Please Remember Me

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Part Two: Lessons Learned





*****


Just like the waves down by the shore
I'm gonna keep on comin' back for more
‘Cause we don't ever wanna start
Out in this brave new world you seek
Oh, the valleys and the peaks
And I can see you on the top

Spike awoke with a start. Who the bloody hell would have the balls to pound on his door in broad daylight? He pulled himself from the bed and trudged to the door. Glancing out the peephole he growled. "Hang on!" He quickly fished his jeans off the floor and pulled his shirt on. He paused as he caught a whiff of the Slayer and he inhaled the scent deeply, smiling. Buffy had been haunting his dreams before he was so rudely interrupted. Padding barefoot back to the door, he opened it, careful to remain behind it completely and out of the sun.

Mayor Wilkins strode in and smiled at him. "Hello, William. I'm Mayor Wilkins. How are you this fine day?"

"I would be better, mate, if people respected my sleeping habits." He ran a hand through his hair. "I trust this is an emergency?"

"Yes, indeed. I asked you here for a reason. You are destined to be my right hand man and your duties start now. Aren't you excited? A new day is at hand." Wilkins smiled broadly. "You know the Slayer, right?"

"Duties?" Spike said. "Maybe I didn't make myself clear over the phone. I don't take orders."

"You do now." Wilkins kept his smile in place. "I can make your life very uncomfortable."

"Is that right?" Spike shook his head. "Well then, since I enjoy my comfort level. Yes, I know the Slayer quite well. I ran into her last night as a matter of fact."

"Really?" Wilkins' eyes widened. "And did she mention me?"

"She sure did. Was bragging about how she is on your side now and couldn't wait to get all immortal and stuff." Spike grinned. He wasn't about to take orders from this goober.

"Well, goodness! I feel like singing a show tune!" The mayor clapped his hands together. "If the sunlight wouldn't kill you, I'd take you out for a ice cream."

"They don't make my flavor." Spike shrugged.

"What flavor is that?"

"Blood." Spike smiled. Then silently added, < yours. >


******


Buffy had run into town. She had no idea where else to go. She stopped at a small sidewalk café and bought a cold drink. The heat was almost unbearable. Without thinking, she had run out in a long sleeve shirt and jeans. Wiping a bead of sweat off her brow, Buffy turned as she heard a familiar laugh. Mayor Wilkins was coming out of a motel room on the corner of the block. She ducked quickly, peeking around a planted bush that was sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. < I'll never get an off day. > she thought. < Now I have to investigate who is in that room. >

She waited until his car was safely out of sight before she made her move. Buffy rushed off down the side road that ran behind the hotel. Whoever it was, they were in room 107. Counting the windows, she piled garbage cans under the correct one and climbed up slowly. As easily and quietly as she could, she pried the screen off. Luckily the window was already cracked a little. Easing it up slowly, she prayed that it wouldn't squeak. When it was open far enough for her to shimmy through, she glanced over her shoulder and climbed in.

Spike was waiting on the other side of the door way. He had heard someone breaking in on him the second they had tampered with the screen. It apparently wasn't his day to sleep. The mayor had probably sent someone to kill him for lying to him. He'd show them. He raised the potted plant over his head and waited for them to come through.

Buffy could sense someone on the other side of the doorway. Her body was letting her know that they were aware of her as well. She sensed danger. Could feel it. The room was alive with it. The tiny bathroom she was standing in would leave her little room to fight so she decided to speak up, "Show yourself and I'll kill you quickly."

Spike's raised an eyebrow. "Buffy?"

Buffy stepped around the corner. "Wha…?"

"What in the bloody hell do you think you're doing?" He screamed, throwing the pot across the room.

"I could ask you that same thing!" she fired back. "Why was the mayor here?"

"Are you following him or me?" Spike snapped.

"Neither. I was in town and saw him. And why did you just leave last night?"

He shrugged, "I don't have any desire to be leered at by your entourage."

"Well, you could have said SOMETHING." she replied.

The vampire studied her features closely for a few moments, softening. "You 've been crying?"

Buffy shrugged and glanced around the room, trying not to concentrate on the fact that all Spike was wearing was his underwear. He'd obviously been about to get into the bed. She focused on the table beside the front door. A wad of cash at least five inches thick sat on top of a pile of books. He followed her gaze.

Buffy's shoulders sagged. "You're working for him aren't you? Is that your paycheck for last night?"

"No." Spike shook his head. "Are you going to jump to your own conclusions or are you interested in what's really going on?"

"There is absolutely no one in this world I can trust." Buffy mumbled as she ran her hands through her hair and sighed.

"You can trust me." Spike pointed to a chair and she reluctantly took it. He kneeled in front of her and began talking. Several minutes later he spread his hands and said, "The End."

"So you led him to believe that I'm going to be working with him? Good" Buffy rubbed her eyes and yawned.

"Tired, baby?" He looked deeply into her eyes..

Buffy glared at him for several seconds, trying not to be affected by the way his voice sounded when he called her ‘baby'. Her mind was so filled with contradictions that she wanted to scream. What was she doing here? This was Spike. SPIKE. < Remember him, Buffy? The one who tried to kill you and kill Angel and is so annoying that you hate him? Yes? That's right, it's that same Spike! >

"What are you thinking about, Buffy?"

"Why didn't you tell me this last night?" She lied. "You pretended you didn' t know much about the mayor."

"Would it have made a difference?" Spike feared her answer so he stood up and paced. "I had already planned on getting on the inside and figuring out how to stop him so I could help you. When you told me you were on his side…"

"When I told you I was on his side….what?" Buffy stood up as well.

Spike turned and crossed his arms, almost hugging himself. "When you told me you were on his side…I was afraid that I'd have to hurt you to stop him. And I knew I never could. Once upon a time, I could have. But…"

"But what?" she urged.

"I don't know what's happened to me. Maybe it was the pain of losing Dru or the fact that I willingly went against Angel, my sire, and helped you stop him…and this is my punishment. I'm softer or some shit. I hate it. I feel things and it's repulsive." He shook his head. "You don't know what it's like."

Buffy took a few steps and stood before him. "Oh, I think I do. And for what it's worth….I'm glad you are different. You saved my life."

Spike nodded, "You scared me last night. Don't ever do that again."

Smiling, Buffy walked into his arms and rested her head against his bare chest. "See, you're still the same old Spike. Always giving orders."

He chuckled a little and kissed the top of her head. "You smell good."

"You asked me earlier if I was tired." She gazed up at him and smirked. "Were you going somewhere with that?"

Spike grinned widely and began inching toward the bed with her in his arms. "I was going this way with it."


Mayor Wilkins looked up as Faith came into his office. He smiled at her and held up a hand, indicating that he was in the middle of an important phone call. Faith slumped into a seat across from him and threw her leg over the arm of the chair, listening closely to what he was saying.

"Yes, yes." Wilkins chuckled. "I got verification today that she's on our side. She's a beauty too. I think she'll make a wonderful addition to my family. Yes. Her name is Buffy Summers."

Faith glared at the Mayor, who gave her a hearty thumbs up. < Damn him. I can not believe he'd even think about HER. Dickhead. > She popped her gum loudly and he tapped his desk, scolding her with a shake of his head. < I'll show him. He will not replace me! > Standing, she glanced at him again and then went to his cabinet in the corner. She could feel his eyes blazing holes through her as she yanked the doors open. Running her fingers around the various occult inspired objects, she pulled out a small shrunken head and held it up for him to look at.

The Mayor's smile faded as he watched her, wondering what the hell she thought she was doing. He couldn't very well hang up the phone and drag her away from his goodies, so he simply sat there, hoping he could muster a stern enough look at her to scare her into leaving his stuff alone. He yelped out as she began to toss his shrunken head up in the air like a baseball. Tapping his desk again, louder this time, he wagged a finger at her. Faith only smiled and tossed it higher. The man on the phone changed subjects and gave no indication that he was tired of talking. Mayor Wilkins' s hands were tied. It was simply bad public relations to cut someone off and he wasn't that rude.

Faith let the shrunken head fall out of her hands and into the floor. She smiled as the Mayor stood up to watch it roll, looking pained. She turned back to the cabinet and pulled out a bottle of clear liquid. Opening it slowly, she jumped when she heard him kick his desk. Giggling like a school girl, she ‘accidentally' dropped it and said, "OOP's."

"Yes, that's a wonderful story. I can't wait to see the slide show. Four hours worth you say? Now that's what I call a great time." The mayor sounded cheerful, despite the fact that the disorder in the room was killing his concentration. Everything had a place and it must be there. His palms were so sweaty, the phone threatened to slip.

Faith was looking for the box she had brought him. He had to eat those damn spiders in order to ascend so she'd just smash them all. Leaning further into the cabinet, she noticed movement. A small tornado spiraled inside of a jar and the label proclaimed it to be, ‘Black Death.' Faith grabbed it and tried to yank the lid off.

"HOLY GOD!" the Mayor screamed. He slammed the phone down, not caring about PR and leaped across the room, arms flailing. He grabbed the jar and stared a Faith several seconds before backhanding her. "Do you know what this is? It's bottled bubonic plague."

Faith held a hand to her cheek, looking astonished. "You hit me."

"Yes, I certainly did." He pulled a wet wipe from the cabinet and cleaned his hands, then began to gingerly clean the various items in the cabinet, putting them back in order. "What is wrong with you?"

"Me!?" Faith yelled. "What is so wrong with YOU that you'd ask Buffy to help us. Are you really going to give her immortality?"

Wilkins slammed the cabinet and glared at her, "Yes, I am. I keep my word when I give it and she's a helluva slayer."

Faith crossed her arms over her chest and stomped her foot. "I refuse to work with that bitch."

Wilkins stepped so close to her that their toes were touching, she stepped back but he followed her, until she leaned against the wall. "You may act like a spoiled brat right now, darling, but the moment I ascend, you will do what I say, when I say, with no questions asked. You will quake with fear at the mere sight of me and you will never again question me or tempt me the way you've just done. And….gum chewing will be against MY rules. Nasty habit."

< Just keep thinking that! > Faith thought but said, "Yes sir. I'm sorry."


******


Buffy awoke to the sound of her beeper going off and rolled out from under Spike's arm to grab it from the pocket of her jeans. It was dark in the room and she fumbled for the bedside lamp, finally flipping it on. Sighing, she recognized the number and picked up the phone.

"Buffy?" Angel answered the phone in the library. He'd been sick with guilt after Giles had told him what had happened that afternoon. So much of the pain in Buffy's life was his fault. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, why are you there? What time is it?" She glanced around and didn't see a clock.

"It's after eight. We've been beeping you for the past two hours. Where are you?" He demanded.

Spike moaned out a little and threw his arm back over her, mumbling, "What is it, baby?"

Buffy tried to cover the mouthpiece as fast as she could but Angel heard. "Who was that? What have you been doing all afternoon?"

Buffy grinned a little. < What haven't I been doing all afternoon? > "It's a friend of mine."

"You should have checked in already. You knew what we had planned and you were supposed to begin this afternoon. We don't have a lot of time, y'know." He sounded mad. "Giles said for you to hurry up and get here."

"I'll be there as soon as I can." She said loudly.

"We paged you for TWO HOURS!" Angel snapped angrily. "What are you doing?"

"Well, I didn't hear it until just now because I was asleep. Why are you so worried about what I'm doing anyway? Don't you have some brooding to catch up on? A sonnet to read? A corner to lurk in?" God, he had a way of pissing her off. Spike, on his stomach, glanced up at her and smiled, realizing that she was talking to Angel.

"Look, you can be hateful to me all you want to later, but right now you need to get your act together." Angel couldn't believe how easily she could become a sniveling brat. When she got this way she was about ten times worse that anyone, even Cordelia.

"You'll be gone later." Buffy replied smartly. "No time like the present to tell you that you're an asshole."

Spike could just imagine the wounded look on Angel's face and laughed. Buffy nudged him roughly and that got him laughing even harder. She bit back her own laughter and tried not to notice Spike shaking all over. She covered the mouthpiece again and hugged it to her chest, whispering, "Stop it, Spike!"

When she brought it back up to her ear, the line was dead. She hung up and rolled to look at the vampire, who had his face buried in the pillow, still chuckling. "I can't believe you did that." She giggled.

He sat up on his elbows and kissed her. "You are so damn cute. So unpredictable."

"So gone." She kissed him and started to stand.

Spike pulled her back into the bed and quickly covered her small body with his own. He kissed her deeply, loving the way her tongue felt inside his mouth. They were both naked and the warmth of her smooth skin against his delighted him. He slowly worked his tongue all around her mouth, licking over her lips and sucking them gently until they looked pouty.

"Is that what I think it is?" Buffy smiled, feeling him pressing against her mound.

"It's a heat seeking missile." He whispered, darting his tongue into her ear. "Ready to explode?"

She wrapped her legs around him and pushed her crotch into his, moaning as she enveloped him. He rotated his hips in a circle, stretching her, filling her with his entire length. "Yes…"

Spike had lost count of how many times they had screwed that day. It was a lot. But every single time felt like the first time and there was no way he could grow tired of her. He'd already memorized every curve, every small scar, every soft inch of her, especially the spots that made her crazy. Wanting to watch her come again, he slipped a hand between them and rubbed her swollen nubbin roughly. Flicking his finger back and forth across it quickly. Propping himself up on one hand, he pumped himself into her, alternating between watching her face and watching his hand between her legs.

Buffy was dying. Her heart was pounding so fast it's only option was to burst. As Spike launched his hips into hers and pinched her clit, she came. The orgasm was huge, forcing her channel to clamp down onto his girth. He stopped moving and pulled out of her, standing up. Her eyes flew open, "No, don't stop."

"Come here." He said hoarsely, walking into the corner.

Buffy stood up and walked to where he waited. She almost looked scared and that pleased Spike more than it probably should. He pulled her arms around his neck and lifted her roughly, pressing her back against the wall. He put his hands under her ass, directing one leg over each of arms, so that he could spread her as wide as he wanted. Buffy gazed at him as he filled her again. Her fingertips toyed with the back of his hair as he began to pump. In this position they were almost nose to nose and she couldn't tear her eyes away from his beautiful face.

He slammed into her, so hard that she grunted with each blow. She liked the feeling of being pinned by him. It was an unusual thing for the Slayer to be in such a defeated position. Buffy was used to being the dominant one. In this position, Spike was in charge and she couldn't move her hips if she had to. He picked up his pace, staring at her, relishing the feel of her fingernails on his shoulder blades. He spread her legs wider and pounded into her. Her own grunts were soon drowned out, as Spike came, yelling out in relief.

As she hugged him to her chest, Buffy felt the familiar pressure rising inside of her and bucked forward, Spike pulled out a few inches and slowly slid back in. That was enough. Squealing, she came again, holding him against her as tight as she could.

Spike grinned and whispered, "I guess you found out that corners aren't JUST for lurking in."

Before Buffy could reply, her beeper sounded and Spike let her slide free. She turned it off and looked at him. "You wanna come with?"

He shook his head. "No can do, love. I can not deal with Angel on an empty stomach."

Buffy narrowed her eyes, "Spike, you can't kill…"

The vampire brought his finger to her lips and said, "Shh,….If you won't ask, I'll never tell you."


Angel jumped to his feet as Buffy walked into the library at close to ten pm. She was wearing tight, red leather pants and an even tighter halter-top. It was black with red roses all over it and Angel swallowed hard. She was beautiful. Any anger he had toward her quickly dissipated and he figured he deserved more than her hateful comments as it was.

"Where have you been?" Giles demanded. He was past the point of caring whether or not she hated him. The world may be ending soon and he'd be damned if he'd sit idly while she balked her duty.

"I had to go to my house to shower and change. I ran into some vamps and got filthy." Buffy shrugged and flopped into a chair.

Giles didn't seem at all pleased with her reply but he quickly launched into watcher mode and began filling her in on the details in rapid-fire speed. "What we've learned is that the Mayor, while invincible, has no immune system. He can catch anything and become so ill that he'd be bedridden and physically unable to perform his ascension. One of the requirements of being ‘worthy' of ascension is being at peace in the body and mind. The mayor certainly seems physically fit…"

"But completely off in the head." Xander said. "By the way, Buff, nice outfit."

Buffy grinned at him and winked. "So the mayor is crazy? And we are gonna play on that how?"

"Well," Willow turned around in the computer chair and said, "I hacked into the hospital's records and according to them, Wilkins is a hypochondriac."

"You mean hypocrite?" Buffy raised an eyebrow.

Giles exhaled loudly and looked disapprovingly at her. "Buffy, it is a person's conviction that he or she has a serious or fatal disease, despite evidence to the contrary from medical examinations and tests. The person becomes quite informed and knowledgeable about illnesses, diagnosis and treatment, usually as a result of multiple medical evaluations and numerous contacts with health care professionals."

"Oh." Buffy looked thoughtful. "So we show him a copy of his hospital bill and offer to let Willow reduce it with her magic hacking hands if he postpones the ascension for a hundred years?"

"No." Giles exclaimed. "We, or rather you, are going to convince him that he is deathly ill!"

"And if I can't do that?" The Slayer asked.

"There is no can't." Xander shrugged. "You either do or we die. Make him think he's sick as a dog."

"Yay, gaslight!" Willow grinned. "That was my plan."

"And once he is at the hospital," Giles offered. "Willow will use her hacking skills, order a special shot, and you will substitute it with the drugs I used on you. We'll up the dosage, make him too weak to sustain the ascension."

Buffy considered that for several minutes and nodded. "Sounds like a winner. It sure made me feel like HELL."

"We're glad that you approve." Angel said cooly, evenly. "It wouldn't have hurt if you could have been here to help out."

Sighing, Buffy stood up and stretched. "Is that all?"

"I suppose." Giles watched her closely. "Buffy, it's imperative that you play your role in this effectively."

"Don't I always?" Buffy shrugged and grabbed her slayer bag. "See ya."

She was halfway across the school lawn when Angel caught up with her, grabbing her arm. "You're getting awfully cocky, aren't you?" he asked.

"No more than you." She pulled her arm away and began walking again.

"Is this how it ends, Buffy? With you hating me? I thought we were friends." He kept up with her even though she had begun walking faster.

"We were never friends."

"Oh, I see. If you can't have it the way you want it, it isn't worth having." What he wanted to do was apologize, beg her forgiveness and make love to her. But none of those things were possible. Because if he did apologize…he would want to do the rest.

Buffy stopped walking and spun to face him. "What do you want from me?!"

Angel stared down at her face. < I want to kiss you and I want to love you so fully and completely you never doubt me. > "I want to leave on good terms. As friends. It's pointless to do this. You don't have to push me away. Buffy, I love…"

"You love me?" Buffy shook her head and bit back the tears that tried to escape. "I can't do this anymore. It's too hard. I don't want you to help me. Just go."

"I said I was staying until this was finished."

Buffy stood her ground, glaring angrily at him. "Fine! This is a big town. You want to hang around and make sure it gets done? Do that. Just stay away from me."

Angel watched her walk away and shoved his hands into his pockets. Nothing was working out the way he had planned. How could he just leave with her so hurt at him? What good was he doing? Was she so preoccupied with him that she'd get herself killed? Answers never came easy when you were looking so hard. He was sure she'd be on his mind the rest of the night, so he trudged home, welcoming the eerie silence that followed him.

Spike stood a good distance away and smiled, he'd seen and heard the entire conversation between Buffy and Angel. She had done right by him. He knew that it wouldn't be easy for her to just let go of Angel. Love was something that attached itself to your core and hung on, never caring how much you bled as it ripped you apart. Buffy would probably hurt for a long time. Would hurt just like he hurt for Dru…but one day, she'd wake up and realize that she no longer craved Angel's touch. Spike would make sure she was craving his.


*********


The next morning, Buffy Summers had never felt more uncomfortable. She had decided to wear a flowery yellow sundress that her mother had bought her two summers ago. It was far too girlish for Buffy's tastes, but she figured the mayor would like it. He was old fashioned that way. She piled her hair on top of her head, and used a curling iron to make the ends frame her face in ringlets. Sighing, she appraised herself. She certainly looked innocent.

The mayor would begin ascending later on that night if she couldn't stop him. She paused again…< Do I really want to wear something like this if it's my last day on earth? > Throwing her hands in the air in exasperation, she decided to just go. Death would probably hurt no matter what she wore, and if the mayor DID find out she wasn't on his side, he'd make sure she died painfully.

Not quite ten minutes later, she was walking past through town, on her way to his office. She slowed as she passed the motel Spike was in, wondering if she should knock. After her ‘talk' with Angel the previous night, she had just gone home instead of coming back to see him. Deciding against stopping, Buffy hurried on past the door and entered the City Hall.

The first thing she noticed was the quiet demeanor everyone had. The whole place was subdued and she wondered briefly if they'd all been turned into zombies. Pausing in front of Stephanie's desk, she whispered, "Who died?"

"Oh, hi." Stephanie replied. "The mayor isn't in a great mood today. You may want to come back later."

Buffy shook her head, "It's important. Can you let him know I'm here? Buffy Summers."

She picked up her phone and said cautiously, "Sir, Buffy is here to see you. Yes, yes sir. Right away." Stephanie nodded and Buffy hurried into his office.

"Mayor?" she called, as she closed the door. He was no where to be seen and Buffy's senses went on red alert. He gave her a major wiggins just by standing in broad daylight.

"Why didn't you come to me yesterday?" He spoke, apparently from his chair, facing away from her. "I waited all day."

Quickly making up a story, she stated, "My mother grounded me for drinking. I'm sorry."

Wilkins turned, looking angry, but he quickly broke into a smile when he looked her up and down. "My god, you are a vision."

Buffy smiled weakly and then looked grim, "Are you feeling okay?"

"Why do you ask?" He stood and picked up a small candy jar filled with M&M's. "Candy?"

"No thanks," she replied absently. "You look sick. Are you supposed to look so sick?"

"My body is readying itself for a change. I imagine I am supposed to feel this way." Wilkins sat the candy back on his desk. "Is it hot in here to you?"

She watched as he loosened his tie and swallowed deeply, shaking her head. He really did look like hell and it was bad, very bad, if he thought that it was normal to feel sickly. How could she convince him to go to the hospital if he was chalking it up to the norm? Giles was supposed to meet her at the hospital with the medicine later. "You're pale as a sheet. Maybe you should go get yourself checked out."

Wilkins seemed to ponder that momentarily, "I HAD ALMOST FORGOTTEN! Thank you, kitten, for reminding me. I have to swing by the hospital to settle my account. They called this morning. Not that it matters much after today. I just hate having loose ends. Maybe I'll have myself looked at then."

< GO WILLOW >. Buffy almost breathed a sigh of relief, but stopped herself, "Good. My day is free if you want some company."

"Well, I would love some company! I'll even buy you a stuffed bear from the gift shop!" As he stood he gripped the edge of the desk, then toppled face forward onto the ground. Buffy quickly rolled him over and felt for a pulse. His heart was definitely beating. He had fainted. She shook him a few times and finally smacked him across the face. He opened his eyes and sat up slowly. "Yes, it's probably wise to go to the hospital. I feel quite bad indeed. I'll go wash up and then we'll go."

As soon as he left, Buffy quickly whipped her mom's cell phone out of her purse, just in case the Mayor's phone was tapped, and speed dialed Giles. "It's a go." she whispered when he picked up the phone.


Giles glanced at his watch. He sat in Oz's van in the hospital parking lot, watching for Buffy and the Mayor. It was already almost five o'clock and he was beginning to get scared. He'd gotten the call from Buffy over an hour ago. What could be keeping them? He didn't dare call the cell phone, if Buffy wasn't in any trouble, she may have a hard time explaining who was calling her. So he waited. Thinking about what the night may bring and what was being done to prevent it.

Wesley and Willow were working together to bind the dark forces, to muffle their communication with the guides, just in case Buffy failed to weaken the mayor. To ascend, one must call the powers of darkness and present their being, to be deemed worthy or unworthy. It only happened one night every one hundred years. Giles didn't doubt for one second that the mayor would be granted acceptance if they didn't run interference. Hopefully Willow, who he had complete confidence in, could confuse the spirits enough that they'd falter if they were called.

Xander and Oz were keeping a tail on Faith. They were watching her every move, making sure she didn't try to warn the mayor of what was to come. All Faith knew was that they were going to TRY to make him ill, without Buffy's help. As long as she was laboring under the illusion that Buffy actually was on the mayor's team, she was thrilled to offer them with any information they asked for. Giles hated the fact that she had turned against them. He feared that she was just misunderstood, so desperate for acceptance that it didn't matter who accepted her. He vowed to himself to try to reason with her once this was all over. Buffy wasn't crazy about her. He was quite sure she didn't like her at all. But Faith was a Slayer and like or not, as one of the only people who knew her as such, he owed it to her to attempt to help her.

Thunder boomed suddenly and Giles jumped a little. He sat up straighter when he saw the Mayor's limo pull to the front entrance. Giles smiled as Buffy stepped out. She didn't glance around, made no move that could be considered suspicious. He promised himself he would commend her for that later…and let her know she was lovely dressed like a lady as opposed to what she'd had on last night. Maybe that would win him a few points. Buffy disappeared into the hospital and came rushing back with a wheelchair. Giles' eyes widened when he saw the mayor, he looked positively ill.

He waited about five minutes before he threw on his baseball cap. He decided to dress inconspicuously as well, wearing baggy jeans, a worn out T-shirt he had borrowed from Xander and Nike's that had cost so much he was afraid to walk in them. Pulling the cap low, he walked along the hallways, listening for a familiar voice. He finally heard Buffy speaking from behind a curtain that had been drawn around a cubicle.

"Do you need a glass of water, sir?" she was asking.

The mayor began to cough and answered. "Yes, please. Thank you, Buffy. You are such a good, good girl."

"Just stay right here and don't move around too much. I don't want you to pass out again. You look even worse than before." The curtain began to move and Giles hurried around the other side. Buffy stepped out and headed toward the water fountain, carrying a small cup. He caught up with her, whispering, "You've done a fine job. He sounds quite convinced he's ill."

"I didn't have to convince him, Giles. He is sick. He said it's probably normal but he's really messed up. He fainted dead away at his office." She shook her head. "Did you bring it?"

Fishing the syringe out of his pocket, he nodded at the cup in her hand. "I have something for that too."

Buffy watched as he dropped two tablets into the water. They dissolved quickly and Buffy raised an eyebrow, looking at Giles. "What was that?"

"Make sure he drinks it all, Buffy." She nodded at him and Giles studied her face closely, adding. "Be careful."

Buffy glanced him up and down and then whispered, "So the world is probably going to end and you fulfill your lifelong desire of dressing like Xander. That's creepy."

Buffy took the syringe and ducked back behind the curtain, hiding it in the pocket of her dress. She glanced down at the mayor who appeared to be sleeping. His face was so white he almost looked vampiric. Well, except the protruding ridges and fangs. She picked up the cool wash cloth that the nurse had brought in and wiped it across his forehead.

He opened his eyes and smiled a little. "Water?"

Trying not to think about what might be in it, Buffy helped him sit upright and watched as he swallowed the entire contents of the cup. She would have felt guilty if it hadn't been for the fact that she was the Slayer and he had the potential of being a bad ass demon. Letting him lie back again, Buffy quickly crumpled the small cup and stuck it in her pocket, not wanting to leave any evidence. It made her incredibly nervous to be about to poison the mayor into a helpless state. Vampires and other demons at least LOOKED threatening when you fought them. This man in the hospital bed looked harmless.

Buffy jumped as a nurse came through the curtain and said, "We're going to go ahead and start an IV. His blood pressure is different from a sitting to a standing position and that's a sign of dehydration."

The mayor moaned out a little, whimpering. "I hate IV's. Can you assure me it's been properly sterilized?"

The nurse smiled at Buffy and said, "You're daughter can stay and watch us open the packages okay?"

The mayor nodded and grabbed Buffy's hand. It reminded Buffy of the time she and her dad had been bike riding through a park in Los Angeles and he fell. The bone in his leg had come through the skin and Buffy had stayed beside him, holding his hand, while they waited for the ambulance. Mayor Wilkins didn't give any indication that she wasn't his daughter so Buffy didn't either. She simply stroked his hand and continued wiping the sweat off his forehead.

Giles watched from a chair at the end of the hallway. He saw the nurse bringing in an IV kit and felt a wave of anxiety going through him. < Surely Buffy will know better than to shoot it in the vein. > He promised himself he 'd do something to distract her and started to stand. A young nurse touched him on the arm and said, "Sir, are you looking for someone?"

"What?" Giles glanced down at her and nodded. "Oh, no. I'm waiting for a friend."

"You need to go out into the waiting room, sir. You can't be back here unless you are visiting a patient." She grabbed his elbow and led him through a set of double doors. Giles cringed as the he looked around the waiting room. How was he supposed to do anything out here?

Buffy watched as they shoved the needle into the back of the Mayor's hand. He cried out in pain and yanked away, forcing the needle to go in even deeper and spew blood. The nurse quickly grabbed him and pulled the needle free. Another nurse entered the room and helped her secure his arm and she tried again.

Wilkins strained against them, looking at Buffy pleadingly, "I can't do this. I'm scared of needles."

Buffy leaned down, close to his ear and whispered, "When I was a little girl, I couldn't watch Fright Night or Salem's Lot because vampires scared me so much." Buffy nodded at the nurses to try again and kept talking in a low voice. "I always had to cover my eyes and not look at their horrible faces. I never even imagined that there could be scarier things than that. But you know what I discovered? Homework, tests and the invention of the teasing comb are about ten times worse. So, think about something that scares you more than needles and you should be okay."

The nurse finished taping the IV in place and smiled. "All done."

Wilkins looked at his hand in astonishment. "I never even felt it that time."

Buffy smiled and stood up. "See there. What did you think about?"

"I imagined you not being here with me and that was more terrifying that the needle. Being alone." Wilkins sighed. "Golly, I sure am dizzy. Buffy?"

She felt so guilty at that moment she thought she'd die. He seemed to have dozed off. Buffy knew that whatever Giles had put in his cup must be working. She walked around and looked at the IV., wondering if that was where they'd be putting all of his medication. < It's now or never. > She surmised, pulling the needle out of her pocket. She gingerly cradled his palm in hers and pulled the lid off the syringe. Moving quickly, she squirted a little, making sure it had no air, then emptied the contents into the IV on the back of his hand. As she recapped it, she felt him jerk a little and took a step back. Before her eyes, he began to convulse, making a horrible noise in the back of his throat. Buffy was too stunned to scream for help, she backed out into the hallway and grabbed a doctor, pointing.

The man took one look at the mayor and sprang into action, barking orders and yelling, ‘stat', after every command. Buffy pressed herself against a metal rack that contained towels and pillow cases, not sure what to do. The medicine hadn't done this to her. She watched as more and more people filed into the room with the mayor and listened to the things that they were saying to one another. It went from shouting, to silence, shouting to silence, someone screamed, "No pulse" and another screamed, "He's in cardiac arrest." The voices became to jumbled to understand and all the blood rushed to Buffy's head. Was he dying? Had she killed him.

"It's impossible." She heard a woman say. "How did we get him back after that kind of a heart attack."

"It's a miracle." Another one said.

"Don't count your blessings yet." A man added. "He's unresponsive."

Buffy hated this. He wasn't supposed to DIE. He wasn't much different than Oz. He was human up until he ascended just like Oz was human until the full moon. Giles had explained how he had immortality but she hadn't really listened. All she knew right then was that he was a human being and she may have just murdered him. Feeling sick at her stomach she started to cry and rushed into the bathroom. After she had splashed cold water in her face and the nausea passed, she walked back out into the hallway.

The nurse from before met her and asked, "Are you all right?"

Buffy nodded and glanced back at the curtain that hid the mayor's bed. "Is he…"

"Is there someone here with you, miss?" She led Buffy gently to a chair.

"How is he?" Buffy asked.

"I'm afraid, miss, that he's gone into a coma. We'll be moving him up into intensive care and…"

Buffy didn't want to hear the rest. She stood up and ran past the nurse, through the waiting room and outside. Leaning her head against the hospital sign, she let the tears fall completely. Giles had seen her fly through the waiting area and literally tossed his Reader's Digest into the air. He followed her and laid a hand on her shoulder. "Buffy, what's happened?"

"I put him in a coma." She moaned.

"Oh my God, Buffy! Did you put it in his vein?" He turned her to face him.

"No. I put it in his IV thing."

Giles hung his head. "I should have let you know not to do that. A direct dosage will kill him."

Buffy sniffed her nose and said, "He isn't dead."

"Yes, well, that's probably because he is invincible right now. Faith told us he is only invincible for the 100 days prior to his ascension. He may die once the 100 days end tonight.." Giles shook his head slowly. "It isn't your fault."

Buffy began to cry even harder. How could he just be so forgiving after all she had put him through the last few days? "Yes, it is. If I wasn't such a jerk, I would have paid closer attention. It was stupid of me to act the way I have."

"Yes, I will have to agree about that but it's a thing of the past, yes?"

"I want you to know something, Giles." Buffy wiped her eyes and glanced up at him. "I didn't consider working for the mayor just to be with Angel."

"No?" Giles braced himself for the worst. < Please don't tell me that you did it because of me. Because of what I did. >

"I was going to do it for us all." Buffy sobbed again and Giles handed her a napkin, left over from a bagel earlier.

"All?" he prodded.

"That was the deal. All of you would be saved if I joined his team."

Giles pulled her into his arms and exhaled loudly. "How could I have doubted you? I just assumed that you were making a deal for yourself and were willing to sacrifice us all."

"I'd never do that." She hugged back. "I can do this without Angel a lot easier than I could do it without you. I'm sorry, Giles."

Faith rounded the corner and stopped dead in her tracks. She'd been told that the mayor had fainted and Buffy had convinced him to come here. She was well aware of the plan and knew that this was probably the part where Willow was hacking into the files to make it look like he WAS dying…but no where in that plan did it say that Buffy would be in Giles' arms. She was supposed to be against Giles now. Right? She shoved her hands on her hips and yelled, "What the hell is this?"

Buffy stepped out of Giles embrace and said, "It's the mayor. We were only going to make him feel sick and weak but something went wrong."

"WE?" Faith studied the two closely. "Giles, you fucking prick! You knew all along that she was with the mayor, didn't you?"

"Not until you told me, Faith. Buffy did indeed contemplate joining the mayor…" Giles was saying.

Buffy interrupted, "But I'm not stupid like some people, like..oh…you, who would turn their back on their duty just for the sake of…"

Faith stepped up with lightning speed and punched Buffy hard in the mouth. The blond staggered back against the hospital sign and shook her head, trying to still the pain that shot through her jaw. Faith followed closely and made a move to grab her, but Buffy spun quickly, leveling the raven-haired Slayer with a roundhouse kick. Faith jumped up fast and advanced again but Buffy was ready for her. As soon as Faith was within kicking distance, Buffy faked a punch and then quickly slammed her foot into her gut. Faith hit hard against the outside of the building and stayed there for several moments.

Several onlookers had gathered by then and Xander and Oz joined the crowd. They had been tailing Faith and gasped as they saw the fight. Right in broad daylight none the less. Xander grabbed Buffy around the waist as she was about to give Faith a mouthful of feet and Oz and Giles stepped in front of Faith. Giles spoke quickly, "He may die. You should go stay with him, Faith."

Faith stood shakily, "Die?"

"He's in a coma." Giles said. "Something went very wrong. I'm sorry."

"I trusted you." Faith sneered. She glanced at Buffy briefly and then started away, pausing she added, "You and me, B. Sooner than you think it's going to be you and me and none of your friends will be around to stop it. Just wait."


"So that's it!" Xander screamed as the clock hit midnight. "Ascension day is gone and he's still just a mayor."

"Which is bad enough. Politicians and principals. Cut from the same cloth." Oz smiled. "This was an incredibly long week."

"I heard that." Willow stood up and stretched. "I don't think I've ever researched harder for something so anti-climactic before."

"It kind of makes you wonder what kind of dim-wit came up with such a stupid solution." Xander sighed. "I wanted to see what he would turn into. Or at least have more action."

"I came up with the solution!" Willow protested. "Well, not the coma part. That was kinda...a cop out."

"I, for one, am glad that this has ended." Wesley stirred his cup of bovril and slurped loudly. "Sometimes climaxes can be disappointing once you've built up such a big show of it. It's only natural."

"Sort of like sex," Cordy offered. "If you talk about it all day and make it seem like a huge deal…it never is. But that excludes you, Xander…because just THINKING the word to you is a HUGE deal."

Xander leered at her for a moment and smiled. "I'm not gonna touch that one, Cor. Too easy."

She looked confused a moment and was about to speak, when Angel walked in. Buffy, who had been sitting on the stairs, stood up. Her heart sank when she saw that he was carrying his duffel bag. It occurred to her that this would probably be the last time she'd ever see him walk into the library. He met her eyes and then looked around the room at everyone.

"Are you leaving now?" Xander asked. "Send us a postcard, ta-ta."

Angel nodded and turned to Giles. "I wanted to stop by and say a few things to everyone. Especially you, Giles. I did unspeakable things to you and your loved ones and I'm sorry. You accepted me in your life, in Buffy's life and I turned on you all. I've never been good at apologies but I want you all to know how incredibly sorry I am. If I could have stopped it…"

Giles laid a hand on Angel's shoulder and said, "We know. I think I speak for us all when I say that we forgave you long ago."

"It's okay, Angel." Willow nodded and then cleared her throat, nudging Xander.

The boy shoved his hands in his pockets and began to whistle and off key song. Willow nudged him harder and he said, "FINE. I forgive you for almost killing Willow, almost killing Buffy, almost killing Giles, almost killing me and killing Jenny. But I'll never forgive you for not killing Cordy when you had the chance. And Faith too."

Angel smirked a little and said, "Thank you, I think."

"I trust that you will contact us if you ever need anything?" Giles glanced at Buffy, who hadn't moved an inch.

"I don't think so." Angel glanced at Buffy too. "My bus is leaving in an hour. I better go. Take care of each other."

He turned and as quietly as he had entered, he left the library. The door swung to and fro for several seconds and then Xander said, "Buffy, here comes the climactic ending. Go. Say Good-bye."

Buffy nodded and rushed after Angel. He was already at the end of the hallway when she called his name. He paused and turned. "I don't want to say goodbye."

"You have to say goodbye before you can say hello again." She whispered.

"I left you something at your house." He started out the door again.

Buffy grabbed his arm. "I know I can't convince you to stay and I'm not even going to try…but I want to apologize before you go. I'm sorry I was so horrible to you and I'm sorry that I pushed you away."

"I understand it." Angel nodded. "You were just trying to make it harder for me to leave."

"No. I was trying to make it easier for you to leave." A tear slipped down her cheek. "I will always love you."

"Please remember me." He whispered. Angel leaned down and kissed the tear off her cheek, then brushed his lips over hers.

Buffy kept her eyes closed and didn't open them again until she heard the door close, then she sunk to the floor and let the sobs rack through her small frame. Giles had come out of the library and rushed to where she was. He sat beside her in the floor, pulling her half into his lap... remembering all too well the pain she was feeling. Her small arms wound their way around his neck and he rocked her gently, hanging onto the only thing in this world he had ever cherished as much as Jenny.

She let Giles drive her home later that night. She saw the package on her bed the second she walked in and held onto it, afraid to open it, when she finally mustered the courage she tore into it slowly. A cassette tape fell out as well as her cross necklace. The one he had given her the first night they'd met. The tape had the words, "I will love you for the rest of time" written across the label. She put it into her tape deck and pressed play. Sad music filled the room and she listened closely to the words.


When all our tears have reached the sea
Part of you will live in me
Way down deep inside my heart
The days keep coming without fail
A new wind is gonna find your sail
That's where your journey starts

You'll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me

Just like the waves down by the shore
I'm gonna keep on comin' back for more
‘Cause we don't ever wanna start
Out in this brave new world you seek
Oh, the valleys and the peaks
And I can see you on the top

You'll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me

Remember me when your out walking
When snow falls high outside your door
Late at night when your not sleeping
And moonlight falls across your floor
And I can't hurt you anymore

You'll find better love
Strong as it ever was
Deep as the river runs
Warm as the morning sun
Please remember me

Please remember me


Buffy listened to the tape a hundred times before sleep finally took her to a faraway place, where she was too tired to dream at all.


Spike watched Angel walk out of the school. He smiled so big it actually hurt. Angel was really leaving town, had his duffel and everything! Spike followed him at a distance, all the way to the bus station. Minutes seemed to tick by too slowly and Spike was getting worried when the bus finally rumbled in and Angel, glancing longingly over his shoulder, boarded it. Spike stepped into the road behind it and watched until the taillights faded into the fog.

Opening his arms wide, Spike yelled, "See you in Hell, mate." Then he quietly added, "After a whole lot of heaven in YOUR Slayer's arms."


~End

Buffy/Spike