by crazydiamondsue


Part One


Willow sat up slowly, her eyes squeezing shut as all of the feeling her body seemed centered on the mass of pain at the back of her skull. She put a hand behind her head, carefully exploring and then wincing as she found a tender spot. She glanced around and realized that she was in the Magic Box, complete with all the details, right down to the “Shoplifters Will Be Turned Into Frogs” sign. Which was abso-freaking-lutely impossible, since the shop now existed only in a giant pit full of ubervamp dust.


She was still blinking away troll-hammer sized pain when the door flew open and Xander raced in, arms failing and hair flopping. He skidded to a stop when he saw her perched on the edge of the table.


Willow !” he gasped, his face pale white with shock, “We’re back in Sunnydale!”


Willow stared back at him blankly, her mind trying to process possible head trauma, resurrected Magic Box and buff-and-not-in-Africa Xander all at once.


Seeing her confusion, he snapped a finger in front of her face. “You know, Sunny D! Hello, Sunnyhell ? La boca de infierno ?”


She sighed and eased off the table top. “Yeah, I know, Xander.”


“Well? And?” he demanded. “This is so not right. I mean, we finally got out of here! I have a life – and a better haircut! And, check me out,” he whipped open the edge of his caramel colored, butter soft, three quarter length leather jacket. “I’m totally ripped and hot.”


He let the coat fall closed and ran hand through dark, expensively tousled hair. “I cannot be back here. This is the place of badness and abasement and basements of debasement and demon magnetism. This is the land of the not good. Is this a wish? A spell? Demons, witches, trolls, pixies, banshees…gah!”


He jerked back as Willow suddenly grabbed his bottom lip and yanked hard. “Xander!” she yelled, all patience gone, "just tell me before we both asphyxiate from mega-babble. What the fuck is going on?”


Xander’s mouth fell open as he stared back at her, gobsmacked . “W-what did you just say?”


Willow frowned, rubbing her tongue briefly against the inside of her upper lip. “Um, I’m sure I said 'babble be damned!'" She winced as Xander continued to stare at her, google -eyed, and shook his head slowly. “Uh, ‘what the goddess’?” she offered weakly.


“You said f-fuck!” Xander shouted, a finger jerking out to point at her in accusation. His hand flew to his mouth. “Holy shit! I said fuck!” His forehead crinkled in consternation. “I never say fuck. Or shit. Only evil, soulless creatures talk like that, and they’re usually cut off before they can…”


“Fuck piss shit hell,” Willow blurted, her eyes widening in horror. She and Xander stared at each other in silent amazement, and then Xander drew a deep breath, raising his hands slowly before him and held them palms out toward Willow as their eyes met.


“Mother-fucker- titty -sucker-two-ball-bitch,” he intoned gravely.


Willow gasped aloud at that and suddenly realized that there could be only one plausible and fairly simple and not terribly complex because that’s time consuming explanation. “It’s a spell. A goddamn, booger-ass spell.”


“I feel weird, Wil ,” Xander said, rubbing his hands against his face. “Fuckity-fuck-fuck weird. And not like me.” His eyes narrowed. “What’s the big shit?”


Willow shrugged, cringing as the pain in her head thudded again. “I have no idea, Xan . All I know is that I woke up here with a throbbin ’ in my noggin’ and now suddenly we’re channeling George Carlin.” She raised her brows, considering. “Although the situational Tourette’s seems to be fading.”   She glanced around half-heartedly at the shelves. “I guess we could, you know, hit the books…”


Xander groaned. “Ah, horseshit.” Willow looked at him in surprise. “Sorry, that one was all me. It’s just that I thought my dense volumes , donut boy days were behind me.”


Willow smiled in commiseration. “I know. I have people to do this expositiony research crap for me now.”


She yanked open the nearest leather cover and read a passage at random. “ Come on let’s take it easy. Take it easy. Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and monkey…” She trailed off. “What the hoo-ha? What is this?”


Xander reached around her to open another book. “This one’s blank,” he said. He quickly slammed shut. “Could be trapped demon. Quick, look at another one.”


Willow opened a book and ran a finger quickly under the text, translating, “ Now for ten years we’ve been on our own, and moss grows fat on a Rolling Stone. But that’s how it used to be, when the Jester sang for the King and Queen in a coat he borrowed from James Dean…whoa!”


Willow felt Xander’s hands grab her shoulders and pull her back sharply as the words began to rise from the book and crawl slowly up her arms.


“Thanks,” Willow breathed as she sagged back against Xander. She ran her hands weakly up her now bare arms. “I would have gone crazy with American Pie stuck in my head all day.” She grinned wobbly. “Though it has been a while since I’ve had a good book suck.”  


Xander hugged her briefly and then stepped back. “I don’t get it. Blank books, classic rock lyrics…it’s like whoever stocked the shop isn’t even trying. We’ve got to get out of here, Wil . I popped up in the alley behind the Bronze, and I didn’t see much on my way here, but the streets were empty.” He frowned. “And somewhat shorter and less…there. We’ve got to see if we’re the only one’s here.” He began to hum the tune to Land of the Lost under his breath until Willow cut him off with a look.


“You’re right,” she said, nodding him toward the door. “Let’s get out of here.”


He turned to lead the way and then turned back, his face contorting in horror. “You’re not going outside like that, are you?”


Willow looked down at her jeans and camisole. “What?” she asked in surprise.


Xander sighed. “It’s June? In southern California ? And you’re going out without a jacket?”


Willow cringed, crossing her arms over herself in embarrasment . She looked around and picked up a mod-print, double breasted trench coat. “Will this do?”


“I guess,” Xander said, opening the door for her. “Don’t you have anything in leather?” he asked as the bell jangled and door slammed shut behind them.



Lyrics are from "Everybody's Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey" by The Beatles and "American Pie" by Don McLean.


Part Two


Willow and Xander walked the empty streets of Sunnydale.


“I liked this place much better as a crater,” Xander grumbled, as he glanced into the alley they were passing. “But, hey, no vamps.”


“Yes, and not really a problem, considering it’s the middle of the day,” Willow answered. “And we have you training Slayers?”


She stepped off the sidewalk into the middle of the street and spun around, her arms opened wide. “Hello?” she called out.


“Oh, well, way to summon something nasty, Wil .”


Willow turned to glare at him. “I’m just checking to see if we’re the only…”


“Buffy!” Xander cried out, interrupting her.


Willow followed his gaze over to a small boutique where a blonde who certainly looked like their friend and Slayer was digging through a bin of cosmetics.


Xander grabbed Willow ’s hand and they sprinted across the street and into the empty shop.


“Buffy,” Xander said gratefully. “Thank God we found you before we ran into any ghoolies . Not that I was concerned,” he said, drawing himself up and crossing his arms manfully over his chest. “Since I have recently mastered several forms of martial arts while occasionally supporting myself as an exotic dancer.”


Willow rolled her eyes at him and turned to Buffy who was gazing into a mirror and slathering her lips with a nipple-pink lip gloss.


“Um, Buffy?” Willow asked, concerned with her friend’s continued silence.


Buffy turned to look at them, sliding a finger between her lips and removing it with an audible pop to eliminate the excess gloss.


Willow ! Xander!” she said brightly. “ Yay , my friends are here!”


She clapped her hands quickly and then turned back to mirror where she continued rubbing her lips together as she considered herself from several angles.


Xander frowned and then his eyes lit up in sudden understanding as he sidled closer to Willow . “I thought you said the ‘ bot was destroyed beyond repair,” he hissed at her.


“That’s not the ‘ bot , Tweedle Dum ,” Willow said, shooting him an irritated glance as she stepped closer to Buffy. “So, ah, Buff, you seem awfully perky, considering the whole ‘Welcome Back to the Hellmouth : Class of ‘99’ thing going on.”


Buffy shrugged. “Hey, if this is supposed to be a prophecy telling me melon is the new pink, it’s one of the more welcome ones.”


“A prophecy…wait, Buffy, you think this a dream?”


“Well, it’s hardly reality, Wil . Unlocked, empty store full of lipstick and halters with no snooty sales clerks.” Her eyes skittered over them. “Hot, buff Xander. You with no Kennedy clinging to you like a growth…obviously the workings of my happy subconscious.”


Willow shook her head helplessly and then felt Xander reach around her suddenly to pinch Buffy hard on the forearm.


Ow !” Buffy gasped, her shiny lips falling open. She lunged back at Xander, grasping the chest hair that peeked up above his v-neck and yanked viciously.


“Yah!” Xander yelled, shoving her off as he rubbed at his chest. “Back off, hose-beast!” He shook non-existent wrinkles out of his stunning leather jacket and glared at her. “You just wait until I find somewhere to meditate and focus my power center, and your ass is mine, Slayer.”


Buffy stifled a giggle and held up a hand, displaying the cluster of black hairs clinging to her fingers. “I think I have your power center right here…all four of them.”


“Okay, both of you cut it out!” Willow said. “God! We haven’t seen each other in months, we’re suddenly zapped into the inner circle of our own private hell, and you two start making with the bitch slap.” She shook her head sadly. “Not helpful. Really.”


Buffy and Xander both looked shamefaced and Buffy quirked an apologetic smile to Xander as she dropped the lip gloss and crossed her arms, sighing. “So. Not a dream, huh? Do I want to know what it is?”


Willow shrugged, shaking her head. “We don’t know yet. There’s a definite vibe of the weird kind, but we haven’t seen anything particularly demony . Except we seem to be the entire cast of Sunnydale: The Revenge.”


Buffy stretched her arms over her head and then shook herself, loosening up.


  “Okay,” she nodded. “I’m ready.” She raised her brows. “Kind of concerned that I’m not more freaked out, but this still beats dusting puffy shirt wearing vamps who think 'Ciao, bella ' is witty slaying quippage .” She steadied herself, nodding briskly. “Let’s see what’s out there.”


Ooo , good one, Buff,” Xander said he opened the door for them.


Lot of time on my hands, not being the only member of my generation,” she explained. “I’ve been boning up.”


“Yeah, so I’ve heard,” Xander smirked.




“Here demon, demon, demon,” Xander said under his breath as they made a careful sweep of the quiet streets.


“You know that’s actually a summoning spell, don’t you?” Willow said, grinning.


Ack – what?” Xander said, stumbling.


“Kidding. But you should have seen your face…”


“Have I mentioned how glad I am that you’re wallowing in the funny here, Wil


“You guys, look!”


Xander and Willow followed Buffy’s gaze to a point above them where a burst of light cracked the sky, filling it with a pale green glow as two figures suddenly hurtled to the ground below. They slowed as the approached the earth, landing gracefully on their heels as their legs flexed and they gained their footing. Their dark coats billowed behind them as they spun slowly around, weapons raised defensively.


Recognizing the new arrivals, Willow turned to Buffy. “I thought vampires couldn’t fly.”


Xander threw a ‘whatever’ glance their way and snorted. “That wasn’t flying. That was falling with arrogance.”


Buffy slowly approached them, Willow and Xander following cautiously behind her.


“Angel…Spike.” She took in the shredded state of their leather, their bruised, bloody wounds and the unspeakable ick dripping from their broadswords. “What in God’s name have you been doing?”


Spike stepped forward with a grin, pausing to clean the edge of his blade on the hem of Angel’s jacket. “Bodged a dragon. It was down to me old Sire, Blue, Charlie-Boy and yours truly, and I thought we’d dropped a clanger but we really gave it the welly . Any road, gave the dragon the old St. George and now everything’s tickety -boo.”


Buffy, Willow and Xander looked at Spike and then back at each other in total befuddlement.


“What is that you’re speaking – Fyarl ?” Buffy asked, her nose wrinkling adorably and her eyes of an indeterminate shade opening widely.


Willow rolled her own equally vividly hued eyes. “God, Buffy, is that the only demon you learned?” She turned back to Spike. “Why are you talking like that?”


Spike peered at Willow as if she were barmy and replied slowly, “Because I’m British. You know, expatriate and all that. Member of the Nancy-boy tribe?”


“Yeah,” Willow said nodding, “really get that. But you usually just throw in a ‘bloody’ or ‘ sodding ’ and that Brits it right up. And, besides, the accent alone…”


Ooo , yeah, the accent,” Buffy interjected, her eyes darkening to an even deeper shade of that indescribable color.


“I know,” Willow nodded, grinning. “You know when he says, ‘fag off’?” I’ve always wanted to say that. ‘Fag off!’” she repeated in a flat American accent and then shrugged with a sigh. “Sounds lame without the mockney.”


Buffy grinned and lay a hand on Willow ’s arm, “Well, you know I used to get him to…”


“Guys?” Xander broke in. “Still not addressing the presence of the two unexpected undead guys. Especially the one who should be a dead undead guy.


Buffy’s mouthed formed a perfect O (no, she didn’t orgasm, she was surprised.)


Omigod , Spike! You burned up in the Hellmouth ! You were on fire – finger flaming, soul stinging fire. How is this possible?”


Spike felt like this explanation needed a sigh despite the unneeded air so he sighed, “It’s a bit of a long story, pet…”


Angel rolled his eyes. “Trapped in an amulet, released as a ghost, made corporeal: hung around to make my life hell.”


“Apparently not that long,” Buffy, Willow and Xander chorused.



"Let's see what's out there" is from STTNG "Encounter at Farpoint ."

"That's not flying, that's falling with arrogance" is paraphrased from Toy Story . Go, Joss!


Part Three


“You’re alive,” Buffy breathed, her eyes drinking Spike in from the top of his gelled head to the tips of his demon be- gunked boots. “Well, animated and corporeal, in any case.”


She reached for his hand, watching the sun gleam brightly against his platinum waves and create dazzling points of light in the true blueness of his eyes. Her breath catching suddenly, Buffy glanced between Spike and Angel as they stood uncaring of the happy sunbeams that reflected from their whiter shade of paleness.


“Oh, my, God,” she said softly. “Angel. Spike. You’re standing in sunshine.”


Both vampires looked back at her in surprise, then at each other, up to the sun, squinted madly and then contemplated their own non- flamey limbs.


“Huh,” Angel said, nodding thoughtfully.


“Wow,” Willow said softly. “That’s…wow. You guys must be ecstatic.”


“Eh,” Spike said shrugging and looked to Angel who shrugged back. Spike turned to the others. “What with the Gem of Amarra , alternate realities and what all, the sun is just…eh. I freckle, he tans. It was kind of a big build-up and then….eh.” He looked back to Angel, “What do you think this time? Something Hellmouth-y?”


“Yeah, I’m good with that.”


Spike stepped toward Buffy again, this time making sure the sun highlighted his hair just right and set his cheekbones into harsh relief as his fingers clenched on hers.


Willow and Xander backed off quietly to allow the two lovers, torn apart by fate, to have the moment. Angel evaluated the spikiness of his hair and surreptitiously checked his breath, waiting for Spike to fuck this up.


Spike raised a shaking hand to caress her cheek. “God, Buffy,” his lips trembled. “I never thought I’d have this chance…you don’t have to say anything,” he said as he heard her draw in a shaky breath. “Can I just hold you? Make it real?”


Buffy’s arms wrapped slowly around him and Spike buried his face in her hair, breathing deeply of her mystical, earth goddess scent.


Suddenly his head reared back, his features twisted in pain. “Ungh!” He stumbled away from her, hacking as he fought to draw unnecessary yet cleansing air into his long dead, though apparently still functioning, lungs. “What,” he asked and gasped hugely. “What the devil kind of perfume have you been marinating in?”


Buffy frowned at him, feeling a definite snit coming on as he once again sabotaged a tender moment. “Uh, none, Mr. Can Track Me By Scent Alone. You know I don’t wear perfume. It’s just my Vanilla Vixen body wash, facial scrub, body splash, body spray and feminine deodorant.”


“Well, you smell like a bloody Keebler .” Spike continued to cough and choke, waving off her attempts to comfort him.


Buffy glared at him, seriously pissed off. “It never seemed to bother you before,” she groused.


Spike shook his head, his eyes watering. “I dunno . Maybe you lost some of that Slayer flavor when Red did her ‘share the power’ spell and the vanilla’s taking over. Or maybe my sense of smell has improved – I haven’t smoked much since I came back.”


“Or maybe you came back wrong!” Buffy threw at him.

"Buffy," Angel said quietly, stepping forward to take her by the hand.

Buffy smiled back at him gratefully and reached up to kiss his cheek as he gently enfolded her in his arms. They held each other tightly for a moment and then stepped back, their eyes meeting in a moment of silent understanding.

"Okay," Spike growled, moving to step between them. "What the bloody hell was that?"

"What?" Angel asked, his features relaxed and innocent.

"That," Spike said, his gaze whipping between them. "You two just had a moment." He frowned and shook his head, disgusted. "Wait, this is that whole 'cookie dough' thing, innit ?" He threw his hands up. "Oh, fine. Well, food for thought, Slayer. You're approaching the point of bake or get out of the kitchen. And don't expect me to be waiting around until you turn into a bloody Fig Newton."

Angel snickered and then he and Spike shared a moment of silent understanding.

“Okay, you know what?” Buffy asked, swiping up Angel’s broadsword from where he had dropped it. “I’m sick of taking this crap from both of you.”

She raised the sword above her head and began whipping it wildly, vanilla waves of anger emanating from her.

“Hey, hey, Buffy,” Willow said, jumping in to grab the Slayer’s cartwheeling arms, narrowly ducking the blade. “Let’s take it down a little.” She nodded cautiously at Buffy as the sword was slowly lowered and mutinous green-like eyes turned her way. “Yes, boys mean. Boys suck.”

She gently guided Buffy away from the others, turning to smile ruefully at Spike and Angel. “We’ll just be over here for a minute. You guys take a moment…catch up and stuff.”

Xander turned to look at Spike and Angel, who were muttering, “You suck,” “No, you suck harder,” and “Well, you sucked first,” beneath their breath.

“So,” Xander asked, rubbing his hands together, “what’s new with the soulier than thou?”

Spike’s eyes flitted over Xander’s tailored leather jacket and cream colored, v-neck silk t-shirt which were paired with chocolate-brown, form-fitting leather pants and other hyphenated attire. Spike ended his perusal of “A Study of Xander in Leather” to turn a knowing smirk on Angel. Angel grinned and ducked his head, chuckling.

Spike snickered back and Angel leaned into him until their leather-clad shoulders brushed. “Well, you know what they say about imitation…” Angel smirked.

“Hey!” Xander exclaimed, glaring at the giggling vampires. “I am so not copying you. Youwish I was copying you! For one thing, mine’s brown! And…and,” he scrambled for more differences, and then his hands brushed against the hem of the jacket that hit just below his butt, “and much less swooshy !”

“Oh, we’re just taking the piss,” Spike grinned, having gotten the Xander snit he’d been angling for. He let his eyes slide slowly over Xander’s leather clad torso again before licking his lips and adding, “You look good, whelp.”

Xander blushed, still tugging the edges of his jacket like an eight-year-old at a recital. “Thanks, I’ve been working…did you just call mewhelp ?”

“Yes,” Spike nodded slowly, keeping his eyes on Xander. “You know? Whelp? Cub, jackanape, puppy, youngster, boy?”

Xander gritted his teeth. “Spike, I’m 23 years old, and thanks to a lifetime of living on the Hellmouth , I look closer to 33.” He crossed his arms, furrowing his brow and squinting his eyes to add emphasis to his Gen X character lines. “Whelp, my ass.”

Spike shrugged, sucking in his cheekbones to better display his perennial boy band bone structure. “Whatever, Xanderrrr.” He made a face. “Oh, come on, give me something. Scooby-boy? Slayerette? Nummy?” His eyes lit up. “Xanpet?”

“Whelp it is then,” Xander said, stalking back over to Buffy and Willow , his leathers creaking enticingly with the barest amount of chafing.

Angel and Spike shared one last leering smirk and then joined the others.

“Okay,” Angel said, hands on leather hips and forehead in serious ‘kicking ass and taking names’ overdrive, “ Reunion over – do we know what’s going on here?”

“You mean besides the fact that we seem to be participating in some sort of immunity challenge we didn’t sign up for?” Willow asked as Buffy tossed her head and joined the group, ignoring the vampires. “Well, for one thing, I can say ‘fuck’ with impunity.”

“And I can say vermin infested cum bubble,” Xander added.

Buffy and Angel stared back at him, slack-jawed. “Well I can,” he said defensively. “Here, you try it.”

Angel opened his mouth but Spike broke in with, “Unleash thy codpiece, thou artless, beef-witted coxcomb!” Spike’s lips twisted and he shook his head, grumbling. “Oh, nice, I can only swear in Bard.”

“Bollocks, balls, dozy bint ,” Angel quoted back to him. “I think you’ve had your turn.”

“And I think you’re both a couple of fucktards ,” Buffy said and then giggled at herself.

“Okay, ha-ha,” Willow said, frowning at all of them. “Yeah, naughty words, really funny, but I think we should concentrate on…” she broke off as she noticed Spike staring at her intently. “What?”

“’S nothing. It’s just that you’re really hot when you go all school marmish .” He ducked his head, peering up at her from beneath his lashes, his lips arranged in a shy pout.

“Well, I think you’re cute, too, when you do that out of character shy boy thing,” Willow admitted softly. They shared a smile and Willow rubbed her cheek against her shoulder, blushing. She looked back up to see Buffy, Angel and Xander frozen, their eyes wide and horrified.

“What?” she asked, casting one last peek at Spike and hiding a grin when she caught the wink he tossed at her.

“Are you both fricking …that is to say, fucking insane?” Xander asked.

“Oh, come on, whelp, you gotta admit the witch is dead sexy,” Spike said, wiggling his tongue quickly at Willow .

Buffy looked at all of them. “Is anyone else finding someone inappropriately hot?” she asked irritably.

“Spike,” Willow and Xander answered together suddenly. Angel started to say Spike, reconsidered and blurted out, “ Spander ,” trying to cover all of the bases.

Spike shrugged. “I pretty much want to nail you all.”

Buffy frowned. “Well…this is just disturbing. And kind of hot in its sheer freakiness.”

“But is it really that freaky?” Willow asked. “I mean, we’ve always had kind of the Melrose Place vibe going on with the switching of the partners.” She turned to Buffy. “After all, you’re standing here in an emotional daisy chain of men who’ve been hot for you or each other over the years.”

Spike and Angel’s gazes met and then skittered away.

“Wait, you and Spike?!” Buffy gasped, staring at Angel in fascinated horror.

Angel frowned, confused. “Buffy, I really thought you’d have figured that out,” he said. “I told you the stuff about Darla and Drusilla, and I know you looked some things up in the Watcher’s Diaries.”


She nodded back slowly.


“And you know that for 20 years, I lived with Spike in a communal, violently alternative, dysfunctional family setting.”


She nodded again, looking at him blankly.


Angel gritted his teeth. “And you know about my thing with nuns? That it wasn’t just…draining them, right? That I had a whole madonna complex sex thing going on?”


Buffy nodded harder, trying to convey that she was following.


“So, okay, I pillaged half of Europe , I ate my own family, I was a merry nun rapist, and your biggest problem is that I occasionally jumped on top of that incredibly attractive and not vaguely androgynous vampire?”


“Yeah, I knew about the nun thing, Angel. I get the whole preying on the blood of the innocent. But that doesn’t make you,” she looked around cautiously. “G-a-y.”


“But you didn’t have a problem with the magickal redhead and her girly pals, did you, pet?” Spike huffed. “A bit of a double standard, there.”


Pfft ,” Buffy said. “That was all floating roses and tongueless kissage .”


Angel looked to Willow , who nodded glumly.


Buffy continued to stare at Angel with dawning horror. “But you’re saying that you and Spike were…”


“Riding the velvet meat curtains of love,” Xander said dreamily.


“And you really just said that,” Buffy said, finding him crass and profane and inexplicably shaggable all at once.



Part Four


Spike turned a speculative look on Xander, eyebrow fully cocked and aimed. “Whelp?” he drawled slowly.


Xander blushed, but didn’t take his eyes off Spike. He met Spike’s look steadily, and then dropped his gaze, returning the slow, full body eye-fuck Spike had given him earlier.


Spike and Xander moved closer, eyes locked, until they stood facing each other. The heat between them grew more palatable as they drew near one another, growing deeper in intensity until it exploded in a blast of pheromones that hit the others like a cleansing flood, washing away the last lingering hints of vanilla, dragon gore and hair gel.


“Well, this seems like the path least likely. And kind of sudden,” Willow said, waving her hand in front of her face to dispel the cloud of Xander/Spike lust.


“But is it?” Xander asked, dragging his gaze away from Spike. “I mean, who’s to say that I didn’t take Larry up on his oft unspoken offers before graduation, just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on something in case I died? And what about Oxnard ? Sure, it was a ladies’ club, but come on, all those hot, sweaty male dancers just scream gayness. Oh, and my over-the-top, manly posturing hatred toward Angel and Spike? What was that, if not repression? Or all those times I tied Spike up right next to my bed – we could have been up to naked shenanigans years ago.”


“But did you? Were you?” Willow asked.


“No,” Xander admitted. “But who’s to say I couldn’t have? Get me?”


“Hmm,” Willow answered, considering. “Good point.”


Spike cocked a quick grin at Willow and then turned back to Xander, reveling in the hot chocolate lust glowing in those dark eyes. “This is real, yeah, pet?” he said quietly. “No spell, no wish, no dream…just you and me.”


“Just you and me,” Xander agreed huskily. His tongue snaked out to brush nervously against his lower lip and Spike growled low in his throat as he watched the motion.


Spike ignored the startled yelps from Buffy and Willow behind him and even Xander’s gasp of surprise as he lunged forward and captured Xander’s lips in a hotly possessive kiss. Since the invention of the kiss there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one was way freakin ’ hotter than those.


“Okay,” Willow said, staring, “I’m getting some of my ‘gay now’ street cred back, ‘ cause watching them is so much hotter than the me and Spike thing.”


Xander’s chuckle was muffled in Spike’s mouth, his eyes closed tightly, his heart racing and the minimum chafing from his leather pants suddenly accelerating to maximum chafing, but in a good way.


Bleedin ’ Jesus, pet, you can kiss,” Spike said, as they broke apart, gasping.


Xander ducked his head bashfully. “What can I say? Months of playing Cordy’s Closet – all red lips and blue balls? Let’s just say I learned through necessity that my special skill was the first base orgasm.”


“Okay, that’s enough,” Buffy snarled. Spike found himself separated from Xander as a righteously indignant Slayer shoved her way in between them. “Not ten minutes ago, you were all ‘ Ooo , ah, Buffy’ and making with the vampire pissing contest with Angel, and now suddenly you’re spelunking in Xander’s tonsils and giving him the behind-blue-eyes of love.”


Spike pushed Buffy off, glaring at her. “Well, it’s not about you now, Buffy, is it? Look at you, still trying to play me and Angel against each other. Well, you know what? We made a pact, the Poof and me. We’re movin ’ on.”


Buffy shot a glare over her shoulder to Angel, who raised his hands to his chest in a lamely defensive ‘Hey, not me’ gesture.


Spike looked back at Xander. “So, we kissed. Gonna punch me now?”


“No,” Xander said firmly, not taking his eyes from Spike’s.


“You gonna have the Slayer dust me? Let the witch turn me into something nasty?”


Xander shook his head slowly, a smile quirking his lips.


Spike moved closer to him until they were almost touching from shoulder to knee. “Am I ‘beneath you’?” he asked so quietly that had Xander not been staring at his lips he would have missed the words.


Xander closed the distance between them, one hand settling on Spike’s hip as the other rose to cup his jaw. He leaned in until his lips just brushed Spike’s ear and breathed hotly, “Not yet.” He rolled his hips, his pelvis dragging across Spike’s in unspoken promise.


“I want you,” Xander said, tuning out Willow ’s gleeful voyeurism, Angel’s semi-discreet panting and Buffy’s laser-like eye-rolling. “I want this, whatever it is.”


“And I want you prostrate while I’m above you, slamming your prostate.” Spike watched as Xander’s eyes darkened to the color of really expensive bittersweet South American chocolate. “Maybe this was it, pet,” Spike said softly. “Why we’re back here. So’s you and me could find each other.”


“Oh, and I’m self-involved?” Buffy asked harshly. Spike and Xander turned to see that her eye rolling had reached spinning velocity. “Yeah,” she said, dripping still faintly vanilla scented sarcasm, “that’s why we’ve all been brought back to the Hellmouth , so that you two could gay up.”


“Well, I’m glad I got to see it,” Willow said, grinning.


“Come on,” Buffy said, turning away from them. “We’re not gonna figure out what the Big Bad is standing here on the street watching Confused Sexual Identity Theatre.” She put her hands on her hips, surveying the deserted main street. “Let’s go to my house and try and re-group.”


She headed out, glancing back to see Willow gamely following behind her, Angel stoically picking up weapons and avoiding the hot guy-on-guy action and Xander and Spike pressed together, attempting to reach saliva nirvana.


Buffy gave one last disgusted eye roll. “Nothing we find here could be more frightening than that.”



"Since the invention of the kiss..." is, of course, from

The Princess Brideby William Goldman.



Part Five


On the walk to Buffy’s, Spike and Xander managed to break up and get back together twice. The first spat involved what Xander believed to be Spike’s residual feelings for Buffy. It was resolved when Spike hissed under his breath, “The scariest thing I’ve ever seen here? The Slayer:   the morning after. ” :::Shudder :::


The second was a long-winded, heavily gesticulated discussion of the merits of Dr. Who vs. classic Star Trek and managed to entangle an enthusiastic, if not terribly well-versed, Willow and a disinterested Angel, who used the opportunity to reiterate his argument for astronauts against cavemen.


When Xander quickly won the case for cavemen by pointing out that, without phasers or ray guns, the astronauts were virtually helpless against the innate aggression and over-developed forearms of the Cro-Magnons, he was rewarded by a grunting, gropey snog from Spike, which pretty much wrapped things the heck up until they reached Revello Drive .


Buffy lead them up the steps and then paused as she fumbled for non-existent keys. She was rearing back into a full-on twin straddle kick at the front door, when it was suddenly yanked open by a burst of shiny energy.


“Come in! Come in! Come in!” Dawn screeched happily as she stood in the open doorway.


“Dawn,” Buffy said, with more than a little guilty gratitude in her voice, “I didn’t even think about…” Buffy stopped, her jaw tightening, as her sister flew past her and into Spike’s open arms.


“Spike!” Dawn cried joyfully, so ecstatic at his resurrection that she instantly forgave his alleged attempted rape of her sister, the knowledge he would never return her crush (if Xander’s hand on his ass was any indication) and the fact that he still owed her two Siamese and the odd tabby.


“Will,” Spike corrected.


“Yeah?” Willow said, turning to look at them as she entered the house.


“No,” Spike said, “Not you, Wil . Me, Will. I don’t want to be called Spike anymore. He was just an illusion I tried to hide behind. I want to go by Will, to symbolize the new, souled man I’ve become.”


“That’s the lamest thing I’ve ever heard,” Angel said. “I’ve been ensouled three times, and you don’t see me going around asking everyone to call me Liam.”


“Yeah, well, since I never went by Spikelus , I don’t have a handy ‘evil-now’ nickname, do I?” Spike said. “I want to hear my real name, Peaches, understand? I feel like a Will.”


“Well, too bad,” Willow said. “I mean, I empathize with the whole soul thing, but we already have a Wil .”


S’not the same,” Spike answered. “Yours is obviously a single ‘L’ – Wil . Mine’s two ‘L’s’ – Will. Totally different.” Willow started to open her mouth to disagree and Spike said, “Oh, all right, then, we’ll call you Wils .”


Willow wrinkled her nose and stuck out her lower lip. “That’s too Friends for words.”


Spike’s eyes grew moist as he reached out to her and Willow sighed, capitulating, “Okay. Fine. You can be Will.”


Spike smiled. “Thanks, Red.”


  Meanwhile, in another corner of the crowded Summers ’ foyer…


“…and they’ve just kept popping up all day!” Dawn said, gesturing to the living room.


Buffy and Angel walked into the sitting room and took in the living, and entirely random, tableau. Faith and Riley sat on the sofa, listlessly playing Scrabble with Gunn and Illyria . As they watched, Gunn suddenly smacked Illyria on the back and she spat out the Q.


Gunn sighed and wiped the piece against his jeans with a grimace. “Doesn’t matter,” Riley said. “She already ate all of the U’s.”


Oz was leaning back against the coffee table, watching The Simpsons and half-heartedly training a crossbow on Drusilla.


Buffy started forward, and was stopped in her tracks by the sight of Giles and Andrew walking out the kitchen with bowls of pizza rolls and Cheetohs .


“Buffy!” Giles said in shock, stumbling and sending forth a brief flurry of square pepperoni goodness. Andrew slammed into his back and immediately took the opportunity to begin grop er , brushing pizza crumbs from Giles’ jacket. “Stop that,” Giles said automatically, “you’re getting me all…orange.”


“Oh, shit, B,” Faith said, leaping to her feet. “Thank God! We were so damned bored.”


“You ‘ ave a lovely home,” Drusilla said, smiling at Buffy, as her fingers clutched a gutted Mr. Gordo. “All putrescence and,” her face contorted in disgust, “vanilla.”


Buffy turned to Willow . “Can I say ‘what the fuck’ or are you getting royalties on that now?”


Omigod !” squealed out from the entryway behind them. “Oh. My. God!” Dawn said, bouncing into the living room. “You guys. Xander and Spike are totally doing it.”


Angel and Buffy looked cautiously behind them and Dawn rolled her eyes. “Not right now . But they’re boyfriends, and they’re holding hands and they let me watch them kiss and, oh, wow,” she said, sighing dramatically with exhaustion only to start bouncing again. “Squee!”


“Bloody hell,” Giles sighed.


Oi , I think you can do better than that, Watcher,” Spike said as he tugged Xander in to join the others. “I bet if you try real hard and think of England you could manage a ‘bloody buggering fuck.’”


“Yes,” Angel said dryly, “Spike and Xander have found each other, and that’s why we’ve all been transported back to Sunnydale.”


“Huh,” Oz said.


“Well, our being back here is obviously a spell of some kind,” Giles said, moving to embrace Buffy tenderly, if only to prove he wasn’t The First.


“Oh, obviously,” Xander and Spike said together, nodding patronizingly.


“Actually, it is something magical,” Willow said, grinning at the half-smile Oz gave her that managed to say, ‘I’ve missed you, I hope you’re okay, you look thoroughly kissable and, pizza roll?’ all at once. “I did a quick locator on the way over. It’s more than just an incantation. Whatever is causing this is using something powerful.”


“Rocket launcher?” Buffy asked.


“Big demon trapped in a rock?” Angel questioned.


“Crayon- breaky nostalgia?” Xander interjected.


“I think she means a talisman or some rot,” Spike said, smiling at Xander. “But you saved the world, luv . Forgot about that bit. God, that white knight thing…it’s so fucking hot.”


“You saved the world, too,” Xander reminded him softly.


“So we’re a couple of heroes, then,” Spike said, smiling as he moved closer to slide his arms around Xander’s neck. “ Savin ’ the world,” he leaned forward to press a soft kiss to the corner of Xander’s mouth. “Rescuing the maiden,” he winked at Dawn and then flicked his tongue slowly across Xander’s upper lip. “Two hot guys in leather, vanquishing evil and turnin’ the world on with our smiles.” He leaned in, his cool lips and tongue diving into the heat of Xander’s, melding them together into what should have been, well, tepid, but instead spiraled into a hotness that soon had them clutching each other’s hips and grinding desperately together, filling the room with their rasping groans and the slick sounds of leather against denim.


“You know, you’re not the only ones who’ve saved the world.”


Spike reluctantly released Xander’s lips, pausing to suck the bottom one in for one last nibble, before turning to find Buffy and Angel glaring at them. Hands on hips and arms folded, respectively, in full-blown Batgirl and the Dark Avenger mode.


Xander grinned, crossing his arms right back. “Yeah, but we’ve both done it single-handedly and without a stick up our ass ruining the outline of our metaphorical capes.”


“Good thing, too,” Spike said , grazing a hot gaze across Xander’s leather clad ass. Buffy and Angel both started to grumble with revulsion (although Angel’s grumble had a distinct lack of sincerity) and Spike said, “Oh, just sod off, you two, or shag something for fuck’s…”


Spoike ,” interrupted his rant, the breathy word crawling up the back of his neck like radioactive spiders. “No hello kiss for Mummy? Did the naughty kitten steal all of Mummy’s kisses?” Her eyes flickered laughingly over Xander’s tight leather flanks. “Pockets full of kisses,” she sing-songed.  


Dru slid her arms around Spike’s waist from behind, snapping her teeth at Xander over Spike’s shoulder. “Bad kitty!”  


Spike gently but firmly removed Drusilla’s hands from his waist, turning to push her back slightly. “No,” he said, bopping her on the nose with a finger. “No more from you bleeding women.” He walked back over to Xander, reclining against him and pulling Xander’s arms around his waist, and then smirked and slid them down to dangle right above his crotch.


“As terribly fascinating as this all is,” Giles began tiredly…


Giles, make them stop mauling each other,” Buffy whined.


Yo , G, we gotta roll up with the wicked ass- stompin ’,” Faith said. “Straight up,” she added.


“Um, Xander, um, Spike,” Andrew said, his Cheetohs trembling madly, “if you guys ever, y’know , find stuff getting too, ah, vanilla, and you wanna call in a guest star, just…”


“Hi, Giles,” Willow said.


An audible pop as Illyria ’s head titled to the left stopped the babbling. “Are these pets of yours, Vampire?” she asked Spike. Her neck popped sharply again as she titled toward Angel. “Do they require annihilation? Or shall I assume the Burkle persona and comfort them?”


“All right, enough,” Xander said, setting Spike aside, but not before swiping his tongue slowly up the vampire’s soft, cool neck. “Giles, you work with Willow and try and figure out how many licks it’s gonna take to get to the mystical center of this thing.”


He nodded at the others, his hands gripping his hips, the fingers splayed out long and beautiful, drawing all eyes to the leather bulge they framed. “Buffy, Angel, get with Faith and Riley and see if there are any weapons in the house. Um, Gunn?” At the other man’s nod he continued, “I hear you’re good at MacGyvering weapons from ordinary household objects. Why don’t you take her,” he jerked a thumb at Illyria , “and see what you can find.”


Xander turned to the remaining others. “Hey, Oz.” He watched as Oz tightened his finger on the crossbow trigger, keeping Drusilla in his sights. “Stay with what’s working for you. Andrew.” The younger man bounced to his feet and all but prostrated himself on the floor before Xander. “We’re gonna need a lot more Cheetohs .”


“Wow,” Willow said, staring at Xander in gleeful awe. “Look at you, working the self-esteem.”


Xander grinned. “Yeah, it just dawned on me. I’m hot, ripped, with great hair and leather pants hugging my perfect ass like a Harley seat, I’ve helped save the world more than once and I’ve got a boyfriend who looks like sex on a stick. And I always seemed to have the best ideas, anyway.” He nodded as Giles held up the few reference books he’d found in the house.


“And what will you two ‘heroes’ be doing?” Buffy asked, sniffing at Xander and Spike.


Xander cocked an eyebrow, briefly flashing to ‘duh’ face. “Gettin’ in a quickie on the back porch.”



Part Six


Spike leaned back against one of the porch columns and lit a cigarette. He heard Xander close the door behind him and exhaled slowly. “That was pretty impressive back there, luv .”


Xander chuckled. “That’s me, plan guy.” He stared at Spike, watching the cigarette travel from his languidly elegant fingers to his full lips, seeing those cheekbones sharpen as the vampire sucked in deeply. Xander swallowed hard. “I’m jealous of your cigarette.”


“And all the things I do with it?” Spike asked, low in his throat. He flicked his tongue against the cigarette butt and then tossed it out into the yard, turning to face Xander. “So. What now?”


Xander rubbed his damp palms nervously against his thighs, finding leather not to be particularly absorbent. “Well, I know I said we were gonna come out here and…you know, and I said it because I want to, and I knew it would piss Buffy off, the idea of us humping in her rose bushes. But now,” he looked around the porch, his face a study of confusion, lust and teetering on the edge of freak-out. “How, I mean, where? What do we …?”


C’mere , Xan ,” Spike said, holding out his hand.


Xander took Spike’s hand and let himself be pulled forward until they were close, but not touching. They looked at each other for a long moment as Spike used his nose empathy to sort out the aromas of desire, vague unease and “woo- hoo ! I’m gonna get laid!” emanating from Xander.


Spike cupped the back of Xander’s neck and leaned forward, pressing their lips together gently. He eased his tongue into Xander’s mouth, sighing ecstatically at the welcome heat and wetness. Ah, balmy 98.6 – there is no substitute. He slid his hand down from Xander’s neck until he gripped him by the upper arm and then spun them around, slamming Xander against the column.


Spike’s duster fell open and he pressed himself hard against Xander, their mouths moving frantically as their hands got into the act. Just as Xander was reaching around to grab Spike in a good, firm ass squeeze, the back door squeaked open.


Xander raised his head from Spike and turned to see Buffy glaring out at them from the kitchen. “Uh, Buffy?” Xander said. “When I said we were gonna sneak out to the back porch for a quickie? Really not kidding.” As she continued to stand there and stare, Xander added, “But I think we’ve discovered your kink.”


She narrowed her eyes further and bit out, “I was just coming to tell you that Angel and I found a few stakes and axes, and we were thinking about heading out to look for…


“Hey, Buffy, tell Angel that it’s okay for me to go with…oh, double- squee !” Dawn grinned, peering around Buffy’s shoulder and watching as Spike’s fingers made slow circles around Xander’s silk clad man nipples.


“I’m going to patrol,” Buffy said abruptly. “There has to be something for me to do other than stand around watching Spike and Xander’s smutty…ministrations.”


“Yeah,” Dawn nodded eagerly. “Spike is ministrating all over him!”


“Bit,” Spike said, firmly. “Bye. Now. Love ya , but – go. Take the Slayer with you…there you go, girls. Ta.” As the door closed, Spike turned back to Xander, feeling the hard body under his tremble as he pressed their erections together and tilted his head to nip at Xander’s warm, bronzed neck.


Xander threw back his head, gasping. “So, how are we gonna …?”


“Like this, luv ,” Spike said, lifting up slightly to let his denim encased hardness drag against Xander’s leather bound one.


“Right here?” Xander squeaked. “Standing up?” he gulped.


“Standing up’s m’ specialty,” Spike grinned, feeling Xander’s heroically stalwart heart pound against him as they thrust together firmly. “In fact, standing up, clothes on – anybody feels like peeking out at us, it’ll look like we’re having sex, but they won’t believe what they’re seeing, ‘cause logistically it won’t make sense.”


“You’ve done this before,” Xander frowned at him. Realization dawned. “Eww…that time at the Bronze, on the balcony, when Buffy said you were getting a crick out of her back? Gross.” Xander pulled back slightly, disturbed, his excitement waning at the flood of… Spuffy images.


Spike sighed, pulling Xander back to him. “Pet, if you’re gonna get shirty and cut me off over all of our shared acquaintances I’ve shagged, well, we’re never gonna make this work. I’ve done and seen a lot in my unnaturally long life,” he said simply. “For instance, using chocolate body paint for rimming? Aesthetically unpleasant.”


Xander shrugged, taking that as a given. He smiled lopsidedly in apology, suddenly feeling virginal and foolish. “Promise you’re only thinking of me right now?”


Spike sniggered evilly and cupped Xander’s hips, rubbing against the resurrected hard-on Xander was sporting. “Trust me pet, nothing about this is bringing the Slayer to mind.”




“I don’t like this, Buffy,” Angel said, head lowered, hands on hips and feet apart in a ‘this is bullshit’ stance.


“I have to do this, Angel,” Buffy reminded him as she threw stakes, knives and spatulas into a tote bag. “It’s my job.”


“Well, it’s my job, too,” he said, stepping up behind her to rub her shoulders lightly. “Champion of the PTB, remember? But that doesn’t mean I agree with heading out blindly to confront something we have no knowledge of.”


He turned her around, looking at her earnestly. “Buffy, I just don’t want you to get hurt. You’re everything I’ve ever imagined: the perfect, predestined, pedestaled woman. I can be the man you want, now. You wanna go dance at the Bronze?” He swallowed. “I’m there. And the prom? Just let me know, and I’ll air out my tux. Buffy and Angel 4-Eva, remember?”


“The prom?” Buffy asked, blinking at Angel. “ Angel, that was like, five years…” she shook her head, chuckling. “ That’s what I like about vampires – I get older, they stay the same age.”


“Buffy, I’m just trying to tell you that I love you and that it doesn’t matter that time has passed. Or that I have big-ass secrets I haven’t told you, or that I reconnected with Darla, and yeah, maybe I kind of loved her, and that I fell in love with Cordelia …or, oops. Anyway, I don’t want to lose you – you’re my life.”


“Life is bigger,” Buffy said resolutely to Angel, flushing with pleasure as she felt a speech coming on. “It’s bigger than you, and you are not me. The lengths that I will go to,” she sighed. “The distance in your eyes…” Angel stared at her, his forehead wrinkling like a Shar Pei . “Oh, no, I’ve said too much.”


“You haven’t said enough,” Willow interrupted. “Buffy, why are you speaking in lyrics? We’re in the middle of a possible apocalypse…”


Apocalypse ?! Andrew mouthed at Giles.


Giles shrugged resignedly, removing his glasses for a thorough pre-Armageddon cleansing.


“…and you’re quoting REM?” Willow continued. “We never talk in song.” She considered. “Well, unless we’re inexplicably breaking into song, but that’s always accompanied by backing tracks. You’re just…pasting in possibly unfamiliar lyrics pointlessly and it’s distracting from the dialogue, or um, what you’re saying.”


Buffy frowned at Willow and thought about trying something from Life’s Rich Pageant, or maybe the new Outkast album, when the back door opened and Spike and Xander strolled in.


Spike smoked a cigarette with a self-satisfied smirk and Xander just vibrated with erotic giddiness.


Buffy looked at them sourly and sniped, “Happy now?”


“Ecstatic,” Spike said, blowing a cloud of smoke at her. He grinned as she wrinkled her nose in self-righteous non-smoker superiority. He lounged against the wall, taking Xander’s hand in his.


“Spike,” Angel said quietly.


“Yeah, Peaches?” Spike answered distractedly as Xander’s thumb made lazy patterns on the inside of his wrist.


“Spike…Will, you’re…happy. You’re loved.” Angel started toward him, staring at the post-orgasmic glow on Spike’s face.


“Well, yeah,” Spike said, nodding. “Thought we were pretty blatant about that.”


Tears filled Angel’s eyes as he reached to cup Spike’s cheek. “That’s all I ever wanted, you know,” Angel said, his voice breaking. “To see you, the most favored childe I ever kinda-sorta sired, find peace. It makes me feel so…complete.”


His eyes met the shocked look in Spike’s sapphiric gaze. “I’m happy for you…so perfectly happy…” Angel threw his head back, groaning. His head shot back up, the eyes wide and glittering with pure, evil venality.


“Oh, shit,” Xander said.


“What? What?” Andrew gasped, clutching at Willow .


Willow shook him off, scrambling for her jacket to search frantically in the pockets. “His heart just grew three sizes today and we’re about to get reacquainted with one pissed-off, psycho vampire.”


She found the Orb of Thessula she’d been digging for and turned to find Angel, er , Angelus, had set his sights on Buffy. “Slayer!” He said, his entire body language changing to ‘right bastard.’


Willow cupped the orb and quickly rattled off, " Asa sa fie! Asa sa fie ! Acum ! Acum !"


Angelus howled in rage (and not just because he suddenly realized he was wearing synthetic fabric trousers) and dropped to his knees, his eyes flashing with light as he collapsed.


They all stared for a moment, and then Angel raised his head, panting. He looked around at them, his gaze lighting on Spike last. "Damn it!" he spat. He jumped up, dusting himself off. "The next time something remotely cheerful happens, somebody knee me in the balls first. Hard."


Spike rolled his eyes and brushed past Angel to open the front door and stand there morosely, looking out into the night, contemplating the sire/childe bond concept.


"Excellent work with the rapid re- ensoulment , Willow , really," Giles said.


"Thanks," Willow smiled as she carefully packed the orb away. "I found this in my jacket after we left the Magic Box and thought, well, huh, that's weird, but it turned out to be fortuitously convenient." She walked over to the couch to settle back next to Oz, where they continued to commune in meaningful silence.


"I haven't made much headway in the research," Giles admitted to the others. "This...whatever...could be caused by any number of supernatural creatures or events. The possibilities are endless. This may take a while, I'm afraid."


"Dancing in the dark," Drusilla suddenly crooned, spinning slowly in a circle. "Dance! Dance! Dance! Twirl and spin, twirl and spin, the hummingbird won't fly again..."


"It's at the Bronze," Spike said suddenly.


"And you interpreted that from the nonsense she just spouted?" Giles asked.


"No, you git ," Spike said, turning to them as he pointed out the open door. "I can see it from here. It's the only other place in town with the lights on."


"The Bronze!" Riley said, slamming his fist into his palm. "Ingenious! How cleverly diabolical, choosing the place we'd think to look first."


Faith snorted. "C'mon, Beefstick ," she said to him, "you and me will load up the weapons."


"I see you're back to your old tricks," Buffy said, looking between Faith and Riley.


"Are you kidding?" Faith laughed. "He just keeps cruising Vampira over there," she said, nodding to Dru , "and telling her she has to tell him if she's a cop."


Buffy was distracted by Gunn and Illyria tromping down the stairs, proudly displaying a nail gun loaded with toothpicks and a hair dryer, a pail of water and a really long extension cord. "Best we could come up with," Gunn grinned.


"Mount up," Buffy said to the others. "Let's go kick some mystical ass."


" Ooo , Spike," Andrew said as they headed out to the Bronze, "do you think the deep-fryer still works?"



"Losing My Religion" and Life's Rich Pageant belong to REM.

The "That's what I like about vampires," line is paraphrased from Dazed and Confused by Richard Linklater .

"Jealous of Your Cigarette" is from ringwench's S/X vid .




Part Seven


Buffy won the foot-race with Angel and Spike and got to be the one to kick open the door of the Bronze with an epic flourish. With the vampires flanking her, Buffy marched up to the stage, the spotlights and house lights illuminating its ominous...emptiness.


Buffy scowled in confusion and turned to Willow .


"Reveal la te !" Willow chanted helpfully.


A blinding light struck the stage and the smoke machines kicked on. Through the glare of the lights, they could make out a figure standing in the center of the stage behind a draped pedestal. A drum roll sounded, a cymbal crashed and the spotlight centered on the figure who stood in profile, head bowed in a really cheesy vogue. The house lights dimmed then, and the head slowly rose, finally looking out at them to reveal...




"Ethan Rayne!" Giles said, stomping forward and nodding in disgust. "I should have known. Obviously."


"Oh, obviously," Spike and Xander said together, rolling their eyes.


"You were the mastermind behind this extremely strange, yet nicely linear, revisit of Hellmouths past?" Willow asked.


"Yes," Ethan drawled smugly.


"I beg to differ, counsel," came a sultry voice from off-stage to the tune of high heels clicking smartly against the wooden floor. "They don't come bigger or badder than me. This grand scheme, in all its brilliant incomprehensibility, is my baby."


" Lilah ?" Angel gasped.


"Um, I don't think so, folks," a voice weaseled out from opposite stage right as a slight figure slunk out of the darkness, his hands shoved in his pockets. "I did it. It was me."


"W-Willy?" Buffy chortled.


"No," Ethan said firmly. "Sorry, I claim deus ex machina in this particular scenario. After all, isn't it obvious? It has chaotic written all over it."


"Quid pro quo, wizard," Lilah said, dazzling him with her legal BS. "The sheer vagueness of the plan is Wolfram and Hart Special Projects modus operandi." She glanced at her vermillion tinted fingernails, smiling. "Patent pending."


"Um, yeah, I got nuthin '," Willy said, shuffling his feet as they all looked toward him. "And I don't got none of them fancy French words to drop in, either." He started to ease off the stage. "So, I'm just gonna ..." he nodded at them as he fought his way past the stage curtain . "Slayer. Angel. Spike. Um, people I've seen with the Slayer. Bye."


As Willy took his leave, Lilah turned to Ethan. "So, I'll just be..." she said, gesturing him off the stage.


"No! Chaos!" Ethan exclaimed. "The worshipping kind. Not the demon." He pointed at Lilah . "Secondly? You're canonically dead."


" Pfft ," Lilah said. "Special Projects Article W-H 7: Resurrection of Person with Witnessed Death. Patent awarded 2001."


"Ah, Lilah ?" Angel said. "Wesley cut - off - your - head."


"But you can't destroy matter," Xander said. "It can always take another form." They turned to look at him expectantly. "That's all I got. And I think I got that from STTNG ."


"I don't know what's geekier," Willow said, staring at him, "that you just referenced Star Trek in a crisis moment, or that you tried to hip it up with the abreves ."


"Chaos!" Ethan howled, his hands rising above his head to shake menacingly. "Chaos! Pandemonium! Cluster-fuck! Be gone, evil litigator!" Ethan clapped his hands together and Lilah disappeared in a quick flash of light, leaving several briefs behind.


Ethan sighed, wiping his hands. "Now, where were we?"


" Gettin ' ready to ride up on some wicked-ass wizard butt," Faith said.


"Bring it on, Slayer," Ethan said. "Power kicks are no match for Janus and Chaos."


"I distinctly remember destroying your statue of Janus ," Giles said.


Ethan whipped the drop cloth off the pedestal in front of him, revealing a three-foot high, two-faced bust of Janus . "I got a bigger one."


"Quick!" Willow said, grabbing Buffy and Xander's hands, "let's join our essences."


"All riiight , Red," Faith said, leering. "I always knew you had some down-and-dirty in ya ."


Willow sighed, rolling her eyes. "I meant mystically," she said, smiling at the Dark Slayer.


"Okay," Willow continued as they formed a circle, "Buffy's the vessel. No discussion," she said, cutting off Spike, Angel and Faith's protests. She bummed a cigarette and lighter off Spike and chanted quickly over it.


Buffy felt the infusion of magic, werewolf strength, vampire invulnerability, 17 lessons of You Can Learn Tae Kwon Do! and whatever the hell Illyria was flood her body.


Shaking with the need to growl, ravage, drink deep of the rich red elixir of life and worrying too much about her hair, Buffy leapt onto the stage and flipped into a graceful straddle jump with a triple twist, landing on the statue of Janus and smashing it into several knick knacks.


"Well, that was just...anti-climatic," Ethan said.


The lights shimmered and big magic mojo whooshed through the room.




Buffy, Willow , Xander, Angel and Spike sat up slowly, finding themselves on the edge of the Sunnydale pit, just inside the yellow caution tape.


"Okay, rude much?" Buffy said, looking around them. "At least he could have put us back where he found us."


"Maybe it's because the five of us...part of us will always be in Sunnydale," Willow said thoughtfully.


"That's beautiful, Wil ," Xander said. "And kind of lame."


"Yeah, I know," she said, shrugging. "I was reaching."


They stood up, looking around them at the emptiness that surrounded the giant crater and trying to process everything.


"Well, at least the wiggy spell is over," Buffy said. "I hope." She looked to Willow for confirmation. "Wil?"


" Fuuuh ... dge ," Willow said. " Fuh ... rickin '." She grinned, finding her nicely vanilla vocabulary back. "Yep. All un-magicked."


"Thank God," Buffy sighed. She tilted her head at Xander, smiling softly. "This must be the hardest on you," she said. "I mean, lips of Spike was one thing, but you had..." her eyes dropped to his fly and then darted away.


Xander frowned at her. "What are you talking about?"


"The spell," Buffy said. "Chaos !" she intoned dramatically. "You and Spike goin ' all queer as folk."


She stopped, seeing the other four looking at her strangely. "What?"


"Buffy," Angel said, "the spell was just all of us being dropped back into an illusion of Sunnydale."


"And the fudgitty -fudge-fudge," Willow added.


Spike walked over and wrapped his arms around Xander. " Me and the whelp was just a nice, unexpected bonus of our little adventure in Sunny-D Lite ." Xander smiled back at him and kissed him lightly on the lips.


Buffy shook her head dazedly. "I gotta walk for a bit. Gotta deal." She turned away from them, heading toward the highway.


Angel and Willow caught up with her, linking their arms through hers as they smiled wryly at each other above her head. Spike and Xander followed slowly behind them, twining their fingers together and grinning as they contemplated love eternal.


"So," Buffy's voice floated back as they walked away, survivors of the Hellmouth one last time, "you're saying that you guys really were all hot for Spike...and melon really is the new pink?"







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