled him back. Buffy screamed and ran after him, but the same demon used another tentacle to knock her backwards. She thudded back against the Plexiglas and turned, seeing Spike directly on the other side. "Spike!" she screamed. She put her hands against the glass and Spike put his hands against hers. They stared at one another for several seconds before Spike motioned her back.
He slammed against the heavy plastic shield and howled in rage. "What is this!?"
"Plexiglas." Willow yelled back. "You can't break it. It's too thick."
"I can bloody well try." He launched himself at it again only to be knocked on his backside.
"I imagine there's some sort of mystical energy surrounding it that would make it impossible to break." Giles shook his head and pulled the vampire to his feet. "Even if you are physically stronger than most. You'll just tire yourself, Spike."
"Why aren't those demons attacking her?" Oz pointed.
Giles looked back through at all the demons and shook his head. "I don't know."
Spike kicked the glass hard and swore. "GOD dammit! We have to do something here. She doesn't even have her fucking Slayer bag!"
Willow gasped, realizing she had the bag, had insisted she keep it while Buffy visited. "Oh God, Giles. We're gonna have to watch her…d..d..die."
"The hell you say." Spike raged. "This glass thing doesn't fit snug to the floor and it can't fit snug to the walls and there's a gap up there. We have to find a way around it."
Nodding, Giles started to walk toward one end, to see how large the gap was. He admitted that he was impressed with Spike's level head under pressure. He was almost to the end when Willow screamed. She screamed like he had wanted to when Jenny died. Turning to face the area Buffy was in, he sank to his knees. The Kralonis was approaching her from behind. They would see it in true demon shape until it read Buffy's fear. When it did, they'd see it how she saw it. It was the true demon that had paralyzed Willow and Oz.
Spike watched as Buffy tried to lift the glass, her fingers worming under it. He bent as well, brushed his fingers over hers, waiting for her to look up. They could hear her, because of the microphones and speakers, but she couldn't hear them. She met his eyes as their fingers touched. He held her gaze for the briefest moment, then pulled a hand away and pointed behind her. Hating himself for what he was showing her.
Buffy didn't turn. She knew it was back there. One of her hands was still touching Spike's and she drew power from it. She squeezed gently and smiled at him, despite how terrified she was. It would be a helluva fight before she'd give up.
Spike closed his eyes when she smiled. His eyes were still closed when she pulled away. He stood, willing himself to open his eyes and when he did, a strangled cry caught in his throat. Where the Kralonis had once stood, his sire, Angelus, stood smiling down at the Slayer. And Spike knew. Spike knew that Buffy had feared Angelus more than he ever could have known.
He grabbed Giles, shaking him out of it. "LOOK IN THERE!"
Giles toppled, still on his knees and looked through the glass. "My god, it's Angel."
"No, it's Angelus." Spike pulled the man to his feet. "The Kralonis changed."
Giles noted Buffy hadn't turned to face it yet. He realized that Spike's shaking him and had broken the fear, pulled him out of the paralysis. He quickly grabbed Willow, shaking her so hard he heard her teeth smack together.
"What's happening?" Willow screamed, coming around. "Oh, Buffy's okay. Angel is with her."
Oz, who was freshly shaken thanks to Spike, moved to stand beside her. "See? It's okay now. He'll help her."
"That's not Angel." Spike shook his head.
On the other side of the glass, Buffy took a deep breath and turned. She gasped, felt relief and rushed into Angel's arms. "Oh God, Angel. You have to help me."
Angelus smiled through the glass, looking at the people on the other side. He, the Kralonis, read them, read their fear, took their memories of this creature he had become. And when he felt the Slayer in his arms he read hers, smiling. "I'll help you, lover."
Buffy tensed against him, recognizing the tone. She pulled away and looked up at him, baffled. "Angel?"
He shook his head slowly, curling on side of his mouth to show a fang begin to grow. Angel closed his eyes and when he opened them again, they glowed with a yellowish fire. He opened his mouth and laughed cruelly. "You know what I want. Don't act like you don't."
"Wha…..how…?" Buffy began to walk backwards, away from the Plexiglas.
"Who cares how and why, slut. All that matters is here and now and I have unfinished business with you." Angel followed closely, yellow eyes blaring. "Now, do you want this to be quick…oh…that's right. I'm never quick. But it can be less painful if you take your clothes off without me having to make you."
Buffy shook her head, trying to hold back the bile that threatened to escape her stomach. What had happened? Was it his shock of seeing her with Spike that made him come back? This was all her fault. She felt a sense of recognition, like she had been here before, lived it before. Dreams! She had dreamed this a million times and woke up screaming and shaking and too scared to move. Angel was about to rape her. Angelus…
"No..please?" Buffy stumbled over a box and quickly regained her footing.
Angel's hand flew quickly, knocking her head back so hard she knew though her neck was broken. He was strong. Too strong. Buffy hit a beam that ran from floor to ceiling and saw stars. Leaning against it, she fought to get her bearings. Angel grabbed the back of her hair and yanked her away from the pole. He swung her in a half circle before letting her go, tossing her like a rag doll. She landed hard against a conveyer that held hundred of empty steel crates and cried out in pain as she crashed through it, digging shards of metal into the sensitive flesh of her back.
Angel was on her again, grabbing at her legs to pull her out into the open. She kicked him in the face, springing to her feet as soon as he staggered back, falling completely. Willow shouted somewhere far off and Buffy heard. She could hear them all shouting at her. Something was wrong with this whole thing. There was something she was supposed to remember. What was it?
"He is going to rape her!" Spike was screaming. "Buffy, it isn't Angel!"
"Look!" Giles shouted. "Did you see the way he weakened when she fought back? Fight him, Buffy."
Buffy could only hear muffled things, couldn't make out whole sentences. She headed toward the glass and he was on her again, lifting her by the throat in one hand. Angel held her high above his head and sunk his fangs into her exposed waist. Buffy screamed, trying to fold inward and stop the pain in her side. He was draining her. Shoving her feet against him, she pushed upward, feeling her flesh rip in his mouth. He tried to bite again and Buffy brought a foot up between his legs.
They both fell to the ground. She landed on the side that was bitten and rolled, clutching it and crying. Someone pounded the glass and she rolled quickly, avoiding the foot that was flying at her side. Catching his boot, she yanked him toward her, using his weight to throw him over her. He connected head first with a stone wall and slouched to the ground for several seconds. Buffy ran to the glass and laid on the floor, talking into the three inch gap under the glass, oblivious to the microphones. "What do I do?"
Willow shoved a stake through the space and she glared at it. "No. Willow, curse him again."
Someone pounded again and she was lifted roughly by the back of her shirt and the seat of her pants. Angel roared and ran with her, shoving her head back into the exposed beam in the middle of the warehouse. She saw blackness, white lights, colored dots and then she saw Angel in her face and poked him in the eye.
"Oh God!" Willow cried. "We have to do something."
"HERE!" Oz screamed. He had gone to the end of the Plexiglas and realized that three of them could boost someone high enough to climb over the top if they stood like a tandem pole. It was tall, but using the grooves in the wall for support and balance, they should be able to get someone over. He quickly outlined the plan and said, "Who's going over?"
"I will." Spike shouted.
"No." Giles shook his head. "I don't trust you. I have to face this thing and finally win. I'm going."
"But you're only a man." Spike yelled.
"I will be the one going over." He glared at the vampire. "When I hit the other side, you help Willow and Oz work their way around the building and find another opening. They'll need someone strong to help them fight if there is more trouble."
Spike hated this. He looked back at Buffy, who was crouching low trying to kick Angelus again. He nodded and stood against the wall, pressing his hands against it for support. "Climb up."
Oz climbed next, wanting Willow to have as little weight as possible on her. When he was situated, Willow began the climb, remembering a documentary she had watched about human towers somewhere overseas. If they could make them ten stories tall, she could stand on the Oz and just hold up Giles, couldn't she? One look over her shoulder at Buffy being pinned against the wall told her she could.
Giles climbed slowly after Willow, easing his feet onto their legs and shoulders, not wanting to put unnecessary pressure. He slipped along their backs, choosing his hand and footfalls carefully, not wanting to tip anyone. As he got to Oz's shoulders he glanced up at Willow, who was looking back at Buffy. "Willow, face the wall and lean against it."
She nodded and Giles grabbed her legs, easing himself into a standing position on Oz's shoulders. He felt the boy buckle a little, but Oz quickly locked his knees. Giles breathed a sigh of relief and latched onto Willow's shoulders. He felt her tense, lean more into the wall and hold firm. She was a remarkable girl, indeed, he mused. Within seconds he was on top of her shoulders and quickly grabbed the top of the Plexiglas, pulling himself astride it.
He looked back at the kids, who were already breaking their tower and said, "Get outside. Find another opening. Willow, you may begin binding spells as soon as you get outside. Call on the winds of the east to be your guide, they'll swallow the demons and carry them away. Find an opening, open it and leave."
Willow started to protest but he turned to the other side of the glass and began looking for a way to get down. That way came when he spotted a rope that ran across the ceiling with several hooks in it. He leaped off of the wall, grabbed a hook, and began to work his way hand over hand toward the pole in the middle of the room. They watched as he made it safely to the pole and ran back the way they had come in.
Willow shoved the door open and screamed. Angel was standing in her way. How the hell? Then she realized that the OTHER Angel was the Krelonis. "Angel! Something bad..…."
Spike grabbed Angel and tugged him into the building. Angel struggled and tried to fight but the blond vampire had a death grip on him. He was yanked roughly through double doors and what he saw scared the hell out of him. Buffy was on the other side of a glass shield, fighting a demon that looked familiar. He stared at it for several seconds, hearing Buffy scream, "Angel, no."
Angel looked at Willow. "What….I don't understand…"
"It's the Kralonis." Spike let go of Angel and pointed. "And that's ANGELUS that it's morphed itself into. It's you… because she feared YOU."
"Walking fear." Angel stared at the thing Buffy was fighting, trying to remember if he looked like that. "Is that what I look like?"
"Right to the top of the bad hair." Spike slammed his fists against the Plexiglas, trying to get Buffy's attention and show her that Angel was here and the thing she was fighting wasn't Angelus. She had to stop fearing it and not worry about killing the damn thing.
He glanced up and saw Giles dangling, still hanging onto the rope, but trying to slide down the pole while he fought two winged demons. When he looked back at Buffy, he heard his own screams of rage mingling when the ones around him. Everyone was screaming at what they were seeing, even Oz.
Buffy struggled to sit up, trying to stop Angelus from choking the life out of her. The backs of her feet were pounding into the cement floor so hard it shook the bones in her legs. She was dying. He let go of her throat with one hand and unbuttoned the front of his pants, pulling his erection free. Straddling her shoulders, he shoved it into her mouth and she gagged. He slammed her face into his crotch and she bit as hard as she could. Angelus howled, yanking her shirt up. He pinched her nipple so hard she screamed, even though she needed all the air she could get.
She punched him, clawed him with her nails, tried every tactic she could but he was so much stronger than she ever realized and she was helpless. He stood, pulling himself from her mouth, and stepped on her throat, crushing it against the floor. Buffy pushed with both of her hands but he wasn't swayed. He reached for the buttons of her jeans and quickly yanked them halfway down her hips. She reacted, scissoring her legs and grabbing him around the head. With every ounce of her being, she tugged him off of her.
Sobbing, she jumped to her feet and kicked him in the face, pummeling him, hating him for the way he had violated her. She fought like a machine, even though her hands were bloody and her mouth tasted of his blood, blood she had drawn when she bit his cock. Buffy fought harder than she had in her entire life.
He went to the ground, seeming to weaken as she grew stronger. Buffy turned, spotted the stake that Willow had shoved under the glass earlier and ran to get it, never seeing the people behind the glass who had witnessed her oral assault. She spun, kicking him as he started to stand. Buffy held the stake close up beside her head, ready to ram it into him. She remembered that night that he'd attacked her at the mall after she killed the Judge. She had been unable to kill him then, unable to stop him from killing Jenny and now she had been unable to stop him from almost beating her to death and violating her.
Angelus stood and faced her. "You can't do it, you can't kill me."
Buffy closed her eyes and lunged, driving the stake through his heart. He looked at her and fell to his knees, reaching a hand toward her. "Die!" She screamed. "Die goddam you. DIE!!"
The Kralonis was on it's knees. She wasn't afraid of it anymore. It howled with pain and defeat as she launched another attack, screaming, cursing it, and calling it Angel.
The other demons in the room seemed to pull back and Giles looked through the glass, Willow was chanting, calling them away. He quickly slid down the pole and approached Buffy. He had seen what the demon had done to her, they all had. She was on top of it now, banging it's head into the floor and he wondered why she didn't realize that it was dead. It didn't even look like Angel anymore. He pulled her back and she turned, screaming and pummeling him with her fists. Giles held her to him, not feeling any of the blows.
Willow chanted, she called upon everything she could think of to bind the demons. When she was finished, she opened her eyes and promptly fainted, so drained from the chanting and the fear. Oz knelt beside her and lifted her. "I'm taking her outside.
Spike felt the clammy wetness on his cheeks and reached up to touch it. It was blood. He had cried blood tears. He looked at Angel and saw the same. The vampire had the same red streaks and was watching Buffy through the glass.
"I did that to her." Angel said, quietly. "I made her so weak that it was able to prey on her, almost rape her. It was me."
Spike didn't say a word. He didn't want to drown in Angel's latest pity pool. He had better things to do, like get to Buffy. Angel looked at him and raised his eyebrows in shock, "You've cried for her."
"So?" Spike shoved the sleeve of his coat roughly across his face. He hated Angel seeing him this way. Hated Angel knowing the truth.
"You love her." Angel stated matter of factly.
"Who wouldn't?" He asked hatefully, looking at Buffy's beautiful face, marred with blood and tears. "Wait, I know who wouldn't, Angelus wouldn't."
Angel stood before him then looked back out at Buffy as he cried fresh tears, knowing he had to let go. Let go of her, let go of the memories and let go of his love…or he'd destroy her one day. The risk was too real. She was too weak where he was concerned. "Tell her I'm sorry, Spike. You tell her that I'm sorry every single time she wakes up crying and remembers this day. Remembers it was me. You tell her….that I loved her."
Angel turned and started away then paused, "And take care of her. I saw the way she looks at you. Just the way she looked at me. Don't ever hurt her the way I did, Spike."
Spike wanted to reply, but when he pulled his eyes away from Buffy, his sire was gone. He knew what had just happened, Angel had let go of Buffy. He saw what evil he could reign on her and couldn't stand it. Angel had backed out, giving him his blessing because he could see how much Spike…loved her.
He turned, determined to find a way in.
Buffy sobbed against Giles as he soothed her. Whispering softly in her ear that things would be okay, they were safe. She was devastated. What had happened to her was vile and sickening. It made her feel dirty. Pulling away, she glanced around, looking for her dad. He could make it better. "Where's my dad?"
Giles glanced at her briefly before glancing around the room. "The demon pulled him that way."
Buffy started in that direction and quickly backed up. A man stepped from the darkness, holding her father at gunpoint. She heard Giles hiss beside her and looked up at him. "Giles?"
"Mr. Giles." The old man grinned. "You surprised me. You could overcome your fear of the Kralonis to save your bitch but you couldn't do a damn thing to save your friend could you? You left me there to die at it's hands."
"Fagan," Giles moved his hand in front of Buffy, gently pushing her behind him. "I never meant to cause…"
"You never meant to cause me pain? You never meant to be so rebellious that you had to tamper with evil? You never meant to almost get me, the very person dedicated to your training, killed?" Fagan peered around Giles to look at Buffy. "And you, aren't you a chip off the old block."
Buffy stepped out from behind Giles, despite the fact that he tried to hold her there. "I don't know what your Godfather moment is all about…but you better let go of my dad before I.."
"Your dad?" Fagan shook Hank a little and said, "Tell her Hank. Tell her or I shoot her."
"Please?" Hank cried. He was bleeding severely out of his mouth and a large gash cut through his chest. "Fagan…."
"Maybe you aren't real smart, Asshole." Buffy took a step closer. "But I'm the Slayer. You don't want to go there."
Without a word, Fagan pointed the gun at Buffy and fired. The bullet grazed her shoulder, ripping the flesh there open. She staggered back, stunned. Giles caught her before she fell and looked at Fagan in disbelief. "Why?" he screamed.
"Why? Look at her Giles." Fagan pointed the gun at Buffy. "That's your little girl right there. YOU inseminated her mom. Look at her."
Giles and Buffy gasped as one and looked at one another. He had his palm pressed to her wound and shook his head. "No. It can't be."
Buffy struggled to sit up and Fagan laughed. "It is true. Don't you see it Giles? Don't you see the Ripper burning just below the surface and in her eyes. Tell them Hank or she dies."
Hank shook with sobs. "It's true, Buffy. I was impotent and …your mom…she wanted a baby. I wanted a baby. Back then, artificial insemination was still so new and expensive…."
Buffy pushed away from Giles and stood, gazing at her father. "No, daddy, don't lie just to make him happy. He's going to kill us anyway. Don't lie to me!"
"I wish I was lying, baby." Hank sobbed. "I saved Fagan one night, saved him from getting hit by a car, shoved him out of the way….and he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. He'd have Joyce impregnated for free, but I'd have to join the council. I had to do it. I had to do it for your mom. I joined and he doctored tests, made me seem like a good candidate. I was supposed to be your watcher and train you…but he promised me you'd never be called. Then….he found out that Giles is your real father and he hates Giles…."
"Shut up!" Buffy screamed. < Nononononononononononono > Giles put his hand to his mouth. When he had first joined the council, he'd hated it. Rebelled, shouted insults…but he did comply with the sperm donation, they told him it was to check his stamina, his sperm count and make sure he was healthy that way. He never would have dreamed…"No." He shouted. "That's wrong."
Fagan laughed again. "It is wrong. You weren't supposed to be her father. I planned on keeping my end of the deal but when I found out…I had to give her to you."
"Why?" Giles shouted. "So you could kill her?"
"You're catching on." Fagan smiled. "When Buffy turned eighteen and we performed the examination on her, you proved that you loved her. I was just waiting for proof, so I can tell you she's yours and kill her. Take her from you."
"Again with the why?" Buffy was too stunned to move anything but her lips, but she had to know. "Why?"
"You see your daddy there?" Fagan pointed at Giles. "I was HIS watcher. His trainer. The person he was supposed to listen to and obey. Just like you though, he blew his own horn and left me to die after he conjured a demon."
"I never conjured that demon." Giles shouted. "That demon was placed on you by someone else."
"What demon?" Buffy asked.
"Kralonis." Fagan pointed at the demon that was still on the floor, apparently dead. " Daddy Giles there didn't move a muscle to help me when it attacked. Tore my hand clean off."
"So I'm supposed to die for that?" Buffy asked. "All because you lost the hand that was friendly with yourself?"
Fagan raised the gun and fired again but this time Buffy was expecting it, when he aimed high, she dove at his feet, tackling him hard. They wrestled for several seconds, Buffy on top of him. She heard the gun go off three times before she knocked it out of his hands.
Spike had joined Willow and Oz at the back of the warehouse. They all heard the gunfire and yanked open the back door, rushing into the darkness. When they reached the middle of the warehouse, Spike stopped. Buffy was attacking a human being and Giles was trying to pull her off. He joined in and pulled her away, noting the gunshot wound in her arm. He held her around the waist, keeping her away from the man. "Let me go." She screamed.
Spike didn't say a word. Giles stepped back and looked at Fagan, who was crawling toward the wall. Then he looked at Hank and gasped. "Oh my God."
Buffy followed Giles gaze and screamed, breaking free from Spike's grip and dropping to her knees, "No, Daddy! Wake up."
Hank had a gunshot wound through his chest. He coughed a little, opening his eyes. "Buffy…I'm sorry. I should have told you a long time ago."
Sobs wracked through her body as she tried to stop the bleeding. "Call 911, Willow."
Oz shook his head at Willow and ran out himself, not wanting her to be alone outside. Willow watched Buffy and began to cry. Spike walked to stand beside her and pulled her hand in his, trying to comfort her.
"Daddy? Why?" Buffy cried. "Why did you do this?"
"I wanted you, Buffy. I ran with you at the beginning. I didn't want you to have this life." Hank coughed and blood poured from his mouth. He lifted his arm weakly and fished some folded papers out of the front pocket of his coat. He handed it to Buffy and said, "You were always my little girl….no matter what the truth is."
"Please don't leave me. Don't die." Buffy leaned her head against him, clutching the blood spattered papers in her arms. "I can't lose you. Daddy, please? Don't make me say good-bye!"
Hank brought one bloody hand up to her back and squeezed a little. "You have to say good-bye before you can say hello again."
Buffy sobbed harder, remembering that she'd said that same thing to Angel when he left town. "Just hold on, Dad. Please."
"Sing me to sleep, Buffy." He whispered. "Sing me our song."
"No." Buffy sat up, shaking him and choking on her own sobs. "Don't you give up! Don't!! PLEASE, DADDY!"
Hank shook his head and sobbed heavily, "Sing baby."
Oz had come back and joined Willow, they stepped closer to Giles and watched. Buffy didn't say anything and all they heard were her sobs. Giles was about to put a hand on her shoulder when they heard her small, choking voice begin to sing.
"A dream is a wish your heart makes
When you're fast asleep
In dreams you lose your heartaches
Whatever you wish for, you keep
Have faith in your dreams and someday
Your rainbow will come smiling through
No matter how your heart is grieving
If you keep on believing
the dream that you wish will come true"
Hank's arms loosened and slid off of Buffy's back and he whispered, "Forgive me."
"Dad…" Buffy grabbed his arm, trying to put it back around her, trying to make him hang onto her. When he didn't reply she put her ear to his bloody chest and let out a loud scream of agony, his heart had stopped. Buffy's fingers dug into his shirt and she screamed into his chest, covering herself with his blood. She shook him angrily, shouting, "Wake up."
Giles wiped the tears off his own face and leaned down beside her, brushing her hair away from her face. "He's gone, Buffy."
"Don't touch me." She shouted, still shaking her dad. "He's coming back. He has to come back."
Fagan chuckled in the corner. "How does that feel, Ripper. Your kid would rather have HIM for a father than you. And he's a damn liar and a weakling."
Buffy jumped at him then, leaping across Hank. She gripped Fagan by the arm, twisting the mangled hand until she heard it snap. Fagan screamed, writhing around the floor. Buffy's hands found their way to his neck and she was about to snap it when Giles grabbed her again.
"Buffy no. Once you've killed a human you can go crazy." He said gently.
"Crazy?" She said in a tone he didn't recognize, trying to fight him. "I think I'd go crazy if I let him live."
"NO, Buffy." Giles nodded at Spike, who grabbed her legs and they both sunk with her to the floor, holding her firmly in place. "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry, Buffy."
Willow noticed the demon stir in the floor first. She saw it out of the corner of her eye and nudged Oz. Oz pulled her away and tapped Giles on the shoulder. Giles turned, saw it start to stand and saw the way it looked at Fagan. Then it dawned on him. It hadn't killed Buffy because she had no fear. It hadn't killed Fagan only because it had been bound before it could finish. The Kralonis had to destroy who it was called to kill, unless it was defeated. Buffy had defeated it. Fagan had not. The demon couldn't die until it's work was done.
Fagan saw the demon rise and began to scream as it advanced on him. He didn't see the Kralonis. He didn't see Angelus. What Fagan saw was Ripper, advancing on him with a grin of death. Buffy watched as the demon tore into Fagan, feeling avenged. Spike watched her, saw the look of satisfaction on her face, and moved to block her view.
"Willow, look." Oz pointed at the far side of the warehouse. Willow turned and gasped.
"What is it?" She cried.
Giles turned away from the demon who was ripping Fagan to shreds and stared in amazement. "It's the Angel of Death."
"She's beautiful.." Willow sunk to her knees beside Buffy and took her hand. "Look at her, Buffy. Look. She's taking your dad. It's okay, she's taking him."
Buffy sat up and watched. The girl had long black hair that hung in curls past her waist. The flowing gown she wore floated out behind her like it was caught on a breeze and she smiled down at Hank's body. As they watched, she moved her hand over his chest, not touching him, but reaching inside of him. The light was suddenly blinding. It hurt Buffy's eyes and she quickly covered them, then she heard her name. "Buffy?"
She opened her eyes and Hank knelt before her. The blood was gone and he was wearing all white, he looked younger. "Let me go, honey."
Buffy began to cry again and whispered, "Take me with you?"
Hank shook his head. "Your work here isn't done."
"When will it be?" She begged, trying to touch him but going through him instead.
"Not for some time." He brought his hand up to her face, as if to touch her tears. "I can't go until you forgive me."
"I can't." Buffy sobbed. "I can't let go."
"I want to be here, Buffy. It's beautiful. Let me go. Forgive me?" Hank's spirit searched her face, pleading.
Buffy closed her eyes, she felt Spike's hand tighten on her leg, she could hear Willow telling her to let go, and she did. Her mind suddenly flashed the line from Romeo and Juliet. She opened her eyes and whispered. "Eyes, look your last. Oh, Daddy. I forgive you."
As quickly as the bright light had come, it was gone. She felt a relief, a peace come over her. Buffy leaned back against Giles, who still had her grasped in his arms. Spike let go of her legs and moved to pick up the papers that she'd dropped when she attacked Fagan. He smeared some of the blood off and looked at Buffy, handing them to her.
Giles read it over her shoulder and sagged against her. She was sitting with her back to him and as he read, he began to sob quietly, clinging to her. Buffy heard him and pulled away, turning to face him. "You didn't want it to be true, did you? You're crying because you don't want me…"
"No." Giles took her hands in his. "I'm crying because the happiest day of my life is the worst day of yours."
Buffy digested that for several seconds and then sighed, "It's not the worse day anymore."
Giles pulled his daughter into his arms. His daughter. He'd always been proud of her, loved her…but he never would have thought he'd ever feel the kind of love he was feeling right then. She was his. And so many times he'd envied Joyce and Hank…envied not having a family…and here she was. Buffy was his. "I love you, Buffy."
"I love you too." She sighed against him.
Buffy survived the funeral in a daze. She remembered people talking about her dad. No, Hank. She remembered someone playing Amazing Grace and singing along with it. Buffy remembered looking down at him, looking down at his bruised and mottled flesh against the satin lining of the coffin and thinking that she loved him. She'd always love him.
Giles had been there, supporting her, supporting Joyce. He hadn't talked much, just listening. It was beautiful the day they buried him. Spike had bought a white dove at a pet store and given it to Willow. He couldn't go because of the sun but he wanted Willow to release it for him and tell Buffy he was there in spirit. Willow had done just that and clung to her best friend as they watched it fly out of sight.
Xander and Anya had made the drive with Joyce and they stuck close-by Buffy. Their friend, their Slayer. Anya and Willow considered doing a spell to help her with her grief but Spike threatened them, telling them not to mess with the healing process. He was worried. She hadn't cried again.
Spike asked her to stop at the cemetery with him that night as they all drove back toward Sunnydale. They all stopped but Spike asked if he and Buffy could visit alone. Taking her hand, he let her lead him toward her dad's grave.
"The dove was a nice touch." Buffy said, gazing down at the freshly turned earth.
"I wish I could have been there." Spike said.
"No, you aren't, pet." Spike shook his head. "You can't lie to me."
Buffy's chin quivered and she looked up at him, then sobbed. "Oh, maybe it wouldn't hurt so much if I knew whether or not he loved me."
"He did." Spike walked around and put his hands on her shoulders, looking down at her.
"But how could he?"
"How he could not?" He asked. "How could anyone be in your life and not love you?"
"Slayer," Spike tilted her chin. "If I can love you, he did too, no matter what."
Buffy repeated what he'd just said in her mind. "If you can…."
"Love you." Spike smiled. "I love you, Slayer."
Her eyes widened and her breath caught in her throat. Her grin was small at first and then grew large. "I love you too, vampire."
Scratching his chin, Spike said, "Let me see if I can play this game. I love you back."
Buffy pulled him against her, remembering the sacred game with her father. She was crying when she whispered, "I love you front."
He was crying when he replied, "I love you up and down."
"I love you side to side."
From not too far away, behind a tall fountain, Angel listened to them and smiled. His heart went out to Buffy for her pain, but his heart soared for her happiness. As he watched them walk away he knew that her life would never be easy, it may not even last another year, but when Spike loved someone, he loved them completely. Spike could love her the way he'd always wanted to. As they disappeared into their car, Angel turned, and disappeared into the night, vowing to make a difference for the sake of Hank's memory. And for the sake of Buffy's future.
Giles was beating Buffy bad at gin rummy. She threw her hands up in exasperation and said, "I quit!"
"No you don't." He dealt another hand. "You aren't a quitter, Buffy. And the deal was, I teach you to drive, you humor me with cards."
"You didn't teach me to drive!" Buffy shot back. "Spike taught me to drive in his beat up old DeSoto."
"Only after I paid him and explained that he was already dead and your driving couldn't kill him again." Giles smiled at her.
"Haha, it must be sad to be so comically challenged."
"What's sad is the fact that he tried to pay Xander to teach you after he rode with you ONCE." He chuckled at the look on her face. "Oh, temper, temper."
"I do have that…I think it comes from YOUR side of the family." Buffy stretched and then yawned.
Giles watched her for several minutes, pride washing through his veins. If he'd done one that with absolute perfection, it was his part in Buffy's conception. And he wasn't even there. Joyce had accepted it fairly easily, reasoning that if she could accept vampires she might as well accept this. He spent time with Buffy, getting to know her better, getting to know the girl and not the Slayer. She seemed to enjoy his company, although she didn't call him ‘dad'.
Buffy saw him looking at her and raised an eyebrow. "You're doing it again, Giles. You're giving me the look."
"What look is that?" He asked her.
"The doting father look." She grinned. "Keep it up and I'll have to hit you up for twenty bucks."
He furrowed his brow. "Do you need money?"
Buffy laughed and shook her head. She loved this guy. Adored him. She had for a long time and now she had even more reason. The door bell rang before she could answer and she raced to get it. A man with a suit and tie stood in there. Buffy groaned. "We already have encyclopedias."
"Are you Buffy Summers?" He asked.
"Who wants to know?" She replied, smartly.
"I'm Allen Doyle. I'm the attorney handling your father's estate. You left so abrubtly, you didn't get the gift he'd left you. And you are a hard girl to track down." He stared at her.
"Could you follow me, please?" He nodded out toward the road.
Buffy glanced over her shoulder at Giles and Joyce, who were standing behind her. She shrugged and followed the man out into the sunlight. As she stepped off her porch she saw it. It was baby blue and had a big pink ribbon around it. Buffy stopped, putting her hand over her eyes for several seconds, pushing the tears back.
She looked again and the man was holding up the keys to the Geo Tracker. Just like a jeep she had shown her dad once when they went out to eat. The pink ribbon boasted the words, ‘Happy Graduation' in pink silver glitter. Buffy let the sobs escape as Joyce thanked the man.
"There's a note inside, Miss Summers." The man smiled and walked back out to the flatbed truck that had delivered the jeep.
With trembling hands, Buffy unlocked the door and picked up the envelope inside. She flipped it open quickly and wiped her eyes, so she could see the words.
My Dearest Buffy,
I don't show it nearly enough but I love and miss you so much sometimes all I can do is sit in your old room. I'm sorry I can't be there with you but please know that you are my everything and always will be.
PS, there's CD in the player. It's got that Cinderella song we love so well on it. I miss you, love you, and wish you were here.
Buffy clutched it to her chest and leaned against the side of her jeep. Her jeep. One her dad had picked. Joyce started toward her as Buffy climbed in but Giles stopped her. "Let her go."
Buffy started the engine, backing slowly out of the drive. She didn't wave, she didn't look back. Instead she drove as fast as she could away from Sunnydale, away from the hellmouth. The ‘You Are Now Leaving Sunnydale' sign loomed dead ahead and as Buffy flew past it, she turned the CD player on, listening to the song she sang to her dad as he died. She looked in her rear view mirror and watched as Sunnydale became a blur. She hit eighty and finally felt like she had outrun the memories, the misery.
Buffy pulled off the side of the road and sat. Cars whizzed past her and she closed her eyes. The song ended and she took the CD out, slipping it into it's case. She was only a few feet away from a bridge and she got out, carrying the CD. She brought the case to her mouth and kissed it gently, then tossed it over the side. "Good-bye, Daddy. I love you." Buffy watched it bob and walked away.
She started her jeep again and turned it back towards town. Buffy smiled as the ‘You Are Now Entering Sunnydale' sign loomed dead ahead. She slowed down this time, coming home slowly. She was a new girl, a new Slayer, a new person. She had come to terms with of all pain, all the sorrow, and was ready to embrace a new life.
Buffy Summers had let go.
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